The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Germany threatens boycott of tourism conference

By Alex Bell
09 January 2013

Germany has threatened to boycott the planned UN World Tourism Office
(UNWTO) conference, set to take place in Victoria Falls later this year,
because of Zimbabwe’s failure to honour foreign investment agreements.

Addressing journalists at his offices in Harare on Wednesday, German
Ambassador Hans-GŁnter Gnodtke said he failed to get any help from Zim
government officials, who he approached about the invasion of German owned
properties. Such properties are meant to be protected by a Bilateral
Investment Protection Agreement (BIPPA) between Germany and Zimbabwe, but
Zimbabwe has refused to honour this or any other BIPPA it has signed.

The Ambassador was particularly concerned about the German concessions at
the Save Valley Conservancy, which was invaded by a group of ZANU PF members
last year. The Ambassador warned that boycotting the UN tourism conference
in August was being mulled over as a possible reaction to this.

“We have not yet made our decision if and at what level to participate on
that conference, if (there are) elements wishing to destroy wildlife and
tourism infrastructure in Zimbabwe protected by international BIPPAs. If
they should succeed, this will seriously affect Zimbabwe’s qualification to
host an international meeting on tourism,” he said.

The situation at the Save Valley has calmed down after the intervention of
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi. However, the hosting of the meeting comes as
there are plans underway to start mining exploration at Mana Pools, despite
the area being a UN protected Heritage site. This, as well as ongoing
problems with poaching, land invasions and other issues, are all being used
as key examples why the UN should not host the conference in Zimbabwe.

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Villagers report threats by soldiers to JOMIC in Mash East

By Tererai Karimakwenda
09 January 2013

Soldiers campaigning for ZANU PF in the next election have been intimidating
and threatening villagers in remote areas of Mashonaland East, according to
fearful MDC-T supporters who reported the incidents to JOMIC

An official from JOMIC, the committee appointed by regional leaders to
monitor implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), said they
are currently investigating the reports but admitted they can only expose
the perpetrators. The committee has no powers to prosecute anyone.

Piniel Denga, MDC-T legislator and JOMIC co-chairman for Mashonaland East,
told SW Radio Africa that reports of serious intimidation and threats by
soldiers had come from remote areas of Chikomba, Wedza and Mutoko.

Speaking while on his way to address villagers in Chikomba, Denga said: “We
are getting reports that soldiers are going around intimidating villagers
and saying if the MDC wins the next election, they are going to repeat the
violence from 2008 elections and punish villagers.”

He said the reports were discussed during JOMIC meetings in Mash East and it
was agreed that representatives would visit the affected areas, to
interrogate the soldiers that were named. However, Denga admitted that all
they could do as JOMIC was to expose the names of the soldiers.

“We are concerned that people should be free to elect any candidate of their
choice without interference from civil servants, whether they are soldiers
or police officers. Those people should be impartial. They shouldn’t support
any political party and it is of serious concern to get such reports,” Denga

“As the MDC-T our president has been saying if you are a civil servant and
want to engage in politics then you should resign from government structures
and join politics. There is nothing wrong with that. But when you harass the
very people you are supposed to serve then it becomes an issue,” Denga

JOMIC has often been criticised as a “toothless bulldog” by frustrated
victims of political violence and others who have been denied food and
resources, simply because they support the MDC formations.

Denga’s only answer to this was to say that once the MDC-T is in power they
plan to pursue those who are guilty of abuses.

But most observers say that the next election has no chance of being either
free or fair as soldiers increasingly play a major role in ZANU PF’s
election campaign. With villagers too scared to vote for them, the MDC
formations may find themselves in another coalition government again,
without the power to do anything.

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Mugabe new stickers instil further political fears
JAN 09, 2013

In 2008 June ZANU(PF) launched an election terror campaign where the party forced motorists to buy Robert Mugabe stickers throughout the country. Almost all motorists, particularly in the urban areas, had Robert Mugabe banners on their cars.

If a person who had been out of the country for a long time would have visited at that time, he was easily convinced that Mugabe was a man of the people as evidenced by the fleets of cars bedecked with the old man’s banners and stickers.

In the initial stages of the Mugabe campaign launch in 2008, I thought it was a joke. I stopped laughing when I was stopped by its militia who asked me where my Mugabe banner was. Thanks to my status in my job my life was saved.

I have been reminded of this bad experience by a new onslaught of Mugabe stickers, currently being sold on the streets of Harare for US$1 by vendors. According to the vendors the stickers, ‘Bob is my Man’, flooded the streets of Harare late last year and they are being bought in bulk from ZANU(PF) head offices for resale.

“We get them from the party’s head offices for US$0.50. If you make big orders the price is reduced. Although they are no longer selling we know that very soon motorists will be scrambling for them. I mean during election time, remember what happened last time. You better have one while stock still lasts my brother,”said one vendor.

I am saddened that we are back in the same cycle as the last run up to elections, but I have no choice but to buy one for my safety. Yet my heart breaks, for the fact is that by purchasing the Mugabe sticker I am financing the repressive political party at the same time as advertising the aged leader whom I wanted to see gone over 20 years ago.

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Police use teargas to disperse angry Chisumbanje villagers

By Tichaona Sibanda
09 January 2013

It has emerged that police in Chisumbanje last week fired shots into the air
and used teargas to disperse angry villagers demanding their land back from
Macdom, the company running the Ethanol plant.

Two brothers, Jameson and Samson Mlambo, were arrested following the
disturbances after police identified them as the ringleaders. They’ve been
in police cells for over a week now.

The MP for Chipinge South, Meki Makuyana, said the situation in Chisumbanje
needs an urgent dialogue between warring villagers and management from
Macdom before ‘the situation deteriorates further.’

The latest standoff was triggered last week when villagers went back to
their land to till following the start of the rainy season. This followed an
agreement reached in December last year between Macdom and a cabinet
committee, appointed to resolve the land row, that allowed the farmers to
work on their land until an agreement is reached over the dispute.

But when the farmers returned to their land, they were chased away by the
police, prompting this latest spat between the villagers and Macdom.

Makuyana told SW Radio Africa’s Hidden Story program on Wednesday that the
situation is still highly volatile in Chisumbanje and government needs to
move fast to avert a potentially ‘deadly’ confrontation between the farmers
and the police.

