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At last I’m not a criminal any more – I have a press card
May 15, 2010
Jan Raath with his new press card. Freedom of speech may take a 
little longer

Jan Raath with his new press card. Freedom of speech may take a little longer

I became legal yesterday. After seven years of committing the crime of journalism in Zimbabwe without an official government accreditation, which carries a sentence of up to 20 years in jail, I now have a press card.

I applied each year after the passing in 2003 of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, a title so Orwellian it is a joke. It was used to shut down five newspapers, arrest scores of journalists and ban non-resident foreign correspondents.

Every January I paid the $50 (£33) fee to apply for accreditation with the Media and Information Commission, and each year they took my money. They did not refuse me, they just ignored me. It left me and a few colleagues in a shadow world in which the practice of journalism is a felony.

It has meant spending days away from home when word was out that the Central Intelligence Organisation was looking for one or all of us; being raided in my office by police sent to investigate allegations of espionage or “illegal news” or, once, having to flee the country for five weeks to evade arrest.

Mysterious cars are sometimes parked outside the house at night. Then there are the after-midnight telephone calls with breathing on the end of the line and the business of hiding documents and erasing e-mails. There was the humiliation of being ordered out of official events, and being hounded out of the hotel where one of South Africa’s presidents was trying to persuade President Mugabe not to murder the country’s non-violent opposition.

I have discovered that there are few people who are strengthened by their defiance of those who rule with malevolence. Mostly, day after day, year after year, it grinds you down and leaves you to face the world with antidepressants, alcohol and vitamins.

At the beginning of this month there came into being the first creation by Zimbabwe’s 15-month-old power-sharing Government of an institution that has a chance of reforming Mr Mugabe’s vindictive administration: the Zimbabwe Media Commission. This is made up of commissioners chosen by the hung Parliament, with possibly an equal balance of those wanting media freedom and those determined to continue to stifle it in service of Mr Mugabe’s apparently everlasting rule.

I went to the commission’s offices with a batch of documents to test the waters. The woman at the counter told me that I was category J-S. What could that mean? But no, I was treated with courtesy and was able to make jokes about my Afrikaner ancestors fighting the British. In ten minutes I walked out with a yellow piece of plastic, bearing my photograph, saying “press card”.

Half an hour after I left I felt drained. I realised that it was relief, releasing seven years of accumulated anxiety.

This is not the dawn of free speech in Zimbabwe. An application was lodged soon after the Commission opened for a new newspaper but two weeks have passed with no word. The Minister of Information, a Mugabe loyalist, has made it clear that he will resist all moves to allow independent media.

We have a police force that espouses a belief that journalists are vermin. My new card shifts me from being liable to arrest for working illegally to being an accredited journalist liable to be illegally arrested.

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It’s Aloota Continua!

Thursday, 13 May 2010 14:58

Every single year, the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General of the
Republic of Zimbabwe quietly tell us why it is so difficult for the
situation in Zimbabwe to get any better.

Reading through the annual reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General is
a sad and disheartening process. It is one that makes clear that there are
financial and economic issues that go to the root of the political, social
and economic malaise in Zimbabwe.
These reports clarify that after all the political wheeling and dealing and
agreeing and so on is done, if Zimbabwe continues to lack a system that
enforces laws against looting of state resources, then there can be no
sustainable political, social or economic progress in Zimbabwe.

Occasional noise
What makes the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s reports sad reading in this
context is the fact that these reports actually reveal in technical,
clear-cut, factual language, the corruption going on as regards state
resources, yet nothing is ever done in following up these issues.
Indeed, the same frauds and abuses of state resources are repeatedly pointed
out year after year. Yet in spite of this, the thefts, lootings and other
disappearances of state funds and resources continue and no one is ever
brought to justice; and the shortcomings in processes which allow for this
reaping off of the state coffers are never rectified.
Occasionally, some noise is generated when the Comptroller and
Auditor-General issues some special report or other, but one merely needs to
read the annual reports to get an idea of the on-going nature of the fraud
and abuse of state resources.
The annual reports reveal extreme levels of impropriety regarding public
finances and incorrigibility in this respect. Take for example these cases
highlighted in the reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General from 2003
to 2006 as follows:

Financial irregularities

•    A remarkable example of financial irregularity is a most curious matter
of amounts paid by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education for four
Mitsubishi Canter vehicles in July 2005 and detailed at page 142 of the
Comptroller and Auditor-General’s 2005 report.
By the end of September 2006, there had been no delivery of the vehicles. No
tender documents or payment vouchers as regards this had been availed to the
Comptroller and Auditor-General despite repeated requests. At the time of
the 2006 audit (which was certainly after 20 December 2007 as that is when
the Ministry tendered its accounts for audit), the 4 vehicles had still not
been delivered; this is as expressed at page 92 of the 2006 report.
Neither the tender documents nor the payment vouchers had been delivered to
the Comptroller and Auditor-General in spite of repeated requests. There has
been no investigation or action taken in respect of this matter;

•    At page 117 of the 2006 report, it is noted that the Ministry of Rural
Housing and Social Amenities failed to account for $4 355 000 which was
alleged to have been misappropriated but that there was no evidence to show
that investigations had commenced with the aim of establishing the
perpetrators of the fraud and recovering the money;

•    At page 125 of the 2005 report, it is noted that the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs failed to take steps to recover an amount of US$63 752
misappropriated by one of its officers stationed at the Beijing foreign

•    There is misallocation where money in fund accounts meant for certain
programmes is used for entirely different programmes. This is reported as
regards the Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing
in the 2004 report at page 141.

In some cases, funds were deliberately misallocated to items that already
had funds as reflected at page 143 of the 2005 report regarding the Ministry
of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs where the Comptroller and
Auditor-General pointed out that the text was deliberately not completed
when entering expenditure details in order to hide the nature of the

At least three other Ministries were cited for this, being the Ministry of
Youth, Development and Employment Creation at page 144 of the 2005 report,
the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare at page 135 of the 2005 report and
the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education at page 91 of the 2006 report
for the second year running;

•    The Registrar-General’s Retention Fund is established under section 30
of the Audit and Exchequer Act to provide additional services for all vital
registration exercises, staff training, staff welfare, awarding of merits
and informational needs n the Registrar-General’s office.

It purchased 23 vehicles without obtaining authority from the State
Procurement Board as per legal requirements; this is stated at page 333 of
the 2005 report.

This fund is allowed to retain 10 per centum of the revenue collected by the
Registrar-Generals department in terms of its Constitution. It, however,
retained 100 per centum of the funds without any parliamentary amendment to
its Constitution to allow this;

•    At page 311 of the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s 2005 report, it is
noted that the Public Service Rural Amenities Fund was used to fund the
Minister’s entertainment, the Permanent Secretary’s Air ticket, a Christmas
party for the Ministry’s Head office staff and some disbursed to an officer
for traveling and subsistence expenses which the Comptroller and
Auditor-General ruled improper. All of this expenditure was not that for
which the fund was established;

•    At page 189 of the 2004 report, the Comptroller and Auditor-General
expressed concern about unexplained debits amounting to $335 000 from the
Funeral Assistance Fund (established under the Audit and Exchequer Act to
provide grants for the purposes of assisting with the funeral expenses of
deceased civil servants who have been in service for a least two years other
than those covered by the State Service (Disability Benefits) Act). This was
the fourth year running that concerns had been expressed about these debits,
yet the debits had continued and there had been no investigation into who
was making these withdrawals and for what purpose;

•    At page 150 of the 2004 report, it was pointed out that the Ministry of
Youth, Gender and Employment Creation had failed to convene Boards of
Inquiry to investigate numerous losses and damages to state property as
required by Treasury Instruction 2302 with missing equipment from various
districts and vehicle accidents from head office not being investigated;

•    At page 22 of the 2003 report, it was noted that possible cases of
misappropriation of public funds which amounted to $9 860 057 in the
Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare from 2002 remained
unresolved as at December 31 2003 and that there was a need to follow up on
the cases and finalise them; this was repeated in the next year’s report
i.e. at page 110 of the 2004 report, as was the concern that there was a
need to tighten internal control systems to protect public funds under the
control of that Ministry;

•    Also of concern was a huge bill for car hire incurred without going to
tender as regards the Ministry of Defence at page 114 of the 2004 report, a
huge expenditure on the purchase of flats by the Zimbabwe Prison Service
cited at page 163 of the 2004 report in respect of which the Ministry of
Home Affairs failed to provide Tender Board Authority;

Borrowing limitations
•    Other issues set out in the reports relate to the Executive flouting of
state borrowing and guarantee limitations and borrowing without the
requisite authority. The reports of the Comptroller and Auditor-General are
also informative as to loan contraction, the giving of guarantees and debt
management frailties.

