HARARE (AFP) – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe told his South
African counterpart he is not happy being in a power-sharing government with
long-time challenger Morgan Tsvangirai, a state weekly reported on
"I told President (Jacob) Zuma I am a lawyer and I am not happy
to be in a thing which is semi-legal," Mugabe was quoted as saying by The
Sunday Mail, revealing for the first time details of meetings with Zuma last
month to try to prevent the collapse of Zimbabwe's power-sharing
"Our authority as a government does not derive from a
properly constituted constitutional position but from a makeshift
arrangement and Zimbabweans should never be governed on such a makeshift
arrangement for too long.
"I feel awkward in a thing like that,
absolutely awkward," he is quoted as saying.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai
formed the power-sharing government last year to ease tensions in the
aftermath of a bloody presidential run-off election in 2008 and to mend an
economy ravaged by a nearly decade-long crisis.
Under the agreement, the
country is expected to hold elections after a new constitution has been
But the constitution-making process, which has been marred by
violence at public meetings, has yet to be completed.
ZANU-PF party has declared polls will be held around June next year with or
without the new constitution agreed to in the power-sharing deal.
has also been rising in the unity government following disagreements among
top government officials and haggling over the allocation of key
Last month Tsvangirai, the prime minister and head of the Movement
for Democratic Change - Tsvangirai (MDC-T), asked the high court to revoke
Mugabe's appointment of provincial governors saying he had not been
But Mugabe vowed he would not reverse the disputed
"We remain resolute that there won't be any movement on
governors until we see a commitment on the part of the MDC-T to end
sanctions and pirate radio stations," Mugabe was quoted as saying by The
The long-time ruler accuses Tsvangirai of calling for
Western sanctions including a travel embargo against himself and members of
his inner circle, and of using pirate radio stations broadcasting from
abroad to peddle lies about him and his party.
He has vowed not to
make compromises on issues hampering the power-sharing government until the
United States and the European Union lift the sanctions and pirate radio
stations cease broadcasts in Zimbabwe.
Zuma met with Zimbabwe's leaders
on November 26 to try to smooth over disputes threatening their
"There had been a breakdown of communication between the
leadership of the government here. That has been resolved," he said
"The meetings (between Mugabe and Tsvangirai) are going to
continue. All the issues are going to be discussed and resolved," he said.
As investigators into the $80-million
airport road construction saga rage on, Harare City councillors have
uncovered evidence that the controversial Estonian company Augur Investments
is being used as a conduit to fleece council of millions of dollars and vast
tracts of prime land.
The scam, according to an investigation by the
Harare City Council, again implicates the Minister of Local Government,
Rural and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo, senior council employees and a
caretaker commission which ran council affairs in 2008.
Copies of the
report compiled after an investigation by councillors have been sent to the
Prime Minister's office and parliament for investigation. Council is also
expected to make a report available to the Anti-corruption Commission and
Speculation of corruption was fuelled when, during
investigations, it emerged that a company owned by Chombo, Harvest Net
Investments, shares the same address as Augur.
correspondence intercepted by councillors, Chombo's Harvest Net and Augur
are both located at 62 Quorn Avenue, Mt Pleasant, Harare.
officials deny any wrongdoing. It has also turned out that Augur has no
capacity to construct the airport road, and has since subcontracted a South
African company, Power Construction SA.
After Augur was awarded the
tender two years ago, it formed a joint- venture company with the city
council, Sunshine Developments, in which council has a 30% stake while Augur
In the deal with council, Augur will get over 1000 hectares of
land in exchange for the construction of the road. Augur says it wants to
use the land to construct shopping malls and golf courses, among other
All the deals were signed by a caretaker council chaired by
Michael Mahachi, with Tendai Mahachi as the town clerk. The two, who are
said to be related, signed all the million-dollar deals, and at times, the
report says, Chombo witnessed the signing.
Part of the report by
councillors says: "In a recorded interview, Dr T Mahachi indicated that
Augur was approached by the council during the Zimbabwe International Trade
Fair in Bulawayo.
"This meeting culminated in the council entering into
an agreement with Augur on the formation of Sunshine and, thereafter, the
awarding of the airport road contract.
"It is pertinent to note that
the address which is cited as Augur's in the shareholders' agreement is the
same address that Minister Chombo's Harvest Net also cites in its articles
of association as its own.
"The caretaker council was formally appointed
in a letter written by Dr Chombo, on 21 May 2008. The minister therefore was
endorsing an agreement being signed by his appointee (MMahachi) with Augur
Investments, a company that shares and operates from the same address as his
company, Harvest Net."
"The picture has emerged that the dealings and
decisions made by the caretaker council are a well-orchestrated plan to
plunder government and council resources on a grand scale.
substantial circumstantial evidence that points to the fact that Minister
Chombo's irregular appointment of a caretaker council in 2008 was calculated
to derive some personal benefit for some people," reads part the
But the town clerk Tendai Mahachi says everything was done
above board. "It is important to note that these agreements have council
resolutions and were entered into in a transparent manner."
Arcelormittal, the world's largest
steelmaking company, was politically blocked from taking over Zimbabwe's
state-owned firm, Ziscosteel, because of its chief executive's friendship
with former British prime minister Tony Blair.
