The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Air Zim plane flies home

25/12/2011 00:00:00
    by AFP

THE Air Zimbabwe plane impounded in London for more than two weeks over a
debt dispute flew home on Sunday after the national carrier settled $1.2
million owed to a US spares company, the airline’s acting chief executive

“Yes, the plane arrived this morning from the UK and we are grateful,”
Innocent Mavhunga told AFP.

American General Supplies seized Air Zimbabwe’s Boeing 767-200 at Gatwick
over unpaid fees of $1.2 million resulting in the airline cancelling the
flight and reimbursing stranded passengers.

Mavhunga however, said flights to South Africa remain suspended on concern
that aircraft may be seized over debt to various suppliers.

The airline, already struggling to pay its workforce and facing mounting
fuel shortages, needs about $40 million to clear some of its debts, Mavhunga
said earlier this month.

The airline says its financial difficulties are a result of the
international sanctions targeting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s

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Criminal gang terrorises Beitbridge as holiday toll rises

25/12/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

AUTHORITIES at the Beitbridge border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe
have warned travellers to beware of a criminal syndicate called Maguma-guma
which operates at the border.

South Africa border spokesperson, Michael Malindi said members of the
syndicate pretend to be officials and rob travellers of their cash.
Malindi says legitimate border authorities have uniform and name tags.

Meanwhile, nine more people were killed in road traffic accidents across the
country, bringing the festive holiday death toll to 48 so far.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri said the number of deaths
recorded so far resulted from 652 accidents.

He said 378 people have been injured since December 15.

In an accident that occurred at along the Harare-Masvingo Road, three people
died on the spot while 30 others were injured.
Witnesses said a speeding haulage truck rammed into an overloaded bus that
was travelling to Beitbridge from Harare.

Traffic Police spokesperson Inspector Tigere Chigome said the truck driver
lost control after being obstructed by an oncoming Toyota vehicle.
He then swerved and crashed into the Toyota and the bus.

“The driver of the haulage truck lost control of his vehicle after being
obstructed by a Toyota Vitz and veered off his lane, hence the crash,” he

“Three people died on the spot. The other vehicle involved was a Toyota
Chigome attributed most of the accidents to drunk driving and overloading.

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Zimbabwe poised to be world's third largest diamond producer   2011-12-25 07:48:34

HARARE, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe is poised to become the world's third
largest diamond producer by the end of this decade as production continues
to soar, state media New Ziana reported on Saturday.

The country which is currently the seventh largest producer in the world has
potential to supply 25 percent of global demand.

Currently the country has got four diamond mining firms operating in the
Chiadzwa fields namely Marange Resources, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin and Diamond
Mining Corporation.

The Kimberly Process Certification System recently rated Anjin was recently
certified as the biggest diamond mining firm in the world.

Western countries led by the United States have been battling to block
Zimbabwe from selling its diamonds in order to sustain effects of illegal
economic sanctions that they imposed on the country in retribution for
expropriating land from former white commercial farmers.

The country stands to earn more than 2 billion U.S. dollars per year from
the three Marange mines that have been permitted to sell so far.

According to the Diamond Industry Report for 2011, Zimbabwe's diamond output
would continue to grow. "In the last three years, Zimbabwe has become a
significant diamond producer and is forecast to become a top-three producer
by the end of this decade," the report said.

"With the changing environment in Zimbabwe, the international community is
slowly beginning to accept Zimbabwe back into the fold. Diamonds from
Zimbabwe which had been excluded from the markets in the last two years are
slowly making a comeback."

The report said despite efforts to stop Zimbabwe from marketing her gems
production continued to grow.

"Exclusion from the international diamond markets has not deterred Zimbabwe
from producing diamonds and production has been increasing exponentially
after formalization of diamond mining in the Marange area," said the report.

Currently Botswana is the top diamond producing nation in the world by value
followed by Russia and Canada.

