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Mugabe takes 92 member delegation and blows $7 million in Rio

By Tererai Karimakwenda
06 June 2011

Sustainable development is the theme of the conference Robert Mugabe is
attending in Brazil this week, yet the ailing ZANU PF leader reportedly took
a delegation of 92 cronies, costing the cash strapped Zimbabwean economy
more than $7 million.

Ironically, Mugabe himself convened a special meeting last week to discuss
the economy, at which Finance Minister Tendai Biti is said to have sparked a
heated debate over the cost of the Rio trip. But according to the Daily News
newspaper, Mugabe left the meeting early to attend a police passing-out

In his 2012 Budget Review the Finance Minister had warned about the
extravagant travel costs of senior officials, saying $45.5 million had been
blown on foreign trips last year. This averages out to about $4 million per
month being spent on travel by government officials.

The size of Mugabe’s delegations when he travels abroad has long been a
subject of ridicule and concern at the same time, with jokes being made
about extravagant shopping trips while ordinary Zimbabweans struggle to feed
their families.

Economic analyst John Robertson explained that Minister Biti has no power to
change the situation, although he has frequently objected to the amount
spent on these trips. According to Robertson Biti has been unable to get any
legislation or policy changes made to stem Mugabe’s huge expenses.

“We see this as an effect of the President wanting to reward people who have
served him in some way. It’s all part of the patronage system that the
President has depended on for many, many years,” Robertson told SW Radio
Africa on Wednesday.

The Daily News said the delegation to Brazil, which was spotted at Harare
airport Sunday, included Mugabe’s wife Grace and a full medical staff that
he now travels with. Also in tow was the Environment Minister Francis Nhema
and Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.

Robertson said it was a “disgrace” that these individuals have access to
such funds when there are welfare organisations shutting down, people living
on charity because government has taken their pensions and children who
cannot afford to go to school due to a lack of facilities.

Regarding the conference, Robertson said sustainable development involves
issues such as the practical use of scarce resources or the cutting down of
indigenous hardwood timbers in Zimbabwe. Conservancies have also been
plundered by war vets and military chefs who invaded them illegally.

“These issues are not being addressed by the individuals concerned. In fact
they might be the ones who are calling for policy choices that do anything
but promote sustainable development,” the economist explained.

Beside the financial cost of the trip, Tuesday’s cabinet meeting was
cancelled because Mugabe insists that only he can chair this weekly meeting
of coalition government ministers. This has also happened on many occasions
when the ailing dictator leaves the country seeking medical treatment.

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Media black-out surrounds COPAC talks in Nyanga

By Tichaona Sibanda
20 June 2012

Negotiators from the three parties in the GPA have been meeting in Nyanga
since Sunday to resolve outstanding issues in the drafting of a new
constitution, but a ‘total media blackout’ appears to have been imposed on
their negotiations.

The latest round of talks are expected to last until Wednesday and analysts
consider them ‘pivotal’, in that they will determine whether or not the
country will go to elections with a new charter.

SW Radio Africa understands that no statements will be given to the media
until the talks are finalised. The ban is said to be designed to increase
the chances of success of the talks, by ‘discouraging’ public debate about
the options on the table, taking place at the secluded Ruparara lodge.

Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga told SW
Radio Africa on Friday last week that they had set aside at least three days
to try to reach agreement on all outstanding issues.

The committee members 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 Misihairambwi-Mushonga.

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

As they headed into the talks on Sunday, the three parties were still miles
apart on core issues of the negotiations. In the last two months there has
been a widening of positions between ZANU PF and the MDC formations on the
three core areas of the negotiations; the devolution of power, the structure
of the executive and dual citizenship.

Edwin Mushoriwa, the Deputy President of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube, said
they not heard anything from their negotiators since they set off for Nyanga
on Sunday.

“It’s possible they could have agreed as negotiators not to grant the media
any statements regarding what happens behind the closed doors of direct
talks until an agreement, if possible, is reached,” Mushoriwa said.

Other analysts surmised that the media ban could have been demanded by the
South African facilitation team that met the negotiators in Harare last

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.

Political commentator Munjonzi Mutandiri cited lack of proper guiding
principles as the reason behind the time it has taken to complete the

“In South Africa when they came up with their constitution after apartheid
they drew up 34 guiding principles that made it impossible for politicians
or parties to manipulate the process,” Mutandiri said.

He added: “What we have now with COPAC is that it has been turned into a
negotiating platform, they have to agree on almost everything, completely
subverting what the people said during the outreach. If they had stuck to
what people said, I’m sure this process would have been completed two years

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9 killed in Kwekwe bus crash

20/06/2012 00:00:00
by Patience Nyangove

NINE people perished and 18 others were hospitalised after a Gweru-bound
ZUPCO bus rammed into a broken-down heavy goods truck in Kwekwe early on
Wednesday, police confirmed.

The accident is the third serious road disaster in as many days after two
other commuter bus crashes in Wedza and Mbembesi claimed a combined 19

Police Superintendent Andrew Phiri said initial accounts by survivors in the
Kwekwe crash suggested there was fog, which may have prevented the bus
driver from noticing the broken down truck.

