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81 percent students fail O’Level Exams

By Violet Gonda
05 February 2013

81.6 percent of children failed their 2012 Zimbabwe School Examination
Council (ZIMSEC) Ordinary Level examinations, a drop from the previous year’s
equally shocking 80.5 percent, amid calls for a curriculum review of
Zimbabwe’s education sector.

Zimbabwe School Examinations Council director, Esau Nhandara, announced on
Monday that only 31,767 pupils out of 172,698 countrywide passed in five

He attributed the decline to an increase in the number of students who
registered for the exam, which went up by over 20,000 from last year.

Surprisingly Shona, the mother tongue for the majority of the candidates,
the pass rate was only 18%. The pass rate in English was 20% but only 13%
for maths.

Education minister David Coltart told SW Radio Africa that the country’s
education sector remains in crisis and there are a variety of factors that
have contributed to the decline in the pass rate.

He said Zimbabwe lost at least 20,000 teachers, especially between 2004 and
2009, at the height of the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe.

Coltart said it was inevitable that there would have been an impact. “In
2008 there was hardly any teaching that took place in schools. There weren’t
textbooks and unfortunately there is a batch of children now coming through
the system whose education was affected by those calamitous times.”

The minister blamed the government for failing to make the education sector
a priority and investing adequately into education. He said the government
has to cut down expenditure on other sectors, such as the defence ministry,
and should spend more on education otherwise the results will continue to

ZIMSEC has not had a more than 25% pass rate since its implementation in
2003. Coltart said this was because Zimbabwe’s education sector had an
academic bias.

The Nziramasanga Commission on Education reported in 1999 that the education
sector needed to be more vocationally oriented as not all children are
academically gifted.

“This is why we need to adjust our curriculum to have far more vocational
subjects that are examinable at O’Level and A’Level,” Coltart said.

Some observers say the quality and assessment of the children who went
through the UK Cambridge system seemed to work well before the
transformation to the ZIMSEC exams.

But Coltart disagreed, saying ZIMSEC has a very high standard and is an
institution that Zimbabweans should be proud of and should maintain through
teacher training, curriculum development and financing.

“Cambridge exams are four times more expensive than ZIMSEC exams and parents
are struggling as it is to pay ZIMSEC fees. The minister added: “I think it
is harder to pass a ZIMSEC exam than it is to pass a Cambridge exam.”

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Coltart admits O' Level results 'crisis'

05/02/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

EDUCATION Minister David Coltart on Tuesday blamed the disappointing
November 2012 Ordinary Level examination results on the “extreme crisis in
education experienced between approximately 2005 and 2009”.

Results released on Monday showed 81,6 percent of the 172,698 who sat for
the examinations failed to pass at least five subjects with grade C or

Only 31,767 of that number were successful, translating to a pass rate of
18,4 percent.
Despite increased investment in education and a massive drive financed by
UNICEF to supply textbooks to schools, the 2012 pass rate was down from 19,5
percent in 2011.

In 2010, the pass rate was 16,5 percent when 229,522 pupils sat
examinations, down from 19,33 percent in 2009 when just 87,201 were

Faced with the shocking numbers, Coltart admitted the only positive was that
more and more children were sitting examinations after a decade-long
economic crisis devastated the education sector and led to massive drop-outs
and teacher flight.

Curiously, Coltart took partial CREDIT for the low pass rate, stating: “The
decline in the pass rate is an indication that ZIMSEC have followed my
instruction that standards are to be maintained so that we have an accurate
idea of the health of our education system.”

The minister said the percentage drop in the pass rate could be traced back
to the education crisis of 2005 and 2009.
“Sadly there is a batch of children going through the system whose education
suffered during those years when thousands of teachers left the service and
many teaching days were lost, and that is reflected in these results,”
Coltart said.

“Another reason for the decline may be the increase in numbers of children
writing which can also result in a decline in the pass rate.”

The minister is demanding a major shake-up of the curriculum to ensure that
pupils who are unsuccessful academically have a fall-back.

“Our O’ Levels are primarily academically orientated whereas many children
are more practically orientated. Inevitably, this academic orientation
results in many children failing whose talents are not academic,” the
minister said in a statement.

“This was a flaw recognised by the Nziramazanga Commission in 1999 which we
are now seeking to address through the programme of comprehensive review and
reform of our curriculum which is now under way.”

In a sobering verdict, Coltart said: “Whatever the case, the results are a
reminder that whilst there is still a lot of good in our education system
there is still much work to be done before we can say that we have restored

“The Zimbabwean education sector remains in crisis and it is going to take a
sustained non partisan effort to regain its status as the best in Africa.”

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RioZim, Mzembi on collision course after ZANU PF takeover of Renco Mine

By Alex Bell
05 February 2013

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi and the owners of Renco mine in Masvingo are
on a collision course, after the ZANU PF minister allegedly instigated the
takeover of the mine.

Last month ZANU PF’s Chivi South MP, Irvine Dzingirai, declared he was the
new manager of the mine, which has been the site of a labour dispute for
several weeks. Production there had ceased after workers’ wives and local
villagers barricaded the main gate, demanding an improvement in workers’
conditions and community assistance projects.

Renco owners RioZim have now gone to the High Court to try and retain their
legal rights to the mine, accusing Mzembi of instigating the takeover.

“Minister Mzembi arrived at the mine… He called a public meeting and
announced that RioZim had not complied with the indigenisation obligations
of the country and hence they were taking over Renco,” RioZim said in a
statement last week.

It said the minister had appointed Dzingirai as the general manager and
directed all staff to work under him. The mining firm added that the MP was
now using threats and intimidation to bar RioZim directors and management
from the mine.

Mzembi has denied RioZim’s accusations, saying he only became involved with
the mine when Renco workers lobbied him, as their local MP, to intervene in
a pay dispute.

Criticising the RioZim statements he said: “That’s political slander. I’m
surprised by their statement, which seeks to politicise what is a dispute
between them and their workers,” he told Reuters.

He has since retaliated, publicly accusing RioZim of offering him a
US$100,000 bribe. He was quoted by the state run Herald newspaper as saying:
“They tried to buy me out of this case, with a US$100 000 brown envelope
which I turned down, preferring to advance community and worker issues which
they have blatantly violated over the past 40 years.”

“I am not that cheap, neither is my constituency worth so little, after four
decades of gross neglect and abuse. They must try someone else. I will not
be bought with filthy lucre to sell an entire constituency’s aspirations and
dreams about development which they clearly see being implemented more
responsibly by other corporates like Zimplats and Unki in areas where they
are operating,” Mzembi said.

The MDC-T spokesperson for Masvingo province, Harrison Mudzuri, said that
ZANU PF has from day one tried to openly politicise the labour dispute at
the mine, in order to take it over.

“Dzingirai is trying to threaten workers to either join ZANU PF or they will
be fired. We are concerned because this is a labour dispute that is being
politicised by ZANU PF,” Mudzuri told SW Radio Africa.

The MDC-T spokesperson said ZANU PF is trying to use “political muscle to
make sure no one intervenes,” while insisting they are taking over under the
country’s indigenisation laws.

Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has since been quoted by the
NewsDay newspaper as saying this is “irrational” and that he will be
investigating the Renco situation.

“We want law and order in this country and we don’t want indigenisation to
be dragged into the mud,” Kasukuwere reportedly said.

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I was offered $100k bribe, says Mzembi

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 00:00

From Isdore Guvamombe in MADRID, Spain
THE saga at Renco Mine in Masvingo took a new twist on Sunday with Tourism
and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi making sensational
allegations that shareholders of the mine, Rio

Tinto Zimbabwe, offered him a US$100 000 bribe so that he could abandon the
workers and surrounding communities in a stand-off over working conditions.

