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Zimbabwe rights groups forecast upheavals in 2012

Associated Press

(AP) – 4 hours ago

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — An alliance of Zimbabwe's main human rights and
civic organizations says human rights violations and failures of the
coalition government this year forecast greater upheavals in 2012.

The eight groups said Thursday that 2011 saw an upsurge in political
violence that had subsided amid optimism over the coalition's formation in

President Robert Mugabe has called for elections next year. The alliance
says increased intimidation against activists and journalists is linked to
his calls for polls.

To the bulk of Zimbabweans, Christmas has become a burden "instead of it
being a joy."

Events this year showed a country "experiencing a failed transition and
sliding back into the anarchy" that surrounded disputed, violence-plagued
elections in 2008, the groups say.

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Police crackdown triggers Harare transport chaos

21/12/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

POLICE in Harare on Wednesday engaged in running battles with vendors and
commuter omnibus crews in an operation they say is aimed at decongesting the
capital’s central business district.

In a combined operation with the City’s security department, the Zimbabwe
Republic Police could be seen patrolling the city’s down town areas mostly
near commuter bus termini.

The crackdown also triggered transport chaos in the city as commuter omnibus
operators withdrew their services, fearing arrest.

Harare’s streets are littered with vendors selling vegetables, cosmetics,
toothpaste, shoes, fruits and even cordials. Most vendors ignore the city
by-law requiring them to register and pay a fee for vending in the city
preferring to pay bribes to law enforcement officers whenever they are

Even the commuter omnibus crews openly pay bribes to traffic police at
roadblocks mounted on routes into the city.

Critics however blasted the police raids saying they were a cruel blow to
efforts by informal traders seeking to provide food for their families.

Zimbabwe has an unemployment rate of over 90 percent. Most economically
active adults are in the informal sector, while the privately owned commuter
omnibuses are the hallmark of the public transport sector.

Augustine Tawanda, secretary general of the Zimbabwe Cross Border Traders
Association which represents most informal traders recently criticized
government for sticking with a system that promotes corruption while failing
to harness revenue from informal trading.

“There has not been sufficient consultation with the players in the informal
economy on how they can contribute to the fiscus or how to bring these small
but numerous transactions into the mainstream banking economy," Tawanda

"From a revenue policy formulation perspective this has resulted in
development of taxation mechanisms such as presumptive tax whose
effectiveness is debatable,” said Tawanda.

He added: “To ask a trader from Mutoko to come to Harare with a set of
accounts prepared by a professional bookkeeper before one can get a
clearance certificate raises the cost of compliance to prohibitive levels.

"Without the tax clearance certificate traders will be charged a presumptive
tax of 10 percent each time they cross the border with goods for resale”.

He said such mechanisms force the ordinary trader to make the necessary
survival decision of whether to comply or evade the authorities.

“In the majority of cases, on analysing all the risks it becomes strategic
to beat the system rather than to comply and the only weapon at informal
traders’ disposal is to use the money which should have gone to the fiscus
to pay bribes,” charged Tawanda.

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Police roadblocks cause chaos for Harare shoppers

By Tererai Karimakwenda
22 December, 2011

A crackdown on illegal commuter omnibuses and vehicles, launched by various
authorities in Harare on Wednesday, left many passengers stranded on the
outskirts of the city centre as operators avoided roadblocks set up by the
police. Traffic jams and long queues were also reported by shoppers.

Reliable sources told SW Radio Africa that minibus drivers accused police of
being corrupt and soliciting bribes at the roadblocks, even from drivers
whose documents were in order. The drivers themselves were also criticized
for raising fares illegally during the holidays.

Phillip Pasirayi, director of the Centre for Community Development Zimbabwe,
described the police operation as disorderly and chaotic. “People had to
endure long distances from the outskirts of the city and then back again
with their shopping bags,” Pasirayi explained.

He also agreed with SW Radio Africa contacts who said some corrupt police
officers were using the roadblocks to raise money for themselves. “There is
need for a cleaning up exercise of some sort within the police force. It’s
like a cancer that needs to be dealt with decisively,” Pasirayi said.

The drivers themselves were criticized for treating commuters unfairly.
Pasirayi said they are charging double or even triple the amount of the
actual fares during holidays, knowing people have no choice. Drivers claimed
they had to pay the police.

The Harare council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi announced last week that
unregistered vehicles, and those parked illegally, would be impounded over
the holidays. Owners were being fined $20 and impounded vehicles cost $600
to recover.

The special operation was conducted by the Vehicle Inspection Department,
Central Vehicle Registry and the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe. But all
they’ve seemed to manage to do is create chaos.

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Xmas made in hell

By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Thursday, 22 December 2011 12:38

HARARE - It is a Christmas made in hell for many Zimbabweans this year. From
transport blues to critical shortages of cash in some banks, Zimbabweans are
experiencing a nightmare.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), together with the municipal police,
cracked down on kombis and illegal vendors in Harare yesterday, a situation
that brought memories of 2005’s Operation Murambatsvina.

Commuters were left stranded yesterday with very few kombis on the road as
the crackdown, dubbed by victims as Murambatsvina Phase Two, takes place in

A snap survey by the Daily News showed a heavy police presence on all roads
leading to the city, making life difficult for the commuting public and
kombi crews.

Commuters were forced to walk the remaining distance into town as police
blocked kombis from entering the central business district.

For most of the commuting public, the crackdown has come as a sour Christmas

The indefinite operation, which started yesterday, has dampened the festive
mood in the city.

