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Election of Speaker cancelled

by Patricia Mpofu     Wednesday 23 March 2011

HARARE – Zimbabwean authorities yesterday postponed indefinitely a vote to
choose a new speaker of Parliament, a move that effectively suspends the
House until further notice, while also signaling deepening strife within the
Harare coalition government.

Under the country’s laws the key House of Assembly must first elect a
Speaker before it can contact any business. The House was due to choose a
new speaker yesterday after the Supreme Court ruled three weeks ago that
former speaker and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s top ally Lovemore Moyo’s
2008 election to the post was irregular and void.

But Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma told journalists in Harare that the
vote for a new speaker would no longer go ahead partly so as to allow the
conclusion of an application by Moyo in which he wants the courts to confirm
that he reverts back to being an ordinary MP after nullification of his

“The election of the Speaker will take place on a future date to be
announced in due course …. there will be no further business of the House
until the election of the Speaker,” Zvoma said.

But Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party angrily rejected postponement of the election,
labeling Zvoma a ZANU PF functionary whose decision to defer the vote was
motivated by a desire to give President Robert Mugabe’s faction riven party
more time to agree on a candidate for the post.

“ZANU PF is scared of the vote for speaker because of factionalism and
divisions in that party …. MDC is united, and ready to win the vote together
with other progressive members of parliament across the political divide,”
read a statement issued by Tsvangirai’s party.

With the smaller MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube saying it will boycott
the speaker’s election, Tsvangirai’s party looks most likely to win the key
post. The MDC-T has 97 MPs, including Moyo while Zanu PF has 96.

But several of the MDC-T’s legislators are facing various charges and should
any be convicted and sentenced to long jail terms in the days and weeks
ahead this could see the party’s seats reduced to the advantage of ZANU PF.

Meanwhile ZANU PF insiders say the party is in a quandary over who to
sponsor as candidate for the speaker’s job.

Mugabe’s party had initially intimated it could field its chairman, Simon
Khaya Moyo, but insiders said there was lack of consensus on his candidature
despite being the most senior member of the party selected to stand.

It is understood other officials of the faction-riddled party wanted long
serving chief whip Jorum Gumbo to be the party’s candidate while others
wanted outspoken legislator for Mwenenzi East, Kudzakwashe Basikiti. -- 

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MDC plans action over ZANU PF parliament freeze

By Alex Bell
23 March 2011

The MDC says it is considering all available options, including possible
legal action, over Tuesday’s unilateral cancellation of the vote for Speaker
of Parliament.

ZANU PF Clerk of Parliament, Austin Zvoma, unilaterally froze the workings
of the House on Tuesday after announcing that the anticipated Speaker vote
would not take place. Zvoma, who is now the chief officer in Parliament
after the Supreme Court nullified the 2008 election of the MDC’s elected
Speaker Lovemore Moyo, said the House would be adjourned indefinitely. He
gave no date as to when the election would be.

”The Constitution, Standing Orders and the Supreme Court Ruling oblige us to
go back to the beginning to procedurally and lawfully fill the vacancy in
the office of Speaker created by the dissolution of Parliament at the
beginning of 2008,” Zvoma said, “Accordingly, I, as the Clerk of Parliament
duly mandated to comply with the provisions of the Constitution and Standing
Orders, do hereby announce that the election of Speaker will take place on a
future date to be announced in due course.”

The move is widely believed to have been sponsored by Zvoma’s ZANU PF party,
which is said to still be fighting over who to nominate as Speaker.
Political analyst Professor John Makumbe agreed that ZANU PF was driving the
decision of the Clerk, and called the “chaos at Parliament a sign of the
infighting in ZANU PF.”

“ZANU PF has serious problems. They can’t agree on anything, they are so
unpopular with the public, they’re also run by the military,” Makumbe said.

With this in mind, Makumbe said that the MDC should work hard at trying to
sway ZANU PF moderates within Parliament, who are already rumoured to be
more likely to vote for the MDC-T’s candidate, Lovemore Moyo, for Speaker.
Makumbe said it was a good time for the MDC-T to ensure that the vote is in
their favour, and urged the party to also work on unifying the smaller MDC
faction to this end.

“They must now work very hard to make sure that the MDC led by Welshman
Ncube also supports Moyo has Speaker,” Makumbe said. “They must also push
hard to ensure that the Clerk of Parliament calls this election as soon as
possible, regardless of whether ZANU PF is ready or not.”

MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the party is already preparing for the
election, and is “looking at all the mechanisms of ensuring the vote goes
ahead as soon as possible.” He said that legal options are still being
explored. Party Secretary General Tendai Biti said on Tuesday that the party
would consider approaching the High Court to force the Clerk to call the
election as soon as possible.


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Zanu PF picks Khaya Moyo for Speaker

23/03/2011 00:00:00
    by Lebo Nkatazo

ZANU PF on Wednesday named Zimbabwe’s former ambassador to South Africa
Simon Khaya Moyo as its candidate for the post of Speaker of Parliament
declared vacant by a Supreme Court ruling on March 10.

Joram Gumbo, Zanu PF’s chief whip, told reporters after a meeting of the
party’s MPs on Wednesday that the politburo had endorsed the choice of Khaya

Khaya-Moyo, currently the Zanu PF’s chairman, will face-off with deposed
Speaker Lovemore Moyo (MDC-T) in the vote by secret ballot on a date yet to
be announced.

The former Speaker was removed from the chair after the Supreme Court found
irregularities in his election on August 25, 2008. Six MPs displayed their
filled ballots to the MDC-T’s parliamentary leadership against voting rules.

