The ZIMBABWE Situation
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wants to declare talks deadlock
Written by Stanley Chikomba
December 2009 12:10
Negotiators of the country's three main political parties
are said to have
agreed on fifteen of the 21 outstanding issues threatening
coalition government but the MDC wants a deadlock to be declared
remaining ones, sources close to the talks say.
told The Zimbabwean newspaper this week that the parties have
agreed on 15
items out of an expanded list of issues tabled when the parties
talks after the SADC Troika meeting held in Maputo last month.
agreed on most of the issues and have presented a progress report
three principals and now await direction on how to proceed on the
issues," said the source.
Among the crucial issues that have been agreed are
media reform, pirate
radio stations, audit of the land reform programme
among others. The parties
are however still deadlocked on the issue of
sanctions, appointment of
Attorney General, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
governor, provincial governors,
Roy Bennett and security sector
The MDC party led by Prime Minister Tsvangirai is said to have
deadlock on these outstanding issues and want them referred to
SADC for a
determination. But President Robert Mugabe is insisting that the
given more time. He met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his
Arthur Mutambara met on Monday and agreed to give the negotiators
to thrush out a workable deal before declaring a deadlock.
negotiators are now set to resume the final talks on Friday. On the
hand the three principals have agreed to make an announcement on what
been agreed next week upon Mugabe's return from Copenhagen where he went
attend the ongoing climate change talks.
"The MDC wanted the negotiators to
declare a deadlock and have the matter
referred to SADC but Mugabe is said
to have asked his colleagues to give the
talks more time," said the
At his party's just ended congress Mugabe asked the SADC appointed
Jacob Zuma, to be patient insisting that any issues agreed in the
power-sharing negotiations would only be implemented when MDC calls
lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his loyalists.
approached for a comment one of the negotiators, Welshman Ncube, of the
party led by Mutambara said he an not talk about the deliberations ofeh
talks but said, "We are still negotiating and we have no
SADC Troika last month asked Zimbabwe's political leaders to
dialogue to resolve all outstanding issues in the implementation
year's power-sharing agreement or global political agreement
Some of the outstanding issues include Mugabe's refusal to rescind his
unilateral appointment of two of his top allies to head Zimbabwe's central
bank and the attorney general's office.
Mugabe has also refused to swear
in Tsvangirai ally Roy Bennett as deputy
agriculture minister while the
Prime Minister's MDC-T party is also unhappy
by what it says is selective
application of the law to target its activists
other hand ZANU PF, which insists that it has met all its obligations
the GPA, accuses the MDC-T of not living up to a promise to lead a
for lifting of Western sanctions against Mugabe and members of his
of South African mediators questioned
By Lance Guma
The neutrality of the South African mediators in the ongoing
talks was questioned this week, after the ruling African
(ANC) party issued a solidarity message with ZANU PF at
the end of the
5-yearly congress in Harare.
ANC National Executive
Council member, Tokyo Sexwale, who is also the South
African Minister of
Human Settlements, said they had come to the congress to
deliberations and express our solidarity with the conference'.
went on to wish ZANU PF well in consolidating 'your democratic
It is worth remembering that ZANU PF lost the March 2008
elections to the
MDC and resorted to a campaign of violence and murder to
force a situation
that eventually led to the government of national unity.
Over 200 opposition
activists were killed while tens of thousands were
beaten and tortured. One
analyst said it was shocking Sexwale could talk
about ZANU PF's 'democratic
rule' when events showed the complete opposite.
He said this exemplified the
ANC's 'see no evil, hear no evil' approach to
the Zimbabwean crisis.
South African President Jacob Zuma appointed a
team of former cabinet
ministers to help facilitate negotiations between the
two MDC formations and
ZANU PF. This came about after Prime Minister
Tsvangirai's MDC party walked
out of cabinet, citing a number of outstanding
issues in the implementation
of the power sharing agreement.
had been hope that with Mbeki's 'quiet diplomacy' finally out of the
Zuma would take a tougher line on Mugabe. But this week's statement
ANC has now put into question the neutrality of these new South
Writing on his blog, Robb Ellis said; 'When Tokyo Sexwale
stands up at the
just completed ZANU PF congress and declares undying
gratitude to ZANU PF
because of their support of the ANC during the South
struggle, then we have to realize that the deck is
stacked hugely against
the MDC.' He also pointed out that the fact that the
negotiations had been
suspended to allow for the ZANU PF congress 'then we
had to take cognizance
of the evident position of strength that ZANU PF work
At the end of the congress ZANU PF issued a long list of defiant
claiming there was not going to be any negotiating over the
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, Attorney General Johannes
Tomana and the
swearing in of Roy Bennett as Deputy Agriculture Minister.
