The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Blow for Tsvangirai as court stops rally

Sunday, 20 March 2011 14:01


PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s much publicised rally failed to take off
in Harare yesterday after the police and courts blocked what the MDC-T said
was meant to be a gathering to call for peace in the country.

Zanu PF youths sealed the area early in the morning and severely beat up
anyone who walked past the open space near Rainbow Towers, the proposed
venue for the rally.

Several people were injured as the Zanu PF youths attacked even passers-by
while riot police watched from a distance.

Fruit and sweet vendors were caught in the crossfire and had their goods
looted by the youths, some of them visibly drunk.

By 7am both police, in armoured cars, and the Zanu PF youth militia had
already camped in the area.
Late in the afternoon, High Court judge Justice Chiweshe dismissed with
costs an appeal by the MDC-T to have the rally held at the area now known as
the Freedom Square.

Human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, who was representing MDC-T, said the
judge had indicated that reasons for his ruling would be given at a later

A Harare magistrate, Mercy Chimbodza had on Friday upheld the decision by
the police to bar the MDC-T rally, which was being held to call for an end
to any form of violence.

Several MDC-T activists have been assaulted by suspected state security
agents and Zanu PF militia in the past month.

The Harare Central District police had barred the rally claiming they faced
operational challenges as Zanu PF was holding a similar rally 500m away from
that venue.

But there was no sign of a Zanu PF meeting at the venue yesterday.

The party’s members converged at the other end of the central business
district at the Zanu PF provincial offices for the launch of its
anti-sanctions campaign.

Another application by the MDC-T for a rally at the Zimbabwe Grounds was
turned down by the Harare South District police saying Zanu PF had booked
the ground up to the end of the year.

Addressing a press conference just before the High Court judgement, MDC –T
secretary-general Tendai Biti, who was hopeful that the ruling would be in
his party’s favour, castigated the police for being partisan.

“It’s very unfortunate that we have the police that act as agents and
vuvuzelas of a political party,” he said.

Biti said several MDC-T supporters who had come for the rally were
brutalised by the Zanu PF militia while others were kidnapped.

A 62-year-old man was seen gasping for breath after he had been pursued by
the marauding youths near the Glamis Arena.

The man, who said he had just arrived in the country from Canada where he is
staying with his family, said he had gone to the venue to see, for the first
time, Tsvangirai addressing a rally.

“Right now they are beating the young man who had accompanied me. I don’t
know if he will survive,” he said. “I cried. God must accept my prayer for
this nation.”

He said by preventing Tsvangirai from holding rallies, Zanu PF was actually
campaigning for MDC-T.

A man employed by the Ministry of Public Works and was on his way to set the
stage for the Zanu PF event said he was assaulted for walking past the
Glamis Arena.

He said police told him if he had chanted a Zanu PF slogan his two
assailants would not have harmed him.
Meanwhile, the smaller faction of the MDC also claimed that Zanu PF was
pulling down its posters in Chitungwiza where it is holding a rally today.

“Zanu PF is pulling down rally posters with the intention of disrupting the
gathering,” said Kurauone Chihwayi, the party spokesperson.

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Mugabe’s nephew in Nkomo’ s disputed house

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:11


FORMER Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) director general, Hosea
Mapondera, is embroiled in a property dispute with some former Zimbabwe
People’s Revolutionary Army (Zipra) combatants who claim that the house he
is occupying belongs to the former Zapu military wing.

Zipra commanders who spoke to this newspaper said the double storey house,
at 37 Straker Avenue in Gunhill, is among several properties that the
government seized from Zipra in the 1980s following the Gukurahundi
massacres in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.

The former commanders said the house was bought for the late Vice-President
Joshua Nkomo using funds contributed by Zipra combatants.

“That house is one of the properties that Zipra bought using funds pulled
together by the former fighters and it was supposed to be for our
 president,” said one former commander. “We hope to get it back when all the
other properties are returned.”

But on Friday Mapondera dismissed the claims by the war veterans saying he
bought the house from the Fernandos family, who have since left the country.

“This is absolutely nonsense,” said Mapondera, a relative to President
Robert Mugabe.

“I bought this house some 15 to 20 years ago. Some people claiming to be
from Zipra once came here and I told them I had bought this house from the

“They had no papers to back their claim. It has nothing to do with Zipra.”

Mapondera said he would show the agreement of sale or title deeds to The
Standard to prove that he bought the house.

But yesterday, he became unco-operative saying, “Check for yourself at the
deeds office,” although the office is closed on weekends.

Former Zipra commander and Nkomo’s personal bodyguard, Frederick Mutanda
confirmed the dispute but refused to give details.

“This is a sensitive issue on our part which we still believe can be
resolved quietly but we don’t take it kindly when people start denigrating
our leader,” said Mutanda.

“We kindly refer you to talk to the Minister of Defence (Emmerson
Mnangagwa), he is the man who knows the truth about the whole thing.”

Efforts to get a comment from Mnangagwa were fruitless last week.

But documents that were shown to The Standard indicated that the posh house
was one of the disputed Zapu properties that Nkomo was claiming before his
death in 1999.

Six other houses are in Waterfalls, Houghton Park and Breaside. The
properties also include six commercial buildings in Harare and Bulawayo.

