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MDC to hit back, Biti warns youth militia

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:38


MDC-T secretary-general, Tendai Biti, yesterday warned that his party
supporters would be forced to retaliate if attacked by Zanu PF militias in
the run up to next year’s elections, vowing that time for being “cry-babies”
was now over.

Biti was addressing an MDC-T rally in a graveyard in Darwendale after
soldiers blocked supporters from gathering at the local grounds as
scheduled, occupying the venue for several hours.

Biti said unlike in the past, this time around the party was not going to
watch its supporters being clobbered by Zanu PF militias. “Next year they
are not going to beat us zvokwadi namai Dorothy,” he vowed.

“You have beaten us enough.” Biti said Zanu PF should not provoke his party
supporters, as they were now fearless and were in the majority.
In the 2008 Presidential election runoff, the MDC-T complained that hundreds
of its supporters were killed, maimed or harassed by Zanu PF militias and
elements in the military who were campaigning for the re-election of
President Mugabe after he lost the first round to MDC-T leader, Morgan

As Biti addressed yesterday’s rally, the atmosphere was tense as 30 soldiers
from the nearby Inkomo Barracks, refused to leave the Darwendale grounds,
where they were seemingly conducting drills and later played social soccer.

Some of the soldiers allegedly lit fires around the Darwendale grounds and
close to the graveyard where Biti was addressing, a move interpreted by some
MDC-T officials as intimidating tactics.

The rally was supposed to take place at 10am, but only started after 3pm as
hundreds of MDC-T supporters refused to be intimidated by the soldiers,
vowing to go ahead as they had booked the venue well in advance.

Contacted for comment, Army spokesperson, Lieutenant-colonel Athanasius
Makotore, demanded questions in writing, promising that a response would be
ready by tomorrow.

He however said if the soldiers were indeed playing social soccer, then they
had put the Darwendale grounds to its proper and good use.
But Biti said soldiers must pay allegiance to the constitution of the
country and not to individuals.

He said despite pronouncements that securocrats would not salute MDC-T
president and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, they would do so at the
appropriate time.
“Soldiers are ours and next year this time, they will be saluting Tsvangirai
because he will be in office,” said Biti. “They are just posturing.”

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Khupe’s political career on the knife edge?

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:40


MDC-T vice-president, Thokozani Khupe, has reportedly fallen out with party
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and is sitting on a political knife edge, as party
members in Bulawayo are pushing for her ouster.

Khupe and Tsvangirai are said to have held a crisis meeting on Tuesday, as
they tried to mend the rift, amid reports that the deputy prime minister had
her back against the wall.

The recent defections, mainly from Khupe’s Makokoba constituency, have
triggered a mini-crisis within the MDC-T, leading to Tsvangirai’s visit to
Bulawayo to try and calm the storm.

But a source close to Khupe claimed the mass defections of the past month
were meant to discredit the deputy prime minister and dislodge her from her
lofty position, both in the party and in the government.

“The way these people are defecting en masse, suggests this is coordinated
and you can tell that this is a smear campaign against her,” the source
He confirmed that things were not well between Tsvangirai and his deputy,
saying a series of meetings had been held to heal the rift, although he
would not say what the outcome was.

A party insider, however, said the defections to the rival MDC party were
nothing new, blaming the party’s provincial executive for failing to deal
with the festering wound. “This issue has been there for a long time, but
(Agnes) MaMloyi was able to deal with the issues. this executive is failing
and that is leading to the fallout,” the party insider said.

Agnes Mloyi is the previous MDC-T provincial chairperson and was succeeded
by Gorden Moyo.
The party insider also confirmed the fallout between Tsvangirai and Khupe,
saying this was bound to happen, as the party seemed to be disintegrating in
Bulawayo, an MDC-T stronghold over the past decade.

“How can they not fall out? With the way things are going this was bound to
happen and several meetings have been held between the two,” the source
An MDC-T Bulawayo executive member, however, said Khupe could be a victim of
the factionalism that gripped the party ahead of its congress last year.

Khupe backed Moyo ahead of Matson Hlalo for the party’s provincial
chairmanship, but the latter remains very popular in Makokoba constituency,
currently being held by the deputy PM.

“She is paying for supporting Gorden (Moyo). Hlalo is very popular and has
been the councillor and legislator in Makokoba, so maybe it’s payback time,”
the provincial executive member said.

Contacted for comment, Hlalo said he preferred not to speak on the issue, as
he was not aware what was going on.
Chamisa’s deputy Organising Secretary, Abednico Bhebhe, has also rubbished
the defections as stage-managed, vowing elections would not be won by
politicking. “Good luck about their stage management. I hope they are going
to stage-manage the elections because elections are not won by this,” he
said after the second batch of 50 youths claimed to have defected to Ncube’s

“Why is Ncube zeroing in on Makokoba? He is trying to stage-manage winning
Makokoba constituency, where he lost to Khuphe.”
Khupe could not be reached for comment yesterday as her phone was
unavailable. Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka also refused to
comment, saying the matter was purely a party and not government issue.

Outside Bulawayo, Khupe has remained a very popular figure. She has become a
symbol of hope to many women with her public fight against breast cancer.
The MDC-T vice-president has also championed the removal of maternity fees
for pregnant women. in this way, she has portrayed herself as in touch with
the grassroots.

But in Bulawayo, where she represents the MDC-T in Makokoba, she is
sometimes regarded as a divisive character. Khupe has on numerous occasions
been accused of fanning political violence, tribalism and hate speech,
although none of those allegations have stuck. She is said to be looking for
a safe seat in the next elections, as she is reportedly being hounded out of

Suggestions are that she covets either the Bulawayo Central seat or Nkayi.

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Bennett differs with MDC-T on ‘amnesty’ for Gukurahundi

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:43

MASVINGO — Self-exiled MDC-T treasurer, Roy Bennett has said cases of human
rights abuses which happened during the 2008 Presidential election run-off
and Gukurahundi massacres in the 1980s should not be swept under the carpet
for political expediency.