Ellis said, showed the 'unity government is now living on
Journalist Denford Magora had a more brutal assessment of
the situation. He
said people read too much into the Congress of South
African Trade Union's
(COSATU) tough stance on Mugabe as evidence that Zuma
will be "forced" to
deal with Mugabe.
'The truth of the matter, of
course, is that COSATU made the noises they
made about Zimbabwe as a way of
adding to their grievances against Thabo
Mbeki. It was about internal
politics. They used Zimbabwe to show Mbeki up
yet again as an incompetent
leader who needed to be replaced. Now that this
has happened, they are quiet
and will not risk breaking up the ANC
Tripartite Alliance over Mugabe and
With the regional SADC grouping continuing to tread softly,
Mugabe still has
no incentive to behave.
As Zimbabweans continue to
suffer, all they can do is hope.
join climate talks under UN loophole
Tue Dec 15, 2009 7:10pm
COPENHAGEN, Dec 15 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe arrived in
Denmark on Tuesday to attend U.N. climate talks, despite
on his travel and public disapproval from his Danish
Denmark's Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said that Mugabe was
to attend the Copenhagen climate conference because of rules that
to attend U.N. meetings, over-riding European Union and United
"That is the spirit of the U.N. -- that the world
needs a place where we can
meet with those we basically don't like. And I
guess that is how you can
characterise the person you're asking about,"
Rasmussen said when questioned
prompted local media to ask whether Danish leaders would
85-year-old African leader's hand and whether, as elder statesman,
will be seated next to Denmark's Queen Margrethe at a dinner on
heads of state and government attending the climate conference.
in power since 1980, is one of more than 110 world leaders attending
final two days of the conference that is trying to reach a global
Upon arrival, Mugabe said he expected from the Copenhagen
everybody else hopes to get -- an agreement."
denied feeling isolated. "I am a member of the world population. I'm only
one dot in the population. I am a member of the world. Why should I feel
U.S. President Barack Obama, who has called Mugabe a
"dictator", is to
attend the Copenhagen conference on Friday.
is a pariah in the West, blamed by critics for plunging his southern
country into poverty through authoritarian rule, economic
He has blamed the West for ruining his country with
sanctions, which he says
are in retaliation for the seizing of white-owned
farms on behalf of
He rules Zimbabwe under a 2008
power-sharing agreement with his political
rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.
(Reporting by John Acher and Henriette Jacobsen;
Editing by Dominic
slammed for attending climate summit
By Violet Gonda
Globetrotting Robert Mugabe is said to have 'commandeered' an Air
plane on Monday evening to fly him to the United Nations climate
which is underway in Denmark. It is reported that he went with a 59
delegation, on top of an advance team that is already at the summit
The Zimbabwe government has come under attack for sending
such a large
delegation of officials, at a time when the bankrupt government
streamlining. Last week Finance Minister Tendai Biti revealed in
that Zimbabwe had gobbled up more than US$28 million in 2009, in
On Monday James Maridadi, the Prime Minister's
spokesperson, said Tsvangirai
would not be going to the summit, to cut down
on spending and that the
decision was also made in the spirit of promoting a
single delegation from
Government officials from all parties
have been travelling to're-engage'
the west after years of isolation, but
critics say it is extremely wasteful
to send so many people to this
Mugabe has come under fire for attending a global climate
summit, when he is
responsible for destroying the environment in his own
suffers from severe environmental degradation, with whole
disappearing due to the lack of power. Wildlife poaching is also
out of control and it's well known that the poaching,
particularly of the
black rhino, is orchestrated at the very highest levels
Analysts say that allowing Mugabe to speak and have a platform at
that is focused on environmental issues, is nothing more than
Political commentator Professor Stanford Mukasa said the idea of
change and other international protocols have no relevance to Mugabe
this is his only chance to go shopping in Europe because he is under
international travel ban. Mukasa said Mugabe has never been
conscious back home and that the destruction of the
environment in Zimbabwe
has contributed to the worsening of the climate
conditions in the country.
