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Brigadier throws Zanu PF into crisis

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:12


Zanu PF is in a rut following statements by top army commander, Brigadier
General Douglas Nyikayaramba that President Mugabe should stay in power for
life, with senior party officials distancing themselves from the utterances.

The army is in the eye of a storm over perceived unprofessionalism, sparking
calls for security sector reform and such utterances by Nyikayaramba may see
Zanu PF and the military emerging with eggs on their collective faces.

President Robert Mugabe has been at the forefront of defending the army,
claiming it was professional and would not brook any calls for reform, but
Nyikayaramba might have given proponents for the reorganisation of the army
the right ammunition.

Critics have claimed that the army had too much of a say in governance and
the most revealing statements by Nyikayaramba were that an election should
be held this year, which Mugabe would win.

Giving odd justifications for the holding of an election this year,
Nyikayaramba said the army was not receiving enough medicines, rations and
there were now threats of a mutiny.

He also did not reveal why he claimed Zanu PF would win the elections, but
maintained that Mugabe, whom he described as a father figure, would win the

On Friday senior Zanu PF officials declined to comment on the matter, while
the army spokesperson asked for questions in writing.
“Ask the person who spoke, not me,” Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said
before hanging up.

“I am not interested in that issue,” Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba
said. “It’s that issue and the prime minister’s issue I am not interested
Charamba was probably referring to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
utterances last week, challenging Mugabe to come clean on allegations of

Zanu PF chairman, Simon Khaya-Moyo also declined comment claiming that he
had not seen or heard of Nyikayaramba’s comments.
The army has been accused of dabbling in politics and being the bedrock of
Mugabe’s stay in power.

Questions of the army’s involvement in governance reached a zenith in 2002,
when the defence forces claimed they would not salute anyone without the
armed struggle background.

Observers described this as calculated to thwart Tsvangirai, who many
claimed was a favourite to win the elections.

In 2008 the defence forces were at it again, reiterating that they would not
back anyone who did not share their ideals.

Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party yesterday issued a statement, claiming Nyikayaramba’s
statements were a “clear admission by the junta that it has unlawfully and
unconstitutionally taken over the running of affairs of Zimbabwe”.

The party said without any security sector reforms, any election would be a
farce and a declaration of war on the citizens of Zimbabwe.

Nyikayaramba’s utterances likely to further SADC interest in Zim

The party insiders said Zanu PF was stung by the utterances and was working
on a way to airbrush Nyikayaramba’s statements.

“There is nothing new about what he said,” an insider said. “But the timing
could not be any worse.”

The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) mediation team has
suggested that military reform should be priority, a suggestion shot down by
Zanu PF.

With a meeting to discuss the challenges facing Zimbabwe due in South Africa
in a fortnight, security sector reform is likely to feature prominently.

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MDC-T officials alleged to be Mugabe spies

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:15


SOME senior MDC-T officials are unknowingly “spying” for Zanu PF as they try
to penetrate the top brass of the country’s closely-knit security sector,
sources said last week.

The sources said over the past few years, some senior MDC-T officials have
been privately meeting key army and intelligence officers in their bid to
court them for support in the event the party wins the next elections.

But the officers, the sources said, have been relaying all the discussions
and tactics to their bosses, making it easy for President Robert Mugabe to
thwart any strategic political manoeuvres by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s party.

Some of the country’s service chiefs have vowed that they would not salute
Tsvangirai even if he won an election because he did not have liberation war

Sources said some of the officers even met with Tsvangirai at his Harare’s
Strathaven home sometime last year, but The Standard could not establish the
subject of their deliberations.

The meeting was facilitated by officers in Tsvangirai’s office, one with
known links to the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

Sources said some of the officers were at one time accused of being
sympathetic to Tsvangirai by their bosses and are now determined to show
their unwavering allegiance to the 87-year-old leader by unearthing as much
secret information concerning the former opposition party as possible.
Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka could not be reached for

However, party spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora on Friday denied that
Tsvangirai or any of their senior party members had met with army officers.
Efforts to get a comment from Army spokesperson Major Alphios Makotore on
Friday were fruitless.

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Polls spark Zanu PF intra-party violence

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:25


ELEVEN Zanu PF activists have been arrested in Maramba-Pfungwe constituency
in Mashonaland East for brutally assaulting fellow party members and
damaging property as factionalism in the party intensified ahead of primary
elections to choose candidates for general elections which could be held
this year.

The 11 activists identified in court papers as supporters of MP Washington
Musvaire on Thursday briefly appeared before a Mutawatawa magistrate who
postponed the case to June 7 for trial.

Court papers at hand say that the Zanu PF activists went on a rampage on
April 12 and 13, breaking doors and smashing windows of houses of fellow
supporters before assaulting occupants whom they accused of supporting
former MP Kenneth Mutiwekuziva.

These acts of violence were allegedly committed in three villages under
Chief Chinyerere where a total of five people were severely assaulted.
The alleged perpetrators have been identified as Zeckias Ziunye,  Bonnie
Chibundu, Major Mutero, Samuel Kwindima, Lloyd Kamuriwo, Takura Mhungu,
Tandeza Nyarumbe, Togarepi Chikotera, Mistake Chinofura and Stanford

According to the court papers, towards midnight on April 12, the 11
activists allegedly went to Dick Tore and Lucia Nyamayedenga’s homestead in
Mazarura village where they threw stones at the house where the two were
sleeping in.

They broke down the door and dragged Tore (28) outside.

They then assaulted him with logs all over his body, fracturing his arm.

They then also dragged out Nyamayedenga (28) and assaulted her with logs.

They stole US$220 in cash and a cellphone handset.

Around midnight the following day, the group proceeded to Nyadzisai Kachidza’s
homestead in Chiunye village where they opened the cattle pen and drove
cattle into her yard before taking turns to assault the 42-year-old all over
the body using sticks.

She sustained a swollen chest.

Her brother Faston Kachidza, who left his home to rescue his sister, was
assaulted with logs.

The assailants then proceeded to his homestead where they damaged his door
and dining room window pane using stones, the court papers say.
Just after midnight on the same day, the 11 went to Tafadzwa Chibundu’s
homestead in Chibundu village where one of them struck him with a brick on
the waist as he went outside to inspect after hearing their footsteps.

He sought refuge indoors but they broke the door into pieces before dragging
him outside and striking him on the head with an unknown object.
Chibundu sustained a deep cut on the head, a fracture on the left arm and
lost one upper tooth.

Sources in the province said Zanu PF Mashonaland East Provincial chairman,
Ray Kaukonde allegedly hired top Harare lawyer Charles Warara to represent
the 11 in court.

Warara — who is also Kaukonde’s lawyer — appeared for the accused in
Mutawatawa on Thursday.

However, Kaukonde denied hiring the lawyer and professed ignorance over the
issue of violence in his province.

Contacted for comment, Musvaire said “a skirmish broke out after some
misunderstanding” and accused those linking him to the violence of trying to
tarnish his image.

Zanu pf hypocrisy on violence exposed
The arraignment of the activists has exposed Zanu PF which has of late been
on a campaign to prove that the violence taking place around the country is
being perpetrated by the MDC-T.

Police have also accused the MDC-T of violence and periodically produced
reports showing that the party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is
responsible for most of the violence.

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Tsvangirai speaks out against secessionists

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:28


BULAWAYO — Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai last week said his MDC party is
against calls for a separate Matabeleland state but supports the devolution
of power to provinces.
Tsvangirai said a new constitution should provide for devolution of power to
ensure that calls for a secession of Matabeleland by some pressure groups,
notably Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) did not gain ground.

MLF is leading calls for a separate Matabeleland state amid growing
sentiments that Matabeleland and Midlands provinces are sidelined from
national development programmes.

MLF — formed last year — says a separate Matabeleland state is necessary to
bring to an end the marginalisation of the region which lags behind in

Its campaign has however put it on collision course with the police and
three of their leaders are now facing treason charges.

But Tsvangirai, speaking at a victory celebration party for Speaker of
Parliament Lovemore Moyo in Brunapeg, Matabeleland South said devolution of
power would empower all regions.

“The MDC-T wants unity of all Zimbabweans despite our diversity. We do not
want a split of Zimbabwe,” he said.

