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Zimbabwe Opens Consultation Phase on Constitution; Referendum Seen by October

The forthcoming consultative phase of Zimbabwe's constitutional revision
process will last about three months, followed by the process of drafting
the document, then a and national referendum by September or October

Blessing Zulu & Irwin Chifera | Washington 11 January 2010

The process of constitutional revision in Zimbabwe advanced another step on
Monday as the training of some 625 outreach workers began in Harare after
similar sessions last week for parliamentarians and thematic committee

The forthcoming consultative phase of the revision process will last about
three months, followed by the actual drafting and a referendum by October.

Parliamentary Select Committee co-chairmen Munyaradzi Mangwana of the former
ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe and Douglas Mwonzora of the
Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime minister Morgan
Tsvangirai told VOA that the training was meant to ensure uniformity in the
consultative process and avoid partisanship.

The outreach teams will be deployed next week equipped with a questionnaire
to help them compile the views of Zimbabweans on the new constitution.

But the process remains fraught with doubt and suspicion. Chiefs Council of
Zimbabwe President Fortune Charumbira, quoted in the state-run Herald
newspaper aligned with ZANU-PF, warned the government to be wary of civic
groups which he said might hijack the constitution-making process.

But Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told VOA Studio 7
reporter Blessing Zulu that everything is proceeding according to plan.

Despite such optimism on the part of organizers, reports from the
traditional ZANU-PF stronghold of Mashonaland East said officials of the
former ruling in the Uzumba parliamentary constituency were intimidating MDC
supporters in an effort to coerce them into supporting the so-called Kariba
draft which the MDC and others say concentrates too much power in the

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Irwin Chifera reported on the alleged incident in
which one MDC supporter said she fled Uzumba in fear.

The so-called Kariba draft constitution was crafted in 2007 by ZANU-PF and
the two formations of the MDC but the Tsvangirai grouping in particular has
repudiated the document as the basis of the new constitution.

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Constitutional Reform Resumes

By Vusumuzi Sifile

HARARE, Jan 11, 2010 (IPS) - Months of delays may prove to have strengthened
the process of producing a new constitution for Zimbabwe. When a 65-day
public consultation finally begins, citizens will be primed and ready.

"We will not make the blunder we made in 2000, of being told to just vote
yes or no without any details of what that entailed," says Jacqueline
Manyonga, who sells plastic carrier bags at the Mbare Musika vegetable
market in Harare.

"This time I want to go into those meetings and share my ideas on what ought
to be done. I have already come up with my own ideas regarding terms of
office for the president, and the recognition of (the informal sector's)
contribution to economic growth."

Elsewhere in Harare's Mbare market, Shadrack Dube also has a view on the
drafting and amendment of the constitution.

"If you look at the current constitution and the other drafts that have been
proposed, they are more biased towards the politicians than us, the ordinary
citizens," says Dube.

"If you look at all the things that are being said about the Kariba draft
for example, it is all about terms of office for politicians, and nothing
for the ordinary person. We also need our space in the running of affairs in
this country."

Defining the debate

Redistribution of land, limits to executive powers, devolution of power to
regions; Kariba draft, NCA draft, Constitutional Commission draft: civil
society organisations have been running awareness campaigns across the
country for months, helping Zimbabweans from all walks of life gain an
understanding of the terms of the debate.

"People are eagerly awaiting the outreach teams," said Okay Machisa,
director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association.

"In the meetings we have held, people expressed various views on what they
would like to see in the new constitution and we will soon be launching a
report on these. Most people suggested that an individual should be allowed
two presidential terms of five years each."

The chairperson of the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda, Effie
Ncube, said his organisation had held hundreds of meetings in Matabeleland
North and South, Bulawayo and the Midlands provinces.

"In the places we have been to, people want the constitution to be clear on
such issues as devolution of power, as is the case in some African and
European countries," said Ncube.

A tool for citizens

It was civil society that established the National Constitutional Assembly
in 1997, during growing protests and strikes against the ruling Zimbabwe
African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) led by Robert Mugabe. Its
purpose was to increase popular awareness of and participation in

Within two years, Mugabe's government had begun a constitutional reform
exercise in response to this pressure. A Constitutional Commission was
established which produced a draft that was put to a vote in a February 2000

Among other things, this draft proposed the acquisition of land from white
commercial farmers, with the British government compensating the farmers. If
the British government refused to pay to buy land for redistribution, there
was a provision for the government to proceed to expropriate land without

The NCA campaigned for the rejection of the Constitutional Commission's
draft, putting forward an alternative constitution which among other things
proposed to limits executive powers.

"I voted no, simply because I was convinced this was a better option than to
vote yes, which was being funded by the ZANU-PF government. And we had been
told yes simply meant the government should go ahead and repossess all
commercial farms and send us back to our homes," says Dube, a former
commercial farm worker.

But is it just paper?

The government draft was duly rejected, but veterans of Zimbabwe's war of
liberation, closely aligned to ZANU-PF went ahead and violently seized many
farms from white commercial farmers. The farm where Dube worked was taken in
2002, and he says he was left with no option but to head to Harare, where he
started a new life as a vendor.

"I failed to understand when people started blaming that no vote for the
constitutional problems that we later faced in the country. They said things
would have been better if people had voted for the government-sponsored
draft. This time I will only support a constitution that I know will also
contain and respect my own views."

The drafts in circulation in 2000 were both written by a few individuals,
and members of the public only got involved when they were asked to vote for
or against the government's version.

Trying again

This year things are meant to be different. The Constitution Parliamentary
Committee (COPAC) intends to use extracts from various existing drafts.
These, says co-chairperson of the committee Douglas Mwonzora, will guide
citizens in making constructive input into the process.

"Our outreach programme is not going to be based on a draft document. We are
going to use talking points," he says.

Thematic committees will present questions to members of the public, and
their answers will be gathered into the talking points, which will then be

Individuals in thousands of meetings across the country will be able to draw
their suggestions from any document they choose - including the
Constitutional Commission draft rejected in 2000, the alternative draft put
forward at that time by the NCA, or the Kariba draft drawn up by the
negotiating teams that produced the Global Political Agreement that brought
a bitter post-election struggle to a close in September 2008.

Parliamentarians and civil society members attended preparatory sessions on
Jan. 5 and 11, briefing them on their roles during this nation-wide outreach
programme expected to last just over two months.

The Global Political Agreement's implementation has been marred by a series
of high-profile disputes over key appointments, reform of the security
services and the revision of legislation.

Progress in drafting a new constitution could be seen as a positive sign
that the governing parties are all committed to respecting their 2008
commitments, as well as giving Zimbabwe's people the opportunity to decide
how they themselves wish to be governed.

"This is the time we have been waiting for, and I cannot allow this
opportunity to skip me," says Manyonga at her stall in Mbare Musika.

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Listen to citizens: reforms body told

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 12 January 2010

HARARE -- Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga on Monday appealed
to a government constitutional committee to be guided by the views of
ordinary citizens in crafting a new charter for Zimbabwe, in what appeared
an attempt to allay civic society fears that the executive will manipulate
the reforms.

Civic society groups remain skeptical over the government-led constitution
reform exercise, while the national labour and student movements and the
outspoken National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) political pressure group
have vowed to campaign against the reforms that they say are open to abuse
by the country's three governing parties.

Matinenga told members of the committee, who will later this week fan out
across the country soliciting the views and ideas of Zimbabweans that they
want included in the proposed new governance charter, that citizens will
reject in a planned referendum any draft constitution that does not reflect
their wishes.

"(We) can only facilitate the process towards the crafting of the
constitution. We cannot dictate," said Matinenga, addressing a training
workshop for the constitutional committee members.

