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Zimbabwe new constitution suspended over bickering

Thu Jan 21, 2010 1:06pm GMT

HARARE, Jan 21 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe has suspended moves to draw up a new
constitution due to political bickering over funding, dealing a blow to
hopes for free and fair elections next year after the intended adoption of
the charter.

Arch rivals President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
signed a power-sharing deal in September 2008 that led to formation of a
unity government last February and agreed to write a new constitution within
18 months.

Many Zimbabweans hope a new charter, replacing the one penned in 1979 before
independence from Britain, will strengthen the role of parliament, curtail
the president's powers and guarantee civil, political and media freedoms as
the country tries to rebuild its shattered economy.

Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has previously said
Mugabe's ZANU-PF was not committed to the drafting of a new constitution
which could usher in democratic reforms, and had repeatedly sought to
frustrate the process in a bid to delay elections that are supposed to

A parliamentary committee is leading the process.

"The management committee has suspended the outreach programme for now,
mainly because of financial constraints," Douglas Mwonzora, who co-chairs
the committee, told Reuters.

Mwonzora, a legislator from Tsvangirai's MDC party, said there were also
differences with Mugabe's ZANU-PF on who should be collecting views on the

"There are also disagreements that we need to resolve before the process can
go forward that have to do with identify and agreeing on who should be a
rapporteur as well as addressing the issues around funding," Mwonzora said.

The suspension is the latest in a series of delays that included clashes
last July between MDC and ZANU-PF delegates at a constitutional convention.

The form of the new constitution is a major point of contention between the
rival parties in the unity government.

Paul Mangwana, the ZANU-PF committee co-chair, said the committe would
approach the United Nations Development Programme and other financiers who
have promised to sponsor the process.

"We cannot give a timetable of when the actual outreach will start because
some of the issues are beyond our control as the select committee," he told
the official Herald newspaper.

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Talks adjourned again

By Violet Gonda
21 January 2010

The negotiations between the partners in the shaky coalition government
resumed on Wednesday, but were adjourned after only sitting for one evening.
Negotiators are expected to meet again within the next two weeks.

The talks failed to start on time this past weekend because it was reported
that one of the ZANU PF negotiators, Nicholas Goche, was in Tanzania on
'government business'. Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is ZANU PF's
reserve negotiator, was supposed to step in for his colleague when the talks
were rescheduled for Monday evening - but he was reported to be at a
funeral. Talks were again rescheduled - for Wednesday evening.

As usual no information is available on the talks because of a media
blackout but Zimbabweans are not even kept informed about where the talks
are taking place or the facts about delays and adjournments. There has been
no official statement issued on the progress of the negotiations.

However, sources close to the talks said the negotiators adjourned the
meeting on Wednesday so that they could go and consult their different
parties on the fundamental issues in dispute.

The meetings made around the timetables of the negotiators, who are all
government ministers. It is also understood one of the other reasons the
next meeting was scheduled to be held within two weeks is because some of
the officials had prior arrangements. It is believed MDC-T negotiator Tendai
Biti is going to be travelling on government business. The Finance minister
is said to have made arrangements to attend a World Bank meeting in the USA.
We were not able to reach him for comment.

Another source close to the negotiations said the first meeting of the year
was very 'very tiresome' and ZANU PF appeared to be backtracking at every
turn. "You can see that ZANU PF are very worried - Agriculture Minister
Joseph Made's comments today that the land audit is not necessary/premature
and so forth - they know when that happens some of them are in deep trouble.
So we must expect that they are going to continue wriggling out of whatever
they can," the source said.

It is reported the major disagreements are around the issues of swearing-in
MDC official Roy Bennett; the appointments of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon
Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana. "And the sanctions issue, during
the talks, was made worse because of recent statements made by David
Miliband," said the source.

The British Foreign Secretary said the European Union will be 'guided by the
MDC' on whether or not to remove sanctions, when he was answering MPs
questions on Zimbabwe, in the British parliament.

Milliband said: "In respect of sanctions, we have made it clear that they
can be lifted only in a calibrated way, as progress is made. That is
something that we will discuss. I do not think that it is right to say that
the choice is between lifting all sanctions and lifting none at all. We have
to calibrate our response to the progress on the ground, and, above all, to
be guided by what the MDC says to us about the conditions under which it is
working and leading the country."

It is understood these remarks have added fodder to the ZANU PF allegations
that the MDC called for the sanctions and works hand in hand with the
British government.

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Ruling on Bennett witness postponed

by Own correspondent Thursday 21 January 2010

HARARE - High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu on Thursday failed to make a
ruling on the application by the state to impeach a key witness in the
treason trial of MDC treasurer general Roy Bennett after one of the
assessors could not attend court.

Bhunu was expected to rule whether the state led by Attorney General
Johannes Tomana can impeach its star witness Michael Peter Hitschmann for
becoming "hostile" and departing from his earlier statements.

Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa told journalists outside the High Court that
the ruling will be made on Monday.

"We have just been told that the trial continues on Monday, they said it's
something to do with the assessors," Mtetwa said.

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

Hitschmann told reporters that today's court session could not take place as
he was told that "one of the assessors was involved in a car accident".

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.

Bennett, who faces a possible death sentence if convicted in a case that has
heightened tensions in Zimbabwe's fragile coalition government, has pleaded
not guilty to the treason charges levelled against him.

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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CFU Press Statement

PRESS STATEMENT                                                         FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe


ISSUED BY: CFU President Deon Theron


21 January 2010

Zimbabwe:  New wave of violent farm evictions


The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) deplores the fact that Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity (GNU) has failed to stop a few extremists from openly threatening, physically attacking and illegally evicting commercial farmers and their workers.  


These ongoing acts of lawlessness, which escalated over Christmas and are spreading into other provinces, violate the basic principles enunciated in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).


In order to turn the economy around and address the country's shocking unemployment rate [over 90 percent] and now endemic poverty, notably in the rural areas, Zimbabwe needs meaningful investment.


However before this can happen, the international community will need to see that the rule of law is not being applied selectively and that property rights, court orders and signed agreements are respected.


Attacks continue despite BIPPA with SA


Despite the signing of a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with South Africa on November 27, attacks on South African nationals operating productive commercial farms in this country have increased. 


Since Christmas, there have been numerous attacks and evictions and, as we make this statement, these acts of lawlessness are continuing.


In a widely publicized statement that shocked the international investment community, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana said he approved of sending soldiers onto farms to help to remove their occupants for ignoring what he termed "government directives".


We now have a banana farm in Manicaland which is protected by a BIPPA agreement with Malaysia and the Netherlands invaded by the military, and the bananas being reaped illegally and sold in Harare.


This reckless statement by the Attorney General - and the subsequent action - will have severe consequences for our country and the transitional government.


Zimbabwe's army cannot legally be involved in law enforcement as the country is not operating under a state of emergency.

Before any soldier could even leave the barracks for the role Mr Tomana has suggested, the President would need to officially declare a State of Emergency. 


Such a decision would have to be taken in consultation with Cabinet and, under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, our government would also have to advise the UN Security Council, through the UN Secretary General. 


Failure to respect the rule of law


Our statutes clearly set out the legal requirements regarding evictions. The Attorney General's Office must first successfully prosecute an accused person in a court of law to completion, and government must then provide vacant occupation before any beneficiary can move onto the property.


To clarify the above, government must remove the farmer from the farm through a court order, and only when the farmer has vacated the farm can the beneficiary legally move on.


The Attorney General does not have the authority to direct the military to take action against its own citizens.


Concurrently, new jambanjas[1] in the Karoi area are being proposed by the Area Lands Committee Chairman, Temba Mliswa, a relative of Minister Didymus Mutasa.  [Mr Mutasa was previously Minister of State for National Security, Lands, land Reform and Resettlement in the President's Office.] 


Mr Mliswa is notorious for relying on intimidation and violence to achieve his objectives.  He has operated with impunity under the previous Zanu PF government and, despite the formation of the Government of National Unity, continues to do so.


In addition to oppressing Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers, Mr Mliswa is also threatening to attack black A2[2] farmers who rent land to white farmers. The question needs to be asked:  Under whose authority is he acting? 


Furthermore, the CFU would like to know whether Mr Mliswa's reckless promise to redistribute farms to anyone who joins his jambanjas has any authority or justification.


We reiterate that these violently orchestrated jambanjas are completely contrary to the GPA and the rule of law.  They must be both rejected and put a stop to immediately by the GNU.                                           

Allocation of any land must only be done in full accordance with the law by legally constituted bodies.


It is time that people like Mr Mliswa and the Attorney General showed respect for and complied with the conditions agreed to in the Global Political Agreement, and adhered to Zimbabwe's international commitments.


The SADC Tribunal based in Windhoek, Namibia, has ruled that the 17th Amendment[3] to the Zimbabwean Constitution not only violates the principles of the rule of law but is racist.


Racism is recognized universally as being a crime against humanity, for very good reasons. It should never be tolerated by any state or government, whether it is white-on-black, black-on-white, or any other variation.


Racism is an evil, and Zimbabwe should now implement the commitments it has made by the signing of numerous treaties against any state-sanctioned racism. Violations of this will only invite new international action against Zimbabwe.


Clarification required by GNU


In view of the untenable situation and adverse publicity, we pose the following questions to the Government of National Unity:


  1. Should Zimbabwe, a voluntary signatory to the Convention for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), be forced to appear before the UN Committee established by the CERD Treaty [a committee which reports directly to the Security Council] to explain the continuing invasions?


  1. Can the members of the GNU afford to embarrass themselves and their country, as well as SADC and the AU, by becoming a Security Council agenda item at this stage?


  1. Can the GNU confirm that it is now government policy to take land back from black farmers because they have chosen to rent it to white farmers?


  1. Is the GNU committed to ensuring that 2010 will be a period of recovery for all Zimbabweans, or will the nation continue to suffer under the lawlessness of a few?


We reiterate:  what commercial farmers and their workers are being subjected to constitutes crimes against humanity.  It is time for the GNU to take a principled stand in this regard.


As white commercial farmers, we are committed to respect of the law and to producing food for this nation so that Zimbabwe once again becomes food secure.  However, we cannot achieve this without the unequivocal support of the GNU and without the restoration of the rule of law.


A burden on donor community and SADC


It is an appalling state of affairs that, as a result of the virtual destruction of the commercial farming sector, our country has had to rely on food aid from the international donor community for almost a decade.


