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Mujuru flexes muscles

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:39


AS the Zanu PF succession dynamics continue to have twists and turns,
Vice-President Joice Mujuru is now flexing her muscles as she consolidates
power after the recent disbanding of party District Coordinating Committees

Information reaching The Standard shows Mujuru has become increasingly
assertive in the party after President Mugabe appeared to have anointed her
in the succession battle a week ago.

Mugabe is said to have told party national commissar, Webster Shamu during
the recent Politburo meeting that the mess created during DCCs elections be
resolved in line with a recommendation by Mujuru, which eventually led to
the disbanding of the structures a few days later.

Mujuru had lost ground during the DCC elections as many of her loyalists had
been thumped by those belonging to Defence minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Sources said Mujuru emerged from the meeting emboldened and had begun
touring the country to assert her authority and show that she was in

When Mugabe was away, she was in Matabeleland North, where she officiated at
a field day at Mines and Mining Development minister, Obert Mpofu’s Umguza
constituency. On Friday she was officiating at another field day in Shamu’s
Chegutu East constituency.

Mujuru was breathing fire as she spoke with an authoritative voice while
condemning the imposition of candidates by powerful people in the party. She
vowed that only grassroots people had the right to choose leaders of their

In another move viewed by her rivals as an endorsement for her leadership,
sources said Mugabe left Mujuru to chair cabinet on Monday when he went to
Singapore for a medical checkup.

“The President (Mugabe) appears to have given Mujuru a vote of confidence by
leaving her to chair cabinet,” said the source.

“Everyone was surprised because we expected the Prime Minister (Morgan
Tsvangirai) to chair it by virtue of being the deputy chairman of cabinet.
It is as if the President was saying to Mujuru, prove yourself and you will
be my successor when the time comes.”

Another source said Mujuru was now exuding confidence following latest
developments in the party.

Last week, she used Mugabe’s absence to summon the party’s provincial
chairpersons to Harare, where they were addressed by Shamu and other senior

He said some of the provincial chairpersons loyal to the faction led by
Mnangagwa were called to private meetings, where they were allegedly urged
to support Mujuru.

One of them, John Mafa, was said to have been invited to Harare on Tuesday,
where he was told to “play it safe” by aligning himself with powerful
politicians in the province, among them, Local government, Rural and Urban
Development minister, Ignatius Chombo and Shamu.

The source said it was interesting that Chombo and Shamu had fielded
different candidates to contest Mafa for the chairman’s positions earlier
this year and a possible alliance of the three would make them “strange bed

“It is the olive branch extended to Mafa by Mujuru that has caused some
anxious moments for Zanu PF members in the province,” the senior Zanu PF
official said.

“Mujuru is being accommodative and her plan is to lure the provincial
chairperson, who backs Mnangagwa. If he agrees, he will then influence the
rest of the provincial members to back her.”

Another source said a few provincial chairpersons loyal to Mnangagwa,
particularly Mike Madiro of Manicaland, faced no confidence votes before
provincial elections are held in September.

“The Mujuru faction is now manouvering to silence critics, as it now appears
to be calling the shots after the dissolution of the DCCs,” said the source.
Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, refused to comment, saying people were
interpreting events happening in the party in their own way.

Mujuru could also not be reached for comment yesterday.

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Tsvangirai rules out incresing CDF

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:36

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday said increasing Constituency
Development Fund (CDF) pay-outs could only be done once MPs across the
political divide proved that they would put the money to good use.

Addressing hundreds of villagers at Chivamba business centre in Zaka West,
Tsvangirai queried why the money should be increased when some MPs had
abused it.

“The US$50 000 was a test to see if it can be fully utilised, but some MPs
married several wives with that money,” he said.

“If they fail to account for US$50 000, what more if the money is increased
to US$500 000. They will marry a harem of wives.”

Tsvangirai said although the US$50 000 was not much, it could go a long way
in starting a number of developmental projects.

However, he said although some MPs had abused it, the CDF was the only way
to balance the distribution of resources.

“We believe CDF results in the equal distribution of the national cake so
that the previously marginalised areas can benefit,” said the PM.

A number of MPs, including cabinet ministers have been implicated in the
looting of the CDF.

Attorney-General, Johannes Tomana, has however ordered the Zimbabwe
Anti-Corruption Commission and the Ministry of Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs to stop the arrest of those implicated until all the
constituencies have been audited.

Tsvangirai also castigated partisan food handouts from Zanu PF, saying it
caused conflicts in rural areas.

He warned against political violence but assured villagers that his party
was working flat out to make sure that the next election would be peaceful
The PM also toured schools that benefited from the CDF in the Zaka

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Biti fires salvo at Nolbert Kunonga

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:33

BY Our Staff
FINANCE minister Tendai Biti (pictured right) has weighed in on the Anglican
saga, describing excommunicated Harare Bishop Nolbert Kunonga as the
“devil’s angel”.

Speaking to journalists at Kamfinsa Shopping Centre after informally meeting
residents from his Harare East constituency, Biti said he was particularly
hurt by the Anglican saga because he grew up in the church and it had always
been peaceful.

He said Kunonga has hounded congregants out of churches they used in the
past as the feud between him and the Church of the Province of Central
Africa (CPCA) continued.

“He is also lying that he is a bishop. He is nothing but the devil’s
incarnate,” said Biti.

“Kunonga has said if we build churches in Anglican’s name, he will take them
over. He is lying. He is not Anglican and he does not own the name

Biti said the Anglican church was formed in 1534 by King Henry VIII,
centuries before Kunonga’s great great grandfather was even born.
Biti said CPCA members, together with other people from his constituency
would soon benefit from a community hall he intends to build in the Athlone
area as part of projects under the Constituency Development Fund.

