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Mugabe claims Mutare rejuvenated Zanu PF

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:05


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday claimed that Zanu PF has been rejuvenated
after its worst electoral defeat two years ago as he pushed through a
resolution for the country to hold fresh polls next year.

Mugabe was also endorsed at the party’s  presidential candidate at the 11th
national conference, which ended in Mutare yesterday.
The 86-year-old leader who lost the first round of the presidential election
to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai before winning a bloody run-off unchallenged
said Zanu PF was ready to reclaim its political dominance.

Zanu PF also lost its parliamentary majority to the MDC formations for the
first time since independence in the harmonised elections.  Mugabe wants the
unity government he formed with the two MDC formations last year to be
dissolved and at the conference stopped short of setting a timetable for
fresh elections.

Zanu PF also resolved to grab foreign-owned companies in retaliation against
sanctions by the West on the party’s leadership and some state-owned

It also endorsed Mugabe’s call for punitive laws against Zimbabweans who
call for sanctions against the country.

The veteran ruler on Friday also threatened to kick out any ambassadors who
meddled in “Zimbabwe’s internal political affairs.”

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Jonathan Moyo bounces back

Sunday, 19 December 2010 10:53


MUTARE — Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo has bounced back into the Zanu PF
politburo exactly six years after he was kicked out of the party’s highest
decision-making body outside congress.

Mugabe announced Moyo’s appointment at the end of the party’s 11th national
conference in Mutare yesterday. The president also announced that he would
never swear in Roy Bennett as deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Moyo, fired from Zanu PF after he was accused of orchestrating the 2004
Tsholotsho indaba which was construed to be an attempt to usurp Mugabe’s
power, was appointed into the politburo together with George Rutanhire, one
of the first freedom fighters.

But it was the announcement of Moyo’s appointment which attracted the
wildest cheers from the delegates attending the conference which was almost
a repeat of what happened when the former Media, Information and Publicity
minister was appointed to the central committee
“I don’t want to call him a prodigal son,” Mugabe said in reference to Moyo.

“He is back as he was working in the party, he has talent and I am sure we
will be satisfied with his work.”

Moyo who stood twice and won the Tsholotsho seat as an independent candidate
is understood to have been working with various other strategists in Zanu PF
as it prepares for next year’s election

Moyo rejoined Zanu PF in July last year and has been linked to various
strategies adopted by the party, which six years ago accused him of plotting
to topple the leadership after he allegedly organised the Tsholotsho

It was not immediately clear which posts Moyo and Rutanhire would occupy in
the politburo.

In October The Standard broke the story that Moyo would be reappointed into
the politburo at the conference.

At that time he was tipped to land the deputy political commissar’s post,
which was left vacant by the death of Ephraim Masawi.

Rutanhire left Rhodesia as a priest in the early 1970s and is part of the
group that took with them Vice-President Joice Mujuru for training in

At one time he was a deputy minister and MP. He was involved in the training
of youths in the Border Gezi programme, specifically on the political

Mugabe told the delegates that he was not going to swear in Bennett, who is
also MDC-T treasurer. He was unhappy with the people who were clamouring for
the appointment of the deputy agriculture minister designate.

“Others are shedding tears for Bennett to be appointed,” Mugabe said.

“That will not happen.
“He (Bennett) will never taste that seat.”
Mugabe reaffirmed that Zanu PF would retaliate for the sanctions imposed on
his inner circle as well as the companies linked to the government.
“We will be very very strict to the extent of even refusing investments from
those countries,” Mugabe said. “We are not fools; if you thought we were
fools, you are fooling yourselves.
“Why should Rio Zimbabwe and Anglo America take minerals and make money?
This is what should now stop.”

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Mugabe wants law to nail opponents

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:31

In what appeared to be an admission that calls from his party to charge
Tsvangirai were just hot air, Mugabe on Friday urged the Zanu PF Conference
to look at crafting a law that would criminalise people calling for
sanctions against the country.

“There should be a legal side to it. We need to advocate for a law that
punishes among us those who call for sanctions, as doing so makes it
treasonous,” Mugabe told delegates at the Zanu PF Conference in Mutare.

“That is treason, to call on the enemy to punish our people.”

Political analysts said calling for the prosecution of Tsvangirai was the
highest form of hypocrisy by Zanu PF because the same US cables also accused
several party officials of looting diamonds from Marange.

They said Zanu PF could not choose to believe one side of the WikiLeaks
dispatches and ignore the other disclosures implicating its officials in
“diamond looting and espionage”.

Since independence, several senior Zanu PF officials have been linked to
corrupt deals but none of them has been investigated, even in cases where
there is overwhelming incriminating evidence.

Friction between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, who are partners in a fragile
coalition government formed in February last year following disputed
presidential polls held in 2008, has been simmering in recent months as
another round of  elections approaches.

The two have continuously argued over appointments of key officials and
direction of government policy.

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Rowdy war veterans disrupt conference

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:10

By Brian Mangwende/Leonard Makombe

ROWDY war veterans disrupted proceedings at the 11th Zanu PF Conference on
Friday leading the controversially newly elected party chairman, Simon Khaya
Moyo, to threaten a premature end to the high-powered talk show.

The former freedom fighters started shouting and jeering when Khaya Moyo
called Brigadier General Richard Ruwodo to give a solidarity message on
behalf of the ex-combatants who are divided along known factions in Zanu PF.

Ruwodo, the director of the War Veterans Board, has increasingly been viewed
as a compromise to the separate groups purporting to represent the former
freedom fighters.

The schisms in the war veterans’ associations have grown throughout the year
with three factions emerging, one led by current chairman Jabulani Si-banda,
another by self-styled commander-in-chief of the farm invasions Joseph
Chinotimba and a splinter by Basten Beta.

