June 28, 2009
A Zimbabwean MP who was about to reveal to an international delegation the
site of a mass grave of diamond diggers, allegedly killed by government
troops last November, has been arrested and jailed.
Shuwa Mudiwa, whose Mutare West constituency covers the Marange diamond
fields where the killings occurred, was expected to disclose details of the
massacre to a delegation from the Kimberley Process, a certification scheme
aimed at preventing the sale of "blood diamonds". It is due to visit
Zimbabwe this week.
However, Mudiwa is now being held on a charge of kidnapping first lodged
during last year's fraudulent and violent election that returned President
Robert Mugabe to power. The charge is widely thought to be trumped up.
Several other people the delegation wants to interview have been harassed
and intimidated, making it unlikely the Kimberley Process group will be able
to establish the truth.
Some of the diggers were reportedly shot by soldiers firing from helicopters
to clear the diamond fields and bring them under military control.
As a result, Zimbabwe has been accused of trading in blood diamonds, a
charge it denies. Human rights organisations have evidence that as many as
250 people died but the government says no massacre took place.
The deputy minister for mines, Murisi Zwizwai, admitted at a meeting of the
Kimberley Process in Namibia last week that a "special operation" to clear
the illegal miners had taken place. He denied any killings had occurred.
One official who attended last week's meeting and who favours Zimbabwe's
suspension from the scheme, said: "I am concerned that if the team comes
back and writes a report that is very partial because it has not been able
to see anything, the Kimberley Process will accept that and will be
endorsing a lie and misrepresentation."
The Kimberley Process has come under mounting criticism for being toothless
towards Zimbabwe and other governments such as Venezue-la that allegedly
conduct an unethical trade in diamonds.
Saturday, 27 June 2009 20:47
PARIS - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has warned that using the
so-called Kariba Draft as the sole reference material for the country's new
supreme law will undermine the ongoing consultations in another sign of
major differences in strategy with President Robert Mugabe on how to
implement the long-awaited reforms.
Mugabe last week told the Zanu PF National Consultative Assembly that
the new constitution must be anchored on the Kariba Draft that was agreed on
by Zanu PF and the two MDC formations in September 2007.
But Tsvangirai told The Standard on Thursday that using the draft as
the only reference point will render meaningless the ongoing consultations
on the draft constitution, which is one of the major benchmarks of the
September 15, 2008 power-sharing agreement.
"I do not think that insisting on anchoring the new constitution on
that draft alone makes any sense," Tsvangirai said after meeting French
Prime Minister Francois Fillion in Paris.
"We have so many drafts such as the one from the NCA that can be used
as the basis for the new constitution.
"Consultations are not only important to legitimise the process but
also the substance." The Parliamentary Select Committee on the constitution
says it has received more than four drafts including one from MDC-T that
proposes decentalisation of power.
However, the Prime Minister whose party is at loggerheads with Zanu PF
over the implementation of their power-sharing deal, downplayed any
differences with Mugabe saying the veteran leader could have been quoted out
Tsvangirai said Mugabe assured him that the Kariba draft will only be
used as a reference point.
Mugabe is said to favour the Kariba draft because it would leave his
over-arching powers intact, while the MDC-T risks losing a key constituency
in civil society if it gives in to Mugabe's demands.
The constitution-making process led by a parliamentary select
committee began consultations last week under a cloud of suspicion with
civic groups threatening to stay away because of fears that the
four-month-old government will impose the Kariba draft on Zimbabweans.
Tsvangirai found an ally in Paul Mangwana, the Zanu PF co-chairperson
of the Parliamentary Select Committee.
Mangwana yesterday publicly differed with President Mugabe on the use
of the Kariba draft.
Mangwana told Bulawayo residents who turned up for the public
consultation meeting that his committee would not use the Kariba Draft as a
"This process will be people-driven and any draft on the new
constitution will come from the people and not from any one political party.
The Kariba Draft is one such draft that will not be used as the basis for a
new constitution," Mangwana said.
The public consultation meeting was held at the Large City Hall and
was attended by hundreds of Bulawayo residents.
Consultative hearings on a new constitution began on Wednesday and
will lead to an all-stakeholders' national conference on July 10, where
thematic committees will be selected to collate the public's views on what
they want included in the constitution.
Mangwana said his committee would push for the new constitution to be
made a mandatory subject in schools.
"We hope that the constitution will be mandatory subject at schools so
that Zimbabweans know and respect their constitution," Mangwana said.
Editor Mathabisa, a member of the committee urging Bulawayo residents
to ignore those who said the draft would be the reference point, added: "It
is not a crime that people say we are basing this process on the Kariba
draft because everyone has a right to their own views.
"We are starting on a clean page. We are not using The Kariba draft as
a reference point."
However the Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa on Friday insisted
the Kariba Draft Constitution would form the basis of the new constitution.
Addressing journalists at Chinhoyi Press Club on Friday evening,
Chinamasa said there is no way the Kariba Draft can be thrown away after all
the efforts from MDC formations and Zanu PF.
He said Advocate Eric Matinenga, the Minister of Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs was wrong in saying the draft would not be used.
"I'm sure you have all seen the draft it is signed page by page, all
that to throw it into the bin, into the toilet. Do you believe that?
"To spend time signing that just to throw it into the Blair toilet,
no, no, no it can't be."
Chinamasa also shed light on how work on the draft started. He said
the drafting was not an overnight event but it was a process that had begun
way back in 2002.
He revealed that after the Presidential elections in 2002 he was
assigned to work on the constitution together with the then MDC
Secretary-General Welshman Ncube to come up with a draft acceptable to both
In startling revelations, he said he would meet and write the draft
with Ncube at his home. They were later joined by Nicholas Goche and Tendai
Biti in 2007. That process culminated in its adoption in Kariba.
Chinamasa said despite criticisms, he was confident the Kariba draft
would be the one to be presented for the referendum.
"Anyway at the end of the day what ever comes from this process must
first be agreed to by all the political parties. I am sure Advocate
Matinenga realises that unless he is naïve."
Tsvangirai, who returns home today after a three-week tour of the
United States and Europe was told that the international community will not
extend any development aid to the unity government in the absence of
Fillion and French Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Kouchner told
Tsvangirai in separate meetings that progress in media reforms, the
restoration of the rule of law and a new democratic constitution would
unlock desperately needed aid for the country's reconstruction.
"After four months we have peace and stability. There is progress and
I would be the last one to say everything is rosy. The concern you have is
accepted, is a legitimate concern. The media are going to re-open,"
Tsvangirai said at a joint press conference with Kouchner.
Kouchner also told the Prime Minister that his government expected
French farmers covered under Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection
Agreements (BIPPAS) to be protected against the resurgent land invasions in
Several French farmers have been targeted in the ongoing invasions,
which Tsvangirai tried to downplay during an earlier visit to Britain.
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai says his three-week sojourn was a success
despite yielding only humanitarian aid for the country.
"When we left Zimbabwe we were very clear about the objective of this
mission and that was to re-engage the international community and also to
resume dialogue with the European Union under Article 9 (of the Cotonou
agreement)," he said.
"We are going back home proud that we were able to meet all the
leaders and there has been a positive perception created by this trip, which
also represented the re-opening of minds on the Zimbabwe situation."
He said the close to US$10 billion needed for the country's
reconstruction will not be raised overnight.
On his visit to France he was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Tourism minister Walter Mzembi.
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI & NQOBANI NDLOVU
Saturday, 27 June 2009 20:36
NATIONAL Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku is
having the last laugh.
Just a few months ago Madhuku was vilified for "trying to derail a
parliament-driven constitution-making process for personal gain" when he
announced that his group would campaign against the process even before it
His critics said the process backed by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe was noble and should be given a
"From the start, we said politicians can never be trusted to draft a
new constitution," Madhuku said on Friday.
"Look, Mugabe has come out in the open. He is not looking for people's
views in the new constitution. The consultative process is just a sham," he
Madhuku made the comments as it became clearer that the consultative
process called to gather people's views was a mere formality.
Mugabe told members of the Zanu PF Central Committee last week that
the new constitution should be based on a draft prepared secretly by
representatives of the three main political parties in Kariba in September
Mugabe went further to stress that people's views should not influence
the constitution, arguing that nowhere in the world would drafters seek the
opinion of the masses.
"Finally, the decision of the people is sought through a referendum
and then .Everybody must vote.
"Our people have got to be very careful and take precautions not to be
derailed, not to be led away from the Kariba draft. We will make the draft
Madhuku said Mugabe's pronouncements should be a wake up call for all
those who were thinking that the nation could get a new constitution
reflecting their views and their aspirations from the process led by
"What is needed now is to stop this process. Mugabe has to be forced
to agree to a process that would allow for people's views to be gathered,"
Nelson Chamisa, the MDC-T spokesperson echoed the same sentiments when
he said on Friday his party would not allow anyone to derail the process of
gathering people's views which had already started countrywide.
"Our position is clear: we reject any attempt to impose the draft on
the people. We want the constitution to be driven by the people. The Kariba
draft is not the Alfa and Omega of the constitution-making process," he
Madhuku is not surprised why Mugabe and any other politician aspiring
for the high office of the President are insisting on the Kariba draft.
According an analysis by the NCA, the draft which is noted in the
Global Political Agreement, would result in a government dominated by the
Parliament, the judiciary and numerous public offices and bodies would
be subject to political manipulation and control. Many of the fundamental
rights and freedoms to which Zimbabweans are entitled would not be
The draft leaves the President's expansive, unchecked powers intact.
These powers have often been used for political advantage.
Under the draft, all the executive authority rests in the President
"who takes precedence over all other persons in Zimbabwe" and his cabinet.
The President can unilaterally declare war and suspend human rights
protections. He can pardon criminals.
He will have unchallenged powers to appoint Vice-Presidents,
Ministers, cabinet members, diplomats, ambassadors, the Attorney-General,
central bank governor, and service chiefs.
No individual or body would stop him from appointing chairpersons of
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission,
provincial governors and chiefs.
The NCA found out that the Kariba draft actually eliminated many of
the checks on presidential power that were included in the Constitutional
Commission Draft rejected in 1999.
It said the Kariba draft removed the need for the President to consult
with another office or gain Senate approval when carrying out many executive
"Moreover the draft adds a section from the current constitution
which limits the ability of the courts to inquire into the manner in which
Executive powers are exercised." said the NCA in its analysis.
While the 1999 draft contained a clause limiting to 20 the number of
Ministers, the clause was dropped when Zanu PF and MDC politicians met in
Kariba, giving room for a bloated government.
On rights, the NCA found that the draft replicated the weaknesses of
the 1999 document.
The Kariba draft fails to protect many vital rights, such as the
freedom of the media and the rights of workers to strike.
It however adds pregnant women to the classes of persons protected
from unfair discrimination.
But that provision will not placate women who want a constitution that
does more than that.
Speaking at the consultative meeting Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani
Khupe said women wanted a constitution that provided an enabling framework
to facilitate the inclusion of women to decision making bodies such as
parliament and cabinet. This would be in line the even the Sadc Protocol.
"In the new constitution we want the issue of women's involvement to
be clearly spelt out. If the country becomes a signatory to some of these
protocols we must ensure that in the new constitution we have provisions
that they automatically become domesticated by an Act of Parliament and that
makes them binding."
Women also want the removal of any forms of discrimination in
constitution of women on the basis of tradition.
According to section 23 of the current constitution women do not have
legal guardianship of their children.
They are not allowed to inherit land. Among other things women want
equality with men, representation of women in high political offices,
protection from all forms of gender based violence, property and land
rights. They also want the right to health and the right to education among
others taken on board in the new constitution.
