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Zuma Pushing For Zimbabwe Elections In 2011

Harare, January 16, 2010 - The facilitator in the inter-party dialogue
between Zanu PF and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), South African President Jacob Zuma is reportedly now pushing for the
holding of fresh elections as the only way out of continuous disagreements
by parties in Zimbabwe's inclusive government.

Well placed sources confirmed to Radio VOP at the weekend that Zuma's plan
was already at an advanced stage. He will kickstart it by proposing to the
coalition partners to "park" some of the outstanding issues, and concentrate
on those that would affect the holding of elections.

On Friday, Zuma told a South African radio station that he hoped the
Zimbabwean would "open up and look at the issues from all angles".

"(Are these issues) so fundamental that we cannot move without resolving
them? Can we park them and proceed?" said Zuma in an interview with SAFM in

Sources in South Africa and Zimbabwe confirmed that Zuma is now "so
convinced that the only way out is an election, which should be held in
2011" as agreed when the inclusive government was formed. Among other
things, Zuma will propose that the parties should implement only those
issues that will not affect the holding of elections. Other issues like the
appointment of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General
Johannes Tomana will be suspended until after the elections.

"There has been no formal communication of this position, but when Zuma's
team comes anytime after the talks resume on January 17, they will present
this proposal alongside other ideas to the negotiating teams," said the

Zuma took over the facilitation in the Zimbabwean crisis late last year
following the partial disengagement from the inclusive government by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T formation. After a SADC summit in Maputo
at the beginning of November, the parties were ordered back to the
negotiating table, and the talks were supposed to be completed by December
5. Continuous bickering and subsequent postponements however saw the
negotiations spilling into the New Year. This, according to our source, did
not go down well with Zuma and other SADC leaders, who now believe elections
are the only way out.

"What President Zuma will simply do is propose that all those issues that
won't affect the holding of elections should be set aside, so that the
inclusive government concentrates on implementing the necessary reforms to
create a conducive environment for elections," added the source.

Addressing a press conference in Harare on Friday, MDC-T spokesperson Nelson
Chamisa, said they would not budge on their demand for a resolution of the
outstanding issues.

"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

"It is our view that these negotiations will bring all these issues to
finality so that we are able to move.The talks are simply about punctuating
our signatures with action, our colleagues (Zanu PF) are trying to run away
from their signatures."

The global political agreement (GPA) states that new elections have to be
held once constitutional reforms are complete. But the process to write a
new constitution has been dragging since July last year. A number of crucial
deadlines related to the process have already been missed.

The new constitution also have to be in place before elections are held.

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Zim talks - SA growing impatient

January 16 2010 at 04:37PM
By Donna Bryson

Regional powerhouse South Africa is urging Zimbabwean leaders to resolve
political tensions in time for elections expected next year in the troubled
country, a spokesman for President Jacob Zuma said on Saturday.

In an interview, spokesman Vincent Magwenya said Zuma made that point to
Zimbabwe's delegation at a mini-summit earlier in the week. It was a sign of
growing impatience with the slow pace of reform since a coalition was formed
nearly a year ago between President Robert Mugabe and his longtime rival
Morgan Tsvangirai, who is prime minister in the unity government.

Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe for three decades, was able to remain president
under the coalition deal, despite accusations he has trampled democracy and
ruined a once vibrant economy.

Magwenya said there was reason for optimism in announcements from Zimbabwean
leaders of preliminary agreements and their pledges to continue negotiating
on some of the most contentious issues. But Zuma, who took office in South
Africa last year, is concerned that tensions don't undermine 2011 elections.

"The Zimbabweans have set themselves a deadline of 2011 (for a vote). On our
side, that is a reasonable deadline," Magwenya said. "That's why President
Zuma is quite keen to see them implementing those agreements. They now need
to move quickly."

In late 2009, Tsvangirai's and Mugabe's aides announced that agreements on
commissions to oversee human rights, the media and elections had been
reached. But remaining disagreements are among the stickiest - over the
appointment of provincial governors, the central bank chief and attorney
general; charges from Tsvangirai's party that Mugabe supporters continue to
abuse human rights; and charges from Mugabe's party that Tsvangirai's group
has done too little to persuade the international community to lift
sanctions against Mugabe and his top loyalists.

"For the sake of the people of Zimbabwe who have suffered a great deal, as
well as for the sake of stability in the region, Zimbabwe cannot be in a
permanent state of crisis," Magwenya said.

