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Zanu PF internal fights weaken Mutasa

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INTERNAL fights within Zanu PF in Manicaland, which recently reached a boiling point, have severely weakened the most senior politician in the province, threatening his potential to further rise within the party, analyst have said.


For decades, Zanu PF Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa has been the godfather in Manicaland and his word was unquestioned. Anyone in the province who wanted to climb the ladders of power had to get Mutasa’s blessing, ever since his predecessor, Maurice Nyagumbo died in 1989.

But a recent petition written to President Robert Mugabe to rein in Mutasa has left him exposed, weakened and on the defensive.

According to the petitioners, allegedly led by women’s league boss Oppah Muchinguri and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, Mutasa has divided the party in Manicaland due to the imposition of candidates and dictatorial tendencies, allegations he has flatly denied.

The petitioners accused Mutasa of causing the suspension and subsequent arrest of provincial chairman, Mike Madiro and his deputy, Dorothy Mabika on allegations of theft of calves donated to Mugabe for his birthday celebrations. Mutasa is now a state witness in the case against the two party officials, who are linked to the faction loyal to Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa.

But Mabika has used the court case to make sensational allegations that Mutasa was “fixing” her for spurning his sexual advances and her refusal to join a faction loyal to Vice-President Joice Mujuru. Mutasa denied both allegations.

Although Mutasa appeared to have registered a small victory after a probe team led by national chairman, Simon Khaya Moyo led to the dissolution of the provincial executive; analysts said the days when his power went unchallenged were over.

The new provincial leaders, Ambassador John Mvundura and his deputy former governor, retired lieutenant general Mike Nyambuya, appear to be both acceptable to the two warring factions as they are largely viewed as neutral.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Shakespear Hamauswa said, although Mutasa has been winning elections consistently against MDC opponents unlike other bigwigs, the 2013 polls outcome will determine his fate.

“If his party goes down from the six seats it won in Manicaland in the 2008 elections, then all the blame will be heaped on him,” he said.

Hamauswa said a leader is normally judged by his or her capacity to resolve problems.

“Mutasa’s capability is being tested, but unfortunately for him, he seems to be unaware of this scrutiny.

“It will now depend on how quick and calm he will deal with the issues as a leader,” he said. “The best he can do is to do the opposite of what his alleged enemies are expecting. He was even supposed to conceal his actions without attacking anyone himself.”

Mutasa recently castigated Mu-chinguri and Chinamasa accusing them of authoring the petition against him, while at the same time openly criticising Mnangagwa for harbouring presidential ambitions. Both Mujuru and Mnangagwa have persistently denied leading factions in Zanu PF or harbouring presidential ambitions.

Political analyst, Clever Bere said events in Manicaland showed that Mutasa and other top party brass no longer held the clout they once wielded.

“Indeed, the generation 40 as it was put across once by Jonathan Moyo is slowly but surely taking the reins in the party,” he said.

Bere said it had never been a Zanu PF culture until recently that issues reach such a boiling point and spread to the public domain without having been effectively dealt within the party.

He said this further showed the waning levels of discipline in the party.

Bere said Mutasa has now lost grip in Zanu PF not only in Manicaland, but nationwide.

“Remember he is not a provincial leader, but national secretary for admin, which means his influence and power ordinarily, is huge. But if the leader finds himself in day-to-day conflicts and being petitioned by his juniors, he has lost it,” he said.

Mutasa, he said, would emerge bruised if Zanu PF loses again in Manicaland, adding that there was need for leadership renewal in the party starting from Mugabe.

“This old guard, though it has contributed to the dominance of Zanu PF, is now a liability. If Zanu PF performs badly in Manicaland in particular, the blame will be placed on Mutasa,” said Bere.

But another political analyst, Alois Masepe said the events in Manicaland were a manifestation of the problems in Zanu PF in the battle to succeed 89-year- old Mugabe.

He said although Manicaland might have taken centre stage, divisions were replicated in other provinces such as Bulawayo, Masvingo and Mashonaland West where the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions were battling to succeed Mugabe.

“It’s a fact that Mugabe will go after the elections. The two factions are going for broke and taking no prisoners. But it appears that the Mnangagwa faction is on the retreat, as the Mujuru faction seems to be reversing the gains it made over the years, by restructuring provinces aligned to it,” said Masepe.

He said although problems in Manicaland had tarnished Mutasa’s image, he was likely to be elevated in the event that Mujuru takes over from Mugabe.

Mutasa could not be reached for comment yesterday, but was recently quoted as saying no one should dare challenge Mujuru and insisting that he would remain the most powerful politician in Manicaland.


Hamauswa said Mutasa as a senior leader, should have been shrewd enough to use other people to fight his personal wars rather than openly confront his perceived enemies.

“With Mutasa appearing in the court to nail his subordinates, not only exposes him but also incites anger from other party members,” he said.

Hamauswa said by testifying against other senior party officials in court, Mutasa was exposing dirty games within the party and this was tarnishing Zanu PF and harming its chances against MDC in the forthcoming election.


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MDC-T to reform CIO

May 19, 2013 in Politics

THE MDC-T government plans to have legislation that would govern the
operations of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), among a raft of
reforms designed to create a professional security outfit.

Report by Our Staff

MDC-T has been insisting on security sector reforms saying some of the CIO
operatives were dabbling into politics and operating like an arm of Zanu PF.

Reforming the security forces is one of the conditions agreed to by
principals in the inclusive government but nothing is moving along that

In the policy document, Agenda for Real Transformation (ART) launched
yesterday, the legislation would ensure that the organisation is
non-partisan, national in character, patriotic, professional and subordinate
to the civilian authority.

