Saturday, 14 May 2011 23:47
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai (pictured above) is set to expand the MDC
national executive in a controversial attempt to accommodate some of his
most trusted loyalists who lost at the party’s congress in Bulawayo last
month, party insiders have revealed.
The insiders said at least 15 names, most of them members of Tsvangirai’s
so-called kitchen cabinet, were presented at the party’s standing committee
meeting last Wednesday.
The names will be forwarded to the national council which will be forced to
rubber stamp the nominations later this week. Sources in the labour-based
party said those who are trying to resist a bloated national executive are
being threatened with expulsion and have been labelled rebels.
“Politically, this is a coup against the congress,” said one senior MDC-T
“It is also an insult on the people who decided to renew their leadership.”
The MDC-T constitution says 12 members must be elected directly at the
congress in terms of clause 5.4.6 and seven party members must be co-opted
to the national executive elected in terms of Clause 5.4.8.
Clause 5.4.8 of the party’s constitution says: “Further at this first
meeting after Congress, the council on the recommendations of the national
standing committee shall co-opt not more than seven persons from the party’s
general membership who shall sit in both the executive and the council,
provided that the members to be so co-opted shall be such that a one third
gender status quo is achieved in the membership of the national executive.”
The sources said Tsvangirai and a few members of his kitchen cabinet felt
vulnerable and exposed after the congress when most party loyalists fell by
the wayside as new and power-hungry cadres took the reins.
“This prompted them to draw up this list of losers which was presented at
our standing committee meeting,” said another official.
“But this is against the constitution which stipulates that the president is
entitled to appoint seven members subject to approval by the national
MDC-T officials said everyone would be whipped into line to endorse the
decision to enlarge the national executive by co-opting those that lost at
the congress that was characterised by intense factionalism.
The official said no MDC-T official would have the guts to raise the issue
at the national council meeting because doing so would invite serious
He said the party was now being run the “Zanu PF way” where officials are
afraid to give an opinion that is different from President Robert Mugabe’s
At the standing committee, Tsvangirai is said to have said that “Zanu PF is
a stakeholder in the exercise; we have been seriously infiltrated by the
His statement, said party officials, was designed to silence all those who
wanted to oppose the co-option of the handpicked losers.
“No one will oppose this because that person will be seen as a rebel trying
to work against the Prime Minister,” said one official. “So it’s only you in
the media who can stop this from happening.”
The losers’ lists include Ministers Eliphas Mukonoweshuro, Henry Madzorera,
Murisi Zvizwai and Paurina Mpariwa, as well as former deputy minister
Others are Lucia Matibenga, Tabitha Khumalo, Kerry Kay, Concillia
Chinanzvavana, Elias Mudzuri, Eddie Cross, Edmore Marima, Cecil Zvidzai,
Hilda Mafudze and Amos Chibaya.
“What angers people is that there are people like Rorina Dandajena (member
of the women’s assembly) who lost by a small margin but were never included
on the list because she does not see eye to eye with a senior member of the
kitchen cabinet,” said a disgruntled MDC official.
“But we have others who were plucked from the wilderness.”
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora referred questions to the party’s
organising Secretary Nelson Chamisa or Secretary-General Tendai Biti.
“Talk to Chamisa or Biti because those issues fall under their departments,”
Contacted for comment, Cha-misa said he would call back later.
Saturday, 14 May 2011 23:24
BY Our STAFF
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has publicly acknowledged that his wife Grace is
unwell after she failed to attend a ceremony where she was supposed to be
the guest of honour.
Grace was due to give the main speech at Willia Bonyongwe’s birthday
celebrations last Thursday but her no-show forced Mugabe to take her slot.
Willia, wife to intelligence chief, Happyton Bonyongwe, recently turned 50
and a party was hosted in her honour in the plush Borrowdale suburb.
“Mugabe apologised for Grace’s absence, saying the first lady could not
attend as she was unwell,” one of the attendees revealed.
Grace’s health has been a matter of speculation in recent days, with reports
that she was in Singapore to seek treatment, while others claimed she was
studying in China.
This is the first time Mugabe has publicly spoken about his wife’s poor
health since word started circulating that she was ill.
A fortnight ago, Mugabe is reported to have gone to Singapore to collect his
ailing wife, with state media showing a gaunt Grace upon their return.
Insiders have revealed that a few months ago, Mugabe hinted to members of
his Zanu PF party that Grace was unwell, but this is the first time he has
acknowledged her ill health.
It was reported that the First Lady fell while taking a bath at the family’s
Borrowdale home and dislocated her hip.
However, at the time presidential spokesperson, George Charamba said Grace
had suffered complications following the birth of her last child, Chatunga.
Charamba said Grace had not fully recovered from that ailment.
Grace’s public appearances have been erratic of late. She however
accompanied her husband to the Vatican, with reports claiming she had not
shown any signs of discomfort.
However, she was not at her husband’s side at the official opening of the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair, about a week ago, fuelling speculation
that she was indeed unwell.
Initial media reports had explained Mugabe’s frequent visits to Singapore
were due to his ill health, before news began to filter that it was actually
Grace who was unwell.
Sunday, 15 May 2011 01:09
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe will not agree to wholesome security sector reforms
because doing so would be tantamount to surrendering political power to
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, analysts have said.
Without the support of the army, police, intelligence and to some extent the
prison service, analysts say the octogenarian’s reign would have ended a
long time ago.
Zanu PF has always denied that the security forces have been used to prop up
But the party’s angry reaction to a request by South African President Jacob
Zuma’s facilitation team for a frank discussion with the generals on the
roadmap to fresh elections betrayed the real nature of the power dynamics.
Zuma’s team made the request following concerns that lack of security
reforms were now the remaining major obstacle to a credible poll.
Securocrats were blamed for the violence that disrupted the June 27 2008
presidential run-off elections and partisan statements by the generals in
support of Mugabe on the eve of elections have compromised their
Generals are Zanu PF’s ‘backbone’
Analysts say Mugabe and Zanu PF hardliners want the elections this year
before security sector reforms because the party believes it is still in a
position to use security forces to campaign.Mugabe, said analysts, derives
his power from “brute force” exerted by an extremely partisan army, police
and central intelligence organisation (CIO).
