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Zimbabwe lakeside leisure resort targeted by militants under Mugabe empowerment drive

Associated Press

By Angus Shaw (CP) – 2 hours ago

HARARE, Zimbabwe — As Zimbabwe tried to spruce up its tourism image,
militants of President Robert Mugabe's party launched raids at boating clubs
and tourism lodges on the shores of the capital's main fishing and leisure
area, tour operators said Sunday.

A safari lodge about 18 miles (30 kilometres) west of Harare reopened after
being sealed off by more than 200 militants since Friday, said owner Gary
Stafford. The seven-chalet Kuimba Shiri lodge is a popular getaway for
locals, foreign visitors, diplomats and U.N. staff.

Militants told witnesses more than 20 clubs and holiday facilities were
being targeted on the shores and hinterland of Lake Chivero, a dam five
miles (8 kilometres) in length — bordered by a wildlife preserve — that
serves as Harare's main water supply reservoir.

Incidents began Friday, coinciding with the launch of a new campaign by
Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi who branded Zimbabwe as "the
world of wonders," during a convention in Spain.

After collapsing during a decade of political and economic turmoil, tourist
visits have crept upward since 2009 when a coalition government between
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the former opposition leader,
abandoned the hyperinflationary local currency and adopted the U.S. dollar
as legal tender.

Tourists had been kept away from the famed Victoria Falls in northwestern
Zimbabwe and the country's animal reserves because of recurring political
violence and acute shortages of gasoline and the most basic goods during the
nation's economic meltdown. Victoria Falls is seen as one of the world's
natural wonders.

The change to hard currency saw gas stations and empty store shelves
replenished — with foodstuffs and luxuries still being mainly imported from
neighbouring South Africa as once self-sufficient local industries battled
to resume production.

After years of neglect, tourist services, the third largest hard currency
earner after agricultural exports and mining a decade ago, were being
revamped too, and advertising promotions were mounted at several
international travel fairs.

The raids at Lake Chivero follow similar incidents in the mountainous
northeastern trout fishing and hiking district of Nyanga. There, holiday
cottages were searched by militants and visitors reported being forced to
show identification documents by rag-tag groups not in official police or
security service uniforms. In some areas, the militants also manned
makeshift road blocks.

Calls for elections this year by Mugabe to end the shaky power sharing deal
have heightened political tensions and spurred fresh demands for the
implementation of Mugabe's policy of empowerment that calls for 51 per cent
ownership of businesses by blacks.

Stafford said the leaders of the militants took an inventory of his lodge's
belongings and "there was no violence or looting." They told him they were
taking stock and evaluating lakeside properties under the empowerment

One visiting couple was holed up in the lodge for a day and "we weren't
allowed any guests," Stafford said.

Boating clubs and a mobile home park were also visited by militants, some
armed with sticks and chanting slogans of Mugabe's party.

Property owners said they called the tourism and environment ministries to
seek their intervention.

Witnesses said militants occupied a mobile home at one Lake Chivero campsite
after saying it could stay open as long as no property or utensils were
removed. The militants, who took nothing and bought their own food from a
nearby store, completed an inventory of items at the site and told workers
they wanted impoverished nearby communities to have a share in the lake's
leisure assets.

In 2000, Mugabe ordered the seizure of thousands of white-owned farms for
handing over to blacks to correct what he called unfair colonial era
ownership. The often-violent seizures of white-owned farms disrupted the
agriculture-based economy in the former regional breadbasket and have
continued in recent months, leaving just 300 whites in farming areas.

Critics of Mugabe say the those seizures and proposed business takeovers
were a ploy all along to shore up the flagging support of his ZANU-PF among
the nation's voters.

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Invasion of tourism facilities near Harare

23 January 2011

In what looks to be the start of the next phase of state-sponsored property
heists in Zimbabwe, over 20 tourism facilities have been invaded in Lake
Chivero Recreational Park (formerly Lake Mcllwaine), 37 km south west of

The lake is Harare’s main water supply and the surrounding land was declared
a national park shortly after construction was completed in 1952.  The game
park, currently home to some of the last white rhino in Zimbabwe, was opened
in 1962.

The invasion was reported on Friday (January 21) when a mob of about 150
people arrived without warning on Kumba Shiri resort, where the renowned
Larvon Bird Gardens are situated.

Larvon Bird Gardens has aviaries housing approximately 120 species of birds
and, as well as being Zimbabwe’s bird orphanage, is also an education

The invaders, wearing Zanu-PF regalia, put their own padlocks on the gates
and residents in the 30 homesteads on the property were prevented from
leaving.  They were also not allowed to arrange the removal of any of their
movable property.

All of the workers in the bird gardens were also locked in, as well as a
number of visitors.

Police from Marimba eventually arrived at Lake Chivero late Friday afternoon
but no action has as yet been taken against the forced take-over.

All along the lake shore approximately 20 clubs and other tourist facilities
with either freehold title or leasehold from National Parks have been
similarly invaded with their gates locked.