In the 2005 report, it was pointed out at page 27 that the legislatively
prescribed borrowing limit of 30 per centum of general revenues in the
preceding year was exceeded by 38.11 per centum without the required
parliamentary approval. In 2003 and 2004, there was an excess of 74 per
centum and 79 per centum above the prescribed 30 per centum limit, all
without parliamentary approval; this is stated in the 2004 Comptroller and
Auditor-General’s report at pages 45 and 27 respectively.

There was also unauthorised borrowing such as that cited at page 308 of the
Comptroller and Auditor-General’s 2005 report where it was noted that the
National Civil Protection Fund borrowed $25 000 000 from the Central Rates
Fund without the authority of the Minister of Finance, thereby violating
section 30 of the Civil Protection Act.

Furthermore, there has been exceeding of the limit as regards guarantees
that the state is entitled to issue. Page 53 of the 2004 report points out
that in 2003, the guarantee limit was exceeded without parliamentary
approval, the Comptroller and Auditor-General’s office points out its
concern that this has been noted in preceding years.

As for the year 2004, it is pointed out at page 119 that there is no
guarantees register; the effect of this is that it could not be ascertained
whether or not all guarantees and commitments given by Government were fully
disclosed. Thus the violation of the law was probably even greater. Page 32
of the 2005 Comptroller and Auditor-General’s report expresses the same
concern as to the absence of a guarantees register, noting that this has
been raised in previous reports;

•    Loans are given out by Ministries (a major question being who to?) and
never recovered. In some cases there is no register of such loans maintained
and the loans are never recovered. In some cases, the loan agreements cannot
be found. Similar shortcomings exist as regards guarantees.

No accountability
These are all issues which cry out for investigation, criminal proceedings,
rectification of the process of handling public finance within ministries
and also for the State to seek the return of its funds so as to protect
public finances and foster accountability in the handling of public
In spite of the clear gravity of many of the matters mentioned above, no
investigations and criminal proceedings have been brought in respect of
these matters. Indeed, no one has ever been arrested or otherwise brought to
justice on the basis of the reports by the Comptroller and Auditor-General.
This abject failure to enforce the law has caused extreme prejudice to the
It matters not which party has political power, the fact is that so long as
enforcement of the law in such cases does not occur, Zimbabwe’s political,
social and economic progress will be stalled. This will be a result of the
bleeding of resources, but also of a culture of self-interest by those
benefiting from such impunity which culture will utterly decimate any
inclinations towards the national interest.
The very fact that the criminal justice system does not seem to apply to
senior government officials and politicians surely signifies an absence of
the rule of law.
One can understand why the office of the Comptroller and Auditor-General
itself keeps a low profile. A reading of their reports will show that they
contain what may be deemed to be, in light of Zimbabwe’s political
environment, politically sensitive material. Indeed, it is a small office
with tenuous legal protection which really requires strengthening and
maximum protection.
As regards some of the frailties noted above, some civil society groups have
been making efforts to have these matters addressed e.g. the Zimbabwe
Coalition on Debt and Development has long fought for accountability as
regards loan contraction and debt management processes and violation of
The problem seems to be that Zimbabweans have all too often had their
attention absorbed in the highly visible electoral political maelstrom in

If it means that there must be created an fiercely independent extension of
the law enforcement agencies, then so be it. Further, surely there should be
a legal requirement that the office of the Attorney-General acts in respect
of this blatant theft of state resources.
Parliament itself should certainly do more in its oversight role to ensure
that where there is theft and abuse of state resources, justice is done to
protect such resources.
This abuses highlighted above are only portion of what arises out of only
three annual reports – it does not take into account the various other
annual reports, as well as special reports on specific issues.
Over years and decades, we are annually advised how the persons who style
themselves our representatives are abusing our money and yet somehow, it has
yet to occur to us that the fact that they can do that with impunity is the
reason why they can feel empowered to do anything else that they want to do
with impunity.
Perhaps in resolving that lies the real key to unlocking the Zimbabwean
political, social and economic crisis.

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Mugabe embarks on 5-day trip to Iran

by Edith Kaseke Saturday 15 May 2010

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe will travel to Iran on Sunday in a bid to
bolster economic ties and elicit investment from the Persian Gulf state as
the West continues to withhold critical funding needed to fully restore the
once vibrant economy, officials told ZimOnline on Friday.

Mugabe's trip comes just weeks after a visit by hardliner Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to open the country's annual trade exhibition in

During the five-day trip to Tehran, Mugabe is expected to hold talks with
Ahmadinejad and business leaders and sign cooperative agreements that he
hopes would see increased investment into the country.

Mugabe last month backed Iran's controversial nuclear programme and charged
that the West was seeking to punish the two countries for asserting their

"Yes the President will be leading a delegation to Iran on Sunday. It is a
state visit at the invitation of the Iranian government," an aide in Mugabe's
office said, declining to give further details.

Iran faces a possible new round of United Nations sanctions over its refusal
to halt uranium enrichment. The West accuses Tehran of trying to build
nuclear weapons. Iran says it aims only to generate electricity.

Zimbabwe itself escaped UN sanctions in 2008 after Mugabe's re-election in a
second round poll marred by political violence, which forced his rival,
Morgan Tsvangirai to pull out despite outpolling Mugabe in the first round

Mugabe was eventually forced to form a power-sharing government with
Tsvangirai, now prime minister, in February 2009.

A government minister denied last month media reports that Ahmadinejad's
visit was linked to a deal for the Persian Gulf country to mine uranium in
Zimbabwe in exchange for oil.

Mugabe has previously said Zimbabwe has rich uranium deposits in the Zambezi
valley but metallurgists say such evidence has not been backed by any
prospecting activities in the area.

Zimbabwe has for the past five years been pursuing a "look east" approach,
targeting countries from Asia to invest in the country with little success.

China, which usually provides small loans to Harare, told Finance Minister
Tendai Biti last month that Zimbabwe should start to repay its loans if it
is to continue receiving funding from Beijing.

Early this month Zimbabwe inked a $400 million agreement with China's
Sinohydro to expand Kariba hydro electricity plant.

But the country has also previously signed hundreds of millions of dollars
worth in cooperation agreements with foreign governments to boost its
electricity generation capacity, but has not made progress in getting any of
the projects off the ground.

In July 2005, Zimbabwe signed a $200 million deal with Iran's Farab Company
for the extension of the Kariba South power station, but the deal fell
through after Zimbabwe failed to raise the required deposit for the loan.

A raft of deals with China totaling $1.3 billion for the building of new
coal mines and three thermal stations, signed in 2006, have also not yielded

Ahmadinejad's visit last month was boycotted by Tsvangirai's MDC and further
widened rifts within the coalition government. The MDC described Mugabe's
decision to invite Ahmadinejad as a "colossal political scandal". -

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ACR says govt on intimidation campaign

Written by Staff reporter
Friday, 14 May 2010 10:19

HARARE - The financial controller of diamond firm African Consolidated
Resources (ACR) was granted bail on Tuesday as the British-based company
accused Zimbabwean officials of a campaign to intimidate its employees and
discredit the firm.
ACR Financial Controller Ian Harris, who was facing charges of fraudulently
acquiring diamond claims at Zimbabwe's controversial Chiadzwa fields in the
name of non-existent ACR subsidiaries, was released on bail by a Harare
Harris was arrested on May 7 on fraud allegations.
Allegations against Harris are that he approached Mutare mines offices
between April and July 2006 seeking diamond claims and got 240 claims. The
state is however alleging that the three companies he claimed to be
representing then had not yet been registered.
An ACR spokesperson said last week that the company believed that the
charges against Harris "have no legal basis". "ACR believes these charges
have been provoked by elements who have an interest in the illegal mining
currently being carried on at the company's Marange diamond claims in
defiance of a Supreme Court order, in an attempt to intimidate its staff,
discourage the company in pursuing all necessary legal actions to secure
repossession of its diamond claims at Marange and discredit the company,"
the spokesperson said.
ACR, which holds right of title to claims on the Marange diamond field that
is also known as Chiadzwa in Zimbabwe's eastern districts, is locked in an
ownership wrangle of the diamond field with the government-owned Zimbabwe
Mining Development (ZMDC). Mpofu last March declared that the London-based
mining firm -"controlled by one white man" - would never mine diamonds at
Marange as long as he was in charge of the ministry.
Mpofu accuses ACR chief executive Andrew Cranswick of leading a campaign to
block Zimbabwe's bid to officially sell diamonds from Chiadzwa. Chiadzwa is
one of the world's most controversial diamond fields with reports that
soldiers sent to guard the claims after the government took over the field
in October 2006 from ACR committed gross human rights abuses against illegal
miners who had descended on the field.
International rights groups have been pushing for a ban on Zimbabwean
diamonds but in November, the country escaped a Kimberley Process ban with
the global body giving Harare a June 2010 deadline to make reforms to comply
with its regulations.

