THREE human rights activists detained earlier this week in a fresh crackdown
on non-governmental organisations were on Thursday charged for defacing a
wall with political graffiti and granted bail.
Fidelis Mudimu, a manager with the Counselling Services Unit was arrested
along with two senior staffers on Monday in a police raid on the
organisation's offices in the capital Harare.
The Counselling Services Unit offers medical and psychological assistance to
victims of organised violence.
"They appeared before the magistrate's court in Bulawayo and were granted
$100 bail each," Kumbirai Mafunda, spokesman for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, told AFP.
"The state alleged that on October 7 this year, they went to an office in
Bulawayo and inscribed slogans on a wall and billboard in support of the
Movement for Democratic Change party."
The Movement for Democratic Change is led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, a partner of veteran President Robert Mugabe in a shaky
Mafunda said the three detained staffers complained in court about their
lengthy detention and said they were ill-treated while in police cells.
Authorities in Zimbabwe have in the past threatened to revoke registration
for NGOs deemed to be opposed to Mugabe's policies.
In the latest raid the police said they were searching for "material that
defaces any house, building, wall, fence, lamp post, gate, elevator without
the consent of the owner or occupier thereof."
They seized a computer and some documents from the organisation's offices.
Amnesty International said the trio were arrested "arbitrarily" and were
illegally transferred to second city Bulawayo.
The arrests were also criticised by the US embassy which said in a
statement: “CSU is a lawfully registered medical clinic providing
non-partisan counselling and referral services to all victims of trauma.
“This search represents the latest incident in a worrying trend of deploying
elements of state security sector institutions to threaten and intimidate
political activists and those who provide support to victims of such
intimidation and abuse.
In addition to the arrests and subsequent transport of the three CSU
employees to Bulawayo, the United States is concerned about the disruption
of medical services to victims of trauma that occurred during the search of
CSU premises and the illegal access to confidential patient medical records.
“Patient record confidentiality is a critical part of medical services and
should be respected through strict adherence to the law.”
The embassy said the country’s security services should heed calls by
political leaders for an end to violence as the country looks to fresh
elections next year.
“In the lead up to national elections, the United States looks to the
government of Zimbabwe to ensure that all security sector leaders and groups
strictly follow President Robert Mugabe’s call for non-violence; and that
they also follow a policy of non-interference in democratic processes,
including no harassment, intimidation, or hints of retribution,” the embassy
Bulawayo, November 09, 2012- The Zimbabwe's embattled civil society groups
were Thursday due to confront Police Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri
to demand for the release of the three employees of the Counselling Services
Unit (CSU) who were arrested for allegedly possessing "offensive and
Magistrate Learnmore Mapiye on Thursday ended the four-day detention ordeal
for the three, Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi, and Tafadzwa Geza arrested on
Monday after police raided their offices.
The three representatives, who were transferred from the capital city Harare
to the second largest city of Bulawayo, were however, charged for causing
malicious damage to property, in contravention of Section 140 of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, four days after their arrest on
James Zidzimu and Penn Bruno arrested together with the three were later
released on Monday evening.
Watson Ofumeli, a photographer with the Daily News was also arrested while
covering the police raid of the CSU offices. Ofumeli was taken to Harare
Central Police station where he was briefly detained and only released after
being forced to delete the pictures that he had taken.
Police claimed that the CSU was in possession of material that “defaces any
house, building, wall, fence, lamp post, gate, elevator without the consent
of the owner or occupier thereof,” in contravention of Section 46 of the
Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act.
According to State prosecutor Marlvin Nzombe, the three CSU representatives
together with some unidentified individuals smeared some MDC graffiti on an
information centre located in Mpopoma high density suburb in Bulawayo 07
October 2012.The State claimed that the CSU senior staff members inscribed
the words “MDC” and “MDC Chinja Ndizvo” on a bill board and on a durawall
surrounding the information centre.
Mapiye granted the employees a bail of $100 each after they appeared at
Bulawayo’s Tredgold Magistrates Court on Thursday afternoon.
