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COPAC retreat to deal with all outstanding issues

By Tichaona Sibanda
15 June 2012

The management committee of COPAC will meet in Nyanga from Sunday for a
crucial indaba, aimed at resolving all outstanding issues in the drafting of
a new constitution for Zimbabwe.

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga said the
retreat will deal with all outstanding issues and ‘we will be in Nyanga
until all issues are resolved.’

The three parties in the inclusive government have been deadlocked on the
outstanding issues in the constitution-making process, presenting a huge
setback in preparations for fresh elections expected next year.

The last time the management committee met they failed to agree on the
devolution of power, the executive structure and dual citizenship. SW Radio
Africa is reliably informed the three parties also differed on the number of
vice presidents the country should have and on the ways an individual could
lose their citizenship.

The committee members who will be at Ruparara lodge in Nyanga for the indaba
are Tendai Biti and Elton Mangoma of the MDC-T, ZANU PF’s Patrick Chinamasa
and Nicholas Goche and MDC-N’s Moses Mzila-Ndlovu and Priscilla

Matinenga will attend as Minister in charge of the drafting process and so
will the three COPAC co-chairpersons from ZANU PF and the MDC, namely Paul
Mangwana, Douglas Mwonzora and Edward Mkhosi.

Mwonzora said the Nyanga meeting will deal with both technical and political

‘We will go through the draft prepared by COPAC together with requirements
and comments made by political parties, so that we have a final
constitution. I’m happy to say we are going to Nyanga with two important

‘First the document prepared by COPAC was validated by the select committee
and was found to have been in accordance with instructions that were given.
Therefore it is an authentic document. Secondly, we are going with a
national report of what the people of Zimbabwe said and wanted,’ Mwonzora

The three principals to the GPA earlier this month gave the committee a
two-week ultimatum to wrap-up the constitution-making process so a
referendum could be called, paving the way for fresh elections.

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Judge ‘too busy’ to rule on bail for 29 MDC-T activists

By Lance Guma
15 June 2012

A High Court judge claims he is ‘a bit constrained for time’ to deal with an
urgent bail application by 29 MDC-T activists facing charges of killing a

On Tuesday the trial was postponed after Justice Chinembiri Bhunu claimed he
had to attend a relative’s funeral. The trial continued on Wednesday and
Thursday before being postponed to next week Monday.

Asked by defence lawyers when he was going to deal with the bail application
Justice Bhunu claimed he had a heavy workload and had not got around to
dealing with the matter. This is despite the fact that the majority of
activists charged in the case have been in custody for more than a year
without trial.

MDC-T Youth Assembly Chairman Solomon Madzore and 28 fellow activists are
facing what his party believe are ‘trumped- up’ charges of killing Inspector
Petros Mutedza. The group has had countless applications for bail turned
down and this month marked the first time the case went to trial since the
arrests in May last year.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa on Friday defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama said
the testimonies given by the six state witnesses who have come up so far
differs sharply with what they had initially told police at the time of the
arrests. He also said the witnesses are “saying nothing meaningful” about
the case.

On Wednesday, Muchadehama told SW Radio Africa that each of the 29 accused
had perfect alibis corroborating where they were on the day of the alleged
crime, but the police have not bothered to go through most of the alibis.
Where they have done so it has turned out that “the accused were far away
from the scene.”

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Glen View trial: Cop contradicts self

Written by Fungi Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Friday, 15 June 2012 14:11

HARARE - Stones that pelted police officers, leading to the death of police
inspector Petros Mutedza in Harare’s Glen View suburb last year came from
residential areas, the sixth witness in the trial of 29 MDC activists
accused of murder said yesterday.

Assistant police inspector Spencer Nyararai who was at Glen View 3 Shopping
Centre on the fateful day said he was sure the stones which flew from
residential areas were thrown by the MDC activists although he did not see
them throwing the stones.

“I did not see the people who were throwing the stones but it was the same
group that was now in the residential areas,” said Nyararayi.

Pressed by defence lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa how he could be sure the people
who threw stones where MDC activists, he responded saying they were in red
and white T-shirts, and that he used his instincts as a police officer.

“As a police officer, I could tell that it was the same group because of
common purpose,” said Nyararayi.
Mtetwa argued that Nyararai could not say people in MDC T-shirts stoned
Mutedza because he did not actually see them.

“If stones where coming from residential areas it could not have been the
group that stoned Mutedza at the front,” said Mtetwa.

“I cannot comment because I did not see the stone that struck the deceased.
There were stones all over the place,” replied Nyararai.

Like five other witnesses before him, Nyararai gave a conflicting narration
of events that led to Mutedza’s death on the 29th of May last year.

The State’s first witness, Cleopas Chikwira who was at Glen View 3 Shopping
Centre on the fateful day, told the court he saw the people who threw the

Nyararayi also told the court that the people who stoned Mutedza fled and
hid in the nearby residential area but Mtetwa questioned how he could tell
that the accused persons had indeed pelted the deceased.

The trial continues on Monday.

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Zulu criticised for supporting removal of Zim sanctions

By Tererai Karimakwenda
15 June 2011

There has been a flood of reaction against comments made this week by
President Jacob Zuma’s foreign policy advisor, Lindiwe Zulu, supporting the
removal of targeted sanctions that were placed on members of the Mugabe
regime by Western nations and the European Union.

Zulu, who is also part of the facilitation team working with Zimbabwe’s
coalition partners, on Thursday said the restrictive measures are not
working. “It’s not just Zimbabwe that’s saying the sanctions are not
working. The entire continent is saying that,” she is quoted as saying.

An immediate flurry of reaction appeared online, with many suggesting that
Zulu has forgotten that the Mugabe regime was put under these restrictions
after having committed serious human rights violations. Others reminded Zulu
that there are no sanctions on Zimbabwe, but a travel ban and an asset
freeze on the individuals responsible for the abuses.

“You should rather act against the offending responsible party and its power
base to bring about a democracy, another word which Africa, including South
Africa, does not comprehend. They pay lip service too but that’s all,” said
a reader on the Reuters website.

Another said: “It is a deliberate lie by the Zimbabwean and South African
governments that sanctions target the people of Zimbabwe. The western
countries of the EU and USA are pouring in millions of rands daily in
donations of food and medicine to the people of Zimbabwe whilst the AU
countries contribute nothing.”

Zulu and her mediation team flew into Harare this week for more sessions
with the negotiators representing the main political parties. Their task has
been to agree on a roadmap to elections, under SADC guidelines and according
to the GPA. The process has been going on for three years, with ZANU PF
refusing to implement key reforms.

Political commentator Lameck Mahachi blasted Zulu, saying she speaks as
though she is ignorant of the fact that the measures do not affect ordinary
Zimbabweans whose rights are being abused by those on the sanctions list.