"We dare not dictate the outcome. History tells us that any interference
with the will of the people is bound to fail. It happened in 2000. We should
never, ever temper with the wishes of the people this time around," said
Matinenga, a senior member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T

Zimbabweans 10 years ago rejected a government-backed draft constitution in
a referendum, accusing President Robert Mugabe and his then sole ruling ZANU
PF party of manipulating constitutional reforms and doctoring the draft in
order to entrench their hold on power.

The NCA working with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the student
movement and the opposition MDC party - then a single party led by
Tsvangirai - masterminded the campaign for a No-vote against the
government-sponsored draft constitution in February 2000.

The fresh attempt to write a new constitution follows formation last
February of a coalition government by ZANU PF, MDC-T and the smaller MDC-M
party of Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and is part of requirements
of a September 2008 power-sharing deal signed by the three parties.

If approved by Zimbabweans in a referendum the draft constitution will be
taken to Parliament for enactment, with the coalition government expected to
call fresh elections once a new constitution is in place.

It is however not clear whether the government will call new elections
immediately after a new constitution is enacted or whether it will wait
until expiry of its legal life span in 2013.

Meanwhile rejection of the draft constitution would be disastrous for the
Harare coalition government whose most important task besides reviving the
economy is to write a new and democratic constitution to replace the
existing one that was drafted by Zimbabwe's former colonial power,
Britain. - ZimOnline.

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Another five SA farmers get Zimbabwe eviction notices

Published in: Legalbrief Today
Date: Tue 12 January 2010
Category: General
Issue No: 2476

The last five South African farmers in the east of Zimbabwe are to be evicted this week, according to a Beeld report says.

It claims this follows an alleged order by former Zimbabwean Minister of Land Affairs Didymus Mutasa to ret rid of the remaining white farmers in the area. Farmer Antoinette Grobler, of the farm Geluk in the Nyazura district near Mutare, has been informed that her tobacco farm of 40ha has been earmarked to be handed over to a businesswoman in the region. The report says they have already given up 1 000ha of their original farm for land reform. Another farmer, Paul du Toit, who lives with the Groblers after being forcefully removed from his farm, has also been ordered to leave the area today. The farmers all said they have no other home to turn to.
Full Beeld report

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War vets splinter group holds own congress

Written by Staff Reporter
Monday, 11 January 2010 16:40
MUTARE - Cracks have emerged in the war veterans' association amid reports
that a splinter group has been formed and is proposing to run a parallel
national congress next weekend in Chinhoyi.
The group placed an advert in the state-run Herald on Thursday calling all
the genuine war veterans to attend the congress and map the way forward. The
notice stated that food, transport and accommodation would be provided.
The faction is accusing the incumbent war veteran national executive of
focusing more on politics than their welfare.
The national executive launched a counter-attack, describing the splinter
group as agents of imperialism and opposition.
Addressing a press conference in Mutare last Friday, the war veterans'
information and publicity secretary, James Kanaye, admitted that these were
genuine war veterans who were disgruntled at how the association has been
handling their welfare.
"[They] want to destabilise and confuse the war veterans because they know
that the power of Zanu (PF) is only left in the war veterans' wing," said
He said some comrades were now abandoning Zanu (PF) to work with Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, after they were promised funding to start
income- generating projects to sustain themselves.
Thembinkosi Chiororo, provincial secretary for information and publicity for
Manicaland, claimed foreign forces, which were anti land reform, were
funding the group.
Sources in the war veterans association said there was growing discontent
that the national executive was spending time and energy championing the
interests of Robert Mugabe and his cronies while the majority of them were
languishing in poverty.
"People are not happy because Zanu (PF) is not doing anything to improve the
lives of the comrades. As custodians of our independence, genuine comrades
are saying it's better to work with Morgan Tsvangirai because he has proved
to be a good leader," said the source.

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Zimbabwe State Workers Demand Increase in Entry-Level Salary to US$500

Representatives of state employees were to meet Tuesday with counterparts in
the administration under the framework of the Joint Negotiating Council to
discuss compensation for public employees in 2010

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 11 January 2010

Zimbabwean civil servants who earn an average of US$155 a month want that
bare-bones compensation raised over the national poverty line to US$500,
threatening to go on strike if the government refuses an increase.

Representatives of state employees were to meet Tuesday with counterparts in
the administration under the framework of the Joint Negotiating Council to
discuss compensation for public employees in 2010.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said salaries for public workers
should be increased in line with a pickup in the economy.

Public Service Association Executive Secretary Emmanuel Tichareva told VOA
Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that civil servants are hopeful that the
government will come through with a raise for them.

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World Health Organization Reports New Death from Cholera in Midlands

Cholera claimed more than 4,200 lives in Zimbabwe from late 2008 through
mid-2009 as an epidemic raced out of control due to a widespread lack of
clean water and the virtual collapse of the state health care system

Patience Rusere | Washington 11 January 2010

The World Health Organization has reported another death from cholera in the
Midlands province of Zimbabwe, bringing the number of deaths from the
communicable disease in recent months to six.

A WHO report said there were 149 confirmed cases of cholera and five deaths
from the disease between the beginning of September and January 3.

It said the latest death occurred in Sanyati, Midlands province.

Cholera claimed more than 4,200 lives in Zimbabwe from late 2008 through
mid-2009 as an epidemic raced out of control due to a widespread lack of
clean water and the virtual collapse of the state health care system.

The WHO said 10 of 62 districts in the country have been affected by the
cholera outbreak recently compared with 51 districts last year.

Midlands Chairman Peter Muchengeti of the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organizations said access to clean water is still
problematic as most city councils are having problems funding municipal

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ZESA ordered to stop energy exports to Namibia

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Tuesday 12 January 2010

HARARE - Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri on Monday said he ordered the country's
power utility - Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) - to stop
exporting power to Namibia since the Hwange power station was not working

"We can't import power to export to Namibia when Hwange power station is not
producing," Mudzuri told ZimOnline.

In 2007, ZESA entered a deal with the Namibian utility NamPower in which it
provided a US$40 million loan to refurbish Hwange power station. In return
ZESA was supposed to supply electricity to Namibia.

But Mudzuri said Hwange power station was not able to generate electricity
for export to Namibia resulting in the country buying power for NamPower.

"That deal was for Hwange only and it must not affect the entire operations
of the country. It can only be implemented if Hwange is properly running. I
have ordered ZESA not to supply electricity to Namibia until Hwange is
running," said Mudzuri, adding that the deal that ZESA and Botswana Power
Corporation (BPC) entered into would be confined to Bulawayo power station

Last year BPC agreed to inject US$8 million to revive the mothballed
Bulawayo thermal power station, which has not produced electricity for
nearly a decade. BPC will receive electricity from the Bulawayo thermal

"If Bulawayo is not generating power, we cannot have electricity from
elsewhere being exported to Botswana," said Mudzuri.

Mudzuri said it would take up five years for the country to be able to
generate enough electricity for itself.

"That can be shorter but electricity might be expensive," said Mudzuri. "Our
plants are old and have outlived their life span most of them. That means
they become expensive to use since they are no longer efficient."

ZESA's inability over the years to boost generation capacity at its ageing
power stations and a critical shortage of foreign currency to import
adequate electricity from neighbouring countries has left Zimbabwe grappling
with severe power shortages.

The Zimbabwean energy firm says cash-rich foreign investors remain reluctant
to provide funding badly needed to boost power generation because of
uncertainty about the country's future political and economic direction.

A coalition government formed by President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara has brought a degree
of stability to Zimbabwe's political situation but the future remains

Incessant squabbling between Mugabe and Tsvangirai has left political
analysts wondering about the Harare coalition government's long-term
viability while most potential investors appear to have adopted a wait and
see attitude before they can consider making any significant investments in
the country. - ZimOnline

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ZESA to export electricity to Botswana

January 11, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The debt-ridden Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has
signed an US$8 million dollar deal with a Botswana company to revive a
shut-down thermal power station and ease national blackouts in the country.

