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Zim court gives white farmers 24hrs to vacate land

by Own Correspondent Wednesday 27 January 2010

HARARE - A Zimbabwean magistrate court on Tuesday gave four white farmers 24
hours to vacate their properties, the Commercial Framers Union (CFU) said on

The mainly white CFU, which last week criticised the power-sharing
government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai for failing to end chaos in the farming sector, said the
magistrate ruled that the four farmers were guilty of refusing to vacate
their properties.

The union said the farmers were slapped with a US$800 fine each and ordered
to immediately move out of their homes and vacate their farms by Wednesday
(today) evening - in a ruling that highlights worsening fortunes for
Zimbabwe's white farmers who have also come under increased attacks from
Mugabe's supporters since formation of the coalition government.

The evicted farmers are Algernon Taffs of Chirega Farm, Dawie Joubert of
Stilfontein, Mike Odendaal of Hillcrest Farm, Mike Jahme of Silverton Farm -
all from the southeastern district of Chipinge.

According to the CFU, the magistrate said if the four failed to vacate their
properties as ordered by the court they would spend the next two years in
jail and the union indicated that the farmers were preparing to appeal
against the eviction orders.

"Under the Constitution of Zimbabwe everyone has the right to appeal but the
magistrate denied them this right saying there was no doubt in his judgment.
Urgent applications are currently taking place in Harare on behalf of the
evicted farmers," the CFU said, adding; "The farmers are desperately moving
their life's belongings into the local Dutch Reformed Church for safety."

The unity government of Mugabe and Tsvangirai has watched helplessly as
members of the security forces and hardliner activists of Mugabe's ZANU PF
party intensified in recent weeks a drive to seize all land still in white
hands, causing deep frustration among the farmers.

The beleaguered white farmers, in a strongly worded statement last week
labelled the ongoing farm seizures a "crime against humanity" and called on
the coalition government to act to end lawlessness on farms in keeping with
the 2008 power-sharing agreement that gave birth to the administration.

Under the power-sharing agreement Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara, who is third signatory to the pact, promised to
restore the rule of law in the farming sector, including carrying out a land
audit to weed out multiple farm owners - nearly all of them senior ZANU PF
officials who have hoarded most of the best farms seized from whites.

The coalition government is yet to act to fulfil the promise to restore law
and order in the key agricultural sector, while more farms - including some
owned by foreigners and protected under bilateral investment protection
agreements between Zimbabwe and other nations - have been seized over the
past few months.
And to make matters worse, according to the CFU, police and judicial
officers who are supposed to enforce the rule of law were also among the
beneficiaries of the free-for-all land grab. - ZimOnline

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AG fails to extract confession from witness

by Own Correspondents Wednesday 27 January 2010

HARARE - The prosecution on Tuesday tried without success to cajole and lure
its chief witness Michael Peter Hitschmann - earlier declared hostile by the
court - into admitting that he had direct links with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's top aide, Roy Bennett, who is on trial for treason.

Attorney General (AG) Johannes Tomana - who started cross-examining
Hitschmann on Monday after he was declared a hostile witness by High Court
Judge Chinembiri Bhunu, failed to get the witness to give information that
could link the MDC treasurer general to the charges he is facing when he
finished his cross examination on Tuesday.

The trial continues Wednesday with the defence team led by Beatrice Mtetwa
questioning Hitschmann to clarify statements he made under cross examination
from Tomana.

Hitschmann maintained his previous testimony distancing himself from email
messages that the state claims link Bennett to a plot to destabilise the
country through acts of banditry and terrorism.

"I don't know the password to the emails of those documents. Are we
together, I could not have a password to an email that is not mine," said
Hitschmann, adding that the purported emails had been shown to him by state
agents and were never printed from his laptop in his presence.

The AG also said arms of war found in Hitschmann's possession were procured
with financial assistance from Bennett, a claim the Mutare firearms dealer
and former policeman denied, saying although he had a Mozambican bank
account it was for payments of businesses he would have conducted in that
country since 1985.

Hitschmann said he offered bodyguard services in the former Portuguese
colony and also had properties there, among other businesses.

Prosecutors allege Hitschmann was paid by Bennett to buy weapons to
assassinate President Robert Mugabe. They say Hitschmann implicated Bennett
in 2006 when he was arrested after being found in possession of firearms,
claims the gun dealer denies saying he was tortured into making the
confessions during interrogation at a military barracks in March that year.

