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ZANU PF divided over continuing farm evictions

Zim Online

Thursday 09 August 2007

By Farisai Gonye

HARARE - Cracks are emerging within Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party over how
to handle defiant white farmers who ignored a government directive to vacate
their properties by the end of last month.

Land Reform and Resettlement Minister Didymus Mutasa confirmed to ZimOnline
yesterday that some of his ZANU PF colleagues were against the wholesale
removal of the few remaining white farmers.

Mutasa, regarded as one of the hawks in President Robert Mugabe's
government, said he would disregard the advice of his colleagues, insisting
that virtually all white farmers would be evicted by year-end "to complete
the land revolution and begin a revolution of mass agricultural production".

"Several of my colleagues think we need the remaining white farmers for our
agriculture. I say no, we need more black farmers. The era of white farmers
is coming to a final close this year," he said in an interview with

Mutasa's ministry has sent circulars instructing the police to arrest white
farmers who have defied its earlier directive.

About 600 white farmers are still involved in commercial farming activities
in Zimbabwe out of the 4 500 who used to produce food for the country until
Mugabe launched his chaotic land reform programme in 2000.

The remaining farmers had been given until last month to leave their farms
and make way for new black owners.

Mutasa spoke as ZimOnline gathered that senior officials from ZANU PF and
law enforcement agencies were scrambling for farms still in the hands of

A senior police officer in the eastern border city of Mutare told ZimOnline
that those involved in the scramble included some senior ZANU PF officials
who had already been allocated farms.

"Everyone knows there won't be any farms after these evictions. Mutasa just
wants us to identify land, and he signs the offer letter as long as you are
well connected," the police officer said.

But Mutasa, who doubles up as State Security Minister, dismissed the claims
by the police officer, insisting that provincial land committees were the
ones identifying farms for acquisition.

"The idea is by the end of the year all these white farmers would have left.
We should be done with evictions so that we focus on equipping and training
our own farmers," Mutasa said.

Zimbabwe has fought seven years of hunger following its often-violent land
reform programme.

The newly resettled farmers have dismally failed to feed the country, once
regarded as southern Africa's breadbasket.

From a net exporter, Zimbabwe will this year import the staple maize from
countries like Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, which a few years ago used to
depend on Harare for their food requirements. - ZimOnline

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Magistrate to decide whether coup trial should be held in open court

Zim Online

Thursday 09 August 2007

By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri

HARARE - A Harare magistrate is expected to make a ruling today on whether
the trial of six men accused of plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe
should be open to members of the public.

Magistrate Archie Wochiunga is today expected to deliver judgment on the
defence application for the trial to be moved to an open court as opposed to
the current situation where proceedings are taking place in camera, with no
family members or media allowed in the courtroom.

An application for refusal of remand lodged by the six men failed to take
place yesterday after the defence lawyers Charles Warara and Jonathan
Samkange refused to have the case heard in camera.

Samkange yesterday told ZimOnline that the defence was of the view that
there was nothing sensitive about the trial and that the prosecution was
afraid that having an open court trial would expose the frivolous nature of
the charges being levelled against his clients.

"The only reason why the state would want the case in camera is because
there is no evidence to prove that the accused planned a coup," said

The six men - Albert Matapo, 40, a former senior army officer; Shingirai
Mutemachani, 20, a private in the army; Nyasha Zivuku; Oncemore Mudzurahowa,
41; Emmanuel Marara, 40; and Patson Mapfure, 46 - are accused of recruiting
members of the armed forces to stage a coup against Mugabe.

They have been in remand prison since June over an alleged attempt to topple
Mugabe and replace him with Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa heads a faction of ZANU PF that is tussling against another led by
former army commander Solomon Mujuru for the control of the ruling ZANU PF
party and the country in a post-Mugabe era.

Their lawyers say the suspects were discussing the formation of a new
political party when they were arrested during a meeting.

Political analysts have dismissed the alleged coup as either a diversionary
tactic by the government to sway public attention from deepening economic
hardships or part of the vicious power struggle in the ruling ZANU PF party
over Mugabe's succession.

None of the men accused of plotting to overthrow the government has any
meaningful influence in the military with only one of them, Mutemachani, an
active junior member of the army.

The alleged ringleader Matapo left the army in 1992 and stayed in Britain
for years.

He was the subject of investigations by British authorities after being
accused of helping ZANU PF members claim asylum.

BBC investigations revealed that Matapo, then chairman of the
Birmingham-based Zimbabwean Community UK, supplied fake documents to ZANU PF
members and coached them on how to falsely claim asylum.

Matapo, who denied the allegations, left the UK and returned to Harare where
he runs a travel agency. - ZimOnline

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MDC officials freed after spending over 90 days in remand prison

Zim Online

Thursday 09 August 2007

By Patricia Mpofu

HARARE - A Zimbabwe High Court judge on Wednesday set free the last two
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials who were arrested
last March for allegedly petrol bombing state institutions.

Justice Lawrence Kamocha said the state case against Morgan Komichi and
Denis Murira was "full of loopholes and contradictions" as he freed the two
opposition officials on Z$10 million bail each after spending over to 90
days in remand prison.

The police had insisted that Komichi and Murira were the brains behind the
MDC campaign to bomb police stations and other state institutions in an
attempt to topple the government.

The police said Komichi was the director of a shadowy MDC Democratic
Resistance Committee (DRC) while Murira was the secretary of the group that
was formed to engage in acts of sabotage around the country.

The two, who denied the charge, were arrested last March together with 39
other party officials and supporters in a government crackdown against the
resurgent opposition party.

The state had until yesterday opposed the granting of bail to the two MDC
officials arguing that they would abscond or commit similar acts of
terrorism against the state.

Yesterday, Kamocha refused to entertain the state case ordering the two to
be released on bail.

Part of Kamocha's judgment read: "When they (MDC accused) appeared before
Patel J (a High Court judge), they challenged the state to produce evidence
in court and the matter was postponed for five days for the state to do so
but it failed. Needless to say the state has not done so up to this date."

In the four-page judgment, Kamocha said the state had dismally failed to
strengthen its case after months of police investigations.

Last month, a Zimbabwe High Court judge in granting bail to 13 opposition
activists, accused the police of fabricating the story of a non-existent
South African farm where the MDC activists were alleged to have been trained
to commit acts of banditry.

Alec Muchadehama, a lawyer representing the MDC activists, confirmed the
release of the two opposition officials.

The MDC, which has posed the biggest challenge to President Robert Mugabe's
27-year grip on power, last week said it will soon file a Z$500 billion
lawsuit against the police over the unlawful arrest and detention of its
party supporters and officials. - ZimOnline

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Labour union says mass protests still on

Zim Online

Thursday 09 August 2007

By Nqobizitha Khumalo

BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) says it is forging
ahead with plans to call mass protests by workers this month to force the
government to address worsening economic hardships in the country.

ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe told ZimOnline that the mass
protests would be called before the end of August after the union had
briefed its members on the form and nature of the protests.

The move will likely deepen tensions in Zimbabwe which is in the grip of an
unprecedented economic crisis that has manifested itself in rampant
inflation of over 4 500 percent last May, widespread unemployment and

"The industrial action is on course. Everything has been planned and what is
left now is to finalise the form and nature that the industrial action will

"We have learnt from previous encounters with the government that we have to
be careful and keep all strategies to ourselves," said Chibebe who was among
scores of ZCTU leaders who were savagely beaten up by state security agents
last September for attempting to organise similar protests in Harare.

Chibebe said the labour federation wants the Harare authorities to pay
workers salaries above the poverty datum line that currently stands at
around Z$7 million a month for a family of five.

"We also want to express our disdain with high taxation and want it to be
reduced from 47 percent to 30 percent," said Chibebe.

Mass protests called by the ZCTU last April fizzled out after workers
succumbed to intimidation from state security agents with some political
analysts criticising the labour union for failing to organize effective

Earlier in April, the ZCTU said it would call mass protests every three
months to force the government to address workers' grievances.

The planned protests however failed to materialize at the end of the three
months last July with the labour union saying it was still consulting its
members around the country.

Chibebe said the labour union was this time ready to take on the government
on the streets.

"Workers are faced with different problems compared with problems of the
past. They now know what government they are dealing with and they will
seize this opportunity when it comes," said Chibhebhe.

Labour Minister Nicholas Goche could not be reached for comment on the
latest threat by the ZCTU.

Zimbabwe is battling its worst economic crisis that has left more than 80
percent of workers without jobs and those still lucky to hold a formal job
unable to feed their families because of ever-rising prices.

The economic crisis took a turn for the worst last June after President
Robert Mugabe ordered shops to roll back prices to mid-June levels and slash
prices by 50 percent in a controversial operation that has resulted in empty
shelves in most shops in Harare and Bulawayo. - ZimOnline

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Villagers invade giant ranch in Chiredzi

Zim Online

Thursday 09 August 2007

By Regerai Marwezu

MASVINGO - At least 100 villagers from the southern parts of Zimbabwe have
invaded Monyoroka ranch in Chiredzi in a clear sign of the ongoing chaos and
lawlessness on former white-owned properties.

The invasion comes as the Zimbabwe government on Tuesday threatened to
arrest white farmers resisting orders to vacate their properties that have
been earmarked for redistribution to black farmers.

The villagers, mainly from Rutenga district, moved onto the ranch owned by
one of the country's biggest sugar milling companies, Triangle Limited, and
started parceling out the property amongst themselves.

At least 21 families, led by a self-styled headman only identified as
Mahoya, have settled on the property.

Chiredzi district administrator Nicholas Shumba confirmed the development
but insisted that the government would soon remove the villagers from the

"There are about 100 people from villages around Rutenga who invaded the
property this week," said Shumba.

"We have since agreed with Triangle Limited that the illegal settlers should
be evicted. We are going to persuade them to leave the area peacefully,"
said Shumba.

Thousands of villagers, with tacit approval from President Robert Mugabe,
invaded white farms about seven years ago in a programme the government
defended as necessary to correct colonial imbalances in land allocation.

In a related development, at least 500 people whose homes were torched by
the police at South Hall Farm, 25km east of Masvingo town, in 2003 have
re-invaded the property arguing that they have nowhere to farm.

The Zimbabwean government seized part of the property owned by one Mr Khan
and parceled out the rest of the property to some war veterans who
spearheaded the government's violent land reforms.

The chairperson of the Masvingo provincial war veterans association Isaiah
Muzenda condemned this week's fresh farm invasion of Khan's property.

"When we took over the farm we resettled people on one part of the property
while the other portion was left in the hands of Mr Khan. Now these people
have invaded Mr Khan's property and that is not acceptable," said Muzenda.

Zimbabwe has battled severe food shortages over the past seven years because
of disruptions on the white farms that produced the bulk of the country's
food needs.

The southern African country has relied on food handouts from international
food relief agencies over the past seven years because the new black farmers
resettled on former white properties have failed to maintain production on
the farms. - ZimOnline

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Mugabe fails to pay for Malawi maize

Nyasa Times, Malawi

Thom Chiumia on 08 August, 2007 14:05:00

Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika is expected to grant a political
concession to Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe to barter sugar with maize to
cover the deficit of grain crop supply, much needed in hunger crisis
Government insiders say Mutharika was "deeply concerned" that Zimbabwe is in
great need of maize supply from Malawi but could not afford to pay due to
foreign currency shortages that has hit the country reeling from political
and economic crisis.

Zimbabwe last week issued the largest note circulating on earth of $200 000
to ease pressure relieve shoppers from carrying a bulk of valueless notes.

Inflation is set to hit over 100 000 per cent by end of year.

"Malawi through National Food Reserve Agency has been exporting maize to
Zimbabwe, the export consignment will continue following orders from
President Mutharika who is comfortable with a deal of barter," said a top
government official.

Malawi's Finance Minister, Goodall Gondwe said the governments of Zimbabwe
and Malawi signed an agreement where cash strapped Mugabe government would
have to pay cash for the 400 000 metric tonnes and that the issue of barter
arrangement does not arise since, he said Malawi has sugar in abundance.

"We are aware about that (shortage of foreign currency). But we've had
negotiations and we've reached an agreement and we are sure that they will
pay us," said Gondwe.

However, ministry of finance sources attached weight to allegation made
recently by opposition politician, Kamlepo Kalua that President Mutharika
directed the Reserve Bank of Malawi to pay for the Zimbabwe maize.

"There is objective evidence that Malawi government paid US$6 million from
the Reserve Bank to pay the National Food Reserve Authority for the maize
exported to Zimbabwe," said our source in the Ministry of Finance.

Gondwe rebuts the report as "untrue" and claimed Zimbabwe paid the money.
But sources say, Zimbabwe have not been paying forcing Malawi official to
freeze the exporting of maize.

Zimbabwe media have reported that the country has failed to pay for the
maize and that the country was negotiating with other neighbouring countries
to supply the grain.

"We signed for a 400 000 tonnage supply of maize from Malawi but we are also
targeting other countries within the region, especially those that are
closer to us for a smooth delivery," Zimbabwe Grain Marketing Board acting
chief executive officer, Samuel Muvuti was quoted in the Herald newspaper of

President Mutharika and Mugabe are political buddies; the former's deceased
wife was Zimbabwean and he has a farm in Kadoma, Zimbabwe called Bineth.

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Zimbabwe Hardliners Move To Evict The Last Of The White Farmers


      By Blessing Zulu
      08 August 2007

The approximately 600 farms in Zimbabwe that remain in the hands of white
farmers have come under siege again as black farmers armed with letters from
the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement demand that their occupants vacate
the premises.