It remains to be seen if Mugabe will have his way and disregard
everyone including women from his party such as Vice-President Joice Mujuru
who promised a new constitution to the female constituency two weeks ago.
BY WALTER MARWIZI & BERTHA SHOKO
Saturday, 27 June 2009 20:33
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said his whirlwind tour of the
United States and Europe was "highly successful" as it managed to drag
Zimbabwe out of international isolation.
Tsvangirai, who was in Paris on his three-week trip's last stop,
denied that his main mission was to raise substantial amounts of money to
kick-start the country's flagging economy.
"My tour of Europe has been very successful if you view it on
re-engaging Zimbabwe with the West after we became a pariah state,"
Tsvangirai said. "On monetary issues, I did not promise anyone that I would
bring money to Zimbabwe. The relations established will yield results in the
Tsvangirai's trip has yielded slightly above US$200 million - a small
contribution towards the US$10 billion needed to rebuild the shattered
The Western world told Tsvangirai during his tour that the inclusive
government should undertake more reforms before aid can be made available.
Western donors, who accuse President Robert Mugabe of misrule and
largely shun him, have said aid will only flow when democracy is restored
and economic, legal and media reforms are implemented.
Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe is on an "irreversible path to full democracy
and no one will stop that".
On Thursday, Tsvangirai held talks with French Foreign Affairs
minister Bernard Kouchner and Minister of Economy, Industry and Employment
Tsvangirai said he had also met with members of the Movement of French
Companies who indicated interest in investing in the country, but were
worried about property rights.
Private businesses said although they were willing to invest in
Zimbabwe, they would do so only after the country had returned to full
Last week Amnesty International secretary-general Irene Khan said the
human rights situation in the country remained "fragile" and that the
economic and social picture was "grim".
But in London on Monday, Tsvangirai told Khan that he was committed to
ensuring the implementation of human rights provisions included in the
Global Political Agreement, the deal that paved the way for the setting up
of the inclusive government.
During the week, France's Director for Africa and the Indian Ocean
Stephane Gompertz said Mugabe's reappointment of Gideon Gono as central bank
governor further damaged the credibility of the new government.
"Central bank governor Gono had a negative effect on the economy of
Zimbabwe and his re-appointment will escalate problems," Gompertz said.
Tsvangirai is expected home today.
From Nqobile Bhebhe in Paris
Saturday, 27 June 2009 20:30
GWERU - MDC-T Secretary-General and Finance Minister, Tendai Biti
yesterday attacked senior Zanu PF officials who stayed away from the funeral
and burial of Senator Patrick Kombayi despite the role he played during the
Kombayi was laid to rest at Nova House, the family farm just outside
Gweru, where several hundreds of mourners joined family members and MDC-T
officials in paying their last respects.
Biti said Kombayi had become the "heartbeat of the liberation
struggle" in the late 1970's as he aided countrymen through the provision
of basics such as food and clothing.
He said Kombayi had also received a substantial number of youths who
fled the country to undergo training as the war of liberation intensified.
"None of the people who went to war did not get assistance from
Kombayi," Biti said.
"Today, he is being laid to rest but none of his comrades are here.
What does this mean to us as a nation?"
Biti said Kombayi made an enormous contribution to the liberation of
"He left a contribution that is inextricable from the history of this
country. No matter that some of his comrades absented themselves from this
burial as if nothing had happened, Zimbabweans shall remember Kombayi as a
gallant son of the soil who was selfless in his service to the nation," Biti
He also lambasted the Zanu PF leadership for what he said was poor
priority allocation when it came to according of national hero status.
"We are sick as a nation," Biti said. "We have failed to recognise the
role played by this man whom we are all gathered here to lay to rest. Our
national psyche is dead.
"Kombayi gave all he had in sacrifice for the liberation and
independence of this country. But here we are today; Kombayi is being buried
at his family home instead of being interred at the National Heroes' Acre.
This is happening when the likes of Chenjerai Hunzvi are accorded the
status which Kombayi should have been accorded. Are we not ashamed about
that as a nation?"
He said that Kombayi was an upright man who stood for nothing but the
truth, adding this was an attribute that made him stand head and shoulders
above the rest.
".the wounds he sustained when he was shot by Kanengoni and Chivamba,
both state intelligence operatives, are the ones that have finally taken his
life and we stand proud that he has been a man of great principle until his
last days on this earth," Biti said.
Present at the funeral were MDC-T officials who included Theresa
Makone, Tapiwa Mashakada, Elias Mudzuri, Cecil Zvidzai, Henry Madzorera and
many other legislators.
The only notable official from Zanu PF was Rugare Gumbo, who told
journalists he was at Kombayi's funeral as a family friend. Gumbo said
relations between him and Kombayi dated back to the days when they crossed
into Zambia for military training.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 27 June 2009 20:24
SEVERAL children under the ages of six who were vaccinated early this
month against measles and polio under the Child Health Days are reportedly
falling ill, raising questions about the way the exercise was conducted.
More than two million children under the ages of six were recently
immunised against measles and polio under a nationwide campaign by
government with the support of the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef).
The children also received vitamin A supplement.
The Standard was last week inundated with calls from concerned parents
whose children were sick and had reportedly developed side effects. Some
reported their children were experiencing extremely high temperatures and
vomiting, diarrhoea and nose bleeds.
"My two-year-old daughter had serious nose bleeds a few days after the
vaccine with huge clots and the bleeding wouldn't stop," said one parent.
"We were so shocked that we rushed her to hospital because we were
afraid she would lose a lot of blood."
City council nurses at clinics such as Highfield, Mufakose,
Marlborough and Glen View confirmed having received cases of diarrhoea and
vomiting. One nurse at Mufakose clinic said she had referred one parent to
Harare hospital because her child's temperature was "too high".
"The mother said she had given her paracetamol but the temperature
would not go down," said the nurse speaking on condition of anonymity.
"I referred her to Harare hospital because when she left here the
child was already having convulsions.
When this happens a child may go into cardiac arrest so they need to
be monitored carefully."
But the Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare Douglas Mombeshora
yesterday said the public should not panic because government is already
investigating these reports.
"We have received reports but we would like to assure the public to
remain calm because we have not received any fatalities," Mombeshora said.
"We have our team of experts following up on this and what they have
found out is nothing to worry about. The public must understand each time a
child is vaccinated it is normal to have side effects such as vomiting and
high temperatures. They should only worry when this persists for days but we
have not come across severe cases like this."
On the issue of nose bleeds, Mombeshora said it must be "purely
coincidental" because it is not one of the listed reactions children have
BY BERTHA SHOKO
Saturday, 27 June 2009 20:22
THE Deputy Secretary-General of the International Commission of
Jurists (ICJ) Wilder Tayler is expected in Zimbabwe tomorrow on a three-day
mission to assess the state of human rights and respect for the rule of law
in the country.
In a statement last week, The Africa Programme of the ICJ said Tayler's
visit is also expected to enable him to promote effective dialogue with
various human rights and rule of law stakeholders on how to address legacies
of gross and systematic human rights violations in the country, most of
which have not been independently investigated and effectively accounted
"During his stay in Zimbabwe, Tayler will have the opportunity to
interact and consult with the legal fraternity, policy community, diplomatic
community and human rights organisations on the challenges facing the
realisation of human rights and respect for the rule of law in Zimbabwe",
part of the statement reads.
"Among those, of paramount importance are the challenges affecting
efforts to break the endemic cycle of impunity for perpetrators of serious
human rights violations in Zimbabwe."
Tayler is expected to discuss with the coalition government the reform
of human rights and rule of law institutions, which are central to the fight
against impunity and respect for the rule of law.
"The Africa Programme of the ICJ is convinced that the timely visit of
ICJ Deputy Secretary-General will revitalise all efforts being made by
government and non-governmental organisations for sustained restoration of
the rule of law in Zimbabwe and the breaking of the cycle of impunity for
past and on-going human rights abuses," ICJ said.
The ICJ is an international non-government organisation (NGO)
comprising 60 of the world's most eminent jurists and has a worldwide
network of national sections and affiliated organizations, among them
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).
ZLHR project lawyer Otto Saki yesterday said his organisation was
facilitating some of Tayler's meetings.
"ZLHR is facilitating some of his meetings, specifically those with
NGOs", Saki said. "We understand the ICJ had direct communication with those
government officials he intends to meet."
Tayler's will be the first visit by an ICJ senior official to
His visit comes at the back of a six-day high-level mission by Amnesty
International's Secretary-General Irene Khan who concluded that the country's
human rights situation remained precarious.
During her visit, Khan met senior government ministers, human rights
activists and victims of human rights violations.
"Persistent and serious human rights violations, combined with the
failure to introduce reform of the police, army and security forces or
address impunity and the lack of clear commitment on some parts of the
government are real obstacles that need to be confronted by the top
leadership of Zimbabwe", said Khan, who added she enjoyed frank dialogue and
open access given to Amnesty International by all arms of the government.
Her daring conclusions however earned her a tongue-lashing from
President Robert Mugabe who said: "She complains a lot as if she was
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 27 June 2009 18:28
THE turf war pitting Finance Minister Tendai Biti against Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono will be played out in the Supreme Court after a Harare
magistrate referred an externalisation case against the minister's law firm
to the superior court.
Harare Magistrate Peter Kumbawa referred the case to the Supreme Court
saying the accused, Honey & Blanckenberg legal practitioners, was unlikely
to have a fair hearing since the matter has degenerated into a personal
fight between Gono and Biti.
The law firm, through its attorney, Advocate Happias Zhou, filed an
application to have the case referred to the Supreme Court for a
determination on the validity of the search warrants and the seizure of
documents protected under the attorney-client privilege.
Making his ruling, the magistrate noted that the reasons given by Zhou
in the application showed that the independence of the prosecution had been
"There's no way the accused can receive a fair trial in the
circumstances," he said.
Zhou had submitted that his client would not get a fair trial because
the complainant and investigator, the RBZ, had commented on the merits of
the case while it is pending, including commenting on what it considered to
be the defence raised by the accused.
He argued that Gono's interest in the case is now more than
professional. "It has taken a political dimension. The investigations and
prosecution are driven by a political agenda," Zhou said.
For the state, prosecutor Benson Taruvinga had opposed the appeal
saying the seized documents formed the basis for the allegations the firm
He said by searching the premises of the law firm, there was no
infringement of attorney-client privilege.
"I would therefore, implore the court to dismiss the accused person's
application with the contempt it deserves and order that we start the
trial," Taruvinga said.
But Kumbawa ruled that the contents of the privileged document seized
by the state had already been publicised by Gono making it highly
prejudicial to the accused in his defence.
"In view of the above, can we safely say the application is frivolous?
It's clear that this is a matter for the Supreme Court," Kumbawa said.
"It is the ruling of this court that this matter be referred to the
Supreme Court in terms of Section 24 (2) of the constitution of Zimbabwe."
The State recently resuscitated a long abandoned case of alleged
externalisation of foreign currency filed against the law firm three years
after the allegations were raised.
According to the charge sheet, Honey & Blanckenberg is being charged
with contravening Section 5 (2) (a) (11) of the Exchange Control Regulations
109/96 as read with Section 5 (1) (a) (1) of the Exchange Control Act
The law firm is accused of registering patents and trade marks for
clients and then instructing clients to make payments into its offshore
accounts without exchange control authority.
A representative of the law firm, Mark Albert Rosettenstein, who was
summoned to Harare Central Police Station in 1996, denied in a warned and
cautioned statement that the company had externalised funds on 698 occasions
between October 3, 2005 and May 3, 2006. The amount involved was US$1 025
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 27 June 2009 18:22
UNITED States President, Barack Obama has appointed Charles Ray as the
new US Ambassador to Zimbabwe.
