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Zimbabwe parties agree on key issues

By KITSEPILE NYATHI, NATION CorrespondentPosted Thursday, December 17 2009
at 18:50

HARARE, Thursday

Zimbabwe's three governing parties have reached an agreement on a number of
outstanding issues threatening their power sharing agreement despite
resolutions passed at a recent congress of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF
party rejecting compromise.

Zanu PF had at its congress held over the weekend instructed party
negotiators not to soften their positions on the contentious appointment of
President Mugabe's cronies to head the central bank and the Attorney General's
office and the removal of targeted sanctions.

One of the resolutions read: "Congress has noted that the inclusive
government brings the party into partnership with ideologically incompatible
MDC formations from which it must extricate itself in order to retain its
mantle as the only dominant and ascendant political party that is truly
representative and determined to safeguard the aspirations of the people of

The veteran ruler had also appeared to be rejecting any compromise with his
former arch rivals after urging his supporters to gear up for fresh

But it has since emerged that Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) formations have since agreed on 15 of the 21 items on the

Some of the issues agreed on during the talks led by South African President
Jacob Zuma include media reform, pirate radio stations beaming into the
country and the audit of the controversial land reform programme.

However, the parties are likely to declare a deadlock on the appointment of
the central bank governor and the attorney general, targeted sanctions and
Mr Mugabe's refusal to appoint Mr Roy Bennett as Deputy Minister of

Mr Bennett is the treasurer general of the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and is currently facing banditry and terrorism charges for
allegedly plotting to assassinate Mr Mugabe and also to launch an

The MDC wants a deadlock to be declared on the outstanding issues so that
they can be taken up by the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
which brokered the power sharing agreement.

One of the negotiators, Mr Elton Mangoma of the main MDC told London based
SW Radio that the principals in the unity government, Mr Mugabe, Mr
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara had given
them up to Monday to conclude the talks.

The talks, which had taken a break because of the Zanu PF congress, are
expected to resume on Friday.

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Zimbabwe Political Confrontations Likely to Continue, Despite Unity Government Progress

A public opinion survey in September by the Mass Public Opinion Institute
revealed that the majority of Zimbabweans felt their life had improved over
the past year and wanted elections within two years.

Scott Bobb | Johannesburg 16 December 2009

In Zimbabwe, confrontation between President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai appears likely to continue, despite some progress
during the year toward political and economic stabilization.

For Zimbabwe's long suffering citizens, the year 2010 appears likely to see
more of the confrontation, stalemate and mediation that have characterized
politics over the past months.

Southern African leaders in February were able to bring President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU-PF Party and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change into a power sharing government.

"I, Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, do swear that I will be faithful and bear
true allegiance to Zimbabwe and observe the laws of Zimbabwe, so help me
God," he said.

But disputes and rivalries continued to stall progress toward the ultimate
goal of a new constitution and free and fair elections.

ZANU-PF held its party congress in the final days of the year and adopted a
hard line toward its partner in government.  Mr. Mugabe urged the party to
unite against what he called the enemy.

"The elections are not very far off, the inclusive government was given a
short life, 18 months, 24 months, and so the remaining part of its life is
very short," he said.

He said ZANU-PF had lost the elections of 2008 because of party in-fighting.

The MDC won a majority of parliamentary seats in the 2008 elections and Mr.
Tsvangirai out-polled Mr. Mugabe in the presidential vote.  But Mr. Mugabe
won the run-off election after Mr. Tsvangirai withdrew, citing a campaign of
intimidation in which 100 of his supporters were killed.

Months of mediation by southern African leaders led to a power-sharing
agreement in September and then to the unity government.

The agreement eased tensions and lessened political violence and
human-rights abuses.  And the new government stabilized the economy by
abandoning the inflation-battered Zimbabwean dollar and adopting the U.S.
dollar and South African Rand as currencies.

Almost overnight, shortages of food, fuel and basic goods ended.  Economic
activity picked up.  And the government at yearend announced economic growth
could reach seven percent after a decade of decline.

