The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Judge impeaches Hitschmann as hostile

January 25, 2010

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - The ongoing terrorism trial of MDC treasurer general Roy Bennett
took a dramatic twist Monday when High Court judge Chinembiri Bhunu ruled
that key state witness Peter Michael Hitschmann was a hostile witness.

"The witness's conduct in this case is against the State," said Justice

"The witness in this case is accordingly an adverse and hostile witness and
the State is obliged to cross-examine him."

The ruling by Bhunu follows an application by the State to have Hitschmann
impeached based on that he had now departed from his earlier statements in
which he implicated Bennett as an accomplice in a case of alleged possession
of weapons for terrorism, banditry and insurgence.

Hitschmann abandoned his earlier "confessions" claiming he was tortured by
state security agents to implicate the deputy agriculture minister designate
in the matter.

Hitschmann was acquitted of the charge although he served a two year jail
sentence for a lesser offence.

In coming to his ruling, Justice Bhunu said he agreed with the defence's
contention that the state could not use statements that had already been
disowned by the firearms dealer as the basis for seeking Hitschmann's

Bhunu, however, proceeded to say he had arrived at the decision to impeach
Hitschmann on the basis of his demeanour, which he said was a legal
alternative when one is seeking the impeachment of a State witness.

Bhunu said when Hitschmann took to the witness's stand, he portrayed himself
as someone who was deeply aggrieved and had an axe to grind with the State.

Bhunu said he also saw Hitschmann, a former police officer, as someone who
viewed his former colleagues as incompetent and that he now viewed the State
as an adversary after serving a two-year jail sentence against which he has
since appealed.

The High Court judge further said he found Hitschmann's utterances absurd
that he had been intrigued by Bennett when he saw the MDC legislator on
television while assaulting Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in

Soon after Bhunu's ruling, Attorney General Johannes Tomana, who is leading
the prosecution, went straight ahead to cross examine Hitschmann.

Hitschmann told the court he had sourced arms of war from some white
commercial farmers and some white Rhodesians who were leaving the country
soon after independence.

Hitschmann said he had in turn surrendered the weapons to the police's
Manicaland provincial armoury.

The trial continues Tuesday.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

WOZA members detained during protests in Bulawayo

By Violet Gonda
25 January 2010

Eleven members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were briefly detained on
Monday by police in Bulawayo, following a protest march about the crisis in
the education sector. WOZA coordinator Jenni Williams told SW Radio Africa
that the group had successfully delivered a report to Ministry of Education
representatives at Mhlahlandlela Government Complex when the police came and
violently dispersed the peaceful protesters.

She said: "They (protesters) were systematically beaten and while they were
beaten they were told they were under arrest and made to run almost a block
to the Drill Hall (a government administrative block), where they were kept
for four hours."

Last Monday freelance photo-journalist Shadreck Andrison Manyere and two
other people were arrested in Harare after police broke up a similar
demonstration organised by the pressure group.

Williams said her group will continue to organise protests because there is
too much focus on teachers and wages at the expense of schoolchildren. The
WOZA leader said the crisis has also meant that many children are now being
chased away from schools because of unpaid and unaffordable fees. She gave
the example of a school in Pumula South, Bulawayo where 1,250 pupils were
chased away from school and told they had eight days to pay fees.

"In another area the school was going door to door demanding money from the
parents. So all this is just becoming a money issue - money for teachers'
salaries and money to the schools, but there is absolutely no quality of
education. So the children are the ones who are suffering more than anyone
else and it is unacceptable to us as parents," said Williams.

Meanwhile, the ongoing dispute between the cash strapped government and the
teachers' unions continues over salary increases. Teachers have threatened
to go on strike again if their salaries are not raised from $150 to US$600
per month.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF official boasts he has authority to kill MDC activists

By Tichaona Sibanda
25 January 2010

An aspiring ZANU PF MP shocked party activists on Friday last week when he
told them he had 'authority and an open licence' to eliminate opponents from
the MDC.

Nathaniel Punish Mhiripiri told a ZANU PF meeting at Jani resettlement area
in Makoni South that he alone in the area was allowed to kill in the name of
ZANU PF. He also told the meeting he moved around with his guns in his
vehicle and was always prepared to deal with 'sell-outs.'

'It's either you are ZANU PF or an enemy. To people like Nyamuranga, I have
just one message for them; I will kill him from defecting from ZANU PF to
join the MDC. This should also be a warning to anyone here wishing to join
the MDC. Nothing will happen to me because I have power and authority from
above,' Mhiripiri reportedly said at the meeting. Nyamuranga is an MDC
official who lives at Jani resettlement area. He was not present at the
meeting but got word of the threat from others who attended.

Mhiripiri's threats did not suprise those present. During the June 2008
presidential run-off, he allegedly waged a brutal crackdown against MDC
activists that left several dead and hundreds displaced in the district.

MDC supporters have come to fear him and it wasn't a surprise that they
heeded Chief John Rukweza's call for everyone in Makoni South to attend the
Jani meeting on Friday, in fear of reprisals. Chief Rukweza had made it
known that those who didn't attend would have their resettlement permits
cancelled and face ejection from the district.

Stanislaus Nyamuranga is a 66 year-old former ZANU PF member who joined the
MDC in 2000. The influential MDC chairman in the area told SW Radio Africa
on Monday that since Fridays' threat he's been in hiding, fearing for his
life. This is not the first time that Mhiripiri has issued threats against

'He has blamed me for ZANU PF's demise in the district and I've fled my
house on numerous occasions because he is a known killer who has terrorized
Makoni since the formation of the MDC. I'm in hiding at the moment and I
sleep in the bush at night,' Nyamuranga said.

The MDC MP for Makoni South, Pishai Muchauraya, told us they take Mhiripiri's
threats seriously because of his chequered history in dealing with the MDC.
A report about his threats was made over the weekend at Nyazura police post.

'The man is a dangerous person, a deranged murderer who apparently is a
parishioner with the SDA church. It's an open secret that he moves around
with guns and is notorious for eliminating opponents but remains
untouchable,' Muchauraya said.