“The ZUPCO bus crashed into the stationary lorry at around 6AM and
overturned. Seven people died on the spot and two others died on their way
to hospital,” he said by telephone from Harare.

The broken-down truck was carrying steel rods. Some of the survivors from
the bus which had 27 passengers told how most of the dead were stabbed by
the rods which ripped through the bus.

National traffic police deputy spokesperson Assistant Inspector Luckmore
Chakanza said the injured were being treated at Gweru and Kwekwe General
The driver of the bus is among the injured, Chakanza said.

Chakanza said the bus driver told the police that he did not see the haulage
truck registered to Wel Mining Transport in time because of poor visibility.

"The bus rammed into the rear right side of the haulage truck with the front
left side. On impact, the steel rods stabbed some passengers and seven
people died on the spot," Chakanza said.

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Another 13 people killed in accident in Fort Rixon

Bulawayo,June 20,2012—Thirteen people were killed in fatal Kombi crash along
the Bulawayo –Fort Rixon road in Matebeleland South early Tuesday morning.

Four others were also injured in the accident after the overloaded kombi
veered off the road before crashing into Nonko River.

“Thirteen people were killed on the spot and four more were injured and have
since been referred to United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) in Bulawayo. "The
accident occurred yesterday in Fort Rixon although I am yet to receive a
report with finer details of the accident,” Matebeleland South police
spokesperson Tafanana Dzirutwe said.

The Fort Rixon accident came just a month after 13 other people were killed
in another fatal accident which occurred along the Harare-Bindura highway
after a min-bus driver lost control and veered off the road.

Most of the Zimbabwe roads are in a state of disrepair with many littered
with dangerous potholes as result of years of neglect and increased volume
of traffic beyond designed carrying capacity.

Hundreds of Zimbabweans including some senior government leaders have
perished in road accidents that experts have largely blamed on the poor
state of roads. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s wife Susan Tsvangirai
also perished in car accident along Harare- Masvingo highway in March 2009.
It is believed that the number of the people who have died in traffic
accidents is much higher than that of the people who have died of HIV-Aids
or any other disease.

Statistics from the Zimbabwe Traffic Police show that road accident
fatalities have increases from 35 deaths per thousand accidents to 45 deaths
per thousand accidents.

According to the ministry of transport, 30 percent of the country’s roads
require rehabilitation, while the remainder needs periodic maintenance.

Zimbabwe introduced tollgates in August 2009 as a way of mobilising
resources for the rehabilitation and maintenance of the country’s road

Small vehicle road users pay US$1 to cross the tollgates, while buses and
lorries pay $5. Motorbike and cyclists do not pay anything.

According to official government estimates, the tollgates are raising $350
000 per week.

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Western diplomats invited on ‘sanctions removal’ Chiadzwa tour

By Alex Bell
20 June 2012

Western diplomats in Zimbabwe are set for a tour of the controversial
Chiadzwa diamond fields, in what critics have slammed as an attempt by ZANU
PF to push for the removal of targeted sanctions against party linked
diamond firms.

Announcing the visit last week, Zimbabwe’s Minister of Mines, Obert Mpofu,
said he hoped the visit by Western diplomats would put to rest claims of
human-rights abuses by security forces in the diamond-mining fields.

“The EU ambassadors and Western country ambassadors are going to Marange
next week. We said come. In fact, they asked for that permission a long time
ago ……we are open to scrutiny,” Mpofu said.

The visit comes as there are ongoing reports of abuses led by the military,
police and private security guards at the diamonds fields. Most recently, an
investigation by the UK’s Sunday Times newspaper reported how beatings,
assaults, dog attacks and other abuses were still ongoing.

The tour is now seen as an attempt by Mpofu to try and move past the
violence reports, with ZANU PF still pushing for Western targeted sanctions
to be removed. These measures are still in place against key members of the
Robert Mugabe regime and many companies, including the Zimbabwe Mining and
Development Corporation (ZMDC) which has a large stake in Chiadzwa.

Political analyst Clifford Mashiri told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that
ZANU PF is “trying to pretend that the abuses can be washed away,” and that
the party “wants everyone to believe that all is fine.”

“I don’t think this strategy will work,” Mashiri said, while urging civil
society “to keep an eye open and keep reporting the abuses at Chiadzwa.”

Mashiri meanwhile agreed that the diplomats’ visit could have a potentially
brutal consequence for villagers in the Marange area, if a ‘clean up’
operation is put into place ahead of the tour.

The tour is expected to take place next week.

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Fresh Setback As IATA Suspends Air Zimbabwe

By Professor Matodzi HARARE, June 20, 2012-Zimbabwe’s embattled and
debt-ridden state-run airline, Air Zimbabwe has been booted out of the
International Air Transport Association (IATA), in a fresh setback for the
ailing airline.

