January 6, 2013 in News, Politics
RUSAPE — In its attempt to win back the rural supporters, Zanu PF has
started roping in members of the Apostolic sects to
participate in the indigenisation and economic empowerment programme.
REPORT BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
Several Zanu PF politburo and central committee members, led by
Vice-President Joice Mujuru, were in Manicaland recently where she urged
members of Johanne Masowe Church in Gandanzara area to embrace the
But critics said this was an attempt by the former ruling party to lure
church members ahead of elections.
“I would like to urge you to be actively involved in the indigenisation and
economic empowerment programme,” said Mujuru. “You should empower yourself
through these programmes. The indigenisation and economic empowerment
programme is centred in controlling our resources. So be part of us and we
will not back track.”
She added that the church should participate and benefit from the community
share ownership trusts and employee share ownership trusts.
The trusts have however, been mired in controversy, with accusations that
the programme was benefitting mostly Zanu PF senior leadership and
Mujuru said there should be a bank managed and owned by a church union to
ensure transparency and that people do not lose out. Several banks have
collapsed in recent years with ordinary people losing their hard-earned
“We will not expect a church leader to cheat innocent citizens. This will be
one way to ensure that we have a transparent and Godly practice within our
economy,” she said.
The Johanne Masowe Church was promised that it would benefit from the
Sovereign Wealth Fund, which would provide the church members with capital
to purchase stakes in foreign-owned companies.
The fund is now supposedly pegged at US$4 billion after several
foreign-owned companies were forced to cede 51% shareholding as stipulated
by the controversial Indigenous and Empowerment Act.
Also in attendance were Zanu PF Political Commissar and Information minister
Webster Shamu, Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Zanu PF Secretary for
Administration Didymus Mutasa and former Chimanimani MP Munacho Mutezo,
‘Empowerment programme based on patronage’
churches have become a lucrative hunting ground for politicians seeking
votes. Both President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai have become
regular visitors to different churches in what analysts see as a way of
seeking votes ahead of elections.
Their visits to churches are expected to increase as dates for elections
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo were
fruitless last week.
But Zanu PF’s political foe, the MDC-T, has said the economic empowerment
programme was based on patronage.
“The ill-advised Zanu PF empowerment programme is not demand driven and is a
narrow model of transferring wealth to a few black elite and not genuine
wealth creation and distribution to the poor people of Zimbabwe,” said the
party in a statement.
“The MDC believes that a genuine broad-based upliftment programme, which
balances the need to attract investment, grow the economy and create jobs
for all, must be developed to protect the country from further Zanu PF
January 6, 2013 in Politics
BULAWAYO — Zanu PF Bulawayo province has started drumming the support of
residents, students and church members in its bid to mobilise 80 000 people
to vote for the party in this year’s general elections.
REPORT BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
The party’s provincial chairperson, Killion Sibanda said Zanu PF was forming
a “unity pact” with residents associations, students and churches ahead of
next year’s plebiscite.
The party has already kick-started a voter registration exercise, urging its
card-carrying members in the city to register to vote.
“Our strategy to win the hearts and minds of the people of Bulawayo revolves
around unity, uniting with key stakeholders in the city,” said Sibanda.
“Unity is our key word. We want to first unite all our party members in
Bulawayo. The party has been divided and that cost us in the past
Sibanda said the party’s association with residents’ organisations, students
and churches would enable it to mobilise a lot of votes for Zanu PF.
“We are also targeting a unity pact with key stakeholders who will help us
in our mobilisation campaigns. We want to unite with key stakeholders like
students, churches, residents associations, war veterans, detainees and war
collaborators,” said Sibanda. “Once we achieve that unity pact, Bulawayo
will go to Zanu PF. I can tell you that with this unity pact, we can easily
have over 80 000 residents vote for Zanu PF in Bulawayo.”
He said during the anti-sanctions campaign in 2011, Bulawayo province raised
at least 79 000 signatures, an indication that the 80 000 votes were
Sibanda said the party was leaving no stone unturned in efforts to reverse
Zanu PF’s 2008 election white-wash by the MDC formations in Bulawayo.
Zanu PF fared badly in the 2008 elections in Bulawayo and failed to win a
single seat in the province.
In some polling stations, President Robert Mugabe got zero votes and the
former ruling party blamed the poor showing to factionalism.
But Bulawayo Progressive Residents Associations (BPRA) chairperson, Rodrick
Fayayo said the organisation would not support any political party.
“BPRA works with all stakeholders. We can work with Zanu PF on issues to do
with service delivery but we cannot be involved in their mobilisation
campaigns,” said Fayayo.
“We can only mobilise residents to register to vote and we are not worried
about who they vote for.”
Zanu PF Bulawayo province has over the years grappled with infighting,
factionalism and discontent among party members.
Shortly after the election of Sibanda as provincial chairperson recently,
divisions and infighting emerged over charges that the former had rigged
So serious was the infighting that the province failed to accredit on time
its delegates for the Zanu PF conference in the Midlands province in
January 6, 2013 in Local
A can of worms has been opened in the life of General Josiah Magama
Tongogara with several of his children and other family members joining a
chorus of people questioning whether the late Zanla supremo really died in a
Report by Patrice Makova
They said if the Zanu PF leadership had nothing to hide, a commission of
inquiry into his death over 33 years ago should be instituted to clear the
Recently, Angeline Gamanya, mother of Tongogara’s four children, said in an
interview with a local weekly that the death of the former Zanla commander
still haunted her and demanded that she be driven to the scene of the
accident where her husband died.
But it has also emerged that Tongo, as the late Zanla chief of defence is
commonly called, sired a total of 10 children with seven women.
The family spokesperson, Michael Magama Tongogara, insisted none of the
seven women, including Angeline, was ever traditionally or legally married
Some of Tongogara’s children residing outside Zimbabwe last week told The
Standard that only the truth of what happened to their father would bring
closure to the family and the whole nation.
They doubted the official version that their father died in an accident on
December 26 1979.
“There are so many glaring inconsistences about what happened to our father.
You can tell they [Zanu PF Officials] are lying,” said one of the children.
“We want the truth to come out in order to bring finality to this issue.”
