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Zimbabwe police 'arrest owner of boat that capsized'

(AFP) – 11 hours ago

HARARE — Zimbabwean police have arrested the owner of boat which capsized on
Christmas Day, killing 11 children, state media reported Wednesday.

The state-owned The Herald newspaper said the boat's owner Latif Ameer, 53,
along with captain Fadil Ramon Weale, 27, and mechanic Enock Zulu, 36, had
been arrested over the accident in which 11 children drowned.

"The three are helping police with investigations and are likely to be
charged with 11 counts of culpable homicide," assistant police commissioner
Canaan Mugumira told the newspaper.

The tragedy occurred at around 7:00 pm Sunday on Lake Chivero, some 20
kilometres (12 miles) southwest of Harare.

The paper said 17 people were in the boat when it capsized and six people,
including the crew and the captain survived. Earlier reports had said that
19 were on board.

The bodies were retrieved Monday morning and some of the victims of the
tragedy have been buried.

On Saturday, also on Lake Chivero, a National Parks game ranger drowned
after his boat was hit by a strong wind while a friend who was with him

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Boat Disaster: Shocking details

By Thelma Chikwanha, Community Affairs Editor
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 12:50

HARARE - Fresh details have emerged that the crew of the speed boat that
capsized and killed 11 children on Lake Chivero Dam on Christmas Day, swam
to safety and left the children to die.

It also emerges that the accident was caused by a combination of negligence,
greediness, drunkenness and human error.

Survivors also told the Daily News about the strange behaviour of the
skipper, who while in the middle of the lake, suggested to the petrified
children that the boat might capsize.

The Daily News had been told by witnesses who encountered the crew before
the disaster that they were clearly drunk and were after money even if it
meant risking the lives of people.

The newspaper was also told of how the crew, all swam to safety leaving the
hapless children at the mercy of the harsh waters.

Speakers at a motive mass funeral held for Tanaka Ruzvidzo, 11, Tatenda
Ruzvidzo, 5, Sharon Ruzvidzo, 11, and Angeline Kasitu, 16, in Mungate
village in Domboshava yesterday said the tragedy could have been avoided if
necessary precautions had been taken by the National Parks and Wildlife
department, police and the boat owners.

The Daily News crew arrived at the cemetery in Domboshawa and witnessed the
body viewing process which touched the hearts of everyone present.

There was a lot of wailing when the coffins were opened by the pall bearers.

Friends and relatives could hardly contain the pain at the sight of four

Heartbroken mothers had to be assisted by relatives to view the bodies and
bid farewell to their deceased children.

Esther Muronzi who survived the ordeal said the boat was so overloaded that
it had to be pushed into the water because the engine could not sustain the
weight of the load.

According to the 16 year old, who is a student at Queen Elizabeth High
School, some people had initially suggested that they leave some people
behind but the captain insisted it was not necessary.

“When we got to the middle of the lake, the captain said; “does anyone want
to die?” We were all shocked by the question and we were scared. He then
asked if anyone could swim and I raised my hand,” Muronzi said.

The traumatised teenager said the crew started laughing.

“He then told us that the dam was over 30 meters deep. Just before the
accident, the driver just made a U-turn and the said: “If you do not know
how to swim then you can kiss goodbye to your lives because the boat is
sinking. I am saving my life.”

“The crew then jumped into the water and started swimming away and two other
adults also jumped into the water. The crew left us to die and they didn’t
care about us.

“After the boat capsized people were trying to swim but we could not get up
because the boat would block our heads, we were all stuck under the boat,”
she said.

“When the driver and his colleague jumped into the water, they swam to a
boat which was nearby and returned to Fish Eagle where they had picked us
up. They did not attempt to rescue anyone,” the traumatised teenager said.

Muronzi who still cannot comprehend how she managed to escape the ordeal
said she tried to save her sister Sharon but failed. She however managed to
save a two year old child who held onto her hair extensions for dear life.

Muronzi said she somehow managed to swim and was eventually rescued by a

A distraught relative Melody Chirara could not contain her disdain at the
manner in which the rescue operation was conducted.

“There were no life jackets in the boat neither were there in lifeguards on
stand-by and yet the boat was still allowed to go onto the water with so
many people considering that Lake Chivero is such a big dam,” Chirara said.

The village headman identified only as Murape said the death of the children
was a painful one which members of the community would never forget.

“Uku ndiko kunonzi kuparara kwemusha,” (This is like destroying the whole
village) Murape said.

Traumatised father of seven year old Rasim Jason, Napoleon said he would
accept the death of his son.

“It is God who gave us these children and I just thank him for the seven
years that I had with Rasim. I am not blaming anyone for his death because
it will mean that I have not accepted his death and this goes against my
religion as a Moslem,” Jason said.

Village elder Gwasira called on the government to put in place stiff
penalties against illegal safari and boat operators.

