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Talks Deadlocked

Sunday, 24 January 2010 21:35

THE Movement for Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
has declared a "political logjam" in the inter-party talks and will refer
the matter to South African President Jacob Zuma.

The party's spokesperson Nelson Chamisa yesterday said they had "come to the
end of our patience and the death of magnanimity" over Zanu PF's reluctance
to conclude negotiations on outstanding issues.

"As MDC-T, we cannot accept any further delay or procrastination in the
interest of the people of Zimbabwe who have been subjected to uncertainty
and unnecessary anxiety over talks about talks," Chamisa said.

"We have guarantors to this agreement, and the logical conclusion is for
them to help us unlock this political logjam," Chamisa said.

Chamisa's comments followed Friday's meeting of the party's standing
committee to assess progress on the implementation of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA).

At the meeting, MDC-T lead negotiator Tendai Biti reportedly briefed senior
party members of the lack of progress in the talks.

"The preliminary report we have received is not encouraging. It seems we are
where we were in February last year," said a senior member of the MDC-T.

The official however said the meeting resolved to seek Zuma's intervention
after endorsement of that resolution by the party's National Executive and
National Council.

The negotiators briefly met on Wednesday, but adjourned the talks to
February 8.

Sources said Wednesday's meeting was all about "politicking and bickering"
on all outstanding but particularly on the issue of sanctions.

Although the official position is that the negotiations could not proceed
because one of the Zanu PF negotiators, Nicholas Goche was not present,
sources said the major problem was the "unusually intransigent attitude on
the part of Zanu PF".

"At the last meeting, the Zanu PF negotiators were co-operative and willing
to make concessions, but on Wednesday the attitude had changed for the

"They said whatever resolutions would be made should take into cognisance
resolutions of the party's congress in December."

Zanu PF negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Goche could not be reached for

It is however understood a number of items on the agenda have been cleared,
and the negotiators were trying to revive discussion on the contentious
issues of appointments of senior government officials.

At the last meeting, the negotiators came up with different proposals on the
outstanding issues, and last week's meeting was meant to find common ground.
But it left them further apart.

Among other things, the Zanu PF congress resolved that "there should be no
movement on the concerns of the MDC formations without corresponding and
simultaneous redress of Zanu PF's concerns such as the illegal Western

The congress also resolved that "the Zanu PF negotiators should not
countenance any introduction or inclusion in the ongoing inter-party
dialogue of provisions     agreements, which seek to reverse or undermine
the gains of the liberation struggle".

The MDC-T blames the impasse on Zanu PF's failure to implement in full the
GPA it signed with the two MDC formations in September 2008.

The party also objects to President Robert Mugabe's unilateral
re-appointment of central bank governor Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana as

Other sticky issues include the appointment of governors and the refusal by
Mugabe to swear in MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy Agriculture

On the other hand, Zanu PF has insisted that the MDC must call for the
removal of targeted sanctions imposed on Mugabe's inner circle before it
addresses the other outstanding issues.

But the British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mark Canning on Friday said: "As the
Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, made clear in Parliament on January 19,
the most important factor influencing the United Kingdom's views on lifting
EU restrictive measures will be evidence of actual change and reform on the
ground in Zimbabwe."

"These are not MDC-T measures."

Canning was clarifying an earlier statement by Miliband who was quoted as
saying his country would be guided by what the MDC-T recommends when it
comes to lifting of sanctions.

EU imposed sanctions 203 key Zanu PF figures allegedly involved in human
rights abuses before the GNU, 40 companies associated with these individuals
and their sources of finance.

Analysts say the MDC-T's appeal to Zuma might be dented by Tsvangirai's
comments that the South African President cannot push for elections in

Tsvangirai said elections would only be defined by the GPA.

This was after Zuma had suggested that Zimbabwe hold elections next year.


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Zanu PF Chefs bay for GMB Official’s Blood

Sunday, 24 January 2010 20:26

ZANU PF officials in Mashonaland West province have reportedly taken their
factional fights to the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), where they are
reportedly hounding out a provincial official because of his links with
ousted provincial chairperson John Mafa.

Sources in the province confirmed last week that the party’s deputy
provincial secretary, Tendai Chatsauka, who is a manager at the GMB in
Chegutu, is currently under pressure to either quit the position or transfer
to the head office in Harare.

The suspicions gathered steam last week when Chatsauka went “on leave”.

After failing to deal with them at party forums, it is understood Chatsauka
resorted to his role at the GMB to “fix” provincial party heavyweights,
among them Media and Information Minister Webster Shamu, Local Government
Minister Ignatious Chombo and Senate President Edna Madzongwe.

“For example, just recently Chatsauka was pressured to release a consignment
of 60 tonnes of fertilizer to one minister, but he refused to release it,
saying that would affect the allocation to other farmers as the supplies are
currently limited,” said the source.

It is understood senior party officials in the province did not take lightly
to Chatsauka’s refusal, saying he was now using his role at the GMB to
undermine senior party leaders.

They are said to have immediately recommended Chatsauka’s ouster from the
parastatal or a transfer to the head office in Harare as a way of clipping
his wings.

On Friday Shamu dismissed the claims that he and other senior officials were
trying to push Chatsauka out of GMB in Chegutu.

He said the claims about officials ordering huge consignments of fertiliser
were also “preposterous”.

“I have never ordered fertiliser from GMB Chegutu, my farm is registered
under Norton, which is where I also make my deliveries,” Shamu said.

Shamu said it was also impossible for any of the senior officials in the
province to influence Chatsauka’s transfer.

“I do not run GMB, it does not fall under my portfolio. That’s preposterous,
it’s ridiculous.

“My track record is quite open, go and check with the GMB. In fact, for this
year I haven’t bought any fertiliser.”

But the sources said in most cases --  the chefs did not come in person to
buy fertiliser, but send known emissaries. “They send their people, usually
constituency officers and some councilors to do the orders for them,” said
the source.

On the simmering tensions in the provincial leadership, Chatsauka said there
were “just a few individuals who want to divide us”.

“As a province we are united. Right now our drive is to preach the gospel of
constitution. There are just a few individuals with personal interests who
want to divide the party. According to the constitution, our chairman is
still Cde Mafa,” he said.

Some officials at GMB Chegutu suspected Chatsauka had already been pushed
out after he stopped reporting for duty.

But in an interview, Chatsauka said he was on leave.

“I am on leave as from January 19 and I will be back at work on February
 19,” Chatsauka told The Standard.

Moving Chatsauka to the head office in Harare will effectively clip his
wings in the province, a move which might force him to resign from the
position of deputy secretary.
“It is a clever way of handling the tribal politics,” said the source.

“Already, it is clear that all the officials who have been dismissed are
Karangas, and Chatsauka is a Manyika.

“The province took a position before the congress last year that Karangas
would not rule in Mash West, and it seems that also applies to Manyikas.”


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Rusape Villagers Face Starvation

Saturday, 23 January 2010 15:25

LESS than 500 metres from a small dam that is nearly full to capacity, a
maize crop has its leaves wilting in the scorching  late morning heat. A
narrow, dusty and bumpy road that snakes to commercial farms a few
kilometres away separates the sun baked maize field from the lush green crop
of a nearby tobacco farm.

In reality, the road also separates the haves in the commercial farms and
the poor villagers of Kavhara in Nyazura in Manicaland who are surviving on
food rations from aid organisations.

The villagers have run out of food from last season and are heading for
another disastrous season as their crop is showing serious signs of moisture

Most of them did not plant this season because there was not enough seed and
fertiliser in the shops.