Any reform is a direct threat to his “illegitimate” power base, they said.
“We will be naivé to think that Zanu PF will reform that sector because by
doing so he (Mugabe) will be finished,” said an analyst who spoke on
condition of anonymity.
But the analysts believe Mugabe and hawks in Zanu PF will succumb to
mounting pressure from an increasingly no-nonsense Sadc and African Union
(AU) as they are left with little room to manoeuvre.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition regional co-ordinator for South Africa office
Dewa Mavhinga said failure to reform will open up Zimbabwe to Sadc, AU and
“The time for military coups by stealth is long gone, the people of Zimbabwe
will accept nothing less than a full measure of democracy and freedom,” said
the South African-based analyst.
Mavhinga said after Zanu PF’s electoral defeat by MDC-T in March 2008, the
role of the security forces in keeping Mugabe in power became decisive. He
claimed the security forces “practically reversed the vote and blocked the
will of the people”, effectively giving Mugabe a new lease of life.
“Without the overt and obtrusive role of security forces in civilians,
Mugabe and Zanu PF would have long been confined to the dustbin of history,”
Prominent human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba, who heads the Zimbabwe Exiles
Forum (ZEF) said the security sector was heavily compromised, especially the
army and police.
He said the security sector must make a declaration that they will respect a
popular outcome after the next elections. Known compromised officers, he
suggested, must be removed from their posts.
Another analyst Charles Mangongera said security chiefs were resistant to
reform because the majority of them have “skeletons in their cupboards.”
Mangongera said the security chiefs must be assured that after they are
“retired” they would not be punished for their past deeds.
But Mavhinga disagrees: “But unfortunately, no guarantees can be given
regarding amnesty and immunity for those individuals who have and continue
to commit gross human rights abuses.”
The security sector has been actively involved in propping up Mugabe and
Zanu PF since the 1980s.
Since the 2008 elections, soldiers have been deployed in rural areas to prop
up Mugabe’s drastically waning political fortunes.
Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:49
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s flip-flopping on the roadmap to fresh elections
has fuelled speculation that the octogenarian ruler is now a lame duck.
His rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has on several occasions claimed
that “dark forces” were now running the country, relegating the civilian
government to a peripheral role.
Tsvangirai’s outburst followed frustrations over the seemingly unrestrained
powers of the army and police commanders who have openly shown their disdain
for ministers from the MDC side of the unity government.
But questions over who is really in control intensified last week when Zanu
PF openly criticised South African President Jacob Zuma’s intention to
engage the securocrats on the poll roadmap.
Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo described the request by Zuma’s facilitation
team as “nonsense.”
A resolution by the Zanu PF politburo on the army generals at its meeting on
Wednesday showed that Zuma had touched a raw nerve.
However, it was Mugabe’s insistence that elections be held this year that
seemed to defy logic.
Negotiators to the Global Political Agreement (GPA), including those from
Zanu PF, had agreed that credible elections could only be held next year or
Their reasoning was informed by the fact that crucial electoral reforms
cannot be completed by the end of this year.
There is now a strong belief that Mugabe is now a hostage to Zanu PF
factions battling for the control of the party in the event that he exits
the scene and securocrats desperate to control their ill-gotten wealth.
Some securocrats have also been implicated in serious crimes such as the
Gukurahundi atrocities and they cannot fathom a life without Mugabe at the
“The tragedy in Zanu is that its leading factions, especially those
associated with Solomon Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa, are now using their
mutual hatred as a way of expressing their support for Mugabe,” Zanu PF
Jonathan Moyo wrote in 2008 after Mugabe was endorsed as the party’s
presidential election candidate.
“The divisions between these factions has widened and deepened as they
compete to prove which supports Mugabe more than the other.”
Moyo, who was talking from the terraces, is now back in the fold in Zanu PF
and is believed to be working with army generals to push for an election
while the 87- year-old Mugabe still has the energy to campaign.
The Zanu PF leader has travelled to Singapore on five occasions so far
seeking treatment for an unknown ailment.
Moyo’s assessment four years ago still rings true as Mugabe pushes for
another election that he cannot win under normal circumstances.
The difference is that he is now at the forefront of the “dark forces”
seeking to foist Mugabe to a seventh term.
Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:45
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
GWANDA town council has dragged former deputy Foreign Affairs minister
Abednico Ncube to court, seeking his eviction from a council house that he
is refusing to vacate following the expiry of a lease agreement.
The municipality, which was controlled by Zanu PF at the time, offered house
number 82 Senondo Township to Ncube on a gratuitous basis when he became MP
in 1995 so that he could stay within his constituency.
But Ncube refused to vacate the house when he lost the seat in the 2008
elections claiming it was donated to him.
Gwanda mayor, Lionel De Necker on Friday said council had resolved to take
the controversial Zanu PF politician to court.
“He is in violation of council by-laws that say you cannot own a house in
the low-density area (Ncube owns a house at Jacaranda Suburb) and at the
same time rent a council house in the high-density suburb,” he said.
“We face accommodation problems and this is the reason why the council has
engaged lawyers to force him to vacate the place to allow other people to
also have accommodation.”
Zibusiso Ncube, a lawyer with Phulu and Partners legal practitioners said
the case against the minister was supposed to be heard at the magistrates’
court but was postponed after witnesses failed to turn up.
Sources said the council was finding it difficult finding witnesses as Ncube
is allegedly threatening them.
Reports say Ncube, along with Zanu-PF officials, have on numerous occasions
also stormed the Gwanda municipal offices and threatened council officials
over the house.
Council has also reportedly written several letters to Ncube instructing him
to vacate the property.
Ncube could not be reached for comment. This is not the first time that the
former deputy minister has had a brush with the law. In 2007, he was
convicted by a Gwanda magistrate after he was found guilty of insulting
former Gwanda mayor Petros Mukwena.
In 2005, Ncube caused a stir after he was accused of spearheading an
operation against illegal gold miners.
Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:45
BY SILAS NKALA
BULAWAYO — Police have launched a blitz on witch-hunters who are reportedly
causing havoc in Zvishavane.
One of the witch-hunters was reportedly arrested in Danga area on Wednesday
after police got wind that he had returned after the prophets known as
tsikamutandas fled from the area when the operation was launched weeks ago.
A whistle-blower who exposed the witch-hunters, Killion Dawura said the
witch-hunters had left the district after The Standard reported about their
activities last month.
Villagers had complained that the so-called prophets had taken more than 200
head of cattle from the Chief Masunda area, which they claimed was payment
for their activities.
He said after the police operation seemed to have ceased, one of the
witch-hunters, only identified as Ngwenya, had recently returned and was
operating at Danga village under Chief Simon Masunda and Headman Samuel
“Ngwenya returned recently after noticing that police activities had ceased
in the area.
“He settled at one Khumbula’s homestead by force. Khumbula had to report the
case to the police and the police raided and arrested Ngwenya yesterday
(Wednesday)” said Dawura, who is a former soldier.
However, police officer commanding Zvishavane district Superintendant Alphio
Maphosa could neither confirm nor deny the arrest saying he could not
divulge such information over the phone.
Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:37
DEFENCE minister Emmerson Mnangagwa has told Angolan media that the date for
Zimbabwe’s next election is still unknown despite Zanu PF’s insistence that
polls would be held this year.
Mnangagwa, who reportedly leads a major faction that is eyeing President
Robert Mugabe’s post after his departure, was speaking in Luanda where he
went to deliver a message from the veteran ruler to that country’s President
Eduardo dos Santos on Friday.
Retired army general Solomon Mujuru is said to be leading the other Zanu PF
faction and indications are that the groups are not united on the timing of
South African President Jacob Zuma, who was appointed by the Southern
African Development Community (Sadc) to facilitate between Zimbabwe’s three
governing parties, wants an election either next year or in 2013.
Mnangagwa met the Angolan vice- president Fernando da Pieda de Dias dos
Santos, the state, owned Angola Press reported yesterday. He reportedly
described the political situation in the country as stable following the
formation of a unity government in 2009.
The minister said the new constitution would be submitted to a “referendum
to pave the way for general elections in an environment of harmony.”
Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:26
BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE
RIOT police had to be called in last week at the Globe Trotter Motel in
Marlborough after children of the late Charity Sabawu nee Mukarati killed by
incarcerated businessman Dickson Kokwani Sabawu were involved in a fight
with their stepfather’s children.
Harare police spokesperson Inspector James Sabau confirmed the incident and
said the accused were released after paying admission of guilt fines.
According to Mukarati’s children from her previous marriage Vusa and Themba
Dzimwasha, the fight broke out because their stepbrothers Thulani and Dumi
Sabawu were blaming them for their fathers’ imprisonment.
Sabawu shot and killed his estranged wife during a confrontation in 2009.
“They are blaming us for their father’s imprisonment because after their
father killed our mother they approached us demanding that we withdraw
charges, not knowing that it is a state case and we cannot withdraw
charges,” Vusa said.
He said he was approached by seven people while outside the motel last week.
Vusa said the people started assaulting him with clenched fists, empty beer
bottles and tried to kidnap him while shouting that he should vacate their
He said his young brother Themba had tried to help him before he was also
After they managed to free themselves, they went and reported the matter to
the police. Police in anti-riot gear were sent to the scene.
However, Thulani who admitted to beating up his stepbrothers argued that it
was after Vusa had allegedly provoked him by saying that he would rot in
jail just like his father.
“After passing the comment he spat on me and I got provoked. Tempers
flared,” he said.
He also argued that Vusa and Themba had no right to continue staying at his
father’s property because they were from a previous marriage.
He said they (Vusa and Themba) were not directly related to their father.
Thulani also said Vusa and Themba’s mother had already been separated from
his father when she was killed.
Gladys Sabawu, mother to Thulani, said Vusa and Themba’s mother did not
contribute to the purchase of the property. She said she brought the motel
together with her husband in the late 70s.
“They have no claim whatsoever on this property,” she said.
“I built this with my husband. She only married him in 1996. The only claim
they have is movable property bought by their mother, not this motel”.
Gladys added that it was also unfair for Vusa and Themba to claim an
inheritance from her husband since their mother left four young children she
had with Sabawu.
She said she was looking after the children on her own yet Vusa and Themba
were pocketing all the money from the motel bookings.
Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:25
SOME youths in Bulawayo have embarked on a project to promote a unique form
of gardening which has helped them earn money while also improving their
nutrition at a minimal cost.
Dubbed “Low Input Gardening”, the project encourages people to use sacks,
old dishes, plates and even cups for growing vegetables and other nutritious
and health-enhancing plants.
“Realising that it is not everyone who has enough space to establish a
garden, we decided to encourage people to use sacks and other old household
utensils to grow vegetables,” 25-year-old Bongani Mabika said.
“These are movable gardens so even those lodgers whose landlords do not
allow them to start a garden in their yard can still grow vegetables and
move with their gardens when they have to change accommodation.”
Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:14
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
THE Elected Councillors Association of Zimbabwe (Ecaz) is seeking the
reinstatement of MDC-T’s two councillors whom they say were unlawfully
dismissed by the Zvimba Rural District Council (ZRDC) last year.
Councillors Emmanuel Chinanzvavana and Fanny Tembo were fired for failing to
attend full three consecutive council meetings. During the time of the
meetings, the two were in custody on allegations of abducting and murdering
a Zanu PF special councillor, Lancelot Zvirongwe, whose death was ultimately
ruled to be suicide.
In a letter dated May 11 2011 to ZRDC chief executive officer Shacky
Siyamayambo, Ecaz secretary general Misheck Gapare said the councillors must
be reinstated because they were in custody during the time of the meetings.
When the councillors were given bail, they had a 30km restriction from their
homes and could not attend council meetings.
“Your actions in dismissing the two councillors suggest partisan and biased
conduct on your part and therefore (we) implore on your office to regularise
the dismissal of these councillors by reinstating them to their elected
offices within the next seven days of this letter,” read the letter.