"The region cannot be consumed by one country for such a long time."

Zimbabwe's economy has improved since the coalition was formed, but
continuing political impasse makes the future uncertain. Hundreds of
thousands of Zimbabweans have fled their collapsed economy to look for work
in South Africa.

The influx has caused tensions, sparking concerns about a renewed outbreak
of widespread violence against foreigners in South Africa.

Such violence left more than 70 people dead in 2008, with most of the
attacks in shack settlements where poor South Africans saw Zimbabweans and
others as competition for scarce resources. There were also scattered
outbreaks in 2009, but none as deadly as those the year before.

South African and other regional leaders had pushed for the coalition,
following a series of inconclusive elections marred by violence blamed on
Mugabe's loyalists. Tsvangirai has said that Zuma's predecessor took too
soft a line on Mugabe.

Thabo Mbeki, now replaced by Zuma as regional point man on Zimbabwe, had
argued that pushing Mugabe too hard could backfire.

In what was seen as a sign of stepped-up intervention, Zuma appointed two
advisers and a special Zimbabwe envoy in November to work with politicians
in Zimbabwe. Magwenya said the team would be returning soon to Zimbabwe. -

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MDC wants all outstanding issues addressed

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Saturday 16 January 2010

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party on Friday insisted
that all issues tabled for discussion in its power-sharing dispute with
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party should be addressed, appearing to
refute comments by South African President Jacob Zuma that it must shelve
some of the issues for the talks to move forward.

"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. These
are tangible issues," MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told journalists in
Harare ahead of the resumption of the talks on Saturday.

Chamisa was responding to questions relating to a radio interview in which
Zuma, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediator in the
Zimbabwean dispute, said the MDC must be flexible in demanding the removal
of some senior government officials to help the dialogue aimed at saving a
power-sharing government between Tsvangirai and Mugabe move forward.

The MDC accuses Mugabe of flouting the global political agreement that gave
birth to the unity government after the veteran leader refused to rescind
his unilateral appointment of two of his allies to the key posts of central
bank governor and attorney general.

Mugabe has also refused to swear in MDC treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy
agriculture minister and to appoint members of Tsvangirai's party as
provincial governors.

On its part ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the power-sharing
deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to campaign for
lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies.

The coalition partners return to the negotiating table today to try to
resolve their differences after previous rounds of discussions mediated by
the South African government have ended inconclusively.

ZANU PF negotiator Nicholas Goche confirmed today's talks adding; "Everyone
wants them finished as soon as possible. But getting deadlines from people
who are not part of the talks puts unnecessary pressure on us. They say if
you do not do this, aid will not come."

In the radio interview Zuma said there was "positive and hopeful" progress
in the negotiations.

But Chamisa said: "It would be difficult for us to associate (the talks)
with progress. We are still seeking sincerity on the part of ZANU PF people
who are running away from their signatures. That (continued stalemate) has
affected business and butter and bread issues in Zimbabwe. Everything has
been in limbo because of this (continued stalemate)."

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a coalition government nearly a year ago to end
a political crisis following an inconclusive election. The government has
done well to stabilise Zimbabwe's economy and end inflation that was
estimated at more than a trillion percent at the height of the country's
economic meltdown.

As a result living conditions for ordinary Zimbabweans have greatly improved
compared to 2008 when the country battled shortages of cash, fuel and every
basic survival commodity.

But unending bickering between ZANU PF and MDC as well as the coalition
government's inability to secure direct financial support from rich Western
nations have held back the administration's efforts to rebuild the economy.

The SADC says the ZANU PF and MDC standoff has dragged on long enough. The
regional grouping's organ on politics and defence, also known as the Troika,
met in neighbouring Mozambique on Thursday and praised Zuma's efforts to
resolve the dispute threatening the Harare administration. - ZimOnline

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Rural folk lose faith in politicians – report

January 16, 2010

By Our Correspondent

THE Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZIMRIGHTS) has said many rural
Zimbabweans do not trust politicians to correctly put through their views as
said in the constitution making process even with the coming in of MDC
politicians into government.The civic group said the constitution making
process might as a result of this mistrust suffer from apathy as many people
still do not believe that mere participation in national issues such as the
ongoing constitution-making exercise will change their situation for the

“Countrywide people are afraid to embrace their right to express themselves
freely on issues pertaining to their governance. In light of the impending
consultative meetings by the parliamentary Select Committee, this
compromises the quality of data to be gathered by this committee,” reads the
ZIMRIGHTS report titled Grassroots Views on The Constitution launched in
Harare Friday.

