The ZIMBABWE Situation
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bows down to MP’s demands over allowances
By Tichaona Sibanda
The government has this week moved to avert a standoff with
across the main political parties, by bowing to their
demands to pay them
outstanding allowances dating back to 2008. Each
legislator is now expected
to pocket about US$11,000.
Since the MP’s
were elected to parliament three years ago, government has
not been paying
them daily sitting allowances of $75. During sessions
three times a week from Tuesday to Thursday. The total
amount owed to the
MP’s stands at US$3.3 million.
Following Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s
2012 budget presentation to
parliament, the MP’s threatened to derail it by
vowing not to pass the US$4
billion proposal unless their demands were
The coalition government claimed it did not have sufficient funds to
parliamentarians, but this explanation was shot down by the
The legislators said there is enough money to care of them if
prioritized its business. They cited foreign trips by their
leaders as one
area that needs a re-think as it has gobbled up US$20 million
travel this year alone.
ZANU PF’s Paddy Zhanda, chairman
of an inter-party welfare committee for MP’s,
said the legislators felt the
executive had taken them for granted for too
‘How can they say
they don’t have money when the three principals are
criss-crossing the globe
using tax payers’ money? Who is paying Arthur
Mutambara’s weekly airfares to
visit his family in South Africa? And isn’t
it true that just one foreign
trip by Robert Mugabe gobbles up US$3 million,
the same amount owed to us
over a three year period,’ one angry MP said.
Another Midlands North MP
said their demands were justified because this was
not a salary hike but
simply their allowances that have not been paid for
‘I’ll give you an example of how I work as an MP for my area. I
Harare and when I get there, I just don’t park, I visit NGOs, and
supporting offices in research of data on motions and so forth. I use
average 100 litres of fuel per trip inclusive of these inter town
‘I have an average of two funerals to assist per week with my
that it’s my job but politics is about satisfying perceptions
and one is
measured on this. I have constituency meetings every Sunday at my
including adhoc meetings when I’m called by my personal assistant
is an emergency.
‘I pay my PA from my salary because
constituencies borne out of the 2008
delimitation are not catered for by
Parliament and I give this guy US$120
dollars. I pay US$80 for my
constituency office using my resources so people
should not just cry foul,
but look at the personal loses we incur for
parliamentary business,’ the MP
Political analyst Dr Maxwell Shumba told SW Radio Africa that
an underperforming government because legislators cannot afford
staff to do proper research.
‘Input by the MP’s is not always
productive and helpful. Why is there a need
for Mugabe to take a staff of 55
to the UN and his travel party gets
thousands of dollars per. ‘Why not use
that money to equip MPs so that they
can do their job,’ Shumba said.
march on World AIDS Day in Bulawayo
By Tererai Karimakwenda
World AIDS Day was commemorated in Zimbabwe on Thursday
with many events
around the country. There was also general consensus that
more funding needs
to be made available for HIV/AIDS programmes and funds
already sourced must
be channeled to those who are most in need.
Bulawayo thousands took part in a commemorative march through the city
center, organized by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). The
regional manager, Reason Ngwenya, said the aim was to raise
remind authorities that treatment should be a
“Our workers have died in the last 20 years or so because of
this AIDS and
you must remember that we are the contributors of the AIDS
levy. We want our
money to be put to good use,” Ngwenya explained.
added: “We believe these funds are just being used by those who have got
power. In other words they are being abused.”
Ngwenya stressed that
they support the international health charity Medicins
Sans Frontiere (MSF),
in their efforts to assist those living with AIDS in
Zimbabwe. He said the
MSF campaign to have government remove exorbitant
hospital fees is crucial,
as many rural patients miss out on free treatment
opportunities because they
cannot pay the admission fees.
“Our efforts are not meant for workers
only but for Zimbabweans in general
who want to live positively with AIDS.
“We want them to die an honorable
death, should they die, and have access to
treatment in order to live
Meanwhile a programme of
commemorative events titled “16 Days of Activism
against gender violence”
has also started in Bulawayo, sponsored by the
Youth Initiative for
The group’s members from around the country
have gathered in the city for
this national event. There will be activities
in Khulumane on Friday,
organized by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents
Funding Suffers Yet Another Big Blow
By Garikai Chaunza Harare,
December 01, 2011 - As the world prepares to
commemorate World Aids Day on
Thursday, Zimbabwe HIV, AIDS and Tuberculosis
programmes have suffered yet
another big blow after the Global fund
cancelled round 11 of its funding,
Radio VOP can reveal.
The country last year suffered after it lost
round 10 of Global funding on
HIV and AIDS when its request of US$170
million for HIV and US$50 million
for TB was dismissed. The Global fund this
week announced yet another
cancellation of its round 11 funding whose
applications were due in March
In a statement to all the
nations this week UNAIDS advised countries,
donors, and other partners to
come up with new strategies of generating new
resources and optimise
AIDS-related investments because the Global fund was
unable to fund AIDS
“This announcement could jeopardise global efforts to achieve
Development Goal 6—to halt and reverse the spread of AIDS,
malaria by 2015.This delay could keep countries from their
efforts to save
In an interview in Harare Wednesday
Co-ordinator of the Zimbabwe Country
Co-ordinating Mechanism for the Global
Fund Rangarirai Chiteure said they
have received the news with
“Yes the massage came to us last week at a time we were busy
sorting out our
application for the cancelled round 11 of Global funding in
which we were
requesting US$40 million for HIV and AIDS and US$20 million
for TB. But as a
country we are still safe because we still have some funds
which were left
for the second phase of the Global fund round 8 which can
sustain us up to
2013.It should also be known that Global fund contribute
35% of HIV, AIDS
and TB programming in the country with 65% coming from
government and other
development partners whom we believe will continue
contributing,“ he said.
In 2008 Zimbabwe was accused of abusing part of
the Global fund meant for
AIDS patients when it was channelled to the
government through the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe.
The country now
banks on it bankrupt government for AIDS funding which in
budget allocated the entire health ministry US$365 million
requirement of at least US$ 700 million.
South Africa pulls advert after Chipangano threats
By Alex Bell
See Nandos controversial advert
restaurant chain in South Africa has pulled its controversial
depicts Robert Mugabe as the ‘Last dictator standing’, after
ZANU PF loyalists.
