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Mugabe has angered Zanu PF party hawks

Monday, 10 January 2011 10:47


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has angered hardliners in his fractious party by
supporting recommendations by his deputy, Joice Mujuru, to shelve the
controversial indigenisation law and set aside plans to hold elections this
year as the succession issue heats up in Zanu PF, The Standard is reliably

Authoritative sources said hardliners in the party and members of the
Emmerson Mnangagwa faction were furious that Mugabe dumped the idea of an
early election in favour of Mujuru’s recommendations that polls should not
be held early for the good of the still fragile economy.

Mujuru, who is battling against Mnangangwa to succeed the 86-year-old
leader, made the recommendations before the party’s Mutare conference last
month following consultations with the business community.

The sources said Zanu PF hardliners and the Mnangagwa faction pushed for an
early election before the party’s conference last December.

Although the Mutare conference resolved to hold elections this year without
fail, Mugabe heeded Mujuru’s advice after coming under immense pressure from
South African President Jacob Zuma.

Zuma in his capacity as the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
mediator in Zimbabwe is demanding extensive reforms to enable free and fair
elections to be held in the country following the inconclusive 2008 polls.
Just before the conference, Mugabe who has ruled Zimbabwe for the past three
decades had vowed that elections would be held before June this year with or
without the new constitution.

He, however, made an unusual about-turn after meeting with Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara soon after the conference,
telling the nation that elections would be held after the crafting of the
new supreme law.

“Hardliners are furious that he dumped all they had agreed on in Mutare in
favour of Mujuru’s recommendations,” said one source.

“When Zanu PF went to the conference, they had two main things: Early
elections and pushing the indigenisation agenda but talk of both slackened
after Mugabe listened to Mujuru’s advice.”

Government has since frozen the controversial indigenisation law after
admitting that it is discouraging the badly-needed foreign investment.

Political observers last week said it was highly unlikely that polls would
be held this year, especially with reports emerging that the new
constitution can only be finalised later in the year.

By adopting Mujuru’s recommendations, said another Zanu PF source, the
Mnangagwa faction feels that the octogenarian leader has “anointed” her to
takeover after his departure.

“The notion was strengthened further when Mujuru attended the swearing in of
a Brazilian woman President, Dilma Rousseff last week,” said the source.

The source said Mnangagwa’s faction believes that it is better placed to
take over from Mugabe if elections were held soon when “it still has control
of most of the party’s provinces.”

As Mujuru and Mnangagwa tussle for Mugabe’s post, sources said, a new and
ambitious faction, led by a senior army official, has emerged and is waiting
in the political wings for its chance.

“There is a top army official who calls himself Zim2, meaning he is next in
line to take over when Mugabe finally leaves office,” said one source.
“It is not yet clear if he is still supporting one of the two presidential
aspirants but the fact that he is calling himself Zim2 entails he has his
own ambitious.”

Mugabe is referred as Zim1 by virtue of being president of the country.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said the party was guided by the Global
Political Agreement (GPA), signed by Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara three years ago, as far as the
holding of elections was concerned.

He denied that Mugabe had changed his mind on early elections.

“We, as Zanu PF, are guided by the GPA that there should be the crafting of
a new constitution followed by a referendum and then elections,” Gumbo said.

“But what we also said is that if there is dilly-dallying, we will look at
other means, which means we look at holding elections without that

Gumbo however could not confirm or deny if there were some Zanu PF members
who were agitated by Mugabe’s sudden change of heart.

“I don’t know,” he said. “There might be some difference of opinion in the
party regarding elections but overally, as I said we are guided by the GPA
and we are very clear on that.”

When Mugabe elevated Mujuru to vice-president in December 2004, he appeared
to have anointed her as his successor by saying she was destined for higher

But relations between the two appeared to have cooled after reports linking
Mujuru to a faction in the party pushing her to take over from Mugabe

Mujuru is the wife of former army chief General Solomon Mujuru who has
remained highly influential in government and military circles.

Mugabe had in the past attacked members of his inner cabal jostling for the
presidency, saying some were consulting traditional healers under the cover
of darkness to enhance their chances.

The veteran ruler is on record declaring that there was no vacancy for the
presidency and last month’s Zanu PF conference chose him as its candidate
for the next polls.

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Zanu PF apologist faces arrest

Monday, 10 January 2011 10:45


ZIMBABWE Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) chairman Godwills
Masimirembwa faces arrest over his alleged mishandling of diamond-related
funds in a case that has sucked in controversial Minister of Mines and
Mining Development Obert Mpofu, documents in our possession show.
Masimirembwa is accused of prejudicing Canadile Miners (Pvt) Limited of
US$300 000 by ordering the company to pay money to Messrs Farai Mutamangira
and Associates for services the law firm did not render.

Canadile director Lovemore Kurotwi has since written to the officer
commanding police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) Serious Fraud
calling for investigation into the matter.

“I hereby register a complaint against Mr Godwills Masimirembwa (the
chairperson of ZMDC) for having prejudiced the company of US$300 000 by
ordering the company to pay that amount to Messrs Farai Mutamangira and
Associates,” reads part of the letter dated 8 January 2011.

“I request that this matter be thoroughly investigated.”

The letter was also copied to police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri,
deputy commissioner general (crime) and the Anti-Corruption Commission.

CID spokesperson Augustine Zimbili could not confirm or deny that police had
received the letter.

“If you had phoned me earlier I would have been able to verify it for you,”
said Zimbili on Saturday. “I am not in the office today.”

Mutamangira’s legal fees statement, which is in our possession, also states
that the law firm did not do any legal work for Canadile.

Kurotwi and five ZMDC executives are currently facing charges of
fraudulently acquiring diamond mining claims in Chiadzwa.

Canadile’s licence to mine diamonds in Marange was withdrawn by government
last year when the charges surfaced.

In a letter dated August 30, Mpofu wrote to the chairpersons of ZMDC, the
Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) and Marange Resources
ordering them to promptly pay the legal fees to Mutamangira.

Mutamangira and Associates are Mpofu’s personal lawyers.

“Please note that the ACR and KPCs issues are affecting all your
institutions, without the services of the attorneys, the process registered
to date would have been difficult to achieve,” wrote Mpofu.

“Your institution shall bear your one third (1/3) share of the bill
presented and payment of the same be forwarded to the account details

But in hand written instructions Masimirembwa, who was de-registered as a
lawyer after helping himself to money entrusted to him by clients, ordered
ZMDC and MMCZ to pay US$150 000 each while Canadile was told to fork out
US$300 000.

The money was deposited into Mutamangira and Associates’ Standard Chartered
Bank Avondale Branch, account number 8700209467001.

