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New Threat to Dump Mugabe at Congress

Saturday, 05 December 2009 21:19

PF Zapu veterans in Zanu PF have threatened a showdown at the party's
congress opening on Wednesday if President Robert Mugabe rejects their
choice for the party chairmanship.

Mugabe last week made a stunning summersault on the nomination of Zimbabwe's
Ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo by the majority of Zanu PF
provinces after his lieutenants challenged the selection process.

Zanu PF sources said Mugabe was pressured to take the position that might
threaten the very foundation of the troubled party after Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa made it clear that he would never consider Moyo as his

Current Zanu PF chairman Didymus Mutasa has also been protesting publicly
about the alleged flouting of procedures for the nomination, which he said
favoured PF Zapu people.

The latest developments mean Mutasa and Mnangagwa have been thrown a life
line to launch fresh bids for the chairmanship.

Speaking in Manicaland last week Mugabe said it was only the post of
Vice-President won by John Nkomo that had been settled.

His statements contradicted pronouncements by senior Zanu PF officials such
as Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, Angeline Masuku and Richard Ndlovu who have taken
issue with Mutasa for trying to seek nomination for a post they say must be
reserved for former PF Zapu members.

The say it is an unwritten rule from the 1987 Unity Accord that two posts in
the presidium should always be reserved for former PF Zapu.

"When we discussed the issue of candidates to fill in the post left vacant
by the late Cde (Joseph) Msika we urged the Matabeleland region to hold
consultations and nominate a candidate who would be presented to the
provinces," Mugabe was quoted as saying by the state media.

"This was duly done with the nomination of Cde Nkomo as Vice-President of
the party.

"We however did not put up the chairmanship for discussion and we were even
surprised to read through the media of Cde Khaya Moyo's nomination as
national chairman.

"We are surprised that some people rushed to make announcements in the

Moyo was chosen by a caucus of former PF Zapu leaders who met before the
nominations that had a record number of contestants.

Mugabe said Manicaland was free to lobby for its candidate ahead of the
congress, in what was seen as an open endorsement of Mutasa.

However, several Zanu PF officials who spoke to The Standard yesterday said
they were waiting for Mugabe to repeat his statements at a politburo meeting
scheduled for tomorrow.

The matter was deferred from last week's politburo meeting because Richard
Ndlovu, the deputy commissar was in Namibia.

"We are waiting for Monday," said a politburo member. "Mugabe is playing
with fire. he can only go ahead with the decision to block Moyo if he is no
longer interested in the Unity Accord.

"I don't see the matter being resolved at the politburo meeting and we are
sharpening our knives for the congress because it appears they want to call
for nominations from the floor, something which is unprecedented.

"Just call me after the politburo meeting on Monday and you will get the
best story ever written about Zanu PF."

The official said Mnangagwa was now the favourite to land the chairmanship,
which might come as a consolation after his faction was trounced by the
rival Mujuru faction during the nominations.

"If they say Moyo was not nominated procedurally then we will have to
mobilize Matabeleland provinces to revise their endorsement of Mugabe for
the presidency," said another official.

Mugabe was nominated by all the other provinces unopposed while his deputy
Joice Mujuru was initially rejected by Masvingo province, which chose Women's
League boss, Opphah Muchinguri.

However, Masvingo was forced to reverse the nomination after Mujuru won in
other provinces.

There are reports Muchinguri has not abandoned her bid and might surprise
Mujuru at the congress by seeking nominations from the floor.

Zanu PF is already weakened in Matabeleland after former politburo member
Dumiso Dabengwa led several senior party members to revive Zapu.


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Zuma Facilitation Team Returns

Saturday, 05 December 2009 21:02

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma's facilitation team will return tomorrow
following indications that the feuding parties in the unity government are
making progress towards the resolution of outstanding issues in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA).

Negotiators from Zanu PF and the two formations of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) have reportedly found common ground on media reforms
and the appointment of provincial governors.
Sources said an "important" announcement was in the offing this week once
the negotiators brief their principals President Robert Mugabe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

The negotiators were meeting the whole day yesterday and the sources said
they were in agreement on a number of issues except on the position of
President Robert Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba.
MDC-T wants Charamba to be stopped from issuing divisive statements, which
they say threaten the unity government.

This is one of a range of thorny disputes that have emerged since the
formation of the unity government in February this year.