The MDC MP, who is likely to face Mhiripiri in a parliamentary election,
alleged that his oppenent stole about 1,000 cattle during the atrocities
committed during the presidential run-off and has not returned any one of

'He is ZANU PF's hired gun in the district. He is well known to everyone and
his actions are knwn to the police but they can't even arrest him. He's
protected from above.

Mhiripiri's brutality is something of a legend. During the war of liberation
in the 1970's he was a Selous scout in the Rhodesian army and operated
mainly in the Mashonaland Central province. He is known to have claimed
several 'kills' against ZANLA combatants while operating in Muzarabani,
Mazowe and Concession districts.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Court bid to release Zim report

    Zelda Venter
    January 25 2010 at 11:35AM

The South African History Archive and the Southern African Centre for the
Survivors of Torture will ask the Pretoria High Court to force the
government to release an explosive report on post-election violence in

The two bodies, with the support of the Southern African Litigation Centre,
last week filed papers in court in which they ask that the presidency be
compelled to release the contents of the report which is believed to have
been given to former president Thabo Mbeki.

In May 2008 Mbeki commissioned four retired SA generals to visit Zimbabwe
and report back on the violence which erupted after the March 2008
presidential elections.

The generals, who include former army chief, Lieutenant General Gilbert
Romano, Brigadier-General Ray Moerane and Lieutenant General Lambert Moloi -
entered Zimbabwe on May 3, 2008 and returned for a second mission in June
2008. The exercise had at the time cost taxpayers more than R600 000 - yet
no report had been forthcoming, neither written or oral, it was stated in
court papers.

The History Archive requested the report from the government in terms of the
Promotions of Access to Information Act. This request was turned down, with
the presidency claiming that no such report existed. A subsequent internal
appeal was also denied.

The presidency was again approached by the History Archive, which this time
requested any of the supporting documents on the generals' mission,
including minutes of meetings of any debriefing which may have been taken
place. This request was also denied and the presidency persisted that no
such documents existed.

The court will now be asked to review all these refusals and to force the
government to release documents relating to the generals' report. No date
had yet been set for the hearing.

Gabriella Razzano of the Freedom of Information Programme, stated in papers
filed that Mbeki at the time instructed the generals to investigate and
report to him on the 2008 Zimbabwe elections.

They were mandated to observe and report on the violence which occurred in
the run-up to the elections so as to facilitate and assist the then
president on his role as the Southern African Development Community mediator
in the Zimbabwean situation.

Razzano said the report, among others, considered the post-election violence
committed by the Zimbabwean government against opposition party members.

She said this report was important and of great public interest and
importance as a historical record as to what occurred in that country.

While the government denied the existence of such a report, the applicants
believe it does exist. Various sources pointed to the fact that such a
report was compiled.

Keery Kay, secretary for welfare in the Movement for Democratic Change,
stated that she had collected a large amount of data relating to human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe, which she herself handed to the generals.

Meanwhile, the government still has to indicate whether it will oppose the


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Military wants Mugabe until 2020

Monday, 25 January 2010 14:06

HARARE - A top airforce commander says a proposed new constitution should
allow President Robert Mugabe to stand for a possible two more five-year
terms, a scenario likely to see the 85-year-old leader die in office - if
Director of air force intelligence, Wing Commander Bramwell Katsvairo told
villagers during a Zanu (PF) rally in Mutoko last week that they should tell
constitutional reform outreach teams that the presidential tenure should be
limited to a maximum of two five-year terms and that Mugabe should be
eligible to stand because this will be under a new constitution. "Top of
your contributions, you must suggest that the presidential term of office
should be two terms of five years each. The maximum ten-year term must start
with President Robert Mugabe from the next elections," Katsvairo told the
villagers during the "conscientisation" rally held at Corner Store.
The airforce officer, who was in the company of several other members of the
security forces, noted that Mugabe's previous terms in office should be
disregarded since this would be a new supreme law. "He must rule until
 2020," said the airman. He ordered villagers to emphasize in their
constitutional reform contributions that age should not be a factor when
setting criteria for a presidential candidate. Mugabe, who turns 86 next
month, has ruled Zimbabwe with an iron fist since the former Rhodesia gained
independence from Britain in 1980.
Critics have described the veteran leader's 30-year reign on the country as
worse than the legislated discrimination practised by the former white
Rhodesian government that his Zanu (PF) and the former PF ZAPU waged a
bitter decade-long battle to dislodge.
To avoid prosecution for human rights abuses, Mugabe and his party are
campaigning for the adoption of the constitution drafted by negotiators from
Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations on Lake Kariba in September 2007.
According to the Kariba draft, the president would be limited to two
five-year terms but the proposed supreme law is silent on the tenure
already served by Mugabe. The tenure of the incumbent as president prior to
the proposed new constitution would not be counted if the Kariba draft sails
through. Constitutional experts say the Kariba draft is a mere extension of
the current constitution and would further entrench Mugabe's stranglehold on
Zimbabwe. They also say the increasingly isolated Zimbabwean leader is
unlikely to call for fresh elections in 2011 as agreed in a power-sharing
agreement with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai but will run the full
five-year term to 2013, after which he will stand for re-election for an
additional two terms.
Under the September 2008 global political agreement between Zanu (PF),
Tsvangirai's MDC-T and a breakaway MDC faction led by Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara, Zimbabwe is supposed to hold new elections in early 2011
after the passing of the new constitution. Analysts say Mugabe is aware that
his political survival is at risk once he agrees to a new democratic
constitution that would drastically clip his powers. As in the past three
polls, the Zimbabwean leader has turned to the country's military to ensure
that any new constitution does not take away the system of privileges
enjoyed by his coterie of Zanu (PF) sharks. The army has during the past few
months stepped up campaigns in rural areas to have the Kariba draft passed
as Zimbabwe's new constitution. During the Mutoko rally, hapless villagers
were told in no uncertain terms "mistakes" would not be tolerated in the
constitution making process.
The utterances by Katsvairo and his army colleagues should not be ignored
given the way they have influenced events in the past. The army was behind
Mugabe's blood reelection campaign during the June 2008 presidential runoff
poll in which some 200-plus people died. Katsvairo is notorious in Mutoko
where he led the area's terror campaign team in 2008.
Last year he terrorized MDC-T supporters who wanted to recover their
property stolen by Zanu (PF) thugs. He arrested and ordered the police to
imprison more than 150 innocent peasants without trial.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe still hiding war crimes fugitive

Published on: 25th January, 2010

Kigali - The Zimbabwean government is hiding one of the World's most wanted
war criminals, former head of Rwandan Presidential Guard during the 1994
genocide Protais Mpiranya, a Belgian news agency reported.