“She knows the restrictions are meant to curb these despots from travelling
around the world shopping, while Zimbabweans are suffering. This only shows
that they don’t care about the ordinary people. They are in cahoots with the
regime,” Mahachi said.

Zulu and other supporters of the removal of sanctions claim the move would
encourage Mugabe to move forward with key reforms agreed to under the SADC
facilitation. But Mahachi ridiculed the suggestion, saying Mugabe and ZANU
PF have done nothing to encourage the lifting of the restrictions and would
never change their behavior.

“Remove Mugabe and he goes with his problems. Look at the sweeping changes
taking place in Malawi.” one online response suggested.

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Police Cells Stink: Judges

By Professor Matodzi Harare, June 15, 2012 - Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court on
Thursday described the detention cells at Harare Central Police Station as
stinking after they inspected the chambers.

Five Supreme Court judges namely Justice Vernanda Ziyambi, Justice Rita
Makarau, Justice Paddington Garwe, Justice Yunus Omerjee and Justice
Anne-Mary Gowora inspected the holding cells to ascertain their conditions
after a pressure group; Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) leaders petitioned
the court to declare them as uninhabitable.

“One of the cells on the first floor had a stench but the floor appeared to
have been cleaned. In that cell there were six blankets lying on the built
on concrete beds. In each cell that we inspected there were six built in
beds with no mattresses….Around each of the toilets there was a concrete
block which was about a meter high but without a door,” said Justice
Ziyambi, who read out the Supreme Court’s observations in court after the
inspection. The hearing continues.

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams, Magodonga Mahlangu, Celina Madukani and Clara
Manjengwa through their lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR) petitioned the Supreme Court seeking an order compelling the
government to ensure that holding cells at Harare Central Police Station
meet basic hygienic conditions.

The WOZA leaders petitioned the court after their arrest and detention last
year under conditions that constituted inhuman and degrading treatment in
violation of S 15 (1) of the constitution.

They were arrested for demonstrating against government’s failure to adhere
to human rights.

WOZA, whose members are regularly, detained in grubby police cells for
staging anti-government protests want the detention cells at Harare Central
Police Station to be cleaned and resourced with toilet paper and washing
bowls and not the current case where the conditions are unhygienic.

The WOZA leaders want the police to provide a clean mattress and adequate
blankets, as well as adequate bathing or shower installations for each
person detained in police custody overnight.

The activists also want detainees to have access to sufficient drinking
water suitable for consumption and for detainees to enjoy daily exposure to
natural light and appropriate ventilation and heating.

In 2005, the Supreme Court condemned police cells at Matapi and Highlands
police stations as degrading and inhuman and unfit for holding criminal

The Supreme Court’s ruling followed an application filed by ZLHR on behalf
of former Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union secretary-general Wellington
Chibebe and Nancy Kachingwe after they had been detained at the two filthy
holding cells.

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Police ‘rigged’ Supreme Court visit — Woza

Written by Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Friday, 15 June 2012 14:06

HARARE - Supreme Court judges had to tip toe and hold on to each other for
balance at Harare Central Police Station where cells were suspiciously
squeaky clean.

The judges, Vernanda Ziyambi, Rita Makarau, Yunus Omerjee, Paddington Garwe
and Anne-Marie Gowora, were at the police station for an in loco inspection
of the cells as they seek to determine a constitutional case brought by

Woza, some of whose members were once detained in the cells and claimed that
human waste flowed in the corridors, wants the Supreme Court to declare the
cells inhuman and degrading.

But the cells were all shiny yesterday with floor polish having been freshly

Woza leader Jenni Williams cried foul, and said police had “rigged” the
Supreme Court judges’ visit.

“We expected some kind of makeup to appease the court, but this time they
actually outdid themselves because when we were arrested in April 2010,
there was human excreta all over the place,” she told  journalists who were
part of the visit.

“Urine was flowing and one of us was asked by the police to use bare hands
to clean herself after using the toilet,” said Williams.

Some cleaners were still busy sprucing up the place when the judges arrived
for the inspection.

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Judgment reserved for M&G to view Zim judicial report

15 Jun 2012 14:55 - Niren Tolsi

Judge Joseph Raulinga has reserved judgment on whether he should allow the
M&G's lawyers to view the judicial report on Zimbabwe.

North Gauteng High Court judge Joseph Raulinga on Friday reserved judgment
on whether he would allow the Mail & Guardian‘s lawyers to view the judicial
report on Zimbabwe in order to prepare written representations which are to
be submitted to the court by July 16.

The newspaper had, three-and-a-half years ago, applied through the Promotion
of Access to Information Act (Paia) to gain access to a report compiled by
South African justices Sisi Khampepe and Dikgang Moseneke on the legal and
constitutional context of the 2002 presidential elections in Zimbabwe.

Government has refused to hand over the report claiming that it includes
confidential information between governments and was commissioned for the
purpose of policy formulation.

Raulinga, following a “judicial peek” at the report on Thursday, as per a
Constitutional Court order in November last year, ruled that the both
parties need to make ex parte representations (separate, written
submissions) by July 16.

The matter is set down to be heard on August 16. The M&G‘s counsel, Frank
Snyckers SC, had however argued that the newspaper’s case would be at a
disadvantage if its legal representatives were unable to view the report and
use it to inform its submissions.

Snyckers said the newspaper’s constitutional right to a fair trial would be
violated as both the judge and the state’s legal counsel had viewed the

Friday’s arguments were the latest in the newspaper’s battle to access the
report which had started at the high court in Pretoria where it had won its
first case.

Government had then been ordered to make the report available to the
newspaper in its entirety.

The order was later upheld by the Supreme Court of Appeal. The
Constitutional Court had, by a narrow majority, upheld an appeal by
President Jacob Zuma’s office and remitted the case to the high court for it
to have a “judicial peek” at the report in November last year.

The newspaper maintains that the report is of “great public interest” for
several reasons. These include that it “may provide important information”
around the contention by international observers that “the 2002 Zimbabwean
presidential election [that it] was ‘stolen’”.

The M&G also contended that it was “central” to the “legitimacy of the
continuation in presidential office” of Robert Mugabe. The newspaper further
argued that the last presidential elections in Zimbabwe in 2008 “was equally
mired in controversy … when the incumbent [Mugabe] refused to vacate office”
leading to a power-sharing arrangement … Whether the incumbent president
continues to hold office by virtue of illegalities and irregularities
stretching back at least to 2002 is clearly a matter of public interest.”

In its heads of argument the M&G also stated it was important to know
whether the two SA judges had agreed to serve as “diplomatic envoys” for the
executive, as the presidency has claimed. The paper contended that this was
“disingenuous” and even if this was established, “such deployment of sitting
judges would be unlawful”, thus strengthening its case.

