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Zimbabwe president says splits, greed threaten his party ahead of elections planned this year

By Associated Press, Updated: Saturday, May 5, 12:17 AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s longtime president said splits and greed are
threatening his party ahead of elections he is pushing for this year during
a spirited speech at the funeral of a party stalwart Friday.

President Robert Mugabe told mourners at the state funeral that leaders have
become “too materialistic” and are fighting each other for top party posts
ahead of elections he wants this year to end a shaky coalition with Zimbabwe’s
former opposition.

Mugabe, 88, has been nominated as his party’s sole presidential candidate in
proposed elections.

The power-sharing coalition was brokered by regional leaders after violent
and disputed elections in 2008.

Mugabe accused party factions of manipulating recent voting for provincial

“We look forward to having an election. Let’s get united,” he said during
the 50-minute speech at Edson Ncube’s funeral.

Ncube, 74, served as a guerrilla fighter in the bush war that led to
independence from Britain in 1980. He later became a senior party

Mugabe, commending Ncube’s role in the fight against British colonial-era
rule, vigorously sang a verse from “Rule Britannia,” an anthem about Britain’s
former colonial dominance.

“They can rule the rest of the world but not Zimbabwe anymore,” he said.

Mugabe has appeared frail and weak at recent public occasions after
returning from medical treatment in Asia. On Friday he looked fit and
energetic and did not refer to his health.

Ncube died Sunday from complications of anemia in the second city of
Bulawayo. He was declared a national hero for burial with military honors at
Heroes Acre, a shrine for fallen fighters and politicians outside Harare.

“He was reliable and honest. There are very few people like him who mean
every word they say and tell the truth,” Mugabe said.

He said party leaders must follow Ncube’s example to win support from the
people on their own merits.

Mugabe said bitter factionalism was evident in contests for party positions,
efforts to discredit rivals and vote-buying.

“It is bad to do that, you are not a leader if you do it and if you buy
votes,” Mugabe said. “You are destroying the party people like (Ncube)
fought hard for. Let the people judge you.

“The leadership needs transforming,” he said. “We have become too
materialistic and that is going to destroy the party,” Mugabe said.

In a veiled barb against the pro-Western stance of the party of Zimbabwe’s
black Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe said some Zimbabweans “still
think a white man is better than a black man.”

“If you can’t rule without going to Europe and the Europeans then you can’t
rule this country at all,” said Mugabe, in a return to his often-used fiery

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Fireworks rage at politburo meeting

Friday, 04 May 2012 09:49

Faith Zaba

THERE were fireworks at a decision-making Zanu PF politburo meeting in
Harare on Thursday, as senior party officials engaged in heated exchanges
over the raging Select Committee of parliament on the new constitution
(Copac) disputes ahead of elections which President Robert Mugabe wants this
year at all costs.

This came as army generals and top police chiefs, some of whom want to be
candidates in the next elections, have taken over Zanu PF’s campaign drive
and demanded that party leaders include them in their meetings. The Zanu PF
commissariat is now driven by security forces, fronted by retired Air-Vice
Marshall Henry Muchena and former CIO director-internal Sydney Nyanhungo.

Informed sources said a group of about 50 top army and police chiefs, whose
ranks ranged from colonel to major-general, who also included a deputy
police commissioner-general and an air vice marshal, descended on Manicaland
last Sunday for a meeting on elections with the provincial coordinating
committee at Mary Mount Teachers College in Mutare.

Those present included Major-General Martin Chedondo, Air vice Marshal
Shebba Brighton Shumbayaonda, Brigadier-General Herbert Chingono,
Brigadier-General Mike Sango, 3 Brigade commander Brigadier-General Eliah
Bandama and members of the provincial Joint Operations Command (JOC). Police
deputy police commissioner-general Godwin Matanga, was also present.

JOC, which brings together security service chiefs, is the force behind
Mugabe and Zanu PF, especially during elections. Without JOC, Mugabe and
Zanu PF would lose elections.

Sources say the security forces told Zanu PF officials they were not going
to stand by while the party loses elections as some people had somewhere
outside the country to seek refuge, unlike them. So Zanu PF has to win the
next elections by all means necessary to protect their interests and future.

Zanu PF now seems geared for elections despite growing factionalism and
infighting. The politburo met yesterday to consider issues affecting the
party ahead of elections, including the chaotic constitution-making process,
factionalism fuelled by District Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections and
the party’s general preparedness for polls expected this year or next year.

Senior party officials told the Zimbabwe Independent last night the
politburo would have an extraordinary meeting soon, preferably in two weeks’
time, to tackle the issue of factionalism linked to Mugabe’s simmering
succession battle. Mugabe’s succession fight is now intensifying amid fears
he would not be a viable candidate, due to old age complications and
ill-health especially if elections are held next year, .

Mugabe and his loyalists are now pushing that Copac must fast-track its
process to produce a new constitution hurriedly or else they would plough
ahead with elections without a new founding law. The president and his
diehards are angered by Zanu PF faction leaders grouped around
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who are
now using Copac as a theatre for succession battles.

Sources said there was heated debate in the politburo yesterday, mainly
featuring Zanu PF Copac co-chair Paul Mangwana and party strategist Jonathan
Moyo, as well as heavyweights who removed their gloves to fight for their
positions. Mangwana defended Copac and its widely- criticised draft, while
Moyo tore it apart, resulting in him securing the backing of Mugabe and the
politburo. Moyo, it was said, would now be one of a core team of senior
party officials, which includes Mnangagwa and administration secretary
Didymus Mutasa, monitoring and clearing Copac issues on behalf of Zanu PF.
Moyo is also in another Zanu PF committee advising party officials in Copac.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told the Independent after the politburo
meeting: “The meeting indicated we need to decide on the way forward if the
management committee does not come up with answers. President Mugabe made it
very clear that he wants the draft as soon as possible and gave them up to
next week to hand it over to them (the principals)”.

Gumbo added: “We want the management committee to produce a report that says
they have either resolved or deadlocked. If they have deadlocked, then we
will say let’s forget about the process and use the old constitution”.

On the security forces’ involvement in party politics, Gumbo said the matter
would be discussed at a special politburo meeting to be held in a fortnight’s
time, together with the factionalism crisis.

“We are going to deal with that issue at our special meeting,” he said,
adding it was the president who ordered the special meeting in two weeks’
time to deal with the internal strife.

“He said we should sit down and not be superficial about the issue.
President Mugabe said we should sit down and talk frankly and pour our
hearts out and decide on the way forward,” Gumbo said.

Sources in the provincial executive who attended the meeting in Mutare told
the Independent yesterday the army and police chiefs arrived in a
“no-nonsense mood”, and quickly set the tone and tempo, warning Zanu PF
could not afford to lose the next elections. This almost certainly would
raise the stakes in the next elections, seen as do or die for Mugabe and the
Zanu PF.

In a bid to crush dissent and whip supporters into line, police deputy
commissioner-general Matanga, who addressed the meeting which lasted less
than an hour, said they would now be working as a team with the provincial
leadership and party bigwigs in the province to ensure Zanu PF regains
constituencies lost to the MDC-T in the last elections.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party won 20 of the 26 seats in the
province during 2008 polls. It also holds four of the six senate seats of
the province.

The top army and police chiefs called the meeting following angry
demonstrations in the province by hundreds of disgruntled party supporters
protesting the way District Coordinating Committee (DCC) elections were
conducted. They alleged massive rigging, imposition of candidates, use of
fake voters’ rolls and manipulated results.

Factionalism within Zanu PF structures is threatening to ruin the party
ahead of the make-or-break elections.

Sources said Zanu PF national commissar Webster Shamu presented a report at
yesterday’s politburo meeting on the DCC elections and subsequent infighting
in the provinces. He is now expected to present a more comprehensive one at
the extraordinary politburo meeting. Shamu and other senior party officials
have been fire-fighting to prevent the infighting from spreading across the
party like veld fire.

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Factional battles rock Mugabe's Zanu-PF

JASON MOYO May 04 2012 00:00

Scenes of Zimbabwe police firing warning shots and charging party activists
are usually associated with the authority's frequent crackdown on opposition
groups. But over the past week the police have used force to quell violence
between rival factions of President Robert Mugabe's party.

Mugabe has been trying to rally his party towards a new election campaign,
but the grassroots structures that have long been the mainstay of Zanu-PF
appear to be crumbling.

The factionalism that has divided the top leadership of the party has now
seeped through to the grassroots at a time when Mugabe needs it most in his
bid for new elections. With these structures in a shambles, party officials
believe Mugabe may be forced to rethink his plan for yet another election

Across five party provinces Zanu-PF has had to suspend district elections
after fights erupted over accusations of vote rigging, the imposition of
candidates and intimidation.

Grassroots structures have always been key in getting Mugabe's supporters to
the polls during elections and, according to opposition activists, they have
also been used to intimidate communities into voting for Zanu-PF. Its
district elections are a key step towards party primary elections it plans
to hold soon, under pressure from Mugabe to organise quickly for national
elections that he wants to be held this year.

Deeper rifts
But now Mugabe finds that the rifts among his top lieutenants reach deeper
than he thought.

Even in the lowest structures of Zanu-PF local leaders are aligning
themselves to the two main factions, which are said to be led by Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and Vice-President Joice Mujuru.

Mugabe has previously acknowledged the divisions in his party, blaming them
for Zanu-PF's loss in the 2008 election, but rarely have these fault lines
shown up in the grassroots.

In Masvingo, a traditionally pro-Zanu-PF province, the police fired warning
shots and had running battles with rival factions. Police spokesperson Wayne
Bvudzijena said officers had to step in to "maintain law and order" at a
rural school in the province.

Walter Mzembi, the Zanu-PF MP in the Masvingo area where the violence
erupted, said poor discipline was "tearing at the core of leadership and
needs to be stopped".

He said the grassroots support felt ignored by those in power over the
choice of leaders, who he said had given themselves the "power of

"In the final analysis, the party should arrogate to itself the ultimate
role of deploying cadres if it is to check individualism, selfishness,
factionalism, tribalism, regionalism and ultimately the division so rampant
now everywhere," said Mzembi.

Fighting talks
Rugare Gumbo, Zanu-PF spokesperson, said senior party leaders were to meet
this week to discuss the fighting. Party officials are worried that the
violence shows it is not yet ready for another campaign. Mugabe's insistence
on new elections is only deepening the divisions in Zanu-PF, one official

In the Manicaland province, where Zanu-PF lost 20 of the 26 available seats
in the 2008 election, attempts to reorganise the party have been stalled by
factional violence. A senior official said some party supporters had
defected to the Movement for Democratic Change after party district
elections were abandoned over charges of cheating and intimidation.

