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Zimbabwe attacks forced bank stake sales

Thu Jul 5, 2012 7:54am EDT

* Central bank boss says forced bank stake sales "illogical"

* Comments expose rifts among Mugabe allies

By Nelson Banya

HARARE, July 5 (Reuters) - Plans by a powerful Zimbabwe minister to force
foreign-owned banks to turn over majority stakes to locals are "illogical,"
the head of the country's central bank said, offering hope to the banks but
exposing policy rifts that could worry investors.

"We regard the regulations ... as devoid of detail and rationality as they
are contradictory in many respects with the laws in the country," central
bank chief Gideon Gono, an ally of President Robert Mugabe, wrote in an
email obtained by Reuters on Thursday.

Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, a rising star in Mugabe's ZANU-PF,
issued a notice last week giving all foreign-owned banks a year to cut their
shareholding to 49 percent.

Standard Chartered Bank Plc, Barclays Bank Plc and South Africa's Standard
Bank and Nebank all have operations in Zimbabwe and would be affected by the

The impoverished southern African state, battling to support a fragile
economic recovery, has already forced mining companies such as Rio Tinto and
Impala Platinum, the world's second-largest platinum miner, to turn over
majority stakes in their local units to black Zimbabweans.

Analysts see the pressure on foreign firms as a way for ZANU-PF to replenish
its coffers as it heads into elections expected for next year against the
main opposition MDC party.

The groups were forced into a power-sharing government after a disputed poll
in 2008.

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More bluster than substance in Zimbabwe’s indigenisation threat to banks

July 5, 2012 9:22 am by Tony Hawkins

The Zimbabwe government’s latest threat to foreign business – this time
foreign banks – is seen in Harare as bluster rather than substance. The
instruction by Saviour Kasukuwere, minister for indigenisation (pictured),
to a handful of foreign-owned banks to reduce their ownership to a maximum
of 49 per cent by July 2013 has more to do with his political party’s dismal
electoral prospects than serious restructuring of Zimbabwe’s financial

Kasukuwere’s Zanu-PF party, led by president Robert Mugabe, is in serious
trouble ahead of elections due in mid-2013 and desperately needs to convince
a sceptical electorate that its local ownership programme will improve the
lot of the man in the street.

The minister has an uphill task. Tendai Biti, finance minister, who is
responsible for the financial sector, and Gideon Gono, governor of the
central bank, are both strongly opposed to hasty localization. The foreign
banks themselves – two British, Barclays and Standard Chartered, and three
South African, Stanbic, MBCA and CABS building society – are wisely keeping
their heads below the parapet in the hope that disagreement between the two
main parties in the coalition government – Zanu-PF and prime minister Morgan
Tsvangerai’s MDC – will prevent Kasukuwere from carrying out his threat.

It is far from clear just how he can enforce his order anyway. The three
South African banks are covered by a bilateral investment treaty between
Zimbabwe and South Africa, which stipulates that fair compensation be paid
to existing shareholders forced to sell. The Zimbabwe government, with
foreign debt equal to 110 per cent of GDP, including arrears equal to 70 per
cent of GDP, is in no position to buy out the majority owners.

Indeed, when he presents his mid-year fiscal review next week, Biti is
expected to reveal that the country faces a large budget deficit in 2012 –
equal to 15 per cent of GDP – leaving him no alternative but to cut spending
substantially. With the civil service including teachers, health workers and
the military clamouring for wage increases, buying shares in foreign banks
will not be on his agenda.

Kasukuwere says foreign banks must be “transformed” because “they deny you
[Zimbabweans] funding”. The banks’ response is that they cannot lend their
depositors’ money to high risk borrowers, pointing out that currently 10 per
cent of bank loans are non-performing.

Nor are the banks in the best of health. In the first quarter of 2012, 10
out of 26 banks reported losses and in the past year two banks have been
placed under custodianship and one has been closed. Bankers and financial
analysts agree that the industry needs to consolidate because there are just
too many – mostly small – banks for Zimbabwe’s $10bn economy.

At some future juncture, there might well be a case for enhanced local
ownership of banks, possibly in the form of listings on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange, as in the case of Barclays. But with Zimbabwe having run a current
account deficit of $3bn last year, incurring fresh offshore debts of over
$1bn as well as additional foreign arrears of $660m, the country needs all
the friends it can get. Now is not the time to pick an unnecessary fight
with foreign financiers.

Although such realities are unlikely to restrain Kasukuwere, it is unlikely
that he has the political firepower to override such powerful opponents as
the prime minister, the finance minister and the governor of the central
bank. Barclays, for one, has much more to worry about in the Libor scandal
in Britain and the profits warning and subsequent share price slump of Absa,
its South African subsidiary, than in Kasukuwere’s electioneering.

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New constitution not yet ready

By Tichaona Sibanda
05 July 2012

Drafting of the country’s new constitution appears to be nearing its final
stage this week, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric
Matinenga said on Thursday.

The MDC-T cabinet minister told SW Radio Africa that only a few minor issues
were unresolved and the new charter would be ready by next week.

