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Farming family forced to flee after threats by land invaders

By Alex Bell
24 December 2009

A farming family in Manicaland has been forced to flee their home on
Christmas Eve, after violent threats from a group of farm invaders.

Manda Farm's Ray Finaughty, his wife and three children are all safe after
fleeing their home on Thursday afternoon. The family was given three hours
to pack their belongings and leave, after increasingly violent intimidation
by a group of youths over the last few days. Finaughty, who owns the
productive tobacco and chicken farm in Rusape, Manicaland province, has been
stopped from feeding his animals or tending his tobacco plantation. He and
his family were also briefly held hostage within their home on Thursday
morning, before being forced to flee to safety.

The President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), Deon Theron, told SW
Radio Africa on Thursday that a top Reserve Bank employee, Winnie Mushipe,
has been trying to seize the farm since 2007. Finaughty has been in and out
of court since then trying to keep his land, with Mushipe accusing him of
refusing to leave the 'state owned' property. The case was eventually
dismissed in 2008, but fresh charges were once again brought forward in May
this year, in a case that has been ongoing.

Finaughty meanwhile was one of more than 70 commercial farmers who took the
government to the human rights court of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), over the land grab campaign. Last year the SADC ruled last
year that the land grab was unlawful, and ordered the Mugabe government to
ensure the protection of farmers and their rights to their land. But the
ruling has been openly flouted, and land invasions, taking place under the
guise of so called land 'reform', have intensified this year.

The CFU's Theron said on Thursday there is no way of moving the country
forward if the rule of law continues to be so publicly dismissed. He
explained that police in Manicaland have refused to aid Finaughty, dubbing
the land invasion a 'political' matter. This same excuse has been used by
police across the country, meaning the majority of farmers have no help in
the face of continued harassment.

This incident comes in the midst of ongoing threats against more than 100
farmers, whose land has been targeted for forced takeover by mainly ZANU PF
loyalists and many other well connected beneficiaries. In the past week, a
recently widowed farmer's wife was given 24 hours to leave the farm she
shared with her husband, who had been killed in a car accident just days
before. Theron explained that at least another two farmers have come under
siege this week alone, with former lands minister Didymus Mutasa believed to
be behind one of the attacks.

"Things remain very tense and the tragedy is that these farmers can't even
produce crops for the country, which they really want to do," Theron said,
alluding to the fact that Zimbabwe, the former 'bread basket' of Africa, is
still so heavily reliant on food aid.

The ongoing land attacks have also left tens of thousands of people
unemployed, as farm workers and their families have also been forced to
leave the properties along with their employers. The General Agriculture and
Plantation Workers Union (GAPWUZ) has said more than 60 000 people have been
left destitute as a direct result of the land grab initiative this year
alone. The workers have often been the silent victims in the land grab
campaign, a plight that GAPWUZ has highlighted in the documentary 'House of
Justice'. The film explains how farm workers have faced horrific abuse,
including beatings and torture, at the hands of land invaders. The film also
appeals to regional leaders within SADC to intervene.

But there has been no effort by either the unity government or by SADC to
stop the attacks that are having such far flung implications for the


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Biti Never Proposed Diaspora Tax

Written by Makusha Mugabe
Tuesday, 22 December 2009

It is an indictment of Zimbabwean journalism that not less than five news
websites, including the zimguardian, the Voice of America, The Zimbabwe Mail
and Harare Tribune have all carried the story.

Even the Chronicle in Bulawayo reported it as if it was factual that Biti
proposed this tax. But it is not clear who started the story. which wrote the story on Biti launching an academic report
that proposed the tax seems to have got it right. They reported that he
launched a report by academics.

They even provided a link to download the report which showed that it was a
proposal by this group of academics.

The full list of the academics who proposed it is given below.

But the Zanu PF propaganda website then went and wrote:
"Finance Minister Tendai Biti has a new plan to raise funds - taxing those
Zimbabweans who are living abroad.

"Minister Biti unveiled the plan in a national reconstruction report
unveiled by Biti at a seminar at Manchester University, England, recently" -
cut-paste journalism at its worst.

The truth is that this was an independent report published by The University
of Manchester's Brooks World Poverty Institute.

The "research" was carried out by a team of academics and policy experts,
"by accessing Government and policy documentation as well as talking to
policy makers" according to their own Press release.

It was launched by Dr Biti, Zimbabwe Minister of Finance at a public lecture
at The University of Manchester on 11 December as we reported here.

Biti himself said: "Of course I haven't proposed any such a tax.

"The report I launched is an independent academic report. I have no
influence on it's crafting nor does the same bind government .

