The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Zimbabwe power cuts to persist for 10 years: official

(AFP) – 6 hours ago

NYANGA, Zimbabwe — Energy-starved Zimbabwe will suffer longer and more
frequent power shortages for the next 10 years, a senior official said

The country's power utility will extend blackouts until it can boost
capacity, Patson Mbiriri, secretary for energy and power development, told
an annual congress of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.

"By 2022 that's when we will be able to generate enough power for domestic
and industrial power," Mbiriri said.

Zimbabwe needs about 2,200 megawatts of electricity at peak consumption but
generates just below 1,300 megawatts, while relying on imports to fill the

Due to ageing equipment, power generation is often disrupted following
breakdowns. In most cases, the generators operate below capacity.

In recent months, Zimbabwe could only afford to import 25 megawatts from
nearby countries after major electricity suppliers in the region turned off
the switches over non-payment of dues.

"Most of our woes in terms of blackouts will end in 2015," Mbiriri said.

Energy Minister Elton Mangoma recently said Zimbabwe has whittled its debt
to power providers to under $20 million from around $100 million in a bid to
resume imports.

There are plans to revamp the northern Kariba hydro-power station and the
Hwange thermal power station in the west of the country.

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1.6 million people will need food assistance in Zimbabwe next year – UN report

In Zimbabwe, WFP is working to combat food insecurity by providing general food distributions to the at-risk populations. Photo: WFP/R. Lee

27 July 2012 –
An estimated 1.6 million people are likely to need food assistance in the coming “hunger season” from January to March in Zimbabwe, according to a new report released today by the United Nations and its partners.

“The UN World Food Programme (WFP) and our partners are gearing up to respond to this large rise in food needs,” said WFP’s Country Director for the African country, Felix Bamezon. “Our field staff are already reporting signs of distress in rural areas, including empty granaries and farmers selling off their livestock to make ends meet.”

The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment estimates national food insecurity levels, and is conducted annually by the Government in collaboration with UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.

The report notes that this year’s cereal harvest was 1.076,772 metric tons – one third lower than last year, making it the lowest since 2009. In addition, the number of people in need is 60 per cent higher than the one million who needed food assistance during the last lean season.

Factors that have affected food security in the country this year include erratic rainfall and dry spells, limited access to agricultural inputs such as seeds and fertilizers, a reduction in the planted area, poor farming practices and inadequate crop diversification.

To meet the increased food needs, WFP and its partners will undertake food distributions with regionally procured cereals as well imported vegetable oil and pulses, the agency said in a news release. Cash transfers will also be used in areas where there are functioning markets so that people have the flexibility to choose where and from whom they purchase their cereals. In addition, cereal imports from neighbouring countries will be needed to meet food shortages in the coming months.

The report identifies the regions of Masvingo, Matabeleland North and South, and parts of Mashonaland, Midlands and Manicaland as the worst-affected areas.

WFP said its Seasonal Targeted Assistance programme is due to run until the end of March next year to help address the food shortages. However, while the programme has been budgeted at $119 million, it is currently facing a shortfall of approximately $87 million.

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Typhoid and cholera return
Photo: WHO/Paul Garwood
A nurse taking care of a child during the 2008 cholera outbreak
HARARE, 27 July 2012 (IRIN) - More than 100 people in the Zimbabwean capital Harare and Chitungwiza, a dormitory town 35km southeast of the city, have contracted typhoid this month, and the dilapidated water and sanitation systems are again being blamed for another round of water-borne diseases.

According to health officials cited in the local media, 83 cases of typhoid have been confirmed in Chitungwiza and a further 28 in Harare, of which
25 were linked to a supermarket in the Avenues area of the city centre.

Portia Manangazira, the chief disease control officer in the Health Ministry, told IRIN that in June 22 cases of suspected cholera, 10 of which were confirmed, were reported in Chiredzi - a town in Masvingo Province close to neighbouring South Africa - and one confirmed case of cholera was reported in Manicaland Province, which borders Mozambique.

“We are monitoring the situation very closely to make sure the cholera does not spread. The health sector is on high alert,” she said.

A year-long outbreak of cholera in 2008 killed more than 4,000 people and infected about 100,000 others and since then there have been
regular outbreaks of waterborne diseases in both urban and rural areas. In January 2012 about 900 Harare residents were diagnosed with typhoid, but no fatalities were recorded.

Harare’s daily water requirement is estimated at about 1,200 million litres, but the city only has the capacity to provide on average about 620 million litres daily, forcing residents to find alternative sources.

Shallow wells

Elizabeth Tembo, from the Harare township of Mabvuku where three people contracted typhoid, told IRIN: “Water supplies in this part of the city have been unreliable for many years and this has forced us to dig shallow wells. Unfortunately, those areas are also used by residents to relieve themselves because toilets do not have running water.” In the past decade or so, sanitation coverage in the city has fallen from 95 percent to about 60 percent, according to health officials.

Read more
Sewage-fed vegetables give pause for thought
Dying rivers dry up livelihoods
Growing risk of water-borne diseases in rural areas
However, there are also health concerns related to reservoirs supplying the city and other nearby urban areas. Harare’s town clerk, Tendai Mahachi, announced recently that a sanitation plant in Norton, a satellite town 40km west of the capital, had discharged 10 million litres of raw sewage into Lake Manyame, while industrial effluent and raw sewage had been discharged into Lake Chivero.

Donors have been
supplying water treatment chemicals to urban and rural municipalities, but this support was scheduled to end in March 2012.

The government announced recently it would spend US$60 million rehabilitating and upgrading water and sanitation systems nationally, including in Harare, and part of that money would also be used for road repairs in areas affected by water-borne diseases.

Precious Shumba, director of Harare Residents Trust, an NGO campaigning for better municipal service delivery, told IRIN: “That figure of US$60 million might just cover part of what is needed to overhaul the Harare city water and sewerage reticulation system. We have reached a stage where we need to urge central government to prioritize the rehabilitation or complete replacement of all outdated systems in order to ensure that residents throughout the country have uninterrupted quality water.”

He said failure to comprehensively address Zimbabwe’s water and sanitation needs would ensure the cycle of “easily avoidable” water-borne diseases continued.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Robert Mugabe mocks praise for rival Morgan Tsvangirai

President Robert Mugabe has mocked Australian praise for rival Morgan
Tsvangirai after Prime Minister Julia Gillard said he was a "hero" like
Nelson Mandela.

By Peta Thornycroft in Johannesburg

1:45PM BST 27 Jul 2012

Mr Tsvangirai, prime minister in Zimbabwe's difficult inclusive government
visited Australia and New Zealand this week to press for removal of western
sanctions imposed against Mr Mugabe and his colleagues after violent
presidential elections ten years ago.

At a luncheon in his honour Ms Gillard said: "You are a hero, like Nelson
Mandela, like Aung San Suu Kyi, like Xanana Gusmao – you are one of the
remarkable figures of our times." Mr Tsvangirai was showered with praise by
Australian media which described him as a "democracy champion."

On Thursday, Mr Mugabe, long envious of Mr Mandela's status, warned Mr
Tsvangirai he would be a "fool" if he allowed the praise to go to his head:
"Being equated to Mandela!" he exclaimed.

"You're being used to cause divisions among your own people. Some of us have
scars inflicted by the colonial settlers during the period we were fighting
against them, but some of us forget that, and get carried away by being
described as good leaders.

"If you choose to side with the West and do not realise that you are being
used, then you are a fool." Mr Mugabe served ten years in detention during
the war to end white Rhodesian rule.