Belgium has expressed interest in trying fugitive former head of the Rwandan
presidential guard during the 1994 genocide, Protais Mpiranya who is widely
believed to be hiding in Zimbabwe, and operating businesses in Harare.

Mpiranya is in the list of 13 most wanted persons by the Arusha-based
International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) still on the run. In
attempts to arrest them, the US-government has offered a bounty of five
million dollars for each fugitive.

Responding to a question from Commission of Foreign Affairs, the Belgium
Foreign Minister, Karel De Gucht, said that he was not sure whether Mpiranya
was hiding in Zimbabwe, as was reported but he promised to raise the issue
through Diplomatic channels.

The news report further claimed that Mpiranya was sheltered by close
associates of Robert Mugabe who were jointly running ventures, including
plundering resources of neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The
report has named Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa as the man heavily

There are an estimated 4,000 Hutu refugees living in Zimbabwe, some of whom
took part in the genocide of Tutsis and moderate Hutus in 1994. Many are
still pouring from Rwanda through Malawi and when they arrive in Zimbabwe,
they are looked after by the government and some of them have been recruited
into the spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organisation were they are
used to do dirty work like abducting and murdering Zanu PF political

Many fled the country, seeking asylum after the killings, which destabilised
neighbouring countries especially the Democratic Republic of Congo. "We are
not aware of the fact that he is in Zimbabwe. We did not receive
confirmation from the Tribunal in Arusha nor from our intelligence services"
the Belgian Foreign Minister told the legislators.

The head of Belgian diplomacy said that he was "fully aware of the
involvement of Mpiranya in the murder of ten Belgian peacekeepers on 7 April
1994, and in the planning of the genocide". The Rwandan genocide resulted in
more than 800 000 deaths according to the UN.

Sources in the Zimbabwean Intelligence Services said the Rwandan fugitive
led a group of foreign mercenaries joining so-called "war veterans" and
militiamen attacking opposition supporters in rural parts of Zimbabwe,
during the 2008 aborted Presidential run-off elections.

Eyewitnesses said the men were more vicious than their Zimbabwean
counterparts, with the marauding gangs attacking suspected members of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), forcing them to renounce the party.

They dressed in army fatigues, carried Russian-made guns and were
accompanied by interpreters when out with the militias. Patrick Chitaka, the
then MDC chairman in Manicaland province confirmed that the foreigners were
identified among Zanu PF militia.

Mr Chitaka said: "We observed that some of the people leading the violence
were foreigners because they spoke a different language and they did not
speak our local languages.

"Also the tactics they were using were not peculiar with Zimbabweans since
they were cutting out the tongue, removing eyes and genital parts. We are
not sure where they came from."

It is believed they are the people who abducted and murdered MDC activist in
Mabvuku Tonderai Ndira whose body was found tortured with his tongue cut
into shreds. 200 Movement for Democratic Change supporters were killed in
attacks by police, army, war veterans and ruling party militia. More than
200,000 displaced by the violence during the aborted March 2008 elections.

Rwandan refugees fear they may be sent home if an MDC-led government comes
to power. Despite internationally backed efforts to rehabilitate Hutu
refugees, fears remain among exiles that those returning will face
persecution from the government of President Paul Kagame.

Meanwhile, another Genocide fugitive who was recently arrested in Malawi,
Charles Bandora, has been released under unclear circumstances, according to
Malawian sources. The highly placed source in Malawi said the ex- senior
official of the former ruling party in Rwanda, the MRND, was let off the
hook last week a few days after his arrest.

It is believed Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika was approached by the
Zimbabwean high authorities. Bandora was arrested a fortnight ago by Malawi's
Criminal Intelligence Department (CID) on Devil Street, near Mugasa House,
where he allegedly operated a business.

"It's true he is out of jail and his whereabouts are still unknown up to
now. But there are reports that he has gone to Zimbabwe," the source said.
The Genocide suspect, a former businessman in Ngenda, now Eastern Province,
faces charges that include; Genocide, complicity in Genocide, conspiracy to
commit Genocide, extermination, murder as a crime against humanity and
organized crime.

This is not the first time Malawi has been reported of arresting Genocide
fugitives and releasing them under unclear circumstances. Genocide fugitive
Vincent Nzigiyimfura was also arrested and thereafter left the country for
the United States of America in 2009. Born in 1945, in Busasamana, Southern
Province, Nzigiyimfura was formerly a businessman.

Malawi was listed by the Prosecution last month as among some of the African
countries that have rendered little cooperation towards arresting and trying
or extraditing indicted fugitives responsible for the 1994 Genocide against
the Tutsi.

It is believed many Rwandan war criminals now living in Zimbabwe have passed
through Malawi and fears are now growing that Robert Mugabe is recruiting
these people in preparation for violence in the scheduled constitutional
referendum and the national election which are likely going to be held in
the next 18 months. Zimbabwe Mail

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Joseph Made Rewarded For Managing Mugabe's Farms

24/01/2010 20:47:00

Harare, January 25, 2010 - Zimbabwe's Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has
continued to earn a salary from the Agricultural and Rural Developoment
Authority (ARDA) which he left 10 years ago when he was appointed a
government minister as a thank you for managing President Robert Mugabe's

Highly placed sources at ARDA told Radio VOP at the weekend that Made had
been drawing a salary from the parastatal as well as receiving benefits
including top of the range vehicles.

