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Govt must uphold rule of law: Judge President

by Own Correspondent Monday 11 January 2010

HARARE - Zimbabwe Judge President Rita Makarau on Monday said the judiciary
was expecting signatories to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that
facilitated the country's power-sharing administration to uphold the rule of

Officially opening this year's judiciary year, Makarau said she was
confident that President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party and the two factions
of the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur
Mutambara would lead by example and respect the courts.

"We are heartened to know that our interpretation of the constitution and
the laws of the land will be respected by all parties to the agreement and
by all individuals. We expect the three political parties to lead by
example," Makaru said.

"We are also confident that as part of adhering to the principles of the
rule of law, the three political parties and the government of national
unity will do all that is in their respective powers to uphold the principle
of the independence of the judiciary for there can be no rule of law without
an independent judiciary."

Zimbabwe's bench - purged of independent judges by Mugabe - is often accused
by human rights groups of lacking courage to defend the rights of citizens.

The Judge President, appointed to the High Court in 2000 when Mugabe began
re-moulding the bench, also bemoaned the shortages of judges, their poor
remuneration and conditions of service which she said were so unattractive
that no new appointments could be made to the bench.

"That conditions of service are so scandalous is now common knowledge. That
the nation cannot have new judges appointed to the bench without first
improving on the conditions of service of sitting judges goes without

The Judge President expressed concern on the number of judges serving the
populace saying the shortage was particularly felt in the Bulawayo High

"For the best part of the year, the station had three judges only and due to
its size, catering as it does for the southern part of the country, the
three judges were overwhelmed."

Lawyers, magistrates and prosecutors are among a host of skilled workers
including teachers, doctors, nurses and engineers who have fled Zimbabwe to
neighbouring countries and as far afield as Britain and the United States in
search of better pay and living conditions during the country's decade-long
economic meltdown.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai last February formed a coalition government following
an inconclusive election. The 11-month old government has done well to
stabilise Zimbabwe's economy and end inflation that was estimated at more
than a trillion percent at the height of the country's economic meltdown
last year.

As a result living conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans have greatly improved
compared to 2008 when the country battled shortages of cash, fuel and every
basic survival commodity.

But unending bickering between ZANU PF and MDC as well as the coalition
government's inability to secure direct financial support from rich Western
nations have held back the administration's efforts to rebuild the economy.

The MDC accuses Mugabe of flouting the global political agreement that gave
birth to the unity government after the veteran leader refused to rescind
his unilateral appointment of two of his allies to the key posts of central
bank governor and attorney general.

Mugabe has also refused to swear in MDC treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy
agriculture minister and to appoint members of Tsvangirai's party as
provincial governors.

On its part ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the power-sharing
deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to campaign for
lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe gold production up 35%

(AFP) - 5 hours ago

HARARE - Zimbabwe's gold production surged 35 percent to 4.2 tonnes last
year in a "remarkable recovery" for the mining sector despite erratic power
supply, the Chamber of Mines said Monday.

The 2009 figure was up from 3.1 tonnes the previous year, it said.

"It was a remarkable recovery for the gold and mining sector in general,"
Chamber of Mines chief economist David Matyanga told AFP.

"However the recovery process within the gold and mining sector in general
was affected by the erratic power supply and the critical shortage of
working capital," he said.

The southern African country was once the third-highest gold producer in
Africa, with a peak production of 27 tonnes in 1997.

Its gold mining sector was deregulated last March.

Industry officials have attributed last year's increase in production to an
improved economic environment since the government adopted a multi-currency
in January last year, leading to the reopening of several mines.

"The operating environment last year greatly improved when compared to the
previous year," said a manager at foreign-owned mine who did not want to be

"Last year we got a loan to revive some of our operations and expand
operations which was something that could not be heard of in 2008 or 2007,"
the manager said.

Power supply was still a "major concern" but things had been better overall
for the sector, he said.

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Bennett treason trial to resume on Tuesday

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 January 2010

The treason trial of Roy Bennett, the 52 year-old treasurer-general of the
MDC, will resume at the High court in Harare on Tuesday following a six week

The key state witness, Peter Hitschmann, is expected to take the witness
stand on Tuesday. Hitschmann failed to appear in court during the last week
of the trial last year after the Attorney-General's office forgot to
subpoena him to attend the court.

The state has lined up 13 witnesses in the case and to date five have
testified. Charges against Bennett arose in 2006 when Hitschmann was found
with an arms cache, which the prosecution says he acquired after he was
given $5 000 by Bennett to topple Robert Mugabe.

Bennett's co-accused Giles Mutsekwa, now co-Home Affairs Minister in the
inclusive government, was acquitted of the charges in the same year.
Bennett,who is also a Senator for the MDC, is a former coffee farmer whose
land was seized in 2003. He fled to South Africa in 2005 when the CIO and
the police again tried to arrest him over charges of plotting to assassinate

Hitschmann has made it known that he is not willing to testify against
Bennett, but the Attorney-General Johannes Tomoma insists the former arms
dealer remains their star witness. Bennett's defence, led by lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa, contend that Hitschmann was tortured into implicating Bennett.

If found guilty, Bennett faces life in prison or the death penalty. He
denies all the charges and the MDC say this is a classic case of ongoing
state harrassment.

Robert Mugabe has also made it clear that he will not swear in Bennett, who
is the MDC deputy Minister of Agriculture designate.

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Zimbabwe MDC politician optimistic ahead of trial

Published on : 11 January 2010 - 4:41pm | By RNW Radio Netherlands Worldwide

The Zimbabwean opposition politician Roy Bennett will go on trial again on
Tuesday, charged with treason. But despite facing a possible death sentence
if he's found guilty, the MDC treasurer told RNW he's hopeful for the future
of democracy in his country.

