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Chaos, corruption rock passport offices

May 6, 2013 in News

THE dust, dirt, long snaking queues and aggressive vendors just outside the
main offices of Zimbabwe’s dilapidated passport office at Makombe Building
in Harare make for a chaotic if not foreboding atmosphere.

Wongai Zhangazha

Upon arrival at the offices it is not difficult to understand why the
offices rank topmost among the places people dread visiting. As soon as the
gates open, pushing and shoving are the order of the day as passport seekers
scream and shout, while children’s cries of hunger intermittently pierce the
musty air.

The many meandering queues quickly take their toll on people’s patience.

There are no special arrangements for the elderly, the pregnant or disabled
who forlornly await their turn while passport officials allegedly first
serve those that would have been referred to them after money has exchanged
hands through the intricate channels the staff have set up with outsiders.

There is no running water due to regular rationing and ablution facilities
are scarce. Neither is there a place to purchase a decent meal and as a
result hunger pangs usually translate into frayed tempers.

Visitors to the passport offices are greeted mostly by grumpy and
demotivated civil servants who earn as little as US$350 per month. They in
turn vent their frustrations on poor citizens mainly seeking identity and
travel documents.

Passport seekers are shuttled from one office to the other, with bossy
officials barking angrily at those who get into the wrong offices or block
the path of the stuffy and crowded corridors and small offices.

Those seeking to sort out passport issues are best advised to choose their
words very carefully at all times when communicating with Makombe staff as a
slight misunderstanding or misconstrued statement could mean being ignored
as punishment or suffering the ignominy of being chucked to the back of the

For those with cash to spare, a bribe of about US$30 through corrupt
channels ensures one is served promptly and courteously.

A person who has paid a bribe is typically seen by his or her confidence in
jumping the queue and heading straight to the serving desk where they
mention the name of the staffer who has “sent” them.
From that office, they are then referred to different staffers at other
offices where they breeze through the entire process without any hustle.

In stark contrast, those without cash to grease officials’ palms are forced
to queue outside Makombe Building for hours from as early as 4am, with no
guarantees they will be served on that particular day.

Positions in the queue are for sale from a syndicate whose members get up
early to occupy strategic positions in the queue.

Last year, Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede gave assurances the public would
benefit from the computerisation of his offices as it would improve
efficiency and reduce time spent queuing for forms.

He announced that part of the computerisation of his office would introduce
“a top-of-the-line SMS solution and has developed unique applications which
will enable the RG to give better service to the Zimbabwean citizen. Under
the new system the RG’s office will also be sending SMS messages to passport
applicants to collect their documents”.

Mudede also triumphantly announced Zimbabweans wishing to apply for
passports could download application forms on the Internet, fill them in
online before submitting them at the passport office for a US$3 fee.
However, the forms have proved impossible to download.

Furthermore, the prevailing situation at the passport offices belies Mudede’s
pronouncements as professionalism and efficiency remain alien to his
department, while queues, frustration and bribes for staff in cramped
offices remain the order of the day.

An ordinary passport costs US$50 and takes four to six weeks to process; an
emergency passport takes three days at a cost of US$250, while an executive
passport takes a day at US$315. Social commentator Maxwell Saungweme said
the announcement last year that passport processing had gone online was just
a “high-sounding nothing.”

Saungweme said: “Nothing really went online; apart from that people with
internet access would access the website but have difficulties downloading
the passport forms.

“People still have to endure the process of getting into queues; buying the
forms at the RG’s office and joining queues to submit the forms and have
fingerprints taken. The long queues and inefficiency also await people at
passport collection.”

He added:“A typical online passport system, apart from enabling people to
download forms online, would include allowing people to pay passport fees
electronically, making appointments for submission and collection of
passports online and one only has to go to the passport offices at the
appointed time when they are booked to collect their passport. But Zimbabwe’s
passport offices continue to be characterised by corruption and inefficiency
as nothing has changed.”

Political commentator Blessing Vava said there are a lot of rogue elements
at the RG’s office hence its failure to execute its duties efficiently and
professionally. “Professionalism and efficiency are alien to this office and
heads must definitely roll if anything is to improve,” said Vava.

The situation at the RG’s offices reflect the corruption and incompetency
within the civil service in general.

