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I am tired, Mugabe says to Enos Nkala

Sunday, 20 May 2012 13:13


BULAWAYO — President Robert Mugabe wants to retire but he fears that if he
leaves now, Zanu-PF will disintegrate and the country degenerate into a
possible civil war, former confidant and comrade-in-arms, Enos Nkala
yesterday said. Nkala, a Zanu PF founding member and former Defence, Finance
and Home Affairs minister, met Mugabe behind closed doors at Joshua Mqabuko
Nkomo Airport in Bulawayo on Friday evening.

In an interview with The Standard at his home in Woodville suburb yesterday,
the former nationalist divulged the details of their surprise meeting,
saying the one hour-long conversation with Mugabe touched mainly on Zanu-PF
succession politics, the inclusive government and the future of the country.

Nkala said Mugabe told him he wanted to retire but was too scared that
Zanu-PF would collapse.

“From what we discussed, Mugabe said he is tired and wants to retire but he
cannot do so now because Zanu-PF will die,” he said. “He cannot leave when
the party is in such a state. What is holding him now is managing and
containing Zanu-PF to prevent it from disintegrating.”

Nkala said Mugabe was managing the party politics to ensure that there was
no chaos in the country, while other people close to him were pressuring him
to continue leading despite his desire to rest.

“My own reading is that if he had his own way, he could have quit and taken
a rest but circumstances around him and implications of what might happen
are holding him,” he said. “My own reading is that the President is not his
own man.”

However, Nkala refused to name the people close to Mugabe who were urging
him not to quit.

He however disclosed that Mugabe confided in  him that he was yet to find a
successor within Zanu PF, who could lead the party and keep the country

“He said he has not yet found a successor with  qualities to hold the party
and the country together. Politics is a dangerous game. It is not a sport
where the leadership of a party should just exchange hands without proper
grooming and handling,” said Nkala.

Mugabe, according to Nkala, said factionalism was eating away at the party
and, “if not handled properly,” could explode into a civil war.

“Mugabe did refer to factions and that they are eating away the party. He
said Zanu PF is no longer united,” Nkala said. “From our discussion, this
issue (succession) is very dicey. This will produce an ugly situation in the
end, if not managed properly. It is not a good thing. It can produce chaos,
even a civil war and we do not want that.”

Nkala said although names of possible successors came up during the
discussion, he would not mention them. “The basic thing is that he is
looking for, or grooming someone who can handle Zanu PF and contain enemies
associated with these factions for the sake of the party and the country,”
he said.

Asked to comment on whether he thought Mugabe should retire, Nkala said
after the meeting, he felt for “the sake of peace” that Mugabe should not go
because “Zimbabwe came out of a conflict and not democracy and this gives a
picture of what to expect if he goes now before the Zanu PF internal
politics are managed properly.”

He said although he had been calling for Mugabe to retire, after the
meeting, he was no longer sure whether he held the same views.

“We don’t want any civil war or chaos in this country,” Nkala said. “We want
peace. It’s easy for people to say Mugabe must go, Mugabe must go, but most
of them do not know that he is the glue that has been holding this country

He said Mugabe should stay and manage the situation, arguing that people
should not forget that the same people in the army, civil service, police
and intelligence were the ones who fought the liberation war, hence they
could not be divorced from the politics of the country.  “You need a good
manager like Mugabe to keep these stakeholders together for the sake of the
country,” said Nkala. “Small issues have sparked chaos in other countries
and you cannot tell me that you think life will go on as usual if Mugabe
dies today and someone takes over without managing such stakeholders.”

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Mtukudzi hits out at ‘false prophets’

Sunday, 20 May 2012 13:03


MUSIC superstar, Oliver Mtukudzi, has scoffed at reports of poor health,
warning that people should be wary of false prophets. One of the rising
self-proclaimed Pentecostal “prophets”, Ambassador Ishmael (real name
Ishmael Mangwanya), recently “prophesied” during an inter-denominational
gathering in Harare that Mtukudzi was in a health scare and instructed his
congregation to pray for the artist.

However, in a wide-ranging interview at Pakare Paye Arts Centre in Norton on
Thursday, Tuku, as the music icon is popularly known by fans, said he was
healthy and was hearing about the prophet and his prophecy for the first

“Maybe the time for false prophets has come,” he said.

Zimbabwe is in the grip of a religious frenzy that has seen people claiming
to be prophets, predicting the fates of important people across Zimbabwe and
the continent.

Popular Nigerian preacher, TB Joshua, has popularised the trend locally
after purportedly making several predictions that are said to have come to

He is credited with predicting on February 8 this year the death of a
southern African president within 60 days. Malawian President Bingu wa
Mutharika subsequently died within the named time.

This has driven thousands of people in Zimbabwe to believe there are people
among them, who have been anointed by God to foresee the future.

Local “prophets” are mainly self-proclaimed and are traditionally associated
with Apostolics, a pseudo-Christian religion that mixes Biblical teachings
with African spirituality. Apostolics usually speak in tongues when they
claim to be possessed by the Holy Spirit. Most of them have however, turned
out to be fake, capitalising on the weak emotions of a people going through
a troubled time.

TB Joshua has torn apart the former ruling Zanu PF, who fear his proposed
visit to Zimbabwe for the National Day of Prayer later this month may
further divide the heavily splintered party and anoint former opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai and leader of the mainstream MDCto take over as
president of Zimbabwe.

Mtukudzi, a devoted member of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe said if the
“prophet” was genuine, he should have approached him and not preach to the
whole nation.
“Who knows when I am sick?” he quipped.  “Is it the prophet or me?  Do I
look like I am sick? Maybe he meant another Mtukudzi.”

But a spokesperson for Ambassador Ishmael, Mavhima Mupapuri yesterday said
Mtukudzi’s feelings could not determine whether the prophecy was false or
He said although prophecy was not a word of knowledge, it was necessary to
foretell the future.

“The role of prophecy is for people to get help from God. If he (Mtukudzi)
chooses to listen he will be helped,” said Mupapuri.

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Age-defying Mugabe mesmerises Gwanda

Sunday, 20 May 2012 13:01

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe on Friday stood for more than an hour, as he
addressed a meeting and did not show any signs of fatigue or weariness. As
if to make the feat more impressive, the 88-year-old veteran leader was
offered a podium, but he politely turned it down and instead chose to
address people without the aid of anything to lean on.

Mugabe was speaking at the launch of the Gwanda Community Share Ownership
Trust Scheme, in Colleen Bawn, 30 kilometres south of the Matabeleland South

The crowd that had gathered was left in awe that Mugabe literally stood on
one spot, without fidgeting or seeking support, and looked comfortable as he

Mugabe has had to fight mounting rumours and speculation about his health,
with reports that he almost fell at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
(ZITF) in Bulawayo two weeks ago.

The president has insisted he wants elections this year, but questions have
been raised if he would be able to get onto the gruelling campaign trail.

As if to prove that he has what it takes, Mugabe has taken a somewhat
punishing schedule, which would make even younger people cringe at the mere
thought of it.
On Wednesday, Mugabe chaired what has been described as an explosive
politburo meeting that lasted more than seven hours.

On Friday he was in Bulawayo where he presided over the donation of blankets
and other equipment to Mpilo Hospital.

From there he was off to Gwanda, where he actively participated at the share
ownership scheme. He also donated 250 computers to 25 schools in the

Later that evening, the seemingly never tiring Mugabe had a 45-minute
meeting with former Defence minister, Enos Nkala before flying back to the
capital at about 7pm.

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Civic groups threaten to reject constitution

Sunday, 20 May 2012 13:00

BULAWAYO — Civic groups in Matabeleland region have vowed to campaign for a
NO vote during the constitutional referendum if the draft does not include
devolution. Devolution of power was one of the issues that dominated debate
during outreach meetings by Copac.

Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo last week ruled out devolution in the new
constitution setting the stage for confrontation with civic groups and other
political parties.

Zapu and the Welshman Ncube-led MDC have said they would force for a Sadc
Extra Ordinary Summit if Zanu PF blocked “devolution of power” in the new
draft constitution.

A report of the co-chairpersons of the select committee meeting held on May
14  reveals that “it was agreed that the provincial governors would be
elected by an electoral college consisting of MPs and chairpersons of the
Rural District Councils (RDC’s) in the respective provinces.”

The President would then officially appoint the governor.

Bulawayo Agenda executive director Thabani Nyoni said they were campaigning
for the direct election of governors by constituencies and members of the
provincial assembly that would head the provinces to ensure clear separation
of powers between central and provincial government.

“Our position is very clear that we will campaign for a NO vote if there is
no devolution or it comes as decentralisation,” said Nyoni. “People in the
outreach said they wanted directly elected governors and directly elected
members of the provincial assembly for clear separation of powers between
the central provincial and local government.”