There were reports that Zuma was also preparing to visit Zimbabwe this week
to nudge the parties to conclude their talks in line with a Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) time frame but his international advisor
Lindiwe Zulu dismissed the speculation as untrue.

Zulu, who along with Charles Nqakula and Mac Maharaj were recently appointed
by Zuma to replace former President Thabo Mbeki's facilitation team, said it
was only the facilitators who were returning for a more comprehensive
assessment of the negotiations.

"I do not know where the story of the president is coming from," she said.

"The President appointed a facilitation team, and that team is going back to
Zimbabwe to get a fuller report. We are coming over on Monday."

Despite the list of outstanding issues reported to be growing longer, Zulu
said from their preliminary visit a week ago, they were convinced there was

"They are covering up the issues," she said. "They have been doing the best
that they can.
"We are comfortable with the fact they have been talking since we left. All
those meetings have been successful.

"I don't want to get into those issues (details of the outstanding issues
and the expanding list), it's their issues.

"Whether they are expanding or not, the most important thing is that they
are meeting and making progress."

Zulu said Zuma could not make an assessment of the progress so far.

"He cannot be making any assessment now because we are still to give him a

"I cannot say when that will happen, because before we even get the report,
the negotiators will have to present it to their principals.

"We will also receive the full report after the negotiators have met their

She said progress should not be measured by the number of issues resolved so
far, but through the commitment of all the parties.

"In our first visit, we came at a time when they had just started their

"The fact that they have been meeting since we left gives us confidence that
they are making progress."
"The problem is not just about outstanding issues; it is about dealing with
the challenge that is currently in Zimbabwe."

After receiving a report from the facilitators, Zuma will the consult
Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, the chairman of the Sadc Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security on the way forward.


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UN Official to Visit

Saturday, 05 December 2009 20:56

UNITED Nations (UN) assistant secretary general for humanitarian affairs and
deputy emergency relief co-ordinator, Catherine Bragg  is expected in the
country today ahead of the launch the 2010 Consolidated Appeal for Zimbabwe
tomorrow. The appeal is likely to show an improvement in the humanitarian
situation for the first time in almost a decade.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA) said
Bragg who last visited the country in February will also meet senior
government officials and stakeholders in the humanitarian sector in addition
to field visits.

Fernando Arroyo, the OCHA representative said Zimbabwe would be appealing
for less funding next year because of a marked improvement in the country's
humanitarian situation following the formation of a unity government in

Arroyo said at its launch in November last year the initial CAP requirement
for 2009 was US$550 million but ballooned to US$719 million during the
mid-year review in June this year.

This, he said was largely because of needs in the areas of food aid,
agriculture, water, education as well as sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

But owing to some improvements in the country's humanitarian situation and
economy, among many other reasons, Arroyo said funding for Zimbabwe's 2010
CAP had gone down significantly and is expected to be nearly 50 % of last
year's requirements.

"This year, the needs have reduced for various reasons such as improved
agriculture and some investment in WASH infrastructure.

"For instance, as a direct result of improved agriculture, the number of
people requiring food aid during the peak hunger period from January to
March is expected to fall from 7.1 million this year to about 1.9 million in
2010," Arroyo said.

"Further, there have been changes in the economy.  For instance, the
introduction of multiple currencies has helped to curb hyperinflation.

"In addition, payment of salaries in foreign currency has meant an
improvement in the capacity to purchase some basic commodities, which was
not the case during the hyper-inflationary environment."

But while acknowledging the positive developments, Arroyo said it was
important to note that some sections of the population remained  vulnerable
and in need of humanitarian assistance.

He said the process of establishing the vulnerability levels and
humanitarian needs in a country before an appeal was made were very

"The process of determining the needs of a country is very consultative and
involves stakeholders such as the government, UN agencies and
non-governmental organisations involved in humanitarian work," Arroyo said.

Zimbabwe's poverty worsened after the economy registered negative growth for
several years owing to retrogressive policies by President Robert Mugabe's
previous administration.


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Farmer Gets Reprieve

Saturday, 05 December 2009 20:54

HESTER Theron, the elderly mother of Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU)
president, Deon Theron, who was facing eviction from her farm, has won a
temporary reprieve after she successfully launched a High Court appeal
against a magistrates' court ruling. The 79-year-old Theron filed an urgent
appeal against Harare magistrate Archie Wochiunga's ruling last month
ordering her to vacate her dairy and beef holding, Fridenthal Farm, in

Wochiunga also slapped Theron with a three-month jail sentence with labour
for refusing to vacate a farm she has owned for over 50 years.