In an emotional response to reports that MPs from the two MDC formations
were last week pressured into accepting that all human rights abuses
committed before February 2009 should not be investigated by the new
Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, Bennett said doing so was belittling the
thousands of people murdered or injured in political violence.

The “amnesty” proposal is included in the Human Rights Commission Bill, but
Bennett wrote on social networking site, Facebook that this was legitimising
“I will never accept an amnesty. I will pursue justice till the day I die,”
he said.

“We cannot allow evil to triumph. We cannot allow the broken lives and
broken limbs to mean nothing. If we do nothing about a killing, we are
saying: your brother or sister was worth nothing. It will not do.”

But his comments drew mixed feelings, with some supporting him urging
retribution, while others believed bygones should be bygones.
The Zimbabwe Victims of Organised Violence Trust (ZIVOVT) also said GNU
leaders should stop trying sweeping the Gukurahundi mass killings under
the carpet through closed door negotiations which leave out victims.

ZIVOVT spokesperson, Percy Mcijo on Thursday said the killings of innocent
and unarmed people of Matabeleland and Midlands during Gukurahundi was the
“highest order of crime” and no one could negotiate such killings.

“The crime of murder is not negotiable,” said Mcijo. “Who can negotiate
killings without involving the victims? Politicians must stop claiming to
have negotiated that such issues must not be investigated. We know they are
the interested parties who may think of protecting themselves and their

He said some politicians have repeatedly claimed that Gukurahundi was a
closed chapter, warning that unless the issue was handled “properly” it
would haunt future generations.

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Grain loan scheme scandal hits Matabeleland

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:45

BULAWAYO — Zanu-PF and Grain Marketing Board (GMB) officials are allegedly
coercing starving villagers in parts of Matabeleland to pay them in order to
get aid under the grain loan scheme.

The government early this year unveiled a grain loan scheme where villagers
would be given free maize to avert starvation after their crops were wiped
off by a dry spell during the cropping season.

The Standard established that some villagers were being allegedly told to
contribute US$10 per homestead to Zanu-PF and GMB officials allegedly to buy
fuel to transport the food aid consignment to their areas in what Deputy
Agriculture minister, Seiso Moyo condemned as “unbridled daylight robbery”.

Several GMB officials were recently either fired or transferred after being
nabbed for corrupt practices. Moyo said he had since engaged the Home
Affairs ministry with the view to have more culprits arrested.

He said there was no government policy directing villagers to pay money for
fuel as it had already paid the contracted truckers. “I have heard such
reports; actually just this morning (Thursday) I was talking to people from
Zezani in Beitbridge who were telling me that they are being told to pay
money towards buying fuel yet this is not the government position,” he said.

“It is sad that we have some people in our society who are taking advantage
of the desperate and starving villagers in rural areas.” Moyo said under the
grain loan scheme, the GMB should distribute maize for free to villagers.

But Andrew Langa, the Zanu-PF Matabeleland South chairperson, dismissed as
false reports that the party was demanding money from villagers. “Zanu-PF
members are principled and cannot be seen stealing money from villagers,” he

Thokozile Mathuthu, the Matabeleland North governor also professed ignorance
of the scandal.

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Infighting sees Mafa defying Shamu’s orders

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:46


Mashonaland West provincial Chairman John Mafa is allegedly refusing to
co-opt officials into his executive in defiance of orders from Zanu PF
political commissar Webster Shamu to do so.

Sources say Mafa, believed to be aligned to Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa, was insisting that there was no point in co-opting new members
to the current provincial executive considering that its term of office was
due to expire in October.

This is in contrast with recommendations made by Shamu that the vacant
positions be filled by way of district representation. The position of
Secretary for Administration and provincial political commissariat currently
being held by Tapera Table and Joseph Chirongoma respectively were supposed
to be filled using district representation.

In the proposed new set up, allies of Mujuru such as Chinhoyi special
councillor Simba Kanzou is supposed to be secretary of administration with
Isaac Mackenzie as political commissariat.

Reuben Marumahoko would become Vice-Chairman to replace businessman Phillip
Chiyangwa, who was barred from the post by the politburo. But at a meeting
last week, Mafa’s provincial executive elevated secretary for defence and
Provincial Administrator Christopher Shumba to the position of

When asked about Shamu’s directive recently, Mafa said Zanu PF’s
constitution should be followed. “You see, as a provincial executive, we
decide what is good for the province following what the constitution says
and people are free to say what they want,” he said.

A joint committee is expected to meet today to either endorse or reject the
provincial executive co-options.
Shamu could not be reached for comment.

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Mujuru showers Mugabe with praises

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:47

TSHOLOTSHO — Vice-President Joice Mujuru on Friday sang praises for
President Robert Mugabe, describing him as a “living legend and textbook of
knowledge, guidance and wisdom”.

Speaking during the joint commissioning of the Landa John Nkomo High School
and Presidential High Schools e-Learning Programme for Matabeleland region
in Manqe area, Tsholotsho, Mujuru said Zimbabwe and Africa needed Mugabe
because of his “unparalleled wisdom”.

Mujuru recently strengthened her position to succeed Mugabe after her camp
successfully lobbied the 88-year-old leader to disband the District
Coordinating Committees, dealing a major blow to Defence minister, Emmerson
Mnangagwa’s faction, which had won most of the DCC elections throughout the

“Our President remains the repository of Pan-Africanism, where other African
leaders continue to tap wisdom and guidance from. All leaders seek advice
from him,” she said.

“From his early days in detention and out of detention, in the bush, after
independence and up to today, his capable skills, wisdom and knowledge of
shedding light to his compatriots will always be legendary.”

Mujuru said Mugabe was a living “African legend”, much sought in the country
and the continent as a whole.

