www.chinaview.cn 2009-12-28 19:44:48
By Gretinah Machingura
HARARE, Dec. 28 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese firm, China Sonangol, is set to
develop satellite towns around Harare in a development that is expected to
ease housing problems in the capital.
The State media reported on Monday that the Zimbabwean government had
provided land in excess of 1,000 hectares to the firm for the development of
This follows the singing of a Memorandum of Understanding between
Zimbabwe and China Sonangol that will see the latter funding the development
of satellite towns.
The Chinese joint venture company has already unveiled an
eight-billion-U.S. dollar package to fund various developmental programs in
Local Government, Urban and Rural Development Minister Ignatius Chombo
told the Herald that the government was now waiting for the Chinese company
to come on board.
"As government, we have made significant land available for the
development of satellite towns in Harare which is in excess of 1,000
hectares," he said.
"The land covers areas in Mount Hampden (some 20 km north west of
Harare) and some parts of Mazowe (north of Harare). We are now ready as
government and we are now only waiting for our Chinese counterparts to come
Chombo added that the government was waiting for Chinese experts to come
and inspect the land before construction gets underway.
He said if fully implemented, the Chinese deal would go a long way in
addressing accommodation challenges in Harare, estimated to have a housing
backlog of close to one million people.
Chombo said many people were failing to build decent houses in towns due
to the high cost of building materials.
"It is our hope that this deal will afford many people decent
accommodation in Harare. Due to high cost of building material, many people
are failing construct houses in towns," he said.
The cash strapped the Zimbabwean government is failing to provide decent
accommodation to urban residents whose population is growing tremendously as
rural-to-urban migration soar in recent years.
The eight-billion-dollar Chinese investment ranks as one of the biggest
investments the country has received since the formation of the inclusive
government in February.
Editor: Xiong Tong
December 28, 2009
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - Evidence has emerged that Zimbabwe's voters' roll is in total
shambles amid revelations that in Masvingo Urban Constituency alone 500
soldiers, some allegedly as old as 122 years, voted in last year's
According to an audit of the voters' roll conducted by the mainstream MDC of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in Masvingo Urban Constituency 500 ghost
voters purported to be registered as soldiers at Four Brigade Headquarters
voted during the March 29 harmonised elections.
The audit also revealed that scores of people who are not resident in
Masvingo Urban, including some who are deceased, are still registered on the
voters' roll. The finding has generated fears that the situation might be
replicated or worse in other parts of the country.
Documents at hand show that 500 ghost voters, some purportedly born in 1887
and enlisted at the army barracks, managed to cast their vote.
"The MDC -T party has unearthed serious anomalies on the voters' roll in
Masvingo Urban Constituency alone following an audit which revealed that
ghost voters are still on the voters roll", reads the audit report in part.
"This is just a tip of the iceberg since the situation might have been very
serious in other constituencies country wide."
MDC-T provincial secretary general Tongai Matutu who is also the MP for
Masvingo urban yesterday confirmed the discovery. He said even if he won the
election the voters' roll was in a shambles.
"We are the very people who carried out this audit and we wonder how a
person can be considered to be still serving in the army at the age of 122
years", said Matutu
"This was a deliberate ploy by Zanu-PF to rob the people of victory but,
thank God, we managed to win the election".
Zanu-PF officials in Masvingo yesterday refused to comment on the audit and
referred all questions to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC).
No comment could be obtained from the newly constituted ZEC. The names of
new commissioners appointed to replace the much discredited George Chiweshe
Commission were announced only last week.
The outgoing commission, allegedly acting at the behest of Zanu-PF was
consistently accused of manipulating the Voters' Roll in order to rig
elections on behalf of Mugabe and his party.
Published: 2009/12/28 10:06:00 AM
ZIMBABWEAN authorities have blamed inadequate parking as a reason for
congestion at the Beitbridge border post on the South African side of the
Beitbridge is among the busiest border posts in the economic region of the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), with volumes rising to more
than 12000 travellers and 3500 vehicles a day during the festive holidays.
This forced travellers and long- distance truck drivers to queue for hours
on end to be cleared before crossing the border.
Last week, Zimbabwe's main official newspaper, The Herald, quoted border
officials blaming lack of space on the South African side of the border for
the vehicle pile-up. They said this had a knock-on effect on the Zimbabwean
side, which blocked the free movement of travellers.