All are fighting for the control of the combative former fighters who over
the years have played a critical role in sustaining Zanu PF’s grip on power,
but in the same breath courting the ire of dissenting voices.

“Order, order, order, war veterans order. I can declare an end to this
conference,” said a visibly annoyed Khaya Moyo. “I can do so because the
president has already spoken.”

However, his demands fell on stony ground as he was drowned in the shouting,
jeering and whistling by the war veterans.

The party chairman then asked the commissariat, headed by political
commissar, the flamboyant Webster Shamu, to resolve the conflict as he
proceeded to call other associations to give their solidarity messages.

The war veterans trooped out of the tent where the conference was being
held, defying Khaya Moyo’s declaration that it was only the three separate
leaders who were supposed to meet and discuss with the national commissar.

Some of the war veterans could be heard saying it was improper to ask Ruwodo
to speak on their behalf.

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Zimbabweans in SA stampede for passports

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:33


A woman who has been part of the crowd for almost two hours and constantly
complaining about hunger suddenly jumps to her feet on hearing her husband’s
name being called out.

With renewed strength, she pushes through the crowd to the man who just
called out the name.

But when the man hands her the white receipt she submitted on arrival at the
Registrar General’s Office about two hours earlier, she relapses into
sadness and struggles to fight back tears.

“I have been coming here everyday since last month”, teary eyed Pretty
Dhlamini said.

“I do not know why they are doing this to me because someone at KG6 told me
that all applications which were submitted in October have been processed
and the passports are ready for collection.”

Dhlamini said her South Africa based husband applied for a passport in
October in response to that country’s directive that Zimbabweans should
regularise their stay by December or risk deportation.

More than three million Zimbabweans are believed to be living and working in
South Africa, many having left the country at the height of political and
economic crises in the past decade.

Most of these people are suspected to be illegal immigrants, residing and
working with neither passports nor work permits.

In September, South Africa issued the directive for Zimbabweans to
regularise their stay, resulting in long queues at immigration offices in
South Africa and back in Zimbabwe as many returned to apply for travel
“My husband’s passport expired so he is among those affected,” Dhlamini

“It took us many days to obtain the application form at the immigration
office in South Africa due to the many people who also want to apply.

“We managed to submit the forms in October but we could not get the passport
in two weeks as promised so I had to come and collect it from here.”

On Friday, Dhlamini was told that she should return to South Africa to
collect the passport from that country.
She was however reluctant to take the advice after her husband told her the
passport had not arrived in South Africa either.

“After paying 750 rand on submitting the application, we least expected all
this trouble,” she said. “I have to call my contacts inside (the RG’s) for

Tatenda Murukai who had come to collect his brother’s passport was having a
bad day too.

Murukai’s South Africa based brother submitted his application last month
and on being informed that it was faster to collect from Zimbabwe, he sent
his receipt so his brother could collect the passport on his behalf.

He too was given back the receipt instead of the anticipated passport.

“They told me that the application has not yet arrived here in Zimbabwe,” he
said. “I do not know how this happens because my brother submitted his
papers early last month.”

An elderly woman who said she had come all the way from Gwanda to collect
her daughter’s passport said she could not attend to fields because she was
always at the RG’s office.

“Others are working in the fields while I wake up daily coming here,” she

“I have been coming here since the beginning of the week and I intend to go
back home after church tomorrow (yesterday) and return later to try again.”

Those who applied from neighbouring countries are better than most who are
trying to make an initial application locally.

There are separate queues at the RG’s office, with one catering for those
with external applications and a longer one for those wanting to apply for
the first time.

“I came here last month with the intention to apply for a passport and found
that some people were already sleeping outside the gates with the same
intention,” Shorai Siziva said.

“I can not sleep over here because of my bad health so I come in the morning
Siziva made some progress last week as she obtained the passport forms and
was hoping the passport will be out within two weeks.

But others, like Tawanda Bvuma were happy to collect their passports after
the long wait. Another lady who said she had travelled from South Africa to
apply for her own document two weeks ago also got hers.

“I have some people I know inside,” she said.“ I just bought them a drink
and they sorted it out for me.”
Some desperate people have resorted to sleeping at the passport office to
beat the queues. Others said they were paying officials as much as US$80 to
jump the queue.

There are fears that the majority of the undocumented Zimbabweans in South
Africa will not meet the December 31 deadline to obtain passports and lodge
their applications for work permits.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the South African minister of Home Affairs said
Zimbabwe was only able to produce about 500 passports a day, which fell far
short of the demand.

But she said the deadline would not be extended. Deportations may resume at
least three months after the deadline when all the applications had been
processed, officials said.

An official with the RG’s office said there were no plans to process
applications for passports on weekends and holidays to beat the deadline.

“We are already doing enough,” she said. “We work hard during designated
office hours and we will continue doing so even during the holidays.

“But where we are entitled to rest, we will rest like everyone else.”

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Charging Tsvangirai politically motivated

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:30

UZ political science lecturer Eldred Masunungure said any talk about
charging Tsvangirai with treason was politically motivated. He warned Zanu
PF to be “cautious to avoid an embarrassment as in the previous case”.

“Political interest looms large here,” said Masunungure. “They want to
achieve a political interest but they need to be cautious to avoid an
embarrassment where actions of the state are defeated again.”

In 2004, Tsvangirai was sensationally cleared by the High Court of charges
of attempting to assassinate Mugabe in the run-up to the 2002 presidential

The prosecution was basing its case on evidence from a grainy videotape of a
meeting between Tsvangirai and Canadian political consultant Ari Ben
Menashe, who became the State’s key witness.

