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

Zimbabwe PM calls for reforms before election

(AFP) – 2 hours ago

HARARE — Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Tuesday called for
peace and demanded political reforms before any election to replace a
coalition government with his long time rival President Robert Mugabe.

"There must be a non-violent environment so that people vote in a free and
fair vote," Tsvangirai said while addressing hundreds of workers marking
Workers Day at Gwanzura stadium in Harare.

"Elections must not reproduce the 2008 scenario where Tsvangirai wins but
cannot form a government, that we will not accept."

"This unity government must be ended by a process which was agreed by SADC
(Southern African Development Community), there must be a new constitution,
there must be a referendum, a new voters roll," he added.

Tsvangirai and Mugabe formed a coalition government in February 2009 after a
disputed presidential poll run-off in June 2008.

Tsvangirai, who won the first round of the vote in March 2008 pulled out of
the run-off citing violence against his supporters.

The prime minister's Movement for Democratic Change has said over 200
supporters and officials of the party were murdered during the presidential
run-off. The party blamed the violence on Mugabe's ZANU PF party.

Mugabe who has ruled the country since 1980 when the country won its
independence continues to insist that elections will be held this year while
Tsvangirai says reforms are a condition to guarantee a free and fair vote.

The southern African country is currently drafting a new constitution which
will go to a referendum before elections according to the political
agreement brokered by SADC to form a coalition government.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe and Tsvangirai to receive draft constitution on Wednesday

By Tichaona Sibanda
01 May 2012

Principals to the GPA will receive a draft copy of the new constitution on Wednesday, COPAC-co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora said on Tuesday.

‘We managed to resolve some issues on devolution, death penalty and citizenship,’ Mwonzora said, adding that the country should now be able to look forward to having a referendum by August.

The MDC-T MP for Nyanga North and party spokesman, told SW Radio Africa that the co-chairpersons and management committee of COPAC met in Harare on Monday where it was decided the principals will be handed the draft constitution.

The committee that met comprises GPA negotiators from ZANU PF and the two MDC formations, COPAC co-chairpersons and Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga.

‘We presented the draft to the management committee who accepted it. They also authorized that the draft be handed over to the principals, which they will do on Wednesday,’ the MDC-T legislator added.

Mwonzora said they had reached some agreement on the outstanding issues:
‘On citizenship we decided that no Zimbabwean by birth must lose their citizenship. Now we have many Zimbabweans who are citizens of other nations. On that score we resolved that it would be left to an act of parliament to determine whether to place any limitations on the rights of people with dual citizenship.

‘For example, that act of parliament will look at a scenario where a Zimbabwean with dual British citizenship can be allowed to stand as a President or Member of Parliament. These limitations are normal and are enshrined in many constitutions around the world. In the USA you can never be a president when you are a citizen of another country,’ Mwonzora said.

‘On death penalty we agreed that it is returnable only in instances of aggravated murder. On the issue of devolution, everything was agreed except on the composition of the provincial assembly. The issue of an elected governor was tentatively agreed.

‘What is left is the structure and composition of the provincial government. Some people still want a provincial government of people elected directly by the electorate, while others want sitting MP’s to be appointed to this provincial set-up,’ Mwonzora said.

He continued: ‘The differences are not many. The management committee has tasked us (co-chairpersons) to meet Wednesday and Thursday to deal with issues that were agreed on and incorporate them into the new constitution.’

Leading pro-democracy activist and lawyer Dewa Mavhinga said COPAC has only managed to deal with a few issues in dispute, leaving the rest to be dealt with by a new government that will emerge after the next elections.

‘Technically by referring some of the issues to parliament is deferring them and leaving it open for a new government to decide after the elections. What it means is that only a new government, elected under a new constitution, can then sit down and decide whether or not to have dual citizenship in Zimbabwe,’ Mavhinga said.

This will come as another setback for millions of Zimbabweans living in exile who were hoping a new constitution would allow them to vote, but it will come as good news to ZANU PF who are reluctant for close to 4 million Zimbabweans in exile to participate in national elections.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Devolution stalls new constitution

01/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

WORK on the country’s new constitution has stalled over devolution although
agreement has been reached on dual citizenship, officials confirmed Tuesday.

A draft of the new charter has since been handed over to the management
committee which comprises GPA negotiators, COPAC co-chairs and
constitutional affairs Minister, Eric Matinenga.

And officials said progress has been made on one of the two major issues
stalling progress after it was agreed that dual citizenship would be dealt
with through an act of Parliament.
However, there appears to be no movement on devolution which President
Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party is bitterly opposed to.

Said COPAC co-chair Paul Mangwana of Zanu PF: “The document has been
accepted and we can only say the management committee has unparked dual
citizenship where we agreed that an Act of Parliament should deal with it.
“As for devolution of power, there were quite some discussions and we are
close to an agreement.”

Douglas Mwonzora of the MDC-T added: “The issue of dual citizenship has been
resolved by leaving everything to an Act of Parliament, but there was no
movement on devolution of power.”
COPAC is under pressure to complete the writing of the new charter which is
expected to lead to new elections.

Mugabe and his coalition partners, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
deputy, Arthur Mutambara recently expressed concern over delays in the
process and demanded that exercise be speeded-up.

“The principals to the Global Political Agreement expressed concern at the
delay in concluding the Constitution by both the Constitution
Parliamentary Select Committee and the management committee,” Information
Minister Webster Shamu said last week.