Information obtained exclusively by Radio VOP this week show that the world
aviation body booted Air Zimbabwe out of its registry last week after the
airline failed to renew its registration with IATA’s Operational Safety
Audit (IOSA).
“Please be advised that tomorrow, June 14, 2012, Air Zimbabwe will be
removed from the IOSA registry as the operator failed to renew its
registration before the expiry date,” reads part of a letter written to
Edmund Makona, Air Zimbabwe’s Lead Auditor, Quality and IOSA Project
Coordinator by Catalin Cotrut, IATA’s director for Global
Audit Programs, which was seen by Radio VOP.
IOSA is the benchmark for global safety management in airlines and all IATA
members are registered and must remain registered in order to maintain IATA
However, Air Zimbabwe failed to renew its registration with IATA because of
the operational problems currently affecting the airline, which culminated
in the grounding and suspension of all of its aircraft in January. The
registration process, which was due on June
23, is carried out after every two years.
Insiders at Air Zimbabwe said IATA personnel failed to conduct the
registration exercise on the airline because there was no personnel and
operational aircraft to audit at Air Zimbabwe including routes to assess its
safety records. “Air Zimbabwe is officially out of IATA. The airline was
dead when IATA people visited us because there was no one to audit,” said
the insiders.
The condemnation of Air Zimbabwe by IATA, which represents, leads and serves
the airline industry and whose members comprise all major passenger and
cargo airlines is the latest setback for the airline, which suspended
regional and international flights in January owing to debts and a crippling
job action by employees.

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Court frees Sikhala

Written by Tendai Kamhungira, Court Writer
Wednesday, 20 June 2012 12:06

HARARE - A Harare magistrate has freed MDC99 president Job Sikhala after a
state witness failed to appear in court to testify against the politician
who was facing rape and theft charges.

Harare regional magistrate Hosea Mujaya freed Sikhala after prosecutor
Kudzai Chigwedere applied for the postponement of the case, in order to give
her time to secure the attendance of her witness who is in South Africa.

Sikhala was accused of raping and stealing from the South African woman whom
he was once accused of bringing into the country illegally, before the court
acquitted him of the charges in April this year.

The trial was supposed to start yesterday but Chigwedere told the court she
was making arrangements to have her witness brought back into the country
after she was deported to South Africa on June 2 this year.

However, Sikhala could have none of it and demanded that he must be tried or
freed pending the state’s arrangements to bring the witness.

He told the court the witness had been in custody since December last year
and finished serving her sentence in February this year, but the police had
kept her until this month in order for her to testify against him, only to
deport her before the commencement of the trial.

“The investigating officer knew of this trial date but he assisted the
complainant to leave the country.
The state must understand that this is not a remand court but a trial court
and I demand trial today, failure of which the court should refuse further
remand,” Sikhala said.

The 39-year-old politician had been accused of raping and stealing from the
South African woman when he had visited that country to source for donations
and financial assistance for his party.

The State alleged Sikhala had illegally brought the woman into the country
where upon arrival, they stayed at his house in Chitungwiza.

Sikhala asked to go out with the woman for a drink in July last year, the
court was told.

While in the bar, the court heard how Sikhala told the woman that he had
never been intimate with a white woman, before he started fondling her

After a week, Sikhala allegedly took the woman to a lodge on the pretext he
wanted to see a certain person.

The outspoken politician allegedly had sexual intercourse with the woman for
the first time before repeating the act at the same lodge. He gave the woman
$5, it was alleged.

He allegedly had sexual intercourse with the woman on several occasions
especially on Sundays when his wife and children would have left home for
church services.

It is alleged the woman fell pregnant after a couple of months but suffered
a miscarriage.

She managed to run away in December last year and sought refuge at a friend’s
place, before she got arrested by immigration officials during the same

She reported the rape and theft while serving a jail term for being in the
country without a permit.

Sikhala is also accused of stealing the woman’s clothes valued at R22 000.

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Supreme Court Ruling Fails to End Feuding in Zimbabwe's Main Labor Body

19 June 2012

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington

The Lovemore Matombo-led faction of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions,
which on Monday lost an appeal against a High Court ruling barring its
leaders from representing the organization, says it will continue to use the
name ZCTU, regardless.

The Supreme Court ruling barred the faction from representing workers under
the unions’ umbrella body.

The Matombo faction sought to nullify the outcome of a congress held in
August last year by another group of the ZCTU that is led by George Nkiwane.
The case is still pending in the courts.

Monday’s decision was based on an application by the Nkiwane faction seeking
to stop the holding of another ZCTU congress by the Matombo faction in
December last year.

The high court ruled in Nkiwane’s favor, but the Matombo faction appealed to
the supreme court, a case it lost Monday.

Spokesman Raymond Majongwe of the Matombo faction told VOA that the group
will not be defying the court ruling by continuing to call themselves ZCTU,
adding that is what their membership mandated them to do.

But secretary general Japhet Moyo of the Nkiwane faction, who welcomed the
ruling, warned his erstwhile colleagues that the law will catch up with them
if they ignore the courts.

Law expert and National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku
said the Matombo faction should have waited for the outcome of its own court
application before claiming legitimacy.

Two factions of the ZCTU emerged after Matombo and his followers declined to
recognize Nkiwane's election as the unions' umbrella body. They then formed
a splinter group.