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Zim, SA set up one-stop border facility

15/05/2010 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

ZIMBABWE and South Africa have agreed an arrangement in which immigration
and customs from both countries would be working at one point jointly
clearing travellers and cargo bound for either direction between June 7 and
July 19.

The one-stop border immigration and customs facility is designed to ensure
faster clearance of travellers and cargo at their common border in
Beitbridge during the World Cup, officials said Friday.

Zimbabwean officials said the South Africans have so far rejected their
calls to make the arrangement permanent, although negotiations continue.

South Africa hosts the FIFA 2010 World Cup from June 11 to July 11, and
Zimbabwe is expecting at least 100,000 visitors during the period.

Innocent Hamandishe, a senior Zimbabwean immigration officer said Friday:
"Zimbabwe and South Africa have agreed to implement a one-stop border post
concept in Beitbridge wherein our officers will be operating under one roof
to help speed up the clearance of travellers during the World Cup period.

"We will also get additional officers from other stations to help beef up
our staff at Beitbridge. We are also working on mechanisms aimed at
enhancing security at the border so that we protect travellers from being
harassed by touts and criminals."

Anyone Motebele, the Deputy Director of South Africa's Home Affairs
Department at Beitbridge Border Post, said they were increasing the number
of immigration officers from 21 to 36 per shift.

The South Africans remain concerned, he said, over human trafficking and
organised crime syndicates operating at the border.

Zambia and Zimbabwe were the first countries in the region to introduce a
one-stop border facility at their common Chirundu border last year, to ease

The concept is part of efforts by the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) to integrate the economies of the sub-region, and ensure free flow of
goods and services.

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Parks deny Mugabe hand in animal exports

15/05/2010 00:00:00
by Lebo Nkatazo

ZIMBABWE's National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority said Thursday
North Korea has made an application to import elephants and five other
animal species, but denied the existence of a presidential decree to send
the animals to the Asian nation.

In a statement, parks director general Vitalis Chadenga said the impending
export of the animals is a business arrangement that comes after the
authority was satisfied with conditions in the receiving country.

Chadenga said: "For purposes of clarity, I considered it prudent to set the
record straight: Zimbabwe is currently processing an application for DPRK
for the following animal species: elephants, giraffes, Zebras, warthog,
spotted hyenas and rock dursy.

"With the exception of elephants, the animals being sought by the DPRK are
not endangered and not listed in the CITES appendices. Zimbabwe's elephant
population is on Appendice 2, which allows trade according to annotation No
5B -- trade in live animals to appropriate and acceptable destinations as
defined in resolution conf 11.20 for Botswana and Zimbabwe."

The parks boss added that the authority has sent two scientific experts to
North Korea for purposes of verifying the appropriateness of the animals'

"We are satisfied that the recipients of the animals are suitably-equipped
to house and care for them ... I also confirm that this is purely a business
arrangement, with no directive from government," added Chadenga.

The parks boss spoke after animal rights activists claimed President Robert
Mugabe was giving up two baby elephants as a gift to North Korea.

The activists said the animals were unlikely to survive the journey by air,
Zimbabwean conservationists said Thursday.

The independent Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said the 18-month-old
elephants were being held in pens in the western Hwange National Park, along
with pairs of most of the park's other animal species bound for North Korea.
The country is a long-time ally of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.

Johnny Rodgrigues, head of the task force, said all the animals - including
zebra, giraffe and a range of antelope - were captured at the Mugabe's order
to be given to North Korea. He cited witnesses and officials in the park.

Zoo conditions in North Korea, isolated by most world nations, did not meet
international standards, he said.

Two rhino, a male known as Zimbo and a female called Zimba, given to the
North Korean leader in the 1980s by Mugabe died only a few months after
their relocation.

At the same time, other rhino given to the Belgrade zoo in the former
Yugoslavia died after contracting foot rot in damp and snowy winter
conditions there.

Last month, the government said the North Korean soccer team was headed to a
training camp in Zimbabwe ahead of the FIFA World Cup in neighbouring South
Africa from June 11 - July 11.

Opposition groups vowed to demonstrate against their presence. Troops loyal
to Mugabe trained by North Koreans were deployed in the western Matabeleland
province - where Hwange is located - and massacred tens of thousands of
civilians in the 1980s.

The team's visit to Zimbabwe was in doubt. North Korea soccer officials
refused to confirm their itinerary when they left Pyongyang for training in
Switzerland on May 8.

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UNICEF threatens to withdraw supplying Zimbabwe water chemicals

By Gerald Chateta

Published: May 15, 2010

Harare  -  The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) the major donor of
water treatment chemicals to the country's local authorities has warned the
government of its intention to withdraw the service, a development likely to
see the millions of people living in the country's 20 urban centres who
depend on UNICEF's water treatment chemical exposed to diseases like cholera
and typhoid, as the government is still unable to acquire water treatment
chemicals, a senior government official has said.

A senior official in the Ministry of Water Resources Development and
Management who declined to be named because he is not allowed to speak with
the media said they had a meeting with UNICEF officials recently who warned
of weaning the government from the service.

"I think it's justified because the organization has been assisting us for a
long time. We should have found ways of sustaining ourselves by now. Yes we
are unable to purchase these chemicals but we have strategized other means
of generating revenue for example the ministry recently ordered all local
authorities to establish separate water and sewerage accounts whose funds
will be used towards those services, "said the official.

Investigations carried out by ZimEye have proved that UNICEF was in a move
to withdraw donating water treatment chemical.

A senior UNICEF official who spoke on condition of anonymity said it was not
their mandate to supply the government with water treatment chemicals.

"It must be known that it's not our mandate to provide this service and we
are not responsible for urban rehabilitation. We were only doing this in
response to the cholera outbreak. We could not leave people dying at that
time, "said the official.

UNICEF is currently supplying water treatment chemicals to over 20 local
authorities and spends over $3million each month on the service.

In a public relations information twist however, the organization's official
spokesperson Tsitsi Singizi denied saying they were not terminating water
treatment chemicals donations till such a time the government was self
sustainable but would not divulge nor state the exact date of withdrawal.

"We are cognoscente of the fact that the country still remains prone to
cholera, and are aware of the dangers associated with stopping abruptly
supplying water treatment chemicals to these under resourced city councils.
As UNICEF we continue to prove this service and will not abruptly pull out
until the city councils are self sufficient, "said Singizi.

Residents fear that if UNICEF withdraws the dark days of cholera are going
to re-emerge.

"We appeal to those donors to continue supplying treated water. Yes we are
not getting taped water every time but when it comes we know it's safe. We
are relying on borehole water but what if those boreholes dry up or break
down," pleaded Harare residents who spoke to ZimEye.

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Workers to auction Air Zimbabwe jets for unpaid salaries

Saturday, 15 May 2010 11:55

By Zim Diaspora correpondent in Harare

Harare - Employees of the cash-strapped Air Zimbabwe retrenched by the Zanu
PF government last year have started legal action to auction some of the
national airline's aeroplanes to recover US$5 million they are owed in
outstanding salaries and allowances, Zimdiaspora can reveal.