State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is also in charge of the
eight-year-old land reform program, heightened longstanding tensions
recently by ordering the remaining white farmers to clear off their land or
be arrested.

His order came despite long negotiations between farmers, Agriculture
Minister Rugare Gumbo, Economic Development Minister Sylvester Nguni and
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono - who financed winter wheat crops for many

But Mutasa, President Robert Mugabe's land reform point man, has maintained
a hard line on the nationalization of all farmland, regardless of its
productivity at a time when the country faces massive shortfalls in staple
maize and wheat crops.

But standing winter wheat crops are seen as a takeover incentive - land
invasions often take place when valuable crops are close to being ready to

Minister Mutasa told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
that there is no going back on land reform and that there is legislation to
back his move.

Spokeswoman Emily Crookes of the Commercial Farmers Union said the majority
of the white farmers still do not have official clearance to engage in

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Fuel Crunch Brings Zimbabwe Road Transport To A Grinding Halt


      By Blessing Zulu & Brenda Moyo
      08 August 2007

Zimbabwe's national road transport system has ground to a halt as the
National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, commonly known as NOCZIM, which was
recently given a monopoly in the fuel sector, has shown itself unable to
supply the nation.

Trade Minister Obert Mpofu two weeks ago declared that NOCZIM alone had the
right to import gasoline and diesel fuel. But Reserve Bank Governor Gideon
Gono and the business community have appealed to Harare to repeal the decree
banning private-sector purchases in hard currency, warning this could finish
off the economy.

But official sources said Mpofu remained adamant NOCZIM must retain a fuel
import monopoly. Sources in the sector said that when the government
assigned NOCZIM a monopoly it had 3 million liters in stock compared with 10
million in the private sector, reflecting the relative capacity of the state
monopoly and the free market.

Before their exclusion, private sector operators were able to tap hard
currency from the large Zimbabwean diaspora through various Internet-based
coupon schemes whereas NOCZIM's own efforts to establish such a system

Zimbabwe has known fuel shortages before, but with its poor record of
payment few offshore suppliers will do business with the state except on a
cash-up-front basis.

Appeals by President Robert Mugabe to to friendly energy-producing countries
such as Libya and Equatorial Guinea have yielded little in the way of energy

Harare economist John Robertson told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe that the current fuel crisis could last quite a long time.

Among many other Zimbabweans stranded by the transport crisis was VOA
reporter Safari Njema, who described his three-day effort to get from Gweru
to Harare.

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CPJ concerned by Zimbabwe's sweeping surveillance law

Committee to Protect Journalists

  New York, August 8, 2007-A sweeping surveillance law ratified Friday in
Zimbabwe will target "imperialist-sponsored journalists with hidden agendas"
the country's information minister told CPJ. Sikhanyiso Ndlovu described the
law as intending "to protect the president, a minister, or any citizen from
  The Interception of Communications Act will allow authorities to intercept
all phone, Internet, and mail communications, and will establish a state
monitoring center and require telecommunications providers to install
systems "supporting lawful interceptions at all times," according to the
Media Institute of Southern Africa.

  Independent journalists say the law is intended to close a loophole in an
already oppressive reporting environment. As Zimbabwe has become more
restrictive of the media, a greater number of Zimbabwean journalists send
their reports to international media outlets and online publications based
outside the country. The lawful interception of communications could expose
investigative reporters and create a climate of fear, said Zimbabwe Union of
Journalists President Matthew Takaona.

  "This surveillance law further cuts Zimbabwe off from the world and
creates an even more oppressive environment than ever for the press," said
CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. "The international community needs to be
aware that Zimbabwe is attempting to suppress any remaining press freedom in
its country. Urgent action is required."

  While the law troubles reporters at SW Radio Africa, a UK-based
independent broadcaster founded in December 2001 by uprooted Zimbabwean
journalists, it would not deter the station, manager Gerry Jackson told CPJ.
The broadcaster offers news headlines via SMS to a growing audience of about
5,000 mobile phone users in Zimbabwe, she said. The station also circulates
transcripts of interviews via e-mail to the Zimbabwean diaspora.

  In June 2006, the station reported that its medium-wave broadcasts into
Zimbabwe had been jammed. There had been a similar scrambling of its
short-wave broadcasts in 2005. The government denied that it had interfered,
but in February it admitted to jamming Washington-based Studio 7, produced
by Voice of America and staffed by uprooted Zimbabwean journalists. "We
cannot allow foreigners to invade our airwaves without our authority," the
Media Institute of Southern Africa quoted Deputy Minister of Information and
Publicity Bright Matonga as saying.

  The law also threatens to undermine local journalists who clandestinely
report for independent Internet-based publications, Takaona said. Several
Internet news sites have flourished in recent years as alternative sources
of information in response to the government's strict accreditation regime.
Under the 2002 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
journalists can already be sentenced for up to two years in prison for
practicing journalism without a license.

  A journalist of South Africa-based Zimbabwean news Web site ZimOnline told
CPJ the measures have been designed to create fear. ZimOnline reporters in
Zimbabwe use e-mail pseudonyms to file stories and conceal their identities
when calling government officials for comments, he said.

  Local rights group Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is considering
challenging the legislation in court, acting director Irene Petras told CPJ.
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court had previously ruled unconstitutional similar
legislation granting the government sweeping powers to monitor
communications that threaten national security when it struck down in 2004
the Posts and Telecommunications Act, according to news reports.

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Zimbabwe Opposition Charges State Price Crackdown Targets Activists


      By Jonga Kandemiiri
      08 August 2007

The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change headed
by MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai said authorities enforcing price cuts have
been targeting businesses in rural areas owned by opposition members.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai faction told the Internet news
agency ZimOnline that faction supporters in Manicaland, Mashonaland East and
Masvingo provinces had been obliged to close their businesses after they
were forced to sell their goods at prices far beneath those recently imposed
by the government.

Authorities have arrested more than 7,000 people nationwide for overcharging
and failing to display prices. On Tuesday, 22 stores were slapped with fines
of Z$3 million each for the same breaches of regulations issued by the
government in July.

Last week a magistrate sentenced six businessmen to 105 hours of community
service cleaning government buildings after finding them guilty of

Manicaland provincial spokesman Pishayi Muchauraya of the Tsvangirai faction
told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that ZANU-PF
militias in his province have been moving around with officers from a police
unit enforcing state-imposed prices, pointing out businesses owned by
opposition members.

