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Sanctions to go if GPA is implemented fully: US

Saturday, 16 January 2010 20:24

UNITED States ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray says his country is ready
to lift targeted sanctions imposed on the Harare administration once the
three governing parties fully implement their power-sharing agreement. Ray,
who was talking to journalists after an event to commemorate the Martin
Luther King Day in Harare, said the US will review the restrictions once it
was satisfied that Zimbabweans were now free from intimidation and human
rights abuses.

The US has maintained targeted sanctions against President Robert Mugabe's
inner circle and state companies, since 2002 for their involvement in
alleged human rights violations.

"I have hopes that there will be an improvement in the situation and
performance here (in Zimbabwe) so that there  can be positive movement on
that (sanctions)," Ray said.

"It's certainly an issue that gets discussed a lot both between me and
policy makers in Washington."

Mugabe formed a unity government with leaders of the two MDC formations
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
in February last year but the parties are still squabbling over the full
implementation of their power-sharing agreement.

Some of the disputes revolve around key reforms, which the MDC formations
say are necessary to restore democracy in Zimbabwe.

"Our position is that the people of Zimbabwe deserve a country that fulfills
their legitimate needs and interests," Ray said.

"We would very much like to see the situation here evolve into one where
people can in fact, exercise their rights freely and that's all rights; the
right to earn a living, the right to be free from torture or oppression, the
right to self determination and self realisation."

The ambassador addressed about 150 students from Prince Edward, Allan
Wilson, Queen Elizabeth and Girls' High schools to pay tribute to the
American civil rights icon.

"What Martin Luther King did for us in the United States applies equally to
people around the world regardless of their colour, religion or their
political beliefs and the issue is that people should be free from
oppression," he said.

"People have the right to live lives that are productive, that are free from
intimidation and violence and I think that really...sort of in a 21st
century context," Ray said.

Tomorrow is a national holiday in the US in King's honour. He was
assassinated in April 1968.


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Coup Suspects Back in Court

Saturday, 16 January 2010 20:23

TWO men accused of plotting to topple President Robert Mugabe's government
in 2007 were back in the court on Thursday seeking  bail pending  their
trial at the High Court at a date yet to be set. Pattison Mupfere and Nyasha
Zivuku were arrested together with Shingirai Mutemachani, Oncemore
Mudzurahowa, Emmanuel Marara, and Albert Matapo, a former senior army
officer, for allegedly plotting to recruit members of the armed forces to
stage a coup against Mugabe.

In both their applications Mupfere and Zivuku say it's almost three years
since they were indicted but they are still to be tried.

They said their application in the Supreme Court challenging their
prosecution had since been deferred indefinitely.

"This application was in light of the unconstitutionality of the Criminal
Law (Codification and Reform) Act, which we were being charged with" they

Justice Chinembiri Bhunu postponed the case to January 18 to give time for
the state to respond.



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Civil Servants ask Mugabe, Tsvangirai to Resolve pay Dispute

Saturday, 16 January 2010 20:02

CIVIL servants want President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai to intervene in their salary dispute with the government after a
series of crisis meetings with three ministers last week ended in deadlock.

On Wednesday representatives from the Public Service Association (PSA), the
Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) and the Progressive Teachers' Union
of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) met Finance Minister Tendai Biti, Public Service Minister
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, and Education Minister David Coltart, a few hours
after they issued a 14-day notice to go on strike if their demands are not

The unions rejected the government's offer of $236 a month for the highest
paid civil servant.

The least paid civil servants earn US$155 a month and this includes teachers
who are demanding US$600 a month.

A Zimta official said they were banking on Mugabe and Tsvangirai.

"The ministers said the matter was beyond them and we are now waiting for a
response to the letters we addressed to the principals in government," he

Zimta and the Apex Council wrote to Mugabe and Tsvangirai through Coltart
and Mukonoweshuro on Thursday, warning of a crisis if their demands are not

"The (government) offer has agitated public servants and we urge you to
decisively intervene in order to urgently address the situation before it's
too late," reads the letter signed by Apex Council chairperson, Tendai

"It is in the interest of government to address this matter. In this regard
we urge you to influence change of the scenario for the better."

In her capacity as Zimta president, Chikowore said: "The (salary)
negotiation process has been neglected and compromised for economic and
political expediency.

"This has heightened fears that the issue of civil servants salaries has
been de-prioritised as confirmed by the level of the awards.

"We fear any procrastination on the issue may allow this matter to blossom
into a crisis of incapacitating proportions."

If the civil servants go ahead with the strike, they will deal a major blow
to the unity government's efforts to revive an economy battered by years of
political disputes and wrong policies.

Meanwhile, Coltart confirmed that the salary disputes would now be dealt
with by cabinet, saying there might be need for government and teachers to
revise their priorities.

"As of now, I cannot revise the figures. I cannot revise money that I do not
have," he said in an interview.

"The dilemma we face as a nation is that the cake is too small and there is
no money going around.

"We need to realise as Zimbabweans that we are all in this together as a
nation. If we as government are spending too much on travel, yes, that can
attract justifiable criticism but in this scenario, we all have to make

He said teachers must also understand that his ministry was under-funded in
this year's budget and could do little to improve their conditions of

"Many of us are disappointed with the way the cake was cut," Coltart said.

"I was allocated only $36 million to run the whole education sector against
a total number of three million children learning in the country's various

"What this means is that government allocated $12 per child which translates
to $1 per child per month to cover costs for chalk, text books, electricity
and rent for the buildings among others."

The unity government is still struggling to raise enough revenue to finance
its operations and donors are reluctant to come to its rescue because of the
delays in implementing the September 15, 2008 Global Political Agreement.


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Water Shortage hits Gweru

Saturday, 16 January 2010 19:43

GWERU - The Midlands capital is facing severe water shortages because
council does not have money to replace obsolete pumps and motors, a senior
official said last week. Residents, especially in high-density suburbs, have
gone for two weeks without water while for others the taps went dry a year

Council engineer Jones Nantambwe said council was no longer able to replace
pipes once they get damaged leading to the prolonged water shortages.

He said the city's treatment works were also facing similar problems. "If
one pump fails in any station, the ability to deliver water to the city will
be severely compromised," Nantambwe said in an interview.

"Most of the automatic valve actuators are out of commission and there are
problems with leaking joints and corroded sections on the delivery pipes in
the treated water pump station at Gwenhoro.

"There are similar problems at the Whitewaters treatment works, which
augments the supply from the Gwenhoro system."

Nantambwe said although council had always been quick to attend to water
problems the local authority was facing financial problems and could not
afford to buy new motors and pumps.

But he said that a German company had indicated its willingness to help
council alleviate the water crisis.

Sources said the company will pour in close to 1,7million euros for the
rehabilitation of the infrastructure.

While council lays the blame on financial challenges, angry residents say it
is because of corruption and poor planning.

Danny Munetsi, the Gweru United Residents' Association (Gura) chairperson,
said they want to pass a vote of no confidence in Mayor Tedius Chimombe and
his council.

"There is no service delivery at all! The council has wrong priorities and
is corrupt," Munetsi said.

He said that residents were suffering due to shortages of clean water,
sewage pipe bursts that go for months unattended, and potholes.

Others said they were not happy with council's decision to buy a Nissan
Navara for the ceremonial mayor while residents do not have water and basic

According to a council report, management was directed to buy the
top-of-the-range vehicle for US$32 000.

Chimombe was not immediately available for comment.


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Minister, Journalist Fight Over Equipment

Saturday, 16 January 2010 19:41

A Harare magistrate has ordered freelance journalist Jealous Mawarire to
return recording equipment and a laptop belonging to Deputy Information
Minister and Mt Pleasant MP Jameson Timba . Mawarire has been holding on to
two Panasonic cameras, an HP laptop, tripod stands, lights and accessories
to try and force the minister to pay him US$8 500 for an alleged outstanding
car hire allowance.