"Mugabe has nothing to offer to the climate
control conference because he is
one of the guilty parties by his deliberate
policies at home," said the
Unearths 5 000 Ghost Workers
Masvingo, December 15, 2009 - The government
audit has unearthed 5 000 ghost
workers in Masvingo province with 1 000 of
these registered as teachers at
non-existent schools, sources revealed to
Radio VOP on Tuesday.
"As we compiled the statistics we got so
far, we found out that 5 000
workers were non existent... Some of these
workers are either dead or left
the civil service for greener pastures,
while others never set foot at the
offices which they are said to be
working," said the source participating in
the exercise meant to flush out
ghost workers and others who got on the
government payroll on patronage
basis . "Another 1000 workers are fake
teachers at non existent schools in
the province, but, surprisingly, they
had the Employment Code (EC)
They have so far inspected Gutu, Chiredzi, Bikita, Mwenezi, Masvingo
and Urban, among the eight districts in the province.
for a comment, Public Services Minister Prof Elias Mukonoweshuro
audit process is a comprehensive process covering the whole
country. We will
not reveal piecemeal results for a specific province. A
team of independent
auditors will collate and release the results for the
said his Ministry would release the results for the whole country next
"Let me assure you that the results will not be made a secret
since they are
a public matter. They will not be hidden from the public,"
bail hearing set for the Supreme Court
By Tichaona Sibanda
Pascal Gwezere, the MDC transport manager jailed on trumped-up
weapons theft, appeared in court on Monday for a remand hearing,
case was postponed to next week Monday by a Harare
Gwezere's lawyer Alec Muchadehama told SW Radio Africa that
he's pushing for
the case to be heard in the Supreme Court after the
an application challenging the bail that was granted
by the High court.
'He's set to go to court for another remand hearing on
Monday next week but
we are pushing for the earliest possible time to get
the Supreme Court to
hear our arguments. We will simply be responding and
arguing that the AG's
office erred in opposing his bail application,'
Gwezere's family is very concerned about his overall
health which is
seriously deteriorating as a result of long torture
sessions. Gwezere was
granted bail three weeks ago after being charged with
weapons theft, but he
has been forced to remain behind bars at Chikurubi
Maximum Security Prison.
The High Court granted him US$500 bail, with strict
conditions, but the
State immediately invoked a draconian legal act that
kept him in jail, on
Chief Law officer Michael Mugabe, from
the attorney general's office, lodged
an appeal against Gwezere's bail in
the Supreme Court and until the court
makes a ruling on the matter Gwezere
will remain locked up at the notorious
The senior MDC
employee was abducted from his Mufakose home in November and
for a week before he was finally brought before the courts,
bearing signs of
He has told the courts his abductors repeatedly
interrogated him using
torture methods, leaving him with serious injuries to
his head, feet, leg
and back. Despite these injuries, he has been denied
access to private
medical care, with prison officials openly ignoring a
ruling that he be
allowed access to proper care. The transport manager was
stealing firearms from Pomona Barracks and receiving military
Uganda a decade ago. The military training charge has already
out by the magistrates' court and the MDC say the theft charges
basis in fact.
battle against partisan ZRP - young cop tells all
Tuesday, 15 December 2009 18:42
JOHANNESBURG - The Zimbabwe
Republic Police has during the past decade lost
thousands of its junior
officers, who were either fired or deserted their
jobs in protest against
The Zimbabwean this week tracked down one former
officer - ex-Constable
Tafadzwa Gambiza (27), who recounted how he braved
partisanship for three years, until he was forced out on June
26, 2008 a day
before Zimbabwe 's ill-fated Presidential run-off, which
contested alone and later declared himself winner.
whose service number was 050097C, was attested into the ZRP on May
trained at Chikurubi Depot and graduated on November 30, 2000 - the same
year that Mugabe began his controversial and often violent land seizures
that have crippled Zimbabwe's economy.
During his unwavering defiance,
Gambiza, one of the few police officers who
were brave enough to openly
challenge the Zanunisation of the ZRP by its
Chihuri, saw himself at one stage being suspended
for more than two years
for arresting Zanu (PF) bigwigs. He was threatened
with death, and
ultimately dismissed for refusing to help rig the 2008
Gambiza, still laden with police jargon and quoting statutes
his undying love for the law-enforcement agency that kicked
him in the teeth
when he tried to perform his duties according to the book,
says he had his
first confrontation with Chihuri's hypocrisy during the
"I was on election duty with other
police officers at Mbizo Youth Centre,
Kwekwe on March 31, 2005," recounted
Gambiza, perusing his police notebook.