Former president Thabo Mbeki had noted in an affidavit filed with the court
on Wednesday, that a “central challenge” at the time of the elections in
Zimbabwe “related to the perceived conflict between the provisions of the
Constitution and certain laws”.

In Mbeki’s affidavit, he stated: “I had received reports that specific
questions were being raised with regard to some of the laws that were being
enacted in Zimbabwe. This included the manner in which the laws were being
applied… By way of example, the common voters’ role read with the
Citizenship Act, 1984 was interpreted as resulting in the disenfranchisement
of voters.”

“In the implementation of the Zimbabwe Public Order and Security Act there
was a view that this Act limited the constitutional right to freedom of
speech, association, and assembly. Some of the complaints that reached me
were that campaign meetings were being disrupted on the basis that they were
prohibited by law,” continued Mbeki in his affidavit.

It was these reports, stated Mbeki, that caused him to dispatch Khampepe and
Moseneke to Zimbabwe.

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EU delegation to visit Marange diamond fields

The European Union (EU) delegation to Zimbabwe will on 25 to 27 June, 2012
visit the marange diamond fields for the first time on a familiarisation
tour, Head of Delegation, Aldo Dell' Ariccia said.
by Wallace Mawire

Ariccia said that the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Obert Mpofu
invited the EU delegation last year to carry out a familiarisation tour of
the diamond fields.

"We could not visit the diamond mines last year due to timing difficulties,
but as of now we have agreed as a union on suitable dates and we are going
on with the tour," Ariccia said.

He added that it is a normal task of all heads of delegations to carry out
such visits to acquire a first hand impression of the developments at such

"This will allow us to have an impression of the functions of the economy.We
have a mandate of visiting establishments which play an important role in
the productive sector of the country," Ariccia says.

Ariccia also said members of the diplomatic corps, last year conducted a
familiarisation tour of Zimplats and such visits are very normal.Other areas
on interest include agricultural projects.

He says eight EU member states including the delegation will conduct the
familiarisation tour.He also added that this is part of standard tasks of
all heads of missions and is not linked to the Kimberley Process.

Minister Mpofu recently said that unlike other countries in the world,
Zimbabwe did not restrict organisations intending to carry out
familiarisation visits to diamond mining sites.

"We do not bar anyone from the sites, in other countries diamond mining
sites are no go areas," Mpofu said.

Last year, Zimbabwean journalists had the opportunity of visiting Chiadzwa
diamond mining sites on a familiarisation tour.

The visit by the EU is to be conducted at a time when there are intensified
calls for transparency in Zimbabwe's mining sector especially with regards
to diamond mining.

Organisations like the Center for Public Accountability (CPA) and the
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (ZELA) have been at the forefront of
this call.

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Mugabe chosen by God — police

Moses Matenga 10 hours 5 minutes ago

Police graduates in Harare yesterday threw out of the window their
professional motto “For the People, For the Country, For the Law”, declaring
allegiance to President Robert Mugabe whom they described, in rehearsed
worship recitations, as “the only God-chosen leader of Zimbabwe”.

They promised Mugabe that they would effectively deal with people that
attempted to disturb the constitutional referendum and the subsequent

“You are our God-chosen leader and we hereby stand by you and remind the EU
(European Union) and its allies that they can rule the rest of the world but
not Zimbabwe anymore. Long live Gushungo,” the recruits chanted in unison.

“We promise that we will spread the revolutionary gospel and as we prepare
for the referendum and national elections, the environment will remain
peaceful. Those bent on causing mayhem, be warned, the long arm of the law
will catch up with you.”

Mugabe, who was the reviewing officer at the passout parade for 561 recruits
at Morris Depot, however, urged them to be impartial as they went about
their duties to maintain law and order.
He told them to create an atmosphere that allowed Zimbabweans to freely vote
for political parties and leaders of their choice. He described as “dirty
minds” people that sought to tarnish the constitution-making process.

The recruits — 406 male and 155 female — sang pro-Zanu PF songs including
those of the Mbare Chimurenga Choir and showered the veteran leader with

Mugabe’s address was a gospel of peace and fair elections. He urged the
police to operate within the confines of the law “in order to nurture
congenial relations with the communities that you serve . . . you owe your
existence to Zimbabwe and the Zimbabweans”.

“Our people do not only have the right to vote, but to do so in an enabling
environment and I am quite confident that police will measure up to
perpetrators of political violence,” he said.

“We are blessed as Zimbabweans to have the sense to promote and hold onto
unity, brotherliness and oneness. As has been passed to us over generations,
a divided house cannot stand and the police should be commended for ensuring
that this stable, peaceful and tranquil environment is preserved.”

He also said he was aware of the difficulties under which the police force
operated and promised government would do what it could to address the

“The government is working tirelessly to seek ways of funding police
activities, as policing the world over is a very expensive enterprise,” he
Finance minister Tendai Biti this week said thousands of people had been
recruited into the army and police recently while government had no money to
even feed them.

Turning to the constitution-making process, Mugabe said: “We are just now
grappling with what should be the last steps towards our constitution. Yet,
dirty local and foreign minds have been quick to tarnish this process. .
.” - NewsDay

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MDC-T reaffirms commitment to key reforms before elections

By Tererai Karimakwenda
15 June 2012

The National Executive Committee of the MDC-T met on Friday to review the political climate in the country, and re-affirmed their commitment to fight ZANU PF attempts to sabotage key reforms ahead of the next election.

Recent public comments by military chefs supporting Robert Mugabe, the illegal recruitment of soldiers and police officers and the lack of accountability in diamond mining and continued violence against MDC-T supporters emerged as the key problematic issues for the party.
The Executive Committee also reviewed a report on the findings of a Commission of Inquiry that was set up in 2011, to investigate violence which rocked some provinces during the run up to their congress last year.

The commission concluded that ZANU PF infiltration caused the violent disturbances and The Executive resolved that all party members and officials implicated in the violence should be brought before the National Disciplinary Committee, without regard to their status within the party.

A statement released after the executive meeting said: “The MDC reiterates that by the time Zimbabwe goes for elections, security sector, media and electoral reforms should have been concluded. These will ensure a level playing field for all those who wish to contest in the election.”

At an extraordinary summit in Luanda this month SADC leaders urged the coalition partners to fully implement the reforms agreed to in the GPA and hold elections only after this was done. This went against Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF’s call for elections this year, with or without reforms.

Click here to read the full text of the executive statement.

MDC National Executive bulletin – 15 June 2012 Harvest House


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MDC Youths Issue Biti With Ultimatum

Nompumelelo Moyo Bulawayo, June 15,2012 - Youths of the small faction of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have warned of mayhem in Bulawayo if
the Distressed Industries Marginalised Areas Fund (DIMAF) and tribalism are
not dealt with urgently.