Roy Bennett has long been a thorn in President Robert Mugabe's side. The
white former farmer was elected in 2000 and faced continuous intimidation
from the ruling Zanu PF party. Now he's accused of treason and plotting to
kill the controversial Zimbabwean leader and says he's seriously concerned
his hearing won't be a fair one:

"Obviously I feel very apprehensive. When you're on trial for something you
didn't do and the charges are all trumped up and you're in a country where
there's selective application of the rule of law and basically a judiciary
system that's seriously compromised, what do you expect?"

Secret police
Roy Bennett was seized by secret police in February last year just three
days after the Movement for Democratic Change and Zanu PF formed a unity
government. He was later taken to a prison near the city of Mutare and
charged with treason, and sentenced to a year behind bars.

Despite having described his eight months in Chikurubi prison as something
he would never forget, he decided not to seek exile in neighbouring South
Africa before tomorrow's trial:

"This is about a fight for democracy, it's about a fight for a better life
for Zimbabweans. As a leader with a constituency it is my duty to fight in
the best interests of the majority to have a better world so we have a
country that has good governance and returns investment to the country and
picks Zimbabwe up and moves it forward."

Despite the opposition he's faced - not to mention the fact he's never been
able to take up his post as deputy agriculture minister in the coalition -
Roy Bennett told RNW he remains upbeat about lies ahead for Zimbabwe:

"I think Zimbabwe has a tremendous future. We just have to get past this
period now and allow the people's voice to be heard and their will to be

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UK urged to stop funding ‘failing’ unity government

By Alex Bell
11 January 2010

The British government is set to come under pressure to lead the way in
Europe, by not sending developmental aid to the coalition government until
the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement.

UK based protest group The Vigil last week sent a letter to the
International Development Committee of the British Parliament, which is to
review the British government’s aid to Zimbabwe.

“The Zimbabwe Vigil wishes to express its opposition to any dilution of the
pressure on Mugabe and his cronies until they comply fully with the Global
Political Agreement signed with the two MDC factions in September 2008,” the
letter reads.

The Vigil’s spokesman, Dennis Benton, explained that the government would be
setting the wrong precedent by ‘prematurely’ handing over developmental aid
to Zimbabwe, where there is no evidence of any real change.

“We believe, in particular, that to give development aid to the coalition
government is premature and will send the wrong signals not only to Mugabe
and his ZANU PF party but also to members of the European Union and other
countries which have adopted measures against Zimbabwe,” Benton explained

The Vigil is also running a petition as added weight to the pressure it is
putting on the UK government. The petition reads: “We welcome the UK’s
humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe but call on the UK government to
withhold development aid until it is confident that the money will benefit
the people rather than the corrupt Mugabe regime.”

The petition has been signed so far by some 9,000 people from all over the
world who have passed by the Vigil recently. Benton explained that these
people are just an example of all those who are not convinced that there has
been real change in Zimbabwe. Benton explained that, with the EU set to
discuss the renewal of its measures against Zimbabwe next month, that might
be the time to submit the petition.
The Vigil’s call echoes other concerns about the backward measures being
adopted to start rebuilding the country that is fundamentally still in the
hands of an oppressive, greedy regime. The land situation is a prime example
of the mentality being applied, as more money is being thrown at the
flailing agricultural sector, in the guise of assistance to ‘new’ farmers,
at the same time that land invasions are on the rise.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has made
US$14 million in grants available to ‘new’ farmers to help them obtain the
inputs they need to start growing critically needed food. The USAID grant
targets some 52,000 farmers in Zimbabwe and will be distributed through
seven NGOs, although it is not clear which farmers are set to benefit from

There is justifiable concern that beneficiaries of Mugabe’s chaotic and
bloody land grab campaign will now further benefit from receiving aid. No
comprehensive, independent land audit has yet taken place, and there is no
precise record of which farmers are truly entitled to financial grants. The
president of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) Deon Theron explained that
group’s like USAID need to carefully examine who is receiving aid, to
prevent them directly “rewarding those people who have illegally grabbed
land from deserving farmers.”

The need to start growing food in the country is high and the importance of
USAID grants for agricultural development is not being denied. However, with
farm invasions once again on the rise across the country, some observers
have commented that “lawlessness is now being overlooked and even funded.”
The land grab campaign has continued to intensify this year, amid growing
concerns that the military will be deployed to drive the remaining
commercial farmers off their land. Robert Mugabe and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana have both said the military will be used against commercial
farmers who refuse to leave their land.

Most recently, a South African farming family, meant to be protected by both
regional law and a bilateral investment protection agreement, were forced to
flee their farm in Rusape last week. Dolf du Toit and his family left the
property after more than a week of violence and intimidation. They became
the third farming family in the area to be forced off their land in the same
number of weeks. The Du Toits eviction from their property also came mere
weeks after South Africa and Zimbabwe signed an investment pact that is
already proving to be worth little.

Such investment pacts continue to be ignored, along with the law. Zimbabwe’s
ambassador to Tanzania, Edzai Chimonyo, has been ordered by the High Court
to vacate a banana plantation which he occupied over the festive season in
Manicaland, but the retired army general has stayed put on the farm. The
property, Fangundu Farm near Mutare is owned by a Dutch and Malaysian
company and is meant to be protected by an investment agreement.

An official from the Ministry of Lands in Mutare said the invasion of
Fangundu Farm was unlikely to be reversed despite the court ruling.
“That ruling is just a piece of paper,” the official told the Zimbabwe
Independent newspaper. “Almost every new farmer in that area has been served
with court orders so there is nothing that Chimonyo can be afraid of.”
The comments are indicative of the blatant lawlessness in the country, and
court rulings regarding land have done nothing to protect farms against
invasion, attack and forced eviction.