Viv Baxter from Wingate went over by boat to check on the caretaker at
Jacana Yacht Club, Des Fenner, who is blind.  He was taken hostage and only
managed to return after several hours.

On Saturday afternoon National Parks personnel came out but the invaders
have so far been allowed to continue their program.

The owners of the tourist facilities have been warned by the invaders that
this is the start of a countrywide indigenisation campaign that will
initially target all tourist resorts where white people are involved.

Kumba Shiri resort is owned by a South African investor, Gary Stafford.

BIPPA with South Africa

On May 15 last year, South Africa and Zimbabwe finally ratified a Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) that was signed by
Zimbabwe’s Economic Planning Minister Elton Mangoma and South Africa’s Trade
Minister Rob Davies in Harare in November 2009.

“The purpose of the agreement is to stimulate individual business
initiatives and increase prosperity in both countries through the creation
of favorable conditions for investment by South African investors in
Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean investors in South Africa," the ministry said in a

Negotiations for the deal started in 2002 as South African companies - the
largest African investors in Zimbabwe – required reassurance that President
Mugabe’s government would abide by international norms regarding property
rights following the violent land invasions.

Aaron Mazvi, leader of the invasion, is district chairman of the war
veterans in the Zvimba community west of Harare, President Mugabe’s rural

In Mazvi’s memo of January 6, 2011 to Minister Herbert Murerwa on “the
take-over of properties along the lower and upper reaches of Lake Chivero”,
Mazvi states the following on behalf of the “Zvimba community at large”:

“… In view of the government requisite that blacks should be empowered
through the attainment of 51 percent shareholdings in foreign funded
operations, I do hereby propose that the clubs be occupied and redistributed
amongst community members and some be reserved for Ministers, top government
officials, senators, Members of Parliament, Chiefs and those in the
hierarchy of traditional leadership.”

Previous Invasions

Aaron Mazvi has played a leading role in violent farm invasions in the
Mashonaland West area, including the property next door, RB Ranches, where
he currently resides.  The first farm invasion in Mashonaland took place in
2000 on Saffron Waldon farm close by.

The murder of two well-known white farmers in the district occurred during
the early years of the invasions, notably the high profile beating and then
shooting of commercial farmer Terry Ford (51) on Gowrie farm at Norton in

Don Stewart, a 68-year-old dairy farmer from Norton, was beaten and burnt to
death in November 2005.    Several of the farms in the area were taken over
by the Mugabe family.

Numerous cases of violence against farm workers were also recorded.
Although in many cases the perpetrators are known, there is no record of any
having been convicted.

Landmark SADC torture ruling

    This month, in a landmark ruling that exposed Harare’s flagrant
disregard for the rule of law, the Namibian-based SADC Tribunal ordered the
Zimbabwean government to pay damages to nine torture victims who had
successfully claimed compensation in the High Court of Zimbabwe.

The government had neglected or refused to pay compensation to the victims.

Commentators said the ruling could open the floodgates for other victims of
armed forces brutality who have failed to get fair hearings in Zimbabwe’s
partisan courts.


Lake Chivero Recreational Park

    Lake Chivero Recreational Park was opened in 1962 and holds a variety of
game, most of which had originally been brought in from Lake Kariba during
the internationally acclaimed game rescue operation known as “Operation

    Game includes rhinoceros, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, kudu, eland,
waterbuck, tsessebe, bush pig, porcupine, pangolin and ant bear.

    The park was originally known as Lake Mcllwaine Recreational Park in
memory of the late Sir Robert McIlwaine, a former judge of the High Court
and founder of Zimbabwe’s Soil and Water Conservation Movement.

    A popular destination for local and international birdwatchers, Lake
Chivero has a wide variety of bird life, including African open bills,
barbets, bee-eaters, buzzards, coots, cormorants, hamerkops, jacanas,
kingfishers, grey herons, darters, Goliath herons, fish eagles, glossy
starlings and lilac-breasted rollers.

    Several of the kopjies (rocky outcrops) have San (Bushman) paintings on
their sheltered surfaces.


    Despite Lake Chivero being Harare’s main water supply source, it was
reported in August 2007 that the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA)
had dumped raw sewage into the lake. Public clinics reported they were
treating about 900 cases of diarrhoea daily.

    On 4 December 2008, the Zimbabwean government declared the cholera
outbreak a national emergency and called for international assistance.

In September 2010 it was reported that raw sewage was being pumped directly
into the Mukuvisi River, a tributary of Lake Chivero, and the situation was
described as a “health time bomb”.