‘God willing, the draft will be ready by Monday when we meet to deliberate
on it as many of the contentious issues have already been resolved,’
Matinenga said.

But last week Douglas Mwonzora, the COPAC co-chairperson representing the
MDC-T, had indicated that the new charter would be ready by Wednesday.

Matinenga however said there were ‘unforeseen’ issues that needed to be
dealt with before releasing the constitution. He said the COPAC management
committee met on Tuesday but agreed to meet again on Monday next week to
allow for ‘technical adjustments to be made on the charter.’

‘Look whenever people from different political backgrounds meet to work on a
program or document, it’s always difficult to produce a document that is
agreeable to everybody.

‘You must also take into account the fact that all the groups have to report
to different principals who might also want a relook at certain sections of
the document,’ explained Matinenga.

It’s now envisaged that once work on the draft is done before the end of
this month, the document would be ready to go to Parliament by early August,
before going to a referendum between September and October this year.

Sources close to the drafting said there has been an agreement about all the
basic issues, including the basic rights, duties and freedoms.

Matinenga said that the three remaining stumbling blocks in the new charter
had been resolved, including structure of the executive, devolution and dual
citizenship, plus there had been an agreement that at least 25 per cent of
parliament seats should be reserved for women.

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MDC-T echoes call for Chihuri to resign

By Alex Bell
05 June 2012

The MDC-T on Thursday echoed renewed calls for the acting police
commissioner, Augustine Chihuri to resign, amid the ongoing persecution of
human rights activists in Zimbabwe.

Nine activists from the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were
finally granted bail on Thursday after being arrested in Bulawayo on Monday
night. The group was picked up in connection with the group’s ongoing
protest series about the new constitution. The nine were taken in
specifically because of messages painted on the roads in Bulawayo which,
among others things, called for Chihuri to be “fired.”

One of the activists was hospitalised on Wednesday because of what WOZA
called the “horrific conditions” at Bulawayo central police station where
the group has been held. They were eventually taken to court on Thursday
where the original charges of ‘Criminal Nuisance’ were changed.

WOZA leader Magodonga Mahlangu told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the
nine activists were brought to court in four different groups, but were all
granted US$50 bail each.

“They think this harassment will deter us but it actually just makes us
fight stronger. We are the voice of what Zimbabweans are thinking and they
are always trying to silence us,” Mahlangu said.

The persecution meanwhile also took a vindictive turn when the dogs
belonging to Mahlangu were deliberately poisoned at her home last Saturday.
Only one of the animals survived. WOZA said in a statement that they believe
this was a deliberate act by state security agents.

The MDC-T said on Thursday that it is concerned by the continued arrests and
ill-treatment of WOZA members, adding that their call for Chihuri’s
resignation “reinforces the position of the majority of the people of

“Like the MDC, the people of Zimbabwe want Chihuri to be replaced by a full
time Police Commissioner for he has brought dishonour to the country’s
police force by his partisan behaviour. Chihuri is a square peg in a round
hole, therefore he should leave the Zimbabwe Republic Police and join ZANU
PF full time as its political commissar,” the party said in a statement.

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Lawyers for 29 MDC-T members file for bail at the Supreme Court

By Tichaona Sibanda
05 July 2012

Defence lawyers for 29 MDC-T members facing charges of murdering a police
officer in Glen View last year, filed an appeal with the Supreme Court on
Thursday seeking their release from custody.

It follows High Court Justice Chinembiri Bhunu’s decision on Wednesday to
grant them the right to appeal for bail at the Supreme Court.

Only last month, Justice Bhunu denied them bail claiming they were not
suitable candidates. The members have been in remand prison since their
indictment for trial in March.

All the 29 MDC-T members accused of killing police inspector Petros Mutedza
have pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and deny killing the cop. The
MDC-T have said the charges are nothing more than harassment.

Defence lawyer Charles Kwaramba told SW Radio Africa on Thursday the papers
they’re lodging with the Supreme Court will be challenging the refusal of
bail by Justice Bhunu.

‘We are filing the appeal today (Thursday) and thereafter we can ask the
Court to set the case down for hearing,’ Kwaramba said, adding that his
clients welcomed the decision to grant them leave to approach the Court of
Appeal, which is the Highest Court in Zimbabwe.

‘You can’t say they’re entirely happy, but it is something positive for
them. I can tell you though they’re much better and relieved and passing
this hurdle,’ Kwaramba added.

Police in Harare accuse the group of fatally assaulting Mutedza at Glen View
3 Shopping Centre on May 28 last year. The trial kicked off in June and two
weeks ago Judge Bhunu conducted an inspection of the shopping centre where
the police inspector was allegedly stoned to death.

But one state witness has told the trial Mutedza may have died of injuries
suffered when he fell off a vehicle driven by a fellow policeman.

Joshua Daka, a police officer, had asserted that the cop’s death was due to
the fall.