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War Vets Demand 20 Percent Share Of National Wealth

Harare, January 11, 2010 - The country's war veterans say they are entitled
to a 20 percent share of any resource in Zimbabwe because of their
liberation credentials, a Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
Association (ZNLVA) official said.

"We are entitled to a 20 percent share of the national cake. By this I mean
we should get a 20 percent share of land allocations under the land reform
programme, residential stands allocations in all towns and cities in the
country, natural resources and anything to do with mines," Sebastian Beta, a
spokesperson of ZNLVA told Radio VOP.

"We fought the armed struggle to gain political power and economic power and
we believe we have a right to this 20 percent we are asking for. War vets
are some of the poorest people around despite the work that they have done
for this country."

He said there are a lot of people who have been masquerading as war veterans
getting riches.

"It is now time for real war veterans to stand up and reclaim their legacy,"
said Beta.

He added that the war veteran's movement in the country has been infiltrated
by people who did not go to war.

"We have been infiltrated by bogus people some as young as 22 years but we
don't want bogus war veterans, now the time has come for war veterans to
claim their position in society we are sick and tired of people who kill,
murder and rape in the name of war veterans," said Beta.

"A war veteran is a disciplined, old person not these 16 years old boys and
girls who went around the country in 2008 killing and raping people. If you
see a person beating up people then that person is not a war veteran."

The war veterans group will this week hold a two-day conference in Chinhoyi
at the Chinhoyi Public Service Training Centre to elect its new leadership.

The purpose of the conference according to Beta is to restore the dignity of
war veterans, push for better pensions, housing and clamour for a 20 percent
share of the national cake.

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Giving Mugabe a free hand and vilifying exiles is disastrous recipe

January 11, 2010

By Donwald Pressly

At the end of last week there was a story about a white farming family
between Harare and Mutare who had been forced to flee their farm.

The police were called in but refused to protect the family: a father,
mother and middle-aged son. The Commercial Farmers' Union noted that 152 of
the remaining 300 commercial farms were still under threat from invaders.

Here in South Africa, black Zimbabweans who have been forced to flee from
the misrule of President Robert Mugabe - now declared a dictator by US
President Barack Obama - are subject to vilification.

Not so long ago we had Human Settlements Minister Tokyo Sexwale declaring
Mugabe's Zanu-PF, which has clung on to power through rigging and
intimidation, as a sister party to the ANC.

This is at a time when Mugabe is pulling out every stop to ensure that the
state of Zimbabwe is the playground of an increasingly rich, but tiny, black
elite linked to the security establishment.

He stole an election two years ago, but South Africa simply does nothing
about it. The ANC doesn't even discipline its party members who try to burn
down the houses of Zimbabweans living in South Africa. Of course,
Zimbabweans are not popular here, because by force of circumstance they are
prepared to work for lower wages.

It is no accident that hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are in South
Africa. It is largely owing to our government's failure as the regional
power to ensure political and economic stability in the neighbouring state.

In De Doorns, where hundreds of Zimbabweans now live, a victim of recent
xenophobic attacks charged that an ANC councillor threatened violence
against makwerekwere (foreigners). It is the ordinary honest people who bear
the brunt of the sheer stupidity of our foreign policy stance. We publicly
hug - and in the case of former president Thabo Mbeki hold hands with -
Mugabe, but on the ground we as South Africans behave like thugs when
encountering Mugabe's economic and political victims on our own turf.
Click here!

It is now high time that South Africa stopped equivocating on Zimbabwe. If
it is unwilling to use its military and economic might to force a change to
democracy and the end of Mugabe's dictatorship, it should at least have the
moral backbone to declare his regime illegitimate.

That country needs another national election supervised and monitored by
international agencies without any role played by Mugabe's security forces.
It is quite clear now that the so-called unity government with the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) is a sham.

The MDC has failed to get central bank governor Gideon Gono removed so
Mugabe can still instruct Gono to do his dirty work.

He destroyed the Zimbabwean dollar, a currency that was for decades stronger
than the rand against the US dollar.

President Jacob Zuma has said contradictory things about Mugabe, embracing
him as a popular leader in Africa but criticising him for trying to hold on
to power. There is a real danger that if Zuma's government doesn't do
something constructive, Mugabe will entrench his position further. That will
be bad news for the entire region.

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Bingu govt. sells fertilizer to Zimbabwe

By Nyasa Times
Published: January 11, 2010

Malawi has sold and exported fertilizer to Zimbabwe which has not paid back
the $100 million loan owed to Malawi for its purchase of maize from the
country three years ago.

According The Herald, the Robert Mugabe government was forced to import the
fertilizer after local companies had failed to produce enough because they
are facing problems getting raw materials.

Fertilizer imported from Malawi will be delivered to Chimanimani, Mutare,
Chipinge, Rusape, Buhera and some parts of Masvingo, the paper reports.

"At the moment we should concentrate on getting the fertilizers to the
farmers. High yields should be the result of our efforts," the paper quotes
Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made.

Zimbabwe is failing to pay back the 100 million dollars in loans for maize
it imported from Malawi in 2007. It should have finished paying in December
2009, according to Wilson Banda, the general manager of the Reserve Bank of
Malawi, but has not done so.

Opposition politician, Brown Mpinganjira, recently fired a broadside at
Mutharika on the issue, saying, "It beggars belief that a poor country like
Malawi, which celebrates when it receives amounts as low as US$20 million
from the IMF or the World Bank, can go on to lend US$100 million to a
country like Zimbabwe, given its disastrous economic policies. Surely,
Malawi is a country that doesn't have that kind of cash.