Most people wanting to make last effort withdrawals from banks were left

First, they struggled to get into town and then once in the city, they could
not withdraw their cash because of the long queues at banks and
non-functioning automated teller machines.

A driver at the City-Sunningdale rank, John Simukai said the situation was
tense in the morning and they had to drop passengers way before getting into
town for fear of being nabbed.

“The ZRP are working together with the municipal police and impounded kombis
are taken to the city council’s central stores,” he said.

While the police claimed the operation was meant to reduce carnage during
the festive season, many people said it was a way of trying to line their
pockets through bribes.

Another driver at the Sunningdale rank said the operation encouraged
corruption as they now had to fork out a lot of money to bribe the police.
He said he paid as much as $30 for his kombi to be released while some paid
even more.

“Of the 100 kombis that rank here, only around 20 were operating in the
morning while the rest are staying away to monitor the situation.

“The situation is tense but nothing has really changed, if you have money
you can be released, only that this time you have to part with more money,”
he said.

Efforts to get a comment from the police was futile as national traffic
police spokesperson Tigere Chigome said he was in Gwanda while Harare
provincial police spokesperson James Sabau was also out of office.

Due to the limited number of kombis on the road, fares shot up, at times
spiking by 100 percent.

A trip from Chitungwiza to Harare which normally costs at most a dollar, was
priced at two dollars while on most routes that cost 50 cents, operators
were asking for a dollar.

By mid-day, a long queue was visible at the City–Zengeza rank with a few
kombis coming in and charging two dollars per trip, an amount the commuters
said was too high.

“It is too much, we cannot afford it but we do not have a choice since there
are a few kombis,” said Kelvin, a Zengeza-bound commuter, adding the police
had wrongly timed their operation as it would inconvenience many travellers.

Kelvin said it would have been prudent for the police to launch their
operation after the Christmas holiday.

From transport blues, commuters came face to face with the pre-2008 scenario
where they had to bear the sun in long queues to access their had earned
cash — there was no cash at some banks with a few lucky ones getting rims of
$5 denominations.

Bankers’ Association of Zimbabwe chairperson John Mushayavanhu said the
queues were caused by the fact many people needed their money at the same

“People should use other means like ATMs and debit cards to buy from shops
in order to ease the pressure within the banking halls,” Mushayavanhu said.

While others were having nightmares in banks, vendors were playing cat and
mouse with police and trying to sell a few goods.

Nyarai Saungweme of Budiriro said she has never seen such a bleak Christmas
where people without money are harassed.

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Power outages affect surgery at Parirenyatwa hospital

By Tichaona Sibanda
22 December 2011

A four day power cut has seriously affected operations at Parirenyatwa
hospital in the capital.

Disruption in the supply of power has also forced authorities at the
hospital to send patients home, while in serious cases patients were
transferred to private hospitals for urgent operations.

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa said the outages at Parirenyatwa have
forced the city of Harare to approach the utility power company ZESA, with a
plan to resuscitate the thermal power station which stopped working 15 years

Muchemwa said repeated calls to ZESA to continue power supply to sensitive
institutions like hospitals in Harare have fallen on deaf ears. Although
both Parirenyatwa and Harare hospitals have contingency back-up generators
that are supposed to kick in when there are power outages, most of the times
the generators are out of service.

‘Its either they don’t have fuel or there is a mechanical fault with the
generators, so it has really been a struggle at Parirenyatwa, the most
affected hospital in the city,’ Muchemwa said.

City fathers have had meetings with ZESA officials in a bid to have the
thermal station back in the hands of the council, as it used to be before
the utility company took over in the early 1990’s.

‘Officials in the city council believe that if they can restore the thermal
station, which uses coal, power from that station will be prioritised to
institutions like hospitals around the capital,’ Muchemwa added.

Dr Douglas Gwatidzo of Doctors for Human Rights told the media in Harare on
Wednesday that the country’s chronic power woes must be addressed to prevent
needless loss of life.

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Harare’s water supply crisis worsens

22/12/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

A CRIPPLING water shortage is set to blight the Christmas and New Year
holidays for many Harare families amid fears of a deadly typhoid outbreak,
it has emerged.

Clean running water is scarce in most city suburbs with Hatcliffe, Mabvuku,
Tafara Greendale and Borrowdale among the worst affected.

Hatcliffe residents complain that they only get running water once in two
weeks. Most families now fear for their health following the recent typhoid
outbreak in the city.

“The water situation in Hatcliffe has become dire. Most boreholes in the
suburb are not working so we have resorted to harvesting rain water. When it
rains, we put containers at strategic points to collect water from the roof.
This is how we are surviving,” Melody Takanai, a resident of Hatcliffe said.

Residents fear the city’s water crisis could worsen the typhoid outbreak
recently reported in the capital.

Typhoid first struck in Dzivarasekwa, Tynwald South and Good Hope. By mid
December, recorded cases had surpassed 500.

Again, the cholera outbreak of 2008 was blamed on the collapse of water and

Both cholera and typhoid can easily spread through dirty water with women
and children among the most vulnerable.

The Harare City Council has since 2006 consistently failed to provide clean
and safe drinking water to its residents.
The shortages have resulted in residents scrambling for access to water
sources such as boreholes across the city.

Groups of women and children carrying buckets of water have become common
sight across the city as they move from one unprotected water source to the

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Radio licences row escalates

21/12/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

MEDIA and Information secretary, George Charamba, has claimed that the
Speaker of Parliament failed to submit nominations to the Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) board within the stipulated time thereby
allowing the ministry to appoint its own individuals.

