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MDC-T threatens to rule alone

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:00


THE MDC-T says it will go it alone if Zanu PF decides to pull out of the
coalition government in the hope of forcing early elections before the
implementation of reforms as required under the Global Political Agreement

But Zanu PF, which has on several occasions threatened to pull out of the
government of national unity (GNU) and call for early polls under the old
constitution, said the former opposition party had no capacity to rule the

MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti said even if Zanu PF carried out threats
to pull out of the GNU to force early elections, the two MDC factions would
continue going to cabinet and make policy decisions.

He said Zanu PF could indeed pull out of the GNU, but Constitution Amendment
number 19 which created the GPA and the unity government would remain in

“Mugabe has to go back to Parliament to change Amendment 19 which now
supersedes all the other sections of the constitution,” he said.
“Mugabe can no longer call for elections or dissolve Parliament without the
consent of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.”

Biti, who is also the Minister of Finance did not explain how his party
would rule without consent of the army and police, as service chiefs have
said they will not salute Tsvangirai because he does not have liberation

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said MDC-T had no capacity to rule on its
own or stop Mugabe from calling for elections anytime he wanted.
“They (MDC-T) are jokers who are fooling themselves,” he said. “They are
powerless. They are walking around like naked people. As far as Zanu PF is
concerned there is no going back on holding elections this year.”

MDC-T last week reiterated minimum conditions that the party says should
prevail for a free and fair poll at the launch of its election roadmap
document dubbed Conditions for a sustainable election in Zimbabwe.

Officially launching the document, Tsvangirai said he was aware of the Zanu
PF plot to frustrate and destroy his party to force it out of the
transitional arrangement.

He accused Zanu PF of stalling the elections as most of the outstanding 24
reforms reside in their ministries. Tsvangirai said his party would brave on
and ensure that the country holds free and fair polls, only after the
implementation of agreed conditions such as a new constitution, political,
electoral, media and other key reforms necessary to “vaccinate the next
election against the virus of 2008”.

He said instead of the security sector realigning itself to the dictates of
the new inclusive dispensation, a few securocrats were boasting that anyone
other than Mugabe would not rule, even if they won an election.

“A circus or a bloodbath masquerading as an election would be a mockery and
an insult to South Africa, Sadc and African Union who have all been
painstakingly working for the past four years to ensure that we hold a
credible poll and set the foundation for a prosperous Zimbabwe,” said
He said MDC-T was not afraid of an election but would not participate in a
“war” and be “stampeded” into a sham election that was not predicated on the
necessary reforms.

Pulling out of GNU is not quitting Govt: Madhuku

Constitutional law lecturer, Professor Lovemore Madhuku said if Zanu PF
decides to pull out of the GNU, this would not necessarily imply the party
would be quitting government.

“If they decide to pull out of the GNU, this will mean that Mugabe is
effectively firing the MDC from government,” said Madhuku.
“He is the one who took the oath of office as President of Zimbabwe and can
therefore fire Tsvangirai as Prime Minister and the entire government for
that matter,” he said.

Madhuku said once the inclusive government collapsed, some aspects of
Amendment 19 would automatically fall away as the inter-party agreement
would no longer be in place, leaving Mugabe to call for snap elections on
his own.

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Zanu PF chefs plan to grab ethanol project

Sunday, 11 March 2012 10:49


THE US$600 million Chisumbanje ethanol project is threatened with collapse
as Zanu PF chefs, including Cabinet ministers, demand free shares in the
lucrative venture under the guise of indigenisation.

Sources close to the project told The Standard last week that powerful
people who include MPs, Cabinet ministers and other top government officials
(names supplied) were demanding free shares for themselves so as to
facilitate the smooth flow of the project.

“The sharks have realised the potential of the project and their mouths are
wide open, ready to pounce,” said one of the sources. The ethanol project is
a partnership between the Agricultural and Rural Development Authority
(Arda) and Billy Rautenbach’s Green Fuels, Rating and Macdom Investments in
a 20-year Build-Operate-and-Transfer (BOT) arrangement signed in 2009.

The source said some politicians were claiming Rautenbach, who was born in
Zimbabwe and is linked to Zanu PF, was not indigenous, hence he has to cede
51% shareholding to them in accordance with the indigenisation and economic
empowerment act. “He is Zimbabwean, but of the wrong colour,” said the

Youth, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere
yesterday professed ignorance that there were sharks waiting to grab free
shares in the project.

He however, added that a ministerial committee had been set up to look at
the issue of the indigenisation of the multi-million project.
“Discussions are still taking place but I am not yet aware of people
interested in the project,” he said.
State Enterprises and Restructuring Agency executive director, Edgar Nyoni,
recently told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on State Enterprises and
Parastatals that the government was considering transforming the deal from a
BOT into a joint venture project.
Company officials fear over 5 000 jobs are under threat after production
stopped almost two months ago after the plant reached its 10 million litres
storing capacity.
Last week, 20-worker representatives travelled to Harare, where they sought
audience with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Energy and Power Development
minister Elton Mangoma and Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation
Development minister, Joseph Made, who is chairing a ministerial committee
on Chisumbanje.
The workers fear the project could collapse like the still-born Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe bio-diesel project in Mount Hampden or Kondozi farm which
crumbled after government ejected its white owners.
Officials on the other hand, are worried that the parent ministry has not
shown visible support for the project despite its magnitude.
Although Tsvangirai has visited Chisumbanje, minister Mangoma has reportedly
not set foot at the ethanol project which is one of the biggest investments
in the country since 1980.
Mangoma could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone was not
available since Friday.
But it has since emerged that a council of ministers will tomorrow discuss
the contentious issue of the introduction of mandatory fuel blending in
Zimbabwe. The issue will also go before full Cabinet on Tuesday, sources
“It is only after the cabinet meeting on Tuesday that we will know our fate.
We are prepared to make presentations and argue our case before cabinet,”
said another source.
Most of the over 400 fuel service stations in the country have not yet
embraced ethanol blending, dubbed E10. Some of them have no capacity to hold
three product lines, while others are reluctant to introduce the product
because they were smuggling or clandestinely importing fuel already blended,
revealed an oil industry insider.
The insider also blamed poor marketing for the current low acceptance of E10
which is now a hit in countries such as Brazil and Europe. South Africa is
proposing the mandatory blending of bio-fuels with petrol and diesel which
is expected to boost sorghum output sixfold.
Rautenbach and Green Fuels spokesperson, Lillian Muungani, could not be
reached for comment.

