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Mugabe heads for collision with Zuma

Sunday, 05 December 2010 15:02


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s plan to have elections next year suffered a major
setback after a report from the negotiators to South African President Jacob
Zuma all but said it was impossible to hold the polls, as the electoral
roadmap would not be ready.

Last week Zuma told his Zambian counterpart, Ruppiah Banda that he had
received the report from Zimbabwe and it would be tabled at a special summit
to be held in Lusaka early next year.

The negotiators, drawn from the three parties, stated that there were a
number of outstanding issues that needed to be settled before the elections
and this made it almost impossible for the polls to be held next year.

According to highly placed sources, the report has struck a fatal blow to
Mugabe’s electoral plan and it has set the stage for a confrontation between
him and Zuma.

“The report makes it clear what is needed for a credible election and
mentions the electoral roadmap and at this rate elections cannot be held
next year,” a source said.

The insider said the report had also detailed the outstanding issues to the
Global Political Agreement that needed to be resolved before elections.

“The usual outstanding issues like electoral reforms, the constitution,
among other things still stick out and have to be sorted out before any
election,” he said.

It was also revealed in the report that the parties had agreed on the
implementation of some issues in the GPA but had failed to find common
ground on the swearing in of Roy Bennet, the appointments of Gideon Gono,
Johannes Tomana, the governors and ambassadors.

Despite disagreements over a number of issues, the source revealed that
there was unanimity among the negotiators that polls should not be held next

“The three parties are frustrated with having to work with each other but
they need to be patient in coming up with suitable conditions and finish the
work they started if ever there is going to be a credible election,” the
source added.

MDC-M secretary general, Welshman Ncube, one of the negotiators, confirmed
that there was a report written to Zuma but would not shed further details.

The other negotiators are Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga from MDC-M, Elton
Mangoma and Tendai Biti from MDC-T, while Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas
Goche represent Zanu PF.

Zanu PF spokesman, Rugare Gumbo retreated, saying he was in a meeting when
asked about the latest setback to the party’s electoral call.

Nelson Chamisa, MDC-T spokesman, accused Zanu PF of putting the cart before
the horse in its call for elections.
“Conditions for a free and fair election are the horse, whereas the
elections are the cart, so we should have the conditions being put in place
first,” he said.

Chamisa said Zanu PF was obsessed with short-term solutions but warned that
this would result in another disputed election.

It has also emerged that Mugabe has developed a “wait-and-see” attitude
while hawks in his party champion the cause for an early election.

“There are people like Emmerson Mnangagwa and Jonathan Moyo who are
campaigning for an election next year,” another source said. “The message
they will take to the party’s conference is that elections should be held
whether or not the roadmap or the constitution are in place.”

Zanu PF will hold its annual conference this month in Mutare, where the
party is expected to adopt a campaign strategy.

The source said in the absence of the roadmap, the army was likely to be
deployed and people would be coerced into voting for Zanu PF.

He said Mnangagwa would be the beneficiary of such a scheme as he was the
Defence Minister and he would score “Brownie points” against his rivals in
the Zanu PF succession dogfight.

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ZANU PF bids for more party jingles

Sunday, 05 December 2010 15:13


ANOTHER influx of Zanu PF jingles on the local airwaves is looming following
revelations that the party has ordered all provinces to come up with
compositions in the mould of Mbare Chimurenga Choir’s Nyatsoteerera.

Sources say selection processes are being held in the provinces to come up
with representative groups that would go into the studio.

Gramma Records producers are working extra hard because some of the province
representatives are already in the studio.

An official from the record company who spoke on condition of anonymity said
the stable will be a hive of activity for some months to come since most of
the provinces had already booked their studio slots.

The official also revealed that some provinces in Matabeleland were
reluctant to do the jingles but efforts were underway in the party ranks to
bring them into line.

“The provinces come with different lyrics and different beats but they have
to follow a strict theme.

“This is a hard time for producers because some of the stuff being submitted
for recording is terrible. Some people are just jumping in to record without
proper rehearsals because they have been promised good sums of cash,” said
the official.

Although Life&Style could not get the actual theme of the jingles,
information at hand shows that the lyrics are serious campaign material in
preparation for possible elections next year.

When the programme is complete, there are likely to be at least 50 jingles
competing for airplay at ZBC besides other Zanu PF praise songs from
numerous youth groups that are already being aired.
Sources say the intention is to make sure that campaign messages are
hammered throughout the country through the songs.

Radio presenters are likely to get an order to infest their playlists with
the jingles.
Gramma Records managing director, Emmanuel Vori, confirmed that Zanu PF
provincial groups were recording the jingles at their studio.

But he distanced the stable from the deal saying the recordings were
strictly independent and all the groups that were recording paid for their
studio time.

Initial indications were that Gramma Records owner, Elias Musakwa, a
well-known member of Zanu PF, was sponsoring the recordings but Vori said it
was strictly commercial.

“Those are independent projects and all those recording are paying for
studio time.

“It is up to them to choose us as the marketer and distributor of their
projects but for now they are just recording,” said Vori.

He could not recall the number of groups that had booked to record their

“I do not have that information at hand and I will have to check with the
“What I know is that some are already recording their music.”

Chances are high that Gramma Records would be distributing the jingles since
they are already handling Nyatsoteerera from the Elizabeth Bwanya-led Mbare
Chimurenga Choir.

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Corruption scuttles highway dualisation

Sunday, 05 December 2010 15:18


CONTROVERSY surrounds the dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge road with a
consortium of mostly indigenous construction companies, which was earmarked
to construct the road, accusing some government officials of wrestling the
project from its jaws for individual gain.