‘We have a situation where Macdom have enlisted the help and protection of
the police who are apparently using unnecessary heavy handed methods of
keeping the farmers away from the land in dispute,’ Makuyana said.

He added: ‘As I speak to you right now, there is a high presence of police
details in Chisumbanje patrolling the farming land in question and beating
up people venturing towards it.’

On Tuesday heavily armed police were summoned to arrest other villagers who
had tried to claim back their land, taken over by the multi-million dollar
Ethanol plant. Out of the 15 picked up on Tuesday, five remain in custody.

‘In total we have seven people in custody including the Mlambo brothers and
we are currently running around to engage lawyers to represent them,’ the MP

Makuyana said it was disappointing to note that instead of trying to engage
the villagers and come up with some sort of understanding; Macdom officials
have instead launched counter-accusations of theft against some of the

‘I have been to the police and met the officer-in-charge and he informed me
that those in cells are facing charges of stealing sugarcane from the Macdom
fields. I want us to be rational in dealing with this highly sensitive
issue, so I’m making frantic efforts to contact deputy Prime Minister
Mutambara and his cabinet committee to deal with this issue urgently before
it spirals out of control,’ Makuyana said.

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Tsvangirai to meet ZEC over elections

By Tichaona Sibanda
09 January 2013

On Thursday Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will hold a follow-up meeting
with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to see how best the body can be
financed to begin the voter registration exercise.

The meeting in Harare will be attended by ZEC commissioners, members of the
secretariat, Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede and several cabinet ministers.

Senator Obert Gutu, the deputy Justice and Legal Affairs Minister told SW
Radio Africa that the meeting is critical to ensure that ZEC can begin its

‘ZEC needs to start its mobile voter registration exercise and they need
money for that. This is the reason why the Prime Minister is having another
meeting with ZEC to ensure everything is sorted out on Thursday,’ Gutu said.

The deputy minister also confirmed that as of the 1st January 2013, all ZEC
commissioners were working full time for the electoral body. Elections in
the country are expected to take place later this year, possibly in June,
after the expiry of the Global Political Agreement which gave birth to the
inclusive government.

During the first meeting between Tsvangirai and ZEC at the end of last year,
it emerged that the government revised the budget submitted by ZEC for both
the referendum and the elections.

ZEC had budgeted US$220 million for the two events, but the amount has been
reviewed down to US$192 million. The reduction in the budget was a result of
the scrapping of the delimitation exercise, that was going to consume some
of the financial resources.

The electoral body will now get US$85 million for the referendum and US$107
million for elections. According to a highly placed source, the referendum
might be held at the end of February, if negotiations to complete the
drafting of a new constitution are finished before the end of January. But
Zimbabweans have already waited 3 years so there are no guarantees of

Meanwhile there are reports that despite all political party’s moving
towards an election, voter registration activists in most parts of the
country are living in fear, following a clampdown by police to stop further
registration of first time voters.

The deputy justice minister confirmed receiving such reports and said that
first time voters pose a great danger to ZANU PF because most of them are
unemployed and disgruntled and ‘very much stand ready to vote for change.’

‘This is why they’re reluctant to register new voters, they are trying to
put spanners into the works to ensure we use the old voters roll in the
upcoming elections.

‘What is clear though is that more new voters mean that ZANU PF will be
staring at a massive electoral defeat engineered by young voters,’ Gutu

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Recriminations over voter registration debacle

08/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE voter registration debacle last week has sparked recriminations in the
unity government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai dismissing
accusations by Zanu PF that he is responsible for the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC)’s failure to start enlisting eligible voters.

The registration outreach was set to kick off January 3, but ZEC
unexpectedly pulled the plug saying it could not proceed as it had not been
allocated any funds by Treasury to carry out the exercise and other
auxiliary logistics.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a Zanu PF official, recently blasted
Tsvangirai saying he had failed to fulfill his task to coordinate funds for
the electoral body as mandated by the wobbly government.

But the prime minister’s office hit back on Tuesday saying ZEC was to blame
for the fiasco after it submitted its budget just a day before the scheduled
start of the registration.

“The budget from ZEC only reached Tsvangirai’s office on January 3, 2013
after it was completed by the same organisation on January 2,” Tsvangirai
spokesman William Bango told

“The commission was instructed at a meeting on December 14 to quickly come
up with a budget and gear itself for the voter registration exercise on
January 3. Instead, they did not do that; any attempts to blame the Prime
Minister are dishonest.”

Tsvangirai has since scheduled a meeting on Thursday to deliberate on the
ZEC budget proposal with Chinamasa, Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Home
Affairs co-Ministers Teresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi.

The electoral commission says it needs $21 million for voter registration
and education as well as $192 million for the constitutional referendum and
general elections – both due sometime this year.

Zanu PF and MDC officials are currently locked in a protracted cycle of
negotiations over the long-delayed new constitution.

But MDC-T spokesman and Copac co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora revealed Tuesday
that the warring governing partners had managed to narrow down their
differences after a string of meetings.

A mini-cabinet committee will now take up recommendations made by Copac and
seek binding consensus at party level, paving the way for the referendum.

“We sat throughout the holidays as Copac to find ways of unlocking the
logjam on the remaining issues including devolution, national prosecuting
authority, executive authority, national peace and reconciliation commission
and the issue of running mates," Mwonzora said.

“We agreed on everything except the issue of running mates which we are
still working on. We will be submitting our recommendations to the cabinet
committee on Thursday.”

But Zanu PF Copac co-chair Paul Mangwana wasn’t as positive, saying “there
is no agreement because the cabinet committee is yet to meet.”

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Biti lobbies Canada to remove restrictive measures on ZANU PF

By Tererai Karimakwenda
09 January 2013

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has been in Canada this week, where he made
headlines after appealing to the Canadian government to remove the targeted
sanctions in place against members of the Mugabe regime.

Speaking after a presentation at Carleton University on Tuesday night, Biti
called on the international community to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe’s
officials, saying “they are not serving anyone.”

The Minister is quoted as saying: “Canada is such an important country, and
has been an important country over the years, that it must be engaged in
Africa and in the difficult places over the world.”

He added: “The use of sanctions and isolation, I think they’ve outlived
their usefulness.”

Some Zimbabweans in Canada responded very negatively to online reports of
Biti’s comments. Many said they were surprised an MDC-T official would
support removing these restrictive measures on officials whose political
thugs abused their supporters.

