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picture of unity talks emerges
By Lance Guma
01 December 2009
aimed at resolving outstanding issues plaguing the coalition
seemed headed for another deadlock on Tuesday.
South African President
Jacob Zuma had dispatched a team of former cabinet
Nqakula, Mac Maharaj and Lindiwe Zulu to try and help end
the impasse. On
Monday this 'facilitation team' first met with Mugabe and
then later with
ZANU PF and MDC negotiators in Harare, to set the agenda for
programme. This team is expected to go back to South Africa on
while it was speculated that Zuma himself would be in the country
Tuesday evening or on Wednesday. The facilitators were tightlipped
talks only saying; 'It was a very good meeting in the sense that
we have met
everyone we wanted to meet. The meetings are still on-going.'
MDC telling journalists they cannot discuss details of the
because of a memorandum of understanding that they be held in
PF is disregarding this. Tuesday's Herald newspaper contained
details of the
negotiations, with the paper mocking the MDC for raising what
they claim are
new outstanding issues. A total of 21 issues are now said to
be up for
discussion, according to the paper.
ZANU PF are sticking to their
familiar arguments, saying the MDC has not
called for the lifting of
targeted sanctions, an end to 'external
interference' and the closing down
of so-called pirate radio stations.
Mugabe's party also insists the MDC
dismantle what it calls a 'parallel
government structure' set up by the
Analysts say the ZANU PF is not raising any real issues
and the demands they
have listed are merely a smokescreen, to cover up for
their lack of
sincerity and unwillingness to share power. For example they
point out that
targeted sanctions were imposed by western countries and not
by the MDC. The
same countries have already made it clear that certain
benchmarks need to be
met before the measures are removed. Similarly the
'pirate radio stations'
are not run by the MDC and the party has no power to
close them down.
Sources in both the MDC and ZANU PF have said enough to
indicate that no
deal is going to be reached by the December 5th deadline
set by the Southern
African Development Community Troika on Politics,
Defence and Security last
month. Evidence that the talks will simply hit a
brickwall came from ZANU PF
politburo member, Absolom Sikhosana, who gave an
interview to Studio 7
(ironically one of the so-called pirate stations). He
made it clear that
ZANU PF will not make any concessions until western
targeted sanctions are
The MDC meanwhile want a review of
the appointments of the Reserve Bank
governor and the Attorney General. The
latest information is that the
negotiators have resolved to tackle these
appointments last, since they are
the most fiercely contested. Tsvangirai's
party also wants their Deputy
Agriculture Minister Roy Bennett sworn in and
appointed, according to an agreed formula that reflects
the March 2008
elections. The party also wants Mugabe to stop unilaterally
The state media claim that the
MDC has raised additional outstanding issues
covers media reforms, national
hero status, constitutional commissions,
security sector reforms and the
appointment of permanent secretaries. The
MDC refused to comment on these
But a highly placed official, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, said the
outstanding issues had simply been divided into two
categories. The core
issues were classed under 'non implementation' of the
Agreement, while the 'smaller' issues fell under 'non
fulfillment'. He said
they had decided to take advantage of the 'window of
opportunity offered by
the South African team to tackle all the problems
affecting this coalition
mediation team hopeful of positive outcome in Zimbabwe
December 01 2009
Thulasizwe Simelane, Harare
South Africa's President Jacob
Zuma's newly appointed mediation team for
Zimbabwe has returned from Harare
oozing with confidence. Charles Nqakula,
Lindiwe Zulu and Mac Maharaj met
with the power-sharing signatories,
believing they have made headway - as
the Southern African Development
Community's (SADC) imposed deadline of
December 5 for a solution on the
reports suggest over 20 new disputes have surfaced between Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. These include
a review of ministerial allocations and media and security sector
Analysts are cautiously optimistic, since the new team has the
of the ruling ANC. "The ANC is the power broker in South
Africa, it is the
governing party and the ANC would like the situation in
says political analyst John Makumbe.
troika will weigh its options after President Zuma presents his
no solution is found, the body can recommend a full heads of
Last week, one of Zimbabwe's leading activists criticised the
SADC for what
he calls the slow response to the country's crisis. Academic
Raftopoulos says the organisation has done very little to deal with
human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. He was speaking at a book launch in
national issue for SA’
December 01 2009 , 9:50:00
Lindiwe Zulu says the whole issue of Zimbabwe is no
longer just a foreign
policy exercise but a national one for South Africa.
She was part of the
special mediation team which was in Zimbabwe for talks
with the three
signatories to the power-sharing pact.
President Robert Mugabe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara have
until Friday to implement the political
agreement. Zulu says they got the
feeling that the Zimbabwean parties are
getting fatigued about the process
not going forward. According to Zulu,
there really seems to be a new wave of
commitment in Zimbabwe.
Touching on the issues at hand, Zulu says they
have come to realise that
such are fundamental issues and not small ones.
Yesterday, President Jacob
Zuma's special advisor Charles Nqakula said he
was optimistic about
interactions with Zimbabwe's political leaders.
Nqakula, along with Zulu and
Mac Maharaj, met the three signatories to the
power-sharing pact in Harare.
Nqakula described yesterday's talks as
having inspired a sense of hope.
Meanwhile, the Commonwealth has expressed
its willingness to readmit
Zimbabwe as its member state. This was revealed
after the conclusion of a
three-day Commonwealth Heads of Government summit
which was held in Port of
Spain, the capital of the Caribbean Island state
of Trinidad and Tobago.
The Commonwealth also welcomed the signing of the
agreement, which paved the way for the formation of a unity
pointed out that the Commonwealth's position has encouraged
him to continue
his mediation role in Zimbabwe's situation.
of investment set to define 2010 budget
By Alex Bell
The lack of foreign investment in the country is set to define the
budget to be tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, where Finance Minister
Tendai Biti is expected to keep a tight rein on government
Biti has already indicated that control of government spending
because the necessary reforms, promised by the unity government
foreign donors, have not been realised. International donor
understandably held off on investment, citing the ongoing
farm invasions and
media restrictions as just two examples of the lack of
change in Zimbabwe.
The role of Gideon Gono as the Governor of the
Reserve Bank has also
remained a contentious issue with regards to foreign
investment, given Gono's
reputation for siphoning off cash to line the
pockets of ZANU PF. Biti
increased this year's budget by 22% to US$1.2
billion in July, after
receiving loans and aid pledges from South Africa and
Monetary Fund. But since then Biti has said that the
government has not
managed to attract 'a cent' in budgetary support, because
donors are still
wary of the central bank.
It is hoped that a new
bill being debated by Parliament, to tighten
restrictions on the Central
Bank, will ease some investment concerns,
despite the proposed Bill keeping
Gono on as head of Monetary Policy
Committee. Critics have already argued
that the Bill will leave Gono with
too much power, raising yet more doubts
that investment will suddenly start
pouring into the
"Zimbabweans will have to understand that there is very little
that government is basically broke," said John Robertson, an
economist in Harare. "The Finance Minister is likely to present
that spends only what the country earns, because there aren't any
significant signs of foreign aid on the horizon."
financial crisis meanwhile has been illustrated by a World
which has detailed that the country's power utility ZESA is
more than US$400
million in debt. The report was tabled after a request by
Ministry for technical assistance, including cash to help the
meet customers' needs.
Thousands of people have been experiencing daily
power blackouts and soaring
electricity prices. In her weekly newsletter
author Cathy Buckle has
described how "normal functioning has become
impossible." She wrote that for
weeks the power has been out every day of
every week until late in the
night, when people are lucky to have a few
hours of power. Buckle also
explained that most people had expected their
electricity bills to
significantly reduce because of the rolling blackouts,
but instead ZESA
bills "continue to be more than most people earn in a
"Unexplained and incomprehensible is how you go from having a
one month to owing 700 or 800 US dollars the next. Small
struggling to stay open are getting bills ranging from
5,000 to 12,000 US
dollars a month," Buckle wrote.
