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MDC leadership to meet over delays in GPA talks

By Tichaona Sibanda
19 January 2010

The top leadership of the MDC is to convene an urgent meeting to review the
party's position in the Global Political Agreement talks, that have failed
to take off twice in the last four days.

The standing committee, known as 'the top 12', will meet in the next few
days to look at the state of the negotiations since talks broke off in
December last year.

On Tuesday a source in the MDC said party negotiators Tendai Biti and Elton
Mangoma were fuming about the latest delaying tactics by ZANU PF and
weighing how to respond.

The two MDC-T negotiators met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at his
offices to brief him on the stalled talks. ZANU PF negotiators Patrick
Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche had failed to attend Monday's rescheduled start
of the GPA talks, which had also been cancelled on Saturday due to a ZANU PF
no show.

The MDC information department were set to release a statement early on
Tuesday over the delaying tactics, but were asked to wait until after their
negotiators' meeting with Tsvangirai. The meeting was also expected to
discuss the implications of South African President Jacob Zuma' statement
early this week, that Tsvangirai should be 'flexible' in some of the demands

'I think a statement will be issued eventually because the party is sick and
tired of these delaying tactics by ZANU PF,' our source said. MDC national
spokesman Nelson Chamisa told SW Radio Africa that both Chinamasa and Goche
were in Harare on Monday and he was surprised they were playing hardball
with the negotiations.

'Kungoda kunetsa chete, vainge varimuHarare nezuro (they are being
intransigent they were in Harare yesterday),' Chamisa said.
Political analyst Munjodzi Mutandiri said it was disrespectful to the masses
of Zimbabweans, who had made their choice known during the March 2008
elections, to be continously subjected to these delaying tactics by ZANU PF.

'I also think the MDC is lacking in terms of strategy and clarity and how to
move forward in view of these outstanding issues. We've seen in the past
they've given ultimatums which were never carried out. This has given ZANU
PF the belief the MDC doesn't have the capacity to carry out its threats and
ultimatums,' Mutandiri said.
He added; 'So ultimately this is a pattern we will continue to see until we
have elections. Basically ZANU PF is setting the pace and allowing the MDC
to respond.'
On Friday last week, Tsvangirai's party said it will stick to its demands
over the outstanding issues in the GPA. The MDC wants Mugabe to fire central
bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, saying their
appointments were unconstitutional. They are also demanding the power to
appoint provincial regional governors and want Mugabe to swear in Roy
Bennett, currently on trial for terrorism-related charges, as deputy
agriculture minister.
ZANU PF accuse the MDC of reneging on its commitment to persuade
the US and the European Union to lift travel bans and asset freezes against
its leaders, imposed in 2002, following the human rights abuses and
repression targeting the opposition.
Last week SADC leaders meeting in Maputo, Mozambique said they were 'unhappy'
with the slow pace of negotiations aimed at ending the political crisis in
the country.
The 15-nation SADC bloc brokered an accord in February 2009 that resulted in
Mugabe and Tsvangirai forming an unsteady power sharing government. Since
then, Tsvangirai's MDC has accused Mugabe of violating terms of the
The MDC leader temporarily withdrew his party from the coalition in October
last year. But he reversed his decision in November following talks mediated
by SADC. Since then there has been no change to the situation.


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Police officer who threatened journalist with death, named

By Violet Gonda
19 January 2010
The senior police officer who allegedly threatened journalist Stanley Kwenda
with death has been revealed as the notorious Assistant Commissioner
Chrispen Makedenge, whose name has been connected with abductions and
torture of perceived opponents of the ZANU PF regime.
The journalist reportedly fled to South Africa after receiving a phone call
last Friday from the Assistant Commissioner telling him he'd be 'dead by the
end of the week, because of a story he wrote for The Zimbabwean newspaper.
Wilf Mbanga, the editor of the paper, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that
Kwenda had written a story last week quoting the relatives of Makedenge's
late wife, who committed suicide last year.
The relatives reportedly told The Zimbabwean newspaper that Makedenge was a
'very violent' man and had allegedly threatened his wife.
Mbanga said: 'Apparently she killed herself because she had been threatened
by him and she allegedly left a suicide note, which has not been found.
Some people say the letter was collected by the police but has since been
destroyed and it is believed that letter tells the whole story of Makedenge's
thuggish behaviour."
"The relatives of his late wife approached us, approached Stanley to give
him the story and because they wanted the matter investigated," added
The officer commanding the Law and Order section of the Harare Central
Police Station has over the years been associated with the arrest of MDC
members and human rights activists, including Secretary General Tendai Biti
and civic leader Jestina Mukoko.
In 2008, about 32 political and civil activists were abducted from their
homes and tortured while in the hands of the police and state agents.
Makedenge was named as one of the architects of these political abductions.
Although the Assistant Police Commissioner has been named in court in
connection with the rights abuses, nothing has been done by the authorities
in Zimbabwe.
However, Mbanga pointed out that a few years ago the dreaded police officer
was recalled from a United Nations peacekeeping mission to Sudan because of
his appalling human rights record.
Wilf Mbanga said: "Makedenge is known to carry out his threats so Stanley
was left with no option but to seek refuge in South Africa."
"We are calling on the Commissioner of Police to make sure that policemen do
not use their positions to settle scores. This is clearly an abuse of office
by this officer."
"He (the journalist) has not threatened State security. He wrote about
Makedenge's violence against his family. And if Makedenge has anything
against Stanley he should go to court in his private capacity and not
threaten to kill him," said Mbanga.
We were not able to get a comment from Assistant Commissioner Makedenge.


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NUST student activists brutally beaten by police

By Lance Guma
19 January 2010

Two student activists at the National University of Science and Technology
(NUST) were last week arrested and brutally beaten up by police in Bulawayo.
Brian Mtisi and Joram Chikwadze were arrested after they led a group of
students to court to follow proceedings at the trial of an accountant
accused of defrauding the university of US$19 000 in mostly student fees.
On Tuesday Mtisi told Newsreel that he arrived at the court last week only
for an overzealous Sergeant Ngwenya from the police Law and Order section to
accuse them of trying to incite violence. Mtisi accused the university's
Chief Security Officer of having connived with the police to get them
arrested. The accountant who is being tried is alleged to be a close
relative of the Vice Chancellor and the students have been taken an interest
in the case to see how it pans out.
After they were arrested Mtisi and Chikwadze were then taken to a dark room
at Bulawayo Central police station and assaulted for over 3 hours. Mtisi
told us they were thrown into a filthy police cell without food or water for
two days. 'We walked barefooted in what looked like sewage,' he said. They
spent a total of 3 days in custody and were only released Friday. Mtisi
sustained head injuries while Chikwadze sustained a fractured arm during the
assaults. The two were forced to pay a US$10 fine each.
With this ordeal over both students had to confront another problem. This
time it was the university refusing to allow them back on campus even as
exams are in progress.
Meanwhile Newsreel has been told that the National University of Science and
Technology has had no student's representative council in place since April
last year, when most student leaders were suspended and eventually expelled
around August. 'This has seen the university imposing its will on the
students willy-nilly without an SRC to challenge them,' a source told us.

