The ZIMBABWE Situation
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China signs 700-million-dollar loan agreement with Zimbabwe

Mar 21, 2011, 16:32 GMT

Harare - China on Monday signed about 700 million dollars in loan agreements
with Zimbabwe, with the visiting vice premier requesting President Robert
Mugabe's government to protect Chinese businesses.

'We hope Zimbabwe will protect the legitimate right of Chinese businesses in
the country,' said Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan.

China supports Harare's moves to increase business ownership by Zimbabweans,
he said, but urged the government not to tamper with Chinese investments.
Zimbabwe's two-year-old fragile coalition government is divided over the
plan to nationalize foreign-owned companies.

Speaking about the loan, Zimbabwean Vice President Joice Mujuru said the
money would be used for priority areas such as agriculture, health and water

This was the biggest recent loan package for Zimbabwe, which has been
shunned by the west for its failure to service its external debt of about 7
billion dollars.

Beijing has stood by Zimbabwe while the west shuns Mugabe, citing the
long-term leader's poor human rights record. In 2008, China vetoed a UN
Security Council resolution seeking sanctions against Harare.

Chinese companies have made inroads in Zimbabwe especially in the
construction industry. Later Monday, the Chinese vice premier was expected
to meet separately with Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

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China urges Zimbabwe: respect Chinese firms' rights

Mon Mar 21, 2011 11:12am GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Chinese Vice Premier Wang Qishan said on Monday that
China supported Zimbabwe's drive for local people to own majority stakes in
foreign firms but urged the government not to tamper with Chinese

"China understands the need for indigenisation and empowerment but we hope
Zimbabwe will protect the legitimate right of Chinese businesses in the
country," Wang said at a briefing with Zimbabwean Vice-President Joice

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Zim Facing Severe Food Shortages In Six Provinces

21/03/2011 17:20:00

Harare, March 11, 2011 - Six of Zimbabwe's 10 provinces face severe food
shortages, and the government has ordered the country's grain marketing
board (GMB) to send grain to the affected areas, a state daily said on

"The GMB is holding on to 270 000 metric tons and have to start helping our
people," Agriculture Minister Joseph Made told The Herald newspaper.

Zimbabwe needs an estimated 2.2 million tonnes of maize each year.

A government crop assessment carried out in January found that the country
had more than two million hectares of maize planted, up from 1.8 million
last year, and was expecting to harvest 1.7 million tonnes.

The United Nations has appealed for $415m to feed 1.7 million people this
year until the harvest starts in May.

This year Zimbabwe received normal rains at the beginning of the year, but
some crops have been written off following a dry spell between February and

Since 2000, the southern African nation has faced successive years of food
shortages that coincided with controversial land reforms launched by
long-time President Robert Mugabe to seize nearly 4 000 white-owned farms
for redistribution to landless blacks.

The programme has combined with poor rains and shortages of seed and
fertiliser to force a country once considered the breadbasket of the region
to depend on food aid. - AFP

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Zimbabwe lacks funds to transport food aid-minister

Mon Mar 21, 2011 12:39pm GMT

* No money to get food to 1.7 million who need it -minister

* Zimbabwe has 270,000 tonnes of grain reserves, he says

* All due to be sold in affected areas, he tells Herald

* Six of country's 10 provinces experiencing severe drought

HARARE, March 21 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe does not have the money to transport
food aid to areas experiencing acute shortages, Agriculture Minister Joseph
Made said on Monday.

The country wants to send its entire 270,000 tonnes of grain reserves to
provinces that are worst hit by drought and where 1.7 million people need
aid, but the Grain Marketing Board had no money to do so he told the
state-owned Herald newspaper.

"The directive was given by cabinet two weeks ago," Made was quoted as

Zimbabwe's drought has left six of its 10 provinces facing serious food
shortages, the Herald said.

The southern African country, once a regional bread basket, has failed to
feed itself since 2000, following President Robert Mugabe's seizure of
white-owned commercial farms to resettle landless blacks, leading to sharp
falls in production.

Made told Reuters last Thursday that the government is carrying out a crop
assessment programme but would not discuss the extent of the drought.

Combined estimates by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee, the
United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Food
Programme said about 1.7 million people out of its population of 12 million
would need food aid.

Zimbabwe suffered a prolonged dry spell between February and March leading
to crop failure in several provinces, the government-controlled Herald said.

Masvingo, Manicaland, Midlands, Matabeleland North and South provinces are
the worst affected, the newspaper said.

China lent Zimbabwe $700 million on Monday. At the same time, Chinese Vice
Premier Wang Qishan emphasised on a visit to Harare that he hoped Chinese
businesses would be protected from the mineral rich southern African country
plans to increase ownership by black Zimbabweans.

Zimbabwe expected to harvest about 1.7 million tonnes of grain in 2011, up
from FAO estimates of 1.3 million tonnes in 2010 season and 1.2 million
tonnes the season before.

"Most of the maize crop was at vegetative growth stages and in a fair to
good condition. This positive crop production outlook has been halted by low
rainfall activities for most of February in most parts of the country," the
U.S. Agency for International Development's famine early-warning systems
network said on its website.

"The southern half of the country appears most affected, having experienced
a dry spell of close to 20 days by late February," it said.

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15 hospitalised as ZPF youths & police disrupt MDC-T rally

By Lance Guma
21 March 2011

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party was forced to postpone to next week
Sunday a planned peace rally at the Glamis Stadium in Harare, after ZANU PF
youths and riot police camped at the venue and beat up party supporters who
tried to attend.