VP joins praise- singing crew

The VP joins several other senior Zanu-PF officials who have in the past
gone overboard in praise-singing for Mugabe, one of Africa’s longest serving
rulers alongside Jose Eduardo Dos Santos of Angola and Teodoro Obiang Nguema
of Equatorial Guinea, who have been in power for over three decades now.

The late deputy minister of Local Government, Tony Gara, once described the
veteran ruler as “God’s other son”, while Mashonaland West governor, Faber
Chidarikire, said he was “our Biblical Moses”.

Mnangagwa, during the launch of the anti-sanctions petition in Bulawayo last
year, described Mugabe as “an immovable elephant” while Youth Development,
Indigenisation and Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere went a notch
higher, likening him to “Angel Gabriel”.

Earlier this year, Media, Information and Publicity minister Web- ster Shamu
and party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo said the President was feared the world
over because of his intelligence and was like a popular milk brand called

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‘Too early to celebrate Supreme Court ruling’

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:52

THE recent ruling by the Supreme Court, that President Robert Mugabe should
gazette election dates in three constituencies, could be nothing but an
empty victory, as it does not say when the polls should actually be held,
analysts said.

The order compels Mugabe to declare election dates by August 30 in three
constituencies, but lawyer Matshobane Ncube, said it is up to the President
to declare when the elections would be held.

“The court order says he should declare dates for elections, but the date of
elections could be six months away,” Ncube, who represented the three
Matabeleland politicians who won the court order, said.

“The Electoral Act does not say when elections should be held after the
elections have been gazetted, so the actual elections may be far away.”
Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu approached the courts
seeking an order to compel Mugabe to order fresh elections in their
constituencies after these had been declared vacant following their ouster
from the MDC, then led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Ncube, who represented the trio, said while the order could be interpreted
to mean that all vacant constituencies should have by-elections, it only
spoke about the three constituencies that had been brought to the courts.

“It deals with the three constituencies, nothing more, nothing less. But in
the context of the current politics, it could be an excuse to collapse the
GNU and call for elections under the old constitution,” he explained.

Mugabe has been angling for elections this year, but has been curtailed by a
Sadc facilitated roadmap that says polls can only be held after a new
constitution has been drawn up.

However, even if elections are called, one of the appellants, Bhebhe, may
have no joy, as he may not be allowed to contest, as the three governing
parties have a gentleman’s agreement that they will not contest each other.

“The parties extended the moratorium against competing against each other in
the event of a by-election and since Bhebhe has joined the MDC-T, he may not
be allowed to contest, Ncube explained further.

“Again, in the nature of the gentleman’s agreement, these parties (Zanu PF,
MDC, MDC-T) may decide to have the election date set further away.”
Human rights lawyer, Lizwe Jamela concurred that it was the prerogative of
the President to proclaim an election date and there was nothing in the
order that said when the elections should be held.

“It is the prerogative of the President to proclaim the election dates and
there might not be by-elections soon as he has many things to consider,”
Jamela said.
“He will have to ask himself if it is feasible to call for elections in only
three constituencies, as the order deals with only those or whether
elections should be held in all constituencies.”

The lifespan of this parliament expires next year, with Jamela quizzing if
it would be any wise to hold an election so close to another general

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Vendors fight Bulawayo City Council

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:53

BULAWAYO residents have urged the local municipality to stop arresting and
harassing vendors operating without licences, blaming council on failure to
speedily issue hawker’s permits.

Speaking during a 2013 budget consultation meeting at Njube Hall last week,
vendors said council was taking too long to issue licences yet municipal
police continued to pounce on them confiscating their wares.

“It is known that the country’s unemployment rate is very high, worse in
Bulawayo where some industries have closed while some have relocated to
Harare,” said one vendor.

“People now resort to vending which is now their source of income to sustain
their families. It is sad that the local authority’s process of issuing
licences is tedious and slow to a point that it makes the prospective
vendors trade before they are issued with licences.”

Another resident said due to delays in the issuing of licences, most people
ended up selling illegally.
“I witnessed an incident at Sekusile in Nkulumane where women vendors were
being bundled into a truck by security officers and their wares thrown on
the floor,” he said.

“Does it mean vendors must be treated inhumanely like that yet the same
council delays giving them licences?” The city’s budget consultation team
leader, Mente Ndlovu said the random arrest and unfair treatment of illegal
vendors was not allowed.

“Council’s by-laws call for the licensing of vendors and if they trade
without licences they can be arrested, but if the manner they are handled is
inhumane, the security officers are not allowed to do that.

“The council has a hawkers’ licensing procedure and those who want to trade
must just apply for such in order to avoid hitches with the local authority’s
security personnel. But the oppression of illegal vendors is not right,”
said Ndlovu.

Thousands of vendors are operate in the city, but most of them are
unlicensed, especially those working in high-density suburbs.
This year the local authority intends to issue a total of over 1 000 vending
bays in parts of the city in an effort to promote vending at designated

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Mpofu vying for VP post: Analysts

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:55

WHILE focus has been on Obert Mpofu’s gathering of immense wealth and
mounting speculation of where he could be getting his money from, the Mines
minister has been quietly building his political stature in Matabeleland.

Mpofu’s vice-presidential ambitions are the worst kept secret, as three
years ago, he made a show of challenging John Nkomo for the top post, but
was dismissed as being too junior.

Now with reports of Nkomo’s ill-health, Mpofu must fancy his chances against
Zanu PF national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo for the top post.
Recently, Mpofu challenged Kh-aya Moyo head on in the party’s politburo
meeting, accusing the chairman of using the state media to discredit him.

Khaya Moyo reportedly shot back, accusing Mpofu of using the private media
to tarnish his image, but Oppah Muchinguri reportedly interjected, saying it
was known that the two were positioning themselves for the vice-presidency.