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A Quarter of Zimbabweans Still Support Mugabe - US Poll

Harare, January 19, 2010 - Only a quarter of Zimbabweans still support
President Robert Mugabe, a top US poll has revealed.

The poll was done in Washington DC by a company known as Gallop
International Limited which is among the top firms in the world as far as
political surveys are concerned.
Last year the Gallop poll predicted that current US President Barack Obama
would sweep the Presidential race in the US. Obama won that election.
"The Gallop poll says three out of four Zimbabweans do not support President
Mugabe," a senior US official said.
"This means that only a quarter of Zimbabweans still support the President
which should be worrying for him since he expects to run for another term if
elections are held next year."
The poll, however, did not say how much support current Prime Minister and
President of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T), Morgan Tsvangirai,
It only surveyed Zimbabweans about their feelings about Mugabe who has been
at the helm of local politics since Independence in 1980.
Mugabe heads Zanu PF which is currently going through turbulent times
especially in the rural areas where it used to garner most of its support.
The Gallop poll also showed that less than one percent of Zimbabweans living
in the cities still support Mugabe.
The MDC-T has in the past won most of the city municipalities much to the
dismay of Zanu PF.
However, Local Government Minister, Ignatious Chombo, has continuously
frustrated MDC-T councilors by either firing them or suspending them.
The poll said that if President Mugabe stood against Tsvangirai he would
lose dismally as he is "not loved by Zimbabweans any longer".

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MDC Provincial Chair Arrested

Masvingo, January 19, 2010 - Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) provincial
chairman for Masvingo Wilstaff Sitimere was arrested on Tuesday morning for
yet unknown charges, although family members speculated that it could be as
a result of the rally he addressed over the weekend where he told supporters
that President Robert Mugabe must not be allowed to cheat the people again.

Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tinaye Mateke confirmed
the arrest. "He was arrested by the police today and he is assisting us with
investigations. I can not give details as to why he was arrested for now but
all you need to know is that Sitimere was arrested."

His son, Raphael Sitemere, said five police officers arrested his father at
the family's house in Masvingo's low density suburb of Rhodene. He said
there was nothing his father had done besides having a rally in Masvingo
North where he lost to Zanu PF's Stan Mudenge in March 2008 by a slim

"We suspect that he was arrested because of the message he was telling
people at a rally last week. He was saying Mugabe must not be allowed to
cheat people again. He urged villagers to stand firm and refuse to be abused
by Zanu PF in any manner," said the son. "Soon after the rally last weekend,
my father continuously received messages that he was going too far in
insulting the president and his office. Besides that I do not know why he
was arrested."

"We are still in state of shock, we are not sure of what happened, we are
only aware that he was arrested but we do not have a clue as to why Sitimere
was arrested. We are going to meet soon and come up with a way forward,"
said party provincial spokesperson and Masvingo Urban legislator Tongai

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Zimbabwe's Tsvangirai resists pressure for elections in 2011

Jan 19, 2010, 17:56 GMT

Harare/Johannesburg - Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday
resisted pressure for elections next year, in opposition to calls made by
South African President Jacob Zuma over the weekend.

Zuma is charged with the task of facilitating the resolution of issues
threatening the implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that
created the Zimbabwe's power sharing government last year, and he is pushing
for elections next year.

'President Zuma cannot push for elections in Zimbabwe,' Tsvangirai told the
German Press Agency dpa. 'The elections in Zimbabwe will be defined by the
GPA. The GPA says after the referendum the president and prime minister will
set the date for the election.'

Tsvangirai said that once ongoing talks produce a draft constitution, a
referendum would be held to endorse it, and only then would a date be set
for elections.

'So I think that people should not preempt a process which is already there
and which is understood by all parties to be the law,' he added.

Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe formed a coalition government nearly
a year ago to end a political crisis following an inconclusive election in
June 2008.

The government has stabilized Zimbabwe's economy and ended the
hyperinflation that reigned at the height of the country's economic

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

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

The MDC wants Mugabe, among other things, to fire central bank
governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana, saying their
appointments were unconstitutional.

Mugabe's party on the other hand has accused the MDC of reneging on its
commitment to persuade the US and the European Union
to lift travel bans and asset freezes against its leaders imposed in 2002
following a spate of human rights abuses and repression targeting the

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called for the
standoff to end. In a meeting of the regional economic grouping's leaders in
Mozambique last Thursday, SADC praised Zuma's efforts to revive the flagging
unity government.


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Mudzuri backs down on power exports

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 19 January 2010

HARARE - Zimbabwe Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri has backed down on his
decision to stop struggling Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)
from exporting power to Namibia.

Last week Mudzuri told ZimOnline that he had ordered the country's power
utility ZESA to stop exporting power to Namibia since Hwange power station
was not working properly.

But Mudzuri on Tuesday said ZESA will still honour the US$40 million power
export deal it signed with Namibia's power utility - NamPower - in 2007.

"The government of Zimbabwe and ZESA remain committed to the terms of both
the loan agreement and the power purchase agreement as well as the Southern
Africa Power Pool trading protocols," Mudzuri said in a statement. "Any
changes and improvement to the agreement are to be done within the context
of the agreement itself."

In 2007, ZESA entered a deal with NamPower in which it provided a US$40
million loan to refurbish Hwange power station. In return ZESA would supply
electricity to Namibia.

But frequent breakdowns at Hwange have meant ZESA has had to import power
from other regional suppliers for export to Namibia to comply with the 2007
deal, and Mudzuri last week ordered ZESA to stop power exports until Hwange
is back in operation - a decision the minister has now reversed.

Zimbabwe 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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Locked up coup suspects renew bail fight

By Alex Bell
18 January 2010

Two men accused of plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe's government in 2007
have renewed their efforts to be released on bail, almost three years since
their arrest and imprisonment.

Patson Mupfure and Nyasha Zivuku were arrested along with five other men in
mid 2007, for allegedly planning to topple Mugabe in a coup. Their
co-accused are Shingirai Mutemachani, Oncemore Mudzurahowa, Emmanuel Marara,
and Albert Matapo, a former senior army officer. The group was charged with
treason and face the death penalty if found guilty, but the group is yet to
stand trial. They have instead remained behind bars at Chikirubi Maximum
Security prison ever since their arrest, waiting for a final date to be set
for their High Court appearance.