Webster Shamu, who, as Zanu-PF "political commissar", is in charge of
running party elections and its "restructuring" exercise, has now ordered
all elections stopped while the party investigates the fighting.

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Close shave as Mugabe stumbles at ZITF

Friday, 04 May 2012 09:48

THE viability of President Robert Mugabe as a Zanu PF’s presidential
candidate in elections he wants held this year was again put in doubt after
reports he almost fell — for the second time within just over a week —during
the official opening of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo
last Friday.

Zambian President Michael Sata, who officially opened this year’s exhibition
and Mugabe’s aides, came to the rescue.

The incident happened just nine days after he had to be similarly rescued by
one of his aides when he missed a step and almost slipped during
Independence Day commemorations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
Zimbabwe Independent reporters witnessed the Independence Day incident.

Witnesses who were at trade fair last week said Mugabe almost fell before a
crowd of about 6 000 Zanu PF supporters bussed in mainly from Umguza, Insiza
and Zvimba to bolster numbers and give the visiting Sata the impression he
is still  popular and capable of winning elections. That would help Mugabe
in the Sadc region to lobby for early elections and endorsement and
legitimacy of the outcome is disputed.

Mugabe and Sata had earlier toured a few stands before being dropped off in
front of the grandstand at the main arena just after 2pm.

“As the two presidents walked on the red carpet towards the saluting dais in
preparation for Sata to inspect the guard of honour, Mugabe bumped into one
of his guards, stumbled and almost fell down, but was quickly rescued by
Sata and his minders,” said an eyewitness. “The crowd went quiet as this
embarrassing situation happened.”

The latest incident feeds into the growing perception that Mugabe is now
frail due to old age and ill-health. This has resultantly caused grave
concerns in Zanu PF about the viability of candidacy, especially if
elections are held next year. Fears are mounting Mugabe might falter during
campaigns given his increasingly undeniable infirmity. Seeing this, Mugabe
himself seems uncertain about his capacity to withstand a grueling national
elections campaign next year and is thus demanding polls this year, with or
without a new constitution.

Zanu PF had organised bussedcrowds to make it appear Mugabe was popular by
buying  tickets for the trade fair for a large number of their supporters. —
Staff writer.

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Zim farmer conciliatory on land grab

May 4 2012 at 01:27pm

Johannesburg - A Zimbabwean farmer who was told 10 days ago his farm had
been confiscated, now says it looks as though the issue could swing in his
favour, Beeld newspaper reported on Friday.

Henry Jackson's widely publicised, conciliatory stance to the occupation of
his farm, situated near Gweru, elicited strong reactions from South Africans
and Zimbabweans.

Amongst other things, Jackson, 57, told the prospective new owner of the
farm he would bless him and provide him with logistical help.

Jackson said on Thursday it seemed as though high-ranking Zanu-PF officials
were however taking issue with the land commissioner who was trying to
expropriate his farm.

The Zanu-PF officials were sending him messages saying he should stay on the
property, Jackson said.

“It's as if I'm standing to one side, and they're fighting against one

Jackson, also a pastor of the United Apostolic Faith Church, cited the
biblical story of Gideon, who had stepped aside to allow his enemies to
fight against each other, to explain his behaviour. Jackson said he was
content to leave the issue in God's hands. - Sapa

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Zimbabwe starts reclaiming land seized from white farmers

By KITSEPILE NYATHI in HararePosted Friday, May 4  2012 at  17:09

Zimbabwe has started repossessing underutilised pieces of land from
beneficiaries of its controversial land reforms that started over a decade

President Robert Mugabe justified the violent land grabs from white
commercial farmers by saying it was meant to correct colonial imbalances.

Critics said most of the productive farms were parcelled out to the
88-year-old leader’s cronies who did not have any resources or interest in

Advocate Martin Dinha, the governor for Mashonaland Central province, which
is a prime farming area, said the repossessed plots will be allocated to
landless people.

"President Mugabe is on record saying farmers not utilising land should be
removed and once he says something it becomes policy,” he said.

“There is no going back on this thrust and offer letters will continue to be
issued out as long as there are people who still need land.

Mr Dinha added: “Land should be allocated according to production levels,
land utilisation capacity and resources available. I am concerned with
people who own large hectares of land but are not fully utilising it.”

Zimbabwe’s agriculture production has plummeted over the years as the new
farmers continue to struggle to access resources to modernise their farming.

A number of frustrated black farmers have also resorted to leasing their
pieces of land to the former commercial farm owners drawing President Mugabe’s ire.

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Aid to Zimbabwe must take account of resettled farmers on contested land

The UK's decision not to help Zimbabweans who were resettled on land owned by white farmers fails to alleviate hardship

MDG : Zimbabwe education : Fanuel Mtongozi headmaster of Village 9 school
Fanuel Mtongozi, the 46-year-old headteacher of Village Nine school, says it has 450 pupils and 12 teachers up to grade seven. The school received textbooks from Unicef in 2010 but it has no furniture. Photograph: Alex Duval Smith

It is 12 years since President Robert Mugabe responded to divisions in his party and the rise of an opposition by launching a "fast-track" resettlement programme in which 4,500 white commercial farmers were thrown off the land and replaced by 150,000 black families.

It feels as though it is almost as long since Britain took a close look at Zimbabwe and assessed what should be achieved with the £80m ($126m) of taxpayers' money spent there each year. Britain's priorities count. Donors, led by the US, give more than $900m per year in aid to Zimbabwe and they take their lead from the Department for International Development (DfID).

Since the land invasions began in 2000, donors have faced a conundrum: how to provide humanitarian assistance to needy people without giving a penny to their government. The challenge did not go away in 2009, when the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was given a few ministries.

Britain came up with a good plan – to channel aid money through two conduits. These are the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef), which handles education, health and social welfare, and the Protracted Relief Programme (PRP), which uses NGOs to support 2 million communal farmers. The system is reactive to emergencies – such as the 2008 cholera outbreak – and has provided for consultation with MDC-controlled ministries. Importantly, it allows for the travel and business sanctions imposed against Mugabe and other individuals to appear not to affect ordinary people.

However, while the donors have studiously been perfecting routes to circumvent the treasury, Zimbabwe has fundamentally changed.

DfID officials stress that British taxpayers' money does not go to people living on "contested land", meaning farms for which former owners have not been compensated. Britain, they say, only helps people living on communal lands – those whom Britain has always helped, and whose security of tenure is at the whim of traditional chiefs.

The assertion that aid is not reaching new farmers on "contested land" means Britain is ignoring the humanitarian needs of the 150,000 families – about 750,000 people – who have been part of the largest demographic movement in southern Africa in the past decade.

Here are some snapshots of Zimbabwe now:

• On Portelet Estates, a former commercial farm near Chinhoyi, 450 children attend a "satellite school" with no furniture or blackboards in a barn on the verge of collapse. The headteacher, Fanuel Mtongozi, 46, says the school opened in 2002 for children of settlers in Village Nine. Unicef delivered the first textbooks last year. There are 1,363 satellite schools in Zimbabwe, but they are not mentioned in Unicef's Education Transition Fund plan.

• A white pensioner begs in the car park at Avondale shopping centre in the northern suburbs of the capital, Harare. She says she lost her farm, then her husband died, and her pension became worthless under hyperinflation in 2008. There are now no more than 500 white farmers left in Zimbabwe, most of them past retirement age, many living in hardship and reliant on charity.

• Near Macheke, a man in his 40s, called Patrick, squats in dilapidated buildings that used to be the productive fruit and tobacco farm where he worked. It has been resettled under "fast track". He is not a beneficiary, but he has nowhere else to go and lives by doing odd jobs for the resettled farmers. Zimbabwe has an estimated 1 million internally displaced people – 8% of the population. They are often former commercial farm employees. There is no support for them as long as they remain on "contested land".

• Near Goromonzi, Mathias Mandikisi, a former "war vet" – who played an active role in occupying the land he now farms – has had a bumper tobacco crop on his six hectares (14.8 acres). He bought his first car last year, at the age of 53. This year he intends to trade in his Mazda 323 for a one-tonne pick-up.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of "fast-track" farms have not been given to high-ranking officials of Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF). They are plots of land that have been given to low- and middle-ranking civil servants and to people like Mandikisi who were previously living in townships. Mandikisi said: "Some of us are doing well and we are very grateful to President Mugabe for giving us back the land. Others are not succeeding so well as farmers. But even they are staying on the land. There are no jobs in the location [township] and at least here everyone can grow their own food."

It could be argued that it is for Zanu-PF to provide the new farmers with seeds and fertiliser. But they, as much as all Zimbabweans, need clinics, schools, boreholes and roads.

Another reason to start including the resettled farmers in calculations of the humanitarian needs of Zimbabwe is to ensure that aid is going where it is most needed. A shortfall is predicted this year in the 2m tonnes of maize required by the country. Guesstimates of production range from 700 tonnes to 1.4m tonnes. This is because the output of the new farmers is not known.

Like him or loathe him, Mugabe's policies over the past 12 years have radically transformed Zimbabwe. "Fast track" happened, and in an agrarian society like Zimbabwe, its impact should be at the centre of humanitarian policymaking. The changes should stimulate rather than mute the analysis and debate about aid to the country.

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Information Minister Shamu and his media threats

By Lance Guma
04 May 2012

ZANU PF’s information minister Webster Shamu has threatened a crackdown on
the independent media in the country warning that “the gloves may soon be

Shamu was speaking at a Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) function in Harare
that was meant to celebrate World Press Freedom Day. In what many viewed as
a clear attempt to intimidate journalists ahead of possible elections Shamu

“If the clearly anti-African and anti-Zimbabwe frenzy we have experienced
through some media outlets and platforms in this country continues, and if
the conspiracy of silence within the media industry and profession also
persists, the gloves may soon be off here as well.”

“If the last five years of change do not show the media industry and the
journalism profession to have fulfilled their promises, then the sovereign
people of Zimbabwe have no option but to intervene and protect themselves
through the instruments of the State, that is to revert to the regulatory
regime of 2001-2007,” he warned.

In the period referred to by Shamu Edward Chikomba, a veteran cameraman
formerly with the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, was abducted from his
home on the 29th March 2007 by a group of armed men in a four-wheel drive
vehicle. He was found dead two days later in Darwendale.