As part of their bail conditions, Mapiye ordered the three to surrender
their passports to the Clerk at Harare Magistrates Courts and to report once
every week on Mondays to CID Law and Order section at Harare Central Police
The lawyers, who represented the three CSU senior officers, registered their
complaints against the inhuman and degrading treatment that their clients
were subjected to including over detention, being shackled while being moved
from Kwekwe to Bulawayo, denial to wear spectacles while in Bulawayo police
cells and the raiding of the CSU offices on the strength of a defective
The lawyers included Dr Tarisai Mutangi, Godfrey Nyoni, Blessing Gorejena,
Lizwe Jamela, Jeremiah Mutongi Bamu and Nosimilo Chanayiwa, who are all ZLHR
“We are going to be meeting the Commissioner General today to complain
heavily,” said National Association of Non Governmental Organisations
(NANGO) executive director Cephas Zinhumwe.
“The positive thing is to meet and record our complaints with him. We might
or we might not get a positive response. The positive response for us is to
have our members occupy their social and operational space by being able to
work,” he told Radio VOP.
Zinhumwe accused the police of going against President Mugabe’s continued
calls for a stop in violence and other violations.
The civic groups also vowed to lodge their complaints with President Mugabe
and Prime Minister Tsvangirai if Chihuri ignores their pleas. They also
demanded MDC politicians to come clear on where they stand while NGOs were
“The removal of the three staff to Bulawayo after exceeding the required
time for a court appearance and the further detention order with no defined
charges or substantive evidence of illegal activities constitutes serious
and illegal harassment,” read the press statement that was delivered by
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum executive director Abel Chikomo.
Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe Chapter has also complained of a
renewed police harassment of journalists as talk of elections escalates.
This week a Weekly Mirror Editor, Dennis Kagonye, was on Wednesday fined
$100 for operating a mass media service without a licence in contravention
of Section 72 of the draconian Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Kagonye, who had been arrested on Tuesday, was slapped with a further
suspended sentence of six months imprisonment on condition he does not
commit a similar offence within the next five years.
Prominent media lawyer, Alec Muchedehama castigated the arrest of Ofumeli,
noting that laws in Zimbabwe were not friendly to the practice of journalism
or the free flow of information.”
Drop Charges Against Staff of Torture Victims’ Center
NOVEMBER 9, 2012
(Johannesburg) – The Zimbabwe government’s raid on a civil society group
raises fears of a broader crackdown on perceived opposition activists ahead
of elections due in 2013, Human Rights Watch said today.
On November 5, 2012, a dozen uniformed and plain-clothes police officers
with a search warrant raided the Harare office of the Counseling Services
Unit (CSU), which provides medical and psychological care for victims of
political violence and torture. Before they entered, armed riot police
surrounded the office and threatened to fire tear gas into the building,
which contained other tenants. The police arrested five of the group’s
employees and confiscated confidential medical records, including by
removing a computer.
“The police raid on a torture victims’ center sends a chilling message to
Zimbabwean civil society ahead of next year’s elections,” said Daniel
Bekele, Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “If a medical group is at
risk, then everyone is.”
Patients at the office at the time were unable to receive treatment.
The warrant produced by the police indicated a search for material that
“defaces any house, building, wall, fence, lamppost, gate, elevator without
the consent of the owner or occupier thereof,” in violation of section 46 of
the criminal code.
Two of the arrested employees, James Zidzimu and Penn Bruno, were taken to
Harare Central Police Station and soon released. On November 7, the
remaining three, Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi, and Tafadzwa Gesa, were
transferred to Bulawayo Police Station and the following day charged under
section 46. A magistrate granted them US$100 bail each and ordered them to
surrender their passports and to report once a week at Harare Central Police
State security forces aligned with the former ruling party ZANU-PF have
conducted many raids in the past year against nongovernmental organizations,
including CSU, the counseling service. Several human rights activists have
been arrested in the process.
In August, police twice raided the offices of the Gays and Lesbians of
Zimbabwe. During a raid on August 11, police briefly detained 44 members of
the group, assaulting them with batons, slaps and punches.
Police have also repeatedly harassed Abel Chikomo, director of the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum. Chikomo was arrested and released on bail in 2011
after being charged with running an unregistered organization. He was
summoned to stand trial on July 3, 2012. The government withdrew the summons
on July 25 but reiterated its intention to summon him again at a future
date. Despite the withdrawal of the summons, police have continued to visit
the offices of the NGO Forum and harass Chikomo.