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Leadership struggles dog MDC factions

Saturday, 24 December 2011 15:42

The two MDC formations held their congresses this year. Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara was booted out as leader of the smaller faction of
the MDC which elected Welshman Ncube as the new party President at its
congress held in January.

Mutambara challenged the election of Ncube and is now leading his own
faction but the courts have ordered him to stop masquerading as a GPA

Tsvangirai was re-elected as the MDC-T leader at a congress held in April.
Zanu PF held its annual national people’s conference in December and
endorsed Mugabe as the party’s candidate.

As the year progressed, there was also a sustained attack on the democratic
forces such as the media and human rights defenders as Zanu PF tried to
tighten its grip ahead of planed elections.

The Editor and reporters of The Standard were arrested several times under
the notorious criminal defamation laws which human rights activists maintain
infringe on the freedom of expression.

Senior officials of the two MDC formations also complained about the
selective application of the law where only their members were targeted by
law enforcement agents.

Political commentator, Blessing Vava had mixed feelings about 2011. He said
it was a bad year as nothing much was achieved in terms of making tangible
political, electoral security sector and media reforms, but was good in that
Zanu PF attempts to force an election hit a snag.

“The violence we witnessed was not desirable and it increased fear in the
citizens,” he said. The year also saw Mugabe making at least nine trips to
Singapore for medical checkups as age and health problems took their toll on
the 87-year-old leader, in power since Zimbabwe’s independence 31 years ago.

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Zapu Battling to Delete Zanu-PF Violence Tag

Hurungwe, December 25, 2011- Zapu claims to have made inroads into Hurungwe,
Mashonaland West province among other areas as it position itself ahead of
general elections.

However, the party is facing thee hurdle of extinguishing Zanu-PF’s violent
tag since 2000 controversial land reform program.

Villagers who spoke to Radio VOP said many war veterans around Hurungwe
campaigned for Madiro who operated a violent campaign.

“Villagers were coerced to vote for Zanu-PF whether we supported Madiro’s
candidature or not. Some of us wanted Justin for a change but some war
veterans thought otherwise’’ says Kamhuka.

Kamhuka is now a resettled farmer at a farm near Tengwe and recalls, “we had
Muneri Chakwana aka Black Jesus, Comrade Dhongi, Ncube among others who
accompanied Madiro and instilled fear into villagers and farm labourers”.

Some war veterans are testing their own medicine after majority joined Zapu
formation here.

Alex Chiwara, a Zipra cadre, is among them as he was threatened with death
and eviction by Madiro at Nyamabizi farm in February. The case is still

“We are telling the masses that we fought for their independence and will
never let Zanu-PF brutalise them again.

“Zapu can not dump them for a party that has senior officials whose hands
are dripping with blood,’’ says Chiwara during outreach programs at Tengwe
business centre, 50 kilometers east of Karoi town.

Former Zipra forces ‘crossed floor’ to rejoin Zapu face a hurdle to
‘extinguish the violent Zanu PF tag’.

They were part of campaign and farm invasion teams.

However, Zapu spokesperson Methuseli Moyo says Zapu has always been, is and
will always be a national party as it fought to liberate all Zimbabwe but
was prevented from ruling by tribalists.

“Many of older generation at one time joined Zanu-PF but the good thing is
that most people are leaving it to join MDCs, Zapu, Mavambo or other parties’’,
adds Moyo in a written response.

Moyo further said there was no Unity to celebrate as Zanu split from Zapu in

Harare based political and social commentator Hopewell Gumbo says, Zapu will
never manage 5 percent of voters in elections as it is a collection of the
old horses, a number from Zanu-PF some are beneficiaries of land reform and
leaders of violent episodes since

“It is now a regional party as opposed to its role before independence, this
has negative impact on their capacity,” says Gumbo.

Gumbo admits that the essence of Unity Accord is far from being achieved
saying, “people are still divided along lines of riches and poverty. The
current political set up does not seem to understand the need for social and
economic justice to achieve peace and unity’’.