Ben Freeth - Spokesman for SADC Tribunal Rights Watch
Cell:  +263 773 929 138

War Veteran:
Aaron Mazvi - Cell: +263 772 810 761

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Zimbabwe in danger ….as Zanu PF embarks on coordinated violence against the people

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Zanu PF has begun resorting to the language they understand most, the language of violence. In Budiriro, Mbare and Chitungwiza violence has resurfaced with soldiers, police details and the youth militia descending on the people with brutality; assaulting, destroying homes and arresting perceived MDC supporters. The issue of violence began late last week when Zanu PF mobilised and bussed youth from as far as Gutu, Tsholotsho, Shamva and Bindura into Harare to demonstrate against the so-called maize slashing by Harare City council.

There has been a build up in violence since Monday with Zanu PF militia and uniformed soldiers attacking known MDC supporters in Budiriro 4 and 5.  Friday 21 January 2011-The Chairperson for ward 43, Gashirai Gurure is said to have been abducted and his whereabouts remain unknown. His wife and son were assaulted with iron bars and have since been admitted into hospital with the assistance of the MDC social welfare department. Councillor for the ward, Panganayi Charumbira’s house was, as is the case with Gurure’s house, destroyed, with the militia breaking down the doors, smashing the windows and looting property worth thousands of dollars.

One MDC supporter, Ignatius Mhuriro was assaulted by six uniformed soldiers, and is currently in hiding as police details are said to be looking for him on allegations of assaulting the soldiers.

Saturday 22 January 2011-William Mukuwari, the Budiriro District Youth Treasurer, has been admitted in hospital after he was shot on his leg and assaulted by the youth militia.  The soldiers went on to attack people at Sahara bar, destroyed two TV sets, smashed windows and closed down the place. Riot police are said to have sealed the place last night and made a curfew for 8pm in Budiriro.

The Zanu PF youth causing havoc in Budiriro are said to be housed by one Mai Hokoyo at her crèche whilst the soldiers and some of the militia are being hosted at the Rambai Makashinga cooperative- a housing cooperative for soldiers, in Budiriro. The environment there is pretty tense as people are living in fear.

Saturday 22 January 2011- About 400 Zanu PF youths besieged the MDC district office at research center in Mbare; assaulted 24 of the youth guarding the premises; smashed all the windows, stole three sets of computers; vandalised the office furniture before the police arrested 19 of the MDC youth. The other five had to be hospitalised, two of them with serious injuries after the attack. Barnabas Mwanaka and Shingai Gorekore are said to have sustained serious stab wounds. According to eyewitnesses, even the officer in charge Crime at Mbare, one Magauza, was present during the assault and then ordered the arrest of the MDC youth on allegations of causing public violence.

Sunday 23 January 2011- Unit D, Zanu PF youth assaulted Gift Nengomasha, the MDC District Executive member for Chitungwiza. His wife and lodgers were assaulted after the Zanu PF youth visited and destroyed his home late this afternoon after Nengomasha had escaped from their grip. He reported the matter to the police who refused to open a docket for him as the police are said to be under instructions not to take information from MDC supporters. In the same province, Phibion Dziva, an MDC activist was assaulted with bottles on his head and sustained serious head injuries. He was at Town Center police station where his report was thrown out as political. The MDC condemns any form of violence more so when it is happening to unarmed civilians in a non-war state.

The Party of excellence, the MDC is extremely concerned by the lack of action by the police as well as the continued victimisation of the victims when they approach the police stations to report the various forms of assault. What is even more worrying is the fact that in the eyes of the police, any MDC supporter, even if they are victims, qualifies to be a candidate for arrest. It is clear that the repeat of June 2008 in an amplified version is inevitable.

The MDC calls on SADC, the AU and the broader international community to take immediate actions for the protection of the people of Zimbabwe.

Together, united, winning, ready for real change!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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We Were Used To Destroy MDC-T:Mbudzi

23/01/2011 16:11:00

MASVINGO- January 23, 2010 Controversial politician and retired Major
Savious Kudzai Mbudzi who was Simba Makoni, s right-hand man during the 2008
general elections has confessed that Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn party was a Zanu
(PF) project meant to destroy the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T).

Mbudzi, who was once Zanu (PF) Secretary for Information for Masvingo dumped
Makoni soon after elections before forming his own party which suffered
still-birth said he is re-joining Zanu (PF) since he has accomplished his
mission to destroy Makoni,s party.
“ I am re-joining Zanu (PF).It’s the only party that I think has the
capacity to rule this country. I am a Zanu (PF) darling because it needed
myself and Makoni to split votes during 2008 elections thereby rescuing Zanu
(PF) which was already sinking.

“ I knew from the beginning that Makoni and I were never going to win, we
were just used to remove Zanu (PF) from the mud, ” said Mbudzi.Mbudzi who
briefly joined Dumiso Dabengwa led ZAPU in 2010 said there was no need for
him to stay with the party which failed to appeal to the people several
decades ago.
“ I only went there (to ZAPU) to assess and I discovered that there was no
life at all. That party lost stamina to lure followers decades ago,there is
nothing new that can come from ZAPU, ” he said.