Robert Mugabe and Blair are bitter enemies. Mugabe has described Blair as a
"a gay gangster", while Blair labelled Mugabe as on the "eccentric end of
The two last met during the Commonwealth heads of government
meeting in Durban in November 1999.
Their meeting, at which they
tried to fix the sour relationship, broke down in chaos and bitterness.
Since then they have only spoken about each other in disparaging
Information obtained by the Sunday Times this week shows that
Mugabe and his advisers did not want ArcelorMittal to win the bid to take
over Ziscosteel because of CEO Lakshmi Mittal's friendship with Blair.
Mittal is Europe's richest man and the fifth richest in the world. The steel
tycoon has a personal fortune of $28-billion.
"A security check was
done on the companies which were bidding for Ziscosteel and it was found
that ArcelorMittal's boss has connections with Blair and for that reason the
company was never going to win the bidding process," a senior business
executive told the Sunday Times.
"In the first round of bidding it was
made clear to government officials by those close to Mugabe that
ArcelorMittal was not wanted.
"By the time the company dropped out of the
race, it was already politically blacklisted and was not going to
Eventually the tender to buy Ziscosteel was won by Mauritian-based
Essar Africa Holdings, which is a subsidiary of another Indian steelmaking
giant, Essar Group. -Times Live
Written by Tapiwa Zivira Friday, 03
December 2010 10:47
JOHANNESBURG -- On most days in the summer, the
weather in South Africa’s popular commercial capital, Johannesburg,
generally ranges from cool to warm. But there is always the odd day when
temperatures can sometimes soar to levels only familiar to inhabitants of
Africa’s deserts to the north and south-west of the continent.
the scorching sun today is hardly on 32-year old Terrence Masika’s list of
worries as he shifts and shuffles along in the queue with thousands of other
Zimbabwean immigrants anxiously waiting to submit his application for a work
permit here at the Johannesburg offices of South Africa’s department of home
affairs along Harrison Street.
“I have been sleeping here for three days,
but I have only been able to get forms to fill in, so I am back for the
fingerprints,” Masika says, as he sweeps his forehead with the back of his
palm, mopping the sweat.
But it is not the seemingly endless queue, nor
the sweltering heat that worries Masika or his fellow illegal immigrants
waiting here or at various home affairs facilities in all major cities
across South Africa.
Christmas visit What worries the immigrants is
that they may not be able to acquire permits by Christmas, meaning they
would have to forgo the traditional end of year visit back home to see
family and friends for fear they will this time round not be able to skip
the border back into South Africa.
While tens of thousands of Zimbabweans
regularly entered South Africa illegally, talk within an anxious Zimbabwean
immigrant community here is that this time it might not be possible after
Pretoria vowed to not only deport all illegal Zimbabwean immigrants once the
amnesty on deportation expires but to also seal the borders and ensure no
more illegal entry.
“If I do not mange to get a permit, then it means no
more home visits during this festive season or at any other occasion for a
long time to come,” said Simon Chimbeu, a barman at a club in Rosebank, one
of Johannesburg’s top districts.
“I do not think it would be wiser to
go anywhere near the border once home affairs (South African) start this
campaign we hear they will launch once the permit deadline expires,” said
Chimbeu, echoing the fears of most Zimbabweans staying here
Anxious times These are anxious times for illegal
Zimbabweans immigrants. The official position is that once the clock strikes
12 midnight on December 31, any Zimbabwean immigrant caught without a permit
to stay in South Africa will be immediately arrested and taken to a holding
centre before they are deported back to Zimbabwe.
in Pretoria have on countless times emphasised that they do not plan to
launch a campaign with police and trucks prowling the suburbs, rounding up
illegal Zimbabwean immigrants for deportation – such massages have not done
much to calm the fears of Masika, Chimbeu or the next illegal Zimbabwean
immigrant you meet on the street.
Besides, the mere fact that after
December 31 one could be easily deported if they fail to produce a valid
permit seems to far outweigh any official assurances that they will not be a
manhunt for illegal Zimbabwean immigrants.
The only way out, it
seems, is to endure these never ending queues and hope that at the end of
the tortuous journey one’s application for a permit is
The procedure to apply is on paper a very simply and
To apply for a South African permit one must
submit a valid Zimbabwean passport and proof of employment in the form of an
official letter from a registered company or an affidavit from an
Hostile, incompetent Once one provides proof that they are a
citizen of Zimbabwe working, studying or engaged in business in South Africa
they are then issued withy an application form and advised of the date on
which to return the forms to the application centre and upon which they will
also have their fingerprints taken for home affairs records.
one submits the application form and have had their fingerprints taken all
they now need to do is to wait for an SMS confirming that their application
is being processed and the date when they should come and collect their
permit. An SMS is also sent to applicants once the permit is out.
that is how the system works on paper. In reality it is a journey to hell
and back, to use the old and tired cliché.
For starters many of the
immigrants do not have birth certificates, national identity documents or
passports to show that they are Zimbabweans and will therefore have to spend
days queuing at Zimbabwean consulate offices to obtain these before they can
apply for South African permits.
Thousands of the immigrants were by last
week still trying to obtain passports amid growing fears that many will not
make the deadline to submit applications for permits.
Then there is
the problem of an understaffed and traditionally incompetent South African
home affairs bureaucracy that in addition is also well known for its hostile
attitude towards foreigners especially from Zimbabwe.