Zipra also wants eight farms, also seized by government, returned.

The documents also show that President Robert Mugabe at some point directed
Mnangagwa, who was Minister of Justice then, to return some of the
properties to Nkomo.

Nkomo criticised Mnangagwa over properties

In a letter dated December 29 1995, Nkomo accused Mnangagwa of playing
hide-and-seek regarding the return of Nkomo’s and Zipra’s properties.

“His Excellence the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe Cde RG Mugabe
directed you to discuss the modalities of the return of my properties to
 me,” wrote Nkomo.

“It would however seem that you have been prevaricating on the subject,
absenting yourself whenever I call you to discuss that issue with me.”

Nkomo attached the list of properties which included the Gunhill house.

The late VP also wanted government to settle his debts accrued as a result
of the seizure of the properties.

“You are also in possession of my financial statements indicating my
indebtedness to several financial institutions including commercial banks,”
Nkomo said.

“This came about as a result of the seizure of my properties and I will
therefore expect you to settle these debts.”

He demanded that this be met by January 1 1996.

But in a letter of response on January 26 1996, Mnangagwa confirmed the
return of Nkomo’s ranches including Walner Ranch in Kezi, Matabeleland.

“As regards any other property, there has never been instruction to change
ownership,” Mnangagwa said.

Authoritative sources said the issue of Zipra properties had also taken
centre stage in the government of national unity with some Zipra commanders
having written to both Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai demanding
that the properties be returned.

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Mnangagwa likens Mugabe to biblical King Solomon

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:15

BULAWAYO — President Robert Mugabe is king of kings, Defence minister,
Emmerson Mnangagwa said yesterday, likening the 87-year-old ruler to the
biblical King Solomon.

“President Mugabe is a King of Kings and he will continue to be the
president of Zimbabwe and is our King,” Mngangagwa said when he launched
Zanu PF’s provincial anti-sanctions campaign.

Close to a 1 000 people, among them the governor Cain Mathema, high-ranking
Zanu-PF officials, attended the launch at Stanley Square in Makokoba.

“The GPA even says the President of Zimbabwe will continue to be his
Excellency, President Robert Mugabe,” Mnangagwa said, adding that it is
every Zimbabwean’s responsibility to sign the anti-sanctions petition.

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Zimbabwe’s lost generation: Child labour on the rise

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:36


HEADLANDS — Almost 60% of children living in communal and commercial farms
in Zimbabwe are being exploited as cheap labour, a non-governmental
organisation has claimed.
Portipher Guta, the executive director of the Family Aids Caring Trust
(Fact) said the alarming rise in the abuse of minors stems from the collapse
of traditional, economic and social service structures.

“Schools were in the past a safety net for children in farming areas and the
disturbance of their schooling activities led to scores of them turning into
child-labourers,” Guta said.

“Surveys and studies conducted by Fact in Manicaland indicate that the
majority of children who failed to further their primary and secondary
education subsequently became young-adult workers.”

He said children had been socialised to become productive people in Zimbabwe
since time immemorial. But Guta says child labour now appears formalised
because of the economic conditions in the country.

“Traditional structures have collapsed. The concept of helping one another
in times of need and the idea that any child in the village is everyone’s
responsibility has died,” he said.

“Older people are exploiting the plight of these children, especially the
orphaned and vulnerable, by dangling a day’s ration of food in exchange for

Guta added that Fact was collaborating with government and other NGOs to
launch Child-Led Protection Committees (CLPC) to tackle the problem.

“The surge in the number of abused children, especially on farms and
plantations is disturbing.

“Our interaction with Victim Friendly Units and the Child Friendly courts
indicate that children in the villages are being abused by elders they know
and trust,” Guta said.

On the other hand, the expansion of their activities through CLPCs has been
hamstrung by financial constraints in the farming town of Headlands.

A child-headed family of four boys who no longer go to school, said they now
toiled away their days at “maricho” to get seed or food.

“Maricho” is a Shona term for casual or temporary jobs, usually carried out
by poor people on farms and in homes to earn, usually very little, money,
foodstuffs or old clothes.

Innocent Hambira is quite oblivious of the value of his labour and trades it
for food to get by.

“This season we were fortunate as we managed to get two plates of seed maize
from the 30 wheelbarrow loads of river sand we pushed for one of our
villagers,” said the 10-year-old boy.

The coming of Zimbabwe’s independence in 1980 saw great strides being made
to improve access to basic education, which greatly alleviated child labour

But all the gains have been reversed in the last decade owing to poor
economic policies.

Beam scheme ignores farm children

An official in the Ministry of Social Services said children in farming
areas were not adequately catered for in the state-run Basic Education
Assistance Module (Beam), which he said favoured children in urban areas.

“Despite Beam offices being re-opened in all the districts and the
heightened economic recovery, the ordinary farm-dwellers still suffer,”  he

“Economic growth in Zimbabwe’s case thrives on agriculture, yet social
service delivery to the economy’s backbone is in dire straits,” he said.

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Are the MDCs now in the gravy train?

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:33


WHEN the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was formed in 1999, the party
raised a lot of hope for Zimbabwe’s downtrodden workers.