"I personally think a citizen tax is not practical. In any event there
should never be taxation without representation"

The full list of the academics who proposed it is given below: Former senior
permanent secretary Dr Tendai Bare a Commissioner in the Public Service
Commission of Zimbabwe. She has also directed programmes at the Commonwealth
Secretariat in London.

Dr Blessing Chiripanhura holds a PhD in Economics and has worked at the
University of Sheffield and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trades Unions.

Beth Chitekwe-Biti is currently completing a PhD degree in Urban Development
and Planning at the University of Manchester. She is the Founder and
Director of Dialogue on Shelter and sits on the Secretariat of Shack
Dwellers International.

Dr Fay Chung holds a DPhil from the University of Zimbabwe and worked in the
Ministry of Education in Zimbabwe in various capacities including as
Minister of Education before joining UNICEF as Chief of Education. She moved
to UNESCO before returning to Zimbabwe.

Dr Tapiwa Magure holds a degree in medicine, an MA in Public Health and an
MBA. He has worked in the health ministry in Zimbabwe and is currently the
Executive Director of the National AIDS Council.

Lance Mambondiyani is currently completing his PhD in Finance at the
University of Manchester. He has worked in the finance sector in Zimbabwe in
various capacities and is an investment analyst for an international
consulting firm.

Dr Jeannette Manjengwa is the Deputy Dean of Social Studies at the
University of Zimbabwe where she also lectures in Environment and
Development at the Centre for Applied Social Sciences. She has worked in
education and in the Ministry of Environment and Tourism of Zimbabwe.

Dr Innocent Matshe holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics from The University
of Manchester and currently lectures at the University of Zimbabwe's
Department of Economics.

Dr Ngoni Munemo holds a PhD in Political Science from Columbia University.
He is currently Assistant Professor of Political Science at Williams College
in the USA.

Dr Sobona Mtisi holds a PhD from the University of Manchester and is
currently a Research Fellow in Water Governance at the Overseas Development

Mike Nxele works at the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva.
With a background in Human Resources Management he was Human Resources
Director for the Posts and Telecommunications in Zimbabwe before joining the
UN in Nairobi and Geneva.

And Dr Desire Sibanda who holds a PhD in Finance from the University of Bath
and is currently Permanent Secretary for Economic Planning and Investment
Promotion in Zimbabwe. He has worked in the Zimbabwe Civil Service and

Lead author is Dr Admos Chimhowu from The Brooks World Poverty Institute at
The University of Manchester.

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Long delays at Beitbridge and Plumtree Border posts

By Tichaona Sibanda
24 December 2009

Thousands of travellers were still facing long delays at Beitbridge border
post, as immigration officials failed to cope with the huge number of
people, trucks and cars.

The delays have been caused mainly by the high number of Zimbabweans, based
in South Africa, travelling home for the Christmas and New Year holidays. At
least 12 000 individuals and 4,000 vehicles are passing through the
Beitbridge border on a daily basis.

According to our Bulawayo correspondent, Lionel Saungweme, the border
requires a staff complement of at least 400 people, but only 120 officers
are currently manning it. Beitbridge is the busiest inland port of entry in
sub-Saharan Africa and handles a huge volume of commercial traffic destined
for countries such as Zambia, Tanzania and the DRC.

Saungweme, who visited the Plumtree border post on Wednesday, told us the
situation there was also chaotic. Queues were close to 2km long.

'The problem is they give first preference to commercial transporters ahead
of people. At this time of year people should be cleared first. I think
government needs to speed up the one-stop border project,' Saungweme said.

The one-stop border, such as the one that was opened at Chirundu between
Zimbabwe and Zambia recently, allows faster and more efficient movement of
cargo and people.

Meanwhile, a South African home affairs official, was arrested for allegedly
taking a bribe from a Zimbabwean at Beit Bridge border post.

Reports from South Africa quote a senior police office, Superintendent Vish
Naidoo, saying the man was arrested after a Zimbabwean laid a complaint to
the police about the official soliciting a bribe from him on Wednesday
night. Police recovered 2000 Rand and a fake 100 Rand note when the official
was arrested.
Superintended Naidoo encouraged other people to follow in the footsteps of

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Beit Bridge bribery

Thu, 24 Dec 2009 12:06

A home affairs official was arrested for allegedly taking a bribe from a
Zimbabwean national at Beit Bridge border post in Limpopo, police said on

Senior Superintendent Vish Naidoo said the man was arrested after a
Zimbabwean laid a complaint to the police about the official soliciting a
bribe from him on Wednesday night.

When the official was arrested, police recovered R2000 and a R100 fake note
on him.