Close to 15 people were admitted to hospital with serious injuries while
three are said to have been abducted and taken away in ZANU PF trucks. Our
correspondent Simon Muchemwa witnessed some of the violence, telling us ZANU
PF youths undressed a woman who was passing by, leaving her naked.

“Unsuspecting members of the public were battered with heavy logs, metal
bars and whips, for merely passing through the area. Apart from the vicious
beatings, several residents said they were robbed of varying amounts of
cash, stripped of their valuables, shoes and clothing,” the MDC-T said in a

The police and youths “assaulted innocent civilians who were passing by the
venue, especially those wearing red T-shirts, on allegations that they are
MDC activists,” the MDC-T added. There were fears for the welfare of one
person hit over the head with a log, with eyewitnesses saying it was
doubtful he would survive.

When some of the MDC went to the police station to report the assaults, an
Inspector Dembedza at Harare Central allegedly told them to leave and go
back to face their assailants.
The rally had been banned after ZANU PF claims that they had also booked a
venue 500 metres away from the planned MDC-T peace rally. Police said this
could lead to violence. But no such ZANU PF function took place. The MDC-T
sought an urgent High Court injunction for their rally to proceed but, this
was turned down.

Justice George Chiweshe, who presided over the electoral commission that
cooked figures in favour of Mugabe in the 2008 presidential election, was
the same judge who threw out the MDC-T court application.

Meanwhile several hundred kilometers away in Marondera, ZANU PF thugs closed
down all the shops and beer halls in the Rujeko suburb, ordering people to
attend the signing of the so-called anti-sanctions petition.

Similar bullying was reported in Mutare over the weekend where Muchemwa said
there was violence in the eastern town of Mutare as ZANU PF again forced
people to attend their rally and sign the anti-sanctions petition. “Loads of
trucks were seen passing by the Christmas pass leading into town just before
the violence erupted,” he said.

In Bindura white commercial farmers were paraded in front of people at the
anti-sanctions rally in the mining town. According to Muchemwa the farmers
were forced to sign the anti-sanctions petition.

The MDC-T also reports that Luckmore Chida, its District Chairperson for
Sanyati, plus two other officials, were on Friday afternoon picked up by the
police and held at Kadoma Central police station. The charges are still not

The Daily News meanwhile reports that heavily armed soldiers are being
deployed in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces. In the eighties the two
provinces witnessed the Gukurahundi Massacres, after Mugabe’s elite 5th
Brigade troops massacred close to 20 000 people, perceived to be backing the
opposition ZAPU.

The deployment of the troops is said to be a deliberate tactic to intimidate
villagers by reviving memories of the atrocities. The Daily News reported a
“steady incursion of armed troops into Nkayi, Zvishavane, Plumtree, Gwanda,
Rutenga, Mwenezi and Ngungumbane areas” and increased incidents of

An example of how the army is now showing no regard for the rule of law in
any area was to be found in Harare recently, when 22 Zimbabwe National Army
officers from the Mounted Unit Regiment at Inkomo Barracks, ransacked a
lodge. They raped two women in the process and stole money from guests. Two
soldiers appeared in court charged with rape while 20 others are still at

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Zimbabweans demonstrate in London against violence – 21st March 2010



Zimbabweans demonstrate in London against violence – 21st March 2010


Zimbabwean exiles in the UK and supporters demonstrated outside the Zimbabwean Embassy and the South African High Commission in London on Monday in protest at the growing violence as Mugabe’s Zanu PF prepares for new elections.


The demonstrations were organized by the MDC UK and were supported by other groups including the Zimbabwe Vigil, Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Association and Action for Southern Africa (ACTSA) the successor organization to the Anti-Apartheid Movement.


Outside the Zimbabwe Embassy prominent demonstrators included members of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers who demanded the release of six Zimbabwean activists on trial for treason for watching a video about the uprising in Egypt.


Amid drumming and singing, over a hundred demonstrators outside nearby South Africa House carried banners reading ‘Zuma where is our road map?’, ‘Blood on Zuma’s hands’, Mugdafi stop selective justice now’, ‘Zuma publish election dossier now’, ‘AU act now’, ‘Zanu PF game is up’, ‘Mugabe stop torture, false arrests’, ‘Bloody SADC where are you? – wake up’, ‘Chihuru, Chiwenga, Shiri – Hague is waiting’, ‘Bloody Zuma – ungunthakathi’ and ‘No violence in Zim? Ask Gwisai’.


A deputation was sent to the Home Office to deliver a petition protesting at new moves to send home failed Zimbabwe asylum seekers.


The MDC UK’s Interim Organising Secretary Jeff Sango said: ‘We realise that the situation in Zimbabwe is not getting any better. We thought the government of national unity was going to change things, but we see an escalation where Mugabe and ZANU PF are very keen on not having a proper road map and free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.’ (See:


Vigil Co-ordinators

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

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Zuma Appoints New Diplomat To Harare

21/03/2011 11:55:00

Harare, March 21, 2011 – South African President Jacob Zuma has appointed a
new ambassador to Zimbabwe, Vusi Mavimbela.

Diplomatic sources told VOP on Monday Mavimbela is due to start his mission
in Harare on Friday 25 March, 2011.

