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Talks to resume 16th January

By Tichaona Sibanda
4 January 2010

The six negotiators to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) will resume
talks in a fortnight, following a month long break.

Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube, who is also the lead
negotiator for the MDC-M, told SW Radio Africa on Monday that the talks,
which broke off three days before Christmas last year, would resume next
week Saturday.

'We will convene on the 16th to start the latest round of talks. We should
conclude the talks in a reasonable time because most of the things are done,'
Ncube said.

The negotiators have been urged to speed up the 'painfully slow'
negotiations as they struggle to find common ground on the more contentious
issues in the GPA.

The negotiations have become bogged down over arguments that include the
appointments of central bank Governor Gideon Gono, Attorney-General Johannes
Tomana, provincial governors and the swearing-in of Roy Bennett as Deputy
Minister of Agriculture.

The reformation of the security sector is another hot potato dividing the
negotiators right through the middle. Zimbabweans in general, diplomats, the
international community, NGO's and civil society organizations have all
expressed frustration at the lack of progress on these key issues during the
negotiating rounds dating back to September 2008.

Political analyst Clifford Mashiri told us the negotiators have talked for
long enough and that the country expects action. 'They must have a higher
level of ambition to get things done. Time is not just pressing, it has
almost run out, considering there is an election scheduled for next year
according to Mugabe and Tsvangirai,' Mashiri said.

'The problem we have at the moment in these negotiations is that they are
drowning in issues that are not relevant to solve the country's problems.
How can they spend a year discussing about governors, ambassadors and
commissions and not tackle the Gono, Tomana and Bennett issues, things that
have threatened to collapse the government,' Mashiri said.

Before the talks broke off last month, the three parties reached consensus
on some of the easier issues, arising from the GPA and the SADC communiqué
of January 27 2009. These included the announcement of the new independent

A source told us the MDC-T, which is unhappy with the slow pace in
implementing the GPA, wanted a deadlock to be declared over the remaining
issues if negotiators fail to reach a compromise in two weeks' time.

A deadlock would force South African President Jacob Zuma to intervene as
SADC's facilitator in the Zimbabwe crisis. In mid-December Zuma did send a
three-member facilitation team early to check on progress made in the
implementation of outstanding issues.

It remains to be seen if the MDC will indeed declare a deadlock or if, once
again, they go along with ZANU PF's delaying tactics.

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Betty Makoni exonerated over fund looting

By Lance Guma
04 January 2009

Two volunteers who helped raise money for a young girl who required surgery
in the UK are being accused of 'manufacturing' false stories about the
looting of the medical fund.

Barbara Nyagomo Mambo and Munashe Moyo Godo started an internet campaign on
social networking site Facebook to help raise £10,000 required for Tare
Nomatter Mapungwana's surgery. Later on the Girl Child Network -  a charity
run by Betty Makoni to help abused and disadvantaged girls - took over the
fund raising campaign. It was then that Nyagomo-Mambo and Moyo-Godo are said
to have demanded £360 in compensation for internet charges, time spent
publicizing the appeal and phone calls.

Makoni and her network refused to pay this money and it's alleged that
because of this the aggrieved volunteers fanned the stories about missing

US$20,000 was raised in appeals run in Zimbabwe by Bishop Trevor Manhanga,
but they alleged that only £8,000 was received in the United Kingdom.
Protest musician Viomak, who is Tare's aunt, spoke to Newsreel on Monday
giving the family's side of the story. She said US$20,000 was raised in
Zimbabwe and the full amount was given directly to the family. She said this
money had nothing to do with the Girl Child Network.

Viomak said the Girl Child Network helped to raise the balance of £10,000
required to ensure Tare traveled from Zimbabwe to the UK and could pay the
bill for her operation. When the target of £10,000 was reached they asked
for the excess money to be sent directly to the family. She said because
Tare's family did not have a UK bank account she offered them use of her
bank account to use temporarily. Tare's mum was given the bank card and pin
number to use.

Barbara Nyagomo-Mambo meanwhile denied being the source of the stories
alleging that money was looted from Tare's Fund. She however admitted that
she and Munashe Moyo Godo (Makoni's childhood friend) had demanded and were
entitled to volunteer allowances under UK law. She said it was illegal not
to pay volunteers in the UK and that their allowances should range from
anything between £5 to £15 a day. She complained that in three and a half
weeks she had run up a phone bill of £360 trying to raise money for Tare but
received no compensation.

Nyagomo-Mambo also challenged the use of Viomak's private bank account,
saying members of the public were not informed that this was where the money
was deposited.