Mr Mugabe dismisses Mr Tsvangirai as a 'puppet' of Western powers which he
claims are trying to force his Zanu PF party out of power as punishment for
taking land from 90 per cent of Zimbabwe's white farmers over the last 12

Mr Tsvangirai went into a coalition government with Mr Mugabe after violent
but inconclusive elections in 2008.

"We had a stalemate," Mr Tsvangirai said. "I had the support of the people,
they had the guns." About 200 people, mostly Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change supporters were beaten to death before he pulled out of
the run off to the second round of the presidential poll. Thousands more
were injured and chased from their rural homes in Zanu PF strongholds.

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Mnangagwa camp says Mugabe ill advised

By Tichaona Sibanda
27 July 2012

Members of Emmerson Mnangagwa’s inner circle in the Midlands province have
accused Robert Mugabe and the politburo of waging a ‘merciless war’ against
the Defence Minister, which they claim has hurt the former ruling party.

The Midlands province has traditionally been a stronghold for Mnangagwa and
it didn’t come as a surprise when his camp reacted with astonishment and
fury after the politburo disbanded the party’s District Coordination
Committees last month.

The politburo decision was influenced by the fact that Mnangagwa had imposed
candidates on the electorate using ‘bribes.’ His supporters argue that he’s
not the only one to breach these rules as most senior members in the party
were also guilty of using cash and influence to sway voters.

SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that angry ZANU PF officials aligned to
Mnangagwa have vowed to fight against the dissolution of the DCCs, claiming
Mugabe was ill advised.

The issue of the DCCs has remained a highly emotive subject for the
politburo. Discussion on this matter had to be deferred from Wednesday to
Friday after they failed to agree. A source told us the brains behind the
‘rebellious’ province’s stance to go against the politburo is businessman
and deputy chairman of the Midlands province, Larry Mavhima.

Instead of accepting the dissolution of the district structures, the
province, under Mavhima’s influence, has hit back saying the entire
politburo should instead be dissolved.

This has been viewed as an open challenge to Mugabe’s grip on power in the
party. The politburo was due to meet Friday and reports said the provincial
chairman of the province, Jaison Machaya had been summoned to explain this
rejection of the party’s decision to disband the DCCs.

‘While the DCCs were disbanded countrywide, the structures in the Midlands
province are intact and they still hold meetings. They said they’re prepared
to challenge the dissolution in front of the politburo,’ our source in Gweru

It is believed the Midlands province is strongly against a clause in the new
draft constitution that empowers the President of a political party to
choose his or her running mates.

‘They refer to it as the Mnangagwa clause because it eliminates him from
succeeding Mugabe. They want it scratched off or substituted by another
clause that allows the central committee to vote for the President’s running
mates,’ the source added.

Didymus Mutasa, the party’ secretary for administration and the man who has
become Mnangagwa’s nemesis in his quest to succeed Mugabe, said: ‘it will be
abnormal and not possible for him to succeed the ZANU PF leader ahead of the
party’s two vice presidents and national chairman.’

While Mnangagwa still has ambitions for the top post, his party does not
believe that he appeals to people. He was twice trounced by the MDC-T’s
Blessing Chebundo in the KweKwe parliamentary elections. Most people in ZANU
PF believe that close rival Vice-President Mujuru stands a better chance in
a national election than Mnangagwa.

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Community mining project slammed as ‘vote buying’ exercise

By Alex Bell
27 July 2012

A community mining project launched by Robert Mugabe this week is being
criticised as an attempt to ‘buy’ election support in the rural areas of the
Marange region.

The Marange-Zimunya Community Share Ownership Trust was launched by Robert
Mugabe this week, with a US$50 million kitty to be used for development
projects in Marange. The multi million dollar cash injection has been made
as ‘contributions’ by the mining firms operating at the Chiadzwa diamond
mines. And according to Mugabe, the trustees of the money are the local

“Let me advise the trustees to refrain from misappropriation of resources
from the transactions. We greatly hold our respected chiefs with esteem and
honour hence they are the ones entrusted to lead their communities out of
poverty,” said Mugabe.

This Trust is the latest to be launched since the initiative was started
last year, with five other projects still to make any significant progress
in terms of the development plans the money is meant for.

The other trusts include the Tongogara Community Share Ownership Trust, with
contributions from the Anglo American owners Unki Mine, the Mhondoro-
Ngezi-Zvimba Trust, the Mimosa Trust in Zvishavane and the Gwanda Trust.

The Tongogara Trust earlier this month came under fire for not making any
progress with its developmental plans after it received US$10 million last
November. It is understood that only the Zvishavane Trust has made progress,
after completing four classroom blocks and receiving two million dollars
from the Trust.

Political analyst Professor John Makumbe said the Trust exercise does not
guarantee that communities will benefit from mining projects, saying the
money is just entrusted for development to local Chiefs, with few checks and
balances. He said the money is not available to the community in any other
way, and because the names of the trustees largely remain a secret, there is
plenty to be concerned about.

“The money is likely to be used and abused by the various ministries
involved in development and the communities are unlikely to benefit much
from this,” Makumbe said.

He added: “I believe these community trusts are being created and money is
being pumped into them as a way of politicking by ZANU PF in preparation for
elections. They are trying to buy voter support by promising development in
these areas.”

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Zanu (PF) Seeks To Stop Draft Constitution

Harare,July 27, 2012 - President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai have no powers to reject the draft constitution, the
constitutional parliamentary committee that spearheaded the constitution
process has said.

This comes in the wake of reports that Zanu (PF) intends to reject the draft
constitution, which the party is saying left out views of the people. The
party will Friday hold an extraordinary meeting to decide on this.

“We want to emphasise that this not an executive process, but a
parliamentary driven process and only the people on the second all
stakeholders’ conference can make some amendments to the draft
constitution," said co-chairperson of the parliamentary committee, Douglas

He said Mugabe and Tsvangirai had been given the draft constitution in their
capacities as heads of political parties.

Mwonzora said political parties’ decisions on the draft constitution will
not affect the holding of a second all stakeholders conference to be
followed by a referendum.

“I know that Zanu (PF) is meeting over the draft constitution and that does
not matter," said Mwonzora.

"This document is the final thing we are taking to the second all
stakeholders conference sometime in August if funds permit where it can be
then amended if there is anything found to be missing. We are expecting all
civic organisations, churches and all political parties even those which are
not in the GPA to attend and participate,” Mwonzora added.

If Zimbabweans vote yes in the referendum, it will set the stage for the
holding of fresh elections.

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President Mugabe's Party Seeks Consensus on Draft Charter

26 July 2012

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington

President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party continues deliberations on the
country's new draft constitution Friday after failing to reach consensus on
the issue earlier this week.

The party's supreme decision-making body, the politburo, is reportedly at
odds over the long-delayed draft, which will replace Zimbabwe's founding
charter if approved in a public referendum.

Zanu PF hardliners, including Tsholotsho North lawmaker Jonathan Moyo want
the party to reject the document. Moyo led efforts by Zanu PF for a new
constitution in 2000 that was overwhelmingly rebuffed by the people.

The party's conflicting views are a matter of public record. The hardliners
have openly dissed their party's point man in the constitutional committee,
Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, calling the draft a "scandalous compromise."

But Mangwana has returned fire, saying Moyo - the apparent spokesman for the
hardliners - had no expertise or experience in constitutional law. He also
scornfully called out another of his critics, labeling him a "blacklisted

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA that the hardliners' position
indicates his party is democratic as it permits different viewpoints within
its ranks.

National Constitutional Assembly chairman and University of Zimbabwe law
professor Lovemore Madhuku said Zanu PF will accept the draft because it is
in its favor.

"The failure by Zanu PF to finish the deliberations on the constitution
yesterday had more to do with most people in the politburo," Madhuku said.
"They are quite old and slow. That was the reason. It's not because they had
so many issues to talk about."

