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

29.10.2013: Biti announces election date in London

FRIDAY, 11 JANUARY 2013 14:28

By Thamsanqa Zhou in London, UK

Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance Tendai Biti has told investors in Britain
that his country will have elections on 29th October 2013.

Minister Biti was speaking at the ZimInvest London 2013 Forum "Why Zimbabwe
Matters" hosted by Country Factor at the British capital this morning.

He said upon the elections Zimbabwe has become a safe and lucrative place
to come and invest, adding that Zimbabwe is "unambiguously the place to be
by 2015".

The Finance minister assured investors that Zimbabwe is going to have "make
or break" elections by 29th October 2013 which needed to be credible,
legitimate and provide a sustainable end to political conflict. He said his
Ministry was next week going to provide funds for the registration of voters
to ensure that the voters' roll was sound and no longer contained " millions
of deceased people who have a tendency of resurrecting every time we have

Minister Biti said Zimbabwe was on course to have a new constitution even if
it meant incorporating into amendment 20, the areas parties have already
agreed and having a referendum at the same time as elections on those
contentious issues.

Zimbabwe "is pregnant" with opportunities in energy, mining, agriculture and
an educated workforce, Mr Biti added. He said his ministry was working on a
new Diamond law that will enable a new Agency to be created that will ensure
transparency in the contentious diamond mining in Zimbabwe. He acknowledged
that "at the moment, there is a mismatch between production figures and what
the treasury is getting." He said a new law was needed because Zimbabwe was
likely to be the world's biggest producer of diamonds within a few years.

He said the iron ore deposits in the Mwanesi area we worth about USD43
Billion metric tonnes while coal and methane gas, platinum, gold and "other
marvellous discoveries I can not disclose at the moment" make Zimbabwe a
place to be for mining investors.

He added that his ministry was committed to reducing mining fees by 50
percent but encouraged the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines to engage his office
more on what the industry needed.

Minister Biti said since coming into Government in 2009, he had initiated
the Short Term Emergency Programme (STEP) that has set Zimbabwe on a growth
trajectory and out of the economic crisis where inflation had broken all
records known to bring sanity with an "eat what you kill" policy where "we
sustainably live within our means."

He said Zimbabwe achieved the highest growth rate in the world in 2011,
which was testimony to efforts to create a 200 billion economy by 2020.

He invited British companies to consider applying for tenders in energy
because, "we will spend a billion US Dollar in upgrading Hwange Power
Station, need a hydro power station at Batoka and some 20 mini hydro power
stations in Manicaland."

Zimbabwe businessman Mutumwa Mawere, attending the conference said it was
good to hear of an optimistic picture of Zimbabwe but encouraged the
Government of Zimbabwe to do more in the area of ensuring security of

In the past week, the Ministry responsible for Lands has committed to
ensuring that all farms that were covered by Bilateral Agreements were not
going to be part of the resettlement programme and moved out blacks who had
been allocated a farm in Mazowe in response to those who feared breach of
their property rights.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai steps in over Zimbabwe poll delays

BY RAY NDLOVU, JANUARY 11 2013, 05:33

ZIMBABWE Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai moved on Thursday to deal with the
bungling that has characterised the start of the national voter registration
exercise, ahead of elections set to take place this year.

Mr Tsvangirai, who cut short his holiday in Europe, met officials from the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) in a bid to address the delays that have
marked the exercise. Voter registration was initially scheduled to start on
January 3, but commission officials cited inadequate funds as the underlying
reason for the failure to roll out the exercise.

Government minister Obert Gutu, a member of Mr Tsvangirai’s Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), said on Thursday that Mr Tsvangirai had decided to
meet the ZEC officials to spur on the process.

Earlier this week, Mr Tsvangirai met Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa over
the delays of the disbursement of funding to the commission. The election
body said it needed $21m to carry out the two-month long exercise. Part of
the funds will be used to clean up the voters’ roll — which allegedly has
dead persons on it — and has been presided over by registrar-general Tobaiwa
Mudede, an ally of President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Chinamasa criticised Mr Tsvangirai for inefficiency and failure to pull
together the required resources for the registration exercise. In defence of
Mr Tsvangirai, Mr Gutu said: "The prime minister’s office is not responsible
for funding ZEC, it is the duty of Treasury to fund it. But in spite of the
misleading remarks concerning Mr Tsvangirai and concerning the prime
minister’s office that were attributed to Mr Chinamasa … Mr Tsvangirai met
the ZEC officials and the relevant stakeholders as plans to capacitate ZEC
continue to gather momentum."

Political observers said the mudslinging reflected the challenges that lie
ahead as the country prepares for the elections.

A threat by Mr Mugabe to unilaterally call for elections in March appears to
have lost steam as he is away on holiday in the Far East and expected back
at work next month. Suggestions now gaining ground in political circles are
that the elections will be held in June — the official end of Mr Mugabe’s
five-year term.

The referendum on a new constitution and elections, key events on the
national calendar, are expected to cost $192m. But Finance Minister Tendai
Biti, an MDC-T member, has prepared a budget of $50m.

Welshman Ncube, the leader of the smaller MDC faction, indicated earlier
this month that the country may have to turn to the Southern African
Development Community and African Union to meet the election fund shortfall.
But Zanu (PF) has taken umbrage at suggestions of enlisting the help of
foreign bodies and western-linked nongovernmental organisations for the
election funds, citing fears of the country losing its sovereignty.

Meanwhile, Mr Biti this week made an appeal for Canada to drop the sanctions
it has imposed since 2001 on Mr Mugabe and members of his top brass.

"The use of sanctions and isolation, I think they’ve outlived their
usefulness," he said in an address at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai Puts ZEC in Charge of Voter Registration

Thomas Chiripasi

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has ordered the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) to start carrying out its constitutional mandate of
supervising the registration of voters rolls by the Registrar-General’s

The prime minister on Thursday met with officials from ZEC and the
Registrar-General’s Office, as well as Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
acting Finance Minister Theresa Makone and Acting Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Nelson Chamisa, to assess progress in voter
education and registration since their group's inaugural meeting in December

Details of the meeting are unclear, but after the meeting, the prime
minister’s spokesman, William Bango, told journalists that Mr. Tsvangirai
was unhappy that voter education and registration is running behind

Bango said it was agreed that the Registrar-General’s Office will no longer
handle voter registration. The Registrar-General’s Office has been accused
in previous elections of tampering with the voter rolls.

Studio 7, in its own investigations, has found clear errors in the rolls.
For example, the late former Prime Minister Ian Douglas Smith is still
listed as an eligible voter.

When asked about the prime minister’s announcement on Thursday,
Registrar-General Mudede declined to answer any questions.

Joice Kazembe, deputy ZEC chairperson, said the commission is ready to start
voter education and registration work as soon as resources are provided by
the finance ministry. She said her commission requires $13 million to carry
out the exercise.

Acting Finance Minister Makone said the money required by ZEC is available
and that voter education and registration will start soon. However, she did
not provide an exact date for the start of the exercise.

Prime Minister Tsvangirai, who as head of government business was tasked by
the unity government principals to oversee election preparations, cut short
his annual year-end leave to deal, in part, with delays in voter education
and registration.

The Daily News newspaper also reported on Thursday that President Robert
Mugabe is expected to return from his holiday in the Far East on Thursday,
ahead of schedule, to resume work on revisions to the constitution.

Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai have agreed that elections will take place this
year after a referendum on the proposed constitution.

However, Zanu PF party officials have stated several times that elections
should go ahead with or without a new governing charter, if differences over
the new draft constitution are not resolved.

For prespective on this issue VOA turned to Psychology Maziwisa, the
indigenization ministry’s legal advisor and deputy justice minister Obert
Gutu of the MDC-T formation.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZEC defends Tsvangirai

Friday, 11 January 2013 12:11

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s electoral body has defended its contact with Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai saying allegations that he is meddling with the
electoral process are dishonest.

Joyce Kazembe, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) deputy commission
chairperson, said this after meeting Tsvangirai to discuss modalities for
this year’s referendum and general election.

Zec is a constitutional body set up after the formation of the coalition
government in 2009.

It is mandated with running a smooth and credible election following the
sham 2008 polls and Tsvangirai has been working closely with the body to
ensure it gets off the ground.

Home Affairs and acting Finance minister Theresa Makone, Justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa and Registrar General (RG) Tobaiwa Mudede attended
yesterday’s meeting.

“The Prime Minister is merely facilitating. He is not meddling,” Kazembe

Reports in the public media have quoted “analysts” saying Tsvangirai is now
interfering with Zec processes in the wake of a series of meetings the PM
has held with the electoral body and related ministries. Others claimed
Tsvangirai was using the meetings to facilitate rigging.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson William Bango told the Daily News that his boss is
a political facilitator.

“The Prime Minister, as an interested political player, will recuse himself
from Zec processes as soon as it is rolled out,” said Bango.

“It is mischief of the highest order for anybody to suggest that he is
interfering with a process that we all know he is working hard to push
through. In as much as Zec would want to be independent of political
intrusion, it still needs resources from the state; that is where the PM
comes in,” Bango said.

Kazembe said delays by government in releasing funds for the commencement of
voter registration and education exercises are stalling the commission’s

“Of course we are frustrated. We want to be out there in the field, that is
our work and if we had our way the process of voter education and
registration would have begun on 3 January,” said Kazembe.

“We are hopeful though that the money will be released soon. However, soon
is a relative term, it could mean anything,” Kazembe said.

Makone said she would be meeting with technocrats at the Finance ministry to
make sure the $13 million required to kick-start the programme is released

“The Prime Minister has assured me that he has been assured by minister Biti
that the funds are there. I will today meet with staff at the ministry to
make sure it is authorised and released to Zec,” said Makone.

“It is a fact the money is there, so we will find out what is causing the
delays,” Makone said.

Biti last week promised to give Zec $1 million that he said was required to
begin voter registration and education. Zec has since submitted a $22
million budget from which the RG’s office will get $13 million.

The remainder will be used by the commission.

Government has also blamed Zec for delaying the submission of its budget

Kazembe said government had approved the budget presented by the commission.

Bango said the Tsvangirai’s office had only received the proposals from Zec
after the Christmas holidays.

“We only received the budget on the 2nd of January but everything has now
been finalised. As soon as the money has been released, it will be up to Zec
to begin its work.

