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Zimbabwe defends seize of black farmer's land at regional court

2 hours ago

WINDHOEK (AFP) - Zimbabwe on Thursday urged a regional court not to step
into a dispute with a black farmer who has accused the government of wrongly
seizing his land.

Luke Tembani became one of Zimbabwe's first black commercial farmers shortly
after independence in 1980, but faced eviction on May 21 after the national
agricultural bank sold his farm to recoup a loan.

Tembani has asked the tribunal of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) to allow him to keep his land, saying the bank had reneged on a deal
to allow him to sell part of his farm to settle the loan.

A lawyer for the government argued that the tribunal should not rule in the
case because Tembani still had legal options in Zimbabwe to settle his case.

"The applicant did not explore all legal avenues in Zimbabwe before turning
to this tribunal," argued Zimbabwe's deputy attorney general Prince Machaya.

Tembani had taken a loan more than a decade ago from the Agricultural Bank
of Zimbabwe (ABZ) to expand his farm operations.

According to court documents, he defaulted on part of his repayments when
interest rates soared in 1997 as Zimbabwe's economic crisis unfolded.

Documents filed with the tribunal stated that the bank had sold the farm in
2000, without any court hearings, even though Tembani was still living on

The tribunal reserved judgment in the case, and set no date for a ruling.

But the court ordered the government to allow Tembani to stay on his land
until a decision is made.

The problems with Tembani's land emerged as Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
was embarking on a violent and often chaotic scheme to resettle black
farmers on white-owned lands.

The SADC tribunal in November ruled against the land reforms, saying 78
white farmers could keep their land because the scheme amounted to racial

Mugabe's government rejected the ruling, but the new unity government says
it wants to resolve the problems on the farms.

The white farmers are returning to the court on Friday seeking a way to
force Zimbabwe to honour the judges' ruling.

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Tsvangirai: Mugabe acrimony over
Thursday, 4 June 2009 16:18 UK
Morgan Tsvangirai (seated) in Harare on 21 May 2009
Morgan Tsvangirai said the unity government had been consolidated

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has told the BBC the "acrimony is over" between him and President Robert Mugabe.

He made the remarks ahead of a tour of Europe and the US to garner support for his country's four-month-old power-sharing government.

He is to meet UK PM Gordon Brown and US President Barack Obama, among others.

Zimbabwe needs $45bn (£28bn) in the next five years to revive an economy mauled by years of political conflict.

Zimbabwe's unity government between the former bitter enemies was inaugurated in February, ending months of political crisis following disputed elections.

We hope the gains we've made so far will convince even the most sceptical this government is consolidated
Morgan Tsvangirai

Earlier this week the European Union authorised $11m (£7m) in humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe.

But most Western donors have said they will only reopen their purses for Zimbabwe when they see evidence of genuine power-sharing, an end to farm seizures and a restoration of the rule of law.

Ahead of his trip this weekend, Prime Minister Tsvangirai told the BBC: "The objective is to demonstrate that Zimbabwe's inclusive government is ready to engage the world and secondly to see whether there could be opportunities for transitional support.

"We hope that the incremental gains we have made so far will convince even the most sceptical to ensure that this government is consolidated."

Speaking at the Elephant Hills Golf Course in Victoria Falls on Thursday morning, he conceded that challenges remained on the "emotive issue" of farm seizures.

But he insisted the unity government would stabilise the situation, adding: "It's a work in progress."

On his relationship with Mr Mugabe, the Zimbabwean premier said: "It's a workable relationship; if we have differences they are expressed in a respectable way. We do appreciate that the period of acrimony is over."

MDC leader Mr Tsvangirai struck a less upbeat tone last weekend during a party convention when he told supporters the rule of law had still not been restored and warned that Zimbabweans still feared political persecution.

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The struggle goes on

Jun 4th 2009 | HARARE
From The Economist print edition

President Robert Mugabe is as recalcitrant as ever, despite an agreement to
share power with Morgan Tsvangirai. Yet change is in the air

ON June 6th Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabwe's prime minister, is to set off on a
three-week red-carpet tour of Europe and America, where he is due to meet
Barack Obama. It is the former opposition leader's first official trip
abroad since taking his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) into a fraught
power-sharing deal with President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF in
February. He wants to present a friendlier, more respectable face of a
country widely regarded as a pariah, in the hope of winning international
support for the unity government. A formidable task.