He would face a charge of corruption.

"We encourage people to follow in the footsteps of the man who reported this
official to the police. This is the most effective way to root out
corruption," said Naidoo.

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Christmas Truce Agreed in Anglican Church Conflict in Harare, Zimbabwe

The agreement was reached after Kunonga filed an urgent application in High
Court appealing a recent decision censuring him for using police to disturb
services of the rival Anglican Church group on recent Sundays

Sandra Nyaira | Washington 23 December 2009

With Christmas religious observances fast approaching Zimbabwean police have
agreed not to interfere with the services organized by the Anglican Church
of the Province of Central Africa, which has long been at loggerheads with
ousted Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, a close ally of President Robert Mugabe.

The agreement was reached after Kunonga filed an urgent application in High
Court appealing a recent decision censuring him for using police to disturb
services of the rival Anglican Church group on recent Sundays.

Lawyers representing the Anglican Church of the Province of Central Africa
sought relief in Harare High Court last week, obtaining the ruling against
the former bishop from Justice Tedious Karwi. Kunonga then lodged his urgent
application which was heard by Justice Ben Hlatswayo.

Kunonga argued the opposing Anglican church group has not cited him but the
police as a respondent in the application heard by Karwi.

At the hearing in Hlatswayo's chambers, both parties to the dispute and
police representatives met and agreed that the services led by new Anglican
Bishop of Harare Chad Nicholas Gandiya should not be disturbed.

Registrar Mike Chingori of the Gandiya formation told VOA Studio 7 reporter
Sandra Nyaira that Gandiya's parishioners hope the police will keep their
word this Christmas weekend. But Bishop Alfred Munyani insisted Kunonga is
still in charge of the church and its properties despite the consent decree.

Kunonga clashed with his Anglican superiors of the Province of Central
Africa over issues ranging from the human rights record of the Mugabe
administration to the question of the ordination of homosexuals, and was
dismissed. But he and his loyalists have refused to relinquish control of
church properties.

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Zimbabwe Anglican Church Christmas Wrangle

Harare, December 24, 2009 - The troubled Anglican church members are likely
to have a not so religious Christmas as parishioners from Bishop's Nolbert
Kunonga and Sebastian Bakare who have been fighting for the control of the
church brace for a tussle for the right to conduct church services on

The parishioners started the fight on Wednesday evening when a group of
parishioners from Bakare's side stormed the Anglican Central Cathedral
Church and started singing and dancing playing church hymns loudly in the
car park.

The parishioners were clad in black. Those from Bishop Bakare's side have
not been able to use the church located just next to parliament building
despite the existence of a High Court order declaring the church premises
open to both sides and different intervals.

"We are not going to fear anyone except God, this is the house of God and we
have a right to be here," said of the parishioners as they walked to the
cathedral. We shall be here tomorrow and worship and praise the lord into
Christmas day."

But Kunonga's faction is unlikely to sit back and watch. Kunonga is usually
seen these days holding meeting in the car park facing Ambassador Hotel with
other church members. It is the same car park that the defiant Bakare
faction members took their song and dance.

The police has been harassing members of the Anglican Church belonging to
Bakare barring them from using church premises around Harare.

Over the past two weeks members of Harare's Anglican community have been
subjected to harassment by riot police officers who came in to disrupt

The police recently disrupted Anglican Church services and assaulted

In Mbare, Kuwadzana, Tafara, Warren Park, Budiriro, Glen View, Belvedere,
Hatfield and Marlborough, riot police locked the doors of churches to keep
worshippers out.

The disruptions, engineered by ousted Zanu-PF-affiliated Anglican bishop
Nolbert Kunonga, is in contemptuous breach of a High Court judgement by
Justice Rita Makarau, who ruled that the churches were to be shared between
the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) and the breakaway
Anglican province set up by Kunonga, the former Bishop of Harare.

Kunonga was excommunicated and estranged from the Anglican Church worldwide
after he broke all ties with the Church of the Province of Central Africa
(CPCA). He claimed to have withdrawn the Anglican Diocese of Harare from the
CPCA, a move which experts say is legally impossible.

Kunonga had fierce run-ins with an interim administration led by Bakare,
which was set up to replace him.

The interruptions had stopped momentarily after the diocese of Harare
elected Dr Chad Gandiya as the new bishop of the diocese, even though
Kunonga had attempted to scuttle the consecration and enthronement of the
new bishop in the courts.

After Gandiya was installed, Kunonga disengaged from the tussle with the
CPCA, but resumed the disruptions two weeks ago.