However, the sentence was wholly suspended for five years on condition she
vacates the farm by December 8.

But Theron's lawyer, Godfrey Mamvura of Scanlen & Holderness, appealed at
the High Court against both the judgment and sentence.

High Court Judge, Justice Joseph Musakwa, said Theron should not be evicted
from her farm until her application has been heard.

Deon said they were happy with Musakwa's judgment, as the rule of law had
been upheld.

"For now we are happy, the law has been applied properly and my mother will
be staying at the farm until the application we filed at the High Court has
been heard,' he said.

Fridenthal produces milk from a herd of 400 cows. There are also 200 sheep
and nine breeding crocodiles on the farm.

Deon also said commercial farmers were failing to plant their crops due to
the escalation of violence and disturbances on the farms, which would result
in the nation failing to produce enough food to feed itself during the
2009/10 farming season.

Several white commercial farmers are facing eviction from their farms as
President Robert Mugabe's loyalists grab some of the country's most
productive farmland.

Zimbabwe has paid compensation for about 3% of the 6 500 white-owned farms
it has seized under its land reform programme.

According to a report tabled at a recent World Bank-sponsored conference,
the "reforms" have drastically reduced the area of land under cultivation by
500 000 hectares, while land under irrigation has declined to 139 500


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AG’s Office Drops Graft Trial

Saturday, 05 December 2009 19:39

THE Attorney-General’s office has  stopped the prosecution of the Bindura
Provincial Hospital acting medical superintendent who was facing 135 counts
of corruption amid claims the case could have exposed Zanu PF big wigs.
Beauty Basile was left to go scot-free after her trial was stopped midway
following the intervention of the AG’s office.

This was after she was taken to court on charges that she converted 90 000
litres of fuel to her personal use.

Basile was also accused of issuing fuel to undeserving hospital staff and
flouting tender procedures by awarding tenders to Medwise Pharmacy owned by
her friend, and Cypred Pvt Ltd owned by a former hospital worker only
identified as Kamuriwo for the supply of drugs.

However, officials from the Anti-Corruption Commission who had unearthed the
alleged graft were left fuming last week after a letter from the AG’s office
signed by chief law officer Michael Mugabe, ordered the trial of Basile to
be stopped.

The letter, a copy which is in the possession of The Standard reads:
“Proceed to have prosecution of this case stopped in terms of Section 9 of
the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (Chapter 9;07).

“It is not in the best interest of the state to continue with the trial.
Please be guided accordingly.”

But two witnesses who had earlier testified before magistrate William Bhila
said Basile had been involved in illegal activities at the hospital.

An ambulance driver at the hospital told the court that Basile had turned
the hospital ambulance into a private vehicle.

He said at one time a patient died whilst the ambulance was at her farm.

He also said all the visitors who came to see Basile were ferried back home
in the ambulance.

Former Health and Child Welfare Permanent Secretary Edward Mabhiza also told
the court that Basile used to abuse government facilities which were at her
disposal and that she flouted government tender procedures.

Anti-Corruption Commission officials who spoke on condition of anonymity
said they suspect the case was withdrawn because there were Zanu PF
officials who benefitted from the alleged corrupt activities.

They said when the charges were withdrawn they still had 31 witnesses lined
up to testify against Basile.

“The AG’s office is not representing the interests of the state. We now
believe that it is also fuelling corruption,” said the official.

The AG, Johannes Tomana, who has not hidden his affiliation to Zanu PF, is
facing increasing pressure from the MDC-T to resign because President Robert
Mugabe unilaterally appointed him last year.

On Thursday, Tomana referred all questions on Basile’s case to the director
of public prosecutions, Florence Ziyambi.

Ziyambi could not be reached for comment as she was said to be out of her
office and was not answering her mobile phone.

In May, the state took Zimbabweans by surprise when it granted bail to
Joseph Banda who was accused of fraudulently acquiring farming implements
from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe even after his lawyers had not applied.

No reasons were given but sources said the order came from the AG’s office
because it feared that Banda’s case would expose Central Bank Governor
Gideon Gono and other top Zanu-PF officials.


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Former ZUJ president lands new post of ‘consultant’

Saturday, 05 December 2009 19:36

BULAWAYO — Matthew Takaona finally left office as president of the Zimbabwe
Union of Journalists (ZUJ) on Friday following the election of a new
executive, but says he will remain a “powerful ordinary member” of the
union. Takaona had been ZUJ president since 1999 and there were growing
concerns from some sections of the media fraternity that he wanted to cling
on to the position.