ZESA is reported
to need about US$385 million to optimise current
production capacity, prevent
further deterioration of infrastructure and to
efficiencies. It now remains to be seen how the budget
will stretch to
accommodate a utility that barely offers a service, but
still bills enough
money to collect an estimated US$20 million per month
retreated on Zimdollar after heated meeting
Written by Gift Phiri
30 November 2009 16:31
HARARE -- Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor
Gideon Gono only agreed to
change his position on bring back the Zimbabwe
dollar after a stormy meeting
last week with President Robert Mugabe and
Finance Minister Tendai Biti,
according to sources.
In an embarrassing
climb-down, Gono now says Zimbabwe will continue using
foreign the US dollar
and other hard currencies introduced at the beginning
of the year until the
economy has reached annual growth rates of at "least
seven percent" with
foreign currency reserves of at least US$1.5 billion
chief had previously suggested reviving the dead currency and
linking it to
gold reserves held in the country. A highly placed official
source said Gono
recanted his call for the return of the Zimdollar after a
with Mugabe, Vice President Joice Mujuru, Deputy Prime
Mutambara and Biti held after Cabinet meeting last Tuesday.
The Zimbabwean on
Tuesday heard that the meeting discussed among other
issues the 2010
national budget, use of special drawing rights from the IMF,
the revival of
the Zimdollar and bankrolling the agricultural season.
Biti was said to have
emerged from that meeting with a ringing endorsement
from all the principals
that returning the Zimdollar would be disastrous for
Zimbabwe. Gono, has
differed with Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who has
declared that he will
not put the local dollar back into circulation until
is restored with and capacity utilisation in industry
has reached at least
The RBZ boss has enjoyed support from Mugabe who is keen to see
of the local currency saying the US dollar has made life
difficult for rural
dwellers who have traditionally backed his Zanu (PF)
party. But Biti has
insisted that the return of local currency would render
futile all efforts
undertaken to revive the economy since formation of the
unity government in
Biti, who is due to present the 2010
national budget on December 2, has
insisted that he cannot return the
Zimbabwe dollar unless the economy can
sustain it. ? The Zimbabwean economy,
currently with exports of only nine
percent of GDP and a huge balance of
payments deficit, cannot provide any
form of cover to the Zimbabwe dollar if
returned back into circulation. ??
Biti has intimated that he can only return
the inflation-prone currency when
exports are at least 30 percent of GDP.
Account of atempted eviction off Wakefield farm,
FRIDAY 27TH NOVEMBER 2009
12.30PM: Felix Pambukani and
about 15 to 20 other men arrived at my house
gate demanding to know from me
why I was still on the farm and why was I
planting tobacco and what was I
doing? 2 Ministry of Lands men from
Chegutu - one of them being a Mr. Tony
Makoshoni - ID number:
70-010006 G 38 and a Mr Chikadayi was also amongst
these men and Kunonga
was waiting at the Selous Police station.. DESPITE
being told by myself
and shown a letter from the Governor and Provisional
- clearly stating that I have been given permission to carry
farming for the 2009/2010 season they still demanded that I stop
farming at once. They then left and proceeded to the house that they
already evicted my manager from.
SATURDAY 28TH NOVEMBER
2.15PM: I was called out by my guards to the house gate where I was
by a man stating his name as Cde Jesus and a good 20 or more men
to be "ex-combatants", all clearly drunk. This Cde Jesus
to have been sent by the President with orders to have me
evicted! He told me
to get out the house and off the farm within 30
minutes and that we were to
take only personal belongings, as everything
else belongs to themhe stated
that he and his men would forcibly
remove us and would "help" us pack if we
did not comply. My
10 year old daughter at this stage was getting overwrought
upset at what was happening. My wife and I decided that in their
interests we would send our 10 year old and 2 year old daughters and
friend that was staying with them off the farm for their safety.
eldest daughter's last tearful words to my wife were "Will I
again Mommy??" My driver managed to get them off the farm
to friends for
I decided to carry on as normal - having phoned the police
assistance and being told to wait as they had no police vehicle
which to react.the "thugs" had returned to Mr
Pambukani's place of
residence - my manager's house and
proceeded to drink and carry on loudly.
Quite a few vehicles arrived
during the afternoon - adding up to about 15
vehicles in all.
In the meantime I was giving out rations to my labour as
my labour sensing that trouble was brewing, decided to stay in
workshop area and near my house.
Mr Pambukani had also chased my
guards away from my gates and placed his
own locks on the gates.
"thugs" were overheard talking and saying that
"someone would die if we did
not vacate the farm". They were
milling around the workshop and keeping a
8.00pm: - the police eventually arrived. The police
talked to Mr
Pambukani and the men that were there and told them not to
violence of any nature and that they had no right in trying to evict
from our house. The police also had words with me - asking why had
"mobilized" my labour-force? After a lengthy talk -
the police left at
At midnight I was awakened by my guards as other vehicles had
this time with armed men. I was informed that these new arrivals
guards and that they had been brought in to guard the workshop area
this area belongs to Mr Pambukani and that we had in fact been the
inciting violence and that I had mobilized my labour force against
SUNDAY 29th NOVEMBER 2009
10am: As I write this they are
still here but not doing anything. I just
do not know why they are spending
all their monies playing all these
games instead of using it on production on
the land they have being
MONDAY 30TH NOVEMBER 2009
just do not know what today is going to bring.
PF continues to politicise food
by Own Correspondent Tuesday 01 December
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party continues to
use food aid
as a political weapon and there were reports that party
falsifying records to deny known opponents assistance from
and relief agencies, according to a local human rights
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said in its latest report on
violations that it recorded 133 violations relating to food and
assistance in the month of August, with cases of
constituting 87 percent of the incidents.
which documents cases of politically-motivated violence and
said party affiliation continued to determine one's chances
both government subsidised food and humanitarian assistance.
access to food and humanitarian assistance is being denied through
well-coordinated webs of partisan structures such as ward coordinators,
volunteers, village heads, councillors and chairpersons.
their names removed from the lists that were submitted to NGO
yet other cases, targeted individuals were denied access on
that they either had good harvests, or that their papers were
not in order,"
ZPP said in a report released last week.
The group said laid down
procedures are rarely followed in selecting relief
said: "For instance, while the procedure is that HIV/AIDS and TB patients
who want to be registered for NGO relief assistance have to register first
with village health workers who are required to sign the form which they
submit to NGO relief officers.
"These well laid out procedures have
been politicised by ordering intending
beneficiaries to go and register
first with the ZANU PF district
chairpersons who would in turn authorise the
village health workers to
register the patient for relief
In Mashonaland Central and Midlands provinces, supporters of
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
allegedly had their
names removed from food registers or donors were
misinformed that targeted
persons were no longer in need of food
Cases of false claims were also reported in Masvingo province
suspected MDC supporters are routinely being denied food aid under the
pretext that their papers are not in order or that they had not followed
Beneficiaries are also required to produce party
membership cards and to
regularly attend political meetings in Mashonaland
East, a ZANU PF
Politicisation of access to state food
and agricultural inputs support is
reportedly widespread in Mutoko, Pfungwe,
Maramba, Hwedza and Mudzi.