Musunungure said while the motivation to charge Tsvangirai was political,
the grounds to arrest him depended on the existence of a legal platform in
the country’s statutes.

MDC-T chief whip Innocent Gonese said calls to charge Tsvangirai were a form
of harassment by the desperate Zanu PF loyalists.

“What they want to do is nonsensical because the so-called leaks are false,”
said Gonese, a lawyer by profession. “They may proceed with the case knowing
well that they will not succeed. They just want to harass him.”

Over the past decade, Gonese said, Zanu PF has been using the security
apparatus to bring trumped up charges against MDC-T MPs and activists in a
bid to decimate the party.

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WikiLeaks: No legal basis to prosecute PM

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:28


THERE is no legal basis for the prosecution of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai over leaked United States documents linking him to an alleged
plot to remove President Robert Mugabe from office, legal experts said last

They said a mere discussion of national issues with a foreign national was
not unconstitutional or treasonous as alleged by Zanu PF fanatics, who are
determined to see the demise of their strongest rival in the inclusive

For the past two weeks, Zanu PF officials have been demanding that
Tsvangirai resign from government or face prosecution on treason charges for
plotting to oust Mugabe and urging Western countries to maintain sanctions
imposed on the 86-year-old leader as well as his cronies.

Some of the information leaked by WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website,
suggests that Tsvangirai privately urged Western countries to maintain
sanctions against Zimbabwe while publicly appearing to back their removal.
But legal experts last week dismissed attempts by Zanu PF to have the MDC-T
leader prosecuted, saying the allegations would not stand in any court of

They were however quick to point out that Zanu PF, known for its
vindictiveness and abuse of the justice system in the country, can still
charge the premier although fully aware that the allegations were malicious.

Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said Tsvangirai did not commit
any offence by expressing an opinion with another person, who happens to be
a foreigner.

He said the calls by Zanu PF functionaries were “mere political statements”
which would not stand in a court of law.  “No crime was committed,” said
Madhuku, a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) law lecturer. “Discussing something
with a foreigner is by no means treason.”

Madhuku, who also chairs the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), said
treason charges would only stick if there was empirical evidence that
Tsvangirai was involved in the actual plotting to unconstitutionally unseat
Mugabe, who has been ruling the country for the past three decades.

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WikiLeaks titbits...

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:24


Mutambara livid
DEPUTY Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara (right)  believes he is the key to
the continued survival of the unity government.
According to cables leaked by arch-whistleblower, WikiLeaks, Mutambara was
livid that he was left out of US meetings with President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Tsvangirai in October last year.

He reportedly told Louis Amorim, an official of the EU council secretariat,
that he was very important in the GNU matrix.
Amorim summarised Mutambara’s main message to the delegation as, “You have
to count me in. If you do not include me, I can wreck this.”
He claimed he was “the only one who can shut up Mugabe” and that everyone
else was afraid of him. Mutambara could not be reached for comment.

Mugabe’s monologues
US Ambassador to Zimbabwe says President Robert Mugabe embarks on
trance-like monologues when meeting diplomats. In a cable to Washington,
Charles Ray said Mugabe embarked on a 45 minute discussion (mostly
monologue) when he presented his credentials to him on December 9 2009.
According to Ray, Mugabe gave a customary “history lesson” beginning with
the revolutionary struggle for one man, one vote and ending with sanctions
imposed by the West.

Ray said he only managed to talk “during a pause in the monologue.”

President is “hardliner”
DEPUTY Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara cautioned a European Union delegation
not to be fooled into thinking that President Mugabe was being led by

“He is the worst hardliner there is,” Mutambara is quoted as saying.

Writing about the impressions on Mugabe, Murray said; “He remains powerful
but is clearly surrounded by hardliners who are ‘dodgy’, ‘cold’ and lack
Mugabe’s intelligence.”

Mugabe is crazy
THE South African Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite
Nkoana-Mashabane told US Ambassador to SA Donald Gips that Mugabe was a
“crazy old man” who was a stumbling block to progress.
Mashabane said her government’s view was that Mugabe is getting desperate
and is trying to push the country into elections.

Zanu PF to crack
ZANU PF is set to disintegrate in the event of the death or retirement of
President Robert Mugabe, according to US Ambassador Charles Ray.
“We need to start now to identify the next generation of the country’s
leadership and begin the process of influencing them,” said Ray who made the
comments after meeting German Ambassador Albrecht Conze.
“Conze believes that Zanu PF in a post-Mugabe world will be irrelevant and
will not exist in its current form, although some Zanu PF members are likely
to continue to be involved in Zimbabwe’s politics,” he said.

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Chitungwiza workers threaten strike over pay

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:20

By Mugove Tafirenyika

Chitungwiza Municipal employees have said they will go on strike on Monday
if their employer does not immediately effect payment of their November
salaries and bonuses in honour of their promise.

The national secretary for information and publicity of the Zimbabwe Urban
and Rural District Council Workers’ Union (ZURDCWU), an affiliate of the
Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), Nyikadzino Matsikidze, said the
workers had given management until Monday to effect the payment of their
salaries and bonuses for November which they were promised but have not
received anything, raising fears they may even go for the Christmas holiday
without their December salaries.

“We were promised by management that we would get our 13th cheque in
November but we have not been paid even our normal salaries.
“They have resorted to divide and rule tactics by paying just a handful of
workers to pacify us but almost two thirds have not been paid.

“We met the management this afternoon (Wednesday)and told them in no
uncertain terms that the we would withdraw our labour if we do not get our
dues by Monday and that they must give us our December salaries before
Christmas because there is no guarantee they will be able to pay us for both
November and December.

“There is no going back on this one because it’s Christmas and everyone
wants to bring something home,” declared Matsikidze.