The new government has been in office for nearly four months, yet most of
the conditions laid down by foreign governments for resuming aid to bankrupt
Zimbabwe remain unmet. The rule of law and human rights are still being
violated with impunity. The security services, secret police and media
remain in Zanu-PF's grip. Political campaigners, lawyers and journalists are
still being arrested on trumped-up charges. Farms still owned by whites are
being invaded at an even greater pace. And the despotic 85-year-old
president still calls the shots in what is supposed to be a partnership of

From the outset, Mr Mugabe and his party hardliners have been bent on
scuppering a deal imposed on them by the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), a 15-country regional group, taking every opportunity to
thwart and humiliate Mr Tsvangirai and his MDC ministers. They are
especially determined to block a key part of the deal: the drafting of a new
constitution, the first since independence in 1980, designed to impose clear
checks on executive power and to lead to proper elections within two years.

Under the power-sharing arrangement, the MDC-which, let it not be forgotten,
actually won the elections in March last year-was supposed to get 13 of the
agreed 31 Cabinet posts and Zanu-PF 15, with the remaining three going to an
MDC splinter led by Arthur Mutambara. But on the day the new ministers were
to be sworn in, Mr Mugabe, who had already seized the beefiest ministries,
grabbed a whole bunch more, increasing the number of cabinet posts to 41 in
violation of the agreement signed by all three parties in September. Mr
Tsvangirai was powerless to stop him; SADC, the pact's guarantor, was

Mr Mugabe still treats the agreement and his prime minister with contempt.
Mr Tsvangirai recently announced that journalists were now free to report on
Zimbabwe without government approval, yet he was promptly contradicted by
the information minister, a Zanu-PF man, who said that journalists without
proper accreditation could face up to two years in jail. After months of
negotiations, Mr Tsvangirai at last secured the release of human-rights
activists and MDC sympathisers who had been detained, and many tortured, on
treason charges. But a few weeks later they were rearrested.

Under their power-sharing pact, Messrs Tsvangirai and Mugabe are meant "to
consult and agree" on all senior government appointments. Until now, Mr
Mugabe has simply ignored that part of the deal. But on May 21st Mr
Tsvangirai proudly announced that agreement had been reached on the
appointment of permanent secretaries (the top civil servants) in every
ministry. The appointment of the first MDC provincial governors and
ambassadors had also been agreed to. They were to be sworn in "at the
soonest possible opportunity", along with Roy Bennett, a dispossessed white
farmer, whom Mr Mugabe has hitherto steadfastly refused to accept on the
ground that he was facing charges of "treason". Just as it looked as if Mr
Tsvangirai might have scored his first win in a behind-the-scenes power
struggle with Mr Mugabe, it turned out that all the current permanent
secretaries had been reappointed, whereas no deadline had been set for
swearing in the MDC's new governors and ambassadors or Mr Bennett; now out
on bail after more than a month in jail, he says he is not expecting to take
up his post any time soon.

Another contentious issue is Mr Mugabe's appointment of Johannes Tomana as
attorney-general and his reappointment of Gideon Gono as governor of the
central bank to another five-year term. It was Mr Gono who presided over the
collapse of Zimbabwe's once-flourishing economy while plundering the bank's
resources to finance Mr Mugabe and his Zanu-PF friends. Though lesser known,
Mr Tomana, who has been responsible for all arrests and prosecutions, may
well be the more dangerous of the two.

He just won't go
The more Mr Mugabe has been pressed to get rid of those two men, the deeper
he has dug in his heels. For the first time since the unity government was
set up, Mr Tsvangirai has asked SADC to intervene. He hopes that Jacob Zuma,
South Africa's new president who currently chairs SADC, will squeeze Mr
Mugabe a lot harder than did Thabo Mbeki, his predecessor. Messrs Tsvangirai
and Zuma are said to be friendly, whereas the Zimbabwean never got on with
Mr Mbeki, whom he suspected of siding with Mr Mugabe.

Another source of friction in the new government is the control of the
security forces. In accordance with the power-sharing deal, a new National
Security Council, including Mr Tsvangirai, has been set up. It was supposed
to replace the notorious Joint Operations Command (JOC), which embraced all
the security and intelligence chiefs and was chaired by Emmerson Mnangagwa,
the ruthless defence minister. But the JOC has never been disbanded and the
new security council has yet to meet. As on other matters, Mr Tsvangirai
seems powerless to act.

It is a dangerous situation. Mr Mnangagwa, who oversaw the massacres of
alleged "dissidents" in Matabeleland in the early 1980s, is one of the most
powerful people in the land, with high hopes of taking over from Mr Mugabe
one day. He reportedly heads a shady group known as the Social Revolutionary
Council, involving security chiefs and other ZANU-PF toughs bent on saving
their skins as well as their lavish perks of office, who are plotting the
downfall of the unity government, almost certainly with Mr Mugabe's approval
and possible direction. The old man, whose mind seems as sharp as ever,
shows no sign of being willing to retire.