“I must also say that the Registrar General (RG) is the custodian of all our
records hence his presence here and during the exercise that Zec will
undertake. However, the buck stops at Zec’s door. The commission is now
fully functional and now in charge. It is legally mandated with monitoring
all the electorally aligned work by the RG’s office,” said Bango.

Zimbabwe is gearing for a watershed election that has stalled because of
constant bickering over a new constitution.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chairperson continually absent from ZEC

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 January 2013

A senior MDC-T official on Friday raised concern at the continued absence of
the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, saying it is a serious
impediment to the electoral body’s operations at this crucial stage.

ZEC chairman, Justice Simpson Mtambanengwe, is reportedly spending most of
his time in Namibia where he’s an acting Judge of the Supreme Court, he also
currently heads a Ministry of Health commission of inquiry.

‘I think you can actually suspect that it’s a ZANU PF strategy to ensure
that Justice Mtambanengwe is not involved in the nuts and bolts of ZEC’s
operations,’ the official said.

Mtambanengwe’s absence was also mentioned in the latest report released by
the Human Rights Watch (HRW). The rights watchdog said with the Judge based
in Windhoek the electoral body was effectively being run by Joyce Kazembe, a
strong Robert Mugabe ally.

HRW accuses Kazembe of being part of the discredited electoral commissions
that presided over previous elections, which were marred by violence and
voter intimidation.

Pedzisayi Ruhanya, a political analyst and director at the Zimbabwe
Democracy Institute, is of the view that Mtambanengwe is having second
thoughts about staying on in the job.

Ruhanya told SW Radio Africa’s Election Watch program on Friday that the
Judge could be thinking of stepping down. ‘He’s of the view that if he keeps
the job and his commission fails to deliver an independent electoral
verdict, he will tarnish his image and as a lawyer, he would not want to be
tainted,’ Ruhanya said.

It is known that despite the appointment of new commissioners, the
secretariat staff is largely the same pro ZANU PF team that worked for
previous commissions.

HRW said several senior ZEC staff are either serving or retired members of
the security forces drawn from the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO),
the army, and the police.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC Press release on voter registration

11 January 2013

The MDC is pushing the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede, to introduce an
online voter registration system, which allows voter registrations to be
done on the internet in an effort to boost registrations, particularly the
youths for the imminent polls.

Cognisant of the trends the world over, we feel that in this technological
era, the current system of voter registration in Zimbabwe is nonsensical.
Registering online allows the kind of privacy and freedom from pressure that
the current voter registration process lacks. It could also prove to be a
great motivator for youth voters and others.¬¬¬¬¬¬¬

While we welcome the introduction of mobile registration points, the MDC
feels that the process is unnecessarily cumbersome, which discourages the
younger generation from registering as voters. If implemented as soon as
possible, we are convinced that we can push up the dismal 18 percent youth
voter turnout that was recorded during the 2008 elections to a more
significant number in the imminent polls.

With online registration, queues which are a common feature at most voter
registration points could be reduced. This would also boost the registration
of young voters who do not want the hassle of queuing to register.

The RG is already doing it with passports and therefore as a party we call
upon him to introduce a similar system for voter registration. If complex
applications such as ones for visas can be completed online, what can be so
difficult about doing this for voter registration?

Findings by the Zimbabwe All Media Products and Survey (ZAMPS) show that up
to 1.3 million people in Zimbabwe have some form of Internet access, whether
at home, in office, Internet Café or by mobile phones. The MDC believes that
this is a significant population and should be tapped into as a matter of

Today many lower- income Zimbabweans in both rural and urban areas are able
to secure a mobile phone and a SIM card as prices have drastically gone
down, unlike in the past when it was a preserve of the elite.

The internet based system would also ensure that Zimbabweans living in the
Diaspora are able to register without necessarily having to travel back

MDC Secretary General

Priscilla Misihairabwi – Mushonga

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ex-Daily News Boss Geoff Nyarota to Contest in MDC-T Primaries

Gibbs Dube

As Zimbabwe inches closer to the next crucial general election set to end
Zimbabwe’s shaky government of national unity formed in 2009, some
journalists have now abandoned their pens in favour of parliamentary seats
mostly in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) formation.

One of the potential parliamentary candidates is award-winning journalist,
Geoffrey Nyarota, founding editor of the once popular independent newspaper,
The Daily News.

At least eight former and active journalists and radio personalities are
expected to contest for parliamentary seats in the MDC-T and Zanu PF primary
elections within the next few weeks.

They also include MDC founder and former Zimbabwe Mirror reporter Grace
Kwinjeh, ex-ZBC anchorman Supa Mandiwanzira and his colleagues – Ezra
‘Tshisa’ Sibanda, Eric Knight and James Maridadi.

MDC-T organizing secretary Nelson Chamisa told VOA Studio 7 that there is an
unprecedented number of practicing and retired media workers who want to
participate in his party’s primaries at grassroots level.

Chamisa said the media personalities will be subjected to the same grueling
selection process as other potential candidates.

Nyarota is currently preparing for this tough selection process set to kick
off within the next few weeks.

The former Daily News boss, whose newspaper was banned by the Robert Mugabe
government for allegedly promoting a regime change agenda in 2003, said the
people of Makoni South have asked him to represent them in the coming

Nyarota, who wants to unseat MDC-T lawmaker Pishai Muchauraya, is promising
the people of Makoni South more vigorous, vibrant and knowledgeable
representation in the House of Assembly.

Another potential candidate, radio personality Sibanda, said he has been
pushed by what he calls the ‘spirit’ of democracy and the plight of the
people in Vungu constituency, Midlands Province, to venture full-time into
politics under Mr. Tsvangirai’s MDC formation.

However, Maridadi, who is the former prime minister’s wordsmith, said
although he has not yet made up his mind about contesting in the MDC-T
primaries, he will respond positively if people in Mabvuku constituency,
Harare, want him to be their parliamentary representative.

His former ZBC colleague and director of ZI-FM Radio Station, Mandiwanzira,
believes that journalists now want to influence political processes through
the house of assembly instead of writing stories.

He is reportedly eyeing the Nyanga North constituency. Apart from
Mandiwanzira, two other former journalists - Kindness Paradza and Makhosini
Hlongwane - are expected to seek nominations under the Zanu PF ticket.

Paradza, who is a former publisher of Africa Tribune Newspapers Group, once
represented Makonde constituency while Hlongwane is the current Mberengwa
East lawmaker.

Some of the potential candidates have already started their ground
campaigns, though they are facing some financial challenges.

Sibanda has already committed his savings to a grassroots campaign in Vungu

On the other hand, Nyarota believes that the grassroots campaign will not be
a costly exercise as people in Makoni South are expected to contribute “a
few Obamas (US dollars)” for his electoral activities.

Some of the renowned journalists who have graced the august House of
Assembly include National Healing Minister Sekai Holland, Information
Minister Webster Shamu and his Zanu PF colleagues - Nathan Shamuyarira, Chen
Chimutengwende, Hhlongwane and Paradza.

Even if these well-known personalities win their primary elections, the road
to parliament is long and sometimes dangerous.

In the 2008 poll, more than 200 people, mostly MDC activists, died and
thousands were displaced due to violence allegedly perpetrated by Zanu PF

Mr. Tsvangirai, Kwinjeh, Minister Holland and several other MDC members were
among those who were seriously injured.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu-PF faction 'wooing' party defector Makoni

11 JAN 2013 08:03 - KENNEDY MAPOSA

The Mujuru grouping wants to lure Zanu-PF defector Simba Makoni back into
the fold to add some 'polish'.

The Zanu-PF faction aligned with the late army general Solomon Mujuru is
said to be courting the former finance minister and politburo member, who
defected from the party in 2008 to run against President Robert Mugabe and
Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

A Zanu-PF source said that the Mujuru grouping feels strategically
outmanoeuvred by the faction led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, which has managed to
lure leaders who left with Makoni, or who were suspended, back to the party.

Another Mnangagwa ally, Daniel Shumba, a former Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial
chairperson, was readmitted to the party in 2010, despite having led an
opposition grouping, the United People's Party.

The move to woo Makoni is part of a strategy to strengthen leadership of the
Mujuru faction following Mujuru's mysterious death in a fire at his
farmhouse in 2011, a source said.

"Many doubt that under [party vice-president] Joice Mujuru the faction can
match the tactical sharpness of the Mnangagwa faction. She is not articulate
on policy issues. It's the reason Makoni is being looked at," the source

"Makoni can come in as a strategist, working under Mujuru to give the
faction some polish."

However, Makoni denied this week that he is talking to Zanu-PF about
rejoining the party. His spokesperson, Joel Mapaura, said: "There is no
truth in these reports. He has not been approached."

In a move that shook the party just before the 2008 elections, Makoni left
Zanu-PF and formed the Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) movement. The MKD fared
badly in the presidential poll, managing to secure just 8.31% of the votes,
compared with Mugabe's 43.24% and Tsvangirai's 47.87%.

MKD candidates, including the late Edgar Tekere, Margaret Dongo and former
education minister Fay Chung, did not win a single parliamentary seat.

Zanu-PF has recently accepted top members of the MKD movement back into its
ranks. Among them are former journalist Kindness Paradza, who returned to
the party last month, and retired army major Kudzai Mbudzi, both alleged to
be Mnangagwa supporters.

The sources said Makoni's suitors are being careful not to anger Mugabe, who
is said to have been briefed about the overtures without necessarily
endorsing them.

Opposition to Makoni

Some Zanu-PF leaders are also apparently resisting Makoni's return.

"People like Didymus Mutasa [the Zanu-PF secretary for administration]
oppose Makoni's readmission. He feels [Makoni] could upset his possible rise
to a higher position and challenge him as the party's godfather in
Manicaland," said the source.

"Remember that they once fought after Makoni tried to oppose him in the
Zanu-PF primaries some years back."

Key members of Makoni's MKD have deserted the party, notably Dumiso
Dabengwa, who left in 2010 to revive Zapu.

A strategist for MKD, Ibbo Mandaza, also exited after disagreements with
Makoni over the management of funds and donated vehicles.

Zanu-PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said he was not aware of any overtures
being made. "I've been on leave and I don't know about these talks with
Makoni," he said.

Mutasa said Makoni would have to seek readmission to Zanu-PF personally.

"Those who returned pleaded to be readmitted; Makoni has not done that. But
if he wants to rejoin the party, we will not just admit him like we did with
the others. A mini-meeting to consider that would have to be held."