" You will note that most of the trucks that are queuing here have since
been cleared on our side," the paper quoted Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
regional manager Angeline Mashiri as saying.
However, regular power cuts in Zimbabwe have also forced the authorities to
revert to manual clearance, which Mashiri said was more time consuming.
Since 2003, the Beitbridge border has been operating around the clock, while
a toll bridge was commissioned in 1995.
Zimbabwean authorities said that this month traffic flow across the border
had reached annual record levels, attributable to growing economic stability
in the country along with the introduction of the 90-day visa exemption,
which made it easier for Zimbabweans to travel to SA.
Gorden Moyo, minister of state in the prime minister's office, visited the
border post and suggested that the old single-lane bridge could be used to
cut down on congestion. But that facility had since been set aside for
pedestrians and goods trains.
Home affairs spokeswoman Siobhan McCarthy yesterday referred questions to
the South African Revenue Service (SARS), which chairs the border control
operations coordinating committee.
SARS spokesman Adrian Lackay said a visit to check on operations a week
before Christmas had not revealed any problem areas, although he
acknowledged that parking for long-distance trucks was a challenge. "People
must understand that at this time of the year it's peak traffic volumes," he
Earlier this month, Deputy Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said an extra
150 immigration officers would be deployed to the busiest South African
border posts, including Beitbridge, to beef up staff during the Christmas
This month, Zambia and Zimbabwe commissioned what was believed to be
sub-Saharan Africa's first one- stop border post at Chirundu, which was
expected to reduce time spent at the border by 30% to 50%.
It was anticipated that the proposed one-stop border post would help ease
congestion and ensure quick clearance of travellers, particularly during the
2010 Soccer World Cup when thousands of fans are expected to pass through
Beitbridge and Musina.
December 28, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - A senior Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe official became the recipient of
an unusual present on the eve of Christmas last week - 40 hectares of
tobacco and 11 000 chickens - after she invaded a farm in the Makoni
District of Manicaland.
Winnie Mushipe, who is the central bank's head of finance, took over Mhanda
Farm belonging to Raymond Finaughty in dramatic fashion on Thursday morning
despite a pending court case over the ownership of the farm. Mushipe, nee
Chipudhla, is the widow of a Forestry Commission official, Martin Mushipe,
who died in the crash of a commission aircraft in Chiredzi in 1998.
Mushipe gave Finaughty three hours to pack and leave the farm.
A distraught Finaughty told The Zimbabwe Times that his efforts to follow
the law and patiently wait for the courts to make a decision had not helped
"They have taken over my farm," he said. "I have been chucked out just like
that. A Mrs Mushipe from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe brought a two year-old
offer letter and gave me three hours to leave the farm. I left because I
felt my life was in danger."
The president of the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) Deon Theron
said the invasion could be a signal for the return of violence.
"This is a new wave of violence," he said. Theron said at least another two
farmers had come under siege last week alone. He said former lands minister
Didymus Mutasa was believed to be behind one of the invasions.
Finaughty grows tobacco and rears chickens on Mhanda Farm just outside
Rusape along the Nyanga Road. He is South African and Mhanda Farm is covered
by the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA)
between his country and Zimbabwe.
"He has 40 hectares under tobacco and 11 000 chickens which he has not been
able to look after over the last three days because of the threats that he
has been receiving," said Theron.
This latest invasion took place a day after President Robert Mugabe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his Deputy Arthur Mutambara expressed
satisfaction with the political climate prevailing in the country at the
Finaughty has been in court a number of times. He first appeared in court in
November 2007, was remanded six times before the case was dismissed in
August 2008. Fresh charges were preferred on 7 May this year. He has since
then appeared in court several times.
Finaughty is one of the farmers who approached the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) tribunal seeking redress over farms
compulsorily acquired by the government.
The beneficiary of this latest farm invasion, Mushipe, has attempted to have
Finaughty evicted from Mhanda Farm through both the magistrates' court and
in High Court.
Mushipe was the head of RBZ's FISCORP (Pvt) Ltd which oversaw the central
bank's quasi-fiscal operations. FISCORP, a special purpose vehicle owned 100
percent by the Reserve Bank, was set up with the primary objective of
collecting and administering loans issued by the bank.
