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Zimbabwe Divisions Pose a Quandary for West
Alex Wong/Getty Images

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton at the State Department on Thursday.

Published: June 11, 2009

JOHANNESBURG — President Obama has offered to extend a hand to repressive rulers who unclench their fists. On Friday, he will meet the Zimbabwean politician, Morgan Tsvangirai, who is trying to loosen the grip of an autocrat whose party’s very symbol is the clenched fist: Robert Mugabe, 85, in power now for 29 years and counting.

Mr. Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe’s prime minister, defeated President Mugabe in an election last year, but was pressured by regional leaders into an unsatisfactory power-sharing deal four months ago. It left Mr. Mugabe in control of the police, the spy service, the media and the criminal justice system — powers he has repeatedly used to countermand Mr. Tsvangirai’s recent efforts to reestablish the rule of law and freedom of the press.

Therein lies the puzzle for Mr. Obama and leaders of other wealthy western democracies whom Mr. Tsvangirai is meeting during a three-week tour of the United States and Europe: How do they help Mr. Tsvangirai and Zimbabwe without bolstering Mr. Mugabe?

Mr. Tsvangirai has insisted he’s not walking around with a begging bowl, but clearly he and his party hope that the United States and other western democracies will provide greater aid to help them rebuild the country’s devastated health, education and sanitation systems — accomplishments that would strengthen them for the next election.

Most acutely, Mr. Tsvangirai needs to find a way to pay teachers and other civil servants more than the $100 monthly allowance that is all the government can now afford. The teachers have been threatening to quit work and public employees to go on strike.

“There’s more need to move from humanitarian to recovery support for the government,” Mr. Tsvangirai said Wednesday in a telephone interview. “The government needs resources to fulfill its obligations.”

Diplomats from the rich Western democracies have said recently that they want to help, but remain reluctant to directly aid a government in which Mr. Mugabe still retains so much power.

For his part, Mr. Mugabe, who has for decades won plaudits in Africa for poking a finger in the eye of the West, seems determined to belittle Mr. Tsvangirai and sabotage his international tour.

The Herald, the state-owned newspaper Mr. Mugabe still controls, reported this week that the president had “tasked” Mr. Tsvangirai with getting the United States and Europe to lift travel and financial sanctions on Mr. Mugabe and his inner circle — a report that Mr. Tsvangirai said misrepresented the facts.

“The removal of restrictions depends on what we do back home,” Mr. Tsvangirai said. “We have to earn the confidence of the international community.”

Since Mr. Tsvangirai left the country, Mr. Mugabe has flaunted his affinity for autocrats. The Herald published a two-part defense of North Korea’s nuclear tests. And Mr. Mugabe welcomed Sudan’s president, Omar Hussan al-Bashir, charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court, to an summit attended by African heads of state.

The government then blocked Zimbabwean journalists from covering the same summit, though they were armed with a High Court order that they be allowed to attend — and despite Mr. Tsvangirai’s own insistence that journalists no longer need government accreditation.

In recent months, journalists have continued to be arrested after writing stories Mr. Mugabe did not like. And despite an order by a tribunal established by the 15 nations of the region that the government halt evictions of white commercial farmers — a ruling Mr. Mugabe dismissed as nonsense — the government has proceeded with prosecutions of the farmers, some of whom have been subjected to violent land invasions. On Friday, the same tribunal held Zimbabwe’s government in contempt of court.

Some months ago, shortly before he joined Mr. Mugabe in government, Mr. Tsvangirai mused in an interview on the confounding question of how to deal with Mr. Mugabe and what Mr. Obama could do to help. He essentially acknowledged that he had not found the answer — and expressed a hope that Mr. Obama might have some ideas.

“The choice is do you reengage Robert Mugabe, or do you continue to alienate him?” he said. Neither had worked, he conceded.

Mr. Tsvangirai himself has been beaten, jailed, subjected to assassination attempts and tried on treason charges during the long years of Mr. Mugabe’s rule. He’s now trying to get along with Mr. Mugabe. But that comes with risks to Mr. Tsvangirai’s credibility.

Civic leaders, journalists and some diplomats are increasingly critical of Mr. Tsvangirai for trying to be nice to Mr. Mugabe instead of speaking out boldly and consistently when the repressive state security forces Mr. Mugabe controls abuse their power.

They also say his Movement for Democratic Change, which has a majority in Parliament, needs to use that power more aggressively to attempt to repeal laws that suppress freedom of the press and assembly.

“There are energetic measures he could be taking and instead he seems to be propitiating Mugabe,” said Iden Wetherell, a senior editor at two of Zimbabwe’s few independent newspapers, The Standard and The Independent.

But analysts here also say that despite Mr. Tsvangirai’s tactical missteps as he tries to outmaneuver Mr. Mugabe, one of Africa’s most cunning political survivors, he benefits from a reservoir of support and even devotion from ordinary Zimbabweans.

That sympathy has only deepened since his wife of 30 years was killed in car crash not long after he became prime minister, followed by the drowning of his 2-year-old grandson, who had come to Zimbabwe with his parents to attend his grandmother’s funeral.

“He’s clearly seen as a savior,” said Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist at the University of Zimbabwe. “And the deaths of his wife and grandson have raised his profile as someone who can endure suffering and still try to assist those he serves.”

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Tsvangirai holds meetings with IMF and World Bank in Washington

By Tichaona Sibanda
11 June 2009

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has held high level meetings with the
International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, in the build-up to his
Friday meeting with US President Barack Obama.

James Maridadi, Tsvangirai's spokesman, said the Prime Minister is trying to
establish ways and means of institutional re-engagement with multilateral
and bilateral partners, as well as the members of the international

'As a build-up to the White House meeting, Prime Minister Tsvangirai will
meet separately the Chairman of the Senate Sub-Committee on Africa,
Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, Republican Senator
John McCain and Secretary of State Mrs Hilary Rodham Clinton,' Maridadi

Economist Luke Zunga said Tsvangirai's meetings with the Breton Woods
Institutions would most likely have centred on how the country was going to
pay back the US$1 billion debt it owes to them.

'Tsvangirai cannot ask for the debts to be cancelled because that requires a
number of specific programmes to be in place in the country before that
happens. There should be tangible evidence of the restoration of human
rights and the rule of law for the IMF or World Bank to consider even
listening to his pleas for debt canceling,' Zunga said.

'In fact people should be told the truth that no aid money is going to
Zimbabwe anytime soon, as long as there are no reforms. The best Tsvangirai
can do now is to plead for aid to speed up constitutional reforms to allow
the country to have free and fair elections after the exercise,' Zunga

The Prime Minister has said he is not walking around with a begging bowl in
his hands, but is trying to re-establish ways and means of re-engaging the

The United States, not impressed so far with the speed of reforms in
Zimbabwe, has resolved to maintain targeted travel and financial
restrictions on Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF inner circle.

In a resolution passed unanimously on Tuesday, the US senate said targeted
sanctions and an arms embargo will remain in place until there is proof that
the inclusive government was moving towards the restoration of the rule of
law and upholding human rights.

The senate said suspension of non-humanitarian government-to-government
assistance will also remain in place.

Western nations, led by the US and Britain are withholding direct financial
support to the Harare administration, unconvinced that Mugabe is genuinely
committed to democratic change or to sharing power with Tsvangirai.

A clear sign of this was a statement by a ZANU PF cabinet minister, who said
'they' don't take directives from Tsvangirai. Information Minister Webster
Shamu said his ministry only accepts directives on important issues from

Shamu said this when opposing an application by a group of journalists,  who
won a court order to force his ministry to allow them to cover the just
ended COMESA summit, without accreditation from the defunct media
commission.  Shamu said in an affidavit that Tsvangirai was only head of
government business in parliament, according to a power-sharing agreement
signed by the three main political parties last year.

Shamu added that the Prime Minister did not have powers to appoint ministers
to Cabinet and therefore had no authority to issue directives to them.

This is exactly what the international community is worried about, that
Tsvangirai is only be a figurehead in government, without any authority to
change things.

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US looks for ways to 'appropriately' support Zim


Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai on Thursday that the United States is looking for ways to
"appropriately" back his tense unity government.

Clinton warmly welcomed Tsvangirai, who shares power with an internationally
reviled President Robert Mugabe, as a "longtime advocate for his country and
the people of Zimbabwe on behalf of human rights and economic opportunity...

"He is now in a unified government that is attempting to move Zimbabwe
forward into a better future," the chief US diplomat said as she stood
before the cameras with the former opposition leader.

"And I'm anxious to hear about the plans and the work that your government
is undertaking, and to look for ways that we appropriately can be
supportive," Clinton said.

Tsvangirai is on an international tour looking for assistance as his country
seeks to emerge from years of economic chaos, which has seen rampant
inflation and forced many Zimbabweans to flee the country.

In a television interview last month, Clinton said Mugabe's departure would
be in "the best interests of everyone" and that the United States would not
resume aid to the Zimbabwean government as long as it could not be sure it
would reach the people concerned.

Tsvangirai's welcome abroad contrasts with the international chill towards

Both the European Union and the United States maintain a travel ban and
asset freeze on Mugabe, his wife and inner circle in protest at
controversial elections and alleged human rights abuses by his government.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai on February 11 formed a power-sharing government
tasked with steering Zimbabwe back to stability after disputed elections
last year plunged the country into crisis.

Relations within the government remain tense.

Under the fledgling government's watch, more than $800-million in credit
lines have been secured to rebuild the shattered economy, and the
International Monetary Fund has said it will resume technical aid to Harare.

But that is still a fraction of the $8,5-billion the government says it
needs, and private firms say they want more guarantees that the rule of law
will be respected before they invest.

In the May interview with the South African Broadcasting Corporation,
Clinton recognised Mugabe's "historic contribution" to ending colonialism
and oppression by helping the former Rhodesia gain independence from Britain
in 1980.

"But for whatever reason, the last years of his rule have hurt so many of
his people," she said.

Clinton's talks with Tsvangirai precede those at the White House on Friday
with President Barack Obama. - AFP

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United States policy during the political transition in Zimbabwe



1st Session

S. RES. 176

Expressing the sense of the Senate on United States policy during the political transition in Zimbabwe, and for other purposes.


June 9, 2009

Mr. FEINGOLD (for himself, Mr. ISAKSON, Mr. KERRY, Mr. INHOFE, Mr. BURRIS, Mr. WHITEHOUSE, Mr. NELSON of Nebraska, Mr. DURBIN, Mr. CARDIN, and Mr. BROWNBACK) submitted the following resolution; which was considered and agreed to


Expressing the sense of the Senate on United States policy during the political transition in Zimbabwe, and for other purposes.