As a result of these disturbances in the church, many concerned members of
the church particularly those from Bakare's side have rented alternative
spaces to use as places of worships. Several weddings have been disrupted by
the Kunonga faction members. They have also gone on to lock churches when
ever they are due for use by the Bakare sect. One classical example is the
Greendale Anglican Church located at the corner of Samora Machel and
Rhodesville Avenue which has been locked for services for 5 weeks after
Kunonga's sect failed to raise enough numbers to congregate a church

Freedom of worship is enshrined in the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Kunonga is a known Zanu-PF supporter and is the only clergyman in Zimbabwe
to be slapped with a travel ban by the United States of America, joining
President Mugabe and other government and party officials, on allegations of
human rights abuses and the break down of law and order.

He is a beneficiary of government's land redistribution programme.

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Released MDC Transport Manager Seeks Medical Attention

Harare, December 24, 2009 - Tormented Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
transport manager, Pasco Gwezere on Thursday said he felt great after
regaining his freedom following his two months detention in prison.

Gwezere, who was detained at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, walked out of prison
on Wednesday night after the Supreme Court confirmed a bail order granted by
High Court Judge Justice Charles Hungwe.

In his first interview at Avenues Clinic in Harare where he sought
medication examination and treatment, Gwezere told Radio VOP that he felt
relieved to regain his freedom and joining his family.

"I feel great having suffered under state security agents. I suffered much.
Those guys (state security agents were brutal," said Gwezere who was
checking in at the hospital.

Gwezere was abducted in October by state security agents and accused of
stealing firearms from Pomona Army Barracks One Engineers Support Regiment
Armoury.He was also accused of undergoing military training at Soroti Camp
in Uganda as part of a plot to topple President Robert Mugabe's government.
But the charge was dismissed by a Harare Magistrate court for lack of

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'Council Has No Capacity to Clear Harare Refuse'

24 December 2009

Harare - Harare City Council has no capacity to collect garbage from
households despite collecting monthly refuse charges from the people, town
clerk Dr Tendai Mahachi has said.

Dr Mahachi made the remarks during a review meeting of the Cabinet taskforce
on cholera on Monday as the Libyan government donated a consignment of drugs
and water treatment chemicals to mitigate the spread and recurrence of

He said council was owed US$30 million in unpaid refuse fees because
residents were protesting the non-delivery of the service.

Libyan Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Taher Elmagrahe said the drugs and
chemicals were part of the US$850 000 assistance package by the people of
Libya to Zimbabwe. The drugs and chemicals would be distributed to all
health centres across the country.

"We will continue to give. This consignment is from the people of Libya to
the people of Zimbabwe," he said.

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo said Ambassador Elmagrahe should
convey to the government of Libya the message of appreciation from the
people of Zimbabwe.

"Tell your people that the people of Zimbabwe are happy and appreciate the
kind gesture," he said.

However, despite efforts by other organisations to assist, Harare City
Council is far less prepared to deal with cholera as garbage remains
uncollected in all suburbs. Council has delayed the acquisition of refuse
trucks preferring to buy the plant and equipment in January next year by
which time the mounting refuse could result in a cholera outbreak.

"Our fleet is heavily depleted. We do not have vehicles to cover the whole
of Harare. We expect delivery of refuse trucks by end of January," he said.

Government Ministers present were not amused by the lack of urgency and
seriousness on the part of Harare City Council.

Energy and Power Development Minister Elias Mudzuri felt Mayor Muchadeyi
Masunda or his deputy, Councillor Emmanuel Chiroto, should have attended the
meeting to understand the political imperatives driving the programme.
Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu was equally unhappy
saying the city management lacked seriousness.

Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister Francis Nhema said the
city should introduce spot fines for refuse dumping and wondered why council
had stopped the practice when it seemed to be paying dividends. He said
council should ban the open selling of meat and fish on the streets adding
that fish from Chivero had been condemned as a health hazard.

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Uncertainty cripples Zim recovery: Biti

Thursday 24 December 2009

HARARE - Uncertainty over Zimbabwe's future political direction is holding
back efforts to revive the country's economy that was once one of the best
performing in Africa, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Wednesday.

Biti cited incessant squabbling over implementation of the global political
agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the country's coalition government and
instability in the mainstay farming sector as the two main obstacles to
achieving economic recovery.

"The uncertainty over the global political agreement is affecting the
performance of the economy," Biti said at the launch in Harare of the
government's three-year economic recovery blueprint that comes into effect
next month.

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

The power-sharing government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai has done well to stabilise Zimbabwe's economy and end
inflation that was estimated at more than a trillion percent at the height
of the country's economic meltdown last year.