Most volunteers, health care-givers and ward
coordinators in these districts
allegedly report directly to ZANU PF
"Incidents of politically motivated human rights violations
for concern in parts of the province such as Nyanga, Buhera,
and Rusape, interfering with the operations of NGOs such as
CONCERN, GOAL, among others," ZPP said about
ZPP reported of isolated incidents in which politically
suspect NGOs had
their operations suspended in Manicaland
Those targeted are systematically denied access by government
who are mostly ZANU PF functionaries - refusing to sign letters
victims medical and other forms of assistance.
cases ghost names have been included on the food beneficiaries list
move meant to siphon humanitarian aid for the sole benefit of die-hard
ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira and his deputy
Ephraim Masawi were no
immediately available for comment on the matter. But
Mugabe' party has in
the past denied abusing food aid and said reports by
human rights groups
accusing it of denying food to opponents were
fabrications meant to tarnish
the party's image. - ZimOnline
Zimbabwe Industry Group Calls for Adoption
of Rand as Sole Currency
8:44 UTC Monday 30 November 2009
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries noted
that many businesses generate
revenues and pay workers in U.S. dollars but
must source goods and materials
in South African rand
Gibbs Dube |
Washington 30 November 2009
With Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai
Biti due to present his 2010 budget
this week, the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries called Monday for the
adoption of the South African rand to
replace a multi-hard currency monetary
In a report to Biti,
the CZI said the multi-currency system is not
sustainable as most businesses
pay their workers in dollars but pay rand for
most of their goods and
materials - which have become more expensive in U.S.
dollar terms as the
rand has appreciated in recent months.
Economist Godfrey Kanyenze said
the CZI recommendation is sensible, but
noted that adopting the rand depends
on Harare meeting certain South African
Gwezere still detained at Chikurubi prison
By Tichaona Sibanda
Pascal Gwezere, the MDC transport manager facing trumped-up charges
stealing ‘arms of war’, is still in remand prison, despite the elapse of
seven-day appeal period by the State.
The High court granted
Gwezere bail a fortnight ago, but the State
immediately invoked the
draconian Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act, which
meant he had to stay in remand for a further seven days.
edition of the MDC weekly newsletter Changing Times, said the
lapsed on Friday last week. But Gwezere is still detained at
Maximum Security Prison. Prison officials are also denying him
private doctors for treatment for injuries sustained after he was
by State security agents.
Meanwhile the MDC MP for Musikavanhu
constituency in Manicaland province,
Prosper Mutseyami, has been acquitted
of assault charges.
An elated Mutseyami said it was a great relieve to be
spending almost a year on remand. Chipinge magistrate Samuel
the MP on charges that stemmed from an incident at Machongwa
in Chimanimani on 21st February last year.
being jointly charged with Watson Mumwocha, an MDC activist, for
assaulting Hapson Musungo and Elisha Chikukwa.
Mutseyami told us his
lawyer Langton Mhungu, from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
successfully applied for discharge as evidence against him was
because it was extracted through torture.
‘According to my lawyer, the
state failed dismally to advance anything, not
even a simple case against me
because the evidence obtained by the state was
so unreliable that no
reasonable court could act on it,’ Mutseyami said.
He added; ‘Imagine we
wasted our energies on a stupid, fictitious story that
was invented by ZANU
PF officials in Chipinge. The accusations were created
by ZANU PF to
humiliate me and the MDC as a party.’
berates MPs heckling in House
December 1, 2009
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has berated
both Zanu-PF and his MDC party for turning the House
of Assembly into what
he called a "shouting mass house" through continuous
heckling of each
other.Tsvangirai, leader of government business in the
House, said the habit
counters the spirit of the current inclusive process
by the former rivals.
"This is an honourable house and not a shouting
mass house," Tsvangirai said
during his address of Parliament Tuesday
"I think that with your leadership, Honourable Speaker, we
must behave in a
manner which is dignified, which is respectful of other
without necessarily suppressing your own opinion. I think
that we should
have a unity of that purpose.
"Yes, we are members of
Zanu-PF; yes we are members of MDC. As I have often
said, when it comes to
the national team, we are one. Although we belong to
Dynamos or Highlanders,
or any other team, when we are in the Warriors, we
MDC leader made the remarks after MPs from the two parties shouted at
other continuously while making comments on issues in his
Zimbabwe's legislature is still heavily polarised with MPs often
disregard the merit of issues raised to focus on lines of
argument which are
viewed as favourable to their respective
Tsvangirai also urged parliamentarians not to abandon their
duty of calling to account all government officials who would
pursuing government business.
"The people of Zimbabwe rightly
expect you, their representatives, to
investigate, question and challenge
their government," Tsvangirai said to
loud cheers mostly from his MDC
"It is essential that the house becomes a vibrant force for
accountability in Zimbabwe, such that all public officials
Parliament's accountability to investigate.
government official - whether a minister, policeman or civil
servant - who
has broken the law, acted corruptly or simply incompetently -
the supremacy of this house."
Tsvangirai said he was personally ready to
be challenged on any government
He further challenged
Parliament to track the performance of ministries
against the targets that
have been set by the inclusive government and
identify problems as they
"Where ministers under-perform, they must be held to account,"
"If state resources are misallocated, misspent or
responsible should be brought to book by this
The MDC leader, who at the weekend said the coming of his party
inclusive government has helped plug corruption by government
also received praise from some Zanu-PF legislators for his
resolve to bring
about unity among Zimbabweans.
But MPs challenged
the executive for overlooking the House of Assembly when
"We have a very unfortunate situation," Uzumba MP
Simba Mudarikwa said.
"With the current setup of the executive and the
legislature there is no
Mudarikwa, a Zanu-PF
legislator, singled out the budgetary statement due for
Finance Minister Tendai Biti as one case of the executive
legislature into a rubberstamping institution.
Biti is due to present the
budget on Wednesday afternoon.
"The budget will not be a people's
budget," said Mudarikwa, "it is an
executive budget and a budget of the
civil servants who earn US$100 but live
a life of $10
Mudarikwa, also accused cabinet ministers of continuously
parliamentary sessions and concentrating on private business
government resources and privileges.
addresses more than 50,000 supporters
Written by SIMOMO TSHUMA Dec 1,
HARARE - The failure by Mr Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF party to
the Global Political Agreement (GPA) is not only a Zimbabwean
threatens the stability of the entire SADC region, President
Tsvangirai said on Sunday.
Addressing over 50 000 people at
the MDC's 10th anniversary celebrations at
Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield,
President Tsvangirai said South Africa
President Jacob Zuma had acknowledged
that the delays in implementing the
GPA was affecting not only Zimbabwe but
the entire SADC region.
President Tsvangirai's comments at the carnival
atmosphere in Highfield came
as a new mediation team appointed by President
Zuma jetted into Zimbabwe on
Sunday to facilitate negotiations between the
ruling MDC and the two other
opposition parties in the inclusive
"As MDC we would like to salute the efforts by President Zuma
leaders in making sure that issues affecting the implementation of
are resolved," President Tsvangirai said.
He said in his
briefings with the SADC leaders, the leaders were concerned
non-implementation of the GPA was affecting the whole region and
resolve the outstanding issues urgently would cause instability
"President Zuma and other SADC leaders are aware that
Zimbabwe means instability in the whole of the SADC region.
In the case of
South Africa, the Zimbabwean issue is not even an external
issue but a
domestic issue because instability in our country will lead to
flooding in that country," said President Tsvangirai.
Zimbabweans to be patient, saying the meetings of negotiators to
find common ground on outstanding issues, which began two weeks ago,
moving on smoothly.
The MDC is being represented at the talks by the
Tendai Biti and deputy treasurer-general, Hon. Elton
President Tsvangirai also vowed that Zimbabwe would not slide
violence that nearly tore the country apart last year.
said the formation of the inclusive government by the MDC in February had
added value to progress and development in the country.
main objective is to have free and fair elections once we have
put in place
a people-driven Constitution," said President Tsvangirai.
