. Cash-strapped prison service has no
fuel to transport inmates
. Economic turmoil has also led to starvation and squalor in jails
by Caroline Mvundura Wednesday 05 May 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwe's cost of living for the month of April has marginally
dropped as a result of improved supply of local products on the market, a
consumer watchdog said on Tuesday.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) said the month-on-month budget for a
family of six decreased by 0.001 percent last month to US$492.34.
"The budget for a family of six shows a marginal decrease from US$493.25 in
March to US$492.34 in April," the CCZ said.
The government sponsored consumer watchdog attributed the decrease in the
April 2010 basket to the availability of local products on supermarket
shelves which has increased competition on the market.
The CCZ said all basic commodities, which include sugar, tea leaves, mealie
meal, flour, salt and soap were readily available.
The council called on outlets to increase local products as they were
relatively cheaper and helped bring down the cost of living.
"CCZ encourages those outlets that sell in-house brands to increase and
continue this trend as it caters for the lowly paid and allows them to
stretch their monies," said the council.
The cost of the basket for transport, rent, water and electricity, health,
education, clothing and footwear, however, remained the same at US$344.
CCZ noted that while there were improvements in product availability,
challenges remained in service provision.
"Large bills are being sent in spite of the long periods of load shedding
and water cuts," said CCZ.
Zimbabwe's economy has shown signs of recovery following the formation of a
unity government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai last year after a decade-long meltdown. - ZimOnline
By Tichaona Sibanda
5 May 2010
The country's reviled media henchman, Tafataona Mahoso, has been appointed
chief executive officer of the secretariat of the new Zimbabwe Media
The controversial and vitriolic former chairman of the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) will run the ZMC secretariat which will receive and process
applications from journalists and media houses seeking registration with the
He was replaced as the MIC chairman in 2008, when a High court judge
determined that he was unfit to perform his duties because he was
politically biased. Late last year Mahoso was controversially appointed to
chair the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) but Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai declared the appointment null and avoid.
His latest appointment to head the ZMC secretariat has attracted mixed
reactions from journalists, civil groups and human rights activists. Foster
Dongozi, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, said
they were very uncomfortable with Mahoso's appointment to the ZMC.
'He's the reason why so many journalists in Zimbabwe are out of employment.
To bring him back is like rubbing salt into a wound because the mayhem he
caused to scribes is still fresh in many people's minds,' Dongozi said.
During his period as chairman of the MIC, Mahoso presided over the closure
of at least four newspapers, the deportation of several foreign
correspondents and the arbitrary arrest, detention and malicious prosecution
of hundreds of local journalists, editors and publishers.
The ZMC is chaired by Godfrey Majonga, a former broadcaster. It has defended
Mahoso's appointment saying that he will not be responsible for the actual
registration and licensing of journalists and newspapers.
ZMC commissioner Chris Mhike said decision makers at the ZMC are the nine
commissioners appointed by the inclusive government two months ago. He said
Mahoso's new job will be implementing the decisions of the commissioners.
Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutumbara formed the unity
government and promised a raft of reforms, including freeing up the media by
allowing more players.
But more than a year after the coalition was formed, state newspapers and
sole government broadcaster ZBC still dominate the country's media.
Mugabe's former ruling regime used stringent media laws to police the media
industry, forcing several newspapers, including the popular Daily News, to
close in 2003. Zimbabwe currently has three private weekly newspapers, but
no private daily.
Controls over radio and television have been even stricter. Zimbabwe's only
independent radio station, Capital Radio, was closed after 6 days in 2000,
by the direct intervention of Mugabe - plus a bit of help from Jonathon
by Own correspondent Wednesday 05 May 2010
HARARE - Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti on Tuesday named a new
board to drive reforms at the country's central bank that analysts and the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) say are necessary to revive the virtually
insolvent bank and restore confidence in the financial sector.
Addressing journalists in Harare, Biti called for a "paradigm shift" at the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) that is accused by critics of straying from
its monetary policy management duties to engage in quasi-fiscal activities
many of them meant to prop-up President Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF party's
Biti said the board that includes former RBZ governor Kembo Moyana was
expected to act urgently to restore viability to the central bank which is
facing more than one billion dollars in lawsuits from creditors and various
other aggrieved parties.
"We have appointed a board that in our view is second to none," Biti said.
"There is a huge task at the bank. This board is expected to restore
viability. In terms of the bank's stock of debt is about (US) 1.2 billion
RBZ governor Gideon Gono is accused of exacerbating Zimbabwe's economic
crisis over the past decade by ceaselessly printing money to fund Mugabe's
political programmes, including - according to some accounts - paying for
the veteran leader's violent campaign to retain the presidency in a bloody
second round presidential election in June 2008.
Gono is accused of illegally seizing millions of dollars in hard currency
belonging to NGOs, including more than US$7 million that belonged to the
Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that the RBZ was holding
in trust and which the RBZ chief used to fund Mugabe's government. The
central bank has since repaid the money.
Biti, from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party that joined ZANU F
in a unity government last year, said the new board was expected to ensure
the RBZ acts according to the law.
"There is a paradigm shift. We will stick to the law. The era when a
minister would say please buy me a car or tractor (to the central bank) is
over," he said.
However Gono, who the MDC wants dismissed from the RBZ, will chair the new
board. He will be deputised by former finance ministry permanent secretary
Other board members include Lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu, Dr Daniel Ndlela, Dr
Godfrey Kanyenze, Nyasha Zhou and retired High Court judge, George Smith.
Western governments and the IMF have - among other issues -- called for
comprehensive reforms at the RBZ before they can provide financial support
to the Zimbabwe's coalition government. - ZimOnline.
By Violet Gonda
05 May 2010
A bill to review the targeted sanctions imposed on members of the Mugabe
regime (Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and Economic Recovery Act) has been
tabled in the US congress to try to encourage democratic reforms in
Senators Russ Feingold, John Kerry and Johnny Isakson introduced the
legislation on Tuesday and it will mean a revision of the Zimbabwe Economic
and Democracy Recovery Act (ZEDERA), a US sanctions law imposed on Zimbabwe
Since the formation of the coalition government early last year, the US and
other Western countries have been urging the Zimbabwean government to fully
implement the Global Political Agreement as a condition for the removal of
the restrictive measures.