Those who worked closely with him suspected he was murdered for allegedly
‘smuggling’ news footage out of Zimbabwe. Chikomba’s brutal murder showed
the lengths the regime was prepared to go in silencing the media.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai used a World Press Freedom Day
function in Kuwadzana to tell the audience that if Shamu was an MDC-T
minister, he would have fired him a long time ago for blocking media

“I am saying to President Mugabe, Shamu should be fired. We told this man as
principals and Parliament that the board of ZBC should be dissolved and
reconstituted, but this has not happened. Now do you think Shamu has the
powers to ignore all of us? No, I do not think so, I think there should be
someone else higher than him who is telling him to ignore us,” the PM said.

On the 8th February Tsvangirai and his Deputy Arthur Mutambara met Mugabe at
State House for two and half hours, and one of the key issues discussed was
the broadcasting authority. Tsvangirai and Mutambara later issued a
statement in which they said it had been agreed among other things that
Minister Shamu must:

“Immediately implement the Principals’ directive to reconstitute the boards
of ZBC, Mass Media Trust and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe in line
with the agreed formulae. The licenses already issued by the illegally
constituted BAZ board should be revoked forthwith.”

Nothing of the sort has happened. In fact SW Radio Africa has in the past
chronicled how several members from the army and state security agencies are
members of the same boards that Shamu is refusing to reconstitute. It is
clear their role is to secure ZANU PF interests at every turn.

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Tsvangirai And Shamu Differ On Media Reforms

Harare, May 04, 2012 -Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday said if
the Information Minister Webster Shamu was from his Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party he would have fired him for blocking media reforms.

Tsvangirai who was addressing journalists and Kuwadzana residents to mark
World Press Freedom Day was contradicted sharply by the minister who was
giving a speech to also commemorate the day at a different venue.

Shamu told a function organised by the parliament appointed Zimbabwe Media
Commission (ZMC) that government controls on the media should remain because
media reforms were not benefitting the public.

Tsvangirai said unfortunately current provisions of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) did not allow the new government to fire Shamu. He said the
minister was refusing to take orders because "he is listening to someone
above him”.

Shamu has refused to re-constitute the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe
(BAZ) board which has so far given out two radio licenses to players
believed to be sympathetic to the former ruling Zanu (PF) party. Zimpapers,
wholly owned by government through the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust and Supa
Mandiwanzira, a journalist turned businessman, were awarded licenses ahead
of about 15 others who had applied.

Tsvangirai said Zimpapers should concentrate on newspapers and let other
players enter the broadcasting sector to fulfil GPA requirements of media

Shamu has since been ordered to appear before a parliamentary committee to
answer the slow implementation of media reforms as agreed in the GPA.

Tsvangirai accused the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC)
of bias against his party.

“It is as if I have committed a crime the manner in which ZBC are hostile to
me,” he said. “Even the ministers who are working for the nation are also
being vilified.
“We should have as many news outlets as possible before the elections to
allow you to make your own choices,” he said, amid applauses.

The commemorations, organised by media watchdog, Media Institute of Southern
Africa- Zimbabwe chapter, were dampened after the police restricted
participants to just 100 people.

Tsvangirai described the directive by the police as a clear violation of
people’s rights to access to information.

Meanwhile Shamu said: “I can assure you that as we go into fresh harmonised
elections this year people will be asking questions about the alleged
benefits of press freedom to them and about the demonstrable results of all
the reforms introduced in the media sector and in related areas in 2007.Are
the benefits only in terms of increased numbers of publishers and
broadcasters? Has the quality of public information improved?” asked Shamu
at a local hotel.

“It was clear that behind the sweeping reforms of 2007-2011, there were
promises and claims by media associations and activists to put their own
house in order by exercising more and better professional responsibility in
relation to the general public and exchange for the relaxation of direct
state controls."

Shamu, who is also the Zanu (PF) political commissar, said media
representative bodies had failed to regulate themselves.

Tsvangirai's MDC-T has taken the issue of media reforms to President Jacob
Zuma who is the Zimbabwe crisis mediator.

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No kind words after death of violent Chipangano leader

By Tererai Karimakwenda
04 May 2012

John Murukai, a former freedom fighter who spent his last days involved with
the violent ZANU PF Chipangano gang, reportedly died at Parirenyatwa
Hospital last Sunday, following a short illness.

According to reports John Murukai was a high ranking official in the Mbare
based gang that has taken over control of council properties in Harare and
turned the high density suburb into a no-go area for the MDC formations.
Many Zimbabweans reacting to Murukai’s death on the NewsDay website had
nothing good to say about the Chipangano chef. The consensus was that he was
used by ZANU PF and others should learn from that.

Murukai’s death was confirmed by the gang’s known leader, Jim Kunaka, who is
the ZANU PF youth chairperson for Harare province. Kunaka said Murukai was
buried Thursday at Warren Hills Cemetery.

Murukai reportedly operated as Comrade Longchase when he was a Zanla
commander during the liberation war. He continued serving in the army after
independence in 1980 and had become a captain by the time he retired in

Murukai will however be remembered for his involvement with the violent
Chipangano thugs, who have become notorious for assaulting MDC supporters
and making life in Mbare impossible on many levels. Vendors and minibus
drivers are forced to pay daily fees to the gang to be allowed to continue
working in the area.

The gang has reportedly opened chapters in other cities and its members are
alleged to be collecting revenue from council owned properties and getting
quite rich. The police refuse to stop their activities because they have the
support of top officials within ZANU PF.

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Makoni targets Tsvangirai coalition

04/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

MAVAMBO-KUSILE leader Simba Makoni said Friday he was open to the prospects
of a pact with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T to help bring down
President Robert Mugabe at the next elections.

Makoni, a senior Zanu PF official, pulled out of the party to challenge
Mugabe ahead of the inconclusive 2008 elections and won eight percent of the
national vote with the backing of the then-Arthur Mutambara-led MDC faction.

But MDC-T supporters blame him for helping keep Zanu PF in power by dividing
the opposition vote after Tsvangirai fell short of an outright majority in
the first round and pulled out of the run-off ballot accusing Mugabe of
brutalising his supporters.
The former finance minister now says he would not have any problems working
with Tsvangirai to defeat Mugabe.

“The prospects are very high of me teaming up with many Zimbabweans,” Makoni
told the weekly Zimbabwe Independent newspaper.

“Tsvangirai could be one of those millions of Zimbabweans that we can team
up with.”

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said his party was open to alliances
with like-minded individuals and organisations.

“The MDC will want to work with all progressive and like-minded Zimbabweans
for democracy,” he said.

Mugabe is pushing for new elections this year to replace a coalition
government he says has been rendered unworkable because of policy and other
differences between the parties.

His rivals insist political and other reforms agreed as part of the Global
Political Agreement – the power sharing pact – must be implemented in full
to ensure a free and fair election whose outcome cannot be contested.

Tsvangirai recently said a credible election is only viable in 2013. But
Mugabe has since threatened to declare an election date, accusing his rivals
of holding back ongoing constitutional reforms to delay the ballot, fearing

Analysts say Zanu PF wants the elections held this year as concern increases
among the party hierarchy over President Robert Mugabe’s advanced age – he
turned 88 this year – and reported ill health.
Mugabe has repeatedly laughed off media speculation over his health,
insisting he is in robust physical condition.

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Sikhala claims rape arrest plot by CIO

04/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

MDC-99 leader Job Sikhala has alleged a Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) plot to arrest him and charge him with rape.

Sikhala, acquitted last week on allegations of facilitating the illegal
entry into Zimbabwe by a South African woman, says the allegations have “no

Earlier on Thursday, Sikhala’s MDC party reported that detectives had raided
his St Mary’s home and conducted a search in his absence. He said then he
was not aware why they wanted to arrest him.

But in a statement on Friday, Sikhala said he had since learnt that police
want to charge him with raping Sharon Bester – the same woman he allegedly
brought into the country without a passport.

“The charges of rape being levelled against president Job Sikhala have no
substance considering the fact that the woman, swore in court that even
though they shared the same room on one occasion, they did not engage in
sex,” his spokesperson said.

“The ‘alien’ who by now should have been deported back to South Africa five
months ago, is now being used by the CIO in circumstances reminiscent of the
Ari Ben Menashe sting against Morgan Tsvangirai to achieve political ends.”

Married Sikhala was last month acquitted on charges of helping Bester to
illegally enter the country after meeting her in South Africa while
fundraising for his political activities.

Prosecutors claimed Sikhala offered Bester work as a personal assistant
before allegedly helping her enter the country illegally through Beitbridge.
But Harare magistrate, Anita Tshuma ruled that there was insufficient
evidence to convict the former St Mary’s MP.

Sikhala’s party said the alleged plot against him was part of an ongoing
campaign their leader.

“The MDC-99 condemns these latest actions by the police. For the record, the
regime has arrested our president on more than 60 occasions and there is no
case with which he has not accused of except rape which they have
manufactured now,” the party.

“The state is content on bringing president Job Sikhala down as well as
bringing the MDC-99 into disrepute with these fabricated allegations.
“We see this as an attempt to hinder the cause of MDC-99 of fighting for
democracy, peace and justice in Zimbabwe.”

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena on Friday asked for more time to check if
there was a warrant of arrest for Sikhala. He said he was not aware of a
police raid at his home on Thursday.

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Mugabe appoints new judges

04/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has promoted a High Court judge to the Supreme Court
bench to replace the retired Justice Wilson Sandura, while appointing a
prominent lawyer to the High Court.

Justice Anne-Mary Gora has been an acting judge at the appeal court since
Justice Sandura quit in July last year at the age of 70.
Advocate Happious Zhou, a prominent defence lawyer, now joins the Harare
High Court.

The two judges were sworn-in by President Mugabe on Thursday.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, meanwhile, has revealed that Justice
Yunus Omerjee has also been promoted to the Supreme Court, but he will be
sworn-in at a later date because he is out of the country.

Chinamasa said Mugabe had made the appointments in consultation with the
Judicial Service Commission in line with the constitution.

Since forming a coalition with his opposition rivals in 2009, Mugabe has
been facing pressure from his MDC rivals to consult them before making key
appointments – but Mugabe has been defiant, insisting he is fully empowered
by the constitution to make the decisions.

Chinamasa said: “We only came here to formalise their appointments from the
Judicial Service Commission. These are the people who know the competencies
of these persons.

“The law provides that we cannot appoint unless we consult the JSC. The
names of these judges did not come from me or the President, but the JSC.
Appointments to the bench should not be politicised but should be by merit.”

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Concern for Matabeleland wildlife affected by coal mining

By Alex Bell
04 May 2012

Concern has been raised about the threat facing wildlife areas in
Matabeleland North with warnings that increased coal mining activity in the
area is having a negative impact there.

