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PM, Biti fissures widen

Sunday, 01 July 2012 10:09


PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has reiterated that Finance minister Tendai
Biti cannot make unilateral decisions when it comes to the welfare of civil

Tsvangirai’s statement renewed speculation of a growing rift between the two
MDC-T leaders.

Speaking to journalists in Bulawayo on Friday, Tsvangirai did little to
quell the reports of a power struggle between the two leaders who continue
to seemingly give diametrically opposed policy views, with some claiming
that it was symptomatic of factional fighting within the party.

“It is mischievous to say Biti can deny people money because the money is
not his,” Tsvangirai said.

He, however, said the rift between Biti and himself was imaginary and people
were misinterpreting statements he made.

Matters came to a head in the past few weeks when Tsvangirai gave a
statement that seemed to contradict Biti’s regarding a salary freeze for
civil servants. Tsvangirai said the wage freeze was not government policy,
while Biti insisted government could ill-afford an upward review of

However, in another instance, Biti was reportedly dressed down by Elton
Mangoma, a senior MDC-T official, who warned him to tone down his attacks on
President Robert Mugabe. There was speculation that the Energy minister was
fighting in Tsvangirai’s corner.

Biti is considered too hawkish, while Tsvangirai has often had a measured
approach when talking about Mugabe.

“Who is Mangoma to say that about Biti?” an MDC-T legislator quizzed. “Biti
is doing the right thing. only recently, Mugabe implied that our leaders are
on ARVs and you expect Biti to take a soft approach.”

The legislator confirmed the factional fighting within the MDC-T, though
claiming that the latest incident had been blown out of proportion by the
media. “This is another ploy by Zanu PF to discredit our party,” the
legislator said. “They failed when they came up with trumped up charges
against Tsvangirai, now they are playing up the so-called divisions.”

MDC-T party spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora said Biti and Tsvangirai were in
sync and blamed the media for hyping the supposed chasm.
“Regarding what the Prime Minister said about civil servants’ salaries, he
was only clarifying the position of government. He was not saying what Biti
had said was right or wrong,” he said.

Mwonzora said the government had not discussed the wage freeze issue and
hence Tsvangirai had to respond.

However, he would not say why Biti had gone ahead to announce a policy that
had not been discussed by the government.

Mwonzora said he doubted that Mangoma had criticised Biti.

“Biti has done nothing wrong in his criticism of Mugabe, in fact his
criticism of Mugabe has been spot on,” he said.

Biti was not answering his phone yesterday. However, another legislator said
some people within the party had held a meeting and decided that Biti should
assume the party’s top position, should Tsvangirai face criminal charges
over fraud allegations regarding the purchase of his residence in Highlands.

Biti, the source said, was on the ascendancy as he had been able to
neutralise a clique of Tsvangirai’s advisers, referred to as the “Kitchen
The Standard was told former trade unionists in the party feared that there
was a new crop of leaders gunning for the top posts.

The legislator said while Biti was seen as a possible leader within the
party, Tsvangirai was a brand and it was highly unlikely that his secretary
general would want to upstage him.

The parliamentarian said most people at grassroots identified with
Tsvangirai and it was almost impossible to replace him ahead of next
There was speculation that a rift similar to the 2005 one would ensue, but
the legislator said party members knew better than to challenge Tsvangirai.
“If you look at Welshman Ncube, his political fortunes took a dip after the
split and no one will want that to happen to them,” the legislator said.

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DCCs disbanding provides new lease of life to Mujuru

Sunday, 01 July 2012 10:06


ZANU PF’S decision to disband its District Coordinating Committees (DCCs)
has given a new lease of life to Vice-President Joice Mujuru’s faction which
had suffered setbacks in most provinces during the recent restructuring
exercise, party insiders said yesterday.

The party’s central committee on Friday agreed to disband its DCCs, blaming
the structures for causing the current serious divisions which have rocked
the party ahead of elections and a possible battle to succeed 88-year-old
President Robert Mugabe.

Sources in the party said Mujuru engineered the disbanding of the structures
after it became apparent that many of her loyalists had lost DCC elections
in provinces such as Masvingo, Mashonaland Central, Mashonaland West and
Manicaland to her main rival, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction.

“Mujuru, with the support of Webster Shamu (national commissar) managed to
convince Mugabe that the DCC elections have become a playground for his
succession and had created divisions which can destroy the party ahead of
elections,” said a Politburo source.

“Mugabe bought the idea, but we all know that Mujuru was fighting for her
political survival, after her rivals upstaged her candidates even in her own
backyard (Mashonaland Central).”

Another Zanu PF official said provincial elections had already been set for
September this year, and the ground was now even for both Mujuru and
Mnangagwa if they were to go ahead.

“It is back to square one for the two camps, but from the look of things,
Mujuru has been given a breathing space and for now, she has time to
re-strategise,” said the official.
He predicted that DCCs would be reconstituted in another name, after
national elections expected in June next year.

Most officials in the disbanded DCC structures said they were shocked by the
Central committee decision.

But DCC chairman for Hurungwe, Temba Mliswa, said they were bound by the

“The Central Committee has spoken. We are now waiting for the party to tell
us where we stand and the way forward,” he said.

The Zanu PF aligned Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice commended the party’s move
saying DCCs were being manipulated by “opportunists and pseudo

“The DCCs served no purpose and had been hijacked in the succession agenda,”
said Advocate Martin Dinha, National coordinator of the ZLJ.
“It is now incumbent upon the party to ensure that cells, branches and
provinces become dynamic and vibrant. There is also need to relook at other
institutions of the party.”