Effie Ncube, the director of the Matabeleland Constitutional Reform Agenda
said his organisation would not support a constitution that furthered the
marginalisation of other provinces.

“Devolution must be there because it is democracy, because it is what the
people of Zimbabwe want, because it is what the people of Zimbabwe fought
for,” said Ncube. “People of Zimbabwe wanted to rule themselves, wanted
democracy and meaningful participation.”

Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association  coordinator Rodrick Fayayo said
they were campaigning for a devolved state with directly elected governors
for purposes of accountability.

“Copac should respect the people’s wishes and not negotiate anything,” said

Early this year, Mugabe rejected “devolution of power” saying Zimbabwe was
too small for that and it would also divide Zimbabweans.

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Jabulani Sibanda under fire from villagers

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:58

WAR veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda has come under fire from villagers in
Mashonaland West who accuse him of harassment as he continues his whirlwind
tour of the province ahead of elections this year or in 2013. Sibanda has
been in the province since last week where he addressed rallies and
allegedly forced schools to close early so that he could “instruct”
teachers, chiefs and headmen on what they needed to do to ensure a Zanu-PF

In Hurungwe, Zvimba and Makonde districts, Sibanda allegedly threatened
villagers that they would be evicted from the areas if they sup-ported MDC.

A villager who attended one of the meetings said traditional leaders were
directed to teach their subjects to vote “wisely” or risk the unknown.

“Sibanda is telling supporters that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will
never rule Zimbabwe even if he wins the next elections,” he said.

A businessman who owns a shop at Mudzimu business centre told The Standard
he was force-marched to attend one of the meetings.

“No one is allowed to miss his meetings, even those aged 100 years have to
attend,” said the businessman.

At Mudzimu business centre, Sibanda gave MDC-T supporters a one-week
ultimatum to surrender their party’s membership cards or risk being chased
from the area.

In Magunje, Sibanda met all Hurungwe chiefs and headmen and allegedly told
them to report MDC activists to war veterans in the area.

“We were told that we will go hungry if MDC-T wins as a new government will
stop all the allowances we are getting,” said a headmen who requested

He said the traditional leaders were then instructed to compile lists of all
youths aged between 12 and 25 years and hand them over to their respective
DCC chairmen.

A teacher in the area said Sibanda’s rallies were affecting school

War veterans invited Sibanda

Mashonaland West Zanu PF chairman John Mafa confirmed Sibanda was
campaigning for Mugabe, but said the party was not involved as war veterans
operated independently.
Mafa said Sibanda was not invited by the party but by war veterans in the

Sibanda yesterday said he was not yet  campaigning for Mugabe as he was just
meeting people in  different provinces.

“This programme has been going on for the last two years. We have been to
Manicaland and Masvingo meeting parents in order to enlighten them of their
role in the party,” he said.

Last year, Sibanda was in Masvingo for several months where he was
eventually allegedly kicked out by the provincial leadership who accused him
of undermining the party in the province because of his unorthodox campaign

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Mujuru faction loses ground in Masvingo

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:52

By Tatenda Chitagu
MASVINGO — A decision by Zanu PF political commissar, Webster Shamu, to
endorse results of the chaotic district coordinating committee (DCC)
elections in Masvingo province, gave an upper hand to Defence minister,
Emmerson Mnangagwa’s faction, accused of manipulating the voting process
against a rival camp, headed by Vice- President Joice Mujuru. The
endorsement was reached at a meeting held at Chiefs Hall in Mucheke suburb
last week.

In the polls, the Mujuru faction — led by former Masvingo governor, Dzikamai
Mavhaire — continued to lose ground to the  Mnangagwa camp, under the
stewardship of Higher and Tertiary Education minister, Stan Mudenge.

The Mnangagwa camp has so far grabbed four seats out of Masvingo’s seven

In a press statement issued last week, Shamu, who is the Minister of Media,
Information and Publicity said Zanu PF had only nullified the Chiredzi DCC
polls. This was despite swirling complaints from the Mujuru faction that
polls in most districts were not free and fair.

“The Chiredzi results were nullified due to gross irregularities. The
province was asked to organise a re-run,” reads the press statement.

In Chiredzi, the polls were aborted following disagreements over the
composition of the voters’ roll.

Shamu said the meeting unanimously agreed and accepted the results of DCC
elections in Chivi, Bikita and Mwenezi districts.

He also called for the completion of other polls in Gutu and Bikita, which
were abandoned.

The minister ordered elections in Masvingo South, which were aborted after
rival Zanu PF factions clashed at Shumba Primary School. Police had to fire
shots to disperse supporters of the rival factions, who pelted the school
windows with stones.

For the Masvingo urban polls which were also marred by violence, Shamu ruled
out a re-run, insisting he would  dispatch a team to investigate the
allegations of candidate imposition and “make recommendations accordingly”.

Mnangagwa and Mujuru are in a bitter struggle to strategically position
themselves to succeed President Robert Mugabe in the event that he steps

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Nust to reopen medical school

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:49


THE National University of Science and Technology (Nust), has been given the
go-ahead to resume its medical school studies, ending almost a decade of an
acrimonious battle with the Zimbabwe Medical Council (ZMC). Since 2004, when
it was inaugurated, the medical school has been operating on stop-start
basis, but there is optimism that this time it will be sustainable.

“We have advertised for places and we are going ahead,” an elated Felix
Moyo, director of marketing and publicity at the university, said. “All I
can say is that whatever requirements were requested of us, we have met.”

Moyo said the main concern that had been raised was that of staffing, but
this had since been addressed.

He said the institution received communication a fortnight ago that it could
go ahead with recruitment for the medical degree.

For years now, Nust has been battling the ZMC, which was refusing to
recognise the degree being awarded by the university, torching a political
storm in Matabeleland.

The new development will come as a relief to scores of students, many of
whom had been forced to abandon their studies, while others were compelled
to seek further studies in Malawi and Zambia. A number of Zimbabwean
students have in the past few years been stranded in the two countries and
have relied on the benevolence of well-wishers.

Washington Mbizvo, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Higher and
Tertiary Eduaction, said the issue was now behind them and they had put in
place all the necessary equipment.

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War veterans fight over Njelele shrine

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:45

BULAWAYO — Zipra ex-combatants said they would seek a court order to bar the
Zanla war veterans from conducting cleansing ceremonies at Njelele shrine in
Matobo, Matabeleland South. Zipra Veterans Trust spokesperson, Baster
Magwizi, last week accused Zanla veterans of failing to respect the culture
and values of the people of Matabeleland by sneaking into the shrine.

“We cannot allow them to continue with their untraditional acts. They are
acting unZimbabwean, acting like aliens with an ulterior motive of not only
to anger people of Matabeleland, but to also trample on their culture,
traditional systems and values,” said Magwizi.

“Our Zipra comrades are with the people and will always stand ready to
defend the people. We are defending the people from Zanla comrades by
seeking a restraining order to bar them from ever entering the Njelele

Zipra said it had already approached a human rights organisation to seek a
High Court order barring Zanla ex-combatants from “deliberately undermining
the Ndebele traditional customs, values and culture” through their visits to

Matshobana Ncube, a human rights lawyer with Abammeli BamaLungelo Abantu
Network, confirmed he had been approached, adding that an urgent court
application would be filed soon.

Last year, Zipra stopped a Zanla project to exhume skeletons in Chibondo at
Mt Darwin.

Zanla war veterans have been accused of visiting Njelele shrine to bath
naked in nearby rivers, as part of their cleansing ceremonies.

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Mash Central factionalism sucks in Mugabe

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:39

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been dragged into the fight for the control of
Mashonaland Central province with information emerging that the two warring
Zanu PF factions are pampering him with gifts, as they compete to outdo each
other in order to win his backing.

Sources told The Standard that the battle for power had turned nasty, with
members of a faction led by Transport, Communication and Infrastructural
Development minister, Nicholas Goche and its rivals loyal to vice- President
Joice Mujuru, digging up dirt against each other.

The sources said Goche, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment minister, Saviour Kasukuwere and provincial chairman, Dickson
Mafiosi, a week ago went to Mugabe behind the back of Mujuru, provincial
governor Martin Dinha, politburo members Lazarus Dokora and Alice Chimbudzi,
as well as other central committee members.

They handed over a state-of-the-art planter and other farming equipment
sourced from Brazil by the province as a belated 88th birthday gift.

An official who was present during the handover, which took place after
hours at the State House, said Mugabe was very excited to receive the gifts
and was all praises for Goche, Kasukuwere, Mafiosi and others present. “It
became apparent that the donation was meant to curry favours because soon
after the handover, they requested for a meeting with the President, where
the likes of Mujuru and Dinha were attacked left, right and centre,” said
the official.

