The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

KP monitor expected in Harare

by Own Correspondent Monday 24 May 2010

HARARE - Kimberly Process (KP) monitor for Zimbabwe Abbey Chikane is
expected in the country on Wednesday, as government tries to comply with
international regulations to trade in diamonds from the controversial
Marange field, officials said at the weekend.

During his visit, Chikane will also meet with members of the portfolio
committee on mines that has been investigating operations of two firms -
Mbada Investments and Canadile Miners - that the government licenced to
exploit the Marange resources.

The government-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) last
year partnered two little known South African firms - Grandwell and Core
Mining - to form two joint ventures Mbada Investments and Canadile Miners as
part of measures to bring mining of diamonds at Marange in line with
standards stipulated by world diamond industry watchdog, the KP.

"Chikane will be arriving on Wednesday this week and will meet up with
company representatives from Mbada and Canadile," a senior government
official said, speaking on condition that his name was not published.

"The visit is a culmination of events, as we feel that the KP has not been
kind to us as it is being manipulated by some Western countries not to allow
us to sell our diamonds. Chikane will also meet up members of the portfolio
committee on mines, but this is yet to be confirmed."

A source within the portfolio committee also confirmed that Chikane has
requested a meeting with them.

"From our understanding Chikane is coming on Wednesday. He has requested a
meeting with our committee, but this is yet to be confirmed by the ministry
of mines," said the source who also spoke on condition that his name was not

"We will be in a position to know tomorrow (today) if the ministry has sent
a request through Parliament. The problem is that is there is a lot of
politicking. Some people in government view our committee with a suspicion
as they are saying we will leak secrets. But what secrets will we leak when
the whole awarding of the contracts to mine in Marange in the first place
was not done in a proper manner."

Zimbabwe cannot sell the Marange diamonds until Chikane, who has already
visited the diamond field - also known as Chiadzwa - in the country's
eastern districts to inspect the mining operations of firms operating in the
area, certifies them for release on the international diamond market.

Harare authorities last month accused Western governments of manipulating
the KP to frustrate their efforts to sell diamonds from Marange.

Marange is one of the world's most controversial diamond fields with reports
that soldiers sent to guard the claims after the government took over the
field in October 2006 from a British firm that owned the deposits committed
gross human rights abuses against illegal miners who had descended on the

Human rights groups have been pushing for a ban on Zimbabwean diamonds but
last November, the country escaped a KP ban with the global body giving
Harare a June 2010 deadline to make reforms to comply with its
regulations. - ZimOnline.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

African parties to meet in Kampala

Sunday, 23rd May, 2010

By Jude Kafuuma

LEADERS of political parties from nine African countries will be in Uganda
starting tomorrow for a four-day conference on inter-party dialogue.This
will be the first time Uganda is hosting the meeting, which is facilitated
by the Netherlands Institute of Multiparty Democracy (NIMD).

In Uganda, the Inter-party Organisation for Dialogue (IPOD) operates as an
inclusive platform consisting of the six political parties in Parliament;

The conference, to run up to Friday, will take place at the Commonwealth
Resort Munyonyo.

It will bring together over 80 representatives of political parties from
Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia and

Top on the agenda is the preparation and management of elections, the role
of security forces in the electoral process and ways of strengthening the
credibility of political parties.

The conference will be chaired by the Democratic Party president, Norbert

"It will focus on issues related to elections and concerns of the operation
of political parties in Africa," said the NIMD representative in Uganda,
Shaun Mackay.

Mackay disclosed that the president of Malawi had confirmed that he would
attend in person.

The chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Eng. Badru Kiggundu, is also
expected to attend.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Poor roads, corruption blamed for high Zimbabwe death toll

May 23 2010 ,

Thulasizwe Simelane: SABC Zimbabwe

Poor road conditions, corruption and a marked increase in vehicle volumes
have emerged as contributing factors to a surge in road deaths in Zimbabwe.
Fifty-eight people lost their lives over this year's Easter weekend alone,
on the country's poorly marked, pothole-riddled and narrow highways.

However, flagrant disregard for basic road rules is rampant, with some
blaming corrupt licensing officials for passing incompetent drivers onto the
road. Some Zimbabwe drivers are known to  be flexible about rules of the
road. As a result, some locals started pleading for corruption to end as
people who get licenses without going through proper channels pose a danger
to other motorists and road users.

Many drivers do not even treat non-functioning traffic lights as four-way
stops while others dice with death, whizzing past level crossings without
even slowing down, often with fatal results. The development has prompted
lawmakers to call for a crackdown. Transport Committee's Blessing Chebundo
says because Zimbabwe was facing so many challenges, even enforcement of the
laws themselves, road traffic laws are non-existent.