Even if the inputs had been available, the majority would not have been able
to buy them as they were still battling to access multiple currencies
following the dollarisation of the economy early last year.

In most cases planted seeds never germinated due to poor rains.

"It last rained here some days before Christmas and we are just waiting,"
said Susan Mukwasha (29).

"But our hopes are fast fading as some of the crops will not recover even if
we get rains today."

Mukwasha said although Kavhara and nearby villages were surrounded by
commercial farms, they have been experiencing food crises because farmers
prefer to grow tobacco, a high value crop.

Gift Kawere of the same village appealed to charitable organisations to
increase food aid in the affected areas.

"I don't know where I will get food for my family because my crop is already
a write-off," said the 34-year-old father of three as he tried to repair a
broken wooden chair.

Some families in the area only have one proper meal a day, said Kawere.
This, he said, has affected the health status of children and the sick that
need a balanced diet.

When The Standard arrived at Kavhara, some of the villagers had just
received food aid from GOAL, a humanitarian organisation that assists
disadvantaged families.

With smiles all over their faces, scores of villagers pushed wheelbarrows
and scotch-carts laden with food as they headed back to their homes.

Some waved cheerfully to each and every passing vehicle evidently delighted
at their good fortune.

"At least we are going to have a decent meal today," chortled one woman, a
bag of maize balanced on her head.

Each villager was given a 10 kg bag of maize, a bottle of cooking oil and a
kilogramme of beans.

However, not all villagers were able to access the food.

Only "the poorest of the poor" did.

GOAL, which started work in Zimbabwe in 2002, also provides food assistance
to the poor in Nyanga, Guruve, Karoi, Chimanimani and Buhera.

For the past two years, Nyazura near Rusape and the surrounding areas have
been experiencing serious food shortages.

In 2008, several families survived on wild fruits after running out of food.

Agricultural experts have already forecast a disastrous season because of
erratic rains and poor planning by government.

Other provinces affected by poor rainfall patterns include Masvingo,
Matabeleland and parts of the Midlands.


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Officers in Trouble for Charging top cop toll Fees

Saturday, 23 January 2010 15:22

GWERU - Two Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) workers are languishing in
remand prison after they were arrested for allegedly trying to force a
senior police officer to pay toll gate fees. Benias Chikweya and Esnath
Manda were arrested on Wednesday and will only appear in court on Monday
because the police reportedly want "to fix them".

The case has drawn the interest of the Midlands chapter of the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), which says police are abusing their powers.

Chikweya and Manda were on duty at the Tree Top toll gate, about 10 km
outside Gweru on January 12 when they demanded toll fees from Senior
Assistant Inspector Pondo.

Pondo was driving a Toyota Hilux truck with civilian number plates and was
ordered to pay US$1. He refused to pay and it was then that the Zimra
officials realised he was a senior police officer.

ZLHR provincial chairperson, Brian Dube said Pondo told the officers that he
could not pay because Finance Minister, Tendai Biti had not given the police
money in his budget.

Dube said the officers explained that everyone driving a vehicle with
civilian registration numbers was required to pay the toll fees.

The explanation did not go down well with Pondo and Chikweya and Manda were
subsequently arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID)'s Law
and Order section. They are being charged with undermining the authority of
the President, Section 33(a)(111).

The allegations are that Chikweya told Pondo that President Robert Mugabe
was old and people now wanted young people in leadership like Morgan

But Dube said the allegations were concocted by Pondo to fix the officers.

He said the police refused to take the two to court last Thursday even after
their papers had been prepared. "They know that the allegations are flimsy
and we view this as an attempt to punish the two, " he said.

The two are being held at Gweru Central police cells. Police spokesperson
Superintendent Phiri said he was not at work.


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Zanu PF Moves to Contain Fallout

Saturday, 23 January 2010 15:16

MUTARE - The newly co-opted Zanu PF Manicaland chairman, Mike Madiro has
extended an olive branch to the party's secretary for administration Didymus
Mutasa after their alleged fallout in 2004. Madiro bounced back as the party's
provincial chairman after the provincial co-ordination committee unanimously
agreed to co-opt him onto the provincial executive.

Madiro had been in the political wilderness after his suspension from the
party for taking part in the infamous Tsholotsho meeting on November 18,

But some senior Zanu PF members claimed that Madiro and Mutasa could not see
eye to eye after Madiro allegedly grabbed a microphone from Mutasa during a
heated meeting in Mutare during the build up to the 2004 Zanu PF congress.

Sources claimed Madiro's actions humiliated Mutasa in front of other party

But soon after his co-option last week Madiro took the opportunity to extend
an olive branch to Mutasa claiming that he had nothing against the senior
politburo member.

Addressing the party's provincial co-ordination committee after his
co-option Madiro said: "I have heard many people saying I have something
against Cde Mutasa. I don't have anything against him. I have worked with
him for more than 18 years and know Cde Mutasa better. Our working
relationship has been cordial.

"The incident, when some people claimed that I grabbed a microphone from Cde
Mutasa, was far from being confrontational. It was at a meeting before the
national congress and it was a heated meeting and when Cde Mutasa tried to
address participants at the meeting there was commotion and his efforts to
quell the commotion were fruitless. I rushed to where he was and grabbed the
microphone so that I could quell the commotion.

"I did not want to humiliate Cde Mutasa but I wanted to save him from the
heckling and commotion. But I later heard some people saying I had
humiliated Cde Mutasa."

Mutasa who was also part of the meeting did not respond but remained seated
and stony-faced after Madiro's address.


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Constitution Reform Turns Into ‘another gravy train’

Saturday, 23 January 2010 15:08

NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku was
vilified as a spoiler when he mobilised opposition to a new
constitution-making process led by politicians. But following the latest
false start to the historic process the veteran campaigner is having the
last laugh.

Last week the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac) had to suspend
the deployment of outreach teams on the back of a plethora of problems
centred on political disagreements.

Zanu PF is reportedly against the consultations because it wants the
so-called Kariba Draft to be imposed on Zimbabweans.

The NCA says the problems that have led to the suspension of the programme
were bound to surface in a process led by political parties.

Mudock Chivasa, the lobby group’s spokesperson, said the process had now
become another gravy train for politicians.

“We have been told that MPs renting out their vehicles will be paid US$1 for
every kilometre, which is much more expensive than the $0,60 being charged
by car hire agencies in Harare,” he said.

“In fact, it has emerged that on average, MPs will be pocketing between $250
and $350 a day and this means that an average of $20 000 will be used for
each vehicle.”

Chivasa said it would have been much cheaper for the government to buy new
cars for the programme, saying money spent on hiring just one car could buy
three vehicles.

“As NCA, we view the move by the MPs as a clear testimony that government
officials are using this dubious constitutional reform process as a platform
to raise money for personal survival.”

Chivasa said the daily allowances for outreach teams were also evidence the
governing parties were doing everything to open up opportunities for their

The outreach programme was initially supposed to involve about 600 people.

But the number has ballooned to nearly a thousand after Zanu PF officials
and war veterans allegedly turned up uninvited.

Copac co-chairman, Douglas Mwonzora said most of the gate-crashers wanted to
use the programme to get free accommodation, food and allowances.

“How can they even propose to offer allowances of $40 a day in a country
where we have civil servants earning a paltry $155 a month,” Chivasa said.

“We are disappointed that there are even some civic groups embracing such
practices even after a series of meetings and workshops we held before this
process took off.