Under the deal, the Botswana Power Company will provide funds to the
Zimbabwe Power Company Limited (ZPC) to refurbish the plant in Bulawayo and
buy coal from the main colliery at Hwange.

Founded in 1996 and based in Harare, ZPC is a subsidiary of ZESA. Its
portfolio of projects includes coal fired power projects, hydroelectric
schemes, and renewable energy resource power projects.

As part of the deal with the Botswana Power Company, Zimbabwe will export
power to Gaborone in return.

This is against the back ground of Zimbabwe exporting power to Namibia at a
discounted tariff to meet requirements of a US$50 million deal which has
worsened the power crisis. ZESA Holdings' external debt currently stands at
US$317 million while its internal debt is US$111 million.

ZPC managing director Noah Gwariro says the deal will see Zimbabwe revive
the Bulawayo Thermal Power Station and enable the company to generate 90
megawatts of electricity. Of this 40 megawatts will be exported to Botswana.

"This will go a long way in easing pressure on the national grid," he said.

Bulawayo and other small thermal power stations in the country were shut
down in June 2008 due to Zimbabwe's financial crisis and ailing

Under the Namibia deal signed in March 2007, Namibia, which provided
Zimbabwe with a loan of US$50 million, is supposed to receive 180 megawatts
for a minimum of five years as part of a power purchasing agreement between
ZESA and Namibia's power utility, Nampower.

The US$50 million was meant to refurbish and expand Hwange Power Station to
levels that would have resulted in a significant reduction in power-cuts
throughout energy-crisis-hit Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe's power plants are said to be in a serious state of disrepair.

According to a report by the World Bank released last month, the country
needs US$135 million for emergency rehabilitation of Hwange. Out of the
amount, US$6 million is required to secure the unstable ash dam.

The Kariba Dam south wall meanwhile is also in urgent need of rehabilitation
to ensure dam wall safety, the report said.

This would involve refurbishment of the floodgate mechanism and
strengthening of the plunge pool to prevent further erosion backwards to the
dam wall.

"This work is extremely urgent to ensure that dam wall safety is not
compromised," the World Bank report says.

The estimated cost for rehabilitation of Kariba south amounts to US$84
According to the report, the transmission infrastructure was in a poor state
of repair and requires huge investment to rehabilitate and reinforce the
network to an acceptable level.

The cost for transmission emergency rehabilitation amounts to US$561

ZESA Holdings is already saddled with a US$428 million debt which it is
battling to settle.

The power utility's cash woes are compounded by unrealistic tariffs over the
years in comparison to the viable rates levied by other utilities in the

Cash problems at ZESA Holdings also mean the country faces uncertainty over
future supply of power considering that the power utility has a daunting
task to raise US$385 million for emergency power needs.

The World Bank said there has been a decline in ZESA's operational,
commercial and financial performance since 1997 when the power supplier
collected 9 percent for accounts due.

ZESA currently collects an estimated US$20 million a month from its
customers, representing a 49 percent rate in account settlement by
customers, but this is hardly enough to cover its payroll.

Apart from low collections and sub-economic tariffs, the general downturn in
the economy and lack of access to financing has contributed to the power
utility's huge financial distress.

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Diamond Auction Cancellation Gives Zimbabwe Breathing Room

Howard Lesser | Washington 11 January 2010

Cancellation of Tuesday's planned auction of rough diamonds from Zimbabwe's
Marange fields could help Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's government
avert suspension from the international Kimberley Process certification

Evidence of government-led human rights abuse in diamond mining areas,
smuggling, and weak internal controls have placed Zimbabwe on a watch list
for noncompliance with a Kimberley Process plan of action agreed to by
Harare at a meeting last November.
Local miners prospecting for diamonds in Zimbabwe's Marange fields.

Diamond campaigner Amy Barry of the watchdog group Global Witness tells VOA
English to Africa reporter Howard Lesser that if today's auction had gone
ahead, Zimbabwe might have lost its bid for Kimberley certification and an
untainted opportunity to market its precious minerals worldwide.

"Part of the action plan that was agreed after the Kimberley Process
monitoring group visit to Zimbabwe was that they would not export diamonds
without prior agreement from the Kimberley Process Scheme.  And that
obviously didn't appear to be the case.  So for us, it was a signal of a
lack of respect for the action plan that had been agreed," she said.

Global Witness expressed disappointment that Zimbabwean authorities did not
reveal their cancellation plans well in advance to Kimberley Process bodies.
But human rights groups nonetheless welcomed Thursday's cancellation by
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a positive step until it could be
confirmed that Zimbabwe is complying with the Kimberley certification
PM Morgan Tsvangirai (L) and President Robert Mugabe (R) are pictured at
Zimbabwe International Investment Conference in Harare, 09 Jul 2009
PM Morgan Tsvangirai (L) and President Robert Mugabe (R) are pictured at
Zimbabwe International Investment Conference in Harare, 09 Jul 2009

Global Witness advocate Amy Barry says the Harare government needs to work
more closely with Kimberley monitors to ensure that meaningful reforms will
be implemented.

"It's imperative that the country as a whole cooperate with the Kimberley
Process and with the recommendations of the action plan because if they
failed to do so, then they will not be in compliance and therefore, they
shouldn't be exporting all mining diamonds," she noted.

Barry points out that cleaning up the diamond sector requires Zimbabwe to
halt military excesses in which violence is used against local villagers and
forced labor.  The workers are poorly paid and subject to deteriorating
living conditions and demands that they turn over most of their yields to
senior government and ZANU-PF officials.  The Global Witness observer says
that compliance with the Kimberley Process will require Zimbabwe to end
these practices.

"If the military is benefitting, then that is not something that we think is
in line with the spirit or the letter of the Kimberley Process.and they
shouldn't be considering export or profit for anybody from the diamond
industry until they can prove that there are no human rights abuses going on
and the areas where the diamonds are found are not under military control,"
she contends.

Tuesday's auction had been scheduled to be conducted by South Africa's Mbada
diamonds company under an agreement with the Zimbabwe government. Amy Barry
says that by going ahead with the trading, Zimbabwe most likely would have
been in violation of the action plan agreed to at a Kimberley Process
meeting last November in Namibia.

"One of the conditions was that the diamonds would not be exported.  So in
principle, an auction could have taken place and international exporters
could have bought their diamonds and kept them within the country.  But in
that situation then, Zimbabwe would not necessarily have been in breach of
the action plan.  However, the usual reasons for purchasing governments is
to go ahead and sell them.  And if international buyers were to be at the
auction, which we understand was to be the case, then the logical assumption
would be that those diamonds were there to be sold overseas," she advised.

Kimberley Process monitors have given Zimbabwe six months to curb abuses,
ease military restrictions, and improve conditions in Marange for local
residents.  For now, Zimbabwe's late-hour cancellation of a questionable
mineral sale will give the government some latitude to determine whether or
not it truly wants to pursue  the international legitimacy it seeks from
Kimberley Process ratification so it can openly market its mineral wealth
for profit.

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Nkomo backs Rautenbach project

January 11, 2010

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - Vice-President John Nkomo has backed businessman Billy Rautenbach's
bid to take over 100 000 hectares of land in the Nuanetsi Ranch for the
production of bio-diesel.

Nkomo effectively reversed an earlier decision by the Zanu-PF Masvingo
provincial executive who had opposed the project arguing that the
businessman was not indigenous and should not benefit from land reform.

The Masvingo Zanu-PF provincial executive led by Lovemore Matuke has opposed
the project arguing that Rautenbach is a white man and is, therefore, not
entitled to such a project.

"We have to ask ourselves questions as to where is the black empowerment if
we allow one white men take such a huge piece of land," said Matuke.

"As a party we are totally against this project. If it was a black man then
we should have the basis of supporting it. After all we hear that those
supporting the project have been given huge sums of money by the project

Former Masvingo governor Josaya Hungwe and sitting governor Titus Maluleke
have openly said that giving one white men 100 000 hectares of land means
that as a party they were reversing the gains of the liberation struggle.