"While I was still at the polling
station, I arrested a Zanu (PF) official,
July Moyo, for contravening
section 146 of the Electoral Act."
Moyo is a former Midlands Provincial
governor and Zanu (PF) chairman for the
same province, who was suspended in
2004 for participating in the Dinyane
Declaration (Tsholotsho) that sought
to push for the elevation of Defence
Minister and Presidential hopeful,
Emmerson Mnangagwa, to the post of
Vice-President ahead of Joyce
"He came to the polling station on voting day, wearing a T-shirt
'Vote Emmerson Mnangagwa - Zanu (PF) Kwekwe constituency', a cap
same inscription and a badge which said Zanu (PF) chief election
his shoulder," said Gambiza, reading out Moyo's National
numbers - 63-278979 Y03, to confirm the arrest.
"When I asked him why he was doing that, Moyo told me that he was
for the ruling party and I challenged that, telling him that
there were no
ministers, as cabinet had been dissolved by the President
elections. I arrested him immediately." Gambiza said that while
calling his station on the radio, Moyo called Mnangagwa to inform him
MDC officer who was disturbing him from campaigning".
the police truck arrived, Mnangagwa also arrived and began to
accusing me of being a traitor working with Morgan Tsvangirai and
the MDC to
re-colonise Zimbabwe. He also threatened to have me dismissed
for standing in the way of Zanu (PF)."
After obscenities had been hurled at
him, Gambiza said he arrested Mnangagwa
as well and drove the two men to
Kwekwe Central police station, where he
tried to have them detained. He was
stopped from doing that by an Assistant
Commissioner Sakonda, who was the
police Election Commander for Kwekwe.
"Sakonda said that I should take down
their names and release them, as they
were well-known people who would not
go anywhere. I tried to argue that
these people had committed a serious
offence, and that MDC members had been
arrested and detained for lesser
ones." He was hauled before a board that
would determine his suitability to
continue his duties as a police officer.
presided over by Chief Superintendent Norman Sibanda (now Senior
Commissioner), Superintendent Phineas Muhedziwa (now Chief
and recently suspended for raping a junior officer) and
Mushapaidze declared, as I had expected, that I was
unsuitable for police
duties and I later received a signal that my last
working day would be July
6, 2006." Gambiza did not take this lying down
and lodged an appeal with
the Police Service Commission in terms of section
51 of the Police Act. He
was re-instated in 2006.
However, this was just the beginning of more battles
for the junior officer,
as his superiors tried to have him fired from the
ZRP "on medical grounds".
"They claimed that I was an epileptic and should
be discharged from my
duties and even wrote a letter to the police medical
doctors urging them to
set up a medical board to discharge me," said
Gambiza. This failed, as the
ZRP Southern Region General Medical Officer,
Doctor D. Wachi, responded:
"Constable Gambiza is responding well to
treatment and is currently free of
fits. I am therefore, of the opinion that
he does not require a medical
However, this was his last victory.
On August 21, 2006, he was suspended by
the then Senior Assistant
Commissioner (now Commissioner) Charles Mfandaidza
for no reason and without
any pending trial. "The suspension order was
served on me by Superintendent
Enerst Muchenjekwa and witnessed by Inspector
Paul Deka, who both did not
explain its reasons and I stayed on suspension
for two years," added
Gambiza. On May 29, 2008, he challenged the then
Officer Commanding KweKwe
district, Ruth Madya, who, during a routine Zanu
(PF) campaign meeting at
Kwekwe Central police station, ordered police
officers to sloganeer and
denounce the MDC and to ensure that their
dependants and workers above the
age of 18 voted for Mugabe.