He said after the disbanding of the DCCs, the next step should be for the
presidium to wield the axe on other non-performing elements in the party.
Dinha said the party could withstand the challenge of the MDC-T, but it was
necessary that it reconsidered the composition of the central committee and
politburo, including decentralising and modernising the institutions taking
a cue from the Chinese Communist Party.

But University of Zimbabwe Political Science lecturer, Shakespeare Hamauswa
said removing DCCs from its structures would not solve the root causes of
problems within Zanu PF.

“DCCs are needed for mobilisation of voters,” he said. “Removing them is not
going to solve the internal divisions which may actually get worse because
there will not be an authority to resolve conflicts at district level.”

Hamauswa predicted that divisions would resurface when the party holds its
primary elections and once the talk to succeed Mugabe begins officially.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo could not be reached for comment, but on
Friday said DCCs had outlived their purpose and were causing divisions
instead of unity among members.

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Gono calms banking sector

Sunday, 01 July 2012 10:08

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono said yesterday there won’t
be any changes to the bank’s stance on empowerment unless the laws governing
the banking sector were changed.

Gono’s remarks were designed to calm the nerves of the banking industry in
the face of an onslaught by proponents of indigenisation.

National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board chairman, David
Chapfika, was quoted last week as saying foreign banks had a July deadline
to submit proposals on how they would comply with the Indigenisation Act.

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister, Saviour
Kasukuwere, told a Zanu PF economic cluster meeting on Thursday that his
ministry was in advanced discussions with foreign banks regarding their
empowerment programmes.

“Until the Banking Act is amended, the process, unlike in other sectors,
will be a consultative and inclusive one, involving the banking institution
itself, the ministry responsible for indigenisation and the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe. It’s that plain and simple,” Gono said yesterday.

Gono said RBZ wondered whether participants in bilateral discussions were
aware that the central bank had to approve the results of any discussions as
required by-law, “something we have not done yet”.

Gono said the Banking Act mandated RBZ to oversee the banking sector.

He said Section 26 of the Banking Act specifically gave RBZ the right to
oversee the section.

Gono said sub sections 5, 6 and 7 of the same section, are self-explanatory
to those interested in the banking sector.

“All we are saying is that much as the indigenisation of the banking sector
is essential, the banking sector was deemed by lawmakers to be special and
sensitive as to require additional checks and balances in terms of any
changes to the ownership of any bank or financial sector and what this means
is that no authority can change that ownership structure and make it
effective without the concurrency of the Registrar of Banks and Financial
institutions, who is under the Governor,” Gono said.

There are seven foreign-owned banks out of 24 operating institutions in the
country. This has lent credence to the notion that the sector is highly

Critics of indigenisation have said the banking sector is sensitive and
their cautious approach should have been vindicated following the recent
closure of two locally-owned banks, Genesis and Interfin.

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‘Police brutality costs man virility’

Sunday, 01 July 2012 10:00

MUTARE — A Marange man who was allegedly assaulted by a senior police
officer on suspicion of illegally mining diamonds in Chiadzwa, last week
told a High Court judge that he was no longer sexually active due to the
serious injuries he sustained in the attack.

Testifying before Justice Hlekani Mwayera who is presiding over a High Court
circuit in Mutare, Pikirai Kusena said his sex life had been destroyed due
to injuries he sustained when Chief Superintendent Joseph Chani of Support
Unit in Chikurubi allegedly assaulted him.

In an emotional narration, Kusena said “As we speak right now, my wife is
complaining about our sexual life because I am not satisfying her due to the
injuries that I sustained after being beaten by Chani.”

Kusena said his children were also affected by his poor health.

“My children are traumatised by the state of my health. I am still in pain
and they see me in agony and always ask me when the pain will stop. This is
very disturbing,” he said.

Chani, a well-known senior police officer during his time as Officer
Commanding Mutare district, is facing a murder charge and three assault

Jane-Rose Matsikidze, who is representing the State told the court that on
September 23 last year, Chani allegedly assaulted, using switches, the now
deceased Tsorosai Kusena and his brothers – Pikirai and Onesai and their
nephew John Gwite after they were arrested by Mbada Diamonds’ security
guards. They were being accused of illegally panning for diamonds.

Chani, who is being represented by Harare lawyer, Takesure Thondhlanga, has
pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The trial continues on Tuesday.

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Star FM a ZBC clone — Analysts

Sunday, 01 July 2012 09:58

THE country’s first commercial radio station, Zimpapers’ Star FM is not
different from the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) which has over
the years lost its relevance due to partisan programming, analysts and
aspiring broadcasters have said.

With ZBC largely perceived to be a Zanu PF propaganda mouthpiece, most
people are no longer interested in both Zimbabwe radio and television.
Participants attending a joint Misa / Zimbabwe Association of Community
Radio Stations (Zacras) radio festival in Harare yesterday told The
Standard that the new station was a continuation of the state monopoly over

“It is a pure consolidation of a monopoly. They have simply created another
ZBC,” said Joseph Mututi, chairperson of Kwekwe’s Radio Kwelaz.

Gift Mambipiri, Chairperson of Zacras said it was impossible for the new
stations to be divorced from the Zanu PF ideology.

“This is just a smoke screen of lies that they have presented to the
nation,” said Mambipiri.

“The two stations have their roots in the same pot and I do not see them
being divorced from the system. The good thing is lies have short legs and
if this is a dummy, it will not go a long way.”

Star FM general manager, Admire Taderera said there was nothing unusual
about the station not offering anything new citing a case of the then Radio
3 which opened in 1981.

“Unlike what you are alleging that we are replicating Power FM, we have a
youthful team that is different,” he said.