“The government should surely take action on this matter because how can an
unregistered boat carry so many people. We are also told that the driver in
question was not even qualified to drive the boat,” an irate Gwasira said.

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Zimbabwe Legislator Freed on Bail After Calling President Gay

December 28, 2011

Peta Thornycroft | Johannesburg

A legislator from Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change was released
from jail Wednesday after being charged with accusing President Robert
Mugabe of being gay.  She had to spend Christmas in a police cell even
though she had been granted bail last week.

There was jubilation at a crowded court in Mutare in Zimbabwe’s eastern
Manicaland province, when the state did not file arguments to prevent
lawmaker Lynette Karenyi from being freed from jail.

She had been granted bail of $200 on December 20, but the state invoked a
law, used frequently against MDC party members in recent years, which allows
detention for up to seven days after bail is granted.

Karenyi’s lawyer David Tandire explained to supporters outside the court
this is not the end of the legal battle.

“So she can now be released after paying bail," he said. "On 12 January that
is when trial resumes.”

Karenyi is accused of undermining the authority of, or insulting, the
president. She allegedly told party supporters at a rally earlier in the
month that President Mugabe practiced homosexuality with a fellow member of
the ZANU-PF politburo and a former president, Canaan Banana, who was jailed
for two years for sodomy in 1997.

An MDC supporter outside the court Wednesday said that Karenyi was treated
differently from other detainees for political reasons.

She says since Karenyi’s arrest, the lawmaker was barred visitors even
though others in the prison were allowed visits. The MDC supporter says she
is afraid that with elections approaching, it will be difficult for women to

Homosexuality may end up being a significant issue in Zimbabwe's next

The question of gay rights has been contentious in drafting a new
constitution ahead of the elections, as homosexual acts are now illegal in

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC party leader, has been careful to
make clear that he does not support homosexual behavior but recognizes
homosexuals as human beings.

President Mugabe, on the other hand, says gay people “destroy nationhood"
and that allowing gay marriage as in some Western countries was “insanity."

Zimbabwe’s Law Society says a new constitution should recognize the human
rights of all people.

The issue is likely to be raised again in a few weeks when lawmaker Karenyi
appears for her trial on charges she accused the president of committing
illegal homosexual acts.

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Mujuru Faction Opens Parallel Party Offices In Bikita

Bikita-December 28, 2011 – Serious in-house fighting within Zanu-PF in
Bikita District Coordinating Committee (DCC) has resulted in the warring
factions opening two parallel party offices at Nyika Growth Point.

Investigations revealed that the Mujuru faction which was always victimised
due to their small numbers in the district had to finally open its offices
which are serving the same purpose as that one from Mnangagwa-led faction
which was opened in the area in 2002.

Reserve bank Governor’s adviser Dr Munyaradzi Kereke’s father Tongai Kereke
who is also eying a senatorial seat in the area is the one who is currently
in charge of the newly opened office situated at Nyika Motor Sales garage.

Kereke confirmed opening an office at Nyika but refuted to give further
details on the facts that led to the split.

“I opened that office on my personal capacity. We had serious problems with
some characters in the DCC who are anti-development. The office is purely
there for the development of the party,” said Kereke.

It is allegedly reported that Dr Kereke and gospel musician-cum politician
Ellias Musakwa are sponsoring the Mujuru faction in the district and they
had since pledged to pay the rentals for the newly opened offices.

Musakwa is already campaigning to be a legislator for Bikita West
constituency where he lost by nine votes to the incumbent Heya Shoko in

Zanu-PF provincial chairman Lovemore Matuke said corrective measures were
going to be taken in order to iron out the differences in Bikita.

“The party does not condone such differences and divisions of that
magnitude. We are going to attend to that problem as soon as we receive
formal complaints from the concerned people in Bikita,” said Matuke.

This is the first time for Zanu-PF to open two parallel offices at the same
area in Masvingo province.

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President’s absence: Reform agenda grounded

By Gift Phiri, Senior Writer
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 09:10

HARARE - While 90 percent of the population is wallowing in abject poverty,
President Robert Mugabe is enjoying annual vacation in the Far East with his
family where he is also likely to have gone for medical reviews.

This year alone, Mugabe has been to the Far East at least eight times where
he was believed to be seeking medical attention.

The 87-year-old strongman, who during his absence has transferred authority
to his Zanu PF deputy, Joice Mujuru is said to be suffering with different
ailments associated with old age.

During his absence, Cabinet cannot sit, the reform agenda is grounded and
everything requiring presidential assent awaits his return late in January.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba said Mujuru, Zimbabwe’s first female
vice-president, has taken over as acting head of state during Mugabe’s
year-end vacation.

An official said Mugabe left Harare late last week for the Far East.

