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Complicated Registration ‘Designed’ to Prevent Zimbabwean’s From Voting
At most voter registration centres in Zimbabwe there are long queues and the process to register a tedious one. Most civil society organisations believe that this is a deliberate attempt by President Robert Mugabe’s supporters to frustrate people and prevent them from registering. Credit: Michelle Chifamba/IPS

At most voter registration centres in Zimbabwe there are long queues and the process to register a tedious one. Most civil society organisations believe that this is a deliberate attempt by President Robert Mugabe’s supporters to frustrate people and prevent them from registering. Credit: Michelle Chifamba/IPS

HARARE, Jul 6 2013 (IPS) - Like many other aspiring voters, Emilia Magirazi, 27, braved a chilly winter’s morning as she waited patiently to register as a voter in the slow-moving queue at Kuwadzana 8 Primary School in Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

Zimbabwe’s second round of voter registration commenced on Jun. 19 and is expected to end on Tuesday Jul. 9, with the presidential elections set for Jul. 31. A first round took place over 20 days in April and May.

But people like Magirazi are finding it hard to put their names down on Zimbabwe’s electoral role. This is because she is a foreign national: Magirazi was born in Zambia, of Zimbabwean parents.

“I arrived here before the break of dawn, and by lunch time I eventually got service from the officials. But they told me that I am an alien and not eligible to register. I was referred to the army barracks or the police for clearance of any criminal offences,” Magirazi told IPS.

While the 12th amendment of Zimbabawe’s Citizenship Act 2011 outlaws dual citizenship, the country’s new constitution, which was enacted in May after the first round of voter registration, recognises those born abroad of Zimbabwean parents to be citizens. It also recognises all people born in this southern African nation, regardless of their parents’ citizenship, as Zimbabweans.

But like Magirazi, scores of other foreign nationals have been denied the right to register as voters, despite the stipulations in the new constitution.

According to the Harare office of the International Organization for Migration, between 500,000 nd four million Zimbabweans are living abroad. Most fled Zimbabwe for economic reasons as between 2003 and 2009 the country had one of the worst rates of hyperinflation in the world.

With the word “alien” inscribed on her national identity document (ID), Magirazi was referred to the Registrar General’s office to apply for a new one. The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has stipulated that persons previously categorised as foreign nationals should apply for citizenship and national ID cards that reflect this changed status in order to vote.

But long queues and cumbersome demands have become the order of the day at the Registrar General’s office. Marshal Bachi, 35, of Dzivarasekwa in Harare, said he had to sleep at the Registrar General’s offices when he went to obtain a new ID as his previous one stated that he was a foreign national.

“They refused to process my national ID because my birth certificate was soiled and they said that I should get a new one … Due to this cumbersome process, I might not be able to get a new ID to register as a voter before the process ends,” Bachi told IPS.

The Election Resource Centre (ERC), a local NGO, believes that the Registrar General’s office is deliberately trying to frustrate first-time voters in order to prevent them from voting.

“It seems to be happening to a lot of prospective voters. Foreign nationals will not be able to vote in the next election. For the first time they were able to enjoy being citizens under the new constitution, but they will not be able to exercise their right under prevailing conditions.

“The stipulations by the electoral commission are contradictory to what is happening on the ground. A number of people are being denied the right to claim their citizenship at the Registrar General’s office despite the ZEC’s stipulations that those formerly-categorised as ‘aliens’ can apply for new IDs,” ERC director, Tawanda Chimhinhi, told IPS.

Harare-based social commentator Tawanda Mukurunge agreed.

“Despite the fact that the elections are only three weeks away, there has been no serious attempt by the ZEC to educate Zimbabweans on the impending vote and their right to vote. The information blackout by the ZEC is a deliberate ploy meant to keep unsuspecting citizens in the dark. The possibility of a free and fair election will remain a pipe dream unless these issues are addressed,” he told IPS.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s chief of staff, Ian Makone, told IPS that many more people were being turned away from registering to vote.