“We do not support secession. The MDC-T wants power to be devolved to
provinces and regions as opposed to splitting this country.”
He said all Zimbabweans must be treated equally.

Zapu is also pushing for devolution of power as its central policy with its
president, Dumiso Dabengwa, saying devolution would “remove all bottlenecks
and red tape created by the current Harare-based centralist governance

Zapu argues that elected governors and regional assemblies with power to
manage, public services and resources would politically and economically
empower Zimbabweans and encourage cultural and social diversity.

Dabengwa said his party would cut the current 10 provinces by half into
Mashonaland, Masvingo, Midlands, Manicaland and Matabeleland “to be led by
an elected provincial mini-government”.

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‘Coup-plotters’ still jailed

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:30


FIVE men incarcerated since 2007 on allegations of planning to violently
topple President Robert Mugabe and replace him with defence minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa may finally taste freedom tomorrow, six days after the
High Court ordered their release.
The High Court on Tuesday ordered the immediate release of Albert Matapo,
Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mudzurahona, Emmanuel Marara, Patson Mupfure and
Shingirayi Mutemachani who have been in prison since May 2007.

A seventh man, Ra-ngarirai Mazivofa has already been released.

Presiding over the matter, Justice Yunus Omerjee said the six should not
have been commuted to custody and a declaratory order would be issued to
that effect.

While Matapo is likely to remain in the cells for allegedly attempting to
escape from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in April last year, delays in
signing their warrants of liberation saw his colleagues extending their stay
in prison, much to the frustration of their lawyers.

“The order was granted in the morning on Tuesday and under normal
circumstances, the warrants of liberation should have been signed just after
that, making it possible for  our clients to be released on the same day
but the registrar delayed to sign until around 4pm yesterday (Friday),” the
accused’s lawyer Charles Warara said.

“They could not be signed on Wednesday because of the holiday and on
Thursday, we were told the registrar was not yet ready to sign.

“We were preparing to make an urgent chamber application to force the
signing when we were informed that they had been signed but the prison
officials had already gone and could not release our clients.”

Warara said he was happy that his clients would finally taste freedom after
several attempts to have them released.

The High Court last year dismissed the case citing failure to bring the
accused to court for trial within six months as required by law but
prosecutors re-indicted them.

It is not yet clear how the state wishes to proceed with the matter although
the defence has since said the accused would not be detained.

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Alleged mbanje farmers nabbed

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:31


BINGA — Two men from Muchesu and Sinakomba areas in the district were on
Thursday separately remanded in custody after they were arrested for
allegedly growing mbanje.
Emison Muchimba (54) was arrested on May 21 at his home in Muchesu.

The police got a tip-off from the members of the public that he was
cultivating mbanje at his fields.

Police raided his fields where they discovered he had 210 plants of mbanje
measuring two metres each.

Muchimba pleaded not guilty to charges of growing the plants when he
appeared before Binga resident magistrate Stephen Ndlovu on Thursday.
He told the court that the crops were planted by his sister who is currently
out of the country.

Another suspect, Bobby Peter Munsaka (36) of Sinakomba was also arrested on
May 22 after a tip-off from the members of the public.
Police discovered 16 plants of the illegal crop in his fields.

Munsaka pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The two were remanded in custody to June 6 for the continuation of trial.

Bruce Maphosa prosecuted.

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Farmers call for policy to standardise organic produce

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:32


STAKEHOLDERS in the agriculture sector are pushing for a national policy to
promote organic agriculture which they say can uplift harvests to 13 tonnes
per hectare.
The Zimbabwe Organic Producers and Promoters Association (Zoppa) Trust has
started lobbying various stakeholders, including government, to promote
organic farming at a national level.

Zoppa’s membership includes organic farmers and fertiliser producers among

Fortunate Nyakanda, the Zoppa Trust executive director said there was a
policy vacuum, which was creating many problems for organic farmers.
“Some farmers are doing well producing organically but they are not
recognised on the market,” Nyakanda said.

“We need to work on Zimbabwean standards for organic products so consumers
would know under what standards the products were produced.”

He said at the moment any farm could claim their products were organically
produced even if they were not while others put labels that their products
were pesticide free when they were not.

Science and Technology minister Heneri Dzinotyiwei announced recently that
Zimbabwe was in the process of reviewing its policy on genetically-modified
organisms (GMOs) as research has shown that they are harmless.

GMOs are plants or animals whose genes are artificially altered to enhance
yields and resistance to pests and diseases.

Government, some scientists and consumer groups tend to treat GMOs with
suspicion, saying they would have long-term negative effects on yields and
people’s health among others.

Some people have however called for the lifting of the GMO ban on
humanitarian grounds during drought years.

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Radio licences: PM, President agree

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:33


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai agreed recently
that the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) must be reconstituted,
raising fears that last week’s offer for two commercial radio licences was
not genuine.
Sources said Mugabe and Tsvangirai agreed that a new board should be set up
since the unilateral appointment of the current members by Information and
Publicity minister Webster Shamu two years ago violated the Global Political
Agreement (GPA).

Zanu PF apologist and known opponent of a free media, Tafataona Mahoso
chairs the BAZ board.

Last week the authority invited applications for two commercial radio
licences, a move that was described as piecemeal by free media lobby groups.
The groups questioned why applications were not being called for community
radio and television licences.

Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka Friday confirmed that the PM and
Mugabe had agreed that a new board must be appointed so that it can open up
the broadcasting industry where the partisan Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Cooperation enjoys a monopoly.

Tamborinyoka also accused Zanu PF of trying to fool Sadc by pretending to be
implementing media reforms.

Sadc will convene a special summit on Zimbabwe early next month to discuss a
proposed election roadmap that also calls for urgent media reforms.
“This is unbridled pretence and cheap political drama on the eve of the Sadc
summit,” he said.

“It is a ruse to hoodwink Sadc and the people of Zimbabwe that there are
genuine media reforms in line with the GPA.

“We all know that this illegal board has failed to free the airwaves and it
can’t suddenly do so on the eve of the Sadc summit.”

BAZ has in the past called for applications for radio licences but none have
been licenced. In 2007 BAZ said none of the applicants had met the
“stringent” criteria.

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Siwela critically ill

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:34


INCARCERATED secessionist group Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) official
Paul Siwela is critically ill and has been hospitalised at the Khami Maximum
Prison hospital.
He is reportedly suffering from high blood pressure.

Siwela’s lawyer, Matshobana Ncube of Abammeli Lawyers for Human Rights on
Friday said his client’s condition was deteriorating daily.

He said the 2002 independent presidential candidate was admitted at the
hospital on May 20.

“He is not feeling well,” Ncube said. “There is no clear-cut improvement, he
is still critically ill.

“High blood pressure is a condition that kills and we are afraid of the

Siwela together with two other MLF leaders, John Gazi and Charles Thomas,
were arrested in March and charged with treason for allegedly distributing
the group’s pamphlets calling for a separate Matabeleland state.

Gazi and Thomas were freed on bail last month but Siwela’s freedom was
blocked by state prosecutors who claimed he had a pending case.

He appealed at the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku early
this month postponed a hearing into Siwela’s bail application.

He instructed him to deposit an affidavit assuring the court that he would
not commit any offence of a treasonous nature as a precondition before his
bail application could be heard.

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Embattled Mutambara strikes again

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:38


EMBATTLED Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has reportedly written to
President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai claiming that
he has recalled Welshman Ncube from cabinet.
Mutambara is trying to wrestle back the control of the smaller MDC formation
after he was toppled by Ncube at the party’s congress in January.
After initially accepting defeat, the robotics professor made a U-turn and
is now backing aggrieved party members challenging the Industry and Commerce
minister’s victory in the courts.

Sources said Mutambara also wrote to the president of the Senate Edna
Madzongwe saying Ncube must cease being a senator.

Mugabe and Madzongwe have reportedly not acknowledged getting the letter but
Tsvangirai has already done so.

Maxwell Zimuto, the spokesman for the group challenging Ncube’s presidency
said only Mutambara and Joubert Mudzumwe had the mandate to make such

Both their phones were not reachable yesterday. But Ncube dismissed the move
by Mutambara, if true, as a non-event.

“No we have not received such a letter, it’s not possible, and someone has
to be a lunatic to do that,” he said.