Bennett, who faces a possible death sentence if convicted in a case that has
heightened tensions in Zimbabwe's fragile coalition government - formed last
February by MDC leader Tsvangirai and Mugabe after a violent election in
2008 - has pleaded not guilty to the treason charges levelled against him.
The MDC says the case against Bennett, Tsvangirai's nominee for deputy
agriculture minister, is politically motivated and aimed at keeping him out
of government.  - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe State Case Against MDC Treasurer Bennett Undermined Further

Peter Michael Hitschmann said under cross-examination by Attorney General
Johannes Tomasina that Bennett did not provide him with funds to buy weapons
that were seized in a 2006 raid on his home in Mu tare

Thomas Chirrups & Dunghill Nomi | Harare & Washington 26 January 2010

In the continuing terrorism trial of Zimbabwean Senator Roy Bennett,
treasurer of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, a key state witness further undermined the state case
Tuesday by denying Bennett gave him funds to purchase arms.

Peter Michael Hitschmann, impeached this week by a Harare High Court Judge
who excluded statements submitted by the state because they were obtained
under duress, said under cross-examination by Attorney General Johannes
Tomana that Bennett did not provide him with funds to buy weapons
confiscated at Hitschmannn's house in Mutare in 2006.

While Hitschmann confirmed that he maintained a bank account at the Banco
International in Maputo, Mozambique, he said Bennett never deposited any
funds into that account. He said all of the funds deposited into that
account came from his own legitimate business activities in Mozambique.

Hitschmann also denied implicating Bennett in e-mails that the state says
were found on a laptop computer seized at his house in the 2006 raid.

Hitschmann said neither he nor his lawyer were present when the e-mails were
printed from the laptop. He said he was not familiar with the e-mail
accounts cited by security officials, and that he did not have passwords to

Hitschmann produced laughter in the courtroom when he remarked that there
was nothing wrong with legislators fighting in Parliament, this a clear
reference to Bennett's scuffle in the House with Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa in 2003, which led to his sentencing to a prison term by

Hitschmann made the comment after Tomasa suggested that he regarded Bennett
as a hero and was therefore refusing to implicate him.

Hitschmann said fights in Parliament were often seen in countries including
Turkey, Taiwan and South Korea, and Zimbabwe was no exception.

After Tomasa completed his cross-examination Judge Chinemberi Bhunu
adjourned the trial to Wednesday. Bennett defense lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa is
expected to cross-examine Hitschmann again at that time.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare.

Bennett is charged with terrorism and incitement to commit acts of
insurgency but has denied the charges, calling them politically motivated.

Bulawayo attorney Matshobana Ncube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili
Nkomo that Peter Hitschmann's impeachment has increased the chances of
Bennett's acquittal - if politics is not brought to bear in the case.

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Zimbabwe Sheriff's Office Attaches Five Central Bank Properties to Cover Debt

Lawyer Davison Kanokanga said that in the event movable assets already
seized by the Sheriff's Office did not cover the unpaid bills for tractors
ordered by the central bank, the attached buildings would go under the

Gibbs Dube | Washington 26 January 2010

Zimbabwe's Sheriff's Office has attached five buildings belonging to the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and may auction them to settle a US$2.1 million
debt owed to an agricultural machinery concern, a legal source said Tuesday.

Lawyer Davison Kanokanga, representing Farmtec Supplies and Implements, said
the properties were attached by court order on Friday and Saturday.

Kanokanga told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that in the event movable
assets already seized by the sheriff did not cover the unpaid bills for
tractors ordered by the central bank, the buildings would go under the

Bulawayo-based attorney Job Sibanda, a specialist in civil actions, said the
attachments of Reserve Bank properties had further dented the central bank's
reputation and creditworthiness.

The deeply indebted central bank, which some sources say is insolvent and
close to collapse as its liabilities exceed its assets, ordered 150 tractors
under the country's Farm Mechanization and Agricultural Support Enhancement
Facility before the current unity government was formed in 2009.

Farmtec supplied 60 tractors worth US$2.1 million and the remaining 90 were
to be delivered once the bank had paid for the first consignment.

The farm mechanization scheme was one of the largest so-called quasi-fiscal
activities conducted by the RBZ on behalf of the government and funded by
printing vast amounts of Zimbabwean dollars, leading to the debasement of
the currency and the second worst episode of hyperinflation in history.

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Zimbabwe FM Biti Warns Unity Government At Risk, Urges Regional Intervention

Finance Minister Tendai Biti warned that if the unity government fails to
achieve key objectives including the drafting of a new 'people-driven'
constitution, the power-sharing arrangement in Harare could fall apart

Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington 26 January 2010

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti warned Tuesday that the national
unity government in Harare could collapse if so-called outstanding issues
that have been troubling it are not addressed and if its founding principles
are not fulfilled, urging regional leaders to intervene to break the

Biti, also secretary general of the Movement for Democratic Change formation
led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, told journalists at the National
Press Club in Washington that negotiations between his MDC party and
President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF had deadlocked in recent weeks and that
South African President Jacob Zuma, a mediator in Zimbabwe, should step in.