“More than 50 people failed to register on the grounds that they were aliens and were sent back home, while the elderly who did not have IDs were told to get clearance from KG ‘6’ an army headquarter where national documents such as passports are processed. Cabinet must therefore revisit this issue because this is taking place all over the country,” he said.

However, on Thursday Jul. 4, the Zimbabwe Constitutional Court overturned appeals to delay the elections. Many here say that the haste with which President Robert Mugabe set the election date has not allowed for sufficient time to reform the country’s security forces. In previous elections, state security have been accused of instigating violence against those opposed to Mugabe.

Civil society groups have said that holding the elections on Jul. 31 would likely incite fear and possibly result in an unfair election.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a coalition of NGOs monitoring the elections, said that the nature of the voter-registration process, the atmosphere associated with it, and the disruption and intimidation of civil society were an attempt by Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front to instigate violence at the polls in order to reclaim its political legitimacy. Mugabe has been in power for 33 years in a reign marred by corruption, violence and political oppression.

The Youth Agenda Trust, a youth networking organisation, added that the process had been deliberately designed to deny bona fide citizens their right to vote.

“The cumbersome processing of ‘aliens’ is a direct violation of the rights of the people of Zimbabwe and a breach of the constitutional right to vote as stipulated in the new constitution. The time that has also been allocated to register is not enough as most people have either failed to cope with the long and winding queues and or have not had time to visit the centres in the short period due to other competing interests,” director of Youth Agenda Trust, Fortune Nyamande, told IPS.


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Registration 'delaying tactics' rile voters

XOLISANI NCUBE  •  5 JULY 2013 10:30PM

HARARE – Hundreds of first-time voters in most urban centres have accused
the Registrar General of employing “delaying tactics” in the ongoing
intensive voter registration exercise.

The disgruntled aspiring voters, most of whom are youths, told the Daily
News that officials from the Registrar-General’s office were denying
thousands of prospective voters their right to register.

Most centres have capped the number of people who can register to 120 per

In Waterfalls in Harare, only 200 people were being attended to by the
officials with a bulk of those wishing to vote being sent back home.

The Daily News has been inundated with calls from disgruntled voters.

“We are being turned away by these officials who are saying they can only
attend to not more than 200 people per day,” said one caller from

“It means that by the end of their three days here, only 600 people would
have been registered as voters. What about others especially the youths?”

Aspiring Waterfalls councillor Cephas Zibute said the situation in his ward
was pathetic as hundreds of aspiring voters were going to miss out due to
the delaying tactics.

“It is very bad what is happening here. People are being denied their right
to vote,” Zibute said.

The delay in the voter registration process also forced MDC Women’s Assembly
chairperson, Theresa Makone together with party activists to petition the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission demanding that normalcy prevails.

The women groups who joined Makone said Registrar General ?Tobaiwa Mudede
should put in place, mechanisms which will allow more women to register to
vote in the next elections.

Thousands of women who have been disenfranchised by the slow process in
registering to vote in the coming elections marched in the capital this week
before presenting their petition to the Zec chairperson, Justice Rita

In their petition, the women groups said they wanted to register and
demanded that the voter registration exercise must be conducted in a
gender-responsive manner.

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Zimbabwe's President Mugabe predicts '90% poll victory'

5 July 2013

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has launched his party's campaign for the
31 July general elections, predicting a 90% victory for Zanu-PF.

But the 89-year-old leader warned it was a "do-or-die struggle" and to
prepare for a "battle for survival".

The election will mark the end of a coalition government, which has
stabilised the country's economy.

He is standing for president against his long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai,
who has been serving as prime minister.

The 61-year-old leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) pulled
out of the second round of the 2008 presidential election, accusing the
security forces and pro-Mugabe militias of attacking his supporters around
the country.

He had won the most votes in the first round but, according to official
results, not enough to win outright.

After Mr Mugabe went ahead with the run-off, winning with 85% of votes cast,
regional mediators intervened to organise the power-sharing agreement.

'No violence'
On Thursday, the Constitutional Court rejected an appeal by both parties to
delay elections set for 31 July for a couple of weeks.