News Editor of The Sunday News, Dumisani Sibanda took over the hot seat
after beating his counterpart at The Herald, Isdore Guvamombe by 28 votes to

Strangely, Godwin Mangudya’s name appeared on the ballots although he was
not present and had not been nominated.

Sibanda will be deputised by Mercy Pote (ZBC) and Michael Padera (Herald).

Former Standard senior reporter Foster Dongozi retained his position as
secretary general unopposed.

Evince Mugumbate, a former ZBC employee was also unopposed for the position
of treasurer.

Standard reporter, Jennifer Dube was elected the new chairperson of the
Gender Mainstreaming Committee. Freelance journalist Valentine Maponga was
also elected into the same committee. The Standard Masvingo correspondent
Godfrey Mutimba was elected one of the committee members.

Some of the candidates who had expressed interest in various positions
pulled out after it emerged their supporters would not vote.

Most of the uinion members failed to take part in the elections because of a
controversial constitutional provision that says only the branch
chairpersons and secretaries would vote. Many journalists, who want to take
part in selecting their leaders, see that provision not only as archaic but

And the congress all but confirmed Takaona, though he is no longer the
president, will remain powerful after it endorsed a proposal to formally
engage his services as a “consultant”.

But before the election on Friday, Takaona said he decided two years ago not
to seek re-election at this congress.

“I have stepped down; I am no longer the president of ZUJ. From now on, I
will be an ordinary member of the union, but a powerful ordinary member,”
Takaona said.

There was widespread belief that Takaona was pressured by other journalists
to pave way for a new leadership.

“I have stepped down voluntarily to create a culture within our
organisation. I was not pressured by anyone. I have reached a point where I
am relaying the baton to a new leadership, people who are dedicated to the

To ensure that Takaona remains “a powerful ordinary member”, the 42 congress
delegates were whipped into endorsing a proposal to have him formally
engaged as a consultant to the union.

Moving the motion, the election officer Tapfuma Machakaire said the decision
had to be made at congress, and not by the new leadership.

“There is a proposal to formally engage the outgoing president, and that it
be handled as a congress position,” said Machakaire, a former ZUJ secretary


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Expelled Fort Hare Students Fear Returning Home

Saturday, 05 December 2009 19:34

TWELVE Zimbabwean students at Fort Hare University who had their
presidential scholarships withdrawn for allegedly supporting the MDC-T are
stuck in South Africa because they fear for their lives if they return home.
The students were struck from President Robert Mugabe's controversial
scholarship programme in September for their alleged political activities.

Last week they told The Dispatch newspaper that the university had offered
them money to return home and re-negotiate their scholarships.

The students were given R3 000 for travel but MDC-T branch chairperson at
the university, Juma Ulete, said they were afraid of being arrested for
allegedly denigrating Mugabe.

"They said we've lost the scholarship because we defied orders of Mugabe.
Even if MDC-T is part of the government we will be sent to prison," he was
quoted as having said.

Mvuyo Tom, the Fort Hare Vice-Chancellor, was also quoted in the same
publication dismissing claims that the university had conspired with Zanu PF
to send the students back to Harare.

"Firstly, these students requested us to assist them with funds to go home,"
he said.

"We have taken money from the university's funds to assist them."

He said the university had nothing to do with the suspension of the
scholarships. "We don't deal with political parties; we deal with the
Zimbabwe government, which is composed of Zanu PF and MDC.

"The scholarships were withdrawn by the Zimbabwe government," he said.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said they were not aware of the students'
plight. "We don't know anything, but if that is the case then it's a big
scandal. You can't victimise somebody because he is of the opposition
 party," he said.

"If it's a presidential scholarship it's supposed to benefit everyone.
However, as MDC-T we are going to look into the matter."

Efforts to get a comment from the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education
or the director of the programme, Chris Mushohwe, yesterday were fruitless.

Thousands of Zimbabweans, mainly children and relatives of senior Zanu PF
officials, have benefited from the programme.



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Council Probe: Net Closes in on Corrupt Officials

Saturday, 05 December 2009 19:30

THE Harare City Council has ordered investigations into the way several
projects and outsourced jobs were handled in a move that could unearth
massive corrupt activities dating back to the time the municipality was run
by commissions appointed by the government. Council also plans to
restructure some departments it considers contributed to the suspected
corrupt activities.