He warned that if the so-called inclusive government does not achieve its
key objectives, including the drafting of a new "people-driven"
constitution, the power-sharing arrangement in Harare could fall apart.

But Biti said he was generally optimistic about Zimbabwe's future despite
political wrangling and resistance from ZANU-PF hardliners.

"This equation can only work if those fundamental foundational cornerstones
which brought the Zimbabwean parties involuntarily together are addressed,"
Biti said. "If there is a fear that there is arrested development on the
things that gave rise to [the government] such as democratization, writing
of a new constitution and economic reforms, it will collapse. This is the
time for President Zuma to show  leadership and intervene."

Appealing to the international community for help raising the estimated US$8
billion needed for national reconstruction, Biti called on Western nations
to end their isolation of Zimbabwe and help the country rebuild.

Biti called for the "decimation and elimination" of Zimbabwe's foreign debt
of  some $6 billion foreign with the help of multilateral creditors
including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Asked by VOA
to respond to complaints by ZANU-PF that the MDC was not campaigning hard
enough for sanctions to be lifted, Biti declined to comment.

The finance minister is in Washington for discussions with the Bretton Woods
institutions as well as senior U.S. government officials.

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Kate Hoey: It's time to cry foul on Mugabe and show him the red card

Published Date: 27 January 2010
THIRTY years ago, on January 27, 1980, Robert Mugabe made a triumphant
return to Zimbabwe from exile across the eastern border in Mozambique. He
had manoeuvred his way to the top of one of the two black
nationalist movements fighting an armed struggle against the white minority
regime of Ian Smith's Rhodesia Front that had made an illegal Unilateral
Declaration of Independence in 1965.
In 1979, British ministers had brokered a peace settlement paving the way
for elections, held under British supervision, paving the way for legitimate
independence. Mugabe won those elections amid accusations that he had used
the threat of continuing violence to achieve victory.

It seems a good moment to ask why the people of Zimbabwe remain trapped
under the violent and oppressive grip of Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African
National Union (ZANU) comrades and why Zimbabwe's economy lies in ruins.

In his determination to cling on to power at any price, Mugabe has used his
armed forces and secret police in campaigns of intimidation to
stamp out political opposition. Zimbabweans have not resorted to violence in
return and have tried to use democratic means to remove an unloved regime.

Sadly their patience and bravery have not yet been rewarded.

For years, they have been let down by the leaders of neighbouring countries
in Southern Africa who have not confronted Mugabe over his duplicity and
violence. They have tip-toed around him, scared he will throw a tantrum and
wreck their cosy regional summits.

Meanwhile, he has unleashed wave after wave of destruction on the
economy of Zimbabwe.

This has a knock-on effect and destabilises the region both socially and
economically. It also drains the aid budgets of donor nations. Money that
could be spent on development and infrastructure for the region has to be
spent on providing food to stave off starvation in Zimbabwe.

British taxpayers are expected to foot the bill to rebuild a country that
has been wrecked by deliberately destructive policies. Yet Mugabe, the very
same dictator who imposed those disastrous policies to cow his people into
submission and reward the thugs in his party, is still in office as

In the 2008 elections, and despite the usual brutality and rigging of
results, Mugabe lost the presidential election and his party lost its
majority in parliament. But Mugabe refused to budge. He managed to hang on
by agreeing to share power with Morgan Tsvangirai in an inclusive government
to allow for transition to new elections under a new constitution.

Nearly a year after that government was sworn in and Mugabe is still
refusing to implement those parts of the agreement he doesn't like - even
though he signed up to it and even though neighbouring countries including
South Africa promised to act as guarantors.

When Thabo Mbeki was president of South Africa, he was widely seen as
intervening to protect Mugabe rather than upholding the democratically
expressed will of the people of Zimbabwe. His successor President Zuma must
adopt a very different approach if he is to win respect as the statesman of
the region.

In early March, he will come to London on a State Visit staying at
Buckingham Palace, as guest of the Queen. There is a large population of
Zimbabwean exiles in the UK. They are well-organised and angry. I can
foresee them causing serious embarrassment to President Zuma unless he takes
decisive action on Zimbabwe before he arrives in London.

Then, in June, the FIFA World Cup tournament will start in South Africa. It
is the first time the contest has been held in Africa. Understandably, South
Africans are proud and know the eyes of the world will be on their country
for the month-long competition.

There are anxieties that the current upsurge of violence in Zimbabwe
associated with the consultation over a new constitution might lead to a
fresh influx of refugees across the Limpopo into South Africa. It would be
tragic if xenophobic violence against Zimbabwean refugees in South Africa
flared up again and marred the World Cup celebrations.

It is time for South Africa to make it clear to Mugabe that they will no
longer accommodate his refusal to implement the terms of a power sharing
agreement. All they need ask is that what he signed up to
should be implemented without delay.