Testifying a day after the court made an inspection of the scene, Daka said
he saw Mutedza running to a parked vehicle at the shops just as people that
he could not identify started throwing stones at him. When he got to the
vehicle, and as he opened the passenger door, the driver sped off, forcing
him to fall and hit the tarmac hard.

So far six out of 20 state witnesses have testified in court but there has
been confusion as each of the witnesses has been giving conflicting

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Civil Servants threaten strike – again

Gerry Jackson
05 July 2012

Once again civil servants have given government an ultimatum – 2 weeks to
review salaries or we strike.

Since the formation of the unity government three years ago civil servants
have been pushing for better pay. These latest threats date back to January,
which had endless government meetings, discussions, debates and a one day
strike that paralysed the country or wasn’t very well supported – depending
on which paper you read.

But the bottom line, as Finance Minister Tendai Biti keeps saying, is that
government has no money. They would have a lot of money if the revenue from
the diamond mines went into the treasury, but it goes into military, Chinese
and ruling party chefs pockets instead.

The government workers union, the Apex Council, has now given this latest
ultimatum to review civil servants’ basic salaries as well as their rural
allowances, which have been pending since January.

On Wednesday government met with the council for three hours, but there was
no resolution. The Apex Council Chairperson, Mrs. Tendai Chikowore, said
there had been no tangible offer from government. Speaking to the state
media she said: “Government had no position, instead they wanted to dwell
much on issues that do not address the salaries review. We are expecting our
salaries to be adjusted this month, failure to that we are engaging into an
industrial action.”

There’s no doubt that civil servants are poorly paid with a basic salary of
$294. They want that to be increased to at least $560. The poverty datum
line is $600.

But ZANU PF are not unhappy about the threats from civil servants and in
fact encourage them, as they want to put pressure on the MDC-T’s Tendai

Although Biti’s statement that the government has no money is probably
accurate, it’s not helped by the fact that last year Robert Mugabe and
Morgan Tsvangirai spent $45.5 million on travel.

Many of the civil servants are teachers and will have seen that last year
the governments capital expenditure for secondary education in 2011

An analysis of Zimbabwe’s national accounts showed that $5.3 million was
budgeted for this purpose, but the money appears not to have been spent.
If it wasn’t for Britain, secondary schools would have no text books. The UK
Department for International Development paid $9.5 million to a United
Nations programme that distributed 15 million textbooks to Zimbabwe’s

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Mugabe flip flops

Written by Gift Phiri, Chief Writer
Thursday, 05 July 2012 13:18

HARARE - A case before the Supreme Court today has exposed how President
Robert Mugabe is flip-flopping on demands for an election this year.

Mugabe, whose Zanu PF party is suffering the disintegrating effect of
factionalism linked to his succession, has repeatedly stated his desire to
hold elections this year.

He has even told regional Sadc leaders mediating in Zimbabwe’s long-drawn
political crisis that he expects no less.

In a landmark case, the Supreme Court today hears a case in which the
88-year-old is resisting demands by three officials from coalition partner
MDC for him to call for elections without delay.

Former MPs Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu were forced to
approach the courts after Mugabe refused to call elections in parliamentary
constituencies left vacant by death and dismissals.

They won at the High Court but Mugabe chose to fight on and approached the
Supreme Court.

The Court of Appeal will hear arguments by Mugabe’s Attorney-General
Johannes Tomana why the High Court ruling directing him to call for
by-elections in three Matabeleland constituencies must be quashed.

The three were fired as MPs for Nkayi South (Bhebhe), Lupane East (Mguni)
and Bulilima East (Mpofu) by the Welshman Ncube-led MDC on accusations of
siding with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC.

Mugabe suffered defeat in October last year when the High Court ordered him
to set dates for by-elections within two weeks.

The judgment’s ripple effects could have unsettled Mugabe, as it meant
calling for elections in close to 30 other constituencies that have also
fallen vacant.

Yet, the same ruling could have been what Mugabe has been praying for since
it gave him the chance to prove his election readiness.

The three sacked legislators approached the Bulawayo High Court in 2010
seeking a declaratory order compelling the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(Zec) and Mugabe to conduct by-elections in their former constituencies.

In their High Court application, the three cited Zec, its chairperson
Simpson Mutambanengwe and Mugabe as the first, second and third respondents

The court ruled in their favour, but they suffered a setback after Mugabe
made a swift appeal.

Today at 9:30am in the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku,
Justices Vernanda Ziyambi, Paddington Garwe, Anne-Mary Gowora and Yunus
Omerjee will hear the Attorney General’s appeal against the High Court
ruling directing that the three by-elections be held.

Justice and Legal Affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa, in an affidavit filed
in the High Court on Mugabe’s behalf, opposed the application saying
government was too broke to afford the $38 291 919,80 needed for the

Then there were vacancies in seven Senate constituencies, 19 House of
Assembly constituencies and 50 local authority wards.

The appeal will be heard in Mugabe’s absence as he is in Singapore, where he
routinely travels for medical help.

