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EU Notes Progress in Zimbabwe But Says Won't Lift Sanctions Yet

11 May 2012

Sebastian Mhofu & Chris Gande | Harare/Washington

The European Union says it will only consider lifting sanctions on President
Robert Mugabe and his inner circle if Zimbabwe holds free and fair

The EU ambassador to Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell'Ariccia, made the announcement
Friday after EU Foreign Secretary Catherine Ashton met with officials from
Harare in Brussels.

President Robert Mugabe this week dispatched three ministers to meet EU
Foreign Secretary Ashton in Brussels to push the 27-nation bloc to remove
targeted sanctions imposed on the 88-year-old leader in 2002 and some other

Dell'Ariccia, told journalists that the sanctions, which include an asset
freeze and travel ban, will remain in place despite Thursday's meeting in
Brussels. But he says that could change with meaningful elections.

"The measures were decided further to the electoral situation and very
serious human rights in 2002… The elimination of the causes that have led
the European Union to impose these measures will entail the elimination of
the measures.

"The European Union has been very clear that to have credible elections
where people can express freely their wishes… these results is respected by
stakeholders... If these happen there is no need to have the measures."

The EU diplomat says Europe notes the progress in Zimbabwe since Mr. Mugabe
formed a coalition government with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009.
But he says more needs to happen.

Regional Integration and International Co-operation Minister Priscilla
Misihairambwi Mushonga was, however, upbeat about the outcome of the

She told VOA Friday their meeting with Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign
policy chief was very fruitful.

“We had a very promising meeting but as you know (Catherine) Ashton is not
capable of making a decision on the issue of lifting sanctions on her own
but we will have to wait for a full EU council meeting for the outcome of
whether they will lift the sanctions,” she said.

Misihairambwi-Mushonga said they did not discuss the human rights issue in
Zimbabwe, considered one of the key demands by the EU for the lifting of

Commentator Effie Dlela Ncube said it will take time for the EU to lift the
sanctions since Zanu PF is reluctant to reform.

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Textbooks from UK spark fury in Zimbabwe

Published on Saturday 12 May 2012 02:00

A ROW has broken out in Zimbabwe over the foreword inside millions of school
textbooks donated with aid from the UK – with supporters of president Robert
Mugabe saying children are being urged to “show gratitude to those who hate

Members of president Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party have accused education
minister David Coltart of advancing a “regime change” agenda – because he
acknowledged the books were a gift from Britain and other Western countries.

More than 22 million textbooks are being provided to hundreds of
impoverished primary and secondary schools across Zimbabwe.

Previously up to 20 children shared a single dog-eared copy. Britain
contributed £5.6 million towards the textbook programme, which is being run
by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

Mr Coltart, a member of the smaller faction of the former opposition party
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, has had a foreword inserted into
the front of each book.

Some members of ZANU-PF are furious because in it the minister acknowledges
that the books come from Zimbabwe’s “generous” friends in the international
community, including Britain, Australia and the US.

But Mr Mugabe, 88, tells Zimbabweans that Britain and the West have imposed
sanctions on the country – even though in reality only the president, 112 of
his cronies and 11 companies linked to them are still under EU travel bans
and asset freezes. The Patriot, ZANU-PF’s newspaper, says Mr Coltart should
have actually told pupils that the books “come from people who wish their
parents ill”.

Pro-Mugabe writer Mashingaidze Gomo said: “Our children are being instructed
to show gratitude to those who hate us, those whose illegal unilateral
sanctions are making it impossible for us to meet their educational needs.”

Mr Coltart told The Scotsman the claim was “patently ridiculous”. He added:
“When I wrote this I showed it to my permanent secretary [a member of
ZANU-PF], I even discussed it with a former minister of education.

“There was a process of consultation before this foreword was written. I
think it is a partisan comment coming from a relatively small number of

The minister said the textbook programme had been recognised by Unicef as
“one of its best programmes worldwide”.

“In some rural schools none of the children had textbooks,” he said.

Britain will hand over £80m in aid to Zimbabwe this year, much of it going
to repair the education and health sectors, ravaged by years of misrule by
the Mugabe regime.

“It is high time the big wigs in government… showed true appreciation of the
massive funds being directed into this country, whether it be food aid,
educational support or assistance to our health care delivery system,” said
pressure group Sokwanele in a statement.