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Save Zimbabwe Campaign more relevant than ever

The Zimbabwean

Save Zimbabwe Campaign (SZC) celebrates its first anniversary this week amid
more rather than less problems for the nation. What with increased regime
brutality against civic and opposition leaders, empty shelves in the shops,
increased power and water cuts and the general impoverishment of the people,
the Campaign has its work cut out to dethrone the dictator.
The SZC is now even more relevant to the Zimbabwe crisis than it was when it
was formed. Frankly, it is the only show in town, and has to be urged to
continue its work in spite of some of its component members feeling
fatigued. Then there are those that view the SZC as a convenient tool that
they can use for their own sectional purposes. The Campaign must strenuously
resist such elements and stay the course.
In the next 12 months is hoped that progressive forces will continue to
apply pressure on the regime until it capitulates and accepts the will of
the people of Zimbabwe. The Campaign needs to engage in more rather than
less incidents of confrontation with the dictator. A situation such as the
one obtaining now is not healthy at all.
The dictator is currently under the illusion that he has managed to quell
the trouble that his regime faced in March 2007. The dictator feels
triumphant, well, almost. This false self-confidence must be wiped off the
dictator's face as quickly as possible if the hope of the people of this
country is to be sustained. The dictator must find the SZC activists
operating in all the areas that he decides to employ to fool the people of
this bankrupt nation.
For example, the SZC should produce appropriate propaganda material that can
be distributed to the people at the numerous food queues throughout the
country. The people of this country are hungry for information, and they
will gladly welcome informative material on carefully selected topics of
national interest.
There are those who will argue that the persons that will be found
distributing such materials will obviously be arrested and tortured by the
running dogs of dictatorship -the ZRP and the CIO. True, but that may be the
price we have to pay for our freedom. There is nothing that the SZC can ever
do to promote its core business that does not have some cost to it.
It is common knowledge that the fuel shortage has all but grounded this
nation. The hardest hit are people trying to travel between urban and rural
areas. Very few rural buses are still operating; there just isn't enough
fuel to risk travelling into some remote rural area unless one has more than
just a full tank of diesel.
Sadly, the rural people are some of the most marginalized people in this
country. That is one of the reasons why the criminal Zanu (PF) always takes
advantage of them for its political ends. The SZC should be instrumental in
providing the rural folk with as much information as possible to enable them
to know how to vote come 2008.
The Mugabe party claims that it has massive support in the rural areas. This
myth can be exposed for what it is if the SZC carries out programmes aimed
at informing and energising the rural people to demand that their rights be
observed by the man-eating regime. The SZC has the duty to raise the cost of
running this country for the dictator. That can only be done if more action
is undertaken throughout the country.

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Mass defections to Tsvangirai camp

The Zimbabwean

DEFECTIONS in muddied opposition waters continue to be one-way traffic. Last
Thursday, Silas Mangono, a former opposition legislator for Masvingo,
defected from the Mutambara MDC to rejoin the party led by founding
President Morgan Tsvangirai.
He becomes one of dozens who have jumped ship in the past 22 months. Mangono
was the secretary for education in the Mutambara camp. Also defecting was
Shaky Matake, the chairman of the party's Masvingo Province, who took 20
executive committee members with him.
Mangono said the collapse of unity talks between the two sides forced him to
quit the Mutambara MDC.
"I strongly subscribe to the view that only a united front will be able to
unseat Zanu (PF) in the next general elections. The people speak every day
of the need for unity," he said.
Mangono said many party members took a dim view of the decision to leave the
Save Zimbabwe Campaign and go it alone in the 2008 elections, and warned
that many more were set to follow him.
He said, because of logistical problems, they could not bring everyone who
defected to the Harare reunion but that they would hold a rally in Masvingo
to give a chance to the many others who want to pledge their support for the
Speaking for the Mutambara MDC, Priscilla Misihairambwi Mushonga, the deputy
secretary general, said they would not lose sleep over those who had
defected. Acrimony over whether to participate in Senate elections in
October 2005 led to the party splitting into two groups.
Former party deputy secretary general Gift Chimanikire, ANZ chairman Sam
Sipepa Nkomo, Kwekwe legislator Blessing Chebundo, the late party chairman
Isaac Matongo, and dozens other party officials have jumped ship. - SW Radio

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The untold story of the MDC split

The Zimbabwean

Standfirst: In the wake of the failure of the MDC to re-unite, ITAI DZAMARA,
has investigated the unsaid feelings and events that led to the 2005 split
of the opposition party, the formation of the Mutambara faction and recent
events. This is the first of his three-part series.
Nobody wants to speak on the record about the unsaid events and deeper
issues within the opposition party since way back in 2002.
On one side is the involvement of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa in a
plan to wrestle power from Morgan Tsvangirai and put the MDC under the
control of Welshman Ncube.
Another plot was allegedly aimed at helping the southern region, or the
Ndebeles, to take over the party, culminating in a political deal involving
the Zanu (PF) faction of Rural Housing minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and,
interestingly, former Information minister, Jonathan Moyo of the famous
Tsholotsho saga.
But that was after a plan had failed based on the widely-held expectation
that Tsvangirai would be convicted on treason charges, which crumbled when
he was acquitted.
The other side is dominated by accusations against Tsvangirai for allegedly
subverting the MDC constitution and the leadership to run the party with a
group of handpicked officials, referred by his critics as "the kitchen
The split of October 2005 was attributed to the differences over
participation in senate elections but investigations have shown that the
young opposition party developed deep cracks and embarked on the path to a
schism way back in 2003.
Two individuals, party president, Tsvangirai and then secretary general,
Welshman Ncube, were at the centre of the differences and power struggles
that precipitated the split.
Mbeki is believed to be uncomfortable with a trade-union backed opposition
party unseating Zanu (PF) in a similar fashion to what became of Zambia when
Fredrick Chiluba ousted Kenneth Kaunda. Mbeki finds a serious threat to his
ANC political survival as well as relationship with the trade union body,
COSATU. "He fears that if this happens in Zimbabwe, it is likely to inspire
a same revolution in his country and threaten his party, hence he is opposed
to Tsvangirai," a source said. "He has been preferring Ncube, an academic,
to lead the MDC."
Sources say Ncube entered deliberations with Mbeki after Tsvangirai lost to
Mugabe in the 2002 presidential elections out of which emerged the portrayal
of Tsvangirai as an "obstacle".
"Tsvangirai had resisted plans to negotiate with Zanu (PF) and insisted on
his boycotts as well as protests against the regime whilst on the other hand
Welshman tried to understand each other with Patrick Chinamasa (Justice
minister) and cooperate with Mbeki in his quiet diplomacy strategy," a
source said. "Welshman and his colleagues started plans to denounce
Tsvangirai in the party especially aimed at portraying him as an incapable
leader and these included the circulation of documents asking people to
compare Morgan and Welshman's CVs."
It is reported that contacts between Mbeki and the Ncube camp of the MDC
intensified whilst the South African leader and Tsvangirai became more and
more unpopular with each other. A source close to Tsvangirai says he has not
met Mbeki face-to-face for about three years.
Then came the treason trial in which Tsvangirai faced execution if
convicted. "There was a general expectation that there wouldn't be any way
Tsvangirai could escape conviction in the Zanu (PF) controlled courts and on
that basis, Welshman and company were making steps towards taking over the
party," a source said. "They had enough opportunities to push their agenda
because Tsvangirai spent about two years without his passport and not
travelling, making them meet the whole international community and in the
process becoming the face of the MDC."
It is said the acquittal of Tsvangirai sent the aspiring leaders of the
party back to the drawing board. "At that point, Ncube embarked on plans to
create a parallel party and established an office he called the MDC's
Regional Office in Bulawayo. He refused an order by the National Council to
close it and it is currently the de facto headquarters of his faction," a
source said.
The MDC was led by what was referred to as the "Top Six", comprising
Tsvangirai, Vice President Gibson Sibanda, Secretary General Welshman Ncube,
Deputy Secretary General Gift Chimanikire, Treasurer Flether Dulini Ncube
and National Chairman, the late Isaac Matongo. The top echelon is said to
have been divided between Tsvangirai and Ncube, who reportedly clashed on
political strategy based on whether to use boycotts and protests against the
Zanu (PF) regime or go by Mbeki's quiet diplomacy or engagement with the
regime.  "Ncube had firmly on his side Sibanda and Dulini Ncube whilst
Matongo stood by Tsvangirai. Chimanikire was known for going along with what
suited his personal ambitions most (more shall be revealed later)," a source
In the face of increased friction in the "Top Six", allegations emerged that
Tsvangirai had established a "kitchen cabinet" comprising his advisors such
as Ian Makone and Elphas Mukonoweshuro, with whom he was increasingly
Propaganda machinery for both Tsvangirai and Ncube went into full swing.
Tsvangirai came under a barrage of criticism from within some sections of
the party.  "He had demonstrated that he was incapable of leading a
democratic party and weaknesses were too costly," a source said. "He in fact
was a liability to the party and we desperately needed to address that issue
but he worsened the situation by creating his kitchen cabinet."
On the other hand, Ncube was also subjected to a lot of allegations that
included sexual scandals as well as suspected allegiances to Zanu (PF),
which investigations by this paper have shown were mostly untrue. For
example, Ncube has ignored sustained allegations that he received a farm
from government but our investigations showed that he has in fact been a
victim of the land reform programme, having lost his farm in Silobela under
the programme and had to find somewhere to put his cattle. He later got
another farm, with some sources saying he bought it using his own funds
whilst others say it was allocated to him by government.
*Don't  miss part 2 next week, touching on the story behind the MDC's link
to the Tsholotsho saga of Jonathan Moyo and the Mnangagwa faction as well as
how Mutambara became to be leader of the MDC splinter faction, all in which
Mbeki's name continues to crop up

