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7 out of 10 Zimbabweans fear political violence

Associated Press

Jan 7, 8:11 AM EST

Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- A research group on Friday reported that
Zimbabweans fear becoming victims of political violence if elections go
ahead this year to end the nation's two-year coalition government.

An opinion poll carried out by the continentwide think tank Afrobarometer
said seven out of 10 Zimbabweans feared intimidation and violence. The poll
said the same proportion didn't feel free to speak their minds in a climate
of declining civil liberties, along with almost "daily threats" of civil war
by militants of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party if it lost elections
proposed later this year.

The poll, available Friday, said its findings from a broad cross section of
1,200 voters - also called a "national probability sample" - had a sampling
error of plus or minus 3 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. In one
district, its researchers were chased away by Mugabe militants.

Despite fears of violence and intimidation 70 percent of respondents still
wanted elections completed this year, the group said.

In what it called one of its most striking findings: "Seven in ten would-be
voters are anxious to freely elect leaders of their choice, even in an
atmosphere where security forces and party militias are again on the move."

This displayed "the impressive depths of Zimbabweans' commitment to
political rights" said researchers who included Michael Bratton of the U.S.
Institute of Peace at Michigan State University.

Zimbabwe's coalition between Mugabe, who led the nation to independence in
1980, and former opposition leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was
formed in February 2009 after disputed elections in 2008 that were marred by
widespread violence. Tsvangirai boycotted a presidential run-off vote
against Mugabe to protest violence against his supporters by militants,
police and military loyal to Mugabe.

At least 200 people died in the violence surrounding those polls and
thousands of cases of torture, abductions, assault, illegal arrests and
death threats were reported by human rights groups.

Afrobarometer said the coalition was now stalemated "in large part because
Mugabe and ZANU-PF have been unwilling to surrender a meaningful share of
executive and military power."

Mugabe has repeatedly called for fresh elections in mid-2011 after saying
the power sharing agreement wasn't working and he wanted to see an early end
to the coalition. Tsvangirai blames Mugabe for not abiding by several key
provisions in the agreement and has demanded the completion of
constitutional and electoral reform before any new polls can be held.

Afrobarometer said its research compared the public mood over the past two
years of the coalition.

A program to rewrite the constitution through countrywide outreach meetings
last year had also been marred by violence and with calls for fresh
elections the nation now "risked relapse into another dangerous period of
political instability," the group said.

It said public confidence in the coalition declined to about one-third of
those polled in 2010, compared to about half of those polled in similar
research in 2009. Confidence in the coalition government slipped because of
leadership struggles and a policy deadlock, researchers said.

In 2010, two-thirds of those polled believed Mugabe firmly retained the
reigns of power. Just 14 percent thought there was meaningful power sharing.

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CIO brutally assaulted MDC activist on Christmas Eve

By Lance Guma
07 January 2011

While the rest of the country was preparing to celebrate Christmas, thugs
from the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) brutally beat up
an MDC activist in Chiredzi South.
Fourty-three year old Julius Mutavira Gono is reported to have been severely
beaten in broad daylight by three CIO agents following a botched attempt to
abduct him. The incident took place on Christmas Eve while his family and
neighbours watched helplessly.

The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) group said “he was
assaulted by three armed state security agents who drove to his house in
Madzimure Village in a Nissan twin cab with unmarked plates.” The case has
been reported to Chikombedzi Police Station but no action is expected.

ROHR identified the three state agents involved as Matambanadzo, Tinago and
Magara all based at Chikombedzi Police Station. Ironically this is the same
police station the victim went to report the case. “A medical report
confirms that Mutavira sustained internal, back and leg injuries, a swollen
red eye and he is still in need of further medical attention,” ROHR said.

One of the assailants, Matambanadzo told Mutavira that they were punishing
him for the complaints they had received about his involvement in MDC-T
affairs. They told him ‘he will not live to see the next election.’
Ominously the incident took place a few weeks after the visit of war vets
chairman Jabulani Sibanda who is on a countrywide tour threatening people
against voting for the MDC-T.

ROHR Zimbabwe said ‘as human rights defenders we are grossly disappointed by
the brutal conduct, unprofessionalism, lack of independence of the security
agents and uniformed forces who are supposed to be the custodians of the
enforcement of the rule of law and guardians of all citizens regardless of
political affiliation.

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ZANU PF councilor selling donated maize seed in Gwanda

By Tererai Karimakwenda
07 January, 2011

Villagers in the Gwanda South area of Matabeleland have reported that a war
vet named Witness Sebata, who is also the councillor for ward 11, is selling
maize seeds and fertilizer that are supposed to be free under a programme
sponsored by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme spoke to villagers who said Sebata is
being assisted by a local Agritex official and backed by the former MP for
Gwanda South, Abednigo Ncube.