Another child said the images of Tongogara’s body depicted a burnt body not
congruent with an ordinary side-swiping of the late general’s vehicle as
official versions of accounts say.
“If his body was burnt, why is it that the wreckage of the car does not show
any burns?” asked another Tongogara sibling, adding that from what the
family had gathered from “credible sources”, some parts were missing from
Michael, Tongogara’s elder brother, confirmed that the family was still in
the dark about what happened.
He said up to now Tongogara’s personal belongings, including his knobkerry
and other traditional artefacts, have still not been returned to the family.
Michael said when he was flown to Maputo to view his young brother’s body,
something inexplicable happened, signifying that something was amiss in
accordance with African traditional beliefs.
“All I can say is that when his coffin was opened for me at the mortuary,
his body wept (mutumbi wakasvimha misodzi), then I just left,” said Michael.
He said even if the family was not satisfied with the explanation of what
happened to Tongo, there was nowhere they could complain, hence the best was
to remain quiet.
Michael said the family was of the opinion that Tongo’s children were being
neglected by the government and the Zanla commander’s former close friends
He said while Tongo had four children with Angeline, namely Hondo (born
1969), Tichafa, Bvumai and Nyaradzo, he also sired six other children with
These are Conrad (born 1963) who is the eldest of all Tongogara’s children,
Sukai, Simba, Tichaitora, Annie and Granger.
Michael said most of Tongogara’s children were struggling to survive, with
some unemployed despite the sacrifice made by their father and the closeness
the national hero was to several senior government and party officials.
He said after his death, close friends, among them the late Retired General
Solomon Mujuru and the late Chief Air Marshal, Josiah Tungamirai, virtually
cut links with the family.
“Rex [Mujuru] was very close to Tongo after we recruited him from Zipra.
With Tungamirai, they used to dress like twins,” said Michael.
He said the others close to Tongogara included Zanu PF politburo member and
former minister, Kumbirai Kangai and former Zimbabwe Defence Forces
commander and the late General Vitalis Zvinavashe.
“All these were Tongo’s people, but after independence no one came to us to
see how the family or children were doing. Maybe there is something they are
afraid of,” said Michael.
The death of Tongogara attracted a lot of speculation in independent
Zimbabwe. Some suggested that his death supposedly in a car crash in
Mozambique, a few weeks before ceasefire and independence was suspicious.
Zanu PF women’s league boss, Oppah Muchinguri, sat behind Tongogara in the
same truck with four others. Tungamirai and others were in a front car.
Muchinguri survived without a scratch.
In 2002, Muchinguri told Moto magazine that their vehicle side-swiped a
trailer of another truck before rolling twice, resulting in the instant
death of Tongo.
But readers responded that the story had many loopholes, including why their
vehicle had no spare wheel for such a high-powered delegation.
The liberation hero never legally married: Michael
Michael said he was surprised to hear from the rumours that the army on
Boxing Day organised commemorations for Tongo without consulting him or his
other siblings, sisters; Annie, Rossie and Edna and young brother Joshua, as
well as most of his children.
Michael questioned the involvement of Angeline and her daughter Nyaradzo in
the army commemorations.
He said Angeline should not “masquerade” as a member of the Tongogara
family, as the late guerrillas never married any of the seven women he sired
“He had many girlfriends and children, Angeline being one of them. His
philosophy was that we should produce as many children as possible, so that
some of them would become liberation fighters,” he said
Michael said Nyaradzo was not yet known to the Tongogara family, as she was
yet to be formally introduced to it, 33 years after she was born.
Moreover, the family believes that after 1980, Angeline married the late
businessman, Cuthbert Moyo, whom they knew from the Zambian days.
Contacted for comment, Nyaradzo said she and her mother would only respond
to questions in writing.
I was close to Josiah: Brother
Michael, who was based in Zambia during the struggle and is still an active
Zanu PF member, said he was close to his brother.
He produced several letters from Tongo asking him to take care of his
children even in the event that he died.
In one of the letters, dated December 4 1978, Tongogara wrote from
Mozambique to his elder brother outlining his trials and tribulations with
the war of liberation and his concern for Zimbabwe and his family.
Wrote Tongogara: “Budi early next year Amai Hondo is supposed to come to
Maputo to stay. The party has decided that all officials should have their
‘[wives]’ in Mozambique in order to solve a number of problems. So I feel
when all is set, she should bring with her two kids, Bvumai and Sukai. You
remain with two boys Hondo and Tichafa. I want the two young ones for one
simple reason, because they are young and can easily catch up with
Portuguese, though they will be integrated with other English-speaking
Michael said the late Vice-President, Simon Muzenda, helped to write
supporting affidavits to enable Tongogara’s children to get birth
certificates as he knew them and their mothers.
January 6, 2013 in Local
EIGHT people died while several others were seriously injured yesterday when
the bus they were travelling in veered off the road and overturned at Cement
Siding on the outskirts of Bulawayo about 10km on the Harare highway.
REPORT BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Bulawayo police spokesman, Mandlenkosi Moyo confirmed the accident but did
not have the finer details.
He could not confirm the number of people who died in the accident.
But survivors said the Jay Jay Tours bus, which was heading to Botswana from
Harare, veered off the road at around 2am yesterday and overturned, killing
some passengers on the spot.
The bus was carrying 65 passengers.
Mandla Dube, one of the relief drivers, said he did not know how he survived
as everything seemed to occur in a split of a second.
“I do not know how I survived. I was thrown out of the bus,” Dube said,
adding that he fractured his ribs and sustained head injuries.
Dube said Themba Sibanda, who was driving during the time of the accident,
reportedly also suffered head and rib injuries.
This past festive season has seen a death toll of over 208 people compared
to about 147 who died in road accidents in 2011.
The accidents occurred despite the heavy presence of traffic police on major
Traffic safety officials blame a number of factors for the upsurge in
crashes, including the poor state of the roads and the increase in the
volume of traffic and human error.
Police have also been accused of contributing to the carnage by taking
bribes from traffic offenders, enabling unroadworthy vehicles to continue
plying the roads.