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No spying going on - ISPs

The Zimbabwean

Zimbabwe's Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are insisting that they cannot
monitor all their customers' e-mails because the requirement is too cost
intensive and lack the institutional capacity to undertake such a process.
The new spying law, the Interception of Communications Bill, described as
"unjustifiable invasion of privacy" by critics, empowers the police and
departments of national security, defence, intelligence and revenue
authorities to give directives to intercept certain communications.
ISPs would be required to ensure that their "systems are technically capable
of supporting lawful interception at all times" by setting up a monitoring
Chairman of the Zimbabwe Internet Service Providers Association (ZISPA)
Shadreck Nkala declined comment. But sources said the Act changes the
existing franchise agreement between Tel*One and ZISPA members
An ISP representative confirmed receiving an order asking them to monitor
all e-mails and take measures to block any "illegal material which was
harmful to the country".
"They have said we have to install a new system, which will store all the
e-mails that go through our system, and then we will have to sift through
them," he said. "This is an extremely difficult thing to do," said the
None of ZISPA's members have complied at the moment and "there is no
monitoring of any sort of any e-mails at the moment".
The government of President Mugabe has been accused by local and
international human rights groups of suppressing perceived opposition.
Law Society of Zimbabwe president Beatrice Mtetwa said the law was open to
challenge in the Supreme Court.
Legal Affairs secretary in the Mutambara-led MDC said the law was a shocking
breach of fundamental rights of people's freedom of expression.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa described the law as an unwarranted intrusion
into privacy. - Chief reporter

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SA needs to share Zimbabwe's pain

The Zimbabwean

Standfirst: BRENDAN SEARY was one of the first journalists to break the
silence on Gukurahundi. He remembers the horror and appeals to South
Africans to show sympathy and dignity to those fleeing Mugabe's latest
'I had found the bodies by smell'
It's amazing how time smooths over the unpleasant cracks in your memory.
Until I opened the musty yellowing clipping files of my work from 1983, I
had forgotten how the pungent, sweet smell of death sticks in the back of
your throat, how it settles in the membranes of your nose. And how, no
matter how many beers you drink or how many showers you have, it still
I had found the bodies by smell. Six young men, piled together, probably in
indescribable terror in their last seconds as AK-47 bullets ripped into them
from close range. I had been told I would find them just off the main
Bulawayo-Plumtree road in the Zimbabwean province of Matabeleland. I had
rough directions, starting from a kilometre marker on the road. But still it
took some time - time I didn't have, because my car was parked in full view
on the side of the road.
Not a desirable position if the soldiers returned. Not difficult to find a
young white man in jeans and T-shirt in the scrubby bush. Not difficult to
put a bullet in his brain and get rid of a witness. With the battered office
Pentax camera, I squeezed off a few frames. Then I vomited. Half-digested
cheese omelette, bacon and toast meet reality. Later - the same day, the
same week, I can't remember - I found another execution site.
How many died there was difficult to tell, because the bodies had been piled
up, set alight and burnt to ashes. But bones require immense heat to
destroy, so one ghostly white femur lay, half sticking up. For weeks in the
early months of 1983 I traversed Matabeleland, recording ever more
horrifying tales of the destruction wrought by Robert Mugabe's North
Korean-trained Five Brigade. Mugabe had unleashed the troops on the
province - stronghold of his political enemy, Joshua Nkomo - late in the
previous year.
The unit was known by its Shona name, Gukhurahundi, which means "the wind
which blows away the chaff before the rains". Clearly, Mugabe regarded the
Ndebele people as just such chaff. Five Brigade was not a conventional
military force, but more of a political killing machine. Reports of the
numbers of people who died go as high as 20 000. Apart from the bodies, I
saw burnt huts, and people with stab, hack and bullet wounds.
I spoke to women who had seen their husbands bayoneted in front of them; to
old men who hid under beds when they heard the noise of our cars because
they thought it was the soldiers returning; to shy, bruised girls who spoke
in a quiet, roundabout way through gentle translators, about being
gang-raped by drunken soldiers. I didn't speak to many young men; most were
either dead or had fled to Botswana or South Africa.
Re-reading the files, I was amazed by what I had forgotten - or buried away.
(After my sister reminded me, I relived my brief detention at the police
station in Gwanda, for allegedly illegally interviewing Joshua Nkomo on one
of his farms which had been seized by the government.) I was put briefly in
a cage for captured "dissidents" (before the friendly station commander
invited me to share some strong Tanganda tea with him prior to letting me
go) but had other things on my mind in 1983, as an intense four-year
relationship with a woman ended badly.
I'm a bit ashamed now that that is clearer to me than genocide. I've long
since healed, but Matabeleland still grieves. What was launched upon the
province's unfortunate people has since been replicated in various ways on
the rest of the people of that long-suffering country. And now, as I see
stories of people flooding across the border, I share the pain of these
people, my people (I was born in Zimbabwe and will always be, at heart, a
Zimbabwean). Please, please, please, South Africans, show these poor people
some sympathy and dignity if you come across them. - From the Saturday Star,
with permission