A month-long investigation by The Standard has revealed that the indigenous
consortium trading as Zimhighways was on the verge of losing out on the
nearly US$1 billion project, amid charges that some government officials
were demanding 10% of the value of the project as kickbacks.

Zimhighways which is made up of 14 local and multinational firms that
include Murray & Roberts, Costain, Stafenuit Stocks, Bitcon and Stewart
Scott International tendered for the project and was awarded the right to
negotiate with government on a Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis in

The company said it had already received assurance from the Development Bank
of South Africa (DBSA) that it would fund the project.

But Zimhighways officials said they were shocked when government started
negotiating with DBSA behind their backs.

The officials claim that in December last year, DBSA sent a “mandate letter”
to Zimhighways for the Harare-Beitbridge stretch to allow the bank to raise
both project preparation and investment funding.

The letter was copied to the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC)
and other government departments.

This was after a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) had been signed between
DBSA and Zimhighways five months earlier.

While the consortium was discussing with DBSA on the project, the government
was also in touch with the bank talking about the same project and others
such as the dualisation of Harare-Chirundu road.

The Chirundu-Harare-Beitbridge dual carriageway is estimated to cost US$1,3
“While Zimhighways scope was limited to Harare-Beitbridge, DBSA had already
indicated their interest to get involved in the whole North-South Corridor,”
said a Zimhighways official who requested to remain anonymous.
“It is at this stage that government decided to work with DBSA to pursue a
larger scope going all the way to Chirundu. In this context, MoTC started
pushing for a different form of arrangement.”

The new arrangement with DBSA is said to have been negotiated by officials
from the Ministry of Transport and Finance headed by Nicholas Goche and
Tendai Biti respectively.

The Infrastructural Development Bank of Zimbabwe (IDBZ) has since been
appointed the financial advisor to the government on the project and will
work with the DBSA as the lead financial advisor.

“The project entails the design, engineering, financing, procurement,
construction, operation, tolling and maintenance of the
Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu Road as a public-private partnership (PPP),” said
Charles Chikaura, IDBZ chief executive officer in a written response to The
Standard last month.

The bank was appointed the financial advisor to the government and will work
with the DBSA as the lead financial advisor on the project.

A total of US$1 billion is required for the project. The bank and DBSA will
spearhead the fundraising initiatives.

Zimhighways said the changes in contractual agreements in the financing area
meant that the company could not continue to fund the project preparation

“Zimhighways would like to see this project revert to basic BOT principles,”
the consortium’s spokesperson said.

“The officials fear that if Zimhighways is given the contract they will not
receive the kickbacks so they want another partner preferably a foreign
company to partner with on the project,” said one source.

It is suspected that the tender could be awarded to Group 5, a South African
construction company, which is already involved in the dualisation of
Plumtree-Bulawayo and Harare to Mutare roads.

But Patson Mbiriri, secretary for Transport, Communications and
Infrastructural Development dismissed the allegations.

“I am not aware of any officials demanding bribes of 10% of the project,”
said Mbiriri. “Negotiations are never done by one individual. There are
always teams from both sides.”

Mbiriri said government had negotiated with the DBSA to fund the dualisation
of the Beitbridge-Harare-Chirundu road.
He said the first stage involved carrying out a feasibility study.

Mbiriri denied that a tender had been awarded to Zimhighways for the
dualisation of the Harare-Beitbridge road.

He said Zimhighways was given the go-ahead to draft a concession agreement
with the government which would be signed once “certain” covenants were

“The concession agreement was completed but the agreement was not signed
because some covenants have neither been agreed to nor fulfilled,” Mbiriri

“In particular, Zimhighways was expected to secure own funding for the
project. To date, no evidence of funding has been availed to this ministry
by Zimhighways.”

But the Zimhighways spokesperson said, “We believe that because so much work
has already gone into documentation, contractual arrangements, negotiations
for the concession agreement and some project preparation work including
completion of the traffic studies by December 2009, this project has now
reached quick win status.”
Mbiriri also denied that the controversial project would be awarded to Group
5, adding that “loan covenants with DBSA would not allow a direct award
without going to tender.
In any case, it is in everyone’s interest that an award of this magnitude is
open and transparent.”

Efforts to get a comment from DBSA were fruitless.

Calls for the dualisation of the road have grown louder in recent years
after a series of deadly accidents, including one in March last year which
claimed the life of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's wife and left him
slightly injured.

Presently, government is dualising a 15-km stretch from Highfield Road in
Harare to Manyame Bridge using own financial resources. Government plans to
complete this section -- which Mbiriri said was part of the
Chirundu-Harare-Beitbridge project -- before the end of this year.

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Mutola turns down Sports Commission's invitation

Sunday, 05 December 2010 17:01

Maria Lurdes Mutola popularly known as the Maputo Express on the
international athletics scene has turned down the Sport and Recreation
Commission's invitation to grace the 2010 edition of the Annual National
Sports Awards gala.
SRC's director-general Charles Nhemachena revealed that the former world
800m champion did not even respond to the Commission’s gesture for her to
present the awards to Zimbabwe's most outstanding sportspersons for the

This is the second year running that Mutola who comes from neighbouring
Mozambique has snubbed the SRC's overtures for her to be present at the
glamorous occasion. Last year, the Commission also extended an arm to Mutola
but the athlete just like this year did not respond.

Nhemachena said they had targeted Mutola because of the way she had risen to
the top of the world from her poor background.