The group said in a statement on Thursday that it had
monitoring the reaction to the TV commercial, and had, “noted
the political reaction emanating out of Zimbabwe, including
threats against Nando’s Zimbabwe’s management, staff and
“Nando’s South Africa takes these threats very seriously and
regrettably no longer flight the TV commercial as part of our festive
campaign. We feel strongly that this is the prudent step to take in a
volatile climate and believe that no TV commercial is worth risking the
safety of Nando’s staff and customers,” the statement read.
Nando’s this week distanced itself from the ad, after the leader of
PF loyal Chipangano gang threatened to take ‘punitive action’
restaurant. The group’s leader, Jim Kunaka, told the state’s ZBC
restaurant chain risked action, including a boycott, if it did not
the advert or issue an apology.
He did not specify if this action would
specifically target the Zim Nando’s.
But his comments were swiftly followed
by a statement from the local
franchise, which insisted it is independent of
any campaign by the South
African group. Musekiwa Kumbula, corporate affairs
director at Innscor
Africa (holders of the Nando’s franchise in Zimbabwe)
said in a statement
that the Innscor group “strongly feels the advertisement
is insensitive and
in poor taste.”
The advert, which has been shared
almost a million times on YouTube, depicts
a Mugabe look-alike dining alone
at Christmas and reminiscing about the good
times with past despots. The
video shows Mugabe having a water fight with
former Libyan dictator Muammar
Gaddafi, playing in the sand with Iraq’s
Saddam Hussein, and playing on
swings with South African apartheid defender
PW Botha. Idi Amin of Uganda
and the late Chinese Communist Party Chairman
Mao Zedong are also included
in the parody.
View the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u1EX–vdxh4
Tsvangirai claims he is victim of plot as he walks away from second marriage
after 12 days
Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's Prime Minister, has walked
away from a second
marriage, 12 days after traditional negotiations,
claiming he has been the
victim of a plot to discredit him
By Aislinn Laing, Durban and Peta Thornycroft in
5:27PM GMT 01 Dec 2011
Mr Tsvangirai, 59, who many
hope will fully take over the reins of power in
forthcoming elections, said
the pending marriage to commodity broker
Lorcadia Karimatsenga had been
"hijacked" and accused Robert Mugabe's state
security agents of acting
behind the scenes.
In an extraordinary statement released on Wednesday,
he said he had acted
with "good intentions" by entering into formal
negotiations with the family
of his 39-year-old girlfriend, whose sister is
a Zanu PF MP, on November 18.
But he said that after a series of detailed
leaks to the media, he had lost
trust in her and marriage was now
The Prime Minister, who is in an uneasy coalition with
Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF
after contested elections in 2008, broke his silence
after more than a week
of fevered speculation led by the pro-Zanu PF Herald
It claimed variously that Miss Karimatsenga was pregnant with
twins, that Mr
Tsvangirai had paid her family $36 000 (£23,000) lobola – a
bride price –
and that he had broken the hearts of at least four other
Mr Tsvangirai lost his first wife of 31
years, Susan, in a car crash two
years ago in which he himself was badly
He is understood to have met Miss Karimatsenga in South Africa
last year and
the couple went on holiday together at Christmas.
the news of the marriage broke last week, Mr Tsvangirai's office
denied it, suggesting only that he had paid "damages" for
When the bride's father threatened to release video footage of the
he issued his statement, making no mention of the rumoured
apologising for his long silence.
"I know that as Prime
Minister of Zimbabwe, my private life is inevitably a
public issue because
of the public position that I hold," he said.
"My original intention was
to make this thing work, to rebuild my family
once again and to serve my
country with honour and distinction not only as a
national leader, but as a
respected family man who owned up to his
responsibility by following
cultural and traditional procedures."
But he said that from the moment he
sent a delegation to negotiate for Miss
Karimatsenga's hand, he became "an
innocent bystander in what is supposed to
"Things are happening too fast, on camera and without my
knowledge. This has
led me to conclude that there is a thicker plot around
this issue which has
undermined my confidence in this relationship," he
"The 'marriage' has been hijacked and there is an apparent active
hand that is now driving the processes.
"Everything is so
well-choreographed. The intention is clear: to inflict
maximum damage on my
person and character for political gain."
He also hinted that Miss
Karimatsenga herself might have been in on the
"The last two
weeks have been particularly bad for me, my children, my
family and even
ordinary Zimbabweans who have sought to find meaning to this
"However, I want to assure the people of Zimbabwe that this
dark patch in my
private life will not dampen my commitment to serve my
country and to
deliver real change to the people."
As well as the six
children he had with Mrs Tsvangirai, he is known to have
fathered two with a
woman from Norton, a town near Harare, and another last
year from what those
close to him described as a "brief fling" in Zimbabwe's
Commentators said Mr Tsvangirai, who preaches safe sex at party
"set a bad example," by having unprotected sex outside of
Prof David Moore, Zimbabwe scholar at the University of
Johannesburg said if
he was "entrapped" he will have to learn to be more
careful in future.
"The effect on his political life depends on the way
in which people
perceive this," he said. "He can't think he can get away
with everything for
ever because he is opposing Mugabe."
himself waded into the furore saying that the “hullabaloo” was not
“He who wants many wives, one or two, it’s his own
choice,” he said.
“If one chooses his wife, why should people mind about
that? It’s his own
“We don’t have that policy
(one-man/one-wife) because we know our elders had
father had two, my maternal grandfather had one, my grandfather had
Exposes Zanu PF In Court
Harare, December 01, 2011 – Retired Army
Colonel Claudius Makova who is also
Zanu (PF) central committee member has
exposed Zanu (PF)’s close links with
people who were perpetrating violence
Makova who filed a US$ 100 000 lawsuit against the Masvingo
over an article written in July 2009 told High Court Judge
Mavhangira this week that Zanu (PF) was looking for lawyers,
transport and any other help needed by the youths who were
all convicted for
political violence in Bikita.
“I was not assisting
the convicted people on my personal capacity. The party
Zanu (PF) set down
and decided to help them... We were also visiting them
from time to time,”
Makova told the court.
He said this during the trial of a matter between
him and Masvingo Mirror
newspaper where he is claiming that the paper’s
issue of 3 -9 July 2009
carried an article titled ‘Big war in Bikita’
portrayed him as a terrorist,
stupid and greedy.
By saying Makova was
allegedly terrorising mine workers; the plaintiff said
understood the statement to mean he was a terrorist. He
abroad including his cousin in the USA read the story on the
However, he was told that the paper was not yet online by the time
article in question was published.