"When we reached question time, I asked her if
the ZRP had changed course
from a non-partisan law-enforcement agency into a
Zanu (PF) force and Madya
accused me of being a bad influence on the rest of
the officers," said
Gambiza. "She told us that those who did not heed her
calls would be
dismissed from the ZRP, adding that some would even disappear
trace." Gambiza said that on June 18, 2008 - nine days before the
Presidential election run-off vote, their superiors drove all police
officers in the Midlands province to the Kwekwe district conference room,
where they were ordered to vote through postal ballots for Mugabe.
clandestine voting was allegedly being presided over by Mfandaidza.
was done in the presence of senior officers, who would tell us to
against Mugabe's name. However, while some were still voting, SADC
observers arrived at the station and the senior police officers
ballot papers and sneaked out of the camp without being
that, some ZUPCO buses were sent to transport us, together with our
dependents and members of the Neighbourhood Watch Committee
volunteers who are not allowed to vote through postal ballot) to
camp to continue voting.
Refused to vote
"On arrival there, I refused
to vote and challenged the superiors against
taking over the job meant for
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and making
it theirs and turning police
stations into polling stations. On June 26,
2008, a day before the run-off,
Gambiza received a signal notifying that he
had been fired from the ZRP with
"Again they claimed that I was unsuitable for police duties
and a Sergeant
Major Muyambo of Mbizo police station, who claimed that he
had been sent by
Mfandaidza, evicted me from Kwekwe Central police camp on
July 17, claiming
to have been sent by Mfandaizda.
"He was being
accompanied by two other Sergeant Majors - Richard Chizhongo
and Majaya, who
said that Mfandaidza had told them that I was an MDC man.
They searched my
wardrobe and stole R80 from it while I was out of the
house." Gambiza said
that after his eviction from camp, he was threatened
with death until he
fled Zimbabwe for South Africa, where he is currently
working and living as
a political exile.
"I will not return to Zimbabwe anytime with Mugabe still
in charge because I
know that they will definitely kill me," he said as a
Outbreaks Worry WHO
Harare, December 14, 2009 - Africa has seen a rise in
polio cases over the
years due to lack of immunization, the World Health
Organization said on
Monday at the opening ceremony of an immunization
conference in Harare.
WHO Africa director, Dr Luis Gomes Sambo told over
150 delegates that
Angola, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria
are affected the
"The number of countries with polio outbreaks
following the polio virus
importations has increased from 13 in 2008 to 19
in 2009," Sambo said.
"Several polio-free countries in our region have
suffered setbacks in polio
eradication. It is my hope that the African
region will stop the
transmission of polio virus, move towards certification
and concentrate on
others public health priorities."
But Africa has
scored a success in reducing measles cases on the continent,
"We have a recent example of success with the 92 percent reduction
measles mortality however, we are currently facing difficulties in
sustaining this important gain because of lack of adequate funding," said
"Routine immunization coverage in the region has increased
during the last
ten years from 40 to 74 percent as of December 2008.However,
increase in routine immunisation coverage rate masks disparities
WHO said immunisation coverage has
seen child mortality rate reduced to
below 10 million in
"Increased immunization coverage, along with clean water and
sanitation, is key reason why today, for the first time in documented
history, the number of children dying each year has fallen to below 10
million," WHO said.
The Africa immunization conference in
Harare runs 14 to 17 December.
Story is Absolute Nonsense – Minister
Written by Gift Phiri
December 2009 12:13
HARARE - The Minister of Mines and Mining Development
minister has dismissed
as "nonsense" claims by official media that the
Zimbabwean government has
stopped two companies licensed to mine the
Chiadzwa diamond fields
ostensibly because of environment concerns.
(Pictured: Minister Obert Mpofu)
Minister Obert Mpofu told The Zimbabwean
that it was "absolute nonsense"
that two South African companies recently
licensed by the government,
Canadile Miners and Mbada Mining (Pvt) Ltd, to
mine the Chiadzwa diamond
fields, located in the Marange region, some 90 km
southwest of the city of
Mutare, on the eastern border with Mozambique had
been stopped pending an
The reported government
order to halt operations comes after the two
companies had set up multi
million dollar State-of-the-art plants to process
rough diamonds fom the
lucrative fields, including excavators, earthmovers
to density medium
The companies were awarded mining contracts for one of the
diamond fields by the Zimbabwe government – even though a
firm African Consolidated Resources has a high court
order saying it alone
has a right to the claim.
Mpofu told The
Zimbabwean: "Thats nonsense. Get the truth from the
authorities. Phone ZMDC
(Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation). They are
the ones who own that
Asked then why the official Herald had reported the matter as gospel
Mpofu said: "They are just excited. They (Herald) also should have
with the authorities. Phone Mubaiwa at ZMDC."
