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Politburo roasts Goche, Chinamasa

Sunday, 29 July 2012 10:57


AN extra ordinary Zanu PF Politburo meeting, which ended in the early hours
of yesterday turned stormy, with senior party officials who appended their
signatures to the new draft constitution coming under fire for allegedly
“selling out” to the two MDC’s, it has emerged.

Sources said for over 12 hours, Politburo members took turns to grill the
party’s team of negotiators, led by Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development minister, Nicolas
Goche, as well as Copac co-chairperson, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, accusing
the three of having compromised on the party’s tough position.

They said it was interesting to note that there was a convergence of views
between rival members of the faction led by vice-president, Joice Mujuru and
that loyal to Defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as they literally took
turns to tear apart the proposed draft.

“Chinamasa, Goche and Mangwana came under intense criticism for agreeing to
provisions which the party is against, but they stood their ground as they
tried to explain the merits of the draft,” said a Politburo member.

“The view of many members was that the party representatives in the Copac
process had sold out as the proposed constitution was merely a copy and
paste from the Kariba draft and the South African constitution.”

He said Mangwana was particularly reprimanded for publicly criticising Zanu
PF technical adviser in Copac, Godwills Masimirembwa and Politburo member,
Professor Jonathan Moyo, who are opposed to the current draft.

“Mangwana was told that Masimirembwa and Moyo are technocrats who had the
blessing of the party,” said the party source, hours after the Politburo
meeting which ended at 1:30am yesterday after it started at 1pm on Friday.

Some of the issues which Zanu PF wants struck off or amended include that of
executive powers, dual citizenship, and appointment of provincial governors,
traditional leader’s powers and the definition of war veterans.

Another source said the Politburo wanted the constitution to clearly state
that homosexuality was forbidden and that a black or indigenous Zimbabwean
was the only person who qualified to stand as a Presidential candidate, but
Chinamasa argued that this would be discriminatory.

He said the politburo also demanded that the section which stipulates that
governors would be appointed by the party with majority seats in a province
should be struck off.

They argued that it should be the prerogative of the President to appoint
governors. On the issue of the two Presidential running mates, the Zanu PF
official said members of both the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions were in
agreement that this new provision should be in the constitution.

“Mujuru thinks that this provision will automatically make her the first
running mate by virtue of being the most senior party official after
Mugabe,” said the official.
“Mnangagwa, on the other hand, is of the view that by the virtue of having
been Mugabe’s election agent in past elections, he should also be selected
as one of the running mates.”

Asked whether the Politburo had indeed rebuked him, Mangwana referred
questions to Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo. “Nothing like that was
said, but if you want to be a good journalist, talk to the party
spokesperson to get a full report,” he said.

Gumbo was not answering his phone yesterday. He was however quoted as
saying, the Politburo finished an initial review of the draft and would meet
again this week to examine the cleaned draft and come up with the party’s

Chinamasa said he was out of town attending a meeting and would only be able
to comment on Monday. Goche was also not answering his phone yesterday.

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Constitution: MDC-T calls for ‘Yes’ vote

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:04


MDC-T has endorsed the draft constitution and has urged members of the
public to vote for it in the forthcoming referendum, setting the stage for a
bruising contest with Zanu PF, which has not committed itself on the new

Party spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, said the party’s national executive
had agreed to endorse the draft and this would be forwarded to the national
council next Friday to come up with a final position.

“People should vote ‘yes’”, Mwonzora, who represented the MDC-T in Copac,
told a press conference in Harare yesterday. “This is an opportunity we
cannot afford to lose. if properly looked at; this is the best document we
have had since 1896.”

He conceded that there were some civil society, groups that were against the
draft, but said these were in the minority. “There are two groups within
civic society the majority of which support this constitution. Those who are
criticising it, were criticising it before we even started working on it,”
he said.

Without mentioning names, he took an apparent dig at Zanu PF politburo
member, Jonathan Moyo, saying those who were criticising the draft were
angry, as they had been left out of Copac by their respective parties.

Moyo has taken a hard-line stance against the draft, often using acres of
space in the state media to criticise it. Mwonzora said there would be no
more negotiations on the new charter, describing Zanu PF representative,
Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana as a “sober” negotiator.

This is in contrast with the mood within Zanu PF, where Justice minister,
Patrick Chinamasa and Transport minister, Nicholas Goche, are in the firing
line for bending backwards and not fully representing the party in the

Mwonzora said, among other things, the draft was good as it “had the largest
Bill of Rights section on the continent”. It guaranteed freedom of speech
and the media.
It also granted devolution of power to the provinces, he said.

But an insider who attended the meeting, said there were still some issues
that the party was not comfortable with.
“The number of parliamentarians is too large at 270 and some members were
not happy about the manner in which devolution is described,” the source
The insider said most of the issues the party was not happy with, would be
ironed out at an all-stakeholders meeting, which is due to be held before
the referendum.

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‘Zanu PF to produce own version of draft constitution’

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:13

During their review of the draft, the Zanu PF officials said the Politburo
used a voluminous document entitled “Critique of the Copac draft,” dated
July 24 2012, which was compiled by the Zanu PF technical team, led by

Other members of the team listed on the document include Fortune Chasi,
Aston Musunga, Jonathan Tazvitya Mapfumo and Mercy Chizodza.
Analysis’ made by Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe chairman, Tafataona
Mahoso and unnamed public service officials, were also used to review the

The senior Zanu PF official said the Politburo later agreed to use the party’s
technical team to produce their own version of the draft constitution by
Wednesday this week and present it for adoption by the two coalition
“If the other parties refuse to adopt our draft, then we will have to take
both versions of the proposed constitution for a referendum so that people
will decide what they want,” he said.

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Chatty Perm Sec in the firing line over UNWTO

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:14

TOURISM and Hospitality Industry permanent secretary, Sylvester Maunganidze’s
job is on the line following statements he made to Parliament which Cabinet
felt undermined preparations for the United Nations World Tourism
Organisation (UNWTO) 20th general assembly.

His statement nearly caused a diplomatic spat between Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Maunganidze recently told the Parliamentary Portfolio committee on
Environment and Tourism that the country lied to win the bid to co-host with
Zambia, the UNWTO general assembly next year.

He also chided Zambia for not making any meaningful contribution to the
preparations saying the government there was “asleep” and changing ministers
and permanent secretaries every two months.

“If certain things do not happen, it is because we have a Siamese twin
(Zambia) who is handcuffed across the river and we breathe the same oxygen
unfortunately,” a transcript of Maunganidze’s statement to Parliament
reveals. “I do not want to say I would have wished if we were doing it on
our own, but at this late hour, I feel we would have done better.”

Sources said the “reckless” statement had angered the Zambian government
with the country’s foreign affairs minister, Given Lubinda, last week
lodging a formal complaint with Tourism and Hospitality industry minister,
Walter Mzembi and his Zimbabwean counterpart, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.

“The Zambian minister expressed his country’s great disquiet with evidence
presented to the Zimbabwean Parliament on their perceived shortcomings,”
said the source. “Mzembi apologised on behalf of Zimbabwe and the issue has
since been resolved, although the Zambians have indicated it will be
difficult for them to work with Maunganidze.”