One commentator said: “The reasons for those travel restrictions have not
gone away and here we have a senior leader in the MDC-T telling the
Canadians to remove them because they are “not serving anyone”. Really? I
sincerely hope that the Canadians stand resolute with the people of Zimbabwe
on this one.”

But political and economic analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga agreed with Biti that
the restrictive measures are no longer effective, because Zimbabwe is seen
as having moved forward with the constitutional reform exercise. He insisted
that removing them would take away ZANU PF’s excuse for its abusive

Mhlanga also explained that it is up to the MDC-T to be clear that the
restrictive measures are on specific individuals, when they speak about them
publicly, so that there is no confusion.

Biti was reportedly due to meet with Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John
Baird, in a private session on Wednesday. Reports said Biti was to update
the Canadians on Zimbabwe’s economic and political reforms.

Rick Roth, a spokesman for Baird, said the Foreign Affairs Minister would
use the meeting to express Canada’s position regarding the need for
continued political reforms in Zimbabwe. This includes completion of the
constitutional reform process, free and fair elections, and the respect for
human rights.

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Zanu PF, MDC agree

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 09 January 2013 09:58

HARARE - Zanu PF and the two MDC formations in the fragile unity government
have struck a deal on the stalled draft constitution raising hopes that a
referendum can finally be conducted.

The new deal addresses areas of conflict contained in the Copac-authored

These include the running mate clause, the setting up of a prosecuting
authority, whittling of executive powers, establishment of a constitutional
court and a national peace and reconciliation commission as well as the
setting up of a land commission.

The Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac), the body that has been driving
the sluggish constitution-making process since 2009, completed a draft in
June last year and handed it to principals; President Robert Mugabe (Zanu
PF), Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (MDC) and Welshman Ncube (MDC).

Zanu PF rejected the draft.

A source close to the tripartite negotiations said the ball is now in the
Cabinet special committee’s court as Copac co-chairpersons, Douglas Mwonzora
(MDC), Munyaradzi Mangwana (Zanu PF) and Ncube led MDC’s Edward Mkosi
managed to reach an agreement.

At the behest of Mugabe, a special Cabinet committee led by Eric Matinenga,
the minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs was formed in order
to iron out the sticking issues.

“The smaller committee of Copac has been meeting during the Christmas
holidays to try and iron the outstanding issues.

“The committee, which is made up of the co-chairpersons of Copac, has
managed to narrow the areas of conflict and report the same to the Cabinet
special committee,” said the source.

“The Copac committee managed to unlock all the outstanding issues and we
will be giving the Cabinet committee our proposals.

“We have retained devolution but there will be a preamble to that chapter
which addresses fears of those who are against devolution.

“On the issue of running mates, we have come up with two proposals, one will
be to retain the clause as it is and the other will be to put the clause in
the draft and then make transitional arrangements on how to incorporate it
in relationship with the forthcoming elections,” said the source.

Both Zanu PF and MDC have been uncomfortable with the running mate clause in
the current draft, which requires presidential candidates to pick up their
running mates during elections.

But fears are high that Mugabe’s long absence as he holidays in the Far
East, might cripple government operations including the completion of the
draft constitution which has been hanging in limbo since June last year
after his party, Zanu PF, made widespread amendments to the initial draft.

Thirty issues were tabled for discussion among the three political parties.

After protracted negotiations, the committee has been able to whittle down
the outstanding issues, sources say.

Matinenga said “there is work in progress”.

“We are going to meet this week but I do not have a specific date yet,” he
said when asked about the latest developments in the draft constitution

“We do not discuss such issues in public,” says Matinenga.

In the latest deal, all the three parties appear to have compromised.

For instance, on the issue of establishing a prosecuting authority to
replace the office of the Attorney General, Zanu PF seems to have won as it
forced a transitional provision from the Attorney General to the Prosecuting
Authority which will take a massive seven years.

While the presidential imperial powers have been curtailed through a
provision which says executive authority shall vest in the president “who
shall exercise it through the Cabinet”.

Both Mwonzora and Mangwana refused to comment on the latest developments.

Sadc, the guarantors of the shaky coalition government and other political
parties, regard the completion of a new constitution as key to holding free
and fair elections.

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Zim urged to copy Zambia and Botswana in hunting suspension

By Alex Bell
09 January 2013

Zimbabwe’s government is being urged to copy the recent moves by Botswana
and Zambia and suspend giving out hunting licences, to clamp down on illegal

Zambia last week suspended the tender process for hunting concessions and
also cancelled all hunting licences, because of alleged corruption. That
country’s Tourism Minister, Sylvia Masebo, was reportedly spurred into
action by incidents of corruption and malpractice taking place between the
hunting operators in the country and some government departments. She also
went on to fire the Director General of the Zambian Wildlife Authority and a
number of other officials, before launching a full investigation.

This drastic move, which is being applauded in wildlife activism circles,
followed the announcement by Botswana’s President Ian Khama last year, that
his government will no longer issue hunting license. He said the issuing of
such licences was fuelling poaching in the country and preventing
sustainable tourism growth.

With poaching levels in Southern Africa reaching crisis levels, it is hoped
that measures like hunting suspensions could assist in protecting the
wildlife in the region. Last year more than 600 rhino were killed by
poachers in South Africa alone, with warnings the animals are now facing
being wiped out in a few years if nothing is done.

Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told
SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that Zimbabwe’s government should also consider
a suspension.

“I do believe that all hunting licences should be revoked and instead we
should try and get more sightseeing and photographic tours. That way you can
cut off corruption. There are certain individuals getting licences but their
operations aren’t benefiting the country, they’re not benefiting the
people,” Rodrigues said.

He added: “At the moment licences are handed out to favoured people and they
aren’t always following the laws that regulate hunting. So for example they
are going into the breeding areas in national parks and hunting there. So I
would really advise government to go down this route.”

Rodrigues agreed with Botswana’s Khama that clamping down on the hunting
industry and promoting photographic tours, would help fight poaching.

“One, there will be more people in the way of tourists on the ground to see
the animals, so it would be easier to spot when things go wrong. Also, all
the money generated could be used to actively fight poaching,” Rodrigues

He added: “It fills me with hope when I see other countries doing this. So I
really hope that this is a sign of things to come.”

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Mines bodies stuffed with Zanu PF cronies

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 09:50
HARARE - Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu’s appointment of
handpicked Zanu PF officials as board members for sanctions-busting mineral
agencies has been denounced as blatant crony capitalism.