Whereas, over the course of the last decade, the Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), led by Robert Mugabe, increasingly turned to violence and intimidation to maintain power amidst government-directed economic collapse and a growing humanitarian crisis;

Whereas the Department of State’s 2008 Country Report on Human Rights Practices states that the Government of Zimbabwe ‘continued to engage in the pervasive and systematic abuse of human rights, which increased during the year,’ including unlawful killings, politically-motivated abductions, state-sanctioned use of excessive force and torture by security forces against opposition, student leaders, and civil society activists;

Whereas Zimbabwe held presidential and parliamentary elections on March 29, 2008, with official results showing that Mr. Mugabe won 43.2 percent of the vote, while Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), won 47.9 percent of the vote;

Whereas, in the wake of those elections, Mr. Mugabe and his allies launched a brutal campaign of violence against members and supporters of the MDC, voters and journalists, and other citizens of Zimbabwe, leading Mr. Tsvangirai to withdraw from the June 27, 2008, runoff presidential election, which Mr. Mugabe, the only remaining candidate, then won with 85 percent of the vote;

Whereas, on September 15, 2008, ZANU-PF and the MDC signed a ‘Global Political Agreement’ (GPA) to form a transitional government under which Mr. Mugabe would remain President, Mr. Tsvangirai would become Prime Minister, and the parties would divide control of the ministries;

Whereas the Global Political Agreement, as written, included provisions to restore the rule of law and economic stability and growth, establish a new constitution, end violence by state and non-state actors, and promote freedom of assembly, association, expression, and communication;

Whereas the installation of the transitional government stalled for five months as Mr. Mugabe and his allies refused to compromise on control of key ministries and security agencies and continued to use the state security apparatus to intimidate and commit violence against political opponents;

Whereas, according to the United Nations, the humanitarian situation during that time deteriorated to unprecedented levels, with an estimated 5,000,000 people in Zimbabwe susceptible to food insecurity, and collapsing water and sewerage services giving rise to a cholera epidemic that has resulted in the deaths of more than 4,000 people;

Whereas, on February 11, 2009, the parties finally formed the transitional government;

Whereas there has since been some progress toward the implementation of the Global Political Agreement, including positive steps by the Ministry of Finance, such as the issuance of a Short Term Economic Recovery Program (STERP) and the abandonment of the Zimbabwe dollar in favor of foreign currencies;

Whereas many of the reform-minded individuals within the new transitional government are limited by a severe lack of qualified personnel and material resources;

Whereas the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement continues to be obstructed by hardliners in the government, and important issues regarding senior government appointments remain unresolved, notably the status of the current Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney General;

Whereas ZANU-PF officials have made efforts to obstruct implementation of the Global Political Agreement as they continue to arrest legitimate journalists and human rights activists and delay the swearing into office of properly designated officials nominated by MDC; and

Whereas the security forces continue to operate outside the rule of law, condoning land invasions, restrictions on media access and freedoms, and harassment, arbitrary arrests, and detention of civil society activists in Zimbabwe: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that the United States Government, in coordination with other democratic governments and international institutions desiring to help the people of Zimbabwe, should–

(1) continue to provide humanitarian assistance to meet the urgent needs of the people of Zimbabwe;

(2) make available increased resources for nongovernmental entities to provide assistance and to pay salaries or fees to appropriately qualified people in Zimbabwe to enable progress to be made in the critical areas of education, health, water, and sanitation;

(3) welcome and encourage responsible efforts by the international community to support, strengthen, and extend reforms made by ministries within the Government of Zimbabwe, especially the Ministry of Finance;

(4) provide concrete financial and technical assistance in response to requests from the people of Zimbabwe and civil society organizations in their efforts to draft and enact a new constitution based on democratic values and principles that would enable the country to hold fair and free elections at an early date;

(5) work with and encourage regional governments and leaders to promote human rights, the restoration of the rule of law, and economic growth in Zimbabwe;

(6) maintain the existing ban on the transfer of defense items and services and the suspension of most non-humanitarian government-to-government assistance until there is demonstrable progress toward restoring the rule of law, civilian control over security forces, and respect for human rights in Zimbabwe; and

(7) support the continuation and updating of financial sanctions and travel bans targeted against those individuals responsible for the deliberate breakdown of the rule of law, politically motivated violence, and other ongoing illegal activities in Zimbabwe.

Via GovTrack

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PM speaks at Council on Foreign Relations

June 11, 2009

THE following if the full text of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's address
at the Council of Foreign Relations in Washington DC on Wednesday, June 11:

I AM here today to say thank you to America from the people of Zimbabwe. And
I want to thank the Council on Foreign Relations for the great opportunities
that you provide speakers like me to address these kinds of forums.

Thank you for your humanitarian aid, which as we speak, has saved the lives
of a million Zimbabweans. Thank you for your support for our struggle for
democracy, a struggle that continues today.

From your very founding, you stand upon the idea that all men all men
everywhere are created equal. That revolutionary ideal echoed through your
history through Abraham Lincoln who looked for the day that the weight would
be lifted off the shoulders of all men, and all would have a chance.

And President Barack Obama just last week, telling an audience in Cairo that
the hope of America is the hope of all humanity.

So as you provide emergency food and medical assistance to the people of
Zimbabwe, you also shine the light of hope to us and indeed to all the dark
places of the globe.

I first came to America 20 years ago as a young union leader. I had the good
fortunate to be selected for an international visitors program.

I spent 4 weeks, here, visiting all across the country from New York to
Wyoming to California -I saw your nation from sea to shining sea.

This was an eye opening experience, as you can imagine, for a young man who
had gone down into the mines in 1974. But one thing struck me that may
surprise you.

I was struck by how much the people of America reminded me of the people of

Mining, even in the best of circumstances is hard and dangerous work; and
most who do it learn to be good judges of the character of those around us.
And what I saw in the American people is also what I saw, and see, in the
people of Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans, like Americans, are a hard working people;
people who persevere in hard times and people with I'm told the American
word is "gumption."

The independent Zimbabwe I knew as a union leader was the best country in
Africa. We were a nation of different tribes, but without tribal
differences. We were a place where people of different backgrounds came
together working our farms and mines and making them the envy of our
continent. Our school system became the best in Africa we had good health
care, and our life expectancy rivaled that of nations in the global North.

In the last ten years, all that has been destroyed. Ten years ago we were
the 2nd largest economy in our region, behind only South Africa. Now we are
the smallest, behind the tiny nations of Swaziland and Lesotho.

The often unhappy 20th century saw too many countries devastated by war, and
too many governments which intentionally persecuted portions of their own
people. Despite the dawn of this new hopeful century, Zimbabwe stands as a
remarkable testimony of the power of a corrupt government, in pursuit of
selfish policies, to impoverish an entire nation.

The problem was evident to most Zimbabweans by the mid-1990s.
In 1999, from my post as Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, I called a National Working People's Convention, which led to the
organization of the Movement for Democratic Change as a direct response to
the people's dissatisfaction with the current political dispensation.

In the year the 2000, President Mugabe, in an attempt to circumvent a new
people's constitution, orchestrated one of his own which would have
increased his own powers, while diminishing those of the people.

To prevent this travesty, I joined other church, civil society, human rights
and labor leaders in the National Constitutional Assembly, to campaign
against the imposition of this sham constitution. In a national referendum
it was rejected by the majority of Zimbabweans, the last election in
Zimbabwe that outside observers have labeled free and fair. Sadly, rejection
of the government at the polls did not lead to the democratic change that
the people wanted.

In the series of elections since then, marred by violence and voting
irregularities, the results announced by the ruling party in each case left
the democratic opposition just short of the votes needed to take power.

At the end of 2008, African leaders, many genuinely concerned about
democracy and others who could no longer ignore the Zimbabweans dying on
their streets, brought about a negotiated settlement which resulted in my
becoming Prime Minister of Zimbabwe.

The leaders of our party, the Movement for Democratic Change, agreed to that
negotiated settlement very reluctantly. Many of us had been tortured by the
regime with which we were to form this new government; all of us had seen
friends and supporters killed.

In the weeks leading up to this negotiated settlement, President Mugabe
began a campaign to force out the humanitarian agencies which were the only
source of sustenance and medical support for the majority of Zimbabweans. To
walk away from the negotiating table would have been to watch as many as
four million people starve and generations lose their right to education and
employment opportunities.

Thus, we decided that we had to take the struggle for democracy into a new
arena but this does not compromise our ideal to fight for democracy. Like
Nelson Mandela, I agreed to work with a non-democratic regime as a
transition to full democracy.

June 11, marks four months since my swearing in as prime minister.

Zimbabwe is changing. Already Zimbabwe is a different place, a significantly
better place. As a society, we were near death, and we have come back to

In our first hundred days we provided first aid in a desperate situation;
and we did four big things - real change that brought real results.

First, we stopped the printing presses. The Zimbabwe dollar, the most
inflated currency in the history of the world, is gone. The US dollar and
South African rand are effectively our national currencies. As a result, our
record-setting inflation is gone.

Second, we stopped forcing the print media to be licensed. If I may
paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, a people with newspapers and no government are
safer than people who have a government but no newspapers.

Third, we have launched constitutional reform, which will lead to a people
driven constitution and free elections. This was the promise of the National
Constitutional Assembly; and it will come to pass.

Fourth, we took the riot police off the streets. Our capital city, Harare is
no longer a city under armed occupation.

With those four steps, we have kept hope alive.

Our schools, which had almost all closed, are now mostly open.

The year's backlog on marking exam papers has been cleared, so children can
receive their grades.

Some of our hospitals have some medication to treat some of the sick.
Garbage is being removed from the streets in our cities and towns. Food aid
is mostly available for the five million people who need it. The basic
necessities of ordinary life are present on our store shelves. All these are
the results of our specific policies but also of the people's trust. The
people have gone back to work because they trust that the struggle for
democracy in the new arena will be successful and that henceforth their
government will be on their side.

As the people gain hope and change gains momentum, bigger challenges lie

On June 1, the Movement for Democratic Change at its 10th annual convention
formally appealed to SADC-the South African Development Community-to resolve
the government deadlock over Reserve Bank Governor and the Attorney General.

Under the Global Political Agreement, both of those positions were to be
filled by consensus of all parties; and both incumbents were unilaterally
re-appointed by President Mugabe.

It is time that the Africa leaders, those who said the Global Political
Agreement was an African solution to an Africa problem, it is time for them
to step up.

The people of southern Africa, led by their labor unions, churches and
liberation heroes have proved to be friends of the people of Zimbabwe in
their time of need; their government leaders need to follow suit.

I welcome the involvement in Africa of President Barack Obama. And his
emphasis on rebuilding what you call America's "soft power."

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is the architect of the worst inflation in the
history of the world. Our reserve bank has managed the economic policies
that pushed at least three million refugees (out of a population of twelve
million) to swim crocodile infested rivers to escape our once happy land.

We need to rectify the un-procedural appointment of the Reserve Bank
Governor and the Attorney General. The office of the Attorney General has
been so compromised that instead of dispensing justice to all fairly, we
have witnessed selective application of the law.

The Africa leaders who are guardians of the inclusive government need to
step forward now and tell President Robert Mugabe that Gideon Gono and
Johannes Tomana must go.

The global political agreement, of which those leaders are the guarantors,
must be enforced.

As I am here in Washington DC, I also need to address the application of the
GPA on the question of the restrictive measures against officials of the
prior government.

The GPA calls for all parties in Zimbabwe to work for an end to these
restrictions. I am committed to the implementation of the GPA and the
restoration of the rule of law. Those in our government who are personally
listed, should join me in that stand. When they do, world support for the
removal of all restrictions will be unstoppable.

Now, let's look ahead. Zimbabwe over the last decade, can serve for many
years as a bad example. A government that refuses to be accountable to the
people can implement policies that bankrupt a nation.

I look forward to Zimbabwe serving as a good example.

Under our Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme, farmers are no longer
required to sell their crops to the government's grain marketing control

The government's prior monopoly policies meant low prices for the farmer,
high costs to the consumer, and overseas bank accounts for a few. No wonder
we were producing only 20 percent of the food we needed.

Our STERP also allows our mines to sell minerals at world prices which
should reverse the collapse of our mining sector. The plans of the previous
government to nationalize the mines have been shelved.

We will also change the policies that brought our manufacturing sector to
operate at only 10 percent of capacity.