Critics says key security, media and electoral reforms demanded by regional
mediators, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), have yet to be

The MDC also warned last month that the voters' roll was in a "shambles" and
the vote could be rigged.

"Let it be known that we are in Sadc voluntarily; if Sadc decides to do
stupid things we can move out and withdraw from Sadc," Mr Mugabe told a
crowd of between 5,000 and 7,000 party supporters at the Zimbabwe Grounds in
Highfields, a suburb of the capital, Harare.

The BBC's Brian Hungwe in Harare says the choice of the Zimbabwe Grounds to
launch the campaign was significant.

It was there that Mr Mugabe gave his first address in 1980 to a crowd of
some 200,000 people after returning to Zimbabwe from Mozambique, where he
had led the armed struggle against white-minority rule.

In an address that lasted well over an hour, Mr Mugabe urged the Zanu-PF
faithful in 2013 to avoid the violence of five years ago.

"Let's kick our opponents with votes. But please no violence. Let's have an
election without violence, without intimidation," he said.

Analysts say that the MDC has usually garnered most of its support in urban
areas, but Zanu-PF has been making a concerted effort to appeal to younger

Jonathan Moyo, a member of Zanu-PF's politburo, said he expected a "huge and
emphatic victory this time round".

The party had "a very clear policy... on indigenisation and economic
empowerment of the people of Zimbabwe", he told the BBC's Focus on Africa
radio programme.

"There's no other party with any other programme that competes significantly
or seriously with Zanu-PF's policies for the next five years," he said.

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Zanu PF supporters fight for bread


HARARE – Zanu PF’S election manifesto launch at the Zimbabwe Grounds on
Friday turned into a farce as fist fights broke out over bread and T-shirts
emblazoned with President Robert Mugabe’s picture.

Hundreds of supporters did not concentrate on Mugabe’s speech and instead
spent time fighting over free bread which had been freely made available at
the venue.

Riot police had to move in to control the hungry crowds fighting ferociously
for bread.

Others were viciously fighting for Mugabe’s T-shirts with security personnel
battling to control them.

Under the theme, Indigenise, Empower, Develop, Employ —Mugabe is targeting
the evasive urban and youth vote.

“I cry to you, Highfield, Highfield where are you?” Mugabe pleaded to the
crowd around mid-morning.

“We have come here to regain what we lost along the way when we made a huge
political error in 2008.

“We decided that we should bring our entire team to this sacred place and
lead it in the fight to conquer,” Mugabe said.

In a sentimental moment, Mugabe wistfully recounted how he and the late vice
president Joshua Nkomo were received at Zimbabwe Grounds when they arrived
from Mozambique on the eve of independence in 1980.

“It is here in Highfield, the cradle of mass nationalism that Joshua Nkomo
and myself were received by multitudes so we must be ready to reorganise
ourselves with the full knowledge that it’s a do or die election and we don’t
want to die, it’s a battle for survival, we need political life,” said

Despite having lined up the country’s top charting artistes — Suluman
Chimbetu, Jah Prayzah and Mathias Mhere — the crowd was no match to the tens
of thousands who turned up to greet Mugabe when he returned from the
gruelling war of independence.

The sparse crowd was an exact antithesis of the bumper crowd that graced the
stadium in 1980 when Mugabe returned from the war.

This was despite the fact that praise singers and Zanu PF sponsors such as
the Urban Transporters Association of Zimbabwe had reportedly provided 150
kombis to ferry people to the venue.

When Mugabe arrived around midday yesterday, there was a small crowd.

But the crowd swelled towards the end of the day as Zanu PF officials,
embarrassed by the low turnout, force-marched people into the grounds.

Zanu PF national commissar Webster Shamu admitted at the start of the
programme that committees set up to fundraise for the campaign had dismally
failed to raise the cash and had to rely on the goodwill of the First Family
which provided the party campaigning regalia.