“The principals directed that the Minister of Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs, Advocate Eric Matinenga, should work closely with the
Select Committee and the management committee in order to conclude the
drafting process by next week so as to deliver the draft Constitution to the

A new constitution was one of a raft of political reforms agreed under the
GPA. Once completed the charter would be put to a referendum, leading to new

Mugabe wants the constitutional reforms completed in time for elections to
be held this year. The Zanu PF leader insists that policy and other
differences with his partners have rendered the coalition government

His rivals however, disagree on the timing of the new ballot with Tsvangirai
saying it was unlikely that all the reforms necessary to ensure a credible
ballot would be completed this year.
The MDC-T leader says a new election is only viable in 2013.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Copac under pressure to break impasse

Written by Bridget Mananavire, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 11:04

HARARE - Power-sharing negotiators in the Copac management committee were
last night locked up in a meeting to break deadlocked issues in the draft
constitution, as the pressure to complete the draft mounts.

Paul Munyaradzi Mangwana, the Zanu PF Constitutional Select Committee
(Copac) co-chair confirmed that the meeting was meant to resolve outstanding
issues that are holding back the conclusion of the draft constitution.

“We are hoping to resolve the parked issues in the draft. These are issues
that we have not reached an agreement on,” he told the Daily News before the

The three principals of the coalition government have been reportedly
pressuring Copac to finish the draft.

Last week, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai —
with the backing of Cabinet — issued a statement expressing worry over the
delays and giving Copac until the end of this week to complete the draft.

Since 2009 squabbles and disagreements have been rocking the on-and-off
constitutional process resulting in its stalling at every turn.

The Copac management committee is made up of coalition government
negotiators, the three Co-chairpersons of the Select Committee and the
minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.

It provides policy direction to the process.

The constitution-making process has been slowly dragging on, with
accusations flying that Copac members were forgetting their mandate and
concentrating on enjoying perks that come with the job.

Copac is a cross-party parliamentary body leading the writing of the country’s
new constitution, viewed by regional leaders as key to the future stability
of the country.

Yesterday’s meeting was supposed to consider queries of some Zanu PF
officials who last week made demands that could see the process dragging
again, the officials were advised by the co-chairs to take their concerns to
the management committee, as principals were getting anxious over the delays
of the constitution.

Zanu PF members in Copac were last week reported to have been demanding a
clause by clause review, a process which according to other members has
already been done.

This move exposes a deeper drive by Zanu PF members to delay the speedy
completion of a new constitution as demanded by Mugabe, who is pushing hard
for elections this year.

Sources within Copac told the Daily News the move was spectacular as Zanu PF
co-chair Mangwana had also announced to the media that the draft was ready
on the same day the principals issued the statement.

Zimbabwe’s supreme law and future hangs in the balance as it is tangled in
Zanu PF factional politics and intra-party tug of war. Zanu PF factions are
at each other’s throats over Mugabe’s succession and have in the past months
taken their political power tug of war to Copac.

Front-running the bid to derail the process and force elections under the
current outdated Lancaster House is serial political flip-flopper Jonathan

Moyo and Copac officials; including those representing Zanu PF have been at
each other’s throats following Moyo’s characterisation of Copac as a “mafia”
driving a regime change agenda in the country.

Moyo was accused by his fellow party member, Mangwana of plotting a spirited
campaign against the process describing his actions as the work of the

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

In May Day Solidarity, Zimbabwe's NCA Urges Workers to Reject Draft Charter

30 April 2012

Ntungamili Nkomo & Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington DC

Zimbabwe's constitutional reform movement, the National Constitutional
Assembly has urged workers to take the lead in rejecting the new draft
constitution due for a referendum later this year, arguing the proposed
charter does not reflect majority will.

In a solidarity statement ahead of Workers' Day Tuesday, the NCA said the
working class should stand up and demand a fair shake, including better
salaries and improved working conditions.

The group, which campaigns for a people-driven constitution also criticized
the government for running down the economy and relegating the majority of
workers to levels of abject poverty.

Way behind schedule, the draft charter is under negotiation by the unity
partners, hard-pressed to reach agreement on several issues, including
devolution of power, dual citizenship, and the number of vice presidents the
country should have.

"Workers should take a lead in rejecting the imposition of a negotiated
document between the two MDCs and ZANU-PF that COPAC intends to present to
the public as the proposed draft constitution," said spokesman Madock

But secretary-general, Japhet Moyo of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
faction led by George Nkiwane, said workers will not be influenced by the

"We said as workers that what is going to come out of the process, the
product itself, will determine whether we will support it or not," said
Moyo. "If the charter reflects what the people were saying during the
chaotic information-gathering, and people accept it, who are we to oppose

Both formations of the ZCTU have, meanwhile, scheduled different May Day
events in Harare. The Nkiwane faction will be at Gwanzura stadium, while the
one led by Lovemore Matombo will hold its festivities at Harare Gardens.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai will attend the Nkiwane event, said MDC
organizing secretary, Nelson Chamisa.

Industry Minister Welshman Ncube, leader of the rival MDC wing issued a
statement urging government to pull out all the stops and address worker

"The MDC believes the absence of sincere engagement with workers in
government decision-making processes deprives the nation of the best ideas
that will bring positive change to our economic circumstances," he said.

"We therefore, demand the resumption of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum. We
are convinced that only through honest engagement can the national economic
woes we face be abated."

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe probes worker abuse by Chinese firms over alleged violence, low pay, safety concerns

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, May 2, 2:47 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s government is investigating persistent reports
of rampant abuse of workers by Chinese employers, the labor minister said

A team of investigators has already started visiting Chinese construction
and mining companies to compile details of alleged abuses, Paurina Mupariwa
said during the country’s Workers’ Day celebrations in the capital, Harare.