"The source described Made as a "bootlicker", adding he was being paid for
managing President Mugabe's farms.

Made was ARDA's  Chief Executive Officer, before he was appointed
Agriculture minister by Mugabe in 2000.  ARDA, which owns vast tracts of
land throughout the country, used to be a centre of agricultural excellence
and the envy of many in the whole Southern African Development Community
(SADC)  region.

It is alleged one of Made's successors at ARDA, Erickson Mvududu, was fired
last year for conducting a staff audit which revealed that Made was still
earning a salary from the parastatal, years after he left.

Made is said to be managing several farms for Mugabe among them the biggest
farm in the country, the vast Highfield farm in Norton, the controversial
Gushungo dairy farm whose milk is now being rejected by Swiss-based Nestle
due to sanctions and Iron Mask farm which was invaded by the first lady
Grace Mugabe.

Made is also said to have presided over the looting of ARDA assets, among
them land, tractors, combine harvesters, fuel and vehicles channelling them
to senior Zanu Pf officials amongst them Mugabe and to his own two farms
which he grabbed in Manicaland province's Headlands area. Some of the
tractors and equipment were donated by Iranians and Chinese for agricultural
development in the country.

Only recently Made struck a deal with businessman and farmer, Billy
Rautenbach, in which vast tracts of sugar estates belonging to ARDA have
been leased for a song to a joint venture in which the controversial
business magnate has a controlling interest.

Rautenbach is believed to control 60 percent of Middle Sabi and Chisumbanje
Sugar Estates through his Rating Investments ahead of other suitors that
management felt had a more attractive proposal. The deal was the final nail
in the short tenure of  Mvududu reign as ARDA's boss, as he was fired for
resisting the deal, arguing that  the development of Middle Sabi and
Chisumbanje should follow a model different from that proposed by Rautenbach
which he felt was speculative and not beneficial to ARDA.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘We’re committed to Zim constitutional reform’

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Monday 25 January 2010

HARARE – International donors supporting Zimbabwe’s troubled constitutional
reform on Sunday said they were committed to see the process succeed,
refuting weekend claims that they had suspended funding for the project.

The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) last week postponed
deployment of teams to carry out public consultations on the proposed new
constitution and the state-controlled Sunday Mail weekly newspaper yesterday
attributed the delay to withdrawal of financial support by donors allegedly
because they had failed to directly influence the project.

But the European Union (EU) and Germany told ZimOnline that they remained
committed to supporting all democratic reforms in Zimbabwe.

"We are still committed to supporting the constitution making process in
Zimbabwe, together with the UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) and
other donors,” said European Commission ambassador to Zimbabwe Xavier

“It might be because they (COPAC) are facing their problems and now want to
talk about donors' fatigue but no donor who had pledged has changed their
mind as far as I know."

Asked whether they had suspended their support German deputy ambassador to
Zimbabwe Matthias Schumacher said: "The answer is no. Germany hasn't stopped
supporting the process. We deplore that they are having problems, but we
hope they solve them. We remain committed to funding all democratic reforms
in Zimbabwe."

Quoting COPAC co-chairman, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana from President Robert
Mugabe’s ZANU PF party, the Sunday Mail said the donors’ decision was in
apparent protest against their failure to directly influence the process
after the select panel turned down their proposal to assist in developing
talking points that will be used to solicit public opinion on the content of
the new constitution

Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga, said at the weekend that
COPAC management committee – composed of him, COPAC’s three co-chairmen and
negotiators of the global political agreement that set up the country’s
power-sharing government – would meet on Tuesday to get the process back on

Postponement of the exercise to gather the views of citizens on the new
constitution is likely to further delay the reforms that have already missed
several targets.

The proposed new constitution is part of the requirements of a September
2008 power-sharing deal between Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara.

The new governance charter will pave way for free elections although there
is no legal requirement for the unity government to call new polls
immediately after a new constitution is in place.

Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee human rights, strengthen
the role of Parliament and curtail the president's powers, as well as
guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.

The new constitution will replace the current Lancaster House Constitution
written in 1979 before independence from Britain. The charter has been
amended 19 times since independence in 1980. Critics say the majority of the
amendments have been to further entrench Mugabe and ZANU PF’s hold on
power. – ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Anglicans to hold protest prayer

by Own Corrrespondent Monday 25 January 2010

HARARE - Anglicans from Harare will on Sunday hold prayers at Africa Unity
Square in central Harare to press the police to allow the church access to
its halls and buildings across the capital.

The open prayer session, to which President Robert Mugabe - a Catholic - has
also been invited, comes after months of a tense and sometimes violent
struggle for control of the church between excommunicated archbishop Nolbert
Kunonga and Archbishop Chad Gandiya, appointed last year by the Church of
the Province of Central Africa (CPCA) to run the Harare Anglican diocese.

The CPCA is the supreme authority of Anglican church in the region. But
Kunonga has defied its orders to surrender church property, while Gandiya
and his followers say the police have sided with the renegade bishop and
assisted him to seize control of church prayer halls and buildings in
violation of several court orders.

"The church resolved to hold the open prayer to force the police to abide by
the court ruling," a church warden announced yesterday. "The President
(Mugabe) has been invited and his is aware. Initially it was felt that we
hold a protest march, but this was later shelved as the diocese opted for an
open prayer session."

The Harare city council has already given permission to the church to hold
the prayer meeting which will be attended by all members of the Anglican
church from the capital. However police are yet to respond to the church's
request to hold the open prayer session.

The protest prayer comes after co-Home Affairs minister, Giles Mutseyekwa
announced that he was planning to meet Harare police commanders to discuss
the Anglican issue.

A High Court judge ordered Gandiya, Kunonga and their followers to share use
of church buildings for prayers.

But Kunonga's group is accused of locking up church doors every Sunday to
prevent their rivals from entering the buildings to hold prayers, while the
police have been on hand to chase away Gandiya's followers every time they
tried to insist on their right to use the churches.