Zimbabwe is due to hold a referendum on a new constitution and elections in
2013. The Global Political Agreement that established the current
power-sharing government in 2009 requires Zimbabwe to undertake a series of
legislative and other reforms before it holds new elections. The Southern
African Development Community (SADC) appointed the government of South
Africa to help facilitate the constitutional process and pave the way for
Human Rights Watch has repeatedly expressed concern at the slow pace of
human rights reforms in Zimbabwe, including only minimal changes to
repressive laws, a lack of security sector reform, and ongoing repression of
civic and political activity.
“Civil society organizations are a crucial component of next year’s
elections in Zimbabwe,” Bekele said. “African governments involved in the
reform effort need to strongly condemn government actions against these
Blessing Zulu, Gibbs Dube
Tourism officials are blaming President Robert Mugabe’s insistence that the
country hold elections next year for the slow pace of development in
Victoria Falls, which is scheduled to jointly host the United Nations
Tourism Conference next year with Zambia’s Livingstone border town.
Government sources told VOA that donors are wary of the political
uncertainties and the controversial economic empowerment policies in the
country, so have not fulfilled commitments to build and refurbish the town’s
The Daily News quoted Douglas Mavhembu, acting director International
Tourism saying they have appealed to Finance Minister Tendai Biti to unveil
a $100 million fund to assist developers.
But Biti, who has struggled to balance the budget, said he is not aware of
the latest request noting that he only talked to Tourism Minister Walter
Mzembi during budget consultation meetings.
Victoria Falls mayor Nkosinathi Jiyane said the United Nations has sent a
technical team to assess the situation.
Chief economist Prosper Chitambara of the Labor and Economic Development
Research Institute of Zimbabwe said asking money from Biti at this time is a
sign of desperation.
Meanwhile, the Victoria Falls mayor said he has not been invited to the
inaugural Zimbabwe Diamond Conference starting Monday which will be attended
by almost 5,000 delegates, including diamond industry leaders from around
Jiyane said the Ministry of Mines and the Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation have not even contacted him to say that they are hosting the
conference in his backyard.
Jiyane said it is unfair that he is being left out of the conference.
Abbey Chikane, the Kimberley Certification Process monitor for Zimbabwe,
will officially open the conference, which is expected to shed some light on
diamond mining activities in the country.
Some non-governmental organizations have accused Zimbabwe of failing to
account for diamond proceeds worth millions of dollars mined in Chiadzwa,
November 08, 2012
LONDON — A lack of transparency in the sale of diamonds remains a major
problem in Zimbabwe and activists fear diamond revenues may be used to fund
the campaign of President Robert Mugabe's party in an election due to take
place early next year.
In 2009 an international ban was imposed on the sale of Zimbabwe’s diamonds.
That came as a result of allegations that some mines were controlled by the
military and that funds were diverted to Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
Last year that decision was reversed and a diamond watchdog body, the
Kimberley Process, gave Zimbabwe the green light to sell its diamonds on the
Troubling issues linger
Farai Maguwu, director of the Centre for Natural Resource Governance in
eastern Zimbabwe, said major problems remain unsolved.
Most importantly, he said, it’s unclear where revenue from the sale of
diamonds is ending up.
“On the issue of revenue transparency nothing has changed. I think the
conditions are getting even worse and worse," said Maguwu. "We have the
minister of finance on record saying he is not getting much of the diamond
revenues in the treasury, which means individuals and other groups of people
are profiting from the diamonds at the expense of the nation.”
In July, Finance Minister Tendai Biti slashed Zimbabwe’s 2012 budget, saying
funds from diamond mines had failed to bolster the treasury.
National security questions
The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation said it expects to earn $150
million from the sale of diamonds this year, rather than the $600 million
predicted. That's a 75 percent shortfall.
The low profits, it said, are a result of international sanctions,
especially from the United States.
Maguwu said the military continues to play a leading role in Zimbabwe’s
mining industry and that, he said, raises serious questions about national
“There are quite a number of security officials who are involved in diamond
mining," he said. "Some of them are on the boards of the diamond mining
companies and when you have got individuals becoming richer than the state
and you have the military abdicating from their role of providing national
security to get involved in commercial activities - that is a recipe for
political instability in the country.”
A major diamond conference is due to take place in Zimbabwe’s Victoria Falls
later this month.
Maguwu said the decision to bring Zimbabwe back into the Kimberley Process
should be assessed, looking at whether the situation in Zimbabwe has
improved since the ban was lifted.
