Saturday, 15 May 2010 20:02
PRESSURE is piling on Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to act decisively on
President Robert Mugabe's unwillingness to fulfill their power-sharing
agreement after Attorney-General Johannes Tomana's decision to appeal
against the acquittal of MDC-T treasurer-general Roy Bennett on treason
The issue dominated meetings of the MDC-T's Standing Committee on Friday
evening and that of the national executive yesterday.
A national council indaba today is expected to come up with a resolution
instructing Tsvangirai not to accept any more "dilly-dallying" by Mugabe on
the issue of Bennett when the two meet tomorrow.
The national executive also resolved to press Mugabe to swear-in Bennett as
the deputy Minister of Agriculture with immediate effect following his
acquittal by the High Court on Monday.
Mugabe had promised to swear-in Bennett once he had been cleared by the
courts of the banditry and terrorism charges he was facing.
"It was unanimous that we will not move an inch on the issue of Bennett,"
said a source close to the meetings. "Mugabe has no choice now and we are
not going to compromise again."
In the past Mugabe has said the only thing stopping him from swearing-in
Bennett was the court case.
But Zanu PF has now indicated that it would appeal against the acquittal of
Bennett further setting the stage for confrontation with the MDC-T.
Sources in the former opposition party said despite the appeal Tsvangirai
was set to meet Mugabe and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara tomorrow
at which Bennett's appointment would be top on the agenda.
The party's national executive also resolved to approach South African
President Jacob Zuma, the facilitator in the interparty talks so that he can
rein in the increasingly intransigent Mugabe and Zanu PF.
"It was felt during the meetings that Mugabe and Zanu PF are not willing to
fulfil and implement the outstanding issues," said a source.
"So they recommended that the party approach Zuma again so that he can rein
in Mugabe and Zanu PF."
The MDC national executive meeting came after Zanu PF ministers boycotted a
Council of Ministers meeting that was to be chaired by Tsvangirai last
Yesterday's meeting also received a report from the party's negotiating team
which briefed them about the lack of progress in the talks.
A report about the violence that occurred at Harvest House recently was also
presented to the meeting.
"It was shocking that the report concluded that there was no factionalism in
the party and yet everyone knows that was the issue that caused the
violence," said another source.
The meeting recommended stern action against all those who were involved in
the violence against senior members at the party's headquarters.
Reports say violence was a result of a power struggle between Biti and
permanent secretary in the Prime Minister's office Ian Makone, who is
Tsvangirai's right-hand man.
Also discussed at the meeting was the indigenisation law, the looting of
diamonds from Chiadzwa in Marange by suspected senior Zanu PF members, some
of whom are in the inclusive government.
It was agreed that the party find a way of ensuring that diamond proceeds
flow into national coffers to boost the economy.
The meeting also received reports from provinces which indicate an increase
in political violence and intimidation against MDC members.
"It was clear from the reports that there is no free political activity in
the rural areas and this will certainly affect the proposed outreach
programme," said the source.
Party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the MDC-T deliberated on a number of
issues including the state of the party and that of the unity government as
well as the constitution-making process.
He however declined to reveal the recommendations made to the national
council which is meeting today.
"As a party of excellence, we are going to make our resolutions public after
our national council meeting tomorrow (today)," said Chamisa.
"These matters are still in the oven for baking and once they are ready we
will dish them out."
The principals' meeting tomorrow is going to be the first in almost a month
after earlier negotiations were finalised by the party's respective teams.
The principals have failed to meet since April, allegedly due to other
commitments, but political analysts see it as one of Mugabe's delaying
This has delayed the implementation of some of the remaining issues in the
Zuma's facilitation team is reportedly waiting for Mugabe, Tsvangirai and
Mutambara to meet first and deliberate on the negotiators' report before the
South Africans can resume their mediation process.
The team's next mediation effort is dependent on the principals'
recommendations to Zuma on the way forward.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 15 May 2010 19:54
BULAWAYO — Owen Maseko, the prominent visual artist whose exhibition on the
Gukuruhundi atrocities was forcibly closed down by the police in March on
accusations it insulted President Robert Mugabe is now seeking recourse from
the High Court.
Maseko, a resident artist at the Bulawayo Art Gallery was arrested after
police stormed the exhibition and took down the paintings.
He is out of custody on US$100 bail.
High Court judge Nicholas Ndou ruled recently that Maseko’s application to
force police commissioner-general Augustine Chihuri and the two Home Affairs
co-ministers Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa to allow the exhibition to go
ahead was not urgent.
His lawyers said the case would now be treated as any other matter before
Maseko had argued that he was losing a lot of revenue following the
suspension of the exhibition.
In a certificate of urgency signed by Bulawayo lawyer, Esther Sarimana, on
behalf of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), the artist said the
closure of the showcase was unlawful because the police did not have a court
Sarimana said police had also ordered the gallery to cover the paintings
without following the proper channels and this had deprived Maseko of income
since he had a contract for the exhibition.
“Applicant is entitled to immediately resume his display of artistic works/
paintings and the continued covering of the artistic works by the police is
illegal and prejudicial beyond repair for the applicant,” the lawyers said.
But responding to the application, Detective Chief Inspector Augustine
Kubvorino of the Bulawayo Central Police Station’s Law and Order Section
said the exhibition could not be re-opened as it contained “statements and
pictures derogatory to the person of the president.”
“I ordered the closure of the Bulawayo Art Gallery so that the public would
not continue reading such derogatory statements on the President and that
the windows (to the gallery) be covered by some material,” he said.
“Inscriptions covered at the Bulawayo Art Gallery depicted events that
happened during Gukurahundi.
“Some of the inscriptions read: ‘Mugabe must go. Gono must go. Who cannot
forgive and forget about Gukurahundi?
“We can still be eliminated anytime. This wound is huge and deep, it is the
darkest hour in Zimbabwe’s history.”
He said police still wanted to lay charges against Vote Thebe, the gallery
manager for allowing the exhibition to go ahead.
Maseko was charged with undermining or insulting the president and “causing
offence to persons of a particular race or religion.”
His paintings depicted the army crackdown in Matabeleland and Midlands in
the 1980s, which killed over 20 000 civilians.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 15 May 2010 19:49
The Zimbabwean national who was among the 103 people killed in a plane crash
in Libya last week has been identified as Jacob Mwela from Redcliff.
Mwela died as the Afriqiyah Airbus A330 he was a passenger in broke up after
coming down short of the runway in Tripoli.
"He worked and was based in London. He was at home on holiday and to
facilitate the clearance of his car that he purchased in Japan," the
"Information at hand shows that he boarded the plane to connect from South
Africa to London where he worked."
His father Jacob Mwela also confirmed the death yesterday. He said six
family members were already in Libya to facilitate the repatriation of the
"Yes it is true. My son Jacob has passed away," he said in a telephone
"He is one of the people who perished in the plane crash in Libya. We do not
have much detail for now.
We wait to hear from those that have gone there, they will give us more
information, probably tomorrow.
The plane was en route from Johannesburg, in South Africa, to the Libyan
capital when it crashed at around 6am on Wednesday.
British papers have also reported that Zimbabwean-born Senzeni Moyo who had
since acquired UK citizenship had also died in the crash.
Moyo, thought to be in her late 40s, was originally from Zimbabwe. She
worked as a nursing assistant at the Brandon Mental Health Unit, in
Evington, according to the Leicester Mercury.
The sole survivor of the disaster was Ruben Van Assouw - a nine-year-old
Dutch boy, whose parents and 11-year-old brother were also among the
The cause of the crash is being investigated. Authorities have ruled out a
terrorist attack. - Additional reporting by Leicester Mercury.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 15 May 2010 18:32
GOVERNMENT has banned public protests until after the Fifa soccer World Cup,
which kicks off in neighbouring South Africa next month in a desperate bid
to market the country as a safe tourist destination.
South Africa expects close to 450 000 foreign fans during the month-long
extravaganza and Zimbabwe is one of the countries in the region praying for
Co-Minister of Home Affairs, Giles Mutsekwa said the ban on demonstrations
was part of efforts to rebrand the country's image after almost a decade of
"That is true (banning of protests). . . it's an arrangement to present
Zimbabwe and the region as a whole as a safe destination," he said on
"It's also a strategy to rebrand the country's image."
Police have always come hard on protestors especially those targeting the
The formation of the inclusive government has done little to reverse the old
regime's dislike for an environment where freedom of speech and assembly is
The revelation that MDC-T was part of the decision to ban demonstrations has
however unsettled the party's partners in the civil society.
Despite being in the inclusive government, the MDC-T cannot organise
protests without interference from the police. Zanu PF supporters have
always been free to demonstrate wherever they like.
"We don't want the country to have an image of an unsafe destination long
after the World Cup," said Mutsekwa of MDC-T.
"It might be construed that the country is unsafe for anything be it sports,
business or anything."
Zimbabwe says it is targeting 30% of the tourists expected at the global
soccer showcase but with less than a month left, indications are that the
target was too ambitious.