The letter was copied to the Minister of Local Government Ignatious Chombo.
Ecaz said it was disturbing to note that although some councillors failed to
attend three consecutive meetings, they were never reprimanded or dismissed.
“We therefore take the view that you acted contrary to your mandate in terms
of Section 32 of the Rural District Councils Act (Chapter 29:13),” says the
Another letter from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights shows that
Siyamayambo was notified that the two could not attend council meetings due
to bail condition restrictions.
“While our clients are alive and dedicated to their duties as councillors,
please be advised that they would not be able to attend the said meeting due
to the fact that they are bound by a bail order of the High Court which bars
them from travelling 30km from Banket.”
Efforts to get a comment from Siyamayambo were fruitless.
Sunday, 15 May 2011 00:10
BY INDIANA CHIRARA
A shadowy youth empowerment group linked to Zanu PF, Upfumi Kuvadiki on
Monday stormed Econet headquarters and demanded that its members be given
contracts to supply various goods to the country’s largest mobile operator.
The group, which caused a stir earlier this year when it tried to take over
a South African company Easipark which was contracted to manage Harare’s
municipal parking, reportedly met Econet’s management.
Econet public relations manager Ranga Mberi yesterday confirmed the visit
but sought to downplay the motives of group.
“They did not demand anything, they only wanted to know our operations in
general,” Mberi said.
“It’s not anything new to us because we are always in dialogues with many
But sources said the youths, who have been linked to Youth, Indigenisation
and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, wanted to use the country’s
controversial empowerment laws to win major supply contracts from Econet.
The group has made it clear that it wants to target the country’s lucrative
telecommunications sector because it believes it is owned by foreigners.
Econet is owned by business mogul Strive Masiyiwa who has been attacked by
some Zanu PF officials who believe he sympathises with the MDC-T. Despite
its militant tactics, Upfumi Kuvadiki failed to muscle its way into the
They have held meetings with Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda, which did not yield
Council has vowed that the deal would never be reversed and has received the
unlikely support of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development minister
Saturday, 14 May 2011 23:54
BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE
FORMER Zanu PF MPs who a couple of years ago fell out of favour with their
party’s leadership after being accused of externalising billions of
Zimbabwean dollars in foreign currency and selling state secrets are set to
make a comeback into active politics.
This paper has it on good authority that in the next parliamentary elections
David Butau will try to re-capture his Guruve constituency while Chris
Kuruneri will also try his luck in Mazowe West.
Another rehabilitated former MP who wants another shot at parliament is
flamboyant businessman Philip Chiyangwa, who is eyeing the Chinhoyi seat.
Between 2004 and 2005 Chiyangwa was accused of passing state secrets to
South African intelligence agents. However, after being detained for several
months, he was later acquitted.
Former Finance minister Kuruneri in 2004 spent 15 months in remand prison
and a further two years under house arrest on allegations of externalisation
before he was later acquitted. In late 2007, Butau fled to the United
Kingdom to avoid arrest after police indicated they wanted to arrest him.
In May 2009 he was acquitted on all counts after the prosecution dropped the
charges. A hostile Chiyangwa last week said there was nothing out of this
world about him standing in elections.
“I have always been in politics, nothing has changed. When I was in
hibernation, why didn’t you come and talk to me?” he said.
Zanu PF secretary for Adminstration Didymus Mutasa said although he was not
sure about Butau and Kuruneri, he knew for certain that Chiyangwa was set to
be re-admitted in Mashonaland West province.
Saturday, 14 May 2011 23:52
BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE
GOVERNMENT has since seized Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s two official
Toyota Prado vehicles after allegations that they were smuggled into the
country although it has since emerged that the vehicles have duty-free
Documents in possession of The Standard newspaper reveal that on March 24
2009 Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Willard Manungo wrote to the
Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) informing him
about the cars.
Manungo said the two cars whose engine numbers are IGR5652858 and IGR565327,
had been ordered by government from Aqua IT Southern Africa, based in South
Africa and were exempted of import duty.
“The vehicles are supplied for the exclusive use of government in terms of
non-duty paid contract and any duty leviable (sic) would be borne by
government,” he said in the letter.
Norest Marara, who sold the two vehicles to the PM before they were
initially impounded by the police in Beitbridge said Zimra had since written
to Tsvangirai informing him that they wanted to seize the vehicles.
Tsvangirai’s two drivers, Clifford Sanyika and Joshua Mhuriyengwe, were
arrested on their way back from South Africa in February and were accused of
installing sirens and other security features on the vehicles.
Police said the beacon lights and sirens were for police or military escort
vehicles. The case is still pending.
Marara was also picked up by the police a fortnight ago and was accused of
allegedly not having followed proper customs and excise procedures when he
imported the vehicles.
However, Marara last week explained that everything had been done above
He said the vehicles were bought in August 2008 for the Reserve Bank but the
central bank refused to take them saying they did not meet its
Marara alleges the vehicles were cleared by Speedlink Cargo before they were
put in a bonded warehouse until March 2009 when they were cleared.
“The duty-free certificates, proforma invoices were produced,” he said.
“These are government vehicles registered in the office of the PM.”
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka said the controversy over the
cars was political. “It’s a political issue wearing a legal mask,”
Efforts to get a comment from police spokespersons Assistant Commissioner
Wayne Bvudzijena and Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka were fruitless as
their mobile phones were going on voicemail.
This is the second time Tsvangirai is being investigated over the
importation of cars from South Africa.
In the run-up to the controversial June 27 2008 presidential run-off
election, the MDC-T leader’s armoured BMW X5 vehicle was impounded by the
police in Lupane on accusations that he had violated customs regulations.
The vehicle was donated to Tsvangirai by a South African businessman
identified as Adrian Espag.
Saturday, 14 May 2011 21:48
BY CHIPO MASARA
During this time when the Harare City Council has clearly failed to solve
the problem of uncollected garbage, the exciting news today is about a few
innovative city dwellers that have identified an opportunity in the litter
that is thrown around.