On January 5 2011, Canadile’s lawyers Chikumbirike and Associates legal
practitioners wrote to Masimirembwa threatening to take legal action against
the disgraced lawyer.

“However please note that you, in your personal capacity are responsible for
the misdirection of the amount due to Canadile Miners (Pvt) Ltd, and
therefore liable for any consequences that follow,” said the letter.

The letter said Masimirembwa disbursed the money from the mining firm and
yet Canadile did not feature in Mpofu’s instructions.

“In our view, you were on a frolic of your own. The fact of the mention of
the instruction to Marange Resources (Pvt) Ltd does not distract from this
position,” said the lawyers. “Marange Resources (Pvt), is a shareholder of
Canadile Miners (Pvt) Ltd, (50%).”

They argued that Marange cannot give authority for the disbursement of such
an amount, which it is a mere 50% equity holder.

They added that company transactions are not conducted through shareholders
of a company but through its board of directors.

Canadile had a board comprising of five directors appointed by Core Mining
and Mineral Resources (Pvt), on one hand, and another five from Marange
Resources (Pvt) Limited.

Efforts to get a comment from Masimirembwa and Mpofu were fruitless

The High Court has since barred Mutamangira from representing the ZMDC and
Marange Resources because of the firm’s alleged interests in the two mining

Justice Susan Mavangira last week also said Mutamangira and Associates
should not be allowed to present the two companies in the matter after the
same law firm prepared and commissioned affidavits of their clients.

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Cleanliness thrown out of the window

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:28

By Chipo Masara

Passing through Gweru in the wee hours of 2010 Christmas morning, I couldn’t
help but notice the dirt that now enfolds the once vibrant and neat town.

Gweru just happens to be the one city I fell completely in love with during
my younger years as I constantly visited some very dear friends of mine. It
was the one place that always managed to bring me an overwhelming sense of
peace, a feeling I would want to attribute to the cute set-up in an
evidently well-run town filled with so much positive energy. That was years

2010 presented me with a rather different Gweru, one that is engulfed in so
much filth I could have sworn I was in a different town altogether. And come
to think of it, Kwekwe wasn’t quite as neat as I have always known it to be
either and neither is Mutare and Harare, but I would have to say Gweru tops,
considering how neat the town used to be.

But just why is there so much litter lying around in our country? Is it
because the city councils are not doing enough to correct the situation? Or
is it that the law enforcers are being lenient or negligent of their duties?

Looking back, I would like to think that the hardships that the country went
through (before the establishment of the coalition government finally
brought a semblance of normality) had a lot to do with much of this uncaring
attitude that a lot of Zimbabweans are currently exhibiting. In the rush to
find ways to put food on their tables and take care of their families when
the prevailing circumstances deemed this near-impossible, most of us simply
stopped caring about those things that we would like to brush off as
 “little”, yet another misconception if you ask me because issues that
ultimately have something to do with our health should never be considered

The issue of littering and the need to clean up the country is one that has
already been overemphasized but sadly still remains a major concern,
propelling us to keep talking about it, hopefully until everyone realises
one simple fact: littering destroys the environment and highly endangers our

I know people would, more than anything, like to blame it all on the city
councils for not providing enough litter bins and for not collecting refuse
as often as they should. Whether or not the city councils are doing their
job is a question that can best be answered by the rate-payer, but one thing
for sure, the council can only do so much, the rest lies with us.

I can tell you that I walk along Kaguvi Street in Harare every morning
during the week on my way to work and almost on all these days I pass along
some elderly women clad in overalls and equipped with hard brooms cleaning
up the streets. When I walk along the same street at lunch time however,
there wouldn’t be much sign of any cleaning having gone on just a few hours
earlier as the street would once again be infested with litter.
I really think it is about time we faced facts, Zimbabweans are serious
litterbugs and unless something is soon done about this, the country will
completely lose the little appeal that it has left. It is about time we once
again instilled in ourselves, our families and associates a sense of
cleanliness. It is about time we found the act of littering extremely
embarrassing because it is an act that serves to portray you as one
ignorant, negligent and uncaring person, traits that we should all try to
shy away from. Even something as little as a bubblegum wrapping should be
thrown in a litter bin as when left lying around it translates into filth
and filth is not nice!

Have you ever noticed just how a dirty home attracts flies which cause a lot
of diarrhoeal diseases that culminate in a lot of endless visits to the
doctor’s? And good doctors tend to be expensive meaning many people may find
themselves succumbing to the many diarrhoeal diseases. What this means is
that dirt is rather costly, something that could well be avoided if we could
all just come to appreciate the advantages of a clean environment. Wouldn’t
it be lovely if we could all just make it a point to never let trash escape
our cars or our homes?

But because we are always going to have people who simply refuse to see
reason or are so hooked on their old ignorant ways, there might be need for
the responsible authorities to put in place stiffer penalties. Many
Zimbabweans do not even realise that littering carries a fine of US$20,
mostly because most have littered so many times and gotten away with it. May
be if the Zimbabwean police can be on a closer look out for offenders, it
could also greatly help ease the problem.

The city councils indeed should do their job, after all people are
sacrificing ridiculous amounts from their hard-earned money paying the
rates; it would only be fair if those services could actually be offered.
Furthermore, there is genuine need for more litter bins to be placed around
towns, that way people would surely find it embarrassing to be seen
littering when a bin is so close by.

We could also arrange or do more to encourage clean-up campaigns as these,
besides cleaning up our surroundings, have the power to make people
conscious of the dirt and the need to also make efforts to maintain the
clean environment.

The litter in Zimbabwe is an eyesore and unless the situation is awarded due
attention, things will only get worse and before we know it, our country
will be rated among the dirtiest in the world (if it isn’t already). I truly
hope that by the end of 2011 we will have made considerable strides towards
reclaiming our status as a beautiful rainbow nation that we can be proud to
be associated with. Let us all come together and say an emphatic NO to
littering, it begins with you and me.

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Borehole water for residents of Mbare

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:16


RESIDENTS of Mbare’s Jourburg Lines last week toasted a borehole, bringing
hope that the risk of water borne diseases would be reduced.
The borehole, which the Harare City Council and its partners drilled some
time ago, only started operating on Tuesday, amid an outbreak of illnesses
the residents feared could be cholera-related.

The residents recently sent a distress call following a spate of cases of
people suffering from severe stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea.
More than 20 families were affected raising fears that the infamous 2008
cholera outbreak had revisited the community.

“I feel very relieved,” Miriam Munyukwi (63) said.