There are conflicting reports as to the exact figure that greeted Mugabe and
other liberation war luminaries at the Zimbabwe grounds on January 27 with
the party’s information department putting the figure at around ?1,6

However, the British Broadcasting Corporation put the total figure of
attendance at 200 000 while the Rhodesian police claimed 150 000 people had
graced the occasion.

Just over 10 000 people attended Friday’s puffed-up manifesto launch.

Bussed party supporters from the country’s 10 provinces made the majority of
the crowd and were looking disinterested when Mugabe gave his long and
winding speech at times mixing up dates.

Shamu, Zanu PF national commissar, had to hastily alter the programme
line-up, opting first to introduce aspiring candidates — perhaps to allow
the crowd in the grounds to swell up.

Initially, Shamu, who was his usual bootlicking self — gushing praises at
Mugabe, had indicated that the octogenarian leader, who will turn 90 next
year, would speak before the introduction of  the more than 250 candidates
lining up to represent the party in the forthcoming crunch election.

But the programme was altered as Zanu PF officials bussed more people.

With the country set to hold polls on July 31, Mugabe’s election campaign,
in what promises to be a gruelling battle for power, started on a wrong foot
notwithstanding the fact that prospective candidates had ?each been tasked
to bus in followers.

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Special vote poses no threat to the disciplined services and elections officers

Saturday, 06 July 2013

As members of the disciplined services, officials and their spouses,
election officers or monitors and those in the service of Government of
Zimbabwe who are working outside their constituencies due to work
commitment, prepare for the special vote on 14 and 15 July 2013, they must
do so with the full knowledge that the law is on their side. The time for a
new Zimbabwe is now, no wonder they have been allowed to vote at a polling
station outside barracks and police stations.

The Zimbabwean law provides for special voting or early voting where voters
[such as election officials, government workers or security personnel] who
are unable to attend their designated polling stations on the day of
elections to cast their ballots on a designated day before the election day.

The MDC urges members of the security forces and elections officials to
appreciate that while voting is every citizen’s right, section 81 of the
electoral act further provide sufficient protection against potential
cohesion and flagrant abuse of their rights.

In particular, section 81 of the electoral law provides that “Every officer,
candidate and election or polling agent in attendance at a polling station
shall maintain, and aid in maintaining, the secrecy of voting at that
station and shall not communicate to any person any information likely to
defeat the secrecy of the voting, except for some purpose authorised by

Furthermore, section 81 of this act, specify that “any person who attempts
to induce any other person to obtain a postal ballot paper with the
intention of influencing him or her by bribery or intimidation to record his
vote in favour of a particular candidate shall be guilty of an offence”
liable to paying a fine or imprisonment.

The Electoral act also protects citizens and members of the disciplined
forces against interference or any “attempt to interfere with a voter when
making his vote or otherwise attempt to obtain in the polling station
information as to the candidate for whom the voter is about to vote for or
has voted for”.

We therefore urge members of the Security sector to remain calm and assured
that their rights cannot be violated even though they must raise an alert
should they suspect that their rights are being undermined. As such, no
amount of Zanu PF machinations to manipulate the vote through this noble
facility will change the people’s ultimate voice and choice.
The time is now!

Yes, together we can complete the change!!!

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South Africans hit back at Mugabe insults

STAFF WRITER  •  6 JULY 2013 7:31AM

HARARE – South Africans reacted sharply to comments made by President Robert
Mugabe during the launch of Zanu PF’s election manifesto at Zimbabwe Grounds

The country’s octogenarian leader not only inexplicably threatened to pull
Zimbabwe out of Sadc at the rally, he also tore into South African President
Jacob Zuma’s trusted international relations advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, who is
also one of the facilitators to Harare’s political crisis — describing her
as “an ordinary, stupid and idiotic street woman” for allegedly meddling in
Zimbabwe’s affairs.

Zulu’s crime appears to be her recent suggestion that Zimbabwe should have
postponed its forthcoming elections to pave the way for the implementation
of agreed, but outstanding media and security reforms.

Zulu refused to comment when contacted by the Daily News.

“I have no comment. I don’t think commenting on that will solve the
situation,” said Zulu.