Meanwhile, Mugabe has called for elections to take place in March.
Human Rights Watch Africa Advocacy Director Tiseke Kasambala said she is
concerned that diamond revenue is likely to fund violence ahead of the
“The conditions on the ground are not conducive to the holding of free and
fair elections in Zimbabwe," said Kasambala. "The military retains control
of Marange diamond revenue and this is the same military that was involved
in widespread abuses in 2008 and was not held accountable for those abuses.”
The 2008 elections were marred by violence, most of it by ZANU-PF supporters
against the opposition MDC party.
Months of political turmoil followed the elections - the end result was that
Mugabe agreed to form a power-sharing deal with the MDC party, led by Morgan
Tsvangirai. Mugabe has said he wants elections in order to end that
arrangement. The MDC has said elections hinge on passage of a new
Friday, 09 November 2012 10:23
HARARE - Zimbabwe's reputation is at stake as rival political parties draw
battle lines over a controversial new constitution, with President Mugabe’s
Zanu PF insisting on wide-ranging changes to the draft at its Wednesday
With a boisterous, divisive campaign now under way for a referendum on the
draft constitution, Zimbabwe risks failing a critical test of its political
That, in turn, could mar its status as a country recovering from political
chaos and dictatorship.
Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku noted that coalition government
principals were bent on hijacking the constitution-making process and
inserting watered-down political provisions to suit their agendas.
“The whole exercise is a recipe for anarchy,” he said, denouncing a process
which he says is not people-driven. Protests against attempts by Zanu PF to
revise the Copac draft so that it retains near-absolute presidential powers
has sparked angry denunciations by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
leader of the smaller MDC Welshman Ncube.
They have since been joined by equally vehement but unrelated opposition
from women groups.
Zanu PF’s politburo received a report from Copac co-chairperson Paul
Mangwana on Wednesday on the just-ended Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference.
Mangwana said the Copac draft will be revised by the management committee
and the Principals, to incorporate suggestions from the conference.
“It has been well received, they understood it, I explained the structure of
the report that it contains what took place during the (Second
All-Stakeholders) conference in the first section,” Mangwana said after the
“The second section contains clauses which were not changed by the
conference. The third section contains clauses for improvements which were
suggested by delegates which happened to have been agrees to by the
delegates; those will obviously be factored into the draft as amendments.
“The fourth one contains issues which were raised by delegates but which
were contested, which were disagreed, those we have juxtaposed them with the
justifications identified by the delegates as they were making
contributions. And this is the area that shall be the main focus obviously
of the management committee and possibly the Principals.”
Civil society groups had said Zanu PF had coached its delegates ahead of the
conference, and the issues raised will now be incorporated into the draft by
Mangwana confirmed Mugabe’s plan to take over the constitution-making
process from Copac and negotiate the amendments they want as Principals.
Thus, Prime Minister Tsvangirai, who is leading the charge for a “yes” vote
in the referendum, faces not only a hard-line political foe but a “no”
campaign led by Zanu PF and powerful Christian leaders appalled by the
constitution’s recognition of gay marriages.
“What happens next will test the political stamina and maturity of
Zimbabweans,” said George Hukuimwe of opposition Mavambo, Kusile, Dawn.
“They (Principals) have no mandate whatsoever to finalise the country’s
constitution. Mugabe should not usurp the powers and responsibilities of
both Parliament and the people of Zimbabwe.”
The stakes for Tsvangirai himself, whose party won the 2008 elections on a
reformist platform and a pledge to overhaul the “imperial presidency” abused
by his coalition partner Mugabe, are also high.
Public discontent over revisions to an initial draft that had ceded many
executive powers to Parliament is expected to explode if Zanu PF has its
Mugabe’s party insists that the first draft, issued by Copac on July 18,
2012, must be amended after vocal complaints from the politburo.
Madhuku, one of the few civil rights campaigners who led protests against
the 19-times amended Lancaster House 1979 Constitution that was negotiated
with Britain, said that there will have to be consensus among the three
parties; otherwise there will be no referendum at all.
“It is dangerous for a government to overturn the will of the people,” he
said. Perhaps more problematic to Mugabe than the political opposition is
the fervour of the antagonism from the leadership of the smaller MDC led by
Ncube which insists that without devolution of power, they will not accede
to any constitution at all.