A statement from Senator Feingold's office said reformers in the coalition
government have stopped the country's severe economic decline and taken
important steps toward economic reform, but hardliners continue to obstruct
the full implementation of the agreement and are still committing political
and human rights abuses.
"Feingold, Isakson, and Kerry's Zimbabwe Transition to Democracy and
Economic Recovery Act is designed to help those parts of the transitional
government and parliament that demonstrate a firm commitment to democratic
reform, while renewing and ramping up pressure on hardliners and the
activities that sustain their abuses."
It also calls on the Obama administration to address 'illegal diamond
activities that are undermining democratic processes and institutions by
pressing for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Kimberley Process and exploring
new targeted sanctions related to such activities'.
The statement said the revision to ZEDERA is expected to authorise technical
assistance to reformist government ministries and to parliament in its
efforts to amend or repeal repressive legislation. It also aims to amend
restrictions on assistance to the government of Zimbabwe in the areas of
health and education.
Observers say the bill shows a significant shift in the US policy towards
the coalition government and signals engagement with the new government.
Those impeding the full implementation of the GPA will remain on the
controversial targeted sanctions list, but the bill provides 'incentives'
for those seeking to change, by encouraging a continued review and updating
of the targeted sanctions.
Senator Feingold, one of the authors of ZEDERA and chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations Subcommittee on African Affairs, said. "That bill (ZEDERA)
showed our country's commitment to the Zimbabwean people in their struggle
for peaceful democratic change. To stay true to that commitment, we must
continue to look for the most effective ways we can help Zimbabweans advance
real change, both inside and outside of government. This legislation gives
the Obama administration the guidance and flexibility to press for badly
needed reforms in Zimbabwe."
Senator Kerry said: "This legislation seeks to give democratic reformers in
Zimbabwe the chance to succeed. The vast majority of Zimbabweans yearn for
representative democracy, economic stability, and a better future. With this
legislation, we hope to give them the necessary tools to encourage this
The proposed amendment to ZEDERA also suggests that the U.S government work
with national, regional and international partners, to begin preparing for
future elections in Zimbabwe. It also advises developing a strategy to
reduce the risk of violence around such elections.
By Gerald Chateta
Published: May 5, 2010
Harare - Lack of media freedom in the country promoted the 1983
Gukurahundi massacre and the 2005 operation Murambatsvina, a veteran media
publisher has said.
Alpha Media the publisher of Standard, Zimbabwe Independent and the much
awaited NewsDay Chief executive Raphael Khumalo said if the country had
independent media in 1980, Gukurahundi would have stopped.
Khumalo was speaking to delegates at US Embassy explaining how prepared his
organization was to start publishing their much awaited NewsDay if they were
given an operating license today.
"It's only when there is free and open reporting in the country that ill
behavior by some powerful elements in the society is prevented. If there was
independent and diverse media during the Gukurahundi era, if people could
report freely that operation would not have happened. It would have been
stopped at its tracks, because Zimbabweans could have rebelled. Simillary
this could have happened during the operation Murambatsvina period.
"It's not only Zimbabweans that would have been informed but the world which
would have dealt with the issue better. media diversity means that ill
thought out policies can be stopped at their inception," he said.
Just after the country's independence in 1980 ZANU-PF massacred through
Mugabe's 5th Brigade thousands of predominantly Ndebele most of whom were
supporters of Joshua Nkomo the founding father of nationalist struggle for
independence in Zimbabwe, accordingly called Father Zimbabwe.
About 20000 people from Matabeleland and the Midlands died or disappeared in
the conflict. The violence ended after ZANU and ZAPU reached a unity
agreement on 22 December 1987 that merged the two parties to form one party
known as ZANU PF.
Khumalo who is opposed to media licensing however said his organization has
lost vast resources due to the delays by the state to register the NewsDay
adding that they were more than ready to start publishing should they obtain
"The amount we have spend while waiting for the so called licensing is very
huge but what is also important is that there are many opportunities lost in
terms of revenue to have been collected from us by the government, lack of
employment to grandaunts from colleges and journalists who were displaced by
the AIPPA who are still roaming the streets.
"If you look at the length of our application we have lost quite a lot of
resources and opportunities for the Zimbabweans," he added.
News Day was launched in September 2008 and to date it has not yet been
On Friday the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) said was ready to receive
applications from journalists and media organisations starting on Tuesday,
"The Zimbabwe Media Commission wishes to announce to all concerned
stakeholders that the 2010 fees for registration of mass media service
providers and accreditation of journalists have been gazetted and the
Commission is now ready to receive applications," said a statement signed by
the chair, Godfrey Majonga.
"The Commission is calling upon all media service providers and journalists
to renew their registration certificates and accreditation status in line
with Section 66 and Section 79 of the Access to Information and Protection
of Privacy Act (AIPPA) respectively. The Commission will start receiving
applications for renewal of registration certificate by mass media service
providers and renewal of accreditation status on Tuesday , 4 May 2010."reads
LISA STEYN | JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - May 05 2010 16:23
The Zimbabwean government announced on Monday that a revamped licensing
authority will accept applications from new broadcasters and newspapers
later this month. But Zimbabwean journalists have told Mail & Guardian that
they doubt the move will bring any meaningful change.
The latest announcement follows last week's decision by government to slash
registration fees for local and foreign media. Foreign media organisations
will now pay $2 500 annually, reduced from $30 000, while local journalists
will pay $30. Earlier in March, government also promised to "relax" other
restrictive media laws by the end of 2010.
But Andrew Moyse, project coordinator of the Media Monitoring Project of
Zimbabwe (MMPZ), told the M&G that the latest changes are merely "cosmetic"
because the current framework of media regulations amounts to "a dog's
breakfast of laws." Moyse points to a clause in the privacy Act which warns
journalists not to "abuse" their "privileges" in relation to "publication of
falsehoods and injurious statements". He says that as long as such laws
remain, any new regulations are meaningless.
Zimbabwe's exiled journalists are equally unimpressed by the changes: "We
are all frustrated with the slow pace of reform," SW Radio's Violet Gonda
told the M&G. "We want [government] to start repealing these repressive
Gonda moved to the UK as a student almost ten years ago, and stayed on to
join SW Radio Africa, an independent radio station, broadcasting from
London. One year after the station took to the airwaves with its
hard-hitting programming, Gonda and her co-workers were banned from
returning home. She has not seen her friends and family since. "We are still
waiting for the government to lift the ban, but they haven't said anything
yet," she says.