But unending squabbles between Mugabe's ZANU PF party and the MDC of
Tsvangirai as well as the coalition government's inability to secure direct
financial support from rich Western nations have held back the
administration's efforts to rebuild the economy.

The MDC accuses Mugabe of flouting the GPA after the veteran leader refused
to rescind his unilateral appointment of two of his allies to the key posts
of central bank governor and attorney general.

Mugabe has also refused to swear in MDC treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy
agriculture minister and to appoint members of Tsvangirai's party as
provincial governors.

On its part ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the power-sharing
deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to campaign for
lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies.

A meeting on Wednesday between Tsvangirai, Mugabe and deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara who is third signatory to the GPA failed to reach agreement
on the outstanding issues, with the three leaders saying they would refer
all outstanding matters to party negotiators. - ZimOnline.

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US Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray Urges Trust, Forward Vision in Harare

Ambassador Ray said Washington is ready to engage President Mugabe in a
rational and mature discussion of how to restore not only bilateral
relations but also Zimbabwe's prosperity and international stature

Blessing Zulu | Washington 23 December 2009

United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray has urged the leaders of
the fragile national unity government in Harare not to cling to the past and
to develop trust in order to restore Zimbabwe's prosperity and position.

Ambassador Ray said the United States is ready to engage President Robert
Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara in a serious discussion of bilateral re-engagement which could
expand the areas in which Washington is prepared to provide aid.

Confirmed as ambassador by the U.S. Senate in August, Ray presented his
diplomatic credentials to President Mugabe earlier this month.

Soon after, the state-controlled Herald newspaper, close to Mr. Mugabe's
side of the power-sharing government of national unity, declared itself
"encouraged by statements made" by Ray following his one-hour meeting with
Mr. Mugabe.

According to the Herald, the envoy said the talks went "exceptionally well,"
and he expressed to the president his "commitment to working with everyone
to restore the country to prominence and prosperity."

Relations between Harare and Washington were often tense and chilly over the
past decade as U.S. officials vocally criticized the Mugabe government's
record on human rights. Ray's immediate predecessor James McGee had brushes
with police when he visited hospitals treating victims of political violence
during the tumultuous 2008 elections, and President Mugabe once angrily
declared that the previous U.S. ambassador, Christopher Dell, could "go to

As recently as July, Mr. Mugabe lashed out at U.S. Assistant Secretary of
State for Africa Johnny Carson, accusing him of being condescending in a
brief meeting on the margins of an international gathering.

President Barack Obama recently described President Mugabe as a "dictator"
and his administration has maintained targeted sanctions imposed on him and
many other senior members of his long-ruling ZANU-PF party.

In an interview with VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu, Ray said the
Harare power-sharing leadership must develop relations of mutual trust and
reach decisions that "send clear signals that in fact things have improved."

Ray added: "The more people cling to historical symbols and dwell on the
past the less progress there'll be made."

Regarding the U.S. targeted sanctions which President Mugabe has described
as illegal, demanding they be lifted, Ray said that "there's probably been
too much focus on sanctions as a factor in the relationship.

"In my meeting with President Mugabe, I said essentially that I believe in
engagement and dialogue, that we all need to sit down and rationally and
maturely discuss with each other ways to restore, not only our relations,
but more importantly to restore Zimbabwe to the position it once held."

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Zimbabwe's MDC Proposes Amendments to Much-Maligned Security Legislation

Movement for Democratic Change Chief Whip Innocent Gonese filed the proposed
legislation to amend the draconian legislation which among other provisions
seriously restricts public assembly rights

Patience Rusere | Washington 23 December 2009

A senior legislator of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change has
proposed the significant revision of the country's much-maligned Public
Order and Security Act often referred to as POSA, and the reforms are
expected to be debated early next year, political sources said Wednesday.

Movement for Democratic Change Chief Whip Innocent Gonese filed the proposed
legislation to amend the draconian legislation which among other provisions
seriously restricts public assembly rights.

The proposed amendments would redefine "public demonstration" so as to
exclude meetings in closed venues such as halls, and union meetings.

The new language also reduces the number of days advance notice that
organizers of a public gathering are obliged to give police.

Gonese could not immediately be reached for comment.

Pretoria-based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum Executive Director Gabriel Shumba, a
human rights lawyer, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that POSA
should not just be amended but taken off the books entirely.

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Zimbabwe's MDC Official Says Differences Still Plague Unity Government

Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC says
the MDC hopes those differences can be resolved by mid-January 2010

James Butty | Washington, DC 23 December 2009

Nearly a year since Zimbabwe's coalition government was formed, an official
of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party said while there has been
improvement in atmosphere, major differences still remain.