“It can’t possibly exist. You will need people that are certifiably insane
to write that.”

However, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson Luke Tamborinyoka yesterday could neither
deny nor confirm whether the PM had received the letter.
Mugabe’s spokesman George Charamba also said he does not know anything about
the letter.

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Welshman Ncube engages ‘Plan B’ after DPM snub

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:39


SADDLED with various court cases and a potentially strength sapping wrangle
over the deputy premiership, Welshman Ncube, leader of an MDC faction, has
refused to back down, rolling out an elaborate campaign plan.
Since being elected to lead his party, Ncube was frustrated by President
Robert Mugabe, who declined to swear him in on the basis of a court action
taken by former party leader, Arthur Mutambara and his supporters.

Now there are reports that Mutambara has allegedly tried to get party
members to ditch the law professor by offering positions in cabinet.

Reports filtering in are that Mutambara offered Siyabonga Ncube, an Insiza
legislator, the ministerial position to take over either Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga’s position as Regional Intergration minister, or the
Industry and Trade Ministry held by Ncube. The offer was turned down.

Thandeko Mnkandla from Gwanda was reportedly offered David Coltart’s
position as Education minister, while it was not clear which position
Maxwell Dube of Tsholotsho South had been offered.

“Mutambara cannot do that,” an insider said. “If he does he will be in
contravention of a court order.”

The MDC sought a court order barring Mutambara from acting as the party’s

But secretary general, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga said Mutambara and
his supporters were looking for relevance.

“They have lost relevance; they think the only way they can be relevant is
when they comment about us or when we say something about them,” she said.

She said that Mutambara had no locus standi to hire or fire anyone and any
decision he took would be in contempt of court.

So far MDC has held about 19 rallies, as the party seeks to woo supporters
ahead of an election, whose date remains a mystery to the country.

“We are showing our supporters that our attention has not been diverted by
these issues,” she said. “We want to show that we are different from other
parties and we are the best alternative.”

The Regional and Integration minister said there were attempts to destroy
the party, which started as the party was about to hold its congress in
January, saying these attacks were still ongoing.

Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the attacks on her party were red herrings meant
to distract them and destroy MDC.

Without naming anyone, she said there were some individuals within the party
who, six months ago, did not have a penny to their names, but all of a
sudden could now afford to institute lawsuits.

“We are still alive and that’s the message we are taking to our supporters,”
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said.

But critics of the party accuse it of being a regional project since most of
its rallies have been held in Matabeleland, an accusation which
Misihairabwi-Mushonga curtly dismisses.

Rallies have been held mainly in Bulawayo and Matabeleland South, while
others have been held in Midlands and another in Chitungwiza.

“This is where most of our MPs (Members of Parliament) are, so we start
there going to other places,” she said.

The MDC secretary general said Mugabe held most of his rallies and meetings
in Mashonaland but no one had ever accused him of being a regional leader,
the same with Tsvangirai.

A party member revealed that some of their rallies in Mutoko and Chikomba
had been cancelled amid claims that all community halls in those areas had
been booked in advance by Zanu PF.

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Zanu PF invaders infiltrate Matabeleland

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:41


BULAWAYO — Zanu PF is allegedly resettling its supporters from other
provinces in Matabeleland so that they can register as voters ahead of fresh
The two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) formations said the alleged
scheme was an attempt to neutralise votes where Zanu PF has performed
dismally since the turn of the millennium.

A number of Zanu-PF supporters from the Apostolic Faith Church in Masvingo
were recently resettled in Plumtree, Matabeleland South, sparking protests
from the local community.

“Zanu-PF is registering its supporters from outside the region as voters
here,” said Watchy Sibanda, the MDC T chairman for Matabeleland South in an
interview in Plumtree.

He said it was a “Zanu-PF calculated move to grab the province from the

The Zanu PF supporters from Masvingo said they were given orders by
President Robert Mugabe to evict the Plumtree white commercial farmer, Garry
Ronfensls from his Lydead ranch, in Marula farming area.

Zapu and war veterans in Matabeleland North province last year also ganged
up to evict Zanu PF land invaders from outside the region saying they should
go back and invade farms in their provinces.

Edwin Ndlovu, the MDC T provincial spokesperson said: “Zanu-PF supporters
from outside the region continue to be given land in Matabeleland in a bid
to neutralise the Matabeleland vote.

“Zanu PF thinks that by importing people from other regions, they will be
able to win back the region. That strategy will never work.”

The two MDCs won most of the parliamentary and senatorial seats during the
2008 elections with Zanu PF winning in Insiza, Umguza, Bubi, Nkayi North and
Lupane West where violence was pronounced.

The party is now gearing up for elections that President Robert Mugabe
insists must be held this year.

Rugare Gumbo, the Zanu-PF spokesperson however denied as false the
allegations that it had resorted to resettling people in other regions “as
usual lies by the MDC’s who are cooking up stories.”

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Catholic nun’s gift to blind students

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:43


VISUALLY impaired pupils will soon have improved supply of textbooks just
like their sighted counterparts, thanks to the work of a Harare-based
Catholic nun.

When many local publishers were jostling over a government printing contract
to supply school textbooks under the US$70 million government-Unicef
Education Transition Fund (ETF), not many remembered blind pupils.

“I went to Education minister (David) Coltart and asked him if they had
plans to also address the appalling levels of learning materials for
visually impaired pupils,” Sister Catherine of the Dorothy Duncan Braille
Library and Transcription Service said.

“He told me of the various problems the government was facing in trying to
cater for the children and we offered our assistance which they accepted.”
The centre, which offers a library service to blind children from all over
Zimbabwe, is in the process of printing 3 200 Braille textbooks for four
core subjects for use in over 60 schools with visually impaired pupils.

Coltart said government’s National Braille Press in Mt Pleasant had no
capacity to print the books as its equipment broke down and there was no
money to buy spare parts.

He said while the supply of textbooks to schools deteriorated over the past
10 to 15 years, there was nothing done for blind students.

Many schools resorted to the Dorothy Duncan library where they are allowed
to borrow books on a term basis free of charge.

For a Braille book to be produced, a conventional copy for the sighted has
to be produced first.

The hard copies are scanned or typed from cover to cover. The text is then
put on a compact disc.

Some software programmes are then used to transcribe the text to Braille.

Sister Catherine said the process to print the ETF textbooks was progressing
well despite various technical faults and lack of funds.

A former teacher in Zambia and Zimbabwe, Sister Catherine founded the
library 20 years ago after partially losing her sight.

Among others to benefit from the library’s service is Nozipho Khanda who can
now speak six languages, is a graduate of Melbourne University, a senior
Christian counsellor and represents the World Blind Union for training
courses around Africa.

“She is one of our unsung heroes who go unmentioned when politicians get all
the praise,” said Coltart about Sister Catherine.

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Plumtree villagers dump ‘bush system’

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:47


PLUMTREE — Siziwe Ndebele (52) will never forget the trouble she went
through when she relocated from Bulawayo to Mangwe District’s Ward 4 as a
terminally ill widow.
Back then in 2002, her five children were still very young and they could
not help her much.

“I could hardly walk because of the illness but I would be forced to do so
as I had to frequently go to the bush to relieve myself,” Ndebele said.

“During the two years of my illness, I wished I had a toilet in my homestead
but did not have money to pay for the construction of one.”

That time a lot of people in Mangwe, Matabeleland South, used the “bush
system” and some would relieve themselves too close to homesteads, exposing
themselves and other villagers to diseases such as cholera. Add to that, the
embarrassment of being spotted “helping oneself” behind the shrubs.

Not anymore, said Sindisiwe Sibanda, a councillor for the area.

“Everyone, including those without money, now have toilets in their
homesteads,” proudly declared Sibanda.

“Households with orphaned and vulnerable children, the terminally ill and
those on anti-retroviral therapy benefited for free,” Sibanda said.
“In no time, our bushes became cleaner and we became less scared of waking
up with cholera one day.”

The project has created opportunities for some builders who are now being
hired to build similar facilities in other wards and across the border in

The builders’ team leader, Thaddeus Dube, said they were training some
youths to replace those who were leaving for greener pastures. This, he
said, had helped many unemployed youths in the area.