She said because the donations were going via paypal, donors did not know
the destination account and assumed it was still being handled by the Girl
Child Network.


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NCA To Mobilise Zimbabweans Against Constitution

Harare, January 04, 2010- The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), which
is opposed to the current government led constitutional making process, on
Sunday vowed to mobilize ordinary Zimbabweans to contribute to a people
driven constitution.

"We will, beginning this very January, together with our traditional allies-
the labour and students movements,intensify the people's community meetings
and grass roots mobilisation for a genuine people driven constitution,"NCA
spokesperson, Madock Chivasa  said.

He said his organization, which led the people to reject the 2000 draft
constitution was opposed to the current constitution set up, where the
government was taking a leading role.

The NCA together with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) and the
Zimbabwe National Students Movement (ZINASU) last year held a meeting in
which they opposed the current parliament led constitution making process
saying it would not result in a people driven constitution.

"The constitutional movement will in 2010 intensify campaigns for a genuine
people driven constitution making process. We remain guided by the historic
positions of the people of Zimbabwe over the years, reaffirmed at the 2nd
all people's convention at the Aquatic Complex in Chitungwiza on Monday 27
July 2008. The Zimbabwe People's Charter remains our futurist repository,"
Chivasa said.

"We unreservedly recommit ourselves to the principles and resolutions
articulated 10 years ago by the National Working Peoples' Convention as well
as the first People's Constitutional Convention in 1999 and as outlined as
recently as 2008 in the Zimbabwe People's Charter. We hold that these
principles that outline what we know and believe to be a truly people driven
constitution making process hold true today and remain non-negotiable."

Last year the NCA rejected the government led constitution making process
recommending for an "independent, democratic constitutional reform to be

In its resolution last year the NCA threatened to mobilize support for the
rejection of the constitution at the referendum if  the current process did
not come up with people's expectations.

"We resolve that if the inclusive government and or parliament does not heed
our call to cease forthwith the constitutional reform process as outlined in
Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), we will actively seek a
rejection of any draft constitution produced by the same process through
campaigning for a NO vote should that draft be brought to a referendum," the
NCA with its allies said last year.

On January 12 the consultation phase will begin in the country's 10
provinces and will end after 65 working days.

The first all stakeholders conference in Harare last year was marred by
chaos and disturbances by supporters of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF
party but the leaders in the unity government Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara deploring the

Funding had also been delaying the constitution making process but the
government approved US 43 million dollars in the 2010 budget for
constitution making with donors pledging to support the process.

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Zimbabweans In The Diaspora To Contribute To Constitution Making

Harare, January 03, 2009 -An estimated four million Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora will be given a chance to contribute to Zimbabwe's constitutional
making process, Co-chair  of the parliamentary select committee Douglas
Mwonzora told Radio VOP.

In an exclusive interview, Mwonzora said a website will also be set up to
enable Zimbabweans to make contributions to the process, which is key to
holding free and fair elections in the country.

"One does not cease to be Zimbabwean because he or she is living in the
Diaspora," he said. "As the select committee responsible for the writing of
the constitution we are going to engage those in the Diaspora in this
process. Principals of the Inclusive Government have no business in this
issue because they are bound by the GPA, which says every Zimbabwean must
participate in the process, and we can not  ignore more than 4 million
people who are in the Diaspora."

"We have  talked to different  organizations representing Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora who have promised to fund international trips for the ...committee
to visit their areas and make some consultations. We have  also contracted
a  private Information Technology company to create a Website..."

Mwonzora said it was not true that all Zimbabweans in the diaspora supported
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as most were economic refugees.

Founder and International coordinator for the Zimbabwe Bird, a network of
Zimbabweans living  in the Diaspora, based  in the Netherlands, Stephen
Matenga, said Zimbabweans  living in the Diaspora should  be consulted.

"From the net work we realized that  there  are  more than 4 million
Zimbabweans who  are  in the  Diaspora ...for several  reasons, and  we
believe the country should not ignore them."

Businessman Phillip Chiyangwa recently said Zimbabwe's economy was sustained
by Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.

Some political analysts say the Inclusive Government is encouraging
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to invest in the country but is silent on their
inclusion in participating in politics or giving them assurance that if they
return they would not be prosecuted.

During his tour to western countries on a bridge building mission last year,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was booed by exiled Zimbabweans in UK after
he told them to come back to Zimbabwe.

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Nestlé renews Zim operations in convoluted agreement

By Alex Bell
04 January 2010

International food giant Nestlé has apparently agreed to a convoluted deal
that could see it once again buying milk, indirectly, from Grace Mugabe's
Gushungo dairy estate.