“A sneak preview of the people’s participation in governance issues has
shown rampant apathy, an unwillingness to participate in processes they
think will not do anything to change their situation. Some of the people
expressed concern over whether or not their contributions to the final
constitution document will be taken into cognizance.”

The organization said it consulted more than 65 000 people in the 10
provinces of the country in compiling the report. The consultations were
concentrated in rural areas and were held on a ward bases. Among some of the
issues that were mostly raised by the participants was the presidential
tenure in which most people said the country’s president under a new
constitution should not be less than 40 years old or rule over the age of

“The findings were that the president should not entrench him or herself in
the presidency and refuse to relinquish power through constitutional
amendment when the time for elections comes,” reads the report.

They also wanted the presidential term to be limited to two five-year terms
and that any presidential hopeful declare their assets before they take
office. The participants in the report also wanted the new constitution to
look at children’s rights to education in view of the current educational
situation which has seen many school-going children missing almost 90
percent of their learning time over the last two years due to political
problems ranging from elections and lack of a proper administration.

Also prominent in participant’s responses were the rights to health, gender
equality, free speech, free movement, free assembly, and respect for the
outcome of votes, media freedom, and equal access to employment and land

Speaking at the launch function ZIMRIGHTS chairman, Kucaca Phulu said that
there was a deep seated skepticism among the people on whether their views
on the constitution making process would be respected.

“People expressed skepticism on whether their views would be considered
important hence the reluctance to participate,” said Phulu.

Speaking at the same occasion Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe said
Zimbabweans have a right to determine how they want to be governed.

“People have a right to tell us the leaders how they want to be governed.
For the past 30 years, it has been the leaders who have been telling the
people how they are going to govern them, that must come to an end. People
must break the silence and speak out and we will make sure that their views
are not doctored like what has happened in the past,” said Khupe.

However Eric Matinenga, the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary
Affairs said his ministry will make sure that no document will be tempered
with and that the will of the people would prevail.

“I am internally optimistic that we will have a very good document from the
views of the people and we will make sure that it is respected,” said

The country’s three main political parties signed a Global Political
Agreement (GPA) in September 2008. Under the agreement it was agreed that a
new constitution for the country will be crafted as part of a wider set of
reforms aimed at democratizing the country.

The proposed constitution will pave way for free elections although there is
no legal requirement for the unity government to call new polls immediately
after a new constitution is in place.

Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee human rights, strengthen
the role of Parliament and curtail the President’s powers, as well as
guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.

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US wants to see more reforms

by Charles Tembo Saturday 16 January 2010

HARARE - The United States (US) will move to improve ties with the
Zimbabwean government and lift visa and financial sanctions against
President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle once the southern African
country's coalition government acts to ensure democracy and uphold human
rights, Washington's top diplomat in Harare said on Friday.

Washington and the European Union slapped sanctions on Mugabe and his top
lieutenants in 2002 accusing them of gross human rights violations following
years of stolen elections, state-sanctioned murders and forced
disappearances and political violence.

The Western nations also cut direct support to the Zimbabwean government
although maintaining humanitarian assistance to the country.

But ambassador Charles Ray told hundreds of students gathered in Harare to
commemorate Martin Luther King Jr Day, that Washington was willing to turn
over a new leaf in relations with Harare and would support a government in
Zimbabwe working to improve the lives of ordinary citizens.

He said: "Our position is that the people of Zimbabweans deserve a country
that fulfils their legitimate need; we would very much like to see the
situation evolve into one where people can exercise their rights freely,
right to earn a living to be free from torture or oppression and self

"It's just basic common sense if you have a society where people can't
fulfil their potential, how can that society fulfil its potential. If you
hold people back you hold society back."

Turning to the issue of the punitive measures against Mugabe and his top
allies Ray said: "I have hope that there will be an improvement in the
situation here so that there can be movement in the US. It's an issue that
gets discussed a lot between me and the policy makers in Washington."

The power-sharing government of Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara has done well to stabilise Zimbabwe's
economy and end inflation that was estimated at more than a trillion percent
at the height of the country's economic meltdown last year.