Although the textbooks were supposed to be locked away for safekeeping while
not in use, some have been taken and are being sold by pavement vendors in
the capital Harare, where they fetch up to £6 per copy.

Union officials say poorly-paid teachers may be to blame.

Meanwhile, ministers from Zimbabwe – one from ZANU-PF and one each from both
factions of the MDC – have pleaded with EU foreign policy chief Catherine
Ashton for an end to the restrictive measures.

“Our position is that the sanctions should be removed unconditionally,” said
justice minister Patrick Chinamasa.

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Panel Probes Food Politicization Amid Growing Hunger

11 May 2012

Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington DC

The committee tasked with monitoring the implementation of Zimbabwe's
power-sharing agreement said Friday it was investigating allegations of
rampant food politicization by President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

Officials said they deployed a team to Mutare North, Manicaland province, to
meet with villagers allegedly denied maize by a local headman, under a
government loan scheme run by the Grain Marketing Board.

Politicization of food has been reported across the country, and last month
cabinet took up the issue and ordered grain officials to ensure there is no

Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee official Thabitha Khumalo said
her organ has received complaints from different parts of the country,
adding the grain scheme should not be used for political purposes.

"We have since opened up offices in all provinces to respond to different
grievances including reports of partisan grain distribution," Khumalo told

"Our team visited Mutare today (Friday) to investigate reports that some
villagers are being denied maize because they are members of the MDC."

Zimbabwe, which needs at least 2,2 million tonnes of grain for annual
subsistence, is facing a 1 million tonne grain deficit due to drought.

Insiza South Member of Parliament Siyabonga Malandu Ncube said the food
politicization problem was particularly rampant in his constituency, located
in drought-prone Matabeleland South.

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Zanu PF Officials Denies HIV/AIDS Orphans Aid

Nyamandlovu, May 12, 2012--Zanu PF officials and war veterans in Nyamandlovu
area, in Umguza district, Matebeleland North province are allegedly blocking
food distribution to HIV/AIDS orphans accusing their grandparents of being
MDC activists.

The inclusive government has started programs to distribute free food to
“Vulnerable People” especially orphans who lost their parents due to
HIV/AIDS. Most of these HIV/AIDS orphans are mostly under the care of their
However in Nyamandlovu area which falls under Umguza constituency, Zanu PF
supporters and war veterans led by two party councilors David Moyo and
Johannes Sibanda of Ward Nine and Igusi Ward respectively, are reported to
be denying food to HIV/AIDS orphans.
“Children who lost their parents to HIV/AIDS are failing to access food aid
at the moment as Moyo and Sibanda are accusing their grandparents of being
MDC activists. Only Zanu PF supporters are getting the food. This  is  being
evil because these children know nothing about politics,” Mxolisi Ndlovu
MDC-T district chairman for Umguza district told Radio VOP on Friday.
Ndlovu, who was also the only MDC-T councilor in Umguza district before
suspended by Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo early this week, said
the politicisation of food in Nyamandlovu area has left HIV/AIDS facing
Nyamandlovu area is under Mines Minister Obert Mpofu’s Umguza constituency
which has 12 Zanu PF councilors, six from the smaller faction of the MDC and
one MDC-T.
HIV/AIDS is by far the biggest killer in Africa and has so far orphaned more
than 1, 6 million Zimbabwean children. Every year, about 40,000children also
die from HIV/AIDS in Zimbabwe, which was declared a national disaster by the
government in 2002.
In the past recent years Zanu PF  has been using  food aid as a political
weapon countrywide with party officials sometimes falsifying records to deny
known opponents assistance from the government and relief agencies,
Public access to food and humanitarian assistance is being denied through
well-coordinated webs of partisan structures such as ward coordinators,
volunteers, village heads, councillors and chairpersons.

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Military Takes Aim At Draft Constitution

11 May 2012

Blessing Zulu | Washington

Zimbabwe's constitutional-making process faces collapse as members of the
military and hardliners from President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF team-up to
resist key reforms.

As a result, the parliamentary select committee writing the nation’s new
charter has called for an urgent meeting Monday to deal with the impending

Army chief of staff Major General Martin Chedondo this week accused the
select committee of “trying to bring in and popularize foreign ideas, values
and ethos which were never the way Zimbabweans used to live and respect.”

Zanu PF sources told VOA throughout this week that securocrats have been
meeting the party’s technical committee on the constitution to make demands
that are likely to torpedo the process.