Rumours are now circulating that he may call a snap general election in
March, before the new constitution, with its planned limits on presidential
power and strict rules for the conduct of elections, can be approved.
Zanu-PF leaders have reportedly been telling their supporters to prepare for
such a poll, which would be sure to plunge the country back into a state of
violence and anarchy. This would upset the South Africans, who are due to
host the football World Cup a few months later. So MDC leaders are hoping Mr
Zuma will persuade his hitherto spineless SADC colleagues to stop such a
move-if they can.

Hints of improvement
Despite all this, MDC leaders are surprisingly optimistic. They are used to
Mr Mugabe's wiles and are determined to outwit him. Given their own
inexperience and Zanu-PF's 29 years in power, their slow start was
inevitable, they say. But they feel they are gradually learning to outflank
their enemy. "We don't have guns, but we have the support of the people,"
says an MDC minister. "In government, we've also got access to intelligence
sources for the first time. That is invaluable."

The MDC's success is clearest on the economic front. Hyperinflation, which
reached a world-record 500 billion per cent in September, is under control
thanks to the government's acceptance of the American dollar and a handful
of other foreign currencies as legal tender in place of Zimbabwe's worthless
currency. Prices have even fallen since the beginning of the year. After
nine years of recession and a 54% drop in GDP, the IMF says Zimbabwe may
grow by 2.8% this year. Tendai Biti, the MDC finance minister, is
forecasting 6%.

But the bankrupt state is still struggling to make ends meet. Mr Biti says
Zimbabwe needs $8.5 billion (a figure that seems to have been pulled out of
a hat) in the next three years to kick-start the moribund economy. Despite
Mr Mugabe's constant complaint about crippling Western sanctions, his
country is actually getting nearly $1 billion a year in humanitarian aid.
Now donors are beginning to find ways to channel money to government
projects where the MDC is in charge, to prevent the cash falling into
Zanu-PF's hands. For the first time in nearly a decade the World Bank and
IMF have agreed to provide non-budgetary support.

For ordinary Zimbabweans, life has begun to get a bit better, too. Thanks to
the government's decision to give an allowance of $100 a month to all civil
servants (including government ministers), schools and hospitals have
started to reopen. Food is back on supermarket shelves-for those who can
afford it. Potholes in Zimbabwe's bumpy roads have begun to be filled in.

But otherwise things are much as they were. Electricity still often cuts
out, sometimes for days on end. An estimated 95% of the population is still
without formal jobs. A cholera epidemic, which has killed more than 4,300
people, may have abated but the water and sanitation systems are as decrepit
as ever. Meanwhile, HIV-AIDS continues to claim some 3,000 lives a week.

Yet, against all the odds, there is a new feeling of hope. Mr Mugabe's
secret police are still everywhere, but the fear has gone. People are
willing to speak out more freely. Demonstrations and MDC rallies are no
longer met with the same violence. Foreign investors are sniffing around.
But neither they nor international donors will put big money back into
Zimbabwe until they can be sure that property rights and the rule of law are
being respected. That, plainly, could still take some time.

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Deported Kwekwe mine owner narrates abduction ordeal

By Lance Guma
04 June 2009

Lee Johns, an Australian businessman who has lived in Zimbabwe for over 12
years, was deported last month after winning a US$1 million claim against
the Reserve Bank for unpaid rentals. In an exclusive interview on our Behind
the Headlines program, Johns told us he was arrested on the same day the
High Court granted him an interdict against the bank. His Kwekwe company,
Consolidated Gold Mines, had an agreement to rent out the Globe and Phoenix
Mine to a Reserve Bank subsidiary, Carslone. Apparently the bank failed to
make a profit during this venture and after paying rentals for 2 years, they
stopped paying anything in the third year. This prompted Johns to sue in the
High Court.

In a classic example of why the MDC want Gideon Gono removed from the
central bank, Johns was set upon using the entire might of the state
security machinery. The Central Intelligence Organization, the Criminal
Investigations Department (Minerals Section) and the Immigration Department
all ganged up to deal with him. On the day of his court victory he was
abducted from Kwekwe and driven to Harare. To prevent his colleagues and
lawyers from knowing where he was they shuffled him from prison to prison
for a total of 7 days. On one of these days a dramatic car chase in Harare
ensued after his friends briefly spotted him being driven by his abductors.
They gave chase but eventually gave up in the end.

A fast-tracked court process eventually rubber stamped his deportation. This
was done by revoking his residency permit on the pretext he had violated its
conditions by taking up employment elsewhere. Johns called this 'scraping
the bottom of the barrel' because it was not a form of employment as all he
did was appoint himself director in a company he already owned. Johns also
had approval for the registration of this company from the Zimbabwe
Investment Centre. Even though his lawyers appealed the court decision he
was escorted to the Harare International Airport and forced onto a plane to
South Africa. The manner of the deportation was similar to that of
journalist Andrew Meldrum, who in May 2003 was kicked out by the Mugabe
regime on political grounds.