“There will be an intelligence legislation which emphasises the themes of an
ethical code of conduct, the rule of law and parliamentary oversight,” the
policy document said.

It said the spy agency has been abused by successive governments to subvert
democracy and the rights of the people of Zimbabwe.

However, the regulation of the CIO would ensure that a fair and acceptable
balance is reached between the need to protect sensitive information and the
demands of freedom of information.

Currently the spy agency reports directly to the President.

MDC plans to have a defence force that ensures that peace and security
prevails and is subordinated to elected civilian authority.

Service chiefs such as Defence Forces commander Constantine Chiwenga, Major
Generals Douglas Nyikayaramba and Martin Chedondo, among others, have said
they would not salute MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the event that he is
elected President of Zimbabwe.

The document said the challenge facing the country was that the goal of the
security under Zanu PF government was to perpetuate their rule against
domestic resistance.

“Zanu PF pursued this goal through extensive use of military and police
force and in many situations regarding ill-trained and ill-disciplined
members of the force by promoting them for making political statements that
seek to undermine the freedom of political choice,” it said.

“Society is highly militarised as the defence force has been drawn into all
spheres of life.”

On the civil military relations, MDC-T said an Act of Parliament “shall
provide for the establishment, organisation, training, conditions of service
and other matters concerning the permanent force and part time reserve”.


Police promotions, the document said, would be based on merit “because it is
critical for the restoration of the Zimbabwe Police Services as an
apolitical and professional organisation”.

A commissioner general of the police would report to the Police Service
Commission and the minister of Home Affairs, MDC-T said.

Currently the commissioner general reports to President Robert Mugabe. The
Police Service Commission, according to the MDC-T policy document, would be
appointed by the President with approval from Parliament and would report to
Parliament on its activities at least once a year.

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Tsvangirai lays out vision

May 19, 2013 in News, Politics

The MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai has laid out his vision for a new
Zimbabwe under his rule, promising citizens justice, freedom and happiness.

Report by Jennifer Dube

Launching the MDC’s Agenda for Real Transformation at the party’s policy
conference in Harare yesterday, Tsvangirai, who is also Zimbabwe’s Prime
Minister, said his party would ensure that Zimbabweans enjoyed their

“We definitely have to ensure that the society which we are going to build
has justice, freedom and happiness,” he said. “This society has endured a
lot of trauma and it is time we enjoyed our country.

“The society of a centralised one man rule, impunity and inequality has gone
and gone forever.”

Tsvangirai said constitutionalism will be one of the guiding principles of
his rule, adding that his party counted on being loved by the people.

“The State has been very oppressive and that has to stop,” he said. “A good
leader must be loved by his people. The greatest security you can have as a
leader are your people and not all these entourages we see around,” he said.

Tsvangirai said contrary to some people’s beliefs, he had no personal
differences with service chiefs. He believed that the country’s securocrats
should be answerable to the civilian authority.

Tsvangirai said his rule will be guided by broad-based people policies which
will ensure that citizens are empowered with necessary skills to perform

He said his party would also tap into the country’s skills currently being
utilised in the diaspora to develop and modernise Zimbabwe.

“Devolution is our solution to the national question,” he said. “There will
be no tribal enclaves. No region and no people will be left behind in

“No tribe is more Zimbabwean than the other and we believe that tribalism is
as archaic as unbridled nationalism.”

He added that his government would promote a productive economy, which is
anchored by the fundamental principle of respecting property rights.

Summing up the conference deliberations, MDC secretary general Tendai Biti
said for the first time in the country’s history, there will be an Act of
Parliament to regulate the activities of the central intelligence

“There will also be rebranding of the force [army],” Biti said. “There will
be no more jambanja. Security forces will be de-commodified. They will keep
to their business and not be found in diamonds and all these other
businesses they are currently delving into.”

On national healing, Biti said the State, notwithstanding the fact that
Tsvangirai would be the leader, should apologise, compensate and pay
reparations to victims of the gukurahundi massacres of the 1980’s,
Murambatsvina in 2005 and the 2008 electoral violence.

Biti said his party’s government will restore the glory of the education
sector, building well- equipped learning institutions and supporting
students with loans and grants.

“Zanu PF has made all our cities dirty capitals of the world and cleanliness
will be one of the epicentres of the MDC government policy,” Biti said. “We
will ensure that we keep our cities clean.”


Biti said the size of the army would be rationalised to reflect a peaceful
society which is not preparing to go into war with anyone.

He said army officers will undergo compulsory lessons on the Bill of Rights,
adding that the same lessons will be made compulsory at schools.

“We also need demilitarisation of the health services sector where we will
have civilian doctors in charge and not army personnel,” he said.

“We will pay special attention to communicable diseases, which continue to
affect many in our society.

“We will create awareness of these diseases while also promoting prevention
as it is always better than cure.”

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Tempers flare in Mutare over diamond looting

May 19, 2013 in Local, News

MUTARE – Tempers flared at a mines and mineral policy workshop held in
Mutare last week when participants expressed anger at the alleged looting of
diamonds in Chiadzwa.


Participants at the workshop who included Zanu PF youth groups and war
veterans said the former ruling party would lose elections unless President
Robert Mugabe intervened to stop the looting.

Small-scale miners and traditional leaders urged the people in Manicaland to
be vocal and claim the diamonds as they were supposed to be the bona fide
beneficiaries of the resources.

Manicaland governor Chris Mushowe warned people were getting impatient over
the diamond revenue issue.