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Row over partisan army chiefs intensifies

May 6, 2013 in News

THE acrimonious row over security sector reforms and the role of the
military in the next crucial general elections has intensified with Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai upping the ante on the issue by lobbying Sadc
leaders this week, while MDC-T defence secretary, Giles Mutsekwa, fiercely
hit back at those attacking him for disclosing he has been engaging army
commanders ahead of the polls.

Report by Staff Writer.

Confrontations among parties in government over the issue, which was part of
their Global Political Agreement (GPA) negotiations, are escalating as it
becomes clear the military would play a critical role during the watershed

Article XIII of the GPA, dealing with state organs and institutions, says
these organiations, including the army, police and intelligence services, do
not belong to “any political party and should be impartial in the discharge
of their duties.”

This was brought up by sensational public remarks by army commanders before
the 2008 elections and their subsequent involvement in the polls. The issue
is part of the elections roadmap although the parties are deadlocked on it.

Tsvangirai this week raised the matter with Sadc leaders, particularly Sadc
facilitator on the Zimbabwe dialogue, South African President Jacob Zuma,
and chairman of the Sadc troika on politics, defence and security, Tanzanian
President Jakaya Kikwete. He was due to raise the same issue with Sadc
chairman, Mozambican President Armando Guebuza, and Namibian Prime Minister
Hage Geingob whose president also sits on the troika.

Debate on the security sector reform issue heightened after the Zimbabwe
Independent last week reported Mutsekwa, a retired major who served in the
Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) and fought in the Mozambique civil war after
being integrated into the new army in 1980 following service in the
Rhodesian forces, has held talks with hardliners in the military, including
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) commander General Constantine Chiwenga, ZNA
chief of staff (general staff)

Major-General Martin Chedondo and chief of staff (quartermaster)
Major-General Douglas Nyikayaramba.

Mutsekwa also confirmed on record said he had also engaged police
Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri.

This however triggered angry reactions from Chihuri who attacked Mutsekwa,
while threatening Independent journalists for reporting on the issue.
President Robert Mugabe’s spokesman George Charama also reacted albeit

Charamba dismissed Mutsekwa’s assertions as “a major lie coming from a
Rhodesian major”, while Chihuri said service chiefs had no time to engage
“confused malcontents”, after which he threatened to arrest journalists for
writing the story.

However, Mutsekwa this week held firm, insisting he had been holding talks
with service chiefs although he said he no longer wanted to go into the
details about the issue.

“First of all, I want to state that Charamba is not the spokesperson of the
ZDF; he has never been in the army and does not know how it operates,” said
Mutsekwa this week. “He is the secretary for Information and Publicity, and
spokesperson for the president, but does not have the jurisdiction to speak
on behalf of the ZDF which has its own structures.”

Mutsekwa went further: “The second thing is that remarks by Chihuri were
expected but the nation should not read too much into his statement.”

Mutsekwa said the fact he served in the Rhodesian Army does not hinder him
from negotiating with the security service chiefs and has a legitimate right
to engage because he also served in the ZNA, is a cabinet minister and the
defence and security secretary of the MDC-T.

He also said Tsvangiari was right to lobby Sadc to support the realignment
of the security sector, saying it was part of the GPA. “We have never
doubted that they are properly trained, but what is at stake is that over
the last 33 years, Zanu PF has abused the security sector and made it part
of its structures in violation of the constitution and laws of this country.
There is need for realignment so that they know that we are in a democratic
dispensation,” he said.

“We also know that it is a few people who made subversive statements and
these statements must never be made by a person in uniform. We are willing
though to inherit the security sector lock, stock and barrel although there
is need for realignment.”

Several Zanu PF bigwigs, including Mugabe, Defence minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa and State Security minister Sydney Sekeramayi have said their
party would not allow security sector reforms.

The military –– whose senior commanders have benefited a lot materially
since Independence in 1980 –– is Mugabe and Zanu PF’s pillar of strength and
survival. ––

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Mugabe reads riot act

May 6, 2013 in News

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe yesterday read the riot act to senior Zanu PF
officials involved in bitter factional infighting which is threatening to
rip apart his faction-riddled party as bigwigs jostle to succeed the 89-year
old veteran leader.

Report by Obey Manayiti

Speaking at the burial of Matadziseyi Tangwena, wife of the late national
hero Chief Rekayi Tangwena in Tsatse village in Nyanga, Mugabe said his
party needs to be organised ahead of elections. He also attacked architects
of the 2008 “Bhora Musango” (sabotage campaign) campaign that saw Zanu PF
losing its parliamentary majority to the MDC formations for the first time
since Independence.