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Latest farm grab: 80 workers thrown out

About 80 farm workers from Guy Farm and their families have been left
homeless following farm seizures by top government officials recently.

by Staff Reporter

Desperate former farm workers told The Zimbabwean that the farm takeover by
a senior official from the Attorney General’s office and a top female
government official deployed at the Marondera Maguta Offices, took them by

The farm owner, Jeff Guy, had two small plots merged into one and employed
80 workers.

They invasion followed a visit to the plot by Zanu (PF) Mashonaland East
Provincial Governor, Aenias Chigwedere who came in the presence of unnamed
government officials two months ago.

“The (invaders) descended on the farm last week accompanied by officials
from the Ministry of Lands. They gave our employer, Guy, seven days’ notice
to wind up his farming activities and leave the property.

‘‘The Maguta woman the farm main house and took over control of the workers’
living quarters. She ordered farm workers and their families to vacate farm
houses immediately. As we speak, the majority of the former farm workers are
stranded at the farm as they have no alternative shelter,” said a dejected

“Guy had no option but to temporarily transfer most of the farm equipment to
Akasaba Farm for safekeeping ,’’ said one worker. A farmer only identified
as Smit is understood to be renting Akasaba after entering into a lease
agreement with the late Sabina Mugabe, President Mugabe’s sister, several
years ago. It was not clear if she had acquired the farm under the fast
track land redistribution programme or had bought it.

The Zimbabwean could not locate Guy for comment but saw some of his
household property dumped at a flat in Marondera town. Sources at the farm
said Tapedza confided in some workers that he could hardly afford farm
inputs and equipment, and would not have time for farming activities.

“I find it difficult to understand how a fellow black man could forcibly
evict poor farm workers form the land, without providing them with
alternative accommodation and employment elsewhere. Our future has been
shattered,” said another worker who only identified himself as Choruma.

Efforts to get comment from Chigwedere and the new occupiers were fruitless
as they were unavailable.

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Grace Mugabe and her dairy farm

by Gerry Jackson
05 July 2012

Grace Mugabe has increased the type of dairy products her farm produces and
is now selling sour milk at the OK bazaars. The Mugabe milk brands are
called Alpha Omega and will soon include powdered milk and ice cream.

Helping to guarantee the success of Grace’s products has been the almost
total destruction of the dairy industry in Zimbabwe by her husband, Robert.
It took just five years after the first land invasion in 2000 to reduce the
dairy herd by 80%. Dairy cows were routinely slaughtered for meat or maimed
in random acts of cruelty. Viable dairy farms had their milking equipment
destroyed and the farmers violently displaced.

Grace’s milk products will be a direct challenge to Nestle who produce many
of the same milk products and who, under pressure from rights activists,
stopped buying milk from Grace Mugabe’s farm in 2009.

The First Lady’s Gushungo Dairy Estate used to be called Foyle Farm. The
previous owner faced a campaign of violence over many months in 2003 and was
forced to sell his property to the Agricultural Rural Development Authority.
ARDA estimated the price of the property at a quarter of independent
estimates and paid the owner just 40% of that amount. As soon as the owner
vacated the property Grace Mugabe began to pop in for visits.
Although she has put massive investment into the dairy farm for a number of
years it’s estimated that the output is less than 35% under the previous
owner – who produced more than any other dairy in Zimbabwe.

The UK’s Sunday Telegraph newspaper investigated the pay and conditions at
Gushungo Dairy and said an average worker would be unable to afford the milk
produced. One worker said: “Do we ever get enough money? No, I get $40 (£25)
a month, yet we sell lots and lots of milk.”

“We do get cabbages returned from the market and 25kg of maize meal twice a
month, but there is no electricity in our houses, only for office staff and
managers. Mrs Mugabe is here a lot, but doesn’t talk to us, just the

Mrs Mugabe told the state Herald newspaper that she had gone into dairy
farming because her husband, Robert Mugabe, wanted it. She said: “I did it
especially for him.”

But it appears that the farm has been useful for other ventures. Rumours
abound that Grace had a 5 year affair with Reserve Bank Governor Gideon
Gono, and that they met at least 3 times a month at the dairy farm.

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Milk output up 7pc

Written by Bulawayo Correspondent
Thursday, 05 July 2012 13:27

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s milk output has surged seven percent on the back of a
growing number of farmers who are now venturing into the lucrative sector,
an official said.

Addressing the National Association of Dairy Farmers (Nadf), Mechanisation
and Irrigation Development ministry’s chief dairy officer Tendai Marecha
said milk production last year shot to an estimated 51 million litres.

“Annual milk production in 2011 increased to 50,6 million litres from a
figure of 47 million litres the previous year,” said Marecha.

She said the sector, still hamstrung by viability challenges, was yet to
realise its full potential.

“.. the industry has remained united with a common goal towards increasing

Marecha urged dairy farmers and government to complement each other to boost
the country’s milk yield.

“It is imperative that government, farmers and processors work together in
order to arrest the current low milk production volumes,” said Marecha,
underscoring the nutritious value of dairy products.

