The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Smuggled-Diamond Revenue Flows to Mugabe's Zimbabwe Ahead of 2011 Election

By Brian Latham and Fred Katerere - Dec 29, 2010 8:01 AM GMT+1000

Enos Chikwere spills nine uncut diamonds from a bag at Restaurante Piscina
in Mozambique near the Zimbabwe border and says they’re worth $75,000.

“I can supply all the diamonds you need,” said Chikwere, explaining that he
sneaked them into Mozambique after buying them from Zimbabwean soldiers.

Chikwere and hundreds of other border smugglers are part of a chain whose
money flows back into Zimbabwe, whose president for three decades, Robert
Mugabe, has ruled over four violent and disputed elections since 2000.
Mugabe’s policies of land seizure helped cause the economy, once the
second-biggest in southern Africa, to shrink by 50 percent in eight years.

The gems from Zimbabwe’s biggest diamond field in the Marange region are
helping enrich the 86-year-old president’s party ahead of next year’s vote,
according to Human Rights Watch, Partnership Africa Canada and the
Zimbabwean opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change, which governs
in a forced coalition with Mugabe’s party.

Annual income from the gems may reach $2 billion, assuming the country is
able to export them freely, the state-owned Herald newspaper cited Mines
Minister Obert Mpofu as saying in October. Mugabe is trying to amass funds
for the election campaign, said Tom Porteous, the U.K. director of New
York-based Human Rights Watch, which has lobbied against abuses for the past
30 years.

“Revenue from the mines is serving to prop up Mugabe and his cronies,”
Porteous said in a Dec. 8 response to e-mailed questions. “There are real
concerns that diamond revenue will be used to fund political violence and
intimidation of Mugabe’s opponents.”

Soldiers and Diggers

Human Rights Watch cited interviews with unidentified soldiers, diggers,
community leaders and members of government and the parliamentary portfolio
committee on mines and energy to support its allegations.

Partnership Africa Canada, an Ottawa-based nonprofit organization, said in a
June report that Marange is controlled by the military and proceeds from the
gems aren’t benefiting the country. The group cited testimony in Zimbabwe’s
parliament, company statements, and interviews with unidentified diplomats
and illegal miners for its conclusions.

Illegal smuggling benefits Mugabe because it is mostly carried out via the
military, according to the two nonprofits and interviews with six smugglers
and two dealers in and around Vila de Manica, where Chikwere, clad in Diesel
jeans and wearing two gold chains, was displaying his wares.

Finance Ministry

The army reports to the president. The Finance Ministry, by contrast, is
controlled by Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change, or MDC,
and receives revenue from legal diamond mining in the form of taxes.

Mugabe’s party, the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front, or
Zanu-PF, denies the smuggling allegations.

“These are just inventions of the western imperialists who are trying to
discredit Zanu-PF,” party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said in a Dec. 6 interview
from Harare, the country’s capital. “There is no corruption at Marange and
Zanu-PF is not using the proceeds.”

Diamonds from Marange can’t be exported legally from Zimbabwe because the
field hasn’t yet met an international certification standard showing that
proceeds from sales aren’t used to finance conflict.

Mining at Marange has been subject to allegations of military abuses of
unauthorized miners and disputes over ownership of the deposit. Human Rights
Watch said in June that 200 miners were killed in 2008 at the site by the
military, and also reported that the army controls most of the deposits and
is forcing local community members to mine the gems on its behalf.

Kimberley Process

Soldiers are smuggling gems across the border, according to Human Rights
Watch, which cited information it has obtained and interviews with
unidentified people.

Mozambique isn’t a member of the so-called Kimberley Process, an
organization that includes governments and diamond industry companies and is
designed to reduce the number of so- called conflict diamonds in the world.
The Jerusalem-based group said it couldn’t decide on whether to allow
unfettered exports from Marange at a meeting that ended on Nov. 4.

The Kimberley Process says it has reduced the proportion of conflict
diamonds in the world trade to 1 percent from 15 percent. Signatories, which
include all major diamond-producing and buying countries, have pledged that
they won’t deal in uncertified gems.

While the Kimberley Process has allowed two “limited” auctions of gems from
Marange this year, the state-owned Chronicle newspaper said an August sale
earned the government $30 million. By contrast, Central Bank Governor Gideon
Gono said in 2007 that smuggling from the Marange site was costing the
country as much as $40 million a week.

Paying Civil Servants

“We need the money to pay civil servants,” said Finance Minister Tendai
Biti, a member of the MDC, in a Dec. 3 interview from Harare. “We must rein
in the political elite who are prospering from the stones.”

In the past decade, Mugabe has seized land from white farmers and given it
to blacks, including government officials, and made proposals that would
force foreign companies to sell 51 percent of their assets to black

The result has been a 50 percent decline in the production of tobacco, the
country’s biggest export in 2000, while corn production has fallen by more
than half, causing national famines. Gross domestic product shrank by 50
percent between 2000 and 2008, and the country scrapped its currency, the
Zimbabwe dollar, in 2009 as inflation rose.

Attempts to attract aid to help the economy haven’t been successful: The
country received $3 million from foreign donors in the first quarter of
2010, 0.4 percent of its annual target, according to Biti.

Contested Election

The MDC said in a Dec. 17 statement that it holds the leadership of the
Zanu-PF party responsible “for years of plunder and human rights abuses at
the mine fields.”

Mugabe’s party narrowly won an election in 2000 against the MDC amid
complaints of attacks and murders of opposition supporters. Tsvangirai came
back in 2008 and beat Mugabe in a first-round presidential vote, though he
failed to get the 51 percent needed to avoid a runoff. He then boycotted the
runoff, citing violence. Mugabe’s party was forced by neighboring states
into a coalition with the MDC in February 2009.

Tsvangirai has twice been unsuccessfully charged with treason and underwent
a brain scan in 2007 for a suspected skull fracture after he was beaten by

Mugabe said Dec. 17 at an annual conference of his party in Mutare that the
coalition government needs to come to an end. The MDC is “dragging their
feet on elections,” he said, adding that general and presidential polls
should be held next year.