The new administration has been under unrelenting pressure from the Combined
Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) to investigate several reports of
mounting corruption, which they believe was perpetuated by the illegal
commissions appointed by the Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural
Development, Ignatious Chombo.

According to reports from various committees tabled at the ordinary council
meeting on Tuesday, one of the biggest projects councillors want
investigated is the recent purchase of sewer main pipes valued at US$1.6
million from a local company, Hume Pipe by the Department of Water and

Council's Environmental Management Committee submitted that there was an
anomaly in the way the contract to excavate the trenches for sewer pipes was

The committee also said there was no proof that a telecommunications
company, Econet was authorised to dig trenches in the city, or that the
company had made any payments to council.

The council called for an investigation into these activities, including the
digging of trenches from Boka Tobacco Auction Floors to Glen Norah by an
unnamed businessman.

It has also been recommended that council restructures the Department of
Urban Planning Services by relocating the City Valuation and Estates
Management Division (CVEM) to the Finance Department following the
"suspected corrupt awarding of billboard advertising contracts".

Among others, council said that some companies were erecting billboards in
areas already allocated to other advertising companies on major roads and
that conditions regulating the erection of such billboards were not being

During the discussion, it also emerged that there were people currently
going around claiming that council was working towards setting up a new
Mupedzanhamo Flea Market following recent clashes over the allocation of

"I am not sure where this talk about the construction of a second phase of
Mupedzanhamo is coming from. They are collecting people's monies," Mbare
councillor, Friday Muleya said.

Deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto said the "conmen" who might have links with
council employees had gone as far as Hatcliffe, collecting money from
desperate vendors.

The conmen claim the money will be used for the construction of the flea

Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said "residents of Harare need to be told the truth,
that there is no such development".

Councillors have also queried the way some companies were given space to
erect billboards and how contracts for the purchase of sewer pipes and
excavation of trenches were awarded.

But councillors said the most embarrassing anomaly was the way the
municipality lost a case against one of its employees after an outside
lawyer was hired to represent it.

The municipality was forced to reinstate the employee from its emergency
services division within two weeks.

"During discussion, the (Human Resources and General Purposes) Committee
noted that an external legal practitioner had represented council in this
case without its approval," read the minutes.

The committee said what was more disheartening was the fact that its
recommendation to have the matter resolved internally was disregarded.

The chamber secretary, Josephine Ncube has since been asked to explain why
the lawyer was hired without the committee's approval.

In addition, the committee recommended that the Chamber Secretary's
department be reduced by creating a stand alone legal division.

CHRA has called for an "urgent inquiry by an independent commission set up
by councillors into the issue of the leaking of funds and that professional
and independent auditors be engaged to conduct an audit into the operations
and accounts of the city's finance department."

The association also wants "proper systems and procedures to be put in place
to govern the use and disbursement of money within the city treasury to
ensure transparency and accountability."

Several council undertakings of late have raised eyebrows and they include
the disappearance of meat meant for guests at Masunda's installation several
months ago and theft of cattle at council farms.

In October, councillors tried to stop the construction of the Joshua Nkomo
Expressway that will link the Harare International Airport and the city
centre after they raised objections on the way tenders for the project were

They argued that while Harare was going to spend more than US$80 million on
a distance of less than 20 km a project stretching 77 km in Chegutu had cost
US$19 million. But Chombo ordered the councillors to rescind their decision
to stop all projects related to the Airport Road construction deal.



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West urges govt to implement GPA fully to unlock donor aid

Saturday, 05 December 2009 19:10

WESTERN governments are prepared to help Zimbabwe to re-establish sound
relations with major donors but they want the inclusive government to first
implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA), a senior representative said
last week. Dr Albert Conze, the German Ambassador to Zimbabwe, said a group
of international financiers known as Friends of Zimbabwe were trying to
persuade the World Bank to increase its support to the Multi-Donor Trust

The MDTF was set up as a vehicle for mobilising development aid for Zimbabwe
in order to help the transitional government rehabilitate an economy
battered by almost a decade of international isolation.

Friends of Zimbabwe  comprises Canada, the United States, Sweden, France,
the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Union Commission,
Britain, Japan and Germany.

"We have managed to get the programmatic MDTF back on the agenda because the
World Bank had in the beginning not looked at it in a political way but
rather in a technical manner trying to fit a model that will fit all
post-conflict/crisis situations," said Conze, who was speaking on behalf of
the group.