He said Mugabe was told that Dinha, as provincial governor was allegedly
selling land and was supported MDC-T. Mujuru was also attacked for allegedly
causing divisions during the District Coordinating Committee elections. “It
was suggested that Mafiosi, as the provincial chairman, should replace Dinha
as the governor,” said the official.

Provincial youth chairman, Godfrey Tsenengamu, was surprised that such a
presentation of gifts had been done without his knowledge.

“I am not sure that something like that happened,” he said. “I should have
been informed because the 21st February Movement is a youth’s event.”

Tsenengamu said he was the one who in February this year pledged, on behalf
of the youths, to buy Mugabe a planter as a birthday present. But Mafiosi
confirmed that he, together with Goche, Kasukuwere and a few others indeed
presented a six-liner planter and other farming equipment to Mugabe.

He said Mujuru was aware of the presentation, but could not come, as she was
committed elsewhere. “We could not invite everyone because it was not a
rally. As the chairman, I represent the whole provincial leadership,” said

He also denied that he was interested in toppling Dinha as governor. “The
discretion and criteria of appointing a governor rests in the President,”
said Mafiosi. “By handing him over a gift, this does not influence one to be
a governor.”

He said Zanu PF in Mashonaland Central was united and had a “solid chain of
command” with the provincial structures reporting to Goche, who in turn
takes up issues raised to the politburo and presidium.

Goche allies attack Mujuru, Dinha at rally

Last week on Saturday, a meeting was held at Nzvimbo growth point, where
Dinha and Mujuru were again allegedly lambasted for “thinking” they were
closer to Mugabe.
The sources said it was interesting that Defence minister, Emmerson
Mnangagwa was also blasted.

In turn, Mujuru allegedly attacked Goche, Kasukuwere and Mafiosi during a
tense politburo meeting last Wednesday, where she accused the three of
undermining her.

The politburo source said Mujuru was not happy her candidates lost in Mt
Darwin, Bindura and Mazowe, although her loyalists retained Shamva, Mbire
and Muzarabani, putting the two factions at par ahead of provincial

a source close to the Goche camp, accused Mujuru of sponsoring former Guruve
North legislator, David Butau, to challenge Mafiosi as provincial chairman.

Mafiosi’s Mt Darwin North parliamentary seat is also under threat from a ZRP
superintendent identified only as Muponora, but the legislator declared he
was ready for the challenge.

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Dudzai selected for leadership programme

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:37

A 25-year-old HIV and Aids activist, Dudzai “Bonnie” Mureyi, has been chosen
among 24 other women to participate in this year’s edition of the Moremi
Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa (MILEAD) Fellows Programme.
Living with albinism has not deterred Mureyi, a qualified pharmacist, from
exploiting her talents both academically and socially.

Dudzai, a former University of Zimbabwe student, participated in the
inaugural Imagine Africa reality show aimed at raising awareness of HIV and
Aids in 2008.

The MILEAD programme is an initiative for the long-term leadership
development and promotion of Africa’s most promising young women leaders.

Fellows go through a year-long training and mentoring programme, designed to
build skills, strengthen networks, and support women’s leadership on
critical issues.

“She firmly believes that the best kind of empowerment that an African girl
can ever receive is inspiration and a lesson on how to believe in her own
abilities,” reads part of Dudzai’s profile on the Moremi Initiative website.

Dudzai’s amazing life story was profiled in The Standard two years ago and
bagged a gender-sensitive reporting award for the newspaper.

Meanwhile, a Hatcliffe Extension woman has been nominated for two awards in
the inaugural Iconic Women Awards sponsored by Professional Women, Executive
Women and Business Women’s Forum (Proweb).

Mary Zingwena (59), suffered a stroke in 2003 but still opened a crèche for
Hatcliffe Extension children who were spending their days playing in the
neighbourhood while their peers from other areas attended lessons at
day-care centres.

Her crèche was demolished at the height of the Operation Murambatsvina in
2005 but she revived it afterwards, investing her monthly US$50 pension most
of the times.

Zingwena was the only nominee for the Living Beyond Misfortune Category and
was also nominated for the Social Work category together with president of
the Association for Women’s Grassroots Clubs, Betty Mutero.

Among the nominees for other categories are well-known women including Hope
Sadza, Fay Chung, Sarah Kachingwe, Angeline Kamba, Collette Mutangadura,
Susan Chenjerai, Rebecca Chisamba, Edna Machirori and Ruth Mpisaunga.

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DCC chaos a threat to Zanu PF election drive

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:33

ZANU PF’s drive for an election this year seems to be faltering, as the
party squabbles over District Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections.

President Robert Mugabe had declared that he would announce the way forward
on elections at the end of May, but with 10 days to go before the end of the
month, such an announcement is yet to come.

Instead of focusing on elections, the party is tearing its collective hairs
apart trying to deal with the divisive DCC elections.

DCC elections were supposed to be the democratising factor within Zanu PF,
but as Mugabe bemoaned, they have been characterised by vote buying,
violence and the imposition of candidates.

Webster Shamu, the party’s commissar, has been given yet another chance to
try and sort out the mess within the party, but there is pessimism that the
results would be any different.

Disturbances have rocked Manicaland and Masvingo, while Bulawayo and
Matabeleland North do not seem to find consensus on who should lead the
party in those areas.

Midlands has also not been spared, while question marks still hang over a
number of other districts and provinces.

A Zanu PF aligned political analyst, Gabriel Chaibva reckons the DCC
problems are internal and would not affect the party’s plan to have
elections this year.

“That is an internal democratic process of the party; it is different from
the national processes,” he said. “The party can conduct elections in all
the DCCs throughout the country in two days and we can still go ahead with

Chaibva said the DCC elections were a sign of the party’s democratic
vibrancy and should not be misconstrued.

But Dumisani Nkomo, a political analyst, said it would be suicidal for Zanu
PF to go ahead with elections when its house was not in order.

“If they insist on going for elections then we will witness apathy and in
some cases the party may field multiple candidates and that will be suicidal
for them,” he said.

In 2008, Zanu PF went for elections as a divided house and in some cases
they fielded more than one candidate per constituency.

It is reported that in some cases the candidates would persuade the
electorate to vote for Zanu PF legislators and councillors, but they could
vote for whoever they wanted at presidential level.

This saw the party, for the first time since independence, losing its
majority in parliament, while Mugabe lost a first round vote to MDC-T leader
Morgan Tsvangirai.

Nkomo said if Zanu PF insisted on going for elections, there was a risk that
some scorned party members would undermine Mugabe and in so doing “torpedo
has election drive”.

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‘Devolution — Zanu PF fears crumbling’

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:26

ZANU PF would crumble if devolution is adopted in the new constitution
because the party has been diverting national resources from all regions to
sustain its continued stay in power, political analysts have pointed out.
The party has rejected devolution although the Constitution Select Committee
(Copac), a body tasked with crafting the new constitution, noted that most
of the country’s 10 provinces wanted devolution at varying degrees as the
answer to unequal development.

Zanu PF is prepared to subvert the will of the people and has already
declared that the system would not be allowed, describing it as divisive.

But political analyst, Alex Magaisa, said devolution was not divisive, as it
simply gave specific powers and functions to the provinces while retaining
the supremacy of the national government.

Central government would be entitled to withdraw these powers if it became
necessary and would keep control in defence, foreign affairs, national
economic policy and taxation.
But Zanu PF is not content with diluted power.

The party’s spin doctors, President Robert Mugabe’s spokesperson, George
Charamba, Tafataona Mahoso and Jonathan Moyo, have written passionately
against devolution, claiming provinces that supported the system wanted to

Bulawayo Agenda executive director, Thabani Nyoni, said Zanu PF was against
devolution because it did not guarantee the political and business interests
of the party’s elite, including securocrats.

He said the current centralised system allowed the Zanu PF political elite
to enter corrupt deals that benefit individuals without any form of

“Devolution will open and democratise the public and political space and
this threatens the business interests of Zanu PF and its military cabal,”
said Nyoni.

“Without direct access to national resources, with too many checks and
balances, Zanu PF cannot survive another day.”

The party has been accused of channelling proceeds of diamonds mined in
Marange district in Manicaland, to fund its day-to-day operations and
election campaign.

Finance minister, Tendai Biti, has complained that the proceeds of diamonds
were not flowing into the Treasury.

“As Ministry of Finance, we fear that there might be a parallel government
in respect of where the revenue is going and not coming to Treasury. This
economy needs every resource it can get including diamond revenue,” said
Biti, who is the MDC-T secretary general.

MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, said devolution was adopted by both
Copac’s select and management committees, with Zanu PF represented by
ministers, Nicholas Goche and Patrick Chinamasa. He said Zanu PF made a
somersault on devolution after Moyo, who has labeled Copac a mafia, was
conscripted into the Zanu PF advisory team to the constitution-making body.