There’s no love lost between Khaya Moyo and Mpofu, as they have publicly
clashed, particularly with the administration of Matabeleland North
But on the whole, Mpofu has been working assiduously, laying his path for a
shot at the country’s second top post.

But Mpofu reckons what he is doing has been part of his political repertoire
for years.
“That is your view, I am doing my usual political business. There is nothing
different from what I have been doing all along,” he said, before hanging up
his phone.

Recently, he followed President Robert Mugabe’s footsteps, holding a meeting
with Zanu PF prodigal son, Enos Nkala, whom he visited at his home in
Why Nkala is suddenly popular among Zanu PF stalwarts remains a mystery, but
the former Finance minister was formerly very critical of Mpofu, although he
now seems to have toned down.

While unleashing his charm offensive, Mpofu invited Vice-President Joice
Mujuru to his Umguza constituency last week, where he showered her with
praises and also spoke at length about how much support Zanu PF had in the
constituency, leaving observers to speculate that he was building key
alliances to cement his place as Nkomo’s successor.

Defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is reportedly seeking to succeed
Mugabe, was a high-profile figure at Mpofu’s party six months ago, as senior
Zanu PF politicians continue to beat a path to the Mines minister’s

Mpofu has set Umguza as his base to launch his bid for the presidium,
claiming he is one of a few senior members from Zanu PF to have been elected
from Matabeleland, meaning he should have a better chance of getting the top
post, ahead of Khaya Moyo.

To prop up his brand, Mpofu has also overseen the launch of a self-praise
album titled Khulumani elikufunayo (you can say whatever you like).
Mpofu also has gone the populist route by pouring money into Highlanders
Football Club. The club is a relic for the people of Matabeleland, and this
way he hopes to sway the naysayers to his cause and position himself in the
event of any election.

Mpofu defected to Zanu PF from Zapu before the 1987 Unity Accord and he is
often treated with suspicion among his former colleagues.
Political analyst, Effi Ncube also said it was evident that the former
Matabeleland North governor was trying to move up the ladder in Zanu PF.

“It is very clear from his behaviour that he thinks he is mature enough to
climb the ladder in Zanu PF,” he said.
He concurred with Nkomo that Mpofu’s lucre gave him a slight upper hand over
his opponents.

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Tsholotsho villagers desperately wait for food assistance

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:56

SOME villagers in the drought-prone Matabeleland North region of Tsholotsho,
say they have been waiting for grain from government since December to no
Tsholotsho district administrator, Nosizi Dube, said due to widespread
hunger in the area, villagers were promised grain under the government grain
loan scheme sometime last year.

“The programme was supposed to run from December to March as it was expected
that people would get something from their fields, but it was extended
because of poor yields,” Dube said.

“Many people have benefited and we hope to reach out to more, as we do not
expect the same people to benefit all the time.” But some villagers said
they were still waiting in vain for the promised assistance. “People are
struggling to cope,” Nomusa Ncube of Siyaphambili Village in Ward 6 said.

“We were promised grain last year but nothing has been delivered to this
village so far. We are having one meal per day and children are not going to
school because we cannot pay school fees, while we do not have food.”

Headman Phillip Mpala, said most people’s harvests lasted for three months
only. He said villagers now pinned their hopes on the recently launched
US$50 million rural water, sanitation and hygiene programme, which they hope
would enable them to start market gardening projects. “We are very happy
with government’s intention to improve water supply in this area as we hope
to grow vegetables which we can sell to sustain ourselves and our families,”
Mpala said.

“We have a garden constructed for us near Gwayi river by a donor, but we do
not have the water.” Addressing Tsholotsho villagers at Mkhubazi Primary
School recently, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Tsholotsho was one of
the areas facing acute hunger and assured the villagers that government
would not let anyone die.

Tsvangirai said logistical issues, like the poor state of rural roads, led
to selective access to food. He also warned against the politicisation of
food from government.
Beneficiaries of the grain loan scheme were expected to pay back in the next
season after realising improved yields.

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Jailed killer cop faces wrath of avenging spirits

Sunday, 15 July 2012 11:05

MUTARE — The family of a Marange diamond panner who was killed by jailed
former senior police officer, Joseph Chani, has demanded compensation in
line with tradition to avert avenging spirits of Tsorosai Kusena from
wreaking havoc on the family of the ex-cop.

Former chief superintendent Chani, well-known during his tenure as Officer
Commanding Mutare district for his hardline stance on illegal panners, was
recently jailed for 18 years by High Court Judge Justice Hlekhani Mwayera
after she convicted him of murdering Tsorosai and seriously injuring his
brothers, Pikirai and Onesai and their nephew John Gwite.

Onesai told The Standard last week that the Kusena family wanted Chani to
pay compensation for the killing of Tsorosai in line with traditional
requirements, while the three survivors were each seeking US$10 000 for
serious injuries they sustained at the hands of the ex-cop.

He was satisfied with the judgement saying the likes of Chani deserved to
stay behind bars.
“Traditionally, Chani should compensate the Kusena family for killing our
brother,” said Onesai. “We will do it the traditional way. We expect that
Chani, together with his family, will comply. If he refuses then he will
meet the fate of the spirits.”

He said Tsorosai, who had a wife and two kids going to school, was a bread
winner and his family was now struggling to survive.
“As for us who survived, we need him to pay us US$10 000 each because we now
have permanent injuries and can no longer work to feed our families,”
said Onesai.
Gwite also echoed the same sentiments saying: “I earned a living doing jobs
that require physique but now I can no longer do work due to the back
injuries I sustained from the beatings.”

Giving oral evidence, another complainant, Pikirai, said he had lost
virility and was now finding it difficult to have sexual intercourse with
his wife as a result of injuries he sustained.