Still political leaders found it difficult to abandon the rhetoric of
confrontation when speaking to their supporters as during this rally by Mr.
Mugabe in August.

"Never, never surrender.  Zimbabwe is mine.  I am a Zimbabwean," he said.

The continuing confrontations led Mr. Tsvangirai in October to announce that
his party would boycott ZANU-PF ministers and Cabinet meetings.

"It is our right to disengage from a dishonest and unreliable partner.  In
this regard, whilst being in government we shall forthwith disengage from
ZANU-PF, in particular from Cabinet and Council of Ministers until such time
as confidence and respect are restored in this relationship," he said.

One-month later, after another summit by the Southern African Development
Community and its chief mediator, South Africa's President Jacob Zuma, Mr.
Tsvangirai relented.

"We have suspended our disengagement in the government to give SADC and the
facilitator, who is comrade Zuma, that within the next 15 days the party
representatives will meet to look at all the issues and how they should be
implemented, and it is all issues, and that within 30 days all issues must
be cleared [so] that we do not have to deal with this dispute once and for
all.  We are satisfied," he said.

Analysts said some progress, meanwhile, was being made on forming media and
election commissions as called for in the political agreement.  And civic
groups were mobilizing volunteers to prepare the population for a series of
consultations on a new constitution due to be drafted in the coming year.

But progress was slow, hampered by a lack of funding and the confrontations
within government.

Nevertheless, a public opinion survey in September by the Mass Public
Opinion Institute revealed that the majority of Zimbabweans felt their life
had improved over the past year and wanted elections within two years.

But the survey also showed considerable differences along party lines over
the abuses that had accompanied the previous elections, how to deal with
them and how to bring about true national reconciliation.

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Southern African Leaders Signal Impatience With Slow Pace of Harare Unity Talks

Political sources in Pretoria and Maputo neither South African President
Jacob Zuma, mediator in Zimbabwe, nor Mozambican President Armando Guebuza,
has been impressed with the extent of progress in the Harare talks

Blessing Zulu | Washington 17 December 2009

Key figures in the Southern African Development Community have signaled that
they are growing impatient for meaningful results from talks among
Zimbabwe's unity government partners who have continued to dither on the
contentious issues which have long troubled the power sharing arrangement.

Political sources in Pretoria and Maputo said South African President Jacob
Zuma, designated Zimbabwe crisis mediator by SADC in November, has sent a
preliminary report on the Harare negotiations to President Armando Guebuza
of Mozambique, chairman of the SADC troika on politics, defense and
security, which helped break an October-November deadlock in the government.

But neither leader has been impressed with the progress, sources said.

Zuma adviser and facilitation team member Lindiwe Zulu told VOA that without
a complete report there is not much room for higher-level mediation.

She expressed hope that party negotiators would meet this week and give
unity government principals a comprehensive report by Monday.

However, the negotiators failed to meet this week as Welshman Ncube of the
Movement for Democratic Change formation of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara was out of the country. ZANU-PF negotiators had also called for
time out to attend their party congress over the past weekend (which adopted
proposals essentially refusing further concessions to the MDC for now).

Other negotiators including Tendai Biti of the MDC formation of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa of
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF said they did not know if talks would
resume Friday.

At this juncture negotiators have yet to grapple with the most divisive
issues on the agenda including the leadership of the Reserve Bank and the
Office of the Attorney General, and the swearing-in of MDC provincial

International relations expert David Monyae in Johannesburg told VOA Studio
7 reporter Blessing Zulu that the unity leaders must get down to business.

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Zimbabwe Farm Takeovers Surge; ZANU-PF Gears Up to Oppose Land Audit

Former president Trevor Gifford of the Commercial Farmers Union reported a
surge in land invasions, saying ZANU-PF hardliners are pushing such
takeovers because they want to see the national unity government collapse

Gibbs Dube | Washington 17 December 2009

Farm invasions continue in Zimbabwe under the banner of land reform with the
issuance of some 200 new letters of offer to prospective new owners issued
by the Ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement this month.