Meanwhile, some Bulawayo based civil society activists say the ban is a non-
Qhubekani Dube, whose Ibhetshu Likazulu group plans to hold protests against
the North Korean team at the World Cup over the Gukurahundi atrocities, said
it would be time to show that Zimbabwe's police force needs urgent reform.
A fortnight ago Bulawayo police rejected an application by MDC's Bulawayo
province to demonstrate against the slow pace in reforms promised by the
The youths had to seek Mutsekwa's intervention to continue with their
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Saturday, 15 May 2010 18:31
Zanu PF official denied bail
A senior Zanu PF official implicated in the ZB Bank Nyanga armed robbery
case had his bail application thrown out by the High Court on Friday.
Justice Tedious Karwi said there were fears that Nathaniel Mhiripiri might
interfere with witnesses if he was granted bail. He said chances were also
high that he would abscond.
In his application last week, Mhiripiri said he holds an "important
position" in Zanu PF and would not abscond if given bail. However, the
state opposed the application saying Mhiripiri might interfere with
witnesses if granted bail.
"The applicant has stated in his application that he is a prominent
politician and businessman in the small town of Rusape.
"He has a lot of influence amongst the youths in that area," read the
"He is well known by virtue of his position and he is in a position to
interfere with witnesses."
The state also said evidence showed that Mhiripiri supplied his accomplices
with a firearm.
The robbers got away with US$110 378 and R14 332.
Police officers to appear in court
A bail application by two police officers accused of killing a Chikombedzi
man following a misunderstanding while drinking beer will be heard at the
High Court tomorrow.
Brian Magama and Isaac Kachena were arrested for beating Luckson Muringani
The court heard that on April 17 the two officers who are based at ZRP
Support Unit Buchwa were drinking beer at Chibvadziva business centre when
they had a misunderstanding with Muringani, a fellow patron.
They dragged him to Chibwedziva base where they took turns to assault him
all over the body with Mopani sticks and a rubber sjambok.
Muringani died the following day and his brother reported the matter to the
police leading to the arrest of the two officers.
Saturday, 15 May 2010 18:29
WOMEN'S groups want the constitution-making process delayed until the
political climate is conducive for outreach teams to carry out their work in
yet another potential stumbling block for the process.
This demand was made at a recent civil society cluster meeting organised by
the National Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (Nango) ahead of
the crucial phase of the process.
The Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) is likely to set
the dates for the outreach programme when it meets tomorrow, its
co-chairperson, Paul Mangwana said yesterday.
But the women activists say the outreach would be a waste of time as long as
the rule of law is still applied selectively and legislation such as the
Public Order and Security Act as well as the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act are in the statute books.
"The operational environment is currently not conducive for the outreach
teams to conduct their work," Nango said.
Activists are also lobbying for more women to be included in subcommittees
that would lead the revision of the country's supreme law to promote gender
But Mangwana (Zanu PF) said Copac could not get women representatives for
such clusters as priests and that could influence results from the religious
"But we are doing our best to address some of the anomalies," he said. "For
example, out of 70 rapporteurs, my party Zanu PF has 34 women and 36 men."
"We are very much supportive of women empowerment but the mistake that women
make is demanding instead of asking."
Meanwhile, Mangwana said Copac last Friday failed to set dates for the
outreach as it was still waiting for the procurement of materials to be used
in the exercise.
He said the dates would most likely be set tomorrow after a meeting with the
procurement team which is being supervised by the United Nations Development
The materials to be bought include audio and video equipment.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 15 May 2010 18:22
THE Zimbabwe Media Commission last week postponed a crucial workshop to
expedite the licensing of new newspapers because of financial problems amid
reports that commissioners were also in disagreement on who to hire as
ZMC sources said the postponement would result in further delays in
licensing new newspapers.
The three-day workshop that was scheduled to begin on Thursday is now
expected to take place at the end of the month.
During the workshop, the sources said, the commission had intended to hold a
board meeting to look into applications by mass media houses wishing to
start new papers.
"The workshop has been postponed to end of May because of financial
constraints," a commissioner told The Standard. "Besides the issue of money,
we are yet to finalise the selection of resource persons for the workshop."
ZMC is yet to receive US$47 000 it was allocated by Finance minister Tendai
Biti in the 2010 national budget and this has affected its operations.
The sources said the commissioners were "deeply divided" on who to hire as
resources persons, with commissioners linked to Zanu PF reportedly pushing
to have Media, Information and Publicity minister Webster Shamu, his
permanent secretary George Charamba and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana as
some of the facilitators.
This move, the sources added, was being opposed by other commissioners who
argued that Shamu and Charamba should not be involved if ZMC was to maintain
"We are saying we must not be seen to be controlled by the ministry,"
another source said.
"We need to maintain our independence and integrity. There are signs that
the ministry intends to influence our operations, hence the resistance."
Other commissioners wanted University of Zimbabwe law professor Geoff Feltoe
to be one of the leading resource persons but the Zanu PF-linked
commissioners "vehemently and adamantly" opposed the move.
Feltoe has written a lot of literature on the media in Zimbabwe and is
regarded as an authority on press laws.
As a result of the disagreements on facilitators, the sources said, the ZMC
set up a committee headed by its chairperson Godfrey Majonga and deputised
by Matthew Takaona to look into the matter.
The postponement of the workshop, the sources said, would delay the
processing of applications.
The sources said the commission had agreed unanimously to first grant the
banned Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), the publishers of The Daily
News and The Daily News on Sunday, an operating licence.
"The Daily News is deemed licensed after a special committee led by the late
Chinondidyachii Mararike adjudged that they met legal requirements," the
"After that we were going to look into the applications of the media houses
like Alpha Media."
The Mararike committee was set up in 2007 after a High Court judgement which
compelled government to deal with the ANZ case once and for all.
On Thursday, Majonga declined to comment on the postponement of the workshop
and the alleged division on resource persons.
"At the moment we have nothing to communicate to stakeholders," Majonga
The ZMC is under pressure from media houses and proponents of press freedom
to speed up the licensing of newspapers in line with provisions of the
global political agreement, which gave birth to the formation of the
inclusive government in February last year.
One of the principals in the unity government, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai last week said he expected the commission to license new media
players within the next month.
"Within the next month, Zimbabweans will once again have access to
independent daily newspapers thanks to work of the newly formed Zimbabwe
Media Commission," Tsvangirai said after receiving the Averell Harriman
Democracy and Human Rights Award in Washington DC on Monday.
Saturday, 15 May 2010 18:15
THE power struggles in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have re-ignited debate on who really pulls the
strings in the former opposition party.
Party president Tsvangirai and Tendai Biti, the secretary-general, were
always seen as the main protagonists. But Ian Makone's name continues to pop
up in the fray.
In political circles he has always been touted as a financier, king-maker
and eminence grise behind the MDC-T but he has not been popular among the
rank and file of the party.
Makone, a permanent secretary and adviser to Tsvangirai, is widely
considered a "Johnny-come-lately" in the party who landed the top post from
"nowhere" and is accused of destabilising MDC-T.
His close relationship with Tsvangirai has also become a source of
discomfort among some senior members of the party.
Senior MDC officials say their advice and even access to the PM has been
curtailed by Makone.
"Makone has ring-fenced Tsvangirai and it is now difficult to have access to
him,'" said one MDC-T official who requested anonymity.
"This is why there is factionalism as some members feel Makone is getting
too powerful and yet he only came in much later."
They claimed that Makone came close to Tsvangirai at a time when the party
was facing serious financial problems.
Makone and his wife Theresa, the sources said, bailed out the party by
paying salaries for MDC-T staff as well as pumping out money for the
"He came in as a donor because he has good connections in the white
community and the corporate world where he worked for a long time," said
another a senior MDC-T official who requested anonymity.
"So this is now pay-back time for Tsvangirai."
The current factionalism and violence has been linked to a power struggle
between Biti and Makone. The two are reportedly jostling for the position of
secretary-general which Biti holds, ahead of the party's national congress
When the MDC split into two factions in 2005, Makone was outvoted by Biti
but sources said the permanent secretary, an astute businessman and
political schemer, is still determined to take up that post to consolidate
his position in the popular movement.
Makone joined the party a few years after its formation through Professor
Welshman Ncube's office.
Ncube was then secretary-general but Makone managed to manoeuvre his way
into Tsvangirai's inner circle.
But he rose to prominence when he was appointed as one of the first
political negotiators between MDC and Zanu PF after the disputed 2002
He was later appointed director of elections.
It was during this tenure that he was arrested, detained and tortured by
security forces in the aftermath of the March 2007 police brutalities.
He was accused of training MDC activists to bomb police stations across the
Before joining politics, Makone ran several businesses and sat on many
boards of parastatals.
He was also a chairman of First Mutual Life Society (FMLS), the country's
second largest life assurance company, where he worked with Norman
Sachikonye, who is now a principal director in the Prime Minister's Office.
In 2002, there was a campaign to have Makone placed on the European Union
sanctions list imposed on President Robert Mugabe and his cronies because
FMLS relied heavily on companies with government links such as Olivine and
"Some have wondered why he has not been included on the list of persons
barred from visiting America if his company benefits from government-owned
company pensions," wrote The Herald then.