Constitutional Wrangle

Mugabe’s party has frustrated attempts to implement a new constitution,
according to the MDC, which is demanding such steps as a condition for

Diamond fields in eastern Zimbabwe were seized in December 2006 from
Maidstone, England-based African Consolidated Resources Plc by the
Zimbabwean government.

Since then, thousands of illegal miners have periodically been evicted from
the deposits, according to Human Rights Watch. Mbada Investments (Pvt) Ltd.,
in which Johannesburg-based scrap metal company New Reclamation Group Ltd.
has a stake, runs a mining concession at part of the site with the
state-owned Zimbabwe Mineral Development Corp.

Members of Zimbabwe’s political elite ranging from Mugabe’s wife, Grace, to
military leaders allegedly profited from illegal trading of diamonds,
according to a November 2008 U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks.
In the cable, former American ambassador to Zimbabwe James D. McGee cited an
industry official and a senior member of Mugabe’s party as his sources.

‘Where is the Evidence?’

“The allegations made against the First Lady and others regarding illegal
diamonds from Marange are scandalous and untrue,” George Charamba, Mugabe’s
spokesman, said in a Dec. 22 interview from Harare. “Where is the evidence?
There is no wrongdoing in Marange.”

The soldiers are very open, said a Nigerian gem dealer in Chimoio, capital
of Mozambique’s Manica province, who repeatedly said his name was Colonel
Rambo. They give their cut to their superior officers, who in turn surrender
a percentage to politicians in Zimbabwe, he said.

He displayed a suitcase full of $100 bills that he said amounted to more
than $1 million. Ministers are involved in this business on the other side
of the border, he said.

David Kassel, New Reclamation’s chairman, declined to comment when called on
Dec. 15. London-based Old Mutual Plc, which owns “less than 6 percent” of
New Reclamation, said in an e-mailed response to questions that its actions
are guided by the Kimberley Process and Zimbabwean laws. No allegations of
illegal action have been made against Old Mutual or New Reclamation. New
Reclamation didn’t respond to a Dec. 17 e-mail.

No Arrests

“We have not arrested anyone for dealing in diamonds because no one has
reported to us violations of any law,” Belmar Mutadiwa, a police spokesman
for Mozambique’s Manica province, said in a Dec. 6 interview. “Most of the
dealers operating in the province have been licensed by the government to
buy precious and semi-precious stones.”

A police station in Vila de Manica is situated on a street where dealers
from Guinea, Lebanon, Sierra Leone and Nigeria -- who all disclosed their
nationalities in interviews -- trade on the porches of their houses.
Security guards sit outside.

Mercedes, Humvee and Range Rover vehicles drive down the town’s streets,
lined by freshly painted houses sprouting satellite television dishes. By
contrast, the 750-mile drive to the region from Mozambique’s capital,
Maputo, runs through small towns where ramshackle buildings are side-by-side
with grass shacks known as baraccas.

Purchase Point

Vila de Manica has “become one of the premier purchase and departure points
for Marange’s illegal diamonds,” Partnership Africa Canada said in a June
report on its website.

“Diamonds are being sold in this district, after they’ve been smuggled from
Zimbabwe”, said Jose Tefula, district administrator for Manica District, in
a Dec. 20 phone interview. “Locally we don’t have any diamonds, so the
stones can only come from Zimbabwe.”

Three messages left at the Manica branch of the Department of Mineral
Resources weren’t returned.

A group of about 40 diamond dealers surrounded the vehicle in which two
Bloomberg reporters were travelling in Vila de Manica on Nov. 26. They
banged the side of the car with their fists, blocked the escape route with
motor vehicles, seized and damaged a camera and shouted “you’re dying

Two policemen arrived and detained the reporters for almost an hour, saying
they should have sought permission to enter the area. No action was taken
against the dealers.

No Details

New Reclamation rebuffed a petition made by Johannesburg’s Southern African
Litigation Centre in October through the Access to Information Act for
details of its involvement in Zimbabwe’s diamond industry, Nicole Fritz, the
group’s director, said on Dec. 15 from her mobile phone. New Reclamation’s
Kassel declined to comment and put the phone down when asked about Marange.

Marange’s deposits may contain 1,000 carats of gems per hundred tons of ore,
the official said in the cable posted on WikiLeaks, citing a geologist’s
report prepared for De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond company. That
compares with a grade of 120 carats at Rio Tinto Plc’s Murowa mine in
Zimbabwe, the official said.

Tom Tweedy, a spokesman for Johannesburg-based De Beers, declined to comment
on Dec. 9.

More Than Botswana

Zimbabwe may mine 40 million carats of diamonds annually within three years,
the state-controlled Herald reported Oct. 18, citing Mpofu. Botswana, the
world’s biggest diamond producer by value, expects gem production of 24
million carats this year.

Murowa produced 97,000 carats of diamonds in 2009 while production at the
country’s other diamond mine, River Ranch, isn’t disclosed. Total national
official production in 2007 was 695,000 carats, worth $31 million, according
to the Herald.

“We believe the new intransigence of Zanu-PF is down to its finding of an
infinite source of wealth,” Fritz said. “There is this race to elections.”

In Vila de Manica, smuggler Chikwere boasted that there was no limit to the
amount of stones he could bring into Mozambique.

“Don’t worry about me and the border,” he said. “I have my systems.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NGOs: Revenue from Smuggled Marange Diamonds Going to Mugabe's Election Campaign

29.12.10, 10:05 /

NGOs say that funds from Marange diamonds are going to fund President Robert
Mugabe's party; Zanu-PF spokesman calls reports "inventions of the western
The revenue from smuggled stones mined in Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields
is going to fund President Robert Mugabe's election campaign, a number of
human rights NGOs have reported.

The UK director of Human Rights Watch (HRW) told Bloomberg that diamond
money is "serving to prop up Mugabe and his cronies" and that there was real
reason to be concerned that money from illicit trade in the country's
diamonds – currently under international embargo – would go to fund
political violence against Mugabe's opponents.