Councilor Sebata is reportedly selling 10 kg bags of maize for $2.00 to the
elderly, orphans, widows and those diagnosed with HIV, telling them the
money is meant to cover transportation costs. Those who are considered
able-bodied are being charged $3.00 for the same maize bag.
Sebata has so far sold the maize and fertilizer in the Ward 11 villages of
Ntalale, Nyambi, Mandihongola, Tshongwe and Vela. Reports have also been
received from Ward 16 in Gwanda South.

Our correspondent also talked to Councilor Temba Kunjulu from Jabuba ward in
Binga, who complained that donated maize seed was being provided to ZANU PF
supporters only. According to Saungweme, some villagers in the area refused
to buy membership cards just to access the maize.

Similar reports were received from Councilor Nyamukuta in Matobo South, on
the other side of Matabeleland, showing how widespread ZANU PF’s campaign
has become in a province that traditionally votes for the MDC.

Saungweme reported at the end of 2010 that the violent war vet leader
Jabulani Sibanda had travelled thorough parts of Matabeleland, threatening
villagers with extreme violence if they vote for the MDC in the next
elections. It appears that ZANU PF is counting on the threats and the use of
food and farm inputs as political tools, to boost their support base.

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MDC-M party on the verge of major split

By Tichaona Sibanda
7 January 2011

The MDC-M, with just a day to go until its congress in Harare is on the
verge of a major split following growing dissension within its ranks.

It emerged on Friday that Welshman Ncube, the man poised to take over the
party leadership from the incumbent President, Arthur Mutambara, is now
facing an internal rebellion from members of his own national executive.

Members of the current executive, led by party chairman, Jobert Mudzumwe
organised a news conference in the capital on Friday and announced they
would be boycotting the congress set to take place in the City Sports centre
on Saturday.

Mudzumwe, a loyalist of Mutambara, who was flanked by members of the
executive, including the award winning writer Tsitsi Dangarembwa, alleged
‘massive violations and manipulations of the party’s constitution’ by Ncube,
its secretary-general.

Mutambara though distanced himself from the group saying it was acting on
its own and he was not aware of the issues they raised. However, present at
the briefing was Mutambara’s personal aide, Charles Manyozo, making it clear
to those gathered that Mutambara was indeed fully aware of the group’s

There have been massive defections from the MDC-M in recent months after
members claimed their continued membership to the party was an endorsement
of practices that were becoming dangerous to the democracy that many people
in Zimbabwe were struggling to bring into being. Others felt the party was
no longer pursuing the original policies of the MDC-M when they split from
the mainstream MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai in 2005.

Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa told us a split was imminent after the
current executive, which was set to be voted out of office on Saturday,
accused Ncube’s leadership of ‘excesses.’
One of the major issues raised by the rival faction were ‘inconsistencies’
selecting delegates for the congress. Mudzumwe also accused Ncube of
deliberately sidelining all party activists known to have been against him
in his pursuit to dislodge Mutambara from power.

‘There was a petition that was presented by the group that outlined a number
of issues they felt needed to be tackled first before convening a congress.
Mudzumwe and his group wanted an audit of the party accounts as they know
the MDC-M has been receiving a lot of money from donors.

‘They also brought up the issue of the selective application of discipline
where those deemed to be anti-Ncube were either suspended or expelled from
the party. The secretary-general stands accused of wrestling all power from
other executive members and running the party as a fiefdom,’ Muchemwa said.

The pro-Mutambara group called on the party to postpone the congress until
such time these problems were sorted out. But Edwin Mushoriwa, the party
spokesman told us they would hold the congress on schedule under any
circumstances. He said holding the congress is the decision of the party’s
provincial committees and none of the officials including Ncube has the
right to defer it or postpone it.

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Confusion over Marange diamonds

by Tobias Manyuchi     Friday 07 January 2011

HARARE – Deputy mines minister Gift Chimanikire on Thursday insisted that
the Kimberley Process (KP) has approved exports of the country’s Marange
diamonds as Harare and the diamond watchdog continued issuing conflicting
statements about the controversial gemstones.

The KP that regulates the world diamond industry has set January 10 as the
deadline for all participants in the voluntary monitoring scheme to respond
to a revised draft agreement on the fate of Zimbabwe’s stockpiled diamonds.
This, after Harare rejected the initial agreement last November.

But Chimanikire, who on Monday told ZimOnline that the KP had already
approved sales of the diamonds, last night insisted Harare had “documentary
evidence” to show this, adding that a meeting of the KP he said was
scheduled for January 10 would not change the decision to allow Zimbabwe to
export the diamonds.

"They gave us that authorisation unless they are now denying it,” said
Chimanikire, speaking to ZimOnline after a KP spokesman refuted the deputy
minister’s earlier claims that the regulator had approved Marange diamond

A spokesperson for the new KP chairperson, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo’s Yamba Mathieu Lapfa Lambang, was quoted by Rapaport News as saying
that claims that the international watchdog had sanctioned exports from the
controversial Marange fields were untrue.

