Much has been made of the change trading in dollars and rands. Shops shelves are full, and prices are now quoted in stable currencies. Apart from the obvious good news that food is available in Zimbabwe once again, what is the impact on the economic lives of ordinary Zimbabweans? The table below lists common shopping items, with their prices in US$ and Rands (working at the commonly used conversion rate of $1 = R7.50).
Imagine that you are a teacher, earning approximately US$150 a month, and that this salary has to cover rent, lights and water, phone bills, transport, medical costs etc etc - as well as your daily shopping. How would YOU economise?
The highlighted section at the end of the table features a handful of well known brand-name items to enable you to do direct price comparisons with shopping wherever you are in the world.
|Nestle Infants Starter
|Loaf of bread||1||0.70||5.25|
|Chakalaka relish||1 tin||1.95||14.63|
|Cashel Valley baked beans||420g||0.95||7.13|
|Red Seal rice||2kg||1.80||13.50|
|Sugar beans (dry)||500g||1.20||9.00|
|Soya mince (dried)||200g||0.40||3.00|
|Dried kapenta fish||500g||3.66||27.45|
|Whole chicken||1, medium sized||3.80||28.50|
|Peanut butter (smooth)||375ml||1.48||11.10|
|Loose economy biscuits||1 packet||1.25||9.38|
|Economy sanitary towels||20||2.80||21.00|
|Household economy soap||500g||0.50||3.75|
|Mazoe peach cordial||2L||2.20||16.50|
|Castle beer||330ml can||0.80||6.00|
|Castle bottle beer (with
|Castle bottle beer
|Coke (bottle with empty)||300ml||0.40||3.00|
|Coke (bottle without
|SA gooseberry jam||340g||3.00||22.50|
|Heinz baked beans||420g||1.30||9.75|
Thursday, 14 January 2010 20:17
ENERGY and Power Development minister Elias Mudzuri, co-Home Affairs
minister Giles Mutsekwa, and Mines deputy minister Murisi Zwizwai are the
three ministers being probed by the MDC-T for allegedly engaging in corrupt
A top MDC-T official who sits on both the national council and national
executive committee, who preferred not to be named, told the Zimbabwe
Independent that the party was in the process of gathering evidence on the
three and upon completion of investigations they would be brought before the
national council for disciplinary action. "Corruption is not tolerated in
the MDC and we are planning to deal with it at whatever level," the official
said. "Dealing with councillors is not enough; we need to go all the way to
the top. Currently there are three ministers under probe. We have received
several reports on the three and we are investigating to get to the bottom
of the matter."
However, a person close to the named ministers described the probe as a
stage-managed enquiry by individuals on the national executive who want to
get rid of certain persons, whom they perceive as threats to the succession
issue in the party.
"The three individuals are perceived to be close to the Prime Minister," the
official said. "This move seems to confirm the succession agenda. The three
have for a long time been labelled part of the kitchen cabinet and it now
appears that the succession kitchen cabinet is going full throttle to
obliterate the kitchen cabinet.
"2010 is the year of politics - it will lay the foundation for the 2011
Mudzuri said he would welcome a genuine investigation by an independent team
because he had nothing to worry about.
"There is nothing wrong in carrying out such investigations. If they are
genuinely being done without any machinations, I welcome them. I am not
afraid of anything - I have nothing to fear. I believe I have been
straightforward and those claiming to have evidence must come out."
Mutsekwa, who is party national secretary for security, was shocked to hear
that he was one of the ministers being probed.
"This is the last thing I expected to hear," he said. "I never imagined
being investigated. But if it is true that I am being investigated, then I
eagerly await the people to tell me what I have done.
"It is unfortunate that someone high ranking would be saying something like
this and spreading such malicious allegations," he said.
Zwizwai said he had unofficially heard that he was being investigated but
said if the allegations were based on the Marange diamonds, the matter was a
"As far as I am concerned the Marange issue is a matter that is being
considered at cabinet level and I am not a member of the cabinet and I don't
sit in the cabinet. I wait for the cabinet to give me guidance," he said.
The MDC top official said to ensure that corruption does not flourish, the
MDC-T was planning on setting up a toll-free hotline number for the public
to report any cases of corruption involving MDC officials in any office.
He said Mudzuri was being accused of taking bribes from private petroleum
companies, prejudicing ordinary Zimbabweans.
Zwizwai is being accused of seeking bribes for tender awards and conniving
with Zanu PF officials to flout tender procedures. The accusations seem to
be emanating from the way Mbada Diamonds was allowed to mine Chiadzwa
diamonds without going to tender.
The top official said Mutsekwa was also being probed for allegedly taking
bribes, without elaborating saying investigations were still under way.
Meanwhile, the 14-member probe team set up to investigate corruption charges
said they needed to look further into allegations that senior managers at
Chegutu municipality and 13 councillors had their sitting allowances
increased from US$100 to US$300.
The senior managers have been accused by residents of awarding themselves
bonuses of US$5 000 each on top of other hefty benefits.
Head of the probe team, Tapiwa Mashakada, said they were willing to fire the
whole council if found to be corrupt in awarding themselves allowances.
The team will visit Redcliffe, Harare and Chitungwiza next week.
Thursday, 14 January 2010 20:08
MINES Minister Obert Mpofu sidestepped the Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation (ZMDC) and the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ)
when he appointed the board of Condurango Resources, a joint venture diamond
mining operation, amid allegations that he appointed his sister-in-law and
his personal assistant to the board.
Condurango Resources is a company trading as Mbada Diamonds. It is in a
joint venture with the ZMDC and New Reclamation Group.
Documents seen by the Zimbabwe Independent reveal that Mpofu appointed his
personal assistant, Dingiswayo Ndlovu, and his brother's wife, Sitshengisiwe
Moyo, to the board of the government company.
Mbada Diamonds chairman Robert Mhlanga was also appointed to the board of
the joint venture firm - Condurango Resources - a government and Mbada
Mhlanga is believed to be a shareholder in Mbada Diamonds and naturally
represents his own interest on the board.
It is not clear why Mpofu appointed Mhlanga to the board and whose interests
he is representing apart from his own.
Another director, Crystesona Kanjoma, was appointed as a director last year,
according to documents seen by the Independent. Little is known about
Mpofu yesterday refused to comment saying he was on leave. His personal
assistant refused to comment referring all questions to Mines secretary
Thankful Musukutwa. Musukutwa referred all questions to Mpofu.
It is unclear why Mpofu appointed Ndlovu and Moyo to the board and whose
interests the two were representing.
Other investigations revealed that government mining group ZMDC, which
partnered Mbada Diamonds to form a joint venture, has no representation on
Apart from lack of representation on the board, the group does not have a
representative in management and operations at the diamond mine. Mbada
Diamonds CEO Alex Mukwekweza is said to have quit.