In their defence, Zimbabwean drivers have to navigate treacherous roads with
poor signage.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim ratifies trade pact with SA


ZIMBABWE has finally ratified a trade pact agreed with South Africa which is
aimed at the promotion and reciprocal protection of investments between the
two countries.

Ratification of the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement
(BIPPA) comes months after the deal was signed by economic planning minister
Elton Mangoma and South Africa's trade minister Rob Davies in Harare last

The economic planning ministry said the BIPPA came into effect on May 15
this year, but gave no reasons for the delay in its ratification.

"The purpose of the agreement is to stimulate individual business
initiatives and increase prosperity in both countries through the creation
of favorable conditions for investment by South African investors in
Zimbabwe and Zimbabwean investors in South Africa," the ministry said in a

Negotiations for the deal started in 2002 and were driven by both
governments' desire to signal to existing and potential investors that they
would abide by international norms regarding property rights.

South African companies - by far the largest African investors in Zimbabwe's
economy - were particularly keen to have anxieties about the security of
their investments allayed in the wake of the country's land reforms.

"The agreement provides legal certainty for those engaged in investments in
Zimbabwe and we are committed together with the Zimbabwe government that all
the commitments that are in this agreement are honoured.

"This agreement will provide the legal security that is required by present
and future investors in this country." Economic Planning Minister Elton
Mangoma said when the agreement was signed last year.

However, efforts by South African farmers whose land was acquired for
resettlement to have the agreement cover such properties were unsuccessful
with both countries insisting the deal would not be applied retrospectively.

A clause in the agreement reads: "the agreement applies to all investments,
whether made before or after the date of entry into force of (the)
agreement, but shall not apply to any property right or interest
compulsorily acquired by either Party in its own territory before the entry
into force of this Agreement".

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Prime Minister Tsvangirai in Seoul to promote Zimbabwe-Korea ties

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is in
Seoul on a three-day official visit at the invitation of his South Korean
counterpart Chun Un-Chang.

Tsvangirai's spokesperson said the two premiers are expected to hold
high-level meetings which would result in the signing of a Bilateral
Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) that seeks to open a
new chapter of active cooperation between Zimbabwe and South Korea.

He said the investment promotion pact was expected to pave the way for "more
targeted memoranda of understanding (MOUs) that will be formally negotiated
by Zimbabwean and Korean partners for mutual benefit".

Zimbabwe has already signed BIPPAs with more than 10 other countries aimed
at promoting new investments and protection existing ones.

"The Prime Minister's trip will particularly focus on exposing the
accompanying business forum to the best practices in various sectors in
Korea, in addition to considering the impact of global issues such as the
global financial crisis, climate change and global warming, development and
introduction of new and emerging high technologies on Africa's future
development," he said.

Another area of focus will be the development of pro-poor socio-economic
programmes in Zimbabwe within the context of the southern African country's
quest to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

He said a delegation from Zimbabwe's power sector would also be joining
Tsvangirai in Seoul to explore investment opportunities in the sector.

Zimbabwe is facing perennial power shortages which have been blamed on lack
of investment in new electricity generation infrastructure.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare Council Financial Director Linked To Land Scandal Resigns

22/05/2010 09:40:00

Harare, May 22, 2010 - A Harare City Council employee implicated in the land
scandal, involving Local Government Minister Ignatious Chombo and business
tycoon Philip Chiyangwa, has resigned RadioVOP can reveal.

The city council finance director Cosmas Zvikaramba this week tendered his
resignation on the grounds that he was no wanted at the council.

Chamber Secretary Josephine Ncube declined to comment on the matter
referring all questions to city council public relations manager Leslie

"Sorry I can't give you a comment but you can get that confirmation from Mr
Gwindi because he is the public relations manager," said Ncube.

Gwindi was not immediately available for comment.

But Budiro councillor Panganai Charumbira said Zvikaramba tendered his
resignation on Tuesday citing "constructive dismissal" as the main reason he
was leaving council.

"It's true Zvikaramba resigned this week because he said he felt that he was
being sidelined. From my understanding Zvikaramba wants to sue the council
and pursue his case through the courts," said Charumbira.

Zvikaramba is being accused of helping Chiyangwa get vast tracts of land
before the businessman had paid council its rates that would have been paid
before transferring land.

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvuzijena last month confirmed that they were
investigating a report made by then council acting mayor Charity Bango of
fraud involving council employees Zvikaramba and Psychology Chiwanga who
allegedly connived to sell Chiyangwa Odar Farm To Philip Chiyangwa On
September 2, 2009.

Chiwanga is the director of urban planning in the Harare City Council. Bango
on an acting capacity last month made a report to the police, IR number
040725/10 over the alleged land scandal and handed over a special
investigations report that was tabled before the council but no arrest had
been made so far.