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‘Replace chiefs with qualified personnel’

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:27

BULAWAYO — Traditional chiefs must be replaced by qualified officials that
administer customary law in chiefs’ areas of jurisdictions because they are
abusing their offices by openly supporting  Zanu PF, civic organisations and
MDC-T have said.

The suggestion came after last week’s chiefs’ annual conference in Bulawayo
where the traditional leaders were falling over each other in declaring
their support for President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF.

Some of the chiefs declared Mugabe as a “King who will die in office.” MDC-T
deputy organising secretary, Abednico Bhebhe, said the position of chief
should be abolished because the occupants were abusing their offices.

He said there were many ways of administering the customary law than having
“Zanu-PF extensions” masquerading as traditional leaders.
“As far as we are concerned, they are not supposed to be aligned to any
political power; they should not use the office to support politics because
that post is apolitical. It shows a sign of naivety,” said Bhebhe.

“What needs to happen is to just abolish the system as a whole and replace
it with other systems of administering the customary law.” He added: “People
can be trained to administer the customary law in line with modern trends.”

This is not the first time that MDC-T has called for the abolition of the
chief’s position. Deputy Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural
Development, Sesel Zvidzai, late last year torched off a storm when he said
traditional chiefs’ posts should be abolished as Zanu PF was now using them
to gain political mileage.

Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda (Macra) director, Effie Ncube,
shared the same sentiments. “There is no way we can continue having chiefs
as their behaviour is inconsistent with modern norms of democracy based on
political diversity,” said Ncube.

“They are not consistent with the modern norms and values of democracy that
are enshrined in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. We should
abolish entirely traditional leaders. We don’t need chiefs that are an
extension of Zanu-PF.”

Ncube said they must be replaced by trained officials to administer the
customary law. Traditional leaders hold largely ceremonial powers but wield
immense influence in rural areas where Zanu PF draws most of its support.

Chiefs won’t stop supporting Zanu Pf: Charumbira

President of the Chiefs’ Council, Fortune Charumbira, declared that chiefs
would continue supporting Zanu PF and Mugabe because he has always stood
beside them.

“Mugabe has supported us always,” said Charumbira. “At 88 years, we say we
need him, we need this man, we will walk with him forever and ever.”

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Zanu PF politburo member seeks police protection

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:09

ZANU PF politburo member Tendai Savanhu, accused of sponsoring a group of
his party’s youths to stall the construction of a service station and food
court in Mbare, is seeking police protection claiming he received threats of
violence over the issue.

Savanhu has denied sponsoring the Chipangano youth militia who have been
trying to block the construction of the US$1,2 million service station and
food court by Harare businessman Alex Mashamhanda in Mbare.

The Zanu PF politburo member recently made a report at Matapi Police station
in Mbare claiming to have received an anonymous call threatening him on
February 9.

In his report, Savanhu alleged that the anonymous caller, whom he suspected
to be Mashamhanda, asked him if he was going to die in Zanu PF. He also
alleged that the anonymous caller cut off his phone when he asked to know
who he was.

Savanhu said the caller phoned again after about five minutes asking the
same question but the voice matched that of Mashamhanda. He claimed that he
now feared for his life following the threats.

Zanu PF youth militia vowed to block the project claiming Mashamhanda, who
owns Mashwede Diesel Services (Pvt) Ltd, was an MDC-T supporter and
therefore construction of the service station would be of no benefit to

Mashamhanda dismisses accusation

Mashamhanda last week dismissed Savanhu’s claims as utter rubbish. He said
he did not even have Savanhu’s mobile phone number. “I was informed by one
Chief Superintendent Mahachi about the issue on the 10th of February. I did
not make a statement, but it’s clearly a strategy meant to harass victims of
his machinations,” said Mashamhanda.

“It seems he is frustrated because I did not capitulate in my quest to
pursue my business venture hence this false report.” High Court Judge Samuel
Kudya last month issued a provisional order against Savanhu, Zanu PF Harare
provincial youth chairman, Jim Kunaka and Alfonso Gobvu, a member of the
youth wing, restraining them from interfering with operations at Mashamhanda’s

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‘Targets fuel police corruption’

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:45

TRAFFIC police officers have become more aggressive in issuing out tickets
to motorists because they have to meet targets set by their superiors,
sources in the police force have said.

The sources noted this has resulted in the proliferation of roadblocks, some
just a few kilometres apart, as officers raced to meet the targets which are
raking in millions of dollars a month for the force.

They said the issuance of spot fines has become a lucrative fund-raising
project for the police force. “This is the money that the police use for the
day-to-day operations of the force,” said one source. “If it were not for
such projects, the police force would have been virtually grounded a long
time ago.”

Several police officers interviewed last week confirmed that stations were
sometimes given targets, with the amounts depending on the size and location
of the station.
Some stations in urban areas are given targets of up to US$1 500 per day
while those at busy growth points are supposed to generate between US$300 to

“For example, Gutu has a target of US$300 per day while a station is Harare
can have a target of up to US$1 500 per day,” said one of the sources.
Another officer said the targets were not given on daily basis but specific
days when police wanted to raise money for certain projects.

Some police stations dispatch two or three teams to erect roadblocks in the
same vicinity in a bid to meet the targets, they said.  “This is why you see
a lot of roadblocks these days,” said another source. “But it is
inconveniencing to motorists, especially those rushing to work in the
morning. While we will be making money, the country will be losing precious
production time.”