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Public servants' salary protest puts MDC in firing line

27 Jul 2012 00:16 - Ray Ndlovu

Stung by the rejection of their salary demands, Zimbabwean public servants
staged nationwide protests in a bid to force the government's hand.

Apex Council, the public servants' umbrella union, marshalled about 800 of
its members on Tuesday to march to the government composite building in
Harare, which houses Finance Minister Tendai Biti's office and Parliament,
to demand salary increases. The Apex Council brings together the Public
Service Association, the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association, the Progressive
Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe, the Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe and the College
Lecturers' Association of Zimbabwe.

Their petition to Parliament read: "Since independence, 2012 is the first
time in the history of labour in the public sector that government reviews
workers' allowances and fails to raise their salaries. Public servants
cannot understand why they continue to be paid salaries below the poverty
datum line with no effort by government to progressively move the salaries
towards the poverty datum line levels."

The lowest-paid public worker earns $250 a month and the union is demanding
that the figure be raised to $550. The public servants issued an ultimatum
in July and the Apex Council has threatened a "devastating strike" if wages
are not raised.

The prospect of teachers embarking on a strike appears unlikely this term,
however, because schools will close next week to prepare for a national
census that is scheduled to be conducted next month.

Biti, the Movement for Democratic Change-aligned secretary general, refused
to meet public services union leaders, further stoking tension and a likely
face-off between him and the country's largest workforce of nearly 130 000
workers. Teachers' union chief executive Manuel Nyawo said: "He [Biti] is
closing down all communication, but he is going to regret his actions. A
public minister should not hide from the workers. We have never seen such a
minister in the past."

Progressive teachers' union secretary general Raymond Majongwe said: "It
pains me that he does not want to meet us. He does not even want to hear our
input in his budget consultations, but one day the chickens will come home
to roost."

Political observers said the MDC was caught in an "unenviable position"
because it controls the treasury and Zanu-PF hardliners could use the salary
impasse to discredit the MDC in the eyes of workers.

Said political analyst Charles Mangongera: "Biti has very little fiscal
space to adjust public servants' wages, given the weak revenue base of the
economy. This has serious political implications, because Zanu-PF will use
this as political fodder. The MDC will have to carefully manage its image
and the information it conveys to convince government workers that, in the
absence of real economic growth, it will not be possible to increase their

Eat what we kill
Biti slashed growth forecasts this year from 9.4% to 5.6%, blaming low
diamond revenue inflows, poor harvests, investor nervousness over the
indigenisation programme, a high foreign-travel bill and talk of elections
as factors crippling the country's economic recovery prospects.

Instead of caving in to the demands of public servants and government
departments keen to receive budgetary supplements, Biti has proposed a raft
of belt-tightening measures. His "eat what we kill" policy has resulted in
him proposing a salary freeze and issuing a terse warning to public workers
not to take salaries for granted.

It is understood that public servants' salaries gobble 74% of government
revenue each month. Trevor Maisiri, a Johannesburg-based senior analyst at
the International Crisis Group, points out that Biti may be a pawn in an
unfolding political game, because public servants know there is no money and
are agitating for the release of funds from elsewhere.

"The last time the finance minister announced that there was no money for
public servant salary increments, the government provided supplementary
financing from elsewhere to meet part of their demands," said Maisiri.

"This, however, made them aware that, with enough pressure, they could
access benefits from outside the treasury."

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Zimbabwe central bank warning over equity law

(AFP) – 2 hours ago

NYANGA, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe's central bank chief warned Friday the country's
fragile economy could grind to a halt if the government rushes its planned
seizure of majority stakes in foreign-owned banks.

"The implementation of indigenisation and economic empowerment regulations
in the banking sector should be done in a manner that preserves confidence
since any adverse developments in the banking sector could grind economic
activity to a screeching halt," Gideon Gono said.

He was speaking to business executives at the annual congress of the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries in the eastern resort town of Nyanga.

Zimbabwe passed in 2007 a law that forces all foreign-owned companies to
hand over a majority stake of 51 percent to locals.

The law has forced mining firms, including the country's biggest platinum
mine Zimplats, a subsidiary of South Africa's Impala Platinum, to submit
schedules on how they will surrender a majority share.

"We are gratified to note that some aspects of the indigenisation and
economic empowerment regulations are receiving attention with a view to
harmonize and fine-tune pertinent issues," Gono said.

Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere, in a government notice made
public earlier this month, gave foreign banks and other companies one year
to cede a 51 percent stake to locals, as required under current laws.

Mugabe's partner in a coalition government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
dismissed the ultimatum on the banks as illegal and a threat to the ailing
economy's recovery prospects.

Britain's Standard Chartered Bank and Barclays Bank are among the major
foreign banks with operations in this former British colony.

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Chimombe arrest linked to comments over Mujuru death

By Tererai Karimakwenda
27 July 2012

The MDC-T has revealed that police in Bindura arrested their chairperson for
Mashonaland Central on Wednesday, on charges that he told supporters at a
rally that Vice President Joice Mujuru was responsible for the death of her
husband, the late Army General Solomon Mujuru.

Chimombe, who also co-chairs the JOMIC team in Mash Central, was detained by
Law and Order officials in Bindura until Friday when he was granted $200
bail. He was remanded to 10th August.

His co-chairman Henry Chimbiri told SW Radio Africa that police abducted
Chimombe after a JOMIC meeting Wednesday and had initially refused to
specify the charges.

A statement by the MDC-T said the police are claiming Chimombe is a State
witness “who will assist them in investigating Mai Mujuru over the death of
her husband”.

Chimombe is alleged to have made the comments at a rally at Nyatondo
Business Centre in Mt. Darwin North two weeks ago. The MDC-T admits Chimombe
was at the event, but insists he did not address the gathering.

“The rally was addressed by the senior national MDC leadership including the
Deputy Treasurer, Elton Mangoma and the MDC Women’s Assembly chairperson,
Theresa Makone,” the party statement said.

General Mujuru died in a fire at his farmhouse in Beatrice last year after
under suspicious circumstances. It is widely believed he was murdered due to
infighting within the party over who will succeed Robert Mugabe.

Chimbiri told SW Radio Africa he believes the arrest is a plot by the
partisan police who want to curtail Chimombe’s movements in Mash Central,
where JOMIC’s peace-building initiatives are making progress.

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The MDC Today

Friday, 27 July 2012
Issue - 403

Godfrey Chimombe, MDC Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson was today
granted a US$200 bail at the Bindura Magistrate’s Court on false charges of
undermining the authority of the President.

Chairman Chimombe who is also the Mashonaland Central Joint Monitoring and
Co-ordinating Committee (Jomic) chairperson was arrested on Wednesday in
Bindura on charges that he insulted Mai Mujuru at an MDC rally held at
Nyakatondo Business Centre in Mt Darwin North by claiming that Mai Mujuru
killed her husband, General Solomon Mujuru.

The rally, attended by the senior MDC national leadership and hundreds of
MDC members, was held two weeks ago.

General Mujuru died in a mysterious fire in Beatrice last year.

Chairman Chimombe was remanded to 10 August.

Meanwhile, Mutare Senator, Hon. Keresensia Chabuka and six other MDC members
who are facing false charges of public violence were yesterday remanded to 1
August when the trial is expected to kick-off at the Mutare Magistrates’

The State is alleging that Senator Chabuka teamed up with other MDC members
and started assaulting members of the public. However, on the day in
question the accused MDC members where holding a provincial meeting at the
MDC Manicaland offices.

They are on remand on US$50 bail each.

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!