A quick look at the
statistics coming from the South African home affairs department is a good
indicator of the kind of logjam the whole process seems headed
According to the latest figures from the departments, out of the 73
400 applications received so far, 46 000 are yet to be processed -- and this
less than four weeks before deadline day, while multitudes continue to
gather at home affairs centres to submit their applications.
5 000 applications have been rejected since the process started in September
and this raises another problem – what to do with those wishing to appeal
against rejection of their initial applications.
The Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa
(Cormsa) believes the December deadline must be pushed back to at least June
next year to avoid the whole scheme collapsing in chaos.
any indication (from government) whether (extension of deadline) this is
possible,” Cormsa director Caroline Wanjau told the media last
“What is of concern to us is there are still issues such as people
waiting for their passports. The first batch of those passports was only
delivered by the end of October,” said Wanjau, whose group fights for the
rights immigrants and refuges in South Africa.
According to Wanjau,
Cormsa was pushing for a meeting with government officials to discuss the
appeals process on rejected applications among other issues, which means
that, perhaps, not all hope is lots for those whose applications have been
However it is not all doom and gloom for every immigrant.
For the about 20 000 who have had their applications for permits approved,
it is the proverbial dawning of a new era.
Barbara Nkowani is a
teacher who has lived in South Africa for the past nine years using fake
documents. And this, according to her, is how her situation has dramatically
changed since she got her permit.
“I used to be scared of being caught by
the police but now I am free; I can now move around freely and I can even go
home and come back easily,” she told The Zimbabwean on Sunday. She can count
As for Masika and his fellow immigrants waiting with him in
that long queue along Harrison Street, it’s still going to be many more days
of anxious waiting.
"Africa specialists" advised Americans to stop public criticism of
From the American Embassy London to the Secretary of State
Washington DC, February 6 2009
U.S. VERSUS UK PRIORITIES, LONDON THINK TANKS COMMENT
REF: A. 08 LONDON
1426 B. 08 LONDON 2477 C. LONDON 289 D. LONDON 266 E. 08 LONDON 2882 F.
08 LONDON 3165 G. 08 LONDON 2917
Classified By: Political Counselor
Richard Mills, reasons 1.4 (b/d).
¶1. (SBU/NF) Summary. During the
transition to the Obama Administration, London think tanks have been active
in discussing USG and HMG priorities in Africa. Poloff took the opportunity
to poll opinions among Africa specialists at Chatham House, RUSI, the Royal
Africa Society, Africa Confidential, the Commonwealth Policy Studies Unit,
and International Crisis Group (please protect). The following are
issue-by-issue consensus summaries from those discussions:
Africa policy lacks focus and is unable to internally prioritize its Africa
-- Zimbabwe should/will remain a priority for the UK for
historical reasons, but the USG's focus is ‘surprising,' as it is largely a
contained crisis that should be treated as a regional issue. A ‘tough and
quiet' approach should be considered.
-- Somalia should be more of a
priority for HMG, given the UK's history with the region, the large number
of Somali Diaspora in the UK, and the real security threats that community
may present to the UK.
-- Nigeria, especially the Niger Delta and
corruption issues, should be a greater HMG priority because of Nigeria's
financial links to the UK, large UK-based Diaspora community, and energy
-- Sudan, including the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the
Darfur crisis, should remain top USG and HMG priorities because of the
regional impact destabilization would have on the Horn.
Africa's desire for a permanent UNSC seat should be the leverage point for
the USG and HMG to actively improve relations with South Africa.
global economic downturn will have a greater affect on Africa than the IMF
and World Bank are predicting.
-- Engaging African Diaspora communities
should be a key USG and HMG focus, as Africa is the most politically
-- Engaging Muslims in Africa may be a mechanism to
also improve relations with the Middle East and South Asia. End
UK Africa Policy Lacks Direction, Unable to
¶2. (SBU/NF) Most London-based think tank Africa specialists
thought HMG had lost its ability to prioritize on Africa, especially since
the October 2008 departure of Prime Minister's Special Advisor on Africa and
Development Justin Forsyth. HMG's creation of an inter-agency
Defense-Foreign Office-International Development Cabinet Sub-Committee on
Africa, they thought, had not succeeded in resolving internal HMG disputes
over priorities in Africa. Given the UK's credit crunch and diminishing
international influence, the Chatham House Africa specialist asserted, HMG
should be trying to burden share on Africa with the French and the EU. HMG,
however, has not done that effectively and is therefore spreading itself too
thin, resulting in a lack of tangible impact in areas of strategic British
¶3. (C/NF) Embassy comment: Forsyth, while hit-or-miss on
follow through, was generally able to corral UK government departments into
setting African priorities: Sudan, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria. FCO Minister for
Africa Mark Malloch-Brown has tried to provide direction (ref A), but his
‘nice guy' approach of dealing directly with African leaders through his
well-established network of contacts, coupled with the lack-luster direction
of the new FCO Africa Director Adam Wood (ref B), has meant no serious
consideration of the UK's priorities in Africa.
The UK's National
Security Strategy also failed to provide any direction, though efforts are
underway to improve the document (ref C). Brendan Cox, former Crisis Action
head, is due to replace Forsyth at No. 10 in mid-February, but many of those
with whom we spoke questioned if he will have the political capital to make
any real impact on the UK's Africa policy, given Prime Minister Brown's
standing in the domestic polls and need to focus on the global economic
situation. End comment.