He said the City of Harare had already allocated two hectares of land for
the hall which would be built in partnership with donors and the corporate
“We intend to have the hall, a tennis court and a swimming pool among other
structures on the piece of land and everyone will be free to use it,” said
Biti who has so far used US$31 000 from the CDF funds he was allocated for
community projects.

“Those without churches, including Anglicans, will be free to use the hall
to hold their services.”

Kunonga, who has since formed his own Anglican province of Zimbabwe and
declared himself Archbishop, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

He however told The Standard two months ago that he would no longer
entertain questions about the Anglican church.

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No let-up to Kasukuwere, Gono fallout

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:30

THE spat between Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment minister,
Saviour Kasukuwere and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono,
over empowerment in the banking sector shows that government is
dysfunctional, analysts said last week.

In a notice gazetted over a week ago, Kasukuwere’s ministry gave foreign
banks one year to hand over 51% to locals as the empowerment crusade reached
the banking sector.

But Gono dismissed the notice as of no force without amendments to existing
legislations that give him power to superintend the banking sector, namely
the RBZ Act and the Banking Act.

Kasukuwere hit back on Thursday saying he was talking to shareholders of the
concerned banks and not the regulator.

“We are engaged with the shareholders, not regulators. The two are very
different. A regulator is not a shareholder. The law is for shareholders to
comply and then we can discuss with others,” Kasukuwere wrote on his
Facebook profile.

The notice comes at a time local banks have been knocking on the doors of
foreign institutions to open the windows to international capital due to the
liquidity constraints obtaining in the country.

Analysts told The Standard last week that Kasukuwere’s notice was of no
force as it is not law.

“For it to be law, it must be an Act of Parliament or Statutory Instrument,”
a lawyer said.

“To enforce it, he relies on the regulator, the entity that issues licences
which is the Registrar of Bank, an office that resides in RBZ.”

The lawyer, who could not be named for professional reasons, said without
consultation with the Minister of Finance, that notice would remain invalid.

There were indications last week that some banks that were on the verge of
securing lines of credit were told to wait a bit longer as those with
capital wanted to make a preliminary analysis of the implications of
proposed bank take-overs.

This development has dealt a huge blow to the economy which is already
reeling from a liquidity crisis as multilateral lenders want the country to
settle its debts first before they could avail lines of credit.

Foreign-owned institutions have built a solid reputation among depositors,
more so after the banking sector had witnessed over a dozen bank failures
involving indigenous banks.

Statistics from RBZ showed that when ReNaissance Merchant Bank was placed
under curatorship last year, there was a flight of deposits amounting US$1,2
billion from indigenous banks to perceived stable banks that are mostly

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Empowerment law in conflict with existing acts

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:28

The empowerment legislation is seen to be in conflict with existing
legislations such as the Banking Act and the RBZ Act. In a normal
environment, the laws have to complement each other.

“If it is government policy, Kasukuwere, Finance minister, Tendai Biti and
Gono should be speaking with the same voice. At the moment there is a
conflict of policies and this is bad for the country,” a commercial lawyer

Political analyst, Ibbo Mandaza, said yesterday that there was need for
clarity to remove the discord.

“There is no consensus on the policy, neither within the party nor within
government,” he said.

Kasukuwere and Gono’s loyalty to President Robert Mugabe is unquestionable.
Kasukuwere is President Mugabe’s enforcer of indigenisation while Gono is
close to the First Family.

Gono is credited with sustaining government in the hyperinflationary period.
His critics have however accused the banker of engaging in a futile war,
arguing that his support for banks was not genuine as the banker was
protecting his borrowings from the foreign-owned banks.

But the Central Bank boss said while his family had business dealings with
Barclays and Standard Bank dating back to 1977, he did not owe any of them a
single penny by way of loans or facilities. Instead, his family companies
owe millions of dollars to regional and continental banks that have extended
lines of credit to local banks.

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Coup threats a pipedream: Mushonga

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:27

MDC secretary-general, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, has said the
military top brass were posturing when they claimed they would not salute
anyone without liberation credentials.

She said the generals did not have the capacity to carry out a coup in the
event that President Robert Mugabe lost elections.

“They can wish it, but they can’t. Let us call their bluff,”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said at the Quill Club in Harare on Friday.

“Those are just scare tactics. it’s disempowering because from there, people
would be scared to go and vote, thinking the result is predetermined.”

She said the army did not have the capacity to carry out a coup due to
regional and international focus on Zimbabwe and coupled with that, the
southern African region did not have history of military takeovers.

“Army generals do not represent the whole army. There are young recruits and
when it comes to a coup, do you think these young ones would stand and fight
against the people of Zimbabwe? it may not be possible,” she said.

Military leaders have publicly said they would not support anyone besides
Mugabe, leading observers and parliamentarians to claim that there was a
soft coup in Zimbabwe.

But the secretary-general of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, said this was
the mindset of people who were benefiting from the status quo and were
afraid of any form of change.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga, however, conceded that security sector reform
remained one of the outstanding issues that had been referred to the
facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma.

“As negotiators, we have agreed on 80 to 85% of the issues, but there are
some things like security sector reform that we have had to refer to the
facilitator,” she said.

The MDC secretary-general said while the involvement of the military in
politics seemed like a new thing — it had been a burning issue since 2002,
when former army boss, the late general Vitalis Zvinavashe, on the eve of
the election, infamously declared that the military would not salute anyone
without liberation war credentials.

This was interpreted to mean that the army implied that even if Morgan
Tsvangirai had won the election, the military would not allow him to assume

“What the Nyikayarambas are saying goes back to 2002, it’s nothing new and
this is an issue that the regional mediation team is looking at,” she said.