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Abandoned swimming pool turned into school

Sunday, 15 July 2012 11:08

ABANDONED Harare City Council’s Arcadia swimming pool has been turned into a
school in an attempt to assist, under privileged and abandoned children in
the community who were failing to access education due to their social

However, a visit by Standard Community showed a pool full of dirt and muddy
water, which might pose a health hazard to the children.
The school, which accommodates close to 60 children from grade one to seven,
has three teachers, two of whom come from the local area and the third one
coming from Epworth.

School initiator, Ron Christian, said the children were previously learning
in two different garages until council had agreed to a request to use the
abandoned swimming pool as a new school.

He said most of the children were abandoned by their parents.
“It is not pleasing to see children whom we regard as the future leaders
growing without proper education. Many children in this community have been
neglected and have no one taking care of them,” he said.

Christian said the children were exposed to drug abuse and most of them
engaged in premarital sex, thereby increasing the chances of them getting
infected with HIV and Aids.

“The most painful thing about these children is that they will be involved
in drug abuse if they have nothing to do and most children are involved in
early sexual activities, thus they might get infected,” he said.

An interview with the children showed that most of them come from Arcadia
and St Martins and their ages did not tally with the level of education at
which they currently are. Some are aged 18 but are still in Grade Seven,
yet their peers are already in high school.

One of the teachers, identified as Njeketa, said the children needed special
attention as they had not been going to school for a longtime. He, however,
said most of them were intelligent and had higher ambitions.

“These children cannot fit in society properly and need special attention as
they come from painful backgrounds,” he said, adding that shortage of funds
was one of the major problems facing the children.

City of Harare Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi confirmed council had
given permission to use the swimming pool as a school saying plans were in
place to renovate the facility.

“We have understood their concern and have given them permission to utilise
the pool but we are currently planning to renovate it,” he said.

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Invaders a threat to urban development

Sunday, 15 July 2012 11:10

MASVINGO — The Urban Council Association of Zimbabwe (Ucaz), has warned that
the expansion of cities and towns in the country to cater for a growing
population, is under threat from invaders who have illegally occupied most
of the land allocated to local authorities.

Ucaz president and Masvingo Mayor, Alderman Femius Chakabuda, told the
recent 70th AGM of the association that most farms allocated by the
government for expansion of urban areas had been illegally occupied.

He said the farms, which were allocated under the land reform programme, had
not yet been transferred to the respective local authorities due to
“A new problem has also arisen, where the same farms have been occupied by
new settlers,” said Chakabuda.

“In some instances, adjacent rural district councils are putting up
residential stands in those areas, with the hope of handing them over to
urban local authorities for service provision.”

He said some of the worst affected towns included Victoria Falls and Kariba,
where it would be expensive for the local authorities to remove land
invaders, as they were demanding compensation.

Chakabuda, who was retained as the Ucaz president at the AGM, also took a
dig at the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara) over unfair
distribution of funds.
“The management and distribution of road funds has been a nightmare,” he

“The distribution is made on an unknown formula resulting in discrepancies.
Small RDCs get millions while cities and towns with tarred roads get

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Shortage of schools hits resettlement areas

Sunday, 15 July 2012 11:11

Mvuma — Hundreds of schoolchildren in some parts of Mvuma are walking up to
15 kilometres to school, as shortages of educational facilities continue to
affect the area.
A recent visit by Standard Community revealed that most resettlement areas
in Mvuma still do not have schools, forcing children to walk long distances
to the nearest facilities.

Some students at Chisukusiku Secondary School said they were spending more
time walking to and from school, making it difficult for them to concentrate
on their studies. “I reside at Mwererenje farm, which is about 15 kilometers
from this school. This is the nearest school for us and we have no option
but to walk long distances in order to get education,” said a Form Three
girl, who identified herself only as Chipo.

some villagers confirmed that many children in the farming areas had since
stopped going to school because of the long distances they travelled.

— BY Tawanda MARWIZI

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Bogus herbalists rip-off villagers

Sunday, 15 July 2012 11:12

GWANDA — Suspected bogus herbal doctors are allegedly pouncing on
unsuspecting villagers, who are losing their hard-earned cash in the hope of
getting treatment for their various ailments.

Some villagers from areas such as Nkashe, Matsholomotshe, Zhu-kwe and
Dambashoko told Standard Community recently that the suspected bogus
herbalists had swarmed Gwanda, claiming that they were trained in China and
the United States.

They said the suspected bogus doctors were claiming to be capable of
“treating” various ailments using herbal concoctions, which has resulted in
scores of desperate villagers parting with their money.

A Matsholomotshe villager who only identified herself as maNcube, said on
Tuesday the suspicious herbal doctors visited her area, where they made
villagers gather at one place to advise them of their presence, operations
and cost of their services.

“These people told us that they would be operating in our area for the next
six months,” she said. “They said once a patient takes their medication, he
or she has to take the full six-month course for it to be effective.”

Another villager also alleged that the “herbal doctors” started off by
examining the patients using their machines and later prescribe treatment.
The check-ups using the machines cost US$5, while the complete treatment for
six months costs nearly US$1 000.

“The problem is that people are given the same treatment. This has made us
suspicious of the professional qualifications of these doctors,” said
another villager.
He said the medication provided was normally tea leaves which patients are
instructed to boil and drink, despite having different illnesses.

Matabeleland South acting police spokesperson, Sergeant Loveness Mangena,
said no reports of the suspected bogus herbal doctors had been made yet.
Gwanda District Medical Officer, a Dr P G Chimberengwa, could not be reached
as he was said to be out of his office.

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Jumbos may die of thirst, says ZimParks

Sunday, 15 July 2012 11:13

BULAWAYO — The Zimbabwe National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority
(ZimParks) has warned that dozens of elephants at Hwange National Park could
die from thirst due to a shortage of water, as available wells continue to
dry up.

The authority is now seeking funds to buy at least 20 000 litres of diesel
to pump water, between now and the rainy season. The water would be pumped
to elephant drinking points in the park to avert a repeat of the 2011
scenario when close to 80 animals died of thirst between June and October,
resulting in a loss of US$4 million.

