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Robert Mugabe could be brought in from the cold
Britain and the EU are preparing to lift sanctions on Robert Mugabe and his closest henchmen in an effort to persuade the Zimbabwean President into holding free and fair elections.
Britain moves to bring Robert Mugabe in from the cold
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe Photo: AFP

A review of the measures that have banned the 88-year old Mr Mugabe, his military allies and key officials, from travel to Europe and froze suspect bank accounts will conclude that sanctions should now be conditionally suspended.

The sanctions were imposed in 2002 after Mr Mugabe oversaw a murderous campaign to drive out white farmers that pushed the economy into a disastrous slump.

European officials have told the Daily Telegraph there is now agreement to bring Zimbabwe back in from the cold but only if new conditions are met.

These include the publication of a new constitution, the adoption of human rights laws, a successful referendum and the conduct of free elections next year.

Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which has been in fragile power sharing pact with Mugabe since 2009, has said a new constitution will be issued next week, a development that has paved the way for a meeting in Brussels next month where the sanctions deal will be signed off.

The officials said that the EU would present a unified position designed to encourage reforms that ensure President Mugabe and his Zanu PF ruling party cannot repeat the 2008 stolen election.

As the former colonial power, Britain's objections to removing or suspending sanctions has ensured that there has only been a gradual easing of restrictions on Zanu PF despite the establishment of the coalition government.

Diplomats said that the British position remained key.

"We know that British interests and priorities are important here and cannot be overridden," said one official. "We are working out a compromise that will see the EU use its influence positively while making the measures conditional. The Sword of Damocles must hang over Mugabe so that he cannot cling to power."

Kate Hoey MP, the chairman of the All Party Zimbabwe group, said the government must not squander the UK leading role in maintaining President Mugabe's isolation. But she acknowledged that the veteran leader, who was stripped of his honorary knighthood in 2006, hankers after international rehabitation. At the funeral of Pope John Paul II Mr Mugabe took the rare opportunity of a visit to Europe to associate himself with world leaders and made a beeline to shake the hand of the Prince of Wales.

"We need to remember that the political progress made so far is almost entirely due to Mugabe hoping that by signing (a power-sharing agreement) he and his associates would be allowed to travel to Europe," Miss Hoey said. "The important thing is to work skilfully to achieve incremental progress towards democracy and rebuilding Zimbabwe."

Officials said that Britain had been influenced by calls from the MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangiri, the prime minister, for the sanctions to be lifted, as well as criticism by Navi Pillay, the UN human rights commissioner. Miss Pilay said the stigma of sanctions was inflicting damage on the Zimbabwean economy.

A Foreign Office spokesman said that circumstances in Zimbabwe had changed since sanctions were put under review earlier this year.

"Since these measures were last reviewed in February we have heard a number of calls, including from the MDC-T and their partners in the Inclusive Government, for us to show flexibility in order to support the process of reform." she said. "For us what matters is putting in place what's needed for free and fair elections, in line with the requirements of the EU Measures, and meeting the key points of progress that are promised along the way."

George Campbell-Johnston, who is one of the more than 3,000 Zimbabwean farmers forced off the land by Mr Mugabe's policies, said the UK government had abandoned Zimbabwe's victims by caving in without securing real change.

"Things may be changing for tourists but its not for others in Zimbabwe. What about the 20,000 locked up without justice," he said. "Zimbabwe has the richest diamond mine in the world and yet one million people are starving."

One of the targeted officials mocked the British position. Didymus Mutasa, Zanu PF's secretary general, said the suspension of sanctions would make little difference to his colleagues.

"I was on the list and my wife was on the list. It makes no difference to me whatsoever," he told The Daily Telegraph. "I won't be going to London, it's very cold and the people are very unfriendly – I would rather stay here."

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Heated debate as Rights Commission Bill is tabled in Parliament

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 July 2012

Parliament on Tuesday discussed the amended Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission
Bill amid an emotionally charged debate by MDC-T legislators, who say it
protects perpetrators of the 2008 political violence.

Of major concern to the MDC-T is a clause in the Bill that prevents Human
Rights Commissioners from investigating cases of rights abuses before they
were sworn into office on 13th February 2009.

It means the commission does not have the power to investigate any of the
political violence in 2008, or before. They can only deal with issues from
February 2009 going forward.

The passage of the Bill through the committee stage was delayed due to
opposition from MDC-T legislators who felt it didn’t address the contentious
issues of killings, torture, and politically motivated violence preceding
the 2008 presidential run-off election.

The Bill was moved by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who told the House
of Assembly that it had been approved by Cabinet last week after the
contentious issues were finally resolved through the involvement of
negotiators to the GPA.

The Rights Bill and the Electoral Amendment Bill, which also sailed through
Parliament Tuesday, were debated in the Senate on Wednesday where they were
expected to sail through. (At the time of writing the debate was still in

In 2009 the unity government pledged to work towards human rights reform and
it was hoped they would conduct credible and transparent investigations into
the serious human rights abuses committed over many years, going back to the
Gukurahundi massacres of the 1980’s.

However, a government minister said attempts at a national healing and
transitional justice programme in Zimbabwe will not be possible while ZANU
PF remains in power.

Moses Mzila Ndlovu, the co-Minister of National Healing from the MDC-N
party, recently said that ZANU PF’s continued presence in government was
undermining attempts to start moving the country forward.

SW Radio Africa was informed that the MDC-T negotiators to the GPA (Tendai
Biti and Elton Mangoma) decided to ‘overlook’ the issue of violence, to
ensure the Human Rights Commission is activated before the next elections.
They appeared to be convinced that the bill would never have got through
without this ‘concession’ to ZANU PF.

But Senator Obert Gutu, the MDC-T deputy Minister of Justice denied their
negotiators ‘overlooked’ violence as both of them are proponents of a fair
justice delivery system. ‘Look, those guys are two of the brainiest people
in the MDC and to say they do not care about what happened to victims of
violence is simply not true.

‘We see this as victory for the MDC because ZANU PF didn’t want this Bill at
all. It’s an achievement for the MDC because we now have what we’ve been
clamoring for, that is a Human Rights watchdog to monitor the elections.

‘I know it falls short of the people’s expectations but let’s also not
forget that the Human Rights Commission has not been operational, in spite
of the fact that its members have been in office for over two years, since
being sworn in by Mugabe in March 2010,’ an MDC-T legislator said.

Legal experts say the Commission is needed to play a vital role during the
next election, where it will have the powers to investigate rights
violations in the country.

‘People should take solace in that any rights violations in the next
elections would be dealt with. We are fighting to win an election, so as
politicians we are saying lets not get bogged down on the past as we believe
most of those cases will be dealt with under the Criminal Reform Act,’ the
MP added.

Lawyer and pro-democracy activist Dewa Mavhinga said the passing of the Bill
in Parliament should not mean there is impunity for past abuses. He said
there should never be a failure to bring perpetrators of human rights
violations to justice, denying the victims their right to justice and

‘The challenge that is there now is to find appropriate mechanisms to deal
with past abuses and ensure that the period preceding the formation of the
unity government is also covered.

‘It is imperative to deal with the crimes of the past and not sweep them
under the carpet in the spirit of reconciliation and nation building.
Victims may feel that their voices are being ignored and it usually leads to
aggrieved individuals taking action into their own hands, adding to the
existing problems,’ Mavhinga said.

Many of those who have committed abuses in the past have remained free to
carry out further acts of violence and intimidation, and those in the
security forces have even been promoted.

In 2008 supporters and officials of ZANU PF, army officers, war vets and
youth militia went on a state sponsored orgy of violence that left over 500
MDC-T supporters dead, tens of thousands injured and half a million

Commenting on the two Bills, the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said
Zimbabwe remains a country with immense challenges relating to the
continuing culture of impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations.