Former president Trevor Gifford of the Commercial Farmers Union said there
has been a new surge in land invasions around the country, saying hardliners
in the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe are pushing such takeovers
because they want to see the national unity government collapse.

The Movement for Democratic Change formation headed by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has urged a stop to farm takeovers arguing that the country must
turn to rebuilding rather than eliminating agricultural capacity and that
farm takeovers deter foreign investors concerned about the rule of law.

President Mugabe launched land reform about a decade ago on the premise that
arable land should be returned to indigenous black Zimbabweans from whom it
was seized by mainly British white settlers in the 19th century.

Gifford said nearly all of the country's 4,000 formerly white owned
commercial farms are now designated for takeover under the land reform

Meanwhile, after after resolving in its recent congress to step up the pace
of land redistribution, ZANU-PF is gearing up to block the national land
audit that was called for under the September 2008 Global Political
Agreement for power sharing to identify multiple farm owners and fallow

ZANU-PF sources said senior members including top security officers, police
and senior officials of the Central Intelligence Organization will resist
the audit which they view as an MDC subterfuge to undo land reform.

The sources said most senior party officials have multiple farms that are
idle or underutilized and are determined not to let representatives of the
unity government conduct audits of the properties they control.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has earmarked US$31 million dollars to fund the
audit in 2010.

Political analyst Joshua Mhambi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that
it would be difficult to carry out such an audit and that it was also
unrealistic to expect that the divisive land reform issue could be resolved
any time soon.

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Zim gears for Christmas with a difference

by Edith Kaseke Friday 18 December 2009

HARARE - Under a clear African sky, glittering lights illuminate the Harare
Gardens and pedestrians stroll confidently in the park, a cool soft breeze
sweeping through the city, marking the arrival of Christmas to this
devastated country.

Zimbabwe is recovering from a debilitating economic crisis that left the
majority of its citizens in miserable poverty, but today they are trying to
recapture the spirit of Christmas of yesteryear.

"Christmas is going to be much better than we have endured in the past two
years, in fact we never celebrated it in the last two years," said Stanley
Mugwagwa, a photographer working in the Harare Gardens park.

This time last year, the southern African nation was mired in a long
recession with many people struggling to eke out a living.

But Zimbabweans say their lives have improved following the formation of a
unity government between sworn enemies President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, somewhat ending political tensions and economic

Shops are fully stocked with basic commodities, from sugar to flour, which
this time last year were only found on the black market after a
controversial government price freeze in 2007 wiped all shops of their

Travelling has become easier with fuel available at service stations across
the country.

The era of long queues and empty shops may have gone.

The government introduced foreign currencies early this year, replacing a
worthless local currency that was eroded by inflation that had galloped to
the world's highest level of 236 million percent, the worst for a country
not at war.

The days of moving around with bags of Zimbabwe dollars to buy even basic
commodities are gone as people use foreign currencies like the United States
dollar and South African rand and shopping again for Christmas.

"Now we can buy a few things for the children, at least they will remember
this Christmas because last year we had nothing, not even bread," said a
woman who identified herself as Mai Gamu, who lives in Budiriro township.

Plastic fir trees, the occasional Santa Claus and banners advertising sales
discounts all mark the arrival of Christmas.

For the first time in three years, businesses have re-introduced accounts
for customers, who can now buy on credit.

A Spar supermarket in the Arundel suburb is stocked mostly with South
African imports, from sugar to whisky and they are struggling to cope with
frenzied buying by consumers.

In downtown Harare, the streets are busy with shoppers looking for bargains.

"The prices are higher here but now we don't have to drive to South Africa
for shopping, that was ridiculous. I am sure this will be a Christmas with a
difference," said an elderly white couple as they carted a trolley from
Arundel Spar.

Last year Zimbabweans had to endure long trips to South Africa to buy basic
goods like sugar, maize meal, flour and cooking oil as the economy reached
tipping point but local manufacturers have started producing the goods

However it is not cheers for everyone as incomes remain depressed while the
country struggles to get funding from Western donors.