Hwange National Park has no year-round rivers and little natural surface
water and therefore depends on wells that pump water to artificial watering
holes, known as pans.
Caroline Washaya-Moyo, the ZimParks public relations manager, said the
authority was sourcing for funds and engaging interested stakeholders in a
bid to ensure that wildlife would not be lost due to shortages of water.

“The ever-increasing temperatures last year left wildlife succumbing to
heat,” Washaya-Moyo said.
“In terms of the value of elephants that we lost in 2011, it is calculated
using the compensation value of an elephant, pegged at US$20 000 in 2011 and
has since been reviewed upwards in 2012 to US$50 000.

“This applies to all categories, be it a calf, adult or sub-adult.”
Watering holes and other sources of water that are fed through pumping,
dried up last year, resulting in the alarming rate of deaths of elephants.
Currently, Hwange National park has an elephant population of over 45 000
against its carrying capacity of 30 000, putting a severe strain on
available resources, especially water.

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Air Zimbabwe in fix for overloading

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:49

TROUBLED Air Zimbabwe is in a crisis after the airline recently flew more
passengers than its seating capacity on one of its planes. The decision to
fly more passengers than the maximum capacity of 105 on the Boeing 737 has
claimed the scalp of two employees who are currently on suspension.

The 737 has 12 seats in business and 93 in the economy class. The Standard
heard last week that a captain and a senior flight attendant had their
licences suspended by the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz)
pending investigations.

Caaz licences captains and attendants and one can hold the licence as long
as he or she is compliant with the requirements of that licence, competent
and in good health.
Innocent Mavhunga, the airline’s acting group CEO said on Thursday: “I will
not comment on that. We don’t deal with internal issues in the (news)

When further probed on Friday, Mavhunga said he was on leave and referred
all questions to the airline’s spokesperson Shingai Taruvinga.
In written responses, Taru-vinga told The Standard: “We have received your
questions and unfortunately the questions you have asked are of internal
nature, under sub judice and thus we cannot comment on the allegations

Caaz CEO, David Chawota only said: “The matter is under investigation.”
Insiders said last week Caaz would only take action after getting a report
from the airline from its own investigations.

Air Zimbabwe compromised the safety of passengers

Air Zim’s efforts to reduce the number of passengers to the normal levels
failed with only a handful of passengers voluntarily stepping down. To
accommodate the extra passengers, the crew allowed schoolchildren to double
up in one seat.

However, each passenger seat is equipped with one seat belt and putting more
than one passenger in one seat goes against the aviation safety regulations
since the passengers would be forced to share one seat belt.

Sources told The Standard that due to the doubling up, a row of seats which
normally takes three passengers had more than four passengers on the day in
This situation is potentially dangerous in that a row of seats is serviced
by a maximum of four oxygen masks required to save lives in the event of
cabin pressure loss.
The masks are for the three passengers in that row and one more, in case
there is a mother with an infant on her lap.

The suspended captain is not new to controversy. In 2007, he was demoted by
Air Zimbabwe after flying into a thunderstorm despite having functional
weather radar in Zambia, causing extensive damage to the Boeing 737

Sources told The Standard that this incident was a tip of the iceberg.
Systems have completely collapsed. Experienced workers including technicians
and pilots have either left or were intending to do so, while morale of
those still at the airline has hit rock bottom.

The airline is no longer able to meet basic safety standards as underscored
by this incident and its failure to undergo the IATA Operational Safety
“Much as we would like to continue flying the national flag, the reality is
we may be flying a potential national disaster,” said one engineer still
with the airline.

The troubled airline has been breaking aviation records for the wrong
reasons. In September last year, Air Zim flew one passenger from Victoria
Falls while it flew one passenger from Dubai in 2006.

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Zambian company sues Biti, Pasi

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:31

BULAWAYO — A Zambian company has sued Finance minister, Tendai Biti and the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) commissioner-general, Gershem Pasi, after
the revenue collector’s employees destroyed its 30-tonne consignment of
potatoes under unclear circumstances.

The Bulawayo High Court deputy registrar has given the respondents 10 days
to respond. Failure to do so will see the case going before a judge as
According to court papers filed at the Bulawayo High Court on Friday, the
Zambian company, Jamist Company Limited, is demanding US$50 000 from Biti
and Pasi as compensation for the destroyed consignment.

This was after a Zimra employee, identified as Tafadzwa Charamba, stationed
at Beitbridge Border Post, allegedly confiscated and ordered 30 tonnes of
the firm’s potatoes imported from South Africa.

The potato consignment, which was in a hired South African truck,
registration number ZKT71 GP, was destroyed in January this year at
Beitbridge Border Post despite that Jamist Company Limited, who were
transporting the consignment to Livingstone via Zimbabwe, produced all the
documents required.

The Zambian company, which is based in Kitwe, Zambia, cited Charamba as the
first respondent while Zimra Beitbridge Border Post station manager is cited
as the second respondent. Zimra regional manager, a Mr Swarres, is the third

Pasi, Zimra as an entity and Biti are cited as fourth, fifth and sixth
respondents respectively.
“Due to the 1st respondent’s failure to act expediently, the plaintiff’s
potatoes, which are highly perishable, all went bad and could no longer be
sold and were as a result, destroyed.

“The plaintiff has suffered unnecessary financial loss due to 1st respondent’s
negligence and inefficiency,” said Jamist Company through their lawyers in
the court papers.
The Zambian company, which is involved in import and export business, is
represented by advocate SKM Sibanda and partners legal practitioners of

Lawyers representing the Zambian company added that: “The respondents are
jointly or ordered to pay loss of anticipated profits plus costs of
transport, storage fees and cost of the potatoes”

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Resisting devolution not the solution, open debate

Sunday, 15 July 2012 11:02

The debate on devolution in the Copac Draft Constitution should not be
resigned to the political parties and civil society. Devolution, a form of
decentralisation, will impact on all citizens hence it should be openly
discussed by all. It can be used to stimulate development.