Each morning motorists from Chitungwiza to Harare, towns which are only 25
kilometres apart, encounter at least four to five roadblocks, where they are
made to pay spot fines. This mostly affects commuter omnibus operators.

The situation is the same along the country’s highways. The operators are
forced to bribe officers with money ranging from US$5 to US$10 per roadblock
and then be able to spend the whole day without being stopped regardless of
the condition of their vehicle.

Most common traffic offences and fines are for not presenting an operator’s
licence (US$20), failure to display certificate of fitness (US$10), no
certificate of fitness (US$15), failure to affix route authority (US$5),
carry excess passenger (US$5 per head), touting (US$10), among others.

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Police Commissioner, Wayne Bvudzijena,
confirmed officers were given targets but this was not confined to the
traffic section alone. He said targets were also given to those in Criminal
Investigations Department (CID), Anti-Stock Theft Unit and other sections.

“The concept is not new. This is done for service planning purposes,” said
Bvudzijena. “This is done so that we manage the commission of crime and
measure officers’ performance on targets that we would have established.”

Asked if this would not force officers to just dish out tickets as well as
promote corruption, Bvudzijena said police officers were supposed to be
disciplined and be people of integrity.

“We urge members of the public to report corrupt officers because we do not
condone crime,” he said. “We have dealt with some corrupt officers through
criminal prosecution and internal disciplinary process.”

Efforts to get a comment from Home Affairs co-minister Kembo Mohadi, who was
tasked by Cabinet to investigate the matter with the aim to reduce the
number of roadblocks, were fruitless last week.

Not all the money from traffic offences is flowing into the police fund, as
corrupt officers are taking the opportunity to line their pockets to
supplement their poor salaries.

Officers from other departments are now jealous of those in the traffic
section, who now drive the Japanese cars, wear smart uniforms and can afford
a decent lunch daily.

Police using agents to collect bribeS from commuter operators

Investigations by The Standard have established that some traffic officers
are now using “agents” to collect bribe money from operators for fear of
being arrested after the force embarked on a project to weed out bad apples.

The rank marshals are told to collect the monies from each commuter omnibus
operators which would then be forwarded to the officers through a trusted
This practice is common in the city terminuses, where officers virtually
camp at ranks to “protect” operators without enough papers from other
officers or municipal police.

“We can’t trap them because if you do that, we will only get one officer but
our vehicles will not move again on the road because they will gang up
against us,” said one rank marshal at Warren Park terminus.

“So we find it better to give them the money and be able to work the whole

Roadblocks accused of worsening corruption

So rampant is corruption and with the proliferation of roadblocks, that the
matter has since been raised in Parliament and Cabinet. Deputy Prime
Minister, Arthur Mutambara, condemned the increase of roadblocks saying it
bred corruption within the force.

There have been several protests by public transporters about the roadblocks
and the resultant corruption by traffic police officers.  But this has come
to naught as Police Commissioner-General, Augustine Chihuri, has declared
that roadblocks would not be reduced.

Police have said they will also continue retaining the money collected from
spot fines because the law permits them to do so.

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Zanu PF trying to influence constitution drafters—MDC-T

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:58

THE principal drafters of the new constitution continue to be vilified by
Zanu PF officials who accuse them of “subverting the will of the people,”
but it has emerged that all of them may have been nominated by the party
which now criticises them.

Zanu PF hawks are calling for the sacking of the three drafters, accusing
them of “sneaking” clauses which, among many other things, seek to bar
President Robert Mugabe from contesting elections.

But the other two coalition partners argue the work of the drafters was
above board and highly professional, dismissing the vitriol against them as
attempts to intimidate and influence them.

MDC-T Copac co-chairman, Douglas Mwonzora said it was surprising that Zanu
PF was publicly attacking the drafters, yet it was the same party which
proposed the three; Justice Moses Chinhengo, Priscilla Madzonga and Brian

“The drafters have exhibited high levels of professionalism,” Mwonzora said.
“Maybe Zanu PF thought that since it had proposed them, then automatically
they should be partisan.”

He added that MDC-T accepted them because they were lawyers of integrity and
with vast experience in drafting legislation including the rejected 2000
draft constitution.

But Zanu PF’s Copac co-chairperson, Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana said all the
three coalition parties made an input in the selection of the drafters. “The
names were proposed by all three parties,” he said. “I am however not going
to discuss their work, mandate and my association with them because this is
confidential principal (employer) and agent (worker) relationship,” he said.

Edward Mkhosi, who is the Copac co-chairperson from the Welshman Ncube-led
MDC formation, said the Copac management committee had the final say in the
appointment of the drafters following the usual Global Political Agreement
negotiation processes.

“The drafters are currently not working, but they will soon be recalled to
complete the process they started,” he said. “Copac has faith in them and no
new drafters will be appointed.”

Zanu PF spin doctors including Politburo member Jonathan Moyo and Goodson
Nguni have called for the appointment of new drafters, accusing the current
ones of “drifting” from their mandate and failing to stick to the national

But Mwonzora said such criticism was premised on false information.
“Criticism is emanating from their (Zanu PF) political analysts, most of
whom are not legally qualified,” he said. “They have been unable to legally
interpret key provisions of the constitution such as appreciating that a
constitution does not operate in reverse.”

The Standard tried to speak to Crozier about the current drafting process
and his experience, but he referred questions to Copac. “As a lawyer I am
not allowed to talk about my work or reveal certain client information,” he

Other drafters could not be reached for comment. However, documents from
Copac show that the three drafters have a wealth of experience and expertise
in constitution-making.

The Drafters’ profiles

Justice Moses Chinhengo holds qualifications in legislative drafting and is
a renowned constitutional expert.  He is currently a High Court judge in
Botswana, and has worked in the same capacity in Zimbabwe. Chinhengo was
admitted to the bar in 1985 and has worked as a chief law officer in the
Legislative Drafting Department in the Ministry of Justice.  He has also
worked as an attorney.

