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"Blood diamonds" team wraps up second Zimbabwe inspection

Business News
Jul 3, 2009, 12:01 GMT

Windhoek - An team of inspectors from an anti-'blood diamonds' body was
wrapping up a visit to Zimbabwe Friday, where they have been investigating
allegations of gross rights abuses in diamond mining.

The United Nations-founded Kimberley Process (KP) is a body that monitors
international trade in diamonds with a view to barring so- called conflict
or blood diamonds - gems that are used to bankroll conflicts.

KP inspectors arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday for a review visit following a
first fact-finding mission to the controversial eastern Marange diamond
fields in March. They were due to leave the country Saturday.

Zimbabwe's police and military are accused of gross human rights abuses in
the Marange area since 2006, including killing and injuring dozens of
illegal diamond-diggers and forcing villagers to work for them.

In a recent report, New York-based Human Rights Watch alleged the security
forces, who are loyal to President Robert Mugabe, had killed over 200 people
in a three-week crackdown on illegal mining last year and ordered some of
the bodies to be buried in mass graves.

The area is still under control of the military, whose members are lining
their pockets with the gems, according to HRW.

While admitting members of the military are enriching themselves, Zimbabwe's
government says they carried out 'no killings.'

HRW is calling for the definition of conflict diamonds to be expanded to
include diamonds mined in conditions of gross rights violations.

Zimbabwe says the absence of an armed conflict means the diamonds cannot be
classed conflict diamonds.

Attempts to reach the Kimberley Process team in Zimbabwe this week were

The state-controlled daily Herald quoted Kpandel Fayia, the Liberian deputy
mines minister heading the team, as saying that the government had been
'very open' with the team during its investigation. The Process would
deliver its report on Zimbabwe within a month, he said.

Fayia was also quoted by the paper as saying the state mining company, which
controls the fields after the state seized them from a private company,
operated in a 'crude' way, with workers sorting stones by hand in the open.

The team also met some of the victims of the military crackdown.

'We took them (KP team) to see victims of the clean-up,' the mayor of the
nearby city of Mutare, Brian James, told the German Press Agency dpa. 'There
were quite a few people whose family members had been killed, victims who
had gunshot wounds.....'

James is a member of Prime Minister Morgan Tvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change which demanded this week that the coalition government and
parliament set up a commission of inquiry into the events in Marange.

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No deal between Zimbabwe and China - Biti

By Moses Muchemwa

Published: July 3, 2009

Harare  - FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti has distanced himself from a
purported US$5 billion deal with the Chinese government.

Biti told journalists in Harare that his office dismissed unreservedly
Friday's media reports claiming that Zimbabwe had entered into a US$5
billion deal involving the mortgaging of the country's platinum resources
worth US$40 billion.

He said that no such agreement had been signed between China and Zimbabwe.

"The Zimbabwe government through the Ministry of Finance has not signed any
agreement with China in regard to the disposal of any resources with China,"
he said.

Media reports had erroneously reported that Biti had signed a cautioned
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Eximbank of China (Eximbank) for
the platinum-backed US$5 billion loan on condition of explicit legal
documentation and declaration of the obligations of the Chinese.

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Zimbabwe seeking $80 mln credit facility: finmin

Fri Jul 3, 2009 3:41pm GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe is seeking an $80 million credit facility with
the Development Bank of South Africa to revamp its Hwange power plant,
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Friday.

"The Development Bank of South Africa is in the country, there are three
things that we are discussing, firstly there is an $80 million (credit)
facility for Hwange, for the rehabilitation of the power station," Biti told

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Civil Society constitutional convention reject use of Kariba draft

By Tichaona Sibanda
3 July 2009

The co-chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee on constitutional
reform, Douglas Mwonzora, on Friday said comments made by Robert Mugabe that
the new constitution must be anchored on the Kariba Draft, were just a
reflection of Mugabe's personal view point.

Mwonzora told over 2,000 delegates attending the '2009 people's
constitutional convention' that Mugabe's views were not binding on the
constitution-making process. During a question and answer session many
delegates had voiced concern that Mugabe was imposing the Kariba draft on
the people.

Our Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa said Mwonzora's speech triggered
scenes of jubilation at the Rainbow Towers, venue of the convention. Over
234 civil society organisations from across the country are participating in
the two-day convention. But the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions boycotted the 'people's'
constitutional convention, because of a split over the constitution-making

Last month Mugabe told his party's central committee meeting that the new
constitution must be anchored in the Kariba Draft, that was agreed to by
ZANU PF and the two MDC formations on September 30, 2007. But civil society
wants to ensure politicians do not have an undue influence on the process,
and push their own agenda, at the expense of the people.