Recently, Defence Forces chief of staff, Major General Martin Chedondo,
stirred a storm when he said soldiers must be involved in national politics,
while Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, also declared that no one would
rule the country without any revolutionary credentials, drawing criticism
from United Nations Human Rights chief, Navi Pillay, who said the military
should remain in the barracks.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Zuma’s anticipated visit had since been put on
the back burner, as negotiators had nothing to report back, since they were
still trying to conclude the constitution-making process.

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Youths encouraged to vote

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:26

A campaign to mobilise thousands of youths to register as voters and
participate in the next elections has been launched.

Its target is to encourage young people to re-assert their strategic
position as political game changers.

The campaign, dubbed “X1G”, is a non-partisan initiative aimed at educating,
motivating and encouraging youths to effectively participate in the
electoral process. It is being coordinated by the Election Resource Centre
(ERC) in collaboration with a consortium of 10 youth organisations.

ERC director, Tawanda Chimhini, said the campaign was being launched after
the realisation that the majority of youths in the country had lack of
interest in the electoral process.

“Less than 34% of the registered voters are youths below 35 years of age,
yet demographic details shows that they constitute more than 50% of the
total population,” he said at the launch of the campaign on Friday.

Chimhini said despite numerous challenges they were facing, the youths now
sought to become registered voters and ultimately the key deciders of any
prevailing government.

He said youths faced a number of constraints, which included failure to
acquire the required documentation to be registered as a voter, such as a
national identity card and proof of residence.

The “X1G” campaign will engage relevant authorities to promote necessary
reforms towards achieveing a youth-friendly voter registration process.

“The X1G is a platform for collective action towards achieving the goals and
aspirations of a generation led by democracy activists, who are prepared to
create a better Zimbabwe,” said one of the campaign organisers.

A 15-track album entitled Brand X — Set Free the Youth Vote, has been
compiled by various artists, among them Pastor G and Willom Tight, as part
of the campaign to educate and inspire young people to exercise their right
to vote without fear of intimidation.

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Catholic university clinches sife top award

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:25

THE Catholic University in Zimbabwe (CUZ) last week beat other universities
in the country to clinch the Boost Students in Free Enterprise (Sife)
national competition held in Harare on Friday.

CUZ’s projects sought to help the under-privileged in rural settings,
particularly orphans and prisoners and impressed the judges because of their

In Karoi, the Catholic University students were rehabilitating former
prisoners and improving prison libraries in collaboration with Zimbabwe
Prisons Ministries and the Rotary International. “Through our market
gardening project in Karoi, prisoners are paid US$120 per month, which they
will get upon release. We have also equipped them with business and economic
skills,” said Nevanji Madanhire, of CUZ’s Sife programme.

Midlands State University, Chinhoyi University of Technology and the
University of Zimbabwe came second, third and fourth respectively. Winners
walked away with printers, laptops and projectors.

Boost fellowship programme officer, Tanatsa Mparadzi, said the Sife Zimbabwe
National Programme was premised on the principle that there were
opportunities that must be tapped into even during times of hardships.

Other universities which took part in the competitions include Solusi, Women’s
University in Africa and Bindura University of Science Education. Sife is an
international network of university students initiated in the United States
in 2000.

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Zim’s failed state tag questioned

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:24

IF results of surveys in the past three weeks are anything to go by, then
Zimbabweans are wallowing joyfully in their failures.

Zimbabweans had everything to smile about when the 2012 Happy Planet Index
claimed they were much happier than their neighbours South Africa and

After years of political downturn and an unprecedented economic slide, the
Happy Planet Index showed that Zimbabweans were still a happy bunch and they
accepted the results unquestioningly.

But a week later, the country’s smile was wiped off its collective face,
after the Foreign Policy magazine indicated that Zimbabwe ranked fifth in an
index of failed states.

Zimbabwe was placed in the same category as Somalia and the Democratic
Republic of Congo, and Zimbabweans are livid, saying this cannot be

“Sure Zimbabwe is not perfect. But seriously, fifth least functional country
in the world?” Amanda Atwood, of Kubatana asked.

To follow up on their claims on failed states, Foreign Policy came up with a
series of pictures, dubbed “Postcards from Hell”, but Atwood says this is
more reason to conclude that Zimbabwe cannot be said to have failed.

“There are the bloody bodies of a suicide attack in Kabul (Afghanistan), a
bloodied protestor in DRC and a bombed out vehicle in Sudan,” she said.
“It’s telling that the worst image they could find for Zimbabwe was a torn
election poster. Seeing as how the last election was in 2008, it’s no wonder
the poster was torn.”

National University of Science and Technology (Nust) lecturer, Lawton Hikwa
said it was unconceivable that Zimbabwe was in the same league as Somalia,
arguing that as with any other research, the results of this survey had to
be interpreted contextually.

“Zimbabwe cannot be said to be a failed state,” he said matter-of-factly.
“In a survey like this there are lots of variables but I can imagine that
the government has continued functioning and we cannot be said to have

Hikwa conceded that the last decade had been bad for Zimbabwe, as there were
“political occurrences” that had led to an economic downturn, but this could
hardly be described as a mark of a failed state.

But Bekithemba Mpofu, an associate dean at the University of Reading,
United Kingdom, said every survey had an element of subjectivity and there
was always conflict between the various surveys primarily because of the
indicators used to arrive at a conclusion or index.

“Using the international indicators for failed states, Zimbabwe is a failed
state,” Mpofu, an econometrics and finance expert, said. “If you closely
look at the calculation, Zimbabwe has the highest human flight index and
factionalised elites in the world and these figures do feed into the overall

Mpofu said the argument should be centred on the relevance and accuracy of
these indicators as good inference of failed states.