The Welshman Ncube-led MDC has said it will not contest the poll and has
ordered its seven MPs to vacate the chamber before the closely-balanced
vote. Zanu PF has 96 MPs, the same number as MDC-T, although former Speaker
Moyo insists that he still represents his constituency of Matobo North and
is pushing for recognition.

In a statement, Ncube’s MDC said: “The MDC is focusing more on party
building and preparing for future elections. The party has decided to make a
strategic retreat in the contest for speakership, leaving the fight to Zanu
PF and Tsvangirai's MDC considering that the two are insincere partners.

“As things stand, there is no change of heart regarding the party position
on the issue. Mugabe and Tsvangirai should keep their Arthur Mutambara and
we will keep our votes.”

Addressing concerns that some of its seven MPs may have struck deals with
either Zanu PF or MDC-T to defy the party directive, the MDC warned: “The
party has the capacity to deal with political prostitutes in its ranks if
there are any.”

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Civil rights groups predict election violence in Zimbabwe

Civil rights leaders say elections are near impossible at this stage
Published: 2011/03/23 07:17:09 PM

Zimbabwean civil society organizations have said holding free, fair and
democratic elections in that country is near impossible.

This was the view of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition programmes manager
Pedzisani Ruhanya, who told a media briefing in Johannesburg on Wednesday
that the Global Political Agreement (GPA) achieved in 2008 no longer exists
and human rights abuses are occurring daily.

"Zanu-PF has decided to go back to its old way of lawlessness, its old way
of human rights violations and its old way of violating the fundamentals of
civil and political liberties of Zimbabweans.

"For the past months MDC members of parliament and cabinet ministers along
with civil society leaders have been arrested. Zanu-PF is talking about
having elections, but the infrastructure of holding the elections is
non-existent," he warned.

Pelagia Razemba, Deputy National Chairperson of Zimbabwe Human Rights
Association concurred with Ruhanya, saying that human rights violations have
recently escalated in the country, with Zanu-PF aligned youth militia being
used to attack civilians.

"The human rights situation is at a crisis level. We are really getting
scared for our lives as we live there," she said.

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Zimbabwe human rights group calls for international intervention

Mar 23, 2011, 17:57 GMT

Johannesburg - A Zimbabwean human rights group on Wednesday questioned why
Africa and the United Nations were intervening in conflicts in Libya and
Ivory Coast, while largely ignoring events in Zimbabwe.

'It's all very well to mediate in the Ivory Coast and Libya, but what about
Zimbabwe?' Pedzisai Ruhanya of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition asked a
media briefing in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He said elections that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was planning
presented an opportunity for South Africa, the African Union, the Southern
African Development Community and the United Nations to be proactive in
restoring stability there, because 'we don't want to come to the point of
Libya and see rivers of blood.'

Ruhanya compared Zimbabwean civil rights groups' struggle against Mugabe to
that of blacks under apartheid South Africa, and noted that the
international community clearly targeted the South African government with
sanctions and isolation during the apartheid era.

Ruhanya said human rights activists in Zimbabwe wanted the international
community to monitor the unity government and should at least deploy
monitors with peacekeeping powers, rather than just observers.

Mugabe's government is regularly criticized for human rights abuses.

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Mugabe allies bid to collapse govt

by Edward Jones     Wednesday 23 March 2011

HARARE – Hardliners close to President Robert Mugabe have embarked on an
overt drive to frustrate Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai into quitting the
fragile coalition government as part of a wider campaign to trigger fresh
elections this year that ZANU-PF feels increasingly confident it will win,
analysts said.

Mugabe has previously said he wanted the two-year-old unity government to
wind down this year and hold elections, which Tsvangirai has warned his
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party would boycott if they were held
without a new constitution and electoral reforms to ensure a free and fair

ZANU-PF has regained its stride again after the election defeat to the MDC
in 2008, analysts said, and the former liberation movement now believes a
propaganda offensive peppered with an anti-sanctions campaign and
indigenisation drive, cash from diamonds and violence will carry the day at
the ballot box.

“ZANU-PF believes that it has generated some momentum now and will not want
to lose that by delaying the elections,” said Eldred Masunungure, who chairs
the Mass Public Opinion think-tank.

“It has now become very clear that the plan is to bring political pressure
to bear on Tsvangirai so that he has no other option but to walk away from
the coalition.”

The already shaky unity government has recently been rocked by the arrests
of several MDC legislators and Energy and Power Development Minister Elton
Mangoma on charges of criminal abuse of office and the nullification of the
election of Lovemore Moyo, MDC chairman, as election Speaker.

Yesterday the planned vote for the new Speaker was postponed indefinitely to
allow the conclusion of a court challenge by Moyo although sources in
ZANU-PF said this was meant to give the party time to reach consensus on a

The unrelenting onslaught on Tsvangirai has reached fever pitch with senior
ZANU-PF officials openly attacking the Prime Minister on state television
and pushing for his arrest on contempt of court charges after his attack on
Supreme Court judges for the ruling on Moyo’s election.

Tsvangirai has dared ZANU-PF, saying his arrest will lead to the collapse of
the unity government.

“I can say ZANU-PF is firmly back in its default mode doing what it knows
best. Their message to Tsvangirai is that ‘you are impotent, nothing has
changed with the formation of this unity government’,” John Makumbe, a
senior political science lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe said.

New Battlefront

The formation of the unity government in 2009 after protracted negotiations
between the MDC and ZANU-PF brought optimism among Zimbabwe’s restive
population, which hoped to see an end to violence, a dramatic improvement in
the economy and billions of dollars in Western aid that would lead to new
jobs in a country where eight out of ten people have no formal employment.