"Those were his own personal views targeted at a certain section of the
society (ZANU PF), and they are not binding. Morgan Tsvangirai can equally
do the same at an MDC meeting but his views will also not be binding to the
constitutional reform process," Mwonzora said.

He said all draft documents, including those produced by churches, the MDC,
the National Constitutional Assembly and the Kariba draft, would be

Consultative hearings on a new constitution began two weeks ago in the
country's 10 provinces, with officials explaining the constitutional review
process to the public.

The hearings will culminate in an all-stakeholders' national conference on
July 10th, where committees will be selected to hear the views of the public
about what they want included in the supreme national law. Up to 5,000
delegates will attend the conference in Harare next week Friday.

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Commonwealth meeting set to pave way for Zim readmission

By Alex Bell
03 July 2009

A meeting of a Commonwealth committee on Zimbabwe, which is set to host a
roundtable discussion in South Africa next week, could pave the way for the
possible readmission of the country into the 54-nation grouping.

The group of former British colonies suspended Zimbabwe in 2002 after the
widespread violence that characterised, and ultimately cemented, the result
of the presidential elections that year. Zimbabwe then quit the grouping in
2003 after then South African President Thabo Mbeki failed to get the
suspension lifted. But the Commonwealth is reportedly interested in
re-engagement with Zimbabwe, now that the unity government has been formed -
provided democracy and the rule of law are restored.

The three-day meeting starts on Tuesday in Johannesburg, and it is hoped
that the meeting will also result in the mobilisation of critical
humanitarian aid. The discussion was organised by the cmmittee in an effort
to re-engage on a humanitarian front. There are also hopes that a special
fund to advance humanitarian assistance toe country could be established.

Carl Wright, chairman of the Commonwealth Committee on Zimbabwe, said that
the aim of the meeting is to "marshal the Commonwealth's professional and
other networks, in support of existing aid efforts, and the medium to
long-term prospects for reconstruction and development in Zimbabwe."

"We hope that the roundtable will result in practical action plans and
the identification of the necessary resources to take these forward," Wright

According to the programme of next week's meeting, various working groups
will examine the immediate humanitarian crisis across key sectors in the
country and formulate responses on a national and international level.
Notable participants at the roundtable will be Moeletsi Mbeki (deputy
chairman of the South African Institute of International Affairs), Cephas
Zinhumwe (Zimbabwe National Association of NGOs), Christine Platt (President
of the Commonwealth Association of Planners), Fanie du Toit (Institute for
Justice & Reconciliation), Jay Naidoo (chairman of the Development Bank of
Southern Africa), and Cyril Ramaphosa, (Commonwealth Business Council).

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African leaders set to boycott International Criminal Court

By Alex Bell
03 July 2009

African leaders in Libya were on Friday hotly debating a draft resolution by
the African Union (AU) which will, if adopted, deal a major blow to the
efforts of the International Criminal Court (ICC) to prosecute war criminals
in Africa.

The surprise draft was circulated on Thursday by Libya, the host country of
the 13th AU summit, and by that evening, AU Foreign Ministers had moved to
endorse the draft that will see the AU boycott the ICC. The draft declares
that the AU 'deeply regrets' that the United Nations ignored its previous
demand for the ICC in The Hague to postpone its arrest warrant for Sudanese
President Omar al-Bashir, for crimes in Darfur. In consequence, the draft
decision provides that AU countries 'shall not cooperate' with the ICC 'for
the arrest and surrender of African indicted personalities', including

The warrant against al-Bashir was issued in March on charges of
masterminding the violence that led to the deaths of an estimated 300 000
people in Darfur since 2003. African signatories to the ICC are meant to
hand al-Bashir over to the ICC for prosecution in The Hague, if he visits
their countries. But support for the Sudanese leader has been growing and
Libya was one of the first countries to ignore the ICC and host him as a
visiting head of state. Zimbabwe also welcomed al-Bashir with open arms at
the Comesa summit last month, where the grouping called for the
international criminal charges against him to be dropped.

The draft decision against the ICC has contradicted assurances by the AU's
executive chairman, Jean Ping, that the African Union would not reach hard
decisions against the ICC. Ping had said Wednesday that the AU would not
reach 'dramatic or binding conclusions' for African countries that are party
to the ICC.

"This is an insult to the 30 AU states member to the ICC, it basically
orders them to flout their legal obligations," said Reed Brody, a spokesman
for Human Rights Watch said on Thursday. At the same time, human rights
lawyer Gabriel Shumba told SW Radio Africa on Friday the precedent being set
for Africa is a deeply troubling one, explaining that "the message this move
sends out is that African leaders cannot be trusted."

