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Government leaders upbeat about GPA

December 23, 2009

President Mugabe with Prime Minister Tsvangirai , left, and his deputy Arthur Mutambara at  Zimbabwe House in Harare Wednesday.

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have attributed the continued delay in the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) to efforts to balance the conflicting interests of their constituencies and pressures from their respective parties.

President Mugabe said the current negotiating process was a painstaking process which required repeated consultation with their parties and the corresponding need to accommodate the demands of the other parties.

He said he fully understood the concerns of the other parties and would strive to take them into consideration.

"It is with that in mind that you negotiate. You never negotiate with a view that you will win everything," President Mugabe said during a joint press conference soon after a meeting of the three principals signatory to the GPA. The conference was held at Zimbabwe House Wednesday.

He said it was difficult to stick to any time-frames when negotiating, saying negotiations were by nature laborious.

"You also don't negotiate with a view that even those issues where you stand to gain would be negotiated fully in a given time frame," he said. "The time-frames will merely be guiding lines because arguments that take place go beyond those time-frames.

"They are arguments not just of ourselves. They are arguments even of the bodies that we represent. The bodies that we represent some of which, you know, are prone to criticizing us much more than to accepting our decisions and so you have got to explain also."

Flanked by the two MDC leaders, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller faction of the MDC, President Mugabe said all the parties had made significant gains since the negotiations started.

"We have made lots of gains all of us really," he said. "We have fulfilled a much greater area than the area that remains unfulfilled."

Mugabe said Zimbabwe had made strides through the recent announcement of
names of people to sit on three commissions to deal with the media, elections and human rights.

He said the constitution making process was now guaranteed to take off while he had also signed contracts for new ambassadors.

Regarding his unilateral appointment of Attorney General Johannes Tomana, the 85-year old leader, who was in a jovial mood, said the inclusive government was too strong to be torpedoed by "one little issue".

"When people stick to one little issue - they want to see Tomana going - that becomes a big issue. Ah, come on. Does that prevent our government from moving? This huge government with three bodies! So you get those things you see.

"That is why I say, 'We are not on our own. We have constituencies where our decisions can be reversed. We have seen some of them being reversed actually by the (Zanu PF) central committee and congress."

He was referring to the recent Zanu-PF Congress which resolved to bar any further discussion on the status of central bank governor Gideon Gono, Tomana and provincial governors all of whom were unilaterally appointed by Mugabe against the provisions of the GPA which prescribes the collective input of all the three parties in government.

The Zanu-PF congress also resolved to block the new constitution if it contained issues that were purportedly designed to reverse the gains of Zimbabwe's independence.

Although they did not reveal what they discussed, the three leaders said they were happy with the progress made so far in implementing the GPA.

Tsvangirai also said the parties were striving to conclude the negotiations saying he was also being "roasted" by his followers.

"We have got constituencies and we get roasted sometimes when we try to explain, 'No, this has not happened because of this'," said the MDC leader.

"They tell me, 'You are making excuses. We want this concluded yesterday' and I can understand the frustrations and the anxiety sometimes but we are in the driving seat and we want to make sure that this is an irreversible process."

Tsvangirai said the process was still ongoing, saying the leaders would not be pressurized their negotiators into a conclusion.

"On the current negotiations," he said, "I am sure that we give our negotiators the time to conclude because the danger is that if you interfere with the negotiations at implementation stage, why did you give those negotiators the mandate to negotiate.

"They should tell us where they are disagreeing, they should conclude the work they have concluded then we can endorse or say with don't agree with it. That is where we are now.

"I hope that it is not going to be long before we put this aside. We want to go to 2010 not always being confronted by the outstanding issues. I think the outstanding issues must be where is the food on the table, where is the real change for the people and I hope that our negotiators will expedite."

He said it will not take long before the outstanding issues are dealt with fully.

On his part, Mutambara said the problems bedeviling Zimbabwe were not insurmountable.

He urged Zimbabweans to amplify the successes that have so far been registered by the 10-month old inclusive government as opposed to perceived differences.

"We have made progress in this country, let us celebrate our successes, let us give this inclusive government its credit where credit is due, acknowledge the progress, and acknowledge that we have moved and we are building a new Zimbabwe. At the same time, acknowledge that there are still challenges," he said.

"They are not insurmountable. They are not the issue. The issue is to say when we do the analysis on balance, Zimbabwe is moving forward but we don't want Zimbabweans to be complacent and be under an illusion that there are no challenges.

"A problem realized is a problem half solved. We must appreciate that this is the only show in town. As Zimbabweans, we have made a decision to work together. The Zimbabweans have said we can do more in an inclusive government than any other alternative.

"So once we realize that the inclusive government is the best option for our country to move forward, we should do all that we can to make sure that we fully and completely consummate the GPA and go into the business of transforming this country."

Like Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara were in a jovial mood.

Meanwhile, reports say the parties have since resolved 16 out of the 27 outstanding issues as of the time they were directed to resume their talks by a SADC troika summit early last month.

The parties are still deadlocked on the appointments of Gono, Tomana and the provincial governors, as well as Mugabe's refusal to swear in MDC's treasurer general Roy Bennett as Zimbabwe's deputy Minister of Agriculture.

Bennett currently faces terrorism charges.

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Mugabe sees 'tremendous improvement' in Zimbabwe

By Godfrey Marawanyika (AFP) - 2 hours ago

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe said Zimbabwe has seen "tremendous
improvement" under its unity government, despite food giant Nestle's shock
decision Wednesday to suspend dairy operations in the country.

Speaking at a rare joint press conference, his one-time rival Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai insisted that there was no going back on the power-sharing
arrangement, despite a yearlong dispute over a raft of political

"There is tremendous improvement to the political environment. People have
heeded our calls for peace," Mugabe said.

"We are very happy. We hope that next year will be much better. We are
forging ahead," he said.

"Only yesterday we were boxing each other," Mugabe added. "We found each
other, we are talking to each other, drinking together and we are very

Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, was forced
into the power-sharing pact with Tsvangirai after disputed elections last

But the government has been hamstrung over disputes on naming the central
bank governor and the attorney general, who is pressing a terrorism case
against a top Tsvangirai aide.

