Written by JOHN ROBERTSON
Tuesday, 12 January 2010 09:00
For those people who still wield authority to constantly bleat about being
disqualified from certain benefits because of the conduct of the self-same
people is to insult the intelligence of the hundreds of countries and
thousands of organisations that wish Zimbabwe well.
ALREADY this year, the “economic sanctions” monster has had its mythical
head pushed into the all too real faces of Zimbabwe's Movement for
Democratic Change. This accompanied a repeat of Zanu (PF)'s demand that MDC
must have those wretched “sanctions” lifted before it has any right to
expect Zanu (PF) to help Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity to actually
work. Zanu (PF) members are constantly being reminded that any Zimbabwean
business can trade with businesses in any country in the world and therefore
the “sanctions” that do exist are political, not economic, and apply to
named individuals, not the whole country. But this seems only to annoy them,
and they are now making efforts to claim that Zimbabwe's exclusion from the
United States' Africa Growth Opportunities Act as a clear case of vicious,
illegal economic “sanctions”.
But it is not. The Act rewards African countries that make measurable
efforts to improve their own standards of economic and political behaviour,
and the reward takes the form of duty-free access to United States' markets.
To qualify, countries have only to show that they are making progress
towards entirely acceptable objectives, most of which relate to the
observance of the rule of law, the protection of intellectual and other
property rights, the reduction of poverty and the efforts needed to increase
access to health care and educational opportunities.
All these have been found so readily acceptable that most African
governments have been happy prove their eligibility and to make the most of
their duty-free and quota-free access to the US markets. Nearly all the
others are working on the outstanding issues and hope to qualify soon. But
not Zimbabwe, simply because strengthening the rights of ordinary citizens
would weaken the powers of a government that has nothing to offer but
threats of violence. The clear intention of the US is to promote the
interests of people who deserve better standards of governance. However,
Zimbabwe's veteran politicians do not believe the citizens deserve any such
thing and instead prefer to accuse their critics of imposing "illegal
But even though Zimbabwe does not qualify for preferential treatment, the
country exports more to the US than 35 of the 39 countries that do qualify.
And if this fact is not enough to persuade Zanu (PF) that economic
“sanctions” do not exist, perhaps one more will do it: about half of
Zimbabwe's population is currently dependent of food aid that is supplied by
the very countries that are accused of imposing economic “sanctions”.
Instead of conjuring up fictions to deflect attention from embarrassing
facts, would it not be easier for all concerned to simply meet the
requirements that so many others have met? Easier, yes, but clearly too
costly for the few hundred people who insist that their personal interests
far outweigh the interests of the 12 million or so that make up the rest of
As 12million Zimbabweans have not effectively taken exception to this
bizarre situation, the concerned international community has identified the
few hundred culprits on their travel ban and blocked bank account lists.
Zimbabwe has not been singled out on the AGOA list, as Zanu (PF) claims, and
neither have these individuals. When the government chooses to make the
effort, the country will be admitted as a member of the club. The Millennium
Challenge Corporation, also based in the US, offers a similar set of
requirements, but countries that meet its evidence-of-progress criteria are
eligible for direct financial help. The MCC programme offers support to
countries that have made commitments to rule justly, to invest in their own
people and to provide a business climate that is based on economic freedoms
that are attractive to the private sector.
Broad categories covering 17 indicators are used to assess the eligibility
of each country. One of the tricky ones is to achieve a track record of
genuine efforts to control corruption. The MCC argues that development
assistance does not achieve very much unless corruption is brought under
control. Other indicators relate to civil liberties, the rule of law,
rights, access to health and education services, government effectiveness
and accountability and the procedures for starting a business.
Achieved on all of them are fully disclosed so that governments keen to
qualify for assistance can see how they are doing and compare their
positions with those of other countries.
Zimbabwe's scorecard for 2009 shows that 15 of the 17 indicators were below
acceptable standards, and on 0 percent to 100 percent scales that rank the
measures from worst to best, six of these were so bad they had measures
below 0 percent, or negative numbers. The two acceptable figures were for
health expenditures and natural resource management, but two that were
considered acceptable in 2007, spending on primary education and girls
completing primary education, could not be assessed in 2009 and appear to
have been assumed to have slipped below acceptable standards.
By contrast, the scorecard for Mozambique showed four unacceptable scores
out of 17, and Tanzania showed two. Listings of MCC beneficiaries show
Mozambique and Tanzania, but do not show Zimbabwe. Nobody questions the
thought that Zimbabwe needs help, but it sees that nobody yet believes that
Zimbabwe is deserving of help. So the country's escape from its own
self-inflicted handicaps has to start with plausible efforts by its own
authorities, at home. For those people who still wield authority to
constantly bleat about being
disqualified from certain benefits because of the conduct of the self-same
people is to insult the intelligence of the hundreds of countries and
thousands of organisations that wish Zimbabwe well.
Diplomatic niceties and good manners stop them all from coming right out and
saying, "Why are you so stupid?" Zimbabweans are also too polite. But the
sentiment behind that question will be answered in the next election in the
form of a blank square. A bold X will appear in an alternative box on
millions of ballot papers.
January 13, 2010
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu on Wednesday dismissed a request
by Peter Michael Hitschmann to seek his own lawyer in MDC treasurer general
Roy Bennett's terrorism trial in which he is the state's key witness."Having
considered the matter," Bhunu said before a packed court Tuesday, "I do not
see how anything which the witness would have said in this court could have
a bearing on his appeal. Therefore, he is required to testify. His request
The ruling by Bhunu was in response to a request by Hitschmann who was
adamant he stood to discredit an appeal he has made with the Supreme Court
against his own conviction in 2006.
The firearms dealer, who was acquitted of the charges which Bennett now
faces, was found guilty of violating sections of the Public Order and
Security Act through illegal possession of dangerous weapons.
"The Attorney General now requires answers to questions pertaining to my
crime and I have to respectfully, Your Honour, request you to consider my
rights," Hitschmann said as he interjected Attorney General Johannes Tomana,
who is prosecuting the high profile case.
Tomana wanted Hitschmann to admit he was the author of a 14-page document in
which he was admitting to committing the crime with Bennett. Bennett denies
"I am prepared to assist the state in which ever manner I can but not to the
extent of possibly jeopardizing my appeal," said Hitschmann.
"If you continue to proceed in this manner I would request legal
Hitschmann said if he proceeded with giving evidence based on statements
that he had already disowned, his rights were being violated.
"I am placed in a somewhat difficult position your honour," Hitschmann said
before a packed court at the High Court.
"I have tried to cooperate as far as possible in my role as state witness of
which I have no choice, Your Honour, as you are aware that I am convicted on
High Court record 319/3/06.
Hitschmann further told the court he was convicted by High Court judge
Alphias Chitakunye on July 2, 2006 and his appeal against both conviction
and sentence were still pending in the Supreme Court.
This is in spite of his having served his jail sentence.