Charamba – who also doubles as President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson -- was
reacting to allegations by the Speaker, Lovemore Moyo of the MDC-T party
that the BAZ board was illegally constituted since parliament had not been
involved in the process.

BAZ has come under-fire in recent days after awarding two national radio
licences to AB Communications and Zimpapers -- companies critics say are
linked to President Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed the licence awards as a farce
and demanded the dissolution of BAZ and revocation of the licences and
parliament also adopted a motion backing his demands.
But Charamba said Parliament had no business interfering with the operations
of BAZ.

"BAZ is an instrument for the Executive, its perceived demeanors can never
be a matter for Parliament because Parliament created the law a long time
ago and their role ended,” Charamba told state-run Herald newspaper.

"Parliament is trying to swallow its child back into the womb after birth;
unfortunately the child has grown too big to be swallowed. If they want to
do anything on BAZ, it will create a constitutional crisis because the
Executive won't be happy with the interference."

He also dismissed the Speaker’s claims that Parliament was by-passed in the
constitution of BAZ's board and, instead, accused Moyo of failing to submit
his nominations within the stipulated 30-day period.

“Moyo gave the Ministry names after the date expired and those names were of
people who failed to make it from the Zimbabwe Media Commission,” he said.
Charamba also blasted Tsvangirai’s criticism of the licence awards
dismissing the MDC-T leader as a “sulking loser”.

"When you do that (criticize the licence awards), you cease to be a
bona-fide complainant, you become a sulking loser. The strange thing is that
the complainant wasn't an applicant, but our Prime Minister. He is mourning
more than the bereaved, he said.

"In the process, the Prime Minister has instituted legal action against
himself because he is part of Government. It is unfortunate that we have a
Prime Minister who is in the habit of inviting litigation against himself.

"It is a fact that there were two licences on offer, but there were 16
applicants vying for the two licences. Surely, 14 must lose."

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Charamba wrong to say parliament cannot discuss BAZ

By Tichaona Sibanda
22 December 2011

Claims by Robert Mugabe’s spokesman that parliament has no mandate to
discuss or question the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe have been
strongly denied by an MDC-T legislator.

George Charamba, who also doubles up as the permanent secretary for the
Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity, said it is tantamount to
interfering with the executive if MPs discussed BAZ in Parliament.

He told the state controlled Herald that the only arms of government with
the mandate to discuss BAZ’s actions were the executive and the judiciary.

Settlement Chikwinya is the MDC-T MP for Mbizvo in KweKwe and it was he who
moved the motion in parliament to dissolve the BAZ board on the grounds it
was illegally constituted. Commenting on Charamba’s statements he said: ‘I
cannot believe that someone of such high academia cannot interpret section 4
of the Broadcasting Services Act, which makes it clear that the Executive,
after consultation with the Minister of Media and the Standing Rules and
order Committee of Parliament, shall appoint the BAZ board.

‘So how on earth can parliament be excluded in the dealings of the BAZ
board? Charamba has apparently chosen to forget that one of the main
principals of parliament is that it should exercise the oversight role over
the executive,’ Chikwinya said.

He continued: ‘What the executive can do, what the judiciary can do, the
legislature can also do. We operate obviously in our own spheres as the
three arms of government.’

Chikwinya, a rising star in the MDC-T ranks, said people should be reminded
that the legislature comes up with the law, the executive implements it and
the judiciary interprets those laws.

‘How then does Charamba try to marginalize parliament and say they are not
mandated to discuss BAZ, except the executive and judiciary, when all along
the three arms of government work side by side? Asked Chikwinya.

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Senior CIO operatives re-instated after 13 years

By Gift Phiri, Senior Writer
Thursday, 22 December 2011 13:00

HARARE - The High Court has set aside the suspension of two senior Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives and ordered their immediate
reinstatement with full benefits, ending a convoluted 13-year legal battle.

CIO chief administration officer David Nyabando and chief transport officer
Ricky Mawere challenged their 1998 suspension from the spy agency in the
High Court in 2005, refusing to be dragged before a disciplinary hearing
arguing that there was no law in Zimbabwe governing the operations of the
CIO in terms of disciplinary procedures.

The CIO alleges Nyabando and Mawere defrauded the State of cash that was
supposed to be used for building “safe houses”.

The two senior officers, ex-liberation fighters, insist they built the safe
houses but were pushed out of the spy agency in a dirty CIO succession power

Nyabando and Mawere were jointly charged with Lovemore Mukandi, the former
deputy director-general of the CIO who was arrested at the airport in
September this year after his deportation from Canada. He has since been
freed by the courts.

The cancellation of Nyabando and Mawere’s suspension was unopposed by the
spy agency, which has instead sought to pursue criminal charges against the

On the criminal charges the Supreme Court is scheduled to make a ruling on
an application for permanent stay of criminal proceedings ostensibly because
the alleged trial took an inordinately long time.

The High Court has ruled that their suspension from duty was unlawful, null
and void and that the inordinately long time it had taken to hear the case
breached provisions of Section 18(9) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe which
states that: “Every person is entitled to be afforded a fair hearing within
a reasonable time.”

The order was passed by Justice Francis Bere on a writ petition filed by the
CIO operatives who had challenged their suspension.

Nyabando and Mawere had cited the CIO director of administration as the
first respondent, the CIO director-general Happyton Bonyongwe as the second
respondent and minister of State for National Security Sydney Sekeramayi as
the third respondent.