But unending squabbles between Mugabe's ZANU PF party and Tsvangirai's MDC
as well as the coalition government's inability to secure direct financial
support from rich Western nations have held back the administration's
efforts to rebuild the economy. - ZimOnline

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Renewed wave of farm invasions in Matabeleland North

Southern African Commercial Farmers Alliance
130a J Tongogara St, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe P O Box FM 607, Famona Tel: +263
9 240841 Fax: +263 9 889609 Email:


On 12 January 2010 the Zimbabwean Government began a new wave of evictions
and equipment theft of the few remaining white commercial farmers left in
the districts comprising Bubi Umgusa in Matabeleland North. These areas
make up the constituency that was won by Obert Mpofu, a ZANU PF stalwart who
became Minister of Mines in the power-sharing government.

The modus operandi currently employed is similar. Each property is visited
by one Dube of the Ministry of Lands accompanied by various civil servants
and a back-up of police. They advise the owner that he or she is to vacate
their properties as they have been acquired by the state. There and then
they take an inventory of what equipment and machinery they can find and
advise the owner that he may not remove any of it as the "government will
pay for it". Government now is unable to pay proper wages let alone buy

All of these procedures are in contravention of Zimbabwe law, even those
skewed parts of the domestic law which were declared in conflict with the
provisions of the Southern African Development Community Treaty which binds
Zimbabwe. The watchdog of the Treaty, the SADC Tribunal, has already
declared the "land reform programme" illegal and racist. It has also
ordered fair compensation to be paid for properties already seized. The
Zimbabwe Government has ignored all these rulings even though they admit to
being bound by their obligations as members of the Treaty.

At least eight properties have been targeted: in Nyamandhlovu, Dilkosch,
Shirville and Kennellys; in Inyathi the farms targeted are Oscardale,
Nanhurst, Riverside and Riverbank, and in Bulawayo Central constituency
Kloof Farm.

Numerous legalities have been breached. The properties comprise an
operational mine, and several of the owners are citizens of countries with
Bilateral Investment Treaties with Zimbabwe. The seizures also breach
undertakings given in the power-sharing Global Political Agreement. It is
becoming abundantly clear that this power-sharing government is unwilling or
incapable of abiding by many of their domestic laws and international
obligations. The present Zimbabwe is not a good place to do business.



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Zimbabwe Students Released After Intervention by Government in Their Favor

Attorney Tawanda Zhuwarara, representing the students, said police brought
them before the Bindura magistrate's court on charges that they took part in
a gathering which was likely to create a public disturbance

Gibbs Dube | Washington 15 January 2010

Twenty-seven students of the Bindura University of Science Education
arrested Thursday for allegedly taking part in protests over the university's
decision to prevent those who had not paid tuition fees from taking
examinations were released Friday on their personal recognizance by a local

Attorney Tawanda Zhuwarara, representing the students, said police brought
them before the Bindura magistrate's court on charges that they took part in
a gathering which was likely to create a public disturbance.

Zhuwarara, a member of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, told VOA
Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that most of the arrested students were not
involved in the protests but had been picked up by police all the same.

He said one of the students was seriously injured in the protest and was
later admitted to Bindura Provincial Hospital.

Zimbabwe National Students Union President Joshua Chinyere and Secretary
General Grant Tabvurei were among the 27 detained by police after protests
of a university move to bar students who have not paid tuition fees from
completing their semester-end and final examinations.

The student leaders allegedly staged protests after failing to reach an
agreement with university authorities to allow all students to take their

ZINASU National Coordinator Mfundo Mlilo said his organization appealed for
government intervention which seemed to have played an important role in the
university's decision not to oppose their release without cash bail.

The Ministry of Higher Education sent its director of students affairs,
Eureka Ndlovu, to Bindura University late this week to stabilize the
situation after police launched a crackdown on the protesting students.

ZINASU said 40 percent of the 2,000 students at the university stood to miss
taking their examinations for failure to pay fees of US$400 to US$850.

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‘Zim still exporting power to Namibia’

by Own Correspondent Saturday 16 January 2010

HARARE – Zimbabwe is still supplying power to Namibia despite announcement
to the contrary by Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri earlier this week, the
Zimbabwean embassy in Windhoek and Namibian power utility NamPower have

In a statement on Friday, the embassy said the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) had not cut power supplies to Namibia.

“ZESA is committed to upholding the contract and the country will not renege
on its power obligations to Namibia,” the embassy said.