Mupfure and Zivuku filed an application for bail last Thursday, a case that
has since been postponed to allow the State time to respond. But it is
unlikely the State prosecutors will move swiftly on this case, as even a
much earlier application made in the Supreme Court, challenging the legality
of the group's prosecution, has been deferred indefinitely.

The accused pair both deny the charges leveled against them stating that
none of the state witnesses listed by the prosecution in the case against
the alleged coup plotters, even know them. Mupfure, who was employed as a
Principal Instructor in the then Ministry of Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare justified his bail application by stating that he has a
family and elderly parents to look after. Zikuvu also stated that he is a
bread winner to his wife, two children and his elderly parents. He also
indicated that he needs medical attention as a result of the injuries he
sustained during torture sessions by the police and state security agents in

The coup plot was allegedly set to involve almost 400 soldiers and
high-ranking members of the military, and it allegedly would have occurred
on June 2 or June 15, 2007. According to the then ZANU PF government the
soldiers planned on forcibly removing Mugabe from office and asking then
Rural Housing Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to form a government with the
heads of the armed forces.


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WOZA member spends second night in police custody

Gerry Jackson
19th January 2010

Thabita Taona, who was arrested Monday during a peaceful WOZA demonstration,
will spend another night in Harare Central Police Station as an
investigating officer as not been assigned to the case. Until this happens
charges cannot be formally brought against her.

Police have been engaged in their normal delaying tactics but she has seen
her lawyer and has received the food brought to her. WOZA report that
Thabita has also been 'extensively interrogated' about who else was in the
demonstration with her.

A WOZA statement says: 'The man caught 'in the cross-fire', Comfort Nyakura,
was released last night (Monday) after his employer confirmed that he had
been at work at the time of the demonstration and was merely on his lunch

Freelance journalist Shadreck Manyere was the third person arrested Monday,
but he was not held for long.

Members of Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise were protesting the exorbitant
school fees and the destruction of the education sector and had tried to
present a report on the failing education system to Minister David Coltart.
Their report contains recommendations and a list of demands from parents,
but riot police disrupted the demonstration.


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Standoff continues between Rusape farming family & land invaders

By Alex Bell
19 January 2010

Tensions in Rusape were still high on Tuesday as a standoff between a gang
of land invaders and a local farming family continued.

Koos Smit and his family have remained locked inside their home on their De
Rust tobacco farm, with the mob of youths intent on evicting them off the
property still camped on the land. The mob, working for a ZANU PF official
known only as Mr Mukomo, were bussed onto the property last Tuesday to
forcibly evict the family, beating up the family's workers as well as the
twin Smit sons. Since then, the family has sought refuge inside their home
amid a worsening crisis, with the invaders trying everything to force them
out. All water and electricity supplies to the property have been cut off,
and the Smits have also been denied access to their animals, which are

Deon Theron, the President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) explained
on Tuesday that the situation was still tense, although relatively calm.

"If this was a hospital situation you'd say it was still critical, but at
least stable," Theron explained.

He continued that the land invaders have been less intimidating over the
past 24 hours, appearing to have 'backed off' their efforts to flush the
family out of their home. Theron explained that the situation is still
desperate, with no water or food going into the house. But he added that he
understands why the family refuses to leave.

"It is crucial for them to hang on to their property, because if they flee,
they'll lose absolutely everything," Theron explained. "Their house will be
ransacked, emptied out by these land invaders."

The ongoing farm attacks and forced eviction of productive commercial
farmers could not come at a worse time, as warnings are mounting about
imminent food shortages. Commercial farmers have previously expressed
concern that not enough food is being produced to feed the country, that
ironically used to be referred to as the 'bread basket' of Africa. This has
been as a result of the onslaught against the farming community, which has
seen close to 200 productive farms seized and all food production halted in
the past 12 months alone. In the past ten years the food growing capacity of
nearly 5,000 farms has been destroyed and a million farm workers have lost
their homes and their livelihoods.

The United Nations Famine Early Warning System Network (FEWSNET) has also
warned that Zimbabweans face severe hunger in the coming months because of
poor rainfall. FEWSNET reported in an update on Southern Africa's food
security that it was expecting crop failures in areas such as Masvingo,
Gwanda, Bulawayo and parts of Manicaland. It said this was as a result of
below average rainfall and high temperatures experienced so far this year.
Other parts of the country are also barren, with combined land invasions and
dry conditions resulting in more crop failures.

FEWSNET said in its report that close to 2.2 million Zimbabweans would be
food insecure between January and March this year, which is up from last
year's estimates of 1.7 million people needing food aid.  FEWSNET said the
UN World Food Programme planned to increase its food assistance activities
from January to cover the food insecure population. WFP has however warned
of a major shortfall of cereals between December 2009 and March 2010, which
will likely see less people receiving food than planned.

The CFU's Theron explained that land 'reform' has been the biggest player in
Zimbabwe's ever decreasing levels of food production, saying that rainfall
generally has only played a small part in the food crisis. Theron said that
ever since the land grab campaign was initiated, food production has dropped
'year after year', "and there's only been one severe drought."

"If our members are not able or not allowed to produce crops then rainfall
is irrelevant," Theron said.


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Invaded banana farm directors face arrest

January 19, 2010

By Our Correspondent

MUTARE - Police here are said to be moving in to arrest the directors of
Matanuska (Pvt) Ltd a private company owned by foreign investors, which was
invaded by a retired top army commander over the festive season. Police
sources in Mutare said on Monday that two directors of Matanuska were
expected to be arrested any time soon on charges of operating on Fangundu
Farm without an offer letter.

Fangundu Farm, which is owned by Matanuska, was invaded by a retired major
general, Edzai Chimonyo over the festive season.

Chimonyo, who is Zimbabwe's ambassador to Tanzania was immediately ordered
by the High Court to vacate the property. He has defied the order.

Last week Chimonyo approached the High Court in Harare seeking to have the
ruling against him by the same court.

The police in Mutare say two directors of the beleaguered farming company,
Johannes Makurumidze and Richard Chiwandire face imminent arrest for
allegedly violating sections of the Land Acquisition Act in that their
company continued to occupy Fangundu Farm without an offer letter.

Last week the two were went to Mutare Central police station in the company
of their lawyer, Trust Maanda, but were told the police were still compiling
the docket against them.

"They will soon be arrested and charged under Section Three of the Land
Acquisition Act," said a senior police officer in Mutare.

Fangundu Farm, a banana plantation in Burma Valley, south east of Mutare, is
owned by Matanuska (PVT) Ltd, a company whose shareholders are Malaysian and
Dutch property investors, Property Route Toute BV.

Property Route Toute BV, registered in The Netherlands, is recognized and
approved as an investor through the Zimbabwe Investment Centre.

