The ZIMBABWE Situation
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UN gives US$5m for under-funded WFP operations in Zimbabwe

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The United Nations announced here Sunday that it had
approved an additional US$5 million from its Central Emergency Relief Fund
(CERF) to finance the operations of the World Food Programme which is
currently facing funding challenges.

The WFP announced late last year that its Zimbabwean operation was facing a
funding crisis and needed up to US$50 million to adequately function until
the next harvest due around March/April.

"In response to the situation, CERF allocated $5 million to the World Food
Programme (WFP) for protracted relief and recovery operation for
approximately 1.6 million people in Zimbabwe," OCHA said.

The number of food-insecure persons is likely to increase amid projections
that the country faces another poor harvest this year due to erratic rains.

Once southern Africa's breadbasket, Zimbabwe has grappled severe food
shortages over the past nine years due to persistent drought and a chaotic
land reform programme that saw President Robert Mugabe's government seize
white farms that produced the bulk of the country's food needs, for
redistribution to landless black people.

The success of the land reform programme has however been hampered by lack
of proper planning and training by the newly resettled farmers most of whom
underutilised the farms allocated by the government.


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Zim government to discuss drought solutions

Eyewitness News | 7 Hours Ago

Zimbabwe's cabinet is due to discuss what measures to take to mitigate the
effects of a possible drought.

While heavy rains have been lashing South Africa, Zimbabwe is parched and
crops are failing just north of Limpopo.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti told state media on Sunday that cabinet will
have to sit to decide whether to budget for grain importation.

Zimbabwe is critically short of cash, and importing maize now will be a
heavy burden.

Most of the country's 10 provinces have had poor rains, and the staple maize
crop is wilting in the fields.

The eastern Manicaland Province, the country's most populous, is one of the
worst affected. Most dry land crops there are a write-off.

Zimbabwe is also facing prolonged power cuts, which means that farmers with
irrigation facilities can not switch them on.

Joseph Made, who is now the Minister of Agriculture and Mechanisation, said
the country must do a crop assessment soon.

Time is running out however, and aid groups predict that food aid could be
needed for more than 2 million people between now and March.


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Dam lies idle 10 years after construction

Sunday, January 24, 2010

From Marondera Bureau

THE farming community and villagers around Marondera have expressed concern
at the under-utilisation of Wenimbi Dam which has been lying idle 10 years
after its construction.

The concern comes amid fears of an imminent drought as crops in the Svosve
area where the dam is situated have been affected by the dry spell
prevailing in most parts of the country.
Villagers and farmers have failed to benefit from the dam owing to a lack of
funds to set up irrigation infrastructure.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union Mashonaland East provincial chairman Mr
Thomas Chingwaro said stakeholders discussed the Wenimbi Dam issue at a
recent meeting with Zinwa officials.
"The other part of the problem is that there have been some influential
people who scuttled the start of irrigation projects and it is a cause for
concern in the wake of the imminent drought," said Mr Chingwaro.
Wenimbi Dam - with a surface area of 330 hectares - was designed and
engineered by the Department of Water Development and built to service
irrigation projects at Munyembi, Dewenimbi and Arcadia farms as well as in
Svosve communal lands.
Preparations for the irrigation schemes started in 2006 with construction of
a 10-kilometre access road, the money coming from the Reserve Bank of
The original irrigation plan was to draw water from the dam using trenches
to Muyembi Hill before releasing the water to the irrigation scheme using
the drag-horse method.
This was considered low-cost technology that is easy to operate, maintain
and replace in comparison to the laying of aluminum pipes.
Marondera Municipality's ambitious project of drawing water from the dam
about 25 km away has also been hanging in the balance owing to financial

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Farmers urged to protect existing irrigation system

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New Ziana

THEFT and vandalism of equipment has set back Government efforts to
rehabilitate and develop the irrigation system in the country over the past

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said destruction of equipment has impacted
heavily on strides that the Government was making to ensure an adequate and
effective irrigation system to supplement rain-fed agriculture.
"Thefts and the draining of transformer oil have seriously affected
retoolling and rehabilitation of the irrigation systems," he said.
He said there is a need for farm security personnel to be adequately
resourced to protect existing irrigation equipment.
"Other than rehabilitation of equipment, there is need to give capacity to
security on the farms," he said.
Security personnel at farms throughout the country have been hapless in the
face of armed robbers with some losing lives while trying to prevent thefts.
Minister Made said farmers using irrigation were spending more time
repairing vandalised equipment rather than using it for productive purposes.
"Farmers are everyday repairing motors and that is the heart of irrigation
operations," he said, adding it could not be ruled out that the country's
detractors were sponsoring the perpetrators.
He said Government would continue to rehabilitate and introduce new
Previous white farm owners destroyed irrigation equipment on farms that were
designated for resettlement.
The minister singled out sanctions as the major obstacle to Government's
efforts to fully restore the system.
Meanwhile, Minister Made appealed to Zesa Holdings to make power available
during the winter cropping season.
The winter cropping season depends heavily on irrigation as the country's
cold season receives little rainfall.
"The issue of electricity is crucial to the success of the winter farming
season," he said, adding "power outages of three to four days in farming
areas tremendously affect crops."
Minister Made said pumping stations could not be run by generators as it is
expensive and without them water could not be drawn from reservoirs.
"Thousands of motors are also being burnt by power surges and are expensive
to replace," he said.
He urged farmers to also consider gravity-fed irrigation to reduce demand
for power.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing successive droughts over the years, although
the country has numerous dams that it could utilise to substitute the rains.
At the moment the country's dams are more than 70 percent full while crops
in most parts of the country are wilting. -

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Is Kereke building an emergency medical centre or not?

Written by Staff Reporter
Thursday, 21 January 2010 09:35
HARARE - In an article that appeared in the local press late last year,
Munyaradzi Kereke, Chief Adviser to the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Gideon
Gono, denied that construction work taking place at one of his properties in
Harare (92 Norfolk Road) was anything more than extensions to the residence.
"It is certainly not true that I am converting the house into a clinic," he
is reported to have said. "I know there are some people who just go about
making this claim, I don't know why." Perhaps we can tell him why.
Investigations by The Zimbabwean have revealed that the following notice
appeared in the Herald on 14 October 2009: "Notice is hereby given of an
application to carry out the following development on Stand 284 Mt Pleasant
Township 11 of Lot 35A Mt Pleasant (92 Norfolk Road) Mount Pleasant, Harare.
1. It is proposed to establish a health facility on the above mentioned
The notice says that, because the property is within a residential zone,
"special consent" is required for its change of use. Therefore the
application and plans were made available for public inspection, and anyone
who wanted to make "objections or representations" relating to the
application could do so.
Our reporter has spoken to a neighbour who went to inspect the plans at
Cleveland House. The neighbour says that the letter of application was
signed by Kereke as the representative of an organisation called the Rock
Foundation Family Trust (RFFT), and was headed "Re: Application for special
consent to alter land use from domestic residential to health facility use
on Stand 284 Mt Pleasant 11 of Lot 35A Mt Pleasant".