"To put it mildly, that was sheer madness. It was wrong. It should not have
happened," Mpinganjira told Capital Radio, a privately-run radio station in

The money, lent to Zimbabwe through the Reserve Bank of Malawi, was
guaranteed by the Malawi government on the basis of a personal relationship
between Mutharika and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

Mutharika, whose late wife Ethel was born and bred in Zimbabwe, has a
sprawling farm at Chakari, near Chegutu which was spared Mugabe's vicious
land grab.

Officials from Malawi were not readily available for comment on the
fertilizer matter.

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Zim police recruited in measles vaccination drive

Eyewitness News | 4 Hours Ago

Zimbabwe police have been co-opted to try to force a religious sect to have
its children vaccinated against measles.

Members of an apostolic sect have been locking their sick children in huts
or hiding them in the hills to evade vaccination.

The Health Ministry said at least 41 people have died of measles, many of
them children, since the outbreak began last month.

Members of the Johannes Marange sect's beliefs allow them only to pray and
use holy water to treat measles.

Manicaland police have been roped in to accompany health officials in the
door-to-door vaccination campaign.

Aid organisations stepped up efforts to fight the outbreak.

UNICEF said more than 14 000 children had been vaccinated against measles in
the area in the last few weeks.

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Zanu PF statement on Fort Hare students?

Published on: 10th January, 2010

We recieved this press statement from a Gadzira Chirumhanzu who claims to be
a ZANU-PF spokesman for its South Africa branch.




In line with our resolution that we passed towards the end of November 2009
we, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) based in
South Africa, seeks to recall all those former recipients of the President
Robert Mugabe Fort Hare Scholarship Programme who refused to go back and
work for the Zimbabwean government after completing their studies.

These students have remained in South Africa in disobedience of a directive
to return home and work for the benefit of the country. We, therefore, call
upon the South African government and our African National Congress
counterparts to assist with the cancellation of the listed ex-students' work
permits and their repatriation.

We shall do everything in power to ensure that the listed ex-students are
successfully repatriated to pay their dues in Zimbabwe.

1. Tawonga Tsvangirai
2. Kurai Masenyama
3. Tungamirai Mafunga
4. Farai Mtero
5. Rejoice Shumba
6. Simba Chimanikire
7. Lyson Mutinhidzo
8. Guilty Mupakati
9. Farai Dondofema
10. Simba Mlilwana
11. Edgar Jaji
12. Onias Badze
13. Akunnata Maponga
14. Maxwell Mhepo
15. Pasno Nyachowe
16. Cledywin Dzinamarira
17. Charles Kaguramamba
18. Precious Ndlovu
19. Susan Chiyangwa
20. Albert Somerai
21. Brighton Munyayi
22. Mordon Mudzamba
23. Moreblessings Nucube
24. Simon Chipuriro
25. Anorld Maburo
26. Kudakwashe Jarabini
27. Rudo Moto
28. Chipo Dauramanzi
29. Felicity Munemo
30. Evia Matura
31. Tafadzwa Senga
32. Revai Gandidzanwa
33. Manfred Maphosa
34. Remember Benjamin
35. Alexander Muzenda
36. Brenda Mvundura
37. Chipo Tete
38. Hillary Muhumbe
39. Cleopatra Chiome
40. Crispen Machingura
41. Learnmore Kambizi
42. Debora Tsungai
43. Concillia Chirenda
44. Tatenda Mabumbo
45. Joe Maganga
46. Isaac Gura
47. Tatenda Munakira
48. Blessing Mupaya
49. Caroline Chimanda
50. Colleta Machingura
51. Dorcas Mugweni
52. Dulisi Ncube
53. Gary Ndlovu
54. Georgina Zheve
55. Hazviite Muparaganda
56. Herbert Mushayi
57. Audrey Chaparadza
58. Bryge Wachipa
59. Nomagugu Tshuma
60. Charlene Chanetsa
61. Chipo Matibiri
62. Enniah Muhlanga
63. Godfrey Unzemoyo
64. Gugu Ngwenya
65. Irvine Mhlanga
66. Dennis Bhoki
67. Garfiled Ndlovu
68. Langlelile Ngwenya
69. Lingani Mapolisa
70. Patience Ncube
71. Gladman Moyana

Issued by ZANU PF South Africa Branch

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AfriForum return to court on Zimbabwe

Alana Bailey
Monday, January 11, 2010

Legal representatives of the civil rights initiative AfriForum, is
approaching the North Gauteng Supreme Court on behalf of Zimbabwean
farmers - Louis Fick, Michael Campbell, and Thomas Etheredge - to get
permission from the court to add the Zimbabwean Government as party to an
urgent court application against the country.

The purpose of the court application is to have the ruling of the SADEC
Tribunal of November 2008 against the Zimbabwean Government registered and
enforced in South Africa.

The SADEC Tribunal ruled in November 2008 that the land reform process of
Pres Robert Mugabe is illegal and racist, and ordered that compensation had
to be paid to farmers who had already been expropriated, as well as that
farmers who still are on their farms, had to be left in peace. Since the
ruling, farm invaders have however continued their actions, by amongst other
things assaulting Mr Michael Campbell cruelly and chasing him from his farm.
Mr Louis Fick has also been driven from his farm and is facing criminal
prosecution because he did not heed to notices to leave his farm

The Zimbabwean Government meanwhile has stepped up its land-grabbing
programme. The Zimbabwean Government's spokesperson, Temba Mliswa, yesterday
indicated in the Zimbabwean Sunday Mail that his government is committed to
driving all white farmers from the country. The Zimbabwean Government has
also indicated that it intends using the army to drive the remaining farmers
from their farms.