However, after asked by the defence
lawyer Andrew Demo of Chihambakwe,
Mutizwa and Patners to justify how he
arrived at US$ 100 000, he stammered
and kept quiet for a while before
saying only the court would know the most
third defendant who wrote the story in dispute, Golden Maunganidze,
having defamed the plaintiff saying Makova was given his fair chance
telling the readers his own side of the story.
“This is a good example of
a well balanced story with all sides given chance
to comment. The story is
balanced, fair and accurate,” said Maunganidze.
The trial took two
continuous days before the case was closed. The Judge
ordered both lawyers
to make their submissions by day end on 19 December
2011 when judgment is
expected to be handed down.
Seized Farms Boost Profits at British American Tobacco
December 01, 2011,
1:36 PM EST
By Brian Latham
Dec. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Robert
Mugabe devastated Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry
in 2000 by driving white
farmers off their land and giving it to his allies.
Now British American
Tobacco Plc is profiting from tobacco grown on those
through its partner Northern Tobacco Ltd., is among processors that buy
farms taken by backers of the 87-year- old president. In addition to
purchasing the leaf, the companies lend to finance crops, even as the ousted
white farmers retain title deeds. First-half net income at BAT’s Zimbabwe
unit rose more than tenfold to $2 million while revenue increased 88
percent, the company said on Aug. 29.
Income generated from the farms
may help extend Mugabe’s 31 years as
president by shoring up support within
his Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front party before elections
next year, said Anne Fruhauf,
an Africa analyst for political risk company
Eurasia Group in New York.
While the travel bans and asset freezes imposed
by the European Union and
the U.S. on Mugabe and his close allies have
reduced their wealth, many
still profit from farming and diamond mining, she
Farming the seized tobacco land is “vital for the patronage
Fruhauf said on Nov. 21 from Bogota. Mugabe needs the system “to
individual Zanu-PF members happy and to bolster party coffers ahead of
BAT is not taking sides, Patrick Rose, head of the
leaf division of British
American Tobacco Holdings Zimbabwe Ltd., said in an
interview at the company’s
headquarters in Harare. BAT-Zimbabwe is listed on
the Zimbabwe Stock
“Land and who is
farming it here is always going to be an issue,” he said.
that, but we’re not judging anyone on any side of the farm
argument. We’re a
business and we need quality tobacco.”
In the seven years following the
start of the violent seizures in 2000,
Zimbabwe’s world rank as an exporter
of top- grade, or flue-cured, tobacco
slipped to sixth from second. The
country experienced years of famine. The
economy shrank 40 percent between
2000 and 2007, according to the
International Monetary Fund.
involvement of overseas companies has helped Zimbabwe’s tobacco industry
recover. Revenue from tobacco sales was about $357 million in 2010,
according to calculations based on production and price figures on the
website of the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association. That compares with $400 million
in 2000 and a low of $155 million in 2008.
White farmers have sought
the return of their properties in courts around
southern Africa. The
campaign forced more than 3,000 of them off their land
and displaced 1
million farm workers and their dependents, according to a
2008 estimate by
the United Nations Development Programme.
At least 30 people died during the invasions and thousands
tortured or raped, John Worsley-Worswick, director of
for Agriculture, said in an interview on Sept.
“The thought that these companies are making a profit on what is
land at the expense of my family and the 300 workers we employed
sickening,” said David Marais, who farmed in northern Zimbabwe until
gun-wielding police and self- styled militias forced him off his land
BAT plans to boost the amount of tobacco it buys in Zimbabwe by
from farmers to 25.5 million kilograms next season, a 70 percent
the 15 million kilograms in the 2004-2005 season when it began the
Rose said in an August interview that he confirmed on Oct.
Kate Matrunola, a spokeswoman for BAT in
London, said in an e-mailed
response to questions that the Zimbabwean unit
would speak for the company.
BAT owns 57 percent of the unit.
amount of tobacco-growing land in Zimbabwe has surged to an estimated
hectares (207,568 acres) this year from 41,000 in 2004, according to
website of the tobacco association, which represents growers. That’s
the same as the 84,893 hectares in 2000, the year the country reaped a
record crop of 236.7 million kilograms and Mugabe’s land invasions
BAT Zimbabwe plans to boost production of cigarettes to 1.4
year from 1.2 billion last year, Gaborone, Botswana-based Imara
Securities said in an August report on the sub-Saharan Africa tobacco
industry. Imara forecast a more than doubling of BAT Zimbabwe’s revenue
between fiscal 2010 and fiscal 2012, to $54.7 million.
Ambrose, the director of the tobacco association, declined to comment
called and didn’t respond to e-mailed questions that he had invited a
reporter to send.
No Farmer Mandate
“Our mandate doesn’t cover
farmers,” said Andrew Matibiri, chief executive
officer of the government’s
Tobacco Industry Marketing Board, which
regulates the industry, in an Oct. 5
interview. “We are concerned with
tobacco quality and environmental laws and
the volumes produced.”
Zimbabwe’s tobacco in the past rivaled that grown
in the U.S. as the world’s
best quality. It is used to flavor BAT-made
brands such as Dunhill, Lucky
Strike, Vogue and Kent.
grown on contract for BAT’s partner, Northern Tobacco, and for
Zimbabwean businesses of Richmond, Virginia-based Universal Corp. and
Morrisville, North Carolina- based Alliance One International Inc., as well
as for a number of other companies, according to the marketing
BAT Zimbabwe accounts for about 19 percent of Zimbabwe’s annual
through its purchases via Northern Tobacco, according to
BAT and marketing-board figures.
“We do have a scrutiny and approval process for and prior to
with growers, but one that must also work within the laws that
ourselves operating under,” Karen Whelan, a spokeswoman for
in an e-mailed response to questions.
She declined to
say how much tobacco her company buys in Zimbabwe. William
L. O’Quinn, a
spokesman for Alliance One, didn’t respond to e-mailed queries
available when his office was called.
In Zimbabwe Universal operates
through its Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco Ltd. unit
while Alliance One runs
Mashonaland Tobacco Co.
