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Poachers kill four rhinos in Zimbabwe

Sapa-AFP | 04 January, 2013 11:48

Poachers killed four white rhinos in a raid on a privately-run game reserve
in northeastern Zimbabwe on New Year's day, the parks department said

Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority spokeswoman Caroline
Washaya-Moyo said the animals' horns had been sawed off the carcasses, but
were yet to be moved when rangers discovered the killings at the Thetford
Estate in the farming town of Mazowe.

The raid raises fears that a rhino poaching epidemic in South Africa may be
spreading to neighbouring countries.

"The animals comprised two adult males, one adult female and one sub-adult
male and are valued at $480,000," Washaya-Moyo said in a statement.

"A total of eight rhino horns were recovered... as well as 18 spent
cartridges fired from a suspected 308 hunting rifle or an FN automatic

She said Zimbabwe, with an estimated population of around 700 rhinos, lost
19 to poachers last year, a slight drop from 23 the previous year.

Poaching is rife in Zimbabwe's game reserves, fuelled by cross-border
syndicates from Mozambique, Zambia and South Africa.

Perpetrators are armed with advanced technology and aircraft, often
outstripping wardens' resources.

The rhino is targeted for its horn which is believed to be an aphrodisiac,
anti-carcinogenic and an amulet in some Asian countries.

There is no scientific evidence to support those claims.

South Africa last year lost a record 633 rhinos to poaching.

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Zim warned over rhino poaching

By Alex Bell
04 January 2013

Zimbabwe could face a future without any more rhino, if urgent measures to
tackle poaching are not implemented.

This was the warning of a leading conservationist on Friday, who was
reacting to news that four white rhino had been killed by suspected poachers
on New Years Day this week.

Johnny Rodrigues, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, told
SW Radio Africa on Friday that the poaching situation is “disgusting,” and
one that is likely to get worse.

“Our (poaching) figures aren’t at the stage where anyone is actively trying
to protect the animals. And the syndicates are in high gear,” Rodrigues

The four white rhinos that were killed this week were found at Thetford
Estate in Mazowe on News Years Day. Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management
Authority Public Relations Manager, Caroline Washaya-Moyo, said the animals
included two adult males, one adult female and one sub-adult male, valued at

Washaya-Moyo added that a total of eight rhino horns were recovered at the
scene and 18 spent cartridges, which had been fired from a suspected 308
hunting rifle or an FN automatic rifle.

In 2012 the country lost 19 black and white rhinos to poachers. Neighbouring
South Africa lost an unprecedented 633 rhino in the same year. Rodrigues
said that while Zimbabwe’s rhino poaching statistics are not yet as bad as
South Africa’s, it is still a serious problem.

“South Africa’s poaching statistics are high but if you look at it, we don’t
even have that many rhino left in Zimbabwe. If we don’t put the measures in
place now, the animals will be extinct in the next couple years,” Rodrigues

Meanwhile there is mounting speculation that there is more than meets the
eye in the suspected ‘poaching’ of the rhino on Thetford Estate, which
belongs to controversial businessman and known ZANU PF crony John

Thetford Estate, a 1 300-hectare holding in the Mazowe Valley, is a
registered conservancy, breeding a variety of wildlife species. Bredenkamp
bought the estate from the Gulliver family in 1999 after obtaining a
certificate of ‘no interest’ from the then ZANU PF government. In September
2000 the farm received a Section 5 order for acquisition, which was then
withdrawn in October that year.

In March 2002 the farm was listed again and war vets reportedly disrupted
operations, in what was widely believed to be a deliberate attempt to
‘punish’ Bredenkamp for ‘funding’ Emmerson Mnangagwa’s succession campaign.

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MDC-T branch chair detained in military barracks

By Tichaona Sibanda
04 January 2013

Mystery surrounds the detention of an MDC-T branch chairman, held in
military barracks following his arrest on Wednesday by Bulawayo police.

Twenty-eight year-old Happison Ncube, an ex-soldier and chairman of the
Cowdray Park branch of the MDC-T, is being held at Brady barracks after he
handed himself in to the police on Wednesday.

Officers from the Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI) had visited
his home last week and left a message for him to report to Luveve police
station, with the papers that showed he had resigned from the army.

Ncube presented himself to the police but was arrested and handed over to
the army. Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme said: ‘Ncube told the police he
resigned from the army through the normal procedures whilst based at the 4
Brigade headquarters in Masvingo. The army has insisted they will take him
back to Masvingo to verify his story,’ Saungweme said.

MDC-T officials in Bulawayo have been left baffled at the way the
authorities are treating Ncube, despite the fact that he voluntarirly handed
himself in to the police. They believe he’s being punished just because he’s
a senior MDC-T official.

‘They are saying here is a man who presented himself to the police but they
are now treating him like a criminal. The MDC officials are arguing that if
they had issues with the way he left the military they could have simply
checked their records and not dragged him to military detention as if he’s
been absent without official leave,’ Saungweme added.

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Cash crisis forces postponement of voter registration exercise

By Tichaona Sibanda
04 January 2013

The unavailability of funds from the treasury has forced the postponement of
the mobile voter registration that was meant to have started on Thursday.

Government through the Ministry of Finance had promised the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) $20 million for the exercise.

But ZEC deputy chairperson Joyce Kazembe said the delay in disbursing funds
from treasury had resulted in the postponement of the exercise.

The Registrar General’s office will carry out this exercise but under the
supervision of ZEC. Justice and Legal Affairs deputy Minister Obert Gutu
told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that in terms of the law, ZEC has a primary
duty and constitutional obligation to register or deregister voters.

‘So when the Registrar General does register voters on the voters roll, he
will be doing so under the direction of ZEC or rather he is supposed to be
doing so under the direct supervision of ZEC.

‘Whether that is the situation obtaining on the ground I cannot tell because
the ideal situation is to have ZEC calling the shots, literally advising and
instructing the Registrar General on what to do. I’m not seeing that
happening on the ground but I’d like to believe that going forward, we’ll
see more activity on the part of ZEC and we’ll see more cooperation from the
office of the Registrar General,’ Gutu said

A source in Harare told us that it is not clear when or how the treasury
will find the money as it has nothing in its coffers. Our correspondents in
Harare and Bulawayo, Simon Muchemwa and Lionel Saungwme, told us there hasn’t
been any publicity at all about this voter registration exercise.

‘You would think nothing is happening because there hasn’t been any talk of
the registration of voters by ZEC. There has been a stony silence from them
but at the same time you hear reports that ZANU PF is busy registering its
supporters. Somehow there is no transparency in this exercise,’ Muchemwa

Saungweme said in Bulawayo the exercise has been surrounded in controversy.
He said it has been easy for ZANU PF supporters to register while those from
other parties have found it difficult.

‘You sense there is a deliberate plot to suppress certain voters from
registering. People in Bulawayo have found it extremely difficult to
register as voters but at the same time ZANU PF is clandestinely registering
its people,’ Saungweme said.

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Eight Journos Eye Parliamentary Seats

Harare, January 04, 2013- A NEW flair is likely to characterise this year’s
anticipated harmonised elections with a record eight former journalists
reportedly eyeing Parliamentary seats on different political party tickets.