The international group has resumed operations in Zimbabwe after assurances
from the unity government that the safety of the company's staff would be
guaranteed. The company, at the end of last year, had shut down its milk
processing plant citing safety concerns, after growing harassment and
intimidation from groups of Mugabe loyalists, including some government
ministers. The groups had been trying to force Nestlé to resume buying milk
from Gushungo farm, which was seized at the height of the land 'reform'
programme and handed to Grace Mugabe. Nestlé came under pressure last
October to cut its commercial ties with the farm, from which it had been
buying up to ten percent of its local dairy supply.

But Nestlé's decision to stop doing business with the Mugabes resulted in
growing intimidation over the past three months. Shortly after the group's
decision in October, the company's bank accounts were frozen by the Reserve
Bank in what was described as a 'petty retaliation'. That move was reversed
days later, but it was only the start of the harassment and intimidation
that led to the temporary closure of Nestlé's Zimbabwe branch. In December,
two Nestlé executives were briefly detained and questioned by police in an
attempt to force them to accept a shipment of milk from Gushungo farm. Days
later Nestlé announced the closure of the company, citing safety concerns.

A resolution has now been agreed to and the dairy group is back in operation
this week. Industry Minister Welshman Ncube said last week he had met with
Nestlé Zimbabwe and national dairy officials, who agreed that the milk from
Gushungo should be bought by local processors.

"For its part, government has given its assurance on the safety of staff and
management at both Nestlé Zimbabwe and Gushungo Dairies," Ncube said.

"As a result of those consultations, the parties have collectively reached
an understanding to work together in ensuring that milk produced at Gushungo
Dairies is absorbed by the local dairy processors."

Nestlé has not given details of the agreement, but has insisted it will not
be buying milk directly from the Mugabes. Instead, it has been suggested
that the milk will be bought by other contracted milk dealers, with whom
Nestlé already has commercial arrangements. According to Voice of America
(VOA), Dairiboard Zimbabwe, a state-controlled milk processing and
distribution enterprise, will buy Gushungo milk, and in turn, Nestlé will
buy milk from Dairiboard. However, it is not clear if this is indeed the

Meanwhile, Ncube's assertions that Nestlé staff will be safe from threats
have been met with scepticism, as the Industry Ministry does not have the
power to ensure the rule of law in the country is adhered to. Ncube at the
same time has come under fire for blaming Nestlé's original decision to shut
down its Zimbabwe operations on the international media. The Minister
accused "hysterical international media" in South Africa, Britain and the
U.S of forcing Nestlé to terminate its commercial relationship with the

"That was complete madness on the part of those media organisations which
actually decided to go on a negative campaign," Minister Ncube is quoted as
saying by the state-controlled Herald newspaper.

South African pressure group PASSOP, which led last year's campaign to
boycott Nestlé products over their ties with the Mugabes, said Nestlé "has
the right to choose the companies with which it does business." PASSOP's
Braam Hanekom said Monday that Ncube was pointing the finger of blame in the
wrong direction.

"Boycotting goods of companies doing business with ZANU PF is the most
effective way to promote democratic change in Zimbabwe," Hanekom explained.

Meanwhile, a final drive to force the country's remaining commercial farmers
off their land is in full swing, and it is understood that one of the last
white farmers in Rusape has been evicted from his land. Sources in the area
explained that a militia led onslaught on commercial farms this weekend has
concluded the so called land 'reform' programme there. Other media reports
say that similar incidents are underway across the country, where the army
has been deployed on several properties. The deployment of army officials is
said to have been ordered by the Joint Operations Command (JOC), through
Attorney General Johannes Tomana. This is despite the grouping of top army
and police officials apparently being 'disbanded' last year.


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Zimbabweans’ passports confiscated at border

Eyewitness News | 3 Hours Ago

Dozens of Zimbabwean travellers trying to enter South Africa at the
Beitbridge Border Post have reportedly had their passports confiscated.

Officials on the South African side are clamping down on people who have
obtained travel documents in a fraudulent manner.

Zimbabwe’s state-controlled Herald newspaper reported that the Home Affairs
Department is trying to weed out people who have obtained South African
passports fraudulently.

The blitz is expected to last until mid-January and South African officials
are targeting migrant workers on their way back to South Africa after the
Christmas break.

Dozens of travellers have had their passports confiscated and are being
turned back to Zimbabwe but Zimbabwe’s Assistant Regional Immigration
Officer Charles Gwede said they cannot accept travellers without passports.

Some of those affected claim to be South Africans. One man from Limpopo told
the Herald he only travelled to Bulawayo for the Christmas break and has
hired a lawyer to get his passport back.