To back up its position, HRW cited interviews conducted with diamond miners,
soldiers, and community activists.

Another group, Partnership Africa Canada, has also interviewed parliament
members, diplomats, and diamond miners and reported in June of this year
that revenue generated by Marange diamonds does not benefit the country.

Rugare Gumbo, spokesman for Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) responded to the NGOs' allegations by
dismissing them as "inventions of the western imperialists." Gumbo
categorically denied that there was any corruption at the Marange fields or
that Zanu-PF was benefiting from illegal diamond money.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Soldiers In Door To Door Campaign

29/12/2010 21:15:00

Masvingo, December 29, 2010 - Soldiers from the Zimbabwe National Army(ZNA)
have embarked on a door to door terror campaign in Gutu threatening
villagers to vote for President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu (PF) party in
next year’s touted elections.

The military men are allegedly moving from house to house instructing the
rural folks to support Zanu (PF) or risk losing their lives if they disobey
their orders promising a devastating war should the party lose to long time
political rivals Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan

A recent visit by Radio VOP to Gutu during the Christmas break holiday
revealed that the soldiers deployed from the district’s 4-2 infantry
battalion were moving in troops of over 10 sometimes clad in their military
fatigue and armed with AK-47 assault rifles. They have re-established bases
that were used to torture opposition activists during the violent 2008
presidential elections run-off.

Villagers told Radio VOP that they were living in fear by continued threats
and visits at their homesteads by the soldiers.

“Our families are so scared and frightened by the soldiers who have been
making frequent visits to our homes forcing us to support Zanu (PF). This is
very bad and our children are now even afraid of moving freely in the
villagers as they were told that soldiers were deployed everywhere waiting
to kill villagers,” said Tavakotsa Chikunhuwe from Makonese village in Gutu

Another villager said the elections should not be held next year as evidence
of political violence has already been shown by the soldiers who are
threatening them and forcing them to tow the Zanu (PF) line.

“I think these elections should not be held next year as some symptoms of
political violence are beginning to show up, a good example is that of these
marauding soldiers moving around our villagers promising a blood bath if we
do not vote for Zanu (PF),” said Tichivnagni Mutamba.

She added that the action by the former ruling party of deploying the
military in the rural area ensures that the elections would not be free and
fair so there was no point of holding them.

Although ZNA provincial spokesperson, Kingston Chivave and Zanu (PF) party
chairmen here could not be reached for a comment, MDC Gutu chairman, Lloyd
Mufudze confirmed to Radio VOP that soldiers were terrorising villagers and
party supporters in his district.

“It’s very true that they are moving door to door harassing and intimidating
villagers especially those perceived to be our supporters. We think that the
activities of the soldiers are in violation of the GPA and be stopped forth
with,” said Mufudze.

He added that at some instances they have received reports of villagers who
were assaulted by the soldiers for discussing political at different
business centre and blamed Zanu (PF) of abusing state security agents to
intimidate people and force them to support it ahead of election next year
in a bid to steal the polls.

Business and Civic community have called for the postponement of elections
next year, saying the country was not yet ready and urged the principals of
the inclusive government to concentrate in rebuilding the economy and bring
back investor confidence.

Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Chiefs Council President, Chief Fortune Charumbira on
Monday ordered chiefs to whip people into voting Zanu (PF) party ahead of
elections next year.

“I urge you chiefs to ensure that we do not have a repeat of the 2008
scenario here in Masvingo where we only won one seat. No, No, No. You should
mend the people and educate them so that we do not lose to the MDC," said
the chief.

He was addressing hundreds of people and other traditional leaders at his
farm in Mushandike irrigation scheme.  Charumbira said chiefs had to ensure
that Zanu (PF) PF will regain lost seats which went to Prime Minister Morgan
Tsangirai’s larger MDC party. Zanu (PF) only secured one seat in the

Mugabe who visited the area last week donated 60 tonnes of maize seed and 60
tonnes of fertiliser, to be distributed by chiefs. Mugabe also donated 1 500
gum tree seedlings, 300 guavas and 200 Munyii trees to the traditional

“The MDC cannot boast of having control in a district where the President's
uncle is chief and where he also hails from. We know people erred in last
elections, but guide them this time so that they will not lose focus,” said

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Treason threat for Tsvangirai ‘an electoral move’

Treason charges threat was opening salvo ahead of proposed elections next
year, analysts said.
Published: 2010/12/29 06:41:24 AM

THE Zimbabwean government’s threat to investigate treason charges against
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai over his confidential talks with US
diplomats disclosed by WikiLeaks was Zanu (PF)’s opening salvo ahead of
proposed elections next year, analysts said yesterday.

The South African government yesterday refused to speculate on how new
treason charges, if instituted against Mr Tsvangirai, would affect President
Jacob Zuma ’s mediation efforts.

Siphamandla Zondi, executive director at the Institute for Global Dialogue,
said the WikiLeaks revelations would hurt Mr Tsvangirai’s political stature,
and were likely to be exploited by President Robert Mugabe to discredit him
and reinforce negative perceptions spread by Zanu (PF) that the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) was "the political surrogates and puppets" of
western powers.

The attorney-general, Johannes Tomana, reportedly said he intended
appointing a commission of five lawyers to examine whether recent
disclosures amounted to a breach of the constitution.

A US embassy cable dated December 24 2009 suggested Mr Tsvangirai privately
insisted sanctions "must be kept in place" but asked for some "flexibility"
in sanctions.

The cable quotes Mr Tsvangirai saying: "Zanu (PF) has implemented a strategy
of reciprocity in the negotiations, using western sanctions as a cudgel
against MDC. He (Tsvangirai) would like to see some quiet moves, provided
there are acceptable benchmarks, to ‘give’ some modest reward for modest

Mr Tomana said the leaks "appear to show a treasonous collusion" between
Zimbabweans and "the aggressive international world", particularly the US.
High treason in Zimbabwe can result in the death penalty.

Mr Zuma is said to be exasperated by continued bickering in Zimbabwe’s
power-sharing government, and his negotiating team has taken the leading
role in drafting a road map to ensure free and fair elections next year.