President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara held a mutually respectful end-of-year joint news
conference Wednesday raising hopes of progress in the coalition government.

But Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for Prime Minister Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change said the MDC hopes the remaining issues can be resolved by
mid-January 2010.

"What is clear is that the delay we have witnessed in terms of the
implementation of the GPA (Global Political Agreement) has not been helpful.
We would have wished that the issues be resolved, but that has not happened.
We have spent almost a year talking about talks," he said.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai who earlier this year temporarily withdrew from
the coalition government, said Wednesday he was optimistic the remaining
issues would be resolved by the new year.

Chamisa said those outstanding issues include the case of MDC deputy
agriculture minister-designate Roy Bennett.

"Most of the critical issues that were raised, issues to deal with the
reserve bank governor and attorney general in terms of their appointment,
the issue of the swearing in of Roy Bennett who is our minister-designate
for deputy agriculture. Mr. Mugabe has refused against the will and spirit
of the inclusive government and global political agreement to swear in
Honorable Mr. Bennett," Chamisa said.

He said the MDC also has other outstanding issues to resolve, including
national security institutions and their respect to the office of the Prime

During Wednesday's joint news conference, President Mugabe said the Zimbabwe
economy was improving, which he attributed to the fact that the inclusive
government must be working.

Chamis said while the direction of the inclusive government was good, the
spirit was not satisfactory.

"It's important that we move away from the stabilization paradigm, from the
stabilization economics to growth economics. We are not yet there. We are
just trying to stop the hemorrhage," he said.

Chamisa said the MDC believes that in order to focus on growth economics
there needs to be fraternity and confidence building.

He said if the outstanding issues are not resolved by mid-January, the MDC
would seek the intervention of the Southern African Development Community

Chamisa said he believes SADC's new point man President Jacob Zuma of South
Africa is starting in the right direction.

"We do appreciate the effort of South Africa because it has breathed a fresh
sense of objectivity and unbiased interrogation of issues. And we hope that
this attribute will continue. It will be good for Zimbabwe, it will be good
for the region and indeed the continent," Chamisa said.

He said the MDC wants to resolve the problems of Zimbabwe within the borders
of Africa. But Chamisa said the effort should not just be empty slogans.

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Way forward should not depend on resolution of outstanding issues

By Violet Gonda
24 December 2009

Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA), has said the solutions in helping Zimbabwe improve should not depend
on the resolution of outstanding issues in the unity talks. He said it is
more important to fight for the opening up of democratic space.

Giving a review of the past year Madhuku said 2009 was a mixed bag of both
positive and negatives for Zimbabwe. The civic leader said there was
progress on the economic front, where the adoption of the multi-currency
system brought some stability and relief to people. He said the main
political rivals seem to have found a way of working together and there is
some progress there.

"But on the negative side there is not much progress in terms of the broader
agenda of the past ten years. The past five to ten years required us to get
to a very different Zimbabwe - very democratic, free, prosperous and so on,
but we are very far away from that."

Madhuku warned: "The signals in 2009 were such that we might see the current
politicians wanting the status quo, which we have now, to be a permanent
feature of our political system and that is a very negative development."

In February this year ZANU PF and the two MDC formations formed the
inclusive government, but the full implementation of their Global Political
Agreement has been hampered by bickering over outstanding issues. Crisis
negotiations over the deadlocked issues adjourned this week and are expected
to resume in January. While it has been reported that 16 out of 27 issues
have been resolved, there is still no movement on the really key issues,
such as the swearing-in of MDC official Roy Bennett; the appointments of
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, the
swearing in of provincial governors, and a number of other issues.

It remains to be seen to what extent these issues are going to be dealt
with. At a joint press conference with his partners in government in Harare
on Wednesday, Robert Mugabe showed he has no intention of doing anything
about some of the issues in dispute. For example, he said the appointment of
an individual should not derail the work of the coalition government saying:
"This huge Government of three parties yotadziswa naTomana?"