In the world of international diplomacy, the regional superpower South
Africa has been given the job of referee in Zimbabwe. What Zimbabweans can't
understand is why, in footballing terms, Mugabe has played foul for so long
and never been shown a yellow card, still less been sent off.

They can't understand why Morgan Tsvangirai won the game and yet Mugabe
still seems to be allowed to hang onto the trophy. My advice to
President Zuma is to be bold before he comes to London in March. He must
tell Mugabe his game is up and show him the red card.

# Kate Hoey is a Labour MP and chairman of the All Party Zimbabwe Group.

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Zimbabwe Constitution Select Committee to Select Outreach Rapporteurs

The three political parties in Harare's unity government have each demanded
their own rapporteur on each of the 70 outreach teams to canvass the nation;
the committee proposed just one rapporteur per team

Jonga Kandemiiri & Brenda Moyo | Washington 26 January 2010

The management committee in charge of Zimbabwe's constitutional revision
process met in Harare on Tuesday to take up issues that have delayed rollout
of the public outreach phase of the national exercise.

Sources said the panel focused on the selection of rapporteurs who will
report public sentiment to the parliamentary select committee that is
responsible for drafting the document. It also took up funding issues, they

The three political parties in Harare's unity government have each demanded
their own rapporteur on each of the 70 outreach teams to canvass the nation;
the committee proposed just one rapporteur per team.

Sources said the meeting also resolved to send a team to the United Nations
Development Program to clarify the issue of expenses incurred during a
recent two-week training workshop. Reports said donors were refusing to
settle a US$930,000 bill submitted by the committee for the workshop.

Negotiators from the three unity government parties also attended the

Parliamentary Select Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora told reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri that the select committee will choose the rapporteurs.

Meanwhile, some civic groups that have been educating the public about the
redrafting of the constitution said confusion in that process has left them
at a loss, leading the to suspend their efforts.

Researcher Samukele Hadebe of the Matebeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda
told VOA Studio 7 reporter Brenda Moyo that his group has encouraged people
to be active in the process.

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Zimbabwe Civil Service Salary Talks to be Expanded to Include Teacher Unions

Zimbabwe Teachers Association Secretary General Richard Gundani said the
talks were put off so arrangements could be made for the organizations
representing teachers to officially take part in the negotiations

Patience Rusere | Washington 26 January 2010

Zimbabwean civil servants and government representives who were scheduled to
meet on Tuesday to discuss salary demands by the public employees pushed off
the meeting to February 2 so the negotiations could be expanded.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association Secretary General Richard Gundani said the
talks were put off so arrangements could be made for the organizations
representing teachers to officially take part in the negotiations.

Those include the Zimbabwe Teachers Association and the Progressive Teachers
Union of Zimbabwe.

Civil service representatives want a monthly base salary of US$630 including
housing and transport allowances.

Gundani of the Teachers Association told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience
Rusere that he hopes an agreement on pay can be reached in the next round of
talks. Civil Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro also voiced optimism as
to an agreeement, saying a solution is in everyone's interest.

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‘Bishop’s suspension exposes asylum seekers’

by Tendai Hungwe Wednesday 27 January 2010

JOHANNESBURG – The suspension of Methodist Bishop Paul Verryn exposes
thousands of African immigrants and refugees in the city to abuse and could
result in the government closing down their church sanctuary, human rights
groups dealing with refugees and asylum seekers said on Tuesday.

Verryn, who is well known across South Africa and beyond after turning his
Johannesburg Central Methodist Church into a sanctuary for refugees from
across Africa, was last week suspended from his position in the church on
allegations of breaching church rules pending disciplinary hearing on
February 8.

But rights activists say his suspension from the church – which offers
refuge to more than 3 000 immigrants from across Africa with the bulk of
them Zimbabweans – could make life more difficult for the foreigners who
continue to flock to the sanctuary.

"Bishop (Verryn) was the only man who stood firm for the rights of asylum
seekers and refugees," South Africa Women's Institute of Migration Affairs
(SAWIMA) executive director Joyce Dube told ZimOnline.

She said the bishop’s suspension was continued harassment of the African
immigrants by the authorities as part of a clean up campaign ahead of the
World Cup soccer finals South Africa is hosting in June this year.

"At first it was the state-sponsored police, now it is Bishop Verryn's own
clergymen and priests. We did not expect the church to ill-treat the poor,
down trodden and desperate souls, but they found it fit to add more pain and
suffering to the poor. I am not sure whether this is part of the clean-up
campaign ahead of the 2010 World Cup, or else it is yet another form of
xenophobia," said Dube.