“They (management) tell us there is no money yet residents are paying rates
every month and they even buy themselves luxurious cars.
“Moreover it’s not believable that professionals like them would remain
stuck to their jobs if they are also not being paid like they claim. The
reason they do not quit is they are feeding on our sweat,” he fumed.

Chitungwiza town clerk Godfrey Tanyanyiwa could not be reached for comment
as he was said to be out and his mobile phone was not reachable.
Meanwhile ZURDCWU reports that Chinhoyi municipal workers have gone for 17
months without pay, Marondera with going for 9 months,while Karoi and Norton
have also gone for several months without paying their workers.

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Mugabe admits losing election

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:18

By Kelvin Jakachira

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has for the first time publicly admitted that he
lost the disputed March 2008 election.

The octogenarian told delegates attending the 11th people’s conference in
Mutare on Friday that he lost to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the
presidential election because Zanu PF party activists campaigned against

Mugabe said he was saved by electoral laws which allow for a run-off if the
winner does not garner more than 50 percent of the ballot.

“We heard others saying vote for this one and not this one. I lost some
votes as a result of that,” he said.
He said the party activists who were behind such machinations did not
realise that if he had been dislodged from power, the entire party would
have been affected also.

To avoid a repeat of that in the next year’s election, Mugabe threatened
members of his inner circle and Zanu PF activists who dare deviate from
resolutions made in Mutare.

In apparent reference to reports that some of his lieutenants were against
holding elections next year, Mugabe said he did not want anybody to oppose
what would have been decided at the conference.

He issued the warning amid reports delegates were being whipped into line to
endorse his stance on elections.
Mugabe told delegates elections would be held next year because he was
unhappy with the goings-on in the inclusive government.

“If we take a decision let’s not hear anybody opposing that decision,” he
said. “You have to accept what the majority of the people have decided.”

The issue of holding elections next year has sharply divided Zanu PF’s
leadership with some arguing the coalition should be allowed to continue
because it has brought political stability as well as resuscitating the

There was tension during a politburo meeting held on Monday at the Zanu PF
headquarters in Harare as the political stalwarts disagreed on the issue.

President Mugabe says he is no longer enthusiastic about the inclusive
government arguing Tsvangirai was undermining his authority by allegedly
pandering to the wishes of the West.

The 86-year former guerilla leader said the government of national unity
should not be allowed to continue and harmonised elections should be held.

“We must combine presidential, parliamentary with local government
elections,” he said.

He said Zanu PF agreed to work with Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara under the Global Political Agreement as a compromise
because they wanted peace and political stability in the country.

Mugabe said Western powers wishing to effect regime change in Zimbabwe were

He warned diplomats not to meddle in local politics saying he would not
hesitate to expel anyone found wanting.

“Any ambassador who does that will be kicked out. We have been too good,” he

On sanctions, the President said laws should be enacted to deal with
individuals or groups that advocated for sanctions or restrictive measures
against the country.

He said such actions should be equated to treason. “It is treasonous to call
enemies to punish our people,” he said. “Anybody who does that must be

Mugabe and his party blame Tsvangirai and the MDC-T for urging the West to
impose sanctions on the country.The MDC-T denies the accusations saying
President Mugabe and his party invited the punitive measures because of
their alleged appalling human rights record.

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Crisis Coalition takes poll campaign to the region

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:15


CRISIS in Zimbabwe Coalition, an amalgamation of civil society organisations
has taken its offensive into the region where it is briefing member
countries on conditions necessary for the holding of democratic polls.

Zimbabwe goes to the polls next year as principals in the inclusive
government are unanimous that the power-sharing deal formed last year is not
CZC team travels to Zambia today for meetings with senior church leaders
under the auspices of the Zambia Council of Churches.

Zambia chairs the Sadc troika on peace and security, which will meet in
Lusaka early next year to try and resolve Zimbabwe’s political logjam.

A delegation from the organisation will also attend the African Union (AU)
summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia next month.

The regional offensive has seen the coalition visiting Swaziland and Malawi.

Dewa Mavhinga, Crisis regional information and advocacy coordinator told The
Standard the regional sojourn “is to get the region to translate their lofty
democracy and human rights ideals into practice and get the Sadc bloc to
implement and fulfill its guidelines on the conduct of democratic elections.
He said the initiative was also meant to ensure that the region was fully
briefed about the real situation in Zimbabwe.

Meanwhile, speaking at the Zanu PF Annual Conference in Mutare on Friday,
President Robert Mugabe warned  NGOs against meddling in the country's
political affairs saying he would not hesitate to expel those defying this

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Welshman Ncube for president

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:13


THE red carpet has all but been rolled out for Welshman Ncube, who is now
set to assume the presidency of the smaller faction of the MDC without a

Incumbent leader, Arthur Mutambara pulled out of the race after the Harare
province endorsed Ncube’s candidacy amid revelations that 11 out of the 12
provinces were in favour of the secretary general’s ascendancy.

Mutambara says he pulled out of the presidential race to avoid divisions
within his party, but there are revelations that the robotics professor saw
that the writing was on the wall at a national council meeting nearly a
fortnight ago.

The MDC-M leader is reported to even have failed to get an endorsement from
Manicaland, his home province, a development that irked Mutambara.
Before Mutambara threw in the towel, calls had been made to have him to take
up the vice-presidency, which has been vacant since the death of Gibson
Sibanda in August.

“For the sake of unity and continuity, Mutambara had been tipped to become
the vice-president,” the source continued.

It was not immediately clear why he turned down the offer, instead electing
to be “an ordinary member” of the party.

MDC-M has since banned all its members from making pronouncements on its
congress, which will be held next February.