These include former Zimbabwe Mirror scribe Grace Kwinjeh (MDC-T),
ex-journo, publisher and Makonde MP Kindness Paradza (Zanu PF), ex-ZBC
reporter and Mberengwa East MP Makhosini Hlongwane (Zanu PF), ex-ZBC disc
jockeys Ezra Sibanda and Eric Knight (both MDC-T), ex-ZBC news anchor Supa
Mandiwanzira (Zanu PF) and ex-ZBC announcer James Maridadi (MDC-T) and
former Daily News news editor Luke Tamborinyoka (MDC-T).
Kwinjeh recently announced her interest to contest the Makoni Central
constituency in Manicaland.
The Brussels-based MDC-T activist said she will be coming home next month in
time for the campaign period.
“Yes, I will be coming home after the MDC leadership confirmed me as a
candidate in the 2013 elections. At the moment, I have campaign teams on the
ground in Makoni Central where my dear departed brother John Nyamande used
to be MP,” she said.
“I am overwhelmed by the support from home and the invitations to stand in
constituencies in Harare and Bulawayo. I chose Manicaland and Makoni as I
feel that I would like to work for the development of my home area,” she
told NewsDay yesterday.
Mandiwanzira is believed to be eyeing the Nyanga North seat.
Mandiwanzira was recently co-opted as treasurer into Zanu PF Manicaland
provincial structures.
British-based Sibanda and Knight have confirmed setting their eyes on Vungu
and Mbare constituencies respectively, while Paradza is reportedly plotting
a comeback to his Makonde seat with Maridadi vying for Mabvuku constituency
which was represented by Shepherd Madamombe (MDC-T), who is now late.
Hlongwane would reportedly seek a second term in Mberengwa East, while
Tamborinyoka is reportedly set to contest in Domboshava.
None of the three parties has officially unveiled its candidates. - NewsDay

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Commanders enter poll race

Friday, 04 January 2013 11:11

HARARE - Zimbabwe's security sector is moving to perpetuate its power
through the forthcoming parliamentary elections, with at least six top
serving commanders and scores of mid-ranking and retired officers seeking
legislative seats.

In a remodelling of an unprecedented scale, senior and retired officers in
the army, police and air force are seeking to stand in numbers during the
forthcoming Zanu PF primary elections scheduled for February alongside
civilians and other members of the government — the first such move since
independence in 1980.

The Daily News understands among top security officials reportedly seeking
legislative seats are police deputy commissioner general Godwin Matanga,
major-general Martin Chedondo, brigadier-general Eliah Bandama, air
vice-marshal Shebba Shumbayaonda, brigadier-general Herbert Chingo and
brigadier-general Mike Sango.

It is not clear if the serving officers will resign from active service, but
sources say they have privately indicated to the Zanu PF provincial
leadership mainly in Manicaland their interest to participate in the next
primary elections as parliamentary candidates.

There are dozens of other retired officers also lining up to run on a Zanu
PF ticket.

More than ever, analysts say, the security sector seems to be moving in to
consolidate its control over the Zimbabwean political landscape.

Masvingo has the highest number of retired officers seeking parliamentary
seats, including retired brigadier Gibson Mashingaidze, brigadier general
Victor Rungani and colonel Claudius Makova all eyeing seats in Bikita.

Major Bernard Mazarire and colonel Daniel Shumba want seats in Masvingo. In
Chiredzi there is brigadier general Callisto Gwanetsa, while colonel Mutero
Masanganise is eyeing a seat in Gutu.

The top echelons of the security sector have been imbued with political
ambition over the past decade as President Robert Mugabe’s rule has
increasingly come under threat, but domestic opposition to military rule is
at its highest tempo.

As officers seek an increasing foothold on politics, pressure is
simultaneously mounting for wide-sweeping security sector reforms, with
political interest groups which had profited from military activities and
steadfastly supported it, staunchly resisting the proposed changes.

On the ground, there is a hold-up in the security sector reform stand-off,
with Sadc mediator President Jacob Zuma insisting on a sea change, including
de-politicisation of the sector.

Sources say the security sector has put together a hurriedly packaged,
relatively smart plan to field candidates countrywide to remain relevant in
the new post-coalition government dispensation.

The Sadc-brokered Zimbabwe “roadmap to elections” has fuelled fears in the
top ranks of the security sector about the forthcoming transition.

Analysts say the security sector is pulling out all the stops to conserve
Zanu PF political power by fielding candidates and resisting reforms by
invoking sovereignty mantras.

Pedzisai Ruhanya, director of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute think-tank,
said in terms of the Defence Act and Police Service Act, officers must make
a choice of remaining in service or running for political office.

“They can’t bake their cake and eat it,” Ruhanya said.

“If they are serving, they must recuse themselves from service.

“This is a warning to democratic forces that Zimbabwe is moving towards a
political precipice because the security apparatus must not be involved in
the political and electoral management of the country’s affairs. This is
what needs to be addressed if Zimbabwe is to have a democratic political
transition through elections.”

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition regional coordinator Phillan Zamchiya said:
“Where the security sector becomes politicised this indicates an abrogation
of duty and exposes the state and its citizens to the manipulation by
political systems that are backed by the security sector.

“The security sector can also coerce citizens into compromised political
allegiances or may simply scare off the citizens from occupying their
civilian space in political processes. By design, the security sector is
naturally a non-political entity as its coercive power is not supposed to
contest in any civilian space.

“Democracy is about allowing equally matched political entities to compete
for the popular vote and mandate of the people. Where the security sector
takes partisan positions; this introduces political dis-equilibrium into
political competition which ultimately destroys functional democracy.”

According to Samuel Huntington, a long-time Harvard University professor and
influential political scientist, “politics is beyond the scope of military
competence, and the participation of military officers in politics
undermines their professionalism.

“The area of military science is subordinate to, and yet independent of, the
area of politics… The military profession exists to serve the state.”

But Zanu PF administration secretary Didymus Mutasa says the military has
every right to support Zanu PF because they fought under the party’s armed
wing Zanla in the 70s independence war that ended white rule in 1980.

The success of the latest security sector plan to foist a civilian façade is
yet another development whose impact and consequences are yet to be

The forthcoming Zanu PF primary election will offer a barometer to the grand
plan, reportedly spearheaded by retired army and intelligence officials
reportedly working behind the scenes at the Zanu PF commissariat department
at the party HQ.

The Zimbabwe security sector chiefs have publicly proclaimed their support
for Zanu PF, threatening to intervene against any regime without liberation
war credentials that wins the forthcoming watershed elections.

“There is therefore a blatant dabbling in politics by the Zimbabwe security
sector officials,” Zamchiya said, reiterating civil society calls for the
repudiation of all such statements by the military. - Gift Phiri, Political

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Foreign observers row threatens polls: Ncube

Friday, 04 January 2013 11:11

HARARE - A row over the role of international poll observers threatens to
scuttle the electoral process as Zanu PF maintains that Zimbabwe has the
capacity to hold free and fair elections without observers’ probing eyes.

As the nation braces for the watershed general election slated for this
year, Zanu PF remains adamant it will bar observers from “hostile” nations
to monitor the elections.

Leader of the smaller MDC Welshman Ncube says international observers should
be a pre-condition.

Ncube says the notion of allowing international monitors has only been
contested by Zanu PF.

“There is a particular class of observers which Zanu PF does not want; those
who are perceived to have prejudged the election results,” Ncube said.