Said Hitschmann, "Justice Chitakunye did not challenge the fact that I had
undergone torture and he ruled that any confessions, statements or warned
and cautioned statements obtained from me without the presence of a legal
counsel had to be excluded from my trial with respect to Your Honour."
During their submissions, both the state and the defence were locked in a
gruelling legal duel on whether the court should consider Hitshmann's
Lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said it was bizarre for a witness to be denied the
right to legal representation.
Mtetwa was adamant the State could not proceed with the trial using
statements which Hitschmann made during his trial arguing this was in
contravention of Section 259 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act that
says confessions by one person cannot be used against another.
"The evidence sought to be adduced is inadmissible and clearly prejudicial
according to Section 259 of the CP and E Act," said Mtetwa.
The said confessions which are contained in a 14-page document were made "in
unfriendly and traumatic circumstances" and without the presence of his
In his submissions, Tomana said a witness loses his right to legal
representation if he becomes a state witness.
"The appeal at the Supreme Court has not merit," added Tomana.
"This process is not meant to cause his statement to be relied upon by the
court. It is simply meant to prove that it was made in the first place. It
is required in the process of impeaching the witness.
"His statement is not a confession but a narration of events leading to the
recovery of the firearms. The process is to establish the actual truth. It
would be of no harm if the witness assists the courts.
Bennett's trial, which resumed Monday after a month's break, saw Hitschmann
being called to the witness's stand.
But proceedings were clogged by an attempt by the state to declare him a
hostile witness and discredit his evidence.
This is after Hitschmann had refused to give evidence based on confessions
he says he made to the police under duress in which he implicated Bennett as
co-accused in the serious allegations.
In his ruling, Justice Bhunu said it was premature to impeach Hitschmann
without going into the merits of the case.
The trial continues Wednesday afternoon.
by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Thursday 14 January 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's High court on Wednesday turned down a request for
permission to seek legal advice by a key state witness in the treason trial
of Roy Bennett, a top aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Peter Hitschmann - a registered gun dealer the state says worked with
Bennett in a plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe -- had told Justice
Chinembiri Bhunu that he could not continue testifying without seeking legal
advice because he feared jeopardising his appeal in a related but separate
matter in which he was convicted of illegal possession of arms of war.
But Bhunu ordered Hitschmann to testify, saying: "I do not see how anything
which the witness would have said in this court would have a bearing on his
appeal. Therefore he is required to testify."
With Hitchsmann's request turned down, Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana
immediately re-launched a bid -- earlier blocked by the court -- to impeach
the gun dealer who the AG says has become hostile to the prosecution by
disowning a 2006 statement that he willingly gave to the police.
In the statement upon which the state's case rests, Hitschmann is alleged to
have said that firearms found at his house in Mutare city were bought with
funds provided by Bennett and that the weapons were to be used to murder
The matter continues today with the prosecution expected to present video
evidence to prove that Hitschmann freely made the statement incriminating
Tomana first attempted to impeach Hitschmann or have him declared a hostile
witness when the trial of Bennett that began last year resumed on Tuesday.
Justice Bhunu did not immediately decide on the impeachment application that
he, however, dismissed when court resumed on Wednesday saying Tomana had
failed to follow proper procedures.
If Tomana succeeds in his latest bid to have Hitschmann declared a hostile
witness this would pave way for the prosecution to cross-examine the arms
dealer on the key statement that he has disowned in court.
The state accuses Bennett - treasurer in Tsvangirai's MDC-T party - of
plotting to overthrow Mugabe and that he deposited money into the Mozambican
bank account of Hitschmann to buy weapons to be used to assassinate the
Bennett faces a possible death sentence if found guilty in a case that has
heightened tensions in Zimbabwe's fragile coalition government. - ZimOnline
by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Thursday 14 January 2010
HARARE - A culture of fear gripping a population that has endured years of
political violence and intimidation could hamper free debate during Zimbabwe's
constitutional reform exercise, a top official said Wednesday.
Gross human rights abuses and political violence have accompanied every
major election in Zimbabwe since 2000 with the country experiencing its
worst ever electoral violence in 2008 which the then opposition MDC party
says killed at least 200 of its supporters and displaced thousands of
Douglas Mwonzora, one of the three chairmen of the Constitutional
Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) driving the reforms, said sections of the
population were still traumatised by the violence and many could find it
difficult to express their views and ideas they want included in the
proposed new constitution for fear of victimisation.
Mwonzora, who was speaking to ZimOnline on the sidelines of a training
workshop for COPAC members set to be deployed across the country to gather
the views of Zimbabweans on the new charter, said: "It is an imperial fact
that some sectors of the Zimbabwean society were traumatised in 2008 by a
government whose manpower is still in place.
"Their apparatus and machinery (of violence) still exist. That will present
a headache to us, but I hope we will be triumphant."
Members of the security forces, war veterans and militant supporters of
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF who have been accused of committing
violence and murder against perceived opponents of the veteran leader have
never faced justice.
Human rights groups accuse Mugabe of shielding the violent mobs from
prosecution, a charge the veteran leader and his party deny. They also deny
that their supporters have committed violence against members of the two MDC
formations led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister
Mwonzora, a senior member of the Tsvangirai-led MDC formation, said COPAC
was working with the police to ensure security for all participants during
the reform exercise particularly in rural areas prone to political violence.
He revealed that the constitutional committee had wanted the three leaders
of the coalition government - Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara - to launch
the public consultation exercise and for them to publicly denounce violence
as a way to reassure ordinary citizens that Zimbabweans that they would not
be victimised for expressing their views.
"We will assure the people that the police will protect them . . . we
actually wanted the principals to come and launch the outreach programme,
but they are not in the country. We wanted them to denounce violence and
preach tolerance so that people can have a sense of security," said
The proposed new constitution is part of the requirements of a September
2008 power-sharing deal between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara that gave
birth to the Harare coalition government last February.
The new governance charter will pave way for free elections although there
is no legal requirement for the unity government to call new polls
immediately after a new governance charter is in place.
Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee human rights, strengthen
the role of Parliament and curtail the president's powers, as well as
guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.
The new constitution will replace the current Lancaster House Constitution
written in 1979 before independence from Britain. The charter has been
amended 19 times since independence in 1980. Critics say the majority of the
amendments have been to further entrench Mugabe and ZANU PF's hold on
power. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Thursday 14 January 2010
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday left for the Mozambican
capital Maputo to attend an extraordinary summit of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) organ on defence and security which will among
other things discuss a power-sharing dispute threatening the Harare
The summit of the SADC organ, also known as Troika, comes a week after South
Africa, the mediator to the Zimbabwean crisis briefed regional foreign
ministers meeting in Maputo on the progress of on the dialogue between
Mugabe's ZANU PF party and the former opposition MDC formations led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara.
South Africa brokered a 2008 power-sharing deal that gave birth to Zimbabwe's
coalition government last February and was last November asked by regional
leaders to step in to help resolve a host of disagreements between the
Zimbabwean parties and save the unity administration from collapse.