Mujuru, the first woman to hold the nation’s highest office in Zimbabwe, is
in strong contention to succeed Mugabe as party and state president but will
largely act as a titular head of state with no real power during the former
guerrilla leader’s absence.

Mujuru was recently exposed by whistle blowing website, WikiLeaks for
holding private talks with American diplomats while she was acting

Under a power sharing accord, during Mugabe’s absence, he must temporarily
transfer his powers to the PM, who must chair cabinet.

But Mugabe has consistently ignored this provision, and cabinet cannot sit
during his absence.

Charamba said is a statement that Mugabe was expected back at work at the
end of January. The Daily News could not reach him for further comments

“President Robert Mugabe has started his annual leave which will run up to
the end of January next year,” Charamba said in the statement.

“The President will spend part of his leave in the Far East together with
his family. Meanwhile, vice president Joice Mujuru is the acting president.”

Whilst under the power sharing accord the PM must attend to all official
duties requiring the attention of the President, he has never been given
that opportunity.

And each time during the three year lifespan of the GNU that Mugabe has
proceeded on his traditional January leave, he has delegated his Zanu PF
deputy to stand in for him.

Spokesman for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, Senator Obert Gutu
said yesterday in typical democracies there should be no interruption of
government business because the President is out of the country.

Gutu said it means for the whole of January when Mugabe is away, there will
be “no critical policy decisions.”

“It’s a serious attack on the democratisation agenda,” Gutu said. “It means
in 2012, we have already lost one month.”

The troubled coalition government is expected to spearhead a reformation
agenda expected to lead the country to free and fair general elections, but
Mugabe is insisting on a snap poll early next year to retire the GNU
“chariot” ostensibly because it has become dysfunctional.

There have been concerns among Western officials that Mugabe might once
again try to wiggle out of the reform agenda aimed at easing him out of
power in the resource-rich southern African country but with one of the
region’s most declining economies.

The Daily News understands a Zanu PF deal that was being stitched by the
Mujuru faction leading to an early election, in which Mugabe will not be
running, was strenuously rejected before it even reached the official organs
of the party.

Mugabe emerged from a Zanu PF conference three weeks ago with a ringing
endorsement from all his 10 provinces, even though his early election plan
has thrown Zanu PF MPs into disarray.

The legislators insist they must see out their current terms of office,
meaning they want elections in 2013.

But Mugabe says he has no doubt there would be a fresh general poll before
June next year, though his opponents, rights groups and diplomats warn that
the situation in Zimbabwe was not yet conducive for a free and fair poll,
with calls for more media, political and electoral reforms.

Observers say Zanu PF wants a snap poll when its most eligible presidential
candidate still has some little energy to campaign ahead of the crunch
ballot. Mugabe turns 88 in February.

Mugabe’s officials have previously rubbished reports about his poor health,
insisting that the President was “as fit as a teenager.”

Mugabe’s health remains one of the most secretly guarded for a head of state
anywhere in the world. His health has been the subject of frenzied
speculation since leaked US embassy cables confirmed information gleaned
from top Zanu PF officials that Mugabe was plagued by prostate cancer.

However, according to WikiLeaks, serial political flip flopper and the
United States’ useful messenger, Jonathan Moyo told the Americans that
Mugabe had throat cancer.

Moyo has also made it clear that what was quoted of him in the WikiLeaks was

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Air Zim debt paid because Mugabe needed plane

December 28, 2011 2:28 pm

HARARE- Government made frantic efforts to pay off a US$1,5 million debt to
secure the release of an Air Zimbabwe plane impounded in London mainly
because President Robert Mugabe wanted to use it on his medical trip to the
Far East.

US firm American General Supplies (AGS), which supplies the national airline
with the bulk of its spares, impounded the Boeing 767-200ER at Gatwick
Airport. For nearly two weeks hundreds of passengers were stranded at the
airport with government showing no urgency to resolve the matter.

But Nehanda has information that Mugabe wanted to use the plane
last week Friday and was livid his plans were delayed. Not only did the 87
year old dictator want to go for urgent medical treatment he was determined
to attend the funeral of fellow dictator, North Korea’s Kim Jong-il who died
last week.

The government eventually bailed Air Zimbabwe paving the way for release of
the plane which arrived back in Zimbabwe on Sunday. Even after payment was
made aviation authorities in London refused to release the plane because it
had a defective landing gear which they insisted should be fixed before

Mugabe was also unable to use Air Zimbabwe’s other B737-200 aircraft because
it had no oxygen cylinders. Although Mugabe wanted to travel to North Korea
it was looking more likely he would miss the funeral of Kim Jong-il whose
father trained the notorious Fifth Brigade army unit. Nehanda

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MDC Clashes with Councilors over Corruption Probe

27 December 2011

The MDC committee, expected to begin work in early 2012, is to probe
councilors accused of abusing their positions to acquire residential plots,
business premises and vehicles

Violet Gonda | Washington

Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto of Harare, Zimbabwe, has described as
"unfortunate" a decision by the Movement for Democratic Change formation of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to establish a committee to look into
corruption by city councilors.