“The notion of having Sadc and the Non-Aligned Movement as part of the
observers is not contested, but Zanu PF will not allow the European Union on
the premise of their differing ideologies,” Ncube said.

Ncube, a minor partner in the shaky coalition government told the Daily News
that the other players in government have admitted that Zimbabwe has no
capacity to monitor its own elections, hence the need for international

He took a swipe at Zanu PF, saying: “If you have nothing to hide then why
would you bar observers from monitoring the elections.”

The 2008 election results were bitterly contested by Zanu PF, culminating
into violence.

The former ruling party has in the past denied EU and US observers access to
observe Zimbabwean elections, claiming Western countries had a vendetta
against Mugabe.

Zimbabweans are likely to go for elections in June after the constitutional
referendum which will probably be held in February or March. - Nyasha

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Zim election dealt another blow

04 JAN 2013 00:00 - JASON MOYO

As the human rights head quits, doubts escalate over the country's readiness
to go to the polls

Zimbabweans have begun 2013 still searching for clues as to whether this
will be the year they face elections, with the resignation of the country's
human rights chief only the latest in a string of hurdles leading up to a
fresh poll.

President Robert Mugabe wants elections in March, but the resignation of
Reginald Austin, the head of Zimbabwe's human rights commission, sets the
stage for yet another fight.

The respected lawyer quit last Friday in protest at the lack of independence
and resources given to the commission, which is tasked with curbing rights
abuses. It is said Zanu-PF is already lining up an ally as his replacement,
which would lead to a battle with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The commission was one of the key reforms demanded by regional leaders at
the formation of the coalition government in 2009. But the body has been
denied powers to investigate and act on rights abuses and has been barred
from probing violations leading up to the 2008 elections, during which the
MDC says hundreds of its supporters were killed.

Austin said the commission had "no budget, no accommodation, no mobility, no
staff and no implementing Act or corporate legal status".

"As a national human rights institution, the commission must be independent
and properly capacitated to comply with the international standards set by
the Paris Principles for its credibility and recognition to participate as a
peer in the international human rights community," Austin said.

Credible elections
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said Austin's resignation showed the
country was not yet ready to hold credible elections.

Rights groups fear violence erupting in the next election, and report the
re-emergence of Zanu-PF militia camps in rural areas. But the rights
commission lacks "effective powers and independence to take strong action in
relation to election-related violence", the lawyers, group said this week.
"Executive interference must be minimised and legislators must act swiftly
to improve the enabling Act ahead of the constitutional referendum and

Granting the commission more powers, it said, would "put perpetrators on
notice that they will not escape liability for any human rights violations
during an election period, or generally".

Zanu-PF and the MDC are still bickering over when to hold the elections. The
MDC wants elections under a new constitution, but Zanu-PF says they can be
held under the current one. Mugabe's departure on a month-long holiday has
all but stopped the process, as Zanu-PF has previously shown it is unable to
make any key decisions on the reform process without its leader's direct

Mugabe spokesperson George Charamba said the president's absence will not
disrupt the constitutional reform process, but it may confirm Mugabe's
insistence that he can still call elections before a new constitution is
agreed on. The MDC has tried to make capital out of Mugabe's absence, with
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's top aide, Alex Magaisa, saying Tsvangirai
had cut short his holiday to work on the constitutional reform process.

"We do not have time to waste going on long holidays," he said.

The constitution provides for elections to be held by October, and
Tsvangirai aides expect the poll to take place around June.

"We have also decided to go for it and have agreed to go for a referendum in
March and the election in June," said Eddie Cross, a senior Tsvangirai

"That is not going to be easy and I doubt that conditions can be made really
free and fair by June, but we will just have to do what we can and get the
best shot that we can in the circumstances."

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Legislators: Non-Payment of Allowances Affecting Our Duties

Government owes legislators $1,6 million and the $15,000 once-off payment
did not clear the debt owed to legislators.

Sithandekile Mhlanga

WASHINGTON — Members of parliament say failure by the government to pay them
their sitting allowances owed to them this year has grossly affected the
execution of their duties, including attending parliamentary sessions.

The government owes legislators $1,6 million amid indications that treasury
has not yet revealed how the $15,000 payment given to each legislator last
year should be accounted for.

Each legislator is entitled to $75 per sitting and Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga reportedly attributes the
non-payment to the fact that payments were being made through treasury.

Siyabonga Malandu-Ncube, Member of Parliament for Insiza South in
Matabeleland South says the $15,000 once-off payment did not cover all the
money owed to legislators, since the debt had accumulated from 2009.

Malandu-Ncube says he has to fork out money for travelling more than 1,400
kilometers to and from his constituency to Harare to attend parliamentary

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Probe condemns city boreholes

Friday, 04 January 2013 00:00

Michael Chideme and Evelene Taadira

TWENTY-SIX boreholes, including one that supplies water at the popular braai
spot kwaMereki, are contaminated with faecal matter that can cause typhoid.
Some of the condemned boreholes are in the eastern and western parts of
Over 800 typhoid cases have been reported in Harare since the onset of the
rainy season.
The city manages 235 boreholes that were recently transferred to its
management after being drilled by private partners.

A survey by Harare Water of at least 114 boreholes in Tafara, Mabvuku,
Caledonia, Hatcliffe, Budiriro, Glen View, Warren Park, Dzivaresekwa,
Highfield and other western suburbs showed that 19 boreholes were
contaminated with faecal matter.

Harare Water director Engineer Christopher Zvobgo confirmed the development.
He said some of the contaminated boreholes are at Hilltop Tarven Warren
Park, Warren Park Clinic, Emmanuel Baptist and Mereki, among other centres.

“Eighty-five boreholes were analysed. Nineteen boreholes did not comply with
WHO guidelines for coliforms and Ecoli,” he said.

Eng Zvobgo said the “borehole aprons” were not draining excess water, hence
seepage of the water back into the borehole causing contamination.

“We are still testing the other boreholes. Residents should be aware that
the contaminated water is coming from boreholes and not from the city’s
reticulation system,” he said.

Eng Zvobgo said the city was now fitting all boreholes with inline
chlorinators, implying that the water is treated as it is fetched.

He said previous attempts to chlorinate the boreholes did not yield positive
results as the aquifers continued to produce more water that diluted the

Council would not seal off any of the contaminated boreholes because of the
new solution to treating the water.

The inline chlorinators were bought for US$129 250.
So far, 50 of the items have been delivered.
Another 3 500 privately-owned boreholes are registered with council, but
estimates show that the majority of boreholes are not registered.

Town Planner Mr Percy Toriro hailed the sample testing exercise, saying the
process was long overdue.

“We have often said that factors that cause contamination are many and vary
over time and seasons. So it is not a surprise that some are contaminated

“With many burst sewer pipes, deteriorating environmental situation and a
host of other factors, this is to be expected,” he said.

He urged city fathers to heed calls for environmental conservation.
“Harare sits on its catchment. Everything that we do to the catchment ends
up in our water supply dams, which are downstream of the city.

“When you throw any dirt in the Mukuvisi and its tributaries, dispose of
oils in the drains, whatever it is, just remember it is going into the water
that we will later on drink,” he said.
He said the installation of chlorinators would deal with pathogens in the

He urged city fathers to attend to burst pipes because this resulted in 40
percent-plus loss of treated water.