A team of facilitators appointed by President Jacob Zuma to mediate in the
Zimbabwean dialogue last week said that the pace of negotiations has been
slow but said it was however happy with the progress achieved so far.
Negotiators have to date reached agreement on 16 of the 27 issues tabled for
discussion. None of the issues at the core of the power-sharing dispute have
yet been resolved.
The 11-month old government has done well to stabilise Zimbabwe's economy
and end inflation that was estimated at more than a trillion percent at the
height of the country's economic meltdown in 2008.
As a result living conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans have greatly improved
compared to 12 months ago when the country battled shortages of cash, fuel
and every basic survival commodity.
But unending bickering between ZANU PF and MDC as well as the coalition
government's inability to secure direct financial support from rich Western
nations have held back the administration's efforts to rebuild the economy.
The MDC accuses Mugabe of flouting the power-sharing agreement after the
veteran leader refused to rescind his unilateral appointment of two of his
allies to the key posts of central bank governor and attorney general.
Mugabe has also refused to swear in Tsvangirai ally Roy Bennett as deputy
agriculture minister and to appoint members of the MDC as provincial
On its part ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the power-sharing
deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to campaign for
lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies. - ZimOnline.
by Own Correspondent Thursday 14 January 2010
JOHANNESBURG - Somalia's central bank chief warned on Wednesday that the
anarchic Horn of Africa state could descend into another Zimbabwe if plans
to print money went ahead and rebels continued their money laundering
activities to fund their operations stoking hyperinflation and further
impoverishing the people.
Bashir Isse Ali told international media in Kenya that Somalia planned to
print money in Sudan, while al Shabaab rebels fighting the country's
Western-backed administration, sends and receives funds via informal money
"This move will increase the inflation rate to incredible figures . . . The
country will be another Zimbabwe," he said, referring to the southern
African country's world record inflation that various sources estimated at
between 500 billion and one trillion percent at the height of economic
crisis in 2008.
"Al Shabaab sends and receives money through this system using individuals,
not as an organisation," Ali said, urging more transparency to combat money
However, while it may have never recorded Zimbabwe-type inflation, Somalia
has had no central government since the 1991 overthrow of strongman Mohammed
Siad Barre sent the country into a conflict whirlpool at the mercy of rival
warlords who still control much of the country today. -- ZimOnline.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
By Michael Chideme
Water supplies for Harare and surrounding satellite towns could be cut by 15
percent following the imminent temporary shutdown of Prince Edward Water
Treatment Plant until Manyame River starts flowing.
Harare City Council might be forced to close Prince Edward Water Treatment
Plant after preliminary assessments showed the two dams - Harava and Seke -
that supply the plant have 40 days of water supply left.
The two small dams are there to tide the city through a few months of the
The plant relies mainly on continued flow in the Manyame River, normally a
Run-off in the upper Manyame catchment has been delayed in recent decades
because of the very large number of farm dams on the river's tributaries.
The plant's daily output of 66 megalitres is normally earmarked for
Chitungwiza, Mabvuku, Tafara, Manressa, Harare International Airport, Msasa
and parts of Hatfield, among other southern and eastern suburbs, since it is
at a higher altitude than Lake Chivero and is closer to these areas which
makes pumping easier.
The city can pump water from the far larger Morton Jaffray plant to these
higher eastern areas via the pipeline linking Letombo reservoirs to the
western pump stations but will have to cut back supplies in western and
central areas to do so.
Zinwa's state of the major dams' report released on Monday confirmed the
Seke Dam is 34,1 percent full while Harava Dam is 38,2 percent full.
However, other dams that supply Harare water - Chivero and Manyame - are
99,6 and 84,2 percent full respectively.
These two dams are not only far larger than the two upstream dams but with
Morton Jaffray Waterworks are part of a system that uses the annual
floodwaters in the Manyame to supply the city throughout the year.
The two large dams also receive the processed effluent from the modern
sewage treatment works, in effect allowing considerable recycling.
While the two little dams contain only three months supply, even at the far
smaller Prince Edward works, the two large dams can keep Morton Jaffray
going for at least two years without inflows.
None of the city dams is spilling yet as a result of the low rainfall
recorded to date.
A Harare water official confirmed yesterday that the two small dams had 40
days supply of water remaining between them.
Should the plant be closed, it means the city's water supply would have been
reduced by about 15 percent, which implies tighter rationing for consumers.
Already, residents of eastern and northern suburbs are short of municipal
water because the city does not rotate water cuts and cannot meet demand.
Harare prefers to give a continuous water supply to two-thirds of the city
and leave the other third perpetually dry, rather than follow the example of
other cities, especially Bulawayo, which rotates cuts.
Many residents of the low-density suburbs in the dry zone are paying 333
times more for their water because council has failed to provide them with
water for the past three years.
The city charges 30c a cubic metre while private companies are charging as
much as US$10 for the same quantity. Borehole owners are cashing in on
shortages as well and charge varying amounts a cubic metre.
City spokesman Mr Leslie Gwindi blamed the bulk of the water shortage on
power cuts at water works and pump stations.
"We are meeting with the Zesa guys tomorrow (today) to discuss the best ways
we can avoid shortchanging residents," he said.
Mr Gwindi said it was sad that private water suppliers were asking residents
to pay huge amounts of money.
He said council was working to rectify the anomaly.
Nearly all households in the northern suburbs have mounted water storage
tanks at their properties, which they periodically fill up with water from
14 Jan 2010
JOHANNESBURG — While the campaign to drive white farmers from their farms is
being strengthened, the Zimbabwean government is giving 100 000 hectares of
land to the controversial South African businessman Billy Rautenbach for the
production of biofuel.
“It’s an absolute scandal, while we’re driven off our farms like dogs —
farms which produce food for Zimbabwe,” Charles Taffs, deputy chair of the
Zimbabwean Farmers’ Association, told Beeld yesterday.
The Nuanetsi estate in the Masvingo province belongs to the Joshua Nkomo
trust, and is not one of the farms that have been taken from white farmers
“It’s a matter of principle, and not because Rautenbach is white or about
white farmers. He’s big buddies with Mugabe’s Zanu-PF. It’s all about money.
Besides the loss of land for urgently needed agricultural production, over
10 000 people will be driven off the estate,” said Taffs.
Rautenbach will apparently invest over $1 billion in the project through his
company, Zimbabwe Bio-Energy. President Robert Mugabe and Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa allegedly own shares in Rautenbach’s company.
A South African court has recently acquitted him of a string of criminal
charges, in return for his testimony in the trial of former police
commissioner Jackie Selebi.
The decision to make the land available to Rautenbach, to grow sugar cane to
process into bio-fuel, has the support of Zimbabwe’s one deputy president,
John Nkomo, who’s also one of the trustees.
However, it doesn’t carry the approval of all Zanu-PF supporters in
Masvingo. The transfer of highly fertile land is being opposed by the
provincial leadership of Zanu-PF.