The corruption charges last week forced a senior police officer to issue a
statement urging motorists to ignore roadblocks staffed by less than three
During the holidays, the police deployed senior police officers to man
roadblocks and bus termini because they are less prone to corrupt
January 6, 2013 in Local
ONE of the four elephants exported to China has died and conservationists
fear for the lives of the remaining three that are also reportedly in bad
REPORT BY JENIFFER DUBE
There was an uproar from conservationists last year when the Zimbabwe Parks
and Wildlife Management Authority sanctioned the exportation of the animals.
In a statement yesterday, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task
Force, Johnny Rodrigues, confirmed that one of the four elephants airlifted
to the Asian country in November last year had since died.
He said the Asian Animals Foundation had informed them of the death.
“They [Foundation] say that the four elephants arrived at the end of
November 2012,” said Rodrigues. “Two went to Taiyuan Zoo, one of which has
subsequently died. The other two reportedly went to Xinjiang Tianshan Safari
He added: “We are saddened and disgusted that these elephants have been
removed from their mothers and the African bush to live alone in a cold
unfriendly jail cell in a foreign country.”
Rodrigues said the weather in China is not favourable to the animals.
“We believe the temperature at the Xinjiang Tianshan Safari Park is less
than 20 degrees Celcius below zero,” he said. “It is highly unlikely the
elephants will survive in the cold when they have been accustomed to
temperatures of between 30 and 40 degrees.”
The wildlife authority last year confirmed exporting four elephants to from
Hwange National Park to a zoo in China.
Rodrigues insisted there was still another 14 elephants being kept in a boma
[a small enclosure] at the Hwange National Park waiting to be exported.
But the parks authority in December refuted the claims saying only five
elephants were currently in the boma and were constantly being assessed by
an independent veterinary official.
Both Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority public relations
manager Caroline Washaya-Moyo and Environment and Natural Resources Minister
Francis Nhema said they were not aware that one of the animals had died.
“I received an inquiry about it, probably from the same person who told
you,” Nhema said. “I have no clue about the issue as of now but I should be
having a report on Monday.”
There were concerns that the elephants had been subjected to cruelty as they
had to endure a road trip of about 800km from Hwange to Harare before being
Animal activists also felt taking the animals to a zoo would be stressful to
the elephants as they were not used to such captivity.
Exportation above board: Parks
The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority last month argued that
the exportation was above board and in line with the country’s laws, adding
that it had received requests for the purchase of elephants from potential
clients from France, Ukraine, United States of America and DRC.
January 6, 2013 in Local
MUTARE — Four war veterans last week appeared in court here facing extortion
charges after demanding US$500 from Mountview Hotel.
REPORT BY CLAYTON MASEKESA
The four: Lucia Taremba (53), Robson Mutombo (56), Isaac Mangenje (54) and
Job Marange (51) were not asked to plead when they appeared before Mutare
magistrate Charles Murowe.
They were however, remanded out of custody to January 8 on a US$30 bail
The four former freedom fighters are being charged with extortion as defined
in section 134 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
According to the State led by Nelson Makunyire, charges against the four are
that on December 8 last year they unlawfully put pressure on Panganai
Ndongwe of Mountview Hotel with the purpose of extortion.
On the day in question, the four arrived at the hotel and introduced
themselves as members of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans
They demanded money saying it was for the association’s coffers and would
fund a trip to Tanzania to “collect” the spirits of freedom fighters who
died in that country during the liberation struggle.
Makunyire said after pressuring the hotel staff, the four walked away with
US$500 which they used for personal business.
A police report was made leading to the arrest of the four.
Nothing was recovered.
January 6, 2013 in Local
AS plans to conclude the constitution-making process and other key reforms
ahead of elections continue to hang in the balance, analysts say it will be
disastrous if polls are called under the Lancaster House Constitution.
REPORT BY PATRICE MAKOVA
Zanu PF at its annual national people’s conference held in Gweru last month
resolved President Robert Mugabe should dissolve Parliament and proclaim a
date for the elections if the constitution-making process was not concluded
by last Christmas.
The Cabinet and parliamentary committee tasked with breaking the impasse on
constitution-making has since failed to meet the deadline.
Presidential spokesman George Charamba recently said Mugabe could still call
for elections under the current Lancaster House Constitution if a new
charter was not finalised soon.
But analysts said it was unlikely that Mugabe and Zanu PF would go ahead
with threats to unilaterally call for elections under the current
constitution as there were many forces at play.
Political Scientist, Shakespeare Hamauswa said elections using the current
constitution would not produce a credible result.
He said threats to call for elections using the old constitution were a
negotiating tactic by Zanu PF.
“The party is using threats so that its demands are met,” said Hamauswa.
“They are saying to the two MDCs, accept our proposals to amend the Copac
draft constitution or else we go with the old constitution. Elections
without a new constitution threaten the validity of the result.”
He said since 2010, Zanu PF had been threatening to call for elections but
this never materialised because of the role of Sadc as guarantors of the
Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Hamauswa said agreeing on a new constitution was Sadc’s main precondition
for the holding of new free and fair elections.
The MDC-T has said the June 2008 Presidential elections run-off was
characterised by intimidation, violence and it left over 200 of its
Political analyst, Charles Mangongera believes threats to call for elections
under the current constitution were most likely a “bluff”.
“The idea is to psyche-up people for national elections,” he said.
Mangongera said elections were part of a negotiated settlement and not an
issue of trying to convince the MDCs.
He said Sadc made it clear that the three GPA partners had to implement the
agreed election roadmap, including concluding a new constitution before
holding free and fair polls.
“We have heard this talk before but I think Mugabe is politically shrewd
enough to understand the implications of unilaterally calling for
elections,” said Mangongera. “Mugabe himself is tired of the old
constitution and has in the past made reference to it as an old tattered
trousers which is now full of patches and therefore in need of replacement.”
He said some around Mugabe could be the ones frustrated by the current
constitution-making process as they were eager to participate in elections
in the hope of winning.
The Copac-driven constitution-making process has been deadlocked for several
months over demands by Zanu PF to incorporate several amendments into the
new draft charter.
Zanu PF wants to maintain Mugabe’s imperial powers.
The party is also against devolution of power, dual citizenship, a land
commission security sector reforms and the creation of an independent
prosecuting authority separate from the Attorney-General’s office.
But the two MDCs have so far insisted that the Copac draft was final as all
parties appended their signatures to the document.