“You should organise yourselves well,” said Mugabe. “This business of
continuously insulting each other and forming little factions should stop.
We don’t want that.
No, no, no I have rejected it. This is not what (Chief Rekayi) Tangwena died
for,” Mugabe said.

Zanu PF is mainly divided along factions allegedly led by Vice-President
Joice Mujuru and Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa fighting for political
control and dominance to produce a successor to Mugabe.

“We should not be people who fight because of different totems or different
political parties. If people refuse to buy your ideologies you don’t use
force. Let’s vote peacefully,” Mugabe said.

On primary elections; let’s vote peacefully. In all parties there is
fighting; we can’t have all of you to represent the party during elections;
it’s only one who represents the party. We heard that some leaders are using
money. We don’t want vote buying; you can’t buy people, they are not

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Khupe vows to tackle Shurugwi share scheme

May 6, 2013 in News

DEPUTY Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe has vowed to tackle Shurugwi-Tongogara
Community Share Ownership Scheme problems after the community’s complaints
over lack of transparency and alleged misuse of funds.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

The problems came to Khupe’s attention from a group of Shurugwi residents
while she was attending a Catholic professionals’ regional workshop where
she addressed other delegates from Uganda, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and
Zambia at Arrupe College in Harare last weekend. Tongogara Community Share
Ownership Scheme was commissioned in November 2011 after Unki Mine complied
with government’s indigenisation regulations and availed US$10 million to
the share ownership scheme.

The community identified “five start-up projects” to be funded using the
money which include building of a mortuary, classroom blocks, gardens,
drilling boreholes and constructing a dam.

Shurugwi delegates at the workshop expressed their disgruntlement, with one
resident who only identified himself as Andrew saying: “Shurugwi received
US$10 million; are you aware that people need roads and hospitals but the
money is being kept in an account and not being used properly. Are you aware
that the first thing that they built with that money was a mortuary; a
mortuary of all things?”

Khupe said she was not aware of how the Shurugwi community share ownership
money is being used.

“I didn’t know that the money is in the bank and all these issues you are
raising,” said Khupe. “I will make sure I raise them in cabinet to get to
know what is happening”.

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Zim loses millions over Chinese projects

May 6, 2013 in News

ZIMBABWE is losing millions of dollars to the Chinese in untendered
government projects like the US$98 million National Defence College (NDC)
and Long Cheng Plaza in Belvedere whose workmanship is of substandard
quality, local engineers say.

Report by Paidamoyo Muzulu

The cash-strapped Government of National Unity has contracted nearly US$500
million in debt to China in the past four years through construction
projects mainly funded by mortgaging the country’s mineral wealth,
particularly diamonds.

The construction projects include roads, airports, dams, hydro-electric
power stations, the NDC and Long Cheng Plaza.

The Plaza has reportedly developed cracks due to poor workmanship and
failure to adhere to local building laws, while the NDC is structurally
unsound, according to the engineers.

The Plaza along Bulawayo Road adjacent to the National Sports Stadium —
another Chinese project whose quality of work has been condemned — is being
constructed on a wetland against the advice of environmentalists, in
violation of environmental laws and despite council objections.

A senior local engineer who requested anonymity for professional reasons
said the costs of Chinese projects are inflated and generally not up to the
required standard.

“Projects that are not procured via a transparent, public and open tender
system are usually over-priced and of poor quality,” said the engineer.
“Competitive bidding through tendering is a function that has to be
performed correctly in order to maximise effectiveness and minimise costs.”

Chinese projects have not been subjected to local council by-laws as they
are given preferential treatment by their influential government
connections. In most cases, local authorities have been prevented from
supervising the structures at necessary stages.

Another engineer said such unlawful practices should automatically make the
se projects illegal.

“Any construction that goes on without adhering to council by-laws is an
illegal structure. The building codes and construction standards laid out by
the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (Saz) must be adhered to. Any
violation should meet the full wrath of the law.”

In terms of the agreements, most of the projects are erected using Chinese
labour and products, irrespective of the fact that some of these Chinese
professionals may not be qualified to work in Zimbabwe, particularly in
specialised fields such as engineering.