He replaces Mlungisi Makhalima whose tour of duty diplomatic sources said
has come to an end.

Makhalima has been Zuma’s point-man in Harare for the past two years as the
South African leader battled to find a solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.

Mavimbela comes at a time when tension is high in the government of national
unity as President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai wrestle for

President Mugabe refused the premier permission to hold a star rally in
Harare over the weekend, further confirming fissures within the coalition
government. Zuma's facilitation team is due back in Harare this week in what
weekend papers claimed was meant to diffuse tension in the power-sharing
arrangement following heavy regional lobbying by the Prime Minister.

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MDC-N campaign prohibited

Written by Staff Reporter
Monday, 21 March 2011 06:29

CHITUNGWIZA - Zimbabwean police on Sunday prohibited the MDC led by Prof
Welshman Ncube (Pictured) from campaigning for the upcoming presidential
election in Chitungwiza. Riot police violently ejected MDC supporters from
the Unit L Hall just after the arrival of Ncube and the party's top
leadership. Despite remonstrations by the MDC-N, police ordered everyone to
disperse. This election therefore cannot be free and fair, says MDC-N Youth
Assembly spokesperson Discent Collins Bajila.
After almost 31 years in power, President Robert Mugabe, 87, is making every
effort to stay in power. His brutal crackdown on the opposition includes
implicit government approval of violence against opposition activists and
use of the largely partisan top echelons of the police force to scilence any
His actions have been widely condemned by the international community. MDC-N
spokesperson Kurauone Chohwayi said : "People have been beaten, others
hospitalised and our deputy organising secretary Laison Mushonga has been
Mushonga was arrested after taking pictures of riot police beating up MDC
supporters. Mugabe has mobilised boisterous youth, similar to the Hitler
Youth, to support his Zanu PF party.
The MDC blamed the police of disrupting its meetings and rallies in advance
of the upcoming presidential elections. It said ruling party militants,
including youth militias, have already disrupted its campaign rallies in
Under draconian security laws, police must be informed of arrangements for
rallies four days in advance. Collaboration between police and official
youth service members gave militants enough time to plan disruptions and
intimidate residents in areas around rally venues, according to the MDC.

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Zimbabweans call for an end to human rights violations

    March 21 2011 ,

Hundreds of Zimbabwean nationals marched through the streets of Johannesburg
today calling for an end to human rights violations back home. This as South
Africa celebrated National Human Rights Day.

Among the demands of the protestors, they want six of their countrymen who
were recently arrested for treason to be freed and the charges dropped.
Organiser of the march Riaad Desai says: "We are seeing more and more people
over the last few weeks going before the courts by the police charged with
treason, a charge which will lead to death penalty in Zimbabwe."  They also
want President Robert Mugabe to step down.

Socks Chikuwero fled Zimbabwe in 2001, after being arrested 11 times for
treason. He says he was tortured and that he has seen many of his countrymen
die at the hands of police. "We want to warn all the dictators that what is
happening in the Middle East and east Africa is going to come to southern
Africa and when it comes Zimbabwe is not spared, when it comes Swaziland is
not spared."

Protesters have also backed calls for a probe into the mass graves unearthed
at a mine in Harare. Human remains were discovered last week at a shaft in
Mount Darwin.

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AG Tomana faces corruption probe


Attorney General Johannes Tomana faces a government inquiry into allegations
that he corruptly used his office to shield four close allies from being

The move is likely to worsen relations in Zimbabwe's shaky inclusive

Deputy minister of Justice, Obert Gutu told the Sunday Times after studying
the Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) report, which documented
Tomana's alleged role in helping clear the four in court, he was left with
no option but to call for an inquiry.

In the report, Tomana is accused of corruptly using his office to shield
former deputy minister Bright Matonga, gold dealer Patrick Mavros, Charles
Nherera and Beauty Basile from being prosecuted for different crimes.

Gutu, who is also member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), said he will prepare a formal request to Tsvangirai
to take up the issue with the cabinet, and thereafter an inquiry will be

"In my humble opinion, that report concerns serious matters which go to the
root of the functionality and capacity of the attorney general," Gutu said.

"Let me hasten to add that this is not a political issue, because the
attorney general's office is a critical constitutional office. The people of
Zimbabwe should have total trust and confidence in whoever occupies that

"It is just a matter concerning the suitability of an individual to hold the
very important constitutional office of the attorney general."

Tomana was controversially appointed attorney general in 2008 - and his
appointment is one of the outstanding issues in the Global Political
Agreement (GPA). The report titled, "Johannes Tomana's Reign as Attorney
General of Zimbabwe - A Trail of Questionable Decisions 2011", is set to be
tabled before the cabinet next week.

Tomana has declined to comment in the media, but is fighting back.

Last week he is said to have forced publishers of a local daily newspaper to
retract a report quoting the TIZ report.

The editors of the paper responded by carrying a full page story dismissing
the TIZ report as fake in a bid to avoid being arrested. Insiders at the
newspaper said there were threats of arrest against the reporters who
covered the story, the editors and the publisher.

"The newspaper was forced to defend Tomana because they had been threatened
with arrest. That is why they dedicated the whole page virtually dismissing
the report as fake and telling the world that they had been misled," said an

But the TIZ insists the report was accurate and said it still wanted to see
the controversial Tomana being probed.

TIZ programme co-coordinator John Maketo said: "TIZ notes and appreciates
the independence of the office of the attorney general. However, the manner
in which Mr Tomana handled the cases referred in the report points to
serious abuse of office on his part."