Labor officials say workers have complained of physical abuse by Chinese
managers, earnings below the legal minimum, extended working hours and
negligence over health and safety conditions.

Years of political and economic turmoil have seen an influx of Chinese
businesses in a “Look East” policy announced by President Robert Mugabe. The
creation of the policy is meant to replace Western investors scared off by
human rights violations and a black empowerment program that envisions
seizure of 51 percent of foreign-owned firms, excluding Chinese.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, a former labor leader, said Tuesday that
workers now suffering record unemployment pinned their hopes on democratic
reforms for future economic growth.

Tsvangirai, in a shaky coalition government formed with Mugabe after
violent-ridden and inconclusive elections in 2008, said the power-sharing
deal has made it difficult to pursue any programs to improve workers’

“We have a unique coalition of opposing ideologies...this has resulted in
the government dismally failing in its major responsibility of creating
jobs...and setting the tone and foundation for economic progress and
development,” he said.

He did not refer directly to complaints against Chinese firms.

But Lovemore Matombo, a veteran labor union official, at another Workers’
Day gathering in Harare, said the government has turned a blind eye to
workers’ abuse by the Chinese and have let them “run the economy,” without
regard to labor laws.

“The Chinese in this country are treated more like a scared cow by
government. They don’t want to observe our labor laws. Every investor should
abide by the country’s laws,” he said.

Matombo said his organization has received complaints that the Chinese
companies in Zimbabwe, apart from giving workers low pay, can go up to two
months without paying any wages to their workers.

“Where they (Chinese) are supposed to give workers $400, they give them $80
and can take one or two months to do that. Workers are slapped and kicked,”
he said. “They don’t observe safety requirements and provide no protective
clothing in the mines.”

Labor leaders have also reported Chinese managers using pejorative language
against black Zimbabweans and locking them up in storerooms for alleged

Workers who recently protested working conditions at a military college
being built by China outside Harare said their peaceful demonstration was
violently broken up by Zimbabwean soldiers.

No response was immediately available from the Chinese embassy officials in

In the past, Chinese officials have avoided dealing with complaints against
their nationals in Zimbabwe, stressing instead their close and cordial ties
with Mugabe’s party.

Mupariwa, the labor minister, said she expected the investigations to be
completed this week. She will present the findings to the ministerial

“We will not allow this in our country. We won’t let it happen to our
workers,” she said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Rival ZCTU factions celebrate Workers Day separately

By Lance Guma
01 May 2012

The factionalism in the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) was exposed Tuesday when the two rival unions held separate May Day celebrations in the country. The faction led by George Nkiwane held celebrations inside Gwanzura Stadium, while the one led by Lovemore Matombo was at the Harare Gardens.

Last year the ZCTU split, in the run up to a congress that was meant to elect a new leadership. Matombo, the president at the time, claimed delegates to the congress were not properly vetted while those aligned to the eventual winner, Nkiwane, claimed Matombo knew he did not have sufficient support to retain his post.

Although reports suggested unity talks were under way, Tuesday’s Workers Day celebrations highlighted the existing acrimony. Matombo for example used an interview with our correspondent to blast Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a ‘political prostitute’ and accused him of taking sides by attending the Nkiwane led celebrations.

Tsvangirai meanwhile gave a speech telling the thousands gathered at Gwanzura Stadium that he was not happy there were two separate celebrations “because labour has chosen to factionalise itself.” The PM said it was not in the interest of workers, “to have a divided leadership claiming to represent their interest.”

Tsvangirai, who led the ZCTU as Secretary General before the formation of the MDC, said: “I hope common sense will prevail because it is in the interest of workers for the country’s largest labour body in the country, the ZCTU, to be one united entity. I hope that dialogue will be speeded up so that the workers of this country will speak with one strong voice through a united body.”

The PM also said there was nothing to celebrate at this year’s workers’ day and “our calendar is now laden with meaningless national holidays.”

“Today, we “celebrate” workers’ day in a country where very few people are still in formal employment, companies have closed down and the remaining workers, including civil servants, are earning below the poverty datum line. So today is workers’ day in a country with no workers,” he said.

He added: “On Thursday, we “celebrate” Press Freedom day when there is no such press freedom in the country. So I have no doubt in my mind about the bleak backdrop on which we celebrate this day.”

Interested to learn why the ZCTU split?

Last month SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma hosted a two part debate between rival Presidents Lovemore Matombo and George Nkiwane. Both explain why the ZCTU split and what it would take to unite the two factions. They also answered questions from SW Radio Africa listeners.

Transcript: ZCTU rival presidents debate on Question Time: Part 1

Transcript: ZCTU rival presidents debate on Question Time: Part 2


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai ‘Endorses’ Nkiwane’s ZCTU Faction

Harare, May 01 , 2012 – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has decided to snub
the Lovemore Matombo led Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions faction in favour
of the George Nkiwane grouping thereby endorsing the later.

The Nkiwane led ZCTU is holding its May Day commemorations Gwanzura stadium
while the Matombo led faction has organised it’s at Harare gardens.
Both groups invited Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to be the guest of
“Prime Minister Tsvangirai will this afternoon address workers in Gwanzura
stadium. All workers and the press are invited to attend this special day,
“Luke Tamborinyoka Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s spokesperson confirmed
to Radio VOP Tuesday.
Prime Minister Tsvangirai is said to be confused over the squabbles in ZCTU
and his attendance at any of the factions’ event means his endorsement to
that group.
Sources within Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s office said the Premier last week
told both ZCTU factions that they should put their house in order if they
want to invite him keeping them guising whether he will attend their events.
Lovemore Matombo was booted out of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
last year at congress which voted in Mr George Nkiwane as the new president.