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Journalists in court to make media commission order legally binding

By Violet Gonda
3 July 2009

The freelance journalists who were barred from covering the COMESA summit
recently, have made an application in the High Court to make a court
decision legally binding. High Court Justice Bharat Patel ruled in June that
the Media and Information Commission (MIC), led by Tafataona Mahoso, was now
a defunct body and no journalist should be required to register with it.
Despite winning the interim order, journalists Jealous Mawarire, Stanley
Gama, Stanley Kwenda and Valentine Maponga were still barred from covering
the COMESA summit, because they were not accredited by the controversial
regulatory body.
Mawarire said since the interim order was granted there were indications
that Minister of Information Webster Shamu and his Permanent Secretary
George Charamba, were going to oppose the interim order. But said the
government officials appealed after 15 days, which was outside the limit of
10 days for an appeal.
The journalists now want the High Court to give a final order that is
legally binding as Shamu and Charamba are still behaving in an 'ambiguous
The freelance journalist said so far 'nothing that has changed,' despite the
High Court order stipulating that journalists can work without
"The MIC was declared legally dead but it has been reincarnated. It has been
resurrected by the Minister and the Permanent Secretary and the ghost is
hounding us journalists," said Mawarire.

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African commission asks Zimbabwe to "decriminalise" offences of media accreditation

Date: July 3, 2009 Author: Newswatch Desk

The African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) has recommended
that the government should "decriminalise" offences relating to the
accreditation and the practice of journalism in Zimbabwe, the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has reported.

The commission ruled in favour of MISA-Zimbabwe, Independent Journalists
Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ) and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
in a case challenging sections of the controversial Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) promulgated in 2002.

The genesis of the ACHPR case was the MISA-supported constitutional
challenge lodged by IJAZ in 2002. The Zimbabwe Supreme Court ruled AIPPA
constitutional, resulting in MISA working with IJAZ and ZLHR to take up the
case to the ACHPR in 2005. The complaint challenged provisions of AIPPA
which state that "no journalist shall exercise the rights in Section 78 in
Zimbabwe without being accredited by the Commission (MIC)".

MISA, IJAZ and ZLHR argued that the emphasis on the right to freedom of
expression in ensuring democracy is such that regulation other than
self-regulation, is undesirable in a democratic society. They argued that
AIPPA was aimed at "controlling and even obstructing" the work of
journalists. "In view of the above reasoning, the African Commission
recommends that the respondent state repeal Sections 79 and 80 of Aippa,"
read the ruling dated June 4.

The government, the African Commission adjudged, should "bring AIPPA in line
with Article 9 of the African Charter and other principles and international
human rights instruments; and report on the implementation of these
recommendations within six months of notification thereof". The commission
also advised government to adopt legislation providing a framework for
self-regulation. The complainants submitted that the registration
requirements and procedures were "unduly intrusive and burdensome" arguing
that intrusion into an individual's private details militated against

"They (MISA, IJAZ and ZLHR) argue that the accreditation forms have to be
examined and approved by both the permanent secretary and the minister,
thereby establishing control of journalists by central government," the
documents read.

The complainants also urged the African Commission to "draw inspiration"
from legal precedent developed in other regional human rights systems. The
annual accreditation process, according to MISA, IJAZ and ZLHR, had a
"chilling effect" on the journalists' ability to freely practise their
trade, adding that this could lead to self-censorship. The state, however,
argued that the complainants had failed to establish a violation of Article
9 of the Charter stating that it was misleading to suggest that the MIC is
"susceptible to political manipulation and control".

"It is incorrect, the respondent state argues, to suggest that Section 80 of
AIPPA unreasonably restricts the right to freedom of expression and
dissemination of information. According to the respondent state, Section 80
restricts not all falsehoods, but only those that are willfully published
and that are likely to injure public interest," read the documents.

This ruling will bolster calls for media reforms in Zimbabwe. The unity
government in Zimbabwe has been talking of instituting media reforms and
held a conference to discuss amendments to repressive media laws. Nothing
has been heard of on the resolutions passed at this conference.

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Shamu to announce crucial Media reforms today

July 3 2009

By Zimbabwe Mail

HARARE - PRESSURE from within and outside Zimbabwe to force the unity
government to free the media might soon pay off. At least three newspapers
are ready to launch or relaunch as soon at the government gives them
permission. (Webster Shamu, Minister of Media Information and Publicity)

They include NewsDay, owned by Trevor Ncube, proprietor of the Mail &
Guardian, The Financial Gazette daily and the banned Daily News. There are
no independent dailies in Zimbabwe and there is only one television
channel - which is owned by the state.