The State-run Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) is the sole
marketing and export agent for diamonds and all other minerals, except gold
and silver, mined in Zimbabwe.

While the responsibility of managing such State-owned enterprises is in most
cases the responsibility of the country’s professional bureaucracy, the
minister has stuffed the board with officials with little if any documented
work history in mining, save for their loyalty to the ruling party.

Zanu PF’s long-time chief ideologist, Ambassador Chris Mutsvangwa, has been
named head of MMCZ.

And it is a very lucrative appointment with fantastic financial spin-offs,
government officials say.

In the controversial reshuffle, the minister retained Godwills Masimirembwa
as chairperson of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC),
involved in investment in the mining industry in Zimbabwe, and in planning,
coordinating and implementing mining projects on behalf of the government.

He also appointed new board members including vociferous lawyer Psychology
Maziwisa who joins a board of Zanu PF loyalists including TV
journalist-cum-businessperson Supa Mandiwanzira and a mix of other regime
officials and few professionals.

However, it would be a mistake to underestimate the significance of
Mutsvangwa’s appointment.

The former diplomat is replacing Juliet Machoba — an anti-corruption
campaigner, former cop and Parliament officer who has been acting MMCZ
chairperson all along. Machoba, who government sources say “was not amenable
to certain things”, has been demoted to deputy chairperson.

Mutsvangwa, a former detachment commander with Zanla forces, the armed
military wing of Zanu PF during the liberation war and former ambassador of
Zimbabwe to Beijing, undoubtedly gains huge influence in the business and
political spheres through the latest appointment.

Mutsvangwa was recalled from China in 2009.

His recall from his diplomatic posting was widely interpreted as a demotion
but back home he has worked his way up again, first gaining appointment into
the State-run Zimbabwe Media Commission board.

Now the former Zimbabwe envoy to Beijing has been appointed to chair the
MMCZ, which is responsible for selling diamonds from Marange, where Chinese
and military interests are deeply entrenched.

Anjin, a Chinese mining company, is the biggest extractor of stones there,
and is closely aligned to Zimbabwe Defence Industries, a State-owned weapons
procurer controlled by the military.

China remains an important — and growing — trading partner.

Bilateral trade hit a record high in 2012, and Zimbabwean mining companies
in a range of sectors are looking to enter or expand on the Chinese market
in line with government’s Look East policy.

And with Mutsvangwa now at the helm of the company which is also government’s
sanctions-busting tool, they have an exceptionally powerful lobbyist who can
open — and close — all sorts of doors and opportunities for mining firms in

Charles Mangongera, a political analyst and member of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s MDC, said the appointments were a confirmation of Zanu PF’s web
of crony capitalism.

“There are many distinguished Zimbabweans with impeccable business
credentials and extensive knowledge of the mining industry who could have
been selected to chair those State-owned enterprises but they were
overlooked for political expediency,” Mangongera said.

“Both Masimirembwa and Mutsvangwa were appointed because they are known Zanu
PF sympathisers and not because they possess any meaningful business skills
that will advance the interests of ZMDC and MMCZ respectively.”

The US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (Ofac)
has designated the MMCZ and the ZMDC under its sanctions regime targeting
the companies for helping the Mugabe regime pillage Zimbabwe’s mineral

Mpofu, who recently acquired ZABG Bank, will be able to keep a close eye on
Zimbabwe’s vital diamonds sector through a man who has proved his loyalty —
but also has his own interests at heart.

Mutsvangwa’s position as leader of the MMCZ — and therefore a proxy of the
Zimbabwean government — gives him unilateral authority to make moves that
benefit Zimbabwe.

Mutsvangwa now heads the team conducting secret diamond sales that are being
paid for through third party accounts — ostensibly to avoid the funds being
frozen by Ofac.

For example, last year alone, the trade embargo on diamonds from Marange
fields cost the southern African nation about $30 million through Ofac
seizures, according to minister Mpofu.

The State firms have been forced to use a “circuitous method to secure
payment” to avoid detection of the money by Ofac.

The shadowy system has allowed kleptocratic officials to rip off the system
for the benefit of politicians and their cronies who have a vicelike grip on
the diamonds sector.

Critics say a strong, effective and efficient bureaucracy is essential if
the State is today to play an effective role.

Deputy minister of Mines Gift Chimanikire, has openly lobbied for the
lifting of targeted measures on ZMDC and MMCZ to avert further theft of
State cash.

The Ontario-based Partnership Africa Canada (Pac) claims Zanu PF has looted
about $2 billion from the Marange fields, partly to fund the nation’s
military, which is seen as loyal to Zanu PF.

“Conservative estimates place the theft of Marange goods at almost $2
billion since 2008 and the funds are going to enrich members of Mugabe’s
ruling circle and gem dealers,” Pac, a member of the Kimberley Process, the
world regulatory body on the diamond trade, said in a November 2012 report.

Mutsvangwa now has direct responsibility for the sanctions-busting.

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Riot police quell GZU job seekers

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 09:46
MASVINGO - Chaos rocked Great Zimbabwe University (GZU) after officials
called in armed riot police officers to disperse hundreds of desperate job
seekers who got wind the institution was employing security guards.

About 500 unemployed Masvingo residents swarmed the university campus and
refused to leave after being told no jobs were available on Monday.

Unemployment in Zimbabwe hovers at around 80 percent, putting the country in
the group of African countries with the highest unemployment rates.

University officials, including deputy registrar for Human Resources and
Administration Luke Kasenya, had a torrid time trying to convince the job
seekers that they had been misled.

Many of the job seekers said they were eager to land jobs at the university
after getting reports that the institution paid better than most government
institutions, with security guards getting better salaries than most civil

Security guards at the university are said to be earning over $400 while
teachers and civil servants get about $250.

The job seekers had to take to their heels after armed riot police stormed
the campus.

“We had to run for dear life after we saw armed police approaching us and we
knew that they had been called to deal with us. We thought the authorities
wanted to get rid of the big number of people at the college so that they
could recruit later after information circulated that they were employing
security guards who will be getting better salaries than civil servants,”
said Edmore Ganunga, one of the job seekers.

GZU information director James July confirmed the incident but played down
the pandemonium.

“It was just a minor thing not worth writing about. But let me consult my
bosses then I will come back to you,” said July.