“The people from Manicaland have been so patient and please don’t take that
patience for granted. We cannot continue watching things going on like this.
Let the Minister of Mines be warned,” he said.

War veterans said they wanted a 20% stake in the diamond mining noting there
hasn’t been an equitable distribution of wealth in the country since 1980.

Mutare district war veterans’ development secretary, John Bushu said
although Manicaland had plenty of mineral resources, former freedom fighters
in the province were paupers.

“We are not happy at all with what is happening in Chiadzwa. We are still
living in abject poverty yet only a few are benefitting from the diamonds,”
he said.

Bushu said war veterans did not have decent accommodation or land, while
some of the big- wigs used their muscle to loot the diamonds.

He questioned where funds generated from the mining of diamonds from
Chiadzwa were being channelled to.

“These are some of the issues that will affect the party in the forthcoming
election because many people have a perception that Zanu PF is linked to the
Chiadzwa diamonds,” said Bushu.

Vocal Zanu PF youth member, Sheila Mutsenhu, from Vadiki Tavekupfuma Youth
Empowerment group said: “It is sad that we people from Manicaland are
failing to have access to the diamond fields to do business. There is
serious favouritism and nepotism going on there. Many people who are outside
Manicaland are employed here. Many companies outside Mutare are winning
tenders. We need to be vocal about this.”

Other participants said they were also not happy with the dominance of
Chinese companies in Chiadzwa.

“The Chinese are doing nothing in terms of employing the locals. They are
bringing their personnel from China while we have equally qualified people
here. This is something that should be looked at,” said Joseph Mukahanana
from Manicaland Small Scale Miners Development Trust.

Responding to some of the concerns, the director of finance and
administration in the Mines and Mining Development ministry Olivia Mwamlowe
said she would take up the complaints with Minister Obert Mpofu.

“We can see that people are concerned very much. It’s very clear people want
to be empowered,” she said. “I think we will have another meeting in Harare
and we will consolidate these views and they will be made available to
anyone. We are happy that people are saying [out] things that affect them.”

Zanu PF National Secretary for Administration, Didymus Mutasa recently
confirmed to journalists that big names in the party have been implicated in
serious illegal diamond dealing, prejudicing the country of millions of

He said President Mugabe was aware of the illegal deals which were now under

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Man offered US$10 as monthly retirement payment

May 19, 2013 in Local, News

AFTER 34 years of service in the construction industry, Vincent Muzivorwenyu
retired to his rural home in Bikita, hoping that his pension contributions
would take care of his needs.


In February hope turned into despair for Muzivorwenyu: the Construction
Industry Pension Fund told him that his money was ready. His bank account
was credited with a “lump sum” of US$647.

In addition, the fund said, Muzivorwenyu would get a monthly payment of

“You can also have your pension paid to you every quarterly, half yearly or
yearly…through your bank and we would be pleased to receive your
instructions in this regard,” pensions manager E Lunga wrote.

Notwithstanding the low pay-outs Lunga further wrote: “May we [Construction
Industry Pension Fund] take this opportunity to wish you a long and happy

Zimbabwe Pensions and Insurance Rights (Zimpirt) general manager, Martin
Tarusenga said his organisation was in the process of assessing the amounts
being paid to pensioners.

Muzivorwenyu told The Standard yesterday that the pay-out was not
commensurate to the contributions he had made.

“I don’t know how I can plan to withdraw the money monthly. From my home to
Nyika Growth Point, the fare is US$5 and this means my monthly pay-out would
be eroded in transports costs alone,” he said.

Muzivorwenyu’s plight is shared by the majority of the country’s pensioners
who are struggling to make a living after retirement.

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Bulawayo ’s water woes deepen

May 19, 2013 in Local, News

BULAWAYO residents have resorted to hoarding water to deal with the many
days they go without supplies as the water situation in the city remains


The Bulawayo City Council (BCC) introduced water shedding last year,
resulting in water supplies being cut off for 72 hours a week. The move
however, is doing little to save water since residents are filling up many
containers, whenever supplies are resumed.

A survey by this paper revealed that many residents were keeping large
quantities of water in big containers such as drums, tanks and buckets. The
situation has
left the authorities in a quandary as the residents are now using more water
than before.

“I bought these containers to store water so that it can sustain me for the
next three days until supplies resume,” said a Tshabalala resident, who
identified herself as MaNcube.

Another resident, Richard Phiri, said he had to buy four drums to store
water due to the worsening water crisis.

“We are about 20 people who stay at our house, so imagine if we are to stay
with no water for three days, it would be a disaster,” said Phiri.

Water Resources Development and Management minister, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo
said efforts to save the little available water were proving fruitless due
to the hoarding of the precious liquid whenever it was available.

He said the city could only supply about 95 megalitres a day but residents
were still consuming an average of 110 megalitres.

“Some residents now hoard water whenever it is available. They are filling
every possible container, including bath-tubs. When the water comes back,
they empty those containers by watering their gardens and refill them, which
goes on to affect the daily consumption figures because instead of reducing,
we are clearly wasting a lot of water,” said Nkomo recently.

The City of Bulawayo adopted the water shedding programme last year after
some of its supply dams ran out of water.

The city has five supply dams and of these only, Insiza, Lower Ncema and
Inyankuni are currently servicing the city.

The other two dams, Umzingwane and Upper Ncema were decommissioned last

The city council adopted water shedding after noting that consumption of
water was beyond the levels that could be extracted daily from the dams.

Mtshabezi dam has long been touted as a short-term solution to Bulawayo’s
perennial water problems. Accessing Mtshabezi water was expected to reduce
retaining to two days a week.