Born in the dusty streets of Maputo, Mutola is one of the fastest female
800m athletes in history. She was the world's number one 800m athlete from
1993 to 1995 and was runner up Track and Field News' Female Athlete of the
Year in 1993.

She competed in six Olympic Games winning gold at the 2000 Sydney Games and
bronze at Atlanta Olympics in 1996. She won three World Championships in
1993, 2001, and 2003. She also holds seven Indoor World Championships in
1993, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2003, 2004, and 2006 on top of two Commonwealth gold
medals from the 1999 and 2002 competitions.

These achievements were enough to persuade the SRC that Mutola was indeed
the perfect choice to inspire young Zimbabwean athletes through her presence
at the Ansa gala. That unfortunately, will no longer be the case.

Nhemachena said because of this development, the SRC will have no choice but
to break tradition and look for other probabilities, the most immediate
being to consider Zimbabwe's own sporting icons to present the awards.

The Commission has set December 16 as the day the sports awards would be
presented. The sports' body's supremo said there was inadequate time to
bring in an international sports icon.

This, he added, had also been necessitated by the fact that, their two other
targets, former South African cricket star, Makhaya Ntini and former Olympic
middle distance champion, Kipchoge Keino of Kenya, said they would also not
be available for the event. According to Nhemachena, both sports greats,
indicated  they had other engagements on the day the awards were to be

Traditionally every year, the SRC invites a world-renowned athlete to add
international flavour to the awards gala. This has seen the occasion being
graced by the likes of such international superstars as Sachin Tendulkar of
India, two time Olympic 200m silver medalists Frankie Fredericks of Nambia,
and former South African international cricketer Mike Proctor, amongst many
other international stars.

Although Nhemachena could not be drawn into revealing who they have now
turned to, sources at the SRC told Standardsport that the Commission had
already extended an arm to former Zimbabwe tennis ace Byron Black as well as
to soccer legend Peter Ndlovu for the two to grace the occassion.

Samson Muripo, who won the world kyokushin title last year is the reigning
Zimbabwe Sportsperson of the Year but is unlikely to repeat that feat having
lost his belt in his first defence earlier this year. This means Muripo will
no longer join the elite band of the likes of Byron Black, boxing legend
Langton Schoolboy Tinago and swimmer Kirsty Coventry who have won the awards
more than once and twice in succession.

In a year where there were few successes for Zimbabwean sportspersons on the
field of play, the selectors have athen unenviable task of coming up with
the winners for the various categories. Although most of last year's
category winners and finalists have not done well, there are a few others
such as Cara Black, Sharon Tawengwa and Cricket Zimbabwe who are likely to
return to the podium once again.

Athletes will be rewarded in the categories of junior sportswoman of the
year, junior sportsman of the year, junior sportswoman of the year with
disability, junior sportsman of the year with disability, sportswoman of the
year with disability, sportsman of the year with disability, team of the
year, coach of the year, referee or umpire of the year, sportswoman of the
year, sportsman of the year, sports administrator of the year. From the
winners of all these categories the best achiever will be crowned the
sportsperson of the year.

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Nine days of hell— a prisoner’s diary

Sunday, 05 December 2010 16:12


This is my story. It all begun around 5pm on Tuesday, November 16, when a
call came through my cell phone. I was having a beer drink at a popular city
joint with a friend,  when our Bulawayo office manager Belinda Moyo, called.

She was to deliver some worrying news.

Moyo informed me that detectives from the Criminal Investigation Department
(CID) had just been to our office looking for me. I could detect a hint of
worry in her voice.

I knew immediately that my inevitable rendezvous with the CID would not be a
rosy affair. I knew I could be locked up for days like many other local
journalists who have been accused of writing stories deemed untrue or
offensive to the government. I also knew that harassment and physical harm
were highly probable. I had an uneasy sleep at home that Tuesday night. As I
headed for work Wednesday morning my mind was working overdrive, churning
out questions whose answers I could not find.

Will they arrest me? If indeed I am arrested, will they throw me into jail?
Will I stand the filth in the cell? Are they disputing my story? Or do they
perhaps just want me to reveal my source?

All these questions came fast and furious. But only the police could answer

With my lawyer Josphat Tshuma, I voluntarily reported to the CID Law and
Order Section at the Bulawayo Central Police Station around 9am. This was a
visit that was to result in my incarceration and subsequent nine-day

A case of criminal defamation against the police was opened, my finger
prints were taken, and then, a gruelling back-and-forth interrogation
The police demanded to know the source of my story. They called my story
malicious and false. They demanded evidence as the questioning went on and

At around 2:30 pm, the detectives broke the news that I most dreaded. They
were detaining me overnight. My lawyer protested to no avail.
I knew from others’ experience that the cells I would be thrown into were
unfit for human habitation. It was unsettling and bloodcurdling.

The police tossed me into a squalid cell that reeked like hell. I joined a
motley crew of petty criminals ranging from loiterers to pick pockets.
I was detained for two days at the Central Police Station. Family members
and colleagues brought me mounds of otherwise delicious food; I found it all
tasteless but my fellow inmates devoured it ravenously; I became their

There were no ablution facilities at the Central Police Station, and that
translated into two days without a shower.

Due to poor ventilation, the stench in the cell was unbearable. It was so
uncomfortable that at some point, I chocked.

Two days of hell passed and on November 19 in the afternoon, I was arraigned
before the court for initial remand. I was highly hopeful that I would be
granted bail and regain my freedom.