In addition, we will again welcome the world at our airports. Tourism is 10
percent of our economy yet we scared away our tourists while preventing
airlines from bringing them to our beautiful country.

Finally, one of our greatest needs is the return of talent. Sadly, many of
those who first fled from the previous government were those whose language
proficiency and educational attainment made them most marketable in other
countries-the brightest graduates of what was once the best school system in
Africa. We need those people to come back home. They have an indispensable
place in the new Zimbabwe.

Let me reiterate, once again, that democratisation is the first plank of our
economic recovery programme. We will build Zimbabwe around democracy, free
elections, freedom of speech and assembly, respect for property rights, and
the rule of law. The growth of prosperity that follows these policies will
be slower than the collapse brought about by their absence. But just as

Each time I am amazed and challenged by America. Amazed by what free people,
blessed by rich resources, can do. And challenged by the knowledge that
Zimbabwe, also blessed by rich resources and burning with the desire to be
free, can do what you have done here.

As America has been a beacon of hope for the world, Zimbabwe can be the
engine of progress and democracy that transforms the African continent.

Thank you, America for having kept hope alive. Join me, America, as our
peoples move forward together.

I thank you

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Finance Minister Biti to address World Economic Forum

By Lance Guma
11 June 2009

Finance Minister Tendai Biti will address the World Economic Forum in South
Africa on Friday. He is expected to use his speech to make an appeal for
financial aid to fund the coalition governments 'Short Term Emergency
Recovery Programme'. Biti will be part of a panel that includes Deputy South
African President Kgalema Motlanthe and Kingdom Meikles Africa group chief
executive officer, Nigel Chanakira. Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
will also address the same forum.

Speaking to Newsreel on Thursday Biti said he took part in a fund raising
dinner Wednesday evening in which he met South Africa's new Finance
Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and Trade Minister Rob Davis. Key investors in
both the public and private sector were also present. Asked if he was
battling skepticism towards the coalition government Biti said 'I don't see
where the skepticism is coming from when you see the progress we have made?
A year ago Zimbabwe was a war zone, now it is not.'

Pressed further on the MDC's own admission that there were outstanding
issues Biti said; 'The MDC is a party in government but not the government.'
He said the mixed messages were being generated by journalists who did not
appreciate the distinction. But with Prime Minister Tsvangirai getting
demands for more reforms before any aid, during his trip to Europe and
America, Newsreel asked Biti if this was not a clear sign that the
outstanding issues were hampering progress.

'That's an unscientific appreciation of why the Prime Minister is out. The
Prime Minister has not gone there with a black briefcase to receive cheques.
He has gone there to engage and re-intergrate (the country). That never used
to happen. It's not about the cheque book. It's about nation building,' Biti

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BBC created assassination story - Holland

June 11, 2009

sekai-holland1By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Sekai Holland, Zimbabwe’s Minister for National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, has dismissed a BBC report which featured her this week as she painted a grim picture of the prospects of violence in Zimbabwe.She said in the interview, which was broadcast on BBC TV and radio as well as posted online, that a list was being compiled by Zanu-PF hardliners of mainstream MDC officials who were earmarked for assassination.

Holland who sustained severe injuries and was admitted to hospital as a result of Zanu-PF violence in 2007, told BBC reporter Mike Thomson that the recent spate of arrests and abductions showed that even ministers of state like her were not safe.

“No one feels safe in Zimbabwe,” Holland said. “Nobody feels safe; and I mean no one. We are always everyday getting telephone calls, different members of MDC-T. We are getting calls of different names of people who are going to be assassinated.”

Holland said she believed the worst violence ever was being planned to coincide with elections, which she said were due in 18 months.

Holland has now categorically denied she ever granted an interview to any BBC reporter, this despite the existence of the video in which she speaks spiritedly. The link to the video is:

Answering a question after he spoke at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington Wednesday Prime Minister Tsvangirai expressed doubt over reports that allies of Mugabe had drawn up an assassination list of their MDC opponents.

“If there is anyone who would be afraid of being assassinated, it would be me,” Tsvangirai, said. “I am sure that there is no such threat.”

Contacted in Harare Holland promptly changed her story. Not only did she dismiss the BBC report as a fabrication, she attacked the BBC in scathing terms.

“I’m really quite surprised by this story,” Holland said. “These people came here three months ago and said they are with an NGO in the UK and they were looking at the situation to fundraise for children so we were talking as if we were talking with the NGO for children.

“Then we explained the things which were going well and the things which we have achieved so they said what are the things you think need to be improved on - so we had just started talking about the rumours that were current at that time. So the story as far as I can see is about the negative things which we said and nothing about the good things which we said, nothing.”

But far from speaking about the needs of children on the video, Holland tells the BBC that she and other members of the MDC, including fellow ministers, were receiving threatening phone calls every day.

They had been told that hard-line members of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party were adding their names to a lengthening assassination list.

In the story posted on the Internet by the BBC the same day Holland also claimed that 39 000 militiamen “working inside the civil service and outside” were being paid a wage of $100 a day to beat up MDC supporters, in the event of an election.

This, she said, meant that violence in the next elections could be even worse than in 2008, when some 200 people were killed and thousands injured.

Yesterday she ferociously denied she ever made these statements.

“Once the media decide to be irresponsible what are we supposed to do,” she asked. “I think that people who wish Zimbabwe well are going to pick up the story of what is going on well and there are these residual elements that our president talks about - those are the people doing this, the residual elements are always going to be there.”

Holland claimed she had not given an interview to any BBC journalist.

“I hear that I was on the BBC. If they did this interview several months ago, which they did, they should have come back to me for an update because the situation in Zimbabwe is changing all the time.”

The Holland-Thompson spat becomes the latest episode in the love-hate relationship between the BBC and the MDC. In this relationship the politicians are only too happy to grant exclusive interviews only to BBC correspondents, only to rush back to local journalists once the exclusives have backfired, often through no fault of the journalists.

Said Holland: “Whoever did that story at the BBC to me that shows very bad journalism in bad faith and a total lack of respect for me and the people they lied to here. They should have been honest because I’m from the MDC and there is nothing to hide in Zimbabwe anymore, absolutely nothing.”

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State Denied Tsvangirai Media Crew For His Foreign Tour

HARARE, June 11 2009 - The Ministry of Information and Publicity
failed to give Prime Minister Tsvangirai a media crew to travel with him on
his tour to European Union States and the USA.

Sources in the ministry said Tsvangirai's office wrote a letter to the
Ministry of Information and Publicity requesting that they make available a
media crew to travel with the Prime Minister.

"The letter was written by Prime Minister Tsvangirai's Chief Secretary
Ian Makone to Minister Webster Shamu and Permanent Secretary George Charamba
but the two never responded," said the sources.

Prime minister Tsvangirai's office is said to have offered to meet the
costs for the media crew.

The Minister of Tourism Walter Mzembi was even left fuming last
weekend when a ZBC reporter arrived at the airport to cover his departure
without a camera.

Mzembi was part of Tsvangirai's delegation.

But ZBC Chief Executive Officer, Happisson Muchechetere, told RadioVOP
Thursday that only the President is entitled to travel with a news crew.

"You can't compare the President and Prime Minister. It is only the
President who gets coverage when he is out of the country," said

"This is because of protocol and resource constraints. The resources
that we have are only for the President but i think in future if we get a
request we can ask the Ministry of Finance to foot the bill."

The state media has been over the past days covering Tsvangirai's trip
in a very negative manner. The Herald is leading the onslaught. It first
carried a reports suggesting that Tsvangirai had been sent to Europe and the
United States by President Mugabe with a special brief of having sanctions

The papers has been consistently building up the negative coverage
carrying misleading headlines such as "Dutch Snub Tsvangirai" and
"Tsvangirai to face American resistance."

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Zimbabwe needs over $2 bln for construction, jobs

Thu Jun 11, 2009 10:40am GMT

By Wendell Roelf

CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - Zimbabwe needs over $2 billion to initially kick-start
job creation and construction in its shattered economy, the country's public
works minister said on Thursday.

"I think (we initially need) upwards of $2 billion, because we are looking
at construction of roads, dams and those kind of things, which take up a lot
of money," Minister Theresa Makone told Reuters on the sidelines of the
World Economic Forum's Africa meeting in Cape Town.

A new unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has said the country needs around $10 billion overall to
stabilise an economy marked by chronic unemployment, disinvestment, acute
poverty and political strife.

Tsvangirai is currently on a tour of Europe and the United States attempting
to drum up cash from donors, but the trip has so far yielded few concrete
pledges of new support.

Using the United States as an example of how countries were building
themselves out of a recession, Makone said new schools, hospitals and
government offices was a key focus in Zimbabwe's economic recovery.

"If we create 4 million jobs within the next 12 to 18 months, we would have
done stupendously well," she said.

The United Nations has estimated Zimbabwe's unemployment at 94 percent in
the country of about 12 million people.

The government forecasts its economy to grow by 2.8 percent in 2009,
although analysts said foreign currency shortages could curb economic

Makone said Old Mutual Properties and Group 5 construction company were
among those expressing interest in taking part in Zimbabwean reconstruction.

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Zanu-pf deals a blow to new constitution

MDC shocked by their decision

Zimbabwe's plans to craft a new home grown constitution have derailed after
Zanu PF resolved not to participate due to lack of allowancies for their
members of parliament.

Thursday 11 June 2009, by Alice Chimora

All Zanu PF members of parliament, at their caucus meeting on Wednesday,
reached a decision to stay away from the exercise after they learnt that
they would not be paid.

Meetings to gather views from the public were due to commence Saturday, in a
process that would lead to a new constitution by September next year.

Currently the southern African country is under a 1979 constitution agreed
at the Lancaster House talks in London and has been amended 19 times.

About US$36 million is needed to finance the process but government it is
too broke to pursue the planned process.

A crisis meeting held late Thursday to resolve the issue failed to persuade
the boycotting MPs to change their minds. The MDC has said that it is
shocked by their decision.

According to them, this shows that Zanu PF is not committed to the Global
Political Agreement that calls for the crafting of a new constitution.

The first major attempt to introduce a new constitution between 1999 and
2000 failed after the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and other civil
society groupings successfully campaigned against a government sponsored

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Former Judge and human rights defender Sansole dies in car crash

By Violet Gonda
11 June 2009

Former Judge and human rights defender Washington Sansole died in a car
crash in South Africa on Monday. Journalist Peta Thornycroft, who spoke with
family members of the 66 year old former judge, said he was travelling
through South Africa with his Lesotho wife Bapsi, on their way to a funeral
in Lesotho. The couple were driving in different cars when the judge's
vehicle was involved in an accident near Bloemfontein. Two of his wife's
relatives from Lesotho were believed to have died in the same accident.

Sansole, who was a passenger, was not killed immediately but died later in
hospital. Thornycroft said: "It is a terrible shame to lose such a long term
struggler for democracy from before independence and after."

"As a journalist, he was one of the very few people I actually trusted. If
he gave me information it was true. He was one of those people of
extraordinary integrity and maturity and of course that is why he quit the
High Court, long before even the MDC came around."

The highly regarded former judge once said about Mugabe: "An accomplished
fraud. I was never disappointed by him because I never expected very much."

Sansole was one of the founders of the Forum Party, led by the late Chief
Justice Enock Dumbutshena. Thornycroft said Sansole believed the judiciary
had been wiped out more or less with the departure of Justice Dumbutshena.