The committee has recommended that Chiyangwa And Chombo be arrested for
irregularly acquiring land in the capital.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Prisons Boss fired for corruption

By A Correspondent

Published: May 23, 2010

Harare  -  Zimbabwe Prison services' deputy commissioner retired Major
Vincent Ndlovu has been fired following allegations of vehicle-tender
corruption with the government setting an investigation team comprising
members of the police, Army Air force of Zimbabwe and the CIO to investigate
the organization's chief retired major general Paradzai Zimondi over the
same issue, it has emerged.

Highly placed sources within the organization said deputy commissioner
Ndlovu had been placed on forced one month-leave pending dismissal over

They said Ndlovu who is in-charge of Human Resources and procurement was
tasked to look for a company that supplies security vehicles by the ministry
of Finance. In the process it is said a business man by the name Patel won
the tender but Ndlovu through corrupt means gave the tender to an identified
said 'indigenous' person.

Patel is linked to ZANU PF

"What happened is that Ndlovu and Zimondi changed the tender to
their-a-certain indigenous person .This did not go well with members of
ZANU-PF who have direct links to Patel, who then raised alarm over the
issues. These top ZANU-PF officials who are in the government later set a
board of inquiry to investigate Zimondi after they had placed Ndlovu on
forced leave," said the source.

The source added that ZPS was supposed to indentify a company that could
supply it with ten UD security vehicles to be used to ferry inmates to and
from the courts. Insiders accuse Zimondi of nepotism, corruption and
favouritism. They say the ZPS Boss is sidelining senior prison officers by
employing corrupt ex-soldiers whom he is giving influential positions in the
organization. Last week the organization returned part of the monies which
were stolen by another ex-soldier Chief Superintendent Muzanechita from
recruits at Ntabazinduna Training Depot in 2009 when he was the depot

Recently, Chief Prison officer Chiwakaya of Chikurubi Maximum prison wrote a
strong worded letter to the offices of the two vice Presidents and the
Ministry of Justice complaining about corruption within ZPS

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Country to Go for Poll

 5/23/10 11:04 AM

       Harare - AFTER finally accepting they will never see eye-to-eye on
the so-called outstanding issues, the country's main political parties are
now gearing up for another round of elections possibly in May next year amid
indications that the polls may be held under
the current Lancaster House Constitution.

      Impeccable sources told The Financial Gazette this week that although
the country has traditionally held its national elections in March,
Zimbabweans were most likely to go to the polls in May 2011 this time around
in order to unlock the logjam created by the inconclusive elections held in

      This would mean that the lifespan of the current Parliament would have
been cut short by two years instead of running a full five-year term.

      While the timing of the elections could be meant to coincide with the
conclusion of the constitution-making process which is currently underway,
it is still unlikely that a new supreme law would be ready before fresh
polls in view of the needless controversies bogging down the exercise.

       President Robert Mugabe is on record saying the nation will go for
elections in 2011 with or without a new constitution.

      His archrival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai -- leader of the
larger faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) -- has also
told his supporters to prepare for another showdown with ZANU-PF at the
polling stations.

      Despite having called for an extension of the inclusive government's
lifespan to 2013, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has also made a
U-turn from his previous position.

The deputy premier was in Chitungwiza last week to encourage the MDC-M
membership to engage in a mobilisation drive as well as to stay prepared for
any election "whether they are called today or tomorrow".

       While the spectre of elections re-ignites fears of renewed violent
confrontation between the main political actors in the country's body
politic, analysts say there is no other way, other than fresh polls, to end
the political impasse in Zimbabwe.

       This followed the failure by the elections in 2008 to produce an
outright winner resulting in a hung Parliament and an unworkable coalition
between President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai whose parties
subscribe to totally different ideologies.

        While the consummation of the unity government in February last year
was seen giving the country sufficient breathing space before fresh
elections could be held, the coalition has, to all intents and purposes,
failed to function smoothly.

      After failing to meet each other halfway, the parties making up the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) are now busy tearing up the document and
drawing programmes tailor-made to woe supporters in preparation for a
decisive plebiscite that seeks to end the marriage of convenience and thrust
only one party in the driving seat

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Norway increases humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Norway said Sunday it was increasing humanitarian
assistance to Zimbabwe this year to 30 million kroners (about US$4.7
million) while a further US$16 million was earmarked for development
projects in the southern African country.

The Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre said in a statement release
here Sunday that Oslo was raising the amount of relief aid to Harare by more
than 30 percent due to "the situation in Zimbabwe, which is cause for grave

"The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is still very grave. Even securing
access to food is a major challenge for the majority of the population,"
Støre said.

Despite an increase in grain production in 2009, up to 2.5 million
Zimbabweans are expected to need food aid in 2010.

The decision to increase humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe comes in
response to an appeal from the UN.

