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

Mugabe 'not happy in Zimbabwe unity government'


– Sun Dec 5, 4:48 am ET

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 Sunday.

"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 government.

"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

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 adopted.

But the constitution-making process, which has been marred by violence at
public meetings, has yet to be completed.

Mugabe's 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.

Tension has also been rising in the unity government following disagreements
among top government officials and haggling over the allocation of key jobs.

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 appointments.

"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 Sunday Mail.

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 government.

"There had been a breakdown of communication between the leadership of the
government here. That has been resolved," he said afterwards.

"The meetings (between Mugabe and Tsvangirai) are going to continue. All the
issues are going to be discussed and resolved," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chombo fleece council of millions over Harare airport road

04 December, 2010 10:16:00    Sunday Times

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 police.

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.

According to correspondence intercepted by councillors, Chombo's Harvest Net
and Augur are both located at 62 Quorn Avenue, Mt Pleasant, Harare.

But senior 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 holds 70%.

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 projects.

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.

"There is 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."

Chombo could not be reached for comment.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZISCO scandal: Mugabe blacklists Mittal over Blair links

04 December, 2010 10:21:00    By Zoli Mangena

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

Zimbabwe's President 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 market".

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 terms.

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 win."

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

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Anxious times as amnesty deadline nears

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.

But 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

“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 illegally.

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.

Although officials 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

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 straightforward

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 employer.

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.

After 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

But 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 for.

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.

At least 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.

Rejected 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.

“We haven’t any indication (from government) whether (extension of deadline)
this is possible,” Cormsa director Caroline Wanjau told the media last week.

“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 turned down.

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 herself luck.

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

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

UK think tanks wanted US to wash its hands of Zimbabwe

05 December 2010

"Africa specialists" advised Americans to stop public criticism of Mugabe

From the American Embassy London to the Secretary of State Washington DC,
February 6 2009



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:

-- HMG's Africa policy lacks focus and is unable to internally prioritize
its Africa policy.

-- 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 potential.

-- 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.

-- South 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.

-- The 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 globalized continent.

-- Engaging Muslims in Africa may be a mechanism to also improve relations
with the Middle East and South Asia. End summary.

UK Africa Policy Lacks Direction, Unable to Prioritize

¶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.

They said 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 agenda.

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 peacekeeping force.

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 militant pressures.

¶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

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


¶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.

South Africa

¶10. (SBU/NF) 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 Council.

The Global Economic Downturn and Africa

¶11. (SBU/NF) 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 nations' security.

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 economically globalized.

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 West.


¶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 Asia.


Source: Wikileaks, December 5 2010

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Grace Mugabe linked to Chinese mafia

05 December, 2010 03:59:00    by Irene Moyo

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 property

“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 prostitution.

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.

“The first 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 smuggling.

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

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

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chombo to crack whip on errant councils

By Guthrie Munyuki
Sunday, 05 December 2010 18:24

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

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 2011.

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 December.

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.

“The levels 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 management.

“ 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 percent.

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.

Harare 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.

The government declared the outbreak a national emergency and requested aid
from international donors.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

IOM Supports Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency Efforts to Identify Diaspora

Posted by marin2008
Sunday, 05 December 2010
IOM Press Briefing Notes

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 census.

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 Zimbabweans

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 constraints.

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.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe charity appeal: 'We can help this family pull through'
Peta Thornycroft reports from Harare on the courageous efforts of Zane, a charity working to get Zimbabwe's poorest back on their feet.
Patience and Tanaka in their cardboard house in Harare
Restored to health: Patience and Tanaka in their cardboard house in Harare 

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.

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 summer.”

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 the disease.

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 local school.

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.

  • Names have been changed.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 4th December 2010

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 did.


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 South Africa, spent three months looking at the real beneficiaries of the land grab ( 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 farms.  


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 . . .


Other points

·       It was 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.)

·       Thanks to Patson Muzuwa who brought a mini-busload of supporters from Leicester and led the singing and dancing.


For latest Vigil pictures check: For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website. 


FOR THE RECORD:  86 signed the register.



·       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 Zimbabwe.

·       ROHR Nottingham launch 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.

·       ROHR Liverpool branch Christmas fundraising party. Saturday 18th December from 2 – 10 pm. Venue: Kensington Methodist Church, 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 07832712074

·       Christmas Virtual Vigil. Saturday 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 6 pm.

·       ROHR Newcastle general meeting. Saturday 22nd January from 2 – 6 pm. Venue: Warwick Court, Warwick Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1EY. 3 mins walk from the Gateshead Interchange opposite Gateshead Civic 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) 07908406069

·       Vigil Facebook page:

·       Vigil Myspace page:

·       ‘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 and 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 which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe

·       Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust ( Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( if you are interested in taking part.


Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, 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:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwean political parties should form an alliance to defeat tyranny

04 December, 2010 10:27:00    Dumisani O Nkomo

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.

The Global 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 information.

I would like to explore several options that could be considered by
progressive Zimbabweans. They are an invitation to a conversation about our

� A poll boycott

Who says 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 met.

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.

Hopefully, this 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 term.

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
this act.

� 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 demands

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

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 ideological differences.

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 elections.

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

Obviously these 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 option

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 growth.

� 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

Back to the Top
Back to Index