In recent weeks, pressure has been mounting for the government to open up
the media space and Media Minister Webster Shamu is expected to make an
announcement today that will change Zimbabwe's media landscape.

Shamu, a fierce opponent of independent media, has finally come around after
intense pressure. The minister is expected to meet the editors of the
independent media before making his announcement.

The move could endear Zimbabwe to the West. Sweden, the new EU chair, has
promised to persuade European countries to help Zimbabwe if it can comply
with EU stipulations.

Western donors have demanded "real change", such as freeing the media,
before they loosen their purse strings . Zimbabwe is in desperate need of a
bail- out after 30 years of ruinous policies.

President Robert Mugabe's former nemesis, Morgan Tsvangirai, now the prime
minister, has promised that his government will deliver once the
octogenarian honours all the agreements he has made.

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Nyanga villagers in court to recover seized property

By Lance Guma
03 July 2009

A group of villagers in Nyanga have approached the Nyanga Magistrates
Courts, seeking the return of property seized by ZANU PF thugs in the
run-up to last year's bloody one-man presidential election run-off. At the
height of that campaign MDC villagers were targeted and lost cattle, goats,
chickens, ploughs and food stocks harvested from the fields. With no
intervention from the new coalition government to resolve these issues, the
villagers are now trying to use the courts to either have their property
returned, or for the suspected looters to pay compensation.
ZANU PF supporters Tichaona Kadyamusuma, Gibson Nyakuba, Chenjerai Mukoko,
Martin Njanji and Loveness Nyakabobo, were fingered as the alleged
master-minds of the looting. They took food from the victims to feed
militias, camped in the nearby bases of Chawagonahapana and Avilla Business
Centre in Ward 2 of Katerere. At the time local police in Nyanga refused to
intervene and left the thugs to do as they please. MDC supporters were
assaulted at the bases and told to bring food and livestock.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are assisting the villagers in their
court application and similar court cases are taking place countrywide.
There are reports that a Bikita court granted an order allowing 7 villagers
to claim US$7 000 from ZANU PF supporters who looted their property.
Villagers in Buhera were also targeted by ZANU PF militias for being MDC
supporters, and newsreel has received reports of retaliatory attacks from
MDC supporters, frustrated at not being able to get their property back.
Glen Mpani, the Regional Co-ordinator for the transitional justice program
at the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in South Africa,
told Newsreel there was a real need for a political solution to the problem.
He said given the compromised judiciary it was unlikely that any court
orders won by the villagers will be enforced by the partisan police force.
Even though the unity deal between ZANU PF and the MDC commits itself to
reconciliation and national healing, Mpani believes ZANU PF accepted this
out of expediency and has no interest in the process.
Mpani meanwhile criticized the coalition government for going ahead with the
current consultations for a new constitution, when the issues of
reconciliation and national healing have still not been addressed. He
questioned for example the wisdom of going to people in Nyanga, Buhera and
Bikita, asking for their views on the constitution, when these same people
were battling to get their property back and still felt bitter about the
militias camped in their areas. Mpani also said the national healing organ,
set up under unity deal, was not a solid platform as all it was designed to
do is 'advise' on what is 'necessary' and practicable.'

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Zimbabwe to re-evaluate all mining contracts

Fri Jul 3, 2009 1:44pm GMT

* Govt says working on new mining law

* Zimbabwe has world's second largest platinum reserves

* No agreement with China on $950 million credit line

By Nelson Banya

HARARE, July 3 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will re-evaluate all mining contracts
and introduce a "use it or lose it" policy for its mining industry under a
proposed law, Finance Minister Tendai Biti told Reuters on Friday.

The vetting of mining contracts by Zimbabwe's unity government of President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is likely to surprise
investors at a time Harare is wooing them to help repair a battered economy.

Mining has become the leading source of foreign exchange, with gold
accounting for a third of exports, but political turmoil, lack of energy and
unfavourable regulatory rules has led to several mines closing.

"The government... is working on a new mining law, amendments to the mining
laws, so that we comply with new standards for the extractive industries,
which the World Bank is insisting on," Biti said in an interview.

"That law will introduce the concept of 'use it or lose it' with respect
to... mining claims. It will also introduce the re-evaluation of every
mining contract that has been signed in Zimbabwe."

Biti declined to say when the proposed law would be brought to parliament to
avoid pre-empting the mines minister.

Some of the key players in Zimbabwe include Impala Platinum Holdings
(Implats), the world's second largest producer of the metal, which has the
biggest mining investments in Zimbabwe. Its bigger rival Anglo Platinum and
Rio Tinto also have mining interests in the country.

Implats and Angloplat officials in Johannesburg said they were unaware of
Zimbabwe's plan to re-check mining contracts, and would wait for more
details before making a comment.