Emergency facility
The letter clarified the words "health facility" by saying it meant "a
modern, state of the art emergency facility". The plans, the neighbour said,
showed buildings that were labelled for used for the sort of functions that
one might expect at an emergency medical centre, and included and eye unit
and a dental unit, as well as areas for gynaecology, paediatrics, etc. There
was an ambulance bay, a nurses' station and a pharmacy. The neighbour told
us that several local residents had subsequently submitted objections to the
application for change of use. "We were concerned not only about the
potential disturbances from a 24-hour emergency medical centre in the middle
of a residential area, but all our properties are on a septic-tank system,
and there was no indication in the application about how that issue would be
dealt with. In any case, there are emergency medical facilities nearby in
Marlborough and Avondale, and we saw no particular need for this change of
The neighbour said he was concerned that building works had been started on
the property and enquired from the City Council about the status of the
application and the objections. He was told that the application had not yet
been considered, and that building of the proposed health facility should
not be taking place unless and until approval had been given.

Gym, piano room
He told us: "The City Council's Building Inspector at Mount Pleasant
District Office visited the site, and he was shown, by the site manager,
building plans for extensions to the residence that had been approved on the
2nd of December. The site manager subsequently also showed them to me. I was
not in a position to compare these plans with those that I had inspected for
the health facility, but the proposed buildings appeared, from memory, to be
very similar, though areas on these plans were now labelled 'gymnasium',
'squash', 'piano room', 'pool room', 'computer room', etc.
So even though Kereke now appears to have the necessary approval to
construct the buildings as extensions to his residence, why did he say that
he had no intention of converting them into a health facility, when
documents clearly indicate that he did? (And indeed, construction at the
site continued apace throughout the Christmas holiday period - even on
Christmas Day.) There are more questions than answers in this development.
Could it be that he would prefer news of the project to be kept under wraps?
Kereke is regarded by many as one of the architects of the RBZ's disastrous
monetary polices that led to hyperinflation and the demise of the Zimbabwe
dollar, and which, through the use of a fixed exchange rate, at the same
time enabled a small elite to become extremely wealthy. Kereke is described
as being "complicit in forming or directing repressive state policy" where
his name appears in the Council of the European Union's "Common position
renewing restrictive measures against Zimbabwe", the EU targeted, personal
sanctions list.*
In July 2008, the RBZ's Kereke and Mirirai Chiremba were named on the EU
list as "a diplomat and foreign affairs ministry official", respectively.
Press reports at that time said that while the immediate reaction was that
the EU got it wrong, it has been said that the two actually have diplomatic
passports and travel and pose not as RBZ employees for alleged nefarious
activities on behalf of the Governor to do with the foreign currency that is
bought from the street and unaccounted for."

What is RFFT?
What is the Rock Foundation Family Trust? The neighbour told us that the
application for change of use indicated that the RFFT family had resided at
92 Norfolk Road for many years, but our enquiries have shown that only
Kereke's family has lived there in recent years. The implication is that
Kereke's family and the Rock Foundation Family are the same people. Why do
they use that name? Could it be to camouflage the identity of the people
behind this proposed investment? We wondered how much this "modern, state of
the art emergency facility" might cost, so put the question "What is the
cost of a CT scanner?" into the search field at The answer
we got was: "A 2008 model with all the new technology would cost upwards of
$3.5 million."
This would be only one tiny part of the equipment envisaged in the medical
centre. What about the rest of the equipment for the eye, dental,
gynaecology and paediatric units, and for the haematology, microbiology and
biochemistry labs? What about the (no doubt fully equipped) ambulances, the
drugs, the consumables, to say nothing of the highly qualified, specialist
staff that would need to be retained?
It is inevitable that many people will ask how an employee of the Reserve
Bank who is on the EU sanctions list was able to source this level of
funding at a time when millions of Zimbabweans are starving or have been
leaving the country as a result of the wilful destruction of the economy.
Kereke probably wants to keep those people off his back.

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Education no thanks to Mugabe

Jan 24, 2010 12:00 AM | By CB Rogers, Durban

Mondli Makhanya, in his column "State must choose between teacher unions or
South Africa's children" (January 17), has got it quite wrong when he
attributes the high degree of literacy and education of black Zimbabweans to
"Mugabe's education drive".

Even before "the centipedes started burrowing into his brain", education
under Mugabe's regime was collapsing; the decline is well documented.

The drive to educate black Zimbabweans has its roots in the days before the
Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland was formed (at about the time Mugabe
was graduating from short pants). Unlike their counterparts to the south,
whites in Rhodesia, and then the federation, considered the education of the
black population a priority; education for blacks at least to the completion
of primary school was compulsory. Even under the Smith government, up to 25%
of the budget was allocated to black education.

At the University College in Salisbury (UCRN) the first fully multiracial
intake of students studying for University of London degrees began in 1957,
with medical degrees from the University of Birmingham on offer from 1963;
the first non-white pupil was admitted to a previously whites-only school
(Peterhouse) as early as 1958. Furthermore, to be admitted to UCRN required
satisfactory passes in the Cambridge or Oxford "A" Level examination, a
standard way above the SA matric and especially the "Bantu" matric offered
to black South Africans at that time. As a result, graduates from UCRN were
of a high quality.

The consequence of this was the build-up of a well-educated black population
in Rhodesia. As early as the mid-'60s, more blacks were reading the national
newspaper than whites; it is not surprising that Makhanya saw books hawked
on the sidewalks in Bulawayo.

Rampant cheating in the overseas "O" and "A" level examinations coupled with
some stupid directives from Mugabe's government led to the Cambridge
examining bodies pulling out of Zimbabwe, and education there has virtually
collapsed outside private schools.

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10 000 teachers needed in schools

Sunday, January 24, 2010

From Bulawayo Bureau

AT least 10 000 teachers are needed nationwide as it emerged that there is a
critical shortage of the educators in schools amid revelations that the
re-engagement system that the Government embarked on to bring back to the
fold tutors who had left is tedious and frustrating.