But while the economy has stabilised with consecutive growth and inflation,
which spiraled to more than 500 billion percent in 2008, is back in single
digit figures, economic analysts warn that Zimbabwe is still at great risk
of sliding back into chaos with Mugabe’s controversial policies.

These include a push by Mugabe to nationalise mines and seize foreign
companies under a controversial indigenisation policy that will also target
companies from countries that have imposed sanctions on Mugabe and his
ZANU-PF allies.

This has opened another battlefront between ZANU-PF and MDC, which fears
indigenisation will be used to enrich a clique around Mugabe as happened
with the land reforms where mostly ZANU-PF supporters carved out fertile
farms from white commercial farms at the expense of ordinary Zimbabweans.

“They want to frustrate and wear us down. The harassment, lies and
embarrassment we endure at great sacrifice is all meant to drive us to
breaking point, to quit the unity government,” Nelson Chamisa, the MDC
spokesman said. “But we will not be stampeded out. We are here to save the
people of Zimbabwe who gave us that mandate.”

With pressure mounting from ZANU-PF, Tsvangirai faces anger from his own
impatient supporters who feel he is being outfoxed by 87-year-old Mugabe,
one of the oldest leaders in Africa who has been in power since independence
in 1980.

MDC supporters want an end to what they feel is police brutality for the
former opposition leader to give the go ahead for them to retaliate violence
from ZANU-PF supporters, which Tsvangirai is against.

Political analysts said ZANU-PF hardliners were out to expose Tsvangirai as
an impotent leader, and that Mugabe was still fully in charge even after
agreeing to share power.

Police have banned several MDC meetings throughout the country and last week
banned a peace rally which Tsvangirai planned to address, saying ZANU-PF had
booked an adjacent venue and law enforcement agents would not have personnel
to monitor the MDC rally.

Diamonds and China

Political analysts said ZANU-PF was confident that it could navigate the
economy on its own, banking on the millions that the country stands to get
from the controversial Marange or Chiadzwa diamond fields and funds that are
starting to come from long time ally China.

Wikileaks released confidential U.S. State Department cables last year which
said Mugabe’s wife Grace and several senior military officers were part of a
cartel linked to Mugabe who were salting away diamonds worth millions from

The diamonds have already courted controversy after the mines ministry
declared it had sold $313 million worth of stones and that while $174
million is supposed to go to treasury, only $167 million has been accounted

But it could be the coming in of China, which this week unveiled a clutch of
loans worth $700 million to held Zimbabwe’s stricken economy, that will
convince ZANU-PF it finally has a solid financial backer to beat the MDC at
the polls.

China, now the second largest economy in the world is seeking mineral
resources in Zimbabwe to feed into its fast expanding economy.

Beijing is stepping up its investment in the mineral rich southern African
country and maybe looking to fill the void left by the West, which has
slapped sanctions on Mugabe and his ZANU-PF allies.

“The diamonds will prove to be a curse for Zimbabwe. But the devil could be
China with its financial help that will act as a catalyst to ZANU-PF’s plans
to bulldoze its way to elections this year,” Makumbe said.

“I think ZANU-PF has reached a point where they think with diamonds and
China they can survive without the West, they will feel insulated.” -- 

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Mugabe’s health costs us $12m in 4 months

Written by Chief Reporter
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 13:55

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe draws $3million from the treasury each time
he travels to Singapore for medical check-ups, Finance Minister Tendai Biti
has confirmed.

Biti refused to comment on the matter and flatly declined to give any
details. But authoritative government sources said the state had paid $12
million towards medical bills accumulated by the head of state for his
nagging ailments over the past four months.

The Zimbabwean understands that government has been footing all the hospital
bills and transportation.

Mugabe has travelled to Singapore four times already this year, including
his annual holiday in January, where he is also understood to have undergone
medical check-ups.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba has said Mugabe, 87, is undergoing
"routine cataract surgery" and has rubbished mounting speculation that he is
undergoing chemotherapy for prostrate cancer. But sources have told The
Zimbabwean that Mugabe regularly consults his Malaysian urologist Mahmood
Awang Kechik, who is his personal physician, whose medical practice has sent
medical equipment to Harare for the president.

At his 87th birthday celebrations last month, an increasingly frail Mugabe
said that even if his body "may get spent," his mind remained alert.

Apart from concern that he is wasting so much state money on his trips
abroad for medical reasons, there is also concern about his long absences
from work because of the frequently recurring medical check-ups. He has
spent seven weeks in Asia since December - a full month of that time
ostensibly for eye surgery.

The state budget provides for official presidential trips overseas, but Biti
has lamented high budget overruns on foreign travel. He is on record as
saying that government officials blew nearly US$30 million on foreign travel
last year alone – which impacted badly on his austerity measures.

Up to October last year, foreign travel costs amounted to $29.2 million –
some three percent of total recurrent expenditure over the same period.
Expenditure overran the budget by $5million. Already this year Mugabe's
trips alone have blown half the travel budget. Economic analysts say this is
unacceptably high in relation to other critical expenditure areas.

Biti said in his 2011 budget proposals that the treasury would move to
enforce tougher restrictions on the government’s travel budget after it
emerged that officials were spending more on foreign trips than the
government did on healthcare for the entire civil service. He has, however,
been powerless to resist Mugabe’s demands.