Mbudzi who parted ways with Zanu (PF) two years ago said he was confident to
be given a top position in the party considering that he once worked against
the party when he was with Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn.
“I will be rewarded for what I did. I will not start from the grassroots, we
are the big guys, I hope to get promoted after having done a lot of work
which helped Zanu (PF) to remain in power. People must never be fooled,
there are only two parties in the country, Zanu (PF) and MDC-T, the rest are
other peopleˇŻs projects,” he added.

Though Mbudzi claims to be in good books with Zanu (PF)  big wigs such as
Didymus Mutasa he openly said it was very important for the party to think
of replacing President Mugabe with a younger and energetic leader.
Mbudzi,s outbursts and revelations put to rest long held suspicions that
both factions of the MDC were heavily infiltrated by agents of the central
government resulting in the 2005 split.
The MDC-T South Africa branch has also split into factions blamed on
infiltration by CIO operatives.

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Mugabe to push for elections despite deadlock

(AFP) – 4 hours ago

HARARE — Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has vowed to forge ahead with
elections if parties in the country's shaky power-sharing government fail to
agree on a new constitution, state radio reported Sunday.

"President Robert Mugabe said the inclusive government was not meant to be a
permanent establishment and if there is no consensus or political agreement
to come up with a new constitution, he has the constitutional right to
dissolve parliament and call for elections," the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation said.

Mugabe made the statement on his arrival from Singapore where he was on
holiday. He dismissed as "naked lies," media reports that he had gone to
Malaysia to seek treatment.

He said if the parties in the government reach a deadlock on the
constitution, he can invoke the old constitution and call for general

Mugabe's ZANU-PF party said elections will be held without fail this year to
choose a successor to the power-sharing government formed nearly two years
ago to avoid a descent into conflict and mend the economy in the aftermath
of disputed elections.

As part of their pact the parties agreed to draft a new constitution, amend
media and electoral laws to ensure free and fair elections.

The drive to draft a new constitution was marred by threats and violence
over divergent views.

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Legal challenge for Prof Welshman Ncube

Written by The Zimbabwean
Sunday, 23 January 2011 06:54

HARARE - Prof Welshman Ncube has scoffed at the legal challenge to his
presidency from 13 members of his party who have lodged an application in
the High Court seeking to invalidate his January 8 congress and all elected
"The party is again dismayed though not surprised by the act of desperation
from our former comrades that were rejected by the people in our recent
congress," a spokesman for his MDC party said in a statement. "While we
believe that every person has a right to be heard in any court of law, we
believe that this action not only demonstrates a shallow understanding of
the democratic principles but is also total contempt of the courts."
The 13 disgruntled members, led by former national chairman Joubert Mudzumwe
want the High Court to invalidate the congress that enthroned Ncube to the
presidency of that party. If the High Court grants the declaratory order, it
could mark an inglorious exit of the law professor from the helm of the
party, hardly two weeks after taking the reins from Prof Arthur Mutambara,
who graciously stepped down after a vote of no confidence. But the spokesman
said the legal challenge would be "dismissed with the contempt it deserves."
The application, lodged by Mudzumwe, national council members Tsitsi
Dangarembgwa, Constantine Chipadza, Morgan Changamire among other MDC M
members, says the  congress infringed dictates of the party Constitution.
The founding affidavit, filed by their lawyer Obey Shava of Mbidzo
Muchadehama and Makoni, claims Ncube rigged the congress by failing to
notify all provinces and proceeded with the gathering without complying with
his own party Constitution. The dissidents say some of the provinces came to
know about the congress through the Press.
“I submit that despite the above mandatory provision, not every district
received the required notice," the application says. "The
district of Chitungwiza North, Chegutu among others only got to know about
the congress in print media and never received any notice from the second
respondent (Ncube). In violation of the provision, the second respondent
convened the MDC third congress without receiving nominations from all
provinces. For example, Masvingo did not submit its nominations at all.” But
the spokesman responded: "For the avoidance of doubt the Masvingo province
was well represented in the congress and sat on the 7th of January to make
their nominations, cadres from the Chegutu district were also among other
districts from throughout the country, this is matter of public record."
The application claimed the convenor of the congress violated the
Constitution, which they said bestows the right to convene the
congress on the national chairman. They protested that Ncube's MDC congress
was convened by the organising secretary. The application further said Ncube
failed to notify all national executive members as the party charter says
about the nominees from the party's 12 provinces.
“The election was conducted by the organising secretary despite that he had
no constitutional mandate to do so," Mudzumwe says in his court papers. "The
congress became invalidated and any post created or act done in terms of
that congress is of no force and effect and should be declared as such by
this court,” he said adding the High Court must “clip second respondent
wings and remind him how to respect his own constitution”.
The spokesman for Ncube's party said: "These thirteen bad losers should be
dismissed as rejected politicians who will not even survive an election in
their own homes as they failed to get even a single vote and amazingly today
seek to reverse a decision of  4,320 members who expressed their support for
President Welshman Ncube and other progressive democrats."
Ncube's party accused the rebels of being a "bunch of tribalists who think
they can hold the party at ransom." "Joubert Mdzumwe and his handful of
failed politicians in their feeble minds thought by walking out of the
National Council they will stop the party from holding the congress, the
message is clear that the party is bigger than individuals, the democratic
train is unstoppable, we will prevail.
Mudzumwe must have known better that the National Council has the powers of
the congress to appoint anyone to any capacity."
Mudzumwe and his loyalists walked out of a National Council meeting held on
the eve of the congress saying they were piqued by what they claimed to be
machinations by Ncube to oust Mutambara. The dissidents are apparently
insecure with a Ndebele leading their party, various party sources say.
"These bunch of tribalists who try to use ethnicity to divide our party and
the people of Zimbabwe should just shut-up and enjoy their thirty-pieces of
silver. We are aware that they are now being controlled and funded by our
detractors both old and new," the
spokesman said. "The attempt to soil the name of President Ncube will not
succeed as it is public knowledge that the President’ understanding of law
is legendary both in teaching and practice.  We are confident that this case
will be dismissed with the contempt it deserves.
"We would like to put it on record that our congress was not only a
resounding success but also historic, setting a precedent that has shocked
the institutions of dictatorship and pseudo democrats to the core."