The Harare Anglican church has been in turmoil ever since the CPCA first
suspended Kunonga as bishop of Harare and later excommunicated him from the
church - a move he has refused to accept while he has also held onto church

Kunonga was excommunicated in 2008 after trying to withdraw the Harare
diocese from the Anglican church. He claims he revolted against the mother
church because it supported the ordination of gay priests.

A staunch supporter of Mugabe who tried to use the pulpit to defend the
Zimbabwean leader's controversial policies, Kunonga was excommunicated
together with several priests and other church leaders who backed his revolt
against the CPCA.

The CPCA appointed retired Bishop Sebastian Bakare as caretaker head of the
Harare diocese before he was succeeded by Gandiya. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai To Attend World Economic Forum

24/01/2010 20:50:00

Harare,January 25, 2010 - Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is
expected to address the World Economic Forum which is being held in
Switzerland this week.

Officials from Tsvangirai's office confirmed the trip. "The Prime Minister
is going to Switzerland today for the World Economic Forum. He is expected
to adress business leaders from across the world."

The summit is going to be held for three days, the official said.

Political and economic analysts say they are keen to hear what Tsvangirai
will say to the Forum, at a time when he is currently under pressure from
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party to end Western Sanctions and the two
MDC formations and Zanu PF are failing to implement the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) due to outstanding issues. The parties to the GPA are
failing to agree on key government appointments that include the positions
of the Reserve Bank governor, Attorney General and provincial governors
among the other issues.

Tsvangirai has expressed optimism about the unity deal but has raised
frustrations over the procrastination of resolving the sticking issues in
the GPA. He has also called for the end of sanctions and the return of
exiled Zimbabweans to the country, saying they should come to help develop
Zimbabwe despite that Mugabe's cronies continue to flout the country's laws
and committing human rights violations by continuing farms invasions and in
some cases engaging in violent acts.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim government still to respond on farm invasion subpoena

By Alex Bell
25 January 2010

The government has until Thursday to notify a South African civil rights
group if it intends on opposing its application to sue over the ongoing
invasions of South African owned land in Zimbabwe.

The group, AfriForum, served legal papers on the government last week, after
winning a High Court battle to sue the government in relation to the land
attacks. The group is trying to enforce a 2008 regional ruling declaring
Robert Mugabe's land 'reform' exercise unlawful. The ruling was passed down
by the rights court of the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
which ordered the government to protect farmers and their rights to their

The ruling has been completely ignored and the government has even stated it
no longer recognises the SADC Tribunal's orders. AfriForum is now trying to
have the ruling enforced from within South Africa. AfriForums lawyer, Willie
Spies, said in a statement on Friday that the papers had been served by
AfriForum's legal representatives in Harare. Spies said that the Zimbabwean
government had until next Thursday to give notice of whether it intended
opposing the application, which is set to be heard in court in February.

At least five Rusape farming families have come under threat by land
invaders since December last year, with most of the families being forcibly
evicted from their homes. All those evicted are South African citizens,
meant to be protected by a bilateral investment pact between the two
countries. That pact, which was only signed late last year, is yet to be
ratified in parliament, which both governments have used as an excuse not to


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Suspended head of Zim refugee mission fights back

By Alex Bell
25 January 2010

The head of the Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg, Paul Verryn, is
fighting back against his suspension, as support for the controversial
cleric continues to grow.

Verryn was suspended last week pending a hearing before a disciplinary
committee of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, which has accused the
former bishop of "transgressing the laws and discipline of the church." The
charges are in connection with a court application Verryn made last year to
get a curator appointed to look after the many unaccompanied miners at the
Central Methodist Mission in Johannesburg. The Methodist Church of Southern
Africa has said that Verryn acted 'unilaterally' and without its support,
also accusing the cleric of speaking to the media without its consent.

Verryn however is fighting back against the suspension, seeking on Monday to
have his disciplinary hearing postponed. He told South African media this
weekend that his suspension boils down to a dispute he has with the current
Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Bishop Ivan Abrahams. The
Church has denied this.

Verryn has been lauded as a 'friend of Zimbabwe' for opening up the church
to refugees who had nowhere else to go, particularly during 2007's outbreak
of xenophobic violence that saw hundreds of foreigners flee local South
African communities. But the renowned former anti-apartheid cleric has also
been a controversial figure. He has received international acclaim for
aiding homeless foreigners and for pressuring the South African government
to reform its policies regarding refugees. But he has also faced severe
criticism for the humanitarian crisis that has developed at the church over
the past few years.

Rights groups have called the situation 'untenable' and a potential health
risk, with hundreds of people sleeping on the streets around the church.
Local businesses have threatened Verryn with legal action, accusing the
refugees living at the church of being responsible for crime in the area.
They've also said the unsanitary conditions have affected their businesses.
Last year there were also allegations of sexual abuse of children living at
the church.

But support for Verryn has been gathering since the very public announcement
of his suspension last week, with a group of friends and supporters meeting
in Johannesburg on Sunday to plan their support for the embattled bishop.

"What he's going through is horrendous," group member and friend Wendy
Landau told SW Radio Africa on Monday. "He needs to know there are people
out there rooting for him."

Landau created an online support group on the social networking site
Facebook on Saturday. By Monday evening the page had more than 340 fans or
supporters, with many supporters voicing their concerns of an active
campaign to remove Verryn from the Church in Johannesburg. One support
commented that "it appears that in Johannesburg at the moment the poor, the
displaced and the homeless have become extremely threatening to those who
are in power." Other observers have already argued that the suspension is
part of a planned move to have the refugee mission closed down, which local
government officials have previously called for.

The South African government's treatment of foreigners, particularly
Zimbabwean refugees, has been based on exclusion and denial up until very
recently. Under former president Thabo Mbeki's policy of quiet diplomacy on
the Zimbabwe crisis, the refugee crisis in his own country was 'overlooked'.
This resulted in tens of thousands of Zimbabwean refugees receiving no
support from the South African government. The Central Methodist Church
therefore has been the only haven for many Zimbabweans, in a country where
the refugee policy has only started to change recently.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Suspended Verryn gets international support

January 25, 2010

By Ntando Ncube

A GROUP of South Africans and hordes of peoples from other parts of the
world on Sunday resumed fighting against the treatment of suspended Central
Methodist Church (CMC) bishop Paul Verryn using social media by launching
the "Friends of Paul Verryn" camping on face book.