The party’s Harare provincial executive council met on Friday and nominated
leaders for positions, with Ncube being nominated for the presidency.

Party spokesperson Edwin Mushoriwa was nominated for the vice- presidency
while Goodrich Chimbaira was nominated to be the chairman.

Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga was nominated to be the secretary general
with Moses Mzila being her deputy.

Paul Themba Nyathi was nominated to take the treasurer general’s position
with Theresa Marimazhira being his deputy.

Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart, who is the
faction’s secretary for legal affairs, does not feature on the nomination

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Chombo-linked firm in Lupane logging debt

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:07


BULAWAYO — The Lupane Rural District Council (LRDC) has cancelled a
timber-logging contract for a company allegedly linked to a cabinet minister
over failure to pay royalties amounting to about US$120 000 dating back from
last year.

Information gleaned from various sources also show that the council
cancelled the timber-logging contract for Platinum Timbers for failure to
honour its contractual obligations.

The company won the tender to harvest timber sometime in 2006 after Minister
of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development, Ignatious Chombo,
allegedly ordered the Lupane Rural District Council (RDC) to grant it a
timber concession.

In an interview with The Standard  at the time Chombo denied ever ordering
the RDC to grant them a concession, saying all he had done was to refer the
company to Lupane.

Chombo, who said he had no interest in the company, said he intervened after
noting that the council was not benefiting from some companies logging
timber in Lupane. He promised that Platinum Timbers would ensure a win-win
arrangement with the RDC.

But Keyani Mpofu, the LRDC Finance Committee chairperson said council was
not getting anything from Platinum Timbers and has since stopped it from
logging timber.

“Council does not get any money from the budget and only survives on

“But there are companies like Platinum Timbers that owe the council a lot of
money as they are not paying any royalties for logging timber in Lupane.
Mpofu said the company owed the council over US$100 000 in royalties.

Platinum Timbers, which started logging at Lupane’s Malunku and Phuphu areas
in August 2006, was stopped from logging in the two timber-rich concessions
areas on November 17 2010 during a full council meeting.

Platinum Timbers moved into the two areas in August 2006 after forcing off
Full Investment, a company that had initially won the tender in July 2006 to
harvest timber.

Information obtained by The Standard shows that Platinum Timbers owes the
local authority a total of US$119 000 dating back to last year after the
country started using a basket of multiple foreign currencies.

As of July 2009, the company owed council US$81 000.

Only about US$10 000 was paid by Platinum Timbers to the LRDC in June 2010,
leaving a remainder of US$71 000.

A further US$48 000 was accumulated by the company in unpaid royalties from
June this year, bringing the current outstanding debt to US$119 000.
Part of the contractual obligations that have been reportedly breached by
the company include failure to meet its social responsibility duties.

The company was also transporting unprocessed timber in violation of its

According to a contract signed between the council and Platinum Timbers in
2006, the latter was supposed to allocate 30% of its proceeds to development
projects to areas it was operating from.

But since 2006, no development projects were initiated by the company. A
letter dated August 14, 2009 addressed to the Forestry Commission and
written by the council CEO, Mhlaseli Mpofu confirms Platinum Timbers’
failure to meet its contractual obligations.

“We would like you to note that council is owed US$81 000 (up to July 2009)
by Platinum Timbers and it is against this background that we find it odd
that your company should recommend an extension to this concession.

“At the conclusion and subsequent submission of this report, council had
long been inundated with grumblings from the Malunku Community who felt that
there was little in terms of returns Platinum Timbers was ploughing back to
them since they are failing to pay council royalties to them,” Mpofu noted
in the letter titled Timber Logging – Audit Report for Malunku Ward.

The CEO also confirmed that the license had been cancelled saying relations
between council and the company were soured by the failure honour its

According to a contract signed between council and Platinum Timbers, the
latter was also supposed to set up a sawmill to process timber in a bid to
create jobs for the jobless youths in the Matabeleland North capital.

“Since 2006, the company has failed to establish a sawmill in violation of
the contract.

The company continues to transport unprocessed timber also in violation of
its contract.

“At the end of the day, villagers are crying foul because they are not
benefiting in any way. The council and villagers are the losers,” a council
official said.

Platinum Timbers could not be reached for comment. Chombo was also not
answering his mobile phone yesterday.

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Police budge into MDC-M meeting, arrest official in Mutare

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:12


THE Arthur Mutambara-led MDC says police yesterday disrupted its provincial
meeting in Mutare and arrested its provincial chairperson Sondon
MDC-M spokesperson Edwin Mushoriwa said 30 people, including women, men and
youths were attending a provincial council meeting in the border town when
the police pounced on them.

“They were holding a meeting in a private hall when the police arrived at
the venue using Posa (the Public Order and Security Act) as an excuse,” he
“This is barbaric considering that while our party’s programme was being
disrupted, another party was allowed to go ahead with its own gathering.

“It is in violation of the Global Political Agreement and the rule of law.”

The MDC-M provincial treasurer Davis Mundirwira said he was among other
people who were forced to leave the meeting when Mugaradziko was arrested
yesterday afternoon.

“We were discussing internal party business,” Mundirwira said.“They are
detaining the chairperson and we do not know what is happening there as we
were ordered to disperse.”

Mushoriwa said the meeting comprising provincial executives was expected to
come up with nominations for the party’s seven top positions in preparation
for the party’s congress next month.

Police spokesman Andrew Phiri asked for time to verify the information but
did not answer several calls made to his mobile phone afterwards.

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Zimbabwe urged to use diamond funds for health

Saturday, 18 December 2010 18:25


ZIMABWE has been urged to use its diamond wealth to revive the country’s
health sector so that it can effectively deal with the Aids scourge.