Engineer and construction expert Clever Bere said: “In these bilateral
Zimbabwe-China projects, the entire professional team is Chinese and most of
the building material is imported from China, except manual labour which
would be Zimbabwean.”

Engineers say Chinese developers should be compelled to form consortiums
with locally-qualified architects, engineers and other professionals to
safeguard standards of the finished products.

The Chinese constructed the National Sports Stadium and worked on the
dualisation of the Harare-Norton Road, which took more than 10 years to
Both projects have experienced structural problems.

The stadium developed cracks and had to undergo a two-year refurbishment
recently but still has problems with the drainage system, while the
Harare-Norton road had its surface peeling off before the project was

Chinese companies, among them Anjin and Sino-Hydro, continue to bag
Zimbabwean construction contracts at the expense of local companies.

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Zim journalists still singing the blues

May 6, 2013 in News

WHEN Zvikomborero Gotora (not real name) graduated from the Harare
Polytechnic’s Division of Mass Communication six years ago with a diploma in
journalism after a two-year study, he was relieved that at last he could
realise his dream of working as a reporter.

Report by Hazel Ndebele

He was hopeful of securing employment soon enough for he had worked well
during his attachment stint, with several stories published under his

Sadly, it was not to be. His dreams gradually turned into a nightmare when
months of job seeking became years despite promises from within the media

Gotora has spent six years as a freelance reporter, eking out a living by
writing stories for online and several local publications under an assumed
name. With the local media largely remaining stagnant despite the licencing
of scores of players to start publishing and broadcasting, Gotora’s
prospects of securing a permanent job remain gloomy.

The situation is made worse by the emergence of digital and social media
which are rocking the print media sector as newspapers face the threat of

“I do not regret choosing journalism as a career because it is something I
really wanted to do and I felt I could get far in the profession,” said
Gotora. “But the stark reality is that the industry just cannot absorb the
many media graduates being churned out by the colleges as it is not
expanding, but the situation is not unique to media graduates only. The
country’s economy remains depressed and the majority of Zimbabweans are

As Zimbabwe joins other countries in commemorating World Press Freedom Day
today, it should be a moment to reflect on the fact that thousands of
journalism students graduate from different institutions countrywide every
year, but fail to find jobs in the industry because the media industry has
not grown over the years.

In fact, the media as originally structured is in decline due to the digital
revolution and social media explosion. Besides economic viability problems,
the media is also under political pressure.

The media is also currently battling for the right to self-regulate like
other professional disciplines, in the face of continued resistance from

Private media practitioners continue to face harassment and occasional
arrests under legislations such as Public Order and Security Act and Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, widely criticised as
“draconian”, although those in the state media are spared.

While applauding the draft constitution for explicitly guaranteeing media
freedom and freedom of expression, media experts say it appears like more of
a privilege than a fundamental right.

Vice-chairperson of the Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe Cris Chinaka was
quoted as saying: “The media industry has clearly and loudly said it wants
self-regulation. We want it to be explicit in the constitution, especially
coming from a period where we had repression of media practitioners.”

Some private media journalists and stakeholders say co-regulation is the way
forward since statutory and voluntary regulation have failed.

The stagnation of the media industry has forced many journalism graduates to
settle for other jobs unrelated to what they studied, such as teaching.
Brian Mangwende, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Editors’ Forum
(Zinef), urged the inclusive government to genuinely open up the airwaves
and expand
media space for more players to come on board thus creating employment.

“Although it must be noted that government has begun to play its part in
opening up media space, there is need to go a step further in order for the
industry to accommodate more players and many students being churned out by
our training institutions,” Mangwende said.

Mangwende said there is need for constant refresher courses to enable
journalists to keep up with professional trends.

Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (Zuj) secretary-general Foster Dongozi said to
improve employment prospects for journalists there was need to open up the

“Government needs to grant licences to more magazines, newspapers and
broadcasters to tackle this (unemployment) problem so that one day we can
celebrate World Press Freedom Day by taking stock of achievements in the
industry,” said Dongozi.

“More than 3 000 students of media studies and journalism graduate annually
from different institutions in the country,” said Dongozi. “Given an
opportunity, these students will bring valuable input to the industry which
is why there are journalists from Zimbabwe who are scattered all over the
world and doing well.”
Dongozi said there were also other problems in the media.