“Whereupon, after reading documents filed of record and hearing counsel, it
is ordered that the suspension of the applicants from their employment be
and is hereby declared to be null and void,” says Justice Bere’s ruling.

“The applicants are entitled to be reinstated in their posts and to be paid
all salary and other benefits due to them with effect from the date they
were withheld (1998).

“The respondents are not entitled to hold an enquiry into the alleged acts
of misconduct on the part of the applicants before a board that has not been
established at law.

“The cost of this application be borne by respondents (CIO) on attorney and
client scale,” says the ruling.

Advocate Julia Wood, who is representing the CIO operatives, has since
advised the Civil Division of the Attorney General's Office so that it can
advise the CIO about the court order which has directed the spy agency to
reinstate the two.

The letter advises that Nyabando and Mawere shall be reporting for duty on
January 2.

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Constitutional Revision Process Resumes After New Dispute

21 December 2011

The ZANU-PF co-chairman of the parliamentary select committee on the
constitution said the drafters had ignored a national report based on
information gathered in the public outreach program during 2010

Blessing Zulu | Washington

President Robert Mugabe's former ruling ZANU-PF party  has climbed down from
its threat to fire the three drafters of the country's new constitution
after running into stiff resistance from the Movement for Democratic Change
formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, sources informed on the
situation said Wednesday.

The ZANU-PF co-chairman of the parliamentary select committee on the
constitution, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, had said the drafters ignored a
national report based on information gathered in the public outreach program
during 2010.

Drafters appeared Wednesday before the select committee to explain the
extent to which they had referred to the report. But sources said drafters
confronted Mangwana with video evidence showing him giving them instructions
he later denied issuing.

Sources said this convinced Mangwana to agree to let the drafters continue
their work.

Sources said Mangwana traded barbs with Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric
Matinenga, who wrote Mangwana telling him that he had no power to
unilaterally stop the process.

The select committee co-chairman responded that he did not take instructions
from the minister. Mangwana told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that the team of
drafters, including a former High Court justice, will continue under strict

Tsvangirai MDC selection committee co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora accused
ZANU-PF of trying to sabotage the process to trigger early elections.

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Chinhoyi Residents Snub Unity Day Commemorations

Chinhoyi, December 22, 2011- It was business as usual for most workers as
shoppers made last minute rush ahead of weekend Christmas holidays.

Although it was a national holiday declared to celebrate the Unity accord
signed between PF Zanu and PF Zapu in 1987, many people do not pay much
attention of its significance.

"We are at work and will only break a day before Christmas" said a worker at
Edgars clothing shop within the town central business centre.

Most major shops among them Topics, Bata, Power Sales, Number One were
opened throughout the day.

A spontaneous survey in the provincial capital situated about 120 kilometers
North West of Harare revealed that even small business enterprises were

“I can not afford to miss a day as just a sale will make the difference for
me financially. The dollar is elusive and I can not afford a holiday" said
Chipo Mudenga of Gunhill.

Banks were shut down in the town but it was busy at TM, OK and Farm and City
grocery shops.

"Today is just like an ordinary working day”, said a street vendor Petros
Matongo who sales cell phone gadgets.

He added that the holiday had not made any difference for him.

“Cash flow is affecting many who can afford to spend much" he added.

Forty five year old Stephen Muriga said motorists were buying spares and oil

“At least the sales are good today", he said.

The unity day was a political agreement between Zapu led by late national
hero Joshua Nkomo and Zanu's President Robert Mugabe in 1987.

This Unity Accord followed disturbances in Matabeleland and Midlands where
government trained 5th Brigade unleashed terror on civilians where at least
20 000 civilians are alleged to have been killed.

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Price hike hits Zim nationals hard

December 22 2011 at 09:45am


Zimbabweans at a Pretoria Station depot where a long-distance coach service
picks up travellers in a bakkie, loads their luggage in a trailer and takes
them to Midrand to start their journey to Zimbabwe. Picture: Etienne Creux

With prices hiked over twice their normal level, travelling times more than
doubled and charges for luggage made randomly, the trip home from the
Pretoria Station for Christmas is a daunting venture for many Zimbabweans.

On a visit to the station yesterday the Pretoria News found women, some with
children, each waiting near a mound of luggage - with most of the bags
packed with food and clothing to be taken home to families in Zimbabwe.

The women talked about the sudden hike in fares.

“We have been paying R300 for a single trip to Harare all year, but they
increased the prices at the beginning of December to R700,” said Mary, who
did not give her surname.

She and her sister each had no fewer than four large bags filled with food
and clothing, as well as a personal bag.

“We don’t know how much they will charge. They do not use a scale, they pick
it up, decide on a price and charge,” said Mary.

The sisters have not been home all year and had a lot to take to their
children and family in Harare.

“We struggle to budget for the trip. We must buy the tickets, have money for
whatever they want for the luggage and then have money to spend at home,”
Mary’s sister said.

Another family, watching their luggage being packed into the back of a
bakkie that was to take it to Midrand where the buses were to be leaving
from, then return for more luggage, said they were dreading the 12-hour trip
to the border.

“Because there are roadblocks right through to Beitbridge, the normal six
hours will be doubled,” said Sipho Masinga.

Also, the queues at the border gate would be terribly long, he said.

“Hundreds of vehicles transporting people to Zimbabwe bottleneck there. So
it takes anything up to four hours to get through.”

Masinga was travelling with two teenagers and had two big bags.

Memory Chikwekwete had her year-old daughter and five-year-old son with her.

“The trip home is hectic… very hectic,” the mother said, referring to
travelling home with two young children and their luggage.