A workers representative at Air Zimbabwe told Zimdiaspora that following
their recent victory at the labour court which nullified a scheduled
retrenchment of nearly 500 workers at the national airline, the affected
employees are now owed close to US$5 million in outstanding salaries and
allowances which the company is failing to pay them.

He said the airline has only paid each of them less than US$200, a far cry
from the thousands of dollars they are owed in outstanding salaries and

"We have engaged lawyers in the United Kingdom and South Africa with a view
to attach Air Zimbabwe planes which fly there in order to recover the
millions of dollars which we are owed by the state airline," said the
representative of the Air Zimbabwe workers.

An International Air Traffic Association official said IATA has already been
notified by the workers of the planned impounding of an Air Zimbabwe plane,
saying such a move will further dent the image of the national airline.

The labour court recently ruled that hundreds of Air Zimbabwe workers return
to work as they were illegally retrenched by the airline which is now on the
verge of collapse due to years of mismanagement and corruption by Zanu PF
officials in charge of the national airline.

Air Zimbabwe, which used to one of the best airlines in Africa, is now
operating about five planes among them two Boeing 737's, a Boeing 767 and an
unreliable Chinese made MA 60 which is constantly crippled by the lack of
spare parts.

President Mugabe is one of the chief culprits contributing to the huge
losses made by Air Zimbabwe as he constantly commandeers planes in order to
globe-trot the world costing the country millions of dollars in foreign

Later today the aging dictator is set to again commandeer an Air Zimbabwe
plane to travel to Tehran to attend a useless G15 summit to be hosted by the
Iranian dictator Mahmud Ahmedinejad who was in the country recently to open
the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.

The Iranian strongman is currently in the process of developing nuclear
weapons in contravention of the nuclear non proliferation act.

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Zimbabwe Civil Servants Urge Lower Electric Bills Pending General Pay Increases

Worker representatives also recommended addressing disparities in pay
between those employed by the government, including teachers and clerical
workers, and employees of state-controlled enterprises, who are often better

Patience Rusere | Washington 14 May 2010

Zimbabwean civil servants have called on the government to reduce their
electric power bills while they are waiting for an increase in salaries,
saying power charges eat up much of their current US$150-200 allowances.

Worker representatives also recommended addressing disparities in pay
between those employed by the government, including teachers and clerical
workers, and employees of state-controlled enterprises, who are better paid.

Zimbabwe Teachers Association President Tendayi Chikowore, chairwoman of the
Apex Council which bargains with the government on behalf of civil servants,
said worker representatives have made recommendations on those lines to the
Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonweshuro, who is expected to present
them to the Cabinet.

Government officials and representatives of state workers on Friday were
wrapping up a two-day meeting in Kariba, a northern resort town, during
which participants tried to find a common ground on compensation.

Civil servants have been demanding salary increases since early this year,
at one point going out on strike.

Chikowore told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the Apex Council
is maintaining a dialog with the government in the aim of seeing salaries
hiked to approximately US$600 a month.

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Five Million Zimbabwean Children To Be Immunized Against Seven Killer Diseases

The May 24-June 2 campaign aims to vaccinate 5 million children between the
ages of six months and 15 years against a range of diseases, including
measles which has claimed more than 300 lives in the past nine months or so

Brenda Moyo | Washington DC 14 May 2010

The Zimbabwean Ministry of Health in cooperation with the World Health
Organization and UNICEF will launch a 10-day national immunization campaign
from May 24 through June 2, aiming to vaccinate 5 million children between
the ages of six months and 15 years against a range of diseases, including
deadly measles.

UNICEF communications chief Micaela De Sousa told VOA Studio 7 reporter
Brenda Moyo that everything is in place for the drive during World Child
Health Days.

Measles outbreaks have been reported in most of Zimbabwe's 62 districts with
the spread of the disease enabled by resistance to vaccination by apostolic
religious sects, especially in the east of the country.

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Zimbabwe Activists Pressure Harare for Accountability on Diamond Operations

Human rights and other activists note that Parliament's mines committee was
barred from visiting the Marange field, and say Harare must be pressured to
impart transparency and accountability to operations there

Sandra Nyaira | Washington 14 May 2010

Activists are stepping up pressure on the Zimbabwean government to sort out
the tangled legal and political mess in the Marange diamond fields of
eastern Manicaland province where critics charge national resources are
being looted by a small group of companies and politically connected

Human rights and other activists note that Parliament's mines committee was
barred from visiting the Marange field, and say Harare must be pressured to
impart transparency and accountability to mining operations there.

The mines committee is currently touring other mining operations. On Friday
members of the panel visited the Shabane Mashaba Mines. A committee member
said the delegation was emotionally moved as workers told of their ordeal at
the hands of state administrators, having have gone unpaid for 14 months.

News reports suggested a Chinese company, Anjin, has been awarded rights to
mine in Marange, becoming the third company to win such access. But the
government has not confirmed Anjin's presence in Marange. China is
aggressively competing with India for diamonds in Africa, aiming to develop
a domestic diamond industry.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira
the veil of secrecy over Marange should be lifted so Zimbabweans can know
what is going on there - and how their lives could be changed for the better
by the proper development of this resource which could fill currently empty
state coffers.

In a related development, authorities in Mutare, the capital of Manicaland
province, brought corruption charges against an executives of a London-based
firm that is in litigation with the government over its disputed rights to
work the Marange field. Sources said a magistrate arraigned African
Consolidated Resources manager Ian Harris this week in connection with
charges the firm corruptly obtained mining rights.

Harris was arraigned with former Manicaland Mining Commissioner Isaac Giles
Ruswa and Mairosi Matinyanye, a  secretary in the Ministry of Mines. Sources
informed on the arraignment said Harris was freed on $1.000 bail while the
others paid $500 bail apiece. The three were remanded until May 28, the
sources said.

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Mugabe Nephew in Alliance With Militants to Purchase Shares of Zimbabwe's Telecel

Leo Mugabe, a member of the Wealth Creation and Empowerment Council which
unites war veterans, black miners and women's business groups, says his
group has preemptive rights to purchase Telecel Zimbabwe shares

Gibbs Dube | Washington 14 May 2010

A nephew of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has teamed up with liberation
war veterans, women and small-scale miners to buy a 20 percent stake in
mobile operator Telecel Zimbabwe, which could scuttle South African cellular
giant MTN's bid to control the Zimbabwean firm, industry sources said

Leo Mugabe is a member of the Wealth Creation and Empowerment Council which
unites war veterans, black miners and women's business groups. He says his
consortium should be given first preference to buy a stake in Telecel.

MTN is currently negotiating with Orascom to buy the controlling stake in
Telecel held by the Egyptian company - but the ongoing implementation of
Zimbabwean indigenization has cast a shadow over the proposed deal.

Mugabe told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that his group has pre-emptive
rights to buy Telecel shares.

Elsewhere, Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe Chief Executive John Mufukare
said the reportedly impending appointment of Kumbirai Katsande to head
Nestlé Zimbabwe should help normalize relations between Harare, Nestlé and
Gushungo Dairy Estate, the controversial milk producer owned by Grace
Mugabe, the president's wife.

Katsande played a key role in resolving a 2009 row between Nestlé and
Gushungo after Nestlé terminated a supply relationship amid protests by
human rights activists. He is president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe

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Law and order breakdown leading to wildlife wipeout, group claims

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Poaching gangs and poor communities are allegedly behind a major rise in
poaching, writes Bill Corcoran in Harare

ZIMBABWE'S ONCE thriving wildlife is being wiped out by crime syndicates and
poor rural communities taking advantage of the breakdown of law and order,
local conservationists have said.

Statistics provided by conservationists from the southern African country
reveal that last year alone the country lost about 300 rhinos, 20,000 zebras
and over 6,000 elephants to poachers operating in national parks,
conservancies and game farms.

Conservative estimates by conservationists put the total loss of wildlife to
poaching over the past 10 years at more than half a million animals.

Members of the security forces have also reportedly been given elephant
meat, which they can then eat or sell to feed their families, in lieu of
wages under a government programme designed to overcome the state's
inability to pay its employees wages.

Umbrella conservation group the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force (ZCTF) has
estimated that of the 640 game farms and 15 conservancies that had wildlife
10 years ago, only a dozen are still in existence in a meaningful way, due
to President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform programme.