The funds are primarily intended for improving food security and would be
channelled through organisations such as the Red Cross, the Norwegian People's
Aid, the Norwegian Refugee Council and Médecins Sans Frontières.

In addition to the humanitarian assistance, Norway said it would provide
over NOK 100 million (about US$16 million) to development projects in
Zimbabwe via the UN system and civil society organisations.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Brain drain graduates must repay state aid

A Special Correspondent
23 May 2010
Issue: 0054

Zimbabwean university students who receive state assistance are now required
to surrender a third of their salaries if they choose to work in foreign
countries on completing their studies. The cash-strapped government has set
up a special cadet scheme whose stringent conditions it hopes will stem a
crippling brain drain that has hit most of the country's economic sectors.

The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education has come up with conditions
and a memorandum of agreement for special cadets - students who access state
funds to pay for their studies.

"A person appointed as a special cadet shall (a) serve the country and be
bonded for a minimum period equal to the period he/she was engaged as a
special cadet. (b) Remit a minimum one third of his/her salary in forex, if
he/she opts to work outside the country," reads part of the memorandum.

"In such cases a special agreement will be entered between Zimbabwe, the
cadet, and such country/employer concerned for remittance of forex for a
minimum period equal to the duration he/she was engaged as a special cadet."

The memorandum continues: "The Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education
will assist the special cadet with funds to meet educational costs during
the time when he/she is on the cadetship scheme. No special cadet or
prospective employer would be allowed to buy the bonding period or part
thereof for any student trained under the cadetship scheme."

Since Zimbabwe adopted the use of foreign currencies and abandoned the
Zimbabwe dollar in February last year, to escape the effects of crippling
inflation, many students have dropped out because of their inability to
raise fees in the required United States dollars, South African Rands or
Botswana Pulas.

As a sign of desperation brought about by failure to raise foreign currency
fees in a country where most state employees earn less than US$200 per
month, last month 12 University of Zimbabwe students were arrested and
appeared in court for attempting to enter examination rooms using fake

However, the government is unlikely to be able to assist significant numbers
of students with its cadetship programme because the precarious state of its

Recently Minister of Finanace Tendai Biti announced that while the country's
budget had sought to raise US$800 million from donors, only US$3 million has
been realised. Biti added that the balance of payments position remained
precarious with 2009 exports pegged at US$1.6 billion against imports of
US$3.2 billion.

To make matters worse, local universities are no longer able to offer
financial assistance to students, as was the case in the past, due to the
financial crisis.

A note sent to students by the University of Zimbabwe ahead of the second
semester opening on 10 May said:

"Financial assistance - the division currently has no resources to assist
students in financial distress. However, you are encouraged to forward your
names to the Dean of Students office just in case we secure something.
Attach documents or information that would enhance your chances of receiving
support eg parents death certificates or an affidavit confirming inability
to pay."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

AFRICA: Research concentrated in three countries
Wagdy Sawahel
23 May 2010
Issue: 0054

Africa has extremely uneven distribution of research and innovative capacity, according to a recent report. Research is concentrated in Egypt in the north, Nigeria in the middle and South Africa in the south. Africa produces only some 27,000 papers a year - about the same volume of published output as The Netherlands - but the continent has relatively high representation, as a share of world publications, in fields related to natural resources.

The distribution of research is described in a report, titled Global Research Report: Africa, published last month by the UK-based Thomson Reuters research performance analysis and interpretation group Evidence.

It is the second study evaluating the state of science and technology across the continent using scientometrics (See "Researchers lag in science and technology", University World News, November 2008).

The study broke Africa down into three regions with six countries in North Africa, 34 in Central Africa, and the 14 countries that belong to the Southern African Development Community, SADC.

In the decade to 2008, the study revealed, the central region of Africa produced the smallest number of papers - some 7,100 a year, despite having the most countries.

North Africa accounted for the highest number of papers in recent years, with more than 10,500 produced in 2008, even though it has only six countries. The 14 countries of the south region also produced more than 10,000 papers that year.

"This immediately points to an uneven distribution of research and innovative capacity at both country and regional levels," according to the study.

More detailed analysis revealed that research in Africa is concentrated in just three countries - Egypt in the north, Nigeria in the middle, and South Africa in the south.

In the decade to 2008, South Africa produced the biggest volume of research, with nearly 47,000 papers compared to the region's next most prolific nation Tanzania, which fielded just over 3,000.

Egypt produced nearly 30,000 papers between 1999 and 2008, "which was about three times the total for Tunisia, its next-place and regional neighbour", the report revealed. Nigeria's total for the same period was over 10,000 papers, compared to around 6,500 produced by Kenya, which is the leading research economy in East Africa.