"We can not give one man such a huge piece of land when black people are
landless," said Maluleke.

The investment project with an estimated cost of US$1 billion will cause the
displacement of over 1 000 families who are already settled in the Nuanetsi

On Friday, Nkomo met Masvingo political leaders at Masvingo Polytechnic
College over the issue. He told them he fully backed the project.

"We have to support development and this is one such development which we
have to support," said Nkomo.

"Those opposing the project, which is going to change the face of Masvingo,
are witches.

"I have come here to thank you for nominating me into the presidium and also
to tell you that the project has to go ahead."

It emerged however during the meeting that some farmers in the Nuanetsi
Ranch   had resisted eviction and had already taken the Development Trust of
Zimbabwe (DTZ) to court.

During the meeting, former Masvingo senator Dzikamai Mavhaire, said those
trying to scuttle the project should be physically assaulted.

"We do not have to waste time," said Mavhaire. "Those who want to scuttle
this project should be beaten up, even using 'dry hands'".

Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Stan Mudenge, also a prominent
political figure in Masvingo, said opponents of the project were MDC

"Because the MDC knows our links with Billy, they want to disturb our
relationship by claiming that Billy is a white man who should not benefit
from the land reform programme," said Mudenge.

"Billy is our friend and a Zanu-PF friend and therefore those who want his
eviction are MDC supporters."

Zimbabwe  Bio -Energy (Pvt) Ltd, a company owned by Rautenbach in which
President Robert Mugabe and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa  shareholder's
went into partnership with the Development Trust Zimbabwe (DTZ), a company
owned by the original PF-Zapu which became part of Zanu-PF after the two
parties signed a unity agreement in 1987.

The two companies are to grow sugar cane on 100 000 hectares of land in the
Nuanetsi Ranch for ethanol production.

In addition to the ethanol project, the two companies say they intend to
embark on a giant crocodile breeding and cattle ranching project.

Nuanetsi Ranch is one of the pioneer investments of DTZ which was
established in the early 1980s by the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, has.

In a development that has provoked controversy, the joint venture between
Zimbabwe Bio- Energy and DTZ would see the development of several projects
in the vast 300 000 hectare Nuanetsi Ranch.

DTZ vice chairman Liberty Mhlanga on Friday said: "We are going to have one
of the biggest investments in which we would want to grow sugar cane for
ethanol production.

"In addition, we will have one of the biggest crocodile projects in the
country and a cattle ranching business.

"We will also build lodges in the ranch in order to attract tourists during
the World Cup in South Africa in 2010."

The two companies have already cleared about 60 000 hectares of land. They
also have 5 000 herd of cattle on the property.

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Protest poets sing about Gukurahundi

Written by Staff Reporter
Monday, 11 January 2010 11:36
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa based Zimbabwean protest musical output have
released a thought-provoking album which has the potential to be a thorn in
the flesh of the powers that be in Zimbabwe.
Inkulu lendaba is pregnant with messages. The song says Zimbabweans spend a
lot of time in countries like Botswana and South Africa where they are
looked down upon and harassed. When these Zimbabweans visit their homes they
become 'visitors in their own homes'.
These protest poets highlight the plight of most Zimbabweans who are
foreigners in different countries. Their children grow up not knowing their
grannies. Ngekesikhohlwe sings about the Gukurahundi and says they will
never forget that period. One of the band members who preferred to remain
anonymous for now says his father was killed by the North Korean trained
Fifth Brigade.
The song says they will never forget their brothers and sisters who were
killed in Bhalagwe. Bhalagwe is a place in Matabeleland South where the
Fifth Brigade used to kill and throw suspected Zapu supporters.
The son of the Gukurahundi victim says, "I will never forget what happened
until some healing is done. I have to see someone who killed my father
apologizing". He says that incident left a scar is his memory that is why he
is singing' I won't forget.' The songs ask the one with blood fingers
whether he will face those dry bones and his sins.
The song Hungry Lions is likely to be a thorn in the flesh of Zanu (PF). The
song says "we are from slavery trade, colonialism to the Hungry Lions". "We
are from the frying pan to the fire. The poetry in this song is well
constructed with a supporting sombre beat.
The poet asks, "why are these killers called kings, why are theses riggers
called winners, their confusion is called revolution, these demons are
called democrats, their politricks is called politics, their tribalism is
called nationalism, cowards are called comrades, our pain is called our
gain, our poverty is called power and dictators are called doctors".
Referring to the 2008 elections, the poet goes on to say, "they cut off our
legs before the race and declare themselves the winners, they prefer to cut
our mouth than to answer our questions". Some songs tackle various other
aspects like praising the heroes like Lookout Masuku, Dumiso Dabengwa and
moan the forgotten culture. The poets criticizes thieves who turn the
breadbasket into an empty basket.

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Thugs destroy MDC activist’s livelihood