“We have to ask ourselves: where is black empowerment if we’re going to
allow one white man to take over such a large piece of land?” said Lovemore
Matuke, provincial chair of Zanu-PF, according to the Zimbabwe Times.
He is supported by the governor of Masvingo, Titus Maluleke.
According to the government mouthpiece, the Herald, Nkomo said in reaction
to the criticism that those who are opposed to Rautenbach’s role are
“witches who oppose the development of Masvingo. Billy [Rautenbach] is our
friend and those who want to drive him off the farm, are MDC supporters.”
The MDC is also opposed to the Rautenbach project.
A spokesman for the MDC, Nelson Chamisa, said such a project “should only be
considered after a comprehensive land audit has been completed in Zimbabwe”.
The Center for Research and Development in the Manicaland capital of Mutare
said soldiers and youth militia in the pay of Mbada Diamonds and Canadiles
Investments have been beating and torturing people indiscriminately and
Patience Rusere | Washington 13 January 2010
Human rights violations and illegal exports of diamonds from the Marange
field in eastern Zimbabwe continue despite government assertions that Harare
has moved to comply with Kimberly Process recommendations to demilitarize
and reform operations there, a think tank near the zone said Wednesday.
The Center for Research and Development in the Manicaland capital of Mutare
said soldiers and youth militia in the pay of Mbada Diamonds and Canadiles
Investments have been beating and torturing people indiscriminately and
raping women in the tightly controlled alluvial diamond field.
A report by the think tank said employees of these companies, which it says
were formed by senior government and army officials to exploit diamond
deposits in Marange district, are mistreating and underpaying workers.
The office of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently stepped in to halt
an unauthorized auction of diamonds organized by Mbada Diamonds, whose
chairman is former air marshal Robert Mhlanga.
Center for Research and Development Executive Director Farai Maguwu told VOA
Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that illegal mining in Marange, also
referred to as Chiadzwa, is costing the Zimbabwean state millions.
Negotiations deadlocked this week following a government offer of pay
increases from US$7 to U$21 a month, for a top salary of US$236 a month and
entry-level compensation of US$150
Sithandekile Mhlanga & Blessing Zulu | Washington 13 January 2010
Zimbabwe's restive civil servants have given the three top figures in the
unity government in Harare 14 days to increase public employee salaries or
risk the enforcement of pay demands through labor actions.
Economists warned that a strike could shake the cash-strapped government to
its roots. President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara are on leave until February.
Negotiations deadlocked this week after the public service commission
offered increases ranging from US$7 to U$21 a month. The highest-paid civil
servant would earn US$236 a month, entry-level workers just US$150.
State employees have demanded a total entry-level wage of US$630 a month -
US$460 plus housing and transportation allowances.
The Public Service Association, the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe in a news conference Wednesday called
the state offer "ridiculous and out of sync with the cost of living."
A statement said the government "should be warned that civil servants may
deliver half-baked services that may ultimately compromise the government
process. The representative organizations added: "We are giving the
leadership of this country 14 days to decisively intervene on this issue as
a matter of urgency before it blossoms into conflict."
Teachers Association Chief Executive Sifiso Ndlovu told VOA Studio 7
reporter Sithandekile Mhlanga that a meeting Wednesday with Public Service
Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro ended in a deadlock.
But Mukonoweshuro told reporter Blessing Zulu that no ultimatum has been
set, describing the 14-day period as a time for consultations.
Harare, January 14, 2010 - Zimbabwe will experience a solar eclipse on
Friday morning as several towns will be partially obscured just after sun
rise, an agency that studies the planet has said.
The southern African country once experience a full solar eclipse in 2001
when most parts of the country were covered in darkness and in 2003 the
country also experienced a partial solar eclipse.
According to the Johannesburg Planetarium, an organization that studies the
planet solar eclipse will be experienced in the capital Harare (32%),
Bulawayo (23%) , Mutare (29%), Victoria Falls (27%) and Beitbridge (19%).
The eclipse is expected to be experienced between 6:30 am and 8:45 am in the
morning of Friday the 15th of January, 2010.
A solar eclipse is a situation when the moon will be between the sun and the
earth, this will result in the moon obscuring sun's rays towards the earth
resulting in darkness.
January 14, 2010
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi has scored a minor
victory over detractors in Masvingo Province who have launched a campaign
against his Cabinet appointment.
The Zanu-PF Masvingo provincial executive has abandoned its bid to recall
Mzembi from the Cabinet of President Robert Mugabe as intended, arguing that
such a move was tantamount to challenging the President.
Some war veterans and Zanu-PF supporters with the backing of the party's
provincial executive here had resolved to recall Mzembi, saying there were
more senior Zanu-PF officials in the province to replace him.
Mzembi is the only Zanu-PF cabinet minister who was left out of the party's
central committee during the party Congress held in Harare in December after
the Masvingo provincial executive dropped him in pique. They accused him of
allegedly supporting the candidature of Mugabe's choice, Vice President
Joice Mujuru, while the entire provincial executive supported former
Manicaland governor Oppah Muchinguri. However unpopular Mzembi maybe in the
eyes of the provincial executive the Zanu-PF leadership does not take kind
to the party's president being challenged by low-ranking officials.
"We have discovered that the prerogative to appoint a minister lies with the
President," party provincial chairman, Lovemore Matuke, said on Wednesday.
"Hence if we recall Mzembi we will be challenging President Robert Mugabe.
"We no longer have any intention to recall him and those who are still
pursuing the issue are now our enemies."
It is common practice among Zanu-PF officials to publicly and instantly
declare people as enemies merely because they hold or express different
Sources within the party said that senior party officials at national level
had exerted pressure on the provincial executive to abandon its bid for the
recall of Mzembi, who is the legislator for Masvingo South constituency.
"We are tired of these pressures from our top officials because they are the
ones who have forced us to drop all the efforts to recall him", said a
source within the party's provincial executive.
"To be honest there are several members of the party here who feel Mzembi
should relinquish his post in Cabinet."
Mzembi is considered by many in and out of Zanu-PF as one of the younger and
more progressive politicians to emerge from within the ranks of a party
controlled by a geriatric leadership. He has, however, run on a collision
course with Zanu-PF's cantankerous war veteran community.
At a Zanu-PF meeting held here on December 29 last year some war veterans
and Zanu-PF activists adopted a resolution to recall Mzembi from Cabinet.
"We are going to recall him back because we feel he is too junior to be in
cabinet", said Ezra Muchiya a war veteran.
"There are several senior party cadres who deserve to be in Cabinet more
than Mzembi. If as a party here have we decided to put other people in the
central committee ahead of him it shows that he is too junior."
The meeting which was called hurriedly by party activists opposed to Mzembi
also resolved to whip into line all legislators who did not support the
Lovemore Matuke led provincial executive.
"All party MPs from this province should know that they are from Masvingo
hence they should respect the resolutions of the provincial executive,"
reads part of the resolution.
The Masvingo Zanu-PF provincial executive clashed head on with Mzembi after
the legislator opposed the candidature of Muchinguri during the nomination
of people to be appointed into the Mugabe presidium.