Mr Zuma had earlier indicated that Zimbabwe’s six interparty negotiators
would draft the road map. However, Mr Zuma, facilitating the Zimbabwean
dialogue on behalf of the Southern African Development Community (Sadc),
will now do so instead.

Zanu (PF) and the factions of the MDC led by Mr Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara have confirmed the latest development.

Sources in Pretoria said the road map would be modelled on the Sadc protocol
for democratic elections. The draft road map is likely to be completed
before the meeting next month of the Sadc troika, or committee on politics,
defence and security.

Prof Dirk Kotzé of the University of SA’s political sciences department said
Zimbabwe seemed to be looking for ways to get rid of the inclusive
government by finding reasons to once again discredit Mr Tsvangirai.

"Mr Tsvangirai could be charged just on the basis of the WikiLeaks documents
instead of concrete evidence with witnesses … however, the charges are
unlikely to stand up in court.

"But it would probably help Zanu (PF)’s electoral campaign for next year."

He said the MDC would now have to explain why Mr Tsvangirai’s call for
selective or partial lifting of sanctions to force Mr Mugabe to give
something was an appropriate strategy.

The cable quoted the MDC leader acknowledging that "his public statements
calling for easing of sanctions versus his private conversations saying they
must be kept have caused problems".

For Mr Tsvangirai, the elections are too early as Zimbabwe is not ready.
Before elections are held, possibly late next year, the MDC wants: the
constitutional reform process speeded up, media freedom, national healing
and anticorruption efforts to be allowed to work, a move to economic growth
and human rights violations to be dealt with.

Zanu (PF) said last week that the government should draft a law making it a
treasonable offence to call for sanctions.

Zimbabwean officials have said a presidential election can be held only
after a referendum on a new constitution. The referendum was likely to be
delayed at least until October, said Douglas Mwonzora, joint chairman of the
parliamentary select committee drafting the new constitution. He blamed a
lack of funds and political infighting for the delay.

SA’s Department of International Relations and Co-operation said it was not
policy to comment on leaked documents .

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Anti Riot Police disrupt NCA meeting

By Jack Jiri

Published: December 29, 2010

Filabusi  -  The National Constitutional Assembly chair Dr Lovemore Madhuku
(pic) on Wednesday was arrested and briefly detained by the police for
conducting an unsanctioned ‘Take Charge’ meeting.

Take Charge is an anti-Zimbabwe government driven constitution making
process which is currently under way.

In a statement NCA says heavily Armed Anti Riot Police with guns, dogs and
baton sticks today force marched and dispersed close to 250 NCA members who
had gathered at Filabusi Town Centre for an NCA Take Charge campaign meeting
and detained Dr Madhuku and National Youth Chairperson Alois Dzvairo in the
process. NCA said the two were detained for two hours before they were

“The NCA condemns the overzealous behavior and action by the police; such
actions are an affront to freedoms of association and assembly. We reiterate
that no amount of fear or intimidation will deter our conviction and
commitment in the fight for a just and democratic society.

“We urge our membership and the people of Zimbabwe to remain steadfast and
resolute in the struggle for a genuine people driven and democratic
constitution for our country,” read the statement.
Meanwhile COPAC has announced that the second phase of the constitution
making process is going to commence on the 10th of January following the
disbursement of funds by the government to finalise the delayed process.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Murerwa threatens to repossess farms

29/12/2010 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

THE government will repossess farms that continue to lie idle while farmers
failing to make improvements on their properties also risk lose their land,
a cabinet minister has warned.

Agriculture Minister Herbert Murerwa said some beneficiaries of the
government’s controversial land reforms were undermining the programme by
failing to make productive use of their farms.

"We are now going to take the farms back because they are tarnishing our
image as Zanu PF,” Murerwa said in an interview.

"If they are not utilising the farms, we will repossess them."

Murerwa’s threat comes in the wake of reports that some new farmers were
also leasing their properties to white farmers who were evicted from the
same properties.

At least 120 evicted white farmers have reportedly returned to their former
land through leasehold deals under which the parties share profits.

The reports enraged President Robert Mugabe who warned that the deals
threatened to reverse his party’s empowerment programmes.

“It is grossly disturbing to learn of the extent to which some of our people
have gone towards literally giving back the land to white farmers, all for a
pittance of the farm profits at the end of the season,” Mugabe told a recent
meeting of Zanu PF’s central committee.

The Zanu PF leader added: “When will this slavish regard; slavish mentality
of hero worshipping the white man, our coloniser just yesterday, end, in
order to allow our people to exercise and realise their full potential? That
slavish mentality should end.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Holiday Season Death Toll on Zimbabwean Roads Surges to 68

Police say they have launched an enforcement blitz targeting errant
motorists, in particular transport operators who flout the rules of the
road, and impounding vehicles determined to be unsafe

Ntungamili Nkomo & Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 28 December 2010

The number of people who have perished in Zimbabwean road accidents since
the onset of the holiday season has risen to 68, authorities said Tuesday.

The toll climbed from 63 late Sunday to 68 Monday following a number of
accidents across the country. Last year the holiday death toll exceeded 80.

In the worst accident this festive season, seven people died Thursday in
Harare, the capital, when a commuter omnibus ran head-on into a stationary

Police have launched an enforcement blitz targeting transport operators who
flout road rules. They are also impounding vehicles determined to be unsafe.

Bulawayo police spokesman Mandlenkosi Moyo told VOA Studio 7 reporter
Ntungamili Nkomo that authorities are now pulling out all stops to minimize

"In Bulawayo we want to make sure we bring down the number of accidents and
casualties that occured here last year," Moyo said.

Elsewhere, sources who traveled the country’s main roads said they were
surprised to see military police manning roadblocks with the Zimbabwe
Republic Police. They said they saw at least two armed soldiers at every

The Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai earlier this month condemned the recent deployment of soldiers in
most parts of country saying they were being deployed to instill fear among
villagers before elections.