Despite the disagreements, Tsvangirai said the government would not

"We are in the driving seat and the process can't be reversed," he said.

"The inclusive government, after 10 months, has been receiving a lot of
support from amongst Zimbabweans across the political divide. This is quite
heartening," he added.

But Tsvangirai voiced concern over food giant Nestle's decision to shut down
temporarily its dairy operations in Zimbabwe, apparently over a dispute on
buying milk from a Mugabe family farm.

Nestle in October stopped buying milk from the Mugabe farm, which was seized
from white farmers under his controversial land reforms.

The Swiss-based food giant, the world's largest, said Zimbabwean government
officials and police made an "unannounced visit" to the plant on Saturday,
forcing staff to take delivery of a tanker of milk from non-contracted

Two Nestle Zimbabwe managers were also questioned by the police and released
without charges the same day, it added.

"Since under such circumstances normal operations and the safety of
employees are no longer guaranteed, Nestle decided to temporarily shut down
the factory," the company said in a statement.

Tsvangirai said that he believed the firm had over-reacted, but that a
solution would be found.

"Shutting down a plant... I think it's something that needs to be looked at.
This is an over-reaction which is totally unnecessary," Tsvangirai said.

"I am sure the minister of industry, who is responsible, is talking to the
directors (of Nestle), is talking to all the concerned stakeholders and that
a solution will be found. So that it operates and even expands," he said.

Mugabe, who was at the press conference with Tsvangirai, said nothing about
Nestle's decision.

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Nestlé shuts Zim milk factory over harassment

By Alex Bell
23 December 2009

International food giant Nestlé has shut its milk processing plant in
Zimbabwe, amid mounting threats by Mugabe loyalists to resume its commercial
contract with Grace Mugabe's dairy farm.

The food group announced in a statement on Wednesday that it was shutting
the plant temporarily, saying it can no longer guarantee the safety of its
employees. This came after staff at the site were forced on Saturday to
accept a milk delivery, believed to be from Grace Mugabe's Gushungo dairy
estate, under instruction from two government ministers and police
officials. That same day two Nestlé executives were briefly detained and
questioned by police, in an effort to force the company to take the milk.

"Two Nestlé Zimbabwe managers were questioned by the police and released
without charges the same day," Nestle said in a statement. "Since under such
circumstances, normal operations and the safety of employees are no longer
guaranteed, Nestlé decided to temporarily shut down the facility."

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made and Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who
were accompanied by a senior police officer, arrived on Nestlé Zimbabwe
premises on Saturday. It's understood that they forced staff to accept the
milk delivery after accompanying the two Nestlé officials to a nearby police
station. Apparently the ministers threatened the Nestlé officials, saying
their refusal to take the milk could result in Nestlé Zimbabwe's closure or
arrest of senior officials. The also accused Nestlé of placing 'sanctions'
against Zimbabwe by not accepting the milk.

Gushongo dairy farm, formerly Foyle Farm, was seized at the height of the
land 'reform' programme after a sustained campaign of violence, and handed
to Grace Mugabe. In October this year Nestlé ended its commercial ties to
the dairy estate, following international criticism of the business deal
that saw the food giant buying more than ten percent of its local milk from
the Mugabes. The deal outraged human rights groups who accused Nestlé of
funding repression by doing business with the First Lady and dubbed her
produce 'blood milk'.

But Nestlé's decision to stop doing business with the Mugabes has resulted
in growing intimidation over the past two months. Shortly after the group's
decision, the company's bank accounts were frozen by the Reserve Bank in
what was described as a 'petty retaliation'. That move was reversed days
later, but it was only the start of the harassment and intimidation that has
now led to the temporary closure of Nestlé's Zimbabwe branch.

In October a group of youths tried to force the branch to buy more than 20
000 litres milk from Gushongo Estate. It's understood the group, led by
Youth Minister Kasukuwere and his ZANU PF politburo member brother Tongai,
tried to force Nestlé staff to offload the milk tanker that had been
transported from Gushongo farm. But after a four hour stand-off, including
intense debate and negotiations with Nestlé Zimbabwe management, the tanker
and the ZANU PF youth group were turned away.

A local black empowerment group then lashed out at Nestlé a week later,
saying the international group should be forced to sell its Harare branch to
local black Zimbabweans if it refused to renew its relationship with Mrs
Mugabe. The Affirmative Action Group (AAG), whose members are reported to be
closely linked to ZANU PF, said Nestlé's refusal to buy milk from Gushungo
farm was part of a 'foreign regime change agenda'. The group added that the
international firm should not be allowed to continue 'embarrassing' the
president's family.

Nestlé's decision Wednesday, to temporarily shut its Zimbabwe branch, is now
being described as a setback for the already flailing unity government,
because of the implications it has for future foreign investment. The
Finance Ministry, since the government's formation in February, has been
trying to convince foreign donors that their investments in Zimbabwe would
be safe. But the situation with Nestlé is likely to further dissuade
investors from a relationship with Zimbabwe, where it's clear that any
investment carries a high risk.

Economic analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga agreed that the move is a setback for
the government, explaining the different implications the decision has. He
first explained that the move further damages Zimbabwe's already tainted
reputation as a safe investment haven, saying "there is no investor anywhere
who will invest if they cannot even protect their personal interests on the
ground, such as staff." Mhlanga added that the move also highlights how
divided the so-called unity structure is because of the 'conflicting signals'
from within the government.

"On one hand you have Gorden Moyo (Minister of State in the Prime Minister's
Office) calling for sanctions on businesses to be lifted, and Finance
Minister Tendai Biti saying investments will be safe, but on the other hand
you have ministers who are actively threatening businesses because of their
political loyalties," Mhlanga said.

Moyo has called for the lifting of sanctions from 40 businesses on the
European Union's targeted sanctions list, saying they need to be given a
chance to recover economically.

Biti meanwhile told a conference in the UK last week that Zimbabwean
expatriates need to start assisting the country's economic recovery, saying
their investments would be safe under the unity government.


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Nestle closure in Zimbabwe an 'over-reaction': PM


1 hr 35 mins ago

HARARE (AFP) - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Wednesday that food
giant Nestle had over-reacted in suspending its operations in Zimbabwe,
after authorities forced it to buy milk from "non-contracted" suppliers.

