By Tichaona Sibanda
21 January 2013
A massive explosion ripped through a house in Zengeza 2 in Chitungwiza
Monday afternoon, instantly killing five people and injuring others, police
Police Inspector Daniel Badza from St Mary’s police station told SW Radio
Africa the blast occurred just after 3pm and killed 4 adults and one minor.
He said they are yet to establish what caused the explosion that destroyed
eight other houses along Mbaura street in the surburb.
‘We are busy with our investigations and its still early to pinpoint the
exact cause of the explosion. We have officers on the ground scurrying to
the area to establish what happened,’ Inspector Badza said.
Job Sikhala, the former MP for St Mary’s, said his house is more than 2km
from the street where the explosion took place, but it was so huge it shook
his house. He said he believed that the house belonged to a tradional
healer, who is known to have kept gas cylinders.
‘From what I hear from people in the area, the owner of the house which was
apparently obliterated by the blast, belonged to this n’anga, who is well
known in the area,’ Sikhala said.
By Tichaona Sibanda
21 January 2013
War vets leader Jabulani Sibanda has told MDC-T supporters in Chipinge that
they will be killed if they vote against ZANU PF in the forthcoming
The MDC-T says Sibanda has been based in Musikavanhu for the last three
days, forcing villagers to his meetings. He has promised he will unleash
violence against anyone who supports the party led by Prime Minster Morgan
Pishai Muchauraya, the party spokesman in Manicaland, confirmed that the war
vets leader had been intimidating their supporters with the object of
Muchauraya, the MDC-T’s Makoni South MP, accused Sibanda of lying to the
villagers that he had the capability to monitor how the villagers will vote
in the election.
‘He has ordered all headmen and chiefs in the district to write down names
of people whose ages range from 15 to 60 and also state which party they
support,’ he said.
According to Muchauraya, Sibanda claimed that all villagers in the district
will be issued with numbers by the chiefs that they will present to ZANU PF
people who will be monitoring people as they come to vote.
‘Sibanda says they will use the numbers to see who has voted against ZANU,’
The MP however rubbished the claims, suggesting Sibanda belongs to the ‘wild
west’ where things were settled using the laws of the jungle.
‘This is just a gimmick by Sibanda to intimidate our supporters. He has no
capacity whatsoever to dictate how voters will cast their votes, once inside
a polling booth.
‘He preached the same message in 2008, but ZANU PF lost the election and
they will lose again this time using the same strategy,’ Muchauraya said,
adding that an election campaign needs to be done in a free and democratic
‘Electioneering should not be done under threats and intimidation.
Intimidating people is itself, of course, the highest manifestation of
dictatorship,’ explained Muchauraya.
Meanwhile police in Chivhu arrested an MDC-T official on allegations of
waving his party symbol to a senior police officer.
Reports said the MDC deputy district chairperson for Chikomba West, Patrick
Chipo Gwini, was arrested in Chivhu and was detained for about four hours.
He was charged and was ordered to report again to the police.
The official said police allege that he provoked a Superintendent Mutasa by
waving the open palm MDC salute at him. Gwini denies the allegations
claiming the police were after him, after he accused them of being partisan
at a recent meeting of political parties.
January 21 2013 at 06:14pm
Harare, Zimbabwe - An animal welfare group says five baby elephants held in
captivity in western Zimbabwe for shipment to zoos in China have been
returned to the wild.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said Monday
the calves were taken to a state-run national park over the weekend where
they will undergo “rehabilitation and integration” with existing elephant
herds. The babies' real mothers could not be traced.
State parks and wildlife officials agreed on their release, the group said,
and “the capture of wild animals for zoos or similar habitats, irrespective
of location” is expected to be stopped.
Four baby elephants were flown to China in November. Conservationists said
the calves suffered extreme stress separated from family groups on the
36-hour journey to China and one died later. - Sapa-AP
By Alex Bell
21 January 2013
There is concern for the fate of at least two elephants still being held in
Zimbabwe for future export, to fulfil an order placed by China.
The animals are being held in Victoria Falls, according to the Zimbabwe
Conservation Task Force (ZCTF). They are part of an order that was only part
filled with the export of four baby elephants to zoos in China late last
year. One of those elephants has since died.
Another five elephants, four of which were destined for China, were this
weekend transferred to the Umfurudzi National Park after they were released
from bomas they were being held in, at Hwange National Park. The animals had
been captured and removed from their family herds ahead of being exported.
But the National Parks authorities, following the intervention of the
Zimbabwe NSPCA, decided the group would be rehabilitated at Umfurudzi
because they “had grown too big” and were too used to the bomas.
The animals now face a three month rehabilitation period.
ZCTF chairman Johnny Rodrigues, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that this
victory is bittersweet, because it doesn’t change the fact that orders for
animals are still being placed and fulfilled. He said that there are still
animals being held, including the two elephants in Victoria Falls. He said
that orders for another 48 elephants have already been placed by
international countries, and the cash strapped government would be
fulfilling these demands.
“I praise the people that were involved in having the animals released, but
I believe there is hidden agenda. There are still animals being held,”
He said the government is already committed to fulfilling China’s order,
because they have been paid.
“I admire all the people that did so much to save them (the five released
elephants), but there are another 48 elephants on order to be exported,”
He added: “It is frightening when we exploit something that is our heritage
and export them to another country. We are going to get a High Court order
to prevent authorities from doing what they are doing.”
By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Monday, 21 January 2013 11:44
HARARE - With the world agonising on whether to attend the United Nations
World Tourism Authority (UNWTO) jamboree slated for August in Zimbabwe and
Zambia, operators say the country’s wildlife sector stands at the precipice.
In a statement last week the Save Conservancy Trust (SVC)said the world is
unsure whether to smile, look away or cry.
“With January being the most important month of the year for the marketing
of hunting safaris the current impasse is a recipe for disaster: no hunting
permits, no overseas clients, no SVC income, collapse of the SVC, no
community benefits now or ever — huge diplomatic fallout, dire consequences
for Zimbabwe’s tourism,” the Trust said.
“The world is in dismay as Zimbabwe allows the destruction of its tourism
Whilst the political will for the solution has been repeatedly expressed,
the actual progress on the ground is non-existent.
The SVC is simply being blackmailed into submission by National Parks who
have since refused to issue hunting permits for 2012 and now also for 2013,”
the statement added.
Following the failure by a Zanu PF politburo committee to resolve the
impasse, government has since moved and formed a committee headed by deputy
premier Arthur Mutambara to find a solution to the troubles bedevilling one
of the world’s biggest wildlife sanctuaries.
The SVC said the failure by tourism authorities particularly the department
of parks and wildlife to act or its negative actions, have often been to the
detriment of private and national wildlife.