Besides his medical check-up trips, Mugabe has undertaken a series of
overseas trips. During a recent UN trip he took with him about 80

"It is worth reminding everyone that this is the people's money being that
is being spent," said political commentator Ronald Shumba. Critics say the
numbers are too high at a time when Zimbabwe's economy is struggling and
when civil service heads have been ordered to cut all non-essential foreign
travel. The massive foreign travel budget is an affront to the $200 paid to
most civil servants, said one critic.

“The budget for presidential travel abroad is clear evidence of how the
president has wasted money in the face of people’s poverty,” Shumba said.
"Surely he can cut costs by seeking local treatment. We don’t have to be
spending so much money on foreign doctors. It’s an affront on his
indigenisation drive. Is he saying the local doctors are not good enough for
him? Or this is the price we are paying for his obsession to keep his
medical condition secret?"

He pointed out that, in addition to funds for official visits, the budget
provided for the president’s clothing allowance as well as millions of
dollars for security.

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Marange’s diamonds not for export – diamond council

By: Brindaveni Naidoo
23rd March 2011

JOHANNESBURG ( – In the midst of reports indicating that
Zimbabwe has received the green light to export rough diamonds from the
Marange fields, the World Diamond Council (WDC) has urged members of the
international diamond industry to refrain from trading in and exporting
goods from Marange.

The council said that it had been widely reported that Kimberley Process
(KP) chairperson Mathieu Yamba recently issued a statement that deferred
discussion on unresolved issues to the Working Group on Monitoring, but [in
the meantime] permitted Zimbabwe to export rough diamond shipments from the
two official concessions in the Marange region, subject to oversight by the
appointed Monitor.

Media reports quoted a letter in which Yamba said: "With immediate effect,
Zimbabwe is hereby authorised to resume exports from the compliant mining
operations of Mbada and Canadile.”

Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Miners are two companies in joint ventures with
the State's Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

Nongovernmental organisation Global Witness campaigner Elly Harrowell told
Mining Weekly Online that this decision made by Yamba is ‘worrying’.

“We hope he will retract it. All KP decision-making is governed by the
principle of consensus, but the chairperson appears to have disregarded this
to unilaterally push through a decision that goes against the wishes of
numerous KP members. This sets a dangerous precedent, which could have
serious repercussions for the future of the scheme.

“It could also have grave consequences for efforts to combat abuse and
illegality in Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields – if the decision stands, it
would allow massive diamond exports with little or no oversight by the
anti-blood diamond scheme,” said the London-based Harrowell.

Global Witness director Charmian Gooch previously said that disputed
diamonds from Marange posed a real threat to the integrity of the diamond
supply chain. “By refusing to buy these stones, the industry could reinforce
the strength and credibility of the KP, and chart a path to a satisfactory
agreement on Marange diamonds.”

In February, the WDC said that through prescribed procedure, member
governments of the KP gave their agreement to a document that would allow
for the recommencement of exports from approved concessions in the Marange

As outlined in the document, this approval is subject to agreement on
continued oversight and monitoring.

“Before exports could resume, however, the authorities in Zimbabwe needed to
complete a series on consultations with Yamba, representing the Democratic
Republic of Congo.”

The WDC said on Wednesday, that KP participant countries, including the US,
Canada, Israel and the European Union were seeking clarity on procedural
issues surrounding this document, and have indicated that exports should not
be permitted until the issues have been resolved and explained.

“The WDC would like to assure all parties involved that it retains at their
disposal to lend assistance and contribute to any initiative that will
resolve outstanding issues, while protecting the credibility of the KP.”

The KP annual plenary meeting, in Jerusalem, last year ended without
agreement on Marange following four days of negotiations.

“Restrictions on the export of stones from the diamond fields in eastern
Zimbabwe have been in place for the past year [2010] under the terms of a
‘Joint Work Plan’ agreed between the KP and the Zimbabwean government. The
restrictions were imposed following the killing of over two hundred miners,
in Marange, by the Zimbabwean security forces, in late 2008 and patterns of
violence and smuggling that persisted thereafter,” Global Witness said.

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JOMIC co-chair Mushonga admits committee has no power

By Tererai Karimakwenda
23 March, 2011

An admission has finally come from one of the officials heading the Joint
Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), that the institution has no
power to stop the deterioration of the political situation in Zimbabwe.

In the wake of escalating political violence and illegal arrests of
activists JOMIC co-chairperson, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, reportedly
admitted on Tuesday that the committee had no power to end the crisis in the
country and was looking to SADC to intervene.

Describing the turn of events as a “smart coup”, Mushonga said JOMIC and
other civic organizations had been rendered useless. “There is nothing we
can do because JOMIC is a creature of the inclusive government, whose
decisions are being overridden,” she is quoted as saying.

The statement has been welcomed by many observers who also noted that the
committee never had any power in the first place. Luke Zunga of the Global
Zimbabwe Forum, described Mushonga’s admission as a positive first step that
can lead to alternative actions. “It is a confirmation of what we have been
saying. The GPA is a non-starter and this is an opportunity to look
elsewhere,” said Zunga.

Regarding the next step, Mushonga said that all JOMIC could do was write
reports about incidents in the country and forward them to the SADC
facilitation team of South Africa’s president Zuma. The team would then
report to the SADC troika and then to SADC summits.

This approach drew criticism from Zunga, who said it is widely accepted that
SADC has no political will to change the situation in Zimbabwe. “We need to
look past SADC and past the AU because they will not do anything to help end
the Zimbabwean crisis,” said Zunga.

