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Mugabe plots to pull out of GNU

Monday, 19 December 2011 11:46


Zimbabwe is headed for troubled times as Zanu PF has put in motion plans to
unilaterally terminate  the life of the shaky coalition government in order
to force early elections before  full implementation of agreed reforms and
the completion of the constitution-making process, sources have said.

In separate interviews with The Standard, several senior Zanu PF officials
said the party’s people’s conference held recently in Bulawayo gave the
party’s politburo the greenlight to pull out of the government of national
unity (GNU).

Zanu PF has accused the two MDC formations in the coalition partners of
deliberately delaying the completion of the constitution-making process so
as to extend the life of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

A Zanu PF politburo member said holding elections in 2013 as demanded by the
two MDC formations would make it difficult for continued from President
Robert Mugabe to stand as the party’s presidential candidate considering
that he would be 89 years old.

“It is a race against time,” said the politburo member. Another official
said party strategists were already working on modalities of pulling out of
the GNU before June 2012.

“On the ground, party officials have been instructed to start campaigning as
elections will soon be held with or without a new constitution,” said
another member. Zanu PF activist and political analyst Goodson Nguni said
his party was united in that elections should be held next year in order to
“kill” the GNU which he described as “dysfunctional” and retrogressive.

“They (MDC) are scared of elections,” he said.  “I hope President Mugabe
will dissolve the GNU so that Zanu PF can fully implement empowerment
programmes which are currently being subverted by the likes of (Finance
minister Tendai) Biti.”

However, Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa dismissed as
rumours reports that the party wanted to pull out of the GNU. “This is not
part of the agreement,” he said.

University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer, Professor John Makumbe
said Zanu PF had no strategy except to “scream” for elections without the
necessary reforms.
“The party is on the verge of pulling out of the GNU so that the nation can
go for elections,” he said.

“It is likely that other political parties will boycott such elections as
the country would go back to the June 2008 scenario characterised by
widespread violence and intimidation. Sadc will have to come in again and
start a GNU-2,” added Makumbe.

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) is the guarantor of the
GPA. Political analyst, Charles Mangongera agreed that signs were evident
that Mugabe was planning to call for snap elections, causing the collapse of
the GNU.

“This is the strategy of the civilian handlers in Zanu PF working in cahoots
with securocrats. They will not necessarily succeed because Sadc is going to
be their biggest hurdle as it will stick to its guns (and demand) that
elections can only be held after the necessary reforms,” he said.

But constitutional law expert Professor Lovemore Madhuku said people should
not read too much into the Zanu PF congress resolutions. “The very speakers
calling for elections are the same people who were insisting that polls will
take place before the end of 2011,” he said.

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti said if Zanu PF pulls out of the GNU,
then Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai would automatically become President
as he was winner of the March 2008 presidential election.

Zanu PF will not  determine on next elections alone: Biti

Addressing a news conference soon after the party’s national council meeting
in Harare yesterday, the MDC-T secretary-general, Tendai Biti said they have
resolved that elections will be process-driven and not determined by Zanu

“The next elections will be determined through consultations between
President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai,” he said. “Zanu PF cannot
one day wake up drunk or otherwise and unilaterally declare that elections
will be held in March 2012.”

Biti said conditions defined in the roadmap have to be completed first and
these include the constitution-making process, referendum, media and
legislative reforms and drafting of a new voters roll, as well as conclusion
of outstanding issues at the dialogue table on security sector realignment
and staffing of Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).

“The Party notes that any election which does not meet the above conditions
will be a sham election and the party will not have anything to do with a
sham election,” he said.

Biti said the party was disturbed by the continued closure of democratic
space in Zimbabwe characterised by the blocking and disruption of MDC
rallies by police, prosecution and persecution of journalists and civil
society organisations.

He alleged that since the beginning of the year, over 402 people have been
arrested, assaulted and severely harassed by Zanu PF and “its complicity
criminal justice system”.

He called on Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and the Attorney
General Johannes Tomana to take immediate action and to apply the law evenly
and equally.