Priscilla Madzonga has worked in the Attorney General’s Office as chief
legal draftsman in the department responsible for drafting of all
legislation for Zimbabwe.  She was responsible for the training of new
draftsmen and also provided legal advice to government departments.
Madzonga has also worked as a law officer and is a member of the
Commonwealth Association of Legislative Drafters.  She is currently a lawyer
in private practice and has over 20 years experience.

Brian Crozier is a University of Zimbabwe law lecturer and private legal
consultant. He is a renowned constitutional lawyer and seasoned legislative
drafter and trainer and has served as a director of legal drafting in

Crozier also worked in the Attorney General’s Office where he gave advice to
government departments. He has also worked as a prosecutor and attorney of
the High Court.

The bone of contention

A clause in the draft states that a person is disqualified for election as
President if he or she has already held office for one or more periods,
whether continuous or not, amounting to 10 years. This means that
88-year-old Mugabe would automatically be ineligible.

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Mayor threatens to spill the beans

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:24

MUTARE mayor, Brian James, believes his suspension from council was a
well-orchestrated move by councillors and senior managers to block the
auditing of council finances.

James said he will provide full details and documentation of underhand
dealings of some councillors and senior managers once a team set up to
investigate him completed its work.

James told The Standard that a full council meeting last year resolved to
hire professional external auditors to look into land sales and the council’s
finances after reports of massive looting by councillors and senior

But attempts to have the books audited were resisted by some of the managers
and councillors who claimed that the local authority had no money.
“There were delaying tactics throughout,” said James.

“All I wanted was to find out possible and suspected illegal land sales and
who benefited from the illegal transactions.” Although they claimed council
was broke, the local authority has reportedly been buying expensive vehicles
for some senior managers.

“What surprises me is that the finance department said it had no money to
hire external auditors but it set aside US$150 000 for its top managers to
buy top-of-the range cars for them,” he said.

Sources said the council recently awarded US$80 000 to a senior manager to
buy a top-of-the-range vehicle while the local authority was failing to
audit its books.

The books have not been audited since dollarisation in 2009. But the
chairperson of the finance committee, Tatenda Nha-marare, denied the
allegations.“There is nothing like that,” said Nhamarare.

“This is news to us. We are going to sit as a full council meeting and
discuss that matter. The issue of buying the town clerk a vehicle first
comes through council deliberations. It is up to the council to resolve,”
said Nhamarare.

Residents have twice demonstrated against the councillors, whom they accuse
of having engineered James’ suspension to block his bid to have council
finances audited.

Meanwhile, a five-member investigation committee appointed by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai to probe the councillors who are suspected to have
orchestrated the suspension of James is expected to submit its findings this

The MDC-T set up an enquiry team last month, led by its Manicaland
provincial vice-chairperson and Mutare West MDC legislator, Shuah Mudiwa,
senior party members, Willas Madzimure, James Makore, Evelyn Masaiti and
Mutare-based lawyer, David Tandire.

Mudiwa last week said the team was still investigating. “Yes the
investigations are still ongoing,” said Mudiwa. “At this point I cannot
pre-empt anything. We are hopeful that by next week we would have finished
our inquiries. We will forward our findings to our provincial spokesperson
who will make the announcements.”

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MDC-T director general sues party activist

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:18

MDC-T director general Toendepi Shonhe has threatened a US$105 000 lawsuit
against a Harare man for making allegations that he wanted to kill him.
Shonhe was arrested last month on allegations of plotting to kill Smart
Messah, a former MDC-T activist.

Allegations were that Shonhe had hired one Moffat Allison to kill Messah and
a number of influential people in MDC-T. In a letter to Messah, Shonhe’s
lawyer Harrison Nkomo of Mtetwa and Nyambirai law firm said “the allegations
soiled the good image of our client who is a senior employee of the Movement
for Democratic Change”.

According to the letter, Messah has to apologise in writing to Shonhe and
withdraw “the obvious false charges that you reported to the police”. “If
you fail to implement the conditions…we advise that we are under strict
instructions to issue summons for defamation against you and Moffat Allison
jointly and severally, the one paying the other to be absolved,” the lawyer
wrote in a March 9 2012 dated letter.

Nkomo said Messah had connived with Allison to “manufacture unfounded, false
and malicious allegations” against Shonhe that he wanted to kill a number of
top MDC-T officials.

The lawyer said the malicious allegations were that Messah was among the
people to be murdered “notwithstanding the fact that you are not a member of
the party”.

According to the lawyer, the conduct amounts to defamation in that the
allegations are false and that it soiled the good image of Shonhe.

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Minister blasts governor over NGOs’ ban

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:13

LABOUR and Social Services minister Paurina Mpariwa has said Masvingo
provincial governor, Titus Maluleke, has no powers to ban non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) operating in his province describing his move as
“reckless” and a political blunder for Zanu PF.

Maluleke recently banned 29 local and international NGOs operating in
Masvingo citing failure to register with his office. In an interview with
The Standard last week Mpariwa said her ministry was the only authority
mandated with registering or deregistering NGOs in the country.

She said NGOs must continue their operations countrywide. “His statement was
reckless and a political blunder for his party,” said Mpariwa. “People are
dying due to lack of adequate food and his statement is uncalled for.

“My ministry has the mandate to administer the operations of NGOs and I know
who is operating where, why they are there and what they are doing in those

Mpariwa said since 2009, her ministry has never issued out a warning
statement to NGOs because government desperately needs assistance. She said
it was unfortunate that Maluleke’s statement came at a time when there was a
food crisis not only in Masvingo but in Manicaland, Matabeleland North and
South where crops are a total write-off.

“We are relying on assistance from private voluntary organisations for
sinking boreholes in communities and schools where water is scarce,” said
Mpariwa. “There are people on medication who need a good nutrition and there
are children in need of financial assistance for education and my ministry
is overwhelmed by their plight.”

Mpariwa said donations from NGOs have significantly improved people’s
livelihoods in the country. Recent reports indicate that an unspecified
number of NGOs were withdrawing their assistance and presence from the
drought stricken Masvingo province at a time when the communities are in
dire need of food aid.