Mutasa declined to explain why such a "mini-meeting" with Makoni would be

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

War vets leader defends support for Zanu PF

on January 11, 2013 at 12:42 pm

By Staff Reporter

The notorious leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
Association (ZNLWVA) Jabulani Sibanda says freedom fighters cannot be
separated from Zanu PF, as the two have the same ideology.

He said there was nothing wrong with revolutionary ex-combatants aligning
themselves with Zanu PF because its opponents had former Rhodesian soldiers.

The combative Sibanda also said it was improper for MDC formations to say
traditional leaders should be apolitical when the British system recognised
the need to have royal representatives in all security systems.

“Is it by accident that (David Coltart) is a member of the MDC? Is it by
accident that (Roy) Bennett and (Giles) Mutsekwa are members of the MDC-T?
These are former Rhodesian soldiers, who opposed the revolution that took
them out, yet they are in politics so why shouldn’t freedom fighters be in
politics,” he said.

(All three MDC and MDC-T officials have denied this allegation in the past).

“We have to be where we are because we believe we were set up for a purpose
to overthrow a settler regime in our country and imperialism that enables
bigger nations to exploit smaller nations,” Sibanda rumbled on.

“We are politically conscious and there is no way you can divorce us from
the understanding that gives us courage to march on and standing for a hard
right against an easy wrong. We cannot be divorced from Zanu PF,” he added.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora however said “Nobody has denied war
veterans the right to associate politically, in fact in the draft
constitution they are not prohibited from joining a political party of their

“What they are prohibited is to engage in violence or force other
Zimbabweans to think as they think and to adopt political preferences of
individual war veterans,” said Mwonzora.

Last year Sibanda embarked on an intensive and extensive terror campaign in
the Manicaland and Masvingo provinces, threatening villagers with war if
they do not vote for Zanu PF in the next elections. His campaigns of
intimidation elsewhere continue with police taking no action.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Professor Gordon Chavunduka dies

11/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PROFESSOR Gordon Chavunduka, the former Vice Chancellor of the University of
Zimbabwe and president of the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers’
Association (ZINATHA) has died.

He was 82.

Chavunduka – who published several books about traditional medicine and
witchcraft – died in Harare on Friday following a brief illness, a statement
by the Movement for Democratic Change said.

Chavunduka, who attended the 1979 Lancaster House Conference that led to
Zimbabwe’s independence as a member of Abel Muzorewa’s delegation, is a
former member of the MDC-T’s national executive and sat on its Council of
Elders at the time of his death.

Born to a family of nine, Chavunduka was the only survivor after he buried
his young brother, Zimbabwe’s first black veterinary surgeon Dexter Mark
Chavunduka in August last year.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimplats seals $971m indigenisation deal

11/01/2013 00:00:00
by Nelson Banya I Reuters

IMPALA Platinum, the world's second-largest platinum miner, has agreed to
sell a majority stake in its Zimbabwe unit to local black investors for $971
million to meet black ownership targets set by President Robert Mugabe.

The deal, which will see the Zimplats unit lend the money needed to buy the
stake, is Zimbabwe's largest local ownership transaction and a major scalp
for Mugabe's controversial black economic empowerment push, the centerpiece
of his campaign for re-election in polls due this year.

The 88-year-old, who has been in power since independence in 1980, says the
local ownership policy – as with the seizure of white-owned commercial farms
since 2000 – is meant to redress colonial imbalances. His critics dismiss it
as populism by his Zanu PF party in the run-up to the elections.

"The transaction being concluded today is a flagship of the policy
objectives of our government's empowerment of indigenous Zimbabweans,"
Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, leading the push, said at a
signing ceremony.

Kasukuwere said the transaction was proof that ordinary Zimbabweans and not
those close to Mugabe were benefiting.
Under the deal, Implats will transfer 51 percent of Zimplats to Zimbabwean
investors as follows: 10 percent to the community, 10 percent to Zimplats
employees and 31 percent to the state-controlled National Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment Fund.

The fund, which officials say has $2 billion of assets, is headed by retired
general Mike Nyambuya and administered by Kasukuwere, a senior official in
Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party, which joined Zanu PF in a
power-sharing government in 2009, has been arguing that the fund – a rough
equivalent of a sovereign wealth fund – should be housed under the finance

Zimplats will provide a loan to the new shareholders at annual interest of
10 percent. The debt is to be repaid through dividends over 10 years while
management of Zimplats will remain with the company, Impala said.

Implats chief executive Terence Goodlace said the company had confidence in
Zimbabwe and was committed to a $460 million expansion of Zimplats'

"I am, during these uncertain economic times, excited about the future of
Zimplats and platinum mining in Zimbabwe," he said. "The uncertainty that
has dogged Zimplats during the negotiations is now hopefully a thing of the

Zimplats said in March it had agreed to sell the stake to locals, and has
been hammering out the terms of the deal since then. The transaction should
be wrapped up by the end of June, and looks likely to lead to other mining
firms concluding deals.

"This was the elephant in the room. After this everyone will fall into
line," a local banker who structured the deal said.
Last month, Implats and Aquarius signed another deal to sell 51 percent of
shares in their Mimosa joint venture to comply with the black empowerment
law in a transaction worth $550 million.

Anglo American Platinum, the world's largest producer of the metal, also
agreed to transfer a majority stake in its Unki mine to locals in a $142.8
million deal last November.

Zimbabwe has the largest known platinum deposits after neighboring South
Africa although the 51 percent local ownership law has taken the shine off
the country as an investment destination.

Kasukuwere is also leading a push to force banks to comply with the
ownership laws, and said at the ceremony that foreign banks would not be

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Suspects' deaths cast suspicion on Zimbabwe's police Inyasha Chivara

11 JAN 2013 10:08 - INYASHA CHIVARA

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights claims that there appears to be a police
hit squad that is killing criminal suspects in custody.

The non-governmental organisation has documented evidence of what appears to
be a trend - suspects are arrested, tortured, beaten and shot. It has
documented more than a dozen cases in the past two years in which suspects
have died under similar circumstances.

A senior member of the police told the Mail & Guardian that criminals have
become a "bother and burden to the state" and the kill-in-custody policy "is
nothing new within the force", which appears to back up the NGO's claim.

Tawanda Zhuwarara, a lawyer with the organisation, said they had "noticed
the emergence of a disturbing pattern and the similarities cannot be mere
coincidence. Suspects are arrested, injured while in custody [and] suddenly
they are allegedly shot while allegedly attempting to escape."

Glaring discrepancies in police reports, government-conducted autopsies, the
testimonies of relatives and friends, and independent postmortems point to a
possible undeclared countrywide policy to kill suspected criminals.

"We have noticed an unusual pattern, especially in the vehicle theft squad.
There is either gross complicity or, [more] likely, a culture of impunity
towards the death of suspects in police custody," Zhuwarara said.

M&G investigations and legal documents reveal that:

The police said they had referred the matter for an inquest and were not
legally obliged to provide dockets.
Raymond Matinyenya, a vehicle theft suspect, died in Harare in police
custody in August 2011. State media reported that Matinyenya died in a
shoot-out after he "attempted to flee from police", but pictures of his
corpse show a bullet wound under his chin. In a letter, copied to police
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, the NGO demanded that the police
inform the family of the circumstances that led to "your officers shooting
and killing Matinyenya" and to provide Matinyenga's docket.
In March 2012, Emmson Ngundu, also arrested for vehicle theft, was shot
allegedly trying to escape from police custody. Ngundu's family said they
were denied a copy of the postmortem report.
In a high court affidavit, Dorothy Chiwaridzo said her son, Tendayi Dzigarwi
(23), was severely assaulted and died in police custody after he was
arrested for stealing a vehicle in March last year. Chiwaridzo said she was
denied access to her son.
Later Amison Ngundu, whose son Emmson was arrested with Dzig­ar­wi, said
both their children had been shot and killed by vehicle theft officers while
allegedly trying to escape.

The court ordered a second postmortem, which was carried out by an
independent pathologist, Dr SR Naidoo. "It is most likely that the victim
was shot through the back first with a muzzle at a distance [of less than]
45 to 60cm away from his back, [later] he was shot at close range with the
muzzle of [the] firearm two to three centimetres away from the skin on the
right side of the neck," he stated in his report.

Naidoo noted extensive bleeding under the skin and in the muscles of his
buttocks, the left lower limb and the right upper limb that "could have been
caused by blunt weapons or instruments".

His report also said Dzigarwi may have gone for at least 36 hours without
food, as there was no food content in his intestines.

Countering the findings of the report, the acting head of the criminal
investigations department vehicle theft squad, Lovemore Nxumalo, said the
police postmortem showed that the deceased had "covered a distance of about
15 to 20 metres" before being shot.

In September 2012, the police told Wellington Mucha­den­yika's family that
he had died in a car accident on the Harare-Mutare road. On inquiry, the
family was told that there was no docket relating to the alleged accident at
the traffic department, and the police could not identify where the accident
had happened.
In a letter to the police, Well­ing­ton's brother, Johannes Mucha­den­yika,
said the family knew he had been arrested for allegedly stealing a cellphone
a day before his death and had been detained at the Dombotombo police
station. When relatives asked about Wellington's whereabouts, they were told
that he had been in an accident and was at the Marondera provincial
hospital. But the hospital said he had never been admitted.

Johannes said Wellington's body had "several bruises and a broken shoulder
bone. The shoulder was detached and virtually hanging by the skin". The
family said they never received a postmortem report.

In Kwekwe in the Midlands province, Blessing Matanda (29) was arrested on
his way to work in October last year and held at the Munyati police post for
questioning about a break-in at a shop and theft. On October 4, Matanda's
wife visited him at the police station, where she was told that her husband
was being interrogated by the criminal investigations department.
A day later, Matanda's brother was told Blessing had shot himself. At the
time, the police said Matanda had smuggled a firearm into the cells.

But an independent pathologist, Dr Salvator Mapunda, who is contracted to
the NGO, said it was highly unlikely that Matanda's death was suicidal.

The organisation faces many legal hurdles in its quest for justice. Under
the Inquest Act, an individual is not allowed to instigate an investigation
of a death in police custody. It is the prerogative of the police to report
sudden death to a magistrate. The magistrate may take steps, if deemed
necessary, to ascertain the cause of death or to bring the alleged murderers
to justice.