Biti said Makone has not been able to come to the rescue of arrested party
activists because the likes of Chihuri, Tomana, ZDF commander General
Chiwenga and intelligence boss, Happyton Bonyogwe were answerable to Mugabe.

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Tsvangirai blocks talk of Makone censure

Monday, 19 December 2011 12:19


Theresa Makone, the Home Affairs co-minister, accused of meddling in Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s botched marriage, has for now escaped censure
after the party agreed to shelve issues that could destabilise the party.

Party insiders want Makonethe MDC-T women’s assembly chairperson and husband
Ian, Tsvangirai’s personal advisor, chucked out of the party for allegedly
facilitating the Prime Minister’s “marriage” to Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo.

Sources said the issue was raised at party’s national executive meeting on
Friday, but Tsvangirai said it could not be discussed as it was his “private
life”. The sources said Tsvangirai yesterday blocked the matter again at the
party’s national council meeting by acknowledging at the beginning of the
meeting that he has had personal life problems which should not affect the

The MDC-T leader, said another source, pledged to address his inadequacies
effectively, killing the impending planned onslaught against the Makones.
“Several members of the national council wanted the matter discussed but PM
blocked it by saying the meeting could not debate his private life,” said a
source. “This for now killed our attempts to have Makone censured.”

Source said Tsvangirai blocked the issue because he did not want to be seen
to be instigating the ouster of the Makones who he is very close to. “The
issue is not dead,” said a senior party member.

“We want it raised again at a special national executive meeting
provisionally set for January next year.” MDC-T spokesperson Douglas
Mwonzora could not be reached for comment as he was not answering his mobile

Makone last year angered party colleagues when she tried to assist Zanu PF
secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa to have his son Martin released
from police custody when several MDC-T cadres were wallowing in jails on
allegedly trumped-up charges.

She also courted the ire of party members when she elbowed out former Women’s
Assembly chairperson Lucia Matibenga from her post in what some MDC-T
activists said was not done according to procedure.

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Brace for more street protests, says Sikhala

Monday, 19 December 2011 12:34

MASVINGO — MDC99 leader Job Sikhala, who was arrested last week for leading
a demonstration against President Robert Mugabe and calling for an end to
the coalition government, has stuck to his guns saying he will lead his
supporters in more street protests.

Sikhala was arrested after leading a protest march to Munhumutapa Building
which houses President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
offices. He was released after signing a warned and cautioned statement.
Addressing journalists at the Masvingo Press Club on Friday, the former St
Mary’s legislator said he would not be deterred by his recent arrest.

He said the other MDC formations in the inclusive government had let
Zimbabweans down by ceding too much power to Mugabe, who has led the country
since 1980.

His party has been using social media forums to urge Zimbabweans to
demonstrate against the unity government, saying it was being abused by Zanu
PF for it to gain legitimacy.

“We will call for more street protests until the skewed power sharing
agreement is dissolved. We will also lead more peaceful protesters calling
for Mugabe to go,” said Sikhala.

“We demand that there be no elections until Mugabe is no longer on the
political scene.”Sikhala said MDC99 would continue to fight for people’s
rights. “We are not joking. This is not a threat. We will fight for our
constitutional rights. There will be endless conflict because we cannot have
pre-determined elections in the country,” said Sikhala.

“We are not interested in any election as long as Mugabe is still at the

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Ardbennie resident’s gold reef stand

Monday, 19 December 2011 12:52

FROM the outside, JJ1 stand in Waterfalls avenue in Harare’s Ardbennie
suburb looks like any other residential plot. But as one gets closer, the
large number of people milling around the place and the blaring music tell a
tale of how city council bylaws are being blatantly flouted in broad

In the area, the stand is acclaimed for its owner’s entrepreneurship. Short,
dark and burly Peter Bokosi, popularly known as Boxer, is well-known for his
clever money-making schemes.

When The Standard news crew visited the place recently, a woman was busy
making a fire in a shade near the entrance, which later turned out to be the
place where Bokosi’s imbibing clients sit and enjoy a cold beer after a hard
day’s work.

They are also served food for a fee. Near the shade is a small tuckshop
which Boxer said was built by one of his tenants under his lease scheme.
Behind his main house is a structure bigger than the tuckshop, which turns
out to be another house he is letting to tenants.