Operations at the RioZim-owned Renco Gold Mine ground to a halt mid-January
when spouses of miners at the gold producer besieged the offices demanding
their husbands’ annual bonuses and better working conditions.

Over 800 women blocked their spouses and the police from passing through the
The women organised a night vigil and vowed to disperse only after their
husbands got their bonuses and if the mine management addressed them.

They were joined by people from the surrounding communities who demanded
that the mine be indigenised under the country’s empowerment laws.

The protests only stopped after Minister Mzembi urged the demonstrators to
let operations continue while matters of indigenisation were being

Chivi South legislator Cde Irvine Dzingirai, who has a background in mining,
was said to have assumed control of operations until the matter is resolved.

In a statement issued to journalists here on the sidelines of the Firtur
Travel and Tourism Exposition, Minister Mzembi said he turned down a bribe
as it would have weakened the workers and surrounding communities.

However, RioZim chief executive officer Mr Ashton Ndlovu dismissed the
minister’s allegations.
Minister Mzembi is the legislator for Masvingo South where the mine is

“They tried to buy me out of this case, with a US$100 000 brown envelope
which I turned down, preferring to advance community and worker issues which
they have blatantly violated over the past 40 years.

“I am not that cheap neither is my constituency worth so little, after four
decades of gross neglect and abuse. They must try someone else. I will not
be bought with filthy lucre to sell an entire constituency’s aspirations and
dreams about development which they clearly see being implemented more
responsibly by other corporates like Zimplats and Unki in areas where they
are operating.”

Minister Mzembi said he had sided with the workers and the community after
realising that their cause was genuine.

“I will not dignify corporate political slander on my person, neither will I
be intimidated by litigation from exercising my representative role as
Member of Parliament.

“This is a classic case of trying to prevent me from exercising my
legitimate role of interceding on behalf of the community in their dispute
with RioZim shareholders. Why should it work for other regions and not
Masvingo? What kind of curse is this that attracts this kind of investment
which politicise clear corporate social responsibility issues?

“Well, if I turn out to be the Ken Saro Wiwa of Masvingo South in pursuit of
justice for our people, so be it,” said the Minister.

Minister Mzembi said he had informed President Mugabe about the real
situation on the ground at Renco Mine.

“Instead of resorting to this vuvuzela approach of splashing litigious
adverts on this matter they must go to the source and engage the community
for a lasting community.

“I have no intention of owning a mine, my plate is already full, with my
calling to represent the people, but if they expect me to turn a blind eye
to exploitation of our people, then they have got it wrong..”

Minister Mzembi said he had pleaded with workers to resume work pending
resolution of their grievances through his office.

“They gave me their conditions including those of the community which had
joined in the class action but Riozim have been avoiding dialogue but
instead bragging about their connections to higher offices.

“I still insist on a 360 degree thorough probe of Riozim. If I am wrong on
what I suspect has been going on, I will be the first to extend a public
apology to the people of Zimbabwe.”

Mr Ndlovu, whose company last week splashed adverts in newspapers accusing
Minister Mzembi of inciting the workers and surrounding communities to
disrupt operations, said RioZim had engaged Minister Mzembi, the traditional
and political leaders in the community.

“I do not know where the minister is getting that (bribery allegations)
from. Any money spent by the company is accounted for because we are public
listed company. All the money we give out is not given to individuals,” he

Mr Ndlovu said his company had engaged the community including its leaders
on how it can assist in development programmes.

“We have discussed how we could assist the community through the RioZim
Foundation which has been in existence since 1974 and has assisted the
communities around the mine. Otherwise we do not deal with individuals but
the community through its leadership,” he said.

RioZim has also accused Minister Mzembi of threatening disruptions at the
mine if the workers were not paid their bonuses.

“The management pleaded with him to help avoid this but to no avail.”
RioZim stated they were in good standing with all legitimate stakeholders
and had several engagements with Minister Mzembi.

“On Saturday January 18 2013, honourable Minister Mzembi arrived at the mine
with Chivi South legislator Cde Irvine Dzingirai and others.

“He called a public meeting and announced that RioZim had not complied with
the indigenisation obligations of the country and hence they were taking
over Renco and MP Dzingirai would be the general manager and all staff would
work under him,” read part of a press statement published by RioZim last

The company said Chivi South legislator Cde Irvine Dzingirai had
“unlawfully” assumed executive authority over the mine.

It also accused Cde Dzingirai of using threats and intimidation to prevent
senior management from accessing the mine.
The company also accused Minister Mzembi of issuing inaccurate information
on workers pensions.

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NCA tells Zimbabweans to vote No in constitution referendum

By Tichaona Sibanda
05 February 2013

The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) has said ‘No’ to the proposed new

The NCA, one of the leading pressure groups in the country, announced at a
press conference on Tuesday that they would ask Zimbabweans to reject the
COPAC draft because it is ‘neither people-driven nor democratic.’

Chairperson Dr Lovemore Madhuku told journalists they are confident they
will get enough support to defeat it at the referendum.

The law requires that for the proposed constitution to pass into law, more
than 50 percent of the voters must support it.

COPAC co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora gave notice to Parliament that they would
present a copy of the draft and a full report of the constitution making
process to both the lower and upper houses on Wednesday.

Parliament is expected to debate and pass the draft constitution without any
amendments. An MDC-T MP told SW Radio Africa that parties to the GPA, who
all support the proposed new constitution, have the ability to muster more
than enough consensus to get the constitution passed at referendum.

Some observers believe the document has attractive clauses and say that it
reduces the power of the president, to some extent, and expands
parliamentary oversight over the executive, on some issues.

But the NCA cited 24 reasons why this constitution should be rejected. One
reason being that this is a constitution imposed on Zimbabweans by just
three political parties.

The Madhuku led group also alleges that the proposed constitution still
leaves all the power in the president, who is allowed to do what he or she

Other problems they have with the draft is that it increases the size of
Parliament to 350 MPs (270 national assembly and 80 senators). The NCA say
that Zimbabwe has, ‘no resources for such a huge legislature.’

Madhuku said the NCA would use their structures to mobilize their followers
to reject this document, but they also said it was important that
Zimbabweans understood the contents of the draft and they want all voters to
fully grasp the provisions it contains.

‘POSA must be suspended to allow for uninterrupted campaign meetings. If
this is not done, the NCA reserves its right to campaign without being
restricted by POSA. We also want equal access to the public media by both
the YES and NO voices,’ Madhuku said.

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EU to send poll observers

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 10:08

HARARE - The European Union (EU) says it is ready to send election observers
to Zimbabwe to monitor the forthcoming watershed elections.

Aldo Dell’Ariccia, head of the EU delegation, told the Daily News that the
27-member bloc was awaiting the invite.

“We do not impose ourselves or force governments to invite us to observe
their elections,” Ariccia said.
“We wait for the inclusive government to send an invitation and this must
have a time frame because we need time for observers to come and observe
activities leading to the elections.

“An additional team will also come during the actual elections and remain in
the country until the winner is proclaimed.”

Rugare Gumbo, Zanu PF spokesperson said the politburo, the party’s highest
decision-making body outside congress, will have to discuss the EU role in
the impending elections.

“The politburo will discuss whether to have EU monitors in our elections. We
will decide on that once the election date is set,” said Gumbo.

Tendai Biti, secretary-general for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC,
last week said the country’s elections will have to be held under the ambit
of the 2004 Sadc principles and guidelines on free and fair elections that
among other things makes it a prerequisite to have foreign election
observers and monitors.