It has also emerged that the country is in dire need of teachers who teach
Science subjects, Mathematics and English, something that is threatening to
cripple the pride of the country's education sector.
In an interview on Friday, the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and
Culture Senator David Coltart confirmed the shortage of teachers in most of
the country's schools.
He said the country needed an estimated 10 000 teachers adding, that it was
disheartening to note that some rural schools were left with very few or no
teachers at all.
"We have always had a compliment of 140 000 teachers in the country, but
currently we have an estimated 80 000, a number is, of course, far too less
than the required number for every class to have a teacher.
"There are reports coming to the ministry from various provinces in the
country that some rural schools hardly have any teacher to attend to the
students and we are saying such a situation is not health in our schools.
"An estimated 10 000 teachers is therefore required to get the country's
education system working again, but we are not so much concerned about the
quantity but the quality.
"As it stands right now, there is an acute shortage of teachers for Science
subjects, Mathematics and English which are the most important subjects,
something that has seen us shifting the temporal teaching policy to ensure
that we maintain the quality of education with the available human
resources," said Sen Coltart.
He confirmed that there were problems dogging the re-engagement system and
said his ministry was doing everything in its power to ensure that all the
bottlenecks that the education sector had been experiencing were dealt with.
Minister Coltart further highlighted that out of an estimated 20 000
teachers who left the profession in the last two years due to the pressing
economic environment, about2 400 teachers applied to come back into service
and were re-engaged last year, but have not been receiving their salaries
for the better part of last year, something the unions have been making
noise about.
He however, reiterated that he had since met the union leaders and
satisfactorily resolved all the anomalies that were deterring and
frustrating those who wanted to be considered for reengagement.
Sen Coltart highlighted that while the issue of getting the education sector
on its feet boarders on remuneration, there was a general consensus among
the teachers that their demands were fueled by the rates that the
parastatals were charging.
He said it was encouraging that the educators understood that the country's
financial position was still low to meet their expectations and were
querying the wisdom of parastatals demanding exorbitant amounts of money
that were far above the regional standards from the consumers of their
services while they were aware that the Government was not paying such kind
of money.
The Minister would not, however, be drawn into revealing the finer details
of the meeting he had with the Minister of Finance Mr Tendai Biti during the
course of the week, preferring to say they have a constructive discussion on
the issue of remuneration with the hope of getting back the education system
of the country to its glorious past.
There are reports that teachers from rural areas are leaving their stations
in droves to look for places in urban areas where they are paid better
incentives while some are going to private schools.
The policy of incentives was introduced to try and cushion the teachers
against the meagre earnings they were getting.

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Goblin Charges Meant To Distract Constitution Process

23/01/2010 19:46:00

Harare, January 24, 2010 - Parliamentary constitution select co-chair
Douglas Mwonzora facing charges of insulting President Robert Mugabe for
allegedly calling him a goblin, says the charges are a ploy by Zanu PF to
distract people from the controversial constitutional exercise which is key
to holding fresh elections in the troubled southern African nation.

Mwonzora, who is also Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator for
Nyanga North said: "This is a deliberate ploy to disturb me from performing
my constitution writing duties.Why is it that they want to prosecute me at
this time when the allegded offences were committed two years back?"

Mwonzora faces a maximum penalty of one year in jail if found guilty. In
Zimbabwean traditional mythology goblins are feared, hideous creatures with
evil powers.

Mwonzora was on Wednesday summoned to appear before a Mutare magistrate
facing charges of demeaning the President ,the Zimbabwe Republic Police and
Public Order and Security Act (POSA) in March 2008 at a rally in Nyanga. He
is alleged to have called the 85 year old Mugabe who has ruled Zimbabwe
since independence in 1980, a goblin.

"I never commited the crime...I could'nt have shouted at the President in
public," he said. "The continued arrest and harrasment of MDC members is a
planned move to derail various reforms in this country."

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Mutsvangwa lashes out at journalists

January 24, 2010

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Zimbabwe's former ambassador to China, Christopher Mutsvangwa, has
branded Zimbabwean journalists a bunch of ignoramuses who are quick to
criticize their government at the instigation of western powers.

The remarks by Mutsvangwa, a fierce defender of President Robert Mugabe's
controversial rule, invited angry protests from Harare journalists who felt
he was trying to distract them from writing about the excesses of the
Zimbabwean leader.

Speaking during a panel discussion which focused on the media environment
under the envisaged Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) at the national press
club, the Quill Club Friday, Mutsvangwa said local journalists had little
knowledge about American politics but were quick to eulogize it while
criticizing their own.

"I scoff at that," he said. "Most journalists don't read. Somebody reads on
their behalf. When they read and pick up a comment, they repeat it over and
over and over again as if it's their own.

"Shallowness in inbred, especially in Zimbabwean journalists. They would not
see the truth even from 10 metres away."

Mutsvangwa, who has been appointed commissioner in the ZMC, further accused
local journalists of disparaging the efforts of the liberation war fighters.

He said local journalists were still failing to see that Zimbabwe's economic
problems were a result of decades of plunder by foreign powers through
colonialism and lately sanctions.

He said he was surprised that Zimbabwean journalists would continue to deny
the existence and effect of western imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe even
though Britain owned up recently that it had imposed the embargo and would
scrape them through advice from the former opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).

"A lot of journalism in Zimbabwe is given to critic on behalf of foreign
interests and not of national interest and it is a sad state of affairs," he

"Sanctions are real and journalists must focus on how foreign powers have
sapped the country's capacity to fend for itself through colonialism and

"You are so shortsighted that you think history only starts when a white
journalist starts commenting about your own country on behalf of Britain.

"Zimbabweans are poor because they are products of dispossession.

"You are given to complain. You are like a Pavlonian dog which is told that
you must do this because a certain signal has been given.

"Zimbabwean journalists are failing to realise Africa's potential and
failing to celebrate their achievements just like what the Americans do."

Mutsvangwa, the former chief executive officer of the state-run Zimbabwe
Broadcating Corporation and trained journalist said he was more qualified to
comment on Zimbabwe's political situation as he identifies more with it
through his participation in the country's liberation struggle for which he
abandoned his educational career even after he had been awarded a
scholarship by the colonial government.

"I am as patriotic as any journalist can be, except that I have a history of
actual performance than writing on behalf of it. That is the big

Mutsvangwa said he was better equipped to comment on the issues as he had
experiences in being a diplomat, freedom fighter, and businessman and was
also an academic.

He said he could not be lectured to by any Zimbabwean journalist on American
affairs as he obtained his degrees in America and has also lived for five
years in Europe.

Mutsvangwa was not daunted by angry remarks from some journalists who said
they felt he had dedicated valuable time to eulogizing Zanu-PF, his party,
and singing about his claimed personal achievements.

"I wear many hats," he said, "You cannot railroad me into speaking the way
you want. I am endowed with a broader array of experiences than you will
ever know in 10 lives or 20 lives.

"I am very smart. The intellectual capacity that I have should not be a
source of jealous by people.

"I do not have the power to go about dispensing intelligence and capability
to other people. That is the work of God. If you have got limitations, I
cannot help it."

Mutsvangwa said Zimbabwean journalists were not even aware that they had
little knowledge about the obtaining world body politic.

"A frog under a coconut shell actually thinks the shell is the sky," he
quipped amid guffaws among the journalists.

He also accused Zimbabwean journalists of failing to appreciate that Zanu PF
was responsible for the liberation of the country and the bringing of
education which the same journalists were using to disparage it.