One of our listeners wrote in and made the point that there is a real chance
that the two MDC formations could be swallowed up by ZANU PF, saying they
felt that Tsvangirai was being deceived and was too quick to accept half

The listener wrote: "Even at school, if one got 16 out of 27 there would not
be much cause for celebration especially if the student/s avoided compulsory
questions i.e. Gono, Tomana and Bennett as well as provincial governors.
Tsvangirai's ten months in government may be credited with food in the shops
and less violence, the truth is that he has given more help to Mugabe's
Zanu-pf than the people who suffered as a result of supporting him. He has
done this by signing anything put in front of him regardless of the
consequences. He will regret this"

Madhuku said: "Our future should not be dependent on what issues that Mugabe
and Tsvangirai have decided not to agree on." He predicts the talks will
continue and that at some point the politicians will say they have agreed,
even if they have not have solved any of the fundamental issues that they
put on the table.
"And that might require us to scrutinize both ZANU PF and the MDC - to
scrutinize whether the so called talks, the so-called deadlocks are worth
our efforts as a country," he added:

The civic leader urged Zimbabweans in 2010 to look at all the issues from
all the angles and not take a partisan outlook about the inclusive
government. He said in 2009 close to half the pupils failed to write their 0'level
examinations because of unaffordable exam fees. "That is not acceptable and
we cannot in this case just blame some people, we should blame the entire
framework that is running the country, and ask if the government is

Meanwhile, the National Constitutional Assembly has reiterated that it will
not participate in the government sponsored constitution making process. The
parliamentary select committee spearheading the constitution making process,
said the public meetings on a new constitutional draft will begin on January
12th 2010. But Madhuku said: "The NCA is not part of this defective
constitution making process, so we will not be in those committees."

The pressure group said it will continue with its programmes of educating
Zimbabweans on the importance of a constitution and 'why we should write it
in our own way'.

Madhuku said they will not interfere with the government-led process but
will be there to criticise the shortfalls of it and prepare the public to
reject any constitution that is not acceptable to Zimbabweans. He said: "So
we are very happy that they are starting, so that we get to the end of this
matter - that is why we welcome the January meetings. We welcome them so
that we close these chapters of politicians wanting to impose constitutions
and we are urging Zimbabweans to reject them, that is what we will do."

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Zimbabwe power authority owes US$465m in foreign loans, power imports

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's power utility is sitting on foreign debts
of more than US$465 million accumulated over the years for electricity
imports and loans to rehabilitate the country's dilapidated generation
infrastructure, APA learns here Thursday.

A report by the parliamentary portfolio committee on mining and energy said
part of the debt was US$98 million in arrears accumulated by the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) on power imports from the Democratic
Republic of Congo, Mozambique and Zambia.

"ZESA is experiencing huge foreign debt of US$465 million. The loans were
used to fund major capital projects e.g. refurbishment of the Hwange Power
Station and the construction of the inter-connectors," said the report seen
by APA.

Zimbabwe requires US$2 billion for new equipment and to expand production at
the country's two main power plants and ease shortages that have also
affected industrial production and contributed to the economic crisis.

So far only US$51 million has been raised from the African Development Bank
(AfDB) for an emergency rehabilitation exercise while the government
scrounges around for more funding.

The AfDB loan would only be available in the second quarter of 2010 because
of bureaucratic and political considerations by the lender, which would
militate against efforts to improving electricity generation in the

The government is also said to have reached an agreement with the Botswana
Power Corporation under which the company would inject US$8 million to
revive the mothballed Bulawayo thermal power station, which has not produced
electricity for nearly a decade.

The deal is similar to the one agreed last year with Namibia's utility
NamPower, which allowed the Windhoek-based company to invest US$45 million
to rehabilitate Hwange in exchange for electricity.

The emergency rehabilitation plan would see Zimbabwe's Hwange power station
ramping up generation to maximum capacity of 750 megawatts while the 90
megawatt Bulawayo thermal power plant will be restarted with help from
Botswana by June next year.

Hwange, like Kariba hydro power station, has been dogged by ageing equipment
and lack of funding to buy spares to revamp its units.

Any increase in power output is good news for Zimbabwe, which has suffered
acute power cuts due to falling generation capacity over the years and has
had to rely from ever declining imports from its regional neighbours.

Internal generation capacity from the main Kariba and Hwange power stations
as well as smaller thermal stations is around 900 megawatt against demand of
around 2,270 megawatt during peak hours.

This leaves a huge shortfall of more than 1,300 megawatt during peak periods
which the country has to meet through imports.


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Zimbabwe to carry out land audit in 2010, blueprint announces

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The Zimbabwean government will embark on a two-year
national land audit, starting next year, according to a new development
blueprint obtained by APA on Thursday.

It is hoped that the audit would lay the groundwork for a more orderly and
equitable land redistribution programme following a decade of chaotic land
grab by supporters of President Robert Mugabe.

"The government will, during 2010, carry out the National Land Audit. This
will cover 12,000 A2 farms, 108,000 A1 farms, 56,250 old resettlement
schemes, as well as 6,000 small and large-scale commercial farms," the
blueprint said.

Under the existing land reform programme, former large-scale farms were
converted into A1 model farms for small-scale subsistence farmers and A2
model farms for commercial medium and large scale farmers.