Mvuramanzi executive director Cleophas Musara said Mangwe is one of six
districts where they are implementing Euro 5 million (US$7,1 million)
project funded by the European Union and Unicef to improve water supply and
sanitation in the country. The other five districts are Bulilima, Hwange,
Chegutu, Zaka and Chipinge.

The project stumbled due to cultural beliefs in some parts of Binga, where
in-laws could not use the same toilet seat.

Funding for the project, launched in 2006, winds up in July but Musara said
they would find ways to continue “to encourage people to change their minds
over sanitation”.

He said the country’s sanitation coverage stagnated between 1990 and 2010.
The situation is worse in rural areas where only 42% of the people have safe
sanitation facilities compared to the 47% in 1990. Open defecation stands at

Sanitation guards to maintain order

Sanitation watch committees — comprising village heads, health workers and
other villagers — have already been set-up in five villages of Ward 4 to
ensure villagers maintain hygienic conditions.

“We visit homes to check on how the toilets are kept,” a committee member
Molly Titiri said.

“Our teaching has always been that the toilet has to be cleaned every
morning and then through the day as and when it gets dirty. The toilet water
bottle should never run dry because people have to wash hands after using
the toilet at all times even if one had gone in there to deposit a used

Villagers are encouraged to keep the toilets and surrounding clean to avoid
flies and mosquitos, and to wash hands with soap.

After noticing the shortage of ablution facilities in the area, Mvuramanzi
Trust, a non-governmental organisation, intervened with a toilet-building
project in 2008. They trained some 13 men and five women to construct
toilets for villagers at a cost of 500 rand or one goat per unit.

Mvuramanzi provided 600 bags of cement and barbed wire for use in building
the toilets, with each villager getting five bags.

Apart from paying the builders, the villagers fed the workers and provided
pit sand and other building materials.

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Zim birth threatens Banda’s second-term bid

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:49


ZIMBABWEAN-born Zambian president, Rupiah Banda might soon have to revisit
his history, parentage and heritage to prove that he is Zambian after
opponents claimed he was Malawian.
Under Zambian law, a president’s parents should be Zambian or at least of
Zambian descent for him to qualify for the country’s top position.

Banda is accused of lying under oath, claiming that both his parents were
Zambian, but his critics say at least one of them was Malawian.

Banda surely has an interesting background, while his opponents claim he is
of Malawian parentage, the fact that he was born in neighbouring Zimbabwe
has not helped issues.

The Zambian leader’s parents moved to the then Southern Rhodesia in search
of employment just before he was born.
Banda grew up in Gwanda and learnt in Mtshabezi, in Matabeleland South.

Zambia’s former ambassador to Malawi, Milton Phiri turned on the heat last
week, writing a letter accusing Banda of lying under oath.

These allegations, considered serious in the southern African nation, could
hurt Banda’s re-election prospects.

Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda also had the same allegations
levelled against him when he tried to challenge then leader, Frederick

“If President Banda does not contradict Ambassador Milton Phiri’s public
accusations, this is gross misconduct in terms of Article 37 of the
Constitution,” Professor Michelo Hansungule, a critic said last week.

Initially they were suspicions that Banda could have been of Zimbabwean
heritage and was often accused of being soft towards his southern

However, Phiri claims that at least one of Banda’s parents was from Malawi
and that disqualified him from being president.

Phiri claims that Banda lied under oath, by saying he was Zambian, with
Hansungule saying the president should be impeached under oath.

Banda has not responded to the allegations. But government spokesperson Lt
Gen Ronnie Shikapwasha responded with a counter claim that Patriotic Front
leader Michael Sata was also a Tanzanian.

Shikapwasha said Sata was not born in Zambia but only came in the country
when he was nine years old.

“Mr Sata did not hail from Chitulika Village in Mpika District because he
only went there when he was young,” Shikapwasha said.

Banda’s opponents now want him to do an Obama and respond to the claims.

“Let Mr Rupiah Banda behave like US President Barack Obama,” said former
Works and Supply minister, Mike Mulongoti.

“When they questioned his nationality he went and produced documents to
clear that matter.

“As a person who came across this information after the press conference and
as a concerned citizen, I want to know the truth.”

Mulongoti, who recently lost his position as MMD secretary for elections,
said if he had known back then about Banda’s parentage, he “wouldn’t have
taken him around the country to sell him as our candidate”

Zimbabwe, like Zambia, has strange citizenship laws, where people are
supposed to denounce foreign citizenship in cases where their parents or
grandparents descend from other countries.

But Banda can take comfort that he is not alone, Obama had to produce his
long birth certificate to prove that he was born in the country rather than
Indonesia as critics claimed.

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Man born with HIV wants law revised

Sunday, 29 May 2011 13:57


There is need to revisit the law that stipulates that children under 16
cannot get tested for HIV without  the consent of either their parents or
guardians, a local HIV and Aids activist said last week.
Speaking at a two-day training workshop for journalists on TB reporting in
Kadoma, 23-year-old Brighton Marweyi, who was born with HIV, said he endured
several years of sickness after his parents died before he could be tested.

He said the law infringes on the rights of children, especially those
orphans that have no one else to take care of them.

“Testing for children is determined by the child’s age but I believe those
children can be counselled and be told their HIV status,” he said.

“I would always be sick but I never knew why. When I was first told about my
status I was confused as to how I had gotten infected.

“Long back I believed that children born HIV-positive could not survive this
long at all, but God does mysterious things.”

Marweyi, who was put on anti-retroviral treatment after being tested in
2004, said although his parents and relatives knew he was HIV-positive, they
never told him.

He was only tested after having turned 16.

“I was always sick, suffering from so many diseases. I had asthma and other

“It was difficult going to school because I was always sick.

“When I was in Form Two in Bulawayo I got severely ill and by that time both
my parents had died.

“The only drug I was being given was Cotrimoxazole but I did not know why.
My elder brother knew that I was HIV-positive but he did not want to tell

But Eunice Kapandura, HIV and Aids Zimbabwe director said the law was
designed to protect the children’s interests.

She said some of the children would be too young to deal with the fact that
they were HIV-positive.

Marweyi said he did not blame his parents for not telling him about his HIV

He said he had no plans to date or marry as he did not want to “hurt another
human being.”

The workshop was organised by the Southern Africa HIV and Aids Information
Dissemination Service.

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Green economy critical for sustainable development

Sunday, 29 May 2011 14:02

by Neto Nengomasha

The adverse effects of climate change on environmental sustainability and
human wellbeing is forcing most countries to move away from the “brown’’ or
traditional economy to the “green’’ economy — a viable option for
sustainable development.
The concept has been described by environmentalists as a powerful new
paradigm in the 21st century offering creative solutions to multiple global
challenges by linking people, the planet and prosperity.

Green economy is considered as one that results in “improved wellbeing and
social equity, while significantly reducing environmental risks and
ecological scarcities.”

According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), green
economy comes against the backdrop of serious crises in climate,
biodiversity, food, fuel and water, and more recently, the financial crises
which has all been characterised by gross misallocation of capital while
being exacerbated by existing policies and market incentives.

A recent report by Unep titled “Towards a Green Economy” states that
sustainable development can only be achieved if there is an economic
transformation that promotes resource and energy efficiency and reduces
environmental degradation.

“It is time to catalyse and embed the green economy transition across the
globe from the international level down to the local community.

“The green economy can — if brought into the cabinet rooms, boardrooms and
town hall chambers — offer a viable alternative to the unsustainable status
quo,” Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director
of the UN Environment Programme, Achim Steiner, said.

The African Union has fully endorsed adoption of the green economy as a
vehicle for sustainable development.

“It is not only relevant to more developed countries but also a catalyst for
growth and poverty eradication in developing countries too,” said Patrick
Mwesigye, the Regional Industry Officer with the United Nation’s Environment
Programme (Unep).

Speaking at the inaugural Green Economy Summit in Johannesburg in 2010,
South African President Jacob Zuma said the green economy requires
integrated strategies and plans that balance economic, environmental and
social development objectives with carefully crafted policy and
institutional frameworks to ensure sustainable development.

“Ecosystem failure will seriously compromise our ability to address our
social and economic priorities. Natural resources are national economic
assets, and our economy depends heavily on energy and mineral resources,
biodiversity, agriculture, forestry, fishing and tourism,” he said.