Taderera said the new station was targeting a cosmopolitan listenership and
denied reports that it would push for Zanu PF’s agenda just like other
government-owned media stables.

“We are not aligned to any party because this is a privately owned
commercial radio station and our shareholders determine what we are going to
broadcast,” he said.
“The other determinant is money because that is the basic reason for a

When the new station went on air last week, many could not help but notice
the similarity with Power FM.

Over the past week that the station has been on air, there was more of music
than talk which prompted questions over whether or not Star FM fit into the
model that it was licensed for.

Taderera said they were balancing between music and talk.

“People love to talk and listen to music and that is what we are doing,” he

“We are simply replicating the life of a Zimbabwean because people do not
talk continuously.”

According to Wikipedia, talk radio is a format containing discussion about
topical issues. Most shows are regularly hosted by a single individual, and
often feature interviews with a number of different guests and include
listener participation.

Star FM in essence does not fit into the model, The Standard observed last

Misa Zimbabwe chairperson, Njabulo Ncube also said he was not impressed by
the new radio station.

“I listened to Star FM’s bulletins on June 25 and 26 where they took
everything from The Herald. That says a lot about the station,” said Ncube.

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Ray tells youths to forfeit useless political agendas

Sunday, 01 July 2012 09:58

OUTGOING United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray, has implored
Zimbabwean youths to spearhead community development projects in their areas
and desist from pursuing futile political agendas.

Speaking at a United States Public Affairs discussion last week, Ray said it
was sad to note that some politicians had created artificial divisions among
the people, which was working against the development of local areas.

“Talk of the born-frees and the born-before. It’s these divisions that keep
people apart,” he said.

Ray said Zimbabwean youths had the challenge of overcoming the artificial
divisions and work towards the development of the country through building
trust and economic security.

“Young people can and should take an active role in the development of their
country and communities,” he said.

“In the last three years that I have been here, I have noticed that politics
dominates almost every conversation. I know political decisions can affect
your lives but it’s really the day-to-day activities you make that affect
your lives.”

The US envoy added that it was important for the youths to put politics in
its rightful place and ensure it does not distract them from pursuing
projects beneficial to the country and their communities.

“I am not saying you should ignore politics, but put politics in its proper
place. You should use your energy in building a better environment for your
community,” he said.

Ray also urged youths to complement efforts by local authorities to build a
better environment, saying that in so doing, they would be creating income
generating projects for themselves.

He said if the youths saw that the responsible authorities were being slow
in collecting refuse, they should organise themselves into groups and remove
the trash and charge the local community a small fee, among other

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Malema’s rant on Zuma rubbished

Sunday, 01 July 2012 09:57

FIRED ANC youth league leader, Julius Malema’s recent criticism of South
African President Jacob Zuma’s mediation in Zimbabwe is a case of sour
grapes and an attempt to maintain political relevance in the region,
analysts have said.

Malema recently told a local state-owned weekly that Zuma was not a neutral
facilitator, accusing him of having strong views against President Robert
Mugabe and Zanu PF. But analysts said Malema’s comments should not be taken

Political analyst and social rights activist, Hopewell Gumbo, said whatever
criticism Malema had against Zuma would be taken as sour grapes after the
youth leader was fired from the ANC.

“This does not however mean Zuma is the perfect mediator,” Gumbo said.

“He has more serious flaws than just the hatred of Zanu PF that limits his
capacity to bring a speedy resolution to Zimbabwe’s over a decade-long
crisis. On the contrary, it is his soft gloves dealing with Mugabe, among
other factors, that has allowed Zanu PF to remain adamant.”

Gumbo said Zanu PF would continue “dining with Malema” even if this would
not change anything, as Zuma’s mediation was just but one of the several
ways to resolve Zimbabwe’s crisis.

Another political analyst, Joy Mabenge, said it was a pity that the country
was being used as a pawn in the feud between Malema and Zuma.
He said it was South Africa as a country which was responsible for mediation
efforts in Zimbabwe according to Sadc resolution and not Zuma in his
personal capacity.

“It is rather unfortunate that Malema has been reckless in order to
discredit Zuma,” said Mabenge.

“Zanu PF is using Malema, who is known to be a loose cannon, so that they
can derail and discredit the mediation process and return the country to its
old system, where the party will have absolute power.”

Malema struck a chord with Zanu PF when he visited the country in 2010 at
the invitation of the party. Since then he has been attacking the MDC-T
party labelling it an imperialist-funded movement.

Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, could not be reached for comment

Malema was thrown into political wilderness by the ANC after he was fired
for indiscipline and has since found a leeway to remain politically relevant
by attacking and soiling Zuma’s image.

Despite criticism from Malema and some elements in Zanu PF, Zuma, the Sadc
appointed mediator on Zimbabwe, has stood firm on the need for the country’s
political parties to implement agreed political and other reforms necessary
for the country to hold free and fair elections.

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Powerful lobbyists behind the circumcision crazy

Sunday, 01 July 2012 09:55

Some activists argue that circumcision was recommended because it was being
backed by powerful lobbyists and governments in most African countries also
accepted it as it was donor driven and was done for free.

But perhaps more damning is that throughout history, circumcision has often
been believed to cure a plethora of incurable ailments and HIV may be one of
such cases.

In another report Howe says, as a medical procedure, circumcision was first
introduced in the 19th century in English-speaking countries as a means of
preventing and “curing” masturbation, which was then believed to cause
everything from epilepsy, insanity, tuberculosis, spinal paralysis, to hip

But Health minister, Henry Madzorera is sticking to his guns, maintaining
that circumcision is an important tool in the fight against HIV and Aids.