Mbada last week attempted to sell diamonds without the approval of MMCZ and
without notifying ZMDC and the government.
Acting Mines minister Emmerson Mnangagwa stopped the sale and ordered Mbada
to follow proper procedures in future.
Speculation has been rife that Mhlanga who did business with New Reclamation
Group, also shareholders in Mbada Diamonds for years, could have got into
the diamond venture on the back of a prior relationship with Mpofu.
Mhlanga and New Reclamation bought scrap metal from Zimbabwe Iron and Steel
Company during Mpofu's term as Trade minister, a portfolio responsible for
Mpofu was appointed Mines minister last year.
Investigations by the Independent established that Mpofu did not float a
tender for a diamond partner and gave mining rights to companies without
proven mining experience. New reclamation had never been involved in any
kind of mining venture before investing in the diamond mining operation.
Mpofu allegedly recommended to cabinet last year New Reclamation Group and
Canadille Mining, the other company exploiting diamonds at Chiadzwa.
Canadille is represented locally by Lovemore Kurotwi.
This is not the first time Mpofu has been involved in controversial deals. A
few years ago he was grilled by a parliamentary committee on industry and
commerce after awarding a management contract to Global Steel Holdings Ltd
(GSHL) without going to tender.
It emerged that GSHL had only been mandated to conduct a due diligence
examination into Zisco and not empowered to manage the steel maker.
Mpofu was found guilty of lying under oath after giving contradictory oral
evidence on the GSHL debacle.
He told the committee that the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate had
conducted investigations into the situation at Zisco and compiled a report
that implicated top government officials, including members of parliament.
The following week Mpofu backtracked on his earlier statement, alleging that
he was quoted out of context. Then committee chairman Enock Porusingazi
moved a motion to charge the government official for lying under oath.
January 15, 2010
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party has rubbished a front
page spread in Friday's issue of The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper that
alleges three MDC ministers are being probed for corruption.MDC spokesman
Nelson Chamisa angrily dismissed the story penned by the newspaper's
political editor, Faith Zaba, at a press briefing held at Harvest House,
the party's headquarters in Harare soon after the paper hit the streets on
Energy and Power Development Minister Elias Mudzuri, co-Home Affairs
Minister Giles Mutsekwa, and Mines Deputy Minister Murisi Zwizwai were named
by the usually reliable business weekly as the three ministers under a
corruption probe by a 14-member MDC committee for corruption.
Chamisa rubbished the claims and described the alleged probe as a figment of
"We would like to state and place it on record that there are reports that
are disturbing, reports that are malicious and mendacious that have been
carried in The Independent that the party is carrying out a probe on certain
ministers belonging to the MDC," Chamisa said. "What I wish to state as a
matter of fact is that no such committee has been put in place by the party
to probe ministers. And there is no such probe that is targeting ministers,
and that our ministers do not have any allegations levelled against them."
Chamisa said what was correct, however, was that the party through its
leadership in the National Executive and the National Council, had indeed
set up a committee headed by deputy secretary general Tapiwa Mashakada, who
attended the press briefing, together with other members of the National
Executive, to target illicit and corrupt activities in all local
"Because this is where we have received certain reports on the violation of
what we call the citizen charter as the MDC, which is the contract between
the councillor and the citizen and the residents,' the MDC spokesman said.
"We are supposed to have professionalism, accountability, transparency in
the way in which council business is transacted. We have had problems in
Chitungwiza, Bindura, and those challenges have all been put under the
spotlight through this committee and there has to be no confusion between
this committee which is dealing with the local authorities and the so-called
committee which has been formed in the Independent which is probing
Zaba's story was based on information supplied by unnamed sources,
purportedly sitting in the National Council and National Executive.
Chamisa said the MDC respected the independence of the media, but urged
journalists to write the truth.
"Yes, we have zero tolerance on corruption, we also want zero tolerance on
falsehoods," Chamisa said. "We would appreciate it if those facts are
anchored on substance. As we are moving forward we are clear that our party
has done more than any other political party to target people who are
corrupt. In fact, more than any political party in this country, we have
managed to deal with corruption with finality and conclusion."
Chamisa, who is also a minister himself in the inclusive government, said
there were no sacred cows in the National Executive, National Council, in
Parliament, government or in the local authorities, "but it's not correct to
say that certain ministers have been probed".
"These ministers have they been probed? Certainly no," Chamisa said.
"In fact as far as we are concerned the MDC would like to inform the nation
that the mentioned officials, the Energy and Power Development minister,
Honourable Mudzuri, who is our organizing secretary, the co-minister of Home
Affairs, Hon Giles Mutsekwa, our national executive member, and the deputy
minister of Mines, Murisi Zwizwai are not being investigated by the party
for any corrupt activities. We have no evidence or allegation of ay corrupt
dealing or underhand dealings. In fact these ministers, together with other
ministers, have continued to be living examples of what being a party of
excellence is all about. They are part of a team that is determined to
deliver real change. And we believe real change is only possible when we
deal with corruption head on."
Describing the ongoing blitz as a "countrywide crusade" which was
unstoppable, Chamisa said it was false that the MDC was exhibiting signs of
"It's a sign of strength to deal with your own who are victims of mischief,"
he said. "It's a sign of strength to deal with your own who have not been
able to live up to the dictates and precepts of the party. We do respect
newspapers and freedom of expression. But that story is not correct. It's a
Efforts to obtain comment from Zaba were futile as her mobile phone number
was not reachable.
Chamisa added: "We are going to deal with corruption. If we were to get
evidence against anyone in the party about any corrupt activities, the party
would deal with those corrupt activities, decisively and in a progressive
manner. But to try and impose and plant certain issues is unfortunate. In
fact, we would have hoped that they were going to be in touch with the
spokesperson, with the party, just to get the facts on what the situation is
instead of quoting ghostly sources to say that there is a senior source
talking about succession when, in fact, succession is an ailment that is
quite endemic in Zanu-PF."
Zaba's story insinuated that the probe against the three ministers, who she
claims to be close to the Prime Minister, was aimed at incapacitating and
tainting the officials ahead of the 2011 MDC congress.
Zaba wrote: "However, a person close to the named ministers described the
probe as a stage-managed enquiry by individuals on the National Executive
who wants to get rid of certain persons, whom they perceive as threats to
the succession issue in the party.
"The three individuals are perceived to be close to the Prime Minister," her
article quotes an unnamed MDC official. "This move seems to confirm the
succession agenda. The three have for a long time been labelled part of the
kitchen cabinet and it now appears that the succession kitchen cabinet is
going full throttle to obliterate the kitchen cabinet," the quotation
Chamisa rejected the succession story saying it was "never our disease.
"We know this (succession) disease from Zanu-PF," Chamisa said. "And we feel
sorry for them. But it is not a weakness of the MDC. And I just wish to
place it on record that we have a clear Constitution, our leadership is not
suffering from any succession dispute."