He added: “Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai should use his authority as a
top government official to legally approach the United Nations and seek
their help removing a dictator.”
Just last week Tsvangirai told journalists that “dark and sinister” forces
had engaged in a “hostile takeover” in running the affairs of the country.
Speaking at a press conference on his return from a tour where he briefed
regional leaders about the ongoing crackdown, Tsvangirai admitted the
coalition government was not working.

Zunga said the Prime Minister and the MDC should now focus on convincing the
UN that it is up to them to help Zimbabweans, because no help is coming from
SADC and the AU.

He described the growing acceptance by MDC officials that they have no
power, and their willingness to admit this, as an encouraging sign.

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Report P R Hapelt






17 March 2011


Mr Hapelt was alone in the farm house on Thursday around 1 pm, when Mr Mangena arrived with a gang of about fifteen youths.  He was also accompanied by a man believed to be a Mr Sibanda who was very militant, aggressive and confrontational. In addition to these men, Mr Hapelt was confronted by a delegation purporting to be from the Ministry of Lands.  The delegation consisted of a Policeman from Gweru and a lady, Susan, from the Gweru Lands office.  They claimed to have an eviction notice from the Ministry of Lands.


For several hours Mr Hapelt was forced to lock himself in the farm house while the youth rampaged around the perimeter fence.   The youth appeared to be intoxicated and menacing and were kicking and lashing out at Mr Hapelts dogs, through the fence.  In the presence of the Police officer, Mr Mangena and his accomplices threatened Mr Hapelt and his workers who were forced to sit down and were told they were not allowed to work.


Mr Mangena informed Mr Hapelt he would arrive at the farm on Friday to forcefully remove him and his cattle from the farm.  He also stated that should his men decide to get violent, “he would look the other way”. Mr Hapelt was confused as to how he could be evicted by Mr Mangena before his court case which is to be heard in April.  Mr Mangena said the document he had superceded any Court document and he would be back to carry out his threats to evict the Hapelts the next day, Friday. He left a document signed by Mr Joseph Shoko of the Lands Committee saying Mangena owned the farm.  The document was a poor photocopy with Mr Syd Shaws name crossed out and Mr Hapelts name hand written over this.


Mr Hapelt is frail and unwell. On her return from Gweru, Mrs Hapelt found her husband had collapsed after the confrontation with Mr Mangena, and had to be confined to bed.


The Hapelts daughter, Mrs Nixon, heard about the incident and fearing for her father’s safety, phoned the South African Embassy asking them to intervene and help resolve the situation.  She spoke to Gary Smith of the SA Embassy who was very sympathetic but did not seem to think the situation was that serious or that Mr Mangena would return the next day.  He stressed that Mr Mangena had no right to do this as the issue was to be presented in the Gweru Magistrates on 1st April.


Friday 18th March


On Friday morning, as promised, Mr Mangena and his gang of youth arrived back at  Grasslands Farm and once again besieged the farm house.  Mr Mangena said he had given the Hapelts plenty of time to move and he would no longer wait for them.  The youth again appeared to be intoxicated and again started rampaging around the security fence of the house.

Mrs Hapelt was in Gweru when she heard of the situation at Grasslands.  She went to Gweru Rural police station where the police were dismissive and refused to help her.  The front office maintained Mr Nemo, officer in charge was away however, Mrs Hapelt found him in his office.  The police eventually went to Grasslands farm but returned to Gweru saying they could not do anything to assist her.


Despite the volatile situation, brave neighbours of the Hapelts arrived to try and help.  When Mr Hapelt went to open the gate for them, the drunken mob attacked and tried to enter the security fence.  Mr Hapelts hand was injured in the scuffle but he managed to get the gates closed again.


When Mrs Nixon was made aware of the situation she again made several calls to the South African embassy to ask them to try and help.  She managed to speak to the Ambassador who was unfortunately in a conference so could not help.  She also spoke to Mr Simmins and Mr Smith who again were sympathetic and said they would brief the Ambassador of the situation.   


The Mob surrounding the farm had become more aggressive and threatened to cut the fence and begin evicting Mr Hapelt.  When Mrs Hapelt realised that the police were not going to assist she returned to the farm fearing for the safety of her husband and her neighbours.  Mr Mangena said unless the Hapelts instantly agreed to start leaving the farm he would begin the eviction immediately.  With the help of their neighbours, the Hapelts had to negotiate with Mr Mangena to defuse the situation.  Under duress and fearing for their safety, they agreed to agree to start vacating the farm.


Mr Mangena has insisted that the Hapelts attend a meeting on Friday 25th March at the Lands office in Gweru.  He warned them that if they did not show up for the meeting the consequences of their actions would be dire. The Hapelts are not sure why they have to attend this meeting but they are fearful of what may happen if they do not attend.


Mr Mangena forced the Hapelts to cancel a social gathering which had been planned for Saturday lunch.  He said he would only allow family to visit them and the Hapelts were not to have other people visiting.  He also indicated that he wanted them to pay him rent and pay for grazing for three years.


Mr and Mrs Hapelt have spent the weekend packing up and moving their possessions from the farm house.  Mr Hapelt has moved his cattle on to the Heeltap farm which adjoins Grasslands Farm.  Mr Mangenas cattle are also currently grazing on this farm as there is no fence demarcating the boundaries of the two farms. 

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City of Harare disconnecting residents' water in Kuwadzana Extension

Written by HRT Information
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 09:44

Kuwadzana Extension- the Harare Residents' Trust (HRT) is seriously
concerned with the attitude of the City of Harare towards residents,
following widespread water disconnections over unpaid rates. This action
represents the arrogance of the local authority when dealing with sensitive
issues. The HRT reiterates that water disconnections are illegal and should
not be tolerated by overburdened residents.