In a statement on Wednesday, the human rights lawyers said without
mechanisms to investigate and deal with past human rights violations the
country will never be able to escape the vicious cycle of impunity, or
ensure that such crimes never happen again.

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Census hit by US$15m budget shortfall

11/07/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE government only set aside US$22 million for the national census due next
month and is now scrambling to raise the additional US$15million required
for the exercise from donors, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said.

Biti said international development partners have so far pledged US$12
million, barely a month before the planned population count which is
scheduled to be carried out from August 17 to 28.

“The cost of census operations in 2012 is estimated at US$37 221 524, the
bulk of these being expenditures on training and actual enumeration. The
budget allocation is US22 million resulting in a shortfall of about US$15, 2
million,” Biti said in a statement Wednesday.

The bulk of the funds would go towards training enumerators and other
support staff.

Meanwhile preparations for the exercise are at an advanced stage with 1,320
district level supervisors currently undergoing training at various centres
across the country.

“This will be followed by the training of around 6 000 enumeration area
supervisors (27 July to 12 August) and about 31 000 enumerators (2 to 12
August),” Biti added.

The school term has also been cut short by a week to facilitate the training
of enumerators, the Education Ministry announced in a statement early this

Schools would now close on August 1, instead of August 9 and re-opening for
the third term, on September 11.

“This move has been necessitated by the need to facilitate the training of
the enumerators for the 2012 population census. The majority of these
enumerators will be drawn from the teaching profession,” the Ministry said.

The last census in 2002 put Zimbabwe's population at approximately 14
million people.

Analysts expect the upcoming census to show either a drop in population
growth or stagnation after an economic crisis drove more than a million
Zimbabweans out of the country over the last decade.

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Census preparations shoddy

In a month’s time, Zimbabwe will be conducting a national population census.
Held decennially, national censuses are a vital tool for any country.

by Editor

They give the government, civil society, the humanitarian community and
other policy and decision makers comprehensive and reliable information
about the country’s population and its characteristics. They provide an
opportunity to closely examine small and special population groups. Economic
and sociological information gathered through censuses is important for
national and sectional planning by governmental and non-state agencies.

The last national census was held in 2002 and the impending one is special
in that it will be conducted after a debilitating socio-political-economic
crisis that has affected us for about a decade.

It will be interesting to note how the crisis has demographically affected
the population.

However, the census’s reliability and usefulness will depend on how it is
conducted throughout the preparatory, enumeration and information
reconciliation stages. Our immediate worry is that Zimstats, which
coordinates the census, seems not to be doing enough to prepare the nation
for the census.

As it stands, the majority of people are in the dark regarding the
soon-to-be held census. Save for one or two isolated advertisements,
Zimstats is not doing anything to publicise this very important process.

One would expect that, by now, Zimstats would have launched a massive public
awareness campaign educating the population about what the census is all
about, its importance and what role citizens should play to ensure that it

Sadly, nothing of that sort is happening. All the censuses held in the past
three decades suffered the same blight. People have become accustomed to
enumerators waylaying them and attempting to explain issues that they find
alien and confusing.

The net effect of failing to inform people adequately ahead of a census is
that it misses its goal of providing dependable and accurate information. In
turn, any subsequent planning on a broad scale is based on insufficient
information and data.

Granted, Zimstats might be facing financial and other constraints at the
moment. However, this is not acceptable as an excuse because there is always
a way of mobilizing resources for this noble cause.

There is no point in setting aside $100 million for the eventuality of an
election, as is the case according Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, when many
do not want it now. That money should be used to augment Zimstats coffers.

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Draft constitution 'ready': Matinenga

11/07/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE’S new draft constitution will be delivered to the ruling coalition
leaders within days, a parliamentary committee in charge of the process said
on Wednesday.

The draft constitution – in the works since 2009 at a cost of more than
US$50 million – has been held up by disagreements between President Robert
Mugabe’s Zanu PF party and the two MDC factions led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Welshman N cube.

But on Wednesday, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric
Matinenga said there had been a major breakthrough, clearing the way for the
final draft to be delivered to the three leaders – the first of three steps
before the draft can become the country’s constitution.

Matinenga said: “We are meeting today as the management committee to polish
the document. Everything has been agreed on and it is safe for me to say the
principals should expect the document anytime from now.

“We understand that Zimbabweans have waited patiently but we are now almost
there because we are moving in the same direction.”

Sources close to the drafting process said the draft was being proof read
and could be delivered to Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Ncube as early as Saturday.

The parties, sources said, had finally found a compromise on contested
issues including devolution, dual citizenship and capital punishment.

The new constitution is a pre-condition set by the coalition parties to any
new elections which are now expected to be called in March next year.

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State house for Prime Minister Tsvangirai completed

By Lance Guma
11 July 2012

The Minister of Public Works, Gabbuza Joel Gabuza, has confirmed to SW Radio Africa that a house being renovated for use by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the Highlands suburb of Harare is now complete.

Speaking on the Question Time programme this Wednesday Gabuza said: “That is a government house, we have completed it. It was under construction by Public Works and we engaged some private contractors whom we worked with, and supervised them and we raised the tenders and everything was done above board.”

Explaining how the project was managed Gabuza added: “Initially we did the evaluation of the property that was in existence before we did the renovations. We negotiated the price with the owner and we acquired the property through the Ministry of Finance to fund the acquisition.”

Gabuza could not confirm if the PM and his new wife Elizabeth Macheka had moved in yet saying: “We have done the handover of the property to the beneficiary, being the Prime Ministers office, so any time they are free to occupy it. It’s complete, it’s a government house, we have put a GP (government property) number on it.”

Asked about allegations that money had personally been given to the Prime Minister for renovations to the house Gabuza told us: “That is not part of the property that I am aware about. The property that we have constructed for the Prime Minister, the money was given to the Public Works Ministry to construct.”

Gabuza said they had, “done the construction. If the Prime Minister was given any other money for the property, it should be a different property but as far as we are concerned we were given the finances to buy the property, renovate the property and we have handed over the property to the Prime Minister’s office.”

To listen to the full interview with Public Works Minister Gabbuza Joel Gabuza: Click Here

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Air Zimbabwe's Second Airbus Arrives

By Professor Matodzi, ZIMBABWE’S ailing national airline, Air Zimbabwe on
Wednesday took delivery of its second Airbus A320 aircraft as the troubled
carrier moves to revive its waning fortunes.

Air Zimbabwe insiders told Radio VOP that the new commercial passenger jet
arrived on Wednesday morning. However, there were no dignitaries to accept
the aircraft as happened in January when Transport, Communications and
Infrastructure Development Minister Nicholas Goche and Central Intelligence
Organisation boss Happyton Bonyongwe received the airline’s first airbus
plane on behalf of the government which is the airline’s majority
shareholder. Only some Air Zimbabwe senior officials were on hand to receive
the plane.

Air Zimbabwe sourced the aircraft from China-Sonangol, an Angolan-based
company. The aircraft, which is part of a family of short- to medium-range,
narrow-body, commercial passenger jet airliners manufactured by Airbus
Industries becomes the national carrier’s second jet after it took delivery
of its first A320 in January, which it is leasing from China-Sonangol for a
five year period. Prior to the agreement, the aircraft was being leased to
Air Guinea International. However, the aircraft is not yet servicing any
routes under unexplained circumstances. Since the arrival of the first
Airbus in January, the aircraft is being kept in the Air Zimbabwe hangar at
Harare International Airport. However, the acquisition of the aircraft was
shrouded in controversy as the airline’s management and the board was not
appraised about the purchase.

The purchase of the two commercial passenger jets adds to 10 the number of
Air Zimbabwe’s aircraft although only one is currently functioning while the
rest of its Boeing and Modern Ark 60 aircraft are undergoing maintenance

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101 reasons exiles can't vote: Chinamasa

11/07/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

JUSTICE Minister Patrick Chinamasa said Wednesday Zimbabweans living outside
the country can forget about taking part in new elections expected next year
as he steered the Electoral Act Amendment Bill through Parliament.