The government is facing serious financial constraints and cannot cater for
the needs of the populace in various areas such as health, food security,
water and sanitation among others.

It is estimated that more than 1,4 million people are receiving food aid
from charitable organisations countrywide.

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Mugabe not God-given, says PM

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:11

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday denied ever saying that President
Robert Mugabe was a God-given leader. Addressing thousands of people at
Mucheke stadium in Masvingo during a peace and prayer meeting yesterday,
Tsvangirai said journalists were wrong in reporting that he had said Mugabe
had been chosen by God to lead Zimbabwe.

He said the way some journalists reported fanned violence in Zimbabwe. “Some
newspapers quoted me saying that Mugabe is God-given but I never said that.
I only said that people should pray for their leaders so that we have
wisdom,” said Tsvangirai, who was reported to have made the remarks at a
prayer meeting in Chitungwiza held on February 11.

Tsvangirai also addressed the issue of starvation that is stalking thousands
of people in Masvingo province. He noted it was the government’s role to
ensure that people did not starve.

“No one should die of hunger. We should ensure peace and there can never be
peace when there is no food,” said Tsvangirai. His remarks come amid reports
that most villagers are facing massive food shortages as a result of erratic
rains which saw most crops wilting last month.

Their predicament has been worsened by a ban on 29 non-governmental
organisations (NGOs) imposed by Masvingo provincial governor Titus Maluleke.
Maluleke banned the organisations from operating in the province saying they
had failed to register with his office.

It is estimated that more than 1,4 million people are receiving food aid
from charitable organisations countrywide. Masvingo, Manicaland,
Matabeleland South and North are the most affected provinces.

— By Tatenda Chitagu

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Jail-bird accused of stealing from warden

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:55

BINGA — A man who had just been released from prison allegedly broke into a
prison warden’s residence and stole groceries worth US$50 and P200 in cash.
Jim Jeke, who appeared before Binga magistrate Stephen Ndlovu last week, is
facing a charge of stealing from the prison warden.

He pleaded not guilty to the theft charge and was remanded to March 20 for
trial. The court heard that on November 23 2009, Jeke who was serving a jail
term for another theft was released from prison after completing his term.

He met the complainant, Ester Mu-samirepamwe, a prison warden at the prison
where he was serving. Musamirepamwe was coming from Bulawayo carrying her
groceries when Jeke told her he had been released.

It is the state’s case that since Jeke had knowledge of the warden’s
movements and residence, he managed to establish that Musamirepamwe was on
night duty. At night, Jeke allegedly went to her residence and stole
groceries worth US$50 and P200 cash.

Musamirepamwe discovered the theft when she came back from work in the
morning and made a report to the police. Jeke had been on the run since that
day until he was arrested last month.

Bruce Maphosa prosecuted.

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More firms apply for radio, tv licences

Sunday, 11 March 2012 11:51

AT least seven companies have so far applied to run radio and television
stations in the country, as the race to occupy the restricted broadcasting
media space continues.
Submissions for applications closed on February 29 2012, but applicants are
expected to continue flighting adverts until Wednesday.

Two companies — Carryslot Investments (Pvt) Ltd and Vox Media Productions —
have applied for the free-to-air commercial radio licence to cover Harare
while the Seventh Day Adventist Church and Masego Multimedia (Pvt) Ltd want
the same licence for Bulawayo.

Three other companies have so far advertised for television licences. These
are Red Tomato Promotions (Pvt) Ltd, Wemico Investments (Pvt) Ltd and Dr
Dish’s My Zimbabwe TV.

Red Tomato is led by former ZTV reporter, John Arufandika. Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) Chairman, Tafataona Mahoso, refused to comment
on the application process saying his organisation was only accountable to
the applicants.

BAZ in November called for applications for 14 commercial radio licences for
urban areas and a content distribution service licence.  The 14 local radio
licences would be in addition to the two national commercial broadcasting
licences that attracted controversy when they were granted to ZiFM,
controlled by broadcaster-cum-businessman, Supa Mandiwanzira’s AB
Communications and Zimpapers’ Talk Radio.

Misa-Zimbabwe national director, Nhlanhla Ngwenya, said the adverts were not
giving sufficient information for the public to make informed objections.
Other media analysts complained about the non refundable application fee of
US$2 500 saying it is too exorbitant.

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CFU, BAZ join to stimulate investment

Sunday, 11 March 2012 10:22

THE Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) and the Bankers Association of Zimbabwe
(BAZ) are working on improving the country’s productive sector capacity by
stimulating investment inflows leveraging on the real estate sector as
collateral. The arrangement entails private enterprise mobilising funds and
resources against the value of existing structures. They will also engage
the government to act as a guarantor to mortgage transactions that are
financed by foreign investors.

CFU president, Charles Taffs, said that should the arrangement be taken up
at policy level, then this would ultimately lead to less dependence by the
country’s productive sectors on the state.

“We want to mobilise funding for the productive base, this effectively
reduces high dependence on imports as is currently the case and also
increases the tax base translating into more revenue inflows for the
 fiscus,” said Taffs.

“Under this arrangement, the Ministry of Finance would need to ring fence
investment into the mortgage market, thereby providing a guarantee for the
ability to remit while payments will not change for the duration of the

Before the inception of the inclusive government in 2009, Zimbabwe endured a
protracted period of economic decline, characterised by world record
hyperinflation, a massive flight of foreign capital and reduced foreign
direct investment inflows.

Perceived country risk and outstanding arrears to multilateral financiers,
among other issues, only served to accentuate the country’s isolation from
the international community.

However, the economic stability brought about by the inclusive government
left investors with real estate as the only asset class salvaged as savings
in banks were eroded overnight with the adoption of the multicurrency

The international community presently has a voracious appetite for new and
emerging markets, he said.