The dumped litter not only damages the appearance of scenic environments; it
provides breeding ground for mosquitoes that spread malaria and more often
than not, the garbage finds its way into our drinking water sources, among a
myriad of problems it presents.
While Tisunungureiwo Co-operative may not be a familiar name to many Harare
residents who freely discard litter, these people are clearly the unsung
heroes in the struggle to rid Harare of litter, especially the plastic
bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), mostly used for soft
This type of waste is non-biodegradable, meaning that for a long time it
will remain on the environment without decomposing.
The co-operative, situated along Mukuvisi River near the council pipes that
serve as a bridge connecting Graniteside and Magaba, comprises a group of
hardworking men and women who are not afraid of getting themselves dirty as
they go through mountains of all kinds of scrap unimaginable.
They arrange used Cascade drink bottles in one heap, Mahewu containers into
another, syrup containers and old broken buckets on yet another, among many
other waste types the group purchases from people for resale.
“This dumped waste often finds a way into our drinking water sources posing
a danger to our health,” said Edna Tsarwe, the cooperative’s chairperson.
“As Tisunungureiwo Co-operative, we are here to relieve the people of their
waste. We are doing our bit to clean up our dirty city while also helping
people earn a living.”
But how do they manage to kill two birds with one stone?
They act as middlemen between mostly unemployed people who want to raise
cash through selling waste and companies that recycle plastics. It’s
possible that you may have come across people carrying huge bundles of
garbage in town foraging the bins and thought they were mad. No. These are
the people who end up at Tisunungureiwo Co-operative, where they find a
ready market for anything plastic.
“We have so far helped many people, some of whom were homeless, to make a
start. Most of the people who come to sell waste are from Epworth, Mbare and
surrounding high-density areas. We hope as more people become aware of the
job we are doing, more will start collecting litter and come to dump it on
us, for a price.”
“We hope the government can recognise the job that we are doing and assist
us to go further with our work. What we are praying for now are machines
that will allow us to process waste into reusable products right here at
these premises,” said Tsarwe.
The co-operative not only specialises in plastics but it also collects scrap
metals, all kind of bottles, and is soon looking to start collecting meat
bones, although the chairperson admitted to not having found a ready market
Tisungureiwo Co-operative rece-ived a funding of US$5 000 through Zimbabwe
Environmental Law Association, donated by the Global Greengrants Fund and
intensive business management training from Practical Action. They said with
more assistance they can redouble their cleaning efforts.
If Harare could have more ventures like this one operating from 19351
Stevenson Road in the Graniteside industrial area, we could have back the
clean City we once knew, thanks to these men and women who have chosen to do
a job that most of us would shy away from.
If you are interested in knowing what happens to the plastic, watch this
space next week.
For Feedback, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, 14 May 2011 21:46
BY INDIANA CHIRARA
MASVINGO — Resettled farmers in Rutenga say they are living in fear of
disease outbreaks because of poor sanitation and lack of health facilities.
The villagers, who were resettled at the Makume Range during the 2000 fast
track land reform programme said they have been at the mercy of cholera,
measles and malaria outbreaks.
Other affected resettlement areas are Sovelele and Battlefields. Sabelo
Dube, a father of four said deaths from contagious but curable diseases had
become common in the resettlement area.
“I moved from Mberengwa after the government promised us better lives but
now I am regretting ever coming here,” Dube said. “We have to travel 15km
everyday to fetch water from Mucheni river and if one falls sick they will
have to travel 40km to Rutenga clinic.”
He said many people had died on their way to the clinic because of the long
distance while others would not even attempt because they would not have the
means to do so.
Another villager, Miriam Mpofu said her 10-year-old son died of cholera last
year as she tried to take him to the clinic.
“When I realised that he was sick I tried to look for a scotch cart to ferry
him to the clinic but unfortunately my neighbour who owns one was not
around,” Mpofu said.
“I had to travel on foot but we did not reach the clinic as my son had
The villagers said the number of women dying while giving birth was also on
the increase as most midwives in the area were poorly trained. Mpofu said
newly born babies were also dying because of lack of proper health care.
Mwenezi East MP Kudakwashe Bhasikiti said although the authorities were
aware of the conditions in resettlement areas, nothing much could be done
because of a shortage of resources.
“We are looking for funds to improve the conditions in resettlement areas,”
“But we are also encouraging them to be hygienic so that they will not be
affected by diseases such as cholera although it is difficult to do it
without clean water.”
Saturday, 14 May 2011 21:42
BY INDIANA CHIRARA
A story on the area popularly known as the Avenues and Harare’s night life
can never be complete without a reference to commercial sex workers. The
sight of semi-naked women lining up the streets of the residential area
adjacent to the capital’s central business district does not raise eyebrows
Many people believe the women selling their bodies in these places do it out
of choice. But 37-year-old Patience Ndlovu from Epworth, whose mother died
while she was only three months old blames it on her upbringing.
“I was raised by my uncles and during those days I was abused sexually and
physically but I had no one to turn to for protection,” Ndlovu said. “I
never went to school and up to now I can’t read or write.”
Ndlovu says she was forced into an early marriage with a Mozambican national
and they had six children. Married life gave her a chance to compensate for
the happiness she did not enjoy when growing up but it was soon to end with
her husband’s death.
“When my husband died the problems returned and this time it was worse
because I had children to look after,” she said.
A concerned neighbour gave her capital to start a business selling airtime
but it also collapsed after municipal police confiscated her wares.
“That is when I started to make a living through selling my body and I have
not turned back since,” Ndlovu said.
“I am into prostitution but my heart and soul are not there.
“Men at times force us to do inhuman things because we will be desperate for
She said some men offer to pay more for the services if they don’t use
protection but this would be at the risk of contracting HIV. Ndlovu, who
leads an Aids support group known as Team, based in the sprawling township
is now determined to take fellow sex workers out of the streets.
The group, made up of HIV-positive sex workers, wants to start income
generating projects that will help them earn a decent living and also
discourage those still trapped in the world’s oldest profession.