“All this money-spinning which is happening now is part of the reasons why
we advocated for an independent commission to run this process because we
know that with such a body, we would not have all these problems about
rapporteuring as it will be composed of people with a single interest of
representing their various constituencies and not there for money.”

The NCA’s criticism comes at a time when the organisation appeared to be
taking steps to re-engage Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC-T).

MDC-T and the NCA had a major fallout on the direction of the
constitution-making process, with the lobby challenging the role of

“We had a meeting with Tsvangirai in his capacity as MDC-T president and
were in agreement on issues of democracy, employment-creation and providing
a reliable health delivery system among others,” Chivasa said.

“But as NCA, we maintained our stance on the constitution.

“If you look at what is happening now, you will realise that government is
adamant to continue with this process with a selfish motive of generating
unjustifiable money through allowances and other avenues related to it.”

But Zanu PF Copac co-chair Paul Mangwana said there was “nothing wrong” with
government’s spending on the process.

“We engaged CMED to hire 260 cars which are not more than three years old
and on realising that MPs recently got new cars which are indeed less than
three years old, we agreed that out of the total required, 60 cars can be
hired from the MPs through CMED,” Mangwana said.

He said people should desist from thinking that MPs’ cars were a public
resource as they were bought using loans that the legislators will have to

“On the issue of allowances, I would like to remind people that the
constitution-making process is not a civil service programme.

“The United Nations is financing the programme and we are only paying per
diems based on international rates.

“If anyone is worried about teachers and civil servants’ salaries, they
should go and ask (Finance Minister) Tendai Biti why he is underpaying

But political analysts said while the hiring of MPs’ cars may be
justifiable, it would seem insensitive for government to pay huge allowances
while most civil servants were earning meagre salaries.

“The excuse that the money is from the UN is irrelevant,” said University of
Zimbabwe political science lecturer Professor Eldred Masunungure.

“This is money being used for a national purpose through a government
institution which is parliament.

“Government should allocate resources in a manner that takes cognisance of
what is happening in other sectors so that the people driving the process
are not seen as riding on a gravy train compared to the suffering majority.”

However, Masunungure said there was nothing wrong with MPs loaning out their
personal cars and being compensated.


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Govt Wades Into Anglican Dispute

Saturday, 23 January 2010 15:06

CO-MINISTER of Home Affairs Giles Mutsekwa says he will this week meet
senior police officers in Harare over the partisan nature of the police
handling the dispute between the Anglican Church of the Province of Central
Africa (ACPCA) and a break-away faction led by an ex-communicated bishop.
The break-away group led by Bishop Nolbert Kunonga, who was expelled from
the church in 2007, has been locking out parishioners from the ACPCA led by
Bishop Chad Gandiya despite a High Court ruling ordering the two to share
church facilities at different times of the day.

Mutsekwa said he was concerned about the continued violation of the court
ruling by the break-away group led by known Zanu PF apologist Kunonga.

"We are aware and concerned about what is happening," said Mutsekwa.

"I will be meeting with the Officer Commanding Harare Province to find out
why this is still happening and also give him a directive to stop it."

Disgruntled members last week accused the police of openly supporting the
Kunonga faction, whose members have, on several occasions, disregarded court
rulings with shocking impunity.

A High Court ruling by Judge President Rita Makarau in 2008 ordered the two
church factions to share the premises.

The two groups are supposed to share the premises with the Kunonga-led group
taking the morning slot, while the Central African province take the session
starting after mid-morning.

But supporters of Kunonga continue to lock out parishioners who are members
of the Anglican Province of Central Africa led by Gandiya.

The Diocesan Registrar for the CPCA Michael Chingore said the minister must
"put his foot down" to ensure that the police respect the High Court ruling
as well as the rule of law.

Chingore said supporters of Kunonga were working in cahoots with the police
to prevent ACPCA parishioners from freely worshipping in their churches.

This is not the first time that Mutsekwa and his counterpart Kembo Mohadi
have intervened in the Anglican dispute.

In April last year, the two factions had a meeting with the two ministers of
Home Affairs and it was agreed that they share the worshipping time slots.

However, Kunonga's supporters have neither respected resolutions of the
meeting nor court rulings.

"Remember, I issued a statement after our meeting last year but it appears
nothing changed much so we will be meeting again next week (this week),"
admitted Mutsekwa.

Mohadi and Kunonga could not be reached for comment.

A parishioner at St Elizabeth's Church in Belvedere, Harare, described the
disruptions in the Anglican Church as "the work of the devil".

She said this after they were locked outside the church and foul-smelling
manure spread out in an area they were scheduled to worship a fortnight ago.

Worshippers continue to be locked out in other parishes around Harare.

Kunonga was ex-communicated after he attempted to unilaterally withdraw the
Diocese of Harare from the Central African Province.

The province includes churches from Zambia, Botswana, Malawi and Zimbabwe.


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Curse of the Chiadzwa Diamonds

Saturday, 23 January 2010 15:02

MUTARE - To the people of Chiadzwa about 100 km south west of Mutare in
Manicaland, diamonds have become yet another curse. Having for years
struggled to eke out a living under very difficult conditions as the area is
one of the most arid in the province, the discovery of diamonds was expected
to improve their lives.

But the precious stones have brought with them untold suffering and a
plethora of problems.

For the past five years the villagers have not experienced peace as at the
height the illegal diamond mining in 2008 more than 35 000 people descended
on the area.

Following moves by government to start formal mining in the area, some
families will be relocated to Arda Transau in the Odzi farming area.

However, some still insist they are not farmers and they don't need to be
resettled in prime farming as they demand a stake in the lucrative diamond

Two companies, Mbada Diamond Mining and Canadile Miners have injected a
combined initial US$150 million development capital.

The two companies hold claims of 1 000 ha each, while two special grants are
still under negotiations. Two more investors are expected to start mining
diamonds soon.

A British Company, African Consolidated Resources which was granted the
right to exploit the mineral disputes ownership of the diamond fields by
Mbada and Canadile and is contesting the matter. Last year the High Court
ruled in favour of ACR.

The companies have also put on the table $10 million for re-location of the

This reporter recently visited the garrisoned area for an insight into the
diamond mining activities.

Villagers are living in fear as the security services personnel have
embarked on an operation that covers searching villages. Villagers found
with inordinate amounts of cash often find themselves in trouble.

They have to explain how they came about the money because of suspicion that
they are involved in extra legal trading in the precious stones.

Most of the villagers I spoke to said they had money ahead of the first
school term of this year.

The presence of the police and army in the area still scares the locals, who
claim to have seen illegal miners being beaten up with some dying as a
result of the assaults.

The sight of five ash-covered people during our approach to the mining area
brought to the fore the reality of what is still happening in the area.

The five people it later emerged were captured illegal panners who found the
allure of the precious stones irresistible.

They looked ghostly and their pace an exercise in slow motion. It was scary,
a scene out of ghoulish movies.

In interviews, it emerged that they were arrested while panning. They were
frog-marched to an area known as paGomo where the police and soldiers are

The ashes they were coated in, they explained, signalled to the other
security personnel in the area that the police and army had already "dealt"
with them and to other officers along the way that they had their just
desserts and should be allowed right of passage out of the area.

"We were thoroughly beaten up. Our feet are sore. I don't know how we will
make it to the Mutare-Masvingo highway for our journey back to Chipinge.

"I have no money and we are hungry. If we are caught talking to you it could
mean more trouble for us," said one of the illegal panners as he walked away
with the aid of a stick.

A few kilometres after the Odzi Bridge along the Hot Springs-Chiadzwa road
we found two women, one of them in her 70s and looking frail.