“Studies have been carried out that show that circumcision reduces
transmission by 60% and this is a significant figure,” he said.

Madzorera said the government had come up with a policy document on

When asked about the new researches that have come to light, the minister
said he had not seen them, but advised that circumcision should not be used
alone but rather in conjunction with other methods.

But others have questioned that if circumcision was to be used in
conjunction with other methods, then there was no need for it. Other methods
are less painful, less invasive and did not run the risk of harming sexual

Madzorera said the government would continue to preach abstinence,
faithfulness and the use of condoms.

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Is circumcision not a costly sideshow?

Sunday, 01 July 2012 09:53

ZIMBABWE continues to promote male circumcision as an HIV and Aids
prevention method despite research that questions the practice, meaning tens
of thousands of circumcised people could be at risk.

To underline the importance that has been put on male circumcision, more
than 10 legislators had the surgical snip last week, reportedly setting an
example that others should follow so as to reduce the HIV scourge.

However, new researches are questioning the link between HIV reduction and
circumcision, with some studies showing that HIV was more prevalent in
circumcised Zimbabweans than those uncircumcised.

A USAID report indicates that out of 15 countries surveyed, the result
between circumcised males and the uncircumcised was negligible, with only
Kenya having a substantial difference.

“In 10 of the countries — Cameroon, Guinea, Haiti, Lesotho, Malawi, Niger,
Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania and Zimbabwe — HIV prevalence is higher among
circumcised men,” reads the USAID report, which was published in 2009,
effectively questioning the efficacy of male circumcision.

The study was carried out between 2003 and 2005 in the 15 countries and in
Zimbabwe 5 848 men took part in the research, ahead of a World Health
Organisation and UNAids recommendation in 2007 that circumcision could be
used as an HIV preventive method.

Yet more scholars continue to question the method, instead advising that the
world bodies should have waited longer before recommending the procedure.

Two medical scholars last November also questioned the usefulness of
circumcision, describing it as a dangerous distraction in the fight against
HIV and Aids.

It is believed that circumcision reduces transmission rates by 60%, but
Gregory Hill and Gregory Boyle, in the Australian Journal of Law and
Medicine say the snip only reduces transmission by no more than 1,3%, which
they say is statistically insignificant.

“Examination of epidemiological data shows that male circumcision does not
provide protection against HIV transmission in several sub-Saharan African
countries including Cameroon, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Rwanda and Tanzania,
all of which have higher prevalence of HIV infection among circumcised men,”
Hill and Boyle said.

The two also questioned research that led to the adoption of circumcision,
saying WHO had taken it without critical questioning, as the study was
fraught with problems, among them inadequate equipment, selection bias and
the studies were stopped before adequate data could be analysed.

“Evidence suggests that mass circumcision programmes may exacerbate the HIV
epidemic among women (and) under these circumstances it would be
irresponsible and unethical to advocate mass circumcision programmes in
southern Africa,” the two scientists noted.

Instead, they advised that more emphasis should be put on promoting condoms,
which are 80% effective. The two also pointed out that HIV prevalence is
higher in America, where a significant percentage of the male population is
circumcised, compared to Nordic countries where most men are intact.

Another study, appearing in the Journal of Public Health and carried out by
Robert Van Howe and Michelle Storms, says circumcision is a costly sideshow,
which in the end might lead to an increase in HIV prevalence.

The report was published last year.

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Church builds orphanage

Sunday, 01 July 2012 11:54

THE Chivhu branch of the United Assemblies Africa (UAA) Church has embarked
on a project to rescue children who are facing abuse in the local community
while also caring for orphans.

A total of 23 children aged between two and 18 years are currently under the
care of Vana Orphanage built by the church in the small agricultural town.
“A lot happens to children, especially orphans left in the care of relatives
who may fail to view them as children just like their own,” UAA pastor
Makoni Goredema said.

“You may find a nine-year-old being made to mould bricks on behalf of a
relative instead of going to school with his peers.”
The church has built three houses for the children, with four boys and four
girls living in each house under the care of a grown up woman who acts as
their foster mother.

“We hope that the children will go back to their relatives when they are 18
years old,” Goredema said. “It is unfortunate that we do not know the
relatives of some of the children, but we continue looking for them.”

The home was started in 2009 and the UAA intends to build a total of 40
houses to accommodate 320 children on the piece of land the church got from

The church also pays school fees for other disadvantaged children who live
with their relatives in Chivhu. It also has a feeding scheme where the needy
children eat lunch at the orphanage before proceeding to class or going

“We believe that a child should have at least one decent meal that can keep
him or her going until the next day,” Goredema said.

Goredema, a former trader in sculptures, said he first considered starting
an orphanage for his church in 2006 when he noticed that some members of the
community were often ill or mentally unstable, making it difficult for them
to care for their children.

The 44-year-old father of four then studied a model of an orphanage in
Uganda and decided to duplicate it in Zimbabwe.

“Called Watoto, which means Vana, the orphanage has many houses and
accommodates more than 1 000 children,” he said.“We aspire to do that and
even build a library and other facilities for the children because people in
other countries even have universities for orphans.”

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Community hands over clinic to local church

Sunday, 01 July 2012 11:54

CHIPINGE — A clinic built under the Constituency Development Fund (CDF) in
Chipinge East has been handed over to the United Church of Christ in
Zimbabwe (UCCZ) to run it on behalf of the local community.

Speaking at the handover ceremony at Muswera Community Centre last week, the
MP for the area, Matewu Mathias Mlambo, said the community had agreed to
hand over the clinic to the church, which also runs Mount Selinda and
Chikore hospitals.

