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Markers threaten to down tools

December 16, 2012 in Local

ZIMSEC examination markers have threatened to down tools in protest against
poor working conditions.


The markers of the November 2012 Ordinary and Advanced level examinations
accused Zimsec of giving them a raw deal by providing them with poor quality

“Markers are getting starved because of the below-standard food we are
getting,” said a marker in Harare yesterday.

“In the past, they used to provide us with better quality food, including
dessert, but now we are only getting offals as relish. They are also not
giving us tissues for use at the various colleges we are being accommodated
while marking exams.”

Other markers in Bulawayo made similar complaints.

They said their supervisors and examination officials had threatened to fire
them if they complained about their poor working conditions.

Examination marking started just over a week ago and is expected to end this
Saturday. The markers said they were still to be paid their allowances.

Zimsec director, Esau Nha-ndara was not answering his phone yesterday.

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Workers storm Chinese employer’s home

December 16, 2012 in Local

A Chinese brick maker and building contractor, Sun Yan Ling, was in a
quandary yesterday after about 30 workers from his Shanxi Corporation
besieged his Mabelreign home demanding outstanding wages and benefits.


The visibly agitated workers spent Friday night outside Ling’s home
threatening to manhandle him if he did not pay them.

“He has been lying to us that clients of the company have not paid him for
work done. We are now tired of his excuses for not paying what he owes us,”
said Philemon Mhembere, one of the affected workers.

They claimed Ling had shut down the company for the Christmas break on
Friday and intended to travel to China for the holidays today [Sunday]
without paying them their December wages.

Some of the workers said they were paid only part of their November wages
and expected to receive all their money before closure on Friday.

Ling admitted he owed the workers nearly US$40 000 in outstanding wages.

He said he was failing to pay the workers because some of his clients had
not yet paid him for services rendered.

“But I am right now trying to raise the money and everyone will be paid by
4pm today,” Ling said yesterday.

However, it could not be established if Ling managed to pay the workers
before the end of yesterday.

Despite the promise, the workers remained unconvinced, saying Ling had made
similar promises in the past, which he had failed to fulfil. “We are giving
him the last chance today. If we do not get our money today, we are going to
the Chinese Embassy to demand our pay,” said another worker, George Madiro.

He claimed that he was injured while on duty in 2010, but received no
compensation from his employer.

‘Firm doesn’t supply safety clothing’

The workers also accused their employer of not providing them with safety
clothing and shoes since they worked in hazardous conditions at construction

Ling countered the allegations saying he provided overalls, although he did
not supply safety shoes.

Shanxi Corporation, which employs up to 200 full-time and part-time workers,
has been in the news before for allegedly ill-treating workers. Ling has
denied the allegations. Several Chinese companies have in the past been
accused of ill-treating their workers and also for disregarding the country’s
labour laws.

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Derelict buildings litter Bulawayo

December 16, 2012 in Local

DRIVING towards the Bulawayo Central Business District (CBD), coming from
eastern suburbs, one cannot stop marvelling at the breathtaking scenery of
the green palm and jacaranda trees that line up the roads.


However, the beautiful and natural outlook just disappears as one gets into
the CBD, which is now characterised by old, dilapidated buildings and
overcrowded pavements.

Several buildings are derelict and are in a state of disrepair.

The tall and once shiny buildings that used to adorn the country’s second
largest city have become an eyesore.

The unkempt state of the CBD has left the Bulawayo City Council (BCC) in a
quandary on how best to solve the problem. previous efforts to force
property owners to renovate their buildings have proved futile.

Bulawayo was in the 1990s, considered one of the cleanest cities in the
world, but regrettably all is now history as it has lost its glamour.

Most of the buildings in the city centre, let alone in the high-density
suburbs, urgently require renewal. they no longer meet the standards
associated with urban centres.

Deputy mayor of Bulawayo, Amen Mpofu described this as a serious problem,
highlighting that there was need for a massive revamp of buildings in the
city centre if Bulawayo was to regain its glamour.

“The council is committed that all those old buildings are spruced up so
that they don’t become an eyesore. I think time will come when we will
revert to our by-laws so that we end up forcing people to make sure those
buildings are presentable,” he said.

It has been reported that about 36 buildings in the city centre were last
year considered abandoned, dilapidated or derelict.

Compliance notices were issued as per statutory requirement, as such
structures are in contravention of Section 48, the Dangerous Buildings and
Section 49, Dilapidated and Unsightly Buildings and Defective Sewerage
Systems of the model building By-Laws, 1977, Section 214, of the Bulawayo
(buildings, roads and streets) By-Laws 1971.

