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Zanu PF kills for power – Siwela

January 13, 2013 in Politics

BULAWAYO — Chances of any coalition of political parties ousting Zanu PF in
the next elections were slim because the former ruling party uses “terrorist
tactics” to maintain grip on power, leader of the Matabeleland Liberation
Organisation (MLO), Paul Siwela said last week.


His comments come following calls for all political parties in the country
to unite to enable them to unseat President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF, which
has been ruling since independence in 1980.
The main political parties in the country include MDC-T, MDC, Zapu and

MDC-T secretary-general, Tendai Biti late last year also said only a
determined coalition of political parties would unseat Mugabe, who has
ruling the country uninterrupted for the past three decades.

However, Siwela said Zanu PF would unleash terror against any coalition in
any election in order to remain in power.

The former ruling party failed to transform from being a “terrorist group of
1970s into a democratic party” that could govern the country where elections
are freely and fairly contested.

“Zanu PF would always revert to terrorism to maintain grip on power,” said
Siwela. “Zanu PF cannot countenance losing power through electoral process.
So any coalition would not achieve anything because Zanu PF would rather
kill for power.”

The MDC-T has said at least 200 of its activists were killed by Zanu PF
youth militia and State security agents during the 2008 violent elections.

But Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo dismissed Siwela’s assertion that the
former ruling party, which lost the majority in Parliament in 2008 election,
was a terrorist organisation.

Gumbo however, vowed that Zanu PF would still defeat all parties whether
they formed a coalition or not.

“Even if they come together, we will still defeat them. We are not worried,”
said Gumbo. “Zanu PF is geared for elections and victory is certain.”

Although calls for an electoral pact among political parties are getting
stronger, the Welshman Ncube-led MDC has said it would not unite with MDC-T
because they have different values and principles.

MDC split with MDC-T, led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, in 2005 over
whether or not to participate in the senatorial elections.

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Elections: Zanu PF using delaying tactics

January 13, 2013 in Politics

ZANU PF is delaying the constitution-making process so that elections are
held after the UN World Tourism General Assembly in August when there would
be little international glare on the country, sources in the former ruling
party said last week.


If pushed to hold polls earlier than that, the sources said, the party would
make sure elections are conducted under the old charter which gives it
advantage against its political rivals.

They said Zanu PF was cognisant that it would not win free and fair
elections without intimidation or violence, acts which it cannot do before
the tourism assembly as this would further dent the country’s tainted human
rights records.

The party, which is battling to have sanctions on President Robert Mugabe
and his cronies lifted, would not want another disputed election, especially
before the UN meeting, at a time the country is trying to woo back tourists.

“To start with, Zanu PF has never wanted elections after the defeat of
2008,” said one source. “All along it has been grandstanding. It will only
agree to holding elections when it can no longer stop the process and this
is likely to be after the UN meeting in August.”

The sources said the MDC formations were aware of Zanu PF’s machinations and
are determined to push for reforms so that polls are held before the

MDC leader, Welshman Ncube said Zanu PF has been calling for elections for
the past two and a half years but doing everything possible to make sure
they do not happen.

“I cannot say it’s the UN meeting but it has been their strategy since 2010.
They talk left and act right,” said Ncube. “They have done everything to
delay the constitution-making process by making new demands while shifting
the blame on other parties.”

At the party’s national conference in Mutare in 2010, Zanu PF resolved to
hold elections “without fail” at the expiry of the term of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) and the inclusive government.
MDC-T is demanding that elections be held “urgently” this year after the
referendum and when all electoral reforms agreed to in the GPA, which are
part of the Sadc roadmap to free and fair polls, have been implemented.

“We also demand the complete removal and replacement of ZEC [Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission] secretariat, security sector reform, eradication of
all forms of State-sponsored violence and access to State media,” said party
spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora. “For the MDC-T elections have to happen this

He accused Zanu PF of delaying the crafting of the new constitution by
making “outrageous, unreasonable and unsustainable demands”.

The MDC formations and Zanu PF have failed to agree on issues to do with the
national prosecuting authority, devolution, land commission, running mate
clause as well as the truth and reconciliation commission.

A special cabinet committee is set to meet this Wednesday to iron-out the
sticky points.

Ncube said Zanu PF could not continue delaying elections this time around
unless there was a new constitution, flexible on dates or an amendment for
the current charter.

He said they must be held by September 27 this year.
Ncube said if Parliament is not dissolved sooner, it will automatically be
disbanded on June 29, which is five years from the date Mugabe was sworn-in.

“The five years expires on June 29 2013 and on that date Parliament will
automatically be dissolved,” said Ncube. Once it is dissolved, the
constitution says elections must be held 90 days from the dissolution of
Parliament which basically means elections must be held before September 27
this year.”

Experts said with the current slow pace of electoral reforms, it was
virtually impossible to hold elections in March or June as presently touted.

They said after the conclusion of the new constitution, a minimum of three
months was needed to synchronise the charter with such laws as Posa, Aippa,
Electoral Act and the Bill of Rights.

“Ideally, you would need about 12 to 18 months for such an exercise,” said
one expert who refused to be named. “With the way things are shaping, it is
almost impossible to have a referendum, synchronise the new constitution
with other laws and then hold elections in June this year.”

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Madzore splits MDC Dzivaresekwa district

January 13, 2013 in Politics

MDC-T Youth leader, Solomon Madzore’s intentions to run for the Dzivaresekwa
Parliamentary seat have split the party’s district structures, as jostling
for the sole ticket to represent the party in the next election intensifies.


The district is reportedly split into two groups, one which is pushing for a
“local” candidate with a grasp of the constituency’s problems, with the
other supporting Madzore’s candidature.

The anti-Madzore camp is arguing that the constituency has been lagging
behind in terms of development because it has been represented by people
from other areas.