The source said although Maunganidze was reprimanded by Mzembi who gave him
a tongue lashing, the tourism permanent secretary now appeared isolated.
He faced more backlash as the Cabinet committee responsible for the UNWTO
preparations wants the Public Service Commission (PSC) and President Robert
Mugabe to take action against him.

Contacted for comment, Mzembi confirmed meeting the Zambian foreign affairs
minister in Harare last week, but was not at liberty to divulge what they
“All I can assure the nation is that it is business as usual between us and
our Zambian counterparts,” he said. “Let’s not allow this issue to detract
us from the bigger picture, which is the successful hosting of the general

Mzembi rubbished Maunganidze’s comments saying Zimbabwe won the bid to host
the assembly in an open, fair and transparent manner, beating several
high-profile candidates like Russia, Colombia and Jordan.

“The core team around the preparation of this event must desist from issuing
statements of a policy nature that undermines the credibility and
authenticity of this important international event,” he said.

Maunganidze could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone has been
unavailable since Friday.

More trouble ahead for Maunganidze

Maunganidze, another source said, had also angered the UNWTO which was not
happy with comments purporting that that delegates to next year’s event
would be after prostitutes.

“Delegates will be so angry if you remove those girls from Victoria Falls.
They are very decent, professionally dressed people and they are literary
delegates to the conference as they indulge in debauchery,” said

“To be honest with you, I have to admit that we are the most conservative,
hypocritical and pretentious country. In broad day light, it is like we do
not even create children.

“We pretend so much but nothing is happening. We have therefore assumed to
hear no evil, see no evil and pretend the world is okay. I do not want to
say do it the Thailand or Hong Kong way. In that region they sell three SSS
in their brochures which means See, Sex and Send. They are adults, the
choice is yours.”

Mumbengegwi has also reportedly commented on Maunganidze’s statement saying
it was strange and shocking that some officials wanted prostitutes to be
available to entertain visitors.

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Typhoid continues to wreak havoc in Harare

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:17

AT least 162 people in Harare and Chitungwiza have been treated for
suspected typhoid, as Zimbabwe battles a resurgence of the waterborne
disease that wreaked havoc late last year.

Harare City Council director of health services, Prosper Chonzi said the
city recorded more than 100 cases of suspected typhoid by Friday, with most
of them testing positive.

“To date over a 100 residents have been treated, 16 are admitted at Beatrice
Infectious Diseases Hospital and more are being treated as we speak,” he
said. Chonzi said a permanent solution was needed to curb future typhoid
outbreaks in the capital and its satellite town, Chitungwiza.

“A permanent solution will be for residents to access potable water every
day and avoid erratic water shortages,” he said. Chonzi, however, was
grateful that the latest outbreak was not spreading as fast as last year’s
due to a change in weather.

“This time around there is no back sewer, so the disease is not spreading
fast, unlike with the rainy season, where there was a lot of back sewer,” he
said. Typhoid is a waterborne disease, whose symptoms show between one and
three weeks after exposure to its pathogens.

Symptoms include slow progressing fever, reaching as high as 40 degrees
celsius, profuse sweating and non-bloody diarrhoea. Untreated typhoid fever
manifests itself through headaches, coughing, no-se-bleeding and abdominal

Community Working Group on Health (CWGH) executive director Itai Rusike
urged the council and the ministry to provide residents with potable water
as is required by the Public Health Act.

“The city council and the Ministry of Health should adopt the Public Health
Act in full and come up with strategies that will facilitate provision of
clean healthy water in future,” he said.

Meanwhile, Harare cou-ncil spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi, has blamed lack of
investment in infrastructure for the local authority’s failure to improve
water supply.

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ZNA defies Biti, continues to recruit

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:18

BULAWAYO — The Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) last week embarked on another
recruitment exercise, defying Finance minister Tendai Biti’s recent freeze
on new appointments in the public sector due to a severe cash squeeze.

Biti recently extended a freeze on public sector recruitments, stating that
“the employment costs have become an elephant in the living room when viewed
against overall expenditures”.

Last month, Biti condemned as unlawful the recruitments of soldiers and
police officers in light of the government adding that the Treasury was not
in a position to pay the recruits.

The ZNA and Home Affairs ministry have so far recruited 4 600 soldiers and 1
600 police officers since May this year. ZNA spokesperson, Major Alphios
Makotore, confirmed that the army had embarked on another recruitment
exercise countrywide.

“Yes, we are recruiting. It’s a national exercise,” Makotore said.
He refused to take further questions on how many soldiers were being
recruited, referring the reporter to One Brigade barracks on the outskirts
of Bulawayo for more details.

A few weeks ago, Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa requested for an
additional US$2,5 million to bankroll salaries of the new recruits, which
was turned down by Biti.

The ZNA recently scrapped minimum educational qualifications for aspiring
soldiers to attract as many recruits as possible. There is widespread fear
that the soldiers would be used to prop up Zanu PF during the coming
elections expected next year.

Rodrick Fayayo, the coordinator of the Bulawayo Progressive Residents
Association (BPRA) said the recruitment was not good for the struggling
“It is tragic for a small country like Zimbabwe to be spending a large share
of the budget on wages when the majority of citizens are toiling without
food and other essential services,” Fayayo said.

He added: “This mass recruitment exercise raises questions on whether there
is a grand plan to have military officers in all the country’s provinces for
the upcoming election.”

The MDC claims that more than 200 of its supporters died during the 2008
violent election. It claimed that the violent campaign was spearheaded by
Zanu PF militia, police army and members of the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO).

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Make health services accessible: Mangoma

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:19

By Tawanda Marwizi
MAKONI — The Minister of Energy and Development, Elton mangoma, has urged
the government to deliver health services to rural areas. Speaking at the
official opening ceremony of a mortuary at Chiendambuya hospital yesterday,
Mangoma said there was need for government to prioritise rural areas where
thousands of people were failing to access health services.

The mortuary was constructed as part of the Constituency Development Fund
given to Members of Parliament in 2010 to spearhead development initiatives
in their areas. The mortuary has the capacity of nine bodies and the MP
promised to work on expanding it.

“There is need to have these services in rural areas, so I thought it proper
to direct part of my CDF to the construction of the mortuary here,” he said.
Mangoma, who is the MP of Makoni North, said it was worrisome to note that
people in most rural areas travelled long distances to get health services.

“People can go as far as Rusape and Marondera to get a mortuary and some
health services, but then these services must come to the people. the
government must fund such programmes to ensure people have better lives,” he

Speaking at the same ceremony, chief Chiendambuya said health systems were
vital to the people and thanked Mangoma for remembering their community. A
nurse at the hospital who could not be identified said villagers were forced
to carry their deceased for long distances in search of a mortuary.

“Sometimes we have to work with the police to take the bodies to Marondera
and Rusape,” she said. The hospital serves a large area of the constituency,
which is among the biggest constituencies in Makoni.