However, an SA government official who requested anonymity said last night
that Pretoria was “appalled” to hear that Mugabe had “stooped this low to
attack both Sadc and one of our officials at his rally today (yesterday)”.

“If he did indeed, let this old man be warned that we are all capable of
acting very badly. After all, it was Sadc and South Africa who made sure
that he is ble to enjoy the status of being acknowledged around the world as
the president of Zimbabwe.

“So, like the laughing stock and mampara (fool) that he is making of
himself, he is effectively biting the hand that feeds him.

“He clearly has become oblivious to the fact that whether he wins or loses,
Sadc and South Africa will still be here and that he will probably still
need our assistance.

“We expected this kind of unnecessary and destructive vitriol from the likes
of (Jonathan) Moyo, not from the State president of Zimbabwe, whom all of us
have gone to great lengths to prop up.

“But if that’s his wish, then good luck to him,” the angry official said.

An analyst last night described Mugabe’s ?utterances as “ill-advised and
unpresidential”, whatever his personal views of Zulu were.

“It is very likely that as a direct result of this poor behaviour and choice
of words by president Mugabe that relations between South Africa and
Zimbabwe     will plummet over a fairly frivolous issue.

“If this analysis is correct, this will have a deleterious effect not just
on Mugabe, Zanu PF and the government, but also on all Zimbabweans given
South Africa’s political and economic standing within Sadc and the
international community.

“What makes Mugabe’s appalling statement even more shocking is that
president Zuma very clearly and publicly boxed in Mugabe’s and Zimbabwe’s
corner when he recently met President Obama in Pretoria, by calling for the
lifting of sanctions and the normalisation of relations with Harare.

“So, why shoot oneself in the foot?” Johannesburg-based Shepherd Mntungwa

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Ncube, Dabengwa forge pact


BULAWAYO – The MDC formation led by Welshman Ncube and Dumiso Dabengwa’s
revived Zapu Friday forged a double-headed alliance to enhance chances of
regional representation as the country hurtles towards watershed elections
on July 31.

The partnership emerged  soon after MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai forged an
alliance with Mavambo /Dawn/ Kusile leader Simba Makoni and Zanu Ndonga
leader Reketai Sengwayo in a bid to remove President Robert Mugabe from

Dabengwa hailed the alliance as a historic event for the region and

“We met to discuss the efforts we have been making to come together in order
to forge some sort of alliance particularly towards the elections,” Dabengwa

The talks between Zapu and MDC started last December although they could not
be finalised owing to Ncube’s busy schedule.

As part of the new arrangement, Ncube and Dabengwa will remain in charge of
the alliance and various committees that are selected in terms of the
constitution of the two parties.

“We are still separate parties but we are working towards coming together in
full at some point in the future,” Ncube said.

Ncube pledged to work together with Dabengwa regardless of the election

“In those areas we have both fielded candidates, we have agreed that we will
compete against each other peacefully as a model of what Zimbabwe should be
and have peaceful co-existence,” Ncube said.

He said the parties had pledged to continue engaging each other at all
contested levels with the view of minimising the number of MDC and Zapu
candidates who are going to face each other in the election.

In a show of solidarity, Zapu Bulawayo East parliamentary candidate Rodger
Muhlwa agreed to step down in support of MDC’s David Coltart.

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Mugabe working with Gono on Zimdollar

STAFF WRITER  •  6 JULY 2013 7:15AM

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe Friday revealed that he has been working
confidentially with Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to introduce a
gold-backed Zimbabwe dollar currency once the economy has stabilised.Mugabe
told thousands of his Zanu PF supporters during the party’s election
manifesto launch in Harare yesterday that it was possible to restore the
local currency which was dropped for the multicurrency regime in 2009.

“We are mining a lot of gold in this country. That gold should support our
currency. We will be  able to put our Zim Dollar equivalent to the American
dollar or even stronger depending on the quantity of our gold so that you
are able to have a good balance of payment,” said Mugabe.