The green economy is in line with what was agreed at the 16th Conference of
Parties (COP 16) held last year in Cancun, Mexico.

Climate experts agreed to set-up a Climate Green Fund intended to assist
developing countries to adapt to the effects of climate change and adapt
their economies and infrastructure to the changing climate.

The green economy will be one of two themes of the Rio+ 20 conference to be
held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 2012, in the context of sustainable
development and poverty eradication. This marks 20 years after the Earth
Summit held in Rio in 1992.

—SADC Today

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‘Shift to proactive environmentalism’

Sunday, 29 May 2011 14:01


THE main reason why we are faced with a myriad of environmental problems,
most of which we are having serious difficulties correcting, is because we
have taken a laid-back reactive approach to environmentalism for too long.
Due to countless years of abusing the environment and venturing in one
activity or the other, which have had dire effects on the ecological state,
Zimbabwe now arguably has one of the most tattered environments.

For instance, because farmers have for generations insisted on making use of
those farming practices that they believed to be the best as they produced
more  yields in the short-term, the soils have now been fatally overwhelmed
by the excess fertilisers and pesticides.

This has seen farmers reaping less in terms of quantity and quality.

As for the state of wildlife in the country, now that one would leave any
nature-loving person infuriated.

The responsible authorities, through major help from Campfire, for a very
long time preached about “sustainable utilisation” of the wildlife
Although the intentions could well have been noble, it gave many the
misconceptions that they owned the country’s wildlife and could do with it
as they pleased.

This saw cases of poaching shooting up.

The situation is now so desperate that the black rhinoceros is in danger of
extinction, among other wildlife.

It would appear as though it is only just recently that the responsible
authorities discovered that we had a huge poaching problem and have since
assigned law enforcement officers on a vigorous anti-poaching campaign.

It still remains to be seen whether or not that will actually help.

At its worst, reactive environmentalism tries to give the impression that
all is being done to balance environmental considerations with economic
In the meantime, the average citizen is bound to be fooled into believing
that all is as it should be when this is actually very far from the truth.

The Zimbabwean government has since as way back as the 80s been an active
participant in global environmental conventions and has indeed ratified
quite a number.

The ratifications however  appear to have been the government’s way of
giving the international community the impression that Zimbabwe is  a
country that has a deep respect for the preservation of the environment when
in actual fact the picture on the ground says exactly the opposite.

By now, every responsible person should know that it is us the human beings
that depend more on the environment, instead of the other way round and that
it would be in our best interest to care for the environment.

In that spirit, it then becomes necessary for any country to implement
environmental policies that do not seek to cater only for the short-term
needs, but also seek to ensure that the future generations inherit a part of
what nature intended for everyone.

It is also of paramount importance that the environmental experts in our
midst be allowed the platform to also project the likely future
environmental scenario and come up with ways to start tackling issues that
might in future prove too overwhelming.

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Electoral reforms welcome but...

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:37


The electoral reforms approved by cabinet last week still fall short of the
minimum conditions for a free and fair poll, analysts have said.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa said the reforms would speed up the
release of election results and bar police from polling booths.

He said Attorney General Johannes Tomana was now expected to work on a bill
to amend the Electoral Act so that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC),
among other things, would be obliged to release the results not more than
five days after voting.

In 2008 ZEC delayed releasing the results of the first round of the
presidential elections by close to a month sparking rumours that it was
trying to rig the poll in favour of President Robert Mugabe.

The now supposedly independent commission will also be empowered to set up
special courts to try election candidates, agents or parties implicated in
acts of political violence.

Voters will also be required to register and vote at one polling station and
candidates must fill in generic forms endorsed by their political parties.

The changes are meant to avoid the 2008 scenario where parties ended up
fielding more than one candidate in one constituency.

The proposed reforms come at a time when Zanu PF is trying to wriggle out of
an election roadmap being crafted with the assistance of South African
President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team.

The roadmap that was initialled by negotiators from Zanu PF and the two MDC
formations seeks to deal with the issue of security sector reforms and
freedom of expression, which are outside the proposed reforms approved by

MDC-T has put security sector reforms high on the agenda citing the
involvement of soldiers in the 2008 electoral violence and army generals’
open support for Zanu PF.

However, Mugabe and Zanu PF say Zuma is overstepping his mandate and will
not be allowed to engage the generals, now viewed as the biggest threat to a
peaceful transition.

Zimbabwe has not held peaceful elections since independence and in the 1980s
Mugabe’s attempts to neutralise his major rival the late Vice-President
Joshua Nkomo’s support led to the massacre of 20 000 innocent people.

The violence was repeated in 2000, 2002 and 2008, which effectively
condemned Zimbabwe to its pariah state status.

Besides the violence, there have been calls for an overhaul of the voters’
roll, which is known to contain names of dead people and even babies.

“It is important at this juncture to intensify lobbying efforts on the need
to overhaul the present voters roll which is known through various voter’s
roll audits to be in shambles,” the Election Resource Centre (ERC) said.

“With ZEC having indicated that the process of re-registration of voters
would require at least six months, it is prudent to conduct the fresh
registration of voters before the next general election.”

The ERC also welcomed the proposed removal of police officers from polling
booths but called for an end to the selective application of the law.


The Election Resource Centre (ERC), in a recent  analysis of the proposed
reforms, said while the fact that the three governing parties agreed on the
need to reform both the constitutional and electoral frameworks was an
important step in normalising Zimbabwe’s “fouled political environment,” it
was not a guarantee that the next polls will be free and fair.

“While in the past, good laws have been developed and promulgated, the
problem with Zimbabwe might not have been entirely about obnoxious and
restrictive laws in existence, but has more to do with a bad political
culture shown by political players,” ERC said.

“This culture negates and chooses to ignore even laid down rules and
regulations, at times, in pursuit of selfish individual or group desires.”

ERC says even though there were legal guarantees for a free and fair poll in
Zimbabwe the process was threatened by selfish politicians.

“It is such a political behaviour by politicians which has left Zimbabwe
with a shameful label of disrespecting the rule of law, abuse of human
rights, anarchy culminating in conflict-ridden political engagements at both
national and international level,” the centre said.

“The nation’s hope is that through the proposed reforms to the Electoral
Act, necessary reforms will be undertaken to redefine civilised political

“The transitional authority offers an opportunity to set new parameters that
would guide the nation’s political conduct and interaction.”

It added that for the reforms to be successful, the political players “must
cultivate a culture that gives respect to the rule of law.”

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Has Mugabe ever wanted to retire?

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:40


WHEN Zanu PF’s politburo set up a committee to look into the emotive issue
of President Robert Mugabe’s successor in 2009, hopes were raised that one
of Africa’s longest serving rulers was about to voluntarily give up power.

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in 1980 and has used every
trick in the book to remain in power, including deadly violence.

At the time the committee was set up most Zimbabweans appeared to be
resigned to the fact that the 87-year-old strongman would rule until he
dropped dead.

But the committee was quietly dissolved a year later with the wily Mugabe
reverting to his old song, that there was no vacancy in the presidium.

Despite mounting calls for him to step down because of his advanced age and
failing health, the Zanu PF leader has since the 1990s made it clear that he
is not ready to give way to fresh blood in the presidency and in his own

In an interview with the state media Mugabe said he cannot retire because
Zanu PF and Zimbabwe needed him the most now.

He cited the alleged threat by Western imperialists as his motivation to
defy nature and continue denying Zimbabweans an opportunity to start
rebuilding the country, now condemned to dehumanising poverty by his
reckless policies.

Analysts said Mugabe’s recent pronouncements on the succession debate in
Zanu PF were nothing new as he has always wanted to be a life president.
“Mugabe has never been genuine about getting a Zanu PF successor, he created
factions within the party so that he can use them against each other to
remain in power,” said Bekithemba Mpofu, a former united MDC youth leader
and renowned academic.

“It has been his intention to remain in power and this he has done
masterfully by using factions within his party as pawns.

“No wonder when a faction becomes popular he shifts his allegiance to the
other fearing that the endorsement of a successor within the party would
ignite questions about his stepping down.”

Other analysts blamed Zanu PF for creating a cult figure whose exit from the
scene could only spell doom for the party, which has been rocked by
factionalism even at a time when it was at its strongest.