The call was made by Network of African People Living with Aids (Napsar)
executive director Jefter Mxotshwa at the Zimbabwe National Network of
People Living with Aids (ZNNP+) annual general meeting held in Mazowe last

“The government of Zimbabwe can take a step further in supporting the health
sector through the allocation of one diamond mine,” Mxotshwa said.

“This will definitely revamp the face of the health sector.

“Zimbabwe is different from other African countries as it has a lot of
mineral resources and if one of these mines is to be allocated to the health
sector, the sector can be sustained without any difficulties.”

The South African based Mxotshwa said instead of relying on aid, Zimbabwe
must take advantage of the recently discovered Marange diamonds.

Tendai Kateketa Westerhof, a prominent Aids activist also echoed Mxotshwa’s
advice saying it was time government prioritised health in its budgets.

Activists say the diamonds benefit a few elite connected to President Robert
Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

In the past civil servants have also campaigned unsuccessfully for a slice
of the diamond revenues.

Meanwhile, Mxotshwa has called on organisations dealing with HIV and Aids to
employ qualified people regardless of their status if they were to meet best

“When building our structures what comes first is qualification not status
of a person,” he said.

“If we don’t have educated management it becomes difficult to deal with the
international world.

“The merits of having qualified people are that it enables the smooth flow
of business as proper decisions will be made and an organisation will be
able to network with other regional organisations.”

Tabona Shoko, the ZNNP+ director said they had revamped the organisation’s
constitution and hoped the new board that was inaugurated at the AGM will
utilise it to enhance service delivery.

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Regional economic blocs set for new year integration talks

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:50


THREE African regional blocks are set to convene in the early weeks of
January 2011 to deliberate on trade related issues as well as increased
integration and co-operation.

Southern African Development Community (Sadc), Common Market for Eastern and
Southern Africa (Comesa) and Economic Community of West African States
(Ecowas) will meet in a bid to discuss ways of improving and enhancing trade
relations between the regional blocs.

"A tripartite summit will be held within the first few weeks of January
incorporating Sadc, Comesa and Ecowas.
“The deliberations will focus on the free trade area and customs union
issues among others," said the Minister of Regional Integration and
International Co-operation, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

The Sadc region is currently working towards a common Sadc Customs Union
that should provide substantial benefits to member states in terms of trade
regulations and common tariffs.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Zimbabwe will soon be gaining significantly from
the Preferential Trade Area (PTA) bank and is contributing towards working
on the modalities of a regional insurance project.

South Africa has in the past been fingered as being reluctant to expedite
the regional integration process because of the trade benefits that it is
gaining as a regional powerhouse.

South Africa's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is four times larger than that
of its southern African neighbours and comprises around 25% of Africa's GDP.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said in “any setting a country, which has a big
economy in a particular region is bound to benefit”.

“The benefits will be short term and South Africa is aware of this and that
is why more member states are pushing for integration."

Misihairabwi- Mushonga dismissed assertions that Zimbabwe's political
problems were the cause of its failure to fully benefit from regional trade

Several African countries are benefiting from the United States' Africa
Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) while Zimbabwe is distinctly excluded owing to
the latter's governance issues that the US does not agree with.

AGOA is a United States Trade Act that significantly enhances US market
access for a host of Sub-Saharan African countries with the current
co-ordinator being Zambia.

"We are a product of regional integration. Zimbabwe is a case study of
regional political and economic integration," she said.

Zimbabwe's economic challenges, Misihairabwi-Mushonga said, were having a
profound impact on the direction of deliberations at most Sadc meetings.

"The US sanctions have made it very difficult for Zimbabwe to engage on many

“Most of these meetings are resulting in lost valuable time such that
instead of deliberating on the important trade related issues, the sanctions
issue is being discussed.

“This affects Zimbabwe and the region's relationship with the rest of the
world," she said.

However, Keith Rockwell, director of Information and external relations
division at the World Trade Organization said that structural arrangements
within African regional institutions were the major setbacks to smooth trade
flows between member states.

"In Africa, the trading infrastructure is organised in such a way that it is
often easier to trade with Europe or North America than with neighbouring
countries," he said.

"The barriers between African countries hinder development and better
international relations."

Rockwell fired a broadside at regionalism saying that it was fraught with
shortcomings and encouraged more African countries to be more pro-active in
multilateral arrangements.

"Regional or bilateral deals do not address important issues like farm
subsidies, global services networks, anti-dumping or trade facilitation in
nearly the same in-depth manner as do the WTO's negotiations," Rockwell
Trade research indicates that there are more regional organisations in
Africa than in any other continent with a number of African countries
engaged in more than one regional agreement.

Zimbabwe for instance is a member of Sadc and Comesa while Swaziland is
signatory to Comesa and Southern Africa Customs Union (Sacu).

Overlapping membership has been criticised as a major factor leading to
trade disputes and tariff confusion as each country seeks to pursue its own
economic interests.

"There will always be bilateral and regional efforts to establish better
trading linkages but they will never supersede the multilateral arena in
terms of coverage or effectiveness," said Rockwell.

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Hwange Colliery engages coal merchants

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:47


HWANGE Colliery Company Limited (HCCL) has embarked on an expansive coal
distribution project with rural district councils (RDC) who will act as
merchants with proceeds from sales deployed into the communities.

HCCL has licenced various RDCs as the project is being implemented in
partnership with the Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, National Railways of
Zimbabwe, the Rural Electrification Authority and Road Motor Services.

HCCL Corporate Affairs Advisor Burzil Dube confirmed the development and
said that the project will address social and commercial strategic
objectives simultaneously.

"There have been no hurdles in the project as RDCs have been acting as coal
merchants and efficiently distributing the coal stocks," said Dube.