Although such non-compliance notices were issued to the owners, nothing had

Sometime last year a group of Zanu PF youths reportedly threatened to take
over the abandoned buildings, some of them abandoned 15 years ago, but were
arrested for invading private property.

City council losing revenue
The city council is also reportedly losing thousands of dollars, as it is
failing to collect revenue from the abandoned buildings.

“We once talked about those buildings that have not been occupied for a long
time and I am sure a solution on the matter is coming up.

“We have to be very careful when approaching this matter. I think dialogue
with the property owners is the best way to solve the problem,” the deputy
mayor said.

Mpofu, however, sympathised with property owners who were failing to
renovate their buildings due to economic hardships.
“The issue is a big worry to the city, but we have to look on both sides,
taking into account that the economic situation has not improved,” he said.

Bulawayo has been hard-hit by the closure and relocation of industry and
this adversely affected the property sector.

Property owners facing financial challenges
A manager with a leading property company confirmed that most of their
properties were in a deplorable condition and needed to be spruced up.

The official, who requested anonymity, echoed the deputy mayor’s sentiments,
that due to low business in Bulawayo, they were failing to maintain their

“It’s true that our buildings are in terrible condition and our wish is to
spruce them up, but it’s unfortunate that we are facing financial
constraints to do so. You will appreciate that we are coming from an
unstable economic environment,” the manager said.

“The situation that we are in is still very difficult. The occupancy rate in
most of our properties is below 50%.
“those who are renting them are struggling to pay rentals and this is
inhibiting us from maintaining our properties.”

The manager revealed that when the economy stabilised, they were going to
make sure that their properties have a facelift.

A survey carried out by The Standard revealed that some shops were violating
public health by-laws and the building legislation by operating in
dilapidated buildings that do not meet required health standards.

Sheillah Dube, who rents an office for her sewing business at Derby House
along Main Street, described the building as pathetic.

“I am just a tenant here and we have tried to engage the owner of the
building to refurbish it, but he keeps on promising to do so. the building
is dirty and the floor tiles need replacement. If you go to the toilets, it’s
terrible. this is not good for our business,” she said.

The failure by the city fathers to timeously collect garbage, that ends up
piling in alley ways, has worsened the situation.

Although residents are hopeful that the City of Kings will regain its
status, there are fears that if the economy does not stabilise anytime soon,
it risks becoming another ghost town.

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MDC primaries set for next month

December 16, 2012 in Local, Politics

BULAWAYO — The MDC is set to hold its primary elections next month after a
“stringent” screening exercise to avert future defections of elected


Party insiders said the process was designed to ensure that only party
“faithfuls” would represent the Welshman Ncube-led party.

The MDC suffered several defections to the MDC-T led by Prime Morgan
Tsvangirai since the 2008 elections. Sources in the MDC told The Standard
that the defections had dented the party’s image, hence “the need for a
strict screening exercise”.

“It has been agreed that there would be a strict screening process to ensure
that we do not face reports of disloyalty and defections in future,” a party
official said.

“A provincial committee of the provincial directorate of elections will
screen candidates in their respective provinces before submitting the list
to the national elections directorate for further screening and

Aspiring candidates would be expected not to have gone through a
disciplinary hearing in the past five years. They should be fully paid-up
members with no criminal records. Besides being a card-carrying member for
five years, an aspiring candidate “is expected to have shown undying love,
loyalty, faithfulness to the party and total respect for leadership”.

MDC director of elections, Ellen Shiriyedenga, last week confirmed the party
had come up with a stringent screening exercise.

“We have not yet finalised the process of coming up with the guidelines of
identifying our candidates,” said Shiriyedenga. “The guidelines will ensure
that we come up with able candidates.”

Previous defections, expulsions
At least 11 councillors from Umzingwane, Matabeleland South province
defected from MDC to join MDC-T.

The MDC also recently expelled legislators; Nomalanga Khumalo (Umzingwane),
Thandeko Zindi Mnkandla (Gwanda North) and Senators; Kembo Dube (Umzingwane
South), Dalumuzi Khumalo (Lupane) and Patrick Dube (Gwanda Central), for
allegedly working with the MDC T. In 2009, the party expelled legislators;
Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South), Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman
Mpofu (Bulilima East), over the same charges.

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New parties promise bacon, butter

December 16, 2012 in Politics

THE silly season is surely upon us.


With elections drawing close, there has been an increase in the number of
political parties being formed, each claiming to be an alternative to Zanu
PF and promising to end President Robert Mugabe’s 32-year-old reign.

But, as with years gone by, the new parties fold sooner than they are
formed, without making as much as a dent on the political scene and the
question is, will the next election prove any different.