Eng Zvobgo said the private owners could also approach the city to have
their water tested.
He said Ethekwini Municipality (Durban) had struck a deal that would ensure
that Harare receives water throughout the day.

The project involves the installation of pressure reducing valves on all
critical pipe network nodes and the installation of zone meters to account
for water supplied to particular zones.

Ethekwini Municipality has agreed to assist by sourcing funds for the
production of a water and sewer master plan.

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ZESA restructures tariffs as energy concerns remain high

By Alex Bell
04 January 2013

National power authority ZESA has restructured its tariffs, as concern about
the country’s energy problems remains high.

ZESA subsidiary, the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission and Distribution
Company (ZETDC), has reduced electricity tariffs for prepaid users and
businesses. The company announced on Monday that the new tariffs would come
into effect this week.

The new tariff structures will now see prepaid users getting their first 50
kilowatts per hour for “free” while business will enjoy a 20% reduction for
the first 50 units used, which would be charged at $0,02 per unit instead of
the normal $0,09.

Regular power users meanwhile are facing a 0.3% increase on their tariffs.

The tariff changes come just days after the Harare Power Station was shut
down on Sunday because of low coal stocks. Other power stations like Hwange
Thermal, Munyati, Bulawayo and Kariba Hydro, are all currently operating
below capacity due to ongoing maintenance and modernisation works.

Precious Shumba from the Harare Residents’ Trust told SW Radio Africa on
Friday that ZESA’s top priority in 2013 should be the provision of a better
service for its consumers. He said that energy problems are now widely
expected among the public, but people had hope ZESA would start
communicating properly to warn people what to expect.

“The expectation now from the public is for ZESA to deal with issues of
corruption and accurate billing. And to stop cutting off supplies to people
who have inaccurate estimated bills. Basically, we are expecting a better
service and better communication from the power authority,” Shumba said.

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Zim youth warned to beware of election promises

By Tererai Karimakwenda
04 January 2013

Youth groups planning their programmes for 2013 have warned young
Zimbabweans to be aware of political opportunists out to use them for
temporary gain, as the country gets closer to elections.

The groups say political parties in the unity government have recognised the
importance of young Zimbabweans under 25 in the next poll, and this makes
them vulnerable and a target for false promises.

The warning came from Sydney Chisi, Executive Director of Youth Initiative
for Development in Zimbabwe (YIDEZ), and coordinator Vincent Tafirenyika
from the umbrella National Association of Youth Organisations (NAYO).

Speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Beyond Protest programme, Chisi said many
young people are getting involved in political activities because they are
being offered short-term rewards, but they are not part of the national
debate on real issues which affect their daily lives.

“Young people are keen on a quick buck, a quick fix. Many joined ZANU PF not
necessarily to vote for ZANU PF, but to milk the benefits that come with it.
We want to usher in a new system and leadership that responds to the real
needs of young people,” Chisi explained.

Chisi urged young Zimbabweans to, “reject any MP or leader who says go beat
up someone, go burn down someone’s house”. He said the streets of Zimbabwe
are full of young people who have done evil deeds for political leaders and
their lives have not changed for better.

He said: “Zimbabwe is coming out of a collapsed economy where nothing was
functioning. There was no service delivery and issues of job creation were
forgotten, which are central to youth development,

Vincent Tafirenyika agreed that young Zimbabweans have been identified as a
vital component to winning the next election, making them a target for
political leaders who want to gain more support.

“Violence begets violence. It is a cycle that never ends. So be yourself and
don’t be used by people. Those who want you to beat up others don’t care
about your future. An election is an event that comes and goes. Look beyond
an election to say, can I hold the politicians accountable for what they
promised,” Tafirenyika said.

He added: “True empowerment is about broader issues, focusing on quality
education, quality healthcare, giving choices to pregnant teenagers and
having those who just graduated able to decide whether to get a job or find
capital to start a business. That’s empowerment.”

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Ministers Clash Over Breach of Bilateral Agreements

Blessing Zulu

WASHINGTON — The already rickety Zimbabwe government of national unity is
facing yet another divisive issue - how to react as international courts
rule that the government must pay millions of dollars to white farmers whose
lands are protected by Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection
Agreements (BIPPAs).

Cabinet sources say the Movement for Democratic Change wants the government
to stop seizing land or compensate the farmers. However, hardliners in Zanu
PF say there is no going back on the land reform program.

Lands Minister Herbert Murerwa says the cabinet has agreed not to occupy
farms protected by a BIPPA, but notes that others in his Zanu PF party think
no white or foreign-owned enterprise should be exempt.

A German, Heinrich Von Pezold, and other farmers are suing the government
for US$600 miillion.Von Pezold bought a forestry and sawmilling firm, Border
Timbers, which operated 5 forest estates and 3 sawmills.

He also had several tea estates in Manicaland Province, which were forcibly
taken by the government under the land reform scheme.

As Pezold’s purchases were protected by a BIPPA between Germany and Zimbabwe
signed in 1995, the take-over of the Von Pezold properties caused a
diplomatic row between the two countries.

Pezold’s case is now up for arbitration at the International Centre for
Settlement of Investment Disputes in Paris.

Attorney-General Johannes Tomana told VOA that the government is preparing
its defennce against Von Pezoild.

This will be the second time Zimbabwe has been dragged before the
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes.

A group of 40 Dutch farmers, whose properties were protected by a bilateral
agreement, successfully appealed to the international body in April 2009.
The Dutch were awarded a total of US$25 million.

The government was ordered to pay this within 90 days. Three and a half
years later, the award remains unpaid and interest on the settlement has
been accruing.

Zimbabwe said recently it would settle the debt, but the finance minister
says there is no money.

Chief economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labour and Economic Development
Research Institute of Zimbabwe says failure to respect bilateral agreements
is another obstacle to economic recovery.

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Parents Complain of High Tuition Ahead of New School Term

Ntungamili Nkomo

WASHINGTON DC — Schools are set to open on Tuesday with some parents
complaining of increases in tuition fees and costs of accessories such as
uniforms and books.

A survey revealed that some primary schools had hiked levies and tuition
fees from about $50 to between $55 and $60. Some secondary schools are also
said to have increased their charges.

Parents who spoke to VOA Studio 7 complained that after spending a lot on
Christmas goodies and farm implements, they exhausted their savings and are
now battling to raise fees for their children.

For perspective, we reached parent-of-three Fungai Garikai Mahlengwe and
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe secretary general Raymond Majongwe.

Mahlengwe said with a low pay, he is struggling to raise fees for his
children while Majongwe noted that teachers are also pressing for a salary

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Coventry marries fiancé in traditional ceremony
04/01/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter
Hitched ... Kirsty Coventry and her new husband Tryone
FORMER Olympic champion swimmer Kirsty Coventry has told of her pride after her boyfriend Tryone Seward asked for her hand in marriage during a traditional African ceremony on January 2.

The 29-year-old Coventry – winner of all of Zimbabwe’s seven Olympic medals since 1980, including two golds – revealed last year that she wanted a traditional marriage.

Now the couple’s families have agreed lobola, Coventry revealed.
She said on Twitter: “Proud of Tyrone. Lobola has been agreed and payment starts.”