He said the group was also willing to help the country reduce its arrears to
the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) such as the International
Monetary Fund.

Conze said negotiations to reduce the debt of US$5,4 billion were underway.

But he also encouraged the inclusive government to "formulate and implement
a prudent and transparent debt management policy".

"We believe that full implementation of the GPA will contribute to
re-engagement with the IFIs, including international support for a process
towards clearing Zimbabwe's arrears to international financial institutions,
and assistance to the inclusive government in identifying its debt and
making progress towards reducing it.

"We encourage the government of Zimbabwe to formulate and implement a
prudent and transparent debt management policy," he said.

The German envoy said he was concerned by the delays in the implementation
of the GPA.

"We are concerned that, eight months after the formation of the inclusive
government, a number of key provisions of the GPA remain to be implemented,"
Conze said.

"While work on the agreed GPA objectives has proceeded impressively in the
financial, economic and social sectors, progress on the political track has
been disappointing.

"This situation has been brought about by continued obstruction originating
from political forces, which continue to be hostile to the implementation of
the GPA."

Meanwhile, Conze applauded Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti's 2010 budget
saying it will go a long way in reviving the country's social services.

Biti allocated US$285 million to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

"We heard the Minister of Finance yesterday with his budget with a clear
indication that more than US$800 million is needed," Conze said.

"Of course, he (Biti) knows that he can only get this from donors, where
else should he get it from?

"Zimbabwe is still working on a cash budget, the country has no credit
lines, its international rating does not permit it going to the capital
market, and its unsettled previous debt has not been dealt with so Biti
needs donor support for his budget."


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Tsvangirai’s GNU deadline expires

Saturday, 05 December 2009 19:03

THE one-month deadline Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai gave President
Robert Mugabe to fully implement their power-sharing agreement lapses today
and the feuding parties still have little to show for their two-week long

But political analysts say there is no reason to press the panic button yet.

Tsvangirai and his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) on November 5
ended their boycott of Zanu PF in the unity government after they were
persuaded by regional leaders at an emergency summit of the Southern African
Development Community (Sadc) troika on peace and security in Maputo to give
the coalition a chance.

MDC-T in October boycotted dealing with Zanu PF in cabinet and council of
ministers meetings in protest against Mugabe’s reluctance to fully implement
the GPA which led to the formation of the unity government in February.

Announcing the decision after the regional summit Tsvangirai said: “We have
suspended our disengagement from the GPA with immediate effect and we will
give President Robert Mugabe 30 days to implement the agreement on the
pertinent issues we are concerned about.”

Although the parties resumed negotiations on November 23, there is little to
show that they have narrowed their differences over the controversial
appointments of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana.

The MDC-T also wants Mugabe to swear into office its treasurer general Roy
Bennett as Deputy Minister of Agriculture but the veteran leader has
insisted that the he will not budge until the former Chimanimani MP is
cleared of terrorism, insurgency and banditry charges.

The issues on the agenda have ballooned from six when the latest round of
talks began to 27 and the negotiators are now saying the deadline is just a
time frame that was meant to emphasise the urgency needed to conclude the

There are genuine fears the negotiations could drag on until next year and
in the process delay a number of time-critical result areas for the
transitional government such as the constitution-making process and
preparations for fresh, free and fair elections.

But Brilliant Mhlanga, a Zimbabwean academic based at the University of
Westminster in the United Kingdom said there can never be a deadline for
warring parties to resolve their differences.

“It was not a deadline but a time frame as Welshman Ncube (MDC secretary
general) put it and Zimbabweans must not panic that the time frame has
lapsed without any tangible results,” he said.

“The MDC-T will not disengage from the unity government.

“What should worry Zimbabweans is the fact that these parties have not
implemented something that they agreed on a year ago.

“It means that Zimbabweans will enter the New Year devoid of hope because it
seems after going 120 steps forward, we take 120 steps backwards.”

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Simon Badza said it was
always going to be difficult to meet the Sadc time line because Zanu PF and
MDC-T were poles apart on a number of issues.

“We always said the time frame was too ambitious,” he said. “But the fact
that they have missed the deadline must not be cause for alarm, maybe it’s
just a polite way of saying we don’t need Sadc to give us deadlines...we
will solve our issues as Zimbabweans.”