Verryn has been at the centre of controversy involving the situation of
women and children at the church in central Johannesburg. He has also
clashed with the Gauteng provincial government which accused him of refusing
to cooperate with social workers who wanted to move the children to proper
homes and shelters.

The Gauteng legislature's health and social development portfolio committee
has called for the closure of the church, saying conditions there were a
health hazard as "children are being exposed to abuse, babies are sleeping
on the floor . . . the place is so filthy that we couldn't even breathe".

But Dube said there were many buildings around the city which were worse
than the Methodist Church building but the authorities never visited nor
harassed their residents.

"We have worse buildings in the inner city than the Methodist Church, and we
feel this suspension is aimed at kicking out Zimbabweans to the street,” she

Zimbabwe Exiles Foundation (ZEF) director Gabriel Shumba said the bishop had
almost single-handedly done what the government of South Africa should have
done long back – giving shelter and relief to the most vulnerable.

"On the issue of Paul Verryn, ZEF and other human rights organisations
dealing with asylum seekers and refugees stand solidly behind him. He has
consistently shown compassion in his appreciation of the plight of
Zimbabweans and other African refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa,
and is very well informed on the human rights situation in those countries,"
said Shumba.

The church reportedly receives up to 200 new arrivals from Zimbabwe per week
with the formation of a unity government between President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last February appearing to have done little
to stem the tide of Zimbabweans crossing the border to seek food and better
opportunities in their more prosperous southern neighbour. – ZimOnline.

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Hundreds Mobilize on Facebook in Support of Suspended South African Bishop

The 'Friends of Paul Verryn' called for celebration of the bishops
determined effort to shelter immigrants in his Central Methodist Church in
Johannesburg over the objections of local officials and residents, and
church officials

Sandra Nyaira | Washington 26 January 2010

Supporters of suspended South African Methodist Bishop Paul Verryn of
Johannesburg have rallied around a Facebook page in solidarity with Verryn's
mission to house and care for hundreds of Zimbabwean refugees.

The "Friends of Paul Verryn" called for celebration of his determined effort
to shelter the immigrants in his Central Methodist church. The bishop was
suspended from his position in the church last week.

"Paul Verryn is being 'dealt with' for trying to help the Zimbabweans," read
a statement issued by the Congress of South African Trade Unions over the
past weekend in support of the bishop. "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," the trade union declared.

"He did not turn away those in need. Other doors were closed, while his was
open," the Cosatu statement continued. "Paul Verryn exercises the option for
the poor. He is a liberation theologist in action."

He has been at the center of a controversy involving the situation of women
and children at the church. 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

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Benedict Nhlapho reported from Johannesburg.

Meanwhile South African Labor Minister Membathisi Mdladlana toured farming
communities around De Doorns, a Western  Cape town 150 kilometers from Cape
Town where Zimbabweans were attacked and driven from their homes amid
intense competition for agricultural jobs.

A spokesman for the minister, Tebaho Thejane, said Mdladlana met farm
workers, employers and other stakeholders to discuss hiring practices which
sparked the November violence, and other related issues.

Thejane said Mdladlana was inviting Zimbabwean Labor Minister Paurina
Gwanyanya to discuss the issues causing tension.

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Australia softens Zimbabwe stance

Published: 2010/01/27 06:33:48 AM

PRETORIA - The Australian government, a vocal critic of Harare and one of
the governments instrumental in getting it kicked out of the Commonwealth,
has softened its approach and will now provide assistance to Zimbabwe.

"We have agreed on projects to help Zimbabwe with taxation laws as well as
water and sanitation technical expertise," Australian Foreign Minister
Stephen Smith told reporters yesterday.

He said Zimbabwe needed technical expertise to reform its tax laws and build
the economy.

Smith said Australia's longstanding view about Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe was that he ought to leave office. But he said that political
developments in the country were encouraging.

He said Australia was keen to step up trilateral co-operation in support of
recovery efforts in Zimbabwe. Since the establishment of the all-party
government, Australia had provided more than 33m in assistance to Zimbabwe,
including 5m in funding through the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund.

He announced a further commitment of up to 6m to co-operate with SA in
supporting the recovery of the Zimbabwean economy and basic services. The
funding would support collaboration between the South African and Zimbabwean
tax authorities to build Zimbabwe's tax administration and mobilise South
African technical expertise to support recovery efforts in water,
agriculture and economic governance.

"The Australian government, like SA's, is under no illusions about the
political risks in Zimbabwe . by working together, we can help that
devastated country rebuild and secure a brighter future."

He said Australia supported President Jacob Zuma 's mediation efforts with
the backing of the Southern African Development Community. He said SA was
pressing Zimbabwean principals to implement the power-sharing agreement .

This had brought hope that Zimbabwe would eventually take a turn for the
better, Smith said.