In another post on her Facebook wall, she added: “... and so the African tradition of bringing mombe (cattle) to my father will soon begin. Lobola has been agreed.

“In no way does my fiancé 'own me'. This is not what lobola is about. It’s a centuries old tradition from Southern Africa where the man exchanges an agreed upon asset in exchange for their daughter's hand in marriage. Not only does it prove to her family that he can support their daughter but it unites the two families.

“Over the years, lobola is given to the father, and in doing so, ensures that the families get to see each other, at least once a year.”

Coventry said in African culture, “you will always find two factors that are passed on through generations: the importance of family and the importance of tradition. Tyrone and I both understand, respect and live this.”

Chinhoyi-born Tryone has been Coventry’s manager for the last three years.

With Coventry now set to end her swimming career after taking part in the London Olympics last year, the couple say they will be venturing into business.

Kirsty said: “2013 will see me going into the world of business and of course I’m anxious of this. I’m not anxious or afraid of whether or not I will succeed – I’m afraid of jumping into a new world, an unknown world.”

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Zimbabwe farmers forced from home find new life as French estate agents
Friday, January 04, 2013 Source: Ivan Radford

Zimbabwe couple forced from from find new life as French estate agents

Guy and Vicky Watson-Smith once owned a farm in Zimbabwe.

In 2001, one of President Robert Mugabe's closest allies violently and illegally seized the couple's property, leaving them and their two small children no choice but to flee to South Africa. They had just 2 hours to pack up their belongings under threat of death and that any removal trucks would be burned.

After four generations in the country as miners and, since 1950, farmers, the family grabbed their personal photographs and papers before tragically leaving behind their home.

Guy launched legal action in the Supreme Court to challenge the seizure of his estate and assets, estimated to be worth £2 million, by the former leader of Mr Mugabe's Zanla guerrilla forces. His attempts were unsuccessful. Instead, he was ordered to inform his farm workers that they would now be working for a new manager.

The family have never been able to return to their farm and as well as being forced from their home, they lost their livelihood; their farm vehicles and tractors, irrigation and equipment, cattle, game and crops.

With an ability to speak some French and a desire to make a fresh start in a beautiful country, Guy and Vicky moved to France where they began to rebuild their lives. With a passion for real estate, Guy and Vicky began to build their estate agency business and to harness interest and support from acquaintances and international buyers. Vicky also juggled a property management role and helped foreigners who wanted someone to look after their properties and Lao, their son set up a rental company.

The couple's efforts evolved into a family-run business that is becoming part of the Fine & Country network today. They will head up its first office in France, Fine & Country Cannes, which officially opens in January 2013.

Guy, who is now a French-speaking property professional and advisor to international clients, says, "Following this heart breaking turn in our lives, Vicky and I have put everything into our property business in France. I am proud to now head an experienced and honest family team which has beautiful properties for sale."

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Tichaona Sibanda interviews Deputy Minister of Justice Obert Gutu on elections

Friday, January 4, 2013

TS: Hello Zimbabwe and welcome to this week’s edition of Crisis Analysis. My
name is Tichaona Sibanda and my guest on the programme today is the Deputy
Minister of Justice Mr Obert Gutu. Mr Gutu is of course the spokesperson for
the MDC-T representing the Harare province. Deputy Minister, welcome to the

OG: Thank you, good evening, compliments of the season.

TS: The same to you Minister Gutu. Now this is a new year and just before we
broke off for the festive season last year Minister Gutu, we heard from a
meeting that you attended as well as Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that
ZEC would start, or would launch the mobile voter registration exercise on
the 3rd of January which is today. Do you have anything visible to suggest
that this exercise is well underway?

OG: I have been in my office for the greater part of the day today so I’ve
not really had an opportunity to go out and see and examine what exactly is
happening at the various district offices where voter registration normally
takes place but it is on record that the Prime Minister did direct that a
massive voter registration exercise should commence in earnest today, the
3rd of January 2013 so although I haven’t been out there to find out whether
this is happening.

I would like to believe that it has started, but I believe that the other
problem that we will be facing is that there has been very little awareness
in the sense of the public being advised.

We obviously would have expected the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to go out
of its way to engage both the print and in the electronic media,
conscientizing people, raising people’s awareness, particularly in the rural
areas where obviously people might not get information as fast as people in
urban areas do get it but I’d like to believe that maybe ZEC itself sees the
problem that we are talking about, resource constraints, that they don’t
have the money because this obviously will be an exercise that would require
them to pay advertising costs to the various newspapers circulating in
Zimbabwe and also to the radio stations in Zimbabwe and not to mention also
to the sole television station that we have run by ZBC.

So I’ll say yes, the process started today but I’ll not be telling the truth
if I say that there is evidence of a high activity in as far as voter
registration is concerned today.

TS: Who is in charge of this exercise? Is it ZEC or the Registrar General’s

OG: It is actually the office of the Registrar General. It is the office
that is directly responsible for registering voters and also for registering
of course deaths and births so the situation is that the registrar of the
Registrar General’s Office, when they register voters, they are supposed to
do so under the supervision of ZEC because as you know in terms of our law,
ZEC has the primary duty and constitutional obligation to register and/or
deregister voters. So when the Registrar General does register voters on the
voters roll, he will be doing so under the direction of ZEC or rather he is
supposed to be doing so under the direct supervision of ZEC. Whether that is
the situation obtaining on the ground I cannot tell because the ideal
situation is to have ZEC calling the shots, literally advising and
instructing the Registrar General on what to do. I’m not seeing that
happening on the ground but I’d like to believe that going forward, we’ll
see more activity on the part of ZEC and we’ll see more cooperation from the
office of the Registrar General.

TS: Why I asked you that question Senator is that we are getting reports
from various areas throughout the country that people, presumably MDC-T
supporters, are being denied the opportunity to register to vote next year.
Have you received any reports suggesting otherwise?

OG: No we have actually received a report particularly here in Harare to say
there has been a lot of difficulty especially for young voters when they
like to go and register as voters because they are advised to bring all
sorts of documents, like for instance proof of residence, you are advised to
bring document from your landlord or from your landlady, issues like utility
bills, like electricity bills or water bills and you know when you are a
tenant, sometimes you have landlords or landladies who are not too
comfortable giving you those kinds of documents to facilitate you
registering as a voter.

So it might appear straightforward but practically, for practical purposes
it is actually very difficult to register as voters here in Harare. So I’m
just imagining if it is this difficult here in an urban centre like Harare
province, just imagine what difficulties people come across in the rural
areas where you have to go to your local sabhuku or the headman to say can I
get a small note saying that I stay in Makarike village and I have to
present that document to the local voter registration officer. It is
cumbersome, let’s face it.

I don’t want to believe that with this kind of approach we are going to
register as many voters as we would like and I believe the best thing is
really for ZEC to take into account what the Right Honourable Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai instructed them to do, to say with effect from January 3,
2013, they should go all out in each and every ward – the prime minister
made it very clear – in each and every ward in Zimbabwe there must be
officials from the office of the Registrar General with the specific
responsibility and mandate of registering voters and just enabling those
voters who are already registered to simply check whether their names still
appear on the voters roll because you know that we are going to use the ward
based voters role for the next elections this year.

TS: Okay so it’s not simply going there to register but also to check if
your name is still on the voters roll?