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More Ghost Workers Discovered

Harare, January 04, 2009 - The Government's Public Service staff audit has
unleashed more than 100 ghost workers from three Prisons, reliable sources
have revealed to Radio VOP.

Highly  placed  sources  within  the Zimbabwe Prison Service's human
resources  department told Radio VOP that  over 100 unqualified prison
officers had been so far unearthed at Chikurubi, Harare Remand  and Central

"The service has  hundreds of National Youth Service graduates, whom we were
forced to recruit ...we tried  to  argue and we were silenced with
victimisation. These Green bombers were employed  on  partisan basis with no
academic qualifications," said the source.

"Most of them were relatives of some very senior officials within the
service and government, and had the National Youth Service certificates as
their only qualifications and were employed on the basis of their patronage
to ZANU-PF and in honour of terrorizing MDC supporters, he added."   "Their
salaries and employment contracts of affected workers have since been
terminated pending further investigations," said the source.

The senior  human  resources official also  said senior officials were using
prison officers as gardeners and  security  guards  at  their farms, which
they snatched  from white  commercial farmers.

"Prison officers are  being abused by the  top officials who are taking them
as  their security  guards, for  example Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi has
twenty prison officers who rotate as  security  guards at  his Bindura,Ruwa
based Rufaro plot and Harare's Gunhill low density residential suburb home
.He  has  four personal  drivers who are  on ZPS  payroll. This  is
disturbing and  its  our prayer that the  ongoing  audit  is  going  to
clean up all  these irregularities  which have  paralyzed  the security
organ," he added.

ZPS boss is on  record  for  blaming economic sanctions imposed by the  west
and  its  allies  on ZANU-PF senior  officials and  its sympathizers for
the deterioration of  prison  conditions.

Recently Zimbabwe Republic Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri
blocked the auditors from unearthing ghost police officers. In Masvingo 5
000 ghost workers were unearthed in the province, with 1 000 of these
registered as teachers at non-existent schools.

A team of independent auditors will collate and release the results for the
whole country this month. The exercise, sponsored by World Bank, is aimed at
registering all public servants and flushing out ghost workers who have an
effect on the salary bill at a time when government is struggling


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ZAPU rocked by serious division

January 4, 2010

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - The revived ZAPU political party has been rocked by serious
divisions resulting in the suspension of six senior members last week
allegedly for indiscipline.

The members were suspended a month after four members of the revived party
were arrested and appeared in court on allegations of assaulting other party
members at a meeting held in Luveve high density suburb.

In a statement jointly signed Zapu Bulawayo provincial chairman Canaan Ncube
and secretary for information and publicity Casper Mlilo the party said it
had suspended executive members Evans Ndebele, Retired Colonel Ray Ncube,
Smile Dube, former Bulawayo councilor Alderman Charles Mpofu, Nhlanhla Ncube
and Charles Makhuya for deliberately flouting the party's rules and

Ndebele is the former owner of the now defunct Zimbabwe Express Airline.

"Among the reasons for their suspensions are the following; holding and
seeking to hold unauthorized meetings with the intention of showing
insubordination to the party and its leadership (and) making statements to
the press that are in contempt of the party leadership," the Zapu statement
reads in part.

Two weeks ago Ndebele and Dube were barred from attending a ZAPU National
Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Gweru where they allegedly threatened to
beat up party chairman Dumiso Dabengwa accusing him of being a dictator.

Zapu was re-launched in December 2008 after disgruntled senior Zanu-PF
officials led by Dabengwa officially split from President Robert Mugabe's

The former Zanu-PF officials, mainly from the southern region accused Mugabe
of clinging to power.

Zanu-PF and PF-Zapu signed a unity accord in 1987 following a crackdown by
the government in the western regions of Zimbabwe, which until then were the
stronghold of PF-Zapu. The ruthless operation resulted in the death of an
estimated 20 000 civilians.

The crackdown, which was code-named Gukurahundi, witnessed the deployment of
Five Brigade troops in Matabeleland and the Midlands, ostensibly to suppress
dissent allegedly associated with PF Zapu.

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WOZA demand education changes in 2010

News release from Women of Zimbabwe Arise
4th January 2010

WOZA demand changes in education system in 2010

Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) has launched a report on the state of
education in Zimbabwe entitled 'Looking back to look forward - education in
Zimbabwe: a WOZA perspective'. The recommendations contained in the report
form the basis of WOZA's current campaign on education.