“There’s nothing even vaguely moral about it and
they’re doing it openly on
the farm I bought and paid for,” Patrick Newton,
who farmed about 50
hectares of tobacco in northern Zimbabwe on a
2,000-hectare property in
which he invested $10 million, said in a Sept. 12
interview. “In 2000 I was
beaten by farm invaders while the police stood by
and watched.” A “major
company” buys the tobacco from his land, he
Mugabe’s land seizures helped him gain
enough support to narrowly win
re-election in 2000 by securing the backing
of voters in poor rural areas,
where subsistence farmers had been pushed
into crowded areas during white
rule. While he has won two presidential
elections since then, his party has
since 2009 governed in a coalition with
the Movement for Democratic Change,
which opposes his land
Mugabe says the seizures were necessary because the U.K.,
colonial power, didn’t honor pledges to pay for more
orderly land reform.
The president has visited Singapore at least seven
times this year for
medical treatment, the Zimbabwe Standard newspaper
reported in October,
citing Webster Shamu, the country’s information
minister. While Shamu said
doctors are reviewing an eye operation, leaked
U.S. cables exposed by
Wikileaks cite central bank governor Gideon Gono
saying Mugabe has cancer.
BAT Zimbabwe doesn’t contract with farmers
directly but “causes the growing
of tobacco through local partners like
Northern” with which it has an
“arms-length” relationship, the company said
in an e-mailed response to
questions. Northern Tobacco and BAT Zimbabwe’s
offices share an address on
Paisley Road in Harare’s Southerton industrial
Northern contracts with 120 large-scale farmers
and 4,000 small-scale
farmers to supply the crop, Northern director Heinrich
Von Pezold said in an
interview in Harare. Von Pezold oversees tobacco
production on a farm he
“We’ve long expected that what
we’re doing here will be questioned, but I
have to say that we are not
farming on any land that is being contested by
the original owners,” he
One farm owner lodged a dispute and the complaint was settled, Rose
Northern and BAT Zimbabwe define contested land as a property whose
ownership is being challenged legally, he added.
The current system
may work against the companies in future should Mugabe
lose power to Morgan
Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, Fruhauf
that are seen as lining the pockets of Zanu members could receive
unfavorable treatment from a future MDC administration,” she said in a
separate e-mailed response to questions.
scoffs at debt relief plan
December 1 2011 at 09:04am
Maverick central banker Gideon Gono has ridiculed finance
Biti’s proposal that Zimbabwe should seek highly indebted
status, from the IMF to write off debt of US$7
Gono himself ran up much of that debt when he printed so much
Zimbabwe reached world-record level hyper inflation.
have people proposing that Zimbabwe should go to the IMF and World Bank
declare us a highly indebted poor country (HIPC) so that our world debts
"But we cannot do that because we have resources and we are not
Gono at a dinner to review the country’s economic
“We are sitting on platinum valued around $400 billion and
we say we are
poor. We just need to give industry its rightful
The HIPC programme was initiated by the IMF and the World Bank in
reduces debt repayment to sustainable levels for countries unable
Zimbabwe’s debts include some older respectable ones
to foreign banks for
upgrading infrastructure at Harare’s airport, the
telephone system and
But in the last three
violent and chaotic years before the inclusive
government was formed in
2009, when Gono was directing virtually all public
spending, he began
importing agricultural equipment with hard currency and
selling it for
worthless Zimbabwe dollars to Zanu PF leaders.
One farmer paid less than
R20 for a top US tractor costing thousands of US
took over the finance ministry when the inclusive government came
he found only $1 million left in the treasury.
Gono also lashed out at
Biti’s budget last week because no money was set
aside for elections in 2012
as Mugabe’s two MDC partners in the inclusive
government say political
progress towards undisputed elections is stalled
and would likely only take
place in mid 2013.
Gono said Angola was offering to bail out Portugal,
and that Mugabe’s Look
East policy was timely and Zimbabwe should abandon
western currencies and
adopt the yuan.
There is lots of talk in
Harare about Chinese investment, piles of MOU’s
between Harare and Beijing,
many visits by dignitaries visiting both
countries, but not much more, so
far. There are more Chinese in the
Cyrildene suburb, Johannesburg than in
the whole of Zimbabwe, a Chinese
businessman in Harare told Independent
newspapers last month.
Gono said: “It will not be long when we will also
be volunteering to bail
out Britain from her debt crisis and I will not wait
for my creator's day
before this happens," he said.
Gono, a civil
servant, also criticised Biti for refusing to upgrade civil
salaries. Gono’s high profile, authority and power during the last
of the previous Zanu PF administration have been seriously limited
moves to regularise the previously cowboy central bank, which in
could not print enough massively discounted Zimbabwe dollars
because he ran
out of ink to keep banks open.
This week the now small central bank was
again immersed in embarrassment
when two young schoolgirls reported that
their uncle, one of Gono’s
deputies, raped them.
The deputy had the
previous week charged two journalists from the weekly,
newspaper with criminal defamation.- Independent Foreign
civic groups meet new Zambian leadership
By Tererai Karimakwenda
Civic society groups from Zimbabwe, under the Crisis
Coalition banner, sent
a delegation to Zambia this week to meet officials
from the country’s newly
elected government to bring them uptodate on the
crisis back in Zimbabwe.
On Wednesday the delegation met with officials
from President Michael Sata’s
government, as well as his Patriotic Front
McDonald Lewanika, director of the Crisis Coalition,
told SW Radio Africa on
Thursday that Zambia an important neighbor for
several reasons. It occupies
a strategic position on the SADC Troika and the
chief negotiator on
Zimbabwe, South African President Zuma, reports to this
“There are also issues around the good example recently set by the
people during elections held in September, which makes them a good
terms of democratic processes,” Lewanika said.
President Rupiah Banda lost decisively in recent elections which
Michael Sata to power. Lewanika said he hoped Zimbabwe would manage
similar transfer of government.
He said anything that happened in
Zimbabwe would impact on its neighbour,
that the civic mission was meant to introduce the issues
Zimbabwe’s ongoing crisis to the new authorities in Zambia and to
PF lying about sanctions’
By Pindai Dube
Thursday, 01 December 2011
BULAWAYO - British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Deborah Bronnert,
says Zanu PF is
lying that† targeted sanctions imposed on President Robert
Mugabe and his
allies by† western countries a decade ago are affecting the
Addressing† a press conference in
Bulawayo on Tuesday, Bronnert said Britain
is† currently one of Zimbabwe’s
largest trading partners, showing that the
targeted sanctions have had no
effect on the two countries’ trade
“I† would be quite
surprised, if travel bans and asset freezes imposed on a
small number of
people and small number of companies closely associated
with them would have
an economic impact on Zimbabwe,” she said.