The Masvingo party provincial executive later rescinded its earlier decision
to endorse Muchinguri and thus endorsed Mujuru following pressure from party
big wigs. It was a small victory for Mzembi against his detractors in the
Mzembi's political woes in Zimbabwe's most populous province seem to be
rooted in the fact that he irked several party hawks when he accompanied
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on his trip to Europe and the United States
in June this year.
Mzembi was labelled as a sellout and a supporter of the MDC led by
Contacted for comment Mzembi said, "I have not heard that there are people
who want to recall me except from what I read on the Internet. No one has
talked to me on that.
"I now have a good working relationship with the provincial executive and
those still spreading that rumour are our enemies."
Written by Morgen Kulare
Tuesday, 12 January 2010 14:45
The signing of the September 15, 2008 global political agreement (GPA) which
gave birth to the formation of the inclusive government in February last
year was expected to usher in a new era in the country's tiers of
However the continued bickering surrounding the implementation of this
agreement between the two main political parties, MDC and Zanu (PF) has left
the former ruling Zanu (PF) party in control of low key but crucial state
organs which impact directly on Zimbabweans everyday life.
The endless negotiations between Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations over
outstanding issues has diverted the nation's attention to the GPA and power
sharing at national level while Zanu (PF) galvanizes its support base in its
Although the country witnessed the swearing in of Morgan Tsvangirai as the
Prime Minister and the formation of an inclusive government on February 13,
2008, Zanu (PF) has continued to distribute inputs and grain to its
supporters using the drought relief committee. The drought relief committee
is a state appointed committee found in all the country's 59 districts and
is chaired by the District Administrator (DA).
Other members of the committee are RDC chairman, RDC chief executive offer,
Zanu (PF) DDC chairman, war veterans' chairman and representatives of NGO'S
and other government departments.
By virtue of the nature of its composition, this committee has been
dominated by the Zanu (PF) DCC chairman and war veteran's voices and in most
cases its decisions are in favour of Zanu (PF) supporters. A case in point
is the recent distribution of state subsidized agricultural inputs which saw
a bag of fertilizer selling at US$7.00 which only benefited Zanu (PF)
District councils run badly
The same situation prevails in the running of the affairs of both urban and
Rural District Councils (RDC'S). Facing imminent defeat in the 2008
elections, Zanu (PF) abused its then parliamentary majority by amending both
the urban councils act and the Rural District Councils Act to abolish the
post of executive mayor in urban councils and introduce appointed
councillors in both urban and rural councils. Zanu (PF)'s ulterior motive in
abolishing the post of executive mayor is clear in that it wanted to reduce
the influence of MDC in the day to day running of the city and town councils
and the decision to appoint special interest councillors is a ploy to at
least keep the dying Zanu (PF) voice alive in all urban or Rural District
Councils regardless of whether they control that council.
Reservations have been expressed as to why only Zanu (PF) loyalists have
been appointed special councillors in Harare an MDC dominated city council.
MDC supporters have also had to contend with discrimination at state
occasions such as Independence Day Celebrations and Heroes commemorations,
despite the advent of the inclusive government.
On April 18 2008 Independence celebrations held at Sarahuru School in
Mwenezi, only Zanu (PF) supporters and officials were invited to attend the
occasion. MDC supporters had to contend with their party celebrations 100
meters away at Sarahuru business centre hosted by Charles Muzenda, an MDC-T
provincial executive member based in Mwenezi district. This is regardless of
the fact that the inclusive government had poured in funds for the occasion
through the ministry of local government meant to unite all the three main
political parties after a decade of animosity and hostilities.
Partisan land decisions
Mugabe's former chief media hangman, Tafataona Mahoso's, recent invasion of
Welverdien farm is a clear testimony of the partisan decision of Mutare
District Land Committee. Although the invasion was illegal and attracted
widespread domestic and international condemnation, Zanu (PF) has hidden
behind the fact that Mahoso had an offer letter which originated from Mutare
district land committee. In fact it is not Mahoso only but a host of other
sympathizers of the disintegrating Zanu (PF) party who continue to be
rewarded from this patronage based land redistribution system.
The situation has been compounded by the fact that MDC failed to secure the
lands ministry at GPA negotiations. Furthermore, Mugabe is refusing to give
MDC its fair share of provincial governors, a key office is dismantling the
current looting of national resources by the outgoing Zanu (PF) regime. Over
and above these two offices, Zimbabweans need not be reminded that all offer
letters originate from the district lands committee whose deputy chairperson
is the Zanu (PF) DCC chairman. War veterans and chiefs continue to sit in
this committee thereby directing that all land allocations be made to known
Zanu (PF) supporters.
Fair interviews for nurses
Late last year there was anxiety and consternation at Masvingo General
Hospital when Prime Minister Tsvangirai during his visit to the hospital
directed that all prospective State Registered Nurse (RGN) trainees for 2010
who had been recruited on the strength of the nation youth service (NYS)
certificate be de-registered and fair interviews be conducted.
The premise of his argument was that the previous NYS training was biased
and open only to Zanu (PF) supporters hence its continued requirement at
national training institutions in the inclusive government was unjustified.
Revelations after this incident that the Border Gezi trained militias were
reserved a staggering 60 per cent quota at this and other institutions of
higher learning are greatly disturbing especially at a time Zimbabwe is
nurturing a fragile coalition government and trying to come to terms with a
decade old political discrimination and intolerance.
Zimbabweans need not forget that although political power is achieved
through control of the national institutions at national level, resources
are allocated by these government committees at district level and Zanu (PF)
is positively touching the lives of its supporters by pilfering state
Whilst the nation patiently focuses its eyes on the resolution of the 11
outstanding GPA issues, Zanu (PF) is busy manipulating state organs and
institutions to plunder national resources.
Morgen Kulare is the National Research and Advocacy Officer for Youth of
Zimbabwe for Transparency and Progress (YZTP). He can be contacted by email:
Written by Zimbabwe Mail
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 08:03
HARARE - Former information minister, Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo
(Pictured), is struggling to refute claims that he organised a secret
meeting in Gweru at Christmas to strategise a breakaway from Zanu (PF).
Dubbed Tsholotsho Part II, the breakaway plot would see a new political
party formed under the leadership of defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,
who was outflanked by a rival faction in the battle to succeed Robert Mugabe
as party leader at the recent congress. In a statement loaded with abusive
language and his usual bile, the Zanu (PF) come-back-kid failed dismally to
dispel the big story currently doing the rounds across the country in pubs,
churches and commuter buses that he is leading an Emmerson Mnangagwa plot to
form a new breakaway party from the ashes of the beleaguered former ruling
party, Zanu (PF).