“No decision has been made yet,” the spokesperson said.

But Chimanikire was adamant that the KP approved Marange diamond exports.

He said: “We have documentary evidence, they wrote us a letter informing us
about the authorisation. In the letter they indicated that a meeting will be
held on Jan 10, which is next week. That meeting will not change anything at
all because they have already indicated that we can sell."

ZimOnline was last night unable to reach Lambang and the KP’s Zimbabwe
monitor Abbey Chikane, who is based in South Africa, for further
clarification on the matter.

The DRC took over the chairmanship of the KP from Israel on January 1.

But Lambang’s spokesperson told Rapaport News that the KP chairman was still
waiting for a response from participants to an amendment to the draft
administrative decision that was sent out in late December.

The amendment raises the veto conditions allowed to the KP’s Working Group
for Monitoring (WGM) so that any three members of the WGM, rather than two
previously suggested, can submit a report should Zimbabwe breach the joint
working plan to bring the Marange operations into compliance.

Zimbabwe is seeking unconditional approval to conduct the sales.

Should the participants accept the amendment, the revised proposal will be
forwarded to Zimbabwe for approval, the spokesperson said.

The KP banned Zimbabwe from selling diamonds from the Marange fields in 2009
over allegations of human rights abuses in the extraction of the gems and
failure to meet minimum requirements for trading in the precious stones.

But the organisation allowed Zimbabwe to conduct two supervised sales which
took place in August and September last year following a report by Chikane
that said Harare had met all KP conditions.

The issue of Zimbabwe selling the Marange diamonds has divided the KP along
political lines, with Western countries led by the United States, Germany
and Australia as well as civil society groups that are members of the
organisation calling for the extension of a ban.

African and other countries, including Russia, have however opposed the
calls to ban the diamonds.

Zimbabwe has criticised the calls for a ban of the Marange stones, accusing
the West of using the diamonds issue to punish President Robert Mugabe for
taking land from white farmers and reallocating it to blacks. -- ZimOnline

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Gbagbo meets Zim officials

by simplicious Chirinda     Friday 07 January 2011

HARARE – An envoy of embattled Ivorian leader Laurent Gbabgo on Thursday met
Zimbabwe’s Acting President John Nkomo but it was not immediately clear what
the two discussed.

Zoge Abie, who is the Ivorian ambassador to South Africa, flew into Harare
yesterday afternoon and met Nkomo to brief him on the situation in his
country – and presumably ask for Harare’s support for Gbagbo in his bid to
retain power.

Abie did not meet the local media as he flew back to South Africa
immediately after meeting Nkomo who is acting president because President
Robert Mugabe is on his annual vacation.

Zimbabwe’s Acting Foreign Affairs Minister Herbert Murerwa also attended the
meeting between Nkomo and Abie.

“The Ivorian envoy had come to brief the Acting President on the situation
in his country,” Zimbabwe ministry of information permanent secretary George
Charamba told journalists in Harare. Charamba did not divulge details of the

An official at Abie’s Pretoria offices declined to discuss details of her
boss’s trip to Harare. “He travelled to Zimbabwe but only him can tell you
the reason of the meeting,” said the female official who refused to give her
name over the phone.

Gbagbo is under growing international pressure to relinquish power after a
disputed poll which left the west African country with two presidents.

His opponent, former International Monetary Fund top executive Alassane
Ouattara, is the one who is recognised by the international community.

Gbagbo has repeatedly accused all his international critics including his
neighbours of unduly interfering in the internal affairs of his country, a
favourite tactic of Mugabe who regularly accuses critic of his controversial
rule of attempting to undermine Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.

However unlike the Southern African Development Community that has tip-toed
around Mugabe, the Economic Community of West Africa has been more robust in
its condemnation of Gbabgo, even threatening military action against him
should he continue to refuse to hand over power to Ouattara. -- ZimOnline

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Zim to side with AU over Ivory Coast leadership crisis

By Alex Bell
07 January 2011

Zimbabwe will follow the African Union’s (AU) lead on how to handle the
turbulent leadership crisis in the Ivory Coast, after an envoy from the
country’s strongman Laurent Gbagbo failed to get the desired support from
Robert Mugabe this week.

Gbagbo sent an ambassador to Harare to solicit support from Mugabe in the
post-election deadlock, with the decade-long Ivory Coast leader refusing to
hand over power after a poll defeat last year. According to Mugabe’s
spokesman George Charamba, Ambassador Herve-Brice Abie Zogoe met Vice
President John Nkomo and delivered a “message of peace, pushing for a quest
for the truth.” The ambassador didn’t speak with journalists.

Gbagbo refuses to hand the Presidency to Alassane Ouattara, who is
recognised internationally as the legitimate winner of the country’s
November 28 election. The resulting violence that followed this deadlock has
left some 210 people dead, and according to the United Nations (UN),
divisions in the country that have festered since a civil war there in 2002
and 2003, are being rekindled.