Ministers from the MDC insisted the Tomana issue would be tabled before the
cabinet and thereafter a cabinet inquiry might be opened.

But the move is likely to face stiff resistance from Zanu-PF.

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Chombo fires more councillors

By Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Monday, 21 March 2011 17:12

HARARE - Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo has fired two Harare
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) councillors who were investigating him
for alleged fraudulent acquisition of prime land in Harare City.

Elected councillors Warship Dumba and Casper Takura were fired on Monday,
with Chombo accusing them of dishonesty, fraud and mismanagement of council
funds by a probe team appointed by the minister.

Dumba and Takura have vowed to fight for their ‘democratic’ right in the
courts, saying the minister’s action was meant to silence them after they
exposed him in the land scam.

Dumba said the minister was trying to ensure that they do not further expose
his illegal land grabs across the country. He said they reported the filthy
rich minister to the police for amassing more than 100 stand and properties
in most urban areas of the country.

“We knew that he was going to fire us and we have been waiting for this
opportunity to approach the courts of law,” Dumba said.

“It is just disappointing to note that we have been fired by a criminal,
this is like calling Satan to investigate Christians.”

“We will seek the intervention of the High Court to ensure that our rights
and the will of residents are respected.”

Chombo has been fighting with MDC councillors throughout the country and the
expulsion of the two, comes at a time when Bindura Mayor Tinashe Madamombe
is fighting charges of corruption unearthed by another probe team appointed
by the minister.

The Harare investigating team was chaired by one Andrew Makoni whom Dumba
described as a Zanu PF apologist.

“Makoni is actually a member of Zanu PF and holds an influential position in
Manicaland province,” Dumba said.

“If justice is to prevail, the probe team must also be investigated because
there is high suspicion that they could actually be beneficiaries of the
illegal land acquired by Chombo.”

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Small MDC Faction Drops Out Of Speaker's Race

21/03/2011 11:59:00

Harare, March 21, 2011 – Welshman Ncube’s smaller faction of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) has resolved not to contest the controversial
vacant post of Speaker of the House of Assembly.

The Supreme Court two weeks ago declared the post vacant which for the past
two years has been held by Morgan Tsvangirai's (MDC -T) national chairman
Lovemore Ncube, vacant, citing irregularities in the manner his election was
held in 2008.

The Supreme Court ruling sparked a jostle from Zanu (PF) and the two MDC
formations with reports that President Robert Mugabe’s party wants to field
its national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, Tsvangirai's MDC, the dethroned Moyo
while Ncube’s MDC had suggested Paul Themba Nyathi, the party’s director of

But insiders of the smaller MDC faction told Radio VOP on Monday it had been
infamously resolved to stay away from the election in which the party was
viewed as the king-maker for the post.

Kuraone Chihwayi, the deputy spokesman for the small MDC faction confirmed
to Radio VOP on Monday that the party had decided over the weekend not to
field a candidate for the position of Speaker of Parliament.

“That position is correct,” said Chihwayi. “The party has decided to make a
strategic retreat in as far as the contest for speakership is concerned. The
decision was reached after wide internal consultations,” he said, adding
that his party had some more serious political business to pursue than to
fight for speakership.

“We have decided to leave the issue of speakership to MDC T and Zanu (PF) to
fight for the position although we had presented a candidate who commands
respect from both MDC-T and Zanu (PF). We are not partnering anyone in this

Zanu (PF) and the MDC-T are understood to be tied at 96-96 members each,
leaving the parties to fight for support from the seven legislators from the
small MDC faction.

It is understood the MDC T has managed to cajole at least three of the MDC N
law-makers to vote for the former speaker when elections for the post are
called, possibly on Tuesday.

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Villagers From anti-Sanctions Rally Battling For Life After Lorry Accident

21/03/2011 11:56:00

Masvingo, March 21, 2011 – Hundreds of villagers who were being ferried to
their homes after signing President Robert Mugabe's anti-sanctions petition
are battling for their lives in Morgenster Mission Hospital here after a
lorry which they were travelling in on Sunday morning failed to negotiate a
corner and veered of the road before nose-diving into Mudzviru river - some
25 kilometres away from Masvingo town.

Speaking to Radio VOP, eye witnesses and those that had survived the
accident said the lorry was not road worthy.

“We are lucky to be alive. The lorry was ...not road worthy. We had no
option besides using the lorry because we had no money to return to our
homes,” said one of the accident victims.

Others said the lorry was overloaded while some alleged the driver was

“We were overloaded, tens of us were just clinging on the edges,” added one
of the victims.

The lorry was loaned to Zanu (PF) by the party’s secretary for
administration here, Edmund Mhere.

Mhere denied that his lorry was not road worthy.

“The fact that the lorry managed to ferry them from their homes to Mucheke
yesterday must tell you that it is road worthy. Accidents just happen no
matter how good the vehicle might be,” Mhere said.

Masvingo provincial police spokesperson Inspector Tinaye Matake could not be
reached for comment.

“We were not passionate about signing that thing, we only wanted to be seen
in good light by these Zanu (PF) people who usually beat us if we fail to
comply with their directives,” said another villager who preferred

Mugabe launched the anti sanctions petition two weeks ago in which he is
seeking millions of signatures to protest the targeted sanctions imposed on
him and senior members of his party by the west. He argues that the
sanctions are the cause of the current crisis in Zimbabwe.