The official said individuals believed to be elements of the Zimbabwe
National Army were still camped at Fangundu Farm despite a court ruling
ordering them to vacate the property but they had since stopped harvesting
bananas from the occupied plantation.

The former army chief arrived on the property on 18 December last year on
the grounds he had been given an offer letter in 2006 by Didymus Mutasa,
then lands minister. Government sources say he was in the presence of senior
lands officials from Mutare.

The invasion of Fangundu Farm could have far reaching implications on
Zimbabwe's quest to attract direct foreign investment in a country desperate
for a quick recovery from a devastating economic meltdown.

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Court to rule on Bennett witness’s impeachment

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Tuesday 19 January 2010

HARARE – High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu will on Thursday make a ruling on
whether gun dealer Peter Michael Hitschmann – a key state witness in a
treason trial of Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s top aide Roy
Bennett – will be impeached for becoming a “hostile” witness.

If Bhunu allows the state to impeach Hitschmann, this would pave way for the
prosecution to cross-examine the arms dealer on the key statement
incriminating Bennett that the gun dealer had sought to render irrelevant by
disowning it in court.

“The state has made a case of impeachment so that the truth and justice can
be found,” said Attorney General Johannes Tomana as he finished his
application to have Hitschmann, who has turned into a problematic witness
for the state, impeached.

Hitschmann maintained that he was not being hostile, arguing that the state
was not being sincere in its case because he had notified it through an
affidavit last November that he did not want to testify against Bennett, a
senior official of Tsvangirai’s MDC party.

“In fact what Mr Tomana, has done is to deceive this honourable court and
has wasted valuable time and resources and caused additional and unnecessary
stress to me,” said Hitschmann, a former police officer dismissing the state
application to impeach him as “obscure, to say the very lease, for it makes
no sense to me”.

“He knew from the onset that I had nothing to contribute as far as the state
case against the accused (Bennett) is concerned.”

Prosecutors allege Hitschmann was paid by Bennett to buy weapons to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe. They say Hitschmann implicated Bennett
in 2006 when he was arrested after being found in possession of firearms.

“I would have been delighted if the fire arms had been in possession of the
accused, but regrettably, they were in my possession, and he (Bennett) had
nothing to do with them being in my possession,” said Hitschmann.

Bennett faces a possible death sentence if found guilty in a case that has
heightened tensions in Zimbabwe’s fragile coalition government.

The MDC says the case against him is politically motivated and aimed at
keeping him out of the unity government it formed with Mugabe's ZANU PF
party last February. – ZimOnline

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‘Zim running out of debt servicing options’

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 19 January 2010

HARARE – Zimbabwe has run out of options on how to service a staggering US$6
billion debt it owes international lending institutions that is now
hampering the coalition government’s efforts to resuscitate the country’s
economy ravaged by a decade-long recession, a senior government official
said on Monday.

"This is a very huge debt and is really impacting on the operations of
government. We have to resolve the debt crisis as a matter of urgency,”
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said.

Harare’s foreign debt – a whopping US$6 billion plus interest of which
US$1.3 billion is owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank
(WB) and the ADB – is unsustainably high for a cash-strapped government that
is living from hand to mouth and is in need of more external funding to
finance reconstruction of the country’s collapsed economy.

Addressing journalists following his meeting with ADB vice president
Aloysius Uche Ordu -- who advised Zimbabwe to apply to be declared a Highly
Indebted Poor Country -- Biti said government was hard pressed to find a
workable solution to the debt problem.

“We are hard pressed to find an option and what ADB is offering is the only
solution. With the current debt position we have right now, we are
forecasted to grow by 4-6 percent in the current state but without this huge
debt we can achieve growth levels of 15 percent. We are poor that’s why we
are currently earning US$100.”

Addressing the same press conference ADB’s Ordu said Zimbabwe needed to
declare itself as a poor state among other conditions set by the IMF and WB
to ensure that no poor country faces a debt burden it cannot manage.

“The key thing is commitment to embark on the path, by end of 2010 or the
1st quarter of 2011 Zimbabwe should be in a position to clear its debt to
the IMF, ADB and the World Bank. Zimbabwe’s declaration is a very important
part of the process,” Ordu said.

He said Zimbabwe’s debt was too large and having a negative effect on the
country’s economic growth.

"Zimbabwe debt is too huge and having debt constraints on the fiscus,” said

He said the ADB had agreed with the Zimbabwe government on the need to
re-engage the international community over the country’s funding

“We have agreed on the path on how to deal with the debt issue the fastest
way possible and this can only be done through repayment of urgent debt
arrears and this will open the way to the Paris Club. Zimbabwe’s entering
into the IMF fund will be very very important,” Ordu said.

Zimbabwe, once one of Africa’s most vibrant economies, is said to owe US$138
million to the IMF, $676 million to the World Bank and $438 million the ADB,
among other lenders.

However, the power-sharing government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says it needs more loans – US$10 billion in total
to revive the economy and generate revenue before it is able to repay what
it owes. – ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe Seeks HIPC Status For Debt Cancellation

Harare, January 19, 2010 - Zimbabwe will seek highly indebted poor country
status to have its $6 billion international debt cancelled to help spur
economic growth, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Monday.

Zimbabwe's unity government, formed last year by bitter foes President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to end an economic
crisis, has failed to attract much-needed foreign aid, partly due to huge

Zimbabwe has enlisted the support of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to
draft a debt relief plan that would unlock access to international finance,
seen as crucial to revive the economy after a decade of decline.

"There is a huge opportunity cost Zimbabwe is suffering as a result of the
stifling debt. Without the debt overhang we would be growing by 15 percent
annually," Biti told reporters in Harare after meeting a visiting team of
senior AfDB officials.

Biti said while there were divergent views on the debt clearance strategy,
seeking HIPC status -- which would require sweeping reforms and setting firm
performance targets -- was the best option.

"There is no consensus position yet in Cabinet, but I've said give me an
alternative that allows us to get this debt serviced without prejudicing our
meagre resources," Biti said, adding that the government would make a "bold"
decision on the matter within the first quarter of 2010.


Visiting AfDB vice president for operations, Aloysius Ordu said although
Zimbabwe's power-sharing government had made progress, there would be no
full co-operation until Zimbabwe resolved the debt issue.

Ordu said the HIPC scheme was Zimbabwe's best chance of clearing its debt
and re-engaging with multilateral finance institutions.

"For Zimbabwe, HIPC will be very important. Unless you clear existing debt,
you cannot access new money. Many African countries have gone through this
route and other options (of debt servicing) are very expensive," he said.

"The Zimbabwe government has asked AfDB to assist with this process of
re-engaging multilateral finance institutions."