People need more autonomy on decision-making, on issues that impact directly
on their lives and local communities.
Direct elections for leaders like governors will assist in refocusing
development planning. It will create local accountability. Our systems
should allow effective provincial legislatures. Current development planning
meetings do not guarantee local priorities inclusion as central government
structures are heavily present.

According to some specialists, development is a multi-dimensional concept
which includes the economic, social, cultural and political aspects within
the economy. Re-organisation implied under devolution therefore means that
we should enter a new growth mode in tune with global trends.

Decentralisation has subsidiary concepts such as devolution, delegation,
de-concentration, privatisation, and commercialisation. Devolution involves
heaving-off administrative power from the centre to the periphery. Functions
will therefore be most effectively executed at the grassroots levels.
Central government will then concentrate on key issues such as
policy-making. In most countries, fiscal authority is retained by central

Recent media coverage on Tsholotsho’s and Binga’s water and sanitation
situation is telling on our form of decentralisation. It points to
marginalisation and under-development in some parts of Zimbabwe.

Devolution is not restricted to Matabeleland and Midlands provinces. It was
advocated by most provinces during the Copac outreach programme. It has
benefits as seen in South Africa and other jurisdictions. Resisting the
democratic wave of devolution is an exercise in futility.

Decentralisation was highlighted as early as 1984 when development-focused
local go-vernment system was set up. It established structures like village
and ward development committees. Other policy and legal changes like the
Rural District Council amalgamation exercise later followed. Similarly, the
Urban Councils Act, among other laws was amended severally. In all these
processes beneficiary participation was anticipated.

Amendments to the local government laws reveal that decentralisation is a
process. It has also exhibited inconsistencies on whether decentralisation
was being dumped for centralisation, in view of line ministerial powers over
local authorities. Decentralisation should stimulate growth with equity,
providing services efficiently and effectively. Decentralised entities
should enjoy autonomy, to achieve their set mandates.

The new constitution should usher Zimbabwe into a new era of governance.
Development means a change that takes place gradually, progressing through a
series of stages towards some state of expansion and improvement. Zimbabwe
has a perfect opportunity to re-organise itself and stimulate development
through devolution of power.

Devolution has been wrongly associated with concepts such as secessionism
and federalism. It is however, not separatism.
Zimbabwe is a unitary state, according to the current Constitution and
prevailing debate. While it prevents federalism, it does not stop
Despite separatist tendencies elsewhere in Africa, devolution should be
included in the new constitution.


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Zanu PF riding on indigenisation for votes

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:59

Do you still remember what the current crop of politicians used to say then,
when we were fighting the liberation struggle? For those who were old enough
you will remember how our politicians used to preach how we were going to
enjoy freedom after the white man has been defeated.

We were told of how we were going to have unlimited political freedoms in
the form of freedom of association and freedom of expression, which of
course, we were denied by the colonial regime. All sorts of niceties and
sweet talk were employed to rally people behind the treacherous ground — the
liberation war. It even made sense then, for people to believe this
especially after experiencing the brutality of the white minority regime.

However, it did not take long for people to realise that it was just cheap
political talk and that the devil was not in the skin colour but in the
governance style, since the only freedoms that they enjoyed was walking in
first street as well as drinking in those bars that were reserved for
whites. But would you call this “the freedom that we fought for?”

In fact the freedom of association and freedom of expression among other
freedoms became a mirage after the introduction and also maintenance of a
cocktail of laws (some of which date back to the colonial era) which include
Posa and Aippa, among many. The freedoms became sectionalised and a preserve
for those individuals who can utter anything considered “politically
correct” and to those who gather in the name of preaching a “politically
correct gospel” of voting for Zanu PF. There is no need to hammer on this
point because the realities are there for all to see.

Fast forward this to our current situation, the same characters who used to
tell us of political freedoms are now back in the fold telling us that they
will embark on or they have embarked on an indigenisation programme that is
going to guarantee us more freedoms — this time in the form of economic
freedoms. Sounds so sweet to the desperately poor population, doesn’t it?
They even pluck and preach verses of economic prosperity and wellbeing
within this gospel of indigenisation.

The proponents of indigenisation as envisaged by Zanu PF kleptomaniacs have
gone a gear up in their propaganda, hoodwinking the populace that
indigenisation is the panacea to their hunger for control of the levers of
economic power. In short, they have argued that they want to run away from
the capitalist West’s way of doing things, that is doing away with the free
market concept which leads to the concentration of wealth in the hands of
very few people.

But a closer analysis has forced critics to ask these questions: what model
are they using in the indigenisation programme which will not lead to the
concentration of wealth in the hands of the few well-connected fat cats?
Secondly, how possible is it to indigenise an economy where the majority of
the people are unemployed and the generality of the population is living
below the poverty datum line? Practically speaking, who will be in a
position to buy the shares when the general public is still striving to put
basic meals of sadza and stew on the table?

Even if the shares are going to be donated, like what this indigenisation
project seems to be turning out, how viable will be the companies or it will
be another total disaster like what happened with the land reform programme?
In fact, aren’t politicians taking us for a wild goose chase once again, the
way they did just before independence?

Reality shows that you cannot make a frog pretty even if you put French
lipstick on it, because even if you use colourful terms like “Community
Share Ownership Scheme” or “Employee Share Ownership Scheme” to tactfully
camouflage the whole scheme, which is otherwise a self-enrichment exercise,
it won’t work.

We know that it is practically impossible to indigenise an economy where 80%
of the population is unemployed and where the majority of the work force are
earning salaries that are far below the poverty datum line. In fact, all
these facts expose the indigenisation project as any other populist exercise
meant to garner votes for Zanu PF, just like any other chaotic projects like
input schemes or the land reform programme.