Written by Taurai Bande
Monday, 11 January 2010 13:02
Former prominent businessman and veteran MDC activist, Stanford Chigumbura
(49) is destitute, following the systematic destruction of his properties,
businesses, home, and health by Zanu (PF) thugs and state security agents
over a period of eight years.
MARONDERA - Chigumbura, who introduced MDC politics to Army General
Constantine Chiwenga’s home area, Wedza, now moves on crutches following
torture. He was accused by Mugabe sympathizers of supporting a
neo-colonialist agenda embraced by the MDC. "As the first MDC Chairperson
for Wedza, I led a delegation and approached Chief Wedza in 1999. We
informed him that we wanted to establish MDC structures in the area. Chiefs
were not yet politicized then, and Chief Svosve kindly accepted our
intention to practice MDC politics in his area of jurisdiction. I told him
we had decided to part ways with Zanu (PF), as our principles and ideology
conflicted with those of Mugabe and his followers. MDC structures were put
in place and rallies were then organized," said Chigumbura, who has been MDC
Director of elections for Marondera since 2001.
Businesses destroyed
After the 2000 parliamentary elections, Zanu thugs and CIO agents ordered
him to close his bakery and security company at Charumbira business centre.
His structures were destroyed and looted by political thugs. His business
ventures at ward 4 were also sabotaged. The security company, Thurchi
Security Services and Debt Collectors, had lucrative contracts to provide
security at Saint Marys’ hospital and secondary school. It also provided
services at other government and private institutions in Wedza. Chigumbura
was forced to relocate to Marondera in 2001. In a desperate bid to crawl
back into business, he opened offices for a security company at Mazarura
Complex. As he pursued political ambitions at the offices, partisan state
security agents forced him to close shop. They accused him of using the
offices for MDC politics. Guards and other personnel employed by the
company, were threatened and warned against associating with Chigumbura.
"Towards 2002 presidential elections, I shifted to Chatendeuka building to
pursue my previous projects. Zanu (PF) youths and CIO operatives followed up
and evicted me from the building. I abandoned the venture and devoted my
time to election campaigns. Hunting for my head by MDC enemies was stepped
up. A burning desire for democracy and political change in the country
spurred me on," he said in a recent interview.
Beaten unconscious
"I later provoked the anger of my detractors, when I declared that elections
in Marondera had been rigged in favour of Zanu (PF). State security agents
had locked me in a toilet at Nehanda Hall while counting of votes was in
progress. As a result of my revelations, the MDC made court petitions at the
High Court disputing the poll. In the company of fellow activists such as
Brightness Mangora and others, at the High Court, we verified and exposed
inconsistencies like multiple voting by Zanu (PF) followers. This further
irked Mugabe’s terror machinery which bayed for my blood," Chigumbura said.
After 18 days of hectic voter verification exercise at the High Court, on
June 4, 2003, Chigumbura re-established a bakery and a supermarket along
Longlands Road. The business was again looted by Zanu thugs and the CIO.
Chigumbura was abducted and driven to Zanu (PF) Provincial Headquarters. He
was blind-folded and severely assaulted. After being beaten unconscious, he
was thrown out on the street. Sympathizers took him to Harare for medical
On his return from Harare in 2003, Chigumbura relocated to Msami Cross in
Mrewa. He again established a bakery and supermarket. But his detractors
followed and caught up with him. The owner of the premises from which
Chigumbura operated, Madhuku, was threatened and forced to evict him from
the buildings. Chigumbura was subsequently thrown out of the premises and
left stranded.
Fake eviction order
He abandoned the project and moved to his house in Marondera. Zanu (PF)
heavyweights connived with former owner of Chigumbura’s 5 Devedzo Road
house, Farashisiko Kamhiripiri, to dispute ownership of the house by the
bruised MDC activist. State security agents and Zanu (PF) officials armed
with what Chigumbura described as fake High Court eviction orders,
dispossessed the Chigumbura family of the house. Zanu (PF) allegedly
threatened Chigumbura’s family lawyer, Clement Phiri, and cowed him out of
the country. Chigumbura went on to lose a residential stand bought through
Muchabvuma Housing Cooperative in 2007. The cooperative was chaired by Zanu
(PF) official, Maphias Mutonhori. Chigumbira had paid $11 million out of the
required $18 million. When he went to pay up the balance four months later,
he was charged interest at 40 percent of the outstanding money. At law, the
interest was supposed to be calculated at 30 percent. To date, Mutonhori is
reportedly holding on to the paid cash and the stand.
"Left homeless by the eviction order, we went to live with uncle Fanuel
Nhika at his Middlesex farm. The CIO and Zanu (PF) thugs threatened my
uncle, before torching the farmhouse. In 2004, I was arrested by Zanu (PF)
youths, together with MDC provincial youth leader, Jimmy Jalifi. The two of
us were severely beaten up at the town park before we were taken to a War
Veterans office. Heavy beatings continued and we were later handed over to
CIO agents for a three-day torture session. We were eventually saved by
Human Rights Lawyer Aleck Muchadehama," said Chigumbira.
Traumatized family
Despite some of his ordeals being treated as armed robberies by sympathetic
police officers, no action was taken to arrest the known culprits. Some
cases were recorded as robbery case number 086471 of 02-06-03, CR 72-06-03
DR 22-06-03, CR 18-06-03 DR 11-06-03. All cases were later closed without
investigation. The traumatized family, which had returned to live a
destitute life in a single hut in Mtoko, was chased away by councillor
Misheck Nyakudanga in Nyamukapa ward following the MDC-T 2008 election
"In a bid to put food on the table, I sold my two cars in 2007, a Mercedes
Benz 200 and a Nissan Hard body. My six children are out of school, since I
cannot afford the fees. I have no means to raise capital for the family to
start income-generating projects," said Chigumbura who claimed having
invested own funds to establish MDC structures in Wedza and Marondera.
Chigumbura now lives a beggar’s life accommodated by a relative in
Dombotombo. “My only wish is to live to witness Morgan Tsvangirai running
the country as president," said Chigumbura who suffers severe ill health as
a result of torture.

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Cops must evict Zanu (PF) settlers, council insists

Written by Natasha Hove
Monday, 11 January 2010 17:40
BULAWAYO - The City Council has enlisted the services of the police to evict
Zanu (PF) supporters who invaded the local authority's farm last year.
The local authority wants them evicted urgently as they have been poaching
in its nearby Tshabalala Game Sanctuary. It also fears land degradation if
the party faithful are allowed to remain on the farm.
According to latest council minutes, the local authority is working with
Donnington police officials on ways to remove the land hungry settlers to
avert wildlife being wiped out.
But the police have not given the council a date as to when they will carry
out the eviction.
"Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) had been given the eviction order from the
courts, however, they were still consulting before they gave council a date
to remove the settlers from Emganwini Farm," reads the latest council
About 300 Zanu (PF) supporters, led by war veteran Lillian Kandemiri,
invaded the council-owned Emganwini farm claiming they had a directive from
Didymus Mutasa, the party secretary for administration.
A High Court order directing that the settlers vacate the farm was ignored
as the settlers claimed their invasion was part of the controversial land
"reform" programme.
Kandemiri said they would resist any eviction attempts. She has already
contacted a construction company to build 400 housing units on the farm. She
claims to have received the go ahead from Mutasa for this operation. No
comment could be obtained from Mutasa.

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Chihuri blocks PM’s visits to cops… fears growing support for MDC

Written by The Zimbabwean
Monday, 11 January 2010 16:16
HARARE - The commissioner of police, Augustine Chihuri (pictured), blocked
Prime Minister and MCD leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, from touring police
stations around the country in December, according to Radio VOP.
Highly placed sources in the Zimbabwe Republic Police said at the weekend
that Tsvangirai wanted to visit police posts to meet officers. He planned to
assess their work conditions and hear their concerns. But his visit was
blocked by Chihuri.
During his proposed visit, Tsvangirai also intended making a firsthand
assessment of police cells whose conditions have been roundly condemned by
human rights activists.
“The Prime Minister was supposed to visit Harare Central Police Station and
several other stations around the country in December but the visit was
blocked by Chihuri. We understand he is afraid that the Prime Minister was
going to use his visit to cement the already growing support that he enjoys
among members of the force,” said highly placed sources at Harare Central
Police station.
“A radio signal was sent in December instructing police officers to prepare
for the visit of the Prime Minister. But while officers were busy preparing
for his coming, another message was sent to all stations instructing
everyone not to entertain the Prime Minister, or anyone representing him.
That was the last we heard of his visit.”
The sources said they would have wanted the Prime Minister to visit so that
he could see for himself the rot at many police stations in the country.
The cells at Harare Central Police Station are uninhabitable, with prisoners
crowded in the cells and diseases flourishing.  In October last year, senior
policemen also blocked visits to police stations by the MDC co-minister of
home affairs, Giles Mutsekwa, saying that they were “busy”.
Chihuri is a hardline Zanu (PF) supporter whose term of office has been
continuously renewed by President Robert Mugabe. Together with other
security chiefs, before the March 2008 harmonised elections, he vowed not to
salute Tsvangirai if he was to become president of the country.
In 2007 on March 11, Chihuri sanctioned the assault of Tsvangirai and many
other civic leaders during the aborted prayer meeting at Zimbabwe grounds.
Tsvangirai was beaten all over his body until he passed out.
Just recently Chihuri refused to facilitate a civil service audit programme
from accessing police files. It is believed that the police force has on its
payroll thousands of war veterans who are neither police officers nor police
constabularies, in addition to an unknown number of ghost workers who have
left the force.

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No money for new judges- Makarau

12/01/2010 00:00:00

CONDITIONS of service for Zimbabwe's judiciary are so unattractive that the
country cannot make new appointments to the bench with the Bulawayo High
Court being the worst affected, Judge President Rita Makarau has said.

"We have been informed that our conditions of service are so unattractive
that no new appointments can be made to the bench. That our conditions of
service are scandalous is now common knowledge.

"That the nation cannot have new judges appointed to the bench without first
improving on conditions of service of sitting judges goes without saying,"
Makarau said while officially opening the 2010 legal calendar.

The head of the country's High Court said Bulawayo was the worst area
affected by the problem with just three judges serving in the country's
second largest city.

"Four governors, resident ministers, a host of senators and members of the
House of Assembly serve the same population that the three judges in
Bulawayo attempted to serve during the year 2009", the

Makarau lamented the lack of judicial independency in the country saying
while Zimbabwe subscribed to the doctrine of separation of powers among the
three organs of the state, scant regard was given to the principle in

"We in the judiciary have no role in matters of the executive and of the
legislature. The reverse should also hold true.

"However, I am of the view that the doctrine of separation of powers has
been applied against the judiciary to place it in isolation that is neither
splendid nor beneficial to anyone."