The Professor Welshman Ncube led MDC Bulawayo Youth Assembly also gave
Finance Minister Tendai Biti up to month end to deposit the DIMAF fund to
Central Africa Building Society (CABS) or they will make Bulawayo

“We therefore, Minister Biti, are giving you an ultimatum to disburse the
money CABS by end of this month or else we will mobilize all the
unemployed young people who are already agitated by now. We will toy-toy to
your offices, we will besiege CABS and we will make this City come to a
standstill until you sort out this mess,” the party's secretary for Media
and Information, Khumbulani Malinga told Radio VOP on Thursday.

“This tribal onslaught on this region is a reminder of the onslaught of our
people during Gukurahundi genocide and the decade of marginalisation and
under-development that the region went through.

“Minister Savior Kasukuwere’s partisan and tribal nature that has been
evidenced by the disbursement of the youth fund leaves a lot to be desired.
The unholy alliance between CABS and the Ministry of Youth to sabotage this
process has irked young people in this region. The young people of Bulawayo
will in no time fail to contain their frustration and we want to assure you
that if this process is not re-looked at and the tribal regional imbalances
reversed in the coming months, all hell will break loose and Bulawayo will
be unmanageable,” said Malinga.

Malinga said the DIMAF disbursement had been politicized, frustrated and
sabotaged when employment in Bulawayo continued to rise. He said the handful
of companies that accessed DIMAF were in no way representative of Bulawayo.

He added that as they commemorate Day of the African Child, young people of
Bulawayo were embroiled with unprecedented anger by the sadistic,
narcissistic, and partisan and counter- revolutionary manner, in which the
Ministry of Youth had projected it through the disbursement of the Ukondla
Fund. Malinga said Matabeland youth were not benefitting from the fund.

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Gov't Cuts Foreign Trips Spending to Save Ailing Economy

14 June 2012

Gibbs Dube and Tatenda Gumbo | Washington

An emergency cabinet meeting called Thursday to discuss the state of
Zimbabwe's economy resolved that government should immediately take measures
to cut spending on foreign trips and put in place mechanisms to ensure money
generated by ministries under President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF arm of the
coalition government is submitted to the treasury.

According to sources closely linked to the emergency meeting called by
Mugabe, the cabinet also resolved that government has to find money to pay
about 10,000 new army recruits and some civil servants hired recently by the
Ministry of Defense and Public Service Commission without approval from
Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

The sources said the ministries of transport and justice are among several
others that have not been submitting revenues collected from the public.
They have been asked to start channeling the funds to treasury for state

The cabinet further noted that since diamond collections have dwindled to
unacceptable levels, there is need to deploy the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority
in Manicaland province’s Marange diamond field to ensure transparency and
accountability in the production and selling of diamonds.

State coffers are running empty due to liquidity challenges, especially as
diamond revenues have failed to live up to expectations.

In the past five months, the government only collected $30 million from
diamond proceeds instead of the projected $240 million while tax revenues
have remained stagnant.

Economic commentator Bekithemba Mhlanga said the cabinet needs to stick to
its decisions in order to curb unnecessary spending.

For further perspective VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo spoke with independent
economist Eric Bloch and Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries president
Joseph Kanyekanye.

Kanyekanye said the emergency meeting was long overdue as the country is
facing serious challenges like limited revenues, liquidity constraints and
crippling power outages, closures of some commercial banks and tensions in
the unity government worsened by pending general elections and the skewed
indigenization program.

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ZESA slammed for sticking with estimated bills

By Alex Bell
15 June 2012

Zimbabwe’s Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) has been slammed for
continuing to issue estimated bills to power users across the country,
despite the unreliable service provided.

ZESA’s Chief Executive, Josh Chifamba, said this week that the power utility
does not have the money to pay for meter readers. He told the parliamentary
portfolio committee on state enterprises and parastatals that they have no
choice but to keep asking for payment based on estimates, because meter
readers would mean raising rates.

A report from that same committee has revealed that there was no correlation
between the ZESA charges and services rendered, with some users being
charged, despite not using power.

“For example, one lady in Cowdray Park, Bulawayo, during one of the meetings
stated that while she was away in South Africa for three months after having
settled her bills and locked the house, upon return she found a US$500 bill
awaiting her despite the house being uninhabited. The lady informed the
committee that efforts to get ZESA to rectify that had not yielded any
results,” the report said.

The report also said that many consumers, who had gone for days without
electricity due to faults in the ZESA system, still received high bills
every month.

Simbarashe Moyo from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA)
slammed ZESA for what he called their “incompetence and insincerity.” He
told SW Radio Africa that ZESA bills do not tally with the service being
provided, and often “there is no service to speak of.”

“This is a parastatal that clearly does not care at all about the plight of
residents. Most people don’t have jobs, they can’t afford the bills, but if
they don’t pay they get cut off,” Moyo said.

The CHRA official said that privatisation of the electricity authority
should be seriously considered, because the entire country was being
affected by ZESA’s mismanagement.

“Parastatals like ZESA are not doing well because they are run on the basis
of government nepotism. So it would be good to privatise because once you
invite competition, you’ll have better service. And all Zimbabweans want is
proper service,” Moyo said.

ZESA was earlier this year forced into defending itself after it was
revealed that top level government officials were defaulting on their bills,
but still receiving service. This included the Mugabe family, who owed more
than US$300,000 to the utility.

These revelations came as ZESA recommitted itself to cutting off all bill
defaulters. But to date only general members of the public have been
punished in this way.

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Health Ministry Targets Under Fives in Killer Diseases Campaign

14 June 2012

Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye | Washington

Zimbabwe’s health ministry will next week embark on a major immunization
campaign targeting young children under the age of five to prevent them from
killer diseases such as measles.

Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the ministry of health, Dr.
Portia Manangazira told VOA that a number of centers have been lined up to
complement hospitals and clinics where children will be vaccinated for free.

Manangazira says the campaign will be rolled out in the country’s all 62
districts targeting at least 1.9 million children below the age of five.
Every child will be provided free vaccinations and Vitamin A supplements.

“We also hope to introduce a new pneumococcal vaccine during the same week,
which will help children fight pneumonia and meningitis which will be
administered three times at six, 10 and 14 weeks,” said Dr. Manangazira.

Manangazira says her ministry’s aim is to ensure that all children under the
age of five have easy access to vaccinations that will help fight
preventable diseases like polio and measles.

“We are hoping to avoid the repeat of the 2009 measles outbreak,” she added.

Manangazira told VOA's Marvellous Mhlanga Nyahuye this year’s national
immunization week starts June 18. She added that all parents should take
advantage of the campaign to have their children protected from killer
diseases that are preventable.