Mawarire, according to the court papers, was engaged as a consultant for a
four-and-a-half month period to co-ordinate the programmes of the Mt
Pleasant constituency but when the contract expired on December 18 last year
he allegedly gave the minister an invoice demanding to be paid for using his

The equipment was used to record "The Transition," a televised debate on the
inclusive government, which was being hosted by Timba's Mt Pleasant

This prompted Timba to approach the courts for relief arguing that there
were no such provisions of car hire allowances when Mawarire entered into an
agreement with him as a consultant.

Timba in his founding affidavit indicated that he did not owe Mawarire
anything since he "never hired a vehicle from him or anyone else" for that

According to the contract, a copy of which is in The Standard's possession,
Mawarire was entitled to a fuel allowance of US$130 a month.

Magistrate Priscilla Chigumba on December 29 granted an interim order for
Mawarire to immediately return Timba's property.

"Pending the return date of this order the Messenger of Court Harare is
hereby authorised and ordered to immediately restore the applicant (Timba)
to peaceful and undisturbed possession of his property," reads the interim
relief granted.

The court also ordered that in the event of any resistance to the observance
of the order, the Messenger of Court would enlist the services of the police
to carry out the terms of the order.

When the order returned to court on Monday for confirmation, Magistrate
Sandra Mpindu postponed the matter to January 19 after Mawarire failed to
file opposing papers.

One of Timba's aides told The Standard that Mawarire has since made a report
to the police that he had been threatened with violence if he did not return
the property.

Mawarire was not immediately available for comment.


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Zanu PF’s assault on Property Rights

Saturday, 16 January 2010 19:39

THE renewed campaign by Zanu PF officials to evict the country’s few
remaining white farmers and the threats to take over foreign-owned companies
have become the unity government’s Achilles’ heel as it tries to convince
sceptics that Zimbabwe has turned the corner. Last month the Swiss food
giant Nestle temporarily closed its Zimbabwean operations after senior Zanu
PF officials harassed its managers for refusing to buy milk from Gushungo
Dairy Estates reportedly owned by President Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace.
The company only resumed operations following the intervention of the three
principals in the unity government — Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara following strong
objections by organised business.
But as if taking a cue from the Nestle fiasco, Zanu PF militants, especially
in Manicaland, have launched an assault on South African-owned farms in the
province seeking the immediate eviction of the owners.
Tsvangirai’s office, alarmed by the new wave of lawlessness, has launched
immediate investigations into the continued invasion of commercial farms but
analysts fear it might be a case of too little too late.
Despite undertakings by parties in the coalition to stop further invasion of
farms and other businesses, unruly elements in some areas have ignored the
calls and farmers’ associations say the situation has reached crisis levels.
During the festive season it was reported that several farms were invaded by
senior civil servants.
Analysts warn that the invasions fly in the face of reforms initiated by the
inclusive government, and have already cost the country millions of dollars
in potential investment.
In a bid to contain the situation, Tsvangirai’s office tasked the
co-Ministers of Home Affairs, Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi, to carry out
investigations and present a report this week.
Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the PM’s office, confirmed that
investigations were underway on the disturbances
“As an office we are busy doing something,” said Moyo. “We are concerned
about these problems, they are not helpful at all.
“With respect to the problem of disruption at the farms, the Prime Minister’s
office has asked the co-Ministers of Home Affairs to look into the issue
immediately and present a report next (this) week.
“They will also meet the Minister of Defence (Emmerson Mnangagwa) because
soldiers were also involved.”
But while the PM’s office was “busy doing something”, invasions continued in
Manicaland, as reported elsewhere in this paper.
Analysts said the invasions were a threat to the recently signed Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (Bippa) between Zimbabwe and
South Africa.
To protect the Bippas, Moyo said they had engaged farmers and line
“Where Bippas are concerned, we are receiving input from different quarters,
among them farmers’ organisations and line ministries like Industry and
Commerce, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion,” Moyo said.
Economic analyst John Robertson warned that further delays in dealing with
the latest assault on property rights could be difficult to handle.
“These events have already cost us untold millions worth of potential
investment,” said Robertson.
“They (invaders) are saboteurs, they are sabotaging the country’s prospects
of recovery.
“Who would want to do that (invading farms), why would they do that? They
are economic saboteurs.
“They are costing jobs for hundreds of children leaving school.”
Robertson said if the inclusive government was to regain the confidence of
investors, it had to act strongly against those involved in the current
“This is a massive disservice, they should be criticised, they should be
prosecuted for this.
“The damage they are causing will affect the lives of other people even in
generations to come,” added Robertson.


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More Trouble for Kaseke Accuser

Saturday, 16 January 2010 19:37

THERE are instances when maintaining a low profile has its advantages.

Hillary Chitapi from Shurugwi, who last week accused the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority (ZTA) Chief Executive Officer, Karikoga Kaseke, of "hijacking" his
2010 HIV and Aids project may have attracted the attention he least hoped

Chitapi alleged last week in The Standard that Kaseke was trying to elbow
him out of a project designed to tap into the Fifa World Cup soccer finals
in South Africa in June this year.

But police last week said they were anxious to locate Chitapi because he was
on bail and had absconded.

Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka told The Standard:
"Police Zvishavane is looking for him. He was on bail and he absconded.
There is a warrant of arrest for him."

The Standard understands the matter relates to three incidents that occurred
at Lambizi and Diverse lodges in Zvishavane and listed as DR 44/06/09, CR
173/06/09 and CRB 526/09 last year.

While the ZTA had initially warmed up to his project, the Zvishavane
incidents would appear  to have been instrumental in the authority
developing cold feet over the proposal, leading to Chitapi's frustration
over non-progress.

Chitapi was not immediately available to explain whether he did not believe
the Zvishavane case had a bearing on the ZTA toning down its initial
enthusiasm over his project. A woman answering his mobile phone said Chitapi
was in Budiriro, Harare, but had "gone out". He did not return the calls and
text message.

Kaseke last week said there seemed to be a misconception about his role and
the involvement of the ZTA in projects designed to spruce up the country's
image. The projects were government's and not personally his. As an officer
of the ZTA he was enjoined to implement government decisions and policies.

"If I didn't agree with or refused to implement them I would have to resign.
These are not my personal projects," he said.

By Our Staff

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Mutoko Villagers up in Arms Against Black Granite Miners