“We have confidence in the church, so we saw it wise to let the church run
the clinic on our behalf,” he said.

Mlambo said the new clinic would serve thousands of villagers who were
walking up to 20 kilometres to Nyazvindete to access medical facilities.

President of the UCCZ, Reverend Edward Matuvhunye, told Standard Community
that the church would ensure that quality health services we are delivered
to the community, which is mostly affected by diseases such as malaria.

“A number of people from this area have been dying from preventable and
treatable diseases such as malaria. Through this clinic, we want to assure
them that they will get the assistance they need,” he said.

Rev Matuvhunye said his church had served Chipinge district for more than a
century and was happy with the level of confidence shown by the local

The clinic, which was officially opened by Health and Child welfare
minister, Henry Madzorera last year, was currently being operated by the
local community.

Patients were paying US$5 to access services, an amount which contributed
towards the salaries of the health staff and other employees.

Matuvhunye said the church had since applied to the ministry of health to
have the clinic registered with it, which would enable staff members to be
paid by government.

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Erect Nkomo statue, cultural society tells govt

Sunday, 01 July 2012 11:51

THE Matojeni Cultural Society has called on government to speed up the
erection of the late vice-President Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo’s statue in
Bulawayo and the renaming of the city’s Main Street after him.

Members of the cultural group last week put portraits of the late
nationalist at the pillar meant for the installation of the statue as a way
of advertising the Joshua Nkomo memorial celebrations which take place today
in Bulawayo at the historic Stanley Square.

Son of the late nationalist, Sibangilizwe, was present when the posters were
put but declined to comment.

Leader of Matojeni, Albert Nyoni said the group wanted to send a clear
signal to the authorities, that people of Matabeleland were eagerly waiting
for Nkomo’s statue to be installed to recognise his contribution for the
liberation and development of the country.

“We want to show the powers that be, that we want the statue to be installed
soon, as long as it is not from North Korea,” he said.

Nyoni said the rejected North Korean made statue rekindled bad memories of
what happened in Midlands and Matabeleland region when the Korean trained
Fifth Brigade army unleashed the Gukurahundi massacres in the early 1980s.

“We would not want our people here to be reminded of that experience,” said

The group also wanted Bulawayo’s Main Street to be named after Nkomo who
died 13 years ago.

“How can a veteran nationalist fail to have a road named after him in the
city in his region,” asked Nyoni.

Plans to install Nkomo’s statue have been dragging since 2010, but recently
Home Affair co-minister Kembo Mohadi indicated that the process was expected
to begin soon.

Nyoni said traditional beer has been brewed for the Nkomo commemorations,
while Ingwebu breweries have pledged opaque beer, with the local business
community chipping in with food stuffs. He said no party regalia would be
allowed at the celebrations.

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‘I know my wife is a witch’

Sunday, 01 July 2012 11:50

THE husband of a woman who confessed to practising witchraft in Chinhoyi is
a troubled man.

Kerry Kamanga can hardly face residents of Shackleton in Chinhoyi after his
wife and her colleague were caught in an alleged dead of the night fracas
over human flesh.

Kamanga’s wife, Rosemary (48), and a colleague, Esnath Maodza (56), were
unceremoniously drop-ped off a winnowing basket by their alleged
partner-in-crime, Shylet Muzeza when an alleged witching expedition by the
women went horribly wrong. The two fell into the compound of Erenesi
Mafunga, a member of the Paul Mwazha-led apostolic sect, who later said her
divine powers had caused the mishap.

Mafunga said she woke up following strange noises and was confronted by
Rosemary who was calling for a Muzeza to bring back human flesh they had
taken from Alaska. On seeing the naked women, Mafunga screamed, waking the
whole neighbourhood at around 3am.

The pair was arrested and later confessed to practising witchcraft.

The two women last Wednesday appeared before Chinhoyi magistrate, Fanny
Nyakudya, on charges of contravening section 98 of the criminal law
(codification and reform) act Chapter 9:23, pertaining to “engaging in
practices commonly associated with witchcraft”.

They were granted free bail and would be back in court on July 11.

Public prosecutor, Clarence Majongosi, said the State would, among other
witnesses, call the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers Association
experts to enlighten the court on the practice of witchcraft. While the
women await their fate, Rosemary’s husband is struggling to cope with the
infamy brought about by his wife and her colleagues’ conduct.

Kamanga said the incident had made him a laughing stock in the community. “I
cannot move around freely like I used to do, as people stare at me as if I’m
the one who was caught practising witchcraft,” he said.

“Unfortunately I know about it because when I went from one n’anga and to
prophets looking for someone who could help my wife to conceive, I heard
stories about her being a witch.”

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EU funds US$3m water project

AN estimated 100 000 people in Chivi district of Masvingo will have improved
access to clean water after the launch of a US$3,2 million European
Union-funded water and sanitation project last week.

Speaking at the launch of the Chivi Water, Sanitation and Health (CHIWASH)
programme, project coordinator Abel Gumbo said the four-year programme would
see the drilling and rehabilitation of boreholes, as well as the
construction of pit latrines to benefit mostly vulnerable groups.

He said the project was being implemented in response to a baseline survey
which revealed that several parts of semi-arid Chivi had poor access to
clean drinking water and lacked proper sanitation facilities.

“This is an integrated programme that looks at the diverse humanitarian
needs of the vulnerable groups,” said Gumbo.

Zimbabwe Red Cross Society acting secretary general, Lucky Goteka, said 16
wards in the district would benefit from the project.

“Vulnerable groups including people living with HIV, orphans, vulnerable
children, disadvantaged schools as well as single parents will benefit from
this project,” he said.