"The problem we are facing is that the investigation of a death in police
custody is the prerogative of the police, who are tasked with investigating
themselves. Their actions are not open to public scrutiny, and they are not
accessible to any aggrieved person because of statutory impediments,"
Zhuwarara said.

"Once in police custody, you are at the complete mercy of the state."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Teachers fired and ordered to leave by ZANU PF MP Kachepa

By Tererai Karimakwenda
11 January 2013

A ZANU PF legislator, implicated in the murder of an MDC-T ward official
last year, has reportedly fired all school teachers in his constituency who
are not ZANU PF supporters and were not raised in the area.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme spoke to teachers who said MP
Newton Kachepa from Mudzi North, gave orders for all primary and secondary
school teachers who support the MDC formations to pack their bags and leave

The orders were given on Wednesday at a meeting that was also addressed by a
ZANU PF youth ministry official by the name of Kativu.

According to Saungweme, at least 15 teachers in the area had already been
affected before the meeting. Among them is the MDC-T chairman for Mudzi
West, who was transferred to Muzarabani. The latest orders are meant to
clear up the remaining teachers who have not yet moved.

“Kativu addressed teachers in the presence of district education officers.
He told MP Kachepa it was his duty to empower the youth by giving them
teaching jobs. But my sources said the youth who have been hired to replace
teachers do not have qualifications to teach,” Saungweme explained.

He added: “Some of the staff brought in by Kachepa do not even have five O’levels.
Among them is a ZANU PF youth named Fungayi Kangora who is teaching at
Nyamaropa Secondary School.”

Last year MP Kachepa was accused of transporting ZANU PF supporters who
attacked a group of MDC-T gathering for a rally at Nyamukoko Business
Centre. The mob assaulted the rally goers, causing the death of MDC-T ward 1
chairman, Cephas Magura.

Kachepa was also later linked to reports that Magura’s family had been
banned from holding a memorial for his death. The late official’s family
continue to be victimised by ZANU PF thugs and Mudzi remains a no-go area
for the MDC-T.

Saungweme said most teachers are brought to remote areas from colleges
outside these constituencies. There are no teacher training colleges in
Mudzi, so almost every teacher working there would have come from outside.
Unless they are staunch ZANU PF supporters, they most certainly will have no
job by the end of the month.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chisumbanje villagers remanded in custody

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 January 2013

Seventeen villagers from Chinyamukwakwa village in Chisumbanje appeared in a
Chipinge court on Friday facing charges of unlawfully occupying land owned
by controversial businessman Billy Rautenbach.

After the state presented its case, at which it also accused the villagers
of interfering with the sugarcane crop that is used for the Ethanol plant,
magistrate Waini Makamera remanded the villagers in custody to Saturday.

The magistrate told the court he would be in a position to make a ruling on
the bail application after going through both the state and defence

However, the decision to remand the villagers in custody has been criticised
by the MDC-T, who believe the farmers are being punished for fighting for
their rights.

Pishai Muchauraya, the provincial spokesman in Manicaland, told SW Radio
Africa that nationalists in pre-independence Zimbabwe went to war to fight
whites who had confiscated their land.

‘The same government that sacrificed the lives of so many fighters is now
taking that land away from the black farmers and giving it to single white
businessman. Rautenbach has gone further and illegally invaded land from the
villagers which the government should look into urgently,’ Muchauraya said.

The villagers were arrested in Chisumbanje following clashes with the police
over the protracted land dispute. The villagers have since last week been
trying to claim back their land, taken over by Macdom, the company running
the multi-million dollar Ethanol plant.

This resulted in running battles with the police who ended up using tear gas
and firing warning shots into the air to disperse the angry farmers.

Among the 17 in custody are two brothers Jameson and Samson Mlambo, who the
police claim are the ringleaders in the villagers’ quest to reclaim their

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

50 Harare touts arrested in new clampdown

By Alex Bell
11 January 2013

Months after Zimbabwe police launched an intense cleanup operation to rid
Harare bus ranks of touts and marshals, a fresh clampdown has seen 50 more
people arrested this week.

Last September a police operation saw about 500 suspected touts and rank
marshals arrested after worsening violence and intimidation aimed at
commuter omnibus drivers in Harare. The operation targeted suspected members
of the ‘mandimbandimba’, who were posing as touts and forcing minibus
drivers to hand over ‘protection fees’.

The situation had normalised after the mass arrests. But in recent weeks
touts have started resurfacing.

SW Radio Africa’s Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported Friday that
the touts have been particularly active in the early mornings and evening.
He said they have been seen carrying dangerous weapons like knives,
knobkerries and pangas, and have been threatening violence to intimidate bus
drivers into paying the two dollar ‘fee’.

“A group was arrested this week and they were in the Harare Magistrates’
court today. Most were ordered to pay a US$40 fine,” Muchemwa reported.

He added: “Last year when the touts were arrested, many were given short
prison stays. The return of touts now is an indication to many that the rule
of law has completely broken down.”

The ‘mandimbandimba’ were originally linked to the notorious ZANU PF youth
gang, Chipangano, who were collecting thousands of dollars a month from the
illegal ‘protection fee’ collection at bus ranks.

But Muchemwa said Friday that many touts are not necessarily linked to the
gang anymore.

“In Zimbabwe unemployment is more than 90% and many of these people don’t
have any other way of making money. Especially in January, which is a
difficult time and there are even less jobs,” Muchemwa reported.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

COPAC committee meets Tuesday to study proposals

Staff Writer
11 January 2013

The Cabinet Committee appointed to finalize the drawing up of a new
constitution will meet on Tuesday next week to look at proposals crafted by
COPAC co-chairmen.

The committee postponed its meeting on Thursday because one of the key
members, MDC-T’s Tendai Biti, is in London attending a Zimbabwe-Investment
forum meeting. The chairman of the committee, Eric Matinenga, the
Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs is also on leave but reportedly in

There has been an outcry at the slow pace of progress to conclude the
constitution and Zimbabweans are concerned at the fact that many of the
delays are caused by the absence of key figures in the discussions.

Party spokesman Douglas Mwonzora told SW Radio Africa they will submit their
proposals to a full committee on Tuesday when everybody is present.

‘Biti will be back in the country on Sunday, therefore we’ve scheduled our
meeting for Tuesday next week. We couldn’t go ahead with the meeting on
Thursday because he’s (Biti) a major player in the constitution making
process,’ Mwonzora said.

The COPAC co-chairmen have reported progress in their efforts to overcome
differences holding up the finalization of the country’s new constitution.

It appears all the sides have made concessions on the four occasions the
co-chairmen have met in the last two weeks. There have reportedly been
‘intense’ discussions to remove remaining obstacles to the constitution
making process.

The process ran into significant difficulties last year with all parties
failing to agree with six chapters dealing with the devolution of power,
executive authority, national prosecuting authority, peace and
reconciliation commission, land committee and running mates.

But the co-chairmen reportedly managed to iron out everything, with the
exception of the issue of running mates. This has raised the hope that there
could be a breakthrough soon if the Cabinet committee endorses the

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

United front against Mugabe falters

11 JAN 2013 07:03 - FARAI SHOKO

Sharp political differences are likely to prevent opposition parties from
rallying behind one candidate in the next presidential elections.

This increases the chances of Robert Mugabe winning a fifth term.

Diplomatic sources said this week that there had been moves behind the
scenes, particularly from the international donor community, to coax smaller
political parties to support presidential candidate and Movement for
Democratic Change – Tsvangirai (MDC-T) leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who will
make a third attempt to unseat the Zanu-PF leader.

The push for other presidential aspirants to rally behind Tsvangirai hit a
brick wall after Welshman Ncube's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-N)
refused to form a coalition, sources said.

Also complicating matters are reports that Zanu-PF is courting Simba Makoni
of the Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn (MKD) movement to rejoin its ranks after he
deserted the party in 2008.

Makoni has rejected suggestions that he may rejoin Zanu-PF and insists he
will be standing again as the MKD candidate in the presidential race.

Ncube's spokesperson, Nhlanhla Dube, said Ncube's party has resolved to
field its own leader instead of forging an electoral pact with Tsvangirai.

"For our party, there is no deal to be made," said Dube. "For us, it is
about the ethos and character of Zimbabwe post-Mugabe and that begins with
voting for change you can count on all the time and every time.

"For us, principle, truth, fairness and honesty are the pillars on which our
party and its president, Ncube, are founded. For these reasons Ncube will
contest for the Zimbabwe presidency."

Dube added that the overtures to rally behind Tsvangirai were surprising
because "all along we have been told by Tsvangirai's people that our party
will not achieve anything measurable".

"We are now suddenly bombarded with pleas to join hands with Tsvangirai and
assist him to defeat Mugabe. It seems their focus is not to defeat Mugabe
but, apparently, [achieve] victory for Tsvangirai."

MDC-T welcomes change
A spokesperson for MDC-T, Douglas Mwonzora, said the issue of a coalition
against Mugabe had not been raised in his party but that it would welcome
such moves.

"Zimbabwe is yearning for change. We would welcome any agent of change," he

Psychology Maziwisa, a Harare-based political analyst and Tsvangirai critic,
said an opposition coalition that rallied behind Tsvangirai was very
unlikely in the forthcoming polls.

"There are a number of issues, not least the plausible accusation that
Tsvangirai has dictatorial attributes," Maziwisa said.

"But perhaps the most important has to do with MDC-T's record over the past
four years, one of corruption, neglect and amoral behaviour.

"Nobody wants to be associated with that, least of all at election time."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC officials in trouble over Mugabe insult

Friday, 11 January 2013 12:11

HARARE - Four officials in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC who
allegedly called President Robert Mugabe “a thief” have been summoned to the
Chinhoyi Magistrates’ Court.

The four, MDC Mashonaland West deputy chairperson Eddy Ndirayire, Hurungwe
North district youth organising secretary Gabriel Japan, ward secretary and
treasurer Luxmore Zintambila and Abel Kasure are jointly charged with
undermining the authority and insulting the President as defined in Section
33 (2) (a) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform Act).

They will appear in court on January 23.

According to summons from Chinhoyi police, it is alleged that while
addressing party supporters at Nyamakate Business Centre on September 1,
2012, Ndirayire, Kasure, Zintambila and Japan made statements about the
President saying “Jealous Mateyesanwa imbavha pamwe na president wacho
imbavha”, meaning that both Mugabe and Mateyesanwa are thieves .