"Shutting down a plant... I think it's something that needs to be looked at.
This is an over-reaction which is totally unnecessary," Tsvangirai told a
news conference.

"I am sure the minister of industry, who is responsible, is talking to the
directors (of Nestle), is talking to all the concerned stakeholders and that
a solution will be found. So that it operates and even expands," he said.

The shutdown apparently stems from a dispute on buying milk from a farm
owned by the family of President Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's long-time ruler
who is now in a unity government with Tsvangirai.

Mugabe, who was at the press conference with Tsvangirai, said nothing about
Nestle's decision.

Nestle in October stopped buying milk from the Mugabe farm, which was seized
it from white farmers under his controversial land reforms.

The Swiss-based food giant, the world's largest, on Wednesday said
Zimbabwean government officials and police made an "unannounced visit" to
the plant on Saturday, forcing staff to take delivery of a tanker of milk
from non-contracted suppliers.

Two Nestle Zimbabwe managers were also questioned by the police and released
without charges the same day, it added.

"Since under such circumstances normal operations and the safety of
employees are no longer guaranteed, Nestle decided to temporarily shut down
the factory," the company said in a statement.

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Zim Parties Agree to 16 Issues, 11 Still Remaining

Harare, December 23, 2009 - The three Zimbabwean parties signatory to the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) that brought about the unity government,
have resolved 16 out of the 27 outstanding issues.

They have agreed on the implementation mechanism for the resolved issues but
remain deadlocked on central issues. The key issues that remain unresolved
include appointments of provincial governors, the appointments of the
Reserve Bank Governor, Attorney General and the swearing in of deputy
agriculture minister Roy Bennett, who is currently facing terrorism charges.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has said that if no agreement is reached by 15 January 2010,
these issues will be referred to the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) for arbitration.

Negotiations stalled on Monday night, after negotiators from ZANU PF and
MDC-M pushed to resume final discussions in the New Year saying that they
had other commitments.

Some of the time-lines for the implementation of the agreed positions
contained in a principal document by the three principals, seen by RadioVOP,
include reform of the public media which will start with the transformation
of ZBC into a proper public broadcaster with an independent board appointed
by President Robert Mugabe in consultation with Prime Minister Tsvangirai.
The board shall be accountable to parliament. This should be done by the end
of February.

The Mass Media Trust will be reconstituted and comprise seven trustees,
three each from ZANU PF and MDC-T and one from MDC-M.

On rule of law, the three principals will together engage the commissioner
general of police Augustine Chihuri and the Attorney General Johannes Tomana
to comply with provisions of articles 11 and 13 of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA).

They also agreed on a land audit by an inclusive land commission established
in terms of the Inquiry Act. "An inter-party

On Constitutional Amendment No.19, it was agreed to recognise and gazette,
by mid-January, the version that was passed by Parliament. structure to be
established to monitor and coordinate land commission," the document says.
The land commission should be established by 15 February.

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Zimbabwe Unity Government Crisis Resolutions on Back Burner Until New Year

Negotiators for the president, prime minister and and deputy prime minister
were said to have declined to meet a directive by their party chiefs to
produce a comprehensive report on progress on outstanding issues in 48 hours

Blessing Zulu | Washington 22 December 2009

Though Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai agreed this week on the composition of electoral, human rights
and media commissions, negotiations over the balance of the outstanding
issues that have destabilized Zimbabwe's  unity government virtually since
its inception have been put on hold until January, political sources said.

Negotiators for the president, prime minister and and Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara, the three principals in the power-sharing government, were
said to have declined to fulfill a directive by their party chiefs to
produce a comprehensive report on progress on such issues within 48 hours.

Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma and Regional Integration Minister
Priscilla Misihairambwe Mushonga, respectively negotiators for the Movement
for Democratic Change formations headed by of Mr. Tsvangirai and Mutambara,
confirmed the suspension of the negotiations through the holidays but
declined to comment further referring all questions to their principals.

The political party negotiating teams were said to have cited fatigue,
having been wrangling over a large agenda of issues since late November.

The three principals for their part are under intense pressure from South
African President Jacob Zuma, mediator in Zimbabwe on behalf of the Southern
African Development Community, to conclude the discussions before Christmas.

Sources said Zuma wanted a full report on the talks Wednesday. Zuma foreign
affairs adviser Lindiwe Zulu told VOA that while South African facilitators
can't determine when negotiators can meet, but feel it is important talks be
concluded expeditiously for the well-being of the Zimbabwean people.

Negotiators must still come to grips with the most divisive issues on the
agenda including the leadership of the Reserve Bank and the Office of the
Attorney general, and the swearing-in of promised MDC provincial governors.

The Tsvangirai MDC formation has resolved to refer the matter back to SADC
by January 15 if the outstanding issues are not settled by then. The party's
spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, said this position has not changed.

London-based political analyst Innocent Chofamba Sithole told VOA Studio 7
reporter Blessing Zulu that the hardening of positions by the three parties
in the power-sharing arrangement makes it hard to achieve compromises.

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SADC Tribunal goes on trial

TANIA PAMPALONE - Dec 23 2009 06:00

The SADC Tribunal is a promising institution of international justice for
the entire region. But without real political will, does the tribunal -- or
SADC itself -- really matter?

In November of 2008 Ben Freeth and a motley crew of white Zimbabwean
farmers, who took their government to the Southern African Development
Community Tribunal in Windhoek in an effort to win back their land, wept in
open court when they heard the judgment passed down.

After months of stops and starts, the court unanimously found that the
applicants who stood before them had been denied access to courts in their
own country and that fair compensation was payable for the expropriated
land. And, by a majority of four to one, the tribunal also ruled that the
farmers had been discriminated against on the grounds of race. All of which
added up to a clear violation of the SADC treaty.

One of the farmers, red-faced and cadaverous, said to a member of the legal
team in disbelief: "I never thought, from black judges in Africa, we would
get this kind of sympathy and understanding."