An average government employee earns a monthly wage of $150, barely enough
to survive the month and there are little prospects that the government will
significantly raise the salaries next year.

Mike Mupeti, a primary school teacher at a Harare school summed up the
frustration of many civil servants who have on several occasions threatened
to go on strike over low pay.

"I am not sure what is better, having empty shops and no money like we had
or stocked shops but with no money to buy with," he said while drinking
opaque beer from a shake-shake (cardboard package), recently re-introduced
in the market by Delta. - ZimOnline

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Firm fires executives over Mugabe sale

by Own Correspondent Friday 18 December 2009

HARARE – The fallout from controversial links between Grace Mugabe’s
Gushungo Dairy Estate and some international companies has claimed its first
casualties amid reports that Swedish dairy equipment supplier DeLaval has
parted ways with two senior managers for ignoring a ban on trading with

Leon Lilje, managing director of DeLaval’s South African subsidiary, and one
of his senior managers Rykie Visser have left company after being found
guilty of breaching the internal code of conduct.

Although DeLaval spokesman Benoit Passard denied the pair was fired, he said
Lilje and Visser left the company to “pursue outside careers” after an
amicable agreement following the breach of the internal code.

A subsidiary of Tetra Pak, DeLaval admitted in September to selling dairy
equipment to a farm run by the wife of the Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe
in a breach of European Union (EU) sanctions.

DeLaval sold €320 000 worth of equipment including a 32-cow-capacity milking
parlour, two giant cooling tanks and consumables to the Grace
Mugabe-controlled Gushungo Dairy Estate.

The sale breached EU sanctions set up in 2002 that forbid any funds or
economic resources being given to a list of Mugabe allies including his

The company said at the time that it regretted the sale but denied having
been aware that Mugabe’s wife was linked to the Gushungo Dairy Estate.

DeLaval announced at the time that it would investigate how the breach
occurred inspite of the tight control systems that the company operated.

DeLaval is not the only major company to have traded with the Gushungo Dairy
Estate since it fell into the hands of the Mugabes.

It was recently revealed that Swiss food giant Nestle bought between 10 and
15 percent of the milk processed at its Harare plant from the farm.

Nestle has since stopped buying from the dairy farm but not before an
international protest by human rights groups which triggered calls for a
worldwide boycott of its products.

The Zimbabwean First Lady reportedly gained control of the dairy as a
beneficiary of her husband’s controversial and internationally criticised
land-reform programme. – ZimOnline

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Hitschmann must testify against Bennett: State

by Tendai Maronga Friday 18 December 2009

HARARE - The state on Thursday said Peter Michael Hitschmann - a key witness
in the terrorism trial of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai top ally Roy
Bennett - should testify in court when the case resumes in January despite
Hitschmann's sworn statement that he has no relevant information to give to
the court.

Prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba told the court during the matter of Hitschmann's
lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu, who was arrested last month for obstructing the
course of justice after he prepared an affidavit indicating that Hitschmann
was not going to testify against Bennett, that Hitschmann was a competent
witness who can be summoned to testify to help the state case against

"No one has the right to ill-advise or conspire with a state witness. The
import of the letter by the accused (Mahlangu) was prejudicial to the trial
of the state versus Roy Bennett. The AG's office is armed with evidence from
Hitschmann that will help in the trial against Bennett," said Nyazamba.

Mahlangu, who is on a US$100 bail, stands accused of writing a letter to the
Attorney General's office purporting to be Hitschmann. In the letter
Mahlangu is said to have written that he would not testify in Bennett's case
because the evidence that the state recorded was obtained through torture.

Mahlangu, through his lawyer Advocate Happias Zhou, on Thursday applied to
have the charges dropped arguing that the state case did not have any
"reasonable grounds to show that an offence was committed".