Mateyesanwa is a Zanu PF councillor for ward 7 in Hurungwe North

Police said the statements were made “with the knowledge or realising that
there was a real risk or possibility that the statement is false and that it
may engender feeling of hostility towards or cause hatred, contempt or
ridicule of the President”.

MDC organising secretary for the province Wilson Makanyaire said the deputy
chairperson and three youth assembly officials will appear in court in
Chinhoyi on allegations of insulting the President.

“I cannot say anything more since the matter is now before the courts,” said

Several people including top MDC officials such as the party’s
treasurer-general Elton Mangoma and spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora have been
hauled before the courts to answer charges of insulting the president.

Mwonzora said the action by the police was part of an ongoing harassment of
MDC leadership by the state which is meant to slow down his party’s
penetration of the province.

“This insult law is meant to keep the playing field tilted in favour of Zanu
PF by ensuring there is no public criticism of Mugabe yet Zanu PF officials
denigrate his opponents especially Tsvangirai,” said Mwonzora, adding that
the only way his party could compete against Mugabe politically is to
criticise him.

“This law has been challenged in the Supreme Court for the past decade and
the court is sitting on the challenges.

“It fails to appreciate that some of us are against Mugabe’s continued
presidency and we cannot campaign against him without criticising him,”
Mwonzora added. - Staff Writer

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Traffic cops’ bribe-taking strategies


by Nelson Sibanda

Corrupt traffic police officers manning roadblocks have devised a new
strategy to defy government anti-corruption efforts.

In connivance with commuter omnibus crews, the traffic police have adopted a
system known as ‘Airtime’ to sustain their shoddy deals. The sophisticated
scheme involves bus crews paying bribes before arriving at roadblocks.

This follows the recent arrests of corrupt traffic officers by the
government anti-corruption unit. President Mugabe, at the Zanu (PF)
conference held in December, rapped the police for being corrupt, resulting
in the Zimbabwe Republic Police leadership intensifying operations against
bribe-taking officers on the roads.

“To beat anti-corruption officials masquerading as commuter omnibus crews at
roadblocks, we have devised a smart way of collecting bribes from commuter
omnibuses,” bragged a traffic police officer.

According to the officer, registration numbers of commuter omnibuses plying
a particular route are compiled each morning. The register, together with $5
per vehicle, is forwarded to police officers manning the roadblock along the

“The strategy is smart enough to beat any anti-corruption detective. As the
buses approach the roadblock, police officers check from the register if the
vehicle paid the ‘clearance fee.’ Commuter omnibuses with something amiss
and not appearing on the ‘clearance’ list will be forced to pay a spot fine
without any negotiations,” said the police officer.

He said this would give a false impression to onlookers that police were no
longer corrupt. In the past, bribes changed hands in full view of the

Commuter omnibus crews interviewed by The Zimbabwean along the
Marondera-Harare road confirmed the development.

“Yes, we are always a step ahead of the government anti-corruption drive,”
said a bus driver who only identified himself as Jah.

He said if a particular route had several roadblocks, each bus would
contribute $5 for every police check point.

ZRP is considered one of the most corrupt police establishments in southern
Africa. According to a recent report by the Anti-Corruption Trust of
Southern Africa, corruption by ZRP traffic officers has become commonplace.

“Corruption by Zimbabwe Republic Police traffic officers is worsening to the
extent that culprits were shamelessly demanding bribes in public,” reads the

In a bid to intensify the fight against corruption in the force, police use
lie detectors.

“Lie detectors will fish out corrupt officers. Those who fail the lie
detector tests will be dealt with accordingly,” former Chief Police
spokesperson, Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, said.

Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri has vowed to fight corruption
among the police rank and file, even though reports abound that the top
leadership of ZRP is also involved.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

2013 bad luck for rivals: Mugabe

11/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe said 2013 is “bad luck” for his rivals as he
returned from his two-week annual vacation.
The number 13 is considered an unlucky number in some cultures and for
Mugabe, due to fight possibly his last election this year, it spells doom
for his rivals.

“The figure 13 is bad luck for others, not us,” he said in brief comments to
journalists after touching down at the Harare International Airport.

The Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Lin Lin joined Vice President Joice
Mujuru, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and State Security Minister
Sydney Sekeramayi at the airport to welcome Mugabe.

Mugabe has stated his desire to call general elections in March, but delays
in finalising a new constitution and a stalled voter registration programme
have cast doubt on Zimbabwe’s readiness for the key vote.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Global campaign to end violence against one billion women

By Tererai Karimakwenda
11 January 2013

A global campaign linked to Valentines’ Day has been launched to help end
violence against women, after statistics showed that one in every three
women will suffer some form of violence in their lifetime.

The world has a total female population of about 3.5 billion, so at least
one billion of them will be the victim of physical violence in their lives.
The global campaign, called One Billion Rising, refers to that figure and
hopes to involve everyone who cares to do something on Valentines’ Day.
Activist Rumbidzai Dube, from the Research and Advocacy Unit and a legal
advisor for the women’s online portal HER ZIMBABWE, said Valentines’ Day was
chosen because it is a time to show love and compassion and these values
should be present in relationships.

“Zimbabwe is a very patriarchal society and women are not treated very well.
One of the challenges is violence, and political violence is also a serious
problem around elections. It doesn’t know about age, color, status or
economic background. You can be a child, teenager or adult,” Dube told SW
Radio Africa.

She said the idea is for people to help the campaign in any way they can, by
organizing events, building shelters for victims or even just writing a blog
to highlight the crisis. Protecting a child or walking away from an abusive
relationship is also a way to end violence.

According to Dube, the global campaign this year also involves dancing on
Valentines’ Day, because this is one way that women can reclaim ownership of
their bodies and is an easy thing to do. Events with music and dancing are
taking place worldwide on February 14th.

According to the Research and Advocacy Unit, 2,400 children were raped in
Zimbabwe in the last 10 months. Dube said this is one of the reasons HER
ZIMBABWE has partnered with the One Billion Rising campaign, which was the
brainchild of Eve Ensler, an American activist and award-winning playwright.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Coltart walks into cricket racism storm

11/01/2013 00:00:00
by Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE cricket was on the cusp of a new race row this week after the
convenor of selectors Givemore Makoni accused Sports Minister David Coltart
of “promising fellow racists to restore the old order” by shutting out
blacks from the game.

The shock attack on Coltart came after he directed that from February “all
national sport associations whose national team selection is conducted by
national selectors shall ensure that such selectors have the requisite
experience and skills. In particular, no person shall be appointed as a
selector unless they have represented Zimbabwe in the particular sport.”

Cricket is the only sport in which the team is picked by selectors and not
the coach.
Makoni, who is the Zimbabwe Cricket convener of selectors, did not play for
Zimbabwe and would be required to stand down from the role.

The directive could also have dealt a blow to Steve Mangongo’s quest to
coach the national side when Alan Butcher stands down in April.

In an intemperate outburst, Makoni claimed Coltart wanted to “get rid of
everyone who fought for equality” – reference to the 2004 mass exodus of
white players in a race and politically-charged protest.

Makoni blasted: “Coltart was the mastermind of the black armband protest by
Andy Flower and Henry Olonga (in the 2003 Cricket World Cup in South

“We fought for equality in the game because as blacks we were not getting
equal opportunities as our white counterparts.
“Coltart promised fellow racists to restore the old order once he got into
office and his grand plan is coming to its fruition now, but we will not
allow that.

“Coltart was a member of the ‘royal family’ of untouchables who wanted to
make sure black players were excluded. We fought that system and now we are
giving everyone equal opportunity and they want to reverse the gains of the
prevailing peace.”

The minister denies his directive, which was communicated through the Sports
and Recreation Commission, is designed to disadvantage blacks.

He told the Zimbabwe Independent: “We have had problems in the Warriors and
we have had problems in bowls. We want to have the right people in coaching
positions in football and also cricket and other sports.

“I don’t think the people who are making such allegations have gone through
the whole document.
“I don’t think it’s true that we had any black players who could have
represented that were denied opportunities in the last 32 years. But we have
people like Ethan Dube and Tatenda Taibu to name just those who can be
national team selectors.”

Responding to Coltart, Makoni claimed that had it not been for the system
which excluded black players, he and many others would have played for the
national team.

“We played club cricket for Takashinga and we used to beat teams that the
likes of Heath Streak and Grant Flower represented but we were never picked
for the national team,” said Makoni.

“It is not our fault that we didn’t play for the national team. It was
because of the system and we cannot be further disadvantaged. What is so
special about the game that somebody who has club cricket will fail to

“We rebuilt cricket from scratch when white players walked out without any
help from Coltart and now that he realises that the coalition government
tenure is running out, he wants to leave a piece of regulation that returns
control to the very same people who at one time attempted to collapse
cricket simply because they were opposed to transformation.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Poor rains intensify food crisis in rural Zimbabwe


About 1.6-million Zimbabweans, most of them in rural areas, urgently need
food aid because of low rainfall and a drop in agricultural production.

Labour and Social Services Minister Paurina Mpariwa said that the number of
those in need is expected to rise in the next few months if the country
continues to experience poor rains.

"These people require urgent food aid to avert disaster," Mpariwa said.

The government's official food reserve institution, the Grain Marketing
Board, is working to find ways to help the vulnerable, she said.

Other initiatives include food-for-work schemes, in which people are given
food in exchange for working on government projects.

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVac) said that, by the
end of last year, the reported number of people in need of assistance had
increased by 60%.

The World Food Programme (WFP) and other aid partners are planning to
intensify their operations.

"Food security prospects for Zimbabwe for 2012-2013 are the worst in three
years. During the peak hunger period of January to March 2013, some
1.7-million will be in a condition of food insecurity, a significant
increase from 1.3-million last year," said the WFP.

"This [figure] represents some 19% of the rural population. The worst
affected areas are Matabeleland North and South and Masvingo."

The body attributed the situation to lower agricultural production, with
late rains, prolonged dry spells and poor access to crop inputs leading to
cereal production dropping by a third.

It said government efforts are having little effect owing to low coverage of
its grain loan scheme.

It added that WFP assistance to poor and vulnerable households between
October 2012 and March 2013 is expected to ease cereal shortages in
drought-hit areas, but food prices are also expected to rise as the lean
season approaches.

"Below-normal rainfall is forecast for the southern regions of Zimbabwe
throughout the coming season, which may aggravate conditions in regions hit
by last season's drought," said the WFP.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim hospitals rely on charity to survive

11 JAN 2013 10:02 - M&G CORRESPONDENT

Zimbabwe's hospitals are being forced to carry out fundraising activities to
keep afloat owing to low budget disbursements from the finance ministry.