More than a million Zimbabweans are estimated to have left the country in
the last decade alone, many of them escaping a deepening economic and
political crisis. Most settled in neighbouring Botswana and South Africa
while others moved to countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United
Kingdom and the United States.

The two MDC factions have been pressing for exiled Zimbabweans'
participation in crucial elections, but Chinamasa ruled out the prospect
citing various logistical challenges and the fact that senior officials in
his Zanu PF party cannot campaign in Western countries because of travel and
other sanctions.

He claimed that the sanctions made the Dispora vote “a hostage population,
only free and accessible only to one (political party)”.

“With respect to people living in the diaspora, let me say this right from
the outset, there are other 101 reasons why we are not ready for diaspora
voting and I will just enumerate the few. The capacity to have polling
stations in every country where Zimbabweans are is just beyond the capacity
of this country,” Chinamasa said.

He added: “The other consideration and it is very important, given where we
are geo-politically, where we are, we have sanctions imposed against one of
the three political parties in the inclusive government.”

European Union countries and the United States have maintained sanctions
imposed on President Robert Mugabe and senior Zanu PF officials some ten
years ago over allegations of human rights abuses and electoral fraud.

“Those individuals are senior people in a political party and one of the
fundamental elements of democracy is that the voters must be accessible to
all those candidates who want to seek office. They must be accessible to all
not only to a few. It must not be a hostage population, only free and
accessible only to one of us,” Chinamasa said.

Meanwhile, the amendment bill requires that results of Presidential
elections should be published within five days of the vote, a provision
aimed at preventing the crisis of 2008 when a month-long delay stoked
tensions amid claims officials were massaging the figures in Mugabe’s

A special body would also be established to deal with cases of political
violence during elections with the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission empowered
to summon candidates, or political parties over the issue.

Fresh elections are now expected next year after the regional SADC body
which helped negotiate the Global Political Agreement (GPA) urged parties to
the deal to speed up implementation of political reforms and call new
elections within 12 months.

The parties agree that the coalition government is no longer workable due to
disputes over policy but disagree over the timing of new elections for a
substantive administration.

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Police accused of murdering suspects

There are chilling allegations that police eliminate wanted criminals at
stage-managed field investigation exercises in the countryside, a highly
placed source told The Zimbabwean.

by Staff Reporter

According to the source, suspects regarded as dangerous criminals by police,
would be taken to remote areas and shot dead or left with permanent
disabilities. Investigating officers would claim that the suspects met their
fate as they attempted to flee lawful arrest.

“Such ill-fated field investigations are common place and hundreds of
suspects – mostly those accused of serious offences such as armed robbery
and political activists - have fallen victim to them. Dangerous criminals
with connections within the police were spared. The practice has forced a
number of junior CID officers to resign or seek internal transfer to the
uniformed section, as the gruesome practise was against their conscience,”
said the high-ranking police source.

When The Zimbabwean visited Harare Remand Prison recently, a number of
people visiting detained relatives complained about how some suspects were
either killed or injured during such investigations.

“An inmate accused of committing a serious crime was recently shot in the
leg as he reportedly attempted to flee from police custody at an undisclosed
location. Several others sustained serious dog bites under similar
suspicious circumstances,” said a concerned visitor at the remand prison.

Meanwhile, some former detainees accused plain clothes Criminal
Investigations Department officers of continuing to use severe torture as
means of extorting confessions from the accused.

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Questions raised over Masvingo court arson attack

By Alex Bell
11 July 2012

A suspected arson attack at a court in Masvingo has left thousands of
dollars of destruction in its wake and prompted people to question why the
records were deliberately targeted.

Court records and office property were destroyed in the fire at the Masvingo
Magistrates’ Court, which came under attack from suspected arsonists on
Monday morning.

Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Assistant Inspector Tinaye Matake
was quoted as saying that investigations have so far shown that the
arsonists gained entry into the court through the perimeter fence. He said
the criminals entered the building and went through the court’s accounts
department before torching the records office.

“We are still investigating the case, but preliminary indications show that
the unknown arsonists cut the court’s fence and attempted to enter into the
accounts office before they burnt the documents,” he said.

Matake added that the police were still to establish the motive behind the
attack and establish the extent of the damage. But it is understood that the
kind of documents targeted in the fire are believed to be completed legal

“We are still investigating to establish what got burnt, the motive behind
the arson as well as the damage done to the building,” Matake said.

The attack appears to have been well thought out, with evidence of dynamite
sticks being used to spark the destruction. This suggests that the arsonists
could be linked to the mining industry where dynamite is readily available,
or that they potentially have connections in that sector.

Meanwhile this is not the first time that arsonists have targeted the courts
in Masvingo Province. Last year, the Chiredzi Magistrates’ Court was
targeted by suspected arsonists in a case that has still not been resolved.

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Coltart pulls back criticism in private school shares row

11/07/2012 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

EDUCATION Minister David Coltart said Wednesday he had reached an agreement
with his indigenisation counterpart, Saviour Kasukuwere over a bid to force
private schools to come under majority black control in line with the
country’s empowerment laws.

“I am pleased to report that I had a very constructive discussion with
(Empowerment) Minister Saviour Kasukuwere this (Wednesday) evening regarding
the Indigenisation notice recently issued,” Coltart wrote on his Facebook

“We are agreed that the rights contained in section 20(3) of the
Constitution, namely the right of religious and other groups to set up and
run schools, will be fully respected by Government.

“Accordingly all mission, church, religious, community and trust schools run
not for profit will not be subject to any indigenisation policy.”

Kasukuwere triggered jitters in the exclusive private schools sector last
week when he issued a government notice ordering them to comply with the
country’s empowerment law which requires 51 per cent shareholding by locals.

Explaining the rationale behind the shock move, Kasukuwere’s advisor,
Psychology Maziwisa who blogs for wrote: “Trust-run schools
in the country which seem rather disinclined to reflect the Zimbabwean dream
where everyone is treated equally despite their race or financial
circumstance, where local people and institutions are given priority over
alien ones.

“They still prefer Cambridge exams to the Zimsec ones; their fees are just
too high and white kids seem to get far much easier access than black kids.”

Coltart dismissed the move as “unlawful, unconstitutional and therefore

But he said Wednesday the deal agreed with Kasukuwere should help provide
clarity going forward.

“I hope that the agreement in this regard will settle all those parents,
teachers, administrators and other interested in the education sector who
feared that this critically important component of our education sector was
going to be disrupted,” he said.

“I encourage all those who have been concerned this past week to stop
worrying and to get on with the fine work they have been doing in delivering
a quality education to tens of thousands of Zimbabwean children.”

The coalition government remains divided over the country’s empowerment
programme which is being pushed by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.
Rivals claim the policy is aimed at further enrich already wealthy and
well-connected Zanu PF elite.

Divisions have also been emerged within Zanu PF with Kasukuwere clashing
publicly with central bank governor Gideon Gono over application of the law
to the financial services sector.

Kasukuwere wants key banks such as Barclays, Standard Chartered brought
under local control, accusing them of refusing to lend to black Zimbabweans
while Gono argues that forced seizures could destabilise the sector and
imperil the country’s fragile economic recovery.

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ZESA audit reveals massive corruption

An internal Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority investigation has
unearthed rampant corruption involving officials tampering with accounts.

by Criswell Chisango

The investigation, codenamed Operation Dandemutande (Cobweb), started in
April and has revealed that ZESA officers are deleting accounts with debts
and replacing them with new ones that show no money is owing. A report in
the hands of The Zimbabwean says the officials colluded with account holders
who paid them in cash or kind to destroy their bills.