"It was quite a moment," says advocate Jeremy Gauntlett, who represented the
79 farmers in the application to the tribunal, which included Freeth and his
75-year-old father-in-law Mike Campbell, whose story is making the
international documentary rounds as Mugabe and the White African, which has
been shortlisted for an Academy Award.

"These are African judges who experienced colonialism and discrimination -- 
the sharp end it. But they have the integrity to rise above it and to hold,
uncompromisingly, that it's racial discrimination to take white farmers'
lands and not put [land reform] on the basis of, for example, who is an
absentee land owner or who is not farming it properly."

All this came down, of course, on the unlikely corner of Robert Mugabe
Avenue and Banhof Street, just down the road from the British High
Commission and opposite the police department, where SADC's most promising
institution proudly sits, flags of the region adorning the stately building
in the centre of Windhoek.

Since 2007, the SADC Tribunal has been receiving cases on disputes between
natural and legal persons and their countries in the region, as well as
overseeing the jurisdiction of the SADC institution and acting as its
advisory body. In session three times a year, the tribunal boasts some of
the region's top judges, including Justice Dr Luis Antonio Mondlane of
Mozambique and Justice Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay, the former chief justice
of Mauritius, who currently serves as the tribunal's president.

Despite its short lifespan, the tribunal has already made some substantive
rulings against the region's rogue government. The court has handed down
judgment, not only in the Campbell application, but has also ruled in favour
of 71-year-old Luke Tembani, one of Zimbabwe's first indigenous farmers,
whose land -- which he has successfully farmed for the past 26 years -- is
under threat in what Gauntlett calls a Kafkaesque scenario where the land
bank continually recalculated wildly fluctuating interest on his bond, then
attempted to seize the land in realisation of the bizarre debt without even
bothering to go to court.

And next year -- very likely in April, when Zanu-PF will be celebrating 30
years since liberation -- the tribunal is set to hear the case of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum vs Government of Zimbabwe.

The application has been brought on behalf of 12 Zimbabweans, who, their
domestic court found, had been subject to violence and torture -- including
beatings with everything from batons to booted feet, as well as bullets that
caused spinal injury and paraplegia and the death of a breadwinner, all
courtesy of the Zimbabwe Republic Police and the Zimbabwe National Army. But
though final judgments -- and cost awards -- were granted by Zimbabwe's
court, the government won't honour the rulings. Their only outlet for
justice now is the tribunal.

But foreign courts -- or for that matter regional or international bodies -- 
don't matter much to Robert Mugabe. Not long after the Campbell judgment,
the Zimbabwean head of state said at his birthday celebrations that the
tribunal's rulings were "nonsense" and "of no consequence". "The few
remaining white farmers should vacate their farms as they have no place
here," Mugabe said. "Our land issues are not subject to the SADC tribunal."

And no one appears to be willing to force Mugabe's hand on the issue.
According to the tribunal's registrar, Justice Charles Mkandawire, the
decision on the Campbell case was submitted to SADC more than a year ago
and, despite requesting that the recommendations on the case be expedited,
the tribunal still awaits a decision from SADC on how to proceed.

"Any court would be concerned with noncompliance of its decisions," says

"It's not just about Zimbabwe. International law enforcement depends on the
political will of the member states -- and that sits with the SADC summit.
They have to monitor the enforcement mechanism. Even as the tribunal, our
eyes are toward the summit. We have done our part and we cannot enforce our
own decisions."

A SADC secretariat spokesperson would confirm only that it is still in the
process of making arrangements to hear the matter.

So, despite the dramatic rulings against the government of Zimbabwe, like
all international and regional courts, the tribunal cannot enforce its own
judgment; there's no sheriff in town to pull up and hold anyone accountable.

Like President Jacob Zuma's Zimbabwe mediation team, the decision on what to
do next -- and the political will to back it all up -- ultimately lies with

The Campbell decision appears to be yet another Zimbabwe question placed at
the feet of the Southern African community; another weighty, complicated,
messy matter begging to be addressed by a reluctant region.

Courting justice
Though established in 1992 with the formation of SADC, the tribunal's
members were only appointed at its summit in Gaborone in August 2005. By
November 2006, Mkandawire was sworn in as registrar at a ceremony in
Windhoek. His job: to set up and oversee the day-to-day administration of
the court. It's been slow going with a lean staff and an even leaner budget.
But, in the next few months, if all goes ahead as planned, there will be a
total of 16 full-time employees at tribunal headquarters -- excluding the 10
judges who rule on matters -- who will ensure that the cases that are
starting to trickle in from across Southern Africa see their day in court.

Ten justices have been appointed from the member states, with a minimum of
three sitting judges required for rulings. Justices from Angola, Botswana,
Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and even
one Justice Antonia Guvava of Zimbabwe, form the current membership of the
tribunal, five of whom sit as regular members. To ensure its independence,
the SADC treaty outlines that members agree not to seek or receive
instructions from any member states or from any authority external to SADC.

Financial constraints and member judges who continue to work in their home
countries and fly into Windhoek only to hear scheduled cases are just some
of the challenges the tribunal faces. That it's an entirely new system is
another. The fact is that most -- even those in the legal profession and
those working in human rights arenas in the region, where the tribunal is
most needed -- aren't aware that it exists.

Mkandawire says he's working to get the word out. The website, relationships
with universities and outreach to human rights and legal groups in the
region mark some progress in this endeavour.

Hurdles aside, Max du Plessis, professor of international law at the
University of KwaZulu-Natal, says the court is making huge strides.

"It has surprised commentators, academia and court watchers by ­virtue of
the fact that in a short space of time it has opened its doors, accepted
cases and has given important judgments in relation to SADC human rights
issues, in particular in respect to Zimbabwe," Du Plessis says. "And it has
done so in a way that has served the interests of justice in SADC. The force
of its decisions can be seen from the response we have witnessed in the
Zimbabwean government."

And the reality is that the majority of cases brought to the tribunal so far
have been filed against the government of Zimbabwe -- most of them brought
by Gauntlett. ("I wouldn't want you to think I'm Florence Nightingale alone
in an unlit ward in a hospital -- there are a lot of other people involved
in this," he says.) Gauntlett believes others in Zimbabwe aren't using the
tribunal because, quite frankly: "The legal profession in Zimbabwe is
hammered. People lack funding, they lack morale, they simply lack hope. And
the idea of taking it further doesn't occur to them."