“For me, the borehole brings memories of the safer village wells and I
believe it will reduce our exposure to the diseases caused by the dirty
water from the taps.

“We will now drink the borehole water and use the tap water for cooking and

Munyukwi’s two grandchildren were among those treated for stomach pains at
Mbare Polyclinic in the past two weeks.

Like most victims, the six-year-old boy and four-year-old girl complained of
stomach pains and passed watery stools for days, eliminating chances of
cholera which kills within hours if not treated immediately.

The Mbare cases were referred to Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital
where the victims were examined.

Tests for cholera turned out negative. The disease is caused by bacteria
called Vibrio Cholerae and spreads fast in unhygienic conditions.
Among other symptoms, the disease presents itself with watery diarrhoea and
sometimes vomiting.

It is contracted through intake of contaminated water and food.

“We suspected cholera because the water we have been getting from the taps
looks dirty and is smelly,” Charity Ruka said.

“If examined with the naked eye, the water sometimes looks green in colour
and stains clothes when used for laundry.

“My family resorted to buying drinking water from supermarkets long ago but
not everyone in this community can afford that.”

Munyukwi said even the Aquatabs tablets given to her by a donor organisation
could not adequately “purify” the water.

A substantial amount of green to greyish particles would sit at the bottom
of the bucket everytime the tablets were added to the water.

Mbare residents have reason to fear a resurgence of the deadly cholera
because their suburb was among those hardest hit by the 2008 outbreak that
killed nearly 4 000 people countrywide.

Samuel Mapurisa, the Jourburg Lines Residents’ Committee chairperson said
although they were happy about the new borehole, more needed to be done to
protect residents of one of Harare’s oldest residential areas.

“We believe that the unclean environment is playing a role in all this,”
Mapurisa said.

“There is a lot of uncollected rubbish lying around the suburb and we are
exposed to health hazards even more in this rainy season.”

Despite the city’s weekly garbage collection, mounds of litter are found at
almost every corner of this part of Mbare.

Flies could be seen buzzing around both on the rubbish piles and in water
puddles forming in the potholed roads.

Mapurisa said they also suspected that the water delivery system had broken
down and sewerage was leaking, leading to contamination of the water.
Environmental Management Authority publicity manager Steady Kangata said
poor waste management practices contribute to outbreaks of water borne
diseases including cholera.

“At EMA, we urge all authorities to timeously collect refuse, clear illegal
dumps and timeously repair burst sewer pipes,” Kangata said.

“Residents should also timeously report these environmental hazards to
authorities so that they can be attended to urgently.

“As for Harare, it sits on its catchment area so all the industrial and
domestic pollution is washed into Lake Chivero, the source of drinking
water, exposing all of us to health risks.”

Although health officials allayed cholera fears, the Harare Residents Trust
urged council to upgrade standards in the area to avoid a likely outbreak.

“The HRT insists that to safeguard the health of residents living under the
current squalid living conditions in Jourburg Lines, relevant authorities
should urgently address the issue of overcrowding, dilapidated water and
sewerage reticulation infrastructure and improve service provision,
especially refuse collection,” reads part of a statement by the residents’

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King George IV pupil gets dream wheelchair

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:08


BULAWAYO — A Zimbabwean-based in Canada has come to the rescue of a disabled
King George IV Children Centre pupil who uses his feet to eat and write by
donating a wheelchair.

Munashe Chikuvanyanga’s plight was brought to light by The Standard in
November last year and it spurred Gokwe-born Davison Haraan to mobilise 239
wheelchairs that are set to benefit disabled children at the special needs

Haraan works for the Community Living Toronto (CLT), an organisation which
caters for disabled and disadvantaged children in the Canadian capital.
CLT offered Haraan 239 second-hand wheelchairs, which were no longer needed
at the centre after he presented Chikuvanyanga’s plight.

Last week, he presented one of the wheelchairs to the 15-year-old boy at
King George.

Haraan who was accompanied by his wife Thoko Ndlovu said he could not bring
all the wheelchairs at once because of logistical and financial challenges.
“I managed to bring one specifically for Munashe, whose crisis was revealed
in The Standard,” he said.

Perseverance Hadebe, the King George principal expressed gratitude for the
donation noting that most of his students came from disadvantaged families.
Haraan also pledged to assist Chikuvanyanga pay school fees for the whole
year and make arrangements to have the remaining wheelchairs shipped to
Zimbabwe soon.

King George IV has a maximum enrolment of 300 disabled pupils from
pre-school to Form IV.

The school faces various challenges such as shortages of stationary and
wheelchairs for the children and staff members.

Children pay US$200 per term and US$45 tuition at the school, amounts which
are above the reach of many, according to the teachers.

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2011: What have you in store for Zimbabweans?

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:07


A potential referendum on a new constitution and another round of hotly
contested elections will be upper most in the minds of the majority of
Zimbabweans this year as they still yearn for the Promised Land.

The unity government formed by Zanu PF and the two Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) formations two years ago is up for review next month according
to the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

For political expediency President Robert Mugabe now claims the provision
that allows for the revision of the GPA means the end of the coalition.
However, the wily politician who also celebrates his 87th birthday next
month is being forced to eat his words with South African President Jacob
Zuma — the mediator appointed by the Southern African Development Community
(Sadc) to bring the Zimbabwe parties — insisting on a clear roadmap for the

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has said that it does not have enough
money to hold credible elections.

The parliamentary committee leading the drafting of the new supreme law has
indicated that a referendum can only be held in September making elections
this year doubtful.

So 2011 may stand out in the history books as the year when Zimbabwe adopted
a new constitution to replace the heavily patched up Lancaster House
document in use since independence in 1980.

But ruling out the polls now will be a fatal mistake because Mugabe can
never be predicted moreso when he says he is no longer happy being part of
the coalition.

The call for early elections is also linked to the never-ending battle to
succeed Mugabe from within his party.

Postponing elections to next year or even 2013 will likely re-energise the
Zanu PF factions to push for the octogenarian’s retirement as he may not
have the energy to take the party forward when he edges closer to 90.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC-T leader will not have the same
headaches when his party holds its congress in May.
Tsvangirai’s backers have successfully fiddled with the MDC-T constitution
to ensure that he stays in power.

The former trade unionist will however still have to deal with factional
fighting in his party that is likely to intensify as the congress draws
On the other hand veteran nationalist Dumiso Dabengwa’s credentials would
come under a severe test as a new round of elections becomes inevitable.

Political bickering will continue in the unity government until fresh
elections are held.

The coalition is expected to continue implementing a raft of reforms meant
to prepare the country for free and fair elections even though Mugabe may
need constant prodding from Zuma and regional leaders.