Prior to the new move to re-evaluate mining contracts, a vital concern for
investors in Zimbabwe which has the world's second-biggest platinum reserves
and hefty deposits of diamonds, coal and nickel, was a law limiting foreign
ownership of businesses, including mines, to 49 percent.

Biti said the proposed mining law would have flexible local ownership rules
and seeks to empower Zimbabwe's masses, rather than enrich a few.

"The concept of empowerment we want to see is mass empowerment, which is
felt at the grassroots, village level," he said. "This will be done through
the establishment of a National Sovereign Fund to enable communities to
benefit from the exploitation of the finite resources from their areas."

Biti denied newspaper reports on Friday which said Zimbabwe -- battling to
raise $10 billion it says is required to rescue the economy -- will receive
$5 billion in loans from China in return for some platinum consessions.

He also denied a claim by Tsvangirai that Zimbabwe had won a $950 million
credit line from China.

"There's no foundation at all in reports that we have received $950 million
from China," he said. (Editing by James Macharia)

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Zimbabwe President meets top US official

     2009-07-03 19:21:12

HARARE, July 3 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe met
U.S. Under-Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson on the
sidelines of the 13th Ordinary Session of the African Union General Assembly
in Sirte, Libya on Thursday.

The meeting with Carson was the first time in several years that a
senior member of the U.S. administration has met President Mugabe, The
Herald said on Friday.

Sources who attended the meeting said Mugabe had a frank
discussion with Carson who requested the meeting, and was briefed on the
process that led to the formation of the inclusive government, its current
state and the working relations between the three parties involved.

Mugabe, the sources said, told Carson that the government was
working well. The meeting comes in the wake of recent attempts by some in
the West to trash the inclusive government by claiming that it was failing
to meet set "benchmarks" even though all the parties that signed the Global
Political Agreement have given the arrangement a clean bill of health and
pledged their commitment to resolving any problems arising from the
implementation of the agreement among themselves.

During Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's recent tour of Western
capitals, the "benchmarks" were cited as an excuse to maintain the sanctions
regime on Zimbabwe and to deny the country development support.

Carson, a career African-American diplomat, served as U.S.
ambassador to Zimbabwe between 1995 and 1997, and ended his tenure just
before the bilateral dispute over land with Britain flared up.

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Update on WOZA court appearances

July 3 2009

By Martin

The seven members arrested in Bulawayo on Wednesday 17th June appeared on
remand in Bulawayo Magistrate's Court this morning. The state was not
prepared with either the docket or state witnesses. They have been further
remanded out of custody until 22nd July.

In Harare, the four members who had been arrested on 18th June and badly
beaten appeared in Harare Magistrate's Court yesterday morning. As in
Bulawayo, the state was not ready with either the docket or state witnesses.
Neither were the police ready to answer why the four were so badly beaten in
custody. The magistrate has postponed the matter to Monday 6th July and has
insisted that the state be ready on that date.

Subsequently all four members have been called into Harare Central Police
Station by officers from the Law and Order Unit to give their account of
what happened to them in custody. Both groups of activists, in Harare and
Bulawayo, are charged under Section
37 1 a of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act - 'disturbing the
peace, security or order of the public'.

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Reviving Zimbabwe Dollar Now Suicidal

Against a backdrop of a visibly wobbling Inclusive Government, there are serious political and economic ramifications associated with the premature de-dollarization of the Zimbabwean economy. An impromptu return to the recently-condemned Zimbabwe dollar can only be politically-motivated especially considering that its ardent protagonist, President Robert Mugabe, is suddenly clamoring for its return only five months after its official adoption.

Simply defined, de-dollarization is the reversal of dollarization, implying the return to use of a country’s local currency. In the case of Zimbabwe, it means abandoning the official use of the US dollar in favor of the once-condemned Zimbabwe dollar.

Instead of dealing with the underlying problems facing the economy, Zimbabwe’s politicians in favor of de-dollarization seem to be implying that dollarization is the issue. The people of Zimbabwe also know that their local currency was a constant source of pain and stress given its worthlessness and inaccessibility. Remember the winding queues that existed everywhere. Zimbabwe’s politicians never shied away from telling the suffering ordinary men and women that keeping the Zimbabwe dollar was the ‘sovereign’ thing to do.

At the same time Zimbabwe became a tale of two cities: those enmeshed in royalty and those condemned to abject poverty while the middle-class was completely wiped out. I have no doubt that Zimbabwe has one of the highest ‘Per Capita Benz” in the world because of the past regime’s policies. To the discerning, there was obviously a short-circuit somewhere. Wait a minute, the politicians and the connected became richer because of their ‘hard work’, so they told us, yet the poor became poorer because of sanctions. How hypocritical!