Gonda describes the new licensing authority as "nothing to write home
about", and is surprised that government has not taken a more holistic
approach to media reform. "Why not do it all at once? Why has it taken this
long to see any change? It is like throwing out crumbs," she says.
Iden Wetherell, Senior Associate Editor for the Zimbabwe Independent group,
is more upbeat. He is "optimistic" about the new licensing authority and
feels it should be given "a chance to prove itself." But he cautions that
it's too soon to remove the pressure altogether: "Let's get them settled in,
but then we will allow no more excuses for delays," he told M&G. "Once we
have our licenses for the new daily papers, we will focus the ZMC's
(Zimbabwean Media Commission) attention on getting other laws repealed."
Wetherell, and fellow Zimbabwean journalists, say it's no coincidence that
the latest media developments are happening in the run-up to crucial
negotiations between Zimbabwe's unity government and the European Union.
Wetherell says the Zimbabwe government is likely to present the new
"reforms" as a bargaining chip to persuade EU officials to remove sanctions.
By Lance Guma
05 May 2010
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe traveled in
separate planes to Tanzania this week, for two summits whose agenda's were
in complete opposition to each other. Mugabe is reported to have attended a
Wednesday meeting that focused on ways of combating western 'neo-colonialism',
while Tsvangirai was seeking investment into Zimbabwe from business leaders
and agencies from the West.
Tsvangirai was at the World Economic Forum, while Mugabe attended a summit
of six liberation movements from the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) region which began on Tuesday. The summit opened with a meeting of
secretary-general's of the six parties ZANU PF, ANC of South Africa, SWAPO
of Namibia, FRELIMO of Mozambique, MPLA of Angola and Chama Cha Mapinduzi of
The two trips and their different agenda's will however highlight the
difference in ideology between the two coalition partners. Mugabe, scorned
by the west over human rights abuses, has found refuge from his excesses by
claiming western sanctions targeted at him and members of his inner circle
are responsible for the collapse of the economy.
Meanwhile it's reported Tsvangirai will travel to the United States on
Saturday to receive an award from former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright. According to a citation from the U.S. National Democratic
Institute the award recognizes Tsvangirai for his "tireless efforts to
restore democracy, human rights and the rule of law to Zimbabwe."
While many will have questioned why two leaders from the same government
would waste valuable resources in using different flights to Tanzania,
sources who spoke to Newsreel said it was normal security procedure that two
high profile leaders should not travel together.
05 May 2010
A farmer and his wife in Centenary were badly beaten at the weekend.
There have been few details but a Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) statement
said James and Wendy de la Fargue were attacked while they were sleeping.
It appeared that they were beaten with iron bars and seriously injured and
are being treated at Millpark Hospital in Johannesburg.
The CFU told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that James has serious head
injuries and is in a coma and both Wendy's arms are broken. They also said
that $20,000 had been stolen.
It has not been possible to find out any further information, despite
Harare, May 05, 2010 - The North Korean team that was scheduled to train in
Zimbabwe from May 23-31 might not be coming to Zimbabwe after all following
the release of their itinerary.
The North Korean team are scheduled to play Paraguay in Saviese in
Switzerland on May 15. The team will then play Greece in Austria on May 25.
The team is also scheduled to play the Democratic Republic of Congo in
Geneva, Switzerland on May 29. The team will also play another international
friendly against Nigerai in South Africa on June 4
Zimbabwe on Friday appeared to back away from an announcement that North
Korea's national team would train in the country ahead of the World Cup.
This follows protests over the Asian country's role in training an army unit
accused of killing thousands of people during the Gukurahundi era in
Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi however insisted to RadioVOP that the North
Koreans were still going to train in Harare.
The original announcement triggered protests from opposition groups in
south-western Matabeleland provinces where rights groups say a North
Korean-trained army unit killed an estimated 20,000 people during President
Robert Mugabe's crackdown on an insurgency in the region in the 1980s.
Zimbabwe, whose tourism industry had declined sharply because of a
decade-long economic and political crisis, had been courting nations that
qualified for the World Cup finals to visit the country en route to South
Africa, in a bid to boost revenue.
But political groups and rights activists in Matabeleland say threatened to
protest against the North Koreans, even if they do not come to Bulawayo.
Masvingo, May 05, 2010 - Mucheke residents received a shock of their lives
when they were forced by soldiers from 4 brigade to attend a funeral
services for a Zanu (PF) activist at Masvingo provincial heroes acre on
Soldiers force-marched residents from Mucheke F,D, Runyararo West and
Hillside to the burial of a war veteran and former Zanu (PF) loyalist,
Javas Takavada, after allegedly getting orders from Masvingo governor Titus
Maluleke. Takavada was declared a provincial hero following his death on
"We were shocked to see soldiers clad in their army regalia invading all
streets forcing people including children to go to the funeral. We had no
option besides quitting everything we were doing," a resident told Radio
"We were afraid that failure to go there would provoke the gunmen thereby
risking our safety," said another resident.
"We are still at the funeral, I can't comment anything now," said Maluleke
before switching off his phone.
The late Takavada was popular for victimising opposition supporters in
By Tichaona Sibanda
5 May 2010
The deputy organizing secretary of the MDC-T, Morgan Komichi, reckons the
only way to find a definitive solution to the crisis in the country is
having fresh elections, once a new constitution is in place.
Komichi reacted with disbelief to suggestions by some individuals that the
unity government's mandate be extended to 2013 or 2014 because the country
was not yet ready for a new poll.
'You will get such talk from people who are unelectable; individuals who
fear for their political lives. As the MDC we are already preparing for
elections despite what you hear from certain quarters,' Komichi said.
Recently, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller
faction of the MDC, dismissed suggestions that fresh elections will be held
Instead, Mutambara said the three political parties in the coalition
government should concentrate on reviving the economy.
'How do you revive the economy when the three parties are always at
loggerheads? This government has been in place for over a year now and only
a quarter of issues in the Global Political Agreement have been implemented,'
He said only a single party in government with a mandate from the people
could push through policies, projects and revive the economy with speed and
without any hindrance.
'The atmosphere in the government remains toxic. We have partners who are
not interested in solving the country's problems and are happy to drag the
Komichi added; 'It has been a sad year for many people in the country after
so much was promised by the deal signed in September 2008 and implemented in
February 2009. So little has been achieved ever since and we are saying as
party lets go back to an election to sort out this mess.'