¶4. (SBU/NF) Several think tank
analysts thought that Zimbabwe should and will remain a top priority for the
UK, but that HMG's history of bombastic statements has only served to
solidify President Mugabe's status as a colonial liberation leader and
rallied South Africa's unwavering support. From a strategic perspective,
these analysts termed the USG's focus on Zimbabwe as ‘surprising' because
Zimbabwe is not a threat, but largely a contained crisis.
that Zimbabwe's crisis should be treated as a regional issue, not an
international one, and that the USG should not sacrifice it's relations with
South Africa, the more strategic partner, over Zimbabwe, even if the
political events in Zimbabwe run contrary to the USG's democracy
They recommended the international community take a ‘tough and
quiet' approach to Mugabe and ZANU-PF, sanctioning and obstructing their
personal freedoms but without commenting publicly. They asserted that the
international community's concern about Zimbabwe being a regional
destabilizer is largely unfounded, as most of the Southern Africa
Development Community (SADC) - especially South Africa - ‘can take of
¶5. (SBU/NF) Given the UK's history, the
large number of Somali Diaspora in the UK, and the real security threats
that community may present to the UK, think tank security specialists
thought Somalia should be more of a priority for HMG. HMG, they argued,
should be more innovative on Somalia policy, focusing on local community
engagement and finding humanitarian and social initiatives where material
benefit can be derived without deployment of an excessively large
The RUSI Africa specialist said HMG and the USG's
previous entry point to Somalia was through Ethiopia. With the withdrawal of
Ethiopian troops, a new entry point should be found quickly. He thought both
IGAD and the AU could serve in this capacity. He also asserted that
recognition of Somaliland should be considered to allow it access to
international mechanisms for development and capacity support, as well as to
support its democratic development in the face of increasing Islamic
¶6. (C/NF) Embassy comment. Cabinet office officials
have told us that they consider Somalia a serious security concern, but they
have not been able to induce other HMG departments to move on it, in large
part because of the failure of the HMG process to set Africa priorities.
HMG's budget crunch also seems to be hindering the decision-making process
(ref D). End comment.
¶7. (SBU/NF) Think tank West Africa
specialists, citing Nigeria's significant financial links to the UK, large
Diaspora community, and energy potential, said that the country, especially
the Niger Delta and corruption issues, should be a clear HMG priority, but
it has not been. HMG's capacity for political analysis on Nigeria, they
thought, was both ‘weak and shallow.'
The RUSI security specialist
said Nigeria, as well as Africa as a whole, needs better maritime security
and should be able to secure its ports. Weak land and maritime security,
combined with fragile state and government institutions, is an integrated
problem in Nigeria, he asserted.
¶8. (C/NF) Embassy comment: Although the
Foreign Office appears interested in developing a more focused and strategic
policy on Nigeria, the Home Office's drive to conclude a prisoner transfer
agreement has prevented HMG from moving forward on any other meaningful
issues (refs E, F, and G). End comment.
¶9. (SBU/NF) All
the think tank analysts consulted agreed that Sudan, including
implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and finding a
political solution to the Darfur crisis, should remain top HMG and USG
priorities because of the regional impact destabilization of Sudan would
have on the entire Horn of Africa.
These analysts also all agreed that now was the time for both HMG and the
USG to improve relations with South Africa. It is time to mend fences,
especially for the UK, and South Africa's desire for a permanent UN Security
Council seat as part of UNSC reform, should be the leverage point, they
asserted. South Africa, they assessed, has the potential to break up
unhelpful African voting blocks in the UN, in spite of its ‘diplomatically
difficult' time during its recent rotation on the Security
The Global Economic Downturn and Africa
Royal African Society specialists thought the global economic downturn would
affect Africa significantly, much more than the IMF and World Bank have been
reporting, because of falling commodity prices. Increased unemployment, they
thought, would likely increase urban unrest and destabilize individual
Engaging the Diaspora
¶12. (SBU/NF) Several
think tank specialists noted the importance of the African Diaspora. With
the global credit crunch, they thought, the African Diaspora's role will be
increasingly important, both economically and politically. They asserted
that Africa is the most politically globalized continent, even if it is not
They indicated that HMG and the USG should find
ways for the Diaspora to constructively engage on the continent, which will
influence African governments in favor of Western values, as most large,
affluent African Diaspora communities are based in the
¶13. (SBU/NF) The RUSI Africa specialist suggested
that HMG and the USG should do more to engage Muslims in Africa, as it is an
easier entry point for fostering goodwill that may transmit to more
difficult geographic areas, like the Middle East and South
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s First Lady Grace Mugabe has been linked to
the Chinese mafia, in startling revelations that are said to have caused
some diplomatic discomfort between Harare and Beijing and were the main
reason for last month’s purge on companies mining the controversial Marange
diamond fields. London-based think-tank Africa Confidential said President
Robert Mugabe was told by the Chinese government that his wife Grace – who
is reportedly pursuing her own mining interests in the controversial diamond
fields – was dealing with dubious traders from Hong Kong where she has
“Senior Chinese officials, including President
Hu Jintao, were concerned enough about this relationship to inform President
Mugabe personally that these Hong Kong traders had links to Triad criminal
syndicates, which have already established a strong base in South Africa,”
said the think-tank.