Gbagbo has been trying to find political support amid growing isolation,
with the West African leadership bloc, ECOWAS, the UN and several
international countries condemning his refusal to step down from power.
Turning to Mugabe was expected, because the Zimbabwean dictator has
successfully managed to cling to power in Zimbabwe despite losing the 2008
election. But it appears that Mugabe will not risk placing his allegiance
with a political pariah ahead of a critical AU summit later this month.

Instead, Mugabe’s spokesperson Charamba said on Friday that Zimbabwe will
follow the AU position on the Ivory Coast crisis, adding it will likely be
the main topic for discussion at the group’s meeting in Addis Ababa starting
January 24. The AU meanwhile recognises Ouattara as the winner.

Political analyst Professor John Makumbe said on Friday that Mugabe cannot
risk the political embarrassment of publicly siding with Gbagbo despite
being “cast from the same stone.” He said Mugabe is “himself in a precarious
situation ahead of the AU meeting,” and he won’t turn more attention on
Zimbabwe than necessary.

South Africa meanwhile is joining talks on efforts to persuade Gbagbo to
step down from power. International Relations and Co-operation MinisterMaite
Nkoana-Mashabane held talks in Nigeria after the latest bid to resolve the
post-election crisis through mediation ended unsuccessfully this week. Their
position on Ivory Coast is in direct contrast to their response to Zimbabwe
over the past eight years. Both South African Presidents Thabo Mbeki and
Jacob Zuma have allowed Mugabe to stay in power despite contested elections.
Makumbe said the situation is embarrassing for the Southern African
Development Community (SADC), who drafted the deal that let Mugabe remain

“If they (SADC) had behaved like this with Mugabe things would be different
now,” Makumbe said. “ECOWAS has shown that they are a body that has bark and
bite, which SADC does not.”

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Israel To Confirm Zimbabwe Diamond Trade Status

07/01/2011 15:33:00

Harare, January 07,2011 - Controversial South African diamond monitor Abbey
Chikane has said only Israel can confirm whether Zimbabwe has been issued
with a Kimberly Process (KP) trading certificate despite claims by the
Zimbabwean government that it has been given the green light to trade.

Chikane told Radio VOP on Friday that the issue lies with the outgoing KP
revolving chair Israel. “Israel is the only one that can confirm that. There
will be a meeting on Monday next week and that’s where Israel is expected to
issue a proclamation on whether Zimbabwe should now trade in diamonds,” said

A spokesperson for the new KP chairperson, the Democratic Republic of the
Congo’s Yamba Mathieu Lapfa Lambang, told South African media that claim s
by the Zimbabwean government that the international watchdog had sanctioned
exports from the controversial Marange fields were untrue.

“No decision has been made yet,” the spokesperson said. When asked why
Zimbabwe has been insisting that it now has a diamond trading licence,
Chikane said he might have been overtaken by events since he is still on
“I am on holiday and would not want to bother my family with the Marange
issue, maybe there might be some documents that I haven’t read that might
have come while I was on holiday, I will only be back at work on Monday,” he

Chikane told Radio VOP last month that he was confident that Zimbabwe will
soon be bale to sell its diamonds freely on the international market.
Zimbabwe’s is not allowed to freely trade its diamonds on the international
market until it meets a Joint Work Plan (JWP) agreed by both parties at a
plenary meeting held in Namibia last November. Under the JWP Zimbabwe
committed to a phased withdrawal of the armed forces from the diamond fields
and for a monitor to examine and certify that all shipments of diamonds from
Marange met KP standards. Zimbabwe was granted more time to fall in line
with the minimum international standards of diamond trade. But there are
still ongoing reports of brutal military control of the diamond fields and

At a special meeting in Russia in July, KP members agreed to permit Zimbabwe
to export two shipments of diamonds under supervision of the body's
monitors, on condition that the body would investigate conditions in the
Marange fields. The agreement also tied all future exports of diamonds to
clear and measurable progress in ending smuggling and abuses, and allowed
for local civil society groups to participate in monitoring progress in the

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Chinese Sets Up Giant TV Screen Showing Zanu (PF) Jingles

07/01/2011 12:01:00

Harare, January 7, 2011 - The Chinese have built a state of the art giant
television screen in Harare's busiest mall, the First Street, which shows
Zimbabwe's Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television programmes and Zanu
(PF) jingles 24 hours daily.

The project is believed to have cost about US$20 000 and was sponsored by
the Xinhua News Agency in China.

The Minister of Information and Publicity, Webster Shamu, was supposed to be
guest of honour at the unveiling of the huge screen.

The television shows mainly ZBC TV programmes but which are interrupted by
the now "infamous" Zanu PF "Team" advertisement showing President Robert
Mugabe and his two deputies Joyce Mujuru and John Nkomo playing football
together on the same "team".