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Hospitalised Inmate Skips Police Protection

Karoi, December 25, 2011- A prisoner faked illness to a magistrate and
bolted out of Karoi hospital where he was under guard from two officers last

Although information was sketchy at the time of writing, both prison and
hospital sources told Radio VOP reporter that the suspect facing theft
charges escaped from his hospital bed and slipped out.

"The suspect robbed a truck driver of a gas stove in along Chinhoyi-Chirundu
highway and was arrested before he appeared before a Karoi magistrate who
remanded him in custody.

“He convinced the court that he was ill and was put under prison guard for
nearly six days" said officers whom we can not name for professional

Two officers including a senior prison officer and his junior were on duty
starting around 10 in the night and were due to knock off at 6 in the

Hospital sources said the officers searched everywhere as they realised that
the suspect had slipped out.

"They looked confused, searching in toilets, under beds and other wards but
to no avail. The search is still on" said a hospital source speaking on that
he is not named.

Karoi Prison Officer in Charge Supt Christine Manhivi refused to comment
when contacted but sources said the two officers are under probe over the
prisoner escape case.

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Reform efforts in Zimbabwe move slowly as tensions rise

By Columbus Mavhunga and Shabtai Gold Dec 25, 2011, 2:06 GMT

Harare - Zimbabwe appears set to start 2012 with a standoff, as President
Robert Mugabe insists elections be held during the next year, while the
party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai continues to demand a new, more
democratic constitution be drawn up first.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is worried that the
current constitution, which has been amended 19 times since independence in
1980, grants the president too much power. Mugabe, aged 87, promises to run
again and keep his job.

Political analysts speculate that Mugabe's Zanu PF party fears holding
elections during 2013, as scheduled, because the long-serving president may
by then be too frail to campaign.

'We just have to have elections next year,' Mugabe told a party conference
this month.

According to a diplomatic cable from 2008 released by Wikileaks, the
president is believed to have cancer. Reports say he regularly visits
Singapore for 'rejuvenation treatments.' Mugabe and his aides dismiss the
accounts and insist he is fit.

The process of writing a new constitution, which the MDC hopes will be more
liberal and democratic, has been started often and stopped regularly, owing
to various feuds.

A referendum on the new constitution that was supposed to have been held
during November 2010 has been postponed several times.

The latest such delay followed a demand to end the process by
Munyaradzi-Paul Mangwana, who represents Zanu PF in the Constitutional
Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC), which is drafting the fundamental

'The Zanu PF position (is) that the constitution we come up (with) should
reflect the views of the people,' said Mangwana in an interview with dpa,
adding that '75 per cent of the contents in the draft constitution were

'The people said they do not want homosexuality but the drafters have
included that. They said they want the death penalty to remain but the
drafters were not including that,' Mangwana charged.

While Mugabe has said gays are 'worse than pigs and dogs,' Tsvangarai this
year broke rank with the president on this issue and announced he wanted
rights for homosexuals enshrined in the constitution.

When the MDC joined Zanu PF in a fragile coalition in 2008, after elections
Tsvangirai said included violence against his supporters and rigging in
favour of Mugabe, part of the deal was that Zimbabwe would have a new
constitution before general elections are held.

'From the onset, we rightly pointed that this process will either be flawed
or would take forever if left in the hands of politicians,' said Madock
Chivasa, a spokesman for the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), a
coalition of civic organizations.

Chivasa would rather see civil society groups compose a text, using input
from communities.

The last effort to hold a referendum on a constitution ended surprisingly in
2000, when a draft was rejected by voters, in what was seen as a blow to
Mugabe. The NCA played a key role in garnering support for the 'no' vote.

Despite losing that vote, Mugabe went ahead with controversial land reforms,
which saw white farmers' agriculture plots seized without compensation. The
move was widely viewed as one of the causes of the country's stunning
economic decline in recent years.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai will likely meet to talk about the latest impasse, but
given the animosity between the two, no one is sure they can find a

Meanwhile, Minister of Constitutional Affairs Eric Matinenga says he is at a
loss to give a date for another referendum.