Police spokesperson in Masvingo Peter Zhanero could not be reached for

Issues of unemployment have been topical with major political parties in the
government all using it as bait to win votes in elections scheduled for
later this year.

Zanu PF says it will deal with unemployment through an empowerment programme
while the MDC has launched a blueprint promising a million jobs in five
years if it wins power.

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Zimbabwe rights post could be flash point

BY RAY NDLOVU, JANUARY 09 2013, 05:56

HARARE — THE resignation of Reginald Austin last week as chairman of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission could spark a fresh political tug of war
between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), according to a government minister.

"Politics and human rights are like Siamese twins, and there will definitely
be political considerations when it comes to the replacement of Mr Austin.
But we trust that the principals in the unity government will be able to
make a rational decision based on merit," Obert Gutu, deputy minister for
justice, legal and parliamentary affairs, said yesterday.

The justice ministry, led by Patrick Chinamasa, a Zanu (PF) member, is
responsible for the appointment of commissioners to the rights commission,
after consultation with Mr Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

In a strongly worded statement, Mr Austin blamed inadequate resources and no
legal support from the government as reasons for his resignation. He said
this exposed the government’s lack of commitment to human rights.

But Mr Gutu challenged Prof Austin’s criticism of the human rights
commission and argued that the challenges it faced were "not unique" to the

"It’s not peculiar to the human rights commission alone. Similar challenges
are faced by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission and the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission — all these remain severely incapacitated," he said.

It remained unclear yesterday who would take over the chairmanship of the
human rights commission. A lobby group has emerged that wants one of its
members already on the commission to take up the post. This is being
proposed as a strategy to prevent an all-out clash between Zanu (PF) and the

"The deputy chairman of the commission, Allan Sithole, who is a law lecturer
at the University of Zimbabwe, is very capable," a source said. "We are
quite likely to have a new chairperson from the current pool of
commissioners take over … but the principals in the unity government are
seized with the matter and an announcement will be made in due time," said
the official, who requested anonymity.

Zanu (PF) spokesman Rugare Gumbo denied on Tuesday the party was positioning
one of its members to take up the post. "We are only preparing for the
referendum and elections," he said.

Wilson Sandura, a former supreme court judge, has been touted as a strong
candidate but Zanu (PF) insiders said Mr Mugabe was opposed to the

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Human rights chief exposes regime

on January 9, 2013 at 3:11 am

Report by Feluna Nleya

EX-ZIMBABWE Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) chairperson Reginald Austin, who
recently quit his post in protest over unfavourable working conditions, has
exposed government’s apparent lack of commitment to upholding human rights.

The former head of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) Professor
Reginald Austin
In an interview for the first time since his unexpected departure last
month, Austin told NewsDay last week that the entire commission had for a
long time been frustrated by the legal framework particularly the excessive
powers of the Executive and the body’s lack of independence.

He said since their appointment, the commissioners had not been provided
with resources to investigate and take action where human rights violations
would have occurred.

“I believe my statement shows the long and on-going concerns of the
commissioners with the legal framework, especially the power to silence the
ZHRC. As the statement indicates, these concerns were repeatedly raised with
the Ministry (of Justice and Legal Affairs), the MPs and various
stakeholders,” he said.

“However, they — along with the ongoing delays regarding the commissioners’
conditions of service — were obviously not regarded as serious impediments
to the commission’s long-term independence and integrity as I have
personally judged them to be.”

Austin said an unnamed senior government official who briefed the
commissioners on the commission’s situation in 2010 demoralised his team
when he compared the new commission to a baby whose birth the parents had
made no preparations for — “no nursery, no cot bed, no blankets and no baby

He added: “In our case it was: no budget, no accommodation, no mobility, no
staff and no implementing Act or corporate legal status.”

He bemoaned lack of material support and revealed that the commissioners had
not been issued with letters of appointment while their terms and conditions
of service had remained uncertain, including the issue of their being full
or part-time officers.

Despite the challenges he encountered, Austin said with commitment from the
government and if well resourced, the ZHRC could be built into an effective
national human rights commission. NewsDay

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Biti, Ncube date investors in London

08/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti and his Industry counterpart Welshman Ncube
will on Friday address business executives in London where they will pitch
Zimbabwe as a safe investment destination.

The two are among several banking and industry bureaucrats invited to speak
at the ZimInvest London 2013 fair - a platform to promote business
opportunities in Zimbabwe across all sectors of the economy.

Organisers say the forum will “showcase over US$30 billion worth of
infrastructure, mining and investment projects, some with regional potential
such as the power projects.”

The event will be held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Plaza Lane, London
under the theme, “Why Zimbabwe Matters.”

“This will be an excellent high-level networking platform for attaining a
first -hand account of business in Zimbabwe, its potential and regional
potential, as well as promoting Zimbabwe as a safe and attractive
destination for investors,” ZimInvest said.

The organisation is targeting investors interested in Zimbabwe partnerships
in various sectors of the economy including energy, mining, agriculture,
infrastructure, banking and manufacturing among others.

Some 120 foreign investors are expected to attend, and a limited number of
complimentary tickets will be issued to a few Zimbabwean entrepreneurs as
well as other nationals wishing to attend.

Zimbabwe has struggled to attract any direct foreign investment in the past
decade due to a myriad of factors such as political instability and radical
policies pushed by the Zanu PF government including the land reform program.

Western sanctions have also worsened the investment drought, forcing the
unity government partners to campaign for their removal to aid economic

Ncube and Biti are some of the MDC officials who continue to push forcefully
for the Western nations, especially the US and Britain to lift the

The indigenization policy that compels foreign entities to cede a majority
stake to foreigners has also been cited as another factor repelling

The ZimInvest lineup of speakers include Chamber of Mines president Winston
Chitando, Britain-Zimbabwe Society chairman Knox Chitiyo, Falcon Gold
non-executive director Roy Pitchford, London Stock Exchange’s Richard
Webster Smith as well as Net One managing director Reward Kangai among

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Beitbridge border nightmare over

08/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

A massive deployment of more immigration officers by South Africa at the
Beitbridge Border Post helped clear congestion that had stuck for a week as
thousands of Zimbabweans living and working down south headed back.

Although traffic backed up for more than 10km on Monday, the situation was
completely different on Tuesday after Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi
protested the situation to his South African counterpart Naledi Pandor.

Travelers had blamed slow processing by South African immigration and
customs officials for the backlog that almost sparked riots.