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Refugees protest closure of SA asylum offices

By Alex Bell
20 June 2012

Refugees in South Africa have marked World Refugee Day by protesting the
ongoing closures of asylum offices across the country, accusing the
government there of ‘disregarding’ its international human rights

The government started closing the refugee reception centres in metropolitan
areas last year, with plans to reopen the offices at border posts. The
Department of Home Affairs has insisted that this will not impact the
country’s commitments to protecting asylum seekers, but will instead help
deal with South Africa’s bloated asylum system.

But human rights groups have warned that the closure of the offices is
making it even harder for asylum seekers to apply for the protection that
South Africa is committed to provide.

The government’s plan started with the closure of the Crown Mines office in
Johannesburg in May 2011. This was closely followed by the closure of the
Port Elizabeth refugee office in November 2011. Both these closures were
challenged in the courts and the courts have held that the decision to close
these refugee offices was unlawful and have asked Home Affairs to revisit
this decision. In the Port Elizabeth legal challenge the Eastern Cape High
court even ordered the refugee office to re-open to existing refugees and
asylum seekers as well as newcomers. To date this has not taken place.

According to Kaajal Ramjathan-Keogh, head of the Refugee and Migrant Rights
Programme at Lawyers for Human Rights, the closures and the decision to move
asylum processing to the border areas “has caused considerable anxiety
within the refugee community.”

“South Africa is disregarding its international obligations to protect
refugees and these moves are counter-productive,” Ramjathan-Keogh said.

Lawyers for Human Rights said the new policy changes appear to be a
“mechanism to avoid dealing with the real problems of a poor refugee status
determination process and an inability to process claims within a reasonable
time period coupled with the rampant corruption within the asylum system.”

These sentiments have been echoed by the Consortium for Refugees and
Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), which organised this week’s public
protest calling for the closures to stop. Sicel’mpilo Shange-Buthane, CoRMSA’s
executive director, told SW Radio Africa that South African authorities
appear to be “making it as hard as possible for people to claim asylum.”

“We are very concerned about the actions of the authorities and what knock
on effects these have for asylum seekers. It’s about denying the rights of
people to asylum which is dictated by the Asylum Act… closing these offices
already prejudices people who are in the country but have not yet applied
for asylum,” Shange-Buthane said.

She also said that there are monthly reports of xenophobic attacks on
foreigners in South Africa, saying the decision by the department to close
the officer was sending a “dangerous message.”

“It sends a message that ‘these people are not needed’ and it is a dangerous
message that promotes dangerous attitude and consequences,” Shange-Buthane

According to figures released in time for World Refugee Day on Thursday,
South Africa remains “the largest recipient of individual asylum
applications (107,000), a status it has held for the past four years”. This
includes an estimated three million or more Zimbabweans, who continue to
face a serious threat if they are returned home.

But this threat has not prevented South Africa from lifting its moratorium
on deportations and it’s understood that at least 14,000 Zimbabweans have
been deported since last year.

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UK Home Office in Spotlight Over Zimbabwe Asylum Cases

19 June 2012

Violet Gonda | London

The British Appeals Court on Monday sent back to a lower court a test case
regarding Zimbabwean asylum seekers after it emerged the country’s Home
Office had deliberately failed to disclose significant evidence in the
matter during deliberations.

Legal experts say the case, first heard in 2010, involves the Home Office’s
attempts to force failed asylum-seekers to return home and ‘lie’ about their
political affiliation to avoid persecution, so the UK can reduce immigration

But four Zimbabwean respondents claim they will face a real risk of
persecution if deported.

Brighton Mutebuka, a principal lawyer at Mutebuka & Co Immigration Lawyers,
based in Leeds, told VOA the Home Office conceded that their action was

“The Upper Tribunal judges will look at all the evidence afresh including
evidence that hadn’t been disclosed and of course they will also look at the
current political developments in Zimbabwe and then provide a thorough
country guidance case which will then form future guidance in Zimbabwean
asylum and human rights cases.

“But we remain unclear as to which direction the court is likely to take as
the political situation in Zimbabwe is fluid whereas the situation moving
into the national elections in March 2008 was much more clear cut,” Mutebuka

Chengetai Mupara, a human rights and immigration lawyer practicing in the UK
said although the case focuses on a handful of Zimbabweans whose asylum
claims were rejected, it will have implications for asylum seekers from
other foreigners in the UK, and could set a disturbing precedent forces
people to return to their countries and pretend that they support bad

He added: “The fact of the matter is that there are some Zimbabweans who do
not have firm political views in support of either Zanu PF or the MDC but
they still claim they will face persecution in Zimbabwe because if they are
asked to demonstrate their support and loyalty to Zanu PF – through
repeating Zanu PF slogans or songs - they will not be able to do that.”

“The Home Office is saying people like them could go back to Zimbabwe and
when asked to demonstrate such loyalty they could lie about their true
political views and state that they support Zanu PF in order to evade

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GMB handouts for Zanu (PF)

The Grain Marketing Board has been distributing food aid under its grain
loan scheme at Zanu (PF) offices in Chipinge, it has been established.
by Thomas Madhuku

Villagers at Checheche Growth point told The Zimbabwean that the grain
utility, under unclear circumstances, had been giving out grain from a
building owned by the party’s shadow Chipinge South MP, Enock Porusingazi.