“We are definitely disgruntled that an area as big as Dzivaresekwa does not
have the freedom to choose its own representatives and always has
expatriates imposed on them. An area like this requires someone who is
domiciled in the constituency, as they would have influence on the voters,”
said one senior district executive member, who spoke on condition of

He said the imposition of candidates from outside the constituency had
contributed to voter apathy, as the electorate was not happy with the
performance of previous MPs, who were not from Dzivaresekwa.
“Since 2000, the figures of people who voted for the party has gone down
from 13 000 to just 6 000 in 2008,” said the MDC-T official.
“This is because there has been a general outcry over the imposition of
candidates who are not from the area.”

Another district executive member said he was prepared to stand as an
independent candidate should Madzore win the party’s ticket to contest the
constituency. “If he has extra cash to spend, he should go and spend it in
Glen View or Westgate where he stays. we cannot be fooled by the cheap
projects he is dicing for the gullible youths here,” he said.

But Madzore could neither confirm nor deny that he was vying for the
Dzivaresekwa constituency. “What I know is that we are obviously going to
have youths standing in a number of constituencies, but it is too early. I
don’t know yet [where I will contest]. I don’t know what the people will
say” he said.

Madzore dismissed complaints by some members of the district structures,
saying those were scared of competition.

“To talk of imported candidates is a political statement by someone trying
to protect their turf, but it is what the people want and no one should deny
the people what they want. that is democracy,” he said.

Madzore said projects running in the area were initiated by the youth

“People find it hard to differentiate between the Youth Assembly and Solo
Madzore, but the party is bigger than Solo Madzore. The Youth Assembly is
rolling out a number of projects throughout the country,” he said.

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Zimplats-govt deal designed to fund terror campaigns: MDC-T

January 13, 2013 in Politics

The MDC-T has criticised the deal signed between Impala Platinum Holdings of
South Africa and the government for the transfer of a controlling stake in
Zimplats to the state and local community, saying it was designed to fund
Zanu PF’s “terror” election campaign.


Under the empowerment transaction valued at US$971 million, Zimplats would
avail a loan to the new shareholders at an annual interest rate of 10%.

But MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora accused Zanu PF of using the deal
to try to raise funds for its party activities.

“That is asset-grabbing on the part of Zanu PF. it does not increase
national wealth. We must adopt policies that are designed to grow the
national cake instead of just sharing what is there,” he said.
“We know that the proceeds [of the transaction] will be abused. All funds
must be held by treasury.”

Mwonzora said the housing of the funds under the National Indigenisation and
Economic Empowerment Fund instead of the Ministry of Finance was designed to
sponsor Zanu PF’s “terror machine.”

He said that the position of the MDC-T was that there was rather need to
create jobs for thousands of school leavers, attract capital and investment
into the country, and emphasise on the environment, among other concepts
enunciated in the party’s economic Juice policy.

But Zimplats board chairman, Muchadeyi Masunda said the platinum producer
was excited about the company’s indigenisation deal.
“From our perspective as a board, this [deal] is a milestone in the history
of the extractive industry in the country,” Masunda said yesterday.

“The problem with you journalists is that you think of these things in terms
of people suddenly having a lot of money in their hands.
“No, we are not going to give people money; it does not work that way. We
have been doing these things anyway, but the only difference is that they
are now being formalised.”

He said having the community as a shareholder meant that Zimplats could now
account for the money it spends on the development of the community.

“The community will acquire the shareholding over time through dividends,”
Masunda said.

“What it means is that they have the potential to earn dividends once they
have paid off the money needed to acquire their shares.
“The community does not have the clout to go out there and raise the money,
so we will do that since we have the clout.”

Masunda said he hoped the deal inspires more businesses, including those
which are not in the extractive industry.

“We cannot be a nation of vendors,” he said.

“We need many Zimplats for the economy to peak and for people to have

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister, Saviour
Kasukuwere, reiterated that the indigenisation programme was primarily meant
for broad groups of people in the community.

“Our emphasis on broad-based participation has clearly shown that the
indigenisation programme in the main does not benefit elite indigenous
persons, but broad groups of indigenous people,” said Kasukuwere at the

“It is therefore, apparent that the greatest beneficiaries of this programme
to date, are not well to do individuals, but the broad masses.”

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Election dates divide Zanu PF

January 13, 2013 in Politics

TWO camps have emerged within Zanu PF, with one opposed to the holding of
elections this year, while the other prefers polls in June, The Standard has


Despite Zanu PF’s public posturing that elections should be held as soon as
possible, sources said most senior officials holding positions in government
and MPs, were against the holding of elections this year.

But Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa yesterday dismissed
reports that the party was not ready for elections saying those were views
of a few individual members.

A politburo member said all was not well, as most party officials were of
the view that Zanu PF was not yet prepared for elections and wanted them
postponed even to next year.

The Zanu PF official said some of the party gurus were afraid that if
elections were held soon and in the event that President Robert Mugabe won,
they would not be accommodated in the future government.
“Some of the officials against elections are cabinet ministers. They want
the current GNU set up to be extended, so that they can continue looting.
Some have been implicated in corrupt deals,” said the politburo member.

“Others know elections will spell the end of their political careers and
they will do anything to have them postponed.”

The politburo member said officials against early elections were already
lobbying Mugabe and other members of the presidium, warning them that early
polls would spell disaster for the party.

But officials opposed to early elections were said to be facing serious
opposition, mostly from the party’s so-called “Young Turks”, who are itching
to take over from the old generation.

Another senior official and MP said the Young Turks were confident that
whether Zanu PF won or lost the next elections, they would be
well-positioned to take up senior leadership positions in the party.
“The Young Turks and a few others are arguing that there will be a
constitutional crisis if elections are postponed beyond September this
year,” said the MP.

“On the other hand, those against elections argue that a crisis will be
avoided if the two MDCs agree to the plan and another constitutional
amendment is done.”

However, the official said it would be up to Mugabe to decide which side to
take, but it was likely that he would take the side of those wanting
elections this year.