According to a statement circulated by the Congress of South African Trade
Unions (COSATU), the campaign is aimed at raising support for him during his

Verryn a well- known friend of desperate African immigrants, mostly
Zimbabweans in South Africa was suspended from his position in the church on

"Paul Verryn is being "dealt with" for trying to help the Zimbabweans. He is
being hung out to dry by the Methodist Church that he served for so long.
Paul Verryn is a Christian person who walks the Christian walk", reads part
of a statement released over the weekend.

"He did not turn away those in need. Other doors were closed, while his was

Paul Verryn exercises the Option for the Poor. He is a liberation theologist
in action."

The Johannesburg church offers refuge to more than 3 000 immigrants from
across Africa with the bulk of them being Zimbabweans who continue to flock
to the sanctuary, fleeing their home country because of hunger and economic

Verryn has been at the centre of controversy involving the situation of
women and children at the church in central Johannesburg. Last year the
bishop approached the courts seeking that a curator be appointed for minors
living at the church.

The Methodist Church of Southern Africa said Verryn acted unilaterally in
launching the application. The church said it only allowed the presiding
bishop or the church's general secretary to bring an application before a

"What the Bishop has done to welcome people with nowhere to go - is just
awesome I am near the church quite a bit, and I'm really thankful for what
the Bishop has done and continues to do. Full support to you!!! Please let
me know if I can help - am willing to go to meetings etc" a face book fan
called Anne posted

Another fan Penny Foley said: "The work that Paul does is remarkable and he
has always done it. And he will always do it. He is absolutely driven by God
towards love for the poor. It appears that in Johannesburg at the moment the
poor, the displaced and the homeless have become extremely threatening to
those who are in power".

Verryn has been embroiled in a wrangle with the Gauteng government which
accuses him of refusing to cooperate with social workers who wanted to move
children from the church premises to proper homes and shelters.

Mark Spyke said: "For years people have tried to undermine Paul with
innuendo without success. I am currently on a committee which he chairs
(Church Unity Commission Central Committee), and I can personally vouch for
him as a man of great integrity, courage, intelligence, and godliness. The
actual charges below are laughable".

Verryn faces charges of breaching the rules of the Methodist Church in South
Africa (MCSA).

His disciplinary hearing is scheduled to take place on February 01.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC-T wants talks referred to SADC for arbitration

By Tichaona Sibanda
25 January 2010

Senior figures in the MDC-T last week Friday asked its party leadership to
refer the Global Political Agreement talks to SADC because they don't
believe the negotiators can break the current impasse.

'The meeting was speaking with one voice that the talks are not going
anywhere and a deadlock should be declared to allow SADC to take over,' a
source in the party said. MDC-T chief negotiator Tendai Biti had briefed the
meeting in detail and reportedly told the meeting that nothing much has
moved since last year.

The MDC-T standing committee meeting then reportedly tasked its negotiators
to notify the South African facilitation team, and other negotiators from
the MDC-M and ZANU PF, that they wanted the talks declared deadlocked.

'I think everyone knows both the MDC and ZANU PF will not change their
positions as far as the talks are concerned. I think it's fair that we
shouldn't be wasting precious time discussing things that will never happen,'
the source added.

Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara signed the GPA in
September 2008, which paved the way for the formation of the inclusive
Government. But the inclusive government has been hamstrung over a number of
issues, including that of the appointments of Gideon Gono and Johannes
Tomana as the central bank governor and the attorney general.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said they had lost all patience with ZANU
PF's reluctance to conclusively deal with all the remaining issues. He said
as a party they would not accept any more delays in the interest of the
people of Zimbabwe who have been subjected to uncertainty and unnecessary
anxiety over 'talks about talks.'

'We have guarantors to this agreement, and the logical conclusion is for
them to help us unlock this political logjam,' Chamisa said. Party
negotiators will meet again on the 8th of next month but hopes of salvaging
anything from the talks have all but faded.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

British embassy clarifies UK position on sanctions

By Lance Guma
25 January 2010

The British Embassy in Zimbabwe has moved to clarify comments made by
Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who had suggested targeted sanctions on
companies and members of Mugabe's inner circle would only be removed on the
advice of the MDC.
Responding to questions in parliament last week Tuesday Miliband had said;
'In respect of sanctions, we have made it clear that they can be lifted only
in a calibrated way, as progress is made . and, above all, to be guided by
what the MDC says to us about the conditions under which it is working and
leading the country.' The statement was a godsend for ZANU PF and the state
owned media, who have seized on it as clear evidence the MDC has been
responsible for the imposition of the targeted sanctions.
The British Embassy in Harare has now issued a clarification saying the most
important factor influencing the UK's views on lifting EU restrictive
measures 'will be evidence of actual change and reform on the ground in
Zimbabwe.' This judgment they said 'will need to take into account the views
of a number of stakeholders, including the MDC, on the economic, social and
other conditions prevailing in Zimbabwe.' The embassy also added that the
key to having the restrictions lifted was for those resisting progress to
implement commitments to reform, agreed to in the unity deal.
Mugabe and his ZANU PF party have over the past decade deflected attention
from their destruction of the economy by blaming the travel and financial
restrictions placed on members of its inner circle. At least 203 officials
and 40 companies, involved or linked with violence and human rights abuses,
had the measures imposed on them. The British Embassy said the measures did
not 'affect the development of legitimate trade or business' and also did
not have any adverse effect on humanitarian assistance. Just a few months
ago Britain provided US$100 million in aid.
The remarks by Miliband galvanized ZANU PF into demanding that the MDC call
for the removal of the restrictive measures on the ruling elite. Zimbabwe's
ambassador to South Africa and ZANU PF national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo,
said the MDC could no longer claim it had no influence over the issue.
'Britain has let the cat out of the bag on the issue of sanctions. They have
admitted that the MDC called for the sanctions and it can only remove them
on the request of the MDC,' he claimed.
Newsreel asked MDC Foreign Affairs spokesman, Professor Eliphas
Mukonoweshuro, to respond to Moyo's claims. He told us, "We don't formulate
foreign policy on any country's behalf. We are saying that they should judge
us by the progress that we have made so far in the commitments we have