The latest party on the scene is the Progressive and Innovative Movement of
Zimbabwe (PIMZ), whose main objective is to make sure that every Zimbabwean
has eggs, bacon and milk at every breakfast.

“Food on the table daily for all Zimbabweans, at least an egg, milk and
bacon on every breakfast,” reads the party’s manifesto.

“Food on the table will be guaranteed by the vibrant economy to be
established with PIMZ in power.”
Along with a vibrant economy, the party promises to change the names of
provinces, saying the present ones engendered tribalism.

“PIMS (sic) believes provinces should not be named on ethnic lines like
Mashonaland, Matabeleland, but on geometric space lines e.g. ZimNorth,
ZimCentral, ZimSouth, ZimEast, ZimWest,” the manifesto continues.

While other parties are tearing each other apart on devolution, PIMZ has
come up with a novel idea, where the capital city will rotate between
Harare, Bulawayo and Mutare, “for balanced national development”.

Not to be outdone, Anslem Karimupfumbi says his Rusununguko United People’s
Party, which he claims was formed in 2010, will contest the next election,
where it will win 176 of the 210 seats.

Karimupfumbi said his party was the future and neither Zanu PF nor Mugabe
should contest the next election, as they did not have Zimbabwe’s interest
at heart.

“I therefore, request a stoppage in publishing Zanu PF [stories],” he said.
“Any publication of Rusununguko [stories] is an added advantage to you

Another party hoping to upset the applecart is the Zimbabwe Development
Party, fronted by the memorable Kissnot Mukwazhi.
Mukwazhi has been calling several, but poorly attended, press conferences,
as he seeks to convince Zimbabweans he is the best candidate.

As if to prove that he has hit the ground running, Mukwazhi recently wrote a
letter to South African President Jacob Zuma, advising him on his mediation
process in Zimbabwe.

The only problem is the letter was riddled with grammatical errors and might
not be taken seriously.

“We don’t want in strongest terms bombs to enhance power transfer,” the
party wrote.

“This is not a call for interference to our home affair, but a call to help
your needy small brother Zimbabwe to be economically, political and socially
stabilise (sic).”

Analysts question the credibility of candidates
Mukwazhi asked Zuma to help Zimbabwe become “a member of the gold Brick just
like yours”, probably referring to Brics, an acronym for Brazil, Russia,
India, China and South Africa.

In the past, there have been parties like the Zimbabwe People’s Democratic
Party, which was led by the late Isabel Madangure, who infamously remarked
that if she were elected, she would disband the army and the police force,
as peace would be prevailing.

Then there is Egypt Dzinemunhenzva, who leads the African National Party. He
has been involved in politics since 1990, but is yet to reap any form of
reward for his efforts.

“The credibility of some of these candidates is questionable,” political
commentator, Rejoice Ngwenya said.

“I have worked with people like Egypt Dzinemunhenzva in Copac and people
like that tarnish the image of democracy.”

He said for new parties to be registered, there needed to be a threshold, as
the parties “need to prove that they have a percentage of voters on the
voters roll”.

Ngwenya said the mushrooming of parties created an illusion that there was

Ernest Mudzengi, a political analyst, echoed the same sentiment, saying the
new parties caused confusion.

“I think most of the people who lead these parties just want to cause
confusion,” he said.

At the last count, the Zimbabwe Election Commission said there were 23
registered parties.

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Zanu PF conference fails to rejuvenate party

December 16, 2012 in Politics

THE Zanu PF annual national people’s conference has come and gone, but the
much anticipated fireworks failed to materialise with doubts emerging
whether the event managed to rejuvenate the party ahead of next year’s
watershed elections.


Analysts said apart from the usual anti-western rhetoric and empowerment
mantra, the conference held in Gweru just over a week ago, lacked robust
debate and discussion on bread and butter issues affecting the ordinary

They said despite President Robert Mugabe’s impassioned pleas to end
factionalism and jockeying for his post, Zanu PF remained deeply divided,
while tackling corruption, as pledged, was unlikely to happen.

Political analyst, Thabani Nyoni said the event was held at a controversial
new state-of-the-art US$6,5 million conference centre constructed in a
record three months, although the source of the funds remains a mystery.

He said Zanu PF ministers gave an update to the delegates of their work in
government, confirming that the party had no regard for the inclusive

But Nyoni said in terms of issues on the table, Zanu PF continued to attack
civil society organisations, the West and also justifying their
quasi-economic activities and corruption.