Behind this second house is the main attraction of this compound — several
cardboard structures believed to be home to scores of people, most of them
alleged to be prostitutes.

“As you can see, my compound is very big, so I rent space to those willing
to establish a home of their own on a lease agreement,” Boxer explained.“There
is enough space for you to build a house of any size here and we help each
other in meeting the costs. Space for a two-roomed cottage costs US$75 and
that for a four-roomed one costs US$150.

“You just build your beautiful house here and those who live in the shacks
like noise so you ignore them and mind your own business.” A tenant buys
building material, which could cost less than US$300 for a three-roomed
structure. Boxer, who claims to be a qualified builder, does all the
construction at a minimal cost bearing in mind that he will inherit the
structure when the tenant finally leaves.

The two parties would then agree on monthly rentals which will see each side
realising maximum benefit from the deal, with the landlord getting value for
his land and the tenant getting value from the lease.

Owner plans to phase out shacks

Boxer said he plans to phase out the squalid shacks in the backyard, where
each tenant is understood to be paying US$20 per month to allow for the
construction of standard structures.

“Those living in the shacks do not have money so some just plaster the floor
and use cardboards for the walls,” he explained. “But I want value for every
part of the compound as you can see at the corner there is a garage where
people park their cars at a fee and over there someone is selling his

A walk around the compound showed that the section with the shacks — about
15 in total — was a clear health hazard; with flies buzzing at a big hole in
the open which serves as the Blair toilet.

A central tape and an open well serve the whole compound with water.  Every
structure is connected to the main power supply. Music could be heard
blasting from a radio in one of the shacks; somebody was watching an African
movie in another while free-to-air Wiztec satellite dishes were installed on

Little children, most of them running in and out of some of the shacks, were
playing around while at the front of the main house, some men offloaded
crates of beer meant for sale.

Place serves as shebeen, brothel

People from the neighbourhood said the compound, which is a few metres from
the main road, is a hive of activity at night, with the front serving as a
shebeen and the shacks-section as a brothel.

As if to confirm this, Boxer advised a man working on the floor of one of
the shacks to also attend to the wall separating it from the next so that
“what happens in there is not heard over here”.

Analysts said Boxer might be capitalising on the plight of home-seekers,
especially the poor, by offering squalid shelter at a fee.

Housing shortage, no reason to flout city by-laws: Gwindi

The city’s housing department has said the housing backlog stands at more
than 500 000 residents, with about 220 housing cooperatives not yet
shortlisted for any residential stands.

City spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said lack of housing should not be used as a
reason to flout city by-laws. “Illegal structures like those ones you are
talking about are not allowed and the housing backlog does not justify that
illegal activity,” he said.

“Whenever such things happen, we destroy the structures and fine the

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Rights violations probed

Monday, 19 December 2011 12:50

A three-member delegation from the Observatory for the Protection of Human
Rights Defenders (OBS) yesterday ended a nine-day fact-finding mission to
the country to investigate reports of widespread harassment of journalists
and human rights activists as well as the selective application of the law.

The delegation comprised Swaziland High Court judge, Justice Thomas Masuku,
International Commission for Jurists (ICJ) director Arnold Tsunga and ICJ
consultant and academic Berita Kopolo. Speaking to journalists on Thursday,
Tsunga said the results of the fact-finding mission would soon be made

Members of the delegation held meetings with human rights activists and
media practitioners. “Media practitioners are part of human rights defenders
and they can be targeted because of their work which promotes the right to
freedom of expression,” said Tsunga.

Media practitioners and human rights activists in the country face constant
harassment from law enforcement agents under draconian legislation such as
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, Public Order and Security Act,
Criminal Defamation and Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

The fact-finding mission was a follow up on the conclusions and
recommendations which came out from the 2008 mission, in the context of the
government of national unity set up in 2009.

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Harare council faces hefty loan penalties

Monday, 19 December 2011 12:46

The Harare City Council is struggling to access a US$144 million loan
facility advanced by China in March this year with information emerging that
the local authority may be forced to fork out over US$11 million in
penalties due to delays in taking up the funds.