The committee, expected to begin work in early 2012, is to probe councilors
accused of abusing their positions to acquire residential plots, business
premises and vehicles.

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo told Newsday that the decision
vindicates him of accusations he has a habit of meddling in the operations
of councils.

But Chiroto told VOA reporter Violet Gonda the probe is driven by MDC
legislators fearful of competition from some of the councilors in the next
round of national elections.

"Unfortunately councilors are not well represented in the National Council
hence decisions against them can easily be passed," Chiroto said.

Some legislators "do not feel safe because quite a number of councilors are
so much visible on the ground and very close to the electorate," he said.

Harare Residents Trust Coordinator Precious Shumba welcomed the probe,
charging that councilors including Chiroto have accumulated wealth in three
years in office.

He said Harare residents are concerned at a lack of accountability on the
part of elected councilors focused on accumulating wealth instead of
improving public services.

Such accumulation of wealth has remained unexplained, "including the deputy
mayor who has hidden behind the death of his wife to justify the kind of
wealth he has accumulated within the short period that he has been the
deputy mayor," Shuma said.

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Envoy Says EU to Respect Zimbabwe Election Outcome Regardless of Winner

27 December 2011

President Robert Mugabe has said no observer invitations will be issued to
countries that have imposed travel and financial sanctions on him and many
of his ZANU-PF party associates

Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington

The European Union’s ambassador to Zimbabwe says the EU will respect the
outcome of the next election even if it is won by President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party – provided the vote is held in a free and fair environment.

In an end-of-year address, Ambassador Aldo Dell'Ariccia told reporters that
the EU wants the inclusive government to end all forms of violence and
implement broad political reforms before heading to the polls.

He also urged the governing partners to achieve closure on the many sticking
points in the 2008 Global Political Agreement and elsewhere.

Addressing the issue of international election observers, he said the EU is
interested in observing the vote, but will only do so if invited by Harare.

President Robert Mugabe has said no observer invitations will be issued to
countries that have imposed sanctions on him and many of his ZANU-PF party

But Dell'Ariccia said the EU will be content to rely upon observation by the
Southern African Development Community and the African Union, both
guarantors pf the Global Political Agreement which underpins the
power-sharing arrangement.

ZANU-PF Member of Parliament for Mwenezi East, Masvingo province, Kudakwashe
Bhasikiti, commented that the the European Union has come to realize that
his party is more popular than the former opposition Movement for Democratic

Spokesman Nhlanhla Dube of the MDC formation of Industry Minister Welshman
Ncube told VOA reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the European Union's position
shows it now respects the right of Zimbabweans to choose their leaders.

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High Court judge to rule on Zvoma’s motion

By Chengetai Zvauya, Senior Writer
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 09:06

HARARE - High Court Judge Justice Francis Bere will make a ruling tomorrow
on the application made by the Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma to stop
Parliament from debating a motion calling for his dismissal.

In court papers filed by the Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo and Deputy
speaker Nomalanga Khumalo together with MDC members of Parliament Brian
Tshuma, Shepherd Mushonga, Willis Madzimure and Lynette Karenyi they are
arguing that a court application cannot bar the parliamentary proceedings on
the matter.

“The court of law cannot properly be used to control the debate in
Parliament. The sub judice concept is totally irrelevant in the present
case.  Ist Respondent (Zvoma) had no right to stop members of Parliament
from moving motions, seconding and debating them on December 14, 2011 and
thereafter. There was nothing at law to stop Parliament from carrying out
his duties," said Moyo in the court application.

Zvoma lodged an urgent court application seeking to bar Parliament to debate
on the motion.

MDC legislators namely Mushonga and Tshuma introduced a motion in Parliament
asking for Zvoma to be dismissed for being unprofessional.

The motion recommended that a committee of five members be set up to
investigate Zvoma’s conduct.

They also argued that the doctrine of separation of powers dictates that the
organs of state — the executive legislature, and the judiciary should be
independent of each other so that parliamentary issues should not be
subjected to a judicial process in the same way the executive should not
interfere with the legislative or judicial proceedings.

Moyo also stated that the debate in Parliament is part of the normal duties
and obligations of Parliamentarians.

He also issued a certificate of privilege in terms of the Privileges,
Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act.

The MDC MPs said the debate in Parliament is part of the normal duties and
obligations of Parliament and to try and bar MPs from debating would amount
to interfering with the operations of Parliament and hindering the proper
functioning of the legislature.

Such an attempt is clearly not supported by the Zimbabwean laws and the
general principles of sound governance.