Last week the media was awash of reports of school children and other
members of society being forced to sign the petition by Zanu (PF) youths and
war veterans.

Mugabe has called for elections this year to end the shaky two year
government coalition while Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said an election should only be held after a road
map by the Southern African Development Community (SADC).

The South African President Jacob Zuma, who is the mediator in Zimbabwe,
this week, sent his facilitators to Zimbabwe amid protests by Tsvangirai's
MDC that the country has been plunged into a crisis through violence
perpetrated by Zanu (PF) members and arbitrary arrests of MDC officials on
trumped up charges.

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NSSA Increases Pension Payouts

21/03/2011 11:54:00

Harare, March 21, 2011 - The financially beleaguered National Social
Security Authority (NSSA) has increased pension payouts from US 25 per month
to US$ 40.

This comes after much and heated debate by pensioners that the payouts were
very low.

The Minister of Labour and Social Services, Paulina Mpariwa, approved the
increases by NSSA.

The new payouts will be backdated to January 01.

Mpariwa said her ministry had consulted with the Worker's Compensation
Insurance Scheme who had agreed to back-dated the increases to January 1,
this year.

The ministry said the increases were currently "being processed" for
everyone but would become effective in April.
Under the National Pension Scheme (NPS) retirement pensions for those who
retired during the worthless Zimbabwe dollar period would get US$40 monthly,
up from the paltry US$25.

NSSA said survivors and invalidity pensions would now go up from US$10 to
US$25 per month, while funeral grants remained at US$200 per member.

"Minimum retirement pensions under this scheme will be set at US$40 per
month with effect from January 1, 2011," NSSA said in a statement made
available to Radio VOP.

In terms of the Workers' Compensation Insurance Scheme (WCIF) all work
injury pensions would be increased by 50 percent with effect from January 1,

The organisation said minimum work injury pensions would be increased from
US$15 per month to US$30 per month, which is a 100 percent increase much to
the delight of cash-strapped citizens.

The pension society said minimum spouses pensions would also shoot up from
US$10 per month to US$20 monthly with effect from that date.

"Minimum children's and dependent's allowances are to be set at US$10 per
month," NSSA said. "Funeral grants will, however, remain at US$200 under the

NSSA said insurance premiums, on the other hand, would be reduced by 20
percent across all industries with effect from January 1, 2011.

"NSSA pensioners will receive pension payments at the new rates on the
April, 2011 payroll including adjustments for the months of January,
February, and March, 2011," NSSA told pensioners in its statement.

The organisation had come under fire and has had various management changes
due to alleged inefficiency with accusations of rampant corruption levelled
against it.

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KP Chair Authorizes Resumption of Zimbabwe Exports – US, EU Object

(March 21, '11, 4:10 Vinod Kuriyan)

In a decision that brought instant and strong reactions from the United
States and the European Union, Kimberley Process (KP) chairman Mathieu Lapfa
Lambang Yamba of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has allowed the
resumption of rough diamond exports from Zimbabwe’s Mbada and Canadile
fields, including the exports of stockpiles.

According to information received, the United States has warned the UAE,
South Africa and India that it will publish the names of those taking
delivery of these goods on its government website to ensure that US
companies are aware of the fact that there might be KP-non-compliant goods
in what their suppliers send them. It has also said that it would ask the
Office of Foreign Assets Control, which administers all US sanctions
procedures, to scrutinize these transactions.

The EU has reportedly said that the decision was not taken through due
process and therefore could not stand.

Sources told IDEX Online that the KP chairman wrote to all participants and
observers, authorizing the immediate resumption of exports from Mbada and
Canadile and that all unresolved issues would be dealt with at the meeting
of the Working Group on Monitoring (WGM) scheduled for November 20-23 this

In his letter, the KP chairman said that according to him, the KP system was
faced with a vacuum since November 2010 as clause 3(b) remained a stumbling
block following the reservations expressed by Zimbabwe and other
participants. He noted that the issues raised in this clause pose problems
with regard to KPCS rules and procedures and that there was a need to be
more specific and remove all forms of ambiguity. He said that the stoppage
of exports by the KPCS must be subjected to “a more credible mechanism that
includes verification of allegations and due process.”

The situation is now very fluid and rapidly evolving at the time of writing.

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Zim ambassador stranded in Tripoli

By Chengetai Zvauya, Staff Writer
Monday, 21 March 2011 17:34

HARARE - As heavy fighting involving Western coalition forces continues in
Libya, Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Libya George Vengesa remains stranded in

The political instability rocking Libya has forced governments around the
world including Zimbabwe, to evacuate embassy staffers in the troubled

Some of the former embassy workers are now back home and have been
redeployed to the ministry of foreign affairs office.

Contacted for comment, Foreign Affairs permanent secretary Joey Bimha,
confirmed that Vengesa was in still in Tripoli and was safe.

‘’All countries in the Southern Africa evacuated their staff. We started
recalling them after the security situation in Libya deteriorated, and we
are monitoring the situation. We have evacuated all non-essential staff
which includes spouses and kids,” said Bimha.

Vengesa remains in Tripoli with two unnamed key staff members.

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Parties Form Committees To Deal With Violence

20/03/2011 22:40:00
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BULAWAYO, March 20, 2011-Churches in Bulawayo (CIB), a grouping of church
organizations in the city, have been elected to chair multi party peace
liaison committees that will handle issues related to election violence.