The education of their children has been a major driving force for
Zimbabweans and WOZA members in particular, and the motivation behind much
activism. In the first decade after Independence, the education system in
Zimbabwe reached its peak and was heralded as the best in Africa. In the
last decade however, it has been pushed to its decline by power and
politics. The report reflects on how this decay took place in order to
expose this injustice and to demand its immediate remedy.

The recommendations included in the report include:

A revamping of the curriculum to ensure its relevance to the children who
Introducing more vocational subjects - both commercial and technical -and
providing opportunities for children to be attached in work places during
their senior years.
Allowing children to be placed according to their abilities and their
interests instead of providing the same curriculum for all
Teaching methods need to stress skills development rather than rote learning
of knowledge in preparation for exams.
Administration of schools needs to be less autocratic and more tended to
participatory decision-making; physical abuse, which is common, must stop.
A subject which teaches human rights, good governance, and democratic
practice will need to be introduced to the curriculum
Teachers and administrators will need to be re-trained to accommodate new
approaches to teaching and learning.
Examination systems will have to be revamped.

In January 2010, ahead of the new school year, WOZA has the following

Teachers must produce quality teaching and show that they are committed to
the learning of all their pupils equally.
Education authorities must utilise the vehicles that are being purchased to
supervise teachers and demand more discipline in schools.
Teachers must stop demanding top-ups from parents and the Ministry must
prohibit this practice.
The Ministry must work to produce a new and relevant curriculum as
recommended above.
Parents will do their best to pay reasonable fees set by Ministry and levies
set by properly constituted and democratic parents meetings at the beginning
of each year - we will not accept any fee or levy changes in 2010.
The full report can be found on the WOZA website -

4th January 2010

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Emerging US interest in Zim opportunities– Imara

03/01/2010 00:00:00

ANALYSTS say there is renewed global interest in Zimbabwe with investors,
particularly from the United States, beginning to look at emerging
opportunities in the recovering Southern African country.

Botswana-registered Imara financial services group recently concluded its
annual “show-and-tell” safari to America highlighting investment prospects
on the continent and says US business executives showed great interest in

"US investors had very few questions about North Africa or South Africa.
Their interest was on all the markets in between, with Zimbabwe and Nigeria
coming in for closest scrutiny.

“Zimbabwe is interesting to Americans because the economy was assumed to
have been ruined beyond repair by the country's lost decade.

“Yet dollarisation and the first stirrings of reform immediately triggered a
big upsurge in economic activity – indicating that huge potential can be
unlocked, even by quite limited initiatives,” Imara group CEO Mark Tunmer

The Imara group has offices across sub-Saharan Africa as well as in Dubai
and the United Kingdom.

Meanwhile equity investors have welcomed the recent review of the cost of
trading on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) which, at 7.5 percent was
considered too high relative to the rest of the region.

The Ministry of Finance reduced the fees for both buying and selling of
shares to just over 3 percent and analysts say this will significantly boost
activity on the bourse in the New Year.

“(This renewed) interest should result in an increase in market turnover
with consequent (benefits) for all stakeholders including the Government.

“Hitherto, the equities market had been left illiquid as it had become too
expensive to (trade),” an investment advisor said.

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AU hopes for a peaceful and democratic continent in 2010

Last Updated on Monday, 04 January 2010 13:56 Written by VOA Monday, 04
January 2010 13:42

The commissioner of the African Union's Peace and Security Council said he
is looking forward to an Africa in 2010 that is more peaceful, more
democratic and more resolved to implementing African solutions to African

Ramtane Lamamra said while there were some successes in peace building in
2009, there were also cases of instability in Africa, including
unconstitutional change of government.

"I think 2009 has seen some very significant and sustained positive trends
towards the improvement of the bilateral relations between some states which
used to have conflicting relationships. It has also seen a volatile
stabilization process in Somalia. 2009 has also witnessed a relative
improvement in the situation in the Sudan as far as the situation in Darfur
is concerned. We recall also cases of crises and unconstitutional changes of
government in Africa," he said.

Tensions have been running high between the National Congress Party (NCP) in
the north and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the south
regarding the implementation of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement

Lamamra praised the work of former South African President Thabo Mbeki who
chairs the African Union's Panel on Sudan.

He said the African Union remains optimistic both sides would implement the

"Obviously we have witnessed the difficulties encountered by the SPLM and
the NCP.but we remain fairly optimistic because the statements that we are
hearing from the leadership in both camps are clearly indicative of the
willingness to resolve those problems," he said.

Lamamra said the African Union was pleased the unconstitutional change of
government in Mauritania was satisfactorily resolved through the return to
constitutional order and democratic elections.

He also said the case of Guinea Bissau was showing signs of being resolved
through constitutional means.