Goteka said access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation would
boost health standards in the area.

Two Toyota Hilux trucks and four motorbikes were also handed over for use by
volunteers for the project.

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Politics block US$10m Byo bailout funds

Sunday, 01 July 2012 11:28

MINISTER of Industry and Commerce, Welshman Ncube, has disclosed that of the
US$10 million made available for Distressed Industries and Marginalised
Funds (Dimaf) in Bulawayo in April, not a single dollar has been disbursed
due to political bickering.

In an interview with The Standard in Gweru last week, Ncube said all
struggling Bulawayo firms might not benefit from the fund set up last year
to revive struggling companies.

He said government should have gone it alone instead of teaming up with Old
Mutual as political bickering over the funds had worsened the dire
Ncube said the concept and the principle of assisting struggling firms was
noble but there were problems that needed to be corrected.

As part of the agreement signed by the two parties, Old Mutual and the
government have to provide US$20 million each to the fund.

The money would then be loaned to companies that need to recapitalise their

Ncube said Finance minister Tendai Biti had supported the Dimaf committee
and the cabinet on the funds, he was yet to provide the funds.

Ncube said between March and April, the cabinet agreed to Biti’s proposal
that he would bring in US$125 million from the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) meant to shore-up Zimbabwe’s reserves and out of this amount, US$30
million would go into Dimaf.

Ncube said even though the two parties were to put US$20 million each, there
were now fears that Bulawayo might not even get a dollar.

“It would have been better to take the US$10 million that is there and make
it available even if each company would get US$300 000.

“That would benefit in excesses of 30 companies. The US$10 million has been
sitting in a CABS account since April and not a dollar has been distributed
to any Bulawayo firm.”

Recently, youths from MDC threatened to invade CABS offices in protest over
delays in disbursing the money meant to resuscitate Bulawayo’s comatose

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AfDB warns Zim on EPAs

Sunday, 01 July 2012 11:26

THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has warned Zimbabwe that opening its
domestic markets to the European Union under the Economic Partnership
Agreement (EPAs), exposes local industries to unfair competition.

In May, Zimbabwe alongside Mauritius, Seychelles and Madagascar, agreed to
an EPA with the EU, which has since come into effect.

Under the agreement, exports from Mauritius, Madagascar, Seychelles and
Zimbabwe, would have duty and quota-free access to EU markets while in
return, the African countries agreed to gradually open their markets to
European goods over a period of 15 years, with the exception of certain
goods deemed sensitive.

In its Zimbabwe monthly economic outlook for June, AfDB cautioned that local
industries would suffer from competition from the West.

“However, the opening up of domestic markets to European markets through the
elimination of tariffs will expose local producers to competition from EU
firms as their ability will be highly limited due to severe supply side
constraints and also the country’s ability to use its tariff policy will be
bound by the EPA,” AfDB said.

Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector, though recording increased capacity
utilisation, is constrained by lack of long term funding for retooling.

In addition, erratic power supplies have seen industries investing in
alternative sources of energy thereby increasing the production costs. This
has made local products expensive as compared to imports.

The caution by AfDB comes after a report by the Geneva-based South Centre
said that Zimbabwe would benefit by signing a trade agreement with the EU.

In its report, South Centre said that Zimbabwe would lose US$15,4 million in
tariff revenue but gains US$39,2 million in duties under the EU General
Systems and Preferences (GSPs).

Under GSP, exporters from developing countries pay lower duties on some or
all of what they sell to the EU.

This gives them vital access to EU markets contributing to the growth of
their economies.

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Forgetting fallen heroes unforgivable

Sunday, 01 July 2012 09:46

by Jimmy Chasafara

Revelations in Parliament that some of Zimbabwe’s liberation war heroes such
as the late Josiah Tongogara were not entitled to get anything from the war
veterans’ fund, or subsequent state benefits such as pensions enjoyed by
others, is shocking.

It also serves to illustrate the hypocrisy of the leadership who enmeshed
itself with the late liberation heroes’ names while simultaneously enacting
laws that expurgated their surviving dependents’ financial entitlements.

Is it not shocking to us as a nation that the liberation struggle leaders
rushed to think about themselves forgetting the surviving families of their
comrades who had perished during the struggle?

Is it not shamelessly hypocritical that the individual and collective deeds
of the likes of Josiah Tongogara, Jason Moyo, Hebert Chitepo, Nikita Mangena
and others have been glorified, yet when it came to appreciating and
acknowledging the need to financially cater for their families, they were
left in the cold?

While legislating their way into the national coffers, the leadership
conveniently forgot their fallen compatriots, yet as Thomas Campbell noted,
“The patriot’s blood is the seed of freedom’s tree.”

Over the years we have read about widows of national heroes complaining
about being neglected, yet few realised it went way far deeper than mere

I recall the late Ruth Chinamano complaining about this appalling treatment
of their dependents by the government

Writing, reciting, singing and shouting out the names of dead liberation
heroes is hollow if we neglect their living dependents. How do we reconcile
our revering the heroes’ names while on the other hand despising, through
deliberate neglect, their families whom we view as a national encumbrance?

Further shocking revelations were made by the late President Canaan Banana’s
son Nathan, that his family never received any state benefits accorded a
president upon his death. Again, the importance alluded to the 1987 Unity
pact between Zanu and Zapu rings hollow without the essence of the enduring
persistence by the late Banana to see it succeed.

It would appear as if the powers that be not only tried to erase Banana’s
eminent deeds from the history of Zimbabwe, but also decided to wipe his
name off its financial records by not according his estate what was due to
him as the first president.