The Gwayi Valley Conservation Area has expressed fears that that the
establishment of coal mines will affect not only the wildlife but also the
tourism generated by the wildlife.

This is not the first time the group has raised concerns about the affect of
coal mining and in 2010 it sounded the alarm when the government allowed the
Liberation coal mine to start operating. The mine, situated in the Hwange
National Park and Binga areas, was ordered to stop operations last year
because of the risk it posed. Local groups also campaigned against the mine
because it was operating without an Environmental Impact Assessment

It has now been reported that another coal mining company, China Africa
Sunlight, has also started operating without an Environmental Impact
Assessment. The Gwayi Valley Conservation Area’s Chairperson, Mark Russell,
is quoted as saying that an initial consultation was not done with the
organisation before the new mine was given clearance to start operating.

“It is clear that no Environmental Management Agency regulations were
followed and no documentation is in place. We don’t see how the wildlife
producing farms will co-exist with mining activities and this will
definitely result in conflict,” Russell is quoted as saying.

Twenty different mining companies have been given concessions to prospect
and mine for coal in Matabeleland North. Since the mines started to operate
there have been increases in the pollution of boreholes and also wildlife
water holes.

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MDC UK criticised for failing to assist Zim deportees

By Alex Bell
04 May 2012

The MDC structures in the UK have been criticised this week for not doing
enough to help Zimbabweans facing deportations from Britain, with the party
also being accused of falling victim to ZANU PF infiltration.

This week another Zimbabwean asylum seeker in the UK was held for
deportation after being arrested during his routine check in at the
Loughborough reporting centre. Trevor Chanetsa was set to be deported
earlier this week, but the flight was cancelled and he is still being held
at the Hammond detention centre close to Heathrow airport.

The Nottingham based Zimbabwean has been in the UK for two years after
claiming asylum on political grounds. It is not clear why he now faces
deportation, but there is concern that he faces victimisation back in
Zimbabwe because he is an MDC member.

Regis Manyanya from the Nottingham Zimbabwean Community Network told SW
Radio Africa on Friday that Chanetsa is a known member of the MDC, “and with
the political situation getting worse back home, I wouldn’t be surprised if
he was picked up at Harare and detained.”

Chanetsa’s detention comes after a fellow asylum seeker and party member,
Frazer Muzondo, was detained last month during his routine report to border
agency officials in London. His deportation was halted after a last minute
intervention, with his asylum appeal still set to be heard.

The Nottingham Zimbabwean Community Network’s Manyanya said on Friday that
the MDC structures in the UK “have done nothing and continue to do nothing”
to assist its membership facing deportation threats. He said the party
should be serving its members better, warning that “there is serious ZANU PF

“We have seen the daughters and sons of ZANU PF people getting placed in MDC
structures here and that is why the membership is dwindling,” Manyanya said.

He meanwhile had strong words for the UK government, calling them
“intolerant and dealing in double standards.”

“This is victimisation and it sends a very wrong signal to the Zimbabwean
community, because everyone feels under threat,” Manyanya said.

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Zimbabwe trade with China tops US$800m

03/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Business Reporter

TRADE between Zimbabwe and China doubled to US$800 million in the last two
years as ties between the two countries continue to strengthen, outgoing
Chinese Ambassador to Xin Shunkang said on Thursday.

Speaking at a public lecture organized by the Southern African Research and
Documentation Centre, Xin said his tenure of nearly three years in Zimbabwe
saw the two countries consolidating their economic, political and social

"Bilateral trade has increased from US$400 million to US$800 million during
my tenure," he said while presenting a paper on "Outlook of China's economy
and Sino- Zimbabwe relations".
Ambassador Xin leaves Zimbabwe this month to take up his new post in the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) region.

Tobacco is one of the major trade commodities between the two countries,
with China standing as the single largest buyer of the golden leaf.

The Chinese envoy noted that China had provided support through donations to
various initiatives in Zimbabwe worth more than US$25 million since 2009.
Political relations, he said, were further cemented through high-level
visits by leaders from both countries.

Zimbabwe has pursued a so-called ‘Look East” after relations with the West
cooled over the last decade.

The United States and Britain pushed the imposition of sanctions against the
country over allegations of human rights abuses and suspected electoral

But President Robert Mugabe says the sanctions, which he blames for the
country’s economic problems, were meant to punish Zimbabwe for its land
reforms and economic empowerment policies.

Chinese involvement in the local economy has become so dominant that
officials suggested the country adopts the Yuan as its main currency and
drop the US dollar which, along with the Botswana Pula and the South African
Rand, has kept the country afloat following the collapse of the Zimbabwean
Chinese firms also dominated the just-ended Zimbabwe International Trade
Fair in Bulawayo.

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Chinese Envoy Urges Stability and Reforms In Zimbabwe

By Nkosana Dlamini Harare, May 04 2012 - Out-going Chinese ambassador to
Zimbabwe, Xin Shunkang, has urged Zimbabwe’s leaders not to allow the
country to slide back into the levels of political and economic anarchy
witnessed in the past decade.

“Our advise is that try to keep the country’s stability in economy and in
politics,” said the Chinese diplomat on Thursday when he bade farewell to
Prime Minister Tsvangirai at his Strathaven home.

The Chinese envoy, now headed for Namibia on similar deployment, urged the
country’s leaders to embrace change if they want to take the country

“Don’t forget to do reforms. When we talk about reform don’t think that such
a reform is a frame work reform or the system reform. It’s kind of to
correct your mistakes. Reform means that when you find somewhere is not
suitable for this country then you need to do something to correct your
mistakes,” he said.

Tsvangirai said Zimbabwe was well on course for a possible credible poll
since the current constitution making process was nearing completion.

“We have got our disagreements...I think that the country is much more
hopeful and stable of course there are so many areas where we have had
limited achievement,” he said.

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Harare International Festival to close with celebration of Tuku’s birthday

Oliver Mtukudzi

By Tererai Karimakwenda
04 May 2012

The annual Harare International Festival of the Arts, which kicked off Tuesday night and runs for six days, is due to close with a spectacular show this weekend which will celebrate music icon Oliver Mtukudzi’s 60th birthday.

Sunday nights show will also feature Senegalese legend Ismael Lo and rising Zim stars Edith WeUtonga, a local band fronted by female bass player Edith Katiri.

Edith took some time from rehearsals Friday to talk to SW Radio Africa about the HIFA experience and the importance of developing a thriving arts culture in Zimbabwe. She said the opportunity to perform on the same stage as “Tuku” is both an honour and a challenge, to prove she is ready for that level of success.

Edith said she was excited about the HIFA experience because it gives Zimbabweans a chance to see artists from all over the world and provides a platform for local artists, who normally have no access to such large audiences.

“I saw a white band from Germany and they were playing reggae, deep reggae, you know. There’s something about HIFA. It seems everything changes and we wonder how come we don’t live like this every day,” Edith explained. There are also acts from Brazil, Canada, South Africa and the United States.

HIFA is something of a family affair for Edith, whose sister is in a theatrical production called “It Never Rains” and her husband is directing the live version of Zambezi News, a parody of state news broadcasts, starring Comrade Fatso and Outspoken, the country’s well known spoken word artists and founders of the Magamba Cultural Activists Network.

Fatso agreed with Edith that HIFA brought many different kinds of people together in a peaceful, creative environment, giving Zimbabweans an opportunity to experience the world. “It’s a fantastic mix here. There is old, young, black, white, coloured and people from Borrowdale or Highfields,” Fatso explained.

Regarding Zambezi News Fatso described it as a “comic news broadcast” performed live, but soon to be televised as well. “It’s a parody delving humorously into issues Zimbabweans are dealing with on a daily basis,” Fatso said.

As a spoken word artist, Fatso said he was pleased to see this form of expression play a key role at this year’s festival.


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D-Day looms for Zim killers

Written by Bridget Mananavire, Staff Writer
Friday, 04 May 2012 15:04

HARARE - Judgement day is fast approaching for Zimbabwean officials
implicated in human rights abuses, including murder, and have been enjoying
protection from South African law authorities.

The Pretoria High Court will on Tuesday next week hand down ruling in a case
in which the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC) and the Zimbabwe
Exiles Forum (Zef) are challenging the decision by South Africa’s National
Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and police not to investigate and prosecute
senior Zimbabwean officials alleged to have sanctioned the use of torture.

The case was heard at the court a month ago, with Zimbabweans exiled in
South Africa demonstrating outside the court to express their displeasure at
South Africa’s decision to protect top Zimbabwean officials accused of
torture. The case opened a can of worms as it unravelled in court and
emerged that South Africa was keener on maintaining cosy relations with the
Zimbabwean government than enforcing international law.

First, South Africa’s NPA and police had said it was better for Zimbabwe
torturers to walk free than face justice in South Africa because acting on
them would soil relations with President Robert Mugabe’s regime.

Secondly, Anton Ackermann, who as head of the Priority Crimes Litigation
Unit within South Africa’s NPA overseas litigation on international crimes,
had forwarded claims that the NPA had gone as far as using manipulation to
ensure the investigations would halt.

Ackermann had recommended that investigations proceed after receiving a
damning dossier on atrocities compiled by a group of Zimbabweans. But that
recommendation was trashed.

Should the NPA have taken Ackermann’s recommendation on board, Zimbabwean
top chefs, some accused of leading political killings, would have been left

Some of them are frequent travellers to South Africa for business and
medical treatment, making them vulnerable to international justice in spite
of their untouchable status at home.

But Ackermann was “manipulated and misled” by colleagues with the NPA and
South African Police Service (SAPS), resulting in his recommendation for an
investigation being thrown into the dustbin, according to an affidavit
tendered in court.

As a result, the NPA rejected the request to investigate the “comprehensive”
dossier with names of junior and senior individuals responsible for the
torture of Zanu PF’s political rivals.

The Daily News cannot publish names of the alleged perpetrators named in the
dossier compiled by a group of affected Zimbabweans for legal reasons.

In court, Zef and SALC argued that Ackermann’s affidavit “makes clear that
he recommended that an investigation be opened on the basis of our
submissions to the NPA. He sought to have these views put before the court
but in effect was refused representation by the NPA in doing so.”

His affidavit, they said, demonstrated that the NPA deliberately disregarded
the views of a key decision maker (Ackermann) within South Africa’s
International Criminal Court regime to protect Zimbabwean human rights
abusers from justice.