BAZ president, John Mushayavanhu, said the arrangement would entail the
creation of a cluster that would pool together real estate assets, which
would consequently be used as collateral to secure five to 10-year financing
from international investors.

“It would be a consortium in collaboration with local banks; banks which
have customers who are borrowing on the basis of providing security in the
form of real estate,” said Mushayavanhu.

“This will also lead towards a reduction in the cost of borrowing. We
shouldn’t have problems with this type of arrangement.”

He added that the country risk needed to be underwritten.

Zim experiencing more cash outflow:Taffs

Zimbabwe is presently experiencing a huge liquidity crisis as the
export/import ratios are out of control while the export bill remains high.

“Consequently a lot more cash is going out (of the country) than that coming
in,” said Taffs.

“When the finance ministry provides this guarantee, the CFU then goes into
the international market to search for wholesale money, bring it back to the
country and lend it against the value of existing assets.

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Let sanity prevail in Marange: Civil society

Sunday, 11 March 2012 09:56

CIVIL society organisations have demanded transparency in the allocation of
mining rights and identification of investors to mine on the Marange diamond
fields amid claims some of the shareholders are little known companies.

Four companies — Mbada, Marange Resources, Anjin and Diamond Mining
Corporation (DMC) — are mining in the resource-rich Marange diamond fields.

Farai Maguwu, director of Centre for Research and Development, a think-tank
based in Mutare, told Standardbusiness on Thursday there was need for a
prudent process in identifying investors for Marange looking at both its
technological and financial muscles.

“It’s one thing that needs to be very clear as to who owns these companies,
the shareholding structures, it has to be more transparent because some of
these companies that are said to be shareholders are little known,” Maguwu

“There is need for greater transparency in terms of disclosure of

In his update to journalists on Friday, Shamiso Mtisi from the Zimbabwe
Environmental Law Association said there should be transparency in the
allocation of mining rights not only in Marange but across the whole mining
sector in Zimbabwe.

National Association of Non-Governmental Organisation chief executive
officer, Cephas Zinhumwe said his team was unhappy with the set up at DMC
where locals are absent in critical areas of the mining operations.

“From the beginning of the production chain to the end, there were the Arabs
and the Lebanese. These dictate everything. Our concern is that we do not
know the level of transparency and even the end product,” Zinhumwe said.

“To what extent is the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) going
to say this is the quantity of diamonds that has come from the partnership
with DMC?”
He said when his team pointed out the problem, it was told that ZMDC was yet
to appoint its people in management.

This, Zinhumwe said, shows negligence and a deliberate attempt to hoodwink
the people of Zimbabwe in terms of what revenue must come out of
partnerships in DMC.
“How do we know what they (DMC) are doing is within the laws of the

The call for transparency by civil society organisations comes weeks after
an international pressure group, Global Witness, raised similar concerns and
analysts contend this is the missing link in the exploitation of the Marange

In a report, Diamonds: A good deal for Zimbabwe? Global Witness said
Zimbabweans have the right to know how the diamonds are being exploited.

“The country’s citizens have a right to know how these revenues are managed.
There is a real risk of these revenues being used to finance violence during
future elections,” the group said.

Marange diamonds have been dogged by controversy ever since government moved
in to drive off illegal panners in a manner civil society say was heavy
handed. There have been allegations by civil society of human rights
violations, a charge dismissed by the government.

Revenue from Marange diamonds is billed to inject new life into the economy
in the absence of lines of credit from bilateral and multilateral financial

Last year, the fiscus received US$122 million in diamond receipts. This
year, diamond revenue will contribute US$600 million to the total budget,
according to estimates from treasury.

‘Diamond marketing needs all stakeholders’

Maguwu said the marketing of diamonds should involve all stakeholders to
ensure that the country maximises in its revenue collection from diamonds.

He said all the contracts signed between government and mining houses should
be made public.

“It must be made mandatory that all diamond companies declare their
contracts, which will allow the civil society to check whether they are
fulfilling their side of the bargain,” Maguwu said.

Maguwu was part of the Kimberly Process Civil Society Coalition
representatives that visited Marange diamond fields last week on a
familiarisation tour.

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Govt mulls new plan to rescue ethanol project

Saturday, 03 March 2012 19:03

GOVERNMENT edged closer to introducing mandatory fuel blending last week
after a crucial meeting endorsed the plan in a move that could rescue the
US$600 million ethanol project in Chisumbanje.

There has been a slow uptake of ethanol from Chisumbanje as fuel players are
reluctant to blend the fuel saying it is an extra cost to them since they
are supposed to have additional handling facilities.

As a result, production stopped after the plant reached its 10 million
litres storing capacity in December last year.

The ethanol project is a partnership between the Agricultural and Rural
Development Authority (Arda) and Billy Rautenbach’s Rating and Macdom
Investments in a 20-year Build-Operate-and- Transfer arrangement to
transform estates at Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi.

Standardbusiness heard on Friday the plan now awaited the assent of the 11
ministers that form an inter-ministerial committee.

A piece of legislation via a statutory instrument would be in place to
ensure the plan takes -off smoothly, sources said on Friday.

Cabinet has been seized with the matter since last year and requested Joseph
Made, the minister of Agriculture Mechanisation and Irrigation Development,
to present a detailed report to cabinet on the ethanol project.

Cabinet then resolved the setting up of an inter-ministerial committee
chaired by Made to coordinate the implementation of the project.

This paper was reliably told there was no way the industry could take up all
the ethanol as it could only use 10% meaning that the remainder has to be
taken up elsewhere.

However, financiers have rolled out an ambitious plan that will see 11 000
hectares under cane this year in Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi up from 7 000ha
in 2011.

It will rise to 16 000 next year.

At the same time 5 000 ha will be put under cane in Nuanetsi next year. This
year 120 million litres of ethanol will be produced up from 18 million last

The production is set to more than double to 252 million litres next year.
By 2020 fuel production would have reached the 1,5 billion litre mark with
raw materials coming from Chisumbanje, Middle Sabi and Nuanetsi.