Among the demands being made by the army and also adopted by the party, is
the view that President Mugabe retains his executive powers and be allowed
to unilaterally appoint service chiefs.

Proposals in the draft constitution say the president must appoint service
chiefs in consultation with the Defense Services Commission, which is
appointed by the president and subject to approval by parliament.

The army is also bitter about what it is calling over-regulation of the
military’s political activities. This comes amid reports that securocrats
are increasingly tightening their grip on Zanu PF as several members of the
Central Intelligence Organization, police and retired army officers, line up
to stand on party tickets in the next election.

The hardliners also want the attorney general to retain his sweeping powers.
The draft takes prosecuting powers from the AG, who becomes only a legal
adviser to the president while a new National Prosecuting Authority is

Zanu PF hardliners are also not happy with clauses that they say give women
unnecessary rights.

Co-chairman Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, Zanu PF's point person in the select
committee, told VOA that the Constitution seeks no security sector reforms.

But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's representative co-chairman Douglas
Mwonzora says the army is trying to hijack the constitution-making process.

Co-chairman Edward Mkhosi of the Welshman Ncube MDC says the army has no
right to interfere with the select committee’s process.

Political analyst Trevor Maisiri of the International Crisis Group says the
army’s intervention spells disaster for the constitutional writing process.

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Security services ready to defend Zimbabwe - Sekeramayi

By Staff Reporter 21 hours 1 minute ago

THE country’s security and intelligence services are ready to defend it from
external aggression, Minister of State Security in the President’s Office
Sydney Sekeramayi has said.

Speaking at the inaugural graduation of 31 students from the Robert Gabriel
Mugabe School of Intelligence in Harare yesterday, Minister Sekeramayi said
the country’s sovereignty was once again under threat from the former

The 31 graduates attained Diplomas in Intelligence and Security Studies.

“Closer at home, all are aware that Zimbabwe is under siege. The West led by
Britain and the United States are unrelentingly continuing to pursue illegal
regime change,” said Minister Sekeramayi.

“I am glad to point out that our security and intelligence services are
equally unrelenting in their endeavour to counter these forces in defence of
our independence and national sovereignty.”

Minister Sekeramayi said for the intelligence service to effectively counter
external threats, it required reliable and factual information.

He said the State needed to receive information on threats earlier enough to
launch appropriate counter actions.

Minister Sekeramayi said the core business of intelligence services was to
pursue information on threats, risks and vulnerabilities that exist or were
expected to come into existence at some point.

“This fact notwithstanding, the State expects the intelligence services to
produce trustworthy and authoritative statements that describe and explain
past, present and future realities at all times,” he said.

“In that context, the skills which these courses imparted to you broadened
your appreciation of the dynamics underpinning intelligence collection,
analysis and dissemination to the State.”

Minister Sekeramayi urged the graduates to remain resolute and serve the
country with diligence.

He told the graduands that attainment of diplomas was the beginning of a
long journey in their lives.

Minister Sekeramayi said the courses offered at RGMSI were tailored to mould
best security officers able to articulate security and management issues.

“It is heartening to note that the curriculum is tailor-made amongst other
things, to equip students with relevant professional skills and attributes
that can be applied to their special areas of practice,” he said.

Present at the graduation ceremony were Director General of the Central
Intelligence Organisation Retired Major General Happyton Bonyongwe and other
senior officers from the country’s security and intelligence services.

The course, which targets practitioners in the defence, security and
intelligence sector has attracted a lot of interest in the region, with
students from various countries applying.

The RGMSI is an associate of Bindura University of Science Education and the
graduation ceremony was for the first three intakes of the institute.

The institute, which is a brainchild of Rtd Maj Gen Bonyongwe, also enrolled
students for degree programmes who will graduate in August.

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Sikhala hit with rape, theft charges

12/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

MDC-99 leader and former St. Marys MP Job Sikhala has appeared in court
charged with raping his personal assistant who also fell pregnant but later
miscarried as well as stealing from her.

Sikhala, 40, has previously alleged a Central Intelligence Organisation plot
to arrest and charge him with rape.

“The charges of rape being levelled against president Job Sikhala have no
substance considering the fact that the woman swore in court that even
though they shared the same room on one occasion, they did not engage in
sex,” Sikhala claimed early this month.