The President has to consult all principals
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Professor John Makumbe
said it would be a violation of the GPA to hold elections using the old
He said constitutional amendment number 19 stipulated that Mugabe has to
consult Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube of MDC before
dissolving Parliament and proclaiming dates for elections.
“Chances are Mugabe is not keen to be on the wrong side of Sadc and to call
for elections without consulting the other GPA principals,” said Makumbe.
He said calling for elections using the Lancaster House Constitution would
be the “worst scenario” for the country.
“This will literally produce the same result of 2008 [elections]. The two
MDC formations, Sadc and the African Union would never accept this
scenario,” said Makumbe.
January 6, 2013 in Local
THE festive season comes with numerous experiences for various people, some
of them good things to always remember in life while others are bad.
REPORT BY JENIFFER DUBE
After escaping death by a whisker when I was involved in a car accident last
November on my way to Irisvale in Matabeleland South, where my family is
settled, I decided I was safer visiting my original rural home for the
My original rural home, Mthoniselwa in Matabeleland North’s Nkayi District,
has changed a lot since my last visit in December 2009.
One of the positive changes is that almost everyone in the village now
speaks openly about their HIV status.
This was a taboo.
“HIV stigma and discrimination is a thing of the past here,” Ntokozo Mlilo
said. “Those of us who take [anti-retroviral] drugs are no longer scared of
what people may say when they see us taking them because unlike in the past,
people in this village now understand that to be HIV-positive does not mean
death and that having it does not necessarily mean that one is of loose
This was achieved through the efforts of the Free Presbyterian Church of
Scotland that helped in fighting stigma in the community by opening a mobile
clinic in the village.
The clinic, which falls under the church’s Mbuma Mission Hospital, is open
to the community once every month.
“When the clinic started in March 2011, we were told that it was meant to
exclusively bring relief to those of us who were taking [ARV] drugs as we
previously had to walk 11km every month to collect the tablets at Mbuma
Mission Hospital,” Sinikiwe Nkomo said.
“The community would be called for monthly meetings where we were taught
about HIV and Aids then those of us who take the tablets would be given our
The services have now been extended to pregnant women and those with infants
requiring frequent visits to the clinic.
The clinic is a makeshift mud and grass structure built by the community.
Previously, some expectant mothers went into labour while others delivered
without visiting any health institution as Mbuma Hospital is too distant for
With the changing climate, the community has also embraced a new farming
method — gatshopo (conservation farming).
In the past, people in our area would not till their land after the first
rains as they believed it was taboo.
Everyone would wait for the second rains and they would use ox- and
donkey-drawn ploughs to till their land.
However, some non-governmental organisations have convinced them that the
first rains were not taboo and encouraged them to use them for farming.
I was surprised to see that almost every homestead now has a small field set
aside for conservation farming.
Everyone now tills after the first rains, puts manure in the holes they dig
to preserve moisture and wait for the second rains.
Once the second rains come, they go back to the fields and dig again. This
time putting seed, usually maize, in the holes and start weeding around
Unlike in the past where weeds would be racked away under the belief that
they would “wake” up again if left near plants, the villagers now use them
Whenever they meet, villagers now ask each other how their gatshopo is
Most people I spoke to say the method had resulted in higher yields but it
also means more work, as it requires that they always tend to the field,
making sure there are no weeds near the plants.
I discovered that many people were still using the bush latrine system,
making it unhygienic to have huge numbers of people gather where there are
no ablution facilities.
Fearing disease outbreak, several makeshift structures for various churches
have been built at the village centre, and each has a toilet.
So serious is the hygiene campaign that a grocery shop which was operating
without a toilet was recently forced to shut down.
The water situation too has improved in this dry village.
Several homesteads have drilled wells, most of them more than 30 metres
But I was dismayed by the state of my former school, Mthoniselwa Primary.
Parents I spoke to said they now feared that the roof for the classrooms
would one day collapse and kill their children.
Even the walls, some said, were an equal threat to their children’s lives.
During the rainy season, some teachers are forced to use their houses for
lessons as they also fear for their lives in the classrooms.
I hope when I go back things would have changed for the better.
Villagers no longer worship at homesteads
People of Mthoniselwa are now very spiritual.
In the past, only a few subscribed to Christianity, with the dominant
churches being “iPostoli” (Apostolic Faith churches), Roman Catholic and
Zion Christian Church (ZCC).
But now several other churches, including the one which runs the clinic,
have been established.
Many people, including those who were previously labelled witches and
wizards now worship with others in churches.
The villagers also no longer worship in the homesteads or bush following
teachings about the high risk of such diseases as cholera where a large
number of people are gathered.
January 6, 2013 in Community News
WEDZA— The indigenous mopane tree is under siege here from villagers who are
cutting it before burning it to extract charcoal for sell to dealers who
have swarmed the district from Mutare.
REPORT BY JAIROS SAUNYAMA
The worst affected areas include Chikurumadziva, Mutiweshiri and Mangoro,
where the labour-intensive charcoal-making business has become a source of
living for several villagers.
Tree trunks are burnt through the night before villagers extract charcoal in
the day, using simple tools like hammers.
The burning charcoal is then covered with river sand for cooling.
The charcoal is sold to dealers who pay US$1 per bucket and US$3 per 50kg.
The dealers re-sell the charcoal to boarding schools, tobacco farmers and
urban dwellers in Manicaland, who use it as a substitute for electricity.
The villagers said they were earning a living from the charcoal business.
“It is a hard job but at least we have something in our pockets,” said one
charcoal dealer, Maria Mbengwe.
“If it were not for these dealers, our festive season would have been bleak.
The buyers come after every two weeks and I can sell more than 30 bags of
Another villager, Theresa Mutsvanga said, “Rains are no longer reliable in
this area such that we have to find other means of survival and this
charcoal business is one such means.”
Chikurumadziva village headman, Sam Shumba, confirmed the booming charcoal
business in his area, adding that the charcoal dealers came at night with
“There is indeed a charcoal rush in this area. forests are under siege from
villagers,” he said.
“The buyers are said to come from Mutare and they come with their lorries
during the night for transactions. It is three months now since the business
Zviyambe councillor, Godfrey Chitsaka, lamented the destruction of the
Mopane tree, which takes several years to mature.