According to the projected rollout, the blending will save US$120 million
annually in fuel imports. By 2020, the country would have saved US$400
million from fuel imports.

Currently 10% of the blended fuel contains ethanol and there are plans to
double that to 20%.

Projected data also show that exports will start in 2015 generating US$60
million assuming that half of the fuel produced is used for local
The earnings are set to reach US$1,1 billion in 2020.

Basil Nyabadza, Arda board chairman said last week the project is the only
route for the parastatal to be self-reliant in line with government’s
intention for state-owned enterprises to wean themselves off treasury

The project has seen the recruitment of labour from outside Chipinge and
more work needs to be done, taking into consideration there is need for more
schools, clinics and accommodation facilities.

The financiers, Nyabadza said, want to build a US$300 million Kondo dam
because the project needs more water for its expansion programme.
To get enough cane, villagers in Chipinge have been given a quarter acre
each to grow cane under contract.

“The raw materials and the final product are coming from a village
environment thereby creating jobs in the village. This fits well into Arda’s
vision of rural development,” he said.

Analysts say a holistic approach has to be adopted taking cognisance of the
concerns raised by fuel players and motorists.

There are also calls for legislation governing ethanol production laying the
parameters for the fuel industry.

More required before mandatory blending: experts

Experts in the fuel industry told Standardbusiness on Friday, more needs to
be done before government introduces mandatory blending.

“For players in the industry, they need separate tanks for handling and this
is an extra cost to operators. Government cannot just force oil companies to
blend because it is an extra cost,” one expert said.

“In addition, the promoters of the project were telling us that they can
export (ethanol). The question is why can’t they export?”

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Nkomo right to censure chiefs

Sunday, 11 March 2012 12:09

Vice-President John Nkomo on Friday struck the right note when he condemned
the outrageous demands by Zimbabwe’s luxury-seeking traditional leaders.

Closing the chiefs’ annual council meeting held in Bulawayo, an unimpressed
Nkomo lashed out at chiefs who are increasingly behaving like a trade union

He reminded chiefs not to prioritise self-enrichment at the expense of
national development and warned corruption was fast creeping into their

Nkomo’s comments are timely and serve to show there are some in government
who are tired of the kleptocracy that has taken root in Zimbabwe.

Instead of focusing on traditional matters, such as issues that involve
their work as custodians of cultural values and traditions, chiefs  turned
their Bulawayo indaba into a forum to agitate for self-enrichment last week.

The chiefs thought it prudent to demand a review of their allowances “to
befit their royal status”. They also demanded new all-terrain vehicles,
farms and a share of the Constituency Development Fund  and, alarmingly,
guns to defend themselves.
The chiefs also reasoned that a share of proceeds from the 10% community
ownership scheme raised from companies operating in areas under their
jurisdiction would make their lives easier.

No doubt the demands by the chiefs betrayed their desire to enrich
themselves at the expense of the poor communal people they are supposed to

The chiefs, who openly support Zanu PF, see themselves as a privileged class
that has to be pampered by government.
Already they boast of vehicles provided by the state, in addition to the
US$300 monthly allowance they receive. Some have paved roads and electricity
connected to their homes without them paying a cent.

By demanding more from government, the traditional leaders showed they are
determined to milk the state as much as they can without regard to the state
of the fiscus or to the predicament of the subjects they serve who survive
on food handouts.

It is in light of this that many will find Nkomo’s condemnation of the
chiefs refreshing. It’s time more top-ranking officials in government told
the chiefs enough is enough.

Quote of the week

"You can have the most perfect constitution on earth but if it’s not adhered
to or carried out it’s just a piece of paper,” said US ambassador to
Zimbabwe Charles Ray disputing that a constitution is the panacea to free,
fair and credible elections.

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Mugabe must walk the talk on call against violence

Sunday, 11 March 2012 12:07

President Mugabe’s ongoing cry against violence is a good new-start for a
nation which has seen needless extra-judicial shedding of blood. But these
calls come to naught if he personally does not act against the perpetrators
who seem to enjoy impunity.

Of late the president has used every opportunity coming his way to denounce
violence. This is the sensible thing to do for violence is the savage’s
resort, when reason flies out. No serious nation can allow violence to
circumscribe its narrative.

Why should there be violence when diversity is an inherent facet of any
society? That natural diversity dictates citizens have the right to support
different political persuasions under the protection of the constitution.
Diversity of opinion is an inalienable right and to try to suppress it is to
work against the rule of law.

Zimbabwe’s liberation war was premised on the need to give every citizen the
vote and the war did not prescribe which political party that vote would go
to. Combatants did not go to war for a particular political grouping;
patriots go to war for substantive ideals.

It is not enough to simply talk of non-violence without walking the talk. A
starting point would be the immediate arrest and trial of all those who
committed political crimes in the past; arsonists, murderers and robbers
still roam the streets with impunity when the right thing would be to bring
them to justice.

Bringing them to justice is the only way to exorcise the menacing ghosts
that haunt the nation. Our continued indifference to that savage epoch
suggests that the powers that be condone or, worse still, take ownership of
the atrocities that took place; the Joseph Mwale saga is a clear example.

Mugabe’s continued exhortation of non-violence does not make sense in the
face of the activities of many Zanu PF-aligned outfits such as Chipangano
which continues to behave as if its members are above the law.

The high-density suburb of Mbare lives under some kind of “Marshal Law”
because of the shadowy Chipangano which seems to enjoy the tacit approval
and protection of the powers that be?

Recently it disrupted and halted a number of projects that would have
benefited the poor people of Mbare. These projects include the US$5 million
Bill and Melinda Gates housing scheme and the Mashewede Holdings project to
build a food court near Matapi police station. Ironically, Chipangano was
able to halt the project right under the nose of the police when it was
patently clear what they were doing was illegal.

On the basis of what is going on in the country, it can’t be said that the
violence is spontaneous and isolated; it is actually violence of the
industrial type; deliberately cultivated as a tool of coercion.