Now currently in South Africa where he intends to fight his corner, Johns
told us Zimbabwe was his home and he had no intention of going anywhere. He
says his lawyers are still fighting in the courts to have the matter
resolved but they have since suffered a reversal, with the High Court being
forced into a virtual u-turn on the matter. The Reserve Bank owned company
continues to mine gold in Kwekwe, despite the lease with Johns' company
having expired in February this year. Not only that - they still owe him
over a US$1 million in unpaid rentals, which they are trying to avoid paying
by keeping him out of the country.

It is this sort of thuggery that has thrust Gono into the limelight. Dozens
of businessmen were forced into exile after he began what he termed a clean
up operation in the banking sector. Most were accused of 'externalizing'
foreign currency and arrested by police at Gono's instigation. Former Guruve
North MP David Butau was one of those implicated by Gono and was forced to
flee to the UK for sanctuary. When he came back into the country last month
he was acquitted by the courts. Butau had previously tried to get parliament
to investigate Gono's conduct at the RBZ and paid heavily for this move.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti is also trying to get Gono probed, but the ZANU
PF machine, backed by senior army officers, is blocking this.

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Mugabe-Mswati Talks Threaten MDC Hopes of SADC Action

HARARE, June 4 2009 - The talks between Mugabe and Mswati might
undercut Tsvangirai's bid to get the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) to intervene in the deadlock over the appointment of Reserve Bank
governor Gideon Gono and attorney-general Johannes Tomana, who are Mugabe

Tsvangirai, through his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party,
wrote last week to President Jacob Zuma , who is the Sadc chairman, urging
him to intervene in the stalemate.

This followed a series of failed meetings to resolve the issue between
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara. The leaders
wanted to break a deadlock over outstanding issues in the political
agreement that is the basis of Zimbabwe's inclusive government.

Official sources said Mugabe would meet Mswati today in Harare to
discuss regional issues, including the continuing Common Market of Eastern
and Southern Africa summit at Victoria Falls, but would focus on the unity
government problems.

The Gono and Tomana dispute is likely to feature prominently in their
talks, especially because Tsvangirai has reported Mugabe to Sadc over the

Sources said Mugabe and Mswati would visit Gono's Donnington Farm,
about 60km southwest of Harare, where the Swazi monarch would commission
some grain silos.

Mugabe and Mswati, both widely criticised for political repression,
have formed a formidable bloc within Sadc resistant to democratic change.

If Mugabe succeeds in lobbying Mswati to reject Tsvangirai's appeal
about Gono and Tomana, it would be a major setback for the MDC, which is
already facing a rebuff from Sadc over its call to convene an extraordinary
summit to resolve the issue. (Business Day)

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Zimbabwe officers "fear mutiny"

afrol News / The Zimbabwean, 4 June - Senior army commanders have told
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe that they are now afraid to review parades
at army barracks as they risk being shot by mutinating soldiers and junior

At a crisis meeting with President Mugabe on Thursday at the Defence Forces
Headquarters army commanders told him there was growing indiscipline among
the junior ranks.

"Army commanders are now afraid to review parades, saying junior solders are
plotting to kill them, so they sought guidance from Mugabe who is their
commander-in-chief," said a source at the headquarters.

Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe
National Army (ZNA) Commander, Phillip Valerio Sibanda, Air Force of
Zimbabwe (AFZ) commander, Air Marshal Perrence Shiri, and his Number Two,
Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena were reported to have attended the meeting.

ZDF Commander Chiwengwa is said to have pleaded with President Mugabe to
sort out the welfare of members of the uniformed forces saying: "We are
sitting on a time bomb." According to the source, "He told Mugabe that it
would not be surprising if one was shot at while reviewing a parade."

Indiscipline was said to be particularly rampant among young officers who
are disgruntled with the US$ 100 that they are being paid by the new
coalition government.

Last year soldiers ran amok in the streets of Harare, looting shops to
augment their salaries that had been eroded by hyper-inflation and beating
members of the public indiscriminately.

The soldiers are aware that their senior officers live in the lap of luxury,
thanks to the ruling Zanu (PF) party's patronage system which has given them
farms, vehicles, equipment and unparalleled business opportunities -
particularly in mining ventures at home and in Congo Kinshasa (DRC).

It was recommended that service firearms should be withdrawn from members of
the security forces to limit the prospect of a mutiny.

By staff writer

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COMESA mulls aid package for Zimbabwe: official

5 hours ago

VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe (AFP) - Africa's COMESA trade bloc is preparing a
financial rescue package for Zimbabwe to help the southern African nation to
rebuild its shattered economy, a senior official said Thursday.