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SABC blackout for Zimbabwe

Zimbabwean television viewers are anxious about a looming blackout of
free-to-air SABCTV channels broadcast through Sentech, SA’s state-owned
signal carrier
Published: 2012/06/15 07:06:29 AM

ZIMBABWEAN television viewers are anxious about a looming blackout of
free-to-air SABCTV channels broadcast through Sentech, SA’s state-owned
signal carrier.

This follows the expiry last month of a three-month grace period extended to
Sentech by a Johannesburg court ahead of a signal cut-off.

Free-to-air decoders in Zimbabwe receive Sentech’s SABC signals, allowing
Zimbabweans to watch SABC 1, 2 and 3. In February, the court ordered Sentech
to "take all reasonable steps necessary" to encrypt its signal within the
next three months, after finding it guilty of being "wrongful, negligent and
in breach" over its failure to encrypt its signal.

The case against Sentech was brought by rival’s Botswana subsidiary,
eBotswana, which accused Sentech of promoting "signal piracy".

However, Sentech had an option to appeal against the ruling and seek an
extension of the cut-off date. It is unclear if Sentech took up that option.
Privately owned cut off its channel to Zimbabwe three years ago, citing
piracy concerns.

SABC spokesman Kaizer Kganyago yesterday confirmed that the encryption would
cut off SABC transmission to free-to-air decoders in countries such as
Zimbabwe, Namibia and Mozambique.

"We broadcast in SA and Sentech is in charge of ensuring the signal is
protected and stays in SA," he said. "Anybody who is not in SA and is
watching SABC content terrestrially is doing so illegally."

Zimbabweans, who do not have independent television channels, watch SABC
channels via free-to-air decoders that include Wiztech, Fortec Star and
Philibao, which have created a booming market for satellite TV viewership.
Through Wiztech and Philibao decoders, Zimbabwe has Africa’s highest
broadcast piracy rate.

Anglistone Sibanda, of the National Association of Nongovernmental
Organisations, said an SABC blackout would leave the country exposed to Zanu
(PF) propaganda ahead of possible elections this year.

Meanwhile, MultiChoice Zimbabwe, which offers pay-TV on its DStv platform,
would benefit from the looming blackout. An official said: " We are aware
that Sentech was ordered to cut its signal to Zimbabwe. But we can’t discuss
MultiChoice plans with regard to the disconnections."

Sentech referred inquiries to the SABC.

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Former journalist turned farmer turns to music

David Mwanaka as a farmer

By Lance Guma
15 June 2012

Many Zimbabweans will know David Mwanaka as a former journalist who made history by becoming one of only two black farmers in the UK. Homesick exiles frequent his farm to buy rare white maize, pumpkin leaves, rape, choumoellier, tsunga and butternuts, among an array of other popular products.

Unknown to many though was the fact that Mwanaka was also nurturing another one of his many talents, music. This week those efforts gave birth to a new song “Don’t Cry” which his band JODAM uploaded on the video sharing site You Tube.

Speaking to SW Radio Africa’s On the Pulse programme Mwanaka said: “I play bass guitar, write and arrange songs. But then I can’t sing. A friend of mine once told me, ‘never ever sing in public’, so I’ve listened to that advice.” Along with his 14 year old son Jonathan and niece Joanne, the trio formed the band JODAM.

Mwanaka explained that the band name was a combination of their names JO (Jonathan and Joanne) DA (David) and M for their surname Mwanaka. He said they are in the process of recording four videos for their new album adding: “We are just starting, it’s a new career for us.”

Half of the proceeds from the sale of the song ‘Don’t Cry-Little Child’ will be used to fund charities that deal with “abused or suffering children.” Mwanaka singled out Betty Makoni’s Girl Child Network and the Tinogona consulting project run by another Zimbabwean, Dr Tererai Trent.

Last year talk US talk show queen Oprah Winfrey selected Dr Trent as her all time favourite guest.

To listen to David Mwanaka  On the Pulse

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Zim public urged to support Dorothy Duncan care centre

By Alex Bell
15 June 2012

A charity fundraiser to help keep the Dorothy Duncan care centre in Harare
open is set to get underway on Saturday, with members of the public urged to
do what they can to show their support.

The centre in Greendale is facing closure at the end of July, meaning its
blind and physically disabled residents are now facing the possibility of
being thrown out.

The centre was founded by the late Mrs. Dorothy Duncan in 1950 for the care
of the blind, and in the years that followed the Dorothy Duncan organisation
grew to include three different sites in Harare. This includes the care
centre in Greendale, the Dorothy Duncan Braille library in Fife Avenue and a
residential property for rehabilitation in Milton Park. The centre has also
expanded its services to the partially sighted, paraplegics and other
physically disabled.

The care centre is home to about 40 residents and there is serious concern
about where they will end up if it closes in the coming weeks.

SW Radio Africa understands that the centre was given an ultimatum by the
National Employment Council to increase its staff wages, backdated by a
year. We were unable to secure an interview with anyone from the centre but
we have been told that the group has been ordered to pay about US$50,000. As
a charity group it does not have the money to comply and now faces closing
its door by the end of July.

A classical music concert has now been organised for this Saturday at 6.30pm
at St. George’s College in the Loyola Hall as an initial fundraising effort
to try and keep the money flowing for the charitable group.

The concert will feature tenor vocalist Nigel Hopkins, pianist Renée Mostert
and Harmony Rogers on cello.

Entry to the concert will be by donation and as many people as possibly are
being urged to show their support.

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Transcript of Roy Bennett on Question Time

Roy Bennett and Lance Guma

Exiled MDC-T Treasurer General Roy Bennett is the guest on Question Time. He answers questions sent in by SW Radio Africa listeners about whether he is likely to go back to Zimbabwe, the downgrading of MDC-T structures in the Diaspora, his reaction to former ZANU PF MP Tracy Mutinhiri joining the MDC-T and the way forward for the GNU.

Interview broadcast 06 June 2012

Lance Guma: Good evening Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me on Question Time. My guest tonight is Roy Bennett, the exiled Treasurer General of the MDC under Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. We asked listeners to send in their questions for him and during the course of this interview we hopefully will get him to answer them. Thank you for joining us Roy.

Roy Bennett: Pleasure Lance, how are you doing?

Guma: Well you’ve been a busybody over the last few weeks, a presentation at Oxford University, several articles quoting your sentiments – what is all this about? Last time we spoke I know you said you were spearheading a Global Advocacy campaign – is this still part of what you’re doing?

Bennett: I’ve completed that and that’s been taken over by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs within the MDC, so Lance, I was in London, the main thrust of my involvement around all that was to raise the resources to support the party back home and to support the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections and that is basically what I did.

