by Own Correspondent Saturday 08 May 2010
JOHANNESBURG - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday said
the southern African country no longer poses a risk to investors as the
political crisis that destroyed the economy "no longer exists".
"The perceived risk on Zimbabwe does no longer exist . . . what country in
Africa is risk-free?" Tsvangirai said, during a joint address with Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara and President Robert Mugabe, who made a surprise
showing at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Dar es Salaam.
"Zimbabwe is ready to do business. If Africa's time has come for investment
then Zimbabwe cannot miss the boat. It must be part of that opportunity," he
Zimbabwe, still struggling to recover from a decade-long economic collapse
and a protracted political crisis that followed its disputed 2008 elections
pitting then opposition leader Tsvangirai against Mugabe, registered its
first positive economic growth in ten years last year.
The former rivals formed a power-sharing government last year which has won
plaudits for stabilising the country's economy and improving people's lives,
but the administration has been dogged by political squabbles over full
implementation of the power-sharing agreement.
"The political crisis . . . no longer exists. The country is making progress
and it is time investors started looking at Zimbabwe from a different
perspective," Tsvangirai said.
Mugabe also appealed for investment at Africa's biggest business meeting,
dismissing investor worries over new ownership laws meant to transfer
majority stake of foreign owned firms to black Zimbabweans and which have
strained the unity government.
"People have said it will drive away investment. We say it won't," said
Mugabe, adding; "Companies have been forthcoming . . . I don't think it's a
painful thing for them. Forty-nine percent is a lot."
Tsvangirai stressed that discussion was continuing on the empowerment law
and its application.
The former opposition supremo said he would not enter a coalition government
again, but that "it was "necessary" to work with Mugabe because the country
had to undergo a transition after the disputed elections.
But, he added: "I think it is a very painful exercise . . . It is painful in
so far as every day you are negotiating. Would I ever do this again? I don't
think so. I think it is a bad precedent. It would be unfortunate if the next
election is conducted in an atmosphere of violence, in an atmosphere of
undermining the mandate of the people."
Tsvangirai pulled out of the second round presidential run-off election in
2008 because of violence against his supporters, leaving Mugabe to claim
victory before the African Union and the Southern African Development
Community forced him to form a power-sharing government with Tsvangirai.
Deputy Premier Mutambara called for the complete lifting of Western
sanctions targeted against Mugabe and his inner circle.
"We are calling for the total, unequivocal removal of all sanctions," he
said, adding; "The intended target is the individual but the impact of the
sanctions is the entire economy. No lines of credit, no investors. The brand
of the country is damaged." - ZimOnline
DRC President Kabila dispatched special envoy for SADC affairs Leon Jean
Ilunga Ngandu to press President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and
Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara to conclude intra-governmental talks
Blessing Zulu | Washington 07 May 2010
President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo, currently
chairman of the Southern African Development Community, has dispatched an
envoy to Harare in what some see as an indication of growing regional
impatience with the stalled talks in the Zimbabwean national unity
Regional leaders at a November 5 summit in Mozambique gave the Zimbabwean
unity government negotiators and principals a month to sort out their
differences - but to date the power-sharing partners have not taken any
major strides towards resolving the so-called outstanding issues, which have
in fact multiplied.
Kabila dispatched special envoy for SADC affairs Leon Jean Ilunga Ngandu to
Harare to press President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to implement the 2008 Global
Political Agreement for power sharing in full.
Ngandu and DRC Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mawampanga Mwana Nanga met Thursday
with Finance Minister Tendai Biti, chief negotiator for the Movement for
Democratic Change formation headed by Mr. Tsvangirai, and Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa, senior negotiator for Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.
On Friday they met with Industry and Trade Minister Welshman Ncube, the
Mutambara MDC's chief negotiator.
Biti told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that he informed Ngandu
elections might be the only way forward if a talks deadlock is not broken.
He said the MDC is bitter that talks are dragging on with no solution in
But Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said such talk about elections is
mere posturing, as the country has many reforms to put in place before it
can propose to hold free and fair elections.
The three principals for their part are under intense pressure from South
African President Jacob Zuma, mediator in Zimbabwe on behalf of the Southern
African Development Community, to wrap up their discussions.
But they have continued to push off discussions while failing to implement
items that have been agreed.
Negotiators must still come to grips with the most divisive issues on the
agenda including the leadership of the Reserve Bank and the Office of the
Attorney general, and the swearing-in of promised MDC provincial governors.