All eyes will also be on the performance of the Zimbabwean economy in 2011
after two successive years of positive economic growth.
Finance minister Tendai Biti has predicted that the economy would grow by
9,3% but that would largely depend on the stability of the inclusive

Zanu PF’s threats to seize companies whose countries maintain a
travel-and-assets freeze against President Mugabe’s cronies are some of the
factors that might weigh down on the fragile economy.

The European Union will meet this month to review the Zimbabwe sanctions and
chances are high that the embargo will remain because Zanu PF has refused to
implement any reforms promised in the GPA.

Labour unrest is likely to continue in 2011 as Zimbabwe’s industry tries to
find its feet in a dollarised economy.

The fight for the Marange diamonds will continue to provide more intrigue
with court cases centred around ownership of the mining claims.
Zimbabwe will also continue to fight for the right to sell its diamonds on
the world market amid strong opposition from countries that believe the
heavy presence of the security forces compromises the Kimberley Process

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Top politician in row over church stand

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:06


GOODRICH Chimbaira, an executive member of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara’s MDC and former Zengeza East legislator has been sucked into a
messy church land grab scandal following the purchase of a residential stand
from him by a soldier.

The matter came to head when the soldier Maxwell Mutangi, who is stationed
at the army headquarters at KG6, through his wife Tsungirirai Kamangira
bought stand number 31512 Unit H in Chitungwiza from Chimbaira for US$3 500.

Chimbaira allegedly claimed that he owned the stand and received the money
in cash in July 2010 last year.

But Mutangi says he got the shock of his life when Chimbaira’s church —
Gospel of God Church — told him it owned the stand. The church has since
blocked him from developing the property.

“I bought stand number 31512 in Unit H from Chimbaira for US$3 500 which I
paid in cash but I have since encountered problems with some people claiming
to be members of an apostolic sect in the area who have stopped me from
developing the property because they say Chimbaira stole their property,”
Mutangi  narrated his ordeal.

“In fact they refilled the foundation that I had dug and destroyed my
building materials worth US$1 200 which included bricks and cement and
threatened me with death if ever I set foot there again.

“We even went to Makoni police station where he agreed to reimburse me but
up to now he hasn’t.

“It looks like he is a crook and I am contemplating reporting the matter to
the police to recover my money because I have so far lost almost US$6 000
for a stand that is proving to be non-existent,” he said.

Information gleaned from sources close to the goings-on in the church show
that the former MP was working hand-in-glove with senior members of the
church to corruptly auction church land behind the back of the rest of the
congregation taking advantage of their ignorance of council matters.
Some members of the church have decided to block the development of the

“We had trusted Chimbaira as our son since he was a councillor in 2004 to
take custody of our land and interests in council as a church but he has
turned against us conniving with the church secretary general Zebron
Nengomasha and senior pastor Cephas Mashiri to steal from us,” said a church
member who wanted to remain anonymous.

The church elders said they had since enlisted the services of Zanu PF
youths to stop anyone who wanted to develop their property without

Contacted for comment Chimbaira refused to discuss the issue saying he does
not own any private property in the form of stands and that it is council
that sells stands not him.

Nengomasha also denied working with Chimbaira or giving him his blessings to
auction church land insisting the allegations were machinations of church
members opposed to his leadership.

But information obtained from the municipality’s department of housing shows
that the former legislator owns a vast piece of land in Unit H and that
stand number 31512 is part of his property which was sold to Kamangira.

“Chimbaira owns stands in unit H and that stand is indeed his.

“I however cannot tell whether he acquired the stands corruptly or not but I
can confirm that the Gospel of God church owns some stands in Unit H,” said
Chitungwiza town planner Jonathan Dembetembe.

The department of housing confirmed the stand is registered under Kamangira’s

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Rituals actors arrested on stage

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:05


THE Manicaland tour of Rooftop Promotions-produced play, Rituals, was cut
short on Wednesday after the entire outreach team was arrested and detained
at Cashel Valley Police Station for two nights.

The team was accused of triggering political commotion at Nedziwa Business
Centre where they had staged the play and was charged with criminal
nuisance. Eight artists, a driver and a tour manager, were all taken to
Cashel Valley Police Station just after staging the play.

Among the incarcerated were talented actors and actresses that include Chipo
Bizure (who played Eve in Studio 263), Zenzo Nyathi (known as Mzambani in
Amakorokoza), Silvanos Mudzvova, Mandla Moyo, Joyce Mpofu and Rutendo

According to Rooftop Promotions marketing manager Tafadzwa Muzondo, there
was no clear charge when the artists were detained over Wednesday night and
the police only levelled criminal nuisance charges against the team on
Thursday, which saw them spending their second night in cells.
However, the team was released on Friday afternoon after the prosecution
department at Mutare Magistrate Courts ordered the police to compile a full
docket after which the case would proceed by way of summons.

The Rituals team is being represented by Cosmas Chibaya under instructions
from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

The play had been staged in 16 parts of Manicaland and four shows had to be
aborted following the team’s detention. The Rituals national tour proceeded
to Masvingo yesterday.

Rooftop Promotions founder and producer Daves Guzha was furious over the
arrest and detention of his team saying it had come as a surprise because
the play had been cleared by the Board of Censors and they had police
clearance to stage the play in many parts of Manicaland.

“It is sad that our artistic work in promoting national healing and
reconciliation, through a play that has been seen by the Organ on National
Healing, Reconciliation and Integration and has been approved by the Board
of Censors, is being thwarted like this,” lamented Guzha.

One of the accused actors, Mudzvova, said the incident was an unfortunate
attempt to silence the voice of the arts when the aim of the tour was to
educate people on how they can get over their harrowing political

“The police tried to coax us into paying a fine for a crime we never
committed and as artists we took a collective stand to let the law take its
course because we are not criminals but professionals doing our job,” he

Rituals, which is also available on DVD, has been on a national tour since
last year and the team intends to cover all the provinces.

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Loan shark off the hook

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:03


LOAN shark, Frank Buyanga is off the hook as police who were investigating
the property magnate say he has no case to answer.

Buyanga caused a stir last year after he was accused of running an illegal
lending scheme where those who wanted to borrow money from his company would
sell their properties and surrender title deeds.

They would repurchase their properties after six months.

At least 50 owners alleged that they were duped.

Chikandiwa’s affidavit is in response to an urgent application by one of the
complainants, Irene Chiwara for rescission of judgement and repossession of
her property.

In the application Chiwara attaches Chikandiwa’s affidavit dated November 24
2010 which says investigatiors were “canvassing fraudulent transfers of many
complainants’ immovable properties and included falsified rates clearance
certificates, capital gains tax certificates and falsified powers of
attorney to pass transfer and documents lodged with the Registrar of Deeds”.