Nadf chairperson Veneka Bwerinofa however bemoaned high production costs.

“Zimbabwe still has the highest price of milk and high production cost in
the region. This has a negative impact on the country’s milk output,” she

“Continued power cuts and the continued increase in stock feed prices are
also negatively affecting our operations.”

The local unit of global food and nutrition company Nestlé recently
partnered with the Zimbabwe Women Land and Agriculture Trust (ZWLAT) in
setting up a $14 million fund for the dairy sector.

The company planned to increase dairy cow imports to boost the current
national head.

The dairy empowerment scheme would rolled out nationally and the next phase
will be in the Midlands Province and the Nyamandhlovu District in Matabeland
North Province.

Zimbabwe’s current national raw milk production is 4,5 million litres per
month compared to an estimated demand of 7,5 million litres per month.

Per capita consumption in Zimbabwe is eight litres against peak levels of 25

Zimbabwe’s per capita milk intake remains low compared to regional averages
which are around 56 litres for South Africa and 10 litres for Zambia.

Over the past decade, milk production slumped to an all-time low a million
litres as farmers struggled to expand operations during a period of economic

But with the adoption of multiple currencies in 2009 that ushered relative
economic stability, milk production has steadily risen.

Currently, Zimbabwe has 223 registered dairy operators and an estimated
dairy herd of about 26 000 animals 12 000 of which are milking cows.

During peak production, Zimbabwe used to milk an estimated 150 million
litres of milk, with surplus exported into the region.

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Furore over increase in Harare councillors’ allowances

Written by Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Thursday, 05 July 2012 13:09

HARARE - Harare councillors, often accused of corruption and incompetence,
have received a surprise reward.

Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has increased their monthly
allowances in a move that has angered councillors from other towns who are
also demanding more for their pockets.

A directive issued by Chombo this week will result in Harare councillors
pocketing $240 a month from the $140 they had been getting.

What has got their counterparts in other towns fuming is the fact that the
least paid Harare councillor will earn more than mayors in other towns.

Kadoma mayor Peter Matambo told the Daily News he is getting $210 in monthly
allowances while his deputy pockets $175 each month.

“As far as I know, it is Harare only that got the increase,” a disgruntled
Matambo said.

Chombo’s deputy in government Sesel Zvidzai had initially proposed that
councillors countrywide receive a flat figure of $500 “to guard against

On Monday he said he was “surprised” how his boss arrived at the final
figure and why he chose to award the increment to Harare councillors only.

“I smell a rat. All councillors are equal and represent a ward. What is
special about Harare councillors?” Zvidzai queried.

“He should have done it to all councillors instead of selecting Harare,”
said Zvidzai, a Tsvangirai appointee to the coalition government.

Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe president and Masvingo mayor Femias
Chakabuda said his organisation hoped Chombo was not being divisive.

“Probably it is because Harare is close to his office that is why they got
the message earlier, but as an association, we made a presentation to the
minister to review our allowances and we are yet to hear from him,” said

Efforts to get a comment from Chombo were fruitless as he was unavailable on
his phone.

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Mana Pools lodge threatens eco-system

Construction of a 48-bed lodge along the Zambezi River shoreline in Mana
Pools National Park has begun, despite an inadequate Environmental Impact

by Staff Reporter

The Zambezi Society has expressed concern that the development threatens the
fragile riverine eco-system , already stressed by tourism.A lease for the
proposed 48-bed (plus 24 staff) “Mana Pools Safari Camp” with a 1-km
exclusion zone centered on the Vine Camp Site (about 15 kms upstream from
the Park headquarters in Nyamepi) was granted to ECIS Investments (Ms Li
Song) by the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management and signed by the
Minster of the Environment in September 2010. An EIA was completed in June
2011 by Vibes Consultancy, and was approved by the Environmental Management
Agency shortly thereafter – without consultation with important

The EIA describes this as a “semi-permanent” camp with 12 thatched double
chalets on raised metal and wood platforms above the floodplain, a large,
thatched living/dining/ bar area, as well as large quarters for 24 staff, a
fence, a swimming pool, 14 septic tanks and a cold-room - all of this
powered by a “solar-system with a back-up generator”.

The Vine Camp Site area contains one of the Park’s prime examples of
magnificent alluvial woodland covering the banks of the Zambezi River.

Within this precious woodland are vast specimens of very ancient Zambezi fig
trees, Natal Mahoganies and River Litchis and rare climbing lianes.

The woodland is a favoured spot for a host of wildlife species, including
elephants, lions, leopard and wild dog.

The Zambezi Society obtained a copy of the EIA only after it had already
been approved, and found it to be inadequate, inaccurate and ill-informed.
After consultation with local and international environmental experts, the
society submitted a formal objection to the EIA urging them to reconsider
the approval of the project.

They also wrote to the Minister of the Environment highlighting their
concerns. No responses have been received.

If you feel strongly about this development, what can you do?