OG: Absolutely because you find that it is very important for one to verify
that they are still on the voters roll because this is not just an exercise
for new voters to register, it is actually a multi-faceted exercise the way
I understand it – that is, those people who have always voted, who appear on
the voters roll should also take this as an opportunity to just go there and
verify that yes, my name still appears on the voters role.

The process is easy because ZEC say they are now computerized. All you have
to do is to tell them look this is my national registration number and they
punch it into the computer; if your name still appears on the voters role
once they punch your national registration or identity number into their
computer system, then your full name and all your details as a registered
voter will appear. Your name, the ward you are registered to vote and all

TS: I understand ZEC will be having a meeting next week Senator Gutu, how
far are we in as far as preparations for elections are concerned.

OG: That’s a big question Tich, the way I look at it is look, I’m on the
ground here in Harare and to be honest with you, I don’t want to think that
the conditions for the holding of a free and fair election that will pass
the test of legitimacy are obtained because what you see here is, if you are
going to have difficulty with merely registration of voters and also the
kind of difficulties that you are experiencing in holding a rally, just a
few days before Christmas, the MDC Harare provincial organizing secretary
Tichaona Munyanyi was locked up for about three days in the cells in Harare
Central Police Station and the allegation was that he in the company of
other party officials held an illegal meeting in Highfields about seven
months ago, so it just gives you an idea to say look with those kind of
things still happening, with those kinds of things still happening, it makes
it very difficult for other parties other than Zanu PF to mobilize and hold
public meetings.

I think I’ll be dreaming, I’ll be lying to you, to the listeners, if I say
conditions are conducive for the holding of a free and fair election. I
think we’ve got a lot of work to do. You listen to ZBC news when they give
what is supposed to be their lead news hour bulletin at 8pm every night, it
is in my humble opinion, not a news bulletin it is a Zanu PF propaganda
bulletin and we are saying this is an election year, are we going to have an
election which going to be run along these lines and I’ll be surprised if we
have an election that will be credible.

TS: Now Senator, I’ll turn to the constitution making process and I want to
borrow one of your postings from your Facebook page where you say “It’s
apparent that the fascist faction in Zanu PF is determined to completely
collapse the process. I don’t want to sound like the devil’s advocate but I
sincerely urge all democrats to start preparing for the worst case scenario
where the make-or-break elections in 2013 might be held under the Lancaster
House constitution.” Can you expand more on that?

OG: Yes, let me just associate myself with that view or with those views
because I believe that when you look at the delay in coming up the agreed
constitution draft it shows you that there is maybe something more to it
than meets the eye Tichaona.

The way I look at it there’s obviously that fascist faction in Zanu PF who
have never wanted from day one ever to have a new constitution and obviously
you’ll notice that they somehow for reasons that I find very puzzling and
very intriguing are having the upper hand. We are already in the first week
of January 2013 and we still haven’t agreed on a draft let alone the
referendum, don’t even talk about the referendum – just the draft to say
look this is the draft that we’ve agreed upon, this is the draft that we are
going to take to the referendum, that hasn’t happened.

If we go back, let us retrace six seven months backwards, July 18 2012, the
parties agreed on a draft. We all celebrated, I was definitely very happy to
say I think a breakthrough has been reached – and then what happens a few
days afterwards? There’s this whole new turn-around, you have Zanu PF coming
up and saying look we now want more than 220 amendments to the July 18 2012

Simply saying that look there’s obviously some other factors happening
behind the scenes, pushing for a situation where it will be virtually
impossible for any serious minded democrat and patriot to agree to the kind
of provisions that Zanu PF are coming up with.

I don’t see how a constitution makes sense in this country if you are going
to say look we don’t want any mention of the word devolution, we don’t want
any form of devolution, we want a situation where we say we don’t want any
form of dual citizenship, we want a situation where you say look we don’t
want a constitutional court, we don’t want an independent prosecuting
authority, we want the Attorney General to continue to have this prosecuting

I don’t see us making any progress. This is why to this very day, I’ll be
the devil’s advocate and say that there’s a real possibility that we might
hold elections with the old constitution.

TS: Now one of your friends Senator contributed on your thread and said I
really don’t understand where we are going as a country. What was the point
of wasting people’s time and finance on something that we are not going to
use? This is a thread, I’m sure if you visit your Facebook page you might
read this.

OG: Yes I remember reading that particular comment, but like I’ve already
indicated you have to look at the situation. It’s a very tricky situation
and I’ll like listeners to understand. I’m not saying I’m not keen to have
to have a new constitution, if anything I’m more than keen. I would actually
be absolutely disappointed, terribly disappointed if Zimbabwe was going to
go for this historic make-or-break election using the old Lancaster House
constitution but then we have to be realistic and say assuming that there is
no agreement, assuming that there is no breakthrough we cannot obviously
hang on to this inclusive government ad infinitum.

We have to look to a situation where we are going to have elections and even
if we say fine the GNU is mothered and fathered by Sadc as represented by
the mediator who is now President Jacob Zuma, that said, you also have to
say to yourself Sadc are not going to be there to dictate to Zimbabweans
what to do or what not to do. And more particularly Sadc is not going to
dictate to Zimbabweans on what constitution we should agree upon. So at the
end of the day the buck stops with us as Zimbabweans. And the situation on
the ground is such that there is no agreement, we are poles apart, the north
pole and the south pole, this is how far apart as we are and I don’t see how
we as the MDC led by the Right Honourable Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
are going to bend over and accommodate demands made by Zanu PF.

That’s because we’ve got resolutions, we’ve got resolutions by the national
council of the MDC and we all know that the national council is the highest
decision-making body of the MDC in between congresses and I don’t see how
those resolutions can just be ignored.

Those resolutions are binding, those resolutions are there, the last
national council meeting was held in Harare on Dec 19th 2012 and it
reaffirmed the earlier resolution to say we are not going to bend over
backwards to accommodate the whims and fantasies of Zanu PF in the
constitution-making process. So the worst case scenario is we might actually
have to go to an election using the old Lancaster House constitution.

TS: Well on that note Senator Obert Gutu thank you so much for taking your
time to talk to us on our programme Crisis Analysis.

OG: Thank you very much for having me.

TS: You’re welcome.

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Zimbabwe's war of empty slogans

04 JAN 2013 00:00 - CHENJERAI HOVE

Politics is not about persuasion, it is about forcing people to shout
allegiance at the barrel of a gun, says Chenjerai Hove.

Many years ago, I ­listened with amazement to a Zanu-PF ­luminary embarking
on his party's eternal preoccupation: violent sloganeering. That was in the
1985 elections, in the Midlands capital, Gweru. The sloganeering was made by
none other than the late ­Benson Ndemera, whom I happened to know as a
homeboy, when he mistakenly used to call himself "the agonising secretary of
the Midlands United African National Council party", led by Bishop Abel
Tendekayi Muzorewa.

But by 1985, the music and dance of politics had changed for him. For the
sake of political expedience, his notes had shifted to making slogans for
President Robert Mugabe's party. The Muzorewas of his previous political map
had ceased to exist. It was as if Ndemera's past had been erased by the
heavy herbal concoctions prepared by the masters of the art of
forgetfulness. Selective amnesia is a serious art of survival in Zimbabwean

"VaMugabe havafi. Kana vakafa havaori. Kana vakaora havanhuwi" (Mr Mugabe
does not die. If he dies, he will not decay. If he decays, he will not
smell), the Ndemera slogan went, to frenzied cheers from the newly formed
dogs of war, the Green Bombers (Mugabe's youth militia).