Old resettlement schemes refer to pieces of land allocated to subsistence
farmers before the advent of the land reform programme in 2000.

The audit would also see 4,000 A2 farms, 36,000 A1 farms, 18,750 old
resettlement schemes and 2,000 small and large-scale commercial farms coming
under scrutiny in 2011.

Zimbabwe's power-sharing government had earlier this year shelved plans to
carry out the audit because it does not have the US$31 million needed to pay
for the exercise.

Mugabe's programme to seize white-owned farmland for redistribution to
landless blacks is blamed for plunging once self-sufficient Zimbabwe into
food shortages after Harare failed to support black villagers resettled on
former white farms with inputs to maintain production.

The audit is expected to weed out top allies of Mugabe who grabbed most of
the best farms seized from whites, with some ending up with as many as six
farms each against the government's stated one-man-one-farm policy.

The audit is also expected to facilitate the undertaking of an exercise that
would result in the issuance of 99-year leases to A2 farmers.



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Zimbabwe Celebrates Christmas with Hope

Christmas in Zimbabwe, in the past few years, has been a bland affair
because of the economic and political turmoil the country was experiencing,
but this year there is a real Christmas feeling in the country.

Ish Mafundikwa | Harare 24 December 2009

Zimbabweans take Christmas very seriously.  However, there was little good
cheer for the festive season in the past few years.  Now, the country's
fortunes seem to be changing for the better since the formation of the
national unity government, earlier this year, and the replacement of the
worthless Zimbabwe dollar by hard currencies.  As a result, Zimbabweans are
looking forward to a merry Christmas and hoping for a happy new year.

At a supermarket in downtown Harare, a choir is singing Christmas carols.
The parking lot is packed with cars.  Onias Katiyo is pushing a cart full of
groceries towards his car.

"It's going to be a better Christmas, in the sense that things are available
in the shops and the prices are stabilizing," he said.

This time last year, Zimbabweans were dealing with the highest inflation
rate in the world and chronic shortages of the most basic goods.  Shops were
almost empty and people had to get just about all their needs on the black
market or cross the borders to neighboring countries to stock up.  Gospel
musician Stanley Gwanzura, known as Pastor G, is one of the many who made
the trip.

"I remember queuing for hours on the border between Botswana and Zimbabwe,
trying to bring in some basic goods for Christmas which were not available
in the shops," he noted.  "So I can safely say this year is better because
foodstuffs are available, but I guess the buying power hasn't improved for
the person on the street."

Chipo Chashinya echoes Pastor G's sentiments.

"The dollar just came in and not all of us were fortunate to get it so
hopefully next year we'll be able to get more of the dollar," she said.

Things may be looking up in Zimbabwe, but people here are very aware that it
all depends on the fragile unity government staying intact.  Pastor G.

"We pray that it remains the way it is or even improves.  The fact that
people are talking and working together means that there is at least hope
for this nation," he added.

Back at the parking lot, Katiyo expects a lot of the government in 2010.

"We are hoping they will come up with something so we have electricity,
clean water. We are looking forward," he said.

Many Zimbabweans see the ending decade as a lost decade. They all hope the
upcoming one will not be similarly wasted.

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Principals in talks over Christmas crisis

Gerry Jackson
24 December 2009

In breaking news we have just heard that the North American Defense
command - Norad - has been tracking Santa for over 50 years now and reports
that his journey around the world has begun. Norad is the US military
organisation that is responsible for the aerospace and maritime defence of
the US and Canada.

According to Norad, their tracking system works because Rudolph the
Reindeers famous red nose gives off an infrared signature similar to a
missile launch.

The bad news is that once again the reindeer are refusing to land in
Zimbabwe - due to the ongoing farm invasions where animals are being
slaughtered, and also because of the high level of poaching.

They have serious concerns that they will either be shot, speared or caught
in a poachers wire noose.

The 3 principles in the unity government, Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara have been in closed door discussions with Santa's elves
all day to try to resolve the situation. The elves want absolute assurances
that the reindeer will be safe, but so far that has not been forthcoming.

Mugabe has said he feels certain that neo colonialists have been persuading
the reindeer to take this course of action in a deliberate attempt to
destabilise Zimbabwe, while Tsvangirai said the reindeer are completely over
reacting, just as Nestle have in shutting down their Zimbabwe operation.
Mutambara has said he enjoys eating reindeer meat.

We'll bring you more on this story as it develops.

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Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to everyone, and may 2010 bring peace, prosperity and stability to all.
I do not know who too this photo of Christmas lights in Salisbury (Harare) in the 60s or 70s, but I thought it made a cheerful Christmas card.

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