Mr. Mugabe has been insisting that Mr Tsvangirai must aggressively campaign
for the lifting of Western sanctions imposed on him and some 200 members of
his inner circle before ZANU-PF will give ground.
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania - Does Africa need a new vision for development of
its agriculture industry? Whether the answer to the question is 'yes' or
'no', one should dig deep for explanation to make it convincing.
Agriculture, though an age-old industry of the continent, has been practised
in many regions to the present time in ways that cannot guarantee raised
productivity to meet the needs of Africa's bulging population.
Farming is a key component of African economies, providing up to 70 per cent
of employment in countries such as Tanzania but climate change may reduce
production by up to 25 per cent in the coming years " threatening both food
security and potential economic gains.
Then, how can stakeholders work together effectively to drive sustainable
growth in the agriculture sector and capture Africa's considerable
The just-ended 20th meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa,
held 5-7 May in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, tried to tackle the issue but
discussants did not make progress in view of the limited time they had.
'I don't think there is need for every country to have a new vision on
agriculture,' said Zimbabwe's Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara,
wondering wh at African countries have been doing over their long-time
In order to raise the industry's profile, Mutambara suggested that regional
economic blocs such as the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and
the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) should start working
on their respective regional vision so that agriculture takes prominence
both in the people's lives and the economy in general.
As Africa's population increases, the continent faces a more urgent need to
turn its agricultural policies into business outcomes, WEF participants
Explaining what held back agricultural development in Ethiopia while a
considerable part of his people survive on charity donations, Prime Minister
Meles Zenawi admitted that the persistent spectre of starvation in the
country was 'a dilemma.'
Ethiopia suffered a massive famine that in 1975 led to the overthrow of
Emperor Haile Selassie's regime and yet again another famine and drought
ravaged the co untry in 1984-85 under the dictatorial regime of Col.
Since coming to power after toppling Mengistu's regime in 1991, Meles said
his 'government has been able to provide food assistance to keep people who
cannot feed themselves alive, and to keep itself alive.'
Land ownership and availability is the most crucial factor in making
agriculture an engine of development throughout Africa. In Ethiopia land was
nationalised and distributed to tillers in 1985.
Land leases have not stopped farmers in Ethiopia from doubling food
production every decade, but malnutrition and food insecurity stalk the
population. 'Over the last 18 years we have added at least 30 million mouths
to feed. But we don't have to restrain ourselves when we procreate,' Meles
In the opinion of Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, host of this
year's WEF meeting, the biggest problem facing Africa's agriculture is
resource con straint.
WEF participants said farmers need help to process the food crops they grow
and know that those crops are nutritious so that they can consume them.
In addition, technology will make farming attractive to the youth who
account for 60 per cent of the African population but are not interested in
farming because it is a boring occupation.
Dar es Salaam - Pana 08/05/2010
By Anaclet Rwegayura PANA Correspondent
By Gerald Chateta
Published: May 8, 2010
Harare -The Zimbabwe Prison Services has banned food hand-outs from inmates'
relatives at Chikurubi Maximum Prison, in an attempt to curb trafficking by
prison officers, raising fears that the prison which recorded the highest
prison mortality in 2008 might once again experience the same thing as the
government is not yet capable of feeding the crowded prisons.
According to highly placed sources at the security maximum Prison on early
this week the Prison's Officer-In-Charge Assistant Commissioner Pambai
announced the development before placing notices at the prison notice
The sources say Assistant Commissioner Pambai was reacting to a recent
attempted prison escape by seven "D' class inmates led by Defence Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa 'linked' coup attempt Captain Albet Matapo last month.
Matapo after being tortured last month by the CIO revealed that he had drunk
some beer which were smuggled in prison by a prison officer who was
assisting him to escape.
"We understand this might be security measure on the part of the OIC but it
has a great impact on more than 1800 inmates who mostly rely on food
brought in by their relatives. At the moment the prison is not able to
provide even a single meal, as we are relying on Red Cross and other
donor s on food to feed the inmates," said the
"The officer-In-Charge is being arrogant and cruel he knows really
that inmates recently succumbed to pellagra because of malnutrition and he
is putting an embargo on prison food. If he was security conscious why
cant he request for more prison officers who are currently doing their (ZPS
Top officials) private jobs. The issue here is not that of banning food but
of human resources," added the source.