Friday, 09 November 2012 10:21
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF has rejected demands by the MDC
parties to reduce the age of eligibility of presidential candidates from 40
to 35 years, and wants sweeping presidential powers reinstated in the new
According to an official report of the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference
that will be used to make further amendments to the draft constitution, Zanu
PF has rejected proposals in the draft to have a president who is wholly
accountable to Parliament, stating that executive authority vests in the
head of state.
“President has powers because is directly elected by people and cannot be
checked by appointees,” Zanu PF says in its justification in the Copac
In the old Lancaster House Constitution, the head of state had wide powers
and could rule for an unlimited number of terms.
However, Zanu PF wants Copac to preserve a change introduced in the draft
that caps the number of terms any president can serve at two.
A new constitution is a major component of a transition from military-backed
autocracy to a democratic system of government that Zimbabweans hope will
create conditions for a free and fair ballot after disputed and
violence-marred elections in 2008.
Yet its drafting has been marred by bickering between Zanu PF and its
coalition partners over plans to dilute pharaonic presidential powers that
underpinned three decades of one-man rule.
The debate at the Second All-Stakeholders Conference touched on the pith of
presidential powers, expanding the rights of women, devolution and freedom
Many important questions were left unanswered in the partial draft which the
drafting assembly released on July 18, 2012 for public debate at the
stakeholders conference. Zanu PF wants the draft constitution to clearly
state that the president has a duty to “preserve values of liberation
struggle as reflected in the national report in Founding Principles and
While the two MDCs want the President to submit resignation to Parliament
not to the Chief Justice as is the case now, Zanu PF wants this preserved.
All parties agree that the President shall be sworn in by the Chief Justice.
Zanu PF, according to the constitutional conference report, wants a clause
in the draft constitution requiring that presidential candidates must have
running mates to be thrown out, even though the provision was brought by the
Section 5.5 (2) of the Copac draft Constitution says: “Every candidate for
election as President must nominate two persons to stand for election
jointly with him or her as his or her vice presidents, and must designate
one of those persons as his or her candidate for first vice president and
the other as his or her candidate for second vice president.”
Zanu PF insists on retaining two vice presidents, a suggestion rejected by
the two MDCs.
Members of the Copac management committee, which has been handed the
conference report, have until December to finish their work, meaning there
is likely more debate to come. After reaching consensus on the draft, all
the articles must then be approved by Parliament.
The constitution will then be put to a popular referendum, after which
Zimbabweans are due to head to the polls again to elect a new Parliament and
By Tichaona Sibanda
09 November 2012
Ten councillors representing the MDC-N in the Umzingwane rural district
council have defected to the MDC-T, after becoming disillusioned with their
leader and the direction the party was taking.
Eight of the councillors held a press conference at the MDC-T offices in
Bulawayo where they announced their decision. Prior to their defection the
MDC-N councillors were the majority in the district council.
Out of 18 councillors 11 were from the Welshman Ncube led party while the
remaining seven are from ZANU PF.
Only one councilor, Kenneth Sibanda of ward 10, did not cross the floor. The
MDC-T did not win any council seats in the area during the harmonized 2008
elections, meaning that the defections have effectively given the MDC-T
control of the council.
Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC-T’s deputy national organising secretary, said he
was pleased to be able to welcome the councillors to their party. Our
Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us the councillors accused
party leader Welshman Ncube of putting more emphasis on divisions than
uniting the party.
‘They had five points that they raised during the press briefing. The first
was Ncube’s propensity to fuel more divisions and the second item was the
party’s decision to back Simba Makoni in the 2008 presidential. This denied
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai a clear majority to wrestle power from
Robert Mugabe. They said this was a wrong strategy,’ Saungweme said.
The third point the councillors raised was that they were tired of the split
and wanted to go back to what they described as ‘the party of the people,’
‘On the fourth point they accused the leadership of the party of not having
the people at heart and the last point was that voters do not want the MDC-N
anymore,’ Saungweme said.
Our correspondent said the councillors explained that this has been a tough
decision and there’s been a lot of agonising over many months.
‘They said like more and more people from the Matabeleland region, they’ve
lost confidence in the MDC formation and they had got sick and tired of
giving the leadership the benefit of the doubt,’ he said.
By Tichaona Sibanda
09 November 2012
An MDC-T councillor has been dismissed from the Umguza rural district
council, for blowing the lid off large scale corruption in the local
government authority. He has vowed to contest the dismissal.