Zanu PF at its annual national people’s conference held in Gweru last month
resolved that Mugabe should dissolve Parliament and proclaim a date for the
elections if the constitution-making process was not concluded by last

But the cabinet and parliamentary committee tasked with breaking the impasse
on constitution-making has since failed to meet the deadline and there are
no signs that Mugabe would unilaterally call for elections.

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Why I lost confidence in the police

January 13, 2013 in Local

NOVEMBER 2012 was a dark month for me as it was the beginning of a
three-month ordeal at the hands of police officers.


This started with my arrest by traffic police officers stationed at
Murombedzi Growth Point in Zvimba.

I had never seen the inside of a police cell in my 47 years of existence,
but that month I spent two nights as a guest of the State — in the
not-so-hospitable cells.

My crime, I dared to question the police officers’ action of wanting to
ticket a passenger who had his safety belt fastened.

They claimed that I had accused all police officers countrywide of being
corrupt, thereby undermining their authority.

What further baffled me is that they lied under oath in court.

Still on the Murombedzi case, I am sure the police became very hostile to me
the moment they discovered through their counterparts that I am journalist.

I will not go into details of the Murombedzi issue because the case is
pending before the courts, save to say that I was shocked to learn that four
of the six police officers at the roadblock ganged up and framed me.

But what shocked me the most was how the police officers connived and
twisted facts so that they could charge me with “undermining police
authority” by claiming that I had labelled them as very corrupt officers.

As if that was not enough, some police officers visited me on the last day
of last year and demanded to search my office.

Initially, I refused to be arbitrarily searched.

The officers claimed they wanted to search the offices of Zimbabwe Human
Rights of Association (Zimrights), an organisation for which I am a board

Ironically, Zimrights has no offices in Mashonaland West province.
I finally allowed them to search my office in the presence of my lawyer and
as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow, they found nothing.

According to a search warrant, which was hastily drawn up after my lawyer
insisted that they could only search my office after producing it, they were
looking for “voter registration slips and other voting materials contrary to
the Electoral Act”.

One notable irony on the search warrant was that it referred to the police
officers as “peace officers” when their conduct was anything but that.

Cops thrive on telling lies

the police were at it again last Sunday.

This time, a police vehicle rammed into my car, causing serious damage at
the back of my vehicle. I have my doubts on whether this was genuinely an
accident, considering my ordeal at the hands of the police over the past
three months.

It is difficult to accept. Again the police officer behind the wheel on that
fateful day misrepresented facts. What shocks and infuriates me most is the
degree to which the said officers are willing to lie.
He lied that he was alone in the vehicle at the time of the accident, when
in fact he had a passenger.

Who is this person that he was trying to protect?

Secondly, the officer, a Mr Dube, stationed at Chemagamba Police Station,
failed to produce a licence. I still maintain that the officer is

I requested to see his licence from the investigating officer but up to now
the officer has not produced one.

The reason I am insisting on the officer producing the licence is that just
recently I saw him doing some driving lessons.
I was shocked to see him at the wheel of a police vehicle on the day in

The officer was then charged with driving without due care, an offence that
attracts only a US$20 fine.

I am sure this was done to pacify me so I could stop insisting to see the
officer’s driving licence.

If the officer had recently got a police driving licence, he was supposed to
drive under instruction for six months.

But it is these blatant lies by police officers that made me conclude that
besides the corrupt tendencies levelled against them by President Robert
Mugabe last year in Gweru, they are a bunch of liars as well.

Back to the searching of my office, I think the shadowy Law and Order
officers countrywide are an extension of some political functionaries
masquerading as police officers.

Surely, how can the whole police force of about
20 000 people have their name soiled by a few rogue officers?

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Parents hail school authorities on fees

January 13, 2013 in Local

PARENTS and guardians last week said the new school term started on a
positive note compared to previous years despite a few incidents in which
some pupils failed to get places.


Most parents who spoke to The Standard expressed gratitude that the majority
of the schools in the country had given them a grace period to pay fees and
were not sending their children back home.

“They gave us a grace period for paying fees,” Prisca Tome, who has children
attending Dzivarasekwa 1 High School said.

“At least the children are in class and they told me they have already
started lessons. It is better than in previous years, where they would send
those without fees back home.”

Tome was in a queue to pay the US$185 fees for each of her two children at
the school.

She said she could not bask in the grace period as school authorities were
unpredictable and could decide to send those in arrears back home anytime.

Those seeking vacancies at the school were waiting impatiently in a short
queue outside the administration block. They were hoping to see the school
head, who was said to be in a meeting.

Another parent said she had been turned away from several schools around the
city because her daughter was transferring from a private college in the
city centre.

Such schools as Dzivarasekwa 2 High had notices pasted at their entrances
indicating they did not accept students from private colleges.

At Gillingham Primary School, also in Dzivarasekwa, there was a short queue
of parents who were paying the US$30 per child fees for the term.

They said they were happy that the fees remained the same as last year,
although they heard that an increment of US$15 had been proposed.

At Warren Park 6 Council School, a notice which read: “We have no places for
all classes,” greeted those who entered the reception area. An administrator
at the school said the school’s vacancies had been filled mid-2012.

Classes at the school were already in full swing, with just a small queue of
parents who were paying fees.

The Minister of Education, Sports, Arts and Culture David Coltart said the
term had started well. “By and large, schools are functioning well —
learners are already learning and teachers are back at school.”

The situation was almost the same across the country.

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Food crisis looms as rains destroy crops in Buhera

January 13, 2013 in Community News

BUHERA — The current rains have been a relief to many farmers around the
country, but not for communal farmers in Buhera district.


Several villagers have been left stranded and face severe food shortages
after their crops last week were swept away by the heavy rains.

The rains left some of the fields with deep gullies and also swept away
perimeter fences, making it easier for livestock and wild animals to feed on
what had been left of the crops.

Villagers who spoke to Standardcommunity said they were facing another year
of food crisis following the destruction of the crops. “The fields have been
destroyed already, which is likely to be another year of hunger,” said one
of the villagers, Mainos Zvakare.