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MDC names real heroes

The Zimbabwean

Zimbabwe's biggest opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change,
will mark Heroes Day with a "Roll of Honour" comprising men and women who
have made an invaluable contribution to Zimbabwe across all sectors.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the opposition party believed one did not
necessarily need to be dead to be a hero for one's country.  "The MDC takes
the occasion of this year's Heroes Day to remember and honour the true
heroes - the men and women who have made an enormous contribution to this
country," said Chamisa. "They could be in business, in politics, in sport,
in music and arts or any other area of endeavour. Our heroes also include
some of the hundreds of thousands of people who have been massacred by the
regime's merchants of death for the simple reason that they were fighting
for change."
The MDC's Roll of Honour does not list President Mugabe, but singles out his
late wife Sally for her immense contribution to social and community
development. Mugabe's second wife Grace, is also absent from the roll.  The
list does include senior ruling party officials such as former army
commander Solomon Mujuru and Speaker of Parliament John Nkomo among others.
Chamisa said the Mugabe regime had, over the years, negated the spirit of
the liberation war and added its own surrogates and henchmen, some of whom
have actually terrorized Zimbabweans, onto the noble list of the country's
heroes.  "The MDC believes in a neutral panel comprising various
stakeholders to deliberate on who should become a national hero," said
Chamisa. "Such a decision cannot be the exclusive prerogative of the Zanu
(PF) Politburo."
"Our heroes include almost every Zimbabwean who is struggling to fend for
their family in the wake of starvation and an uncaring government, the
ordinary men and women who have lost their dignity as they engage in
humiliating enterprises both within and outside the country in order to put
bread on the table for their families."
Chamisa said listed below were heroes of a new Zimbabwe.

1.Josiah Magama Tongogara
2.Joshua Nkomo
3.Morgan Tsvangirai
4.Herbert Chitepo
5.Dumiso Dabengwa
6.Eddison Zvobgo
7.Alfred Nikita Mangena
8.Solomon Mujuru
9.Learmore Jongwe
10.Tichaona Chiminya
11.Talent Mabika
12.Edgar Tekere
13.Lookout Msuku
14.Gift Tandare
15.Ndabaningi Sithole
16.Simon Muzenda
17.Patrick Kombayi

1.Nigel Chanakira
2.Strive Masiyiwa
3.Shingi Mutasa
4.Kenneth Musanhi
5.Mutumwa Mawere
6.Farai Rwodzi
7.Herbert Nkala
8.Delma Lupepe

1.Oliver Mutukudzi
2.Thomas Mapfumo
3.Alick Macheso
4.Ambuya Stella Chiweshe
5.Leonard Dembo
6.Dominic Benhura
7.Leonard Zhakata

1.George Shaya
2.Peter Ndlovu
3.Kirsty Coventry
4.Zvenyika Alfonso
5.Proud Chinembiri (Kilimanjaro)
6.Moses Chunga
7.Sunday Marimo
8.Nick Price
9.The Black Family (Byron, Wayne and Cara)

1.Dr Solomon Guramatunhu
2.Jairos Jiri
3.Sally Mugabe

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Attacking the silence

The Zimbabwean

For Democracy and Media Freedom in Zimbabwe in June, the Peter Weiss
Foundation for Art and Politics started an appeal for a worldwide reading,
to be held on September 9 against the regime of Robert Mugabe and the
silence surrounding the crimes committed in Zimbabwe.
So far, 170 authors from 56 countries have signed the appeal. Among the
latest signatories are well-known writers such as Margaret Atwood,
Alessandro Baricco, John M. Coetzee, Don DeLillo, Jon Fosse, Nadine
Gordimer, Günter Grass, Nick Hornby, Ko Un and John Updike.
The reading, to take place in Berlin during the 7th international literature
festival, aims to draw attention to the plight of Zimbabwe which, the
organisers say, has been "concealed long enough unfortunately also by
members of the political class in South Africa, which shoulders a special
responsibility in this matter".
They say they want to attack the silence, the result of which is a false
sense of solidarity and one of the bases of Mugabe's power:
"Only a decade ago Zimbabwe had been one of the richest and most developed
countries in Africa, with the highest educational standards on the continent
and a literacy rate of almost 85%. Over recent years Mugabe has led his
country to economic collapse and his people into bitter poverty. Officially,
Zimbabwe's inflation rate is 3700%, the highest in the world. The
unemployment rate is 80%. With an average life expectancy of 34 years for
women and 37 years for men, Zimbabwe has become the country with the lowest
life expectancy in the world."
The organisers have appealed to radio stations, schools, universities,
theatres and other cultural institutions in Africa and all over the world to
attack the silence by reading poems by Chenjerai Hove, Chirikuré Chirikuré
and Dumbudzo Marechara, as well as Elinor Sisulu's foreword written for the
book "Gukurahundi in Zimbabwe: A Report on the Disturbances in Matabeleland
and the Midlands 1980-1988" (Johannesburg 2007).
Everybody is authorised to use the texts and poems in readings and
performances as all the rights lay open on September 9, 2007. They are
available on - For more info contact:

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Land only for blacks - Mutasa

The Zimbabwean

As desperate Zimbabweans run out of money to buy scarce basic foodstuffs at
exorbitant prices on the black market, President Mugabe has said the
government will seize the remaining 600 white-owned farms to resettle them
with landless blacks before the rainy season begins and farmers resisting
eviction would be jailed.
White farmers returning to revive the agriculture sector from neighbouring
countries have been told by Lands minister Didymus Mutsa that Zimbabwe only
has land for black farmers. That leaves the few remaining commercial
farmers, who work the little remaining productive land, unsure how much to
plant or whether to plant at all.
The occupations have already disrupted wheat crops, which are harvested
later this year. Reports here have said the smaller plantings will leave
Zimbabwe in need of 250,000 tons of flour to meet its consumption needs. And
some cattle ranchers have started slaughtering their breeding stock, which
means smaller supplies of beef over the next year as well. - Chief reporter