The organizing secretary said a series of rallies have been lined up
countrywide this weekend, designed to mobilize their supporters to freely
participate in the constitution-making process.
Ninety-eight rallies will be held on Saturday and Sunday at every ward and
district level in all the country's 12 provinces.
'We are covering every area in the country from Mola in Kariba to Nyafaru in
Nyanga, from Beitbridge in Matabeleland right up Muzarabani in Mashonaland
central. We are going to discuss with our members issues such as the
constitution, the dialogue, national healing and violence in the country,'
May 4, 2010
By Ray Matikinye
NTABAZINDUNA - Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu on Friday
invited the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) to submit an application for a
mining licence to his ministry and take advantage of the diamond discovery
in the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Addressing a pass-out parade for police recruits at Ntabazinduna Training
Camp which was attended by senior police officers and Police Commissioner
General, Augustine Chihuri, Mpofu said his ministry was ready to give the
security forces mining concessions at Chiadzwa.
"We will give you mining licences just like anyone else who applies," said
Mpofu. "We are not bothered by people who say our diamonds are blood
diamonds because you defended the resource from being plundered by
unscrupulous foreign dealers."
British company Africa Consolidated Resources (ACR) has been challenging
Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Mining operations in Chiadzwa rights to exploit
the Marange claims. ACR owns legal title to the diamond claims but was
controversially forced off Marange by the government about four years ago.
Mpofu statements reinforce recent media reports that the ZRP had formed a
company and applied to mine diamonds in a contested area owned by ACR which
is listed on the London Stock Exchange.
The police were anxious to get involved in Chiadzwa diamond mining in
conjunction with the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
(ZMDC). They want to mine diamonds through a security company called
Security Self-Reliance Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd.
In a letter dated April 9 and titled "Application for a Diamond Mining
concession at Chiyadzwa: Security Self-Reliance Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd
(Zimbabwe Republic Police)", Chihuri wrote to Mpofu asking for a mining
concession for the police in Marange.
A few weeks ago, Mpofu denied members of a special parliamentary portfolio
committee on Mines and Energy permission to visit the Canadile Diamond
storage facilities in Mutare and the Mbada Diamonds and Canadile Mining
operations in Chiadzwa.
The parliamentary committee is now pushing for a special investigation into
Mpofu's interest in the two companies that were controversially given
licences to mine the Chiadzwa diamonds after MPs were barred from touring
the fields recently.
Some of the directors of the two firms are also known to have close ties
with Zimbabwe's military and police who have been accused of stealing
diamonds worth of millions of dollars from Chiadzwa.
The soldiers deployed to guard the claims after the government took over the
diamond fields allegedly committed gross human rights abuses against
hundreds of illegal miners who had descended on the fields prompting an
international investigation led by diamond watchdog - Kimberly Process.
"We will give you a licence in broad daylight," Mpofu told the senior police
officers in what is viewed as an assurance to dispel suspicion that the
initial licences to Canadile and Mbada had not been issued in a transparent
In March, Mpofu admitted to the parliamentary committee that he did not
follow laid-down procedures when he allowed two mining firms to operate in
the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields, confirming reports that the
mining permits were issued fraudulently.
May 4, 2010
By Pindai Dube
BULAWAYO - Zanu-PF politburo member, Joshua Malinga, says the Gukurahundi
issue might lead Zimbabwe into a civil war if not properly handled.
In 1982, President Mugabe's Zanu-PF in pursuit of a one party state sought
help from North Korea to train troops of the now infamous Five Brigade. The
brigade was deployed in the Midlands and Matabeleland regions in an
operation code- named Gukurahundi.
For about five years, the Five Brigade massacred innocent civilians using
the propaganda excuse that there had been insurgency in the late Dr Joshua
Nkomo's PF-Zapu strongholds. Civilians estimated at up to 20 000 were killed
while thousands disappeared. The dead were buried in mass graves while
others were thrown in disused mines.
In March this year the police raided the Bulawayo Art Gallery and shut down
the Gukurahundi Exhibition which was underway. They then arrested the
organizer, Owen Maseko.
However in an interview with The Daily News on Monday, Malinga said it was
high time the police stopped harassing and arresting human rights activists
who talk about Gukurahundi as this might plunge the country into a civil
"People should be allowed to talk about Gukurahundi because these things
happened, people were killed and you can't just sweep it under the carpet
and say, 'Shut up'. I don't see any reason why the police should continue
harassing and arresting human rights activists who openly discuss about this
issue," said Malinga who is also aformer Mayor of Bulawayo.
"I can tell you if this issue is not properly handled it might plunge this
country into civil strife because many people are still angry"
Malinga said on his personal opinion he doesn't see reason why the North
Korean soccer team should be allowed to camp in Zimbabwe as this will bring
bad memories about the Gukurahundi.
"In my personal opinion, I don't see any reason why we should have that team
in Zimbabwe as it will bring bad memories," he said.
The Zanu-PF politburo member said the government should set up a trust fund
to help those who were affected by the massacres and also for the
development of the Matabeleland region.
Malinga has become one of the first top Zanu-PF officials to publicly his
opinion about the Gukurahundi massacres.
. Cash-strapped prison service has no
fuel to transport inmates
. Economic turmoil has also led to starvation and squalor in jails
As car journeys go, they are likely to consist of strained conversations and long silences reminiscent of a feuding couple. Victims of crime in Zimbabwe are being forced to chauffeur those accuse of wronging them to court.
The self-drive for justice is needed because the cash-strapped Zimbabwe prison service (ZPS) has run out of fuel to transport inmates from remand cells, the state-owned Herald newspaper reported.
In the latest sign of economic decay eating into the country's state institutions, Priscilla Mtembo, a spokeswoman for the ZPS, said all the service's vehicles in the capital, Harare, were grounded.
"All our vehicles are off the road," she said. "We are actually failing to service courts in Harare but we are attending to the problem."
The Herald added that members of the public who want to speed up the legal process are using their cars to transport prisoners in the company of prison guards.
An unnamed complainant in a robbery case said: "I was tired of coming to court and being told the same story that the court had to postpone the matter because the accused persons were not brought to court by ZPS.
"I talked to the officers and they told me that it was possible for me to ferry the accused persons who will be escorted by prison officers. After court proceedings, I will also ferry the officers and the accused persons back to remand prison."
