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No salary freeze says Tsvangirai

Saturday, 01 May 2010 23:24

PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was Saturday forced to make a public
retraction of recent statements by senior government officials that all
salaries had been frozen in a bid to contain growing unrest among workers
who feel neglected by the inclusive government.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti last week said the government had frozen civil
servants' salaries saying the government wage bill was too big.
This sparked a huge storm among workers' representatives, who said the
announcement was insensitive to their plight, with many pushing for fresh
elections fully supervised by local, regional and international election

Biti's announcement also appeared to have widened the rift between the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU).

Last week, ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo told a radio station that the
MDC-T had already "disengaged" from the ZCTU.

But yesterday they appeared to have found each other again when the MDC-T
stuck to its tradition of joining the ZCTU in Workers' Day celebrations, and
took part at the main commemorations in Harare.

Tsvangirai and a number of senior MDC-T officials attended the event.

Speaking at the workers event, Tsvangirai assured workers that the salary
freeze was not in line with government policy adding the door was still open
for negotiations.

"The government did not announce a wage freeze," said Tsvangirai.

"There is no government policy on wage freeze. If ever there is going to be
such a policy, it must also take into consideration the price freeze.
"There is no government policy I know of on wage freeze."

Tsvangirai said the government was "very serious" about resolving the salary
discrepancies in the public service and ensuring a better quality of life
for workers.

Matombo said if the government did not urgently address the salaries issue,
workers would take to the streets.

"No one should freeze salaries," said Matombo. "If you want to freeze
salaries, why not go ahead and do it secretly with employers, rather than to
make a public announcement without even negotiating because it shows total
disrespect (for workers). We are not afraid of anything. We are prepared to
take into the streets."

Matombo said the current salary scales in the country were "much lower than
those during Ian Smith's UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence), 30
years after Independence."

ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibhebhe said the coming in of the
inclusive government had not brought about any meaningful changes for the

"The journey we have walked since May 1 last year is like we are moving

"The explanation from the government since 1980 is still the same, that
there is no money.

"This very worrying for us because there is money for everything else except
salaries of workers," said Chibhebhe.

Representatives of various civil society organisations also challenged the
government to be more sensitive with the plight of workers.

Meanwhile, three journalists from The Standard almost failed to cover the
ZCTU's May Day event in Dzivaresekwa after some overzealous security
personnel demanded press cards.

But even after presenting the press cards the guards went on to deny them

Senior reporters Bertha Shoko and Vusumuzi Sifile, and photographer Shepherd
Tozvireva had to seek the intervention of MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa.

More than a year into the life of the inclusive government, yesterday's
events also proved that there are still wide divisions among workers along
political lines, when some workers boycotted the ZCTU event to attend a
parallel programme organised by Joseph Chinotimba's Zimbabwe Federation of
Trade Unions (ZFTU).

A handful of people attended the ZFTU-led celebrations at Gwanzura stadium.


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Alpha Media excited about ZMC’s licence invitation

Saturday, 01 May 2010 23:02

ALPHA Media Holdings (AMH), the publishers of the Zimbabwe Independent and
The Standard say the long wait for the group’s daily paper, NewsDay may soon
be over.

This follows an announcement by the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) that it
would start receiving applications from media houses seeking registration
for new products on Tuesday. The government on Friday gazetted registration
fees for media houses and the accreditation of journalists paving the way
for the commission to begin its work in earnest.

“It’s a major development,” said AMH CEO, Raphael Khumalo (pictured)
yesterday. “After having waited for two years to get a license for NewsDay,
it’s now a matter of time before we can get the go-ahead to start

Khumalo said the daily paper would give a voice to people across the country
who for a long time have been denied access to alternative sources of

He said NewsDay would also provide employment to hundreds of skilled people
prevented from realising their potential by the restrictive media

Government has set application fees for mass media service at US$500 and
registration fees at US$1 500. Publishers will pay US$100 to renew licences.
“The commission will start receiving applications for renewal of
registration certificates by mass media service providers and renewal of
accreditation status on Tuesday,” the ZMC said in a statement.

“All new applications for both registrations of mass media services and
accreditation of journalists can be lodged with the commission on the same

Journalists and media houses have been given up to June 4 to renew their
licenses or lodge new applications.

Those that have been publishing without licenses were also given the same
deadline to regularise their operations.

ZMC commissioners were appointed in December to fulfil the Global Political
Agreement that led to the formation of the unity government in February last

The new dispensation is likely to see the return of newspapers such as The
Daily News and Daily News on Sunday, which were banned by government for
operating without licences.


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MDC officials’ deaths expose poor disaster preparedness

Saturday, 01 May 2010 19:31

THE death of former Gweru Rural Member of Parliament and Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) secretary for lands and agriculture, Renson Gasela
together with two other party officials in a horrific accident has exposed
glaring handicaps in the country’s police and fire services.
Lack of transport and fuel, poor communication and other infrastructure have
become a regular story even in matters that require urgent interventions.
All this played out on April 24 when Gasela and two other MDC officials,
Lyson Mlambo and Ntombizodwa Gumbo died in an accident.
Their bodies were stuck at the accident scene for many hours, only to be
removed in the early hours of the following day because the police had no
transport and the fire brigade had no fuel.
Even the injured spent a few hours at the scene before they were finally
taken to the United Bulawayo Hospital.
After receiving a call that Gasela had died on the spot about 25km from
Zvishavane, Regional Integration and International Cooperation Minister
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga immediately tried calling Zvishavane police
from Bulawayo, but failed to get through.
“We finally managed to get a mobile number for a police officer based in
Zvishavane, who then confirmed they had been informed of two accidents.
“One was along Masvingo road and the other was along Shurugwi road,”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.
While the police were aware of the accident, Misihairabwi said they failed
to react on time because they had no transport to get to the scene.
“They told us that the only car they had at the station had gone with
officers to the Masvingo accident.
“I immediately drove to Zvishavane with former Senator Rita Ndlovu. I took
the longer route, via Gweru and when I arrived, I found the police had
arrived at the scene about one and half hours after I spoke to them,” she
An even bigger nightmare awaited Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Industry Minister
Welshman Ncube and other officials who had rushed to the scene.
They just watched helplessly at the bodies, as they did not have the means
to get them out of the trap.
Attempts to get the Fire Brigade to intervene swiftly hit a brickwall as the
fire fighters had no fuel.
“Ncube called the Fire Brigade in Gweru, but he was told they had no fuel,”
added Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
“It was only after he offered to organise fuel for them that they managed to
get to the scene.
“They only arrived after I had already left the scene to rush to Bulawayo
with the injured, but I am told they were there in the early hours of the
next day.”
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena on Friday said inasmuch as the police
would want to respond swiftly to such situations, they were being hindered
by lack of resources.
“That is what we have always been talking about, that we do not have
adequate resources,” said Bvudzijena.
“We need more resources in terms of transport, office equipment and other
forensic equipment that we need to discharge our duties.
“The inclusive government should provide sufficient resources to ensure that
we discharge our duties properly.”
Bvudzijena said the police were still to finalise their investigations on
the fatal crash.