Sources at Town House said Cabinet had not yet approved the loan earmarked
for upgrading Harare’s dilapidated water and sewer infrastructure, as
differences have emerged over fresh demands by the Chinese that council pay
an additional 8% interest.

“The Ministry of Finance are the guarantors of the loan and indicated that
paying the 8%would make the loan expensive. Council has since requested the
legal opinion of the Attorney-General,” said a senior council official.

Initially, the Chinese were said to have demanded a down payment of US$14
million before the loan could be released. “The Chinese were told that if
the city could raise $14 million, then there would be no need for the loan.

They (Chinese) then reportedly came up with another demand that council pay
8% interest because the city now wanted to access the loan in three tranches
instead of  one,” said another official.

Town Clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi confirmed that Cabinet had  not yet approved
the loan, but denied that the Chinese were making fresh demands. “There is
nothing like that,” said Mahachi.

“This is a government-to-government loan which is still awaiting Cabinet
approval. Conditions of the facility will be known later. People are just
speculating. Let’s wait for the Cabinet approval.”

China National Machinery and Equipment Corporation (CNMEC) is expected to do
the upgrading works under the project, which is part of the nine economic,
technical co-operation and loan deals worth over US$700 million signed
between Zimbabwe and China during a visit by Chinese Vice-Prime Minister
Wang Qishang. Finance minister Tendai Biti signed the three loan agreements
with Li Riougu, the president of the China Export and Import Bank.

Facility to boost  water supplies

Harare Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi says the US$144 million loan facility which
was extended by the China Export and Import Bank was expected to  improve
Harare’s water treatment capacity from the current 620 megalitres to 700
megalitres a day.

A water reclamation plant along the Bulawayo road, idle for some time now,
would also be commissioned using the loan, thereby enabling the provision of
an additional 40 megalitres a day.

“The Chinese loan is set to significantly increase the amount of water
available to the people,” said Mahachi. “We are also going to sort out the
distribution network by replacing rotten water pipes. The benefit of doing
this is reducing what we call non-revenue water, which is water being lost
along the way and not going to the people.”

Mahachi said the Chinese were also proposing to open a plant to construct
water pipes and hand it over to council once the upgrading project was
complete. The sewer system will also benefit, with the Firle and Crowborough
treatment works being upgraded to handle more sewerage, thereby enabling all
raw sewage to be treated before being discharged in the rivers.

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Danida back in zim 10 years later

Monday, 19 December 2011 12:44

DENMARK and the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) are back in
Zimbabwe 10 years after quitting the country when relations between the
Danish and Zanu PF government turned sour due to sharp political

The Danish flag was last Friday hoisted in the country for the first time
since the embassy closed in 2002. Charge d’Affaires at the Danish embassy in
Harare, Ketil Karlsen, told The Standard that US$43 million has since been
committed for development activities in Zimbabwe in 2011 alone through
Danida, making Denmark one of the top five bilateral donors in the country.

He said the government of national unity (GNU) and the current reform
processes provide hope for a better and democratic Zimbabwe. “Zimbabwe has a
huge potential waiting to be released,” he said. “The country must take
decisive steps to ensure democratic and economic reforms and take a careful
look at the current policies in order to attract private sector investment.
We are here to assist.”

Karlsen said Denmark does not support any particular political party in the
country. “We are here to build bridges,” said Karlsen. Denmark does not
favour any political party but is there to help those who want to build a
prosperous Zimbabwe.”

When Denmark closed its embassy, the government accused the Danish of
planning to cause discontent and revolt in Zimbabwe by actively supporting
the then opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The Danish however, denied the claims. Karlsen commended the parties to the
GNU for holding the recent anti-violence indaba where the country’s three
principals spoke against political violence and urged their supporters to
exercise peace and tolerance.


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Air Zim to resume flights

Monday, 19 December 2011 12:42

AN Air Zimbabwe plane that has been holed in London after a US company
threatened to auction it over a US$1,2 million debt is now expected in the
country on Tuesday.