In painful dignity
Zimbabwe's minister of justice and legal affairs, Patrick Chinamasa,
rubbished the entire tribunal outright in June.

"The tribunal has no jurisdiction over Zimbabwe," Chinamasa told the
Zimbabwe Times. "We are not . party to the (SADC tribunal) protocol and it
has no jurisdiction over Zimbabwe. The judges are not SADC."

In September the Zimbabwean government and Chinamasa were criticised by the
African Bar Associations and Rule-of-law Institutions, which include the
Southern African Development Community Lawyers' Association and the African
Regional Forum of the International Bar, when they met in Arusha, Tanzania.
In a communiqué they "observed with alarm the current efforts of the
government of Zimbabwe . to cause SADC to dismantle a sub-regional judicial
organ -- the SADC tribunal."

But Du Plessis says that Zimbabwe's efforts to disregard the tribunal's
decision says more about its weight in the region than anything else. "That
Zimbabwe is purporting to ignore the tribunal's decision speaks volumes. Of
course, had the decision gone in its favour, Zimbabwe would be celebrating
the tribunal's judgment."

Currently, the Zimbabwean High Court is sitting with an application that was
brought at the end of November on behalf of the 79 farmers involved in the
Campbell case, which seeks to register the tribunal ruling there, in an
attempt to force the government to recognise the judgment. The case was
adjourned in "due course" and a ruling on it isn't expected for months.

But Zimbabwean policy analyst Deprose Muchena says the massive indecision
from the region and its resolve to keep its distance from Zimbabwe has put
SADC in serious danger of losing its credibility as a regional body.

"If you close all options to regional descent, you are forcing people to
seek other avenues," Muchena says, pointing to alternatives for law and
justice that lie outside Southern Africa, such as the African Union, which
would effectively make the institution itself inconsequential in matters of
its own community.

"The SADC leaders are busy ­fiddling with their fingers in painful dignity,"
he says, as Zimbabwe erodes on all fronts.

SADC's delay is not stopping Gauntlett. On the back of the tribunal award,
he plans to register the ruling not just in Harare, but in Pretoria as well.
If Zimbabwe doesn't pass the judgment into its own domestic law and enforce
it there -- which isn't likely to happen as it would reverse the contentious
land reform issue -- the country's assets in South Africa can be attached to
secure the costs awarded by the tribunal. Things like, say, the Zimbab­wean
government's aircraft and non-diplomatic buildings in South Africa. "We do
this sort of thing all the time when enforcing foreign awards and
judgments," he says.

But even if Gauntlett manages to garner some costs for his clients, it
probably won't be courtesy of the government of Zimbabwe via the SADC

"You can have the most wonderful highfalutin court in the world but if the
government controls the police and the army -- well, just think about that
in terms of a country," says Gauntlett. "You have a situation where the
government is controlling all the other levers of the state and the courts
are left helpless and hopeless. And the trouble with the system in Zimbabwe
itself is that ultimately when you corrupt your judiciary, then what you are
left with is just wood panelling and horse-hair wigs."

It seems only SADC has the power to save its tribunal -- and perhaps even
itself -- before it becomes yet another corpse in Mugabe's carnage.

In need of divine intervention?
Growing up on a small Catholic mission in the north of Malawi, Charles
Mkandawire wanted to be priest. But he ended up ditching his schooling at a
Catholic seminary, changing direction and heading instead to the University
of Malawi, where he received his law degree in 1986.

Right out of school, Mkandawire joined the Malawi judiciary as a resident
magistrate, winding his way up through the legal ranks as registrar for his
country's high court as well as its supreme court of appeal. He started up
Malawi's labour court in 1998, becoming a high court judge in 2004.

It was in November 2006 that he was sworn in as registrar of the SADC
tribunal, where his mandate was to set up what most in his profession agree
is the region's most promising legal institution. Mkandawire now runs the
administrative and financial aspects of the new body, registering cases and
overseeing their research and screening, to be sure that the applications
comply with SADC law and protocol.

It's an awesome responsibility and one Mkandawire does not take lightly,
acutely aware of the tribunal's legal importance in the region as well as
its key position in the success of SADC as an institution.

"You cannot have development, you cannot have proper regional integration if
you do not entrench the rule of law, democracy and human rights," Mkandawire

"The tribunal is a catalyst for this integration. It's an important
instrument in obtaining the objectives of SADC. Whether one likes it or not,
in the process of integration, disputes are bound to arise and these
disputes have to be interpreted by an impartial body. Later on these cases
will involve member states themselves."

As his team in Windhoek prepares for a new year where it will ratchet up its
capacity, Mkandawire's court just might need some divine intervention to
muster up the political will to enforce its own judgments.

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Gwezere’s lawyer pays bail, release awaited

By Lance Guma
23 December 2009

Lawyer Alec Muchadehama, who represents the abducted and tortured MDC
Transport Manager Pascal Gwezere, has told Newsreel they paid his bail on
Wednesday and now await his release by prison guards. By 1pm the bail had
been paid and a ‘Warrant of Liberation’ issued and taken to prison warders
at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison. At around 6pm (Zimbabwean time)
Muchadehama told us prison warders were still processing the paper work.
Meanwhile Gwezere’s wife and several relatives, friends and party supporters
were waiting for him outside.

On Monday Supreme Court Justice Wilson Sandura threw out an appeal by the
Attorney General, who had challenged the granting of bail to Gwezere by the
High Court. This meant Gwezere was supposed to be immediately released. But
because court staff closed early on Monday, and Tuesday was the Unity Day
holiday, Muchadehama said they only managed to pay the US$500 bail on
Wednesday. Other bail conditions state that Gwezere has to report to Harare
Central Police Station twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays.

At the end of October Gwezere was abducted from his Mufakose home by state
security agents and his whereabouts unknown for several days, before he was
eventually brought to court. He said he was repeatedly tortured by his
abductors during interrogations. As a result he sustained injuries to his
head, feet, leg and back. Despite the severe torture he was denied medical
treatment until a magistrates court intervened ordering that he be allowed
to see a doctor. Even then the state still went on to block him from seeing
a private doctor, insisting he see one provided by the state.