Referral hospitals are struggling to sustain their operations, with rural
and provincial hospitals also hard hit.

The Mail & Guardian understands that Mpilo Central Hospital in Bulawayo and
Harare Central Hospital – two of the country's largest referral health
centres – are faced with critical shortages of health consumables such as
drugs, detergents and food for patients.

Mpilo Central Hospital recently held a fundraising drive, during which the
hospital invited private-sector companies to donate money and health
consumables to ease shortages in the wards and to repair dilapidated
infrastructure and equipment at the facility.

In the country's 2012 budget, Mpilo hospital was allocated $4.1-million, but
health officials at the institution recently reported that only $1.1-million
of that amount had been made available to the hospital.

Hospital officials said the abolition of user fees has reduced the
hospital's cash flow from about $200 000 to $60 000 a month.

In terms of the health transition fund, which is being implemented by the
United Nations Children's Fund and Zimbabwe's ministry of health and child
welfare, pregnant women and children are treated for free.

The idea behind the project is to reduce maternal mortality by encouraging
women to give birth in public health institutions. According to the
2010/2011 Demographic Health Survey, more than 30% of women deliver outside
of health facilities. Following the collapse of the economy in 2008, many
women could not afford the fees charged by private and public hospitals,
resulting in an increase in deaths from complications related to home

Low budget disbursements have also impacted negatively on the operations of
Chegutu District Hospital, about 200km outside Harare. The hospital, which
serves the mainly farming community of Chegutu, recently held a fundraising
dinner at which musician Selmor Mtukudzi was a drawcard.

Lack of funds cripples operations
Insiders at Harare Central Hospital said that the treasury had disbursed
$958 000 from the 2012 budget to the facility, whereas its operations
require over $25-million per year.

The chairperson of the Harare Central Hospital board and the Zimbabwe
Medical Association's secretary general, Dr Douglas Gwatidzo, said the
situation at Harare hospital and most public health institutions is dire
because of a lack of funds.

"Most of these public health hospitals have budgets of about $30-million to
$40-million a year of recurrent expenditure," said Gwatidzo.

"The treasury is supposed to fund about 10% of that budget, but it sometimes
does not even come through with that percentage and this cripples the
operations of most of these hospitals."

Gwatidzo added that, as public institutions, most affected hospitals are not
permitted to charge market rates for their services to enable them to fund
their operations.

'Find alternative financing': Govt
The health minister, Dr Henry Madzorera, said Zimbabwe's underperforming
economy and low tax revenues have led to the health sector as well as other
ministries not receiving adequate funding from the treasury.

Although the 2013 budget allocation for the health sector is higher than
last year's, the money set aside for operational expenses has been reduced.
As a result, health institutions are likely to be in a far worse situation
this year than they already find themselves.

Madzorera encouraged health institutions to seek private funding, citing the
example of the Kwekwe and Gweru hospitals, which recently held fundraisers.
Gweru Provincial Hospital, about 400km outside Harare, raised about $260 000
in one day from the initiative.

He said health institutions must look for "alternatives ways of financing
their operations and fundraise within their communities and from the
corporate sector, businesspeople and municipalities, because the treasury
has no money". – M&G health correspondent

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Still struggling with drug shortages

HARARE, 11 January 2013 (PlusNews) - Chronic shortages of generic and
antiretroviral drugs, stock-outs, high medication costs, and long distances
to clinics are some of the hurdles people face in their quest to access
essential medicines in Zimbabwe.

At any given time, public health facilities in much of Zimbabwe have in
stock only half of a core set of critical medicines, according to findings
from civil society groups working to improve access to medicines in Southern

Zimbabwe is still recuperating from a drastic decline in health services
caused by sub-optimal investments in healthcare and an unprecedented
economic crisis in 2008, during which the local currency crashed.

To make matters worse, over 80 percent of the country's drugs are externally


A poorly resourced local pharmaceutical industry can barely provide the
country with its essential medicine requirements, and government-backed
institutions, such as the National Pharmaceutical Company of Zimbabwe
(NatPharm), which is mandated with securing drugs and healthcare products on
behalf of state institutions, are struggling to survive.

“NatPharm is government funded, and we are supposed to procure medicines for
onward supply to health institutions, but this is not happening because our
shareholder, the government, has not been able to fund us lately," NatPharm
director Charles Mwaramba told IRIN/PlusNews. “We just woke up one day in
2009, and we did not have any money for operations.”

Since then, government has not been able to pay NatPharm. In the 2013
national budget, NatPharm did not even get an allocation, and has been
forced to make ends meet by storing medicines for NGOs and other clients for
a fee.

Itai Rusike, the executive director of the Community Working Group on
Health, a network of civil society organizations, warns that depending on
donors to supply the country with medication is "unsustainable.”

“The health sector is severely crippled by all sorts of problems, not least
of them poor government funding and skewed priorities. Where is our voice as
civil society when NatPharm is not being funded? We need a strong voice in
the health sector because health is a fundamental human right. We must not
be cowed into silence, fearing authority will come down us,” Rusike said.

A regional problem

But Zimbabwe's ailing pharmaceutical sector is not alone.

Recent surveys conducted by the Southern Africa Regional Programme on Access
to Medicines and Diagnostics (SARPAM) in the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) region have found evidence of market failures resulting in
uncompetitive drug pricing and unstable availability of medicines, which
compromise the health and well-being of people living in the region.

Civil society groups are hoping the roll-out of the Tendai - an acronym for
Tracking Essential National Medicines and Diagnostics Access
Initiative -project will monitor the availability of medications at
healthcare facilities and gradually bring about some improvement. Under the
initiative, community health workers from a network of civil society
partners use mobile phones to collect data on the availability of medicines
at points of access in participating countries, which include South Africa,
the Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe.

SARPAM coordinates the data collection using customized open-source survey
software. The software allows monitors to capture many types of instantly
accessible data, including digital surveys, voice recordings and photos that
provide insight into real issues at the community level. The data can be
shared immediately with social networks and mailing lists.

“SADC is an epicentre of illnesses, yet policymakers and governments are
still not prioritizing medicines,” said Daniel Molekele, the SARPAM civil
society coordinator.

Although Tendai is still in its infancy, data generated in the pilot stages
have been helpful in identifying problems, monitoring interventions,
building awareness and adding to the dialogue around access to medicine,
Molekele added.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Biannual Human Rights Report 2/2012

Courageous human rights defenders and disappointing compromises
Biannual Human Rights Report 2/2012

In the second half of 2012, civil society and political activists continued
to be harassed, as peaceful protestors were unlawfully arrested and human
rights lawyers were hindered in carrying out their duty. Particularly
affected were activists of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), The Gays and
Lesbians of Zimbabwe and the Counselling Service Unit, among many other
non-governmental civil society organisations that are offering vital
services to vulnerable Zimbabweans. As 2012 drew to a close a warning bell
was rang on the annual ZANU PF Congress, and within days, the police began
raiding human rights organisations’ offices, arresting human rights
defenders. The Biannual Human Rights Report 2/2012 documents these human
rights violations and assaults on civil society. The full report is
available on the Forum’s website.

The report also covers developments in the making of the constitution and
civil society’s discontents with draft documents that have been long in the
making. These discussions relate also to debates on a national referendum to
adopt a new constitution (originally scheduled for November 2012) and
national elections to take place in 2013. Civil society organisations
pointed out that voters’ lists remained to be extremely inaccurate,
including a substantial number of ‘ghost voters’ and that there was a need
for reform of the Electoral Commission.

The report also reflects discussions about the appalling economic situation
in Zimbabwe and transparency issues in the usage of revenues created in the
exploitation of natural resources.

Despite these setbacks, it is the Forum’s view that Zimbabwe is in a better
place today than it was 2008. All the credit is due to the Human Rights
Defenders who have tirelessly worked on the ground as well as our regional
and international partners and without whose input the country could have
descended into lawlessness. The attainment of democracy is a process not an
event and indeed Zimbabwe is currently in transition although that
transition is fraught with unnecessary detours and compromises. However such
compromises, disappointing as they may be in the short run, may aid the
transitional process in the long run.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Gukurahundi Massacres: Human Remains (Part 15)
on January 11, 2013 at 5:27 am


Interviews with civilians resident in Matabeleland North and South made it clear not only that there are mass graves in these parts of Zimbabwe as a result of the 1980s disturbances, but also that this is an issue of concern to residents and affected families.

In this March 18, 2011, photo, a body is brought to the surface at Monkey William Mine about 200 km from Harare. Hundreds of skeletons found at one of the mine shafts have brought a macabre thrust to election campaigning in Zimbabwe, but the putrefying stench of some corpses still with skin, hair and dripping body fluids has raised doubts over claims white colonial era troops committed the massacres more than thirty years ago. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

In this March 18, 2011, photo, a body is brought to the surface at Monkey William Mine about 200 km from Harare. Hundreds of skeletons found at one of the mine shafts have brought a macabre thrust to election campaigning in Zimbabwe, but the putrefying stench of some corpses still with skin, hair and dripping body fluids has raised doubts over claims white colonial era troops committed the massacres more than thirty years ago. (AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

It is also known that there are likely to be unrecovered bodies in the Midlands.

The full nature and causes of the disturbances have been covered elsewhere in this report. This section will therefore concentrate on the likely types of human remains at this point and in how best to deal with them.


In this report, people are referred to as “Dead” if their deaths were witnessed. In most cases in Matabeleland North, this also means that what happened to their remains is known, even if all that is known is that the bodies were taken away on trucks. While the current location of the remains of the “Dead” is often known in Matabeleland North, this is less often the case in Matabeleland South.

“Missing” refers in most cases to people who were known to have been taken from their homes at night in mysterious circumstances, or known to have been detained, and never seen again. (See interview , page for an example). There is no indication in these cases as to where bodies might now be.

As the vast majority of victims can be classified as “Dead” rather than “Missing”, the possibility of identifying and recovering human remains for many victims is positive. In this Zimbabwe is more “fortunate” than for example Argentina, where approximately 10 000 disappeared, or Guatemala, where 50 000 people disappeared in recent decades.