'When you have these impingements, it becomes anyone's guess,' Matinenga
said, referring to the stoppage of the process.

Commenting on the latest halting, Charles Mangongera, a political analyst,
said Zanu PF had no genuine reason to push ahead with the constitution
making process.

'This is just part of Zanu PF's desperate attempt to derail the process in
order to force an early election under the (current) constitution,' said

Despite the flawed process and ongoing repression against MDC activists, the
party says it will not pull out of the ruling coalition. The MDC sees itself
as the rightful winner of the 2008 elections and, therefore, belonging in

'We know the aim is for us to pull out of the government. We will not. We
would have betrayed our people, (since) we are the ones that won the last
credible election,' said Douglas Mwonzora, an MDC spokesman on
constitutional issues.

'So, Zanu PF must try other tactics if it wants to frustrate us. We will
fight through until we have what we want: A constitution that levels the
electoral playing field and upholds people's rights,' Mwonzora said in an

But, with Mugabe's health failing, and infighting in his Zanu PF becoming
more public and obvious, time may not be on the side of patient waiting.

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Poverty fuels sexual abuse: Report


POVERTY, unemployment, social and cultural norms have exacerbated
gender-based violence and sexual abuse in Mbare, one of Harare’s poorest
suburbs, a recent study has shown. The study by Medecins Sans Frontieres
Belgium-Zimbabwe (MSF) mission and the University of Zimbabwe (UZ)’s Centre
for Applied Social Sciences says poverty has made young girls and boys,
women and men more vulnerable to sexual abuse than ever before.

“Poverty and high unemployment rate in the community further contribute to
the risk,” says the report. “Desperate for some financial security, young
girls are being forced to work in unsafe and unsuitable places such as the
beer halls.”

The report, entitled Baseline Study Report on the Perceptions of Sexual and
Gender-Based Violence in Mbare, Harare, Zimbabwe, was launched at the
University of Zimbabwe recently.

The study, commissioned to establish how women in Mbare were affected by
sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) reported that 24% of the 1 159 women
that took part in the survey had experienced sexual violence.

“It is interesting to note that 1% of the respondents had their first sexual
intercourse between five and 10 years of age (which is assumingly forced),
7% between 11 and 15 years, 49% between 16 and 20 and the other 43% were
above the age of 20.”
Children as young as 12 years were already sexually active in Mbare, says
the report.

The report says there are very few services available at community level for
the survivors of the assaults even though it is vital that they seek medical
treatment within the first 72 hours.

“There is need for medical services for survivors of SGBV in the Mbare
community and to expand the services to the local clinics in Harare, so that
survivors of SGBV can get comprehensive care at any medical facility in
Harare,” says the report.

It says survivors of SGBV are at immediate risk of unwanted pregnancies and
contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV.
In the long term, survivors are more vulnerable to depression, substance
abuse, repeated sexual abuse, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicide
and sexual dysfunction later in life compared to persons who have not
experienced SGBV.

Part of the report entitled Baseline Study Report on the Perceptions of
Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Mbare, Harare, Zimbabwe, reads:
“Cultural beliefs, traditional practises and belief systems contribute to
sexual and gender-based violence. Women are often taught that violence is an
inevitable part of relationships. This makes it difficult for women to
escape their marriages even in times of violence and mistreatment.”

The report says SGBV encompasses rape, sexual threats, exploitation,
humiliation, assault, molestation, domestic violence, incest, involuntary
prostitution (sexual bartering), torture, insertion of objects into genital
openings and attempted rape.

The report bewailed lack of transparency and gaps within the judiciary
system that allows perpetrators to escape retribution.
It also bemoaned delays in the justice systems with cases often postponed
and survivors of SGBV ending up withdrawing their cases from court, opting
for out of court settlements instead.