They had been discharged from Mutare Provincial Hospital, and because there
is no public transport to Chiadzwa, the women had to walk the 20km stretch.
For the past year public transport has not been allowed into the Chiadzwa
diamond area.

Villagers travel by bus from Mutare up to Bambazonke and walk the remaining
distance of more than 30 km.

But disembarking from the transport at Hot Springs along the Mutare-Masvingo
highway there is a saving as they only walk 25 km to the diamond mining

More than 50 buses used to ply the route particularly at the height of the
illegal diamond dealing but Chiadzwa is no-go zone where movement in and out
is controlled by the police.

Only heavily guarded trucks carrying diamond ore to the Canadile processing
plant off the Odzi River could be seen along the Hot Springs-Chiadzwa road.

"I wonder why our gods have cursed us this way," said one villager who
refused identification. What sin did the people of Chiadzwa commit to
warrant all this?" he said referring to the general problems brought about
by the discovery of diamonds.

"We need public transport just like any other people and even if the
government says the area is protected something should be done to ease our
transport problems. Some people say the government is punishing us for
voting MDC-T during the 2008 elections. We are not the only people who voted
for the MDC-T in the whole province."

MP Shuah Mudiwa (MDC-T) defeated Zanu PF's Chris Mushohwe to represent the

Chiadzwa villagers who face relocation have vowed to resist the move until
they receive full compensation.
Some have valued their properties at more than U$100 000 while village
elders have also made it clear to the government that they want a share of
the diamonds.

But even the most apparently impregnable of places can develop leaks.
Chiadzwa diamonds are still being smuggled out and find their way to

As we were driving back from Chiadzwa via Wengezi Business Centre, one man
approaches us and brazenly offers the "stuff" -proof that diamonds are still
finding their way out of Chiadzwa.


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HIV Activists Demand Positive Clauses

Saturday, 23 January 2010 13:38

ZIMBABWEANS living with HIV and Aids want the new constitution to guarantee
their right to treatment and are demanding adequate representation during
the outreach programme. The calls came as the country gears for a
consultation process that will culminate in a new supreme law for the
country in less than a year.

Tabona Shoko, the director of the Zimbabwe National Network of People Living
with HIV and Aids (ZNNP+), said it was crucial for their members to be
"actively and meaningfully" engaged throughout the process.

He said this will ensure that the rights of people living with the disease
such as the right to treatment were enshrined in the constitution.

Only 180 000 out of 1.7 million Zimbabweans living with HIV have access to
the life prolonging anti-retroviral drugs.

Shoko said this was partly because the current constitution does not
recognise access to treatment as an enforceable right.

"This is our only chance as people living with HIV to ensure that our rights
are clearly stated in the constitution so that we are able to hold those in
government accountable," he said.

"People living with HIV and Aids should therefore be represented and
meaningfully engaged at every level of the consultation process."

He was speaking at a consultative meeting organised by the Southern Africa
Aids Information Dissemination Service (SafAids) to map out how people
living with Aids can effectively participate in the constitution-making

Among the many issues that the ZNNP+ wants in the new constitution are
clauses that make access to treatment an "enforceable right".

The network wants the right to health to be broadly defined "as encompassing
the provision of adequate and quality care, free anti-retroviral drugs and
transparency in the administration of health resources".

ZNNP+ is also pushing for prisoners with HIV to have access to prevention
services, care and treatment.

The network's spokesperson, Tonderai Chiduku said: "Because people living
with HIV and Aids in Zimbabwe continue to face grave challenges in accessing
treatment, social services, basic health care, education and socio economic
rights, it is important to highlight the need for an expanded Bill of Rights
in the new constitution.

"This should have provisions on non-discrimination and equal protection of
the law that apply expressly to the rights of people living with HIV."

Liah Mudavu, the ZNNP+ Masvingo vice-chairperson for the province said it
was government's responsibility to provide health services and life-saving
ARVs to those who needed them.

"Many people living with HIV are failing to access ARVs and other drugs and
medicines so I expect the new constitution to make it clear whose
responsibility it is to provide treatment," she said.

"I expect those behind the constitution-making process to make it known to
as many people as possible so that every one can play their part," Mudavu

"They have the right to know what is happening and what a constitution is
all about and how they can play their part so that it is not only for those
who are well-educated."

"They must go deep down to find out what people want because those in the
remote areas are the ones who are affected by lack of access to health.

"There is no alternative treatment in rural areas."

Midlands' provincial co-coordinator Rosa Mazimbe wants the new constitution
to protect the right of children living with HIV as many of them were being
discriminated against by society and in schools.


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Conservation Agriculture the Route

Saturday, 23 January 2010 13:36

THE HIV and Aids pandemic has negatively impacted on farming communities in
Zimbabwe leaving children, the elderly and single parents overburdened with
the responsibility of growing food. However, the Food and Agricultural
Organisation (FAO) says by practising conservation agriculture, a way of
farming that conserves soil fertility and helps retain moisture  resulting
in improved and sustainable production, many of these families may be able
to escape the vicious cycle.

Key practices of conservation farming include planting without tilling the
soil using planting basins (makomba), which among many other things reduces
the destruction of the soil structure.

In addition to this it saves time, energy and money as farmers without
draught power do not have to hire tillage.

Other conservation practices include mulching (covering the soil with fodder
remains) and mixing and rotating crops.

In a recently released report titled Farming for the Future: a Guide to
Conservation Agricultural", the Zimbabwe Conservation Agriculture Task Force
and FAO said HIV and Aids had decimated farming communities for the past 20

The report says once breadwinners or productive members of the family died
those remaining were left trapped in a cycle of food insecurity, unable to
feed themselves.

"Many of the most productive members of families have died or fallen ill,
leaving children and the elderly who would normally depend on these adults
to take responsibility for farming and sick relatives.

"This double burden starts a cycle of food insecurity and loss of income,"
reads the report.

"Much time may be spent by women, girl children and the elderly looking
after the sick which they would normally spend on farming activities.

"As a result these household members can only cultivate smaller plots and
grow a smaller range of crops.unable to grow enough to feed themselves and
beset by medical bills and funeral expenses desperate families are forced to
sell what they have."

The report also says conservation agriculture can help overcome families
burdened by HIV and Aids because it is less demanding than the traditional
methods of farming.

Some of the advantages of conservation agriculture include: labour for land
preparation can be spread out over time,  improved household food security
can be achieved through increased yields, improved nutrition through
diversification of crops and increased household through sales of surplus.

"Once started conservation agriculture becomes less labour intensive,
allowing the sick, the elderly, the disabled and children to practice it
without having to worry about sources or means of labour," noted the report.

But Agritex project officer Sepo Marongwe recently told journalists it will
take a while for conservation agriculture to be accepted by many farmers
because it challenges conventional methods of farming that have been
practised since time immemorial.

"For many years farmers in Zimbabwe have been taught that ploughing is
essential for crop production because it makes soil soft and enables roots
to penetrate easily when in fact the opposite is true so changing mindsets
is what this new concept is all about and we have had huge successes with
the farmers we are working with," Marongwe said.


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I Have Nothing to Hide: Manhanga

Sunday, 24 January 2010 22:06

THE embattled leader of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe (PAOZ),
Bishop Trevor Manhanga, has ridiculed his critics who say he is running the
fellowship like a political project. Some members of the fellowship have
over the last few weeks expressed concern over Manhanga's conduct and
challenged him to step down.
Manhanga's opponents say his decision to invite Zanu PF officials including
Professor Jonathan Moyo and Reserve Bank governor, Dr Gideon Gono to
officiate at church events was the "last straw".