The Triad is a Chinese organised crime organisation
involved in extortion, money laundering, human trafficking and
Mugabe, who is said to be furious at the diplomatic
embarrassment caused by these revelations and security breaches, has ordered
an investigation of all the entities operating in Marange.
victims of the presidential order were the directors of Canadile Miners, one
of the two officially sanctioned companies exploiting the Marange field,”
the group said.
Canadile directors and officials from the Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC) were arrested in Mutare last month in the
course of what was billed as a government crackdown on illicit mining and
Canadile is a joint venture of the South African firm Core
Mining and Minerals and the state-owned ZMDC.
The Zimbabwe government
cancelled Canadile’s diamond claims in November and announced it was taking
control of the joint mining venture following allegations that the firm’s
fraudulently acquired mining concessions in Marange.
Chiadzwa is one
of the world’s most controversial diamond fields with reports that soldiers
sent to guard the claims after the government took over the field in October
2006 from ACR committed gross human rights abuses against illegal miners who
had descended on the field. - Zimbabwean
HARARE - Local government minister Ignatius Chombo has
promised a crackdown against errant councils whom he has directed to
finalise their budgets and submit estimates of revenue and expenditures to
his offices by end of the week.
The directive puts into sharp
focus the hefty allowances and salaries earned by top management in
municipalities, which the minister has previously said were hidden in
artificial budget lines.
He said the deadline by his ministry also
intends to ensure that budgets were approved timeously to enable local
authorities to commence revenue collection from the first day of
A letter sent out to all councils by local government secretary
Killian Mupingo last week, says Chombo will hold budgetary verification
exercises with all local authorities, starting with the Northern region
councils on 6 and 7 December, and Southern region on 9 and 10
Chombo warned that no budgets would be approved without
requisite information as per the ministry’s checklist, which includes
salaries and allowances which have been identified as cost drivers that
inhibit quality service delivery in the municipalities.
of salaries and allowances for staff members of local authorities were
identified as a cost driver,” Chombo said in his earlier directive to local
councils where he warned them against increasing salaries and allowances for
“ The government policy of 30:70 costs to service delivery
ration has been widely flouted as purely budgetary exercise with inflated
revenue predictions. It has also been noted that many of the perks for staff
and management, which should be listed as employment costs, are hidden in
other budget lines.”
Although Chombo gave a directive to councils to
freeze wage increases and allowances which he said should be done with his
express approval, the Harare City Council, in its proposed US$260 million
budget for 2011, continues to flout the government ratio of 30 percent wage
bill against 70 percent for service delivery.
Salaries would gobble
70 percent of the budget which the city fathers would finance through rates,
supplementary charges and levies.
If approved, the budget will trigger
increases in fixed water charges for high-density and low-density consumers,
as well as rentals.
Gweru City Council was forced to withdraw its
proposed 2011 budget by ratepayers who resisted its US$15, 6 million, which
had earlier been pegged at US$12 million.
If the budget had been
approved, service charges would have been upped by more than 40
Since the formation of the inclusive government which brought in
dollarization, local authorities’ managements have taken a lot of flak for
living lavish lifestyles funded by steep rates for consumers.
City Council managers and councillors earn hefty allowances in sittings,
despite presiding over collapsed service delivery.
Most residents have
complained of high and inflated water bills charges by council despite going
for weeks without the precious mineral.
Raw sewage and garbage have
increased in the city raising fears of an outbreak of cholera which killed
4293 people between November 2008 and January 2010.
declared the outbreak a national emergency and requested aid from
by marin2008 Sunday, 05 December 2010 IOM Press Briefing
The Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (ZIMSTAT) with support
from IOM is today convening a workshop in Kadoma to identify challenges on
quantifying the Zimbabwean diaspora ahead of the 2012 national
The workshop, funded by the IOM 1035 Facility and the
European Union, brings together representatives from government ministries
and agencies, universities and international development partners, to
discuss the methodological and technical aspects of capturing the number of
Over the last decade, Zimbabwe has
experienced significant social and economic upheaval which has led to
unprecedented levels of emigration from the country. At the same time,
Zimbabwe's capacity to capture accurate and timely migration and immigration
statistics has been severely limited due to resource
As a result, the nature and extent of the Zimbabwean
diaspora remains largely unknown, making policy and programme planning
difficult. However, the Zimbabwean diaspora is estimated at roughly four
million individuals, with the number of Zimbabweans in South Africa alone
believed to be between one and 1.5 million.
Through its support
to ZIMSTAT and the conference on diaspora data collection, IOM seeks to
further strengthen policy formulation and planning on diaspora engagement
for reconstruction and development. Such planning could be key to
development with recent estimates showing remittances to Zimbabwe totalling
as much as 7.2% of the country's gross domestic product.
Peta Thornycroft reports from Harare on the
courageous efforts of Zane, a charity working to get Zimbabwe's poorest back on
Restored to health: Patience and Tanaka in their cardboard house
Thornycroft in Harare7:00AM GMT 05 Dec
Tanaka, whose name means “it is nice” in
Zimbabwe’s Shona language, was born in Harare on August 13. She and her twin
brother, Tawanda, seemed well when they left the state maternity hospital, and
the family celebrated their birth.
Early one morning, three weeks later, however,
the babies’ father, Farai, 38, went to their bed: only one of the newborns was
crying for food. Tawanda was dead.