I then went back to South Africa to try and implement everything that I’d done this side and consolidate it all. So basically it’s just I was invited to speak to the Rhodes scholars at Oxford, which ended me landing up back in Oxford and being back in South Africa and being more in touch with the people at home and with the grassroots.

There are a number of issues which I am able to raise being in exile and out of reach of the totalitarian and repressive authorities of Zimbabwe. So that’s what’s caused me to get out and speak and it’s mainly on issues that have come back from my colleagues in grassroots structures at home.

Guma: Now before we get to what those issues are, several reports are suggesting that you’ll be returning home to campaign for your party leader Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and that there’s also the possibility of you running for your old Chimanimani seat in the next elections. Is this true?

Bennett: Lance, like I’ve always said and I’ve always maintained my entry into politics is from the people. I’m not a career politician, I don’t seek political office; I’m there to represent people if they want me and in the manner that I can, so yes, definitely on the Chimanimani issue – again if the people want me there I will do my best to represent them.

And with President Tsvangirai it’s completely different, I am there to support him as I’ve done from day one with all the support I can around the logistics and finances to run a campaign. So yah, that’s where I’m at and definitely conditions permitting and we move forward with free and fair elections, I will definitely be there to campaign.

Guma: One question that we have comes from a woman called Dadirai and she wants to know legally what your conundrum is. It’s been quite some time since your case was covered, I think this relates to Justice Bhunu and others and she wants just an update regarding that – do you have an arrest warrant out for you? What is it that is stopping you from going home? she says.

Bennett: Yah definitely I understand there are two arrest warrants Lance. One is for contempt of court, the other is for perjury. But again Lance we need to understand the regime we are dealing with, we need to understand the way they operate.

Right now we see all the activists barred or supporters or family of Solomon Madzore and the 29 others in remand, their case has not been heard, they’ve been in for how long? It’s, any charge can be put against you, it’s about the regime, it’s about the persecution, it’s about them targeting individuals and certainly those warrants of arrest were issued and when the treason trial.

I was acquitted at the treason trial, Justice Bhunu himself came up to sue me and the Law and Order pressed charges against me. Prior to that they brought charges against me for storing grain dating back to 2001. So in short Lance, they don’t need a charge. It’s about them being totally in control, about a lack of security sector reform, it’s about the Generals running the country and repressing people they feel are a threat to them.

Guma: I’ve always wondered why they’ve picked on you and they’ve been so consistent in this persecution. Some obviously speculate it’s a race issue but you ask the question why someone like David Coltart is not being harassed at all or at least to the extent that you are being harassed. Have you been able to get to the bottom of it and find out why it’s so sustained?

Bennett: Lance I think it’s not just me. Anybody that is effective within the political sphere in Zimbabwe. Politics is a game of numbers Lance; it’s about grassroots support, about constituencies, it’s about people’s votes and if somebody is showing and their intelligence picks up the effectiveness or input of somebody that is pushing the process forward then those are the people that are fully targeted.

So I think if you look at Solomon Madzore being the chairman of the youth, his bravery, his total sacrifice and continued from day one as soon as he was voted into office as the new youth chairman, the repression against him started and his effectiveness, his support at grassroots and his ability that will keep him in prison because they don’t want him out because he’s more damage to them outside prison than he is sitting in a cell in Harare.

I think that’s what the real reason’s all about yah. And I also think they’ve never, ever forgiven me; if we go back in history and the start and the change in Zimbabwe when the people of Zimbabwe realized that Zanu PF had failed to deliver on their promises and all the promises from the liberation war and mobilized for the referendum.

At the same time the MDC was set up I had been courted by Zanu PF to represent Zanu PF and had been introduced by the Zanu PF structures by Mai Knight around the whole of Chimanimani to meet the people, I’d been at grassroots with them, I’d eaten with them and when it was time for me at elections just prior to the formation of the MDC and I was pushed forward to be the Zanu PF candidate for Chimanimani.

The regime refused to accept me and when the MDC was formed and I went with the elders from Chimanimani to go and meet the new leadership of the MDC led by Morgan Tsvangirai I basically took the whole Zanu PF constituency of Chimanimani and delivered them to the MDC. Through the leadership of the then Zanu PF, a lot of the Zanu PF people then came with us and I think these are the things that they don’t forgive, they don’t forget and they victimize.

Guma: Recently MDC Diaspora structures have been up in arms over a decision by the party to downgrade their status from external assemblies to co-ordinating committees. What was the rationale behind that decision and do you support it?

Bennett: Lance, we are all members of the MDC, all of us and yes, I do support it for the reasons, the following reasons: there has been absolute chaos in the Diaspora for the last era that we can look at. You have leaders imposing themselves, you’ve had leaders getting into position you’ve had corruption, you’ve had misappropriation of funds.

You’ve had damaging emails kicking around from country to country challenging the leadership at home bringing the party into ill-repute and you know sadly these are only a few individuals Lance, it’s not the Diaspora yet the Diaspora now has to take the flak because of this irresponsible behaviour from certain leaders.

And the people in the Diaspora fully know who these leaders are, fully know what the issues are so sadly that’s what is happening but that’s not the issue Lance, the issue is we need change at home in Zimbabwe; I am in the Diaspora, I have purposely stayed away from fundraising functions because of the infighting with the inside structures of the Diaspora. I don’t want to get involved in trivial matters when the big picture at home is in dire need of support.

All I can say, being in the Diaspora and to my colleagues who are the majority in the Diaspora, let’s focus on home, let’s organize, let’s do it without looking for personal agendas, without looking for personal aggrandizement or political position, let’s mobilize and support back home. Those who put their back into it will be recognized and seen by the people and in a new dispensation, will hold a very prominent place within the hearts of Zimbabweans. So that’s all I can really say Lance.

Guma: You though admit that it’s only a small minority, the decision to downgrade the external assemblies, is that not equivalent to throwing out the baby and bath water together?

Bennett: Well again Lance I wasn’t in Zimbabwe when that decision was taken I’m sure it was taken after serious consultation. I’m telling you my views – I personally think it’s only a few. I don’t know what the perception is at home or at the committees that discuss this, or when it was tabled with the party as such, I’ve no idea Lance.

But I believe that it’s all the problems and actions from the past pushed this decision to be reached but again it’s not a decision of throwing the baby out with the bath water, it’s I would feel and I would believe personally it’s more strengthening the Diaspora in so much allowing those who want to get involved, throw their back into it, organize, raise money, support the structures back home, it gives them the opportunity without being oppressed through political structures or not oppressed, without being directed through political structures.