"Most farms have been destroyed and have no animals left. The fencing that
surrounds the wildlife areas has been stolen to make snares by hungry
villagers who have been forced into poaching because of food shortages [over
the past few years].

"In addition, poaching gangs - some of which have links to senior government
officials - are also involved in the illegal trade of skins and tusks. The
political crisis is compounding this situation as the poachers are never
brought to book; there is a very low conviction rate in the courts," said
ZCTF chairman Johnny Rodrigues.

The crime syndicates involved in the poaching sell their animal products to
markets in southeast Asia, especially China and Vietnam, where they are used
in traditional medicines rather than as aphrodisiacs, according to experts.

Former World Wildlife Fund representative in Zimbabwe, Raul du Toit, said
the poaching in the country's national parks was now probably more extreme
than in the remaining conservancies due to a lack of government funds for
anti-poaching activities.

However, he disagreed that senior government officials were behind many of
the poaching gangs, saying there was no proof to suggest they were involved
in poaching on a large scale.

"There has been a lot of politically loaded statements regarding the nature
of poaching in Zimbabwe. But the reality is most of the big game poaching is
carried out by well-organised gangs with direct links abroad to the illegal
trading networks, rather than politicians.

"The big problem is that the price for ivory and rhino horn has gone up
dramatically in recent years, making it far more profitable than it was.

"Poachers can sell directly to the markets via a single person in Zimbabwe.
In the past there was a number of middle men to go through, which reduced
their profits," he said.

The United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species
decision last month in Doha to grant four southern African countries,
including Zimbabwe, the right to participate in controlled trading in ivory
has also led to fears the move will further facilitate that illegal trade.

Wildlife tourism was once one of Zimbabwe's major foreign currency earners,
but the beneficiaries of the land reform programme have failed to look after
the animals and sustain their numbers, leaving the once lucrative industry
on the verge of collapse.

Du Toit said that one of the ways to combat poaching was to make local
communities stakeholders in the conservancies and game farms, so they saw
the benefit of keeping the animals alive for tourism purposes.

Currently under the land reform initiative, which is in its final stages,
only individuals with links to the government have been given a stake in the

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The UK elections as seen by Zanu (PF)

Thursday, 13 May 2010 15:00

Predictably, the Zanu (PF) propaganda machinery has gone full throttle to
make a box-office production of the outcome of the recent British
parliamentary elections.  Britain has found itself in exactly the same
position as Zimbabwe was after inconclusive general elections in March 2008.
(Pictured: Gordon Brown - Britain's former Prime Minister bowed out after
failing to garner popular support in elections on May 6.)
Please welcome the director of the production, top spin doctor Professor
Jonathan Moyo, as he speaks through The Sunday Mail, (May 9-15 2010) one of
the many media outlets at his disposal.
"The aftermath of the British election and the senseless wrangling in the
MDC-T are God-sent events," he declares. Not only are most Zimbabweans Zanu
(PF) at heart but some "compelling developments in our body politic point to
the real possibility that even God may also be Zanu (PF)".
As he sees it, this same God might also be "repeatedly telling [British
Prime Minister] Gordon Brown.that what is good for the geese is good for the
Zanu (PF)'s failures are "a necessary political expression of correctable
weaknesses that are commonplace", he rationalises.
Then, in characteristically intemperate language, the prof. criticizes Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, his party, and Ministers Tendai Biti and
Professor Eliphas Mukonoweshuro for their contradictory statements over
civil service salary freeze.  He rounds off his diatribe with a personal
attack on Deputy PM Thokozani Khupe, who seems to be preoccupied with "what
she wears rather than what Zimbabwe needs to survive".
The inclusive government agreement states categorically that the private and
public media shall refrain from using abusive language that may incite
hostility, political intolerance and ethnic hatred.  The public media, it
adds, must reflect the expected new order.  In this connection, media and
broadcasting commissions have been established.
Which raises the question: When will the Zimbabwe Media Commission and the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Commission make the Zanu (PF)-controlled but so-called
public media abide by the terms of the inclusive government?
With due respect it is wishful thinking to expect Media, Information and
Publicity Minister Webster Shamu-never mind what he says--to be in any
particular hurry to introduce legislation that will change the attitude of
the bigoted policymakers responsible for the media (as in most of the other
Anyone who wants evidence of a representative reflection of how beautifully
the coalition government is working out need look no further than the human
rights situation, the rule of law, and the media scene.  For our immediate
purposes, the public media, both print and electronic (that is, the
Zimpapers publications and ZBC radio and television), continue to be under
the firm grip of Zanu (PF).
On May 3 Zimbabwe joined the rest of the world in marking press freedom day,
with some over-zealous, unrepentant Zanu (PF) police chiefs trying to
prevent the event from being celebrated in their areas.  Will 2011 see
celebrations of real press freedom in Zimbabwe?

Editor's Note: ?Tim Nyahunzvi is a retired media and communication trainer.

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Africa’s Macbeth may finally be tired of war

May 14, 2010

At the age of 86, Robert Mugabe at last looks in the mood for reconciliation
with Britain
Richard Dowden

Davos, the World Economic Forum, boasts that it is the place to meet
important or influential people. That is one reason why I went to the
meeting of the African chapter in Tanzania last week, but I didn’t expect to
be embraced by Robert Mugabe.

He had not been invited, but happened to be in Dar es Salaam and got through
the door. Klaus Schwab, who runs the organisation, pointed out that he was
the first head of state to come to Davos. As his Prime Minister, Morgan
Tsvangirai, and Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutumbara, were there, Mr
Schwab decided to have all three on the platform.

Avoiding his usual rant, Mr Mugabe was in mischievous mood. He opened by
introducing “the threesome who are running the country at the moment —
young, younger and youngest”. It got a huge laugh and from then on the old
crocodile joked and teased, mocked and lectured until the audience — at
least the African part — were almost on their feet with delight. He gave us
a laid-back, more-in-sorrow-than-anger history lesson, heavy in irony
(though light on reality) and all of it stuck in the “struggle” mentality of
the 1970s. But alongside Mr Tsvangirai and Mr Mutumbara, it was like
watching a top-class Premier League striker dancing round a third division

During questions I asked him about the American and EU-targeted sanctions
against Mr Mugabe and members of his family and regime. They seemed to worry
Mr Mugabe a lot, but not the investors considering returning to Zimbabwe.

It was by no means the first time that I had met Mr Mugabe. I first
interviewed him in 1976 and have met him four or five times since, but I was
still astounded by what happened next. As he swept out with his entourage
after the meeting, he spotted me and came over. He clasped my hand in both
of his and held them tightly. “I am tired of this war with Britain,” he said
with a simple smile. “How can we end it?”

Knowing how Mr Mugabe is regarded by most people in Britain, the image of a
bottle of whisky and a revolver came to mind but, catching my breath, I
asked what he thought the core of the problem was. Could it have been the
much rumoured secret land deal believed to have been agreed at the Lancaster
House conference of 1979 that led to an independent Zimbabwe?

“No,” he said. “It was Blair.”

He explained that British funding for land reform agreed at Lancaster House
had ceased in the 1990s but that John Major had sent a team to work out a
new plan, which had been agreed. Then Mr Major lost power and when Mr Mugabe
met Tony Blair at the Edinburgh Commonwealth Summit in 1997 to follow it up,
they fell out. “Blair repudiated us,” he said. “Labour never understood us.”

But Mr Mugabe’s fury with Britain and the unleashing of violence against
white farmers in Zimbabwe is about far more than funding land reform or even
politics. He had laws in place to take the land peacefully. All he needed
was a legal instrument to effect the takeover. He could have given the
farmers notice to quit. Instead he chose to take the farms by force. He
wanted violent confrontation with Britain.

I believe the key lies in the small, lonely, bright child whose father left
home when he was 10. Mr Mugabe was brought up by a fanatically Roman
Catholic mother and practically adopted by a missionary priest and nuns at a
Catholic mission. He owed his early education to them. They were the pull.
Other whites — and the injustices of colonial rule — gave him the push. His
relationship with Britain and white people reaches the extremes of love and

No sooner had he told me of his rejection by Blair than he was telling me,
as he tells everyone, how much he respects the Queen and the Royal Family.
He also had an extraordinarily close relation with Lord Soames, the
Governor-General who brought Zimbabwe to independence and whom Mugabe asked
to stay on. He loves cricket and respects many other aspects of Britain.