In September another top RBZ official, Deputy Governor Edward Mashiringwani
Friedawil Farm, owned by another South African farmer, Louis Fick, in the
The invasion turned bloody in October after a man employed by Mashiringwani
shot and seriously injured five workers and assaulted several others on the
December 28 2009 at 02:20PM
The South African government has an obligation to protect the rights of the
South African farmer evicted from land in Zimbabwe last week, civil rights
initiative AfriForum said on Monday.
It said it had asked Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies to intervene
urgently to safeguard the lives and property of Ray Finaughty and his
Finaughty, who farmed cattle, chickens and tobacco at Rusape, was reportedly
given three hours by invaders to abandon his farm on Christmas eve.
AfriForum spokesman Willie Spies said that in terms of a North Gauteng High
Court order, Finaughty was entitled to protection in term of an investment
agreement signed last month by both South Africa and Zimbabwe.
"Unless assurances are received from the minister soon that steps have been
taken to protect Mr Finaughty and his family's lives and property, AfriForum
will go ahead with urgent legal action to ensure this," Spies said.
"It is a tragedy that innocent South African citizens are subjected to this
kind of harassment just before Christmas."
According to website www.zimbabwesituation.com, Finaughty and his family are
safe and in Harare.
It said though he had handed over part of his farm for President Robert
Mugabe's government land reform programme, in 2007 a senior Reserve Bank
employee had tried to seize the rest.
Finaughty had since then been in court on numerous occasions to try to
retain his land.
Finaughty was one of 79 commercial farmers who last year won a ruling from
the Southern African Development Community Tribunal in Namibia that Mugabe's
land grabs were unlawful. - Sapa
THE Government plans to form an exploration company as part of efforts to
curtail the hording of mining claims and other speculative activities
holding back development of the country's rich natural resource base.
Zimbabwe boasts a relatively large underground mineral base but government
is concerned that most of this wealth remains "inferred resources" due to
the lack of extensive exploratory work.
"Government will (therefore) finalise and operationalise an exploration
company to undertake prospecting in areas neglected by private investors.
"This will complement private mining exploration activity," the Ministry of
Finance says in its latest economic blue-print.
The country's mining legislation will also be tightened to curb speculative
tendencies and discourage the hording of Exclusive Prospecting Orders (EPOs)
which has been holding back investment in the sector.
"(The legislation will enable) Government . to reclaim all undeveloped
mining claims held by some of the country's mining companies for speculative
purposes as some mining houses are holding on to mineral claims with no
plans to exploit them.
"Given that holding of claims by some mining houses for speculative purposes
is detrimental to securing fresh investment in the sector, . Government will
repossess all claims held for speculative purposes on a 'use it' or 'lose it'
basis," the new economic blue-print says.
The country's once vibrant mining sector suffered near-terminal decline over
the last decade with only Zimplats, Mimosa and Murowa Diamonds remaining
reasonably operational while about a hundred other firms either closed shop
or scaled back activities to care and maintenance.
However the sector is showing signs of tentative recovery as a result of
positive policy measures introduced under the inclusive government's Short
Term Economic Recovery Programme (STERP).
Analysts say these measures which include the removal of forced foreign
exchange surrender requirements and the full retention of export proceeds
are expected to see the sector grow by 2% in 2009 and 40% in 2010 compared
to a decline of 30% in 2008.
December 28, 2009
By Our Correspondent
MASVINGO - Outreach teams to gather views of the people during the
constitutional reform process will be deployed in different parts of the
country on January 12 next year MDC-T co-chairperson of the parliamentary
select committee on constitutional reform Tongai Matutu has said.Addressing
MDC supporters at a Christmas party which he hosted here Matutu said the
training of teams will commence work on January 4 while deployment of the
outreach teams will start a week later.
"We are behind time and these outreach teams will be deployed this time
without fail on January 12 next year", said Matutu. "We have agreed to this
as prescribed in the Global Political Agreement and there is no going back.
"It is the people of Zimbabwe who should come up with a constitution and not
individuals or political parties.
"We want the document to reflect what the people want and not what political
Matutu who will chair the thematic committee on executive powers and
elections said that he will ensure that the document is not manipulated by
certain individuals at the expense of the general majority.