But after Mohadi’s protestations on behalf of the Zimbabwean government, the
congestion had disappeared on Tuesday.

“The line started moving really fast late on Monday and I got processed
around 2AM,” said motorist Saziso Ndebele who had been stuck at the border
for three days.

“Apparently, South Africa had beefed up its immigration crews, and it was
just amazing how quickly thousands of cars started moving all of a sudden.

“South Africa should have done that in the first place; all the congestion
and suffering they subjected us to was uncalled for and absolutely
unnecessary,” Ndebele added.

Beitbridge is the busiest border post in Southern Africa, handling about
9,000 travelers into South Africa in a single ordinary day. But officials
say the figure soars to over 25,000 during holidays.

It also handles 2,000 small cars and 1,500 mostly commercial haulage trucks
daily during peak days.

Speaking about his phone call with Pandor, Mohadi said earlier: “We had a
discussion this morning with Minister Pandor over the terrible situation at

“She indicated that they will immediately deploy more immigration officers
to the border and open up more clearing points at their side of the border
[adding that] they had not anticipated the volume of traffic to increase
judging from the previous experience.”

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Silence on pay deal riles civil servants

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 00:00

Felex Share Herald Reporter
GOVERNMENT has remained mum on the precise increment it will award civil
servants this year, forcing the workers to mull an industrial action.
Presenting the 2013 National Budget, Finance Minister Tendai

Biti said Government would award civil servants an inflation-based salary
increase this year, but the employer has remained silent on the actual

Civil servants’ unions yesterday said with a few days to go before the next
pay date, there was no communication from Government on salary issues.
They said they would never accept imposed figures.

The workers said they wrote to Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga last
week requesting a meeting with Government negotiators, but unions said they
had not yet received a response.

Government salaries are traditionally announced under the National Joint
Negotiating Council, a platform that brings to the negotiating table workers
and Government negotiators.
Minister Matibenga yesterday declined comment.

However, Acting Public Service Commission Secretary Mr Rodgers Sisimayi
said: “The issue of unbundling is handled by the employer and it is the
Public Service Commission which knows the actual amount that will be paid to
the workers.”

Civil servants are demanding salaries in line with the poverty datum line.
The least-paid Government employee is getting US$296 while the PDL is more
than US$600.
Progressive Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe president Mr Takavafira Zhou said
they were mobilising their members for a strike in case Government fails to
meet their demands.

“No one can fully commit himself to work when he does not know how much he
“What we want for the meantime is to be told the inflation-related salary
increment such that we know where we stand.”

The country has an annual inflation rate of less than 5 percent.
Mr Zhou said Government should not impose salaries on them without
“We used to know our salary adjustments through the NJNC, but now we confirm
this on the pay date or on seeing our pay slips,” he said.

“We are ready to stop work once we know that the salaries we get are not in
line with the poverty datum line.”

Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association president Mrs Tendai Chikowore said
Government should urgently convene a meeting with the workers.

“There is no communication, but what our constituents need at the moment is
to know what is in store for them.

“We are disgruntled and it is better for Government to urgently address our
issues rather than surprise us on the pay day.”

Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe chief executive Mr Manuel Nyawo said civil
servants would soon regroup to map the way forward.

“The obtaining situation is not benefiting us and we are ready to fight to
the end.
“We are going to consult with other unions before taking action because we
need a united front as we fight for our bread and butter issues.”

College Lecturers Association of Zimbabwe president Mr David Dzatsunga said:
“We are at the moment consulting our membership. We cannot continue with a
situation where people are concerned with their political fighting and do
not even care about our welfare.”

The workers have been agitating for a salary increment since the formation
of the inclusive Government without success.

In January last year, civil servants went on a five-day strike that resulted
in the disruption of work in the public service.

The strike was called off after Government announced that it had reviewed
civil servants’ housing and transport allowances, while the basic salary
remained unchanged.

However, the move was rejected by the Apex Council, which represents all the
civil servants bodies.
Government has always argued that it does not have enough money to award
salary increases to its workers.

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Justice delayed for torture victim

Wednesday, 09 January 2013 09:53
MBERENGWA - Four years after being severely tortured and left for dead by a
group of war veterans, 75-year-old Adamson Dhakwa is bitter that justice is
yet to be done.

The mainstream MDC ward chairperson for Mataruse in Mberengwa district,
Dhakwa was kidnapped on June 12, 2008 at Senta Business Centre in Matavire
village, Mberengwa.

He says his captors, war veterans and Zanu PF supporters led by Retired
Major Shava and Obey Chipoko, viciously tortured him leaving him with
permanent injuries.

He says he was tied up with a rope and thrown in the back of a Toyota Hilux
vehicle. He was taken to Mazvihwa where he was beaten and severely tortured.

According to the doctor’s report, Dhakwa sustained permanent injuries on the
spinal cord and private parts. He now has difficulty in urinating and

“I was beaten with logs, stones and iron bars by Shava, Chipoko and their
group,” he said. “They accused me of being a sellout.

“They were actually saying people of my age were not supposed to campaign or
to support MDC.

“After that, they dumped me at Maranda Business Centre and left me for dead,
I was taken home by a Good Samaritan.”

He says he reported the matter to Zvishavane Police Station.

“It is very painful to note Shava and his colleagues have not been arrested
and are still walking free asi inini ndava chirema (when I am now
crippled),” he said.

“I have visited Zvishavane Police Station several times but no explanation
is being given on why there are failing to arrest these people and take them
to court.”

Dhakwa added: “As you can see, I am now crippled, can’t walk properly and my
private parts were also injured and I have problems when relieving myself.”

Midlands police spokesperson, Emmanuel Mahoko said: “If police in Zvishavane
are failing to help him, he should contact the provincial headquarters in
Gweru and we will see how he can be assisted.”

Zanu PF national spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said: “That is just propaganda
from MDC; this guy was not tortured by any of our members or war veterans.
He might have been beaten kudoro and he now blames our members.”

MDC district chairperson for Mberengwa, Ketrush Mubaiwa-Moyo said it was
well-known in the area that Zanu PF is behind Dhakwa’s injuries and demanded
the arrest of those who attacked him.

“Everybody knows Dhakwa was kidnapped and tortured by Shava and his group,
we want justice to be done. Police should arrest these people,” said
Mubaiwa-Moyo. - Pindai Dube

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Chinese language to be taught in Zimbabwe school

WEDNESDAY, 09 JANUARY 2013 12:38

By Correspondent

CHINESE language is to be taught in a newly opened school in Mazowe named
after President Mugabe's current wife, Grace.