Mukonoweshuro said Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had called for a lifting
of the restrictive measures in his speech to parliament last year.
Additionally the coalition government set up an all-party 'Re-engagement
Committee' led by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, to
campaign for an opening up of relations with the West.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

System to fight 'blood diamonds' in ruin

Comment from Canadian Business, February issue

Near collapse of Kimberley Process could spark renewed trade in 'blood

By Thomas Watson

Remember Danny Archer, Leonardo DiCaprio's character in Blood Diamond? Set
in 1999, amid civil war in Sierra Leone, Archer's trials and tribulations as
a mercenary helped raise awareness of the illicit stone trade and how it
once served as a primary driver of social chaos and armed conflict in the
Third World. Today, thanks to a certification-of-origins system call the
Kimberley Process, conflict diamonds account for less than 1% of the global
rough-cut stone market, down from double-digit territory in the mid-'90s
(when they funded wars in countries such as Angola, Liberia and Sierra
Leone). This progress was worked into the 2006 DiCaprio flick, which ends as
a brutalized artisanal miner is about to address a historic meeting of
diamond-producing countries in Kimberley, South Africa. After that 2000
conference, the industry moved to create its self-regulatory system, which
is managed by the World Diamond Council and two NGOs, including Partnership
Africa Canada (PAC).

But don't count on a long-term Hollywood ending. Judging by recent events,
the industry's much-hyped common interest in decoupling diamonds from
conflict appears to be as fictional as Archer's on-screen transformation
into a caring soul. Ottawa's Ian Smillie, one of the world's leading
blood-diamond experts and a key architect of the Kimberley Process, resigned
as the NGOs' representative to the process last summer. "When regulators
fail to regulate, the systems they were designed to protect collapse," he
announced, adding, "I can no longer in good faith contribute to a pretense
that failure is success." Until Smillie's departure, the Kimberley Process
was generally considered effective. But its lack of teeth is shocking. At
one point, insiders say, Venezuela was encouraged to withdraw as a member so
other countries could avoid dealing with its off-the-books stones.

Furthermore, despite increased media attention late last year, the Kimberley
Process ignored a call by Human Rights Watch to ban Zimbabwe diamonds from
the market. To do that, the regulator had to turn a blind eye to its own
report on Zimbabwe's failure to comply with certification rules, not to
mention the fact that its military controls the country's mines. Bernard
Taylor, executive director of PAC, admits the system has lost credibility,
noting a total breakdown could lead to an explosion of the illicit diamond
trade and huge increase in related misery. But there is hope, he says,
pointing out that Smillie left his part-time research position with PAC and
ended his official involvement with the Kimberley Process because he "felt
he might have more impact from without." And his resignation has already
helped matters by putting blood diamonds back on the media radar. According
to Taylor, PAC remains committed to pushing for significant reforms inside
the system with its NGO partner, Global Witness. And with Israel taking on
the Kimberley Process chair this year, he thinks there is a chance that
"some new resolve will be breathed in the process."


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Costly Beitbridge chaos could be solved with right political will

Published: 2010/01/25 06:19:37 AM

OFFICIAL discussions about how to manage traffic and people through Africa's
busiest border post - Beitbridge - have been going on for at least a decade.
And yet, every major holiday begets horror stories about the experience of
trying to move through this border crossing. This past Christmas season was
no exception. In fact, with the mass flight of Zimbabweans to SA, the
situation has become worse.

Delays of several hours for holiday- makers were commonplace. Cars queued
for kilometres from the immigration buildings on either side of the border,
touts milled through the crowds soliciting bribes, and the sun beat down on
the crowds in one of the hottest places in the region.

In the months leading up to the festive season, officials said plans were
being made to avoid the usual problems experienced at this vital border
crossing. To no avail, it seems.

Not only is Beitbridge a key link between Zimbabwe and SA, it is also a
vital cog in the transport network across southern Africa. Yet trucks can
spend up to five days trying to get cleared, at great cost to transporters.

SA's Department of Home Affairs estimates that about 10000 people use the
border a day during normal times, with this rising to 18000 over the
holidays. Officials at the border post estimated that 3500 vehicles were
passing through the post on an average day over the Christmas period.

Surely the experts could solve the problem relatively easily if they put
their minds to it? One problem identified in the recent melee was a lack of
parking space in the South African yard, which can accommodate only 80 heavy
vehicles, 10 buses and 100 cars. Vehicles in Zimbabwe, cleared to go
through, were unable to cross into SA until space became available there for
them to park. This is not a new problem, so why have the parking facilities
not been expanded?

Trucks also clog up the border post as drivers have to process piles of
clearing documents and deal with myriad government agencies . These
processes need to rationalised. Government task teams have apparently been
established to facilitate this process. But history shows us that
bureaucrats generally find it a lot easier to increase bureaucracy than
reduce it.

The original bridge across the Zambezi River at Beitbridge remains closed,
forcing all traffic on to the newer tolled bridge. The New Limpopo Bridge
Company, concessionaire for the new bridge, claims that reopening the old
one would not reduce congestion. But in reality this resource remains closed
because the company cannot toll users - the Beit Trust, which paid for the
bridge to be built in 1929, does not allow users to be charged, in

The mooted longer-term solution to the problem is the creation of a one-
stop border post. A pilot one-stop border post was opened at Chirundu,
between Zimbabwe and Zambia, before Christmas. Passenger traffic is
reportedly moving well through the new one-stop post, though authorities are
still ironing out freight problems.

There seems to be little point in speeding up vehicle and freight clearance
at Chirundu without smoothing operations at Beitbridge, given that about
half of traffic through one goes through the other. A second one-stop border
post is scheduled for Ressano Garcia, between SA and Mozambique. However,
this project has got bogged down in the planning stages.