Obama made the announcement on Friday. Ray takes over from James McGee
whose tour of duty ends next weekend.
In his remarks Obama said: "I'm grateful that these talented and
dedicated individuals will be serving my administration and representing our
nation abroad. I look forward to working with them in the months and years
ahead to strengthen our relationships in the global community and our
standing in the world."
Ray joined the Department of State in 1982 and held several positions
such as deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Freetown, Sierra Leone.
He also served in the Department of State Political Military Affairs Bureau,
and worked in the US Consulate- General Offices in Guangzhou and Shenyang,
In 1998 he became the first US Consul-General in Ho Chi Minh City in
Vietnam. During his more than 20 years in the Department of State, Ray
worked with human rights activists on a variety of issues.
Ray served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Prisoners of
War/ Missing Personnel Affairs in September 2006.
He reported to the Secretary of Defence for policy, control and
oversight on all matters pertaining to missing US personnel.
His task was to lead a team of personnel whose major task was to
account for Americans who went missing during conflicts.
Prior to entering the Department of State, Ray served in the United
States Army for 20 years. He retired with the rank of Major in 1982. He
received two Bronze Star medals from the Army and the Armed Forces
Humanitarian Service Award.
Ray served as the US Ambassador to Cambodia until 2005.
He has also served as diplomat-in-residence at the University of
During his posting in the White House, Ray recruited students
interested in careers in the US Foreign Service or the State Department. He
also worked with secondary school systems, civic organisations and other
groups to inform communities about Foreign Service.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 27 June 2009 18:18
WORKERS' basic rights continue to be violated in Zimbabwe, a top
official with the Dutch Trade Union Confederation (FNV) said on Friday.
Agnes Jongerius, FNV president, said although the level of violence
had subsided workers' basic rights such as the right to organise and to
strike were not being respected.
"The various laws which are violating basic human rights, like freedom
of expression and the right to organise are still in place. For workers the
basic rights to organise, to strike, and earn a living wage are not
respected," she said.
She said restoring the basic rights do not cost money "and are at the
same time the conditions for getting aid or loans and new investments".
She said the majority in the public service were surviving on an
allowance of US$100 a month which is inadequate to meet daily needs.
"This is far below the poverty datum line, which means that, for
example, many teachers cannot even afford to send their own children to
school. A decent wage should be at least US$450. What is the use of having
fully stocked shops when people can not afford to buy (in) them," she said.
She bemoaned the absence of a national policy to strive for a minimum
wage related to a decent living wage saying this leads to unacceptable low
remuneration in some areas.
"The worst examples are the US$10 in the agriculture sector, the US$35
in forestry and the advised US$50 for domestic workers," she said.
Jongerius said government has to take responsibility for setting a
minimum wage, which represents a decent living wage.
Jongerius is in Zimbabwe to assess trade union and workers' rights,
the political and socio-economic conditions of workers in light of the
Decent Work Agenda as agreed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO).
Last year the ILO conference decided to send a fact-finding mission to
Zimbabwe but it did not get the needed co-operation. The mission is now
expected in Zimbabwe on August 18.
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 27 June 2009 18:04
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai risks alienating himself from his
political support base following his remarks that "all is well" in Zimbabwe
during his just-ended international tour, analysts have warned.
The MDC leader, who is expected back in the country this weekend,
stirred a hornet's nest when he denied acts of human rights abuses, farm
invasions and the general disregard of the rule of law.
Tsvangirai also denied that there were MDC activists who were abducted
last year that have not yet been found and suggested that they might have
fled the country.
Civil society, commercial farmers, people in the Diaspora and even
members of his own party are furious that Tsvangirai is turning a blind eye
to the crisis in the country for the sake of securing external financial
support and propitiating President Mugabe.
His attempt to gloss over the situation in the country has not
impressed his party back home. Officials disgruntled with failure by the
principals to solve outstanding issues convened a meeting in Harare which
resolved to refer the sticking points to the Southern African Development
At the meeting Mugabe, who was defended by Tsvangirai on his trip, was
accused of insincerity after he refused to fire central bank governor Gideon
Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana. Mugabe unilaterally appointed the
two, disregarding his coalition partners as required under GPA.
The MDC-T says Tomana and the police have intensified a crackdown
against its officials which has seen several of the party's legislators
arrested and charged in court. Three MDC-T MPs have already been convicted
while four others are facing different charges.
The MDC-T's resolution prompted Sadc, the guarantor of the agreement,
to pencil in a meeting for next month to try and solve the differences.
Commenting on Tsvangirai's attempts to paint a rosy picture of
Zimbabwe, an MDC-T official who requested anonymity said of the Prime
Minister: "He must have been out of his senses.
"You cannot say that when people are still aggrieved by the death of
their loved ones murdered in June last year. I know of people still looking
for their relatives whom they can't locate."
National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango)
spokesperson Fambayi Ngirande said contrary to what Tsvangirai said
overseas, the political and human rights situation in the country has not
changed. He said denying that there were still human rights abuses in the
country was a slap in the face for all who are working to democratise
"We still have a democratic deficiency in the country," Ngirande said.
"It's not yet Uhuru and Tsvangirai should not stoop so low in order to get
He said Zimbabwe needs a conducive environment that attracts
investment more than financial aid.
White commercial farmers were infuriated that Tsvangirai denied that
farms were still being invaded.
Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) president Trevor Gifford said
Tsvangirai was playing games in order to raise money for the country.
"He is trying to turn a blind eye to the facts. Evictions are
continuing. Harassment is continuing. Disruptions are continuing. He should
be brave enough to say things as they are," he said.
Gifford however could not say whether Tsvangirai would lose the
support of commercial farmers. "I don't want to go that far."
In Britain, the MDC leader was booed by a crowd of exiles after he
pleaded with them to return home and, help rebuild the country. He claimed
that the unity government had made sure that there was peace and stability
Many of them shouted that the situation was not yet conducive and that
Mugabe must quit first before they could return.
Other than risking his traditional support, Tsvangirai is returning
home to face a more defiant Mugabe, who is determined to use a draft
constitution crafted in Kariba as the basis for a new constitution.
But the MDC national executive has resolved to oppose the imposition
of the Kariba draft constitution, setting the stage for another
confrontation between Mugabe and Tsvangirai.
The Prime Minister will also have to deal with a threat by the
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity
George Charamba to take legal action against him.
Charamba said he was investigating the legality of a newsletter
published by Tsvangirai's office recently. The office launched it to counter
continued State media propaganda against the MDC.
Zanu PF youths are reportedly confiscating copies of the bulletin.
This, said University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred
Masunungure, shows that all in not well in the inclusive government.
"It shows the friction in the inclusive government and that contrary
to what the Prime Minister said, we still have serious problems in the
country," he said.
Masunungure said Tsvangirai is in a dilemma trying to balance multiple
interests and multiple concerns.
As a result, Masunungure said, Tsvangirai was forced "to speak in
tongues" depending on his audience.
"He was trying to paint a rosy picture to say the time is ripe for aid
to Zimbabwe. He is in a quandary. In trying to persuade the donor world, he
runs foul of his civil society support base," he said.
But Masunungure was quick to point out that Tsvangirai would not lose
his grassroots support because it has different needs from those of the
civil society. "Civil society might be aggrieved but there are certain
sections of the community - the grassroots - who are happy as long as their
basic needs, which they longed for, are met," Masunungure said.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 27 June 2009 18:00
THE inclusive government must enact laws that make torture a criminal
and cruel offence that cannot be pardoned, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum has said.
Marking the UN International Day in Support of Victims of Torture,
Zimrights director Okay Machisa said government should sign, ratify and
domesticate the Charter Against Torture (Cat).
He said this should be part of the efforts aimed at taking
transitional justice to the people.
All torture bases reportedly being reactivated in some rural areas
must be abolished.
"There is need to scrupulously investigate all reported cases of
torture and bring the perpetrators to account," Machisa said.
"Victims of torture should be rehabilitated, receive adequate,
effective, prompt and proportional compensation to the gravity of the
violation as recommended in the 2002 African Commission on Human and Peoples'
Rights (ACHPR) between the government of Zimbabwe and the forum and various
other domestic court orders which have been ignored by the Zimbabwean
The forum said as the world remembers torture victims in Zimbabwe and,
across the globe, it is also important to revisit the findings it made last
year on torture and its link with the outcome of last year's two elections
held in the country.
The forum recommended that the government should guarantee
non-repetition of the acts through a systematic enforcement of the
prohibition of torture and elimination of impunity for all perpetrators.
Last year's elections were marked by widespread state-sponsored
politically motivated violence which claimed hundreds of lives and displaced
thousands others. Several cases of violence mostly attributed to state
security agents and Zanu PF militia members showed evidence of systematic
disappearances, abductions, torture, summary executions and extra judicial
killings, the forum said.
Among other victims were the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) director
Jestina Mukoko and several other civic society and MDC activists. At Friday's
commemorations, the forum took the chance to launch a report entitled
"Taking Transitional Justice To The People Outreach Report", based on
findings it made in four of the 10 provinces in the country.
In the report those interviewed noted the need for a formal and
comprehensive process of national healing, reconciliation and for
transitional justice to begin. It also said that the participants suggested
that for transitional justice to be effective, the local communities need to
be involved and take ownership of the process.
"The participants also suggested that there should be a
decentralisation and restructuring of judicial processes in the event of
massive prosecutions of many offenders," read part of the report.
"They also noted the capacity of Zimbabwe's judicial system and its
past record in dealing with political cases as needing innovative and
immediate reforms and decentralisation, particularly of the court system in
order to deal expeditiously and conclusively with cases of violence."
They suggested the need for victim-friendly processes that would be
accessible to all victims. The forum said those interviewed also recommended
that for effective transitional justice to take place, people of integrity
should constitute a body that might be created to deal with the issues.
The forum's report comes just as Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
reported that at least 13 MDC activists from Masvingo were recently granted
orders for compensation for the loss of their property during last year's
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 27 June 2009 17:55
BULAWAYO - Twenty-eight students at the National University of Science
and Technology (Nust) have been summoned for a hearing on Monday and Tuesday
after being suspended for leading a demonstration over high tuition fees.
The students, most of whom are Students Representative Council (SRC)
leaders were suspended from the university on April 16 after violent student
demonstrations on campus.
Nust senior assistant registrar, Leon Hadebe, slapped the students
with charges of breaching rules of student conduct and discipline.
In a letter to one of the students, Samson Nxumalo, Hadebe said
Nxumalo and the other student leaders led an illegal demonstration. He said
according to the rules of student conduct and discipline Nxumalo and the
other students incited others to demonstrate following an illegal meeting on
Hadebe said the accused will be required to appear at a student
disciplinary committee hearing and can have legal representation.
A human rights lawyer representing the students, Matshobana Ncube,
said initially the hearings were deferred because there were no
irregularities in the students' conduct.
"The hearing was deferred from June 19 to 29 because according to the
charges the students acted in concert with others and called for a meeting,
which means that they did not commit any offences since that is allowed for
in the students Act and in the constitution of Zimbabwe," Ncube said.
Ncube also said that the university was targeting any dissenting
voices, particularly in the student leadership.
"Most of the people that were called for the hearing are student
leaders and that gives the impression that they are being targeted on that
"They (university authorities) can't point out really who did what so
these hearings are actually a fishing expedition," he said.