“If† you look at the figures
for trade between Zimbabwe and Britain, they
have increased by more than 85
percent in the first five months of this
year. These facts don’t support all
allegations that the restrictive
measures have an impact on this country’s
economy,” said Bronnert.
Britain† is part of European Union, which
alongside the United States,
Australia, Switzerland and New Zealand have
imposed targeted sanctions† on
Mugabe and his top military, ruling and
business associates as† punishment
for allegedly stealing elections,
perpetuating human rights† violations and
failure to uphold the rule of
Bronnert† said for Zimbabwe to strengthen its ties with Britain,
should be a† commitment in the implementation of the Global Political
Agreement† (GPA) by all parties in the inclusive government. The GPA is the
founding accord of Zimbabwe’s shaky coalition government.
quickest and most effective way of transforming relations between
and Britain is for the full implementation of the GPA and also
free and fair elections. People of Zimbabwe should be allowed† to
people they want to lead them freely,” she said.
She added that Britain
remains interested in observing Zimbabwe’s elections
despite Mugabe having
indicated that the country’s former colonial† power
will not be invited
because of the sanctions.
“In Britain we allow election observers from
outside to come and monitor
our elections. That is democracy. In terms of
Zimbabwe we will obviously† be
very happy to participate as election
monitors,” British ambassador† said.
Mugabe, who met Bronnert when she
presented her credentials in September,
said Zimbabwe “cannot invite people
who have imposed sanctions on her to be
observers,” adding that Zimbabwe
“abhors countries which meddle in our
Zimbabwe’s next elections are yet to be announced. But Zanu PF
wants the polls next year.
Tsvangirai says polls should be held only† after
full implementation of
reforms agreed to under the GPA.
breakaway MDC faction led by Professor Welshman Ncube says it is
to hold elections next year, indicating that the polls can† only
be held in
Bronnert took over from Mark Canning whose tour of duty expired in
delays frustrate Madzore’s bail fight
By Alex Bell
Efforts to have the MDC-T Youth Assembly’s Chairperson, Solomon
released on bail have once again been met with repeated delays,
his bail application being postponed for the eighth time on
Madzore is being held at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in
with the death of Glen View policeman Petros Mutedza. He is one
of 28 MDC-T
members who have been charged in connection with the death,
which is said
have happened during a bar fight back in May.
leader was arrested in October and his original bail application
His lawyers then launched a fresh application in the High Court
but, eight attempts later, there is still no ruling.
The hearing was
meant to get underway on Thursday after being postponed on
the hearing failed to take place in the morning after the
Edmore Nyazamba, did not show up in court. This forced
High Court Justice
Maria Zimba Dube to move it to her chambers. She then
ruled that the matter
should be held in an open court as it was of public
interest, and postponed
the hearing to Monday.
The Youth Assembly’s Secretary General, Promise
Mkwananzi, told SW Radio
Africa on Thursday that the group is “totally
dismayed and very disappointed
at the slow pace of the justice system.” He
said that the repeated delays
are a deliberate attempt by the state to keep
Madzore behind bars.
“They know that if he is brought to trial it won’t
stand because of the
fictitious nature of the charges,” Mkwananzi
He added: “This is persecution not prosecution and we vehemently
Meanwhile, a fresh bail application for seven other
MDC-T members, who are
also facing murder charges, resumed in the High Court
this week. The seven
are part of the original group of MDC-T members
arrested in May over the
policeman’s death. The others were all released on
bail in July.
The seven are: Glen View Ward 32 Councillor Tungamirai
Mafikeni, Phenias Nhatarikwa, Lazarus Maengahama,
Yvonne Musarurwa and Stanford Mangwiro.
Concedes Madzore Was Not On The Run
Edmore Nyazamba, a law officer in the
Attorney General's Office on Wednesday
30 November 2011 conceded that
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) youth
assembly chairperson, Solomon
Madzore was not on the run as alleged by the
police as he addressed several
political meetings organized by his party.
Nyazamba conceded in court during the bail hearing, which was
by High Court Judge, Justice Maria Zimba-Dube that he had seen
Madzore addressing party supporters at two rallies on a video
was recorded at two rallies and provided to the court by the
leader's lawyer, Gift Mtisi of Musendekwa and Mtisi Legal
is a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
The police had in their affidavits claimed that they could not
Madzore since the alleged murder of police Inspector Petros
Mutedza in May
because he was on the run.
The hearing which had to be
deferred to allow Nyazamba to attend to the
funeral of his workmate, Godwin
Nyasha who passed on, on Wednesday continues
been languishing in prison since his arrest early last month on
allegedly murdering Mutedza.
During the bail hearing Mtisi argued that
there are now changed
circumstances since Madzore's arrest in early October
which warrants his
client's admission to bail.
Mtisi said the medical
doctor who attended to Madzore's wife, Charity has
now deposed an affidavit
confirming that Madzore accompanied his wife to be
attended to by Doctor
Reggis Munyoro on the day that the state claims he
lifts suspension of journalist accused of accepting bribe
01 December 2011
NewsDay political editor Kelvin Jakachira, who
was suspended last month over
allegations that he was given a ‘bribe’ by a
businessman, has had his suspension lifted.
Radio Africa has been told that Alpha Media Holdings who publish Newsday,
The Independent and The Standard newspapers, have failed to substantiate
allegations that Jakachira was given a Toyota Corolla vehicle by Dr
Munyaradzi Kereke, an advisor to Central Bank Governor Gideon
We are told Jakachira was able to produce all the documentation
he had bought the car with funds sourced from a local bank. His
Ziumbe and Mtambanegwe produced agreements of sale and payment
including bank statements showing the loan he got from the
The businessman at the centre of the row, Dr Kereke, is also said
denied giving Jakachira the vehicle. “This left Alpha Media Group
choice but to reinstate Jakachira,” a source told us.† SW Radio
sought comment from NewsDay editor Vincent Kahiya and he told us: “I
comment on that issue.”
Sources are saying Jakachira is
contemplating suing Alpha Media for ‘soiling
his reputation’ and is yet to
decide whether to go back to work.
Kereke meanwhile was last year accused
of raping an 11 year old girl and
this year he enraged media groups by
instigating the arrest of Standard
editor Nevanji Madanhire and reporter
Nqaba Matshazi, over a story claiming
that his health insurance firm was
about to collapse.
Are Zimbabwe's new farmers
winning, 10 years on?