"At one stage in Zimbabwe's future Mugabe will exit the stage . it will have
a free and fair election," he said. Australia believed it would be in
Zimbabwe's interest to prepare for that eventuality.

"South African government efforts to see progress in Zimbabwe have
encouraged the Australian government to partner it."

Smith was speaking after meeting his South African counterpart, Maite
Nkoana-Mashabane, to strengthen bilateral relations between the two

SA is Australia's largest trading partner on the continent, with trade
estimated at 4bn in 2008-09, growing at an average of 7% over the past five
years. Australia is an important export market for SA, with most of its
exports to Australia being motor vehicles.

SA exports more to Australia than it does to any country in the Middle East
or southeast Asia, or Brazil and Canada. There is also a strong two-way
relationship in investment, particularly in the minerals resources sector.

SA is lobbying Africa and friendly countries such as Australia to support
its second bite at nonpermanent membership of the United Nations Security
Council for 2011-12, while Australia is the candidate for the same seat for

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Canning clarifies Miliband’s statement

January 27, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE – British ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mark Canning has clarified that the
British government or the European Union reserved the right to lift targeted
restrictive measures that President Mugabe’s party is strongly agitating
against, and said Britain would make its own judgment without direction from
anyone whether sanctions will be removed or reinforced.

Zanu-PF has repeatedly called on the MDC to call for removal of what it
calls “sanctions” – a cocktail of restrictive measures against over 200
individuals in Mugabe’s party.

Zanu-PF stepped up the call for the removal of sanctions, which Mugabe
claims have serious hurt Zimbabwe’s economy, riding on recent remarks by
British foreign secretary David Miliband that the UK government would be
guided by advice from Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s party on the issue.

Simon Khaya Moyo, the new Zanu-PF national chairman, installed at the party’s
fractious national congress held last December, said the MDC could no longer
claim it had no influence over the issue and “must” now call for the removal
of the sanctions.

But Ambassador Canning yesterday clarified the British Government’s position
as regards the EU’s restrictive measures.

“As the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, made clear in Parliament on 19
January, 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,” Canning said. “These are not MDC-T measures.
These are not Zanu-PF measures.  They are the EU’s, and we will make our own
judgements as to when they should be reinforced or eased. But the key to
having restrictive measures eased, or lifted, is for those in Zimbabwe who
are currently resisting progress to implement the commitments to reform they
agreed to in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).”

The EU measures currently impose restrictions on 203 key Zanu-PF figures and
40 companies associated with these individuals as well as their sources of

“They do not hurt ordinary Zimbabweans,” Canning said. “They do not affect
the development of legitimate trade or business.  They do not have any
adverse effect on humanitarian assistance.  Indeed, levels of British aid –
US$100 million this year – to Zimbabwe and ordinary Zimbabweans have never
been higher.”

Miliband’s remarks have fuelled a political storm here, after he told the
British House of Commons that it only took a call from the MDC to get the
sanctions removed.

“In respect of sanctions, we have made it clear that they can be lifted only
in a calibrated way, as progress is made,” Miliband said. “I do not think
that it is right to say that the choice is between lifting all sanctions and
lifting none at all.

“We have to calibrate our response to the progress on the ground, 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,” Miliband said in a
question-and-answer session.

Zanu-PF immediately latched on this propaganda windfall.

“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,” Khaya Moyo, Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to
South Africa said on State television.

“Thus Tsvangirai should go and ask for the removal of those sanctions. The
declared and undeclared sanctions are affecting the country because we are
not getting lines of credit and companies are being forced to close.

Tsvangirai has done his best to persuade Western countries to end the
restrictive measures and provide desperately needed aid to kick-start
Zimbabwe’s battered economy.

But he faces an uphill struggle because of international mistrust of Mugabe,
who still seems reluctant to loosen his grip on power and embrace reforms.

Amid heightened calls for the removal of sanctions, Zanu-PF has shown no
goodwill and continues to refuse fully implement a power-sharing agreement
it signed with the MDC in September, 2008.

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Zanu youths terrorise Harare


Published: Tuesday January 26, 2010

ZIMBABWE - HARARE - City of Harare has admitted its failure to deal with
ZANU PF youths who have taken control of all bus terminuses in the city and
charge commuter omnibus operators fees for using council premises for
loading passengers into their vehicles.

Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda in an interview said that the problem of
touts had gone out of control and council had no option but to engage them
in finding a solution.

"We need to find ways we can work together with them" he said.

Masunda said that council was planning to invite the touts for a meeting to
discuss their status and chart a way forward. He however admitted that the
touts popularly known as "mahwindi" have no legal status as the city by-laws
do not permit their operations.

