The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

New SADC move to tackle crisis

Mar 26, 2011 9:11 PM | By ZOLI MANGENA

Southern African Development Community (SADC) leaders are expected to meet
in Zambia on Thursday to deal with Zimbabwe's deteriorating political
situation amid renewed infighting between President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The meeting would follow Tsvangirai's appeal to regional leaders to
intervene to save the government of national unity from crumbling under the
weight of Mugabe's resurfacing political repression and violence.

Tsvangirai is facing arrest for criminal contempt of court.

This follows his recent attacks on judges following a Supreme Court ruling
which ousted the speaker of parliament, Lovemore Moyo, and the arrest of
Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma in connection with
alleged tender irregularities involving a $6-million fuel supply deal.

Although Mangoma was last week released on $5000 bail, he was rearrested on
Friday over fresh allegations of tender irregularities.

Tsvangirai was yesterday expected to meet South African President Jacob Zuma
in Durban to discuss the Zimbabwe situation ahead of the SADC troika meeting
on politics, defence and security in Zambia.

The Zimbabwean premier has been on a region-wide trip to garner support of
SADC leaders. Tsvangirai was last week in Zambia, Mozambique, Botswana and

He held discussions with President Rupiah Banda of Zambia, President Armando
Guebbuza of Mozambique, King Mswati III of Swaziland and Botswana President
Ian Khama, calling for "urgent action on Zimbabwe to ensure the security of
persons and a peaceful environment in the country".

Tsvangirai told regional leaders that the SADC should move and act swiftly
on Zimbabwe.

He complained about "a renewed state of siege in Zimbabwe, arbitrary
arrests, the escalating crackdown on democratic forces in the country and
the culture of impunity seriously threatening the health and the life of the
inclusive government".

This was the same message Tsvangirai was expected to deliver to Zuma

After his meeting with Zuma, he is expected to travel to Angola, Democratic
Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Namibia to explain the situation and seek
regional support.

Tsvangirai's spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka confirmed the itinerary, but
refused to give details.

The Zimbabwean prime minister has said he was increasingly concerned about
resurgent repression and violence and has also complained about selective
application of the law.

Tsvangirai himself is not being spared harassment. This week he was forced
to apologise for attacking judges as pressure grew for him to be arrested on
contempt of court charges.

"My recent comments on the judiciary were clearly an immediate reaction
against a judgement (on the speaker of parliament) that affected the morale
of my party.

Those comments should not be taken out of context. They are not in any way a
departure from my strong belief in judicial independence, nor were they
meant to undermine anyone," Tsvangirai said.

The SADC is expected to recommend an election road map to ensure free and
fair elections to end the country's political stalemate.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwean Authorities Deport German Citizen

HRD’s Alert

26 March 2011




Zimbabwean authorities on Saturday 26 March 2011 reportedly deported Yvonne Paperndorf, a German citizen who was arrested on Friday 25 March 2011.

Paperndorf, who works in Germany for an organisation called Bread for the World, was arbitrarily picked up by three unidentified men from Pandhari Lodge in Glen Lorne, Harare, where she was residing.

Paperndorf was visiting the country and was participating in a meeting on Human Rights Defenders (HRD)s that  Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) had organised.

Immigration officials reportedly deported Paperndorf on an Ethiopian flight around lunchtime on Saturday 26 March 2011.

On Friday 25 March 2011, lawyers from ZLHR had mounted a search for Paperndorf and failed to locate her. By Saturday night lawyers had not yet received any communication regarding the location of Paperndorf.



Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

US blacklists firms dealing in Zimbabwean diamonds

Mar 26, 2011 9:11 PM | By VLADIMIR MZACA

The US government is going all out to blacklist trade with any international
company found dealing in Zimbabwean diamonds - this after the Kimberley
Process had approved the sale of the gems.

The latest development about Zimbabwe's controversial diamonds comes after
the new chairman of the Kimberley Process, Mathieu Yamba, was quoted on
Rapaport Diamond Trading Network's website as saying Zimbabwe should go
ahead until "an administrative decision is passed". Rapaport is US-based
organisation that links thousands of diamond suppliers and buyers around the

The US and other European countries put a trade embargo on Zimbabwe,
accusing it of gross human rights abuses in the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

Yamba is said to have sent a letter to Kimberley Process members. Part of
the letter, according to Rapaport, reads: "Zimbabwe is hereby authorised to
resume exports from the mining operations of Mbada and Canadile."

The US believed its policy on Zimbabwe had been compromised, and said the
only way to curb Zimbabwean trade was by prohibiting firms that deal with it
from dealing with US companies.

The World Diamond Council has confirmed the US's standpoint. "As has been
widely reported, Mathieu Yamba, chair of the Kimberley Process, recently
issued a statement that defers discussion on unresolved issues to the
Working Group on Monitoring, but in the meantime permits Zimbabwe to export
rough diamond shipments from the two official concessions in the Marange
region, subject to oversight by the appointed monitor.

"The World Diamond Council understands that a number of Kimberley Process
participant countries, including the US, Canada, Israel and the European
Union, are seeking clarity on procedural issues surrounding this release and
have indicated that exports should not be permitted until these issues have
been explained and resolved."

The council advised members of the international diamond industry to refrain
from trading in goods from the region until the situation beca me clearer.

The US is one of the top five diamond consumers. Rapaport's website said the
US had already communicated with the United Arab Emirates and India about
its position on the Zimbabwean diamonds.

It said that any of its trade partners dealing "in any way with gems
originating from Zimbabwe would be blocked".

The two companies, Mbada and Canadile, which have been given the green light
by the Kimberley Process, are on the international sanctions list.

The Kimberley Process decision would not help the situation, according to
economist John Robertson.