The unemployed, former University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer
denied the front page story in The Zimbabwean on Sunday on January 10
headlined: “Mnangagwa plots fight-back: talk of a new splinter group”. Moyo
described the story as "fiction", merely by virtue of his creative defensive
work in creating an alibi. But, this week a new source said Moyo had
actually revealed another secret meeting that has taken place on a boat. As
the jostling gets hot, secret meetings and plots have been organised every
day in buildings' basements, backyard gardens and in roadside car parks ever
since last December's Zanu (PF) Congress. Moyo is also well known for taking
his family to secret political meetings to cover his back.
On the receiving end of Moyo's fury, is the editor and founder of The
Zimbabwean, Wilf Mbanga, whose paper published a story by The Zimbabwe Mail,
a rising online publication. In his aggressive statement send to his
mouth-piece (NewZimbabwe.com) Moyo said, "the desperately false claim that I
attended a political meeting of any kind in Gweru on December 25, 2009 or
that I was anywhere in or near Gweru on Christmas day to mastermind a
so-called Tsholotsho Part II strategy with some unnamed people who allegedly
included Cdes Emmerson Mnangagwa, July Moyo, Flora Buka, Fred Kanzama and
Mike Madiro is a terribly fictitious and astonishingly idiotic tale told by
wretched MDC T idiots who are now running scared of the oblivion facing
their treacherous party on the back of Zanu (PF)’s apparent resurgence."
The vitriolic statement continued: "If these idiots and their equally
idiotic British handlers cared to check facts and build their propaganda on
some truth, something they are apparently incapable of doing because of
their breathtaking incompetence, they would have known that from December 24
to December 27 last year I was actually in beautiful Kariba enjoying true
Zimbabwean hospitality at Christmas with my family at Caribbea Bay. "This is
a fact known to staff at that hotel and by many other families, some of them
well known personalities, who also were guests at the hotel," said Moyo in a
desperate attempt to make up an alibi after learning that he would soon be
called to explain himself in front of the Presidium.
The last time Moyo organised the failed Tsholotsho coup in 2004, he had also
chartered a private jet to fly political heavyweights, including six
provincial party chairmen, justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, and the likes
of Joseph Chinotimba to Bulawayo, with plans to drive them in SUVs to a
Tsholotsho village school, where they were to experience reorientation
programme to dislodge Joyce Mujuru. Everything was arranged for those
involved to be "in different places at the same time". This time, Moyo had
all the facilities to be "in different places at the same time", all
provided free, thanks to Thornhill Airbase which provided a helicopter and
clearance from the defence minister himself.
"Just because some MDC T idiots could not have Christmas with their families
because of their sell-out commitments does not mean we are all that
depraved," said "Cde" Moyo raising the bar on hot air. The Zimbabwe Mail is
a Zimbabwean website for Zimbabweans and it has no link to the British or
American intelligence as Moyo claimed in his statement. We will soon be
writing to him to explain his statement. We have journalists on the ground
embedded right inside the goings-on in both Zanu (PF) factions. What Moyo is
not aware of is that our reporter in Harare is now in possession of a 200
page document which contains detailed plans for a breakaway Zanu (PF) party,
whose first Congress is scheduled for September 2010.
On Sunday night, one of the senior members of this desperate Zanu (PF)
faction tried to scare our reporter but got the shock of his life when he
found out how strong the evidence we have is and the massive support we have
received from the highest authorities in Zanu (PF). Moyo will be surprised
when he attends a hearing in the next few days or weeks in which he will be
called to explain "things" he thought only he knew about. The embattled
former lecturer could not shy away from making an attack on Finance Minister
Tendai Biti, whom he accused of abusing his position to remove the
prohibitive duty on news publications. Wilf Mbanga, a gentleman and
hardworking media man, was called by Moyo "a celebrated media fraud
masquerading as a journalist"
International Living rated Zimbabwe first among countries for quality of
life where the climate is concerned, if not for the economy or for freedom
of expression and other human rights
Gibbs Dube | Washington 13 January 2010
For a change, Zimbabwe has achieved recognition for something other than
posting the second highest rate of hyperinflation in recorded history: it
has the best climate of any country in the world, International Living says.
International Living compiles an annual ranking of the world's best
countries to live in, and gave Zimbabwe full marks for its temperate
climate. Climate scores are based on average rainfall, temperature and
Zimbabwe was the only country to score a perfect 100 points in the rating
for climate - though it performed dismally in economic and freedom ratings.
It scored zero for economic opportunity and eight (8) for freedom. It ranked
in the middle of the pack for leisure, culture, risk and safety, and
registered a surprising 77 on environmental factors. But it scored below
average where infrastructure, health and living costs were concerned.
Zimbabwean tourism expert Zifiso Masiye told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs
Dube that it was not surprising to him that Zimbabwe stood out when it came
to a sunny, temperate climate. Harare used to be known as "Sunshine City."
"Unlike economic, social and human factors, climate has not been affected in
any way in Zimbabwe during the past 10 years," Masiye said. "The country has
a wonderful climate especially for tourists and visitors."
by Mutumwa Mawere Thursday 14 January 2010
OPINION: I cannot think of a better subject to write about than soccer not
only because South Africa, my adopted home, will host for the first time on
African soil, the biggest and most prestigious sport event in the world, but
behind the game is a sophisticated business model that has to be appreciated
It has been argued that Africa was and continues to be subjected to the
influence of foreign cultures because of many factors including weak
institutional capacity. The soccer political economy when properly
understood can help enlighten us on some of the key ideological questions
that confront us as we try to advance the cause of Africa.
Behind the game of soccer is a complex business model. The soccer society is
self-governing and global in character and composition.
It has its own government with its own global president. It has its own
business model that provides value to its stakeholders who include the
soccer loving public.
Its practitioners have to be rewarded like any other service provider. The
allocation of seats is market driven. Have you ever wondered what would
happen if the soccer economy was socialist in orientation how the tickets
would be allocated?
We are comforted that the allocation of tickets for the World Cup will not
involve state actors or powerful people. Those who can afford and are
willing to abide by the contract inherent in purchasing a ticket will get a
seat to see a live game.
Those that cannot afford will not be left out as they can watch the game far
from the fields where the games will be played. They say that the closer you
want to be to the actual game the more you will have to pay.
Without a market system, there would be chaos in terms of the actual
administration of the game. Even those who argue that Africa must be
governed under a socialist system would agree that such a system would not
produce optimum results in the soccer world.
We have heard of FIFA and many of us do not understand what the acronym
stands for. It is the equivalent of the United Nations in the soccer world
However, its members are not states but football associations. The soccer
government relies for its survival on member support and sponsorships.
FIFA stands for the Fédération Internationale de Football Association
(International Federation of Association Football). It is the international
governing body or association football that is headquartered in Zurich,
Sepp Blatter is its current president. It is responsible for the
organisation and governance of football's major international tournaments,
most notably the FIFA World Cup that has been held since 1930.
It has 208 member associations making it larger than the UN with 16 fewer
members and the International Olympic Committee with three fewer members and
smaller than the International Association of Athletics Federations that has
five more members.
Knowledge is power because it is not perishable like life or wealth. What do
we know of FIFA? When was it established? What was its purpose? Why was this
initiative not driven by nation states?