Natural Resources minister Francis Nhema and his Tourism counterpart Walter
Mzembi both from Zanu PF have been at each other’s throat over the wildlife
Mzembi, fronting Zimbabwe’s quest for a successful co-hosting of the tourism
extravaganza with Zambia has argued that the negative reports being
generated by the so called indigenisation drive in the wildlife sector are
working against his efforts.
Zanu PF factional fights pitting vice president Joice Mujuru and Defence
minister Emmerson Mnangagwa fighting to succeed Mugabe have also been blamed
for the chaos in the Save Valley.
Nhema is reported to belong to the Mnangagwa faction while Mzembi is said to
side with Mujuru.
“Conservancies at large have suffered from actions of the department of
parks rather than enjoyed its support, whilst the ministry of Environment
(under Nhema) manoeuvres in the background.
“How does a willing SVC engage on its many community participation proposals
with unresponsive government departments?” the Trust queried.
Two weeks ago, Germany ambassador to Zimbabwe, Hans Gnodtke warned that his
country and other European countries may boycott the UNWTO summit in protest
over the decimation of the SVC some of whose properties are protected by
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs).
SVC said a Zanu PF-aligned group now known as the “Masvingo 37” is on the
rampage while government watches.
“What is the goal for refusing hunting permits for the SVC and other
“A group called the “Masvingo 37”, already multiple beneficiaries from the
land redistribution programme, are holding investors to ransom and demanding
a stake under a murky policy called “Wildlife-based land reform.”
“The “Masvingo 37” has stated that their interest is not in conservation or
active participation “we want cash” is the recorded demand.
They are actively engaged in poaching and bush meat trade as we write,” the
Zimbabwe's Deputy Mines Minister has leveled serious accusations at the
nation's armed forces, accusing it of colluding to trade the country's rough
diamonds for weapons, Rough and Polished reports. Gift Chimanikire of the
Movement for Democratic Change Party said that the nation was not earning as
much as it should for its rough diamonds, because instead of being sold on
the open market, they are being bartered for arms.
The diamond company doing the most mining activity in the Marange region,
Anjin, is owned by China and the Zimbabwean Army in a 90%-10% split, and it
is difficult to account for the dollar value of the army's share of the
gems, since they are traded for weapons, according to Chimanikire. The
Deputy Mines Minister said that as of 2 years ago, Anjin had amassed 5.8
million carats of rough diamonds that were not brought to tender in Harare.
Chimanikire recommended a change in the way diamonds were sorted in the
country in order to quash corruption, according to Rough and Polished. The
Deputy Minister criticized Zimbabwe's practice of sorting diamonds at the
country's International Airport and advocated for the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority to audit transactions where the diamonds are produced to begin
Harare, January 21, 2013 - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday
buried his deputy, John Nkomo, whose death from cancer has underscored
concerns about the 88-year-old leader's own health problems and succession
Mugabe, who has been in power for more than three decades, is seeking
another five-year term as president after his Zanu (PF) party chose him as
its candidate for elections due this year despite fears he is battling
Making no reference to his own health, Mugabe called for peaceful elections
and praised Nkomo, who died last week, as a man of principle who worked to
foster political reconciliation between rival parties.
The southern African country has a history of violent and disputed
elections, including one in 2008 that led Mugabe and arch rival Morgan
Tsvangirai of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to form a compromise
Mugabe told thousands of mourners at a Harare shrine to heroes of Zimbabwe's
independence struggle that the best tribute to Nkomo would be a smooth
"Peace, unity and harmony should prevail in the country if we desire to move
forward," he said in the hour-long address.
The Heroes' Acre speech was interrupted by heavy rain and a power cut to the
public address system - a reminder of the economic woes that have bedevilled
the former British colony since Mugabe's seizure of commercial farms in
Africa's oldest leader, who normally uses such platforms to attack his
opponents, sounded conciliatory and urged Zimbabweans to bury "petty
personal differences" over politics.
Despite the soothing words, critics say Mugabe is not doing enough to
control militant Zanu (PF) supporters, some of whom booed Tsvangirai when a
cabinet minister acknowledged his presence before Mugabe's address.
Rights groups on Friday condemned what they called an escalating campaign
against ZANU-PF critics ahead of elections, which could be held by
The civic organizations, including church and legal groups, said there was a
"well-calculated and intensified" assault on rights activists, journalists
and artists through slander, intimidation, raids, arrests and prosecutions.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
21 January 2013
While the Constitution drafting team sets to work preparing the final draft
of a new charter agreed to by the government principals last week, debate
over what was agreed and what it means for the country’s elections has
As the political parties celebrate an agreement after three years of
bickering, the other key reforms stipulated by the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) have slowly faded into the background and elections have
become the one thing government appears to be concerned with.
McDonald Lewanika, Director of the Crisis Coalition, told SW Radio Africa
that other reforms stipulated by the GPA, that are essential to ensure a
credible poll, have been sidelined and elections are now the focus. He
explained that at least one important reform, the Constitution, has finally
“Of course the other reforms that are critical for us to hold free and fair
elections have been sidelined as people focused on this long running episode
of the Constitution making process, which I think is unfortunate. But from a
political psychology point of view, the Constitution was the biggest prize,”
He added: “I have to agree with those who say we need to hold on opening the
champagne bottle, because the definitive process that is supposed to take
place which is the referendum, we do not yet know when that will be. And we
have no date for elections either.”
The deadlock had been caused by ZANU PF’s refusal to stick to the July, 2012
draft that their negotiators signed, insisting on many changes that they
claimed represented the will of the people.
The MDC formations at first refused to make any more changes, saying they
had already compromised enough. They even wrote to the SADC appointed
mediator, President Jacob Zuma, calling on him to intervene.
At a press conference after the agreement last week, Robert Mugabe said: “We
shall after the actual completion of the draft constitution, be making a
proclamation as to the way forward and then we will stipulate our roadmap
and state when the referendum will be held. And that will indicate also when
our elections will be forthcoming.”
“We” meant the principals, and this has been strongly criticised by the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), who are advocating for a NO vote on
the new charter. NCA spokesman Madock Chivasa told SW Radio Africa that the
exercise has been taken over by three people, after wasting lots of time and
“We have always been against this process saying that the politicians should
not write the constitution. So what has happened now is they have finally
handed it over to their principals who then finally agreed on the contents
of the constitution,” Chivasa explained.
He added: “What it means is that we now have a Constitution that has been
written by political leaders. The contents of the draft are based on what
ZANU PF was demanding and what the three principals wanted. As the NCA we
believe this is totally unacceptable after wasting so much time and money.”
In terms of a timeline, COPAC co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora, has said he
expects the final drafting to be completed within a week or by the end of
January at the latest. Presentation to parliament in February would be next,
followed by a referendum in late March or early April.
But according to the state run Herald newspaper, the new agreement “means
the President could immediately call for elections anytime after the new
Constitution has been adopted.