Councillor Mxolisi Ndlovu exposed a corruption scandal involving $1.6
million tendered to a non-existent company, to construct a 12km stretch of
road in Umguza.
But on Thursday he was shocked to receive a letter of dismissal from Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo.
Chombo’s letter, dated 22nd October 2012 reads: ‘I hearby advise you that
you’ve been found guilty of dismissible offenses and I’m thus in terms of
section 157/4 of the rural district council Act (29) dismiss you from being
a councillor of Umguza rural district council with immediate effect.’
Ndlovu told SW Radio Africa on Friday he was at a loss for words to explain
the dismissal, apart from saying it is ‘a joke of the century.’ The
councillor, the only one from the MDC-T in Umguza out of 18, believes he’s
paying a heavy penalty for whistle blowing.
‘I exposed the scandal with good intentions, to get rid of the rot in the
council but I’m surprised I’m now on the receiving end. What will people in
the district say about us? They will obviously believe we are protecting
corrupt council officials. What a shame,’ Ndlovu said.
The scandal involved the chief executive officer of the council, Collen
Moyo, who corruptly awarded a tender for $1.6 million to a non-existent
company to rehabilitate Ilitshe road, a 12km stretch that connects Victoria
Falls to Nkayi in Matabeleland North.
Ndlovu said he became suspicious of the project when he realized that
council manpower, including personnel and equipment, were being used to
construct the road, when a tender had been ‘purportedly’ awarded to a
‘It became obvious that something was amiss when council workers and graders
were being used for the project. So when I made noise about it Moyo was
arrested by the police last month,’ Ndlovu added.
The Umguza CEO was released on $1,000 bail after spending more than a week
in custody. He was given stringent bail conditions but to Ndlovu’s surprise,
he is back at work where he believes he is tampering with evidence.
‘I couldn’t believe it when I heard he is back at work when his case is
still pending with the courts. He hasn’t been exonerated yet, so what is he
doing at the council offices. That man should only be allowed near the
offices when he is cleared by the courts,’ Ndlovu explained.
The rural district council is chaired by Sikhanyisiwe Mpofu, wife to ZANU PF
MP for the constituency Obert Mpofu, who is also the Mines Minister.
At least three traditional chiefs have grabbed sugar cane farms here,
arguing that as leaders of the Shangaani community they did not benefit from
the chaotic land reform programme.
by Regerai Tututuku
Chiefs believe they have a right to the sugarcane farms.
Chiefs Felix Murandu Tshovani, Mavivi Misheck Gudo and Mundau Sengwe
forcibly took sugar cane farms from fellow blacks. Chief Tshovani took over
plot 16 in Hippo Valley while chiefs Sengwe and Gudo grabbed plots in the
Mukwasine area. A member of the Zimbabwe Sugar Milling Workers Union, Marko
Shoko, confirmed the development, adding that the traditional leaders were
now living in the farm houses.
Shoko said the chiefs were claiming that the land belonged to their
“Chief Tshovani displaced a war veteran called Guruveni,” Shoko told The
A farmer in the area who refused to be named said they were not sure who was
going to be the next target. “Those who lost farms were being targeted
because they are not Shangaani-speaking people,” added the farmer.
A spokesman for the chiefs, Chief Tshovani, yesterday confirmed that they
had taken over the farms. He said the move followed a plea they made two
years ago to vice president Joyce Mujuru that they needed sugar cane farms.
“As leaders of the Shangaani community we told the vice president that we
needed farms and after discovering that no one was taking us seriously, we
then took over plots of our choice,” said Chief Tshovani.
Masvingo Provincial Governor Titus Maluleke confirmed the development. He
said chiefs in Chiredzi were entitled to sugar cane farms as they were
custodians of the land.
Hordes of Zanu (PF) supporters, among them senior politicians, civil
servants and members of the security service, grabbed huge pieces of land in
the sugar cane growing area of Chiredzi under the land reform programme in
Published on 9 November 2012 - 2:40pm
Books have become cheaper for cash-strapped but education-hungry
Zimbabweans, yet publishers and writers are seeing their earnings evaporate
due to burgeoning book piracy.
Fledgling publisher Edmund Masundire is weighing whether to release new
titles under a popular series of children's books after falling victim to a
roaring textbook bootlegging industry.