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Defamation: the new weapon against journalists

Saturday, 01 May 2010 19:28

TOMORROW Zimbabweans join the rest of the world in commemorating World Press
Freedom Day, but despite the formation of the inclusive government, media
restrictions still abound.
When the inclusive government came into office last year, hopes were very
high that the inter-party government would free the working environment for
the media.
Journalists and media rights campaigners believe that while amendments to
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the
Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), among others, were likely to bring a few
positive changes in the media industry, those bent on silencing dissent had
found a new weapon in defamation laws.
This week, five journalists will testify in a court case where businessman
Philip Chiyangwa is suing eight Harare councillors for criminal defamation
following the publication of details of a council report in The Standard and
Sunday Times newspapers.
The five journalists - Vincent Kahiya, Nevanji Madanhire, Jennifer Dube and
Feluna Nleya, all from The Standard and Stanley Gama from the Sunday Times
of South Africa - are being accused of publishing stories based on a City of
Harare council report about Chiyangwa's land deals in the capital.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists Secretary General, Foster Dongozi said the
case was "a spectacular own goal" by the inclusive government.
"It is actually becoming a very dubious trend, because even last year around
this time we had colleagues (Kahiya and Constantine Chimakure) who were
arrested on charges related to criminal defamation," said Dongozi.
Kahiya and Chimakure, then Editor and News Editor of the Zimbabwe
Independent respectively, were arrested a few days after World Press Freedom
Day last year on charges of publishing falsehoods.
Irene Petras, the director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said
recent cases of criminal defamation involving some senior officials were a
proof that there were still major challenges facing journalists.
"Criminal defamation is not something we need in our statutory books," said
Petras. "People have enough remedies to resolve these issues without
instituting criminal charges."
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe chapter says
defamation laws "have the effect of not only silencing the media but also
silencing society which relies on the media to know and critique government
"The police have been more than ready to act on political instructions
arresting journalists on criminal defamation charges," said MISA in a
document on criminal defamation.
Farai Nhende, a legal advisor at MISA Zimbabwe said, "The major hazard with
criminal defamation laws is that in cases pertaining to the publication of
allegations of corruption and other criminal acts they may simply be invoked
to put brakes on further investigations or publication."
Defamation criminalises the publication of statements that may cause harm to
an individual's name and good standing.
He said in most cases defamation laws force journalists to reveal their
sources, which "has a very chilling effect on investigative journalism and
amounts to an abuse of media freedom since the practice effectively turns
journalists into police informants".
Defamation criminalises the publication of statements that may cause harm to
an individual's name and good standing.


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MDC-T a junior partner in GNU — analysts

Saturday, 01 May 2010 19:25

THE recent controversial visit by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has
exposed MDC-T’s inability to influence the direction of the inclusive
government and reinforced perceptions that Morgan Tsvangirai is a lame duck
Prime Minister, analysts said last week.
President Robert Mugabe unilaterally invited the Iranian leader who is
considered a despot by the West to officially open the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF) in Bulawayo sparking protests from his
so-called equal political partners in the government of national unity (GNU)
Tsvangirai and ministers from MDC-T snubbed Ahmadinejad describing his
invitation as a “colossal” political scandal and an insult to Zimbabweans.
Undoubtedly the MDC-T’s presence in the unity government has brought some
semblance of economic and political stability but Tsvangirai is clearly
struggling to assert his authority as Zanu PF hardliners continue to put
spanners in the works.
He is slowly losing his political influence and has been shown little
respect by ministers he is supposed to supervise.
Zanu PF has been making crucial foreign, political and economic policies
with a bearing on the country’s future without consulting the two MDC
At every opportune moment, Mugabe has deliberately undermined the PM and has
on several occasions wantonly violated the Global Political Agreement (GPA)
with impunity.
Political analysts last week said Mugabe’s behaviour showed that the MDC-T —
though occupying “an important democratic space” in government —was playing
second fiddle to Zanu PF.
Over a year after the formation of the GNU, the police, army and secret
intelligence service which are all headed by Mugabe’s loyalists continue to
act as if they are an extension of Zanu PF.
The selective application of the rule of law is still apparent whenever
MDC-T and Zanu PF supporters clash.
Tsvangirai’s supporters continue to be hounded out of their homes by Zanu PF
activists in the rural areas such as Muzarabani and Mutoko.
Tsvangirai’s silence and inaction by police — even though MDC-T co-chairs
the Home Affairs ministry — is an indication of lack of power not only by
MDC-T minister Giles Mutsekwa but by the party as a whole.
Of late Mugabe has been gazetting laws that his party passed during the
sixth Parliament in 2007, when Zanu PF was still the majority in the House.
Among the laws are the controversial Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment
Act and the Petroleum Act, widely seen as designed to keep the bankrupt
liberation party financially afloat as the two laws  would benefit mostly
Zanu PF loyalists.
MDC-T spokesman and Information, Communication and Technology Minister
Nelson Chamisa is one of several officials from the two MDC formations who
are ministers onlyon paper after Mugabe stripped them of powers. They donot
administer any Acts.
Apart from mild protests, Tsvangirai appears hamstrung to stop an
increasingly intransigent Mugabe from eroding any of the little power he has
as PM.
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political science lecturer John Makumbe says
although the MDC-T occupies an important democratic space in government
Tsvangirai is playing second fiddle to Mugabe.
“They are not by any chance equal,” said Makumbe. “They (MDC) are playing
second fiddle. The MDC is saying the gazetting of the laws is illegal but
they are failing to stop them.”
Makumbe said Tsvangirai also appeared to be failing to force Mugabe to award
his party an ambassadorial post in South Africa which would soon be vacant
after Simon Khaya Moyo was elected Zanu PF chairman.
The three parties in the GNU agreed that any vacancy that arises in the
diplomatic arena be given to the two MDC formations but Zanu PF seems
determined to keep the influential post under its wings.
John Kanokanga, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Movement for Peace,
Reconciliation and Unity (Zimpru), a local peace advocacy body, shares
Makumbe’s sentiments.
He said the MDC-T was just “a lame duck” in the inclusive government as Zanu
PF was still very much in control.
Kanokanga said suspicion between the two political protagonists made it
difficult for them to fully work together.
“As things stand now, Zanu PF is the ruling party,” said Kanokanga.
“They are running the show and MDC is just being by-passed on important
But Makumbe also gave the MDC-T a pat at the back for playing a watchdog
role in keeping corruption in check which he said had become rampant in
Mugabe’s party. Its presence, said Makumbe, forced Zanu PF into agreeing to
the writing up of a new democratic constitution.
“Their effectiveness is definitely limited,” said Makumbe. “But they are
useful in exposing Zanu PF’s misgovernance including corruption pertaining
to Chiadzwa diamonds.”
Another political commentator Eldred Masunungure said the presence of the
MDC formations in government “has moderated extremist elements” in Zanu PF.
Both Zanu PF and MDC-T, he said, were not in total control of events in
government because of “the rule of anticipated reaction” which moderates
their political behaviour.
“They (MDC-T) are playing a limited role but (which is) crucial and
critical,” said Masunungure who is also a political science lecturer at the
“Things could have been far worse than they are without their presence.”
There are a number of other crucial decisions that Mugabe and Zanu PF have
made without consulting their partners in the coalition such as the
continuing land seizures and the refusal to swear-in Roy Bennett as deputy
Agriculture minister.
Mugabe has also refused to address a host of other GPA outstanding issues
such as his unilateral appointments of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and
Attorney General Johannes Tomana.
Outwitted and disregarded by Mugabe, all that Tsvangirai has done is  make
fruitless trips to South Africa to put pressure on the mediator in the
Zimbabwe crisis, South African President Jacob Zuma to reign in Mugabe.