Activist Sydney Chisi, president of the Youth Initiative for Democracy in
Zimbabwe, confirmed seeing armed soldiers at a roadblock. But he told VOA
reporter Jonga Jandemiiri that he was not sure whether the soldiers had been
assigned to that duty for political reasons or simply to monitor police
accused of demanding bribes.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Industry Minister Castigates Mugabe Over Proposed Expropriations

Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said President Mugabe's remarks at the
recent conference of his ZANU-PF party expressed his own opinion and not the
policy of the government of national unity

Gibbs Dube | Washington 28 December 2010

Zimbabwean Minister of Industry and Commerce Welshman Ncube on Tuesday
dismissed a recent threat by President Robert Mugabe to seize Zimbabwean
assets of US and British corporations if Western sanctions against him and
his associates are not lifted.

Ncube said the president’s remarks at the recent ZANU-PF conference
expressed his own opinion and not that of the unity government in place
since 2009. Ncube said indigenization and property rights policies say the
state cannot seize foreign-owned firms.

Ncube added that Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF cannot start grabbing foreign-owned
companies without consulting the other two ruling parties. “Even if there
are consultations over this issue, I don’t see us reaching a consensus,” he

But political analyst George Mkhwanazi said ZANU-PF is entirely capable of
moving to seize foreign-owned firms without the permission of its governing

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwean Police Bar ZAPU From Holding Pre-Election Rally in Tsholotsho

Police in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, barred the opposition Zimbabwe
African People's Union from holding a rally at the Tsholotsho Business
Center, citing a manpower shortage.

Sithandekile Mhlanga | Washington 28 December 2010

Police in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland North province on Tuesday barred the
opposition Zimbabwe African People's Union or ZAPU from holding a rally at
the Tsholotsho Business Center, saying they did not have sufficient manpower
to ensure public safety.

But ZAPU spokesman Methuseli Moyo charged that the police decision was a
deliberate ploy to prevent his party from campaigning in northwestern

Last week ZAPU was barred from protesting commemorations of Unity Day, which
marks the 1987 signature of the merger of ZAPU and its liberation rival
ZANU, led by then-Prime Minister Robert Mugabe, forming the long-ruling
ZANU-PF party. That accord ended a-post liberation conflict that historians
say included massacres across Matabeleland.

ZAPU President Dumiso Dabengwa told VOA reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that
his party is geared for elections though the playing field is tilted in
favor of governing parties.

President Mugabe has called for elections in 2011, though many are urging
that reforms be instituted first, including the referendum approval of a
revised constitution.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New Zimbabwe Opposition Party Launched

29/12/2010 21:09:00

Bulawayo. December 29, 2010 - A new Zimbabwe opposition party Mthwakazi
Liberation Front (MLF) which is aimed at separating Matabeleland from the
rest of Zimbabwe, was launched here on Tuesday.

“We are different from other political parties and our main objective is to
restore the Ndebele State established by King Mzilikazi before the advent of
colonialism. Other parties are calling for devolution of power but we are
calling for dissolution of power, said David Magugala, MLF executive member.

“We want Matabeleland to be reinstated to its position as a State as it was
before 1923 so that we can be free and rule ourselves. This is the time for
us to stand up and claim self determination in order to enjoy our rights,”said
Magagula addressing about 300 people who had gathered at Stanley Square in
Makokoba high density.

MLF is led by one General Nandinandi based in South Africa and its
chairperson is war veteran Max Mkandla who is also Zimbabwe Liberators
Platform Initiative leader.

Magagula said the party had been operating as a pressure group for the past
five years in South Africa where most of its members are based.

Most Matabeleland people are bitter with President Robert Mugabe who has
been at the helm of the country since independence in 1980, for the
gukurahundi era which saw thousands in the area and in the Midlands being
massacred by the North Korean trained fifth Brigade. Mugabe has refused to
apologise or compensate the victims of gukurahundi. People in Matabeleland
also feel that their area is under developed compared to other regions in
the country.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe snubbed SA passport offer

29/12/2010 00:00:00
    by Lebo Nkatazo

SOUTH Africa offered Zimbabwe a passport printing press capable of printing
100,000 passports a day in early December but received no reply, it has been

The shock revelations came as South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini Zuma expressed her exasperation at Zimbabwe’s inability to issue its
nationals passports by a December 31 deadline before a two-year moratorium
on deportations is lifted.

At least 150,000 Zimbabweans have applied to regularise their stay in South
Africa, but thousands more have been held up by Zimbabwe’s slow pace of
issuing passports which Dlamini-Zuma said currently stood at 500 passports a

Confronted with the revelations, red-faced Zimbabwean ministers admitted
receiving South Africa’s offer which would have seen them clear the passport
applications received so far within 24 hours.

In a shocking admission, Zimbabwe’s two Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi
and Theresa Makone said they were yet to communicate the South Africans’
offer to Cabinet before it went into recess over the Christmas holidays.

Both Makone and Mohadi say they tasked Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede to
study the South Africans’ offer and submit a report to ministers which
Mudede was yet to do.

The delays in taking up South Africa’s offer has meant several days of
waiting in queues for desperate Zimbabweans who have besieged Zimbabwe’s
consulate in Johannesburg to apply for passports.

Recognising Zimbabwe’s inability to quicken the pace of issuing passports,
Dlamini-Zuma says Zimbabweans who would have applied for passports by
December 31, and can show proof, can go on and seek South African work

"The solution we are proposing is that all those who have applied for their
Zimbabwean passports must continue to complete their application forms for
regularisation with a copy of the receipt for their passport application
attached," she said.

South Africa’s Home Affairs Director General Mkuseli Apleni predicted that
in the two days before the deadline, the number of Zimbabweans applying at
Home Affairs offices across the country will increase.