Makarau said politicians easily found the resources to bring back the Senate
adding there is also talk of constructing a new Parliament building and a
motel for legislators from outside Harare.

She said several new ministers and their deputies were appointed after the
creation of the inclusive government yet nothing was done for the judiciary.

"A convenient answer from politicians will be that different considerations
apply amongst the three organs of state. This is indeed correct. But should
service to the populace not be the paramount consideration?

"Separation of powers surely does not mean separate development of the
organs of State? Or does it?" she said.

Makarau also said despite the promulgation of the Judiciary Services Act in
2006, the magistrates still fall under the control of the executive and not
the chief justice.

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Mugabe and the White African: The last stand

Written by The Daily Telegraph
Monday, 11 January 2010 10:52
ben_freeth_and_workersA superb new documentary, secretly shot inside
Zimbabwe, tells the true story of the corrupt and brutal land "resettlement"
programme. It vividly underlines the truth that if the people of Zimbabwe
are to recover from the years of decline and destruction, they will need the
likes of Ben Freeth and Mike Campbell much more than they will need the
likes of Robert Mugabe.  (Pictured: Ben Freeth and his father in law Mike
Campbell and workers.)
There is a moment in Mugabe and the White African that suddenly and vividly
defines the banality, the infantile pointlessness, of those directing
Zimbabwe's violent collapse into anarchy. Peter Chamada, the son of Mugabe's
political ally Nathan Shamuyarira, has arrived on a white farmer's land in
his shining new Toyota Prado and is taking photographs on an expensive
mobile phone. He glares, wild-eyed with contempt, into the camera and
declares, "This land is now my home. The government has taken it from you
people [the white farmers] to redistribute to the poor black majority. This
land belongs to the black peasants."
As the records show, the land taken from some 4,000 productive white
Zimbabwean farmers, often with violent force, has been handed almost
exclusively to Mugabe's cronies - pliable judges, air vice-marshals,
provincial administrators, girlfriends of ministers and assorted relations
such as Chamada.
When the white farmer Ben Freeth asks how someone like the expensively
dressed Chamada can describe himself as a member of the poor black majority,
"when every time you come here you arrive in a brand-new car", the raging
scion spits out, "I will sleep here until you are out. We want to deal with
friendlier people - the Chinamen, the Indians. We don't want anything to do
with you [white] people."

Farm workers
All around are the black farm workers who clearly dread the moment Chamada
and his ilk prise the farm from its white owners. For them this supposed
liberation will be the beginning of their descent into joblessness,
homelessness and hunger, a journey taken by the majority of Mugabe's
subjects over the past 10 years. As the film shows, the farms plundered by
Mugabe's inner circle, which once formed the backbone of a thriving economy,
are now by and large unmaintained, overgrown wastelands. (Mugabe first set
his ragtag army of militants on to the white farmers in 2000 after he lost a
referendum called to entrench his political power. Since then violent
intimidation and seizures in the name of land distribution have derailed the
commercial agricultural sector.)
This exchange takes place a matter of weeks before Freeth, his father-in-law
and mother-in-law are abducted, tortured and beaten by a gang of Chamada's,
and thus Mugabe's, storm troopers.
Freeth's father-in-law is Mike Campbell, the White African of the film's
title, and he is battered so severely that he is unable to attend the final
hearing of the international human rights court in Namibia, which is to
deliver its verdict on the legality of Mugabe's land invasions. Freeth does
attend, but in a wheelchair and with his head swathed in bandages.

Court battle
The court finds in their favour and declares the attempts to invade the
Campbells' pretty Mount Carmel fruit farm illegal. As their legal counsel
says, they bought the farm on the open market after Zimbabwe's independence
and with the approval of Mugabe's government at the time. The judgment also
means that the invasions of the past decade are illegal and all the farmers
who have been thrown off the land have a right to return to their farms. It
is a landmark judgment that Mugabe will completely ignore.
This courtroom battle, which ran for more than a year, is the narrative
thread for Mugabe and the White African, a remarkable documentary that is
longlisted for the 2010 Oscars, and has already won several major awards for
the British filmmakers Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson.

Beautifully filmed
While most such documentaries are harsh, grainy, news-feature affairs that
owe their veracity to nuts-and-bolts journalism, this film is a thoughtful,
structured piece that is beautifully filmed, cleverly edited and driven by a
cast of characters whose courage and decency lift the spirits despite the
Stygian gloom in which they are living.
Thompson's partner, Lucy Bailey, whose background is in anthropology, says
that making terse three-minute documentaries for Comic Relief taught the
couple the power of good filmmaking and provided perfect training for their
first full-length film. 'Life is raw in Africa in ways that it plainly isn't
in Europe, and for Comic Relief we had filmed in the most awful slums, so we
had learnt how to tell larger stories by focusing on the plight of
The couple had also spent considerable time in Africa making documentaries
for National Geo­graphic, the BBC and Discovery Channel, and, Thompson says,
'we were always looking for the big story. We had come across a newspaper
clipping about this white farmer who was planning to take on Robert Mugabe
in the courts and it sounded like a classic David and Goliath story.'

Secret trips
The film took more than a year to make and involved Thompson taking five
clandestine trips into Zimbabwe, smuggling in large-format film equipment
that was difficult to conceal. Despite his experiences as a cameraman in
hostile environments such as Afghanistan and Iraq, he says he has never
worked in a more terrifying place and was quite unprepared for the
threatening atmosphere of Mugabe's Zimbabwe.
'Ben had told me about a cloud of fear that hung over the country but I don't
think I really appreciated it until I began making this film there. In Gaza,
for example, if you have a permit you can film everything all the time. In
Zimbabwe, there are no permits and you never know what will happen next. It
is a very intimidating place, ruled by fear, but that's precisely what
Mugabe wants the country to be like.'
Bailey, who was in charge of the logistics, says the film took a lot of
careful planning. 'We had to smuggle equipment in and out of the country, we
had to avoid travelling with the equipment, and nobody but the protagonists
could know we were filming. We worked with a lot of brave Zimbabwean fixers
who risked their lives moving the equipment around and getting the rushes
out of the country.'

World leaders
Thompson says they set out not only to make 'as good a film as we could
about the subject but also to make a film that had far-reaching
consequences, to actually make a difference.' To that end they have already
organised private screenings for the Southern African Development Community
secretariat, various non-government organisations and African politicians,
and are hoping to do the same with the US Senate, 'and get it in front of
world leaders in the European Union, the African Union and the United
Those last remaining white Zimbabweans are fascinating characters, droll and
phlegmatic in the face of constant danger, determined and adaptable as the
country's political and economic infrastructure implodes around them, and
calm and forgiving under the utmost provocation. And, as Andrew Thompson
observes of Mike Campbell, 'with no visible anger and with a twinkle in his
In one memorable scene in the film, Campbell, Freeth and some of the workers
arm themselves and drive into the pitch-black African night to hunt down the
intruders. The tension and the unseen presence of loitering thugs
brilliantly conveys the sense of isolation and ever-present danger these
farmers have been living with for more than a decade.
For most in the West, the Zimbabwean land invasions and the plight of the
white farmers have been vaguely understood stories of minor interest running
in the background, while major world events - the Iraq war, the Afghanistan
conflict, the collapse of the Western banking industry - have dominated the
headlines and our thoughts. By bringing the humanity of the 'White African'
and his family to our attention, Bailey and Thompson have firmly fixed the
spotlight on one of the world's most cunning and destructive political
leaders. And if the people of Zimbabwe are to recover from the years of
decline and destruction, they will need the likes of Freeth and Campbell
much more than they will need the likes of Robert Mugabe.

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Zimbabwe's language of hope

As political stalemate deepens, a school for the hearing-impaired in an
impoverished township shows what's possible.