Zef chairperson Gabriel Shumba told the Daily News yesterday that the
decision to hand down judgment next week is commendable “given the
deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe and the prospect of another violent

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Copac draft: New divisions emerge

Friday, 04 May 2012 09:45

Wongai Zhangazha

FRESH political divisions have emerged over the country’s new constitution
after the draft published in the local media this week showed there were
more areas of disagreement than the three previously reported.
The published  Constitution Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac) draft
constitution shows the committee remains divided on more than 10 issues. The
draft shows that besides the three reported contentious issues to do with
devolution, dual citizenship and systems of government, the three political
parties in the inclusive government –– Zanu PF and the two MDC formations ––
are in dispute on issues such as delimitation, land compensation,
pronouncement of electoral dates, transitional clauses, the composition of
the senate and voting rights of chiefs.

This week Copac’s management committee failed to break the impasse and
referred the draft back to political parties to go through, after which it
will be taken back to the negotiating teams before it is submitted to the
political principals.

Sources close to Copac said the “parked” issues in the draft constitution
reflect the political interests of the three parties, adding the whole
process had become highly-politicised.

Copac’s final draft notes “a decision has to be made on the issue of
appointing a vice-president who will be a member of parliament or appointing
two vice-presidents.”

Copac is yet to agree on the timing of general elections as revealed in
Chapter 8. It is also still to decide on whether provincial assemblies are
to be established, something which Zanu PF is opposed to.

Issues of compensation of people from whom the state or a public authority
compulsorily acquire agricultural land  in violation of property rights
guaranteed by the constitution or protected by an agreement concluded by the
state with the government of another country is still under discussion.

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MDC-T debates primaries

Friday, 04 May 2012 09:42

Owen Gagare

DEBATE is raging in the MDC-T about how to re-align the expected new
constitution and the party’s constitution, rules and procedures, mainly
relating to primary elections.
MDC-T officials say many suggestions have been advanced, including adopting
the party list system used by political organisations like the ANC in South
Africa, in which officials elected at congress dominate the register.

A senior MDC-T official said yesterday debate was going on and the party
would soon choose which proposal to adopt.

“It’s true there is ongoing debate about how we should re-align the new
constitution with the rules and procedures of the party. The new
constitution will introduce new issues, like proportional representation,
and as a result we need to adjust our own constitution to capture the new
realities,” the official said.

“Some people are suggesting that proportional representation must only cater
for women in the party but others have a different view. So debate is
ongoing over all these issues and we have to come to a point where we decide
which route to take.”

However, junior MDC-T officials say they fear the party list might be used
to sideline them, while protecting senior officials who may not win primary
elections. Although the matter has not been officially discussed by the
party’s standing committee, insiders said consultations were going on.

A member of the standing committee said the party had not yet taken a
position on the issue although there was serious debate on what to do. “In
whatever will be done, the will of the people will be respected,” said
senior MDC-T official Nelson Chamisa. “We don’t have any sacred cows.”

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Securocrats raise stakes in elections

Friday, 04 May 2012 09:37

Owen Gagare

THE increasing number of security forces members who intend standing for
elections on a Zanu PF ticket in the next polls has brought the role of the
military in the country’s politics into sharp focus once again.
Several high-ranking members of the security sector want to challenge Zanu
PF bigwigs whom they accuse of destroying the party by imposing
non-performing candidates during elections. Information to hand shows some
security forces are already on the ground campaigning for themselves and
Zanu PF as well.

The move has brought renewed focus on the controversial civil-military
relations in Zimbabwe, given the often-violent political intervention by the
security forces in civilian affairs ahead of the next polls.

However, analysts believe the interest shown by securocrats in Zanu PF
affairs is not surprising given the close link between the party and members
of the security agencies which dates back to the days of the liberation

In fact, the security sector has taken advantage of the historical links to
gradually increase its influence in Zanu PF and civil matters as a result of
President Robert Mugabe’s reliance on them whenever he is faced with serious
political and even bureaucratic challenges, including running ministries and

At the height of the country’s economic problems, security forces were
deployed to head underperforming parastatals as well as fill in board
positions. This almost formalised the take-over of civilian administrative
duties by the military and other security arms.

Security analyst Martin Rupiya examined the government’s increasing reliance
on the military to address socio-political problems between 1999 and 2002
and the risk of the military consolidating its influence in an article
entitled Civil-Military relations in Zimbabwe: Is there a threat?

Rupiya said those in favour of the military approach argue the army is
useful to civilian political leaders as it presents obvious objectives, a
clear time-line in which to attain them as well as an inherent efficiency
that is normally missing from other approaches.

“However, herein lies the nemesis of relying on this approach: it is
difficult to devise an early exit strategy,” Rupiya wrote. “In practice,
once in politics they tend to expand and consolidate their position,
effectively undermining the careful balance that is required for a stable
civil-military relations framework.”
Rupiya said the close relations between the military and political leaders
dating back to the liberation struggle pose a challenge of where to draw the
line between civilian and armed forces’ affairs.

“In Zimbabwe, the challenge will be how to fashion a useful role for the
military within society in the context of the close liberation movement
model, broadening this to become national and less threatening to other
members of society,” he said.

True to Rupiya’s assessment, the security sector has consolidated its
position to such an extent that it is now directly involved in determining
the country’s political course through the Joint Operations Command (Joc), a
grouping of security service chiefs.

Joc, which played a critical role to keep Zanu PF in power since 2000, is
behind Mugabe’s current push for elections this year, with or without a new

Security personnel also have a grip on key positions in Zanu PF’s
commissariat department, with retired Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena and
former CIO director (internal) Sydney Nyanhongo running it.

Rupiya said although the security sector had been involved in politics since
the pre-Independence era, the “no-holds barred” involvement began after the
near defeat of Zanu PF in the June 2000 elections, followed by the bruising
campaign for the presidential election in March 2002.

Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba, recently promoted, was even deployed to
the electoral commission to become chief elections officer at the time even
though he was still serving.

Sobusa Gula-Ndebele, a former colonel in the army, chaired the Electoral
Supervisory Commission which ran the 2002 presidential election.

Nyikayaramba is one of those army commanders who have vowed to defend Mugabe
to the hilt and resist or resign if anyone takes over.

A few months before the presidential poll in 2002, the service chiefs
publicly declared they would not salute a president without “liberation
credentials”. This was interpreted as a veiled coup threat if Mugabe lost.
They repeated this as individuals in 2008.

A recent report by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition questioned the
appointment of military personnel to electoral institutions such as the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) and the Delimitation Commission (DC).

In 2004 Mugabe appointed a four-member Delimitation Commission chaired by
former judge advocate responsible for military tribunals in the Zimbabwe
National Army and High Court Justice George Chiweshe. In 2008, Chiweshe was
appointed to chair the Zec which presided over the discredited June 27
presidential election run-off. He was later promoted to Judge President.

Zec delayed the announcement of presidential poll results by more than six
weeks amid widespread speculation this was used to manipulate figures in
Mugabe’s favour. Zanu PF was defeated by the MDC-T in 2008 parliamentary

“After the formation of the inclusive government, the Zec was reconstituted
with respected judge Justice Simpson Mtambanengwe as its chairperson.
However, serious concerns remain that  Zec secretariat comprises military
personnel whose independence is questionable,” according to Rupiya.

The crisis coalition group said the military’s meddling in politics had
become toxic as evidenced by the June 2008 presidnetial election run-off
where security personnel stepped in to rescue Mugabe who had lost the first
round to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. “The military effectively
overthrew the electoral process and unleashed violence and intimidation on a
wide scale,” said the coalition.

“The military emerged at this time as the bedrock and political commissar of
Zanu PF. Following a defeat at the polls by the MDC in March 2008, Zanu-PF’s
evaluation noted the obvious — that the party structures were virtually
non-existent and lacked capacity to mount an effective campaign, hence the
strategy to turn to the military for a campaign of coercion.”

Political analyst Eldred Masunungure says the security sector has maintained
a symbiotic relationship with Zanu PF. “They are just demanding their pound
of flesh,” he said. “These are people — most of whom are war veterans and
were historically an integral part of Zanu PF. Psychologically they are Zanu
PF. They regard themselves as Zanu PF. They regard their organisations as
secondary organisations and Zanu PF as their mother organisation,” he said.

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Continuing power shortages cripple Zimbabwe economy



HARARE (Xinhua) -- Power outages have been on the increase of late and
continue to cripple Zimbabwe ’s economy as the country’s debt-laden power
utility fails to adequately supply electricity to industry, commerce and

With the winter season fast approaching with its usual higher demand for
power than the other seasons, ZESA Holdings’ position is far from being

Apart from heating requirements by consumers to beat the cold, hundreds of
farmers also need electricity to irrigate winter wheat and keep other
operations on their farms running.

Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development Minister Joseph Made
last week bemoaned the power shortages which he said would seriously affect
the revival of the agricultural sector and downstream industries.

    “Can you imagine a seed company using generators to dry seed and still
expect to remain in business or sell the product at profitable prices?”

Made told The Herald that he was disappointed to note that some seed houses
were actually using generators to dry the seed because of the power cuts.

ZESA now risks the danger of being accused of derailing the winter wheat
season, even in cases where farmers fail to plant for other reasons.

Even though Made has expressed his disappointment over the power cuts,
Finance Minister Tendai Biti has already said that the power deficit would
persist for the foreseeable future - notwithstanding the on-going
rehabilitation program at power stations.

While billions of U.S. dollars are required to fully refurbish and upgrade
current power stations, the government only availed 40 million dollars for
energy programs in 2011, with an average generation of 1,105 megawatts (MW)
realized against an envisaged capacity of 1,600.

An increased output of 1,244 is now envisaged for 2012, compared to demand
of 2,200 MW required to fire all the sectors of the economy.

Under the 2012 budget, Biti allocated nearly 55 million dollars towards the
rehabilitation of Hwange and Kariba power stations and the transmission and
distribution network.

An injection of 1 billion dollars for the construction of new generation
plants at Hwange Thermal Power Station and another 400 million dollars to
expand Kariba South (Hydro) will create an additional 900 MW and satisfy the
country’s short term needs, but the government does not have such a huge

Limited finances have also hampered the utility’s ability to import from
neighboring utilities such as Mozambique ’s Hydroelectrica de Cahora Bassa,
to which it is battling to clear an 80 million dollars debt.

At midday, the utility was producing a total of 1,087 MW with Hwange Thermal
Power Station, which has a potential of 920 MW, producing 392 MW while
Kariba hydro was producing 615 MW from a potential of about 740 MW.

The load shedding status was at the highest level of severe. The utility has
five statuses—minimal, light, moderate, heavy and severe.

Zimbabwe recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Zambia to
jointly construct the 4-billion-dollar 1,650 MW at Batoka Hydro-power
project on the Zambezi River .