"Most diamonds find their way to the US because it is the biggest consumer
market in the world. No company would risk losing business because of
Zimbabwe," he said this week.

The Minister of Mines, Obert Mpofu, declined to comment.

Negotiations to allow the exports failed at the Kimberley Process plenary
meeting in Jerusalem in November last year. Further talks broke down in
January after Israel, in its capacity as 2010 chair, initiated a final
effort to bring all Kimberley Process members into written consensus
regarding the "Jerusalem agreement" proposal.

Following an initial announcement by Israel's chairman Boaz Hirsch that
consensus had been reached, Yamba subsequently reported that consensus had
not been achieved.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Desperate sanctions petitioners invade schools

Written by John Chimunhu
Saturday, 26 March 2011 12:37

BULAWAYO - Desperate Zanu (PF) anti-sanctions campaigners have invaded
schools countrywide, forcing teachers and young children to sign up or face
death, the Zimbabwean has established.
While they are at it, the Zanu (PF) hoodlums leading the campaign are
demanding $2 from every teacher and $5 from each headmaster, claiming this
is for Independence Day celebrations. Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ) Secretary-General Raymond Majongwe confirmed the developments in an
interview with this newspaper.
"We have received reports that some headmasters are giving (petition) forms
to pupils to sign. In some cases, these people take over classrooms for the
community to sign," Majongwe said. At Gresham Primary School in Zvishavane
last week, pupils were seen by this reporter learning under trees on a
blistering hot day after the petitioners invaded their classrooms. Majongwe
said this was happening throughout the country.
While condemning the action, the union said it was advising teachers not to
resist the petitioners' demands as that could expose them to violence. The
union boss also confirmed that war veterans continued to invade schools
demanding to force-feed pupils with Zanu (PF)'s skewed version of Zimbabwean
history, while teachers continued to be evicted. Majongwe said frantic
efforts were being made to assist affected teachers to return to their
"We have areas where teachers ran away. We've taken some of those teachers
back," he said, citing the example of Mt Darwin where scores of teachers
were ejected last year. "W went to the political structures and pleaded with
them. we told
them that victimising teachers is tantamount to pauperizing and extending
poverty to the community. Where teachers have withdrawn, it has taken long
to replace them." Education Minister David Coltart has banned political
meetings in schools but Zanu (PF) has defied his orders.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Anti-Sanctions Petition Blues

26/03/2011 15:37:00

HARARE, March 26, 2011- President Robert Mugabe’s anti-sanctions campaign
appear to have been discredited after it emerged that Zanu (PF) activists
and party heavyweights were appending their signatures on the petition more
than once.

President Mugabe wants at least 2 Million signatures on the petition. The
anti-sanctions petition has also been taken to the army barracks and police
stations where officers are reportedly being forced to sign it.In Harare
there were reports that state journalists were also being forced to sign the

In Chikomba District of Mashonaland East province a senior education
official has declared all schools in the district would be used as signing
centres for the anti-sanctions petition and that all school heads would be
required to act as “ polling officers ”.
This is despite a directive by Education, Sport, Art and Culture minister
David Coltart barring the use of schools for political activities.

Chikomba district education director Ngoni Simon Mujuru issued a circular to
all school heads in Chikomba District advising them to be available for the
launch of the project on Saturday March 26.Zanu (PF) supporters are
reportedly forcing villagers in various parts of the country to sign the
petition. The Welshman Ncube led MDC party said some of its members in
Mashonaland Central, Midlands, Mashonaland East, Manicaland, Masvingo and
Mashonaland West provinces were being arrested or attacked for refusing to
sign the petition.

Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe ’s personal driver Witness Dube was
arrested on Wednesday and was held at Tshabalala Police Station for
allegedly denouncing the anti-sanctions petition.Dube was arrested at
Nkulumane Shopping Complex by police after he was overheard saying Zanu (PF)
was wasting resources setting up anti-sanctions signing centres.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

DJs forced to air Zanu praise songs

Written by Staff Reporter
Friday, 25 March 2011 06:08

GWERU - Local radio disk jockeys are being forced to play Zanu (PF) praise
songs or risk being fired, Showbiz on Sunday was reliably informed.
A source within the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) Radio Services
department revealed that “all DJs have been instructed to devote more
airplay to songs that praise Zanu (PF) and its leadership”. This has seen
the resurfacing of many Zanu (PF) praise songs such as Makorokoto Baba
Mugabe, Happy Birthday, Hondo Yeminda, Gwindingwi Rineshumba, and Agirimende
by perceived pro-Zanu (PF) artists.
Forgotten party sympathizers such as Last ‘Tambaoga’ Chiyangwa, fortunate
‘Sister Fearless’ Matenga, Joshua Sacco, Brian Mteki, Andy Brown, Zex
Manasta and bands like the Harare Mambo have since bounced back on the
airwaves, teaming up with new kids on the block the Mbare Chimurenga Choir
and Born Free Crew. This has dampened the atmosphere of the local airwaves
at a time when the radio stations are fast losing listeners due to its
alarming propaganda content.
“All radio DJs from the four radio stations were ordered to dig up songs
that portray a positive picture on Mugabe and his ailing party (Zanu PF),”
said the source. He added that the directive from ZBC chief executive
officer, Henry Muchechetere, must have come from the Zanu (PF) minister of
Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu. Several DJs from the four
radio stations threatened to quit if Zanu (PF) politics continued to
jeopardize their credibility.
Said one veteran DJ: “We have been subjected to this type of madness for so
long whenever an election is coming up. We are sick and tired of cleaning up
Zanu (PF)’s mess. I can no longer afford to loose my credibility for cheap

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Soldiers Force Villagers To Set Up Zanu (PF) Structures

26/03/2011 12:52:00

LUPANE, March 26, 2011- Soldiers who have been deployed in Lupane to
campaign for President Robert Mugabe,s party Zanu (PF) have moved from
Gwampa Ward to other areas where they are intimidating villagers the
majority of them supporters of the two MDC formations.