“The ‘alien’ who by now should have been deported back to South Africa five
months ago, is now being used by the CIO in circumstances reminiscent of the
Ari Ben Menashe sting against Morgan Tsvangirai to achieve political ends.”

Sikhala was not asked to plead when he appeared before Harare magistrate Don
Ndirowei on Friday. He was remanded out of custody on US$100 bail.

Prosecutors claim that Sikhala met the woman in South Africa last June while
raising funds for his party and offered her a job as his personal assistant
on a US$400 monthly salary in addition to 20 percent of all funds raised for
his party.

The MDC-99 leader also promised to organise a work permit for her before
helping her enter Zimbabwe illegally through Beitbridge on June 23.

The woman stayed at Sikhala’s St Marys home in Harare which he also shares
with his two wives. Sometime in July, say prosecutors, the woman went out
for a drink with Sikhala.

While returning from the pub, Sikhala allegedly put his hand on the woman’s
leg and told her he had never slept with a white woman and wondered what it
was like. He is said to have said some say explicit words and fondled the
woman’s breasts while his other hand was inside her skirt but the woman
managed to push him away.

A week, Sikhala allegedly ordered the woman to accompany him to a purported
business meeting but, along the way, he drove to a city lodge where he led
the woman into a room and stripped naked.

He ordered the woman to take off her clothes, reminding her that she was an
illegal immigrant. The woman told him she did not like what he was doing but
Sikhala proceeded to undress and rape her.
Sikhala raped the woman at the same lodge on another occasion and gave her
US$5 afterwards, it is alleged.

Prosecutors claim Sikhala further raped the woman several times at his home,
especially on Sundays when his two wives would have gone to church. She is
said to have fallen pregnant but later miscarried.

The court heard that Sikhala, taking advantage of the fact that the woman
had nowhere to stay and did not have any money, told her to leave his house
if she did not want to sleep with him.

He also allegedly told her she would be locked up if she reported the rape
since she was an illegal immigrant adding no action would be taken against
him since he was a high profile politician.

The woman fled on December 20 and went to live with a friend where she was
later arrested and jailed for contravening the country’s immigration laws.
She later reported the alleged rape while serving her sentence.
Police also said a suitcase with the woman’s clothes said to be worth about
R22,000 had gone missing at Sikhala’s house.

However his wives said she never stayed at the property.

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FAO, EU Agree with Zimbabwe to Help Small Farmers

    2012-05-13 02:29:55     Xinhua

The Zimbabwean government has signed with the EU and FAO an agreement to
assist small-holder farmers in the country to improve agriculture
productivity and produce marketing, state radio said on Saturday.

Under the agreement, over 20,000 small-holder farmers will receive technical
support, training and capacity building to enable them to realize maximum
productivity from their land.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Country Representative in
Zimbabwe Dr Gaoju Han said the project is a result of lessons learnt over
the last five years which realizes that if given all the support communal
farmers can contribute significantly to food production in the country.

Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation
Development Seiso Moyo welcomed the agreement which he said is of paramount
importance for a nation that is built on an agriculture driven economy.

European Union (EU) Head of Delegation in Zimbabwe Aldo Dell' Ariccia called
for the need for such programs to be channeled in line with government
policy so that they do not run parallel to the laws of the land.

Communal farmers used to contribute more than 80 percent of the country's
food produce and experts say that if given sufficient support, the sector
remains key to taking back the country to its former bread basket status.

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Captive Kiwi journo freed

By John Weekes
5:30 AM Sunday May 13, 2012

Free after a 25-day ordeal in a squalid African jail, New Zealand
photojournalist Robin Hammond was reunited with his fiancee yesterday.

Hammond, a dual citizen of New Zealand and Britain, landed in London
yesterday morning. From there, he went to Paris, where he was met by fiancee
Aude Barbera.

Hammond was finishing a project chronicling the flow of illegal migrants
between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

"This was to be the last trip," he said, speaking via Skype from Paris.
"This last theme was to do with the exodus of Zimbabweans."

Hammond crossed the border at the Limpopo River, trying to avoid border
guards in both countries.

On April 16, he and his associates were alerted to the presence of South
African soldiers and had to make a mad dash across the river.

He returned to Zimbabwe, resting at his Beitbridge hotel, but police were
waiting for him. They arrested him on two charges related to immigration and
protected areas. Hammond believed a hotel employee betrayed him.

He and his associates were interrogated at Beitbridge police station. "They
said: 'We can make you speak, whether you want a lawyer or not'."