“Zuj has begun a campaign to ensure sexual harassment is addressed and dealt
with. We are in the process of carrying out a scientific survey to find out
the extent and effects of sexual harassment on female students and permanent
employees in order to tackle this problem,” he said.

Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe executive director Takura Zhangazha said
graduates are finding it difficult to secure employment because Zimbabwe’s
few media organisations cannot accommodate them due to limited resources.

“There are restrictive legal requirements to start up radio and television
stations and newspapers, therefore government should look into this in order
to grant the media a chance to diversify,” said Zhangazha.

He said the absence of investment and profound media reforms ensured
unemployment remains high in the industry.

The Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe has previously accused the
inclusive government of letting the media down by rushing to conclude other
national processes before implementation of key media reforms agreed to
under the Global Political Agreement. It said during the inclusive
government’s four-year tenure, insufficient attempts had been made to reform
media laws.

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New govt must deepen media reforms

May 6, 2013 in News

THE new government after general elections must implement further media
reforms to remove remaining undue restrictions on freedom of expression,
including press freedom, while promoting voluntary self-regulation among
players and opening up the broadcasting sector to allow independent actors.

Report by Wongai Zhangazha

This was said by the chairperson of the parliamentary portfolio committee on
Media, Information, Publicity, Communication and Technology, Settlement
Chikwinya, at a memorial lecture for renowned journalist Bornwell Chakaodza
in Harare yesterday as part of today’s World Press Freedom Day
commemorations under the theme “Safe to speak: Securing freedom of
expression in all media”.

Chikwinya told delegates from the Media Alliance of Zimbabwe whose members
include members of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists, Zimbabwe National
Editors’ Forum, Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe, Misa-Zimbabwe and
Voluntary Media Council, among others, as well as the Zimbabwe Media
Commission (ZMC)
representatives, transformation of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC) into a public broadcaster and a new law that allows democratic access
information were among the reforms the next government must adopt. He said
the new government after polls must review of media laws, promote
self-regulation, establish an independent broadcasting regulator, pass a
democratic access to information law, de-criminalise freedom of expression
by repealing criminal defamation laws and transforming ZBC into a true
public broadcaster. “No person shall be hindered in the enjoyment of freedom
of expression that is to say, freedom to hold opinions and to receive and
impart ideas and information without interference,” said Chikwinya.

ZMC commissioner Chris Mhike said:“With the flawed ‘democrats’ who
constitute Zimbabwe’s ruling class lacking the political will to afford
citizens optimum levels of freedom of expression, press freedom, the free
flow of information, healthy levels of access to information, and other
related rights, it remains to be seen if the gains made in the draft
constitution will really translate into a more free society; and a more free
Zimbabwean press.”

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Satanism closer than meets the eye

May 6, 2013 in Opinion

Congratulations to the Herald’s “Political Mondays” columnist, Amai Jukwa,
for publishing what everybody is thinking. “Mugabe must go,” she declared
this week.

Opinion by The MuckRaker

Indeed. That’s what the nation thinks. But this is the first time a Herald
columnist has been so bold as to give substance to wishful thinking.

There then followed a cowardly attack on those journalists and lawyers who
are perceived as MDC-T supporters. In particular Geoff Nyarota came in for a

“Has he written any insightful works on anything remotely interesting apart
from hysterically screaming the three magic words, ‘Mugabe must go’?” Amai
Jukwa wanted to know.

What we want to know is which Herald reporters have the same courage to
stand up to the regime as Nyarota has done over the years?
Not one. They see their role as apologists for the regime. They indulge
delinquent governance and praise the incompetent.

Sadly they see their role as more public relations than journalism. Part of
the nation’s decline can be attributed to their collaboration with the
regime. Amai Jukwa now becomes part and parcel of that malignant problem.

Squeak on behalf

Apostolic Christian Council of Zimbabwe president Johannes Ndanga, who
claims to speak and think on behalf of all apostolic sects in Zimbabwe, is
once again making a nuisance of himself.

Ndanga, ZBC reports, “reaffirmed the apostolic churches’ stance and support
for the revolutionary party”, it reported.

This is despite the apostolic sects’ repeatedly distancing themselves from
Ndanga’s utterances. In September we reported that Musavengana Tawa, leader
of the Zion Church in Masvingo, said Ndanga was chasing away members from
their congregations by supporting the “discredited” Zanu PF and giving the
impression the rest of the congregation supports the same party.