The paper quotes Paul Mangwana, the ZANU PF co-chair in COPAC, as saying:
“The forthcoming elections will have no timelines in the new Constitution
because those elections are not going to be determined by the new law”.
Monday, 21 January 2013 00:00
Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
THE draft Constitution has waived timelines within which President Mugabe
can call for elections.
This comes amid indications that leaders of political parties may cut on the
timelines on Constitution-making that were provided in the Global Political
Agreement as efforts to hold polls gather momentum.
Copac co-chairpersons Cde Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana (Zanu-PF) and Mr Douglas
Mwonzora (MDC-T) said the new provision had been arrived at because they did
not know when the Constitution-making process was going to be completed.
This means the President could immediately call for elections anytime after
the new Constitution has been adopted.
“The forthcoming elections will have no timelines in the new Constitution
because those elections are not going to be determined by the new law,” said
“The date will be proclaimed by President Mugabe anytime after the
However, the elections to follow will be guided by the new Constitution that
requires that Parliament should be dissolved 30 days before expiry of its
Added Mr Mwonzora: “This draft does not provide for when the elections are
going to be held for the forthcoming polls only. This election will be
declared in terms of the Global Political Agreement where the President and
the Prime Minister will have to analyse certain things that need to be done
and then the date for the elections will be declared. They can do this soon
after the completion of the referendum.”
“This was tactical because we didn’t know when the new Constitution was
going to be completed. It was difficult to provide for the election
timelines in the new Constitution for that reason.”
The current Constitution provides that the elections should be held within
90 days after the President’s proclamation of poll dates.
Mr Mwonzora said the draft provided that future elections would be declared
in the last month of the presidential term.
The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, he said, was expected to conduct voter
education while the Constitution-making process was underway.
He said there were clauses in the draft Constitution that were supposed to
be incorporated into the Electoral Act in the event that the new
Constitution was adopted.
Cabinet, he said, was supposed to quickly sponsor the exercise soon after
the adoption of the new Constitution to expedite the process leading to the
holding of the elections.
Mr Mwonzora said it was likely that the referendum would be held towards the
end of March or early April.
Cde Mangwana said after receiving the draft from the drafters today, they
would then take it to Parliament together with their report of the whole
Parliamentarians, he said, would just comment on the draft but would not
change its contents.
“After that, the President will then make a proclamation calling for the
referendum. The Select Committee will also embark on a nationwide massive
public awareness programme so that the nation can understand the contents of
“After that we will then go to the referendum. The GPA says there should be
three months between the publication of the draft and the referendum.
“However, it is up to the Principals and President Mugabe to set the date.
My own estimation is that we could have the referendum at the end of March
or early April,” said Cde Mangwana.
After the referendum, he said, the draft would be brought back to Parliament
for formal adoption and again the legislators would not change its contents.
The Bill would then be sent to the President for his assent.
It is at that stage that the President can then proclaim election dates.
MDC president Professor Welshman Ncube said PM Tsvangirai was asked by the
principals to engage ZEC so that they can say when they will be ready to
conduct the referendum.
“Once ZEC advises the Prime Minister of how fast they can do the referendum,
the PM will then report back to principals. The President will then be
guided by ZEC on when referendum could be held.
“The GPA requires that there should be three months between publication of
the draft and the referendum but the parties in Government can agree to
shorten the period.
“The most important thing is for ZEC to tell us when they can conduct the
referendum. We agreed that the timing of the elections will be decided after
the referendum,” said Prof Ncube who is also the Minister of Industry and
By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Monday, 21 January 2013 11:51
HARARE - Negotiators to Zimbabwe’s recently agreed draft constitution are
fearing that Zanu PF might pull another Houdini act and derail the
democratic reform process.
Regional Integration minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said they were
now on tender hooks awaiting the politburo decision.
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Industry minister
Welshman Ncube and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara brought the
four-year-long heckling on Zimbabwe’s new charter to a seemingly positive
end on Thursday last week after endorsing the draft constitution.
In an interview with the Daily News at the weekend, Misihairabwi-Mushonga,
Ncube’s party lead negotiator warned Zimbabweans saying they needed to “hold
onto their champagne bottles.”
“For some of us, who have been through the torturous journey of
back-and-forth negotiating, we are on tender hooks and would like it if
people would just keep quiet for a moment.
“Remember we celebrated after the July 18 signing but what happened
afterwards took everyone 100 steps backwards. Zanu PF still has to go back
to its politburo and anything can happen,” Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
She was referring to Mugabe’s astonishing party stunt in which the former
guerrilla movement somersaulted denying it had signed the agreed draft.
What followed was another half a year of negotiations but not before Zanu PF’s
supreme decision-making body outside congress spent 60 hours “editing the
The party went on to produce its own version of the draft and tried to force
it down the throats of Zimbabweans. The two MDC formations in the shaky
coalition government stood their ground until last week’s landmark
capitulation by Mugabe.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga refused to comment on whether on the last day of
talks, Zanu PF negotiators had once again almost capitulated to the party’s
internal factional fights that are threatening to boil over.
“In as much as I would like to tell you the juicy things that happened, the
time is not now. Let us wait until we have delivered the constitution. When
everything is signed and sealed. Munotibhururusira shiri (you will destroy
everything), with the stories you write,” said the Regional Integration
“It will not serve any purpose now. We have things we might want Zimbabweans
to know, some very interesting things but please not now,” she said.
Insiders told the Daily News that Mugabe’s party negotiators had tried to
pull another back flip stunt after agreeing to devolution demanding
re-negotiation late on Wednesday.
“After agreement was reached Chinamasa early in the day, (Patrick, Justice
minister and Zanu PF lead negotiator) came back and demanded to re-negotiate
on devolution. He had received a call from one of the party’s faction
“The other parties refused and walked out. Overnight Chinamasa realised
there was no going back. He then called for an early morning meeting of
negotiators at which he confirmed Zanu PF’s agreement with its earlier
decision on devolution so the report on negotiations was subsequently
presented to the Principals,” an insider told the Daily News.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, programmes manager, Nixon Nyikadzino said
there had not been much change to the July 18 draft accusing Zanu PF of
deliberately dragging the process.
“Zanu PF just wanted to drag the process. The party is not ready for
elections and as always, they seem to have got their wish,” Nyikadzino said.
Election lobby group, the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) in a
statement last week expressed concern over the idea of political parties
having the final say once again.
“It will result in more negotiations. Principals represent their parties and
so taking the draft to political parties again could be duplication of
effort,” the statement said.
Addis Ababa, January 21, 2013 - The Zimbabwean crisis does not feature
anywhere on the agenda of the Africa Union Summit which begins here on
Monday, despite that it remains a crisis, Den Moyo, Co-ordinator of 21st
Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protest.
Moyo said in a statement that the only available press report last year
about the AU and Zimbabwe was stating that this was the second year running
that Zimbabwe had not featured in AU discussions, with officials saying
Zimbabwe was no longer considered a “critical issue”.