Mubaiwa was not
immediately available at the time of going to press.
The Herald reported that
Zimbabwe’s Environment Management Agency (EMA) has
stepped in and stopped
operations claiming Mbada Diamond Mining failed to
carry out an
Environmental Impact Assessment before starting to mine.
The newspaper did
not state why EMA turned a blind eye to the firm’s
operations until now amid
the high publicity that surrounded the launch of
the mining operations at
The environment assessment can take months, and Mpofu dismissed
as a figment of the newspaper's imagination.
If true, the
order would have represented a huge loss of revenue for Mbada
Ltd, which had installed a plant to mine 300,000 tons of ore
per hour and
was in the process of investing in another plant with a
capacity to process
100,000 tons of ore per hour.
The newspaper had claimed the parastatal ZMDC
would use the equipment, worth
more than US$100 million, which the two
companies had put on site at the
diamond fields to continue mining. It is
not clear why the environment
assessment exempts ZMDC.
Efforts to obtain
comment from Canadile local representative Lovemore
Kurotwa were futile at
the time of going to print.
plane strikes wild pigs
Harare - Wild pigs
living around Harare's international airport were struck
by a plane, a month
after causing the crash of a just-airborne aircraft
there, reports said on
Last week, a South African Airways aircraft hit two of the pigs,
Chikumba, chief executive of Air Zimbabwe, the country's national
was quoted as saying in the Harare Herald newspaper.
incident came after an Air Zimbabwe Chinese-made MA60 ran into a wild
November 2, bringing the aircraft down, but causing no loss of
Chikumba gave no further details of the latest incident, but said
parks rangers were called in and captured 90 of the pigs. Residents
area say pigs are abundant on farms surrounding the airport and
burrow under the fences meant to keep them out.
Pigs are not
the only problem, Chikumba said. The amount of birds at the
airport is also
posing a risk.
"We (Air Zimbabwe) had to abort a flight to Johannesburg
after they invaded
the runway a fortnight ago. The pilot had to reduce speed
emergency brakes," Chikumba said.
He said the
state-owned airline desperately needed cash to deal with the
birds and animals, but was still stricken by the effects of the
economic collapse last year when inflation hit 230 billion per
cent and the
currency collapsed into a worthless 1 US dollar to 10 trillion
The national economy has begun to recover since the inauguration
country's coalition government in February, but Air Zimbabwe received
money from the new administration's budget last week.
Downwardly mobile in Zimbabwe
Four years after her house was demolished in a blitz by Zimbabwe's
government, Chipo Chama still lives in a grass thatched shack.
Though she is married to a builder, the 27-year-old housewife has rickety
wooden planks for walls and covers her roof with plastic sheeting to keep out
the rain in Harare's Hatcliffe suburb - far from the neighbourhood where she
used to live.
"Right now I don't have a housing lot, but we are paying money to local
co-operatives (to save for a down payment) so we may get lots to build houses,"
In 2005, Chama had a sturdy brick and cement house with asbestos roofing, but
the government bulldozed it, saying it was illegal and was not fit for human
The blitz, which was named Murambatsvina - meaning "Drive out filth" -
left more than 700,000 people homeless and shattered the livelihoods of 2.4
million people whose small businesses were also destroyed by President Robert
The police and the army gave only short notice to people to move their
property from buildings slated for destruction, causing property losses
estimated in millions of dollars.
Some now live in settings far worse than the homes that were razed, often
without water, electricity or sewers, coping with harsh conditions made even
more abject by the country's economic straits.
The campaign was widely seen as an attempt to tamp out support for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which enjoys much of its
support in Zimbabwe's cities.
But since MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai joined a unity government with Mugabe
in February, little has changed for the victims.
Chama says she lost property worth $300 US (£185) - a huge sum in a country
where per capita GDP was estimated at $200 last year.
Despite her loss, she hopes one day she will be able to find a lot to build a
house for her family.
"I hope that in the years to come we will be able to build homes like in
other surburbs," Chama said.
Another victim of Murambatsvina, builder John Chitawa, 49, said that his life
has never been the same after his property and few belongings were demolished in
the clean up campaign. But he also says that life has moved on, and that he is
picking up from where he left four years ago.
"When Murambatsvina hit us we lost a lot of things because the two roomed
house I had built and the property was destroyed," Chitawa said adding that he
lost valuables worth $3,000.