Chamisa said the party had not received any complaint against any of the MDC's
deployees to government.
"It's not up to us to just go on a tsikamutanda (witch-hunt) drive seeking
to locate problems where there are no problems," he said. "We are going to
be consistent. On issues where we get allegations, then we will pursue them.
But we have not received any evidential information implicating any of our
ministers. In fact, our ministers have been models of excellence. They have
been models of a leadership of excellence in terms of their discharge of
duties to the extent that we do not have any kind of implicating evidence.
It is not up to us to go on a witch-hunt. That is not our business. We
really want to do that assuming that there are problems."
The Zimbabwe Times heard that the MDC was addressing a letter to the editor
of The Zimbabwe Independent, Nevanji Madanhire, demanding a full retraction
on the front page of the next issue, failing which, the party would take
legal action against the newspaper.
MDC ministers accused of conniving with Zanu-PF counterparts for
Friday 15 January 2010 / by Alice Chimora
Four cabinet ministers in Zimbabwe's inclusive government are under probe
from their respective parties, MDC and Zanu Pf, on corruption allegations.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC has set up a 13 member probe team
into various corruption charges, including flouting of government tender
procedures, seeking bribes for tender awards and conniving with their Zanu
PF counterparts for self-enrichment.
Energy and Power Development minister Elias Mudzuri, co-Home Affairs
minister Giles Mutsekwa, and Mines deputy minister Murisi Zwizwai are the
three ministers being probed by the MDC.
Mines minister, Obert Mpofu of Zanu PF is also being probed on shady diamond
MDC sources say the party has come up with a code of conduct which is soon
to be taken to the national executive committee and then national council
The code will require ministers, legislators and councilors to declare their
interests and assets in line with modern trends to ensure that there is
accountability and transparency.
MDC-T spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa, said that anyone found to be corrupt
would face automatic dismissal from the party. "We are a party of
excellence. Transparency, accountability and good governance are part of our
fabric," he said.
"We expect these from our Prime Minister, from our ministers and from, most
importantly, our councils. If anyone negates these principles, then we will
be destroying the very fabric of the MDC. We should be the opposite of Zanu
Mudzuri is accused of taking bribes from several private petroleum
companies, prejudicing ordinary Zimbabweans.
Zwizwai is being accused of seeking bribes for diamond and other minerals
tender awards and conniving with Zanu PF officials to flout tender
The accusations seem to be emanating from the way Mbada Diamonds was allowed
to mine Chiadzwa diamonds without going to tender.
Mutsekwa is being probed for allegedly taking bribes.
But some MDC functionaries say the probe is a stage-managed inquiry by
individuals on the national executive who want to get rid of certain
persons, whom they perceive as threats to the succession issue in the party.
"The three individuals are perceived to be close to the Prime Minister," the
official claimed. 2010 is the year of politics - it will lay the foundation
for the 2011 congress" she said.
MDC would next year hold an elective congress.
Mudzuri say he's not scared of any investigation saying ". am not afraid of
anything - I have nothing to fear. I believe I have been straightforward and
those claiming to have evidence must come out."
Mines minister Mpofu is linked to looting of diamonds at the controversial
Chiadwza Diamonds field.
Cape Town, January 15, 2010 - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
must be flexible in demanding the removal of some officials to help talks
aimed at saving a power-sharing accord with President Robert Mugabe, South
African President Jacob Zuma said.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party wants Mugabe to fire
central bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana,
saying their appointments were unconstitutional.
Are these issues "so fundamental that we cannot move without" resolving
them? Zuma said in an interview broadcast on state-owned SAFM in
Johannesburg on Friday. "Can we park them and proceed?"
The parties will seek to resolve their differences at talks due to begin on
Saturday in the capital, Harare. Previous rounds of discussions mediated by
the South African government have ended inconclusively.
The impasse between Mugabe's Zanu PF party and Tsvangirai's MDC has
frustrated regional mediators, such as Zuma, and dissuaded Western donors
from helping to rebuild the nation's shattered economy.
Zuma said he was "positive and hopeful" of progress in the negotiation. "I'm
sure the Zimbabweans have to open up and look at the issues from all
angles," he said.
Decade of Recession
The establishment of the unity government in February followed a decade of
recession and political turmoil, which slashed exports, pushed inflation to
a record and drove millions of Zimbabweans into exile in neighboring
Zimbabwe's economic decline has been stemmed since the MDC assumed control
over most key economic posts. The finance ministry expects growth to
accelerate to 7 percent this year, from about 4.7 percent last year.
The MDC is also demanding the power to appoint some regional governors and
wants Mugabe to swear in Roy Bennett, currently on trial for
terrorism-related charges, as deputy agriculture minister. It has described
the case against Bennett, who has denied any wrongdoing, as "trumped up."
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party has accused the MDC of reneging on its commitment to
persuade the U.S. and European Union to lift travel bans and asset freezes
against its leaders.
"What we have is a very superficial agreement," George Katito, a researcher
at the South African Institute for International Affairs in Pretoria, said
yesterday in an phone interview. "Many of the contentious issues are still
very much in place and there doesn't seem to be sufficient goodwill,
particularly on the side of ZANU-PF, to make the government work."
The Southern African Development Community, which brokered the power-sharing
deal, says the standoff has dragged on long enough.
"With regards to the pace of negotiations and the pace of events, nobody is
happy," Oldemiro Baloi, chairman of the 15- nation regional grouping's
politics, defense and security committee, said in Maputo, the Mozambican
capital, on Jan. 8. "We want the talks to conclude as soon as possible."
SADC succeeded in persuading Tsvangirai to reverse his Oct. 16 decision to
withdraw from the ruling coalition.
"The MDC isn't going to pull out of this government or the talks," Elton
Mangoma, Tsvangirai's deputy chief negotiator, said by telephone on Jan. 13
from Harare. "It'd be naive to say we don't expect disagreements, but I don't
think there's anything that can't be negotiated or reconciled."
Several calls to ZANU-PF negotiator Nicholas Goche on Friday and to the
party's head office went unanswered.
"There is a lot of international interest in Zimbabwe at the moment and
regional pressure" on the parties to work together, Katito said. "There is
incentive to show they are making progress." Bloomberg
Harare, January 15, 2010 - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has
vowed it will not give up on the fight to have its treasurer general Roy
Bennett sworn in as Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Agriculture.
MDC spokesperson told a press briefing Friday his party will not be under
pressure to appoint another person to fill up the post, which has been
vacant since the inauguration of the inclusive government in February last
"It's a question of principle not principal, said Party spokesman Nelson
Chamisa on Friday at a press briefing. "We should not be drawn into arguing
about principle. If MDC are supposed to as a party come up with its own
choice of ministers, they should come up with its own ministers. What we are
contesting is the principle of a certain political party seeking to
invalidate and negate our decision as a party. That is what we are fighting.