Zanu PF has two factions reportedly led by Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa and retired army general Solomon Mujuru that are known to be
positioning themselves for life after Mugabe.

However, none of the faction leaders seem prepared to challenge Mugabe while
he is still alive and this has given the former school teacher the
conviction that he is invincible.

Mugabe hero-worshipped in Zanu PF

Mugabe has always been presented as a cult figure to an extent that the late
former Harare mayor Tony Gara once called him the Son of God in parliament.

Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu is known to sign his
letters to Mugabe as “Your ever obedient son” while senior Zanu PF ministers
reportedly always kneel before the man who claims to be a devout Catholic.

Different views to Mugabe’s staying power

Trevor Maisiri, the director of the African Reform Institute said if Mugabe
were to step down today Zanu PF would be engulfed by internal strife and
re-uniting the two factions might be impossible.

“The party has not handled the issue well for a long time and as time
progresses it is getting more complex to handle,” he said.

“What Zanu PF does not seem to realise is that the passage of time is
working against the party’s romance with posterity?”

Maisiri said the hero-worshiping by Zanu PF officials cultivated Mugabe’s
ambition for a life-presidency.

“There was a time in the past when the party could have intentionally raised
up a new leadership without much hassles,” he said.

“However, the party ascended President Mugabe onto a pedestal where he
became an institution rather than being a part of the institution of the
“He became the centre of the party and everything revolved around his

However, UK-based Zimbabwean academic Brilliant Mhlanga believes that Mugabe
wants to retire but is being held hostage by selfish individuals seeking to
escape prosecution for human rights abuses.

Army generals, most of whom were heavily involved in the Gukurahundi
massacres where at least 20 000 innocent civilians were murdered in
Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, want Mugabe to be a life president.

In the past there have been reports that Mugabe feared that if he left
office he would be dragged before the International Criminal Court (ICC) for
crimes against humanity.

Zimbabwe is not a signatory to the ICC treaty and taking Mugabe to the Hague
may prove impossible unless if he is arrested while outside the country.

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ReNaissance bail out plan mired in politics

Sunday, 29 May 2011 13:06

THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) general manager James Matiza
on Thursday updated the board on the government’s proposal for the pension
fund to invest in ReNaissance Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL).

Thursday’s board meeting followed the May 17 indaba where Finance minister
Tendai Biti made a formal approach to the pension fund to invest US$20
million in RFHL, a move that would bail out ReNaissance Merchant Bank (RMB).

Biti told NSSA that the proposal had been approved by cabinet.

A wholly owned subsidiary of RFHL, RMB is technically insolvent with a
negative capital base of US$16,6 million attributed to poor corporate
governance by the founding directors.

The founding directors — Patterson Timba and Dunmore Kundishora — have
already been banished from holding any senior position in any banking
institution for five years.

NSSA said last week an auditing firm would evaluate whether it makes sense
or not to invest in RFHL.

“In the light of the difficulties in which Renaissance has found itself in,
we consider it prudent to seek the assistance of an auditing firm in
examining the financial institution’s current position and future prospects.

“The firm will be asked, after evaluating the business, to make a
recommendation on the proposed investment,” Matiza said.

The auditing firm would then present a report to the board’s investment
committee, according to people familiar with the developments.

It its report, the auditing firm, would use the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
audit of RMB which unearthed serious financial transgressions at the bank
attributed to its holding company and founding directors.

While NSSA is working towards investing in RFHL, Jayesh Shah, the
businessman who blew the whistle on Timba, is taking his fight to another
level after reporting the RFHL founder to the police on Tuesday “for
obtaining money by false pretences”.

Shah insisted that Timba had reneged on an agreement in which the Indian
businessman was entitled to half of the not less than US$25 million
capital-uplift over a US$5 million loan.

If it was not for the capital uplift of no less than US$25 million, Shah
would not have given Timba the money on a low-interest rate of 9% per annum
at a time banks were quoting rates of over 50% per annum, sources said on

Timba was not answering his mobile phone on Friday but later told
Standardbusiness to send questions via short message service (SMS). He did
to respond to the inquiries.

The NSSA-RFHL deal is now threatening to split cabinet along political lines
with Zanu PF ministers against the intervention.

This has seen a number of articles appearing in the state-controlled media
attacking Biti for intervening to save RMB from collapse, a move they allege
would kill confidence in the banking sector.

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Govt to descend on profiteering banks

Sunday, 29 May 2011 13:06


THE Ministry of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion will soon force
banks to reduce interest rates in pursuit of macro-economic stability under
the aegis of the medium term plan (MTP), a cabinet minister has said.
Economic Planning minister Tapiwa Mashakada said the ministry was targeting
single digit annual inflation as the plan is premised on the need to enhance
economic transformation in Zimbabwe.

The plan aims to “lock inflation in the band of 4% to 6% while targeting an
average economic growth rate of 7%”.

“We are going to be very aggressive to make sure that banks reduce interest
rates so as to promote savings and foster investment in the economy,” said
Mashakada adding that the ministry intended to avoid a banking crisis
scenario similar to that which occurred in 2004.

Ever since the inception of the multi-currency system in 2009, Zimbabwe’s
banking sector has been criticised for failing to stimulate investment and
domestic savings owing to punitive lending rates over a short window period.

Lending rates vary between 10% and 30%, while Investment group Imara says
these rates remain high against regional and international benchmarks.
On the other hand, interest on savings has been low and government believes
it does not promote a savings culture.

According to the Ministry of Finance, the domestic savings rate remains very
low at 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), although this is expected to
improve to between 20% and 30% by 2015.

Mashakada said the MTP, which runs from 2011 to 2015, is considered a vital
tool for government to clearly spell out Zimbabwe’s national priorities for
both domestic and foreign investors and co-operating partners.

Economic Planning permanent secretary Desire Sibanda said a number of
measures would be pursued to ensure that the banking sector reduces interest

“The key issue is that of demand and supply.

“The MTP prioritises increasing productivity and accessing lines of credit
to stimulate liquidity in the economy resulting in a stable monetary
 system,” Sibanda said.

He said that investment promotion efforts were being made in pursuit of
bilateral investment agreements with Botswana and South Africa while similar
arrangements with India and South Korea were being made.

Sibanda said that internal savings in Zimbabwe in 2008 stood at less than 5%
of investment over GDP but the blueprint plans to raise the figure from less
than 10% to at least 25% of GDP over the next five years.

“A savings culture will be fostered through the widening of the tax base,
incorporation of the informal sector into the formal sector, encouraging
micro-finance initiatives, tapping into the rural economy, and more
attention to Diaspora remittances,” he said.

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Miners blast Govt

Sunday, 29 May 2011 13:04


VICTORIA Falls — Former Chamber of Mines president Victor Gapare has slammed
the government for ignoring views of stakeholders it claims to have
consulted in its policy formulation.

Addressing the chamber’s AGM on Friday, Gapare said miners had over the past
two years engaged government on the indigenisation and economic empowerment

But none of its views and those of other stakeholders were taken on board in
the current controversial indigenisation programme where foreign miners were
being forced to cede their majority shareholding to locals.
“We then ask government why then consult if you are not prepared to listen
or even adopt some of the recommendations proffered by those you claim to be
consulting,” he said.

Gapare said the chamber had proposed an equity quota of 26% with the balance
coming from credits emanating from social responsibility activities, local
procurement, skills development and release of minerals rights.

“Despite these proposals, government appointed a mining sector committee —
from which I was fired by the minister and his colleagues — to recommend an
appropriate score for mining,” he said.

He said the committee had recommended 26% equity, 15% credits and a tax of
10% for those not willing to increase their equity by a similar margin.
Gapare said the Chamber of Mines was surprised by the gazetting of General
Notice 114 of March 25 2011 which required mining companies to file a plan
within 45 days and implement the plan for the disposal of 51% to mostly
state entities within six months.

“This notice set several capital raising initiatives back and saw listed
Zimbabwe-focused operations like New Dawn and Zimplats losing between 30%
and 40% of their market value immediately,” he said.

He said several legal problems created by the gazette were made known to
government and the chamber looked forward to the resolution of the issues
for true empowerment to be achieved.

“Our view has always been that focus should be on value rather than just 51%

“Rather focus on the value of the equity instead of just the 51%
shareholding in a company.