He said the
Constitution-making process was now back on the rails and urged
to input into the process so that it captures the varied
opinions in the
"The Constitution should do away with repressive laws such as
AIPPA. The land reform process must also be resolved and Zimbabwe
rejoin the family of nations," he said.
said it was his mandate as the Head of Government to
make sure that the
economy was once again stable after years of
mismanagement by the then Zanu
PF government. The MDC has introduced
measures that have ended
hyperinflation and unprecedented economic meltdown
caused by mismanagement
and insane economic policies by the previous
President Tsvangirai said his office had managed to
inputs that would be distributed to over 700 000
households across the
President Tsvangirai said as the MDC
marked its 10th Anniversary, the party
was determined to make sure that the
people's project was not derailed.
"The MDC has come a long way and we
will not betray the people of Zimbabwe,"
he said. "It has been a hard and
tortuous road but we will continue to fight
to bring democracy and real
change to Zimbabwe.
"Who would have thought that after only 10 years, the
MDC would have a Prime
Minister, Cabinet ministers and a Speaker of the
House of Assembly?" he said
amid thunderous applause.
Tsvangirai was accompanied by his deputy, Hon. Thokozani Khupe,
chairman, Hon. Lovemore Moyo, secretary-general, Hon. Biti and his
Hon. Tapiwa Mashakada, national organising secretary, Hon. Elias
his deputy, Hon Morgen Komichi.
Also present were national spokesperson,
Hon. Nelson Chamisa, Women Assembly
chairperson, Hon. Theresa Makone,
officials from the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions, Zimbabwe National
Students Union and diplomats.
The Harare rally brought down the curtain
on successful 10th provincial
celebrations that were held across the
The rallies were being held the under the banner, "Celebrating a
Courage, Conviction and Leadership".
The main celebratory
rally was held at White City Stadium in Bulawayo on 13
September. The MDC
was formed on September 11, 1999.
MDC Zimbabwe Online
Germany concerned over
Zimbabwe investments after land grab bid
: Tue, 01 Dec 2009 16:52:09 GMT
By : dpa
Harare - German investment in
Zimbabwe continues to be under threat because
of ongoing lawlessness in the
southern African country, the German
government protested in an official
complaint to Zimbabwe, it emerged
Tuesday. The letter sent by the German
embassy in Harare, which is dated
November 26 but was only received by
journalists on Tuesday, follows an
attempt by some Zimbabweans to take over
a German-owned farm near the border
President Robert Mugabe's nationalist Zanu-PF party have seized
white-owned farms, often without compensation, over the past
"Once again, the German Embassy notes with great concern that
rights of German nationals and their investments in Zimbabwe are
threat, which is a clear violation of international law," the
"Despite repeated confirmations of high ranking
representatives of the
Zimbabwean Government about the latter's intention to
honour the BIPPA
(Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement) in full, the
development on the
ground so far shows few commitment to these clear
announcements," the letter
Foreign Minister Simbarashe
Mumbengwegwi confirmed he had received the
"We are going to
look at the concerns of the letter and communicate with the
The letter is the second official protest by Germany to
Last month, Berlin protested to Harare over the beating meted
51-year-old German Catholic priest by soldiers in Zimbabwe.
ZIMBABWE: Expats not going home yet
LONDON, 1 December 2009 (IRIN) - Zimbabwean
professionals in the UK say they will need to see real change before they would
even consider going home, despite South Africa's ongoing attempts to resolve the
disputes between the bickering partners in Zimbabwe's unity government.
Mugabe (left) and Prime Minister Tsvangirai. Zimbabwean expats are anxious for a
In 2000 President Robert Mugabe, leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party,
embarked on a violent land-reform exercise that destroyed the country's
agriculturally based economy.
After a decade of economic meltdown,
Morgan Tsvangirai, Prime Minister and leader of the main section of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), and Arthur Mutambara, leader of a breakaway section
of the MDC, and Mugabe became the three signatories to the Global Political
Agreement (GPA), which paved the way for establishing the unity government.
"Zimbabweans here [in the UK] feel they cannot put their trust in the
hands of politicians again, and unless all outstanding issues to the GPA are
solved, few Zimbabweans will muster enough confidence to go back to their
country," Arthur Bango, a qualified nurse who left Zimbabwe in 2000, told IRIN.
Estimates of how many Zimbabweans have fled the country's
economic freefall and political violence in the last decade range from 500,000
to 4 million. Many have crossed the border to South Africa - the continent's
economic powerhouse - while figures for the number in the UK, the former
colonial power, vary between 100,000 and 2 million.
The GPA, signed in
September 2008, led to formation of a unity government in February 2009, but any
desire the expatriates might have had to return soon evaporated as the
signatories failed to give the agreement any real substance. "The ZANU-PF side
of the inclusive government is perceived to be dragging its feet on fully
implementing the political agreement," Bango commented.
On 16 October
2009 Morgan Tsvangirai "disengaged" from the unity government in protest over
Mugabe's alleged refusal to abide by the terms of the GPA, maintaining that
Mugabe was stalling the swearing in of provincial governors, mainly from the
MDC, and that MDC members and officials faced constant harassment by the
ZANU-PF-controlled security forces.
The MDC has also said that Mugabe's
unilateral appointment of the attorney general and the reserve bank governor,
and their continued stay in office, is in contravention of the GPA.
turn, ZANU-PF contends that the MDC has not done enough to persuade the US and
the European Union to lift targeted sanctions against hundreds of senior ZANU-PF
officials, as well as Mugabe and his family, and that the MDC has failed to stop
radio stations funded by foreign governments from broadcasting into Zimbabwe.
Too late, too little
A three-man South African
team - Vincent Mangwenya, President Jacob Zuma's spokesperson; Lindiwe Zulu,
Zuma's international relations advisor; and former cabinet minister Charles
Nqakula - has been trying to nudge Zimbabwe's political parties towards each
other in the hope of kick-starting stalled negotiations, but many Zimbabweans in
the UK think it might be too late.
"I am a qualified teacher and came to this country in
1999. My children have already grown and are attending schools or university
here," said a Zimbabwean living in London who preferred to remain anonymous.
Relocating his children to Zimbabwe would not make sense because the schools and
universities there "had long collapsed, while health delivery is equally bad",
|Nobody wants to work in a
foreign land for ever - people can't wait to go back to a normal
Tatenda Nyati, another Zimbabwean in London, commented: "Many
Zimbabweans were hoping to bring back development and prosperity to Zimbabwe,
but that does not seem likely anytime soon."
A 30-year-old accountant,
Malvern Moyo, said he and others were prepared to return and help rebuild the
country, but "The politicians are being very selfish and unfair by not coming up
with a solution to our problems. Nobody wants to work in a foreign land for ever
- people can't wait to go back to a normal
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United
World unites to commemorate World Aids Day
By Alex Bell
Dignitaries, political leaders, and even sports and films stars,,
Tuesday for the global commemoration of World Aids Day.
annual event was recognised worldwide under the theme "Universal Access
Human Rights." In America, a number of cities decked out historical
monuments in red lights while top performers, including Alicia Keyes, held
concerts to support Aids Charities. In the UK singer Bono, from the band U2,
joined up with top footballer Didier Drogba and other football stars to
launch the "Lace Up. Save Lives," campaign where proceeds from the sale of
red laces go to help combat TB, Malaria and AIDS.
cricketers too added their voices to the global fight, calling
international cricket community to continue to support calls for
awareness to help continue the fight against HIV. South African
captain Graeme Smith, who is also a champion for the THINK WISE Aids
awareness campaign, said: "I've seen firsthand the devastating effect that
HIV has had in my country. It is now a global issue and one which everyone
has a responsibility to address"
The head of the United Nations Aids
programme (UNAIDS), Michel Sidibe,
marked World Aids Day in South Africa,
where the number of people infected
is more than 5 million, the highest in
the world. An estimated 1000 people
in the country die from Aids related
illnesses every day, a worrying example
of the prevalence of the disease in
Africa. In Zimbabwe, the picture is also
bleak, with the country having the
highest number of Aids orphans in the
world, for a country of it's
In December 2005, the United Nations General Assembly Special
HIV/AIDS (UNGASS), adopted a resolution to assist African
society and NGOs in "scaling up HIV prevention,
treatment, care and support,
with the aim of coming as close as possible to
the goal of universal access
to treatment by 2010 for all those who need
it." That deadline is now little
more than a year away. In most of Africa's
developing countries, fallout
from the global economic crisis has cast a
cloud of uncertainty over the
sustainability of treatment programmes, while
prevention efforts are still
struggling to keep up with the pace of the
Meanwhile to mark the day, the United Nations Secretary General,
Executive Director of UNAIDS Secretariat and Heads of UNAIDS co-sponsors
partners spoke out in special World AIDS Day statements.
Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said: "On World AIDS Day this year, our
challenge is clear: we must continue doing what works, but we must also do
more, on an urgent basis, to uphold our commitment to reach universal access
to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010."
Sedibe said: "AIDS provides a powerful mechanism for creating
health, human rights and development programmes. We must take
AIDS out of
isolation and create a broad social movement that will
toward the Millennium Development Goals."
Even the Pope added his voice
to the Global messages. Pope Benedict XVI
"My thoughts and my
prayers go with every person who has been touched by
particulary the children, the poor and the rejected. The
Church does not
cease to make every effort to combat AIDS through its
personnel dedicated to this task. I urge all people to
offer their own
contributions through prayer and concrete attention, so that
by the HIV virus will experience the presence of the Lord who
and hope. In conclusion, I hope that, by multiplying and
efforts, it will be possible to stop and overcome this
Mugabe Orphanage Abandoned
Goromonzi, December 01, 2009 -An orphanage
centre, founded by the late First
Lady Sally Mugabe in Goromonzi is lying
idle with infrastructure
dilapidating as a result of looting by war
The matron of the Mbuya Nehanda orphanage centre,
Auxillia Chonyera, said
vandalism and neglect of the orphanage's
infrastructure after the death
of its patron and founder, Sally Mugabe had
impacted negatively on the
smooth running and safe keeping of orphans. At
the moment they cook with
firewood as the boiler, which was being used,
packed up 10 years ago.
Sally died in 1992 from a kidney
"We wish if Mai Sally was still alive because she
used to provide for
the orphanage centre that used to provide for the
more than 500
orphaned children we used to keep before her death. We have
tried to find
assistance from local political leaders but to no
"We have a boiler which ceased to function 10 years ago,
and we use firewood
to cook for more than 200 children we are currently
having. We used to have
a truck that used to transport children to the
nearest school, which is
13 kilometers away, and it broke down some
years ago and we are failing
to repair it, and children are walking 26
Kilometers to and from the
"We have more than 50 teen
age girls who need sanitary wear and we are
finding it difficult to
provide all these basic needs because we do not
have any source of
income," said Chonyera.
MDC-T's Greenbate Dongo is the
legislator for the area while Hebert Murerwa
of ZANU-PF is the
Chonyera said as a result of them failing to provide for
children most of the orphans were finding their way back in to
"Its disappointing to tell you that most
of the orphans are going back to
the streets were we took them because we
have no food to feed them," she
Help Age Projects
manager Adonis Five said his organization recently joined
hands with other
NGO and mobilized food items for the orphanage centre.
touched by the plight of this orphanage centre and we have
food items which we think is going to last for few weeks,
and we hope
that our superiors are going to extend our proposals through
the budget they allocated for this project. We also challenge
to assist in this desperate situation," he said.
If given all
the required attention the orphanage centre, which was a
has every infrastructure that can be used for self
The orphanage centre was founded in1986 by the
late first lady Sally Mugabe
who had a strong passion for disadvantaged
Derbyshire on Radio 5 Live – the first full BBC programme to broadcast
openly out of Zimbabwe since 2001
* Victoria Derbyshire in Zimbabwe, Wednesday 2 December,
* The World Cup draw Friday 4 December, 5.15pm
BBC Radio 5
Live's Victoria Derbyshire will broadcast live from Zimbabwe on
in the first full BBC programme from the country since reporting
restrictions on the corporation were lifted earlier this
Victoria's morning show, which was honoured this year with a Nick
Award for its journalism, will present a three-hour programme from
Wednesday 2 December.
Since the unity government was formed
at the beginning of the year,
inflation has been tamed (it was 231 billion
per cent in February, it's now
3 per cent), a few goods have reappeared in
the shops and a little more food
is available to a hungry nation.
recent months, the Movement for Democratic Change has reported "increased
violent" attacks on its party members.
The programme will try and
find out exactly what life is like for ordinary
Zimbabweans right now.
Victoria will hear from residents in Harare, trade
unionists and human
rights groups – as well as interview senior figures from
The show will also speak to political asylum seekers who have
fled to the UK
and asks them how they view life now in their home country -
with resident Zimbabweans.
The programme will then move
to South Africa and on Friday 4 December
Victoria will present two
programmes from Cape Town for the World Cup Draw.
Her regular morning
programme will look at how ready the country is to host
the tournament and
what sort of welcome fans can expect to get. And at
5.30pm she'll be
presenting a special programme around the World Cup Draw –
opening the phone
lines and inviting listeners to react.
Zimbabwe - day 1
No problem getting our visas on arrival in Harare - we had a letter of
commission from the Ministry of Information which we've been advised to carry
everywhere with us. Over each exit at the terminal was a portrait of President
Mugabe hanging in a gilt frame. A constant reminder, but of what exactly?
On turning west out of the airport we drove under a bridge declaring
"Zimbabwe 1980 Independence".
The road into Harare was lined with small rubbish tips and on several corners
were very young children selling oranges.
We'd been told to look out for secret services opperatives in the foyer of
our hotel - but unless they were disguised as Japanese businessmen or stunningly
beautiful black women, I couldn't spot them.
My overall first impresssion? Hot, chaotic, and not disimilar to the capital
cities of several other African nations.
UPDATE: Watch Victoria's video from a typical Harare supermarket
The BBC and Zimbabwe: how the Corporation got back in
Olly Grant talks to Victoria Derbyshire about her first broadcast live from
Weekday mornings usually find Victoria Derbyshire ensconced in Wood Lane,
west London. Wednesday 2 December, however, sees the 5 Live host in an
altogether different locale: the Meikles Hotel, central Harare.
At 10.00am, Derbyshire will go live with the first fully fledged BBC radio
show to be made in Zimbabwe in nearly a decade. It’s a broadcast rammed with
political and historic significance. Eight years ago, the BBC was kicked out of
Zimbabwe by Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. Barring a few clandestine incursions, it
hasn’t been back until July of this year. In the intervening years, tragedies
and abuses went without official coverage by the BBC, from rampant inflation to
one of the worst cholera epidemics in African history. Today the Corporation
will broadcast the first extended, live radio programme featuring on-the-ground
reporting from the country in nearly a decade.
“For eight years the BBC staff were there undercover,” says Derbyshire, 41.
John Simpson donned a baseball cap disguise to preview the 2008 elections and
Fergal Keane carried out covert interviews as a fake game park tourist.
In situ with a government permission slip in her pocket, Derbyshire will be
able to turn the spotlight onto ordinary Zimbabweans. “It’s a brilliant
opportunity to be there openly, talking to people openly in shops and schools
and hospitals,” she says.
How the visit came about is a tale of diplomacy, politics and football. But
first a recap. The BBC ban stems from July 2001, when Rageh Omaar was covering
Mugabe’s land redistribution policy, which saw mostly white-run farms being
seized by Zanu loyalists. The tipping point seems to have been a speech in which
Mugabe reaffirmed his commitment to the seizures. A BBC report on that speech
prompted the suspension of all BBC accreditation. And that, aside from sports
coverage of two controversial cricket encounters in 2003 and 2004, was that.