1) Sign our petition against this development, see this link: Stop
Destructive Development at Mana Pools

2) Write to The Director, Environmental Protection, Environmental Management
Agency, Zimbabwe and

3) Talk about this on Facebook via the groups: The Zambezi Society, Save
Mana Pools, Friends of Mana Pools etc.

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Fate of Zim asylum seeker unclear after second deportation threat

By Alex Bell
05 July 2012

The fate of a Zimbabwean asylum seeker, who was facing possible deportation
from the UK on Wednesday, was unclear on Thursday with high concern about
his wellbeing.

Nottingham based Trevor Chanetsa was set to be forcibly removed Wednesday
night on a Kenya Airways flight from London’s Heathrow Airport. He insists
that as an activist who openly opposes ZANU PF he faces serious danger if he
is returned to Zimbabwe.

A campaign to try and stop his removal was launched this week with the
public being urged to contact Kenya Airways and protest their intentions to
remove Chanetsa, despite the concerns for his safety. But on Thursday it was
still unclear if this campaign was successful and Chanetsa’s mobile phone
went unanswered the whole day.

Chanetsa arrived in the UK in 2002 and has been trying to secure asylum ever
since. In May this year he was arrested during his routine reporting as an
asylum seeker to the UK Border Agency and detained for two weeks. He only
escaped deportation following the last minute intervention by his

Chanetsa told SW Radio Africa last month that he believed he was being
deliberately targeted because his Zimbabwean passport was about to expire.
He accused the UK authorities of fast tracking his case deliberately, to
ensure his deportation before his passport expired.

This time around, the authorities have again been accused of attempting to
rush his deportation case, as a result of a court’s decision to overturn a
Country Guidance Case for Zimbabwe from last year. That Case, which
significantly narrowed the standards under which Zimbabweans in the UK could
apply for asylum, was quashed on a technical basis.

This development last month was described as a ‘victory’ for Zim asylum
seekers. But it is understood the decision is being appealed, and it is
believed that Chanetsa is being targeted because of this.

One of Trevor’s supporters, Regis Manyanya from the Nottingham Zimbabwean
Community Network told SW Radio Africa that the Case will have an impact on
Chanetsa’s asylum claims and “it appears that they (the UK authorities) are
trying to deport him as soon as possible while the country guidance issue is
being appealed.”

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Ex-Zim cop jailed for miner’s murder

July 5 2012 at 08:30pm

A Zimbabwe court jailed a former senior police officer for 18 years for
beating to death a diamond miner in 2008.

Mutare, Zimbabwe - A Zimbabwe court on Thursday jailed a former senior
police officer for 18 years for beating to death a diamond miner in 2008,
the first conviction related to alleged abuses at the mines.

The High Court found Joseph Chani, 51, a former police chief superintendent,
guilty of murdering the illegal diamond panner in Zimbabwe's Marange fields
and the assault of three others.

Prosecutors said Chani, who retired from the police force during his trial,
beat Tsorotsai Kusena, 37, with clubs, leading to his death.

Judge Hlekani Mwayera said the police officer would also serve three years
concurrently for the assault of the three other panners.

Junior police officers and soldiers who guard the fields gave evidence
during the trial about how Chani had assaulted the small-scale miners.

The Marange fields have been at the centre of a years-long controversy over
alleged abuses by President Robert Mugabe's army, and the Kimberley Process
once suspended exports from there.

But last year the international watchdog cleared Zimbabwe to export from
Marange, the site of one of Africa's biggest diamond finds in recent years.

Rights groups have alleged gross human rights violations in the Marange
fields, when the Zimbabwean army cleared small-scale miners from the area in
late 2008.

Human Rights Watch says more than 200 people were killed in the operation. -

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US to provide ARVs to 140,000 patients

05/07/2012 00:00:00
by NewZiana

The United States will this year increase funding for HIV/AIDS programmes in
Zimbabwe, outgoing US ambassador Charles Ray has said.

The US HIV/AIDS programme is currently supporting 80,000 Zimbabweans through
provision of anti-retroviral drugs, and Ray said the number of beneficiaries
will increase to 140,000 this year.

Ambassador Ray said another 40,000 new patients will be added to the
programme next year.

"I am proud to say that this number will increase in 2012 to a total of
140,000 patients on ARVs. And our plan is to add another 40,000 new patients
in 2013," he said.

The US government is also partnering Zimbabwe to fight against malaria and
other communicable diseases, as well as building the management skills of
health professionals.

The pledge by the US comes at a time when at least 66,000 people living with
HIV face the prospect of losing their current access to lifesaving
antiretroviral (ARV) treatment because of lack of funding.

Some segments of the Zimbabwean health sector proposed that certain HIV
patients pay for their treatment.

The National AIDS Council mainly receives funding for the national response
to HIV and AIDS from the National AIDS Trust Fund, commonly known as the
Aids levy, which was introduced by the Government in 2000 through the
National AIDS Council Act Chapter 15/14 of 2000 and the donor community.

The Act mandates individuals and companies in Zimbabwe to pay three percent
of their income and corporate tax towards the National AIDS Trust Fund which
is used to finance various HIV/AIDS programmes. The aids levy is, however,
inadequate to cater for all the people living with HIV.