Concerns have been raised over the slow pace of the constitutional reform
process, amid reports of disagreements amongst parties to the GPA which gave
birth to the inclusive government.
The minister of constitutional Affairs Advocate Erick Matinenga has already
visited several parts of the country to asses the situation on the ground
with regard to the constitutional reform process.
"All is now on course and we expect work to commence and be finished within
the stipulated time," said Matinenga
However it emerged last week that Zanu-PF which is pushing for the adoption
of the Kariba Draft constitution has already deployed youths and war
veterans in the countryside to campaign for the adoption of that draft.
Paul Mangwana, Zanu-PF co-chairperson of the parliamentary select committee
on the constitutional reform process, confirmed last week that Zanu-PF had
already started campaigning for its position on the constitution.
Mangwana however said that even the MDC had also sent out teams into the
countryside to campaign for its position.
"All the political parties have already started campaigning for their
positions and it is not illegal", said Mangwana.
"What we do not want is to hear of incidents of violence during this period
because this will affect the content of the document".
The militant Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has claimed that
several schools have been turned into Zanu-PF campaign bases where war
veterans and party youths are being housed as they campaign for the adoption
of the Kariba Draft.
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou said:" We have received reports that several
schools have been turned into Zanu-PF bases where the party will launch its
campaign", he said
Comment could be immediately obtained from Zanu-PF yesterday over the
Mangwana says the outreach teams will require 65 working days to complete
News - Africa news
Tourism authorities in Zimbabwe said Monday they had contracted 4,000
upmarket home owners around the country to lease their properties for the
2010 FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa next year.
The country expects around 130,000 tourists to visit Zimbabwe during the
World Cup, and is courting some of the participating teams to camp here.
But it is short of hotel accommodation, and as a result is contracting
private owners of upmarket homes to lease these for use by the expected
"South Africa is expecting more than half a million soccer fans during the
2010 World Cup and we are expecting that 130,000 of these will be coming to
Zimbabwe during that period," Sylvester Maunganidze, Permanent Secreta ry in
the Ministry of Tourism, said.
"Hence, it has become necessary to come up with mechanisms for Zimbabwe to
provide comfortable accommodation," he said.
Zimbabwe, a neighbour to South Africa, has around 8,000 hotel beds, which
tourism authorities said would will be insufficient to accommodate the
expected influx of World Cup visitors to the country.
"At the moment, we have registered more than 4,000 lodges after house owners
applied to transform their houses into lodges," Maunganidze said.
He said the government was looking for more private properties to lease.
Zimbabwe is courting Brazil, among other World Cup teams, to camp in the
country during the tournament.
Harare - Pana 28/12/2009
Bulawayo- December 28 2009- Sacked Movement for Democratic Change members of
parliament belonging to the Arthur Mutambara Faction are busy campaigning in
anticipation of by-elections in their respective constituencies.
Three MPs, Abedenico Bhebhe (Kkayi South), Norman Mpofu (Bulila South), and
former Lupane North legislator, Njabuliso Mguni unveiled their colorful
campaigning materials that included T-shirts, posters and banners last week.
The MPs were sacked for allegedly denouncing the party's leadership and
holding unsanctioned meetings.
The three principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA), President
Robert Mugabe, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and Mutambara recently agreed on
new commissioners to run the discredited Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
"I am really overwhelmed by the material, moral and financial support which
I am getting from people in Lupane North," Mguni told Radio VOP. "The people
in my constituency are coming up with various campaigning activities and
materials. To the people of Lupane the by-elections will be emotional to
them because of the unfairness surrounding our dismissal from the party."
Mguni who was wearing a green T-shirt inscription "Vote Njabuliso Mguni, the
people's choice "said he is humbled by the support which he has been
receiving following his dismissal from the party.
"I urge Welshman Ncube and company to leave the comfort of parliament and
come to where the people are and start campaigning for their party.
Parliament is in Lupane where the people are, not in the airplane or in five
star hotels. As for me I will just follow what the people in Lupane are
saying and doing," said Mguni.
According to sources in Khayi and Bulila, Bhebhe and Mpofu have also
launched their campaigns. The two constituencies are also awash with
green -T-shirts with the same inscriptions with that of Mguni.