BY GEORGE MADEGA
Saturday, 27 June 2009 17:50
AFRICA'S leading financier, the World Bank, is embroiled in
allegations of racial discrimination against black professional employees at
the Bretton Woods Institution.
A recent study by a leading American watchdog organisation found that
black World Bank employees are 36,3 % less likely to hold a managerial
position compared to equally qualified non-black workers at the bank.
But on Friday the Bank said the report provides, "by their own
admission, an incomplete and outdated picture often based on anecdotal
information and anecdotal evidence from unnamed sources".
The study by the Government Accountability Project (GAP) released
recently says workers in Sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean and black Americans
were greatly disadvantaged because of racism.
But a bank official on Friday said: "We take our commitment to
diversity and inclusion very seriously and we are continually working to do
more. We track our diversity by nationality - as mandated in our Articles of
Agreement. We do not track diversity by race."
The report which documents the treatment of black employees in
recruitment, retention and internal judicial decisions, finds that race
ceiling exists at the institution and that the Bank's legal system fails to
address racial discrimination adequately.
"As Africa's leading financier, the World Bank should be at the
forefront of promoting racial equality," said Shelley Walden, GAP
International Programme officer and co-author of the report.
"Instead, their anti-discrimination policies are largely cosmetic and
lack effective, impartial enforcement mechanisms. They allow black employees
to be sent to the back of the World Bank bus."
GAP is America's leading whistleblower protection organisation that
promotes government and corporate accountability.
The study also found out that professional black staff members working
on bank operations are disproportionately confined to the Africa region.
Last year, only four black Americans held professional positions among
a headquarters staff of over 3 500 employees, more than 1 000 of whom are US
Earlier this month, malicious racial slurs directed at black staff
were painted on the hallway of the Bank's legal affairs offices on the 6th
floor of the main complex in Washington DC.
One of the messages, according to GAP read: "Nxxxxx Go Home."
The messages were removed the following morning.
But GAP's international programme director Bea Edwards said: "It is
intended to terrify people and show them that the institution either will
not or cannot protect them."
But asked about the general pattern of racial discrimination in the
recruitment at the Bank, the Office of Diversity Programmes said that
qualified black Americans applicants were in short supply.
Edwards said: "This response seems disingenuous. Washington, DC, the
city that hosts the World Bank, is home to Howard University, the flagship
of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the United States."
Several investigations have been carried out to determine the extent
of racial discrimination at Africa's leading financier, which contributes
about US$20 billion annually to countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin
America and the Caribbean.
In 1998, a Team for Racial Equality comprised of black staff members
wrote to then bank President James Wolfensohn detailing the results of its
review on racial equality and a proposed action plan.
The study found that "black staff are painfully aware that they were
denied opportunities because, behind closed doors, subtle unverifiable
doubts are cast on their capacity - based not on their documented
competencies and accomplishments but on the subjective opinions of
individual managers and staff."
It also found that of 1 250 staff at level 25 and above, representing
20 % of the regular staff, there were 43 Sub-Saharan Africa, five Caribbean
blacks and two black Americans.
"The figures are particularly striking for black women: Only seven
black women are at grades 25 and above, representing 0,6 % of total staff at
that level. Only one black woman is above level 26," the team noted then.
Thirty years ago, the Washington Post published an article about the
predicament of black employees at the institution. The story reported that
black employees were underrepresented in the higher levels at the bank.
However, the Bank official said on Friday that as an international
institution it has staff from 167 countries. Almost two-thirds of its staff
(61%) comes from developing countries and more than 15% percent of its staff
comes from Sub-Saharan Africa and Caribbean countries.
"We take our commitment to diversity and inclusion very seriously and
we are continually working to do more," said an official of the Bank. "We
track our diversity by nationality. We do not track diversity by race.
Our goal is to boost the number of staff from developing countries,
and the number of women.
"In the case of the United States we have Americans from a variety of
different backgrounds, including many naturalised Americans from Africa.
Thirty nine percent of our managers come from developing countries, 10% come
from Sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean and 31% are female.
"World Bank President Robert Zoellick has made increasing diversity at
the Bank a major priority. More than 80% of his appointments to senior
positions are from developing countries, (9 out of 11)."
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE, recently in Washington DC
Saturday, 27 June 2009 17:46
THE case of five National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) activists who
were arrested in Bulawayo on charges of holding an illegal demonstration has
taken a new twist with the five launching an appeal to have the matter
referred to the Supreme Court.
The five, Samson Nxumalo Sheunesu Nyoni, Archford Mudzengi, Melusi
Hlabano, and Brian Mtisi, last week appeared before Bulawayo Magistrate
Singandu Jele where the application was launched.
In their application, the five, through their lawyer, Nqobile Ndlovu
of Coghlan & Welsh legal practitioners argued their arrest was an
infringement on their constitutional rights.
Ndlovu told the court the application for a referral to the Supreme
Court was based on Section 24 (1) of the Constitution which she said obliges
a lower court to refer a case to a higher court when requested to do so.
She said the basis of the application was that her clients' arrest was
a contravention of Section 20 of the Constitution. The section, Ndlovu
argued, guarantees any Zimbabwean freedom of expression, association, and
"It is my submission to this court that there is no section in the
Constitution that restricts the applicants from making such an application
(for referral) even at this stage of hearing the matter.
"In addition, I submit that the application is premised on the
constitution that declares any restrictions unduly limiting freedoms of
assembly, expression, and association, illegal," Ndlovu said.
"My clients were seeking a redress to their country's problems. Their
actions drew international attention to Zimbabwe hence we have the
developments in the country today.
"They did not conduct themselves in a way that damaged property or
attacked any police officer during their procession as in other
processions," Ndlovu said.
She further argued the courts had no obligation to put her clients on
their defence as this would bolster the state case.
Ndlovu told the court the conduct of her clients did not exhibit any
intention to promote public violence hence the challenge on the state
allegations levelled against her clients.
She also cited a similar case involving Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza)
activists, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu which was also referred to
the Supreme Court on a similar technicality that the arrest of the two was
an infringement of their constitutional rights.
In response to the application, State counsel, Jerry Mutsindikwa said
he needed time to go through the submissions of the defence counsel.
He also said he needed time to familiarise himself with the judgment
that saw the Woza activists' case being referred to the Supreme Court.
"It is important for me to have sight of the reasons proffered in the
case referred to by the defence counsel. This is to check whether the
reasons are of a similar nature. I will also need to familiarise myself with
the judgment that was handed down afterwards. This familiarisation will have
a bearing on the response that the state will give to the application.
"All we want is to see justice being done," Mutsindikwa said.
Magistrate Jele then deferred the matter to July 15 when he will make a
ruling on the application.
Also present at the hearing was NCA chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 27 June 2009 17:43
FEW, especially in government, expected that when US Ambassador James
McGee arrived to take up his post nearly two years ago he would be like his
predecessor, Christopher Dell.
But as the hardliners in President Robert Mugabe's previous
administration who celebrated Dell's departure for Afghanistan were soon to
discover, both men have been combative, forceful and outspoken throughout
their tenure, right up to the end. They have also had their run-ins with
President Robert Mugabe's security apparatus.
McGee, who leaves in a week's time at the end of his tour of duty, has
not been shy in making the US government position on Zimbabwe known.
"I can tell you from day one, from the first day that I arrived in
Zimbabwe I have always said we would want to see the people of Zimbabwe
progress. The only way that is going to happen is to give the political
space where they can," he told The Standard during an interview.
"What we would like to see happen is the will of the people of
Zimbabwe being met by the government. We would like to see Zimbabwe begin to
prosper. This country can rapidly move itself out of the predicament that it
is in and bring itself back to its former glory days."
Without trying to guess what the future will be, McGee said President
Mugabe's future is in the hands of the people of Zimbabwe.
"The people of Zimbabwe clearly voted last March. Fifty-seven percent
of the people in this country said they do not appreciate the policies or
practices of the incumbent government at that time. I do not care how you
look at it. That's a resounding defeat. Fifty-seven percent 'No' is a
resounding defeat. So I think the people of Zimbabwe have spoken.
"Obviously the will of the people still has not been met. That is what
we want to see happen here in a free and fair election in a democratic
society. That should be more than enough to say to this government 'your
time is up'. The practices that you put in place that have killed the
economy here in Zimbabwe, that have created such problems that three million
of your countrymen have braved crossing the Limpopo River to go to South
Africa - it's a failure."
Zimbabwe has a well-educated and hard-working people that have been
stymied in their efforts to move forward, he said, describing them as
"probably the most critical asset this country has".
But he said the US had seen irreversible change in Zimbabwe. This time
last year, Zimbabweans were preparing to go to the second round of
elections. Morgan Tsvangirai had already said he would not participate in
those elections. At that time no one imagined Tsvangirai would be the Prime
Minister of Zimbabwe in a government of national unity and that Tendai Biti
would be the Minister of Finance.
"So we have seen a huge amount of change in Zimbabwe and I would like
to think my embassy has been of assistance to the people of Zimbabwe and
hope to bring about this change. That's number one.
Number two: I think more than anything else is the unparalleled
assistance the US government through the US taxpayer has provided to
"Everyone knows these figures because I have literally refused to talk
to the media without letting people know that the US government through our
taxpayers gave US$250 million to this country last year. Over 60% of the
people of Zimbabwe received some of their foodstuffs from the largesse of
the people of the US.
"So we are very very proud that we continue despite the political
differences that we have with this government. We continue to provide
humanitarian assistance in food and in health to the people of Zimbabwe.
That's something of which we are proud."
But he said there were elements in the government who were against the
people and the result was that the people did not always have the political
"There are still too many in government today who want to see the
status quo maintained or in any case go back to the status quo," he said.
About this time last year McGee was at the centre of a diplomatic spat
after security agents tried to detain him for travelling out to Mashonaland
Central. Reflecting on this and other incidents he said it was a shame that
Zimbabwe treats its diplomatic visitors the way it did in the run up to the
"It's very clear that there was never ever any reason to stop
diplomats wherever they wanted to go in the country, McGee said. "As a
matter of fact we have assurances in writing from the government of Zimbabwe
that we were free to go anywhere we wanted to in this country. But of course
that does not include sensitive military installations and things like that.
But that wasn't our intent.
"This ridiculous notion that we could not travel more than 40km
outside Harare, it's just that. It's ridiculous. The government knows it. We
knew it. There is nothing anywhere, nothing that says we cannot do that. So
this was just sham pretence of saying you are getting too close to the
truth. So we don't want you to see that. That's all it was."
Asked how these developments had impacted on his family, McGee said
they had been in places such as the Ivory Coast during the military coup and
the resultant political election violence. They had to travel around in
armoured vehicles when the military came over and took over the airport.
They had also been in Nigeria when Shehu Shagari was overthrown and the
military took power in 1984.
"So this is nothing new for me. How has this affected my family? It
hasn't. My family, my wife and I realise that this job comes with risks. I
do not let the government of Zimbabwe or The Herald newspaper define who
James McGee is. They can say what they wish about me. I know who I am.
"They are so inept they cannot even get it right. They continue to say
that I am a military fighter pilot bombing children in Vietnam," he said. "I
have never sat behind the steering of a jet fighter and I have never dropped
a bomb on a child anywhere, let alone in Vietnam."
But McGee said it is important that reform-minded elements in this
government be bolstered, supported, to show that the international community
appreciates and supports what they are trying to do.
"In that regard we continue to put programmes out there for
reform-minded elements of this government no matter what their political
party. If you are moving forward to assist the people of Zimbabwe we are
willing to work with you," he said stressing that the US is a friend of
McGee is going to work with the African Centre for Strategic Studies.