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As piped water dries up, city dwellers turn to carrying water

Thu, 5 Jul 2012 13:23 GMT

Source: alertnet // Madalitso Mwando

A boy carries a container of water in the suburb of Epworth in Zimbabwe's capital Harare on December 7, 2009. REUTERS/Philimon Bulawayo

By Madalitso Mwando

BULAWAYO – Samukeliso Tshuma, a 33-year old mother of four, lives in one of Bulaway’s teeming high density urban townships, but these days gets her water the same way rural dwellers do – from a borehole well.

This is “something I never imagined I would be doing,” said Tshuma, who formerly relied on city-provided piped water.

Spare rainfall has hit water levels at dams supplying Zimbabwe’s second largest city with piped water, raising fears among municipal offers that supplies may soon run out, and leading to rationing and disconnection of some of the network.

That has left residents like Tshuma carrying water home – a way of life more common in rural areas.

“Like many others living in the city, we always associated boreholes with rural areas where women balance water cans on their heads and walk long distances in search of water,” said Tshuma after the Bulawayo municipality began a massive water disconnection and rationing exercise last month.

The Bulawayo municipality has over the years sunk boreholes across the sprawling city of 2 million as a response to increasingly low levels at the city’s five major supply dams.


In the past, the municipality could boast of a two-year supply of water storied in the city’s dams. But recent projections have been gloomy, indicating that the water would only last the city for as little as two months because of poor rainfall.

Up to 70 percent of Zimbabwe’s rural population relies on groundwater, according to the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), a government department responsible for managing water for both domestic and industrial use estimates. But urban use is increasing as dam levels fall, the authority said.

Experts worry that urban reliance on groundwater could lead the country’s water tables to fall, making water harder to access in both rural and urban areas.

Increasing reliance on groundwater “is raising threats on the water table and if the dismal rainfall patterns continue in some parts of the country, it is very possible that the drilling of more boreholes will only result in the water disappearing deeper into the earth,” said Dumisani Gumede, a Bulawayo-based water engineer.

“There must be a balanced ratio between a borehole and how many people use it, but since these water problems are now found in cities with huge populations, this ratio will be hard to maintain,” he said.

Last year, the Water Resources Ministry announced it was banning the haphazard sinking of boreholes, citing the receding water table. The move came amid reports that some households in Bulawayo’s low density suburbs were sinking private boreholes as a response to the municipality’s failure to provide water.


In May, the Water Resources Management and Development Ministry announced a countrywide borehole census as part of efforts to tackle challenges presented by poor rainfall and to try to manage underground water.

The census is expected to provide a framework for responses to poor rainfall and groundwater conservation efforts.

Water Minister Sam Sipepa Nkomo said the exercise was part of efforts to map how much groundwater the country has and in which geographical locations.

As rainfall patterns change and the need for water increases with a growing population, groundwater is seen as crucial to keeping adequate water supplies available.

“Many people have always thought that you can sink a borehole anywhere, but this is not true as preliminary ground surveys must be carried out first to determine whether there indeed is water in that area,” said Jeff Makiwa a climate change researcher in the Ministry of Environment.

“There is no doubt that the effects of climate change are far reaching as low rainfall has also meant that communities must carefully manage resources such as groundwater. It has been known that some boreholes have dried up across the country because too many people were using (them) while there was (insufficient recharge) with seepage from rain,” Makiwa said.

Minister Nkomo has told local media that groundwater in Zimbabwe remains under-utilised. But there are concerns that with supply dams emptying near cities such as Bulawayo, growing reliance on boreholes in both rural and urban areas could lead to growing water stress, a situation that could prove dire, particularly in a country where water borne diseases remain an ever-present danger.

With water stress a growing regional problem for southern Africa, the Southern African Development Community now operates a groundwater and drought management project, which aims to develop a regional strategy on water supplies.

Solving urban water access is particularly key in Zimbabwe as urban farming is touted as a potential major food provider for the country.

Madalitso Mwando is a journalist based in Harare, Zimbabwe.

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Things I love about Zimbabwe

Vince Musewe
04 July 2012

Vince Musewe says when things come right, you'll wish you were here

The 10 or more things I love about Zimbabwe: When Zimbabwe gets it right and
opens up, you are going to wish you were here

It's in the middle of winter in Harare, and the temperature is above 20
degrees Celsius outside. No need to wear heavy clothing or drink loads of
coffee just to keep warm. It only gets chilly early mornings or early
evenings and that is when the fire places crackle accompanied by laughter
and warm soup. That's one thing I love about Zimbabwe, its weather is
awesome throughout the year and thank goodness no politician can change

I went to a make shift church in the township the other day and you cannot
help but feel the genuine welcome, kindness and warmth that ordinary folk
have. They are humble, loving, kind and patient. I love the way they warmly
greet each other and always laugh at themselves even when the power is off
and there is no water. They always make a plan and life must go on. I am
amazed at how one man has been allowed to single handedly try to destroy my
mother's church, the Anglican Church, but I know that our God is faithful
and just. It hasn't worked anyway because the church is not the building.