Ndanga now claims “leading” prophets from various indigenous apostolic sects
have predicted a resounding victory for President Robert Mugabe in the
forthcoming general elections.

“As prophets we would like to reveal the word that has been delivered to us
through the Spirit. We now know the winner of the next harmonised elections
and it is President Mugabe,” Ndanga declared.
Muckraker is keen to know why these “prophets” did not foresee Mugabe’s
defeat to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the March 29 2008 general

Magicians, charlatans

Curiously Ndanga himself was quoted by the Chronicle saying magicians and
Satanists are now hiding behind the name of the church to hoodwink people
into believing that they have the gift of prophecy and can perform miracles.

“Magicians have been with us for a long time, but the problem is that they
are now using God’s name to hoodwink people,” Ndanga observed.

“The problem of Satanism has reached unprecedented levels in the country and
as church leaders we have every reason to be worried.” Without a hint of
irony Ndanga added: “People are being duped every day into believing that
there are people with the gift of prophecy who can perform miracles.”

“The Bible is clear that during the last days we will see many people
claiming to be possessing so much power and claiming that they are God-sent,
yet they are out to cause mayhem,” Ndanga went on.
Amen to that!

More tales in offing

Last week we illustrated how government officials lied to the Herald,
telling the gullible newspaper how white farmers had failed to take up the
offer of land.

In fact, the CFU responded pointing out that over a thousand commercial
farmers had applied for land but not a single one received a reply.

Yet the Herald went ahead and published the government’s claim that no white
farmers had applied for land. Political deceit trumped the facts.

It would be useful to note what is going on here. It looks very much as if
people who are not journalists at all are feeding the state media with
dissembling stories that are then published as factual accounts. For
instance not a day goes past without an attack on Tsvangirai.

The public are led to believe every claim made about his plans and
movements. In fact much of the published material is fictional. As Justice
Ben Hlatshwayo declared in 2008 when ruling in a case involving Tendai Biti,
the charges against him made good bed-time reading.

Watch out for similar fantasies in the days ahead. Perhaps the worst
dimension in all this is the way in which the public media is being abused
for electoral ends. Some journalists don’t seem to mind being manipulated in
this way.
MDC-T versus 30

Muckraker has in the past drawn attention to Zanu PF front organisations
which are designed to counter genuine civics. The Zimbabwe Federation of
Trade Unions and Zimbabwe Development Party are good examples.

On Monday the Herald carried a picture of a gang of Zimbabwe Congress of
Students Unions (Zicosu) members paying a courtesy call on President Mugabe
at Zanu PF headquarters. They assured the president they were capable of
liberating the University of Zimbabwe which they claimed was still a
colonised space.

We would suggest they start with Zanu PF headquarters instead. That
desperately needs liberating! The building carries a sign saying “New Zanu
PF Headquarters”. It has been there over 20 years. On top it carries a motif
of a jongwe, a symbol that was changed in 1987 and despite Zapu’s best
efforts remains there.

Zicosu was set up to counter Zinasu. It was amusing seeing the seven
students trying to look important as Mugabe addressed them. He told them
Zanu PF stood for the youth of the country. The Zicusu students were a
“brave lot” he declared.

Other outfits masquerading as civil society organisations include Zimbabwe
Children of War Liberators Association, Zimbabwe Coffin Makers Association,
Zimbabwe Exhumers Association, Youth in Natural Resources Management,
Journalists for Empowerment, Destiny for Afrika Network, Zimbabwe
Revolutionary Volunteers Front, Federation of Civil Society Organisations,
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Justice, and Upfumi Kuvadiki. All formed for the single
purpose of standing against the MDC-T in forthcoming elections.

Let’s see how they do.

Error of omission

Still at the “New” Zanu PF headquarters, the Mail carried an interview with
the party’s administrator Arthur Chadzingwa. He came across as erudite and

His interviewer, Munyaradzi Huni omitted to mention Chadzingwa’s stint as a
diplomat in Algeria in 1983. This was a period when several Zapu officials
were deployed on the diplomatic front. George Kahari for instance went to
Germany and Don Mothobi to Japan.

Why are we never told these things? Muckraker would have asked Chadzingwa
for instance whether he was happy with his career in later years.
Bowled out

The recent visit by Malawian President Joyce Banda to Zimbabwe left her
“bowled over” by her host President Mugabe, the Sunday Mail claimed.