“l think they are appropriate in the calculation, thus l do consider
Zimbabwe on these perimeters a failed state,” Mpofu, who is also a founding
secretary general of the MDC youth league, said.

“The GNU has not done much to address these issues, look at the percentage
of people in the diaspora and the factionalised civil service like the army
and other security institutions.”

As if that was not enough, another survey that somehow contradicted that
Zimbabwe was a failed state was released hardly a week later.
Zimbabwe was in the top five climbers in countries that have improved their
peace situations, according to the Global Peace Index survey carried out by
the Institute for Economics and Peace.

The southern African country is the only African country in the top five
gainers, while Malawi, Egypt and Tunisia were some of the worst performing
countries in the past year.

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Government blamed for poor grades in Maths

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:23

A former Zimbabwe People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) commander, Ekem Volta
Moyo has called for a review of the mathematics’ entry requirement for
prospective students at tertiary institutions saying they disadvantaged
youths from Matabeleland.

Moyo, a former teacher, told The Standard that the issue of mathematics and
science teachers’ shortage in Matabeleland was known to the government and
was imposing restrictions to prospective students from the region.

“It is not the students’ fault that they fail but that of government,” he
said. “Government must exercise lenience with students here and allow them
to train for courses which have nothing to do with science or mathematics.”

He questioned why mathematics was required for students who wanted to study
arts programmes at institutions such as the National University of Science
and Technology.

“We cannot continue to watch children being denied entry because they do not
have mathematics and science. This is part of the marginalisation that we
have been experiencing since independence,” said Moyo.

NUST School Enrichment Programme (NUSTSEP) project leader, Semolina
Hove-Musekwa recently acknowledged that low science and mathematics pass
rates in Matabeleland was the major reason why students from the region were
failing to make it to the institution.

“There is a need to help students pass their ‘O’ Level mathematics. NUSTEP
is now there to introduce new skills to the teaching of mathematics in
Matabeleland schools and then eventually the whole country,” she said.

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Irrigation improves food security in Gutu

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:22

GUTU— A three-year sustainable livelihoods intervention project launched by
an international non-governmental organisation in Gutu has improved the food
situation in parts of the drought-prone district, an official has said.

Oxfam Advocacy and Policy officer, Lucina Machanzi said over 240 households
in two wards in the district were benefiting from the establishment of a
60-hectare gravity-fed irrigation project which is partly powered by solar

“The project was launched in 2009 after realisation that climate change has
become a major cause of food insecurity in the district. Food production and
income have since improved for the over 240 vulnerable households
participating in the project,” she said.

Sebastian Kasirai who is the village head for Murikitiko in Ward 13 said the
project had come at an opportune time, when the problem of erratic rains had
become a cause for concern.

He said domestic animals like cattle and goats were however still dying due
to tick- borne diseases, while others were falling prey to wild animals like
hyenas and jackals.

Chairperson of Ruti Irrigation Scheme, Saviour Muzuru said challenges in
acquiring inputs like seed, fertiliser as well as pesticides was hampering
the smooth flow of the project.

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Headman to use toilet for first time

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:19

AFTER using the “bush system” as a toilet for 50 years, headman Phillip
Mpala of Tsholotsho is now hopeful that he and hundreds of his subjects
will soon, for the first time, have proper sanitary facilities courtesy of a
recently launched US$50 million rural water and sanitation project.

Mpala said of the 85 homesteads in his Siyaphambili village, only one
household had a toilet, with some children living in the area even ignorant
of how a lavatory looks like.

“Those who go to school are better because they use toilets at school and
revert back to the bush when they come back home,” he said.

Mpala said lack of information and resources saw many villagers failing to
construct toilets.

“The only villager with a toilet works in South Africa. So he probably is
now used to a toilet and had resources to build one for his family,” he

“About 20 others use pit latrines but the rest of us use the bush.”

Mpala blamed the almost nonexistence of toilets in the area to government’s
failure to provide resources and to educate villagers on the need for proper

“We have always wished to have toilets and practise cleanliness like
others,” he said. “Most villagers cannot afford the US$27 annual tuition
fees for each of their school-going children. So committing resources to
toilets is not a priority.”

Another villager, David Ncube said, “Health workers at the local clinic do
teach us about good hygiene practices like hand-washing after using the
toilet, safe disposal of garbage and the importance of drinking clean water.
But we do not have the toilets or the clean water.”

Villagers also said the cholera outbreak of 2008/9 also made them realise
the risk of using the bush system and welcomed government’s recently
launched US$50 million rural water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)
programme to benefit drought prone areas, including Tsholotsho.

The programme is aimed at the rehabilitation of 30 piped water schemes in 30
districts and construction of 15 000 latrines for the most vulnerable in 10
000 communities. A total of 15 000 latrines at 1 150 primary and 350
secondary rural schools would also be constructed under the project.
At least 7 400 broken down boreholes were also earmarked for rehabilitation,
while 1 500 new ones would be constructed.

Government, in partnership with non-governmental organisations like
Mvuramanzi Trust and donor organisations like the Unicef have in the past
assisted villagers in the construction of toilets in areas such as Plumtree
and Binga.

“We want to create demand for safe sanitation,” Unicef Sanitation and
Hygiene Promotion Officer Stewart Nyamuranga said. “We will discuss with
communities about their sanitation coverage and problems and educate them on
how best to achieve safer conditions using resources they can afford.”

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Housing scheme launched

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:17

By our correspondent
The Zimbabwe Amalgamated Housing Association (Zaha) was on Thursday launched
in Harare.

The housing cooperation has about 69 affiliates including political parties,
civil society groups, banks and churches.

Speaking at the launch, Zaha director Killer Zivhu said they had decided to
call in different groups to help in solving accommodation problems that have
marred the country.