Chikandiwa, who could not be reached for comment last week, is now disputing
the contents of the affidavit saying it was forged.

The move will jolt Hamilton Property Holdings to enforce the agreement and
evict those who have failed to repurchase their properties at the expiry of
a six months window period agreed last year.

In August, the 50 complainants and the AG’s office struck a deal in which
the “victims” would pay Buyanga and get their properties back in six months.

Buyanga’s lawyers, Wilson Manase of Manase & Manase Legal Practitioners told
The Standard on Wednesday that “they are in the process of reviewing various
property purchases to bring closure to the case.

“Those who have repurchased the properties will get their title deeds back
and for those who haven’t, we will enforce the agreement,” Manase said.

But Chris Mutangadura, a chief law officer at the Attorney General’s office
said the case is still pending as they are still to review the contents of
the docket.

Buyanga has in the past said property baron, Nicholas van Hoogstraten, a
close President Robert Mugabe ally, is his friend, mentor and advisor.

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Welshman Ncube’s stock rising

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:01


WELSHMAN Ncube yesterday rose to the presidency of the smaller faction of
the MDC, but it is in southern African politics where he might have the
biggest influence yet.

Ncube has been described as a boardroom tactician and a schemer, but his
stock seems to be on the rise among leaders of southern African states and
that could prove to be his strongest points.

Former American ambassador to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell, despite his
disparaging comments on Ncube, noted that he was an important player and
highly valued by South Africa.

“But he is useful to many, including the regime and South Africa, so is
probably a cross to be borne for some time yet,” Dell said of Ncube in a
diplomatic cable leaked by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks.

During negotiations to end the Zimbabwe crisis, former South African
president, Thabo Mbeki is reported to have applauded Ncube, saying he had
worked and negotiated more sincerely than others.

The negotiations led to the formation of the inclusive government.

But the ace in Ncube’s pack is undoubtedly his relationship with South
African president, Jacob Zuma. The two are in-laws following the marriage of
their children two years ago.

Ncube is usually coy about his relationship with Zuma, but others claim his
newfound courage to contest for the MDC-M presidency has the backing of the
South African leader.

But the former university lecturer disputes that, claiming that Zuma is a
professional who has earned both the respect of Zanu PF and MDC-T.
“Like any family we discuss and share ideas on politics, but these are
private discussions,” he said in an interview last year.

A political analyst, Effie Ncube said while Ncube had a closer ear and
better access to Zuma,  he expected the newly elected party leader to
maintain a professional relationship with the South African leader.

“They are both professional and should be able to separate their personal
lives from their professions,” he said. “Country to country relations should
not be limited to their personal lives.”

The political analyst said Ncube’s clout in South Africa had long been
established as he had worked with a number of organisations in the
neighbouring country.

“He worked with many organisations there and he certainly will have an
effect,” Ncube said. “He worked on setting up a curriculum for returnees in
South Africa from the 1980s right through the 1990s.”

An analyst, who declined to be named, conceded that Ncube was bound to have
an influence on how Zuma and other regional leaders will treat Zimbabwe as
he was viewed as a sober leader.

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Botswana project poses fresh threat to Victoria Falls

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:00

THE attractiveness of the mighty Victoria Falls, one of the natural wonders
of the world, is under threat if Botswana goes ahead with its planned
extraction of large volumes of water from Chombe River for use in its
interior, a cabinet minister has said.

This would affect foreign currency inflows for both Zimbabwe and Zambia
pumped in by tourists who throng the falls annually to witness the “smoke
that thunders.”

Botswana has notified other southern African countries of its intentions to
abstract some 30 cubic metres from the Chombe River where it meets the
Zambezi River for a planned irrigation scheme in the Pandamatenga area and
for domestic water supply.

The Minister of Water Resources Development and Management, Samuel
Sipepa-Nkomo recently told parliament that Zimbabwe was considering Botswana’s

He, however, noted the project might have serious repercussions on Victoria
Falls, the largest curtain of water in the world, which is
1 708 metres wide.

“They have notified us because the Zamcom (Zambezi Watercourse Commission)
agreement requires them to do that and we are now considering their
submissions,” said Sipepa-Nkomo.

“Though more studies may be necessary, it looks like 30 cubic metres is a
lot of water which might deprive the attractiveness of the Victoria Falls.”
Remarkably preserved in its natural state, Victoria Falls inspires visitors
as much today as it did to David Livingstone in the 1860s.

The falls and the surrounding area have been declared National Parks and a
World Heritage Site, thus preserving the area from excessive

The local people call it “Mosi-oa-Tunya” — the smoke that thunders.

Presently, Victoria Falls’ World Heritage Site status is at the centre of
huge furore following the construction of a restaurant in the rain forest.
The National Parks and Wildlife Authority of Zimbabwe partnered with
Shearwater and constructed a new development within the core zone of the
Victoria Falls World Heritage Site.

During the festive season, more than 14 000 tourists visited the Victoria
Falls rainforest while major hotels and lodges were fully booked.
Sipepa-Nkomo said Mozambique had also notified Zimbabwe of its intention to
construct Mphanda Nkuwa Dam which is set to generate some 2275MW of
electricity for the country.

The dam site, which is on the Zambezi River, lies between Cabora Bassa dam
and the City of Tete in Mozambique.

“This project is an advantage to Zimbabwe because we can import more power
from Mozambique,” Sipepa-Nkomo said.

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SAZ alarmed by influx of uncontrolled imports

Monday, 10 January 2011 10:59

“The SAZ is concerned by the obvious gap and lack of a coordinated approach
to dealing with technical barriers to trade (TBTs), substandard imports as
well as absence of statutorily recognised national standards,” Gadzikwa

“It has therefore become clear that the proposed National Quality Policy and
Act has to specifically address these glaring gaps and inadequacies in the

Various ministries, including the Agriculture and the Industry and Commerce
portfolios oversee the quality of both locally produced and imported

Acting Industry and Commerce permanent secretary Norman Chakanetsa said the
ministry was concerned about the quality of products coming into the
country.  He said some unscrupulous business people were taking advantage of
the shortage of food products over the years to bring in poor quality

“We are working on introducing compulsory standards for certain specified
products,” Chakanetsa said.

“We do not have testing laboratories for quality control and we currently
rely on voluntary testing by such institutions as SAZ, private laboratories
and consumer councils.