“I have had to pay R700 for me and R700 for my son and then they will charge
me for my bags,” she said.

Worse was the travelling time.

“Travelling from Midrand to the border with my little girl is hell because
it gets hot on the bus. There is no fresh food and water and she gets
irritable,” she said.

Chikwekwete said passing through the border post was also a nightmare.
“Standing in the two queues - one in South Africa and the other in
Zimbabwe - waiting for the custom officials to check the bags and then
getting back on the bus takes so long.”

She was glad her husband had travelled ahead with most of their luggage,
easing the burden for her, Chikwekwete said.

Justice Muhlolo said the long journey to his village of Kwekwe in Zimbabwe
on the bus, the frequent stops, the heat and the queues were worth going
through to get home.

“Yes, you wish you could pay less, yes, you wish the trip was shorter and
more comfortable and, yes, the border is a nightmare, but once you get home
it is all worth it.” - Pretoria News

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Book Cafe/Mannenburg Faces Closure

Harare, December 22, 2011- Artists and revelers have been left in shock with
the news that Zimbabwe’s home of arts the Book Cafe and Mannenberg will
close shop following Old Mutual Property told all tenants in the building
that houses the two joints to make way for them.

The Book Café and Mannenberg venues are located at the Five Avenues Mall in
Harare's Avenues suburb.

The place is considered by many Harare creative lovers as an oasis of free
expression for over a decade.

The Book Café and Mannenburg, located at Fife Avenue Shopping Centre, were
opened in 1997 and 2000 respectively. They had established themselves over
the years as an island of artistic freedom and freedom of expression.

Old Mutual Property says it want to use its property that has prompted a
major outcry on social media networks with a campaign dubbed the Save the
Book Cafe/Mannenberg Campaign have been launched on Facebook to a healthy
response from the industry captains.

The announcement came just days after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had
launched his book at the place.

The award winning two venues were being managed by the Pamberi Trust and
Book Cafe recently  was awarded the prestigious 2011 Prince Claus Awards
worth €25 000 for its role in "culture and development".

Artists like Batsirai Gama and Edgar Langeveldt have all liked the page
expressing disappointment and asking for reconsideration.

According to a statement from Pamberi Trust, OK Zimbabwe Pension Fund and
its agents Old Mutual Property who own the Five Avenue Shopping Mall served
notice to all tenants in the building that they intend to occupy the premise
in 2012.

In the Facebook campaign for the reversal of the Old Mutual decision, the
administrators of the page wrote: "We Are Calling For An "Artists Boycott Ok
Campaign". Please Spread the Word. Let It Filter Through All Social

Langeveldt summed up by saying: "Blacks, whites, coloureds, tourists,
Indians, Chinese, the whole world would be in harmony at Book Cafe. It was a
little slice of what the whole country could be if we just lived, liked,
loved, sang, jammed, danced, laughed, cried, shared, ENJOYED! MILLIONS OF

In total 7500 concerts and functions, 650 public discussions, over 70 book
launches, 35 theatre productions, 150 international touring acts and
countless new local acts and collaborations had been hosted at the two

About 600,000 people have entered the twin venues since they were opened.

Africa’s great jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim was one of the first artists to
perform at the two entertainment joints.

In a statement Artists for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust, which has hosted its
Arrows of Art debates at Book Café described the closure as “sad.”

“We are saddened by the closure of the two venues which we considered to be
a bastion of freedom of artistic expression and media. We hope Paul and team
will soon find an alternative to provide the Zimbabwean civic society with a
place to share ideas and grow arts in Zimbabwe,” the ADZT statement read.

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Mugabe Pledges Support for Kabila Amid Disputed DRC Vote

21 December 2011

Some have interpreted Mugabe’s statement to mean Zimbabwe could again
intervene militarily in the central African country as it did in 1998 when
it helped Kabila’s father Laurent quash a massive rebellion

Violet Gonda & Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has waded into the disputed election in
the Democratic Republic of Congo promising the just-re-elected incumbent
Joseph Kabila that Zimbabwe will help him fight off any interference by
presumably Western outsiders.

Some have interpreted Mugabe’s statement to mean Zimbabwe could again
intervene militarily in the central African country as it did in 1998 when
it helped Kabila’s father Laurent quash a massive rebellion threatening his

Kabila was re-elected in a weekend vote discredited by some observers,
including those from the US-based Carter Center, as lacking credibility and
largely flawed.

Congolese opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi has also rubbished Kabila’s
re-election, declaring himself the true winner.

Mr. Mugabe, the only head of state at Kabila’s inauguration on Monday, told
journalists that Kabila’s victory should not be questioned as the election
had been democratic. He was quoted as saying that “any attempt to undermine
that democratic government will be resisted by Africa, [the Southern African
Development Community] and Zimbabwe, which has been a partner to the
Congolese people.”

But Zimbabwean National Healing Minister Moses Mzila Ndlovu of the Movement
for Democratic Change wing led by Welshman Ncube told VOA's Ntungamili Nkomo
there is no way Zimbabwe could ever intervene militarily in Kinshasa

However, Andrew Meldrum, a former correspondent in Zimbabwe and now Africa
editor at the Global Post newspaper in Boston, told reporter Violet Gonda
that Mr. Mugabe’s statements suggests he is prepared to send troops to the
DRC despite the cost.

“What was interesting is that SADC previously did not send all its troops
there, only a few countries did. But really it was mostly Zimbabwe,” Meldrum

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition Director McDonald Lewanika said Mr. Mugabe’s
statements showed that he has no idea of a democratic election, as the DRC
vote was marred from the outset by irregularities and violence.