“We have decided to incorporate different members of the society because
everyone needs accommodation and, let me be clear, we are apolitical,” said

He said they would soon engage the local councils and the ministry of lands
to get pieces of land for their clients.

Zivhu said every client was required to pay US$90 which would incorporate
funeral services and medical aid for members.

He said they would soon launch the association in all the provinces to allow
every citizen an opportunity to join.

Noah Mangondo, who came on behalf of Information minister Webster Shamu,
said there was need for accountable leadership with great commitment to the
people’s plight.

“There is need to have an accountable leadership who are willing to serve
the plight of people because this is a noble idea,” said Mongondo.

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St Martins revamps recreational park

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:16

THE long-neglected St Martins suburb’s recreational park is undergoing a
major facelift with the assistance of the local community and the area’s
Member of Parliament.

The park, which was closed in 1985, had become an eyesore as it was now an
illegal dumping site for some residents and nearby industries located in

Harare Central MP, Murisi Zwizwai, said the rundown park was being restored
to its original state as part of efforts to provide recreational facilities
in St Martins — a development set to reduce crime and other social ills in
the suburb and other surrounding areas. “When I approached the community
about the issue, everyone agreed that we had to refurbish the park,” he

“I then decided to use part of the Constituency Development fund to start
the project. we are doing this together with the local community and the
City of Harare.”

Zwizwai said a committee had been set up to ensure that the project was
completed as soon as possible.
When Standard Community visited St Martins last week, lawn grass and flowers
had already been planted on a section of the park to restore its aesthetic

Leader of the committee spearheading the project, Ron Christian, said the
restoration of the park was being done in two phases. “The first part is
complete and we are now working on the second part of the park and the city
council is providing equipment to remove garbage dumped here,” he said.
Christian said the council had also promised to provide other machinery
required to complete the project, while the local community and the MP would
provide the rest.

“We are doing this because this will help us, our children and the community
and city at large,” he said.

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Council ups blitz on residents over water bills

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:13

RESIDENTS of Glen Norah and other suburbs are playing hide and seek with
workers from Harare Water, following the launch of a blitz targeting
defaulters who illegally reconnected supplies.

Most residents, who had water disconnected for non-payment, have reconnected
themselves prompting council to act. They were now leaving their gates
locked, fearing being caught by council.

Harare Water has for the past few weeks been removing water meters from
households where water was reconnected illegally. Residents complained that
the move was too harsh considering that council was demanding huge amounts
in outstanding charges.

When Standard Community visited Chitubu area in Glen Norah, gates at several
houses were locked, while some residents around Chembira primary school
confirmed that their meters had been removed. residents argued that the high
water bills they were receiving were unjustified, as council had been
failing to provide consistent water supplies over the past few years.

“Council has failed us, especially when it comes to the issue of service
delivery,” said a disgruntled resident, who identified himself as Keith

“Sometimes we go for weeks without water but at the end of month they will
be demanding huge sums of money from us.”

Other residents alleged that some Harare Water workers were now demanding
bribes in order to spare them from disconnections.

“They (Harare Water workers) know we are desperate and can’t afford to pay
the high bills we owe council, so they are now demanding bribes,” said a
woman, who identified herself as Mai Tadiwa.

Harare Residents Trust advocacy officer, Pretty Chabuda, said the move by
council to remove water meters from houses was a cause for concern.
“In our view, this is a violation of human rights,” she said. “We believe
every resident has the right to clean water. The huge water bills are also
far beyond the reach of most residents.”

Residents said they now feared getting diseases such as typhoid and cholera,
as some were now resorting to unsafe water sources.

But Harare City spokesperson, Lesley Gwindi, was adamant, saying those who
illegally reconnected water meters risked prosecution.

“That is a criminal offence and those who illegally reconnect water will be
charged,” he said.

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Essar gets nod to takeover iron ore claims

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:07

THE ministry of Mines and Mining Development has finally agreed to transfer
iron ore claims to Essar, a move that would result in the Indian firm
completing its takeover of Zisco.

The move comes after intense lobbying by Cabinet on Monday to expedite the
transaction, amid revelations that Essar were becoming impatient.

Welshman Ncube, Industry and Commerce minister, told Standardbusiness on
Thursday that Obert Mpofu’s ministry had written him a letter agreeing to
transfer the iron claims, key for the completion of the deal.

“They wrote a letter to us. It has everything we wanted except three or four
claims in Mwanezi, which they have not included in the letter,” Ncube said,
adding that he had written another letter inquiring about the omission.

“They have invited Essar to come and have discussions on the condition for
the renewal of the Special Grant.”

The special grant was issued in favour of Bimco, Zisco’s minerals arm, but
had expired. It allows exploration to take place in an area covering 41 000

The transfer of the iron ore claims was the outstanding issue and a
condition precedent in the finalisation of the deal.

The claims are held by Zisco and Bimco. These include Buchwa, Ripple Creek
and Mwanezi.

Claims at Buchwa Mine, even though existent on paper, had become useless as
Zisco had stopped operating at Buchwa Mine a long time ago, on the basis
that the iron ore, although estimated at 30 million tonnes underground, was
now too deep. It was no longer profitable to access the iron ore.
The Ripple Creek claims in Kwekwe were being used by Zisco at the time it
stopped producing in 2008.

Claims in Mwanezi are in two categories: Special grant issued in favour of
Bimco and 20 other claims explored by Bimco in two different areas believed
to have high-grade ore.

Initially, the ministry of Mines wanted to transfer Buchwa and Ripple Creek
claims, but was not prepared to renew the special grant in Mwanezi, saying
anyone interested should approach the ministry.

However, the ministry of Industry argued that iron ore at Ripple Creek was
of low-grade because it had 54% iron content.