Saturday, 16 January 2010 19:34

MUTOKO villagers say they have not benefited from black granite mining
activities in their area that has been going on for decades and has left a
trail of environmental degradation in the poor district. The villagers
accuse Zanu PF politicians of encouraging the miners to disregard
environmental regulations and also to spirit away profits out of the
district without ploughing back into the communities.
At least nine foreign-owned companies are mining black granite in Mutoko
after they were licensed by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.
The miners have caused massive deforestation in the area but have invested
The villagers said they had expected improved roads, schools and clinics
from the companies in exchange for exploiting the resource.
Edgar Nyamadzawo from Charehwa said there was need for human rights
organisations to investigate the mining activities.
"We know that there are politicians from this area who are backing these
companies and are being paid to turn a blind eye to all these activities.
"These people have been to some sites where mining is taking place,"
Nyamadzawo said.
"This is another Chiadzwa. People have lost their homes and land but they
have not received compensation."
Nyamadzawo said the quarry mining activities had also led to an increase in
prostitution in the area while young boys were dropping out of school to
make quick money from the mines.
But it is not just the villagers who are unhappy about the operations of the
quarry miners.
The Mutoko Rural District Council has been involved in a long-running battle
to force the companies to pay a reasonable development levy.
Peter Sigauke, the council's chief executive officer said the miners were
paying a paltry US$200 a tonne, which was "too little" for any investment in
community projects.
The miners who are licensed by the Ministry of Mines also pay royalties to
the Ministry. The royalties go to the Consolidated Revenue Fund for national
development, in terms of the Mines and Minerals Act.
Sigauke said last year council took the miners to court after they refused
to pay the US$1 000 a unit the local authority had proposed.
"The matter was never set down for a hearing in court after we filed our
papers because most of the companies indicated that they wanted to settle
out of court," he said.
"We are waiting to start on these negotiations but we are insisting on what
we want; the US$200 that they are paying as development levy is too little."
On the villagers' accusations that the companies were not ploughing back
into the community, Sigauke said the miners were not bound by law to do
"The expectations of communities are based on moral grounds. Companies can
plough back based on their will but some are not driven by moral grounds so
that is why as a local authority we are pressing for an increase in the
development levy they pay so that we can give back to these communities
Sigauke said his council also wanted a share of the royalties being paid to
the government.
Environmentalists have joined the fray with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law
Association (Zela) saying Mutoko had become poorer since quarry mining
started in the 1970s.
"Technically speaking, the mining companies are under no legal obligation to
develop these areas as long as they pay their royalty to government," Zela
director, Matuso Dhliwayo said last week.
"It is the responsibility of the government to develop these areas.
"However, what they have is a moral obligation to develop these areas where
they are making massive profits," Dhliwayo said.
"This moral obligation is called "Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
Under CSR, mining companies are required to offer preferential employment to
locals, invest in education and health facilities, road networks and so on."
he said.
Dhliwayo said quarry mining in Mutoko had caused untold suffering and harm
to the community in the form of noise and air pollution, destruction of
scenic mountains, water pollution, siltation of water sources, dust
pollution and destruction of cultural sites.


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Land Invader Seeks to Defy Court Eviction Order

Saturday, 16 January 2010 19:31

THE High Court on Friday reserved judgment to Tuesday on a matter in which a
retired army general, Edzai Chimonyo, is seeking to quash a ruling by the
same court ordering him to vacate Fangudu Farm (Pvt) Ltd, which he occupied
over the festive season. Justice Joseph Musakwa presided over the case.

The lawyers for Chimonyo, who is also Zimbabwe's ambassador to Tanzania, are
seeking to have an order granted against him set aside. Two weeks ago
Justice Tedias Karwi ordered Chimonyo to vacate Fangundu Farm on the grounds
that his occupation of the property was illegal.

Chimonyo's lawyer, Gerald Mlotshwa of Antonio & Mlotshwa challenged the
ruling on the grounds that they were not aware of a court application lodged
against the ambassador by the farm's owners, Matanuska.

He said the provisional order against Chimonyo should be set aside on the
basis that the retired general was not aware of the court action against him
because no papers had been served on him.

Fangudu Farm, a banana plantation in Burma Valley, south east of Mutare, 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

The occupied property is protected under a Bilateral Investment Promotion
and Protection Agreement which protects foreign investment.

The occupation of the plantation may have far-reaching consequences for
Zimbabwe's quest to lure foreign direct investment.


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Farmers Under Siege

Saturday, 16 January 2010 15:02

CLAD in khaki shorts and shirt, the imposing farmer quavered as a group of
youths, visibly intoxicated, threatened him with death and demanded that he
leave his farmhouse immediately. A two-way radio in hand, Koos Smit, a
commercial farmer in Rusape, looked dejected and physically drained as he
tried to negotiate with the youths to spare him and his family.

His wife and two children, who had been assaulted and manhandled the night
before, were locked up in the farmhouse. They witnessed the horror through
the windows and saw how their traumatised father was being terrorised.

Smit's De Rust tobacco farm has been invaded by a Mr Mukomo, a Zanu PF
official based in Rusape.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Zanu PF official bussed youths from Rusape to
evict the Smit family.

Workers at the farm said when the group arrived they started assaulting
everybody demanding that they leave immediately.

Smit's two sons - Kobas and Mike - were tied to trees and beaten up, the
workers said.

"We were all assaulted but Mike is the one who sustained serious injuries in
the face and arms," said Florence Mutukwa (43), who works for the Smits as a

Mutukwa said on arrival the youths switched off the electricity and cut-off
water and telephone lines in an effort to force the family to leave the

"Mr Smit was not allowed even to go to the toilet," said one worker, Daisy
Ndlovu, who together with Mutukwa fled and slept in the bush the night of
the attack.

Mutukwa's legs were swollen after she was flogged by the invaders for
"working for the whites" before she fled.
The two - together with their children - have since sought refuge at a
nearby village.

"I have two children in school and this means they will not go to school
anymore," said Ndlovu, a single mother of four. "I need money to go back
home to Beitbridge."

Smit's face lit up when The Standard reporters arrived at the besieged farm
but like dew in the sun that expression quickly faded after realising that
the crew was equally helpless.

It was also at the mercy of the marauding invaders.

In an episode reminiscent of the violent 2000 land invasions, the group
advanced towards the news crew threatening violence despite the presence of
four police officers, trying to calm the situation.

"Ndimi vatengesi munoita basa rekutengesa nyika. Nhasi muchazviona. (You are
sell-outs. Today, you will see it.)," shouted one of the youths as he
charged at the news team.

The police failed to restrain them and the reporters fled from the scene.

De Rust Farm is one of the several white-owned commercial farms that have
come under siege from invaders as last month's farm invasion continue

Just five kilometers from De Rust Farm, Pete Landos of Mepo farm is also
living in fear.

Two weeks ago his farm was invaded by war veterans led by Zanu PF's
secretary for lands in Mashonaland West, Themba Mliswa.

Workers at the farm said Landos and his family locked themselves up in the
farmhouse fearing that the invaders would come back.

The workers said the tobacco farmer was only spared after the intervention
of the local community.

"The local community here negotiated with the people who had come to occupy
this farm and they left," said one of the workers. "He has helped this
community very much, that is why he has survived so far."
Landos had already bought huge boxes in which to pack his belongings ready
to flee.

When The Standard arrived at his farmhouse the boxes were still on the

Landos, who could not be reached for comment, is also part of a group of
farmers who secured a Southern African Development Community (Sadc) ruling
in their favour.

His farm had been allocated to  Mliswa's brother, Dumisani.

Ten other commercial farmers have been assaulted and their farms occupied in
the past month as a new wave of invasions intensifies.

Other farmers that have been attacked in the area are South African
Antoinette Grobler from Geluk farm, Rudolf du Toit, and Ray Finaughty from
Manda farm who was recently given three hours to vacate.

"We are now being hit by a bigger stick for taking our case to Sadc," said
one of the farmers who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation.

"We took our case there because we had no other choice."

Farmers in the area accused Mliswa and Zanu PF secretary for administration
Didymus Mutasa of sponsoring the latest invasions.

"Mliswa and Mutasa have joined hands to reap where they did not sow . .
.They are sponsoring the invasions so that they can benefit from the
proceeds of the tobacco currently in the fields when the farmers flee," said
another farmer.

Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) president Deon Theron also implicated Mutasa
and Mliswa in the on-going invasions in Rusape.

He said the CFU was concerned that the unity government has failed to stop
the evictions of productive farmers.

"Certain people, in particular Mliswa and Minister Mutasa, are taking the
law into their own hands. They are working outside the law," Theron said.

Due process, he said, should be that the farmers be taken to court and
prosecuted and if found guilty they would then be given eviction notices.

The CFU said there was a target to repossess 152 of the remaining 300
white-owned commercial farms in the country.

New farm invasions have also been reported in Mashonaland West and the
Midlands provinces.

MDC-T, a partner with Zanu PF and MDC in the inclusive government, has
threatened to take the issues of renewed invasions to the Sadc Troika if the
property violations continue.