The MDC led by Welshman Ncube has said it wants foreign monitors and
observers in the country six months before and after the poll. - Bryan Gumbo

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Delay in poll date stalls observer mission

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 09:51
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe is delaying announcing poll dates to
forestall the early arrival of foreign observers expected to monitor the
forthcoming general election, analysts have said.

The octogenarian, facing his greatest challenge in 33 years, has been
accused by the international community of trying to rig the southern African
country’s forthcoming watershed presidential election.

Academics and experts in governance, political economy, constitutional law
and elections led a critical one-day think tank process in Bulawayo over the
weekend meant to prepare civil society interventions in the referendum and
the next election.

The analysts expressed worry that the hold-up in announcement of poll dates
will have a bearing on the arrival of observer teams in Zimbabwe before the

Trevor Maisiri, International Crisis Group (ICG) senior analyst for Southern
Africa, argued that the delay would eventually lead to late observation of
the forthcoming elections with far reaching consequences for Zimbabwe.

“There is need to ask the parent guarantor AU (African Union) to send an
early assessment mission ahead of the next elections to assess readiness of
Zimbabwe for those elections,” Maisiri said.

In previous elections, there has been careful cherry-picking of foreign
delegations permitted to observe the conduct of the election campaign and
the count.

The Foreign minister has previously invited observers only from countries
that have either openly supported the ruling Zanu PF or have maintained
silence about the country’s prolonged political and human rights crisis.

Maisiri said it was impossible to think of a new Zimbabwe without taking
into account the stakes of the military.

He said the Zimbabwean military top hierarchy had hijacked efforts by Sadc
to achieve security reform in Zimbabwe through a process of peer talk with
other military bosses in the region.

Panellists said there was need to improve military and civil relations.

Ibbo Mandaza, executive director of Sapes Trust and publisher, argued there
had been an “over-exaggeration” of the military factor in the
democratisation agenda.

Mandaza rubbished the threats by the military that they would upset the
constitutional order should someone who did not take part in the armed
liberation war wins the forthcoming election.

“The military has always been subservient to civilians since Rhodesian
days,” Mandaza said.

Zanu PF’s opposition has expressed alarm at statements made by generals —
the real power behind Mugabe — that they would not tolerate a win by anyone
without liberation war credentials.

Analysts expressed concern at the potential impact of partisan natural
resource governance on the forthcoming elections.

Mugabe is unveiling a cocktail of empowerment strategies to fight Zimbabwe’s
most tightly contested presidential election in more than a decade.

Styling himself as a champion of the poor, Mugabe is working on increasing
access to wealth for many of Zimbabwe’s disadvantaged in a re-election drive
his party says “has the capacity to appeal to electorate in a massive way”.

“Zanu PF has used empowerment as an instrument of patronage, and to increase
its political base,” said Brian Raftopoulous former University of Zimbabwe’s
Institute of Development Studies associate professor.

The think tank meeting is expected to leverage the efforts of pro-democracy
forces ahead of the election expected in 2013. - Gift Phiri, Political

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Two youths arrested over ‘voter registration exercise’

By Violet Gonda
05 February 2013

Police arrested two prospective voters over registration receipts in Lupane,
Matabeleland North Province, according to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human

Initially on Monday police arrested 40 people, who were later released,
leaving Brilliant Goboza and Ray Ncube from the National Youth Development
Trust in custody. They have been charged with contravening the Criminal Law
Act for allegedly possessing voter registration receipts.
The rights group said they were allegedly found with a number of receipts
issued at the Registrar General’s Office where you register as a voter.

These latest arrests come not long after the arrest of ZimRights officials,
including director Okay Machisa, on similar charges of undertaking an
“illegal” voter registration exercise ahead of the forthcoming polls.

Machisa was released on bail last week but his Deputy Programmes Manager,
Leo Chamahwinya and three others, are still in police custody following
their arrests in December last year.

Charles Moyo from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights was only allowed access
to his clients on Tuesday. The two are expected in court on Wednesday.

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Confusion remains over dual citizenship laws

By Alex Bell
05 February 2013

There is still serious confusion over whether the new draft constitution
allows for dual citizenship or not, with the parties in government appearing
to translate the new rules differently.

The new document does not explicitly allow or deny Zimbabweans the right to
dual citizenship, but does recognise Zimbabwean citizenship by birth,
descent and registration. Section 42 (e) contains the only comment on the
contentious issue, stating that an act of Parliament can prohibit dual

This is a slight change to the previous draft charter released last year,
which had said that an act of Parliament may pass legislation for ‘the
prohibition [or permitting] of dual citizenship in respect of citizens by
descent or registration’. The change is that the phrase ‘or permitting’ has
been removed.

But according to the democracy group OSISA, this deletion “makes no
substantive difference, merely removing a confusion caused by the suggestion
that legislation would be needed to permit dual citizenship when the
constitution does not otherwise forbid it.”

To make matters more complicated, officials in government are not agreed on
the details, despite agreeing to put the document forward for a referendum.
The MDC-T has repeatedly stated that dual citizenship is definitely provided
for with party leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, telling world
leaders in Switzerland last month that this was so.

This is contrary to the opinion held by ZANU PF. Most recently, Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa said: “There is no dual citizenship, and there
will be no Diaspora vote, the country does not have the funding for it.”

Andrew Makoni from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said there
is no clear law on dual citizenship, saying “it seems to me the MPs
responsible for drafting these laws didn’t want to define what dual
citizenship means.”

“There are fears on one side of government about what dual citizenship would
mean in respect of a Diaspora vote. So the challenge is that we (Zimbabwe)
have postponed the issue…it has essentially been parked,” Makoni said.

He added that the confusion is “unfortunate” especially for the millions of
Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora, “many of them not out of choice.”

“They are being asked to contribute to a society that does not recognise
their rights and that is very unfortunate. So it really doesn’t appear as if
this issue is a priority for the government, but it needs to be,” Makoni

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Zimbabwe London Embassy Pressured On Diaspora Vote

By Eugene Majuru

Published: February 5, 2013

The Zimbabwean embassy in London was cornered last week at the Business
Council for Africa (BCA) investment forum in London, on the matter of the
contentious diaspora vote amidst growing belief that Zimbabweans in the
diaspora will vote for ZANU PF if allowed to vote.

This comes as Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora expressed growing interest
in going to the polls to vote and take part in the forthcoming elections.

Zimbabwean delegates who attended the BCA investment event in London
challenged Zimbabwe’s London Ambassador to do something about getting
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to be given the chance to vote.

An example of countries like Ghana was given; Ghanaians are able to vote in
their country elections and voting takes place in London at the Ghana

“If Ghana can do it why can’t Zimbabwean?” one of the attendants raised his
voice towards the ambassador.

Diasporans have never had the opportunity to vote at all and they feel
missing out. Voting means a lot when one is able to say; My vote was
counted, I contributed to the outcome of the election,” said one of the

Zimbabwe has not put in place a system to allow Zimbabweans living in the
Diaspora to vote. The cash strapped country currently facing a challenge to
hold the long awaited 2013 elections would find it impossible to implement
this system this year.

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Chinamasa, Biti still to meet over poll funding

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 00:00

Wencesclaus Murape Senior Reporter

JUSTICE and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa and his Finance
counterpart Tendai Biti are yet to meet to map out modalities for engaging
the international community to help fund the forthcoming

constitutional referendum and elections.
Minister Chinamasa said in an interview yesterday that they were supposed to
meet last week, but the meeting failed to materialise due to other pressing

“We will be definitely holding the meeting because funding for the
constitutional referendum and harmonised polls is of paramount importance,”
he said.

“The US$2 million that has been availed by the Treasury to the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission is far too short of the budget and can only be adequate
for purchasing the referendum ink and stationery.”
ZEC has presented a budget of US$85 million for holding of the
constitutional referendum and US$107 million for the harmonised polls.