Makone, the first black general manager of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB),
also worked for Manica Freight Services, where he was responsible for the
southern Africa region including countries such as Tanzania and Kenya.
Sources said Makone is close to the Minister of Economic Planning and
Investment Promotion Elton Mangoma after they worked together at the
Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC) now Agribank. Then he was the
chairman of the corporation.
Those close to Makone said he accumulated his vast wealth as a consultant
for Mugabe's administration through his businesses and the several companies
he chaired before venturing into politics.
Repeated efforts to get a comment from Makone were fruitless last week.
His office said he was in meetings for the greater part of the week. On
Saturday, he refused to talk to The Standard on party spokesperson Nelson
Chamisa's mobile phone. Chamisa however denied that Makone was preventing
party officials and supporters from accessing Tsvangirai.
"The president is accessible at all levels," said Chamisa. "Our challenge is
actually that he is too much accessible which however is not even a problem
considering that we are a broad-based party."
He also refuted allegations that Makone at one point financed the party
saying the allegations are malicious.
"There is no basis for such kind of malicious and dishonest allegations,"
"Makone is a loyal and dedicated cadre of the party and his credentials are
beyond scrutinising and questioning."
Chamisa could not confirm whether Makone was once a government consultant.
Apart from owning several properties in Harare, his towering two-storey
house in rural Domboshava, just outside Harare, is a spectacle. The house is
guarded by armed state security details.
However, in politics the name Makone has become synonymous with factionalism
in the MDC-T over the past few years. His wife, Theresa, has also been
entangled in factionalism after she allegedly elbowed Lucia Matibenga out of
the race to lead the MDC-T's women's assembly in 2007, nearly splitting the
party again into two camps.
In that conflict Tsvangirai supported Theresa to the chagrin of many of his
But what further baffles those in the MDC-T is that while Makone appears to
be very close to Tsvangirai, Theresa is a confidante of Jocelyn Chiwenga,
the wife of Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander Constantine Chiwenga.The
Public Works minister confirmed to the Zimbabwe Independent in 2007 that
Jocelyn was her "long-standing friend".
Ironically, Jocelyn's husband is one of the service chiefs who have vowed
not to salute Tsvangirai even if he wins an election to become the president
of the country.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 15 May 2010 18:01
MASVINGO - Two journalists from the privately owned Mirror newspaper have
been summoned by the police after Tourism minister Walter Mzembi pressed
criminal defamation charges against them.
David Masunda, the publisher and the editor of the paper, Golden Maunganidze
have been told to present themselves to the police in Harare.
This follows the publication of a story on the paper's April 9 edition
claiming that several Zanu PF bigwigs in the province had been implicated in
the theft of hundreds of tonnes of sugar and fuel donated towards President
Robert Mugabe's 86th birthday celebrations in February.
Although Mzembi's name is not mentioned in the story, he is said to have
made a police report a fortnight ago.
Maunganidze was interrogated by the police last week. Arthur Marara of
Matsikidze and Mucheche law firm confirmed that Maunganidze and Masunda had
"Police called me on Thursday and asked me to report to their offices with
the publishers' representatives as well as the editor who has since been
charged," Marara said.
"They are facing criminal defamation charges for publishing a story that the
minister felt he was implicated."
He said the two were likely to appear in court on Monday.
Maunganidze's whereabouts could not be established on Friday as he was not
reachable on his mobile phone.
Masunda who was out of the country said he had not seen the summons but was
aware that his editor had been charged.
But their lawyer, has since written to the officer commanding the police's
Harare Central Criminal Investigations Department Chief Superintendent
Ngirishi threatening legal action over the way the case is being handled.
Marara queried why the case was being investigated by police in Harare when
the paper is based in Masvingo.
Five journalists from The Standard and one from South Africa's Sunday Times
newspaper were last month subpoenaed by the state to testify in the case
where Harare mayor Muchadei Masunda and eight councillors are accused of
criminally defaming controversial businessman Phillip Chiyangwa.
This was after the papers broke the story that Chiyangwa had been implicated
in a massive theft of pieces of land around Harare following a council
BY GODFREY MUTIMBA
Saturday, 15 May 2010 17:58
SHAMVA - Around this time two years ago, it was difficult to even imagine
that Bernard Gandanhamo, Kennedy Chasakara and Tozivepi Mutsvangwa would sit
anywhere near a Zanu PF supporter, let alone engage them in a discussion, a
meaningful one for that matter.
At the time, the three Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists spent
most of their time hiding from Zanu PF militias who were on the rampage in
When The Standard visited the area on May 21 2008, at the height of Zanu PF's
violent campaign for the presidential run-off election, tensions were
palpably high all over the community.
Scores of other MDC supporters had sought refuge at the nearby Madziwa
But it was a different story on Monday last week -exactly two years since
that eventful visit in 2008.
A group of villagers from across the district and the political divide
gathered at the homestead of Simon Musiiwa.
Ironically, Musiiwa's son passed away a few years ago from causes that are
related to political violence.
This time they were not discussing party politics, but how the villagers
could drive their own development.
While the government-led national healing project continues to stagger, the
villagers have managed to reconcile with each other.
Although they have not really forgotten the gruesome experiences of 2008,
they have forgiven each other and are working together towards rebuilding
With support from a community-based organisation, Chengaose Foundation Trust
and the United Nations Global Environmental Facility Small Grants Programme
(GEF/SGP), the villagers have grouped themselves into farmers' groups, with
membership drawn from Zanu PF and the MDC formations.
One of the leaders of the farmers' club, Solomon Kudyawuta said they have
since organised themselves to commercialise some of their operations.
"We have realised that the reason why we usually starve is because we are
disorganised," said Kudyawuta.
"We have since set up a management committee to ensure there is coordination
of the activities we carry out as a group.
"We are also in the process of setting up a reserve fund which we will use
for emergency purposes.
"After this, we will also set up an insurance scheme. With enough resources,
particularly water, we are geared to perform at the same level as commercial
Lack of food, noted some of the villagers, was also a contributing factor to
the violence that rocked the area in 2008.
The national coordinator of the GEF/SGP, Khethiwe Mhlanga challenged the
villagers to work hard, saying that was the best way they could get out of
"The most important thing is to work hard, as a team," said Mhlanga.
"We have to take stock of how this is transforming our lives. It requires
hard work, but if you commit yourselves it's possible. We should be happy,
together with our trees and animals."
Many of the villagers who attended the gathering had all sorts of horrific
experiences at the height of political violence, but they want all that to
be left in the past.
They have also vowed to resist attempts by some senior politicians from the
area to politicise their developmental projects.
"It's unfortunate that there are some people who would want to label as bad
those people spearheading such a noble process," said Leonard Kaseke, the
chairperson of the farmers' club.
He was referring to Chengaose founder and director, Isaac Chidavaenzi who is
now being seen as a threat to Zanu PF's diminishing grip in the area.
Chidavaenzi says he is not a politician and is not eyeing any political
In an earlier interview, Chidavaenzi told The Standard that he had realised
that people usually resort to violence when they are idle, and would never
have time for petty fights if they have something productive to keep them
"In our project, we do not look at which political party one comes from.
"All we are doing is to build the capacity of the villagers so that they are
able to do things for themselves and spearhead their own development," said
So far, five boreholes and six deep wells have been drilled.
The villagers have however not started accessing the water, as they are
still awaiting funds for the purchase of tanks and pipes to draw water to
They said once the project was complete, they would be able to boost
agricultural production, and parachute themselves out of poverty, and
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE
Saturday, 15 May 2010 17:51
MANY people were used to hearing the name Johannes Tomana only when
so-called "outstanding issues" were mentioned.
But when Tomana, the Attorney-General abandoned all other business and
prosecuted in the Roy Bennett (pictured right) case, most people needed not
be told that it was a matter of life and death.
The MDC-T's treasurer-general and deputy agriculture minister designate was
arrested in February last year on charges of terrorism, banditry, insurgency
and trying to depose a constitutionally-elected government.
Bennett was arrested while other members of his party were being sworn in as
ministers in the government of national unity.
He was incarcerated for over two weeks but later released on bail.
President Robert Mugabe steadfastly refused to swear him into office,
insisting that the court's process must be allowed to take its course.
High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu on Monday acquitted the former
Chimanimani legislator, ruling that the State had failed dismally to prove
that there was a reasonable ground to place Bennett on his defence.
The former commercial farmer could have faced execution had he been found
Political analysts last week said Bennett's case was the weakest of all
similar cases of treason witnessed by the country since independence.
"This was the weakest of all cases ever thought of by the State," University
of Zimbabwe political science lecturer Professor John Makumbe said.
"Compare for example with a similar case against Morgan Tsvangirai and
Welshman Ncube and you will realise that Bennett's was a joker's case.