A memo dated April 15 from an investigating team covering Karoi, Kariba and
Mhangura in Mashonaland West province and addressed to the Field Commander
of the area gives insight into this massive scam thought to be common in all
parts of the country.

The Dandemutande audit, commissioned by Energy Minister Elton Mangoma,
targeted unauthorised rural and urban power connections, illegal substations
and subcontractors.

According to a document compiled after the investigations, some of the
officials alleged to have abused their authority are now on forced leave.
The findings reveal that some of them received bribes for as little as $4 to
cancel the debts that had accumulated.

Other officials accepted bribes running into thousands of dollars, and in
some cases demanded sex from defaulting clients.

Karoi was described as a ‘’haven of corrupt (ZEDTC) workers’’, where
investigators said, customers implicated a ZEDTC worker who was being paid
amounts ranging from $10 to $20 for ‘‘burying accounts’’.

The same employee also received thousands of dollars from clients with huge
bills. He used the Change of Tenancy facility to re-open new accounts that
had been closed.

The investigators’ report said an account with a debt of $2,682.11 was
‘‘buried’’ and reopened in the official’s name, adding that, at one time,
the corrupt official demanded a beast from a client who owed $984.90.

Officials also accepted bribes running into thousands of dollars, received
cattle and in some cases demanded sex from defaulting clients.

In one case, a house was being reconnected every month, with the user paying
the corrupt meter readers amounts ranging from $10 - $20.

Only the senior meter reader has been sent on forced leave, and it was not
clear at the time of going to print why no action had been taken against the
other offenders.

Inside sources revealed that the power utility had not instituted legal
action against the offenders from Mashonaland West.

A senior Zesa official working at the Chitungwiza offices confided to The
Zimbabwean that cases of ‘’burying’’ accounts were rampant.

‘‘What you have heard about in Mashonaland Central is nothing compared to
Harare and Chitungwiza,’’ he said. ‘‘Here, people are buying cars and houses
using the bribes they get. Senior employees are involved.’’

He added that Zesa employees had become cautious after learning about
Dandemutande. Questions sent to the Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira, had
not been responded to at the time of going to print.

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Deeply-Divided Cabinet Skirts Indigenization Debate

10 July 2012

Blessing Zulu | Washington

Zimbabwe's deeply-divided cabinet, meeting Tuesday following President
Robert Mugabe’s return from Singapore, avoided the contentious issue of
indigenization to focus on other social and economic issues.

Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who sparked the row, is said to
be climbing down after intense pressure from his opponents in the inclusive

Cabinet sources told Studio 7 that on the agenda of the cabinet meeting was
a report on inputs, mines, energy, cotton prices, parliament and the
long-delayed new constitution.

The indigenization issue was shelved as it was feared it would only widen
cracks in the unity government, the sources said.

Kasukuwere touched off a storm with a government notice last week ordering
foreign banks to reduce shareholding in their Zimbabwe operations to the 49
percent within a year as required by the law.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai - backed by Finance Minister Tendai
Biti and Reserve Bank chief Gideon Gono - declared the notice "null and

The Tsvangirai camp is urging a cautious approach, arguing that applying the
51% local ownership threshold to banking could destabilize a sensitive and
key sector of the country’s struggling economy.

Both Gono and Kasukuwere had promised to approach cabinet and President
Mugabe to intervene.

But Kasukuwere, who had vowed to side-step Biti and Gono, and deal directly
with the investors has reportedly climbed down saying he will now consult
the two.

Economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labour and Economic Development Research
Institute of Zimbabwe says Kasukuwere’s position is dangerous for the

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Drought-Stricken Zimbabwe Farmers Stranded As Grazing Lands Diminish

10 July 2012

Gibbs Dube | Washington

Subsistence farmers in drought-stricken areas of Matabeleland South and some
parts of the Midlands Province are being forced to pay up to $40 a month to
access grazing land in farms occupied by beneficiaries of Zimbabwe’s
controversial land reform program.

Some of the affected farmers told Studio 7 Tuesday that most of them are
failing to raise money to pay for grazing land, adding they fear that they
may end up losing their livestock.

The farmers said some of them have resorted to parceling out livestock to
resettled farmers who are demanding a beast from each villager with at least
10 cattle before allowing them to have access to greener pastures.

Some of the farmers who are refusing to part with beasts and have no source
of income are believed to be driving their cattle into the resettlement
areas at night.

Plumtree farmer Patrick Nyathi said the situation is getting out of hand as
the majority of communal farmers can’t afford to pay the high grazing costs.

“It’s a pity that the government is not in a position to help these
farmers,” said Nyathi.

Mataga farmer Thembinkosi Ndlovu said some parts of the Midlands Province’s
Mberengwa District still have grazing land though their livestock no longer
have access to drinking water.

Drought has gripped most parts of Masvingo, Matabeleland, Manicaland and
Midlands where villagers are now living on one meal a day while their
livestock is in danger of being decimated by the dry spell, one of the worst
in years.

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Zanu PF bombing suspect demands trial

11/07/2012 00:00:00
by Stephen Chadenga

LAWYERS representing an aide of Prime Minister and MDC-T leader Morgan
Tsvangirai accused of bombing the Zanu PF offices in Gweru have demanded
investigators get their act together after the trial was moved to next
month, the third time the case has been postponed.

Gweru magistrate Mildred Mutuvi moved the case to August 2 after prosecutors
and defence lawyers said they had only been presented with the dockets on
Wednesday morning, the day the trial was supposed to start.

Abisha Nyanguwo (45) denies involvement in the midnight blast which rocked
Zanu PF’s Gweru offices on December 27 and his lawyer was outraged when the
case was again postponed on Wednesday.

Reginald Chidawanyika said his client was placed on remand in April this
year but claimed investigators had failed to make the docket until the day
of the trial.

“I am amazed that police took this long to complete the docket. The
prosecutor advised me that he was served with the docket this (Wednesday)
morning and we as defence counsel were also furnished with state papers
today despite having written asking for sate papers on the 26th June,”
Chidawanyika said.

“But when my client was placed on initial remand in April the courts
indicated that the matter had to be fast tracked since it is an urgent

Nyanguwo was arrested in March this year after his vehicle was allegedly
linked to the blast at Zanu PF’s Development House offices along 7th Street
in central Gweru. The arrest followed a police raid at his Harare home where
investigators confiscated his Isuzu truck, claiming it had been used in the

Prosecutors claim Nyanguwo drove to the Zanu PF offices at around 2300hrs
where he planted two explosive devices and ignited them before speeding
away. The explosion is said to have destroyed
property worth $900 in the process.

Nyanguwo was remanded out of custody on $500 bail and ordered to stay at his
Harare house and surrender all traveling documents.

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Farm invader fails in UK asylum bid

10.07.1203:19pm 0 0
by Staff Reporter

LONDON - A recent case in the British courts confirmed that anyone involved
as a member of the ruling Zanu (PF) party with farm invasions is NOT
eligible for refugee status. The court found a Zimbabwean national
identified only as SK, who had beaten farm workers in farm invasions
intended to drive farmers and farm workers away from their farms, had
committed inhumane acts amounting to crimes against humanity and by virtue
of the UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees 1951 was excluded

SK had been actively involved with Zanu (PF) mobs in two farm invasions,
shortly after which she was raped by another member of the youth militia. It
was this rape which had led to her leaving the country. The Upper Tribunal
found that these two farm invasions were part of widespread systematic
attacks against the civilian population of farmers and farm workers, carried
out not just with the full knowledge of the regime but as a deliberate act
of policy by it, with the intention of advancing its grip on power,
suppressing opposition, and helping its supporters.

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Biti in a fix

Mernat Mafirakurewa/Bernard Mpofu 9 hours ago

Finance minister Tendai Biti faces a herculean task of addressing the
growing distress among the country’s civil servants and the stuttering
economic recovery on the back of dwindling revenue inflows into Treasury.