“We should also concentrate on creating new business thus growing the
industry rather than just sharing the existing mines,” Gapare said.
He said the chamber was of the firm view that credits should be allowed and
that most communities want to see mining companies carry out social
responsibility activities, which benefit them directly.

“In President Mugabe’s speech at the 71st AGM held last year at this venue,
he indicated that credits would be accepted for the mining sector given the
capital intensive nature of the industry as well as the need to make the
programme broad based,” he said.

The chamber suggested that Zimbabwe should follow principles of the
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (EITI) where there is
transparency and cooperation between the mining company, the community and
government on the community initiatives, the funding of the initiatives and
the revenues of the mining company.

“Local procurement does offer significant opportunities for indigenisation.

“Partnerships with small scale miners will create new enterprises
contributing to the development of the industry and Zimbabwe in general,”
Gapare said.
Meanwhile, Mimosa mines MD Winston Chitando was elected the new Chamber of
Mines president taking over from Gapare.
Zimplats CEO Alex Mhembere and Metallon Gold COO Allen Mashingaidze we
elected first and second vice presidents respectively.

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Air Zimbabwe crisis deepens

Sunday, 29 May 2011 13:02


THE Air Zimbabwe board has decided to keep a low profile until the expiry of
its term of office as it is allegedly being bypassed by the parent ministry
of Transport and Communication in making crucial decisions.
The board is chaired by farmer-cum- businessman Jonathan Kadzura and its
term of office ends in August.

Standardbusiness understands that at one time board members contemplated
resigning en masse but chickened out fearing a backlash from government.

What has irked the board is that a senior transport ministry official had
allegedly become a de-facto executive chairman of the airline making
decisions without consulting the board.

“He has made sure he does not consult the board. Honestly, how can you have
a ministry official entering into an agreement with striking pilots without
the involvement of either the board or management?” asked one board member.

“What he is saying is that we are irrelevant so we have decided to wait
until our term of office expires then leave the airline for good.”

Transport ministry permanent secretary Partson Mbiriri’s mobile phone was
unavailable while Kadzura’s phone went unanswered on Friday.

In January, Mbiriri allegedly struck an agreement with the striking pilots
to resume work after they had downed tools.

The board recommended that the pilots be fired since the strike was illegal
but the resolution was overruled by the ministry.

The January agreement could not be honoured by the ministry triggering
another industrial action in March by the pilots which grounded the airline.
The ministry intervened again after it availed US$3,8 million to pay
salaries and buy fuel among other expenses.

In 2009, Transport and Communication minister Nicholas Goche promised to
rectify the problem.

While the board and the ministry are poles apart, the airline is
deteriorating by the day. Air Zimbabwe has over the years degenerated into a
museum of mismanagement attributed to government interference.

Analysts say government has to move out of the airline to stop the financial

Board blames government

Board members said on Friday the decline at the airline could be attributed
to government which made sure that AirZim had no competition.
Despite opening up the skies, government continued to stop airlines that
wanted to compete with AirZim.

Fly Kumba was denied permission to fly the Harare-Johannesburg route because
it would compete with AirZim.

AirZim’s decline comes at a time when airlines flying into Zimbabwe have
increased frequencies citing growing passenger volumes.

South African Airways, Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines and Zambezi have
all enjoyed flying into Zimbabwe due to increased passenger volumes.

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SundayView: Upfumi Kavadiki is the wrong approach to empowerment

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:56

By Alexander Rusero

The little known group of mysterious origins known as Upfumi Kuvadiki has
made some news in the recent past with the Easipark deal being the most
dominant. Behind all the stage-managed drama one thing that will go down
memory lane is that the crew is a typical indicator of a desperate
generation looking forward to attaining wealth in their dream land in the
name of indigenisation and black economic  empowerment.

Recently The Standard newspaper reported that the group stormed Econet
Wireless to discuss where they could fit in. But is this the empowerment
that we want? Is this the empowerment that our leaders sermonise about

While it is clear that the group is another Zanu PF project, it is also
important for the responsible authorities  to engage this group and
enlighten it on proper approaches to empowerment.  Although this sounds
rational it is very unlikely Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has done that or
would do that in future.  Whether by coincidence or by intention, during the
very same time and day that the group besieged Easipark, Kasukuwere called
the Mayor of Harare Muchadei Masunda and ordered him to give audience to the
group because they were ‘’hungry and angry Zimbabweans.’’
Are such actions by individuals procedural?

Kasukuwere should have known from the onset that he was the man of the
moment, and was in a better position to engage this group because its
grievances fell under his ministerial portfolio, but his behaviour simply
proved that the actions of the youths were a politically-staged gimmick
sugar-coated to appear as a genuine cause.

Regrettably Kasukuwere is at the helm of an ill-informed generation; a
generation that does not believe in work but believes that wealth can simply
be stolen from others. Even to the disbelief of many, Local Government
minister Ignatius Chombo flexed his muscles on this delusional group
challenging its members to be a little bit more rational and innovative with
their demands ordering the group to end its confrontational attitude. If
Chombo, a well-known Zanu PP hardcore and top apologist of Mugabe, failed to
gather sense on the motives of the group then one may not be condemned for
labelling such a group a gang of opportunists masquerading as champions of
youth empowerment.

There are a lot a feasible solutions and approaches at hand that may make
the doomed black economic empowerment scheme workable but as long as there
are people who believe they are more equal than others and hence deserve a
larger stake in the economy, then catastrophic economic consequences lie

Kasukuwere needs to articulate clearly that empowerment does not entitle
veryone to be an employer and investor. We still need a workforce that will
operate these businesses. The minister should also learn from the land
redistribution scheme fiasco. Eleven years after engaging in the land reform
programme, the land question has still remained a case of unfinished

The land reform programme remains a crucial case study of how ill-informed
and untimed policies can bring long-term effects and suffering on the

Politicians have a role of implementing economic policies in the interest of
people who chose them to be in charge of daily administration of public
affairs. The economic agenda is a crucial one and needs people’s input and
consideration first to avoid unnecessary consequences that we have witnessed

There is still plenty of time to revisit our empowerment scheme and unearth
all the aspects that citizens feel may do harm to Zimbabwe’s current and
future investment.

That can only be possible if there is zero tolerance is employed on dreamers
and hallucinators like Upfumi Kuvadiki.

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Editor'sDesk: Yes, Nyikayaramba is right, Zanu PF will win

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:54

Many would have been surprised by the grit displayed by Brigadier-General
Dou-glas Nyikayaramba in stating that Zanu PF would win the harmonised
elections his party wants held this year. Asked by the Zimbabwe Independent
what the military would do in case someone without liberation war
credentials (obviously referring to Morgan Tsvangirai) won the elections,
Nyikayaramba said the question was irrelevant because Zanu PF was assured of
electoral victory in the next elections.
“I don’t see such a thing happening. It is (a) very irrelevant (question)
based on factors on the ground. There is no such possibility. It’s a dream,”
Nyikayaramba said.

Recently there have been claims in the state-run media that Zanu PF would
win the elections by 60% as opposed to MDC-T’s 40%. Sceptics have questioned
how the former ruling party came up with these statistics.

But a look at the proposed amendments to the Electoral Act shows that a Zanu
PF victory is inevitable. A report in the daily Herald on Friday said that
cabinet had approved the proposed amendments after parties to the Global
Political Agreement agreed on the raft of adjustments. The adjustments would
now be gazetted before being brought to parliament for debate.

Tucked among the adjustments is one amendment which ensures that Zanu PF has
already manipulated the elections and is heading for a landslide victory.
This is the seemingly innocuous clause that stipulates that the next
elections would use polling-station-based voters’ rolls as opposed to the
ward-based rolls used in 2008.

It is surprising that, according to the Herald report, Tsvangirai with the
other principals approved this amendment. We all know how Zanu PF is going
to abuse this adjustment to win especially the rural vote.

Zanu PF has perpetuated the myth that it has got unwavering support in the
rural areas when it fact it does not. However, political players in both the
“opposition” and civil society seem to have swallowed this ruse and even
promoted it. It is this trick that has enabled Zanu PF to continually claim
victory in the rural areas when in fact they have used underhand means, such
as denying voters secrecy when casting their ballots.

The fundamental issue about the electoral process in Zimbabwe, is not that
there is electoral violence accompanying all elections but that the people,
especially in the rural areas, have never been given the opportunity to
express their free will.