"In the Tsvangirai and Ncube case for example, we were shown videos which
actually made us wonder at some point if indeed they had not committed the
"In this one, there was no such thing; it was a funny case of somebody
masquerading as an AG providing shoddy evidence and expecting a judge to buy
In 2002, just a few years after the formation of the MDC, the world woke up
to a grainy television footage of an alleged meeting between Tsvangirai and
notorious former Israeli spy Ari Ben-Menashe of Canada's infamous political
consultancy firm, Dickens & Madson.
Using the footage, the state built a treason case against Tsvangirai, Ncube
the then secretary-general of a united MDC and the party's former shadow
agriculture minister, the late Renson Gasela.
The trio was acquitted of the charges two years later after the state failed
to prove its case.
Bennett joined the growing list of who-is-who in Zimbabwean politics who
have tried to challenge President Mugabe and ended up facing treason charges
that never were sustained by the Zanu PF regime.
They include the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo, Zanu Ndonga leader the
late Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole, former Zanu PF politburo member and now
leader of Zapu, Dumiso Dabengwa and human rights activist Jestina Mukoko.
"All what this (Bennett) case did was demonstrate that Tomana is a lousy
prosecutor," Makumbe said.
"Just look at his pedestrian approach to the whole thing. . .trying to use
emails to prove a serious case that can cost somebody his life.
"Even an amateur lawyer would not use that evidence taking into
consideration that any average thinking person would know how easy it is to
fake these things.
Bennett's lawyer Trust Maanda said the defence team knew from the onset that
their client was innocent.
"As far as the legal side was concerned, we were sure we were going to win
but what kept us afraid was the political persecution," Maanda said.
"At one time Tomana threatened us saying we were interfering with the state
witness Peter Hitschmann and we were afraid we could be arrested.
"We were also scared of their potential to pull shockers on us, for example
they could have brought new witnesses without our knowledge."
Maanda said the defence knew the state's case was crumbling when the latter
insisted on using an unwilling person as their key witness.
Hitschmann had to be impeached by the State after being declared a hostile
"It was bizarre for them to force a witness who had clearly indicated from
the onset that he did not want to testify," Maanda said.
"I think the impeachment was one of the major highlights of the case as we
have recorded very few such cases in this country.
"What makes this one even more interesting is that usually impeachment is
done on someone who would be on your side and suddenly turns against you but
in this case, Hitschmann was never on the state's side."
The state alleged that Bennett in 2006 paid weapons dealer Hitschmann to buy
grenades, rifles and other weapons to attack cellphone towers, carry out
attacks against the police and to topple President Mugabe.
It also alleged that Hitschmann implicated Bennett when he was arrested in
2006 after being found in possession of firearms. But Hitschmann denied the
claims saying he was tortured by drunken agents into making confessions
during interrogation at military barracks near Mutare.
"It was actually one of the misnomers that the police never recorded a
statement from Hitschmann," Maanda said.
"In fact, for three years, they did not record a statement from any of the
witnesses and were now asking people to remember what they claimed happened
The state mainly based its case on email exhibits, allegedly sent by Bennett
However one of the witnesses, Perekayi Denchard Mutsetse, who claimed to be
a computer expert, added to the humour when he displayed "appalling"
ignorance before the court.
Justice Bhunu dismissed him as an unreliable and appalling witness after he
testified that the e-mails were genuine.
"Perekayi Denchard Mutsetse professed to be a computer expert.
"Under cross examination, it however turned out that he merely scrapped
through his O'Levels before obtaining a few relevant certificates which he
was at pains to elevate to the status of diplomas," Justice Bhunu ruled.
"The defence disputed his qualifications and challenged him to produce the
relevant certificates. He was, however, unable to produce the relevant
certificates by closure of the state case. He professed ignorance of any
other technical or scientific methods which may be used to verify the
authenticity of emails.
"He had never heard of computer fraudsters called hackers or computer
forensic experts who use scientific methods to determine the authenticity of
documents generated from computers."
Bhunu added that Mutsetse made a fatal error when he passed a fake e-mail
that had been created in court as genuine.
Despite all these glaring weaknesses which saw the state's case crumbling,
it is not yet uhuru for the troubled MDC-T official.
The state has since appealed against Bhunu's ruling at the Supreme Court
barely three days after Tomana said it was binding.
"Court misdirected itself by assessing evidence in that matter to an extent
that the court ultimately assessed pieces of evidence in isolation thereby
failing to adopt a holistic analysis of circumstantial evidence adduced by
the state," a senior officer with the AG's Chris Mutangadura said in the
The AG wants the highest court in the land to set aside Bhunu's ruling and
also to order Bennett to be placed on his defence on the treason charges.
High Profile Treason Trials Since Independence
JOSHUA MQABUKO NKOMO
n Charges arose in 1983 but he skipped the country to avoid arrest. Nkomo
went into exile in Botswana and later the UK before becoming Vice-President
in 1987 after his PF Zapu and Zanu PF merged. He died in July 1999.
n Tried and convicted of conspiring to assassinate Mugabe in 1997. The Zanu
Ndonga leader filed an appeal but the case was never heard by the Supreme
Court. He died in 2000.
DUMISO DABENGWA, LOOKOUT MASUKU
n Dabengwa was charged in 1982 together with the late Zimbabwe People's
Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA) commander Lookout Masuku and four others. They
were acquitted, for lack of evidence in 1983. On release they were
redetained under emergency regulations and Dabengwa was only released four
years later. Masuku died on April 5 1986 after he fell ill while in
MORGAN TSVANGIRAI, WELSHMAN
NCUBE AND RENSON GASELA
n Charged in 2001 and acquitted in October 2004 after the state failed to
prove its case.
JESTINA MUKOKO AND NINE OTHERS
n Charged in December 2008 and acquitted in September 2009. The human rights
and MDC-T activists were abducted from their homes and severely tortured by
state agents before they were brought to the courts.
n Was arrested in June 2008 for allegedly authoring an MDC document about
changing the government. He was acquitted in February 2009.
ALBERT MATAPO AND FIVE OTHERS
n Charged in June 2007 and continue to languish in remand prison to date for
allegedly plotting to replace Mugabe with Zanu PF secretary for legal
affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa.
PENALTY - DEATH
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 15 May 2010 17:41
BUHERA - Drama is unfolding in Buhera where avenging spirits have left Zanu
PF activists who murdered people in acts of political violence quaking in
According to detailed accounts from villagers, traditional and political
leaders, the spirits are targeting in broad day light, the Zanu PF militia
which terrorised supporters of the then opposition party, MDC-T during the
past violent elections.
Buhera particularly became a flashpoint since Morgan Tsvangirai, who was
challenging President Robert Mugabe for the presidency, hails from the
The inhabitants of the drought stricken district gave The Standard news crew
that undertook a bone-jarring journey to Muzokomba last week first-hand
harrowing tales of how the killers are now being haunted by their victims.
This was not just the usual bar talk about invisible spirits causing trouble
in communities: but real stories about the militia themselves coming out of
their shells to confess their crimes.
One of these people is the late Patrick Basopo, a police constabulary who
operated in Buhera during the 2002 presidential elections.
Basopo stunned the Buhera community early this year when he made a public
confession about his role in the murder of a former headmaster at Murove
School, Tedious Chokuda whose death had remained unsolved for almost a
Chokuda was found hanging from a tree at Chiurwi School where he was a
presiding officer during the 2002 presidential elections.
Police told Chokuda's family that the school head had committed suicide for
an unknown reason.
Eight years on, a bizarre turn of events than can confound people who do not
believe in the existence of avenging spirits occurred in Buhera that
prompted Basopo to make a public confession.
A woman from the Basopo family residing in neighbouring Mutiusinazita
communal area became possessed with Chokuda's avenging spirit sometime in
September last year and spilled the beans.
The woman is alleged to have confronted his brother, Patrick and asked him
why he killed him (Chokuda).
She also informed Basopo's relatives how, in the dead of the night, members
of a Zanu PF militia allegedly led by Patrick dragged Chokuda out of the
house where he was sleeping and brutally murdered him.
To cover up for the crime, they faked a suicide: tying him with shoelaces
and leaving him hanging from a tree.
The possessed woman warned they would not rest until they paid full
restitution to the Chokuda family.
Unable to stop the woman (name withheld) from being further possessed by the
spirit, and determined to pay restitution (kuripa ngozi) the Basopo family
took the matter to Headman Mushumba for arbitration late last year.
Grey-haired Cuthias Mahachi Chapanduka, the reigning Headman Mushumba
confirmed that the matter was officially brought to his attention.
He told The Standard that he convened a traditional court in a bush heavily
guarded by his aides (indunas) fearing that angry villagers could assault
the alleged killer.
"At the Dare, the young woman (Patrick's sister) became possessed by Chokuda's
spirit and in front of everyone started to narrate how Patrick and four
other people murdered him," said Headman Mushumba who has since reported the
matter to Chief Nyashanu, the paramount chief in Buhera.
"The possessed woman explained the gory details of the murder and Patrick
confessed in front of everyone that he took part in the murder.
"Chokuda's spirit ordered Patrick to pay 65 herd of cattle. All this
happened in broad day light with ordinary villagers being witnesses."