“The remedy sought by the Applicant, (Zvoma) is incompetent. Any order to be
delivered by this Honourable Court in terms of the draft could not be
effected at law given the status of the subject matter at Parliament now,”
said Moyo in the court application.

Zanu PF MPs refused to debate the motion and walked out of the Parliament
arguing that the matter was before the court as Zvoma had already lodged an
urgent application at the High Court seeking to stop MPs to debate the
MDC MPs debated the motion and passed it in Parliament.

Zvoma is represented by Advocate David Ochieng, while Chris Mhike of
Atherstone and Cook represented the MDC  MPs.

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Police shatter vendors’ holiday spirit

By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 07:12

HARARE - For many vendors plying their trade within the city of Harare, this
year’s festive season preparations turned out to be a nightmare.

The City of Harare’s municipal police blitz on Christmas Eve shuttered plans
by many families who survive on vending as their wares were either destroyed
or confiscated.

The Daily News witnessed vendors’ problems as they spent the whole day
playing cat and mouse games with the municipal police.

The vendors were angry that the municipal police confiscated their goods
which they said is shared among the officers at the end of the day.

Those that were lucky managed to bribe the municipal police so as to retain
their goods.

Abigail Mahlamvana, 31, from Epworth did not only lose her wares but fainted
while running away from the police in the Avenues area.

Mahlamvana is diabetic and could not stand the marathon run as the municipal
police were hard on her heels.

She fell three times before finally falling unconscious, with the police
seizing her wares and leaving her “to die”.

A taxi driver, who had also escaped a blitz in the city centre on kombis and
taxies together with other passers-by, came to her rescue.

The good Samaritans fetched water at a nearby burst pipe and poured on the
woman who luckily gained consciousness.
Speaking to the Daily News, the woman said she had lost wares worth $17 and
that she was left with no cheer for Christmas Day which came the following

“I was only hoping to raise money to buy bread and drinks for my children on
Christmas Day,” said Mahlamvana, a single mother of three, shivering and
unable to carry her body.

She said she hardly remembered much of what transpired except the sight of a
municipal blue tractor that carried the policemen who raided them under the
guide of their leader she only identified as Bvuma.

Another vendor said the municipal police were heartless.

“They are only interested in the goods that we will be selling. Why did they
leave her unconscious and take away her stuff. They never tried to find out
what had happened to her or even try to take her to hospital. They did not
even care if she was dead as long as they had taken her wares. They are
ruthless,” retorted Christopher Chitate, a father of two who is also
supporting his family through vending.

He castigated the government for not intervening. He said they should have
been allowed to sell and raise money to buy goodies for the families for the
festive season.

“We are all educated, we were once employed but because the industry is not
performing well, we have nothing to do than vending. It is not by choice
that we are doing this and the government should intervene. We also have a
right,” he said.

According to Chitate, vendors lost their wares that day while others paid
bribes ranging from $3 to $5 so that they could be released.

Another vendor who claimed to have been once arrested said it was unfair to
them because the municipal police are of the habit of sharing their loot.

To him, Zimbabweans behaved like “animals” as depicted in the popular novel,
The Animal Farm, where some animals are more superior than others.

He said the municipal police force had become law unto themselves and was
breaking the law at will to suit their circumstances while the majority
suffered. Chitate said the same was happening to the transport industry
where the police were cashing in on kombis.

“There is too much corruption even within the police force,” he said adding
that he had never had such a chaotic festive season.

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Zimbabwe considering a ban on raw platinum exports

In a bid to force miners to set up refineries in Zimbabwe, the country is
considering a ban on raw platinum exports but, officials say the move won't
take place over night.

Author: Nelson Banya (Reuters)
Posted:  Wednesday , 28 Dec 2011

HARARE (Reuters) -

Zimbabwe is considering a ban on raw platinum exports in a bid to force
miners to set up refineries in the country, but this move will not take
place "overnight", a government official said on Wednesday.

The southern African country has the second largest known platinum reserves
in the world, after neighbouring South Africa, and the top two global
producers, Anglo American Platinum and Impala Platinum, have operations

Both Amplats and Implats currently send platinum concentrate from their
Zimbabwean mines to South African refineries but the Zimbabwe government has
over the years tried to encourage the firms into processing the metal

Deputy Mines Minister Gift Chimanikire told Reuters that the government,
which restored a ban on raw chrome exports earlier this year to promote
local smelting, was now focusing on platinum producers.

"They need to start investing in a refinery in Zimbabwe. We need
value-addition for our minerals here, we cannot keep exporting jobs,"
Chimanikire said.

"We're not saying it's going to be overnight. We're ringing the alarm bells
to show we're not sleeping."

Platinum producers have said Zimbabwe's current production is insufficient
to sustain a viable refinery. Implats' Zimplats operations currently
operates the largest mine in the country, with production capacity of
180,000 ounces annually.