Biti, who is next Wednesday expected to present his mid-term fiscal policy
review, has to contend with failure to realise budget revenue targets set in
November last year, attributed to the under-performance of the revenue from

As a result, he has already indicated he would revise downwards the 2012
National Budget targets. He said failure by Anjin, a local diamond mining
firm, to pay proceeds from diamond sales to Treasury would impact negatively
on the $4 billion National Budget where $600 million was expected from the
sale of the precious mineral.

Being the head of the exchequer, Biti is currently under pressure from
agitated public servants who recently issued an ultimatum calling for a
salary increase.

His submission to this demand could further squeeze the fiscal space as the
government has no alternative revenue sources due to limited foreign direct
investment blamed on the country’s economic policies such as indigenisation

Official figures indicate that the government wage bill currently accounts
for over 70% of monthly revenues.

Cumulatively, revenue collections as at March were off the mark by close to
$100 million after $771,1 million was collected against a set target of
$869,7 million.

Revenue from diamonds is said to have been a paltry $30,4 million against a
target of $122,5 million.

Political and economic commentator Alexander Rusero said Biti was in a
“catch-22 situation” as he also had to budget for the referendum and

“Should we go for elections without food or have food without a vote? This
is what people must consider. Biti is like a fire extinguisher,” he said.
He said while civil servants were demanding a salary increment, there was
need for the minister to strike a balance with the demands by other key
sectors such as health, education and the need for infrastructure

Turning to the performance of diamonds, Rusero said: “There has been a lot
of politicking regarding diamonds. It has, however, dawned that revenue from
diamonds cannot be the alpha and omega of Zimbabwe’s problems.”

Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce chief economist Kipson Gundani said:
“The government has been operating with limited fiscal space since the
formation of the inclusive government and what is worrisome is that there
are no new revenue sources for Treasury.“The economy has stagnated and we
expect a huge budget deficit this year because the government is the largest
debtor to most utilities and other service providers.”

Biti — who is also facing increasing pressure from the country’s
securocrats — last month told Parliament the Public Service Commission had
recruited 10 000 staffers, among them 4 600 soldiers, between January and
May this year without approval from Treasury.

The Home Affairs ministry is said to have employed an additional 1 200
personnel, a development critics say could be in preparation for the next
general elections. In addition Treasury granted the employment of 24 000
temporary teachers up to May 2012. Biti, on the other hand, could upset the
applecart by taking heed of the International Monetary Fund which is calling
for more austerity measures as the economy continues to be run on a cash
system basis in the absence of limited financial aid. Additional pressure on
Treasury is also emanating from the failure of the maize crop during the
past season.
According to official figures, of the 1,6 million hectares that were put
under the staple crop, close to 500 000 hectares were written off as a
result of prolonged dry spells, meaning the country will have to continue

The under-performance of the agricultural sector, once regarded as the
backbone of the economy, combined with rising global food prices, is also
expected to exert more pressure on food inflation. - NewsDay

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Manufacturing Sector Failing to Adapt to New Challenges

10 July 2012

Irwin Chifera & Gibbs Dube | Washington

The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, CZI, says the country’s
manufacturing sector is in a crisis because it has not adapted to new
challenges that came with the introduction of multiple currencies three
years ago.

CZI president Kumbirai Katsande told parliament’s industry and commerce
committee on Tuesday that about 75 percent of goods in local shops are
sourced from outside the country, an indication the local industry is

Katsande said dollarization of the economy meant that local companies have
to compete on the international market, and companies without international
links are failing to cope.

He scoffed at attempts by the so-called Buy Zimbabwe Campaign to promote the
purchase of local goods, saying the initiative was a waste of time as the
manufacturing sector is almost dysfunctional.

Most industries are operating below capacity due to lack of capital to boost
their production and fears over the black economic empowerment program being
spearheaded by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere recently published a
controversial notice giving banks, education institutions and companies in
the tourism sector and others to start transferring majority shares to local

Under the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act, foreign-owned
companies are compelled to part with a stake of 51 percent.

Bulawayo businessman Bulisani Ncube commended the CZI boss for highlighting
serious challenges being faced by the manufacturing sector saying it is
expensive to produce goods in Zimbabwe.

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Masvingo residents gripped by water shortage fears

By Alex Bell
11 July 2012

Residents in Masvingo are believed to be seriously concerned about an
impending water shortage, with water levels at the Lake Mutirikwi sitting at
only 29% full.

The lake is crucial for the lives and livelihoods of Masvingo province. But
it’s understood that water levels are now so low that residents fear there
won’t be enough to last Masvingo city until the next rainy season.

The low levels are believed to be a record for the past 20 years, and there
are serious fears not only for the welfare of the Masvingo city residents,
but also for the surrounding businesses.

The various sugar cane plantations in the lowveld rely heavily on the lake
for irrigation purposes and already there is concern for the future of some

Masvingo Mayor Alderman Femias Chakabuda was quoted as saying this week that
the water levels are alarming and there is every reason to panic.

“I am not a water engineer but seeing from a layman yes, I am scared at the
rate it’s discharging water downstream and also the levels of the lake at
this time of year,” said Chakabuda. “We are getting scared.”

Meanwhile there are also reports that the Mutirikwi dam wall has developed
cracks posing even more problems to families living downstream, who will
face danger if the dam breaks.

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Mpofu went it alone: Court told

Written by Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:38

HARARE - Ex-secretary for mines and mining development ministry Thankful
Musukutwa, says he was on many occasions left out in negotiations that
culminated in the signing of a shareholders’ agreement between Zimbabwe
Mining Development Cooperation (ZMDC) and Core mining.

ZMDC and Core in 2010 partnered in the mining of Chiadzwa diamonds but the
deal flopped when its directors were arrested on charges of fraud.

Musukutwa told High Court Judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu that Mines and
Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu directly dealt with potential
investors for Chiadzwa diamond fields.

He said he came to know most of the information concerning the deal by
chance because he worked close to the minister’s office.

“It is just that I was lucky because I worked close to the office of the
minister, that is how I got most of the information on the Core Mining
deal,” Musukutwa told Bhunu.

Lovemore Kurotwi — representing Core and Ex-ZMDC boss Dominic Mubaiwa are in
court facing charges of fraud amounting to $2 billion after a failed
investment by a South Africa-based diamond guru Benn Steinmeitz Group
Resources (BSGR).

They also face allegations of misrepresentation of facts to government on
the investment deal by BSGR which led to a prejudice of $2 billion on the
part of the state.

But according to Musukutwa — who was the chief accounting officer in the
ministry — if there was any misrepresentation, it was not done in his

He also said the ministry had “its owners” who were not him.

He said as far as he was concerned, the two (Kurotwi and Mubaiwa) did
nothing wrong.

“I had good working relations with them; I only came to know of their
charges in the press,” Musukutwa said.

The matter was postponed to July 23 when the state is expected to call four
other witnesses while it prepares for an inspection in loco in South Africa.

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'Zim needs rule by consent'

Written by Editor
Wednesday, 11 July 2012 14:41

HARARE - True governments derive their mandate from the governed, outgoing
United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray said yesterday.

He was addressing reporters after paying a courtesy call on Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai at his offices in Harare.

“There is nothing like a democratic government but representative
government, a true government that meets, that satisfies its people. True
government derives its consent from the governed and a representative
government works for the people not vice versa,” said Ray.

The US envoy said relations between Zimbabwe and United States were thawing
but could be better if parties concentrate on issues of mutual interest.

“Instead of political bickering, political leaders should focus more on
mutual interest and developmental issues. The US has had a permanent
existence in this country; we have never downgraded or changed even though
relations have been a little rocky."