She said such an initiative would also go a long way in helping reduce the
spread of HIV.
“I am begging anyone who can assist with capital so that we can start our
own business,” she said.
“My first born is 17 and it really hurts me that he sees what I am doing and
I am also worried about the clients’ wives who are getting infected.”
A member of the group Farirai Gororo (36), a widow with four children said
given a choice, she would quit commercial sex work.
What touches commercial sex workers like Ndlovu and Gororo is the plight of
children like Tariro Manhenga, who has become a guardian at 16. Manhenga’s
mother was a commercial sex worker in Epworth and is now seriously ill at
Tariro has to take care of four siblings and they go without food most of
the time. Zimbabwe National Network of People Living with Aids (ZNNP+),
which is working with the Team support group said a lot still needed to be
done to end prostitution in Zimbabwe.
“However resources are limiting us as we currently don’t have enough money
to give them capital so that they will be able to take care of their
families,” said ZNNP+ provincial co-ordinator Musa Makondo.
Sunday, 15 May 2011 02:02
By Nevanji Madanhire
Towards the end of this week — on May 20 to be specific — the heads of state
and government of the Southern Development Community (Sadc) may meet to
deliberate on the Zimbabwe crisis and also on other crises in the region
that might include Swaziland.
This meeting should be put in the context of the Sadc troika meeting held
recently in the Zambian resort town of Livingstone, Zambia, at which the
heads of state there present came out of their shells and read the Riot Act
at Robert Mugabe for the danger he was exposing to the region by his
The North African revolutions were at their height and had taken their toll
on Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak, the former presidents of Tunisia and Egypt
There was the real danger that the North African revolts could be exported
down south. Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Lesotho and Zambia were in the danger of
being affected by popular revolts.
It would seem that danger has passed now. In Zimbabwe, the police had moved
fast to pick up possible leaders of such popular revolts.
Job Sikhala was picked up and tortured on trumped-up charges while
Munyaradzi Gwisai met a similar fate. He and a handful were charged with
treason but the charge was later downgraded.
The diplomatic fallout that resulted from the Livingstone debacle seems to
be water under the bridge now. The main protagonist in that debacle,
Jonathan Moyo, seems to be enjoying another of his legendary nine lives
judging from the fact that he is back spewing his usual vitriol in the
So the scenario has changed, southern African despots have heaved their sigh
of relief. Zanu PF seems to have got a new lease of life. It now thinks that
it can win the election that it wants before the end of the year. News on
radio and TV over the weekend said Mugabe would win 60% of the vote without
a sweat. The news said this was what surveys by civil society and the ZBC
itself had shown. Tsvangirai, according to the survey would win 40% of the
This is stranger than fiction, but that is another story. It is with this
newfound confidence that Zanu PF has begun once again to be defiant towards
Sadc. Whereas Sadc has said there would not be elections before an
appropriate roadmap, Mugabe bulldozed his party politburo into saying that
elections would be held this year. Reports suggest that Patrick Chinamasa,
one of the Zanu PF negotiators to the GPA is in hot soup for telling the
nation — and the world — that elections were not possible this year.
So on May 20 we are likely to see a scenario in which Sadc will soften its
stance on Mugabe. He attended the inauguration of Ugandan President Yoweri
Museveni last week where he met eight other African heads of state.
Obviously he threw in a word or two to these heads about his problems and
how they could help. We are likely to see in the days before May 20 a lot of
diplomatic manoeuvres to divide Sadc. That might well succeed, in such a way
that Mugabe would be let off the hook again.
Sadc is the only region where tyranny continues to thrive. West Africa,
notorious for its military dictators only a few years ago, has turned the
corner. Nigeria has just held its democratic elections. Although there was
some fighting, Goodluck Jonathan is now safely back on the throne.
The events that unfolded in the Ivory Coast that saw former president
Laurent Gbagbo refusing to relinquish power until he was pulled out of a
hole like a rabbit, also show that West Africa, which supported the declared
winner Alassanne Ouattara, no longer tolerates wanton disregard of the
That southern African remains the only outpost of tyranny on the continent
is a great indictment of the regional bloc which has remained steeped in the
politics of revolutionary camaraderie much to the detriment of regional
But how can the regional bloc continue to remain relevant when in the past
10 years or so it has failed dismally to solve a single problem? How much
longer should the southern African people continue to tolerate a body which
is in effect only just “a piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense”? Sadc was
founded on ideals which it has failed to live up to. It is now a
conservative club which promotes repression rather than fight against it.
Repression in Zimbabwe is epitomised by Zanu PF’s unilateralism even when it
is part of a negotiated settlement. Zanu PF is behaving as if it alone
constitutes a legitimate government in Zimbabwe. It and its leadership want
to wish away the fact that they lost an election in March 2008 and are only
in government by the grace of Sadc which under the tutelage of former South
African President Thabo Mbeki gave it a lifeline.
Zanu PF would like to give us the impression that its Soviet-style politburo
has by some dint of fortune the power to dictate when elections can be held
in Zimbabwe. This unfortunate grandstanding is based on some flimsy thinking
that the general populace still has something to thank Zanu PF for.
Zanu PF’s national spokesman Rugare Gumbo should know better. He is a
revolutionary who spent most of his productive years fighting for this
country, but last election his people rejected him and instead chose an
unknown broadcaster because they wanted something new and refreshing.
Gumbo is Zanu PF’s loud-hailer shouting politburo mantras of certain
electoral victory without once reflecting on the lesson he was taught in
Zimbabweans are a peaceful people who believe that elections will one day
liberate them from tyranny.
In the past decades they have watched helplessly as their will has been
trumped upon by a regime bent on remaining stuck in the past because it
thinks it is god-ordained to rule this country.
Now is the time to be bold. Let Zanu PF bring the election and let
Zimbabweans brew the shocker that will liberate us. It happened with the
election of the Speaker of parliament. It can happen again.
Sunday, 15 May 2011 01:57
By Alexandar Ruseko
It is a democratic and inalienable right for any given citizens in any given
country to elect a government of their choice. Such governments should when
elected not think that they were bestowed power on because of certain divine
or sacrosanct rights.