What I hear is: “Mummy, the Queen, loves me. Daddy, the British Government,
Blair rejects me. But I’ll show him. I’ll tear the house down.” And he did.

The explanation is psychological, not political but I do not see Mr Mugabe
as mad or evil. To me he is a Macbeth-like figure, a warrior who fought for
his country and started well, but then began to diminish into a ruthless
killer obsessed with power.

How will it end? What if, seeing Burnham Wood coming towards Dunsinane
Castle, instead of shouting: “Arm, arm and out,” Macbeth had said: “I’m
tired of this war.”? I got the impression that, at the age of 86, he
genuinely is.

If, like Colonel Gaddafi, Mr Mugabe had oil and threatened to go nuclear,
there would, presumably, be swift negotiations. But Zimbabwe itself is of
little importance to Britain and Mr Mugabe is a far greater hate figure than
Colonel Gaddafi. So it is hard to see how his pro-British half could be
rewarded with reconciliation until he announces the creation of a new
constitution, allows a free and peaceful election and steps down if he loses
it. But, whatever the British position, I think he is ready for the

Richard Dowden is director of the Royal African Society and author of
Africa: Altered States, Ordinary Miracles

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Muckraker: Bennett: Zanu PF out of sync with public mood

Thursday, 13 May 2010 17:37

ZANU PF clearly doesn't have its finger on the popular pulse. Roy Bennett
faced "very serious charges", President Mugabe kept telling us ad nauseam as
grounds for the MDC treasurer's exclusion from government.

They were indeed serious charges. But now we learn the state didn't have a
Emmerson Mnangagwa says the judgement is "appealable".
Given Justice Bhunu's remarks on the inadequacy of the state case, any such
appeal would be purely vexatious.
Bennett has been the subject of vicious abuse in the pages of the state
media. All sorts of lies about his involvement in the Rhodesian forces have
been manufactured at Herald House, or was it Munhumutapa Building?
First it was the Selous Scouts. Then the "Rhodesian infantry" (presumably
the RLI). Now it is the BSAP. Could the spin-doctors please make some
attempt to get it right!
As we reported in this column in December, Mugabe cannot disguise his
bewilderment that the country doesn't share his disdain for Bennett. Any
poll would show that Bennett has a huge following and the present generation
simply don't share Mugabe's fossilised views on race.
The Zimbabwean public, which we are amusingly told are really "Zanu PF at
heart", believed in Bennett's innocence from the outset. Now they have been
proved right.

The Herald tried to work up a chorus of indignation over Nelson Chamisa's
reference to Bennett being angelic. But it didn't wash. And the Zanu PF gang
know it. You just had to see the reaction in the Herald on Tuesday. They
were as mad as hell and couldn't hide it. You know you are in trouble as a
party when you have to resort to Gabriel Chaibva for comment!
The state will appeal, we are told. Zanu PF is obviously intent upon
spinning this crisis out for as long as possible. Then they are surprised
when the US and EU maintain sanctions.

Meanwhile, Tsvangirai has hardly been covering himself in glory these past
few weeks. Firstly his claim in Dar es Salaam that Zimbabwe's political
crisis no longer exists and the country no longer poses a risk to investors
was greeted with scepticism at home and abroad. On the same day he was
making this daft claim, a senior ACR official was arrested and charged with
the fraudulent acquisition of diamond mining claims. ACR is battling to
maintain its claims in Chiadzwa in the teeth of a challenge from predators
with close ties to the state. Some have no experience of mining whatsoever.
Indeed, the whole Chiadzwa saga is an advertisement for political meddling,
cronyism and systematic plundering of resources. Any investor would need to
think twice before sinking their money in this Augean stable.
"Hundreds of British companies are operating profitably and unmolested in
Zimbabwe," the Sunday Mail claimed in the same edition that it reported the
Chiadzwa arrests!
"There are rich pickings to be enjoyed here," the Sunday Mail said. "That is
why British companies have vowed to stay put."
Have they? And are "rich pickings" a good way to describe investment
opportunities given the role of Zimbabwe's politicians? Does anybody recall
the "rich pickings" to be had in the Congo in 1998? Some of the same people
who want the state to appeal against the Bennett judgement were busy there!
Tsvangirai and Jacob Zuma both now parrot the refrain that "it doesn't make
sense that some people from the same government are not able to travel to
some countries at the same time because of sanctions."
It makes every sense that those responsible for undermining democracy,
subverting the press, plundering the economy and attacking political
opponents are prevented from entering those countries that attach importance
to democratic behaviour.

We note with interest that Morgan Tsvangirai's motorcade is one of the
issues Rugare Gumbo says the politburo won't countenance following the
recent negotiations. As a result the MDC leader will have to content himself
with just a handful of vehicles. No ambulance. No military escort.
Muckraker is not sympathetic. The Harare public is heartily sick of the
noisy and wasteful cavalcade that passes through the capital nearly every
day. Motorists who don't get out of the way fast enough are liable to be
The last thing we want is another such monster in our midst. Tsvangirai
should be giving an example of modesty and restraint, not dreaming up ways
to look important.

We have been enjoying comparisons made in the state media between Zimbabwe
and Britain when it comes to managing elections. None of the parties secured
an absolute majority, we are reminded. So they will have to put up with a
Zim-style coalition.
Muckraker has a few questions. How many people were killed in the British
election? How many weeks did it take to get the results?
Oh, one more point. Britain's political leaders, in forming a government,
had to recognise the swing of the pendulum away from the ruling Labour Party
and towards the opposition Conservatives. The new government will have to
reflect what the people wanted. Our commentators didn't seem to understand
that point!

Muckraker was shocked to hear that Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede did not
know that South Africa allowed dual citizenship. During a presentation to a
party caucus ahead of the outreach programme, reported in the Sunday Times,
Mudede advised Zanu PF MPs to ensure the party's position reflected the
stance that there should be no room for dual citizenship in the new
constitution. This was the case in all Sadc states, he claimed. Rhodesians
were likely to exploit the provision, he said, and it demonstrated a lack of
It was left to Jonathan Moyo to explain to him that South Africa allowed
dual citizenship and that the party should not be guided by rigid political
and policy decisions which did not take account of shifting circumstances.
He pointed out that in his constituency most people of working age were in
South Africa and it would be unfair to deprive Zimbabweans living abroad of
their rights. MPs should not drive themselves into a political laager, he
Muckraker might also ask what a senior civil servant like Mudede was doing
instructing Zanu PF MPs on what positions to adopt in the outreach campaign?
Shouldn't he be telling us what he has done to clean up the voters' roll?

So, Zanu PF youths think Julius Malema should be above the law because he
has publicly shown support for President Mugabe and his party's policies on
indigenisation and land "reform".
Last week the Herald reported the youths complaining against a decision by
the African National Congress to take disciplinary action against Malema for
going against a court ruling barring him from singing the revolutionary song
"Dubulu ibhunu (Shoot the Boer)".
"As Zanu-PF Youth League we are dismayed by the ANC statement that they want
to discipline Cde Malema for supporting and showing solidarity with Zanu PF
and the people of Zimbabwe," said Cecilia Chivhunga, the Zanu PF youth
league deputy secretary for information and publicity.
Does this not tell us that the Zanu PF storm troopers think they are above
the law and can trample on the rights of anyone without any recourse? This
is the sort of thinking that has reduced Zimbabwe to a pariah state.