But Matombo urged that the congress was illegitimately held and vowed not to
relinquish his post.

At the congress which was attended by 165 voting delegates in Bulawayo, 160
voted for Mr Nkiwane while only two voted for Mr Matombo who boycotted the
The power wrangle is still pending before the courts with the two factions
continuously fighting.

The Nkiwane led ZCTU’s secretary General Japhet Moyo said the Matombo ZCTU
rushed to invite Tsvangirai after they had already invited him hence their
“We know that the people who told you that Prime Minister Tsvangirai was
going to snub us obviously come from the rebels that are from the Matombo
“As far as we are concerned we are convinced that Prime Minister Tsvangirai
is coming as he has confirmed and if he fails to come we will not link that
to our disputes. We have also invited Labour and social services Minister
Paurina Mpariwa to grace the May day,”Moyo said.
But Matombo said they are not worried by Tsvangirai’s absence at their
“We welcome the Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s decision not to attend because
we know that was going to divide workers. Tsvangirai as the former ZCTU
secretary General he knows the pains of being divided. It affects workers.
We know that there are some of us who want to be known by MDC and as ZCTU we
are not worried by Prime minister’s attendance or absence,” Matombo said.
All over the world, workers come together on this day to demonstrate their
solidarity as workers and their support for social democracy. The date
commemorates the historic struggles of working people, and is recognized in
every country.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Armed police quell ZANU PF clashes in Masvingo South

By Tichaona Sibanda
01 May 2012

Ideological and personal fault lines are growing in ZANU PF as rival
factions gang up against each other following the party’s District
Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections nationwide.

There were ugly scenes of intra-party violence following another round of
disputed DCC elections in Nyajena, Masvingo South.

Armed police had to be called in to quell clashes and fired shots to
disperse the warring parties. Other party supporters fought running battles
at Shumba Primary School in Masvingo South, after members aligned to the
Mujuru faction accused their rivals of manipulating the elections.

Supporters pelted each other with stones, resulting in several people being
injured and damage to the school classrooms with windows shattered.

The warring factions, one led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and the
other by Vice-President Joice Mujuru, have been fighting over various issues
including control of party structures in the provinces.

Last Thursday a ZANU PF meeting to discuss the DCC elections disintegrated
into an all out brawl as tensions came to a head in Nyanga. Scores of people
sustained minor injuries. Police in riot gear intervened and managed to
separate the warring factions. No one was arrested.
The Nyanga incident came barely a week after similar clashes in Masvingo
where police were also called in to disperse the fighting supporters.

The clashes over the DCC elections in so many of the provinces have exposed
the levels of factionalism in the party as the big guns in ZANU PF battle to
position themselves to replace Mugabe.

SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that party leaders from seven out of
ten provinces have asked the politburo to urgently call for fresh DCC
elections, to inject new blood in the running and management of the party
affairs ahead of the next election.
The leaders allege the discredited elections were won by individuals imposed
on the party electorate by provincial executives, mainly aligned to the
powerful faction led by Mnangagwa.

The y said that it was only through fresh DCC elections that ZANU PF would
be salvaged from disintegrating further due to the bad leadership from a
section of the top provincial party leaders who are driving out key

United States based political analyst Dr Maxwell Shumba said the in-fighting
in ZANU PF is to be expected, because of the party’s propensity to ‘teach
their members not to love country but money and material things first.’

‘ZANU PF is imploding and it will get worse unless they teach their members
to love country first and material things second. The politics of patronage
is destroying the party as everyone wants political power in order to
control the mineral wealth in the country,’ Shumba said.

He said the post-DCC election violence has not only divided ZANU PF, but
also threatened to cause a deepening rift between the rival factions.

The party’s politburo is expected to meet Wednesday to deal with the
violence amid reports senior members, including party leader Robert Mugabe,
were alarmed after stalwarts in provinces like Bulawayo, Masvingo, and
Manicaland rose against each other.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Transitional justice ‘not possible’ with ZANU PF in power

By Alex Bell
01 May 2012

A government minister has said attempts at a national healing and justice
programme in Zimbabwe will not be possible while ZANU PF remains in power.

Moses Mzila Ndlovu, the co-Minister of National Healing from the MDC-N
party, said on Monday that ZANU PF’s continued presence in government was
undermining attempts to start moving the country forward.

He was speaking at the launch of a Transitional Justice report in London,
which focused on the expectations of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. The report
is the result of a series of workshops started by the Zimbabwe Human Rights
NGO Forum, which have aimed to gather public opinion on transitional justice

The report detailed how the main concern of the those in the Diaspora is to
be viewed as equal Zimbabweans to their citizens back home, especially those
who have also suffered at the hands of ZANU PF. Some of the respondents told
the workshops that their suffering was not being acknowledged, and neither
were their hopes for real justice.

Mzila Ndlovu said at the report launch that the views of the Diaspora
clearly echo what is wanted in Zimbabwe in terms of moving forward towards
justice. He explained that these expectations cannot be fulfilled despite
the Global Political Agreement (GPA), which included national healing as a
key aim of the unity government.

He said that this is another one of the GPA provisions that have not been
honoured by ZANU PF, saying this is why “so little” has been achieved by the
unity government.

“There is so much intimidation from our colleagues in government. They are
threatening to collapse the government, they are threatening early
elections….But we cannot pull out because we will lose what little we have
achieved, and granted that is not a lot,” Mzila Ndlovu said.

He described the little gains that the government has made in terms of a
slowly emerging plan of national healing for a post-Mugabe era. He said the
ball is starting to roll, with international guided ideas of human rights
and other legislation for the future. But he admitted “this is not possible
while ZANU PF is in power.”