Insiders said this project would help the Zanu (PF) election campaign at a
time when membership has nose-dived for the former ruling party ahead of
elections pencilled in for later this year.

The huge tv screen has become popular with street kids who sleep on First

The Chinese helped Zanu PF during the liberation struggle against the
British Government leading to Independence in 1980.

The mainstream Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai
this week issued a warning to foreign embassies against continued funding of
Zanu (PF) after the Libyan embassy in Harare donated tractors and other
farming inputs to the party.

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12 perish in accident

By Gugulethu Nyazema
Friday, 07 January 2011 16:51

HARARE - Twelve people died and several others were injured when a South
African registered bus, Luqrey Coach, and a haulage truck collided along the
Masvingo-Beitbridge highway, about 83km outside Masvingo near Ngundu.

The bus was traveling to Harare from Johannesburg and was believed to be
carrying cross border traders. There are fears that the bus could also have
been carrying students coming back from holidays.

According to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), 11 of the people
died on the spot, while one died on admission to hospital.

The accident occurred in the early hours of Friday morning.

The Officer Commanding Masvingo Province, Senior Assistant Commissioner
Fortune Zengeni, said the bus collided head on with the truck which was
carrying cotton lint.

Some of the injured were taken to Chibi Hospital for medical attention.
Police are still verifying the names of the victims.

ZBC also quotes Senior Assistant Commissioner Zengeni saying preliminary
investigations have shown that the bus was speeding and was trying to
overtake another vehicle leading to the collision with the truck which was
going the opposite direction.

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‘Governors must prove they were legally appointed’

By Chengetai Zvauya
Friday, 07 January 2011 10:35

HARARE - Papers filed in the High Court of Zimbabwe by lawyers representing
the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai show that the ten Zanu PF provincial
governors have failed to prove that they were legally appointed by president
Robert Mugabe to their posts in the coalition government.

Tsvangirai, represented by Selby Hwacha of Dube, Manikai and Hwacha, is
challenging the legitimacy and authority of Mugabe's appointed governors.

The respondents are president Robert Mugabe, the ten governors, Cain
Mathema, David Karimanzira, Martin Dinha, Aeneas Chigwedere, Faber
Chidarikire,Jaison Machaya and Christopher Mushowe as well as the Minister
of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo.

Tsvangirai argues that the appointments of the governors did not comply with
the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which stipulates that such appointments
must be made in consultation with all three principals of the GPA.

In the papers, filed on December 24 and copied to the registrar of the High
Court of Zimbabwe and Mugabe’s legal representatives Hussein Ranchod and Co,
Tsvangirai argues that “the context of Rule 18 of the administrative rules
of the High Court is inapplicable in the circumstances of this case
generally and in constitutional cases in particular.

The simplistic interpretation placed on the Rule by the respondents leads to
absurdities which were not intended when the rule was made. It does not make
sense to argue that one must ‘sue the President for authority to sue the

Through his lawyers, Tsvangirai further argues that Rule 18 was not designed
to “and cannot be used to defeat or delay superior rights and obligations
enshrined in the constitution especially where the issues are of importance
as is the case here.”

Tsvangirai says that Mugabe and the governors were clutching onto ''straws''
to justify their tenureship, and that Mugabe was using a colonial law to
duck the issue of the constitutional appointing the governors.

The governors are cited as respondents and are not covered under that rule.
They only responded through supporting affidavits to Mugabe’s legal
arguments without responding to their constitutionally appointment legality.

“Rule 18, if applicable at all is certainly not applicable to these
respondents. They should all have filed responses on the merits considering
also that the First respondent Mugabe was available to them to testify if he
could defend their positions,” said Tsvangirai.

The issue of the governors has remained one of the outstanding issues which
is being disputed by the two MDC factions and Zanu PF.

The MDC factions want this issue to be fully resolved before the expiry of
the two-year term of the GPA next month.

Tsvangirai’s lawyers also challenge the affidavit filed by Maxwell Ranga,
the acting permanent secretary of the ministry of Justice.

“He (Ranga) fails to appreciate that he is conflicted. He has not explained
how he is qualified to render an opinion on the law or to contribute to the

There is no proof that he is authorised to swear an affidavit on behalf of
the first respondent. I further state for the record that any and all
averments in the opposing affidavits which are inconsistent with my founding
affidavit and these answers are disputed and denied.”

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Zim Information Minister Distances Self From Exorbitant Media Fees

07/01/2011 11:18:00

Harare, January 07, 2011 – Information and Publicity Minister, Webster Shamu
has distanced himself from the exorbitant media registration fees recently
gazetted under the repressive Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa).

The fees which went up by 400 percent have been described as punitive and
retributive by media freedom activists.

Shamu said in a statement the fees were pegged by the nine-member Zimbabwe
Media Commission (ZMC), a statutory body regulating the operations of the
local media.