“We have not been receiving such heavy rains for the past nine years and we
have been on record having drought for all these years.”

Buhera is one of the semi-arid districts in the country which constantly
experiences food shortages owing to poor rains.
An agricultural extension officer, Robson Masaiti, also said the erosion
caused by the rains was likely to result in another drought in the district.

“The rains are heavy and our soils are very poor that they can’t hold it,
resulting in severe erosion in the fields,” said Masaiti.
He blamed poor farming methods for the erosion.

“People here do not care about the good methods of farming and this results
in severe erosion in the event of heavy rains like this,” he said.

Last week, Agricultural Extension Services [Arex] officials were teaching
some villagers in the district good farming methods to curtail massive

District administrator, Rolland Madondo said he was aware of the disaster
that had rocked most parts of Buhera, adding that his office was in the
process of finding ways to assist those affected.
“We have been informed about the disaster that happened in the district and
as I speak, we have since sent officials to assess the extent of the
damage,” he said.

He added that it might be another difficult year for the district as they
were likely to have food shortages.

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Baboons, monkeys fight for food with humans

January 13, 2013 in Community News

GUTU — Marauding baboons and monkeys are wreaking havoc here, digging out
newly-planted seeds, crops and killing livestock.


The baboons target small domestic animals such as chicken, ducks, sheep and
goats, which are easy to kill.

Villagers who spoke to Standardcommunity last week said they could face
another food crisis this year because the animals were affecting their
farming operations.

The most affected villages include Munemo, Chezira, Murapata and Magaya
because they are near big mountains such as Chiunidza, Tsinga and Cheshumba.

The villagers said the wild animals had run out of food which they usually
scrounge for in the mountains and had resorted to putting up a fight to get
what they wanted.

“Our lives depend on farming and if this problem continues, then we are
going to die of hunger,” said Maria Chingwere of Munemo Village.
“If we plant our maize or groundnut seeds today, the next day you wake up
and the animals would be digging along the lines, plucking out the seeds.”

Another villager, Mathius Majoni, said the animals were also killing
domestic animals.

“Apart from plucking the seeds from the ground, the animals are killing
chickens, guinea fowls, goats and sheep,” he said.
The villagers said at times they tried to scare them away by making noise
and putting scarecrows, but this had failed to stop the hungry animals.

“We spend our time in the fields but the animals continue to troop in. A
troop of baboons is very stubborn and sometimes we run for our lives,” said

Headman Simba Munemo of Munemo Village, said they would soon engage the
Department of Parks and Wildlife Management to assist them in dealing with
the animals.

“This season is worse than before and we are trying to engage responsible
authorities like Parks and Wildlife Management to help us,” he said.

Wild animals like baboons usually come into conflict with people when they
face food shortages.

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Apostolic sects refuse to dip livestock

January 13, 2013 in Community News

HURUNGWE — Members of some Apostolic sects (Mapostori) here are hampering
government efforts to eradicate tick-borne diseases by refusing to dip their
cattle saying it is against their beliefs, a district veterinary officer has


Veterinary officer for Hurungwe-Kariba district, Nyaradzo Rukatya said
resistance by the church members had contributed to the 80% mortality of
livestock in the district.

“The problem we have is that farmers are not cooperating despite us getting
dipping chemicals,” said Rukatya.

“Some of them just don’t turn up with their cattle. They don’t want. We have
those people who go to Mapostori, they will tell you that they don’t take
their animals for vaccination.”

Despite the resistance, the veterinary department had made some inroads
towards eradicating the diseases, he said.

It started with dipping goats and sheep together with cattle to break the
ticks’ life cycle.

Rukatya said there had been a 8% decrease of cattle mortality in the
district since the department started dipping goats and sheep, following a
capital injection by the European Union [EU].

“Basically, we usually get a 80% loss from tick-borne diseases, but right
now there is a reduction of about 8%,” Rukatya said at a recent field
organised by the EU.

Through the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations and with
funding from the EU, at least US$3,7 was injected for dipping activities for
small-holder farmers countrywide.

About 4,5 million cattle or 90% of the total number of cattle countrywide
are targeted.

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Unlined dump sites contaminate boreholes, says EMA

January 13, 2013 in Community News

MOST boreholes in Harare are contaminated with heavy metals from unlined
municipal dumps, exposing residents to diseases, an official from
Environmental Management Authority (EMA) has confirmed.


The failure by the Harare City Council to provide potable water has forced
residents to drill shallow boreholes, even in inappropriate areas as sources
of drinking water.

But health experts have warned residents against drinking water from such
boreholes, especially from those that are near dump sites.
EMA director general, Mutsa Chasi last week said surveys of water samples
taken in Harare indicated that underground water was contaminated.

“Drilled boreholes may not be clean and are contaminated with heavy metals.
Surveys are showing contamination of underground water, especially from
unlined municipal dumps like Pomona,” said Chasi.

She said heavy metals such as lead and mercury from dump sites were seeping
into underground water, posing a health risk to residents who drank the
water assuming that it would be safe.

Chasi was speaking at the Environmental Management Authority Laboratory
[EMAL] International Standards Organisation /International Electro-technical
Commission (ISO/ IEC) 17025 certificate presentation ceremony in Harare.

EMAL is the second environmental testing laboratory to be accredited by
Southern African Development Community Accreditation Service (SADCAS).

It was certified as a testing laboratory for microbial and chemical analysis
of raw and potable water.

Most Harare residents had resorted to bottled or borehole water because they
no longer felt safe drinking water from the local municipality since it was
discovered to be polluted by sewage.
SADCAS chief executive officer, Maureen Primrose Mutasa said policymakers
should embrace accreditation as a best practice for national development.

“Accreditation is increasingly being accepted as the most transparent,
non-discriminatory mechanism to assure competence of conformity,” said
Mutasa. “It increases reliability and competitiveness of products and
enhances market access, thereby facilitating trade.”