But now there are signs of change. In January, Mugabe was forced into a unity
government with Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party, and the first shoots of economic
recovery have emerged. Food is back in shops. Inflation “has been tamed,” says
Derbyshire. “It was 500 bn per cent. Now it’s three per cent.” In July the BBC
was finally granted permission to operate freely in Zimbabwe, although up to now
the Corporation has mainly only made news reports.
“We were told they were keen to open up to the media because they want to
capitalise on the World Cup in South Africa in June,” says Louisa Compton, the
editor of Derbyshire’s show, who realised they could combine the show with an
already-planned trip to Friday’s World Cup draw in Cape Town. “A million phone
calls and faxes” later, with negotiations channelled through the BBC’s
Johannesburg Bureau, Compton finally got the green light from Zanu-PF, who
retain control of the country’s publicity department. “It was the most difficult
project I’ve ever organised,” Compton says.
Derbyshire has spent the last few days mugging up on her security skills on
the BBC’s hostile environment training for war reporters. This features
negotiation tips and a kidnapping scenario. “A bag goes over your face, they put
a fake gun to your head and you’re led into some woods where they shout at you
for an hour,” she says.
The programme will include live link-ups to listeners at home, including
UK-based asylum seekers, and a tour of Mbare, a high-density Harare district
that saw forced slum clearances in 2005. Derbyshire will also interview
politicians on either side of the coalition. This may yet include Tsvangirai and
Mugabe. Either way, Compton says, they will be hearing from those “who are
critical of Zanu-PF and the unity government”.
This last point is crucial, since there’s a danger that the whole venture
could imply that the country is far more open than it is. Could it be a PR
“No,” says Derbyshire firmly. “There are no restrictions. We’re going
wherever we want.” Nobody has ring-fenced her lines of questioning, she adds.
She hopes the show will act as a staging post in the story of Zimbabwe’s
hoped-for new dawn. ‘We want to tell our listeners what life is like there now,’
she says. “They’ve heard about the unity government. But they don’t know what
life is like at the sharp end. And that’s why it’s such a fascinating
opportunity to go there.”
- Victoria Derbyshire’s show from Zimbabwe is on 5 Live at 10.00am
halves Zim humanitarian appeal
Written by NEVER CHANDA
Monday, 30 November
HARARE -The United Nations has halved the humanitarian appeal for
in 2010 from the US$718 million sought this year but cautioned
continued "structural problems" faced by the southern African
recovering from a decade of political strife and economic
Zimbabwe's appeal is half as large in dollar terms as in 2009
when the UN
asked for US$718 million "because a generally good harvest has
number of severely food-insecure Zimbabweans".
the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs
recovery (ER) support would be a key priority for the 2010
Appeal Process (CAP) for Zimbabwe as aid agencies seek to
humanitarian achievements and to ensure that results are
"Direct restoration of basic social services, infrastructure
opportunities will not be able to get off the ground without
support for the
CAP's ER strategy," the UN arm said.
The UN agency said
priority would be given to rehabilitation of water
facilities in urban and
rural areas where an estimated six million people
have no access to basic
water, sanitation and hygiene services.
Attention would also shift towards
provision of livelihood support to
vulnerable groups - including female and
child-headed households, people
with disabilities, internally displaced
persons and people living with
HIV/AIDS - to reduce their dependency on
"Without transitional recovery activities in place,
becoming increasingly dependent on emergency aid, losing
the capacity to manage their own development in the
future," the UN agency
said yesterday during the launch of the humanitarian
It said more than 1.9 million people in Zimbabwe are likely to remain
food-insecure in 2010 while about 650 000 communal farmers would require
Without these inputs, there will be little chance of
reducing reliance on
outside food assistance.
Zimbabwe is experiencing a
gradual shift from humanitarian crisis to
recovery following political
changes that positively affected socio-economic
economic downturn and political polarization that culminated
protracted elections of 2008, an Inclusive Government was formed in
This development led to greater cooperation between the international
humanitarian community and the Zimbabwean authorities, improvement in the
country's socio-economic and humanitarian situation, and improved
humanitarian access to vulnerable populations.
The world body warned that
while the improvement of general conditions in
Zimbabwe has improved
following the formation of the coalition government in
February, the donor
community was still approaching the country's
humanitarian situation with
"It should not distract from Zimbabwe's structural
problems," the agency
An estimated six million vulnerable
people would continue to feel the impact
of the erosion of basic services
and livelihoods over the past years.
Cholera re-emerged in October, raising
fears of the resurgence of last year's
outbreak that affected 55 out of the
country's 62 districts, with 98 531
cases and 4 282 deaths
Despite improvements in food security, the country still faces a
national cereal deficit and an estimated 1.9 million people will
assistance at the peak of the 2010 hunger season from January to
The country has the fourth-highest crude mortality rate in
Child malnutrition is a significant challenge to child survival and
More than a third of children under the age of five are
malnourished while seven percent suffer from acute
The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is one of the highest in the
world, despite a
recent drop to 13.7 percent.
Some 1.2 million people
live with the virus and 343 600 adults plus 35 200
children under age 15
urgently need anti-retroviral treatment.
The education sector is
characterised by severe shortages of essential
supplies, high staff turnover
and sporadic teachers' strikes.
This particularly affects Zimbabwe's 1.6
million orphaned and vulnerable
children, including more than 100 000
"The need to support 'humanitarian plus' or early
recovery programmes is
highlighted by the deterioration in existing
infrastructure and loss of
employment opportunities," OCHA said.
can licence 4 more TV, 94 radio stations’
by Nqobizitha Khumalo Tuesday 01
REDCLIFF – Zimbabwe has the capacity to licence an
television stations while 94 radio licences can be issued in
both urban and
rural areas, a top government official said at the
Addressing media personnel in the Midlands town of Redcliff near
the need to open up the country’s airwaves, Deputy Information
Jameson Timba said an assessment done by the ministry revealed that
country’s radio and television spectrum could still take in 31 radio
licences in urban areas and 60 country-based licences.
He said the
television spectrum allowed for additional licencing of three
frequency (UHF) television licenses and one very high frequency
“If Zimbabwe were to go on a full spectrum today,
there is capacity for
three ultra-high frequency (UHF) television licences
and one very high
frequency (VHF) television licence and what that means is
that as we stand
we can have an extra four television stations, that is what
allows,” Timba said.
Turning to radio, the Deputy
Minister from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
MDC-T party said the
spectrum showed that there is space to issue close to
“We have planned capacity to issue 31 radio licenses in urban
areas and a
further 60 country-based radio licences while we also have the
also issue two national frequency modulation (FM) radio
He added that the spectrum also allowed a
capacity to issue two national
frequency modulation (FM) radio
President Robert Mugabe, the country’s sole ruler since
Britain in 1980, and his ZANU PF government have not
registered any new
players in the broadcasting sector due to stringent media
laws that promoted
state monopoly in the broadcasting sector.
February unity government with Tsvangirai is supposed to implement a
media and political reforms to open up democratic space and re-shape
country’s politics before holding new elections by end of 2010 or early
But the unity government that has achieved commendable progress
reforms has struggled on the political and media front where
moved at a snail’s pace, amid quarreling by coalition partners
extent and form of reform.
A misunderstanding over the
appointment of a new Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe (BAZ) last month
when Information Minister Webster Shamu announced
a new board chaired by
former Media Information Commission (MIC) chairperson
Tafataona Mahoso that
was shot down by the MDC-T as unprocedural because
other coalition parties
were not consulted, will see the coming in of new
his address to the journalists at the meeting organised by the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe) Timba revealed that there will
be a fresh appointment of the BAZ board.