It is abundantly evident that Mugabe is trying to push a dubious agenda that has nothing to do with any economic reality. For instance, Mugabe deliberately has it exactly the opposite when he recently said, "Yes, prices may have gone down but the people should have the money," and that "If they don't have the money, how will they buy the goods? We can't run a country like that. We are considering changing that and reverting to our own currency.”

In other words he is saying let’s print the money and figure out what to do with it. Doesn’t it start with production and then consumption? (Pardon my elementary economics here). Mugabe’s obsession with consumerism is worrisome. The underlying economic fundamentals have to be addressed first, Mr President!

De-dollarization of the Zimbabwean economy could be a slap in the face of reformists as it is the last thing the country needs at the moment. Could that be the reason Mugabe and his men are so vehemently opposed to Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono’s removal as his appointment was done in violation of the terms of the Global Political Agreement? Who else can satisfy the job requirements for a vacancy that ‘has arisen’ requiring a “dedicated Reserve Bank Governor with several years of experience directing operations and management of printing money at a national level?”

It is therefore not unthinkable that the return of the Zimbabwe dollar is certainly politically expedient. The overarching strategic objective is to enable themselves (Mugabe and his men) to print money that will be used to fund ‘military’ and other clandestine operations by dreaded state agents that will ‘condition’ citizens into voting for Zanu PF given the impending new elections under a ‘new constitution’.

The dollarization that occurred in January 2009 in Zimbabwe means that Gideon Gono, a not-so-credible policymaker,  is as good as unemployed at the moment because the traditional roles of a central bank chief to administer monetary policy and any form of exchange rate regime are relinquished. I can understand Mugabe and Gono’s frustrations and consequent political belligerence.

As noted in my previous articles, chaos means everything to Mugabe and his men. Economic and political instability allow for profiteering, torture, intimidation and obliteration of perceived enemies of Mugabe. No one is accountable for those heinous crimes as we saw in 2008 when hundreds of Zimbabweans perished under the ‘capable’ hands of the dictatorship especially during the period surrounding the stolen elections. Money printed by Gono funded previous violent campaigns. What will be the exception this time around if they are allowed to revive the dollar? It is no coincidence that Mugabe is calling for the revival of the Zimbabwe dollar.

For that to happen, Mugabe and his Zanu PF ‘comrades’ have to immediately enflame political tensions so that their differences will become irreconcilable and then pronounce the current marriage of convenience with MDC unsalvageable. If elections are going to be held in eighteen months, an oft-floated time frame as per GPA terms, it is clear that Zanu PF’s plot must begin to thicken otherwise they are behind schedule. It works for them if Zimbabwe slips into becoming a lawlessness nation once again.

What research or studies have they conducted which show that the people of Zimbabwe would rather prefer a return of the Zimbabwe dollar? It is all about them and not the people of Zimbabwe. Dollarization has caused Zimbabwe to experience negative inflation and an abundant supply of the once-scarce basic commodities (notwithstanding the academic debate surrounding deflation). Stores and supermarkets are overflowing with all sorts of products at the consumer’s disposal, a rare phenomenon for so many years under the ever-mutating Zimbabwe dollar’s protracted existence.

If it were not for extenuating political circumstances that Zimbabwe finds itself in, I would have advocated for partial dollarization where simultaneously, foreign currency is legal tender alongside the Zimbabwe dollar. I would also prefer a dollarization that uses South African Rand instead of the US dollar for obvious reasons such as easy accessibility of the Rand. In any case, for close to a decade, Zimbabwe has always been the unofficial Province of South Africa, highly integrated into it. One wonders why Zimbabwe has not pushed hard to be part of rand monetary union.

Dollarization of the Zimbabwe economy is a necessary confidence-building stimulus to the international community of investors who were leery of investing in a hyperinflationary economy of Zimbabwe, whose inflation record secured Zimbabwe’s entry into the Guinness Book of Records.  Dollarization has already paved way for easier integration of the Zimbabwean economy into the global marketplace as more countries are opening lines of credit for Zimbabwe while investors are lining up to cease business opportunities in Zimbabwe.

In 2007, Guinness Book of Records had Zimbabwe listed in ‘every category’  including being the country with  the "most worthless currency, world's highest inflation, Mugabe voted into top three Dictators... stunning, see how he wiped out an entire commercial farming system in SIX years, now the place is a basket case instead of a bread basket. It goes on and on", noted Lord Pint, press secretary of Guinness Book of Records.