Principals in the inclusive Government tasked Ministers Chinamasa and Biti
to source money for the referendum and elections from donors.

The funds would come through Treasury for onward transmission to
institutions that run electoral processes, especially ZEC.

The meeting between the two ministers is expected to come up with modalities
to be used in sourcing the funds, just like what was done during the
constitution-making process.

Minister Chinamasa said the shortage of funds would eventually scupper the
referendum and polls.
Zanu-PF spokesperson Cde Rugare Gumbo said it was imperative for the
referendum to go ahead before the expiry of the term of Parliament in May.
“We believe that there are some delaying tactics on the part of the Treasury
so as to create a crisis upon expiry of the Parliamentary term without the
referendum being held,” he said.

“There is a need to act with urgency and seriousness in the fund-raising by
Ministers Chinamasa and Biti.”

MDC-T spokesperson and Copac co-chairperson Mr Douglas Mwonzora said after
completion of the constitution draft, they believed that the stage was set
for a referendum.

“It is imperative that Government should make sure that the funds are
available,” he said. “We believe that with serious political will,
harmonised polls will definitely be held this year.”

Mr Mwonzora said the period of political posturing was over and there was a
need for Ministers Chinamasa and Biti to work together for the good of the

Mr Mwonzora appealed for money generated from diamond sales to be channelled
towards the referendum and polls.

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'No to security sector reforms'- Mnangagwa

Staff Reporter 23 hours 35 minutes ago

HARARE - Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa says the country’s military
has a mandate to defend national economic interests and will not tolerate
any move by the MDC-T to enforce security sector reforms in the country.
Minister Mnangagwa made the remarks while presenting a paper on Zimbabwe’s
Defence Policy at the National Defence College in Harare.
The MDC formations are demanding, among other things, security sector
reforms before the country holds harmonised elections this year.
Minister Mnangagwa was yesterday categoric that such reforms would not be
undertaken as long as the revolutionary Zanu-PF was alive.
“As long as we are here in leadership, we will make sure the Defence Forces
of the Republic of Zimbabwe will continue to defend the national interests
and to safeguard our values and ideals which our people died for,” he said.
Minister Mnangagwa said those advocating for security sector reforms were
trying to bring about regime change in Zimbabwe.
“The current Government is anxious to reform you. Anxious with security
sector reforms. They do not want to have a Defence Forces that is
knowledgeable, focused and revolutionary. We are against it.
“The defence forces are an element of national power but the inclusive
Government does not want to hear that. They would want a kind of defence
force that is pliant to foreign interests, that allows expropriation of
national resources without question,” he said.
“They want to hear that you are compliant, that you accept security sector
reforms. What does that mean? It means to have non-governmental
organisations and trade unions operating in the defence forces. Pasi nazvo!
They would want you to say you are non-political, you must serve any
He said it was ironic that the USA was part of those calling for security
sector reforms yet it was not reforming its own systems.
“Every American civil military says America first. The national interests of
America come first.
“They are taught as children to die for America but they come and teach you
differently to uphold international best practices, what nonsense is that?”
Minister Mnangwagwa said the ZDF cannot achieve its goals of safeguarding
national interests if it depends on Treasury for funding and underpinned the
need for the sector to be involved in the country’s economic development.
“That cannot be achieved if we rely on Biti. We cannot depend on allocation
from the fiscus alone.
“This is why I have decided that the ZDF will be involved in economic
development in order to achieve its vision. This, we will,” Minister
Mnangagwa said.

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Political violence goes down in Mashonaland Central: JOMIC

Staff Reporter 31 minutes ago

Cases of politically motivated violence are on the decrease in Mashonaland
Central Province, once considered as one of the political hotbeds in the
country, according to the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee.
This came out at a JOMIC Mashonaland Central special provincial liaison
meeting held on Tuesday in Bindura.
JOMIC is the principal body dealing with issues of compliance and monitoring
of the Global Political Agreement which gave birth to Zimbabwe’s Government
of National Unity in 2009.
JOMIC co-chairpersons drawn from the MDC-T, Zanu (PF) and the MDC led by
Welshman Ncube concurred that political intolerance and violence in the
province had decreased as a result of outreach programmes meant to preach
peace among communities.
MDC-T Co-chairperson, Godfrey Chimombe, said: “At the present moment, we
cannot really say that there is political violence in Mashonaland Central.
Of course there are a few isolated cases here and there but the environment
is very quiet.
“We are moving around preaching peace and tolerance and we are urging
village heads and chiefs to preach the same to villagers. As political
leaders we should teach our supporters to desist from violence. Even
Tsvangirai and Mugabe are on record denouncing violence.”
Chimombe said peace was crucial in aiding the country’s development efforts.
Zanu (PF) Co-chairperson, Everson Tauro, admitted that many cases of
politically motivated violence were reported in Mashonaland Central during
the 2008 elections but said the situation had changed as communities were
beginning to embrace political tolerance.
“We are saying that as Zimbabwe let’s move away from 2008.We are glad that
people are embracing the call and there is peace in the province.
“Even during the liberation struggle we used to clash as ZIPRA and ZANLA
forces but we later realised that there is more that unites us than divides
us. Even the GNU came after some fighting but the relationship between the
principals now is very cordial and let us follow that example,” said Tauro.
The MDC-N Co-chairperson, Henry Chimbiri expressed concern that people were
politicising social issues and the development had led to misleading reports
on political violence in Mashonaland Central.
“The problem is that at times people get involved in social arguments and
fight but after that, one will come to us and report that one would have
been harassed by Zanu (PF) people but when we go to investigate the matter,
we discover that the issue was a purely social one which had nothing to do
with politics,” said Chimbiri.

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Zimbabwe Introduces Tough Regulations Targeting Youth Groups

Ntungamili Nkomo, Gibbs Dube, Jonga Kandemiiri

WASHINGTON DC — Zimbabwe's Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenization and
Empowerment has introduced stringent regulations that compel all youth
organizations to register with the government-run Youth Council or risk
being shut down.

The regulations were gazetted January 18, but were only made public Monday,
thanks to Veritas, a civic group specializing in legislative analysis.

They also dictate that youth groups should submit annual reports and
accounts, as well as work plans and budgets to the Youth Council, which is
largely viewed as an extension of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Youth organizations are also compelled to pay an annual levy to the council.

The severe provisions were fashioned by combative Youth and Indeginization
Minister Savior Kasukuwere, the architect of the widely-condemned black
empowerment policy that forces foreign-owned companies to cede a 51 percent
stake to locals.

Veritas described Kasukuwere’s regulations as “exteremely wide-ranging,”
urging youth groups to consult their legal advisers and challenge the
validity of the provisions.

"As a matter of first impression," Veritas said, "the regulations seem to go
much further than the (Zimbabwe Youth Council) Act permits."

National Youth Develeopment Trust director, Liberty Bhebhe told VOA his
organization views the move as an effort by Zanu PF to gag youth groups
ahead of the referendum and general elections.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean youths say they are happy about employment and
economic empowerment proposals contained in the country’s final draft

They told VOA Studio 7 that this is the first time youths have been
recognized in the supreme law of the country, although there may be
challenges in implementing some of the constitutional provisions.

Chapter Two, Section 20 of the draft stipulates that youths should be
afforded opportunities for employment and economic empowerment.

Bulawayo youth, Minenhle Tshuma, said government should craft vocational
training programs to fully empower young people.

Jim Kunaka, chairman of Zanu PF’s Harare province, agreed saying if the
draft charter is passed into law, the constitution could be amended to
enforce youth economic empowerment.