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War vets clamouring for more and more

Saturday, 01 May 2010 19:09

A militant Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association (ZNLWVA)
splinter group, which two years ago urged President Robert Mugabe not to
accept defeat in elections is now demanding 20% of all acquired land and a
slice of the economy as compensation for participating in the war of
liberation. The faction, led by Retired Colonel Basten Beta says it wants
more control over land, mines and the economy in general because it feels
the compensation given to war veterans in 1997 was not enough.
Beta told Mugabe soon after he lost the first round of the presidential poll
in March 2008 to MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai that he must not to lose
"what we got through the bullet through the ballot".
By coincidence or design, Zanu PF immediately embarked on an orgy of
political violence that forced Tsvangirai to pull out of the run-off
election three months later.
The MDC-T says at least 200 of its supporters were murdered by suspected
Zanu PF activists and State security agents in a bid to keep the 86-year-old
leader in power.
Thousands of people were displaced, others were maimed while many women were
raped as Zanu PF militia went on a rampage.
But Beta still stands by his advice to Mugabe.
"I still stand by what I said,"  said Beta. "My political ideology is that
we were fighting for 100% political power and we must not allow opportunists
to rule this country and reverse the gains of the liberation struggle."
Asked if he feels bad about the killings, he quipped, "I can't feel sorry
for people who killed each other for no apparent reason, just for
greediness. I should feel sorry for those killed during the liberation war."
The ZNLWVA has been divided into three factions led by Beta, Jabulani
Sibanda and Joseph Chinotimba.
Mugabe is the patron of the war veterans and has battled to stay neutral in
the battle for the association.
Two years after he made the inflammatory statements, Beta is now demanding a
stake in land and the economy, alleging former freedom fighters have been
neglected for a long time.
"As war veterans we want to be assisted to get land and finance so that we
can participate in the mainstream economy.
"We will soon approach government," said Beta, who could not say what they
would do if government rejected the demands.
He also backtracked on earlier reports that his faction would approach
Britain for compensation saying they would only push the government to
assist them.
Beta wants the "return of decency" for war veterans, spouses and their
children through benefiting from government's empowerment laws.
"Most war veterans don't have farms but they were used to invade farms by
politicians," he said.
"Government is talking about empowerment laws and we are not being
consulted. Some war veterans are dying and being buried without any
government assistance."
Although war veterans spearheaded the chaotic land invasions few of them
benefited, he said.
Mugabe's cronies in the civil service, army, police and secret service
grabbed the most fertile land.
For the past few weeks Beta's faction, which appears to be well-funded, has
been splashing full page adverts in the press highlighting the plight of war
One of the adverts titled Heal Our Wounds Campaign, which claims over 27 000
freedom fighters were killed during the liberation war, betrays Beta's
hunger for monetary compensation.
"The Mau-Mau in Kenya was compensated why not Zanla and Zipra?
"Your children, brothers and sisters did not die in vain, the war veterans'
leadership needs your help to honour them for we knew them by their
Chimurenga names," reads the advert.
But the Mau Mau fighters were never compensated by the British
administration as claimed by the faction.
They are suing for compensation but Britain is arguing that liabilities of
the Kenyan colonial administration were passed on to the government that
succeeded it.
Beta said Z$50 000 lump sum compensation that war veterans got from
government in 1997 was peanuts that could not sustain their whole lives. War
veterans also continue to receive pensions from government.
Chinotimba's faction says it wants the monthly pensions increased from US$50
to US$600, an amount which will make gainfully employed civil servants green
with envy.
"What does one do with US$50 per month? For a person who sacrificed his or
her life to be treated in this manner is a shame," said Chinotimba.
On average, civil servants are earning US$200 a month.
Beta said except for the late Chenjerai Hunzvi, the war veterans have been
led by "gullible and usable people" who never participated in the war of
He accused Sibanda of flouting the war veterans' constitution by failing to
hold congresses during the time he has been in office.
"We are supposed to hold congresses after every three years but Sibanda has
refused to do so," said Beta. "This guy has been in office for the past
three years without our mandate".
He said the chairmanship should be rotated between Zanla and Zipra but "ari
kutiza nepoto (But Sibanda is refusing to hand over the baton)".
"It is not written down but it is known that the chairmanship is rotational
and now it's Zanla's turn," said Beta, adding that he was organising war
veterans across the country in preparation for a congress.
Sibanda could not be reached for comment last week.
In December last year, Army General Constantine Chiwenga reportedly summoned
the factions to his office and ordered them to put a planned congress on
Sources say Zanu PF was concerned about the likely "domino effect" an
acrimonious congress would have on the party's congress held around the same


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Zimbabwe gunner shining in Britain

Saturday, 01 May 2010 18:29

REGARDLESS of what country NATO Training Mission Afghanistan members
represent, returning home from their deployment here often means taking some
much needed time off to get some rest and spend quality time with the
However, for Gunner Kuziva Dapira, a British soldier currently assigned to
the Camp Alamo UK Leadership Training Team, time off and rest is not what's
on his agenda after reaching the end of his tour in April.
Dapira is a member of the United Kingdom's King's Troop Royal Horse
Artillery, also known as The Troop, and within a month of his returning to
London, his unit will be participating in one of Britain's biggest events -
Queen Elizabeth's official birthday celebration also known as Trooping the
The Troop is an elite unit of about 100 soldiers, all of whom superb
equestrians trained to drive a team of six horses that pull the "thirteen
pounder" state saluting gun. Their duties include the firing of royal
salutes on royal anniversaries and state occasions, and providing a gun
carriage and team of black horses for state and military funerals.
But out of all the ceremonies the unit participates in, Trooping the Colour
is the highest honor, according to Dapira.
"Riding in the Queen's Parade means a lot to the King's Troop," he said. "It's
our bread and butter. It's like playing in the World-Cup finals." He added
that out of approximately 100 members of his unit, only 48 actually ride in
the parade and that to him it is a high honour to be one of those selected.
Dapira, a Zimbabwe native, has been in Britain for six years and joined the
Army three years ago. His duties at the KMTC include providing logistical
support to his fellow British soldiers and to train Afghan noncommissioned
Training NCOs for the Afghan National Army is very rewarding because it
helps create more leaders for Afghanistan, he said.
"Other high-points of this deployment have been working with multi-national
forces and also different regiments," he said. "And learning languages, I've
learned a little bit of Dari and a little bit of French."
This will be the second time Dapira rides in the Queen's Birthday Parade,
and he feels confident that regardless of the short time given for him to
prepare, he will be ready by June.
"It won't be hard readjusting to being back on parade because it's something
I have done before," he said. "While it's a big change to go from being in a
war zone to going back to being in front of a crowd, I'm a professional
soldier and I'm trained to adapt to any circumstance."- mtn
Trooping The Color celebrates the queen's official birthday and is always
held the second or third Saturday of June. Her actual birthday is on April
21, but the ceremony is held in June to in the hope for good weather. The
ceremony itself dates back to at least the early 18th century when the flags
of the battalion, also referred to as colors, were carried or 'trooped' down
the ranks so that they could be seen and recognized by the soldiers. The
Queen attends in a horse-drawn carriage and the regiments of the Household
Division, her personal troops, parade in front of her. More than 1,400
soldiers are on parade, plus 200 horses and more than 400 musicians.

Dapira is a member of the United Kingdom's King's Troop Royal Horse
Artillery, also known as The Troop, and within a month of his returning to
London, his unit will be participating in one of Britain's biggest events -
Queen Elizabeth's official birthday celebration also known as Trooping the
The Troop is an elite unit of about 100 soldiers, all of whom superb
equestrians trained to drive a team of six horses that pull the 'thirteen
pounder' state saluting gun. Their duties include the firing of royal
salutes on royal anniversaries and state occasions, and providing a gun
carriage and team of black horses for state and military funerals.
But out of all the ceremonies the unit participates in, Trooping the Color
is the highest honor, according to Dapira.
"Riding in the Queen's Parade means a lot to the King's Troop," he said. "It's
our bread and butter. It's like playing in the world-cup finals." He added
that out of approximately 100 members of his unit, only 48 actually ride in
the parade and that to him it is a high honor to be one of those selected.
Dapira, a Zimbabwe native, has been in Britain for six years and joined the
Army three years ago. His duties at the KMTC include providing logistical
support to his fellow British soldiers and to train Afghan noncommissioned
Training NCOs for the Afghan National Army is very rewarding because it
helps help create more leaders for Afghanistan, he said.
"Other high-points of this deployment have been working with multi-national
forces and also different regiments," he said. "And learning languages, I've
learned a little bit of Dari and a little bit of French."
This will be the second time Dapira rides in the Queen's Birthday Parade,
and he feels confident that regardless of the short time given for him to
prepare, he will be ready by June.
"It won't be hard readjusting to being back on parade because it's something
I have done before," he said. "While it's a big change to go from being in a
war zone to going back to being in front of a crowd, I'm a professional
soldier and I'm trained to adapt to any circumstance."
Trooping The Color celebrates the queen's official birthday and is always
held the second or third Saturday of June. Her actual birthday is on April
21, but the ceremony is held in June to in the hope for good weather. The
ceremony itself dates back to at least the early 18th century when the flags
of the battalion, also referred to as colors, were carried or 'trooped' down
the ranks so that they could be seen and recognized by the soldiers. The
Queen attends in a horse-drawn carriage and the regiments of the Household
Division, her personal troops, parade in front of her. More than 1,400
soldiers are on parade, plus 200 horses and more than 400 musicians. SOURCE:

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Churches pray in unison against Anglican divisions

Saturday, 01 May 2010 18:15

CHURCH organisations from different denominations have joined forces to
support the Anglican Church faction led by Bishop Chad Gandiya in its battle
to regain access to premises that have been at the centre of a
three-year-old dispute. Zanu PF sympathiser and ex-communicated Anglican
Bishop Nolbert Kunonga has successfully used his connections in the party
and the police to lock out the majority of the church's followers from
dioceses in Harare.
But representatives of the Zimbabwe National Pastors Conference, Christian
Alliance and Ecumenical Support Services who met recently in Harare endorsed
a multi-pronged strategy to help Gandiya's group, in a move that might mark
a new twist to the conflict.
"What is happening at the Anglican Church is an old tactic of the devil who
is a divider of the people," Bishop Ancelimo Magaya of the Grace Ablaze
Ministries International said after the meeting.
"We need to identify with our brothers and sisters in the Anglican Church.
"If we do not do that, we will be sinning and if we take time to do it, the
evil that is happening in the Anglican Church will come to us."
Magaya said Christians must look at similar divisions in trade, students'
and lawyers' unions among other sectors to understand the severity of the
Anglican saga.
"For us here in Harare, when some of these things happened to the people of
Matabeleland, we bought the dissidents story and ignored those people's
suffering," Magaya said.
"Then came the killing of people with the formation of the MDC and we sat
back and said it's politics.
"The divisions continued with the farm seizures and we said it was for the
"It came again with the destruction of people's houses in 2005 and those in
Borrowdale said it was for those in the ghetto.
"It swept through the business sector with the price slashes, continued with
the 2008 violence and now, banks and so many other companies are at risk
because of yet another divisive piece of legislation.
"We as the church should refuse to bow to this wave of divisiveness."
Among other things, the organisations will urge Christians to make "direct"
prayers which mention names of the people deemed responsible for the
Anglican saga including Kunonga, the police, the commissioner-general of
police Augustine Chihuri and President Robert Mugabe.
Churches will also be urged to publicly condemn the divisions at the
Anglican Church through the media and peaceful marches.
They will also petition the three parties in the unity government protesting
against the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation's failure to find a
solution to the saga.
Also to be petitioned are regional and international Christian bodies and if
possible, the mediator of the Zimbabwe talks, South African President Jacob
Two factions have emerged in the Anglican Church following Kunonga's 2007
failed attempt to withdraw the Harare Diocese from the mother body, the
Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA).
Gandiya told the meeting that Kunonga and his people had allegedly used the
police to terrorise CPCA members.
He said CPCA members engaged in running battles with the police every
Sunday, even if they worshipped from alternative places since Kunonga and
his people barred them from entering the church premises despite numerous
court orders that the two groups must share the premises.
He said his group was also not happy that Kunonga gets proceeds from the
church's buildings that are being rented out as well as levies from its
Kunonga's spokesperson Reverend Admire Chisango said he could not comment
much on the issue as it was before the Organ on National Healing and
"It will not be prudent for me to say much on this issue before the Organ
concludes its intervention," he said."But all I can say regarding sharing of
properties is that currently we are at a stage called the status quo," he
"We are at a stage we were at before September 21 2007 where we had one
Bishop, Bishop Kunonga, one diocese, one authority and one throne.
"Never in any diocese of the Anglican will you find two bishops, the throne
is never shared."
Chisango said he would need to verify issues about the number and type of
buildings the church owns but refuted claims that his faction was enjoying
all proceeds from these.
He said he was confident the national healing organ could resolve the
Anglican saga, adding that "Bishop Kunonga long ago extended his hand to the
other group when he was made custodian of the church's properties."


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Ministry seeks mandatory immunisation law

Saturday, 01 May 2010 18:13

GOVERNMENT has laid the blame on members of the apostolic faith sects for
the unrelenting measles outbreak that has killed more than 183 children
since it was first detected in September last year. Some sects bar their
members from seeking medical attention for religious reasons.
A team of government experts who gave oral evidence during hearings by the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare on Tuesday
recommended that the immunisation of children against killer diseases such
as measles must be mandatory.
Portia Manangazira, the head of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare said the measles outbreak had mainly
affected children whose parents were members of the sects because they were
not immunised.
The outbreak has been detected in at least 52 out of the 59 districts and
99% of the deaths occurred outside community centres.
Manicaland, Mashonaland East and Harare provinces have been the hardest hit.
"Other countries in the region have made child immunisation mandatory but
when you look at Zimbabwe there is no such legal framework to allow for
this," Manangazira said.
"I urge you Honourable Members of Parliament to look into this issue
seriously because without any binding law we will not be able to reach these
members of the apostolic faith sects and we will continue losing lives to a
very easily preventable and curable disease.
"Despite losing so many children members continue to shun seeking treatment
for their children."
She said Zimbabwe's immunisation rates were also low at 80%.  The
recommended rate is 90% and above, Manangazira said.
Vaccination rates began falling in 1996 in one of the earliest signs of a
weakening health delivery system.
Government was also urged to strengthen its routine immunisation campaigns
to fight diseases such as measles.
As part of efforts to fight the current outbreak, the Ministry of Health and
its partners will conduct a door-to-door immunisation programme countrywide
between May 10 and the end of next month.
Manangazira said they would need the support of MPs to reach out to
religious sects that continue to shun modern medicine.
Kwekwe Central MP, Blessing Chebundo said it was the duty of government to
guarantee the wellbeing of children.
"We must stop the further loss of lives as a government," he said after the
experts gave evidence.
"We should not allow the further loss lives of children on the basis of
Editor Matamisa, the MP for Kadoma urged the government to ensure that
vaccines used during immunisation met the standards to prevent cases of
children dying after vaccination.
She said the ministry also failed to communicate properly last year after
children died following another immunisation campaign.
The government says its investigations revealed that the deaths were not
related to the vaccinations.


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Cancer Centre gets boost for palliative care

Saturday, 01 May 2010 18:10

BELINDA Muchenje Makowa remembers the trauma her family went through when
her mother was diagnosed with cancer of the bone marrow two years ago. All
her life Makowa says their late mother Grace Ngoni Muchenje was a pillar of
strength and she had never imagined losing her.
"I was the one driving her on that day when she received the news that she
has cancer," she recalled last week.
"We were all there together with my other sisters.
"This was the first time we ever had cancer in the family and I was very
worried about my mother's health especially knowing that cancer has no
But Makowa's says the way her mother came to terms with her condition
quickly calmed the family's fears.
"My mother was a very strong person who took everything in her stride and
she often comforted us telling us this was God's way for her.
"She was diagnosed around February 2008 and by May that same year she told
us she already knew that she was going to die.
"She had embraced her fate by that time and she had begun planning for her
"She knew what songs she wanted us to sing at her funeral. . .what passages
of scripture she wanted the pastor to read.
"She also wrote her own will, wrote letters of wishes.
"She was prepared for her death. She said her goodbyes and when her time to
go came she went peacefully in October."
Although the family went through immense pain during the illness and
subsequent death, Makowa said the experience had taught them valuable
lessons about people who help others cope with difficult conditions in life.
Last week Makowa and her other family members donated equipment and
literature worth US$3 000 to the Cancer Association of Zimbabwe to assist
with therapy and education for cancer patients and their families.
The material was bought with the prize money Juliet Makowa (Belinda's
sister) won when she took part in the New York Marathon in November last
Their sister-in-law Yvette said Muchenje benefited immensely from the Cancer
Association which offers free care to patients.
Yvette said the family had found it befitting to give back to other cancer
patients who also require the services of the organisation.
"The Cancer Centre does tremendous work for cancer patients and we are
hoping that through this donation other people can benefit as well," she
"Our mother was a very generous person and I am sure she is proud of us
today as we give this donation."
Cancer Association deputy manager and education officer Shingirayi Dakwa
welcomed the contribution saying her organisation depended on such
generosity to survive.
"Our organisation is a non-profit organisation that offers counselling
services, radiotherapy for people with cancer so we do our best to assist
those with cancer and their families through their illness," Dakwa said.
Cancer treatment in Zimbabwe is very expensive but the association offers it
for free.