Courts, both civil and criminal, should be further decentralised to many
provinces and districts so that more cases can be tried and perpetrators
brought to justice.

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Book Café founder heart-broken over closure

Saturday, 24 December 2011 12:18


Paul Brickhill, the founder of Book Café, has expressed extreme
disappointment at the termination of their lease by OK Zimbabwe Pension
Fund, the owners of the complex. Speaking in an interview with
StandardLife&Style last week, Brickhill said the closure was disheartening
as Zimbabweans had not come to appreciate the importance of culture.

“This was forced on us. We never wanted to leave this place and I find it
disappointing in the extreme,” said Brickhill. “It is a pity these people
have shown no respect at all and devalued culture.”

Brickhill said he had no clue as to what triggered the termination of their
lease which was due to be renewed by the end of 2013.
They were given until December 31 to have moved their business, he said.

“When the owners wrote to us we tried to engage them directly and through
their agents, Old Mutual to no avail. I even told the Mayor of Harare who
was shocked at the development as he is an arts and culture enthusiast,”
said Brickhill.

“What I have to say though is that whether one is a politician, artist,
doctor or whichever profession they are into, they need to respect and
understand the role of culture and the arts in the development of the
country. We are recovering from an economic collapse and the sector plays an
important role as a unifier among different people.”

Despite the gravity of the connotations, Brickhill assured arts lovers that
they were working on acquiring a new venue for the Book Café Brand.
“I really cannot say when it will be done but we certainly are working
towards that,” he said. “We will issue out a statement early in the New Year
on the move. We really would never have wanted to leave the Book Café
because it was a splendid venue so I am very disturbed.”
Brickhill professed ignorance at what might have triggered their expulsion.

But insiders said it might have been triggered by the recent hosting of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s book At the Deep End at the venue two
weeks ago.

It remains unclear though as the launch was well after the letter of
eviction was sent to Brickhill.

The book Café was opened in 1997 while the Mannenburg was opened in 2000.
The two venues provided a platform for numerous artistes most of who had
never gotten a chance to get into the limelight thus popularizing the urban
mbira phenomenon.

Various other artists like comedians and poets got equal chances to hog the
limelight in the end presenting each artist with a probable break through
into the various markets.

The memories from the twin venues will forever stick in the minds of which
ever artists passed through its doors.
Meanwhile the venue has a number of events lined up as farewell shows in the
remaining one week they have to operate.

“We will be hosting a number of shows so arts and culture lovers should come
for the inevitable goodbyes,” said Brickhill.

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Mixed trends, the fittest survived

Saturday, 24 December 2011 12:26

THE curtain on 2011 comes down on Saturday. Standardbusiness relives the
year where only the fittest survived. The Ides of March

Three months into the year, Zimbabwe was already shooting itself in the
foot. At the launch of the anti-sanctions petition, President Robert Mugabe
told supporters that Zimbabweans should take over foreign companies in
retaliation to the sanctions imposed on the country.

Some days later, the ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Empowerment gazetted the empowerment regulations governing the mining
sector, throwing the industry into uncertainty.

Such was the uncertainty that Zimplats shares took a tumble on the
Australian Stock Exchange and the platinum miner had to write a letter to
the stock exchange explaining the possible causes.

By the end of the year, things had stabilised with miners agreeing with
government on how they would proceed and comply with the law.

KP okays Marange gems

The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) finally gave Zimbabwe the
nod to unconditionally sell diamonds from Marange at its plenary session
last month ending years of intense lobbying by government which felt it had
met the minimum conditions to be allowed to trade diamonds.

Revenue from diamonds has been identified as the saviour for the economy and
is set to contribute US$600 million under the 2012 national budget.

Capacity utilisation up

In industry activity is picking up with capacity utilisation now 57, 2%.

At the same time, there are companies such as Delta that has recorded
capacity utilisation of over 70%.