In west-central Africa, Nigeria's total for the same period was over 10,000, compared to roughly 6,500 for Kenya which is the leading research economy in the east of the continent.

The study also analysed the most prolific African countries in each of 21 main fields used for the Thomson Reuters Essential Science Indicators. It looked at the five years from 2004 to 2008. This showed that Africa had relatively high representation, as a share of world publications, in fields that are relevant to natural resources.

"The highest percentage of any field, for example, is South Africa's 1.55% share of Plant & Animal Science. Not far behind is the same country's 1.29% portion of Environment-Ecology," the study found. South Africa led in 15 out of the 21 fields, Egypt in five and Nigeria in one (agricultural sciences).

The report has also compared publication output with gross domestic product (GDP) for each country, "reasoning that proportionate investment in the knowledge economy is a good index of a government's commitment to maximise the longer term benefit of resource development and exploitation for the general wealth of its people". The leading countries by output were South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Tunisia, Algeria and Kenya.

Indexing output against GDP provided further interesting information, said the report: "The real leaders are Tunisia and Malawi with very different economic bases but strong relative productivity in both cases. Zimbabwe was the most productive country, but only because it retained its legacy research base despite a collapsing economy and very low current GDP.

"South Africa, Kenya and Egypt all have significant relative productivity, as do a number of other countries in East Africa (Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania) and West Africa (Cameroon, Ghana," the report continued.

"It is clear, however, that despite Nigeria's high volume output it is not returning as much research as would be expected given the size of its economy. The value of its resources is not yet being felt in its knowledge base." This research productivity gap between resources and investment, also seen in several other countries, showed where Africa is not yet benefitting from the best use of its natural resources.

Analysing collaborations between countries, represented by co-authorships of publications, the study found a marked interaction between countries in North Africa which share both language and culture and are also relatively prolific across the fields analysed.

"Thus this network is probably the strongest group overall since it links countries which are individually research active across multiple fields. The group does little research with the rest of Africa, however, other than through the Egypt-South Africa link. The essential regional role of other countries, such as Cameroon and Tunisia, was also marked.

The historical legacy of past ties was reflected in collaborative networks associated with Francophone and Anglophone groups of nations, the report found.

The Francophone group had the benefit of proximity in West Africa, and this could prove an important regional focus and development opportunity. The Anglophone group had good links to the US and UK, and its common language base meant it already accessed and was exposed to the international community that used English for research publication.

"The test will be whether the research activity reflected in these links is maintained when economic constraints start to bite in Europe and North America."

Some countries showed the potential to play a transformational role. "This report has identified a pair of axes, running between Egypt and South Africa and between Nigeria and Kenya, which engage a high proportion of Africa's research and which link the rest of the continent in collaborative networks.

"The essential regional role of other countries, such as Cameroon and Tunisia, is also marked," the report argued. The future of the African research enterprise would depend significantly on the ability of active countries to help facilitate research growth through leadership, strong local investment and the creation and support of key facilities and centres to draw in and assist currently less well resourced partners.

"The volume of activity remains small, much smaller than is desirable if the potential contribution of Africa's researchers is to be realised for the benefit of its populations. The challenges that the continent faces are enormous and indigenous research could help provide both effective and focused responses," said the report.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 22nd May 2010

The Vigil was encouraged by visits from widely different groups on the British political spectrum.  On a glorious summer day, people from the Tent Village (comprised of anti-war demonstrators, climate change activists etc) who have set up camp outside Parliament came and signed our petitions.  They showed us a communication from the Greater London Authority advising them their presence was unauthorized and telling them to move. We were amused to see it was addressed to “Tent Occupant, Parliament Square”. Other visitors were from the English Defence League, a nationalist group who are vocal opponents of what they call Islamic hate-speech. They joined us after staging a protest in nearby Trafalgar Square. They were anxious to assure us they were not racist and indeed they joined in our dancing enthusiastically.


We are, of course, anxious that our cause is taken up by the new coalition government. We are happy that Nicholas Clegg of the Liberal Democrats is now Deputy Prime Minister. He has visited the Vigil (26th November 2008) and expressed his support. The Vigil is preparing a letter to the new Foreign Secretary, William Hague of the Conservative Party, to explain our position. We have had consistent support from the Conservatives and have every reason to believe they will back our demand for early and internationally-supervised elections in Zimbabwe.


We welcome the statement by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions calling for early elections. The acting secretary-general, Japhet Moyo, said “The GNU has been characterised by impasses, name calling and mistrust among the political parties while the majority of Zimbabweans continue to suffer". He went on "The envisaged constitutional making process has been fraught with anomalies and, as predicted by ZCTU, has failed to take off as a result of squabbling. While it would have been possible to have a new people driven constitution in place before elections, this is not currently possible."