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Bulawayo Thermal Power Station needs urgent refurbishment

By Tichaona Sibanda
27 July 2012

The Bulawayo Thermal power station needs urgent attention after one of the
boiler systems broke down on Wednesday.

Contrary to reports in the media that the power station had collapsed our
Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme, who visited the site, told us the
iconic cooling towers were still intact.

‘ZESA engineers I spoke to said alarmist language was used to describe the
breakdown. The station did not collapse but there are a few heat resistant
bricks that line the inside of the cooling towers that have been peeling

‘This was not being attended to because of lack of funds to repair the
damage. What has broken down is the boiler that heats the water and turns
into steam to spin a turbine which drives the electrical generators,’
Saungweme said.

He explained that the impression given in the media made people believe that
the cooling towers had collapsed.

Energy ministry secretary Patson Mbiriri first raised the alarm when he told
a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries congress in Nyanga that the
brick-lining at the ageing station had caved in.

Before the latest breakdown the power station was generating 30 megawatts of
electricity a day. The whole country needs around 2, 200 megawatts a day.

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Glen View cop murder trial still on hold

By Tererai Karimakwenda
27 July 2012

The trial of 29 MDC-T activists falsely accused of killing a policeman in
Glen View last year will not resume until one of them, who is critically ill
and receiving treatment at a private hospital, is able to stand trial.

Last week Justice Chinembiri Bhunu ruled that Nyamadzawo Gapare must be
transferred from the prison section of Harare Central Hospital to the
Avenues Clinic, where he could get better treatment. This was after a
private doctor examined him.

This effectively put the ongoing trial of all 29 activists on hold. The
development also prolongs jail time for the MDC-T activists, some of whom
have been in detention for a year after being denied bail on several

Clifford Hlatywayo, national spokesman for the MDC-T Youth Assembly, told SW
Radio Africa that it may take some time for Gapare to be considered fit
enough for trial because his condition is serious.

“As we speak he is recovering at a private hospital but according to the
doctor’s report, he needs serious attention. We hope he gets well soon
because the trial has been halted due to his condition,” Hlatywayo said.

The police allege that Officer Petros Mutedza was killed by MDC-T supporters
who had conducted an illegal meeting at a Glen View pub. Following the cop’s
murder, they descended on Glen View high-density suburb and randomly
arrested MDC-T members only.

Hlatywayo insisted their members are not guilty and the arrests are a
political move by ZANU PF to destabilize their structures.

“The whole process is political. Most of the accused persons in jail are
high ranking officials within our party, including councillors, executive
board members and our national youth chairman Solomon Madzore,” Hlatywayo

Hlatywayo said after Justice Bhunu denied the activists bail, their lawyers
appealed the decision at the Supreme Court and were granted permission last
week to seek bail there. They are currently waiting for the Court to set a
date for the bail hearing.

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'Diabetes mortality exceed HIV'

Written by Gugulethu Nyazema
Friday, 27 July 2012 17:44

HARARE - The diabetes mortality rate will exceed that of HIV in the next
eight years, health experts are saying.

Speaking during a presentation on the Buddy Initiative at the Zimbabwe
Medical Association office Dr Pilani Ndiweni said one in every four
Zimbabweans is suspected to have diabetes and this is a national problem
that needs serious attention.

“Less resourced countries like Zimbabwe will bear the burden. Major burden
is type two Diabetes and 90 percent are in the care of the ordinary person,
at our homes, in our offices and around us. And it is important that doctors
know how to deal with and manage diabetes,” said Nduweni.

The buddy initiative is an education programme meant for general
practitioners to partake in a comprehensive training programme where they
are taught theoretical and the practical basics of Diabetes.

Diabetes develops when one’s body fails to produce enough insulin or when
the body cannot effectively use the insulin produced and without insulin,
the body cannot get energy from the food.

Ndiweni said diabetes is becoming uncontrollable with 20 percent of those
diagnosed being treated.

“We are doing badly where diabetes is concerned and we do not probably
monitor this disease. If diabetes is managed and taught well, there will be
no need for Intensive care unit and hospitalization of diabetic patients
which costs money,” said Ndiweni.

According to statics provided by the specialist, in sub-Saharan Africa the
numbers of people suffering from diabetes has doubled over the years.

“In the year 2000 the number of people suffering from diabetes was at seven
million and the numbers doubled to 14 million in 2011 and the estimates for
2030 are at 28 million.

As Africa do we have enough insulin to support these people,” said the

According to health experts, diabetes can lead to severe complications such
as damage to the retina leading to blindness, the disease can also cause
kidney failure and foot and leg amputations caused by wounds and ulcers.

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Scramble for Air Zim market

Written by Business Writer
Friday, 27 July 2012 12:32

HARARE - South African airlines are taking advantage of Air Zimbabwe’s
(AirZim’s) operational challenges, scrambling for unused slots provided for
in the bilateral air services agreement between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The SA airlines have used up all their slots, while Air Zim’s allocated
slots are virtually unutilised.

Realising the opportunity presented by the grounding of Air Zim, the SA
airlines have entered into strategic arrangements with local companies in a
bid to register as Zimbabwean airlines and therefore access the Zimbabwean

However, sources in the aviation industry are worried by these “marriages of
convenience” as they leave the Zimbabwean travelling public vulnerable.

They are also allocating very old aircraft for their Zimbabwe based

It is understood that a low cost airline, Onetime has entered into one such
strategic arrangement with a virtual airline called FreshAir, fronted by
Matipedza Karase.

Under this arrangement, Onetime will transfer one or two of their old
aircraft to FreshAir for registration in Zimbabwe.

This will then qualify them to use the Zimbabwe slots.

According to sources, FreshAir was recently on a recruitment drive premised
on their expectation to be granted an airline operator’s certificate by the
Zimbabwean authorities.

As part of the process, FreshAir has been requested by the Civil Aviation
Authority to conduct a flight demonstration on the Johannesburg-Victoria
Falls-Harare sectors which they did using an over 20 year old DC9 aircraft.

In another development, SA Airlink has teamed up with Forbes Magadu and
formed an airline called Zim Airlink.

The recently formed airline is in the process of obtaining an operator’s
certificate and will also benefit from the South African investor’s

Some of SA Airlink aircraft will be registered in Zimbabwe but will still be
maintained in South Africa.

Aviation experts said there was a trend where suspicious Zimbabwean
entrepreneurs were preying on the unsuspecting investors who committed huge
investments before conducting due diligence on their prospective partners.

Fly 540, a LonZim subsidiary fell in the same trap and lost a quarter of a
million dollars to a Zimbabwean entrepreneur who failed to obtain an airline
operator’s certificate for a joint venture.

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Government Intervenes in Cotton Pricing War

26 July 2012

Tatenda Gumbo | Washington

After months of holding out, Zimbabwe's cotton farmers may soon be back at
the market if ginners comply with a government order raising the buying
price from US$0.29 to 77 cents for the lowest grade per kilogram.

Grade A cotton will fetch 84 cents, a big jump from about 40 cents. Grade B
will sell for 81 cents while Grade C will go for 79 cents.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said farmers should not sell their produce
at prices that are below the cost of production.

Communicating the cabinet decision, he said ginners that do not comply may
lose their licenses.

Sources say the parliamentary committee on agriculture, although having
recommended that the government intervened to end the impasse, is not happy
about cabinet setting the prices.

The impasse between farmers and buyers escalated over the past months as
producers held on to their crop demanding buyers raise the price to between
49 and 80 cents per kilogram.

The buyers, who fall under the Cotton Ginners Association, were offering
prices ranging from 29 to 40 cents, an offer described as an insult by some
farmers who even threatened to burn their produce in protest.