"It (ZMC) only turns to the Minister and the Ministry for legal
administrative instruments that give full effect to its decisions.

Under the new fees, local journalists who work for foreign media will be
required to pay a US$400 accreditation fee, up from US$100, while their
employers will pay US$6000 annually. This is more than double the current
rate of US$2500.

News organisations from the Southern African Development Community now pay
annual fees of US$2000, up from US$1000.

The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists has described the fee hike as retributive.

Although the ZMC, formed last year under Zimbabwe’s Global Political
Agreement, is deemed independent, critics say government forces linked to
President Robert Mugabe could be in control of its decisions.

Zimbabwe is accused of maintaining tough media controls that have curtailed
the operations of its media.

Recent months have seen the arrest of journalists working for the
independent media while supporters of Mugabe’s party have openly advocated
for death penalties on journalists writing so-called lies about Mugabe’s
unpopular administration.

The state media has also been accused by other political parties of being a
Zanu (PF) mouthpiece.

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IOM Stands Ready to Assist Zimbabweans Returned from South Africa

Source: International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Date: 07 Jan 2011

IOM and partners have begun to implement a contingency plan to provide
humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwean migrants who may be forcibly returned
from South Africa this year following the end of a regularization campaign
on 31 December 2010.

Hundreds of thousands of irregular Zimbabwean migrants could face
deportation from South Africa as only about a sixth of the estimated
Zimbabwean irregular migrant population applied for legal status.

Nearly 276,000 Zimbabweans in the end registered for regularization through
the campaign that began last September. However, there are an estimated 1.5
million Zimbabweans living in South Africa, many of whom migrated as a
result of the social and economic unrest in Zimbabwe in recent years.

IOM, together with humanitarian partners and the Zimbabwean and South
African governments will provide humanitarian and protection assistance to
vulnerable returnees, including unaccompanied minors. Under the plan, IOM
with support from local and international organizations has prepositioned
non-food items including tents and blankets at Reception and Support Centres
at the Beitbridge and Plumtree border crossings in Zimbabwe.

The locations, bordering South Africa and Botswana, are two of the principal
points for cross border traffic for Zimbabwean migrants. The IOM Beitbridge
and Plumtree centres, which opened in 2006 and 2008, have assisted some
316,000 and 121,000 returnees respectively with protection services, basic
medical treatment and health-related referrals, temporary shelter, food,
water and sanitation facilities, psychosocial counselling, information on
HIV and AIDS, family tracing and reunification assistance and

In September 2010, agreement was reached between the Zimbabwean and South
African governments to register all Zimbabwean nationals currently residing
in South Africa. As part of the arrangement, irregular Zimbabwean migrants
had to apply for legal residency status based on employment or business
ownership in South Africa by December 31, or risk deportation.

Zimbabwean migrants faced a number of challenges to regularizing their
status, including a backlog for processing passport applications in Zimbabwe

IOM assisted registration efforts by providing material, equipment and staff
to support a mobile registration centre as well as working with a farm
association in the Limpopo border area to identify communities and
facilitate registration of Zimbabwean nationals within the Province.

IOM continues to support community stabilization efforts in some of the most
impoverished migrant sending areas of Zimbabwe through income generation
programmes and other livelihoods initiatives.

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Mugabe reinstates Moyo to Zanu-PF leadership

RAY NDLOVU - Jan 07 2011 11:32

Jonathan Moyo, the controversial spin doctor expelled from Zimbabwe's ruling
Zanu-PF, is on the political comeback trail.

At Zanu-PF's national conference in Mutare before Christmas, President
Robert Mugabe recalled him to the party's politburo, its highest
decision-making body.

It was an indication of Moyo's reviving political fortunes in what he once
described as "a party of octogenarians" -- he was last in the 50-member
politburo in February 2005 before Mugabe fired him from government. But
judging by the roar of applause that met his reappointment, as well as the
smiles of party officials and the gyrating women who welcomed him back,
Zanu-PF and its "Dear Leader" are prepared to forgive and forget.

Mugabe told delegates: "I don't want to call him a prodigal son. He is back
as he was working in the party; he has talent and I am sure we will be
satisfied with his work."

With elections expected this year, Zanu-PF will need Moyo's "talent" as a
former spin doctor in government to drive the party's propaganda machine.

Political observers acknowledge that he was instrumental in securing the
presidency for Mugabe in 2002 amid a wave of anti-Zanu-PF sentiment among

Moyo's role
Although Zanu-PF did not immediately announce Moyo's role in the politburo,
media reports tipped him for the post of deputy political commissar, a post
left vacant by the death of Ephraim Masawi last year.

This would be a new chapter in his zig-zagging 10-year political career in
which he has been a government spokesperson, Zanu-PF information and
publicity minister, an amateur musician who crafted the incessant pro-Mugabe
jingles aired every five minutes on the state broadcaster, an ardent critic
of Mugabe and on two occasions Zimbabwe's sole independent legislator for
the Tsholotsho North constituency. His oscillating loyalties led Mugabe to
label him a "deviant".