The recovery and identification of those who died in the 1980s might also be more easily accomplished than for those who died in the 1970s civil war in what was then Rhodesia, as many of these victims went missing outside of the country, or were killed and buried in regions in Zimbabwe far from their own districts. In spite of the difficulties, many victims of the 1970s war have been successfully recovered and reburied in the years since independence, and the reburial exercise continues.

The establishing of a pre-mortem data base on all “Missing” victims, containing as much physical information on each victim as possible, would dramatically improve chances of identification. The structure of the computer data base currently used in Argentina could be adapted to the Zimbabwean situation.


Murders in the 1980s were perpetrated by both government agencies and dissidents. The case studies in Part Two illustrate that approximately 98% of deaths and disappearances in the communal lands were at the hands of government agencies, and 2% were murders by dissidents. In Tsholotsho, for example, 18 murders by dissidents were claimed by civilians, while a further 900+ deaths and disappearances, mainly perpetrated by 5 Brigade were identified, most occurring in February 1983.

In addition to murders in communal lands, dissidents murdered people living in the sparsely populated commercial farming areas. Approximately 70 deaths in these regions were at the hands of dissidents, not government agencies.

Dissidents would typically murder one or two civilians in the communal lands in any one incident, almost invariably people they believed to be sell-outs. The victims would be murdered and the dissidents would then make a hasty departure before the authorities arrived. This meant that families of victims were able to give their deceased traditional burials.

Other dissident victims were typically commercial farmers and their families or employees, who would also be murdered in hit and run raids or ambushes. These victims too would be left behind and were accorded proper funerals.

There are a few notable exceptions here, namely the six tourists who were abducted and buried in shallow graves, in July 1982. There was also an abduction of two commercial farmers in Bubi, one of whose remains were only recovered years later. Such cases of abduction were not common. In both these cases, remains were ultimately recovered and identified.

Those in mass graves, and those who were not given decent burials are the civilians killed by state agencies, in particular the 5 Brigade. Part Two, III, indicates 1437 killings and 354 disappearances in which the names of victims are known. Of these, 1134 deaths and 169 disappearances were by 5 Brigade.

These figures are known by researchers to be incomplete, with substantial indications on record of large numbers of dead in areas not extensively researched for this report, in particular in Lupane and Nkayi, where mass graves and bodies in mine shafts have been reported. Matabeleland South, including Matobo, Gwanda and Bulilimamangwe also have mass graves and reports of bodies down mine shafts.


It has been previously stated in this report that it was a characteristic of 5 Brigade to insist that there was no mourning for the dead. In some cases the family of the dead victims were themselves shot because they wept. It was also characteristic, particularly of the early weeks of 1983, for victims to be buried in mass graves. In some cases, 5 Brigade would shoot people and pass on with no concern for what happened to the dead, and in these cases, families were able to bury their own dead, although full burial rites and full attendance by family members were not possible because of the prevailing conditions in those weeks.

This part of the report will concern itself with cases in which no proper burial took place. The way in which bodies were disposed of in such cases can be categorised as follows:

1.Bodies left where they were killed and burial forbidden. 2.Bodies buried in mass or individual graves in villages but not in the culturally accepted place or manner. 3.Bodies left inside huts in cases where people were burnt to death in huts. 4.Bodies buried in mass or individual graves at 5 Brigade camps. 5.Bodies dumped into mine shafts.


1. Burial denied: in Lupane in particular, but also in parts of Tsholotsho (see Pumula Mission section), burial was on occasion forbidden, and relatives of the dead were reportedly forced to observe the remains of their dead rotting away and being scavenged. In these cases, bones were sometimes buried months or years later, and in other cases, bones were removed by the 5 Brigade, who came past in trucks and collected them. In cases where bones were removed by 5 Brigade, chances of recovery now are almost non-existent.

2. Mass graves: there are reports of mass graves throughout most of Matabeleland North and South. Compilers of this report personally visited a few such sites. Photographs and video clippings also exist of these graves. What is notable is the careful way in which these graves have been demarcated by civilians in the area: they have often been fenced off with logs, or covered with boulders. In some cases most or all of the actual victims in a grave are still known to those in the area, and in other cases, those buried were strangers to the area, and are completely unknown. In most cases, victims in mass graves were shot dead.

If it was the will of affected communities, relatives of the deceased and the authorities, such graves would provide ideal sites for forensic investigations. The possiblity of identifying at least some, or even all, of the victims in such cases would be extremely high. It would also be likely that cause of death could be established.

3. People buried under huts: there are several incidents of people burnt to death in huts in Tsholotsho, and also reports that this happened in Lupane. In Tsholotsho, there are on record, nine cases where people were burnt to death in huts (see Pumula Mission section). Numbers of victims ranged from 1 to 30, with at least two villages experiencing hut burnings involving large numbers of people. These bodies were not removed from the huts, but were given a makeshift burial where they lay, with soil being mounded over the remains, and the area then being fenced. It is not clear how many hut burnings resulting in deaths happened in Lupane, although at least two are on current records.

If it was the will of affected communities, relatives of the deceased and the authorities, these hut sites would also provide ideal cases for forensic investigation, although cause of death can be harder to establish in the case of burnings (See “cause of death” following).

4. Graves in 5 Brigade camps: those detained at Bhalagwe in Matobo, report the existence of burial grounds within the camp. Ex-detainees, particularly from the early weeks, report the daily digging of graves as one of their chores. Almost every interview about Bhalagwe alludes to daily deaths in the camp, as a result of beatings or shootings. Who victims were is not clear, or exact numbers (see previous discussion on page for more details). However, it seems clear that some, if not all, of the graves at Bhalagwe were dug up and the bodies removed, while the camp was still in operation.

The policy of disposing of bodies changed, or became supplemented within a few weeks, with the throwing of bodies down mine shafts. Visits to Bhalagwe in November of 1996 showed the grave sites to have been dug up, although the position of the graves is still clearly visible. Eye witnesses involved in the burial procedure recount how at the time of burial, bodies were covered with asbestos sheeting before the soil was added, and then further sheeting demarcated the graves clearly. Pieces of this sheeting are still in the now-empty graves (see photo, page ). This could suggest that the graves were only ever intended as a temporary measure, and were designed in such a way as to facilitate later identification of the sites and removal of the bodies. Certainly, the use of the asbestos sheeting is not a normal burial procedure in Zimbabwe, nor was it used in Matabeleland North, where people had been murdered by 5 Brigade the previous year.

5. Mine Shafts: there are reports of human remains in mine shafts in both Matabeleland North and South, though these are more common in Matabeleland South where such shafts abound. In two instances in the 1990s, human remains have been found in mine shafts. In the first instance, they were found in “Old Hat Mine No. 2″, in Silobela in the Midlands, and then remains were also found at Antelope Mine, near Bhalagwe camp in Matobo. Interviews on record, both archivally and recently, refer to the nightly departure of trucks from Bhalagwe, taking away bodies. Accounts by villagers living near the mine confirm that this was the destination.

Those interviewed in Matabeleland South also mentioned Legion Mine, near Sun Yet Sen in the far south of Matobo, as a possible site for the dumping of bodies. Sun Yet Sen was used as an interrogation and detention centre by 5 Brigade in 1983 and 1984.

“Old Hat Mine”: bones were found here in 1992, and CCJP attended their exhumation. Unfortunately, this was not done by forensic anthropologists, and the bones were disturbed by the police, thus destroying potential evidence. The identification of 8 individuals was possible, 2 women and 6 men, but their precise identification was not possible.

Bodies are known to have been thrown down mine shafts in the 1970s, by the Rhodesian army, and the first response of the government to finds in the 1990s was that these were Rhodesian victims. However, coins minted post-Independence and found in the pockets of the deceased, dated the remains in Antelope Mine to the 1980s.

It is unlikely that positive identification of particular victims would be possible if bones were exhumed from mine shafts. This is a consequence of the fact that so little is known about precisely who was dumped into particular shafts. However, such exhumation could be important in terms of validating historical claims.

Evidence of peri-mortem trauma (ie trauma at point of death) might be detectable on the remains. Items such as coins could also help date time of dumping. It is not unlikely that any extensive exploration of mine shafts would also result in the exhumation of victims from the 1970s, although again, precise identification of victims would be difficult.


There seem to be regional differences in body disposal between Matabeleland North and South. In 1983, killings in Matabeleland North were more open and the repression was generally more visible, but in 1984 in Matabeleland South the modus operandi became more clandestine, with victims more frequently dying in 5 brigade camps than in the village setting. There were also fewer killings in 1984.

The disposal of bodies seems to reflect this change in strategy. In 1983 in Matabeleland North, bodies were more commonly disposed of in individual or mass graves in or near villages, or inside burnt huts. At the end of 1983 and in 1984 in Matabeleland South, bodies were disposed of in mine shafts and mass graves located inside 5 Brigade camps, in particular at Bhalagwe, but also at Sitezi and other bases.

The change in body disposal suggests that the 5 Brigade modus operandi deliberately became more secretive in 1984 than it had been in 1983, particularly where killings were concerned. This change in strategy might have been related to growing pressure from local and international press and human rights groups, including from CCJP who were operating within the country, and had made several appeals to government by this stage. This observation might be modified in the light of future evidence.

To summarise the regional differences:

1.”Burials forbidden” is reported to date only in Matabeleland North.

2.”Mass graves” in village settings are reported in all districts, but are more common in Matabeleland North.

3.”Hut burnings” resulting in deaths have to date only been reported in Matabeleland North, mainly from western Tsholotsho and Lupane.

4.”Deaths in 5 Brigade Camps” are reported in all areas, but in Matabeleland North such deaths are not common: method of disposal in Matabeleland North is also not clear. In Matabeleland South, deaths and temporary burials mainly at Bhalagwe and also at camps in Gwanda and Bulilimamangwe are reported.

5.”Mine shaft disposal” is reported mainly in Matabeleland South, but there are also reports of this in Matabeleland North.


- Exhumation assists the relatives of the victims in their right to recover the remains of their dead or missing loved ones, so that they can carry out the customary funeral rights and mourn their dead. Families and affected communities may see the procedure of identification of their dead, or even the willingness to attempt this, as a necessary step towards their own emotional healing.

- Exhumation can provide physical evidence to help in the historical reconstruction of events, and to validate one version of events over another. Forensic investigations can end historical controversies.-

The evidence can be used in court if necessary.

National awareness and acknowledgement of events would follow revelations from the exhumations, which could further help the process of healing for survivors.