Lawmaker and chairman of the parliamentary committee on agriculture, Moses
Jiri, told VOA the government's move temporarily addresses the price war.

"These prices are sort of an imagination," he said. "There is no way you can
come up with prices going with what is happening in industry and who is
going to buy. The best route this government should have taken was to engage
the organizations and put everything on a clear cut so no-one would lose."

Independent economist Masimba Kuchera said government needs a clear policy
regulating cotton farmers and buyers, adding its intervention should not be
to set prices as a remedy.

"Government intervention should not be to peg what the price should be,
government should intervene in terms of proper regulation of the industry so
that cotton farmers and cotton ginners are able to make profit in a properly
regulated environment," said Kuchera.

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‘Cotton growers being ripped-off’

Friday, 27 July 2012 07:31
Thom Khanje

A Zimbabwean cotton merchant has described the prices at which Malawian
cotton farmers are being paid for their produce as a "rip-off" on the part
of local ginners.

The Cotton Ginners Association of Malawi and the Ministry of Agriculture
have, however, defended the local cotton prices, saying they were reasonable
considering the low cotton prices on the world market.

The Zimbabwean executive, who did not want to be named because of his
company's business partnerships in Malawi, told The Daily Times from Harare
that despite reduced cotton prices on the world market compared to last
year, farmers in Zimbabwe are being paid for their cotton at prices which
are two and a half times higher than those in Malawi.

"I was in Malawi early this month and I was shocked to see the cotton
prices," said the official, who is a manager at a major cotton ginnery
company in Zimbabwe.

"In Zimbabwe, we are buying cotton from farmers at eight [US] cents [K224]
per kilogramme while in Malawi; your farmers are being paid an equivalent of
3 US cents [K100]. That is a complete rip-off on your farmers by the

"They should not hide behind world prices because we all sell to the same
buyers internationally," he said.

He admitted that cotton lint prices on the world market have gone down to
about US$1.71 from US$3.50 last year but believes Malawi buyers should still
have been able to pay better prices than they were doing at present.

Cotton lint is made up of 60 percent of the raw cotton bought from growers
while the remaining 40 percent consist of cotton seed whose market price for
a kilogramme is usually around 10 percent of that paid for lint.

He said the Malawian buyers have taken advantage of the kwacha devaluation
in April to make money at the expense of farmers, saying prices of cotton
should have changed significantly after the devaluation.

"Considering that cotton in Malawi is an entirely export crop which is sold
in dollars to international buyers, the prices of cotton paid to farmers
should have gone up in real [dollar] terms. On the contrary, the prices are
down.That is day right robbery," said the Zimbabwean dealer.

Calculations by The Daily Times show that before devaluation, buyers paid
K120, which is 7 US cents at the exchange rate of K163 to the dollar, for a
kilogramme of cotton from the farmers.

Government set the "recommended" price of cotton at K78 per kilogramme in
February, which in dollar terms was 4 cents at the exchange rate of K163.
After devaluation, the recommended price has remained at K78, which in
dollar terms is at 2 US cents.

The Zimbabwean merchant has since called on the Malawi government to
intervene on the matter and protect the farmer, saying the present situation
will kill the cotton grower as they will not be able to buy inputs next year
whose prices have gone up tremendously as a result of devaluation.

However, Cotton Ginners Association of Malawi Chairperson Jesse Kita and
Ministry of Agriculture Principle Secretary Jeffrey Luhanga said in separate
interviews on Wednesday that prices of cotton on the world market were the
reason for the unsatisfactory prices being offered on the local market.

"The world financial crisis has affected consumer demand for cotton products
on the world market. As a result, prices of cotton have gone down," said

He said, however, that the local ginners were still paying at prices well
above the K78 as recommended by government.

"The price is currently around K100 per kilogramme. If anybody is paying
below K100, they must be vendors, not ginners. Farmers should be careful by
selling their cotton only to ginners not vendors," said Kita.

On his part, Luhanga said while government appreciate the concerns raised by
farmers, they were aware that prices being offered by ginners were being
influenced by world market prices.

"World market prices have slumped and the market is still sluggish," said
Luhanga, adding: "But we still hold weekly meetings with buyers to review
the market. Once we notice that world prices have improved, appropriate
decisions will be made."

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WOZA: Court appearances, Trial and harrasment

Press statement Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu appeared in Court today on the
kidnap and theft charges before a stand in magistrate in Regional
Court Tredgold Bulawayo. They were represented by a stand in lawyer
who was not aware of the case details. The prosecutor Mr Katenaire
initially agreed to a further month long remand but when the matter
came before the stand in Magistrate Katenaire took advantage of the
new lawyer and did an about turn and remanded the 2 accused to the
15th August. He submitted to the court that on that date the defence
had to explain the delay in getting the Review in the High Court
completed. As this date proved problematic, the magistrate was asked
by the Accused Jennifer Williams to remand them to Monday 30 July.

On Monday, the two accused will have to get a lawyer strong enough to
argue that the defence have no control over when the High Court will
hear the matter. The accused won a High Court stay of proceeding in
the regional court but the Magistrate Sengweni and Prosecutor Mr
Katenaire refused to remove the two off court remand appearances. On
the 3rd of July a formal written request was made to the High Court
applying for the matter to be heard. The prosecutor seems determined
to ignore these facts and proceed with the Trial.

The two accused, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu feel that their
treatment is part of ongoing harassment and persecution by
prosecution. It is also the states covert strategy to keep them
sitting in court rooms instead of conducting peaceful protests.

This harassment has seen the recent arrests of 9 members for graffiti
including the message ‘fire Chihuri’ (the police commissioner).
Arresting police officers expressed their displeasure at the call for
the firing of the police commissioner and sent threatening messages to
Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu. During this period of arrest,
they visited the home of a member at 11pm on 2nd July demanding she
take them to the home of the two for their arrest to be carried out.
On 30 June the guard dogs at the home of Magodonga Mahlangu were
poisoned and one died. This is the second incident were cruel police
officers have targeted her dogs when they could not get to her. The
home of Williams has been visited by police officers on 4th and 24th
July who left no messages but harassed neighbours about the
whereabouts of Williams. WOZA fears the imminent arrest of the two
leaders as retaliation for calling for the firing of the police
commissioner. This sort of behaviour is precisely why the activists
have called for Chihuri to be fired.

Meanwhile the 9 members arrested and charged for graffiti will face
four separate trials starting on Monday 30 July in Western Commonage
Court in Bulawayo. Sibongile Lumbile’s 30th of July 2012 in court C;
Mpikelelo Moyo, Eunice Moyo and Teresia Phiri – 3 August 2012 court B;
Ottilia Dube and Miriam Ngcebetsha 6 August 2012 court A; Cathrine
Dliwayo, Violet Dube and Vigilant Lunga on 7 August 2012 in Court D.

27 July 2012 See the story on

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Journalist arrested over voters roll

MISA Zimbabwe Media Alert
27 July 2012

Freelance journalist Thomas Madhuku arrested on 23 July 2012 while working
on a story pertaining to alleged anomalies on the voters roll was released
on $50 bail by Harare Magistrate Anita Tshuma on 27 July 2012.
Madhuku is facing charges of tempering with the vote’s roll and practicing
journalism without accreditation. . He is being charged under section 79 of
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). . He is
being charged under section 79 of the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Madhuku was arrested at the Registrar- General’s Offices in Harare while
trying to seek clarification from Registrar- General Tobaiwa Mudede on
anomalies he had identified on the voter’s roll for Chipinge South

Prosecutor Tungamirai Chakurira, said Madhuku was arrested pursuant to a
meeting he had with Mudede where he produced an expired press card and a
soft copy of the voters’ roll that is alleged to have been tempered with.