But those hopes were shattered when presiding magistrate, Sibongile Msipa
deferred my bail application ruling to November 22, remanding me in custody.

I was to spend the weekend at Khami Prison, tasting first-hand life at a
facility notorious for disease and death. It’s also a place where the
hardest of criminals are interned.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights were the most difficult days of my

The fear of being bludgeoned or sodomised by some hard-core criminal was

The weekend appeared to stretch like a whole month. I just couldn’t wait to
be bailed out of the damn place.

And when November 22 came, I breathed a sigh of relief. Together with other
detainees, I was transported back to court for a ruling on my bail

Like a big-time criminal, I was brought to court in leg irons, handcuffed
with a suspected murderer.
Indeed, my bail application was granted.

At last I was tasting freedom, I assured myself. But it was not to be.

The prosecution invoked Section 121 of the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act opposing my bail and seeking further detention while they
prepared to appeal.

Section 121 was intended to ensure that dangerous criminals are not let
loose on the streets by ensuring that they are kept behind bars even when
granted bail.

Technically, this meant that the State could detain me for a further seven

But my lawyer promised he would pull out all the stops to move the process
forward and facilitate my release. My stint at Khami came to an end on
Friday, November 26 after spending nine days in custody.

It was around 12:30pm when I was called to the administration office and
informed that I was a free man. High Court Judge Nicholas Mathonsi had
ordered my release. I was overwhelmed.

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Gweru council reverses rates hike

Sunday, 05 December 2010 16:07


GWERU — Council has been forced to withdraw its US$15, 6 million budget
proposals for next year following spirited resistance from rate payers.
The struggling local authority will now stick to the U$12 million it
budgeted for this year, which means rates and tariffs will remain static.

If the budget had been approved, service charges will have gone up by over

Taurai Demo, the deputy mayor told a stakeholders meeting in the city last
week that  council had taken input from residents on board but warned there
may be a supplementary budget before the end of the year.

“Our councillors as usual went for consultations in their various wards but
we have heard that residents are saying the budget is too high,” Demo said.
“We are therefore forced to revert to the 2010 budget but we may be forced
to draw a supplementary budget later on in the year. ”

Sandra Takaendesa, a Senga resident said the proposed tariff increases were
not justified as council had failed to provide them with any service.
She said most of the suburbs did not have water for the better part of the

“We are paying for services but there is no service delivery,” said Matthew
Gore from Mkoba.

We are just paying our hard-earned cash for them to give each other hefty
salaries and allowances, she said.

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Zim lawyers win top human-rights award

Sunday, 05 December 2010 16:06


THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has been given this year’s
International Human Rights Prize Emilion Mignone award by Argentina.
ZLHR, which has in the past come to the rescue of scores of human rights
activists and opposition supporters who fell victim to state repression, is
the first winner of the award based outside the Americas.

The award was created in 2007.

Carlos Sersale di Cerisano, Argentina’s ambassador to South Africa informed
ZLHR of their success recently.

The award, organised by the South American country’s Ministry of Foreign
Affairs, consists of a commemorative plaque and
US$5 000.

A ZLHR representative has also been invited to an all expenses paid trip to
Buenos Aires to participate in a series of activities that include among
other things, meetings with national authorities and members of academic
institutions, the judiciary and human rights organisations.

According to a citation seen by The Standard the award is given to “foreign
institutions that are making or have made outstanding contribution towards
the promotion and/or protection of human rights in their own countries in
the fight against impunity in cases involving systematic violations of human

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Government officials recognised for fight against HIV

Sunday, 05 December 2010 15:58

by Our Correspondent

THE United States has lauded Zimbabwe government officials for their efforts
in fighting HIV and Aids in the country, presenting two senior government
officials with awards for outstanding commitment in fighting the spread of

Owen Mugurungi, Principal Director in the Aids and TB unit, received the
award for outstanding leadership.

The Auxillia Chimusoro Awards Judges committee noted Mugurungi’s “consistent
leadership in the fight against HIV,” stating that “under his leadership,
the country was awarded the largest Global Fund grant ever awarded to any
single county in the history of the Global Fund.”

Another senior government official, Tapiwa Magure, director of the National
Aids Council, received special mention for “strong leadership in
coordinating the national HIV response.”

“We are impressed by the government of Zimbabwe’s leadership of HIV
programmes, and we are seeing more effective utilisation of resources,” said
US ambassador Charles Ray.

Ambassador Ray pledged his country’s commitment to partnering with Zimbabwe
“to defeat the Aids epidemic and eliminate pediatric Aids altogether.”
The US is the biggest contributor to modern Aids counselling, testing and
treatment centres across Zimbabwe, which have tested and counselled two
million people.

The US Embassy Public Affairs Section said the United States government has
invested over US$245 million in Zimbabwe’s fight against HIV/Aids.
The US intends to increase funding for HIV/Aids programmes in Zimbabwe by
US$10 million next year, bringing the total 2011 US investment in fighting
HIV/Aids in the country to approximately US$57,5 million.

Zimbabwe’s HIV prevalence rate declined from a peak of 26% in 1997 to 14,2%
in 2010.

Over 200 000 people are on treatment and more than 39% of the adult
population now know their HIV status.

Other recipients of Auxillia Chimusoro Awards were the late Monica Glenshaw,
former District Medical Officer for Manicaland and Superintendent of
Murambinda Hospital for 30 years, who received the Lynde Francis Award.

The winner of the Social Investment Award is Africaid, which runs the
Zvandiri HIV Programme for adolescents.