As recently as 1999 Zimbabwean military officers attended the military
BY DAVISON MARUZIVA
Saturday, 27 June 2009 17:27
AMNESTY International (AI) secretary general Irene Khan says the
Minister of Defence, Emmerson Mnangagwa admitted the army's involvement in
violence that left nearly 200 opposition supporters dead and thousands of
others tortured and displaced.
The AI boss, who was in Zimbabwe on a week-long fact-finding mission,
said Mnangagwa had openly admitted the army's involvement in the bloody
run-off campaign period.
But she said Mnangagwa sought to downplay the army's involvement
saying those involved in the attacks against civilians were individual
members on leave.
"Mnangagwa, the Minister of Defence admitted that certain army
elements had been involved in political violence but said these were the
people who were on leave and were not actually in uniform that time," Khan
Khan said in her response to this, she told Mnangagwa that it did not
matter whether the army officials behind the human rights violations were on
duty or not because it is government's obligation to protect its citizens.
Khan said she also told the defence minister of the need for further
investigations to bring members of the army behind last year's violence to
"To this Mnangagwa said they would be a regular investigation and that
if they were any issues the army was ready to deal with them, but we all
know how this government-sanctioned internal investigations always end up."
Mnangagwa was however quick to deny ever discussing that issue.
"Yes, I met Khan but we never talked about that," Mnangagwa said.
The AI boss said other Zanu PF ministers she met justified last year's
"We found actually in (meetings with) various Zanu PF ministers, they
were ready to acknowledge that political violence had taken place but went
on to justify the violence and in some cases didn't feel the need to
investigate and prosecute."
In her report, which she presented two weeks ago, Khan said the human
rights situation in the country remained "precarious" and that her
organisation was concerned about the lack of reform of security sectors.
"Persistent and serious human rights violations, combined with the
failure to introduce reform of the police, army and security forces or
address impunity and the lack of clear commitment on some parts of the
government are real obstacles that need to be confronted by the top
leadership of Zimbabwe," Khan said.
Among the government ministers she met was Vice-President Joice
Mujuru, the Minister of State in the President's Office Didymus Mutasa and
the two home affairs ministers, Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 27 June 2009 14:44
MABVUKU/TAFARA on the eastern outskirts of Harare is a windswept
high-density area famous for going for years without water.
But it is not just the shortages of water that blight this area with
an estimated population of more than 101 000 people, according to the 2002
With an unprecedented unemployment rate and increasing numbers of
people affected by HIV/AIDS the demand for assistance is enormous.
And nowhere is this felt more than among the young people. There just
aren't any facilities for them or activities to engage them. A religious
order undertook a needs assessment and identified the absence of activities
for young people.
Mavambo Trust, headed by Fr Benjamin Posvo and Sr Kathleen Barbee
identified very young children; the orphaned and young school leavers as
among those requiring support in the Mabvuku/Tafara and the surrounding
Their work not only gives hope to those they work with and the
community around them, but it is a project that is empowering young people
to deal with their condition of deprivation.
Fr Abel Makahamadze the Parish Priest for Mabvuku said Mavambo Trust
is empowering children and has been successful in assisting some of them to
secure birth certificates.
"We enable them to live better lives," he told an official handover of
grants from the World Bank's Social Development Civil Society Fund Programme
(CSF). "We look after them up to the ages of 18 - 25 years and ensure that
they are equipped with skills to look after themselves."
And they are making a difference. Reinhard Woytek from the World Bank
Country Office in Zimbabwe and colleagues from the office were in Mabvuku to
see the difference that Mavambo Trust is making to people in that community.
"Every country's future lies in its youth. They embody hope,
aspirations and capacity. The Social Development Civil Society Fund is there
to help civil society organisations in their efforts to promote social
development," Woytek said.
"This year our awards go to organisations that deal with youth
In thanking the World Bank's support, Fr Posvo said they would put the
support to good use.
One of the creative projects Mavambo Trust has established in
Mabvuku/Tafara is the Young People Care initiative, which is reaching out to
the young people in the area so that they remain focused by engaging in
The other beneficiary this year was Simuka Africa, a youth group based
Last year's winners were Development Aid from People to People,
Scripture Union and Christian Care.
The fund focuses on capacity building, empowering and strengthening
the voice of vulnerable groups including disadvantaged children, women and
youth as well as people with disabilities. The activities aim at supporting
these vulnerable groups and promoting social inclusion.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 27 June 2009 14:31
THE corporate world must join hands with the government and help
revive critical sectors such as health and education that have been
seriously neglected and under funded over the years, a business executive
Handing over a donation of US$5 000 worth of bed linen and blankets at
Harare central hospital, Cresta Hospitality finance director Tendai Mhere
said the private sector should enter into partnership with state hospitals
to improve service delivery at the institutions.
"The corporate sector must join hands with the government and
critically affected sectors such as health and education in a bid to turn
around and enhance their service provision by providing all the financial
and material support that we can," she said.
Mhere said her organisation is committed to helping improve service
delivery at government hospitals and urged authorities at Harare hospital to
approach them when in need.
Accepting the donation the Harare hospital Chief executive officer
Jealous Nderere said the donation of bed linen, towels and blankets was
Nderere said the hospital's linen and blankets were old and the
hospital was contemplating replacing them. He said after this donation the
hospital would now channel its limited resources to other areas of need.
Mhere also commended hospital staff for their commitment and
dedication in taking care of patients, even at times when working conditions
were far worse than there are now.
"l wish to express sincere gratitude to all hospital staff, for their
resilience and commitment towards the welfare of patients," Mhere said.
Over the past years health service delivery at the country's major
hospitals has deteriorated to appalling levels as a result of neglect and
under funding from government.
Even as the working conditions and issues of remuneration remained
contentious many health workers continued going to work, giving some
semblance of health care system in place.
But it was only last year that things in the sector got to breaking
point and health workers downed their tools in the biggest work boycott that
resulted in the closure of many hospitals around the country for at least
Saturday, 27 June 2009 15:03
THE government is faced with a dilemma on how to deal with the waiver
of duty on imported basic goods into the country by business players and
The moratorium which came into force on February 6 is expected to
expire on June 30.
Under the statutory instrument released during Patrick Chinamasa's
reign as acting Finance Minister, the government said commodities such as
rice, flour, cooking oil, margarine, petroleum jelly, washing powder, bath
soap, and toothpaste could be imported into the country duty-free.
This, it was said, would be a transitional arrangement until the
inclusive government came up with ways to deal with the issues of the
pricing of basic commodities.
The move, however, has drawn an outcry from business players in the
country who claim this has hampered the growth of their businesses.
Business players argue they could be railed out of business because
there was little income from their ventures as most of their would-be
customers can afford to import basic commodities duty free.
Speaking at the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) congress
held in Bulawayo, Industry and Commerce minister, Professor Welshman Ncube
said the outcry from both business and the consumers created a dilemma for
"I will be among the first government officials to admit that as
government, we have found ourselves in a dilemma.
"We have a business community reeling from effects of importation of
basic commodities crying to us. We also have consumers who are also saying
the instrument should remain in full force. We are kind of caught in
between," Ncube said.
He added that government could extend the lifespan of the instrument
as it was still brainstorming on ways of dealing with the dilemma.
"We have options that we could pursue. Either allow the instrument to
lapse given that it is expiring on June 30, or give it an additional six
months lifespan," he said.
Of the two options, Ncube disclosed that it would be more feasible to
maintain the moratorium.
"As I said, we are still brainstorming on the issue. We know we have a
few days to do that but I can assure you that we will have an answer before
the end of the month," Ncube said.
He added: "Of all the options, we believe extending the lifespan of
the instrument is best. It will help us as government to come up with more
effective ways of dealing with this dilemma. But I am sure all of us are
convinced keeping the instrument in place for another six months is the best
option we have."
Ncube said the greatest challenge that lay ahead of government was
coming up with a measure to control what he termed unrealistic price hikes.
"If we are to remove the instrument now, you will find that basic
commodities will be unrealistically increased. We are trying to avoid a
situation where basic commodities will most likely go up by 65% if we let
that instrument to lapse on June 30.
"To the government, that is unrealistic increases. We will not sit by
and watch that happen," Ncube said.
Presenting the 2009 National Budget in January, Chinamasa said while
it was critical that the country begins to restore domestic production
levels taking advantage of the liberalised currency and pricing environment,
there was need to support importation of basic goods as a transitional
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 27 June 2009 14:57
IN another blow to the country's reconstruction programme, three
leading financiers have said Zimbabwe's inability to pay its arrears means
that it cannot get more funds from lenders.
Zimbabwe urgently requires US$10 billion to kick-start the economy
following the formation of the inclusive government in February.
In a joint note by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank
and African Development Bank (AfDB), the three institutions set tough
conditions for the re-engagement process to start, chief among them the
clearing of arrears to the lenders and other official creditors.
As at the end of May, Zimbabwe owed IMF US$138 million and World Bank
(US$676 million). It also owed African Development Bank US$438 million as at
the end of April.
The joint note said the process of re-engagement with Zimbabwe will
require close co-ordination among all official creditors and was likely to
involve raising resources beyond those currently existing within
International Financial Institutions.
"Given the interdependence of creditors' processes and requirements
(including financing assurances) the willingness and ability of all
creditors to move in tandem will heavily influence the pace of
re-engagement," the note said.
The joint note, obtained from Washington last week, shows the
operational and legal elements for re-engagement with Zimbabwe.
The three institutions said they cannot avail resources to Zimbabwe
except limited grants due to the country's inability to repay its arrears.
They said Zimbabwe does not have a track record of sound policies and
that there are significant external financing gaps that needed to be filled
through concerted donor efforts.
The note said Zimbabwe's arrears to IMF could be settled through a
bridge loan in the context of a Fund financial arrangement with a track
record of sound policies and assurances that arrears to other official
creditors are cleared, or programmed to be cleared.
It said the suspension of Zimbabwe's voting and related rights needed
to be lifted before a Fund-supported programme involving the use of IMF
resources could be in place but said it needed a decision of the Board
adopted by 70% majority of the total voting power.
IMF imposed stopped lending to Zimbabwe in 2001 due to the country's
arrears to the General Resources Account (GRA). The arrears have now been
settled although Zimbabwe still owes IMF under the Poverty Reduction and
Growth Facility (PRGF).
Notwithstanding the clearing of GRA arrears, the IMF maintained
non-lending status saying Zimbabwe had exchange restrictions and also
breached rules on reporting of international reserves data.
Zimbabwe needs to convince the IMF on its capacity to repay as well as
the availability of other programme financing, the joint note said.
"These issues may become particularly salient given the uncertainties
regarding the estimated financing gap under a future programme and given
unconfirmed rumours that Zimbabwe might have pledged some export receipts as
collateral for financing it has received," it said.
For the World Bank to support Zimbabwe, the country has to first clear
the arrears to the bank as well as to other creditors.
Before a country indicates a willingness to begin the re-engagement
process, the Bank can only provide limited grant support.
World Bank has already provided such support to Zimbabwe and is in the
process of proving more (from the State and Peace Building Fund) which could
be channelled with resources from other donors through the Multi-Donor Trust
Fund for Zimbabwe.
The joint note said the key step in the re-engagement process is the
full clearance of arrears saying that financing is sought in the first
instance from the government and bilateral donors.
The joint note said that while the AfDB group does not have internal
resources to clear Zimbabwe's arrears, it could utilise instruments of the
existing Fragile State Facility (FSF) for the country's arrears clearance
operation once Zimbabwe's eligibility for the resources, beyond technical
assistance, is approved by the Board of Directors.