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Operation of Hope giving back smiles

Saturday, 01 May 2010 17:28

NYETERAI Sikuveka from rural Sanyati says the first time she laid her eyes
on her newly born baby she was struck by fear.

Wiseman was born with a mouth deformity that even baffled the nurses that
helped Sikuveka deliver.
"The nurses were shocked and they began speaking in hushed tones," she said
last week. "At first they didn't want to show me the child until I insisted
I wanted to see him for myself.
"I had never seen anything like that, I thought someone had bewitched my
Sikuveka's son, now eight, had a condition known as cleft lip.
It is a treatable birth defect that occurs when the tissues of the upper jaw
and nose do not join as expected during foetal development, resulting in a
split lip.
Because of lack of access to health services and ignorance by the majority
of Zimbabweans, many children grow up with the condition, which has a lot of
stigma attached to it.
Luckily for Sikuveka, Wiseman was among the 70 plus children who were
selected to receive free corrective surgery from a group of American
surgeons through an organisation known as Operation of Hope.
Founded by US-based surgeon, Joseph Clawson, Operation of Hope has been
doing similar operations on children from across the world since 1989.
Clawson himself has performed more than 2 500 free surgeries.
The surgeons have been visiting Zimbabwe since October last year to perform
corrective surgeries for children and even adults with mostly mouth
deformities known as cleft lip and cleft palate.
At least 500 children have benefited from the operations.
"I heard the news about these doctors from Save the Children," Sikuveka
"When they told me that there are some people from America who can fix my
son's mouth I just couldn't believe it."
She had watched Wiseman being teased by her peers and the operation last
week ended her eight year-long nightmare.
"I am relieved that he can now play with the other children and not be
teased, he is now almost normal like them," the elated mother said after the
"This is a miracle I thought I would never see it in my life. I cannot wait
to get back to the village and for his brothers and sisters to see him."
Jennifer Trubenbach who was leading the Operation of Hope team said the
cleft lip surgery was important because it allowed affected children to lead
normal lives again.
"In some cases we have heard mothers have been accused of cutting their
children's lips because people don't understand that it's a genetic thing
just like someone has brown eyes and another has blue eyes," she said.
"It is the way you were born, it is not the fault of the mother or the
Trubenbach said for the cleft palate, it was important for the surgery to be
done before the child began to speak so that speech development is not
A cleft lip and palate surgery is estimated to cost around US$1 500, an
amount beyond the reach of many ordinary Zimbabweans.


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Obituary: Gasela’s unfulfilled dream

Saturday, 01 May 2010 12:48

IN one of his many articles about the country’s collapsed agricultural
sector, the late former Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator for
Gweru Rural, Renson Gasela wrote: “One thing that the government has been
consistent on has been the annual failure to ensure farmers have inputs in

In this January 20 2010, article titled: “How to get agriculture on its
 feet”, Gasela – who served as secretary for agriculture in the MDC before
and after the 2005 split – stressed the need for proper planning by the
government as the only way out of perennial crop failures.

“It would appear to me that as for failure to plan for each agricultural
season over the past 10 years or so, is concerned; it is like an eroded
field which needs to be repaired by providing the necessary contours…
“What I recommend to government is that there be a continuous two-year plan
for agriculture,” wrote Gasela.

At the end of his article, he warned: “If we do not do something along these
lines, we will, as a country, continue to fail to plan for our food.”

This was among Gasela’s very last articles, focusing on, as usual, his
favourite subject of agriculture.
He died in a car crash near Zvishavane in the Midlands on April 24,
alongside two other officials from the MDC formation led by Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara.

He will be buried in Gweru today.

While in his articles Gasela complained that the government had been
consistent in failing to plan, he also made consistent recommendations for
the government to prioritise agriculture reforms.

The recommendations fell on deaf ears.

When many were still basking in the excitement that followed the signing of
the global political agreement (GPA) two years ago, Gasela challenged the
parties to expedite the implementation of the agreement to allow farmers to
plant on time.

At the time, there were numerous media reports about the importation of
maize from neighbouring countries.

But in an article on October 9 2008, Gasela said instead of celebrating
maize that had not even been delivered, the government should “bring maize,
make it available everywhere and then go on television”.

“Very few people eat any maize from their television screens,” he wrote.

Sharing the same name with one of Gasela’s aides, on a number of occasions
he made a mistake and dialled my number instead of Vusa his aide.

In all those “lost” calls, the sense of urgency to get things done on the
farm was evident.

Those calls also revealed to me, as one of his colleagues put it, “the
epitome of humility” that Gasela was.

According to Regional Integration and International Cooperation Minister
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Gasela had an unmatched love for

During his days as a parliamentarian, he spent most of his time at the
grassroots with other farmers, something that enabled him to always resonate
with the daily struggles of Zimbabwe’s small-scale farmers.

“Ga’s passion was in land, its use and its produce, he symbolised everything
about ‘the farmer’ and I know his happiest and most fulfilling times were
during his tenure at the GMB,” said Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

She described him as “a combination of the past, present and the future of

Gasela was among the MDC heavyweights who disagreed with party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai over senate elections in 2005, resulting in the party splitting
into two factions.

Because of his principled nature, Tsvangirai found it fit to push aside
those differences and travelled all the way to Gweru to mourn his former

Even senior officials from Zanu PF, including the party’s provincial
chairperson and Midlands governor Jason Machaya also found time to go and
comfort the Gasela family.

A statement from MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa’s office said Gasela was
consistent in his fight for a positive change in Zimbabwe.

“The MDC family particularly remembers Gasela as a committed and patriotic
Zimbabwean who fought for many years to bring real change to the people of
this country,” said the statement.

“He was a democrat, a patriot and a staunch defender of human rights who
wanted to see positive change in the country of his birth.

“Since 1999, Gasela has always been on the vanguard, responding to the
clarion call to save his country from the vagaries of Zanu PF misgovernance
and corruption.”

Most of the issues Gasela raised in his articles have not been addressed.

The agriculture sector continues to be on a nosedive, but very few
officials, including those from the two MDCs, seem to treat agriculture
revival with the same urgency he advocated for.

Gasela’s death in a car crash alongside his party’s chairperson of the
disciplinary committee, Lyson Mlambo and chairperson of the Women’s Assembly
in the Midlands, Ntombizodwa Gumbo has spurred public debate on a vast array
of issues, among them the sorry state of the country’s roads.

In his statement, Chamisa said the roads had become “highways of death…
rivers of blood and death cages”.

“Innocent people have perished on our roads and on our railways; far too
many to warrant urgent action from the inclusive government,” said Chamisa.

“The MDC calls on the inclusive government to take these accidents as
wake-up calls to deal decisively with the carnage on our highways which has
become a loud indictment on the state of the national road network.”

Chamisa said roads now topped the list of killers of innocent citizens and
revealed that the MDC-T was now pushing for a “special investigation into
the toll-gate fees that continue to be collected but with no improvement on
the state of our roads”.

Zimbabwe’s ambassador to Senegal and MDC secretary for policy and research,
Trudy Stevenson said “Gasela was one of the most decent, principled fighters
for democracy and for the betterment of our beloved Zimbabwe and its people”.