“There was no debate except the usual command and control approach to debate
which they view as a sign of unity and consensus,” he said. “From the
conference, it would appear the party is a perfect machine with no blunders
except its enemies outside, which is a big lie.”

The conference resolved to use indigenisation as a campaign tool, while at
the same time eliciting support of church leaders, musicians, sports
personalities and other influential people.

Party needs leadership renewal: analyst
Another political analyst, Clever Bere said the Zanu PF conference, like
their previous ones, failed to address the major challenge confronting the
party — leadership renewal.

“They may deliberate on policy and other things, but the only way they can
rejuvenate their party is by bringing in youthful, fresh and vibrant
leadership,” he said. “Inasmuch as Mugabe might be viewed as the unifier in
Zanu PF, it is my belief that he is now more of a liability than

Bere said the country has a youthful population and would most likely lean
towards a youthful leadership.

He said as long as the leadership crisis was not resolved, political
scheming and underhand lobbying and positioning would always affect the
unity of the party.

“Mugabe is only surviving because he has a patronage system that has allowed
his people to benefit from where they would not have sowed,” he said.

“He has also survived because of the failures of MDC-T and in particular the
inadequacies of its leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.”

Absent was the electrifying atmosphere until right at the conclusion of the
conference when the different provinces were being awarded prizes for the
ability to organise themselves.

However, Mugabe insisted the conference was a resounding success which would
result in an electoral victory.

Mugabe, who turns 89 in two months’ time, was endorsed as the party
candidate vowing to fight like a “wounded beast” in order to reverse his
loss in 2008.

‘Indigenisation will only benefit elites’

University of Zimbabwe lecturer, Professor John Makumbe said it was clear
Zanu PF was not ready for elections even if the party dangled the
indigenisation carrot.

“Their structures are in shambles. When they take the issue of ownership of
companies to rural areas, people will know that this is fiction,” he said.
“The community ownership trusts have not benefitted them. They know
indigenisation is for the elite.”
Political analyst and social rights activist, Hopewell Gumbo agreed, saying
only a few Zanu PF “diehards” would be “fooled into buying the
indigenisation mantra”.
“The programme will only benefit elites and not the generality of the poor
majority. This may not significantly change the Zanu PF voting tally,” he
“Their card remains violence, whose June 27 [2008 election] residues is
enough to terrorise people into the coming polls, as well as the weaknesses
and blunders of other political parties.”
Gumbo said corruption had gone to “incurable” levels, likening Mugabe’s call
for an end to the crime to “chasing a moving target”.
“It is unfortunate that he will not achieve its eradication during his
lifetime unless he takes radical steps to deal with it,” he said. “He risks
being embarrassed after his anti-corruption statement, but definitely one or
two big fish will be sacrificed.”
Political scientist, Shakespeare Hamauswa said Mugabe was in a dilemma on
how to deal with corrupt people within his inner circle.
He said while failure to act on his promise to root out rampant corruption
would make him lose credibility, sacrificing any of his top lieutenants
ahead of elections may further divide Zanu PF.
Hamauswa said threatening the different factions within Zanu PF would not
end divisions in the party.
“There is a need to address the root causes of factionalism in Zanu PF in
order to come up with tangible solutions,” he said.

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Tender boards directive sparks uproar

December 16, 2012 in Local

BULAWAYO — Bulawayo City Council (BCC) and the MDC-T have condemned the
disbandment of council tender boards, a move they described as
anti-devolution and development.


Government has instructed all local authorities to stop procuring goods
without first seeking authority from the State Procurement Board (SPB).

Local authorities have been procuring goods and services through a local
tender board, made up of councillors. Councillors said the disbandment of
tender boards would cripple operations of local authorities.

“In the discussion, the view was that this move had adverse and far-reaching
implications that were likely to cripple councils rather than assist them,”
read part of the minutes of BCC finance and development committee.

“There was need to tackle the matter through the political approach. It was
noted that the amendment was much against the spirit of devolution, which
was generally seen as the panacea to the skewed socio-economic development
of the region.”

The MDC-T weighed in saying: “Minister [Tendai] Biti is very clear on the
MDC party’s position with regards to devolution of powers and firmly
believes in giving local authorities autonomy, so as to improve efficiency
in service delivery to the people”.

It said previous attempts by central government to take over such duties and
responsibilities from local authorities were replete with disastrous
consequences. “From the forgoing, it is our considered position that central
government, through the procurement board, has no business taking over local
authorities procurement boards’ responsibilities,” said the party in a

Bulawayo mayor, Thaba Moyo, said the BCC was seeking audience with Finance
minister Tendai Biti on what to do on the affected tenders pending the
finalisation of the matter.