FIFA was founded in Paris on May 21 1904 in response to a need for a single
body to oversee the worldwide game that had a popular support base. The new
organisation presided over its first international competition in 1906, but
this met with little approval or success.
This was followed with executive changes and the next football tournament
was hosted as part of the Olympics in London in 1908.
This event was more successful than the inaugural event but the players were
professional footballers contrary to the founding principles of FIFA.
Membership of FIFA that started as a European affair; expanded beyond the
continent with the application of South Africa in 1908, Argentina and Chile
in 1912, and Canada and the US in 1913.
At its core it is a federation of national soccer bodies. It is a voluntary
association of soccer bodies.
Like any institution, it is seized with the responsibility of crafting the
rules of the game. Without the rule of law, there can be no World Cup.
The soccer economy is bigger than many nation states and yet there has been
no call to nationalise the economy in the name of efficiency gains or
protecting the soccer loving public.
Yes, FIFA has its own institutional challenges but one cannot say that the
soccer would benefit if the society were nationalised.
What lessons do we draw from FIFA? As we count down to the great game, we
must pause to reflect on the dynamics that are at play to administer this
We learn that there is no substitute to working together. Any supranational
body has to appreciate the politics of diversity.
FIFA has one president and his replacement has not followed the pattern of
power transfers in many of our nations.
Yes, there is corruption in the soccer economy. We all know that human
beings are inherently corrupt and any human institution can never be free
from this vice.
Notwithstanding, we are confident that the World Cup will be successful not
because governments want them to be but because underpinning the game is a
secure belief that free people when given a choice will make things happen.
The spectators who will converge on Africa will do so out of their own
choice. If the entrance fee is not properly prized or marketed, there is no
doubt what will happen.
What FIFA controls is the right of nations to host the game. Such a right is
prized to give value to the sponsors.
If the arithmetic is wrong the game will not attract the support that it has
enjoyed from the private sector.
Nation states that host the game benefit both directly and indirectly from
the human traffic without whose support the game would represent just
another social enterprise with no commercial impact.
The soccer economy is a mutual. It relies on the support of members. It is
as strong as its weakest link.
Our knowledge of institution building can assist in the transformation of
Africa. In the political sphere we are less organised than in the other
Politicians need state power to remain relevant whereas members of civic
organisations have to remain relevant through the active support of members.
Africa can only be better if we choose to be better. We have to understand
how to organise ourselves.
As a member of Africa Heritage Society www.africa-heritage.com I have become
acutely conscious of the real and potent risk to advancement.
It is not unnatural for people to want the organisation to do more than what
they can do through the organisation.
Blatter, for example, can only be important if all the constituents of the
soccer pyramid do what they are supposed to do. He has 24 hours in a day and
can only see what his eyes allow him to.
He can only be powerful if at the level of a soccer club there is
consciousness on what is required to build a progressive and successful
In the case of soccer, the value lies in organisation. Even the best player
would come to know that without a society called FIFA, the talent would
definitely be wasted.
It is self evident that institutions do give value to civilisation and it is
in institution building that Africans in the majority are found wanting.
It was South Africa that became the first African country to apply to be
member of FIFA. We have to ask why South Africa. What made South Africa
different from other African states of the day?
Even the racially conscious South Africa understood the need to be part of a
The real power lies in being part of something bigger than you. - ZimOnline
Written by John Makumbe
Tuesday, 12 January 2010 07:04
'The current much-amended constitution only benefits Zanu (PF)' The training
of the constitutional outreach teams, or thematic committees, is now
complete and the process of consulting the people of this country on what
they would like included in the foundation law should start shortly.
(Pictured: John Makumbe) Zimbabwe needs to write this new and democratic
constitution as part of the transition to democracy. It is interesting to
note the goodwill among the people involved in the process, contrary to the
happenings at the First Stakeholders Conference, where a few misguided
elements, allegedly from Zanu (PF), attempted to derail the process by
marching like idiots right inside the Harare International Conference Centre
to the amusement of international observers and diplomats.
Fortunately, the organizers of the conference refused to be intimidated and
the meetings resumed the following day without any further disruptions.
It would be naivety on our part as patriotic Zimbabweans to think that the
forthcoming outreach meetings will go ahead smoothly throughout the country.
There are numerous groups of desperate elements that are very unhappy about
the writing of the new and democratic constitution for this country.
They are going to do their evil best to disrupt meetings and intimidate the
people from attending and stating their views. These elements must be
resisted vigorously. The police need to be out in full force to ensure that
law and order is maintained. The local Members of Parliament (MPs) and
councillors will have to work hard mobilize the people to attend the
meetings and speak freely and without fear of intimidation and
victimization. Further, the meetings will need to be well publicized, well
in advance so that as many people in a given area as possible are able to
It is unfortunate that the sickly Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation radio
and television coverage is so weak and so poor that it covers only 30% of
this country. The Parliamentary Select Committee (COPAC) will need to
seriously consider flighting some adverts on such popular radios as VOP,
Studio Seven and SWRadio Africa.
It is common cause that more people in Zimbabwe listen to these progressive
radios than the dubious ZBC. It may also be necessary to place adverts on
BTV and all the South African television channels. Few Zimbabweans still
bother to watch the sickening ZTV any more.
I have, however, found all the ZBC channels useful for listening and viewing
if you would like to be angry a little bit from time to time. The lies and
falsehoods that are propagated on these channels are astounding. The Herald
and Sunday Mail are equally deplorable in this regard.
But back to the constitutional reform process. There are a few groups in
civil society that are opposed to the GPA's Article 6 provisions on this
matter. My view is that it is these groups' democratic right to oppose the
process, and they should be allowed to do so.
It is equally the democratic right of the groups that decided to participate
in the process in spite of the numerous flaws therein. The reluctant groups
must realize that if we do not participate in the current process, as a
nation, we will be stuck with the Lancaster House Constitution, possibly for
the next 10 or more years, and that is totally unacceptable.
It is my expectation that the people's participation in the current process
will be high enough to ensure that the resultant document will legitimately
qualify to be described as a people-driven constitution. There is no
perfection in this world, however badly we need it. We need to face the fact
that the current much-amended constitution only benefits Zanu (PF) and that
cannot be allowed to continue.
Written by Chris Anold Msipa
Tuesday, 12 January 2010 10:01
HARARE - Zimbabwe has been urged to restore its crumbling education system
or just admit failure to save the sector. Interviewed rights campaigners say
the situation is an ugly time bomb.
What has rung alarm bells are reports of students at the country's higher
learning institutions becoming newsmakers "for the wrong reasons." The
University of Zimbabwe, UZ, tops the list. Close to 10 female and male
students sharing one room as lodgers is bad enough. Yet there are more
harrowing tales. Some female undergraduates are reportedly living-in with
gardeners in city suburbs close to college. Some of the 'home caretakers'
reportedly work for absentee bosses. Their families live in the rural areas
while they settle with students in backyard cottages, usually single bed
outfits, in exchange for sex. No one has so far admitted voluntarily to
being involved in such a relationship.