"Even at this late hour, we reiterate our appeal to all Zimbabwean nationals
who have not applied for their regularisation or those with fraudulently
acquired South African documents to apply or submit such documents now and
not wait for the deadline," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tear Gas Released as Zimbabweans Throng Seeking Passports at Johannesburg Consulate

A crowd estimated at 15,000 became restless after waiting for hours at the
Zimbabwean Consulate in Johannesburg without being served, resulting in a
surge that led security guards to fire teargas canisters

Benedict Nhlapho & Ntungamili Nkomo | Johannesburg/Washington 28 December

South African security guards fired teargas canisters Tuesday at a temporary
passport application office of the Zimbabwean Consulate in Johannesburg to
halt a disturbance among Zimbabweans seeking to file applications for the
new passports they need to apply for a four-year residency permit issued by
South African authorities.

Zimbabweans working, studying or running businesses in South Africa are
trying to beat the clock with a deadline looming on December 31 by which
time they must regularize their stay or at least file preliminary paperwork
to avoid being subject to deportation.

An estimated 15,000 Zimbabweans had lined up at the Zimbabwean Consulate.

The crowd became restless after hours without visible progress, witnesses
said. Tempers flared and people charged towards the gate to the passport
offices, leading the security guards to panic and fire teargas cannisters to
repel the crowd.

Chaos followed as people ran in all directions. Teargas victim Teresa
Nzvombe accused security guards of frustrating those in line by demanding
bribes to allow them entry. She said authorities added to the misery of
those standing in line by putting those making an initial application and
those in the final stages of application in the same line.

Austine Moyo, head of the South African branch of the Movement for
Democratic Change formation of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
urged all Zimbabweans who have not applied for passports to use Zimbabwean
identity and other documents to file residency permit applications before
the deadline, seeking the passport later on.

Earlier this week Home Affairs Department spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa issued a
plea urging Zimbabweans to use the time remaining to put in whatever
paperwork they can manage. He again stated that the December 31 deadline
will not be extended.

Father Mike Nyamarebvu of the Stakeholders Forum comprising officials of the
South African Home Affairs Department and Zimbabwean civic groups and
political parties told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that he is
happy with the strong turnout by Zimbabweans trying to beat the deadline and
legalize their status.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabweans wait in limbo as deadline approaches

Published: 2010/12/29 04:29:23 PM

Thousands of Zimbabweans in a queue which had grown to 2.5km outside the
Buela Park Home Affairs office in Edenvale are uncertain whether all will
receive their passports before the 31st of December deadline.

Business Day interviewed many in the queue who say they’ve been waiting for
up to four days - some sleeping in the queue overnight.

Security guard Thulani Dlovu told Business day that going on the numbers
outside the office, the queue is moving too slowly in order to meet the
deadline for Zimbabweans to receive new South African papers.

Zimbabweans need to receive their passports from their consulate, then take
these to the South African home affairs offices in order to receive papers
allowing them to remain in SA legally.

The problem at the Edenvale office has been compounded by officials which
have forced people into a single queue for both registration and delivery of

Home Affairs personnel spent the day handing out and collecting forms for
permits in an attempt to speed up the process.

Despite the fact that many in the queue would not receive their passports on
time, Deputy Director General of Home Affairs in charge of immigration,
Jackson McKay told Business Day the deadline would not be changed.

"This is a Zimbabwean operation, but we are doing everything we can to make
this a one-stop-shop and we are collecting these applications," he said.

McKay emphasised that co-operation between Home Affairs and their Zimbabwean
counterparts had been good.

Home Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma said recently at a meeting with
the Zimbabwean Stake Holder Forum that the main problem they were facing
with regards to the issuing of permits was that the Zimbabweans were only
able to produce 500 passports a day, and worked five days a week instead of

"The solution we are proposing is that all those who have applied for their
Zimbabwean passports must continue to complete their application forms for
regularisation with a copy of the receipt for their passport application
attached," she said.

Dlamini-Zuma has repeatedly emphasised that deportations will only resume
once all applications have been processed, and not on the 1st of January.

Director General Mkuseli Apleni predicted that in the two days before the
deadline the number of Zimbabweans applying at Home Affairs offices across
the country will increase.

"Even at this late hour, we reiterate our appeal to all Zimbabwean nationals
who have not applied for their regularisation or those with fraudulently
acquired South African documents to apply or submit such documents now and
not wait for the deadline," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare City Council Parking Deal Questioned

29/12/2010 21:13:00

Harare, December 29, 2010 - The Harare City Council (HCC) stands accused of
corruptly awarding a vehicle parking business to a South African company
ahead of local businesses that have already been doing the work including
providing parking space at the Harare International Airport.

Officials at Town House are questioning the manner in which Easi Park, a
South African-based Company,  was awarded a contract to operate a parking
business in the busy Harare Central Business District where it charges a
minimum of US$ 1 to park a vehicle. This is despite the fact that the city
already runs a pre-paid parking business.

Holders of the HCC parking discs are not allowed to park in the South
African company’s territory.

According to city officials the contract was awarded under the pretext that
there were no locals companies interested in the business.

“Local companies were invited to take up the business and they responded but
none of them was given the green light to start the business,” said a Town
House Source who can not be named to protect his identity.

“If there was no technology would the company operating at the Harare
International Airport be in business?” asked the source.

The city fathers have argued that the system was introduced to decongest the

City councillors have welcomed the deal but have said it is skewed in favour
of the South African company, which has a controlling stake of 60 percent
against the 40 percent that the city is entitled to.

The arrangement is also replicated in the distribution of profits from the

A black empowerment pressure group has also questioned the deal.

“There is nothing special in this whole thing. Street parking has nothing
spectacular. If you go to South Africa no such business will be given to a
foreign company. It is a simple business which should be confined to
indigenous businesses,” said Supa Mandiwanzira the President of the
Affirmative Action Group (AAG).

“There are several local companies that wanted to do that business, they
even signed agreements but nothing happened thereafter. To say there are no
local companies interested is absolute nonsense.”

Asked if there are any local companies with the appropriate technology to
run electronic street parking business such as the one operated by Easi
Park, Mandiwanzira said, “That technology can be found at flea markets in

However Wellington Chikomba a councillor in Harare in charge of a committee
which looks into the business interests of the city defended the deal
saying, “proper shareholders agreements exist and the deal was done above
board and the city is getting its dues. Everything is in order and the city
is getting about US$ 97 000 a month from the parking business.”