Guma: Recently you blasted some in your own party for having no appreciation of the efforts of those in the Diaspora. You went further to say some had become Zanu-fied and had abandoned the people for the comfort of Zanu PF’s gravy train. Several listeners have questions on this; Edward, Priscilla and others would like you to explain what did you mean exactly?

Bennett: Well it’s very simple, if you look back home, if you at our councilors, look at elected officials who have betrayed the very values of what we all stood for and why the MDC was formed. We have councilors in Mutare, six councilors there who met with Chombo who have gone against the party, who’ve issued plots of land, who have been corruptly involved in corrupt practices, we’ve had Chitungwiza council that did exactly the same thing.

It’s the shot over the bows of all of us to understand why we formed the MDC, what the MDC was formed for and what it’s there for and there has been remarks, I’ve picked up remarks again here and there on the internet of people saying things that are not good about the Diaspora and I know that the majority of people in the Diaspora have put their backs into raising funds.

I as the treasurer now see funds moving to support constituencies, to support programmes from people in the Diaspora so we need to be one, Lance, there shouldn’t be criticism of one against the other, that is Zanu’s way and that is the Zanu-ification and when people become comfortable, forget about the reasons as to why they were elected into power, forget about who they represent and what they represent it shows a bad reflection on the brand that we’ve built as the MDC.

And it’s to pull everybody back, the Diaspora is as important as the people at home and the reason why people are in the Diaspora is as a result of what has happened back home. The people back home are equally important, and need the support of the Diaspora so all of us, whether we like it or not are bound together by a common goal and the big picture of bringing about change in Zimbabwe.

And it’s more a shock to urge personal differences and personal individuals to remember why we formed the MDC. What the core principles and values of the MDC are and you know that more than ever we need to be united and together in pushing forward.

Guma: Last week Wednesday on Question Time I had the former Zanu PF MP for Marondera East Tracy Mutinhiri; on Monday this week I had Douglas Cartwright, the son of the late tobacco farmer Guy Cartwright whose family was violently evicted by Tracy and her ex-husband retired Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri. As a dispossessed farmer yourself Roy, what do you make of the MDC allowing Tracy Mutinhiri to join the party after being expelled by Zanu PF? Lots of questions from people on this.

Bennett: Well again Lance, I unfortunately was not in on the decision? (inaudible) profile that she had, I have my own views on these things but to be very blatantly honest and very frank with you, anybody that’s involved with Zanu PF’s atrocities where they haven’t been held to account for justice against any atrocities that are proven and definitely they have committed, then they should hold no place in the MDC.

I don’t know the circumstances around Tracy Mutinhiri, I don’t know what she’s done or hasn’t done but if she’s got a case to answer, and she has done things then definitely the course through the courts is the first thing that’s going to ever bring about any sort of change in Zimbabwe and secondly her entry into the MDC, I have no idea as to how it happened but if she has been involved in these sorts of actions then I find it very, very strange that she’s been accepted at the level she has.

Guma: Do you think it’s more for the propaganda value than her actually adding anything to the party?

Bennett: Well again I think we should always show that the MDC’s doors are open, to anybody from Zanu but if they come to join us, they don’t come and join us bringing with them baggage that they haven’t been accounted for.

You know the high profile of getting someone like her across obviously sends a very big political message and I’ll say for her, she’s certainly been brave in doing so because we all understand how Zanu PF handles people that betray them or desert them.

So again she’s got to be commended for her bravery there but at the same time if she has been involved in these acts that have been alleged and then she has to answer them and she has to be brought to account before she holds an office, or post in the MDC.

Guma: Now you’ve claimed a network of white commercial farmers have resigned themselves to sponsoring Zanu PF with money in order to keep their farms. Is this true?

Bennett: Not a network of white commercial farmers, it’s a network of white people in Zimbabwe, white business and commercial farmers who are in bed with Zanu PF, who use Zanu PF to further their aims and at the same time, enrich individuals and supply funds to Zanu PF.

Yes that’s an absolute fact Lance, and it’s more prolific and visible than ever now because all the business around anything that involves mining concessions, land has to have a Zanu PF entity and the only way these guys can move their business interests forward is by being in bed and being the front person for these Zanu PF entities.

Guma: Do you sympathise with their position that they’re caught between a rock and a hard place or do you think…

Bennett: Not at all, not at all. Every Zimbabwean had a chance to make his choice. People that have chosen a course to enrich themselves at the expense of the majority, at the expense of people and standing on people’s heads while they sup wine with the devil is totally unacceptable and if anything are ten times worse than the Zanu PF people themselves because they know better Lance.

They know better, they come from privileged backgrounds, they’ve had money before, it’s not about poverty it’s about greed and greed is far worse than somebody who’s pushed into circumstances by poverty.

Guma: My last question comes from Richard Mboma he sent it via Twitter, he says what does Roy Bennett think is the way forward for the government of national unity?

Bennett: There’s only one way forward Lance and that way has been very, very clear from the beginning and that is the way of the Global Political Agreement for all the conditions of the Global Political Agreement be met, for a constitution acceptable be endorsed and for Zimbabwe to go for free and fair elections, security sector reforms, a level playing field where all Zimbabweans can vote without fear or favour for the person of their choice, where there can be a transition of power and where a government can implement policy changes that will benefit the people of Zimbabwe.

Guma: Realistically do you see Zanu PF conceding to all those things?

Bennett: Lance I don’t personally again, as a personal individual, I don’t see, it’s not a case of Zanu PF. I think Zanu PF is very divided Lance, I think there are many within Zanu PF and I would say possibly the majority in Zanu PF understand that they cannot continue the way they’ve been with the repression, the beatings, the violence, the corruption but they are not the ones in control.

The ones in control are the less educated, the more brutal, the people who have always achieved their goal through repression and brutality starting from the liberation war. We need to go right back to the liberation war to see how many people were killed in that time and that same mentality of rovayi munhu (beat up this person)  is a mentality that is believed, is a belief for them that they can hold onto power.

They now own the diamond concession, they are in partnership with the Chinese military in platinum, in the diamonds, in agriculture, they have become immensely rich, they’re not going to walk away from that Lance. So there is a serious battle ahead for the people of Zimbabwe and at the end of the day it is the people of Zimbabwe that have to stand up and claim their future and claim their rights Lance and it is there where I lend my hand in whatever little efforts I can do is to be able to help those people structure, organize and be responsible for their own future at a later date.

Guma: Well Zimbabwe that’s our guest tonight on Question Time, Roy Bennett the exiled Treasurer General of the MDC under Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Roy as ever, it’s been a pleasure having you on the programme.

Bennett: Thank you Lance and all the best to you.