Outside of dollarization there is no viable alternative for Zimbabwe to accelerate its economic regeneration and sustained economic growth. The return of the Zimbabwe dollar, an anathema to the reform agenda, will certainly signify a return to economic and political instability much to the benefit of yesteryear’s plunderers. The people of Zimbabwe have been taken for a ride for too long! Again we call upon Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his camp of progressives to proactively lead in stirring popular anger and resistance against Mugabe’s machinations.

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Library, documentation council appointed

The Herald, Friday, July 03, 2009

Herald Reporter

A National Library and Documentation Service Council has been
appointed with an audit on the current state of the country's
libraries its first task.

Harare lawyer Ms Nokuthula Moyo will chair the council. Announcing
the appointments on Wednesday, Education, Sport, Arts and Culture
Minister David Coltart said the council would advise him on general
matters pertaining to the administration of the National Library and
Documentation Service Act.

"The functions of the council will be to promote the widespread
enjoyment in Zimbabwe of publications of an educational, scientific,
cultural, recreational and sporting value.

"The council will also ensure, maintain and develop a high standard
of library facilities, operate a documentation facility and an
inter-library loan facility and to train librarians and to ensure,
maintain, coordinate and develop a high standard of librarianship,"
he said. Minister Coltart said the term of office of the previous
council expired in 2005 but no new appointments had been made since

Other members of the council are the dean of the Faculty of
Communication and Information Science at the National University of
Science and Technology Dr Lawton Hikwa, chartered accountant Mr
Tapiwa Chizana and lawyer Ms M Rusere. Also appointed were Ms A
Mafukare (director in the Ministry of Education, Sport, Arts and
Culture), Ms Jean Kanengoni (bookshop co-ordinator) and Ms Jean
Mandewo (documentation officer). Mr Berry Mushonga (library
director), Ms Eunice Pfende (programme officer), Mr Ronald Munatsi
(principal librarian), Ms Ann Podmore (the director of Library and
Information Services), Mr Roger Stringer, Ms Deborah Barron, Ms
Cathrine Shadwell, Mr J Maenzanise and a librarian Mr C Mutomba
complete the list.

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A letter from the diaspora


Dear Friends.

Words have a nasty habit of coming back to haunt you. I suspect that Morgan
Tsvangirai may well be regretting some of the things he said in Southwark
Cathedral a couple of weeks ago. One particular expression he used smacked
of the sort of dictatorial tendencies we thought were limited to the Dear
Leader. "You better listen to me" the Prime Minister told the noisy crowd of
Zimbabweans as if we were naughty children. Perhaps he should have listened
to us, the people in the cathedral. If he had really listened, listened with
his heart, he would have heard the very real love that his people have for
him and the very real anger they feel for Robert Mugabe, the dictator who
has ruined all our lives.
In last week's Letter, I described my personal reaction to the Prime
Minister's address to Zimbabweans in the UK diaspora on June 20th 2009. I
was concerned at the time that my words would be seen as over-critical of
Morgan Tsvangirai, a man I deeply admire for his courage and integrity.
Respect for the man and for his office, however, should not be allowed to
blind one to the truth. I believed then as I believe now that Morgan
Tsvangirai was wrong to say that all was well in Zimbabwe and that 'peace
and stability' prevailed. His words were ill-chosen and inappropriate for
his well-informed audience; more than that, they were simply not an accurate
reflection of reality on the ground. Judging from his words, it is hard to
escape the conclusion that the MDC leader and some of his Ministers are so
keen to defend the Unity Government and Robert Mugabe that they are prepared
to be less than honest about the state of the country and the health of the

It took a woman, the PM's Deputy Thokozani Khupe, to spell out the real
issues that are still bedevilling the full implementation of the Agreement.
Speaking on June 29th, just before the Prime Minister's return to Zimbabwe,
she enumerated the issues that are causing concern: the fact that the
National Security Council which is enshrined in the GPA has still not met,
four months after the Agreement was signed; the impositon of the Kariba
draft as the basis for Zimbabwe's new constitution; the continued and
persistent abuse of the rule of law and its selective application; the
continuing farm invasions and prosecution of white farmers; the failure to
reform the media and the failure to introduce legislation on freedom of
speech, association and expression. One particular phrase in the Deputy
Prime Ministers address struck me very forcibly. "For a long time," she
said, prefacing her remarks, "we have remained polite and subservient
upholders of the GPA against clear evidence of the absence of a reliable and
honest partner." One event illustrated perfectly the 'absence of a reliable
and honest partner' and that was Mugabe's sudden and unilateral decision to
bring forward the usual Tuesday Cabinet meeting to Monday. Cabinet meetings
are chaired by the Prime Minister and on Monday Morgan Tsvangirai was still
not back in the country. What clearer evidence could be needed to show
Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF's contempt and disrespect for their partners in
the Inclusive Government? As Thokozani Kupe commented, "Innocent and
innocuous as this (Mugabe's) decision may be, the fact of the matter is that
it underpins everything wrong about this present agreement." The MDC
proceeded to boycott the unscheduled Cabinet Meeting; for once MDC words and
actions went hand in hand, polite but definitely not subservient.