According to councillor Kenny Mpofu of Gwampa Ward, the soldiers organised
several meetings on behalf of Zanu (PF) but most villagers refused to
attend.The soldiers then sent youths to tell all the villagers that if they
did not attend their meetings they would be given a preview of what happened
during the early 80s when the government unleashed the notorious army unit,
the Five Brigade into the villages of Matabeleland and the Midlands
The two provinces were the political strongholds of Joshua Nkomo,s Zapu

“ The villagers decided to attend the soldiers meetings after being
threatened with the return of the Fifth Brigade, ” said Mpofu who is a
councillor for MDC-T.Mpofu told Radio Vop that the soldiers ordered the
villagers to set up new Zanu (PF) structures in their wards.

“ Its clear Zanu (PF) is now using soldiers to do its work in the rural
areas that are controlled by the MDC, ” added Mpofu.But Defence Minister
Emmerson Munangagwa was quoted in the media recently denying the government
has deployed the army in Matabeleland.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Heroes Acre only for Zanu PF: Mugabe

26/03/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has told critics only members of his Zanu PF party
will be buried at the national Heroes Acre in Harare and said those unhappy
with the development were free to establish separate shrines for their own

The Zanu PF politburo has, since independence, exclusively selected the
country’s national heroes most of whom are then buried at the North
Korea-built shrine just outside the capital.

The party has consistently ignored calls for a non-partisan selection
process from opposition groups.

But critics say Mugabe has used the honour to punish critics as well as
reward loyalists, some of them undeserving of the accolade.

Frustration over the process has seen some key figures in the country’s
independence struggle who also spent most of their lives in government
service refusing to be buried at the shrine, most recently Thenjiwe Lesabe
and Welshman Mabhena.

Mabhena pointedly insisted that he would not be buried among “thieves and

But President Mugabe has again reiterated that only Zanu PF members who had
shown consisted loyalty to the party would be buried at the shrine.

Speaking at the funeral wake of politburo member David Karimanzira who died
at a Harare hospital on Thursday, Mugabe said those unhappy with selection
process were free to establish their own shrines at any of the country’s
innumerate hills and mountains.

Speaking in shona, the Zanu PF leader told mourners: "Kune vamwe vakati toda
kuendesawo vedu ikoko, asi takati kwete. Zvikomo zvakazara munyika muno.
Ngavatsvagewo chavo chikomo vavigane ikoko”.

Mugabe said there had not been any need a Politburo vote over Karimanzira’s
Hero status.

“We did not even have to vote because everyone agreed that he should be
buried at the National Heroes Acre.

The former Harare governor, who was 64, would be buried on Sunday or Monday,
Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC-T Ministers Under Siege

26/03/2011 11:33:00

HARARE, March 26, 2011- Zimbabwe's co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa
Makone is reported to be still in hiding following reports that police are
planning to arrest her and other officials of Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai,s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.

Makone together with her colleague from Zanu (PF) Kembo Mohadi are in charge
of the police but it is clear that the coalition government is controlled by
President Robert Mugabe's party.Yesterday police re-arrested Energy Minister
Elton Mangoma as they intensified their crackdown against Tsvangirai's

The whole of this week speculation was rife that police were planning to
arrest more than five MDC Members of Parliament in order to disable the
party ahead of the election of Speaker of Parliament.The position of speaker
is up for grabs after the Supreme Court nullified the election of incumbent
Lovemore Moyo following a challenge by former Information Minister Jonathan

looking for her.Moyo is from Tsvangirai's MDC party.The election of speaker
was postponed for an indefinite period this week in what analysts say is
another Zanu (PF) ploy to win the post at all costs.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ncube faction to act against defiant MPs

Mar 26, 2011 9:11 PM | By THEMBA SIBANDA

The MDC-N party, led by Professor Welshman Ncube, has warned that it will
deal decisively with its members of parliament who defy a directive to
abstain from the election of speaker of the parliament of Zimbabwe.

The seat fell vacant after the Supreme Court nullified the election of MDC-T
national chairman Lovemore Moyo to the speaker's post.

No date has yet been set for the election following the adjournment of the
proceedings by the clerk of parliament, Austin Zvoma, last week.

Parliamentarians were expected to choose Moyo's replacement on Tuesday, but
the election was called off by Zvoma after the legislators turned "rowdy" in
the house. They reportedly sang and chanted slogans of their respective
parties, turning the house into a circus.

The MDC-T party says it will retain Moyo as its candidate, while Zanu-PF has
picked former Zimbabwe ambassador to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo as its

The two Moyos hail from Matabeleland South, in the south of Zimbabwe.

Speaking at a public forum arranged by civic society organisation, Bulawayo
Agenda, MDC spokesman Nhlanhla Dube said the party would "deal decisively"
with "rogue" elements who defy the standing directive.

"There is a rubicon that has been set by the party for all its members of
parliament to adhere to. The rubicon simply states that all party MPs should
abstain from casting their votes for the speaker's post," said Dube.

"If any member of the party decides to go against that rubicon, the party
has measures that it will take to decisively deal with them."

There are fears that the MDC party could expel those members who defy the

Three of the party's former legislators - Abednico Bhebhe, Norman Mabhena
and Njabuliso Mguni - were expelled for having defied the party's

The three are seeking the nullification of their expulsions from parliament
and immediate reinstatement through the courts.

Dube also revealed that Zanu-PF officials had approached his party seeking
its support for its candidate, Simon Khaya Moyo.