The school, Amai Mugabe Junior School was opened yesterday in Mazowe with
97 pupils and is expected to teach Chinese language among other subjects.

The opening of Amai Mugabe Junior School was witnessed by Chinese Ambassador
to Zimbabwe, Mr Lin Lin.

According to ZBC News, the pioneer group comprises 41 girls and 56 boys.

Thirty of the pupils are day scholars drawn from the Mazowe community while
67 are boarders.

The school has two departments; the infants section for grades 0 to 2 and
the junior school department for grades 3 to 7.

The school has 11 teachers and also teaches computers.

Speaking during a brief ceremony to mark the opening of the school, Mugabe's
wife Grace said she valued education as the cornerstone of national

"The school places strong emphasis on independent, creative and critical
thinking, equipping the children with skills that can be adapted to the
modern working and learning environment," she said.

Sports such as hockey, cricket and rugby will also be taught at the school.

The double storey school complex, built on 7 720 square metres of land has
27 classrooms, a library, an art room, a music room, offices and auxiliary
equipment rooms.

Construction of the school began on November 8, 2011 and was completed 11
months later on 31 October 2012.

The school is the second phase of projects that have been implemented in
Mazowe under the Grace Mugabe Foundation following the establishment of the
Grace Mugabe Children's Home, which is catering for 47 children from
disadvantaged backgrounds.

Plans are already at an advanced stage to establish a secondary school and a
tertiary institution in the area under the Grace Mugabe Foundation projects.

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Diaspora Immigration Blamed on Divorce Increases in Zimbabwe

Violet Gonda

The economic meltdown in recent years saw millions of Zimbabweans trek to
the diaspora in search of greener pastures, leaving their spouses to raise
children, care for aging parents, and attend to all other domestic

It’s estimated that there are at least two million Zimbabweans living
outside the country, due to economic or political reasons, while some left
to study abroad or take up temporary assignments from the government or a
multinational firm.

Recently, media reports quoted Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa as saying
that divorce and other civil lawsuits increased by at least 50% in 2012.
Social workers attribute a growing number of these cases to economic
challenges and long distance relationships.

Jessie Majome, Deputy Minister of Women's Affairs, tells VOA that she blames
emigration on “the economic and political crisis in Zimbabwe [that] has
brought about a social crisis that is very personal, that has wreaked havoc
in the homes where families are disintegrating because of the necessity to
live apart due to the economic and political hardships that Zimbabwe has
been facing.”

Majome said: “This goes a lot to showing how we need, as a country, to
urgently deal with our political mess and have political stability that
brings economic development that then allows people to come back and to work
for their families in the country.”

She said the divorce statistics are alarming, and labeled children as “the
biggest casualties of all this.”

Even in families not impacted by divorce, many children live with one parent
or even both parents living abroad. In such circumstances, parents often
leave their children with relatives or friends, circumstances where the
children may not receive adequate protection.

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Rural areas a delicate political domain

on January 9, 2013 at 2:12 am

By Zisunko Ndlovu

Finance Minister Tendai Biti on the Friday of 16 November 2012 put aside a
total of US$50 million in allocation for a constitutional referendum and the
general elections this year, 2013.

Elections in Zimbabwe
This announcement on the budget created certainty on the imminence of
elections, whose existence has since attracted a considerable revolt from
people across various sectors.

The business world has condemned this, citing the move as a possible
de-stabilizer that will raffle investment opportunities and disturb business
operations especially before the UNTWO which in its capacity is expected to
resurrect tacit economic activities in the country if capitalized on.

In a number of communities around the country, one is welcomed by the
reality of President Robert Mugabe’s election call which has already put the
country into a top gear election mode with political party primaries and the
launch of campaign rallies being banners of compliance.

Before any ballot foolery and suggestion of people into positions of power,
or rather, of advantage and liberty, I am more obedient to spewed manifestos
and professional mandacy. But where lies are targeted to the rustic, who by
nature and making are defenseless, I oft wilt.

Whether a lesson was learnt from the 2012 held election in the United States
is affirmed by the country’s political maturity and also an understanding
level of Zimbabweans in electoral processes.

The Mitt Romney and Barrack Hussein Obama campaign was seen as an utmost
display of sane politics in most respectful reckon. The white house battle
sailed through washed clean with minimal violence recordings.

It is a fallacy though, to succumb to political lure although at times, one
has to admit there is not yet a way of circumventing these political

As the 2008 election gig continues to haunt Zimbabweans today through its
reportedly violent nature, there is an amount of fear in every electorate
for violence recurrence in this year’s elections. The elections, albeit
continued calls for people to remain peaceful by the president, remain

Tendai Biti during last year’s budget presentation warned that the biggest
risk remains a violent and contested election. He said the repeat of the
2008 bloody presidential run-off would collapse the nascent foundation that
has been built over the last three years.

But whichever way, an election has been found to be the most fundamental
essence that defines a country’s democratic foundation. It should be a time
where the generality of people in a country give a voice in the placement of
desired development trustees. It is therefore a central constitutional

Even politicians are powerless to contest this electoral ‘scientific fact’.
It can be noted that a successful politician is one who establishes village
level/ cell level acceptance without only concentrating on luring the
urbanites. Zimbabwe’s rural –urban statistics supports with a strong
justifying sense to this strategy.

But before provoking rural people’s calmness, does one need to undergo some
form of penetrating preparedness. Or does one from a pre-conceived imaginary
mind of a hassle-free community acceptance, just unpack one’s election
package in a go, careless of how the rustic folks would receive those

When people are fed up with some kind of governance, it should be understood
that the idea if far from the desire to change/ replace a tired face with a
fireball. The reason is a humanitarian one, where the people notice a
deteriorated livelihood and yearn for sustainable pillars of social

It is interesting to notice politicians resurfacing from their hibernatory
ponds awakened by the brevity of time left before the holding of the next
election. One wonders how such a devastating poverty resident in rural areas
is oft overlooked for a long time.

Should this spell to us feigned Samaritanism from our Presidential
candidates, parliamentarians and all those who buy us with last minute

In Binga where people are adorned with river full stereotype and government
isolation, it makes little sense when one comes with purported political and
social reforms whose nuances cannot claim a promise of a substantial rural

This is an archaic and belated showcase. In any progressive society, such a
denigrating humanitarian conduct is mooted, disregarded and taken for a
head-on attack on the fundamental substance of human value. This
hypocritically pious parade of sacrosanct make up will not last long.