Through the FSF, AfDB is able to provide arrears clearance grants to
eligible countries that meet a set of political and economic requirements.
The requirements include a commitment to consolidating peace and
security; unmet social and economic needs as evidenced by significant
contractions of Gross Domestic Product; and have respected the preferred
creditor status of the AfDB group among others.
Zimbabwe's eligibility to the FSF will be the determination by IMF and
World Bank's on the country's HIPC eligibility.
The FSF requires that its arrears clearance programmes are closely
co-ordinated with those of other partners such as IMF and World Bank.
"Should Zimbabwe be declared eligible to HIPC and to the FSF, the FSF
could bear at least 67% of the clearance of the arrears of Zimbabwe to the
AfDB Group based on the Zimbabwe's capacity to pay and subject to the
availability of sufficient FSF resources," the note said.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 27 June 2009 14:40
PRESSURE escalated last week for the government to return Mutumwa
Mawere's seized assets as it emerged that Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) had
advised President Robert Mugabe to intervene after the administrator
continued "scoring own goals".
Tuesday's letter from RBZ is a follow up to an advisory note written
to President Mugabe last month in which the apex bank said Mawere's assets
were seized on spurious grounds, close sources said on Friday.
Information obtained last week showed government officials had been
irked after it emerged that SMM Holdings Limited administrator, Arafas
Gwaradzimba could have misled Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa on the
prospects of a US$60 million loan from the Development Bank of South Africa
In a May 19, 2009 letter to Justice Minister Chinamasa SMM
administrator Gwaradzimba said he had approached DBSA for a loan and
prospects of securing the loan were high but Mawere's ghost was haunting the
"One issue with DBSA is that they have asked the Administrator to
unequivocally state that MDM (Mutumwa Dziva Mawere) is no longer the
controller and shareholder of SMM," he said.
"They also want an undertaking that MDM will never be involved with
SMM as long as SMM is still indebted to DBSA (should the loan be approved).
This says a lot about how financial institutions in South Africa view MDM."
But DBSA distanced itself from the alleged loan. In a June 19, 2009
letter to Gwaradzimba, the bank said it had not in any way dealt with SMM or
people acting on its capacity.
"As head of the International Finance Cluster, I have inquired with
our investment officers and managers responsible for Zimbabwe about our
involvement in the matter. It appears we have never been approached by the
Administrator of SMM Holdings (Private) Limited or any person acting on
behalf of the company for any facility or loan," wrote Yotam Longwe,
divisional executive International Finance.
"We would like to contest the claim made in the letter and state that
we had no dealings with SMM Holdings (Private) Limited or any person acting
on behalf of that company."
The DBSA debacle has irked senior government officials who argued that
the development raised questions on the credibility of the administrator.
They say that the issue is not only embarrassing but has a potential
of being counter-productive to the government's efforts to raise funds from
South Africa, this paper was told.
Gwaradzimba maintained SMM had made preliminary discussions with DBSA
who told them how the company can manage its requests.
Mawere lost his empire in 2004 after the government said his companies
were indebted to the state and were seized using the Reconstruction of
State-Indebted Insolvent Companies Act.
At the time SMM had a debt of Z$396 million in respect of a commercial
bond issued by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe; an RBZ
Productive Sector Facility loan of Z$30 billion; a debt of Z$8.2 billion
owed to ZESA.
SMM also owed National Social Security Authority (Z$252 million) and
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Z$39.9 billion).
Standardbusiness heard last week despite the embarrassment to the
government, the SMM saga had also "eaten" into the coffers of the state with
more claims on the way.
The costs of the UK trial are estimated at US$2 million. Since AMG
lost its bid to be registered as the owners of SMM parent companies SMM
Holdings and THZ Holdings, it has to pay the legal costs and Mawere had
delayed enforcing the court order in order not to embarrass the government
on whose behalf AMG acted on, Standardbusiness was told on Friday.
Critics have argued that the Reconstruction Act passed by the then
Zanu PF controlled Parliament undermines efforts to restore the rule of law
as it is effected retrospectively.
Under the heading, "Application", it is stated in the Act that: "This
Act shall apply to all State-Indebted companies, including those formed or
incorporated before the date of commencement of this Act and regardless of
when they became indebted to the State."
Critics say it is on the basis of this law that the Administrator
derived his locus standi to litigate.
Besides saying that SMM was seized on spurious grounds, RBZ had
advised President Mugabe that for SMM to be deemed insolvent, judicial
hearings had to be undertaken to assess the material facts and financial
data of the company, as to be able to factually determine and conclude the
existence and degree of such insolvency.
It said that in the case of SMM, the verdict of insolvency was arrived
at through a unilateral decree by Chinamasa "with neither notification to
the relevant parties nor the conduct of urgent judicial proceedings to
collate the facts as to confirm and conclude that insolvency was indeed the
status quo at that time".
A top government official said in their opinion, the contention that
SMM was "an insolvent State-indebted entity", is not correct, "implying that
the application of the Reconstruction Laws was, with the benefit of
This lends credence to the notion that under the guise of the
Reconstruction laws, some bigwigs in Zanu PF had masterminded the seizure of
Mawere's assets after the acquisitive businessman blew the whistle on their
shady dealings, close sources say.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 27 June 2009 17:01
THREE weeks ago, Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai left on a
tour of Europe and North America, much of which is collectively referred to
as the West.
As the tour unfolded two major objectives were apparent. First, the
trip sought to promote re-engagement between Zimbabwe and the West whose
relationship over the past 10 years has been severely estranged.
Second, the mission sought to facilitate ways of funding the new
Inclusive Government which is basically operating on less than a shoe-string
budget, a circumstance that was largely authored by gross mismanagement of
By and large Tsvangirai was warmly received by the leaders of the many
countries that he visited. However, his trip to London was overshadowed by
the ugly scenes of protests by sections of the Zimbabwean Diaspora more of
which will be said later in this article.
It was evident from the various receptions he got that Tsvangirai is
now acknowledged as a national leader. Before this trip, Tsvangirai had
visited these countries as an opposition leader but on this occasion he was
a man transformed; a metamorphosis that also took many of his hosts and
observers by surprise.
His new capacity has brought new objectives and also a different
language of politics, some of which his hosts and observers found hard to
comprehend, let alone accept. Tsvangirai could have taken the easier option
and spoke the language of condemnation that sits easily in the pages of the
media in these parts.
Instead, he chose to speak positively of his relationship with
President Mugabe. Some have accused him of not being faithful to the truth
on certain issues such as the situation on the farms and the human rights
It did not help that at a time when he was trying to sell a positive
image an influential human rights body, Amnesty International also issued a
damning review of Zimbabwe’s precarious human rights situation.
To be sure, this was a difficult voyage. Tsvangirai has been a
recipient of generous Western support in leading the fight for democracy in
Zimbabwe. For that he has been accused by his erstwhile opponents of being a
Yet, the decision to join the government headed by Mugabe was not
popular among some Zimbabweans and in the West. It is possible that some of
his old friends in the West now doubt his credibility. But as a leader in
the new government it is in his interests to ensure that it succeeds in its
mission. Yet to do so, the bankrupt country needs resource-injection from
In this respect, Tsvangirai has the unenviable task of persuading the
Western world to provide some funding to kick-start the economy. Yet to do
so he needs to persuade the West that Mugabe is now a reformed character or
at least that he has enough power to ensure the resources are used fairly
and effectively. He cannot possibly do this whilst at the same time
appearing to condemn his new partners.
Thus it has appeared that he has tried too hard perhaps to paint a
picture that the government is on the right path and has good prospects.
Yet in so doing he has drawn the wrath of his constituency, who feel
that in fact there is not enough progress at all; those who consider that
the forces of continuity still hold sway in Zimbabwe. With the problems on
the farms being highlighted and the issue of arrest and mistreatment of
those accused of political offences still brewing, the confusion over the
application of media regulations, and the clear violations of court orders
still continuing, Zimbabwe’s positive image has proved to be a hard sell.
Clearly, Tsvangirai has had his work cut out.
It is hardly surprising that although he has been warmly embraced by
the West, the begging pot has received very little. Yet it would have been
naïve to expect that Tsvangirai would return with bags of cash.
This trip has to be seen for what it truly was — a tentative step
toward re-engagement with the Western bloc. It had been years since Zimbabwe
and Western countries had shared the same table on a bilateral basis. The
hostility caused deterioration in trust and confidence, key tenets of any
These elements of a relationship cannot be restored overnight.
Therefore, I see this as being only the beginning in a long process of
relationship repair and much of this lies in our court.
Some of the key things that ought to be done require no investment at
all from the state. Liberating the media, enabling a free environment where
civil rights are protected does not cost money. If anything, it facilitates
creativity and enterprise which can help to ease the unemployment situation.
The government ought to play its role in rebuilding Zimbabwe’s image
and that requires the cessation of all the retrogressive things that
continue to hold us down. We can use so many words but it all comes down to
just two words of a simple type: common sense. The leadership must quite
simply be guided by common sense but sadly this always seems to be a scarce
resource, even though it’s free.
As indicated earlier, the biggest blemish on Tsvangirai’s trip was the
ugly reception that he got during his speech to Zimbabweans at London’s
Southwark’s Cathedral. A section of the crowd was not pleased with
Tsvangirai’s general call for people to return home.
This reaction must have come as a shock to the visitors. The last time
a national leader was booed and heckled by his supporters he panicked.
This was when in 1997, at the Heroes Acre in Harare, liberation war
veterans broke with tradition and heckled President Mugabe during a
graveside speech. President Mugabe panicked. This humiliation had never
happened to him before.
The result was that he paid out $50 000 to each person who claimed to
be a war veteran. This was the Zimbabwe dollar when it was still a proper
dollar. A few weeks later this and combination of other factors contributed
to the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar on 14 November 1997, a date often
associated with the start of the real show of the cataclysmic fall of
One hopes Tsvangirai does not panic from the scenes in London. It
could be very easy for him and others to dismiss the Diaspora as a useless
constituency that deserves little if any attention.
I think it’s important to take seriously the concerns raised by those
who expressed their resentment however disrespectful it might have been
carried. Perhaps there is concern that the prime minister is trying too hard
to sell a product that passed its sell-by date centuries ago.
But it is also important for the PM to know that the heckles do not
necessarily represent the homogenous views of all Zimbabweans in the
Diaspora. Indeed, contrary to general thought, the Diaspora is not a
homogenous entity — there are many faces and characters of the Zimbabwean
Diaspora — their concerns, fears and interests may meet at times but they
are not necessarily uniform across the board.
There may in fact, be many who acknowledged his call and understood
it, not as an order from the emperor but simply as a call for re-engagement.
I do think though that the Prime Minister’s advisory team could have
done better and that they have learnt a lot from this episode. Every leader
has researchers, advisors and speechwriters. A leader is as good as those
We often marvel at how effective President Obama is in delivering the
right speeches to different audiences but what we do not realise is that he
has a great team around him; a team that works its socks off to prepare
their man for every occasion.
He relies on them for so many things, including research on the issue
to be presented, the make-up, attitude and mood of the targeted audience,
create the best script for that audience.
Basically, very often it is not the content of the message that
matters most but the manner in which it is packaged and delivered. That also
includes a clear appreciation of the audience to whom it is delivered. Many
people I have spoken to agree that the Prime Minister was not adequately
prepared to face the kind of audience that he met at Southwark Cathedral
last Saturday. At the risk of sounding elitist, with all due respect, the
call of the PM is very relevant to certain segments of the Diaspora — the
skilled and professionals — but not all and it would have been well-received
and discussed sufficiently by that type of audience.