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Victory for land-grab farmers

The Zimbabwean

Court showdown opens way for more claims
PARIS - The government has admitted it has to compensate 11 white Zimbabwean
farmers of Dutch nationality whose farms were seized in the land grab that
destroyed the agricultural sector.
Zimbabwe has offered to return the land to the farmers.
The farmers, under the umbrella of the Dutch Farmers Association (DFA) and
in conjunction with Agric-Africa, challenged the government in the
International Centre for Settlement and Investment Disputes (ICSID), in
The admission of Zimbabwe's liability came last week, said London-based
lawyer Matthew Colman of Washington-based arbitration and dispute resolution
group Steptoe and Johnson.
The final claim for compensation will now be heard in Paris on October 29.
The farmers were protected from seizure of assets by a bilateral treaty
between Zimbabwe and the Netherlands.
After the DFA filed a case in March this year with ICSID, an arm of the
World Bank, the government missed a June deadline to reply to the claim for
compensation, and asked for an extension until 7 July.
"The news that it has admitted liability is good; however, they put us to
strict proof to establish that claimants are Dutch and therefore entitled to
claim under the Zimbabwe Netherlands Treaty", said Colman.
Zimbabwe denies the expropriations were discriminatory or not for a public
purpose and maintains they were lawful. "Therefore, for them, the only live
issue on expropriation is that compensation has not been paid, which they
admit in any event is due, he added.
"They deny breach of fair and equitable treatment and full protection and
security. They basically say the police were over stretched. They deny the
state instigated the land invasions but say they were a 'spontaneous
reaction of the landless people'.
"They say that the applicable law is Zimbabwean law, supplemented by
international law when there is no applicable Zim law".
The turn of events will create a precedent for Zimbabwean farmers of German,
Danish and Swiss nationality, who have been given protection under similar
This week, Movement for Democratic Change president, Morgan Tsvangirai, told
SA's Institute of Directors that in the event of his party coming to power,
it would ensure that land tenure was respected and that productivity was
restored in the agricultural sector.

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Bootlicking business leaders flatter Mugabe

The Zimbabwean

Instead of challenging President Robert Mugabe on his ruinous handling of
Zimbabwe's economic crisis, business leaders who met the octogenarian leader
two weeks ago heaped fawning praises on him, flattering his "resolute
leadership" and shouldering the blame for the deepening crisis.
According to minutes of the confidential business briefing availed to The
Zimbabwean this week, business leaders told the aged leader that they had
let him down. They allowed him to run away with his rhetoric that sanctions
were responsible for the economic crisis in Zimbabwe.
"When we look at how we as a nation have performed against the goal that you
set for us, that is the goal to create a prosperous nation where the lives
of all our people are uplifted, we can all clearly see that we have all let
you down, this country, business and government, have let you down," the
business leaders were told Mugabe during the confidential meeting held at
State House, President Mugabe's official residence.
The meeting was attended by Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president
Callisto Jokonya, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce president Marah
Hativagone, Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe head Johnson Manyakara,
Delta Corporation CEO Joe Mtizwa, former CZI boss and Ariston Holdings CEO
Kumbirai Katsande and Pindie Nyandoro, chairperson of the Bankers
Association of Zimbabwe.
The business leaders told the geriatric leader that his "contribution to
Zimbabwe was without equal" and that he was a "decisive leader" who had
created a "prosperous society for all."
The business leaders spoke amid grinding poverty, massive shortages of
basics, unemployment and hyperinflation.
They told Mugabe that his disastrous "price war" that has resulted in empty
shelves in supermarkets "had very good reasons."
Nothing was said about the arrest of up to 4,000 businessmen defying the
insane directive to slash prices by 50 percent, nor the closure of hundreds
of businesses weighed down by unviable pricing structures imposed by Mugabe.
Nothing was said about the mounting job losses. Instead, business leaders
proposed a package of reforms which they claimed could breathe new life into
the comatose economy.
In a tone that smacked of bootlicking, the business leaders said: "We do not
want to prescribe any solutions to you Your Excellency but we do have some
suggestions on areas of priority," say the minutes.

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Massive RBZ forex scam exposed

The Zimbabwean

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono has suspended Mirirai
Chiremba, the head of the Financial Intelligence Inspectorate, Evaluation
and Security (FIIES) division over a financial scandal that has exposed the
RBZ as the star player on the foreign currency black market.
Gono suspended Chiremba last week for two weeks without pay, after the
eruption of a damaging scandal believed to have prejudiced the central bank
of billions through under invoicing.
As divisional chief for Financial Intelligence, Chiremba - an ex-Central
Intelligence Organisation operative - was responsible for raising forex on
the black market for the central bank to bankroll key imports. But he
allegedly abused his position by inflating the rate at which he purchased
the forex, pocketing huge sums for himself with each transaction.
Highly-placed sources alleged that Chiremba would authorize the withdrawal
of large sums of Zimdollars from the Retail Banking Division on Level -1 of
the glass and mortar tower along Samora Machel Avenue and then allocate his
various agents outside the bank to source forex from the black market.
After mopping all the foreign currency from the black market, Chiremba would
then misrepresent the rates at which he bought the forex, alleged the
source. "It was easy to fleece the central bank governor this way because no
receipts were given from the black market," he said.
"But the governor became suspicious when at one point Chiremba claimed the
rates were at Z$250,000 to the US dollar when in actual fact the greenback
was fetching Z$180,000 on the day in question."
Gono then engaged his own investigators, resulting in the scam being
Repeated efforts to obtain comment from Gono or his spokesman Fortune Chasi
were futile right up to the time of going to print. Questions in writing
were requested by RBZ head of public relations Tonderai Mukeredzi and sent
to him.
The Zimbabwean understands that the forex purchased from the black market
would be repatriated to South Africa through Stanbic Bank to a "NOSTRO
Account", which is an RBZ forex account domiciled in Johannesburg.
This is the account that the RBZ uses to wire cash for various payments for
supplies such as fuel, food and electricity imported from South Africa and
other foreign countries.
The RBZ allegedly started using Stanbic Bank for repatriating cash to South
Africa after Dr Munyaradzi Kereke joined the central bank as Gono's policy
advisor. Kereke was a director at Stanbic before joining the RBZ.
According to the source, Gono also took great exception when it emerged that
Chiremba was allegedly lying about the amount he paid panners for gold
deliveries. Up until the review of the gold support price from Z$350,000 to
Z$3 million last month, Chiremba allegedly claimed he had bought gold from
panners at Z$3 million when he bought it for Z$500,000, thus prejudicing the
central bank of up to Z$2,5 million with each transaction. Again, no
receipts were produced.
Chiremba was reportedly using one Scot to go out and purchase gold from the
panners. Scot would then engage his own "foot soldiers" to go out to the
panning sites to purchase gold. One of the persons involved in this racket,
Elvis Tsunda, was convicted last Thursday at the Rotten Row Magistrates
Court after being found in possession of 500 grams of gold intended for
onward transmission to Chiremba. He was due to be sentenced on Tuesday for
contravening the Precious Stones and Minerals Act.
The Zimbabwean heard that Gono was under pressure to fire Chiremba, but has
been strongly advised against doing that amid reports the move could open a
Pandora's box of corruption in the central bank by the his own trusted