“Council resolved to write a letter to the Minister, seeking directions on
all pending tenders that are affected by these new regulations,” Moyo said
last week.

Biti could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Government argued that it was necessary to seize the responsibility from
council following allegations of corruption among councils over tender

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Ministry ups efforts to fight malaria

December 16, 2012 in Local

The Ministry of Health and Child Welfare has sourced over 1 million mosquito
nets as a precaution against malaria.


Speaking at a media sensitisation workshop in Mudzi last week, National
Malaria Programme manager, Joseph Mberikunashe, said the ministry was making
sure that the citizens would be protected from mosquitoes.

“We have already gathered about 1,3 million Insectcide Treated Nets, which
we are going to receive in December from the Global Fund and then half a
million of them from an organisation called PMI,” he said.

Mberikunashe said they were preparing the ground work for the distribution
of the mosquito nets. “They are treated nets. they kill the mosquito and
prevent it from any contact with the person,” he said.

He said they would give nets to households. “We felt it proper to have the
traditional leadership help us to distribute them. we will distribute them
to each household,” he said.

Besides the distribution of mosquito nets, they will spray a chemical called
Dichlro-DiphenylTrichloro-Ethano (DDT) in some provinces.

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Nyanga turns to mountain water

December 16, 2012 in Community News

RESIDENTS of Nyanga’s Rochdale area are drawing water from a nearby mountain
due to poor supply of treated water in the town.


Many households and businesses, including hotels, are using watering pipes
to draw the free water to their properties. They are convinced the water is
safer to drink than what they get from the council.

“We get our water from the mountain,” Felistas Nyabando said. “People from
the community dug a trench from the mountain foot and we use horse pipes to
bring water which collects in the trench to our homes.

“No one lives near the mountain, so the water is cleaner than council water
and we use it for everything including drinking, cooking, washing and
watering our gardens.”

Other locals explained that the community of white people which lived in the
area in the past also drew water from the weir but used it for gardening

They said that when they moved into the area in the 1990s, they also used
the water for gardening purposes but intermittent water supplies, which
worsened recently, forced some to start using the water for consumption.

Many residents from Rochdale, which mostly comprises accommodation
facilities, were on Tuesday found at one of the shops in the city
registering for connection to the tank and paying the US$30 for its

The shop owner, Zaccheaus Bangwayo, who represents the business sector in
the Nyanga town council and is also chairperson of the committee
spearheading the reconstruction of the reservoir, said about 200 people
lived in Rochdale.

“There was now too much competition for the water, with others destroying
other people’s pipes, hence the decision to rehabilitate the reservoir which
has a capacity of 20 000 cubic litres,” he said.

“We want to ensure that everyone who wants to be connected uses the same
pipe instead of the current situation whereby others are using big pipes and
drawing too much water than they need to use.”

Bangwayo said both the council and the committee he leads discouraged
consumption of the water.

“We recently found out that a leading hotel in the area, had connected the
water to its system and was not warning guests that it was untreated water,”
he said.

“We advised them to drill boreholes although they are yet to do so because
although Nyanga naturally has clean water and only wild animals go to the
weir, the water is not 100% clean and thus should not be used in its raw

Bangwayo said Nyanga town, with about 4 000 residents, had grown too big for
the water infrastructure which was previously for a small community, that
such new settlements as Nyangani Park are taking too long to be connected to
the town’s water system.

Council water supplies unreliable
Residents said the small town could go for more than a week without tap
water, making the weir the only reliable source.

“Some use the water for drinking although that is not advisable,” Mary
Dambanemuya said. “People feel the water is clean since the place where we
connect our pipes to is about a kilometre away from residential areas, but
my family only uses it for gardening.”

So serious are water challenges in the small town that some who do not have
adequate money for buying pipes that can stretch to the weir were now
vandalising the pipes of those who are connected in attempts to divert water
to their houses.

The residents have since started mobilising resources to rehabilitate an old
reservoir which was abandoned in the 1960s to improve their access to the
weir water.

Each resident is required to pay US$30 for the rehabilitation of the tank.

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Water harvesting brings hope to communities

December 16, 2012 in Community News

THE current rains have come as a temporary relief to thousands of
Chitungwiza households facing perennial water shortages due to erratic

Report By Tawanda Marwizi

Residents in the town have now resorted to harvesting water from rooftops
under a project funded by USAid.

Under the Rooftop Rainwater Harvest (RWR) scheme, tanks have been erected in
various areas in the town for harvesting of rain water.

Residents who spoke to Standardcommunity said they had been reduced to water
“scavengers” due to failure by the local authority to provide water

They said the project had come as a temporary relief as they were no longer
travelling long distances of up to five kilometres in search of clean water.