Interestingly, one of Morgan Tsvangirai's first tasks when he arrived back
in Zimbabwe was to defend the newly issued MDC Newsletter from allegations
by George Charamba that the Newsletter was in fact an illegal publication.
"There is nothing illegal about a newsletter," the Prime Minister declared.
"I have a website. This is the modern age. I have to communicate. You cannot
keep things to yourself and still say you are communicating. Let the people
know." Exactly, Mr Prime Minister! That is just what the people want. But
when you tell us 'things' that we know are not factual, then you should not
be surprised at the hostile reaction from your own supporters. When the
Deputy Minister of Mines, an MDC appointee, denies the well-documented
reports of the killings of innocent villagers in the Marange diamond fields
as "unsubstantiated reports" and when the Prime Minister himself describes
the ongoing farm invasions as "Isolated incidents, blown out of all
proportion" it is hardly surprising that his words are greeted with
incredulity. As Ben Freeth points out in his meticulously detailed report on
the situation of the former commercial farms in Chegutu (as seen on the SW
website), the truth must be acknowledged if the whole country is not to
remain in the darkness of dictatorship. Anything less than the truth is an
insult to the people's intelligence. Let the people know, Mr Prime Minister,
and they will be with you every step of the road.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle, PH. aka Pauline Henson author of Going
Home and Countdown political detective stories set in Zimbabwe and available

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The Working Group Questionnaire - CORRECTION

I entered an incorrect email address on the original ....Barbara

Please email back to


In order to assist The Working Group to act on your behalf with specific issues related to full and fair compensation we ask you to fill in the attached questionnaire.

Compensation for the losses suffered by commercial farmers through the fast track land acquisition program is now a very live issue.

It is in every farmer’s interest that the questionnaire attached, be completed.

The future of commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe remains uncertain, with the absence of law and order on the few properties remaining, continuing to place a stranglehold on those whose objective is production. Politically we have those who are determined to a return to production, but equally another group, dominated by hardliners, determined to see all commercial farmers off their land, irrespective of the economic consequences.

Those of us tasked to try and ensure, where we can, the overall wellbeing of farmers on or off their properties have to plan for whatever eventually transpires. Should the position improve to the point where it is deemed essential that agriculture once more returns to meaningful production, possibly with the active participation of a percentage of commercial farmers, we need a clear idea as to the numbers who would consider returning to farm.

Obviously a number of issues would have to be addressed first before any such return could be considered.

The most important of which are:

1.    Law and order.. to be upheld and fully enforced.

2.    Property rights… to be entrenched with full security of tenure. 

3.    Availability of inputs and services.

4.    Free marketing as per STERP.

5.    Properly defined labour laws.

6.    The deregulation of exchange control to remain in place as per STERP.  




 If conditions are met, we ask you to indicate by ticking the relevant box, against the question following, what your response would be.

1.      Returning to active farming is no longer an option for me and I would choose to have full and fair compensation for all my loses.

Yes         No  

2.      I would consider returning to/staying on my property in a situation where restitution would be made to restore my property to its former status, pre eviction together with payment of disturbance and damages claims.

 Yes       No

3.      I would consider farming on a another property as long as the previous owner has been fully and fairly compensated  and had voluntarily relinquished his title, if my own property was not made available to me, and that I had been fully and fairly compensated myself.

Yes        No

[It is possible to tick both 2 and 3]

4.      As a former Manager / lessee, I would be ready to apply to return to farming in Zimbabwe, should the opportunity arise and given that my damages claims have been met.

Yes         No                        

5.      I would be prepared to invest some of the proceeds from compensation, damages and disturbance, in business opportunities in Zimbabwe assuming that the investment climate was favorable.

Yes         No      

FARMER NAME:…………………………………………….

FARM NAME/ NAMES PER TITLE DEED:……………………………………………..

NAME OF FARMING COMPANY:……………………………………………………………

DISTRICT:………………………………………………………Farmers Association………………………………………….

1.      Has your farm been registered with VALCON?

Yes      No

2.      Has your claim for Damages and Disturbances losses been registered?

Yes      No                   Where?...........................................................................................

Status: (Delete as applicable) Owner; Lessee; Tenant; Manager; Other.

E-Mail Address:………………………………….

Any alternative contact details:…………………………………………..

Which country do you now live in? …………………………………………..

Signature: …………………………………………….   

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