By Kate Chambers / January 11, 2010

My car bumps across a stony track in Sakubva suburb. Like many roads in
Zimbabwe, this one is so badly potholed that it looks as if it's been
shelled. Piles of garbage rot in the sun on either side.

Despite the excited chatter of the four preschoolers in the back seat, my
thoughts are glum. Lately, I've been wondering if my hope in a bright future
for Zimbabwe is misplaced.

There was so much hope last February when former opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai joined a power-sharing government with longtime President Robert
Mugabe. Many Zimbabweans believed that nine years of political and economic
turmoil were finally over.

Ten months on, cracks in the coalition are widening. Mr. Tsvangirai alleges
that his supporters are being persecuted. He claims that Mr. Mugabe refuses
to share control of the central bank and other government institutions.
Mugabe maintains he's done nothing wrong. In fact, he says Tsvangirai has
failed to abide by the unity deal: He hasn't persuaded the United States and
the European Union to lift sanctions on Mugabe and his associates.

I'm indignant and despondent by turns. I long for a fair (and speedy)
solution to what looks like a dangerous stalemate. But I'm aware that my
Western way of thinking is not shared by everyone. Friends from the ethnic
Shona majority urge patience. Like many educated urbanites, most are
supporters of Tsvangirai.

"We can't go backwards now," they assure me. "Things will be better."

I checked my e-mail this morning before I left to take my 5-year-old on a
class outing, and found disheartening news. An opposition party official had
been abducted. State agents had raided the home of a union head. Can my
friends really be right?

Our convoy of cars rounds the corner. We reach a gravel parking lot,
bordered by freshly mown grass. A welcoming party waits. Each small member
wears a hearing aid, a bulky battery strapped to his or her chest, and a
huge smile.

My son's teachers have brought the class to the Nzeve Deaf Children's Centre
in the eastern city of Mutare. Nzeve means "ear" in the Shona language. This
project for hearing-impaired preschoolers was started in 2000: now, more
than 30 children are enrolled. The visitors crowd under a thatched outdoor
shelter and learn how to introduce themselves in sign language.

My son is happy that the sign for his name, Sam, is the same as the sign for
simba, which means lion. He and his friends learn to sign "I am a boy,"
thumping their chests and pointing to nonexistent beards.

I look up to the hills of Christmas Pass behind the school and feel myself

We troop into a classroom, leaving our shoes outside. The Nzeve Centre is a
testament to the power of cheerful hope for children who might otherwise
have been denied a chance to learn. Frequent teachers' strikes and a lack of
funding during the crisis took their toll on Zimbabwe's schools: In 2008,
many pupils got less than a month's worth of lessons. But this institution
in the heart of an impoverished township kept functioning. Today there are
painted self-portraits on the walls and books neatly filed in boxes. There
is even carpet on the floor, an unimaginable luxury for most Zimbabweans.

Sam and his classmates learn that to make the sign for a zebra, you must
stroke your stomach with your fingers splayed out, imitating the stripes on
the zebra's coat. If you want to talk about a giraffe, stroke your neck.
Swing your forearm in front of your nose to make the sign for an elephant.
Their new friends are eager to help, waving their arms to demonstrate the
right sign for a rhino.

My son's class has collected money for weeks to bring presents. It wasn't
easy: Zimbabwe abandoned its worthless local dollar for the greenback early
this year, but prices are still way above regional averages. A civil servant's
monthly salary of $150 barely covers his electricity bill. Families have dug
deep to fill boxes with bottles of a baobab-flavored drink, bars of soap,
and secondhand clothes. There are potato chips and cookies, treats forgotten
during the years of empty supermarket shelves. Collen, a boy in a
bottle-green pullover, signs excitedly to his headmistress: "It's like

I watch from the back of the classroom. There are nearly 50 preschoolers in
this group. Most are black, but there are five whites, plus a little girl
from Goa and a boy whose mother is from Pakistan. Half have hearing
difficulties. In theory, there could be much that divides them.

An assistant brings out a bottle of dish detergent bubbles. As the children
leap for the cloud of perfect soapy spheres, I know that my faith in
Zimbabwe's future is as strong as ever.

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Clinging to the throne for dear life

Monday, 11 January 2010 13:10
Zanu (PF) has created a police state where the ruling aristocrats decide who
lives and who dies, who gets a farm and who doesn't, who is a patriot and
who is a sellout, who is a hero and who is a villain.
One of the biggest highlights and most curiously followed developments after
the formation of the inclusive government in 2009 was the Zanu (PF) national
congress in December. Robert Mugabe's party is the oldest and, until the
last decade, the most dominant political institution in the land. As feared
but expected, the congress  'unanimously' re-elected him as party leader and
presidential candidate for the next election, whenever that will be. This is
despite the fact that Mugabe is turning 85 next month. The outcome removes
any doubt that Mugabe is the 'elected' king of Zanu (PF), and intends to die
on the throne - making a sham of any parliamentary democracy and free and
fair elections. He has created a police state where the ruling aristocrats
decide who lives and who dies, who gets a farm and who doesn't, who is a
patriot and who is a sellout, who is a hero and who is a villain.
Despite all this, there had been some hope that at some point Zanu (PF)
would be forced to reinvent itself and get rid of Mugabe. Electoral
manipulation is what has sustained both the party and Mugabe's power.  Those
who have chosen to give the electorate an alternative have been insulted and
vilified together with their supporters. Hate language has been
systematically used since liberation war times to reduce political
competitors to some form of sub-human who does not deserve any human
dignity, even the right to life, thereby legitimizing their persecution,
even unto death!
Behind the aggressive, dismissive rhetoric of Zanu (PF) and Mugabe lie
suspicious minds that conjure their own demons, the 'dissidents',
'imperialists' and a host of imaginary enemies. Of course all this is a
mirage, just like the "sanctions" veil constructed to cause alarm and
despondency, to perpetuate the war agenda and thus sustain the relevance of
Zanu (PF). It may sound insulting to say violence is the only political game
Zanu (PF) takes into the year 2010, but in fact in 1976, while prosecuting
the liberation war, Mugabe is recorded as having remarked that; "Our votes
must go with our guns. After all, any vote we shall have shall have been the
product of the gun. The gun, which produces the vote, should remain its
security officer, its guarantor. The people's votes and the people's guns
are always inseparable twins."
These words have not been mere threats. Mugabe has turned Zanu (PF) into a
miniature of the Nazi party. To illustrate this, in the building of a brutal
terrorist state, in 1933, fire broke out in the Reichstag (German
Parliament) and Hitler declared that it was a terrorist attack by the
communists. This gave him enough grounds to arrest political opponents, kill
them, and deny them the right to free speech, assembly and due process of
the law. In 1983, 50 years later, arms caches were 'discovered' in
Matabeleland, but not before Mugabe's private army, the fifth brigade, had
been well trained to deal with perceived ZAPU supporters in Matabeleland and
Midlands. This gave Mugabe the opportunity to be a crisis leader, with a
God-given right to impose a state of emergency, the power to use the fifth
brigade to massacre, abduct and cause terror in defence of 'the state
against dissidents' and 'forces of destabilization'.
If Hitler's eight million Jewish victims were considered a global tragedy,
then 10 000 to 20 000 mostly Ndebele victims 50 years later should be
considered at least a national tragedy, something worth a moment of silence
and a moment of truth. Countless citizens who have defied the authority of
the Mugabe by supporting opposition parties have since suffered the same
fate. The violence visited on the "opponents of the state" was and continues
to be   done to tell citizens that there are no multiple narratives to our
political future - only one dominant nationalist narrative or ideology
(gwara) as defined by Zanu (PF) and well articulated by Mugabe.
The 2009 congress confirmed the party as an institution that continues to
perfect the art of manufactured consent and is not about to change. Not even
when the times demand such. Zimbabweans may not want to remember the
previous congress where the so-called 'million man march' silenced calls for
leadership change within Zanu (PF) and gave Mugabe yet another 're-election'
as party president.
Remember the desperate June 27 presidential run-off - a typical mockery of
the will of the people - a manufactured electoral victory!  Behind the
celebrated façade of the populist agenda and the 'sanctions veil' are a
party and leader trapped in survival mode. They find themselves inextricably
bound by the mutual threat to political survival; they tremble in front of
the ideals of human rights, democracy, and good governance - ideals whose
time has come.
The slide to self-destruction is inevitable - surely they know it. But
Mugabe's only defence now is to be misleadingly delusional - so he clings to
the throne for dear life. - Nyoni is a Hubert Humphrey Fellow, Public Policy
Analysis, University of Minnesota, USA

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Tomana is an absolute disgrace

Written by Editor
Monday, 11 January 2010 06:22
We are horrified that the Attorney General is professing ignorance of the
MDC dossier that was handed over to his office last year containing full
details of the abductions and murders of hundreds of MDC supporters before,
during and after the March 2008 poll.