But the prosecutor accused Mahlangu of having written the affidavit on
Hitschmann's behalf and caused him to sign it when he approached him for

"The effect of telling a witness not to testify would be to discourage him
from giving information that is vital in proving and disproving the
allegations against Bennett. In the absence of the statement from Hitschmann
the trial of Bennett could not have gone ahead," Nyazamba told the court
challenging the application for refusal of further remand.

Nyazamba said the fact that Hitschmann had failed to notify the state that
he was not able to testify when the matter was supposed to start on October
19 in Mutare, shows that the advice he received from Mahlangu was

But Zhou said the position that was articulated in the letter was Hitschmann's
and not Mahlangu's. He further argued that it was in the public domain that
Hitschmann had disowned the statements that implicate Bennett in the
terrorism and banditry charges at his own trial in 1996.

Harare Magistrate Archie Wochiunga will make a ruling on the application on
January 13 next year.

Hitschmann, a Mutare based arms dealer, has been lined up by the state as
one of the key witnesses in Bennett's trial which began at the High Court on
November 16.

Bennett, who is accused of possessing weapons for the purposes of committing
banditry, insurgency and terrorism - charges he denies - is currently on a
US$5 000 bail. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabweans in Diaspora Divided Over Minister's Proposal to Tax Expatriates

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has called upon the Zimbabwean diaspora to help
national reconstruction by providing investment capital and even paying an
expatriate tax in return for absentee ballots and dual citizenship

Sandra Nyaira | Washington 17 December 2009

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti has called upon the millions-strong
Zimbabwean diaspora to help national reconstruction by providing investment
capital and even paying an expatriate tax in return for reforms that would
allow diaspora members to cast absentee ballots and hold dual citizenship.

Some initial reactions were hostile, but others liked the potential

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai meanwhile has repeated his call to exiled
Zimbabweans to come home with their much-needed skills and savings.

When Mr. Tsvangirai preached this message to expatriates in London last June
he drew catcalls. But diaspora members were more receptive last week when he
renewed his call for large-scale repatriation to a Cape Town audience.

For a closer look at diaspora opinion, VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira
turned to two prominent Zimbabwean expatriates: Ephraim Tapa, president of
the U.K. chapter of Restoration of Human Rights, and Zimbabwe Exiles Forum
Executive Director Gabriel Shumba in Pretoria.

Shumba says the proposal to give Zimbabweans abroad voting rights and dual
citizenship is welcome - but demanding taxes in return amounts to extortion.

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Zimbabwe activists demand inquiry into death of leader 30 years ago

Sebastien Berger, Foreign Correspondent

    * Last Updated: December 18. 2009 12:52AM UAE / December 17. 2009 8:52PM

JOHANNESBURG // After a victorious guerrilla struggle for independence, it
is often the leader of the liberation movement who swaps his combat fatigues
for a suit and tie and goes on to head the new government.

But that did not happen in Zimbabwe. A mere five days after the Lancaster
House Agreement was signed in London in December 1979, ending the armed
conflict in white-ruled Rhodesia and paving the way for democratic
elections, Gen Josiah Tongogara, the commander of the Zimbabwe African
National Liberation Army, was dead.

Officially, he died in an accident in Mozambique, when his car hit a
military vehicle as he travelled to the border and a return to the country
that would shortly become Zimbabwe.

A revered figure and a supporter of unity between the separate independence
movements - who had grown up living on the farm of Ian Smith, the prime
minister of white Rhodesia - his demise cleared the way for Robert Mugabe,
the head of the movement's political wing Zanu, who was swept to power as
prime minister in March 1980, to assume the overall leadership.

It also raised questions that have never been fully answered. Mr Mugabe said
the death was a tragic accident, but with Zimbabwe's post-independence
history at times extremely bloody, he also once declared that he has
"several degrees in violence".

Despite it happening three decades ago this month, an activist group,
Zimbabwe Democracy Now, is demanding a multiparty inquiry, placing a large
advertisement to that effect in the country's independent newspapers last

With the headline, "Josiah Tongogara, 30 years of silence", it read: "He
never made it back from exile and was denied his rightful place in the
leadership of the nation.