A company, Victoria Foods, reportedly carried more than five people accused of stealing flour to and from court.
The fuel shortage has resulted in trial delays and, in some instances, suspects are being referred back to police stations rather than remand prison, the paper said.
Simbarashe Moyo, the chairman of the Combined Harare Residents Association, said: "Last week I was attending a court case and some people were supposed to be taken to court, but I was told they had not come because there was no fuel.
"This is about them running out of money: I think the prisons have already used their budget for the year. There are people who are supposed to be out by now, but because of transport problems, they are still waiting for justice to be done."
In high-profile cases, the police still escort suspects to remand prison. A police officer told the Herald he waited at the courts until 10pm for a ZPS vehicle to pick them up.
Like its schools and hospitals, Zimbabwe's 42 prisons have been hit badly by the country's hyperinflation and economic meltdown. Shortages of food, medical supplies and cleaning materials left some of Zimbabwe's 15,000 inmates to starve in filthy and overcrowded cells. An estimated 1,000 prisoners died in the first six months of last year.
There has since been a slight improvement thanks to international aid efforts, but many prisoners still rely on family members to bring edible food.
It emerged last month that Chikurubi prison, a maximum security facility on the outskirts of Harare, has spent five years trying in vain to find a willing executioner. The impasse has left prisoners languishing on death row uncertain of their fate.
May 4, 2010
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) has blamed huge
financial losses it has incurred over the past six years on a directive from
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF government to sell fuel at a loss for six
According to the company's minutes, Noczim also made credit sales to the
President's office, the police, the army on promises that the departments
would pay after the release of their budget allocations.
But to date no payment had been made.
"During the period 2003 to January 2009, the company sold fuel to the then
prescribed market - farmers, government institutions - at sub economic
rates," say the minutes.
"These prices were fixed by the government and were set at below landed cost
of product. The company made perennial loses from sales to this prescribed
It added that the President's office, the army, the Air Force and the
Zimbabwe Republic Police also incurred bills totalling US$2,2 million during
the transition to dollarisation.
"These departments had indicated that they would settle their obligations
once they received their budgetary allocations from Treasury," the minutes
"To date US$2, 2 million dollars remains outstanding."
The revelations come after a new Petroleum Act came into effect last week.
The law will, among other things, break Noczim's fuel monopoly and establish
a petroleum authority.
The Act was passed in Parliament in 2007, but had not come into effect.
"His Excellency, the President, in terms of section 1 (2) of the Petroleum
Act (Chapter 13:22) hereby fixes April 26 2010, as the date on which the
said Act shall come into operation," reads part of the government gazette's
notice on the new law.
The proposed law will put in place a legal framework for the licensing of
players in the fuel sector as well as establishing a fuel stabilization
The fund will deal with issues that include sudden movement in the exchange
rate against the local unit. The regulation would also ensure that the
sector adheres to the best safety practices as well as fair play.
Functions of the petroleum authority include ensuring the provision of
sufficient petroleum products for domestic use; exercising regulatory
functions in respect of the procurement, production and sale of petroleum
products in Zimbabwe, including the establishment of standards and codes
relating to equipment connected with the procurement.
May 4, 2010
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Zimbabwean journalists and media stakeholders say they will
approach last Friday's invitation of applications for registration of
newspapers by the government-constituted Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC)
with cautious optimism.
Despite acknowledging this could be the most promising opportunity for
Zimbabwe's bartered media to start operating formally, journalists decried
the continued existence of repressive media legislation that has barred free
expression in the past decade.
According to last Friday's announcement by ZMC, applications from existing
and prospective mass media players wishing to operate in Zimbabwe, started
Tuesday May 4 and were set to end June 4, 2010.
Journalists say it was no time yet for any euphoria as the ZMC will still
operate under the same repressive laws coupled with an equally tense
"It's certainly not yet time for any euphoria," said Foster Dongozi,
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary general.
"We are approaching this with cautious optimism. It's possible that any
euphoria may be short lived."
Dongozi cited the continued existence of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Interception of Communications Act,
the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act as some of the laws that
continue to hinder the full enjoyment of freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.
"It does not guarantee press freedom. What we want to see are repressive
laws that shackle the media being repealed or at least amended.
"The media landscape is replete with unfriendly laws which can still be used
to shackle the media."
Zimbabwe Independent Assistant editor Dumisani Muleya said press freedom was
still far from being fully enjoyed in Zimbabwe as government, despite the
ZMC announcement, has not shown any signs of any preparedness to repeal its
draconian media laws.
"While we look forward to some form of change brought by the impending
licencing of private newspapers," said Muleya, "We still want government to
go a step further and repeal the repressive laws that hinder free
Muleya, also secretary general of the Zimbabwe Journalists for Human Rights,
said for the full enjoyment of press freedom, government should also
relinquish its stranglehold on public media.
"Government should further relinquish its control of the public media to the
Mass Media Trust and allow Zimpapers to operate free from interference from
Zanu PF politicians."
Similarly, Zimbabwe Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe Coordinator, Andrew
Moyse says the independence of ZMC would be curtailed by that it would be
still be run by the same secretariat that operated under the its predecessor
Media and Information Commission (MIC) including its chair, Tafataona
He added, "There are myriad restrictive provisions in AIPPA and many other
laws that will still serve to muzzle the work of journalists and media
houses and subject them to criminal punishment for any transgressions."
Moyse said AIPPA has been included into the Constitution of Zimbabwe
Amendment Act Number 19 and cannot be changed without any constitutional
amendment, least of all the ZMC which was still heavily dependent on
government for its operations.
"We still have a very long struggle ahead of us. No government will give us
the space for free. We will have to fight for it," he said.
Information and Publicity Deputy Minister Jameson Timba said according to
the government work programme, repressive media laws would be repealed by
the end of the year.
This he said would be done through the introduction of two laws - the Media
Practitioners Bill and Freedom of Information Bill - that would pave way for
self regulation by the media.
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
SCHOOLS in Harare opened for the second term yesterday with scores of
students at Government institutions being turned away for failing to pay
tuition fees and levies.
The financial burden on parents appears to have taken its toll as large
numbers of schoolchildren did not attend classes.
The children were told to meet arrears dating as far back as January last
year, with some schools saying they were owed hundreds of thousands of
United States dollars.
Harare's Girls High School said parents and guardians owed over US$300 000.