“It is true that there is charcoal business taking place in this area and
there is indeed massive deforestation, especially along Mhare River,” said
“The problem we have here is that people own their pieces of land and they
do whatever they want with them at the expense of the environment. It’s very
difficult to convince people to stop cutting Mopane trees since they own the
Chitsaka said they had embarked on a massive campaign to educate villagers
on the need to protect the environment.
Efforts to get a comment from Environmental Management Agency (EMA) last
week were fruitless.
Mopane tree is one of Zimbabwe’s hard wood, making it termite resistant. for
this reason, it has long been used for building houses, fences and railway
Outside Africa, Mopane is gaining popularity as a heavy and decorative wood.
January 6, 2013 in Community News
GURUVE — The Tengenenge community in Guruve is at loggerheads with a Chinese
mining company, San He Mining Zimbabwe, which it accuses of carrying out
mining operations in their fields without consulting them.
REPORT BY OUR CORRESPONDENTS
The company, which is mining chrome in the area, is also accused of causing
environmental degradation, as its operations are leaving gullies that are
dangerous to humans and livestock.
Villagers who spoke to The Standard, said the company had vowed to carry on
with their chrome mining despite complaints from the community.
The villagers said the Chinese were boasting of how they would continue
mining because they had the support of unnamed senior politicians.
“Things are really bad and we don’t know where we might end up at tomorrow.
The Chinese came and started operating in this area without consulting us,”
said one villager, Loyd Bako.
“They have invaded our territories. Our fields have been taken and the
entire landscape is now an eyesore.”
Another villager, Patience Zamba, said she feared the whole community would
be displaced by the mining company.
“They told us that they can take us to a place that has already been mined,
but for now, we are ready for anything,” she said.
The villagers said the company was also polluting water sources that the
community used for drinking and watering their gardens.
“They are polluting our water, making it difficult for us and our animals.
We told them to drill boreholes for us, but they refused,” said Zamba.
San He mining Zimbabwe official dispels conflict claims
However, a senior official with San He Mining Zimbabwe, Anling Zhang,
downplayed the problem, insisting that the company was in good books with
“We are not in conflict with them,” she said.
“We are waiting for our re-opening because for now we are not doing any
business. the export of chrome has been banned, so we have nothing to do.”
But Environmental Management Agency provincial manager for Mashonaland
Central, Robert Rwafa, confirmed the conflict between the villagers and the
“We have been told of that conflict but what we want is unity between the
company and people so that we protect the environment. we are currently
making a database that will incorporate the issue,” he said.
January 6, 2013 in Community News
WHEN two elephants fight, it is the grass that suffers.
REPORT BY MUSA DUBE
This is the true scenario for NewZim Steel workers, who are bearing the
brunt of the ongoing fight between Essar Group and the government over the
ownership of some iron ore claims.
The workers have gone for over nine months without pay.
A day before Christmas, The Standard news crew visited the sleepy town of
Redcliff, where it witnessed the alarming poverty levels that the workers
are going through as the government and Essar continue to dilly-dally on the
conclusion of the deal for the takeover of the former Ziscosteel.
The non-payment of salaries to the workers has caused social and economic
disorder in the town, as the moral and social fabric has virtually
collapsed. Marriages have irretrievably been broken due to poverty-induced
A number of schoolchildren are no longer going to school because their
parents can no longer afford the fees.
One of the workers, Tichaona Zimuto said life had been tough since the
company collapsed in 2008. He said most of his colleagues had embarked on
urban subsistence farming in order to eke out a living as they patiently
wait for the company to resume normal operations.
“Things are difficult here my friend and we are just surviving by the grace
of God. Imagine we are yet to receive our salaries since April. We don’t
know whether we will ever be out of this problem,” said Zimuto, a father of
six. “We have nothing to feed our families and that’s why we are just
ploughing some maize, so that we can feed our starving families.”
Another worker, Panashe Gumbo (43) added: “We have become a laughing stock
in the entire community. We have lost respect and dignity and it’s now
embarrassing to tell someone that you work at Zisco [NewZim Steel].”
“We are battling to pay electricity and water bills, as well as our children’s
school fees because the company is failing to pay us. I have been kicked out
of my rented house several times for failing to pay.”
As The Standard news crew drove around the ghost town, it witnessed several
workers busy planting at the Redcliff golf club fairways.
If Tiger Woods were to come to Zimbabwe and see the decimated golf turf, he
would definitely shed tears. The once world-class golf course has been
destroyed, as nearby residents from Rutendo and Redcliff suburb have invaded
the swampy area and turned it into little fields.
Most of the sporting facilities in the town have either collapsed or turned
into white elephants due of total neglect.
The once busy Redcliff town centre is now a pale shadow of itself, with most
of the shops virtually closed down. the few remaining ones just open with no
meaningful business taking place.
Ziscosteel closed down in 2008 and its revival has been a tale of “so near
yet so far”.
Despite a partnership with the Indian firm, Essar, more than a year ago, the
company, now known as NewZim Steel, has failed to resume normal operations.
Presently, the company is battling to pay the over 3 000 workers.
The company has the capacity to take on board between 5 000 and 10 000
people in both the upstream and downstream industries.
The government recently set up a committee to handle the paperwork on the
sticky issue of iron claims ahead of the projected start of operations at
NewZim Steel this month.
The Minister of Industry and Trade, Welshman Ncube, has said officials from
Essar Holdings, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development and from his
ministry would convene a meeting to iron out the problems hampering the
However, workers said they no longer trusted what he said. “We have heard
such stories for a long time and we are tired of them,” said a worker who
gave his name as Enock Moyo. “These ministers are just politicking with our
January 6, 2013 in Business
FARMERS have urged the government to stop interfering in the setting up of
the Commodity Exchange of Zimbabwe (Comez), insisting the process must be
private sector-driven to ensure efficiency.
REPORT BY OUR STAFF
Comez was launched two years ago but has not operated because of
bureaucracy, lack of co-ordination between various government bodies and
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union (ZCFU) president, Donald Khumalo,
expressed dismay that there has not been activity on the market since the
launch of Comez, a brainchild of the union and other private sector players.