However, Dube said, his party had turned down the request "on moral

The party has for long been suspected of being an ally of President Robert
Mugabe's party.

It has not been an easy tag to shed, especially given the utterances of the
former leader of the party, Professor Arthur Mutambara, who has on many
occasions sung the praises of Mugabe and his party.

"We have been, for long, viewed as an ally of President Mugabe and his
party. So many accusations have flown across the political divide about our
allegiance and alleged bed-hopping with Zanu-PF," Dube said.

"We have made it clear we do not belong to anybody but to the people of
Zimbabwe. This stance that we have taken as a party is a clear message to
all that we do not belong to anybody," he said.

He also revealed that the MDC-T formation had yet to approach his party for
support of Moyo's candidature.

He accused the Morgan Tsvangirai formation of wanting to use money to lure
his party's legislators to vote for Lovemore Moyo.

"We have seen in the past the dishing out of holiday packages and cash to
our MPs so that they will vote in a particular fashion.

"We are aware of these tactics again this time around. As I have said, we
are going to deal decisively with any of our MPs who accept the money and
goodies in return for defiance of our party's position on the election of
the next speaker of parliament," Dube said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mangoma spends weekend in custody

26/03/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

ENERGY Minister, Elton Mangoma will spend the weekend in custody after he
was arrested on fresh charges of criminal abuse of office, the second time
the minister, a senior member of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T
party has been arrested in two weeks.

Mangoma appeared before a Harare magistrate on Friday and remanded in
custody after being indicted to face trial at the High Court on July 18 this

His lawyers said they would seek bail in the High Court next week.

Mangoma is accused of irregularly awarding a multi-million- dollar tender
for purchase electricity meters by a subsidiary of the power utility, ZESA.

The state claims the Minister forced officials to cancel a tender contract
for the deal, thereby prejudicing nine companies that had participated in
the process. Mangoma's

The MDC-T said the allegations were ‘false’ and part of an ongoing attempt
by the state to harass its officials.

"As far as we are concerned this is part of a harassment campaign that Zanu
PF has embarked on against our structures, and it is the type of campaign
that we have suffered before every general election," an MDC-T official told

MDC-T secretary general and Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, told reporters
that the party was ‘shocked at the swiftness’ of Mangoma’s arrest and
subsequent indictment.

Mangoma is on US$5000 bail on separate charges of corruptly sealing a fuel
supply deal with a South African company without going to tender.

Granting bail in the fuel case, High Court judge Samuel Kudya said the
prosecution case against the minister was weak.

“The state will have an uphill battle to convince the court. The case
against Mangoma cannot be said to be strong,” Justice Kudya said.

Mangoma’s arrests have worsened the already fractious relations within the
coalition government with the MDC-T warning that the ‘continued harassment’
of its officials could end the coalition deal.

After Mangoma was first picked up, Tsvangirai warned that he was considering
a "divorce" from the coalition government his party formed in 2009 with
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party and a smaller faction of the MDC led
by Welshman Ncube.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

A tale of two ministers

Mar 26, 2011 9:11 PM | By ZOLI MANGENA

Both are accused of corruption but are unequal before the law

One cabinet minister is accused of corruptly amassing wealth, including
farms, companies, mines and real estate,while the other faces allegations of
manipulating tenders for yet-to-be-quantified private gain.

The one accused of short-circuiting tender procedures is arrested. Being a
member of a party trying to oust the "Dear Leader", he got picked up two
weeks ago for allegedly awarding a $6-million fuel supply contract to two
South African companies, Mohwelere and NOOA, without going to tender.

The high court judge who dealt with his case in a bail application says the
charges were based on "scant facts" and stand no reasonable prospect of
success at trial.

The minister was granted $5000 bail and is due to appear in court for trial

The same minister was again arrested on Friday for allegedly ordering the
cancellation of a tender involving the purchase and supply of prepayment
revenue management system . His case was remanded by the magistrate's court
to July 18.

His name is Elton Mangoma, Zimbabwe's Energy and Power Development Minister,
who belongs to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC-T party.

The one who is very wealthy, but who faces serious allegations of
corruption, remains a free man, despite intensifying complaints by taxpayers
and government officials, including Tsvangirai, to Mugabe about his
excessive riches.

The minister's wealth has become testimony of primitive accumulation in
Mugabe's corrupt and incompetent regime. The minister in question is
Ignatius Chombo, who is in charge of local government.

Chombo belongs to Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. He comes from the president's home
region and is seen as one of his cronies.

This is a tale of two Zimbabweans, ministers working in the same government
and facing allegations of corruption, which, however, differ in extent and
quantum involved. The main difference between them is that they belong to
two different political parties, hence their unequal standing before the

The cases of Chombo and Mangoma and how they are being handled is a
manifestation of what is wrong with Zimbabwe. The trouble with Zimbabwe is
simply and squarely a lack of good leadership. It's a problem of corruption
and hypocrisy. A glaring lack of good governance, transparency and
accountability, coupled with a huge democratic deficit.

Mangoma was first arrested on March 10 over the controversial $6-million
fuel supply deal. It is alleged he awarded the contract without it going out
to tender. Mangoma allegedly gave a contract to NOAA which works closely
with Mohwelere in violation of tender procedures.

The agreement was to supply Zimbabwe with five million litres of fuel. It
was signed between Zimbabwe's PetroTrade and South African companies,
Mohwelere and NOOA in January in the midst of growing shortages in the

However, Mugabe and his Zanu-PF section of government claim Mangoma breached
tender procedures in awarding the contract. This led to the minister's
arrest two weeks ago, although he was released on a $500 bail on Tuesday
last week.