Finance ministers from Africa's largest trading bloc met to discuss the
package ahead of a heads of state summit this weekend in the Zimbabwean
resort town of Victoria Falls, said Chungu Mwila, COMESA's director of
investment promotion.

"We are working with Zimbabwe as one of our members to see how best we can
mobilise funds for the country. Ministers of finance have already met to
discuss the proposal," he said, without giving details on their talks.

The 19-member Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa has commissioned
a study to assess how the bloc can help provide funding for Zimbabwean
industry, he said.

Currently Zimbabwe's industrial sector is operating at less than 10 percent
of its capacity, but the new Finance Minister Tendai Biti hopes to boost the
figure to 60 percent by year end.

Zimbabwe's new government has appealed for 8.5 billion dollars (six billion
euros) over three years to help revive its shattered economy.

Although most Western nations have adopted a wait and see attitude towards
the new government, regional and continental bodies have so far availed more
than a billion dollars in private sector loans to help the country recover.

Once a dynamic country, Zimbabwe's economy has contracted by more than 45
percent over the past decade as a result of political and economic

Long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and his erstwhile rival Morgan
Tsvangirai formed a unity government in February and have unveiled a plan to
revive the economy.

The COMESA summit this weekend is set to launch a new customs union that
will harmonise tariffs across a region stretching from Egypt to South

The bloc is home to 400 million people, with a combined gross domestic
product of 350 billion dollars.

COMESA comprises Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, the Democratic Republic of
Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi,
Mauritius, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia and

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Outrage as Mugabe takes COMESA chair

4 June 2009

By The Zimbabwean

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe takes over the chairmanship of Africa's
largest trading bloc, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa
(COMESA) in Victoria Falls on Sunday.
The summit has been cancelled three times in a row due to Mugabe's
legitimacy crisis. Only the formation of the GNU has made it possible for
the summit to take place.
Outraged critics said it was ironic and unfortunate that Mugabe, who has
vandalised his own country's economy, should occupy the top position of the
regional economic body.
John Makumbe, a political science professor at the University of Zimbabwe,
said Mugabe's leadership of the 19-nation trading bloc was "highly

COMESA postponed its summit in April, then in August and again in November
last year after it staunchly refused to recognise Mugabe's stolen presidency
following the flawed March 29 and sham June 27 violent-wrecked run-off vote.
Observers noted that the chairmanship was being passed to Mugabe by Mwai
Kibaki, the Kenya President whose own election was violently disputed,
forcing him to form a government of national unity with the opposition.
COMESA said it had now recognised the inclusive government formed between
President Mugabe's Zanu (PF) and the two MDC formations by hosting its 13th
heads of State and government summit in Zimbabwe.

The summit is expected to finalise steps towards forming the customs union,
after the member countries agreed to allow free movement of capital goods
with a 10 percent tax on intermediate products and a 25 percent tax for
finished goods.
COMESA has said it will finance the summit, as Zimbabwe's new unity
government struggles to find money to feed the population and pay public
sector workers.

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Zimbabwe to use comesa as economy catalyst

By KITSEPILE NYATHI, NATION CorrespondentPosted Thursday, June 4 2009 at


Zimbabwe will look to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa to
revive its economy when it takes over the chairmanship of the regional body
on Sunday, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said.

The country, which is still emerging from almost a decade of economic and
political turmoil, will take over from Kenya exactly a year after the Comesa
summit was postponed due to political tension between then leading
opposition leader, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.

Mr Tsvangirai told a Council of Ministers meeting ahead of the Heads of
State and government meeting on Sunday that Zimbabwe will seek to take
advantage of more regional integration to resuscitate its industries.

"Our countries need deeper levels of integration particularly at this time
when the global recession is on the rampage and affecting different
countries in different ways," said Mr Tsvangirai.

"The need for market integration as a way of creating and maintaining bigger
markets cannot be over-emphasised.

"If large economies in America and Europe are seeking bigger markets by
fostering regional integration, the smaller economies of Africa have an even
greater need to come together in a regional and subsequently continental
economic market."

Mr Tsvangirai said the new political dispensation in what used to be one of
Africa's most vibrant economies will ensure that the country played its part
in fostering regional integration.

"We in Zimbabwe look forward to playing our part within Comesa and within
the region," he said.

"The formation of the inclusive government provides the foundation to
rebuild our economy and COMESA provides a firm framework within which such
rebuilding can take place."

He said Zimbabwe was utilising less than 20 percent of its installed
national capacity in all sectors of the economy and will look for
opportunities in Comesa to engineer the recovery of the economy.

"The top priority for Zimbabwe will be the opportunities presented to us in
the Comesa region because of the favourable trading terms and conditions
developed by the organisation over the past decade," Mr Tsvangirai said.