However, due to sporadic power cuts, mainly at the dam’s pumping station,
only a fraction of the required water was being drawn daily.

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Govt in dilemma over illegal Chinese mining activities

May 19, 2013 in Local, News

THE Ministry of Mines and Mining Development says it is in a dilemma over
how to deal with some Chinese nationals who are carrying out mining
activities without licences and destroying the environment.


Deputy mines minister, Gift Chimanikire said some Chinese nationals were
illegally carrying out mining activities. He said the Chinese claimed they
had been given the green light to do so by the people “from the top”.

“There are some untoward things going on at the mines run by the Chinese
nationals, who are operating without proper documents. If you ask them where
their licence is, they say ‘No, I don’t have, [it’s] in Harare.’ If you go
to Harare you will see only a letter from a local council which says you can
start operating,” said Chimanikire.

“I also came across another Chinese mining company and asked to see their
licence, and the company official said ‘No, I was instructed from the top
that I should start mining without a licence.”

Chimanikire added that the Chinese were causing a lot of environmental
damage by pegging themselves pieces of land without government approval.
He said when he tried to seek further clarification; they quickly claimed
that they did not understand English.

“If I ask them why they put up a mine in a river where people drink water
downstream, they will say they don’t understand English. These are things
that we don’t want because they want to exploit our minerals while causing a
lot of environmental damage,” said the deputy minister.

Meanwhile, Chimanikire said the government was considering repossessing
special grants that were awarded to new coal-mining companies in Hwange.

He said only four out of the 24 companies that were granted the concessions
were operational.

Government awarded 20 companies licences to explore and extract both coal
and coal-bed methane in the Hwange-Gwayi area. Some of the companies are
reportedly holding on to their claims for speculative purposes.


Chimanikire said his ministry would descend on Hwange soon to verify why
companies awarded licences to explore and mine for coal and coal bed methane
years ago were still to engage in any activity.

“Out of the 24 special grants that we gave to companies in Hwange, only four
are operational. We are going there and considering repossessing those
special grants that we gave to some people in Hwange,” said Chimanikire.

He said it was surprising that some of the companies claimed they were still
looking for the money three years after being granted the concessions.

“We hear them in the media saying we are still looking for US$100 million to
start operating, so why did they take that special grant when they did not
have the money?”

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Harare Airport Road to be completed by year-end’

May 19, 2013 in Local, News

Augur Investments (Pvt) Limited, the company constructing the Harare Airport
Road  hopes to complete the dualisation of the road this year,  the company’s
managing director has said.


In an interview with The Standard, Michael van Blerk said a lot of unfair
criticism had been lumped upon his company which was doing its best to
complete the “complex project”.

“I want to complete the dualisation this year but this is dependent on the
service providers,” van Blerk said. “When we are done with the project,
people will be very proud, as they will now spend six minutes only on what
used to be a 30-minute journey to the airport.”

Augur has been working on the project for more than four years now, much to
the chagrin of Harare residents, especially following significant progress
on other projects which started recently, like the Plumtree-Mutare road.

“That is like comparing apples and oranges,” van Blerk said. “It is an
unfair comparison in terms of the product because that project
[Plumteree-Mutare] involves resurfacing of an existing road and we are
building a new road.”

Van Blerk said surface structure was only 15% of a road project.

He added that 70% of the corridor of the airport road has water mains, sewer
lines and power cables which have to be moved before they can proceed with

In some cases, construction is behind by 20 months following failure by
service providers to move the cables and pipes, mainly due to lack of
capital and the fact that some of the infrastructure is aged.

“We are working in 100-metre segments because of the various services and
this is very difficult for any construction company,” van Blerk said.

He said his company was almost half-way through the dualisation of the 12km
road, excluding  bridge works which are more than 50% of the project and
have a much longer construction period.

He said it was also unfair for people to compare the cost of the airport
road project with that of other projects, as the former was of a much higher
degree and required a lot of expertise.

The total cost of the project currently stands at US$80 million. This
includes the cost of other side roads which will bring the total project to
38km of road.

Van Blerk also clarified that contrary to media reports which have said the
company received 10% payment in cash, the company actually received only 1%
cash payment, which he said was far much lower than the 35% cash prepayments
that are usually required by construction companies.

He said 99% was paid for in land, on which the company was building Africa’s
second largest mall which will benefit Zimbabweans.

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‘Teenage girls dying of pregnancy complications’

May 19, 2013 in Local, News

Adolescent girls aged between 15 and 19 constitute a quarter of the 960
women that die as a result of pregnancy-related complications in Zimbabwe,
the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has said.


UNFPA country representative, Basile Tambashe said there is need to place a
special focus on young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.

She was speaking during the handover of 63 ambulances worth US$2,8 million
to the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, which were donated by the
European Union, as part of efforts to improve maternal health services.

“I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the need to also place a
special focus on young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights,”
she said.
“According to the results of an analysis carried out by the Ministry of
Health and Child Welfare, about a quarter of maternal deaths were adolescent
girls aged between 15 and 19.”

Tambashe added that addressing the adolescent girl’s sexual reproductive
health needs could greatly contribute to reducing maternal mortality ratio
in Zimbabwe.

According to the recently published 2010-11 Zimbabwe Demographic and Health
Survey (ZDHS), Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) in Zimbabwe has more than
doubled since 1990. In 1994, according to the Zimbabwe Demographic Health
Survey maternal mortality ratio was 283 per 100 000 live births and in
2005/6 it was estimated at 555 deaths per 100 000 live births and in 2010/11
it was estimated at 960 deaths per live births.