Mutasa, who is Presidential Affairs minister, denied leading the invasions
saying he went to the affected farms to try and solve the land disputes.

"I went there on the invitation of Jomic (Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee) to help them solve the disputes. I never sent
anybody to invade any farm,"  Mutasa said.

Mliswa could not be reached for comment.

While farm invasions continue, villagers around the area are wallowing in
poverty as no proper farming is possible in the environment.

This has been compounded by the fact that the maize crop in the fields is
wilting because of erratic rains.



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Bishop in trouble over Moyo, Gono ‘sermons’

Saturday, 16 January 2010 14:59

SQUABBLES have rocked the Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe (PAZ), pitting
presiding Bishop Trevor Manhanga against pastors who believe he is
politicising the church. In particular, members were not happy with his
growing tendency to invite senior Zanu PF politicians to minister at the

They cited a function late last year when Manhanga invited Tsholotsho North
legislator Jonathan Moyo, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono, Air
Zimbabwe Chief Executive Peter  Chikumba and Africa University
Vice-Chancellor Professor Fanuel Tagwira to officiate at a leadership
seminar at the PAZ.

“It looks like he wants to do exactly what his friend (Bishop Nolbert)
Kunonga is doing with the Anglican Church,” said a pastor at the church.

“Most of the things that are happening at the church at the moment have
nothing to do with ministering the gospel, but it is just for the political
emancipation of the presiding Bishop and a few individuals.

“People are leaving the fellowship in numbers because of this. Honestly how
can he invite people like Gono and Professor Moyo to come and preach to

Disgruntled members last week said Manhanga had gone to the extent of
getting rid of some pastors he felt were against his politicisation of the

It is alleged that Manhanga targets mostly pastors challenging his
legitimacy, and who have the potential of wresting the leadership of PAZ
from him.

Elections are due in 2011.

Among these is an activist and leader of the Rugare Pentecostal Assembly,
Pastor Lawrence Berejena.

Also on Manhanga’s alleged blacklist is former Bishop Emmanuel Bawa, former
national executive member Dickson Changara, and Leo Mupanduki, the founder
of some 28 churches affiliated to the PAZ.

Lennie Meril, the founder of Kwekwe Christian Assembly and Victory
Tabernacle in Mutare, where Manhanga is currently pastoring, was also
frustrated until he returned home to Canada.

“Manhanga wants all pastors to toe his pro-Zanu PF line, but knows pretty
well this will not work,” said another member of Upper Room Ministries, one
of the key members of the PAZ.

“Right now they have not renewed Berejena’s credentials because of his
association with the MDC-T, and for voicing loudly against corrupt
tendencies within the leadership.”

The members said they want Manhanga to step down because he is no longer
serving the fellowship under the will of God.

It is understood that when he sensed looming defeat in the elections,
Manhanga created an electoral board comprising handpicked lieutenants to
oversee the whole process.

And to show members how connected he was, Manhanga “invited secular leaders
to preach to leaders of the church”.

Moyo confirmed that last year he made a presentation at a PAZ meeting, but
said “there was definitely no preaching”.

“Some time last year, there was something arranged as a leadership seminar
for PAZ leaders to interact with people in different sectors of society,”
said Moyo who formally rejoined Zanu PF at the end of last year.

“I was invited alongside Professor Tagwira, Dr Gono and Dr Chikumba to
address various topics on leadership. I gave a lecture on issues of

“It is stupid for anyone to say we preached at that meeting. There was
definitely no preaching. We are humble enough to appreciate that scriptures
should be left to the men of God.”

Manhanga said it was “incorrect” that he was elbowing out pastors and elders
perceived to be against him.
“That is a lot of nonsense. There is no pastor that has been chucked out,”
Manhanga said.

“Let the people making those accusations come out in the open. I have got
nothing to hide.

“As for my continued stay, I was put into office by the fellowship, and my
term expires in 2011.”

He also disputed the claims that Moyo, Gono, Tagwira and Chikumba had
preached at the church.

“There is no politician coming to preach, we only invited them for a
leadership seminar last year,” Manhanga said.

But the disgruntled members argued that if the objective was to get
politicians and influential people to make presentations, Manhanga should
have invited known Christian leaders, some of whom were members of the PAZ.

“There are many known Christian leaders in business and politics he should
have invited.

“Why didn’t he invite people like (Health Minister) Dr Henry Madzorera, who
is a member of the church?

“There is not much inspiration to draw from people like Gono and Moyo, and
even Chikumba is struggling at Air Zimbabwe,” argued the member.

Manhanga argued that they had invited Madzorera, but he could not make it as
he was out of the country. Madzorera was not immediately available for


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Bank Rejects Official’s Compensation Claim

Saturday, 16 January 2010 14:56

BARCLAYS Bank says it will not compensate a former senior official who is
demanding damages for her incarceration over fraud charges levelled against
her by the multinational financial institution two years ago. Sibongile
Mapungwana, who was the bank’s communications and community projects
manager, was arrested in February 2008 for allegedly swindling the bank of 2
500 British pounds and US$60 000.

A fortnight ago her lawyers wrote to the bank claiming US$245 000 in damages
after she was acquitted by the Harare magistrates’ courts.

Her lawyers accused the bank of causing Mapungwana’s arrest on spurious
allegations. But Barclays says it has no control over the police or the
judiciary to have caused her incarceration.

“May we point out that it is neither entirely accurate nor correct for you
to state that the bank caused the arrest and subsequent prosecution of your
client,” reads the bank’s response to Mapungwana’s lawyers last week.

“You know as we do that it is the police that arrest individuals and it is
the courts that prosecute.

“Both the police and the courts do study any matter reported to them and in
their respective judgment and wisdom decide whether to arrest and/or
prosecute as the case may be.”

Barclays said when it made a report to the police, it had reasonable grounds
to believe that an offence had been committed.

“The said belief was then corroborated by the police who went on to arrest
and by the prosecutor who vetted the matter and was convinced that your
client had a case to answer and therefore referred the matter for trial.

“There was absolutely no malice on the part of the bank and it is trite that
in such claims you need to prove malicious intentions.”

The bank said Mapungwana’s acquittal, on which the claim is based, does not
necessarily mean that she did not commit the offence.

It said the former manager at some stage had to reimburse some of the money
utilised under the same transaction that resulted in her arrest.

On Thursday, Mapungwana said she will take her case to the High Court this
week but Barclays said they would challenge any litigation.

“For them to blame the police and the ministry is to merely hide behind a
finger,” Mapungwana said.

“While they have their own arguments, I am also aware that I cannot fight
the police because they arrested me on the bank’s invitation.”

Mapungwana wants US$50 000 as compensation for unlawful arrest and
detention, US$100 000 for defamation, US$70 000 for loss of income and US$25
000 for legal fees.


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New Constitution: Great Expectations

Saturday, 16 January 2010 14:52

AFTER months of public consultation programmes, civil society organisations
(CSOs) taking part in the ongoing constitutional reform process can almost
foretell contents of the country's next supreme law should the politicians
stand by their pledge to respect the people's will.

Outreach teams for the process were being trained in Harare last week before
being dispatched to gather views from citizens across the country.

Organisations such as the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights),
Artistes for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust (ADZT) and the Matabeleland
Constitutional Reform Agenda (Macra) last year conducted civic education
programmes on issues around the constitution.

Macra chairperson Effie Ncube said his organisation held more than 100
meetings with people in Matabeleland provinces, Bulawayo and the Midlands
while ZimRights director Okay Machisa said his organisation and ADTZ's
programmes covered 1 240 wards countrywide.

"People are eagerly awaiting the outreach teams," Machisa said.

"In the meetings we have held, people expressed various views on what they
would like to see in the new constitution."