"My fear was that they would move me from one police station to another and
I would go missing.

"But luckily they hadn't taken my phone off me yet. I was able to call Aude
real quickly and say: 'I need a lawyer, this is where I am'."

Barbera began the efforts to have him freed.

"We were in a 5m by 10m cell. There were 39 of us and we were sleeping side
by side."

Hammond had no idea when he'd be deported.

Grown men cried daily as guards regularly taunted and beat inmates, many of
whom were illegal aliens who waited months or even years to be deported.
Prisoners were fed weevil-ridden food, including beans meant for cattle

"There was one toilet for 250 people. People would be tearing up packets of
cigarettes to wipe their arse."

Hammond's lawyers, Bryant Eliot and Jeremiah Bamu, and his good friend, Cape
Town-based Braam Hanekom, worked with Barbera and New Zealand diplomats to
keep pressure on Zimbabwean authorities, until his deportation was confirmed
on Wednesday.

Hammond contacted his family in Wellington yesterday. "Obviously I put them
through the mill and it's been really tough on them. I hope that this year I
can get back."

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US$4m shellfish consignment seized at Beitbridge

11/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

A SOUTH African truck driver smuggled US$4 million worth of abalone
shellfish into Zimbabwe concealed under a consignment of charcoal, a court
Joseph Ndinganeni Ndou was intercepted at the Beitbridge border on May 1
after failing to declare the contraband.

Prosecutors say the charcoal and the illicit shellfish load were ordered by
a Harare company, Sitric Marketing.

Investigators believe the abalone – an endangered species in most
countries – were destined for the Far East.

Ndou, 48, of Nancefield in Musina, was not asked to plead when he appeared
before Beitbridge magistrate Gloria Takundwa on Tuesday.
He was released on US$100 after being charged with one count of smuggling
under the Customs and Excise Act.

Prosecuting, Jabulani Mberesi said sometime in April, Sitric Marketing had
placed an order for abalone and charcoal from South Africa.
They later engaged Chabata Transport Company to move the charcoal and
shellfish to Zimbabwe.

Ndou arrived at the border on May 1 with invoices only reflecting his
charcoal load. He made a false declaration to the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority

Acting on a tip-off, detectives from the Border Control and Minerals Unit
intercepted Ndou’s truck at a final check-point and directed it to a Zimra
container depot for physical examination.
Under the charcoal load, police found 500 packets of abalone worth

Abalones are large edible sea snails with a shallow ear-shaped shell found
mostly in warm seas. The mollusc attaches itself to a rock or stone using
its muscular foot. The fleshy foot of the abalone is boiled, dried in the
sun, and canned for export.

Trade in abalones is banned in Zimbabwe. South Africa indefinitely suspended
abalone fishing in its waters in February 2008 to save the species from

Abalones are a delicacy in Asia and investigators believe that is where the
consignment was ultimately destined after drying and canning.

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South Africa signs tourism memo with Zimbabwe

Sapa | 12 May, 2012 14:14

South Africa and Zimbabwe signed a memorandum of understanding on Saturday,
furthering tourism opportunities between the two countries, the department
of tourism said.

"Both countries acknowledge the contribution that tourism makes in growing
their respective economies and creating employment opportunities," it said
in a statement.

The memorandum focuses on both countries sharing their best practices on
integrating culture and heritage into tourism, increasing investment
opportunities and collaborating in research and policy making.

It also allows both countries to exchange professionals and promote
sustainable tourism.

"Governance mechanisms to oversee the implementation of the actions related
to the content of the... [memorandum] have been put in place and officials
from both countries will meet twice a year to report on progress and also
review progress made," the department said.

"Senior government officials from both countries will develop an
implementation plan focusing on the areas of collaboration, and regularly
review progress in the implementation of the... [memorandum]."

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HIV: Senator wants women to dress shabbily, bath less

12/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

WOMEN must bath occasionally, shave-off their hair, dress shabbily and get
circumcised to make them less attractive to men, a Senator has proposed
during a conference on HIV.

Morgan Femai, the MDC-T senator for Chikomo, said his bizarre prescription
was necessary to help curb the spread of HIV/AIDS because men were finding
it difficult to resist attractive and well-dressed women.

“What I propose is that the government should come up with a law that
compels women to have their heads clean-shaven like what the Apostolic sects
do,” Femai said Friday while addressing a parliamentary HIV awareness
workshop in Kadoma.
“They should also not bath because that is what has caused all these
problems (spread of HIV).”