“So, what we currently have are voluntary standards which are difficult to
enforce and that is the reason why we want to introduce compulsory

He said basic commodities and pharmaceuticals will be prioritised under the
compulsory standards schedule. When the list of specified products has been
formulated, Chakanetsa said government would use its analysts and contract
SAZ, consumer organisations and private laboratories to monitor standards.

There would also be a surveillance mechanism involving the testing of
products on the shelves. Both government and independent organisations
currently do not test products found on the shelves.

While SAZ for example only tests products brought to it by clients intending
to import, the government sends specialists to assess products intended for

Chakanetsa however said although worrying, the South African chicken imports
were not a serious issue as the reworked birds do not pose a health hazard.

He said the chickens were also cheaper and government could not stop their
importation as they covered gaps left by the local industry.
He added that government also currently relied on the services of exporting
countries’ standards frameworks which are stronger than those in Zimbabwe.

“We have been working with such organisations like the South African Bureau
of Standards and the South African National Accreditation System but we now
want to be proactive so that we double check,” he said.

“The framework we are developing will also apply to our exports; they too
have to meet set standards. We are also working on a Consumer Protection Act
which will harmonise the various Acts currently being applied to achieve a
more co-ordinated approach. An overarching regulatory authority too will
help improve the situation,” he said.

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No quality control measures for food, alcoholic imports

Monday, 10 January 2011 10:58


GOVERNMENT does not have a reliable monitoring mechanism to ensure that
imported food and alcoholic beverages items are safe for human consumption,
exposing consumers to harmful substances, officials admitted last week.

The shocking admission followed government’s ban on the importation of
chickens supplied by a South African company that has admitted selling
recycled chicken to major supermarkets.

Supreme Poultry was accused of treating chicken that had overstayed in
supermarket fridges with chlorine and injecting them with brine — water
saturated or nearly saturated with salt for use as a preservative — before
being repackaged and sold with a new expiry date.

Some of the chickens found their way to Zimbabwe to compensate for the
serious shortage of poultry products in the country.

Zimbabwe also imported poultry products from as far as South America.

The collapse of the local manufacturing and agricultural industries has
forced the country to import most of its food products.

Greedy retailers, aided by corrupt officials have taken advantage of the
country’s porous borders to smuggle food including genetically modified
(GMOs) products, which are illegal.

Investigations by The Standard revealed that most of the potatoes and
tomatoes sold at vegetable markets around Harare were smuggled from South
Africa, which allows its farmers to grow GMOs.

Counterfeit alcoholic spirits are also sold by some established retailers
with a major brewer claiming that the country was “swamped with imported and
non-compliant spirits, beers and coolers in the form of sachets and various
bottles similar to non-alcoholic drinks.”

Eve Gadzikwa, the Standards Association of Zimbabwe director general said
although her organisation was not a regulator, they were alarmed by the
influx of the uncontrolled imports.

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Obsolete machinery behind Byo's water woes

Monday, 10 January 2011 10:55


BULAWAYO – Water shortages in the country’s second city have been blamed on
collapsing infrastructure at the city’s water treatment plants despite the
recent decommissioning of two major supply dams.

The city water woes have been blamed on dwindling water levels at the city’s
five supply dams that resulted in the local authority decommissioning
Inyankuni and Umzingwane dams late last year.

According to the latest council report on the water situation, the
dilapidated infrastructure at the water treatment plants is causing constant
machinery failure, forcing the authorities to pump inadequate water to

“The treatment works continued to struggle to produce enough water to meet
the city’s demands,” reads the report in part.

“Ncema Waterworks can only produce 39 000 cubic metres per day against a
design capacity of 81 000 cubic metres per day whilst Criterion Waterworks
could only produce 95 000 cubic metres against 180 000cubic metres per day.

“This is attributed to dilapidated filter beds and clarifiers.

“A few will be rehabilitated under the Infrastructure Development Bank of
Zimbabwe loan facility,” the report added.

Council says the rehabilitation of the collapsing infrastructure at the
water treatment plants is going to cost over a US$1million, a figure that is
going to eat into coffers of the struggling local authority.

The local authority has introduced a water shedding schedule to conserve the
little water remaining at Insiza, Upper Ncema and Lower Ncema dams.

Under normal circumstances, the city consumes 150,000 cubic metres of water
daily, but has been receiving just under 70,000 cubic metres since
controlled water cuts were introduced last year.

The region's consistently low rainfall in the last few years has led to
dwindling water levels in the city's dams.

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Conmen target Harare shop owners

Monday, 10 January 2011 10:53


SOME people suspected to be Zanu PF supporters are reportedly going around
harassing shop owners in Harare, with claims that sums amounting to
thousands of dollars are being demanded from the helpless entrepreneurs.

Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda yesterday said he received reports that some
people last week  approached some shop owners  demanding as much as US$25
000 claiming to be acting on behalf of the city.

These purported license fees are way above the city’s which average $500 for
the whole year.

Masunda said the imposters are reportedly moving from shop-to-shop
threatening the owners, mostly Indians, telling them that their licenses
would not be renewed if it turned out that the directors are not

“I have also received reports that council officials are denying non-citizen
shop owners’ licenses,” he said. “Shop operators have also been forced to
produce the form CR14 which gives details on the directors of the business.”
This comes at the back of threats by Zanu PF Harare province structures that
foreigners running shops in the city would be dispossessed of the businesses
and replaced with party supporters.

Led by district coordinating chairman Jaison Pasadi, the Zanu PF supporters
have since approached the City Fathers demanding that they flout council
by-laws to empower locals.

Among others, Chinese and Nigerian nationals run several shops in the city
where they sell clothes, electricals, and household merchandise as well as
hair and beauty accessories.

Citizens of Indian origin also have a significant presence in the country’s
small scale sector.
Masunda said foreign shop owners were granted licenses after satisfying town
planning and health requirements.
The council requires all applicants to produce documentary evidence that
they are entitled to operate a business in Harare before issuing them with a

Applicants’ choice of premises also has to be permissible to their intended
business and these premises should address health concerns by having
ablution facilities for both the clientele and workers.

“As the City Fathers, we have a town planning and a licensing mandate,”
Masunda said. “We are not interested in who people are in partnership with,
there is no law that compels us to look into that.”

He urged shop owners not to give anyone any money but to refer all demands
to the City Treasurer’s Department and also his office so they could be
looked into.

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No salary raise for doctors, nurses

Monday, 10 January 2011 10:49


GWERU – Government has ruled out substantial salary increments for health
professionals anytime soon saying it still has to meet some pressing

Henry Madzorera, the Health and Child Welfare delivered the morale-sapping
news during a tour of the Gweru Provincial Hospital last week.