During the due diligence exercise, engineers told Ncube’s ministry that to
successfully revive Zisco and use blast furnace number four, the iron
content generally accepted, had to be between 64% and 74%.

Essar won the right for Zisco’s controlling stake last year after agreeing
to take over the troubled steel maker’s foreign debt of over US$400 million.
The transaction would result in the creation of two companies, New Zim Steel
(NZS) and New Zim Minerals (NZM), burying the ghost of Zisco.

Government would have a 40% stake in NZS with Essar owning the remainder.

In NZM, Essar would have 80% with government owning 20%.

According to Essar’s plan unveiled last year, US$115 million would be
injected in NZS under phase 1 with a projected output of 500 000 metric
tonnes per annum within 18 months.

The production was expected to rise to 1,2 million metric tonnes per month
under phase 2 after an injection of US$275 million.

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Anjin’s hotels venture raises eyebrows

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:03

ANJIN plans to invest US$30 million in a five-star hotel in Mutare as the
diamond producer taps into the hospitality sector, one of the largest
foreign currency earners in the economy.

The new hotel will have 150 rooms and the company is in talks with the
municipality to get suitable land for the project.

The proposed hotel comes after the company opened a three-star hotel in
Mutare and is building a 350-roomed hotel adjacent to the National Sports
Stadium, cementing its foothold in the hospitality sector.

“It’s an upcoming market and from our analysis, it is the highest earner of
foreign currency in most developing countries,” Charles Tarumbwa, Anjin
company secretary, said last week.

He said funding was coming from Anjin’s Chinese partners, Anhui Foreign
Economic Construction (Group) Co. Ltd.

The Chinese and Matt Bronze have 50-50 shareholding in Anjin.

The proposed venture comes at a time Treasury is accusing the diamond
producer of not remitting anything to the fiscus.

However, Anjin said it had paid royalties and other obligations to the tune
of US$30 million and would declare a dividend once it started making profit.

Anjin claims the company was still to break, even after investing over
US$400 million in diamond mining.

It also comes after an outcry from the civil society that diamond producers
were exporting jobs to mainly India, as they were selling the gems without

Tarumbwa told Standardbusiness, the issue of beneficiation should come
through a policy from the lead ministry, Mines and Mining Development.

“This thing (beneficiation) should not be a company-related issue but a
policy from the ministry. There is no doubt that beneficiation is good but
there should be a policy on that,” he said.

Government is in the process of setting up a diamond policy to govern the
diamond sector.

Finance minister, Tendai Biti, has proposed the setting up of a State-owned
diamond entity in a development that could bust economic sanctions imposed
on the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation — a government investment

He said, once the reforms were in place, the country would be able to
negotiate for the removal of economic sanctions imposed by the United States
on Mbada and Marange Resources last year.

Biti said he got guarantees from three US assistant secretaries of
State —Michael Posner (State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour), Jose
Fernandez (Economic and Business Affairs) and Johnnie Carson (Assistant
Secretary of State for African Affairs) — early this year that the sanctions
would be removed once the reforms were completed.

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Hotels place tourists under curfew: Kaseke

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:01

MUTARE — Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) chief executive officer, Karikoga
Kaseke, has accused some hotels and lodges of literally putting tourists
under a curfew by closing their doors early, thereby restricting spending by

Speaking to stakeholders in the tourism sector during the official opening
of the ZTA Eastern Region office in Mutare last week, Kaseke said tourists
visiting the country were being forced to follow certain Christian values,
forcing on them an unexciting stay at the various hotels and lodges.

“Christianity has crippled the tourism sector,” he said. “Some hotels and
lodges close their doors at 1900hrs and tell tourists to go and sleep,
against their wishes. They are putting the tourists under curfew, meaning
that they would not spend their money at all. That is not how tourism is

Kaseke said tourists should be allowed to go about their activities without
any restrictions. “They should visit night clubs and enjoy night life. This
will result in them spending some money which will boost our tourism
revenue,” he said.

Kaseke said there were limited evening activities offered by hotels and
lodges, something that sees tourists having nothing to do.

“Tourists have no option but to go indoors. The reasons for tourists to come
here is the fact that they would want to enjoy themselves and spend some
money, which will boost our economy,” the ZTA boss said.

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The season of electioneering is upon us

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:56

Takura Zhangazha

The political parties in Zimbabwe’s inclusive government have now begun
playing out their electoral endgames eleven months prior to the expiry of
its constitutional term of office in June 2013.

There have been varying public statements from the three parties in
government about the actual date of elections but whichever way one looks
at it, election season is now firmly upon us again. Whereas Zanu PF has been
insisting on elections being held this year, that can now be considered a
moot point given the hints by some of its newspaper columnists that it is
well-nigh impossible to have both a constitutional referendum and an
election in terms of a new constitution in the next eleven months.

The MDCs, on the other hand, have been arguing for the full implementation
of the Sadc facilitated election road map. They, however, must most
certainly know that again in the limited time available, they will not get
everything that they are requesting short of a constitutional amendment that
extends the lifespan of this current government. And for this, they would
require an almost impossible to get two thirds majority in Parliament. At
best the MDCs will probably have to revert (amidst Zanu PF resistance) to
the Electoral Amendment Bill (among other potential or existent laws) to try
and integrate the provisions of the Sadc facilitated road map into domestic

Regardless of the outcome of all of these contestations, the issue of
elections is no longer as distant as it was two years ago. In fact, it has
become evidently more urgent for political parties within and without of the
inclusive government and as such, the Zimbabwean public must brace
themselves for highly politicised debates and an increasingly polarised
political environment. In this, there will be the revival of the old
rivalries of 2008 and mudslinging between leaders in the inclusive
government about the performance of rivals in the last four years.