Thomas Madhuku was represented by Advocate Tonderai Bhatasara.
In terms of Section 80 of AIPPA which deals with abuse journalistic
privilege, states that a person who contravenes this provision shall be
guilty of an offence and liable to a fine not exceeding level seven or to
imprisonment for a period not exceeding two years.

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ZESN Elects New Leadership


Harare 27 July 2012 - The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a group of 31 non-governmental organisations working to promote democratic elections in Zimbabwe has elected a new Board to steer the Network for the next five years.

ZESN held its 12th Annual General Meeting where it elected Dr Rev. Solomon Zwana as the new Board Chairperson. The AGM also re-elected Ms Irene Petras the Director of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights as the Vice Chairperson, other organisations elected to be represented in the ZESN Board are;

1. Bulawayo Agenda,

2. Zimbabwe Civic Education Trust,

3. Combined Harare Resident Association,

4. Counselling Services Unit,

5. National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped,

6. Transparency International Zimbabwe,

7. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,

8. Zimbabwe Peace Project,

9. Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association and

10. Women’s Coalition of Zimbabwe.

Dr Zwana takes over from Mr Tinoziva Bere who stepped down in July 2012 after four years of dedicated service to the organisation.

In his parting remarks outgoing chairperson Mr Bere said, “ZESN is a special organisation with a special purpose. The work is demanding and at times stressful but it is a fulfilling service, an honour. Thank you to the members, board, secretariat and partners for the support in the last 4 years. Please do support my successor, Dr. Zwana. To Dr. Zwana and your new Board, congratulations and all the best.”

Dr. Zwana is a seasoned human rights defender and an ordained Reverend and Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches. Dr Zwana is also an academic who has worked at various levels in the Church as an administrator and Pastor. He also sits in various local and international boards.

The new ZESN leadership comes in at a time when Zimbabwe is faced with numerous socio-economic and political challenges and prospects that require perseverance, courage and strength in the fight for the democratisation of electoral and human rights processes in Zimbabwe. The country is currently in the process of crafting a new constitution, the referendum for which is expected before the end of the year. There are also vital Acts being deliberated in Parliament and these are the Electoral Amendment Act and the Human Rights Commission Act.

As ZESN continues to lobby and advocate for reforms in Zimbabwe before the holding of the next election it is confident the new Board will not only build on the successes of the out–going Board but also breathe new ideas in the work of ZESN as the network continues to work towards a Zimbabwe where democratic processes are held. Ends//

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Diaspora Diaries with Alex Bell and Ben Freeth


Former Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth

Alex Bell: Hello and welcome to Diaspora Diaries on SW Radio Africa, Zimbabwe’s independent voice. I’m Alex Bell and coming up tonight I examine how the draft constitution will impact on a ruling by the Southern African Human Rights Tribunal in 2008 which declared the land grab in Zimbabwe unlawful. The ruling of course ordered the government to compensate farmers who’d lost their land in a judgement that slammed the land seizures for being inherently discriminatory but nothing has been done in terms of justice since then and instead the court has been suspended pending a review of its mandate and functions. Justice is now set to be even further delayed with Zimbabwe’s draft constitution actively undermining the Tribunal ruling. Now there’s a number of issues to discuss here tonight and joining me is former Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth who now heads the SADC Tribunal Rights Watch group. Ben it’s always a pleasure, thank you so much for joining us this evening.

Ben Freeth: Thank you very much, it’s always a pleasure to join you.

AB: Ben let’s look now at these land clauses in the new draft constitution that was released last week. There has been concern raised. Not a lot of people are talking about the land issue which I think is probably a sign of how the matter is seen. But let’s get your take on what you have been able to read into this so far.

BF: Well I think there are a number of things that are extremely worrying in the new draft constitution, which incidentally both ZANU PF and MDC have obviously signed off on, and I think the first thing is that it cancels the right to anyone for compensation. It says explicitly: ‘no compensation is payable in respect of the acquisition of land’, so that is obviously something very concerning. It goes against the SADC Tribunal judgement, it goes against all law relating to the compensation for things, property that have been taken away from people and at the same time it directly prevents anyone applying to a court regarding compensation for that land. No person, it says, may apply to a court for the determination of any question relating to compensation for that land. So I think that’s an extremely harsh and draconian thing to write into a constitution and furthermore it actually makes it even more simple for government to go ahead and acquire the last few remaining properties, because it says that simply by a notice in the Gazette, the government Gazette, the land will then vest in the state with full title with effect from the publication of that notice. So there’s no procedure, it’s just a straight gazetting in the government Gazette and suddenly everything that you ever worked for has gone, it’s just vanished into thin air and is now vested in the state.

But I think the most alarming part of this whole new constitution is the clause that says, I think 4.293c says that the acquisition ‘may not be challenged on the grounds that it was discriminatory.’ And that’s a very, very clear indication of where I think we are in this country. You know, all the human rights statutes, all the constitutions around the world all say that we are all equal before the law; there cannot be discrimination and yet this new constitution of Zimbabwe, signed off by the democratic part of our government is saying: yes – there can be discrimination, we can go ahead and act in a discriminatory manner, take from people who happen to have a different colour skin or whatever it is. And I think this is something that even in the apartheid constitutions wasn’t there so explicitly. So this is something really very, very grave and I believe, very, very serious.

AB: It’s particularly, it seems almost particularly vindictive because of how closely it resembles the judgement of the SADC Tribunal in 2008 and it does seem to actively undermine that ruling and to make the pains to undermine that ruling.

BF: Well absolutely, I mean the SADC Tribunal was very clear. It was a ruling looking at the SADC Treaty, looking at international law and it said, very explicitly… that the respondent, which is the Zimbabwe government, cannot rely on its national law, it’s constitution to avoid an international law obligation. And the international law obligation here is that it has to allow its citizens their opportunity to represent themselves in court if their property is taken or if other things happen to them and that there can be no racial discrimination. That is an international law obligation and it goes back to all sorts of obligations that we are signed up to: the United Nations Charter, it’s very clear, there are so many clauses in the United Nations Charter that cover this. Article One right at the very beginning says: “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”; in Article Two: “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration without distinction of any kind such as race” and it just goes on right the way through the Declaration and through subsequent human rights charters including of course the human rights, the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights which aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination. Right the way through the world it is a very, very clear mandate of governments to avoid discrimination and this constitution says yes, discrimination is fine.

AB: Now Zimbabwe is a signatory to the SADC Treaty so what is this supposed to mean then in terms of the country’s relationship with that leadership bloc? Obviously it means that it is never going to abide by the SADC Tribunal ruling – what about further relations with the leadership bloc?

BF: Well absolutely, all the legal people within SADC are going to look at this and say: Zimbabwe is out of kilter here. This is something that even the apartheid government didn’t actually put in place. It goes against the SADC Treaty, it goes against the United Nations Convention for the elimination of all forms of racial discrimination, it goes against that incredible convention that was put in place regarding apartheid itself where it talks of apartheid, in the United Nations in the convention on the suppression and punishment of the crimes of apartheid, it talks about that convention or those people that actually take part in that being partakers in crimes against humanity. So this is something that SADC is going to have to look at very carefully I believe and they are going to have to say: ‘well do we allow Zimbabwe just to get away with this’ as well as quite clearly, the people do not endorse it. I do not believe if we were to look back at all the consultations that cost millions of dollars, I do not believe that the people said that discrimination should be allowable in Zimbabwe. This is something that has been put in by our politicians without any thought as to what the people said at all. It goes against the whole principles of democracy which SADC stands by or is supposed to stand by within the Treaty. This is I believe a real crunch, crunch time that we are going through; I think it’s a real shaking time and people that do not stand up against this, these clauses in this constitution… You mentioned at the beginning that everyone seems to be very silent about it all, obviously (they) do not believe in democracy, human rights and the rule of law which are the founding principles of SADC.