The Zimbabwe leader said the launch of the Comesa customs union will boost
intra- Africa trade, which only accounts for less than five percent of total

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MISA-Zimbabwe and Quill Club brought Honourable, Advocate Matinenga and Dr. Madhuku to a public discussion

4 June 2009

By MISA-Zimbabwe

MISA Zimbabwe Communiqué: MISA-Zimbabwe and Quill Club brought Honourable,
Advocate Matinenga and Dr. Madhuku to a public discussion for the first time
since the formation of the inclusive government.

(Pictured: Dr. Madhuku (left) and Advocate Matinenga (right) )

MISA-Zimbabwe and Quill Club brought Honourable, Advocate Matinenga and Dr.
Madhuku to a public discussion for the first time since the formation of the
inclusive government.
In an electric environment which saw the Harare Quill Club convening the
highest attendance to a public debate ever, the Press Club on 2 June 2009
brought together two feuding distinguished guests to map the way forward on
the constitutional making process.

It was the first time that Honourable Minister for Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs, Advocate Eric Matinenga and the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairperson Dr. Lovemore Madhuku have engaged
in the public forum. The two panelists led the discussion under the topic:
Contestations on the constitutional making process - mapping the way

In a heated debate, the NCA chairperson Dr. Lovemore Madhuku outlined that
his organisation's position has remained consistent in that they want a
process that is not controlled by the government. The government's role
according to Dr. Madhuku is supposed to start and end at initiating the
process and it must detach itself afterwards to give the Constitutional
Commission some independency to execute its duties in canvassing the people
of Zimbabwe's opinions.

He insisted that the current process is shrouded in secrecy as evidenced by
the fact that the people of Zimbabwe do not have a clue as to when the
process will start, when it will end, who will be at the stakeholders'
conference, let alone when it is convened, among others.

Madhuku made a eulogy, that for the people of Zimbabwe to appreciate the NCA's
position they should compare how they aspire the Electoral Commission to be
constituted as the reflection of what the independent Constitutional
Commission has to be modeled like.

He argued that an average Zimbabwean will definitely have a problem with the
present day Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) because it is not independent from the executive which compromises its

In light of such, Madhuku maintained that the current process will result in
the Constitutional Commission suffering the same fate as ZEC given the fact
that the three principals to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) will
retain the control of how the commission executes its duties.

In response to the presentation by Dr. Madhuku, Advocate Matinenga outlined
that there is no single model towards the attainment of a people driven
constitution. He insisted that all the dissenting voices on the process
should appreciate that Article 6 in the GPA, which outlines how the
government will lead the constitutional making process was reached under
difficult circumstances but the Ministry will continue with the
consultations to reach a common fit with all the stakeholders.

The Minister hinted out that the government is in a process of translating
the current constitutional literature in the country, namely the current
constitution Amendment 19, the NCA draft constitution and the draft
constitution which was rejected at the referendum into the country's three
main languages, as a process of reaching out to the people.

The Advocate called upon the stakeholders to concentrate on the positives
and work with the government in reaching out to the people.

However journalists quizzed the minister on whether or not the government
was going to use the Kariba Draft constitution in relation to the
enunciation by President Robert Mugabe that the document will be the
starting point. The Minister argued that the statements by President Mugabe
were an expression of personal views.

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Price Control Commission Still Operational

HARARE, June 4 2009 - The National Incomes and Pricing Commission is
still operational and will continue monitoring prices as well as
recommending local production and importation of certain goods.

In an interview with RadioVOP, NIPC chairperson Goodwills
Masimirembwa, indicated that what was abolished is the setting of prices but
the NIPC was still monitoring prices and forwading observations to the

"What we have noticed to date is that prices have been generally
reasonable in the country. We monitor prices in general but we are mostly
concerned about pricing of basic commodities. We have however noted from
media reports that there has been overcharging in the tourism industry with
regards to hotels but the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority is working to rectify
that," said Masimirembwa.

He said the organisation's officers were going ahead with research
activities and that the NIPC would soon forward a report of its findings to
the government.

"We are yet to be given a date to meet Minister Welshman Ncube to hand
over our report, most likely after the COMESA meeting," he said.

Initially, Zimbabwe's National Incomes Price Commission NIPC was meant
to monitor and control prices of goods and services.

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Dr.Gwatidzo wins international award

Sent: 04 June 2009 13:03
Subject: ZADHR Chairperson, Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo wins the 2009 Jonathan Mann
Award for Health and Human Rights

ZADHR Chairperson, Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo wins the 2009 Jonathan Mann Award
for Health and Human Rights

ZADHR is proud to announce that its Chairperson, Dr Douglas Gwatidzo, is the
winner of the 2009 Jonathan Mann Award for Health and Human Rights.