"The whole property I had was lost, my bed, my wardrobe, radio. I was
attending a funeral when the blitz came and everything was destroyed and I was
left at ground zero."
Chitawa, one of the few who got a housing lot from the government after
Murambatsvina, has already built four rooms but there is no electricity,
water is not flowing in taps and he uses a ventilated pit latrine - known here
as a Blair toilet - because the sewer system is not functioning well.
A few houses were built by the government of President Robert Mugabe in 2005
but were far from accommodating all the victims of Murambatsvina and the
houses lacked water and sewers.
Fidelis Mhashu, a housing minister, said that the new unity government is
mapping up a policy to build low-income housing, adding that if the country does
not give priority to building houses for the homeless slums will emerge.
"We don't have slums in this country of the likes of those in Kibera, Kenya,
and other countries," he said referring to one of the biggest slums in Africa.
"We are aware that if we don't act with speed we are going to have problems
of slums appearing or mushrooming," Mhashu said.
Mhashu estimates that the country has a housing backlog of two million people
and said the government will approach donor countries and financial institutions
to assist in building houses as the government doesn't have money.
"Our [estimation] is [that] about two million people require accommodation
[nationally]," Mhashu said.
"We are frantically looking for funds from our financiers throughout the
Zimbabweans test the definition of
JOHANNESBURG, 15 December 2009 (IRIN) - The
"humanitarian nature" of the mass movement of Zimbabweans to neighbouring
Southern African countries has blurred the distinction between what is a
"refugee" and an "economic migrant", because such people fit neither category
perfectly and fall between the cracks, a new report says. [ENDS]
responses to Zimbabwean migration in Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique are
still premised on this distinction, and so are failing to protect both
Zimbabweans and [their own] citizens," noted Zimbabwean Migration into Southern Africa: New Trends and
Responses, a report released in early December by the Forced Migration Studies
Programme (FMSP) at the University of the Witwatersrand.
countries have been an essential lifeline for thousands of poor Zimbabweans,
said Monica Kiwanuka, the main researcher for the report. Those crossing the
border were not refugees - most did not even apply for refugee status - and,
given the extent of economic collapse at home, could hardly be considered
"voluntary" economic migrants.
"Many Zimbabweans who qualify for refugee
status ... do not apply for asylum due to the need to move back and forth across
borders to support families left behind. They resist the category of refugee,
which connotes dependency, and they emphasize their ability to work," Kiwanuka
"Yet there are currently no legal instruments in the region,
or in specific countries, that address the needs of this forced, mixed and
livelihood-seeking migration," she commented. Only recognized refugees and
asylum seekers qualify for humanitarian assistance and legal protection in a
"So many Zimbabweans are not legally protected, nor do they
receive humanitarian support, as they fall outside the mandates of these support
structures," Kiwanuka commented.
With the exception of South Africa,
protection and access to services in most countries in the region is contingent
on receiving refugee status, and require asylum seekers to stay in isolated
camps, unable to work or travel, and thus send money home.
is considering the introduction of a special permit for Zimbabweans but the
policy is still under review.
"These [conditions] are unsuited to
[their] needs," Kiwanuka said, and defeated the purpose of crossing the border,
so most Zimbabweans did not apply for asylum. The alternative of having to fend
for themselves allowed the flexibility to move back and forth between countries
as shoppers, labourers and traders.
Despite persistent deportations,
xenophobic attacks and other means of exclusion, poor Zimbabweans have been
prepared to risk anything to earn an income in a host country.
A Zimbabwean interviewed in Botswana explained: "To
accept to return home after being dropped [for deportation] at Plumtree [on the
Zimbabwe/Botswana border] means I have agreed to let my people die ... you
[would] rather die trying to get back inside [Botswana] and find money to keep
|To accept to return home after
being dropped for deportation at Plumtree means I have agreed to let my people
Kiwanuka said responses to Zimbabwean migrants were not
harmonized among the four countries: "In Botswana, Zambia and Malawi, asylum is
available to Zimbabweans; in Mozambique, the few people who have applied for
asylum have been rejected due to the state's decision to consider Zimbabweans as
'economic' and not forced humanitarian migrants."