Until gangster-groups such as Chipangano and many of the bogus so-called war
veterans are disbanded and thrown in jail, it becomes indisputable that the
violence has the official seal of approval.

Mugabe’s call for non-violence has become idle talk, targeted at some
far-off constituencies intended to hoodwink the world into believing in a
purported return of the rule of law, when the situation on the ground reads

Not so far back, Mugabe spoke against violence while addressing parliament,
but outside legislators and newsmen were being assaulted by mobs loyal to
him. All happened in the full view of the police who did nothing.

Examples abound of the selective application of the law, which Mugabe while
speaking against violence never comments on. We are either a country of
civilised people, guided by the rule of law, or we have to accept that we
have degenerated into criminal gangsters, masquerading as a government.


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Let’s cast away mumbo-jumbo of Satanism

Sunday, 11 March 2012 12:05

There was a snake minding its own business near a city hotel the other day.
Someone spotted it and made a noise. Soon hundreds of people were gathered
around it. The snake did what any decent, shy serpent would do. It slithered
under the nearest car and took cover.

Soon the gathering crowd had their tongues wagging: “What’s a snake doing in
the city?” one asked. The theories began to fly around. The snake belonged
to a Satanist, some said. The owner of the car under which it hid is the
Satanist. He uses the snake to steal money from the bank. One passerby even
went further and said he saw the snake spewing wads of US dollar notes onto
the lap of the owner of that particular car only the other day.

The crowd got very animated and bayed for the blood of the “Satanist”. Dear
me! — When the Wright brothers took flight for the first time almost a
century ago and the bloody Americans landed on the moon more than 40 years
ago; when scientists are delving into nanotechnology, Zimbabweans still
believe a simple snake can rob a bank!

It has been written innumerable times that Harare has become a “rat city”.
This is simple to explain; garbage collection has been inefficient. Leftover
food is strewn everywhere because there are inadequate waste bins provided.
Rats have proliferated at an alarming rate. Naturally, this attracts
predators that feed on rats. This is where snakes come in; nothing to do
with Satanists or any such fanciful use of animals for self-enrichment.

But why are Zimbabweans so superstitious?
Only the other day there was, reportedly, an outbreak of mass hysteria at a
school in the working-class high-density suburb of Highfield. The hysteria
was quickly linked to Satanism. Supposedly respectable newspapers hailed
loudly the occurrence reinforcing the Satanism myth.

Gullible parents immediately withdrew their children from the school.
The mass-circulating The Herald reported: “There was chaos at the school
yesterday morning after more than three pupils fell into a trance. Some of
the affected pupils were reportedly bleeding through their noses...Since
last Thursday, over 30 pupils have reportedly been affected by the hysteria,
blamed on suspected Satanic practices. The strange occurrences were
affecting mostly Grade One and Two pupils who are said to have turned
violent and exhibited extraordinary strength while speaking in unusual
voices and tongues.”

This is an irresponsible interpretation of the events that took place at
Yemurai Government School. What happened was not a “strange occurrence”.
There is nothing strange about pupils bleeding through their noses. Every
year such incidents are reported from across the country; not only across
the country but across the world. Look at the tenuous use of figures in The
Herald story, “more than three pupils”. Then we are told over 30 pupils.
For goodness’ sake how many children were affected?

There are famous incidents of mass hysteria from around the world including
the Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic of 1962. It “was an outbreak of mass
hysteria, believed to have occurred in or near the village of Kashasha on
the western coast of Lake Victoria in the modern nation of Tanzania near the
border of Kenya. It is possible that, at the start of the incident, a joke
was told in a boarding school, and that this joke triggered a small group of
students to start laughing. The laughter perpetuated itself, far
transcending its original cause. Six to 18 months after it started, the
phenomenon died off. (

Perhaps the most infamous incident of mass hysteria took place in Salem
Massachusetts between February 1692 and May 1693. This was after several
people were accused of witchcraft when an outbreak of mass hysteria among
young girls caused panic in the whole community. Hundreds of people were
convicted and hanged. Later it turned out the hysteria was not linked to any

According to a newspaper called Gothamist, only last year 12 teenage girls
from LeRoy Junior-Senior High School, located in a town about an hour’s
drive outside Buffalo, upstate New York, began to show symptoms including
painful shaking and jerking  of their necks.

After the incident a neurologist who interviewed the girls, a Dr Laszlo
Mechtler, came forward with an explanation. He said the girls suffered from
a conversion disorder or commonly mass hysteria.

He said conversion disorder is a condition in which a person can experience
blindness, paralysis, or other neurologic symptoms that can’t be explained
by another disease. The disorder often occurs because of a “psychological

According to the National Institutes of Health, symptoms of a conversion
disorder are thought to resolve a conflict a person feels inside. For
example, a woman who believes it’s not acceptable to have angry feelings may
experience numbness when they get really mad.

Mechtler told US Today that when a conversion disorder occurs in a large
group, it’s known as a “mass psychogenic illness,” because it affects groups
of people in the same environment, such as in a classroom or office.

Dr Jonathan Mink, chief of child neurology at the University of Rochester
Medical Centre had an almost similar explanation for the hysteria: “It’s
extremely unlikely that anything in the air, in the water or in the food
they’ve eaten is the cause of tics” and suggested one cause could be stress,
“A person gets exposed to those symptoms and they take on those symptoms. It
may be that the stresses of everyday life and how these girls deal with
stress (that is the cause).”
There was never a link between all the incidents cited and Satanism.

School-going children in all high-density suburbs are living in a stressful
environment, what with the real threat of typhoid and cholera! Most come
from poor households where they are living way below the poverty datum line;
most do not afford breakfast meaning the children go to school on empty
stomachs. Add to this the tyranny of school authority. It would be very
difficult for children not to be stressed.

Zimbabweans have got to grow up and cast away the superstitious beliefs that
have kept whole communities entrapped in the underworld when the rest of the
world has moved so far forward that witchcraft and the so-called Satanism
have ceased to make any sense.


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