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Police swoop on homeless people

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 10:08

HARARE - Traffic came to a standstill in Harare as police officers swooped
on homeless people and street children in an exercise meant to clean up the

The clean-up, code named Usagara Mumugwagwa (Leave the streets) is targeting
vagrants who have flooded the streets pestering the public for food and

Some of the vagrants end up snatching items from unsuspecting motorists,
police said.

Tadious Chibanda, the police spokesperson, said street urchins are now a
danger to the public as they have become habitual criminals.

“As police, we have received complaints from the public about street
children who end up robbing innocent people or assist criminals in
committing crimes in the CBD (Central Business District),” Chibanda said.

Plain clothes police officers yesterday descended on the homeless “families”
and showed no mercy as they grabbed wailing children from reluctant parents
who vainly tried to resist arrest.

Blind beggars, the deaf and the dumb were not spared in the blitz.

Traffic along the busy Samora Machel Avenue came to a halt as some street
kids tried to flee.

Police had to use handcuffs and sjamboks on adults who have turned street
pavements into their homes and were resisting arrest.

A number of civil society organisations are bankrolling the programme aimed
at ending child abuse.

“It is an offence under the Child Protection Act to allow a minor to beg for
food in the street. These children are being abused by their parents and end
up street kids,” Chibanda said.

Most of the people who now have families living on the streets are former
street children who continue to wallow in poverty as the vicious cycle

A police cell was cleared yesterday to accommodate the vagrants after
officers had interrogated some of the adults suspected of being behind
criminal activities rampant in the city centre.

Investigations to establish the whereabouts of parents of some minors are
still underway. - Xolisani Ncube

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Harare goes dry as pipe bursts

Tuesday, 05 February 2013 00:00

Evelene Taadira Herald Reporter

A MAJOR burst at Prince Edward water works over the weekend has seen
residents in most parts of Harare going without water and resorting to
unprotected sources. Harare City Council spokesperson Mr

Leslie Gwindi said yesterday that authorities were hopeful the situation
would have improved by today as engineers were rectifying the problem.

“The major burst occurred on Friday night and our personnel has been on the
ground throughout the weekend. We have been reviewing the progress at
regular intervals and are satisfied with the progress. Finer touches are
being put as we speak,” he said.

In the meantime, most residents in the eastern suburbs have been without
water for the last four days.
Mr Gwindi said due to the fault, it would take some time before normal
supplies return to the affected areas but expectations were that by the end
of day tomorrow they would have been restored.

“It is a pity that most of the piping system in the city is old, but we are
progressively doing the best we can to replace them,” he said.

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Bikita nurse blocking MDC from receiving treatment


Tinoonga Mawere
5th February 2013

MDC supporters have expressed grave concern at the continued
presence of Martin Mabasa, a general nurse based at Mukore Clinic- a
well known Zanu PF activist who is denying former opposition
supporters access to medication.
According to MDC Information and Publicity secretary for Bikita South
Constituency, Stephen Saidi, Mabasa is a well known Zanu PF activist
who claims to be a war veteran. He is allegedly turning away patients
suspected to be sympathetic to the MDC telling them to go and receive
medication from party president Morgan Tsvangirai.The clinic is
situated in ward 8, Bikita South Constituency.
Last year the local community approached MDC Member of the house
assembly Honourable Janhi Vharandeni who took the matter to Jomic.It
is understood a Jomic team was dispatched to the clinic but Mabasa has
reportedly remained defiant. Despite the Jomic visit Mabasa has
remained unfazed saying he would strive to protect the gains of the
liberation struggle.
“We are gravely concerned about the situation at Mukore Clinic because
Mabasa- the nurse in charge -who is a war veteran has openly declared
his allegiance to Zanu PF.He is turning away MDC supporters telling
them to go and seek treatment from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.We
are worried about the situation because Mabasa cannot be trusted even
if he agrees to attend to our ailments. You can never know what he is
up to. The Jomic Team visited the clinic last year but nothing has
changed because Mabasa says he does not recognize Jomic.The situation
is very complicated and he tells everyone that the clinic was
established by Robert Mugabe and nobody has the right to tell him what
to do. He also claims Mugabe is responsible for sourcing the drugs and
all MDC supporters should go and seek treatment from their party
Saidi further claimed Mabasa has openly declared his allegiance to
Zanu PF and is using the medical facilities to spruce up Zanu PF`s
waning image.
“Mabasa is now treating the clinic as a personal surgery and he
further claims that Zanu PF is providing drugs at the clinic. The
situation is very sad because people `s lives are at risk. We were
expecting to see some changes following the Jomic visit, “said Saidi.
Before GPA consummation, the clinic was literally closed due to
shortage of drugs and poor sanitary facilities. The clinic only
resumed full time operations after the formation of the inclusive
government in 2009.

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Community Share Ownership Scheme politicised, polluted

Tuesday, 05 February 2013

The MDC’s position is that Kasukuwere’s Community Share Ownership charade is
nothing but another ploy to hoodwink voters ahead of elections.

The Community Share Ownership Scheme in its current form is tantamount to
theft by Zanu PF where companies are arm-twisted into supporting an illegal
scheme that has no credence in a normal country. Zanu PF is on a crusade to
fleece companies in order to fund its election war chest. The recent
revelation of corruption in Manicaland where the Zanu PF provincial leaders
extorted over US$700 000 from mining firms is just a tip of the iceberg. The
MDC will continue to boldly and candidly expose Zanu PF’s dishonest and
insincerity in this whole facade of empowering people.

The MDC has robust policies that will grow the economy for the benefit of
all Zimbabweans, and not just party cronies. Our mining policy explicitly
spells out that as part of corporate social responsibility, mining companies
are to ensure the provision of housing, health facilities, roads, schools,
water and sanitation facilities in the communities they operate in.

The MDC will also establish a proper Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) which will
be financed and managed through clearly defined statutes on Resource Rent
Tax not donations or bribes as manifested in Kasukuwere’s Community Share
Ownership Scheme. The Sovereign Wealth Fund will be funded by ring-fencing
the Resource Rent Tax (RRT) to invest in long term projects and instruments
that ensure economic prosperity beyond the depletion of our mineral

Kasukuwere’s empowerment scheme is a replica of the usual Zanu PF’s
unstructured policies on land expropriation, thus his indigenisation
programme is carried out in an opaque and often corrupt manner. Just
recently Kasukuwere “went to town” claiming to have raised US$4 billion for
the government’s National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund
(NIEEF) and community trusts.

Surprisingly he has not given the same publicity of the record of payments
being made nor of the share transfers to the National Indigenisation Fund.
Therefore the fund being created by Kasukuwere lacks a clearly defined
structure, financing and staffing and proper legal existence. The fund
clearly lacks any institutional structure for transparency and

In normal circumstances, a Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF) should be responsible
to, but independent of, government ministries. It should be established
under the ambit of the finance ministry, with an autonomous board made up of
professionals just like other quasi-government entities like the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe.

The people of Zimbabwe should be made aware that the issue of Community
Share Ownership Scheme is not a new phenomenon, but rather has been part and
parcel of corporate social responsibility of companies since time
immemorial. It is thus very wrong for Zanu PF to now run with the programme
as if it is their initiative. Instead of supporting companies who have all
along been carrying out these programmes professionally and transparently,
Zanu PF has in fact high jacked this noble undertaking, laced it with
political overtones while at the same time extorting money from these

The MDC believes that the role of the state should be to create conditions
for enterprises and individuals to flourish and not to decimate existing
businesses under the guise of empowerment. Following more than a decade of
economic regression Zimbabwe requires access to investment capital and this
can only be unlocked by a sound policy regime.