To qualify for HIPC status, a country's debt has to be considered to be
beyond its ability to repay from its own resources. The country is also
expected to commit to sound economic management and institute broad reforms.

Once one of Africa's most promising economies, Zimbabwe has seen a sharp
economic decline, with the IMF saying per capita GDP fell from $519 in 2000
to $268 in 2008. In 1990, per capita GDP was around $900.

An estimated 83 percent of the population lived on less than $2 a day in
2005, with the situation worsening considerably by 2008 when inflation
reached about 500 billion percent.

Up to 3 million Zimbabweans have fled the crisis, mostly to become economic
refugees in neighbouring South Africa. Reuters


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President Mugabe Urges Zimbabwean Unity, Reprises Anti-Western Rhetoric

Mr. Mugabe invited international mining companies to invest in Zimbabwean
resource extraction - but cautioned that they would have to do so with black
indigenous Zimbabwean partners

Ntungamili Nkomo & Thomas Chiripasi | Washington/Harare 18 January 2010

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, speaking Monday at the burial of a hero
of the 1970s liberation struggle, urged Zimbabweans to unite and work
together for national development and prosperity.

The president was delivering a eulogy at the Heroes Acre burial of
liberation participant Ntombiyelanga Takawira. Such ceremonies are often the
occasion for politically significant declarations by Mr. Mugabe.

Also attending the ceremony was Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of the
former opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara, head of a rival MDC formation.

Mr. Mugabe invited international mining companies to invest in Zimbabwean
resource extraction - but cautioned that they would have to do so with black
indigenous Zimbabwean partners, this an apparent brushback to those in the
unity government who would ease restrictions on foreign stakeholdings.

Resorting to his trademark anti-Western rhetoric, Mr. Mugabe accused former
colonial power Britain and the United States of meddling in Zimbabwe's
internal affairs, rallying Zimbabweans to resist foreign domination.

Political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe told VOA Studio
7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that Mr. Mugabe's call for unity and peace was
commendable, but questioned the political and economic wisdom of the
president's continued anti-Western declarations.

Meanwhile, intra-governmental negotiations to resolve so-called outstanding
issues troubling the power-sharing government in Harare, scheduled to pick
up on Sunday, failed to take place. Political sources said one of the
negotiators for Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party was out of the country.

Officials from both MDC formations told VOA they were growing impatient with
the prolonged negotiation process aimed at resolving issues remaining from
the February 2009 formation of the government or which have arisen since
then. Southern African leaders have also signaled impatience.

In Harare High Court, meanwhile, the the trial of MDC senator Roy Bennett on
treason charges continued. Attorney General Johannes Tomana, who has taken
personal charge of the prosecution, stunned the court in saying that the
army and intelligence services should work with police in criminal
investigations, reported VOA Studio 7 correspondent Thomas Chiripasi.

Elsewhere, Harare police arrested freelance news photographer Shadreck
Andrison Manyere as he was filming a demonstration by the activist group
Women of Zimbabwe Arise, media sources said. Two unidentified women were
also arrested in the protest in central Harare called by the activist group
to protest unaffordable school fees and low teacher salaries.

Human rights lawyer Dzimbabwe Chimga, counsel for Manyere, said no charges
have been lodged against the photojournalist. He said the officer in charge
at Harare Central Police Station had ordered Manyere to be released.

A WOZA statement later said Manyere had been released.

Manyere's arrest follows the departure from Zimbabwe on Friday of journalist
Stanley Kwenda, who reportedly fled after receiving threatening phone calls
from suspected agents of the Central Intelligence Organization.

The Media Institute of Southern Africa condemned Manyere's arrest and the
alleged threats against Kwenda. It said the apparent crackdown threatened
media freedom, and urged the unity government to respect media rights.

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Political Progress Required to Repair Zimbabwe Water Infrastructure - Minister

Water Resources Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo said water infrastructure cannot
be overhauled without assistance from donors, who are waiting for progress
on resolving a range of issues troubling the unity government

Patience Rusere | Washington 18 January 2010

Zimbabwe will continue to face problems in providing its population with
safe drinking water, Water Resources Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo warned
Monday, as the country needs more than five billion dollars to overhaul

Nkomo was responding to reports that a number of Zimbabwean cities continue
to have difficulty providing water despite promises by the unity government
in power since February 2009 that it would deal with the problem.

Some parts of Harare, the capital, still have no water. Residents of Gweru
and Mutare have had no water for weeks. In Bulawayo problems are also

Contaminated water supplies were a major factor in the cholera epidemic that
claimed more than 4,200 lives from late 2008 through mid-2009.

Nkomo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that his ministry was not
allocated money for infrastructure upgrades in the 2010 budget so repairs
will depend on help from donors awaiting progress on the political front.

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Provincial Branch of Zimbabwe's Former Ruling ZANU-PF in Turmoil Following Ouster

Senior ZANU-PF officials in Mashonaland West province questioned last week
by police in connection with the alleged diversion of fertilizer from the
state-operated Grain Marketing Board in Chinhoyi to the black market

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 18 January 2010

The Mashonaland West provincial branch of Zimbabwe's former ruling ZANU-PF
party remained in turmoil this week following the dismissal of the
provincial chairman, John Mafa, and two other local officials amid police
investigations into the diversion of fertilizer to the local black market.

The party's provincial coordinating committee said a no-confidence vote was
passed on Mafa, provincial vice chairman Frank Ndambakuwa and local party
lands secretary Temba Mliswa for alleged maladministration.

Mafa was replaced as chairman by Robert Sikanyika, and the deputy chairman
slot was filled by Reuben Marumahoko, ZANU-PF sources said.

But Mafa told VOA that the meeting that ousted them was convened illegally
and in violation of the party constitution, so all three remain in place.

VOA reported last week that Mafa had been questioned by police in connection
with the alleged diversion of fertilizer from the state-operated Grain
Marketing Board in Chinhoyi, capital of Mashonaland West province.

Dismissed ZANU-PF provincial lands secretary Mliswa told VOA reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri that he was being victimized because of a report on land use
which had exposed top party officials including Ignatius Chombo, minister of
local government, and Webster Shamu, minister of information, who owned
multiple farms seized under the country's land redistribution program.

Neither Chombo and Shamu could be reached for comment.

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Skint ZPS turns prisoners into nudists

19/01/2010 00:00:00

ZIMBABWE's prisoners are now moving around naked due to an acute shortage of
prison garb while most prison infrastructure around the country is said to
be in a serious state of disrepair.