Surely, if the nation cannot acknowledge and appreciate the prominent role
the late president Banana played leading to the 1987 Unity Accord and his
national service as the state president, then whose national duty are we to
hold in high esteem?

A leadership and a nation that does not appreciate its fallen heroes, except
when it suits it to use their names for electioneering, is morally sick to
the core.
It is even surprising that war veterans and their leaders like Dumiso
Dabengwa and the late General Solomon Mujuru, who is reported to have played
a role in enacting this legislation, overlooked their fallen compatriots.

It is equally surprising that the MDCs, in their pursuance against the
persona of one Robert Mugabe are totally silent about taking on such a
national case. Instead, it allows itself to be portrayed and perceived as
opposed to liberation war participants.

Zimbabwe’s independence was not only brought about by the living liberation
leadership and war vets. One would have thought such a case would be an
opportunity for the MDCs to enamour themselves not only to war vets, but
also to the liberation conscious masses of Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s liberation heroes are a national asset, not a monopolistic entity
that belongs to one particular political party. Individuals change their
opinions or allegiance along the way in their course of life depending on
prevailing circumstances, as John Moyo would attest.

The illustrious sons and daughters of Zimbabwe like Joshua Nkomo, Josiah
Tongogara, Edgar Tekere, Jason Moyo, Sydney Malunga, Herbert Chitepo and
others could have easily belonged to any other party other than Zanu PF or
Zapu. Simba Makoni and others are a good example, yet their patriotic
contributions towards building Zimbabwe cannot be trivialised.

Having won our independence, can we afford to turn our backs on fallen
comrades’ surviving dependents, or as George Canning asks, “When our perils
are past, shall our gratitude sleep?”

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The youths have crucial role to play in rebuilding Zim

Sunday, 01 July 2012 09:43

Ambassador Charles Ray

Reflecting on my nearly three years in Zimbabwe, I remain cautiously
optimistic; the long-term future for this country is bright, and that is due
in large part to the overwhelmingly energetic, dedicated, and intelligent
young people, people who make up the majority of Zimbabwe’s population.

How can young people build a better country, you might ask? After all, the
culture does not give the young such power. Well, I will concede that
culture is a limiting factor — but, only a limiting factor — it does not
have to be a complete barrier.

Young people can — and should — take a more active role in the development
of their country, but that must start with self.

So, what can you do, beginning in the here and now, to create a better
Zimbabwe, a country that you can be justly proud of?

You can start by defining what kind of society you want to live in, what
kind of country that you, can leave to your children and grandchildren.

And, you need to decide what kind of person you want or need to be in that
society. This means that you need to clearly define “you”.

Don’t wait for things to happen, or for others to do things for you.
Identify what needs to be done, and then do it. Start small — you should
aspire to reach for the stars, but take that journey one step at a time, one
challenge at a time. Is there a problem in your community that has bugged
you for some time? The government’s slow or non-performing about picking up

Well, quit complaining about it; get a group of your friends together and
start a volunteer project to “clean up your neighbourhood”.

Never stop learning. Don’t restrict your learning to the classroom,
textbooks, or what teachers have told you. Read widely; question every
assumption, and put every theory to the test. Reach out to the broader world
and see what it has to offer.

Don’t fear failure. I read somewhere recently that “fear; is an acronym for
Forget Everything and Run.” Well, drop that habit, and stop running. My
definition of success is “a string of failures that you survive and learn
from.” If you’ve never failed at anything, you’ve probably not learned
anything new. Remember, it’s not how many times you fall down that matters,
but how many times you get back up.

Develop tolerance. The world is a diverse place, and so are the countries in
it. A tolerant society, one that values every member and gives each member
the opportunity to contribute to its development, will prosper.

Intolerant societies might do well in the short term, and I have my doubts
about that actually, but in the end will fail and fail miserably.

Go beyond the surface. This is related somewhat to my injunction to keep
learning, but it’s important enough that I highlight it.

Develop the habit of educating yourself on the nuances of situations and
people, and avoid the dangerous habit of judging merely on surface
appearances, incomplete information, or sound bites.

Maintain a positive attitude. If you’re an optimist, sometimes you’ll be
wrong, but, if you’re a pessimist, you’ll always be right. Look for the
positive side of a situation, and take advantage of it.

Sometimes, things that we think are negative, if viewed properly, can work
out to our advantage.

Put your focus on the things that really matter. I have noticed that
politics dominates every conversation.

It’s as if nothing else matters. I know that political decisions can affect
our lives — bad economic decisions can raise prices, drive away investment,
cost jobs — but, it’s really the day-to-day personal decisions we all make
that truly determine our lives.

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NSSA now off the rails

When the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) was set up in terms of an
Act of Parliament of 1989, hopes were high among workers that it would
provide relief to pensioners.

Workers who got injured at work, or those that suffered from work-related
diseases also stood to benefit from the body entrusted with collecting
premiums from workers and investing them wisely on their behalf.

But NSSA has turned out to be an antithesis of what it was meant to be.

After contributing to the authority for years, pensioners have to find other
means to ensure a decent retirement on a measly US$40 monthly payout they
get from NSSA.

Instead of providing a decent pension to contributors, the authority chooses
to sink millions of dollars of hard-earned workers’ contributions in dubious

NSSA was left exposed after the recent closure of two banks, Interfin and
Genesis. This is bad news for the workers and pensioners who have no control
over the body’s investment choices.

For the record, this is not the first time that NSSA has been exposed to
troubled banks. When ReNaissance Merchant Bank was put under curatorship
after shareholders had spirited away depositors’ funds, NSSA was left with a
US$9 million exposure. Ordinarily, this should have been an eye-opening
experience for the body.