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Anti-stock theft campaign boosts national herd

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:24

BULAWAYO — The country’s anti-stock theft campaign launched seven years ago,
has resulted in a 17% drop in cattle rustling, police confirmed. Anti-stock
theft national coordinator, police assistant commissioner, Bernard Dumbura,
last week told stakeholders during a re-launch of the Matabeleland North
anti-stock theft campaign, that the drop in cattle rustling cases had
resulted in an increase of the country’s cattle population to over 5,2

Government plans to increase the national herd to 20 million. Police
launched the anti-stock theft campaign in 2005 when over 25 000 cattle were
being stolen annually, following the land invasions of 2000.

“Over 25 000 cattle were being stolen annually before the launch of the
anti-stock theft campaign in 2005. Since then, we have continued to register
a decline in stock theft cases,” said Dumbura. “The number of cattle stolen
was at 14 882 in 2010 and 4 952 cattle were recovered.

He said the number of cattle stolen had also decreased to 12 148 last year,
compared to 14 882 in 2010.Dumbura urged farmers to brand their cattle to
curb stock-theft.
“The unit (police) realised that these figures can be further reduced if we
constantly and collectively brand our cattle. branding of livestock helps to
identify animals with their areas of origin and owners as well,” he said.

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Soldiers refuse to pay Mutare council bills

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:36

MUTARE — The City of Mutare has appealed to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
to help in the recovery of over US$1,5 million that government departments
owe the struggling local authority.

This came out at last week’s full council meeting where councilors said they
were concerned by the non-payment of debts by government institutions. The
acting mayor, George Jerrison said the local authority had raised the issue
with Tsvangirai in an effort to recover the money.

“We have tried all means to recover the money from the government
departments and I have already raised the issue with the Prime Minister so
that he can have talks at the same level with some of the ministers heading
these departments,” said Jerrison.

“I said he should talk to people like (Emmerson) Mnangagwa so that we can
recover money that the soldiers owe us.”
According to the chairman of the finance committee, Tatenda Nhamare, as at
May 2012, council was owed US$600 000 by the Ministry of Youth, Development,
Indigenisation and Empowerment, Zimbabwe Republic Police (US$181 817,19),
Ministry of Defence (US$286 012,95), Zimbabwe Prison Services (US$30 457,12)
while Mutare Provincial Hospital was obliged to pay US$400 000.

Jerrison said soldiers at the ZNA’s 3 Brigade unit based at Chikanga high
density suburb in the city had told the city fathers that they would not pay
because they liberated the country.

“It is unfortunate that everything is now being politicised,” said Jerrison.
“The soldiers have openly said they would not pay for the water because they
are the ones who brought independence and they also defend the country.”

Efforts to get a comment from Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka
and ZNA public relations director Alphios Makotore were fruitless last week.

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Address political risk factor to attract investors: Ray

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:39

United States ambassador to Zimbabwe, Charles Ray (CR) will soon leave
Zimbabwe after a three-year tour of duty. Ray is retiring from the
diplomatic service after 30 years, preceded by 20 years as a soldier. The
Standard Political Editor, Patrice Makova (PM) last week had a wide-ranging
interview with him on the US policy on Zimbabwe and other issues.

PM: Three years after your posting in Zimbabwe, do you feel you have
achieved most of your objectives?
CR: The most significant thing is that a lot of useless rhetoric of the past
is now gone. We are now able to discuss issues of substance in a gentlemanly
and civilised way. That might not be much but it’s the essence of what
diplomacy is all about, creating an environment where real issues can be

PM: Have economic relations between Zimbabwe and the US improved during the
past three years?
CR: The US provides a significant amount of humanitarian assistance, more
now than before to address issues like HIV and Aids, malaria and so on. We
will continue to do that as long as it’s necessary, although the desired
objective is to create capacity for the Zimbabwean government to be able to
be on its own.
Year-on-year economic trade has increased for the last nine years with
Zimbabwe running a trade surplus. Zimbabwe and US commercial relations date
back to over 100 years ago. There are a number of American investors who
have expressed a lot of interest in Zimbabwe because they see incredible
potential, but until the political risk factor is addressed, that potential
will not be realised.

PM: Is the Indigenisation Act one of the policies making American investors
CR: The Indigenisation Act itself is not an issue. A lot of countries in
South East Asia have that kind of legislation, including China which has
domestic co-production requirements. It’s not the law that bothers the
people, but the lack of transparency surrounding the implementation of that
law. I have no problem if I know before coming to Zimbabwe that I will have
to find a willing and capable local partner who will bring in 51% of the
investment capital. Where investors have problems is when they sign a
contract and six months later somebody comes up and says this is not the
way, here is how it is going to be.

Charles Ray’s views on elections

PM: Do you think it is possible for Zimbabwe to hold credible elections this
CR: This is for Zimbabweans to decide, but certain things have to be in
place for credible elections to take place. These include freedom of the
media and absence of political violence, intimidation, coercion and a legal
basis such as a constitution that everyone accepts, a clean voter’s roll,
understood and delimitated constituencies. Mechanisms must be put in place
to independently monitor the vote before, during and after election. As
long as elections are peaceful and transparently conducted and the vote is
respected, then the international community will accept the results.

PM: The US and other Western countries are said to be pushing for an
academic to replace PM Morgan Tsvangirai as the leader of the MDC. How far
true is this?
CR: I don’t know where this started. The US government is not pushing for
any individual. We are not betting on any horse in the race here. We are
just trying to help people here to build a race track for all the horses to

PM: What of accusations that the US is funding the MDC-T?
CR: We do not fund the party. People must distinguish between individuals in
the US and the government. What the US government supports is a process of
credible elections and the respect of the will of the people.

‘Zim economy stable but freedom restricted’

PM: You came just after the formation of the GNU, what do you think of the
direction the country is taking?
CR: Most people would like to see Zimbabwe go a lot faster and further than
it has done now. There is still politically-motivated violence. There are
still far too many restrictions on the political and media spaces. There is
also still little respect on individual dignity and human rights. The
economy is much more stable, although static at times. The government should
now work on the policies that promote job creation and growth of the

PM: Do you think it is possible for the US government to re-engage President
Mugabe in the near future?
CR: I have been engaging Mugabe since I presented my credentials. I see my
successor possibly continuing with that.

PM: What was your impression of Mugabe the last time you met him?
CR: He was alert and engaging. I am always impressed by his mastery of
tonnes of dates and data. We spend a lot of time talking about the things we
are trying to do to help the people of Zimbabwe and improve the investment

PM: Finance minister, Tendai Biti recently said your government promised to
remove Marange resources and Mbada diamonds from the sanctions list?
CR: I am not sure whether this is accurate. The two diamond companies were
listed by the Treasury department because they are 50% or more owned by an
entity already listed. As long as the ownership issue remains like that,
there is nothing that the State department can do about that.

PM: As an ex-soldier yourself, what do you think of our securocrats dabbling
in politics?
CR: They have a right to exercise personal political views. However, when
senior military officers use their office to express political views and
align themselves with a faction rather than the whole country, they cease to
be professional.

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Condom distribution sparks controversy

Sunday, 29 July 2012 12:06

CHIUNDURA — A long and winding dusty road with thorn bushes and drying
foliage on the sideways leads to a small growth point bustling with

At the growth point in Chiundura Ward 10, scores of people, both young and
old, sit under a huge tree within a spacious school compound.

This is the venue for a meeting organised by the Southern Africa HIV and
Aids Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) and Padare (Men’s Forum) to
discuss issues of reproductive health and sexuality.