NamPower also announced that it is still receiving power from ZESA under the
terms of a 2007 deal in which the Namibian power utility provided a US$40
million loan to refurbish ZESA’s 400MW Hwange Power Station. In return ZESA
was supposed to supply 150MW of power to Namibia for five years.

NamPower spokesman John Kaimu in statement said the company was still
awaiting formal communication from ZESA over its reported decision to stop
power supplies to the country.

“ZESA has not formally communicated to us the reported power suspension,”
said Kaimu. “NamPower and ZESA agreed on the modalities in which the loan
would be advanced and managed and the eventual export of power to Namibia
once the first unit at Hwange has been refurbished.”

He said ZESA had the capacity to meet its end of the deal after NamPower
committed funds towards the refurbishment of Hwange Power Station.

“We are confident ZESA as the Zimbabwean power utility has the capacity to
honour its side of the bargain,” said Kaimu.

ZESA has however managed to maintain power exports to Namibia through
imports from regional utilities where it currently sources 35 percent of its
power, prompting Mudzuri to order ZESA to stop exports to Namibia since the
Hwange Power Station was not working properly.

“We can’t import power to export to Namibia when Hwange Power Station is not
producing,” Mudzuri told ZimOnline on Monday. “That deal was for Hwange only
and it must not affect the entire operations of the country. It can only be
implemented if Hwange is properly running. I have ordered ZESA not to supply
electricity to Namibia until Hwange is running.”

Zimbabwe currently generates 1 100MW far below the required 2 000MW.

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

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

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

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

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Zimbabwe gets serious about return to Test cricket

JOHN KELLEY | HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Jan 16 2010 06:49

After seven years in the cricket wilderness, Zimbabwe is at last showing
real potential for a possible return to full Test status.

A new league structure of regional first class matches, funded jointly by
the International Cricket Council (ICC) and local sponsors, is energising
the game here.

Players are being paid US dollar match fees, win bonuses and awards for
centuries or five-wicket hauls.

Under a team of full-time coaches headed by David Houghton and former
national captain Heath Streak, about 80 young and experienced players have
shown such progress over the last three months that convener of national
selectors Alistair Campbell predicts Zimbabwe will be playing Tests in two
years. Houghton believes it might only be one year.

Cricket in Zimbabwe was getting nowhere after being forced out of Tests
following a series of embarrassingly bad results.

Sri Lanka, New Zealand and England were the main instigators by declining to
meet future commitments.

But instead of rebuilding a first class domestic league and concentrating on
three- or four-day matches, they almost exclusively played the quick-fire

All that changed with an exploratory visit to Zimbabwe last year by former
West Indies captain Conrad Hunte at the head of an ICC delegation. Hunte
hatched a plan designed to springboard Zimbabwe's return to Tests.

His idea was for franchised teams to be established in five main regions
with local characteristics and names such as the Mountaineers (Eastern
Districts), Southern Rocks (Bulawayo) and Mashonaland Eagles (Harare) so as
to foster healthy rivalry within a first-class professional league

It began with the new 2009-10 season in September.

Kenyon Ziehl, who runs the Midlands team, said: "Our league is fully
professional on player salaries, each regional franchise having a chief
executive, general manager, enthusiastic committee and proper accounting.

"Because of this set-up our national squad will consequently get better and
better and there are early signs of this."

As it happens, Zimbabwe remains on the official ICC "forward programme" of
Tests with series scheduled this year against the West Indies, Australia and
England. These won't happen, but the fixtures have not been removed.

According to Houghton, a former senior Zimbabwe batsman (he once scored 266
runs against Sri Lanka), "Once we get the fast bowling sorted out by Heath
Streak as national bowling coach -- it is presently not up to strength -- I
reckon we will be ready."

Houghton has been working with national coaching director Andy Waller, a
former Test all-rounder, and other coaches.

The new Zimbabwe league has already attracted several former Test players,
such as Dion Ebrahim, Hamilton Masakadza (a recent double century), Vusi
Sibanda (averaging 100 in the league), Tatenda Taibu and John Rennie.

There are also efforts being made to secure the return, in the England
off-season, of Sean Ervine (Hampshire) and Murray Goodwin (Sussex), the
latter in recent years being consistently at or near the top of the English
County Cricket batting averages.

In addition, Ray Price, Greg Lamb (Northants), Rickey Wessels (son of former
South Africa captain Kepler), Graeme Cremer, Gavin Ewing, Elton Chigumbura,
present captain Prosper Utseya and Charles Coventry (197 runs in a recent
ODI) form the basis of a national squad.