Masunda said that council allowed the situation to get out of hand over time
as it lost control of all terminuses in the city over time hence it has
become difficult to correct the situation

"He said that council is finding it difficult to deal with this issue as
there seem to be lack of political will to avert the situation," said

Commentators however disagreed with Masunda's comments with University of
Zimbabwe political scientist Ashton Murwira saying the local authority
declared war on vendors last year resulting in the death of two vendors but
did nothing about the touts.

"This act by council constitutes selective application of the law" he said.

"If touts are illegal no matter which political party they are member of,
they should be dealt with according to the law" he added.

Murwira questioned the logic of council negotiating with an illegitimate
group of people to work with the council as proposed by Masunda saying it
would set a wrong legal precedent.

"On what basis is the mayor considering meeting with touts, meeting them as
who?" fumed Murwira.

A Chitungwiza resident Belinda Musanhi complained that ZANU PF is reluctant
to deal with touts because they use them as political tool of campaigning.

"Their control of the city is deliberate and is a form of payment for their
loyalty to ZANU PF," she said

"These are the group of youths who are used by ZANU PF to perpetrate
violence against opposition, council will find it difficult to deal with
them..vanhu veZanu," she said.

Meanwhile Police spokesperson Supt Andrew Phiri said the activities of touts
are illegal but police cannot arrest them without receiving complains from
the members of public.

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World leaders face economic storm clouds at Davos

January 27, 2010 - 2:49PM

Thirty heads of state and government and 2,500 business and academic elite
on Wednesday start the 40th anniversary Davos forum to hammer out ways to
fend off new storm clouds hanging over the global economy.

While the International Monetary Fund has predicted world growth will be
stronger than expected in 2010, other warnings have been made about strong
measures needed to save millions of jobs.

The presidents, prime ministers and corporate chiefs will put particular
emphasis on financial reforms -- with bankers making a return to Davos to
fight what they fear will be over-regulation -- and how to rebuild Haiti
after its devastating earthquake.

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France will give the keynote opening speech on
Wednesday evening.

Sarkozy, the first French president to attend the event, will reinforce
demands for tough finance reforms, according to French officials.

French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde said she hoped "the Davos
rendezvous will be fruitful for speaking about financial regulation. That
means everyone has to be around the table."

The heads of Bank of America and Citi group, Brian Moynihan and Vikram
Pandit, are among global finance industry chiefs in the glitzy Swiss ski
resort where radical banking measures proposed by US President Barack Obama
will be one of the key talking points.

The banking industry is expected to argue against what it considers could
become stifling controls, while bank leaders are also on the defensive about

Sixty percent of chief executives are "extremely" or "somewhat" concerned by
the threat of over-regulation, said a poll by PriceWaterHouseCoopers
released in Davos on Tuesday.

"More CEOs are 'extremely concerned' about over-regulation than any other
threat to business growth," said the corporate consultancy giant.

But Davos also starts amid widespread fears of a slow recovery or even a
double dip recession. There have been more mixed signs from international

The IMF on Tuesday projected global growth of 3.9 percent in 2010,
increasing its original estimate of 3.1 percent, after a 0.8 percent
contraction in 2009.

Global production and trade bounced back in the second half of 2009 and
"confidence rebounded strongly on both the financial and real fronts, as
extraordinary policy support forestalled another Great Depression," the
institution said.

However the UN's International Labour Organisation revealed that global
unemployment had surged to leave a record 212 million people jobless -- up
34 million in two years -- and would remain high in 2010.

"We need the same policy decisiveness that saved banks now applied to save
and create jobs and livelihoods of people.... This can be done through
strong convergence of public policies and private investment," said ILO
director general Juan Somavia ahead of the Davos meeting.

The ILO's Global Employment Trends report said the average global
unemployment rate reached 6.6 percent last year.

International shock at the extent of the Haiti quake disaster has also been
reflected with several last minute changes to the Davos programme so that
rebuilding efforts can be discussed and new international appeals for help

Davos founder Klaus Schwab has insisted that Haiti be a priority topic at
the event, despite the world's economic ills.

Among other leaders present at the anniversary event are presidents Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Felipe Calderon of Mexico, Jacob Zuma of
South Africa, Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and South Korea's
President President Lee Myung-Bak, whose country will lead the Group of 20
nations this year and host a summit on efforts to combat the economic

© 2010 AFP

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Children and the fight against HIV in Zim

by Victoria Muringayi Wednesday 27 January 2010

FEATURE: For an orphan who has carried the HIV virus since birth,
18-year-old Terry Johnson (not his real name) does not look the part.

In fact, watching the young man joke and chat to a friend or acquaintance
among the group of people gathered here at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals'
Opportunistic Infection Clinic to collect their monthly supplies of
cotrimoxazole or the more powerful ARVs, one could be forgiven for thinking
Johnson is only here accompanying a sick relative or friend.