The multi-party peace liaison committees are made up of the country,s
political groupings including those that form the unity government.
The Zimbabwe Victims of Organized Violence Trust (ZIVOVT) has since late
last year been facilitating meetings between the country’s main political
parties to form the peace liaison committees.

ZIVOVT coordinator, Bekithemba Nyathi, confirmed that a representative of
the CIB Pastor Samuel Ndlovu is chairing the provincial multi-party liaison
In the committee, Zanu (PF) has taken up the post of secretary, MDC T, the
post of organising and logistics, Zapu the post of vice chairperson, Zapu
(FP) the post of information and advocacy and MDC-Ncube the post of deputy

“ This is to ensure swift response to actions and intentions of violence, ”
the ZIVOVT coordinator said in a telephone interview, adding that “ we hope
that the Zimbabwe Republic Police will also become part and parcel of the
multi-party peace committees. ”
ZIVOVT was formed last year with a mandate to assist victims of politically
motivated violence in Zimbabwe.

Felix Mafa and Edwin Ndlovu, the MDC T and MDC spokespersons respectively
both hailed the formation of the peace committees as a major step towards
ending political violence in the country.
“ It is a very noble gesture towards ending all acts of political
violence, ” Mafa said.Ndlovu added: “ The idea is noble and any sane person
would support it to stop political violence. ”
The formation of the multiparty liaison committees follows reports late last
year of a raft of changes to the country’s electoral laws, among them, the
formation of special police liaison committees to deal with election related
The special police liaison and investigation committees in provincial
centers would work with the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to deal with
intimidation and violence cases during elections.

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MISA-Zimbabwe Alert: Editors removed from remand

Written by MISA
Monday, 21 March 2011 14:04

Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) editor-in Chief Vincent Kahiya and the editor of
The Zimbabwe Independent Constantine Chimakure were on 18 March 2011 removed
from remand by Harare Magistrate Lazarus Murendo.

Kahiya and Chimakure are accused of breaching Section 31 of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform)  Act which deals with  publishing false statements
that undermines public confidence in security agents.

The two were arrested on 11 May 2009 after publishing a story headlined CIO,
Police role in Activist’ abduction revealed naming security agents that were
allegedly involved in the abduction of civic and  political activists in the
Zimbabwe Independent edition of 8-14 May 2009.

They had been attending court since 2009 but their trial could not proceed
at the Magistrates Courts after they made application for referral to
Supreme Court on 16 June 2009 challenging the constitutionality of Section
31 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act under which they are
being charged. Since then the case has been on remand.

On 16 December 2010 their lawyer  Chris Mhike applied for refusal of further
remand which the state did not oppose but simply asked the court to use its
discretion when the matter was brought for hearing on 18 March 2011.

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Paul Siwela wife hunted down by secret police

by Irene Madongo
21 March 2011

The wife of one of the jailed Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) leaders, Paul
Siwela, says she has been left traumatised after being hunted down by
members of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) last week.

Paul Siwela is being held with two other MLF leaders, John Gazi and Charles
Thomas, who were all arrested on 3rd March on treason charges, and face the
death penalty if found guilty. The allegations are that they arranged an
executive meeting in Bulawayo where they agreed to topple the government, as
happened in the Egyptian-style uprisings.

They are also being accused of distributing pamphlets that urged members of
the Zimbabwean army to defect and take up arms under a Republic of Mthwakazi
state. The trio deny that they have committed treason and say the charges
against them are trumped up.

On Tuesday last week three CID officers reportedly appeared at the Siwela
home in Bulawayo and demanded to see Mrs Enelsi Siwela. On finding she was
not at home they went to look for her at her work place. Mrs Siwela
meanwhile was tipped off that the CID were after her and decided to flee to
her lawyers.

“I was afraid, as my husband is already in prison, and I feared they would
arrest me and my children would remain without a father or a mother,” she

“The reason I went to the lawyers was I didn’t want any trauma on my
children. They are already traumatised with the father being absent. Even at
night my children are not secure,” said Mrs Siwela, who has five children.

She said after meeting her lawyers, they went to Bulawayo Central Police
station, where she was questioned by a member of the CID. “He asked me about
our private properties, Mr Siwela’s company and his political views,” she
explained, “I said, ‘look, I’m just his wife, I’ve got nothing to do with it
and I don’t know.’”

On Monday there was a bail hearing for all 3 leaders of t MLF, after the
state opposed their bail application at the High Court last week.

But the judge postponed making a decision in order to review submissions
from both the state and lawyers representing the trio. It is hoped a
decision will be made on Wednesday.

The MLF leaders are being represented by their lawyers Lucas Nkomo, Sindiso
Mazibisa and Matshobana Ncube.

The case of the MLF has reportedly caused a split in the Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR). Last week some members of the group formed a
splinter legal rights group, following allegations that the ZLHR refused to
represent the trio.

Five Bulawayo lawyers Nkomo, Mazibisa, Ncube, Robert Ndlovu and Kucaca Phulu
went on to form the Abammeli Human Rights Lawyers’ Network. Abammeli
reportedly has 40 lawyers, and said human rights defenders from the
Matabeleland region were not being adequately represented.