“In the coming weeks a new
board for BAZ will be set up as the one announced
by the minister last month
was not constituted properly,” he said.
There are no independent
broadcasters in Zimbabwe and the state-owned
Corporation (ZBC) runs the country’s only television
and radio stations, all
tightly controlled by Mugabe’s ZANU PF party even
after formation of the
unity government. – ZimOnline
laws force immigrants underground
by Own correspondent Tuesday 01 December
HARARE - Rigid immigration laws of neighbouring countries
Zimbabwean migrants from registering with host governments
in order to
access humanitarian support and legal protection, according to a
The report by South Africa's
Witwatersrand University said laws and
regulations of most neighbouring
countries did not cater for Zimbabwean
migrants who it said were "forced
humanitarian migrants" who fled their
country to look for jobs and other
means of earning an income to support
themselves and their
This kind of refugee required a job to earn money and the
freedom to be able
to occasionally return to Zimbabwe with supplies for
family left back there.
But the report said most countries in the region
except South Africa
required asylum seekers to live in isolated camps
preventing them from
travelling to and from their home country.
makes it impossible for Zimbabweans to fulfil their main need: to send
and goods to their families," said the report by the Forced Migration
Studies Programme at the University of the Witwatersrand.
It said as
a result most Zimbabwean immigrants simply opted not to apply for
moved between countries as labourers, shoppers, visitors and
any receiving any humanitarian assistance or legal
protection from the host
Many Zimbabweans led "precarious lives" doing menial jobs and
incomes which barely covered their expenses said the report that
official responses to Zimbabwean migration in Botswana, Malawi,
It said deporting Zimbabweans as is regularly
done by the Botswana
authorities merely showed a lack of protection from the
immigrants sought to escape.
The report said: "All four
countries criminalise unlawful entry, unlawful
work and overstaying of
permits by foreigners and enforce this through
deportation and other means,
Botswana regularly deports particularly large
numbers of Zimbabweans.
Mozambique and Zambia also target suspected
Zimbabwean female sex workers
Researcher Monica Kiwanuka noted that a lack of a
single regional strategy
or legal instrument to respond to Zimbabwean
"livelihood seeking migration"
worsened the plight of vulnerable
The economic collapse, political violence and widespread
Zimbabwe over the past decade have driven an estimated three
or a quarter of the country's population abroad mostly to
countries in search for jobs and better living
While a coalition government formed by President Robert
Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has been able to stabilise the
failure to win Western backing for sustainable economic recovery
discouraged exiled Zimbabweans from returning home. - ZimOnline
No Holds Barred: Thanksgiving in
Nov 30, 2009
22:18 | Updated Nov 30, 2009 22:37
By SHMULEY BOTEACH
Seldom do I use the word
'life-transforming" because very few things in life
are. True change is
usually something that requires diligence, effort and
repetition. It doesn't come cheaply.
But what I did this past
Thanksgiving changed my perception of the world
forever. As a volunteer with
my friend Glen Megill's organization, Rock of
Africa (a Christian relief
effort), I travelled to one of the poorest
villages in Zimbabwe, one of the
world's poorest countries. Joining me was
my daughter Chana, my friend, the
writer and radio host Dennis Prager, his
son Aaron and about seven Christian
volunteers. We staged an outreach
program, preparing a Thanksgiving feast
for 500 villagers, to whom we then
distributed mosquito nets and Bibles.
Most importantly, we gave them seed
that can produce shima, the corn flour
that is the staple diet for most of
Africa and which, for $25 a year, can
literally keep a family alive. The
feast consisted of 10 slaughtered goats,
giant pots of cooked cabbage and
It would be difficult to
convey the appreciation of the villagers for one
good, hot, meaty meal. The
people we met were gentle, beautiful and utterly
poor. The village consisted
of nothing but mud huts, the chief's homestead
included. These people have
virtually nothing. They live in tiny pen-sized
huts, and one which we
visited housed a hospitable but infirm man in his
late 80s who reeked of
urine. His 12-year-old grandson lives with him and
takes care of him; his
parents died of AIDS. The only luxury in the tiny
dwelling was one mosquito
net for the grandfather.
Indeed, of the hundreds who came to our feast,
only a few were young mothers
and fathers; the vast majority had already
been lost to AIDS. We saw scores
of young children strapped to their
grandmothers' backs in the African way.
An entire generation has been wiped
out by this killer disease, which is
still met by denial in Africa. Most of
the people we spoke to who lost
relatives to AIDS told us that "they got
sicker and thinner." They knew
exactly what caused the ailment but would
never pronounce it. Strict moral
codes govern life in southern Africa, so a
sexually-transmitted disease is
BUT AMID these
serious challenges, the people exhibit unbelievable warmth.
Are they happier
than we in the West? I can't say. I have never believed in
ennobling effect of poverty, and I will not glamorize a life
with so little.
But what is undeniable is that they seemed far more
satisfied, grateful and
content than us. We in the West who are fortunate to
be able to translate so
much of our potential into something professionally
fulfilling are more often than not plagued by insatiable
rarely finding the inner peace which they seemed to
Rock of Africa volunteers cooked much of the food and physically
I noticed that among the villagers there was not a single finicky
They ate every part of the goat served them - the stomach, the
the vertebrae; food was not a luxury, it was survival itself.
villagers rarely looked down at their food, which they ate with
(which were washed just before the meal). There is no piping in
so water is fetched from a well a kilometer away. Before and
after the meal,
the women serenaded us with joyous song and dance. The chief
was a man of
extraordinary humility, and took great pride in showing us his
The men and women sat apart. When the women, my daughter
they curtsied, as women do by tradition before men. If a
woman does not
curtsy, the man will not accept the food. The men seemed more
than the women. I hugged every man I met - something usually
not done in
Africa, but a pity because men need tactility as much as women.
responded warmly to the overture.
Most memorable were the
children, who were wondrous in every way. Gorgeous,
extremely polite and
exceptionally well-behaved. They exhibited none of
wildness that is becoming
common among Western kids. Hundreds of them sat in
perfect rows on the
floor, grateful to have a hot meal. They too sang and
danced for us, and we
danced with them.
The most moving part of the day was when we distributed
the corn seed. The
chief called out the names and as the families came
forward, they were
glowing. Many of them kissed the bags as they collected
them. A few bags
broke open and their recipients searched for, and found,
every last seed as
if it were a diamond.
It should be mandatory to
take Western kids to Africa for at least one
humanitarian mission. It would
help wean them from the corrosive materialism
that is suffocating us all,
and it would lead them to appreciate their
blessings and share more with
All this was made possible because of two angels. The first is
American businessman who created Rock of Africa and is one of the
righteous men I know. The second is a young woman whose courage and
left me incredulous. Her name is Regina Jones. She's 30 years old
Detroit. She moved to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, four years ago,
after a teen
life where she owned more than 200 pairs of shoes. She now
lives on her own
and runs the organization. She saves orphaned street
children from dying.
She teaches villagers how to become self-sustaining.
For our feast, she went
at midnight to a neighboring village, negotiated the
price for the goats and
rented a trailer in the morning and picked them up
so the villagers could
eat meat. I personally watched her lovingly lecture a
man with a white beard
to help out his wife more with their tiny
No, she is not a household name and she will never be as famous as
Spears. But to me she was a small reminder that the suffocating
of Western material culture can indeed be
The writer is founder of This World: The Values Network and
the author most
recently of The Blessing of Enough. D`onations to Rock of
Africa can be made
on its Web site, www.rockofafrica.org.
Hunzvi and Zanu (PF)
Written by The Zimbabwean
Monday, 30 November 2009
What does the Zimbabwe National War Veterans' Association have in
with the Movement for Democratic (MDC)? Or what does the late Dr
"Hitler" Hunzvi have in common with Morgan Tsvangirai, the
president of the MDC?