They will be off to the West Indies next month for ODI's and Twenty-20s.

Ziehl foresees a series of four-day matches being arranged "before very
long" against Test nation sides so as to provide further experience and

Good results from such matches will be critical if they are they to presage
a formal application by Zimbabwe Cricket to the ICC for a new and
rejuvenated Zimbabwe to resume its place as a Test cricket nation. - AFP

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Apathy may hit Zim constitutional reform: Watchdog

by Simplicious Chirinda Saturday 16 January 2010

HARARE - A Zimbabwean civic society group on Friday warned that the country's
constitutional reform process might suffer from apathy as many Zimbabweans
do not feel the proposed changes will be adequate to guarantee basic
freedoms and democracy.

The Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZIMRIGHTS) in its report gathering
the views of the people on the ongoing constitution making process warned
that were reluctant to participate in the reform process.

"Countrywide people are afraid to embrace their right to express themselves
freely on issues pertaining to their governance," read the ZIMRIGHTS report
titled "Grassroots Views on the Constitution" launched in Harare yesterday.

"In light of the impending consultative meetings by the parliamentary select
committee, this compromises the quality of data to be gathered by this

"A sneak preview of the people's participation in governance issues has
shown rampant apathy, an unwillingness to participate in processes they
think will not do anything to change their situation. Some of the people
expressed concern over whether or not their contributions to the final
constitution document will be taken into cognisance."

The rights watchdog consulted more than 65 000 people mostly in rural areas
of the country's 10 provinces in coming up with the report.

Among some of the issues raised by the participants were the presidential
tenure in which most people said the country's president under a new
constitution should not be lees than 40 years old or rule over the age of
60. They also wanted the presidential term to be limited to two five-year
terms and that any presidential hopefuls declare their assets before they
take office.

"The findings were that the president should not entrench him or herself in
the presidency and refuse to relinquish power through constitutional
amendment when the time for elections comes," read the report.

ZIMRIGHTS chairman Kucaca Phulu told ZimOnline that there was a deep-seated
scepticism among the people on whether their views on the constitution
making process would be respected.

"People expressed scepticism on whether their views would be considered
important hence the reluctance to participate," said Phulu.

Speaking at the same occasion Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe said
Zimbabweans have a right to determine how they want to be governed.

"People have a right to tell us the leaders how they want to be governed.
For the past 30 years, it has been the leaders who have been telling the
people how they are going to govern them, that must come to an end. People
must break the silence and speak out and we will make sure that their views
are not doctored like what has happened in the past," said Khupe.

The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) driving the reforms, on
Thursday said that it would request that President Robert Mugabe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara make a joint
public statement denouncing political violence in order to reassure citizens
they will not be victimised for expressing their views about the way they
want to be governed.

The proposed new constitution is part of the requirements of a September
2008 power-sharing deal between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara that gave
birth to the Harare coalition government last February. - ZimOnline

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Off bee eaters & baboon spiders

Dear Family and Friends,

After a short break it's always wonderful to come home to Zimbabwe
and be reminded of so many things that we take for granted, not the
least of which is the balmy weather and clear blue sky. Its that time
of year when the new crop of birds have just learnt to fly and our
neighbourhoods are alive with flycatchers and fire-finches, waxbills
and weavers. The egrets and ibises are out of their nests, all fluffy
and gangly and still screeching for free meals and the bee eaters and
lilac breasted rollers are back, reminding us how lucky we are to
witness this spectacle every day.

Zimbabwe is, however, a place of such contrasts that often you just
shake your head and laugh at the absurdity of it all. A visiting
relation phoned the airport last week to reconfirm her ticket and
check on the departure time of her flight to the UK. "Aaaah," said
the woman on the Air Zimbabwe Information desk, " just pitch up!"

We did indeed "just pitch up" as instructed and what a bleak place we
found a little before midnight at our country's ironically named
International Airport.

The only thing alive was the car park - charging an outrageous 2 US
dollars for a period of less than 15 minutes. Inside the main
terminal there is no departure or arrivals board, no information at
all on which flights are coming or going and even the main
Information and Enquires desk was closed and deserted despite the
scheduled departure of an international flight. The shops were all
closed too so no chance of a cold drink or newspaper or that last
souvenir to buy. This is Zimbabwe's front desk, the shop window for
the world to see and what a sad disgrace it is.