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Douglas Mombeshora said at
least 10 women are dying every day from pregnancy-related complications.

Mombeshora said with at least 960 deaths per 100 000 live births, Zimbabwe’s
maternal mortality was much higher than the sub-Saharan and global averages.
He said lack of skilled attendance at delivery declined from 73% in 1999 to
69% in 2006 and further declined to 66% in 2011.

“Institutional delivery remained constant at around 68% for the past decade,
but declined to 65% in 2011.According to the 2007 Zimbabwe Maternal and
Perinatal Mortality Study, home deliveries constitute 28% of births. Home
deliveries are three times more common in rural areas at 42% than in urban
areas at 14%,” Mombeshora said.

He said the risk of maternal death increased significantly when women
delivered outside institutions, when the delivery requires surgical
intervention, or is carried out by non-skilled persons.

EU ambassador to Zimbabwe Aldo Dell Ariccia pledged the bloc’s commitment to
continue supporting the health sector in Zimbabwe.

No user fees for mothers and children

Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Henry Madzorera, said maternal and
child service provision was being affected by a number of challenges which
include shortage of transport for emergency obstetric and neonatal care
services and reduced budget allocations.

The government of Zimbabwe last month scrapped user fees in rural clinics
for pregnant and lactating women and children under five years, as efforts
to reduce high maternal mortality ratio scale up.

The United Nations’ Millennium development goal number five seeks to reduce
by three quarters, maternal health in countries by 2015, a target Zimbabwe
is unlikely to meet.

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Ten years in jail for stealing Zesa transformer oil

May 19, 2013 in Local, News

CHIPINGE — Two notorious oil dealers, who have been wreaking havoc in and
around Chipinge draining electricity transformer oil, finally met their fate
last week when they were jailed for an effective 10 years.


The duo, Michael Mudzamiri and Phillip Mandizvidza appeared before Chipinge
magistrate Makamera Waini facing charges of contravening Section 6 of the
Electricity Act.

The State led by prosecutor Thembalami Dhliwayo heard that on April 2, the
two drained 110 litres of oil from a Zesa 33kv transformer near Gaza in
Chipinge. This act resulted in a major power blackout in the area on the day
in question.

Testifying in court, police detective constable Fanuel Nyamutsa, told the
court that the accused persons voluntarily led them to the transformer and
even demonstrated how they drained the oil.

He further revealed that the accused showed them the other five
transformers, which they successfully drained without being apprehended by
the police. However, in their defence both the accused persons denied the
charges and told the court that they admitted to the offence after police
officers assaulted them.

But magistrate, Waini, threw away their defence saying no medical report was
ever produced as evidence to buttress their allegations and convicted the
two due to overwhelming evidence.

Vandalism of Zesa equipment is on the surge in Manicaland province.

This has been attributed to the high unemployment rate in the country and
high demand of copper cables in neighbouring countries such as Mozambique
and South Africa where prices are reported to be lucrative.

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Villagers, urban developers clash over land

May 19, 2013 in Local, News

Villagers from Goromonzi’s Yafele area have said their livelihoods are under
threat following the encroachment of urban developments into their area.

Report by Jennifer Dube

The residents have formed Simukai Rural Residents Trust, a platform through
which they were fighting for land allocation and utilisation programmes
which do not disturb communal farmers’ lives.

“Simukai was registered at a time when residents of communal villages within
the vicinity of Goromonzi district offices woke up to the realisation that
their farming land was being seized for the development of a new residential
peri-urban suburb,” the Trust’s coordinator Masimba Manyanya said. “Up to
now it is not apparent as to who signed away the communal farming lands in
Yafele and also other surrounding villages.”

Manyanya said communal farmers in Yafele lost important grazing lands and an
annual production of over 4 000 kilogrammes of maize.

“The loss of farming land spar-ked a cumulative downward cycle spiral,”
Manyanya said. “There was the intensive utilisation and degradation of small
homestead based farming plots, household incomes plummeted and food
insecurity and poverty worsened.

“Soon households were scrounging for income for basic household needs such
as food, health and school fees.”

Facing numerous problems including expanding population needs, massive
unemployment, dwindling incomes, HIV and Aids, Simukai at some point
mobilised for non-farm business projects such as, mushroom growing but these
collapsed at conception or midstream due to lack of training.

“Despite a succession of consultations since the issue of land seizures
exploded in Yafele village 13 years ago nothing really positive or
substantial has materialised,” Manyanya said.

“Communal residents are in a perpetual state of anguish and anxiety as new
suburban stands are being pegged on a daily basis, encroaching on the little
land we still have as the sprawling greater Harare encircles and overtakes

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Male circumcision could save Zimbabwe US$3 billion

May 19, 2013 in Community News

Zimbabwe could save up to US$3 billion in treatment of HIV and Aids and
downstream costs if the country can scale up its Voluntary Medical Male
Circumcision (VMMC), a health official has said.

Report by Christopher Mahove

Ministry of Health and Child Welfare, HIV and Aids and TB Specialist, Owen
Mugurungi, said if the VMMC was to make an impact in the country, there was
need for a rapid scaling up of the programme among the 15 to 49 age groups
to above the 80% mark, which translated to 1,9 million men.

“If we do that, we will be able to reduce the rate of HIV infection from the
current 130 000 new infections to less than 50 000 per year by 2020,” said

“What it means is we would have also prevented close to 750 000 new HIV
infections throughout the country and we would have invested around between
US$100-US$120 million, but in terms of treatment and downstream costs, we
will probably save US$2,9 billion.