She said accreditation contributes towards national, social and economic
development, thereby helping reduce poverty and improving the quality of
lives for the general populace.

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Rains spark impromptu fare hikes

January 13, 2013 in Community News

HARARE — Unscrupulous commuter omnibus operators are taking advantage of the
current rains to hike fares, especially during peak hours, knowing that
desperate commuters would scramble into their vehicles for fear of


However, other commuters are resisting the fares preferring to while away
time wandering around town until late into the evening when the charges
would have been reduced.

For the past two weeks, commuters to Chitungwiza have been charged between
US$1,50 and US$2 during peak hours, especially when it’s raining.

It usually costs US$1 per person for a single trip.
Others from suburbs such as Mufakose, Glenview, Waterfalls and Budiriro fork
out between US$1 and US$1,50 a trip where they usually pay US$0,50.

“It’s very unfair for us to pay a dollar to Waterfalls which is less than 10
kilometres [from town],” said Trust Mabota.

He said that it had become a trend for transport operators to increase fares
every rainy season.

Mavis Kuenda said: “We have just come from the holidays and as we speak,
children need money to go to school and we need rentals. Where can we get
the money to pay US$2 to go to Chitungwiza?”
Some commuters now prefer to go for private vehicles which rarely increase

Misheck Dongo from Chitungwiza said he preferred to board private cars from
the city centre because one can negotiate the fare.
“Apart from that, it’s risky to board kombis when it is raining because most
of the drivers always speed regardless of reduced visibility, slippery roads
and potholes,” he said.

“Most of the drivers just want to make a quick buck at the expense of human

Disgruntled commuters, who felt cheated by the increase, caused commotion in
Harare’s central business district [CBD] last week.
There was confrontation between the commuters and commuter operators at a
terminus along Albion Street which nearly degenerated into a fist-fight as
commuters were demanding that fares to Waterfalls be reduced to US$0,50 from
the US$1 they were charging.

“You need soldiers to beat you up again,” shouted one man who was among the
crowd. “Those who are charging a dollar must just leave this place.”

Last year, soldiers beat up kombi drivers and touts in central Harare in
revenge after their colleagues had been beaten by touts.
This resulted in the restoration of order in the city as some rank marshals
deserted their spots for some days for fear of the soldiers.

ZRP national traffic police spokesperson, Tigere Chigome said he was
concerned about the unjustified fare hikes as they caused tension and fights
between the public and transport operators.

“What surprises me is that fuel prices are just normal, they don’t go up
because of rains but they still charge exorbitant fares to the public, which
is not fair,” said Chigome.

He said they would encourage traffic officers to control the situation,
which he said needed the help of the public.

New operation to weed out touts

The police have launched another operation to weed out touts and rank
marshals in the CBD. The touts are being accused of harassing commuters and
shoppers as well as making “noise and inconvenience”.
Late last year, police arrested over 500 touts and rank marshals and over
half of them were sent to jail or given community service sentences.

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Communal farmers lead in tobacco industry: Biti

January 13, 2013 in Business

Communal farmers have taken charge of tobacco farming in Zimbabwe and now
constitute over 40% of registered farmers this year, Finance minister Tendai
Biti has said.


He was addressing a press conference at his offices in the capital last
month, where he gave a monthly update on the state of the economy.

Tobacco production has remarkably boosted the rural economy, providing jobs
to hundreds of workers in a country which has an unemployment rate of over

“For tobacco, I am pleased to say that as of the 23rd of November 2012, some
63 352 growers had registered for the 2013 season compared to the 33 808 of
last year,” said Biti.

“So we expect to have a record crop next year. At least 22 182 new growers
have been registered for 2013.”

Biti said the country recorded 145,5 million kg last season and “because the
crop was good, the collections were a record US$580 million at an average of

A1 farmers accounted for 43% of the growers, while A2 commercial and
small-scale farmers accounted for 7%, 40% and 10% respectively.
Agriculture has always been a pivotal sector of Zimbabwe’s diverse economy,
along with mining, tourism and manufacturing.

Tobacco was once Zimbabwe’s largest export commodity, accounting for a third
of all foreign currency earnings, along with gold and other minerals.

Almost 99% of the crop was exported to 69 different countries in the 1990s.

Biti said major exports comprised minerals, which were at 61,8%, followed by
tobacco at 21,8%.

Rural farmers are presently investing in building their own tobacco barns,
grading shades as well as purchasing bailing machines.

But they have always complained about the effects of climate change, high
costs of inputs and poor prices.

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Oversubscribed Byo retail sector crumbles

January 13, 2013 in Business

BULAWAYO’S retail sector has virtually collapsed following the closure of
several shops and supermarkets in the city centre last year.


Retail was the only remaining robust sector following the closure of various
companies in the manufacturing and textile industries.
The most affected retail businesses were new shops and supermarkets owned by
indigenous people.

Buscod Chain Supermarkets closed its last shop at the end of last month,
leaving close to 400 workers jobless.

The company’s managing director, Bambo Bambo said the closure was caused by
a marked increase in the number of retail supermarket outlets in the city.

This, he said, had made retail business less viable.
“We are therefore getting into those business areas that are little explored
such as clothing and that do not need a large number of employees and where
competition is less,” he said.

Buscod Supermarket emerged at a time when traditional supermarkets were
facing operating challenges that saw many of them failing to stock basic

Another supermarket chain, Tashas Supermarkets closed four of its branches
last year, also leaving hundreds of workers unemployed.
The company was placed under judicial management late last year after it
failed to settle US$3 million it owed creditors, most of them local banks.

Tashas had 10 outlets in the city and rose to prominence at the height of
economic challenges to compete with established supermarkets such as TM and

It was also one of the first supermarkets to import basic commodities from
South Africa during the hyperinflationary period.

Tashas Supermarket, which had become a household name in Bulawayo, is also
planning on restructuring and diversifying into other lines of business, a
source said.