“We (MDC) are pushing hard for the cycle of impunity to end because only
when Zimbabwe achieves a state of respect for human rights can we move
forward with healing,” Mzila Ndlovu said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

War vets threaten Biti

Written by Wonai Masvingise, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 10:50

HARARE - Marauding war veterans and suspected militia yesterday besieged the
offices of Finance minister Tendai Biti, left, where they threatened to beat
him up for apparent “lack” of respect for President Robert Mugabe.

Waving banners inscribed “Biti SHOW THE President Respect”, the angry mob
promised to burn the Daily News, among other newspapers for “encouraging
Biti’s campaign against Mugabe”.

The militant veterans of the Zimbabwe’s liberation were incensed by the MDC
secretary general’s acerbic remarks with regards to Mugabe’s age.

Biti is accused of having said Mugabe should be confined to an old people’s
home — sparking angry response from one of the octogenarian leader’s fierce

However, the unmoved Biti who confirmed the demonstration and subsequent
meeting with representatives of the war veterans, said he respected Mugabe
and had a solid working relationship with the veteran leader.

“I respect the President, he is the head of state, I respect the Prime
Minister, I respect my principals. I actually have very good relations with
the President,” Biti told the Daily News."

“Just last week I was in a three-hour-meeting with the President and we had
beautifully-made chicken and pancakes. I am a product of the good education
of this country which the President is responsible for,” Biti said.

The combative MDC official said Mugabe should be the first one to admit that
his education policy had produced a competent breed of class to which he was
part to.

“He educated us to offer different views and I am part of that generation he
should be proud of. The President did not educate us to be imbeciles,
slavish and engage in moronic behaviour,” said Biti.

The Finance minister revealed  he had met a 12-member  representative team
of the demonstrating war veterans and held a frank discussion with regards
to their grievances pertaining to payment of school fees by government.

The ministry of Defence is responsible for paying the fees for war veterans’
children but without allocation from treasury headed by Biti, it is

“I had a meeting earlier on with some of the war veterans. They were unhappy
about the issue of payment of school fees. We have a problem with our
general fiscal position but we will deal with it. I think at the end of the
day it was a fruitful meeting. They understood that there is not enough
money,” Biti said.

“They also understood that there has not been much revenue from our
diamonds. We will deal with their grievance.”

Biti, however, refused to be drawn into the politics of the demonstration
preferring to say that the task of reviving the economy was more pressing
than squabbling.

In yesterday’s demonstration, there was a similar pattern to last year’s
raid at the minister’s office by suspected Zanu PF youths and war veterans
who demanded increases in school fees payouts for the former freedom

Last year, Biti survived a bomb blast at his Glen Lorne home, a day after he
had a heated exchange with senior governments’ agents during the Security
Council meeting.

A powerful explosion destroyed part of the durawall of the main entrance but
no one was injured.

Biti had threatened to resign from government after the bomb attack.

Police are yet to arrest suspects in the matter.

Previously Biti had been beaten, jailed and sent bullets in an envelope by
people he said were enemies of democracy.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare International Festival of the Arts kicks off

By Lance Guma
01 May 2012

The Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA) got underway Tuesday
night with a dynamic cast of local and international performers set to light
up the Main Stage.

This year the six day festival goes under the theme “A Show of Spirit” and
will feature “music, theatre, dance, visual arts, craft, spoken word and
youth programming” according to HIFA founder and artistic director, Manuel

On Sunday music legend Oliver Mtukudzi will make a welcome return to HIFA on
the main stage in a show that will celebrate his 65th birthday. Other local
talents to feature over the coming days will be mbira songstress Chiwoniso
Maraire, urban groover Alexio Kawara and poets Outspoken and Comrade Fatso.

Those attending the festival can also expect to see the likes of Black
Umfolozi, Siyaya, Jeys Marabini, Willis Watafi, Family Voices, Umdumo
Wesizwe, Simon Banda and poet Albert Nyathi. Dance group Super Crew and tap
dancing and live jazz music crew Jazz Tap Ensemble from the United States
will also feature.

HIFA says it aims to “showcase the very best of Zimbabwean, regional and
international arts and culture in a comprehensive programme of theatre,
dance, music, circus, street performance, spoken word, craft and visual
arts.” The intention they say is to “celebrate the healing and constructive
capacity of the arts.”

This will be the 13th edition of the HIFA festival.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Court insists WOZA ‘kidnap’ case will continue

By Alex Bell
01 May 2012

A magistrate has dismissed an application by the Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(WOZA) pressure group, as part of their fight to have a ‘kidnap’ case
against them dropped.

WOZA leaders Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu are facing kidnap and
theft charges, despite the alleged victim of the ‘kidnapping’ denying this
happened. The theft charges meanwhile are related to the disappearance of a

The key witness, Emma Mabhena, last year strongly denied she was ever
kidnapped by the WOZA leaders, which contradicted a statement the police
claimed she signed. WOZA said Mabhena has “disassociated herself with most
of the statement penned in her name by police officers.”

The WOZA leaders have since applied to the High Court to have the case
dropped, which is still pending before that court.

The two also applied to be removed from remand on the basis of their High
Court challenge.

But a Bulawayo regional magistrate, Godwin Sengweni, last week dismissed
this application, arguing the application to the High Court for a ‘stay of
prosecution’ did not warrant their removal from remand.

They will now return to court in June.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Media Monitors Freed

Gwanda, May 01, 2012 – Three media monitors’ bid for freedom was finally
granted after magistrate Sheila Nazombe granted an application for refusal
of further remand by defense counsel Kossam Ncube.