"We are basically saying we are sick and tired of Bishop Manhanga and his
associates," said Deacon Lyses Prada, a former church secretary at Upper
Room Ministries (URM), one of the biggest assemblies under the PAOZ.

"The problem is that he does not want anyone with a different mind.

"This is the reason why he went into conflict with his predecessor Emmanuel
Bawa, because he had different ideas."

But Manhanga said he could not just step down as he was elected by the
fellowship and there were constitutional provisions for leadership renewal.
His sixth term expires next year.

He said the claims that he was personalising the PAOZ were "malicious".

"It would be good for you to check the credentials of those who have brought
this story to you.What is their pedigree? What have they done in the

"Both I and the National Executive Council (NEC) have nothing to hide but I
wonder about those who have an axe to grind," Manhanga said.
So serious is the fallout between Manhanga and members of the church that at
some point last year he was temporarily banned from preaching at URM.

In February 2009, the URM Council of Elders met at their Senior Pastor Berry
Dambaza's office and raised concerns about "too much interference" allegedly
from Manhanga.

Minutes of the meeting indicate that "reckless utterances from the Bishop
(Manhanga) . . . has disturbed many of our members even up to date".
"The leadership then felt it was not prudent for Presiding Bishop T Manhanga
to come and preach at the church on March 8, 2009 considering that some of
his reckless statements are still fresh in people's minds.

"The church already has casualties as a result of his statements, so it will
not do us good to invite him."

The statements were made at a conference where Manhanga allegedly praised
the army for its intervention in Chiadzwa, despite general concern among the
congregation that the army's actions had caused the suffering of ordinary

Manhanga however says the stories were "cooked up".

Pastors who were allegedly muscled out include Bawa, Leo Mupanduki, Dickson
Changara and Mbiri Mapimhidze.

Lawrence Berejena, who is an activist and is said to be close to the axed
clerics, allegedly failed to get his credentials renewed for 2010.

Manhanga confirmed the pastors had left, but denied pushing any of them out
of the fellowship.

He said they had not renewed Berejena's credentials "due to his failure to
comply with a directive of the NEC".

He said some of them "have ordained themselves as Bishops".

"How do they operate? What constitution do they follow? How do they run
their financial affairs?

"What is their tenure as 'Bishops' of their organisations? Who ordained
them? What is their constituency? Let us then see if they can stand up to
such scrutiny," Manhanga said.

But Bawa said Manhanga is the one who should undergo that "scrutiny".

"He took over from me as a Bishop, he should also state who ordained him,"
said Bawa, who left the PAOZ in 2008 and withdrew his Waterfalls Christian
Assembly from the PAOZ, renaming it Immanuel Chapel Ministries.

Mupanduki launched a new church, House of Shekinah, in Budiriro last Sunday.

Berejena, who has been pastoring at the Rugare Assembly in Harare, confirmed
his credentials had not been renewed, saying he suspected this was
"politically motivated".

Paradza said people were leaving the fellowship in numbers to join other
Pentecostal churches not affiliated to the PAOZ.

But Manhanga maintained that the "fellowship is currently undergoing
unprecedented growth".

"If that is not the will of God then I don't know what is. I have no
political ambitions just a desire to fulfill my calling as a servant of the
Lord to the church and my nation," Manhanga said.

Paradza also alleged that in 2008, URM leaders agreed to purchase new land
and construct a 3 000-seat church building so that the church could move out
of its current premises along Rezende Street in Harare. He alleges Manhanga
blocked this, saying they should add more storeys to the current building.

Manhanga dismissed the allegation as "totally untrue".


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Journalists Wary of ZMC

Sunday, 24 January 2010 21:42

MEMBERS of the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) have no idea how they are
going to operate because they have not been formally informed of their
appointment, making it impossible for them to start formal engagements.

The ZMC members were named in December last year, and expectations were very
high that the commissioners would immediately start working on reforms for
the media industry.

But one month after the commissioners were named, they are still in the

Godfrey Majonga, who was named ZMC chairperson, was not immediately
available for comment yesterday.

But Christopher Mutsvangwa, who made it into the commission on a Zanu PF
ticket, on Friday confirmed they were still to receive their letters of

When Mutsvangwa's name featured among the commissioners, critics were quick
to point out that he would fight to protect Zanu PF's control of the state

But the former envoy to China said he would "try and do as honest a job as I
can, based on my intelligence".

A legal expert said if the commissioners had not received their letters of
appointment, they should approach the responsible minister or the President's
Office for clarification.

"I believe that the ZMC is dragging its heels. I understand that the members
of ZMC have been in communication with each other and are taking the
attitude that in the absence of official appointment they have no
obligations. I suggest that given the public announcement of the members of
the ZMC they have an obligation to communicate with the Minister and obtain
written confirmation from him of their appointment. They can also seek
confirmation from the President's office. To not do this is an abrogation of
duty," the lawyer said.

"The Chairman has the power to convene special meetings and so does not have
to await anything to call a meeting. So the ZMC should have met early on and
agreed on regulations to be promulgated with new fees. Furthermore, if the
ZMC could not actually obtain confirmation of their appointment early on
then all the Commissioners should have issued a joint statement exposing
this and describing their efforts to obtain clarification from the Minister.

"I think the apathy displayed so far indicates that the ZMC may not lead to
a freer media environment. The Commissioners may well frustrate each other's

On Friday, journalists gathered at the Quill Club in Harare to debate the
way forward, and explore alternatives for reforming the country's media

Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights secretary general, Dumisani Muleya
argued that the ZMC's coming in would make no difference.
He said the body was likely to pursue the interests of the political parties
that formed it.

"We do not need this sort of structure," Muleya said. "This is a body that
is by all means very political and partisan.

"What is most poisonous about it is that it did not come out of sector-wide
consultations. It is clear the ZMC was set up as a tool for politicians to
control the media.

"We have no reason to believe that we can get proper media reforms from the
current set up."

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe national chairperson,
Loughty Dube, said the ZMC was likely to maintain the status quo regarding
the operations of the public media.

Media houses are also still in the dark on issues of registration, as it has
since emerged that registration fees are still pegged in Zimbabwe dollars.
Applications for registration have to be accompanied by the prescribed fees.

Chairman of the Zimbabwe National Editors' Forum Iden Wetherell said he was
one of the many people who were willing to give the ZMC a chance but he had
changed his mind because of Mutsvangwa's "arrogance and ignorance" on


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MZWP Takeover Goes Ahead

Sunday, 24 January 2010 21:51

BULAWAYO - The government is pressing ahead with the takeover of the
Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) and will be renaming it to reflect
its national status, Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo said on
Friday. Nkomo who came under harsh criticism from various quarters in
Matabeleland after he announced the takeover late last year said he had also
appointed consultants to lead public consultations on how to proceed with
project and mobilisation of funds.

The project, which was first mooted in 1912, will now be known as the
National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP).

Former Bulawayo council spokesperson and prominent historian, Pathisa Nyathi
is one of the consultants that have been appointed by the ministry.

NMZWP will involve the laying of a pipeline from the Zambezi and the
construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam, which will be used as a reservoir
for dams to supply water to Bulawayo.

The government estimates that US$1.1 billion will be required to fund the
project that is touted as the lasting solution to Matabeleland's perennial
water problems.

However, Sipepa Nkomo's move to nationalise the project is facing opposition
from opposition Zapu leader Dumiso Dabengwa who chairs the Matabeleland
Zambezi Water Trust and several politicians from the region.