"You actually want the restoration of colonialism because you have gripes
about the imperfections of modern Zimbabwe," he said.

"Most of you can read because Zanu PF made sure that school was available to
you for free and this is acknowledged by the whole of Africa."

Asked to comment over the plight of freelance journalist Stanley Kwenda who
fled the country last week after receiving death threats from a senior
police officer over a story he wrote in a local tabloid about him,
Mutsvangwa scoffed, "Why should I comment about a fight over a girlfriend."

Kwenda fled from Zimbabwe a little over a week ago "after that strange and
angry voice on the phone last Friday evening promised I would not survive
the weekend."

Mutsvangwa's comments also drew protests from co-panelists Loughty Dube,
national chairman of the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe
Chapter and Dumisani Muleya, secretary general and spokesperson of the
Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights.

"What I get from you is that everyone else is naive. You are the only light
in this room," Dube said to cheers from the audience.

Muleya accused Mutsvangwa of being one of the politicians who were
determined to keep Zimbabweans "chained and handcuffed" to the past in a bid
to camouflage the damage the Zanu PF administration has brought on the

"Talk about what your party has done to this country, the damage, the
killings your party had wrought in this country," he said.

"The fact that we are young and did not go to war cannot be a point of
crucification. We can't be detained in that history for ever. We have got to
move forward.

Muleya said Mutsvangwa spoke proudly about China at the expense of the
western powers because the Asian country had broken away from the habit of
focusing on the past and not the future.

"Don't come here and try to accuse journalists of things that you don't
know. We know the same history you are talking about. We read the same
history that you are boasting about. We were not educated in space. We were
educated under the sun. Don't try to blackmail us by claiming that we know

Some journalists also accused Mutsvangwa of cherry picking the part of
history during which his Zanu-PF party was both triumphant and popular,
while ignoring the period during which it had ruined the country.

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MDC calls on SADC and Zuma

Eyewitness News | 4 Hours Ago

Reports from Zimbabwe on Sunday suggested that the MDC, led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, wants to declare a deadlock in its negotiations
with ZANU-PF.

It is understood that the MDC wants to refer the agenda to the SADC and
President Jacob Zuma.

The MDC appears to be standing firm on key issues it wants resolved, like
the appointments of the Central Bank governor and the Attorney General,
despite a plea from Jacob Zuma last week for the MDC president to be

According to reports on Sunday, MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said that the
party is losing patience.

He said there is a political logjam, and SADC and Zuma must intervene.

Party insiders said that when ZANU-PF and MDC negotiators met briefly on
Wednesday ZANU-PF had hardened its attitude.

President Robert Mugabe's party wants targeted travel sanctions and asset
freezes lifted against them.

Insiders are saying that the state of relations between the two parties is
as shaky as it was in February 2009, with absolutely no sign of progress.

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Farmers rip off GMB

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Agriculture Editor

THE Grain Marketing Board (GMB) lost fertiliser worth thousands of dollars
through vouchers fraudulently acquired from banks under the US$210 million
agricultural support facility, we can reveal.

Under the facility, A2 farmers were urged to apply for funding through
commercial banks that, in turn, availed the bank vouchers to approved
The vouchers were supposed to be used to collect fertiliser, seed and
chemicals, among other inputs, from GMB depots.
It has, however, emerged that some of these vouchers were fraudulently
acquired by some people and then forwarded to GMB depots from where the
inputs were looted.
GMB communications manager Mrs Muriel Zemura confirmed the development,
saying the cases had been reported at GMB's Norton depot.
"So far we received a report from Norton depot where 30 tonnes of fertiliser
were collected through fraudulent vouchers,'' she said.
It is understood that the parastatal could have lost thousands of dollars
worth of other inputs through the vouchers which were presented to different
"At Norton, one person managed to collect more than 30 tonnes after
presenting fraudulent bank vouchers which the workers did not detect,'' said
a source at the depot.
He said the depot only realised that the vouchers were fraudulently acquired
after collection had already been done.
It is alleged that the same system was used at another depot where more than
20 tonnes of fertiliser were collected.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union president Mr Wilson Nyabonda said while
it was a noble idea for farmers to access inputs through the voucher system,
the prices charged were exorbitant.
He said farmers were calling for a review of the prices charged under the
banks' voucher system.
"We want to see a situation where prices availed under the voucher system
are reviewed downwards,'' he said.
He said at US$32 for a bag of fertiliser, farmers would only manage to get
very low tonnage.

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Concern over violence-displaced aliens

January 24, 2010

By Mxolisi Ncube

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's Minister of Labour, Membathisi Mdladlana, says
that he will in the next few weeks invite his Zimbabwean counterpart to
South Africa to discuss the issue regarding thousands of Zimbabweans who
were displaced by xenophobic violence in the Western Cape last year. An
estimated 3 000 foreigners, most of them Zimbabweans, fled their homes last
November, after they were attacked with their shacks being destroyed by
locals in an informal settlement outside De Doorns in the Boland, a farming
town about 150km from Cape Town.

As in most xenophobic cases, the locals accused the Zimbabweans, many of
whom worked as farm labourers, of stealing their jobs.

The locals also claimed that Zimbabweans were preferred ahead of them by
local farmers, in the grape/wine-producing area because the immigrants
accept very low wages and are not paid for overtime, even if they work seven
days a week and during holidays.

The farmers, it was added, also told the Zimbabwean workers that they did
not have the right to fair labour practices, the minimum wage and social
benefits such as the  Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

Despite tensions having seemingly eased a bit, the displaced Zimbabweans
have refused to be reintegrated into the local community; for fear that they
can be attacked again, while the locals also vow that they will not allow
the immigrants to return to their communities
Mdladlana last week said that the question of undocumented Zimbabweans
continuing to flock to South Africa posed a security risk to the
neighbouring country.

"It is a matter of serious concern to us as South African leaders and we
cannot just sit and watch," said Mdladlana on Wednesday.

"That is why I am going to invite my Zimbabwean counterpart for a meeting,
which I hope, will map the best way for us to resolve the issue regarding
both new Zimbabwean arrivals and those displaced at De Doorns, who will not
live in those safety camps indefinitely."

Admitting that Zimbabweans are still suffering the effects of an economic
meltdown that has hounded their country for the past decade, Mdladlana said
that the South African government still found it difficult to assist them
due to lack of documentation for most of them.

"They have these economic problems, but even if you want to give them their
Unemployment Insurance Fund, what must Zimbabweans bring to make a claim if
they have no form of documentation, when South Africans should bring their
identity documents. That is a government-to-government issue and together we
should resolve it," said Mdladlana.

He however, did not give any tentative date for his meeting, which he said
would be held soon.

He added that he recently met leaders of the refugee rights group, People
Against Suffering Suppression Oppression and Poverty - PASSOP, in Cape Town.

The group wants government to investigate claims that politicians are
involved in last year's attacks on foreigners in the area.