“It was clear that there was no way that an election in the DRC was going to
produce a democratic outcome given the lack of preparedness of the electoral
body in that country, given the logistical challenges that they faced in
setting up of polling stations, the intimidations and the killings that took
place," Lewanika said.

Lewanika said Mugabe hopes to "re-band the group of despots in this region
through supporting each other when elections are actually disputed.”

Lawyer and political analyst Psychology Maziwisa, an aide to Indigenization
Minister Savior Kasukuwere, said Mr. Mugabe’s statements are being misread.

He said the president was merely showing support for a longtime ally and
that reports claiming Zimbabwe is ready to intervene militarily are an

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No new sanctions — US embassy

By Gift Phiri, Senior Writer
Thursday, 22 December 2011 10:40

HARARE - The US embassy in Harare on Wednesday said sanctions imposed on two
diamond mines located in Zimbabwe’s Marange region, did not reflect any
policy or constitute a new sanctions regime.

The embassy said the companies were already under sanctions since 2008 by
virtue of their links to Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC).

The US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac) on
December 9 added Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources to the list of
companies with which US persons or entities are prohibited from engaging in
financial transactions.

In a statement, the embassy said ZMDC, which was put under sanctions in 2008
pursuant to executive order 13 469, owned directly or indirectly, a 50
percent or greater interest in these two companies.

The embassy said the US has frozen all property and interests of Mbada
Diamonds and Marange Resources and has prohibited all transactions by US
persons or entities with these companies since the 2008 designation of ZDMC.

The US decision had caused consternation, coming as it did hardly a month
after the international diamonds watchdog the Kimberley Process
Certification Scheme allowed for supervised auctions of diamonds from the
two mines previously banned as “blood diamonds” at a plenary session held in
the DR Congo capital Kinshasa on November 1.

The United States did not take part in the vote, saying it wanted to help
the world body resolve the impasse after months of negotiations.

“The identifications do not reflect a new policy or constitute a new
sanctions measure, but rather merely clarify the extent of existing
sanctions on these entities and provide greater guidance to the diamond
industry and others regarding the extent of our sanctions,” the US embassy

“The United States would welcome the opportunity to consider de-listing
individuals and entities from the sanctions list, including ZMDC, if they
demonstrate that they are no longer undermining, or enabling the undermining
of Zimbabwe’s democratic development.”

Mines minister Obert Mpofu claims Zimbabwe is set to make $2 billion
annually from the sales of diamonds.

The 60 000-hectare Marange field in eastern Zimbabwe was discovered in 2006
at the height of Zimbabwe’s political, economic and humanitarian crisis. It
is believed to be the biggest such find in the world since the 19th century.
The discovery triggered a chaotic diamond rush.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused Zimbabwean troops of killing more than
200 people, raping women and forcing children to search for the gems in
Marange fields.

The KP says the government has addressed the rights issues and allowed
Zimbabwe to resume auctions last month. The latest move allows all diamonds
from the area — a stockpile of 4,5 million stones — to be sold.

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India releases Zim diamonds

By Business Writer
Thursday, 22 December 2011 09:55

HARARE - India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has released a
consignment of rough diamonds worth $22,7 million seized from Zimbabwe.

Latest media reports by global diamond watchdog Rapaport Group (Rapaport)
revealed that the gems were held from Indian diamond firm Arjav Diamonds
Private Limited.

The goods were released after the company and the Gems & Jewellery Export
Promotion Council (GJEPC) proved their legality and journey from Zimbabwe
via Dubai to India.

The report noted that the consignment belonged to the Surat Rough Diamond
Sourcing India Limited (SRSDIL) and was designated for distribution to
member diamantaires, but the goods were being kept at Surat-based Arjav
Diamonds, owned by Ashit Mehta, who is also the chairman of SRSDIL.

GJEPC verified all the details regarding the goods and submitted the
documents to DRI showing the legal entry of the consignment to India within
the formalities of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

“The council had assisted the DRI with facts and figures to investigate. We
commend DRI for its efforts in keeping illicit diamonds out of the Indian
system,” GJEPC’s chairman, Rajiv Jain, is quoted as saying.

“We are ever vigilant against the trade of illicit diamonds in India. The
council was surprised to note (that) this incident happened with the
prominent companies, SRSDIL and Arjav Diamonds.”

DRI officials raided the premises of Arjav Diamonds on November 30 and
seized 500 000 carats of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe with an estimated
value of $22,7 million. The raid came after a tip-off that the goods were
bought from Zimbabwe’s controversial Marange diamond field via Dubai without
following the KPCS requirements.

“We are happy that both our companies have come out clean in the whole
issue,” company officials told Times of India. “We will continue to do the
due diligence with regards to maintenance of procedural formalities of KP
and import-export regulations of the country,” the report cited company
officials as saying.

The release should come as a relief to Zimbabwe especially at a time the
country faces a ban on its gems in the US, the world’s biggest diamond
buyer, and the European Union.

Today, Rapaport is set to reinforce its ban on Zimbabwe’s Marange diamonds
as the network discusses strategies to prohibit Zimbabwe’s diamond trade.

Martin Rapaport, Rapaport chairman, will address a telephone conference on
the group’s policy regarding Marange diamonds at 3pm Mumbai time and again
at 12:00 pm New York time.

The ban is in spite of KP certification on the Marange gems in November.