“So you can see from an investment perspective, of saying where should we
put our money, this is one of the high return areas in which we should be
able to put our money.”

He said at community level, there were also even more benefits for partners
of circumcised men and others, as it contributed to more than 75% prevention
of HIV and Aids transmission to spouses.

Circumcision, Mugurungi said was also crucial in the elimination of the
human papiloma virus, which affected the male organ and was the major cause
of cervical cancer in women.

“This is because we know that if we circumcise all men, 60% of them are more
likely to have reduced risk and if they have reduced risk, they are also
less likely to transmit the disease, so that cascades to situations where
even at community level, there is higher or better prevention,” he said.

Mugurungi said although the male circumcision programme had started on a
slow note in 2009 in terms of uptake, the trend was slowly improving, with
high hopes that the country would be able to reach its target.

“….but we are happy that in 2010, we circumcised the whole year, about 15
000, and already this year, 2013, during this previous campaign, which just
happened during the holiday, we have circumcised more than 15 000.

“We are happy that we have achieved in less than six weeks what we achieved
in 12 months. If that is anything to go by, we are happy to say that at
least people are beginning to take it up and we will be able to circumcise
more,” Mugurungi noted.

He said there was need for extensive educational campaigns to take the
correct message to the people.

There are also other benefits that have for a long time been associated with
circumcision, among them the prevention of genital ulcerations and general
personal hygiene.

Mugurungi said studies done in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda had shown
evidence that HIV infection rate among circumcised males was 60% lower than
in those who were not.

Before the introduction of the male circumcision programme only a handful of
private health institutions were offering the service and mostly for reasons
other than as an HIV intervention measure.

In Africa, the vulnerability of women and girls to HIV remains high, with
women constituting 59% of people living with HIV.

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Resistance hinders circumcision programme

May 19, 2013 in Community News

PROMOTERS of the male circumcision programme need to go back to the drawing
board after only 8% of the targeted people responded positively to their


The government set an ambitious target to circumcise three million men by
the end of 2015, in its bid to reduce HIV infections in the country.

But to date, only 8% of the target population has been reached, less than
two years before the deadline.

United Nations Joint Programme on HIV and Aids (UNAids) country director,
Tatiana Shomiliana, said there was need to re-strategise so that more young
people can be mobilised for the circumcision programme.

She said while resources had been availed to circumcise over 100 000 males
in 2012 alone, far less than half the target was achieved.

“An analysis is going on. We are trying to understand why. Do we target
wrong people? Do we message wrongly?” Shomiliana said.

She said wrong packaging of messages was contributing to the poor response
to the programme. Shomiliana cited the message “Be a winner, get
 circumcised” which she said does not clearly bring out what it is that one
would be winning by getting circumcised.

She however commended young people for being more responsive to the
programme than older people.

National Coordinator of the HIV and Aids and Tuberculosis Response in the
Health and Child Welfare ministry, Owen Mugurungi said although they were
not happy with the response, they hoped more men would get circumcised.

“We still feel that we can do better. We have only circumcised close to 8%
of our target population,” he said.

Mugurungi encouraged young people to get circumcised noting there were
benefits not only for combating HIV, but for personal hygiene and prevention
of cervical cancer to young women.

Male circumcision is part of the HIV prevention package that also covers men’s
sexual reproductive health.

Experts say male circumcision reduces the risk of heterosexually acquired
HIV infection in men by approximately 60%.

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Government to crack whip on telecoms operators

May 19, 2013 in Business

GOVERNMENT is mooting a policy that forces telecommunication firms to share
infrastructure in far reaching reforms set to remove the duplication in
investments by operators.


The move comes at a time when government’s calls for infrastructure sharing
had been ignored by the operators.

Speaking in Bulawayo last week, permanent secretary in the Ministry of
Transport and Infrastructure Development, Munesu Munodawafa said the
proposed legislation would help reduce costs and ultimately lead to low

Munodawafa said the current licensing regime did not make it mandatory for
infrastructure sharing and the new policy would give government the leeway
to influence the direction of the investments and the development of that

“What is happening now is a result of the current licences that the various
operators have. The licences that were issued some 15 or so years ago did
not anticipate certain developments in the telecoms industry that are taking
place now,” Munodawafa said.

“In future, we should have a policy which encourages sharing of networks and
we believe that it would be cheaper in the long run for us to have shared
services and base stations.”

He said there must be “synergies in terms of having a national
telecommunication backbone.”

The transport permanent secretary said discussions were underway between the
ministry and the industry that would encourage players to share certain
basic backbone and infrastructure while at the same time allow them to
compete on the last mile and actual services provision.

Last mile refers to the technologies and processes used to connect the end
customer to a communication network in the telecoms and technologies

Telecoms operators are currently competing in setting up infrastructure
across the country.

As a result, there is an over investment in some areas while others have
remained neglected.

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Electoral processes demand transparency

May 19, 2013 in Opinion

Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI-Z), a leading global organisation in
the fight against corruption is deeply concerned by recent events
surrounding the voter registration process.

Sunday View by Transparency International- Zimbabwe

Recent media reports show that ordinary citizens are facing challenges to
register to vote. In some cases Zimbabweans are not aware of the actual
dates for nearby mobile voter registration centres. There is lack of
publicity to encourage ordinary citizens to participate in the registration

Evidence emanating from various centres across the country has also shown
that there is lack of preparedness on the part of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) and Registrar General’s Office to carry-out voter
registration throughout the country.