The discussions are centred on how best the community could deal with
sexually active youths in the community in the face of the HIV and Aids

But the proposal to distribute condoms to young people, including
schoolchildren, generated much debate. Although some villagers felt that
distributing condoms to youths was morally and culturally wrong, most of
them embraced the idea.

Village head Smart Ngwegwe said distributing condoms among the youths would
promote promiscuity.
He said instead of dishing out condoms, children must be properly raised and
taught good morals and cultural values.
“Giving out condoms to young people, who are not married for that matter,
will only lead to prostitution and destruction of our culture,” said
Ngwegwe. “You come here and start talking about giving children condoms, it’s
unheard of. No condoms please.”
He added: “Long ago, children were taught morals and behaviour. There was
nothing like giving condoms to children, but now condoms are all over.”

But speaking at the same meeting, paramount chief Freddy Gambiza embraced
the idea of distributing condoms in schools as part of wider efforts to curb
sexually transmitted diseases and HIV.

He said most parents were failing to play a proper role in bringing up their
children. “Reverting to past ways (of doing things) is very difficult as a
lot of things have changed. Children must be disciplined by both parents and
teachers,” he said. “We must encourage the use of condoms among the youths
because there is a virus. It’s a reality and nowadays we have children that
were born positive.”

The chief urged the community to move with time. Another village head,
Taurai Zigodo, concurred with Chief Gambiza, adding that distribution of
condoms to young people would reduce HIV infections among youths.

“Young people must be given condoms so that they have protection whenever
they have sex. It must be understood that when we talk about condom
distribution, we are not motivating them to have sex, but we are protecting
those who are already doing it.”

District Health Promotion officer, Irene Muhlazvenyika, advised youths to
abstain but encouraged those that were active to use condoms.

“People have aired different views, but the majority of them agreed that
children who are sexually active must be given condoms because you can’t
stop those who are already doing it,” said Muhlazvenyika. “The most
important message that we teach them is to abstain and wait for the proper
time. The problem with today’s children is that a lot of things are shaping
their thinking and understanding.”

According to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey of 2011, the country
recorded the highest condom usage in the world over the last five years.

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Baby burnt to death after power surge

Sunday, 29 July 2012 12:08

A Harare woman has demanded compensation from Zesa, after her one-year-old
baby died last month in a fire blamed on an electric power surge, a claim
likely to prove a test case for the power utility.

The child’s grief-stricken mother, Linda Tapfumaneyi, also lost all her
property in the blaze that gutted her lodgings in the capital’s Warren Park
1 suburb.

Last week she narrated her ordeal to The Standard, saying she was yet to
come to terms with the loss of her child.
She said the fire occurred shortly after the restoration of power following

“My two children were sleeping in the house and I was preparing to bath,”
Tapfumaneyi said. “I then realised the house was full of smoke and I shouted
for help and my neighbours came to our rescue.”

Tapfumaneyi said her children were pulled out of the burning house and were
rushed to a nearby clinic, which they found closed.
They were referred to Harare hospital, where she was admitted with her one
year old child.

“I was in hospital for a week but my child did not make it. The doctors said
he died from smoke inhalation,” she continued.
The surviving child, a four- year-old boy, suffered extensive burns on his
limbs and head.

Tapfumaneyi approached the Harare Residents Trust (HRT) in the hope that she
may get compensation from the power utility.
“(Our) client lost all her property in the fire and at the moment she is of
no fixed abode as a result of the fire,” reads a letter written by HRT
addressed to the Zesa Risk and Insurance Officer.

“Our client is seeking full recovery of her property and all the expenses
which were incurred as a result of the fire.”
The letter was written early last week and they have not received a

To add salt to a festering wound, the City of Harare’s fire and ambulance
department is demanding that Tapfumaneyi pay US$517 for their services in
extinguishing the killer blaze.

“She lost all the property in the fire and by the time the fire brigade
arrived the fire was off as the house had been razed to the ground,” Regina
Bakuri from HRT said.

“We are asking for a waiver as there is no way she can pay, she is literally
of no fixed abode.” Tapfumaneyi said her former landlord has asked that she
settle the fire brigade fees.

“The landlord said he will pay for the reconstruction of the house, but I
should pay for the fire brigade services,” Tapfumaneyi, who has since found
sanctuary at her uncle’s house in Hopley Farm, said.

Zesa has often been blamed for the damage of electrical goods due to
electrical surges as a result of haphazard power-rationing.
Recently, a woman from Bulawayo, who had her house burnt to the ground,
blamed Zesa for the inferno, while a 10-year-old Harare boy was electrocuted
due to naked power cables.

Last year, a kombi conductor died while a pregnant woman was electrocuted
after they fell into a trench while fighting over bus fare.

Contacted for comment last Thursday, Zesa spokesman, Fullard Gwasira asked
for questions in writing, but he did not respond.
Several attempts to contact him were fruitless, as he was no longer
answering his mobile phone, while text messages went unanswered.

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New ‘hunting spot’ for prostitutes in Mutare

Sunday, 29 July 2012 12:09

MUTARE — Apart from providing parking space for articulated vehicles, Mutare
Truck Zone has also become the latest “hunting spot” for women in the sex

After the demise of the diamond craze in the city following the tightening
of security in Marange gem fields, prostitutes here are now targeting heavy
truck drivers who ply the Zimbabwe-Mozambique highway.

Some of the sex peddlers come from as far as Harare, Bulawayo and Masvingo.
The prostitutes used to target illegal diamond panners but the tables have
since turned following the tightening of security in Marange diamond fields.

Truck drivers are now their new target. Several sex workers who spoke to
StandardCommunity last week said they were driven into prostitution by
poverty as they could not find employment.

“Prostitution has become a way of life for me. I am educated up to ‘O’ level
and I passed, but I cannot find employment,” said Eugene Chideme (22).

Another lady of the night, who declined to be named, also said she went into
the oldest profession to make ends meet.
“I have tried all the necessary avenues but I have come to realise that
commercial sex work is the only easy way,” she said.

The sex workers charge difference amounts depending on the day and the
duration of sex. “I charge a minimum of US$5 for a short-time and US$20 for
the whole night. But during weekends when there is more activity, I charge
US$10 for a short-time and US$20 for the whole night,” said Mellisa.

She revealed that on a busy night she can earn up to US$100. Denford
Mamvura, the Advocacy Officer for Zimbabwe Aids Support Network (ZASN) said
research had shown that some of the prostitutes at Truck Zone did not use
condoms when clients offered more money to have unprotected sex.

“But we have a problem where sex workers said they would give in to
unprotected sex when they are offered more money,” said Mamvura. “So it is
risky and the chances of the spread of HIV are high. We want to encourage
the sex workers to insist on condoms.”

But some truck drivers interviewed said they used condoms. “As for me, I use
condoms, but there are some who are ignorant who insist on having
unprotected sex after offering more money,” said one truck driver.

Manicaland police spokesperson Enoch Chishiri said police were on the ground
to maintain order in the city.
“We will arrest those found loitering for the purposes of prostitution,” he

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Buhera South not suitable for habitation — DA

Sunday, 29 July 2012 12:11

RELOCATION to agriculturally productive areas is the only long-term solution
for some communities in Buhera South district that experience perennial food
shortages, a government official said last week.