Overambitious design features of the new five-storey customs and immigration
building mean the project cost has leapt from about R600m, which SA had
agreed to pay, to nearly R2bn. Bridging finance will have to found before
the project can go ahead.

Sources claim Zimbabwe is eager to have the one-stop border post at
Beitbridge but the project is being held up by SA, which is not keen on
relinquishing the kind of control that is required by the one-stop model.

Unless sufficient political will is mustered to fast-track solutions to the
problems at the border crossing, I would wager that holidaymakers at
Christmas this year may be facing more nightmares trying to negotiate their
way across this hot hellhole.

There must be simple solutions that are within the power of politicians to
implement . Another decade of discussions is not an option.

- Games is CE of Africa @ Work, a research and consulting company.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mutsvangwa admits Zimbabwe media laws are draconian

By Gerald Chateta

Published: January 24, 2010

Harare  - ZANU-PF activist and former Ambassador Christopher Mutsvangwa has
admitted that draconian media laws must be repealed and replaced with
friendly regulatory laws, saying they are no longer relevant in the new
political dispensation.

Mutsvangwa told journalists who had invited him to shed light on the
developments of the Zimbabwe Media Commission in Harare on Friday that it
was high time that friendly media laws should come into play.

The ZMC which is yet to operate will be responsible for regulating the
media, and President Robert Mugabe has not yet sworn in the 12 commissioners
who will be leading the media regulatory board.

"Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), Public Order
and Security Act and other media oppressive laws should be removed as the
situation under which they were enacted is no longer obtaining. We all know
that these laws came into play because of the political polarization which
was in the country and that situation has since changed."

"These repressive media laws are going to be removed and we expect
journalists to be objective and honest in telling the Zimbabwean story," he

Using AIPPA, the former ZANU-PF government- appointed Media and Information
Commission (MIC), which closed and refused to license new media players.

AIPPA, the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and Broadcasting Services
Act (BSA), according to journalists and observers formed an axis of
repression against media freedom and freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.

It is against that background that MISA-Zimbabwe together with the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights and Independent Journalists Association of
Zimbabwe, continue to submit to the Commission to declare that AIPPA
contravenes the provisions of the African Charter on Human and People's

Zimbabwe Independent Newspaper journalist Dumisani Mleya said politicians
should desist from interfering with the media.

"We are worried by the continued interference by politicians in the business
of the media. We are not satisfied with the Zimbabwe Media Commission
because it has political activists. We are likely to experience further
polarization in the industry. We know that every political party wants the
media to report positively about it, and we want to assure the politicians
that we will never be patronized by any political party because we are

The functions of the ZMC are stated as "to uphold and develop the freedom of
the press", as well as "to promote and enforce good practice and ethics in
the press, print and electronic media, and broadcasting" and ensuring that
the people of Zimbabwe have "equitable and wide access to information". The
Commission retains the functions of registering mass media and news
agencies, accrediting journalists, investigating complaints against media
persons and services and reviewing decisions of public bodies regarding
access to information.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Budget airliner targets Hre-J’burg route

25/01/2010 00:00:00

SOUTH Africa-based low-cost carrier 1time has announced its interest in
servicing the busy Harare-Johannesburg route.

The route has become one of Southern Africa’s busiest as Zimbabwe’s economy
recovers and is currently being serviced by national carrier Air Zimbabwe,
South African Airways and Comair.

“1time is keen to go to Harare. Should anything become available (landing
slots open), we'll consider it," the company’s commercial director Desmond
O'Connor said.

The listed airliner, one of four budget carriers operating in South Africa,
has embarked on a route expansion exercise which has seen it flying to
Livingstone Zambia while plans are on course to launch on the Maputo route
in March this year.

"We are hoping to launch the Maputo route by March, the airline has secured
five flights a week between Johannesburg and Maputo, adding about 600 seats
and we will be competing directly with Mozambique's KLM national carrier,”
He said

O’Connor added that all the planed routes should be within 4 hours flight
from Johannesburg as these tended to offer better returns.

"We're still looking for anything within four hours' flying time from
Johannesburg. We believe there are better returns on those routes. If you
look at our domestic routes you'll notice we are mainly on corporate routes
as opposed to the leisure ones," said O'Connor.

Zimbabwe has embarked on an open skies policy which has seen the country
invite international carriers to service routes into the country as part of
its tourism promotion drive.

The policy has however been put under the spot following after authorities
refused to grant start-up carrier, Fly Kumba rights to service routes
currently being dominated by Air Zimbabwe.

The government's decision is reported to have been inspired by the fear of
being priced-out of the market as Air Zimbabwe was charging over a US$100
for a one-way ticket to Bulawayo which Fly Kumba had pegged at US$50.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Meet our conditions and we'll fund you

From Moneyweb (SA), 24 January

Botswana will rescue Zimbabwe power stations if it meets certain criteria

John Chombah

Gabarone - Botswana Power Corporation (BPC) is planning to give Zimbabwe
Power Company (ZPC) $8m in funding to revamp the Bulawayo Thermal Power
Station if the governments can agree on certain issues. In return, Zimbabwe
will export 40 megawatts of power to Botswana. Although Zimbabwe media had
stipulated that BPC had already signed the deal, acting CEO of BPC, Lindiwe
Mgadla confirmed that her company has not entered into any agreement yet
with ZPC. Calls to government officials to shed more light on what the
issues are that need to be agreed on were not answered. Should the deal be
signed more than half ($4.5m ) of the $8m will be used to refurbish the
Bulawayo Thermal Power Station, while the remainder will be used to buy
coal. Bulawayo Thermal Power Station was closed due to financial problems,
which has plagued other thermal power stations as well. Mgadla however noted
that Botswana imports about 50% of its power needs from its neighbours.
Democratic Republic of Congo supplies 50 megawatts, Mozambique 40 megawatts
and South Africa 250 megawatts. ZPC is a subsidiary of Zimbabwe Electricity
Supply Authority (ZESA) which is said to be in $428m debt. In addition, ZESA
needs to raise approximately $385m for emergency power needs.


Back to the Top
Back to Index