The Vigil believes that the ruling elite in Zimbabwe is disregarding the people’s will.  All three parties appear to be content with things as they are. For them, things have never been so good. As far as Zanu PF is concerned the future is full of diamonds and then the profits from indigenization and, still to be fully unveiled, the takeover of residential areas. And, of course, Mugabe now has Morgan Tsvangirai as his PR agent trotting around the globe saying how well things are going. Even for ‘dimwit’ Mutambara the advantages of the status quo are obvious: any new election would force him to look for a proper job.


The Vigil notes that, after nearly two months, the three principals are apparently to meet at last to discuss the mediators’ report on the failure to honour the global political agreement. At the Vigil we are not holding our breath and urge President Zuma to call for a SADC summit to end the bickering and arrange new elections.


If any further evidence was needed of the failure of the MDC leadership there were the remarks of the MDC co-Minister for Home Affairs, Giles Mutsekwa, announcing a ban on demonstrations during the World Cup. We are not convinced by his embarrassed disowning of these comments. It is clear that he has bought into ‘Dimwit’s empty rhetoric about “rebranding” of Zimbabwe: robbery is reassigning property, violence is keeping order etc etc. It is fatuous to hope that this type of rebranding will create a new Zimbabwe.


At the forefront of the campaign against Mugabe is the Zimbabwean newspaper, which the Vigil buys in bulk for our supporters who look to it to keep themselves in touch with Zimbabwe news. The newspaper plays an important role given the failure of the interim government to open media space in Zimbabwe as promised by the GPA. How much longer does the Zanu-MDC gang expect us to wait before there is a freedom of the media in Zimbabwe?


During the week, City and Islington College in London invited dancers from the Vigil to perform at their Adult Learners’ Week Family Fun Day.  Dumi Tutani, Josephine Zhuga, Moses Kandiyawo, Gladys Mapanda, Kelvin Kamupira and Simon Mwakipesile electrified the audience with their energetic dancing and rousing singing.  Regulars at the Vigil require no rehearsal and can just step up and perform at a moment’s notice.


There is a possibility that the group known as London Citizens may launch a campaign on behalf of Zimbabweans with disputed nationality (such as arriving in the UK on a non-Zimbabwean – for instance Malawian – passport).  This campaign can only go ahead if there are sufficient numbers to warrant the expense.  If you fall in this category can you email your name to Vigil management team member Luka Phiri on Your information will be treated in the strictest confidence and not passed on to anyone in authority.


Some other points

·       We were pleased to welcome newcomer Brian Moyo who boarded a coach in Glasgow on Friday night to attend the Vigil.  He was returning home on Saturday night, spending a large part of his weekend traveling to and from the Vigil.

·       Vigil supporter Try Mahachi asked us to publicise the launch of a new Zimbabwean cultural group in Slough which aims to bring together the Zimbabwean community, help maintain cultural values and keep youths off the streets.   See ‘Events and Notices’ for details.


For latest Vigil pictures check: For the latest ZimVigil TV programme check the link at the top of the home page of our website.  For earlier ZimVigil TV programmes check:


FOR THE RECORD: 175 signed the register.



·       OTIENO by Trevor Michael Georges. A contemporary reworking of Shakespeare's Othello, set against the continuing deprivation of present-day Zimbabwe. From Tuesday 25th May – Saturday 12th June at 7.30 pm, matinees 3 pm. Venue: Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard (Corner of Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.), London SE1 2TF. For tickets ring 020 7407 0234 or book online here.

·       ROHR West Bromwich Branch fundraising event. Saturday 29th May from 1 – 11pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Rd, West Bromwich B70 0HF. Admission £8.00 including food and drink. Contact: Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo  07817096594, Godwin Kativu 07576994816 or P Chibanguza  07908406069.

·       ROHR Brighton general meeting Saturday 29th May from 2 – 4 pm. Venue: The Community Base, 113 Queens Road, Brighton, BN1 3XG. Contact: Elizabeth Masoka 07545458436, Jane Mugwagwa 07833301145, Wellington Mamvura 07956870547, Patience Chiguta 07780667422 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.

·       Slough Zimbabwean Cultural Group Launch. Saturday 29th May from 1 – 6 pm. Venue: Weekes Drive Community Centre, Tamarisk Way, Slough SL1 2YN.  Slough MP Fiona Mactaggart is attending and is expected to deliver a speech. Cultural dances, gospel choir, fashion show of traditional costumes, Imbube, Isitshikitsha gumboot dance are planned. Proceeds to go towards helping members access training.

·       ROHR Northampton General Meeting. Saturday 5th June at 2 pm. Venue:  Carey Memorial Baptist Church, King Street, Kettering, Northants, NN16 8QL.  ROHR Executive members present and Guest Speakers. Contact: Marshall Rusike 07833787775,Wadzanayi Mpandawana 07717795574, Gladys Milanzi  07846 448 711, Norian Chindowa 07954379426, Sherry Ngaseke 07869295544 Or P Mapfumo 07915 926 323 / 07932 216 070.