It's more on the principle than the principal. We have a lot of competent
cadres but the point is we have chosen a particular cadre."
Bennett, a close ally to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
MDC, faces charges of terrorism, which carry a death sentence if convicted.
President Robert Mugabe is adamant he will not swear in the embattled MDC
legislator before he can first clear his name with the courts. The
Zimbabwean leader says the MDC can still appoint any of its officials to
fill in the post if at all it feels prejudiced by the vacuum.
But Chamisa challenged the assertion saying it was not up to the veteran
leader to dictate on how his party should appoint its officials to
"Mr Mugabe was given powers to simply swear in, not to do some kind of
interrogation on each and every one of our candidates," said Chamisa. Those
powers belong to our principal President Morgan Tsvangirai the Prime
Minister of Zimbabwe."
Bennett's trial resumed on Monday after a month's break. The trial continues
on Monday next week.
By Alex Bell
15 January 2010
The government is set to come under more pressure to honour its bilateral
investment protection agreements, amid ongoing forced takeovers of land
meant to be protected under such investment deals.
A delegation from a Malaysian and Dutch investment firm, which has shares in
an invaded banana plantation in Burma Valley, is reportedly due to confront
the government in the coming week over the breach of their investment pact.
The property, Fangundu Farm, was seized over the festive season by retired
army general and ambassador to Tanzania, Edzai Chimonyo. He was ordered by
the High Court to vacate the property last week by Justice Tedious Karwi,
who ruled that Chimonyo's occupation of the plantation was illegal. Chimonyo
has since approached the High Court in Harare this week seeking to have that
Fangundu Farm is protected under a Bilateral Investment Promotion
and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with Denmark, which is supposed to protect
foreign investment. The property is owned by Matanuska (Pvt) Ltd, a farming
entity whose shareholders are Malaysian and Dutch property investors. Their
company, Property Route Toute BV, is registered in the Netherlands and
recognised and approved as an investor through the Zimbabwe Investment
Centre Act. According to the Zimbabwe Independent, a four-man delegation
from the company is now expected to travel from Kuala Lumpur to Harare "to
meet with government officials," over the farm's seizure.
The government is already set to face tough legal action for allowing such
land invasions to continue, in violation of a number of different BIPPAs. A
South African civil rights group this week won a court bid to sue the
government over land attacks on South African owned farms, properties meant
to be protected by a recently signed BIPPA between the two countries. The
group, AfriForum, has explained that because this investment pact is being
ignored, farmers have had little choice but to seek another legal route of
At the same time analysts and the country's main farmers' union have argued
the ongoing land seizures are hampering efforts to encourage critical
foreign investment in the country. The recent Nestlé saga has supported
this, with analysts saying the situation has likely discouraged many foreign
investors from committing to the country. Nestlé Zimbabwe was recently
forced to suspend operations, after growing threats and intimidation by
police, government ministers and Mugabe loyalists. The company last year
stopped buying milk from Grace Mugabe's dairy farm, amid pressure from
rights groups. Nestlé should have enjoyed all the protections specified
under a BIPPA as it is owned by a Swiss company, which is one of the six
countries which have ratified investment agreements.
Economic analyst John Robertson told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the
country was unlikely to attract new investment as a result of what has been
happening to Nestlé and also because of the invasion of the Fangundu banana
"It shows that these BIPPAs have not been taken seriously and this is really
bad because new investment is being discouraged," said Robertson. "The
government fundamentally needs to agree to work to the rule of law before
any investment is forthcoming."
The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) meanwhile has also warned that ongoing
farm invasions are scaring away investors, explaining that no one will risk
their investments in a country that does not respect property rights.
"We thought the formation of the coalition government was the beginning of
democracy in terms of respect of property rights and rule of law, but the
opposite is what is happening," said CFU president Deon Theron.
Meanwhile, the Bulawayo City Council is reportedly on a collision course
with war veterans, after more than 100 families were evicted from an invaded
municipal farm on Monday. Controversial ZANU PF member Lillian Kandemiri led
the invasion of Umganwini Council farm in 2008 and divided it out to an
estimated 300 people, for a fee. Since the invasion the Bulawayo council has
been battling to evict Kandemiri who claimed to have
protection from top ZANU PF officials in the province.
The council sought an eviction order at the High Court against the invaders
after police refused to intervene. On Monday municipal officials, together
with the police, burnt down illegal structures, including that of Kandemiri
and evicted the occupants. Kandemiri was taken away by police and briefly
detained at Donnington Police Station. War veterans in Bulawayo have since
vowed to confront the council accusing it of taking a "political decision in
evicting landless people."
By Violet Gonda
14 January 2010
Arms dealer Peter Michael Hitschmann, who is the State's key witness in the
terrorism trial of MDC official Roy Bennett, revealed in court on Thursday
that his biggest client was the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Hitschmann told
the High Court that at one point the Central Bank ordered ammunition from
him amounting to 20 000 rounds.
The prosecution is trying to impeach Hitschmann, who is their own key
witness, for allegedly making contradicting statements. The State has based
its case against Bennett on statements made by the arms dealer, who was
arrested in 2006. Hitschmann has repeatedly said he was tortured into
implicating the MDC official.
During his court testimony, Hitschmann also said the prosecution team was
not acting in a fair manner and that they were trying to shield prominent
members of the society who had been implicated in his statements.
Hitschmann said he was licensed to possess the ammunition found in his
possession when he was arrested and that the amount found at his house was
very little compared to the amounts he supplied to other clients, like the
The revelations raise the question as to why the RBZ was buying ammunition
from an arms dealer and not through the government controlled Zimbabwe
Defence Industries (ZDI); and what the ammunition was used for.
The registered arms dealer told SW Radio Africa on Friday that he interacted
with the Central Bank regularly in the late 90s, as they were also
interested in some new firearms he was importing from Brazil. "Any Reserve
Bank has to have very heavy security and it is not unusual that they have
their own security force. It makes for tighter security," said Hitschmann.
Asked why the bank was acquiring the firearms and ammunition through a
private seller and not through the Zimbabwe Defence Industries, Hitschmann
said he didn't know. But he pointed out that it could have been because they
were not happy with the ZDI standards which he said are 'absolutely rubbish'
as they use 'Chinese technology and components'.
There is currently a ban on arms sale to Zimbabwe and many security experts
believe that the former ZANU PF government used private sellers to bust
these targeted sanctions, and used the RBZ to acquire weapons 'under the
counter'. Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank, is one of those
accused of having funded the repression in Zimbabwe.
But for his part, Hitschmann says he supplied the RBZ with their
requirements in the late 90s, prior to the arms ban, and when Kembo Moyana
was the RBZ Governor.
By Tichaona Sibanda
15 January 2010
Party negotiators to the Global Political Agreement are expected to resume
talks on Saturday, amid growing public pessimism that the latest round of
negotiations could lead to a deal.