Recently, the US government’s Office of Foreign Assets Control added two of
Zimbabwe’s diamond miners — Mbada Diamonds and Marange Resources — to its
long list of people and companies under government sanctions.

The diamond firms will not be able to openly trade with the US-the largest
diamond market — after they barred any US entity to trade in Zimbabwean
diamonds whether they are in rough or polished form, putting government’s
capacity to achieve its $600 million diamond revenue collection in 2012 to

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RapNet Suspends Member for Listing Marange Diamonds

By Rob Bates, Senior Editor
Posted on December 22, 2011

Martin Rapaport reiterated RapNet’s policy against listing diamonds from the
Marange region of Zimbabwe—and announced that the computer-trading network
last week suspended a member believed to have listed those stones on the

“We are going to take extreme efforts to make sure that the diamonds we
offer are not from Marange,” the chairman of Rapaport Corporation said on a
Dec. 22 conference call. “We are committed, really committed [to not listing
Marange diamonds]. I don’t believe we are going to be perfect right away.
But we want to move in that direction rapidly.”

Rapaport said his network is thinking about banning green-tinted stones,
since many Marange diamonds are known to be of that hue, and may also “offer
rewards” to anyone who reports a member who violates the rules.

He urged RapNet members to ask their suppliers about the origin of their

“You have to start digging deeper as to where the supply chain is,” he said.
“We want members to honestly and responsibly and reasonably investigate
where their diamonds are coming from.”

“Talk to your suppliers,” he added. “Get to know your customer really well,
and make sure they are legitimate.”

He also wants members to “affirmatively state” that their diamonds are not
from Marange.

“You can’t just say everything’s fine,” he said. “You really have to
understand what is happening in your supply chain.”

“Some people are saying, ‘Rapaport, you are crazy. People don’t go and
investigate.’ I have this strange idea that there are a lot of good diamond
people out there. We want a good, safe, honest, legitimate, trading network.
And if we lose members, I really don’t care.”

When one questioner noted that many suppliers say they have no idea where
their diamonds are from, Rapaport responded, “I don’t know if diamonds go
through that many hands. If you list on RapNet, I don’t know if you are one
or two steps away from the mine.”

Rapaport argued that Maragne diamonds pose three problems for the industry.
First, they are illegal in some countries due to OFAC and European Union
sanctions against the Mugabe-linked entities involved in their production.
Second, they raise “moral and ethical” quandaries because they are linked to
reports of past human rights abuses. Third, they represent “reputational
risk” for the industry, given greater social awareness among consumers.

In addition, Rapaport announced plans for a broad-based campaign that will
ask jewelers to pledge that they are not buying diamonds from the region.

“This campaign will ask people to take a pledge that they will investigate
their sources,” he said. “It’s for everyone who believes in this ethical

And finally, Rapaport said he will move ahead with his plan to offer
“ethical certification,” which will track where a diamond comes from, and
then grade its provenance.

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Zec takes election lessons

By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Thursday, 22 December 2011 10:38

HARARE - Zimbabwe's electoral body, the Zimbabwe Election Commission (Zec)
says it is seeking to draw lessons on how to conduct credible polls by
observing elections in other countries as it prepares for a watershed
election at home.

Zec is still suffering from a credibility crisis after taking three months
to announce the 2008 presidential elections whose result was declared a sham
by the African Union (AU).

Lovemore Sekeramayi, Zec chief elections officer, said his organisation had
participated in observer missions in several countries organised by the Sadc
Secretariat, Sadc Electoral Commissions Forum and AU.

“These missions have made a revelation: both the Commission and the
Secretariat have drawn a lot of involvement from this involvement, as well
as sharing and drawing from international best practice in the management
and administration of elections,” said Sekeramayi in a statement.

According to the statement, Zec has participated in elections in several
African countries such as Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Gambia,
Liberia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and

Elections in some of these countries particularly DRC, Liberia and Gambia
were largely disputed but there were some bright spots where Zec could draw
some valuable lessons such as Zambia, South Africa and Seychelles.

Elections in these countries were adjudged to be credible by the
international community.

“The Commission also went on study tours to South Africa and Ghana to get
exposure on a number of electoral processes,” said Sekeramayi, adding that
Zec now has the required infrastructure to successfully run an election in
the country.

Sekeramayi said Zec was carrying out outreach programmes to try to build
confidence in the electorate as a body with the mandate of running the
country’s elections.

He encouraged people to register to vote in the referendum and the country’s
future elections.

“Zec encourages citizens of Zimbabwe 18 years and above to inspect the
voters’ roll and or register as voters at Registrar-General of voters
offices at the national, district and designated registration centres. Note
that voter registration is a continuous exercise in Zimbabwe,” said

Similarly, the Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede on Thursday last week said
he was revising the voters’ roll to remove deceased voters following an
outcry from civic society that the voters’ roll was full of ghost voters.

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Exiled James Makamba misses daughter’s funeral

By Lance Guma
22 December 2011

Exiled businessman and former ZANU PF Central Committee member, James
Makamba, was unable to attend the funeral of his late daughter Chiyedza who
died Monday evening in a tragic car accident.

Chiyedza Makamba was said to be driving home alone in her Toyota Rav 4 when
she collided head-on with a commuter omnibus along the Harare-Mutoko Road.
The horrific crash is said to have left several passengers on the commuter
omnibus injured. The 33 year old Chiyedza died on the spot.

On Wednesday Chiyedza was buried at the family’s Blueridge farm just outside
Harare. ZANU PF cabinet ministers Nicholas Goche, Saviour Kasukuwere and
Olivia Muchena attended the funeral but it was the absence of her father
which was conspicuous.