·       ROHR Bristol Launch meeting. Saturday 5th June 2010 from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Joseph's Presbytery, 232 Forest Road, Fishponds, Bristol BS16 3QT. Come along and hear what's happening back home and see if we can do something to help. ROHR President, National Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Bridget Mubaiwa 07789084534, Cecilia Ndhlovu 07545118593, Emelia Sydney 07789991197, P Chibanguza 07908406069, P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070

·       ROHR South East London general meeting. Saturday 12th June from 1 – 3 pm. Venue: 16 Sydenham Road, Sydenham, London SE24 5QW. Contact P Chitsinde 07897000075, C Chiromo 07894586005 or 07838153217.

·       Swaziland Vigil. Saturdays from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria. For more information check:

·       Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

·       Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: or contact:

·        For Motherland ENT’s videos of the Vigil on 24/04/2009, check:

Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe:

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Speak out for the elephants

Dear Family and Friends,

Anyone who has had the great privilege of seeing elephants in the
wild will know of the very close bonds that exist in their herds.
Mothers are extremely protective of their calves, always shielding
them from danger, suckling them until they are four years old. Other
females in the herd are equally watchful of the youngsters, lifting
them up with a trunk when they get stuck, giving them a push from
behind when needed, waiting for them if they trail behind the herd.
If you've ever been fortunate enough to go on a game drive, you will
know that one of the most dangerous things to do is to get between a
mother elephant and her calf.

In the mid 1980's I witnessed the splitting up of two young elephant
calves that had been orphaned as a result of culling operations and
were being hand reared in an Harare game park. Without notice or
warning a capture team arrived one morning. At government level an
elephant calf had been promised to a zoo in Korea and there was
nothing that could be done to stop the export. The young male
elephant calf, less than a year old, was darted, loaded into a crate
and taken away just one month after he and the young female had

The female elephant calf left behind was distraught, running
backwards and forwards along the fence, trumpeting, screeching and
calling repeatedly for her companion. Again and again she lifted her
trunk, scenting the air in all directions trying to catch his smell,
rumbling and listening for his sound, charging anyone that tried to
calm her. Some time later the sad news came that the little male
elephant sent to Korea had not survived even a tenth of his expected
60 year life span

With this memory still fresh in my mind it has come as shocking news
that a pair of eighteen month old elephant babies are about to be
sent to North Korea. The elephants are amongst a group of animals
being captured in Hwange National Park and are to be taken to a zoo
in Pyongyang. In an arrangement between Zimbabwe's President and
North Korea, other wild animals being exported include zebra, warthog
and spotted hyaenas. Zimbabwe's director of the Department of National
Parks has described the export as a business arrangement.

As I write, protests and international appeals are going on to try
and stop the export of the two baby elephants. Amongst those totally
against the export is a new organization that is starting to
revolutionize animal welfare in Zimbabwe. Known as VAWZ, or
Veterinarians for Animal Welfare Zimbabwe, this private Trust
organization can't have started up at a better time. Among other
things so desperately needed in Zimbabwe they are going to be
investigating wildlife poaching, leopard hunting with dogs, animal
imports and exports. They are going to inspect abattoirs and research
laboratories and check on conditions for guard dogs and Police horses.
And perhaps most important of all VAWZ will be involved in training
and education, working

with private and government departments and with animal health
personnel in their endeavour to put animal welfare back on Zimbabwe's
moral compass.It is long overdue and Zimbabwe's bravest of the brave,
Meryl Harrison, has come home to lead investigations for VAWZ. They
need as much help and support as they can get and can be contacted at <>

I end this letter with an appeal to anyone who has a voice to speak
out for Zimbabwe's elephants: let them stay where they belong, with
their family groups and herds in our hot, dusty, African bush, not in
a zoo in North Korea. Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy.
� Copyright cathy buckle 22nd May 2010.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe should adopt a responsible borrowing policy

Fifteen months after the formation of the inclusive government, Zimbabwe has
still not devised and adopted a strategic policy to deal with the debt
crisis in which the country finds itself trapped.It is particularly sad to
note that the country's debt obligation, to both bilateral and multi-lateral
financial institutions, is still hovering in the region of around USD7
billion.One doesnot have to be a financial genius to appreciate that
Zimbabwe is facing a debilitating debt crisis that urgently demands the
attention of the inclusive government.The authorities at the Ministry of
Finance are no doubt seized with this matter concerning the debt trap.Recent
pronouncements from the Finance Ministry have convinced some of us that the
debt problem is indeed a matter of grave concern to our
treasury.Indeed,every Zimbabwean should be seriously concerned with this
debt crisis because whether we like it or not, the debt problem negatively
impacts on the country's development trajectory.Put simply, the debt burden
of USD7 billion in an economy that is still battling to find its feet is
like the sword of Damocles hanging over the head of each and every