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Business working on own corporate governance code

Saturday, 01 May 2010 17:56

BUSINESS leaders from different sectors have teamed up to draft a governance
code in an attempt to bring to an end the continued failure of various
businesses as a result of "moral bankruptcy and unethical behaviour of
business leaders". This follows the economic crisis of the past decade that
has been attributed to poor corporate governance which resulted in unlawful
speculative investments, institutional collapses, parallel markets, as well
as shortages of local and foreign currency.
Institute of Directors of Zimbabwe (IoDZ) executive director, David
Mutambara said they would use the proposed national code on corporate
governance to stamp out "rampant corruption designed to cripple the economy
and condition of the Zimbabwean people".
The code is being drafted jointly by the IoDZ and the Zimbabwe Leadership
Forum (Zimlef).
"The code itself is not meant to solve problems of the past, but it is meant
to define the desired future," said Mutambara.
"It is focused on the future than addressing the past. One important thing
is to make sure that whatever we do resonates with the bread and butter
issues of the ordinary Zimbabwean.
"It has to relate to the daily needs of the ordinary person."
Among other things, the code will recommend amendments to listing
requirements on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.
Zimlef chairperson and prominent Harare lawyer Canaan Dube said the code was
also an attempt to restore investors' confidence and trust in Zimbabwe.
"People need to know the advantages derived from good corporate governance
compliance and what bad corporate governance does to investment, prospective
investors and the economy at large.
"Security of investment is of great concern to any investor," said Dube.
Renowned business leader Luxon Zembe said the code was now "work in
 progress" and would be completed before the end of the year.
He said the project had generated a lot of interest in Zimbabwe and beyond
the country's borders.
"This commitment from Zimbabweans is very critical in unlocking the doors
and the value we can realise from this," said Zembe.
"By the end of this year Zimbabwe will be having its own corporate
governance code.
"It takes time and commitment, but I believe as Zimbabweans we have what it
takes to make the project successful."
There had initially been scepticism from some people who felt it was more of
a duplication of South Africa's King Report.
The report, initially drafted in 1994, has been pivotal in shaping the
direction of South African businesses.
A number of the King Report principles have since been adopted by the
Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
But Mutambara said they would not copy the King Report in drafting their own
code. He said they would only use it for background referencing.


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Accra to host joint business forum for Zimbabwe and Ghana

Saturday, 01 May 2010 17:52

ZIMBABWE and Ghana will host a joint business forum in Accra later this
month where the two countries are set to strengthen their economic ties
especially in the private sector.
The Zimbabwe-Ghana business forum exhibition to be attended by
businesspeople will provide a platform to showcase opportunities provided by
both countries.
Ghana's ambassador to Zimbabwe James Okeo Naadgi told a preparatory meeting
recently that the forum would give local businesses new ideas as the West
African country had one of the best models of micro-financing upcoming
"There are a number of things that the two countries could learn from each
other so businesses must take advantage of the competitive advantage that
one country has over the other." he said.
His sentiments were echoed by Zimbabwe's ambassador to Ghana Pavelyn Tendai
Musaka who said there was need for local financial institutions to learn
from Ghana, which offers services that make it easy for small
businesspersons to access loans without collateral.
"Ghanaians do not wait for government to make a move. What we think are
challenges, Ghana sees them as business opportunities" she said
She also urged Zimbabweans to take advantage of the newly-discovered oil in
Ghana when they explore new investments.
The forum which is private sector driven was started in 2006 with the first
business exhibition held in April 2007.


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Government to increase number of toll gates

Saturday, 01 May 2010 17:49

BULAWAYO - Motorists are set to cough up more on the country's roads as the
government intends to increase the number of toll gates. Government has been
collecting US$1,3 million in road usage fees every month since it set up the
22 toll gates on the major roads late last year.
Patson Mbiriri, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Transport and
Communications told a business conference during the just-ended Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair that government was not getting enough revenue from
the toll gates.
"At the moment, we are collecting around US$1,3 million a month from our 22
tolling points throughout the country," he said.
"We believe if we increase these points, we are going to be able to get more
funds to attend to the pressing needs of our country and infrastructure."
Mbiriri said the revenue generated so far had been used to repair and
maintain the country's dilapidated roads.
Motorists pay between US$1 and US$5 depending on the size of the vehicle
each time they pass through a toll gate.
"Our view as a ministry is that these funds are not sufficient enough to
cover our needs.
"We need more funds. We have to specifically generate resources to meet the
challenges we face," he said.
One of the big projects the government wants to embark on is the dualisation
of the Chirundu-Beitbrdge road to cater for increased traffic in southern
Zimbabwe's once enviable road network has deteriorated to dangerous levels
owing to years of neglect.
The number of people dying in road accidents continues to increase owing to
the battered road network.
Mbiriri said the deterioration of the road network was being quickened by
the collapse of the country's rail network that has seen most freight movers
resorting to road transport.
"Our rail lines are now older than roads in some parts of the country," he
"We have over 100 plus points that are deemed deadly on our lines and this
shows there is need to upgrade our rail system.
"This has resulted in slow movement of goods to a point where many people
now prefer to use the road to transport their goods."
He said government was concerned that some transporters were not respecting
weight restrictions on the roads leading to the destruction of the network.


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ZTA hails A’Sambeni’s pulling power

Saturday, 01 May 2010 17:55

THE Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) acting chief executive officer,
Givemore Chidzidzi has said the A’Sambeni travel expo held in Bulawayo
recently has given exhibitors the chance to see that the country’s tourism
industry has recovered. A’Sambeni is an annual travel expo held concurrently
with the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair.
This year’s edition of the expo attracted 59 exhibitors from Britain and
Italy. Last year there were 39 exhibitors, Chidzidzi said.
“We have shown them (exhibitors) the hospitality in Zimbabwe and they are
coming back in October for Sanganai/Hlanganani,” he said.
Sanganai/Hlanganani is Zimbabwe’s largest travel and tourism trade expo held
annually in October and has been slotted on the United Nations World Tourism
Organisation calendar.
Chidzidzi said ZTA had embarked on hosting programmes like A’Sambeni and
Miss Tourism to spruce up the country’s
“We are having a perception management programme where we bring in brave
people from abroad to visit our country so that they send back messages
about Zimbabwe. We want people to think twice about Zimbabwe,” Chidzidzi
The tourism product is tired and requires attention but operators do not
have capital to fund major refurbishments.
Local operators are turning to regional financial institutions for long-term
funding which is not available locally.
ZTA hopes that the hosting of the Fifa World Cup in South Africa will send
out favourable signals about Zimbabwe’s tourism sector.
“Southern Africa will benefit in the long term from the publicity produced
by 2010,” Chidzidzi said.
“We, as the government are thinking of the long-term challenges we will face
in trying to sustain good publicity before and after the World Cup.”
Visiting journalists said there were opportunities for investment in the
tourism industry.
Cindy Lou Dale, a British writer and photojournalist said she saw many
opportunities for investment in Zimbabwe during the tour.
“Zimbabwe needs to reclaim the brains that have left for other countries,”
she said.
“There is no need for capital investment from foreign countries. It’s time
Zimbabwe pushed bureaucracy aside and used the brains that they have.”
Dale called upon Zimbabweans abroad to engage in promoting Zimbabwean
tourism while acting as ambassadors for the country.
Zimbabwe’s tourism industry is recovering from a decade of a slow down due
to the bad publicity owing to an unstable political and economic


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Editor's Desk: ZRP reform first before national healing

Saturday, 01 May 2010 19:05

Zimbabweans are getting angry with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and
many think that the process of national healing, reconciliation and
integration will come to naught if the force is not reformed.