Speaking on the sidelines of a training workshop organised by the World Food
Programme (WFP) in Masvingo last week, District Administrator for Buhera,
Rolland Madondo said Buhera South was not suitable for human habitation.

He said relocation was the only solution for some communities that have
experienced over a decade of drought and were surviving on food aid from
government and the donor community.

“It is not feasible for the government to provide food assistance to the
same communities year in year out,” said Madondo. “As far as I can recall,
these communities in Mutiusinazita and Muzokomba areas have not had
sustainable yields for the past decade and they are dependent on the
government and non-governmental organisations for food aid.”

He added that the only long-term solution was to identify suitable land in
other regions to resettle the affected communities. Madondo said relocation
was costly and communities might resist the exercise but “it is a practical

Isaac Mtetwa, an Agriculture Extension officer, said most communities in
Buhera South were in dire need of aid. The Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment
Committee (ZimVAC) last year estimated that over one million people living
in the rural areas would not be able to meet their cereal requirements for
the year 2011-2012 until the next harvesting season.

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Churches defy city council directive

Sunday, 29 July 2012 12:17

MASVINGO — Open-air worshippers continue to defy a recent local council
directive to stop conducting their services in the open.
The city fathers fear an outbreak of water-borne diseases such as cholera,
dysentery and typhoid as the worshippers use the bush system.

Masvingo mayor, Alderman Femius Chakabuda, last week conceded that the local
authority was fighting a losing battle against open-air worshippers, mainly
the different apostolic sects that conduct their prayers on council vleis.

“We are facing resistance from the open-air worshippers,” said Chakabuda.
“They are actually increasing, despite our ban.” The local authority last
month banned open-air worship in a bid to tame the possible outbreak of
diseases such as cholera and typhoid.

They cited lack of proper sanitation as the main reason behind the ban since
some of the apostolic sect members relieve themselves in the bush.

Chakabuda said the council lacked manpower to enforce the ban which was
reached at a full council meeting recently. “Our main problem is that of
enforcement. We have a few municipal police details to enforce the ban,” he

Masvingo’s clampdown on open-air worshippers came after a similar resolution
was made by the Bulawayo City Council early this year.

Most apostolic sect churches prefer to conduct their services in open spaces
rather than under roofs.

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Poor domestic air service constraints tourism industry

Sunday, 29 July 2012 12:41

ZIMBABWE last week celebrated the return of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines after a
13-year absence, but experts are cautious, saying the poor domestic air
services would seriously affect the distribution of tourists to resort

KLM, one of the world’s oldest airlines, resumes flights into Zimbabwe on
October 29 with three flights a week, giving Zimbabwe access to its major
tourist source market, Europe.

The airline said it was lured by the country’s mix of business and leisure
potential. Erik Varwijk, KLM managing director and executive vice-president
of Air France KLM International & The Netherlands, said what distinguished
it from others was “excellent network, good connection from Europe with our
two hubs, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol and Paris Charles de Gaulle and our
valued partnership with Kenya Airways”.

The airline, he said, would focus on the three flights and an increase in
the frequency was dependent on performance.
“We aim to propose a smooth flight schedule and concentrate for the moment
on these three flights a week,” he said.

Tourism experts said the coming in of airlines meant improved access to the
country ahead of the UN World Tourism Organisation General Assembly to be
co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia in Victoria Falls next year.

However, they said the domestic services had to be sorted out as a matter of
Givemore Chidzidzi, Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief operating
officer, said KLM was a leading airline with routes in Europe and hoped the
tourists would be distributed to Zimbabwe.

“That augurs well with the packaging of a destination. Tour operators will
be able to make flexible packages into Zimbabwe,” Chidzidzi said.

Despite the improved access of the country as a destination, a hurdle
remains on how the tourists would be distributed to various attractions as
Air Zimbabwe is tottering on the brink of collapse.

This has made it difficult for tourists to visit sites.
However, Chidzidzi was optimistic the domestic service would be sorted out
with the coming in of other players. He said there were luxury coaches that
were on the roads which could help in transporting the tourists.

The operators have to make their services tourist-oriented, Chidzidzi said.
“Those kinds of services will fill the gap.” Shingi Munyeza, African Sun
chief executive officer, told Standardbusiness on Thursday that KLM’s
flights into Zimbabwe meant the country had access to the major tourism
market, Europe, but the challenge was to work on local transfers.

“The next challenge is to make local transfers and connectivity more
reliable and predictable by addressing the challenges at Air Zimbabwe and
introducing private carriers,” Munyeza said.

A number of players have announced plans to set-up domestic carriers. But
despite the announcements, nothing has moved along that front, amid
allegations the ministry of Transport does not want the players to fly the
same route as Air Zimbabwe.
Air Namibia resumed flights to Zimbabwe in May after a 13-year absence.

Projections by Treasury showed that tourism receipts were set to reach
US$736 million this year with the bulk of tourists that are big spenders
coming from European and American markets.
Last year receipts were US$662 million.

‘Caaz ready to license airline operators’

Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (Caaz) general manager, David Chawota,
said the authority was encouraging domestic airlines and stood ready to
license private operators as long as they were serious.

The coming of KLM comes after months of lobbying by the authorities to woo
reputable airlines as part of measures put in place to make the destination

“We have been battling to regain all the airlines and we believe the wider
the linkages, the better,” Chawota said.
The coming on board of KLM is another vote of confidence in Zimbabwe as a
destination months after Emirates commenced flight to Zimbabwe. Emirates
introduced five flights per week into Zimbabwe in February and would fly
daily in October.

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Mobile phone usage expected to surge

Sunday, 29 July 2012 12:40

ALMOST 10 million Zimbabweans are expected to own and use mobile phones by
December, up from 8,5 million recorded last year, as the country’s
technological revolution forges ahead.

Finance minister, Tendai Biti, said mobile voice penetration was expected to
grow to 79% by year-end. In his mid-term fiscal policy review, Biti noted
that despite the investments being made by government and the private sector
in the country’s Information Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure,
Zimbabwe still faced challenges in data and voice areas, evidenced by
congestion and slow connectivity.

“The internet penetration rate though still below international levels of
26,6% but above the regional average of 11%, continues to steadily improve
and is estimated to reach 19% by end of 2012 from 13% in 2011,” he said.

Although the Harare-Mutare and Harare-Bulawayo fibre-optic transmission
backbone, linking the country to the undersea cable in the Indian Ocean is
now complete, internet access for the low-end populace remains relatively
constrained as prohibitive prices and high unemployment serve as major
access barriers.

The lack of infrastructure sharing among service providers is also serving
as a major challenge, as high costs are passed on to consumers. The country’s
transmission backbone, which is still under construction, is an important
component of telecommunications network that interlinks a widespread network
of voice exchanges and data nodes for the purpose of efficiently routing
such traffic.