The optimism was understandable as Zanu PF had from 1987 run the country as
a one-party state, largely ignoring the plight of the impoverished

MDC had also been formed by people who had been championing the rights of
workers for years as an offshoot of the Congress of Zimbabwe Trade Unions

But two years after they were given a chance to be in government, the two
MDC factions are still to deliver on their promises to restive workers,
especially civil servants.

The parties came under serious scrutiny last week following revelations that
ministers, MPs and senators had given themselves huge salary increases in
January while putting a June deadline to review those of civil servants.

A minister now earns an average of US$2 300 a month while civil servants get
less than US$200.
Political analyst Charles Mangongera described the salary increment as the
“height of arrogance” by the inclusive government.

He said the salary review had also rendered government’s often repeated
excuse that Treasury had no capacity to pay meaningful salaries to civil
servants invalid.

“I don’t have any kind words for the two MDC formations,” Mangongera said.
“It just shows that they are now part of the gravy train.

“It used to be a labour-driven party but by ignoring the plight of
government workers, it shows that they are no longer standing for the rights
of the worker.”

He said it did not come as a surprise that the ministers and MPs silently
gave themselves huge perks as soon after they were elected they started
demanding luxury cars.

In 2009, MPs from the three parties rejected locally-assembled vehicles and
demanded US$30 000 each to import luxury cars.

Zanu PF blames Biti for paying ministers before civil servants

National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the two MDC
formations were merely showing their true colours.

“The MDC parties have not sold out the struggle of the poor but they are
simply showing their true colours,” he said.

“The time they have spent in government is too long for them to have done
nothing for the poor.”

Madhuku also believes that Zanu PF had succeeded in turning the MDC
politicians into capitalists.

John Makumbe, a University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer said the
two MDC formations should have contested the awarding of salary increases to
ministers, MPs and Senators before the majority of civil servants got

Makumbe said the MDC factions had now taken a leaf from Zanu PF on how to
keep the politicians happy while ignoring the plight of the poor.

“We are not saying civil servants should be paid the US$2 000 the ministers
are getting but at least award the ministers a fair wage which the poor will
say is fair, not 10 or 20 times more than what they are getting,” Makumbe

“It’s like Zanu PF is still running the country on its own. The ministers of
Finance (Tendai Biti), Public Service (Eliphas Mukunoweshuro) are all MDC,
how could they be all rail-roaded by Zanu PF?”

However, MDC deputy spokesperson Ku-rauone Chihwayi defended his party
saying their ministers, MPs and senators accepted the increment on the
understanding that Treasury had money to increase civil servants’ salaries.

“There is no reason why Biti is not increasing their salaries. We know the
money is there,” he said.
Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo said they were surprised that ministers
had been given such a hefty increment ahead of civil servants and laid all
the blame on MDC-T.

“Obviously we thought the money would be given to civil servants first since
the issue has been topical and that Treasury would chip in with a symbolical
amount, even if the money was not enough,” Gumbo said.

Nelson Chamisa, the MDC-T spokesman claimed that the reports about the
salary increases were not true.
This is despite the fact that The Standard has in its possession some
payslips of ministers.

Chamisa said as a party they believed that government must first deal with
the plight of civil servants before looking into the conditions of service
for members of the executive.

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Raw sewage poses pollution threat to Lake Mutirikwi

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:31


MASVINGO — Lake Mutirikwi, formerly Kyle, the largest inland dam in the
country, is under threat from pollution due to raw sewage that is spilling
into its tributary, Mushagashe River.

Environmental watchdogs have warned that if the problem continues, the
source of drinking water for the city of Masvingo, which also contributes
65% of irrigation water in the lucrative sugarcane industry in the Lowveld,
may become unusable.

The water in Mushagashe River, which feeds into the lake, has turned green
due to raw sewage spilling into it everyday.

Water hyacinth, a free-floating perennial plant with thick, glossy round
leaves, inflated leaf stems and very showy lavender flowers, is fast
multiplying in the river.

Along the river’s banks, dead fish and other aquatic inhabitants are strewn

Nobody dares to touch the rotting fish. Only eagles feast on them.

A foul smell buffets over Mucheke Bridge, along the Masvingo-Beitbridge
road. At a nearby hotel, one cannot run away from the reek.

Environmental Management Agency (EMA) provincial head Milton Muusha said
more than eight million litres of raw sewage a year get into the river,
which eventually feeds into the lake.

“Raw sewage is a nutrient enhancement in the growth of aquatic weeds like
water hyacinth.

“This plant leads to depletion of oxygen in water, which leads to the death
of aquatic life,” Muusha said.
He also warned of a possible disease outbreak.

“The raw sewage disposal can result in the outbreak of water-borne diseases.

“The pollutants that are found in raw sewage also result in rising costs of
potable water treatment,” Muusha said.

EMA has, for the second time, penalised the local authority for the

Masvingo city council's response
Masvingo City Council mayor, Alderman Femius Chakabuda, blamed the problem
on a leaking pipe that passes through Mushagashe River and power outages
that halt pumping at their main sewer pump at Rujeko high-density suburb.

“There is a leaking pipe in Rujeko which runs across the river.

“The pipe can no longer be patched, so we have placed an order for a new
one," he said.

Chakabuda said he was “unfazed” by the penalties from EMA because the body
can only survive by penalising local authorities.