The building is not accessible to MDC supporters and villagers said they
were disgruntled by Zanu (PF)’s manipulation of food aid ahead of general

A Zanu (PF) member, who refused to be named, said party supporters attended
meetings before food was distributed.

“At our meetings, it is agreed if you are not from Zanu (PF), you don’t get
any food from the GMB,” he said.

Villagers said MDC supporters were being refused food aid.

“We are not even informed that there is food available for distribution, but
then we see other people carrying bags of maize,’’ said a villager.

Huchenani area village head, Mutape Mangiza Huchenani, said the situation
was disturbing.

“Obviously, we are against the interference of politicians in the GMB food
aid. This should be left to traditional and community leaders,” he said.

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Hwange Colliery to Fire 200 Staff, Executive Says

By Godfrey Marawanyika and Brian Latham - Jun 20, 2012 8:07 PM GMT+1000

Hwange Colliery Co. Ltd. (HWANGE), a Zimbabwean coal miner, will fire 200
administration and human resources workers because a new computer program
will do their work in a “paperless” environment, said Fred Moyo, the company’s
managing director

The workers will lose their jobs immediately, Moyo said in a telephone
interview from Harare today before a company board meeting in the capital.
“No one employed in operations has been affected,” he said.

Hwange, in western Zimbabwe, is Zimbabwe’s biggest colliery and the main
supplier of fuel to Zimbabwe’s state-owned power utility Zesa Holdings (Pvt)
Ltd. The mine has been held back by ageing equipment and needs about $200
million to recapitalize, Moyo said May 16.

The company also exports coal to neighboring countries and India, and is
negotiating to sell to China.

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State witness fabricates evidence in Glen View murder trial

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Spencer Nyararai, a State witness in the murder trial of 29 MDC members has
been accused of rehearsing and fabricating evidence to falsely implicate the
accused. This was said by the lead defence counsel, Beatrice Mtetwa during
the cross examination of Nyararai at the High Court today.

This statement was made after Nyararai gave several conflicting evidence and
claimed that he saw some of the accused people at the scene of crime.

Nyararai had told Justice Chinembiri Bhunu that he had identified Lazarus
Maengahama, Yvonne Musarurwa and Rebecca Mafukeni at the scene of crime last
year wearing MDC shirts but gave conflicting statements on their hairstyles
when they were arrested and appeared in court for initial remand.

He claimed Musarurwa and Mafukeni had short hair but on the initial remand
at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts less than a week later they had long hair.

Most of the evidence he gave in court today was divergent with the
statements that he gave to the police last year and other State witnesses
who have taken the stand before him.

In court he said the accused were singing and chanting MDC songs and slogans
but this is omitted in his police statement.

“The evidence in court is materially different from the evidence he first
gave to the police because he has rehearsed. The police statements do not
include the chanting and singing in front of Munyarari Bar because it did
not happen,” said Mtetwa.

Nyararai also stunned the court that stones used to attack the police
officer, Inspector Petros Mutedza where thrown to the front of the bar from
residential houses at the back of the bar.

This resulted in the intervention of the trial judge who said the court
would see how this is possible during the in loco inspection to be done next
Tuesday. “He will show us how it is possible during inspection in loco,”
said Justice Bhunu. The inspection, which was supposed to take place on
Thursday, has been postponed in order to put the necessary security
arrangements in place.

Nyararai also said some of the evidence brought to court had been tampered
with after a police radio he picked lying beside the deceased police officer
had been fiddled with while it was in police custody.

The police officer said when he picked up the police radio it was in two
pieces but when it was presented in court today, it was in three pieces.

More shocking in Nyararai’s statement is that Victor Magutarima, another
police officer who gave evidence last week said he was the one who took the
broken radio into his custody after it was handed over to him by a young boy
at the shopping centre.

The trial will resume on Monday with the defence lawyers making application
for leave to apply for bail at the Supreme Court. The application follows
the refusal by Justice Bhunu to give the accused bail on Tuesday saying they
had not shown any special circumstances to be granted bail.

The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!!

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Zanu (PF) ready to relinquish power: Mutasa

ZanuPF will relinquish power if the party loses in the next elections, its
Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa, has said.
by Lisa Marume

“We fought to liberate this country but when the people say we should go, we
will step down. I hope the people won’t say that because we liberated
Zimbabwe,” Mutasa, who has in the past declared presidential ambitions, told
The Zimbabwean.

His statement contradicts the position security chiefs have maintained since
the formation of the Movement for Democratic Change in 1999. Army generals
have repeatedly vowed that they would not respect any leader without“war

Mutasa is optimistic that the controversial indigenisation programme, seen
as a “share grab” along the lines of the “land grab” of 2000, will guarantee
Zanu (PF) victory at the next polls.