The people of Zimbabwe do not want handouts. They want a government with
forward looking and sustainable policies to allow them to live to their full
potential. They want a government with a vision to drive this country
forward. They want a government with policies that can create jobs, attract
investment from domestic and international sources, and put in place
measures towards rural transformation and mass upliftment.

This is why over 78% of Zimbabweans concur with the MDC that the current
policy of indigenisation is inimical to development and economic growth. It
is narrow and only meant to enrich a few politically connected people. It is
a continuation of a patronage system that has been at the epicentre of
destroying this economy.

Zimbabweans are not lazy. They want to work for themselves, to provide for
their families and communities and they want to develop their country.

The Last Mile: Towards Real Change!!!

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Harare/Beitbridge road to be upgraded, tolled

By: Natalie Greve
5th February 2013

The Department of Roads in Zimbabwe has commissioned Royal HaskoningDHV to
conduct a feasibility study to determine the viability of construction and
tolling to improve the road between Harare and the Beitbridge border post.

The study – which would be carried out in association with five Zimbabwean
partner firms – involved traffic studies, development of a toll strategy,
engineering analysis and concept design, environmental-impact scoping, an
economic feasibility study, financial modelling and preparation of a draft
project information memorandum for investors.

The cost of rehabilitating and improving the road was estimated to be in
excess of $600-million, some of which would be funded as a loan against
revenue from the tolls.

The feasibility project was urgently required to provide an indication of
viability as interested funders – the Development Bank of Southern Africa
and the African Development Bank – needed to make a decision about
committing funding by March 2013.

The Harare to Beitbridge road comprised a portion of the trunk road network
of Zimbabwe, as well as the North to South Corridor – one of the major
arterial links in the regional road network.

The road was the most direct link between the capital cities of Harare, in
Zimbabwe, and Pretoria, in South Africa, and provided landlocked Zambia
access to the Indian Ocean ports of Durban and Richards Bay.

“The road carries between 1 000 and 5 000 vehicles a day, with the heavier
flows in the proximity of Harare. Of significance is the fact that a high
proportion of this traffic are trucks carrying goods, equipment and
machinery that support the Zimbabwean economic recovery,” Royal HaskoningDHV
project manager Phil Hasluck explained.

The 580-km long road project, which started just outside Harare and ended at
the Beitbridge border post, was a single carriageway, two-lane road with
numerous bridges.

Although well maintained in the past, the road was over 40 years old and was
rapidly deteriorating under increased heavy vehicle traffic.

Alternatives to improve it as a single carriageway road or to add certain
sections as dual carriageway would be assessed.

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SADC begins training of Stand by Force in Zim

2013-02-05 10:07

Cape Town – SADC military inspectors have converged in the Zimbabwe capital
for a training course aimed at improving the operation and proficiency of
the military component of the SADC Standby Force (SSF) in war times,
according to a report.

In 2007, regional countries resolved to contribute troops under the SSF to
defend members states from revolts and aggression.

The brigade, under the command of Tanzania, is in the eastern Democratic
Republic of Congo where M23 rebels had launched an onslaught against
President Joseph Kabila's government.

Zimbabwe's Herald online reported on Tuesday that inspectors drawn from all
SADC countries would inspect different countries' preparedness for any

Those participating will in turn train their colleagues in their respective

Their duty will be to inspect physical military equipment of all countries
that pledged to contribute to the brigade.

Sadc Defence Inspectorate Working Group chairperson Colonel Joseph Mathambo
of Botswana said the inspectors would physically examine military hardware
and personnel to be deployed at the shortest possible time when needed.

Common understanding

"We have instances where pledging countries were found lacking when it was
time for deployment and this inconvenienced the whole brigade so we decided
that we inspect and see the actual troops and equipment on the ground.

"They will also train the civilian component of the brigade who comprise the
police, non-governmental organisations who will be providing critical
services to the brigade such as humanitarian assistance, dealing with
children and other vulnerable groups.”

Officially opening the course, acting Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander
Lieutenant General Valerio Sibanda said there was a need for SADC member
states to speak with one voice.

He said SADC members states should be prepared for any eventuality.

"For this to be effective, we have to be united and speak with one voice,"
he said.

"In your various countries you have your own inspectorate format but with
this working group it was found necessary that you should adopt the same
format regionally. The course is designed to ensure that we have a common
understanding of the inspectorate procedure so that you can train others in
your respective countries. If we are to harmonise our operations we have to
harmonise our training first."

The training is set to end on 15 February.

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Is this Harare's most famous bin?

All out ... Ambassador Wharton speaks on Tuesday while Mayor Masunda looks on

05/02/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

HARARE Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda took time out of his busy schedule on Tuesday to attend a very special engagement – the donation of a GARBAGE BIN from the United States embassy.

Masunda and Ambassador Wharton, with their staff and officials in tow, converged at the Harare Gardens for a photo-op with the green bin made out of a metal drum.

The beaming mayor later cut the ribbon to officially launch what is now Harare’s most famous bin.

Ambassador Wharton said he was “thrilled” to be making the donation which he said demonstrated the embassy’s support for “community-led cleanup and waste management activities”.

“I’m thrilled to be here to make this small token which represents our interest in community-led solutions to waste management,” the envoy said.

Masunda added: “We all have an obligation…if everyone did his little bit this place would be totally different.”

In a statement, the US embassy said the donation was a small part of an 18-month campaign by staff and their families to “green” the embassy and its surrounding area.

The campaign is led by American diplomat, Sanya Hunsucker. She said of Tuesday’s bin donation in the Harare Gardens, across Herbert Chitepo Street from the main embassy compound: “It’s a key transit point with a large foot traffic population. It’s a perfect location to begin.”

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A new take on land reform in Zimbabwe
LONDON/HARARE, 5 February 2013 (IRIN) - More than 10 years after the chaotic and often violent farm invasions that accompanied Zimbabwe’s fast-track land reform programme, a new book argues that the redistribution programme has dramatically improved the lives of thousands of smallholder farmers and their families.

Starting in 2000, the government implemented an initiative to acquire 11 million hectares of white-owned farmland and redistribute it on a massive scale; the programme was often carried out in the form of farm invasions led by frustrated war veterans and supporters of President Robert Mugabe. By its conclusion, only 0.4 percent of farmland remained in the hands of white commercial farmers, and smallholder farmers dominated the agricultural sector.

The land reform programme was followed by years of drought, hyperinflation and an economic meltdown.

Thirteen years later and more than 8,000km away, it still raises strong emotions. At a recent event hosted by London’s Chatham House at which authors of the new book,
Zimbabwe Takes Back Its Land, defended their work, the hall was packed, and a polite but persistent group of anti-Mugabe protesters occupied the pavement outside.

The book avoids passing judgement on the often violent manner in which the programme was executed. “This is not a book about what might have been, could have been, or should have been,” write authors Joseph Hanlon, Jeanette Manjengwa and Teresa Smart. Instead, it focuses on the results of a study they carried out in Mashonaland, a region of northern Zimbabwe covering three provinces, which found that many of the ‘fast-track’ farmers are faring much better than has been widely assumed.

Despite receiving very little government assistance, “we saw that these farmers had a real passion for farming. We found that farmers are making investments, building houses and barns… and buying farm implements,” said Manjengwa. “They are making the land their own, and they are becoming serious commercial farmers.”

Finding success

When Samson Pfumo, a 52-year-old teacher from Harare, applied for and received a 60-hectare plot in Marondera District through the land redistribution programme, his expectations were low.

“My brother, a war veteran, encouraged me to apply to the government for a piece of land, but I was pessimistic because of the controversy that surrounded the land reform programme,” Pfumo told IRIN. “When I got an offer letter for the plot [in 2005], I only set up a small mud-and-dagga [hut] and hardly visited the farm.”