Sansole was a Tonga from Hwange district and was educated at Roma University
in Lesotho and later Kings College in London. He returned to Zimbabwe soon
after independence and joined the bench, but this didn't last long.
Thornycroft said he was affected by the atrocities going on in Matabeleland
in the mid 80s and soon left the bench and went into private practice.

He represented writer and political activist Judith Todd's struggle to
retain her citizenship after the Mugabe regime changed immigration laws
ahead of the 2002 presidential elections. She is the daughter of the late
Rhodesian Prime Minister Sir Garfield Todd.

Sansole was also arrested at one point when he was a director of the company
which owned The Daily News, which was effectively silenced by the regime.

Thornycroft said: "He had the earliest insights into the rot of ZANU PF that
many people think only started in 2000. Of course it didn't, it started
almost as they took office. But as the late Willie Musarurwa used to say;
'We all did sunshine journalism in those days'. But Washington Sansole saw
it very early on."

She said he would have been a prime candidate to sit on a human rights
commission in a new Zimbabwe, if the process was going to be based on merit
and wisdom.

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Death of Tsvangirai's wife no accident, says advisor
Morgan Tsvangirai visited the Netherlands on Monday, June 8.   Photo AP Morgan Tsvangirai visited the Netherlands on Monday, June 8.  Photo AP Published: 11 June 2009 14:19 | Changed: 11 June 2009 14:59 By Paddy Maguire for RNW
The car crash in March this year which caused the death of the Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai's wife Susan was not an accident, says Dutchman Peter Hermes, an independent advisor to Tsvangirai.

“I think that the judiciary in Zimbabwe is very busy covering up what happened. Also the police didn’t investigate what happened. They were destroying forensic evidence immediately after the accident. They left the car for a couple of days upside down by the side of the road so it was very hard for independent investigators to find evidence,” says Hermes who has worked closely with Tsvangirai ever since he was a union leader.

Hermes’ comments come just days after a magistrate in the town of Chivhu postponed judgement in the case of the driver accused of causing Susan Tsvangirai’s death as a result of her being thrown out of the car following the collision. Chinowona Mwanda maintained that he had hit a concrete lump in the road, lost control of his vehicle and hit the prime minister’s Land Cruiser as it travelled in convoy along the Harare-Masvingo highway.

While Tsvangirai himself has always maintained it was an accident, rumours surrounding the crash have persisted. It has been widely publicised that Deon Theron, the vice-president of Zimbabwe’s commercial farmers union, happened to be at the scene of the accident and took photographs that the police could have used as evidence. Instead, according to media reports, the police arrested him and destroyed the evidence.

“There has been an investigation by the MDC [Tsvangirai's party Movement for Democratic Change] people itself. The report has not been released and I haven’t seen the report, but information leaked out," Hermes explains. He says the circumstantial evidence indicates that there is more to the story than came out during the trial of Chinowona Mwanda.

"Firstly of all, he [the truck driver] was not an employee of the company that hired the car to US Aid, which had hired the car for food transport. The person who normally drove it was not driving that day. It has also been shown that he was a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation – like the two people in the cars in front and behind Tsvangirai. They were appointed by Robert Mugabe to protect the prime minister – but at the moment of the accident both those cars were far away from car of Tsvangirai. Which is also very suspicious, you could say.”

So how can Hermes speak with such conviction, when the evidence is only circumstantial? While he has no concrete proof that there was an actual conspiracy, he remains certain he is right.

“I am convinced [it was not an accident] but I can’t prove it. There have been many accidents in the past for political reasons in Zimbabwe in which many people have died. There has never been any proof that the government was involved. However everyone believes it has been the case. Another surcomstantial piece of evidence is that arrangements for Mugabe to visit the hospital after the accident had been made before it actually took place. Like I say, I have no proof, but this is my opinion.”

Prime minister Tsvangirai himself has always denied it was anything more than an accident. “He also can’t prove it. If he were to begin to stress the opinion that it was not an accident it would put pressure on the inclusive government - and possibly cause that inclusive government to fall apart. In the interests of the people of Zimbabwe he thinks it is better to express the opinion that it was an accident.”

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Declaration of the civic society leaders conference on constitutional reform

11 June 2009

By The Zimbabwean

We, the heads of Civic Society Organizations, representing over 80
organizations, having met in Harare, on the 3rd of June 2009, to discuss
issues associated with meaningful civil society engagement with the
constitutional reform process, and
Having heard and engaged with 2 of the 3 Co-Chairs of the Parliamentary
Select Committee on Constitutional reform, and Having discussed amongst
ourselves and understood the different dominant approaches that are
currently there in terms of engagement with the Constitutional reform

Therefore declare as follows:
1.    That we acknowledge that an opportunity for constitutional reform
exists in Zimbabwe during this transitional period.

2.    That the process of constitutional reform, as envisaged in Article 6
does not satisfy our long held conceptions of what a constitutional reform
process ought to be like,

3.    That laws such as POSA and AIPPA need to be repealed urgently, as they
curtail civil liberties that are necessary for meaningful participation by
citizens in the constitution making process. The operating environment for
CSOs and the political environment in general, still need reforming.

4.    That we still remain guided by principles adopted severally over time
with regards to constitutional reform and constitution making.

5.    That there are 3 dominant approaches from civic society in terms of
engaging with the constitutional reform process
i.    Those that are willing to engage, in the sense of being part of the
sub committees envisaged under Article 6,
ii.    Those who will not be part of the Article 6 subcommittees but are
intent on doing civic education work on the constitutional reform process,
mobilize citizens to be aware of the process and watch over the process as
it unfolds and
iii.    Those that believe the Article six process cannot yield a meaningful
and legitimate outcome hence will not participate in it.

1.     DO NOT AGREE in a unitary approach in terms of engaging the
constitutional reform process. To that end, we commit to doing a proper
mapping exercise on who is doing what and using which approach in the
constitutional reform process, in a bid to get likeminded organizations
sharing capacities and harnessing resources and energies.

2..    Acknowledge  that the 3 approaches are not mutually exclusive of each
other, as they all seek the betterment of our country - and attainment of a
new democratic constitution, and should be allowed to co-exist in a manner
that allows for coordination, accommodation, and information sharing - and
will, to that end, all be publicized.

3.    Have the responsibility to empower the people through civic education
and information dissemination and should do so to enable people to make
their own decisions, regardless of the approach being taken by each
individual member of civic society.

4.    Rally behind the position that the Kariba Draft should not be the
starting point of the constitutional reform process, or be the constitution
for Zimbabwe - the process should start on a clean slate.

Way Forward
We therefore commit ourselves to the following as we move forward:

i.    That through our different sectors and collectively, we will develop
and publicize sets of principles on both the process and the content issues
related to the constitutional reform process, which will bench mark the

ii.    We will get on with the business of engaging with communities on the
constitutional reform process.

iii.    We will stay informed about what the select committee is doing, so
that we can operate on the basis of knowledge, regardless of the approach
that is being taken.

iv.    We will raise key issues on the operating environment that are
inimical to a proper process on the constitutional reform process.

v.    We will ensure that the process currently underway under article 6 has
checks and balances, by encouraging the 3 approaches mentioned above, and
will not allow our diversity to lead to paralysis or fragmentation

vi.    We will allow the existing coalitions to act as the areas of
convergence - for the divergent views and positions.

vii.    We will encourage tolerance and respect of divergent views and
approaches, knowing that our primary constituencies are the same.

We will to that end proceed with plans to hold a 2009 Peoples Constitutional
Convention on the 26th and 27th of June 2009, where at least 2000 people
will be in attendance from a broad church of civic society groups.

The coordinating committee that convened the conference will convene the
convention, and thematic clusters will henceforth begin coordination towards
the convention, which will have the following as its objectives:
1.    To prepare civil society in its different hues for meaningful
engagement with the different processes associated with the constitutional
reform process.
2.    To define or adopt civil society principles   on constitutionalism
(both process and content)
3.    To encourage a strategic, mutually reinforcing co-relationship between
the 3 approaches mentioned above.
4.    To begin the process of having well coordinated and organised broader
civic society strategic engagement with the constitutional reform process,
in a bid to aim for a strategy to achieve a people driven and democratic
constitution in Zimbabwe.
5.    To develop a consensus position on self-executing clauses on when the
constitution comes to life and transitional arrangements around the next
The Convention will be open to all willing proponents of the 3 approaches
discussed at this conference.

Declared in Harare on the 3rd Day of June 2009.

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Matinenga says Madhuku double-faced

June 11, 2009

By Our Correspondent

BULAWAYO - Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Eric Matinenga
has accused National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairperson, Lovemore
Madhuku, of being double faced in his quest to be part of the drafting
process of a new constitution.

In a thinly veiled attack on the constitutional law lecturer, Matinenga,
also a lawyer, said Zimbabwe was now awash with people who would leave no
stone unturned in seeking to implement their self-aggrandizement schemes.

He said most of those bent on self-aggrandizement had made it a point they
would not be part of Zimbabwe's progressive forces but will work to ensure
that national causes fail as a result of their energies being thrust towards
derailing the national effort.

Matinenga's attack on Madhuku was made months after the NNCA chairman
branded both leaders of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), trade
unionist, Morgan Tsvangirai and Robotics professor Arthur Mutambara as

Mutambara has however admitted that he became deputy-prime minister-ship
through taking advantage of opportunities that presented themselves to him.
Mutambara lost a parliamentary election in March 2008 but wormed his way,
opportunistically, his critics say, into the office of deputy Prime
Minister11 months later. Tsvangirai has never responded to Madhuku's charge.

Addressing delegates attending a two-day Christian Alliance consultative
workshop on the constitution which was held in Bulawayo from Tuesday to
yesterday, Matinenga said there was need for all Zimbabweans to work towards
the success of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) as well as the success
of the constitution-making process.

Regrettably, Matinenga said, Zimbabwe was now full of people who were
glory-seekers, saying such antics derailed the efforts of all other
Zimbabweans to restore the country to its rightful place on the African
continent and the world picture at large.

He said Zimbabwe now boasts of people with PhD's, not educational PhD's but
qualifications on how they could pull other progressive forces down.

"We have people who are highly qualified," said Matinenga, "highly qualified
not because of their educational qualifications, but who hold PhD's as in
Pull Him Down. Zimbabwe is at the moment at a critical stage where we do not
need such types of people.

"We need people who will combine their energies with other progressive
forces so as to attain national goals of national prosperity," Matinenga

Matinenga said it was a surprise that Madhuku was now turning against the
parliamentary-led constitutional consultation process while he and the NCA
had assented to it in the first place.

"According to Section 6: sub-section (1) of the People's Charter," said
Matinenga, "it was agreed at the National People's Convention that all
stakeholders would join forces towards the making of the constitution of

"That section talks about the convening of an all-stakeholders conference
which the NCA affixed its signature to as agreeing that it would be part and
parcel of the exercise leading to the stakeholders' convention in July."

He said by affixing his signature on the February 8, 2008 People's Charter,
Madhuku and the NCA were also in agreement they would be part and parcel of
a process that would also involve politicians, Parliament, the government of
Zimbabwe as well as civic society.

He said, "It is surprising now that someone makes a U-turn and reneges on an
agreement that he signed in 2008 and calls for a parallel process. It simply
fits into the PhD syndrome I referred to," Matinenga said, seeking to pull
Madhuku down.

He also questioned Madhuku's capacity to rally the people of Zimbabwe to
partake in his own parallel process, saying government was able to
capacitate people into participating in the constitutional process led by

"When we talk about people-centred constitution making process, we mean we
have the capacity to capacitate the people of Zimbabwe to effectively
participate in the making of a new constitution. It is our hope that we all
have that capacity as we move towards rolling the process to a start," said

He however urged the church to take a leading role in educating the people
under its belt on the constitution-making process saying there was need for
the church to know, respect, and capture the views of the people as they
would have been put across.