We are also very conscious of the burden that the ongoing crisis in Zimbabwe places on our neighbours in the SADC region.  The fall-out from our political and economic crisis has had very serious consequences for the entire subcontinent, impacting on food security, investment, development and tourism.


It has also resulted in a mass exodus of well over three million people - men, women and children, many of them rendered destitute - who have flooded into the region.


Commitment of SADC and South Africa


We thank the SADC leaders for their ongoing mediation and the South African government in particular for its commitment to resolving the impasse.  President Jacob Zuma's well-informed and authoritative approach to the crisis is of immeasurable value. 


The South African government's statement of January 17 that formal contact has been made with the Zimbabwean government on issues raised by South African farmers under siege in Zimbabwe represents an important milestone in the decade-long crisis.


If the rule of law is restored and the situation on the ground in the commercial farming sector is resolved, every single person in Zimbabwe will benefit, both in terms of food security and because our economy is agri-based.


The CFU calls on the GNU to meet with us and to commit itself to halting the farm invasions so that together we can to chart a way forward for the rebuilding of Zimbabwe's agricultural sector.




President - Commercial Farmers' Union

Harare, Zimbabwe


Tel:           +263 4 309 800

Zim Cell:   +263 912 246 233  



Statistics:  The cost of the destabilisation of agriculture and other statistics/ overleaf



Trade deficit:  Zimbabwe's US$5 billion trade deficit over the past five years was accrued largely due to destabilisation of agriculture (ref. Parliamentary report 2007).

The combined costs of the land reform are staggering - they include:


·         Nearly US$2.8 billion in international food aid on an emergency basis

·         Nearly US$12 billion in lost agricultural production over 10 years

·         A potential US$10 billion in compensation


Total cost estimate: US$33 billion



General Agricultural and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) report:

November 2009 - Statistics







Additional Statistics






[1] Violent farm invasions, usually involving drunken thugs who are paid to terrorise farm owners and workers

[2] A2 settlers:  Those with means who are self-supporting.  A2 farmers are on larger areas of land than A1 farmers, usually from 50 ha to whole farms.  Many have in fact been allocated whole farms.  Such "farmers" include most of the cabinet; High Court judges; senior policemen; senior army officers; senior civil servants and others who are well connected to the party. 



[3] Amendment 17 was added to Zimbabwe's constitution on September 14, 2005 to vest ownership of certain categories of land on the Zimbabwean government and to eliminate the courts' jurisdiction to hear any challenge to the land acquisitions.

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GAPWUZ Statement

21 January 2010The
General Agriculture and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ)
urgently calls for a stop to the continued farm disturbances, which have
resulted in a serious farm labour crisis that is threatening to completely
destroy the agriculture sector.

GAPWUZ neither condones nor encourages the current attempts to deliberately
take over farms by way of murdering, attacking and intimidating workers and
their employers.

What further incenses us is the silence of government officials whom we feel
should be there to put a stop to such heinous acts which have left thousands
of farm workers homeless and in dire need of food, education, water and

As farm workers struggle ahead to reposition themselves in the new political
dispensation, they should be reminded that they are not fighting alone in
the trenches. All the human rights defenders in Zimbabwe, including GAPWUZ
salute the unwavering courage and charisma of many farm workers who were
brutalized, maimed, tortured, kidnapped and raped in the recent farm

Such was a negative and sad development in the progress of human kind from
light into darkness. However, in the same vein the inclusive government
seems to pacify such a historical blind spot as a moment of madness. In such
a context, the farm workers' cause remains unanswered or negated as massive
human rights abuses and the torture of farm workers on the few remaining
operational farms remain the norm rather than the exception. Their echoes
and sentiments are slowly but gradually sinking into oblivion even in the
new inclusive government. Farm workers, you are the masters for food

A Zimbabwean farm worker is always saturated with misery. One can imagine a
farm worker living in the open air, without food, water and proper
sanitation. This was 2009. Come 2010, has the fate of the farm worker
improved? Obviously not. Farm workers' demands for better welfare have been
sanitized and punctuated as anti-government in different historical epochs
in Zimbabwe.

As GAPWUZ we have only two options: that is fighting and fighting hard. The
farm workers' struggle is like an unending thread, they have to continuously
keep unwinding it. Farm workers have always been silent victims of a
volatile political onslaught. We therefore salute the fight to reject paltry
salaries, forced evictions and harassment, torture and abuse.

We look ahead to the restoration of the dignity, which is associated with
every human being. This was a profession, which was emulated as it put
Zimbabwe on the map as the bread basket for Africa.

The struggle for mankind through history has been the struggle with nature
and struggle with real or imagined enemies in the form of human kind.  Farm
workers have been made to pay dearly for their lives as they are being
imagined 'real' enemies of the Zanu PF land reform programme. Improvement of
farm workers' welfare in the era of the inclusive government should not come
through acts of accident but through design.

In Lenin's words there is no prescribed method of struggle. Each method
depends on the circumstances that exist at each particular moment in an
epoch (era).


For further information:

Gertrude Hambira - Secretary General
General Plantation and Agricultural Workers' Union of Zimbabwe - Harare
Tel:  +263 4 734 141
Cell:  +263 912 263 557

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Air force officer leads ‘Kariba draft’ campaign in Manicaland

By Tichaona Sibanda
21 January 2010

A senior airforce of Zimbabwe officer has been named as one of several
military officers leading a campaign to force villagers in Manicaland to
attend ZANU PF political meetings in the province.

Air Commodore Innocent Chiganze, whose name has become synonymous with
terror in Makoni district, is a Nigerian trained fighter pilot. Instead of
concentrating on his flying skills, the Air Commodore has been accused of
waging an ‘undeclared war’ on civilians in Manicaland.

The former St Augustine Penhalonga high school pupil, who began his career
in the airforce flying fighter jets at Thornhill airbase in Gweru, is
reportedly leading a ‘ragtag’ unit of war veterans and militias pressing
villagers to attend pro-ZANU PF meetings.

One such meeting will be held at Jani resettlement area in Makoni South on
Friday beginning at 9am, where it’s been reported villagers will be told to
support the Kariba draft. A local MDC councilor told SW Radio Africa on
Thursday that Chief John Rukweza, allegedly on Chiganze’s orders, instructed
all headmen and village chairmen to tell people based in their areas to
attend the meeting without fail.

‘We have 34 headmen under Chief Rukweza in Makoni South and each of them
leads about 300 to 400 villagers. You are looking at an entire constituency
of about 13,000 people being forced to attend tomorrow’s (Friday) meeting,’
the councilor said.

Villagers have been warned that if they fail to attend the meeting they’ll
either have their resettlement permits cancelled or ejected from the area
altogether. Concerned by this apparent political blackmail, headmen and
village heads approached the MDC in the constituency for advice.

‘We’re telling our supporters not to attend any of these meetings. They
shouldn’t be afraid because if it means dying we all die together. We see
Chiganze here almost every week and we know he’s the one coordinating the
war veterans and militias who are moving at night visiting known MDC
activists and ordering them to attend these meetings. It’s not a secret that
they want to force us to adopt the Kariba draft,’ the councilor said.

The councilor’s views were echoed by the MDC-T MP for the area, Muchauraya,
who told us individuals should refuse to be arm twisted or forced to support
what they don’t like.

‘It’s either Chief Rukweza is mad or he’s being used by the military to
advance the ZANU PF agenda on the people of Makoni. I will be meeting him
tonight (Thursday) and get to the bottom of this political chicanery,’
Muchauraya said.

The MP said the three party principals, including everyone involved with the
constitution making process, were well aware the thematic committees should
be working on talking points during the consultative process and not any
other document including the Kariba draft.

‘As it is I think it’s clear it’s either the chief is day dreaming or mad.
Arikudhunya kupenga chaiko (he’s really gone mad),’ Muchauraya said.

It’s not just Manicaland that is being affected. We also received a report
from one of our listeners in Mashonaland East, saying ZANU PF have sent
delegations to the area, under the pretence of talking about the
constitution. But they are holding rallies where they threaten violence if
the MDC are allowed to win the referendum or even allowed to come onto the
property to talk about the constitution.  The listener said they are
‘extremely threatening and forcing all labour to attend’.

While the majority of Zimbabweans have overwhelmingly rejected the use of
the Kariba draft as a basis for the new constitution, hardliners within ZANU
PF insist on using the document, negotiated in secret on a houseboat on Lake
Kariba three years ago. The draft leaves the president with vast powers,
something Zimbabweans no longer want.

Among the presidential powers contained in the draft is a clause permitting
Mugabe to serve another two five-year terms. In addition, there are no
limits to the number of government ministers appointed by the president, no
limit to presidential patronage and no devolution of power to the provinces.
The draft also makes no provision for the post of Prime Minister and it
gives the president powers to declare war without consulting anyone. He
would have the right to appoint judges and fire them at will.

Zimbabweans are pinning their hopes on a new constitution which they hope
will strengthen the role of parliament, whittle down the president’s powers
and guarantee civil liberties and political and media reforms.


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Constitutional outreach programme suspended

By Lance Guma
21 January 2009

Efforts to draw up a new constitution have received another hammer blow as
the committee tasked with driving the process announced it had suspended the
outreach programme, indefinitely. Douglas Mwonzora who co-chairs the
Constitutional Parliamentary Committee said political fights over the
funding for the programme had led to the suspension. He said they were also
failing to agree on the composition of a team of rapporteurs who are meant
to record the issues discussed in the consultation meetings.

On Monday we spoke to Mwonzora on our Rules for our Rulers constitution
programme and he sounded upbeat about the process. He told us they had
delayed the deployment of outreach teams because they 'discovered that some
people had fraudulently been accredited and trained as part of the outreach
team.' He said they were auditing the people meant to be on the teams and
the full list would be published Wednesday. When asked when the deployment
would begin he said they were waiting for a new timetable from the party
negotiators on Tuesday.

This latest twist will not surprise critics who feel ZANU PF is not
interested in a new constitution. The first all-stakeholders conference in
July last year was disrupted when ZANU PF thugs, led by Mugabe's nephew
Patrick Zhuwawo and self-styled war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba,
descended on the conference centre in Harare chanting slogans. The other
co-chair of the process, Paul Mangwana from ZANU PF, also announced delays
last year, citing funding issues. Not long after that reports said US$43
million had been made available by the government and other partners.