On Monday, General American Supplies impounded Air Zimbabwe’s Boeing 767-200
at Gatwick International Airport and threatened to auction it to recover
money owed by the troubled airline.

Government intervened to save the plane from going under the hammer.
Innocent Mavhunga, the airline’s acting group CEO told The Standard the
plane would now leave London tomorrow evening and arrive on Tuesday.

He said the airline had paid the US$1,2 million debt plus the legal fees.
Mavhunga said that flights to South Africa would resume any day this week.
“We hope to have resolved the matter between Monday and Tuesday,” he said
adding that the parent ministry continues sourcing funding for the airline.

Last week, Air Zimbabwe suspended flights to South Africa fearing that
creditors would pounce on the airline once it landed at OR Tambo
International Airport.

The troubled airline has debts of over US$100 million which it has failed to
service owing to low revenue streams and antiquated equipment which has
increased the cost of running the business.

Analysts say government has to move out of the airline to stop the financial
haemorrhage but are unanimous that doing so now would mean the airline would
be sold for a song.

Chinese airline, Hainan, has been linked to Air Zimbabwe but despite the
suggestions and meetings with officials by President Robert Mugabe last
month, nothing has moved along that front, with the airline further sinking
in the abyss.

In the meantime, regional airlines like South African Airways, Kenya Airways
and Ethiopian Airlines are feasting on the problems of Air Zimbabwe, getting
the traffic to and from Zimbabwe on a silver platter.

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No Nkomo statue before Unity Day

Monday, 19 December 2011 12:39

BULAWAYO — The statue of the late nationalist Vice-President Joshua Nkomo
will not be erected in Bulawayo before Unity Day as previously planned, a
Cabinet minister has said.

Unity Day marks the historic signing of the unity accord on December 22
1987, by Nkomo of PF Zapu and President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF. In an
interview with The Standard on Friday, co-Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo
Mohadi admitted that they would not meet the December 22 deadline.

“We will not be able to meet the December 22 deadline as we had
 anticipated,” said Mohadi. He however, also revealed that work on the
statue would soon be underway.

“I can assure you that work on the statue will soon be resumed as we are
expecting some materials to arrive in the country soon to finish up the
 job,” said Mohadi.

“We have also managed to get more resources for the project. Therefore, we
are certain that work will soon resume on the statue.” Work at the site
halted more than a month after the completion of the pedestal where the
statue would be placed.

Initially, the deadline for the completion of the statue —which is located
at the intersection of main street and 8th avenue — was before the Heroes
Day holidays in August.

Last month, a Harare-based contractor abandoned the construction of the
statue after government reportedly ran out of funds for the project. The
contractors allegedly vacated the construction site after the government
failed to pay for the services.

Two weeks ago, the government tried to speed up work on the construction of
the statue to enable Mugabe to unveil it during the just-ended Zanu PF
conference, with no success.

The statue, which was facing north, was pulled down in September last year a
few weeks after it was erected after the family objected on the grounds that
it did not depict the exact attributes of the late nationalist.

The family also complained that the government had not involved them in the
whole project. The statue itself, the family said, was very small, pitiful
and hardly a street statue at all. They  said the statue was neither the
landmark nor the monument that it should be. Nkomo, who was affectionately
known as Father Zimbabwe, passed away in 1999.

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Festive season: No business boom for transporters

Monday, 19 December 2011 12:38

LONG distance transporters have said business remained low despite that the
festive season is already underway. Some bus crews at Harare’s Mbare bus
terminus yesterday said they had expected business to boom, given that many
companies traditionally go on annual shut-down in mid-December.

“Business is very low, you wouldn’t think that Christmas is upon us,” Onwell
Kanja said. “As you can see, we spend hours touting for travellers, but we
end up departing with just a few passengers.”

He added: “It has been like this for the greater part of the year. Maybe the
coming week will be better, as we hope those who work go on break.” The few
travellers on buses said they were geared up for the Christmas and New Year
celebrations. Some were loading groceries and furniture on the buses heading
to their rural homes.

“I thought it is more comfortable and safer for my family to travel now and
avoid the rush that usually happens during the last week before Christmas,”
said 45-year-old Josephine Jiri. “We also want to travel now before bus
fares are hiked.”