However, reports show that the authority remains exposed to the tune of
US$200 million to indigenous banks that are reeling from the effects of a
liquidity crunch. This, clearly, is no good news for pensioners, some of
them now poorer than church mice.

While it is noble for NSSA to invest in the economy, its continued exposure
to unstable institutions shows the body has gone off the rails.
What NSSA is doing is akin to gambling with pensioners’ money and should be
condemned in the strongest terms.

The authority’s investment policies need to be brought under public scrutiny
for the benefit of the workers. Parliament can take the lead in scrutinising
how NSSA conducts its business before workers lose more of their hard-earned

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Listeners’ licence law must be scrapped

by Nevanji Madanhire

One only hears of places such as Katerere when something has gone
desperately wrong; a political murder perhaps, or a terrible bus disaster or
maybe a natural disaster such as a cyclone, or a visit by the police! This
means one can safely describe such an area as situated “at the back of
beyond” without feeling that one is insulting anybody.

Katerere is not the only place “at the back of beyond” — Kwekwe also is —
but it was in the news recently because the national broadcaster ZBC sent a
team of its licence inspectors there to collect taxes; it will be wrong to
call them listeners’ licence fees. For the people of Katerere, it was like
Cyclone Eline had revisited.

This was very painful for the people of Katerere not only because the tax
collectors came in the company of overzealous junior policemen who
manhandled them but also mainly because the people of Katerere receive no
ZBC signal. Instead, they listen to Mozambican radio stations which
broadcast from just across our eastern border.

“They are coming in our homes demanding licences. We do not listen to any
ZBC radio stations because there is no signal at all,” one of the villagers
said wistfully adding most people in the area listened to Radio Manica from
Mozambique through the shortwave radio band.
But the law, as they say, is an ass.

The law says any gadget that was manufactured for the purpose of receiving a
radio signal must be taxed. So when a ZBC licence inspector visits your
home, he is looking for the gadget and doesn’t care whether the gadget is in
fact receiving any signal or not. It also doesn’t matter if the gadget is
defunct or not.
Now that is interesting: that gumba-gumba your uncle brought back from
Joburg during the Wanela days in the 1970s and which has not worked since
the liberation war days when guerrillas, now war vets, abused it at a
pungwe, is back to haunt you. You have kept it only as a memento but you are
now told it still has to have taxes paid for it in spite of all your
protestations! Even if you open it and show the taxman that it no longer has
the “singlest” copper wire in it, it still has to be paid for.

Interestingly, any person who lives in the area that doesn’t receive radio
signals but owns transistor radio or any semblance of it is twice penalised
by the authorities for no fault of their own. It would be ZBC’s fault that
the area doesn’t receive a signal but instead of ZBC being penalised for
this, it is the people who are made to pay. The people are also penalised
for owning property they have worked for!

Many of our remote areas receive foreign radio signals; often it is all they
ever receive and they are being punished for this. It would be
understandable if this only applied to remote areas. But who can explain why
cities such as Kwekwe also don’t receive ZBC signals? Kwekwe is only a
little more than 200km from Pockets Hill! It also is only about 70km from
the step-up transformer at Guinea Fowl, just outside Gweru.

What percentage of the country is covered by ZBC? It would seem a miniscule.
But why do the people have to continue to be abused by the national
broadcaster with the assistance of law enforcement agents?

ZBC is already funded by the taxpayer. Every year the Minister of Finance
allocates money to the ministry responsible for the national broadcaster
which means the people are paying taxes twice. Why do our leaders in
parliament allow this to happen?
It seems only listeners in the major cities namely, Harare and Bulawayo
receive the full signal but even these are not happy because they hardly
ever listen to ZBC radio stations because of the poor programming.
ZBC has chosen to be a partisan broadcaster serving only the narrow
political interests of a section of the community. Listeners have complained
about this to no avail and have as a result switched off ZBC and are instead
listening to foreign radio stations for news. These foreign radio stations
have been labelled “pirate” broadcasters but they are popular because they
offer the listeners objective coverage, which is what the people look for in
any radio station.
Why should money be extorted from people simply because they own radio sets
even if they don’t tune into local broadcasts? This is the kind of question
that our legislators ought to be asking in Parliament! Why should people be
taxed for a service they don’t enjoy?

Up to now most imported cars come with radios that have no access to ZBC
signals because their bands don’t reach those of the ZBC, but motorists are
made to pay ZBC licences anyway! Is that fair?

During the colonial era, Africans were taxed without parliamentary
representation. They went to war for this; but that war has not corrected
the thinking of those in government who still think people should pay for
something they don’t enjoy.

The law that says people should pay listeners’ licences even if they don’t
enjoy the service should be scrapped. The law is ridiculous because it taxes
a gadget rather than a service. In fact, it says listeners don’t exist; only
their gadgets do. It doesn’t demand that the broadcaster be accountable to
listeners. This explains the impunity with which the broadcaster gets away
with by ignoring the listeners’ demands.

If listeners pay for something, it means they become stakeholders who should
demand that their interests are catered for. But that is not the case with

The coming in of new radio station, Zimpapers-owned Star FM, if anything, is
good for only one reason; it has introduced the concept of free-to-air radio
broadcasting. This is bound to have a huge impact on ZBC. It is likely to
take away all the listeners and the advertisers — it is also reachable from
cars. When people have got an alternative — even a poor one — how much
longer can they continue to be forced to pay for services they don’t enjoy?

It is more than likely the Ministry of Media will soon pounce on Star FM so
it complies with certain norms; they wouldn’t allow it to continue to
cannibalise ZBC, but the time is not too remote when listeners will begin to
demand their pound of flesh.

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