"We found that farmers are making investments, building houses and barns...They are making the land their own, and becoming serious commercial farmers"
When the economy started improving in 2009, after the formation of a coalition government, Pfumo developed a keener interest in farming and started raising pigs. A year later, he had 60 pigs, some of which he sold to buy farming implements and to start growing maize for feed.

Today, he has five large pig pens housing more than 300 pigs, which he periodically slaughters for sale, with each pig fetching an average of US$150. He is also rearing about 500 chicks for sale and is considering venturing into
tobacco farming after noting that many resettled farmers have been making good profits from the crop.

“I managed to buy a truck to ferry meat to my clients and a luxury car. My two sons are now studying at reputable universities in South Africa because I can afford it, thanks to the piggery project,” said Pfumo, who has left teaching and now lives on the farm with his wife and mother.

Controversial progress

Manjengwa and her colleagues found that even the less ambitious among the new farmers surveyed, who mainly received smaller plots of five or six hectares, had greatly improved their standard of living. After being mostly poor, landless and unemployed prior to resettlement, virtually all of them were able to grow enough food for their families, and to sell the surplus to pay for their children’s school fees. But many were doing much better than that, producing significant quantities of maize, tobacco and other crops for sale, and building up capital in the form of livestock, farm buildings and equipment. They were also starting to employ labour.

The issue of labour is contentious because so many farm workers lost their jobs and their homes when the old white-owned farms were broken up; some are still
and unemployed. However, Hanlon, Manjengwa and Smart estimate that around 550,000 family members and 350,000 paid labourers now work full-time on land that previously employed 170,000 workers.

Charles Taffs, president of Zimbabwe’s Commercial Farmers’ Union, reminded those at the meeting at Chatham House that the workers now being hired are not the same ones who were driven off the commercial farms. He also asserted that the figures presented in the study did not add up.

Zimbabwe’s agricultural production experienced a dramatic drop following the upheavals of 2000, but according to the authors, it is now returning to the levels of the 1990s. This is despite the fact that many rely on a much more labour-intensive form of farming than that used by the earlier white commercial farmers.

The authors also point out that, although many of the white-owned commercial farms were efficient and productive, many others were struggling and had far more land than they could use; some of the most fertile land in the country had gone uncultivated. The new smallholders have brought much of that unused land into cultivation.


Manjengwa and her colleagues are not the first to suggest that Zimbabwe’s controversial land reform programme has achieved a number of positive results. A 10-year study of land reform in Masvingo Province, led by Ian Scoones from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex and published in 2010, challenged a number of the “myths” surrounding fast-track land reform, finding that many of the 400 households sampled were employing labour and expanding their farming operations.

“The suggestion that the fast-track land reform programme was not an unmitigated disaster presents dilemmas about whether to accept this growing body of evidence and risk endorsing the methods used to achieve the asset transfer,” commented Admos Chimhowu of Manchester University’s Institute for Development Policy and Management, who pointed out that neighbouring South Africa has yet to find a solution to its land reform challenges.
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Designers weave partnerships across continents

A partnership between Kingston University in London and a craft centre in Zimbabwe has proved so successful that a group of women from a remote farming community are about to exhibit their work at one of the world's largest design shows.

The head of Kingston's Design School, Simon Maidment has been sharing his expertise with the Lupane Women's Centre whose hand-woven baskets provide a much needed source of income for many families.

Based in rural Matabeleland, two hours’ drive from Zimbabwe’s second city, Bulawayo, the centre gives women an opportunity to earn money at times of year when they cannot farm, enabling them to send their children to school or simply put food on their tables.

The products are sold to tourists visiting southern Africa and are even stocked by Anthropologie and Conran shops in Europe and the United States. Their work has already been shown at the London Design Festival and the National Gallery of Zimbabwe and, in February, some of the craftswomen will be rubbing shoulders with creative talents from across the globe at Design Indaba in Cape Town, the city which has been named World Design Capital for 2014.

Mr Maidment said he found himself not so much lecturing but collaborating with the workers as they explored new ways of making, transporting and marketing the baskets. “We were keen to work with the women to help them realise how skilful they really were and to see the potential value of the items they produce,” he said.

The success of the project has attracted continued funding from the British Council. “It has really given our women the confidence to try new things,” the manager of the Lupane Women’s Centre, Hildegard Mufukare, said. “The women want to live better lives and, with the help of Kingston University, now have the confidence to achieve that.”

Design Indaba takes place in Cape Town at the end of February. Building Baskets has been jointly curated by Kingston University professor Catherine McDermott and Candice O’Brien, who has recently completed the university’s MA in Curating Contemporary Design.

Students from both the business and design schools at Kingston University have also been involved in the initiative. “We challenged our up-and-coming graphic, product, furniture and fashion designers to solve various problems that limit profits for the basket weavers, ranging from logistics to product diversity,” Mr Maidment said. Selected ideas were then presented to the women during two weeks of workshops in Zimbabwe.

Emma Lawlor, who recently completed a Kingston University degree in product and furniture design, was part of a team back in the United Kingdom that investigated how to transport the delicate woven baskets. “The larger baskets get damaged easily in transit, so we came up with a way of splitting them into two parts that could be woven back together later,” Emma, who is from Bristol, explained. “We called the project Tops and Tails and came up with a solution involving paperclips and cable ties. We were all so proud when it was adopted by the centre.”

The workshops had also prompted the women to give names to their new products, Mr Maidment said. “They included ‘Alice Bowls’ and ‘Shylet Shopper’. The women hadn’t truly taken ownership of the work before in this way,” he said. “We also introduced drawing and dyeing and combined their techniques with new approaches such as weaving around an object. They’d never drawn, for example, because they’d made the baskets from memory.”

Professor McDermott believes that both the craftswomen and the students have benefitted from the partnership. “Working with the centre has been a two-way flow of creativity,” she said. “It’s a way for us to begin to change perceptions in the United Kingdom about African economies. This is not a charity project – it’s a mutual exchange of knowledge between two equal partners. High quality teaching transforms lives. We can’t transform the economy of Zimbabwe, but we do feel that, step-by-step, our impact can help make a difference.”

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Zimbabwe's Marange Diamonds: ZANU-PF's Best Friend?

Concern is growing in Zimbabwe over missing diamond revenues, which many
believe to be lining the pockets of ZANU-PF officials.


Mutare, Zimbabwe:
Following last week's admission that the government's public account
contains only $217, Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti has stressed
"government finances are in paralysis". He warned that the “economy needs
every resource it can get”.

Yet several sources have suggested accessing its resources may be more
difficult than anticipated. At Zimbabwe’s Diamond Conference in Victoria
Falls last November, former South African president Thabo Mbeki voiced
concerns that Zimbabwe’s diamond industry had fallen under the control of a
“predatory elite”.

Mbeki was alluding to a widespread belief that the Marange diamond fields
are under the clandestine control of groups of ZANU-PF officials - using
their access to state power to enrich themselves against the interests of
the people. Presumably acting in collusion with the mining companies, many
fear ZANU-PF could even be using these illicit funds to undermine democratic
processes – particularly concerning with presidential elections scheduled
for later this year.

Fields of dreams
Marange’s potential revenues are staggering. Geologists estimate that the
80,000 hectares of diamond fields at Marange could hold between two and
seven billion carats of raw diamonds and the fields are currently
contributing as much as 25% of global diamond output.

Eddie Cross, economist and MP for Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T),
claims that in 2012 alone more than $4 billion worth in diamonds has been
extracted from Marange. However, his MDC-T colleague and a deputy in the
Ministry of Mines, Gift Chimanikire, told Voice of America that while he was
unsure of the source of Cross’s figures they seemed “exaggerated”.