“EMA will continue to raise funds through fines and some of the fines have
nothing to do with emission. If EMA does not penalise local authorities, it
will not survive,” said the MDC-T mayor.

If water hyacinth at the Lake is not controlled, the development would have
a domino effect on the sugar supplies in the country.

Masvingo’s tourism potential would also be dented as Lake Mutirikwi is a
tourist attraction.

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Zim chiefs want Gaddafi to rule Africa

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:30


EMBATTLED Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi does not only harbour ambitions to
rule his country for life but also wants to preside over the United States
of Africa.

Zimbabwean chiefs, it appears, were some of the early converts into what has
become one of Africa’s most brutal dictator’s pet projects.

Even as Gaddafi pounded his fellow countrymen in a disproportionate show of
force, the African Union on Tuesday was pushing ahead with the plan.

AU officials met at its headquarters in Ethiopia on Monday and Tuesday to
discuss the formation of the Africa Authority, which would replace the AU
Commission and eventually bring African countries under a single government.

A study of Gaddafi’s lobby shows that Fortune Charumbira, the president of
Zimbabwe’s Council of Chiefs is one of the African traditional leaders who
have often run out of superlatives in describing the Libyan leader’s ideas
whenever he gets a chance.

Last year in September, Charu-mbira travelled all the way to the Libyan
capital Tripoli to pledge support to Gaddafi.

Charumbira was quoted saying Gaddafi was the only African leader capable of
defending African values and culture, which he said were being eroded by
Eurocentric leaders.

“Politicians are not owners of Africa,” Charumbira said in what was called a
highly-charged address to the Libyan leader.

“Africa is in a development predicament and the answer to that is in what
you have been fighting for.
“Brother Leader, we support your idea for a United States of Africa.”

He went on to describe the AU as a Western parliament.

Gaddafi reacted to Charumbira’s exaltations by claiming that politics had
destroyed Africa and that the United States of Africa was the only

Africa’s longest serving dictator had gathered 450 African traditional
leaders in Tripoli so that they could sell his ideas of a united Africa to
their subjects.

Some of the ideas included advocating for more traditional ways of life and
rallying behind his vision of a United States of Africa within the shortest
time possible.

“There is no recorded case in history where a society developed by
abandoning its culture,” Charumbira, who is also a member of the Pan-African
Parliament said.

It has emerged that Gaddafi is far from being a traditionalist, occasionally
hiring half-naked western women to dance for his clan for huge fees.

Gaddafi has his own model of democracy, which abhors elections.

He argues in his Green Book, which he first published in 1976 as a guide for
his leadership, that elections are not true manifestations of democracy.

He is also against parliaments and claims Libyans run their own affairs
through the “People’s Congress.”
Charumbira is a known Zanu PF activist but it is not clear if President
Robert Mugabe supports Gaddafi’s ambitions to rule Africa.

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Gweru council fires top official

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:29

GWERU — Council has resolved to fire its chamber secretary Richard Masinire
seven months after he was suspended on full benefits for alleged corruption.

Although town clerk, Daniel Matawu on Friday refused to comment on the
matter saying he was yet to inform councillors, sources said the committee
set up to investigate Masinire had found him guilty of three charges.

He was allegedly found guilty of employing his friends and misrepresenting
qualifications of employees.
“Of the charges raised against him, he was only acquitted of threatening to
beat up an officer after a misunderstanding but found guilty of three other
charges that had led to his suspension,” the source said.

The committee was made up of three councillors, an official from the
ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, a Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
representative, a lawyer and a provincial magistrate.

Council still needs the blessings of the Local Government Board to fire the
chamber secretary. Efforts to get a comment from Masinire were fruitless
last week.

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Zuma acts on GNU crisis

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:27


South African President Jacob Zuma will this week send his facilitation team
to Zimbabwe to diffuse simmering tensions in the coalition after heavy
lobbying by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Tsvangirai returned home on Friday after a whirlwind regional tour that took
him to Zambia, Mozambique, Swaziland, South Africa and Botswana to raise the
alarm on the worsening relations in Harare’s unity government.

The PM said he had told regional leaders that the coalition government had
been hijacked by “dark and sinister forces” with the country now sliding
into a police state.

Zuma reacted by promising to send his three-member facilitation team led by
a senior advisor Charles Nqakula.

Former minister Mac Maharaj and Zuma’s international relations advisor
Lindiwe Zulu are the other members of the team.

“South Africa has been tasked by Sadc to work with the Zimbabwean parties to
find solutions to their political challenges,” the South African presidency
said in a statement on Friday.

“President Zuma will next week send his Zimbabwe facilitation team to Harare
to meet parties to the Global Political Agreement.”

The visit by the team also comes ahead of the meeting of the Sadc troika on
peace and security in Zambia on March 31 to deal with the Zimbabwe crisis.

Zuma might have been forced to dispatch the trio after indications that
relations between Zanu PF and MDC-T had broken down, paralysing the
inclusive government in the process.

“While I was away in the last four days, it appears the civilian authority
is no longer in charge and dark and sinister forces have engaged in a
hostile takeover of running the affairs of the country,” Tsvangirai told

An already volatile situation in the inclusive government was inflamed by
the arrest of Energy and Power Development minister Elton Mangoma last
Thursday on corruption charges.