“We spend a lot of time hurling insults at each other instead of talking
productive issues. If we could start harmonising relations, we just have to
find more productive things to work together on,” he said.

President Robert Mugabe and hawks in his Zanu PF party have taken every
opportunity to take pot shots at the US for allegedly financing a regime
change agenda in Zimbabwe.

But the US envoy said his country had no intention to impose a government in

“I have learnt those certain universal standards that apply to any language,
culture and country. That is dignity, respect of rule of law, honesty,
integrity, and transparency.

“If I see something, even as a private citizen that I know is wrong, I will
speak on it. The point is government should understand and satisfy the needs
of its people,” he said.

Ray said Zanu PF’s claims that the US has denied them credit lines was
unjustified as Zimbabwe had not applied for any credit for the past four

“We make constant reviews on what you call sanctions. It is cumbersome but
we make changes were we drop or add people. But if I remember on credit
lines, Zimbabwe has not applied for the past three or four years,” he said.

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Position on the temporal jurisdiction of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission

11 July 2012

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) continues to follow closely, and
with interest, the progress relating to the operationalisation of the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).
ZLHR commends the renewed commitment by the Minister of Justice & Legal
Affairs, and Parliament, to finalise the legislation required to make the
ZHRC functional. This is long overdue. It is also in line with
recommendations to ensure that the ZHRC can commence its operations as soon
as possible, as accepted by the Government of Zimbabwe during the United
Nations (UN) Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of Zimbabwe
held last year, and as strongly expressed by UN High Commissioner for Human
Rights, Navi Pillay, during her visit to Zimbabwe earlier this year.

The importance of having an operational commission to deal with protection
of human rights cannot be over-emphasised, particularly in a society where
violations of fundamental rights and freedoms remain prevalent. The urgency
of having a functional mechanism to investigate and deal with violations is
further heightened where elections loom, and bearing in mind previous trends
in Zimbabwe where such violations escalate in the run-up to, and following,
key electoral and other political processes.
So too, Zimbabwe remains a country with immense challenges relating to the
continuing culture of impunity for perpetrators of human rights violations.
Without providing mechanisms to investigate and deal with past human rights
violations – whether through trials, national enquiries, reparations,
memorialisation, amongst other means – our society will never be able to
escape the vicious cycle of impunity or ensure non-recurrence of such
heinous crimes.

There has been much debate and speculation in relation to the emotive issue
of the temporal jurisdiction of the ZHRC, which has been set in the ZHRC
Bill as 13 February 2009 – a date agreed by the three negotiating political
ZLHR has also noted the intention of the government to establish a national
mechanism that will deal with issues relating to post-conflict justice,
healing and reconciliation separately from the ZHRC, although precise
details as to the ambit of such a mechanism remain sparse. This accords with
regional and continental good practice, where human rights institutions and
truth/justice/reconciliation commissions have traditionally been separate

ZLHR is of the considered view that there is urgent need to approve the
legislation that will operationalise the ZHRC and allow it to substantively
commence its functions. It is a critical institution in the difficult battle
to reduce, stop and/or prevent ongoing and future human rights violations in
Zimbabwe. It must be fully functional in order to play its role as elections
approach. Resistance in relation to the issue of temporal jurisdiction is
delaying such operationalisation and ensuring that the ZHRC cannot act on
any ongoing and future human rights violations.

At the same time the political parties in government must, with urgency and
guided by the recommendations made by survivors of past human rights
violations, establish an independent mechanism to deal with issues relating
to past human rights violations and atrocities. The mandate of this
independent mechanism must be to deal with all past human rights violations
that have occurred in Zimbabwe, including the pre-Independence era, as well
as the post-Independence atrocities of Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina,
and electoral-related crimes, amongst others.

It is the role of government to ensure the speedy establishment of such an
independent and credible mechanism. However political parties, trade unions,
the broad civil society, non-governmental organisations, and survivors of
violations and their families, must also ensure that they play their role in
ensuring that sufficient pressure is brought to bear on the government to
make this a reality and to do so with urgency.

Further, and for the avoidance of any doubt, it must be clearly understood
and stressed that crimes committed in the past remain crimes, whether or not
a national human rights institution or other mechanism exists to deal with
past human rights violations. Government, political players and other
perpetrators of violations must disabuse themselves of the notion that the
creation of such mechanisms removes responsibility and punishment for such

There is a constitutional and legal obligation on the police, the
prosecutorial authorities and the judiciary to respectively investigate and
arrest, prosecute, and punish convicted perpetrators. ZLHR expects these
constitutional duties to be carried out without fear or favour, and will
continue to exercise its watchdog role in this regard.

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Zimbabwe: A country left behind on AIDS surges ahead

Despite being largely left behind by PEPFAR, Zimbabwe has still managed to reduce its HIV prevalence rate.

DUFUYA, Zimbabwe — Tendekai Sibanda, a single mother of two, starts her day at 4:30 am. After preparing a meal on firewood in a dimly lit thatched hut, she trudges village to village, covering up to 12 miles a a day on foot to attend to bed-ridden AIDS patients.

In this poor village roughly 200 miles southwest of Harare, the capital, the fight against AIDS is distinctly Zimbabwe’s own. The country was largely left behind in the AIDS fight by the US government when Washington started the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) in 2003 under President George W. Bush.

Instead, Zimbabwe relies on its own well-mapped network of community health workers such as Sibanda, who fan out daily across the country to make sure the country’s AIDS patients receive care. Evidence is emerging that the model works. Zimbabwe’s HIV prevalence among adults aged 15 to 49 stood at 15 percent in 2011, down from 18 percent in 2006, according to national Demographic and Health Surveys.

With funding from the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and planning organized by Zimbabwe’s Health Ministry, health workers were trained and given a small salary. They became the country’s front-line health soldiers.

Sibanda couldn’t believe her good fortune, saying, “I had always yearned for an opportunity to learn more health care and actually caring for the people.”

Still, what makes the case of Zimbabwe so curious – and even confounding to many outside observers – is that this country found success even though it was largely cut out of the big spending by PEPFAR’s list of 15 so-called “focus countries.”

This graphic shows PEPFAR funding of its 15 focus countries and one not on list, Zimbabwe, which received far less than all but one focus country. It also shows HIV prevalence in several countries. In Zimbabwe, HIV prevalence dropped by 3 percent since 2006, while in Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, and Ethiopia, prevalence has changed very little.HIV prevalence is a snapshot of the number of people HIV positive at a specific moment. As treatment expands, a steady prevalence rate may indicate that fewer people are getting infected and more HIV-positive people are living longer.

(Emily Judem/GlobalPost)

A simple decision made nine years ago – countries either made a favored list, or were left off – meant hitting the aid jackpot or being left at the loser’s table. Zimbabwe wasn’t the only loser. Others were Malawi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Cameroon, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Each of them, based on a decision made by a handful of people in Washington, lost out on hundreds of millions of dollars by not being a PEPFAR focus country.

The reason for excluding Zimbabwe from the bulk of funds was no mystery. Its government, led by long-time President Robert Mugabe, was mostly punished by Western donors because of its election fraud; human rights abuses; and its policy to seize white-owned farms and give them to black Zimbabweans, many of whom were cronies of Mugabe.

The result: Zimbabwe, with an HIV prevalence rate of 15 percent, has received $200 million in direct US funding for AIDS since 2003, while ‘focus’ country Ethiopia, with an HIV prevalence rate of 1.5 percent, has received $1.6 billion under PEPFAR.

Zimbabwe had roughly a 10 times higher prevalence rate than Ethiopia, yet Ethiopia received $1.4 billion more.

Are countries better off with less funding?

So how did Zimbabwe reduce its HIV prevalence rate with dramatically less assistance than other countries? Are countries forced to depend on themselves in some instances better off without huge amounts of donor funding? And is Zimbabwe’s experience a model for a future when PEPFAR begins to dwindle and countries fend more for themselves?