Some supermarkets in Harare’s city centre had on display goods they claimed
had prices reduced as part of special offers. However, very few shoppers
could be seen with full trolleys — typical of Christmas shopping mood. “We
hope business will improve next week,” a till operator at Food World Mbuya
Nehanda said. “Maybe people are yet to receive their December salaries.”

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Giving the boy child the best possible start in life

Monday, 19 December 2011 13:09

How can we see boys as something other than problems? How can we see boys as
something positive? How can we effectively help boys resolve the
difficulties they face?
As we commemorate this very important day for our sons, nephews, fathers,
brothers, uncles and grandfathers with the above theme in mind, I felt we
could just share a few pointers.

As adults and communities that work with and are a part of the boy child, I
want to challenge you and ask you: How do you see that boy in your home,
school, church or social grouping? Some bundle of trouble? A string of girls
and women behind them, with babies strapped on their backs? List is endless.

Believe you me, the boy child that we have in almost all of our homes is
viewed with mixed feelings and some scepticism. My plea to you all is that
we see boys in new ways and mentor them to be more interpersonally engaged.

Let us believe in the boy child’s ability to be happy, healthy individuals
who are positive contributors to community and family life. Let us recognise
and support what is natural about boys’ behaviour and realise the need to
help them connect more with themselves and others.

Let us be wary of social pressures and help boys out of the “box”. Boys grow
up hearing messages that are limiting and hurtful like; “boys don’t cry”,
“boys don’t do pots and pans” and “boys need to prove themselves through
fighting”. As society, we need and must help the boy child learn that there
are many ways to be a man.

That it is alright to own and express vulnerable feelings and that there are
many ways of resolving conflict other than through violence, so they can be
better fathers, brothers, nephews, uncles and grandfathers of tomorrow. Let
us not expose our boy children to violence of any kind and make them feel
valued and respected for who they are.

Let us see boys as something positive other than as problems. Do away with
the old adage that says, “Boys will be boys”. As society we tend to
highlight the trouble boys get into and forget to support them for the good
things they bring us since they are also our gifts from God. Part of the
problems boys face in meeting the world have to do with the way the world
meets them. Let us teach boys to be respectfully active i. e allowing them
to be boys in a responsible way.

Let me leave you with this message; research, the world over has shown that
boys and girls share the same emotions, the same capacity for relationships,
the same basic cognitive functions and the same general levels of
intelligence. As such, let us remember that boys have and should enjoy the
best possible start in life by making sure they enjoy educational rights,
rights to fatherhood, protection from violence, right to good health ( both
physical and mental ) and a right to real life choices.
Till we meet again in this, our corner.


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Mad week is here, let’s all take care

Monday, 19 December 2011 13:07

The next seven days are what could be termed “the mad week”; everyone knows
why. Christmas is a week away and everybody — regardless of religious
persuasion — is excited by the festive mood.  There are high expectations as
people spoil each other with gifts. In the “mad week” people do whatever
they do in a rush, be it late shopping or travelling.

The “mad week” is also when carnage on our roads escalates. Everyone is
travelling using all sorts of modes. It is the greatest moment of weakness
for all because people literally hand over their lives to whoever is driving
them to their destinations.

This has been said before, but it should be said until everyone’s ears ring:
drivers have to realise the enormity of the responsibility that they bear.
Before each driver takes his/her vehicle onto the road he/she should be
absolutely sure that the vehicle is roadworthy — particulary public

This shouldn’t be done through guess work; qualified people should do the
assessments and give honest appraisals to the drivers. It is only through
such a process that drivers can be confident that their vehicles are in good
condition. In the past the Automobile Association used to offer this service
at very reasonable rates; it seems it has quietly faded into oblivion.

We are saying safety begins with roadworthy vehicles; but also of critical
importance is the state of mind of the drivers. It is assumed every driver
knows the Highway Code backwards but many a driver disregards road rules.
Although our roads are not in the best of condition, at least the road signs
are still visible; these should be followed religiously. Speed limits are
displayed wherever they are necessary; motorists should stick to these.