The Zanu PF presidential candidate, who is seeking to extend his 33-year-old
rule by another term, said reintroducing the local currency will enable the
general populace to access money easily.

“When you have enough gold, you can sell that gold and make your payments
for imports because currently an ounce of gold is worth over a $1 000.

“So we are going to be discussing that issue soon but it will depend on our

“We have been talking with Gono (Gideon) the Reserve Bank governor over the
matter,” he said adding that the rural folk is finding it hard to get hold
of the United States dollar.

“We will do it through the central bank although it will be a government
policy. When we do that, we will be able to print our own money because this
American dollar we can’t print and more so, we have sanctions,” Mugabe said.

Mugabe’s announcement came as a surprise to many especially within the Zanu
PF system amid rumours spreading that relations between Mugabe and Gono were
strained. Gono kept the Zanu PF government afloat after taking over the
governorship of the central bank in December 2003.

He faced the daunting task of stabilising the economy and embarked on
quasi-fiscal activities in an effort to sustain the economy, but this led to
unprecedented hyperinflation.

Gono was criticised for saving Mugabe from going down due to  economic
pressures while also assisting key institutions of the State functional
through quasi-fiscal activities.

He became a top enemy of the MDC whose secretary-general Tendai Biti at one
stage called for his public execution.

Interestingly, Biti recently praised Gono describing him as “ very
experienced and sober”.

But hardliners in Zanu PF have been clamouring for Gono’s head accusing him
of working too closely with MDC and Biti leading to reports that all was not
well between Mugabe and the central bank boss.

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Funding for Hasty Zimbabwe Elections Still Elusive

Blessing  Zulu

WASHINGTON — Finance Minister Tendai Biti says Zimbabwe is still struggling
to raise money for this year’s general election despite President Robert
Mugabe’s hasty move to have the polls on July 31.

Biti says Harare needs US$132 million for the elections. “We are working on
a budget of $130 million. We do not have this money at all. We have been
doing a number of things and we are trying to engage the international
community to raise this money,” said Biti.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) chairperson Rita Makarau says the
commission needs US$164 million to run a credible poll.

Government initially wrote to the United Nations Development Programme
seeking US$225 million election assistance.

The initiative, however, fell through after Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, backed by some hardliners in his party, blocked a UNDP electoral
assessment mission from coming to Zimbabwe to meet stakeholders, and
checking the political environment before funding could be released.

But President Mugabe, having failed to secure funding from the Southern
African Development Community and diamond revenue, is said to be
contemplating appealing again to the United Nations.

Mr. Chinamasa could not be reached for comment as his mobile went
unanswered. But Biti told VOA that the government is cash-strapped and time
is running out.

Zimbabwe's Constitutional Court unanimously rejected a series of  appeals on
Thursday to delay a July 31 general election in order to allow more time for
more reforms as demanded by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the
regional Southern African Development Community.

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Zimbabwe’s Bally Vaughan Animal Sanctuary Controversy Clarified

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Bally Vaughan Game Park, Zimbabwe

6 July 2013

The owners of the Bally Vaughan Game Park and Bally Vaughan Bird and Animal Sanctuary (BVS) outside Harare, which provide a safe haven for a broad spectrum of wildlife and are home to some of the largest lions in the country, have issued a statement confirming that their Bally Vaughan Sanctuary is not moving premises.

               In the circular letter released on July 3, Kathie McIntosh, who co-founded the wildlife operations on Bally Vaughan Game Park in the 1980s with her late husband, Robin, and formed the bird and animal sanctuary in the early 1990s, said that the project was continuing under the good care of the owners and their families.

               Members of the family assisting Kathie are her daughter, Debbie Putterill, a professional wildlife guide, and her husband, Gordon Putterill, an ex-National Parks game warden with 20 years of National Parks service. He is also a professional wildlife guide.  Both have dedicated their lives to animal welfare and conservation.

               The current controversy relates to the termination of the BVS lease which was granted to Sarah Carter, a former employee, in 2005. Following a misleading newsletter released by Sarah, it has attracted widespread publicity internationally and resulted in significant confusion.