“There is a retail shop in almost every street and at every corner of the
town and this makes competition very stiff,” said a manager with Tashas who
requested anonymity. “Several companies especially in the manufacturing
sector closed down in Bulawayo and this also negatively affected our

The Retailers Association of Bulawayo said retailers started recording a
decline in sales following the sprouting of wholesale outlets in the city.

The association said most of the wholesalers were also operating as

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TN Bank-Econet deal to benefit minorities – Nyambirai

January 13, 2013 in Business

MINORITY shareholders in TN Bank, mostly former Tedco shareholders, are set
to reap rewards from the Econet takeover of the financial institution, bank
founder Tawanda Nyambirai said last week.


Speaking to Standardbusiness last week, Nyambirai quashed market reports
that the Econet acquisition of TN Bank and its de-listing from the stock
exchange was only in the best interests of the main shareholder. The reports
said the takeover would negatively affect minority shareholders.

Nyambirai said the last time he assessed the minority shareholders’ attitude
towards the acquisition of the bank by Econet was at an extraordinary
general meeting (EGM) in June 2012.

“At that EGM, the shareholders, including minority shareholders, voted in
favour of the transaction 100%,” he said. “All our minority shareholders
without dissent welcomed Econet and saw the value that I saw Econet bringing
on board.”

Nyambirai said that the rationale behind the transaction was premised on the
shareholders’ realisation of the inevitable integration of
telecommunications with banking.

Under the transaction, TN Bank minority shareholders will be offered Econet
shares in exchange for stakes in the bank.

The bank’s management felt that engagement with potential investors would
likely add value to the company as the current trading price on the bourse
undervalues it.

The company’s share price has plummeted by 50% from its listing price of
32,08 US cents in June last year. It is trading below its net asset value
(NAV) of US$0,25c per share.

TN will de-list from the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) should the deal sail

“As much as they know that TN Bank is undervalued, they know that Econet is
much more undervalued than any other counter on the ZSE,” said Nyambirai. “I
do not see any TN Bank minority shareholders who will fail to find the
transaction attractive.”

TN Bank said that it needed to raise capital to meet the central bank’s
minimum regulatory capital requirements of US$100 million by December 31
next year. After the de-listing exercise, shareholders would continue
trading shares on a willing-buyer, willing-seller basis.
Market analysts felt the procedural action would have been to offer
minorities a price preferably at a premium to the trading price.

They argue that since up to 83% of TN Bank’s issued share capital was held
by Econet and numerous trust vehicles, the majority shareholders could
railroad resolutions through that best suit them. TN Bank is trading at a
discount of around 36% to its net asset value of US$0,25c per share, a
reflection of its low trading volumes.

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Zimplats’ local partners to pay for government ‘sins’

January 13, 2013 in Business

ZIMPLATS’ indigenous partners will settle government’s US$153 million
outstanding debt to the platinum producer under a transaction unveiled on


The company last week signed the empowerment transaction with the government
valued at US$971 million in which locals would have 51% in the white metal

The transaction had been valued at US$818 million but shot up to US$971
million after factoring in government’s debt.

A 2006 agreement between Zimplats and the government stated that instead of
paying US$153 million cash for land rights, government would give Zimplats
credits against indigenisation.

Zimplats would then facilitate the transaction by providing vendor financing
to the indigenous entities at an interest rate of 10% per annum under the
new transaction.

Vendor financing would be repayable from 85% of the dividends declared by
Zimplats on the indigenisation shares.

The new shareholding of Zimplats will see Impala Platinum owning 49%, the
National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund (NIEEF) holding 31%,
Zimplats Employee Share Ownership Trust 10% and Community Share Ownership
Trust 10%.

NIEEF will have to pay US$590 million while the Community Share Ownership
Trust and Employee Share Ownership Trust’s share of the purchase price is
US$190 million each.

The transaction will see indigenous entities receiving 15% of 51% of
dividends declared by Zimplats.

“Assuming a 100% dividend payout on free cash-flows over the next 10 years,
this will result in indigenous entities receiving an estimated US$164
million in cash-flows,” said an overview done by the transaction’s financial
advisors, Brainworks Capital. “Zimplats has sustainably generated average
net profit per annum in excess of US$100 million per year since 2010 and
this performance is expected to be sustained going forward.”

An overview of the transaction calculated by Brainworks Capital shows that
the value of Zimplats on an asset valuation basis is about US$1,7 billion.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Implats chief executive officer, Terence
Goodlace said he was pleased that after some two years of hard work and
diligence, an acceptable solution had been reached.
“Through broad-based empowerment, we believe that the country would be able
to broaden participation by locals in the resource sector, spread wealth,
and expand growth opportunities to propel the country’s economy to higher
levels,” said Goodlace.

The government has been using empowerment transactions to settle debts owed
to mining firms.

In the Mimosa transaction unveiled last month, indigenous partners were set
to pick up the US$57 million bill incurred by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

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Democratic principles should start at lower levels

January 13, 2013 in Opinion

Intra-party democracy systems can have positive or negative consequences on
national systems depending on the internal policies used by political
parties or the political context of the country.

Sunday View by Resource Election Center

The ability of political parties to put in place progressive policies that
ensure the professional selection of qualified candidates can go a long way
in providing leadership that will effectively lead Zimbabwe towards
sustainable development.

Though some might argue that too much party democracy may dilute the power
held by political party leaders, the benefits of intraparty democracy at a
macro level are much greater.

Therefore, internal party systems should uphold universally recognised
democratic principles, for example, transparency, accountability and

Internal party democracy has a wider impact on national governance. It
enhances a necessary democratic culture within political parties that will
naturally transcend to the society at large.

The representation of the electorate’s ideas starts at grassroots level and
in most cases through political parties, therefore the internal party
procedures should be free and fair so as to facilitate the transfer of the
electorates’ views and ideas from the grassroots to the national level.

For that reason, the opening up of political parties is essential in that it
creates space for new ideas and new members, who will then be part of the
national system through national elections, if they are selected as party

Major effects of failed internal party democracy are imposition of
candidates, disturbance of democratic stability and loss of political
support for the party.