Obtaining a Zimbabwean
passport was not only very difficult but also extremely expensive, which
contributed to the problem. "We all want to be out of trouble, but where can we
find the passports these people want from us?" another migrant in Botswana
"Since undocumented migrants fall outside the mandates of
the two key support structures in humanitarian assistance - government and
non-government institutions," the needs of undocumented Zimbabweans remained
"invisible and unmet". Migrants lived precariously, "earning meagre incomes in
the host countries and barely covering their basic human needs for shelter and
food," the researchers found.
"Lack of protection of migrants in the region is based on a
false distinction between a forced and an economic migrant, instead of focusing
on the real and urgent needs some of these migrants have," Kiwanuka said.
The report suggested that a better term would be "forced humanitarian
migrants", who moved for the purpose of their and their dependents' basic
Underscoring the importance of a common humanitarian position
on the outflow of Zimbabweans into the region, and the challenge various
agencies faced in reconciling their mandates with real needs on the ground, the
Regional Office for Southern Africa of the UN Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs coined the term "migrants of humanitarian concern" in 2008.
Nde Ndifonka, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration
(IOM), told IRIN: "We categorize these migrant populations from Zimbabwe broadly
as 'mobile and vulnerable populations'.
"Refugees have some specific
needs, rights and responsibilities, which fall under the mandate of UNHCR [the
UN Refugee Agency]. They also have more general needs, rights and
responsibilities within the broader category migrants, which is where IOM
operates, he said.
In general, "Migrants, as everyone else within the
country, are the responsibility of government. As an intergovernmental
organization with expertise in migration management, IOM, just like UNHCR, works
with the government to address migration and migrant (including refugee)
challenges, within the available resources," Ndifonka commented.
bottom line, said FMSP's Kiwanuka, was that interventions would "need to
acknowledge the humanitarian nature of migration from Zimbabwe", and "policy
response should focus on providing some measure of humanitarian support to the
most vulnerable, supporting employment and self-employment, and permitting
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
Drawing a line in the sand
Robert Gabriel Mugabe has decided that any
concessions given to the MDC with
regard to the coalition to government will
be on his terms, his timings and
not worth the paper that they are written
In essence, Mugabe is putting two fingers up at the world, SADC and
Is this the 'democracy' that the Zimbabweans
want or need - or deserve?
Let's briefly look at just what Mugabe is
attempting to hang onto
undemocratic rule in a shattered Zimbabwe.
Mugabe does not have the popular mandate to rule Zimbabwe. We all know
terror he visited upon the people last year to force Tsvangirai's hand
thereby steal the vote in a one-man sham election.
2. Mugabe's party have
already told the world that they are not prepared to
further to the MDC - not that what they have conceded is
anything to write
home about - and Mugabe has already begun preparations to
call a new
election. According to him, the 'unity' government only has a 24
3. Mugabe's party have told Jacob Zuma, the SADC-appointed mediator,
down in his expectations of the negotiations to be resolved soon.
marches to his own beat - and even if he is out of step with the rest
country, he somehow forces his will.
Mugabe has stated that
negotiations are complete - even though an article
today says that they will
resume on Friday - and he states that the
implementation of the 'resolution'
depends upon Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's successfully calling for an
end to the "illegal" sanctions
against the Mugabe administration.
sanctions in place are not illegal. They are not economic, and they are
under the control of the MDC leader.
Just as Mugabe banned CNN and the
BBC from reporting from within Zimbabwe,
so governments around the world
have recognised the need to ban him and
members of his loyalist fraternity
from travelling to their countries and
doing business within their
There is nothing illegal in that - and whilst the idea of the
have been planted many years ago by a very young MDC party,
the choice of
who, how and when these measures act against is for those that
them to control.
To suggest that the implementation of the
few concessions he is prepared to
make are dependent upon Tsvangirai
convincing foreign powers that Mugabe et
al should be allowed to travel the
globe with impunity is ridiculous.
Mugabe is intent on giving as little
power away as possible and hanging on
for as long as he can. The threat of
new elections being called soon is also
another barb that he uses to needle
Only he knows the true date - and that probably hasn't been
either - but he has made the clarion call laid down the
challenge and awaits
the renewed fight from a standpoint of some
The free world, SADC and the Zimbabwean people should all be
breath and strength for the coming fight. And come it will
as Mugabe will
not accept defeat. Not now - not ever (as recent history in
We should all be drawing a line in the sand - and
stating loud and clear,
"So far - and no further!"
The Bearded Man