That call could therefore have been packaged and sold to an audience
of that type and to be sure, it would have been warmly received and
considered. I know that because I work with many Zimbabweans who have shown
a critical interest in playing a role in rebuilding the country. They
appreciate that when the Prime Minister calls for people to return home, it
is not a literal call for people to pack their bags to return home
instantly. They appreciate that this is language for re-engagement and that
decisions are made as a matter of individual choice.
What the government needs to do is to respond to the interest of these
people and collectively devise ways of facilitating skills utilisation which
can be done in so many ways beyond physically returning home.
We know that there are so many ways because we are not the first
country to produce a Diaspora. We do not have to re-invent the wheel;
rather, we can learn from those who have been there before us —what they are
doing to fully utilise the Diaspora resource.
Finally, contrary to some characterisation of the trip, I do not think
it was a failure. I think it was the first tentative step toward
re-engagement with the West, which is crucial. Mistakes were made, as in all
things new and some things could have been said differently but perhaps one
can appreciate that these perhaps overly positive words were made more in
hope of achieving the right thing.
●Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Saturday, 27 June 2009 16:57
ALLEGATIONS by teachers against the Progressive Teachers' Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and its secretary general, Raymond Majongwe in particular
have prompted me to respond.
Studio7 aired a PTUZ meeting in Gweru where Majongwe was allegedly
heckled. We were told that Majongwe and PTUZ had sold out on the teachers'
For us to analyse objectively the allegations against these people, we
need to interrogate these two perspectives. We can only do that by also
looking at past and current national contexts. We need the whole picture.
We are emerging from a period of extreme polarization. The
polarization had human skeletons, real casualties. But the polarization only
began after the 2000 Referendum on the Constitutional Commission Draft.
Given this background, where then do we place the PTUZ and Majongwe
debacle? What are their credentials? Majongwe and the PTUZ are by-products
of President Robert Mugabe's rulership.
They surfaced as a reaction to Mugabe's style of management. Majongwe
earned his kudos as a staunch Mugabe critic from his early days at the
University of Zimbabwe and he has been consistent. It was a mere expression
of exasperation over perceived state heavy-handedness against voices of
At the helm of the state machinery was Mugabe. It was not by design
that activists such as Majongwe found themselves at the mercy of security
agents. It was an innate human reaction to perceived injustices.
Such voices of dissent were very few because of the obvious resultant
violent response from the ruling elite. Majongwe bears permanent scars
inflicted on him by state security agents. His crime has been to stand up
for the cause of teachers.
When he and his colleagues were brutalized, it was not because they
were leading an insurgency or a terrorist organisation. Their sin was to
state the glaring facts. Not more than five among those now calling Majongwe
and the PTUZ sell-outs were ever terrorized by state security agents. If you
were never part of the real heart of the struggle, how then do you label the
real legends of that struggle traitors?
Simply, the struggle has assumed another dimension. Just like the
MDC/Zanu PF struggle has reached another epoch, so is the struggle by the
likes of the PTUZ, Women of Zimbabwe Arise and the other progressive forces.
If the allegation is that they received material inducements, the
question that should be addressed is: from who in this government and in
what form were the alleged inducements? Are the alleged benefits tangible or
We know who is in control of the government institutions. Our teachers
must look at the whole picture as the MDC and Zanu PF try to outwit each
other ahead of the next elections.
It's not in their interests for them to be fighting each other. At
least in Senator David Coltart, the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and
Culture teachers have an honest man.
My observation is that over three quarters of the teachers would
rather they were paid handsomely, like their regional counterparts. If the
criticism of Majongwe was coming from people with impeccable activism
credentials I could accept them, but not from armchair critics. They are
charlatans. We know the legends of past Uhuru struggles.
BY ODRIX SITHOLE MOYO
Saturday, 27 June 2009 16:55
IF Zanu PF could be certain of the outcome of the constitution-making
process, it would happily welcome the people's participation. But because it
cannot guarantee the resultant outcome it wants to foist the Kariba draft
document on the people of this country.
After assurances that the Kariba draft would only be used as a
reference point, Zimbabweans were stunned to hear President Robert Mugabe
declare last week that the new constitution will be anchored on the
September 2007 document.
Mugabe told his party's National Consultative Assembly in Harare that
the Parliamentary Select Committee on the constitution-making process
"should not deviate" from the Kariba "agreement". If it cannot have its way,
then it is prepared to sabotage the whole process because that is the only
way it can maintain control.
Here lies the fundamental flaw in Zanu PF's thinking. It tragically
believes that it is the only organisation that has the capacity to think on
behalf of the nation. There would be nothing wrong with that if its
definition of the nation extended beyond the herd mentality of card-carrying
members of that party.
But last year's March elections demonstrated that an overwhelming
number of Zimbabweans think differently from those in Zanu PF. Their will
must be respected.
We know why Zanu PF wants to seek refuge in the Kariba draft document.
It is aware that it was able to extract concessions from the two formations
of the MDC that it is unlikely to ever get if the people of this country are
allowed a free and unfettered say in writing a new constitution. So better
the devil they know!
Given a free and fair process, the people who voted for the MDC
formations are likely to participate in and influence the eventual outcome.
That would not be good news for Mugabe and his party whatever their dark
One of the fears that stalk Zanu PF is the realisation that it does
not have the resources to mount a nation-wide campaign to influence
especially the rural majority to turn out in their thousands to chant a
rehearsed script on the form and content of the proposed constitution.
So if it cannot stall the progress in the hope that China and other
Far East friends are persuaded to part with their money to finance Zanu PF's
campaign, it is prepared to spoil the party for everyone. Zanu PF has sent a
delegation to the Far East headed by Emmerson Mnangagwa, its secretary for
legal affairs. The outcome of that visit will define Zanu PF's response to
the constitution-making process.
One approach is that it will stall the process until it has done
something for which it can claim credit. But given the current position that
is highly unlikely. So the Kariba draft document offers a safer refuge.
The above observations are among issues that drive Zanu PF's panicky
response to the constitution-making process. Mugabe's position on the
succession debate within his party provides evidence to change it has no
control over. Since the Zanu PF Goromonzi conference, Mugabe has constantly
changed the goal posts on when he will step down, now parading the specious
claim that there is no "unity" in the party.
But the people of this country cannot be held to ransom by a
self-seeking clique that has conspired to ruin the country. Now they seek to
blight the promising start to a bright future by keeping afloat the leaky
Kariba plan. Zanu PF's intrigues must be rejected outright and with all the
vigour and resources at the people's disposal.
Saturday, 27 June 2009 14:54
IT is lunchtime at Harare hospital and kitchen staff is hurriedly
pushing trolleys full of food to the wards for patients. In the air is the
unmistakable smell of beef, cabbage and sadza.
On seeing the delegation of acting Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara
touring the hospital last week, one cheerful kitchen worker takes time to
engage the visitors.
"Allow us to dish for you as well. It's not cabbage and sadza anymore
for our patients so at least now we can offer visitors food without feeling
embarrassed. Today we are serving sadza and beef," she said jokingly to a
roar of laughter.
For this kitchen worker and the hospital administration the scent of
beef in the corridors instead of boiled cabbage for patients is most
certainly a welcome relief.
It is the same sigh of relief that many Zimbabweans who rely on
government hospitals for medical care must be heaving now as the health
sector is slowly on the mend.
Due to years of under funding and neglect Zimbabwe's health sector
took a nose dive last year after health workers downed tools complaining
that, with no drugs and life-saving equipment, hospitals had become "death
traps" for patients.
During a recent tour of Harare and Parirenyatwa hospitals Mutambara
heard that support from the Ministry of Finance had already made a
significant difference to their operations.
Harare hospital chief executive officer Jealous Nderere said with the
recent injection of US$1 million from government the hospital has managed to
make "a few but significant improvements".
Nderere said the Ministry of Finance promised the hospital US$2.4
million for its day-to-day operations and that the US$1 million it received
was part of that money. He said the amount has allowed the hospital to buy a
heavy duty laundry machine, complete renovations on two operating theatres,
food supplies, repair some life-saving equipment and improve security and
lighting at the hospital.
Nderere said security was important because the hospital has lost a
lot property through thefts and vandalism. The hospital also conducted
pauper burials for at least 500 unclaimed bodies that were cramped in the
hospital's mortuary whose capacity is 80.
Drug and surgical supply situation had improved to at least 80%
although the supply of vital drugs remained low. Nderere said when the
hospital reopened in February bed occupancy was 20% but said with improved
service delivery it is now 50%.
"Although there are many outstanding issues because many things had
been left undone for years because of poor funding, we are very grateful for
the support that government has given us," Nderere said.
At Parirenyatwa hospital, chief executive officer Thomas Zigora said
the institution had been bailed out by the Ministry of Finance after the
National Blood Transfusion Services cut off blood supplies to them over a
US$241 000 debt.
"We are quite happy that when we knocked on the door of the Ministry
of Finance they were able to quickly respond to our need," Zigora said. "We
appreciate such a relationship where matters of life and death are
Zigora said although the drug supply situation had improved to at
least 48%, through the National Pharmaceutical Company.
Zigora said the hospital needed at least US$4.9 million to beef up its
drug supplies, US$3.9 million to replace and repair equipment and at least
US$220 000 for linen. Zigora said the issue of human resources for a
specialist hospital like Parirenyatwa required address by the government
After the tour Mutambara said nothing is more important than the
health of a country.
"Never shall we allow a state of affairs where ordinary hard-working
people of Zimbabwe do not have access to health care," Mutambara said.
"This government has the people at heart and we will do everything
within our means to provide for the people of Zimbabwe. Without health there
is no economy to even talk about because production comes from a healthy
Last year in October state hospitals shut down after a work boycott by
health workers seriously crippling operations and leaving many people
BY BERTHA SHOKO
New Ministers, Beware of Patronage Trap
Saturday, 27 June 2009 16:21
I am warning all the new ministers in the inclusive government,
especially from the MDC to guard against being trapped and dragged into the
shoddy governance approach of the past, characterized by patronage and
buying of favours by parastatal bosses for whatever reason.
I have noticed with dismay the new Minister of Energy and Power
Development being hoodwinked into accepting an office at Chaminuka Building
being expensively furnished and refurbished by funds from the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe at a time when the country is struggling to buy fuel.
Worse still he is the one now blamed for directing Noczim management
to slash workers' salaries, which management had blundered by awarding
without due diligence.
Noczim management has diverted several thousands of dollars in order
to install digital satellite television for the new minister, purchasing
leather and other expensive furniture, refrigerators, heaters, photocopiers,
laptops, office blinds, fax machines, and 10 new vehicles for the ministry's
Is there a national budget approved by Parliament for this? Is this
not quasi-fiscal expenditure?
Minister, mark my word, management is allowing you to micro-manage the
company and in the process you are bound to make mistakes which they can use
to weaken your position in the near future.
Time is up for the 'media hangmen'
Saturday, 27 June 2009 16:18
IT was sickening to say the least reading George Charamba and Jonathan
Moyo's pieces trying to pour scorn on the Prime Minister's Bulletin that was
launched last week.
The two showed they were against any forms of media reforms in the
country and for Charamba, he was trying to use the state media as a platform
to lick his wounds after the High Court ruling of two weeks ago, which ruled
that the Media and Information Commission was no longer legitimate.
Charamba and Moyo should realise that the Global Political Agreement
has brought some democratic changes to the country.
And the move by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to have a publication
shows that the country is on a transitional path to democracy.