However, work on the project will only begin after Zimbabwe pays, or makes a
strong commitment to pay off more than 70 million dollars it owes Zambia
from the sale of the Central African Power Corporation assets which had been
jointly owned by the two countries. The debt is supposed to be paid off in
three years.

Generally, Zimbabwe has been engaged primarily in rehabilitating
infrastructure as opposed to construction of new power stations.

More efficient use of power through the replacement of incandescent bulbs
with energy savers, installation of pre-paid meters, among others, will also
result in a saving of 300 MW which can be channeled to the productive

The government has already removed duty on the importation of energy saving
bulbs to promote their usage.

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The MDC Today Issue - 349

Friday, 04 May 2012

Zanu PF thugs on Monday burnt down a hut belonging to Ethel Tichawana, the
MDC Makoni South, Ward 26 Women’s Assembly chairperson, destroying all her
2011 crop harvest and groceries.

On the fateful day, Mai Tichawana had gone to Rusape Town on family

The incident happened a week after the MDC ward executive had held a
successful and well attended meeting at Chimbundi which angered and shocked
Zanu PF activists leading to this tragedy.

A notorious Zanu PF hooligan, Rogers Nyaungwa led other Zanu PF youths in
the arson attack on Mai Tichawana’s kitchen.

The arson attack on Mai Tichawana’s homestead comes barely a week after a
similar incident in Maramba - Pfungwe, where a another hut belonging to
Florence Kavhayi, the MDC Women’s Assembly secretary for defence and
security was burnt down by known Zanu PF thugs.

The attackers were identified as Cleopas Kufuka, the Zanu PF district
co-ordinating committee (DCC) chairperson, Khumbula Kurarama, a village
neighbourhood watch committee member, David Dizha, the local village head
and Forbes Nhongo, the Zanu PF branch youth chairperson.

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish it!!!

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Green fuels: National interest must prevail

Friday, 04 May 2012 10:17

THE unfolding saga over Green Fuel’s Chisumbanje ethanol fuel project makes
for some sad reading indeed, giving the impression that the country is
jinxed when it comes to investment,sorting out its fuel security.

Green Fuel, a 70-30 joint venture between private investors led by Billy
Rautenbach on the one hand and government on the other, appeared to have
been a panacea not only to the country’s fuel challenges when it was
launched two years ago but also  to the economy as a whole, starting with
the Lowveld in which the project is sited. What with the 5000-odd people
that would be directly and indirectly employed by the project.

What with 500 or so farmers whose business boosted by the project’s demand
for at least 50 000 hectares to be put under sugar cane. And consider the
120 megawatts that would be generated from burning bagasse, the waste from
cane once its sap has been extracted.

This was said to be enough to power the whole of the Manicaland province in
which Chisumbanje is located. And what of the multiplier effect of all these
activities? To cap it all, US$600 million was to be spent in the venture,
which would fully become government-owned after 20 years under a Build,
Operate and Transfer (BOT) system.

In terms of its core business, the plant could produce up to 2,8 million
litres of fuel daily, nearly three times Zimbabwe’ daily requirements, which
fuel had the further advantage of being environmentally-friendly, hence the
word Green in Green Fuels. The surplus, of course would be exported, earning
the country the ever-scarce foreign currency. Could Zimbabwe, which was
coming out of economic doldrums, ask for more?

However, the ethanol plant is threatening yet another white elephant.

Elsewhere in this issue, we are told that government has thrown out Green
Fuel’s proposals  for the compulsory blending of the ethanol it produces
with ordinary petrol. Green Fuel general manager Graeme Smith was this week
quoted as saying  the company was lobbying government to put in place
legislation to compel all oil companies to blend their fuel with
locally-produced ethanol.

Such an approach, though, smacks of the very authoritarianism that has
become an anathema in Zimbabwe through acts such as Posa, Aippa, land reform
laws and indigenisation acts.  Energy minister Elton Mangoma has a point  in
indicating that that Parliament should not enact laws to help individual
companies  make a profit. That would set a bad precedent.

However, it is very important for the nation to support the Green Fuel
initiative, given its economic advantages outlined above. After all, this is
not the first time Zimbabwe has resorted to blending ethanol with imported
petroleum. During the sanctions busting era of UDI an ethanol plant was set
up and this received a new lease of life in 1983 following the fuel crisis
of 1982.

A blend of ethanol from that plant and petrol is what  Zimbabwe had been
using ever since. What has been labelled as “blend” at all service stations
is in fact the very same type of product that Green Fuel is producing.  It’s
only at the height of fuel shortages during the hyperinflationary era that
the majority of Zimbabweans began using unleaded petrol, as shortages
implied that deliveries had to be made immediately, obviating the need for
blending. Prior to that, unleaded petrol had been used only by the elite as
it was more expensive.

It appears this is where Green Fuel has failed. Its product has been priced
in such a way that it is uncompetitive. Given the small price differential
(US6-8 cents per litre) between Green Fuel’s E10 (the old blend) and the
longer lasting unleaded petrol, the average motorist will opt for unleaded.

In Brazil, the largest producer of ethanol in the world, ethanol producers
get subsidies from government since they are an entire industry and not an
individual company. Zimbabwe cannot afford that. Green Fuels has to come out
in the open about its cost structure so that viable prices can be charged.

But above all, the project must be viewed as a national economic venture and
not a theatre for politicians to settle scores and  indulge inself
aggrandisements.In the end, national interest — not individual agendas —
must prevail.

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Editor’s Memo: Let’s resist repression but also reflect

Friday, 04 May 2012 10:14

Dumisani Muleya

YESTERDAY media houses and journalists, as well as stakeholders around the
globe, commemorated World Press Freedom Day. For 21 years this has become an
important event for journalists to reflect on what has been happening around
them, taking stock of progress recorded and the lack thereof.

The day also allows journalists to examine what they are doing — right and

This is particularly important for journalists in Africa where press freedom
is still in the intensive care unit and where frontiers need to be pushed to
broaden and deepen media freedom, while upholding journalistic ethics and

World Press Freedom Day was jointly established in 1991 by Unesco and the UN
Department of Public Information within the framework of a conference held
in Namibia which ushered the Windhoek Declaration, underscoring press
freedom, as well as media pluralism and diversity.

However, reactions to the Windhoek Declaration across the continent have
been mixed, spawning an authoritarian backlash and, in some cases, change.
Zimbabwe’s response has been a mixture of both, which is why it remains an
outpost of autocracy.

The chilling conclusion to the official Press Freedom Day address by
Information minister Webster Shamu yesterday, warning “gloves may soon be
off” if the “anti-African” and “anti-Zimbabwean frenzy” in the media
continues –– whatever that means — further shows we live in a police state
where press freedom and journalists remain in danger.

Although it is important for journalists to resist intimidation and continue
fighting for their rights, especially when we have ministers threatening to
take their “gloves off”, it is also equally critical to look at ourselves in
the mirror and be honest as to whether we are doing a good job, adhering to
ethics and upholding  the public interest –– not just making noise and banal
slogans, while airbrushing  our own shortcomings.

Even if there are radicals who want to redefine our ethics arguing most of
the basic tenets are either clichéd or myths, it is important for the media
to remain ethical. This is critical, particularly when a revolution is
currently sweeping across the global media landscape. There is need to hold
the line on basics: truthfulness, accuracy and fairness, as well as public

We don’t need politicians or anyone for that matter to tell us this, but we
have to do it as part of our professional responsibility. That’s why Shamu’s
threats are entirely uncalled-for. What does he mean when he says “gloves
may soon be off?” Is it necessary for the minister to so brazenly intimidate
journalists? What is he trying to prove? That Zimbabwe is a police state and
journalists work in a climate of fear?

However, this is not to say journalists must be unprofessional and
intransigent in the process. As an existential necessity and professional
duty, we must be ethical but also firm, especially with public officials who
want to abuse power and scare away journalists from exposing their
incompetence and corruption.

We either adjust to change or die. It is clear a new journalistic ethos is
required, given technological advances and the Internet, as well as social
The confluence of press freedom and freedom of expression has given rise to
unprecedented levels of freedom, keeping dictators under pressure and on the
back foot, even though repression persists.

The use of social media, ICTs and satellite television, for instance, has
played a revolutionary role in democratic and political processes. This has
helped to enable civil society, the young generation and communities to
wangle massive social and political transformations. The Arab spring
revolutions come to mind.

World Press Freedom Day is thus imperative, not just to media owners and
journalists, but also to ordinary people as it serves as an occasion to
inform citizens, some of whose political and civil liberties are being
trampled under, of violations of press freedom –– a reminder that in many
countries around the world, the media are still operating in repressive

Media houses are still being suppressed, censored or closed, while
journalists are harassed, detained and even murdered. That is why
journalists must fight on.

It is sad Zimbabwe remains one of those countries in the world in which the
private media and journalists are still subjected to systematic repression,
intimidation and arrests. The state still openly abuses the public media and
maintains a vice-like grip on airwaves. In short, media tyranny is still
endemic in Zimbabwe. Shamu’s unnecessary and untenable threats yesterday
provided further evidence to this.

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Candid Comment: Wily Chinese see opportunity in Zim malaise

Friday, 04 May 2012 10:07

Itai Masuku

A GREEK philosopher once said “Opportunity is like a man with hair on his
forehead, but is bald at the back of his head.” You’ve got to grab him by
the hair.
The Chinese clearly understand this phenomenon. Judging from their heavy
presence at last week’s Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe is an opportunity they definitely do not want to miss. Of course,
the majority of people criticised the fair, slagging it for having
deteriorated into a small and medium sized enterprise event, as if to say
that in itself is a bad thing. Leading emerging economies like Taiwan are

Frankly speaking, the majority rarely get it right, especially when it comes
to seeing business opportunities. This is the very reason why the wealthy
rarely comprise more than five percent of any population. The question
should be, what are the Chinese seeing that we, the majority have not seen
in Zimbabwe?

These people are certainly no fools to bring in a delegation of 200 to an
insignificant trade show? In fact, the profile of those in the Chinese
delegation reveals that these were not the everyday lowly ones we’re now
accustomed to in the little shops that have mushroomed across Zimbabwe.

This class from the lower echelons of Chinese society, come here as part of
China’s strategy to ease unemployment back home and create more revenue
streams. Many arrived here to pick up the economic pieces during
hyperinflation. They are not the dragons. They are more of the vultures that
came to feast on our economic carrion.