On the same day it was announced that the Supreme Court had nullified the
election of MDC-T chairman Lovemore Moyo as Speaker of Parliament.

Tsvangirai and Moyo reacted angrily and accused the police and the judiciary
of being in Zanu PF’s pocket.
Zanu PF apologists including Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo called for
the PM’s arrest on contempt of court charges and there were indications that
the country’s prosecutions authority was taking the calls seriously.

Zuma team just facilitators, says analyst

A ban on an MDC-T rally that was scheduled for Harare yesterday left the
future of the inclusive government increasingly doubtful.

Brilliant Mhlanga, a Zimbabwean academic based at the University of
Westminster in the UK said not much should be expected from Zuma’s team as
they were only there to facilitate dialogue.

“He merely is sending his teams to facilitate dialogue and end there,”
Mhlanga said.

“The rest should be left to the Zimbabweans to decide whether they want
their coalition to collapse or not.

“Zuma can facilitate dialogue between Zimbabweans and then leave everything
to them to also decide the fate of their coalition government as rational

Zanu PF has embarked on an aggressive election campaign that also includes
attempts to force Zimbabweans to sign a two-million-signature petition
calling for an end to Western sanctions.

The party is holding its meetings undisturbed while its opponents face
police bans.

View from the president's office
Commenting on Tsvangirai’s regional tour, President Robert Mugabe’s
spokesman George Charamba last week said there was nothing outsiders could
do to stop Zanu PF’s electioneering.

“Let him go anywhere he thinks he can get help, but I can assure you that
the momentum in Zimbabwe is unstoppable,” Charamba said.

“There is no stopping. We are going for elections.

“I have no respect for a political leader who conscripts a regional leader
to douse a fire in his own home. The essence of politics is to be able to
handle pressure,” he said.

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Ex-Zipra, Zanla clash over remains

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:23


BULAWAYO — A fight is looming between ex-Zipra and Zanla fighters over the
exhumation of remains of people buried at Monkey William Mine in Mt Darwin
as both claim it was their operating area during the war.

A group of Zipra veterans based in Harare on Saturday said they were sending
a delegation to assess the situation where mainly ex-Zanla people have
already exhumed 640 bodies.

War veterans from the two liberation movements split into two factions after
former Zipra intelligence supremo Dumiso Dabengwa left Zanu PF to revive
Zapu in 2009.

The Zipra war veterans said they were not consulted before the controversial
exhumations were conducted.

They said some of the remains could be of their fallen comrades and Zanu PF
was trying to use them for political gain.

Zapu said Zanu PF could be trying to hide evidence of the Gukurahundi

An estimated 20 000 supporters of the party led by the late Joshua Nkomo
were killed soon after independence

Meanwhile, Matabeleland South police have denied claims by Mines and Mining
Development minister Obert Mpofu that another mass grave had been discovered
at Blanket Mine near Gwanda.
Mpofu was quoted by the state media saying the grave could contain remains
of people killed during the liberation war.

“We have been to the mine and checked but we have not come across any mass
grave,” police spokesman Sergeant Thabani Mkhwananzi said.

The mine’s general manager, Caxton Mangenzi, the general manager (GM) of
Blanket Mine added: “There is nothing like that.

“None of our workers have come across the mass grave”

Bulawayo based activists said that government had now started reburying
victims of the liberation war it must also start identifying mass graves of
Gukurahundi victims.

“Whilst we appreciate the importance of the armed struggle we are perturbed
by the fact that the government has deliberately and systematically ignored
thousands of people who were buried in mass graves in Matabeleland and parts
of the Midlands during the Gukurahundi massacres,” Dumisani Nkomo, the
spokesperson of the Matabeleland Civil Society Consortium said in a
statement prepared by the organisation on Friday.

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Row over fresh Mt Darwin human remains

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:21


MT DARWIN – The exhumation of remains of an estimated 2 000 people from a
disused mine in Mt Darwin by war veterans has aroused suspicions after some
bodies were retrieved while still intact.

Zanu PF says the bodies were of women, children and liberation war fighters
killed by Rhodesian forces 32 years ago and thrown into the Monkey William
mine in Bembera village.

The exhumations have become yet another grand Zanu PF campaign strategy with
the state media being used to whip up emotions ahead of elections expected
later this year.

But journalists who witnessed the exericise on Friday were shocked to see
bodies that were still intact.

One of the bodies still had visible hair while others had their clothes
intact. A member of the team said one of the bodies had fluids dripping from

A strong stench still permeates the 15-metre deep mine shaft where
journalists were taken down the tunnel to see the bodies that were still

A pathologist who spoke on condition of anonymity said there was no way
there could still be such a stench at the mine, three decades after the
bodies were allegedly dumped.

“Ordinarily by this time there should only be bone-remains,” the pathologist

“Although chemicals poured on the bodies could have slowed down
decomposition, 33 years is a long a time.

“Certainly there should not be any smell at all from the remains over 30
years after those people died.”
This has led to some people speculating that although the mine shafts might
have some remains of freedom fighters, there could also be corpses of MDC
activists killed during the past violent elections. They also suspected
victims of Gukurahundi atrocities were among the corpses.