Mimosa, Implats' 50:50 joint venture with Aquarius, accounted for more than
20 percent of Aquarius's total attributable output of 487,404 PGM ounces for
the full year, while Amplats' Unki mine produced 22,000 ounces in the first
half of 2011.

Industry players have talked up the possibility of a refinery being set up
in the country five years from now, when the major producers are expected to
have ramped up output.

Chimanikire says the government would want to see definite steps towards
that target.

"I'm not arguing with that. Let them demonstrate to us that in five years'
time, that will happen."

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Hotel Group Unloading Assets to Pay Heavy Credit Line

27 December 2011

Insiders said Rainbow's board and shareholders agreed to raise US$15 million
through a US$10 million sale and leaseback of Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel to NSSA
and a US$5 million rights issue

Gibbs Dube | Washington

Zimbabwe's Rainbow Tourism Group, unable to service a US$15 million credit
line and declared technically insolvent by a private financial advisory
firm, has resolved to sell one of its top properties to the National Social
Security Authority.

Insiders said Rainbow's board and shareholders agreed to raise US$15 million
through a US$10 million sale and leaseback of Bulawayo Rainbow Hotel to NSSA
and a US$5 million rights issue.

They said the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank - also
known as the Preferential Trade Area Bank - has threatened to take the
Rainbow Group to court if it does not pay the debt in full.

Rainbow management could not be reached for comment.

Ibbo Mandaza, a former Rainbow chairman, said the group is financially
solid, contrary to a recent report by analytical firm Corporate Excellence,
that it is technically insolvent.

“I am sure that the company is not broke and indications are that the deal
with NSSA will take care of the debt,” said Mandaza.

Economic commentator Masimba Kuchera said the hotel group is in a crisis due
to government interference in its operations.

The group owns top-class accommodations including the Rainbow Towers and New
Ambassador hotels in Harare, and the Rainbow Hotel in Victoria Falls.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti recently said the tourism sector is expected to
record annual growth of 13.7 percent in 2012 compared with 10.3 percent in

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‘2011, failed year for Harare council’

By Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 28 December 2011 08:58

HARARE - As the year 2012 beckons and its rays shine on the horizon, Harare
residents have vivid memories of the year gone by.

Residents endured for days on end without water, electricity and some
without both at the same time as Harare City Council and Zesa authorities
failed to meet expectations.

Like a curse, the two public institutions’ systems collapsed under their
noses and it took ages to sort out the mess, thereby disenfranchising
ratepayers who have had to pay through the nose for the poor services.

While everyone is busy making New Year’s resolutions, Harare City
councillors were throughout the year passing resolutions that had nothing to
do with bringing back the glamour once associated with Harare.

Their resolutions ranged from allocating residential stands to themselves,
their kith and kin, and also to some connected council workers.

The councillors also treated themselves to tenders where they supplied
products and services to council and even small items such as rims of

They also made headlines for clandestinely increasing council’s sitting
allowances while spending little time on discussion of water and refuse
collection issues.

Full council meetings were reduced to mere talk shows and a display of the
councillors’ latest fashion.

In 2011, two councillors were dismissed while another is serving suspension
after local government minister, Ignatius Chombo used the Urban Council Act
to banish the MDC councillors from council chambers.

Indeed 2011 had little joy for Harare residents as the much publicised land
probe which was supposed to investigate the alleged parcelling out of land
to business mogul and President Robert Mugabe’s nephew, Phillip Chiyangwa
and Chombo himself failed to take off.

The land investigations were brought to the public in 2010 by a special
council committee which implicated the two as having helped themselves with
council land without following proper procedures.

In 2011, Harare’s housing list continued to balloon with no solution in

Council appears to be groping in the dark in search for an answer which is
proving very elusive.

Even the idea of housing co-operatives has suddenly died a natural death,
leaving the embattled Harare City Council in a quandary as to where the
answers for the housing backlog would come from.

While the sad memories of the 2008 cholera epidemic seemingly have
slipped-out so fast on the minds of most councillors, discussions during
council meetings were characterised by political ideologies that have little
chances of turning around the fortunes of the generality of Harareans.

Despite all the glaring evidence of the council’s poor service delivery to
its ratepayers, some councillors believe the local authority performed above

Some vouch that council had failed dismally in its programmes.

Special interest councillor, Charles Nyachowe described 2011 as a failed
year for Harare council singling out the recent typhoid outbreak, continued
water cuts and uncollected garbage as reasons for his critic.

“We have failed as a team and we must do better next year,” said Nyachowe.

Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto agreed with Nyachowe that his council could
have done better on water and sanitation but failed on garbage.

“We have achieved a lot as council especially when it came to water issues,”
Chiroto said.