This sounds a silly question. The two
organizations and their leaders are
poles apart. The war vets are an
offshoot of Zanu (PF), while the MDC was
established in opposition to Zanu
On closer examination, however, the war vets and MDC have something in
common: the two organizations can be credited with giving Zanu (PF) and its
president and first secretary, Robert Mugabe, their greatest frights.
1988 Hunzvi and his men and women gave the Zanu (PF) government an
ultimatum: reward us for our role in the liberation struggle, or else. . .
Apparently it was no empty threat. The former guerrillas were awarded a
one-off payment and lifelong pension and allowances.
Ten years later,
Tsvangirai and the people of Zimbabwe, through the MDC, did
anything but made a strong statement about the need for change.
weapon: The ballot box. A complacent and over-confident Zanu (PF),
ruled virtually undisturbed and undisputed for decades, had a rude
Even the party's most fanatical adherents and apologists will
Zanu (PF) did not rule all these years by playing nice. As often
however, the more ruthless and intolerant of dissent-real or
populace was subjected to, the more determined they became to
fight on for
what they knew was not only a good cause but a right.
people proved the seemingly formidable Zanu (PF) to be what the Chinese
are among Zimbabwe's known best friends) call a paper tiger. In
they would speak of a toothless bulldog. The Shona people would
traditional song which goes as follows: Taiti zizi rine nyanga..
Makushe/Taiti zizi rine nyanga.. Manzeve (We thought an owl has horns/It's
actually furs, feathers and big ears).
Who ever imagined for a moment
that Zanu (PF) would "humiliate or demean"
itself by being in a coalition
government with "Chematama", as that part's
leader derisively called
Tsvangirai? Despite concerted frustration or
soldiers on, to fulfill the promise the MDC made to
the people of Zimbabwe:
better governance and the resultant freedom, peace
bulldog might have been proved to have no teeth, or to have lost them.
paws, however, can still inflict damage but such damage cannot be
near what the teeth would have done. Aluta continua.
Money - the root of Mugabe's evil
If ever we were to sit back and look at
the destruction, death and decay
caused by Mugabe's 30 year rule in
Zimbabwe, there is one common denominator
in all he
The man has made money, riches and power his
Instead of being the 'liberator' of Zimbabwe, he has become the ogre
has destroyed the jewel of Africa.
He borrows money that he
fails to pay back - even when he borrows from poor
he wants it, he takes it - and then changes the laws retrospectively. The
Zimbabwean land grab is a good example - where he forcibly takes the land
from the white commercial farmer, without compensation, and then gives the
land to his senior loyalists - who fail to continue with the production of
His wife suffers from the same avarice, filling up plane loads
of food and
trinkets - which are somehow not the subject of any import duty
When the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe found itself
without enough money to
satisfy his greed, he instructed Gono to help
himself from foreign currency
accounts - without permission or authority
from the account holders - and
Mugabe says that Gono is not a thief as the
taking of the money was 'in the
best interests of the
Neither Gono nor Mugabe has been brought to book for the theft,
money has not been replaced.
Gono and Mugabe have not
explained what the money was utilised for. We are
expected to believe Mugabe
Mugabe is believed to be among some of the richest people on the
and his insatiable desire to have, own, control and manipulate is
And for Mugabe to remain in power, he has had to
have people killed,
abducted and imprisoned. Yes - he will deny any
knowledge of such
happenings, but it happens nonetheless.
spends his life maligning the West, and almost in the same breath he
poverty and puts out the begging bowl for the free world to fill. The
world, however, has fallen wise of his duplicity and now want a say in
and how any aid monies be used.
And the West is not prepared to throw
good money after bad any longer, and
now demand more reform and concessions.
Mugabe's reply is to malign the West
Perhaps the most
poignant and recent absurd claim that Mugabe has made was
over the weekend
when he said that the FIFA world cup was probably made from
- and that he was tempted to not hand it back!
Minerally, Zimbabwe is a
very rich country - borne out by the recent finding
of diamond deposits in
the Eastern Highlands.
Within a few weeks, the diamond fields were
overrun by Mugabe's military and
there have been reports of mass shootings
of illegal miners.
Control of the fields in reportedly with the Zimbabwe
Corporation (ZMDC) who, it transpires, are in partnership
with a private
concern who have been given the mining rights.
knows how to look after his own.
Having made bucket loads of money during
the war in the DRC, he is now
systematically stripping Zimbabweans of the
riches that belong to the State.
Mugabe believes that he has a God-given
right to rule Zimbabwe and has
claimed that 'only God can dethrone
Mugabe is a very rich man - it is just a pity that his business,
and personal ethics are nowhere near as rich.
The Bearded Man
Bill Watch Special of 1st December 2009 [ParliamentaryCommittee meetings 1st to 3rd December]
of Assembly Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees This
The meetings listed
below are open to the public to attend, but please note that the only meetings
in which members of the public can participate are when the committees have
public hearings. Veritas will send out separate notices of these public
hearings and outline the procedure.
They also sometimes
have meetings where invited stakeholders [and those who notify Parliament that
they consider themselves stakeholders and are accepted as such] are able to make
representations and ask questions. These meetings will be highlighted in these
At all other
meetings which are open to the public, the public are invited as observers only
and cannot participate or ask questions. Even with these meetings, members of
the public wishing to attend a meeting should telephone Parliament first [on
Harare 700181], to check with the relevant committee clerk. Entry to all
meetings is by the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance and IDs must be
thematic committees also have meetings for deliberations which are not open to
the public, and these are not listed.
notice of these meetings was made available late yesterday afternoon. The
Monday schedule is included just for the record.
30th November Morning at 10 am
Portfolio Committee on
Mines and Energy
Oral evidence from
Chamber of Mines and Ministry of Mines Official
Committee Room No.
Portfolio Committee on
Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism
Briefing from CAMPFIRE
Committee Room No.
30th November Afternoon at 2 pm
Committee on Justice, Legal
Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs
Oral evidence from the
Law Society of Zimbabwe
Committee Room No.
Portfolio Committee on
Public Works and National Housing
Committee Room No.
Please note that all
the meetings listed below will be open to members of the public, but as
observers only, not as participants.
1st December Morning at 10 am
on Foreign Affairs,
Regional Integration and International Trade
Presentations on the
2010 budget proposal from Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Regional
Committee Room No.
Portfolio Committee on
Industry and Commerce
Briefing from David
Committee Room No.
Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika
Portfolio Committee on
Local Government, Rural and Urban Development
Oral evidence from City
Committee Room No.
2nd December Morning at 9 am
Thematic Committee on
Peace and Security
Oral evidence from
Agriculture on food
Committee Room No.
3rd December Morning at 11 am
Portfolio Committee on
Education, Sport and Culture
1. Brief from the
Iranian Delegation on Culture.
2. Chairman's brief on
Committee Room No.
Portfolio Committee on
Women, Youth, Gender and Community Development
Presentations from the
Committee Room No.
makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal
responsibility for information supplied.
Bill Watch Special of 1st December 2009 [Changed Timefor Budget Statement]
Announced for the 2010 Budget Statement
has announced a new time for the Budget Statement
now be read by Finance Minister, Tendai Biti
at 2.45 p.m.
[not 3.45 p.m. as previously notified] on Wednesday 2nd
Admission to the Speakers Gallery
[for non-Parliamentarians] to hear the Budget Statement is by invitation or for
are very few tickets left and these are being kept until businesses and
financial institutions who requested them have been allocated their
requirements. There may be a few seats left and those wish to attend may phone
tomorrow morning to see if there are any tickets left. The person to phone is Major Mbewe, Director
of Public Relations, Tel: 700181/2/3. There is a press gallery for accredited
members of the press.
every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal
responsibility for information supplied.