High Court judge Samuel Kudya said the minister might have done the right
thing the wrong way as he was responding to an emergency situation. He said
the state had relied on "scant facts" in arresting the minister and the case
had dim prospects of success when trial begins tomorrow.

Mangoma has blamed Mugabe for his arrest, saying it was "malicious" to
arraign him because he had cleared the issue in cabinet on March 1 and also
before Mugabe in a one-on-one meeting on March 3.

Just as Mangoma was thinking he would emerge from court a free man tomorrow,
disaster struck. He was arrested again on Friday on new charges. This time
the minister is being accused of manipulating a tender for the supply and
delivery of a prepayment revenue management system.

It is alleged that after he was transferred from the Ministry of Economic
Development to Energy and Power Development, Mangoma cancelled a tender on
smart metering awarded to Solahart and gave it to a company called Vas-X

It is alleged the minister had a conflict of interest and by inference had
something to gain.

By contrast Chombo has been accused of being engaged in corrupt land deals
at the Harare city council. The mayor Muchadeyi Masunda has publicly
complained about it. Councillors have reported Chombo to the police.
Tsvangirai has approached Mugabe over the issue. Residents and ratepayers
are complaining.

Despite growing calls for Chombo to be arrested, or at the very least
investigated over his disproportionate wealth, which includes at least 15
vehicles and more than 20 houses, nothing is being done.

The Chombo and Mangoma cases graphically illustrate what sort of a country
Zimbabwe has become: a latter-day version of the Orwellian dystopia, Animal

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tug-of war over 'firing' of Harare councillors

Minister and his deputy tussle over pair's fate

A tug of war has erupted at the Ministry of Local Government - with minister
Ignatius Chombo and his deputy Sesel Zvidzai tussling over the fate of two
expelled Movement for Democratic Change councillors.

Last week Chombo, a Zanu-PF member, fired two Harare councillors, Warship
Dumba and Casper Takura, on allegations that they abused council funds while
on a workshop last year - but Zvidzai, an MDC official, said the two
remained councillors as they were illegally fired.

The feud has created serious confusion in the ministry and in the Harare
city council. There have been allegations that Dumba and Takura were
suspended over their persistent investigations of the theft of land in
Harare by top government officials. In two of the probes they implicated
Chombo, who they accuse of illegally grabbing prime land in Harare. They
have since reported the alleged theft of land to the police who have refused
to take action.

Chombo is also accused of being on a crusade to suspend and expel elected
MDC councillors and mayors throughout the country, using the Urban Councils
Act which gives immense powers to the minister.

Last week Chombo drew the ire of the MDC when he expelled the two fiery
councillors. It prompted Zvidzai to immediately order the councillors back
to work.

In a memo to Chombo in which the feud is exposed, Zvidzai said: "The
decision to fire the councillors was done in the absence of any
consultations with the office of the deputy minister. I only learnt of this
in a weekend paper.

"I wonder whether this can constitute a ministry position. Such decisions
enjoin us all to the consequences of same.

"If this represents a ministry position then I should have been involved. If
not, then the dismissals are a nullity and the councillors should go back to
work pending the constitution of the independent and impartial inquiry

While Chombo has reportedly not yet responded, Dumba and Takura have already
started to work again at Town House.

Besides reporting for duty armed with the letter from Zvidzai, councillors
Dumba and Takura have approached the courts to try to force Chombo to
reverse his letters of suspension.

Dumba said: "We are already going back to council - and so far so good. What
has surprised us is that council has not complained at all about the
so-called abuse of funds which Chombo used to expel us.

"I don't understand this country. We reported Chombo for criminal abuse of
office, but it's us who get expelled. It's ridiculous to say the least," he

"We will not stop investigating land thefts in council and if he (Chombo) is
implicated, then tough luck. We have nothing against him - but then rules
are rules. But the question is why does he fire us for investigating land
thefts in which he is implicated. If he has done nothing, then he must come
and face us and prove his innocence."

Councillors around the country have been fighting back against Chombo's
attacks and formed the Elected Councillors Association of Zimbabwe (ECAZ),
which is now at the forefront of fighting for their rights throughout the

Chombo, the close aide of President Robert Mugabe, has in the past decade
amassed wealth including more than 100 houses and stands in local
authorities throughout Zimbabwe. An investigative report on the land deals
in the Harare council last year implicated Chombo and businessman Phillip
Chiyangwa in the illegal grabbing of prime land in the capital.

The matter was reported to the police but instead the Harare councillors who
carried out the probe were arrested.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu (PF) jamming on Studio 7

Written by John Chimunhu
Friday, 25 March 2011 06:07

HARARE - Relentless jamming by President Robert Mugabe's forces is depriving
Zimbabweans of a wide array of free entertainment sources provided by
foreign governments.
Music and soccer have become the latest battlefronts, with talented
musicians forced to sing praises of Mugabe while footballers play in
tournaments named after him. But the latest deployment of Chinese-made
jamming has forced even the VOA to acknowledge routinely in its Zimbabwe
broadcasts that the waves are jammed.
An announcer is now regularly heard to say: "This is Studio 7 for Zimbabwe
broadcasting on 909 AM, but due to jamming your best reception would be on
Shortwave..." Zanu (PF) made external broadcasts a major issue during the
negotiations for a settlement in 2008, demanding that they be banned.
Recently, the controversially-appointed Broadcasting Authority announced it
was ready to take applications, which would be a first step for the
so-called pirates to come home. None of the big players have taken up the
offer, citing continued insecurity in the country and the sheer economics of
setting up independent broadcasting in a collapsing economy.
Surprisingly, Zanu (PF) officials are clamouring to be heard on the Voice of
America Studio 7, which is virtually banned in Zimbabwe by Mugabe's
government. Recently, senior Zanu (PF) and pro-Mugabe officials Rugare
Gumbo, Joram Gumbo, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu and Attorney General Johannes
Tomana have freely given interviews to the 'pirates'.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP


26/03/2011 12:48:00

Radio Vop website on Friday carried a story headlined “ Journalist Turned
Politician Wins MDC Primary Elections. ”

We have since established that this was not true and that the story did not
originate from our regular and trusted correspondent in Masvingo.Our
correspondent has denied authoring the story and points the finger to a
culprit who has access to his password.We sincerely apologise to Energy Bara
for the embarrassment caused to him and his family and also to the MDC-T

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Const input flawed - Mwonzora

Written by Tavada Mafa
Saturday, 26 March 2011 12:43

HARARE - Zanu (PF) used the time when COPAC chairman Douglas Mwonzora  was
in jail to tamper with input from the diaspora on the new constitution.
Mwonzora has confronted his Zanu (PF) counterpart Paul Mangwana over the
deliberate exclusion of four key areas in the data uploading process, and
says he very much doubts that it is possible to meet the October referendum
deadline. In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean Mwonzora said he had
refused to sign a report compiled by Mangwana and Edward Mukosi from MDC-N.
“They want us to sign stating that the data uploading stage is complete. I
discovered that during my time in custody they deliberately skipped these
areas because they do not have the support in the diaspora. I am ready to be
thrown back into remand over this.
“I also discovered that my colleagues now want us to rush into the thematic
committee meetings without completing the uploading stage.  I doubt very
much if we are going to meet the October referendum deadline.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim's health institutions need $420m for spruce up

Written by Ngoni Chanakira
Friday, 25 March 2011 12:02
...Chitungwiza alone, urgently needs $56m

HARARE - Zimbabwe’s aged health institutions need more than $420 million for
their upgrade before the poor nation can boast about meeting its health
Millennium Development Goal (MDG), a top Cabinet document has revealed.
The 27-paged document made available to The Zimbabwean was prepared by the
Ministry of Finance. The Government of National Unity (GNU) also needs  more
than $18 million to repair or purchase ambulances and service vehicles.
Known as "Infrastructure investment priorities for Zimbabwe", the document
is currently circulating among Cabinet ministers. Chitungwiza Central
Hospital tops the list of needs with a staggering grand total of $56 717 000
from the government coffers which are, however, currently empty.
The hospital, led by Dr Obadiah Moyo, wants $50 071 000 for infrastructure
rehabilitation and development, a figure which is more than five times what
the Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals need. Once the envy of Southern African
medical practitioners, the hospital's facilities are now very old and most
machines are not working. Wealthy citizens seek medical treatment at
expensive local private institutions or even from abroad, while the poor
just suffer and die. Only last week The Zimbabwean revealed that President
Robert Mugabe was blowing an average of $3 million each time he sought
medical treatment overseas.
Parirenyatwa needs a total of $10 335 000 for infrastructure rehabilitation
and development, but it needs a grand total of $40 334 000 for upgrading
everything. The document shows that Chitungwiza Central Hospital, located in
Zimbabwe's third largest city, needs $1 128 000 for dilapidated medical
equipment, $5 395 000 to purchase drugs and medical supplies, and $149 000
for its ICT spruce up.
Parirenyatwa needs $13 392 000 for upgrading its broken down medical
equipment, a staggering $15 497 000 to purchase drugs and medical supplies,
and $1 110 000 for its ICT. Mpilo Central, the largest hospital in Bulawayo,
needs $19 399 000 for its upgrade, while its sister institution, UBH needs
$21 688 000.
Mpilo, another very old institution built before Independence, needs $3 423
000 for purchasing medical equipment, surprisingly "only $663 000" for
purchasing drugs and medical supplies, $13 336 000 for infrastructure
rehabilitation and development, $1 285 500 to beef up supplies in its
general stores, $203 500 for ICT, and some $488 000 for buying "mobile
Harare Central Hospital, which operates in almost a similar style as Mpilo
and built for blacks before Independence, needs $15 665 000 for its upgrade.
The hospital, located in Mbare High Density suburb, among the poorest and
oldest in Zimbabwe, needs $6 513 000 for its infrastructure rehabilitation
and development, $4 547 000 for purchasing medical equipment, $44 565 000
for drugs and medical supplies, and $40 000 for its ICT.
The document reveals that provincial, district and rural health centres need
$248 064 000 for upgrading. They need $145 138 000 for infrastructure
rehabilitation and development, $98 315 000 for medical equipment, and $4
611 000 for purchasing drugs and medical supplies. Zimbabwe's health
institutions are usually over-crowded and some are accused of selling
expired drugs to unsuspecting customers.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu (PF) abusing cops for political gain - analysts

Written by The Zimbabwean
Saturday, 26 March 2011 12:49

HARARE – Alarm bells are ringing in political circles after it has emerged
that the police lied about Zanu (PF) bookings of municipal stadia for
political rallies.
Mayor of Harare Muchadeyi Masunda revealed that the City of Harare had not
granted Zanu (PF) permission to hold a series of rallies as alleged by the
police. Masunda confirmed to the media that the police lied to in order to
block the MDC from holding a rally at the Zimbabwe Grounds in Highfield
saying that Zanu (PF) had instead made a block booking of the
According to Masunda the city of Harare “does not permit block bookings of
any facilities.” “Facilities under the control of the city of Harare are
available for use by any legitimate stakeholder with police clearance. The
facilities cannot be booked on a block basis, particularly Glamis Arena,
Zimbabwe Grounds or any such spaces,” said Masunda.
Political Analyst Enerst Mudzengi told The Zimbabwean that the top command
of the police was “Zanu (PF) to the marrow” and used as an extension of the
party to block democratic discourse. “It is clear for all to see that the
police force is being used by Zanu (PF). The party is abusing the police for
its benefits as those in command are known Zanu (PF) members who have at
some point in time made it clear that they will not accept any government
other than Zanu (PF),” said Mudzengi.
A lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe who asked not to be named said
“there is nothing to separate the police from Zanu (PF) and therefore it is
not surprising that the police lie on behalf of Zanu (PF). The truth of the
matter is that the police are part of the structure that is Zanu (PF).”
Another UZ lecturer, Lovemore Madhuku, said: “The police have always been
like that since 12 years ago. The MDC is failing to convince the people to
ignore the police who are clearly partisan. People should not listen to the
According to Masunda, who is also a lawyer, all that is required in order to
have a rally is a clearance letter from the police and not a police
permission The police have on many occasions denied the MDC permission to
hold rallies, while Zanu (PF) has no such restrictions.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Banks in crisis