During the Festive Season, several farmers were targeted for farm evictions.
On 24 December 2009, Mr Ray Finaughty was given only three hours to leave
his farm, after he had been prevented from feeding thousands of his chickens
on the farm for days.

Another South African farmer in Zimbabwe, Mr Dolf du Toit, and his family
were driven off their farm just before New Year's Day, after his son had
been trapped by the invaders in their home.

According to AfriForum's legal representative, Willie Spies, it appears as
if the Zimbabwean Government had stepped up its campaign against white
farmers (including South African citizens) in the country after signing a
bilateral agreement for the promotion and protection of mutual investments
(BIPPA) together with the South African Government on 27 November 2009.

AfriForum has already requested the South African Government formally to use
its newly-obtained bargaining power which had been obtained with BIPPA to
protect South Africans in Zimbabwe, but the South African Government has
indicated that BIPPA first has to be ratified by the Zimbabwean Parliament
before this can happen.

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Zimbabwe war vets poison rhinos

By Gerald Chateta

Published: January 11, 2010

Harare: Zimbabwe's War veterans settled near the Humani Estates in Chiredzi
District are using poisonous elements for poaching rhino horns from a nearby
game reserve in a move to sustain them after failing to come up with
meaningful yields since they invaded the farms in early 2000.

Humani Estate community spokesperson Nelson Maponga said the war veterans
were using poisoned cabbages to trap rhinoceroses that are kept in the
neighbouring game reserve and sell the horns to South African dealers who
have flooded the area with firearms.

"We have had a big problem with these newly resettled farmers as they have
become a highly environmental hazard to the area; they are presenting this
area with multiple problems.

"Most of them are working as poaching agents for South African based rhino
horn dealers, the poachers are placing poisoned cabbages on animal drinking
points so that when the animals come for water they will also eat them. They
will then track them until they die, then take off the horns.

"The biggest problem is that our cattle also drink from the same sources and
are also eating the same cabbages and dying. They are even poisoning some
small dams around this area with the hope that rhinos will drink from them
which have caused serious environmental problems in this area," said a
community spokesperson Nelson Maponga.

Maponga also said the problem was not only of the dying of cattle but

a lot of other domestic and wild animals like goats, and other scavenger
animals as they feed on animals that might have died as a result of

The war veterans have also been blamed for deforestation as they allegedly
indiscriminately cut down trees to sell firewood in the neighbouring urban
centers leaving wild animals without cover.

"They indiscriminately cut down trees to sell firewood to people who come
from towns like Chiredzi and Nyika growth point leaving the animals without
cover," he added.

Efforts to get an official comment from National Parks and Wild life
Authority were fruitless as the Public Relationsmanager Caroline
Washayamoyo's mobile phone was not reachable.

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Media watchdogs new book focuses on 2008 election violence

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 January 2010

The role of the Zimbabwe media in covering the bloody presidential run-off
election in 2008 has come under critical scrutiny in a book launched by the
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ).

Titled 'Propaganda War on Electoral Democracy' the book, according to MMPZ
head Andrew Moyse, seeks to generate debate on the media's role in the
country's national politics. Moyse said he hoped it would provide a valuable
contribution to the national debate on free media.

He added that the book attempts to address the political climate prevailing
in the year leading up to the historic elections, and particularly the media
environment at the time. Political commentator and University of Zimbabwe
Professor John Makumbe told the ZimOnline news agency that the book will
play a key role in influencing reform in the media sector. He said if there
is a sector that needed urgent reform, it was the media.

Exiled Zimbabwean journalist Makusha Mugabe told SW Radio Africa on Monday
that as Zimbabweans and the international community try to come to terms
with what happened in 2008, it would be useful to use the book to
systematically analyse the role played by the media during the period.

'In Zimbabwe, the media, together with a robust civil society, has been a
key force for calls to reform. But as things unravelled after the harmonised
elections, one cannot help but wonder whether the media could have done
better, whether media could have helped forestall what lay ahead of the
presidential run-off,' Makusha said.

'The media is a reflection of the society: state reporters were not expected
to act as propaganda agencies and report all was well when MDC supporters
were being killed, when homes were being burnt, families were being chased
from their homes and politicians were inciting the militias,' explained
Makusha. He added that in an ideal world, the role of the media in politics,
as in anything, would be to report things factually and leave it to the
reader, listener or viewer to decide.

'The media should be obligated to tell the truth and not manufacture or
elaborate stories like what happened during the 2008 elections'.

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This year, Christmas in Bulawayo was a time of joy


Of all the things said about Christmas in Zimbabwe this year it was a
statement from my friend's mum that summed up the festive mood on my return
home in December. "We are having a three-in-one Christmas this year, my
son," she beamed.

Still busy preparing the traditional Zimbabwe Christmas dish of plenty of
rice and chicken, she explained her excitement. "You see, the past three
years were a nightmare for us. Shops were empty and we had no money to
celebrate this day. However, as you can see, things are different this

She was right. Shops were packed with South African products -- cooking oil,
rice, sweets and beverages -- all purchased with the South African rand, the
now-common currency in my home town of Bulawayo. Gone is the dreaded
Zimbabwe dollar and the awful black market that had characterised the
country over the past few years while the Zimbabwean economy -- and almost
everything else -- went to the dogs.

Those of us who chose not to heed the advice of our relatives and burdened
our vehicles with heavy loads of basics for the family lived to regret it;
nearly everything you could get in South Africa was available back home. In
just under a year, the empty shelves in Zimbabwe had not only been filled,
but new South African satellite shops had sprouted all over my home town,
further killing the black market, which charged exorbitant prices for basic
goods. And the stiff competition of shops ensured that prices of most
essentials were comparable to the stores I use in Johannesburg.

Local salaries may still be dismally low -- with the average worker taking
home just US$100 (R730) a month - but the availability of products brought
a glimpse of hope for a brighter future in the economically ravaged country.

For the first time in a long time children experienced a glimpse of the life
we enjoyed at this time of the year when we were growing up. There were new
clothes and lots of dancing to loud music as friends and relatives got
together to celebrate. Zimbabweans are not big on Christmas trees, but love
to decorate their homes with balloons, colourful ribbons and cards from
loved ones.

And the return of Christmas festivities was not restricted to private
homes -- the quiet and gloomy Bulawayo CBD of 2008 was transformed into a
hive of activity. Fast-food shops and liquor stores (selling mostly South
African beverages) were clearly making a killing. The nightlife was welcome
as people demonstrated their new-found status, thanks to the arrival of the
rand and US dollar -- much of it brought in by those in the diaspora, who
are earning foreign currency and were spending it back home on their

Admittedly, Zimbabwe is a long way from the African breadbasket of
yesteryear and it's a pity that, for now, ordinary Zimbabweans' measurement
of success is merely finding food on the shelves. But every inquiry about
how things were elicited a positive response. "We are fine now, everybody is
eating," was the usual answer. But then, this alone puts into perspective
the level of suffering these people have endured.

Never mind a government of national unity that's been in an uncertain state
of flux for more than a year; that the streets are littered with potholes;
unemployment is rampant at an estimated at 90%; buildings are in desperate
need of basic maintenance and the country's economy is running the risk of
being dependent on South African products, Christmas this year gave a lot of
Zimbabweans reason to celebrate, even if it was for just a day. Let's hope
it's the sign of a happier new year.

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Fighting corruption not a threat for MDC

Published on: 11th January, 2010

By Moses Chamboko

Reports that the MDC is about to probe some of its top officials including
ministers and councillors for corruption have been met with euphoric
jubilation and premature celebration by seemingly myopic and parochial
opponents of change.

"Chickens are coming home to roost", "The Titanic is about to sink", "We saw
this coming", "MDC is more corrupt than ZANU PF" are some of the latest
prophecies from the shameless prophets of doom across the globe. Some have
even gone as far as drawing parallels between George Owell's Animal Farm and
the MDC as well as equating Tsvangirai to Chiluba. Of course, this is all
wishful thinking meant to divert the gullible mind from the real issues.

Those in ZANU PF who suffer from serious amnesia, before they profusely
expend too much anti-MDC adrenalin, must be reminded of the following
scandals some of which shook the very foundations of the once revered party:

While many, even the so-called born-frees would easily recall the Willowgate
scandal epitomised by the late Morris Nyagumbo, disgraced Fredrick Shava,
Chinyoka and Mtumbuka amongst many others (thanks Geoff Nyarota for your
sterling effort in bringing this to the fore), ZANU PF's hired cheer leaders
within and without the borders of Zimbabwe must not conveniently forget
which party was at the forefront of misappropriation of demobilisation funds
when the war ended, well before the MDC was formed. Some of the fighters who
came out of the bush with nothing but just their rusty riffle and a pair of
faded jeans became instant millionaires (not the Gideon Gono-type of
millionaires) while the rest suffered.

Not to be outdone, Kumbirai Kangai became synonymous with GMB scandals for
years to come. The War Victims Compensation Fund had such leading characters
as Reward Marufu (vatezvara, who was later to be rewarded with a diplomatic
posting), Chenjerai Hunzvi and one Augustine Chihuri whose disability was
assessed at 100% by the same Polish-trained medic who is said to have spent
most of his semesters driving taxis. Any wonder why the police force is
almost100% dysfunctional or disabled?

The late Hebert Ushewokunze once perfected ZANU PF corruption while Minister
of Transport prompting the brilliant, fearless and blunt Byron Hove (rest in
peace) to call him "Minister of Air Zimbabwe" during one of the most heated
parliamentary debates of that time as a result of unprecedented corruption
at the national carrier. This was way before we had dreamt of the MDC.

The late Mr. "Handsome" Enos Chikowore, presided over the infamous VIP
Housing scandal where all beneficiaries including one that I shall not
mention by name (lest I'm perceived to be unfairly targeting one family),
dipped their fingers in the till but remained untouched.

Welcome to Gracelands! Zimbabwe's most corrupt and probably longest
servicing Local Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, has at least a piece
of land almost in every major city in Zimbabwe. He could even try getting
one on the moon if his ministry operated within the vicinity of the NASA
premises but has remanined untouched!

I will not bother you with what may have happened to the so-called AIDS
Levy. The stripping of assets at organisations like ZESA, PTC (whatever it
is called today), ZISCO and many other parastatals was not engineered by
MDC. In all this, how many ZANU PF officials were brought to book except one
or two unfortunate nonentities such as those found trading worthless Zim
currency at Roodport on behalf of Dr. Casino? Thank God, we hear that his
printing press has been shutdown indefinitely and also that his wings are
being slowly but surely clipped by the people's parliament under the
watchful eye of no-nonsense TB (Tendai Biti)!

Let it be known that MDC has timeously embarked on a genuine mission to rid
itself of the few bad apples in the basket before it is too late. The people's
party knows that pilfering, if ignored, could lead to stock theft, bank
robbery or even grisly murder one day. ZANU PF carelessly and blindly reared
corruption for 30 long years. Unfortunately, the vice has now grown so big
that the party has neither the capacity, means nor idea to tackle it.

On the other hand, the MDC is to be sincerely commented for not adopting the
biblical approach "regai zvikurirane tozozviona pakukohwa" There is need to
differentiate between the desired crop and the weed (zviyo nemasawi) well
before harvest time, which is the next election. The uninformed that
excitedly celebrate this as a sign of weakness are not at all familiar with
the dynamics of organisational change where introspection, realignment and
self-renewal are not an event but a continuous strategic process.

This clean-up exercise will strengthen the MDC and prepare it for good
governance, which we will all enjoy once this two-headed monster
(zibukanana) called the inclusive government has seen its day. Those who are
itching to write the MDC obituary because it has chosen the right path to
"cleanse" itself have to be very patient because the wait is going to be

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Economist says financial recovery programme is unrealistic

By Lance Guma
11 January 2009

Leading Zimbabwean economist John Robertson has argued that the government's
Short Term Economic Recovery Programme (STERP II) document deliberately
ignores the real cause of the country's economic crisis. Robertson said the
recovery plan acknowledged the need for international assistance but fails
to show how the mistakes of the past era have been addressed. This he argued
will not encourage outside help.

Robertson says the document seeks to blame 'sanctions' for the malaise and
yet most of the damage was self inflicted after 'decisions were taken to
close down Zimbabwe's biggest business sector (agriculture) and to
dispossess the investors who had built this capacity.' He said the
importance of farmers who had already transformed agriculture and who used
to be relied upon to deliver 'is not acknowledged, not recognised and not
Robertson gave the example of the dairy industry saying the STERP II
document blamed 'challenges with overall livestock production,' for
undermining the industry. He said this is 'simply dishonest.'

'Dairy farming was not undermined by livestock production challenges. It was
undermined by the eviction of the owners of nearly all the dairy farms in an
acquisition process that destroyed a large percentage of the dairy herds.
True enough, "livestock production challenges" did follow, but for reasons
carefully avoided in the STERP II document,' he argued.

He said highly skilled dairy farmers used to produce more than 10 times the
current volume of milk, and because this was well in excess of national
requirements, a wide variety of dairy products could be exported. 'Now that
production is about a quarter of the country's requirements, substantial
imports are needed.' He said any attempt to revive the sector cannot ignore
what got it into trouble in the first place.

Meanwhile a London based think tank, the Economist Intelligence Unit, has
also expressed misgivings about the credibility of the economic programmes
pursued by the government. They said the STERP II document, which is more
detailed than the first one, 'has disappointed many business people and
donors, partly because of its generally non-technical approach'.

Different economic turnaround documents published by different ministries
have contained conflicting figures on growth and the think tank said this
had further discredited government plans. An example used was the projected
40 percent increase in mining output, in the same year that electricity
production was predicted to rise by only 3 percent, when power shortages
have impacted negatively on the ability of every sector to improve.

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Brilliant Pongo Barking at the Moon

Published on: 10th January, 2010

Dear Editor,

I am writing to submit a response to Mr Pongo's latest opinion editorial.

Mr Pongo has a right to air his opinion but it is imperative that he be
challanged by those who have countervailing opinons. I hope you publish my

By Tsanga Tutankhamen Shanga

Brilliant Pongo, whose attempt to become an internet disc jockey may have
flopped disastrously, seems to have found a new hobby, defending Mugabe's
custodianship of Zimbabwe that has, after thirty years of wielding power,
flopped disastrously.

One hopes that the dull attempts to imitate the buck-toothed Joseph
Chinotimba by Comrade Pongo, oxymoronically named Brilliant, meet the same
fate as his bilge-water-type Growth Point Starter Pack tenure.

To accelerate the inevitable emollition of Comrade Pongo's apparently
self-serving indefensible defence of Mugabe's tyranny, it is instructive to
put Brilliant's spurious charges under the microscope every time he musters
the brass nerve to wittingly spread risible falsehoods.

In his latest instalment of words of mass deception (WMDs), the dreadlocked
and red-eyed Comrade Pongo irritatingly barks at the imposition of targeted
sanctions against members of the ZANU-PF criminal syndicate.

"Some people will be quick to apportion blame on President Mugabe and ZANU
PF, but is it all down to one man (sic)?" asks Comrade Pongo.

The answer to that one is simple; it took one patently incompetent,
means-spirited and shamelessly exploitative man working in connivance with a
troop of hapless cheerleaders, shameless bottom feeders, criminally corrupt
sycophants and hoards of brainless thugs specifically trained to constantly
bay for the blood of their compatriots.

That, Comrade Pongo, is what brought ruin to Zimbabwe.

In 1980, Mugabe inherited a nation that was ready to take off after the end
of a debilitating war. Keen-eyed African leaders realized how fortunate it
was for Mugabe. "You have inherited a jewel. Keep it that way," Mwalimu
Nyerere advised [see]

Tone deaf as he is, Mugabe did not listen. He had a more hard-pressing
issue to attend to; consolidating all the power into his hands not for any
noble goal but just for the sake of it. After a few cosmetic changes like
the effortless task of changing nameplates on roads and renaming mountains
and rivers, he got the ball rolling on his brutal and wicked quest for
absolute power.

Mugabe is monomaniacal when he makes up his mind. Once he has a target, he
will go for it full tilt, everything else be damned. So, without surprise,
he set out to brutally decimate PF-ZAPU and members of its armed wing, the
gallant ZIPRA forces.

Looking back, PF-ZAPU offered an ideological alternative to what would turn
out to be Mugabe's misguided and ill-conceived brand of Marxism-Leninism.
ZIPRA cadres, whose patriotism to the Zimbabwean cause was and has never
been in question, posed a huge military buffer to his ambition for
imperial-style power.

In short order, Joshua Nkomo had to be caricatured as a tribal overlord,
liberation war heroes Dumiso Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku had to be broken
down. To rally the nation, we were told that Nkomo, Dabengwa and Masuku had
cached arms to seize the country.