Secretary refuses to comment
Reached for comment Zimbabwe Prison Service spokesperson Chief Prison
Officer Priscilla Mtembo said she was not able to attend to telephone
"Fax your questions and then I will respond to them, do you have our fax
number? When are you going to fax your questions?," she said.
Over 720 male prisoners in between May 2008 and June 2009 succumbed to
severe hunger and treatable diseases at Harare's Chikurubi Maximum Security
The situation at that time was so dire that the inclusive government had to
appeal to charity organisations to come to the rescue of the prisoners with
food aid, clothing and drugs to prevent mass deaths at the country's largest
At least 721 prisoners died from diseases linked to serious food shortages
such as pellagra during that period. Pellagra is a deficiency disease caused
by a lack of vitamin B3 and proteins.
Prison officials also allowed inmates' relatives to bring them extra food to
supplement what the donors were bringing.
National Democratic Institute (Washington, DC)
7 May 2010
Two champions of democracy, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai of Zimbabwe and
the Network of Chocó Women of Colombia, will be honored at the 25th
anniversary celebration of the National Democratic Institute (NDI).
NDI Chairman Madeleine K. Albright will host the event, which begins at 7
p.m. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert St., NW.
The evening will also include the premiere of a film, "NDI's First Quarter
Century: Working for Democracy and Making Democracy Work," that highlights
the Institute's history of supporting the efforts of political parties,
civic groups, parliaments, elections and women's groups in more than 100
Other participants in the program include Lord John Alderdice, former
speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, and Alejandro Toledo, former
president of Peru.
Tsvangirai will receive the W. Averell Harriman Democracy Award for his
tireless efforts to restore democracy, human rights and the rule of law to
Zimbabwe. His commitment to peaceful political change has been unwavering
despite assassination attempts, imprisonment and harassment. The award also
recognizes the democratic aspirations of the Zimbabwean people. The Harriman
Award, created in 1986, is awarded to individuals and organizations that
have demonstrated a sustained commitment to democracy and human rights.
The Network of Chocó Women is an umbrella group representing 52 civil
society organizations from 18 municipalities in the primarily Afro-Colombian
region in the western part of Colombia. The region has the nation's highest
levels of poverty and illiteracy. The organization will receive a $25,000
grant to continue its work providing leadership training and advocacy for
women's rights. Nimia Teresa Vargas, co-founder of the group, will accept
NDI is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to
support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide by promoting
citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. More
information about the dinner and about NDI is available at www.ndi.org.
Harare, May 8, 2010 - Zimbabwe's music Ambassador and international icon,
Oliver Mtukudzi, is set to release an album for the National Healing process
in June, Radio VOP can reveal.
The announcement was made by the Minister in the Prime Minister's Office who
is also a member of the Organ on National Healing and Reconciliation,
Senator Sekai Holland.
"Oliver and our Organ are working on an album for the national healing
cause," Senator Holand said. "We have already finalised the wording for the
album and are only waiting for a few logistical issues to be sorted out."
She did not say how many songs were on the album.
Holland said Mtukudzi had agreed to do this project for the national cause
and for free.
At the just concluded conference on women and their ideas for the new
constitution Mtukudzi sang two songs from the new album and had the women
dancing at the Harare International Conference Centre (HICC).
Mtukudzi was appointed a music Ambassador for Zimbabwe because of his
numerous works as well as his popularity both locally and abroad.
The star has won several local and international awards.
Banking sources said the FBC and CBZ building societies are now making loans
from US$5,000 to US$100,000 to customers - on condition they earn at least
US$1, 000 a month, ruling out many would-be homeowners
Gibbs Dube | Washington 07 May 2010
Zimbabwean building societies or savings and loan institutions have resumed
making mortgage loans for the purchase of houses and building plots years
after such loans were discontinued due to accelerating inflation.
Banking sources said the FBC and CBZ building societies are now making loans
from US$5,000 to US$100,000 to customers - on condition they earn at least
US$1, 000 a month. This rules out many would-be borrowers given that most
Zimbabweans are making no more than US$200 a month as the battered economy
attempts to rally.
Harare economist John Robertson told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that
such loans are also too expensive for many Zimbabweans because of the steep
14 percent interest rate demanded by lenders.
Consequently, Robertson said, beneficiaries tend to be Zimbabweans who are
fairly well off.