When a community health worker visited the
grieving couple, it became apparent that the baby had starved to death. The
babies’ mother, Patience, had insufficient milk for one baby, let alone two.
“We realised that the surviving child needed
supplementary feeding,” says the health worker, whose modest salary is paid by
Zane, one of this year’s Telegraph Christmas charities.
The charity – its full name is Zimbabwe, a
National Emergency – was set up by the former MP Tom Benyon in 2002, after he
met Kathy Olds, a Zimbabwean who fled to Britain with her children when her
husband, a farmer, was murdered. On visiting Zimbabwe, Mr Benyon saw for himself
the dramatic effects of the country’s hyperinflation, which wiped out assets and
savings and left large parts of the population destitute.
The charity now has 32 employees as well as
scores of volunteers, helping a wide range of Zimbabweans, from pensioners –
many of them former British civil servants and soldiers who lost their property
and savings and are barely surviving – to the poor and needy in the slums, where
one in three people under 40 suffers from Aids.
Last year, it channelled £1.3 million from
overseas to fund its work and to give small cash grants to some of the neediest.
Conditions in the country, where the average
life expectancy is just 46, can be appalling, and the continuing shortage of
food in a nation that once exported surplus farm produce to the rest of Africa
means that millions of Zimbabweans have an inadequate diet.
“We brought in food to feed Patience up and
improve the quantity of her breast milk,” said the community worker, who – like
all Zane’s local employees – cannot be named for safety reasons.
Tanaka is now a healthy 3.5kg, slightly below
the normal weight for a baby of her age, “but she is catching up fast”.
In normal terms, it didn’t take much to ensure
the health of Tanaka – some beans, cooking oil, peanut butter and dried fish
and, according to the health worker, “within days, Patience’s milk supply
improved” – but in Zimbabwe and, in particular, in the troubled suburbs of
Harare, it takes a wide network of community workers, operating carefully and
diplomatically, to help those most in need.
Often it is dangerous work. This sort of
high-density suburb was targeted for clearance by Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF
government five years ago, three years before it struck a “power-sharing”
agreement with the opposition MDC.
The UN estimates that more than two million
people lost homes and small businesses during the clearances. The UN provided
temporary plastic shelters, but there weren’t enough to go around, and people
such as Farai and Patience were left to live in houses constructed from
cardboard, with only a plastic roof against the elements.
“We are dreading the rains,” says Farai. “We
want rain so we can grow vegetables, but we know we will be wet all through
The community worker is positive, however. “We
think this family can pull through with support. “Our main work is not to
provide food, but to help people survive by making them self-sufficient, so we
encourage them to grow vegetables, or help them set up small shops, or transfer
skills so they can provide for their families.”
Farai had been a policeman for 10 years before
he was forced to leave the force in 2008. “I don’t know why I was sacked, I
never talked politics at work,” he says. Now, he has no job. He also has
HIV-Aids, and his dry, red lips are tell-tale signs that the antiretroviral
drugs he is receiving, thanks to western aid, have yet to stall the progress of
Patience is free of the virus, although both her
parents died from it a few years ago.
Most people in urban areas now openly talk about
their HIV-Aids infection and, through the dedicated counselling of the health
workers, Aids is now seen as a disease and not a disgrace.
Robert has Aids – and for someone who has
recently lost the use of his legs, the 48-year-old has a sharp sense of humour.
Sitting on the only “chair” (it is an old tractor tyre) in his shelter, he roars
with laughter when asked if his wider family can help support him and his
immediate family. “Do you know of anyone here who has a job? I don’t know a
single person who has a job. I used to have a job as a farm worker, but the
white man I was working for was kicked off his land.”
So Robert now lives in a Harare ghetto, in a
plastic and cardboard shelter held together with tape, where there is no
electricity and no sewage system. The family survives because his wife walks
about 20 miles every day to collect wood to sell.
Robert receives free antiretroviral drugs, but
his wife, Lilian, 35, though also HIV-positive is not considered ill enough to
qualify for the drugs.
She looks fit and is receiving decent nutrition
thanks to the Zane-supported health workers. Robert is taken in the volunteers’
truck to have his blood checked every month, and weekly he sees a
physiotherapist. Slowly, he is regaining some use of his legs.
His three children, aged between six and 13,
aren’t being educated as there is no money for even the modest fees asked by the
Anthony, 13, has to spend much of his time
heaving his father’s heavy frame around. The young boy has had three years of
schooling in the past, and would love to finish his education. “I can still
remember how to read and write a bit,” he says.
“We try to get involved in the most extreme
cases,” says the health worker. Unfortunately, the network of volunteers doesn’t
have the resources yet to help everyone in the ghetto. “This family are
dependent on the mother selling firewood, but we can help in other ways.”
Like Farai and Patience, Robert and Lilian live
from day to day. Their one hope is that the government will continue to leave
their meagre homes standing, and then, with Zane’s help, they will be able to
carry on trying to rebuild their lives.
A small window opened in the
freezing weather to allow us to hold our Vigil as normal – although with
depleted attendance. The current cold spell has been the worst in living memory
so early in the winter. Train travel was disrupted by snow and traffic brought
to a standstill in many places because of icy roads. Sue Toft, a supporter in
deepest Kent – 40 miles or so from the Vigil – phoned to say she had been
snowbound in her home for four days and was preparing to venture out on foot to
buy food . .