It is a shame that Charamba, Moyo and Tafataona Mahoso find it hard to
comprehend these are signs that the country is heading for democratic
Their reaction has shown that they are not happy that the PM has met
with world leaders such as President Barack Obama when their boss President
Robert Mugabe will only get that opportunity in his dreams.
The PM should be commended for taking the initiative of publishing his
own newspaper and this will give the people of Zimbabwe an opportunity to
know what is happening in the country despite the continued
black-out that his activities are getting from the state media.
The state media has been silent in reporting that PM Tsvangirai
received astounding accolades and acknowledgement from Western leaders for
his relentless resolve to bring back democracy in Zimbabwe.
I also wonder whether the defence chiefs noticed that during his tour
the PM was also given police escort and inspected a guard of honour?
Kombayi is a National Hero Status
Saturday, 27 June 2009 16:32
IT is with a sad heart that I learnt of the death of Senator Patrick
Kombayi. He was indeed a true son of the soil. He fought for the liberation
of Zimbabwe and deserves to lie at the Heroes' Acre just like other gallant
sons and daughters at the shrine.
It really boggles the mind as to who exactly determines the status of
all the heroes that will lie at the shrine. Kombayi deserves to rest at the
shrine. If there is anyone out there who is a decision-maker for all who lie
at the shrine please consider Kombayi as a Zimbabwean hero who deserves the
He was there during the struggle to liberate Zimbabwe from colonial
rule and he was there again trying to democratise Zimbabwe. Rest in peace
Cde Kombayi, we the children of Zimbabwe will always remember you for your
strength and courage.
Involve Students in Healing Process
Saturday, 27 June 2009 16:36
TERTIARY education students have always played an instrumental role in
the politics and societal transformation of every country in the world.
Zimbabwe is no exception.
Students must be involved in the so-called "national healing", which
we only hear of from the state media, with nothing tangible on the ground.
Students have been victims of state brutality since time immemorial
and therefore, are an integral part of this process, that is if it takes
Police have always mercilessly and brutally suppressed demonstrations
by the students. In 2001, a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) student, Batanai
Hadzizi was beaten to death by police officers after a demonstration. Sydney
Tapfumaneyi was murdered in mysterious circumstances in Waterfalls where he
had sought accommodation, after being evicted from campus on a 30-minute
notice by the Vice-Chancellor. This took place in 2007.
Students, particularly from tertiary institutions, were gravely
affected by the June 2008 Zanu PF-orchestrated violence. A certain friend of
mine, from Africa University sustained "short sleeves" from Zanu PF hoodlums
during this period. Tertiary institutions in Zimbabwe are infested with
secret intelligence operatives from the notorious Central Intelligence
Organisation. As a result, abductions, torture and intimidation have always
been the order of the day.
Students from UZ are the most disgruntled as the institution has
failed to re-open. Fees have become exorbitant.
I therefore appeal to the responsible authorities to incorporate the
student fraternity into the national healing process. Students have been
traumatised and need healing. Genuine national healing is required - where
an independent commission will be set up with powers to grant amnesty in
exchange for full disclosures and contrition.
Victims of political violence must be compensated. People must direct
the healing process. It should not be imposed by the government of the day.
Fed up With Zesa Power Cuts
Saturday, 27 June 2009 16:46
I would be grateful if you could publish this letter and also if you
could try and get Zesa to respond to it.
I have decided to write in after hearing a lot of people ask the same
questions that have been going through my mind for some time.
We all know that Zesa has some problems and is unable to ensure that
we all have power every single day.
We all understand that when it is cold as is the case now, there is
increased demand for electricity, which results in more power cuts than
What we do not understand is why, in a situation like this, some areas
are always without power while others always have power.
Speaking to friends from areas like Avondale, Hatfield and Mabelreign
you hear them saying they last had a power cut sometime ago.
But for some of us power cuts are almost a daily occurrence. I
carefully cut out the load-shedding schedule that Zesa published in your
paper sometime ago and according to that schedule, my portion of Eastlea
(VID/GMB area) is meant to be load-shed on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday,
if not in the morning then in the evening.
But quite a lot of times, we have no power on Mondays. On Tuesdays we
usually wake up to darkness and at times in the evening too.
On Thursdays without fail we are cut off early in the morning and
again in the evenings. This area is full of flats and businesses. Where in a
flat are people supposed to start a fire?
And if we are cut off every single day, does this mean Zesa has
established we don't need power as much as those in town, Braeside and other
areas where power cuts are far and few between?
We are not the only ones.
Some workmates actually say portions of Chitungwiza, Bluff Hill,
Marlborough, Highfield, among others have no power almost on a daily basis.
We know we are in a difficult situation where load-shedding is
necessary but it has to be fair. If every suburb in this country was cut off
for the same number of hours on a rotational basis, no one would complain.
If you cut off Eastlea on Monday, cut off Mabelreign Tuesday, Avondale
on Wednesday and the next suburb the next day, we will all have power for an
equal amount of hours. That way you can even give power also to those in
Zengeza, Kuwadzana and others who last had power ages ago.
Stick to the schedules and ensure that everyone is affected the same
not others more than most.
I urge the new Minister of Energy and Power Development to ensure that
load-shedding is implemented properly to every Zimbabwean as the limited
resource is evenly distributed.
With all the stress people have from the different challenges we face
daily, home is the only place where Zimbabweans get comfort but if there is
no power, how can we unwind?
There ought to be a difference between the rural and urban areas. Don't
expect us to start living as if we are in the rural areas. Firewood, gels
and everything else also come at a cost.
We are not against load-shedding but it must be implemented
professionally and fairly. Then it might make sense to expect us all to pay
the same amount of money for Zesa's supplies.
Right now I am so pissed off that you even expect me to pay the same
US$40 that Avondale residents pay. I work there and we last had a power cut
that time when there was a fault. Power cuts are a rarity in that area.
It is even worse for our parents and grandparents in the high-density
areas that you want to extort US$30 from. Some don't even know what Zesa is.
We know you have issues but let us see you also considering our wishes.
Tired of going to a cold unwelcoming home and tired of being made to
pay for other people's mistakes.
Mother of very hungry and very cold
There was no response from Zesa. - Editor.
Be Wary of SA Record Companies
Saturday, 27 June 2009 16:28
AS much I appreciate the strides our lovely energetic Tongai Moyo has
made so far, he should ask Oliver Mtukudzi and Aleck Macheso about the
dangers of recording with South African companies.
I bet you by the time he releases his next album in Zimbabwe we will
be selling it here in Mzansi as pirated copies just as happened to Mtukudzi
and Macheso. So please brother, it's good to record home where you maximise
your sales and reduce the prospects of pirated copies.
Do it and I will be the first to tell you I now have a copy the day
you finish recording. The technology here in Mzansi (South Africa) is just
more advanced and corrupt as compared to Zimbabwe.
SMS The Standard
Saturday, 27 June 2009 14:15
Need for other avenues
FROM the reports from the state media, it is increasingly becoming
difficult to tell whether the Prime Minister is with the people or with Zanu
PF. This is why I am fully behind the initiative by the Prime Minister's
Office to put out a newsletter giving their side of the story. The
suggestion is a damning verdict on the failure of the inclusive government
to open up the media landscape to voices other than Zanu PF. - Muongorori,
WHY is the Prime Minister appearing to be giving conflicting
statements to what is happening on the ground? I am surprised that no one
from his party has bothered to correct or censure him. Is it a case of the
gravy train that he is now riding? If he keeps on like this he must kiss
goodbye to our votes. Morgan Tsvangirai get real. - Watching, Bulawayo.
CAN you see the contempt in George Charamba's article in The Sunday
Mail where he suggests that he will investigate the Prime Minister over the
legality of the newsletter published by the PM's office. Was he supposed to
talk like that to his boss if he regards him as his boss? He regards the PM
as someone who has jumped protocol, but has Charamba also not jumped
protocol by issuing a public statement about the issue? How can he want to
institute an investigation of his senior without being contemptuous?
Charamba is acting the Zanu PF way. It strengthens our resolve to boot out
such culture. He is behaving like the rest, especially members of the
uniformed forces. Don't try to continue to hold the nation to ransom with
childish games. Tsvangirai is restoring our hope. Leave him alone. - Watch
SOME time ago when the issue of permanent secretaries was raised, the
Prime Minister said they had decided to let sleeping dogs lie because they
had been assured that George Charamba was no longer President Robert Mugabe's
spokesperson, but merely the secretary for the Ministry of Media,
Information and Publicity. It appears his recent statements confirm that the
more things change the more they remain the same. - Soothsayer.
Our weird world
WE live in a weird part of the world. The Prime Minister's visit and
his meeting with the "Anglo-Saxon" premier should have been the headline but
the denial of a visa to a junior member scoops the "headline award" at the
state media stable. -Cleka weDowasuro.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe tells his party faithfuls of their "total
commitment to the inclusive government" yet at the same time they fulminate
against the mere publication of a newsletter by the Prime Minister's office?
Why don't they address the reasons why the PM's office had to resort to such
measures if there is commitment to seeing the government of national unity
succeed? - Not fooled, Bindura.
JONATHAN Moyo's talk on ZBC 8 O'clock soap was total nonsense. Can I
make it categorically clear to the learned professor that what we went
through his tenure was hell. We will never appreciate what he stands for. We
love, cherish, trust, admire and will stand by our Prime Minister. God will
judge you. - Jubilee, Harare.
AFTER getting a small windfall that came as a result of the sale of
Thomas Sweswe, is it possible that the Dynamos executive and the board have
thought of investing in a team bus and maybe setting up a website for the
club? Smaller teams such as Gunners have achieved these things on a much
smaller budget and support base! - DeMbare for Life.
Sadc the problem
I think Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana are not wrong. The problem is
with Sadc who erred grossly when they appointed Mugabe President of the
Government of National Unity. So these two are right to believe that it is a
government of anomalies hence their decision to keep holding onto their
posts. - Tinotenda.
THE current political quagmire and economic stagnation we are in
clearly demonstrate the mediocrity of the previous regime and how we badly
need a socially just and carefully thought out recovery programme. What we
don't need is getting ourselves tangled up in internationally discredited
prescriptions from international financial institutions. Already we are
close to US$5 billion in the red and borrowing another US$8 - 10 billion
will only worsen our already dire situation. What we need is technology for
our manufacturers/industries and farmers and more inward-looking
macro/micro-policies. - Concerned, Harare.
YOUR film critic should get the facts right. Go and watch Eagle Eye
again before giving it a poor rating. Not every movie should have an Abba
sound track and has-been actors to be good. - Paul Dadzie.
I AM appalled and greatly disturbed by the article about the encounter
with "tokoloshes". Why on earth did you have to publish the pictures of the
actual goblins? I am disappointed in your sense of journalism because this
was very insensitive of you. Who would have thought that after a good
morning church celebration and expecting to relax, one opens the newspaper
to be greeted by vivid pictures of a "tokoloshe"? - N K C, Adylinn, Harare.
THE so-called "prophet" you reported in your paper should not be
allowed to fool people the way he did. There is no way a dead snake can wear
a condom, let alone make love to a human being. Such "prophets" should never
be allowed to see the light of day any day longer. - Stanley Mawire,
I am relieved to hear that police have identified two of the suspects
in the brutal raid on Minister Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga's residence
in Mount Pleasant which left their police security detail and the minister's
husband for dead. Why would the robbers attack everyone who was at the house
except the gardner, who they decided to lock up? - Get real.
SINCE May we have been in darkness. I wonder how the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority can forget us for so long. We live in fear of
losing our property to thugs who are taking advantage of the darkness to
break into homes. - Worried, Eastlea, Harare.