Written by Taurai Bande
Friday, 07 May 2010 11:01
HARARE - MDC councillor for Marondera East ward 19, Samuel Machekanyanga,
(Pictured) whose business empire was looted and set on fire by Zanu (PF)
thugs in June 2008, is struggling to revive his grocery shop and farming
Machekanyanga, 34, was an upcoming entrepreneur then, before one fateful
night when rogue Zanu (PF) militia brutally assaulted him and set his
business premises on fire for supporting MDC. Machekanyanga narrated his
“I had just won elections for ward councillor by 300 votes against a Zanu
(PF) candidate’s 20. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had garnered 85 per
cent of the presidential vote against President Robert Mugabe of Zanu (PF).
This shocked and angered Zanu (PF) supporters who later hunted me down.
“In the night of June 19, 2008, a truck load of over 100 Zanu (PF) militia,
descended on my shop at Masikana Business Centre. They assaulted me and left
me for dead. Six of my colleagues were also brutally attacked. I sustained
multiple fractures on my left arm. My hands were crushed with metal objects,
apparently to disable me into failing to raise an open palm symbolizing the
MDC logo. The same applied to my colleagues who sustained bodily fractures.
My shop was looted before part of it was put on fire.
“The thugs proceeded to my homestead and set fire to my house, granary,
tobacco barn and kraals holding livestock. Cattle, goats and chickens were
burnt to ashes. Innocent animals perished in a painful and gruesome act of
“My wife and children miraculously escaped the Zanu (PF) madness. The thugs
set MDC campaign posters on fire, but given the quality and huge quantities
of the consignment, the posters could not catch fire. This strengthened my
resolve for political change, as Tsvangirai’s posters had shown defiance
against destruction at the hands of Zanu (PF). I later went around pasting
the more than 2 000 posters on trees and buildings, to spread MDC gospel
despite the hardships.
“We were ferried by sympathizers, Diamond Tenifara and Boniface Tagwirei,
for medical treatment in Harare. After being plastered, I returned to my
homestead to defend my wife who would have been abused by the militia.
“Before the attack, I suffered several beatings at the hands of soldiers led
by Major Kajesa. On three occasions they beat me up at Dhirihori Business
Centre, after they had failed to abduct me in broad day light. On one
occasion, they attempted and failed to undress me at the centre to embarrass
me as an MDC official. They managed to seize my party T-Shirt with
Tsvangirai’s picture printed in the front. They had earlier banned me from
setting foot in the shops as I was ‘bad influence’ to other villagers. Some
14 armed soldiers clad in new uniforms made an attempt to abduct me at my
homestead, but I fled to safety. I later returned to urge on colleagues to
sustain the struggle for democracy.
“Though the political atmosphere is relatively calm, I am finding it
difficult to revive my livelihood given prevailing economic challenges.
Refurbishing and stocking-up my shop needs donor assistance. The task is too
over-whelming for me.
“I jumped on the tide of democratic change after taking part in several ZCTU
organized mass stay-aways. Utterances by Mugabe that it was going to take
the most resistant of men to stay behind in urban areas as the going was to
be tough, did not put me off. I felt insulted and resolved to join the fight
against tyranny. I joined MDC structures and never looked back.
“As the people’s councillor, I will do my best to develop my ward and
improve the welfare of the people,” said the councillor.
BABOONS are said to be making monkeys out of the nature conservation
officials sent to prevent them stealing from people at the Beitbridge border
"I heard that the baboons recently broke in and stole from the tents of the
nature conservation staff that had been deployed there to deal with them,"
South African MP Joe McGluwa said on Thursday.
McGluwa said a troop of about 200 baboons was responsible for "stealing from
and terrorising pedestrians, motorists, truckers and customs officials" at
the post, the main crossing point between Zimbabwe and South Africa.
"These baboons have now become experts at opening people's bags and stealing
food from visitors," he said.
The MP said no effective action was being taken to stop the troop's
behaviour, despite repeated calls for action, adding the baboons' raid on
the nature officials' tents was "a clear sign of the absolute incompetence
that has been shown by the government in dealing with this matter".