Banda’s Facebook fans, the newspaper claimed, appeared to be reading from
the same script as they “showered” praise on Mugabe.
However, the unflattering comments about Mugabe seemed to escape the Sunday
Mail’s notice.

“ … to me Mugabe is making more orphans out of the economy in his country.
Mugabe and his wife are a disgrace not to be emulated! (You) are wrong on
this one madam president! Sorry to say (that)?” said Shadrack Macouko.

Kunya Wycliffe Mwesigwa had this to say: “It is also possible that those
kids are orphans because of Mugabe’s greed. He is just cleaning (up) his own
mess but let him not create conditions that will render more children and
women homeless.”

“Madam president advise Mugabe to retire,” said Fredrick Omondi.
So much for being bowled over!

Finally Jesse Jackson has returned to Zimbabwe for more grandstanding.

In South Africa, in 1990, he asked Nelson Mandela’s handlers if he could
join the parade from Pollsmoor prison.
“No, certainly not,” came the reply.

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Chihuri should stop threatening journos

May 6, 2013 in Opinion

TODAY is World Press Freedom Day — a day we remember and honour journalists
who have been arrested or killed for just doing their job of reporting
fearlessly on events as and when they happen.

Editor’s Memo with Dingilizwe Ntuli

But it seems in Zimbabwe this special day is annually marked by official
threats to journalists who speak truth to power.

Last year, Information and Media minister Webster Shamu threatened
journalists at privately-owned media houses with a return to an era of
vicious repression if they persisted with an “anti-African and anti-Zimbabwe
frenzy”, whose meaning he did not clarify.

Nonetheless, Shamu has already been beaten at his own game by our bombastic
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri who this week threatened to
arrest journalists for writing stories about security forces.

He was reacting to the Zimbabwe Independent’s lead story last week in which
we exclusively reported that MDC-T defence and security secretary Giles
Mutsekwa was in talks with security service chiefs to initiate discussions
on power transfer after elections.

The story was not based on sources who declined to be named, but on an
exclusive confirmation on record by Mutsekwa.

While Chihuri reserves the right to express his opinion, it is the
threatening posture in which he responded that is disturbing.

Presidential spokesperson George Charamba also denied the story, but his
response was quite temperate despite its own pressures.

Chihuri must be reminded he has more serious issues to deal with rather than
threatening journalists.

Why threaten a journalist for quoting someone, and on record? If the claims
are false, he must prove Mutsekwa is lying, not threaten reporters.

Touts harass innocent passengers at kombi ranks on a daily basis, but
Chihuri seems to believe that this is too trivial for a cop of his rank to
comment on. We also constantly witness corruption and criminality by rogue
police officers.

For most of his 20-year tenure as Zimbabwe’s top cop, the police has had
little interest in fighting corruption. Instead, graft in the force is now a
major irritant for most law-abiding citizens.

While most professional police forces around the world investigate crimes
like corruption, kidnapping, theft, robbery, drug peddling and murder, these
are the very same crimes our police officers are not effectively dealing
with. Corruption is rampant in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).

In case his officers haven’t told him, kombi drivers and touts now refer to
the ZRP as Zimbavha Rinoba Pachena, which literally means a thief who steals
in broad daylight.

It is public knowledge that some police officers have set up elaborate
corrupt networks that extort bribes from motorists, street vendors and
drivers of commuter omnibus and pirate taxis. Some even allegedly demand
sexual favours from prostitutes and innocent women they round up every night
outside several night spots in the Avenues.

Some of the police officers also demand bribes from shopkeepers and people
who sell pirated products and stolen items. They have also been accused of
running vending stalls and hiring people to sell pirated products seized
from those who would have refused to pay bribes.

We have never heard the Commissioner-General declaring he will cleanse the
force of rogue cops or potentially corrupt elements.
Should we interpret his silence to mean he doesn’t care about this but
arresting journalists? We would want to challenge Chihuri to publicly
declare as the police chief that those police officers caught in corrupt
activities would suffer the consequences of the law.

Of course, we don’t expect him to accept our challenge because he has
presided over his officers’ dereliction of duty.

Chihuri’s men and women hardly investigate reports of political violence
where the perpetrators are Zanu PF supporters.

Against this background, Chihuri should be more concerned his force contains
corrupt elements instead of unnecessarily threatening journalists just for
doing their job.

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