The Global Health Council selected Dr. Gwatidzo as the winner from the
nominees for 2009 in recognition of his and ZADHR's work to advocate for
health rights and freedom from torture in Zimbabwe. The Global Health
Council also commended the support that Dr Gwatidzo and other members of
ZADHR have provided to beleaguered fellow health workers in Zimbabwe's
collapsed health system, mentoring of young medical students and providing
medical documentation and care for victims of organised violence and

The prestigious Award is named after the late Jonathan Mann, a dedicated
health and human rights activist, who died in a plane crash in 1998. It is
bestowed annually to a leading practitioner in health and human rights and
comes with a financial reward. The Award was presented to Dr Gwatidzo at a
special Awards Ceremony held during the Global Health Council's Annual
Conference on 28 May 2009.

Primrose Matambanadzo

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Gono says best chicken farmer in Africa

June 4, 2009

By Our Correspondent

NORTON - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono says he is
proud to be the best chicken producer in Africa.

Gono said he bought the sprawling Donnington Farm in Norton, south west of
Harare from a commercial farmer seven years ago. He said he had since
established massive chicken hatching project on the farm

"We now have the biggest chicken hatching project in Africa, and we are the
only black farmers doing that," said Gono.

He was quick to suggest he did not buy the farm with money stolen from the
central bank.

Gono was opening grain silos at the expansive farm. The event was attended
by King Mswati of Swaziland, who was the guest of honour. Mswati was
accompanied by his wife and children.

The event was also attended by service chiefs, Zanu-PF and government
officials as well as bankers.

However, no members of the MDC, which has been calling for Gono's removal
from the RBZ, attended the event.

Gono said he bought the farm in 2002 from a commercial farmer and has been
developing it together with several other partners.

"We got money from Stanbic Bank South Africa, Barclays Bank and the
Preferential Trade Area (PTA) Bank who shared into this vision," said Gono.

Gono said he had secured a contract with Irvines' Chickens, once one of the
leading chicken and egg retailers in Zimbabwe.  His project involves chicken
and egg production.

He also grows maize and soya beans apart from owning 5 000 head of cattle.
Gono also runs a piggery project while big dam has been just constructed on
the farm.

The farm has computerized operations.

"We are planning to have the biggest agricultural project in Africa," said
Gono. "We computerize our operations in order to minimize wastage."

A Chinese woman, whose name was not given, is said to be behind the
computerization project.

Gono said he had not embezzled money from the RBZ, adding he had been into
farming for many years.

"This is a fruition of an effort that I started some three years ago," he
said. "I have been a farmer for a long time; it's in the genes. Before I
undertook my studies I was doing agriculture and building.

"People might see this and say I built it with money stolen from RBZ. That's
not it; it's a vision that I have always had and I can tell you that by end
of 2010, I will be slaughtering five million chickens a year."

Currently he runs a franchise supplying chicken to Angola and the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC).

Gono's Donnington Farm employs 1 500 people and stretches for about 10

On Thursday, several school children from Norton Primary School braved the
searing heat after apparently being forced out of school to line up along
the Bulawayo-Harare highway with flags and portraits of President Robert
Mugabe and King Mswati.

Other bare-footed school children were loaded onto trucks and transported to
Gono's farm were they were made to sings songs in his praise.

Motorists travelling along the road had to endure a one-hour wait as state
security officers cleared the road for Mugabe's motorcade.

Meanwhile, the Zanu-PF Mashonaland West provincial chairman, John Mafa,
collapsed under the sweltering heat at the function.

He had to be assisted by Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief
executive officer, Happison Muchechetere and Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo.

The two quickly reacted and managed to hold before he fell. He was later
whisked away, presumably to a nearby hospital.

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Zimbabwe Among Top Software Piracy Countries

By Ish Mafundikwa
04 June 2009

Software piracy watchdog group the Business Software Alliance said Zimbabwe
is one of the countries where software piracy increased in 2008. A report
issued by the group said 92 percent of software used in Zimbabwe is pirated,
up from 91 percent in 2007.

Information Communication Technology Minister Nelson Chamisa blamed
Zimbabwe's difficult economic situation. He said a lot of people lack the
money to buy legitimate software. But he said work is under way to remedy
the situation.

"We realize the dent on the image of the country and we also realize the
risk and danger to the hardware in terms of the kind of software being used.
We are also trying to engage Microsoft and other software providers to make
sure that we have a comprehensive package to respond to the challenge we are
facing," he said.

The minister also said the country's intellectual copyright laws are under
review to make it easier to deal with offenders.

The Business Software Alliance Middle East and Africa vice chairman, Dale
Waterman, was quoted in the local publication The Financial Gazette as
saying piracy costs the Zimbabwean economy $4 million in lost revenue

Armenia, Bangladesh and Georgia join Zimbabwe as the other countries with a
90 percent piracy rate. In the sub-Saharan Africa region Zimbabwe leads the
offenders with Cameroon second at 83 percent.