His views were shared by Takura Zhangazha, the director of the Zimbabwean
chapter of the Media Institute of Southern Africa, who said the parties
might ask for more time from the facilitator, South African President Jacob
Zuma, who was expected in the country this week to review progress.

However, the analysts see the talks gaining momentum after the Zanu PF
congress later this week where the party will be seeking to put its house in
order after divisive nominations for the presidium.

“Zanu PF will play politics just like the MDC-T is bound to do,” Zhangazha
said. “But after the congress things will move smoothly because Mugabe will
still be the Zanu PF principal and outstanding issues will be resolved.

On the ballooning agenda, Mhlanga said it could have more to do with Sadc’s
decision to bring in a new facilitation team led by Zuma, who replaced his
predecessor Thabo Mbeki.

Zuma also appointed a new facilitation team made up of Charles Nqakula, Mac
Maharaj and Lindiwe Zulu.
Mhlanga said the parties could be smuggling in new issues into the agenda to
test if the new team can handle them differently.

Mbeki was accused by the MDC-T of being too soft on President Mugabe and
allowing him to get away with too many transgressions. “Some of these issues
the parties are bringing were agreed on and some even enacted into law as
part of Constitutional Amendment Number 19,” Mhlanga said.

“I think it’s time both Zanu PF and MDC-T understand that Zimbabweans expect
them to implement what they agreed on and move this country forward.”

The new issues on the table now include media reform, which was agreed on
well before the formation of the unity government and the tussle for
diplomatic posts including those that are not yet vacant.

Zanu PF and MDC-T are already fighting for the South African diplomatic
posting in anticipation that the current envoy, Simon Khaya Moyo will be
endorsed as Zanu PF chairman during the party’s congress.

Mugabe is also backtracking on the issue of provincial governors long after
he gave the MDC formations the nod to identify candidates in provinces where
they won most seats in last year’s elections.

But the veteran leader after taking a cue from some of his loyalists now
says it is his prerogative to appoint the governors who must be an extension
of his office in the provinces.

There is also the counter accusation between MDC-T and Zanu PF that they are
running parallel government structures with the once powerful service chiefs
still refusing to embrace the new dispensation.


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‘Sanctions’ to stay until Zanu PF acts on GPA: MDC-T

Saturday, 05 December 2009 19:02

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office has drawn the line in the ongoing
emotive debate on Western sanctions imposed on President Robert Mugabe’s
previous administration by insisting the restrictive measures will not go
away until the Global Political Agreement (GPA) is fully implemented.

Zanu PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Tsvangirai
have been trading accusations on the sanctions since they formed a unity
government in February and the disagreements are threatening to derail the
full implementation of the GPA.

But Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office who
has been tasked with drafting a policy for the unity government on the
sanctions, described them as “rags under the carpet”.

In an interview ahead of his departure for a conference on engagement with
the Diaspora in Cape Town, Moyo said there was nothing the MDC-T could do to
remove the sanctions.

He said the problems that are being blamed on the measures were actually a
result of non-compliance with the GPA.

The conference was held on Thursday and Friday, under the theme: Challenges
for economic reconstruction in Zimbabwe: An engagement with the Diaspora.

Among other things, Moyo spoke about the need to address “internal policy
failures” which he said had caused the decade-long political and economic

“If we implement the GPA, there will be no need to have restrictive
measures. They will become irrelevant,” he said.

When the GPA was signed, hopes were very high that it would open floodgates
of international support.
But most major economies said they would not provide direct support to the
government, insisting aid will be channelled through humanitarian
organisations until there were tangible political reforms.

There has also been a hullabaloo about credit lines from international
finance institutions after countries such as the United States and trading
blocs like the European Union took measures to try and force Mugabe to

All this, said Moyo, did not need any special interventions but would fall
away once the GPA was fully implemented.

“If we come up with a debt clearance strategy, there is no reason why we can
continue to fail to get international financial assistance from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international institutions,” he

“All we need to do is to implement the GPA fully because it addresses all
these issues. It acts as a springboard to economic recovery.”

The sanctions issue continues to be a thorn in the flesh of the inclusive
government as Zanu PF says it is the MDC-T’s responsibility to call for
their removal, while the Prime Minister’s party insists the solution lies
entirely with Zanu PF changing its ways.

Moyo said once the political parties resolve the outstanding issues, there
would be no need to talk about the sanctions.
At the moment, he said the international community was very sceptical about
the situation in the country because of the continued tussling over
outstanding issues.