Brilliant Mhlanga, a Zimbabwean academic based at the University of
Westminster in the United Kingdom, said all contributions in the
consultation exercise will be motivated by various problems people have
faced in their different contexts.

"For example, the people of Matabeleland have had a problem with a
centralised system of governance which has tended to remit all resources
produced from the region to Harare," he said.

"So, one of the main issues from that region will be devolution of power.

"I cannot imagine anyone from Matabeleland opposing such a motion."

Ncube agreed with Mhlanga's view, saying the issue of devolution of power
was among those which continue to feature most prominently in their

CSO representatives said another issue that was likely to feature
prominently was that of presidential terms and also limiting powers of the

"Most people suggested that an individual should be allowed two presidential
terms of five years each," Machisa said.

Ncube said in Matabeleland a suggestion had been made that there be an age
limit for presidential candidates while University of Zimbabwe lecturer
Professor John Makumbe said there was also a suggestion that defeated
candidates should not be given a chance to contest future elections.

Mhlanga said the issue of executive powers is likely to feature mostly in
Matabeleland as the people there attempt to revise the current status quo
and ensure that leaders were more accountable.

"Remember, political power is a resource which has also been made very
scarce in Matabeleland with most leaders acting as servants of a political
leadership in Harare," he said.

"That has caused problems for our people.

"In that regard, people will seek to imagine ways for how the constitution
as the supreme law of the land will ensure that leaders from their regions
are not merely working on appointive basis but are there to serve their

People across the country also seem to hold a view that the judicial system
is currently biased in favour of Zanu PF and desire an independent

Concern has also emerged over the size of parliament which is considered too
large. One suggestion is that the Senate be abolished, leaving a unicameral
parliament, which will save resources.

Also likely to feature prominently is the issue of electoral laws and
systems, with most consulted citizens reported to be in favour of the
scrapping of the current first-past-the-post or winner-takes-all system to a
more accommodative system like proportional representation or a combination
of the two.

Analysts feel the current system has seen those in the majority taking
advantage of the situation and closing out other voices.

"Given the period we are coming from, people are also most likely to insist
on laws which will ensure that all elections are held in a free and fair
manner after every five years," Makumbe said.

Many people are also said to be in favour of a multi-party democracy and
would want to see an end to the current culture whereby Zanu PF continues to
enjoy too much power, conflating the government and the state.

Others are also said to have agitated for the broadening of the Bill of
Rights to protect third generation rights that include economic, social and
cultural rights.

Makumbe said the current Bill, which protects civil and political rights,
had been weakened by repressive laws such as the draconian Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Public Order and Security Act
among others.

"People will also most certainly want meaningful democracy to be implemented
through a meaningful observation of various human rights and freedoms,
equality for all and even access to power," Makumbe said.

There has also been a call for emancipation and empowerment of women, the
youths and the disabled.

Mhlanga said there were also growing calls for minimum qualifications for
public office holders such as mayors, MPs and ministers to be enshrined in
the constitution.

"I know that most people have been arguing that if it is true that Zimbabwe
enjoys a very marked literacy rate, then there is no reason why we cannot
have even slightly heightened educational qualifications for those who
aspire to public offices like parliamentarians, governors, mayors,
councillors and generally members of the executive," he said.

Others have called for the scrapping of the posts of provincial governors
and the death penalty.


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3D/4D Obstetric Ultrasound Technology now in Zimbabwe

Saturday, 16 January 2010 14:25

FOR many expecting mothers waiting for nine months to see one's baby is
tortuous but with the availability of the three and four dimensional
ultrasound scan (3D/4D) in Zimbabwe this waiting period could be a thing of
the past. By utilising the technology currently offered at one medical
centre in Harare, expecting parents can now see all the features of unborn
babies and even observe their movements in the womb.

A radiologist who is introducing the technology explained that 3D obstetric
ultrasound was a technique for producing three dimensional images of the

"These images can be captured rapidly and animated to produce a 4D
ultrasound scan.

The three dimensions of an image are the width, height and depth.

Movement is the fourth dimension.

The 3D is a still image and is displayed as a photograph.

"The 4D images can be stored on a compact disc or digital versatile disk
(DVD) or flash disk and replayed on a computer or similar device," he said.

Currently, the standard obstetric scan is performed using 2D real time grey
scale imaging, which shows blurred images of the unborn baby.

"In 2D scanning sound waves are sent straight down and reflected back to the

"In 3D scanning the sound waves are sent at different angles.

"The returning echoes are processed by a sophisticated computer programme
resulting in a reconstructed three dimensional volume image of the foetus'

"4D ultrasound involves the addition of movement by joining together frames
of 3D ultrasound in quick succession."

3D ultrasound was first developed by Olaf Von Ramm and Stephen Smith at Duke
University in the United States of America in 1987 but only became available
in Zimbabwe at the end of last year.

Another advantage of using this technology is that it can show to a certain
extent disabilities the baby may have.

"There is extensive ongoing research using this technology especially in
screening for foetal anomalies such as Down's syndrome, other facial
anomalies like cleft-lip and palate, and some skeletal dysplasias," the
radiologist said.

"4D ultrasound scan is best done between 20-32 weeks of pregnancy.

"Excellent close-up pictures can be obtained as late as 37 weeks."

A 3D/4D ultrasound scan is, however, not a substitute for a 2D Obstetric

The 2D Obstetric scan shows internal organs, and therefore is valuable
clinically, while a 3D/4D scan can add more surface information and
therefore complete the picture.


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Working Towards ‘degrees in violence’

Saturday, 16 January 2010 14:25

ORDINARY citizens now have a chance to achieve what President Robert Mugabe
once boasted of: degrees in violence. Just like Mugabe, Zimbabweans can get
these degrees free of charge.

But unlike the veteran ruler’s “degrees in violence” which the opposition
and rights activists say destroyed many lives and livelihoods, these degrees
will be for a positive cause as they seek to help people deal with sexual

A United States based organisation, End Violence Against Women (EVAW)
International has teamed up with a local non-governmental organisation, the
Women’s Comfort Corner in implementing a training programme on sexual

Among other things, the programme provides skills and resources for
investigating sex crimes.

EVAW International works with women’s rights organisations across the globe,
mostly those involved in areas of domestic and sexual violence.

The Women’s Comfort Corner was established in 1998 to provide primary
support to women affected by sexual violence, particularly those who ended
up acquiring HIV in the process.

“EVAW International has developed an On-Line Training Institute to bring
state-of-the art training to anyone who is interested, on the topic of
criminal justice response to sexual assault,” reads an introduction to the
programme on the EVAW website.

According to the EVAW website, the programme will help interested
professionals to expand their knowledge on sexual crimes and other forms of
domestic violence.

“Participants in the on-Line Training Institute can work through the various
training modules to learn and review new information and then apply this
newly acquired knowledge in realistic and interactive scenarios, as well as
assessment methods such as quizzes, tests, and case studies,” it adds.

The course will also enhance participants’ methods of investigation and
capacity to work in communities.

The founder and executive director of Women’s Comfort Corner, Rita Mbatha,
said many cases of domestic violence and sexual assault collapsed easily
because of the limited skills of the investigators.

“In most cases, you find that even the people who are tasked with
investigating sex crimes and issues of domestic violence do not have much
knowledge on how to handle such cases,” said Mbatha, who has completed the
12 modules.

The online modules, she said, also encompass the issues of domestic violence
and HIV/Aids.

“Gaining a rich picture of life via a holistic view of the world, together
with the back up of the latest and tried tested research techniques, enables
the trainees to tackle with confidence anything that life might throw at
them,” said Mbatha.

The modules include guidelines for preliminary investigators, techniques for
interviewing victims, legal issues and prosecution procedures, among others.