This year again the SADC executive secretary, Tomaz Salamao, is quoted
saying that leaders meeting for the AU summit in Addis Ababa would only set
a date for a Zimbabwe Summit.
"Other reports are talking about a proposal to dispatch an AU Council of
Elders, possibly including retired presidents, Kenneth Kaunda and Jerry
Rawlings," said Moyo.
Kaunda is 89 and was Zambia's first President from its independence in 1964
to 1991. Rawlings is a former coup leader who was later elected President.
"What force they have to bring to bear on Mugabe, if he decides to continue
with his intransigence, is questionable," said Moyo.
"The chairmanship of outgoing AU chairman, Benin President Thomas Boni Yayi
has been a waste of time on the Zimbabwean issue, and the fact that he
stopped over in Harare to debrief President Mugabe at the end of his
chairmanship, suggests that President Mugabe is well aware of what will be
going on at Addis Ababa next week, unlike his rivals," added Moyo.
"The AU's own report about Dr Yayi's meeting with President Mugabe is quite
telling: President Robert Mugabe reportedly assured him of peaceful and
friendly elections in Zimbabwe this year, yet Mugabe has not fulfilled the
SADC conditions for peaceful elections, and SADC has not reported to the AU
on the Zimbabwean process."
An interesting aside was the two leaders' differences on Western
intervention in Africa, which exposed Mugabe's fears.
Dr Yayi explained the AU’s decision to seek NATO (North Atlantic Treaty
Organisation)'s intervention in Mali, which President Mugabe was not only
unhappy about, but, which his party portrayed as an uninvited French
Dr. Yayi said, if the rebels had occupied Bamako it would not only be
catastrophic for Mali and the sub-region, but the whole world.
“It is a matter of terrorism, it is difficult for us and I think the right
way is to request for the assistance, military assistance, from NATO.”
Mugabe would rather the terrorists have overrun the Bamako government while
waiting for and African force that was not expected to be ready until
Dr Yayi said, African countries were now ready to assist Mali after the
French intervention, although military intervention was the last resort for
“The right way was to ask for assistance from NATO. We are ready to go to
Mali to help our brothers,” he said.
Johannesburg, January 21, 2013 - Zimbabweans in the Diaspora has called on
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa to take tangible actions, including a
SADC Peacekeeping Force before the Zimbabwean referendum, and for such a
force to remain in Zimbabwe until after the elections.
Saddened and concerned about the continued suppression of freedoms by the
Mugabe regime, which has waged a war against its own people in the run up to
another election that is threatening to be violent, the 21st Movement Global
Free Zimbabwe Movement has said gross violations of human rights are
continuing in Zimbabwe unabated.
The latest example is the arrest and harassment, including refusal of bail,
for human rights activists, Leo Chamahwinya and Okay Machisa, both of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Associations on clearly trumped up charges.
"We are hopeful that you Mr. President, a man who respects human life and
dignity, will be at the forefront to stop the scourge that continues to
consume our nation.
"We are hopeful Mr. President that you will continue to stand on the side of
the suffering masses, and stop further persecution and loss of innocent
lives," they said in a petition to be presented to South African Embassies
this weekend and next weekend.
The petition states that Zimbabweans had placed their trust in President
Jacob Zuma, the people of South Africa and the family of Southern African
countries under SADC to help stem the loss of limbs and life in Zimbabwe
"We are hopeful Mr. President that you will continue to stand on the side of
the suffering masses, and stop further persecution and loss of innocent
lives," they said.
The chairman of the 21st Movement, Den Moyo, also urged all Zimbabweans in
the Diaspora to join the protest on Saturday and next weekend to help send a
clear message to Zanu (PF) that it cannot get away with hoodwinking the
international community that it is undertaking democratic reforms, when it
He also urged President Zuma to advocate for the protection of the people's
vote by allowing international observers to monitor the elections in
Zimbabwe in line with SADC guidelines.
18 JAN 2013 00:00 - JASON MOYO
With Zimbabwe's largest foreign investors having fallen in line with the
country's indigenisation policy, the question banks now face is increasingly
how – no longer if – Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere will localise
Foreign-owned banks that would be affected are Barclays, Standard Chartered,
Standard Bank's Stanbic, MBCA – which is partly owned by Nedbank, and
However, some banks are unwilling to sell and are threatening to leave the
country if forced to comply. A senior bank executive said this week that
international banks would pull out if they lost control of their business.
International banks would not allow their brands to be used in institutions
in which they did not have control, he said.
"A mine's assets are in the ground and its ability to extract resources.
These can be quantified. But a bank's asset is its brand. Once control of
the local bank is lost, that bank simply ceases to be part of the recognised
global brand and public confidence vanishes, resulting in failure of that
bank," he said.
Officials in the empowerment ministry involved in structuring the deals for
banks say one of the strategies being mooted is to force banks to put up
money to fund black businesses and farms as well as to sell shares to
Kasukuwere last year rejected Standard Chartered's proposal to sell only 10%
of its local operation.
Boosted by his success in forcing large mines to give up controlling stakes,
Kasukuwere this week dared foreign banks to either comply with empowerment
regulations or leave.
"We have the money, we can pay for their [foreign banks'] assets,"
Last year, the banks found a shield in central bank governor Gideon Gono and
Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who both came out strongly against
The row calmed as Kasukuwere turned his sights on mines. Now that that
sector is completely indigenised, he is turning his attention to the banks.
"I would like to encourage other companies, particularly in the banking
sector, to comply with our national laws as noncompliance will no longer be
tolerated," Kasukuwere said at the signing ceremony of the Zimplats
empowerment deal last Friday.
"Defiance and arrogance will not be tolerated as companies must respect the
law and desist from provoking the state. There will be no sacred cow spared,
no stone unturned to ensure that the policy is fully implemented," he said.
Fast-track land reform
A year ago, there was scepticism in business circles as to whether mining
giant Zimplats would sell 51% of its business to locals, with some
predicting a compromise would be reached on a lower threshold.
Speculation among bank executives has now turned to how the banks will be
indigenised and many are looking at how the empowerment deal with financial
services provider Old Mutual was structured for clues as to how financial
services may be treated. As part of the Old Mutual deal, the company set
aside a total of 25%: 10% for staff, 9% for pensioners, 2.5% for a
"youth-development fund" and 3.5% for black investors. It also had to spend
money on a low-cost housing estate and a government-administered national
housing fund. Insiders at Old Mutual said negotiations would soon resume on
the remaining 26%.
At the centre of Zanu-PF's pursuit of foreign banks is the belief that they
deliberately refuse to fund farmers resettled under its land-reform campaign
and emerging black businesses.
Before the launch of "fast-track land reform" in 2000, 80% of all bank
lending went into agriculture, according to a report last year by the
African Development Bank. Farm loans now account for only 22% of all bank
lending, the report said.