Little wonder then that National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) spokesman
Madock Chivasa described the reasons for this latest suspension of the
process as 'shameful' and yet another pointer to its flawed nature. He said
it was not 'sustainable' to entrust politicians with the crafting of a new
constitution. The delays, according to the NCA, are an attempt to 'buy time'
and 'make people forget about the stolen election of March 2008.' He called
on Zimbabweans to reject a process that was driven by the quest for 'selfish
political power'. Allowing this to happen would mean Zimbabweans getting
cheated again.

Meanwhile the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has launched a Talk
Constitution interactive website 'dedicated to discussions and debates
around the constitution making process.' A statement from the group said the
site is open for individual contributions and views on the unfolding


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Zim poachers sell to SA

Article By:
Thu, 21 Jan 2010 11:24

Reports from Zimbabwe on Wednesday revealed war veterans in the south-east
of the country were poisoning rhinos at drinking holes and then tracking
them down to steal their horns.

Conservationists said poachers were using cunning ways to kill rhinos to
avoid attracting anti-poaching teams.

The poachers are supplying horns to dealers mostly in South Africa.

News website ZimEye ( reported war veterans in the south
eastern Chiredzi district were scattering cabbage leaves laced with poison
near water holes used by rhinos. They then track down the rhino and cut off
its horn once it died from the poison.

Johnny Rodriquez of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said he could not
confirm the reports but said his country's rhinos were more vulnerable than

He said using cop chemicals to poison the rhinos would not attract the
attention of anti-poaching units.

Rodriquez said tranquilisers were also being used to douse the rhinos but
the sedative was not reversed which meant the rhino often died.

Rodriquez told Eyewitness News some poaching rings could be linked to
powerful politicians and ministers in President Robert Mugabe's former
ruling party.

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Cholera keeps a low profile

Photo: microbiologybytes
Cholera - Vibrio cholerae
HARARE, 21 January 2010 (IRIN) - A year ago Zimbabwe was immersed in one of the continent's worst ever cholera outbreaks, and more of the same was expected in 2010, but the waterborne disease has so far kept a low profile.

The cholera epidemic that began in August 2008 and lasted for a year before it was officially declared at an end in July 2009 caused the deaths of more than 4,000 people and infected nearly 100,000 others.

The 2008-09 outbreak was attributed to dilapidated and broken sanitation and water infrastructure, much of which is still in the same state, raising the fear that the 2009-10 rainy season would bring a resurgence in cases.

Cholera, a waterborne bacterial disease, infects the gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting and diarrhoea that can lead to acute dehydration; left untreated, the disease can kill within 24 hours.

In its latest epidemiological bulletin the World Health Organisation (WHO) reported 149 cholera cases, resulting in five deaths, between September 2009 and 10 January 2010, vastly lower figures than for the same period a year previously: by January 2009, 1,912 people had died and more than 37,000 cases reported.

This season the case fatality rate has dropped from 5.1 percent to 3.4 percent - still higher than the expected average of about one percent. Ten of the country's 62 districts have been affected by the current outbreak, compared to 51 districts last year, the WHO bulletin said.

The distribution pattern of the disease in 2009-10 has also shifted, with 82 percent of cases emanating from rural areas and the balance of 18 percent from urban areas. During the 2008-09 outbreak, 66 percent of cholera cases occurred in urban areas and 34 percent in rural areas.

In 2008-09 the capital, Harare, was the epicentre of the epidemic; in the working-class suburb of Budiriro, 30 strains of cholera were detected and all water sources in the area were contaminated, but in the last few months WHO has reported only six cases in the capital, and no deaths.

The breakdown in water infrastructure and failure to collect refuse, coupled with a collapse of sewage systems that caused raw sewage to spill onto city streets, and the shallow wells dug by residents to access ground water, provided ideal conditions for the disease to breed and spread.

The threat of cholera usually recedes as the rainy season tapers off, but in 2008-09 it stubbornly continued ratcheting up its death toll, well after the rains had ended.

Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda told IRIN the 2008-09 outbreak had caught them by surprise, but "the cholera epidemic prepared us for another outbreak, in the sense that there are a lot of strategies and structures to combat any outbreak."

He noted that "Our health department's clinics throughout Harare are ready to deal with any cases that may arise. The residents are now more informed on how to avoid or react to reports of cholera cases."

Water disconnections

With a few months of the current rainy season still remaining, the Harare municipality has begun disconnecting water supplies to residential homes for non-payment, despite protests by some homeowners that they have been billed for services they did not receive or use.

"We are disconnecting water because we want better service delivery, and that is what we want to provide. We have done this before and we do not want a situation that would undermine the capacity of the council," the Harare municipality spokesman told a local newspaper.

"People need treated water and for us to offer them treated water, they must fully settle their bills." The disconnections contradict national government instructions that residential water supplies should not be disconnected for non-payment.

Water Resources minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo told IRIN: "We will engage the mayor of Harare and the municipality, because our position as government is that there should be no disconnections and that payment methods can be varied, like having residents pay in instalments."


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Zimbabwe Facing Another Drought
Women and children take time to hoe isolated patches of corn where tractors and giant machines once tilled the land, near Harare, 22 Dec 2009
Photo: AP

Women and children take time to hoe isolated patches of corn where tractors and giant machines once tilled the land, near Harare, 22 Dec 2009


Farmers in Zimbabwe say they face another difficult agricultural season, as the dry spell that has hit the country continues.

Weeks into the agricultural season, the rains are nowhere near normal and the crops are showing it.  Zimbabwe Farmers Union Director Paul Zakariya tells VOA even crops that normally thrive under dry conditions are feeling the heat.

"We are looking at maize (corn), we are looking at cotton and, in some instances, it's also the tobacco and the other small grains which naturally will be resisting or would be tolerant but they are already succumbing," he said.

The situation is worsened by the fact that even parts of the country that receive normal rainfall are also affected by the prolonged dry spell.  Zakariya says, even if the country's normal rains started falling again, most of this season's crops are a write-off.

"Regions in the south . we could actually safely say they have lost their crop.  And, if we had rains today, we would be looking at a situation where we are salvaging 50 percent to 60 percent of the crop.  So it's quiet bad," he said.

Zakariya added that, although last year's harvest was better than the years before, the country would still have needed help, even if the rains had been normal this year.

"In terms of preparedness for the season, we were prepared but probably not adequately, because fertilizers in fact generally inputs were not readily available," he said.  "The situation would have been a lot better, but to say Zimbabwe would have had a good harvest that would satisfy the whole nation - that would be maybe stretching things a little bit."

Zimbabwe formerly was an exporter of food, but has depended on food aid and imports to meet its grain shortfalls, in the past decade.  This has been mostly because of unreliable rainfall  and the failure of government to support agriculture after the land reform program launched in 2000.  That exercise saw white farmers losing their farms for the resettlement landless blacks.

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New Threats to Media Freedom

By Ephraim Nsingo

HARARE, Jan 21, 2010 (IPS) - Death threats allegedly made by a senior police
officer to a journalist and the arrest of a photographer, all in the space
of a few days, have heightened fears of a new onslaught on the country's

Freelance journalist Stanley Kwenda fled Zimbabwe on Jan. 15 after receiving
a death threat apparently from a senior police officer Chief Superintendent
Chrispen Makedenge.

Kwenda had "named and shamed" the policeman in a story published in The
Zimbabwean newspaper. The story alleged that Makedenge's late wife's
relatives had demanded to see the note she had allegedly left after she
committed suicide.

After spending the whole day reading articles about the violation of
journalists' rights in the Index on Censorship 2009 Review, it never dawned
on Kwenda's that by the end of that very day, he would be going through a
similar experience. It seemed so unlikely that what he thought were rather
long lists of journalists who had been harassed, incarcerated and killed
would get longer with the addition of his own name.

"I was preparing to get my weekend into swing," said Kwenda, a freelancer
who writes for IPS and The Zimbabwean newspaper, among others. He is also
the director of Artistes for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust (ADZT), an
initiative that uses artistes to campaign for civil participation in
democratic processes in the country.

"I received a call at 7.15 pm from an unknown number while having a drink
with a friend at a hotel in Harare. On the other end of the line was a male
voice, and it was clear to me that this was none other than the senior
police officer I had named and shamed in a story I wrote for The Zimbabwean
newspaper," Kwenda alleged.

Much to the surprise of his colleague and other patrons at the hotel's bar,
the burly Kwenda started trembling. And it was clear that something was

"The man told me in a very harsh and angry voice that: 'Kwenda. You are not
going to last this weekend'. I failed to get a chance to make head or tail
of the essence of his phone call, he was hurling all sort of profanities and
repeatedly reminding me that I was going to die before people at my church
finish their evening Sunday prayers."

Kwenda is generally viewed as a brave journalist among his colleagues, but
after the call, he was just out of sorts. Having covered some of the
harrowing experiences of people who have implicated his alleged caller,
Kwenda did not need anyone to warn him of what was likely to happen after
the call. Makedenge's name has featured prominently among officers involved
in the abduction of activists in the aftermath of the March 2008 elections.

"I have never felt so afraid but on the day in question I was left
trembling. I was left with no option but to think of a way out," he added.

Earlier in the day, Kwenda says he had received numerous calls from a
suspicious character who claimed she wanted to give him an exclusive expose
related to a story he had written for The Zimbabwean.

"At that point I realised I was in for a trap. I told her to put her
information on the e-mail of the newspaper. She insisted on a face-to-face
meeting," said Kwenda.

And that very evening, Kwenda was on the next flight out of Zimbabwe. His
destination: South Africa where he is currently hiding.

"Fleeing Zimbabwe was the only way out for me after receiving very specific
death threats from a senior police officer. All this is happening sadly at a
time when we should be celebrating a new democratic dawn for Zimbabwe," said

However, police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said despite Kwenda's
allegations police will not investigate the claims based on media reports.
He said Kwenda was required to open a case in order for police to
investigate the matter.

"In the first place he should have made a formal report so we could
investigate it. Should there be any threats outside the law made against him
(Kwenda) they should be investigated," Bvudzijena said.

He added that only Kwenda could open a case regarding the death threats and
would have to return to Harare to do so. Bvudzijena said even though Kwenda
feared for his life, if he laid a complaint, police would not be able to
protect him.

"We don't have that capacity to provide security to individuals. He would
have to provide his own security," Bvudzijena said.