Key Facts to Know about the Water Crisis:
1   Rates and water charges are indicated on one sheet of paper. This
creates confusion on what aspect of the bills they are dealing with.
2   Residents cannot and will not pay for estimated water bills.
3   If one pays part of their outstanding bill, the following month the
bills increase to unjustified levels, not indicating any payments made
4   The City of Harare has obsolete billing equipment, meaning their billing
system is outdated and remains inconsistent.
5    The water charges as represented by the bills dispatched to residents
represent illegality because the purported charges were set without
residents? input, and it is part of the case filed by the HRT?s
representatives on 18 March 2011 in the High Court under Case Number HC2830/
Given these facts, the HRT urges residents of Harare to intensify their
refusal to pay all outstanding bills to the City of Harare until;
a.    Finalization of the Court Case which has been filed top contest the
2011 City Budget.
b.    The City of Harare has reduced the rates to levels demanded by the

In the meantime residents are urged to pay at most US$15 for all rates,
including water, refuse, and supplementary charges. Because of the
unrepentant attitude of the City of Harare, residents in their numbers are
urged to make court applications demanding compensation from the City of
Harare for the damage on their vehicles due to the many potholes on their
roads. There is a precedent to this matter. On Friday 9 February 2007, the
High Court ordered the City of Harare to pay top banker Ms Pindie Nyandoro
Z$1, 6 million in damages for damages to her top-of-the-range Mercedes Benz
vehicle after hitting a pothole while driving along Enterprise Road.
The HRT condemns the behavior of City officials who have let down the
residents by carrying out illegal instructions to disconnect water- a right
that cannot be taken away for any treason, considering the impact of water

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Journalist Turned Politician Wins MDC Primary Elections

23/03/2011 18:38:00

Masvingo, MARCH 23, 2011 - Former Daily News bureau chief for Masvingo
province, Energy Bara, has swapped the pen for politics.

Bara, who is also the chairperson of the advocacy committee of the Media
Institute of Southern Africa (MISA-Masvingo chapter), won the primary
elections of the Morgan Tsvangirai led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC -
T) over the weekend and will represent the party in council elections if the
much talked about 2011 polls are held this year.

Bara trounced Masvingo City Council deputy mayor, Selina Maridza in the
MDC-T primary elections for ward one.

MDC-T provincial chair, Wilstuff Sitemere, confirmed that Bara had won.

In an interview, Bara said he was frustrated by the long wait he underwent
after the Daily News was banned by the government.

The Daily news, is, however, set to return with the launch issue which hit
the streets last Friday.

"The pace of media reforms in Zimbabwe is very slow. I was fed up of waiting
and being unemployed. That is why i opted for politics," said Bara.

He said he does not regret his choice.

"Journalism is an interesting profession in other countries. But in
Zimbabwe, it seems like a crime to be a scribe. You have so many hassles.

Because of the shrinked nature of the industry, the salaries are low-in
fact, Zim journalists are the least paid in the region. So I had no choice,
I had to look at other opportunities to keep my head above the water," he

Bara is not the first journalist who has opted for politics. The former
editors of the defunct Tribune newspaper, Kindness Paradza and another
journalist Makhosini Hlongwani have in the past traded their pens for

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Power-sharing failure admission needed

23 March, 2011 04:29:00    sapa

SOUTH AFRICA and the international community need to acknowledge the
power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe has failed to resolve the country's
leadership crisis, Human Rights Watch said on Wednesday.
"We have had no acknowledgement from South Africa, or any country, that the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) did probably not resolve the crisis,"
organisation spokeswoman Tiseke Kasambala told reporters in Johannesburg.

"There have been no acknowledgements of the dangers being faced here... that
this is a repeat cycle... of lack of accountability and justice."

There had been increasing political violence and human rights abuses in the
wake of calls by Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party to
hold elections and bring an end to the coalition government.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission however had been silent on the matter.

A Human Rights Watch report on the country stated the South African
government and SADC countries had done very little to intervene in the
country's crisis.

Instead, President Jacob Zuma and other leaders called for the lifting of
targeted sanctions imposed by the US and European Union on Mugabe and his
inner circle, arguing they were an obstacle to the progress of the
power-sharing government.

"There is no longer a truce [in the government], but open violence," Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesman Dewa Mavhinga said.

"Should the elections be rigged, which they will, Morgan Tsvangirai has
called for a clean divorce from Zanu-PF."

He called for intervention in the election process by South Africa, the
Southern African Development Community, the African Union and United

"We need them to monitor the situation on the ground and make sure elections
are free, fair and peaceful," he said.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition is a group of more than 350 civil society
organisations, formed in August 2001 in response to the human rights and
leadership crisis facing the nation.


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End of GNU?

Written by Munyaradzi Dube
Wednesday, 23 March 2011 13:43

HARARE - The Attorney-General’s office has drafted an indictment for the
arrest of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai  on contempt of court charges.

Well-placed sources in the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs told The
Zimbabwean that Chief Law Officer Chris Mutangadura had prepared the
document to be sent to the police, who will arrest Tsvangirai.

Soon after the dethroning of Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo by a
Supreme Court ruling that nullified his election, Tsvangirai described the
bench as a, “willing appendage of Zanu (PF).”

Responding news of his possible arrest Tsvangirai said it would be the end
of the GNU.  “If there are people who want to arrest me, I am here and I don’t
think I want to run away,” he said. “I have heard about it (the arrest) and
we will see how they proceed but that will be the last nail in this whole
delicate and fragile government.”