Moyo was also the alleged architect of the repressive Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act and the Public Order and Security Act. He
orchestrated the closure of several independent newspapers in 2003.

In 2004 Moyo fell out of favour with Mugabe for allegedly organising the
Tsholotsho Declaration where he lobbied several Zanu-PF bigwigs to support
the appointment of Emmerson Mnangagwa as vice-president at its December
national conference ahead of current incumbent Joyce Mujuru. An angry Mugabe
fired him and suspended several party officials linked to the succession

Last year, however, Moyo rejoined Zanu-PF and began to dress down the
Movement for Democratic Change, accusing it of working with the United
States to set up a parallel government to effect regime change.

Ironically, Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC assisted Moyo's re-election in 2008 as
an independent legislator for Tsholotsho North by not fielding its own
candidate in that constituency, on the understanding that Moyo would side
with the MDC in Parliament. But Moyo has continued to be critical of the
MDC. In the latest example he pounced on the WikiLeaks disclosures to claim
that they prove MDC collaboration with American imperialism.

Moyo told the Mail & Guardian: "We want elections now, as this unity
government is already unworkable.

It is a tragedy that President Mugabe has to sit in Cabinet with Morgan
Tsvangirai who then goes to plot with America to effect illegal and
systematic regime change in the country. And you guys want to give
Tsvangirai the Nobel peace prize."

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Prisoners in Xmas escape

07/01/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

THE head of a medium security prison offered a “fresh air” Christmas treat
for 15 inmates but was made to regret this moments later as the prisoners
scattered in all directions.
Ten of the prisoners were rounded-up and returned to their cells at Wha Wha
Prison in Gweru, but five made good their escape.

The Zimbabwe Prison Service has suspended Wha Wha boss, the
brilliantly-named Chief Prison Officer Chanakidzwa, over the incident,
spokeswoman Priscilla Mtembo said from Bulawayo.

The state-run Herald newspaper reported Friday that alarm was raised just
after lunchtime on Christmas eve after Chanakidzwa offered the prisoners
from Section C a brief “feel of the natural world”.

At the time, prison authorities say there should have been at least three
guards in line with the Prison Service’s four-inmates-per-guard policy.
Officials say no sooner had the prisoners come out of their cells that they
started running in all directions to escape.

A witness said: “The whole incident was like a Hollywood movie. You could
hear Chanakidzwa shouting ‘ndibatsirei vanhuwe! Huyai mundibatsire vasungwa
votiza’ (Help me please, come and help the prisoners are escaping).”

Amazingly, officials said, low-risk prisoners in the last stages of their
sentences, and who are allowed outside, came to Chanakidzwa’s aid as they
helped him round-up ten of the escapees.

However, five slipped the net and enjoyed more than just a brief “feel of
the natural world” as they spent Christmas and New Year as free men. They
were still on the run this week.

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Arrested for encouraging reconciliation in Zimbabwe

Here’s a press statement just received from Rooftop Promotions:

    The Rooftop Promotions ten member team of “Rituals”, which includes 8
artists, 1 driver and 1 tour manager currently on a national tour, was
arrested on the late afternoon of the 5th January 2011 and detained at
Cashel Valley Police station in a case that is not only disrespectful to the
work of artists but also poses  serious challenges to the commitment of the
GNU to healing and reconciliation. The team had finished two performances
for that day when they were invited to the police station to answer a few
questions then later detained for the night without any clear charges. Those
arrested constitute arguably Zimbabwe’s crème de la crème and are
multi-award winners in their craft. They are Chipo Bizure, popularly known
as Eve in Studio 263, Zenzo Nyathi, popularly known as Mzambani on
Amakorokoza, Silvanos Mudzvova, Mandla Moyo, Joyce Mpofu and Rutendo
Chigudu.  The team spent two nights (Wednesday and Thursday) in the cells
and are due to appear in court today (Friday) represented by Cosmos Chibaya
instructed by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights.

    “It is sadly interesting that our artistic work in promoting national
healing and reconciliation, through a play that has been seen by the Organ
on National Healing Reconciliation and Integration and has been approved by
the Board of Censors, is being thwarted like this when the three principals
in the GPA agreed to prioritise national healing and reconciliation in their
end of year address to the nation. We are disturbed, and I should hasten to
say not discouraged or disheartened, by this behaviour from this particular
police station especially considering that we hold a valid censorship
certificate from a board which falls under the same ministry (Home Affairs)
with the police.  We do not take this irrational act lightly at all because
there is nothing funny about sleeping in a police cell for doing your job
and what makes the situation even more disturbing is that we notified the
police appropriately according to the provisions of POSA and had done 16
performances of the same play in that same province late last year and we
were only left with 4 performances hanging in order to fulfil our Manicaland
quota”, says Daves Guzha the founder and producer of Rooftop Promotions.