Hit by a liquidity crisis because of a poor performing economy, banks have
little in reserve and are reluctant to lend money to farmers who have no
title to put up as security.
Zimbabwean president claims a continental bloc united under one figurehead
is needed to move Africa into global superleague
David Smith, Africa correspondent
guardian.co.uk, Monday 21 January 2013 14.16 GMT
The muscular display of power and pageantry at the inauguration in
Washington may be watched by envious eyes around the world. Not least among
those who yearn to build another USA – the United States of Africa – under a
Such was the dream of Muammar Gaddafi, a quixotic project that appeared to
have died with the Libyan dictator but has now been rekindled by the
Zimbabwean president, Robert Mugabe.
Speaking in Harare after meeting Benin's president, Thomas Boni Yayi, who is
the outgoing African Union (AU) chairman, Mugabe argued that a figurehead is
needed to move Africa beyond regional blocs and into the global superleague.
"Get them to get out of the regional shell and get into one continental
shell," he was quoted as saying by the state-owned Herald newspaper.
"The continent of Africa: this is what we must become. And there, we must
also have an African head. He was talking of the president of Africa. Yes,
we need one. We are not yet there.
"This is what we must go and discuss, but we must also discuss the issues
that divide us."
The AU holds its latest summit this week in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Mugabe,
88, warned that Africans are not as united as was expected by the founders
of the AU's predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, half a century
"We really have not become integrated as an African people into a real
union," he said. "And this is the worry, which my brother has, and the worry
I have; the worry perhaps others also have. That we are not yet at that
stage which was foretold by our fathers when they created this
The founding fathers had a vision of a continent united politically,
economically and culturally, he added. "We are not there yet. As we stand
here people will look at us, as me anglophone, him francophone, you see.
There is also lusophone, but we are Africans first and foremost. Africans,
Africans. Look at our skin.
"That's our continent, we belong to one continent. We may, by virtue of
history, have been divided by certain boundaries and especially by
colonialism. But our founding fathers in 1963 showed us the way and we must
take up that teaching that we got in 1963. That we are one and we must be
A United States of Africa spanning Cape Town and Cairo was proposed by
Gaddafi in 1999 as a way of ending the continent's conflicts and defying the
west, but it failed to secure enough support from his African counterparts.
Some suspected that Gaddafi wanted the job for himself – a charge that
Mugabe is hardly likely to dodge.
There is a case for challenging borders that were drawn up by European
imperialists and which continue to inhibit travel and trade. But critics say
the notion of uniting 54 countries with their thousands of languages and
ethnicities is currently untenable. In fact some parts of Africa have been
moving in the opposite direction and seeking local autonomy. Economies are
moving at very different speeds.
Lindiwe Zulu, international relations adviser to South African president
Jacob Zuma, said: "I don't foresee a single United States of Africa with a
single president because we are so diverse politically and otherwise. It is
very desirable in the long term but I don't see it any time soon. There is a
lot more to be done. We are still agonising over sovereignty."
She added: "When you call for one president, you are calling for ministers
to serve under them, one parliament and one legislative process. There are
too many things that divide us on political, social and economic levels. We
need to have a common agenda and approach to human rights and development
before we can talk about one president. We need to deal with democracy on
the continent and leaders who think beyond themselves."
Richard Dowden, director of the Royal African Society, said: "The idea that
one government could rule the whole of Africa at this stage is silly and
unworkable. They need to build from the bottom economically rather than
imposing a notion of unity from the top down; it's absurd.
"It is a dream of totalitarian fantasists, not the people. Africa is
becoming increasingly local. I'm in Kenya at the moment and the forthcoming
election is all about ethnic arithmetic."
by Staff Reporter
VILLAGERS in the Jambezi area of Hwange district say they are being stalked
by lions and hyenas which have killed nearly two dozen cattle.
The animals escaped from the Hwange National Park through a broken fence and
have been roaming through the neighbouring communities, destroying
everything in their path.
Jambezi councillor Timothy Dumulomo Tshuma said they had notified the Parks
and Wildlife Authority, but had only been promised training on how to handle
the animal threat.
Tshuma said in an interview on Sunday: “In Mbizha, one villager lost three
cattle in his kraal. The man was tending to his field; heard some rumble of
noise, rushed home and found lions inside his kraal feasting on his cattle.
He could do nothing.”
He said he had heard accounts of how young boys herding cattle were sent
scampering by lions which then attacked their herds before hyenas scrambled
He went on: “The villagers have created groups to guard their livestock.
They now walk around armed with axes. We always advise villagers to be extra
“The greatest problem is that our villages are next to the game park, and
with the fence damaged, it’s difficult to control these animals because they
escape and wander into populated areas sourcing for food.”
Last year, elephants killed two people within a week in Jambezi. The
elephants were met by scared villagers who threw sticks and stones at them
trying to chase them away, unknowingly provoking them in the process.
Monday, 21 January 2013 11:08
HARARE - Clearly, this is their dirty little secret. They need to survive.
Often staying for more than a week — sleeping side by side with vagrants on
shop verandas at Sakubva Bus Terminus, rural vendors who travel to Mutare to
sell wares end up relieving themselves in drains, backyards, roadsides and
alleys, and bathing only their privates under cover of darkness.
Come mornings, they are busy selling vegetables and fruits to locals, who
are yet to lift the lid off the life fruit and vegetable producers live when
they come with their merchandise to Mutare from faraway places such as Honde
Women constitute the bulk of these traders who have to endure tough
conditions to either feed households they lead or supplement their husbands’
With council’s health department denying travellers, vagrants, rank
marshals, vendors, drivers, conductors and guards usage of toilets at night
at the 24-hour terminus, the city is sitting uneasily on a health time bomb.
Sakubva, apart from hosting the city’s main fruit and vegetable market, is
also a transit route.
Traffic from across the country as well as to and from neighbouring
Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa pass through here.
One of the vendors, Susan Chiwaya, says they sleep three nights a week on
average at the market to sell-off their wares.
We travel in groups of relatives and we have to stay together, otherwise our
husbands would not allow us to come,” she said.
She said while there are people in Sakubva Township who offer rooms at a $1
per night per individual, the collective nature of their travelling and
living conditions make it difficult.
“If other members of the group feel they cannot afford it then you will have
to put up in the open — out of comradeship. We watch over each other.
Everyone is a witness,” she said.
“We sometimes return home ill and remain in bed for days. We also worry
about the health of our families because we are never too sure of what
diseases we catch here,” she said.
Some of the women however, bath and wash their clothes at the toilets at
Sakubva Stadium, whose perimeter has all but collapsed hence the easy
Council senior health and hygiene officer Matthew Dukwa said council was too
resource-constrained to open toilets round the clock as that would require
hiring more cleaners.
“It would have been ideal (to have the toilets open) but it is not tenable
due to manpower and security issues,” Dukwa said.