TelOne is presently extending infrastructure to cover Bulawayo-Beitbridge
and Bulawayo-Victoria Falls. Other players who have been laying cable for
local and inter-city connectivity include Telco Internet, Broadlands,
Econet, Aquiva Wireless, Africom, Telecel, NetOne, and Broadacom, among

Fibre-optic technology involves the use of thin glass strands to enable
communication by use of light travelling inside the tiny glass tube at
higher bandwidths or data rates than other forms of communication.

This has made it possible to connect landlocked Zimbabwe to Asia, Europe and
the Americas via Beira and Cape Town interconnections, using undersea

This technology has also enabled various telecommunication companies to
interconnect their base stations to their switches, thereby offering genuine
3G (third generation) technology.

Comm IT systems manager, Robert Ndlovu, said the use of internet to carry
voice, technically referred to as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol)
telephony, was forcing traditional telecommunications companies all over the
world to remodel and reshape their business strategies.

“While this kind of technology will not eliminate mobile wireless revenues,
it is a fact that it is already eating into them,” said Ndlovu.

A recent southern African research study conducted by Frost and Sullivan,
notes that major network operators, internet service providers and internet
access providers, were now entering strategic collaborations in order to
undertake and invest in terrestrial network expansion and connect to the
undersea cable network.

The study, which covers South Africa, Lesotho, Zimbabwe and Zambia, noted
that the region was expected to show strong growth in the next three to five
years, through increasing network coverage and offering innovative data

However, the firm said the growth of the broadband market was likely to be
inhibited by regulatory inefficiencies while low disposable incomes would
restrain demand for data services.

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Electricity blackouts set to continue

Sunday, 29 July 2012 12:39

ZIMBABWE’S electricity supply shortages are set to continue, with the
country attaining a self-sufficient status in 10 years, a senior official
from the Energy ministry said.

The remarks come at a time when the industry and households are grappling
with power outages. In June, the power utility announced a nine-hour
load-shedding schedule, as demand had far outstripped supply.

Partson Mbiriri, Energy and Power Development permanent secretary, told
delegates to a Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) meeting last week
that in the interim, Zesa would switch off geysers in Harare and Bulawayo to
ease the shortages. He said this would save 45MW.

“By 2022, that’s when we will be able to generate enough power for domestic
and industrial power,” Mbiriri said.
“Most of our woes in terms of blackouts, will end in 2015. Other countries
in the Sadc region are moving ahead of us in creating additional capacities
that will enable us to import power from them.”

He said government was committed to addressing the electricity shortages,
which would see the rehabilitation of the Kariba Hydro power station and
Hwange thermal power station, expected to start next year.

Zimbabwe’s daily electricity requirements average 2 000MW. As of Friday, the
power utility was generating 1 142MW from the three operating power
stations: Kariba, Hwange and Munyati. Hwange generated 487MW, Kariba, 615MW,
while 40MW came from Munyati.

Imports from Mozambican power utility HCB stood at 150MW.
The country is reeling from recurrent power cuts, seen as a threat to the
revival of the local manufacturing industry. Miners such as Unki, Zimplats
and Mimosa, helped the power utility with money to settle its debt with HCB,
to ensure uninterrupted supplies from the Mozambican power utility.

Early this year, HCB threatened to switch off Zimbabwe over unpaid bills
that had reached US$76 million.

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Treat banks with caution, warns Gono

Sunday, 29 July 2012 12:32

RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono, warned on Friday the
implementation of the law targeting foreign-owned banks should be carried
out in a manner that preserves confidence to avoid grinding the economy to a

In his remarks at the congress of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
(CZI) in Nyanga, Gono said: “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.”

Gono’s remarks came on a day an indigenous bank, Royal Bank, surrendered its
banking licence as it was making losses due to under-capitalisation.

Last month, Genesis surrendered its banking licence after failing to meet
the US$10 million minimum capital threshold required of a merchant bank,
while Interfin was placed under curatorship for corporate governance
deficiencies, reinforcing the idea that foreign-owned banks should not be
tampered with.

Gono and Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister, Saviour
Kasukuwere, clashed last month after the latter announced in the Government
Gazette that foreign-owned banks had a year to comply with the empowerment

Gono said RBZ was “gratified to note that some aspects of the Indigenisation
and Economic Empowerment regulations are receiving attention with a view to
harmonise and fine-tune pertinent issues”.

He said there would be amendments to the Banking Act, which seeks to
“improve the legal and regulatory environment in the country, as well as
tackle specific issues currently faced by banks such as abusing depositor’s
funds through insider lending”.

He said the lack of liquidity in the banking sector “seriously undermines
the stability of the financial system and results in the loss of confidence
in the market”.

“It is against this background that liquidity is regarded as the life and
blood of the economy and in its absence, financial markets cease to function

Zimbabwe has 23 financial institutions, of which seven are foreign-owned.

Gono set to crack whip on banks

Meanwhile, Gono is set to crack the whip on the banking sector, with the aim
of narrowing the gap between deposit and lending rates when he delivers his
mid-term monetary policy statement on Tuesday.

Nominal lending rates quoted by banks, range from 8% to 30%, with a weighted
average lending rate of between 14% and 20% during the last four months.

Deposit rates, however, ranged from 0,15% to 6%, with time deposits offering
higher rates of about 12%.
In his mid-term fiscal policy review, Finance minister, Tendai Biti, accused
banks of practising “voodoo” banking practices, placing high interest rates
on loans without doing the same on deposits.

Gono told CZI stakeholders on Friday that lending rates quoted by banks had
remained relatively high, largely sustained by persistent liquidity
shortages, credit demand, high associated risks, limited lines of credit and
the absence of an active money market.

“The absence of a functioning money market has resulted in the widening of
interest rate range quoted by banks,” Gono said.
Gono said the prevailing deposit rates continued to militate against efforts
geared at promoting a savings culture among the banking public.

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Good times roll for tobacco farmers

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:34

THE tobacco selling season ended last week with agricultural experts and
farmers describing it as a success as the rebound in production of the
golden leaf continues.
Tobacco production had dipped following the chaotic land reform programme to
48 million kg in 2008 from the peak of 236 million kg in 2000. The rebound
in tobacco production started in 2009.

Although some tobacco farmers complained about the relatively low prices,
most of them were happy with the price and the organised manner in which the
crop was sold, unlike in previous years.

The farmers attributed this year’s success to the assistance they received
from contractors and local financial institutions.
In an interview with The Standard at Boka Auction Floors last week, Macheke
farmer, Douglas Chingara said he would be able to buy inputs for next season
from the proceeds of his sales.

“The money we got here will take us a step further in preparing for the next
season,” said Chingara, who added that most farmers from his area got
assistance from Boost Africa and Tobacco Processors of Zimbabwe.

Chingara however could not divulge how much he got this year.
Another farmer, Tonderai Sorima from Shamva said small-scale farmers who
started tobacco growing following the land reform programme had now acquired
the skills needed in the industry.

“When I started growing tobacco, I used to produce a poor quality crop, but
I now produce the best because I have learnt the tricks since 2001 when I
ventured into tobacco growing,” he said.

Sorima said through growing tobacco, most farmers had been able to improve
their lives, “sending their children to school and even electrifying their
The Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (Timb) chief executive officer,
Andrew Matibiri said more farmers preferred to grow tobacco because of its

He said most small-scale farmers now preferred to grow tobacco because it
was more lucrative than some crops such as maize.
“I think the main reason for the success is increased production because of
the viability of the crop,” said Matibiri. “You also see more banks and
contractors assisting the farmers in terms of finance as well as monitoring
their crop.”