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Knives are out for Mudzuri


Jostling for positions in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC-T) has intensified, with reports that the party's
organising secretary Elias Mudzuri is in the firing line due to

There is a strong lobby by the younger generation within the MDC-T to take
over influential positions in the party.

According to reports from meetings held last week, youths have decided to
take over all the 10 provinces and there are indications that all the
provincial chairmen are targets.

The fight for positions intensified last week after Tsvangirai announced
that there would be major changes when the party holds its congress in May.

Mudzuri, who was fired as Minister of Energy by Tsvangirai last year for
incompetence, is likely to be the biggest casualty at the congress as he is
being accused of failing to re-organise the party. The former mayor of
Harare was one of Tsvangirai's closest allies but they are said to have
fallen out. Most of the top guns are likely to sail through unopposed, among
them Tsvangirai, his deputy Thokozani Khupe, secretary-general Tendai Biti
and spokesman Nelson Chamisa, who is being tipped to replace Mudzuri.

There are reports of massive lobbying amid revelations that campaigning has
already started, with most senior party members already splashing out money
to solicit votes. Last week Tsvangirai told MDC-T officials that they must
prepare for big changes. "As we prepare for our historic congress, after two
years in government, may I call on the people to ready themselves for
far-reaching changes.

"The congress shall mark the beginning of the MDC's renewal as the party
gears itself for the total control of the government after the elections,"
he said.

"Our congress shall reaffirm our determination, our values and principles as
a democratic movement. We shall use it as a first step in asserting our
signature as a party of the people, a party of the future and the only
discernible hope for all Zimbabweans."

A party insider told the Sunday Times that so far it looked like Mudzuri
would be the most senior casualty. "Mudzuri's position is the nerve centre
of the party and in the past few years he has made enemies. Everyone seems
to be ganging up against him and from the way things are going, he is
finished. There is a strong lobby by the younger generation to take up
senior positions and it seems to be working. That is why Chamisa is being
lined up for the position. There seems to be consensus that Mudzuri must go.

"All the provincial chairmen are sweating over their positions," said the
senior official.

Political analyst Pedzisai Ruhanya said the MDC should present a better and
more organised congress than its main rival, Zanu-PF.

"The MDC must make sure the democratic process takes place. The MDC congress
must not be a circus like other congresses we have seen," said Ruhanya.

MDC-T officials declined to discuss the congress this week.

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MDC Youth Leader Shot As Violence Escalates

23/01/2011 19:50:00

HARARE, January 23, 2011- MDC-T youth leader William Mkwari was shot and
injured on Saturday evening allegedly by a group of uniformed soldiers who
opened fire at dozens of party youths who were dispersing from a party
meeting in Harare’s high density suburb of Budiriro.

Witnesses say Mkwari, who is receiving treatment at Harare’s Avenues clinic,
was shot in the left leg resulting in him bleeding profusely.An MDC district
youth leader who was in the company of Mkwari when the incident happened
told Radio Vop that the youths were forced to scurry
in all directions during the unprovoked incident.

“William was shot and we suspect it could have been a powerful gun,” he said
while refusing to be named for fear of victimisation.

“The soldiers fired several shots and we believe they were angered by the
sight of a lot of ecstatic MDC activists filing out of a preparatory meeting
for the forthcoming MDC congress.”