Yesterday, the school enlisted the services of the police to bar those in
arrears from entering the premises.
Teachers heeded union calls to report for duty and it was business as usual
for fully paid-up pupils.
A survey conducted by The Herald showed that indebted students at Girls
High, Selbourne Routledge and Prince Edward schools were not allowed to
enter the premises.
At Queensdale Primary School, fully paid-up students were issued with a
"Green Visa Card" to enter the premises.
School Development Authority members in the morning manned the entrance and
asked students to produce the "visa" as a prerequisite for attending
At Girls High School, SDA members and Zimbabwe Republic Police personnel
were at the gates.
Day scholars at the school are paying US$130 in fees while boarders are
forking out US$425 inclusive of food, tuition and levies.
Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart yesterday said the
law stipulated that pupils should not be turned away for non-payment of
He, however, said those who had not paid Government-approved tuition fees
can be barred from attending lessons.
"No student should be turned away from attending lessons for failure to pay
levies. "However, students who fail to pay tuition fees approved by
Government can be turned away," Minister Coltart said.
Parents who spoke to The Herald urged the Government to intervene.
"Students should be allowed to learn while we are looking for the money.
They cannot afford to miss lessons at this particular time, especially with
examinations around the corner.
"We don't know if it is now Government policy to turn students away because
of failure to pay fees," said a parent with a child at Girls High.
Girls High SDA chairperson Mrs Sophie Mungwashu said parents and guardians
who did not meet their obligations were running the school down, adding they
were owed over US$300 000 in levies.
"Reaching this decision was very difficult but we had to act this way
because the school is becoming dilapidated, which is not good for a
"Some of these arrears are from 2009 first term and some students had the
audacity of getting up to Form Six without paying a single cent. This cannot
be allowed to continue."
Asked why they sought police intervention, Mrs Mungwashu said: "ZRP were
only called to maintain order and not to threaten students.
"The idea of engaging debt collectors does not work because when students
finally pay up, some debt collectors do not remit the money.
"The fees that we are charging were approved by the Ministry of Education,
Sport, Arts and Culture.
"There is no justification whatsoever for parents to continue sending their
children to school for over a year without paying fees."
At Prince Edward and Selbourne Routledge, pupils who had not paid fees were
barred from entering the premises.
In many Harare high-density suburbs, lessons proceeded normally.
At Glen Norah High and Infill Primary schools, teachers said they had
reported for duty after getting incentives.
"As long there are incentives, we are going to teach wholeheartedly since
our employer is failing to pay us adequately," said a Glen Norah High School
At Kuwadzana 4 Primary School, teachers said they were reporting for duty
"for the benefit of the pupils".
Pupils at Haig Park Primary and Ellis Robins High School said it was also
back to business.
In Chinhoyi, pupils at Chaedza Primary School were ejected from the premises
for failing to pay their fees.
One pupil said: "The headmaster said we should go home and only come back
when our parents have paid the fees in full."
Parents expressed dismay at the decision by the school authorities at the
Chinhoyi municipality-run school.
"We feel that the decision is ill-timed because parents just don't decide
not to pay fees but are forced by circumstances.
"Most parents are struggling to make ends meet and the move by school
authorities is heartless," said a parent.
School authorities said they were not authorised to talk to the media.
The provincial education director was said to be out of office, while
Chinhoyi town clerk Mr Ezekial Muringani said he would look into the issue.
"Give me time to establish the facts first before I can give you an accurate
answer. That is the responsibility of the director of housing," he said.
The housing director, who handles the portfolio under "social amenities",
was also out of office.
It was, however, business as usual at other schools.
Harare, May 04, 2010 - A Vehicle Inspection Department (VID) in Belvedere,
Harare was forced to suspend driving tests for learner drivers to give more
time to vehicle inspectors to concentrate on mechanical testing of about 200
haulage trucks believed to be owned by a transport business with links to
President Robert Mugabe, sources say.
The depot has been closed to learner drivers for about a month to allow the
haulage trucks owned by Sabot and Gushungo Holdings to undergo comprehensive
The closure, which is affecting hundreds of prospective drivers who visit
the Eastlea Vehicle Inspection Department, is expected to last until
A source at VID Eastlea told Radio VOP that they had been receiving a huge
number of prospective drivers because of the closure of the Belvedere depot.
"This has been the situation starting over a month ago when the trucks from
Sabot started coming for testing. Sometimes we have to limit the numbers of
people we can serve per day," said the source. "We expect the tests to last
for about three months because these are comprehensive tests which have to
meet regional standards."
The Sabot and Gushungo trucks have contracts with major mining, construction
and regional governments to carry cargo across the region. Most of them
operate the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to South Africa route.
The Sabot and Gushungo trucking companies are believed to be owned by
President Robert Mugabe in partnership with a consortium of white
businessmen. The trucking business is just but one of the many business
owned by Mugabe under a fledging empire which includes farming, hotels and
property business in and out of Zimbabwe.
by Own Correspondent Wednesday 05 May 2010
HARARE - The Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) on Tuesday started distributing
accreditation forms to journalists and media houses wishing to operate in
The Commission also distributed guidelines of establishing a newspaper or
magazine to prospective media houses.
Prospective media operators are among other things expected to provide a
code of ethics, projected balance sheet, editorial charter, code of conduct
for employees, market analysis, attach a dummy, mission statement, house
style book and projected three-year cashflow statement.
Local media houses will pay an application fee of US$500, registration fee
of US$1 500 and a renewal fee of US$1 000.
ZMC officials said there had been huge interest in application forms
following the gazetting of the law on last Friday.
According to the gazette published on Friday application and registration
for news agencies will be US$1 300 per year and the renewal of registration
will be US$500.
Local journalists will pay a total of US$30 to work in the country while
local journalists working for foreign media will be required to pay a total
of US$120 down from the US$3 000 that the now defunct Media Information
Commission (MIC) used to charge.
Foreign media organisations or news agencies who are willing to set office
in the country are expected to pay a total of US$2 500 down from about US$30
000 per year while those from the Southern African Development Community
will pay US$1 250.
The ZMC, a constitutional body created last February as one of the key
reforms to open up the country's political space after President Robert
Mugabe and long time rival but now Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a
unity government last year following a dispute over general elections in
March 2008, replaced a state-appointed body that used tough media laws to
police the newspaper industry forcing several titles to close. - ZimOnline
Harare, May 5, 2010: The United States Embassy has encouraged Zimbabwe to accept diverse and plural voices in the media to facilitate the free flow of information and promote debate.