According to the draft, Tsvangirai will be charged under Section 82(1)
subsections (a) and (b) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act,
for his comments about the bench.

The section reads: “Any person who, by any act or omission, impairs the
dignity, reputation or authority of a court – intending to do so or
realising that there is a real risk or possibility that his or her act or
omission may have such an effect, shall be guilty of contempt of court and
liable to a fine not exceeding level six or imprisonment for a period not
exceeding one year or both.”

Contacted for comment, Mutangadura professed ignorance, “I have not seen
such a document I will be in a position to inform you tomorrow,” he said.

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Mass graves raise more questions than answers

By Lance Guma
23 March 2011

The manner in which mass graves are being ‘discovered’ and bodies exhumed
from various disused mines in the country is raising more questions than it
is providing answers, various commentators have said.

The Fallen Hero’s Trust, an obscure group aligned to ZANU PF, claims to have
discovered 19 mass graves in the Mount Darwin district, with the remains of
what it says are thousands of people massacred by the white minority regime
before independence and thrown into the Monkey William Mine in Bembera

Just like the anti-sanctions petition ZANU PF have carefully coordinated the
exhumations, giving them prime time viewing on national television. The plan
is said to involve whipping up emotions against the West for past atrocities
committed by the Rhodesian regime and tie this in with the Wests targeted
sanctions against members of the Mugabe regime.

But questions have begun to emerge that raise doubts about whether the
bodies being exhumed are those of people killed before independence, or
after. In the eighties Mugabe’s crack 5th brigade troops massacred close to
20 000 people in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, while thousands of
MDC supporters have been killed in the nearly 12 years the party has been in

When diamonds where discovered in the Chiadzwa fields of the Marange
district, the army quickly moved and began slaughtering hundreds of illegal
panners, using helicopter gunships. Reports began to emerge of ZANU PF
attempts to bury the bodies but council after council refused to give
permission for any mass burials. Its speculated the bodies were eventually
quietly disposed of.

Some of the bodies being exhumed and shown on television still had hair and
clothes intact and dripping body fluids. Questions are being raised about
how can they be people killed 32 years ago. The manner of the exhumations
has also been criticized for having no proper pathology or DNA testing to
determine the identity of the bodies. The bodies are just being placed in a
heap on the site with no proper handling.

Shockingly the NewsDay newspaper reports that schoolchildren, teachers and
villagers were last Friday “forced to go underground and view the bodies so
that they would appreciate the extent of the brutalities of the Rhodesian

This ‘propaganda at all costs mentality’ has been highly criticized as
nothing more than child abuse. Children should never be subjected to the
horrific viewing of dead bodies.

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Skeletons to the rescue

23 March, 2011 08:19:00    by John Makumbe

OPINION - Desperate to shore up some political support from the people of
this country, Zanu (PF) has now resorted to the exhumation of the skeletons
of some of the victims of the liberation struggle in the Shamva area.

It is sad to think that the alleged atrocities were committed more than 30
years ago, but the exhumations are only being undertaken today, as if the
powers that be did not know of the existence of these mine shafts and their
gory contents

Was it not Robert Mugabe who, on the day Zimbabwe attained national
Independence, said, “If yesterday you were my enemy, today you are my
friend…?” For 30 years as chief executive of this country, Mugabe
deliberately turned a blind eye to virtually all the violent atrocities that
were committed by the Smith regime during the liberation struggle.

Why? Well, because he knows that he has perhaps just as many of his own
skeletons to hide from the nation. We wait to see whether the group that is
actively appealing for money to enable them to exhume these skeletons will
proceed to Matabeleland as well and do the same gory work.

What is even more amazing is the manner in which the skeletons are being
hauled from the mine shaft, stuffed into plastic bags and supposedly handed
over to “relatives” for decent reburial. There are no scientific methods of
accurate identification of most of these victims. Some of the skeletons are
literally just gathered by hand and lumped together as belonging to someone
without any proof whatsoever of who that someone was.

In the end, some families are going to be forced to bury skeletons of people
they had no relationship with. This could easily open Pandora’s Box as some
spirits may visit these families with a vengeance. Some opportunistic
traditional leaders have suddenly come alive with all manner of tall tales
about how some of these skeletons met their fate. The question we ask them
is, “Where were you all these 30 years?” Why did you not challenge the
Mugabe government to give these victims of the struggle a decent burial?

The truth of the matter is that not all of these skeletons are from the
atrocities committed by the Smith regime. There is a strong possibility that
the Mugabe government may have also used the same “burial” place to dumb
some of its own skeletons. We know that there are many people who have
disappeared from the face of the earth as a result of the brutal work of the
Mugabe regime.

Perhaps Rashiwe Guzha’s skeleton is among those that are being exhumed
today. How convenient it would be for such a skeleton to be found among the
hundreds that may have died at the hands of the Smith regime. Like all
others, the skeleton would not be identified, and so the desperate regime
would not need to answer any awkward questions.

How many victims of the work of the CIO are among the skeletons being
exhumed today? When will the group that is doing this work visit Domboshawa
to exhume the bodies of several soldiers that were “buried” there by night
only a few years ago?
The people of Matabeleland should organize themselves and safeguard the
sacred sites where their loved ones were unceremoniously dumped by the Fifth
Brigade during the Gukurahundi “madness.”

Those sites should not be interfered with by Zanu (PF) sponsored groups
masquerading as people that are concerned about giving the victims of the
Smith regime a decent burial. These people have the critical agenda of
messing up the evidence as well as marshalling political support for the
ailing Zanu (PF) party.