Realising that paying compensation would be too much for him alone, Patrick
tried to disclose the names of the other killers but was stopped by the
spirit which said, with a vengeance, it wanted to visit the killers one by
one and force them to pay for their crimes.
The possessed woman also told Patrick that he had been paid for the murder
and had used the proceeds to build a house for himself.
The spirit demanded that he remove asbestos sheets, nails and windows from
the "bloody house" and surrender them to the Chokuda family.
Under cross examination, Patrick admitted he did not spend the entire amount
paid to him on the house: he also bought groceries.
For that, the spirit demanded an additional cow from him.
Headman Mushumba expressed regret that word officially reached his court
that Patrick has just died in unclear circumstances.
According to family reports, Basopo died a miserable death last month in
Marondera town where he had gone to avoid trouble back home.
The Standard could not establish the real cause of his death but villagers
said he was very stressed by the turn of events. He had reportedly converted
to religion, now becoming a Madzibaba (elder) of the Mwazha Apostolic sect.
From Chapanduka, we headed to Murairwa village to meet Chokuda's family. We
first met a young man identified as Jonah, Chokuda's cousin who showed us
some of the cattle that Patrick brought to their family as part of the
After navigating through the fields, we found Chokuda's mother, Sosana
Mhongoyo harvesting round nuts in the scotching heat.
"I used to think that when a person dies, he or she has gone forever," said
Mhongoyo. "But what is happening here has completely changed my view about
death. You don't just kill a person. It will come back to you."
Mhongoyo said all along she had been praying for the killers to be exposed.
From the conversation, we got the feeling that Mhongoyo felt that justice
had been done to a matter that our once-famed criminal justice system had
failed to deliver for the past eight years.
It is not just Chokuda's avenging spirit that has become a subject of
animated interest in this area.
The Councillor for Ward 24 in Buhera, Bodias Nendanga said there are several
other MDC-T supporters killed in the political violence in 2008 whose
spirits have also started haunting their killers' families.
Among those tormenting their killers are Nyoka Chookuse and a Mr Sibamba
both murdered by suspected Zanu PF militia led by a known war veterans
leader and an army colonel, said Nendanga.
"Although they have not come to confess to traditional leaders yet, it is
now common knowledge that the killers are no longer enjoying the comfort of
their homes," said Nendanga.
"Their victims knock on their homes during the night and they actually see
Because of the poor road network, The Standard could not reach Chookuse and
However villagers said Zanu PF youths went on the rampage killing people in
June 2008 after being assured by war veterans that avenging spirits would
not haunt them.
"They were being told that the spirits of the liberation fighters who died
at Chimoio and Nyadzonya would 'durawall' them from any avenging spirits of
their victims," said Davison Gwara, a villager who is closely following the
War veterans' leader Joseph Chinotimba, who represented Zanu PF in Buhera
was defeated by Naison Nemadziwa, now MDC-T MP in the violent March 2008
BY WALTER MARWIZI & CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:37
BULAWAYO - Over a thousand villagers in Umzingwane district last week
received free treatment for various ailments at an outreach programme meant
to alleviate the lack of health centres in rural areas.
The villagers from Nsazwi, Munkula, Bezha and surrounding areas were treated
by doctors and nurses under the Hope for Mtshabezi (HFM) initiative at
Nswazi Secondary School on Saturday.
HFM is made up of volunteers who have been providing assistance to Mtshabezi
Mission Hospital, one of the biggest health centres serving Umzingwane and
Mbongeni Ndlovu who led the volunteers said the outreach was meant to ease
pressure on the mission hospital, which was being overwhelmed by the number
of patients seeking treatment every day.
He said 1 102 villagers received treatment and several patients were advised
to go to referral hospitals in Gwanda and Bulawayo for specialist treatment.
"We are doing some smaller cases although we also have eye specialists from
the Council for the Blind who have volunteered their time to be part of this
programme," Ndlovu said.
Usually the villagers walk more than five kilomteres to receive treatment at
the Brethren In Christ Church run Mtshabezi Hospital.
The outreach programmes began in 2008 and so far several villages have been
visited by nurses and doctors offering free treatment.
HFM has also helped secure doctors for Mtshabezi Hospital by providing a
vehicle and refurbishing dilapidated residencies.
Former broadcaster, Abbie Dube who is overseeing the project attributed its
success to the support it has received from Zimbabweans in the diaspora.
However, she said they were still short of funds to run more outreach
Zimbabwe's health delivery system has been weighed down by a decade of
Rural hospitals have been the hardest hit by the brain drain caused by
deteriorating conditions of service and poor salaries. But mission hospitals
throughout the country have come to the rescue of desperate villagers as
they have fared better than government institutions during the crisis.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:35
MANZINI - Grandmothers from all over Africa have joined hands with
grandmothers in Canada to call for greater support and recognition of their
role in caring for grandchildren orphaned by Aids.
"We are the backbone of our communities; with our love and commitment we
protect and nurture our orphaned children. Africa cannot survive without
us," declared the grannies' manifesto.
Eunice Simelane, who has supported and cared for five grandchildren since
her son and daughter-in-law succumbed to Aids-related illnesses, read the
manifesto at the meeting attended by 200 grandmothers from Swaziland, 232
from African nations, and 42 Canadian grandmothers representing 7 000 others
who have formed groups in Canada to raise funds and awareness to help
elderly African women struggling to raise Aids orphans.
The first Grandmothers' Gathering took place in Toronto, Canada, in 2006,
and was the brainchild of former United Nations Special Envoy for Aids in
Africa, Stephen Lewis, whose foundation has been channelling funds to
community-led Aids organisations that support grandmothers in 15 sub-Saharan
Swaziland's Aids epidemic is among the worst in the world - around 160 000
children are classified as orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in a
population of less than one million - and was a natural choice to host the
first Grandmothers' Gathering held in Africa.
Traditionally the extended family has looked after its own, so there are few
orphanages. Grandmothers have become the primary caregivers, but their vital
role has been largely overlooked, and their need for help to feed, clothe,
house and educate their grandchildren ignored, said Ilana Landsberg-Lewis,
Executive Director of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.
"I was reviewing funding proposals, and many of them dealt with orphan
funding, but they seemed written in code. They always referred to 'guardians
and caregivers', but didn't say who these persons were. We found the
caregivers were the grandmothers of Africa," she said.
People have given generously to support the Foundation's programmes, so
Landsberg-Lewis wanted her fellow Canadians to meet African grandmothers
personally. "They came to Swaziland, paying their own way. . . I knew they
would be moved by the heroic grandmothers," she told said.
The three-day conference in Swaziland's central commercial hub, Manzini, was
an emotional meeting, often joyous but sometimes harrowing, with many of the
grandmothers giving accounts of abuse and poverty.
"A lot of violence is perpetrated against unprotected people like
grandmothers - robbery and even rape. In our manifesto we call upon the
authorities to recognize this and protect us grannies as we raise the
children," said Cynthia Khumalo, a Swazi grandmother.
The delegates compiled a list of demands from their governments, including
financial assistance and sustainable projects, created with their
involvement. Swaziland's prime minister and several cabinet officials
attended the gathering.
"The grannies had hoped to be retired now, and to be taken care of by their
children, and to play with their grandchildren, instead of having to raise
them. This has to be acknowledged and assisted," said Siphiwe Hlope,
executive director of Swazis for Positive Living (SWAPOL), a support group
for HIV-positive women which organised the event with the Stephen Lewis
Hlope led a march in 2009 to protest lavish spending by the royal family, in
contrast to the meagre resources for those affected by HIV and Aids, yet she
was embraced by the Swazi Queen Mother, who attended the gathering. "We are
all grandmothers, and what brings us together is our love for children," she
The grandmothers shared their stories at workshops in Swahili, SiSwati and
English. "It was difficult for me to tell my granddaughter that she was
HIV-positive, and because of that she was told by the people in the
neighbourhood, who made fun of her," said Esther Mango from Kenya. "She was
very hurt. She said, 'Why didn't you tell me?'"
They described their battles with discrimination because of their age,
gender and HIV status. "When my husband was very sick, his family refused
that I visit him in the hospital. He told my eldest son that when he died,
no one should marry me because he knew what was ailing him, and he knew that
I had it too and would make another ill," said one woman.
"I went to the hospital after he died and I took a test; I learned I was HIV
positive. His family wouldn't let me see my husband, but it is me who takes
care of the grandchildren."
Staff from the Stephen Lewis Foundation showed African grandmothers how to
apply for grants to run community projects. One Foundation project in Kenya
employs 300 women who make jewellery that is sold in Canada, and a third of
profits used to fund programmes in Africa. - PlusNews
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:32
BULAWAYO - Almost the entire National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) equipment
NRZ bosses made the stunning revelations at a briefing they held for a
government delegation led by Gorden Moyo, the Minister of State in the Prime
Minister's Office that assessed operations at the troubled parastatal last
Moyo was told at the meeting that was closed to the media that 99% of the
NRZ equipment had outlived its lifespan.
The track also needed an urgent overhaul.