1 December 2011
How are the beneficiaries of Zimbabwe's controversial
land reform faring now?
In 2000, President Robert Mugabe launched Zimbabwe's
controversial fast-track land reforms, seizing the majority of the 4,500 farms
held by mostly white commercial farmers. More than a decade on, while some of
the new farmers are doing well, others have found that if they cross the ruling
party, they face losing their new land.
stands outside the home he has built.
He is one of
Zimbabwe's 170,000 new farmers, the proud owner of Land Hunger Farm.
A short, muscular
man, he has worked hard to grow crops on this dry, unforgiving soil, which used
to be a cattle ranch.
Shadrack Rwafa grows several crops and says his life has
It took two months
just to dig the well, and he is proud of the clean, fresh water it produces.
"It's like milk,"
he tells the BBC.
Mr Rwafa is no
He is a war
veteran who fought against the white minority rule which ended in 1980, when
Robert Mugabe replaced Ian Smith as the country's leader.
In the intervening
years he has been a sculptor, painter and miner.
But after Mr
Mugabe inaugurated the Fast Track Land Reform Programme in 2000, Mr Rwafa saw
his chance. 'Life-long
He joined the
invasion of a white-owned farm in the area in the south-east of the country.
Many of the
commercial farms were seized violently, but Mr Rwafa says his case was
"We didn't just
come without talking to the then farm owner.
"We asked 'can we
share the land' and that's how we came here," says Mr Rwafa.
"He accepted and
there was no violence at this place.
"We even helped
him to put his sheep on the truck and he left us some fertilizers and we parted
The farm is the
fulfilment of his life-long dream.
Today he grows
peanuts, beans and maize and says his life has improved dramatically.
A ranch that once
raised cattle has been split into 252 separate units, each farmed by a family
growing a range of crops as well as raising some cattle.
Mr Rwafa says it
is far more productive than it was when it was commercially farmed.
The farm's former
owner was not available for comment.
The progress of Mr Rwafa
and his fellow new farmers in Masvingo Province has been recorded by a
research project, conducted by the Institute of Development Studies at
Sussex University, which followed 400 new farmers.
How are they doing now?
- Around 10% of the
new farmers have abandoned the land altogether
- 33% have kept the
land, but are only involved in limited production
- A further 21% are
supplementing their income from other sources, like teaching, gold panning or
from remittances from relatives
- Only 35% are
really making a go of farming and beginning to accumulate some
of Development Studies
It is one of a number of studies which challenge popular
perceptions that Zimbabwe's land reform programme has been an unmitigated
University study does, however, accept that the process has had
Only just over a
third of the new farmers are doing well, about a fifth are supplementing their
income by other means, and the rest are struggling, are not using the land for
active production, or have given up altogether.
Even this sober
view is challenged.
consultant John Robertson suggests that agricultural output is only around 50%
of the level it was before the land invasions began in 2000.
"Most of the new
people involved who are farming the land that was confiscated from the
large-scale farmers are producing enough for themselves and not much more," says
have not ended.
Just as we were
visiting new farmers like Mr Rwafa, a white farmer lost the land he was born
He did not want
his name to be mentioned - the whole issue is too politically sensitive - but he
seemed almost resigned to what had taken place.
Robertson Zimbabwean economist
“If you display your loyalty to the ruling party, you
will get a free piece of land. If you show any disloyalty to the party... you'll
"You didn't have to be a genius to work out that we
weren't going to be there for the rest of our lives.
"One supposes they
could stop it now, but I think they do not want to see a white on the land, and
don't need to see any whites left," he says, more in sorrow than
believes the entire land redistribution exercise was meant to create a system of
patronage, through a pool of voters who were dependent on the ruling Zanu-PF
"If you display
your loyalty to the ruling party, you will get a free piece of land. If you show
any disloyalty to the party, guess what… you'll lose it," he
high-ranking Zanu-PF members are necessarily secure.
was deputy minister of labour and social welfare until the middle of this year.
She was also a beneficiary of land reform, with one of the biggest farms in the
Then she began to
get too close to the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the former
opposition, which is now in an uneasy government of national unity with
President Mugabe's party.
"When we got into
the inclusive government, I wanted to work with everybody. That's how it
started: building up and building up, and then one day they decided to come and
invade my farm," says Ms Mutinhiri.
"If it could
happen to me, it could happen to anybody else," she adds.
But the real
losers in this process have been the 500,000 workers who were once employed on
the commercial farms.
Many were seen as
potential MDC supporters, and were therefore not allocated any of the
I spoke to some of
these workers who were too fearful to be named.
"Sometimes we are
getting by on just $10 (£6.40) a month," says one woman, a former farm worker,
now living in a disused tobacco barn.
The farm workers'
official minimum wage is $44 (£28.80) per month.
"We are really
suffering, and we don't know how we're going to live.
"This land reform
must be reversed, and maybe our life can change."
land reforms have had a mixed outcome, with at least as many farm workers losing
their livelihoods as there are new farmers working their own
The country is
also now a net food importer where it once exported grain to the
Q & A with Zimbabwe
minister David Coltart
Thursday 01-December-2011 13:18
Brendan Taylor's side took all three of their Tests into the final
Zimbabwe have just
completed their first full home season in six years, playing one-off Tests
against Bangladesh, Pakistan and New Zealand.
Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart has been widely praised for
turning cricket around in Zimbabwe since his appointment in February 2009.
caught up with him to discuss Zimbabwe's Test return, the reaction in the New
Zealand press and England's reluctance to resume ties.
When you look
back at the past few months, are you fairly pleased with how things have gone,
and do you feel Zimbabwe have justified their return to Test
I think that when we
withdrew from Test cricket we were losing within three days, and I think there
was even a match against South Africa where we lost within two days, and that
makes a mockery of Test cricket. We've taken every Test match (this season) into
the last day, and that in essence is what Test cricket is about - the ability to
play the entire match. So I think that these three matches demonstrate that our
return to Test cricket is entirely justified. There's one caveat, and that is
that we haven't played away yet, and that's going to be the next test of whether
it's justified or not.
You must feel
that bringing cricket to Zimbabwe has a lot of benefit to the people, but have
you felt a growing support for the team over the course of the three
Well to be frank I'm
disappointed by the turnout at a lot of matches, not just the Tests. I still
feel we've got a lot to do to get the public out here. I feel as Minister of
Education, as opposed to Minister of Sport, that we've got a lot to do to get
schoolchildren along to these matches.