Does anybody remember Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines (RTLM), the
Rwanda station which broadcast from July 8, 1993 to July 31, 1994?
The station, which was controlled by the hard-line Hutu regime played a
significant role during the April-July 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Widely listened to by the general population, it projected racist propaganda
against Tutsis, moderate  Hutus, Belgians, and the United Nations mission in
It is widely regarded as having played a crucial role in creating the
atmosphere of charged racial and ethnic hostility that allowed the genocide
to occur.
 On Sunday evening ZBC-TV reminded us of how this Rwandan station operated
and in the process helped fuel tension and violence.
Just as we were beginning to believe some respite and reason was coming to
the media and that responsibility too was returning to our long abused
public media, we were hit by one of the most irresponsible and dangerous
bulletins seen in a very long time on ZTV.
President of the Commercial Farmers Union Deon Theron was portrayed as a
belligerent white racist who was out to murder a new black farmer and his
workers using crocodiles. The public broadcaster did not bother to give
Theron an opportunity to explain himself when they charged he had "infested"
dams at the farm in Beatrice, which he was refusing to vacate, with the
man-eating reptiles.
What happened to the right of reply? Shouldn't the Organ on National
Healing, Reconciliation and Integration spring into action and tell those
responsible at Pockets Hill to behave responsibly. These "journalists" spend
their whole time bellyaching about sanctions which, judging by this
appalling betrayal of professional standards, they richly deserve.

We were intrigued to note the quality of witnesses called by the state in
the recent Bennett case.
Perekayi Denchard Mutsetse professed to be a computer
"Under cross examination it however turned out that he merely scraped
through his "O" levels before obtaining a few relevant certificates which he
was at pains to elevate to the status of diplomas," the judgement said. He
was unable to produce the relevant certificates in court.
"His evidence was to the effect that it was virtually impossible to fake
e-mail documents or reverse the date and time printed thereon by the mail
"Asked under cross-examination if he was aware of any tools or software that
could be used to track and verify the authenticity of e-mails, he said there
was no such software. "As you print, the website tells you where the e-mail
is from," was his response.
"The depth of his ignorance concerning these matters as exposed during
cross-examination was amazing to say the least," the judgement said.
"He had never heard of computer fraudsters called hackers or computer
forensic experts."
"There are no such people like forensic personnel," he said.
Asked whether he was aware of software called EnCase, he replied:
"Where did that originate from? Like I said, we are not in the forensic
department and we do not know about that and as far as I know we do not have
such software in Zimbabwe."
He was also unaware of another software tool called FTK.
"I am not into forensic," was the standard reply.
"It is needless to say that Mr Mutsetse was an appalling witness," the
judgement said. "He was argumentative and arrogant in the witness stand.
When he could not stand the heat he asked to be excused saying that he had
some business to attend to in Mozambique. The court refused to let him off
the hook pointing out that every other witness had some business to attend
to. The witness did not take kindly to that ruling and when eventually
excused after exhausting his evidence, he had a parting shot for the court
when he retorted: 'Thank you my lord for wasting my time.'"
"The court chose to turn a deaf ear to his contemptuous behaviour seeing
that he had been badly bruised and traumatised under cross-examination." And
this was one of the state's star witnesses!

We were amazed by submissions made by lawyers representing senior Zanu PF
official in Rusape, Nathaniel Mhiripiri, while seeking to have him released
on bail.
He was arrested in connection with the ZB Bank Nyanga armed robbery. His
lawyer, Edmore Chatambudza, said Mhiripiri was a suitable candidate for bail
because he holds an important position in Zanu PF. Because of that he would
not abscond if granted bail.
"The applicant has an adventurous history which will make his chances of
absconding minimal," the lawyer said in the
 "Besides being a farmer and businessman, he is a prominent political figure
in Manicaland. His political career dates back to the days of the armed
struggle in which he actively participated," read the application. "Since
1980 he has served his political party Zanu PF and is currently a member of
the National Consultative Assembly."
This is evidently a reflection of the official thinking that the law should
be applied selectively when it comes to Zanu PF activists.

Finally, a couple of snippets. When it looked as if the Labour party and Lib
Dems might form a government in the UK, Sir Malcolm Rifkind denounced the
scheme as Zimbabwean.
"The idea that the two parties
that suffered most in this election, that were rejected by the electorate,
that in the case of the Labour party lost a hundred of its seats, should put
together an illegitimate government, this is the Robert Mugabe school of
politics," said the Conservative MP and former Foreign Secretary.
We were interested to note the president's claim at the WEF in Tanzania that
"for over a century the British ruled our country and siphoned its
Where does he get "over a century" from? 1890-1980 is 90 years. Somebody on
his staff can't count.
As for his statement that "we are only asking for a fair share", don't we
recall him saying the same thing about land?

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Candid comment: Rhetoric will not fool investors

Saturday, 15 May 2010 17:01

DEPUTY Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara's suggestion that sanctions are
scaring away investors and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's dismissal of
investors' concerns smack of hypocrisy, especially coming from people who
should know better.

It is pointless for the country's leaders to try pulling the wool over
investors' eyes because those who hold the key to investment inflows are not
that gullible.

When he addressed the World Economic Forum for Africa in Tanzania, Mutambara
seemed convinced that
the removal of sanctions would miraculously heal the deep wound that has
caused the economy to limp for so long.

Tsvangirai chipped in with an announcement that the country no longer posed
a risk to investors and that the political crisis that destroyed the economy
no longer exists. Although the premier's view that Zimbabwe should not miss
the "investment boat" makes sense, he risks being taken for a simpleton on
the world stage.

It is common knowledge that Tsvangirai is under pressure to fulfil terms of
the GPA relating to the removal of sanctions but this should not be done at
the peril of misleading investors who would, in due course, do due diligence
exercises that will expose any lies from politicians.

While it is true that the oil of the house is not for strangers, it is
pointless to mislead investors when the GNU is divided over such issues as
the indigenisation agenda being pursued by Zanu PF and a plethora of
"outstanding issues". Investors are watching from the sidelines as the
principals to the transitional government bicker. Only an end to this
bickering will mark a starting point towards convincing capital that
Zimbabwe is a safe investment destination.

Instead of spending taxpayers' money on gallivanting around under the guise
of courting investors, the three parties to the GNU should get down to work,
which entails a quick resolution of their differences.
In the absence of seriousness on the country's political front, it is hard
to fathom how Zimbabwe can move forward. Government officials need only look
at the number of countries that have not fulfilled financial pledges made
before the formation of the transitional government. The reluctance of these
countries reflects the deep-seated mistrust that is keeping investors away.
The GNU principals know that stalling on outstanding issues is the reason
why investors are either sitting on the fence or completely shunning the

For starters the government needs to achieve some level of coherence and
policy consistencies. Tsvangirai and Mutambara cannot expect to woo
investors when the man in charge, President Robert Mugabe, continues on a
tirade against the West. Investors are naturally unnerved by such tirades
and this does not bode well for investor sentiment or investor confidence,
the basic requirements for engagement with capital.

Elsewhere in this paper, we report concerns from the Bankers Association of
Zimbabwe that politicians are not doing enough to mitigate the Zimbabwe
country risk, a factor that is turning off providers of lines of credit.

Add to this pronouncements on indigenisation legislation that have given the
impression that the government has endorsed the grabbing of stakes in
industrial concerns. No sane investor would want to pour their money into
projects in Zimbabwe when they know that they will not hold the controlling
stake. While the idea of empowering locals is noble, it should not
destabilise industry or the economy at large. There are many ways in which
locals could be empowered and these include funding the resuscitation of
collapsed enterprises that were once the mainstay of industry.

Already companies such as Pretoria Portland Cement are indicating that they
may not be keen on doing business in Zimbabwe if the indigenisation law is
implemented in its present form.

The government also needs to deal with the soap opera of government
ministers who play out their differences at press conferences. When whole
government ministers and a prime minister play to the gallery on policy
issues as if there are no cabinet or council of ministers meetings, one is
left wondering whether anything meaningful is discussed at these forums. The
brouhaha surrounding the civil servants' salaries creates an impression of a
government that lacks cohesion.

The arrest of company executives - justified or not - over the past few
years has also done very little to inspire confidence.  While justice must
take its course, it should not be seen to be used as a tool to persecute
those who disagree with the authorities.


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Inclusive government ‘uneasy yet progressive’

Friday, 14 May 2010 09:00

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has described the inclusive government as
uncomfortable, but said the coalition was necessary for Zimbabwe’s
post-conflict recovery.
Accepting a human rights award in the United States on Monday, Tsvangirai
said sharing power with long-time rival, President Robert Mugabe and leader
of the smaller MDC formation Arthur Mutambara, was “uneasy yet progressive”.