Mugabe’s regime is accusing Gwezere of breaking into the Pomona Army
Barracks and stealing firearms, a charge that has already been highly
discredited. A second charge, that he underwent military training in Uganda,
was completely dismissed by the Magistrates Court because there was no
evidence. In November defence lawyer Muchadehama asked the court to take a
‘practical’ view of the case and question how a man from the street could go
into an army barracks and steal guns.

With the state failing to provide credible evidence in the case they have
simply resorted to their usual tactics - legal technicalities and delays to
keep Gwezere locked up. For example in November, when Justice Charles Hungwe
granted him bail, the state immediately invoked a draconian section of the
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to suspend the bail. The Attorney
General then went to the Supreme Court trying to have the bail set aside
arguing it was ‘erroneous and misdirected’.


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Zimbabwe needs $45 billion for economy: minister

December 23, 2009

Zimbabwe needs $45 billion (R348 billion) to return its economy to peak
levels seen more than a decade ago, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said

But he warned that doubts over the future of the strained unity government
were hampering the still fragile economic recovery.

"About $45 billion is required to get the country back to its peak level of
1996-97," Biti told reporters at the launch of a three-year economic

Zimbabwe's economy has contracted every year since 1997, but is expected to
grow 4.7 percent this year, after the local currency was abandoned in
January and the unity government took office the following month.

President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980, was
forced into the power-sharing arrangement with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai following disputed elections last year.

The deal, known as the Global Political Agreement (GPA), remains shaky due
to a raft of disputes over key jobs and claims that Tsvangirai's supporters
remain the target of official persecution.

"The uncertainty of the Global Political Agreement is affecting the
performance of the economy," said Biti, a top aide to Tsvangirai.

"If it was not for the uncertainty of the GPA, we would easily achieve
growth rates of 11-15 percent over the next three years."

The economy is currently forecast to grow by seven percent next year to $5.6
billion, with inflation seen at 5.1 percent.

That compares to inflation estimated last year in multiples of billions.

Zimbabwe needed to conduct a land audit, he said, after Mugabe's violent
land reforms forced white farmers off their land over the last decade,
resettling the properties with blacks who received no official title deeds.

After the land reforms, the agriculture-based economy was decimated and
Zimbabwe became dependent on international food aid.

"Security of tenure and production is important for our agriculture, and
production is still limping because of the political instability which is
affecting performance of the economy," Biti said.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai have made progress this week, naming commissions to
oversee reforms in media, elections and human rights, meeting a key
requirement of the power-sharing deal.

They were set to meet later Wednesday on the hotly disputed posts of
attorney general and central bank governor. - AFP

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Zimbabwe’s ‘blood diamonds’ go on sale

By John Chimunhu

Published: December 22, 2009

Harare :  Diamonds from the disputed Chiadzwa/Marange fields in Zimbabwe are
set to hit international markets this month after concerted efforts by human
rights campaigners failed to stop the trade, officials said.

“The much-anticipated sales of diamonds from the Chiadzwa/Marange diamond
fields are expected to start before the end of this month,” said Robert
Mhlanga, chairman of Mbada Diamonds, which has controversially been
authorized to mine diamonds in the area without any tender procedures being
followed as expected by many.

Mbada is a 50/50 joint venture between the Zimbabwe government and the
private Grandwell Holdings. Human rights groups and an international diamond
marketing consortium have called for a ban on sales of diamonds from
Marange. They cite the alleged murder of more than 250 people, enslavement
and displacement of 4 000 families in a brutal operation known as Hakudzokwi
(Operation No Return) as government seized control of an area owned by
African Consolidated Resources (ACR) last year. ACR has filed an appeal
against the takeover spearheaded by senior Zanu PF officials, including vice
president Joyce Mujuru and her husband, Solomon, defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa, police and military chiefs. The rights groups, including the
powerful US-based Human Rights Watch, had their campaign for a total ban
torpedoed when the Kimberly Process (Diamond) Certification System recently
refused to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.

Mbada’s Mhlanga said, “Sales of the precious and industrial minerals could
have started by now had Mbada Diamonds not been stopped from mining by the
Environmental Impact Assessment authorities.” Mining had only started at the
beginning of December.

Figures of potential output were not given. However, before the mining was
stopped, the ZMDC produced 50 000 to 60 000 carats a week.

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Dangerous Zimbabwe Prisoners On The Loose

Masvingo, December 23, 2009 - About 14 dangerous prisoners in the D class
category including murderers and serial rapists escaped from Masvingo remand
prison on Monday night while more than 100 who were trying to run away were
re-captured after the prison officers fired warning shots in the air to
strike fear in them.

Although the Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tinaye Matake
refused to comment saying he needed more time to verify the exact number and
to get further details of what happened, RadioVOP  is reliably informed that
prison officers at the prison have since been called to give a full account
of what transpired.

"We were all called in the morning (Tuesday) to give account of what
happened. Superintendent Piripiri who is responsible for the station had to
rush from his farm in Kwekwe after being informed that dangerous prisoners
had escaped," an officer told Radio VOP.  "We do not know what actually
happened but officers were shocked by the noise last night, after managing
to re-capture about 100 prisoners who were trying to run away. We discovered
that some prisoners were missing."

"Although we do not have enough evidence, we suspect that it was an inside
job. Some prisoners were heard screaming while others were shouting that
they also want freedom.It seems an average of four prisoners is let free if
their relatives or friends successfully arrange to buy their freedom from
some top officers," said another source.

"I can't give details now because we need to come up with what actually
happened. I will only comment after I manage to get clear details from the
responsible people there," said Inspector Matake.


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Detained Zimbabwean moved to psychiatric clinic

By Tichaona Sibanda
23 December 2009

A 24 year-old Zimbabwean man who has been languishing at an immigration
detention centre in Portsmouth for over a year now, awaiting deportation,
was last week moved to a psychiatric clinic.

There are fears that Tatenda Jera might be suffering from bouts of
depression, anxiety and general mood disorders. Tatenda came to the UK in
2000 when he fled Zimbabwe's political troubles.