He also expressed scepticism that death threats had been made against
Kwenda. "I would like to know why he should be threatened, particularly at
this time. What is so drastic why anyone would want him dead?" Bvudzijena
asked. When IPS informed him about the article Kwenda had written concerning
Makedenge, Bvudzijena said he was unaware of it.

"Fleeing does not help anyone. My suspicions are that it is to raise some
(negative) perceptions about the whole issue. We have investigated police
officers before," Bvudzijena said.

Three days after Kwenda fled the country, another freelancer, photographer
Andrison Manyere was arrested while covering a demonstration in the capital.
This is the second time Manyere has fallen victim to the machinations of
state security agents. In 2008 he was abducted and dragged to the courts at
the height of political violence along with opposition party members and
human rights activists. This spate of arrests are the very same ones that
Makedenge's name had been linked to.

Kumbirai Mafunda, a journalist who is also a spokesperson for the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the threats on Kwenda's life and
Manyere's arrest were "clear signs that we have not moved an inch in terms
of media reforms".

"What happened to our colleague Stanley Kwenda is really worrying," said
Mafunda. "As journalists we thought that threats and arrests of journalists
were things of the past. It is really sad that in this era we still have
journalists being threatened and hounded out of the country."

Mafunda said there was need for the inclusive government to show commitment
to ending the violations of voices perceived to be against certain forces in
the system.

"We honestly do not expect these things to continue even in this day and
age," said Mafunda.

This was the general sentiment at the Quill Club, the meeting point for
journalists in Harare.

"We do not take these threats lightly, because we have seen it in the past.
This is a sign that the profession is in danger, and the government needs to
do something about it," said one journalist at the club who requested

Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ), Foster Dongozi
said they had since launched an investigation into the matter, in
collaboration with the police and other players in the media industry.

"We have set up a team which will investigate the harassment of our fellow
member and we want to establish whether the threats were done at individual
or official level," said Dongozi.

"But whatever the case might be, we are saying harassment of journalists by
the state should come to an end. We expect the state security to protect its
citizens not victimising them like what has been happening here for the past

Dongozi said the incident was unfortunate as it came at a time when everyone
was now "expecting media reforms and respect to journalists".

In a statement, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe
chapter condemned the threat on Kwenda, saying this was "yet another serious
threat to media freedom and the right of journalists to conduct their lawful
professional duties without fear or hindrance from any quarters".

"MISA-Zimbabwe urges the inclusive government and the Police Commissioner
General to unequivocally guarantee the safety of journalists and to assure
Kwenda of his security pending full investigations into the alleged
threats," reads the statement.

The burly scribe is conspicuous about his absence from the Quill Club. The
general concern among colleagues is that something bad might happen to him.
But he believes all is under control, at least for now.

"I am safe and sound in my hiding place," he told IPS.

When the members of the Zimbabwe Media Commission were announced in
December, hopes were so high among journalists that this marked a beginning
of better fortunes for the media industry. They even dubbed the New Year
"twenty-turn", hoping things would turn for the better. But for Kwenda and
others, they seem to be turning for the worse.

IPS Africa was unable to reach Makedenge for comment.

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Raising more money for HIV/AIDS

Photo: Nic McPhee/Flickr
The AIDS levy could be expanded
HARARE, 21 January 2010 (PlusNews) - A plan to expand the three percent AIDS levy to include those in the informal sector could have a negative impact on the lives of Zimbabweans, analysts have warned.

In July 2009, the consultants carrying out a mid-term review of the Zimbabwe 2006-2010 National HIV and AIDS Strategic Plan recommended that the low level of funding for HIV/AIDS be improved by obtaining part of the money from value added taxation (VAT), a sales tax.

"The pandemic (HIV/AIDS) affected people from all walks of life and therefore everyone should make a contribution through the Value Added Tax system, rather than rely on individuals in formal employment and the corporate sector," the consultants' team leader suggested.

The AIDS levy introduced in 1999 to compensate for declining donor support consists of a three percent tax deducted from the salaries of formally employed workers and companies, but low salaries and the poor performance of industry have meant that not enough money has been collected.

Japhet Moyo, acting secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), said only 10 percent of Zimbabweans were formally employed. If the new plan was adopted, most people in informal employment - an offshoot of an economy that has languished in the doldrums for about 10 years - would also contribute.

The National AIDS Council (NAC) has indicated that it would soon present proposals to the government on how to administer the revenue from the VAT system.

''The introduction of an AIDS levy through the VAT system might actually make life harder for many people, considering that the economy is not performing well''
Joyce Siveregi, of the Zimbabwe AIDS Network (ZAN), acknowledged that it would be a "good idea to widen the resource base" of the AIDS fund by including those in the informal sector.

The plan is not without drawbacks. "Taxation levels in this country are already too high ... that could have an adverse effect on the general population, considering that the proposal to get extra funding through the VAT system could adversely affect prices," Siveregi told IRIN/PlusNews.

Crippling hyperinflation rendered the Zimbabwe dollar all but worthless in 2009, but the introduction of foreign currency in its place reined in inflation. If the VAT system pushed prices up, HIV-positive Zimbabweans would struggle to access medication and food, Siveregi cautioned.

Erich Bloch, an economist based in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, told IRIN/PlusNews: "The introduction of an AIDS levy through the VAT system might actually make life harder for many people, considering that the economy is not performing well."

He noted that "There is no guarantee that the fund will not be abused, and the solution is to boost the economy to broaden the tax collection base without sacrificing the poor majority."

NAC is responsible for the AIDS levy, and has already come under fire for failing to use the fund to improve the welfare of people living with HIV. Reports in the local media in 2009 alleged that most of the money was being spent on salaries and perks.

The government body charged with coordinating anti-AIDS efforts collected about US$1.7 million since February 2009, but spent only US$20,000 on antiretroviral medication, prompting HIV/AIDS activists to call for a financial audit.

The allegations came a few months after the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria replaced the NAC as the principal recipient of grants, after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) diverted more than US$7 million of Global Fund money, which they later returned.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Zimbabwe comment and analysis

ZANU PF have no care as to how many people die in opposition to their continued residence in power - even though they long the general election in March 2008, and Mugabe only bullied his way back into power by having his thugs beat and kill over 100 MDC supporters causing Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out of the election second round.

Even though names of police officers are given, there will be not be any action taken by anyone as they will receive the protection of Mugabe and ZANU PF.

"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 six police 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 witnesses.

"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.

Now, the attack and subsequent killing may have been political, but the crime still remains.

The ZRP has consistently says that they will not become involved in crimes that have polical connotations, and therefore they are able to act for the good of ZANU PF instead of the people they are sworn to serve - the people of Zimbabwe.

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.

Mugabe makes certain that all and any members of the various wings of ZANU PF and the armed forces receive all the protection (and more) so that acts like this can be covered up - even though it is apparent that the law has been broken.

How many more lives will Mugabe's rule be responsible for - and not held accountable for?


Nicholas Goche is the ZANU PF negotiator that hasn't bothered to pitch up to the talks - and hasn't offered any excuse either.

"ZANU PF Minister of Infrastructure and Communication, Nicholas Goche's son, Kudzai (25) on Monday appeared before a Chiredzi magistrate on allegations of defrauding a sugar processing concern Hippo Valley of almost US$4000.

Magistrate Judith Zvuyu heard that Kudzai allegedly made a double claim for payment of a motor vehicle serviced at Croco Motors last August.

He was remanded out of custody on US$1000 bail.

Appearing for the state, prosecutor Liberty Hove told the court that Kudzai, employed by Hippo Valley as a Planning Accountant in the Finance Department, last year claimed $3678 as payment to Croco Motors for a service rendered to them, knowing pretty well that the same payment had been made in advance.

Now I don't really care about the case, or the fact that the accused is a ZANU PF minister's son, what gets me is that Goche was able to answer his phone and answer questions about his son (before changing his story) but still has not bothered to attend the negotiations table.

Contacted for comment, Goche, who is also co-chairing the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), as well as being ZANU PF chief negotiator in the inter-party talks, first admitted that Kudzai was his son, before making a u-turn.

"My son, oh you mean Kudzai, but I do not have a son by that name," he said, before hanging his phone.

He shouldn't be "hanging the phone" - he should be hanging his head in shame...


It is now more than apparent that ZANU PF have no intention of rejoining the negotiating table.

And with Mugabe being 'on leave' we should take it as read that nothing will happen - at least before he returns to 'work' which is reportedly only going to be in early February. So another Mugabe delay is manufactured and carried out - with major results (if you are ZANU PF, that is)...

"Bitter rivalry between ZANU PF factions is fast developing into a threat to national security and it caused the withdrawal of party’s representatives to the GPA’s talks on Saturday, a Senior ZANU PF official said.

The widespread infighting has now escalated into the party’s provincial structures as Mnangagwa's faction comes back fighting causing turmoil in the beleaguered former liberation movement.

The bitter rivalry has now rendered some of the unity government functions inactive, particularly those run by ZANU PF Ministers.

A Senior ZANU PF source told The Zimbabwe Mail reporter that the ZANU PF delegation to the GPA talks with the MDC scheduled for last Saturday have been withdrawn as a result of the infighting, amid reports that the Mujuru faction riding on its resurgent control of the party is now demanding for fresh appointments of the ZANU PF representatives.

I find the fact that ZANU PF should make excuses for their absence from the negotiation table - a place where the future of Zimbabwe is being decided - as being the rivalry within their own party... Who cares that ZANU PF are at loggerheads with themselves?

I certainly don't!

They want Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche withdrawn from the talks amid allegations of heavy influence by the Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

The Mujuru faction is suspicious of its rival, particularly the roll of Patrick Chinamasa in the GPA talks and accusations of secret deals with the MDC formation led by Professor Arthur Mutambara are flying around.

The source said Chinamasa has now roped-in former Information Minister Jonathan Moyo as his "special advisor" to the talks. Moyo is Mnagagwa's chief strategist in his ambitions to succeed Robert Mugabe.

Beware the professor from Tsholotsho - he is a wicked and evil man who would sell his mother's soul to the devil if it had a decent enough price tag.

On another front, a source in ZANU PF said a damning land audit report prepared by the Mashonaland provincial Lands secretary, Themba Mliswa and is intended to expose how senior ZANU PF officials linked to Mujuru faction as owning more than one farm.

Themba Mliswa is a member of a JOC shadow special committee operating in the office of the Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa.

Targeted in the so called land audit are senior party officials, amongst them, politburo member Nathan Shamuyarira and Local government Minister Ignatius Chombo, both believed to be linked to the Mujuru faction in the province.