"We found that the bulk of our books were being sold on the streets after
they were reproduced illegally by printers who supply street vendors at
cheap prices," said Masundire, whose catalogue includes children's stories
and folk tales.
Book piracy has become almost the norm in Zimbabwe where copies are sold at
near give-away prices through a network of street vendors.
It's threatening an industry already struggling to stay afloat because of
dwindling sales figures as few people can afford to buy books in a country
battling to recover from nearly a decade of economic downturn and political
Pirated books go for half, or even less than the cost of original versions.
"Our most popular titles are victims of book piracy," said Shepherd
Murevanhema at College Press, a subsidiary of the global publishing group
College Press publishes the bulk of the textbooks for the national school
curriculum in Zimbabwe, a country reputed for having among the best
education systems in Africa.
Street vendor Shepstone Mariri operates across the road from a leading
bookshop in central Harare, luring potential buyers with offers of "cheaper
"For me it's a way of earning a living," said Mariri.
"What I know is that it's a crime to sell pirated music CDs or DVDs," he
Sibongile Jele, a lecturer in publishing studies at the National University
of Science and Technology, blames a lax law enforcement system for the
failure to curb the tide of book piracy.
"Police only chase music disc pirates and pass street vendors who sell
photocopies of textbooks," Jele said.
"The justice system treats piracy as a minor offence compared to other
crimes," she said in a country where jokes insulting President Robert Mugabe
can land one before the courts.
"Some schools also buy pirated books but are not prosecuted for buying
stolen property," added Jele.
But police chief superintendent Ever Mlilo throws it back to the publishers,
saying they have to be more active and work with authorities "to make
copyright infringement more risky than it is now."
Leading Zimbabwean author Musaemura Zimunya says book-starved schools and
universities are among the culprits.
"There is so much illegal photocopying and bookbinding taking place in
schools and colleges," Zimunya said.
"Publishers are stuck with hordes of books in their warehouses but what the
small guy, the underground baron is doing is to use the simplest technology
to achieve maximum gains at the cost of publishers."
Education institutions often suffer shortages of essential textbooks and
resort to making own copies of scarce books. At the worst times, 20 school
children were forced to share one book.
With a combined total of more than 60 published textbooks and fiction titles
to his name, award-winning Zimbabwean author Shimmer Chinodya ranks among
the biggest losers.
"One out of every two teenagers in Zimbabwe is using my... English-language
textbooks," Chinodya said.
"The question is who is giving these people printing plates and films to
print books? Is the corruption so bad?"
Emmanuel Makadho, director of Book Love Publishers, said many publishers
could go bust if nothing is done to stop illegal reproduction of books.
"If this is not stopped, many of us will be forced to close shop," said
"There is a proliferation of people who have invested in massive colour
copiers and printers for the purpose of reproducing books published by other
An illicit printer was recently found with $22,000 worth of pirated copies
State Enterprises Minister Gorden Moyo says ministers from across the
political divide are crippling state enterprises as they continue to
illegally accept allowances and perks from government companies.
Moyo told VOA Studio 7 the latest parastatal financial statements indicate
that some ministers are double dipping as they are getting allowances from
their offices and government businesses and using related facilities in line
ministries - prejudicing the coalition government of millions of dollars.
Moyo said the ministers and other top state officials are violating the
Public Finance and Management Act with impunity as they are also drawing
fuel and hiring vehicles in parastatals meant for executives of state
Parliament, he says, is the only arm of the government that can stop some of
these practices that are almost crippling state enterprises.
Most parastatals failed to submit financial statements in the past under the
Zanu PF government.
Moyo said these ministers have to be punished for abusing state funds and
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority could be losing thousands of
dollars in potential revenue through illegal power connections on resettled
farms, it has emerged.
by Sphiwe Ndlovu
In Selous under Chief Chivero’s area people use tree poles to connect wires
to power supplies illegally. Recently two poles collapsed and electrocuted a
cow that was grazing nearby.
Resettled residents of another farm in the same area have also illegally
connected electricity to their homes. More than 80 families are living with
electricity in what used to be a compound.
The power supply is illegally connected to a transformer situated in the
farm house and untreated gum-poles are sunk into the ground to connect live
wires to houses around the compound.