Written by Chief Reporter
Friday, 25 March 2011 15:32

HARARE – At least seven financial institutions are believed to be in
distress as the Finance Ministry steps up its onsite examinations of the
country's banking firms.
The Zimbabwean understands the ministry has issued three "corrective orders"
to banks to try make them safe for the public and will continue to carry out
risk-based assesments until the industry is "safe and sound". Finance
minister Tendai Biti has told the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that
three banks are "in the intensive care unit" but he refused to say which
institutions are in a risky position.
The financial condition and performance of institutions is being strictly
monitored through "off-site surveillance" against set prudential standards,
a source said. Nigeria's EcoBank is moving to rescue one of the distressed
banks and has already snapped up a 50 percent stake in Premier bank. Last
week Biti arranged a US$30million credit line for AgriBank, believed to be
one of the institutions in the red.
“We have been observing the risk situation and watching those sick banks
closely, and one of them is state-connected,” Biti said. The Finance
ministry's moves come after several locally owned banks sent the financial
sector into turmoil after closure before formation of the unity government
two years ago.
Zimbabwe has seen the closure of at least a dozen private banks for alleged
fraud and mismanagement. Depositors have been left at a disadvantage as
accounts have been  locked, and creditors of the banks that were affected by
closure are still waiting for confirmation if they will get any part of
their money back.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

A coup in progress

Written by The Editor
Friday, 25 March 2011 16:23

When - as we have seen in recent months - the police decide which politician
shall be allowed to address Zimbabweans; when army generals brazenly declare
who shall be president regardless of the outcome of elections; when security
forces blatantly disregard the civilian authority, then what we have is not
a problematic or even a failing political transition process.

What we have is a military coup in progress. The global political agreement
(GPA), the blueprint of the political transformation process that all
right-thinking Zimbabweans had hoped for, is practically dead.

The popular belief, or is it fear, has been that the Joint Operations
Committee (JOC) – that unelected and unelectable security cabal whose word
is law in Zimbabwe – would allow the transformation process to run its

That they would let a new constitution be enacted, let elections be held and
either block frontrunner to win a free and fair presidential vote Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai from taking power, force formation of another
unity government, or simply overthrow him in a coup.

You have to give it to them - the JOC has pulled a fast one on everyone. The
MDCs, Dumiso Dabengwa and his ZAPU, Simba Makoni and his Mavambo, the SADC
and their facilitator, South African President Jacob Zuma - will all have to
play catch up. The dreaded military takeover is already happening. It has
been for months now!

The government of national unity (GNU) is no longer in charge of the ship of
state. This is what it means when the President and the Prime Minister of
the GNU agree, as they did, that all parties should be allowed to hold
political meetings, only to be overruled by the police chief. It matters
little that from time to time the courts are brought in to legitimise Police
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri’s actions.

The military-led political violence committed in many parts of the country,
the arrest of several legislators and Cabinet ministers and even the
overthrow of the Speaker of Parliament (done with the help of the courts)  -
all have one thing in common. They were not ordered by the GNU Cabinet and
they all signify one thing: another force (read JOC) has seized control of

Or put differently, the GNU is dead and survives only as a national organ to
provide social services such as health and education. Politically, its
powers were usurped by the military many months ago.

So let no one – especially Mr Zuma and his SADC colleagues – fool themselves
that the GNU is still alive and that somehow the administration shall write
a new constitution that will lead to free and fair elections.

A military junta is in charge in Harare. And we just cannot see how the SADC
or anybody else for that matter is going to be able to assist in resolving
the Zimbabwean crisis unless they wake up to this basic fact.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No respect

March 26, 2011, 8:32 am

Dear Family and Friends,

For the past fortnight Zimbabwe has been subjected to the most horrific
images on ZBC television’s news bulletins. Every evening, during what is
advertised as prime time, family viewing, ZBC TV have been showing film
footage of hundreds of bodies being exhumed from a mine shaft in Mount
Darwin. The same film clips are repeated in early morning bulletins, as
children are getting ready for school, and again at lunch time; presenting
images of such horror that it doesn’t bear thinking how these gruesome and
gory sights are affecting young minds.

The exhumations are not being carried out by the Ministry of Home Affairs,
Department of Museums and Monuments, archaeologists, pathologists or other
specialists. There don’t appear to be any independent witnesses, recorders
or experts on hand. The Co- Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi was quoted
in the press as saying: “My ministry is not in charge of the project and we
are not part of it.” The Director of National Museums and Monuments said the
same, resulting in much suspicion and political posturing.  The Co-minister
involved in the country’s programme of National Healing really put his
finger on the pulse when he said: “The truth must be told during this
exercise, but how do you tell the truth when evidence has been exhumed and
reburied without involving organisations like churches, the Organ of
National Healing, civic society and other groups?”