Matinenga said there was no need for people to reject the new constitution
on the basis that their views were not included in the new document being
sought, saying the 2000 referendum situation should not repeat itself in

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Doctor claims farmer called sister "kaffir"

June 11, 2009

By Our Correspondent

Dr ARIKANA Chihombori, the American doctor who became embroiled in
controversy this week after a picture of her walking with Prime Minister,
Morgan Tsvangirai, did a round on Internet publications and set tongues
wagging, amid reports she was in the process of expropriating land from a
Chegutu commercial farmer, has finally spoken.

Chihombori granted Violet Gonda of SW Radio Africa an interview in which she
claimed that the Cremers, the owners of De Rus Farm, the Chegutu property
that she wants to turn into her own home, had abused her unnamed  sister as
well as a Chegutu lands officer when the two visited the farm to present her
interest in the farm to them.

"At one point Mr (M.L.) Cremer let his dog at them," she said. "He started
yelling at my sister, calling her a cold stupid kaffir and that he was not
going to listen to any instructions from a kaffir."

Chihombori again said that she had been issued with an offer letter
authorising her to take over part of De Rus Farm. She is apparently
interested in occupying the part of the farm where the farmhouse is

Chihombori said she was a Zimbabwean and had a right to land. She said she
had been given the offer letter because she had proved she had the resources
to engage in farming. Asked if it was right in her opinion for one person to
invade the property of another, Chihombori said government's land
redistribution programme was designed to correct historical injustices.

Chihombori was born in colonial Rhodesia in 1957. She was educated in the US
and has lived and practiced as a doctor in the State of Tennessee for the
past 30 years. She is said to be married to a Ghanaian, who is also a

She is the chief executive officer of the Bell Family Medical Centre which
she founded in Tennessee in 1992. She is also co-owner of the Mid-Tennessee
Medical Associates, a multi-specialty clinic with 16 physicians.

In 1999 her company received US$750 000 from the World Bank to fund its
involvement with the Torwood Hospital and Redcliff Medical Center in the
town of Redcliff, in the Midlands Province near Kwekwe. Redcliff is the once
thriving home of Zisco, the troubled steel producer.

One of Redcliff's better known entrepreneurs is none other than Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who is now the proprietor of the town's only
hotel, Redcliff Hotel. It is a popular venue for conferences and workshops
organised by the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, with the minister hovering
in the background and granting the occasional interview on the sidelines.

Sources say Prime Minister Tsvangirai has a wealthy brother who lives in
Redcliff and mines for gold in the area.

Back in Chegutu, the Cremer family says Chihombori's sister sent a group of
unemployed youths to take over the farm in January. They say the occupation
lasted only three days, after which the youths left. They complained that
they were paid too little. In April Chihombori applied to the courts for an
application to evict the Cremer family. She produced an offer letter dated
December 2008.

Chihombori revealed to SW Radio Africa that she was withdrawing the case for
the eviction of the Cremers from the magistrate's court - at least for the
time being. She says her withdrawal was the result of the way the Cremers
had abused her sister and the Chegutu lands officer.

Chihombori says it was because of this alleged abuse by Cremer and not
because of any pressure from Prime Minister Tsvangirai to leave the farm
that she was stepping back.

The Newzimbabwe website reported on Tuesday that Tsvangirai was going to
instruct Chihombori to "walk away from that farm".

As she finally broke her silence Chihombori said on Wednesday that she was,
indeed, related to Tsvangirai. The Prime Minister has reportedly denied any
relationship with the woman in whose company he was photographed in
controversial circumstances at the inauguration of South Africa's President
Jacob Zuma in Pretoria on Saturday, May 9.

A well placed source in the MDC said on Tuesday that Tsvangirai and
Chihombori were, in fact, not related. It has also been reported that the
Prime Minister has denied any relationship with the doctor and that he did
so after he was challenged by US ambassador, James McGee, after it
transpired that his companion at the inauguration in Pretoria was in the
process of invading a commercial farm in Chegutu. McGee became involved in
the saga because Chihombiro is an American citizen.

Zimbabwean law does not permit dual-citizenship. It is a mystery how, in
this case, an American citizen was issued with an offer letter to facilitate
her appropriation of a commercial farm in Zimbabwe.

Despite Tsvangirai's reported denial of any relationship with Chihombiro,
his spokesman, James Maridadi, insisted on Wednesday that the two were
indeed related.

"Dr. Chihombori is the Prime Minister's niece and that is not in dispute.
She is 52 years old and an uncle cannot be held responsible for the
commissions or omissions on the part of a 52-year old niece." Maridadi said.

Tsvangirai is a 57-year old widower. His wife died in a tragic car accident
in March, hardly a month after he was sworn in as Prime Minister. The storm
that he is currently riding while on a tour of the United States and
European states has its roots in the picture taken in Pretoria. The
revelation that the Prime Minister was escorting a land-grabber who
presumably forfeited her Zimbabwean citizenship ages ago aggravated the

Maridadi has explained before that Tsvangirai and Chihombori were invited to
the inauguration separately and only met at the function, presumably just
before they entered the venue. It is not clear yet in what capacity the
Tennessee doctor was invited to the inauguration.

"Now that there is a lot of interest coming out in the press," Maridadi said
Wednesday, "I think there may be need for the Prime Minister to maybe look
at the case more closely and then determine what kind of action to take from

"But as of now the Prime Minister is on a very busy schedule of his tour of
the US and Europe. He doesn't have a lot of time to engage in the issue of
the Cremers' Farm and he doesn't have the facts."

Maridadi said the Prime Minister had not engaged anyone in any discussion
pertaining to the issue of the farm. This statement suggests that the
allegation made by the Commercial Farmers' Union and published this week
that Tsvangirai had discussed the Chihombori affair with the US ambassador
was, in fact false.

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Hong Kong government defends assault let-off for Mugabe bodyguards

Asia-Pacific News
Jun 11, 2009, 3:10 GMT

   Hong Kong - Hong Kong's head prosecutor on Thursday defended the decision
not to try bodyguards for Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's daughter over
an alleged assault on two photographers.

   Director of Public Prosecutions Grenville Cross said the Department of
Justice decided not to take the case to court because the bodyguards were
'genuinely apprehensive for the safety of Miss (Bona) Mugabe' at the time of
the incident.

'It is recognized throughout the common law world that before a prosecution
can be started any defences which are plainly open to a suspect must be
considered ... and the decision not to prosecute was taken without fear or
favour,' he said in a letter to Thursday's South China Morning Post.

The Hong Kong government has come under fire for deciding not to prosecute
the two bodyguards after they allegedly assaulted newspaper photographers
outside the house where Bona Mugabe is living while she studies at
university in the former British colony.

   Photographers Colin Galloway and Tim O'Rourke, working for Britain's
Sunday Times newspaper investigating the Mugabe family's links to Hong Kong,
were confronted by the male and female bodyguards outside the
5-million-US-dollar house on February 13.

   Galloway said he was was gripped by the throat and lifted off his feet by
a male bodyguard while American O'Rourke was assaulted by the female

   Police were called and classified the case as assault before referring
the case in March to the Department of Justice, which announced earlier this
week that there should be no prosecution.

   Anger at the case was intensified by the fact that weeks before the
incident, Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace, allegedly assaulted another
photographer, Richard Jones, for taking photographs of her shopping in Hong

   After receiving a police report indicating there was sufficient evidence
to prosecute, the Department of Justice concluded that Grace Mugabe was
entitled to diplomatic immunity as the president's wife.

   The Hong Kong Journalists Association and a leading legislator described
the decision on the bodyguards as damaging for press freedom while the
lawyer acting for the two photographers said he is considering seeking a
judicial review in the city's High Court.

   The lawyer said vital evidence, including a tape recording in which one
of the bodyguards appears to admit assaulting the photographers 'because you
were taking photographs,' was overlooked by the Department of Justice.

   Defending the decision, however, Cross described the case as 'borderline'
and said it was not justified or in the public interest to allow it to go to

   'The bodyguards were genuinely apprehensive for the safety of Miss Mugabe
when the two persons, whom they considered to be trespassers, suddenly
appeared as she was about to go to university,' he said.

   He said if cases were not vetted, 'the courts would be flooded with
unmeritorious prosecutions of people who should never have been placed on
trial. This would undermine the system of criminal justice.'

   The bodyguards, Mapfumo Marks and Manyaira Reliance Pepukai, are expected
to return to Zimbabwe soon with 20-year-old Bona Mugabe when Hong Kong
universities begin their summer vacations.

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Sanctions, Sanctions and more Sanctions Please

So much has been said about sanctions by the West on Zimbabwe and I am also reading that the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai , is on a mission to persuade the US, Britain and Europe to remove the sanctions against Zimbabwe. As a concerned Zimbabwean citizen I wanted to know two things about these sanctions:

1.    What these sanctions are and

2.    What the demands are by those who imposed the sanctions.

On point “1” my research revealed that the sanctions are:

·  An arms embargo on Zimbabwe

·  A travel ban on individuals in ZANU PF who are believed to be behind the violence against Zimbabwean citizens, those who act above the laws of the country and those who violet conventional human rights such as freedom from torture which is an absolute human right.

·  A freeze on financial accounts (held in the western banks and financial institutions) of all the banned people.

On point “2”, what I found was that those imposing the sanctions are saying is that:

·  Stop killing Zimbabweans for voting the way they want. In other words the demand is, “stop beating and killing Zimbabweans for choosing the president of their country”.

·  Stop picking up citizens from their homes in the dead of the night for it is against the laws of your country to do so.

·  Stop torturing Zimbabweans that you “arrest” or kidnap whether in the dead of the night or in broad daylight. People deserve respect.

·  Don’t starve people of Zimbabwe especially when we (the West) give you food to feed the nation and you should stop evicting/killing the farmers who produce the food that feeds the nation.

I trust my research is in line with the general perception and given that this is the true scenario, surely Zimbabwe does not need more arms as it is surrounded by friendly nations that are all part of a friendly bloc, SADC. So any embargo on arms is ineffectual. Zimbabwe is now twenty nine years into self rule and under the same leader. So we cannot say or that leader spoiled it for us. It is just the same one.

I fail to fathom the impact of a travel ban on an individual would have on the socio -political economy of a country. I need help on this.

Similarly, what economic impact is created by freezing a ZANU PF politburo member’s USA $6m account? Absolutely nothing if I was to answer that.

I have heard some ill-considered arguments that the MFI and the World Bank have sanctions on Zimbabwe.  Rubbish! I would say. These two institutions represent the first order of capitalism in its true sense. They are there to make money. If Zimbabwe can pay its debts, these institutions would continue to lend to Zimbabwe irrespective of who is in power in that country.

As a Zimbabwean I am wondering why it should take sanctions by foreigners against the powers that be in Zimbabwe to ensure that Zimbabweans realise their sovereignty and are treated with dignity by their own fellow citizens. If the sanctions are an attempt to ensure that Zimbabweans are given back their dignity, respect, autonomy and freedoms then I can hear clamours of Sanctions, Sanctions and more Sanctions! – from all corners of Zimbabwe.

On reflection – if indeed the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai is touring America and Europe advocating for the dropping of sanctions, whose corner is fighting in? The truth is: Morgan Tsvangirai did not impose the smart sanctions and as such he hasn’t got the power to have them lifted. Only those in Nkayi, Gwanda, Masvingo, Chimanimani, Mudzi, Zvimba, Mtoko, Silobela, Chipinga, Chirundu and the rest of Zimbabwe have the power to say Free at last! Free at last! Only then will the world will listen. The future of Zimbabwe is not going to be determined by those who are dying off but by those who are living.

My message to those in power is that you should never take people for granted.

Is there someone out there who can tell the people of Zimbabwe the truth about the sanctions? My own perspective is as given above.

John Huruva




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Shoppers Robbed, Stripped

Harare, Jun 10, 2009 (The Herald/All Africa Global Media via COMTEX) -- FIVE
armed robbers raided a truck and stole various electrical gadgets and goods
worth thousands of dollars along the Harare-Bulawayo Road near Selous, in
the early hours of last Friday.

The gang laid spikes on the road to deflate the tyres of the truck, which
was heading towards Harare at around 2am.

Although details were still sketchy yesterday, it is believed that the truck
had several shoppers who were coming from Botswana.

Sources said the spikes are normally used by police manning roadblocks along
the road and are usually left at the scene at night.

The gang then laid the spikes on the road to deflate the tyres of the truck.

It stopped after about 50 metres from the scene.

They pounced on the passengers and the driver, threatening them not to
resist their orders.

A few minutes later another truck, which was heading in the opposite
direction, arrived at the scene and it was ordered to stop by the gang. They
then loaded their loot into the truck before stripping all the passengers

Police said the gang burnt all the clothes of the victims before speeding
off. The victims were later assisted with clothing and a report was made to
the police.

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Council Dismantles Cholera Treatment Centres

11 June 2009

Harare - Harare City Council has started dismantling cholera treatment
centres in Budiriro and at Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital as the
spread of the disease has declined, a council medical officer said

The centres were set up at the height of the outbreak, the director of
health services, Dr Prosper Chonzi, said, adding there were being restored
to their to their original uses. The scaling down in cholera-related
activities follows a long period achieved without recording any cholera
cases. At the moment the city has no cholera admissions.

At the height of the epidemic, Dr Chonzi said the city had suspended all
other services as it directed resources ,including personnel, towards

Dr Chonzi said on Tuesday the Beatrice Infectious Diseases Hospital that had
stopped admitting non-cholera patients was now receiving TB, HIV and Aids
patients as well as other patients with infectious diseases. He made the
remarks during a ceremony to receive protective clothing, detergents and
disinfectants donated to council by the Zimbabwe Healthcare Trust. He said
while council clinics were well-stocked with medicines and vaccines, the
city did not have protective clothing and disinfectants.

Dr Chonzi took journalists on a tour of the Beatrice Infectious Diseases
Hospital, showing them the dismantling of the cholera treatment centre,
which has now reverted to its original use of admitting TB and HIV and Aids

He also showed the journalists huge consignments of medicines and vaccines
in the hospital's pharmacy and storerooms.

Dr Chonzi said clinics had enough stocks as some donors, such as the Red
Cross and Help from Germany were distributing the drugs and equipment
directly to the clinics. He said the city was now battling to address
challenges that include the shortage of transport and the dilapidated health
infrastructure. "We have challenges of protective clothing, disinfectants,
transport and routine maintenance of buildings," he said. Dr Chonzi said the
health department was losing staff to non-governmental organisations, the
region and through natural attrition.
"We need to retain the staff we have and to recruit more," he said.

Ms Rose Jena, the executive director of Zimbabwe Healthcare Trust, said her
organisation felt indebted to assist the community. She paid tribute to the
city's health personnel who have stuck with council during difficult times.
Acting mayor Councillor Emmanuel Chiroto received the consignment on behalf
of council.

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Daily cholera update and alerts, 09 Jun 2009

 Full_Report (pdf* format - 188.3 Kbytes)

* Please note that daily information collection is a challenge due to communication and staff constraints. On-going data cleaning may result in an increase or decrease in the numbers. Any change will then be explained.

** Daily information on new deaths should not imply that these deaths occurred in cases reported that day. Therefore daily CFRs >100% may occasionally result

A. Highlights of the day:

- 0 Cases and 0 deaths added today (in comparison with 16 cases and 0 deaths yesterday.

- Cumulative cases 98 522

- Cumulative deaths 4 282 of which 2 630 are community deaths

- 83.3 % of the reporting centres affected have reported today 50 out of 60 affected reporting centres)

- Cumulative Institutional Case Fatality Rate = 1.7%

- Daily Institutional CFR = 0.0 %.

- No reports received from Mashonaland West Province.

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Police Investigating Man Spying on MDC

11 June 2009

By Radio VOP

HARARE, - Zimbabwean police says it is investigating a man who was recently
caught posing as a Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) security officer at
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office at Munhumutapa Building in
Harare's central business district.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri told our source on Thursday
that the MDC security had not reported the case to the police when it

"We have always told people to report to the police if they suspect any
unusual behavour like in this case. We are going to probe the issue since we
were  given the ID documents which were taken away from the suspect," said

The MDC believes the man was on a mission to spy on Tsvangirai.
The party's director of security, Kisimusi Dhlamini told sources this week
that the man had three identification details - one from the Zimbabwe
National Army bearing the name Alex Masisimani, Regiment number 803889R,
national ID number 07-1004561-07 and a Zimbabwe Republic Police CID identity
card bearing the name Goshomi C, force number 042208C rank of detective

The man entered the Prime Minister's offices and lied to PM's Personal
Assistant that he was from the MDC's security department and had been
assigned to carry out some security duties in South Africa by the party and
that he was back. He claimed he wanted to brief the party President on the
outcome of the assignment.

"Acting on a tip off from my alert security, I quickly got into the office
where the guy was trying to convince the Prime Minister's PA to arrange a
meeting with the Prime Minister. Upon seeing me the guy ...ran away. We made
a follow up and caught him before he left the Munhumutapa building where we
searched him and discovered the three identity cards," said Dhlamini.

Dhlamini said they released the man after taking away the three IDs he was
carrying. He said they did not report the matter to the police because they
were convinced the police would not take any action.

The MDC Minister for Healing Sekai Holland told the BBC recently that MDC
members lived in fear of their lives as they constantly got threats to
assisinate them.

Efforts to get an official comment from ZNA were fruitless.

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Why Sanitation Is the Forgotten Sister
Busani Bafana interviews NOMA NESENI, WSSCC water, sanitation and health coordinator

BULAWAYO, Jun 11 (IPS) - As part of the International Year of Sanitation in 2008, Zimbabwe developed a national strategy for sanitation, launched in February 2008. Just five months later, a cholera outbreak that was to claim over 4,000 lives began.

One of the strategy's key proposals was to call for expanded resources for sanitation including public-private partnerships to expand access to proper toilets across the country.

The task force included representation from key ministries such as health, water development, and finance, as well as civic organisations like Plan International, World Vision and the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), for which Noma Neseni is the water, sanitation and health coordinator in Zimbabwe.

Neseni told IPS why she viewed the task force's work as less than a disaster. Excerpts of the interview follow.

IPS: With Zimbabwe's health delivery services in paralysis, what has your council done to improve sanitation in the country?

Noma Neseni: A national sanitation taskforce team developed a strategy that looked at priority areas. These included an increase in sanitation coverage using demand-led approaches, capacity development at all levels and research into low-cost appropriate technologies.

The strategy also agreed on the opening up of technologies instead of just using the expensive type of VIP [Ventilated Improved Pit] latrine. It was recognised that so long as the latrines took into account the specific scientific aspects of the VIP, the superstructure could be made cheaper.

This strategy was later presented to larger stakeholders who endorsed it. We also had a national sanitation seminar that was attended by different permanent secretaries who endorsed a communiqué that called on private public partnership scaling up of sanitation coverage and more resources for sanitation.

IPS: More often than not, when governments invest in water development, sanitation is its forgotten sister, why so?

NN: Water often gets visibility because without water there is no life. Thus in terms of demand, communities often demand for water over sanitation.

Water is also relatively easy to develop or provide whereas sanitation - especially for large communities - is complicated to implement and manage.

Furthermore, sanitation does not yield the same profits as water so utilities, private sector do not want to invest in sanitation.

It is also easy to show quick returns with water as compared to sanitation. At household level, people have alternatives they can use the bush but if there is no water there is no other alternative.

Even at national level, government has been putting more resources for water as compared to sanitation. Sometimes there is also lack of awareness and understanding on the value of sanitation for the different sectors such as education, environment, tourism, economic development.

IPS: Why is sanitation an important issue today more than ever before?

NN: Access to sanitation is an indicator for human development. It is important for girls' education, for women's safety and dignity, for improved health, for control of vectors and diseases and for ecosystem balance.

And yet there are so many people that still do not have access, in Zimbabwe we are backsliding from around 60 percent coverage to as low as 25 percent.

In urban areas where as once we had almost 100 percent coverage, access is now limited due to lack of water, urban population without houses, informal settlements.

In other words sanitation is important for control of diseases, for sustaining our environment and for achieving the many development goals such as maternal health, education, control of malaria.

IPS: Would you say women than men are more affected by the lack of toilets?

NN: Women and girls are more affected by lack of sanitation as they face defecating in the open which means loss of dignity. Women face sexual abuse and even rape as they walk alone at night using a predictable route to a predictable defecation site and there is the issue of embarrassment in the disposal of sanitary pads.

Men can easily urinate in the open and women often do not have that privilege especially when newly married as a daughter in law. Women also have to look after the sick i.e. [those] infected with HIV or suffering from diarrhoea: without latrines this task is even more difficult.

IPS: In your opinion would you say there is adequate attention to sanitation issues in this country if not, why not?

NN: There has been inadequate attention to sanitation particularly from the perspective of resource allocation. Sanitation is largely seen as a donor activity and even among NGOs; more money is allocated to water.

In recent years there have been challenges such as access to inputs like cement. There are also challenges with management of systems, Institutional problems moving the management in urban areas between ZINWA and local authorities.

Firstly, we need to just finalise the water and sanitation policy in Zimbabwe and then we need to rationalise these different policies that impact on sanitation e.g., water act, environmental bill, education act, urban councils act, rural councils act. The harmonization should lead to clear institutional roles and responsibilities.

A regulatory framework is also necessary as we see that the polluter pays principles are affected. At the moment the polluter fee is so cheap institutions would rather pollute and pay. We also need incentives so that policies are implemented without having to resort to punitive measures.

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Civil Society, CHRA speak on Minister Chombo’s directive on Harare water and sewer.

11 June 2009


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) convened a Civil Society meeting on water on the 10th of June 2009 at the CHRA boardroom in the city centre. The meeting was prompted by the Minister of Local Government’s directive to Council to constitute a water utility to manage water supply and sewer reticulation for Harare. The meeting that was attended by seven representatives of civil society organizations sought to collect opinions from civic society and adopt a common position with respect to the best water supply and sewer reticulation management model for the city of Harare. The Civic society representatives and leaders in attendance were guided by the following in finding a common position;










Given this background, civic society adopted a common position on the best water supply and sewer reticulation model for the city of Harare; and this model entails the following critical points;


  1. The management of water supply and sewer reticulation must be carried out by a Department in the City Council. The Director of that Department (which can be called Water and Sewer) must be responsible to the Town Clerk and the Council.


  1. A committee of councilors (Committee can be called the Water and Sewer Committee) be set up to monitor and make recommendations over the water supply and sewer reticulation management. This committee may comprise of the Mayor, Councilors with civil engineering background and the Town Clerk must be an ex officio member. The committee must however include elected councilors; as the majority in that committee.


We prefer this kind of a model because;





We are particularly opposed to the suggestion of creating a Water Utility that manages the water supply and sewer reticulation on the following critical basis;


·   It does not ensure transparency and accountability as espoused above. Rather it encourages mismanagement, corruption and general deterioration of municipal service delivery. A calamity like the Cholera crisis the city is currently battling with will be the most likely result.

·   To create another so called water utility after the Government agreed to return the water management to the City Council is practically to create another “ZINWA scenario” which is associated with cholera, water shortages, corruption, mismanagement and lack of accountability.

·   The disadvantages of a water utility have been well experienced and witnessed in the past 5 years. 


Residents of Harare hope that Minister Chombo will let the City of Harare make its own decision with respect to this issue. The Minister and the City Council must always remember the thousands of precious and innocent lives compromised and lost as a result of the ZINWA mediocrity which led to the water crisis and ultimately the cholera crisis in Harare. Minister Chombo and the City Council must abstain from cheap politics and pursuing selfish goals at the expense of the lives of the people, for it is not only criminal but a sin of which we all know the wages of sin!


Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email, and

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Residents reject Government’s decision on ZESA disconnections

11 June 2009


The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) and the National Residents Associations Consultative Forum (NRACF) reject and will contest the decision by Government to authorize the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Company (ZESA) to disconnect electricity over outstanding payments. This response by the Residents Associations is based on the fact that the electricity tariffs charged by ZESA are exorbitant while the bills that are being discharged to households by ZESA are unjustified; in the sense that they are either based on estimates or way above the consumption made.


CHRA and other Residents Associations have been inundated with calls from residents who cannot afford to pay ZESA bills because they are too high. Some of the bill statements that have been forwarded to CHRA by residents amount to as much US$265 (for low density areas) and others are within the range of US$40 to US$105 (in high density areas). It should be noted that more than 80% of the Harare populace is not employed and those who are employed have an average income of US$100 a month. How does the Government expect these people to survive if they have to part with more than half their salaries for electricity bills alone? We should also remember that residents have other priorities like sending their children to school, feeding them and pay bills for other services like water and municipal services. It defies logic to think that the Government, which is also paying its employees an allowance of US$100 a month, is encouraging ZESA holdings to coerce residents to pay unrealistic bills by effecting electricity disconnections.


The electricity bills that are being delivered to residents are all based on estimates because meter readings have not been carried out. We understand that this is the reason the Minister of Energy and Power Development had set up uniform charges of US$30 and US$40 for high-density and low density areas respectively. How then does ZESA come up with different estimates of electricity consumptions for each household? Not all residents in high-density areas have bill statements that indicate US$30 as the monthly electricity bill. Some residents in high density areas like Kuwadzana and Glen Norah are being charged as much as US$50 a month! This is in direct conflict with the figures that were pegged by the Minister and clear evidence that ZESA’s billing system is warped to say the least. CHRA is not against bill payments by residents. We understand that residents have the responsibility to pay their bills so that they can also get quality social services but the bills are simply beyond their affordability and unjustified.


CHRA and the National Residents Associations Consultative Forum are doing the following as a direct response to the disconnections;









Meanwhile CHRA and the National Residents Associations Consultative Forum would like to remind the Government it is leading an impoverished population and its decisions on service delivery must be pro-people and pro-poor. CHRA and the National Residents Associations Consultative Forum reaffirm their commitment in lobbying for democratic local governance as well as advocating for the provision of quality and affordable social services on a non partisan basis. 


Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)

145 Robert Mugabe Way

Exploration House, Third Floor


 Landline: 00263- 4- 705114

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email, and




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PEACE WATCH of 10th June [Political Abcuctees,Violence on Farms and Rule of Law]


[10th June 2009]


State Revives Prosecution of Alec Muchadehama

On Tuesday Alec Muchadehama, the defence lawyer in the political abductee case now before the High Court, was served with a summons requiring him to stand trial at the magistrates court on Thursday 17th June on a charge of obstructing or defeating the course of justice.  This came only a week after a magistrate refused to remand Mr Muchadehama on the identical allegations, saying that the State had failed to establish a reasonable suspicion that Mr Muchadehama had committed the alleged offence.  Lawyers for Human Rights have criticised the State for blatantly seeking to intimidate and harass him and prevent him from executing his professional duties by reviving charges against  him while he is  acting in an important case.  [They served papers on him at the court instead of his offices where they were addressed.]   “The office of the Attorney General could be better utilizing resources and energies clearing up the backlog of cases which have unnecessarily filled up our prisons and prosecuting real, rather than imaginary criminals.”

Trial of Political Abductees: Defence Seeks Referral to Supreme Court

The High Court trial did not start on Monday.  It was postponed for a day to allow the presiding judge, Justice Uchena to consider the defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama’s request for a referral to the Supreme Court to determine: 

·    whether the abductees’ abduction/ kidnapping constituted unlawful deprivation of liberty in violation of section 13(1) of the Constitution

·    whether the torture of the abductees constituted inhuman and degrading treatment in violation of section 15(1) of the Constitution

·    whether the applicants, as victims of enforced disappearances, can lawfully be prosecuted and whether the abductees can be compelled to go on trial in circumstances where their appearance at court was facilitated by a criminal act of kidnapping/ abduction authorized or sanctioned by the State or officials of the State.

·    the defence application also requested the Supreme Court to direct the Attorney General to order the Commissioner-General of the Police to institute a comprehensive and diligent investigation of the offences alleged to have been committed against each abductee with a view to prosecuting all perpetrators of the alleged offences before the abductees’ possible prosecution.

Argument on this request was heard on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Mr Muchadehama argued that to proceed with the criminal trial would be an infringement of the defendants’ constitutional right to protection of the law and that under section 24(2) of the Constitution, the referral must be granted unless the judge considers the questions raised “merely frivolous or vexatious”.  The prosecutor argued against this on technicalities that were later proved to be based on incorrect facts and then fell back on the submission that the application was frivolous and vexatious without elaborating.  Mr Muchadehama countered this by pointing out the gravity of the human rights violations which had occurred.  The trial is adjourned until Monday 22nd June when judgment will be given.

Equal Protection of the Law Essential to Peace

Impartial application of the law is essential to establishing a just and peaceful society.  This is emphasised in the preamble to the Inter-party Political Agreement.  But there have been too many cases where the law has turned a blind eye instead of protecting citizens.  In many cases of violence, especially dating from the pre- and post-election time last year, the perpetrators have never been arrested or brought to trial, and the victims have never received justice or restitution.

The recently released Human Rights NGO Forum Report lists 872 incidents of state organised or state condoned violence during the first four months of this year, including 198 cases of unlawful detention, 198 cases of unlawful arrest, 4 cases of torture and 210 cases of political discrimination, intimidation and victimisation.  The Forum states that the report is based on reports that are meticulously documented but by no means exhaustive.  It also calls on the government “to bring to an end impunity for perpetrators of all human rights abuses and to ensure the rule of law is upheld” and on the police “to exercise restraint when dealing with unarmed protestors, as well as to treat all citizens fairly and within the confines of the law in the discharge of their duties.”  [Full report available from]  The HR Forum cases include cases of assault, kidnapping, etc. of farmers and farm workers.

No Excuse for Violation of Citizens' Rights to Protection of the Law

Neither in Zimbabwean law nor in international law does the fact that a matter is “political” or “politically sensitive” justify departures from the State’s duty protect its citizens.  In carrying out a political policy or even in the exercise of enforcing a court order, the law must be followed:  “Every public officer has a duty towards every person in Zimbabwe to exercise his or her functions as a public officer in accordance with the law and to observe and uphold the rule of law.”  [Constitution, section 18(1a).]  Public officers include all members of the Public Service, the Police Force and the Defence Forces.  A public officer failing in this duty can be taken to court in his personal capacity and sued for damages caused by his failure. 

This is highly relevant to the current wave of farm invasions because the use of violence or threats of violence in the course of such invasions is unlawful.  To force a sitting occupier off a farm is unlawful, even if the invader claims a right to the land as the holder of an offer letter or some other authority issued by the Government.  The only lawful method of removing a sitting occupier from the  land is by following due process of law – i.e., by getting an eviction order from the courts and for that order to be enforced by proper authority – the deputy sheriff or messenger of court, with the assistance of the police if necessary.  Nothing in the legislation underpinning the land reform programme says otherwise.

A sitting occupier has a constitutional right, under section 18(1a) of the Constitution, to the protection of the State and its officials against unlawful violence and threats of violence.  This is so, whether or not the occupier holds an offer letter or a High Court order in his favour and regardless of the merits of any dispute over the right to the land.  Example: if a beleaguered victim of a farm invasion seeks assistance from the local police member in charge against unlawful violence and that protection is refused, the victim has a constitutional right to take civil action claiming damages from the member in charge in his personal capacity. 

It is time the issue of violence being experienced by people on farms is separated out from the issue of land reform.  Discussion of “farm invasions” frequently focuses exclusively on the rights and wrongs of the land reform programme and its disastrous effects on agricultural production, ignoring or dismissing the subversion of the rule of law, typically involving illegal self-help measures – violence, threatened violence, theft  etc – taken by or on behalf of the new claimants to the land, all designed to drive out the sitting occupier.

Violence on Farms since the IPA

The Inter-party Political Agreement acknowledged that while there was no going back on land reform, there should be a “comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit” and that the parties would ensure “security of tenure to all land holders” [IPA, Article 5].   But this must also be set in the context of the Preamble to the IPA which, when referring to land, emphasises “the centrality of issues relating to the rule of law, respect for human rights, democracy and governance”.  Since the IPA was signed there has been a whole series of violent incidents on farms – against farmers and their workers:- shot/wounded/murdered, 5; assault cases, 36 (mainly farm employees); threats, 32; theft of property, 52 (crops/property/livestock); barricaded in house 7.

Typical reports on the situation on farms speak of the new claimants and their supporters taking the law into their own hands, frequently in direct defiance of High Court orders, and the police doing nothing – or nothing effective – about it.  Recent examples:

·    Mr X had just obtained a High Court order allowing him to continue on his farm, but his tractor was vandalised and he was punched and smashed in the face with the butt of a shotgun.  A complaint to police elicited an acknowledgement from an Assistant Commissioner that no-one is above the law, but nothing was done and no-one was arrested.

·    "This is the second consecutive day this week that I have been assaulted, and at least the eighth time since the 13th May 2009 by mainly the same people."

·    "I saw all my colleagues running for their lives as the situation became extremely violent. Everyone was being threatened and stone throwing began again. I was once struck on the back by a stone."

·    ."Yesterday morning the invaders had been to the house of one of the workers … He is in hiding because of the high levels of intimidation being employed by the invaders.  They told his family that they wanted to cut his lips off.  Last night about midnight they came to the house of one of the main foremen and started beating him before abducting him.  He is still missing.  At time of writing his family do not know of his whereabouts."

·    “They threatened to eat the children”.

Irrespective of the merits of each land dispute and who is the rightful occupier, any form of violence is in total contravention of human decency and dignity, against the Constitution and law of Zimbabwe, and against all international agreements which Zimbabwe has voluntarily entered into.  We should also be looking at the serious humanitarian problems this violence is causing to thousands of poor farm workers  – loss of livelihood and homes for large numbers of farm employees and their families, displacement from their homes where they have lived generations and where their ancestors are buried, loss of access to schooling and health clinics, etc

SADC Tribunal’s Holds Government in Contempt of Court

Judgment Referred to SADC Summit

On 5th June two Chegutu farmers asked the Tribunal to refer the Government’s failure to comply with the Tribunal’s judgment of 28th November 2008 to the SADC Summit.  [The judgment had invalidated the seizure of their farms under the land reform programme and ordered the Government to protect their continued occupation of the farms.]  The Tribunal granted the application, noting particularly the continued harassment of the applicants and also the repudiation of the judgment by the President and the Deputy Chief Justice and the launching fresh of prosecutions.  It ruled that the harassment and failure to protect the two farmers and the repudiation of the judgement were in contempt of court.  The question of enforcement of the judgment now stands referred to the SADC Summit, which is the only body with the power to decide on enforcement measures.  The SADC Treaty allows the Summit to impose sanctions – or suspension from SADC membership – on a State that fails to abide by a decision of the Tribunal.  [Note: This is the second such referral to the Summit.  The Summit has yet to take any action on the Government’s failure to honour the Tribunal’s interim judgment in the same case, which was referred to the Summit in mid-2008.] 

The history of this case supports a strong argument for our new Constitution to provide for the immediate domestication of treaties which the country has entered into.  Otherwise a mockery is made of our solemn treaty obligations.

In another case before the Tribunal Luke Tembani, a commercial farmer since 1983, challenged the validity of a provision of the Agricultural Finance Corporation Act under which, without recourse to the courts, his farm was sold off at far below its value to pay off a debt owed to the AFC.  The government opposed his application.  The tribunal reserved judgment, but ordered the government to allow Mr Tembani to stay on his land until its decision is handed down.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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Would you like fries with your asylum papers?

      Graeme Hosken
    June 11 2009 at 06:44AM

Two ingenious Zimbabwe entrepreneurs were arrested in Pretoria after
allegedly running their own "home affairs" department from a fast food

The arrests, which were made on Wednesday by a policeman who was on
leave, occurred in Marabastad.

The policeman, Inspector Matjila, was driving through the area when he
spotted a queue of people winding its way out of American Foods.

Matjila stopped and went to investigate.

Questioning several of those in the queue, Matjila discovered that the
orders were not of the hot food kind.

Instead, the kitchen staff were allegedly extending asylum seekers'
papers by stamping the documents with stamps which had apparently been
stolen from the Home Affairs Department.

Police spokesprson Captain Tessa Jansen confirmed the arrests and said
that in addition to the two Zimbabwe nationals who were caught, an asylum
seeker whose papers had expired, was also nabbed as he had his documents

"During a search of the shop the policeman discovered the stamps which
we believe were stolen."

Jansen said the Zimbabweans would appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's
Court on Friday on charges of fraud, while the asylum seeker would be
charged with being an illegal immigrant.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on
June 11, 2009

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Human rights abuse in Kenya, Zimbabwe

June 10, 2009

By Arnold Mutaviri

THE African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR) issued a
communiqué on January 28, 2008 in which it sought to remind the Kenyan
Government and the opposition ODM of their obligation to respect the rights
and dignity of the Kenyan people.

It also called for 'an investigation and punishment for those responsible
for the election irregularities and the post-election violence'. I hereby
take note that the statement by the ACHPR was issued 37 days after the
violent death of the first 428 Kenyans at the hands of their fellow
countrymen and the state police. However, the violence against innocents
continued and no less than 1500 Kenyans were killed and thousands abandoned
their homes in fear creating an unprecedented number of internally displaced
people (IDPs).

Indiscriminate detentions and police brutality reminiscent of the Moi
administration had been going on in Kenya long before the December 2007
presidential elections. People were executed in broad day light.

According to The Nation, Oscar Kamau Kingara and John Paul Oulu were
publicly shot in Nairobi by 'unknown men'. Oscar was head of the Oscar
Foundation, an NGO which was investigating the alleged extra-judicial
killings of Kenyan citizens by state police. Just before the fatal shooting,
Kingara had given a press interview in which he called for the restoration
of the rule of law and the respect of the rights of the Mungiki pressure

The Mungiki is a Kenyan group of people believed to number 10 000 in
membership. It is hard to assemble 10 000 faithful followers to a cause
without a genuine concern. The Kenyan Government's response to the Mungiki's
concerns has been to demonise and package the Mungiki as a violent
anti-social group of criminals which needed to be eliminated.

This kind of propaganda repeated in the national press helped to influence
public perception of the Mungiki. Police shoot on sight anyone associated
with Mungiki. Political scores are settled violently without legal
consequences as long as one can accuse the dead victim of being a Mungiki
follower. This state of affairs in Kenya has forced citizens to join Mungiki
for safety. State does not guarantee citizens' security and safety.

That feeling and reality breeds violence as people take responsibility for
their continued existence and physical survival. The International
Community(IC) has no interest in these defenceless Kenyan people apart from
Amnesty International endlessly collecting statistics of the dead and
occasionally issuing a statement of condemnation.

The African Commission on Human Rights is neither blind nor deaf but would
not speak for fear of upsetting a comrade. Statements of condemnation and
statistics would not make a difference to the dead. They can amuse or
horrify the living but unfortunately have no value to the dead. They cannot
stop the dead from dying.

In Zimbabwe, the government stands accused today of brutalising PF-Zapu in
the early eighties. The State propaganda machinery often branded PF-Zapu as
a terrorist organisation. The party's leadership were locked up in maximum
security prisons without trial for long periods of time. The International
Community said nothing.

In fact, the President was actually referred to as a world statesman by the
mainstream media. It is hard to tell whether PF-Zapu and Zipra really
engaged in terrorism or whether they attempted to overthrow the newly
elected government of Zanu-PF by force. What is clear and well documented is
the wanton destruction of ordinary people's livelihoods and the arbitrary
arrests without trial.

Commercial farmers were armed by the state under the pretext that they were
threatened by the insurgents. Allegations have been made by witnesses in the
region that commercial farmers in lower Gweru killed a substantial number of
civilians. Villagers were forced to work for commercial farmers without
payment. Those who resisted abuse were shot or reported to the state army
and accused of terrorism.  Women were raped for protection. The police heard
nothing, knew nothing and did nothing to protect the invalid, as well as the
women and children.

This state of affairs strengthened PF-Zapu in Matabeleland as it assembled
people who faced the same fate and insecurity.

Now, whether PF-Zapu and Zipra had a genuine cause or not is neither here
nor there. The key is the State's behaviour in trying to destroy PF- Zapu
and its aspirations. Instead of talking politics and persuading the masses
by promising hope the state destroyed that hope and instilled fear in not
only PF-Zapu but the total population of Matabeleland and Lower Gweru.

There is strong belief that the quest for a one-party state by Zanu-PF in
the early eighties prompted the conflict with PF-Zapu and Zipra. Thousands
are said to have died during that conflict even though the actual figure is
not known. Both individuals and interested organisations have thrown figures
ranging from 100 to 20 000 around.

The truth is that we will never know the truth.

Nothing good is ever done in the dark. Murder is always committed in the
dark. No statistics. No head count. No report. My concern is not with the
leaders. I am concerned about the poor women and children who suffered for
nothing. The leaders from both sides of the conflict obviously stood to
benefit from the conflict but not the children who died or were maimed.

An idea cannot be destroyed by killing the owner. Brutality against a people
results in an otherwise silly idea taking a much more robust place in the
hearts of the survivors. History is replete with examples. The tribulations
and fate of Kenule Beeson Saro-Wiwa in Nigeria is a case in point. His
murder in 1995 did not solve the problems in the Niger Delta. The Niger
Delta is still seeking justice fourteen years on and the conflict has long
since turned violent with hundreds of people killed and thousands displaced.
Could the Nigerian authorities have approached the Niger Delta issue

Indeed, could the Zimbabwean government have approached the Matabeleland
issue differently? Could the rule of law have helped to restore order? Has
the Kenyan government exhausted all options for dialogue with the Mungiki?
Is the Mungiki refusing to talk to the legitimate government of Kenya? Why
are the police using the same violent tactics which the Mungiki group are
accused of?

Somebody must swallow pride and immediately open constructive dialogue with
the Mungiki leadership. Anyone with a following numbering more than 10 000
people needs to be listened to. Beating up the leaders and their followers
is definitely not a solution. The British National Party leadership in the
UK is derided, hated and sometimes misrepresented in the mainstream media.
Yet violence is not part of the UK politics. The British police and the army
have a duty to provide and guarantee security to all including the British
National Party leadership and their followers. They recently participated in
European elections and had equal chance of winning or loosing.

The rule of law demands that anyone who commits a crime pays for his actions
regardless of position or status in society. Even a government of people by
the people should be subjected to the same laws governing all institutions.
This is a safeguard against arbitrary governance which can happen when power
is in the hands of a few.

Oscar Kamau Kingara and his friend John Paul Oulu should have been arrested
and brought before a judge if they breached a law of the land. Ken Saro-Wiwa
was murdered without due process of the law. Lower Gweru and Matabeleland
villagers did not have their day in court. There is a universal principle
that frowns upon any form of punishment unless a court decides. That the
court alone decides is understood by all civilised nations.

(Arnold Mutaviri is a humanitarian aid worker.)

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In harmony while Zuma addresses nation

June 11, 2009

zuma-wives-sleepFrom left, Thobeka Mabhija, Nompumelelo Ntuli and Sizakele Khumalo. (Photo by Gallo Images)

By Geoffrey Nyarota

THIS priceless photograph of the three spouses of South Africa’s President, Jacob Zuma, in a state of collective slumber was captured last week in Cape Town.

The occasion was a joint sitting of the National Assembly and National Council of Provinces at Parliament.

Zuma’s wives, Thobeka Mabhija, Nompumelelo Ntuli and Sizakele Khumalo drifted into concurrent siesta as their husband presented his State of the Nation Address on June 3.

Zuma, who served time in prison along with former President Nelson Mandela, is the fourth president of South Africa since the end of apartheid.

Polygamy is legally recognized in South Africa. The President appears to be a master at managing polygamous matrimony. All three Mrs Zumas attended the official inauguration of their husband as President in Pretoria on Saturday, May 9, 2009. On June 3 they all flew to Cape Town to listen as their husband delivered his first ever address to the nation.

While the speech was described as groundbreaking and the President was hailed as “a man of his word”, a significant portion of the rhetoric of a man who is more renowned for his “song and dance” appears to have been lost to the most important members of his audience.

Zuma has been married a total of five times. One of his former wives, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, is even a minister in his cabinet. A medical doctor by profession she was South Africa’s Minister of Health from 1994 to 1999, under President Mandela, then Minister of Foreign Affairs from June 1999 to May 10, 2009, under Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe.

She was moved to the position of Minister of Home Affairs in the cabinet of her ex-husband on 10 May 2009.

Zuma-related holy matrimony strengthened the cordial relations existing between South Africa and neighbouring Zimbabwe in a meaningful way last year.

Gugulethu Zuma, daughter of Zuma and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, married Wesley Ncube, the first son of Prof Welshman Ncube, in December 2008. Ncube, a lawyer by profession, is the Minister of Industry and Commerce in Zimbabwe’s government of national unity. He is also the secretary general of the Arthur Mutambara-led breakaway faction of the Movement for Democratic Change.

He is by all accounts the favourite Zimbabwean politician of former South African president Thabo Mbeki, who steered Zimbabwe’s process of political negotiation, culminating in the establishment of the government of national unity in February, 2009.

Mbeki is generally credited with elevating Ncube from political ignominy after he lost a parliamentary election dismally to the position of cabinet minister.

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