"A land report has exposed how senior officials in the province have been exposed for owning more than one farm. The audit report has shown that minister Chombo owns more than five farms in the province."

"This has divided the party into two. On one side the provincial executive led by John Mafa is pushing for the audit to be released while Chombo and his followers are fighting to stop the report from being made public.

And the entire future of Zimbabwe stops because of ZANU PF rivalry? Give me a break!


It would suit Mugabe to call elections next year - in fact, he has already hinted that tyhe GPA only has a lifespan of maybe 24 months... and it has already been in existence for 12 months (even though it has achieved nothin).

Zuma is expected to support everything that Mugabe want - and he is the MEDIATOR between the MDC and ZANU PF. Isn't that something approaching conflict of interests?

"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."

I can almost guarantee that Mugabe will call elections when he is good and ready - and he will not consult with Tsvangirai to arrive at a joint decision.

Mugabe has no intention of playing the power-sharing game - even though he had power slip from his grasp through the ballot box in March 2008. But, undaunted, he rallied his ZANU PF thugs, hung on to power and even though his party is the official opposition in parliament, they continue to rule. And that rule, Mugabe believes, should not be questioned. Ever.

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.

Since when has ZANU PF bothered about something like the law?

Remember that the current crisis was begun with a rejected referendum - and Mugabe lost his temper with the population and ordered the beginning of the 'land grab'. He may deny it, but have a look at the dates sometime. They are too close for it to be coincidental.

And Mugabe continues to turn a blind eye to the agricultural crisis - he accepts the murder of commercial farmers and workers, the beating and abduction of farmers and workers, and refuses to put a stop to the ongoing invasions.

Mugabe tells his party faithful that the land grab is to return the land to the rightful owners - and then gives the land to his loyalists - not the 'landless blacks'...

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 opposition."

Mugabe has got to understand that the MDC is the party of choice in Zimbabwe - but Mugabe does not care about popular mandates or anything so trivial...


How is it that the police can beat an MDC activist to death without any consequence, but the police can arrest two MDC activists on 'suspicion' of abducting a ZANU PF supporter?

I thought that the police have said that they will not get involved with crime that is politically motivated - that is, assuming that the reluctance to move on their own for murder is protected by that feeling?

"Two MDC activists, Fani Tembo and Emmanuel Chinanzvavana, were Tuesday arrested and detained at a Banket police station in Mashonaland West province for allegedly kidnapping a ZANU PF supporter.

MDC national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa confirmed the incident which he said could be part of a ZANU PF’s intimidation tactics on MDC activists.

"I can confirm that we received information pertaining to their arrest," he said,. "We have dispatched our personnel to go and ascertain the veracity of that report."

Tembo and Chinanzvavana are MDC councilors in the farming area.

The two were also part of over 40 MDC and civic society activists including two year-old Nigel Mutemagawu who were abducted between October and December in 2008 only to be released in February last year.

ZANU PF has no bounds when it come to the treatment of MDC supporters and officials, yet ZANU PF get all the police service that they need, require and want. Since when is this power-sharing - or, indeed, justice?

Although we are yet to ascertain the substance and the motivation behind Tembo and Chinanzvavana’s arrest, one is tempted to believe this could be part of the harassment that our members have been subjected to over the years.

"Harassment is a weapon that has been used for quite some time. Our friends in ZANU PF have found utility in that unfortunate weapon.


"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."

To the best of my knowledge, in Zimbabwe, it is a crime to threaten someone with death... Especially if the threat is believed and therefore reacted to. I should think that the rapid departure of Zimbabwe by the reporter speak volumes about the delivery of the threat.

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 Mbanga."

The fact that the police officer 'in the frame' reacted with threats says an awful lot, doesn't it?

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

And nothing ever will be done - not if Mugabe and ZANU PF have anything to do with it...

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."


The above was all written last evening - and what follows is the posting for today (Thursday)...


It is now 05b5 on Thursday morning and I have, as is my norm, plenty to do today. I need to make an appointment to see the GP this morning to top-up my drugs and also to get a refill on my sleeping tablets and a plan to come off them.

I also have loads of work to do on the PC in preparation for a karaoke I am doing on Saturday afternoon, and I have a friend bringing me his sick laptop to be sorted.

So, without much more ado, let's get cracking...

-o00o- happy with delaying the negotiations, ZANU PF have also managed to have the meetings which look at the making of a new constitution suspended.

"The constitution-making outreach programme has been indefinitely suspended following disagreements on the composition of the team that should collect ordinary people’s views.

The process has also been stymied by a funding crunch and at the time of writing it was not clear when normal business would resume.

Reliable sources in the Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee said on Tuesday they had failed to agree on the number of rapporteurs to accompany the outreach teams.

It is also understood that there is feuding over who should be a rapporteur with some members of the management committee saying all of them should be bound by oaths of secrecy.

Apart from not being able to move on with the actual constitution creation, they can't even agree on who should head the table, or who should actually be sat at the table!

As I stated earlier, we should be very aware that it was the public rejection of a new constitution that triggered the land grab and the economic decline of Zimbabwe in 2000 - although it has to be said that Zimbabwe was living on a knife edge at that time and any act could have precipitated the fall.

We should also be aware that ZANU PF will resist the creation of a new constitution as they have fiddled with it for so long, that it is almost unrecognisable. I believe that the core document should be the constitution as it was in 1980, as opposed to what it is today.

It would be a lot easier - but it is a suggestion that will be overlooked as it would be too easy.

As I read in a light-hearted email yesterday: "Government can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete."

Like it or lump it, politics is a luckless, hapless endeavour - unless those that participate are intent on serving those that put them in office - the voters...

They said all constitution-making programmes were suspended by the management committee until next week when it meets to discuss the financial situation and other administrative issues.

The management committee, they said, had indicated that it was better to delay the process than rush to produce a "half-baked" product.

"All constitutional programmes have been suspended by the management committee. They felt there were other issues, which needed attention before the outreach programme begins.

"There are still disagreements on the composition of rapporteurs, but there are more other pressing issues, which have to be addressed like financial constraints.

"Recording equipment is yet to be bought, cars haven’t been mobilised and rapporteurs are yet to be trained.

"Therefore, we cannot give a timetable of when the actual outreach will start because some of the issues are beyond our control as the Select Committee," Mangwana said.

Motor cars? What is the fixation with automobiles? Are there not enough vehicles to serve the requirement?


Mugabe will defend Gono to the best of his ability. Mugabe unconstitutionally and unilaterally re-appointed Gono as Governor of the Reserve Bank and almost immediately the MDC finance and minister, Tendai Biti, and Gono crossed swords and have done ever since.

Much of Gono's previous actions have been quasi-financial and have always been in the advantage of ZANU PF.

But with the advent of the coalition government, Mugabe hasn't had the financial support that he has enjoyed from the RBZ for the past thirty years and this hasn't made him the happiest camper.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is technically insolvent and is likely to collapse if the government does not recapitalize it, economists say.

The economists attribute the bank's current woes to the many programs it launched under the former government of President Robert Mugabe, often to the benefit of the former ruling ZANU PF party and its supporters, funded by printing vast quantities of the now-abandoned Zimbabwean dollar.

Mugabe will shoulder aside any criticism that the problems at the bank are caused by 30 years of double-dealing, but will allege that the MDC finance minister does not want to help put the bank back on a sure footing.

But we have to realise that not only is the bank insolvent, but it has debts that it cannot - nay - will not repay. Mugabe stated that Gono is 'no thief' when it was revealed that he had helped himself to money held in accounts with the bank - and has subsequently failed to repay that money.

Economist Nsununguli Mbongolwane told VOA that the bank was insolvent as its liabilities far outstrip its assets and it can no longer meet its obligations.

"The assets that the bank has, if any, are fewer than its liabilities and therefore it is technically insolvent and is likely to collapse," he said.

But economist Eric Bloch of
Bulawayo said that while the central bank could collapse if it were not recapitalized, it might have sufficient assets to cover its liabilities. He noted that the Reserve Bank owns three Harare buildings, one a 23-story office block, a large building in Bulawayo, the country's second city, a factory that produces gold jewelry, and a printing press and mint.

"It has extensive assets but it does not have cash," Bloch said. I"f government does not recapitalize it or enables it to obtain excess funds such as the special drawing rights from the International Monetary Fund then it will collapse."

The Ministry of Finance recently allocated the central bank US$10 million in the 2010 national budget to meet its operational costs, but most economists say this is far less than what would be needed to bail out the institution.

I expect that the Gono vs Biti challenge will continue for the foreseeable future.


I don't think that it has ever been denied that the MDC had any part in the targeted travel sanctions being imposed upon Mugabe and his senior apologists - but it has to be repeated, that the continuation of these measures lies first and foremost with the governments of the countries that implement them.

Even is the MDC were to call for the removal of the targeted preventative measures, that is not to say that the sanctions will be lifted.

The MDC do not have the final say in this regard.

"The United Kingdom Foreign Secretary David Miliband says the lifting of illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe will be guided by a call from the Movement for Democratic Change to that effect.
He added that there are a range of sanctions imposed by the EU, some of them "controlled" by the MDC-T party.

This is the first time a high level British official has tacitly acknowledged that there are SANCTIONS against
Zimbabwe and not "restrictive measures" as argued by the former opposition MDC-T party of Morgan Tsvangirai."

I must say that the reporter has neatly included the word "illegal" in his paragraphs above. I somehow foubt that Milliband would refer to the restrictive measures as "illegal".

The only people that believe that the targeted sanctions are "illegal" are those on the list. I ask, which laws have been broken to make them "illegal"? Under who's constitution are these measures against the law?

Earlier this year, Mugabe prevented the entry into Zimbabwe of a UN torture expert. Is this not similar to the preventing of Mugabe and his hierarchy entering other countries?

The MDC-T has not heeded calls from ZANU PF to campaign for the lifting of sanctions as agreed in the September 2008 Global Political Agreement arguing that they did not have a hand in their imposition.

Miliband, however, revealed that some sanctions are controlled by the MDC-T party of PM Tsvangirai, but he was not in a position to inform the House which ones were controlled by that party.



And finally today - only because this posting is begining to reach SERIOUS proportions, it would appear that the inter-party negotiations began again last evening...