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Police face probe over editor's arrest

Sunday, 05 December 2010 15:53


A Harare magistrate has ordered an investigation into the conduct of police
for their unjustifiable 24-hour detention of Nevanji Madanhire, editor of
The Standard last week.

Don Ndirowei’s order on Wednesday came amid growing concerns that police
were abusing their powers to muzzle journalists who have become a thorn in
the flesh of the force, which is nursing a battered image.

Madanhire was detained at Rhodesville on Tuesday despite handing himself
over at the Harare Central Police station after officers from the notorious
Law and Order Section visited the paper’s offices the previous day.

The editor’s arrest came hard on the heels of the heavily criticised
nine-day detention of The Standard’s Bulawayo -based reporter Nqobani Ndlovu
over a story on cancelled police examinations.

Madanhire, who was charged with publishing an article that “undermines”
confidence in the security forces, which was penned by Ndlovu last month was
remanded out of custody to December 16.

Ndirowei asked the state to produce a report explaining the police’s conduct
on the editor’s next court appearance.

This was after his lawyer, Chris Mhike charged that it was time the Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP) was forced to respect basic human rights.
“There has been a disturbing trend by police to arrest and detain people
even without any evidence,” Mhike told the court. “This is clear abuse of
office by the police.

“It appears the days of human rights abuses are back and I urge the court to
make investigations.”

He said his client was detained even when it was clear he had no case to
answer and this could have been calculated to intimidate journalists.
The harassment of The Standard journalists by the police has attracted
condemnation from local and international organisations.

Journalists fear that politicians from the Zanu PF side of the unity
government are using the police to intimidate journalists and stave off
critical reporting ahead of elections expected next year.

A fortnight ago the scribes petitioned Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
South African President Jacob Zuma seeking their urgent intervention.

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Zimbabwe appeals for aid to stave off hunger

Sunday, 05 December 2010 15:32


ZIMBABWE on Thursday launched the Consolidated Appeal Process for 2011 (CAP)
of $415 million, as the country moves in to stave looming food shortages.

This is expected to be the last appeal for the country, as donor agencies
feel Zimbabwe has now moved from relief to transitional development.

Despite the economic improvements, at least 1, 7 million people are expected
to suffer acute food shortages and would be in need of food aid.

“The CAP 2011 will focus on the rebuilding of the livelihoods of the
population and to strengthen their resilience to further shocks,” United
Nations Resident Humanitarian Coordinator for Zimbabwe, Alain Noudehou said.
The CAP 2011 comes after the 2010 one where humanitarian organisations
appealed for $478 million but only 47% of that amount was made available.

Noudehou was optimistic that this time they would get more money than last
year as they had developed a programme based approach.

“As a result of this consultative approach and in order to accommodate the
dynamic nature of the current economic social context in Zimbabwe,
stakeholders decided to adopt a more responsive approach,” he said.

“The Cap 2011 introduces a new programme based approach in lieu of the
previous project based approach.”
More than 100 agencies, the government, community and faith based
organisations participated in the crafting of the appeal.

It was noted that there had been an improvement in agriculture, but there
was need to continue supporting the sector, while water and sanitation
remained priority areas.
There are reportedly 1,6 million orphans and vulnerable children, who are
also supposed to be funded by the appeal.

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Chombo, Harare councilors collide

Sunday, 05 December 2010 15:29


HARARE City councillors last week lashed out at Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo, whom they accuse of being overbearing and trying to wield
his power over the local authority.

The latest attack follows an order by Chombo that council should first seek
his approval before hiring any new employees.

The minister also ordered that new recruitments be frozen.

They were mixed reactions at a full council meeting on Tuesday with some
councillors accusing Chombo of acting as the “mayor-general” of all urban

Some councillors felt that Chombo’s directive was being driven by paranoia,
as he feared that if recruitments were allowed to go ahead the new employees
would dilute his influence on the municipality.

“Some feared that this is a political move,” Councillor Warship Dumba

“Most of the senior people were appointed by Chombo, he might not have more
influence on new employees.”

Dumba said council was top heavy, with more managers than necessary and
this, to some extent, justified the recruitment freeze.

He said the council was in the process of evaluating its staff complement
and it would be pointless to hire new people without completing the

“I think it is pointless to hire new people when there is no money, but the
way Chombo went about the order drew the ire of some councillors,” he said.

Harare mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda confirmed receipt of the letter, though he
said council had long resolved to freeze new recruitments.

“We agreed as a council that we freeze new posts except establishment posts,
which we will continue to fill once they fall vacant,” he said.

Masunda said once the survey had been complete they would decide what to do,
as it was clear that some departments were overstaffed.

“Previous councils and commissions had policies of indiscriminate
recruitment and we have to control this,” he said.

Chombo and Harare councillors have been at loggerheads since early this when
a special committee set up by the local authority to investigate unlawful
land deals implicated the minister and some Zanu PF officials.

The report called for the arrest of business tycoon Philip Chiyangwa and the
Zanu PF heavyweights including Chombo.

But it was the councilors and the mayor who were arrested and charged with
criminal defamation.

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Zanu PF, MDC-T in violennt clashes in Chitungwiza

Sunday, 05 December 2010 15:28

Zanu PF, MDC-T in violent clashes

POLICE yesterday arrested nine MDC-T supporters who were on a clean-up
exercise after a violent confrontation with Zanu PF youths in Chitungwiza.