One of more than 40 000 young children and teenagers in the country
receiving cotrimoxazole, an antibiotic which delays AIDS-related illnesses
in young people, Johnson should be top of any anti-HIV/AIDS campaigner's
wish-list - a walking advert of how a positive attitude and adherence to
treatment regimen are all that one requires to relegate HIV/AIDS to just
another ailment.

"I grew up sick. I was tested for HIV in 2007, when I was 15 years old and
my results were positive," said Johnson, who stays with an aunt in Masasa
Park suburb, east of Harare city centre.

"I had counselling sessions with nurses and I accepted my status as they
told me that it was something that I was born with. I was put on
cotrimoxazole free of charge. I developed sores on my face and hands but
after that all was fine. I am still taking the cotrimoxazole twice a day at
6.30 in the morning and evening," said Johnson who one can only describe as
fit as a fiddle, to use the old cliché.

According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) there are 105 740
young Zimbabweans living with HIV but only 45 692 are receiving
cotrimoxazole, while the Health Ministry says at least 35 189 children in
the country are in need of antiretroviral therapy (ART) but only 10 185 are
on treatment.

Cotrimoxazole, a broad spectrum antibiotic which guards against
opportunistic infections, is usually given to younger people whose CD4 cell
count is above 200 while those with a CD4 cell count below 100 are put on
ART. CD4 cells are a type of white blood cell that fights infection. Also
known as T-helper cells their count helps indicate the stage of HIV or AIDS
in a patient.

While the provision of cotrimoxazole has enabled young people like Johnson
to have normal lives despite living with the virus, Ministry of Health
permanent secretary Gerald Gwinji said stigma remained a major obstacle to
efforts to extend the programme to more young people, with many families
still reluctant to have their children tested for HIV.

As a result many children only got to know of their HIV-positive status
quite at a late stage, often when they are already seriously sick with
full-blown AIDS. In the worst cases some children have died before they
could be put on anti-retroviral treatment, according to Gwinji.

In addition, he said, treatment programmes for minor children are often
disrupted in cases where a child is moved from the custody of one caregiver
to another.

"Zimbabwe is one of the countries in the world with the highest number of
HIV and AIDS orphans. Orphans are taken care of by caregivers who may not be
knowledgeable of the child's condition," he said.

A local doctor specialising in pediatric ARV therapy at the University of
Zimbabwe's (UZ) medical school, who declined to be named for professional
reasons, concurred with Gwinji, saying that whether an HIV-positive child
gets cotrimoxazole or ART is often dependent on who is their caregiver.

In some cases orphans are put in the care of grandparents who may not have
the resources to take children to hospital for testing and to collect drugs,
while in other cases the elderly caregivers often fail to keep the strict
treatment regimen - a key requirement if therapy is to be successful, the UZ
doctor said.

She said: "Sometimes the child relies on grandparents who may not be able to
provide for them adequately. Or the child is left with different caregivers,
and the treatment is interrupted. Adherence is very important, as the child
will develop resistance to the ARVs if doses are forgotten."

But on a more positive note, Gwinji said the government was on a programme
to equip more public health centres across the country with technology and
facilities to make early diagnosis of HIV from six-week-old babies so that
children do not have to first become seriously ill before they can be put on

Presently only a limited number of health centres are able to test for HIV
in babies younger than one year, a situation that has seen many sick
children whose lives could have been saved with cotrimoxazole or ART dying
because they were considered too young to be tested, said Gwinji.

Early diagnoses of HIV in babies will strengthen Zimbabwe's efforts to
combat the virus. The country through the National AIDS Council also runs a
successful Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPCT) programme that
is credited with helping drastically reduce the HIV prevalence rate in

Under the programme expecting mothers are tested for HIV with those testing
positive immediately put on Nevirapine treatment before they give birth to
protect the child from being infected.

"Introduction of PPCT programme has contributed to the decline of the
prevalence rate in children as some of the children would receive early
infant diagnosis," said NAC communications officer Orirando Manwere.

Zimbabwe's efforts against HIV/AIDS have paid off with the country only one
of two sub-Saharan countries - the other one being Uganda - to able to
reverse HIV infections among its population. But the country remains one of
the worst hit by the scourge which kills at least 3 000 Zimbabweans per

A decade of severe food shortages and unprecedented economic recession,
critics blame on mismanagement by President Robert Mugabe's previous
government, has helped compound the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Zimbabwe.

A power-sharing government formed by Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Mutambara has promised to rebuild the country's
economy and to restore public health and other basic services that had
collapsed after years of neglect and under-funding.

But the coalition government could fail to deliver on its promise unless it
is able to unlock financial support from Western governments that have
remained reluctant to provide direct support to the administration demanding
to see more political reforms and evidence that Mugabe is committed to
genuinely share power with his former opposition foes. - ZimOnline

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