AB: Speaking of SADC of course, it’s about being a development community and promoting the development of southern Africa as a region and yet the one thing that also stands out in the land clause in this new constitution is what seems to be the legitimising of the state to completely erase title and put the state’s name and register the state’s title over all land in acquisitions. This seems a clear sign to property rights and surely that’s going to once again further distract from any kind of meaningful or any kind of investment in Zimbabwe at all?

BF: Well absolutely, I think both internally and externally everyone is waiting for property rights to be endorsed by our government for the rule of law to come back. To say that if people take away a property from you, you are due compensation, you are due a hearing in the court. To allow theft, which essentially is what this constitution is endorsing, to allow theft to be able to take place, everyone is saying ‘well there’s no way we are going to invest’ and even the guys that have actually taken the farms or have been given offer letters by the government for farms, they are not being given any security whatsoever. The government can come along tomorrow and say ‘thank you very much, we are taking your farm from you, we are giving it to someone else who’s more loyal to the party’ or whatever it is. So all those, none of those people will be able to invest or develop what they have taken from us, so it’s a lose-lose situation all round. The only people that are winning are ZANU PF essentially and I just don’t understand why MDC is endorsing this.

AB: I spoke to the MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora yesterday and he was very adamant that at least under this new agreement no land would be seized outside of the law and everything would be within the constitution. Do you think that’s a good enough excuse to legalise state acquisition of land so that it’s within the bounds of the law?

BF: Well I go back to the 1940s where the Nazi regime made all sorts of laws so that they could do things by the law and they were able to loot from the Jews, they were able to eventually send the Jews to their death and it was all legal. There was a legal structure that allowed them to be able to do that. This is why in 1948, the Human Rights Charter was formed so that that would be the guideline, that would be the underpinning foundation to stop governments going outside the law. And when constitutions are written that go beyond the call of the human rights charters that various governments have signed up to, they’re not acting by the law, they may be acting by Zimbabwe law but there’s an obligation to act by the human rights charters that they have signed up to. There’s an obligation I believe that the Ten Commandments which were received by Moses on Mount Sinai all those years ago, they are the underpinning theme to what all good law is about. And this clearly flies in the face of that so I think the MDC spokesman either hasn’t read the constitution or else is very seriously out of kilter with what is right.

AB: Ben we’re sitting in a situation now where the SADC Tribunal does remain suspended. We’re not entirely sure what’s actually happening with that court. This constitution then it does seem to put another nail in the coffin of that (the SADC Tribunal’s) ruling; what do you think is going to happen as we move forward?

BF: Well I believe the ruling obviously will stand; it is a final and binding judgement. What we are waiting for is a government that is respectful of its people, is respectful of the rule of law and so long as we have a government that does not respect those things, we will continue to have any international judgements that are being trampled upon. It simply isn’t in the government’s interest to abide by them. So yes, for the moment it obviously defers any time of rebuilding, it defers any time of getting to a place where the country is food secure, where jobs are being created, where development is taking place. It defers all that and we wait, we wait in Zimbabwe, we wait until the time where the rule of law is respected and then we believe things will start to move forward very quickly. I believe that Zimbabwe at the moment is like a Rolls Royce and it’s got its handbrake on and at some stage our politicians will realise that they need to take the handbrake off, they need to bring the rule of law back and then we will take off. But until that time it’s going to be a very difficult and slow and torturous journey for many, many Zimbabweans.

AB: You have been listening to Diaspora Diaries here on SW Radio Africa. I’ve been speaking to Ben Freeth who heads the SADC Tribunal Rights Watch group about the new constitution and some of the implications of it. Now if you would like to look at the constitution yourself, it is available on our website: For now though Ben, thank you once again for joining us on the show, it’s really such a pleasure.

BF:Thank you Alex.

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A happy childhood? Stress paints an uneasy future for Zimbabwean youth

July 27th, 2012

Zimbabwean children at school

The first time Mandisa had the night terrors, her mother was convinced she was being murdered in her bed.

“It was so loud, so chilling, I couldn’t believe her screams hadn’t woken her!” said her mother, Tenjiwe.

She would scream continuously for up to 15 minutes at a time, without waking up, and nothing could rouse her. Afterwards she would be so spent, she would lie shuddering in her bed.

When Tenjiwe took Mandisa to the family doctor, she didn’t have to wrack her brain when he asked if there was anything different in the home, any trauma which could have triggered the 13-year old’s terror, manifesting itself in her sleep.

Two weeks earlier, Mandisa ‘s father, Peter, hadn’t come home from his job as manager of a local retail company. On one of the coldest weekends of that bitter winter, Peter had spent two nights in prison, stripped of his shoes and jacket – only two items of clothing are permitted in a Zimbabwean holding cell – and forced to share the 2m sq space with the Friday night regulars: a motley crew of criminals and prostitutes. One man was rumoured to have slit another man’s throat in a drunken brawl.

Peter’s crime: trading in foreign currency in the dark era of hyper-inflation, before the adoption of the US dollar as an official currency.

He was finally released on Monday morning.

Mandisa, who had always been a restless sleeper, began having intense and frequent night terrors soon afterwards. Nothing the doctor advised helped, not the holistic tranquilisers nor the change of bedroom. Within a year, Peter resigned from his job and the family emigrated.

Speaking to Tenjiwe in Essex, England, where the family now lives, she remembers the period as if it was yesterday.

“We’ve tried to put it all behind us, but when we allow ourselves to relive it, the feelings are quite indescribable,” said Tenjiwe. “First there was the arrest, then the on-going court case with the real threat of charges being laid and serious jail-time. Plus Peter’s passport was taken away for the duration.

“It was definitely a deciding factor in us leaving. I will never forget the feeling of complete and utter helplessness when he was being arrested. You realise how powerless you are.”

Tenjiwe has noticed a significant difference in Mandisa since moving to the UK.

“Little things that you don’t even think children notice, like meticulously locking up at night and driving with all the car doors and windows locked,” said Tenjiwe.

“When we first got here, Mandisa would start getting anxious towards dusk, and ask if everything was locked up. With time, the night terrors stopped and now she sleeps like a log!”

Soon after moving to the UK, Tenjiwe began suffering from digestion problems and was diagnosed with a rare condition, most likely triggered by stress.

“The doctor who diagnosed me felt that what we had experienced could well have set off the condition, one which is incurable and I will have for the rest of my life,” said Tenjiwe. “So, in effect, Zimbabwe has left its mark on all of us.”

Not every story is quite so dramatic. Not every child in Zimbabwe suffering from stress has had a family member jailed or murdered, although there are those instances right across the social and racial spectrum. There are also the everyday examples of living – and growing up – in an environment with an unusually high level of stress, and with parents whose exposure to, and efforts to deal with uncertainty, rubs off on their children.

Thandiwe, a mother of two, remembers the era of food shortages and how it affected her children, at the time aged four and seven.

“I still see this anxiety, related to food, in my children,” she said. “There’s definitely an element of gluttony – eating even when they aren’t hungry – just because they can. It’s two years on, and I’m certainly seeing early signs of weight problems in my nine-year old daughter, something no-one in the family has ever suffered from before.”

The effects of stress on the young are, however, most pointedly felt within the schools.

When the top stream of a local school started their high school career in 2004, there were 32 students in the class. When they graduated six years later, in 2010, they had lost almost half that number.

“The school career of this particular group of graduates, which wrote O-Levels in 2008, coincided with a particularly difficult time in the country’s economy, a period marked by hyper-inflation and food shortages,” said an executive teacher at the school.