But Lamamra said in the case of Guinea Conakry, junta leader Moussa Dadis
Camara has reneged on his promise not to stand for election.

He also said Madagascar leader Andry Rajoelina unilaterally decided to
declare obsolete and internationally brokered peace agreement.

Lamamra said while the opportunity was still there for peaceful transitions
in Guinea Conakry and Madagascar, the African Union's policy on
unconstitutional change of government is non-negotiable.

"As the African Union, we do have a very clear and firm doctrine regarding
unconstitutional change of government, and that doctrine contains precisely
sanctions to be applied against those perpetrators of a coup who refuse to
abide by the agreements and contribute to the return to constitutional
order," he said.

Lamamra said the African Union was working closely with the Economic
Community of West African States and the regional body's mediator President
Blaise Compaore of Burkina Faso on the crisis in Guinea Conakry.

On Zimbabwe where the African Union has supported an African solution,
Lamamra said the AU was tempted to characterize the situation in Zimbabwe as
a half-full or half-empty glass.

But he said the general trend among the partners in Zimbabwe is toward
finding a solution through consensus building.

Lamamra expressed regrets about the lack of progress on Western Sahara and
in the conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

He hopes that of the nearly 17 African countries that will be celebrating
their 50th anniversary in 2010 as independent countries that those countries
will thoroughly assess their successes and mistakes and develop a clearer
vision for a better future.


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Nationalisation or Seizure of Private Property is Not Land Reform

"It is easier to flee from the battle ground with a basket containing
rabbits or a small pig than with a cow." - African proverb.

The end of the last decade was marked by a depressing political event in
Zimbabwe. The retrogressive announcement by an obtuse Attorney General,
Johannes Tomana, that, "All the land in the country belongs to the
government and as such no individual has the right to disobey a government
directive to vacate such."

This feudal assertion effectively renders all Zimbabweans landless, an
insolent populist proclamation-extremely offensive and unconstitutional-and
poses a serious threat to our sovereignty by negating the tenets of our
basic citizenship rights.

Independence becomes a hollow, meaningless word if any politician abruptly
takes the freedoms and rights to property ownership from any Zimbabwean
without recourse to the law. How can our most venerated collective
heritage-land-be vested in the custody of known pilferers and devious
politicians bent on grandiose self-enrichment crusades?

When a legal instrument that would invalidate title deeds was proposed in
October 2003 by the then Minister of State for Information and Publicity
Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo, misinformed and gullible Zimbabweans gave
a standing ovation. He raucously announced that, "We need a legal instrument
that makes those title deeds a little lower than toilet paper, forever a
nullity that invites ridicule in any decent court of law."

Since then, productive farming businesses, misappropriated by ZANU (PF)
officials through the needless violent evictions of their owners, have been
subdivided into unproductive smallholdings, residential plots, housing
co-operatives for the party faithful or sold to the landless in hard
currency for a profit to the politically connected. The very Zimbabweans,
whom the land belongs to in the first place, now have to buy it from the
liberators in cash and kind.

It effectively means that even the very land upon which the foundations of
our homes, factories or business is anchored, has become state property and
can be taken away without compensation or justification at a moment's
notice. Most peasant farmers have no title deeds with which to defend
themselves against the government's illegal evictions. However, senior
members of ZANU (PF) own multiple farms and other properties secured with
title deeds from the same colonial tenure system we all detest.

"Njere dzavabenzi kutamba nemoto iwo maoko avo ari ehuswa!" It is only a
fool who plays with fire when his arms are made out of grass.

What is "the State", who is "the State"?  "The State" is essentially the
ZANU (PF) politburo and its ruthless Joint Operation Command (JOC) that
decides who lives or dies, who gets land, and who does not. Unelected
members of a political party politburo-rogue military officers and common
criminals-now govern Zimbabwe. Together they make political decisions laced
with social and economic prejudices that create "the State" which now
decides everything for the people without debate.

All Zimbabweans have unceremoniously been dispossessed of their inalienable
property rights by a clique of dishonest political speculators masquerading
as revolutionaries.

Regrettably, the liberators of yesteryear have subdued the democratic spirit
of the vulnerable and traumatised populace and molested the will of ordinary
citizens as a cover for their flagrant thievery and affirmative looting.

Zimbabwe is fertile for a homegrown grassroots social revolt, a vigorous
renaissance of its national psyche that will pit the unmerited recipients of
looted national assets against equally patriotic and loyal citizens,
currently relegated to the fringes. This disenfranchised group are
indigenous citizens with no liberation war record, but who possess the same
birthrights that cannot be transferred or surrendered to anyone except by
the person possessing them; rights that entitle all citizens to a fair share
of Zimbabwe's abundant resources regardless of their political affiliation.