“Zanu PF realised that it was not ready for election after their chaotic DCC
(district coordinating committee elections), so they conscripted Moyo to put
spanners into the whole process,” said Mwonzora.

“They want to buy time. If you hear them talk of elections, it is just empty
political bravado.”

Moyo could not be reached for comment.

Zanu Pf not robbing nation of national resources: Gumbo

Zanu PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo, who also ruled out devolution, denied
that national resources were being channelled towards propping Zanu PF’s
waning financial fortunes.
“We have said Zimbabwe is a unitary state. How does devolution fit in? We
can talk of decentralisation and not devolution,” said Gumbo.

He added that Zanu PF would do what the “masses” want, but would not say why
the party was against devolution, a concept voted for by most provinces.

Devolution forces Zanu PF to address Gukurahundi atrocities: Magaisa

Magaisa believes devolution would give people from Matabeleland and Midlands
province, where an estimated 20 000 civilians were killed during the
Gukurahundi massacre, the power to demand justice. Some of the accused are
serving security chiefs and senior Zanu PF officials.

“I think there is paranoia over the grievances in Matabeleland arising from
the atrocities of the 1980s,” said the commentator.

“The solution is not to ignore those grievances but to address them.”

Magaisa added that Zanu PF had never outgrown its attachment to the
one-party-state government since independence.

“That mentality lingers on, more than 20 years after the fall of the Berlin
Wall and the break-up of the Soviet Union, the bastions of communism and one
party government,” said Magaisa.

“Zanu PF is for centralisation of power — a strong centre, represented by a
strong and all-powerful Executive President. Devolution represents an
assault on this way of thinking.”

Analysts said devolution enhances the democratic system, as more people
participate in decision-making, addresses tribalism, as well as nepotism,
that influence resource allocation.

“Devolution will enable the provinces to manage local affairs more
efficiently and fairly. The idea is that central government tends to
concentrate on the centre, not paying due attention to provinces on the
periphery,” said Magaisa.

People in Matabeleland region have complained about the delay in building
the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP), accusing the government of
not giving priority to a project that would address the region’s perennial
water problems.

In Manicaland, people have also voiced concern about little development in
the area, although diamonds worth billions of dollars benefit other
provinces. Already, a diamond polishing and cutting college has been set up
in Mashonaland West province, Mugabe’s home area.

It is feared that the mining firms would only leave empty pits, polluted
rivers and poverty-stricken villagers displaced from their ancestral land.

In Africa, devolution is being practiced in countries such as Kenya, Nigeria
and South Africa.

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Local authorities fail to pay pensioners

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:14

AFTER almost 30 years working for the Harare municipality, Dominic Badze
thought it was time to retire and live on his pension.

Half a year later, he is yet to receive his pension, with his shoes worn out
from walking to the Local Authority Pension Fund (LAPF) offices in the hope
that he could persuade them to expedite his pay out.

“This is very cruel,” he said desolately. “They are killing us.”

Badze said some local authorities were offering their employees loans, which
would be paid once their pensions were paid back, which no one knows when it
would be.

He said he had been informed by people at the fund that pension pay outs
were behind by three months, but Badze fears it could be worse than that.

“As it is, I am from the doctor as I now have (high) blood pressure from
stress, because after years of receiving a salary, all of a sudden I have no
income and I am not receiving my pension,” he said.

The former council employee said what made the matter worse was that he had
been loyal to the council, while others left for greener pastures during the
lean years of the last decade.

Badze’s case could only be a tip of the iceberg, as thousands of pensioners
have been waiting in vain for years for their pensions.

Some people are reported to have gone into destitution while others
committed suicide as they could not fathom living without an income,
particularly when they had been paying contributions.

Local authorities too poor to remit pensions— Moyo

Bulawayo mayor, Thaba Moyo (pictured), who is the first vice-president of
the Urban Councils Authority of Zimbabwe, conceded that councils were
failing to remit money to the pension fund, but blamed it on the state of
the economy.

“The economic problems the country is facing are the same ones that we face,
the truth is we do not have money,” he said.

Moyo said despite indications on payslips indicating that money was being
collected from employees “these were just on paper, they were for the

He said it was impossible for local authorities to remit money to the
pension fund, as they themselves did not have money and had not taken a
deliberate position not to pay.

Moyo said some local authorities, like the Bulawayo City Council, had taken
a decision to extend by six months the contracts of employees who would have
retired so that when they finally left work their pensions would have been

LAPF blames local authorities for failing to remit contributions

LAPF boss, Charles Mandizvidza said the problem was that a number of
authorities were not remitting the pensions they would have collected from
their staff. This made it difficult for them to pay out pensions, he

“The main problem is the remittance of contributions by subscriber
authorities,” he said, before asking for questions in writing.

He said the payment of monthly pensions was three months behind schedule
owing to a “liquidity squeeze emanating from financial incapacity to remit
monthly contributions by subscribing member local authorities”.

Mandizvidza said he was not in a position to name the defaulting local
authorities, adding that a majority of them were in arrears.

He said the fund had begun “aggressive and active engagement” with local
authorities to clear the arrears.

Contacted for comment, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Paurina
Mpariwa, asked for questions in writing.

She had not responded to the questions at the time of going to print.

Former council workers have raised their ire at the LAPF, saying it had a
number of investments and these could be used to pay out their pensions in
the event that local authorities delayed in remitting funds.

LAPF owns a number of upmarket commercial properties throughout the country,
like Montagu Centre, Liquenda House, Marimba Shopping Centre, LAPF House and
LAPF Centre in Harare.

It also owns Jameson Hotel in the capital and has a joint ownership of the
Kadoma Ranch Motel. It also owns LAPF House in Bulawayo.

It has a number of interests in the retail sector throughout the country.

The fund says it has 30 000 pensioners and contributor members, while its
website says it had an asset base of about US$91,5 million at the end of
December 2009.

“Surely, which means they can afford to pay, we are suffering while they are
using our money to invest yet we do not benefit,” a pensioner said on
condition of anonymity.
He said he was struggling to pay utility bills, school fees and other
expenses and this was making life difficult for him.

“Local authorities and LAPF are not being fair to us,” he complained
bitterly. “They are well-paid and drive fancy cars, while we starve.”

The pensioner urged LAPF to pay like the National Social Security Authority,
which commences payment the moment someone retires. Pensioners get a minimum
of US$40 a month from NSSA.

“It is a small amount, but at least they are paying,” he said.

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Children die at Apostolic church ‘clinic’

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:08

DOMBOSHAVA — Scores of under-age children have died since last year at an
Apostolic church shrine in Domboshava, where the church has established a
make-shift “clinic” to cure various  ailments.

The sect does not allow its members to immunise their children or seek
treatment for any illness in conventional health centres.

Local village head, Maurice Muringai said he was troubled by the deaths of
children at the Marange Apostolic Church shrine, which houses scores of
people, including the sick and pregnant mothers.

The shrine has no proper ablution facilities.

“My major worry about the make-shift hospital is the death of children,”
said Muringai. “Last year we buried scores of children, I don’t have the
exact figure but after forcing them to report every death they will come
twice or thrice weekly to report the death of children. You can calculate
how many would have died by the year-end.”

He said officials from the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) once
visited the shrine and urged the leaders to divide their followers into
smaller groups arguing that the existing facility could not accommodate the
swelling number of people.

The church leaders took no heed.

“Personally, I have failed to deal with them and maybe only the government
will be able to deal with them,” said Muringai. “The sad part of this is
that they are protected by someone in authority.”

The make-shift “clinic”, surrounded by plastic shacks, is just a few metres
away from the main road linking Bindura and Harare.

When The Standard news crew arrived at the shrine, expecting mothers were
milling around while children of different ages were playing in the vicinity
of the compound.

One youth from the area, Design Masengu, said his friend died of what is
suspected to be a sexually transmitted infection at the clinic where he was
being given “holy water” and prohibited from going to a proper health

A member of the apostolic sect, who refused to identify himself, dismissed
the allegations denying that it was a shrine but “homestead of someone”
hence it was improper to ask further questions.

Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Douglas Mombeshora said his
ministry was trying to engage leaders of apostolic church sects so that
their members could seek treatment at conventional health centres.

“We have these programmes where we are actually trying to engage their
leaders,” said Mombeshora. “I actually visited them and talked to their
leaders for three hours and they allowed us to immunise children. It’s a
process and the numbers are increasing. It is a complicated issue that needs
a tactful approach.”

11 000 children die every year

A survey: Apostolic Religion, Health and Utilisation of Maternal and Child
Health Services in Zimbabwe, carried out by Unicef last year lamented the
low uptake of modern health services and poor immunisation coverage among
religious objectors such as the Johanne Marange, Madhidha and conservative
segments of Johanne Masowe.