But on Monday ZLHR said in a statement: “As a professional law-based
organisation with limited funding for litigation, ZLHR has strict
standardised procedures for the take-up of cases by lawyers on its behalf.
The organisation does not cover cases in which lawyers deploy themselves and
then ask, or expect, ZLHR to cover their legal fees after the fact.”

“We are reliably informed that the MLF accused are already represented by 5
lawyers of their own choice, as is their constitutional right, and we wish
them the best of luck,” the ZLHR statement read.

Meanwhile, on Monday it was reported that the treason case of Gwisai and the
five other activists has been remanded until 20th April.

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Nationalization of the Zimbabwe Mining Sector: Another Blunder by the Mugabe Regime?

John Mutenyo, Africa Research Fellow, Global Economy and Development, Africa
Growth Initiative

The Brookings Institution

March 21, 2011 —
Zimbabwean Minister Saviour Kasukuwere recently announced a government plan
to partially nationalize the country’s mining sector. The announcement came
after accusations by the minister that foreign companies had all but
plundered the country’s resource wealth and left little for ordinary
Zimbabwean citizens.

On a certain level, this seems like a practical decision. Kasukuwere is
right in demanding that more money from the mines reach the Zimbabwean
people. However, the country’s experience in “land reform” 10 years ago
should serve as a precautionary tale before any decision is made.

In 2000, the Zimbabwean government seized 110,000 square km of land from
white farmers and “redistributed” them to black farmers. Most of this land,
particularly the parcels located in good farming areas, ended up in the
hands of members of President Mugabe’s political party, the ZANU-PF, or in
the hands of loyal army officials. Everyone else was given inferior farming
land, if any at all. Following this infamous “reform,” the Zimbabwean
economy tanked. Agricultural production growth fell from 3 percent in 2000
to -3 percent in just three years; net foreign direct investment inflows
made a sharp decline, from $435 million in 1998 to essentially zero in 2001;
and exports dropped from $2.1 billion to $1.3 billion in roughly the same
time frame. The economy never fully recovered from this. For the rest of the
decade, macroeconomic data showed a gloomy picture. Between 2000 and 2009,
real GDP and GDP per capita growth averaged around -6 percent; the
industrial production growth rate averaged -8.5 percent; and net foreign
direct investments averaged a paltry $35 million a year.

Zimbabwe’s decade of economic downturn followed a pattern laid by other
despotic regimes that have nationalized private investments. In Uganda, for
instance, the industrial sector collapsed and foreign direct investment
bottomed out following the nationalization program in 1972. Similarly, in
Argentina, the nationalization of the former British and French railway
companies, as well as other foreign businesses, served as the basis for the
Argentine economic crisis of the 1950s.

Furthermore, if Zimbabwe’s current plan is to redistribute income and
increase revenues for the state, the government need not nationalize private
firms to achieve these outcomes. Instead it should urge the foreign firms to
enlist their companies on the Zimbabwe stock exchange; renegotiate its
contracts with the mining companies; and, most importantly, should improve
its institutional capacity. At present, Zimbabwe is ranked among the most
corrupt countries in the world; and given this level of corruption; those
who are well positioned politically are most likely to benefit from the
nationalization effort, while the poorest and neediest aren’t likely to be
helped at all. Worse still, given the mining industry’s prominence in
Zimbabwe’s economy, disruptions to the sector could plunge the already
fragile country into an economic depression. Although Kasukuwere’s plan for
partial nationalization, possibly being implemented on March 18, might stem
from good intentions, the majority of the country won’t likely benefit from
this plan.

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Sculptures revive age of glorious stonemasonry
40 Zimbabwean artists exhibit in Joburg Mar 19, 2011 2:38 PM | By MANTOMBI MAKHUBELE

The name Zimbabwe comes from a Shona word dzimbadzamabwe which means "house of stone". So it should come as no surprise that the country has a history of stonemasonry, a tradition dating back to the 12th century.
A TON OF STONE: Carolyn Dempster collects and sells Zimbabwean sculptures Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI
A TON OF STONE: Carolyn Dempster collects and sells Zimbabwean sculptures Picture: SIMPHIWE NKWALI

The tradition finds its 21st- century expression in stone sculptures, including 75 on exhibition in Johannesburg.

Carolyn Dempster opened Rwavhi Fine Art in 2006 to cultivate an audience for Zimbabwean art.

"Zimbabwe has been getting bad publicity over the past few years; I want to show people that Zimbabwe can also produce beautiful things."

The 52-year-old former BBC Africa correspondent said she has been a passionate collector of Zimbabwean art since her twenties. Today she represents 50 Zimbabwean sculptors, 40 of whom have pieces on display at this exhibition.

When you arrive at her house in Greenside, Johannesburg - which doubles up as a gallery - you are welcomed by a big reddish-brown birdlike sculpture on the lawn - one of many adorning the tranquil garden. When you step into the lounge, more pieces are on display and there are others in the kitchen, the dining room and even the study.

"I have put them everywhere so people can understand that you can put the sculptures anywhere, even in the kitchen," Dempster explained.

"I find that people don't respond well to the art in a gallery, you have to be able to live with the piece," she said.

When asked about the birdlike sculpture outside her gate, she said that the piece is called Spirit Messenger and that it weighs just under a ton. The sculpture was made by Tafunga Bonjisi from Ruwa.

According to Dempster, Tafunga started sculpting when he was 16 and his work has been exhibited in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, South Africa, the UK and US.

"Sadly, he no longer sculpts due to the economic crisis in Zimbabwe. He now works in the hotel industry," she said.