Zimbabweans enjoy their drink but this has become a danger to society
because drivers want to drink while driving. Many claim drink doesn’t affect
their driving but such claims are not scientific. Alcohol affects the driver’s
judgement and reaction time; so he/she should stay away from it.
Let’s make this week less mad. It is not too much to ask.

Quote of the week

The current illegally constituted BAZ board is now adjudicating and
approving broadcasting licences unlawfully. The current BAZ board needs to
be directed to stop operating immediately and the licences it has dished out
immediately revoked,” Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
on new radio licences.

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Zanu PF conference: Who’s fooling who?

Monday, 19 December 2011 13:06

The Zanu-PF conference has come and gone. Invited delegates all came out
praising President Robert Mugabe, with South Africa at the top of the
“praise song”, casting doubts over who really the invited delegates regarded
as a paragon of democracy in the country’s political landscape, with more
anti-Tsvangirai calls at the conference despite calls to end hate speech as
espoused in the Global Political Agreement.

South Africa’s ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe pledged the ANC’s
support for Zanu-PF for the national elections in Zimbabwe, expected to take
place next year, saying the two parties had a common history that could not
be wished away and this renders questionable even Zuma’s role as mediator in
the lanky unity government.

If what Mantashe said is the true position of the party on Zanu-Pf, how
would one expect to see fair or genuine mediation in the Zimbabwean
political issue? It is possible we be being treated to a well stage-managed
drama, with Zuma pretending to be taking a hardline stance on Mugabe.

Zanu-PF and ANC are parties claiming to form part of the frontline states,
which pride themselves as being ruled by former liberation movements and it
is perhaps unrealistic to think that either of them would wake up one day
drawing swords against the other no matter how brutal the other becomes in
running her country’s affairs.

Zuma is ANC to the marrow, and when Mantashe pledged support for Zanu-PF in
the impending elections, saying it was payback time for the support Zanu-PF
gave the ANC, he epitomised his boss’s true position.

To all and sundry, it sounded like a scene in a dream when  Mantashe said
the ANC will wait for Zanu-PF to come to it for advice about elections, even
saying the party’s teams stood ready to share experiences with Zimbabwe’s
former ruling party.

So why the blame on Julias Malema for hero-worshiping Mugabe on his visit to
Zimbabwe?  The excited Mantashe even went on to urge Zanu-PF to be quick in
approaching it for advice while there was still time to change things before
elections, parroting the common Zanu-PF anti-imperialist rhetoric.

Then came the Botswana Democratic Party Executive Secretary, Thabo Masalila,
Ian Khama’s representative at the Zanu-PF conference, bringing a paradigm
shift to his boss’s usual anti-Mugabe mantra, a shock that possibly baffled
scores of delegates, possibly Zanu-PF itself.


Botswana President Ian Khama, an arch-critic of President Robert Mugabe, has
probably succumbed to the saying; “If you can’t beat them join them” and has
therefore sought to normalise relations with his Zimbabwean counterpart
after he sent a delegation from his party to offer solidarity support to
Zanu-PF at its just ended annual conference.

Khama’s emissary, Masalila, heaped praise on Mugabe, urging Zanu-PF members
to back the ageing leader, a move that sets a tumultous political stage in
the region at a time when the majority of people across Africa and beyond
want the geriatric leader out of office as soon as yesterday in order to
take the country back to its hey-days.

In a song that Khama has never sung before, through his emissary on the
controversial indigenisation and empowerment drive being spearheaded by
Zanu-PF, he said the stance taken by Zimbabwe should be emulated by other
countries on the continent while in pragmatic terms the implementation of
the same policy has left the country profusely bleeding economically, with
foreign western investors in jitters, now standing aside, spectating as the
country heads for a further economic doom owing to misguided economic
policies hatched by the now defunct and fractured Zanu-PF .

Zambian President, Michael Sata through his Patriotic Front secretary
general Wynter Kabimba also joined the league and called on Western
countries to unconditionally lift sanctions they imposed on Zimbabwe, a song
that definitely complemented Zanu-PF’s stance on the west’s position on the
country, a slap in the face of the two MDCs, and as if that was not enough,
Kabimba revealed Zambia’s ruling Patriotic Front derived its name from
Zanu-PF, bragging about the synonymy.