    We learnt about the arrest on the 5th  January around 5pm and contacted
Officer in Charge Inspector Chasara at Cashel Valley Police Station to
establish the charges being levelled against the team but he was very
evasive with that information and they went ahead to place them in cells.
Only yesterday was it stated through a Sergeant Major, who refused to be
known by his name, did they state the team was being judged for criminal
nuisance under section 46 and there crime was disturbing peace. Theatre is
one of the things exempted under POSA and AIPPA but we still have always
notified police of our activities every time and in this case we released a
schedule to Mutare Central Police which stated the areas we were covering
when we started this tour and out of the 20 scheduled performances for
Manicaland, we were left with only four at the time of arresting and
detaining our team.

    The team’s story, which was supported by people who watched the
performance, was that they started off very well, the people loved the show
and it was only when the play ended that a police detail who was recording
the show confronted them and invited them to the station to answer a few
questions to do with the clearance of staging the play. They explained
everything but still they were detained and it was only at 6am in the
morning that the charge shifted to criminal nuisance whereupon they were
asked to pay a fine of $20.00 each which they refused in no uncertain terms
and insisted they will wait for the Producer since they believed they had
not breached any peace but just did their job to entertain and educate
people. When we arrived at Cashel Valley Police station, the said Sergeant
Major reiterated the same and said he had instructions from the Officer In
Charge to make the team pay the said fine or be detained and taken to court
something that we also could not accept since paying a fine technically
means admission of guilt to a crime the team insisted they never committed.

    “As an artist who believes in the role of theatre in promoting healing
and reconciliation, I watched in pain as I saw my colleagues being escorted
by gun wielding officers as though they were some high profile criminals and
the sad part of it was that they were being locked up for promoting a
national agenda. I did not know whether I needed to be disappointed with the
particular police officers or the entire law enforcement system of my
country as I saw the country’s arts talent being criminalised for doing a
play on healing and reconciliation. At a time when the principals and
parties in the GPA are pushing for reforms and reconciliation before
elections, it is unfortunate that some law enforcing agents cannot wake up
and smell the coffee but still want to live in the Zimbabwe that everyone
else agrees was not good. ”, says Tafadzwa Muzondo the Marketing & Sales
Executive for Rooftop Promotions.

    Written by Stephen Chifunyise after going through a research on
community approaches to healing and reconciliation, directed and produced by
Daves Guzha, featuring Mandla Moyo, Zenzo Nyathi, Joyce Mpofu, Chipo Bizure,
Silvanos Mudzvova and Rutendo Chigudu, “Rituals” is a story told in
panoramic fashion chronicling how community initiated cultural solutions
meet with serious challenges which either prevent their conclusive enactment
or achievement of the desired results.

    “The fact that this production is a result of a community research we
commissioned the writer to do in order to come up with a play that
encourages community initiated or driven healing and reconciliation
processes means it came from the people and we have to take back to them
with our artistic input in order to entertain and educate them. The play has
had up to 30 performances after its successful premiere at Theatre in the
Park last year and also became an instant hit when it was performed at the
All Africa Dance for Peace Festival in Nairobi Kenya last year. It has also
been hailed as an effective tool of making people begin dialogue and
ultimately start their own processes of healing and reconciliation as a
community”, says Daves Guzha the Producer of Rooftop Promotions.

    In discussions and comments after the play, most audience members
expressed the need to have more of such programs in order to demystify the
culture of fear and violence in favour of tolerance and unity in
communities. One of the audience members actually said: “People like us who
have access to newspapers and other information know that there is an Organ
on Healing & Reconciliation but we have not seen what it is doing to do its
work. There are not coming to us to hear our concerns, our grievances and
suggestions so how do they expect to heal us and reconcile us?”

    “The Sergeant Major tried to coax us into paying a fine for a crime we
never committed and as artists we took a collective stand to let the law
take its course because we are not criminals but professionals doing our
job. But after our lawyer communicated that decision to him, he started
becoming un-cooperative and ordered us to beck in cells. One of the ladies
wanted some sanitary pads locked in the car but he refused and we believe
they are using our liberty as a bargaining tool to get out clean with
unlawfully detaining us. As artists, we encourage people to stand for
themselves and their rights so if we cannot stand for ourselves and our
rights also then we become “do as I say not as I do prophets. We refuse to
be incriminated for doing our work and fending for our families”, says
Silvanos Mudzvova, one of the cast members of “Rituals”.

    “Rituals” was performed at the initiated Institute for Justice and
Reconciliation indaba which brought together participants from Zimbabwe’s
all political parties including the Organ on National Healing and
Reconciliation.  It is available on DVD.

This entry was posted on January 7th, 2011 at 9:13 am by Bev Clark

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