It was not that Ndemera had invented the sloganeering agenda for the ruling
party. Liberation-war guerrillas were masters of sloganeering. The so-called
pungwes or all-night political education meetings in the mountains were
nothing more than chains of slogans, extolling the unproven virtues of Zanu.

They were also used as a prelude to the cold-blooded murders of those
condemned by Zanu kangaroo courts as witches, sellouts and political
opponents, aptly labelled "quislings" by Zanu's Radio Maputo, whose chief
sloganeer, former DJ Webster Shamu, is the current ­information and
publicity minister.

Pamberi neZanu
Come election time in 1980, and Zanu had not moved up a gear to develop the
art of persuading the voters to cast their ballot for the party. It was all
slogans: "Pamberi neZanu" (Forward with Zanu) and "Pasi nevatengesi" (Down
with sellouts). Although we are now in the 21st century, Mugabe's party has
not changed its approach one inch.

But then, are the new parties any different? The Movement for Democratic
Change formations each have their own repertoire of slogans and party
symbols, for which they are prepared to die. They are clung to with the same
fervour as the Mugabe slogans, with Zanu-PF's added symbols: the clenched
fist and a cockerel.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party symbol is the open palm, which
symbolises openness and transparency in public governance. The MDC slogan is
"the party of excellence". The break-up of the MDC into several camps
resulted in a furious war of words as each camp claimed to own the party

When Zimbabwean parties campaign, they usually produce a chain of newly
invented, juicy slogans and clever political sayings rather than persuading
voters with substantive issues, analysis of community and national problems
and solutions.

Anyone who dares to ask Mugabe's politicians about real issues is deemed a
traitor who should be punished with torture, harassment and possibly death.

Zanu-PF has never bothered to persuade anyone to vote for it. It is still
the same old slogans: "Forward with Zanu [PF]", "Down with sell-outs". It is
clear that the more politicians make empty slogans, the more likely they are
to believe them, even though they carry no weight in the hearts of voters.

There will be war
"Down with sellouts" is simply the slogan of violence against political
opponents that Mugabe's party has been using for the past 32 years. Every
election is a rebirth of the old slogans and a re-entry into the same cycle
of violence that has made ordinary Zimbabweans detest the idea of

For Zimbabwean citizens, elections are a time of extreme fear and possible
death. During all the elections, Zimbabwe's armed forces, secret police,
prison services and uniformed police have been put on full alert as if a
crime was about to be committed, the crime of possibly voting for someone
who is not the sitting president and his cronies.

"If you don't vote for me, there will be war", Mugabe declared in the 2008
elections. "The ballot cannot be more powerful than the gun", the president
publicly threatened voters.

"Simba rokutonga rinobva mumuromo wepfuti" (The power to rule comes from the
barrel of the gun), the slogan of returned guerrillas went. And when they
were not allowed to carry real guns to election rallies, they were
imaginative enough to sculpt and carry wooden ones to improve the effect of
the performance. Violent slogans continued and anyone who fell into the pit
of "down with ..." faced a bad death.

Unfortunately, young politicians in the new parties tend to follow the only
political tradition they have ever known: violence, threats and insults. And
can anyone blame them, when persuasive politics and peaceful campaigning is
considered weakness?

During the liberation war of the 1970s, if you so much as fell on the "down
with" side of the slogans, you were surely dead. The manner of your death
was the only thing left to decipher. Some faced death by bayonet, others by
having their heads crushed to a pulp by villagers ordered to take up huge
logs with which to murder the sellout or witch.

There does not seem to have been much movement along a positive tangent,
especially in Mugabe's party, whose other tool is to post party militias in
all villages to keep the possibility of death visible to innocent villagers
if they do not allow themselves to be pulled by the collar to Zanu-PF's

All the elections in which Zanu-PF has participated since independence in
1980 relished in the art of sloganeering. All the rallies Mugabe and his
cronies addressed were nothing more than sloganeering shows. Zanu-PF
functionaries competed to emit huge quantities of slogans, some of them
frighteningly serious and others bordering on the comical.

Another spectacle
I remember a newly converted Zapu man standing in front of a Zanu-PF rally
and shouting "Pamberi neZapu" (Forward with Zapu) several times before the
stunned Zanu-PF crowd reminded him he was now in Zanu-PF. With much
laughter from the audience, the man returned to the Mugabe slogans with the
same volume and enthusiasm. And my mind wondered whether in his heart he
really cared for Mugabe's politics and party. His heart was elsewhere, but
he had to change slogans like underclothes to suit his bread and butter –
and, of course, his life.

Zanu-PF rallies also invented another spectacle: the parading of defectors
from other parties. They are usually brought in front of a loyal crowd and
forced to recite new slogans with their heads drooping like captured
prisoners of war.

Political commissars derive much pleasure in seeing and parading such
humiliated human beings. When the captives perform their new repertoire of
slogans, it is clear to all that the defectors have been captured from
somewhere and made to perform as defectors. They do not even show any sign
of believing the slogans. But, all the same, Zanu-PF is satisfied with the
shallow sloganeering forced upon the poor men and women. And, of course, the
Zanu-PF crowd usually has a field day, laughing and mocking the poor victims
as though it was a ritual of reconversion to the political mother church.
The rally becomes a tragicomedy, whose main theme is the capacity to
humiliate those who dare to differ in their political views.

New parties are not to be outperformed in the art of parading "defectors".
Whereas Zanu-PF forcibly took the old party cards of the renegades and
sometimes burnt them in public, the new parties take the defectors, collect
their old party cards and take them away, probably in case someone in the
new party needs to defect to the old party. One never knows. But what we do
know is that clever Zimbabweans buy several political party cards for
production at convenient times to avoid unnecessary suffering at the hands
of violent youth and armed militias.

As the country faints under heavy economic and political burdens, the
politicians would rather punch the air with empty slogans and worthless
promises that are so unrealistic that even illiterate villagers wonder how
a politician can be so dumb as to promise a bridge where there is not even a

"Punching the air with clenched fists will make them more muscular than
gymnasts" one man was heard to say at a political rally. The joke cost him
untold suffering after it was overhead by a member of the secret police
disguised in the crowd. The Green Bombers captured the man, took him
prisoner for a night of torture and humiliation and released him the
following day with a face disfigured and swollen beyond recognition.