The MDC -M last month approached South African based professor Bekhimpilo
Sibanda to stand for the party against Mguni but after accepting the offer
professor Sibanda chickened out of the race after villagers in Mkombo ward
where he hails from allegedly advised him to decline the offer.
Radio VOP is reliably informed that the party has now settled for
Sibangelizwe Msipa, the party's former senator for Makokoba constituency who
lost to Martison Hlalo of the MDC -T during the last year's June 27
Under the GPA, Zanu (PF), and MDC -T and MDC -M who are signatories to the
agreement are not supposed to contest each other.
Masvingo - December 28, 2009 - Zimbabwean farmers are withholding their farm
produce in protest of an influx of cheap Genetically Modified Organisms
(GMOs) products into the country.
Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) acting president Robert Marapira blasted
government for allowing GMOs in the country, saying they were putting
farmers out of business.
"Farmers have agreed to stop selling their products to government through
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) because of the GMOs. We have been thrown out of
business, as farmers we also want to make profits out of our business but we
can not do anything because the government has
allowed the GMOs," said Marapira.
Marapira said Mashonaland East alone was withholding more than 600 000 tones
of maize. "There are thousands of tonnes of farm produce in all provinces.
Each province has an average of over 600 000 tonnes which did not go to GMB
as farmers complain over poor prices for their products."
According to Zimbabwean laws, it is illegal to manufacture GMOs in the
country, however, the law does not ban the importation of such foods.
Marapira said one tonne of GMOs of maize goes for about USd 60, which is
ten times less than the money which is needed by farmers for the same
THE leadership of the world-wide Anglican Communion has condemned what they
called a "resurgence of police intimidation of Anglicans in Zimbabwe"
following reports that church-goers, including the clergy were barred from
attending services over the Christmas holiday.
"We condemn unequivocally any move to deny people their basic right to
"To prevent people from worshipping in their churches on Christmas Day --
unable to receive the church's message of hope -- is a further blow to civil
liberties in Zimbabwe.
"Such unprovoked intimidation of worshippers by the police is completely
unacceptable and indicative of the continued and persistent oppression by
state instruments of those perceived to be in opposition," the archbishops
Canterbury and York, Drs Rowan Williams and John Sentamu said in a
The Anglican Church has been rocked by divisions in Zimbabwe since the
expulsion of Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who is seen as supporting President
Robert Mugabe, after he tried to withdraw the Diocese of Harare from the
Church's Central Africa Province.
Kunonga and part of the local clergy allied to him have since formed their
own Province precipitating battles for control of the Church's properties
with his successors, Bishops Sebastian Bakare (Manicaland) and Chad Gandiya
Police have been forced to intervene to quell the often violent disturbances
between the two factions as well as enforce court orders that Church
property should be shared until the dispute is resolved.
Meanwhile, Drs Williams and Sentamu reaffirmed their support for the
"We stand in support of the dioceses of Harare and Manicaland under the
Church of the Province of Central Africa in this regard. For many people in
Zimbabwe, ground down by unceasing unemployment and lack of basic services,
the church is their only lifeline," the Anglican primates said.
Kunonga pulled out of the Church and decided to form his own Province saying
the Church had failure to deal with rampant homosexuality in the world-wide
He also claims the Church is vilifying him for supporting President Mugabe's
Time and again society produces individuals who excel beyond the norm in
their chosen field of expertise producing exceptional results and setting
achievement standards by which the rest of the community hope to attain.
The disturbing injustice in Chegutu compels me to voice my deep revulsion
with the blatantly racist and voracious victimisation of one of Zimbabwe's
most progressive farmers, Mr Thomas Irving Beattie. Thomas Beattie is an
agricultural visionary, an elder whose entrepreneurial spirit resulted in
the agrarian revolution which established one of Zimbabwe's largest citrus
estate, cattle feedlot, and commercial agricultural enterprise.
My respect for Thomas Beattie is rooted in the experiences and knowledge I
derived during my tenure under his tutelage as a farm manager in the
formative years of my agricultural career. Thomas Beattie, a hard taskmaster
who was firm and fair, imparted agrarian expertise and tricks of the trade
not yet freely available in the public domain.