“The water that is collected into my [2 500-litre] tank is enough to cover
all my worries,” said Petros Mapuranga, one of the beneficiaries of the

Although the programme is seasonal, thousands of households were already
using the harvested water for domestic use.

Councillor for ward 15 in Chitungwiza, Idah Mafunga said the project had
temporarily decongested the available boreholes.

“Most borehole were running dry due to the heavy usage. This project will
improve the livelihoods of people although it will benefit them for a short
period,” she said.

The Rooftop Rainwater Harvest was established by a non-governmental
organisation, International Relief and Development in partnership with USAid
to assist needy people with clean and safe water.

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Residents resist agro-forestry project

December 16, 2012 in Community News

Dzivaresekwa 3 residents in Harare are resisting a reforestation and land
rehabilitation project in the area.


A social welfare organisation is facing opposition after it signed a 25-year
lease agreement that will result in 10 000 trees being planted on the
60-hectare stretch of land.

Dzikwa Trust Fund, which provides basic education and general welfare to
more than 400 orphans in the area, signed the lease agreement with council
on March 16 this year, to allow it to venture into agro-forestry, where they
would plant various types of trees, including fruit trees.

But residents have expressed their reservations over the project, saying the
land in question forms their maize fields, which they have been tilling for
the past 30 years or more, and have threatened to uproot the trees, should
they ever be planted.

The residents, from both the MDC-T and Zanu PF parties, formed an alliance
against the Dzikwa Trust Fund and its programme director, Seppo Ainamo.

They recently stormed out of a meeting held at the centre to try and resolve
the matter.
The residents, most of whom claimed they depended on the piece of land for
their staple maize, said they would do everything to ensure the project did
not go ahead, even if it meant their children lost the scholarships being
offered by the Trust.

“We don’t need this organisation here. This land has been our livelihood
since we started living here and we can’t afford to lose it now. If Ainamo
wants to approach the minister [Francis Nhema], he should go ahead. Let the
minister come here and we will deal with him,” said one resident, who is
also a member of the Zimbabwe National Army, on condition of anonymity.

Another resident, only identified as Mai Malindima, said Ainamo should
concentrate on assisting vulnerable children and not meddle in land issues.

“We will uproot the trees if they dare plant them against our will. We rely
on that land for survival and we will not allow him to take it away from
us,” she said.

Ainamo, however, was determined that the project would go on, saying it had
the blessings of Environment and Natural Resources minister Francis Nhema
and the Parliament.

“Our lease runs until 2037 and we were invited to do forestry with the full
support of the minister [Nhema] and we know that the parliament is in favour
[of the project]. So we are actually surprised by the outcome of this
meeting,” Ainamo said.

“We had engaged a specialist in Agro-forestry and we planned to introduce
pigeon peas to enrich the land with nitrogen. It will not be the end of my
world if we are stopped from carrying out this project,” he said.

He, however, expressed hope that the trust could make a friendly arrangement
with the involved families, provided “there is no political agitation”.

Initiative can uplift livelihoods: Gwande
Environmentalist, Kudzanayi Gwande, who had been invited to explain the
benefits of the projects to the residents, but could not do so after
residents walked out, said the community was frustrating a very good

“It is a very good project, but must exist together with the community. If
you plant trees such as Mutsangu, which was voted tree of the year, it has
the potential to put up to 200 kilogrammes of compound D fertiliser into the
soil and that would be good for farmers in view of the shortages.

“But the residents became militant before we could start explaining to them
the benefits of the project,” he said.

Gwande said the plantation could also be an income-generating project for
youths and women, who could be trained to venture into timber selling.

He said he was doing his best to support the community, spending more then
US$5 million per year in school fees and projects for disadvantaged
children, adding the project would in the long run, also benefit the same

More families, he said, would benefit from the plantation project than those
who were farming on the piece of land.

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Govt offices filthy: Minister Madzorera

December 16, 2012 in Community News

Government offices are becoming the hub of epidemic diseases, the Minister
of Health and Child Welfare, Henry Madzorera, has said.

Report By Tawanda Marwizi

Speaking at a press conference held at his Kaguvi offices last week,
Madzorera said the city council was taking time to remove garbage from most
government offices.

“take photos here at Kaguvi, you will see the sense of what I am talking
about. there is garbage that has not been collected for weeks now and those
are some of the causes of epidemic diseases,” Madzorera said.

Madzorera was giving an update on epidemic diseases such as typhoid and

“As we are approaching the festive season, where a lot of movements are
involved, people have to take care of the fruits they eat and avoid eating
contaminated food,” he said.