The Business Software Alliance report said software piracy affects much more
than just the global software industry. For every dollar of pirated software
sold in a country, it said there is another three to four dollars of lost
revenues for local IT service and distribution firms.

It quoted a study that concluded that lowering PC software piracy by 10
points over four years would create 600,000 additional new jobs worldwide; a
projection it said has been confirmed by actual experience in China and

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Wanted: one army of love for Zimbabwe

Kate Hoey

Published 04 June 2009

Visiting Zimbabwe undercover has been a perilous undertaking in recent years. This time, I’m still apprehensive, but very relieved to land. Earlier in my flight, with only one engine working, we had to go back to Johannesburg. After my last visit, Didymus Mutasa, then minister for state security, demanded that the secret police, the dreaded CIO, explain how I had “sneaked” across the border. He said if I came again he’d lock me up for 20 years! Today I declare on my entry form that I am a British member of parliament. The legal stamp comes quickly and with a smile. Our driver is waiting with a huge “Kate Hoey” sign in large letters – watched by lurking CIO operatives.

In the evening I enjoy the hospitality of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at his unpretentious home in Harare. Last time I was greeted by Susan, his wife of 31 years, who was tragically killed in a car crash in March. “Not everyone lives to reach Canaan,” he reflects, as we sit in the family sitting room with their son Edwin, daughter Vimba and a few of his close friends. The room is dominated by portraits of Susan, a constant presence by his side during the years of struggle against Robert Mugabe’s dictatorship. I reflect on how lonely he must feel.

Walking into the Speaker’s office I am greeted with a broad smile, a warm hug and a kiss on each cheek. This is very definitely not Speaker Michael Martin, who recently jabbed his finger at me in the House of Commons, stopping me mid-sentence to tell me he had heard my “pearls of wisdom” on midnight television. This is Lovemore Moyo, Speaker of Zimbabwe’s parliament. Elected last year, he is the first Speaker in 29 years of independence who is not a member of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

Later I call on Elias Mudzuri, minister for energy. His office is in the same building as the CIO headquarters, which feels spooky – but the tension is broken when the door is jammed by a worker proudly bringing in a bunch of cabbages.

At the ninth MDC annual conference, Morgan stands to lead delegates in applause for me and I am humbled to remember the brutality he has suffered. It is good to see so many old friends – who previously I would have met secretly – now in the cabinet. My eyes mist over at the sight of so many who have been beaten and imprisoned. The mental and physical scars remain very real, yet courage and optimism comes through in the joyful chants of “Chinja!” (“Change!”) from people like Roy Bennett and Gandhi Mudzingwa, both recently released from prison.

Tendai Biti is secretary general of the MDC and also minister of finance in the new, inclusive government. Being Zimbabwe’s finance minister must be the least sought-after job in the world, but he has made tremendous steps: there are goods in the shops where only weeks ago the shelves were empty. He
is a fanatical Arsenal supporter, and asks me for a copy of Jason Cowley’s book The Last Game: Love, Death and Football. As well as being able to reel off Zimbabwean economics statistics, Tendai can name every Arsenal player in 1989, the year he became a fan.

I stay at the beautiful British Residence as a guest of Her Majesty’s Ambassador Andrew Pocock and his wife, Julie. They depart soon and will be greatly missed. Andrew has been an outstanding diplomat in a country where the government he represents has been vilified by the president and the state-controlled media. He has worked hard to keep the other EU ambassadors united, and has supported the many destitute elderly British residents still here.

Over the garden wall is the official residence of Gideon Gono, governor of the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank. The house is empty; he prefers an even glitzier mansion elsewhere, or his stolen farms. Gono was Mugabe’s personal banker and he has used the Reserve Bank as a piggy bank for patronage, corruption and political control under Zanu-PF. Mugabe refuses to rescind his illegal unilateral reappointment of Gono, in defiance of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) that set up the transitional power-sharing government and is supposedly guaranteed by South Africa and the African Union.

I renew my acquaintance with Beatrice Mtetwa, the indefatigable human rights lawyer. It is depressing to hear of the continuing abuse of the legal process. Farm invasions are still led, in blatant disregard for the terms of the GPA, by senior Zanu-PF figures such as the senate president, Edna Madzongwe. Then, on the way to the airport, I rendezvous with the conservationists Lynn and Russell Taylor, who recount shocking statistics on rhino and elephant poaching.

I glance over my shoulder at the airport. I’m being followed by an army officer. My step quickens, and as he draws closer I can make out the insignia on his uniform . . . The Salvation Army! That’s the army Zimbabwe needs. Love and practical action are what is needed to heal the wounds and rebuild lives torn apart by an evil dictatorship.

Kate Hoey is MP for Vauxhall (Labour)

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