“In Zimbabwe today the Movement for Democratic Change has formed a coalition
government with the former ruling party. This was not an easy decision, nor
is it a comfortable arrangement,” Tsvangirai told delegates in Washington DC
after receiving the Averell Harriman Democracy and Human Rights Award from
the National Democratic Institute (NDI). “However, it (coalition government)
represents another step in Zimbabwe’s difficult but certain transition to a
true democracy.

“Reforming those institutions that formed the pillars of persecution for the
previous regime has been painstakingly slow, but it is essential if we are
to build a new Zimbabwe.”

The coalition government has been affected by constant disputes over policy
inconsistencies, slow pace of reforms and the failure to fully consummate
the power- sharing deal.

The premier received the award, which is given to individuals and
organisations working to strengthen and expand democracy, jointly with the
Network of Chocó Women of Colombia, an umbrella group of 52 civil society

Previous recipients of the NDI award include former United Nations
Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,
South Africa’s outspoken cleric Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and former US
presidents Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.

Tsvangirai said Zanu PF’s “elitist and repressive” tendency against
opposition parties was slowing down democratic reforms.
“Because the MDC faced a ruthless opponent against which we were only
willing to deploy peaceful, democratic agents of change, we have had to be
patient — separating long-term objectives from short-term tactics,” he said.

The MDC leader commended recent United States Senate proposals by Senators
Russ Feingold, John Kerry and Johnny Isakson, to introduce a new law that
would replace the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) of

Zidera was passed by the US to push the then Zanu PF government to adhere to
internationally accepted democratic principles. Zanu PF, however, says
Zidera is aimed at undermining Mugabe and the Zimbabwean economy to create
conditions for a change of government.

The proposed new US legislation, Tsvangirai said, signalled a “new phase
designed to assist us in building new cooperation to receive much-needed
support for our efforts”.

His remarks on sanctions resembled a familiar tone as he appeals for a
revision of the West’s sanctions policy that Mugabe has used as an excuse
for not fully implementing the GPA.

Mugabe has demanded that Tsvangirai should do more to campaign against the

Bernard Mpofu

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Dear Family and Friends,

There can be few people who have been so relentlessly hounded for the
last 10 years as Roy Bennett. Everyone knows him as 'Pachedu' which
means: "One of us" but frankly he puts most of us to shame with his
unwavering bravery, courage and determination.

When High Court Judge Bhunu acquitted Roy Bennett on charges of
illegal possession of weapons of war and plotting treason, you could
almost hear the national sigh of relief. It was a judgement that
seemed inevitable after the absurdity of some of the so called
evidence that had been presented. Justice Bhunu said some of the
state witnesses displayed "amazing ignorance" and failed to prove the
case. Even so, Judge Bhunu's judgement came as a surprise, and we
really began to think that at last the Attorney General was going to
have to leave Roy Bennett alone and allow him to take up his post of
Deputy Minister of Agriculture. Speaking to journalists, the Attorney
General was quoted as saying: "It's a High Court decision and it is
our understanding of justice it has been done and it must be

I don't think so.

The day after he had been acquitted, Roy Bennett travelled to Mutare
to reclaim his bail money, the Title Deeds to his house and his
passport which he'd been ordered to surrendered to the Mutare
Magistrate's court. He got the Title Deeds back but nothing else .
The passport had apparently been removed by an official from the
Attorney General's office on the 29th March - a couple of days before
the original ruling on Roy's case was due to have been made.

Roy Bennett's lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa said: "The removal of his
passport is illegal as only the court or an acquittal can lead to the
release of a passport from the clerk of court. These guys (law
officers) are a law unto themselves."

The next day Attorney General Johannes Tomana filed a Supreme

Court appeal against the acquittal of Roy Bennett.

And so now, for Roy Bennett, it starts all over again and there are
no words that we can offer him or his family that adequately express
the feeling of national empathy. As the MDC said, this is not
prosecution of Roy Bennett, it is persecution. But this isn't just
about the State and Roy Bennett because the Attorney General's appeal
puts Zimbabwe back into the state of stagnant suspension it's been in
ever since the Unity Government's installation. No non-Zanu PF eyes
have yet to see what is going on in the Ministry of Agriculture.
Zimbabwe and the world will still not find out who is on all those
seized commercial farms, what they are doing there or why we continue
to be forced to import almost all of our food requirements.

Yet again an opportunity for honesty, truth and change in Zimbabwe
has gone and we all know why. Until next time, thanks for reading,
love Cathy

� Copyright cathy buckle 15th May 2010.

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Bill Watch Special of 15th May 2010 [Parliamentary Committee Meetings 17th to 21st May]


[15th May 2010]

House of Assembly Portfolio Committees and Senate Thematic Committees: Open Meetings 17th to 21st May

Meetings likely to be of special interest:

Defence and Home Affairs on Monday morning [evidence from COPAC chairpersons, following recent ZRP evidence on security for constitution outreach process]; Peace and Security on Wednesday morning [evidence from Ministry of Home Affairs]; Indigenisation and Empowerment on Thursday morning [evidence from Secretary for Mines].

Note: This bulletin is based on the latest information provided by Parliament late on 14th May.  Last-minute changes are, however, possible.  So, if you wish to attend any of the following meetings, Veritas recommends that you avoid possible disappointment by first checking with the relevant committee clerk that the meeting is still on and open to the public.  Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 or 252936-55.

The following meetings are open to members of the public, as observers only, not as participants.  [See note at the end of this bulletin on public attendance and participation at different types of committee meetings.]

Monday 17th May at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Transport and Infrastructure Development

Oral evidence from Air Zimbabwe Workers Unions representative

Committee Room No. 1

Chairperson: Hon Chebundo                  Clerk: Ms Macheza

Portfolio Committee: Defence and Home Affairs

Oral evidence from COPAC chairpersons

Committee Room No. 2

Chairperson: Hon Madzore                     Clerk: Mr Daniel

Portfolio Committee: Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism

Oral evidence from Hotel Association of Zimbabwe

Committee Room No. 311

Chairperson: Hon P. Dube                     Clerk: Mr Munjenge

Portfolio Committee: Mines and Energy

Oral evidence from Rio Zimbabwe and ZESA

Committee Room No. 413

Chairperson: Hon Chindori-Chininga      Clerk: Mr Manhivi

Monday 17th May at 2 pm

Portfolio Committee: Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion

Oral evidence from ZIMRA

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Zhanda                             Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika

Tuesday 18th May at 10 am

Portfolio Committee:  Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement

Presentation from Grain Marketing Board

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Jiri                              Clerk: Miss Mudavanhu

Wednesday 19th May at 9 am

Thematic Committee: Peace and Security

Oral evidence from Ministry of Home Affairs

Committee Room No. 4

Chairperson: Hon Mumvuri                     Clerk: Mr Daniel

Portfolio Committee: Industry and Commerce

Oral evidence from Minister of Industry and Commerce

Committee Room No. 311

Chairperson: Hon Mutomba                   Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika

Thursday 20th May at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Women, Youth, Gender and Community Development

Brief on the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act

Committee Room No. 3

Chairperson: Hon Matienga                    Clerk: Mrs Khumalo

Thursday 20th May at 11 am

Thematic Committee: Indigenisation and Empowerment

Oral evidence from Secretary for Mines

Government Caucus Room

Chairperson: Hon Mutsvangwa              Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika

Public Attendance at and Participation in Committee Meetings

·      Not open to the public: Portfolio and thematic committee meetings in which the committees are doing private business – e.g. setting workplans, deliberating on reports and findings, or drafting reports for Parliament, or when the committees make field visits.  [Veritas does not list these in these bulletins.] 

·      Open to the public to attend as observers only: Portfolio and thematic committee meetings where oral evidence is being heard are.  [As listed above.]  If attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance to Parliament.  IDs must be produced.  

·      Stakeholders by invitation: At some committee meetings stakeholders [and those who notify Parliament that they consider themselves stakeholders and are accepted as such] are invited to make oral or written representations and ask questions.  [These meetings will be highlighted in these bulletins.]  

·      Public Hearings: When committees call for public hearings, members of the public are free to submit oral or written representations, ask questions and generally participate.  [Veritas sends out separate notices of these public hearings.]

Note:  Zimbabweans in the Diaspora can send in written submissions to stakeholders’ meetings if they consider themselves stakeholders, and to public hearings, by emailing their submissions to


Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.


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