A highly placed source in the MDC told SW Radio on Friday he did not expect
a 'breakthrough'; 'Nothing is going to happen from these talks unless the
MDC makes a huge climb-down, which will not happen as long as Tendai Biti
remains the lead negotiator of the party,' our source said.
Biti is the secretary-general of the MDC and Finance minister in the
inclusive government. He is regarded as a hardliner within the MDC.
The impasse in the talks continues to be because of the failure by Mugabe
and his ZANU PF party to implement in full the GPA reached with the two MDC
formations in September 2008.
The MDC objects in particular to Mugabe's unilateral re-appointment of
Gideon Gono as Governor of the central bank and Johannes Tomana as
Attorney-General. Gono is regarded as being directly responsible for the
destruction of the economy and for helping to fund the repression. Tomana
has been one of the main architects of the ongoing harassment of MDC and
human rights activists.
Other issues at stake include the appointment of provisional governors, and
the delay in swearing in MDC treasurer Roy Bennett, who is the nominee for
the post of deputy Agriculture Minister. SADC leaders who met in Maputo on
Thursday urged the party principals to implement the issues that have
already been agreed to by all parties.
It has been reported that when negotiations broke off in December for the
festive season, the parties had agreed on 16 of the 27 outstanding issues on
But as ZANU PF continues to show it's unwillingness to share power the MDC
are having to consider including other issues. They have now threatened to
include ZANU PF's insistence that they will nominate a candidate from their
party to take over the important ambassadorial post in South Africa. This
post will soon become vacant after the current ambassador, Simon Khaya Moyo,
moves back to the country to take up his position as ZANU PF's new national
The ongoing land invasions are another issue that the MDC say they might now
have to include in the outstanding issues.
SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salomao acknowledged at the end of a one day
summit in Maputo Thursday that there were a number of unsettled issues still
dividing Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
'But they don't need to wait until they conclude all of them. They need to
implement what they have agreed so far. That was the decision that was taken
by SADC,' Salomao said.
London based political analyst Clifford Mashiri told us the political rivals
in Zimbabwe are only agreeing to hold more talks in the hope that dialogue
would prevail over confrontation, because they remain worlds apart in the
negotiations. He said it was going to be a huge task to reconcile the
entrenched positions of the three parties.
'The negotiators have just hobbled into the new year of 2010, with their
horns more tightly locked in the long running talks. There's going to be
little headway through the myriad of thorny issues, particularly on the
sanctions, Gono and Tomana issues. Mugabe has firmly refused to rescind his
decisions and against such a gloomy backdrop, reasons for optimism are
scarce,' Mashiri said.
Of concern is the fact that South African President Jacob Zuma (the chief
negotiator to the Zimbabwe crisis) has said that Tsvangirai should be
'flexible' in demanding the removal of Gono and Tomana.
In an interview with a South African radio station (SAfm) on Friday, Zuma
asked if the Gono and Tomana issues were 'so fundamental that we cannot move
without' resolving them. Can we park them and proceed?'
Mashiri made a scathing assessment of Zuma's suggestion; 'We know he has
supported ZANU PF since time immemorial. He can never fool us or those in
the MDC. If he thinks he has failed, SADC should bring in the UN which is at
least are more moderate and neutral than most of these African heads of
Posted : Fri, 15 Jan 2010 13:33:52 GMT
By : dpa
Harare - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party said Friday it
will stick to its demands during talks with President Robert Mugabe's party
Zanu PF, set to start on Saturday. South Africa President Jacob Zuma
suggested the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) be flexible in demanding
the removal of some senior government officials to help the talks aimed at
saving the country's power-sharing government.
"I am the least qualified to comment on what President Zuma says, but we
would want all issues resolved, as they are fundamental in our view," said
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa.
The MDC wants Mugabe to fire central bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney
General Johannes Tomana, saying their appointments were unconstitutional.
Saturday's talks follow inconclusive rounds mediated by South Africa, but
Zuma said he was hopeful of progress in the latest session, a view not
shared by Chamisa.
"It would be difficult for us to associate (the talks) with progress. We are
still seeking sincerity on the part of the Zanu PF people," the MDC
The establishment of the coalition government last February followed a
decade of recession and political turmoil that led to acute shortages of all
basic commodities and rampant inflation.
The Southern African Development Community (SADC)-brokered power sharing
government has brought some signs of economic and political stability to
Zimbabwe, though there are disagreements between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
The MDC is demanding the power to appoint some regional governors and wants
Mugabe to swear in Roy Bennett, currently on trial for terrorism-related
charges, as deputy agriculture minister.
The MDC has described the charges against Bennett as trumped up.
Mugabe's party has accused the MDC of reneging on its commitment to persuade
the US and the European Union to lift travel bans and asset freezes against
its leaders imposed in 2002 following a spate of human rights abuses and
repression targeting the opposition.
The SADC said the standoff has dragged on long enough. Some of its leaders
met in neighbouring Mozambique on Thursday and praised the efforts of Zuma,
the SADC facilitator for Zimbabwe, to revive the flagging unity government.
By Lance Guma
15 January 2010
The fighting between two factions of the Zimbabwe National Students Union
(ZINASU) escalated on Friday after the President of the Student's
Representative Council (SRC) at Bindura University accused one of the
factions of fanning disturbances there on Thursday. Newsreel reported how 25
students were arrested at the university after a demonstration over
exorbitant tuition fees which resulted in at least 40 percent of students
being denied access to write their exams.
But Paul Dakarayi, SRC president at Bindura University, issued a statement
on Friday blaming the disturbances on the ZINASU faction led by Joshua
Chinyere and Secretary General Grant Tabvurei. He told us they had almost
reached a deal with college authorities to allow students to sit for their
exams, despite the demand for outstanding tuition fees. Dakarayi said they
had a fruitful meeting with the Vice Chancellor and were shocked when they
went to brief students to see 'a group of strangers claiming to be the
ZINASU leadership and demanding to address students.'
'Upon facing total rejection from both the SRC and all the students who were
waiting for the feedback from their leadership, the group became violent,
chanting songs in unprintable vulgar words denouncing the SRC and the Vice
Chancellor. The group went berserk destroying college property including
windows before they were apprehended by the police.' Dakarayi is adamant the
arrests had nothing to do with student issues or examinations. 'It was pure
barbarism and hooliganism,' he claimed.
Clever Bere, President of the other ZINASU faction, said it was shocking
that his colleagues could go and create disturbances when the problem had
already been resolved. As a result Bindura University had now postponed
exams. He accused the Chinyere faction of seeking media attention by
engaging in the disturbances. 'This faction is being sued by Holiday Inn for
destroying property last year at their meeting there in December and are
bringing the ZINASU name into disrepute,' he claimed.