“Religious objectors’ beliefs have had disastrous consequences for women and
children, and often resulted in avoidable deaths among these groups,” reads
the report.
According to the 2010 global systematic analysis of national causes of child
mortality report, at least 100 children are dying every day.

The report says around 10 758 newborns die each year in Zimbabwe.

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Jalopies provide answer to Domboshava transport blues

Sunday, 20 May 2012 12:00

Parked by the roadside, they look like abandoned old wrecks ready for the
scrap-yard. But as soon as they splutter and rattle into life, belching
choking clouds of smoke, passengers cram into every available space,
sometimes even the luggage roof-rack.

For residents of villages around Domboshava, a growth point about 20 km
north of Harare, these battered and ancient Peugeot sedans and pick-up
trucks, long retired from service in Harare where they are now likely to
attract unwanted police attention, are the only reliable form of transport.

While commuter omnibuses are a common sight in Domboshava, these only ply
the Harare route and do not venture into the hinterland  where the roads are
no more than dusty tracks.

But these are the only “roads” connecting the bustling  growth point to the
mines in the Pote area and to a government training centre, where most
villagers frequently travel to and from on their daily business.

“Our roads are so bad that motorists are reluctant to venture into these
areas yet people need to travel between Mverechena Shopping Centre, for
instance, and Pote while others go to the training centre on business
daily,”one resident said.

“The centre is about 2,5 km from Mverechena while Pote is about 14 km away.”

For the operators of the jalopies, the bad roads have brought mixed

Biggie Mutukula (38) said plying the Mverechena-Pote route for US$1 per
passenger on a one-way trip had for a long time sustained him and his family
of five.

A trip to the training centre costs five rand and only the small cars ply
that route because it is closer to the shopping centre.

“We have other jobs that we are qualified for but there are no employment
opportunities in this area,” said Mutukula. “Going to Harare to look for a
job is futile so pirating is the only alternative and we are fortunate to
have these old vehicles to make that possible.”

Mutukula, a qualified carpenter and thatcher, said he once led a good life
getting thatching contracts from white commercial farmers who lived in
Domboshava and surrounding farms.

He said it was difficult to do more than one trip a day and be able to
pocket US$10 as there were too many operators and few passengers.
The driver of one of the “pirate taxis” said police and council officers,
who frequently pounced on them, also made their operations difficult as they
demanded bribes which  sometimes exceeded their daily takings

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Zvishavane community at war with Chinese companies

Sunday, 20 May 2012 11:57

ZVISHAVANE — Villagers living in communities near Zvishavane town have
accused Chinese mining companies operating in their areas of destroying the
environment and encroaching into their fields that they have been ploughing
for several decades. The villagers are incensed that large swathes of land,
which encompass their fields, have been given to Chinese companies
reportedly by the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development.

Councillor Norman Sibanda from Ward 5 under Chief Mapanzure in Mhondongori
accused the Chinese nationals of starting mining operations without even
consulting or engaging the villagers or the Rural District Council (RDC).

“The ministry’s conduct is causing confusion in our communities,” said
Sibanda. “The Chinese companies are flocking to our communities and sampling
for mineral wealth without even notifying us.”

Sibanda, who represented the villagers, was speaking at the sidelines of a
Zimbabwe Environmental Law Association (Zela) meeting held in Harare last

He called on the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development to engage the RDCs
before issuing out mining licences to Chinese nationals.

“China Zimbabwe, Jiang Chi and Jing Li are some of the mining companies that
just walked into our communities, started taking samples and when they were
done with their sampling, dumped the sand in our pastures,” he said.

Sibanda said the communities mobilised themselves against Jing Li after the
company allegedly took samples from people’s fields and caused severe
environmental degradation.

“The community chased these Chinese nationals in November last year after
they dug and left deep pits in our fields, but they are back on the basis
that they have been given mining rights by the Mines ministry,” said
Sibanda, adding that the RDC was now at loggerheads with the community over
the operations of the Chinese companies.

“The community lays the blame on us yet our hands are tied,” said Sibanda.
“We cannot chase these people away because even if we try to speak, our
voice is stifled by the Mines and Minerals Act.”

Efforts to have the mining companies comment were fruitless last week.

Zela coordinator, Shamiso Mtisi said such challenges could be solved if
there was consultation between the affected people and the mining companies.

“There is need for communities to be aware of their rights and the
government should facilitate that by opening debates on the issue of
transparency by mining companies,” said Mtisi.

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Hatcliffe water situation improves

Sunday, 20 May 2012 11:54

By Shingayi Jena
WATER provision in Hatcliffe 1 and 2 gradually improved in the past two
weeks with residents managing to receive at least two days of uninterrupted
flow in their housing units. The area is one of the worst affected in the
Harare metropolitan province with dwellers waking up to queue for water at
community boreholes sunk by Unicef before dawn.

Harare Residents Trust (HRT) community coordinator for the area, Ronia
Gwaze, said the development would alleviate pressure on the boreholes and
improve sanitation at household level.

“Residents on lower ground in Hatcliffe are ecstatic following the advent of
running water in their household units in the past two weeks,” she said.

Across town in the south western suburbs of Kuwadzana Phase 3 and
Dzivarasekwa, construction of a water pump station is near completion.

The station, based in Dzivarasekwa 2, is meant to start increasing water
pressure from the two reservoirs, relieving water woes in the area by the
end of June 2012.

Pevimagi Chipindu, the managing director of  Pevimagi (Pvt) Ltd, which has
partnered the City of Harare, said the pressure booster would ensure water
supply in the targeted areas by end of the first half of the year.

“The pump station is to boost the water supply in the area and we are
already halfway through with construction,” said Chipindu.

He said the junction station in Dzivarasekwa supplied water to Kuwadzana
Phase 3 adding that the pipe in place had become too small to adequately
supply water to the growing population.

Willmore Mativenga, the HRT community coordinator, covering suburbs such as
Greendale, Mandara, Chisipite, Highlands and the Grange indicated that
scores of residents have gone for close to a decade without running water,
yet they are charged for the unused council water infrastructure.

Harare South areas of Uplands, Shortson, Hilton, Picnic Park and Cheviot
continue to receive water once every week on Wednesdays.

The water is usually dirty with residents of Uplands and Cheviot now
preferring water from boreholes.

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Dzivaresekwa residents bemoan poor service delivery

Sunday, 20 May 2012 11:48

RESIDENTS of Harare’s Dzivaresekwa Extension suburb have raised concern over
lack of proper schools, clinics and other social amenities in their area.
While some sections of the suburb were properly serviced by the Harare City
Council, there is an area where residents live in shacks and without running

Most of the residents who live in this area are victims of the government’s
infamous Operation Murambatsvina of May 2005, which affected over 2,4
million people across the country.

The residents said their area seemed not to be part of Harare as they hardly
received services such as refuse collection. Roads and other infrastructure
were not attended to.

“Our children risk their lives to get basic education as they cross a
dangerous stream to the nearest school in Dzivaresekwa 2,” said Lovemore
Matanhu. “There are no bridges at the crossing points and this greatly
compromises our children’s safety.”

The only school in the area, Yemurai Primary, they said, was not only
dilapidated but could not serve the whole community, forcing many children
to attend school elsewhere.
“Years after being displaced to this area, nothing much has been done to
improve our surroundings,” Matanhu said.

Another resident, Patricia Saidi, said the residents feared a possible
disease outbreak due to uncollected refuse.

“The City of Harare has not listed us for refuse collection and waste is
overflowing into the roads and into homes. The flies are too many and the
smell unbearable,” she said. “The area is serviced by a worn-out tarred road
and most residents use the bucket system.”

Fears of an outbreak of diseases such as typhoid, dysentery and cholera are
not without a basis.

Thousands of people in Harare, Chitungwiza, Bindura and Norton were affected
by typhoid early this year. The outbreak was attributed to vending, poor
sanitation and erratic water supplies to residents.

The water shortages forced residents to scramble for the resource from
unprotected water sources such as shallow wells.

Estimates indicate that 40% of residents in Harare and its satellite towns
do not have access to clean water.

Efforts to get a comment from Harare City Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi
last week were fruitless.

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Wildlife depletion killing tourism

“The magnificent spectacle of African wildlife is a key factor in Zimbabwe’s
tourism success,” the embassy of Zimbabwe’s Travel and Tourism website page
rightly put it.

It added: “Tourists are either moved or excited by the sight of a herd of
elephants moving with a ponderous grace to the waterhole, or rolling in
mud-baths like children at play...”

I don’t know how you will decipher this, but to me it means that the
Zimbabwean government has full knowledge of our wildlife’s worth; not just
to maintain an ecological balance, but also to bring in the much-needed
revenue from the tourism industry.
Considering this, it then boggles the mind when one considers the poor
wildlife management tactics currently being employed in Zimbabwe, resulting
in very little remaining of the wildlife that infested the country, say 20
years ago.

On their seven-day tour itinerary, Destiny Travel & Tours, a local travel
and tour company wrote: “Not guaranteed is the chance to come across
lions...fingers crossed for the best of luck in Africa.”

As disappointing as this might sound to someone planning to visit Zimbabwe
and obviously hoping to come up-close and personal with the wildlife that is
often associated with the allure of Africa, I applaud the company for their

As much as the Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority would love
for us to keep on believing that the country still has an abundance of
wildlife, the situation on the ground spells otherwise.

However, because the wildlife audits have not been carried out in a long
time, it is still difficult to say with certainty just how much wildlife is

A drive around the country, especially if it is through game park areas,
previously guaranteed one an encounter with all sorts of animals, the Big
Five included. Now, you should consider yourself very lucky to spot any one
of the magnificent creatures.
When you are lucky enough to, the experience is no longer as pleasant as the
animals are continually withdrawing as they now evidently perceive humans as

Conservancies that used to be home to a great number of our wildlife have
long been invaded by people whose motives clearly have nothing to do with
wildlife conservation. Considering that these areas are in climatic region
five where conventional agriculture cannot thrive owing to the extremely dry
weather conditions, one would wonder why the sudden interest in these areas,
if it is not for personal gain from the wildlife  resources in the areas,
and the trees.

Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force has
reiterated on the fact that the invasions have “nothing to do with
conservation” and warned that animals would continue to be killed for
personal gain.

And true to Rodrigues’ word, very few of the vast number of elephants that
were home at the now invaded Chiredzi River Conservancy are said to be left.

Hunting animals for the pot has been a practice that has been in place since
time immemorial, but this used to be conducted in a sustainable manner. The
killing of elephants and rhinoceros currently going on can only be aimed at
profiteering from their tusks and horns, at the expense of our wildlife
population, which is fast dwindling.

Now that we seem to have settled for destroying the wildlife resource, we
might also need to settle for a serious drop in the country’s appeal and
subsequently less tourists.

By Chipo Masara

For feedback, email

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Cabinet works on Zim dollar conversion rate

Sunday, 20 May 2012 11:39

CABINET is deliberating on the conversion rate to be used on the Zimbabwe
dollar bank balances prior to the use of multi-currencies in 2009, Finance
minister, Tendai Biti has said
Biti told stakeholders attending the launch of FinScope consumer survey
Zimbabwe 2011 last week that he was preparing a policy brief to Cabinet on
how the liabilities would be settled. “There is a strong section of Cabinet
which is saying, why don’t you have an upper cut-off period that will
benefit those with smaller balances, but it’s a policy issue, which the
Finance ministry cannot resolve alone,” he said.

Biti said Treasury had set aside US$7 million in the 2010 budget for
demonetisation and agreed to use a conversion rate of 35 quadrillion for

“The problem which we ran out with was that for the majority of people who
actually needed the money, they were going to get US$1,01 on their balances,
so it doesn’t make sense,” Biti said. “Then we had the problem of the rich
and the super-rich people, they were going to get significant levels of
money but we have the moral issue which we have not resolved.”

Biti said government was aware that some people had engaged in rent-seeking
activities and the challenge was how to strike a balance between the
interests of the poor and the super-rich.

The move, if implemented, would bring closure to an issue which has been
pending since the country dumped the Zimbabwean dollar three years ago.

When the country adopted the use of multi-currencies, it did not address the
Zimbabwean dollar liabilities, throwing into disarray the fate of millions.

The most affected were the pensioners or those that had recently retired,
whose hard-earned monies vanished overnight.

Analysts have said the non-resolution of the Zimbabwean dollar liabilities
has worked against boosting confidence in the banking sector.

An estimated US$2,5 billion is reportedly circulating outside the formal
system in the country’s economy. The FinScope consumer survey Zimbabwe 2011
confirms that: 31% of Zimbabweans do not save, 27% keep all their savings at
home, while 17% of individuals have savings products from a bank.

“People mainly save to be able to pay for living expenses during hard times,
as well as for education, school fees and emergencies,” reads part of the

Biti said the central bank authorities, the Finance ministry and banking
sector representatives would discuss the report and the relevant law amended
to address the findings if need be.

The survey was done by Finmark Trust in conjunction with the Zimbabwe
National Statistics Agency and ran from July to November last year.

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Govt moves another step to settle external debt

Sunday, 20 May 2012 11:43

OFFICIALS from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank will
visit the country next month for crucial talks in Zimbabwe’s first step
towards clearing its US$9,1 billion external debt.

The visit comes after two crucial meetings in Tunisia and Washington DC,
where consensus was built among all creditors and other stakeholders over
the process of resolving the country’s external debt.

Finance minister, Tendai Biti, said on Thursday the resolution of the debt
question would unlock fresh capital into the country needed to drive
economic growth.

Biti said he had briefed President Robert Mugabe on the debt question and
was given the nod to re-engage the country’s creditors.

This has resulted in negotiations with the IMF and World Bank — a framework
for accelerated engagement next month.

“If we reach this agreement, it will pave the way for donors to help us with
our US$9,1 billion, either through cancellation or forgiveness. We need to
deal with the arrears because these are a precondition for us to access the
huge amounts that are at the World Bank and IMF,” Biti said.

Zimbabwe’s arrears to the World Bank are US$507 million, US$140 million to
IMF and US$409 million to the African Development Bank (AfDB)

Biti said Zimbabwe had moved mountains for the donors to come to the
decisions reached in Tunisia and in Washington DC and Zimbabweans have to
speak with one voice for the debt question to be addressed.

Zimbabwe’s external debt had been termed unsustainable up to 2029 by a
consultant hired by government three years ago.

The principals in the inclusive government approved the Zimbabwe Accelerated
Arrears Clearance, Debt and Development Strategy (ZAADDS) in March after
months of haggling, as one faction of the inclusive government was arguing
the country was too rich to be declared a poor country.

ZAADDS uses a combination of debt relief and resources pledging to clear the
country’s debt.

The programme was then presented at a High Level Debt Forum in Tunisia in

Another meeting was held on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Spring
meetings in Washington DC last month.

IMF and the World Bank are considered the international “Commissioner of
Oaths” and once they agree on anything, Zimbabwe’s other creditors would
follow suit.

‘Clearing debt critical for rehabilitation’

Biti said once the debt question was settled, the country could tap into the
huge amounts from the Bretton Woods institutions to address the
infrastructure deficit in the country.

AfDB estimates that Zimbabwe needs US$16 billion for infrastructure

“You will not get that money from the private institutions, but from the
IFIs (international financial institutions), the IMF, World Bank and African
Development Bank, so it’s important that we deal with the issue of arrears,”
he said.

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Ministers haggle over ethanol project

Sunday, 20 May 2012 11:34

TWO Cabinet ministers have questioned the manner in which the ethanol
project in Chisumbanje in Chipinge was started in a new twist to the US$600
million venture. This comes as the promoters have been at the doors of the
ministry of Energy and Power Development in a bid to force the introduction
of mandatory blending and save the project from collapse.

There has been a slow uptake of ethanol from Chisumbanje, as fuel players
are reluctant to blend the product. As a result, production stopped after
the plant reached its 10 million litres storing capacity in December last

The ethanol project is a partnership between the Agricultural and Rural
Development Authority (Arda) and Billy Rautenbach’s Rating and Macdom
Investments in a 20-year Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) arrangement to
transform estates at Chisumbanje and Middle Sabi.

Rautenbach’s company, Green Fuel, is advocating government endorsement to
make it mandatory for fuel companies to blend petrol with ethanol, but
Finance minister, Tendai Biti, said there were outstanding issues that had
to be addressed first.

Biti said the investor had taken huge Arda estates to produce sugarcane and
the Zimbabwe Development Trust, which owned land in Naunetsi constituting 1%
of the country.

“So that estate is now about 4% of Zimbabwe. That land was not bought, it
was taken for free,” said Biti. “So the government of Zimbabwe is saying
what is the ownership structure now because you have taken all this land
which you have not paid for. you have put US$200 million or US$300 million,
but that is not equal to 4% of Zimbabwe. That must be clarified.”

Biti said the other issue relates to technology, adding that scientists must
explain whether Zimbabwean cars are ready for blending and at what

“The third one, is a ministry of Finance issue. The ethanol is being sold at
US$0,10 less than the ongoing price of hydrocarbons.

“The price of our ethanol production has got a fixed cost structure. How
then do you say it’s 10% of a volatile, flexible thing, yet we know the
prices of hydrocarbons are not determined by cost structures — they are
determined by politics. That is where we are saying, you are being greedy
and we will not accept it,” said Biti.

The project has continued to be shrouded by concerns to do with
transparency, as government has not been forthcoming in protecting the

Energy and Power Development minister, Elton Mangoma, told stakeholders at
an energy synergy meeting last week that mandatory blending would go against
market liberalisation in the petroleum industry.
Mangoma said several ministers were distancing themselves from the project’s
creation, raising fears that the process had not been done properly.

Cabinet set up an inter-ministerial taskforce headed by Agriculture
minister, Joseph Made, to spearhead an assessment of the project, but
Mangoma said that Green Fuel representatives were continually approaching
him and avoiding the taskforce.

“This thing takes time. The viable option is that Green Fuel should be given
the opportunity to export. As long I’m minister, I will protect the
interests of the majority. I don’t want to go into the pricing, the facts
are so murky, and these things must be done properly. Green Fuel has been
given an opportunity to work with government,” said Mangoma.

Mangoma said government was prepared to issue out licences for ethanol
blending, right up to E100, but this would all depend on what the market

“We have to plan and co-ordinate this (biofuel) issue. it’s a confidence
thing. To cobble the policy in an inclusive government is very difficult,”
he said, adding that Zimbabwe had no policy to make E10 mandatory.

Biofuel energy is anticipated to help cut the country’s massive fuel import
bill, provide energy supply security, promote rural development and
investment, as well as reduce poverty.

Sugar, which is a key element for ethanol production, takes 12 months to
mature in Zimbabwe while elsewhere, it can take up to 15 months or more.

‘Comprehensive policy on biofuel vital’

Ambassador of Brazil to Zimbabwe, Maro da ‘Silva, told delegates that Africa
would be one of the best places in the world in the production of biofuel
due to the abundant sunlight and a wide market.

“The use of biofuel in Zimbabwe will depend on the decisions that are made
now. Forty-five percent of our own energy matrix comes from biofuel,” she

“There is need for a comprehensive policy for ethanol production, as the
state has a pivotal role to determine what’s best for the country.”

She said up to 70 000 small farms  in Brazil were producing ethanol, with
millions of jobs created by the ethanol industry, while 8% of vehicles
produced in that country were flexi-fuel, meaning they could  use both
ethanol and non-ethanol blended fuel.

A 2009 study, titled Bio-Fueling Southern Africa, focusing on Malawi,
Mozambique and Zambia, acknowledged that the introduction of bio-fuels would
reduce dependence on petroleum products, stabilise fuel prices, and create
employment, among other benefits.

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Parastatals hit hard by capital constraints

Sunday, 20 May 2012 11:28

UNDER-CAPITALISATION and use of obsolete machinery were militating against
most parastatals’ ability to effectively discharge their mandates, a recent
audit by the Comptroller and Auditor-General has revealed.

According to the audit, carried out in December 2010, this has resulted in
repairs and maintenance constituting a higher percentage of administrative
the Comptroller and Auditor-General, Mildred Chiri, said some parastatals
still operated with poorly-constituted boards or without boards, thereby
creating a policy vacuum at the top, leaving those below to act without
proper guidance.

She underscored the fact that parastatals were established with financial
resources from taxpayers, which meant that the main stakeholders in
State-owned enterprises were members of the public, whose taxes have been
invested in the said corporations.

A case in point shows that going concern findings reveal that NetOne was
defaulting in remitting licence and spectrum fees to the Postal and
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Potraz) and the debt
had grown to US$7 213 546 by the end of the period under review.

NetOne did not remit annual licence and spectrum fees for the financial
years ended December 31 2009 and 2010.

“This matter indicates the existence of a material uncertainty, which may
cast significant doubt on the company’s ability to continue as a going
concern,” said Chiri.

She noted that the entity was failing to service its non-current
liabilities, which had become overdue, thereby increasing the company’s risk
of failing to service short-term obligations, as they fell due.

NetOne promotions lacked Insight: Chiri

Another anomaly noted was that NetOne increased marketing expenditure not in
line with revenue growth.

Revenue decreased by US$23 million but marketing expenditure increased by
US$4 million in 2010.

This resulted in potential loss due to promotions which did not add value to
revenue contribution and Chiri’s office recommended that management carry
out a cost-benefit analysis of the promotions they intended to make.

Promotions embarked on, include the Valentine promotion for post-paid
customers. Customers were given a reduced tariff of 50% for NetOne to NetOne

A total of 1 260 calls were made during the promotion.

Another promotion included the Independence promotion, where participants
got five short message services (sms) if they recharged US$1 worth of
airtime. A total of 570 663 US$1 vouchers were loaded during the promotion.

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Copac, a waste of time and resources

Sunday, 20 May 2012 13:30

Terence Chimhavi

The misguided notion being peddled by many a politician in support of the
Copac-led constitution-making process that the new charter will lead to free
and fair elections should be quickly discarded. Not only is this view a
blatant lie on the part of those peddling it; it also smacks of cheap
political rhetoric and subterfuge on those trying to justify the millions of
donor funds that they fruitlessly spend in hotels and bars. Almost two years
beyond its initially set deadline, the constitution-making process has
tottered from one crisis to the other, encountered numerous hurdles,
including at one time a crippling shortage of funds due to waning donor
support and confidence in the process. As it stands, Copac has since
delivered what it has termed the first consolidated draft constitution to
the “management committee” although with “parked issues”.

It is still not clear who is to decide on these parked issues before the
draft constitution can be brought to parliament and eventually to a
referendum. What is clear is that it is no longer relevant what the people
might have or might not have said during the chaotic outreach meetings
conducted by Copac, but that the discretion now lies with a few party
representatives to agree and decide on what they will present in the form of
a draft constitution to a referendum. Talk about a people-driven

However, after reading the draft, one is struck by the glaring similarities
between it and the current constitution, especially with regards to the
powers that remain vested in the proposed executive presidency, itself
singled out as one of the key factors behind the governance crisis gripping
the country. Simply, too much power is vested in one individual, itself a
very undemocratic practice that is a slap in the face of participatory
democracy. The same crisis is certainly behind the infighting in Zanu PF
driven by the succession issue and is the main reason why they cannot
discuss leadership renewal among themselves. This is now manifesting in the
serious infighting and violence that has characterised the district
coordinating committee elections and the current restructuring exercise.

There is certainly no need and it defies logic in this day and age to
concentrate so much power in an individual in any government or political
power structure for that matter. In no way should any individual from the
executive arm of State be above and beyond reproach of the other two arms of
State – the legislature and the judiciary. No democracy can work under such
ludicrous conditions, and most certainly such an arrangement cannot support
a free and fair election, especially one in which the incumbent

Many of the provisions in the draft constitution in circulation gravely
exposes the two MDC formations as not being genuine in their self-proclaimed
mandate as the leaders of democratic change and reform in the country. Even
as we acknowledge the fact that whatever constitution will be brought for a
referendum will be largely a negotiated document, the extent to which the
new charter neglects and omits fundamental tenets inherent of any democratic
constitution relevant and alive to the realities of us as a people and as a
nation clearly betrays the selfish and monetary interests that drove the
three parties to author a new constitution for the country on behalf of the
people, while all along trying to convince the public that they were being
consulted and included all the way.

It was very treacherous of the MDC, especially the formation led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, to vilify and victimise its civic friends and
strategic partners for trying to knock sense in the party and its leadership
that they were playing their cards wrong in allowing themselves to fall for
the Zanu PF trap by making it a preserve of the politicians alone to author
a constitution on behalf of the people.

It is also mind-boggling why the current draft is mum on the Diaspora vote.
After all, we heard Copac during earlier episodes of its ongoing circus
loudly proclaiming that it had gone on overdrive to consult the Diaspora in
the writing of the new charter. And to think that the two MDC formations are
also in support of the two vice-presidents’ agenda clearly betrays how
easily they can be swayed by Zanu PF into changing earlier positions and
principles. In all this, it is clear that Zanu PF is in the driving seat.
Never mind that they seem not to want the constitution; for them it makes
just perfect sense to be wasting and buying time in government.

It is against this background that the government and especially the three
parties in that government should wake up to the reality that their futile
project code-named Copac is a waste of the country’s time and resources.

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Water crisis, a health time bomb

Sunday, 20 May 2012 13:23

Life has become unbearable in Harare due to frequent water cuts experienced
almost on a daily basis.

The cuts are a result of Harare City Council’s intensified water rationing
exercise that is seriously affecting residents.

For the past two weeks, the city council has been intermittently cutting
supplies resulting in some suburbs failing to get water for days.

The situation got worse on Friday and Saturday when the water shortages were
felt right in the city centre.

Office workers in high-rise buildings found it tough to spend the two days
without water in their toilets. The lack of water at both workplaces and
homes is a health time bomb waiting to explode.

Water is central to a hygienic lifestyle, and without it residents find it
difficult to maintain standards that keep diseases at bay.

The 2008 cholera epidemic, which claimed over 4 000 people, is a case in
point which shows that lack of clean water is a recipe for disaster.

Just a few months ago cases of typhoid were experienced in high-density
suburbs such as Kuwadzana and Mufakose.

The Harare City Council is advised to act fast to maintain consistent water
supplies before the city slides back to the crisis of 2008. The city risks
reversing commendable gains that were recorded in containing the deadly
cholera four years ago.

Without adequate water supplies, residents will troop back to the
unprotected shallow wells and drains, putting themselves at risk of
contracting water-borne diseases. Who wants another cholera outbreak?

So far, the city appears to be trivialising the problem, judging by the
response given by its spokesperson Leslie Gwindi who blamed last week’s
water shortages  “to inspection on plans and pipes being carried out by

Obviously Gwindi knows the problem is not that simple, considering that
council lacks adequate water treatment chemicals and has to deal with a
crippling load-shedding exercise by the Zesa, which reduces its water
pumping capacity.

Clearly a strategic approach to the problem is needed to ensure
uninterrupted water supplies before more lives are put in danger.

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Editor's Desk:Let’s give due priority to the environment

Ten years from now — that is in 2023 — elections in Zimbabwe and the rest of
the developing world will be fought and won on the environment. The parties
that can articulate their programmes on how to maintain our environment, and
hence our own survival as a nation, will come to the fore. In other words,
environment issues will set “regime-change agendas”. The emergence of “Green
parties” around the globe in the past three or so decades should not be
dismissed contemptuously as being of nuisance value simply because their
presence in parliaments is still weak. Their beliefs will begin to come to
the fore when the world begins to realise how important the issues of the
environment are for the very existence of humanity. Green parties’ main
focus is environmentalism. The Green Party of the United States, for
example, has as one of its major tenets what it calls “ecological wisdom”:
“Human societies must operate with the understanding that we are part of
nature; not separate from nature. We must maintain an ecological balance and
live within the ecological and resource limits of our communities and our
planet. We support a sustainable society which utilises resources in such a
way that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices
of our generation. To this end we must practice agriculture which
replenishes the soil; move to an energy efficient economy; and live in ways
that respect the integrity of natural systems.”

Zimbabweans should begin to think in a similar manner. We have not placed
the environment in its proper place in our country’s political matrix. The
environment is still a peripheral issue in determining how our country
should be governed. This is despite the fact that our very delicate
environment is a constant threat to national stability.
Presently, Zimbabwean politics is based on the following template:
Independence-Sovereignty-Values (of our liberation struggle). Although this
is an important perspective that ensures our nationhood is properly
grounded, it becomes too backward-looking as the world changes at breakneck
speed and the environment takes up an ever more important role in defining a
nation’s wellbeing

When our politics troughs out of the stage it finds itself in now, the
template will change to something like: Independence-Governance-Environment.

A country can no longer continue to talk about sovereignty or territorial
integrity without talking about the environment. Territorial integrity is
about borders; we can defend borders but if the borders surround a
desecrated environment they might not be worth defending.

Zimbabwe has always been under the threat of desertification as the Kalahari
Basin encroaches into most countries in southern Africa including Zimbabwe.
Indeed, almost two-thirds of Zimbabwean soils are already beginning to show
characteristics of Kalahari sands — powdery, reddish and infertile.

As desertification sets in — food gets scarcer and scarcer in the farming
areas — people migrate towards the green areas which they see as oases and
rural-urban drift intensifies. Imagine the instability that goes with people
moving into areas — already populated — where they see their Canaan? The
competition for resources becomes fierce, spawning instability. People in
the southern regions of Zimbabwe, called ecological regions 3,4 and 5,
because of sparse rain and poor soils, are already beginning to complain
that the land reform programme kept them away from the wet regions in the
Mashonaland provinces. As their areas become ecologically worse off due to
unsustainable agricultural practices, they will begin to push northward. The
environment automatically becomes a national stability issue.

Unfortunately desertification is now, interestingly, creeping from north to
south too. The regions which constitute our bread basket — that is regions 1
and 2 —are also experiencing man-made desertification as deforestation

Many of the farms that changed ownership during the land reform programme
are now the major sources of firewood for cities and towns as these continue
to experience power problems due to insufficient generation of electrical

One only has to watch in the evenings as truckloads of firewood roll into
Harare. In the next 10 years the Mashonaland provinces may well be as barren
as the worst parts of the southern provinces if the unbridled deforestation
continues. Add to this, the gold panning taking place all round the country.
Recently gold was discovered on Heinz Farm near Chinhoyi, within days the
farm had been laid to waste as people from all walks of life, including
security forces, joined the gold rush.

Two things emerged from the Heinz Farm experience: The people’s hunger for
resources and        their potential to destroy the environment; and the
supine response by the government and law enforcement agencies.

Many more other threats to our environment exist. These include overgrazing
and over-cultivation of the land. For far too long wealth among African
communities has been measured by the number of animals a family possessed.
This tradition has not changed with the growth in population meaning more
people are acquiring more beasts and competing for finite pastures.
Interestingly, even those who have been settled in areas suitable only for
cropping have brought their beasts to the farms upsetting the  ecological
balance of the environment.

While the constitution-making process is still on, can what goes in it be
influenced by the grave concern about the environment? Can the issue of the
environment be elevated above a mere right, to make it a governance issue
equal to sovereignty and democracy? Is it possible to place the sustained
and systematic destruction of the environment among crimes against humanity
such as genocide and forcible transfer of population?

I have received a lot of flak whenever I have confessed that I am a
climate-change sceptic. Whatever the veracity of research behind this, it
has become more of a distraction in developing countries than a real
environment issue.

What should concern Zimbabweans now is whether they can bring their
government to account regarding tangible environment issues and whether they
can educate the people on day-to-day threats to the environment without
overly being seized with the politics of climate change.

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Mugabe still has role to play if he makes correct choices

In the 1990s, when one travelled from Harare to Mutare, he or she would
marvel at the farms which lay stretched along the highway road especially
this time of the season. Vast fully-utilised tracks of farms, mainly of
tobacco, could be seen along the road — one felt a sense of fulfilment, that
farmers were doing their job, not only for themselves but the country at
large. We were proud to be Zimbabweans and it felt good.

What I saw recently when I travelled to my rural area are vast tracks of
unfarmed land, left unattended, by those who grabbed the farms and reaped
where they did not sow.  The results of the so-called land reform have been
the underutilisation of our fundamental asset –  land. Because our economy
is agro-based, Zanu PF under the leadership of President Mugabe, prescribed
the demise of our economy through the grabbing spree which even paralysed
the once famous Kondozi farm. Most of these grabbers must have finally
realised that they are not farmers after all. They thought farming was

Like the land reform, the indigenisation programme is noble but the only
problem has to do with the handlers, most of whom disastrously mishandled
the land reform  project in 2000 when the madness began. Under such
circumstances, one would think that we would tread carefully, so that we do
not inflict more damage to our already stressed and battered economy.

But who cares? — President Mugabe allowed his lieutenants to grab the farms
and loot the farming implements, in the hope that he wins their hearts. He
is unwisely doing the same with the indigenisation programme. His cronies
are now filthy rich and can afford to buy their way to electoral victory.
For example, they can now ferry and feed their supporters for weeks on end
so that they demonstrate against the so-called imposition of candidates in
the ongoing DCC elections.

Having, on countless occasions, postponed the succession issue in his party,
Mugabe is increasingly losing his grip. One is not sure whether the Mugabe
we used to know is still in control of his party. Of course he once admitted
that he is no longer listened to by his lieutenants. He also said he would
not retire leaving his party in shambles.

If he is still listened to, let him compel Information minister Webster
Shamu to implement a cabinet directive to dissolve the BAZ board and have it
reconstituted properly. He should translate what he said on Independence Day
into action.

The ongoing battle in Zanu PF pitting Vice-President Joice Mujuru and
Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, if not handled properly, will be the
straw that broke the camel’s back. The two deny that they have presidential
ambitions during the day, but during the night they are busy positioning
themselves to take over.

These are the same people who confessed to successive US envoys that they
wanted Mugabe to go. Surely the succession issue is going to have some
ripple effect on Zanu PF survival. The only honourable way for Mugabe to
correct the situation is to facilitate a smooth transfer of power if he
loses the coming elections, which, unfortunately, looks very likely. This
will also improve his chances of leaving the political stage with some

Mugabe still has a role to play for the future of our country. The choice is
his to do what is right for the nation he helped liberate, or to please his
ungrateful lieutenants at the expense of the majority. Whatever he chooses
to do, history will judge him accordingly.

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