“As a matter of fact, we have greater support now since we are empowering
the people through the indigenization programme,” he claimed. Mutasa
defended the army for its involvement in politics and elections, saying they
had a democratic right to do so. He said it was ‘‘nave and arrogant’’ for
anyone to insinuate that the military should not be involved in elections
and politics.

‘‘Almost everyone in the Politburo (Zanu (PF) decision making body) went to
war to liberate this country and that includes Constantine Chiwenga and
Perence Shiri. What does it mean now to say that they can’t be (actively
involved in elections)? ‘‘Should they now cease to exercise their democratic
right to be in politics, a right which they fought for?

“Does it make any sense to say they should now cease to support Zanu (PF)
because they are now in the military?’’ said Mutasa.

Mutasa acknowledged deep seated factionalism within his party, but distanced
himself from any camp. “I belong to Zanu(PF)and for those that have
factions, let them have them. I cannot stop them. As a matter of fact I was
thinking about it this morning while I was on my way from Rusape that if I
am asked this question my response would be that I belong to both camps
because they make the party,’’ he said.

There are numerous camps within the party, one of them being Mugabe’s
staunch loyalists, who include Mutasa. Diplomatic cables leaked last year
indicated that several influential members of the party confided in secret
meetings that they wanted Mugabe to go because he had overstayed.

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Illegal settlers threaten timber industry

Wednesday, 20 June 2012 12:00

Freeman Razemba recently in Mutare
The timber industry has petitioned Government to impose stiffer and
deterrent penalties on people involved in arson and deforestation
countrywide. The Timber Producers’ Federation last week held a meeting in
Mutare where they agreed to petition Environment and Natural Resources
Management Minister Francis Nhema over the issue.
This comes in the wake of revelations that millions of United States dollars
worth of timber has been lost through fires caused by illegal settlers and
deforestation among others.
Allied Timbers chief executive officer Dr Joseph Kanyekanye expressed
concern over the issues and said there was need for Government to impose
stiffer penalties on those found engaged in such activities.
“It’s a serious matter which we think we need to articulate to the minister.
Let’s deal with the illegal settlers and other issues.
“Politicians react to pressure and that is what we should do,” he said.
Dr Kanyekanye said many people were coming in with mining permits since it
is believed that gold and diamonds were found in timber forests.
He said people were illegally settled at district level against Government
policy that forestry land should not be occupied.
“The Government does not allow any settlements on forestry land, any offer
of land is given by the Ministry of Lands and Resettlement only,” he said.
Dr Kanyekanye said failure by the Government to stop the illegal
resettlement would result in the timber industry collapsing.
He also said the Environmental Management Agency was making a lot of money
through them but doing nothing on deforestation.
Other timber producers said the industry in Manicaland creates at least 60
percent of employment besides other sectors and if destroyed there would be
They said they had carried out a lot of awareness campaigns to the people
but the impact was very minimal.
In January, Zimbabwe had lost revenue of up to US$200 million due to
activities of illegal settlers in areas reserved for timber plantations.
Addressing journalists recently in Harare, Dr Kanyekanye said more than 4
000 families across the country had invaded 12 000 hectares of forestry
“US$200 million has been lost because of these culprits, these people are
destroying our economy,” he said.
“A lot of money is being lost because of these people . . . we can say they
are committing murder because it’s killing our country’s economy.”
Dr Kanyekanye said forestry plantations were vulnerable because Government
had not done anything to evict the illegal settlers.
He said they had tried to engage Government and the police to help them
evict the people without success.
Dr Kanyekanye said some of the illegal settlers started fires to give a
negative perception that timber companies were not replanting clear areas.
By March this year, Allied Timbers Zimbabwe lost US$19 million due to arson
fires caused by illegal settlers and prospecting miners, thus disrupting
According to Dr Kanyekanye 2 836 hectares has been occupied by 2 830 illegal
settlers, disrupting operations of the timber exporting unit.
He said Chimanimani was a serious problem and it was the largest area of
forestry land currently at 50 028 hectares under Allied Timbers
Zimbabwe and this was being reduced to nothing as trees are burnt yearly.
Dr Kanyekanye said the major challenge was from the Mines and Mining
Development Ministry issuing special grants to people to mine in the
People are coming in with letters and these include Chinese, Russians and
many others, he said.

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Zimbabwe Stun South Africa With 29-Run Victory

20 June 2012

Zimbabwe 176-4 (Sibanda 58, Taylor 55) beat
South Africa 147 (Ingram 48, Mpofu 3-20) by 29 runs
Tri-Nations Twenty20 series, Harare

Zimbabwe beat South Africa by 29 runs to maintain a perfect start to the
Tri-Nations Twenty20 series they are hosting in Harare.

They followed up an 11-run win over Bangladesh in their opening game with a
clinical performance, scoring 176 for four before bowling South Africa out
for 147.

Half-centuries from openers Vusi Sibanda (58 in 50 balls) and Hamilton
Masakadza (55 in 39) set them on their way with a 114-run stand for the
opening wicket.

Captain Brendan Taylor then blasted 38 in 21 deliveries before Wayne Parnell
took two wickets to keep South Africa in the game.