The exhumations are being carried out by a group called The Fallen Heroes’
Trust whose co-ordinator is George Rutanhire, a member of the Zanu PF

On television we do not see images of professionals and specialists
carefully recovering the remains, instead we see men in blue overalls
wearing gum boots and plastic gloves pushing and shoving bones into plastic
bags. We do not see the recovered remains being carefully laid out for
examination, investigation and scientific identification; instead we see
great mounds of human remains, piled high on top of each other, partly
covered with loose strips of plastic sheeting. We do not see ropes and
barriers preventing members of the public from disturbing the site, instead
we see people in their own clothes clambering in and out of the mine shaft
to have a look. And then, horror of horrors, comes the report that
schoolchildren, teachers and villagers in the area were forced to go down
into the mine shaft to view the bodies close up. The trauma of what they
have seen will surely haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Zanu PF say that the bodies in the mine shaft are the remains of people
massacred by Rhodesian soldiers in the 1970’s. Eyebrows are raised for many
reasons, one of which is that the film footage being shown by ZBC TV is of
some corpses with hair still attached; bones still joined; clothes still
intact. Journalists described a putrefying stench in the mine shaft; one
reporter described fluid dripping from a body and there appear to be many
flies buzzing around the exhumed remains. All this from bodies that have
supposedly been underground for over three decades?

Perhaps worst of all is that this place of horror and tragedy has been
turned into a prime Zanu PF propaganda venue. One after the other speakers
are coming forward and castigating the  MDC for not visiting the site and
condemning Rhodesians. Speeches criticizing and rebuking Prime Minister
Tsvangirai are being made alongside mounds of human remains and we sit and
watch in stunned silence at the crass insensitivity and obscenity of it all.
Respect is sorely absent throughout this whole gruesome spectacle; respect
for the dead, for their surviving relations and for millions of Zimbabwean
children seeing such horror on television at breakfast, lunch and supper

Until next time, love, cathy

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No respect for the dead

March 26, 2011, 2:19 am

For Zimbabweans immersed in their own problems, it is sometimes difficult to
stand back and take a broader view of the world. Recent events should remind
us that Zimbabwe’s problems are perhaps not as unique as we sometimes think
they are.

There has been much discussion in the UK media about whether Colonel Gadaffi
qualifies to be described as ‘mad. It’s hard not to come to that conclusion
when you watch him on television ranting and shaking his fist at the world.
But, as one commentator pointed out this week, it is possible to be ‘mad’
and at the same time a pretty shrewd operator politically. The problem with
describing dictators as ‘mad’ is that it implies they don’t know what they’re
doing, that they are not in control of their actions. The question to ask
here is: by whose standards are we judging them? Madness, by definition,
implies behaviour which does not conform to generally accepted norms and
standards but the ‘mad’ dictator is acting perfectly logically according to
his own standards of behaviour. In their own minds, Gadaffi and Robert
Mugabe are both able to defend their actions in attacking their opponents by
whatever means since the opposition represents a threat to the leader’s
god-given right to rule.

There is one aspect that all these ‘mad’ dictators have in common; initially
at any rate, they inspire huge public support. Hitler and Mussolini, for
example, addressed massive crowds of adoring supporters. Move the clock
forward sixty years and we see the same level of adulation for all the other
‘mad’ dictators. It is that very hero-worship which feeds their colossal
egos and the longer it lasts the more inflated the ego becomes; the madness
intensifies with every year that passes. In Gadaffi’s case there have been
forty two of them; for Robert Gabriel Mugabe, whose name did not go
unmentioned in the discussions about ‘mad dictators’, he has had thirty one
years of public adulation and latterly of blanket media coverage to portray
him as the one man who liberated Zimbabwe from the evils of colonial rule
and upon whom Zimbabwe’s very survival depends. Like his friend Gadaffi, he
also rants and shakes his fist and appears to inspire the same belief in his
godlike status among his followers who, as this week showed are prepared to
go to any lengths to ensure Mugabe wins another  election. The truth is that
Mugabe’s sanity or otherwise is no longer the issue. If he is indeed mad
then his followers have become as mad as he is in their desire to keep him
in power and themselves on the Zanu PF gravy train. War veterans digging up
thirty-year old graves in Mount Darwin is their latest ploy to prove – what?
There are no forensics, no d.n.a. analysis, no valid identification of bones
or body parts and, most shockingly an absolute disrespect for the dead. If
the intention of this appalling sacrilege is to show how barbaric the
Rhodesians were in the Liberation War, one wonders what political point it
serves now other than to prolong the past glories of the Chimurenga story.
Mugabe’s description of the west as “Bloody vampires” for mounting the No
Fly zone in Libya to stop Gadaffi killing his own people seems an apt
description of what Mugabe’s followers are now doing in Zimbabwe.

It was the British Foreign Minister, William Hague this week who commented
on the possible effect of the Middle East uprisings on other dictatorships.
He mentioned Mugabe by name and Laurent Gbagbo of Cote d’Ivoire who has
refused to stand down despite losing an election. Mugabe will, no doubt,
dismiss Hague’s comments as nothing more than western colonialism but the
mere fact that his Cabinet met for a whole morning on Thursday to “defuse
the tensions” in the GNU is a clear acknowledgement that all is not well.
Parliament is suspended indefinitely and war veterans besiege the Treasury
on the grounds that they liberated the country and are therefore entitled to
a greater share of the country’s wealth than anyone else. Obviously, Mugabe
of the same mind; there are reports that the Treasury has paid out some $12
million for his regular trips to Singapore and the so-called ‘cataract
check-ups’. Mad or not, Robert Mugabe is certainly a shrewd political
operator as the MDC is learning to its cost.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.

Back to the Top
Back to Index