The same people that elect governments have a right to dethrone them any
time they deem necessary. Governments come and go but people remain. It is a
pity when others label agents of regime change all sorts of names for the
sake of illegally clinging onto power. Politicians should bear in mind that
if they stay too long in power, their political gloss and leverage also
fades, their eloquence and intelligence is captured in the wilderness of
foolishness and idiocy.
Regime change is not only vital but also healthy in the quest of democracy.
No political party or political leader has the sole right to lead or rule
any given country alone, even till death. In our own philosophical
traditional wisdom “Ushe madzoro hunotambidzaniwa”, literally meaning that
leadership is best that occurs in turns. Brilliant politicians have been
corrupted by political greediness and willpower to the extent of distorting
and damaging their historic and political reputation. All this is done in
the name of defending territorial sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Regime change is in a lighter way rejection of mismanagement, it is not
something that a lot of people should die for. Reality is hard to accept but
it is the only thing that safeguards one’s legacy. Abraham Maslow, one of
the renowned psychologists in his hierarchy of needs ended on self-esteem.
It is indeed important to reach the self-esteem level as postulated by
Maslow, but beyond self-esteem lies legacy. What is it that the present
political leaders will one day point to God in the heavens and say, “but
look here oh Lord, at least I did this and that?” Would God tolerate, for
example massive torture of innocent civilians? Would the divine Lord accept
the butchering of guiltless souls in the name of security? Certainly not.
Regime change gives the country a better chance to clear the mess of the
erstwhile loser or failure before it is too late. It is not fair in the
interest of future generations and in the interest of the country for a club
of a few people or one individual to hold the nation at ransom. Even if the
people may appear powerless and vulnerable to instruments of repression,
there is nothing so significant that any human being can do to coerce
God created a human being in His own image. The human being was created with
a natural gift and desire to reject and accept. What an individual dislikes,
no one can force him or her to like, even to the point of death. The
leadership melancholy which afflicts most black African states is arguably
one factor inimical to democratic achievement. The unfortunate part of
African politics is that it is hijacked by strange men parading themselves
as leaders in our respective societies. Such leaders are susceptible to
greed and easily bow down to pressures of kith and kin, even at the expense
of the whole nation at large.
These citizens are the most sensitive people, they think by being leaders
they will go unquestioned over their deeds, and would rather be answerable
to God only. Unlike any other individuals in any given society, politicians
are publicly accountable. They occupy those dignitary offices through the
virtue of the trust bestowed on them by the citizens; their actions will
never go unchecked or uncontested regardless of their vicious arsenals of
power comprosing the police dogs, riot police or even teargases. Their
official shortcomings should always be brought to public attention, whose
desire is good governance, accountability and transparency.
The moment people start to mention regime change, dictators who think that
regime change is criminal resort to the revival of all machineries of
intimidation and fear in the society. Regime change is at the epicentre of
any dictator’s nerve centre. The moment one attempts to touch that, the
dictator responds in furious and desperate actions. Regime change is not
criminal. Best governance lies in the variety. Only if people are exposed to
various tests of governance will they be able to make good choices in
nominating a government or leader of their choice. Leadership renewal has
become one of the clearest yardsticks in present day polities in assessing
whether a given state is adhering to democratic principles.
The developments in North Africa provide practical insights in the
prerequisites of dismantling dictatorships in Africa. The demise of
dictatorship is not an easy one, but when it comes it arrives with a bang as
devastating as the incumbent it wants to dislodge.
Sunday, 15 May 2011 01:53
President Robert Mugabe’s insistence that Zimbabwe should go ahead with
elections this year should be condemned in the strongest terms. Mugabe, who
is in the twilight of his political career, is clearly pursuing a
self-serving agenda that is of no benefit to the majority of Zimbabweans.
Citizens of this country yearn for an election that will remove the
debilitating political uncertainty that has harmed prospects for peace,
stability and economic prosperity.
Sadc, the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement, which is the basis
of the inclusive government, has concluded that at present conditions do not
exist for free and fair elections.
Under their wise counsel, negotiators to the GPA have already set in motion
a process that could lead to the crafting of a roadmap for undisputed
Among them is Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice and Parliamentary
Affairs, who concurred with fellow negotiators that elections could not be
held this year. The groundwork is simply not in place.
Postponing them to a later date gives the negotiators ample time to draft
changes to the electoral laws of the country that heavily favour President
Also, a delay would provide a chance to reform the security sector which has
been heavily politicised. Against all the norms of democratic states,
Zimbabwe’s military chiefs have taken sides in politics and are propping up
Mugabe’s shaky rule by suffocating his political opponents.
When all right-thinking Zimbabweans were starting to have confidence in the
Sadc- initiated negotiating process, Mugabe has acted the spoiler he has
He whipped everyone at the Politburo last week into endorsing the holding of
elections this year, putting himself in direct confrontation with Sadc,
which could meet later this month.
Mugabe’s headstrong insistence on elections is not only retrogressive, but
exposes his desperation to cling on to power until he dies in office. The
advice that needs to be given to Mugabe is that at 87, the time is ripe for
him to gracefully exit the political stage without being pushed like former
presidents Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali of Tunisia.
CONSTITUTION WATCH 2011
[13th May 2011]
Thematic Committee Stage
During this stage of the constitution-making process opinions collected during the public outreach are to be compiled into reports following the seventeen themes decided on by the Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution [now known as COPAC] as part of the methodology of the constitution-making process. It was on these seventeen themes that the talking points taken to the public outreach meetings were based.
The outreach teams should have been selected and trained in July 2009 and were scheduled to start and finish work six weeks later. Unfortunately, interparty disputes and the lack of acceptable budgeting systems, which led to donor funding delays, resulted in the outreach only starting towards the end of June 2010 – 11 months late. The outreach meetings were completed in November last year.
Article 6 of the GPA states the draft constitution should be ready within three months of the completion of the public consultation process – this, together with all the other delays, would have seen a draft constitution completed before the end of February.