Many of them were supported by state banks which funded their initial
containers of retail goods. When they arrived in Zimbabwe they didn’t check
into hotels, but lived like squatters in houses in Hatfield, close to the
airport. But the goods they sold provided vital market intelligence to the
manufacturing companies back home.

Now as economic recovery beckons, Enter the Dragons, a high-powered business
delegation from Tianjin, a province in northern China, whose capital goes by
the same name. The capital is a metropolis ranking among the five national
central cities of the People’s Republic, the others being Beijing,
Guangzhou, Chongqing and Hong Kong City.

Tianjin’s Binhai New Area is a new growth pole in China, and since 2010 has
maintained an annual growth rate of nearly 30% of the GDP. There are 12 000
industry enterprises in Tianjin with Gross National Product (GNP) of nearly
US$50 billion. Its industry spans 180 categories, and has 36 large

The four pillar industries are: automobiles; machinery and equipment;
microelectronics and also telecommunications equipment; marine chemical and
petroleum chemical industry; and quality steel tube and rolled steel. By the
end of 2010, 285 Fortune Global 500 companies had established branch offices
in Binhai, which has been described as the base of China’s advanced
industry, financial reform, and innovation. The fact that the delegation at
ZITF comprised no small fry suggests there is more than meets the eye. Many
in the delegation were also from the textiles sector, which used to be
Bulawayo’s mainstay.

The fact that they have already pushed government to grant Special Economic
Zone (SEZ) status to Bulawayo, an area of interest to them is also
significant. SEZ status will allow them tax free status and many
concessions. They are clearly pushing their agenda. Unfortunately, as usual,
our business sector appears to have been caught napping. It doesn’t take a
genius to realise that the Chinese are now virtually colonising Africa,
albeit without guns.

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Will a new constitution make Zimbabwe more democratic?

A draft constitution, released this week, proposes term limits for
presidents, as well as a commission to study past crimes against humanity.

By a Correspondent, Correspondent / May 4, 2012

Harare, Zimbabwe

The fractious coalition government that rules Zimbabwe released a draft
constitution this week that seeks to limit presidential terms to just 10
years, and to establish a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission to
look into human rights violations allegedly committed during President
Robert Mugabe's 32 years in power.

The draft document – which will require approval by Mr. Mugabe's cabinet as
well as Zimbabwe's opposition-dominated parliament – is a harbinger of the
final product that is expected to pave way for elections probably next year,
after the flawed and violent elections in 2008, which claimed the lives of
over 300 supporters of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. Mr. Tsvangirai, a
fierce critic of Mr. Mugabe, joined Mugabe's government after nearly a year
of political stalemate between his own Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
and Mugabe's ZANU-PF party over the 2008 election results.

After he was widely rejected – by the international community, including the
African Union – as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe following the bloody
June polls, Mugabe was forced into marriage with his rival Tsvangirai into a
coalition government three years ago.

The coalition government – a product of much international pressure and
months of negotiation – was mandated to come up with a new constitution in
order to hold freer and fairer elections. Friction between the coalition
parties has been growing in recent months, and Mugabe's ZANU-PF is thought
to seek elections by the end of this year.

This week, Mugabe's cabinet, which includes members of Tsvangirai's party as
well as those of a smaller MDC faction led by Welshman Ncube, will study the
draft constitution before it is sent on to the parliament for debate in
three months’ time. If approved by the legislature the same constitution
will then go for a referendum.

While the 2008 elections ended poorly, both MDC and Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party
are thought to be in full agreement that elections are the key to a peaceful
transition of power, there is disagreement over timing and the manner in
which they should be carried out. Analysts also point out that, given
Mugabe's continued control over the military and security agencies, a fresh
constitution is by no means a guarantee that any new round of elections will
be free or fair. Mugabe led the guerrilla warfare that ousted the colonial
regime in 1980, and today, rumors that he excised proposed laws to guarantee
the rights of gay Zimbabweans also suggests that the octogenarian president
intends to make his mark on the future constitution long after he leaves

It is that very question – when Mugabe leaves office – that has hogged the

Small wonder. Mugabe's rule has witnessed the slaughter of rival liberation
parties, the unpaid confiscation of lands from white commercial farmers, and
the economic meltdown of the country that led to inflation rates of more
than 1 million percent.

According to a draft of the constitution, obtained by the Monitor, the
constitution is very clear that any future president will face strict term
limits. Chapter 6.8 sub section (2) reads “A person must not hold office of
President for more than two terms whether continuous or not, under this
constitution and the term of office of president is period of five years.

Term limits aside, it may be the Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation
Commission which causes the most discomfort among members of Mugabe's inner
circle. In the early 1980s, Mugabe sent his notorious 5th brigade in a
counter-insurgency campaign called "Gukurahundi," which reportedly killed
20,000 civilians, and a separate anti-slum measure called Murambatsvina in
2005, which destroyed the homes of opponents in urban and rural areas and
left millions homeless. Together with a proposed Public Protector's Office,
this commission would have powers to dig into both past crimes against
humanity as well as ongoing corruption and abuse of power by Zimbabwe's
political elites.

In his weekly blog, political analyst Takura Zhangazha writes that the draft
constitution is unimpressive, because it reflects more of the main party's
desire to remain in power, rather than a substantial change of the country's
political process. “Zimbabwe's current constitutional reform process,
whichever way one would like to view it, is devoid of a necessary national
political dignity or seriousness,” he writes.

Mr. Zhangazha blames arguments that have “ranged from issues to do with
outreach reports, donor funding, the role of political parties, and at the
time of writing, issues to do with the final content of the draft
constitution” as weaknesses for the forthcoming constitution.

The exercise, Zhangazha adds, was “highly politicized” and “reflective of
partisan political positions that suit solely the pursuit of political power
at the expense of the public interest.”

*The Monitor's correspondent in Harare could not be named for security

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Workers' pay packets

May 4, 2012, 5:53 am

Looking in from the outside can sometimes give the onlooker a misleading
view of what’s happening at home. I could be wrong but it’s my impression
that there is dissatisfaction throughout the country about inadequate pay
packets. There appears to be a general feeling that it’s getting harder to
manage on current salaries; whether that’s because the cost of living is
rising or because wages are so low is not entirely clear. But when one reads
that council workers in some cities – Bulawayo for one – have not been paid
for four months, it’s hardly surprising that the workers opt for strike
action. Even private firms are affected; workers of the private ambulance
organization, Mars, went on strike this week and at the same time we heard
that maternal deaths have increased simply because women are unable to pay
ambulance fees. Even when wages are paid on time they are often very low.
The Chinese, for example, who appear to enjoy special protection from Robert
Mugabe, have very little regard for workers’ rights. Soldiers were called in
to break up a demonstration by construction workers who had been fired
without notice by their Chinese employers. The government is launching a
probe into the abuse of workers by their Chinese employers but it’s
questionable that it will lead to an improvement, remembering that the
Chinese enjoy the president’s protection.

It cannot have escaped the president’s notice that Bulawayo council workers
were on strike as he arrived for the official opening of the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair with the Zambian President Sata. These council
workers are owed over 700.000 dollars by the Bulawayo council who are
themselves owed 1.5 million dollars by the payers who are struggling
themselves. Councils up and down the country are in financial trouble but as
always in Zimbabwe, it is politics that are never far behind the problems.
Eleanor Sisulu said this week that economic recovery will not happen without
a political settlement. Saviour Kasukuwere’s Indigenisation programme has
inevitably caused massive unease in the private sector, particularly mining.
Whatever the occupation, greed and corruption go together: auditors are
currently visiting schools countrywide to investigate the allegations that
some head teachers are using School Development funds illegally.

So, while the workers struggle just to survive, the ‘fat cats’ are, as
always, doing very nicely. As May Day came round once again, Raymond
Majongwe claimed that the GNU had failed to address the workers’ plight and
there was no tangible improvement in workers’ conditions.

Meanwhile a lasting political solution remains as far off as ever. Robert
Mugabe says he won’t leave until all foreign owned firms have been
indigenised. Only then will he call an election and only after that will he
announce his successor. Prime Minister Tsvangirai, on the other hand, says
he wants political reforms before elections and insists that the Unity
Government can only be ended in accordance with the SADC Agreement: a new
constitution followed by a referendum to test public opinion and then a new,
updated voters’ roll. Mugabe’s repeated call for elections this year is
clearly impossible to achieve if the SADC Agreement is adhered to. The
drafting of the new constitution is already two years behind schedule and
the drafters have been given until Friday this week to ‘clean up’ the
document, whatever that means.

The continuing political uncertainty in the country means that outside
investors are few and far between. News that the Gates Foundation is to
invest in waste management, ie. converting solid waste material into energy,
is of course welcome but it is unlikely to give the economy the boost it so
desperately needs.

The overall picture is gloomy but one image this week was a source of cheer:
the picture of a smiling health worker in her new uniform, mounted on her
UNICEF-donated bicycle and riding off to administer health care in the rural
communities - a reminder to Zimbabweans in the diaspora of the quality we
miss most: the warmth and humanity of ordinary Zimbabweans.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH

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The Nationalist Narrative and Land Policy in Zimbabwe

May 4th, 2012

Zanu PF election poster - 2008

[Part of the Zimbabwe Land Series]

By Dale Doré

Executive Summary

A narrative is a selection of simplified stories that supports a particular interpretation of history. It expounds a moral ‘truth’ in order to legitimise authority and power.1 In Zimbabwe an African nationalist narrative has been constructed around the ‘lost lands’ to justify the government’s land reform programme. It recounts how British colonists stole the best lands without compensating the indigenous African peoples. It speaks of a culture where land, sanctified by custom, cannot be owned, but is shared equally by wise traditional leaders for the benefit of the community. It celebrates heroic struggles to recover the lost lands, regain the dignity of a wronged people, and defend the country’s independence and sovereignty. And, like all good propaganda, the narrative has a kernel of truth that is repeatedly reinforced by leaders to convince their followers that any means are justified to claim their moral right.

Why is it necessary to challenge this narrative? Firstly, because it explicitly rejects inconvenient truths. It does not recognise, for example, that the international community and white Zimbabwean farmers consistently supported an equitable land reform process to correct historical injustices. It turns a blind eye to multiple farm ownership by the new ruling elite while communal farmers remain mired in poverty. And it ignores international law and the SADC Treaty whose tribunal ruled that the seizure of white-owned farms was both racist and unlawful. Secondly, the narrative has become entrenched as nationalist doctrine. As such, it shuts out alternatives voices for constructive engagement on government policies based on principles of economic development and good governance. Any talk, for example, of strengthening property rights and developing land markets is dismissed as being foreign to Africans culture and its concept of ownership.2 Few policy analysts today dare challenge the current resettlement policy based on state acquisition, ownership and the reallocation of agricultural land. And, thirdly, the narrative is exclusive and divisive. Instead of ‘Zimbabwean’ meaning a citizen of Zimbabwe, it has come to mean a black Zimbabwean. It separates the majority ‘us’ from the minority ‘them’, who are demonised and denied their constitutional rights to protection or to own land on the basis of their race or political affiliation.