Dukwa said it was illegal to sleep at the terminus, which had no
accommodation facilities. He blamed out-of-town fruit and vegetable vendors
for extending their stay in the city and putting up on shop verandas.
By Gugulethu Nyazema, Staff Writer
Monday, 21 January 2013 11:48
HARARE - The Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) says it is refocusing on its
fundamental role of regulating the legal profession after years of tackling
President Robert Mugabe’s government over democratic and other civil rights
This comes as the decades-old institution has often been accused by the
Harare administration of dabbling in politics over its socio-politic
inclinations and programmes.
“LSZ is now back to its traditional role. It has not been easy, but we are
pleased that the improving environment has released us from over-commitment
to human rights and rule of law,” association president Tinoziva Bere said
in the 2012 and year-end report.
“One of my major priorities… was to improve the financial stability and
independence of the society. The ultimate aim was to ensure the LSZ budget
is centrally financed by members. This I believed would strengthen the
independence of the legal profession,” he said, adding this objective had
To this end, the Harare-based institution was refocusing on strengthening
its governance structures, financial position and other issues or functions
by restructuring its full-time secretariat.
Other priorities, included the provision of effective member representation,
taking an active role in the legislative agenda, increase media visibility
and publicity as well as realisation of social intercourse, and member
With one of the outgoing executive’s major goals being to clear the backlog
of cases through an enhanced case management system and 100 percent spot
checks on all distressed firms, Bere also hoped to make an impact on
Zimbabwe’s law-making processes, improve the quality of lawyers standing
before courts and those in the advocates’ chambers.
Crucially, the LSZ must be a leading champion of the rule of law,
independence of the legal and judiciary sectors as well as effective manager
of its programmes, and resources through the judicious application of its
“It has made it possible for us to strengthen the profession from its centre
starting with its governance structure and process its secretariat… its
fiscal processes that ensure efficient and prudent resource utilisation,
intensified discipline processes both historical and futuristic… retaining
and re-skilling the profession,” the prominent Zimbabwean lawyer said.
While the legal organ was keen on achieving the highest possible standards
by having a computerised case management system and other strategies, it has
also drawn up an ambitious training programme for the upcoming year under
its continuing legal education programme for lawyers, and other related
Meanwhile, the LSZ has also co-opted Precious Chakasikwa of Kantor and
Immerman — in line with its gender policy and — as a fourth councillor for
By Chengetayi Zvauya, Parliamentary Editor
Monday, 21 January 2013 11:22
HARARE - Twenty evicted families at Mara Farm in Goromonzi South
Constituency are being soaked by rains as the police are denying them entry
into the farm to collect their belongings.
The Daily News visited the farm last Thursday and witnessed the farm-workers
This reporter saw armed police manning the farm, patrolling the farm
preventing workers from accessing shelter from the pounding rains.
MDC Member of Parliament for Goromonzi South, Greenbate Zvanyanya Dongo,
managed to address the workers who are living in the forest which is near
The families, who were evicted last Monday, claim that since Edward Dube
acquired the farm in 2005, he had been underpaying them.
The evicted workers claimed Dube kicked them out after they demanded their
Most of the labourers who are foreigners have no alternative accommodation
are now surviving on the benevolence of workers from neighbouring farms who
are assisting them with food and water.
The former workers said they could not access food or water from their
previous workplace after they were told not to enter the farm.
A court order granted by Justice Hlatshwayo last November ordered the
workers to vacate the farm.
Some of the workers said they had been working on the farm since 1985 under
former white farmer Arthur Hale.
Armed police tried to stop the meeting between Dongo and the farm workers
saying it was an unauthorised meeting but the meeting prevailed after Dongo
produced his parliamentary identity card.
“I did not know there were armed police officers at the farm, they are
threatening these defenceless workers. I was approached by the workers to
“They need food, clothes and tents for their upkeep during this rainy
season. I am going to seek a meeting with Dube to find out why he has
evicted these workers during the rainy season without paying them,” said
Olery Njiri leader of the displaced farm workers related the problems they
are facing following their evictions from the farm.
“We are having problems of shelter and food as we have not been paid our
money by Dube. Our children are not going to school. My family was
threatened last year in May when I asked Dube to pay our salaries, and he
framed up charges that I had stolen his maize,” said Njiri.
Dube defended the eviction of 20 families from Mara Farm just outside
Epworth claiming they no longer worked for him and he had obtained a court
order to kick them out.
Dube, who is into dairy farming, said the families had continued staying at
his property after he advised them to leave. He also claimed the families
remained defiant even after he showed them the eviction order.
Dube said the farmer workers were in contempt of a court order.
“These workers should vacate my farm as the High Court ruled. The presence
of the police is to help me to enforce the court order. They are making a
lot of allegations trying to defame my character but I am on the right side
of the law as I am the legal owner of the farm who has terminated their
working contracts,” said Dube.
By Chengetayi Zvauya, Parliamentary Editor
Monday, 21 January 2013 11:56
HARARE - A 95-year-old church leader commanding a million-plus followers has
crossed swords with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC, which accuses
him of undermining the party amid concerns that Zanu PF is abusing churches.
The MDC is denouncing Paul Mwazha, leader of the massively-followed African
Apostolic Church, for allegedly propping President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF
in his sermons.
Mwazha is on an evangelical crusade countrywide.
He torched controversy with MDC leaders in Mashonaland East Province last
week when addressing a multitude, allegedly urging people to vote for
President Robert Mugabe.
Mwazha says he is neutral and the allegations are hogwash.
MDC councillor for Ward 1 Archibald Mudimu, however, said Mwazha’s open- air
sermon at Munyawiri Secondary School in Chinamhora was full of anti-MDC
“He has held two meetings in Goromonzi West and we know that he has been
preaching against our party leader Morgan Tsvangirai telling his church
members to vote for Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe in the elections,” said
“We don’t want him any more in our area as he is preaching politics,” said
African Apostolic Church general secretary Richard Juru denied that Mwazha
was preaching politics at the crusades but was praying for all national
“We pray for our inclusive government leaders that is President Robert
Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and other cabinet ministers.
“Maybe some of the political leaders are feeling that they are being left
out, but we don’t segregate against anyone as we don’t want to be engaged in
politics. But there is nothing wrong if we pray for President Mugabe because
he is the national leader,” said Juru.
“I invite you to our church sermon and you can hear for yourself prophet
Mwazha preach and hear whether he is segregating against Prime Minister
Tsvangirai,” he said.
As the country enters the campaign season ahead of general elections,
Zimbabwe’s political parties have gone all out to woo voters found in
Mugabe, his deputy Joice Mujuru and a host of his party officials have been
frequenting church services mainly for the apostolic faith in a bid to hook
up voters in this hugely popular movement.