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From the streets of Harare

The Zimbabwean

Lovemore Madhuku and his colleagues in the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) recently poured onto the streets of Harare to demonstrate against
Robert Mugabe's Amendment Number 18 as well as make the usual demand for a
new constitution.
The NCA people, together with WOZA, have kept the spirit of revolution alive
with their resolute confrontation of the Mugabe regime. This is glaringly
missing from the opposition parties - who appear to have been caught napping
as Mugabe marches towards another election. They are more or less aiding
Mugabe's bid to stay in power. Mugabe desperately wants opportunities for
buying time and he is enjoying the dithering as well as chicanery playing
around the Sadc dialogue initiative.
MDC's Tendai Biti says they are giving the dialogue initiative a chance
through cooperating with the regime as well as avoiding confrontation, but
the tragedy is that Zanu (PF) is not approaching the issue with the same
sincerity and commitment.
Mugabe is forging ahead not only with his constitutional changes aimed at
safeguarding his personal and party hegemony, but also violent repression as
demonstrated recently against the NCA demonstrators. He is likely to get the
better of his Sadc colleagues at the Lusaka summit - convincing them things
are in order. He will take advantage of the "cooperation" he is getting from
the opposition.  In the end, another rigged election! More agony and
And that is because as a nation we are allowing the old Zanu (PF) leader to
implement his plot aimed at staying in power.
The opposition and civil society should be closing ranks (not necessarily
uniting into one entity) to demonstrate an unequivocal stance against
Mugabe's refusal to adopt a new constitution, change the electoral system
and negotiate a political settlement.
This country has appearances that are far removed from the reality, and the
major one is the distortion, or enormous understating of the crisis. It is
imperative for the forces fighting for democratic change to make the real
situation in the country come out, through withdrawing from Mugabe's system
where they have been used as pawns for a long time. They should openly defy
the regime, taking every opportunity to protest to show the gravity of our
political crisis.
Mugabe is desperate for legitimacy as well as painting a picture to the
whole world of peace and normalcy in the country. He cannot get away with
crashing hundreds of people merely because they demand their rights! In
fact, he is most likely to capitulate to a determined and sustained roll-out
of defiance and protests, and thereby come kicking and screaming to the
negotiating table. -

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Business leaders' '90-day solution'

The Zimbabwean

HARARE  - Zimbabwe's fawning business leaders have tabled an ambitious
economic recovery and rescue plan, to deal with the country's eight-year-old
economic slump in 90 days, Moneyweb reported.
The confidential 14-page rescue plan was presented to President Robert
Mugabe when he met with business executives. It proposes to reverse the
country's economic slide within three months of implementation. The plan
suggests foreign currency be used to stabilise the country's skidding
exchange rate and all pricing misalignments currently prevalent on the
market be removed.
The document, a copy of which was seen by Moneyweb, also suggests "a primary
budget surplus", be created.
It was reported that Mugabe was likely to give assent to the proposal by the
business leaders because he was evidently feeling the heat in the run-up
to next year's presidential, local government and parliamentary polls.
"He has no other option except to give the entrepreneurs the nod, Mugabe and
his officials within government know that in the past they have tried to
go it alone and this has not worked," said Pattisani Mkandla, a local
political analyst. He added that Mugabe now realises that the solution to
Zimbabwe's economic downturn lies in the economy, not his "self imposed but
ill conceived and badly implemented policies of expediency".
The entrepreneurs who met Mugabe stressed the importance of the need for the
implementation of extraordinary measures and unconventional methods.
"Your Excellency, we. seek your advice and guidance so that we deal with the
grave situation out there within the next 90 days. We propose that you
consider setting up a small team of people drawn from government and
business to put together and implement a comprehensive emergency package of
measures designed to rescue, stabilise and eventually turn around our
economy," the presentation to Mugabe reads.
The business executives are positive that the implementation of the economic
rescue package would significantly reduce the country's runaway inflation,
which at over 5,000 percent is the highest in the world.
They also hope that the plan will help increase capacity utilisation and
increase confidence in the economy.
Presented during a four-hour long meeting with the president, the plan
proposes the implementation of "a credible, transparent pricing mechanism
that ensures both business viability and affordability for consumers for
controlled and monitored products through the framework from the social
The business captains suggested restructuring of the country's
under-performing and undercapitalised public enterprises.
Delta Corporation CEO Joel Mutizwa, Zimbabwe Chamber of Commerce president
Marah Hativagone, and the Zimbabwe Confederation of Industries leader
Callisto Jokonya are among some of the delegates who were hosted by Mugabe,
Moneyweb reported.

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State media slammed for biased news

The Zimbabwean

The government media last week censored news of the acquittal of all but two
of the 31 MDC activists accused of petrol-bombing various premises around
the country, including police stations.
"As a result, the vast majority of the public remain unaware that the
impression given by the government media at the time the activists were
arrested and detained nearly five months ago is entirely false. The massive
publicity given by these media at the time strongly suggested that the MDC
and its members were guilty of mindless violence against innocent people.
The failure by the government media to report the acquittal of the MDC
activists not only constitutes a gross dereliction of professional
journalistic standards, it is also a serious offence against natural justice
for those wrongly detained and to all those who remain misinformed," says
the latest report by the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe.
The wilful suppression of this news demonstrates the severely biased nature
of these media and is compounded by the fact that the judge's comments
describing key elements of the prosecution's evidence as "fictitious", was
also suppressed.
Only the private media reported the High Court judgment exposing this.
The government media's suppression of this important ruling contrasted
starkly to their hysterical coverage of the activists' arrests, which sought
to reinforce the official view of the opposition party as a terrorist
During the week only the private media recorded the countrywide arrests and
beatings in police custody of hundreds of National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) members and the raids on the organisation's offices and the homes of
its officials.
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku confirmed the incident, alleging that 170 of
the arrested activists were "receiving treatment" at the Avenues Clinic "for
injuries sustained whilst in police custody".
According to Madhuku, "most of the (activists) could not walk for more than
a few metres from the police station" upon their release and "just
collapsed" outside the station.
This refusal by the government media to report such important events affirms
their status as unreliable sources of information and reinforces calls for
the repeal of the country's suffocating media laws to facilitate the
establishment of more credible media outlets. - MMPZ

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