The latest report by parliament's justice committee exposes the sorry state
of affairs in the country's underfunded prison service with water and power
supplies now being frequently cut off over to unpaid bills totalling US$3

The money is owed to the country's water and electricity utilities, ZESA and

"The committee learnt that uniforms for both inmates and officers have never
been adequate (but) the situation was even worse for inmates who exchange
uniforms for their court appearances thereby exposing themselves to
infectious diseases and (the committee also discovered) that most prisoners
were moving around naked," the report said.

The bedding situation is also said to be particularly bad with prisoners
either going without blankets or resorting to sharing the one or two
available which are usually torn and unwashed.

The report also says prisons infrastructure is now in an advanced state of
disrepair adding this posed a serious security threat.

"The infrastructure (is now) a threat to life and security as most of the
prisons were constructed in the early 1900s, thus the infrastructure is in
an advanced state of disrepair.

"In addition, it was brought to the attention of the committee that out of
22 steam pots at Chikurubi, only 2 are working hence there is an urgent need
to modernize the kitchens and replacement of all the cooking and eating
utensils as currently prisoners are using lunch boxes brought in by their

The report added that the ZPS is in urgent need of US$24 million to procure
vehicles and fuel.

Again, while the ZPS was allocated farms under the country's land reform
programme, the service does not have the implements or inputs to utilize the


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Zim angling to score from World Cup

    January 19 2010 at 06:12PM

Harare - Zimbabwe's tourism ministry will seek treasury approval for a
$70-million (about R520-million) plan to cash in on neighbouring South
Africa's hosting of the 2010 World Cup, minister Walter Mzembi said on

"We have received a budget proposal of $70-million from various ministries
and we have asked them to come up with projects that can be completed around
March," Mzembi said.

Five million dollars is earmarked for "an extensive media campaign to
advertise our tourist facilities to the outside world" and one million
dollars to set up fun parks for visitors.

"We want to create an atmosphere away from the match venues to connect the
people to the event," said Mzembi.

Two million will go toward training police officers, branding and transport.

Other projects include improving water and power supplies, upgrading health
and telecommunication services and securing computers for the immigration
department to avoid congestion at border posts.

"We want to rehabilitate our roads to ensure that potholes are filled and
also upgrade our rail transport network," Mzembi said.

"We are also going to set aside funds for hosting teams that might want to
stay in Zimbabwe during the tournament. The money will cover the transport
and security for the teams."

Government and private companies in Zimbabwe are working on various projects
to cash in on the hosting of the World Cup by South Africa.

Most of the projects have been hampered by lack of money as the country is
battling to recover from a nearly decade-long economic crisis.

Mzembi said Zimbabwe had received various enquiries from national teams
seeking to camp in the country during the tournament which kicks off in
Johannesburg on June 11. - Sapa-AFP

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Plight of displaced Zimbabweans in De Doorns under the spotlight

  January 19 2010 , 2:04:00

Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana says he intends inviting his Zimbabwean
counterpart to South Africa to discuss the issue of displaced foreigners in
De Doorns in the Boland. Hundreds of Zimbabweans were forced to flee from
the area after locals accused them of stealing their jobs by accepting lower

Mdladlana also says the question of Zimbabweans coming to South Africa
undocumented poses a security risk. "Besides the fact that they have these
economic problems because even if you want to give them their Unemployment
Insurance Fund, how would you say that South Africans should bring their
identity documents in order to make a claim, then what must Zimbabweans
bring to make a claim if they have no form of documentation? That's a
government issue."

He says he has met leaders of the refugee rights group, PASSOP, in Cape
Town. The group wants government to investigate claims that politicians are
involved in last year's attacks on foreigners in the area.

Mdladlana has reiterated calls for the Zimbabwean government to quickly
implement its unity government agreement. The minister says the sooner the
agreement is implemented the better.

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Zimbabwe recovery on a knife edge

Jan 19, 2010-The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) has cast doubts on the
state of the tobacco industry's recovery, according to a story in the
Financial Gazette.

It has warned that government farm-eviction threats against one third of its
150 members could spell disaster.

The ZTA president, Kevin Cooke, was quoted as saying that the effects of
this 'chaos' and mounting threats on a sector that produces about 10 per
cent of the world's flue cured tobacco exports would not only dampen
farmers' spirits but severely undermine the recovery of Zimbabwe's
agro-based economy.

Of ZTA's 150 commercial members, 50 were under threat at the moment; so one
third of the major tobacco farmers could be off the land before this season's
crop was reaped, said Cooke, writing in the 2009 fourth quarter edition of
Zimbabwe Tobacco Today.

He said realisation of the 65 million kg that farmers were expecting to
harvest this season would heavily depend on confidence building measures by
the government to enable the troubled industry to get on with production.

'Give us all the opportunity to go forward and this [country] will, in short
order, once again, be the breadbasket of Africa.

If however, we continue to flounder with no title to land and no positive
way forward, we simply slide into obscurity.'

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Zim war vets accused of rhino poaching

MICHAEL HAMLYN Jan 19 2010 09:54

Some Zimbabwean war veterans are said to be spreading their baleful
influence over the rhino population of the country, by turning poacher and
feeding them poisoned cabbages near water holes in a game reserve in the
Chiredzi district.

According to the Simply Green website, the veterans are working as poaching
agents for South Africa-based rhino-horn dealers. When the animals come for
water, they will also eat the cabbages. The war veterans allegedly then
track the rhinos until they die, then take off the horns.

But the poachers have not stopped there. They have also poisoned water
sources, which is killing cattle.

The website quotes Nelson Maponga, a community spokesperson, as saying: "The
biggest problem is that our cattle also drink from the same sources and are
also eating the same cabbages and dying. They are even poisoning some small
dams around this area with the hope that rhinos will drink from them, which
has caused serious environmental problems in this area."

In addition to poisoning rhinos and cattle, Maponga reported that the war
veterans have indiscriminately cut down trees to sell firewood, which has
destroyed the surrounding wildlife habitat.

Simply Green said that Zimbabwe and South Africa form the epicentre of the
rhino-poaching crisis, which is poised to undermine decades of conservation

"The resurgence of mass rhino killings is driven by the deadly combination
of demand for rhino horn and rising incomes in Asia, mostly China, and
increasingly, Vietnam," the article said. .

"Unfortunate cultural superstitions claim that rhino horn is a remedy for
common ailments such as pain and fever, although extensive scientific
testing has confirmed that rhino horn actually contains no medicinal
properties." -- I-Net Bridge

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Outrage as MDC activist is murdered by police

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

By Editor

GOKWE - An MDC activist was on Christmas Day beaten and killed by members of
the Zimbabwean police in Gokwe-Nembudziya, in what has attracted
condemnation of Zanu PF by the former opposition party's founding activists.

Eye-witness to the killing, which is said to have happened before the
watching eyes of a helpless public, early this week, told ZimDiaspora that
Peter Magombedza (35), a well-known MDC activist, was clubbed to death in
broad daylight by sixpolice officers wielding AK 47 guns and baton sticks.