When did Zimbabweans surrender their land and private property rights to

Zimbabwe has a total land area of 390,580 square kilometers, about 39
million hectares of which 33.3 million hectares are suitable for
agricultural purposes and the remaining 6 million hectares reserved for
National Parks, Wildlife, and Urban settlements.

People all over Africa who have had their land taken away or stolen during
colonial rule are demanding it back as a way of redressing the social
injustice of colonialism. Ownership is nine tenths of the law and no one
wants the government to own the land and loan it to its citizens with
caveats attached to the lease that perpetuate antediluvian policies.

The constitution has been abrogated and the exploitation of Zimbabwe's land
and natural resources by a privileged clique veiled under the mist of
pre-planned chaos of the so-called land reform is underway. As the richer
get richer, ZANU(PF) has amassed vast tracks of land and 90 % of Zimbabwe's
prime agricultural land that used to be in the hands of "colonial settlers"
is now firmly in the hands of our bogus liberators.

Through constitutional amendments that occurred while the rest of society
was sleeping, indifferent, or applauding, Zimbabwean land has been

The system of tenure has been changed into:
. Freehold
. Leasehold
. Statehold

Freehold tenure is absolute title to land, free of any other claims against
the title, which one can sell or pass to another by will or inheritance only
reserved for senior members of ZANU(PF) - all emergent property development
companies in Zimbabwe derive their landholdings from misappropriated private

The 99-year leases are now applicable to statehold land, but can be
violently taken away from the lessor at a moment's notice and given to those
who tow the party line. Commercial freehold land that once had a monetary
worth, has now been rendered valueless; leases cannot be used as collateral
for farming loans and have no market value.

A tiny opportunistic group of ZANU (PF) officials who now control all land
through a flawed partisan system has devalued 33 million hectares of
Zimbabwean land. Ownership of land is now firmly held in the talons of the
ZANU (PF) politburo, which selectively empowers only those indigenous
persons parroting its divisive slogans.

"The child that leaves the fate of his future in the hope of inheritance
property sets himself up for a life of poverty." - African Proverb

ZANU (PF) reserves the right to evict "new farmers" and reallocate the same
piece of land to new landholders by declaring the occupier as unproductive.
Mere semantics that could mean anything from not producing specified crops
or financially supporting ZANU (PF) when called upon to do so, justify
removing land ownership rights-the very land rights that caused real freedom
fighters to go to war for and die.

Last year "new farmers" were ejected, by their ZANU (PF) chefs, from the
very farms that they had been allocated under the fast rack land programme.
The 99-year leases they were holding were cancelled by "the State". Their
crime-failing to contribute to the 21st February Movement, an imitation
North Korean style bash, the Great Leader personality cult that celebrates
Mugabe's birthday. The beneficiaries of land today will be evicted in future
using the same methods by which they acquired the land.

Politically motivated land occupations are now legal in Zimbabwean and
self-centered ZANU (PF) constitutional amendments protect unlawful land
invaders and rewards private asset embezzlement.

"In a broken nest there are few whole eggs."

Phil Matibe -


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The New Year and the State of the Nation in Zimbabwe: Beyond the Politics of Catastrophe and Violence

Written by Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni
Monday, 04 January 2010 17:29

Can this New Year be that of restoration of political, economic, social,
juridical and psychological sanity in Zimbabwe? Will our leaders put the
people first? Can 2010 be the year of redemption and salvation?