"For instance Chinhoyi has been receiving coal supplies from Zvimba Rural
District council as a result of the project.

“Interestingly, the revenue generated goes to the community," he said.

Dube said the project will reduce deforestation in communities.

The partnership between HCCL and the concerned institutions is in place
owing to diversified interests such as improving service delivery,
increasing revenue generation, infrastructure development as well as
environmental protection.

The Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe is co-administering
the project with the assistance of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Dube was
not in a position to comment on the role of the RBZ in the project.

One of the stated objectives of the project is to protect the environment
from further deforestation by providing an alternative energy source in the
form of coal to tobacco farmers and other users for the 2011 season.

The project is anticipated to extend to various RDCs in Murehwa, Pfura,
Chaminuka, Guruve and Hurungwe.

Meanwhile Dube said that HCCL was pursuing plans to join Coaltrans, a
regional consortium of coal exporting companies although everything was
still at the preliminary stages.

"The issue is still at its infancy but this will benefit HCCL in terms of
cutting down on costs and increasing market penetration," said Dube

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Banks bid to tap informal sector funds

Sunday, 19 December 2010 11:43


A walk around the streets of Harare will reveal a hive of activity as people
hurriedly move from one street corner to another oblivious of the unfriendly
weather or lurking municipal policemen.

"I'm on my way to the Gulf complex where I will buy two bags of socks and
napkins from the Nigerians then sell them to the Indians and Chinese
downtown," says a young woman with a baby strapped on her back.

She claims that on a good day she can make up to US$20, enough to feed
herself and her children while saving capital to buy more goods for resale.

More people are resorting to informal business, which has become the biggest
employer in Zimbabwe.

Ranging from buying and selling various commodities, innumerable
barbershops, salons, backyard carpentry, unregistered vehicle mechanics and
communal farming, the informal sector constitutes individuals and
organisations that are not paying tax.

Most of Harare's streets and buildings have slowly been turned into
tuckshops as foreigners with sufficient capital and business acumen have
snapped up opportunities to rent small spaces and open shops.

Yet the majority of financial transactions remain in the informal as opposed
to the formal sector.

Some people commute into Harare from as far as Bindura, Shamva and Chinhoyi
among others in order to buy various products for resale back in their

Products that have become popular in small towns include electrical
accessories,   clothing and footwear which can be obtained at cheap prices
in the competitive Central Business District.

Such minuscule transactions are the order of the day, not only in Harare but
several cities and towns throughout Zimbabwe.

Experts contend that substantial financial transactions are occurring on a
daily basis in the informal sector as the rate of unemployment hovers above

Informal traders are not too keen either on depositing their hard earned
monies in banks as the ravaging effects of lost confidence in the financial
sector owing to the pre-2009 hyper inflationary era still lingers in their

Economist John Robertson argues that there is a lot of motivation for most
people to remain in the informal sector.

"Most of Zimbabwe's informal sector activity is in buying and selling which
does not add much to the gross domestic product because it is a service
industry," said Robertson.

The credit system was once supported by a vibrant and productive farming
sector as farmers could lodge their title deeds with banks in anticipation
of the cropping season according to Robertson.

The demise of this organised system of managing the formal sector based on
productivity has contributed to the growth of the informal sector.

"The growth of this sector is the effect of the lack of options.

“Communal farmers as opposed to erstwhile large scale commercial farmers
will continue to engage in small scale farming for subsistence purposes but
the country's productivity remains low with little or no tax remittances,"
Robertson said.

Experts told a business indaba in October that the large informal sector
constituting up to 60% of the country’s economic activity is a reflection of
the low levels of economic development.

“The informal sector is an opaque world of business transactions.

“Zimbabwe tops the world list of economies with informal sector activity and
from our observations across many countries in the world, a large informal
sector inhibits economic growth,” said Greg Lebedev, chairman of the Centre
for International Private Enterprise.

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Editor's Desk: A forced election will worsen Zimbabwe crisis

Sunday, 19 December 2010 12:21

The dye is cast; we are heading for harmonised elections next year. The
elections, however seem to be desired by only one man.It is common cause
that many, if not all, the seating Zanu PF parliamentarians and senators
fear the election and have expressed this sentiment in hashed tones in
public. Their fear is based on the reality on the ground. Zanu PF, once
popular in the 1980s has now lost its base even in the rural areas. The
cities rejected completely at the turn of the millennium and the communal
areas have followed suit.

The reason why the former ruling party has lost support in its traditional
strongholds is that it has lost touch with people who see how all
development since 1980 has only helped to enrich those close to the
corridors of power.
What is interesting about holding elections next year is that President
Mugabe is bubbling with confidence; he avers he will win the poll when only
a short two years ago he lost to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. To his
admission he only survived due to the law that said the winner of the
presidential poll should garner at 50% plus one vote. The subsequent run-off
was a bloodbath which the international community refused to recognise hence
the negotiations that led to the government of national unity (GNU).

It will take a rocket scientist to explain to an incredulous populace why
people will overwhelmingly vote for him this time around.

He now says the GNU is unworkable and has to be ended when facts on the
ground indicate that he, personal, has been intransigent in his refusal to
fully implement the clauses of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Why the nation should be dragged kicking and screaming into an election they
dread and loath is an act of sadism. The people dread the violence that
invariably accompanies these elections. Zanu PF has been known to employ all
tactics, especially violence, to remain in power. It will certainly use the
same tactic next year.

The elections are loathed because they will not change anything. If Mugabe
and Zanu PF lose they will not transfer power; everyone knows that. So why
be dragged into a poll whose result everybody knows?