Two of the police officers have since been identified as Zvinavashe and
Nzori, both believed to be Sergeants and based at Nembudziya police station.

According to the eye-witnesses, Magombedza was drinking beer at a bottle
store at Ward 23 in Tsungai, Gokwe-Nembudziya, when two boys began to fight
near his vehicle - a T35 pick-up truck that was parked outside.

"Those boys, aged between 15 and 16 and both of them green bombers (members
of the notorious Zanu PF youth militia), were throwing empty bottles at each
other, ducking for cover on either side of the truck," said one of the

"When he tried to stop them, one of the boys attacked him and an angry
Magombedza held him by his shirt collar and began to shove him against the
vehicle. Six armed police officers, who had been deployed in the area to
maintain peace, immediately descended on him, accusing him of perpetrating
MDC violence against Zanu PF supporters in the area.

"They began to beat him their baton sticks and one of the blows knocked him
down. Instead of them stopping after this, the police officers, some of them
already drunk, beat him with their rifle buts until he lost consciousness."

Magombedza died on the spot, but had not yet been buried at the time of
going to print, as senior ZRP officers in the area are refusing him a post
mortem, which will expose their junior officers.

Doctor Ncube, deputy chairman of the MDC Veteran Activists Association (MDC
VAA), who also confirmed receiving reports of the murder, described the
police action as an indication that there is still no rule of law in
Zimbabwe despite the formation of the national unity government.

"If people can still be killed by the police just because they are MDC, then
we have not made any ground with this GNU," said Ncube.

"It shows that the security forces still belong to Zanu PF and will never
recognize the MDC as a partner in the government of national unity. At this
stage, there should be no political beatings, be they against Zanu PF or the
MDC because we have said that we are burying our hatchet and working
together to rebuild our country.

"The parties to the government should also work hard to ensure that a
situation where members of the armed forces can kill people with impunity on
political lines ends immediately because we are not going anywhere with it.
It just shows that some people in power still do not respect, let alone
support the GNU."

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UK-based firm slams “fake patriots” as Zimbabwe diamond saga rages on

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The head of a British-based company locked in a legal
battle with the Zimbabwean government over rights to the controversial
Marange diamond fields has slammed "fake patriots" who it said were
plundering Zimbabwe’s resources for the benefit of a "few corrupt, thieving

African Consolidated Resources (ACR) chief executive Andrew Cranswick said
Tuesday contrary to deliberate misinformation by the state media, his
company was a Zimbabwean-founded and run by Zimbabweans.

Reacting to assertions that the ACR was foreign-owned and therefore had no
right to claim ownership of the Marange diamonds, Cranswick criticised
“false patriots” whom he said wanted to benefit from plunder of the country’s

“Patriots respect the rule of law. Patriots want real Zimbabweans to
succeed, not a few corrupt, thieving elites,” Cranswick said.

He noted that real patriots understood that “capitalist companies and
capitalist individuals (i.e. all of us who build and create versus steal and
destroy) are not cows to be milked, not predatory leopards to be shot but
the oxen who pull the heavy load”.

ACR owns the rights to mine the Marange diamond field – also known as
Chiadzwa – but it has been replaced on the property by rival companies
linked to the government and by the security forces.

The British-based mining company early this month warned Interpol that it
believed that the Zimbabwean government was preparing to sell stolen
diamonds, and wanted diamond buyers in the United States and Europe to be
prosecuted for receiving stolen property if they buy the Zimbabwean stones.

The Zimbabwean High Court has ruled that ACR owns the mining rights
legitimately and, as a result, the company believes that any diamond sales
from Marange amount to trading in stolen goods.

The move by ACR prompted the Harare authorities to suspend the January 6
sale of 300,000 carats from the Marange fields.

Cranswick said ACR was a transparent, publicly-listed company which has
successfully brought more direct foreign investment to Zimbabwe than any
other company during the past five "sanction" years.

He revealed that ACR had offered to enter into a 50-50 joint venture with
the Zimbabwean government and the local community.

South Africa’s Core Mining and Grandwell Holdings, operating as Canadile
Mines and Mbada Investments, respectively, have entered into a joint venture
with the state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation to extract
diamonds at the claim owned by ACR.


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NCA: Constitution process is cash cow for govt officials



Constitution-making process- a cash cow project for government officials and
some civic groups.

The ongoing government led constitutional process is not meant to achieve a
new constitution for the people of Zimbabwe as shown by the attitude of some
officials leading this process. It is now beyond reasonable doubt that the
reason why the government is adamant to continue with this process is the
selfish motive of generating unjustifiable money through allowances and
other avenues related to the process.

The NCA is shocked to realize that members of parliament are renting their
vehicles for use in this dubious constitution making process. One of the
co-chairpersons of the controversial parliamentary select committee was
quoted in the state and private media thanking the MPs for "offering their
vehicles to be used in the constitutional outreach programme". It has
emerged that MP's renting out their vehicles will be paid amounts ranging
from US250 to US350 per day. This means that an average of $20 000 will be
used for each vehicle. This does not make sense as the government can
actually purchase at least 3 vehicles rather than hiring for such an
exorbitant cost.

It is therefore very hypocritical for Hon. Mangwana and Hon. Mwonzora to
pretend that vehicles offered by the MPs are going to be used free of
charge. It is shocking that vehicles that were bought by tax payers' money
are now being rented to government by some mercenaries whose agenda is to
make money instead of representing interests of their respective
constituencies. As NCA, we view the move by the members of parliament as a
clear testimony that government officials are using this dubious
constitutional reform process as a platform to raise money for personal

It is equally disappointing to realize that there are some civic leaders and
civic organizations that are assisting government to conduct the so called
"public consultations". As civic society, we have always insisted that we
will only support a constitution making process that is led by an
independent commission representative of various sectors of our community.
As NCA we are aware that the civic groups participating in this process are
doing so to please some funding partners who gave them funds to participate
in a constitution making process that is contrary to their principles and
values. It is discouraging to realize that some respected officials and
organizations in civic society can betray the masses of Zimbabwe because of
their love for pieces of gold and silver.

As NCA we believe that no government should lead the process of constitution
making. For Zimbabwe to realize a democratic, people-driven constitution,
there is need for government officials and some civic society elements to
stop viewing the constitution making process as a money spinning project
meant to satisfy personal egos. Instead of the government wasting donor
funds on a constitution which will eventually be rejected by Zimbabweans,
government must consider abandoning this controversial process and use funds
to improve the people's livelihoods and the country's service delivery

Issued By

Madock Chivasa

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Bridging the knowledge divide: Haiti

by Mutumwa Mawere Tuesday 19 January 2010

OPINION: The world's first independent black republic, Haiti, was struck at
4:53pm local time or 21:53 UTC on January 12 2010, by a magnitude-7.0
earthquake January 12, 2010, at 21:53 UTC.