What ZANU (PF) and its self-styled war veterans have done to this true
fellow Zimbabwean, and many other loyal farmers like him, is both callous
and criminal. Thieving politicians masquerading as revolutionaries have
unlawfully stripped Thomas Beattie of his entire business-built over fifty
years through sheer perseverance-and rendered him homeless.
Under the one-man-one-farm policy, it is only fair that Thomas Beattie-who
had already relinquished ownership of his other farms to the government in
1990, should have been left with his remaining farm to continue farming with
his sons-like every other Zimbabwean.
The theft of private property that occurred when the vile Bright Matonga-the
then Deputy Minister of Information-evicted Thomas Beattie and his sons
should be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Bright Matonga had already seized Mupandaguta Farm in 2003, a flower farm in
Banket, which produced 10 million blooms for export, prior to invading
Beattie's farm. The flower farm is now derelict. This one man has destroyed
a collective agricultural unit that had employed 2 000 people and generated
over US$ 10 million annually, all this lost permanently to supposedly
"correct a colonial wrong".
Thomas Beattie has been farming for longer than Bright Matonga has been
alive; Thomas Beattie has forgotten more than Matonga will ever know in
agriculture. Zimbabwe has replaced farmers like Thomas Beattie-walking
agricultural encyclopaedias-with opportunists, measly gangsters devoid of
any agrarian knowhow cut from the same cloth as Matonga. The current fast
track land acquisition exercise is a ZANU (PF) tool for the self-enrichment
scheme by common criminals whose political fortunes have evaporated.
It is a dark chapter in our history to witness the silence and inaction of
black Zimbabweans while such brutal injustices against fellow citizens occur
openly. People have been cowered into submission and are terrified of being
labelled as sell-outs or stooges of the British. White Zimbabwean farmers
are now easy targets portrayed as colonial settlers whose continued
existence is erroneously equated by ZANU (PF) propagandists as returning
Zimbabwe to British rule.
In 1993, Thomas Beattie diversified from grain farming at the behest of the
Minister of Agriculture, Kumbirai Kangai, whose policy in the 90's was to
stop all commercial farmers from growing maize. The rationale being that
capable communal farmers would produce the entire nation's grain, while
mechanised commercial farmers diversified into labour intensive
export-oriented horticultural crops.
The government deliberately lowered the producer price of maize, thus making
it unprofitable for commercial farmers to plant maize. The strategy worked
as most commercial farmers ceased commercial maize production and converted
maize fields into citrus, passion fruit, flowers, and mangoes.
The commencement of planting the first citrus orchards outside of Mazoe
Valley occurred on Lionsvlei, Umvovo, and Rainbows End Farms owned by Thomas
Beattie in the Chegutu District. During the punishing summer midday heat and
bitterly cold early winter mornings, scores of hardworking employees toiled
to meticulously lay an underground labyrinth that constituted one of
Zimbabwe's first computerised citrus micro irrigation and fertigation
The construction of the specialised citrus factory with imported grading
equipment occurred in tandem. At the time it all seemed as though the hard
work would someday result into an economic success story to be emulated by
other farmers as they diversified.
During the citrus harvesting season, women from Chegutu, Pfupajena, and
Mvovo Townships were gainfully employed grading export citrus. So where 120
women sat processing thousands of tonnes of oranges for export, one man -
Bright Matonga - now pens his cattle. Today, Bright Matonga is nowhere to be
seen in Chegutu, the citrus is dying, the women are unemployed, and the
revenue to the COUNTRY has evaporated. Are we now proud in having correcting
Informal traders from as far afield as Lusaka in Zambia would converge at
the Big Orange factory to purchase citrus for resale at the markets. The
waxed and graded citrus was trucked to Durban in pallets from Hunyani loaded
on refrigerated units provided by the local transport company, which also
created its own downstream employment for cross border drivers. The Beattie
family abattoir is found in the township of Rimuka in Kadoma and supplied
prime beef to butcheries all over Zimbabwe.
Whilst Thomas Beattie was toiling, Bright Matonga was lavishly cavorting in
England only to return and claim to be the custodian of so-called Zimbabwean
heritage-the champion or leading light in a revolution that removes other
Zimbabweans from their land.