Being brought to a standstill gave
Vigil supporters pause to digest three interesting developments. Mugabe’s
predictable anti-Western posturing at the EU-Africa summit in
Libya seems, in retrospect, to have done
our cause nothing but good. To Europeans – and that means of course black
British people as well – he was seen – in former
US Ambassador Dell’s terms – as a
delusional egomaniac. In many African eyes he was simply an embarrassment.
Mr Dell’s assessment in 2007 of the
leading Zimbabwean politicians published by Wikileaks chimed with our own views:
Mutambara lightweight, Welshman Ncube duplicitous, Tsvangirai indecisive, Mbeki
partial. But we at the Vigil remain puzzled why the
US continued to support Mbeki’s
‘mediation’ and why it did not make clear its opposition to the abortive GNU
from the beginning. It would have helped those of us who
The third development provided a
reproof to dodgy academics using small-scale unrepresentative studies to try to
legitimise Mugabe’s land ‘reform’ policy. Zimonline, based in
Africa, spent three months looking at the
real beneficiaries of the land grab (http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=6474). It said more than 40% went to
Mugabe’s cronies, many of then given multiple farms. Mugabe and his wife have fourteen. All of Zanu PF’s 56 politburo
members, 98 Members of Parliament and 35 elected and unelected Senators were
allocated former white farms. All 10 provincial governors have seized farms,
with four being multiple owners. Apart from senior army and police officers and
government officials, 16 Supreme Court and High Court judges also own large
There is nothing new here to Vigil
supporters but it underlines how difficult it will be to remove these thieves
from power. Deep down they know they will not be able to justify their looting
and any change of regime will expose them to justice. The simple fact is that
they will always be at risk of being brought to book under international law.
The Zimbabwean looters are not in
the same position as their models elsewhere in Africa. The Kenyan elite took massive
bribes and stole aid money, difficult to trace. President Tshombe of the DRC and
the leaders from countries such as Nigeria and
Angola looted natural resources. But as
for the stolen farms it is going to be very difficult for Zanu PF people to
explain them away or for Mr Chombo to explain how he owns half of every city in
Zimbabwe or for Mines Minister M’puffed-up
to explain the ‘diamonds on the soles of his shoes’.
The Vigil’s advice to the Zimbabwean
mafia is that they would be wise to sell their farms to
China and go and lie low somewhere in
Asia. There is a steady demand for food
by the UN which has now launched a new appeal to mainly Western donors for
US$415 million to feed some 1.7 million Zimbabweans for the next three months.
Perhaps the Chinese might consider growing food on the underused farms and sell
it to the UN at a discount? After all
Zimbabwe is likely to be a repeat customer .
good to be visited by Judith Todd, the Zimbabwean human rights champion, who was
briefly in London. She said how encouraged she was
that we were still going and how she looked forward to reading our diary every
week. She reminded us that in 1980 international police monitored the Zimbabwean
elections and she suggested this might be a sensible way forward for next year’s
elections. Given the recent Nazi-like response from Police chief Chihuru that
any non-Zanu PF victory would not be allowed, this seems a good idea. (See
Events and Notices for Judith’s book.)
Patson Muzuwa who brought a mini-busload of supporters from
Leicester and led the singing and
·The Restoration of Human Rights in
Zimbabwe (ROHR) is
the Vigil’s partner organisation based in
Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the
Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in
Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission
statement in a practical way. ROHR in the
UK actively fundraises through
membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in
meeting. Saturday 11th December.
Venue: St Saviour’s Community Halls, Arkwright Walk,
Nottingham NG2 2JU. Contact Allan Nhemhara
07810197576, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P
Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.
Christmas fundraising party. Saturday
18th December from 2 – 10 pm. Venue:KensingtonMethodistChurch,
294 Kensington, Liverpool
L7 2RN. Traditional food available and Zimbabwean sounds and lots
more. Contact: Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688,
Trywell Migeri 07956083758, Sheilla Mironga 07578541227, Patience Karimanzira
·Christmas Virtual Vigil.
25th December.We will not be
meeting outside the Zimbabwe Embassy because there will be no public transport
and central London will be deserted.Please hold a virtual Vigil by praying for
Zimbabwe and singing the national anthem at
Newcastle general meeting. Saturday 22nd January
from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Warwick
Warwick Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1EY. 3 mins walk from
the Gateshead Interchange opposite
GatesheadCivic Centre and Gateshead Police Station. Free parking available. For directions
please contact Susan Ndlovu 07767024586, Allen Chamboko 07500246416, Kuda Derera 07411337933, Rugare Chifungo (Coordinator)
07795070609 or P Chibanguza (Coordinator)
·‘Through the Darkness’, Judith
Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.To
receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and
postal address to email@example.com
send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners
Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust
bursaries to needy A Level students in
·Workshops aiming to engage African
men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins
Trust (www.tht.org.uk). Please contact
the co-ordinator Takudzwa
you are interested in taking part.
outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from
14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in
Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October
2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are
held in Zimbabwe: http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.
ZIMBABABWE is in a continual state of
flux as we seem to be moving in circles as far as the political logjam is
concerned - what with the latest SADC debacle, the hullaballoo about
elections and the disappearance of the constitutional reform agenda from the
political topography of the nation.