ZINASU, which represents students countrywide, split into two factions last
year over serious management and ideological differences. Attempts by former
student leaders to facilitate talks and have one congress that would elect a
unified leadership collapsed. Disagreements over the employment status of
several members of the secretariat ensured no agreement was reached.
Initially it was thought the union split over whether to support the
constitutional process or not. It now turns out the dispute over the
secretariat stretches several years back.
Harare, January 15, 2010 - Teachers in Harare's schools were on Friday
reportedly not conducting any lessons despite this week giving government a
notice, through their unions, of intention to strike in 16 days if their
salaries deadlock is not resolved.
Among those schools who were hit by the strike in the capital city, were
among others Vainona High School, Cranborne Boys High, Morgan High School
and several schools in the high density suburbs.
Raymond Majongwe, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
secretary general who attended the salary negotiations that reached a
deadlock on Thursday, said his organisation together with the Zimbabwe
Teachers Union (Zimta) had issued a 14 notice to strike if their grievances
were not addressed.
He could not comment on reports that several teachers had not reported for
duty. However school children interviewed said the teachers were not
The teachers unions have rejected a US$236 per month offered by the
Government for the highest paid civil servant and the US$124 for the lowest
paid. Teachers and the majority of civil servants are earning between US$155
and US$180 depending on grades.
In a joint statement, the Apex Council, a body that includes the Zimta, PTUZ
and Public Service Association (PSA), said the offer given by the Government
was too little.
The civil servants registered their displeasure and dismay at what they
called a "paltry offer" which the Government had put forward on Tuesday at
the negotiating table for 2010 salary review.
They described the Government's offer as inadequate, ridiculous and out of
sync with the cost of living and therefore unacceptable. The civil servants
warned the Government over its stance that they described as a "recipe for
industrial disharmony likely to frustrate economic recovery". They demanded
an urgent redress of the situation, failure to which they threatened to
deliver "half baked services" that would compromise Government processes.
Fri Jan 15, 2010 4:02pm GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's year-on-year inflation stood at -7.7 percent
in December, official figures showed on Friday, as the adoption of multiple
foreign currencies by the unity government earlier in the year ended
The Central Statistical Office (CSO), which started calculating price
increases in United States dollars last December, published annualised
inflation data for the first time on Friday.
Zimbabwe's inflation peaked at 500 billion percent -- according to the
IMF -- as Zimbabwe's decade-long political and economic crisis reached its
height in December 2008.
The month-on-month inflation rate for December 2009 was 0.5 percent, a 0.6
percentage point increase on the November figure of -0.1 percent, the CSO
Zimbabwe's economy is showing signs of recovery after a decade of decline,
following the establishment of a power-sharing government between bitter
foes, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last
By Brian Latham
Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The future of Zimbabwe’s central bank is in doubt
because of a lack of funds from the Treasury, an official said.
The “Treasury is seriously under-funding the central bank to levels that are
now threatening the very existence” of the bank, its spokesman, Kumbirai
Nhongo, said in an e-mailed statement from Harare today. He didn’t give
details, saying “it would be inappropriate for us to go into the operational
issues that are under the consideration” of the parties in the power-
Nhongo’s comments are the latest in a dispute over control of the bank
between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change
and President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic
Central bank Governor Gideon Gono, who is accused by the MDC of being a
Zanu-PF loyalist, said in December that the bank lacked the funds to be
Zimbabwe’s “lender of last resort.” The MDC has demanded he be fired from
The Treasury is under the direct control of Finance Minister Tendai Biti,
the MDC’s general secretary, who has accused Gono of financing
“quasi-fiscal” policies and mismanagement that led to inflation of 500
billion percent in January 2009. Biti didn’t respond to calls seeking
comment today. An official who declined to be identified said Biti was
Inflation was reduced to near zero percent in February, when the MDC and
Zanu-PF formed the power-sharing government. While the power-sharing
agreement hasn’t been fully implemented, Zimbabwe’s economy grew by 4.7
percent in 2009, ending a decade of economic crises.
Written by The Zimbabwean
Friday, 15 January 2010 06:52
Harare Magistrate Archie Wochiunga on Thursday 14 January 2010 removed from
remand prominent human rights and media lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu, who was
facing charges of obstructing the course of justice.
Mahlangu was arrested last November after he wrote a letter, on Peter
Michael Hitschmann's instructions, to Attorney General Johannes Tomana
protesting against a subpoena directing Hitschmann, to testify in Deputy
Agriculture Minister-Designate Roy Bennett's trial despite the fact that the
statements on which the AG is relying upon were extracted from Hitschmann
through torture, and were thrown out by the court in his own trial.
Mahlangu's lawyers Advocate Happias Zhou and Ray Moyo, who are all members
of Zimbabwe Layers for Human Rights (ZLHR) had in December 2009 applied for
refusal to place the human rights lawyer on remand on the basis that the
facts submitted by the State did not disclose any reasonable grounds that
the ZLHR member and senior partner at Gill, Godlonton and Gerrans Legal
Practitioners committed an offence.
In his ruling Magistrate Wochiunga stated that the facts as alleged by the
State did not constitute an offence.
Magistrate Wochiunga said it is clear from the wording of Mahlangu's letter
to Tomana that the human rights lawyer had no intention to prejudice the
ongoing trial of Bennett.
Magistrate Wochiunga said Mahlangu's letter to Tomana is a legal opinion
written by one legal practitioner to another legal practitioner.
Harare, January 15, 2010: United States Ambassador Charles A. Ray today addressed over 150 high school students from four different schools at Prince Edward School on the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (1929–1968). The address, organized by the U.S Embassy Public Affairs Section, was held to commemorate the life of Dr. King Jr.
Drawing from his personal experience during the days of the civil rights movement, Ambassador Ray narrated to the students how Dr. King Jr.’s actions changed the fabric of society in the U.S.
“When Dr. King appeared on the scene, it was for many of us who lived in the South, like a sign from heaven that things were changing. We could follow his example, hold our heads up with pride, and show that no one had cause to look down on us, ” said Ambassador Ray.
He challenged the students to draw from the experience of Dr. King Jr. when conducting campaigns for positive social change noting that he “was truly gifted in his ability to communicate important ideas.”
“I never knew him personally, but I’ve come to know some of the people who were close to him, and they all say that he was true to his beliefs. From him though, I learned some important lessons. Don’t hate your oppressor; pity him, and return love for his hate. Learn that the most powerful weapon you possess is your ability to forgive, and to love,” said the U.S. Ambassador.
King Jr. was the one of the
most eloquent voices in the U.S. civil rights movement during the 1950s and
‘60s. As a political organizer, supremely skilled orator and advocate of
nonviolent protest, King was pivotal in persuading his fellow Americans to end
the legal segregation that prevailed throughout the South and other regions, and
in sparking support for the civil rights legislation that established the legal
framework for racial equality in the United States.