The incident, which happened early evening, was a replica of September last
year when soldiers were said to have shot and injured three MDC supporters
during an abortive constitutional outreach programme in the volatile Harare
township of Mbare.
Saturday’s shooting of Mkwari marked a weekend of violent scenes allegedly
perpetrated by Zanu (PF) supporters on MDC officials and activists.On
Friday, party provincial secretary for Harare Tsaurai Marima and Sthembeni
Chademoyo, Women’s Assembly Organising Secretary for Ward 33 in Budiriro,
were assaulted and injured when hordes of Zanu PF
supporters invaded the Town house and laid siege on council staff, demanding
an explanation from the authorities as to why their maize crops were slashed
allegedly by council workers the previous week.

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Public sector workers on strike

Written by The Zimbabwean
Sunday, 23 January 2011 06:36

HARARE – Public sector workers in Zimbabwe begin an open-ended strike on
Monday after wage talks collapsed, with Finance minister Tendai Biti
insisting there is no cash to meet the workers demands.
Unions affiliated with the Apex Council, the main public sector union, have
been holding out for a 150 percent  rise, more than the latest government
offer of 24 percent. The Apex Council, pools the Progressive Teachers’ Union
of Zimbabwe, Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Teachers’ Association,
and College Lecturers’Association of Zimbabwe and the Public Service
Association, an umbrella body for all civil servants.
Many schools, hospitals and public offices have already been affected. The
three major unions representing government workers, who now earn an average
of $241 a month from US$180, met Biti and Public Service and Social Welfare
Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro last week but workers insisted they will only
return back to work if their demands for a minimum wage of $502 has been
Biti told a news conference at Harvest House HQ on Saturday that workers
needed to be patient. He said government can barely afford the 24 percent
offer he has put on the table. Biti told the news conference: "As a party we
are very sympathetic to the cause of a decent wage to every worker but there
are certain structural issues that need to be resolved. One, is the
of resources. Is the State receiving sufficent resources that we are able to
pay to our people? Its not. There are issues around Chiadzwa.
"In the month of January we only collected the sum of US$64 million against
a wage obligation of US$110 million and remember this is cash budgeting. The
government doesn't have a reserve anywhere so we have to wait for taxpayers
to pay money then we pay. We are back to the nightmare that I lived through
in 2009 where we had a salary obligation of US$30 million against
collections of US$4 million. "Last year we were averaging collections of
US$140 million I have always argued that for this economy to actually
adequately pay for fees, pay for teachers, pay for hospitals, we need to be
collecting at least US$400 million a month, and we are colecting, in the
case of January, less than US$100 million dollars. So there is a structural
crisis. The people need to look at the structural crisis and what caused
that structural crisis but we remain sympathetic to the cause of the worker,
the genuine worker that is."
The government needs to find US$10billion to resuscitate an economy
vandalised through a decade of extraordinarily insane economic policies. If
government yields to the workers, who have demanded an audience with the
President saying the Prime Minister had failed them, it will have to
re-prioritise its plans for the year to fund their offer. Manuel Nyawo,
president of the Teachers’ Union of Zimbabwe said after the meeting: “We are
in agreement as Apex Council that as long as government does not accede to
our demands, there is no reason for our members to continue going to work."
The government has been urging children to come to school, but many pupils
have been told not to turn up by their teachers.
Minimal health and government services are expected to keep running, with
employees deemed to be essential forbidden from taking part in strikes.
Zimbabwe has seen a wave of strikes since the GNU came to office two years
ago, though unions have warned that the latest one could be the largest for
several years because it is indefinite.
Analysts say Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who owes his political
support to Zimbabwe's powerful trade unions, is under pressure to appease
them while also addressing the country's budget deficit.

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Tsvangirai Blames Zanu (PF) For Civil Service Crisis

23/01/2011 12:48:00

HARARE, January 22, 2011-Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party says
Zanu (PF) is to blame for the current crisis in the civil service which
could see the country being brought to a standstill if the strike by
government workers goes ahead this week.

A statement issued by the party after its national executive meeting in
Harare on Saturday said Zanu (PF) leaders have showed no willingness to
address the concerns of the civil servants.
Civil servants have threatened to go on a crippling nationwide strike this
week if their salary grievances are not addressed by the coalition
government.According to the MDC-T party, the crisis has been worsened by the
presence of a large number of ghost workers hired illegally by pro-Zanu (PF)
heads of ministries.

“The Executive further noted the lack of accountability in the management of
the proceeds from the sale of diamonds in Chiadzwa to address the plight of
the civil servants,” the statement read.
The Executive called for all the proceeds from the sale of diamonds to be
channeled towards the civil servants and not for politicians and army chiefs
to enrich themselves.

“The Executive also called for the immediate action on all ghost workers,
Zanu (PF) supporters and youth militias who were brought into the civil
service as youth and women officers in every ward in the country.
“Further, the Executive called for the release of the Public Service audit
without delay as well as the immediate cessation of all new recruitments of
soldiers and other civil servants until the plight of the existing civil
service is addressed,” the party said.