“It [Comez] would be valuable to farmers, it will unlock the agricultural
sector’s potential while also delivering cost-effective solutions,” he said.
A commodity exchange is an organised market place where trade, with or
without the physical commodities, is funneled through a single mechanism,
allowing for maximum effective competition among buyers and sellers.
For agricultural commodities, trading would be on the basis of warehouse
receipts issued by the exchange operated or approved warehouses which
guarantee quality and quantity of products.
Zanu PF last year resolved to take an active role in the exchange at its
Annual National People’s Conference held in Gweru, adding to the melee
surrounding the much-anticipated exchange.
“Conference resolves that the party takes a leading role in the
establishment of an Agricultural Commodity Exchange that should provide a
vibrant market to drive the agriculture sector,” reads part of the
Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube however, dismissed the idea
saying progress would go on in accordance with a Cabinet resolution passed
“What I know is that there is a Cabinet resolution for the setting up of the
commodity exchange. How then can the party set up a state institution?” he
Benefits of the exchange for farmers are that it provides a platform for
hedging and price discovery, an increased market, price transparency, risk
mitigation, eliminating delayed payments to farmers.
It also eliminates the need to use title deeds as security for financing
grain production. The exchange would also maintain a system of surveillance,
where experts monitor market player’s behaviour in order to hedge against
manipulation, speculation and other malpractices.
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) vice-president, Peter Steyl, said the
exchange was an efficient method of providing value for products delivered
by farmers. He also said the process was supposed to be driven by the
private sector to make it efficient.
“We had one which was very useful for farmers about 10 years ago, but it
shut down,” he said.
“This one [exchange] should be private enterprise-driven without need for
The preceding exchange, termed the Zimbabwe Agricultural Commodities
Exchange folded in 2001 after the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) was granted a
monopoly to purchase wheat and maize.
Market distortions became prevalent as the GMB set the maximum buying and
selling prices. Farmers faced problems ranging from poor pricing, vague
market signs, delayed or no payment at all despite crop delivery and major
challenges of contract farming.
In his budget statement last year, Finance minister Tendai Biti urged
relevant parties to set aside administrative “jealousies” and make the
exchange a reality.
Exchange promotes market sanity: Robertson
Independent economic analyst, John Robertson, said the exchange would be a
good mechanism for bringing about discipline in the market.
It would best serve the interests of competent people farming the land, he
“The ministries must back off, there is no need for officials trying to
regulate things, they should simply set the rules and stand aside. this
should be a private sector-driven process,” said Robertson.
“There isn’t need for government involvement. all this interference is
slowing it down.”
January 6, 2013 in Business
More than 3 000 workers were retrenched across sectors in Zimbabwe between
January and September 2012, the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz)
Report by Christopher Mahove
Emcoz director John Mufukari said this had been a result of the general poor
performance of the country’s economy in the past few years.
“You need to visit any industrial area and find out for yourself that they
have been turned into shops. We have turned from a manufacturing to a
supermarket economy,” he said.
Mufukari said there was need for a paradigm shift by employers and workers,
who represented the labour market, as the business-as-usual approach was not
benefitting the country.
“We have realised as the labour market that we are not doing anyone any
favour by taking positions that try to beat the other to accept our position
because we will be contributing to the very weak performance of the
economy,” Mufukari said.
He said employers should acknowledge there was “a decent-work deficit” in
Zimbabwe, despite the fact that most workers were quantitatively highly paid
compared to their counterparts in the region, while employees must also
consider constraints facing industry before demanding unreasonable
“There is still a decent-work deficit caused by the distortions that
prevailed in the economy over the past 10 years.
Workers might be highly paid but still, it is not sufficient for them to
lead decent lives,” he said.
“It would be false and dishonest for employers to claim workers are
over-paid because, for example, it costs just US$10 to rent a one-roomed
house in Lusaka, Zambia, while the same costs around US$80 in Harare.”
Workers on the other hand, Mufukari said, should not negotiate only to
fulfil legal requirements, but consider that when employers fail to pay
arbitral awards, they would be forced to retrench, causing job losses which
otherwise could be avoided.
“There is a tendency where workers think they find a better deal at
arbitration as opposed to negotiations, so they want to get to a stalemate
as quickly as possible because in Zimbabwe normally arbitrators are inclined
towards workers,” he said.
The Emcoz boss revealed that they had started training National Employment
Council negotiators on new negotiation methods that would guarantee a
win-win situation and benefit the economy in the process.
“We have said to ourselves, it is now time that the labour market showed
leadership and came up with a kind of negotiation where we don’t sit across
tables and hurl insults at each other, but look at the problems facing
industry and come up with a joint solution which is win-win and grows our
Zim’s unemployment rate at over 80%
A total of 4 432 workers were retrenched in 2011, with 6 972 having been
laid off in 2010. Zimbabwe’s unemployment rate is estimated at over 80%.
Last year’s retrenchments fly in the face of the much-hyped Zanu PF’s
indigenisation programme, which was supposed to end unemployment and MDC-T’s
Jobs, Upliftment, Investment Capital and the Environment (Juice) project.
The Juice programme was set to create one million new jobs between 2013 and
2018 and projects an average economic growth rate of 8% per annum during the
January 6, 2013 in Opinion
I don’t claim to know much about what happens in the spiritual world. Our
elders spoke of Nyikadzimu, the spiritual land of the ancestors. They
consulted spirit mediums whenever misfortune befell them, for example after
mysterious deaths or after a long dry spell to ask for rains. People still
tap into the spiritual world and chiefs are custodians of such revered
places as the Njelele shrine in Matabeleland, deemed to be the shrine of
Opinion by Conelia Mabasa
Now there is a new craze, prophets abound on the land, some behind rocks in
the vleis or in modern buildings in the cities. Are we not at the mercy of
these “spiritually-gifted” beings among us? All sorts of crimes have been
committed, especially against women, who have fallen victim to self-ordained
Zimbabweans are naturally a superstitious lot. If somebody says they can
explain what they can’t, they will fall over each other to seek divine
intervention. Are today’s prophets, whose spouses become prophetesses by
virtue of being married to the “men of God”, taking advantage of our
gullibility and fear of the unknown?