There are minimum conditions that a ballot election should meet for it to be
defined as such, which have never been met in Zimbabwe. One of these is
secrecy; the other is security before, during and after voting. But due to
lack of these two fundamental benchmarks in ballot elections, violence has
become an effective electoral tool or technique used repeatedly to win

According to analysts, if there is voter secrecy, enabling a voter to choose
his or her electoral candidate without the fear that his choice will be
known by another person and if there is an assurance that there will be no
punishment or retribution for voting in a particular manner, violence would
cease to be an effective electoral tool. A voter who has been subjected to
violence will still be able to use the secrecy of the ballot to assert his
freedom of choice. When the secrecy of the ballot is lost and the security
of the citizen who does not vote for those who hold power cannot be assured,
then there will be no ballot elections. The voter becomes a human tool, a
pawn in the vote accumulation scheme of the ones with power and not a free
individual, freely exercising his or her right to determine the destiny of
the country.

This is exactly the scenario that has been created for the next elections by
making them polling-station-based rather than ward-based. In the last
election people could choose which polling station in their ward to vote at
but now every voter will be allocated a polling station at which to cast his
vote. This immediately takes away the security that should go with ballot
elections. We know the tactics that will be used — they have all been used
before — traditional leaders will ensure their subjects vote in a particular
way and also ensure that everyone in the village votes. No one can abstain
from voting because this would immediately be known. Village heads have in
the past been known to confiscate their subjects’ identity documents only to
return them at the polling station.

Polling-station-based voters’ rolls also expose voters to collective
punishment. If individuals in a village decide to vote for a candidate
different from the one those in power want, the whole community might be
subjected to retribution through a witch-hunt.

On polling day villagers will be herded into polling stations and made to
quietly follow orders. Observers may be lost to the fact that the villagers
they are seeing in queues are not simply law-abiding citizens under their
traditional leaders standing in a orderly manner to efficiently cast their
ballots. They would in fact be citizens deprived of their pride and
confidence; merely frightened and insecure persons going through the motion
of putting an X exactly where they were told to put it.

We know that Zanu PF is already on the ground executing this strategy.
Reports have come from throughout the country that military personnel
referred to as “the boys on leave” have already been deployed into the rural
areas to conscientise the people on how they are expected to vote and the
consequences that go with voting otherwise.

By omission and commission civil society has failed to articulate the
fundamental issues affecting elections in Zimbabwe. In the end, to many
observers Zimbabwe has held elections by secret ballot which were marred by
violence, but this is absolutely not so; Zimbabwe has never really held a
secret ballot election, particularly in the rural areas where the majority
of our people live.

Whereas in the urban areas the electoral process has been corrupted by
placing hurdles in the way of voters casting their votes, in the rural areas
voters have been deprived of the opportunity to cast their votes in secrecy.

Yes, Nyikayaramba is right, an MDC victory is just but a “dream” and
Tsvangirai and his crew are like sheep being herded for slaughter, come next

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SundayOpinion: Why unity in Africa is a pipe-dream

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:52

By Alexactus T Kaure

The Windhoek Sadc summit has come and gone. And so has Africa Day which was
celebrated across the continent on May 25.

People are now probably preparing for next year to perform the same rituals.
I say rituals here because nothing seems to change — which is the
characteristic of a ritual. But someone might grab me by the throat and say
“that’s not true”, and under that pressure I would probably concede that
things have indeed changed. But what has changed?

Yes, we changed the name of the Southern African Development Coordination
Conference (SADCC) to Southern African Development Community (Sadc) in 1992,
in the high-altitude city of Windhoek.

And we did the same with the Organisation of  African Unity when we changed
it to the African Union (AU) in 2002, in the coastal city of Durban.
But stubbornly, I might still insist that things have not changed because
despite the name changes southern Africa, and indeed Africa itself, is still
far from being integrated and united.

There is neither an integrated Sadc region nor is there a united Africa with
a union government. In the case of Sadc, we were told that by 2008 the
region would have a Free Trade Area (FTA) — reducing or eliminating tariffs
or relaxing non-tariff barriers to the movement of goods and services.
This has not happened as yet after a good 31 years. In the case of the
African Union, African leaders have been talking about African unity and a
union government for the “United States of Africa” since the formation of
the original OAU in 1963 in Addis Ababa. Thus Kwame Nkrumah’s urgings for a
union have been in vain.

Any serious discussion of the problems facing the integration or unity
agenda in the region and in Africa must involve a process of restructuring
the African reality itself.

I therefore argue here that the integration and unity talk is essentially
following the same political trajectory that pertains at the national level
of the various African countries themselves. Thus unless one addresses the
national question first, one cannot hope to move on to the higher ground —
which is the regional level. The example of the European Union is
instructive here.

There was no blanket admission to the union in Europe.  Some countries were
required to put their houses in order first before they could seek

However, in Africa, any system goes. Commenting on the recent suspension of
the Sadc Tribunal, the radical lawyer, Norman Tjombe, asked why Sadc leaders
should support a strong regional court if they don’t support strong courts
in their own countries?

Proceeding from that perspective, one can legitimately argue that as time
elapses, as the post-colonial period lengthens and African societies
rediscover their past, then the significance of nationalist politics becomes
less so.

We are witnessing it in Namibia where identity politics (read tribal
politics) is taking root.

Thus, if individual countries themselves aren’t united internally, how can
they unite at the regional and eventually at continental level?

Let me, however, as a corollary to the preceding discussion look at the
significance of Africa in contemporary global politics assuming there was a
semblance of integration and unity. In recent years and weeks, especially in
the wake of recent “revolutions” in North Africa, we have heard and read
about “African solutions to African problems” being tossed around and about.

Specifically in the case of Libya where Nato forces have been maintaining a
no-fly zone and also the bombing of military targets (of course with the
usual civilian casualties caught in the cross-fire) African leaders have
been urging that to be stopped because they see it as another Western
imperialist agenda and would instead argue that Africa can solve its own

But when did Africa ever solve its problems? That’s the question. Why didn’t
Africa intervene before the UN and Nato came into the picture? They are
calling for dialogue between the Libyan leader and the rebels — which is now
too late, I’m afraid. Muammar Gaddafi has had ample chance to do so.
But he decided to unleash the might of the Libyan military on his own
people.  Closer to home, what is Sadc doing in the case of Zimbabwe where
President Robert Mugabe remains defiant.

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StandardComment: Zim ill-suited to head AU organ

Sunday, 29 May 2011 12:51

Zimbabwe will this week assume the chairmanship of the African Union Peace
and Security Council (PSC).

Under normal circumstances, this would be something to celebrate, given the
importance of the organ which was set up in 2002 to enforce decisions made
by heads of state and government.

AU leaders established the body after noting incessant conflicts in Africa.
The PSC is mandated to promote peace, security and stability in order to
guarantee the protection of life and property on the continent.

It is also supposed to anticipate and prevent conflicts and, in situations
where conflicts already exist, the organ undertakes peace-making efforts to
resolve them.

It also promotes and encourages democratic practices, good governance, the
rule of law, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms,
respect for the sanctity of human life and humanitarian law.

These tasks make the PSC a very important instrument in the African Union’s
quest to bring peace to a continent ravaged by war and dictatorship.
Given the importance of the body, it is therefore difficult to understand
how Zimbabwe, a country that is notorious for violence, blatant disregard
for the rule of law and election rigging can be asked to lead it.  Is this
any different from making a village criminal the local sheriff?

While the chairmanship of the organ is rotational, there is every reason for
the AU to change the rules so that countries such as Zimbabwe cannot assume
the chairmanship of this important body. Only this month Zimbabwean
authorities celebrated the demise of the Sadc Tribunal thus advertising
their contempt for the rule of law.

If Zimbabwe is allowed to chair the AU peace flag-bearer, nothing will stop
Libya, still under the grip of Muammar Gaddafi who is shelling his own
people in Misurata, from heading it one day.

The AU is aware of the problems in Zimbabwe and should be seen to be
pressing for a solution rather than rewarding the country, which is already
engulfed by conflict.

Only those countries that have pursued policies that promote peace should be
at the forefront of peace-making initiatives. Who will take the AU seriously

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