Experts disagree on the answers to those questions, and several point out that other outside funders – notably the Global Fund, a multi-lateral effort, which includes roughly one-third US funding – played a major role in supporting almost all of Zimbabwe’s efforts.

Since 2003, the Global Fund has earmarked $538 million to Zimbabwe for health programs, including nearly $193 million for HIV/AIDS. In comparison, Zimbabwe’s contribution, while steadily increasing from a national AIDS levy from $5 million collected in 2006 to $19 million in 2010, has covered a small fraction of the cost. Overall, the country’s AIDS fight has had more than a $1 billion less to spend than Ethiopia’s in the last decade.

But no one denies that Zimbabwe was forced to do more with less. And its results are better than many PEPFAR-favored countries.

Geoff Foster, a Zimbabwe-based pediatrician and a global HIV expert, said that the local response strategy – the one deploying thousands of workers like Tendekai Sibanda – is largely responsible for the decline in HIV prevalence. He said Zimbabwe not only learned from its own experts but also from other African countries, such as Uganda, to focus its response on educating people to stop having multiple sex partners.

“Zimbabwe’s home-grown HIV prevention response ... has been enormously beneficial,” Foster said. “Zimbabwe’s response has focused on behavioral change rather than simple condom promotion. Having multiple sex partners is what drives HIV epidemics.”

Foster, who founded the Family AIDS Caring Trust in 1987 to promote sexual abstinence outside marriage and faithfulness within marriage, said that the strategy had its problems at the start.

“We were involved in HIV prevention work, yet national HIV rates were increasing rapidly in the 1990s,” he said, citing UNAIDS statistics that at one point said Zimbabwe’s HIV prevalence rate was 30 percent – a figure that now is acknowledged as exaggerated due to faulty statistical modelling.

Local effort yields results

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is pictured 16 June 2004 during the official opening of the first national AIDS conference in Harare. Mugabe voiced confidence that Zimbabwe can win the fight against AIDS, which he described as 'one of the greatest challenges' facing the southern African nation.

(-/AFP/Getty Images)

Foster said that his organization joined with the Mutare City Council in 1993 to start a peer education program aimed at stopping multiple sexual partnerships. A later study showed a 50 percent decrease in sexually transmitted infections in city clinics in one year.

He said PEPFAR failed to more explicitly promote monogamy or even partner reduction, although one-third of the US prevention funding in PEPFAR was the so-called “ABC” strategy: abstinence, being faithful, and condoms. This strategy was widely criticized in many donor and AIDS expert circles, but Foster said he believes that it worked in Zimbabwe and Uganda. Uganda used the approach of treating HIV primarily as risk avoidance, treating HIV as a behavioural rather than a technical and medical challenge.

“Imagine if $15 billion was made available to address lung cancer on a global scale. Surely we would have to address smoking behaviour, not smoking in the first place, stop smoking or at least take fewer cigarettes per day,” he said.

Dr. Henry Madzorera, Zimbabwe’s health minister, said in an interview it was easy to successfully implement the Uganda strategy in Zimbabwe because HIV evokes a personal touch to many Zimbabweans.

A commitment rooted in personal loss

“Almost every Zimbabwean has a relative or close friend who died from the disease,” he said. “That has also emerged as a strength, because even when we are low on money we can always count on our people. Communities always rally together when it comes to organizing against HIV,” he said, adding that despite the fall in prevalence rate, Zimbabwe still is in dire need of funding.

The National AIDS Council, a quasi-government organ set up to coordinate the fight against HIV, launched a community response programme emphasizing prevention in 2001. By 2004, the Council claimed that the prevalence rate had dropped from 30 percent to 24.6 percent among those aged 15 to 49.
Still, doubts remain about the statistics. Some of those doubts are rooted in the reality in the country’s hospitals and health clinics.

A file picture shows Zimbabwean women's pressure groups as they march in Harare on December 1, 2005 to mark World AIDS Day.

(STR/AFP/Getty Images)

The public health infrastructure has suffered from years of neglect and of tens of thousands of trained health workers fleeing the country for better-paying jobs elsewhere. In the hospitals, record keeping often is suspect and buildings are dilapidated.

At Harare Central Hospital’s opportunistic infections unit, patients form long lines for prescription drugs and doctors say they are running out of space for patients in the wards.

Dr. Tapiwanashe Bwakura, who joined the hospital straight from medical school in 1988 and now heads the opportunistic infections unit, said finding enough health workers is a huge challenge. Only a handful of doctors and nurses are around to serve a daily stream of between 200 and 300 people, he said.

One patient, who declined to give her name, interviewed in the line said receiving AIDS treatment went smoothly when she started in 2006, but the last few years has been more difficult because of the growing numbers of patients.

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Conflicts over urban agriculture in Harare, Zimbabwe – by Anna Brazier

July 10, 2012

Winter in Harare is almost over. Walking my kids to school in the morning
across frosty vleis, strewn with festering rubbish, we see the first signs
of the agricultural season awakening. Litter is being raked into piles,
maize stalks cleared into heaps and the dried weeds levelled to form little
patchwork fields most about 100m2. You rarely see the farmers. They must
emerge at dawn and dusk between their working hours. Many are probably local
domestics. They have developed a system for dividing up the land between
them, a natural autopoesis. There are no kraal heads in the city to allocate
land and the municipality certainly don’t have any official mechanism. It is
the same in urban areas all over Zimbabwe.

Soon these tiny fields will be meticulously cultivated and weeded and the
rubbish dumpers will be shamed into reducing their practice until the maize
has grown tall enough for their piles to be concealed. Maize, pumpkins and
sugar beans will replace piles of cans and plastic bottles. The more
enterprising will make mounds for sweet potatoes but this is hard work and
in drier areas groundnuts and nyimo beans may be planted. People of
Mozambican or Malawian descent often grow pigeon pea and cassava on field

When the rains come, the black vlei soil will turn from cracked concrete
into a great organic sponge drawing water into it. The maize will struggle,
as it does each year. The humble applications of fertiliser bought with
precious savings, will be rapidly leached into the groundwater (and end up
causing eutrophication in streams and rivers) leaving the maize stalks
chlorotic and the plants tottering on their strange support roots under
up-to a foot of water. Despite this, harvests are better than in rural areas
where the climate has now become too erratic and the soils too exhausted for
feasible maize cultivation without irrigation and expensive fertiliser
applications. According to a report by AGRITEX in 2009, urban and peri-urban
areas had the highest maize yields in the country.

It is estimated that 10% of land in Harare is used for urban agriculture.
This is land which belongs to the city or private owners but is undeveloped
giving it an interesting psychosocial status. The rich see it as unsightly
wasteland. Judging by the number of Scotch bottles and disposable nappies,
which I view on my walks, the people dumping here are far from poor. The
poor view it is as a resource. Small wooden or plastic shacks creep up in
secluded spots, apostolic churches clear little demarcated patches for their
congregations and urban farmers divide up the rest.

Much of this land is wetland – stream margins and seasonally swamped areas.
These areas have been protected by the authorities since colonial times –
controlled through legislation because of their ecological vulnerability and
left undeveloped because of their challenges for construction. The vlei
soils have a dynamic personality, ballooning with moisture during the rainy
season and shrinking to become cracked and rock-like during the dry months,
making it very expensive to build here. As the city expands and as people
desert an increasingly harsh rural lifestyle, this land is becoming a hot
spot of urban conflict between farmers, developers (both legal and illegal),
conservationists and the authorities.

Urban Agriculture is as old as urbanisation. As Yoshikuni (2007) explains,
when black workers were finally allowed to live in towns, most wanted
settlements which resembled their rural homes where they could cultivate
crops. The colonial administration felt that “the urban African worker ought
to be half-ruralist” and thus attempted to provide model “garden village”
suburbs to encourage “positive values such as family, community, peace and
order, as against the supposed growing evils of urbanism and
‘detribalisation’”. This vision of neat cottage-style vegetable gardens did
not tally with sprawling, unkempt maize fields, and the identity war began.