Over the last few years, women’s rights organisations have been pushing for
legal reforms to criminalise domestic violence.

Despite the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act in 2006, Mbatha said
ignorance still prevails, both among victims and perpetrators.

Those tasked with investigating the offences have also demonstrated
shortcomings and limited appreciation of the laws.


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Small-scale Miners Demand Stake in Marange Diamonds

Saturday, 16 January 2010 13:48

BULAWAYO - Small-scale miners now want to be allocated claims on the
controversial Marange diamond fields, in the name of empowerment. The
small-scale miners under the Zimbabwe Miners' Federation (ZMF) are also not
happy that government gave foreign companies the claims ahead of indigenous

The government has defied a High Court order to cease mining operations at
the claims owned by the UK-registered African Consolidated Resources (ACR).

Mbada Diamonds, a joint operation between government and Grandwell Holdings
of South Africa began mining in the area last year following a major
military intervention to flush out illegal panners and dealers.

ZMF says the government should consider allocating its members some of the
claims to them as they contribute significantly to the country's mining

"Small-scale miners contribute significantly to the country's mining
industry," ZMF president, Trinos Nkomo said in an interview.

"The government should also consider allocating diamond claims to
small-scale miners."

"We are surprised in some cases there have been mining partnerships with
foreigners that are just in the comfort zones and who do not have anything
to do with the mining business."

The Marange diamond fields are one of the most controversial in the world
following reports of wide spread human rights violations after government
deployed the army in 2008 to stop illegal mining activities.

The government seized the diamond fields from ACR in 2006.

The company has advised investors and other buyers against purchasing the
diamonds from Marange saying they are stolen property.

The company has also alerted Interpol, the global association of national
police forces devoted chiefly to fighting international crime and wants
diamond buyers in the United States and Europe to be prosecuted for
receiving stolen property if they buy the Marange stones.

Last week, Mbada tried to auction its first batch of 300 000 carats of
diamonds but was blocked by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

The ministry said the company, which has been associated with Zanu PF
bigwigs had not followed proper procedures when it organised the auction.

Acting Mines Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa could not be reached for comment
on calls for the allocation of diamond claims to the small-scale miners.

Meanwhile, Nkomo also bemoaned the lack of funding for small-scale miners,
saying the move was disempowering ZMF members.

"Finance Minister, Tendai Biti did not allocate too much funds to
economically empower small-scale miners.
"Such a development is dangerous for the mining sector considering the
contribution of the concerned miners to the mining sector."


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Tourism Sector Wants Share of US$510m IMF ‘windfall’

Saturday, 16 January 2010 13:45

THE tourism industry has called on the authorities to treat it as a
productive sector so that it can benefit from the US$510 million “windfall”
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as preparations for this year’s
World Cup in South Africa gain momentum. Last year, the IMF gave member
countries Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocations to bolster their reserves
ravaged by the global financial crisis. Zimbabwe has said the funds will be
deployed to the productive sector.

Walter Mzembi, Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister told stakeholders
last week the sector was hopeful it will be allocated the funds so that it
makes adequate preparations for the soccer showcase.

“We have held discussions as late as yesterday (Thursday) for this industry
to be treated as a productive sector to the extent that it can be funded
from the SDR allocation,” Mzembi said.

The industry is working on the budget to be presented to the Sports,
Tourism, Image and Communication taskforce on Wednesday.

Mzembi, who chairs the inter-ministerial committee on Sports, Tourism, Image
and Communication, said Treasury is committed to fund World Cup

The committee has 19 ministers.

The World Cup is seen as a make or break for Zimbabwe’s tourism industry.

The country’s ability to boost tourist arrivals will be put to the test as
well as its preparedness.

South Africa has said that it will not accommodate all the visitors for the
showcase triggering interest from its neighbours who hope to capitalize on
the event by hosting teams in their preparatory matches.

Mzembi said Zimbabwe’s success should be measured by its ability to connect
the soccer showcase to the people and plans were underway to put fan parks
in at least each of the country’s 10 provinces.

Mzembi said he will present the second report on Zimbabwe’s state of
preparedness for the World Cup when cabinet resumes sitting next month.

Efforts to lure teams to Zimbabwe are intensifying, Mzembi said, but would
not disclose the countries they are targeting insisting it will jeopardize

The June-July soccer extravaganza is the first event to be held on African
soil since the inception of the World Cup in 1930.

Africa can only get another bite at the cherry in 2034.

Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is on the recovery path since the inception of
an inclusive government last year.

The tourism sector is expected to bring the quickest turnaround ahead of
other sectors such as manufacturing, mining and agriculture.

The industry, once the backbone of the economy, declined by 22% in 2008 due
to the political violence associated with the run up to the June 27
presidential election run-off and the cholera outbreak.


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2009 ‘worst’ year for African sun

Saturday, 16 January 2010 13:38

AFRICAN Sun Limited (ASL) recorded its worst occupancies in a decade in the
financial year ended 30 September 2009, which have been attributed to the
liquidity crunch that hit major world economies. At 31%, occupancies were 10
percentage points lower than the previous year, an indication of the low
occupancy levels in Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe operations constitute 64% of the group’s rooms’ capacity.

Shingi Munyeza, the group’s chief officer on Thursday said city hotels were
almost back to the 1999 era where they contributed a chunk to the group’s

But he said yields were currently low due to the liquidity crunch and the
perception which makes the product trade at a discount compared to regional

“At the moment we are trading at between 20-35% with our counterparts in the
region,” Munyeza said.
In 2009, city hotels in Zimbabwe contributed US$13.5 million revenue to
total revenue of US$24.698 million.

The remainder was contributed by resorts.

At least 60% of rooms are in resort areas.

The ASL boss said the resorts were picking the pieces and fared well in the
first quarter to December 2009 when they contributed US$3.9 million of the
total US$8.9 million revenue realized during the period.

Figures show that the Victoria Falls area achieved an average of 22% for the
quarter compared to 21% for the full year in 2009.

Munyeza said the Victoria Falls hotel was on top with 46% in-system bookings
compared to 28% for the same period in the previous year.

“Occupancies into resort hotels are expected to increase as international
arrivals improve in 2010 with imminent FIFA 2010 World Cup and improved
image and visibility of the region (Southern Africa) as a whole,” he said.

But he bemoaned the high total costs which were at 82% of revenue against
the desired target of 54%.
The high costs were driven by cost of sales (34%) against the desired target
of 30%.

The payroll chewed 32%, nearly double the desired target of 19%.

Rent and raw materials were at 12% while other costs constituted 28% of

Munyeza said the operating costs were driven by depressed revenue, high
payroll and food and beverages costs.

Is ASL ready for competition?

Munyeza believes the US$7.5 million refurbishments of hotels in Harare,
Bulawayo and Victoria Falls will improve the tourism product making it
competitive in the face of competition from other international hospitality
groups that might be interested in setting up shops in Zimbabwe. The
refurbishments will be completed by May.

Is ASL ready for the World Cup?

The ASL boss said there have been so much talk and less action on the World
Cup in South Africa and without proper planning the event could turn out to
be just a sporting rather than a tourism event.

Zimbabwe has set up a 19-member inter-ministerial committee to look at the
spin offs that could be derived from the June-July soccer showcase.

Munyeza said they were expecting tourists to visit Harare, Bulawayo and
Victoria Falls during the tournament that will run for a month.

“There might be spillovers to Great Zimbabwe and if there be, we will be
most grateful,” he said.
He said accessibility is key if the country were to reap from an inflow of

Munyeza was ASL is on course to destination 2012 in which the group is
targeting to have 8 500 rooms under its wings.

Currently, the group has 3014 rooms under its ambit.

This year more than 600 rooms will added to the group’s portfolio in South
Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Botswana and Kenya.