The images of friendly leadership handshakes will decrease and we will all
be asked to demonstrate loyalty to one party over the other without really
questioning issues of the policy substance that has been provided by the
inclusive government in the period that it has existed. It is because of
such a potential development that one can reasonably argue that we are now
entering a political period in which we should no longer expect much by way
of non-partisan or “common ground” policy from the inclusive government.

Each party will angle what it would call its own “exclusive” policies in the
inclusive government as evidence of its ability to govern and therefore its
electability over the others. Zanu PF will insist that it’s indigenisation
programme has been a success while MDC will argue that were it not for its
control of broader economic policies, hyper-inflation would still be
knocking on every citizen’s door. Blame games for the undemocratic and
expensive constitutional reform process under Copac will reach a particular
partisan crescendo because it is the one thing that all parties in the
inclusive government cannot skirt collective responsibility on.

The actual reality for the everyday citizens will however not be as frenetic
or as emotive as that of those that will be seeking their votes. They will
view and participate in the electoral processes either out of cultural and
political coercion or even self-aggrandisement than belief in any particular

This being a direct result of the fact that the inclusive government has had
little to offer by way of inspiring its own people to believe in anything
else but survival of the “fittest” and the cliched kiya-kiya political
economy. Add to this, the clear distinction between the profligate
lifestyles of those in government and the majority populace has already led
to a cynical electorate which may seek more to gain materially in the
immediate than to challenge political leaders on the country’s future. So
there will be the positioning of money, jobs and drought relief handouts in
direct return for votes from a public that knows that without taking
advantage of the elections, these material benefits would be few and far

So as Zimbabwe enters this protracted election season, it is of importance
that civil society organisations take non-partisan stock of the inclusive
government based on democratic values and principles. Where this is not
done, it is the country that will be the worse off in the present and in the
future. It is also imperative that the inclusive government be brought to
account not merely on the basis of the personalities that comprise it, but
on its performance when measured by social democratic value and principles.

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Zimbabwe should do more to protect children’s rights

Sunday, 08 July 2012 11:54

Tonderayi Matonho

The recent pronouncements by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi
Pillay, that Zimbabwe needs to do more in protecting children through a
violence-free environment, is profound. The current social, economic and
political relations do not benefit but destroy children’s prospects as
leaders in their own right. Pieces of legislation and policy should be
crafted that deal with issues of past atrocities as these have a negative
effect on the growth of children in this country.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is also on record saying mechanisms should
be put in place to create a database of all the victims of political
violence, especially children and women. These processes will enable the
creation of the rightful place of children in the socio-economic and
political development policy across diverse sectors of society.

Cases that have a direct and an indirect bearing on the growth of children
abound in this country. Gukurahundi refers to the armed disturbances that
rocked parts of Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the 1980s. There are
reports of people who struggled to get birth certificates because both
parents died during this sad period.

Politically-motivated violence and the chaotic farm invasions in the last
decade or so have had their debilitating effects on the well-being of
children across the country. Child experts say that those in the margins of
society are also on the margins of justice. This is the case for children
more than any other group in society.

Operation Murambatsvina in 2005 was another devastating blow to children.
More than 700 000 families were internally displaced — the effect on
children was the outright denial of access to shelter, education and justice
by virtue of their age or immaturity. Orphaned children and those without
parental care were and are still worse off.

President Robert Mugabe has made calls for peace with no attendant stern
action on violence protagonists, especially from his Zanu PF party. Such
situations call for concerted efforts towards ensuring that children get
access to free legal aid when they are victims of injustice and when they
give evidence before the courts of law against perpetrators of violence.

This is where legal aid, legal advocacy and judicial counselling to children
comes into the picture. Children not only have the right to food, shelter
and education, but also the right to unfettered child-friendly justice
systems. Government should establish ways to strengthen child-friendly
benches and child protection units in police stations. It should also
enhance the capacity of law enforcement organs, the judiciary as well as the
media through education, training and advisory services.

With critical hindsight, the government has not been taking seriously
legislative and administrative measures to protect and promote the rights of

Child protection groups should monitor and advocate for justice reform
systems that must bring in new and effective programmes in the best
interests of the child. The establishment of the Child Parliament, Junior
Council and the Child Friendly Courts are major initiatives, but these have
to be strengthened and broadened; the voice of the child being clearer and

Studies by the African Child Policy Forum have shown that violence is still
prevalent and is on the increase. All forms of violence including physical
abuse, rape, sexual harassment, exploitation, rituals, trafficking and
harmful practices, are still being committed against children. Therefore,
children need effective protection from all sectors across society.

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For ordinary people indigenisation is a lie

Nevanji Madanhire

What exactly does the proposed indigenisation of foreign banks mean to
ordinary people? A bank to the man on the street, in the circumstances
Zimbabwe finds itself in now, is a place where often-underpaid workers
withdraw their monthly salaries.

The bulk of salaried people are civil servants, who as we all know, are a
grossly underpaid lot, most of them taking home less than US$250. On payday
they go to their respective banks and withdraw the whole lot and wait
patiently for next month’s payday. The rest are the weekly wage earners in
our mines and factories who hardly need the services of a bank; just
collecting their pittances in brown envelops from the HR department.

For the few salaried employees, it doesn’t matter if the bank is
locally-owned or foreign. In fact, for most of them to call Barclays Bank
and Standard Bank foreign banks is wrong; they were born when the two were
probably the only banks in Zimbabwe. This means these banks are as
indigenous as they come.

For the ordinary people the distinction between local and foreign banks is
very thin because all the banks operating in Zimbabwe are run by black
locals. It is very rare now to come across a white managing director of a
bank. Any whites that are still connected with banks are probably all in the
board of directors; so from senior down to middle management, all banks are
run by black personnel meaning they have been adapted to indigenous

What the ordinary people have known recently is that many black
businesspeople have established their own banks which have by and large been
very successful. But they also know that a number have been mismanaged and
have collapsed. They have also read in the newspapers that the old banks,
Barclays and Standard, have remained stable.