"Since that time, millions of words have been written about the war; many
who took part have become rich and our country has gone from the second
largest economy in Africa to one of the poorest in the world."

It also cited the death of Lookout Masuku, the leader of the rival Zimbabwe
People's Revolutionary Army, who died in hospital in 1986, shortly after
being released from Mr Mugabe's prisons, where he was held after being
accused of planning a coup d'etat.

"No more silence," it concluded. "No more killing of our heroes. We want
answers and we want them now, because staying silent will never set us

Ethel Moyo, the spokesman for Zimbabwe Democracy Now, said suspicions still
persist that Tongogara was murdered. "He was seen as someone who could build
lasting peace and reconciliation with his enemies - traits which would have
been invaluable in Zimbabwe today.

"For any future reconciliation to take place, the truth of his death must
finally be revealed."

A number of the president's political opponents have met unfortunate ends
over the years, often on the road, and have frequently gone on to be buried
at Heroes' Acre, the national cemetery on the edge of Harare, with Mr Mugabe
presiding over their funeral rites. The burial ground includes Soviet-style
bronze panels depicting him inspiring the struggle, and was designed by
North Korean architects to resemble an AK-47 assault rifle split lengthways
and butterflied open.

Soon after being linked to an alleged coup plot against Mr Mugabe in 2007,
Brig Gen Armstrong Paul Gunda died when his car crashed into a train at a
level crossing - an astonishing accident given the infrequency of rail
services in the country. In the following weeks public information
broadcasts on state television warned viewers: "Remember, you cannot win an
argument with a train."

In 1994 Chris Ushewokunzwe, the commerce minister and a supporter of
market-based land reforms, rather than seizure, was involved in three
separate accidents in 48 hours, dying when his vehicle hit an army lorry. At
his funeral his brother Herbert, in comments believed to have been aimed at
Mr Mugabe, said: "Now that you are killing and burying everyone, who shall
be left to bury you when you die?"

Tongogara himself was also accused of selective assassination, even of his
own comrades: he was blamed in an official Zambian government report for the
death of Herbert Chitepo, the then Zanu leader, in a car bomb in Lusaka in
1975 - although the commander of Rhodesia's Selous Scouts, Lt Col Ron
Reid-Daly, later admitted the white regime's security forces were

Sydney Masamvu, a Zimbabwe analyst with the International Crisis Group, was
in no doubt that Tongogara was murdered - and expected more deaths in the
future. "The bottom line is that it was an ethnic thing to eliminate him,"
he said.

The military leader was a member of the Karanga, the largest clan of
Zimbabwe's dominant Shona-speakers, while Mr Mugabe is a Zezuru, the
second-biggest grouping, he pointed out, saying the death put the Zezurus
"in the driving seat for 30 years".

Joyce Mujuru, Mr Mugabe's vice president, is also a Zezuru and the favourite
to succeed him after successfully repulsing a challenge at the ruling
Zanu-PF's party congress last weekend from her great adversary Emmerson
Mnangagwa - a feared securocrat who is a Karanga and no less than Tongogara's

"The battle in Zanu-PF is taking an ethnic dimension," said Mr Masamvu.
"With Joyce Mujuru remaining unshaken the Zezuru hegemony is bound to
continue but the Karanga believe it's now their turn.

"The history of elimination is there in Zanu-PF ever since the liberation
struggle. There will be blood on the carpet, literally, when the penultimate
phase of the fight to take over from Mugabe, which is now, reaches the home

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Tsholotsho now a Zanu-PF constituency

December 18, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Tsholotsho North which became the only constituency in Zimbabwe to
be represented in Parliament by an independent legislator after it voted for
controversial politician, Prof Jonathan Moyo, has become a Zanu-PF
constituency. Briefing journalists in Harare Clerk of Parliament Austin
Zvoma said Moyo, who recently rejoined President Mugabe's Zanu-PF could no
longer be referred to as an independent Member of Parliament, as he now
represented Zanu-PF.