The Fallen Heroes Trust, which is overseeing the exercise, on Friday said it
had so far retrieved 640 bodies.

There are four other open shafts where exhumations would also be done.

George Rutanhire, a member of Zanu PF politburo and coordinator of the
Fallen Heroes Trust said the mass graves were first identified in the 80s.

Asked why it had taken so long to exhume the bodies and give the victims a
decent burial, Rutanhire said they did not have the resources to carry out
the mammoth task.

“There were no resources, people had also not organised themselves to carry
out the exhumations,” he said.

“The reason why we are exhuming them now is because panners were now
vandalising the mine shafts in search of gold so we had to take action.”

However, two other war veterans said the mass graves were discovered in 2001
and 2008.

Zanu PF Senator for Mutate-Mutasa, Mandy Chimene said the graves were first
discovered in 2001.

The war veterans also wanted journalists to interview people they had
selected themselves so that they wouldn’t “give out wrong information.”

School children, teachers and villagers were forced to go underground and
view the bodies so that they would appreciate the extent of the brutalities
of the Rhodesian army.

Zanu PF slogans and songs were the order of the day during the exhumation
while the cash-strapped ZBC donated protective clothing and food to the
Fallen Heroes Trust.

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Schools to get new textbooks

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:19


GOVERMENT will soon roll out a programme to restock secondary schools with
textbooks after a similar initiative saw 13 million books being given to
primary schools last year.

Education, Sport, Arts and Culture minister David Coltart said funding had
already been obtained for the programme to make sure that students did not
share textbooks.

The Education Transition Fund (ETF) delivered 13 million text books to 5 575
schools around the country and Coltart said the pupil/textbook ration was
now 1:1.

Unicef and other donors bankrolled ETF.

“We want to have 1:1 ratios for all textbooks at secondary schools as well
so that we can restore excellence in our education sector,” he said.

Coltart was speaking at an event to commission the electrification of
classroom blocks at Westlea Primary School.

The government and the international donor community, led by Unicef last
year supplied textbooks to over 5 575 schools under the first phase of the
ETF, a multi-donor funding mechanism designed to mobilise resources for the
education sector.

Most schools were operating on a 10:1 pupils to textbook ratio.

The electrification of Westlea Primary was part of various projects being
initiated by Harare West constituency MP Jessie Majome under the
Constituency Development Fund.

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Ousted Speaker vows to fight in the courts

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:18


LOVEMORE Moyo (pictured),  the dethroned Speaker of Parliament has
threatened to go to court to fight for the right to revert to being MP for
Matobo North.
Moyo’s election as Zimbabwe’s first Speaker of Parliament on a non-Zanu PF
ticket was nullified by the Supreme Court a fortnight ago following a
challenge by Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo of Zanu PF.

Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma was quoted in the state media last week
saying the MDC-T chairman was now an “ordinary member of the public”.

But his lawyers on Wednesday wrote to Zvoma warning that they would be
forced to resort to the courts for a declaratory order clarifying the
position that Moyo remains an MP.

“It must be stated that our client never formally resigned from his position
of Member of Parliament for the Matobo North constituency,” wrote Moyo’s
lawyer, Chris Mhike.

“The vacancy in his constituency arose only as the result of the provisions
of the law, not resignation.
“From the foregoing, it is clear that the status quo should be immediately
and automatically restored to reflect the position that existed just before
the election of our client to the position of Speaker of Parliament of

Zvoma had been given up to Thursday to respond to the demands before the
matter could be taken to court.

Mhike yesterday said they were yet to get a response and were now likely to
approach the courts this week.

According to state media reports yesterday, Attorney General Johannes Tomana
wrote to Zvoma advising that in terms of the law, Moyo must get his seat
back immediately.

Zvoma, who could not be reached for comment, was quoted as saying he was
still studying the judgement.

MDC-T has said Moyo remains their candidate for the position while MDC wants
Paul Themba Nyathi to have another shot at the post.

Moyo beat Nyathi by a narrow margin in 2008 after some MDC MPs defied their
parties to vote with MDC-T.

The fight for the post has reportedly divided Zanu PF where over seven
candidates are jostling for the post with the party’s chairman Simon Khaya
Moyo said to be the leading contender.

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Mugabe like Smith: Chamisa

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:18

GUTU — Information Communication Technology minister Nelson Chamisa said
President Robert Mugabe is not different from Rhodesian rebel Prime Minister
Ian Smith.

Chamisa made the remarks on Friday at Tsvangirai’s village in Gutu South
constituency during the burial of an MDC-T activist who allegedly died of
internal injuries after he was attacked by Zanu PF youths.

Chamunorwa Choke, who was allegedly beaten for two days at a Zanu PF base at
Makwirivindi Township on June 20 2008, died recently at the age of 33.

MDC-T said he never recovered from the injuries. The party said he became
the ninth MDC member in Masvingo to die of internal injuries associated with
the 2008 violence.

“Smith and Zanu PF violence is just the same,” said Chamisa, who is also the
MDC-T spokesman.

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From the Editor's Desk: When is military intervention in a sovereign state justified?