In a parliamentary question earlier this year, McGluwa called on
Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica to say what steps her
department would take to "remove and rehabilitate the baboons before the
2010 Soccer World Cup tournament".
In a later reply, the minister said the matter had been referred to the
Limpopo department of economic development, environment and tourism. SAPA
Accra, May 7, GNA- The Government would offer all the necessary support to
Zimbabwe to politically stabilize for economic prosperity and freedom to all
its citizens, Vice President John Dramani Mahama has pledged. "Ghana as the
first country in sub-saharan Africa to gain independence from our colonial
masters also offered assistance to other African countries including
Zimbabwe and in the same vain we shall do our best to ensure that Zimbabwe
regained the political image that she created for herself in the past
Vice President Mahama made this pledge when a 13-member women empowerment
group from Zimbabwe paid him a courtesy call in his office as part of their
week-long official visit to Ghana. The women who also visited Makola Market,
GRATIS FOUNDATION and Parliament are in the country to learn and adopt some
of the women empowerment programmes that Ghana had pursued over the years.
They are also to understudy Ghana's Parliament, the role of women in the
socio-economic development of the country and how such policies could be
replicated in their country on their return. The Vice President told the
delegation that government had over the years designed various loan schemes
for women because of their loyalty in repayment, thereby making loan
recovery among them easier than their men counterparts.
"While men sometimes commit some of their loans to the payments of school
fees of relatives among other issues, women are always meticulous and ready
to pay back all their loans on time."
He called on politicians in Zimbabwe to tolerate each other for the
stability and peace of the country and shelve their political colours from
issues that could unite them with inherent development and prosperity. Madam
Thokozani Khupe, a Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe and leader of the
delegation, said they were satisfied with the manner in which Banks and
other financial institutions were willingly releasing loans to women to
undertake income generating activities and on their arrival would impress
upon those institutions in their country to support women programmes. She
stated that Ghana was one of the best in the African continent, not because
of her democratic credentials, but because of the economic stability it had
gained over the years and promised to encourage other sectors in the country
to visit Ghana to study programmes for their development in Zimbabwe.
Also at the Castle on Friday were Actors and Actresses who presented their
trophies they won recently at the recently held Movie Academy Awards in
Nigeria to him at his office.
Miss Judith Kuwornu, leader of the delegation, said Ghana won a total of
eight awards, six at the category level and two other special awards and
called for support to enable them to win more laurels in the coming years.
The Vice President said under the Private Sector Development phase II
programme of government, Creative Industry would be given special attention
to adequately cater for the artistes and create numerous jobs for people to
unearth their talents. 07 May 10
Dear Family and Friends,
On a weekend morning I counted the vehicles that were heading towards
Zimbabwe's prime tourist area in the magnificent Eastern Highlands
mountains. The 80 kilometre journey took an hour in what is known as
Zimbabwe's champagne month where the approach of winter brings a
bright and clear blue sky, thick, shining dew, warm sun and a whisper
breeze. What I saw tells the story of Zimbabwe's tourist industry
after 10 years of political mayhem and economic collapse:
3 ox drawn carts, 7 wheelbarrows, 3 bicycles, 2 rural buses, 4
private cars, 4 pick up trucks, 1 army truck, 3 commuter mini buses, 2
big double cabs whose number plates advertise their role here: 'FAO'
and 'WFP.' (Food and Agriculture Organisation and World Food
That was all the traffic there was heading to a place of towering
trees, massive kopjes and rugged hills where the granite slopes are
papered with orange and green lichen and silver trails of seeping
water run down rock faces, glistening in the sun. A place of rivers
and streams and magnificent waterfalls where the water is crystal
clear and icy cold and always running. On almost every horizon blue
mountains beckon you nearer and always in your ears is the hissing and
whispering of wind through pine forests.
Mimosa trees a mass of bright yellow flowers; aloes ablaze with
orange, pink and red flowers; 'shiny everlastings' rearing out of the
most unlikely slopes and rock sides, covered in golden flowers and
everywhere the bees are collecting pollen, making the most of the
bounty before winter. Apples straight from the trees, potatoes newly
dug and King Proteas the size of dinner plates: pink, creamy white and
with hints of orange giving a beauty almost beyond description.
In such spectacular surroundings in the clean mountain air there are
Inns, Lodges, Chalets, Cabins, Hotels and even a casino but the car
parks are deserted and the resorts barely surviving. Where is
everyone, you keep wondering.
Zimbabwe is on the mend, the politicians keep telling us but the
situation on the ground demonstrates the truth of the matter. Until we
get real democracy and freedom back in Zimbabwe and until fear is gone
- really gone - our beautiful places remain all but empty and our
tourist industry stays teetering on the edge. Until next time, thanks
for reading, love cathy. � Copyright cathy buckle 8 May 2010.