Nevertheless, the extent to which this is translating into revenue for
Zimbabwe’s state coffers is another matter. A report published last month by
Partnership Africa Canada (PAC) claims Zimbabwe may have already lost up to
$2 billion in diamond mining revenues over the past three years. Many are
suspicious of ZANU-PF officials’ expenditure and surmise it can only be
emanating from underhand deals at Marange.

Understandably, the director of the Centre for Natural Resources Governance
(CNRG), Farai Maguwu, has already expressed fears that errant diamond
revenue could be used by ZANU-PF to subvert the country’s democratic
processes in upcoming elections.

ZANU-PF’s best friend?
Indeed, some fear the rot is already very deep. Earlier last year, Tendai
Biti, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister and Secretary General of the MDC-T,
suggested Marange revenues may be funding a “parallel government”.

Douglas Mwonzora, a spokesperson for the MDC, blamed the dire state of the
budget on diamond revenue going to ZANU-PF cronies, explaining "the most
important thing is that money from diamonds is not being remitted to
government coffers". Last July Biti drew attention to poor revenue inflows
from the Marange diamond fields. Of the $600 million expected from diamond
sales revenues in 2012, only $41.6 million had been received by halfway
through the year. Consequently, the 2012 national budget was cut from $4
billion to $3.4 billion.

Some believe that ZANU-PF officials are being helped by international
companies operating in Marange who are in cahoots with them. The diamond
fields belong to the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), which
fully owns Marange Resources Ltd. However, ZMDC also holds 50-50 joint
ventures with three other mining firms – the Diamond Mining Corporation
(DMC), Mbada Diamonds and Anjin Investments (a joint venture with a Chinese
construction firm).

Each of these companies has conspicuous connections to the ZANU-PF
structure. Mbada Diamonds, for instance, is chaired by Zimbabwe’s former Air
Vice-Marshall Robert Mhlanga – rumoured to have been Mugabe’s personal
pilot. Anjin’s board includes the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of
Defence, two commissioners of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, and current and
former officers of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Last May, Finance Minister Biti accused Anjin of having remitted nothing to
the Treasury despite being the largest diamond producer on the Marange
diamond fields. However, the Chinese-owned diamond producer claim they
remitted $30 million and said they were being made a scapegoat for the
government’s over-estimation of diamond revenues, denouncing Biti as being
“untruthful, incompetent or illiterate” for allegedly miscalculating what
was owed.

Mpofu, Cross, Biti: diamond geezers in dispute
Obert Mpofu, Zimbabwe’s Mines Minister, has also joined in the reaction
against Biti. At a Mining, Engineering and Transport conference in Bulawayo
last July, Mpofu maintained that the mining industry was contributing enough
and called Biti “a liar”. Yet Mpofu has been accused of benefiting from the
Marange diamond fields himself, and is famously rumoured to own half of the
resort town of Victoria Falls – expensive property alleged to have been
bought with ill-gotten gains.

In fact, Mpofu has been accused of being a liar himself. MDC-T MP Eddie
Cross has accused Mpofu of misleading parliament when he claimed Zimbabwe
had only realised $200 million from the sale of raw diamonds over the last
five years. During this time, total payments to the Treasury had been over
$174 million. Mpofu’s suggestion that the mining firms had paid out most of
the money earned from the sale of diamonds was, according to Cross, patently

Cross also suggests that ZANU-PF granted the Marange fields to compliant
companies to ensure the party would continue to gain funding after it lost
control of the Treasury and the National Social Security Authority (NSSA)
with the establishment of the unity government.

If these allegations are correct, there is little hope of transparency
around Marange so long as the current actors retain their licences. This
conclusion forms the basis of the MDC-T’s support for the nationalisation of
the fields – something on which Cross has claimed Zimbabwe “can expect
action shortly”.

Tendai Biti strongly advocates legislative action to shift the current
status quo. Claiming that due process was not followed in awarding the
concession, Biti has been pushing a Diamond Control Revenue Bill, introduced
in 2011.

The bill seeks to void all existing claims to concessions at Marange, while
nationalising the fields under the joint supervision of both the mining and
finance ministries.

Carats and sticks
Naturally, ZANU-PF denies the party is lining its own pockets at Marange.
Tafadzwa Musarara, director at Resources Exploitation Watch (an NGO partisan
to ZANU-PF), has condemned accusations of opaqueness in the mining industry.
He insists that mining firms are protected by law and, like any private
company do not have to make public their balance sheets. He added that the
Treasury should be more realistic in its revenue expectations, arguing that
firms were still recuperating their infrastructural investments.

Another ZANU-PF member – Edward Chininga, former Minister of Mines and
current chairman for the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy –
recently blamed the current international sanctions on Zimbabwe for the
limited revenue flow. Chininga has argued that sanctions are “creating
loopholes for illegal trade and fiscal leakages” – a muted confirmation, at
least, of shadowy diamond deals in the sector.

All four firms operating at Marange were targeted by US sanctions, with ZMDC
a primary target of the financial restrictions. However, Chininga has called
for the sanctions to be lifted since the four companies are now fully
compliant with the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS). He claims
all the sanctions are currently achieving is to “force companies to
circumvent normal export channels”, perhaps explaining why their balance
sheets remain so opaque.

Whether or not the accusations against ZANU-PF’s grounded in any truth, many
are becoming concerned by the way in which Zimbabwe appears to be
haemorrhaging revenues from its mining industries. Claims against
controversial figures within ZANU-PF, such as Obert Mpofu, need to be
further investigated, while the entire industry needs more accountability.
Whether MDC-T plans to nationalise the diamond fields are realistic remains
to be seen, but at such a time of empty coffers, Marange’s massive revenues
are hardly something the government can afford to be missing out on.

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Bill Watch - Parliamentary Committees Series 2/2013 - 5th February [Committee Meetings 4 to 7 February]



[5th February 2013]

Parliamentary Committee Meetings Will Continue This Week


Late arrival of information from Parliament meant Veritas was unable to circulate details of the committee meetings open to the public yesterday, Monday 4th February. The only remaining meetings open to the public this week are the two detailed below.

Open Meetings on Tuesday 5th February at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: State Enterprise and Parastatals

Consideration of financial statements for October and November 2012

Committee Room No 2

Chairperson: Hon Mavima Clerk: Ms Chikuvire

Portfolio Committee: Industry and Commerce

Oral evidence from ZISCO workers unions’ representatives at New Zimbabwe Steel Ltd regarding resuscitation of operations at the plant

Committee Room No 311

Chairperson: Hon Mutomba Clerk: Ms Masara

The meetings will be open to members of the public, but as observers only, not as participants, i.e. members of the public can listen but not speak. They will be at Parliament in Harare. If attending, please use the entrance on Kwame Nkrumah Ave between 2nd and 3rd Streets and note that IDs must be produced.

This bulletin is based on the latest information from Parliament. But, as there are sometimes last-minute changes to the schedule, persons wishing to attend should avoid disappointment by checking with the committee clerk that the meeting is still on and open to the public. Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 and 252941.

Note on Yesterday’s Meetings

Most of yesterday’s meetings were in closed session to deal with work plans, but there were three meetings open to the public:

Public Accounts Committee: for Oral evidence from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare on the 2009 and 2010 annual audit reports

Portfolio Committee on Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare: for oral evidence from the National Employment Council for Willowvale Motor Industry on NEC operations and the challenges faced by employees in the sector

Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion: consideration of Microfinance, Securities Amendment and Income Tax Bills. [Note: The Committee will be seeking expert guidance on these Bills and will return to them in due course and may hold public hearings. Persons wishing to make representations should contact the committee clerk, Mr Ratsakatika, on 252941 or 700181.]

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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