The call for elections has had an immediate impact on business in the
country. Many companies which had begun to see some light at the end of the
tunnel are holding back projects they were about to launch in order to grow
their businesses. Those which had been lurking at our borders in readiness
to come in and invest on the hope of a more stable country have cancelled
their project proposals.

Jingoistic talk of indigenisation has heightened potential investors’ fear
to come on board. There will again be a huge flight of capital as businesses
take their money to more stable economies. In the end the greatest loser
will be the people of Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai and the MDC-T have a point in insisting that only presidential
election should be held; it is the only poll that is disputed!

Even then many issues still remain unresolved before a credible poll is

But what are the real issues?

The crux of the matter is that when the GNU was formed, to the majority of
Zimbabweans it was tasked with three major deliverables: to write a new
constitution, hold internationally observed elections and to put in place a
government of the people’s choice.

The constitution-making process is unlikely to be completed by midyear next
year; there is no money for it and even if there was, writing a constitution
is a laborious process that takes many months. When is it complete it has to
be sold to the people through civic education; again this takes months. Then
there will be the referendum. All this, done properly, will take whole year.

Mugabe has hinted that he is prepared to go to election without a new
constitution; this is against the roadmap agreed in the GPA.

Zanu PF’s readiness to use violence and intimidation will again ensure that
the elections will not be free and fair and they will not be recognised by
many countries across the globe.

But the third deliverable is the most worrying. In case Zanu PF loses the
elections, as they did in 2008, will they be willing to transfer power?

In 2008 Zanu PF was unwilling to transfer power to the MDC-T which had just
won the elections. It took five weeks for the Zimbabwe Election Commission
to announce the results and when they did they were irrelevant. The period
between that election in March and the presidential runoff in June became
singularly the most violent period in Zimbabwean history outside the

This unwillingness to transfer power should be the critical reason why Sadc
and the AU should stamp their authority on Mugabe, if they have any.

Commentators say it is now clear that the MDC made a suicidal mistake in
entering the GNU without addressing the crucial issue of power transfer.

It has become very clear that the people who call the shots in Zanu PF are
the hawks who surround Mugabe. These include the generals. The role of the
generals in the running of the politics in Zimbabwe is becoming increasingly

Zimbabwe is being run by a military junta; to refuse this fact is to be

The military junta’s stranglehold on Zimbabwe has been tightened by the
discovery of diamonds in Chiadzwa. With the shadowy way in which the
diamonds are mined and sold, the junta must be floating like a cork in
This money will be used to block a clean transfer of power should Zanu PF
lose next year.

This is why the transfer of power is the most important outstanding issue in
the GPA; all the others are simply vexatious issues.

If Sadc and the AU are to fulfil their mandate as guarantors of the GPA,
they must ensure a clear roadmap is in place and they must supervise it.

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Hip-hop jingles demean head of state and governent

Sunday, 19 December 2010 12:19

BY Mso Ndlovu

Unconfirmed reports suggest that 70% of Zimbabwe’s voting population is made
up of youths, or people who are 30 years and below. It is difficult to
ascertain what percentage of that have fled the country to the Diaspora in
search of a better life, but a good number of them are very far away from
their homeland, forced out by an acute failure of leadership.
But recent events by the custodians of the title deeds of a land called
Zimbabwe seem to confirm two things. First, the youths constitute a large
chunk of the voting population and; second the party that earns the trust
and respect of this age-group is almost guaranteed to win next year’s
elections. As a result, a stampede of unprecedented levels for the youth
vote is raging throughout the country. The battlefield comes in different
shapes and sizes. While many progressive political leaders have chosen the
social network forum, Facebook, as their preferred battleground, the one
that takes my top price is the use of slang or street lingo by a Head of
State and government of a once great country. As if that is not enough, this
leader, who is nearly ninety years old, is even trying his luck in rap and
hip-hop singing. All in an effort to woo the youths to join his dying party.

This is a disgrace of the highest order. For his advisers to drag an
octogenarian, kicking and screaming, to a recording studio to churn out
lyrics like Zviri Sei Sei, Mondisiya Ndoga all in an effort to get votes for
a party that is clueless is an unacceptable abuse of the elderly in our
Zanu PF has no story to tell, and they can’t even sell anyone a donkey. It
all began with the President appearing in some videos juggling a foot ball
like Lionel Messi, but they still lost the election.

We strongly feel that there are some in Zanu PF who are enjoying the
humiliation of a once revered freedom fighter by reducing him to an
unwilling and uncooperative mascot in a game they know is unwinnable. The
sooner someone tells him that there might still be something left in his
legacy to salvage, and therefore necessary and in his best interests, to
step down, take a deserved rest while perfecting the art of story-telling,
instead of a career in hip-hop, the better for him and everyone. Those
around him are a danger to themselves and to him and the sooner he is
rescued from their patronising tentacles the better for everyone. Unless, of
course, we are failing to understand the scriptures, for, in the Holy Book
of Leviticus, Chapter 19 verse 35, it says “Do not use dishonest standards
when measuring length, weight or volume. Your scales and weights must be
accurate. Your containers of measuring dry materials or liquids must be
accurate” Therefore anyone who thinks that Zimbabwean youths are worth a few
lines of slang in an LP record is mistaken and runs a risk  of a crushing
humiliation in the next elections. And the winners will pay them a
compliment of asking, “Zviri Sei Sei?”

Zimbabwean youths want a good education, not one with examination papers
that leak. They want jobs in completion of their education. They want a
corruption-free society not one raining obedient sons born out of the
Chiadzwa wedlock. They want a society where the sanctity of human life is
paramount. Above all, they want elders who respect themselves first, before
demanding our respect, and elders who understand that their roles in
building a prosperous Zimbabwe is by spending more time tilling the land
instead of spending time in a music studio recording some
not-so-entertaining songs.

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