During his briefing, Zvoma said Moyo now sat in the House as a Zanu-PF
representative for Tsholotsho North. This means that the voters of
Tsholotsho North who rejected Zanu-PF in the elections held in March 2008
are now represented in Parliament by the very party they rejected, Zanu-PF.

Moyo secured his parliamentary seat after he allegedly duped Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai through an agreement that the latter's MDC party would not
nominate a candidate for Tsholotsho North in order to give Moyo an easy
passage. Once he defeated the Zanu-PF candidate and was elected Moyo turned
against the MDC and returned to the Zanu-PF fold.

"Professor Jonathan Moyo is now Zanu-PF MP for Tsholotsho North
constituency. That is the legal status," said Zvoma.

Zvoma said unlike a political party which can write to Parliament directing
any of its MPs be expelled from the august House, the case was not the same
with independent legislators who are free to cross floors.

"In the case of professor Moyo," said Zvoma, "he was an independent. The
only way he would lose his seat is for him to have written to the Speaker of
Parliament as Professor Jonathan Moyo to say that 'I no longer have
confidence in the Member of Parliament for Tsholotsho North constituency, in
other words himself, and that cannot be possible.

"The constitution requires that a seat shall be declared vacant if a member
ceases to be a member of the party through which he was elected."

Zvoma said there was no provision in the Constitution whereby the voters who
elected Moyo as an independent candidate could register their displeasure
with his decision to abandon them.

"Professor Moyo is not a party," Zvoma said. "There is no provision for an
independent member to be answerable to the electorate. If he goes back to
his constituency and still finds people there it means he is still a Member
of Parliament for that constituency."

Turning to a different issue Zvoma said Parliament would no longer allow
Gibson Sibanda, deputy president of breakaway faction of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur to
continue to attend parliamentary sessions as he has long ceased to be a

Sibanda, who lost his Nkulumane seat to the mainstream MDC-T's Thamsanqa
Mahlangu in the March 2008 parliamentary elections, last appeared in public
as a legislator cabinet minister when he attended the official opening of
Parliament by President Robert Mugabe.

"Gibson Sibanda is not a minister," Zvoma told journalists Thursday during a
special media briefing on the operations of Parliament.

"Sibanda ceased to be a minister upon the expiry of the period stipulated in
the constitution that a person (who is not an MP or a Senator) may be
appointed to a ministerial post and can hold that post for a maximum period
of three months."

Zvoma said Sibanda attended the ceremony officially through an error.

"He should not have been there," said Zvoma, "He attended in error. He
believed that he was entitled to attend but the occasion was that we did not
want to evict him as if he was someone who has broken into a house."

Asked if Parliament would make the same error of allowing Sibanda to attend
a parliamentary function again, Zvoma said, "We are not in the business of
allowing people to repeat errors.

"His official title now is that he is not a minister but is now a special
advisor," Zvoma said. Sibanda was seconded to the National Organ on National
Healing and Reconciliation which was co-managed by ministers John Nkomo of
Zanu-PF and Sekai Holland, representing the mainstream MDC. Nkomo was sworn
in as vice-President on Monday following his nomination by the Zanu-PF
congress over the weekend.

"The constitution says one ceases to be a minister (after three months)
unless he secures a seat either in the Senate or House of Assembly by way of
appointment or by way of election and that position I am sure is amply

Appointed Senator by Mutambara at the inauguration of the current inclusive
government by Zimbabwe's three main political parties, Sibanda was
subsequently appointed Minister of State in Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara's
office, a position that was not provided for in the Global Political

Zvoma said, meanwhile, that the three MPs who were expelled from the
Mutambara faction of the MDC in July for alleged indiscipline were still
entitled to the vehicles that they acquired through Parliament.

The three are Abednico Bhebhe (Nkayi South); Njabuliso Mguni (Lupane East)
and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East).