“We have managed to clean the water purification tanks and processing unit
which were dysfunctional,” said Chiroto.
He however, said council failed to protect residents from water-borne

“We have failed to deal with errant council employees who are either
fingered in corruption charges or have acted to sabotage council,” said

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The ‘unpeople’ most of us don’t know

December 28 2011 at 09:14am

Human Rights issues were put under the spotlight this year when Refugee
Week, in June, revealed the existence of unregistered and undocumented
communities of immigrants, including women and children, who arrived in the
country in search of economic opportunities, but struggled to survive in SA.

Later on in the year the discovery of the lost community of Verdwaal 2 in
Itsoseng in the North West Province, brought to light the shortcomings of
government’s promises to fight poverty and prevent deaths from hunger. Four
children aged two years to nine died one hot summer morning after they had
walked for hours in search of their mother and food. Their situation
uncovered a community steeped in poverty and helplessness, and indifference
as the villagers sat back and watched the world pass them by.

When Refugee Week rolled around in June a community of boys continued to
exist in the border town of Musina close to the border between SA and
Zimbabwe, having slipped through the system which seeks to have on its
database the details of all who live in the country - nationals and
immigrants. The boys have lived in that place for many years and they have
kept well under the radar as efforts to round up illegal migrants and get
them legally documented carried on around them.

The boys told the Pretoria News they had arrived in Musina from Zimbabwe,
Zambia and other neighbouring countries and, after failing to make it beyond
that small town, they settled in to make a living from whatever came their

Comfortably living with no adult supervision, some of them, the older ones,
looked after the younger ones. They “protected” each other from “bad people”,
including the police who occasionally tried to round them up and take them
to shelters in Musina. They are also often suspected of committing petty
crimes like handbag snatching, but, they insisted, they were not criminals.

Some said they did not know their ages; others said they had come to SA to
look for jobs. Others said they had come because older siblings, mothers and
other relatives had said they were working in SA. They had not found them
and had opted to stay in Musina where they made money by washing trucks,
guiding them into and out of the truck stop and keeping their eyes on
vehicles while drivers rested.
IOL news dce 28 SA PN musina 4

A donated container, lined with donated blankets and mattresses, is their
home. The youngest are about 12 years old, the older ones around 18, and
they all live to dodge law enforcement and aid organisations who would take
them to shelters. They prefer to make their own rules and said they feared
the shelters because of stories of bullying, where they would have eating
and sleeping time dictated to them.

These boys depend on donations of tinned fish and beans for lunch between
Monday and Friday. Weekend meals are scarce: they beg at local restaurants
or scavenge. Most dream of better lives and jobs, of moving inland to
Johannesburg or Pretoria, and of one day being able to return home to
improve the lives of their families.

One said his dream was going to school one day; another of earning a good
salary and having a family of his own.

In Musina, shelters set up mainly by religious organisations are crammed
full of women and children in a sad state of existence. Also having left
their countries for various reasons, most of them because of the economic
lure of SA, find themselves stuck in that town with nowhere to go. They have
no money and cannot apply for political asylum.

Barely out of childhood herself, Polite and her babies - one two and the
other younger than that - live every day hungry, exhausted and very

She said she wanted to go back home, but because she had come in illegally
and had no documentation or money, she was stuck there. The women around her
said her situation was bad - her children were always naked, she had no
nappies for the baby and they spent the day walking the streets and picking
food out of dustbins.

In the evenings the women and children are given a plate of porridge and

Some lie in their beds, sick and unable to eat. Others go out and look for
jobs during the day but they have no luck. They sit around and hope for some
form of luck to come their way, but always fear the threat of being deported
and taken back to their country where, they say, there is nothing to go back
to. The SA Constitution is obliged to protect the human rights of every
person in the country after signing the UN Refugee Convention in 1951 and
other conventions.

Immigrants have also been promised protection by the state, which is obliged
to provide them with avenues to apply for asylum and temporary assistance,
like the three-month relief of food and accommodation, and allow them to
apply for social grants in instances where they need them.

In Verdwaal the tragic story of the four Mmupele children who died of
starvation and dehydration opened up to scrutiny the lives of former farm
dwellers and their ability to exist independently of farm life. It also
brought to the fore the reach, or lack of it, of government’s fight against

Visits to the community found whole families - sometimes up to 30, living in
a three-room house - dependent on hand-outs for farm hands. Most family
members have no birth certificates, identity documents and are unable to
access social grants. Families survive on a bowl of porridge each a day and
were described by a Cape Town researcher as having a “learned helplessness
syndrome”, borne of the fact that they had not been required to think beyond
their duties on the farm.

Social workers said the people were unable to adjust to a life where the
provision of bare necessities rested on their shoulders and even they had no
idea of how they could make a living, staring blankly when asked of
intentions to find work.

Their plight brought out the humanity in people of SA, who made donations to
Verdwaal, with the Gift of the Givers Foundation taking over R1 million
worth of emergency food aid to the area.