The earthquake, the most severe in 200 years, exposed more about our African
heritage than the visible damage to human and physical infrastructure that
we have seen.

Haiti's geography in the Western Hemisphere may be misleading as the values,
beliefs and principles that inform its approach to nation building may not
be any different from the majority of African states.

We have seen the global response to the calamity. The nature and source of
the response is instructive.

At a time when the viability of the global capitalist system is in question,
we see the major players in the humanitarian and philanthropic spheres
originating from the West.

Many developing countries would want to look at the East for salvation but
regrettably the face of help that has dominated our global airwaves is from
the West, suggesting that most of the complex challenges caused by nature
will still require Western leadership notwithstanding the challenges that
confront capitalism as we know it.

The African brand is on trial in Haiti and yet the response from Africa is
largely missing in action with the exception of South Africa.

The death toll is estimated at more than 200 000. As we observe the extent
of the damage to property we cannot help but come to the conclusion that the
severity of the impact on human and physical assets would have been
mitigated by professional design and construction.

But who are we as Africans to say this when we know that the majority of our
structures would not stand the test of nature.

What is evident is that our pain calls for a global response expose the fact
that we have no coherent plans to mitigate not only the dangers inherent in
nature but more importantly the dangers posed by our own inaction and lack
of planning.

Without the generosity of the very people we ridicule in our daily
discourses, do we ever pause to ask the question about our own lack of
response and organisation to the situation that we are witnessing in Haiti?

The capital city was devastated and so was the presidential palace which was
badly damaged, with the second floor entirely collapsing onto the first
floor.  The Haitan Parliament building and the National Cathedral were not

On December 6 1492, Haiti's native Arawaks Indians fell victim to Spanish
rule thanks to Christopher Columbus, the explorer. In 1697, the control of
Haiti shifted to the French and the conversion of the island into a
sugarcane producer underpinned by slave labour began.

It took an insurrection led by Pierre-Dominique Toussaint l'Ouverture of the
480 000 slave population in 1791 for the first declaration of independence
in 1801.

However, unlike the declaration of independence in the US, the independence
of former slaves became elusive if not a mirage.

Although Napoléon Bonaparte suppressed the independence movement, it
eventually triumphed in 1804 under Jean-Jacques Dessalines, who gave the new
nation the Arawak name Haiti thereby becoming the world's first independent
black republic.

As the first child of Africans' quest for independence, a lot was expected
and regrettably in 2010 we discover that not much progress has been made in
reducing the frontiers of poverty.

It remains the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and its experience
with independence no different from the experience of many of the African

Haiti has been plagued by leadership challenges at the political level. This
is not unique to Haiti as many African states have and continue to endure a
similar civilisation.

Is there any solution to our plight? How should we respond to this
catastrophe? Can it happen again?

As Africans, we need to pause and think seriously about the kind of
civilisation we want to be part of. It would be naive to sloganeer in the
face of what can and should be avoidable.

We have yet to see ourselves respond to the calamity in Haiti. Many of us
are spectators of history and would like to surrender to a position where we
can let history define us and not shape it.

We are alive to see the dangers posed by a lack of investment and the
absence of the rule of law and more importantly what can happen if an
institutional framework that is needed to underpin a civilisation that
respect the rule of law is absent.

As members of Africa Heritage Society I feel that my
heritage is on trial and God has exposed what can happen to human life if
the minimum standards needed for a functioning system are not in place.

We need to look at ourselves and find it within us to be the change that we
want to see.

Nature has exposed that the foundation on which the Haitian model was built
was wrong and we do not need an earthquake in Africa to demonstrate that we
have many parts of Africa where life means nothing more than it does in

We need to respond to the Haitian disaster not because we can make much
difference but because we also are part of the story. The victims look like
the majority of the people we call our brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers,
uncles, nephews and nieces.

How best can we respond? We know that it will happen again unless there is
fundamental change in how Haiti is structured and governed. We can respond
firstly in cash and in kind.

This we can do by collecting from those who feel they are part of the
solution. Secondly, we can help by demonstrating that even in Africa change
is welcome and desirable.

We also must look at what can happen if Africa's eggs and resources are in
the hands of the East.

If Africa, the home of 1 billion people can point the way, Haiti can follow.
Haiti is our most senior brand ambassador and the results of what awaits
Africa if serious introspection is not done are obvious to all.

Countless Africans die every day as a result of manmade disasters and less
because of nature.

If we change, perhaps nature can be kind to us because we would have built
our own strategic defence mechanisms.

We all have a part to play and let us reflect on what we want to be
remembered for especially at this defining hour in our long journey to a new
destination where the brand is at its best when calamity hits
unexpectedly. - ZimOnline

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Comment from a correspondent

It never ceases to amaze me and other thinking people like me in Zimbabwe,
why all reports regarding the SA contingent being here, are here to oversee
negotiations between the three parties of the GNU and whose signatures are
on the GPA.

What negotiations?

Its all so simple really.

The three leaders are instructed to "sit down". No respect is to be shown to
any of them.
The GPA is then opened at the relevent signed page.
All three leaders are asked if the signatures contained thereon belong to
If all agree that they are, they are then told, in no uncertain terms, to
comply with the all the terms of the agreement.
They are also told, in no uncertain terms, and very bluntly, that failure to
comply will result in the borders being closed and full sanctions - not just
the targeted sanctions - will be applied.
They should be told that none of the three or their respective parties will
have the support of SADC or the AU.

Once they, each and every one of them, realize that the time for delaying
and "negotiating" further concessions is over, maybe we, the ordinary people
of Zimbabwe, will be able to look forward to a happy, peacefull and
prosperous future, where we can all work together for the betterment of the
country and all its people

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Mugabe's origins


Am I correct in saying Robert Mugabe is the son of a settler to Zimbabwe. His father, Gabriel, was I believe from Malawi.

Recently it is quoted Robert Mugabe said “a settler or the off spring of a settler could not own farm land in Zimbabwe”

Do you have an thoughts on that?



Robert Gabriel Karigamombe Mugabe was born near Kutama Mission in the Zvimba District north east of Salisbury in Southern Rhodesia to a Malawian father Gabriel Matibili and a Shona mother Bona. He had two older brothers, and one of them, Michael, was very popular in the village. Both his older brothers died, leaving Robert and his younger brother, Donato.[20] His father, Gabriel Matibili, a carpenter,[10] abandoned the Mugabe family in 1934 after Michael died, in search of work in Bulawayo.[21]


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