Fadzai December, Molly Chimhanda and Gilbert Mabusa are facing trial for
insulting or undermining the authority of President Robert Mugabe but made a
constitutional application to the Supreme Court arguing the charges they are
facing infringe on their rights .
The Constitutional Court is yet to make a ruling and the state will now
proceed by way of summons.
Ncube had argued that having his clients on remand would infringe n his
client’s freedom as Supreme Court cases take long to be heard.
The trio is accused of insulting or undermining the authority of President
Robert Mugabe as the DVDs carry a message which says, “The President of the
Republic of Zimbabwe Robert Gabriel Mugabe is a wanted person for murder of
various people including political violence and that the state media was
biased and supportive of ZANU PF.”
The charges stem from a civic education meeting the three facilitated in
November 24 last year and spent twelve days behind bars after the state
invoked Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to deny them

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ethanol plant to sack 4,500 workers

01/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

UP to 4,500 workers at the US$600 million ethanol plant in Chisumbanje could
lose their jobs as Energy Minister Elton Mangoma continues to resist
pressure to introduce compulsory blending of petrol.

Green Fuel has already ceased ethanol production after exhausting storage
capacity at the Chisumbanje plant with some 10 million litres of product in
stock. The shut down has resulted in 700 factory workers being sent home on
forced leave.

The company employs some 4,500 at the plant and at its vast sugar
plantations, but officials say they could all lose their jobs unless the
government introduces mandatory blending petrol imports with locally
produced ethanol.
“We basically shut down the plant on February 6 and sent all the 700
employees on leave,” general manager, Graeme Smith said.

“We restarted the plant last week to keep the machine in shape and to keep
our staff motivated, but we will be closing again on May 6.”

Workers committee deputy chair, Kokanayi Mapungwana, added: “If there is
anything that needs to be done by the government, we are urging them to do
that expeditiously.
“We have families to look after and we can only do that if we are employed.”

The company has struggled to push its product on the market as most service
stations only have storage capacity for diesel and petrol.

Again, motorists argue that the price of the company’s E10 (a 10-90 ethanol
and petrol blend) is only marginally lower than unblended petrol.

Green Fuel says higher blending rations would help reduce prices further but
efforts to get government support with that and compulsory blending have so
far hit a brick wall.

Energy Minister Elton Mangoma recently ruled out compulsory blending,
telling Green Fuel to export their product if they could not sell it

“We cannot have legislation for individuals, because that would set a bad
precedent. They are free to export their product,” he said.

“We have already licensed them (Green Fuels), they are already on the market
selling their fuel. I have not followed to see the volume which they are
selling. Let’s not create a problem which is not there.”

However, Smith said exporting the ethanol would be counterproductive arguing
the product would simply be re-imported into Zimbabwe as blended petrol but
at an extra cost to the country.

He said compulsory blending could help the country save up to US$250 million
annually while higher blending rations would reduce pump prices by a further
10 cents.

Observers say the ethanol project which was expected to help end fuel supply
problems as well as significantly reduce the country’s petrol import bill
has fallen victim to coalition politics.

They claim that MDC elements in the government are reluctant assist the
project because of presumed links between individuals associated with the
company and President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

“There appears to be a perception that by helping Green Fuel one is also
helping Zanu PF because of the supposed links between the party and
individuals said to be associated with the company,” said a source close to
the developments.

“But that is unfortunate because it is only the workers who end up suffering
and we are, in effect, undermining what could be a very important project
for the country.”

The company is also understood to be fighting off predatory elements from
Zanu PF who say they will not help unless they get shares in the project
inline with the country’s economic empowerment laws.

But company officials say the project is already compliant since it is a
joint venture between two private but local companies and the state-owned
agriculture development agency, ARDA.

Said Arda chairman Basil Nyabadza:  “We now have signed a Memorandum of
Understanding which is guiding us in these negotiations (on indigenization).

“Remember that when this project started there was no indigenisation and we
are now discussing to make it a joint venture project between Government and
the investors, and not a BOT (Build Operate Transfer project,” he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chiefs threaten villagers as election euphoria heightens

By David Chidende

ZAKA- Chiefs, war veterans and Zanu PF supporters continue to turn a deaf
ear on President Mugabe’s call to shun violence as they continue to
terrorize MDC-T activities in Zaka East constituency ahead of elections
which Zanu Pf has vowed should be held this year with or without a
Zaka, a stronghold of Zanu PF has been rocked with political violence since
2008 with at least 11 MDC supporters murdered in cold blood by the war
veterans and militia.

Chief Nhema, a Zanu PF functionary is said to have ordered all the sub
chiefs and village headmen to instill fear in the people so that they vote
for Zanu PF. The villagers have been threatened with evictions from the
area, abductions, and death in the event they are found to be MDC
“We have been given direct orders by Chief Nhema to threaten people with
eviction if they did not support Zanu PF,” said sub chief who spoke on
condition of anonymity for fear of victimisation.
He added, “The chief is also working with the Zanu PF executive members,
Manyatera Venenzia, Festion Chinyanga and Jonathan Mafunga, all from
Chemhazha ward 21, in threatening us. We no longer feel safe to conduct our
day to day duties because we are afraid to be labeled MDC supporters.”

Chief Nhema is also accused of denying MDC supporters food aid from the
grain loan scheme. The loan scheme which is a government initiative is meant
benefit everyone regardless of political affiliation.
Speaking at a memorial service of an MDC activist, Martin Hanyani who died
in November last year over the weekend, MDC-T District Treasurer and
aspiring candidate for Zaka East constituency, James Gumbi advised youths to
refrain from violence and encourage them to register to vote in the next
general elections.