The Department of Home Affairs called it an injustice to live in SA for so
many years and have no documentation, yet people were turned back when
mobile units were sent out there, because they had no money and had not been
notified of what documents they had to bring.

Local ward councillor Aobakwe Matshogo started a process of profiling
community members, a process also adopted by the Department of Social
Development to establish the levels of poverty among the community members.
This process resulted in the launch of the Food for All campaign last week,
which is set to benefit seven North West communities identified as hungry,
poverty- stricken and malnourished.

Minister Bathabile Dlamini said the campaign would reach out and help those
communities access social grants and they would also be equipped with
farming skills and provided with livestock to launch the project. - Pretoria

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Don’t personalise the Liberation struggle

December 28th, 2011

When my friends and I watched the Heroes Day “celebrations” we sighed with
resignation when ZanuPf did their normal abduction of our national holidays,
arriving in full party regalia and shouting their party slogans.  Since we
watched this Zanu stolen celebration we have gotten more and more angry
about the party of thieves, ZanuPf.

We are sick to death of ZanuPf behaving as if they own everything in this
country and they forget one very important thing – they no longer control
all information in Zimbabwe, for we, the younger generation, know exactly
how to get on to the internet, how to use Facebook and how to get and send
real news, not just Zanu news.

The Liberation struggle of Zimbabwe was fought by Zimbabweans from all walks
of life, not just one political party.  But Zanu continuously and foolishly
personalise the Liberation Struggle as if their party members are the only
ones who fought for democracy and freedom, neither of which any of us common
people actually has today.

When the army generals announced they would not salute anyone without war
credentials, it clearly showed they have forgetten that during the war the
people were the water and those carrying the guns were the fish, the fish
cannot survive where there’s no water.  One day, soon, ZanuPf are going to
be the fish out of water, gasping for breath and struggling to survive, just
like the ruling elite in Libya have had to face.

No party can claim ownership of everything that has a Zimbabwean flag on it;
whether it is National Days, banks, schools, hospitals, land, businesses,
diamonds or anything else that actually belongs to the people, not the

But let me tell these thugs, you can fool some of the people some of the
time, but not all of them all of the time.  The new generation, with the
help of the world wide web, will not be fooled any longer.

This entry was posted by Bob Gondo on Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 at 6:24

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Will Mugabe heed Pyongyang’s stay-away call to foreign leaders?

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 28 December 2011

With Robert Mugabe already abroad, it is unclear if he will heed Pyongyang’s
appeal that foreign delegations would not be allowed to attend the funeral
of the late North Korean “Dear Leader” Kim Jong-Il in Pyongyang, Wednesday
28 December 2011.

It would not be Mugabe’s first odd presence abroad, having been the sole
foreign head of state at the swearing-in ceremony of Joseph Kabila as
president of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). And he had a shocking
surprise for those present.

Amid the disputed DRC vote, Mugabe promised Joseph Kabila that Zimbabwe
(maybe he meant Zanu-pf) will help him (Kabila) fight off any interference
by presumably Western outsiders.

In July 2011, Robert Mugabe had another surprise for the whole world by
being the only head of state attending a two-day youth conference at the
United Nations under the theme: “Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding”.
As usual, he was accompanied by a huge delegation.

But, despite Pyongyang’s ban and the prohibitive cost to the struggling
Zimbabwean taxpayer, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief
of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, the First Secretary and President of Zanu-pf
Robert Mugabe, may produce another surprise by showing up.

While Mugabe may be keen to pay his respects to Kim Jong Il, the sad
memories associated with North Korea in Zimbabwe date back to 1981 when 106
North Koreans arrived in Zimbabwe to train Mugabe’s Fifth Brigade.

After its training, the elite unit drawn from 3500 ex-Zanla troops committed
the Gukurahundi massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands during which an
estimated 20 000 suspected sympathisers of Pf-Zapu were killed.

This analyst believes that Mugabe as the Commander in Chief of the Armed
Forces was solely responsible for the Gukurahundi genocide and subsequent
state-sponsored bloody electoral violence in the country hence his reported
reluctance to handover power during his lifetime fearing retributive

Like paranoid Mugabe who has warned against a Libyan style revolution in
Zimbabwe, North Korea has gone a step further by banning its own 200
citizens working in Libya from returning home, apparently out of fear that
“they will reveal the extent and final outcomes of the revolutions that have
shaken the Arab world,” (Telegraph, 27/10/11).

Reports say North Korean nationals had been left in a limbo, joining their
compatriots who were stuck in Tunisia, Egypt and other countries with orders
not to return home.

Zimbabweans await Mugabe’s next surprise after learning that there will be
no cabinet meetings for the entire month of January as the geriatric tyrant
relaxes lavishly in the Far East courtesy of the released Air Zimbabwe

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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