While generally a fan of controversial Nigerian preacher and “miracle man”
TB Joshua, Tsvangirai has also been on a whirlwind drive to associate with
In partnership with some churches, he was recently on a tour of the country
meeting grassroots people in a programme dubbed prayer rallies.
Despair arising from deep seated poverty and unemployment – two signs of the
failure of the coalition government– has forced millions to turn to churches
Largely a Christian country, Zimbabwe has seen a mushrooming of different
types of churches.
From prosperity gospel powerhouses such as Emmanuel Makandiwa’s United
Family International Church to small groups congregating under trees,
churches are taking centre stage in Zimbabweans’ lives.
With elections possibly less than six months away, Zimbabwe is likely to see
an intensification of churches playing a leading role in voter mobilisation.
Monday, 21 January 2013
Issue - 503
The following is an extract of an interview where the Secretary General Hon
Tendai Biti spoke on what JUICE is all about and what the people of Zimbabwe
should expect once it is translated into reality. In this particular extract
Hon Biti focuses on the need to expand the national cake so that all
Zimbabweans can benefit from it and not just a few in Zanu PF.
Hon Biti: The starting point is to recognize fundamentally that Zimbabwe is
a very small economy, less than 3% of the entire SADC economy with a mere
budget of US$3.8 billion and Southern Africa’s 3rd smallest economy after
Lesotho and Swaziland, nominal GDP about US$11 billion so the cake is very
The challenge is how do we expand the cake. The point of departure between
MDC and Zanu PF is that Zanu PF starts from the starting point that let’s
distribute this tiny economy which is a rat, lets distribute this tiny rat
to over 14 million people.
The MDC’s position is that fundamentally, let’s expand this economy, let’s
have supply side reform that expands the cake so that it becomes an
elephant. And in that way, we can have more economic players than when you
have a tiny population participating.
The problem we have with current Indigenisation Programme to the extent that
it’s not nationalisation as nobody is getting shares for free. You have to
buy them. And in a situation where the per capita income of the average
Zimbabwean is US$370.00, and in a situation where 85% of the people are
living below the poverty datum line it means only a very few people, a tiny
elite can afford to buy shares in Barclays bank, Zimplats, so the Zanu PF
model becomes predatory accumulation from the rich to the rich its not
empowerment its an elite predatory transfer.
The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!
“FOR everything that Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart has said to back his controversial package of measures guiding the appointment of national team selectors, there is one fundamental question he hasn’t confronted. It’s either he has deliberately skipped it or simply ignored it.Do we have people in this country whose ambitions to play for the national team were blocked because of the colour of their skin?And, if that is the case, is it fair, 33 years down the Independence journey, to re-open old wounds and draft measures that will elbow those people, out of their sporting structures, because they happened to have been victims of racial prejudice in the past?”
21 January 2013
Vince Musewe says his country's politicians want all things Western, but are
quick to speak against the West
African politicians are a strange breed indeed, quick to condemn and shout
against colonialism and imperialism, but slow to shed their personal
It is always a dangerous occupation to generalize. As Mark Twain once said;
"All generalizations are false including this one". However, I think the
above issue needs to be explored, simply because it has been quite
intriguing for me, to talk to black Zimbabweans about the past and how it
has affected their thinking today. I therefore ask for my readers'
indulgence in advance, lest I generalize, an inevitable consequence of the
subject matter discussed herein.
Growing up in the then Rhodesia was never easy for us blacks. I remember my
high school days where, despite having an excellent education, I was
traumatized by the overt racism that I experienced from fellow white
students at a certain private school just outside Harare. I only realized
this later on in my life that, I was continually abused verbally and
emotionally. The word "kaffir" ended up not meaning much to me, because I
heard it so many times.
I stopped reacting negatively to it, and began to even laugh when I was
called that. The lie that blacks are inferior was repeated to me so many
times for six years, that I began to believe it. Even after independence,
the Zimbabwe's corporate sector was fraught with racist practices that held
back blacks while accelerating the promotion of whites. That too I
experienced during my articles in Harare. I guess our older generation of
Zimbabweans also had similar experiences. You end up accepting those things
you can't change and focusing on those you can.
I do not necessarily hate whites today, but I detest white racism or any
traces of a superiority complex they may display. It's simply a myth.
However, not all whites are racists.
Despite the above, the older generation of Zimbabweans appreciates how the
‘murungu' was organized. Wages were always paid on time, properties and
roads well maintained or developed, infrastructure worked, medicines were
available, street lights always on, rubbish was collected on time every
time, drinking water was safe and so on. It stops there, because there is
nothing sweeter than freedom and liberty even without the comforts of the
We must admit though, that whites are more organized, good at planning and
management, and they also have the technology that we need to develop our
country, something we cannot take away from them. All you have to do to
prove this today, in Zimbabwe, is to visit a black managed farm and compare
it to a white managed one. It's chalk and cheese, as they say.
There is a tendency among some of us to detest all whites, because of our
history. This is more evident among those blacks who suffered terribly under
colonialism and the liberation struggle. Those black Zimbabweans who
participated in the liberation struggle bore the brunt of white hate and
violence. I am therefore, the least qualified to judge how they feel today.
Speaking to some of them, they still hate whites to this day, because of
suffering they caused in order to protect white economic advantage. I
understand where my brothers and sisters are coming from.
That granted, I think they, however, still acknowledge that whites certainly
did have a hand in developing Zimbabwe, albeit to their selfish ends. There
was absolutely no justification for their selfishness. In my opinion,
Rhodesian whites were rather slow to react to a changed environment after
independence, and did not acknowledge blacks as equal partners by
incorporating them in the economy, especially the agricultural sector. It
was a case of separate but equal development.
This has afforded our erstwhile politicians, an excuse to take radical
steps, which have been catastrophic for everyone. South African whites in
the agricultural sector must learn from this. The quicker South African
blacks are incorporated into this sector as owners and not mere workers, the
better off everyone will be in the long term.
Zimbabwean blacks benefited tremendously from education provided by white
missionaries, but Rhodesian education policy towards blacks was racist and
can never be defended. I have learnt, for example, that it was most
difficult to become a black doctor. This was simply because the Smith regime
would not accept that.
Instead, the British assisted a significant number of blacks to become
doctors, by providing them with scholarships to study abroad. Therein lays
the dilemma: Rhodesian whites were crudely racist, while the British were
more accommodating towards the aspirations of black Zimbabweans. Despite
their colonial baggage, the British were therefore "better" whites than
white Rhodesians. But is there a term such as a better racist? Hmm I
On the political front, it is evident that there is an overt abhorrence of
whites, but one needs to understand the dynamics that have led to this
phenomenon. I will not delve into it here, but suffice it to say that, to
some extent, Mugabe's experience with, and opinion of, the British has been
"institutionalized "in Zimbabwe.