“If we get our politics right, we will also get the economics right,” Moyo

“We have already started engagements with the European Union. We also need
to re-engage the Commonwealth.

“The benefits of engaging the Commonwealth are huge.”

The minister’s draft policy on the sanctions was discussed at the Cape Town
conference that was officially opened by Tsvangirai on Thursday and
concluded by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara the following day.

However, the main purpose of the event was to interact with Zimabwe’s
Diaspora from 14 countries in an attempt to convince Zimbabweans that they
should return home and to attract foreign direct investment.
The conference was hosted by the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation in
Cape Town.

Moyo said they were currently developing a strategy to maximise remittances
from the Diaspora.

“If our remittances go through the formal channels, Zimbabwe will get the
much-needed foreign currency,” he said.

“We are working towards developing a Diaspora policy that will address the
issues of remittance, investment and participation in national programmes.”

A number of high-profile Zimbabwean business and civil society leaders now
in exile addressed the conference.


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HIV/Aids activists march to highlight plight of sufferers

Saturday, 05 December 2009 18:30

FIFTY HIV/Aids activists last week marched from Mhondoro to Harare to raise
awareness about the disease and to pressure the government to ensure
universal access to life prolonging drugs. The members of the Simbarashe
National Network of People Living (SNNPL) with HIV left Mhondoro on
Wednesday morning and arrived in the capital on Saturday morning.
The activists, the majority of them elderly women, were met by other
HIV/Aids activists at the Africa Unity Square.
They were also joined by former Deputy Minister of Information and
Publicity, Bright Matonga who is MP for Mhondoro and National Aids Council
(NAC) communications manager, Madeline Dube.
SNNPL director, Richman Rangwani said the march was intended, among many
other things; to spread the HIV/Aids message and to push government to make
life-saving anti-retroviral drugs accessible to those living with HIV.
Rangwani said health workers must be assisted to handle people living with
HIV with respect and dignity saying many have lost their passion of helping
the sick to get better.
"Government needs to make ARVs available to everyone because this is a
matter of life and death," he said.
"Many people end up dying at home because of the long processes at public
hospitals when one wants to start on treatment."
Susan Mushayikwa (65) said she walked after she saw the pressing need to
"save people's lives. "
She said many people were afraid of getting tested resulting in most of them
dying prematurely.
But 34-year-old Tendai Mangwiro said she wanted to teach her peers about the
dangers of HIV/Aids and to give hope to those already living with the virus.
Although the HIV prevalence rate has gone down to 13.7% from 15% last year,
many people living with HIV are still not able to access ARVs.


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Zim Trio Charged With Fraud in US Court

Saturday, 05 December 2009 18:23

COVINGTON, United States - A 33-year-old Zimbabwe man, Paul Shumbayaonda
from Loveland, Ohio, was convicted of getting almost free cameras, printers
and computers from a friend who worked at Staples. A federal jury on Friday
found Paul Shumbayaonda guilty of conspiracy to commit wire fraud after a
four-day trial, according the US Attorney's Office.
Prosecutors say Shumbayaonda and two of his friends, Huyaimuzoona Bere and
Bekizulu Mhlanga, conspired to profit from Bere's position as a customer
service representative at a Staples call center in Florence.
Shumbayaonda and Mhlanga would place Internet orders for items such as ink
cartridges and computer disks using personal credit cards. Bere would then
access the orders and add high priced items like laptops, printers, and
digital cameras, prosecutors said.
He would discount the items to between one cent and $19.99. The trio was
charged with wire fraud because the orders were sent from the customer
service centre in Florence to Framingham, Massachusetts, Staples' home
In one order, Bere added a $2 200 HP computer and two Canon cameras worth $2
800 to an order and manipulated the computer system so that Mhlanga was
charged less than a dollar for each item, court records show.
When Shumbayaonda and Mhlanga received the items they would sell the goods
for a profit on E-bay, use the items themselves or sell or give the items to
The trio completed the scheme at least eight times which resulted in Staples
loosing $118,492, prosecutors said.
Shumbayaonda will be sentenced on March 18. He faces a maximum prison
sentence of 20 years.
A detention hearing for Shumbayaonda will be held tomorrow (Monday).
Bere and Mhlanga each pleaded guilty to conspiracy last month.
Mhlanga, who is from Zimbabwe, will be sentenced on January 22 while Bere
will be sentenced on February 26. They also face 20 years in prison. - The
Zimbabwe Mail.

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