1. Cause Of Death: forensic anthropologists only deal with skeletal remains. Therefore, if the cause of death did not affect the skeleton, then there is no way of establishing the cause of death with certainty.

For example, in cases of hut burnings, it may well be that not all, or even none, of the skeletons will show signs of burning. However, some hut burnings were allegedly accompanied by shooting of victims trying to escape, in which case there might be skeletal evidence of bullet wounds. There will also be circumstantial evidence, such as testimonial evidence and the finding of burned elements associated with the remains, such as charred clothing.

Fatal gunshot wounds are likely to involve human bones, particularly shots to the head or thorassic regions, which is where fatal gun shot wounds are typically found. However, shots to the abdominal region will not necessarily cause skeletal damage, and can cause death.

2. Identification of Human Remains: the process of identification of victims is a physical one. Physical or `pre-mortem’ information about the victims when they were alive (such as height, age, dental records) and `peri-mortem’ information relating to the time of their death obtained from those who witnessed their death, can be compared with exhumed skeletal remains. For example, if a certain person was witnessed to die from a shot to a particular part of the body, and a skeleton shows corresponding damage, this helps differentiate this victim’s skeleton from others in the same grave.

In cases where there are no existing dental records for victims, and no witnesses to help with precise causes of death, it is very difficult to identify bodies. Bodies exhumed from 5 Brigade camps and bodies from mine shafts would have a poor chance of positive identification, as there are no witnesses who can say with certainty who was buried where.

In the case of bodies in mass graves and burnt huts, the prospect of identification is high, as names of victims are largely known already, and deaths were witnessed. There should be good peri mortem or circumstantial evidence to confirm cause of deaths.


Forensic sciences are a group of interrelated disciplines which utilise different scientific methods to analyse physical evidence related to legal cases. When working on legal cases involving skeletal remains forensic anthropology is among the main disciplines involved. Considering the time elapsed and the condition of burial sites recently observed, forensic investigation could be useful in Zimbabwe.

Forensic anthropology consists in the application of methods and techniques from physical anthropology and forensic medicine to legal cases in which skeletal or mainly skeletonised remains are involved. It is considered a branch of physical anthropology. The physical anthropologist applies his/her knowledge about how bodies vary over time and place to a legal or forensic context.

There are several other disciplines involved in this task. In order to recover the remains in the proper way, the use of forensic archeology is crucial. This simply consists of the “application of standard archeological techniques slightly modified to meet the requirements of crime scene processing where a skeleton(s) or buried body(ies) is present.” Other skills involved are: forensic pathology, odontology, ballistics, radiology and genetics, among others.

The use of forensic anthropology in the investigation of human rights violations started in Argentina in 1984. Argentina returned to democracy in December 1983. The newly elected President Dr. Raul Alfonsin, created the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP). The Commission established that at least 10 000 people had been disappeared under the previous military regime (1976-1983). Bodies had been dumped from aeroplanes into the sea, illegally cremated or buried in anonymous graves in cemetries.

In order to ensure impartiality and expertise, a group of American forensic scientists under the leadership of Dr. Clyde Snow was assembled, and several forensic teams in South America were trained over the next ten years. These are the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Team, the Chilean Forensic Anthropology Team and the Argentinian Forensic Team.

In the USA, the Physicians for Human Rights and the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) continue to promote and assemble teams of experts for specific missions. They work internationally in interdisciplinary teams, as expert witnesses or international consultants invited by local judiciaries, or by intergovernmental bodies such as the United Nations War Tribunals and the United Nations Commissions of Inquiry, to help resolve human rights issues.

These teams of forensic anthropologists are all non governmental and non-profit making.

Since 1984, forensic anthropology has been used in investigations in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Venezuela, El Salvador, Guatemala, Panama, Honduras, Haiti, Mexico, The Philippines, Iraqi Kurdistan, Romania, Croatia, Bosnia, Rwanda and Ethiopia.


1. Preliminary Investigation:

i) This involves the gathering of historical information about the case under investigation, including official records, eye witness accounts etc.

ii) Pre-mortem data collection: collection of physical information about victims, such as medical and dental records, old X-rays, height etc. Peri-mortem information is also gathered, that is information on injuries sustained at the time of death.

2. Archeological Work:

The archeological approach provides a rational way to recover and reconstruct events, ensuring evidence is not damaged, recovery is complete, and that documentation is adequate.

3.Laboratory Analysis:

Using techniques from physical anthropology and medicine, it is possible to establish stature, sex, age at death, ancestry, pathologies and lesions, dental features etc of the exhumed skeletal remains.

Pre-mortem and peri-mortem data is then compared with skeletal remains to try to establish their identities. In countries where the affected populations are largely poor with little access to medical and dental check up and where there is therefore little pre-mortem data, new genetic methods involving the extraction of DNA material from remains and comparing them with DNA material from likely relatives can help identify victims.


1.The Will of Affected Communities: it is essential that no steps be taken without consultation with communities and relatives of the deceased. Some may wish for exhumation, while in adjacent areas, others may not, for cultural or personal reasons.

2. Judicial Proceedings: Exhumations should be done through the intervention of judges in order to keep a legal record of the proceedings and findings, even in situations where no legal prosecutions are to follow on findings (such as in Zimbabwe).

3.Exhumations must be professionally done: There are teams of forensic anthropologists and organisations around the world who are expert at this type of work. They have accomplished successful exhumations in several Latin American countries, and also in the former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Ethiopia, Rwanda, among other places.

A short exploratory mission: a first mission by an international forensic team, lasting two or three months, would ideally include different types of cases to fit the categories of human remains listed above. For example, one burnt hut and one mass grave could each be excavated. A mine shaft identified as having a high likelihood of remains could be excavated, and a 5 Brigade camp could be examined.

4.Depository for Human Remains: in cases where exhumed remains are not identified:

a.) establish a general data base in the hope that identification might ultimately be possible, and keep the remains available at a specific centre and under control.

b.) if it is not possible to keep remains unburied, do not rebury underground, but keep them in an above-ground sepulchre, so that remains will not be affected by the organic activity of the soil. If this is not possible, due to economic or cultural constraints, remains should be reburied in the hardest possible container so that they could be retrieved and re analysed if necessary.

6. Protection of the sites: sites should be protected from tampering. Those living close to sites should know who to inform if there is a sudden interest in them.

7. Establishment of a Symbolic Shrine: the existence of a place where the remains of missing or disappeared or unidentified people are buried or commemmorated has a symbolic value in many countries. Relatives of victims often express the strong need to have a place where they can remember their loved ones, pray, or follow other cultural practices of mourning. Communities in Zimbabwe may – or may not – decide after consultation that they would like to establish such a shrine, or shrines.

The establishment of such public places has, in other countries, implied a social and national recognition of what happened: in Zimbabwe, the current clandestine or “abandoned” graves do not allow for this. The lack of broader acknowledgement is apparently a source of deep disturbance for the relatives and witnesses of the tragic events.

Such a shrine would break the secrecy. The unspeakable, currently limited to secret memories, would be brought out into the realm of historical and social reality.

In summary, the process of exhuming and identifying human remains is one that should aim to show a respectful acknowledgement of events, and to commemmorate the suffering of the survivors. The process also serves as a testimony to other sectors of the population and is a reminder to future generations. The suffering of victims and survivors should also be placed in a broader social and historical arena.

REPORT ON THE 1980S DISTURBANCES IN MATABELELAND AND THE MIDLANDS Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

"Unity Government" without the people being consulted

January 11, 2013, 12:50 pm

Last week I said that voter registration had begun, I was wrong. The process
has once again been postponed and the reason, of course, is lack of funds.
‘Miracle’ money is clearly not going into ZEC’s bank account!

‘Miracle money’ is just what ‘Prophet Angel’ has been promising. In a
tactfully worded statement, the Minister of Finance challenged false
prophets who promise ‘gold from the skies’. Not to be outdone, Prophet Angel
Mudzanire responded by saying that “Miracle money was not meant for those
who dipped their fingers into the national coffers or who failed to run the
national economy.” He went on to prophesy even greater miracles in the
coming year and certainly Zimbabwe could do with a few miracles to solve its
many problems. At least, hopes that diamond wealth would fund worthwhile
causes have been realised with the news that diamond firms are bankrolling
farmer training. That is good news for the future of Zimbabwe’s agriculture
but an election is looming and it is money to fund the election that is the
immediate problem. Attempts to get funding from SADC and the AU appear to
have failed. With no new constitution in place and no funding, it seems
unlikely that elections can take place in March. That has not stopped Zanu
PF from issuing new Mugabe stickers for motorists to display on their
vehicles. Failure to display the president’s image, as Zimbabweans will
remember to their cost, can lead to all sorts of unpleasantness and

Meanwhile, Tendayi Biti and Welshman Ncube are in London with the purpose of
attracting investors - unlikely with the farm invasions still going on
despite BIPPA agreements. Indeed, Germany has threatened to boycott the
World Tourism Conference if their properties continue to be invaded. Biti
had previously been in Canada where he appealed for the lifting of
sanctions, saying that they no longer served any purpose. It seems that the
MDC are singing from the Zanu PF hymn book since the formation of the Unity
Government. The Daily News in Zimbabwe reports that Zanu PF and the MDC have
struck a deal over the constitution; it seems all sorts of deals are being
stitched up during this period of ‘Unity Government’ without the people
being consulted. Coalitions, by their very nature tend to lead to
compromising of principles; how else can one explain the fact that under a
coalition government, Obert Mpofu, the Minister of Mines, has loaded mining
bodies with his Zanu PF cronies, apparently with not a whisper of protest
from his MDC partners in government? Being in power seems to have silenced
the MDC’s ability to speak truth to power.

The replacement for Reg Austin who resigned from the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Commission is likely to be another example of Zanu PF getting its own way,
though Zanu PF and human rights do not exactly go together. Only this week,
the partisan police used tear gas to disperse villagers who were
demonstrating over the loss of their land to the Ethanol project which is
backed by Billy Rautenbach, millionaire and noted Zanu PF supporter.
Slaughter on the roads, chaos at the border post, unrest in the civil
service, desperation among the thousands of unemployed and an army which is
intent on intimidating villagers to vote for Zanu PF, not to mention debts
of $11 million, these are just some of the problems facing the country.
Worse still is the evidence of corruption in education and inside the court
system itself, all symptoms of moral decay that not even ‘miracle’ money can

Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson.

Back to the Top
Back to Index