The negotiators in the power sharing government finally met on Wednesday, for the first time this year, after a number of delays caused by ZANU PF. Welshman Ncube, a negotiator from the MDC-M, told SW Radio Africa that the talks failed to restart at the weekend because ZANU PF negotiator Nicholas Goche was out of the country, even though it had been agreed that the talks would start again.

The talks were rescheduled to Monday, but Ncube said: "The agreement was that the other ZANU PF negotiator, Patrick Chinamasa, was going to see if their alternative negotiator, Emmerson Mnangagwa, was around so that they would meet on Monday at
5pm. But Chinamasa phoned at around 4pm to tell us he had not been able to get him. This meant there was no point to go to the venue of the meeting."

Could you imagine the furore that Mnangagwa's presence would cause? There is already infighting within the ZANU PF camp with regard to the two main factions - one headed by former military supremo Solomon Mujuru and the other headed by the erstwhile Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa is known for his temper and the ability he has to make things happens - on both sides of the law.

Patrick Chinamasa is already a dubious character, insofar as we know he tried to change the agrrement documents between agreement and signature - and if he were partnered with Manangagwa? Eish! ZANU PF could spin the 'negotiations' out at will!

Mnangagwa is said to have been in the rural areas attending the funeral of a relative. Ncube said the earliest meeting that could therefore be arranged was for late Wednesday. He refused to divulge the progress of the talks, saying the negotiators had agreed not to talk to the media.

While it is understandable that the actual detail of the negotiations may need to remain confidential, it is essential for the government to issue regular press statement to keep people informed about the basics - where the meeting was held, who attended etc. This is the least that would be expected in a democracy. But so far the government has failed to release any official statements on these latest delaying tactics or even what the contentious issues are and what the parties have so far agreed on.

Probably because there is nothing to tell. They attend the 'negotiations' and sit there glowering at each other. Any suggestion in an effort to find common ground is instantly dismissed.

The Zimbabwean people deserve better - but we have to remember that the negotiations are as a direct result of Mugabe ignoring the popular mandate and continuing as if ZANU PF is the ruling party - which it isn't...

Mugabe only involves that public in Zimbabwe when it comes to voting, and most of those that do 'vote' for ZANU PF are dead and buried many years ago - or are elaborate creations of the ZANU PF institution that 'manages' the voters' roll.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said: "The delays are a frustrating business. We are coming to the end of our magnanimity and patience."


Take care.


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Zimbabwe Weekly Update


. The inter-party negotiations between the coalition partners did not take
place on Monday Jan. 18 as scheduled after Zanu-PF negotiators Patrick
Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche failed to attend. Talks were meant to resume on
Saturday but were postponed to Monday because of the absence of Goche who
was in Tanzania, reportedly on government business.

. South Africa President and negotiation facilitator Jacob Zuma, impatient
with the slow pace of the talks, suggested the MDC be flexible in demanding
the removal of controversial Attorney General Johannes Tomana and Reserve
Bank Governor Gideon Gono, to help speed along the negotiation process. Zuma
is also pushing for elections in Zimbabwe next year, but Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday said a date would be set for elections only
once all outstanding issues are resolved.

. U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray said his country is ready to lift
targeted sanctions imposed on the Zanu-PF elite once the three governing
parties fully implement the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

. The MDC denied claims by The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper that three MDC
ministers are being probed for corruption.

. The MDC on Friday said it would not give up on the fight to have Roy
Bennett sworn in as Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Agriculture, and would
resist pressure to appoint another person to fill the post.


. Only a quarter of Zimbabweans support President Robert Mugabe, a U.S.
Gallup poll has revealed. The poll said that if President Mugabe stood
against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai he would lose dismally.

. The head of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe (PAOZ), Bishop Trevor
Manhanga, has sparked controversy following his refusal to renew the
credentials of some pastors perceived to be close to MDC leadership.

. The country's three main unions representing state workers said they would
go on strike in the next two weeks if their demands for a minimum wage of
US$630 were not met. The strike would cripple public services and exert
pressure on the coalition government.


. Three people, including a journalist, were arrested in Harare on Monday
after police broke up a peaceful demonstration organised by Women of
Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). Thabita Taona, one of the arrestees, is still in
police custody.

. MDC provincial chairman for Masvingo Wilstaff Sitimere was arrested on
Tuesday morning for yet unknown charges.

. Zimbabwe's constitutional committee has postponed public consultations on
the draft constitution to allow an audit of members to ensure that only
accredited persons will be deployed.

. The constitutional committee is pressing Mugabe to publicly speak against
acts of political violence ahead of the public consultations.

. Zimbabwe police chief Augustine Chihuri faces a US$5 million lawsuit from
five trade union officials who are claiming damages for unlawful arrest and


. A Rusape farming family is currently barricaded inside their house on De
Rust tobacco farm, with no electricity and water for themselves or their
animals, after Zanu-PF youths invaded Koos Smit's farm last Tuesday and cut
off supplies.

. Police in Mutare are reportedly moving in to arrest two directors of
Matanuska, a private company owned by Malaysian and Dutch investors, on
charges of operating Fangundu Farm without an offer letter. Edzai Chimonyo,
a retired top army commander and Zimbabwe's ambassador to Tanzania, invaded
the farm over the festive season. He is now resisting a court order to
vacate the farm.

. A landmark statement issued by the South African government's Department
of International Relations and Co-operation on Monday announced that formal
contact had been made with the Zimbabwean government concerning the illegal
invasion of farms owned by South African citizens.

. The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) has cast doubts on the state of the
tobacco industry's recovery and has warned that government farm-eviction
threats against one third of its 150 members could lead to disaster.

. Plans by the government to conduct a cloud seeding exercise to induce rain
have been shelved due to lack of finances.  The development raises fears of
another poor farming season as it comes on the back of fertilizer shortages
and a prolonged dry spell.

Humanitarian Crisis

. The US-funded Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) said over two
million Zimbabweans would require food aid between now and March.
Independent estimates put the total population at between 7 and 8 million.


. Two students activists from the National University of Science and
Technology (NUST) were arrested and brutally assaulted by officers from
Bulawayo Central Police's Law and Order section last week. They were
released on Friday.

. Global medical charity organisation Medecins Sans Frontiers (MSF) says
Zimbabweans crossing illegally into South Africa after spending the holidays
at home are being raped and robbed by gangs on both sides of the border
between the two countries.

. Violent gangs led by the son of MP Aquiline Katsande (Zanu PF) are
terrorising villagers in her constituency of Mudzi West, beating up MDC
officers and threatening to burn and kill anyone who does not 'surrender' to
Zanu PF.


. Mugabe on Monday said Zimbabwe is willing to have foreign investors in the
country to invest and develop the country but only as "partners," stating
"the country's sovereignty is not negotiable." He also invited international
mining companies to invest in Zimbabwe, but cautioned that they would have
to do so on a racial basis, with black Zimbabwean partners.

. Zimbabwe Energy Minister Elias Mudzuri has backed down on his decision
last week to stop debt-ridden Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)
from exporting power to Namibia since the Hwange power station was not
working properly. ZESA has been providing Namibia with electricity to help
settle a US$40 million loan to refurbish Hwange power station.

. Zimbabwe's tourism ministry will seek treasury approval for a
US$70-million plan to fund various projects in an effort to benefit from the
2010 FIFA World Cup taking place in South Africa during June and July.

. The tourism industry has called on authorities to treat it as a productive
sector so that it can take advantage of the US$510 million "windfall" from
the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Last year, the IMF gave member
countries Special Drawing Rights (SDR) allocations to bolster their reserves
ravaged by the global financial crisis.


. Finance Minister Tendai Biti is urging the government to resolve the
country's debt crisis, stating that Zimbabwe's US$5.4 billion debt is
hindering efforts to rebuild the economy. Biti on Monday said Zimbabwe would
seek highly indebted poor country (HIPC) status to have its debt cancelled.

. The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Monday said Zimbabwe must settle
its arrears with international lending institutions before it can access
available funds.

. Zimbabwe's year-on-year inflation stood at -7.7 percent in December, the
Central Statistical Office (CSO) said. Zimbabwe's inflation peaked at 500
billion percent in December 2008.

. The future of Zimbabwe's central bank is in doubt because of a lack of
funds from the Treasury, a bank official said.


. African Consolidated Resources (ACR), the British-based company that owns
the rights to mine in Marange, has condemned "fake patriots" who are
plundering the fields for the benefit of a corrupt elite. ACR Chief
Executive Andrew Cranswick also said contrary to deliberate misinformation,
ACR is Zimbabwe-founded and run by Zimbabweans.

. The Center for Research and Development in Mutare said soldiers and youth
militia in Marange have been beating and torturing people indiscriminately
and raping women, despite government assertions that the area has been

. Zimbabwe has rejected a European monitor to oversee the export of diamonds
from the Marange fields. The World Diamond Council in New York has warned
that if an acceptable monitor is not agreed upon, it will call for the
country's suspension from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS).

. The Zimbabwe Miners' Federation (ZMF) said small-scale miners now want to
be allocated claims on Marange, in the name of empowerment.


. Locals in De Doorns (South Africa's Western Cape province) said they would
chase out any Zimbabwean nationals should they try to return, after
xenophobic attacks rocked the community two months ago. "We will braai them
and turn them into KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) if they come back. There's
no place for them here," said Pastor Frans Henke on Monday.
. Breede Valley mayor Charles Ntsomi said continuing tensions in the area
meant that re-integrating the Zimbabweans was not possible at this stage.
Thousands of Zimbabweans have been living in tents on the town's sports
field since November.

. Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana says he intends inviting his
Zimbabwean counterpart to South Africa to discuss the issue of the displaced
Zimbabweans in De Doorns.


. Artists for Democracy in Zimbabwe Trust (ADZT) director and senior
freelance journalist Stanley Kwenda last week fled the country after he was
allegedly phoned and threatened with death by a senior police officer,
Assistant Commissioner Chrispen Makedenge, over a story reportedly published
in the Zimbabwean newspaper.


. Water Resources Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo on Monday said Zimbabwe would
continue to face problems in providing the population with safe drinking
water, as the country needs more than US$5 billion to overhaul


. A report by parliament's justice committee reveals the shocking state of
affairs in the country's under-funded prisons, with half-starved prisoners
allegedly still walking around naked due to a shortage of prison garb. The
prison infrastructure across the country is in a serious state of disrepair.


. Crocodiles have killed eight fish poachers in Lake Chivero outside Harare
in the last two weeks.

. Stray lions have devoured three villagers in the Guruve, Kanyemba area,
causing panic among the villagers.