The conclusion they have come up with is that since both local and “foreign”
banks are run by their own black cousins but the latter are more stable, it
is the culture rather than the ownership that matters when one looks at the
soundness or lack of it in a bank.
A secondary but profound conclusion has been that the management culture in
the indigenous banks has not always been sound, hence a number have
collapsed. Given a chance therefore, they would bank any money they might
fall upon in the stable banks with a better management culture; it doesn’t
matter if the government minister responsible for indigenisation tells them
that the sound bank is owned by white imperialists domiciled somewhere in

Their enemy, as far as their money is concerned, is not the white man in
London but the poor management culture at Mwendamberi’s bank!

Recently a bank owned by indigenous black businesspeople was put under what
is called “recuperative curatorship”, something that means nothing to the
ordinary salaried Zimbabwean who could not at the end of the month withdraw
his or her paltry salary. Being underpaid already, it must have been doubly
heart-breaking to be denied access to one’s earnings.

So for the average Zimbabwean, indigenisation of so-called foreign banks
means the introduction of a bad management culture in the banks previously
well run. The ordinary people begin to wonder why this is being done. Their
only conclusion is that there must be something in it for those leading the
crusade to “indigenise” the banks.

Banks are simply made up of depositors’ money as far as the man in the
street is concerned; so to him indigenisation means someone who otherwise
would not have honest access will now gain wrongful access to this money.
This is what exactly has happened with those indigenous banks that have
found themselves under curatorship or without licences. These banks have
seen their owners giving themselves loans that were not backed by
performance; in one documented case the parent of the major shareholder was
a beneficiary of a huge loan that he had no chance in heaven of ever being
able to pay back.

The troubled banks have also benefited from government deposits, which
deposits have also been abused. In a recent case, it has been reported that
the government has been prejudiced to the tune of US$17 million of
development money. If this money had been entrusted with the established
banks, which are now being labelled enemy banks, the money would probably be
safe and ready to be used for the purpose it had been raised.

The fact that proponents of indigenisation do not want to look at indigenous
bank mismanagement in the eye betrays their evil intentions regarding the
banks they are targeting. It is highly misleading of them to accuse these
banks of refusing to fund local businesses when they know they themselves
have created an environment that makes lending dangerous.

They accuse the banks of refusing to lend money to the farming sector when
literally no one knows who owns which farm. The so-called offer letter has
proved to be a counterfeit document which anyone can obtain from the nearest
land officer whose own credentials are also highly suspect.

Genuine businesspeople know when they can or cannot borrow money from a
bank; they know what a real bank requires when it lends money to individuals
or institutions. When they meet the requirements, they expect their bank to
treat them fairly and ethically as they meet their side of the bargain. They
know the same conditions apply inshore and offshore so they are not overly
worried by the ownership of the bank but by whether the banks is guided by
international best practice.

Interestingly, while some ministers are clamouring for the indigenisation of
banks, others are buying them. Recently a government minister bought a bank
for US$25 million — where he got the money is another story — but here we
get another model of bank indigenisation which all right-thinking people
would see as the better model. Indigenous businesspeople interested in
owning banks should seek funds and buy stakes in any bank they want; our
laws do not prohibit this, especially if the desired banks are trading on
the stock exchange.

Indigenisation has become a sensitive issue in Zimbabwe especially now when
it has been seen to benefit only a few individuals connected to a certain
system. To think that indigenisation can win anyone an election is to think
in an outdated manner when some Zimbabweans were fooled into believing that
grabbing from those who have guaranteed prosperity for the have-nots.

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Small Olympics team heartbreaking

For the first time since independence, Zimbabwe will field the smallest and
probably the weakest sporting team ever to compete in the Olympic Games.

The games, which run from July 27 to August 12 in London, UK, afford
athletes the chance to shine on the global stage and nations across the
world hope to see their athletes striking gold.

But for Zimbabweans, there is no basis for expecting miracles after little
or no preparatory work was done to ensure more athletes would qualify for
the Olympics.

Only seven athletes — swimmer Kirsty Coventry, marathon runners Cuthbert
Nyasango, Wirimayi Zhuwawo, triathlete Chris Felgate, rowers Jamie Frazer
McKenzie and Micheen Thornycroft — have qualified for the London games.

More disheartening is the fact that for the first time ever, Zimbabwe is not
competing in the track and field events, after sprinter and long jumper
Ngoni Makusha suffered an injury. This leaves the “Golden Girl” Kirsty, who
has been plagued by injuries of late, single-handedly carrying the nation’s
hopes for any medals at all.

Such a small Team Zimbabwe, bereft of anyone who could have a chance to take
on the likes of Usain Bolt and Yohan Blake, who form the golden generation
of Jamaican sprinters, is an indictment of the way sport is being mismanaged
in the country.

The grim reality is that Zimbabwe is in this precarious situation as a
result of slack developmental programmes in all sporting disciplines.
Besides giving athletes diplomatic passports and cash, nothing meaningful
has been done by government to try and improve sports development.

Athletes who have done the nation proud like Coventry can only thank their
parents for nurturing them after government reneged on its duty to fund
sports programmes.

As soon as Team Zimbabwe returns from this doomed London adventure, the
Zimbabwe Olympic Committee and the Sports and Recreation Commission should
go back to the drawing board and restrategise on building sporting
developmental structures. Facilities such as the once wonderful Chitungwiza
Aquatic Complex bear shameful testimony to how sport has been so painfully
neglected in this country.

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