Above all, examining the nationalist narrative on land will open the door to understanding how it has been constructed by the ruling elite for its own political ends; how it has justified deeply flawed policy decisions on land; and how it has trapped policy analysts in a circular and stultified debate. Only when we unshackle the mental underpinning of this narrative can we re-enter the debating arena with the confidence that different policy options can be robustly contested with intellectual integrity, rigour, and goodwill.

The question that has baffled so many, including Zimbabwe’s friends and supporters, was why such a promising lower-middle income country, with one of the strongest agricultural and industrial sectors in sub-Saharan Africa, suddenly embarked on a controversial land reform programme which plunged the country into an intractable political and economic crisis? This article argues that a core contributing factor was the construction of a nationalist narrative of lost lands. This narrative initially justified state control over land and a command approach to policy implementation in the 1980s. After 2000 it re-emerged to legitimise the seizure and nationalisation of white-owned commercial farmland. Today it is used to oil the wheels of a patronage system that includes the seizure of foreign-owned mines, banks and businesses.

Inalienability of land

The narrative began to take shape when the winds of change swept through Africa in the 1950s and 1960′s, when the cauldron of discontent over the Land Apportionment Act (1930) and the Native Land Husbandry Act (1951) became the focus of nationalist agitation for independence. It was not just the loss of Ndebele and Shona lands in the 1890s that were a source of grievance, but the subsequent expulsion of whole African communities from European Farming Areas after World War II that made the land issue the centre piece of the nationalist narrative and emblematic of the liberation struggle itself.

By sanctifying the inalienability of customary land and invoking the notion of chiefly trusteeship, the nationalists created a unifying narrative – both in the name of African tradition and the ideology of the struggle, socialism. The essence of this narrative was the state’s role as the custodian of land on behalf of the people:

In respect of agriculture, we have no difficulty because our own traditional system is identical with the Marxist-Leninist approach: at least insofar as ownership of land is concerned. Land has never belonged to individuals… It has always belonged to the people as a whole. We must go back to that traditional position… What we would like to see established is a system which brings land into the ownership of the people as a whole. This means the state will act as the custodian for the whole people.3

In seeking to forge the tenets of communal tenure with those of socialism, the nationalists simplified the narrative, ignoring the fact that customary tenure was a tradition largely invented by the colonialists.4 They downplayed the fact that traditional production systems consist primarily of economically independent households with their own gardens, fields and livestock. Despite calls for ‘individual title’ by smallholder farmers,5 the narrative stressed traditional methods of labour co-operation: ‘The government policy on co-operatives is based on the functions of traditional societies in Zimbabwe, which have always worked together in the form of nhimbe or ilima during harvesting.’6 The narrative then went on to underline the moral imperative of socialism while denigrating capitalism and, implicitly, markets as well.

Socialism … rests fundamentally on the principle of morality. It is a moral question first and foremost. … Surely, our own political history, with the obnoxious system of land deprivation and concentration of resources in the hands of a racial minority very familiar to us, demonstrates vividly the injustices that attend the capitalist system.7

The Zimbabwean government’s alternative to markets was centralised planning. So it was that the Communal Land Development Plan of 1985 envisaged the state’s hand in planning villages, determining farm sizes, allocating land on a leasehold basis, and evaluating farmers’ performance. Only the state would have the right to subdivide or sell communal farmland. Typically, an inter-ministerial Co-ordinating Committee and a National Coordinating Committee involving 20 ministries and departments were to oversee the programme’s planning, coordination and implementation at national, provincial and district level.

For all the seriousness with which the government deliberated on these plans, they came to naught. The top-down command style of planning and implementation had not only proved to be impossibly inefficient and alienating, but the Land Tenure Commission of 1993 found that smallholders in the communal areas were actively opposed to it. By the 1990s, it had been largely shelved and forgotten. As the government’s land policy began to focus almost exclusively on resettlement, so the communal areas again became a backwater of neglect and poverty. What remained was state control over communal land, and the President as its trustee.

Unsustainable resettlement model

The most obvious way for one farmer to compensate another for the transfer of land would be to simply buy it. To assist poor but deserving black buyers, the state could simply have provided soft loans with repayment moratoriums to acquire land from white farmers. But, by denigrating capitalism and markets as un-African and exploitative the narrative justified the state capture and control of commercial farmland for resettlement. It envisaged a central role for the state which, represented by the President, would repossess the land from white farmers and – not unlike traditional leaders – redistribute it equitably amongst its black subjects. Initially, the beneficiaries were to be the poor and landless Zimbabweans who could not afford to buy land. Indeed, the narrative saw no reason why they should pay for land that had been ‘stolen’ in the first place. But, especially after 2000, it would justify the seizure of commercial farms and reallocate them to any black Zimbabwean, whether rich or poor. Beneficiaries had only to believe in the narrative’s moral authority: that they were simply taking back what was rightfully theirs. Thus, without any sense of irony, Bishop Abel Muzorewa, the former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe Rhodesia (1978-79), would say that he only wanted land that was taken from his forefathers without compensation. He called his action a ‘correction of injustice’.8

A more insidious side-effect of state control, however, was the financial implications of the resettlement model. Since the narrative precluded individual ownership or transfers via a land market, the state first had to pay for the land then reallocate it, but without any institutional mechanism of recovering the costs of either the land or the infrastructural development that was needed to support newly settled farmers. In essence, the contradiction was this: the more land and resources that were acquired to make a success of resettlement, the greater the government’s financial burden. Within the nationalist narrative, therefore, lay the seeds of a land policy which would produce an economically unsustainable model of resettlement. Its ramifications would reverberate throughout subsequent policy decisions which were driven by the need to meet political commitments written into the narrative, but without the financial means to deliver them.

There were three ways in which the state tried unsuccessfully to bridge this ever-widening financial gap. The first was to gradually erode the constitutional, legal and property rights of commercial farmers, and thereby reduce the amount payable in compensation for land. Rather than paying market-based compensation, a ‘fair’ price was to be administratively determined. At the same time, a ‘reasonable’ period for paying compensation would be redefined and extended. After 2000, the government paid less and less for land, improvements and equipment, and eventually, with the nationalisation of most commercial farmland in 2005, nothing at all. A second method of reducing the cost of resettlement was to provide less and less support for new settlers. In its original conception in 1980, the provision of infrastructure and extension services was seen as a sine qua non for new settlers to make a success of farming. But no sooner had an intensive resettlement programme began when an ‘accelerated’ programme was designed to settle families urgently. Planning procedures were therefore cut to a minimum and only basic infrastructure provided.9 After 2000, not even the rudiments of infrastructural and extension support were provided for those settlers occupying commercial farms. The third method of reducing resettlement costs was to transfer responsibility for paying compensation for land. As the resettlement programme faltered, demands for Britain to resume funding became more strident. Eventually, in 2000, Zimbabwe passed Constitutional Amendment No.16 which made Britain responsible for paying compensation to white commercial farmers whose land had been compulsorily acquired.

State control over land

State control over the communal land was extended into resettlement areas by issuing those who occupied it with various permits. As one World Bank report noted: “It would be difficult to imagine a less secure form of tenure: uncertain duration, broad powers of termination on the part of the Ministry, and few rights to compensation for investments.”10

The ruling party then used its narrative to exercise control over commercial farms and their white owners. As a first step, an increasingly powerful executive undermined the restraining hand of the judiciary. In the name of the narrative’s moral imperative, farmer’s fundamental rights were systematically undermined after 2000 by post hoc legislation and other legal changes that were described by a UN mission as ‘openly at variance with the doctrine of natural justice.’11 After 2000, the rule of law itself was suspended as court orders were ignored and personal protection withdrawn. Land disputes were no longer to be settled through the courts of law, but by negotiation, supplication, and the prerogative of the executive. The latest count shows that barely 200 out of Zimbabwe’s original 4,800 white farmers remain on the land. Worse, over 200,000 farm workers lost their jobs, and their families lost access to housing, schools, clinics and other social services.12

With the state’s control over land, hardly anyone in Zimbabwe today enjoys secure property rights. Communal farmers lack transferable rights, resettlement farmers’ permits offer no protection, and white commercial farmers are still prey to predatory government officials. AI settlers who seized land after 2000 are being forced off land by those A2 farmers who are being issued with ‘offer letters’. But even these confer little security because of the wide discretionary powers granted to the Minister to cancel them.13 All those possessing land are subject to party sanction and are beholden to the state to continue farming their land.

The road ahead

Informed debate on restoring property rights and agricultural productivity requires re-examining the premises and implications of the nationalist narrative. The fundamental question is whether property rights should vest primarily in citizens or the state. It means going back to the principles and practices that underlie economic development, human rights, and calibrating land policies to reduce poverty though pro-poor agricultural development and economic growth.


1 Jean-Francois Lyotard (1984) The Postmodern Condition, University of Minnesota

2 Preamble, Communal Lands Development Plan (1985)

3 Robert Mugabe (1983) Our War of Liberation: Speeches, Articles, Interviews (1976-1979). Mambo Press: Gweru

4 Terrance Ranger (1983) The Invention of Tradition in Colonial Africa. Cambridge University Press

5 Zimbabwe Farmers Union submission to the Land Tenure Commission, 1994

6 The Herald: ‘Transformation to Socialism the Main Aim,’ September 9, 1983.

7 Inaugural address by Prime Minister Robert Mugabe at a series of lectures entitled The Construction of Socialism in Zimbabwe launched by the Zimbabwe Institute of Development Studies in 1984.

8 SW Radio Africa, 24 January 2008

9 Appendix E, Intensive Resettlement: Policies and Procedures (Zimbabwe, 1985).

10 World Bank (1991) Zimbabwe: Agricultural Sector Memorandum. Washington D.C.

11 UNDP (2002) Zimbabwe: Land Reform and Resettlement, New York.

12 Sachikonye, L (2003) The Situation of Commercial Farm-workers after Land Reform. Report: Harare.

13 UNDP (2002). Ibid.

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This article can be cited in other publications as follows: Doré, D. (2012) ‘The Nationalist Narrative and Land Policy in Zimbabwe’, 4 May, Zimbabwe Land Series, Sokwanele:

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