Mdladlana also reiterated calls for the Zimbabwean government to quickly
implement its unity government agreement.

"The sooner the agreement is implemented by the Zimbabwean government with
its contents respected by all parties, the better," he said.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 23rd January 2010

Given all the attention paid in Zimbabwe to the recent comments by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, Vigil supporters were surprised that commentators only seem to have noticed his rather obvious remarks about sanctions. What was much more interesting to us was his praise of President Zuma’s Zimbabwe policy.  Answering questions in Parliament, Mr Miliband said ‘President Zuma is playing a careful hand, and he is playing it rather skilfully’.


What does he mean?  We know Mr Zuma has said he wants elections to resolve the Zimbabwe situation next year. No more dilly-dallying: ‘park’ disagreements. South Africans have always had a reputation for ‘making a plan’ and we hope that President Zuma will soon explain what he has in his ‘careful hand’.


In particular, the Vigil wants to know how he will ensure that the Zimbabwe elections are free and fair given the refusal of Zanu-PF to relinquish power and its readiness to use violence. When we know this we can assess how ‘skillfully’ he is playing his hand.  The Vigil would like to welcome President Zuma as a friend when he visits London in March. This is on the understanding that by then he will have answered satisfactorily our question: ‘What is your plan?’


In the coming week Vigil supporters will be attending a meeting in Parliament of the committee looking into aid to Zimbabwe (see below for details). The Vigil has already pointed out to the committee our view that there should be no relaxation of pressure on Zanu PF to honour what they have already agreed in the GPA.  


We were happy that we have been able to help the launch of a Swazi Vigil in London. They are to protest outside the Swazi High Commission (see below for details) every Saturday in support of freedom. We are sure Zimbabweans will support a struggle against an autocratic ruler (and friend of Mugabe) who would starve his people to pay for a Boeing for his wives.


Good news this week is that a consignment of sports equipment and stationery from the Vigil has arrived in Zimbabwe.  This is thanks to a class at the Dolphin School, Battersea, and their teacher Steve Garvey.  Through their fundraising efforts they collected around £900. Thanks especially to Fungayi Mabhunu who sourced and purchased all the goods, helped by Arnold Kuwewa.  Thanks also to Chipo Chaya and Moses Kandiyawo who helped Fungayi dispatch the goods.  Four schools have been selected by Vigil team members to receive the equipment and we will keep you informed of deliveries to the schools.  We are hoping that penpal friendships will result between pupils at these schools and the pupils of the Dolphin School.


Some other points:

1.       ‘Don’t worry you are going to win’ – that was the cryptic message given by a passer-by to one of our regulars, Francesca Toft.

2.       Vigil supporters are planning to go to Chatham House on 3rd February to hear Sekai Holland talking about national healing.  Josephine Zhuga of the Vigil will be there to ask if she can have back her house stolen by a Zimbabwean policeman.

3.       Thanks to Loveness Chikwanje who was with us at the start, helped throughout and packed up at the end. 


For latest Vigil pictures check:


FOR THE RECORD: 160 signed the register.



·           Parliamentary Committee on DFID’s assistance to Zimbabwe.  Tuesday 26th January at 10.30 am. Venue: Committee Room 5, House of Commons. See: You can watch the committee proceedings on: Access via St Stephen’s Gate – leave enough time to clear security. Nearest station: Westminster.

·           Launch of Swazi Vigil. Saturday 30th January from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. They intend to hold weekly Vigils on Saturdays– same time and venue. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria.

·           ROHR Swansea general meeting. Saturday 30th January from 1 – 4 pm. Venue: tba. Contact: Kudzai Ruzvidzo 07824967317 or Phillip Mpukutsa 07999615868. Future meeting on Saturday 27th February.

·           ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 30th January from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF.  Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.

·           ROHR Brighton general meeting.  Saturday 30th January from 1 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton BN13XG. ROHR Executive representative present. Contact: Sinikiwe Dube 07824668763, Wellington Mamvura 07949595506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Future meetings to be held on Saturdays 27th February and 27th March – same time and venue. 

·           ROHR Liverpool Demonstration. Saturday 6th February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark) Liverpool City Centre. Next demonstration on Saturday 20th February. Same venue and time.  For Details contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Patrick Kushonga 07900857605, Trywell Migeri 07956083758.

·           ROHR Stoke-On-Trent general meeting. Saturday 13th February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Children and Young People Service, West Team, Shelton Centre, Crowther Street, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 2ER. Substantive committee to be elected. Executive members present on the day.  Contact: Pauline Mutema on 07850462301, Agnes Chivhimbo 07908447037, Joana Zhira 07845896347, Farirai Muchibwa 07746628397

·           ROHR Hayes fundraising party. Saturday 27th February from 3 pm till late. Venue: Coronation Hall, Stoke Road, Water Eaton, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK2 3AB. Admission £7.50 including food (lots of traditional food: Mazondo, Maguru mubhoora and all). Fashion show. Zim Music. Raffle: tickets £5. Prizes include: computer, printer, mobile handset, DVD player. To be drawn at 10.30 pm. Nearest station: Bletchley. Bus number 5 from central Milton Keynes or Bletchley. For more info contact Rodah Kuhlengisa 07958205544, Charity Nyamuzuwe 07898765091, Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Martha Jiya 07727016098 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.

·           Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

·           Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: or contact:

·           For Motherland ENT’s videos of the Vigil on 26/12/2009: and


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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Zim’s descend into lawlessness: Gubbay’s perspective
Written by Anthony Gubbay   
Thursday, 21 January 2010 15:14
torture_victim(Pictured: The back of a man tortured with molten plastic – Political violence and human righst abuses are routine in Zimbabwe)

In the first part of his International Rule of Law Lecture to the Bar of England and Wales that we published last week, former Zimbabwe Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay posited that the colllapse of the rule of law began almost immediately after the country’s 1980 independence from Britain.
In this second segment Gubbay details how the writing was on the wall so many years ago – only no one noticed. Gubbay’s recount of President Robert Mugabe’s 1982 decalaration that his government would not “allow the technicalities of the law to fetter its hands” leaves one wondering whether history might have taken a different course had Zimbabweans paid more attention to that statement of intent:
In the early years of independence the main area of conflict between the judiciary and the executive involved cases of detention without trial; that is, a deprivation of liberty permitted, subject to certain conditions under the law of Zimbabwe, during a declared period of public emergency.  
The state of emergency, which had been declared by the Smith government at its unilateral declaration of independence on 11 November 1965 and extended repeatedly every six months, was kept in force by the new government for ten years.
The first blatant failure to comply with court orders occurred in the case of the York brothers. In January 1982, two farmers, the York brothers, were arrested and charged with the illegal possession of arms of war. The state’s most important witness left the country before the trial.  
A statement made by one of the accused to the police, apparently admitting the crime, was ruled by the trial court to be inadmissible, because it had been made as a result of police threats to arrest his family. The state case collapsed and the brothers were acquitted.  
The government, however, ordered their immediate detention.  The High Court held that the detention was illegal as the state had failed to comply with the conditions of detention.  The brothers were then re-detained on fresh detention orders, but had to be released a second time as the orders still did not comply with the necessary conditions.  Again they were re-detained in terms of new orders.
It was only after this third attempt that the High Court ruled that the detention orders were validly made.  The spurious reasoning advanced was that they were being held under ‘investigative’ detention as opposed to ‘preventive’ detention.   Hence those rights guaranteed by the Constitution as applicable to preventive detention were not available to the detainees.  Not unexpectedly this decision was criticised as being an exercise in semantics.
On the plain facts there was no conflict between the executive and the judiciary.  The minister of home affairs, responsible for the police, had made a series of mistakes, and the courts were unable to uphold the detentions until those mistakes had been rectified.
However, a statement made by the minister to the court during the second detention hearing, declaring that no information would be forthcoming as to where the detainees were being held, even in the face of a court order to that effect, was indicative of just such a conflict.  