“We know about the need to improve the salaries and give workers more
 money,” Madzorera said.
“We are moving towards that but we have not reached the desired stage.

“When we reach the desired stage our grading system will be corresponding to
the salaries and will be happy.”
Finance minister Tendai Biti set aside US$1,4 billion for civil service
remuneration in this year’s budget, almost twice the US$773 million
allocated last year.

But government has remained mum on salary increments. Salaries for health
professionals are determined by the Health Services Board.

Madzorera said government was committed to improving the working conditions
of health professionals.
He said government also wanted to pay the workers on its own rather than
relying on donors who cannot pay all the employees top up salaries.

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Zim left out of regional integration

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:32


AS regionalism is rapidly taking centre stage in various countries’ trade
relations, it should not come as a surprise that many Southern African
countries are in line for substantial economic benefits accruing from such

South African Trade and Industry minister Rob Davies recently stated that
the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) region is adopting a more
unified front in negotiations with the European Union (EU) over Economic
Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

But there are doubts that Zimbabwe is ready to derive any benefits from the
new dispensation.
Although the country has witnessed a modicum of economic stability and
growth due to the use of the multi-currencies since February 2009,
economists insist that this development is insufficient for Zimbabwe to
leverage on.
The EPA negotiations between the EU and Sadc began in 2004.

EPAs have been signed between the EU and African states with the express
intention of building an economic framework, which will stimulate rapid and
broad based economic growth in order to contribute to the effective
reduction of poverty.

A final agreement between Sadc states and the EU could possibly be reached
by mid-year.
The economic partnership agreements will inevitably have an effect on
Zimbabwe as the new economic dispensation will affect the region’s trade
policies and regimes.

However, concerns have been raised over the EPAs due to the massive
subsidies that European governments provide for their industries and
farmers, a factor which could lead to trade imbalances skewed in favour of
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries has in the recent past made calls
for the government to extend the negotiation time frame to protect industry
from an influx of European goods.

Economist Eric Bloch contends that should the EPAs come into force,
Zimbabwe, although disadvantaged by low productivity, will indirectly

“There will be spill-over advantages in terms of infrastructure
developments, improvements in the energy sector, water distribution as more
trade occurs on a regional basis,” Bloch said.

But he added that there would be a need for a tectonic shift towards
policies aimed at attracting investment.

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Chikumba proud of his tenure at Air Zimbabwe

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:30


FORMER Air Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Peter Chikumba says he had
succeeded in keeping the airline afloat and is proud to be the first boss to
leave office voluntarily.

Chikumba, who left after four years at the helm, said the fact that the
airline itself was still flying should be regarded as a success in the wake
of multiple challenges besetting the national carrier.

“I feel that while there were challenges that beset the company not in
isolation but as a country and to a great extent as a continent, there is
something to be said about success and that is a fact that today, we still
have an airline flying,” he told Standardbusiness on Tuesday last week.

Chikumba left the airline last month after he and the airline agreed to part

He said his exit from the airline “is a decision I made not to renew my

“I take pride in the fact that I have set the record for being the first
chief executive officer to complete a full term in office and Zimbabweans
should feel good and obliged when time comes to pass on from the Moses
generation to the Joshua generation,” he said.

In the Bible, Moses took the Israelites from Egypt into the desert and
Joshua made sure that they reached Canaan.
Since independence, the airline has had nine bosses and eight of them were
fired, pushed out or “resigned to pursue other businesses”.

“Looking ahead, I am confident that Zimbabwe still has committed people who
can now take AirZim out of the desert into the Promised Land.”

Chikumba has in the past said the airline was like a patient in the
intensive care unit who needs to be taken first into a ward and then

While Chikumba is convinced he did his best at the airline, workers and
board members feel otherwise.
“Even if he wanted to renew the contract there was no way the board would
accept that as Chikumba had failed in his mandate to run the airline,” a
board member said on Thursday.

A National Airways Workers’ Union representative said on Thursday: “We are
very happy with his departure. It was long overdue; the shareholder should
have taken this route long back.”

They said despite leading prayers at meetings his actions were nowhere near

To justify his strong words, the representative cited the AirZim labour
unrests, saying when 409 people were served with retrenchment notices last
year, 18 of them died of stress.

He said survivors and their families suffered as they had been robbed of

The workers are also not happy with organisations that gave excellence
awards when the company was deteriorating under his influence.

“The damage that man brought to the company will take long to cure,” said
another union leader.

Chikumba said there was need for objectivity in measuring his success or
failure at the airline.

“As for judging success I think the other three perspectives—customers,
shareholders and internal players—would be the best as long as such
judgement is professional and we can all benefit from,” Chikumba said.

The workers said Chikumba treated them like his little children, making them
whisper things he would have told them in meetings into each other’s ears.

They alleged that he would for example announce the date of salary payments
in a meeting and order them to whisper the date into each other’s ears.

Chikumba said he had told workers at his farewell meeting that “life does
not begin and end at AirZim and we should never be in the habit of burning

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Sunday View: Zim politics in the rough but not its golfing

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:22

By Charles A. Ray

If you flew from Johannesburg, South Africa, to Harare or Victoria Falls in
Zimbabwe, took a limo to your hotel, played a round or two at the local golf
course and then left, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the country is not
only normal but actually a nice place for a golfing vacation.

Golf has been played in this landlocked country in Southern Africa for more
than 100 years, since the arrival of European settlers in the 19th century.
The first golf course was constructed in the provincial town of Bulawayo in
1895, just two years after the city was founded by the British. In short
order, golf courses followed colonial settlements across the length and
breadth of the land.

Today, there are more than 50 golf courses in Zimbabwe, from Mutare near the
Mozambican border, to Harare the capital, to Victoria Falls in the far west
near the borders with Zambia and Botswana.

During the economic meltdown of the late 1990s, when hyperinflation eroded
the value of the local currency, and with the political violence
accompanying elections in 2007 and 2008, there was a slight decline in the
ancient game. Some golf courses fell victim to the land seizures that began
in the mid-1990s.

International golfers, including those from neighbouring African countries,
avoided Zimbabwe’s courses for several years. World-famous Zimbabwean golfer
Nick Price, for instance, has reportedly said he would not return to his
native country until Robert Mugabe, the country’s leader since independence
in 1980, is no longer around.

Zimbabwe’s political situation remains chaotic and uncertain, despite the
establishment of a coalition government that included the ruling Zanu-PF
party and the two opposition parties: MDC-T, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, and

But with the stabilisation of the economy through dollarisation — or
establishment of a multi-currency economy and abolishment of the Zimbabwean
currency in 2009 — golf has come back with a vengeance.