In December, Vice-President John Nkomo said the announcement of the takeover
was "mere rhetoric".

Dabengwa says the minister never consulted them before he made the

But Sipepa Nkomo said government made a decision to take over the project as
far back as 2004 and last year's announcement was just a reaffirmation of a
cabinet resolution.

He said Dabengwa's board had since been informed that the Zimbabwe National
Water Authority would now be responsible for the project and the trust's
account would soon be audited by an international firm.

Stakeholders who attended the meeting said the name change was evidence
enough that the project had been hijacked.



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Africa launches Campaign for Haiti

Sunday, 24 January 2010 22:00

A continent-wide campaign to support Haiti's reconstruction and development
was launched in South Africa on Friday. The "Africa for Haiti" campaign in
partnership with Haitian civil society organisations will identify areas in
which it can assist.

It also hopes to provide Africans from all walks of life an opportunity to
demonstrate their collective solidarity and support for the people of Haiti,
in a move that will unite Africans in compassion and giving.

The campaign has the support of churches, business and civil society leaders
among them Graca Machel, newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube and businessperson
Reuel Khoza, Archbishops Desmond Tutu, Njongonkulu Ndungane, Malusi
Mpumlwana and Thabo Makgoba.

Addressing the Press Conference at the Nelson Mandela Foundation offices in
Houghton, Johannesburg, Machel said the "Africa for Haiti" campaign focuses
its efforts on reconstruction in Haiti.

"The objective of this campaign is not to provide immediate relief but
rather to contribute toward the medium to long-term reconstruction of
communities in Haiti. As a result, it is estimated that fund-raising for
this campaign may continue for six months," Machel said.

"The campaign also aims to unite individuals, NGOs and corporates across
Africa behind this cause by disseminating information and enlisting support
from their extensive networks."

Archbishop Emeritus Tutu said: "We were supported wonderfully by the
international community when we struggled against the vicious policy of
apartheid. Today the people of Haiti, struck twice by the earthquake, are in
a worse predicament than we were . . . I welcome the initiative by Graca
Machel and others. It deserves our whole hearted and very generous support."

Appealing to Africans from all walks of life to take the campaign as a call
to action, Archbishop Ndungane said citizens of Africa should identify with
and feel for the people of Haiti. "As Africa, we have been recipients of
help in our time of need and we appreciate how this can alleviate desperate

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town Makgoba said it was time for Africa to
stand in solidarity with the people of Haiti by offering them assistance.
"We urge our political leaders not to be slow in joining the tide of
compassion in response to this disaster . . . especially in the challenging
times of reconstruction that lie ahead. Therefore we look to the African
Union Summit (at the end of this month) to express what it means truly to be
'Africans for Haiti'."

By Our Staff

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World Bank chief heads for Africa

Saturday, 23 January 2010 11:25

WASHINGTON - World Bank Group President Robert B Zoellick on Tuesday starts
an eight-day, three-nation Africa visit to help focus the attention of
African governments, development partners and private investors on seizing
the opportunity for renewed momentum in economic growth and overcoming
Although hit by the global food, fuel and financial crises, African
governments have persisted in strengthening their economic policies as they
pursue development, or rebuild after conflict.

Zoellick will head first to Sierra Leone before travelling to Cote d'Ivoire
and then Ethiopia for the African Union (AU) summit. Ahead of the trip,
Zoellick noted that many sub-Saharan African countries had enjoyed a decade
or more of solid growth before the crisis and it was important to preserve
and expand on these gains by drawing investment to high growth areas.

"I am visiting Africa to learn about how its people have coped with the
global economic crisis and to see how the World Bank Group can work with
them to improve prospects for economic growth and expanded opportunity. Much
of Africa has a solid record of economic growth, including in some of Africa's
fragile states, and it has the potential to be another pole of growth for
the world economy," Zoellick said.

Zoellick said that a combination of policy and institutional reforms and
external resources are urgently needed to help build capacity, generate
economic opportunities in fragile states, and lay the foundation for
stability and overcoming poverty.

He also called for policies and investments that would expand Africa's share
of global and intra-African trade by fostering regional integration and
building crucial infrastructure in energy, transport and irrigation needed
to promote agriculture, manufacturing and industrialization on the continent
and for helping countries adapt to climate change.

At a working breakfast forum on the sidelines of the AU summit, which
Zoellick is hosting jointly with African Development Bank President Donald
Kaberuka, several African leaders will discuss the transformative impact
that information and communications technologies (ICTs) can have on the

"The skeptics wondered whether Africa was ready for a revolution in
telecommunications. But African entrepreneurs, with the help of supportive
government policies, changed the facts on the ground," said Zoellick.

Acknowledging that private sector participation will continue to be key to
take Africa to the next level of high-speed connectivity and to create jobs,
the forum is expected to urge African leaders to further lift barriers to
private sector investment in the sector.  It is also expected to encourage
African leaders and the private sector to take advantage of ICTs to advance
agriculture, education and health sectors, and to similarly realise the
considerable promise of other sectors.

During his trip, Zoellick will visit energy, agriculture and fishery
projects that have benefited from World Bank support. He will hold working
sessions with representatives of other donor agencies; discuss ways of
boosting World Bank support to governmental and civil society organisations
promoting peace, transparency, accountability, and good governance.

In fiscal 2009, the World Bank Group, which supports Africa mainly through
the International Development Association (IDA) and International Finance
Corporation (IFC), committed a record $58.8 billion worldwide in loans,
grants, equity investments, and guarantees, a 54 percent increase over 2008.
IDA, which provides grants and low-interest loans to the world's 79 poorest
countries, half of which are in Africa, committed $7.8 billion to
sub-Saharan African countries, a 36 percent increase over the year before.

The Bank's private sector arm, IFC, which provides investments and advisory
services to build the private sector in developing countries, has seen its
commitments in Africa grow from $445 million in 2005 to $1.82 billion in


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Sundayview: Interrogating Violence as a Political Tool

Saturday, 23 January 2010 14:58

VIOLENCE as a political tool has a long history in Zimbabwe. It was very
much used by the settler colonial regime, which won the 1890s war through
the use of guns and dynamite. Black people then only had bows and arrows and
limited access to fire arms.

From the 1890s onwards, state violence was commonly used, with beatings and
torture being normal procedures used by the Police and the Army. Killings
were also routinely carried out, usually by CIO agents. Dozens of
nationalist leaders were killed.

When Zapu faced an internal rebellion in 1963, leading to the formation of
Zanu, both parties indulged in violence as a political tool. It was common
to beat up people who allegedly belonged to the "other" party.

Ordinary people reacted by carrying party cards of both parties, producing
the "right" one depending on which group of youths accosted them.

Usually the "right" party was identifiable by the language used by the
youths, either IsiNdebele or Shona. Orgies where houses of Zanu or Zapu
activists were burnt to the ground followed.

The Smith regime invented itself as the "peace keeper", although it also
routinely burnt houses of one or the other nationalist party in order to
fuel anger, disunity and revenge.

When the liberation struggle began there were many attempts made by African
nationalists to fight for their rights through peaceful means.

Little was achieved until armed struggle became a reality in the 1970s. This
entailed the organised use of violence by the liberation forces against
soldiers and representatives of the settler colonial regime.

Freedom fighters firmly believed they were fighting a just war against
racist based oppression.

"Representatives" of the settler colonial regime included blacks who
supported the regime.