Although police could not immediately confirm the arrests, MDCT-T spokesman
Nelson Chamisa said the youths were being held at the Chitungwiza police

Trouble started when Zanu PF youths allegedly tried to disrupt the clean-up
operation at Makoni Shopping center around lunch time.

An MDC-T official said the Zanu PF youths pounced on the party’s supporters
without any provocation after they had carried out similar clean-up
campaigns in Unit H and D suburbs.

“As a party we are disappointed by the actions of Zanu PF and I can confirm
that efforts are in progress to investigate the issue,” Chamisa said.

The Chitungwiza incident comes hard on the heels of violent clashes between
MDC-T and Zanu PF supporters in Mbare last week.

MDC-T issued a strongly worded statement on the violence amid increasing
fears that the country is sliding back to the dark days that preceded the
unity government.

“The party wishes to caution the perpetrators that they are spoiling for
conflagration and unnecessary mayhem from which Zanu PF would emerge as a
crying loser,” read the statement.

“Against this background, the MDC calls on the police to act decisively on
the purported evictions and the violence in Mbare.

“That Zanu PF youth leaders can dislodge and harass innocent and law abiding
citizens with impunity is totally unacceptable.”

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MDC-M congress in January

Sunday, 05 December 2010 15:25


THE eagerly awaited contest between Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
and Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube for the control of the
smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is likely to be
next month, it has been revealed.

Officials said the MDC-M national council will meet this week to decide the
dates for the party’s watershed congress, which they expect to be held in
Harare in early January.
Ncube who is not eligible to contest his post of secretary-general has made
it clear that he is eyeing Mutambara’s position in a challenge that might
end the  robotics professor’s eventful flirtation with politics.

An official said although January 8 had been set as a tentative date for the
congress, it was up to the national council meeting on Wednesday to make the
final decision.
Ncube yesterday said the congress would have to be held before February 26.

He also confirmed that the national council was meeting to finalise dates
for the congress.
Lobbying for the two candidates has intensified with some supporters taking
their campaigns to social networks like Facebook.

A senior party official said Mutambara’s camp was now proposing changes to
the party’s voting system to halt Ncube’s surge.

“They are now pushing for a one-man-vote method instead of provinces voting
as a block because they realise that Ncube now has the majority of the
provinces fighting in his corner,” the source said.

“However, this proposal will be thrown out by the national council next week
because it is divisive.

“Some provinces have more people than others and we may end up having a
leadership that is not representative enough.”

Mutambara, a fiery student leader in his heyday was brought back home from
abroad to lead the MDC following the split of the country’s biggest
opposition party in 2005.
But his tendency to align himself with President Robert Mugabe has cost him
support and many feel he is now a liability to the opposition.

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ZimStat looks for head

Sunday, 05 December 2010 16:15


THE Zimbabwe Statistical Agency (Zimstat) has engaged a top human resources
consulting firm to recruit a substantive director-general, six years after
the statistical body has been operating without a substantive head.

LoriMark Recruitment, one of the country’s top human resources consulting
firm, says it is looking for a person who has demonstrated success in
inspiring the teams towards the execution of agreed strategic objectives.

It also states that the person must be strategic in orientation, with a
passion to delight users, demonstrate business understanding and with
unquestionable integrity among other requirements.

Zimstat, formerly Central Statistical Office, has been operating without a
substantive head since Lazarus Machirori left the organisation in 2004.

Machirori’s then deputy, Moffat Nyoni has been holding forte since then
mirroring the absence of sound corporate governance in parastatals and quasi
government bodies.

The longest acting head of a parastatal or quasi government body is Amod
Takawira who spent seven years as acting general manager at the pay as you
go pension scheme, National Social Security Authority.

Asked whether Nyoni would be considered for the job, Douglas Hoto, Zimstat
board chairman said all the people who are eligible should apply for the

The appointment of a substantive head is part of the reforms taken by the
Hoto-led board to make Zimstat a credible source of statistics in the
country and provide up to date statistics for national development and
policy management.

Zimstat’s credibility was battered when it failed to produce statistics such
as inflation figures during hyperinflationary periods.
However, the organisation has managed to release inflation numbers in a
timely manner since the advent of multiple currencies nearly two years ago.

Zimstat’s board has approved a number of reforms such as organisational
redesign, and development and is finalising the National Strategy for
Development of Statistics informed by sector strategic plans for statistics
involving all sectors of the economy.

The country’s statistical agency has been receiving support from the African
Development Bank (AfDB) to strengthen its statistical development

In the period 2009-2011, AfDB has set aside US$2 million to restore
institutional and human capacity of the Zimbabwe national statistical office
to generate reliable and timely data for national development policy

AfDB’s activities are coordinated in the office of the chief economist and
vice president of the bank, Mthuli Ncube.

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editor'sdesk: Day in the life of a caged editor

Sunday, 05 December 2010 16:24

On Christmas Day 1978 I was picked up by the police; it was me and five
other youths. There had been a small act of sabotage at the council beer
hall and police suspected the mujibhas in the adjacent village had committed

That village just happened to ours. It was at the height of the guerrilla
war and the British South Africa Police had become another section of the
military. Being captured by the police meant torture or even death. We were
defiant teenagers and saw the incarceration as some form of adventure but
that was before we saw the captured guerrilla.

We were thrown into a cell in which he was; he insisted he was not a
guerrilla but everyone knew he was. He couldn’t sit up but the wounds that
resulted from the constant torture he was subjected were there for all to
see. The same awaited us. I swear we had not committed the little act of
sabotage but that detention became my humble contribution to the liberation

My only other brush with the police (besides refusing to pay bribes at
roadblocks) came last week – 32 years to the month.