He got into trouble with UK authorities in July last year when he was
arrested for not paying fines. He accumulated substantial fines for not
paying fares on London's public transport network in 2008.

When he appeared in court he was sentenced to serve two weeks in jail. He
only managed to serve one week after which he was taken into custody by the
UK border agency for violating his visitor's visa. He immediately claimed
asylum but his applications have been denied three times.

A fellow Zimbabwean who was detained with Jera at Haslar detention centre,
Victor Chadoka, alerted SW Radio Africa to his plight.

'Authorities here believe he had fallen into a deep fog of depression and
anxiety.  I think the signs were there for all of us to worry, as he was
sleeping excessively, not eating, lethargy and hopelessness,' Chadoka said.

Experts define depression as a psychiatric disorder characterized by an
inability to concentrate, loss of appetite, feelings of extreme sadness,
guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, and thoughts of death as a final means
of peace and tranquility.

'Tatenda is a young man who has been in detention for 18 months now and I
think being behind the walls has been a crushing and devastating experience,
not only for him, but his family as well,' Chadoka added.

Chadoka, a well known cartoonist is also awaiting deportation. He has
published on the internet satirical cartoons denouncing Robert Mugabe and
his ZANU PF regime.


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Booming elephant population wreaks havoc in Zimbabwe

Thulani Mpofu, Foreign Correspondent

    * Last Updated: December 23. 2009 12:05AM UAE / December 22. 2009 8:05PM

KENNILWORTH // An increasing elephant population is forcing the animals from
wildlife reserves and into greater contact with people, leading to an
economic and environmental crisis in parts of Zimbabwe where some are
calling for greater numbers of the animals to be culled.

The World Wide Fund for Nature and African Wildlife Foundation estimate that
Zimbabwe has 110,000 elephants, above the optimum capacity of between 45,000
and 50,000. For communities living next to the wildlife reserves where the
elephants are flourishing, the increased numbers are proving dangerous,
destroying farmland, driving people from their homes and, at times,
trampling people to death.

In Kennilworth, 90km north of the capital Bulawayo, Relney Nqadini, a
villager, has started planting crops during torrential rains on his plot.
But harvests in this area are dependent not only on how much it rains, but
also whether elephants will spare the villagers' fields.

"In April this year, they ate all my crops, just as I was about to harvest,"
said Mr Nqadini. "Days of labour came to nothing as they [elephants]
destroyed everything we had planted. Even if it rains the way it is doing
now, this is not a guarantee for a good harvest."

The elephants that raid Kennilworth come from the nearby Debshan Ranch and
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe's largest animal sanctuary.

"They raid our fields at night," he said. "So we build bonfires and beat
drums to try to scare them away but they soon get used to the tricks."
Another villager in the area, Luke Mupengesi, said: "Sometimes if we make
fires, they get irritable and attack us, so we flee our homes into the

When elephants raid their area, villagers seek help from Bubi rural district
council, the only authority that can kill problem animals in the area. But
often, Mr Mupengesi said, council officials are out of bullets for shooting
the animals or fuel to drive to their hideouts.

The elephant problem in Kennilworth is mirrored in other areas across
Zimbabwe. The elephant population is concentrated in the Hwange, Gonarezhou
and Chizarira national parks, but there are a significant number in private

Morris Mutsambiwa, the director-general of the Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority, said the population is rising by five per cent every year. He
said that due to their increasing numbers, elephants are not only a danger
to the environment, human beings and other wildlife, but to themselves.

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Malaysia IS Zimbabwe, says Zaid

Hazlan Zakaria & Yip Ai Tsin
Dec 23, 09

PKR politician Zaid Ibrahim has applauded constitutional law expert Abdul
Aziz Bari for speaking out "about the rotten state of the rule of law and
democracy" in Malaysia.

In a reply by text-message, he described Abdul Aziz as "a well respected
academic and a courageous one".

pkr egm bangi zaid ibrahim joins pkr event 130609 14Zaid, a former Umno
strongman who crossed to PKR, expressed hope that many will come forward and
be unafraid to speak out for the sake of the country.

"Nothing will change unless those who know rise up to expose the vermin
(that are) eating and destroying our national institutions and democratic
values," said Zaid (right), once the de facto law minister.

Last Sunday, Malaysiakini reported Abdul Aziz's comments that likened the
current state of 'lawlessness' in Malaysia to that in Zimbabwe.

When contacted, political analyst Khoo Kay Peng echoed many of the concerns
expressed by Abdul Aziz.

In particular, he said Umno should not regard governance of the country as
its birth-right, but realise that it is the people who have given it the
mandate to lead.

"The government is like the board of directors (of a company). The public
are the shareholders who can kick out the directors or sack them at will,"
said Khoo.

port klang free zone pkfz auditCautioning BN not to use public funds "as if
this belongs to them", he urged the ruling coalition to hold dialogues with
the people before initiating gigantic projects such as Port Klang Free Zone.

Commenting on the way funds are disbursed to states held by the opposition
Pakatan Rakyat, Khoo said it is "not healthy for the federal government to
act on its own whims and fancies".

For instance, it is "totally crazy and against the law" for BN to withhold
oil royalty from Kelantan.

The money has been converted to a 'compassionate fund' disbursed through the
Federal Development Department, which channels the money to federal agencies
in the states affected.

Institutionalised bullying

Khoo also alluded to imbalances in governance, with the executive able to
strong-arm the judiciary and legislature with impunity.

He expressed no surprise over the claim that the BN violates the
constitution, noting that there have been many instances where the federal
government has bypassed the supreme law in making decisions.

y4c ethnic relationship module forum 130307 khoo kay pengKhoo (left) also
said the government has back-tracked on its pledges, citing how it has
reneged on the 1989 peace agreement with the Communist Party of Malaya.

Universiti Malaya social sciences lecturer Noor Sulastry Ahmad acknowledged
the situation.

"This is political hegemony. Most politicians, especially from the ruling
coalition manipulate and use (various) institutions to ensure the status quo
and to maintain their grip on power," she said.