On Saturday April 24 this emotional letter from a lady named Thembe
Sachikonye who had been ill-treated by the police dropped onto the editor's
"Yesterday I was 'arrested' while trying to overtake a public demonstration
in my car, being under the impression that the police were directing traffic
to go around the demonstrators. I was detained, intimidated and harassed for
three hours, and finally released with a charge of 'dangerous parking' for
which I paid a $10 fine.
"When a ZRP officer says to you, 'Masungwa' (You're under arrest) is it the
equivalent of 'I am placing you under arrest for the crime of..You have the
right to remain silent. If you wish to give up this right.' etc. etc.?
Somehow 'masungwa' seems incomplete, not to mention oftentimes
"Since yesterday I have been thinking that I am sad; pondering the
possibilities of a mild case of post-traumatic stress disorder. Now I see
that I am not sad, but rather MAD. I am in a rage, and memories of similar
rages have gathered to keep the present one company.
"As a child my mother, my sister and I cowered and quaked with fear while
soldiers stormed our house, pointing guns and inventing violations and
transgressions we did not have the power to comprehend, let alone commit.
Like many other households in our town, ours was reduced to a fragile social
structure populated only by women and children while the men were dispersed
and disenfranchised. The ugly lessons that Gukurahundi taught me have stayed
with me for all of my life. They became important tools in the construction
of the story of us:
"Lesson 1: We don't need to have done anything wrong to get into trouble.
"Lesson 2: Whoever is in charge determines our final destiny - and not we
"Lesson 3: Our life is fairly cheap. If we do not comply we may die, and the
worst thing is that our death will have no consequence. It will change
nothing. Mean nothing.
"Over the 30 years that Zanu PF has held our country hostage, these lessons
have been reiterated to new and different sub-audiences - each taking their
turn in the queue behind the people of Matabeleland, forming a chain of
voiceless victims - silenced by fear. In the meantime we are playing at
'national healing, reconciliation and integration', empowering people who
couldn't possibly be serious about cleansing our nation of its burdens of
anger and indignation.
"I am tired of being quietly outraged and afraid; of being sad and even of
being mad. I no longer want to allow another power over my life, my output
and my destiny. I know that I am not alone in this social and emotional
space. I join a myriad of disembodied voices in the darkness of our unending
political gloom. Voices ready to rally and respond: 'Here I am, send me'.
"But the tragedy of Zimbabwe may be even greater than that of a nation
pointing weapons (guns, whips and destructive legislation) at its own
children. The tragedy we face is that there is no one out there calling. We
answer to a silent space: a leadership vacuum. This is akin to picking up a
telephone receiver and urgently declaring a series of hellos, to a line that
never rang.
"So where are the leaders, why aren't they calling?  Logically the MDC maybe
expected to answer that question, and ideally they would answer it with
their own: 'Here we are - we'll send you'. But I wonder whether it may not
be too late for MDC. Perhaps we should rather pose that question to someone
else; to anyone else:  Where are the leaders? Why aren't they calling?"
Our police force still has a modicum of respectability - it is still being
called upon by the United Nations to undertake peacekeeping duties in
hotspots around the globe. But there are many incidents back home that
overshadow the good work they might do; hence the call for transformation.
Describing the apartheid police on the eve of Nelson Mandela's release from
detention Janine Rauch, an independent consultant on the transformation of
the South African police, had this to say:
"By the early 1990s, (all) the police in South Africa had acquired a
reputation for brutality, corruption and ineptitude. Police organisations
were militarised, hierarchical, and ill-equipped to deal with 'ordinary
"Street-level policing was conducted in a heavy-handed style, with bias
against black citizens and little respect for rights or due process.
"Criminal investigations were largely reliant on confessions extracted under
duress, and harsh security legislation provided or tolerated various forms
of coercion and torture. "Their policing techniques were outmoded, partly as
a result of the campaign for international isolation of the apartheid
government. However, despite their lack of skill in dealing with crime, the
South African police were notoriously effective against their political
"It never occurred to the leaders and members of the African National
Congress -- the main democratic opposition party - that the police who had
been so ruthlessly effective against them would be any less effective
against criminals in the new era. However, coping with the political
transition and adapting to policing in a democratic society have been
difficult for the police service."
This disturbingly sou-nds too close to home.
According to Rauch the job of the police under apartheid was to enforce laws
of racial segregation, to secure the minority government, and to protect the
white population from crime and political disruption. This did not require
traditional policing skills, and instead rewarded political loyalty and
allowed large-scale abuses of powers. The new (South African) government
faced the mammoth task of transforming the police service into one which
would be both acceptable to the majority of the population, and effective
against crime.
Similarly in Zimbabwe now it can be said that the job of the police is to
enforce laws that close democratic space to secure the unpopular government
of Zanu PF and to protect the party from political challenge. And as in
apartheid South Africa, this too does not require traditional policing
skills but rewards political loyalty.
One of the challenges our country faces is to transform the police into a
force guided by its own motto: Pro populo, pro lege, pro patria. We need to
take a leaf from the South African book and "make the police legitimate and
acceptable in the eyes of the majority of citizens", and for them to make a
"clean and definite break with the past".
In transformation of the apartheid force the new government identified a
number of other challenges:
n curbing crime and improving levels of safety and security;
n improving police-community relations;
n removing all forms of discrimination within and by the police service;
n adopting a new "mindset" within the police forces;
n restoring discipline and morale among police personnel; and
n establishing a culture of fundamental rights within the police
Our transitional inclusive government is in a similar position to that which
South Africa found itself in at the end of apartheid and steps should be
taken to learn from them in reforming this most important agent of national


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Sundayview: Zuma’s approach too lackadaisical

Saturday, 01 May 2010 19:02

Those who say that the mediator in the Zimbabwean Global Political Agreement
(GPA) talks and South African President’s commitment to the Zimbabwean
problem is meant to buy time for his country to be allowed to host the World
Cup soccer tournament could not be far from the truth considering events in
Zimbabwe today.

Jacob Zuma who is mandated by the Sadc to facilitate the negotiations on a
power-sharing agreement between long-time fierce political rivals, Zanu PF
and the two MDC formations, appears not to be keen on an urgent resolution
of his neighbour’s crisis. At least from the information in the public
domain, President Zuma has not put forward any proposals that suggest
urgency in the resolution of the perpetual crisis north of the Limpopo. He
has dragged his feet and with impunity his deadlines have been ignored at
best and at worst disregarded by the negotiating parties.
However, facilitators of crises of the Zimbabwean nature should know that it
is unacceptable in the politics of transition that a transitional government
can be allowed to remain bogged down on the implementation of key reforms
that define the actual transition for which the world was prepared to
sacrifice democratic principles.
After Zimbabwe shamelessly proved to the whole world that it was not capable
of conducting democratic elections that are free and fair, the country was
allowed to form an inclusive government that would see to it that internal
capacity is built for a self-sustained democracy.
Even the Zimbabwean citizens who were cheated of an opportunity to elect a
leader of their choice were optimistic that in two years, the political
parties would work together to create conditions where they would exercise
this right without fear or prejudice. Suspicious of the workability of the
arrangement, maybe realistic that the modalities of implementing the
transitional government agreement would not be easy, Sadc acted as
guarantors opting for Zuma to be their point man on the basket’s bad apple.
Upon getting this nod, Zuma did not mince his words on his commitment to
supporting Zimbabwe on its way to recovery. Together, with the current Sadc
chairperson Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) president, Joseph Kabila,
president Zuma intervened promptly and decisively when the MDC formation led
by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai “disengaged” from government,
threatening the life of the inclusive government. A crisis meeting to
discuss Zimbabwe was called.
The Maputo Declaration, from this crisis meeting held late last year, gave
the parties an ultimatum to talk out the sticking issues in a month. At that
summit, Tsvangirai announced re-engagement with his Zanu PF counterparts in
government. Zimbabweans were not to get a Christmas present as the widely
expected finality to the talks did not materialise.
For over four months Zuma spoke through the media and did nothing else to
end the perpetual talks, which had long since gone beyond the deadline. By
this he proved to the whole world that he actually did not bite contrary to
the posturing before election to his country’s presidency.  Instead of
flexing his muscle to those stalling progress, he went across the world
doing public relations on behalf of his disgraced neighbour.  In fact, he
gave them the impression that all was well and he was firmly in control.
Zuma would continue giving this impression even when he told journalists
that he had managed to get feuding political parties in Zimbabwe to agree on
a “package of measures” on his last visit to the country last month.
Needless to say, he gave the political parties a fresh deadline to keep on
negotiating, even though there were some parties to the negotiations, who
were not aware that they had agreed to anything. Zanu PF did not take long
to contradict him on this position saying they had not made any concessions
as widely reported in the private media.
Several weeks after the lapsing of this deadline, Zimbabweans are still
waiting to unwrap the gift of the said “package of measures”.
As these events unfold, one major question sticks out: Is the South African
president concerned with addressing the Zimbabwean question, or at least, to
do it with urgency? I say with urgency because some may say but he is seen
to be doing something.
My opinion is that President Zuma has little clue, if any, on how to tackle
the Zimbabwean challenge. I agree with those that say he is worried about
not having his neighbour’s childish brawl eclipse his country’s historic
holding of the world soccer extravaganza.
What meaningful progress really does Zuma expect the parties to make when it
is clear to everyone, including the esteemed facilitator, that we have
reached a point where each party regards concessions to the other’s demands
as compromising their position for being the next government?