When I entered office 77 at the Law and Order Section of the CID at Harare
Central Police Station on Tuesday November 30 memories of 1978 came back;
almost romantic. I expected what they insist is “minimum force” in their
interrogation tactics such as had been used on that guerrilla. Instead I was
confronted by a debonair and ever-smiling Detective Assistant Inspector
(DAI) Murira and his senior whose name I forget. Although the senior guy
looked a trifle too menacing at first he turned out to be all wool – he was
doing the easy crossword puzzle in the Herald. To his right was a wall board
on which was a photograph of a newborn baby all in flannels, eyes open
looking determinedly into the future.

“That’s my only daughter,” the senior detective said with the smile of a
proud father. “I have had three boys and this came at the very last try. We’re
so happy.”

I was disarmed.

So what was this all about?

My principal DAI Murira informed me that I was being charged under Section
31(b)(ii)(C) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act which says
something about the publishing and communication of false information
prejudicial to the state.

My colleague Nqobani Ndlovu  had already spent nine days in custody in
Bulawayo over the same story and had been granted a US$100 bail. It appeared
to me that my being summoned to the CID was just for the record since
Nqobani had now been seen not to be a flight risk. If Nqobani, who penned
the article in question, was not a flight risk, why would I be?

A warned and cautioned statement was recorded by lunchtime. I asked the
detectives if I could be allowed to go out and get something to eat and then
return at 2pm. This was granted without argument. I went out for lunch
unaccompanied and at 2pm I was back at CID.
My lawyer Chris Mhike and I spent a long afternoon in a waiting room waiting
to hear if I would be allowed to go home and return the following day. Chris
had argued that there was no motivation for me to take the gap.

But 4.30pm a detective – not Murira – came over wielding a green form that
had the legend “Detention Order” at the top. So the dye was cast; I would
spend the night in notorious cells at Harare Central. I asked Chris to
negotiate that I be taken to another police station where the cells were
less crowded and cleaner. I was about to taken to the cells when I summoned
to the office of the Officer Commanding CID, who, to my surprise I found
most affable. He joked and laughed and granted our wish without much ado.

Chris and I were getting rather puzzled by the police’s hospitality.

But the afternoon had been full of little anecdotes that pointed to the fact
that the police details we were dealing with were, in fact, not the real
deal. I thought I gleaned from the anecdotes that these middle-ranking
officers hated doing what they had to do. When I mentioned similar cases in
the past that had come to nought, they avoided eye-contact. They had become
mere automations following the bidding of faceless senior officers at HQ.

Greater surprises awaited me at Rhodesville Police Station. Of all the 10 or
so officers I talked none had read the article that had allegedly offended
the police! When I told them it was that same article that had condemned me
to a night in a cell, they all became too polite, polite to a fault. Instead
of being told to sit on the hard floor of the charge office I was offered a
chair. They were very worried about my glasses saying I couldn’t go into the
cells with them but then if I could do without them the choice was mine. I
had them taken home when my wife visited.

I was thrown into the cell around 8pm. In there were two 23-year-old amateur
burglars who said they had broken into houses in Chisipite and stolen
flat-screen TVs and decoders. These were young criminals in the making; they
didn’t regret their deeds and were pondering their next move. I had been
surprised how junior-ranking policemen were also so polite in dealing with
these young thugs.

The answer was soon to come as the reprobates were discussing which
constable to give the US$300 one of their colleagues who was still at large
so their case could be made lighter.

It was all very instructive of the workings of the police.

My night in the cell was uncomfortable but not too shocking; the blankets
stunk like high heaven and the floor too hard for my hips and ribs.
But what was the big deal? The whole episode was just meant to embarrass me
for the state did not oppose bail the following day at the magistrate’s

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sundayopinion: ZANU PF thrives on opposition’s mediocrity

Sunday, 05 December 2010 16:21


This piece is penned with a heavy sense of exasperation and bewilderment at
the inability of Zimbabwean political opposition and some civil society
groups and private media to come to grips with Zanu PF’s political uses of
the various forms of sanctions imposed on it by America and the European
Union (EU).

Last week Zambian President Rupiah Banda and South African President Jacob
Zuma called for the lifting of Western sanctions. This has been received
with derision in many civil society and media quarters. The call has been
interpreted by some as “an indication of Zuma’s and Banda’s support for
Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF”.
“Zuma and Banda believe Mugabe’s propaganda”, others in civil society bleat.
For some “the West must keep punishing Zanu PF for its human rights abuses”.

The Zimbabwean political opposition is silent.

If you are one of those who shares the aforementioned views pause a moment
to ask yourself why there are sanctions on Mugabe and Zanu PF but none
against Swaziland’s King Mswati or Angola’s Eduardo dos Santos – both
leaders who are not anymore human rights respecting than Mugabe.

Zanu PF has and continues to work hard at casting Morgan Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) as "sell-outs" who campaigned for the
imposition of unjustified sanctions that are "racist" and interference in
the country's internal affairs. Today Tsvangirai's MDC is asked to advocate
the removal of sanctions because it instigated them.

While the MDC-T denies that it ever campaigned for sanctions, its message on
the sanctions issue has never been as coherent and consistent as that of
Zanu PF. Only in November during a parliamentary debate MDC-T MP Jefferson
Chitando called for the extension of Western sanctions and he suggested that
the opposition had indeed invited the imposition of sanctions in the early

Zanu PF refuses to fully implement power-sharing reforms for as long as
Western sanctions remain in place. The sanctions standoff is one of the main
reasons why the power-sharing government has made little headway in
reforming Zimbabwean institutions in time for the next elections. By
campaigning for sanctions to be lifted Zuma and Banda are attempting to take
a key impediment to reform implementation off the table. Calling for an end
to sanctions is not indicative of support for Mugabe.