Richard Levi then thumped 40 in 28 balls and although Hashim Amla fell for
11, Colin Ingram's 48 in 39 balls appeared to be putting South Africa on
course for victory.

Zimbabwe hit back, with Christopher Mpofu grabbing three for 20 and
leg-spinner Graeme Cremer returning three for 29 as the Proteas' innings
fell away dramatically, losing the last five wickets for 33 runs.

Richard Muzhange returned two for 28, Prosper Utseya removed Levi and Kyle
Jarvis caught and bowled Lonwabo Tsotsobe to end the innings.

Zimbabwe are back in action tomorrow (21st June) when they play Bangladesh

Cricket World 2012

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Alert: MDC Youth member assaulted in Mbare

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

An MDC youth member, Decent Rutsito (22) was yesterday assaulted by a gang
of Zanu PF youths led by one Chiraundi in Mbare.

The Zanu PF hooligans ganged up against Rutsito, who was going for a VID
test around 11am and took him to a room at Njere flats in the suburb where
they heavily assaulted him with fan belts for supporting MDC.

A former branch chairperson for Majubheki, Rutsito is a well known MDC
activist in the area. He reported the matter to Mbare Police Station before
he passed out. He was only assisted after the intervention of fellow MDC
members who got a tip-off from Mbare residents.

Rutsito has since been hospitalised.

The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!!

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Zimbabwean protest outside Zambian diplomatic offices

Media Release from the Zimbabwe Vigil – 20th June 2012

Zimbabwean protest outside Zambian diplomatic offices

Zimbabwean exiles are to stage a demonstration outside the Zambian High Commission in London at 3.30 pm on Thursday 21st June as part of the 21st Movement Free Zimbabwe Global Protests that have been taking place on the 21st of each month since the beginning of 2012 (see: – Zambian President to be targeted in Free Zim Protest).

The protesters will deliver a statement from Den Moyo, the Zimbabwean diaspora leader in the USA (see: Global Zimbabwe Protest against Zambian President Sata’s utterances -

The protest follows a similar demonstration by the Zimbabwe Vigil outside the Zambian High Commission when President Sata was in the UK for the Queen’s Jubilee Celebrations (see: . - Zimbabweans in UK protest at Zambian President’s visit).

Protest details

Time and Date: 3.30 – 4.30 pm on Thursday 21st June

Venue: Zambian High Commission, 2 Palace Gate, London W8 5NG

Contact: Rose Benton 07970996003, 07932193467

Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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An African Answer to African Problems

June 20, 2012, 11:30 am


JOHANNESBURG — If only I could be a Malawian citizen for a day. Then I could
brag that my country’s new leader, President Joyce Banda, is doing the right
thing by warning Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir that he’ll be arrested if he
sets foot in Malawi. In honoring the arrest warrant that the International
Criminal Court has issued against Bashir for crimes against humanity — and
showing basic respect for human rights and international law — she stands
virtually alone among African leaders.

You’d think she’d get credit for that. After all, governments across the
continent have been keen to demonstrate to the international community that
they have the capacity and the political will to guarantee human rights
across the region. Yet the Zimbabwean politician Jonathan Moyo, a close ally
of President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (who no doubt fears his day in
court), has accused Banda of bowing to pressure from international donors.

The A.U., for its part, is simply protecting Bashir. This is the
continent-wide, 54-member-strong body that often moans — as it did during
the Libyan crisis last year — that the West should allow it to design and
implement “African solutions for African problems.” The slogan has a nice
ring to it and, indeed, ought to be taken seriously: patronizing Western
powers should not usurp Africans’ right to self-determination and
governance. But is the A.U. capable? Earlier this month, to avoid creating
diplomatic tensions among its members, the A.U. decided to move a crucial
summit from Malawi to Ethiopia, from one country where Bashir risked being
arrested to another where he was guaranteed not to be.
Joyce Banda, President of Malawi.Ahmed Jallanzo/European Pressphoto
AgencyJoyce Banda, President of Malawi.
Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.Mohamed Nureldin
Abdallah/ReutersSudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

This unwillingness to arrest al-Bashir is mindboggling, especially when it
comes from the 33 African countries that are signatories of the I.C.C. Chad,
Djibouti and Kenya, for example, have all failed to arrest Bashir when he
was in their territory. My own country, South Africa, remains callously
ambivalent on the issue, asserting a willingness to respect the I.C.C.’s
arrest warrant but secretly hoping that the African Union might yet manage
to get the warrant revoked. (It is not clear, however, how the I.C.C.’s
chief prosecutor will be persuaded to back off.) This diplomatic ambiguity
has led to absurdities like the South African government inviting Bashir to
President Jacob Zuma’s inauguration but secretly advising him to not attend.

This shows a shocking lack of commitment to human rights all the more so
because one of the features that was supposed to differentiate the A.U. from
its weak predecessor, the Organization of African Union, was its commitment
to “the responsibility to protect,” which requires A.U. members to protect
the human rights of people who are being abused by their own governments.
The A.U.’s opposition to Bashir’s arrest also undermines the organization’s
own case that it is capable — and deserving — of taking charge of its own
political destiny.