“The experience of the past shows that government controlled media can exist, and compete, with independent media in the daily newspaper market,” said U.S. Ambassador Charles Ray at a ceremony to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on Monday.
World Press Freedom Day is celebrated across the globe every May 3rd, representing an opportunity to commemorate the fundamental principles of press freedom and to pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the line of duty.
The event in Harare was supported by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section and co-hosted by the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA- Zimbabwe) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Over 120 individuals attended the commemoration, representing civil society organizations, the international and diplomatic community and journalists.
“In the 21st century, the free flow of information and ideas within countries and across international borders can be a powerful force for understanding and positive change,” said Ambassador Ray. The U.S. Ambassador pledged his country’s commitment to promoting media freedom “through… diplomatic efforts and…exchange and assistance programs, working in partnership with non-governmental organizations.”
Bruce Wharton, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Diplomacy, spoke about the U.S. government’s experience working with online media. In its 2009 prison census, the Center for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) found that at least 68 bloggers, Web-based reporters, and online editors are under arrest worldwide, constituting about half of all journalists now in jail, noted Wharton.
“Online journalism is big, it’s growing fast, growing in power, it’s messy and it looks a whole lot to me like real participatory democracy,” said Wharton.
Jameson Timba, Deputy Minister of Information, Media and Publicity, said the journey towards press freedom in Zimbabwe had been “slow, arduous, painful and frustrating both physically and mentally.” He noted that the delay in setting up media regulatory bodies is inexcusable and called on the Zimbabwe Media Commission to exercise its functions independently.
“We have committed ourselves as government to replace AIPPA with two media bills- the Media Practitioners Bill and the Freedom of Information Bill,” said Timba.
Veteran journalists Andrew Moyse and William Saidi described Zimbabwe’s press freedom record as turbulent and called for the reform of media laws restricting the free flow of information.
“Any reform to AIPPA (the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act) has been made all the more difficult because it has been drafted into constitutional amendment no. 19. This means it cannot be changed without a constitutional amendment,” said Moyse, who is coordinator at MMPZ.
Saidi, who is also MISA Zimbabwe’s Writer in Residence Fellow, chronicled his experience as a journalist since the 1950s, including visits to the United States, and said the first duty of journalism is telling the truth.
“You may be bashed and so on, but as long as you know that you are vehicles of change, you should be satisfied,” concluded Saidi. He emphasized the media’s role in exposing scandals, citing the Watergate scandal in the U.S. and the Willowgate scandal in Zimbabwe as examples.
In line with UNESCO’s theme, the World Press Freedom Day celebrations in Harare focused on the importance of freedom of information as an integral part of freedom of expression and as a contributor to democratic governance.
MMPZ showcased an exhibition featuring newspapers and radio stations in five Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries- South Africa, Zambia, Namibia, Malawi and Zimbabwe. A quiz show on the media environment, ethics and personalities was won by Jennifer Dube, a report with the Standard newspaper.
# # #
This report was produced and circulated by the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Comments and queries should be addressed to Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel. +263 4 758800-1, Fax: 758802. Url: http://harare.usembassy.gov
The U.S. Embassy is also available on Facebook and via Twitter.
By Lance Guma
05 May 2010
A campaign that aims to give 72 million children worldwide the chance to go
to school is gathering steam, with nearly 6 million people having signed up
in support. The '1 Goal Campaign' is using the power of football ahead of
the World Cup in South Africa this year to put pressure on world leaders to
fulfill their promises on education.
Newsreel spoke to Martin Davies, one of the coordinators, and he told us;
"In 2000 world leaders promised an education for every child on the planet.
We are looking to them to fulfill that promise. Today, 72 million children
in the world are denied the chance to go to school. These children could be
our next leaders, sports stars, doctors, and innovators. But, unable to read
or write, they face an unfulfilled life, and a lifetime fraught with
poverty. It doesn't have to be this way."
With the FIFA World Cup taking place in Africa for the first time, the '1
Goal Campaign' says this presents a unique opportunity for them to make
'education for all' a lasting legacy of the tournament. Several footballers
and music stars have signed up as ambassadors for the project, including
Colombian pop star Shakira, French football legend Zinedine Zidane, Thiery
Henry, Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, Ronaldo and Ghana's Chelsea
midfielder Michael Essien, among others.
Key campaign moments for the project will include the world's biggest
lesson, involving 15 million children on the 20th April; a June 10th concert
that is expected to have a global audience of 1 billion people; and a global
education summit involving world leaders invited by South African President
Jacob Zuma. The campaign will also be prominent at the opening and closing
matches of the World Cup.
Written by John Makumbe
Wednesday, 05 May 2010 05:57
There is growing impatience with the pace of change that is taking place in
Zimbabwe under the so-called inclusive government. Indeed, some would say
there is no change that is taking place at all since the inauguration of the
government of national unity (GNU). For example, fewer than 20% of the
provisions of the global political agreement (GPA) have so far been
implemented. It is clear to most Zimbabweans that Mugabe and Zanu (PF) are
desperate to prevent the full consummation of the GPA since that would
result in meaningful power-sharing. It is obvious that whatever power is
shared will be power that is lost to Zanu (PF). One school of thought is
therefore of the idea that Tsvangirai and the MDC should abandon ship and
get out of the slow-moving GNU. The other school of thought is that the MDC
should stay put and fight on until real change is attained. Getting out will
be tantamount to returning the nation to the year 2008, and no sane person
would like to see that happening.
The MDC, however, needs to continue to apply pressure on the despotic regime
of Robert Mugabe until a democratic constitution is written and adopted as
the nation's foundation law. This could happen by the end of this year, and
new elections could be held early 2011. Zanu (PF) is aware that it has no
realistic chance of winning the forthcoming elections, unless they rig them
thoroughly, something they have become quite good at over the thirty years
of Zimbabwe's independence. It is, however, true that the GNU has
effectively compromised the MDC's ability to perform its role as an
opposition political party. For example, being part of the GNU has meant
that the MDC can no longer engage in any meaningful authoritarian regime
On the contrary, some of the governance activities that the MDC has been
required to perform have tended to politically benefit Zanu (PF). One only
has to listen to Ago Mutambara speaking about Mugabe to realize that
something has gone terribly wrong with Zimbabwean politics. No one in their
right mind can eulogize Mugabe the way Arthur does whenever the opportunity
arises. The man is digging a deep hole for his little political party to
sink in when the next elections are held. That is one of the several reasons
why Mutambara is not keen on the holding of elections in 2011.