“That election is for us the youths, it is our job to change the country,
Slogans without voting is a waste of time.
“We don’t want violence; we are a peace loving people and our party is non
violent party.”
Gumbi said the memorial service of Hanyani, who was brutally assaulted by
Zanu PF activists in 2008 and died of internal injuries, was a clear message
that MDC-T respects and honour the young people who fought for the
democratization of this country.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Holland Scoops $50 000 Peace Award

Harare, May 01, 2012 - Sekai Holland, one of the three co -ministers for
National Healing, Reconciliation and Integration has been named the
recipient of the 2012 Sydney Peace Prize much to the surprise of human
rights activists.

The shocking awarding of the US$50 000 prize was announced on Monday at a
ceremony hosted by the Australian Embassy in Harare, Meredith Burgmann.
However, human rights activists accuse Holland’s ministry of being a ‘paper
tiger’ and highly ineffective.
The critics charge that her ministry has dismally failed in its mandate set
under the Global Political Agreement to specifically heal, reconcile as well
as integrate Zimbabweans after the bloody 2008 harmonised elections which
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's faction says left more than 500 of its
supporters dead due to state-sponsored violence.
The Sydney Peace Prize jury’s citation reads:  “Sekai Holland: for a
lifetime of outstanding courage in campaigning for human rights and
democracy, for challenging violence in all its forms and for giving such
astute and brave leadership for the empowerment of women.”
Professor Stuart Rees, Chair of the Sydney Peace Foundation said, “In
addition to her work for the education of rural women and her founding of
Australia’s anti Apartheid movement fifty years ago, Sekai Holland has been
a significant leader of non violent, democracy campaigns, and is a key
figure in her country’s national dialogue on how to heal the deep wounds of
social conflict.”
Holland, whose ministry has been rated as one of the least performing if not
the worst, was caught unawares by the accolade.
“This award comes as a wonderful surprise but one which is so encouraging. I
accept on behalf of the brave women I have worked with for so many years and
for my colleagues in our present Organ for National Healing Reconciliation
and Integration. I also acknowledge the long term support and friendship
which I have received from Australian Aboriginal campaigners for human
rights and for peace with justice,” she said.
2012 marks the 15th year of the Sydney Peace Prize, Australia’s only
international award for peace.
Sometimes perceived as controversial, previous recipients have included
Professor Muhammad Yunus, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Dr Hanan Ashrawi, former
Governor General Sir William Deane, Australia’s ‘Father of Reconciliation’
Patrick Dodson, the Indian novelist and human rights campaigner Arundhati
Roy and last year the distinguished American academic and activist,
Professor Noam Chomsky.
Holland will travel to Australia in November to give the City of Sydney
Peace Prize Lecture in the Sydney Town Hall on Wednesday November 7th and
will receive the 2012 Peace Prize ($50,000 and a trophy crafted by the
artist in glass at a gala on November 8th.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

African farmers grow trees as a natural crop fertilizer

In Africa, planting trees along with corn in soil that is low in nitrogen can substantially increase corn production without expensive fertilizers. In a decade, the number of small farmers using Fertilizer Tree Systems has ballooned from a few hundred to more than 250,000.

By Isaac Hopkins, Nourishing the Planet / May 1, 2012

A farmer inspects his crop at his farm in Senekal, in South Africa's Eastern Free State. Thousands of African farmers are planting trees among their crops to add nitrogen without the need for expensive fertilizers.

Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters/File

Among the most challenging long-term barriers to agricultural production and sustainability in Africa is poor and degrading soil quality.

According to “Agricultural success from Africa: the case of fertilizer tree systems in southern Africa (Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe),” a report from the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, simple “Fertilizer Tree Systems” (FTS) can double maize (corn) production in soil that is low in nitrogen, an essential plant nutrient.

A type of agroforestry, FTS incorporate nitrogen-fixing trees and shrubs into agricultural fields, usually inter-planted with food crops. These trees take in atmospheric nitrogen and return it to the soil, where it serves as a nutrient for plants.

Soil analyses by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) and others in the 1980s revealed nitrogen to be a limiting factor in many African soils. In response, on-farm studies in the 1990s showed that FTS, with the right species, could increase crop yields with or without mineral fertilizers.

FTS are much cheaper for farmers to implement than buying fertilizer and represent a more holistic approach to soil management. FTS scaling-up programs were broadly implemented about 10 years ago, and in that time the number of small farmers using these techniques has ballooned from a few hundred to more than 250,000 in Malawi, Tanzania, Mozambique, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

FTS have proven most effective for small farmers who are able to devote the necessary labor and land more easily than raise the money needed for commercial fertilizer. By relying on naturally occurring systems rather than imports, agroforestry improves food security, bolsters biodiversity, and reinforces local economies.

The introduction of a wider variety of plants to fields, for example, has been shown to increase diversity of the local ecosystem, which further augments the soil.

According to the report, FTS have generally been successful, but they are subject to regional variation. Some areas have found more suitable native nitrogen-fixers than others, and many regions have had little or no research to identify the best plants to use. 

The report also stresses that FTS do not provide all nutrients required by crops, so external inputs are frequently necessary to boost phosphorus and potassium. However, as nitrogen has been shown to be a limiting nutrient in much of southern Africa, sustainable production can be improved through the use of FTS, even without other fertilizers.

Farmers in southern Africa have shown themselves keen to embrace new innovations, like the FTS programs. As research and training continue, more small farmers will be able to produce more food in sustainable ways.