Moreover sanctions have become a convenient scapegoat for Zanu PF because
they allow the party to argue that Zimbabwe's breathtaking economic decline
was not caused by its adoption of a disastrous Economic Structural
Adjustment Programme (ESAP) in the 1990s, massive corruption by Zanu PF
elites, an ineptly implemented land reform programme and the country's 1998
involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

ZANU PF is a violent party and they have made many bad policy decisions
while in government but they are nonetheless astute political operators. And
yet the manner in which civil society, private media and the MDC-T are still
struggling to comprehend and strategically counter ZANU PF’s political uses
of the sanctions matter is making me increasingly question whether Mugabe’s
party is indeed a clever assemblage or civil society, private media and the
opposition are simply intellectually ill-equipped. Perhaps there is nothing
to Zanu PF – they are a shallow lot who just happen to be a tad cleverer
than the mediocrity that surrounds them.

About the Author
Blessing-Miles Tendi is the author of "Making History in Mugabe's Zimbabwe:
Politics, Intellectuals and the Media".

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standardcomment: MDC-T silence on media disturbing

Sunday, 05 December 2010 16:20

Many political analysts are beginning to ask what the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC)’s policy on media freedom is.

One of the key clauses of the Global Political Agreement is that media
freedom should be guaranteed and no future elections should be held in an
atmosphere where the press is not free to report on issues affecting the
Events of the past few months, in which journalists have been harassed by
the police, have focused attention on this important issue.

The MDC, especially the larger faction led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, has been conspicuous by its absence in this discourse.
Journalists working for the private press have been arrested in recent
weeks, the latest being the editor of this paper. The grounds for the
arrests have been sections of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act
which are being contested in the Supreme Court because they impinge upon
media freedom.

The nation expected a robust stance by the MDC against this onslaught on
media freedom. All that has been heard is a whimper from those that purport
to be the champions of democratic change.

The MDC-T has a co-minister at Home Affairs but she has not raised as much
as a squeak when journalists have been incarcerated for doing their job of
keeping the public well-informed. That includes informing the public on what
is happening in national institutions -- such as the police -- that should
be accountable to them.

Compare the co-minister Theresa Makone’s reaction a few months ago to the
arrest of controversial Zanu PF provincial leader Temba Mliswa to her
reaction to the arrest and incarceration of journalists. She was animated in
the former but disturbingly quiet in the latter.

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe is suing this newspaper for a story in
which she sought to dispel a rumour circulating last month.

Is there a connection here? Is the MDC-T complicit in the ongoing police
crackdown on the media?

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sundayview: Let’s address food security challenges

Sunday, 05 December 2010 16:17


The ongoing land debate continues to centre on past injustices of the
colonial era.   This fixation with the past although understandable does
nothing to prepare us for the challenges that lie ahead; we cannot change
history, but we should learn from it.

Food security, job creation and the building of a modern diversified economy
are the challenges we face now and in the future. These challenges are
linked; therefore addressing them should become the core issue of the land

The global food crisis is the greatest challenge facing humankind now after
the threat of nuclear war that haunted the world for three decades after
WWII.  Hardly a day goes by without the media reporting on starvation,
chronic undernourishment and food riots somewhere in the world.   The common
link connecting these reports is the location; it is always in the third
world and the victims are always the poor and underprivileged.

Rising world population, climate change, rising oil prices, using grain to
produce bio-fuels, reliance on subsistence agriculture, lack of property
rights in the third world and bad governance are the main forces driving and
intensifying the global food crisis are: It maybe a cynical observation, but
farmers and traders in the first world have a vested interest in the global
food crisis and profits from it.

The first world has created this advantage for itself by promoting and
protecting its commercial agriculture. The third world has made little
effort to develop in a similar way and integrate commercial agriculture into
the mainstream of their economies. Culture, tradition and inertia seem to
prevail over any ambition to modernise and diversify their economies,
particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.   It is human nature for people to put
their own interests first, we in the third world must understand this and
react accordingly.

The majority of third world countries rely on subsistence agriculture and
imports to feed their people. Subsistence agriculture is structured to give
food security to its practitioners, producing a tradable surplus is regarded
as a bonus.   It may reduce hunger but it makes no contribution to building
a modern diversified economy or the creation of job opportunities outside of
agriculture.   It has changed very little over the past hundred years.
Modern seed varieties, oil-based synthetic fertilisers and pesticides have
helped, but it’s main features remains the same: rain-fed, labour-intensive,
low productivity, abysmally poor crop and livestock yields, starved of
investment, no rotational cropping and damaging to the environment.
So why does subsistence agriculture still remain the dominant system in the
third world?

In much of Africa underdevelopment is linked to the vulture politics of many
post-colonial governments.The precursor to food security is the development
of a modern diversified economy that is supported and supplied by a
commercialised agriculture.

Good governance, property rights and private investment is the key to
long-term food security, broad-based prosperity and sustained economic

Only commercial agriculture, be it large scale, small scale or a combination
of the two can provide the surpluses that are then described as food

In a small economy such as ours commercial agriculture and commerce and
industry are linked and interdependent, their relationship is such that one
will not thrive without the other.

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