The MDC's exit from the GNU would effectively mean that the nation will be
thrown back to the violence and social strife of 2008. The national economy
will also collapse further and the social sector will crumble in the manner
that we have seen before with schools, clinics and hospitals closing down.
More Zimbabweans will again be forced to leave the country in search of
greener pastures and personal security. Zanu (PF) does not care any more
about this country and its people. The former ruling party is aware that it
can never recover the popular support that it once enjoyed. It is therefore
likely to embark on the implementation of a scorched earth policy and all of
us will lose. We now know that this nation has lost a whole generation of
young people who failed their Grade Seven, O-Level and A-Level examinations
in the past two academic years. We cannot afford to endure any further
losses of this nature. Given these realities, it is absolutely imperative
that the MDC should remain in the GNU and keep fighting the dictator from
the inside. No democratic space should be surrendered to the dictator at
this eleventh hour.
HARARE – A battered commuter omnibus, crammed with passengers, puffs out a
thick cloud of white smoke along a freeway linking Harare city centre and
Machipisa high density suburb.
Its tyres now look as slippery as wet soap while the body, patched with
metal ware of different colours, also leans precariously on its left side.
The aged vehicle struggles to a stop on the signal of a traffic police
officer manning a road-block along the busy road.
After some effort, the driver, hardly 20 years of age, finally forces its
tormented engine to a sudden halt.
He jumps off and heads to a stout police officer standing under a tree next
to the road and hands him an envelope. The hefty police officer takes the
envelope and let the driver go free.
Suddenly, the incident dominates the talk among the passengers, who risk
their lives by riding in broken down commuter buses. The passengers are now
familiar with the law-breaking commuter drivers and how they bribe their way
“Mari yako chete ndiyo inotaura,” (Your money can buy you out of anything),
boasted the commuter omnibus driver as he joined the excited talk.
Acts of bribery have now become normal everyday life particularly among
Zimbabwe’s poorly paid civil servants. Most civil servants are earning about
Recently, a Chikurubi prison officer was arrested after attempting to assist
a group of dangerous criminals to escape from prison on the promise of huge
It emerged later the young officer had also connived with one of his bosses
to commit the act.
“This is going to be our way of life for as long as government continues to
ignore our pleas for a salary increase,” said one officer who works for the
Vehicle Inspection Depot in Harare.
“It is apparent that the government does not worry about our welfare. There
is no way you can survive on such little salary in a country with a US$502
poverty datum line. You just have to find means to survive.”
Tendai Chikowore, chairperson of the APEX Council, the main negotiating arm
for government workers in Zimbabwe, told agitated civil servants at a recent
rally that they were being betrayed by their colleagues working for money
spinning departments like the passport office.
Unlike in 2008 where almost everyone could sell something and even trade in
scarce foreign currency in order to survive, the situation was different
The country now used foreign currency and the products which were previously
scarce were now found in the shops.
In the past, corruption was seen as abhorrent and was mostly practiced by
greedy people. However, nowadays, most men and women who shunned the
practice, had now mastered the art, and had joined the bandwagon.
“The culture of demanding bribes in Zimbabwe has become so deeply rooted
that it would take generations to root it out,” said Fikile Moyo, a Harare
resident. “It has taken 10 years to get into the people. They have tasted
Twenty two year old Tendai Marimo, a student with a Harare tertiary college,
said it was even harder for people without money to get assistance from
“As for us women we sometimes find ourselves forced into unwanted love
relationships in order to get help.
“Personally, I pretended to be interested in falling in love with a police
officer at a Harare police station because I wanted him to go and serve
child maintenance summons to my former husband.”
Asked if government had ever tried to find out on how civil servants
survived, Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro said: “These are
administrative issues that I do not deal with. Why don’t you ask the
ministry’s permanent secretary?”
Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the government was struggling to pay the
huge salary bill and even donors had said it was too high. Biti has since
announced a salary freeze for civil servants until the government’s
financial position improves.
145 Robert Mugabe Way, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website: www.chra.co.zw
Residents welcome the resuscitation of refuse collection in the City’s suburbs
05 May 2010
Residents in the western suburbs of Harare have welcomed the move by the City of Harare to resume refuse collection. The positive development came after the Council borrowed US$10 million to resuscitate its Waste Management Department. The Council has since purchased six refuse collection trucks as well as six tipper trucks that have been circulating in the city’s western suburbs.
CHRA conducted a meeting with the Acting Superintendent at Kevin Waste Management Depot, Mr. Sakupwanya, and he pointed out that the existing trucks had been dedicated to the Western suburbs and low density areas. However, the Eastern suburbs are yet to be covered and this includes the Greendale Masasa area. The Council is expecting ten more trucks within the next week. Mr. Sakupwanya, however, pointed out that the huge piles of refuse that litter most shopping centers and streets in high density areas will take a little longer to be cleared as the Council does not have Front-end Loaders to do the job. He said that the Council has had to hire the Loaders at an average rate of US$60 per hour, which is difficult for the cash strapped Council coffers.
Residents have however, raised concerns on the Council’s failure to notify residents of the collection schedule which has resulted in most refuse bins not being collected.
The resuscitation of refuse collection is likely to improve the relationship between Council and ratepayers which has been strained by Council’s insistence on demanding payment for non-existent services. Residents who spoke to the CHRA Secretariat indicated that they would resume payments for refuse collection if the Council is consistent with the work that has just begun.
CHRA had noted with concern, the alarming rate at which refuse was pilling up especially in the high density suburbs which are characterized by a high population concentration. The pilling refuse especially in areas like Nenyere flats in Mbare and other areas like Mabvuku and Mufakose, had become a serious health time bomb whose effects could have been devastating to the broader populace within the City. Health experts have it on good record that the typhoid bacteria that caused the outbreak in Mabvuku were located in one of the dump sites at Matongo shopping centre. It is against this background that the CHRA would like to implore the City of Harare to remain consistent in their initiative and to employ proper and effective maintenance strategies so that the vehicles will go a long way in servicing the City.
CHRA remains committed to advocating for good, transparent and accountable local governance as well as lobbying for quality and affordable municipal services.