The Timb boss said about 13 contractors assisted tobacco farmers with
Northern Tobacco, Mashonaland Tobacco Company, Zimbabwe Leaf Tobacco, Tribac
and Tian Ze being the major sponsors in the past season.

As of Thursday last week, Matibiri said, about 139,25 million kg of tobacco
valued at an estimated US$510 million had been sold at the auction floors.
Last year, 132,4 million kg were sold, generating US$361,5 million.

Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Donald Khumalo, attributed the
success to an increased number of new farmers venturing into tobacco growing
unlike in previous years where it was a preserve of white commercial

He said apart from banks and contractors who assisted growers, the farmers’
unions also contributed immensely by offering capacity building support as
well as monitoring the tobacco, ensuring that a quality crop was produced.

“The increase in the number of tobacco auction floors also helped to ease
congestion which was a major problem in the past years,” said Khumalo.
Four auction floors—Tobacco Sales Floor Limited, Boka Tobacco Auction Floor,
Millennium Tobacco Floors and Premier Tobacco Auction Floor—were operating
during the just-ended selling season.

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Lack of vision has led to disease outbreaks

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:54

It’s sickening to know that people in Harare and Chitungwiza are once again
eating their own faeces. This has resulted in another outbreak of typhoid
which has seen the number of people affected rising to 220 in the past week
alone with the addition of 30 more people in the capital and 26 others in
its dormitory, Chitungwiza.

In most urban centres round the globe, water-borne diseases such typhoid and
cholera have been eradicated completely. Water purification is no longer an
issue in modern cities because the leadership of the municipalities and
their national leaderships have gotten to know the importance of clean water
and how it is vital to the survival not only of the people but also that of
their own political careers.

Many analysts have looked into the reason why Zimbabwean cities find
themselves in the situation they are in. Depending on which side of the
political divide they come from, they blame foreigners on their situation
while others blame the lack of vision on the part of those who have led the
country since independence in 1980.

The establishment and those who thrive on its continuity blame the sanctions
that have been imposed on the country by certain powerful countries saying
the so-called sanctions have impacted negatively on the provision of social
services such as water.

This might be a good scapegoat that might fool the general population most
of the time, but the time seems to have come when it can no longer fool the
people all the time.

A simple question may be asked: “What was the Zanu PF government’s vision
regarding the provision of water when it took over the reins of power 32
years ago?”

It was clear to everyone that the coming of independence would accelerate
the rural urban drift, and that the country’s industry would expand. Any
government would have known that there would be imperatives that would go
with this growth. As it turned out, the growth of the urban population, even
in the early years of independence, was phenomenal; so was that of our
manufacturing and mining industries. But there was no vision to match this
growth especially regarding water infrastructure.

Shockingly, the water infrastructure we rely on today was put in place
during the colonial days; in the 1950s to be specific.
For Harare, the implications are staggering; that was before the expansion
of Chitungwiza from merely St Mary’s township into the big sprawling town,
now boasting a population of two million people, who make it the second
largest municipality in the country, well ahead of the country’s second
city, Bulawayo.

That was also before the expansion of Norton and Ruwa. All in all, the
infrastructure put together by the colonial regimes to cater for at most 200
000 people, is now forced to cater for nearly four million people living in
Harare, Chitungwiza, Norton and Ruwa!

But the colonial regimes had a water master-plan not only for the whole
nation but also for particular rural areas and urban settlements. This
explains why even the Matabeleland-Zambezi water project was mooted as far
back as 1912.

We have all heard of the Tokwe-Murkosi dam project that is still struggling
to be completed and Harare’s own Kunzwi dam project; these are projects that
have been on the master-plan for donkey years. But what we have seen is the
total lack of a complementary vision to complete these projects on the part
of our leaders.

The projects only come when an election is around the corner, meaning they
have become political footballs to be kicked around as a way to attract

Now that we are eating our own dung and bearing the consequences, our
political leadership is playing the blame game; sanctions did not stop our
liberation government in the early days to do something about the inadequate
water reticulation infrastructure; it did not stop our new government from
constructing the dams that were already on the water master-plan. Our
government did not see beyond the next election; it never had a long-term

The long-term result has been that the water situation today should be
declared a national disaster. Not one municipality is capable of providing
adequate water to its citizens because most of the water treatment plants
are old and need replacement, according to a recent study. To counter this
our government has recommended that boreholes be sunk in areas affected by
lack of potable water.

On the surface, that might be a viable option but it seems not to take into
consideration the fact that underground water, like surface water, needs to
be managed properly. One need only be reminded of the boreholes sunk at the
University of Zimbabwe campus that are spewing contaminated water because
the municipality has not managed the underground water suitably.

Interestingly, the fact that nothing is being done to improve the water
infrastructure is not because there is no money floating around! It is not
because the international community is not assisting as a result of
sanctions; Unicef has been at the forefront of providing safe water and so
have been all major countries of the European Union, who are most vilified
for imposing sanctions!

One only has to look at where new investment from our friends in the East is
going; it is going into the construction of shopping malls and hotels.
Ironically, some of these hotels and shopping malls are being erected in
areas that are at the heart of our water systems. This not only explains the
shocking ignorance at the highest level of how water systems work, but also
the absolute lack of vision among our governing elite.

The Gwebi River has its source at the wetland in Borrowdale where a US$100
million shopping mall is about to be constructed. The construction has got
the nod from the Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development
and also that of the Mayor of Harare, two intellectuals who should know

A hotel has also been constructed on another wetland; the powers that be
have chosen to ignore these projects’ impact on the water system.

Ironically, the shopping malls and the hotels being erected will need loads
of clean water every day which they will not get because they sit on that
water and also because they have stopped the natural cleansing of the water,
for that is exactly what wetlands do.

The number of white elephants rising up around the country shows the
misplaced priorities that our government is pursuing. What is more important
for Harare today, a shopping mall or an efficient sewerage system?


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Remove lid on diamond sales

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:49

Mines minister Obert Mpofu last week warned cabinet ministers who have not
contributed “a penny” to the diamonds sector to stop demanding
accountability in the mining and marketing of the gems from Chiadzwa.

Mpofu’s remarks, made at the Mine Entra held in Bulawayo last week, were not
surprising given Zanu PF’s dogged efforts to maintain their stranglehold on
the Marange diamonds.

The party, which is benefiting from opaque handling of minerals, has given
so many excuses, among them “sanctions busting”, in a bid to prevent
coalition partners and the civic society from scrutinising the mining

Independent estimates show that several millions of carats have been mined
from the diamond-rich area since 2009 and only Zanu PF politicians and a
coterie of military personnel know the amounts realised to date. This year
alone, companies are targeting 12 million carats in output, the majority
being from Marange. Clearly, such quantities make it imperative that there
be transparency and accountability if the nation is to benefit from its
natural resources.

Finance minister Tendai Biti is on record saying diamond proceeds are not
flowing into Treasury. He has also pointed out that there are too many
leakages on the entire value chain — from diamond mining to marketing.