ZEC is constitutionally mandated to adequately conduct all electoral
processes, including voter education in the country. While there is merit in
initiating the mobile voter registration exercise, ZEC should do more in
publicising the exercise to ensure eligible voters are accorded their
democratic right to participate in processes. Proof of residence has been
the major hindrance for people to register to vote. Voter registration
officials have also been accused of turning away those without proof of

According to ZEC chairperson, Justice Rita Makarau, people can fill in
special affidavits as proof of residence, however the situation on the
ground is different as people are reportedly turned away without registering
as voters. This is also an unfair practice because our government knows that
many urban dwellers are not home-owners and may not have utility accounts
for them to process documents of proof of residence.

Media reports also point out that at times voters travel long distances to
access voter registration centres. If this is not corrected soon, it may
lead to the exclusion of a multitude of voters. Moreover, the unclear manner
in which voter registration is being conducted compromises the credibility
of free and fair elections. A compromised electoral process opens itself up
to allegations of electoral fraud then election results may become disputed
leading to violence and the government in power may be considered

As such, TI-Z calls upon relevant ministries, the legislature and the
Executive to look into the electoral process and ensure transparency in the
conduct of all electoral processes. Relevant stakeholders should put in
place meaningful measures that will ensure citizen participation in
democratic processes, if a free and fair environment is to be achieved.
According to section 100C of the current constitution, the functions of ZEC
are to prepare for; the conduct and supervise elections and referendums and
ensure they are conducted efficiently, freely, fairly, transparently in
accordance with the law.

ZEC and the Registrar General Office are therefore implored to embrace new
technologies in the electoral processes that enhance accountability and
transparency since they have the potential of easing the current challenges
being faced in registering potential voters. The advantage of using new
technologies such as biometric technology is that it eliminates multiple
voter registration and is not labour intensive. Also, biometric technology
has the potential to flush out “ghost voters” which have haunted previous
electoral processes.

TI-Z calls on the state to broaden participation in voter education in order
to beef up ZEC’s capacity in this area. With the participation of civil
society organisations (CSOs), in collaboration with ZEC, much more ground
can be covered in the limited time available.

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Zimbabwe’s struggle for democracy continues

May 19, 2013 in Opinion

When analysing the post 90s struggles for democratisation in Zimbabwe and
where the country finds itself now, Bob Marley’s song, No Woman No Cry, has
lyrics that may aptly relate to our contemporary circumstances.

Sunday Discourse with Takura Zhangazha

There are three particular lines in the song that capture the status of this
same said struggle today.

These are where Marley sings, “good friends we had, good friends we lost . .
. along the way.” This especially as we approach our second harmonised
elections this year.

In relation to the aforementioned struggle, it would be true that those that
were once on the same side, shaking hands and getting arrested together, no
longer talk informally and can only meet under the aegis of some state power
or function. Those that were allies no longer sit at the same table to
discuss the noble and strategic objectives of continuing with the struggle.

The newer participants to the struggle have also taken sides by aligning
themselves to those that have proximity to struggle resources (both in
political power and monetary terms). And this is how good friends have been

It is also how the duration of the struggle has eventually led to
simplistic, but devastating opportunism that has left it being inorganic and
elitist under the shroud of haphazard populism.

The departure points for this state of affairs have been many over the last
15 years. Some of these departure points include the refusal of initial
independent candidates to be part of the National Working Peoples Convention
in 1999 and the split of MDC and civil society in 2006. More recently there
was the departure point of the 2007 Save Zimbabwe Campaign which on March 11
2007 organised a prayer rally in Highfields that was brutally suppressed
when leaders were severely tortured at Highfield police station and

It is the Sadc intervention in the aftermath of March 11 2007 that set the
loss of friends on a firm path to reality.

The secrecy that surrounded it regardless of the protestations of former
allies was to culminate in varied “papering over the cracks” legislative
amendments including the 18th one to the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

Before long, there were the harmonised elections of March 2008, and again
the friends that had been lost came back to seek solidarity. Quick alliances
were revisited and dusted for use in the elections which saw the first ever
“hung” parliament through a slim victory for the opposition.

The presidential vote count was to be disputed (and many lives lost) and
once again bring in Sadc and its facilitator, former South African President
Thabo Mbeki.

Again friends went through the populist motions of the struggle but as with
2007, other friends got lost in the secrecy of the negotiations.

By the time the Global Political Agreement (GPA) was signed, alliances and
friendships were not only strained but in some cases had broken down. The
swearing in of the inclusive government in February 2009 brought in the new
era of contestations between former allies and those that now sat in

The debates and arguments over roles and responsibilities vis a vis the
struggle no longer related to values and principles. They were couched in
the language of
“incrementalism” (which very few of those in government understood).

Again, there was a reconfiguration of civil society to suit the whims of
those who were now part of the inclusive government but had been in the
various campaigns with founding organisations of their political movements.
It became a proximity to resources and personality cults that was to define
the new alliances of the struggle.

Limited support given to the Copac constitutional reform process by civil
society had to do with principle and continued commitment to the struggle.
And this remains the case as we come to the close of the inclusive
government as established by Constitutional Amendment number 19.

As the 2013 harmonised elections approach, after an undemocratic
constitutional reform process, there will be rallying cries for alliances to
be forged. These calls will, as of old, be geared to return to the alliances
of the past, if only for the elections.

They will be ahistorical in nature and seek to give the impression of an its
“better the devil you know” scenario.  Even if such a devil has been
unprincipled, undemocratic and inorganic in his/her interactions with former

The reality of the matter is that the struggle as we know it has come full
circle. For those in proximity to power and resources it may well be over.

For those who remain conscious of its founding principles, its
people-centred pedagogy, the struggle is, unfortunately not over.