I would like to suggest that the
season demands and requires leaders who will look beyond narrow sectarian,
personal and party interests and put the country first. We should not allow
our judgment to be eclipsed by the here and now, especially the hype about
elections which usually culminates in us sacrificing our values, vision,
priorities and the interests of the people of Zimbabwe.
Political Agreement (GPA), with its numerous flaws, offers a reasonable
roadmap for the country for at least the next three to four years, and which
we need for constitutional, legislative and institutional reform, national
healing, economic stability and growth.
There is a feeling of
helplessness and hopelessness about the elections in an overtly unfair and
uneven political playing field epitomised by growing political tensions, the
arrest of journalists, an incomplete constitutional reform process and the
proposed draconian legislation limiting public access to critical
I would like to explore several options that could be
considered by progressive Zimbabweans. They are an invitation to a
conversation about our nation.
� A poll boycott
everybody has to dance to the tune of one person and one party by blindly
participating in elections? One option would be to take the initiative from
President Robert Mugabe by boycotting elections unless minimal demands are
This would isolate Zanu-PF and its leader and highlight the gravity
of the political crisis to the international community. It would also
delegitimise whatever government comes into place.
stance would force SADC to intervene before such an election. However, a
poll boycott does have its downside. First Mugabe and Zanu-PF could simply
ignore the boycott and continue with business as usual as they did in 2008.
But we all know that embarrassment may not be enough to stop Zanu-PF.
Furthermore, a boycott could take us back by another 10 years as the next
election would be in another five years.
The gains made since 2008 would
be reversed as a partisan parliament would pass more repressive legislation.
Investor confidence [what's left of it] would dwindle and there could be
scaling up of "measures and sanctions".
The Chiadzwa diamonds could come
in handy in propping up the regime although a ban of exports of the gems is
likely to be intensified. In the interests of the nation, a poll boycott
would mean a lot of pain for Zimbabweans in the short to medium
The objective of such an action would be to force the SADC, African
Union and the international community to push for comprehensive political
and economic reforms. The election boycott strategy would only work if
understood in the context of strategic action and as a means to an end not
an end itself. At best it would work as a threat and not something to be
actually done. The opposition should count the cost before it engages in
� Minimalist approach
There is a school of thought
that elections should be held only if certain minimum demands are met, such
as the immediate political environment, targeted legislative reform,
regional and international election observers and provision of
constitutional mechanisms for transfer of power. This approach seems to be
the most realistic but is based on a set of assumptions, the most important
being that these minimalist demands will be met. I seriously doubt that
Zanu-PF will agree to international observers as this will play into "the
West is interfering propaganda".
� Rainbow alliance and minimum
The only sure way of wresting power from the incumbent in an
election under the current conditions is for opposition parties to form a
sort of rainbow coalition.
These parties have to agree on an
electoral pact under which they would back one candidate in the presidential
elections. The only three things that stand in the way of such an
arrangement are: inflated egos, insatiable political appetites and
It is imperative for the leaders of MDC-T,
MDC-M, Zapu, Simba Makoni and other progressive forces to come together and
form a coalition with an electoral pact which would enshrine a formula for
fielding candidates in various constituencies and one candidate for the
presidential elections .
Opposition party leaders should put the national
interest above partisan interests and political libidos. An analysis of
political behaviour in the last ten years shows that though this is the most
desirable scenario, "our winner take all, nation gains nothing" attitude may
be our biggest enemy. The two MDC factions were on the verge of an agreement
in the run-up to the 2008 elections but, alas, expediency prevailed and they
campaigned against each other.
Realistically though some opposition
parties do not seem to add any value to the electoral and democratic
experience as displayed by some of the 13 parties that contested in the 2008
Alliances with parties such as Moreprecision and the Zimbabwe
Youth in Alliance, which garnered 70 votes between them, would not be
politically cost-effective, but the strength of Dumiso Dabengwa's Zapu and
the key role it could play in the transfer of power equation cannot be
ignored. Nor can the value of the political talent of the MDC-M and the mass
appeal of the MDC-T, or the charisma of Morgan Tsvangirai and the
intelligence of Simba Makoni, be ignored.
The combined political
weight of Tsvangirai /Tendai Biti, Arthur Mutambara/Welshman Ncube, Dabengwa
and Makoni will decimate Zanu-PF in any election.
parties and their leaders differ on ideological grounds but when a house is
on fire the identity, religion and political opinion of those trying to put
out the fire ceases to be important.
This alliance should then demand
that elections be held in conformity with the SADC Guidelines and Principles
on the Conduct of Democratic Elections which espouse the creation of a level
electoral playing field.
Observers from SADC and other regions should be
in the country at least 90 days before election day so that they can monitor
the pre- election environment which is usually fraught with violence. The
voters' roll needs to be updated and accessible, the state media accessible
to all political parties and repressive legislation reviewed.
The best route remains the full implementation of the Global
Political Agreement with emphasis on constitutional and institutional
reform, national healing and economic stability and growth. Elections for
now are a short cut and could be a short cut to nowhere. We need to script a
new framework that provides for democratisation of state institutions and
processes as well as a conducive environment for investment and
� Nkomo is CEO and spokesman of the Matabeleland Civil Society
Consortium - Habakkuk Trust. He writes in his personal capacity. This
article was first published in the Times Live