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:42

In what circumstances is intervention in a political crisis unfolding in a
sovereign country justified? At face value such intervention is never
justifiable. But situations differ: when huge civilian casualties, as is the
case in Libya today, seem inevitable  the world has no choice but to

Zimbabwe has intervened in two major conflicts in the southern African
region in the past 30 years. When the Frelimo government of Samora Machel
was tottering on the brink of collapse under the onslaught of the rebel
Renamo guerrilla war, Zimbabwe intervened and saved the day.

There were two main reasons why intervention was inevitable. First, Zimbabwe
as a landlocked country needed a safe passage to the Indian Ocean. At first
the pretext was to go into Mozambique to safeguard the Beira Corridor. This
was Zimbabwe’s lifeline to the sea through which it could import vital
commodities, especially fuel. Zimbabwe, whose economy was the most robust in
the region outside South Africa was also a big exporter of various products,
both industrial and agriculture based.

The second reason was that Renamo was seen as an apartheid backed outfit
that sought to reverse the tide of decolonisation that had swept the whole
region except for South Africa and Namibia. Zimbabwe feared that if Renamo
won in Mozambique the next target for the apartheid regime might as well be
Zimbabwe itself.

So, in Mozambique Zimbabwe’s intervention was both economic and

In August 1998 Zimbabwe plu-nged into what was variously dubbed “The Second
Congo War”, “Africa’s World War” or “The Great War of Africa”. Zimbabwe
committed its troops after an Organisation of African Unity (OAU) resolution
“preventing the deposing of governments by military means”.

Ironically the government of Laurent Desire Kabila had come into power
through military means. Its ragtag guerrilla outfit, the banyamulenge
prevailed over strongman Mobutu Sese Seko’s corrupt and disorganised army.
Historians say the DRC war was the largest war in modern African history. It
directly involved eight African nations, as well as about 25 armed groups.
By 2008 the war and its aftermath had killed 5,4 million people, mostly from
disease and starvation, making the war the deadliest conflict worldwide
since World War II. Millions more were displaced from their homes or sought
asylum in neighbouring countries.

Instead of saving civilians, the number of casualties shows the opposite

After the war that lasted until July 2003 Zimbabwe was left the worse for
wear. The country did not have any substantial economic interests in the DRC
although it hoped to do lots of business once the natural-resources-rich
country was rid of the insurgents.

But that did not come to pass as Zimbabwe’s efforts to penetrate that
country’s business were hampered by bureaucratic red tape. However, a few
individuals are reported to have benefitted immensely through the underhand
mining of diamonds and cobalt.

But was Zimbabwe’s intervention justified? Commentators argued that it was
indefensible on the grounds that Zimbabwean troops were committed in the DRC
conflict by President Robert Mugabe without the authority of Parliament nor
the authority of or endorsement by Cabinet. In terms of Section 96 of the
Zimbabwean Constitution, “the President may declare war on a foreign state
carrying out acts prejudicial to the security of Zimbabwe”. The situation in
the DRC did not fall into this category.

The DRC war and the Black Friday of 1997 are the two most important blunders
that destroyed Zimbabwe’s once thriving economy and the effects are still
being felt today. On that Friday Mugabe had awarded 50 000 veterans of the
1970s liberation war huge amounts of unbudgeted for money as pensions.

In another form of intervention, Zimbabwe keeps contingents of its police in
different parts of the world as UN peacekeeping forces. This is intervention
aimed at protecting civilians.

The official position in Zimbabwe regarding UN intervention in Libya is that
it is not justified and is a fulfillment of a “regime change agenda”.
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is arguably Mugabe’s greatest ally on the continent.
He has come in handy on several occasions when Zimbabwe has run out of fuel.

He has also helped Zanu PF financially when it was cash-strapped. But what
has necessitated the intervention is that Gaddafi has disproportionately
cracked down on peaceful civilians using dogs of war. Like in Egypt and
Tunisia, members of his police force and the military had joined civilians
in calling for democracy. These are the people who have only put up a fight
when the mercenaries began to corner them.

So the UN resolution that authorised military force did so only to protect
civilians from attacks by Gaddafi’s troops.

According to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the decision is historic in
the sense that for the first time, the UN Security Council has authorised
measures specifically to protect civilians under Chapter 7 of the UN
Charter, making the measures militarily enforceable.

Ban Ki-moon said the council’s resolution, “affirms, clearly and
unequivocally, the international community’s determination to fulfill its
responsibility to protect civilians from violence perpetrated upon them by
their own government.”

Regrettably the UN Security Council did not come up with a similar
resolution on Zimbabwe in the early-to-middle 1980s when the government was
butchering thousands of people in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces
during an operation notoriously known as the gukurahundi.

It is said 20 000 lives perished during the period. President Mugabe was
still the darling of the West and was being pampered with a superfluity of
honorary doctorates. By looking the other side these countries were
complicity in this crime against humanity which has now been classified as

In 2008, both Sadc and the AU had to intervene in Zimbabwe  when it became
clear that the political violence visited upon innocent civilians by the
Zanu PF regime using state apparatus was about to spin out of control. That
intervention gave us the GNU which had brought a semblance of peace in the
country. The GNU is again under threat because of Zanu PF’s vindictiveness,
calling for a more interested intervention by the pan-African bodies, if not
the UN itself.