               “In the past, we have always had managers resident in the BVS to look after the wildlife as well as the restaurants and to run its operations,” said Gordon.

               “In 2005 the manageress of Bally Vaughan Sanctuary left, creating a vacuum. Sarah Carter, who joined the BVS initially as a volunteer and helped with raising some of our needy orphaned and new born wild animals, seemed like the most logical person to assist since she had a proven association with us and our wild animals,” Gordon explained.

               Sarah suggested that she run the BVS – with the 12 original, experienced staff - on a lease basis, and assured the family that she could attract significant sponsorship to help and aid the animal sanctuary. 

               This was during the period of hyperinflation prior to the adoption of the US dollar and it seemed like a better option for everyone.

               At the time, Gordon and Debbie were preoccupied with dealing with the larger Game Park and Elephant Sanctuary, as well as numerous issues relating to land invasions and poaching in the game farm.

               It was therefore agreed that Sarah would lease the BVS, which is a 20-acre section of the 1,500 acre Bally Vaughan Game Park.

Terms of lease

               According to the terms of the lease, Sarah agreed to care for the sanctuary’s orphaned or injured birds and animals, and to maintain the good name and public relations associated with the Bally Vaughan sanctuary.

               Although the animals continued to be well cared for, and Sarah raised the profile of the BVS through newsletters and other activities, the sanctuary and its facilities became very run down and the buildings and infrastructure deteriorated due to a lack of maintenance.

               In view of this and more than 40 breaches of the agreement, the owners requested the rectification of these breaches within the time frame prescribed by the lease.  When these were not attended to, the lease was duly terminated in May 2013.

               Claims by Sarah that the lease was not renewed because she was unable to afford the rental increase have been refuted by the family.

               “The initial monthly rental for the property was set at a modest rate, which escalated gradually over the eight-year period to US$1,500 – the current rate for a suburban apartment in Harare,” said Gordon.

               The rental included a fully equipped, furnished restaurant, a fully equipped fast-food outlet, two houses, a fully functioning animal and bird sanctuary and a pick-up vehicle.

               “We set the rental this low to ensure that our animals and birds were well looked after, as they were our main priority,” Gordon explained.

               Prior to May 2013 when the lease was due to end, and without the knowledge of the owners of the BVS, Sarah claimed in an advertisement that Bally Vaughan was moving, together with its animals, to a new location.


               Numerous efforts made by the owners – and subsequently their lawyers – to discuss matters relating to the BVS and the lease, and to solve the areas of dispute were turned down.  After being warned not to continue to use or try to take Bally Vaughan's name, Sarah began to promote Twala Trust / Bally Vaughan as the new sanctuary. 


Court order


               Following public statements this month by Sarah of her intention to move Bally Vaughan’s animals to Twala, and claim being laid to most of the animals and birds, it became necessary to apply to the courts for a restraining order on wildlife movements from the BVS pending a resolution.

               Since rescued or donated animals were given to the BVS as a reputable, functioning institution for wildlife, the owners say that Sarah cannot lay claim to them.  Large, dangerous carnivores, for example, cannot be received by a person in his/her private capacity.

               The immediate effect of the controversy - and public perception that the sanctuary was relocating - has been a drastic drop in visitors who traditionally help to support the 150 large wild animals in the Bally Vaughan Game Park.  These include elephant, lions, buffalo, giraffe and various species of plains game.

               In 2012, a total of 10,724 school children went through Bally Vaughan Game Park, demonstrating the family’s long-standing commitment to educating children so that the country’s future leaders will appreciate, care for and conserve all wildlife.

               On the morning of July 1 (2013), the owners were shocked to discover that a large capture operation was in progress at the BVS involving a 30-ton rig, light trucks and numerous cages.

               In attendance were Zimbabwe National SPCA officials and veterinarians from Animal and Wildlife Area Research and Rehabilitation (AWARE). Sarah is married to Dr Vinay Ramlaul, a veterinarian and owner of the 24HR Vet, who was also present.