Isn’t it a wake up call for the citizens, to realise that politicians are
just people who are in government for personal gain even though they
clandestinely claim to be fighting for “the people?” So, if you are going to
fall for the cheap trick called indigenisation, then it means you have not
learnt the lessons from the past very well.


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Supreme Court strikes right note

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:57

President Robert Mugabe learnt the hard way last week that he could no
longer use the courts to subvert Zimbabwean citizens’ right to choose their
Determined to stop the holding of elections in three of Matabeleland’s
constituencies, the president fought all the way to the Supreme Court, only
to get a ruling that favoured democracy instead of individual whim.

In a landmark decision, the highest court of appeal ruled that Mugabe was
dead wrong in trying to use lack of resources as an excuse for failing to
call by-elections in Nkayi South, Lupane East and Bulilima East.

The seats fell vacant after the expulsion of MPs Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso
Mguni and Norman Mpofu from the Welshman Ncube-led MDC. The unanimous ruling
is arguably Mugabe’s biggest defeat in the courts since independence. The
ruling struck at the heart of his three-year determination to deny thousands
of Matabeleland residents a chance to have representation in Parliament,
where laws are made.

Mugabe was keen to avoid the inevitable — an embarrassing Zanu PF defeat
which could tilt the balance of power in the Global Political Agreement in
favour of his opponents.

By throwing out Mugabe’s appeal, the Supreme Court seemed to reclaim its
independence from Mugabe’s political tentacles and, at the same time, send a
message to the strongman that courts could no longer side with politicians
bent on subverting the right of the citizens.

The effect of the Supreme Court ruling was also to remind Mugabe that
elections were a fundamental part of democracy, and there could not be any
excuse for not following one of its tenets.

The president needs to embrace free and fair elections and stop behaving —
as he has done —like an ancient monarchy that denies citizens their rights.
What remains to be seen is whether or not Mugabe is going to comply with the
ruling and ensure that people in the three constituencies get a chance to
choose their leaders in the shortest possible time. Not to do so would be
to go against the Constitution of which he is the custodian.

Quote of the week

"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.” Education minister
David Coltart on calls to indigenise private schools.

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True entrepreneurs rise in difficult times

Sunday, 15 July 2012 10:36

“A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” — Franklin D Roosevelt

On November 14 1997, the Zimbabwe dollar suffered a massive crash, setting
the country into a long spell of economic decline and inflation.
Seven months later, amid foreign currency shortages, restrictive monopoly
legislation in the telecommunications industry and hostile opposition, one
Strive Masiyiwa launched Econet Wireless.
Last week the company celebrated its 14th anniversary, proud of the fact
that besides its competitors having had a two-year head-start, it is
fulfilling the founder’s vision of connecting every Zimbabwean, boasting of
nearly a 70% share of the mobile phone subscriber base. Undeniably,
Masiyiwa is by far the most successful black Zimbabwean entrepreneur.
Thomas Edison is famous for his quote, “I have not failed, I have just found
ten thousand ways that won’t work.” In the middle of the panic of 1873 — a
six-year recession, Edison created one of the best-known inventions of all
time — the incandescent light bulb. Three years later, he established
General Electric Company. Today GE is one of the world’s biggest
multinational companies.

What drives true entrepreneurs?
Usually, business founders recognise a market need and think of ways to
fulfil it. Identifying that need — whether it’s related to communication,
entertainment, travel or even streamlining how businesses operate — is the
key to any thriving enterprise, regardless of the economic climate in which
it begins.
But not everyone starting a business is a true entrepreneur. Below are some
traits that, if you develop them, you will find yourself driven to success
even in tough times.
Accept failure as part of the picture
A true entrepreneur has to fail at first in order to succeed. A true
characteristic of an entrepreneur is that you just don’t get it the first
time! There will always be trials and errors, hits and misses. This mindset
will shape you to think that there will always be a better way to do things.

Sacrifices are needed
With the time, you will be spending working and the new things you will be
learning, everything from start to finish, can be considered as a
sacrificial offering of yourself, especially your time.
You may need to shun some social activities that you have been used to in
order for you to fuel the need for your business to get going. At times, you
will have to be there 24/7 and lose sleep, especially in the initial stages
of your business. You may even have to shell out more money that you would
have expected and couldn’t see profits or rewards immediately.

You need confidence
Confidence is a hallmark of the entrepreneur. Not all of us are born with
confidence, but that does not mean we are not capable of it. Many confident
women and men have gained their sense of self-esteem and faith in their
ability to greet challenges by acting — even when they lack the confidence —
and then gaining strength and belief in themselves by seeing the results and
gaining the praise and respect of others.

Ability to Communicate
Entrepreneurs recognise that the most important part of any business is the
human element. Human resources — whether in the form of clients, employees,
or strategic partners — are what makes or breaks a business, and
communication is the key to successful relationships with people.
The entrepreneur works to hone communication skills, whether written,
spoken, or non-verbal messages conveyed through body language. And to
support communication, he or she will take advantage of all available tools
and resources.
Above all, the entrepreneur develops a keen ability to listen and hear what
others are trying to say, because the best communicators got that way by
first of all being the best listeners.

Passionate about Learning
Entrepreneurs are often “autodidactic” learners, which means that much of
what they know was learned, not in a formal classroom setting, but instead
on their own by seeking out information, asking questions, and doing
personal reading and research.
They are also quick to learn from their own mistakes, making them less prone
to keep on repeating them. To teach is to learn. Because of their passion
for education, true entrepreneurs surround themselves with people who either
know more than they do or know things that are different from what they
They entertain the views of others. They continue to enrich themselves with
knowledge while also making a concerted effort to grow that knowledge by
sharing it with others.

Phillip Chichoni is a strategic business planning consultant who works with
entrepreneurs and SMEs. He may be contacted by email on

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