Eusebius McKaiser is a political analyst at Wits University in Johannesburg,
South Africa.

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Killing literally’: Mugabe faster than climate change

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 20 June 2012.

After three fatal crashes in a fortnight caused by Mugabe’s huge
fuel-guzzling and polluting motorcade, Zimbabwe’s 88-year old tyrant is
arguably literally killing faster than climate change.

It could be argued that Mugabe has turned into an “assassin” or a
“terminator” with no remorse whatsoever as he hypocritically lectures on a
green sustainable development.

Contrary to pretences of being a caring president, Mugabe’s profligacy and
disregard for the environment is tragically quite glaring not to be
noticed - from an expensive and highly polluting motorcade, a bloated
delegation, a failed land reform programme, to endangering wildlife and

There is obvious environmental pollution and a high accident risk in the
tyrant’s high speed daily escort of not less than 10 vehicles, including
close-security and 3 blacked-out Mercedes Benz saloons, one of them bearing
the ZIM1 number plate, 2 police motorcycles, two military jeeps with ten
armed soldiers and an ambulance.

Mugabe’s large carbon footprint is noticeable from his dozen trips to
Singapore in the past year and his characteristic delegations like the one
to the Earth Summit estimated at over 60 officials, some of them suspected
of corruption.

Contrary to Zanu-pf claims of success in its land invasions programme, top
ex-army generals working in the ministry of Defence have told a
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that the controversial programme has
failed to benefit war veterans.

Critics say Mugabe bought loyalty of a “new, well-connected black elite” of
about 2 200 people which now controls nearly 40 percent of the 14 million
hectares including wildlife conservancies and plantation land seized from
white farmers

Before the Zanu-pf land occupations, there were 640 ranches but only a
handful remain.

For example, according to a Wikeleaks cable, conservancies were allegedly
“awarded without being offered for public tender to allow regime insiders to
gain control of concessions at below market prices.”

As a result, Cabinet Ministers and other senior Zanu-pf officials were
reportedly making a killing from the wildlife conservancies, according to a
cable released by Wikileaks. Among those named was Dumiso Dabengwa, who has
since left Zanu-pf and now leader of Zapu.

The cable claimed that the following Office of Foreign Accountant Control
(OFAC) sanctioned individuals were known to have a stake in a safari area
concession, safari operator and private land/private hunting reserve:

Edward Chindori Chininga (Gwaai Valley Conservancy); Jocelyn Chiwenga
(Matetsi Unit 6 Safari Area); Ignatius Chombo (Chiredzi River Conservancy);
Dumiso Dabengwa (Gwaai Valley Conservancy); Joseph Made (Gwaai Valley
Conservancy; Amos Midzi (Gwaai Valley Conservancy); Kembo Mohadi (Gwaai
Valley Conservancy); Charles Utete (Gwaai Valley Conservancy); Paradzai
Zimondi (Charara Safari Area); Lovemore Chihota (Matetsi Unit 7); Thandi
Nkomo (Tuli Safari Area) sister of Louise Nkomo who is spouse of Francis
Nhema, Environment Minister; Webster Shamu (Chirisa Safari Area and 51
percent stake in Famba Safaris). Webster Shamu’s wife also allegedly has a
separate interest in Chete Safari but is not on the SDN list.

It is worth noting that some of the named people may no longer be on the
sanctions list, neither are they being linked to any criminal activity.
However there are allegations of prevalent controversial hunting practices
of high quotas, poaching and poor wildlife management on the conservancies
or private land.

In the early years of independence, Mugabe was said to be a committed
conservationist and even had his own herd of elephants in Hwange National
Park but it is not clear what went wrong. In the 1980s he gave two rhinos to
North Korea before they died only a few months after their relocation,
according to The Standard.

Then a giraffe became the first victim of Mugabe’s “Noah’s Ark” gift to
North Korea in May 2010 when it died in an experiment described by experts
as “bizarre” involving pairs of African animals, including elephants,
zebras, giraffes and antelopes that were reportedly flown secretly to North
Korea, without a clear indication of the benefit to Zimbabwe’s green

In November 2011, Mugabe donated three elephants to China for what the
regime said was appreciation for that country’s assistance to his wife’s
orphanage. It is not clear if the animals Mugabe gave were his private

In Chiredzi River Conservancy, elephants and wildlife are under severe
threat from people who were settled there but are relying on food aid
because the area is too hot and the rainfall too low for crop farming.

Critics also cite Mugabe’s poor hand of discipline on his loyalists. A cable
released by Wikileaks linked four senior Zanu-pf officials to rumours about
rhino poaching.

According to a US diplomatic cable dispatched on 14 December 2009, US
Ambassador Charles Ray named Environment Minister Francis Nhema, Mines
Minister Obert Mpofu, Defence Forces Chief Constantine Chiwenga and chief of
conservation in the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Vitalis

As long as Mugabe fails to curb corruption, improve environmental management
and scale down on road and air travel, his unsustainable lifestyle will
remain an economic liability, environmental hazard and a safety risk for a
long time.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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