• Isaac Hopkins is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project. This article originally appeared at Nourishing the Planet, a blog published by the Worldwatch Institute.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mbada Diamonds Underwrites University Department

01.05.12, 10:51

The University of Zimbabwe's Metallurgy Department, which had been closed
down due to a lack of lecturers, has been adopted by the mining company
Mbada Diamonds, Zimbabwe newspaper The Herald reported.

Mbada revealed its plans to underwrite the Metalurgy Department at a
University of Zimbabwe fundraising dinner whose guests included former South
African President Thabo Mbeki and various Zimbabwean government ministers.
Mbada has stepped to the fore as the university is appealing to donors for
funding to the tune of $70 million.

Mbada announced in September that it had become the single largest producer
of diamonds in Zimbabwe, knocking Rio Tinto out of the top spot. According
to Mbada chairman Robert Mhlanga, the diamond company recovers a full
150,000 carats of diamonds per month from its mining operations.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mbare Report No. 108 – Weekend in the cells

Weekend in the cells
A young woman was earning a living by making cash books and selling them. At
first she did very well. A company bought hundreds of them. Bu then robbers
came and took everything. She could no longer pay the rent and her landlord
took her to court. That got her into police custody the first time.
Hardly released, she started her little business again, only to be picked up
by the police a second time. Back in the cells, she sent desperate SOS calls
on her cell-phone to her friends. She needed something like $ 30 to get out.
That was on a Saturday. Nothing doing on Sunday. We finally got her out on
Monday morning.
Why are people who try make a living by producing something useful punished
as if they were criminals? “The law is an ass” – at least if it does more
harm than good as in this case.
Trading without a licence may be an offence in normal times. But these are
not normal times. The vast majority of our working population are unemployed
and have to earn a living in the informal sector. Why should they be
punished for this? What about the people who have destroyed our economy and
do not create any employment? Should they not be held accountable, much more
than the victims of their failed policies?

Our youngsters have started making candles which they think are very much
needed during these times of daily power-cuts. Very nice candles. They gave
me two large ones to use in the church.
Producing things is comparatively easy. To find a market for them and sell
them – that is much more difficult. There is a lot competition. You have to
be cheaper than your rivals in order to sell anything. And still make a
Our young people who dream of getting rich quick learn the hard way.

Young people like to get out of Mbare which they call the “ghetto”. One
youth group arranged for an outing to a lake. They presented the priest with
a bill of more than a hundred dollars. He asked, “How much can you raise
yourselves?” They did not expect this. But when they came back with about
half the money needed they were given the rest.
Another group planned a weekend trip to Mutemwa, the popular place of
pilgrimage where people go to pray the whole night on the mountain where
John Bradburne, the martyr and friend of the lepers, used to pray. They
never asked for anything. For months they had been saving up. No need for
People are beginning to learn: the Church is not a big dairy cow to be
milked. The Church is theirs, not to be exploited. – - Oskar Wermter SJ

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

World Press Freedom Day - Not in Mugabe’s backyard

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 1st May 2012.

Despite being hailed as a “liberator” in 1980, Robert Mugabe was named by
the international media watchdog Reporters Without Borders as one of Africa’s
7 worst press freedom predators in 2011. Little, if any has changed since

Admittedly, the registration of 30 or so ‘independent’ publications was a
move in the right direction. However, the controversial licensing of 2
commercial radio stations has been criticised for “keeping Mugabe’s critics
out of the race”.

Furthermore, journalists and street vendors continue to be subjected to
harassment, intimidation and violence by the regime’s agents, while threats
of lawsuits for criminal defamation have been blamed for the dearth of
investigative journalism.

Zimbabwe is inevitably undergoing a political transition albeit
characterised by many false starts and even back pedalling. A typical case
is that of the opening of the airwaves.

As noted by Professor Eldred Masunungure, ‘a political transition is about
regime change or regime transformation’ (Zimbabwe’s Power Sharing Agreement,
paper prepared for a workshop on ‘The Consequences of Political Inclusion in
Africa’, April 24-25, 2009, American University, Washington D.C. p4).

Critics argue that ‘not everyone is on board’ on the transformation agenda
as there is stiff resistance to key media reforms by some hardliners.

It is this paper’s contention that the Mugabe regime is ‘driving with the
hand-brake on’ as far as press freedom, the opening of the airwaves and
freedom of expression are concerned.

The basis for that argument is the retention of ‘revenge laws’ like AIPPA
and colonial criminal defamation laws, the reluctance to reconstitute the
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) and the ongoing running battles
with civil society.

For instance, police disrupted a road show organised by a Bulawayo-based
community radio initiative, Radio Dialogue during the recent Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF) suggesting lack of clear policy by the
inclusive government.

According to reports, police in riot gear called off the road show, four
hours after it had started, claiming there was not enough space for holding
the activity. Earlier in March, Police refused to grant Radio Dialogue
clearance for a free-the-airwaves procession.

In 2010, Police and the CIO allegedly confiscated donated shortwave radio
sets from villagers in Murehwa and Bikita west in an effort to deny them
access to balanced foreign news broadcasts.

However, despite condemning foreign based independent media as ‘pirate radio
stations’, the regime’s loyalists’ ironically feature in interviews.

It is ironic and very sad that the former champions of the fight for press
freedom and a new world information order have now turned to be oppressors
32 years later.

Zimbabwe’s coalition government continues to pull in opposite directions on
the issue of media freedom although enshrined in the 1948 Universal
Declaration of Human Rights – well before some of the ministers were born!

By resisting press freedom ‘in his back yard’ Robert Mugabe is only giving
more ammunition to his critics, a move that is unsustainable in
transnational relations.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

Back to the Top
Back to Index