In 2004 Makamba was arrested during a financial crackdown that targeted
dozens of businessmen alleged to have externalised foreign currency. He
spent a significant amount of time in custody and was denied bail more than
13 times. After he eventually got bail he fled into exile in 2005.

Although Makamba and the other businessman have been ‘de-specified’ and told
they are free to come back his position appears to be complicated by rumours
that he had an affair with the First Lady, Grace Mugabe.

Before Makamba’s departure it was reported that Mugabe ordered the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) to do a ‘sweep’ of his Johannesburg home in
South Africa after hearing claims that he was secretly seeing his wife.

At the time sources said Makamba “did himself great harm by sending flowers
and presents to Grace Mugabe through intermediaries. Some of the flowers
were received on behalf of the First Lady by the CIO security men.” Grace
justified the meetings as being related to ‘business and agricultural’

In one incident it was reported that, “Makamba visited Mrs Mugabe in a
Johannesburg hotel for a long period one night. Her security detail recorded
the incident and later advised her husband.”

This week Makamba asked colleagues in ZANU PF to help with his daughter’s
funeral and explained that he could not attend “due to his invidious

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ZANU PF Mwenezi MP behind murder and violence

Kudakwashe Basikiti, the ZANU PF MP for Mwenenzi East

By Lance Guma
22 December 2011

His first name means ‘the will of God’ but Kudakwashe Basikiti, the ZANU PF MP for Mwenenzi East, led and participated in vicious acts of political violence that left dozens dead and hundreds displaced in his area.

SW Radio Africa has published a dossier detailing how Basikiti moved around with a gang of ZANU PF militia who beat up and killed several MDC-T activists in the period April to June 2008. Even with a coalition government in place, in March 2010 the MP was still setting up more torture bases to use to torment people.

When Morgan Tsvangirai and his party won the March 2008 parliamentary and presidential election, Basikiti and his gang were incensed. With a presidential run-off engineered by ZANU PF, he went on a rampage that left homes destroyed, livestock killed and many perceived MDC-T activists maimed, killed and displaced.

Our dossier shows that several MDC-T activists lost their lives at the hands of this MP. Most of the reported acts of aggression and brutal attacks in which Basikiti was directly involved, resulted in fatalities. Basikiti was rewarded for his brutality with a coveted seat on the ZANU PF supreme decision making, Politburo.

On the 14th June MDC-T activist Kennedy Dube was abducted from his home during the night and taken to a base in Maranda village. Those who witnessed the abduction said “the ZANU PF youths tied his hands behind his back and beat him up whilst his family watched.” He was quizzed on why he supported the MDC-T.

Dube was detained for the whole night, forcing his family to file a report with the police. Also in detention with him was his friend Kennedy Mapuranga. When the police went to the base they “just asked some questions and were told that the two men were Basikiti’s prisoners and were to be released that day.”

Aware that this was a state sanctioned abduction and torture session the police left and never reported back to the family. It was also noted by witnesses that Basikiti visited the base the following morning and his two prisoners were subjected to intensive questioning, followed by severe beatings.

Dube and Mapuranga eventually succumbed to the torture and died at the base on the morning of June 14, 2008. The base was hastily abandoned and the corpses were collected by the police. No arrests were made.

The murderous rampage continued a few days later on the 17th June when ZANU PF youths, dressed in green youth militia uniforms, beat up a teacher known as Muguni at the Neshuro Business centre. They pounded him with booted feet, fists and baton sticks while asking him why he had campaigned for the MDC-T.

The assault continued for some time and only stopped when Muguni ceased screaming and was motionless. People who had seen it happening rushed to assist Muguni, but he was dead. Basikiti picked up the gang members using his party truck and drove off at high speed from the centre.

On the 23rd June Basikiti and his mob were travelling in a convoy of cars while celebrating the decision by Tsvangirai to withdraw from the presidential run-off due to the violence. They attacked MDC-T activist Stanley Mapuranga, viciously assaulting him at Maranda Village “using every type of weapon they could lay their hands on”.

Within a few moments Mapuranga was lying in a pool of blood. With the gang having left, his relatives tried to help him but he was already dead. “Those present when he was buried noted that his body was so badly damaged that it was difficult to handle. Reportedly all the bones in his body had been broken,” a witness states I the dossier.

On the same day Basikiti and his gang attacked known MDC-T activist John Dube, because he was wearing his party t-shirt. They grabbed Dube and bundled him into one of the trucks. “They never drove away from the shops but stood in a circle around the truck and it appeared Basikiti was issuing some instructions.”

Without warning the gang threw Dube out of the truck and started pelting him with stones, iron bars and an assortment of other weapons. He died during the assault which was directed by the MP. Basikiti and his gang drove off leaving Dube lying under a pile of stones, sticks and bricks.

Basikiti’s violence and intimidation didn’t stop there. Last year in March, he moved around his constituency telling villagers to toe the ZANU PF line on the new constitution or be killed. In preparation for the constitutional outreach exercise he set up bases in the Maranda, Dinhe and Neshuro areas. He also declared Mwenezi a no-go area for the MDC-T.

Basikiti secured a landslide margin to win the Mwenenzi East parliamentary seat, but only because he threatened to deny GMB and NGO food to anyone who didn’t vote for him. Because Mwenezi lies in ecological zone four, crop production is very poor.

With villagers surviving on handouts, Basikiti simply took advantage of their poverty.

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