The further delays since the conclusion of the outreach have been attributed to problems with the data uploading which was supposed to be completed in January. COPAC said that some data did not find its way onto the central computer because of a technical problem. There were also reports of tampering with or destruction of data – all denied by COPAC. In addition it was discovered that data submitted via the COPAC website questionnaire for the Diaspora and written submissions, had not been included and this was only completed in mid-March. The longer the process took, the more funding had to be sourced. Another delaying factor was the incarceration of MDC-T COPAC co-chair Douglas Mwonzora on criminal charges from 15th February to 12th March.
Training of Thematic Committees
The seventeen thematic committees and their supporting staff of technical advisers and resource persons were called to Harare and put up at various hotels in order to attended a workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday 3rd and 4th May at the Rainbow Towers Hotel on how their work would proceed. The objective was to train them in how to analyse the data from the outreach process and prepare their reports, and how to resolve disputes arising in the course of their work. Attempts to find out from COPAC exactly what methodology was to be used to convert the computer data to reports failed – for reasons that subsequently became apparent.
Deputy Chairpersons from Civil Society Fall by the Wayside
It had been stated right at the beginning of the constitution-making process that civil society would be represented in the chairing of the thematic committees. This representation was then diluted by deciding that the chairpersons would be MPs but that civil society would put forward names for deputy chairpersons. A selection was made, but those selected were then kept waiting almost eighteen months. It now seems that civil society choices, no matter how many people they represent, have been dropped in favour of “teamleaders” chosen as representing the three parties. For example, Emilia Muchawa, chairperson of the Women’s Coalition and Executive Director of Zimbabwe Women Lawyers’ Association, found that she had been dropped as deputy chairperson of the Women and Gender thematic committee. And Raymond Majongwe, Secretary-General of the Progressive Teachers’ Union, listed in 2009 as deputy chairperson of the War Veterans thematic committee, this week pulled out of the committee when he discovered that he was now regarded as representing the interests of a political party rather than civil society.
It has taken Veritas ten days since the training workshop started on 3rd May to get the new lists of “teamleaders” who have replaced the committee chairpersons and deputy chairpersons, and the members of the thematic committees, as the COPAC secretariat during this time refused to release them.
[For a process that is supposed to be “owned and driven by the people” [GPA, Article 6] there has throughout been extraordinary difficulty in accessing information from the Secretariat.]
Work of Thematic Committees Interrupted by Disputes
On Thursday 5th May, the day after the training workshop, the thematic committees began work, again at the Rainbow Towers Hotel, starting with the data from the meetings conducted in Mashonaland West and Matabeleland North. The aim was to complete work on 19th May. This week, however, when the committees began to tackle the data from Manicaland, differences between ZANU-PF and the MDC formations erupted, with ZANU-PF insisting on a quantitative approach [.i.e. to count up how many times an opinion had been expressed and the most frequently expressed views to go forward as what the people want].
The MDC formations objected to using a quantitative only approach and said there must also be a qualitative approach [ i.e., the essence of all suggestions should be put forward for consideration]. [Note that at a meeting on 11th April the COPAC management committee decided that analysis of the results of the outreach meetings would be conducted on a qualitative basis.] In view of the many problems associated with the outreach recercise the MDC felt very strongly that account must be taken of the quality of the data coming in – e.g., whether it was informed opinion or mere parroted repetition of a party political election slogan having little to do with constitutionalism; and whether it resulted from bussing-in or intimidation, or other opinions being shouted down [an example being the repeated shouting of “government critics should be “killed”]. In other words, they wanted the atmosphere of each consultative meeting to be factored into the analysis. They also wanted allowance to be made for the uneven rural/urban consultation. There were far more meetings in rural areas – three per ward – than in the more densely populated urban areas, where there was normally only one meeting per ward. As the number of meetings held did not accurately reflect the very different rural/ urban population numbers – a quantitative-only approach would mean rural opinions being unfairly weighted against urban opinions.
[Comment: It is surprising that in the ample time available to it COPAC had not spelled out the methodology for the work of the thematic committees sufficiently clearly to exclude the sort of thing that happened this week.]
As a result of the dispute there were no properly-constituted meetings from Tuesday onwards, although ZANU-PF members staged a UDI and ostensibly continued to work. The COPAC management committee was called in and met on Wednesday – this committee consists of the GPA negotiators, the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and the COPAC co-chairs – but was unable to resolve the dispute in the time available to it. It was left to the Select Committee members to continue efforts to avert suspension of the process and sending participants home.
Meeting Resumed on Friday and Work to Start All Over Again
After a day of crisis meetings on Thursday 12th May, the Select Committee managed to reach an agreement resolving the dispute. Once again the agreement reached was in the nature of a party political compromise. The agreement permitted the seventeen thematic committees to resume their work on Friday afternoon after three wasted days. To make up the lost time the committees may have to work longer hours, unless funding for extra days can be sourced. The terms of the agreement were captured in a press statement released at 12 noon on 13th May:
COPAC PRESS STATEMENT ISSUED 13 MAY 2011, 12 NOON
[signed by all three COPAC co-chairpersons – Mangwana, Mkhosi and Mwonzora]
The Constitution Select Committee, COPAC, would like to advise that the disagreement over data analysis methods which led to an impasse has now been resolved. Stakeholders to the process agreed to move forward as follows:-
There is agreement to collapse three meeting points in a rural ward into one in order to equalize the disparity between urban and rural wards and because the process is ward based.
Where there was more than one meeting in an urban ward, or in any other ward, these shall also be collapsed into one.
1. The analysis of the rural data will be done separately from the urban.
2. Frequencies or preponderance will not be the absolute determinant of popularity or importance of an agreed concept.
3. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches will be applied in data analysis.
3.1 Where we use both quantitative and qualitative methods of analysis, none shall take precedence over the other.
3.2 In the qualitative approach, key attributes will include the following:
· atmosphere of meeting
4. All the reports already done shall be revised to take into account the new qualitative dimensions.
COPAC would like to reassure all Zimbabweans that the constitution-making process is on course and would like to allay fears that have arisen from reports that are circulating.
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied