Harare, May 22, 2010 - The Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation was
on Saturday forced to cancel a crucial meeting with representatives of
different political parties after Zanu (PF) supporters refused to take
orders from Vice President John Nkomo, accusing him of selling out to the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The party's fifth senior official, Didymus Mutasa also failed to bring the
supporters to order, exposing the internal rot in the former ruling party.
Mutasa is the party's secretary for administration and Minister of State in
the President's Office.
Nkomo, who is one of the three co-chairpersons of the organ of national
healing, had announced that each of the three parties would be represented
by 60 people. Zanu PF members however rejected this arrangement, and instead
proposed that the number of Zanu (PF) supporters should be the same as the
combined number of representatives of the two MDC formations.
The Vice President had a tough time trying to convince the Zanu (PF)
supporters that the arrangement is what had been agreed by the three
governing parties. But the Zanu (PF) supporters would have none of that,
saying that would make the two MDC formations outnumber them when it comes
to voting. Supporters of the two MDC formations watched helplessly as Zanu
(PF) supporters suddenly broke into songs usually associated with violence.
"If I cannot get any respect from you (Zanu (PF) supporters), then I can
only say I am disappointed. there is no discipline," said Nkomo. "We will
have therefore to re-arrange our approach to the whole thing. We are on a
mission given to us by the three principals of our parties."
"Regrettably we cannot proceed because we cannot accede to any other
arrangement except the arrangements we had made ourselves. We have aborted
our meeting for today; we will now sit down and plan our next step."
Nkomo told guests who had been invited to make presentations that those are
"the hazards of our job".
"I am sorry to our invited guests, but our industry also comes with hazards
like in all other sectors," said Nkomo.
After the aborted meeting, there were fears that there would be an outbreak
of violence, but leaders of the three parties managed to control their
Among senior officials who attended the meeting were the two co-Ministers of
National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration, Gibson Sibanda and Sekai
Holland, Finance Minister and MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti, Harare
Metropolitan Governor and Zanu (PF) Finance Secretary David Karimanzira.
Harare, May 22, 2010 - The appointment of former Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) chairperson George Chiweshe as the Judge President could be
short lived following massive protests by the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chiweshe replaced Rita Makarau, who has since been moved to the Supreme
Court bench. But the MDC wants Chiweshe removed from the bench, and replaced
with a neutral and more experienced candidate, or to keep Makarau in the
Informed sources confirmed that Tsvangirai, who is currently leading a
business delegation to South Korea, would confront President Robert Mugabe
over the issue when the principals of the inclusive government meet on May
28. Among other things, said the source, Tsvangirai was under pressure from
his party to challenge the choice of Chiweshe, who has a tainted reputation
after presiding over the inconclusive March 2008 elections which were
fraught with irregularities. Tsvangirai has also challenged the
constitutionality of the appointments, which he was not informed about.
"The Prime Minister only learnt of the appointments through the Herald
newspaper on Friday. He was never consulted despite the fact that the GPA
(global political agreement) clearly states that all senior government
appointments by the President should be done after consultation with the
Prime Minister," said the source.
Although the principals are currently scheduled to meet on May 28, the
source said the meeting could be brought forward because of the urgency of
"The judiciary is an arm of the government and it should not be controlled
by one party. The appointments should be made through consultation, and the
appointees should be people who are acceptable across the political divide.
Certainly Chiweshe is not among the best of candidates because of his role
in the 2008 elections," added the source, a senior government official.
After the March 2008 elections, Chiweshe spent more than a month before
announcing the presidential election results. He said he was because of the
"meticulous verification and collation" of results, but civil society and
opposition parties said he was trying to rig the election in favour of
Mugabe, who had lost the election to Tsvangirai.
On Friday, the MDC condemned Chiweshe's "unilateral and arrogant
appointment". A statement signed by the party's secretary for legal affairs
Innocent Gonese said Mugabe was rewarding Chiweshe for rigging the 2008
"The reputation of Chiweshe has been gravely undermined by his role in ZEC,
which failed to administer a free and fair election by withholding results
for six weeks," read the statement.
"He (Chiweshe) actively colluded in electoral malpractices which cost no
less than 500 lives and he proceeded to declare the election as free and
fair. Zimbabwe today languishes under an ill-fitting and ill-working
inclusive government which came about because of a failed election that
Chiweshe presided over and therefore grossly undermined democracy. Chiweshe's
run at ZEC casts him more as a political player than a judicial official."
Chiweshe's appointment, added Gonese, would "only serve to cast further
doubt on a judiciary which needs to work extremely hard in cleaning the
thick cloud of the fog of suspicion that it is politically compromised".
He added: "In order to ensure judicial independence, appointments to and
within the judiciary must be done in a manner that assures the general
public that political considerations are not the determinant. Chiweshe's
appointment departs from this principle and is an attack on independence of
the judiciary, democracy and the rule of law in Zimbabwe."
The MDC-T's Jessie Majome recently told journalists that she was not happy
with the manner in which she was sidelined in the appointments. Majome is
the Deputy Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, but she says she was not
informed of the appointments until at the last minute when she confronted
her colleagues at the Ministry.
The government will provide US$350,000 to the Zimbabwe Republic Police to
fund security arrangements for the outreach phase of the constitutional
revision process now scheduled to begin on June 15
Patience Rusere | Washington 21 May 2010
Zimbabwean officials in charge of the country's long-stalled constitutional
outreach said agreement has been reached on funding police security for the
public outreach phase, clearing the way for public debate to begin.
The government will provide US$350,000 to the Zimbabwe Republic Police to
fund security arrangements for the outreach phase of the constitutional
revision process now scheduled to begin June 15, officials said.
The national police initially asked for US$3 million. The parliamentary
committee in charge of revising the constitution said it could not afford
this and providing security fell within the normal scope of police duties.
Non-governmental organizations conducting constitutional outreach on their
own have reported intimidation by youths of President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU-PF party and liberation war veterans who have allegedly been pressuring
citizens in rural areas in particular to endorse the Kariba constitutional
draft, or to block meetings entirely.
Press reports quoted Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga as
saying at least five police officers should be assigned to every outreach
meeting held around the country.
Parliamentary Select Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora told VOA Studio
7 reporter Patience Rusere that by the time outreach begins June 15, he
expects issues relating to violence will have been resolved.
The revision process has experience numerous delays, mainly to do with
funding. International donors demanded more accountability and asked the
government to help meet costs projected to total US$21 million.
The constitutional revision process was initially expected to conclude in
September or October with a referendum on the new basic document, but
sources said that ballot may not be held until early 2011.
Should voters approve the constitution, a new round of elections might be
held in 2011, though many observers say political and other reforms have
much further to go before the country will be ready. General and
presidential elections in 2008 were marred by alleged tampering and
widespread political violence.
by Clara Smith Saturday 22 May 2010
HARARE - An outreach programme to gather the public's views on Zimbabwe's
proposed new constitution will run from June 15 to September 15 after donors
availed required resources, a top official of the committee leading the
reforms said on Friday.
Paul Mangwana, one of the three chairpersons of the Constitutional
Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) told a meeting of local media editors that
the United Nations Development Programme had released US$7,1m of the US$8,2
million needed to successfully embark on the outreach programme.
The outreach is key because views gathered through this process will form
the core content to be considered for the planned constitution, itself a
critical foundation for future credible elections.
"Seventy outreach teams of 10 members each will be deployed in the 10
provinces," said Mangwana, speaking on behalf of his two other
co-chairpersons - Douglas Mwonzora from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
MDC-T party and Edward Mkhosi, from Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara's MDC-M
Mangwana who is from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party added; "A total
of 5 803 meetings will be convened in the 1 937 wards throughout the 10
provinces of the country. Participation at meetings will purely be
Justice Deputy Minister Jessie Majome and Constitutional Affairs Minister
Eric Matinenga also attended the meeting.
The constitution making process has already missed several deadlines, mainly
because of lack of funding and political squabbling among coalition
A new constitution should have been in place by July this year, according to
a timetable set out in the September 2008 power-sharing agreement - also
known as global political agreement (GPA) - that established the coalition
government between Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara.
According to a revised timetable announced by Mangwana yesterday the draft
should be ready by February next year, while a public vote on the draft
should be held in May next year.
Mangwana played down fears of violence, saying parties had set up
inter-party committees in each district to ensure peace, adding that the
police had pledged to provide five police officers per outreach team.
However, apart from violence, there are fears that most people selected to
be part of the outreach programme could snub the process because of
unsustainable allowances of US$15 per day, not even enough for members to
afford meals in hotels where they will be staying.
Mangwana confirmed that the allowances were unattractive, adding that COPAC
had appealed for higher allowances.
"We have made an appeal for higher allowances because imagine someone will
be out in the field for 85 straight days and the allowance they are getting
is hardly enough for food. Most of the people on the outreach teams are
employed elsewhere, and some have businesses to run," said Mangwana.
The new governance charter will pave way for free elections although there
is no legal requirement for the unity government to call new polls
immediately after a new constitution is in place.
Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee human rights, strengthen
the role of Parliament and curtail the president's powers, as well as
guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.
The new constitution will replace the current Lancaster House Constitution
written in 1979 before independence from Britain. The charter has been
amended 19 times since independence in 1980. Critics say the majority of the
amendments have been to further entrench Mugabe and ZANU PF's hold on
power. - ZimOnline
Mr. Tsvangirai urged SADC water ministers to expedite signature and
ratification of the Zambezi Commission protocol so the region can tap the
potential of the river for the benefit of all
Sandra Nyaira & Sithandekile Mhlanga | Washington 21 May 2010
Southern African nations should not continue to suffer water shortages while
the mighty Zambezi River remains largely unexploited, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai told regional water authorities Friday at a conference in
He said the Zambezi offers a solution to water shortages in the Southern
African Development Community.
Mr. Tsvangirai urged SADC water ministers to expedite signature and
ratification of the Zambezi Commission protocol so the region can tap the
potential of the river for the benefit of all. He said rural areas in the
sub-region are in dire need of safe and reliable sources of water.
"It is therefore my hope that your deliberations during this meeting will
over the short and medium term directly translate to more and more of our
people across SADC having access to adequate clean quality water," Mr
Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira
that the prime minister also emphasized the importance of public-private
partnerships in the development of water resources.
Zimbabwean Water Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo told reporter Sithandekile
Mhlanga that the summit resolved that the whole Southern African sub-region
should have clean drinking water by 2016.
Bulawayo, May 22, 2010 - Zimbabwe and other Southern African countries are
facing a hard time persuading Zambia to sign and ratify the Zambezi
Watercourse Commission (ZAMCOM) Protocol which will allow all the countries
in the region to tap water from the Zambezi river.
Zambia has since 2004 refused to sign and ratify the protocol.
Even the SADC Ministers of Water meeting that took place in Bulawayo failed
to break the impasse. The ministers were expected to meet behind closed
doors later on the issue.
Zambia has been refusing to sign the Zamcom protocol on the basis that 75
percent of the Zambezi River basin is in Zambia and they also contribute 42
percent of Zambezi River water. Zambia wants those aspects to be captured
and factored in when it comes to water abstraction from the Zambezi River,
something not currently considered in the standing protocol.
The Zamcom protocol will see Zimbabwe and seven other Southern African
Development Community (SADC) states being in a position to draw water from
the Zambezi River.
The Minister of Water Resources Development and Management, Samuel Sipepa
Nkomo, said; "At the moment Zambia has still not signed and ratified the
protocol but talks are still on-going to make sure that they sign and ratify
the protocol. At the moment I will not give further details."
Zimbabwe plans to draw water under the ambitious Matabeleland Zambezi water
project but the country will need all the countries that draw water from the
Zambezi river to consent to Zimbabwe drawing water from the river.
Currently, seven of the eight countries have signed the protocol, but only
four out of the seven have ratified it.
Ratification is the adoption of the protocol by each of the countries'
The SADC ministers' water conference ended in Bulawayo on Friday afternoon
and was officially opened by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Water ministers from Zimbabwe, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, Mozambique,
Namibia and Angola attended the conference which was held under the theme:
'Communicating regional water challenges for a dynamic takeoff to meet the
Millennium Development Goals.'
Saturday, May 22, 2010
Government and diamond firm Canadile Miners have established a joint venture
for the construction of a multimillion-dollar Diamond Technology Centre for
processing of the gems in Zimbabwe.
The centre will also house a diamond auction floor, a marketing wing and an
administration block that will house the Ministry of Mines and Mining
Development, Kimberley Process Certification Scheme offices and banks.
The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe will be housed at the complex
that will be built in Mt Hampden opposite Charles Prince Airport.
Addressing journalists at the programme launch in Harare yesterday, project
manager Retired Colonel Charles Mugari said the centre - the first of its
kind in Zimbabwe - will process diamonds into finished gemstones.
"It will house value-adding activities of the diamond industry such as
cutting, polishing and sorting right up to the actual marketing of the
finished products," he said.
Rtd Col Mugari said the centralisation of diamond activities would make it
convenient for the industry to benefit Zimbabwe.
"We are also thinking of the grassroots people such as the ordinary people
of Chiadzwa themselves who should also benefit from the Zimbabwe Diamond
Technology Centre by being given quotas of diamonds to work on which they
should derive benefit out of.
"Women and the disabled will also benefit from this," he said.
Affirmative Action Group president Mr Supa Mandiwanzira said the initiative
would help improve transparency and efficiency in diamond marketing.
"We support this initiative because it is aimed at ensuring accountability
for every piece of diamond in the country.
"As the AAG, we are aware that extraction of diamonds did not start with the
Chiadzwa diamond mining but we are happy that our indigenous people are the
first to spearhead accountability of the precious stones in the country," he
Mr Mandiwanzira said the AAG would set up a consortium of 10 companies that
would be involved in the cutting and polishing of diamonds.
The consortium, he said, would be made up of youths, the disabled, women,
war veterans, and widows and widowers of liberation war fighters.
He, however, said diamond miners should not claim a stake in the centre to
enable other stakeholders to benefit from Zimbabwe's natural resources.
Zimbabwe - like many other countries - exports rough diamonds and other
gemstones for value addition in other countries.
As such, the country has not realised the full benefit of owning the
Harare, May 22, 2010 - Zimbabwean police have arrested two employees of the
country's only gay and lesbian group, the Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe
Armed with a search warrant from Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi,
Detective Inspector Chibvuma on Friday evening led a team of police officers
to search for dangerous drugs and pornographic material at the GALZ offices
in Milton Park.
The police arrested two GALZ employees Ellen Chademana and Ignatius Muhambi,
who were detained at Harare Central Police Station on Friday and were still
in police custody Saturday.
The police accused GALZ of contravening Section 157 (1) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act Chapter 9:23 and Section 32 (1) of the
Censorship and Entertainment Control Act Chapter 10:04 by allegedly keeping
pornographic material and dangerous drugs.
Although two lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) who are
representing the two GALZ workers had not yet ascertained how much material
was taken by the police, various computers and some documents were seized by
the police during the raid.
ZLHR lawyers Dzimbabwe Chimbga and David Hofisi attended at Harare Central
Police Station on Friday evening, but police remained adamant that the two
GALZ employees would be detained despite complaints from Ms Chademana about
her diabetic condition.
On Saturday the police refused to allow the lawyers access to their clients.
It remains unclear what charges will be preferred against the two GALZ
employees but lawyers will continue to make attendances at Harare Central
President Robert Mugabe's government has a history of harassing lesbians and
gays. In the past President Mugabe has attacked homosexuality, which he has
described as foreign to African culture. He once described homosexuals as
"worse than dogs and pigs" when they attempted to assert their rights.
Last week a Malawian Judge sentenced a gay couple Tiwonge Chimbalanga and
Steven Monjeza to a maximum of 14 years in prison with hard labor under
Malawi's anti-gay legislation. The case has drawn international condemnation
and sparked a debate on human rights in this conservative southern African
Harare, May 22, 2010 The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) has raided a car
dealership in Harare and stopped the auction of 75 cars as part of
investigations into alleged tax evasion by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
According to a letter written to the embattled RBZ governor Gideon Gono by
Imperial Motors, ZIMRA officials also seized records from the dealership
that also trades as AJ Motor Center.
"The ZIMRA officials have not given any reason as to why they have placed an
embargo on our vehicles but much of their research and audit is focused on
vehicles sold to Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)" said Imperial Motors chief
executive officer, Ajit Patel in a letter addressed to Gono and in Radio
"We have had many contracts with RBZ and these contracts are based on the
nature that Imperial Motors are only facilitating the RBZ purchases of
vehicles by carrying out the logistics and documentation for the vehicles."
The RBZ imported hundreds of cars some of which were used during the
currency change programmes.
Some of the cars that still do not have registration books were later
donated to government departments.
Movement of Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai alleged some of the
cars were used to abduct its supporters by state security agents during the
bloody 2008 elections.
In the letter, Patel pleads with Gono to ensure that his company is not
inconvenienced by the raids.
"I suggest therefore Honourable Governor that ZIMRA approaches the RBZ
directly for any queries in regards to these imports as all documentation
has been handed over to your transport team," Patel said. "This will enable
us to concentrate on our core business and be treated with respect and not
as mere criminals as our company has acted in good faith to support our
He said his company had been a supplier of vehicles to State House, the
army, the police and other government departments.
A ZIMRA spokesman confirmed the raids and warned that the authority would
deal with any tax evaders regardless of their status.
Property worth millions belonging to the RBZ has been auctioned by creditors
as the central bank is broke.
It is alleged the central bank imported thousands of vehicles in the past
five years without paying duty.
Another garage also under investigations is Oasis Motors.
During the raids, Zimra officials were specifically looking for files
involving Gono and the RBZ and they were reportedly desperate to nail him
"I have gladly given all records as to my understanding that every
transaction with the RBZ is and was above board. Zimra has constantly been
on a witch-hunt of some sorts.
"For the record, we wish to convey to you that Zimra has not given us any
reason for the placement of the embargo even though we have given all
evidence of meeting all requirements. I suggest therefore honourable
governor that Zimra approaches RBZ directly for any queries in regards to
these imports," read Patel's letter.
Gono's mobile phone was switched off Saturday but one of his senior
employees confirmed the developments.
"It is true but we are yet to receive formal complaints from Zimra but the
affected car sales companies have informed us. This investigation is
surprising but expected because there are many people working to destroy the
RBZ. Surely we are all working for the same country to enhance the welfare
of Zimbabweans. They mustn't therefore be room for skinning mosquitoes,
digging in the past for any such witch-hunting enterprises that are
"We should be thinking about how to raise the general levels of production
in the economy where we should be fighting to meet critical requirements
such as meaningful payments for our civil servants, upgrading our medical
and health facilities as opposed to smoking each other to settle selfish
"It's a political investigation by both Zanu (PF) and MDC ministers who are
sworn enemies of the governor. Certain Zanu (PF) ministers are baying for
the governor's blood because he has consistently opposed some of their
failed polices like the indigenizstion act and the lack or production on
farms. We know them and they are using known MDC ministers to nail down Dr
Gono," said the top RBZ official.
Zimra spokesperson Robson Mhandu was not forthcoming when contacted for
comment on the issue. "As Zimra we raid different companies and individuals
from time to time and it is normal for us to do that. The RBZ issue has not
come to my desk yet if it really exists," said Mhandu.
Brenda Moyo | Washington 21 May 2010
A senior official of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said Friday that
the federation is not in financial difficulties, dismissing a report in the
state-controlled Herald newspaper that its coffers have run dry.
ZCTU Deputy Secretary General Japhet Moyo admitted the organization faces
some challenges due to the economic environment. But he told VOA Studio 7
reporter Brenda Moyo such problems won't halt the union's work.
The ZCTU is the largest labor organization in Zimbabwe.
Harare, May 22, 2010 - The financially crippled Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) has resolved to go out and beg funds from international
donors to fund the country's electoral reforms, a senior ZEC official has
ZEC deputy chairperson Joice Laetitia Kazembe said a full commission meeting
this week resolved to go out and engage stakeholders from the civil society
to help fund the country's electoral reforms.
"So far we have only managed to get 11 percent of the funds that were
allocated to us in the 2010 national budget and our operations have been
stalled because of that. We cannot fully undertake all the duties that we
are mandated to do in the current constitution because we lack financial
capacity," said Kazembe.
The 2010 Budget allocated US$ 4, 1 million for ZEC operations for the whole
of 2010, under Vote 21 of the Ministry of Justice and Legal Affairs. The
breakdown of the allocation however is not set out.
Under the current Constitution, donations or grants from local or foreign
sources may be accepted - but only with the consent of then Minister of
Justice and Legal Affairs.
Asked about the legal challenges of sourcing money from outside the country,
Kazembe said all the necessary government departments will be informed about
the commission's resolution to source financial resources from international
"ZEC is currently understaffed and we have to rely with the human resources
within the RG's (Registrar General) office to undertake most our duties. The
compilation and maintenance of the voters' roll is currently being done by
the RG's office because we do not have the capacity," said Kazembe adding
that ZEC currently employees about 400 workers.
The Registrar General's office has in most elections been accused of
producing a flawed voters roll.
Kazembe said the country's electoral reforms will not come to fruition if
the political leaders do not provide financial support to ZEC.
Kazembe said ZEC would not have problems in holding a referendum if the
Constitutional making process eventually takes off.
"For the referendum there will be no need for a voters' roll but the
challenge will be to ensure that every polling station has enough ballot
papers. This will be an opportunity for every Zimbabwean to express himself
without having to be a registered voter," she said.
Although ZEC is responsible for conducting elections, there are impediments,
both legal and institutional, which seriously limit the Commission's power
to ensure that elections are free and fair.
Civil society organisations including the Zimbabwe Election Support Network
(ZESN) have pointed out that because ZEC cannot time the elections it will
be difficult for the commission to guarantee free and fair elections.
According to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) general elections are
called by the President with the agreement of the Prime Minister, while
parliamentary by-elections have to be called within 14 days after the
President notified of a vacancy in Parliament which means that ZEC only has
a short time within which to plan and organise elections.
Harare, - Overflowing toilets disrupted business at the five star Rainbow Towers Hotel in Harare, embarrassing Chief Executive Officer, Chipo Mutasa, a report revealed
Rainbow Towers Hotel used to be known as Sheraton Harare Hotel before it
Delegates to a one day planning meeting for top international gospel star and preacher Joyce Meyer from the United States of Amercia (USA) were shocked when toilets on the Mezzanine Floor flooded the bottom floor of the five star hotel with urine.
There was a bad stench and delegates had to block their noses as they made their way to Conference Room 5.
Mutasa refused to comment and said the problem was being "sorted out".
Written by Tony Saxon
Friday, 21 May 2010 12:46
CHIMANIMANI - The usually quiet and scenic town of Chimanimani came to life
this weekend with the annual Chimanimani Arts Festival.
Zimbabwe's top artists, superstar Oliver Mtukudzi and Sulumani Chimbetu,
were huge crowd-pullers at the festival that has managed to attract huge
crowds over the years. Andy Brown also performed.
In an interview with The Zimbabwean, the spokesperson of Chimanimani Arts
Festival, Takaitei Muparutsa, said there was an international dimension to
this year's festival.
"An international dimension has been added to the event, with the
participation of Pa lo Q'sea, a troupe of artistes from Spain," he said.
Muparutsa also indicated that the annual arts festival had overcome its
problems and was now vying for international acclaim.
Featuring Oliver "Tuku" Mtukudzi and his late son Samson's Ay Band plus
Sulumani Chimbetu and Andy Brown, among many other top artistes, the
festival was yet another thriller.
The festival opened with a cultural exposition in celebration of
International Day for Cultural Diversity and Development during which
Zimbabwean culture took centre stage.
There where performances from artistes like outspoken Makoomba, Junior
Bantan and Edgar Langevelt plus groups from the Flame, Bocapa and Music
Crossroads talent networks and Mutare and Chimanimani-based groups.
Steve Brown, the festival director, said that it was important to celebrate
"This is the best way of celebrating Zimbabwean culture, which has had to
play second fiddle to other cultures," said Brown. "The free-entry festival
this year welcomed Barcelona-based Spanish street performers Pa lo Q'Sea,
who used mythology, tradition, ritual elements and legends to realise a
contemporary fiesta. Their act featured recyclable large puppets,
stilt-walkers, unicyclists, jugglers, drummers and acrobats on both Saturday
and Sunday mornings," added Brown.
Pa lo Q'Sea (For whatever it's needed) was founded in 1989.
Their most popular production, "Rompe Candela", has been presented at more
than 300 venues worldwide including Canada, Colombia, Australia, New
Caledonia, and throughout Europe.
The festival was formally established in 1999 by Brown and Bengt Post in a
bid to showcase productions of the various mainline arts genres.
It was also meant to provide entertainment for Manicaland province and
Chimanimani district in particular. Last year's edition saw artists like
Nicholas Zakaria, Dudu Manhenga, Dino Mudondo and Steve Makoni thrilling
Currently the festival is running a programme of workshops parallel to the
main stage events in children' s poetry, theatre and storytelling,
drum-playing and dance.
Adult theatre for the local theatre groups and daily staging of theatre
plays and film screenings also spiced up the event.
Written by Phillip Chidavaenzi
Friday, 21 May 2010 17:01
Harare - THE dollarisation of the economy towards the end of 2008 saw new
patterns in the culture of ‘streetism’, with children –as well as adults –
living and working in the streets not only increasing in numbers, but
employing new survival tactics in the urban jungle of Harare.
Research by children’s rights campaigners has shown that the ‘green-back’ –
as the United States dollar is known – has been an attraction to many
children, some of whom actually come into the city during the day to beg and
return home in the evenings.
Findings from a pilot project by the Just Children Foundation (JCF), an
organisation that works towards removing children from the streets and
placing them in families, has shown that some children have since left
school as their parents and guardians, especially single mothers, were
struggling to pay school fees in US dollars.
Some of these disadvantaged children have become the breadwinners in their
families as they spend the day in the city centre begging or doing odd jobs
such as washing cars to earn a few dollars to sustain the families.
One such child, Brian (11), from Epworth, said he was an early bird,
travelling into the city at dawn to beg and returning home at nightfall.
“Sometimes I can get US$5,” he said. “But at other times it can be hard and
I’ll just earn US$2.”
Getting US$2 a day translates into US$10 a week, and this would be enough to
see an average family through the week in terms of basic meals.
Fifteen-year-old Katherine, from Rugare, near the Workington industrial
area, said her trips into the city were paying-off big time as the US dollar
was more valuable than the Zim dollar, the official currency when she
started beginning four years ago.
Although other social factors such as abuse and delinquency continue to
drive children into the streets, dollarisation is believed to be the single
largest contributor of the upsurge in the number of children living and
working in the streets.
For the older children living and working in the streets, however, the story
is different as they have opted for various forms of vending rather than
begging and scavenging for food in bins.
Joel (23) reluctantly told this reporter that while he started off begging
after losing both his parents, he reconsidered some kind of semi-formal
means to eke out a living without being society’s laughing stock.
Joel, who lives with his colleagues at a disused and derelict city council
building in downtown Harare, has opted to wash cars for clients of
indigenous motor mechanics within his catchment area.
According to Maxwell Makosa, a social commentator, this was a new trend
which at face value appeared a positive development, soon became a problem
as the young people didn’t have official documents such as national identity
Robert Makura, a social worker with the JCF, however, noted that the numbers
were not necessarily increasing given the fact that very few people were
willing to part with their hard-earned, valuable US dollars.
He did, however, concur with Makosa that dollarisation had opened up
opportunities for older boys living in the streets to make ends meet through