Officials said they had since applied for a US$150 million bail-out from the
"Out of a total of 168 locomotives, only 61 or 36% are in service," read the
briefing notes leaked to Standardbusiness.
"All locomotive classes are beyond the design life with only 13 DE11A
locomotives commissioned in 1992 still having seven more years to reach
their design life."
Lack of regular maintenance has also seen wagons that are still operational
going down from 8 682 a few years ago to 5 411.
Only 131 passenger coaches are still usable down from 311, the notes
"Failure to carry out scheduled resource maintenance, rehabilitation and
replacement over the years has resulted in the availability of locomotives,
wagons, and coaches dropping from 62% to 42% and now to 32% respectively,"
added the notes.
"As demonstrated by the statistics, 99% of NRZ's resources have outlived
their design lives.
"This means that while rehabilitation exercises can and are being carried
out, there are limits.
"New equipment is now needed and this is more so under the technologically
dynamic era we are now living in."
Management blamed the sorry state of affairs on the dollarisation of the
However for decades, the NRZ had been weighed down by cash flow problems
blamed on government's insistence that the parastatal must charge below
The NRZ has also been forced to run the unprofitable "freedom trains"
introduced by the previous Zanu PF government at a time when it was
desperate to shore up its waning support in urban areas.
Mike Karakadzai, the NRZ general manager said the parastatal needed the
US$150 million for short-term projects that would set it on track for a
He said the projects would include reclaiming the locomotive fleet, wagons
for freight traffic and also passenger coaches for intercity; and commuter
The NRZ was allocated US$12,8 million in this year's budget of which the
parastatal has already received US$5 million from the national fiscus.
"The low incomes have made it difficult to operate," Karakadzai told
journalists after the briefing.
"We have had to stagger salaries for workers in order to cope with the
situation at hand.
"We are a month behind in terms of payments of salaries."
Moyo said the NRZ faced imminent collapse if it did not find a strategic
He said government was considering proposals by Chinese companies who were
interested in providing money for the immediate recapitalisation of the NRZ
and the rehabilitation of the country's rail infrastructure.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:31
SOLENTA Aviation Zimbabwe has announced the introduction of two new routes,
between Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Bumi Hills, and Harare,
Kariba, Bumi Hills.
Solenta is the local partner of South African-registered air carrier Federal
Solenta Aviation Zimbabwe will base a Cessna Grand Caravan at Bumi Hills
from next month, operating three times a week between Bumi Hills, Victoria
Falls and Harare, reports the influential online trade daily SA Tourism
"We are thrilled to have additional access from Victoria Falls and Harare to
Bumi Hills. This will allow us to grow both our regional and international
markets to this area and we look forward to marketing the various route
options into Bumi, together with Solenta Aviation," says Glenn Stutchbury,
managing director of Africa Albida Tourism.
The Cessna 208 Caravan is a single turbo-prop fixed-gear, short-haul
regional airliner first launched in 1982.
More than 1 500 are in service worldwide, with international mail and parcel
distribution specialists Fedex owning and operating 253 of them.
They are said to be hugely reliable and dependable and are most commonly
seen locally running the 10 minute hop from Vilankulos Airport in Mozambique
to the rich-and-famous five-star resort, Indigo Bay on Bazaruto Island and
other picture postcard destinations in the Indian Ocean and Mozambique
There is a crew of one. Seating can be configured to accommodate nine to a
maximum of 14, although the manufacturers claim it can make a profit
carrying four passengers.
Cessna also manufacture a freight version and there is a military model (the
Combat Caravan), usually armed with Hellfire Missiles, flown by several air
forces throughout the world.
The versatile plane can also be fitted with skis or floats for freshwater
and marine landings and air-sea rescue. There is a wheeled/float equipped
totally amphibian version.
by Dusty Miller
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:27
DELTA Beverages has blamed the persistent shortages of some of its beer
brands on the intermittent power and water cuts that have severely reduced
capacity at its plants.
The limited supply of lager beers such as Bohlingers, Castle and Pilsner had
put the rumour mill on a spin, with some imbibers even speculating that the
country's biggest brewer was in the process of phasing out some brands.
According to the speculation, Pilsner was being taken off the market or
repackaged because it had overtaken Delta's flagship brand, Castle lager in
But Alex Makamure, Delta's acting corporate affairs executive said the
rumours were far-fetched.
"There have been some intermittent shortages of particular brands of lager
beers in the last few weeks," he said on the sidelines of an analysts
briefing on Delta's financial results on Wednesday.
"These have been occasioned by supplies and utility outages that disrupted
"There are no plans to phase out any existing beer brands.
"Normal supplies of most brands have been restored; of particular note is
the improved supply of Castle lager as we support the Castle Perfect Soccer
Moments Promotion which kicked off on April 24."
The promotion coincides with the Fifa soccer World Cup that kicks off in
neighbouring South Africa on June 11. The country's biggest brewer expects
an upsurge in demand spurred by tourist arrivals and the over excitement of
local soccer fans.
In a commentary accompanying the audited results for the year ended March
31, Delta said it had regained its market share that was threatened by cheap
beer imports at the height of the country's long-running economic problems.
It said capacity had been improved by the new 42 000 bottles per hour
packaging line for lagers in Harare, which became fully operational in
October last year.
Makamure also justified the recent increase in beer prices saying the
adjustments were forced by increasing cost of importing raw materials from
"Delta took a modest price increase of 10 cents per pint, which is the first
one since September 2008," he said.
"The increase was in response to the obtaining costs structures particularly
for raw materials imported from South Africa where the rand has been firming
against the US dollar."
Some of the materials Delta imports include bottle tops, cans and hops.
He allayed fears of a beer shortage during the World Cup in neighbouring
South Africa owing to the influx of tourists into the region.
Delta said sales of lager beer rose 78% in April compared with the same
month last year while soft drink sales were up 90% during the same period.
The company's profits surged more than sixfold to US$33,5 million during the
period under review.
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:25
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe has been ranked among the top five countries in the
world where computer software piracy is rife with Information Technology
minister, Nelson Chamisa blaming the lack of a legislative framework to stop
According to a report released last week by the Business Software Alliance
(BSA), Zimbabwe is ranked second with a score of 92% after Georgia (95%).
BSA is a United States- based IT monitoring agency created to advance the
goals of the software industry and its hardware partners.
Bangladesh is third with 91% followed by Moldova (90%) and Ukraine (84%).
Reacting to the report, Chamisa said such statistics showed the urgent need
for the ICT Bill that has been on the cards for some time to be speeded up.
"There are legislative loopholes and that is why we are saying we need an
ICT Bill to try to eradicate piracy," he said.
"Piracy is a major concern for the government and the ministry and infact it
is also hitting hard on profitability and the general industry."
Chamisa also blamed economic challenges, which he said forced locals to
resort to cheap illegal products.
"Part of it is that because of the economic challenges, people are not
buying from official sources," he added.
Chamisa has been lobbying for the ICT Bill that will address issues of
licencing, cyber security, number portability, infrastructure, mobile phone
security, digital security, e-governance, e-education and e-health, as well
as the overall growth of the ICT sector to "catch up" with other countries.
The law also aims to bridge the technology gap between Zimbabwe and its
African neighbours by providing modern technology, becoming a hub for
software and hardware development.
It will establish a consultative body to advise the ICT minister on the
Since the formation of a unity government last year, Zimbabwe has seen
notable progress in the accessibility of mobile phones and internet service,
now estimated at 24% of the population up from 10%.
Fixed telecommunication accessibility is still a challenge, with the sole
network operator, Tel-One, overwhelmed by demand.
By NQOBANI NDLOVU
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:24
THE Textiles Workers Union is approaching the High Court to force nine
companies to pay employees salaries according to the law as problems in the
sector show no signs of abating.
Silas Kuveya, the Zimbabwe Textiles Workers' Union general secretary told
Standardbusiness the union was taking action against companies that had
reneged in paying salaries according to Statutory Instrument 30 of 2010. The
instrument stipulates monthly salaries of US$150 for both last year and this
Players in the industry are struggling to stay afloat because of an influx
of cheap but poor quality goods that have rendered local products
In addition, the economic crisis of the last decade left companies with
obsolete equipment thus pushing the cost of production up; and ultimately
the prices too.
"In the whole textile industry we have problems of companies failing to pay
wages and this is different from company to company," he said.
He said there were companies in both Harare and Bulawayo that had failed to
pay salaries and the union had filed a number of cases with the High Court
"to recover what is owed to members".
In Bulawayo, Kuveya cited Merlin, Allied Printing, Dryton, Textile Mills and
Gloweave while in Harare he said Paramount Elastic and Tape, Kudhinda
Fabrics, Highfield Bag and Totche Investments had failed to pay salaries in
terms of the law.
Standardbusiness heard that David Whitehead Textiles was also struggling to
pay employees and had salary arrears amounting to more than six months.
This year alone, employees got US$40 and US$50 for January and March
Kuveya said the problem was not unique to DWT alone as a number of companies
had not paid full salaries.
He said even Irazim, a joint project between Iran and Zimbabwe, was failing
to pay workers and tension was high between management and employees.