“One of the outward results of this was the class losing no fewer than 15 students when their families emigrated due to the harsh economic conditions,” he said.

The more subtle results are even more widespread…and more alarming.

Among them are increased disciplinary and learning problems, as well as an increase in the number of students who are not only living alone but, in many cases, running a household of younger siblings.

“The situation forced many people to seek work outside the country, merely to survive, leaving their children here to continue their schooling,” said a remedial teacher at another high school.

“We’re seeing the result of this every day in the school: children living without reliable adult supervision, or any supervision at all, responsible for their own meals and transport and, in many cases, with little or no guidance in terms of responsibility, moral values and discipline,” she said.

She remembers the instance of a 15 year-old boy who kept falling asleep in class. When she questioned him about his lack of energy, she discovered that he was living alone as both his parents were working in South Africa.

He had to find his own transport home, a distance of about 15km, at the end of a long day of school and sports, and then, when he reached home, would often have to wait for the electricity to come back after load shedding, sometimes as late as 10pm, to start cooking himself a meal.

“Sometimes, if his parents were late sending money, he would have to walk home. He was just perpetually exhausted, and not coping at all,” she said.

The number of children being referred for remedial lessons is increasing every year, and in many of the instances, the students are found to be capable, but not able to apply themselves.

“They’re showing more signs of violence and aggression than I’ve seen in my six years of teaching at the school, while, on the other extreme, they often exhibit fear and insecurity which can only be put down to neglect and lack of adult guidance and supervision,” said the remedial teacher.

“Who knows what these children have – and are being – exposed to, and who is at home to protect them from it.”

A local psychologist who specialises in child and family counseling confirms that stress is playing a large role in shaping Zimbabwe’s young.

“What is of concern is that these effects will not be short-term, we are in for a long run which is worrying because these are the adults of tomorrow, the generation which will one day be running the country,” she said.

One of the most notable stress factors facing youth is pessimism about the future, resulting in a generation which is lacking in direction and ambition.

She said even if a child was fortunate enough to leave school with good O and A Levels, the opportunities for tertiary education and career development were still severely limited.

“What do they have to look forward to? They ask themselves this question and, when they realise the answer is ‘very little’, they give up, choosing to fill their lives, instead, with drugs, alcohol and vandalism,” she said.

The counselor was quick to caution against labeling the pressures on Zimbabwean youth as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, saying it was, in modern times, over-used and over-rated.

“PTSD is a very real condition for people who have experienced a particular incident which has been life-changing and/or life-threatening, the result of which would be a number of conditions, from flashbacks to sleep disorders.

“A car accident, a rape or violent burglary could lead to PTSD, but this is no quick and easy diagnosis. In fact it can only be diagnosed if the effects are long-lasting, up to three months or longer, and if the person is having trouble returning to normal life after the incident,” she said.

“However this does not diminish the many and very real stress factors we see exhibited in Zimbabwean youth today: children living in child-led households or with untrustworthy adults, dealing with absentee parents and lack of finances for education, transport, food and shelter, stresses which would, in some other societies, be absorbed by the parents but are now the worry of the children.”

The lack of supervision coupled with the easier access to the internet, was also leading to an increase in the viewing of pornography, it being the belief that in Zimbabwe today there is porn in some form in many households.

A resultant effect is an early onset of sexual awareness, leading to children as young as six or seven engaging in activities of a sexual nature and, in the worst case scenario, being raped or sexually abused.

The high level of sexual abuse in the country has led to units being established at major hospitals solely to deal with the victims and offer counseling and support, while counselors are seeing an increase in children as young as two years old who have been raped and abused.

“You get a nicely-spoken 13-year old boy referred to you for counseling, and you ask him why he raped the neighbour’s three year old child and he tells you, I saw people having sex on the computer and wanted to see what it was like,” said the counselor.

Counseling centres are also seeing an increase in the number of school referrals, students who have exhibited violent or aggressive tendencies, shown lack of respect for others and their property, and have been abusing drugs and alcohol.

A reaction to this has been an initiative in some schools to form clubs which encourage children and youth to speak out about the issues that concern them.

One of the greatest concerns voiced among the youth who attend these clubs is how to reshape what looks like a dismal future, and they believe the only way to do this is to make money. Having experienced the era of hyper-inflation, where “wheeling and dealing” became, often out of necessity, the norm in order to survive, they have grown up knowing little else.

“No-one is interested in an education or a career anymore, the lesson they have learnt from watching society around them is that the only way out is by making a lot of money,” the counselor said.

“And with a void of moral values and guidance around them and no-one they feel they can turn to for advice, the implications for our youth – and families as a whole – are dismal.”

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Cathy Buckle’s Letter from Zimbabwe: Another land grab inevitable

Posted by admin on Friday, July 27, 2012

I am a Zimbabwean with white skin. I was born, raised, educated and am
permanently resident here. For the last twelve years I have been without
constitutional rights because I am a white Zimbabwean who also became a
farmer a decade after Independence. No Section 5,7, or 8 acquisition notices
were ever served on the farm and the mob who seized it never had any offer
letters or other documentation to back up their seizure.

The farm was not an inherited family property, but was purchased on the open
market in 1990, ten years after Independence, with the approval of the
Zimbabwe government and their Certificate of No Interest. No compensation
has been paid for this farm or any of the buildings and improvements on it
since it was grabbed.

In his book “At the Deep End” Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai explains
better than most why the farms of white Zimbabweans were seized. “His
[Mugabe’s] main motive was not black empowerment (except to feather the
nests of the ruling elite). It was not even revenge against whites. One of
the primary aims was to deal with the farm worker threat to Zanu PF in

With these words in mind I tried to establish if my rights have been
restored in the draft new constitution .The section on citizenship asserts
that because I was born in the country I am a citizen. The draft states that
Zimbabwe is founded on respect for values and principles which include:
fundamental human rights and freedoms; recognition of the inherent dignity
and worth of each human being, and recognition of the equality of all human
beings. (Chapter 1: 3 (c), (e) and (f))

Chapter 4, section 13 of the draft constitution asserts that I may not be
discriminated against. Subsection (3) states that I have the right not to be
treated in an unfairly discriminatory manner on the grounds of my
nationality, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, language, sex, gender,
marital status or age. Subsection 14 of chapter 4 says that I have the right
to privacy and that this includes the right: “not to have their possessions

It is encouraging that I have constitutional backing asserting that I am a
citizen with fundamental rights, freedoms, dignity and equality and may not
be discriminated against on the grounds of my sex, colour, race or origin
and have the right not to have my property seized.

Then come the contradictions. All the rights accorded to me thus far in the
new draft are taken away in Chapter 4 section 29 which states: “Where
agricultural land, or any right or interest in such land, is compulsorily
acquired (c) the acquisition may not be challenged on the ground that it was
discriminatory in contravention of section 4.13.”

Despite widespread condemnation of the amendment to our existing
constitution relating to the responsibility for paying compensation, nothing
has changed in the new draft. Section 4.29.8(i) says that the former
colonial power has an obligation to pay for land compulsorily acquired. This
is despite the fact that farmers like me did not buy their farms from the
former colonial power but from the Independent Government of Zimbabwe.
Section 4.29.8.(ii) says that if the former colonial power won’t compensate
me for the land it took ten years to pay for, the Zimbabwe Government has no
obligation to pay me either.

For anyone currently on a farm, the most frightening clause in the draft is
section 16.4 which gives rights of continued occupation to people on those
farms at the time the new constitution takes effect. Another national land
grab frenzy seems inevitable

Cathy Buckle. Daily News column published 25.7.12

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