Mayor of Harare Muchadeyi Masunda would not comment on the matter saying he
didn’t have enough information while Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi was not

The City Treasurer Misheck Mubvumbi who should be privy to how money from
such businesses is handled also appeared to have been in the dark about the

“I don’t have much information on the deal you have to ask the Town Clerk or
Mayor,” said Mubvumbi when asked to shed light on the parking business.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Looking Back and Looking Forward

I think everyone in Zimbabwe will agree that 2010 has been a very tough year
for all of us. Money has been tight, business conditions very difficult and
the political scene has never been so complex or confused. Despite this it
is essential to look back on the year and to try and ascertain if we made
progress and if so in which direction? No point in doing that if you do not
look forward at the same time and try to see what lies in store for us in

Firstly the economy; nothing works if you get the economics wrong. Although
our basic economic recovery has been slow, an astonishing feature has been
how the informal sector has come out from the closet and economic activities
that were going on suddenly materialized from nowhere. All the pundits
reported growth rates of about 7 per cent, but when the IMF came to measure
economic activity they were astonished to find us approaching a GDP of $8
billion compared to $4,2 billion in 2008. That suggests growth of 40 per
cent or more in 2010.

When all of this is said and done, Zimbabwe will be a fascinating study for
future generations of economists who will be able to analyze how we managed
to wreck an economy that had survived 15 years of sanctions and 18 years of
war in just 10 years after the international community had lent us $6
billion in soft loans and given us $5 billion in grant aid in the previous
20 years. This will show how we, in the face of the targets set for 2015
managed to reduce national incomes by 70 per cent, raise all social indices
to the level where we were clearly a society in crisis and drive a third of
our population out of the country as destitute refugees and another quarter
to an early death from a myriad of causes.

How we broke an education system that had given us the highest literacy rate
in Africa so badly that in the last few years two thirds of all girl
children were not in school at all and those that were, came out illiterate
and innumerate. How we wrecked an advanced health system that had doubled
life expectancy in 30 years and succeeded in wiping out all those gains in a
short decade. It will also be a study in human perseverance and grit as
people whose lives were being destroyed struggled to stay alive and keep
business afloat. The new estimates of GDP are not fiction, the Ministry of
Finance is collecting $250 million a month – divide that by our traditional
estimate of tax from GDP of 30 per cent and you get a GDP of $10 billion.

This huge leap in real GDP is not due to recovery or new investment, it’s
simply Zimbabweans coming out of their fox holes in no mans land after the
cease fire and starting to go about their lives again. It’s the product of
the determined free market strategies of the new government and the
abolishment of all controls over economic activity and exchange control. The
use of the dollar as the main means of exchange has helped. So have
remittances and the persistent role of the Fishmonger Group who continue to
make resources available for key needs.

Politically, we have gone backwards. There has been no major reform in 2010,
no major move towards the rule of law and respect for basic human and
political rights. The partners in the GPA have been unable to agree on just
about anything, resulting in stalemate and confusion. Who is in charge?
Really in charge? No one can tell you and every day brings contradictions.

Just take the past fortnight for example – On Monday the three principals
failed to meet. On Tuesday the Cabinet met and made substantive decisions
regarding the implementation of the outstanding issues in the GPA, on
Thursday Mr. Mugabe stood up at the Zanu PF Conference and slammed the major
western powers and threatened to nationalize all British and American
companies. He ranted against the GPA saying it had run its course and he
wants out. Let’s finish this thing and go to an early election.

Then on the Monday following, he meets with the other principals and they
hold a joint press conference where Mr. Mugabe praises the GPA and says that
elections will follow the full implementation of the reforms in the GPA –
confused? You should be.

In a sense we are still frozen just where we were after the GPA was signed
in Harare in front of African leaders in September 2008. We are no nearer
getting the essential conditions in place for a free and fair election and
no fundamental changes have taken place except for the forced macro economic
reforms that followed the absolute collapse in 2008. We have played about
the edges – but nothing substantive since then. In fact much of the progress
has been stultified by the rapacious activities of a minority of powerful
figures in the administration and Zanu PF who insist on pursuing their
activities even if it paralyses investment and economic recovery.

But it has not been altogether negative, Zanu PF, which has had the power
field to itself for 30 years, has been forced to share power in a Cabinet
where they are in a minority and in a Parliament where they cannot force a
vote. They have also discovered that at last Africa has a voice and that
African leadership is standing up to its bullies and tyrants and saying
enough, behave yourself. Events in the Ivory Coast substantiate this shift
as does to new consensus evident in the SADC Leadership on issues affecting

While progress seems slow and inconsistent, Mr. Mugabe and his more radical
colleagues are discovering that there are limits to the patience of other
African leaders. He was the only Head of State in Africa to congratulate the
outgoing President of the Ivory Coast for his “victory”. In recent meetings,
the President of South Africa has made it abundantly clear that Africa
supports the GPA and wants it implemented and then an election that will
pass muster in the international community. That is a death knell to Zanu
and they simply do not know what to do about it.

It is this that will determine what 2011 will hold for those of us who call
Zimbabwe home and want to see it back on its feet and playing its rightful
role in the community of nations. In the meantime, it’s a slow walk back to
sanity from the insanity of the front line and those nasty little foxholes
we used to survive the battle in 2008.

Eddie Cross

Bulawayo, 29th December 2010

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

New book

Capetown, South Africa Author Publishes New Book with RoseDog Books

This book depicts the period of time when Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe, and the
people shake off the yoke that enslaves them.

Capetown, South Africa (Vocus/PRWEB) December 29, 2010

Raging Fury, a new book by Daniel Lucas, has been released by RoseDog Books.

Kasoka Bento is an adolescent growing up on a farm in Rhodesia in the 1970s.
He has the potential to rise above his circumstances, but he has a vicious
spark of anger in him.

Raging Fury is the story of his ruthless rise to power and the killing spree
he initiates. Colonialism produces an all-consuming anger in Kasoka. This
book depicts the period of time when Rhodesia becomes Zimbabwe, and the
people shake off the yoke that enslaves them.