Since the fast track land seizures commenced in 2000, it has been easy for
ZANU (PF) to portray the land invasions as a spontaneous demonstration by
landless peasants who needed to take back land originally taken away from
them by colonial settlers. It is now apparent and clear that the so-called
land reform program has been nothing but a political gimmick that has been
used to reward ZANU (PF) supporters and punish anyone perceived as an enemy.
Mr Thomas Beattie at any one time grew 2 000 hectares of maize, equal
hectares of soyabeans and sorghum (in summer), coupled with at least 1 000
hectares of winter wheat. He maintained a beef herd of not less than 5 000
in any given year. Mr Beattie employed 1 400 men and women who either lived
on his farms or bussed in from Chegutu Township daily. Furthermore, Mr
Beattie's benevolence during the drought years saw him drill boreholes in
the townships and relinquish his water rights in the Mupfure River so that
the Chegutu Town Council would have adequate water supplies.
When the bankrupt Chegutu City Council's unmaintained tractors finally broke
down, Thomas Beattie's fleet of tractors and drivers performed the
grass-cutting duties in and around the city limits. The continual dredging
of the Mupfure river weirs by Thomas Beattie provided the Chegutu building
industry with a constant supply of river sand. The informal building blocks
industry mushroomed around it, whilst insuring that these essential
irrigation water reservoirs did not silt.
Is Bright Matonga a better farmer than Thomas Beattie? Is Bright Matonga a
farmer? Why is it that only the ruling elite are allocated prime
agricultural properties? What has Bright Matonga's contribution to the
Chegutu community been since he evicted Thomas Beattie? How much money
has Bright Matonga pilfered from the Reserve Bank and yet produced nothing?
Bright Matonga was the chief executive officer of ZUPCO-the government bus
company-who had been arrested in May of 2005 for allegedly soliciting for
bribes-the company is now in financial ruin.
Thomas Beattie's only "crime" is that his skin colour is similar to that of
the people who once colonised Zimbabwe. What does it mean to be a citizen of
Zimbabwe? Do farmers have fewer rights than a member of ZANU (PF) who can
take their property with less than twenty-four hours notice?
At Independence, like every white person at the time, Thomas Beattie was a
Rhodesian. But he became a Zimbabwean on April 18, 1980. He enthusiastically
participated in the nation's rebuilding, paid his taxes, produced food, and
created employment for the next twenty-eight years.
How could a devoted Zimbabwean farmer, rooted in the community, now be
labelled as a colonial settler with no citizenship rights over a
pseudo-revolutionary who has never earned an honest living and was only a
primary school student during the war of liberation?
Most of the productive farm land that has made its way to this clique of
gangsters is being chopped up into residential plots. The "liberators" are
profiting from land that they never paid for in the first place. Thomas
Beattie and other patriotic farmers like him are being punished today for
believing in the empty words of reconciliation preached by Robert Mugabe at
Independence. It is a shame that as a nation we celebrate the abhorrent
treatment of fellow human beings and citizens as justified empowerment.
In the district of Chegutu, it is amazing to discover that only a handful of
ZANU (PF) politicians have been carving up farms for themselves, their
families, and their relatives for the past ten years. If all the farms
seized by the government are state property, it therefore follows that
anyone who took that state property, looted equipment and destroyed
productivity, caused famine, therefore committed a crime that should be
punishable by imprisonment.
The very same ZANU (PF) parliamentarians, who passed laws that barred
farmers from taking their machinery, took over these properties and looted
valuable irrigation infrastructure. In the case of Thomas Beattie, Bright
Matonga destroyed or vandalised one of Zimbabwe's most modern citrus
The ZANU (PF) politburo, central committee members and President's Office
officials now occupy multiple farms with Mugabe leading the way with the
theft of 10 farms for himself.
The replacement of all the nations' damaged infrastructure to pre-1999
levels has now been estimated by the Minister of Finance to be US$ 45
billion dollars. Was it worth it, creating a financial burden, unemployment
and hunger for generations so that a few ethnically skewed greedy
politicians could enrich themselves by destroying commercial agriculture?
US$45 billion-the conservative monetary value for Zimbabwe to correct a
"colonial wrong"-and yet, Zimbabwe has not redressed its colonial imbalance,
instead it has created a deep-rooted political and ethnic wrong, which shall
soon need to be righted.
Phil Matibe - www.madhingabucketboy.com