What Johannes Tomana is trying to tell us, is that he has trashed the
dossier. All those who died mean nothing to him. And he has absolutely no
intention of doing anything to bring to justice those who perpetrated these
dastardly deeds.
That such a man holds the honourable office of Attorney General - a nation's
highest legal office - is an abominable disgrace.
Maybe we should just start all over again. It is a new year after all. The
Prime Minister himself should take a copy of this dossier and hand it over
publicly and personally to the Attorney General.
The whole country will then await the AG's response. The fact that not a
single prosecution has taken place more than 18 months after the murders
were committed, is an indictment against the office of the AG. We all know
that many in the army, the police, the air force, the prison service and the
CIO, as well as the militia and Zanu (PF) officials, were involved in the
murders, abductions and torture of MDC activists in 2008. Many of these are
known to their victims and named in the dossier.
We are not asking the AG' s office to undertake an impossible task - the
crimes that have been committed are easily solvable. There are numerous
witnesses. Evidence has been compiled. The legwork has been done for him.
All he needs to do is his job - for which he is paid by the taxpayer - of
prosecuting criminals.
If he is unwilling or unable to perform his duties, then he should do the
honourable thing and resign. Zimbabweans expect and deserve an AG who is
impartial, professional enough to carry out his job without fear or favour,
and uphold the constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe, to which he swore
his oath of allegiance.
The MDC has been demanding Tomana's resignation for many months, because of
the manner in which he was appointed and because of his unashamed
partisanship towards Zanu (PF). This hour demands that he proves to all that
he is a professional, worthy of the trust of Zimbabweans, and that any of us
seeking justice can be assured of finding it on his watch. If not, he must
go. Now.

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Bridging the knowledge divide: Beitbridge

by Mutumwa Mawere Tuesday 12 January 2010

OPINION: Our past has helped define the present. We may not like or respect
our total heritage but we are compelled to know it in the interests of
progress and development.

Africa's heritage is too complex for us to pick and choose what aspects to
preserve and condemn.

When I was growing up I knew like many of the existence of a bridge, which
forms the political border between South Africa and Zimbabwe, but I did not
know of its history and origins and more importantly why it was named
Beitbridge. I just assumed that Beit must have been one of the British

The connection between Beit, South Africa and Zimbabwe is knowledge I did
not acquire in my formal education.

I have often crossed the bridge that is located about 1 kilometre from
Beitbridge town, the border town in the province of Matabeleland South,

The name Beitbridge refers to both the border post and bridge spanning the
Limpopo River.

I have been inspired to write about this important address in Africa not
only because it connects two important countries in Southern Africa but of
the history and lessons inherent in it.

When I was growing up in Rhodesia, I had no idea that although the country
was named after Cecil John Rhodes, whose English heritage is well known, the
real movers and shakers of the colonial project were not exclusively

What I have come to learn over the years is that the financing of the
project was internally generated and there was no direct cash injection by
the British administration to promote and sustain the colonial initiative.

The bridge was named after Alfred Beit, a Jewish German-born British
financier; gold and diamond magnate, philanthropist, supporter of British
imperialism and a business associate of Rhodes. He helped finance the
establishment of De Beers diamond mining company, a company that was founded
by Rhodes.

Beit who came to Africa from Germany had no connection with the British
Empire. He was sent to Kimberley in 1875 by his firm to buy diamonds and the
rest is history.

He made his fortune in Africa and chose England as his adopted home and was
knighted by Queen Victoria in recognition of his contribution to advancing
English civilisation.

From the wealth made from African resources, he became a major donor towards
infrastructure development in central and Southern Africa, and to university
education and research in several countries.

Beit was also a director of a number of companies associated with Rhodes
including the British South Africa Company and Rhodesia Railways.

In 1929, the bridge was constructed at a cost of US$220 000 with financing
jointly provided by the Beit Railways Trust and the South African Railways.

Until 1995 when a new bridge was built by the Zimbabwean government, the
bridge was the sole link between South Africa and Zimbabwe.

What is instructive is that post-colonial Zimbabwe did not produce another
Beit who had the vision and selflessness to set up a Trust, Beit Trust,
through which he bequeathed £1 200 000 for infrastructure development in the
former North and South Rhodesia.

My image of settlers was shaped by the character and language of the
liberation struggle. A causal connection between colonialism and imperialism
was made to the extent that I would not have imagined any colonialist to
behave any better than any soldier of fortune.

Why would anyone with no vested interest in the future of the country bother
to leave funds for the development of infrastructure that would benefit
people beyond his/her circle of friends and family?

Any person who uses the bridge must know that he/she is an inheritor of Beit's
legacy. The Beit Trust was later modified to university education and
research in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi.

Although Beit died in 1906 or five years after the death of Rhodes, the
bridge was only built in 1929.

At Beitbridge, three railway lines meet i.e. the South African Spoornet line
to Polokwane, the National Railways of Zimbabwe line to Gweru via Rutenga
and the Beitbridge Bulawayo Railway.

Beit's brand has proved strong to the extent that even after independence
there has been no call for a change of name. Zimbabwe has comfortably
accepted that Beit is part of the country's heritage.

He had no obligation to invest in the projects that he did in life and after
death but believed in the future of Africa. Africa is better because of the
corporate social investments made by people like Beit.

There was nothing that prepared Beit for what was to come his way in Africa.
He had no idea that Africa would be rewarding to the extent that it did to
him and his family. Without the resources that lay in Africa's belly, there
would be no Beitbridge to talk about.

What is significant is that the resources in question would have remained
where God deposited them were it not for the creativeness and ingenuity of
people like Beit.

Rhodes without Beit's financial engineering would have just been another
English dreamer.

The bridge is a reminder to all of us on what occupied the minds of the
founding fathers of corporate Africa. Their calling could not have simply
been the plunder of wealth. For if it was, Beitbridge would not exist.

Through the Beitbridge story, we now know that it was private funds that
were combined with public funds (from South Africa) to construct the
important link between the then Rhodesia and South Africa.

Rhodes understood as the Imperial Administration must have understood that
allowing private sector intervention can result in growth and development
than invest in a business model premised on the state as the driver of
economic and social change.

Beit was not invited to Africa but responded to the diamond rush that
attracted many other people to the continent.

The class of people that Beit belonged to was adventurers of the first

They had no one to look up to but they knew that without investing in an
institutional, legal and infrastructural system that would attract human and
physical capital their dreams of being rich would soon evaporate.

In hindsight, how should we classify Beit as? Should he be included in the
class of African drivers of change? Should he be categorised as a blood
sucking capitalist? Can Africa's heritage story be complete without the
inclusion of people like Beit?

As we grope for direction on what kind of society we want to see in Africa
we have to challenge our minds informed by our past - good and bad - so that
we can draw lessons on how best Africa can capture the human spirit and
imagination to its advantage.

Through this important bridge, we can learn more about our past and the
players who shaped our present. - ZimOnline

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