Femai also recommended circumcision for women – becoming the latest in a
long line of MDC-T lawmakers who have pushed forward bizarre proposals about
how to curb the spread of HIV.

“Women have got more moisture in their organs as compared to men, so there
is need to research how to deal with that moisture because it is conducive
for bacteria breeding. There should be a way o suck out that moisture,” he
said in comments insinuating that the virus which causes Aids breeds better
in women than men.

Zimbabwe is one of the countries worst affected by HIV/Aids but has seen a
decline in new infections year-on-year over the last decade.

Sithembile Mlotshwa, the MDC-T Senator for Matobo, recently suggested that
Zimbabweans must be limited to one sexual encounter per month. Men, she
said, should be administered a drug that reduces their libido.
During a seperate debate, she asked the government to provide prisoners with
“sex gadgets” to discourage homosexual activity.

Another MDC-T legislator, Thabitha Khumalo, is also campaigning for the
legalisation of prostitution claiming this could help the fight against

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Minister demands gay evictions

12/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

A MINISTER has demanded that traditional chiefs expel homosexuals from their
communities and seize their land.

Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo said homosexuality was a “foreign
value” as he chided Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for advocating gay

"The chiefs are there to protect and promote our cultural values and those
who support same sex marriages must be banished from the communities and be
dispossessed of their land,” Chombo said on Friday, speaking in Jotsholo,
Matabeleland North.
“What kind of madness is this that when we have beautiful women in our
country some people want to marry other men?”

Chombo, a senior figure in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, was
speaking to hundreds of villagers and traditional leaders attending the
installation of Vusumuzi Nicodmus Mabhikwa as a chief.

Among the traditional leaders in attendance was Chief Gampu Sithole of
Tsholotsho who said endorsing homosexuality would be going against “values
that define us”.

“As chiefs, we are very clear on homosexuals. We denounce them. I agree with
Minister Chombo that those who support homosexuality should be expelled from
our communities and their land forfeited.”

Gay rights have become an electoral battleground with Zanu PF taking a
hard-line stance which it feels is in sync with the public mood in
conservative Zimbabwe.

Tsvangirai’s MDC-T, meanwhile, has been caught in a policy muddle. After
having initially denounced homosexuality, Tsvangirai retreated from that
stance in a BBC interview last October.

"It's a very controversial subject in my part of the world,” he said. “My
attitude is that I hope the constitution will come out with freedom of
sexual orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody. To
me, it's a human right.”
The MDC-T later clarified that he was expressing a personal opinion, which
was not the party position.

A battle is raging over gay rights around a new constitution currently being
drafted, with claims – mainly emanating from Zanu PF – that there are
attempts to “smuggle” gay rights into the country’s supreme law.

Chombo said: "The views you raised during the constitution outreach
programme are there in Harare and they are written down. The problem is that
our colleagues in government want to change your views and include foreign

"Zimbabweans spoke eloquently about same sex marriages, but the MDC-T want
to smuggle the issue in order to please their Western masters.”

Matabeleland North governor Sithokozile Mathuthu also took up a similar
theme, telling an audience which included ZAPU leader Dumiso Dabengwa:
“Homosexuality is an abomination before God and Sodom and Gomorrah were
destroyed because of it. It is a disgusting practice and Zimbabweans should
oppose it.”

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Town planner in the dark over Ballito lair

iol news 12 may SA ns mugabe mansion pic 

The estimated R200 million mansion being built in Ballito and rumoured to be owned by Robert Mugabe or one of his generals. Picture: Brian Spurr

Mystery continues to surround the mansion on the hill next door to Zimbali. And it seems that not even the local town planner has been adequately briefed on the details of the development.

Ballito residents and estate agents have been buzzing with the word for months that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe or one of his generals, Robert Mhlanga, is building the estimated R200 million mansion complete with two man-made lakes, bullet proof windows, a helipad and an underground bunker beneath a security building.

DA councillor Colin Marsh said building inspectors, armed with copies of articles and published photos that appeared in The Independent on Saturday and Sunday Tribune, were recently refused access to the site when they arrived to check the plans and the building progress.

However, a spokesman for KwaDukuza municipality, Sifiso Zulu, said this week that the inspectors had eventually been allowed access to the site.