Chenjerai Hove is a Zimbabwean writer living in exile in Europe

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Zimbabwe’s eviction promise: cold comfort farm

Jan 4, 2013 9:29am by Tony Hawkins

This week’s announcement that Zimbabwe will no longer evict owners from
properties covered by international investment protection agreements has
been derided as “locking the stable door after the horse has bolted” by John
Worsley-Worswick, who heads Justice for Agriculture (JAG), an activist
group. He has little faith in the pledge by Herbert Murewa, lands minister,
to honour the terms of Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection
Agreements (BIPPAs) that Harare has signed with foreign governments.
This week, Murewa said farms covered by BIPPAs would no longer be
“acquired” – in effect expropriated since the government has so far refused
to pay compensation for farms that have been taken over. “We will respect
the agreements we have” he said – but since 116 of the 153 farms supposedly
protected by BIPPAs have already been expropriated, his statement means than
less than a quarter of protected properties will remain in their owners’
On the face of it, Murewa’s announcement represents a concession on Harare’s
part since from the very outset of the so-called Fast Track Land Reform
Programme in 2000, the Zimbabwe government has insisted that it will not pay
compensation for its own land acquired from evicted – mostly white –
farmers. Any compensation would have to be paid by the former colonial
power, Britain.
So by promising to respect the BIPPAs, Murewa has opened a Pandora’s Box in
terms of compensation. Worsley-Worswick is sceptical, noting that although
the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) ruled
that Harare should pay compensation of some €24m to a group of Ditch farmers
evicted ten years ago, the farmers have still not been paid.
A report by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party says that the Von Pezold
family, which owns large estates in Zimbabwe also covered by a BIPPA, is
seeking compensation of a reported $600m (equal to 5.5 per cent of Zimbabwe’s
GDP) in an action before ICSID. Since Zimbabwe already has foreign debts of
$12.5bn (116 percent of GDP) – half of which is in arrears that are
accumulating at a rate of $500m a year – the government is in no position to
pay compensation even if it wanted to.
Murewa’s statement seems certain to re-ignite demands for compensation from
over 3,000 evicted white farmers not covered by international agreements.
Compensation disputes are likely to spill over into Zimbabwe’s search for a
debt forgiveness agreement with its international creditors. Zimbabwe is on
the brink of signing a letter of intent for an IMF Staff Monitored
Programme, due to come into effect this month, as a first step towards
restructuring its foreign debts.
Murewa’s statement and court findings will make gloomy reading in some
European capitals, especially London. Even if there is a change of
government in Zimbabwe during 2013, which is far from certain, Harare’s
demands that Britain, as the former colonial power, should foot the
compensation bill, are likely to remain just as strident as when Mugabe and
the UK’s former Labour administration fell out over the same issue.

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The MDC Today – Issue 494

Friday, 04 January 2013
The court case in which Hon. Elton Mangoma, the MDC Deputy Treasurer General
and Minister of Energy and Power Development is facing flimsy charges of
insulting Robert Mugabe was postponed today to 25 January at the Bindura
Magistrates’ Courts.

Hon. Mangoma was served with summons to appear at the Bindura Magistrates’
Courts last year on flimsy charges of undermining the Office of the
President when he addressed an MDC rally in Mt Darwin last year.

The matter was postponed today after the State prosecutor notified Hon.
Mangoma and the defence lawyers that the matter could not continue as the
magistrate was involved in a car accident.

The MDC’s position is that the arrest of Minister Mangoma is nothing but an
attempt by Zanu PF using the State agents and the public media to frustrate
and disrupt the operations of senior MDC officials in government.

The arrests, harassment and intimidation will not deter the People’s Party
of Excellence from pursuing its vision of transforming the lives of
Zimbabweans in 2013.

The number of people who are being arrested for insulting Mugabe has swollen
significantly over the recent months.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) is representing over 50
individuals who have been dragged to court for calling Mugabe all sorts of
names because of his misrule of the country and the economy.

The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!

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Death of rural areas


On the undulating landscape of Seke communal lands, 30 km from Harare, an
imposing villa stands erect with red tiles signalling changing times to a
rural community that has now been swallowed by rapid urban expansion.

Seke villagers who have fallen through the cracks due to urban crawl are
yearly faced with hunger because their land has been taken over by new home
seekers. Desperate to eke out a living families have now resorted to
selling their farmland. They say it’s better than nothing.

The story of villagers who have moved to Chitungwiza is a familiar tale of
people who live in peri-urban areas such as Chiweshe, Domboshawa, and Harare’s
hinterland. The effects of urbanisation have been horrific on the people,
with villagers falling through the cracks in the face of an urban expansion
that is fanned predominantly by the rich.

Changing rainfall patterns have worsened the plight for villagers who now
rely on growing vegetable for resale in urban areas. Even though Seke lies
in the agricultural favourable region two, overpopulation and over use have
left the land barren. Additionally, beside losing their land, former rural
villagers are fast falling prey to the urban havens of vice and disease.

Approximately 75% of Zimbabwe’s population is rural. But, every time there
is a drought in Zimbabwe, a large number of peasants head for the towns
nearest to their rural areas and settle there as best as circumstances
permit. Yet, they suffer, with little or no provision of the most important
needs of every new urban community - clean water, accommodation, roads and
facilities for the efficient disposal of people's waste and refuse. Most of
the new settlements do not have the essential facilities according to town

Our rural poor are now part of the swelling mass of the urban poor and with
little help for the future.

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Zimbabwe is still not a politically tolerant society

January 4, 2013, 12:19 pm

I read in the news that many Zimbabweans in the diaspora are hoping that
this will be the year they return to Zimbabwe. They have been away from home
for so long that it will be a huge decision to uproot their families and
return to what may almost seem like an alien environment. Certainly, for
children born and educated in the diaspora, it will be a painful transition.
The news this week that school leavers in Zimbabwe may wait as long as two
years to get their leaving certificates is worrying for parents with
children about to embark on the all-important end of school examinations.
Their children’s future is just one of the many considerations for people
thinking of returning. The uncertainty over elections is another; not all
Zimbabweans in the diaspora have closely followed the political developments
at home but the state of the country must certainly be a factor in their
decision to return – or not. Finding a job, somewhere to live and schools
for children are just some of the things to be thought about. Healthcare
which has been freely available in many countries of the diaspora may not
even be available at all in certain areas of Zimbabwe. The surprising story
that jobless nurses are to be offered jobs abroad suggests that hospitals
and clinics must have an excess of medical staff but it’s hard to believe
that there are doctors, drugs and medical equipment in equal numbers and
certainly not in the rural areas. If only half of the estimated 5 million
people who left Zimbabwe decide to return, it will put the most enormous
strain on heath facilities. One assumes that most of those returnees would
choose to re-settle in urban centres such as Harare and the water crisis
that enabled cholera and typhoid to flourish there would be further

For MDC supporters thinking of returning, there is the added fear of
persecution by Zanu PF. Only today we hear that Jabulani Sibanda, the War
Veteran leader, has once again called for MDC people to be denied farming
imputs. The constant denigration of the MDC by the state controlled media is
a sure sign that Zimbabwe is still not a politically tolerant society. In
rural areas, villagers are under threats of physical violence by Zanu PF and
for diasporeans accustomed to the political freedoms they have enjoyed in
exile, going home means facing the same dangers that lead to their leaving
the motherland. The longing to go home will have to be carefully balanced
against the realities of life in Zimbabwe today. Zimbabweans who went home
for Christmas will have had the opportunity to see for themselves what the
situation is but it seems unlikely that there will be any mass return until
after the elections. The timing of Mugabe’s one month long trip to China for
his annual vacation has delayed the constitutional talks in which he is a
major participant and, according to the GPA, there can be no election until
that issue is settled. Once again , Mugabe’s well-known delaying tactics are
at work. Morgan Tsvangirai is said to be ‘geared up’ for elections in 2013
but we all know that it is only Mugabe as president who has the power to
declare an election. The fact that voter registration has begun does not
necessarily mean an election will follow so, hold on a bit longer all you

Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson.

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