Getting home from the airport a little before one in the morning,
after a hair raising journey where there are no road markings, no
cats eyes in the tar, no street lights and most passing vehicles with
faulty, missing or non existent lights and reflectors, the delights of
Zimbabwe grow dim. An enormous spider is sitting on the kitchen door.
Dark brown and very hairy and with fearsome fangs, the baboon spider
is easily the size of the palm of my hand and he just sits, waiting.

This is very much the state of Zimbabwe in this first month of the
new decade - we are sitting, waiting. Waiting for our leaders to stop
arguing, waiting for farm grabbing to stop, waiting for law and order
to be restored and waiting for a new constitution leading to a free
and fair election. An election where winners are winners and take
power and losers are losers and step down.

Despite all our troubles here, our hearts go out to the people of
Haiti after the devastating earthquake, our thoughts are with them.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy. c Copyright cathy
buckle 16 January 2010

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Reconnecting the Zimbabwean diaspora with home through Shona language courses

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - 16 January, 2010

A new website,, is offering Zimbabweans in the diaspora the
opportunity to learn the Shona language for the first time or to take their
Shona language skills to the next level.'s Shona language
courses are unique in that they are fun, practical and designed to be
learned anywhere, at any time. They are in an mp3 format that even mobile
phones can play these days. All of which makes it much easier to overcome
the 'chore factor' that often impedes language learning.
Best of all,'s Shona language Beginner courses are being
offered for free to people who refer other users. also offers
Shona language Youth, Refresher and Tourist courses, along with Vocabulary
and Grammar builders. They are all designed to take the level of Shona
language learning beyond anything currently available on the internet today.
" is all about preserving Zimbabwean culture in the diaspora"
said its founder, Nyasha Madavo.
"There are 3 million of us abroad, and a great deal of us are either
forgetting the language or have met partners or have children for whom Shona
is almost a foreign language. aims to change this in a fun
and easy way by making learning the Shona language faster than ever before."
Background was launched in late 2009 and provides mp3 based Shona
language courses. The courses range from Beginner to Refresher courses,
which are at a very advanced level of Shona language. aims to
make the Shona language as easy as possible to learn.
Contact Information
Founder: Nyasha Madavo
Email: Nyasha.madavo@exceltasks.

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Pushing the knowledge envelope: Sir Otto John Beit

by Mutumwa Mawere Saturday 16 January 2010

OPINION: As we continue the journey to discover the men and women who helped
shape the corporate and political history of Africa, we are reminded that it
does not take a crowd to make a difference.

Very few individuals were responsible for setting the foundations of what we
now take for granted.

Individuals who were ahead of their time made the critical decisions that
needed to be made and in so doing impacted on the future of Africa.

Our corporate history would not be complete without mentioning the name of
Sir Otto John Beit, the younger brother of Sir Alfred Beit, who was born in
Hamburg, Germany on December 7 1865 into a Jewish family.

He was the son of Siegfried Beit and Laura Caroline Hahn. He married Lillian
Carter, daughter of Thomas Lane Carter and died on December 7 1930 at the
age of 65.

He went to England at the age of 23 where he joined the stock broking firm
of Wernher, Beit & Co, a company in which his brother, Alfred Beit who had
moved to England in 1888 was a partner.

In 1890, he left for South Africa to gain experience in the diamond industry
where he remained for six years before returning to England where he
naturalised as a citizen in 1896.

Although his stay in South Africa was short, he made a mark. He played a
critical role in the development of Rand Gold Mines and became a member of
the Hermann Eckstein's firm, H Eckstein & Co.

On his return to London, he continued his career as a stockbroker and
continued his association with the mining interests that his brother had in
South Africa.

Like his brother, Otto's worldview was greatly influenced by Cecil John
Rhodes at whose house he resided at the time of the Jameson Raid.

He subscribed to Rhodes' imperialist vision and that explains why he chose
to naturalise as a citizen of Great Britain instead of acquiring South
African citizenship or retaining his German citizenship.

To Rhodes, it was important that his close friends identify with his vision.
Both brothers appreciated why it was important for them to assimilate
themselves into the English civilisation.

The institutional and legal framework that informed the colonial project had
to be underpinned by a civilisation that could produce the outcomes sought
in Africa, that is, accelerated accumulation of wealth.

He was a director of the Rhodesia Railways Limited, a company that played a
critical role in the logistics and supply chain industry.