All parties will probably hold their primary elections soon. The fear is
that the candidacy of the next elections will be botched because there are
already certain individuals that have been targeted for nomination.

There will most likely be impositions of candidates by over-domineering
elites. The imposition of candidates is worsened by the culture of
clientelism that has perverted internal party politics. This may lead to
voter apathy since the party would have failed to put forward the candidates
preferred by the electorate.

Primary elections are generally divisive and have, in the past, led to
intraparty conflicts. The possible forthcoming primary elections will serve
as a barometer to measure the possibility of the recurrence of political
violence in the 2013 national election.

If the selection of candidates is not managed well, there is a possibility
of intraparty violence going beyond internal violence. If the selection of
candidates is contested, there are more chances that the harmonised
elections will be highly contested.

Already in some areas in the Mashonaland provinces, violence has erupted
with some aspiring candidates accusing the old seat holders.

Internal democratic procedures, which lack the adherence to true democratic
principles, have led to the splits and crises within political parties. For
instance, the MDC has split into four parties since 2005 and Zanu PF
internal politics are riddled with factionalism. This has been caused by
disgruntled party supporters.

When a candidate loses primary elections, legally, there is a chance for
them to stand as independent candidates. Consequently, this will probably
lead to the splitting of the party’s votes and the loss of confidence of the
electorate in the political systems.

Parties therefore need more open candidate selection methods guided by
democratic internal and national legal frameworks that can influence
political parties’ discretionary power in proposing candidates.

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Online registration the way to go

January 13, 2013 in Opinion

It is extremely difficult to convince the young generation that voting in
national elections is important.

The Standard Opinion

The reason for this is not far to find. All our youths have in the past
decade seen the futility of the whole electoral process because it has been
subverted now and again to suit certain interests.

None of our born-frees have ever experienced the joy and satisfaction of a
free and fair election. They have therefore concluded that elections do not
change anything.

They cannot be blamed for this. It is therefore incumbent upon political
parties to change this thinking. How they are going to do this is entirely
up to them but one thing is clear, the outcome of the forthcoming watershed
elections will be most crucial in the country’s progress towards a modern
country where democratic processes are respected and the youths hold the key
to this!

The youth, only 18% of whom voted in the last general and presidential
elections, are generally uninterested in changing the course of history yet
the future is mostly theirs. This contradiction has to be straightened out
so that the millions of dollars to be spent on the voter registration
exercise can be justified.

But how can the voter-registration exercise be made attractive to a
techno-savvy generation that has had its day-to-day living revolutionised by
technology? The smaller MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube is right in
proposing that it should be possible for voter registration to be done

The young generation is naturally repulsed by the old way of doing things.
This is the generation that has grown doing virtually all important
transaction online, be it applying for university places, banking their
allowances, applying for their visas or even courtship.

Unlike the older generation, which grew up in a time when it was mandatory
to carry pens on their ears, the youth don’t need writing the way we used to
and queues just drive them mad.

Two things are important therefore, namely that youths are drilled on the
importance of voting and that voter registration is made as simple as
possible for them.

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Peaceful polls rest on UNWTO conference

January 13, 2013 in Editorial

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) conference will be
held in August this year and it isn’t within anyone in Zimbabwe’s power to
change that date.

From the Editor’s Desk with Nevanji Madanhire

Zimbabwe is co-hosting the funfair with its northern neighbour Zambia, which
further complicates the matter.

The conference has now become a peg on the Zimbabwean calendar around which
other events are tethered. The nation is unanimous that the hosting of this
event should not be scuppered in anyway. The dates of our harmonised
elections therefore have to be determined by this event more than any other.

One school of thought argues that the elections should be held before the
UNWTO conference while another argues for after the event. Those in the
first school say the conference can be used to restrain the behaviour of
political parties in the period leading to and after the elections.

This argument is understandable.

Electoral violence and manipulation have become the bane of Zimbabwean
politics. Every election, without fail since independence, has been
characterised by violence; what has only varied is the degree. In spite of
the government of national unity, which has brought a semblance of peace and
sanity to the political landscape, the polarisation is still deep and is
simmering under the surface ready to erupt at the slightest trigger.

Could the world attention that will be brought about by the international
conference help curtail electoral violence? Many think so; after all the
raison d’état of the conference is to show that Zimbabwe has shed its dirty
past and is ready to join the community of nations as a stable democracy!

Many countries, especially in the west, are ready to withdraw their
participation in the conference if they deem the conditions not conducive
enough. Already Germany is threatening to pull out and even campaign against
Zimbabwe’s hosting if bilateral trade pacts between it and Zimbabwe are not

This chorus could gain ground if other democracies indicate they would baulk
at undemocratic electoral process and shun the conference.

Considering this, June would be the ideal month to hold the harmonised
elections. March, which President Mugabe seems to be pushing for, is a wee
too early because those with a propensity for violence can still engage in
it and clean up their act in time for the conference. To do this when the
elections are held in June would be practically impossible.

The school that argues for elections after the conference is the one that
wishes to avoid the glare of world attention during and after elections; it
is the same group that has a tendency towards electoral manipulation and

This group does not appreciate what the hosting of UNWTO conference sets to
achieve. They are not aware the conference is not just an event but part of
a process to rebrand the country. Engaging in any electoral violence after
the conference will still have the effect of reinforcing the country’s
pariah status which we are trying to change.

Turkey, which hosted the conference last year, receives about 30 million
visitors annually; if Zimbabwe could receive even a tenth of that, it surely
would have arrived, so to speak. Zimbabwe has the capacity to handle that
kind of figure and, I think, that’s the message that Tourism and Hospitality
minister Walter Mzembi and all the others engaged in the hosting of this
conference are trying to send out to the world.

For Turkey, tourism contributes US$25 billion to its national earnings;
again even a tenth of that would be good for Zimbabwe. These figures only
help to illustrate how tourism could easily be the most important cog in the
machine of Zimbabwe’s turnaround strategy.