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Sundayopinion: ZEC: the devil is in the detail

Saturday, 01 May 2010 18:57

The long-awaited Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) was finally sworn in at
State House apparently a few hours before April Fools' Day on  March 31

Will this body deliver free, fair, transparent and credible elections as per
its constitutional mandate under section 100c? There are three glaring
First, the precursor to the swearing in of ZEC was a statutory instrument
published in the Government Gazette on March 5 that allocated the
administration of the Zimbabwe Electoral Act and Zimbabwe Commission Act to
the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Patrick Chinamasa.
The minister will have powers to veto any regulations ZEC might make for the
conduct of elections like airtime for contesting political parties on
state-owned television and radio. It is Chinamasa, a Zanu PF chief
negotiator, who will also have powers to approve any funding for the
electoral body.
The minister lost an election and he owes his appointment to President
Robert Mugabe; therefore his loyalty lies with the president first and
foremost. Given his loyalty to Mugabe who has already declared his
candidature for the next election it is a possibility that the appointed
minister will scuttle any attempts to fund the body in order to incapacitate
its functions and will frustrate progressive regulations.
Second, President Mugabe's role in the electoral body leaves a lot to be
desired. How can the popular Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai exercise
leverage on the supposed consultation spelt out in the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) when for now the results do not mirror any consultations?
The chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, Justice Simpson
Mtambanengwe, seems to have been solely appointed by President Mugabe who is
also a player in this game. What brings little joy is that Justice
Mtambanengwe has a long relationship with President Mugabe that traces back
to the liberation struggle long before Zimbabwe was born. Moreover, it is
not the first time that the ZEC chair has been appointed by Mugabe; for the
record he was once appointed as a High Court judge, usually a reward for
loyalty. To worsen this situation, President Mugabe appears to have
bulldozed his appointment of the deputy chairperson of ZEC, Joyce Kazembe,
who is on the European Union targeted sanctions list.
Consequently, Kazembe is prevented from entering any European country
because of a visa ban; her assets in Europe are frozen all because of her
consistent support for the regime of President Mugabe as evident in the June
27 disputed election. It is a possibility she has  an axe to grind with  the
Third, voters' registration is still in the hands of Tobaiwa Mudede who is
also on the European Union, Australian and American targeted sanctions lists
because of his alleged track record of rigging the 2000, 2002 and 2005
national elections in favour of President Mugabe at the expense of the
people's choice. The Registrar General is also an appointee of President
Mugabe. Although the Registrar-General under Section 18 of the Electoral Act
will have to take directions from ZEC there is no clear mechanism on the
implementation. Moreover, ZEC cannot initiate a new registration of voters
or order a new voters' roll as the Electoral Act is silent on this. Yet the
issue of ghost voters continue to haunt Zimbabwe's electoral laws. As a tip
of the iceberg the Sokwanele voters' role audit unearthed names of 74 021
voters aged above 100 years on the voters' roll used in the March 2008
harmonised local, parliamentary and presidential elections. There were also
82 456 people registered aged between 90 and 100 years of age. It is common
knowledge that Zimbabwe's demographics have changed and there is more than
meets the eye.
However, the positive thing is that in the latest round of perpetual
negotiations Zanu PF and MDC have agreed to revisit the Electoral Act. I
hope that the detail will be attended to in the amendment of the Electoral
Act otherwise ZEC remains old wine in a new bottle. Whatever Zanu PF decides
to implement Zimbabweans should be conscious of the details where the devil

Zamchiya is a student at University of Oxford,United Kingdom



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Comment: Consultation lacking in GNU

Saturday, 01 May 2010 18:51

IN 19th Century Europe nationalist upheavals saw the emergence of
middle-class governments accountable to parliament rather than to the
monarchs of an earlier era.

But despite these democratic reforms, it was always remarked that foreign
policy remained "the domain of the king".
We have echoes of this in Zimbabwe where President Mugabe exercises absolute
authority over foreign affairs. Despite swearing in a government of national
unity, Mugabe declines to consult his partners in government who are
expected to uphold decisions to which they were not a party.
We saw the problems that arise from unilateral policy-making recently with
the visit of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran.
For the majority of Zimbabweans Ahmadinejad was not a welcome guest. He
ruthlessly crushed protests on the streets of Tehran last June when his
opponents claimed his election had been rigged. He has said that the
Holocaust, which saw the slaughter of six million Jews, did not happen and
threatened to obliterate Israel. Moreover, his regime's flirtation with
nuclear power has led to growing concern in the UN Security Council.
In short, Ahmadinejad is not the sort of person we should be welcoming here.
He is an oppressor in his own country and a poor example to his neighbours.
He is in fact capable of destabilising the whole Middle East.
The claims in the state press that he and Mugabe represent some sort of
progressive movement is plain nonsense. Both resist change. Both threaten
their respective regions.
While Mugabe is not obliged to consult the MDC on all issues, this is one
example of where consultation would have made sense. The MDC claims to stand
for democratic governance. It could not in the circumstances condone a visit
from a ruler widely seen by the international community as a bigot and
A country is defined by its friends, the MDC rightly said in a statement,
and it is little surprise other countries have reacted with disgust to the
clumsy diplomacy of Zimbabwe's rulers. Zimbabwe desperately needs
international approval if it is to recover from its self-inflicted wounds.
Instead it compounds its reputation as an outpost of tyranny by hobnobbing
with the likes of Ahmadinejad.
This pattern of delinquency can be detected over the past two decades. The
visit of Nicolae Ceausescu in 1983 was the starting point. He was given the
freedom of the city of Harare and a couple of heifers from what was then the
flourishing Kintyre estate.
In the period before 1990 Zimbabwe's arthritic foreign policy was
underpinned by the eastern bloc. But with the collapse of the Berlin Wall in
1989 and the winds of change blowing across Africa, Zimbabwe's
Marxist-Leninist support system began to disintegrate. Mugabe found it
increasingly difficult to strut upon the world stage. Even offers to address
the AU began to dry up. And at the UN it was Hugo Chavez who spoke for the
developing world, not Mugabe.
His pretensions to be the authentic voice of African nationalism were
overtaken in the 1990s by South Africa's commitment to inclusive and
constitutional governance.
Zimbabwe was obliged to cultivate insignificant island states such as
Equatorial Guinea in the hope of securing oil. Nelson Mandela's stance on
the Congo intervention in 1998 infuriated Mugabe and led to a rift in Sadc.
Sadc has since 2007 been involved in negotiations aimed at national
reconciliation in Zimbabwe. Sadc leaders intervened after being appalled by
evidence of assaults on MDC leaders. That "facilitation" is on-going.
It would be logical in the circumstances, if they want international
respect, for all three parties in the GNU to consult on foreign policy
issues so the country speaks with one voice and greets visitors with one
embrace. If we are to invite the EU to take the GNU seriously, as we expect
from Elton Mangoma's forthcoming mission to Brussels, we will need to engage
in mature diplomacy among ourselves.
The reaction by some officials to our ambassador's Independence Day speech
in Canberra on April 18 suggests there are still people living in the past.
If we are to have a democratic Zimbabwe we need to have new thinking at the
That should be put in place before there is any further embarrassment.


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