Since independence, ritual crop-slashing has become a regular municipal
practice despite legislation which actually protects urban agriculture
(signed in 2003). Operation Murambatsvina in 2005 was, amongst many other
things, a particularly violent attack on city farmers. Wole and Tungwara
(2005) describe it as a display of the “technocratic mentality of urban
aesthetics (cleanliness and beauty), based on the colonial legacy of the
clean ‘city’”. Harris, (citing Burke, 1996) sees the operation as part of
the “racialisation of dirt and illness”, stemming from times when colonial
missionaries instilled in Zimbabweans a deep-rooted link between traditional
lifestyles, bodily dirt, dirty thoughts and dirty living habits. In
Operation Murambatsvina, illegal cultivation was seen as part of a suite of
unsavoury activities, which, according to Comrade Makwavarara’s speech at
the launch of the operation, had led to “the deterioration of standards,
thus negatively affecting the image of our City” which had been “renowned
for its cleanliness, decency, peace [and] tranquil environment.”

Environmentalists have also become increasingly vocal against urban farming
in their attempts to preserve wetlands. The use of pesticides and
fertilisers as well as inappropriate tillage methods and poor crop choice
not only pollute the wetlands. They also threaten wildlife and the vital
ecosystem services of water purification, hydrological management and soil
protection that the wetlands provide.

Yet traditional wetland agriculture is in fact a sustainable practice,
dating back centuries. Before shifting cultivation became the norm,
communities settled around wetlands where ridges were developed for crops
such as tsenza, cucurbits, madhumbes (yams) and vegetables; grains and
livestock were restricted to upland areas. During the 1920s, commercial
farmers began ploughing and cultivating wetlands for wheat, maize and
tobacco. Soil erosion and drying-out of wetlands soon began to spread.
Realising the hydrological implications, the colonial government passed the
Water Act and The Natural Resources Act, effectively banning cultivation in
these areas. However during the 1990s, specialists at the Horticulture
Research Station in Marondera developed appropriate and sustainable wetland
systems based on traditional crops and organic practices, thereby proving
that modern wetland cultivation can still be possible without environmental

Attitudes to urban agriculture are changing. In 2010 Harare Metropolitan
Governor, Dr David Karimanzira announced that: “Although farming was
regarded as dirty and only for the rural people, it can also be done in
urban areas to supplement families’ income…Land reform should not only end
in the rural areas but also come to the urban areas because we have open
spaces in the province and we thank the City Fathers for allowing our
farmers to grow their crops” (Herald, 2010). He reported that in 2009 the
hectarage under cultivation in Harare increased from 9000 in 2008 to 12 000
in 2009 with a yield increase from 5,5 tons per hectare to 6,5 tons per

Urban agriculture brings immense benefits to the city, although it must be
implemented in a socially and ecologically sensitive way. Through
agriculture, humans are constantly interacting with nature and thus directly
learning to value the vital role of ecosystem services. Through
intergenerational knowledge-transfer in urban fields, parents and
grandparents pass on knowledge to young people who may otherwise lose touch
with their rural roots and the natural environment. The complex social
mechanisms (developed by unrelated, un-governed communities) to divide up
land between themselves in the city is surely a sign of building social
cohesion. Urban agriculture undoubtedly provided a safety net of resilience
to people who endured the economic and political meltdown in 2008.
Urban agriculture is here to stay: its social, ecological and economic
benefits need to be recognised by environmentalists, governments and

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Bill Watch 31/2012 of 11th July [Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Postponed; Progress on HRC and Electoral Bills]

BILL WATCH 31/2012

11th July 2012]

Mid-Term Fiscal Policy Review Postponed to Next Week

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has postponed this to Wednesday 18th July.

Progress Made on Major Reform Bills in House of Assembly

The Human Rights Commission Bill with amendments is now through its Committee Stage

The Electoral Amendment Bill has had its Second Reading – amendments on Order Paper for Thursday

[Note: Yesterday the House of Assembly approved the suspension of Standing Orders 22, 106 and 109. This meant that different stages of a Bill could be taken on the same day; the House could sit after 7 pm, and, if necessary, on Friday after 1 pm, instead of automatically adjourning at those times; and also that the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] did not have its usual 26 days within which to report on amendments made. This was to permit the fast-tracking through the House of these two urgent Bills]

Human Right Commission Bill Now Through Committee Stage

Amendments approved by House

As expected, the Minister moved his previously tabled amendments during the Committee Stage on Tuesday afternoon. [Bill and Minister’s Amendments available from] All the amendments were approved. Also approved was an amendment proposed by Mr Gonese and accepted by the Minister, to delete the words “and has domesticated as part of its laws” from the definition of “human rights violation”. This means the Human Rights Commission will be able consider alleged violations of all international human rights agreements to which Zimbabwe is a party, even agreements which have not been specifically domesticated into Zimbabwean law. But the Minister would not accept an amendment to allow the Commission to investigate violations occurring before 13th February 2009, although MDC MPs contested this date hotly as they wanted the violence surrounding the 2008 elections to be investigated. The Minister was adamant that the GPA negotiators had compromised on the date the inclusive government was sworn in, and that there was no room for change. This was accepted by the House.

Amended Bill referred to Parliamentary Legal Committee

As required by the Constitution, the Bill as amended during the Committee Stage has been referred back to the PLC for a report on the constitutionality of the amendments. A non-adverse report is assured as the amendments were agreed between the PLC and the Minister.

Next Steps

The Bill is expected to pass its Third Reading and be transmitted to the Senate on Thursday 12th July.

Electoral Amendment Bill Through Second Reading

Withdrawal of Parliamentary Legal Committee’s Adverse Report

Yesterday’s House of Assembly proceedings on the Electoral Amendment Bill started with the PLC’s withdrawal of its adverse report after the Minister agreed to amend the Bill. This Second Reading stage then went ahead immediately.

Minister’s Second Reading speech

Hon Chinamasa began by giving the background to the Bill – that it was a result of negotiation between the three parties to the GPA. Work on it had begun in July 2009, when as Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs he submitted a Memorandum of Principles on proposed amendments to the Electoral Act for approval by Cabinet. Cabinet referred the proposed amendments to a Cabinet Committee made up of the six GPA negotiators. The negotiators took nearly two years to reach agreement, resulting in the Bill now before the House.

Portfolio Committee’s Report on the Bill

The chairman of the Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon Douglas Mwonzora, presented the committee’s report on the Bill, explaining that it had been prepared before it was known what amendments the Minister would be proposing.

Contributions to debate by MPs

In the course of a lengthy debate lasting until 6.49 pm there was some heated criticism of the Bill, although MDC MPS had been mollified by Minister’s agreement to amend it to provide that polling-station based voting will not apply in the forthcoming elections.

Minister’s response to the debate

The Minister referred to the “unique situation” of the inclusive government and returned to his point that the Bill is the collective effort of the political parties represented in Cabinet, arrived at painstakingly after many compromises. He said it would “not be in anyone’s interest to scuttle that understanding”. He assured MPs, however, that their views would be taken into account for future improvement of the electoral laws.

Bill passes Second Reading

Just before 7 pm yesterday the House of Assembly approved the Second Reading of the Bill without a division.

Next Steps

Committee Stage to be on Thursday

The Minister’s amendments [9 pages of them], including a new clause stating that polling-station based voting will not be used in the forthcoming election, are on the Order Paper. [Bill and Amendments available from]

When the Committee Stage is complete the amended Bill will have to be submitted to the PLC again. If the PLC does not give it adverse report, the Bill will have its Third Reading, a formality, before being transmitted to the Senate.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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