Bruce Anderson, a white ex-combatant, has high hopes for this new country,
and though he fights on the wrong side, he embraces the future and wants to
build a better nation.

Sheila Mushonga, a young black girl and one of Kasoka’s victims, shares this
hope. The three main characters illustrate how the country is plunged into
an economic abyss, out of which emerges a new “ruling elite,” who profit
from it in the most ruthless and avaricious way. They are a true reflection
of the new country, a mixture of races and cultures, feeding on the wealth
of the nation, with no consideration for the poor.

Daniel Lucas is a Zimbabwean ex-farmer who ancestors came to Africa in 1693.
He was conscripted into the Rhodesian Military in the mid 1970s and served
in a Special Forces unit and has first-hand knowledge of the atrocities
committed by both sides. This developed a revulsion in him for the cruelty
and hatred he was exposed to.

From demobilization he went onto the family farm and watched in horror as
the newly independent state’s economy was plundered by the “ruling elite.”
In August 2001 the farm was violently taken by the government-sponsored
thugs in a supposed “land reform” exercise. Many events in this book were
personal experiences, some incidents were historically well known and many

Raging Fury is a 152-page paperback with a retail price of $16.00. The ISBN
is 978-1-4349-9989-4. It was published by RoseDog Books of Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania. For more information or to request a review copy, please visit
our virtual pressroom at or our online
bookstore at

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Learn Shona - Beginner's Lesson 3

The following is part of a series of Shona lessons provided by The audio versions and the full courses are available at We welcome your feedback and hope that you find this useful.


Greetings are very important in the Shona culture. They vary according to how long ago people last saw each other, as greetings are customary whenever you meet someone, even on the same day as your previous encounter. This holds especially for meeting elders or in formal relationships.

Remember that adults must also greet elders in a formal way in Shona - there are no exemptions from this rule regardless of your age. If someone is older than your peer group, or is in a position that commands respect, then the formal greetings must be used.

This section will cover first encounters, greetings between people who know each other but have not seen each for more than a day as well as morning,afternoon and evening greetings.

Extended greetings will also be looked at. In the Shona culture the way young people greet each other is different from the way they greet adults and this will be clearly illustrated.

Commonly used words

Hello - mhoro (informal)
Hello - mhoroi (respect)
If - kana
Also - wo
You - wa- /iwe(singular, informal)
You ma- (plural and respect)
If you - kana iwe/wa
Yourself - zvako (informal)
Yourself - zvenyu (respect)
Yourselves - zvenyu (plural)
I - nda (past tense)
We - ta(past tense)
Myself - zvangu
Itself - zvacho
Himself - zvake (informal);zvavo (plural or formal)
Herself - zvake (informal);zvavo (plural or formal)
Ourselves – zvedu
I - ndi
We - ti
Good morning - mangwanani
Good afternoon - masikati
Good evening - manheru
Spend the day - swera
How - sei
How are you - urisei/wakadii (informal), murisei/makadii (plural or formal)
I am - ndiri
You are - uri (informal) , muri(plural or formal)
He/She is - ari (informal), vari (plural or formal)
It is - chiri,iri
You are - muri(formal or plural)
They are - vari
Fine - po
I am fine thanks - ndiripo, ndatenda
Sleep - rara
To sleep - kurara
Well - zvakanaka
Did you sleep well? - warara zvakanaka here?
I slept - Ndarara
You slept - warara(informal), marara (plural or formal)
She/He slept - arara (informal), varara (plural or formal)
We slept - tarara
They slept - varara
Wake up - muka

First encounter greetings

Greetings are normally accompanied with a handshake. Greetings will vary according to the seniority of the people. This is similar to informal/formal divisions in other languages such as Spanish and Italian, with the key difference being that in Shona, there is no informal address from youth to adults. In Spanish and Italian, for example, the informal can be used with familiar people including parents and older people. In Shona, this would be considered discourteous.

Greetings between two children

A: Hello - Mhoro
B: Hello. How are you? - Mhoro. Wakadii zvako?
A: I am fine and you? - Ndiripo kana wakadiiiwo?
B: I am fine - Ndiripo zvangu

Greetings between an adult and a child

Note: Culturally the child is expected to greet the adult first

Child: Hello - Mhoroi
Adult: Hello. How are you? - Mhoro. Wakadii zvako?
Child: I am fine and you? - Ndiripo kana makadii

The i after mhoro signifies respect. The wa signifies informal.
The ma signifies respect.Adult strangers respect each other.
‘zvako’ is informal , ‘zvenyu’ is respect.
Names are added after hello if people had met before.
In Shona respect and plural are shown in the same way.

Greetings between two children

Chipo: Good morning Allen (no handshake) - Mangwanani Allen
Allen :Good morning Chipo. How are you? - Mangwanani Chipo. Warara/Wamuka
Chipo: I slept well/woke well - Ndarara/Ndamuka kana wamukawo

Afternoon and evening greetings

These are said in exactly the same way as the morning greetings, except the words ‘masikati’ (good afternoon) and ‘manheru’ (good evening) are used in place of ‘mangwanani’ (good morning). The verb ‘swera’ is used in place of ‘rara’. Otherwise the rest is the same.

Extended Greetings

These are greetings extended to other members of the family after every greeting
Things - zvinhu
Things are - Zvinhu zviri
How are things? - Zvinhu zviri sei?
To go (to progress) - Kuenda /Kufamba
Going - Kuenda
How are things going? - Zvinhu zviri kufamba sei?
Well - Zvakanaka
Are things going well? - Zvinhu zviri kufamba zvakanaka here?
The day has been good.We have spent it well - Zuva ranga rakanaka.Tariswera
A: How did Mum sleep? - Amai varara sei?
B: She slept well - Varara zvavo /zvakanaka
A:How did Chipo spend the day? - Chipo aswera sei?
B:She spent it well - Aswera zvake
A: How are the children? - Vana vakadii/varisei?
B: They are fine - Varipo zvavo

Back to the Top
Back to Index