Fast forward to 2000, twenty years after Independence was won. The first
twenty years of Independence was marked by the policies of "socialism" and

White farmers were allowed to retain some 13 million hectares of prime farm
land. However "socialism" was dumped in 1992 in favour of Economic
Structural Adjustment.

"Reconciliation" was dumped in 1999, when white farmers came out in full
support of the Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, led by Morgan

White farmers who had enthusiastically supported Zanu PF now supported the
MDC equally enthusiastically.

Whilst MDC was originally rooted in the trade union movement, it soon began
to enjoy the advantages of funding, as well as the organisational and
propaganda skills of the white farmers.

Zanu PF had had a similar history of strong support from communal farmers as
well as strong support from rich white farmers up until 1999. White farmers
played an important role in providing boreholes for Mai Sally Mugabe's bid
to help children during her lifetime.

Zanu PF reacted by utilising violence and force to take over more of the
white farms, recruiting some tens of thousands of youths to assist a few
thousand war veterans.

Twelve white farmers and 36 black MDC supporters were killed in 2000. Since
2008 the number of MDC supporters violated, beaten and tortured comes to
tens of thousands.

Thousands of houses were burnt, cattle and small livestock taken, and crops
and food stores destroyed. The number killed is over 200. MDC militia
reacted by fighting back with violence too. This violent strategy "worked",
in that President Mugabe was re-elected without any "opposition" in June

The question Zimbabwe must face fairly and squarely is whether the use of
violence as a political tool should continue. . We now know that the Zanu PF
Government utilised some 13 000 youths who were illegally employed and paid
as "civil servants" but were actually a paid youth militia in 2008.

Their task was to beat up "enemies" of Zanu PF. They were also tasked to
kill members of the MDC militia. That is another question: should every
political party in Zimbabwe also have a militia? And should the two youth
militias face each other in battle?

The question Zimbabwe faces today is whether the problems we face can be
solved by violence. Perhaps the answer is in how we analyse these problems.

The problems we face include poverty, unemployment and corruption. More
violence is unlikely to solve these fundamental problems.  No matter how
many people you kill, you will not conquer poverty. No matter how many
youths you employ into militias, you will not be able to solve the problem
of unemployment.


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Alex Magaisa: Is This Another Animal Farm, Comrades?

Saturday, 23 January 2010 14:54

I was a boy of 14 when I had my first encounter with George Orwell's novel.
I was in the second year of secondary school.

I thought it was a beautiful and fascinating book. I still do. A copy has a
privileged position on the bookshelf - it sits there, alongside Franz Fanon's
The Wretched of the Earth, my other favourite.

It may have been written more than half a century ago but as with all great
works of art, it is timeless. It is still relevant now as it was then and I
am certain it will continue to be. I like to think only a few, if any, who
have read it, have not been captivated by the allegory.

At the time, in 1989, my appreciation of dynamics and intricacies of
Zimbabwean politics was fairly limited. I was a small boy in Mashonaland.
The mood was euphoric and everyone was happy, or so it seemed.

Even though I cannot claim to have been privileged, it is fair to say that
my world view alongside others in the community was limited by the mirage of
stability and freedom.

But reading Animal Farm alongside the history lessons on the Russian
Revolution, on whose foundations the allegory is apparently constructed,
made perfect sense to us.

Animal Farm is a book that means many things to many people. For me, the
theme that has always stuck out is the phenomenon of corruption in high

The book provides poignant lessons to those who, after leading the struggle
for emancipation and freedom assume political office.

It's about how people change; how the metamorphosis of the politician takes
place and how sadly, even in the midst of all the descent into hell, the
ordinary people continue to believe, gullibly so, in the goodness and wisdom
of their leaders. For wise leaders, it's about what not to do when you
assume a position of authority and proximity to privilege.

The allegory recounts the story of how animals rebelled against the
oppressive humans running a farm. So when Farmer Jones is ejected, the
animals take over under the leadership of the pigs, Snowball and Napoleon.

At first everything seems to go well, guided by the Seven Commandments of
Animalism, top of which states that all animals are equal. Over time,
however, a power struggle ensues between Napoleon and Snowball, with
Napoleon triumphing through clandestine means.

With the passage of time, Napoleon basks in the comfort of power. The
temptations are too great to resist. Through a private security team of dogs
that he had trained since they were puppies, he terrorises other animals.

The pigs assume an elevated position on the farm. They begin to indulge in
luxury - manipulating the rules, even amending them to suit their newly
acquired tastes. So the commandment "all animals are equal" becomes "all
animals are equal but some are more equal than others". Things change very
quickly, courtesy of the temptations of luxury.

And when the pigs discover Farmer Jones' Whiskey, the commandment that "No
animal shall drink alcohol" is amended to read "No animal shall drink
alcohol to excess", enabling the pigs to imbibe the beautiful waters.

The pigs gradually discover that sharing the barn with others for
accommodation is not quite comfortable and certainly not in keeping with
their station, so they move into Farmer Jones' old farmhouse and take up the
comforts of the beds.

They even learn to walk on two legs, instead of four, like other animals.

Yet in all this, many of the animals remain faithful, believing stridently
in the wisdom of their leaders.

One of my favourite characters, probably mainly because I pity him so much
is Boxer, the horse.

He is the strongest of them all and works the hardest. But poor Boxer is
also the most gullible of them all. Even when all animals pledge to work
hard, his primary maxim is "I will work harder". And even as Napoleon
manipulates the system and becomes autocratic, Boxer adopts the maxim,
"Napoleon is always right!"

Then of course there is the flock of sheep, pitifully gullible, too. At the
time of the rebellion they bleated the chorus, "Four legs good, two legs
 bad", in reference to the difference between animals and oppressive humans.

Yet by the time the pigs had changed and convinced them it was right to walk
on two legs, they sang, "Fours legs good, two legs better!" They understood
little of what was happening but they remained a loyal choir for the pigs,
drowning out any voice of dissent.

I often think of Animal Farm and how this allegory has been played out in
real life in many countries around the world. I think of Zimbabwe and how at
independence, the common theme was how everyone was free and equal before
the law.

I took the opportunity over the holiday to read Edgar Tekere's autobiography
entitled, A Life of Struggle. Like all autobiographies it has its
limitations as an historical source, chief of which is that it overly
glorifies the hunter. It lives to the old saying that until the animals have
their chance to tell their own stories, the story will always glorify the
hunter, who of course, tells the story.

But it does provide many insights - the most relevant here being how the
leadership of the independence struggle engaged in private and, it has to be
said, obscene accumulation of wealth, using the privilege of political

This was despite the Leadership Code adopted by Zanu PF, under whose terms
such private accumulation of wealth was discouraged. Here the Leadership
Code is the equivalent of the Seven Commandments of Animalism in Animal
Farm - a statement of aspiration that its makers find hard to live up to.

But the story of what happened after independence is not new. Neither is it
the key subject here. It is what happens now; perhaps more to the point,
what is happening now in Zimbabwe.

The country is experiencing a period of gradual transformation. The new
Inclusive Government, which celebrates a year in office in a few weeks'
time, has provided a platform for those formerly in opposition, namely the
two MDC parties, to assume leadership positions.

These men and women stand in the midst of great temptations. Already
allegations and counter-allegations of corruption abound. It may, indeed be
the work of detractors, but then you expect Squealer to say just that.

Tekere asked in his book how it was that some of his colleagues, with whom
he had spent many years in the bush, had become so wealthy so soon after

He recounts how, some of his colleagues had failed to resist the lure of
luxury and had consequently become corrupted. Indeed, the Willowgate Scandal
in 1988-89 - involving the unlawful trade of motor vehicles - remains one of
the most iconic examples of the scourge of corruption that engulfed the new
leadership. A lot worse has happened since then.