Source:  Zimbabwe Democracy Now


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ZANU( PF) has to dismantle terror machinery before new elections can be held

'' The hardest lesson of my life has come to me late.It is that a nation can
win freedom without its people becoming free.I am a  Zimbabwean patriot and
an African patriot too.I refuse to accept that we cannot do better than we
have so far done, or to reach for easy excuse that all our mistakes are
simply a colonial inheritance that can conveniently be blamed on the
invaders.'' I have quoted these words from the book , THE STORY OF MY LIFE,
by Joshua Nkomo,simply to illustrate that true freedom as envisaged by the
founding mothers and fathers of this great nation called Zimbabwe still has
to be accomplished.Freedom is not simply about holding regular elections no
matter how uneven and biased the political playing field is.A nation cannot
be free when the majority of its inhabitants live in debilitating poverty,
fear and repression.It is a complete negation of freedom to have a set-up
where might is right and where those who possess and control the coersive
power of the State ride roughshod over the basic and fundamental human
rights of the weak and poor majority.

It is a fact that since 1980, elections have been regularly held in
Zimbabwe.It is equally true that the majority,if not all of  these electoral
contests, have been marred by violence, intimidation, thuggery and outright
vote rigging.Invariably, most electoral results in Zimbabwe have been
contested mainly because the process that gave rise to these elections was
fundamentally flawed and as a result, the results of these elections were
always a fertile ground for contestation.The problem we have in this country
is that our politics, since the attainment of independence on April 18,
1980, have always been the politics of power retention at whatever cost.What
has always mattered is whether the political establishment, as ushered in at
independence, had been preserved and retained intact; political power,
economic privileges and all.Everything else was subordinated to this primary
instinct of power retention.As a result, the dominant political players,
during every electoral contest, would throw all caution to the wind and go
for the jugular to ensure that, ultimately, they always retained political
power and hence, their privileged economic status as well.This is where we
got it all wrong.

In a democracy, elections should give the voters an opportunity to freely
decide who should be entrusted with the duty of running matters of the
State.Put alternatively, any election that fails to accord the voters an
opportunity to freely choose their political leaders is but a sham
election.Do I hear someone talking about the farcical June 27, 2008
presidential election run-off in Zimbabwe? That internationally discredited
sham of an election is an unmitigated example of how not to run a free and
fair  election. My main fear is that I always see the ghost of June 27,
2008.If not thoroughly exorcised, this ghost will come back to haunt us
come the next elections in Zimbabwe.Just mark my words. The situation on the
ground in Zimbabwe today, in my humble view, is still far from being
suitable for the holding of a free amd fair election any time soon.Whilst we
now have a semblance of political stability and some measure of tranquility,
I actually view this as a false dawn..Benith this facade of peace and
tranquility lies the lethal ghost of political intolerance and deeply
entrenched mistrust and bitterness.We seem to be living in a fool's paradise
where, unfortunately, some of us have chosen to bury their heads in the
sand, ostrich style, and somehow hope that our politics will just get
themselves  right without any deliberate and conscious effort to heal the
nation.Sometimes, I wonder what has happened to the Organ on National
Healing and Integration.Can somebody please tell me whether or not this
organ is still in existence and functional?

Only a deranged mind can dispute the fact that the MDC led by Morgan
Tsvangirai is the most popular political party in Zimbabwe at this
juncture.This fact has been proven by various scientific surveys too
numerous to mention in this short essay.As sure as the sun rises in the east
and sets in the west, Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC will win, resoundingly,
any free and fair election held in Zimbabwe today, tomorrow or at any time
in the near future.What is in serious doubt is whether power will be
transferred to Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC if they win an election; as
they will sure do.For once, I would be uncharacteristically  defeatist  and
openly declare that even if Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC were to win the
next elections, it will be a real nightmare for them to obtain total
transfer of power from the remnants of the securocrats who still retain a
tenacious hold on the coersive instruments of State power today.That is the
real tragedy we have in Zimbabwe at this juncture in our political
history.We have never experienced a situation where power has been
transferred from one political party to another after the holding of
elections.We are just used to the holding of generally discredited, violent
and rigged elections where the result is manipulated and the people's voice
is cheated.If this cancerous political disease is not completely cured,
Zimbabwe will always be mired in debilitating  political problems which
will, inevitably, adversely impact on the economic turnaround that all of us
are so keen to embark upon.

The instruments of terror and repression are still intact throughout
Zimbabwe.Those militias and other State actors who violated and tormented
the nation between March and June 2008 are still roaming free.What guarantee
is there that these merchants of terror will not be let loose again, in the
event that another election is called for today? My argument is that there
is no use in holding an election in circumstances where the people's will
will be manipulated and also, never be respected.It has been a long walk to
freedom in Zimbabwe.The terror machinery, manufactured, nurtured and
sustained by the former ruling party, ZANU PF, has not yet been
dismantled.Holding an election under these circumstances would be like
taking a lamb to the slaughter.We should not use our peace-loving people as
canon fodder.

Written  by :

Senator Obert Gutu

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Joseph Made – The Perennial “Non-Performer” – Must be Fired!

While Mugabe is away on his annual leave, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
must show some tenacity and immediately sack Minister of Agriculture,
Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Dr Joseph Made. Dismissing the
blundering minister who is creative with the truth, has a hereditary
disposition for failure, and a propensity for misinformation, will
ultimately save what is left for the 2009/10 agricultural season. Made has
churned out a plethora of pathetic excuses, laughable half-truths,
outrageous misrepresentations and catastrophic lies about the status of
Zimbabwe’s agriculture for over a decade.
Now that the national maize crop is an almost write off, the Government of
National Unity (GNU) should be preparing for planting the 100 000 hectare
irrigated winter wheat crop in May.
By 2000, in the absence of any “sanctions”, Made, the Chief Executive
Officer of the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA), had
single-handedly driven the company into bankruptcy. He transformed ARDA into
a partisan agricultural management company for farms seized by ministers
under the fast track land acquisition programme. Despite his record and with
the lobbying of his colleagues, Made was appointed Minister of Agriculture
and under his watch, organised agriculture has fallen apart.
On December 4, 2006 Mugabe, while addressing traditional leaders at Nyava
Secondary School in Musana, said that ARDA was "rotten" and needed a
complete overhaul as its operations and administration were in shambles.
"ARDA yakaora karekare. Matractor ose akaparara."  An audit carried out by
Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, Operation Maguta, the failed command
agriculture project, revealed to Mugabe that some of the machines, which had
been put under the ARDA, had been cannibalised while others had gone
An audit conducted by the ARDA board revealed that 400 tractors were missing
from the asset register. Some of the tractors had reportedly been stripped
of parts while others could not be accounted for. Five hundred tractors were
distributed under Phase Three, while 1 200 tractors were distributed under
Phase Two, and 925 under Phase One, giving a cumulative figure of 2 625
tractors. Zimbabwe’s agriculture at maximum production requires 15 000
tractors, in the 80 horsepower range.
Joseph Made is no farmer. Not only does he spew preposterous statements
regarding crops, cattle, and farming in general, he mocks our collective
intelligence by expecting us to accept his sweeping comments as fact. These
statements have become the hallmark of Made’s disastrous tenure as he steers
Zimbabwe’s agriculture deeper into despair:
2002: After a tour of the country via helicopter, Made dismissed expert
advice on looming maize shortages saying, “Zimbabwe has enough to last until
the next agricultural season.”
2002: “Government will import 1.5 million tonnes of maize to cover about 18
months under a long-term plan aimed at averting starvation in the country.”
2002: ...the government would “irrigate 100 000 hectares of winter maize
from which 400 000 tonnes could be expected by August or September.”
2002: “While the winter programme seems to be going well, maize production
was only taking place in Chiredzi where nearly 600 000 tonnes of maize were
expected.” Then, two days later, he said: “60 000 tonnes of maize are
2002: “This time the government has decided to release the initial package
early because of the experience of last season where many people ended up
getting input packages in the middle of the season.”
2002: Made forces sugar cane farmers in the Lowveld to uproot their sugar
cane crop and plant “winter maize”. The late President of Zambia, Mr
Mwanawasa, was hoodwinked into officiating at what was touted as Southern
Africa’s maize revolution in the lavish Lowveld winter maize project
rollout. Made proudly announced that, “Government would plant winter maize
at Hippo Valley, Triangle and Mkwasine Estates.” (However, this expensive
experiment did not factor in low temperatures and frost whilst unfamiliar
pests devoured the winter maize crop and only 8 000 tonnes of maize came out
of it.)
2003: ...the government was “doing everything possible to ensure that all
farmers are provided with the necessary inputs before the beginning of the
2004: “I will be there to monitor the performance of personnel in my
ministry, for being a non-performer is a good as sabotage.”
2005: In a press release, Amnesty International said assessment by
independent organisations revealed Zimbabwe was likely to have a cereal
deficit of between 500 000 and 800 000 tonnes. Made said Zimbabwe had
produced 2 431 182 tonnes of maize in the season that had just ended.
Together with sorghum and millet, it should come to 2 805 995 tonnes. He
said: “More than the country farmers had produced 15 times
what they had produced last season.”
2006: “Our investigations have shown that a monkey caused damage to a
transformer thereby sabotaging our preparations for the coming season. If
not for that monkey, the situation was not going to be as bad. We now have
to import a huge chunk of our fertiliser requirements from neighbouring
South Africa.” Made said the monkey “tampered with the transformer and was
electrocuted in the process.”
2007: A Cabinet Minister said: “Preparations for the 2007/08 farming season
are progressing well with government making all the necessary efforts to
procure inputs for farmers.” Made said, “Adequate maize seed and fertiliser
had been imported to augment local supplies.”
2008:  “If fertiliser availability improves, the yield capacity could go up
by as much as 400 or 500 percent.” He continued to say that if farmers took
proper care of their equipment, “production capacity in the next five years
could surpass 1 000 percent.”
2009: It is reported that Zimbabwe needs more than US$700 million to meet
its immediate humanitarian needs, US$142 408 264 is needed for agriculture
alone and US$288 512 399 alone for food aid. Made said he is “...working
towards assisting farmers, noting that the reduced hectarage in winter wheat
meant the country would have to resort to imports, which eat up the much
needed foreign currency for other critical sectors.”
2010: The condition of the staple maize crop across the country has
deteriorated and Made said the situation “was not rosy”. He continued: "This
year farmers planted one million hectares (of maize) compared to around 900
000 the last time...erratic electricity supplies had compounded the
situation adding that fertilizer producers had faced challenges owing to
energy and water shortages.”
Made has miscalculated, misled, and mismanaged the ministry of agriculture.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again
expecting different results. Made would have the public believe that land
reform was a success. He has regurgitated such figures as 300 000 resettled
smallholder farmers and 56 000 large-scale farmers; however, the government
appointed presidential land resettlement committee issued a report that
listed 112 000 smallholder farmers and 12 500 large-scale farmers
These monumental blunders in agriculture have a domino effect on the economy
and dates back to 1992, when ZANU(PF) faced with one of the worst droughts
in history, and with its zeal to appease the electorate, forced the  Grain
Marketing Board (GMB)  to import 350 000 tonnes of yellow maize worth US$250
million which Zimbabwe did not need. Corrupt politicians with
self-enrichment intentions deliberately ignored the GMB and the Commercial
Farmers Union (CFU) crop forecasts, which indicated a good maize harvest.
The GMB ended up with an extra 469 000 tonnes of yellow maize and sold 317
000 tonnes as stock feed to local farmers and milling companies and
re-exported 102 000 tonnes to the Middle East at a loss. 50 000 tonnes of
maize had to be burnt because it was not even suitable for animal
consumption.  The persons who profiteered from this transaction are still in
ZANU (PF) and the government still making decisions for agriculture for
their benefit.
Currently, halfway through the season, fertiliser still awaits
transportation to warehouses across Zimbabwe from neighbouring countries.
The GNU has utilised part of the IMF donor funds meant for currency
stabilisation to buy fertiliser, and yet, the importation of inferior
fertiliser is causing colossal crop failures that will result in massive
food shortages, starvation, and death. Innocent Zimbabweans, who have faith
in their government, will die of hunger due to the repetitive bungling by an
obtuse and clueless minister.
Made a political Houdini, despite loosing his parliamentary seat and in
spite of all the documented ineptness, his loyalty to Mugabe earned him a
senatorial seat. “Agricultural Engineering, Mechanisation and Irrigation”
portfolios were added to his ministerial duties; however, it would seem his
focus is on his role as an enthusiastic spokesman and farm manager for
Mugabe’s private Gushungo Holdings and other multiple farm occupiers.
Zimbabwe’s economic saboteurs such as Made, are the enemies within.
Agriculture, once the backbone of Zimbabwe’s economy, has become a smoke
screen for would-be land grabbers, pseudo revolutionaries and pretend
farmers. Joseph Made perpetuates inaccuracies regarding crop production, and
endangers the nation with fictitious crop output forecasts that have tragic
consequences. The people of Zimbabwe deserve better.
Phil Matibe