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SundayOpinion: Why the MDC’s star is waning

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:41


Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has recently been engaged in a regional
tour to draw attention to political developments in Zimbabwe and lobby for
Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) leaders’ support before a
scheduled troika meeting. Some of the usual suspects in the so-called
independent media, civil society and political opposition have lauded his
“diplomatic offensive”, which has taken him to Zambia, Swaziland and
Botswana, among other places. But close scrutiny of the democratic
credentials of the leaders Tsvangirai has been lobbying casts doubt about
the effectiveness of this regional tour.

Zambian President Rupiah Banda and chairperson of the Sadc Organ on
Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation is presently locked in the fight
of his political career, as he battles opposition forces ahead of what is
likely to be a close presidential election, which is due by September.

The democratic tactics Banda has employed against his main opposition
challenger Michael Sata are to intimidate and discredit his political rival.
Zambia’s security officials have detained Sata, seized a number of his
properties and charged him with making a fraudulent transaction through the
Finance Bank, despite lacking credible evidence.

Moreover there is lingering suspicion in Zambia that the 2008 presidential
election was rigged by the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) to ensure
Banda’s victory.

Even in southern Africa’s so-called jewel of democratic governance —
Botswana — the trends are  not promising.

2011 marks 45 years of power for President Ian Khama’s BDP party. So
dominant has the BDP been it ranks as Southern Africa’s foremost
single-party political system. Perniciously, since Khama, a former military
general, took over the presidency in 2008 he has increasingly militarised
the Botswana state. A number of key state appointments have gone to retired
military personnel. The vice presidency, along with the defence, justice and
wildlife ministries have all gone to retired military officers.

The heads of the Central Transport Organisation (CTO) and Prison Services,
and the general manager of Botswana Television (BTV) are former military
officers. Khama’s cabal of closest advisors also contains figures with a
military background. Indeed one of the reasons some BDP members defected to
form a new opposition BMD party in 2010 is disgruntlement with Khama’s
commandist style of governance, which extols discipline above anything else.

King Mswati III is Africa’s last remaining absolute monarchy. The royal
family controls a significant portion of the economy through holdings in
various private companies. Press freedom faces curtailments, opposition
parties are banned and the judiciary is subject to royal interference.

Significantly, liberation parties continue to foster closer ties through
regional organisations such as Sadc and former liberation movement summits.
Namibia’s Swapo party, which only last week denounced agents of regime
change in southern Africa, will host South Africa’s ANC, Mozambique’s
Frelimo, Tanzania’s CCM and Zanu PF at a conference for former regional
liberation movements in July 2011.

There are differences between Frelimo, CCM, Swapo, ANC, Zanu PF and Angola’s
Mpla but the relationships between them, forged over decades, have tended to
outweigh whatever reservations they may have about each other’s respective
domestic political conduct.

The MDC’s record in the power-sharing government is one of a party that has
lost touch with the popular grievances it once championed. Since 2009 they
have been busy lapping up the material and financial perks of being in
government and engaging in all manner of corruption: farms, cars,
businesses, houses and financial kickbacks comprise some MDC members’
ill-gotten wealth.

Moreover the MDC has also been implicated in some of the violence that has
gripped Zimbabwe of late. Evidence of this can be obtained from the Joint
Monitoring and Implementation Committee’s (Jomic) inter-party committees,
which are tackling political violence in Zimbabwe from district to cell

For those who have treated the MDC critically since 1999, the party’s resort
to violence would come as no surprise because it has been plagued by
internal violence between rivals since that time.

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SundayComment: Police blatant bias a national disgrace

Sunday, 20 March 2011 15:40

The Zimbabwe Republic Police’s partisanship was badly exposed last week when
they were faced with two parties to the inclusive government intending to
hold rallies on the same day.

The ZRP denied the MDC-T permission to hold a single rally in Harare, but
allowed Zanu PF to hold innumerable anti-sanction rallies across the

The police gave flimsy reasons for denying the MDC-T permission to hold a
rally at Glamis Arena.

They said Zanu PF had already booked the venue and therefore it would be
inappropriate for the MDC-T to have their meeting there. The police also
cited their lack of manpower to cover political parties’ meetings.

Earlier, the MDC-T had tried to secure permission to hold their rally at
Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield but were confronted with claims that this
venue had been booked for the whole year by Zanu PF. Really? — All of a

The police’s determination to stop MDC-T from holding meetings is not only
illegal but is also a blatant reflection of the way the force has been

Why would a professional body stop the Prime Minister from holding a rally,
and at the same time,  allow the President’s party carte blanche  to hold
dozens of rallies on the same day?

This behaviour removes any pretence of the force being an impartial body
that upholds its constitutional mandate of maintaining law and order in

And more worrying is the fact that by each day, the police are increasingly
openly aligning themselves with Zanu PF.

Yesterday police details simply watched as Zanu PF youths beat up people who
turned up for the MDC-T’s rally at Glamis Arena, unaware that it had been

Passers-by were also not spared with the youths.  Again during the past two
weeks, the police, turning a blind eye to Zanu PF officials’ transgressions,
have arrested MDC-T officials at will on mainly trumped-up charges.

It is this abdication of their constitutional mandate that makes  the police
untrustworthy in the eyes of many right-thinking Zimbabweans.

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