As a case in point, she referred to the sacking of Salleh Abas as Lord
President in 1988, which effectively brought judicial independence to an

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Bridging the knowledge divide: Poverty

by Mutumwa Mawere Wednesday 23 December 2009

OPINION: We all want to be rich and free. Human civilisation has never
prepared us to understand the complexity of life and what one needs to do to
escape from poverty.

What is poverty? Poverty can be described as the condition of not having the
means to afford basic human needs such as health care, nutrition, clean
water, clothing and shelter. One can also talk of relative poverty which
refers to the condition of having fewer resources or less income than others
within a society or country or compared to worldwide averages.

Why are the majority of Africans poor? This is complex question that
requires critical thinking.

For people who focus on the past, it is easy to blame colonialism and
imperialism as the root cause of poverty in Africa.

It can be argued that poverty can be traced directly to the consequences of
the enterprise that alienated native Africans from the land of their

In making the argument that poverty in Africa is a historically determined
condition one also has to critically examine what would have happened had
colonialism not visited the continent.

One can legitimately argue that access to land is a necessary but not
sufficient condition to reduce the frontiers of poverty.

Africa is well endowed with land. The post-colonial experience so far has
not been encouraging in terms of leveraging the land resources for
agricultural production.

There are many African states with vast tracts of land that are not used to
produce food. As a consequence, agri-tourism is taking root where foreign
nationals who can better utilise land in Africa are acquiring such land for
export production.

Subsistence agriculture is what drives African land use. Commercial
agriculture requires an institutional, financial and human capital framework
that is not part of the native African heritage.

It is typical that Africans work only four months in a year and spend the
rest of the year consuming what they would have produced.

Rain plays an important part in determining the viability of subsistence
agriculture. Water harvesting strategies need capital investment and any
investment would require returns.

The Zimbabwean experience is instructive. Here you have a nation state that
gained independence in 1980 after 90 years of white settler political

The white settler political hegemony started as a commercial project by
Cecil John Rhodes, a proud Englishman who believed in the superiority of
English civilisation.

Through Rudd, in 1888, mineral rights were secured and this was followed by
the transfer of the rights to a public company, British South Africa Company
(BSAC) that was supported by a private security company, British South
Africa Police (BSAP).

This private initiative succeeded in converting Zimbabwe into a colonial
state that was governed by a private institution.

The experiment worked for the settlers who did not see any contradiction
between the colonial project and black civil and economic rights.

At the time, it was argued that there was no serious commercial mining and
agricultural activities that were interrupted as a consequence of Rhodes'

Natives simply could co-exist with the new dispensation. However, the new
dispensation required cheap labour and, therefore, a system was designed to
convert by force native Africans into a new class of labourers.

The colonial project required a holistic approach to it. It had to be
underpinned by a sustainable business and political model.

At the outset, the farmers who came to settle organised themselves into
co-operatives that were established to provide support to the farmers.

The role of the state was to promote and protect the project through a
supportive legal and institutional framework.

One can argue that the land apportionment arrangement guaranteed white
settler success in agriculture.

If this was the case, then it should be self evident that in areas where
natives have got complete control of land, success in agriculture should be
guaranteed. However, this is not the case.

In the case of Zimbabwe, when the land reform programme started, an
estimated 4 500 commercial farmers were in existence.

Since independence, black dominance in the production of maize and cotton
confused many to conclude that land reform could produce outcomes superior
to the one possible in which commercial and subsistence agriculture
co-existed with each other.

Commercial agriculture did co-exist with a vibrant subsistence sector since
independence until the land reform gathered steam.

Commercial agriculture played its role in the broader national arena where
export revenues were generated from farm output.

The role and vitality of commercial agriculture to the viability of the
state was not readily understood by the practitioners of the programme.

A view was held that the success scored by peasants could be repeated in
commercial farms forgetting that commercial agriculture is no different from
a manufacturing enterprise that has to operate 7/24.

The disturbance of 4 500 agricultural decision makers in Zimbabwe
contributed to a significant contraction in national output.

What is ironic is that some of the displaced farmers relocated to
neighbouring states and have managed to demonstrate that their success in
Zimbabwe was not necessarily due to their race alone.

What can Africa learn from the Zimbabwean experience? An argument has been
made that Zimbabwe will never be a colony again suggesting that even after
independence it remained a colony.

Is it the case that Zimbabwe was ever a colony? The land mass of Zimbabwe
did not change because of colonisation. It remained where it was always.

What merely happened is that people who were not born in Zimbabwe and who
did not look like natives adopted Zimbabwe as a home.

They had no guarantees from the mother country and more importantly they did
not expect any handouts. They simply had to make their project work for

This required that they look at farm methods as well as the kind of business
model required to produce the desired outcomes.

We all know that regrettably racism was part and parcel of the project and
its justification was that natives could not be incorporated into the model
because their values, beliefs and principles were foreign to imported ones.

We have seen what impact the displacement of 4 500 farmers has had on the
Zimbabwean economy and more importantly on the future of 13 million people.

If the 4 500 farmers had adopted subsistence farming methods, there is no
doubt that the urgency of the land reform programme would not have taken the
form and pace that it has.

The feeling among policy makers was that if 4 500 farmers can underpin the
viability of the state then democratising access to land would achieve
better results.

This has not happened. Some have sought to place the blame on sanctions.
Instead of frontiers of poverty diminishing we have seen more Zimbabweans in
absolute poverty as a consequence of the land reform programme to compel us
to pause and reflect on what needs to happen in Africa to reduce poverty.

Does Africa need commercial agriculture? Definitely! If this is the case,
critical thinking needs to be applied in the quest of poverty alleviation.

We have to learn from our experiences. Zambia, Nigeria, Mozambique and other
countries that have attracted former Zimbabwean farmers have registered
positive growth in farm output while Zimbabwe continues to associate
continued poverty and lack of significant supply response from the farm
sector on targeted sanctions.

Rhodes was clear on what was required to make his experiment work. He knew
that success of the project would ultimately depend on the creativity and
entrepreneurship of the settlers who were surrounded by a foreign culture.

It is often easy to advance an argument that indigenisation is a real and
effective remedy to poverty forgetting that business success is a product
not just of asset ownership but other myriad of factors that have to be put
in place before the future of Africa can be secure for its people. -

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