Subliminally, the Shonas were fooled into thinking that the loathed Madzviti
raids were in the offing. It is an old trick that works all the time;
demonize your enemy and then pounce. It is even better if you can goad a
few miscreants in the other camp to behave stupidly.

It might have been the same approach the ZANU-PF used, goading a few
hot-headed ZIPRA ex-combatants to provide a casus belli. That is what
happened and so was the beginning of the crime we all know as the
Gukurahundi Genocide.

Gukurahundi was a continuation of the power play that started long before
Zimbabwe became independent or, as it turned out, Mugabe's personal fiefdom.
Within the ZANU-PF structure, potential opponents of Mugabe's seizure of
absolute power were weeded out.

Josiah Tongogara posed the biggest threat to Mugabe's quest for power. If
Oppah Muchinguri's recent utterances are credible, Tongogara was
assassinated. Cui bono? Who had the most to gain from the murder of Josiah

The same cast of characters that has become wildly wealthy by looting the
country's resources. As Mugabe was busy vasectomizing all opposition, the
country fell apart because of sheer negligence. This was long before the
imposition of sanctions.

Others have catalogued the unimaginable corruption that Mugabe's syndicate
started as soon as PF-ZAPU had been thrashed into submission. Thanks to
Geoff Nyarota and his journalists at the Bulawayo-based The Chronicle
Newspaper, the thieves masquerading as our liberators were caught engaging
in common theft called the Willogate Scandal.

Robert Mugabe was in it up to his neck. It was Maurice Nyagumbo who
implicated Mugabe as a participant in the illegal Willogate shenanigans.
Some have said the lovable Mrs Sally Mugabe, the only sensible Mugabe the
country has ever known, was also getting Toyota Cressida cars to ship to
Ghana. That charge is silly at best and libellous at worst.

Mai Mugabe was too busy taking care of her orphanages to engage in the
stealing and shipping of cars. It was the bigamist Mugabe himself who
needed the ill-gotten money to support his clandestine mistress.

After the dog-and-pony show, the Sandura Commission, meant to hoodwink the
nation into believing Mugabe was against corruption, the looting picked
pace. Mugabe also used the opportunity to consolidate his grip on ZANU-PF.
Dead men tell no tales so poor Maurice Nyagumbo conveniently committed
suicide, as we were told.

Enos Nkala was booted out. Edgar Tekere would soon be shown the door for
his pestilent noises about ZANU-PF corruption. By then Tongogara had been
long gone from the scene and Ndabaningi Sithole had been reduced to a
cartoon character.

Thus, of the original ZANU founders, nobody was left to remind Mugabe of the
original ethos of the party. Nobody except the self-deluding Edison Zvobgo
who foolishly thought he would one day take over from Mugabe - are you
paying attention Comrade Mnangagwa? Comrade Pongo, this was well before the
imposition of sanctions.

ZANU-PF was quickly transformed to suit Mugabe's incomprehensible thirst for
power. Cheerleaders soon replaced Nkala, Tekere, Nyagumbo and Tongogara.
Like hungry vultures that have spotted a carcass, shameless opportunists
descended onto the scene.

The boisterous and show-boating Philip Chiyangwa is a prime example of the
vultures that have ruined Zimbabwe. Sanctions, Comrade Dreadlocked Dread,
have actually seen the members of the ZANU-PF crime syndicate brazenly steal
and embezzle their way into fabulous wealth. The shortage of basic
commodities like fuel and fertilizer only made the cartel richer at a
quicker pace.

I have previously noted that sanctions have proven to be very devastating
primarily because Mugabe has never cared and will never ever care for the
wellbeing of the Zimbabwean people. He could have learnt from Ian Smith, P.
W. Botha or Fidel Castro.

Despite an energy-sapping war, Smith found a way around the sanctions
imposed after the UDI. The Afrikaner Regime took advantage of the natural
riches of South Africa to fend off sanctions. One impressive example is the
coal-to-oil industry that resulted in the birth of the industrial city of
Sasolburg. Sasol, a company born out of Botha's sanction-busting agenda, is
now a multinational company listed on the world's biggest stock markets.

Castro's Cuba has been under sanctions for almost half a century and yet
Cuba has one of the world's best healthcare systems. While Mugabe runs to
China for treatment, a testament to how far he has destroyed the country's
healthcare system, Fidel Castro is taken care of within Cuba. Incompetent
Mugabe, unlike the troika of Smith, Botha and Castro, failed because he does
not care.

Pongo laments the detrimental flight of talented Zimbabweans from their own
motherland. Brilliant, point that finger of yours at the image of the man
on your freaking T-shirt, one Robert Gabriel Mugabe! It is Mugabe that
caused the largest involuntary mass dislocation of Africa's children since
the heinous crime of the Slave Trade.

Mugabe is complicit in the re-enslavement of the Africa's Zimbabwean
children by the very same imperial forces that he pretends to hate so much.

One has to wonder if Mugabe's anger and irritation at the travel
restrictions have more to do with his longing to kiss imperial rings in the
courts of Europe again. He has been free to travel everywhere else. One
would think he would be contended going to places like Beijing and Lilongwe.
Mugabe is not happy with that. For a strange reason, he wants to visit
Brussels and London.

The inevitable imposition of sanctions was prompted by the nationwide
roguery of the ZANU-PF crime syndicate. That Mugabe has vainly tried to
exploit the targeted sanctions only serves to reinforce the image of the man's
penchant for not being truthful with the Zimbabwean people.

Mugabe is a failed leader. Sanctions have nothing to do with it. So, give
it a rest, Comrade Pongo. Stop barking at the moon.

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