During his visit to Zimbabwe last month, Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad toured the textile company in Chitungwiza.
Kuveya said the union had put in a proposal to turn the outstanding salaries
into equity "so that workers don't lose out".
"It's high time that every company owing workers should turn the salary
arrears into shares so that workers will end up with shares in those
companies," he said.
Kuveya blamed the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) for the influx of
cheap but poor quality goods that have flooded the market.
"We believe some of the goods coming through are doing so through the back
door and we are questioning SAZ because they are supposed to enforce
standards," he said.
He said it was critical for the government to come up with measures that
ensure fair competition where quality goods will compete.
Over the past two years 5 000 jobs have been lost in the textile industry.
At its peak the industry employed 11 500.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:22
THE African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) will guarantee the raising of
US$50 million from the diaspora to fund projects identified under a revival
plan launched last year in Zimbabwe's last-ditch attempt to finance the
This comes at a time the country is still smarting from neglect by
cooperating partners who have only made available US$2, 9 million from the
US$810 million vote of credit earmarked for capital expenditure.
Information obtained last week shows that a commercial bank, likely to be
CBZ, will issue the diaspora bond before the end of the year but work on
final aspects is still underway, according to Gift Simwaka, Afreximbank's
regional manager for southern Africa.
A bond is a contract to repay borrowed money with interest at fixed
Simwaka said the parties are working on the coupon (interest rate) by
undertaking sufficient research and the bond would have a tenor of three
"The purpose is to strike the right coupon, all aspects considered, to
ensure full subscription to the bond.
"This aspect of the issue will also constitute the bond features that will
be announced to the broader public when the issue is finally set," he said.
A policy series document by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
titled The Potential Contribution of the Zimbabwe Diaspora to Economic
Recovery, advocates for the restoration of confidence in the economy for the
successful issuance of a diaspora bond.
"In addition, once such public confidence is restored, private financial
institutions would also be in a position to introduce similar financial
instruments for the diaspora," the report said.
Diaspora bonds have historically been crucial for raising development
finance during times of crisis particularly in India and Israel.
Israel has had yearly bond issues since 1951 and had raised US$25 billion by
the end of 2007, while India has had three separate bond issues since 1991
and had raised US$11, 7 billion by the third issue in 2000.
Government bonds are affected by a number of variables such as inflation and
the perceived country risk.
Countries that are seen to be riskier than others have to offer a higher
coupon (interest) in the first place to attract investors than those that
have stable economies such as the United States.
The more risky the country, the lower the price and therefore the higher the
yield and vice versa.
If a bond's price falls, its yield rises and vice versa.
Falling yields are good for an economy and are referred to by economists and
politicians as "long-term interest rates" as they enable companies and
government to borrow more cheaply next time they need to.
Over three million Zimbabweans are in the diaspora in South Africa, UK and
the US having fled the political and economic crisis of the last decade.
The majority of them are professionals and plans to lure them back are
hitting a brick wall due to low salaries being offered on the local market.
Every month, the non-resident Zimbabweans send money to prop up struggling
relatives back home in the wake of low salaries averaging US$200 per month.
Remittances from the diaspora topped US$190 million last year, nearly a
fifth of the revenue collected in 2009.
The UNDP report says Zimbabwe has to put confidence-building measures such
as dual citizenship and the introduction of postal votes to entice
diasporans to participate in economic development.
Statistics show that remittances have become the salvation mainly for
Hit by the dollarisation of the economy in the 1990s, at least 2, 5 million
Ecuadorians fled the country in search of greener pastures.
Remittances which had totalled US$200 million (1% of GDP) in 1993 rose to
US$3,1 billion by 2006 (7,8% of GDP).
According to the Central Bank of Ecuador figures, remittances had become the
second most important source of foreign exchange after petroleum exports,
the UNDP report said.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:54
ON October 20 2007, the Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA)
wrote to Nolbert Kunonga pointing out that the CPCA laws do not permit the
Diocese of Harare to sever its links with the Province in the way he had
done. He had cited the alleged support for homosexuality in the Anglican
Church at a provincial synod in Malawi as the reason for withdrawal.
The approval of each diocese, as well as two thirds of the Provincial Synod
and the endorsement of the Archbishop of Canterbury are required to support
any withdrawal. The CPCA wrote that as Kunonga had broken his vow of
obedience, and had caused a schism, he and his accomplices, present and
future, were no longer regarded to be or recognised as Anglicans.
Kunonga's personal withdrawal from the CPCA and therefore also from the
Diocese of Harare was accepted but the Diocese of Harare itself remained
within the CPCA. He was no longer the bishop of the Diocese of Harare and
was told to hand over the property of the diocese to a vicar-general about
to be appointed by the CPCA.
The term "church" in the laws of the diocese means "the church of the
Province". These same diocesan laws call on the diocesan trustees to deal
with "the property and funds of the church" in the diocese which puts beyond
doubt that the CPCA owns the diocesan property and funds.
Kunonga hotly disputed this and, against the weight of the Anglican laws,
claimed he was still bishop of the diocese and the church property belonged
to him even though he had withdrawn from the CPCA. The CPCA, like any
company, club, organisation or institution has its own rules and
regulations. Kunonga swore to obey those rules.
The church decreed in 2007 that because Kunonga had voluntarily removed
himself from and was no longer a member of the CPCA, he simultaneously
ceased to be the bishop of the diocese of Harare which is a constituent
member of the CPCA.
The Anglican worshippers, the diocesan assets and funds are not owned,
controlled by and do not in any way belong to Kunonga. That is the CPCA law
and its ruling.
It would be entirely unlawful, indeed would constitute spoliation, theft,
trespass, invasion of privacy among other things, if the managing director
of a subsidiary company resigned, walked out of the company and said,
"Although I no longer work for the company and will not recognise the
holding company, let me warn you I have claimed all the assets and funds of
the company as my own. Not one of the workers nor the subsidiary company's
customers will be allowed inside the premises or to deal with company
matters unless they first pay allegiance to me and accept me as the head of
the subsidiary company and owner of its property. I will pay no attention to
any rules or laws."
This is sheer unsustainable nonsense. In such as case, a court application
would urgently result in an order evicting this ex-manager from the property
and restraining him from trespassing, using or having access to the assets
and funds of the company in any way, and from preventing the workers and
customers from entering the premises. A court of law in these circumstances
would order the police or other authority to prevent the ex-manager from
interfering with the business of the company.
This is how the rule of law and justice would immediately be applied and how
the courts would react in an impartial, independent, free and fair judicial
system to ensure effective justice is seen to be done. And the police would
immediately react where required to support the judicial officers (judges,
sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, magistrates, messengers of court and so on) to
make certain the court orders were swiftly, fully enforced and the retired
managing director removed forthwith from the company premises.
Yet to the amazement of the world, especially Anglicans, almost the exact
opposite of expected court and police reaction, given above, has happened.
Kunonga and his hangers-on, aided by the police, throw innocent CPCA members
out of churches and unlawfully cling to CPCA assets.
The courts in Zimbabwe are supposed to be independent. They are subject to
the constitution and the laws of the land and are to apply these without
fear or favour.
Albert Chama is the Dean and Acting Archbishop of The Anglican Church, The
Province of Central Africa.
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:51
We were surprised when we didn't hear as much as a meow from the MDC in the
face of the blatant undermining of the global political agreement (GPA) by a
senior government minister recently.
Addressing a Zanu PF gathering at Chikarudzo business centre in Masvingo on
May 6 Higher and Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge is quoted by
RadioVOP as saying his party Zanu PF was the one ruling while the inclusive
government was just administrative.
The meeting, at which Mudenge was celebrating his victory in the March 2008
elections, was also attended by Media Information and Publicity minister
"The set-up of the inclusive government does not mean that we (Zanu PF)
surrendered power to MDC-T. Other political parties say they are now at the
helm, but I do not see that," said Mudenge.
"Zanu PF is still in control, and will remain in control of the country's
affairs," said Mudenge.
To buttress his point he averred that the three most powerful people in the
land were still the president and the two vice-presidents who all happen to
be Zanu PF.
President Mugabe's deputies are Vice-Presidents Joice Mujuru and John Nkomo.
"The inclusive government is mainly concerned with administration of
government duties than power sharing," said Mudenge.
Mudenge said his party would never hand real power to MDC-T leader and now
Prime Minister in the power sharing government, Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mudenge is the secretary for external affairs in the Zanu PF politburo; and
because of that he is one of President Mugabe's closest advisers.
Now that gets us worried, very worried. And it should worry Mugabe too! It
undermines his credibility as a principal in the inclusive government. Not
only do Mudenge's utterances betray what the nation and the world at large
have always feared - that Mugabe is not and never was sincere in this whole
As secretary for external affairs in the Zanu politburo Mudenge is at the
heart of foreign policy formulation not only in Zanu PF but, as a
consequence, in government itself. His words cannot be dismissed as the
empty rantings of a politician. If they were, Shamu would have intervened as
Minister of Media Information and Publicity in the inclusive government;
since he didn't then Mudenge was enunciating party policy.