When countries bid to host big international events such as the Football
World Cup and the Olympics, they wish to show off their progress and their
status in the world. The World Cup put South Africa firmly on the map in
2010; there is no doubt now that the country is up there among the community
of nations hence it was invited to join Brics [major emerging markets
comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and now South Africa] at the end of
that year and eventually doing so the following year.

Many African countries have over the years also sought to showcase their
progress by hosting tournaments such as the African Cup of Nations which
South Africa has been honoured to do again this year.

Angola’s hosting it in 2010 was meant to show off the country’s post-war
progress and the way it was using its vast oil and diamond revenue to
develop itself. Indeed Angola is now one of the biggest economies in Africa.

The UNWTO conference therefore offers Zimbabwe an opportunity to showcase
the best of itself and, hopefully, this should include its stability and
political maturity. The country should therefore clean up its political act
first before hosting the conference and this can only be done if elections
are held before the conference and held in an atmosphere that is consistent
with international standards of democracy.

It was the political instability of the turn of the millennium that hit hard
our tourist receipts; to host a major tourism conference before stability is
permanently restored is the height of foolishness.

First things must come first: harmonised elections in a free and fair
atmosphere and a smooth transfer of power, if that’s the wish of the
electorate. Then we would have proved ourselves worthy of being the most
preferred tourism destination in southern Africa, a status which I believe
belongs to us, but which, at the moment, we don’t deserve.

Besides the imperative cleaning up of the politics before the conference,
the country should also spruce itself up in terms of cleanliness and its
general outlook. Zimbabwe happens to be about the most littered country

Organisers of the UNWTO conference seem to think the conference should only
be a Victoria Falls affair; it is not! The country should come through as a
total package; we haven’t seen any efforts towards this with all events
seemingly focused on the resort town.

If the Turkey experience is anything to go by, we will most likely receive
about 1 000 guests, (Turkey got 1 200); these should be encouraged to travel
around the country. This therefore means all cities and tourist resorts
should be visible at the conference, but we are not hearing any noise from

But civil society should begin making noise about having elections before
the conference, if only to rein in political waywardness.

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Zanu PF subverts democracy in many ways

January 13, 2013 in Editorial

In the run-up to the discredited 2008 harmonised elections, an elderly
relative in Seke Communal Lands related how she and other villagers had been
told at a Zanu PF meeting that it would be futile for them to vote for MDC-T
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, since he never participated in the liberation

Sunday Opinion with Desmond Kumbuka

The only credible candidate for the presidential position, they were told,
was none other than Robert Mugabe. So by implication, the electorate
effectively had only one choice among the candidates — Robert Mugabe.

This has been Zanu PF’s method for the past 32 years. The country,
unfailingly, goes to the polls whenever they are due in terms of the
constitution, but strictly to elect those that the “revolutionary party”
deems to be the right candidates.

This is precisely the basis of statements by army generals who have vowed
that they will never salute anyone, specifically Tsvangirai, even if he wins
the elections, because he does not possess liberation war credentials.

When Mugabe boasts his regime has always complied with constitutional
provisions on polls and has never skipped an election, what he does not say
is that Zimbabweans have always been accorded the right to vote but not the
choice of who to vote for. This has created a puzzle for the generality of
Zimbabweans: what is the point of voting when one cannot decide who to vote

The right to identify those that must be voted for, as things stand, belongs
to those who fought in the liberation war. And since Zanu PF arrogated
itself the exclusive franchise to the liberation war, only it can decide who
should be voted for. This prescriptive form of democracy has been the
hallmark of its electoral agenda since coming to power in 1980.

Worryingly, Zanu PF behaves as if the liberation war was an ideal to which
revolutionaries had to aspire to as a qualification for the future
leadership of the country. Sadly today, Zanu PF shamelessly exploits this
very unfortunate episode in our lives and subverts internationally accepted
democratic principles in the name of a revolutionary struggle.

It is a terrible indictment of these revolutionaries that the lucky
survivors of our liberation struggle now seek to reward themselves for
helping to liberate the country by clinging to power and looting state
resources with impunity. This is a callous betrayal of the scores of truly
revolutionary Zimbabweans who died in the struggle. The democracy for which
these Zimbabweans sacrificed their lives was certainly not to monopolise
power and pursue self-aggrandisement, but one that would allow each and
every Zimbabwean one-man-one-vote, to elect leaders of their choice.

It is indeed a sad reflection of the moral standards in this country that
more than 30 years after the death of one of the foremost revolutionaries,
Josiah Magama Tongogara, controversy still rages on around the causes of his
death, because there are those who still seek to gain political mileage from
his demise.

Similarly, the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo must surely be turning in
his grave every time his name is invoked by hypocrites who desperately seek
to associate themselves with him in a vain attempt to bolster their
wafer-thin political credentials.

What Zimbabwe needs today is a new generation of visionaries who can
turn-around the country’s battered economy, not clueless geriatrics who hold
out their participation in the liberation struggle as a passport to holding
power in perpetuity.

Zanu PF should not be allowed to hold this country to ransom any longer
because the price already paid as a debt of gratitude for its role in the
liberation struggle far exceeds what it is worth. In any case, only
mercenaries put a price on their involvement in a war, and Zanu PF has
demonstrated beyond any doubt that it holds its participation in the freedom
struggle as a mercenary enterprise for which it must exact a fee.

Claims by Zanu PF that Zimbabwe is under neo-colonialist threat are pathetic
and baseless in a new world order where democratic forces are becoming ever
more bold and assertive.

While Zimbabwe is not Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Egypt or even Libya, events
in the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring are a harbinger of the
inevitability of change. The late Muammar Gaddafi, former Libyan strongman,
probably believed he was invincible when the winds of change swept through
his country, crashing him and his regime — all because he failed to read the
signs on the wall.

Lately, Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad has tenaciously clung to power
through his country’s 21-month uprising, but even he must know by now that
the end is nigh.

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