But in answer to
your question, I think that confidence in Zimbabwe cricket is being restored. I
think there's a growing understanding amongst the cricketing public that this is
an increasingly competitive team, and I think that that will result, in the
longer term, in more public support at matches.
any New Zealand journalists who came out for the tour, but quite a few of them
back home were quite critical of New Zealand's decision to tour, terming it a
"disgrace". How would you respond to that?
Well I've already responded to those articles
published by the web newspapers, and in both articles I've read I believe
they've been written by people who are ignorant to the current situation in
Zimbabwe, and they're articles that are pretty much three years out of date.
None of us argue that the situation in Zimbabwe is perfect - far from that,
there are still appalling things taking place in this country but it's
unrecognisably better than it was three years ago politically and our cricket
has made huge strides - not just in the playing field but also in terms of
accountability and inclusivity in the last three years, and that needs to be
I've said many
times that I think Zimbabwe is at a very similar junction in its history to
where South Africa was in the early 1990s. It's a country in transition, it's a
fragile transition. There are setbacks, and there are still events taking place
in the political arena that are very negative. But overall the country has
chosen a non-violent route, and that should be encouraged. So far from it being
a disgrace, I'm delighted that New Zealand has made this tour.
And I would say
one thing in closing to these journalists, which is that they're sitting in New
Zealand; they're not Zimbabweans, they're not here, they're not in a position to
judge. Here you have a person like myself who has been a human rights lawyer for
30 years, who supported someone like the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who
has sacrificed greatly for this, and if we say that it's alright for this tour
to come, how can any New Zealand journalist possibly claim to have any moral
authority to dispute that? It's a bit like telling Nelson Mandela in the early
1990s, that South Africa should not have the 1995 World Cup. It's ridiculous.
The one country
that remains resistant to resuming tours is England. You must find that
I find it very
frustrating. I've been in London and I met with Minister Henry Bellingham, who
is the UK's Foreign Office Minister for Africa, and I raised this issue again
with him. I find it entirely contradictory - I've had a letter from the British
Ambassador confirming that our Olympic team is going to be welcome in London
next year. We know that, for example, this year our Polocrosse team got to the
final of the world championships in Britain, we've had the British Barbarian
schoolboy rugby team out here, and there's just an inconsistency. Why is it that
cricket is singled out for this treatment? It does not appear to be a general
policy of the British government, and I just think it's wrong and needs to be
concern with cricket in Zimbabwe has to be finance. Do you see it being
sustainable in the long run?
that cricket is sustainable in the long run, but there's no doubt that there are
huge pressures that are present because in most countries the bulk of
sponsorship comes from domestic companies, not international receipts, and our
economy is still in a bad shape although it's gradually stabilising and picking
up. I am concerned in the short term, because the long term success of cricket
is inextricably linked to the growth of Zimbabwe's economy, which is going to
take some time yet.
So I just hope
that the cricket authorities can manage this transition and keep cricket alive
and keep these tours coming on the understanding that when the economy
stabilises, cricket inevitably is going to get more support. And with that
support and growing strength in Zimbabwe cricket we will get more of the English
and Indian tours that bring the huge amounts of money that we need to sustain
On patrol with Zimbabwe's
wildlife defenders: the last hope for black rhinos?
1st December, 2011
The illegal wildlife trade
threatens Zimbabwe's black rhinos with decimation. Ruth Styles reports on the
Malilangwe Trust and safari company Singita's attempts to reverse the
On one side of the
road is the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, a 124,000-acre stretch of pristine
wilderness that is home to 57 species of large mammal, including 84 of
Zimbabwe’s 500-strong black rhino population. On the other is a barren patch of
land, once home to a thriving game reserve, but now a grazing spot for a motley
crew of goats, donkeys and cows. Where the land beyond Malilangwe’s border is
green and liberally dotted with trees, all that can be seen on the other side is
the odd blasted shrub, a gaggle of mud-walled thatched huts and vast stretches
of red-gold sun-baked soil.
Ecologist is in Zimbabwe but the contrasting roadsides speak volumes
about the challenge facing conservationists all over Africa: how do you balance
the needs of human populations with those of wildlife? Even more importantly, in
an age of increased demand for rhino horn, ivory and animal bones for use in
Chinese medicine, how do you protect the animals in your care?
Royal Marine Mike Ball, the man who heads up the Malilangwe Trust’s
anti-poaching team, the Scouts, it means you do everything in your power, even
to the point of taking on a pride of lions to save a rhino calf. ‘I was down
here,’ he says, gesturing out the window, ‘when 10 lions shot past, so we drove
round to find a rhino and her calf surrounded by these lions, completely
surrounded, all trying to take the calf. They did eventually do it while the
mother was running at the others.’ His response? ‘I managed to crash into them
and chase them off and had the baby underneath the car with the lions trying to
take us all the time. Eventually it sort of recovered and stood up, and then the
mother chucked my vehicle and put its horns right through my tyre three times!
She [the calf] was fine – just a few little puncture wounds - but I was really
heroics, the fact remains that the real threat to the rhinos lies not with the
Trust’s lions but with the South Asian appetite for horn. ‘It’s mostly for
traditional medicine,’ says Richard Thomas of wildlife trade monitoring network,
TRAFFIC, ‘but it has also become a status symbol for the wealthy, which explains
why bracelets have been found.’
Rhino deaths have gone through the roof in neighbouring
South Africa and Mozambique, and although exact figures are hard to come by in
Zimbabwe, it’s clear that the local rhino population is also falling victim to
the trend. According to the International Union for
the Conservation of Nature [IUCN], current poaching levels in Zimbabwe are
unsustainable and threaten to wipe out population gains made in the mid-1990s.
What’s more, says the report, poachers are becoming increasingly sophisticated:
'In Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe, quieter methods to kill rhino to
avoid detection (i.e. no gunshot noise) have been employed, including the use of
veterinary immobilising drugs, poison and cross-bows.
This points to a
growing and cunning sophistication in the illicit procurement of rhino horns and
the involvement of marksmen with specialised skills and equipment.’ These
methods are working on a global scale. Just a month ago, the last Javan rhino in
Vietnam met its death at the hands of poachers, and while the Ecologist
was in South Africa and Zimbabwe for this report, six rhinos were killed in
South Africa’s Kruger National Park in a single day. But it isn’t just the big
beasts that are falling prey to poachers. Small scale subsistence poaching is
also taking its toll on game such as impala, klipspringers and guinea fowl,
while ‘fish-poaching’ is making life hard for raptors like the Fish Eagle, which
rely on a piscine diet. So far, the Malilangwe Trust has taken a three-fold
approach to dealing with the problem: anti-poaching patrols, community
involvement and tourism. And with only one rhino taken to date, it’s an approach
that appears to be paying dividends.