He said his ministry would introduce a new drug to curb diarrhoea.

“We have a drug called rota-virus vaccine, a new drug which will be
administered to children under the age of five to fight diarrhoea,” said

Speaking at the same occassion, research and health information officer,
Innocent Mukeredzi said from Ocotber, the City of Harare had recorded 937
cases of typhoid with 62 of them having been confirmed.

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Investment will increase gems’ output: World Bank

December 16, 2012 in Business

AN investment of US$250 million would see the country’s diamond production
increasing by more than a third yearly by 2018, according to a report by the
World Bank.


According to a growth recovery note, Zimbabwe Current Potential for Mining
Growth, diamond production in Marange is expected to peak at 12 million
carats over the next few years although an investment in the sector would
grow that by 2018.

“Production is expected to peak at 12 million carats over the next few
years, although it is estimated that an investment of US$150 million could
rise production to 15,2 million carats per year by 2018,” the report said.

It said an investment in kimberlite diamond mining would see output nearly
doubling to 1 million carats by 2018.

Production at Murowa is expected to reach 565 000 carats this year from 367
000 carats last year, the report said.

“In more favourable policy conditions, an investment of US$100 million could
result in production of one million carats per year,” it said.

Diamond revenue is set to help drive the recovery of the economy.

Total diamond exports up to October this year stood at US$563 561 495, up
from US$233 741 247 for the same period last year.

In his 2013 national budget, Finance minister Tendai Biti said despite high
exports, total dividends received by Treasury was a mere US$41 million.

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Indian investor in gem cutting and polishing

December 16, 2012 in Business

THE Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has courted an Indian
investor to set up a US$20 million diamond cutting plant in Mutare as the
country makes a first step towards realising value from the gems.


The government has in the past received the flak for allowing the sale of
rough diamonds instead of those that have been cut and polished, thereby
creating employment in the buyers’ markets.

Jerry Ndlovu, ZMDC chief executive officer confirmed the development, adding
that the investor would have 49%, with the remainder owned by the

Without naming the investor, Ndlovu said discussions were still underway and
it would be “premature for us to disclose the company that we will be
partnering with,” he said.

“If the discussions are concluded, the investor is expected to bring at
least US$20 million plus equipment and building.”

Ndlovu said the project was expected to create 3 000 jobs.

He said the cutting and polishing business would generate an annual revenue
of US$100 million.

He said 10 companies, both local and foreign, had shown interest in cutting
and polishing diamonds.

A recent World Bank report showed that Zimbabwe was set to become the world’s
fourth largest diamond producer by volume this year with 12 million carats.

Last year, Zimbabwe was the fifth biggest producer after Russia, Botswana,
Democratic Republic of Congo and Canada with a share global volume of 7%.

Despite the high output, the country has not realised the true value of its
diamonds as it exports roughs with no value addition.

Industry estimates showed that at least 60 000 workers would be required in
Surat, the only centre in India that specialises in cutting and polishing
rough diamonds from Marange mines.

Estimates showed that India has a 65% share of the world’s polished market
by value, 85% share by carat volume and a staggering 90% in terms of number
of pieces.

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RBZ to set up complaints desk

December 16, 2012 in Business

THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) will set up a desk to handle complaints
about high bank charges as the central bank steps up efforts to restore
order in the sector.


RBZ governor Gideon Gono last week warned of dire consequences on any bank
found on the wrong side of good practices.

“We will establish within the bank a desk that looks at malpractices and
brings them to our attention, effective January 1, until such a time we will
hand over the complaints to the ombudsman,” Gono said. “We will not let them
[banks] get away with it.”

The RBZ boss said he was in agreement with Finance minister Tendai Biti on
the need to bring order in the sector as banks were ripping off clients.

“What concerns the minister of Finance is the same that gives the governor
sleepless nights,” he said.

In his 2013 Budget, Biti proposed a raft of reforms to stem what he termed
“voodoo” banking practices. He said the reforms were necessitated by the
fact that Treasury’s calls for the banking sector to organise themselves
were not heeded.

Biti decreed that no bank charges should be levied on deposits up to a
maximum of US$800. He said any term deposit of US$1 000 and above held over
a period of at least 30 days and above should attract an interest of at
least 4% per annum.

Biti said government would be coming up with a Statutory Instrument informed
by a Memorandum of Understanding between financial institutions and the
central Bank stipulating thresholds of applicable fees, charges and interest

The effective date of the Statutory Instrument would be January 1 2013.

Gono said he was in talks with players to ensure that the sector was
compliant with Treasury’s directive.