Marsh said he had done a deeds search on the properties, which he said were in the names of Straightprops 92 of which Martin Sherwood is a director, and local restaurateur Robert Mauvis, who are believed to be the sellers.

However, the IOS has established that one portion of the land on which the development lies is still in the name of Michelle Mauvis, the restaurateur’s wife, despite the fact that a local estate agent said the property had been sold a year ago. The seller of the other portion is believed to be Straightprops 92.

On why the property transfer was not yet reflected in the deeds office, Mauvis said: “Until the money is in the bank, it has not been sold.”

When the IOS asked Zulu who owned the properties; whether an enviromental impact study had been done, and whether plans had been submitted and approved for the new development, he could not provide clarity.

“With regard to the issues you have raised, the municipal (sic) is still establishing a number of things related to this development, including the ones you have raised,” Zulu said.

Meanwhile, the Southern African Litigation Centre welcomed a North Gauteng High Court ruling confirming that SA had an obligation under domestic and international law to probe and prosecute international crimes against humanity.

Centre director Nicole Fritz said the organisation had a docket that had sufficient evidence to launch an investigation into allegations of torture as crimes against humanity committed in Zimbabwe.

Independent on Saturday


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This is Africa

Dear Family and Friends,
Travelling over the Odzi River a few minutes after dawn when the
landscape is just emerging from silhouette, a trail of warm, white
mist lifts off the water. The vapour hangs almost unmoving in the cold
morning air and as you look further, it’s easy to identify the path
of the river: the straight stretches and the bends, all are clearly
marked by the route of the hovering mist cloud. When the sun breaks
the horizon it reveals open plains, golden grass and mountains
spotlighted in the dawn sunrise. You can’t help but be inspired by
what you see and as you allow the sight to burn into your memory, you
add it to the folder: This is Zimbabwe.

Contrast is just around the corner. Kilometre after endless kilometre
of seized but now deserted, derelict farms. Once thriving fields now
empty, tractors and people working in the lands just a fading memory
from the past. Farm buildings stripped of roofs, door and window
frames look as if they’ve been hit by bombs but in fact you know
they just been destroyed by another kind of war: a rabble of political
pawns who came and grabbed, in the name of land reform, and then left.
This picture too you have to keep because it has become the reality of
Zimbabwe now.

Along the road you pass growth points where the buildings are shabby
and badly in need of repair and paint, where donkeys and oxen stand in
the dust hitched to carts and wagons, and everywhere the chores of the
women bombard your view. Girls and women walking, always walking,
carrying huge burdens on their heads: firewood, water, bags of food.
Often they are also carrying a baby or toddler strapped to their backs
and this vision too is added to your memory folder; an ancient image
but unbelievably, still so much the picture of Zimbabwe today.

Across the border in a foreign land your perspective widens and
everything screams at you: bizarre, outrageous, larger than life.
Pink, purple and orange houses, some even decorated with leopard spot
patterns. People living in houses made of mud and sticks and bamboo
strips. Giant flea markets that line the main highways for many
kilometres. Here there are roadside money changers whose bank- note
folding, flicking and repeated counting techniques leave you dizzy,
confused and totally ripped off if you fall prey to their tricks.
Ancient diesel trains billow plumes of thick, choking black smoke and
at every water source children are stripped to their underpants or
less and they swim, fish, and splash in every roadside puddle. This is
the land of bicycles; even danger warning triangles on the highways
carry pictures of bicycles. Four on a bicycle is not unusual: one on
the cross bar, one on the seat, one on the carrier and a child
strapped to the last person’s back. It’s hard to take it all in so
you just shake your head and add the image to the memory because this
too is Africa.

Returning to Zimbabwe the last memory is unfortunately the ugly face
of Africa’s corruption epidemic. Give me one of those packets of
cashew nuts, the customs official aggressively demands and you stare
each other down, waiting to see who will give in first. Will she
refuse to open the boom and let you pass through the border or will
you mutter and give in. Tragically you get this same bad taste at so
many other border posts in and out of all our neighbouring countries
– everyone wants their cut to do the job their government pays them
to do and you are the helpless victim. Heading back to the never
ending political turmoil and power struggle of Zimbabwe you wonder if
our situation has also just become another case of This is Africa or
if we really can turn it round and prosper again.. Until next time,
thanks for reading, love cathy 12th May 2012.
Copyright � Cathy Buckle.

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