This may have has created a misconception that all blacks hate whites, which
is not necessarily the case. You will hear stories of some good deeds done
towards black Zimbabweans by whites, and we ought to give credit where it is
due. The British for example, still give considerable aid to Zimbabwe today,
and so do a lot of other European countries and America. In fact, they seem
more concerned about our social underdevelopment than our own black
politicians! How bizarre, but not surprising at all.
The cacophony we hear today about indigenization and the drive to take over
white owned companies for me, is driven more by political desperation than
by the absolute hate of whites. What always amazes me is that, our
politicians here speak against everything white, but can be seen jumping
into British or German manufactured cars, love Scottish whisky and British
tea, adore Italian suits and Swiss made watches? They want all things
Western, but are quick to speak against the West. For me that is the
contradiction of it all. I always ask myself that: if these guys really hate
whites or the west so much, why do they love what whites make and like to
emulate how they live? Mental slavery- perhaps?
But as we all know, African politicians are a strange breed indeed, quick to
condemn and shout against colonialism and imperialism if that is going to
earn them political power, but slow to shed the personal material comforts
and benefits they derive from their former masters. Talk about being
I therefore conjecture that; some black Zimbabweans still hate what some
whites did to them in the past, but in my opinion, black Zimbabweans in
general, do not necessarily hate whites with the obsessive passion that we
see "you know who" showing at political gatherings, before he is whisked
away in his German made limousine, or his French Alouette helicopter. Hmmm
Asikhulume! (Let's talk !)
Vince Musewe is an economist based in Harare. You may contact him on
Underfunded, under-resourced and disrupted by recent political and economic
unrest, Zimbabwe's schools may have left a generation uneducated and
21 JANUARY 2013 - 10:12AM | BY BERNARD CHIKETO
Over recent years, political turmoil and economic collapse in Zimbabwe have
received plenty of attention and coverage. At the same time, however, a
crisis in the country’s once well-regarded education sector has been
developing more quietly, even though its implications could be as
significant for Zimbabwe’s future.
Amidst national unrest, teaching was disrupted from 2006 to 2009, and with
few mechanisms to help pupils catch up or re-take years, when they returned
thousands found themselves unable to gain a meaningful education. Also
underfunded and under-resourced, in 2011, a tide of schools recorded a 0%
pass rate in national ordinary (‘O-level’) examinations. Now, Zimbabwe faces
the serious challenges of dealing with a damaged education system in which
thousands of pupils are at higher levels than they can cope with, and a lost
generation of young people many of whom were left unskilled and uneducated.
School’s out: Pamela’s story
Pamela Mudzingaidzwa, now 20, is one of the young Zimbabweans who missed out
on the education she expected and had long hoped for. “I carried my parents’
hope”, she recalls to Think Africa Press.
But despite excelling in the early years of her schooling, by the time she
sat for her O-levels in 2010, she had lost all hope. “After four years of
irregular learning during which l was just being pushed along and not ready
to sit for an exam, l changed schools to retake my classes.” Against
Zimbabwe’s education policies which do not allow for second-chance
education, Pamela explains, she moved to Mutare to stay with her sister and
enrol in another school.
“But it only became worse. I was placed in a condemned class…Teachers did
not show up so much that some of us would sneak into other classes to learn.
Some pupils would abscond a whole week and no-one would even care.”
Unsurprisingly, Pamela left school having failed her exams. Nevertheless,
she sees herself as one of the lucky ones compared to some of the rest of
the generation that missed out on an education. After leaving school, Pamela
was afforded a vocational training opportunity and is now studying catering.
“If l didn’t have a caring family l was going to be working 15 hours a day
as a housemaid”, she says.
Not all can hope to be as fortunate however. A UNICEF report notes that an
estimated one million children do not have access to schools or the
resources to improve their knowledge and skills. Similarly, data from the
Ministry of Education, Sports, Art and Culture (MoESAC) reveals that between
2000 and 2008 more than 2 million children and young people failed their
O-levels or dropped out aged 13.
As well as insufficient funding, amidst the country’s political and
socio-economic crises, Zimbabwe’s schools lost part of 2006, the entirety of
2007 and segments of the 2008 and 2009’s academic years. UNICEF found that
94% of rural schools were closed by 2009, with pupil attendance plunging
from over 80% to 20%. Over 3 million skipped fundamental steps, and without
the opportunity to retake years, pupils were simply pushed to higher grades
and forms regardless of their mastery of previous levels.
When teachers returned in 2009, after the establishment of a coalition
government, they encountered pupils who had skipped as many as three levels.
It is not surprising then that the national pass rate for O-Level exams in
2009 was a mere 19% – a significant drop on the 72% pass rate enjoyed in the
A ‘Rapid Assessment of Primary and Secondary Schools’, funded by the
European Commission and conducted by the National Advisory Board in 2009,
confirmed that the decline in quality of education was due to a lack of
teaching and lack of sufficient learning materials.
Furthermore, a primary school teacher at a rural school in Manicaland told
Think Africa Press how he has 4 levels in his class in which no-one is at
the appropriate level. He is expected to help each group catch up, but not
all teachers possess the appropriate skills to teach infant concepts
The government has made a few minor attempts to repair the system, including
revising the policy prohibiting second chance education. Development charity
Plan International is exploiting this to get children back into school –
particularly girls who often lose out when families favour the education of
their brothers. According to Willard Nengomasha, Plan International’s
Learning Advisor, around 420 girls have so far been taken back to school in
a pilot programme in the town of Chiredzi.
A study by MoESAC also led to the implementation of the Performance Lag
Address Programme (PLAP). This initiative submits pupils to a diagnostic
examination to establish their “last point of mastery” then helps them catch
up to where they should be. Singling out English and Mathematics, PLAP
dedicates time to revisiting the syllabus and targeting concepts that have
proven persistently difficult for neglected pupils to catch up on.
However, the scheme has been implemented with mixed success. Many secondary
school timetables are failing to accommodate the programme, which requires
teachers to go out of their way to work with children. Furthermore, UNICEF
claims that up to 25% of teachers do not even meet the minimum teaching
qualifications MoESAC demands.
PLAP is an ambitious programme which hopes to remedy the problem in just 3
years – but this may be too little too late for the thousands who have been
completing (and often failing) O-levels since 2006. Furthermore, the
programme will not be available to those sitting their national examinations
in the near future, for fear of interfering with their preparations and
learning of the syllabi.
However, if successful, the model could also be extended to non-formal
training settings and vocational training institutions. In this way, those
who have missed out could eventually also benefit from the programme.
But perhaps the underlying issue that needs to be overcome is an ingrained
government mentality which fails to recognise the importance of education.
MoESAC chief David Coltart has gone on record complaining that the unity
government has failed to make education a priority, scathingly remarking
that Zimbabwe’s education crisis was being perpetuated by officials
“spending three times more money on globetrotting compared to education”.
For Zimbabwe to build a better future, the government will need to address
both its current education crisis as well as cultivate longer-term
appreciation of the importance of education.