More than 70% of Zimbabweans live in abject poverty.This means that the
majority of Zimbabweans live on less than USD2 a day.Surely, for a country
endowed with so many natural resources like Zimbabwe, all of us should be
terribly ashamed of these startling statistics.All Zimbabweans, without
exception, should enjoy basic rights such as the right to
food,housing,clothing,employment,education,health services and a healthy
environment.Indeed,the United Nations Commission on Human Rights resolution
2000 of 1982 recognises that these rights cannot be surbodinated to the
implementation of structural adjustment programmes and economic reforms
arising from debt.How can the inclusive government dream of providing basic
services to the people when the country is sitting on a debt time bomb of
almost USD7 billion? Why is it taking so long for the government to
debate,design and adopt a strategic and progressive debt management policy
that will extricate Zimbabwe from this debt trap?

In previous articles concerning the issue of debt,I have strongly advocated
for the cancellation of all odious debts that Zimbabwe has incurred.I have
called for the adoption of a rigorous debt audit mechanism that will enable
us to determine which debts are legitimate and which ones are not.I still
associate myself with these sentiments.Odious debts should not be
honoured.It is as simple as that.Whilst I have no problems with activists
who agitate for the wholesale cancellation of all developing countries' debt
to enable these countries to jump start their moribund economies; I am
strongly convinced that there should be no blanket cancellation of
developing countries' debts before a holistic and comprehensive debt audit
has been undertaken.Firstly, we should locate the main reasons behind the
massive accumulation of the debt portfolio in most developing countries.We
should also interrogate the role  of lending countries and the international
financial institutions( IFIs), such as the World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund, in loan contraction in the developing world.More
particularly, we should seek to ascertain whether the IFIs have adopted
responsible lending practices or whether they are ,in fact, the catalyst to
the pauperisation of the developing world by promoting irresponsible and
inherently corrupt lending practices.Put simply, there should be no sacred
cows in this crucial exercise of liberating developing countries from this
enslaving cycle of debt and poverty.

The inclusive government is hereby encouraged to design and urgently adopt
its own context-specific standards,benchmarks and indicators to deal with
Zimbabwe's debt crisis.There is no use in pontificating and somehow,
relegating the debt crisis to less important items on the agenda of
government business.The debt crisis is glaring us in the face and no amount
of political bravado can idly relegate it to a non-issue unless and until we
tackle the crisis head-on.There is no use in adopting a policy of
see-no-evil and hear-no-evil inasfaras the debt crisis is concerned.We
cannot even talk about the rule of law and the democratisation agenda as
long as we continue to fail to  effectively deal with the debt crisis in our
country.The government should urgently highlight necessary steps towards
realising economic reforms and foreign debt management, consistent with
human rights principles.Zimbabwe needs a new debt sustainability framework
that should take into account the impact of debt service on the country's
ability to fulfill its obligations under international human rights law.We
cannot even talk of achieving the millenium development goals( MDGs) if we
fail to adopt a new and effective debt sustainability framework.This world
is globalising; whether we like it or not.The objectives and conditionality
attached to granting debt relief should be in line with human rights
objectives.Both the borrower and the lender share a common responsibility on
illegitimate debt and its cancellation.Going forward, Zimbabwe should ensure
that before new loan agreements are signed,borrowers and creditors should
assess and consider the economic and social impact of debt service
obligations.At all times, we should make sure that obligations arising from
new loan agreements should not impair the institutional and financial
capacity of Zimbabwe to fulfill economic,social and cultural
rights,including response to any disasters or crises.

In April 2004,the UN Commission on Human Rights sought to draft general
guidelines to be followed by States and by private and public,national and
international financial institutions in decision-making and execution of
debt repayments and structural reform programs,to ensure that compliance
with the commitments derived from foreign debt will not undermine the
obligations for the realisation of fundamental economic,social and cultural
rights.An independent expert, Dr.Cephas Lumina, has been appointed by the UN
to work on these guidelines and the writer is priviledged to be working as
one of Dr.Lumina's resource persons.I am of the firm view that both the
negotiations and implementation of loan agreements should be transparent and
open to public scrutiny.There is no need for secretive loan
contraction.Indeed,Parliament should be allowed to play a more meaningfull
role in loan contraction rather than to simply ratify loan agreements that
would have been secretly negotiated by the executive arm of the State.It is
only in this way that the phenomenon of odious and illegitimate debts can be

Zimbabwe is too rich to be poor.

Written by :

Senator Obert Gutu


Back to the Top
Back to Index