Psychological researchers say promiscuity is a disease of the mind that can
be corrected either clinically or socially. But the 'patient' should be
willing. Unfortunately, the majority of the inflicted enjoy the madness,
which threatens to destroy the mainstay of Zimbabwe's future. Social
campaigners in the nation of about 15-million people paint an even gloomier
picture. They say 83 percent of students involved in a recent survey were
sexually active. And a "worrying" 85 percent of them did not use condoms.
While the problem is prevalent among girls, it is also rife amongst boys.
Male students fall prey to sugar mummies and others are sodomized by
money-flashing gays, the researchers claim.
Msasa Project, headquartered in Harare, fights domestic violence against
women. But its director says the scary developments in colleges have also
reached her group's attention.
Netty Musanhu says the humanitarian group can no longer afford to watch as
the "disgraceful ailment" continues: "And to make it worse, the rot is
becoming accepted as normal."
There is need for non-governmental groups to find out the number of affected
students, especially females, and take action: "We should fight hard to
expose the problem."
Education for boys
She says the plight of the children is not as exposed as much as cholera is;
"Every home is aware of cholera. Kids refuse to eat anything before washing
hands because they want to avoid the disease." The media have to give the
crisis equally wide coverage. Musanhu says students could in the past raise
enough money from industrial attachments to buy clothes and cover academic
expenses. The university also gave pay-outs. Families sighed with relief
once their kids landed places at college; but not anymore.
Numerous families have revived the old philosophy that boys' education is
more vital than the girl child's. Girls are married of or forced to join the
streets to trade their bodies for a living.
Meanwhile, politicians continue "lip servicing" gender imbalance in the face
of a shattered economy struggling to recoup. Media reports quote the Deputy
Minister of Women's Affairs, Gender and Community Development as saying her
government is committed to ensuring gender equality in the country. Evelyn
Masaiti says Zimbabwe signed the Southern African Development Community,
SADC, Protocol on Gender and Development, enough evidence to show the state's
commitment to the goals.She was speaking recently in the western town of
Kadoma where she addressed the Annual Stakeholders' Workshop of the Zimbabwe
Women's Resource Centre and Network.
Lack of accommodation
A snap survey on the plight of students has revealed a lot of mess. Lack of
accommodation comes out tops of the list including high fees, against poor
service delivery. Yet the problem differs from college to college, mostly
influenced by the life style in the host city or town. One Computer Science
student at the National University of Science and Technology, NUST, in the
commercial capital, Bulawayo, says it is cheaper to be a "non-resident."
Abigail Ngwenya says she rents one room for US$45 per month in one of the
city suburbs, compared to more than $110 paid on campus.
Meanwhile, the common dilemma among undergraduates is money for text books,
handouts, Internet cafés and assignment printing. NUST, she says, has one or
two text books for every course. On the other hand, Third Years have to go
on industrial attachment for one year, but this is an uphill struggle in the
current national economic quagmire: "About 50 percent of us still have no
jobs." And some of the employed are unpaid as the firms they joined are also
House owners take advantage of Bulawayo having limited accommodation
accessible to NUST. Suitable suburbs include Khumalo, Killarny,
Matshemhlope, Riverside and Selborne.
The student says the authorities should provide college accommodation
urgently and create job: "The government should get us work, if they want to
retain us after university anyway."
Two other students from the Midlands State University, MSU, in the Central
Zimbabwean seat of Gweru, Anna and Rose (not their real names); speak of
their college as the worst in the whole country. Unlike Miss Ngwenya, the
two would rather be on campus if they had a choice.
"Four to five of us share one room, each one paying $30 per month," says
Rose, "And landlords take advantage, making life difficult for us most of
the time." Like Bulawayo, Gweru City has few suburbs close to MSU. They are
mainly Dalesford, Nehosho and Senga. Dalesford, three to four kilometers
from the college, is the furthest. One girl is said to have been attacked
and injured badly last semester by muggers. The incident occurred in the
evening in the bushy area between Dalesford and Nehosho. Rose says it is
hard to be on campus at MSU because mainly 'those with connections in the
Students Affairs Department' get the accommodation."Moreover, you aren't
even notified of the situation when you secure a place at the universities.
You go there expecting to find everything in place, thinking yours will just
be to learn. But that is not the case." And Anna agrees.
Rose also claims some lecturers, mostly in the departments of English and
History, worsen the quandary female undergraduates face, "They demand sexual
favours for you to pass their assignments. If you refuse you fail. "One such
lecturer made advances and when I resisted him I failed his assignment. I
guessed what he had done after he smiled mockingly at me when we met one
day. I applied for remarking and passed," says the young woman. The
government claims it is on top of the situation, human rights groups
describe it as a time bomb and students call it a rot. Zimbabwe's education
system shows no signs of coming out of "intensive care."
This story was compiled with the assistance of the Humanitarian Information
For further information please contact HIFC at 250638/251749/707959.
Written by The Editor
Wednesday, 13 January 2010 14:14
We are delighted to be carrying a story this week quoting Judge President
Rita Makarau stating that: "There can be no rule of law without an
independent judiciary." Can it be that she has at last seen the light and
has determined that she will no longer preside over a bench so lamentably
stuffed with Zanu (PF) functionaries? If so, there is indeed hope for
Zimbabwe in 2010.
The restoration of the rule of law is the one thing we need above all. Once
this fundamental has been put into place, everything else will follow. It
was the suspension of the rule of law by the Zanu (PF) government under
Robert Mugabe in 2000 that marked the descent of our precious nation into
the ugly pit from which it now endeavours to crawl.
Makarau mentions the separation of powers. It must be pointed out that this
is not something to be bestowed by Mugabe, or indeed any other politician.
The bench should simply insist upon it. It is a fundamental tenet of our
The judges should not continue to abrogate their responsibilities, as they
have done for the past 10 years. And neither should they now be begging the
politicians to give them what is rightfully theirs - the judiciary is
separate from the executive and the administration. All those on the bench
should simply uphold the law and refuse to tolerate interference by
The trouble is that most members of the present bench have allowed
themselves to be utterly compromised by Zanu (PF) through having their
snouts well and truly embedded in the feeding trough.
This does not inspire confidence or respect. Our judges should lead by
We sympathise with what Makarau calls "the appalling conditions of service
for judges". However, may we remind the honourable Judge President and her
colleagues that these appalling conditions have been the norm for most
Zimbabweans since the collapse of the rule of law in 2000.
If the want to be taken seriously now, the judges need to take themselves
They need to show Zimbabweans, and the GNU, that they are beyond reproach.
Those who have compromised themselves by accepting gifts of farms, plasma
tvs and luxury vehicles from Gideon Gono and Mugabe, must return their
ill-gotten gains and demonstrate that they have turned over a new leaf.
As long as they continue to invade farms themselves and then sit in
judgement over a land dispute, they cannot think we will respect them.