Paid hirelings
The same minister, speaking in parliament, accused the judiciary of dispensing ‘injustice by handing down perverted pieces of judgment which smack of subverting the people’s government’.  He went on to attack the legal profession as a whole in the following paranoid terms:
“We are aware that certain legal practitioners are in receipt of moneys as paid hirelings, from governments hostile to our own order, in the process of seeking to destabilise us, to create a state of anarchy through the inherited legal apparatus.  
“We promise to handle such lawyers using the appropriate technology that exists in our law and order section.  This should succeed in breaking up the unholy alliance between the negative bench, the reactionary legal practitioners and governments hostile to us, some of whose representatives are in this country”.
The statement clearly represented a threat to both the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. Members of the law society met the minister of justice to express their concern. The Chief Justice, after consulting the minister of justice, also issued a statement expressing concern at the attack upon the judiciary and the legal profession.   
The minister of justice himself put out a press release to the effect that the government recognised the role which an independent judiciary is to play in the sustenance of democratic order; and that it was government’s belief that the executive and judiciary should complement each other in the fulfilment of their functions.
Although the statement of the minister of justice contained much that could be seen as recognising and supporting the independence and effectiveness of the judiciary, confusion remained as to the exact nature of the government’s position on the issue.  This was because a few days earlier Prime Minister Mugabe had said in parliament:
“The government cannot allow the technicalities of the law to fetter its hands in what is a very clear task before it, to preserve law and order in the country.  We shall, therefore, proceed as government in a manner we feel as fitting; and some of the measurers we shall take are measures which will be extra legal”.
Taking extra-legal measures meant disobeying the law.  The words clearly conveyed that it was government’s policy to disobey the law whenever it considered such disobedience necessary for the preservation of law and order.
With the knowledge of hindsight, I do not believe that this criticism and disobedience of the judiciary by the executive can be dismissed as mere teething trouble – as the manifestation of a newly elected government flexing its muscles after emerging from a lengthy period of oppression under white minority rule.

Six white officers
A further controversial episode occurred in 1983, when six white officers of the Zimbabwe air force were charged with being involved in a serious sabotage attack on an air force base.  The only evidence against them was signed confessions which they alleged were obtained as a result of torture.  
The trial judge found that all the accused were denied access to their legal representatives prior to making the confessions; and also that the confessions were made as a result of fear after sustained physical and mental torture.  
Accordingly, he held that the confessions were inadmissible, and the accused were acquitted.  They were placed in preventive detention immediately upon release, but only for a short period.  They were then deported from the country.
An appeal by the attorney-general to the Supreme Court which, as it happened, was comprised of three white judges, all appointed prior to 1980 (I was one of them), was dismissed. That decision was condemned by the minister of home affairs. He accused the judges of ‘class bias and racism’. No contradiction of that false statement was made by any other minister, or by the attorney-general.
There is little doubt that during this early period the frequent use of detention without trial, both in instances where the courts had previously acquitted the detainees, and to circumvent the judicial process, amounted to an erosion of the rule of law.  So did the government’s stance in simply ignoring court orders to pay damages to victims (considered to be political enemies) of human rights violations.
Since the State Liabilities Act prohibits execution, or attachment or process in the nature thereof, against state property, there is no legal remedy against such refusal.  Furthermore, damage awards cannot be enforced through contempt orders.   Thus, whether or not to compensate is left to the state’s discretion.

Parly vs Supreme Court
In 1988 the case that brought the judiciary into conflict with the legislature was that involving the former prime minister of Rhodesia, Ian Smith.  
The facts were simply that, as a member of parliament, Smith had been found guilty of contempt of parliament in respect of utterances he had made in South Africa in support of apartheid policies, and in opposition to the imposition of economic sanctions against South Africa.
He was suspended from service of parliament for one year and, in addition, declared disentitled to receive salary and allowances during that period.   Smith applied to the High Court for an order declaring unlawful the punishment depriving him of his remuneration.  
At the hearing, the speaker produced a certificate which sought to stay the proceedings on the ground of parliamentary privilege. The High Court came to the conclusion that the speaker’s certificate was conclusive and stayed the proceedings.  On appeal, the Supreme Court had no hesitation in holding the decision to be wrong.
First, it was pointed out that when a certificate from the speaker is produced, stating that the matter is one of parliamentary privilege, the court must examine the certificate in order to establish the legitimacy of the privilege claimed; and secondly, that the monetary deprivation imposed was illegal and in conflict with the Constitution. That part of the punishment (but not the suspension) was set aside.
The speaker was furious. He refused to recognise and give effect to the Supreme Court judgment.  He maintained that no court of law can question a decision made by parliament. He said that he would not pay Smith unless parliament reversed its decision to suspend him without pay.  
He suggested that parliament might have to “liberate itself from the Supreme Court judges; that the judiciary should not interfere with the legislature because the legislature in all Commonwealth countries is supreme”.
These statements could not be allowed to go unchallenged. The Supreme Court judges, the Bar Council and the Law Society, expressed concern at the attitude of the speaker which sought to undermine the authority of the court.  It was said:
“The judiciary is the watchdog of the country’s constitution.  If the legislature or the executive can disregard it at will, there is no way that the people’s rights can be guaranteed.  We may as well tear up that document we call our constitution”.
It was only after he had sought and obtained the authority of parliament that the speaker paid Smith. He refused to back down. So the conflict was finally resolved.