Last week two flamboyant and confessed friends and prophets, Uebert
Mudzanire Angel of Spirit Embassy and Emmanuel Makandiwa of United Family
International Church seemed to be out to outdo each other by mesmerising
their congregants with huge doses of miracles and predictions of both
misfortune and God’s favour and in the process fed the press.
Angel is reported to have multiplied money in Botswana and repeated the feat
in Zimbabwe. Makandiwa on the other hand is said to have predicted that gold
would soon be falling from heaven to give reprieve to the poor. But soon
after, he sent the nation reeling by predicting disaster in the form of a
garment falling off an old woman to spell disaster after a “great wall”
fails due to old age.
While it may be true that they are real men of God, they have made God so
commonplace and wealth-oriented that I find their type of Christianity
revolting. Matthew 6 v 33 says, “Seek ye the Kingdom of God first . . . .”
While hunger should not be synonymous with Christianity and Godly conduct,
showing off and capitalist tendencies are also frowned upon. The five loaves
and two fish were multiplied and shared. The water that Christ turned into
wine at the Wedding at Cana (John 2) was also shared. When he broke the
bread at the last supper, he shared.
The avalanche of miracles and prophesies should be a cause for concern.
Suddenly God is so common he can take instructions from man at the drop of a
pin; that must be a source of worry for church leaders, for qualified
shepherds of this world. God is now so common he can whisper your phone
number to a prophet; he is so common he can whisper your home address, your
ID number, the angel of the Lord can lead his man spiritually to your
doorstep and show him where your bed is facing, even the holes on your sofa
set! Of what use is information about you that you already know if it’s not
to prop the prophet?
Zimbabweans are an educated and a hardworking lot. But they are being told
they can wake up with fat bank accounts and sacks of gold nuggets from
nowhere. Of what use is false hope? I want my children to grow up knowing
that they have to work to survive and not wait for a spiritual father to
dish out mysterious money. We need real men of God to guide us properly. God
is a peaceful force and anyone can reach out to him. He is not a God of fear
and consternation. He is not an alarm and despondency causing God. Wishing
you true worship in 2013.
January 6, 2013 in Opinion
Happy new year everyone!
While we celebrate the coming of the new year, maybe let us also look at the
changes that would make 2013 a truly happy year, as far as the environment
Ending 2012, we talked about the environmental problems that bedevilled
Zimbabwe, most of them serious enough to endanger not only our flora and
fauna, but the welfare of virtually everyone living in the country.
I know from my tone, some would feel I am being too much of an alarmist, and
I honestly wish this was nothing but false alarm . . . but it is not!
The environmental conditions in Zimbabwe are far from being healthy and
unless the powers that be finally decide to put their promises into action,
things will continue to crumble, right until the environment can no longer
Take the contentious wetland abuse issue for instance, which proved to be a
popular subject in 2012. In spite of all the lobbying by different groups
for the abuse of the ecologically-sensitive areas to stop, wetlands
continued to be invaded.
It would seem the fact that wetlands are our main source of water supply is
a point that has escaped responsible authorities.
Monetary benefit from the sale of the wetland areas to land developers has
so far appeared to be their top priority.
But unless we decide we no longer need water to survive, the continued
invasion of wetlands and their conversion to other uses will see us having
even less water than we already have.
With the country currently wailing under insufficient water supplies with
areas like Ruwa having gone for years without any potable water supply, one
can just imagine the scenario if the situation were to get any worse than it
It is my sincere hope that 2013 would finally see the responsible
authorities coming back to their senses and realising this trend just cannot
be allowed to go on. I hope 2013 will see the restoration of the country’s
Mining companies must co-operate
At the end of 2012, mining companies (both small scale and large scale) had
through their unconventional ways of operating, proven to be destructive to
It would seem by end of last year, most mining companies still had not
understood that they had to operate in a manner that as much as possible
minimised environmental degradation. Mining, when done carelessly, has been
known to have a seriously negative environmental impact. This characterises
mining in Zimbabwe.
There has been a lot of damage on the country’s landscapes, with open pits
being a common site. It is apparent most companies do not take seriously
enough the need to reclaim the land to its previous state after concluding
Furthermore, there was much concern over some companies dumping dangerous
chemicals in rivers which people depend on for water supply.
Some companies operating in the Chiadzwa diamond fields for instance were
reportedly dumping their chemicals in Save River, endangering thousands of
people’s health while killing their livestock. This has been observed to be
the trend in other mining areas as well.
While it cannot be denied that in mining lies the hope for the revival of
the country’s economic base, it needs to be done in a manner that does not
kill the environment.
The economy cannot be allowed to revive at the expense of ecology!
Hopefully, necessary steps would be taken in 2013 to make it mandatory for
mining companies to operate in a manner that does not continue to upset the
ecological balance, all in the name of reviving the economy.
As the festive season comes to an end, you only need to look around you to
see how much of a problem litter still is. In spite of massive clean-up
campaigns last year as some companies and individuals volunteered to help
solve the waste management problem, which had clearly proved too huge for
responsible authorities to handle alone, people continue to litter.
Besides cleaning up and providing disposal bins (which are in serious short
supply), maybe it is time to concentrate more on changing the nation’s
mindset towards littering. I hope by end of 2013 the majority of us will
find it embarrassing to litter.
There needs to be emphasis on what I believe to be the three main pillars of
waste management: reduce, reuse and recycle.
Wildlife poaching is yet another problem that urgently requires correctional
measures, otherwise we might soon have no wildlife to talk about. I hope
more poachers get arrested in 2013.
Forests need to be preserved
Veld fires and deforestation proved to be another pair of problems that
caused headaches for conservationists. Maybe 2013 can present a solution to
ending the proliferation of wild fires and the restoration of the country’s
once rich forests.
But of course that would only be made possible if the powers that be begin
to tackle such issues with the seriousness they deserve.
This is to a prosperous 2013 everybody!
For feedback email; firstname.lastname@example.org
January 6, 2013 in Editorial
So, more than 200 lives were lost on our roads during the festive season? Do
I feel vindicated in my opinion expressed in this column just before
Christmas that Zimbabwean drivers are the worst in the world? The police
issued 13 048 tickets for various traffic offences. There were in total 1
244 road accidents, 111 of which were fatal while 977 people are, as we
speak, lying on their backs in beds nursing their injuries! The statistics
for once don’t lie; indeed our driving leaves a lot to be desired!