Americans celebrate his life with a holiday on the third Monday of each January.
Ambassador Ray’s speech is available on http://harare.usembassy.gov
# # #
Issued by Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Harare
ENERGY SETS THE RECORD STRAIGHT
REGARDING NUANETSI RANCH
Johannesburg, 15 January 2010,
Following recent inaccurate media reporting, Zimbabwe Bio Energy (ZBE) wishes to
set the record straight with regards to Nuanetsi Ranch.
Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ) has entered into a joint venture with
Zimbabwe Bio Energy with a view of unlocking the true economic value of Nuanetsi
Ranch. The DTZ acquired title deed ownership of Nuanetsi Ranch in 1989 from the
Imperial Cold Storage Company of
joint venture terms between ZBE and the DTZ have given the company land
utilisation powers but the land remains the property of the trust. Contrary to
media reports, ZBE has not acquired the land; Nuanetsi Ranch title deeds have
remained within the hands of the DTZ.
Zimbabwean law dictates that indigenous property is protected from
redistribution in the framework of fast track land reform. Because of the
indigenous ownership of the Nuanetsi Ranch as a property of the DTZ, the land
has never been acquired by government for redistribution or earmarked as
“Inaccurate press reports earlier put the total figure of families
resettled within Nuanetsi Ranch at 10,000, when in fact only 232 families
illegally settled themselves on the ranch in 2003,” said Dr Liberty Mhlanga,
Executive Director of Zimbabwe Bio Energy. “To date they have not legalised
their stay within Nuanetsi’s boundaries. However, the DTZ and ZBE have set aside
60,000 hectares for resettlement purposes as part of its social responsibility
programme and the 232 families will be catered for within this
Nuanetsi forms part of the Zimbabwean lowveld belt which experiences
scorching temperatures throughout the year with minimum summer rainfall. Any
form of cropping within the ranch is rendered unfeasible unless there is
irrigation, which is why ZBE will be constructing water infrastructure
Following the conclusion of the joint venture deal with the DTZ two
years ago, ZBE has rolled out a multi-billion US dollar investment programme
which includes crocodile farming, sugarcane growing, cattle ranching, and game
keeping within Nuanetsi.
Dr Mhlanga went on to explain that the target
in cattle ranching is to increase the current head of cattle from 5,000 to
25,000, creating the potential to provide an ample meat supply for
crocodile department alone has already created more than 2,000 jobs within the
Mwenezi district in
hundreds of hectares have already been cleared ahead of cane planting which will
commence when water infrastructure has been established.
He confirmed that ethanol production is also on the cards for
Nuanetsi which will see the production of 500 million litres per year, far more
than what the Zimbabwean market is able to consume, making it another ideal
export product for the country to benefit from.
game section is well on track and has been stocked up with a variety of wild
animals and a further 1,000 buffaloes have been bought from the
“The Nuanetsi partnership between Zimbabwe Bio Energy and the Development Trust of Zimbabwe is proving
how public private partnerships can create solutions that provide both economic
and environmental benefits to the country and its people. This win-win outcome
has the potential to improve
company also wishes to reiterate that President Robert Mugabe and his Defence
Minister Munangagwa are not linked to this project in any way and the Zimbabwean
company shareholding register reflects this accordingly. With regards to Billy
Rautenbach’s involvement, he is purely a promoter of this project as he realises
the immense value this project can hold for
by : Madelain Roscher
+27 11 896
behalf of : Dr Liberty Mhlangu
Zimbabwe Bio Energy Executive
+263 11 405 437
Written by Martin
Friday, 15 January 2010 17:23
HARARE - A political think-tank last week gave Zimbabwe's fragile coalition
government qualified approval, saying the marriage of convenience among the
country's main political parties would "rumble on" in 2010 despite
London-based think-tank Africa Confidential said the "unlikely triumvirate"
in Harare would somehow stick together this year "for fear of something
worse". "The uneasy coalition government will rumble on into 2010, making
painful but discernible progress on economic reform. It is in none of the
three main parties' interest to ditch the agreement," according to
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara told a joint press conference on 23 December that
they still had 'minor differences' but that their power-sharing government
was not going to collapse. The coalition has been rocked by a dispute over
appointments of key officials and implementation of political and economic
In October, Tsvangirai's MDC-T party withdrew from cabinet meetings,
accusing Mugabe's Zanu (PF) of being an 'unreliable partner'. It rejoined
after mediation by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
The big unresolved issues are the appointment of provincial governors, the
role of two Mugabe-allies - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono
and Attorney General Johannes Tomana - and the veteran leader's refusal to
swear in the MDC-T treasurer general Roy Bennett as deputy agriculture
minister because he faces criminal charges.
There are currently ten provincial governors, all of them Zanu (PF) but a
power-sharing formula agreed by the three parties would give MDC-T five of
the positions while Zanu (PF) and MDC-M led by Mutambara would get four and
Mugabe has delayed swearing-in the provincial governors despite agreeing to
the allocation formula with his coalition partners more than eight months
ago. The think-tank said South Africa, which has been mediating in
Zimbabwean crisis on behalf of SADC, would see to it that Harare's feuding
parties remain in the coalition regime.
Continued political bickering in Harare could jeopardise Pretoria's chances
of hosting a successful FIFA World Cup in June this year. "South Africa is
mediating partly because it wants outstanding issues resolved before June,
when it hopes that the football World Cup will boost its own, and Africa's,
international image," observed the think-tank.
Africa Confidential said besides the inter-party dispute, Zimbabwe's three
main political parties would also face more formidable challenges in terms
of managing delicate and simmering internal politics. Mugabe, 86 next month,
has the unenviable to keeping together a faction-ridden party struggling to
regain its former glory as a liberation movement.
The veteran leader is still symbolically in control of his party and
lambasted it in December for forming squabbling factions. Most reflect rival
interests in choosing his successor.
"Mugabe is the party's worst candidate - except for all the others", one
Zanu (PF) dissident told Africa Confidential. The main rivalry is still
between Vice President Joice Mujuru -and her husband Solomon Mujuru - and
Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. John Nkomo and Simon Khaya Moyo are in
the Presidium for window-dressing to preserve the 1987 unity accord between
ZANU and the mainly Ndebele PF ZAPU. Moyo has hopes because he is still
young but he cannot rise beyond Vice President as things stand now.
Tsvangirai had a good 2009, reasserting control of the main MDC. Tensions
have abated with deputy leader Thokozani Khupe, secretary general and
Finance Minister Tendai Biti and some malcontents from Matabeleland. The
think-tank said the Matabeleland resistance to Tsvangirai's leadership has
eased off since last year. "Khupe has lost much of her former popularity;
National Chairman and Speaker Lovemore Moyo has distanced himself from her,"
said Africa Confidential.