I love the GMO-free food they eat, it is so wholesome. Most Zimbabweans grow
their own vegetables at home and now everyone eats free range chicken
because it's cheaper than beef. It's roaring business now with everyone
being in the chicken business. Homemade peanut butter is plenty and no one
buys mealie meal from the supermarket because everyone has patch of mealies
somewhere. It's a pity the "chefs" plunder the fertilizer when it comes, but
Zimbos have become creative and will always make a plan.

I love the street vendors, so kind and willing to make a bargain on
anything. Times are hard I guess but they always have a smile and change.
Most are very educated and very articulate but they must battle it in the
streets to make a living. So much for indigenization but they haven't lost
hope at all. God bless them!

I love the peace and quiet, no child abuse cases, no rapes and hardly any
violent crimes. The police don't even have to be armed but they are mean and
you meet them almost every 10kms in the roads, I don't like that. You don't
have to have high walls, alarms, armed response and any anxiety about crime
in Zimbabwe. No road rage or cash heists. It's peaceful and you can sit back
and relax. The holiday resorts are stunning and I just wish the politicians
would sort their issues out so more tourists would come. The sooner they do
that, the better for everyone.

Education is sacrosanct in Zimbabwe. You see, some kids travel long
distances each day just to go to school, no excuses. In addition, almost
every second person you meet is studying further on something or other.
Despite the current hardships, people are looking forward to that day they
will be free. Free from economic hardships and boring television. Free from
low wages, unemployment, inconsistent electricity and the ridiculous prices
of cell phone calls and imported basic goods. Monopolies suck.

I love the vast spaces in Harare suburbs. The yards are so huge and you can
feel the fresh air on your face in the mornings. Not too much pollution is
going on since industry is operating at low capacity. Did you know that the
whites never allowed us blacks to be seen in the suburbs after 6pm and my
father had to get a certificate to drink whiskey? That was mean hey and I
guess some among us will never forgive them for that. I appreciate where
they are coming from.

The farms are just so huge and some of them even have secret gold or diamond
mines that nobody else knew about. It's never fair to take something away
from others forcefully, but I wish whites in Zims had been willing to share
some of the best land with us from the beginning; we would not have had this
land issue haunting us even to this today and everyone would be happy. I am
sure they will come back anyway, some have already done so, but at least
this time they will respect our needs too.

I love the fact that Zimbabwe now uses the US dollar. Although it is rather
undervalued, a loaf bread cost one dollar so do most basic goods otherwise
you would end up with bubble gum for change. The beauty about the US dollar
is the fact Reserve Bank can no longer print worthless money on impulse and
cause hardships through hyperinflation .You can also now transfer money in
and out of the country with no hassle. The "externalization" of foreign
currency is no longer treated as treason. Music to my ears.

I love the reading culture of Zimbabweans in general. The newspapers get
sold out often, even the ones that haven't much to say and also those that
are negative about everything. I have stopped reading them. There is
however, such a shortage of decent book stores in Harare it's such a pity
but everyone here is always reading something. The legend that if you want
to hide something from a black you put it in a book does not work in Zims.
Thanks to ZANU(PF) policy of free education for all immediately after
independence, that's one thing they got right.

I love, for once; to hear deep Shona spoken and the modern Shona slang will
leave you in stitches. The now popular Shona rap music is so creative! Our
Shona language is so concise, deep with such meaning and humor unfortunately
most Zimbos, especially the younger generation, think it is so cool to speak
English with an American accent and wear hip hop clothes. Even the radio
announcers here think they are in America. Hmmm, I guess they will need some
political education about imperialism and its ills.

Finally I love the investment opportunities everywhere. All we need is a bit
of cash and everyone will be scrambling for a piece of the action. Those in
the Diaspora will come back soon I am sure and for once, we will get better
service, better prices and more competition in business. Companies here are
a bit complacent when it comes to offering good value for money and good
customer service. New companies will surely clean up if they are smart.

One last good thing is that almost every Zimbo owns an asset you know, the
cars they drive are paid for, most own fully paid for homes and they hate
debt and no longer trust the indigenous banks with their money. That's a sad
story. Almost everyone is building a property somewhere and owns a piece of
land somewhere. Land is the economy, the economy is land! Mugabe is right.
The beauty here is that Zimbabweans have no high personal debt like in
Mzansi and that is something good that has come out of the economic
hardship. If only we could all focus on the good that has come out of our
past and move on!

The irony of this all is that Mugabe is right on the issue of the need to
empower Zimbabweans and Tsvangirai is right to insist on the need for
democracy. An empowered and democratic Zimbabwe is all we want. Our land and
its people are beautiful so gentlemen let's put aside our "differences" and
let's make it happen.

Mark my sober words, when Zimbabwe gets this right and opens up, you are
going to wish you were here!

Vince Musewe is an independent economist currently in Harare. You may
contact him on

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