These are pertinent questions as we take stock of the state of the nation
after three decades of uncertainty, violence and hostage to a selfish
leadership that covered crony-party-capitalism under the respectable gloss
of patriotism nationalism. As we reflect on the state of the nation after
three decades under a single party and a single leader, there is need for
all concerned citizens and intellectuals to be brutally honest about the
state of our national affairs and the responsibility of both the leadership
and the citizenry.
No one in his or her right senses can doubt that the turn of the new
millennium witnessed Zimbabwe sliding deeper and deeper into economic,
political, social, juridical and psychological quagmire of unprecedented
proportions. There is no doubt again that in our search for the reasons for
this national malaise and catastrophe, our leaders and citizenry have not
been honest. Self-criticism has been lacking. We found it easier to
apportion blame to other people some of whom have not even set foot on
Zimbabwe. Our leadership in charge of the state reduced itself to the status
of complainants and assumed the identity of victimhood. They openly avoided
accountability for anything. They resuscitated a familiar psychology of
inferiority precisely at that time that the ordinary majority of our people
looked up to them for leadership. They even embarrassingly blamed citizens
they were expected to govern, polarising the nation into war veterans,
patriots, puppets, traitors and sell-outs as they continued to pursue
fatalistic crony-party-capitalism involving primitive style accumulation of
houses ahead of the homeless citizens and land ahead of the landless
peasants. Even when diamonds were discovered at Chiadza, the
nationalist-military junta in Harare and its cronies and clients, unleashed
merciless primitive accumulation accompanied by violence.
On top of this, every five years, the hapless citizens of Zimbabwe, have
been exposed to the empty rituals of electoralism, which our leaders has
since 1980 turned into a time to kill, maim, and  torture instead of a time
to renew the social contract with the electorate. Two cases in point are the
1980s open-state sanctioned and shameless violence that claimed the lives of
more than 20 000 civilians lives in Matabeleland and Midlands regions and
the post-29th of March 2008 open-state-sanctioned and shameless
election-related but military-orchestrated violence that adversely affected
areas of Masvingo, Mashonaland, Midlands and Manicaland, as the
war-veterans, army officers and militias fought to destroy all those who
exercised their right to vote by choosing the MDC as their next government
and Morgan Tsvangirai as their president.
Against this background, how can we evaluate our state of the nation in the
New Year? Should we not be ashamed of ourselves for active complicity in the
destruction of our institutions, our nation and eroding our human values?
Are those who raped, maimed, killed, tortured and actively participated in
reversing the people's verdict in an election ashamed of themselves? Should
they not take advantage of the existence of the Organ on National Healing,
Reconciliation and Integration to repent? How can we forge together a common
citizenship in a 'New Zimbabwe' in which tribalism, racism, regionalism and
violence become things of the past? This is a mammoth challenge for the
Inclusive Government for the New Year. Can the cries of the victims and the
fears of the perpetrators be reconciled without comprehensive social justice
based on truth and repentance? For how long should the political elites
exhaust all their energies in competition for state control instead uniting
to take forward economic reconstruction, democratisation of state
institutions, reforming the security sector and uniting the nation?
This New Year must be the moment of change of mindset in our people and in
our leadership. As I said in my recent book entitled 'Do Zimbabweans Exist?
Trajectories of Nationalism, National Identity Formation and Crisis in a
Postcolonial State' (2009), there is need for our people and our leadership
to desist from the simplistic notion of a pre-existing 'Zimbabwean'
identity. We must strive to continuously build this identity through
pursuing inclusionary rather than exclusionary politics.  The record of our
past indicates a dismal failure in this area as manifested in the readiness
with which we point guns at each other without remorse. Members of the state
secret service are confused to the extent that they spend time searching for
enemies of the state among their sisters, brothers, mothers, and fathers.
The army and the police have reduced themselves to a militia rather than a
respectable national force. For how long will we continue to sniff each
other like witch-hunters?  All this indicates the pertinence of re-visiting
the notion of the existence of a respectable Zimbabwean identity that can
repel and resist the imperatives of inter-and intra-community violence as
well as state violence. Only once a respectable and durable national
identity is constructed can we bury the scourge of violence in our midst. To
do so we need true nation-builders not racist and tribalists masquerading as
The year 2010 must be the moment of restoration of rule of law and certainty
in our nation.  Our country needs national healing after three decades of
living under an arrogant leadership that claimed to have died for the
people. That mentality must die. Our national economy needs to be liberated
from a venal clique of military-nationalist capitalists without any
patriotism and national interests. Re-branding Zimbabwe must be invigorated
in the direction of re-building Zimbabwe as a progressive, democratic,
developmental state. Zimbabwe must be returned to the ambit of international
community of states and the politics of un-strategic intransigence and
belligerence that leads to national death must be avoided. Zimbabwe must
adopt a new thought-out strategy of engagement of global powers without
necessarily making itself a pawn of the powerful nations.
Finally, our leadership and our citizens must realise that Zimbabwe is at
cross-roads in which the old are dying and the new are being born. It is
undergoing a generational leap-forward. The crisis is only that the old are
taking time to die and the new are taking time to be born. In the interval,
monsters have come to the centre of politics, spoiling everything and
generating new crises. But a generation whose time to go has come cannot
over-live its welcome in Zimbabwe and elsewhere else. In the same vein a
generation whose time has come to take the reins of the state cannot be
stopped by anyone. This reality must give Zimbabweans new hope in the New
Year. Let us push forward with this hope in mind and we will realise our
national dreams.
Thank you.

Dr. Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni is a Zimbabwean Academic writing from
Johannesburg South Africa and can be contacted on

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