Erratically backed agricultural processes in rural areas continue to force
rural people out of hope. I single out agriculture for there is no other
sector whose carrots have been overly dangled on the poor rural people’s

Zimbabwe’s Matebeleland North records the highest poverty ratios as compared
to other regions.

This tells then of a story of great suffering and a constant yearning for
betterment. Despite having obtained a stronghold in other regions, even ZANU
PF cannot afford to take a cozy snooze. In rural communities where political
camps had won favor, reliance on history could mislead.

People find it amusing and a giddy act of self-doubt seeing some
presidential candidates turning into midsummer clowns when they engage in
humiliating human vote fundraising.

In the past election of 2008, Simba Makoni, leader of Kusile Mavambo Dawn
(KMD) could not think of any other sentient method than waiting at bar
counters to pay for anyone who showed up to purchase alcohol in fetid
beerhalls. I wonder how that exalted fool’s paradise could possibly earn a
person a gate nod to State House.

In rural areas, we instantly die the moment we succumb to short stringed
political lure.

It is fantasy to believe change can be brought about a two second ballot
dock confession when the people’s suffering has been left to soar for years
for reasons of amplified social condemnation that seek change which
beautified manifestos would then address.

The country’s 9million will certainly not disappoint any faithful political
party, instead, it will raise it to victory as it has done for ZANU PF over
the years since 1980’s post- independence polls. One should then not ask
further why the party came up with projects with an agrarian inclination.

Apart from diffusing a significantly nerve wrecking amount to TV advertising
and metropolitan campaigns, the United States White House race wore a rustic

Its target was rural vote redemption which had dramatically declined
comparing to 2008 as voter turnout took an ebb causing a total vote loss of
3million. Seventy percent of that decrease came from Democratic party

As a delicate social portion, rural people in the 2012 US elections decided
to stay home as a signal to register a morsel of discontentment.

The lesson seems to be that there are a lot of people in rural areas who
just can’t vote unless they see a good reason to, people who can only vote
for perceived promises of displayed social betterment not from the euphoric
zeal of political party allegiance.

In 2008, a good number of farms and ranch groups in the United States
supported the Democrat because the thought he would enforce anti-trust laws
in the food industry. It is believed these anti-trust laws came to nothing
and hence from shame he did not show up in the 2012 election.

Rural dominion therefore went to Mitt.

Political parties should establish foundations that are identifiable with
the rural population that display a meaningful party presence in
communities. That display of course, should not be after a perennial spell
of ignorance.

It should not come in exaggerated good samaritaniac resemblance or
pseudo-prophetic claims.

Zimbabweans have been known for steadfastness to their beliefs and choices,
nothing seems to shake the root of a made up mind in my country. I
particularly think it is rotten humanism to trump on poor communities’

I remember a few weeks back or a few days back precisely, government offices
where adequately occupied.

But, visiting these offices again now, one is prone to hit blank shots. It
is my hopes that their abrupt absence from their respective offices of state
service are not meant to further cripple the already crippled State.

It is in my hopes again that they are not yet another seasonal wave of rural
pilgrimages that mollify poor rural people into otiose subservience.

Let the millennium insanity rage on. Katuya buya, bakulindiswe tabolwi a

About the writer: Zisunko Ndlovu is a distinct development projects monitor
and a celebrated writer from Binga with a strong inclination towards the
development of marginalized rural areas. For comments, send emails to

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New year, new hope? Unlikely for young Zimbabweans

Published on : 9 January 2013 - 5:00am | By RNW Africa Desk

With elections on the horizon, 2013 could prove a pivotal year for Zimbabwe.
But how much hope is there for a generation struggling to free Zimbabwe from
Mugabe’s oppressive rule? RNW spoke with Blessing Vava, a human rights
blogger frequently heard on national radio debating key issues with

By Nkosana Dlamini, Harare

“These old politicians have over-rewarded themselves for waging the
liberation war,” says Vava. He's referring to President Mugabe’s inner
circle, starched with veterans of the 1970s war of liberation. “They have a
war hangover that has taken us no further than where we were during the
British rule. They are failing to respond to the fast global changes.”

Vava comes from a tribe based in Chipinge, an area in eastern Harare that
has constantly voted against Mugabe. During college, he took a liking to
student activism and became involved in the country's biggest student
movement, the ZINASU. Afterwards, he joined the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), one of the few organizations that continues to challenge
Mugabe and his coalition partners.

Despite once frequent confrontations with the state, today the 29 year old
is the proud holder of two diplomas and a few certificates. He considers
himself lucky to have found a job with a local NGO. But his heart goes out
to his millions of young compatriots who long for the same opportunities in
their resource-rich but poor Zimbabwe. Why the disparity?

Out of touch
Vava blames Zimbabwe’s "greedy" rulers who continue to cling to influential
political posts despite having no clue how to solve the country’s economic

“This political arrangement has totally failed to work. It has largely been
characterized by a policy discord, infighting and backbiting, and we cannot
pin our hopes on any of its policies,” he says.

The dreadlocked young man, a qualified graphic artist who now does art only
in his spare time, says he sees no hope even beyond this year’s elections.
He insists there is no leader among the current presidential hopefuls with
clear solutions for youth.

“They seem to have inherited Mugabe’s culture of corruption and are no
longer in touch with the aspirations of the people. Zimbabwe now needs a
party that responds to the suffering that we are going through,” he says.

Neither should young Zimbabweans base their aspirations on handouts from the
rich West, which has its own interests in the resource-rich former British
colony, says the blogger, also a militant campaigner for constitutional

“We have put too much faith on foreigners to provide solutions for us. Yet
we are Zimbabweans who can do better with their own solutions to their
problems. We will never be Americans,” he says.

It won’t be easy for youth to emancipate themselves, as some Zimbabweans are
very comfortable playing servant to old and manipulative politicians. In
fact, some youth respond opposite to Vava, instead displaying a distinct
non-interest in politics – be it out of fear or due to other factors.

But Vava is resolute. “Our old politicians have failed us. They come and use
us during election campaigns while promising millions of jobs, but that
fades away as soon as election results are announced,” he says. “We are the
ones who can make this country work again."

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