Gorden Moyo, another former dissident much beloved of Western diplomats, now
backs Tsvangirai. Mutambara has just ten of the 210 seats in Parliament but
votes because Tsvangirai and Mugabe control 100 seats each, since Mugabe's
former spin-doctor Jonathan Moyo rejoined Zanu (PF).
Harare, January 15, 2010 - The death toll of children belonging to members
of the Johanne Apostolic Church members in Manicaland Zimbabwe has reached
alarming proportions with 35 children dead so far as parents deny them
treatment on religious grounds.
These deaths have occurred during the past month in Nyazura, Makoni
District, east of Harare, and it is feared the figures could be higher and
more could die as parents of this sect resist immunisation for their
The majority of the children affected are aged between 1-10 years.
Members of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church, who dominate Nzvimbe area,
are allegedly refusing to take treatment because they treat them with "holy
But health authorities have moved in and are forcing some church members to
At least 29 patients were forcefully taken and detained at the satellite
clinic set up at Nzvimbe Primary School during the past week.
Human rights campaigners have called the government to evoke the Public
Health Act to ensure apostolic sect members allow sick people to seek
"Children's rights are being violated," said Trust Maanda, a human rights
lawyer. "The government has a duty to protect children so it should make the
parents submit to its programmes." Maanda spoke amid reports that the death
toll could be much higher as church members were fast -tracking burials of
victims who die at home.
"Since my birth in 1929, I have not seen such a catastrophe," said a
villager, Muchaona Bumhira. "These people should be arrested for resisting
treatment and putting the health of our children in danger."
Bumhira added: "These apostolic elements are a danger to our community
because they are the conduits through which this dangerous measles disease
"The body count is rising while we engage in these academic debates," Gift
Phiri, a Harare based journalist wrote on Face Book early in the week.
"Another child is dying today and tomorrow because mapostori refuse to avert
needless deaths because of their archaic religious beliefs. It's like the
1994 slaughter in Rwanda, people hacking each other with machetes while
technocrats and the United Nations debate what genocide is."
While Phiri may have over emphasized the tragedy in Zimbabwe's Makoni
District, by equating it to the genocide in Rwanda, in which close to a
million people were massacred in cold blood, his point remains valid and
cries out for urgent attention by the relevant authorities.
Leaders of the Johanne Marange Apostolic Church are reclusive and feared by
loyal followers who believe they wield supernatural powers and are very
close to God.
Measles is a highly communicable disease characterized by fever, general
malaise, sneezing, nasal congestion, brassy cough, conjunctivitis, and a
maculopapular eruption over the entire body which health experts say is
caused by a virus called rubeola.
Its symptoms include drowsiness, loss of appetite, gradual elevation of
temperature for the first two days, body rash on the inner cheek, high
fever, recurrence rash appears (causing a swollen, mottled appearance) and
The cataclysmic earthquake in Haiti has dominated the news this week. One of
the poorest countries in the world, already the victim of years of
misgovernance and corruption, Haiti has been hit by a natural disaster that
has reduced the capital to rubble under which unnumbered Haitians are
entombed. There is no water, no power, no food, no medicine, few doctors and
for three days now thousands of people have slept in the open waiting for
aid to arrive. The pictures of this disaster are almost too painful to watch
but it is a salutary reminder that without a functioning government to
respond to emergencies, a country can slip through the cracks and descend
into limbo. However many millions of dollars are poured into Haiti, it is
hard to see how the country will ever recover. Nature has tragically
enhanced the country's status as a failed state.
I am not for one minute suggesting that Zimbabwe is comparable to Haiti but
what I am saying is that the formation of a strong, unified and democratic
government is urgently needed if Zimbabwe is not to slide into becoming
another failed state, unable to govern itself. There seems to be no sense of
urgency from either side of the political divide to solve the problem of the
stalled GNU. Instead, we have endless delays and talks followed by more
talks. As citizens, Zimbabweans are surely entitled to ask what it is that
the politicians are talking about - other than sharing out the spoils of
power. The revelation by the Minister of Education that children are sharing
text books at the rate of 1 book to 15 pupils in urban schools and I book to
30 children in rural schools does not suggest that education comes top of
the politicians' agenda. Equally, the arrest of students at Bindura
University for daring to demonstrate because they cannot afford the fees and
will not therefore be given their examination results is not a sign that the
future generation can expect their concerns to be addressed by the
politicians as the endless talks go on.
Looking at the situation from the outside, one of the most dangerous
features I see is the preponderance of weapons. This week alone I picked up
at least three stories indicating that weapons of war are in the hands of
some very dangerous people, not excluding the so-called war veterans who
this week invaded a constitutional process meeting and demanded that only
they, as the liberators, are entitled to decide on Zimbabwe's future. The
combination of political instability and vast numbers of weapons makes for
an explosive situation. The seizure of weapons from security firms by an
unnamed group, the disclosure by Peter Hitchman at Roy Bennett's farce of a
trial that the RBZ had ordered $20.000 worth of ammunition and the continued
land seizures by armed men are all evidence of the dangers facing Zimbabwe's
fragile Government of National Unity. Why the Reserve Bank should require
ammunition is beyond my puny intelligence - unless of course the Governor
was buying weapons for his Boss. News that Mugabe has purchased a new
helicopter using Marange diamonds to finance the purchase suggests two
possiblities to me: one that he needs it for electioneering purposes in the
forthcoming election and two, that he needs it for a quick getaway in the
event that the unthinkable happens and he is forced to flee what is likely
to be very bloody struggle, given the existence of so many weapons of war.
I end this week with a personal observation. After last week's Letter I was
accused of claiming to represent the views of Zimbabweans in the UK
diaspora. I would like to state publicly that I make no such claim. The
views expressed in this Letter are mine alone, OUTSIDE LOOKING IN reflects
the views of one woman who, having lived and worked - not as a farmer but as
a teacher and lecturer - almost her entire life in Zimbabwe feels that she
can fairly claim to have some knowledge and understanding of the situation.
My accuser further comments that "people like me"- by which I assume he
means white people - have a "contemptuous attitude" towards black
Zimbabweans. The basis for this accusation appears to be the fact that I did
not use his name when I referred to him but then I did not want to make
personal obsevations; rather I wanted to comment on the content of his
article. All I can say in answer to his rather racist observation is that
every word I write in the weekly Letter and in my books (listed below)
reflects my deep and abiding love for my adopted country, its culture and
its people among whom I number my dearest friends. PH was the name my
students and friends called me in Zimbabwe and I am proud to use it still.
The accusation that I am hiding behind a cloak of anonymity is baseless as I
prove every week when I sign:
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH aka Pauline Henson author of Case
Closed published by Mambo Press in Zimbabwe, Going Home and Countdown
political detective stories set in Zimbabwe and available from Lulu.com.
WEEK ENDING 13 JANUARY 2010
This is the first update for the New Year and covers the period from December 16 to January 13.Politics
Source: Zimbabwe Democracy Now