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Bill Watch 2/2010 of 20th January 2010 [Party Strengths in Parliament]


[20th January 2010]

Changes in Party Strengths in Parliament

Changes in party strengths in both the House of Assembly and the Senate occurring between the Parliamentary elections of March 2008 and the 31st July 2009 were detailed in Bill Watch Special of 31st July 2009.  The changes took into account Constitution Amendment 19, which added a few seats to both Houses, the number of seats which had fallen vacant through deaths or the taking up of other positions and also the fact that 4 MPs had been suspended and lost their voting rights.  Since the end of July last year, by-elections have still not been held, more vacancies have occurred through deaths, three nominated seats have not been filled, and three MDC-M members were expelled from their party, meaning that their seats had to be vacated.  The lone Independent member of the House of Assembly has rejoined ZANU-PF, but kept his seat. 

Voting Strengths in the House of Assembly

Total number of seats:            214

Vacancies: deaths                          6

Vacancies: expulsions                   3

Vacancies: other                             2

Suspended MPs                             4

Sitting MPs                                 199

The breakdown by party of the 199 sitting MPs is:

ZANU-PF                                       96

MDC-T                                           95

MDC-M                                             8

After the 2008 Parliamentary Elections [and before 4 extra seats were added by Constitution Amendment 19] the total number of seats in the House of Assembly was 210 [ZANU-PF 99; MDC-T 100; MDC-M 10; Independent 1].

Voting Strengths in the Senate

Total number of seats:            100

Vacancies: deaths                          4

Vacancies: other                             5

Sitting Senators                          91

The breakdown of the 91 sitting Senators is:

ZANU-PF                                       29  [25 elected and 4 appointed]

Provincial Governors                    10  [all ZANU-PF]

Senator Chiefs                              17  [Traditionally chiefs have voted ZANU-PF]

Likely ZANU-PF voting strength 56 

MDC-T                                           27  [23 elected and 4 appointed]

MDC-M                                             8  [6 elected and 2 appointed]

After the 2008 Elections [before 7 extra seats were added by Constitution Amendment 19] the total number of seats in the Senate was 93 [ZANU-PF likely voting strength 63 (30 elected + 5 appointed Senators + 10 Governors + 18 Chiefs);  MDC-T 24 (all elected Senators);  MDC-M 6 (all elected Senators)].

Note: The figures given above do not include the Attorney General – because although he has the right to sit and to speak in both Houses, he has no vote.  All other members are voting members – whether elected, appointed, nominated, ex officio, constituency or non-constituency, chiefs or provincial governors.

Details of the 11 Vacant Seats in the House of Assembly

Constituency Seats [10]

Seats formerly held by MDC-T [3]

Matobo North, Matabeleland South [vacated by Lovemore Moyo on election as Speaker]

Emakhandeni-Entumbane, Bulawayo [ex Cornelius Dube, deceased]

Makoni Central, Manicaland [ex John Nyamande, deceased]

Seats formerly held by MDC-M [3]

These three seats fell vacant following the holders’ expulsion from MDC-M:

Bulilima East, Matabeleland South [previously held by Norman Mpofu]

Lupane East, Matabeleland North [previously held by Njabuliso Mguni]

Nkayi South, Matabeleland North [previously held by Abednico Bhebhe]

Seats formerly held by ZANU-PF [4]

Gokwe-Gumunyu, Midlands [ex Ephrem Mushoriwa, deceased]

Guruve North, Mashonaland Central [ex Cletus Mabaranga, deceased]

Bindura North, Mashonaland Central [ex Elliot Manyika, deceased]

Mutare North, Manicaland [ex Charles Pemhenayi, deceased]

Appointed/Nominated Seats [1]

This is the seat to which ZANU-PF is entitled under the GPA, because a sitting MP [Joice Mujuru] was appointed as Vice-President.  It has not been filled.

Details of the 9 Vacant Seats in the Senate

Constituency seats [6]

Seat formerly held by MDC-T [1]

Gweru-Chirumanzu, Midlands [ex Patrick Kombayi, deceased]

Seats formerly held by ZANU-PF [5]

Chegutu, Mashonaland West [vacated by Edna Madzongwe on election as President of the Senate]

Chiredzi, Masvingo [vacancy caused by appointment of Titus Maluleke as a Provincial Governor]

Gokwe South, Midlands [vacancy caused by appointment of Jaison Machaya as a Provincial Governor]

Mberengwa, Midlands [ex Richard Hove, deceased]

Bindura-Shamva, Mashonaland Central [ex Misheck Chando, deceased]

Chiefs [1]

Matabeleland South [ex Chief Bidi, deceased].  The replacement must be elected by the Provincial Assembly of Chiefs for Matabeleland South.

Appointed/Nominated Seats [2]

There are 2 vacancies which ZANU-PF is entitled to fill – 1 brought about by the death of the late Vice-President Msika, and 1 because a sitting Senator, John Nkomo, was appointed as Vice-President in succession to Vice-President Msika. 

Suspended Members of House of Assembly

The 4 suspended MPs are all from MDC-T.  Each was automatically suspended because convicted of an offence and given a prison sentence of more than 6 months.  While suspended they cannot vote in the House or exercise other  functions as MPs.  Under section 42 of the Constitution, the suspensions operate notwithstanding that all are out of custody on bail pending hearing of appeals to the High Court against both conviction and sentence.]  These seats will only become vacant and up for by-elections if the MP’s lose their appeals.

Matthias Mlambo [MDC-T MP for Chipinge East, Manicaland] convicted of inciting public violence, sentenced to 10 months imprisonment

Meki Makuyana [MDC-T MP for Chipinge South, Manicaland] convicted of kidnapping a minor, sentenced to 12 months imprisonment

Shuah Mudiwa [MDC-T MP for Mutare West, Manicaland] convicted of kidnapping a minor, sentenced to 7 years imprisonment

Ernest Mudavanhu [MDC-T MP for Zaka North, Masvingo] convicted of abusing subsidised farming inputs, sentenced to 12 months imprisonment. 

Potential Changes if Governorships are Redistributed

Changes in party representation in the Senate can be expected if the “supposedly” agreed to sharing of provincial governorships between the three parties is confirmed.  Also, if, as previously announced, three of the MDC-T provincial governors are to be drawn from the House of Assembly, three more seats will be added to the number of by-elections to take place for the House.

16 By-Elections for Constituency Seats Long Overdue

All by-elections are long overdue [some outstanding since July and October 2008] in gross contravention of both the Constitution and the Electoral Act.  The members of the new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] were announced on Monday 21st December.  Once the appointment of the chairperson has been announced, the country will be one step closer to holding by-elections, although it has been suggested that ZEC has no funds for the holding of by-elections, so this excuse may cause further delays.  Abednico Bhebhe, former MDC-M MP for Nkayi South, has already announced his intention to take legal action to compel the holding of by-elections.  And all three former MDC-M MPs have stated their intentions to stand in their former constituencies as independent candidates, but they would be likely to vote with MDC-T if returned to Parliament.  An additional factor in the five Matabeleland by-elections is that they are expected to be contested by candidates from the revived ZAPU.

Extension of By-Elections Moratorium for GPA Parties?

In Article 21 of the GPA the three GPA political parties agreed that for one year from the signing of the GPA [i.e. until 15th September 2009] they would not compete against each other in by-elections that might arise, and that of the three parties only the party holding a constituency seat before it became vacant would nominate a candidate to replace its previous representative.  As yet unconfirmed reports on the inter-party negotiations suggest that the negotiators have agreed that this moratorium should be extended to cover all by-elections held before the next general elections.  If so, that would not prevent other parties, or independent candidates, from contesting by-elections – because the extended moratorium agreement would bind only MDC-T, MDC-M and ZANU-PF. 


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