Representatives of civil servants have rejected the latest government salary
offer of between USD6 and USD9 which was announced by Finance Minister
Tendai Biti

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 22nd January 2011

Vigil supporters were overjoyed by news that management team member Luka Phiri has been granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK. His face told everything: a beaming smile.  Luka has had a long struggle to get his papers, mostly because he arrived in the UK on a Malawi passport. Despite all the evidence that he is Zimbabwean the Home Office detained him in January 2009 and threatened to deport him to Malawi. The Vigil and others organised a successful campaign to secure his release.


Luka is a long-time Vigil supporter and a committed activist in the fight against human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. He also works for the Zimbabwean refugee organisation the Zimbabwe Association which has made him invaluable at the Vigil for his unstinting help and advice to other asylum seekers. Together with Vigil co-ordinator Dumi Tutani he walked 55 miles in one day, leaving Brighton at 5 am and arriving at the Vigil in the evening in support of tumour sufferer Tare Mapungwana, who was in London for an operation.


When the news of his successful asylum appeal got out, Luka tells us he received emails from 3 MPs who had been campaigning for him. There were messages of congratulations from Vigil supporters all over the country.  Luka said ‘Thank you so much to the Vigil’.


Like so many others, Luka finds it difficult to see any future in Zimbabwe. There is a French saying which sums up the situation there: ‘Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose’ (the more things change, the more they stay the same).


For us at the Vigil the past week has borne this out (again). The South African mediators have visited Harare to discuss the road map to fresh elections, a process which needs to be followed to create ‘a conducive environment for elections’ in the words of President Zuma’s adviser, Lindiwe Zulu. The upshot of the visit is the startling conclusion that Zimbabwe’s governing parties must implement the power-sharing agreement before organising fresh elections . . .  What a brilliant idea!


It means there will be no change. Everyone knows Mugabe will never implement the agreement and yet South Africa continues to feed this illusion. The Vigil knows believes the road map will mean nothing unless South Africa is prepared to put muscle behind it – and there has been no sign of that. Meanwhile, one of the best-endowed countries in the world remains one of the poorest. The 2011 index of economic freedom reports that Zimbabwe is 178th out of 179 countries surveyed, losing out only to Mugabe’s mentor North Korea.


Other points

·           Management team member Patson Muzuwa warned supporters against increased Zanu PF activity in the UK.

·           Our pro-Mugabe ranter was waiting for us at the start of the Vigil with his life-size punchbag topped by a mask of Bush and with his loudspeaker system blaring. We decided ignoring him was the best policy and half way through the Vigil he decided to leave it for another day after having a pee against the wall of nearby Rymans stationers.

·           We were happy to be joined by Stephen Hulcoop of the Paraclete Christian Network International who has just returned from doing Christian work in Zimbabwe.

·           A large group of students from the School of Oriental and African Studies joined us.  They were working on a presentation on migration and how it affected the Zimbabwean community in the UK. They sent us an email in which they said: ‘Thank you very much for today. We learned a lot, and you made us feel very welcome there.’

·           Vigil team member Moses Kandiyawo brought his twin to the Vigil in the form of fellow team member Dennis Benton in flat cap and plastic dreadlocks. The joke started a few weeks ago when Dennis arrived at the Vigil in a flat cap and found that dreadlocked Moses was wearing one too.


For latest Vigil pictures check: For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check  


FOR THE RECORD: 114 signed the register.



·           The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe.

·           ROHR Nottingham general meeting. Saturday 29th January. Venue: St Saviour’s Community Hall, Arkwright Walk, Nottingham NG2 2JU. Contact Allan Nhemhara 07810197576, Mary Chabvamuperu 07412074928, Christopher Chimbumu 07775888205, P Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.

·           ROHR Ashford general meeting. Saturday 5th February, Venue: the Star Pub, Ashford, Kent TN24 8PA opposite Liquid Night Club off Hythe Road, 5 mins walk from Ashford International Station. ROHR executive members present. Contact Danmore Munyuki 07535213801, Munyaradzi Badze 07709317869, Egbert Mtengwa 07985592931 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.

·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting.  Saturday 5th February from 1 – 5 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 OHF00-1700hrs. For more info contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Peter Nkomo 07817096594, Diana Mtendereki 07771708800, Phylis Chibanguza 07908406069 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.

·           ROHR Woking general meeting. Saturday 5th February from 2 – 6 pm, Venue: Woking Homes, Oriental Road, Woking, GU22 7BE. Contact, Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Saziso Zulu 07861028280 or P.Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.

·           Vigil Facebook page:

·           Vigil Myspace page:

·           ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to and 0send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe

·       Workshops aiming to engage African men on HIV testing and other sexual health issues. Organised by the Terrence Higgins Trust ( Please contact the co-ordinator Takudzwa Mukiwa ( if you are interested in taking part.


Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe:


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NOCZIM - the chickens have come home to roost

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London 22/01/11

In my view, the fuel problems being experienced in some parts of Zimbabwe
are due to what I would call 50 -50, meaning 50 percent NOCZIM’s management
fault and 50 percent politicians’ or government’s fault. We all know that,
in life we all have to face the consequences of our mistakes or bad deeds at
some stage, hence the proverb, ‘the chickens have come home to roost’ –
after scratching around in the yard! That is what is happening at NOCZIM.
Zanu-pf knew very well that NOCZIM was a ticking time bomb due to what
happened before the coalition government and handed it over to the MDC as
one of their responsibilities.

NOCZIM’s alleged corruption and gross mismanagement is well documented.
Despite corruption allegations and a few investigations resulting in yet
fewer prosecutions, it’s business as usual at NOCZIM. A writer to the
Zimbabwean was prompted to plead for action saying: “Thanks for a very
informative and in-depth paper. I would like you to investigate and expose
corruption, nepotism and looting at NOCZIM” (19/05/10).

In the past, we learnt that an estimated 250 million litres of fuel, mostly
diesel was being diverted by racketeers to illegal selling points since
2000. The fuel sold at inflated prices was going mostly to transport
operators including owners of commuter omnibuses in 200 litre drums. Last
year NOCZIM chefs awarded themselves hefty exit packages including company
vehicles at no charge, fuel allowance of an average 700 litres per month for
one year, an annual bonus, pension, funeral allowance equivalent to six
months’ salary and a relocation allowance of six months’ salary. It was
Christmas come early at NOCZIM.

In fact Zanu-pf succeeded in fermenting friction between the two MDC
Ministries (Finance and  Energy) over NOCZIM’s fuel shortages at a time when
the country is being reluctantly dragged through an electioneering mode. MDC
needs to always make risk assessments before accepting certain ministerial
responsibilities as they can fall victim to blackmail as appears in this

The only problem is that industry and commerce as well as innocent members
of the public have to pay for other people’s blunders through unbudgeted-for
costs such as fuel price increases, fare rises, loss of jobs and an
uncertain future. Businesses are forced to re-organise their production and
work systems including making some employees redundant due to the business
interruption caused by a man-made disaster. It’s very unfair that, because
some managers have failed to work efficiently, large parts of the country
have to suffer.

Here in the UK, they don’t allow for that. Someone would be made to take
responsibility. Last month the Transport Secretary (Minister) for Scotland
had to resign because of snow which disrupted travel as temperatures
plummeted to -25 degrees centigrade in some parts of Scotland. For the
reader in Zimbabwe, this may sound odd, but the facts are that when it snows
here, roads have to be sprayed with salt and grit (sand) to make it safe to
drive on snowy and icy roads.

However, salt and grit have proved ineffective at treating roads when
temperatures plunge below -10 degrees centigrade. Government is supposed to
provide the salt and grit as well as vehicles which spread it on the icy
roads. In the case of Zimbabwe’s NOCZIM, the problem is that of dollars and
cents – money.

As reported in the press, if diesel vanished during the week-ending January
20 because of a Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) garnishee order of US35
million for unpaid taxes, then it was management’s fault because they should
have foreseen it coming and provided for the possible disruption to fuel
supply in the country. They should have made long term deals for the payment
of the ZIMRA tax shortfall e.g. through some bank products or facilities
without risking cuts in the arteries of the economy. The NOCZIM board of
directors, if any, should have strategic plans in place and the role of
management is to steer the company in the right direction like captains of
ships do on high seas.

Similarly, reports that Zimbabwe is failing to unlock an estimated 15
million litres of fuel stuck in the pipeline between Beira and Feruka as
well as 11 million litres of a ‘cocktail’ stuck between Feruka and Msasa
(Newsday, 20/01/11) belonging to private sector players is very
embarrassing. It is like the Shona saying which goes like this: ‘ kufa
nenyota iwo makumbo ari mumvura’ (literally means, dying of thirst when your
feet are in water! Not managing your resources efficiently can be fatal.)

It is very embarrassing for Zimbabwe to be having a fuel shortage in this
day and age because, with all its diamonds we hear about, how can the
country fail to have funds to import fuel and pump it into the pipeline from
Beira so that the product comes out at the other end? I just can’t believe
that is happening in Zimbabwe.

If  Zimbabwe has idle storage capacity in Southerton and Msasa in Harare as
well as in Gweru why are the tanks empty? If Zimbabwe has the ability to
supply Zambia, Malawi, northern parts of Botswana and southern parts of the
Democratic Republic of Congo why is it failing to supply southern parts of
Zimbabwe resulting in price increases throughout the country? Is there
sabotage somewhere in the system?

There is no point in blaming the Minister of Finance for the garnishee order
because public revenue is needed to pay civil servants salaries apart from
other essential services. As Tendai Biti was recently quoted as saying, “we
can only eat what we have killed” (thezimbabwemail, 20/01/11). Those are
very wise words.

For God’s sake, let’s get our act together and get things moving. We have
been a laughing stock of the world for a long time. We should try and make a
difference. Our pride is at stake. So are people’s livelihoods. Sort it out

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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