He was also a Governing Body of Imperial College from 1912 through 1930 the
year of his death. He was a Trustee of the Rhodes Trust and the Beit Railway
Trust for Rhodesia.

The close relationship between Rhodes and the Beit brothers continued after
his death. They became like family and kept the Rhodes legacy alive.

They understood more than Rhodes' natural family what kind of world he
wanted to see and more specifically what kind of Africa he wanted to see.

It is rare that many of us can bequeath our wealth and legacy to
non-relatives. What was remarkable about South Africa in its early years of
industrialisation was that it brought people together. The only minimum
condition was that one had to be white to participate in the opportunity
ladder. It did not matter where you were born in Europe what mattered was
the network one could build in the land of promise.

Rhodes understood that the rewards had to be internalised by the actors.

Otto whose brother died in July 1906 founded the Beit Memorial Trust for
Medical Research and also the Beit Fellowship at Imperial College in 1913 in
memory of his brother who had opened the door to wealth for him.

He also founded the Beit Fellowship for Scientific Research at Imperial
College. He was a founder member of the Royal Institute of International
Affairs and in 1912 became a member of the Governing Council.

He became involved in land settlement schemes in Southern Africa through his
involvement as a trustee of both the Rhodes and Beit Trusts. He served as a
director of the British South Africa Company that Rhodes had helped

Beitbridge, the gateway between South Africa and Zimbabwe, was named after
his brother while the bridge to cross the Zambezi River at Chirundu was
named after Otto.

To get into Zimbabwe, one had to go through one Beit brother and to get out
of Zimbabwe into Zambia one still needed to go through the other Beit

The two important bridges to Zimbabwe were built with private funds and the
role of the Beit family in making this possible cannot be overstated.

The original bridge to cross the Zambezi is known as the Otto Beit Bridge.
It was built during 1938 and 1939 by the Cleveland Bridge Company; with
financing provided by the Beit Trust that funded most of central and
Southern Africa's colonial era bridges including the Kafue Bridge and the
Luangwa Bridge.

The Otto Bridge was the first modern suspension bridge to be built outside
the United States with parallel wire cables.

The new bridge was only built between 1999 and 2003 with state funds
exposing the fact that the generation of people like the Beits had vanished.

How many of our generation of entrepreneurs can boast of the achievements
and contribution to Africa of people like Otto? Anytime we think of a major
infrastructural project, we have to look at the state.

The resources that the Beit brothers used to build these major projects as
well as for philanthropy were generated from Africa and yet they were
magnanimous enough to plough back where they had harvested.

However, the choice of investments is instructive. Anyone who invests in
infrastructure must be thinking of the long-term. Our investment horizon
tends to be short and consumption focused.

To the extent that Rhodes played a critical part in transforming the Beit
brothers' worldview, it would not be misplaced to conclude that were it not
for Rhodes, the critical infrastructural investments that still remain
visible would not be there.

The Otto bridge cost 186 000 to build and was opened on May 24 1939 after
Otto's death by his widow. He died at 65 having accomplished so much and
bequeathed a legacy that we all have to study and appreciate.

He could have taken the view that Africa's future did not matter. However,
he became a torchbearer for both Rhodes and Alfred's legacies.

He was invested as Fellow, Royal Society (FRS) as well as Officer, Most
Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

He was invested as a Knight Commander, Order of St Michael and St George
(KCMG). He was created 1st Baronet Beit, of Tewin Water, Welwyn, co.
Hertford (UK) in 1924.

The University of Cape Town as well as the University of Edinburgh awarded
him the honorary degrees of Doctor of Law.

Although Otto is dead, he works still live with us. The objects that he
helped create as a creative capitalist are far too many to enumerate. What
is significant is that he walked the Rhodes talk and did not betray what
Rhodes stood for.

The British scientific and cultural landscape was impacted by Otto just as
much as the southern African landscape was indelibly shaped by the actions
and choices made by the Beit brothers.

Although Rhodes died in 1902, his legacy continued and Otto played a vital
part in keeping the flame glowing. It is only when we attempt to review
whence we came that we can better appreciate that capitalism could produce
outcomes that may not be as toxic as we now associate it with.

Otto was a financier, philanthropist and art connoisseur par excellence.
Next time you cross the Zambezi River just pause to think about this
remarkable man who had no obligation to plough back what he and his brother
had benefited from Africa and was not compelled to make the choices that he

Can we consider him to be less African than many of us who live beyond 65
and yet have nothing to show for it? - ZimOnline

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