Even if it were to be willed to end in such an undemocratic fashion, there
will be others who will remember its genesis and fulfill its aspirations.

And to paraphrase Marley from the same song, “in this great future, you can’t
forget your past, so dry your tears, I say”.

l Takura Zhangazha writes in his personal capacity

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ZEC must expedite CSOs accreditation

May 19, 2013 in Opinion

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network is calling on the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) to accredit local civic society organisations to conduct
voter education, in view of the impending harmonised elections.

Sunday Opinion by ZESN

ZESN notes that the country is already in an election mode, hence the need
for ZEC to expedite the accreditation of civic society organisations that
have applied to complement the commission’s efforts in conducting
comprehensive voter education.

This call comes against a backdrop of challenges that have marred the
ongoing mobile voter registration exercise where hundreds of people have
been turned away for various reasons, including lack of proper
identification and proper proof of residence.

In addition, long queues have been observed at most registration centres and
this has been attributed to lack of adequate human and financial resources.
This therefore buttresses the need for ZEC to accredit forthwith civic
society organisations who are by law prohibited to conduct voter education
unless authorised by the commission. We also call upon ZEC to consider
extension of the mobile voter registration exercise.

Since the enactment of Electoral Amendment Act (2012), Zesn has observed
many organisations conducting civic education and not voter education, which
is more specific to elections.

The Building Resources in Democracy, Governance and Elections (Bridge)
handbook defines voter education, also known as electoral education, as
programmes aimed at people of the voting age and over and addresses voters’
motivation and preparedness to participate fully in elections.

The manual further explains that voter education is basically concerned with
giving the types of electoral systems and electoral process and concepts
such as basic human rights and voting rights, the role, responsibilities and
rights of voters, the relationship between elections and democracy,
conditions necessary for democratic elections, secrecy of the ballot, why
each vote is important and its impact on public accountability and how votes
translate into seats.

Civic education includes both school and community-based education and deals
with all aspects of human rights, active citizenship, systems of governance
and elections. Voter information or awareness (more accurately referred to
as voter awareness or information programs), happens just before an
electoral event — usually they are one-off events and dwell on how to, where
to and when to vote.

They aim to provide basic information enabling qualified citizens to vote,
including the date, time, and place of voting; the type of election;
identification necessary to establish eligibility; registration requirements
and mechanisms for voting.

In Zimbabwe, the Electoral Amendment Act 2012 defines voter education as,
“any course or programme of instruction on electoral law and procedure aimed
at voters generally and not offered as part of a course in a law or civic or
any other subjects for students at an educational institution”.

The continued arrest and criminalisation of civic society organisations for
allegedly conducting voter education without seeking permission from ZEC is
worrying and testimony to the need for ZEC to accredit CSOs.

Given the vagueness in the definition provided in the Electoral Act, we
therefore call upon the ZEC and other policymakers to clarify the
distinction between voter information, voter education and civic education.
Certainly, each falls along a continuum of educational activities in support
of elections and democracy and is mutually reinforcing. We urge the
reviewing of the Act to mandate CSOs and any interested players and talk
about voter education and civic education while ZEC focuses on providing
voter information.

It is therefore imperative that ZEC seriously considers accreditation of
civic society organisations in order to ensure that the voter education is

Zesn also makes reference to the constitutional referendum which had a total
of 56 627 votes being rejected given that the ballot paper was very simple
with either “Yes or No”; this again points to the need to scale up early
voter education programmes. Furthermore, Zesn believes that a comprehensive
voter education exercise will also enable the electorate to make informed
decisions and may reduce voter apathy, thus we consider it as one of the
fundamental conditions for the conduct of credible elections.

We reiterate our calls for early accreditation of observers to enable them
to observe all the electoral processes including voter registration. In
addition, we continue to call for the adequate resourcing of ZEC to enable
them to effectively carry out their mandate.

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Registrar-General a hindrance to credible poll

May 19, 2013 in Editorial

Last week MDC-T MP Settlement Chikwinya questioned Registrar-General Tobaiwa
Mudede’s continuing role in the conduct of elections.

The Standard Editorial

Chikwinya, contributing to a debate on the voter registration exercise,
revealed that Mudede, who is 67 years old and now past retirement age, was a
hindrance to the holding of free and fair elections.

The debate is laudable but unfortunately comes a tad too late, as the
country draws close to an election.

It is our considered belief that such a move to challenge Mudede’s continued
mandate should have been raised much earlier and pursued with vigour
throughout the tenure of the GNU.

Mudede is a denizen of Zimbabwe’s dark political past. He has been a key,
yet controversial figure in the conduct of elections in this country for
over two decades.

Democratic forces and the MDC-T largely regard Mudede as Zanu PF’s willing
instrument of election rigging.

Successive legislative changes have sought to subtract Mudede’s role during
elections but the bureaucrat has held firm and continues to exert undue
influence in key processes.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), which is the constitutional body
entrusted with running elections in this country, has continually told the
nation that the Registrar General now works under its direction.
Mudede does not however appear to work under the mandate of the electoral
The execution of the voter registration exercise is worrying ZEC chairperson
Justice Rita Makarau who spoke out against the chaos last week.
She is disheartened, so are thousands of voters who are disgusted by Mudede’s
insistence that voters should produce affidavits to register.
Justice Makarau’s concern is ample evidence that Mudede worships a different
god from his supposed bosses at Zec. He is more than just a civil servant
tasked with issuing registration and travel documents.
Principals to the GNU should be warned that failure to deal with Mudede’s
issue is the surest way to discredit the next election. This country
deserves better.

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