The beverages manufacturer is minting money after recording increased
volumes spurred on by rising demand notwithstanding the harsh economic
environment where people are urged to tighten their belts.

With total volume of 3,427 million hectolitres in the half year, the
beverages manufacturer targets 7 million hectolitres in the full year 2012.
Some of the hectolitres might have spilled into Megawatt House where there
is a belief that money grows on trees.

Zesa has the guts to call for tariff increase next month despite the fact
that even with the current rate it can’t supply industry and households.

Mixed fortunes for van Hoog

Yet the year itself had corporate fights as shareholders battled to stamp

One such shareholder is Nicholas van Hoogstraten who has been fighting to
have his nominees on the Rainbow Tourism Group (RTG) board.
At a stormy meeting of shareholders the British businessman lost after key
ally, the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) dumped him on the eve of
the AGM.

But the British businessman got his way at Hwange where he ganged up with
government and fired the entire board led by Zanu PF activist Tendai

Banks’ bad boy

ReNaissance Merchant Bank was put under curatorship in May after a Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) investigation unearthed that the bank is technically
insolvent and founding directors had allegedly spirited away depositors’

The revelations came after Indian businessman Jayesh Shah blew the whistle
on Patterson Timba after the ReNaissance founder failed to honour his
obligation over a US$5 million.

When RBZ governor Gideon Gono wielded the axe, it fell on top executives and
some board members who were banished from the institution. The problems were
to affect Afre Corporation since Timba was the executive chairman of the
composite group. Timba was fired and a forensic report accused the banker of
butchering corporate governance.

The RMB debacle was to hit the indigenously-owned banks as an RBZ
investigation established that there was US$1,2 billion in capital flight
from indigenous banks to perceived safe institutions.

NSSA is now on the verge of assuming a controlling shareholding in RMB and
rescue it from possible liquidation.

It’s the law stupid

A parliamentary portfolio committee on Mines and Energy said the
Reconstruction law used to wrest Mutumwa Mawere’s empire needs to be
reviewed arguing that such legislation exposes citizens to the risk of
losing assets to the state without meaningful judicial oversight.

Send them home: fortunes dwindle for RBz workers

RBZ finally culled its staff to concentrate on its core business and in the
process put some of its assets for sale.

However, the retrenched staffers are still to be paid their full packages
and the matter has spilled into the courts.

RBZ was finally given money to resume the lender of last resort role it had
stopped in 2008.
The initial amount of US$7 million had no takers due to the absence of a
user-friendly collateral.
In the 2012 budget, it was allocated US$100 million amid fears that the
money would lie idle in the absence of treasury bills that can be lodged as

Going, going, gone

Two debilitating industrial actions by pilots occurred at Air Zimbabwe as
the airline continued sinking in the abyss.

In another low for the airline, one of its planes was impounded at Gatwick
International Airport over a US$1,2 million debt and there are fears that
creditors would feast on the airline since it owes over US$100 million.

Should taxpayers continue sustaining such mess? MDC-T says no.

The irony is that Zimbabwe is preparing to co-host with Zambia the 2013
UNWTO General Assembly meeting in Victoria Falls. There was good news for
tourism after Emirates said it would resume flights to Zimbabwe starting
February 1 in a vote of confidence in the country as a tourist destination.

Beggars on a beach of gold

Problems at RioZim accelerated after shareholders proposed the US$59 million
rights issue and the debt to equity swap to extinguish the gold and diamond
miner’s US$29 million debt.

A question that begs an answer is how the company is enmeshed in such
problems at a time gold prices are high on the world markets? It’s not
RioZim alone as the entire gold sector is struggling with capacity
utilisation at 44% and small-scale miners are contributing over half of the
total gold production.

Cash crunch again?

Last week, the nation woke up to bank queues reminiscent of the 2007 era as
depositors tried to withdraw money ahead of the festive season. Banks say
they have adequate cash but the queues tell a different story. There are now
fears that the cash crunch could spill into the New Year.

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