ASL has operations in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana.

The group projects that by 2012 West Africa should contribute 35% of the
rooms, East Africa (7%), Southern Africa excluding Zimbabwe (33%), and
Zimbabwe (25%).


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Ambitious Power Plan

Saturday, 09 January 2010 15:25

ZIMBABWE will be embarking on power generation projects worth billions of
United States dollars to end crippling electricity outages by 2015, a
five-year economic blueprint to be unveiled in February reveals. The Medium
Term Development Plan (MTDP) will succeed the Short Term Emergency Recovery
Programme (Sterp) that was credited with stabilising the economy after
almost a decade of decline.

Under MTDP, government aims to unlock investment worth US$10 billion for
reconstruction and growth.

On power generation, the unity government plans to build new power stations
and revive old ones rendered idle by years of neglect.

Last week, Zimbabwe sealed a US$8 million deal with Botswana that will see
that neighbouring country refurbishing the idle Bulawayo thermal power
station to increase electricity generation.

Under the MTDP the government will enter into such deals to push its
earmarked power generation projects. In the next five years the country will
also be exporting electricity to countries in the region after completion of
planned power generating projects.

"In a move to increase power generation to meet national demand and for
export in the region, the following will be developed by 2015. . .

"Development of Greenfield projects: Batoka Gorge (1600MW), Gokwe North
(1400MW), Lupane Coal Methane (330MW) and Condo Hydro Power (100MW)

"Expansion of Hwange Thermal Station (600MW) and Kariba South Hydro Power
Station (300MW)

"Development of mini-hydro power plants to supplement supply to mini-grids
in rural communities with total projected capacity of 50MW," reads the MTDP
document in part.

The plan also adds that government will "promote use of renewable energy
including installation of mini-solar grids systems (450 units)" to increase
power generation.

Zimbabwe has over the years grappled with constant power outages resulting
in some companies downsizing operations, closing or relocating altogether to
neighbouring countries.

Electricity shortages are blamed on either broken down or ageing power
generation equipment and lack of foreign currency to refurbish power

Most of the power stations were shut down due to lack of foreign currency to
buy space, forcing the country to rely on imports from South Africa, Zambia,
DR Congo and Mozambique.


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Electronic Voting: the Pros and Cons

Saturday, 16 January 2010 14:45

UNFOLDING electoral experiences across the globe point to a paradigmatic
shift in voting processes with countries such as India, Brazil, Venezuela
and the US already into electronic voting. The case for going for the
electronic voting route derives intellectual, practical and moral support
from perceived growing disenchantment with the way Election Management
Bodies (EMBs) run elections coupled with widespread incidents in which
election results have sparked bloody conflicts.

Electronic voting includes use of optimal scanning machines to scan marked
ballot papers and tally election results.

It may also involve direct recording by electronic voting equipment such as
touch-screen machines where voters indicate their choices which are then
electronically recorded and the results tallied.

However going the electronic route is no ordinary stroll in the park.

There are requisites to be fulfilled before they can be expected to deliver

E-voting equipment should be easy to use. Voters should be able to confirm
their choice. Both software and hardware should include the best possible
safeguards against any form of manipulation or hacking.

Equipment used should allow for the possibility of cross-checking results.
It should establish a paper trail to allow for results verification by
tracing results to source, through an auditable paper record. E-voting
equipment should also be used to transfer and tabulate results data among
the different levels of the EMB.

Going by experiences in India, voting machines generally have two sub
units - Control and the Balloting Units which are linked with cables and
alkaline batteries.

Control Units are manned and display the number of votes and who voted. They
also inform when the voter has voted and results.

Results are readily accessed by pushing the results button. The Balloting
Unit has provision for conventional ballot paper and voting is by pressing
the button instead of marking.

Literature on electronic voting also point to two main categories of
e-voting, e-voting in controlled environments and e-voting in uncontrolled

E-voting in uncontrolled environments uses Internet voting and PDA or mobile
telephone voting.

Internet voting is reportedly being piloted in more than 30 established
democracies, one notable example being Estonia which in October 2005 had the
first country-wide elections with the possibility to vote through the

However, tests on internet voting have not yet given definite answers on how
to ensure the secrecy of the vote and eliminate the potential coercion
exerted on remote voters.

Internet voting will soon be available for countries which enjoy a deep
trust in their respective EMB and have a relatively conflict-free society,
where the secrecy issue has a more limited weight than in other younger
democracies, where the trust in the institutions and in the EMB might not be
a given.

In the e-voting in controlled environments, there is use of EVM or DRE
voting. More than half a billion voters in two of the most populous world
democracies, India and Brazil are already using this form of voting.

Although this form of e-voting does not present the same range of advantages
normally attributed to uncontrolled internet e-voting (such as better
turnout, voter mobility, facilitating disadvantaged categories, etc), it
does not endanger the fundamental requisite of the secrecy of the vote.

It also offers some important answers on the issue of transparency through a
development of various forms of auditing mechanisms. There is also
possibility to introduce Voter Verified Audit Trails (VVATs) that are
currently increasingly requested by EU partner countries.

However the extreme sophistication and high reliability of the voting system
does not make up for the lack of trust in the EMB among several

The huge investment in technology has not been matched by a similar effort
in capacity-building and voter information.

In fact, the higher the distrust in the EMB; the higher there are calls for
transparency and security measures. The Venezuelan voting machines have
Touch Screens to support multiple electoral races, printers attached to
produce VVAT plus two memories.

New voting technologies can enhance voter participation. They provide for
absentee voting and faster counting which is less prone to human error.

There is increased speed and accuracy in the release of the election
results. Offer longer-term cost reduction and prevent fraud.

E-voting can raise serious concerns over the transparency of the voting
process and accountability of election officials. It removes many of the
transparency protections that come with paper ballots.

For comments and suggestions write to: or

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Sundayopinion: Zanu PF Must Stop Mugabe to Survive

Saturday, 16 January 2010 14:42

ONE of the biggest highlights and most curiously followed developments after
the inclusive government in 2009 was the Zanu PF national congress. Zanu PF
is the oldest and, until the last decade, the most dominant political
institution in the land.

As feared but expected, Zanu PF national congress "unanimously" re-elected
President Robert Mugabe as party leader and presidential candidate for the
next election, whenever that will be.

This is despite the fact that Mugabe is now a qualified great grandfather
turning eighty-five next month. The outcome removes any doubt that Mugabe is
the "elected" King of Zanu PF.

Of course, Mugabe and Zanu PF have already reduced Zimbabwe to fiefdom,
imposing the dictatorship of the nationalist political narrative upon the
citizens of this promising nation and making a sham of any meaning of a
parliamentary democracy and free and fair elections.

Creating a police state where the ruling aristocrats decide who gets this
farm and who doesn't, who is a patriot and who is a sell-out, who is a hero
and who is a villain.

Despite all this, there had been some hope that at some point Zanu PF will
at least be forced to reinvent itself and get rid of Mugabe's reign and
legacy of violence, a reconstructed and fabricated national memory and more
sophisticated forms of democratic pretence.

Electoral manipulation is an art that Zanu PF has built and sustained,
virtually its DNA of power on. In fact, those who have chosen to give the
electorate an alternative to Mugabe or Zanu PF have been insulted and
vilified together with their supporters and called "sell-outs", "dissidents",
"puppets", "detractors", "enemies of the state" among a plethora of insults.

This language has been systematically used since the time of the liberation
war to reduce political competitors to some form of sub-humans who do not
deserve any human dignity, even the right to life, thereby legitimizing
their persecution, even  death.

This is the legacy both Zanu PF and Mugabe share, the one that makes them
tremble when progressives talk about human rights and democracy.