Not, mind you, that it ever went away. Some of Zimbabwe’s golf courses, like
Royal Harare Golf Club, located near the centre of the city and adjacent to
State House (Mugabe’s official residence and office), did not suffer during
hyperinflation because of access to funds in offshore accounts, and the fact
that their proximity to Mugabe’s seat of power ensured continual power and
water supply.

Golf in Zimbabwe is a unique experience. With its varied and exotic
landscape, the views adjacent to, and sometimes incorporated into, golf
courses are unlike those in any other place in the world. Unusual rock
formations, such as those found at the Ruwa Country Club in Ruwa, can become
part of the hazards a golfer has to negotiate.

In addition to the scenery, animal and bird species in Zimbabwe can also
become part of the game. At Leopard Rock Golf Course, in Mutare on the
Mozambican border, it is not unusual to find a pack of baboons sitting in
the grass just off the green, watching you try to sink that 30-foot putt.

At Elephant Hills in Victoria Falls, along with warthogs grazing near the
green, golfers often have to halt play while elephants cross the fairway,
and if a ball is hit into a water hazard, it is prudent to forgo attempts at
retrieval, lest you disturb a sleeping crocodile. The same holds true of the
high grass of the rough; cobras are a common hazard, making balls in deep
rough a case of “take the penalty and forget about that ball.”

There’s still a lot of 19th-century English customs associated with golf in
Zimbabwe, from the ninth-hole tea break that is obligatory to a strict dress
code on most courses.

If you’re a traveling golfer, looking for an unforgettable experience,
forget about the politics and pack those clubs. Make Zimbabwe your next

Ray is the US ambassador to Zimbabwe.

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Sunday Opinion: Who should be the driver of change?

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:19

By Mutumwa Mawere

What will Africa be like in 2050 when we complete the first half of this
century dubbed the African century? Whose business is it or should be to
shape Africa’s future?

Changing what our future looks like ought to be the business of our
generation and yet as each day passes we look to others to do what we can
and should do in our interest to make tomorrow a better and brighter day for

We hope and trust others to do what we are not willing to do in our own
self-interest to make the difference that we want to see in Africa.
During the colonial era, we all knew what was wrong and what time it was. We
are now in control and yet the invasion of Africa by outsiders who see more
promise in its relatively unexplored and yet to be exploited belly than its
majority inhabitants suggests that in 2050 it is not unimaginable that the
Chinese investors of today, for example, will be given marching orders by
the living generation of Africans who will find cause to blame the
foreigners for their lack of progress.

When the generation of 2050 looks back at our generation, what will they say
about us? We have the privilege of writing our own story through actions and
yet in many African states the preoccupation is on political issues rather
than matters that inspire others to scale the heights of progress.
Imagine the future without your input.

That future should have no relevance to you and yet many of us would want to
be alive without asking ourselves what precisely is the purpose of life if
at the end of the day we make no difference to the environment we live in.
Is the future someone else’s business? It is and should be the business to
all who have a stake in it. That makes all of us stakeholders.
On January 7 2011, I woke up imagining what the future holds for Africa. As
a Zimbabwean-born African, I could only start by imagining what my
motherland would look like in 2050.

Will it be a country dominated by indigenous persons? What would the mining
sector look like? What would be the ownership structure of land? Who will be
the drivers of economic and political change? Will the current political
institutions be still alive in 2050 or will they sink into followers than
drivers as Unip and Malawi Congress Party have done in Zambia and Malawi,

Who will control the economic landscape? Will the brain drain be converted
into a resident brain trust?

What would be the state of Zimbabwean schools, hospitals, roads, prisons and
all the institutions we generally associate with progress and civilisation?
In the case of Zimbabwe, the last 30 years of independence have produced a
toxic mind that regards politics as the key driver of change. It is not
uncommon for people to refer to others as, for example, a Zanu-PF or MDC
person as if political parties are capable of owning people’s minds.

To the extent that political institutions and the individuals who drive them
are accorded a different status in society, it is natural that many will
look to politicians to drive the agenda for change.

What we do know is that the current players in the Zimbabwean political
drama will all have expired in 2050 and yet it will be the case that people
will seek to attribute the lack of development to the actions and choices of
a few powerful people.

If one were to ask the question of who most inspires Africans, I have no
doubt that the likely response would be the names of political actors.
We forget that politicians are human beings like all of us. They are
incapable of solving another person’s problems without the means being
created by others. The political market produces intangible outputs.

Therefore, it is difficult to measure the effectiveness of political actors
but we generally associate the impact of human development indicators to
have a relationship with the actions and choices of politicians.

The behavior of African politicians is no different from the universal
behavior of political actors. Their business is to stay in power for as much
as possible in as much as the business of an entrepreneur is to remain in
business for a long time if not to eat into the market shares of

Any small-scale entrepreneur will tell you that his/her ambition is to be
the biggest and yet in pursuing such an objective it must be accepted that
the interests of others may be injured or destroyed in the process.

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Sunday Comment: Food imports need close monitoring

Monday, 10 January 2011 11:18

Government last week banned the importation of South African chickens
following reports from that country that some producers who are also
supplying the Zimbabwean market were recycling expired chickens.

Reports said the chickens were thawed for 24 hours at room temperature
before being treated with chlorine to reduce bacterial load and then
scientifically tested to determine levels of micro-organisms. They were then
injected with brine before being repackaged and sold with a new expiry date.

If this revelation had not come from the supplying country — South
Africa —Zimbabweans would never have known what they have been consuming.

In a country where food shortages have been an issue in the recent past, it
is easy for food importers to exploit the country’s food security

And because Zimbabwe has experienced food shortages manifested in the empty
supermarket shelves of yesteryear, it is easy for government to throw
caution to the wind and allow wholesale imports of substandard food to give
to the world the impression that all is well.

But the ban on the recycled chicken should not be used as a red herring.
Instead, authorities should investigate to what extent unscrupulous
exporters and importers of consumables have been able to bring into the
country food that is not fit for human consumption.

Investigations indicate that chicken is not the only substandard food
Zimbabweans have been forced to consume in the recent past. Medicines and
beverages — alcoholic and non-alcoholic — have been known to fall short of
rigorous standards. There has also been the importation on a large scale of
GMO foods.

There is a serious business side to the issue of food imports. In our skewed
business environment it has become cheaper to land imported foodstuffs than
to buy locally produced ones. What has this done to our local industry and
its ancillary businesses?

Two issues are therefore at stake: Our people’s health and the survival of
various sectors of industry.

Government should urgently address this worrying development before we read
of cases of sickness or worse because the required vigilance has broken

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