Perched high up on a hill,
overlooking a lake created by the damming of the Chiredzi River back in the
1950s is Pamushane; a stunning luxury lodge run by South African eco-tourism
specialists, Singita. It doesn’t get huge numbers of British tourists, although
it does attract plenty of well-heeled Americans, a couple of Hollywood
superstars (Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones among them) and the odd
despot’s son in the shape of former Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi’s third son
Al-Saadi. Starry clientele aside, what the lodge also does is provide employment
for locals and funds to pay for conservation operations, although as General
Manager Mark Saunders points out, most of the conservation cash comes from
Malilangwe’s trustees. Either way, the goal as far as tourism is concerned is to
make enough money to make the Trust’s conservation and community objectives
self-sustainable while having as little impact on the environment as possible.
But while tourism is an ongoing project, the work having the biggest impact on
current poaching levels is that being done by the
Malilangwe’s anti-poaching team is a 70-strong squad of
local Shangaans – many of whom are former poachers themselves – employed to
patrol the boundaries of the reserve and make it as formidable a target as
possible for anyone with killing animals in mind. Although much of what they do
takes place on the reserve, they also work with officials in the neighbouring
Gonarezhou National Park, who are faced with the daunting challenge of securing
an area the size of Belgium. It’s no easy task as the authorities in charge of
protecting South Africa’s Kruger National Park, which is the size of Wales, will
attest. Unlike Gonarezhou and Kruger, Malilangwe benefits from having its own
solar powered fence but that doesn’t mean that break-ins aren’t attempted. ‘It’s
a full time, seven days a week, 24 hours a day job,’ says Mike. ‘We are dealing
with pretty sophisticated poachers who can come in at any time really, day or
night, so we have to pretty much have to protect it 24 hours a
And with poachers
employing increasingly sophisticated weaponry, an armed response is becoming the
only way to stop animal deaths on the conservation front line. Both Zimbabwe and
South Africa employ armed anti-poaching units, and although controversial, the
practice has been welcomed in many quarters. ‘I don’t think force is ever OK,’†
WildAid CEO, Steve Trent, said in
a recent interview with the Ecologist ‘But what do you want them to do?
Go out unarmed and get shot? You have to allow them to be armed. People trying
to kill animals can kill you in the process. It’s the real world that we live
Armed response units and 24 hour patrolling aside, what has also
been making a difference, for Malilangwe at least, is a willingness on the part
of the local constabulary, and to an extent, the Zimbabwean government, to step
up anti-poaching operations. ‘There are some pretty amazing guys in the police
force who want to do the right thing and we have been pretty fortunate to deal
with them,’ says Mark. ‘Over the last few years things have definitely changed
with the police and we deal with them a lot more than National Parks,’ adds
Mike. ‘There is less political pressure on them and more pressure to do the
right thing rather than the political thing, so it has enabled us to build up a
good relationship with them; they don’t feel bad about chatting to us and have
really made an effort to help us, which has made our life a lot easier.’ But it
isn’t only the local police who have been helping the Trust to protect its wild
charges. The third plank of Malilangwe’s conservation strategy – community – has
also made a big difference.
I’m standing in a small courtyard festooned with washing
lines with Shepherd Mawire, the Community Development Co-ordinator at
Malilangwe. His is a varied job that takes in everything from tackling malaria
to organising daily breakfasts for 19,000 local children via working in nearby
schools and getting involved with operations at the local clinic. It’s a motley
brief to say the least, but today he’s standing with me, looking at a pile of
animal skulls. Not, this time, the work of a poaching gang, these are skulls
gathered from around the reserve and their purpose is educational. The courtyard
is part of a compound specially built to accommodate local school children who
visit the reserve to benefit from lessons on conservation and the environment.
‘We start off by talking about what is around them, we talk about flora and
fauna, cutting down trees for no reason and poaching; we completely discourage
those two 100 per cent,’ explains Shepherd. ‘We [also] discourage wild fires and
then we start looking at issues of land and their surroundings - soil erosion,
how it happens and how to prevent it.’
Lessons with Shepherd go beyond
simple anti-poaching messages with recycling and tree planting both given a
prominent role in the curriculum. But it’s the anti-poaching message that the
Trust hopes will get back to the local community. ‘We want them to understand,
we want them to picture it and when they do go back, [the children] can talk to
each other and influence their parents because some of the perpetrators are
their parents,’ says Shepherd. ‘They share [the message] with their friends and
the community at large and get them to actually [look] at [conservation] from a
very positive point of view.’ In many cases, parental poaching has more to do
with putting food on the table than with involvement with international
traffickers, but in both cases, poaching – on the ground at least - is a
response to tough economic times. Although the hyperinflation that bedevilled
Zimbabwe in the late noughties is now just a bad memory, the country remains
poor with high levels of rural poverty. This has made the country fertile ground
for traffickers willing to pay a local point man to do the dirty work of killing
the rhino on the ground. And it’s the economic issue that the feeding
programmes, and of course, Pamushane Lodge, are helping to
So what about the
future of the Malilangwe Trust’s rhinos? Wildlife Manager Chris Wenham’s
assessment is bleak. ‘We’ve already had a few incidents which we’ve managed to
stop with assistance from the police,’ he says. ‘We’ve made the risk of poaching
here too high for most, but eventually, the poachers will come. There’s a very
real threat.’ In the meantime, the Trust runs a black rhino conservation
programme led by Dr Sarah Clegg who is part of Malilangwe’s in-house research
team. Her husband and the head of the Trust’s conservation team, Dr Bruce Clegg,
hopes that the success of the programme will lead to further gains for
Zimbabwe’s rhino population. ‘Our ultimate objective would be to go and protect
those animals and establish another population [that is] as successful as ours
to make sure that conservation continues.’ But with poaching showing no sign of
slowing down and with prices for rhino horn climbing to a previously unheard of
$60,000 per kilo, the future is by no means certain for Zimbabwe’s – and
Africa’s - rhinos.
The Ecologist is grateful for the assistance of the
Singita Pamushana and the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve - www.singita.com