“The minister was gracious to throw the ball back to the governor. We are at
a stage where before deadline, we would have reached an agreement,” Gono

Banking industry equated to goblins
Banks have been accused of not paying interest on deposits but charging
interest of up to 40% per annum on loans.

Banks argue that interest rates on loan are determined by a number of
factors such as the cost of getting the money from foreign institutions.

Banks say they get lines of credit offshore and the cost of that money took
into consideration the perceived country risk.

A number of micro-finance institutions are charging interest rates of 40%
per month, drawing the ire of RBZ which has equated the industry to goblins

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Geology sheds light on role of wetlands

December 16, 2012 in Opinion

The disaster befalling wetlands across our capital city and nationwide is a
very real but conveniently ignored crisis that should concern us all.

Opinion by Rosie Mitchell

Few people recognise the urgency with which these areas need conserving and
restoring to original condition.

It’s not just about species habitat, biodiversity and greenbelt
conservation. Species, many of them at the beginning of the food chain, and
our last remaining city greenbelts, are indeed being lost, and this matters
very much, too.

However, fundamentally, this emergency is about access to water for those
both in Harare and downstream, dependent on the rivers supplied by these
wetlands (also called vleis).

It is estimated by experts in the field that 6,5 million people stand to run
out of water because of this resolute denial of the reality that without
these vleis to capture our annual rain water, store it, filter and clean it
at zero cost, then release it into rivers and thence into dams, there will
be no water supply at all.

Already less than 60% of Harare’s water requirement can be supplied by the
authorities, the rest, in the absence of any alternative, being privately
sourced by digging a constantly rising number of boreholes, many of these,
now running dry.

Fundamentally, we do not have enough water because our wetlands are drying
up, no longer providing their amazing, and free, water purification,
storage, supply, and flood prevention services, to our population.

Collective protest necessary
Destruction of wetlands is happening because we, the millions-strong
population, fully dependent on these services, stand by and watch their
destruction by illegal, environmentally devastating activities; cultivation,
dumping, and worst of all, building, without raising a collective protest.

Without collective action to stop the destruction, the few lone warning
voices can but repeat the mantra, over and over, till the penny drops on a
city wide, then nationwide level — no wetlands, no water.

Harare built over massive, hard rock
Harare is built in an area where the bedrock beneath us is either igneous or
metamorphic in origin and as such, is very hard, and does not absorb any
water, except where a few underground spaces have developed over the ages
through weathering, fracturing and jointing of this hard rock.

It is from these limited underground spaces, where water can collect, that
the city’s boreholes draw their water. A very large portion of the city in
the southern and eastern parts is built over massive, hard, granite,
including Amby, Msasa, Cleveland, Chikurubi, Greendale, Athlone, Hatfield,
Highfield, Waterfalls, Mavbvuku and part of Borrowdale.

Most of the country’s vleis, the capital’s included, are situated over
granite, where they have developed naturally over the aeons.

The Cleveland, Mabvuku, Greengrove, Prospect, Budiriro and Manyame Wetlands
in Harare are all vleis situated over granite and as such play an essential
hydrological role by absorbing, holding and filtering rainfall which later
trickles steadily from these sponge-like areas into the Mukuvisi, Ruwa,
Manyame and the many other rivers in the catchment area, feeding Lake
Chivero, Harare’s primary water source.

This being so, it seems somewhat obvious that the effective protection of
these vleis, and others feeding other rivers, which in turn feed other dams,
is urgent, given the water shortages affecting us all.

Few people can afford a borehole, and there are now too many of these in any
case. With limited water available, many dry up seasonally and some, of
late, permanently. Just because you cannot see the millions of litres of
water held by a vlei as you roar by in a car or kombi, does not mean it is
not there.

Take a walk in the vlei in the dry season, and the water stored there
underground in the rich, spongy vlei soil will not be obvious. Return in the
wet season, and you will need wellington boots to traverse most parts of the
vlei, which will be thoroughly waterlogged, very muddy and squelchy!

I first began running, and have done, and do, much of my running still, in
nearby vlei areas and have observed this first hand over several years.

The changing seasons and the resultant dramatic changes that take place in
vleis, is one of the reasons I like running in these areas so much, as it is
fascinating to observe and experience these hydrological alterations. My
routes alter radically accordingly to the seasons.

Much of the area becomes impassable in the wet, unless I throw caution to
the winds and decide just to wade, get covered in mud, and be damned! To
enjoy a vlei in its original, pristine condition, visit the fully protected
Monavale Vlei, at the end of Fenella Drive — and experience the differences.

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