Behind Mugabe and Zanu PF's aggressive, dismissive rhetoric lie suspicious
minds that conjure up their own demons - "the dissidents" "imperialists" and
a host of other enemies. Of course, all this is a mirage, just like the
sanctions veil simply constructed to cause alarm and despondency, to
perpetuate the war agenda and thus sustain Zanu PF's relevance.

It may sound insulting to say violence is the only political game Zanu PF
takes into 2010, but in fact in 1976 while prosecuting the liberation war,
Mugabe is recorded as having remarked: "Our votes must go with our guns.
After all, any vote we shall have shall have been the product of the gun.
The gun, which produces the vote, should remain its security officer - its
guarantor. The people's votes and the people's guns are always inseparable

To illustrate this in the building of a brutal terrorist state, in 1933 fire
broke out in the Reichstag (German Parliament) and Adolf Hitler declared
that it was a terrorist attack by the communists.

This gave him enough grounds to arrest political opponents, kill them and
deny them the right to free speech, assembly and due process of the law. In
1983, exactly fifty years later, arms caches were "discovered" in
Matabeleland but not before 5 Brigade had been trained to deal with
perceived Zapu supporters in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces.

This provided the opportunity to impose a State of Emergency, the power to
use 5 Brigade to arrest, abduct, cause to disappear and massacre, cause
terror in defence of the "state against dissidents" and "forces of
destabilization." If Hitler's eight million Jewish victims were considered a
global tragedy, then 20 000 victims fifty years later should be considered a
national tragedy, something worth a moment of silence and a moment of truth.

It is the 2009 Zanu PF congress's outcome that confirmed the party as an
institution that continues to perfect the art of manufactured consent and is
not about to change. Zimbabweans may not want to remember the previous
congress where the so-called "million man march" silenced calls for
leadership change within Zanu PF and gave Mugabe yet another "re-election"
as party president.


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Comment: Condemn Attempts to Disrupt Outreach

Saturday, 16 January 2010 14:40

ZANU PF is wasting no time in ensuring that the outcome of the
constitution-making process is pre-determined. It has been able to ensure
this by inclusion of youths, "war vets" and even the security arms in groups
participating in the outreach process and whose specific brief, it appears,
is to drown any other voices that appear to suggest a departure from the
Kariba Draft document.

In other words the party is determined that what is returned as a result of
the outreach exercise is the Kariba document.

There were concerns last week that there appears to be a concerted campaign
to weed out people on the mere suspicion that they could raise awkward
questions that could derail the Kariba Draft document.

It is essentially, therefore for civil society organisations as well as the
two MDC formations to ensure the outreach exercise does not end up
representing the wishes of one political organisation. The outcome of the
constitutional outreach programme must reflect the wishes of the majority of
Zimbabweans and not the majority of the hired or pre-programmed vocal Zanu
PF adherents.

In order to ensure that Zanu PF does not have its way, the other parties
must remain vigilant.

If they blink, they will forever rue the moment they lowered their guard.

The strategies that helped in raising the level of consciousness among
ordinary Zimbabweans before the 2000 Referendum might require revisiting in
order to counter concerns that Zanu PF is busy deploying its war veterans,
youths and security personnel in the districts in order to manage the
outreach process so that the consultations return a pre-determined outcome.

Zanu PF supporters and war veterans tried to disrupt a constitutional
thematic meeting and threatened to beat up civic society members attending
the indaba in Harare.

They started chanting Zanu PF slogans while raising clenched fists in a
scene reminiscent of the fiasco that greeted the first meeting of the
constitution-making process last year at the Harare International Conference

Civic society members and MDC supporters on Tuesday confronted rowdy Zanu PF
supporters for attempting to disrupt a constitutional thematic meeting by
reminding them that the process was not just for those with a claim to
having participated in the liberation struggle.

War veterans soil their stature when they argue that they fought for the
freedom of this country and therefore deserve the right to dictate what they
want at the thematic meeting. This pattern must be anticipated throughout
the course of the consultative process.

But it is important to remind those who believe they were solely responsible
for winning the war of independence that without the vital support the
freedom fighters received from ordinary people, the struggle would have been
bloodier, protracted and difficult. The war was fought on different fronts
and by a range of disparate players.

The contribution of the ordinary people was just as critical as that of
those who were on the frontlines.

More significantly the struggle for the liberation of Zimbabwe was not
fought by Zanu PF and its supporters only.

There were other movements and individuals. Zanu PF and its supporters
should not be allowed to distort history.

It is important for the three principals to the Global Political Agreement
to come out and explain to their supporters in particular and the nation in
general that they will not countenance disruption of the process when team
members go out to gather people's views.

The leaders should come out unambiguously in their condemnation of political
party sloganeering. They must also make it clear that wearing of political
party regalia during the whole constitution-making process will not be


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Rural schools record zero percent pass rate

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday Mail Reporter

EDUCATIONISTS have described the just-released 2009 national Grade Seven
examination results as "a small step out of the mud" while the 2007 and 2008
academic results were said to have been the worst of the decade.

In 1999, as the educational system in the country started showing distress
signs that led to the present downward spiral, the national Grade Seven
examination pass rate stood at 53 percent before tumbling to 10 percent in
2007, according to Unicef.
The worst affected were rural schools where the majority have recorded zero
percent pass rate in the recently released Zimbabwe School Examinations
Council (Zimsec) Grade Seven examination results.
A senior education official from the Matabeleland South region, who declined
to be named, said they had not yet compiled the statistics, but initial
indications led to between zero to nine percent pass rate in the Grade Seven
Several "best" pupils in three rural schools in Mashonaland West had 24
units, a far cry from the expected four units.
"Although authorities have not yet released this year's Grade Seven pass
rate, I bet you it is a little better than the 2007 and 2008 pass rates
which were below 10 percent.
"The two years' pass rates were never made public but we believe them to be
the peak of the failure of the education system.
"Academic pass rates for all levels tumbled to below 11 percent," said
Progressive Teachers' Union secretary-general Mr Raymond Majongwe.
Financial problems and the chaos at Zimsec have been cited as the reasons
for the poor performance.
"We no longer have faith in Zimsec. There were unconfirmed reports of lost
Grade Seven scripts. As we speak now some children did not receive their
results," said a senior education official in the Harare region.
The educationists have attributed the high failure rate to the collapse of
the system in the past two years.
While Zimsec said they were yet to compile last year's Grade Seven
examinations pass rate, educationists believe the results were a disaster.
"Initial reaction to the just-released results by those of us in the
education field is that they are atrocious.
"It is not pleasing at all," said the chief executive officer of Zimbabwe
Teachers' Associ-ation (Zimta) Mr Sifiso Ndhlovu.
The majority of rural primary and secondary schools have been recording
between zero to eight percent pass rates in national examinations.
In 2005, President Robert Mugabe bemoaned the poor school pass rate.
"This (high failure rate) is not only a problem here in Shurugwi.
"Everywhere pupils are failing. It is Us, Us, and Us everywhere.
"And 'U' stands for underground. They are going six feet down if we allow
them to fail like this.
"In Silobela they had three percent pass rate. Shurugwi has a pass rate of
eight percent. In other areas it's six percent, 19 percent, and 27 percent
has been the highest so far.
"Our education standards have fallen partly because of lack of resources,
but we must lift them up," said President Mugabe back then.
Zimta president Mrs Tendai Chikowore attributed the poor performance to the
problems bedevilling the education sector.
"Education has been Zimbabwe's strongest pillar since independence, but that
pillar has slowly been eroded.
"The world over, governments that take education seriously have made sure
the sector gets at least 25 percent of budgetary allocation.
"Zimbabwe used to do that in the 1980s and in this year's budget, education
received 22 percent of the total allocation."
Mrs Chikowore said serious and definite measures had to be taken to restore
the education sector's glory

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