There is no doubt that lack of transparency spawns illicit trade in diamonds
and the smuggling thereof. If operations of mining companies are above
board, one wonders why Mpofu is against accountability.

By favouring the status quo, Mpofu is sheltering those who may be benefiting
from the industry and are keen to continue pillaging the resources, at the
expense of the majority. Such an unpalatable scenario makes the case for
reform, as proposed by Biti in his mid-term fiscal policy review, more

The minister wants to see far-reaching reforms in the manner diamonds are
mined and marketed. He also proposes that Zimra be placed in the entire
value chain to force companies to change their mode of operation.

Biti will obviously face resistance from Zanu PF, but he should be
emboldened by the fact that the status quo is unsustainable; and the people
know it.

Quote of the week

"Most of the farms that were seized in this province are occupied by people
who are the most brutal within Zanu PF. It is some of the best farmland and
it is occupied by military officials and brigadiers who want to destroy the
GPA,” Henry Chimbiri, MDC-T Jomic representative in Mash Central.

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Asia-Pacific reading Zimbabwe’s politics well

Sunday, 29 July 2012 11:47

Those with the proclivity to label MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai a puppet or
creation of the West, were left with egg on face in the past few days as the
Asia-Pacific region opened up to his imminent ascendancy to the presidency
of the new Zimbabwe.

Not long ago, the MDC president was accorded an honorary doctorate in South
Korea. Those who think that North Korea and China are more significant than
South Korea and hence saw this development as a non-event, were again forced
to do some serious introspection when China, a giant of the region, extended
a convivial invitation to Tsvangirai a few weeks ago.

Not to be outdone, other notable regional players have recently fallen over
each other in dishing out state invitations to the Prime Minister. Japan was
the first stop, followed by Australia and finally New Zealand. While some
people in Zanu PF believe that New Zealand and Australia are in the West,
the geographical reality is that they are not. Their economies, values and
systems might resemble that of some Western countries, but that does not
make them an appendage of that part of the distant globe.

When Nelson Mandela made the unexpected decision to quit active politics
during his first term as president, he identified Thabo, the son of
liberation luminary and flamboyant nationalist Govani Mbeki, as his
successor. Some might argue that Cyril Ramaphosa should have been considered
ahead of the Oxford Economics graduate, but Madiba had other ideas.

By allowing Mbeki to be the face of South Africa on the world stage while he
enjoyed most of his less hectic weekends in Qunu with grandchildren, Madiba
demonstrated the kind of strategic leadership that shall forever be the envy
of many. Once asked what he thought about the Zimbabwe crisis, Madiba had
only four words for an answer “tragic failure of leadership”.

President Robert Mugabe’s most tragic failure, despite his undoubted
intellect, has been his unwillingness to groom a successor in more than
three long decades. Inadvertently, he has now anointed someone from the
opposition, Tsvangirai, as the ultimate successor but only in terms of
presidential office and nothing else. Given this unfolding reality, the
world has been left with no option but to warmly embrace Zimbabwe’s next

Julia Gillard, the Australian Prime Minister, New Zealand’s John Key and the
Japanese business community, did not hide their affection of this great
successor to the extent that Tsvangirai was actually equated to one of
Africa’s greatest sons, Nelson Mandela and the Burmese democratic champion,
Aung San Suu Kyi.

Taking a cue from Suu Kyi when she recently delivered a historic address to
Britain’s two houses of parliament, the future president of Zimbabwe, Morgan
Tsvangirai, implored the international community not to dwell in the past
but to look to the future. He urged his hosts not to be overly pre-occupied
with President Mugabe because “not only is he part of the problem, but of
the solution as well”. He emphasised the need for re-engaging Zimbabwe not
as “a pariah state but an equal member and partner of the international
community”. Subsequently, the Prime Minister made an appeal for the
suspension of all forms of sanctions on Zimbabwe as a way of encouraging
reform and demonstrating that intransigence has no reward.

Some media houses deliberately misquoted the Prime Minister as having
campaigned for a blank cheque on sanctions. There has to be a difference
between conditional suspension and total lifting of the embargo, a point
that the Prime Minister stressed in every interview.

Those who closely followed the Prime Minister’s recent visit would probably
agree that this was one of his best international trips in recent times. He
had very progressive discussions with political and business leaders of the
three nations. He reminded investors of the abundance of opportunities in

Zimbabwean residents in this region, as well as embassy staff and, of
course, Ambassador Jacqueline Zwambila, were excited to see how welcome the
Prime Minister, and his entourage were in this territory. Unfortunately,
given his tight schedule, it was not possible for him to meet the generality
of Zimbabweans but extensive media coverage plugged the gap.


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Let’s stop pointing fingers at Zifa

Sunday, 29 July 2012 10:42

It is not good to keep on pointing fingers at the country’s beleaguered
football governing body, the Zimbabwe Football Association (Zifa) for all
the bad things that have befallen our football.

It is high time we resolutely stood up as a nation and tried to come up with
lasting solutions that would see the smooth sailing of business at our
football mother body.
A lot has been said about the alleged fraudulent and unorthodox manner in
which the current Zifa president landed at number 53 Livingstone Avenue.

His administration inherited a scandal-rocked association haunted by a huge
debt from the previous regime, which has led to numerous court cases where
creditors are demanding their dues.

As a result, the association has helplessly watched its properties being
attached by the Messenger of Court. Yes, a lot has been said about Dube
buying his way into office, but I think we must give the man a second chance
with regards to what he has done for the bankrupt association.

Who, like Dube, can sacrifice his personal assets to save Zifa? For the
third time in two months, Zifa last week lost its few remaining movable
assets after they failed to meet one of the Warriors debts at a local

The Warriors perennially appear to encounter accommodation problems each
time they are in camp, which consequently has a negative bearing on their
It is disheartening to see national team players being chucked out of a
hotel after failure by the mother body to settle accommodation bills.

At one point before a World Cup qualifier against Mozambique, the Warriors
were chucked out of a hotel after the body had failed to pay for their
services. As if this was not enough, they had their passports confiscated, a
situation that was going to make it difficult for them to travel to

The Zifa boss had to use the title deeds of his house in Glen Leone as
collateral for the service providers to release all the players and
technical team passports.
Now, the Zifa boss is on the verge of losing the house after he or the
association failed to settle the debt in agreed time.

On Thursday, another Warriors’ service provider pounced on the beleaguered
association’s headquarters at 53 Livingstone Avenue and attached property
after the association failed to pay up outstanding dues.

Special mention goes to a few companies that have come on board to bail out
the Warriors in their quest to qualify for the continental biennial
tournament, the Africa Cup of Nations and the World Cup.

These corporates include Nyaradzo, NetOne and Mbada Diamonds, who are
actually poised to get into a long-term relationship with the Warriors.
Instead of mentioning all sorts of mischief, I think it is important that we
stand up as a nation and give Dube and his board the much needed support so
that our players are not abused anymore.

I therefore call upon the corporate world to drum up support for our
Warriors which they extended to other national teams including women’s
Let’s stop pointing fingers since we are all in this equation. Instead, let’s
hold each other’s hands and rally behind our beloved Warriors. Go Warriors
Go. Score Warriors Score.

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