Like Boxer, the people will continue to work harder hoping to chart a better
future. Like Benjamin, they may read the signs but Squealer will always have
the tongue to explain it away.

Like the animals on the farm, the ordinary people, tortured and tormented
for so long, will continue to believe, even if gullibly so even if like the
pigs, the leaders seek the life of luxury - drinking whiskey and
constructing the most expensive and luxurious accommodation in keeping with
their new found station.

The sheep will continue to sing the chorus.

I hope we do not again have a repeat of Animal Farm. I hope there is
resistance to the hand of corruption. I hope sincerely it is not true that
some believe yava nguva yeduwo yekudya (it's our turn to eat). Then again it's
only a hope - perhaps the horse has already bolted!

Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and can
be contacted at

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Comment: Funding Partners Needed for Power sector

Saturday, 23 January 2010 14:39

ONE of the most frustrating things on returning from the end of year break
and to the promise of a new year is being saddled with unrelenting power
cuts. Last year there was an attempt at scheduled load-shedding even though
that proved challenging, but the first few weeks of the first month of 2010
have demonstrated the power utility's propensity to generate thumb-suck
bills than improved power supplies to consumers.

It's difficult to believe there is any system at all. Blaming the inflated
charges on computer errors and wrong billing programmes does not wash any

There is no semblance of rationality in the size of bills consumers are
receiving. Consumers - and there are increasingly more of them - are
spending more time without electricity and this ought to be reflected in a
reduction in the amounts they are billed.

There are daily power cuts all round while there are some areas that have
been without electricity for several months.

There is no semblance of even load-shedding, yet with all the promises of
the inclusive government and the stability it has brought there should be
signs of improved energy supplies especially after refurbishments undertaken
last year at both Hwange and Kariba power stations.

This was after the investment by Nampower of Namibia to beef up power
generation at Hwange. Consumers regrettably see nothing but deterioration in
power supply from last year.

There is an urgent need therefore for an energy Indaba, specifically to
identify immediate, mid- and long-term energy generating approaches. The
arrangements with Nampower and now with Botswana appear to be the immediate

There is foreign funding available which the local power utility does not
have and refurbishment of the power stations will meet the needs of external
partners while bringing to an end the trauma to which Zimbabwean consumers
are being subjected.

Neighbours Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa are building new power
stations while Zimbabwe is still talking about discussing what to do and

Zimbabwe has developed a knack of being long on talking but woefully short
on implementation. Its so-called preparations for the 2010 Fifa World Cup
are a case in point barely five months to go before the world soccer

Clearly there is need to explore possibilities of partners with expertise in
energy development, who can move in rapidly and address the uncertainty over
reliable electricity supplies.

In the meantime Zimbabwe needs to get its act together.

A fortnight ago there were worrying signals that appear to have been driven
more by a quest for instant popularity or worse still based on bad advice.

The Minister of Energy and Power Development suggested that Zimbabwe's
obligation to supply Namibia with electricity could be disregarded at the
drop of a hat even though there is an agreement in place with Nampower whose
investment in Hwange Power Station was on the basis it would be guaranteed
regular energy supplies.

Botswana, which is negotiating refurbishment of the Bulawayo power station
in exchange for power supplies, would have been worried by the Minister's
pronouncements. If anything the Minister's statements demonstrated the
dearth of ideas on meeting Zimbabwe's energy requirements.

Finding funding partners and external expertise in upgrading power
generation at the country's existing but grossly under-utilised power
stations is easily the best approach in restoring capacity generation in the
shortest possible time.

Electricity along with water is critical to new investment.

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Sundayopinion: How to get Agriculture on its Feet Again

Saturday, 23 January 2010 14:34

IN situations of soil erosion, water always flows along the same path and
erodes it more, unless preventative measures are taken. It would appear that
as far as failure to plan for each agricultural season over the past 10
years or so is concerned; it is like an eroded field which needs to be
repaired by providing the necessary contours.

It is a fact that agriculture anchors the economy of this country. Basic raw
materials for industry come largely from agriculture.

Mining is also key to the economy of Zimbabwe. The difference between mining
and agriculture is that agriculture is rain-based and it is seasonal whereas
mining can and is carried out continuously throughout the year. Once you
miss a week in agriculture, you have lost it.

For example, the best period to plant wheat in Zimbabwe in is between May 1
and 15. Those planting after this period will not get the maximum yield with
the proper protein and gluten in their wheat. Timing is therefore crucial in

I believe that when the government changed the financial year from July/
June each year, to January/December, there may not have been sufficient
interrogation of why the Rhodesian government had that financial year. It
will be recalled that this change was done about eight or so years ago.

Our rain season is between November and April. It follows therefore that the
planning for each agricultural season has to be done well before November.
The local production of fertilisers used to be done throughout the year; not
just between November and January.

Local fertiliser companies used to be allocated foreign currency in such a
way that they would produce basal fertilisers first; and by mid-year a lot
would have been manufactured. As farmers would have started delivering their
produce to the market in April, on their return trips, they would carry
inputs for the following year.

In short, manufacturers of fertilisers, agri-chemicals, farmers' unions and
government would meet from say February each year, even while that seasons'
crop was still young, to plan for the following season.

These plans would be put in the government budget which would be debated and
passed by parliament before end of June each year.

Whatever money was for agricultural support would therefore be in the budget
and used before the start of that season. At the same time, by the second
half of the year input manufacturers, especially fertiliser ones, would have
started distributing top dressing fertiliser.

One thing that the government has been consistent on has been the annual
failure to ensure farmers have inputs in time.

In August last year, Zimbabwe was provided with US$510 million special
drawing rights by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Minister of Finance ruled that the money could only be spent through the
government budgetary process. Technically, this was correct because
government expenditures must be approved by parliament. So the minister had
to allocate the money through the budget.

This budget was effective from January 1, 2010. As a result, imports of top
dressing fertilisers are still being done. Fortunately for the government,
there is no rain, so those few farmers who are receiving the fertiliser
cannot apply it because of moisture stress.

I need to mention here that those farmers who borrowed and got vouchers or
cheques payable to GMB, had to mortgage their houses to get the loans.

A lot of those farmers got compound D and seed but now, those fortunate to
have rains are desperate for top dressing fertiliser. The fertilisers and
seed were sold at commercial prices. The loans are for payment in June,
2010. The yields for the lucky ones are going to be very low. How are the
farmers going to pay?

It is quite clear that the financial year is not in sync with the
agriculture season. It is easy to lay all the blame to the Minister of
Finance but in all fairness, the blame is with the government as a whole.
There is this thing that is called supplementary budget. Surely, one could
have been suggested in Cabinet to address the time difference for the
release of funds. Why did it have to wait until January?

Is the fertiliser being imported for this season or next season? We know
that we have to grow crops every year, yet we are never prepared for it.

I know that it would be unrealistic to ask government to consider going back
to the previous financial year arrangement. What I recommend to government
is that there be a continuous two-year plan for agriculture.

Government should initiate discussions now with all the stakeholders in
agriculture to plan for the 2010/2011 season.

The plans must be concluded before end of March: for example those who are
in irrigated tobacco need to have done their plans by then. A supplementary
budget would need to be considered to enable industry to be ready to provide
inputs well before November, say by September.

The supplementary budget would carter for the 2010/2011 season while next
year's budget would then be for 2011/2012 season.

If we do not do something along these lines, we will, as a country, continue
to fail to plan for our food.


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