Dempster travels once a year to Nyanga Mountains in Manicaland and rural areas of Mashonaland to seek out sculptures which she imports to South Africa.

"The people believe that the stones have a cultural and spiritual component, so before they remove it from the mountain they say a little prayer."

Simon Chidharara from Nyanga Village is one of the artists whose work is on show.

In a telephonic interview from Zimbabwe, Chidharara told Sunday Times his work is "about movement - to show life and energy".

Dempster said Chidharara likes to blend the old and the new which "often evokes the spirits of his female ancestors".

According to Dempster, Chidharara's older brother introduced him to sculpting when he was a child.

And now the 31-year-old sculptor looks up to renowned second-generation Zimbabwean sculptor Dominic Benhura.

Dempster said Chidharara had participated in several exhibitions in the National Gallery in Mutare and some of his sculptures are in people's homes and galleries around the world.

He has also participated as the artist-in-residence in Canada at the Rice Lake Gallery.

Sunday Times asked him about the impact of the economic conditions on art in his country.

"It is not the same as it used to be. Zimbabwe used to get a lot of tourists and we would sell to them. Now we rely on promoters who buy our work and sell all over the world. But I will never surrender. I chose art as a career. The sky is the limit."

Another artist whose work is on exhibition, is Buhera-born Godfrey Matangire. He now resides in Hwedza.

Dempster said Matangire started sculpting at the age of 23 as an apprentice of one of Zimbabwe's first-generation sculptors, Nicholas Mukomberanwa, for four years.

At the age of 30, Matangire stepped out on his own and he describes his art as "abstract, but strongly influenced by human behaviour".

Dempster commented that although springstone is Matangire's stone of choice, he also likes to use opal and harder rocks, such as leopard rock.

"The latter can only be tackled by more experienced artists as it is extremely hard to work with," she said.

One of his works on show, is a piece called Stone Angel made of green opal.

"Only certain people can sculpt," Matangire said.

Dempster further explained that experienced sculptors like Chidharara and Matangire use springstone (one of the hardest stones used for sculpting, it polishes to a lustrous black finish) and serpentine stone. Serpentine is found in many parts of Zimbabwe. It is said that the stone is over 300 million years old. A free resource for the community of Nyanga, people can just dig up the stone and use it without paying anybody.

The sculptures are all made out of stone; ranging from about 20cm up to more than a metre high, some of them weigh just under a ton, like the Spirit Messenger. They are all hand-carved and crafted with different textures and fascinating detail. One can expect to pay from about R1000 to well over R100000 a piece.

  • Rwavhi Fine Art Gallery is at 44 Mowbray Road in Greenside. The exhibition runs till April 10.

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Cricket-Zimbabwe to play test match against Pakistan

Mon Mar 21, 2011 6:12pm GMT

KARACHI, March 21 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will host a test match against
Pakistan in August, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) said on Monday.

Zimbabwe, who have not played test cricket since 2005 after suspending their
status due to political problems in the country, are due to play a test
match and two one-day internationals against Pakistan.

"We will be touring Zimbabwe in August to play the lone test and ODIs and we
then host Sri Lanka for a future tours program series," a PCB official said.

The Zimbabwe cricket union voluntarily suspended its test status in 2006
when the country was engulfed in political turmoil, forcing many leading
players to retire from international cricket.

Zimbabwe, also hoping to play a test against Bangladesh in 2011, offered to
tour Pakistan last year following the refusal of other teams to visit the
country because of security concerns after the attack on the Sri Lankan team
in 2009.

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An invitation to the PM the Right Honourable Mr Morgan Tsvangirai

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 20/03/11

The Right Honourable Mr Morgan Tsvangirai
The Office of the Prime Minister
Private Bag 7700

Dear Sir,

I have taken this extraordinary way of communicating my wishes to your
distinguished office not out of disrespect of protocol but in recognition of
the sensitivity of all contacts with Zimbabwean authorities especially at
this moment by someone resident in the United Kingdom. I would not be the
first person to use the words, ‘extraordinary times call for extraordinary
measures’ but add that, as long as they are legitimate means to lawful ends,
there is no harm in trying.

Accordingly, I am taking the initiative to express my personal wish that you
as our Prime Minister and MDC President pay a visit to the UK so that I and
hopefully other interested Zimbabweans can have a decent conversation with
you on how to resolve the current crisis in our country. In my view, the
situation in Zimbabwe is not getting any better politically as demonstrated
by the selective application of the rule of law, political violence and the
denial of civil liberties to hold prayer and peace rallies as well as
demonstrations in a safe and secure environment ahead of possible elections
this year. I am also concerned about the plight of Zimbabwean exiles who are
risking deportation.

Your recent efforts to engage the SADC leaders on the situation in Zimbabwe
are greatly appreciated. However, we would be deceiving ourselves by placing
all our eggs in one basket. Therefore, it is my hope and wish that we as
voters subject to confirmation, need to make an input into your options for
solving the Zimbabwean crisis. Again to avoid any possible
misrepresentations, the option we seek to discuss with you is seeking help
from the office of the United Nations Secretary General to compliment what
has been achieved so far by the SADC and the AU and help map-out a realistic
roadmap for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.

As I am of limited means, I do not want to pretend that I can arrange
tickets and accommodation but only trust that you can include the UK in your
next official overseas travel.

Yours sincerely,

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London

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