Recently ANCYL president Julius Malema was censured by his party, the ANC of
South Africa, after his visit to Zimbabwe where he publicly said the ANC
supported President Mugabe and his party Zanu PF and would campaign for them
in any coming election. He also strongly denigrated the MDC using Zanu PF
mantras saying the MDC were "pop-corn" puppets of the West.
Although the ANC disciplinary committee later exonerated him of the charge
of undermining South African president Jacob Zuma's mediation efforts, the
truth of the matter is that he did so because at the material time he was
deemed to be speaking on behalf of the ANC of which the ANCYL is a most
Mudenge's utterances must have embarrassed quite a number of people not
least the guarantors of the GPA, which saw the formation of the government
of national unity - the African Union and Southern African Development
Community. They ought to have stopped in their stride to consider how Mugabe
is duping them into believing that he listens to them when in fact he does
not. The Sadc troika, particularly, must have been the most bewildered by
all this. Its chairman, Mozambique president Amando Guebuza, is eagerly
awaiting Zuma's report on progress so far on the outstanding issues but now
he must know that he and the others are wasting their time.
Only last week Mudenge was speaking highly of the Conservatives whom he
thinks are closer to Zanu PF than Labour. He was saying he hoped for the
mending of fences between Harare and London. Fat chance!
The new Conservative government will obviously wish to audit Mugabe's
behaviour, particularly in the inclusive government which has been received
with optimism all over the world as the only hope for beleaguered Zimbabwe.
There isn't likely to be a major difference between how Gordon Brown treated
Zimbabwe and how David Cameron is going to. The reason is simply that the
ball is in Mugabe's court to fulfil the clauses of the GPA and thereby
manifest his sincerity. If he doesn't, it would be very odd for Cameron to
accommodate him. So, Harare and London are going to continue as uneasy
sparring partners for a while longer.
If Mugabe was serious about the GPA he should have censured Mudenge publicly
or have him brought before a Zanu PF disciplinary committee for bringing its
first secretary into disrepute; but to think that Zanu PF has a disciplinary
committee is to say there is the rule of law in a pack of wolves.
But the MDC did not see the beginnings of a diplomatic coup!
As Mudenge was making those utterances the so-called three principals (they're
not, are they?) were attending the World Economic Forum in Dar es Salaam,
Tanzania which ran from May 5-7. Across town Mugabe was attending a trivial
and frivolous liberation movements' summit attended about half of Sadc
leaders. Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara were in Dar with him, the
latter reportedly frantically working to smuggle him into the economic forum
instead of alerting him on what Mudenge was up to back home.
From Dar Tsvangirai flew straight to the US to receive a democracy award;
not once did he mention Mugabe's duplicity in the way he views the GPA.
Instead he was waxing lyrical about the progress that the inclusive
government had made.
Can Zimbabwe's true leaders please stand up!
BY NEVANJI MADANHIRE
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:46
I refer to the current debate on civil service salary increments, which
sections of the media and some analysts have misconstrued as reflective of
power struggles between MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai and
Secretary-General Tendai Biti.
Firstly, the issue under discussion is not a party issue, so people who
comment should never link the perceived differences to differences within
the MDC. This is a purely government issue and any talk of divisions should
be in the context of division among leaders in government, not in the MDC.
More importantly, there is no significant contradiction in what the two
leaders have said. The Minister of Finance's position is clear, that there
will be no salary increase for civil servants if there is no improvement in
government income. He did not say that was government policy, but he simply
said there is not enough revenue generated to improve civil servants'
salaries at the moment. When the money becomes available, civil servants
will get salary increments
The Prime Minister said there was no policy to freeze civil servants
salaries, a position supported by Minister of Public Service, Professor
Mukonoweshuro, who went on to give details on the efforts being made by
government to find the money to improve civil servants salaries.
What Professor Mukonoweshuro described is work in progress. He did not state
that the money has been found to pay civil servants, and that there will be
salary increments, nor did he give a time frame of when salary increments
will be announced. It is only when all efforts being pursued through the
cabinet committees, which Professor Mukonoweshuro mentioned in his press
conference, that a policy on civil service salary increments, if necessary,
will be announced.
So three truths have been told:
l There will be no salary increments for civil servants until there is
enough money in government coffers to do so.
l There is no government policy to freeze civil servants salaries at the
l Efforts are being made to find money to increase civil service salaries,
and when that money is found, there will be increments.
Members of the public get valuable information to prepare themselves for the
eventuality through such debate. Those who were optimistic of salary
increments will have to prepare for zero increment in the event that current
efforts to mobilise resources fail to produce the desired results, while at
the same time the public will get to know of the efforts being made by
government, through the cabinet committees, to improve the welfare of
The other thing to admire about the whole debate is that the MDC, unlike
Zanu PF, does not take a partisan position when it comes to delivering
services to the people. In the old order, when one Zanu PF official in
government issued a statement, whether the statement needed to be refined or
clarified to reflect the correct state of affairs, no one ever did. The Zanu
PF ministers were partners in crime, and supported each other through and
through even when certain positions had to be clarified. There were no
checks and balances to ensure that government did not divert from its
programmes because of human error or due a deliberate effort to misinform.
There is deafening silence from other Zanu PF ministers when a Zanu PF
minister goes astray. No Zanu PF minister has ever commented on Ignatious
Chombo's land grab spree from many urban councils. However, Jonathan Moyo
saw an opportunity to attack the MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai in this
salary freeze debate. He did not bother to check with Professor
Mukonoweshuro what efforts were being made to address civil servants'
salaries, nor did he, as a professor, bother to analyse the statements made
to see there is no contradiction in the two statements.
The MDC government, therefore, should be one that Zimbabweans should learn
to trust, because the moment one minister makes an error, another will be
quick to point that error out to the public.
Chitate writes from New Zealand.
BY BENJAMIN CHITATE
Saturday, 15 May 2010 16:44
THE last few days have been enlightening for the millions that observed the
democratic change of guard in Britain.
While the elections on Thursday last week had been particularly bruising for
Gordon Brown and his New Labour Party, there was evidently no blood on the
Labour battled to second place with 258 seats while the Conservatives led by
the youthful David Cameron (43) took pole position with 306 seats.
The Lib Dems under Nick Clegg, who had flattered to deceive, managed to
garner 57 seats. The remaining 28 seats were shared among the smaller
There have been some misleading comparisons with Zimbabwe’s situation in
2008. None of the British voters risked life and limb to decide whom they
wanted to lead them for the next few years. The election may have ended in a
“hung” parliament, but no one was hanged, hacked or harried for kicking
Labour out of power.
In fact, a senior Labour official said soon after Brown threw in the towel
that after 13 years of his party’s rule the British public was
understandably desperate for change.
With so many independent media houses moving freely about the UK it was
still impossible to find reports that voters had been intimidated, beaten up
or murdered for voting against the ruling party.
We know this because television stations carried live broadcasts. The BBC,
Sky and CNN were all there on the ground. Their reporters were not hiding
from Bobbies on the beat.
The reporters were there among the winners and the losers — asking all the
hard and often irritating questions.
There was some dismay over the failure of some voters to cast their ballots
after polling stations closed before they could do so. But that was at 10pm.
On Tuesday night in front of flashing cameras Prime Minister Brown ended his
short tenure and became just “Mr Brown”.
He might have exercised that infamous temper the night he lost the election,
but that was all behind him on Tuesday when he handed over the baton to the
then “leader of the opposition”.
Brown said of his three years at the helm: “Only those who have held the
office of prime minister can understand the full weight of its
responsibilities and its great capacity for good.”
“I have been privileged to learn much about the very best in human nature,
and a fair amount, too, about its frailties, including my own.
“Above all, it was a privilege to serve and, yes, I love the job, not for
its prestige, its titles and ceremony, which I do not love at all.”
In the end Brown did what he had to do — respect the will of the majority.
With his wife Sarah at his side, Brown said he was done with his “second
most important job” and would now focus on his most important job — being a
father and a husband.
From No.10 Downing St, the most famous address in the world, where Brown
made the public announcement that he was quitting, it took him less than an
hour to go to Buckingham Palace to tender his resignation to Queen Elizabeth
II and advise her to call upon his Tory rival.
Within minutes Conservative leader Cameron was Britain’s youngest premier in
200 years. The handover of power was all very smooth, civil and swift. It
was so swift in fact that the removals company was in the next day to cart
off Brown’s possessions.
Recognising the need for a broad-based government in the absence of an
overall majority, Cameron appointed Lib Dems leader Clegg (also 43) as his
The UK’s coalition government — the first since 1940 — was taking shape at
breakneck speed, in part to ward off market predators.
The Brits didn’t need to call in the European Union to help them agree on
the obvious. Without any party securing sufficient seats to command a
majority in the Commons, some sort of arrangement had to be engineered —and
The British change of guard offers a simple lesson in the practice of
modern-day democracy — those who lose elections (by whatever margin) should
accept the fact and move on to write their memoirs, give their families some
of their time, and hope posterity will look kindly upon them.