Bhebhe has since filed a High Court application to compel President Robert
Mugabe to call for by-elections in vacant constituencies throughout the

Zvoma said constituencies that have gone for months without representation
due to either the death or redeployment of their parliamentary
representatives had no recourse in terms of the law other than to plead with
the President or the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to call a by-election.

He said only President Mugabe and his fellow principals in the government of
national unity had the powers to decide on whether they should call for
by-elections or stick to their agreement that seats rendered vacant by the
death or expulsion of MPs shall be filled by the parties holding the seats
in question.

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Mugabe workers ‘besiege’ Nestle

18/12/2009 00:00:00

AT LEAST six workers from Grace Mugabe’s dairy farm, Gushungo Dairy Estates,
stormed the company headquarters of Nestle Zimbabwe demanding that the
company resumes milk orders terminated in October, it was claimed.

Workers at the Swiss food conglomerate claimed the six men arrived just
after lunch and demanded to see “whoever is in charge so that they can
deliver milk”.

One Nestle employee said the six were driving in a white ERF truck parked
outside the company’s HQ along Park Lane.
“These guys meant business I tell you,“ the employee said.

The six men are said to have met with Nestle managing director Heath Tilley
and finance director, Farai Munetsi, who drove them out of the premises to
an undisclosed location – thought to be the Meikles Hotel.

By late Thursday afternoon, neither Tilley nor Munetsi were available for
comment as they were both said to be in meetings.

Nestle stopped making milk orders at Gushungo Estates after being pressured
by foreign rights groups and its business partners who threatened to boycott
its products.

Nestle was buying 10 to 15 percent of milk processed at its Harare plant
from Mugabe’s farm.

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Labour brokers accused of inciting xenophobia

by Own Correspondent Friday 18 December 2009

JOHANNESBURG - A study into last month's attacks on foreign nationals at De
Doorns in the Western Cape has fingered labour brokers as directly
responsible for the tensions that led to the violence.

Researcher Jean Pierre Misago of the University of the Witwatersrand's
Forced Migration Studies Programme, who released the study on Thursday said
Zimbabwean victims of the violence reported that the xenophobia was the
culmination of tensions between Zimbabwean and South African labour brokers,
known locally as contractors or "spanners".

He said there were up to 80 labour brokers in the grape-growing centre in
the Hex River Valley area, supplying local farmers with workers at a cost to
each labourer of R5 a day, plus commissions from the farmers.

"South African contractors, particularly those from the Xhosa community,
report dissatisfaction at income losses due to Zimbabwean contractors,"
Misago said.

"Some (interviewees) report that dissatisfied labour brokers pressured local
leaders and incited local residents to attack and chase Zimbabweans away.
Such mobilisation was facilitated by the fact that some contractors are also
ward committee members," he added.

Although, according to Misago, the study did not provide conclusive evidence
of incitement to violence, it suggested that any investigation into labour
brokers' role in the xenophobia should not be limited to exploitation of
workers and the breaking of labour laws.

"It must also focus on labour brokers' direct involvement in fuelling
tensions and triggering the violence by inciting local residents," he said.

The study dismissed locals' complaints that Zimbabweans were "stealing
jobs", because according to Agri Wes-Cape De Doorns attracts migrant
labourers because of the shortage of local labour and producers' need for
workers to prepare the crop for harvesting and South Africans occupy most
seasonal jobs and almost all the better-paid permanent farmworker positions.

Farmers and the Zimbabweans themselves said everyone worked for the same
seasonal wage of R60 a day.

The study cautioned against reintegration of displaced Zimbabweans into the
communities they came from because South African residents and contractors
did not want Zimbabweans back in the settlements.

Misago recommended that community-level action should not focus on
reintegration, but "building sustained mechanisms for inclusive and
non-violent conflict resolution".

Last month some 3 000 Zimbabweans fled informal settlements in the area as
violence against foreign nationals flared up and have been living in tents
on a sports field in the town.

Police say there were no reports of physical violence, allaying fears of a
recurrence of last year's xenophobic attacks that engulfed most of the
country killing about 60 people and displacing thousands of foreign
nationals. - ZimOnline

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