To listen to the programme:

Feedback can be sent to or

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A hope for the future (Zimbabweans Against Drink Driving)

June 15th, 2012

Zimbabweans Against Drink Driving

I was reading the RAU report posted on this page and of course I am concerned about the plight of teachers, but what really got me going was the title of the article, “What kind of citizens will Zimbabwean children develop into…?”  This question is not only relevant for the future, but lies in the here and now.

Zimbabwe’s press is overloaded with reports of carnage on the road.  In April two horrific accidents took the lives of 33, 12 people burnt beyond recognition in a double cab (overloaded, you think?), 21 killed in a bus and then in May 13 died in a commuter omnibus.  These are the reported cases.  But what you do not see reported is the number of drunk drivers on our roads, nor the untold misery suffered by the families of the victims.

Over the past week two incidents, both involving drunk, young Zimbabwean drivers in their early twenties, have claimed the lives of at least six individuals.  In Harare, two vehicles left the drag racing circuit outside the city, and instead of leaving competition to the track, they started racing down 2nd Street, a major thoroughfare.  One of the vehicles had a head on collision instantly killing the passenger in his car and the driver of the vehicle he had rammed.  The drunk driver survived and I have been told his sister is in a coma.

In Bulawayo, yet another drunken youth, apparently speaking on his cell phone and going at excessive speed, overtook a truck into the oncoming lane, instantly killing one of his friends in the passenger seat and an elderly couple, one of them an iconic figure in the small community.  The second passenger passed away a couple of days later.  The drunk driver survived.

Yes, drunk driving is a universal problem, but in Zimbabwe the issue is exacerbated by the fact that our youths are being brought up in a society where there is zero respect for authority.  How can any Zimbabwean child understand respect when everyone, from the top down, is engaged in nefarious activity? How can any young adult be expected to develop due regard for the sanctity of human life when the powers that be can, with impunity, murder, maim, torture, terrify and humiliate? How can any child or young adult understand the need for laws and rules, when the very institution that is responsible for maintaining law and order sanctions the solicitation of bribes?  For a price you can get away with anything, even murder.

Think about these two young drunk drivers and about the last 12 years in Zimbabwe, think about the decay and the rot.  The drivers are obviously part of a small minority whose parents can afford to give their kids expensive and dangerous “toys”, but sadly these kids have failed to learn the lesson of accountability.  Not for one minute do I believe that either should be spared the full might of the law, but at the same time I see two young Zimbabwean victims.  If there was a system that meted out justice fairly and squarely, I would like to think that our youth would not act with such disregard for their fellow beings.

Yes, I despair, but I was also uplifted by a new Facebook page called “Zimbabweans Against Drunk Driving”, ZADD,  that seems to be going viral.  It was started by a young Zimbabwean horrified at the recent tragedy and whose initiative is clear evidence that there is promise for our youth.  While many comments speak of the anger, the fear, the apathy and the lack of trust, I also see signs of inspiration, positive engagement, creativity and a willingness to take responsibility.

But most important of all, I see hope.

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Eddie Cross: Food Production in Zimbabwe

15th June 2012

Dear Jupiter

I read your note on the link between food production and the destruction of
white owned farms and thought that it needed a response. As you might know I
was Chief Economist at the Agricultural Marketing Authority up to
Independence and have been involved in agriculture here all my life.

You concentrate on maize production, as this is the primary staple that is
understandable. Communal farmers (70 per cent of the population until the
recent collapse of the economy and the rural economy) always aimed to
produce their own food. Generally over time this meant that 60 per cent of
national maize production came from the Communal areas. Because of the
nature of subsistence agriculture, low tech, low inputs, yields were always
low and the areas cultivated huge – some 2 million hectares were cultivated
annually. If we had good rains this produced a surplus and shortages when
rains were poor.

Zimbabwe has a 40 per cent mean variation in rainfall (the US is 5 per
cent). This means that we get huge variations in rainfall from year to year.
1983, 1992 were exceptionally bad years and only massive imports saved the
country from starvation. The other crops where communal farmers dominated
were sorghum, millet, ground nuts and beans. Perhaps we could add sweet
potatoes and air dried tobacco. Living standards were low =- perhaps a third
of the standard of living on commercial farms – it is interesting to note
that population density on commercial farms was nearly as great as on
communal farms, commercial farmers supported a population of about 2 million
people in 1997 on about 8 million hectares of land. Communal areas
population was about 4 million on 16 million hectares, the difference being
that the majority of the communal land were in regions 3, 4 and 5 – arid and
semi arid areas. 70 per cent of region 1 land is communal but that is
restricted to the Eastern Highlands.

What made the Commercial farmers (4800 white and 1200 black) so important
(70 per cent of gross agricultural output) was the productivity and
technologically advanced nature of their operations. They irrigated 270 000
hectares of land – most of it as supplementary irrigation in dry years, they
produced about 600 000 tonnes of maize a year (we need 1,8 million tonnes a
year – 1,2 million tonnes for human consumption and 600 000 tonnes for
industry and stockfeed. But in a dry year they could irrigate much of the
crop and guarantee some output. Commercial farmers produced virtually all
the wheat (400 000 tonnes), all the barley (40 000 tonnes) and 95 per cent
of the tobacco (250 000 tonnes a year) and 90 per cent of all soybeans (120
000 tonnes). Then they produced all the tea – 90 per cent of the coffee, all
the milk (260 000 tonnes) and all the fruit (citrus and pome – about 75 000
tonnes a year). In the meat industry they produced about 60 per cent of the
poultry, 70 per cent of the beef and 85 per cent of the pig meat –
altogether about 350 000 tonnes a year.

When you put this all together, Commercial farmers generated about 70 per
cent of gross agricultural output, half of all exports and a third of
employment and 60 per cent of the raw materials getting to local industry.
They supported over 2 million people directly on farms at a standard that
was significantly better than in the communal areas where absolute poverty

Since the farm invasions, commercial agricultural output has declined 70 per
cent and is still declining. In the communal sector, and this is
fascinating, the decline has been slightly higher at 73 per cent. I estimate
that out of the 10 000 title deeded farms that were forcibly taken from
their owners, 7000 are today vacant, with no people living there, no farm
activity of any kind. Hardest hit has been the cattle industry where
commercial stocks of 2,7 million head have been reduced to about 700 000
head. You cannot run cattle when there is no law, no security and no fences.

This year we will import just about everything – two thirds of our milk, a
third of our sugar (we used to produce 600 000 tonnes a year with half for
export), vegetables, 1,2 million tonnes of maize – maybe more than last year
as the crop is smaller, all our wheat, half our barley and two thirds of our
soybeans. Much of it from Zambia (where ex Zimbabwean farmers have made a
huge impact) and Malawi where very successful peasant agricultural systems
are delivering large surpluses – but funded by donors.

What should be of concern to all is that three years after the formation of
the GNU, the only sector that shows no recovery, but is still in decline, is


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