Opinion by Nevanji Madanhire
Many drivers will blame the poor state of the roads for the accidents; they
will say the roads are potholed, are badly marked and signposted and are
generally in a poor state of repair. But what should all these bad
conditions of the road tell any driver with a little bit of common sense?
Don’t they tell the driver to exercise extreme caution? But, as the police
will tell you, the accidents were mostly a result of drunken driving,
unnecessary speeding, overloading and defective vehicles. This means, in
spite of the bad conditions of the roads, the drivers did not exercise any
There is one thing common among drivers who drive under the influence of
alcohol, who speed, who overload and who drive defective vehicles; they
place very little value on human life, whether their own or that of the
people they carry.
Now, putting a value on human life is not anything the Highway Code can
teach; if a driver doesn’t know intuitively the value of life, he can never
learn the habits that instruct good driving. It is a sad fact of life in
Zimbabwe that the people who have failed to go far in school are the very
people who, because of a lack of alternative professions, end up driving our
Many may find this conclusion a little snobbish but take a look at the
people driving our urban commuter minibuses and tell me what level of
education they have. See how they recklessly stop on the highway to pick and
drop passengers and tell me they value the lives they carry and those
carried in other vehicles!
If the police had recorded the levels of education of the 13 000 drivers
they ticketed during the festive season, what conclusions would have been
obvious? How many times have you asked yourself in response to the action of
the commuter omnibus driver ahead of you, “Did this guy go to school?” It’s
going to be painful to agree with this, but drivers need to have a certain
level of education, preferably post-O’level.
Let’s look at the haulage truck driver who crammed 63 people into his truck
and killed 18 of them. A little bit of education would have told him that
carrying people is different from carrying rocks. The fact that a truck can
carry a block of granite from Mtoko to Cape Town does not mean it can
similarly carry 100 people even if they weigh a lot less than the rock. The
rock sits solidly on the rig and does not fidget; people move about and
constantly affect the equilibrium of the vehicle hence, in buses they have
to stick to their seats. A little education would have told him that if a
haulage truck was meant to carry people, it would have been designed like a
Bus drivers who overload are also unaware of the engineering mathematics
that go into bus building; making people stand in the aisle affects the bus’s
balance. Engineers were not fools to arrange seats the way they did and to
say how many people the bus should carry!
Road construction is also instructed by intricate knowledge of civil
engineering; there are lots of centrifugal and centripetal forces at work as
a vehicle negotiates curves in the road, hence the speed limits and the road
markings drivers see along the roads. But if one doesn’t have a fair
knowledge of the physical sciences, all these signs are lost to him.
But travellers are also to blame for the situations they find themselves in.
One weakness of Zimbabweans is that they don’t plan their travel
meticulously. Many a time we have seen a whole family of more than five
standing by the roadside trying to find transport to their rural home for
Christmas. Tragically we have read about whole families being wiped out in
accidents during the festive season. The question to ask is why the whole
family has to travel in the festive season when everyone knows transport is
The schools would have closed a fortnight earlier, meaning children could
have travelled outside the congested times. Sometimes we see families moving
with household goods such as beds, wardrobes and sofas also during this
period. In the end, whatever form of transport the family gets has to carry
everything even if it was not designed to carry the things. Hence we see
beds hanging precariously on little jalopies while human heads stick out of
every opening. Not only is the vision of the driver obstructed but again the
whole question of balance comes in.
Holiday travel should be relaxing, enjoyable and fulfilling. As one travels
along the roads in the countryside, one should enjoy the sights they see;
the landmarks, the indigenous trees and the occasional wild animal walking
in the forest. But we are denied this luxury by lack of planning. We want to
travel during the Christmas rush when buses are cracking at the seams with
people, when there is hardly any breathing space in the bus, etc. The truth
is: if we planned our travel a little more intelligently there wouldn’t be
any need to jump into any vehicle that comes along. Even the drivers we
entrust with our lives would be able to put into practice good driving
How guilty is the travelling public of making it impossible for the driver
to concentrate while driving, to avoid driving when tired, to never drive in
a hurry, to drive a vehicle with safety features, to follow safety rules and
to ensure we are all wearing safety belts?
Zimbabwean traffic laws ought to be made more stringent so that errant
drivers are punished severely. Certain traffic offences should call for the
cancellation of driving licences, meaning the driver would have to re-apply
for a new licence.
This ensures drivers are more careful, and the public should also play their
part in ensuring safety on the roads.
January 6, 2013 in Editorial
There is nothing wrong with self-proclaimed prophet Uebert Angel stuffing
wads of money into people’s pockets and bank accounts and proclaiming it
“miracle money”. This is what all rational people believe he is stealthily
But many others believe Angel is indeed endowed with the power to instruct
God to produce money and give it to a select few among his congregation.
Again there is nothing wrong in people believing in what they choose to
believe in. It’s called faith and it defies rational explanation.
Money, however, is an earthly tool used by earthly people of all religious
persuasion to transact business. It comes with rules so that is doesn’t
cause conflict. This is why it has to be strictly regulated by central
Angel should know this basic truth and, without sounding blasphemous, so
should God. In the secular world, all money that comes into a monetary
system without the authority or knowledge of central government is illegal.
This is because it has the potential, depending on the quantum, to
destabilise the country through inflation or a parallel market.
For this reason, certain government agencies should take an interest in
Angel’s “miracle money”. The central bank should know its origins, its
authenticity and its quantity.
Revenue authorities should also look into how this money can be taxed. This
is very important because even if only holy people receive it, they
eventually put it into a system used by everybody. If some people have
access to untaxed income while others have every cent of their earnings
taxed, this becomes unfair and could create a social crisis.
The police should also be interested to know if there is no criminality
surrounding this money. Criminality may come in the form of money
laundering. Zimbabwe is using — because of its universal use —about the most
laundered currency in the world, the US dollar.
Many analysts are also of the view that some churches have reinvented money
pyramids which almost crushed Zimbabwe’s banking system in the 1990s and
conned thousands of people of their life savings.
Whichever way we look at it, Angel’s “miracle money” needs probing.