Clearly, the gravest abuse of law and order, during the first decade of the country’s independence, occurred in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.
A purported threat of ‘dissident’ ex-guerrilla fighters led to a counter-insurgency war, commonly known as the ‘Gukurahundi’ (the word refers to the first rain of summer that washes away the chaff from the previous season).
In official operations by the national army’s notorious North Korean trained fifth brigade, which was directly responsible to Robert Mugabe, several thousands of innocent civilians were massacred or simply disappeared. Some estimates put the number at up to 10 000 civilians.
Thousands more were arbitrarily detained, brutally assaulted and often tortured. In a 1982 speech to parliament, Mugabe accurately presaged the violence in these words: “An eye for an eye and an ear for an ear may not be adequate in our circumstances. We might very well demand two ears for one ear and two eyes for one eye.”  
For the initial ten year of its life the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution of Zimbabwe could only amended by a unanimous vote in parliament.
Not surprisingly there were no amendments to any of the rights provisions. From 11 May 1990, however, amendments to the Declaration of Rights, as well as any other provision of the Constitution, may be passed upon a vote by two-thirds of the members of parliament.

Constitutional amendements
During the period 1991-2000 the parliament of Zimbabwe passed several amendments to the Declaration of Rights to the disadvantage of the individual.  In early 1991 parliament passed Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No.11).
Two saving provisions were added to section 15 (1) (the protection against inhuman or degrading punishment or other such treatment).  The first enacts that corporal punishment inflicted upon a male under the age of eighteen years shall not be held to be inhuman or degrading.
This amendment effectively overruled the decision of the Supreme Court.  It also runs counter to article 5 of the African Charter of Human and People’s rights and to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
The second provision specifically allows sentence of death to be carried out by the method of hanging. The reason for this amendment was that the Supreme Court had been due to hear a test case in which argument was to be presented on the question of whether execution by hanging was a violation of section 15 (1).
Both the State and the defence had been required to adduce evidence as to the reliability of the various procedures and precautions adopted in execution by hanging; and to address the physical pain and mental anguish to which the condemned person is subjected by such method. The amendment pre-empted the court from deciding the controversial issue.
The minister of justice announced to parliament that the amendment was necessary ‘in order to prevent the Supreme Court from doing away with the death sentence (a punishment sanctioned under the Constitution) via the back door’.
The eleventh amendment also altered section 16, the protection against deprivation of property without compensation.  It reduced the amount payable in the event of expropriation from ‘adequate compensation payable promptly’ to ‘fair compensation payable within a reasonable time’. It also removed the right of an expropriatee to challenge in a court of law the fairness of any compensation awarded.
In 1993 parliament passed a further amendment to section 15 (1) in order to overcome the Supreme Court judgment that an inordinate delay in carrying out a death sentence amounted to inhuman treatment.
Constitutional Amendment Act (No. 14), promulgated on 6 December 1996, amends section 22 (which had been interpreted by the Supreme Court to permit the foreign husband of a Zimbabwean citizen to reside permanently in the country, and engage in employment or other gainful activity), so as to grant neither foreign husbands nor foreign wives, of citizens, residence as of right in Zimbabwe by virtue of marriage.

Agricultural land
On 19 April 2000, just two months before the general election was due to be held, Constitutional Amendment Act (No. 16) was passed.  
Whereas previously the owner of agricultural land compulsorily acquired for resettlement of people had to be compensated, the amendment spelt out that such obligation no longer pertained; it was the exclusive responsibility of the former colonial power to do so.
This provision, read in context, refers to compensation with respect to the soil.  It does not absolve the government from liability to compensate for improvements effected upon the land, though, unfairly, such compensation may be paid in instalments over a period of time.
But the ultimate prohibition of access by commercial farmers to the courts came in the form of Constitutional Amendment Act (No.17), promulgated on 14 September 2005. It effectively vests the ownership of agricultural land, compulsorily acquired for resettlement purposes in conformity with the land reform programme, in the state; and ousts the jurisdiction of the courts to entertain any challenge concerning such acquisition.  
Constitutional Amendments 16 &17 have been roundly, and aptly, condemned as being: “...without modern parallel in any constitutional democracy worthy of its name.
“They set Zimbabwe apart from all member states of SADC, the British Commonwealth and the African Union, which function as constitutional democracies. They violate Zimbabwe’s international law obligations, most immediately through its membership of the African Union.
“They entail the abrogation of constitutionalism and elevate the fiat of the executive and legislature over the entrenched core provisions of the Constitution. They certify the existence of a totalitarian state.”
Editor’s Note: Excerpt from a paper titled ‘The progressive erosion of the rule of law in independent Zimbabwe’ presented by the country’s former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay to the Bar of England and Wales, Inner Temple Hall, London. The paper was presented on December 9, 2009. (To be continued)

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ZANU (PF) Threatens to Wage War over a Comprehensive 2010 National Land Audit

"Put your arrows back in their quiver," no amount of bullying, talk of war,
or threats of bloodshed will stop a national land audit designed to ensure
that the land acquisition and redistribution exercise has been conducted
fairly within the ambit of the rule of law.

Zimbabweans are fatigued and refuse to be anchored in perpetual revolutions
that have no end, Chimurengas that have lost their impetus. Folks have now
wizened up to political speech making. There shall be no equivocation or
ambivalence towards the necessity for a national land audit, an
indispensable component of good governance.

The self-absorbed men, who are calling for war over an audit, are themselves
too old or unable to fight in the very war they want to start. They will
securely watch from a distance as the children of the poor and landless
perish, "Then sayeth Jesus to him, 'Turn back thy sword to its place; for
all who did take the sword, by the sword shall perish.'"

The land audit is part of the requirements of the Global Political Agreement
(GPA). On September 15, 2008, Mugabe signed on behalf of ZANU (PF) and all
land beneficiaries, Article 5.9 of the GPA: "While differing on the
methodology of acquisition and redistribution, the parties acknowledge that
compulsory acquisition and redistribution of land has taken place under a
land reform programme undertaken since 2000".

 "The parties hereby agree to conduct a comprehensive, transparent and
non-partisan land audit during the tenure of the Seventh Parliament of
Zimbabwe, for the purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating
multiple farm ownership".

ZANU (PF) activists cannot cry foul as citizens of Zimbabwe exercise their
rights and circle their wagons to conduct an independent audit of their
land. The recipients of land cannot be auditors in the process. Why are
persons linked to ZANU (PF) resisting the audit? What will the audit reveal
that is so grave as to warrant a declaration of war by lawless gangsters
against fellow landless citizens seeking fairness?

Was the land reform equitable? Did land reform benefit all the people of
Zimbabwe regardless of their political affiliation, creed, race, or gender?
Did Zimbabwe achieve its goal of correcting a colonial wrong? Who benefited
from the public funds under the Reserve Bank's US$2.5 billion Farm
Mechanisation Programme and the Agricultural Support Enhancement Facility?
How were the funds utilised? What are the remedial actions that return
Zimbabwean farms into productivity? Why are farms lying idle?

Any reasonable taxpayer and patriotic citizen has the right to know how
their hard-earned funds have been used and to whom all the land and money
has been given. It is an absolute imperative that the nation explains to the
rural landless folks, why they did not get land. Decongestion of communal
areas was the basis for seizing farms, which are now the private property of
the very people who want to obstruct the land audit.
What has become of the 300 000 persons once employed on acquired farms?