               The owners responded by summoning assistance from Zimbabwe National Parks and the police who were requested to uphold the court restraining order and prevent the unlawful removal of animals from the BVS.

               Following a meeting with all parties, it was agreed that no movement of animals should take place until a resolution had been achieved through the courts.      

               The owners confirmed that no animals had been sedated or left in the sun, as had been claimed by Sarah, and that all had been returned to their respective cages by her at the conclusion of the meeting.

               Once a resolution to the dispute has been achieved, the owners confirm that the Bally Vaughan Sanctuary will continue to operate under their care and stress that the welfare of their animals and birds remains paramount.     


Submitted by / For further information:

Gordon Putterill

Bally Vaughan Game Park


Cell:  +263 772 242 792



One of Bally Vaughan’s foot and mouth disease-free buffalo greets Debbie Putterill on a game drive

Debbie Putterill admires two-year-old Judah the lion at Bally Vaughan

Gordon Putterill watches Patty, an elephant bull, in Bally Vaughan Game Park’s elephant sanctuary

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More voters than real people

July 6, 2013, 10:26 am

Dear Family and Friends,

It’s that time of year when the grey Louries sit up in the trees and scold,
repeatedly, telling you to go away. There’s no hiding from them and every
time you step outside the message from above is the same: Go Away!  It’s a
sentiment that was echoed in our constitutional court this week when
Zimbabwe as good as showed two fingers to SADC  and effectively told them to
‘go away’ as  it dismissed applications for a delay in the date of
elections. A couple of days later when launching Zanu PF’s election
manifesto in a five hour, live, uninterrupted ZBC TV broadcast, Mr Mugabe
went further. Referring to SADC’s recommendations for elections in Zimbabwe,
Mr Mugabe said : “If SADC decides to do stupid things we can move out and
withdraw from SADC.”

And so the date is set whether we like it or not; whether the processes and
reforms have been followed or not. On the 31st July 2013 we will go to the
polls in what are ironically called ‘harmonized’ elections although there’s
never anything even remotely harmonious about elections in Zimbabwe.  There’s
been nothing harmonious about two voter registration processes which have
been unable to get to the end of the queues and left countless people angry,
frustrated and disappointed.

There’s also  nothing at all harmonious about the voters roll which the
Registrar General said had  6,082,302 names on it as of the 30th June 2013.
Allegations of voters roll irregularities are growing by the minute. The
Daily News’ had front page headlines this week saying:  “Election rigging
underway… hired Israeli Firm tampering with voters roll.”

Even more chilling  was the report from Harare's Research and Advocacy Unit
which has looked at discrepancies between the voters roll and last year’s
population census. The RAU found that 63 constituencies out of 210 had more
registered voters than the number of inhabitants counted in the 2012 census.
RAU also found 2 million young adults not registered as voters, a figure
which throws into serious question the number of voters the Registrar
General says were on the roll last week.  It looks like once again we’re a
country with far more voters than real people

That all of this happened in the same week as millions of Zimbabweans woke
up to find that their satellite television channels from South Africa and
Botswana had been scrambled seems impossibly coincidental. ‘ Scrambled’ was
the angry buzzword everywhere but it soon left even more people following
the infamous Baba Jukwa Facebook page. Baba Jukwa’s stunning revelations
about  corruption and dirty deals in government circles have become the
latest obsession in Zimbabwe and have attracted  50 thousand new followers
in the last fortnight alone, resulting in  217,000 followers as I write, and
rising every day.

Comfort at the end of a bad week came from MDC Finance Minister Tendai Biti
who  wrote on his Facebook page:  “The plan is to rush into an election that
will be stolen and then invite us into the elite madness of another GNU.
What crass madness, The people will not be betrayed. This economy is
suffering. Zimbabweans are suffering. The crises cannot be prolonged. The
people want to deliver their knock out blow. Zimbabweans want to be free.
The next few days will decide our fate ,watch them closely. Every second is
history .”

We are watching, every second. God save Zimbabwe. Until next time, thanks
for reading, love cathy.

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