What would partners in the country’s GNU expect given such a scenario of
apparent solidarity with the belligerent Zanu- PF manifested by various
delegates from Sadc countries at Zanu-PF’s annual conference, with
Mozambique’s Frelimo’s secretary for external relations, Dr Xarzanda
Selemame Cera, saying her party will back Zanu-PF in the forthcoming
elections as the two movements shared a strong bond?

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Forget politics and enjoy our wonderful world

Monday, 19 December 2011 13:01

I’m in festive mood. I’m not the only one; I see everyone is excited.
Everyone is focused on Christmas Day: the good food, the new clothes and the
general conviviality.

As the festive season reaches its climax we might as well forget — if we
can — a little about our politics, the circus that has left our heads
spinning and sing along with Louis Armstrong:(words in coloured box below)

The song sounds so fresh in Zimbabwe today, what with the rains falling! The
grass is green; the rainbow pops up in full flourish during breaks in the
rain. The trees are green too and the sky sometimes hangs down low before a

The children play in the rain celebrating the newness of everything; the
clothes they have been given by their guardians for Christmas, the puddles
that remain in the ground after a shower and the boy, Mary’s boy child,
whose birth is celebrated by more than half the world.

Sung by Armstrong in 1968, the song was written by Bob Thiele and George
David Weiss for an America that was racially and politically polarised.
President John F Kennedy had been assassinated in 1963, Malcolm X in
February 1965 and Martin Luther-King Jnr in 1968. The Civil Rights Movement
was becoming more and more militant and Vietnam War protests were
intensifying all over the US.

In penning the song, Thiele and Weiss hoped its message of universal
goodwill would help cool tempers, especially the seething hatred between
blacks and whites. It was a highly political song; but as I said earlier,
let’s for a moment forget about the politics (if we can).

The song appeals to me in a profound way; the message I get from it today is
the importance of a clean environment: the skies are blue, the clouds white,
bright blessed day and so on. Our environment is dirtiest during the festive
season. We throw caution to the wind and go about throwing everything else
around. As people travel along our highways they will be throwing litter out
the window from their vehicles.

They drop their empty beverage cans and plastic bottles along the way with
impunity. The festive season also means a lot of excess food. This will not
be disposed of properly; it will be dumped by the road side where it will
rot resulting in flies proliferating in our residential areas. Beside
decaying food being an eyesore on it’s own it has other adverse effects on
our wellbeing. Disease will spread which might lead to the loss of life.

So as we celebrate Christmas we must also think about the environment we
live in; we must have a proper way of disposing of our waste. It is
heartening that a consensus has been built around the issue of littering.
Principals in the government of national unity – particularly President
Robert Mugabe and Premier Morgan Tsvangirai — have taken up the fight urging
citizens to clean up.

Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda has taken up the fight too. All newspapers
carry a story on the environment at least once a week. This means the
message is spreading. Unfortunately the message will take a little longer to
sink into the heads of quite a lot of people not because they don’t read the
newspapers but because cleanliness has never been a part of their

I see a strong correlation between the environment and politics (that word
again). Presently our politicians thrive in a dirty environment; it’s almost
like they need it to remain dirty. This enables them to pursue their corrupt
agendas. When politicians are openly corrupt, citizens wouldn’t careless
what happens to the environment.

When political violence pervades our cities, survival becomes the only
important thing. Who would think about the environment in a war situation?
Only when we have cleaned our environment can we clean our politics. Only
then can our world be as wonderful as it should be.

What a Wonderful World

I see skies of blue, clouds of white
The bright blessed day
The dark sacred night
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
and I think to myself, what a wonderful world

The colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin’ hands, sayin’ “How do you do?”

They’re really saying “I love you”
I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
And I think to myself, what a wonderful world

All the colours of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shakin’ hands sayin’ “How do you do”
They’re really saying “I love you”

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know
and I think to myself what a wonderful world
Yes, I think to myself, what a wonderful world


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