Zimbabwean agriculturalists, chartered accountants, auditors, lawyers and
quantity surveyors armed with pens and calculators conducting a national
land audit do not constitute a culpable threat to Zimbabwe's sovereignty or
territorial integrity.

This audit will be carried out using remote sensing and satellite
technology. It will be concluded in two months at no cost to the treasury.
The US$31 million allocated by the Ministry of Finance must be used to
purchase agricultural inputs for communal farmers.

ZANU (PF) is not the sovereign authority in Zimbabwe; it is a political
party, a mere congregation of persons of the same ideological persuasion.
That ideology thus far has failed us all, as Zimbabwe stares another food
deficit season in the face. Zimbabwe is now the largest recipient of
"Western" food aid in Africa.

It has been ten years and ZANU (PF) would like us to believe that all
non-productive land occupiers are still new farmers. We are told that a
decade has not been a long enough time to transform from new to seasoned due
to the impediments of sanctions.

Every citizen of Zimbabwe-regardless of their race, colour, or creed-is
entitled to the same rights as a person who belongs to ZANU (PF). No one,
not even Mugabe, is above the law. Persons who are now blocking the audit
and threatening war and violence have stolen land meant for resettlement,
which now lies underutilised, derelict or misused.

On Wednesday night a ZANU (PF) activist, Goodson Nguni warned the Finance
Minister of "war" if the minister releases money for the land audit. He
said, "The Minister of Finance is representing the whites and by allocating
funds to the land audit he wants the whites to comeback.if he insists that
the land audit should carry on he is declaring a war. Land audit represents
the MDC, which wants to sabotage the land reform".

Guilty ZANU (PF) functionaries, accustomed to intimidation and aggression,
have hijacked the land audit debate. They now incessantly churn out hate
speech dripping with venom and lecture the public with incendiary drivel
designed to cower the proponents of accountability into retreat. If need be,
the audit shall be conducted wearing Kevlar vests, come rain come thunder,
the land audit will take place this year.

Vast tracts of land are being carved into residential plots, swapped for
speculative purposes and sublet to foreigners at the expense of Zimbabwean
citizens. If land reform is meant to correct a colonial wrong, why then was
land seized and misappropriated from fellow black Zimbabweans?

Zimbabwe is now in its fourth land reform exercise since Independence and
our prime national asset-33 million hectares of land, the asset that defines
our sovereignty-has changed hands. It is a national imperative that Zimbabwe
literally takes stock of its soil.

Mugabe commissioned a national audit of land reform through the office of
then Vice-President Joseph Msika. It began in August 2002 under the auspices
of the Minister of State in the Vice President's office, Florence Buka. At
ZANU-PF's December congress in Chinhoyi, Mugabe announced that the audit was
progressing and promised to act on its findings. To this day Zimbabweans
await the outcome of those findings.

Did Mugabe call for the audit to appease his colonial masters, or in an
effort to return land to whites? Is it only acceptable if ZANU (PF) carries
out the audit?

When a goat with a grievance against a hyena that ate its kids takes the
matter to the animal court, it is not fair for another hyena to be the judge
in the matter.

The final 2003 Buka report apportioned much of the blame on Agriculture and
Land Minister. Dr Joseph Made, who was empowered by Parliament to allocate
land. The audit suggested that he allowed the improper allocation of land to
the political elite. The audit repeatedly accused him of refusing to
cooperate with the investigation and withholding information. The audit
referred to his issuance of certificates of "no interest", which were used
by politicians and businessmen to claim ownership of farms earmarked for

The proposed 2010 National Land Audit will be under the patronage of an
independent citizen-funded committee, supervised by qualified Zimbabweans.
The ZANU (PF) excuse of not having the money or manpower is now a mute

The Buka Report never saw light of day because of its incriminated findings
and the subsequent Utete Report contained an annexe listing 178 high-ranking
ZANU (PF) officials who violated the rules on land resettlement. The
government watered down the Utete public release version by removing all
reference to multiple farm ownership.

The Presidential Land Review Committee officially inaugurated by Mugabe on
May 14 2004, comprising of the ex-Chief Secretary to the President and
Cabinet Dr. Charles M B Utete, Chairman, Dr. Robbie Mupawose, Dr. Liberty
Mhlanga, Dr. Tobias Takavarasha, Dr. Boniface Ndimande, Prof. Rudo
Gaidzanwa, Dr. Mavis Chidzonga and Dr. Misheck J M Sibanda. This committee
constituted some of Zimbabwe's most respected agricultural minds and their
report revealed appalling anomalies.

Did these agricultural gurus have colonial handlers too?

The committee's technical team; Professor Sam Moyo, Head, Dr. Prosper B
Matondi, Dr. Emmanuel Manzungu, Dr. Johannes Makhadho, Dr. Renneth Mano, Dr.
Chrispen Sukume, Dr. Lovemore Rugube, Mr. Langton Mukwereza and Mr. Walter
Chambati. Theirs was diligent and made pragmatic recommendations that were
largely ignored by the body politik in preference to the status quo, which
contributed to the demise of agriculture.

Are all these highly educated black land review committee members agitating
for the return to colonialism? Why is it that any person who differs with
ZANU (PF) policies is is classified as an enemy? Why then, that anyone with
the audacity to challenge the system, is labeled a sellout or a stooge of
the British or unpatriotic?

The committee recommended that a National Land Board be established and be
empowered to ensure that land allocated to the people under the Land Reform
Programme was fully utilised. "Any demonstrated failure over a defined
period to use the land productively, especially in regard to the A2 model,
should result in cancellation of leases and the re-allocation of the land to
those willing and able to make use of it."

"There is need for a countrywide review of plots sizes allocated under the
Al and A2 models to ensure consistency and compliance with policy

"White commercial farmers who had been served with Section 8 but who only
had one farm or whose farm was claimed to fall under the agro industrial
category or who surrendered their other farm(s) to Government and had been
allowed to make a choice of one farm or sub-division thereof to allow them
to continue with farming. Many such persons expressed the view that as they
satisfied criteria set by Government in its policy, they should have been
allowed to continue farming operations on the property or subdivision in

"These matters need to be addressed by Government conclusively and
expeditiously to allow for productive use of the land and a sense of
certainty about their future for the farmers".

These patriotic committees of agricultural technocrats and academia used
informed research material, untainted by prejudice or bias to formulate a
report that required a responsible government to take heed and make
corrective measures. Not once in the report does the committee blame
sanctions for the failure of "new farmers."

Did the Buka and Utete Commissions reverse the gains of land reform and are
they agents of western imperialist governments for their roles in conducting
the audits? Alas, they are both recipients of farms under the same program
they audited.

Phil Matibe -

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