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USAID Marks World Water Day in Zimbabwe through Landmark Rainwater 'Harvesting' Program

Harare, March 23, 2011: To commemorate World Water Day (March 22), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Harare today demonstrated the efficiency and effectiveness of rainwater collection activities at Tasimukira Primary School in Chitungwiza.  The Peri-urban ROOFtop Rainwater ‘Harvesting’ (PROOF) program, which began in June 2009, provides safe drinking water to over 25,000 Zimbabweans in urban and rural areas.


International World Water Day was initiated by the United Nations in 1993.  It is held annually on 22 March as a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.  The objective of World Water Day 2011 is to focus international attention on the impact of rapid urban population growth, industrialization and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems.


USAID’s PROOF program is run by NGO International Relief and Development (IRD) on behalf of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).  The initial phase of the program focused on the high density suburbs of Harare and Chitungwiza.  In June 2010, it expanded into Mutare and Buhera in southeastern Zimbabwe.


To date, PROOF has installed 805 rain water collection systems serving 2,653 households and eight schools with 26,321 total beneficiaries. All components of the rain water harvesting (RWH) systems are manufactured in Zimbabwe, creating jobs and a nascent rain water collection industry in the free market.


USAID Director Karen Freeman praised the program saying, “USAID, through its Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, is proud to contribute rain water collection systems that will provide medium-term access to clean water for families and schools. With the expansion of the program to rural areas, we anticipate a bigger impact.  This is particularly important for overburdened rural schools, which are trying to teach students while maintaining basic infrastructure with few resources.”


Rain water collection systems consist of roof gutters and a water storage tank.  The equipment provides abundant clean water during the rainy season, when the highest incidents of waterborne diseases, such as cholera and typhoid fever, are seen. With regulated consumption and sufficient water storage capacity, these rainwater collection systems can provide clean drinking water all year round.


In addition to improving access to clean water, the PROOF Rainwater Harvesting program also engages communities in water, sanitation and health activities, and serves as an example of rainwater collection for other NGOs and local institutions.  In addition, all parts of the rainwater harvesting system are manufactured in Zimbabwe and the project has generated work for 16 teams of builders and 8 teams of plumbers. All equipment used by the PROOF program was manufactured at four local factories.


The U.S. Agency for International Development has provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for almost 50 years. For more information on USAID programs, please visit


Comments and queries should be addressed to Ms. Cary Jimenez, USAID Communications Officer. E-mail:   Tel. +263 4 250 992.


Or Sharon Hudson-Dean, U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Officer:  Tel. +263 4 758800-1. 



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In defense of greed

Beyond the stubborn devious acts by Zanu Pf and the Mugabe regime of denying
change, it is apparent that greed for power and wealth has become the life
blood of this aging regime. Reports and revelations on the amounts and
increase of personal wealth being accumulated by and among Zanu Pf elites
and those within the connections clearly show the power and effects of
unchecked greed. In its attempt to stifle and hoodwink Zimbabweans, the
Mugabe regime and its state machinery have embarked on a vindictive self
righteous attitude through which all the wrongs are committed by the
opposition; thankfully evidence is available for all to see the contrary.

Continued reports of arrests, intimidation, harassment and threats to
opposition & perceived members all over the country by Zanu Pf indicate the
extend to which the regime is so blinded by selfish greed and keeps making
thin-veiled attempts to mask this greed under the pretext of ‘maintaining
law and order’ only to protect their loot at the expense of ordinary
citizens. Recent events on the raving and ranting from within Zanu Pf’s
inner circle over comments on the judiciary’s ruling (threats of arrest with
accusations of being in contempt of court against opposition members) only
serve to illustrate the hypocrisy so entrenched within Zanu Pf and its
ruling elite. History is obliterated with scenes and such like comments from
Zanu Pf leaders criticizing the judiciary and yet no charges were ever made
to those loyal to the ruling regime.

With repulsive simmering anger ordinary Zimbabweans watch and read reports
of the continued personalization of the state resources by Zanu Pf elites
and their connections. Zanu Pf and the Mugabe regime has become wolves in
sheep’s cloth masquerading as nationalists ‘suddenly’ pushing for
indigenization only to appropriate and feed their insatiable greed for power
and wealth at the expense and continued suffering of the populace. As was
the case with the ousted Smith regime, Zanu Pf is using any means necessary
to protect and enrich their interests with gloated egos.

Nelson Mandela in 1999 passed on the leadership baton in acknowledgement of
the passage of time and the imperative call of democracy. Zanu Pf and the
Mugabe regime continue to deny passing-on the leadership race baton
preferring to run the race on their own and declare themselves ‘winners’.
The Mugabe regime is swift and ruthless to crush and silence voices of
dissent labeling any such voices as puppets and or sellouts. This is a
tactic reminiscent of the Smith regime which eventually led to popular
upraising; an act conveniently forgotten by the Zanu Pf regime. Recent
events in Libya (from name calling of those asking for change to outright
brutality and suppression) clearly show the extent to which the political
elite are prepared to ‘hang on’ under the banners of sovereignty,
anti-colonialism, anti-imperialism etc all in an attempt to protect and feed
their bottomless greed at the expense of the ordinary citizen.

One wonders what happened to the liberation ethos from the Lusaka manifesto
of 1969 which clearly states ‘a preference to negotiate rather than destroy,
to talk rather than to kill’- which Zanu Pf should be reminded lest in its
zeal and quest to remain in power, Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans are destroyed
all in defence of this greed by Zanu Pf and the Mugabe regime.

By Takura Chiketa
Political Activist,

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