“Each person contributed $40 to buy electric wires and gum-poles for power
to reach his/her home,” said a resident who spoke on condition of anonymity
ZESA Public Relations Manager Fullard Gwasira said they were aware that
illegal connections were taking place in some areas, adding that there were
monitors at every distribution base station across the country. It is a
criminal offense to connect illegally to power supplies.
Zanu (PF) Manicaland Deputy Political Commissar, Ivan Mbengo, is in trouble
for remarks he made during a 2012 budget consultation meeting held here
by Staff Reporter
Mbengo was quoted in a local daily as saying the country could experience a
similar wave of uprisings to North Africa, if the government failed to
adequately deal with the issue of high unemployment.
He suggested that there was a need for the government to channel funds into
the resuscitation of collapsed industries to arrest the ballooning figures
Mbengo was suspended from his position pending investigations for making
statements that allegedly contradict the party’s position on empowerment. He
is accused of making statements that undermine Zanu (PF) ideology and
In a statement, the Chairperson for Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans
Association Manicaland Chapter, Linda Matatu, confirmed the suspension of
Mbengo over the utterances he made.
“We confirm the suspension of Ivan Mbengo as Provincial Deputy Political
Commissar for Manicaland over the statement he made during the budget
consultation. As war veterans we disassociate ourselves from the remarks. He
was speaking in his own capacity and not representing the association,” read
Mbengo has since appeared before a disciplinary hearing where he is reported
to have refuted the allegations. However, other members of the war veterans’
association who declined to be named said Mbengo was being persecuted for
speaking the truth in public.
“In a normal democracy, everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. This
is a clear case of dictatorship. This man has no case to answer because he
was giving a solution to an imminent crisis at a public forum,” said one war
By Alex Bell
09 November 2012
The national power utility has promised to stop disconnecting customers with
outstanding payments, while it faces more pressure to sort out its billing
ZESA has ordered its regional managers countrywide to stop power
disconnections, to fall in line with a directive from the Energy Minister
Elton Mangoma more than two months ago. In August, Mangoma had said the
disconnections would stop while the power utility was installing prepaid
meters to households across the country.
However, the directive was not honoured and there have been ongoing reports
of customers being disconnected, despite many insisting that the estimated
bills provided by ZESA do not match their actual power usage.
Jenni Williams, who leads the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA),
said on Friday that the orders to stop the disconnections will come as a
welcome relief. WOZA has been pressuring ZESA throughout the past year to
sort out its billing and power shortage issues, and provide customers with a
proper service. Williams told SW Radio Africa that the ongoing
disconnections have been a source of anger and discontent for many of their
Williams also welcomed a court decision which could see ZESA reimbursing its
customers. An administrate court last week ruled that an energy tariff
increase of more than 30%, that was imposed more than a year ago, was
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries had contested the new tariff on the
basis that when it was approved, the board of the Zimbabwe Electricity
Regulatory Authority (ZERA) was not properly constituted as required by the
law. The Administrative Court president Herbert Mandeya ruled that the
increase was invalid, and ordered ZERA to come up with a new tariff in three
months. Until then, the old tariffs imposed in 2009 will be charged.
There is also still no indication of how the power authority plans to
reimburse customers directly or credit their accounts. WOZA’s Williams said
that either way it is a vindication for those who raised concerns about
being overcharged by ZESA. Williams however raised concerns about the
possible implications of the court decision, warning that ZESA had slowly
begun to improve.
“In 2009 when the old tariff was set we had come out of the most dismal
economic downturn ever. A lot of our rates and prices had not been properly
established and there was a phase of experimentation. What we saw subsequent
to that in the last year, we saw somehow less power cuts, the stabilisation
of a pricing structure. So there have been incremental although slow
improvements,” Williams said.
She expressed concern that these improvements will be reversed if ZESA is
now taking less money every month, after overcharging people for over a
year. She said the implications of that could likely mean more power cuts in
“I’m led to believe that because there have been more customers paying, ZESA
has been in a better position. But now if they are in a negative balance and
they need to refund their consumers, it will prejudice their abilities to
pay for power,” Williams said.
ZESA spokesman Fullard Gwasira had agreed to speak to SW Radio Africa on
Friday, but he was not reachable by phone.
By Alex Bell
09 November 2012
Threats to commercial banks to either agree to buy Treasury bills or face
being forced to do so, are being criticised as unwelcome deliberate coercion
by the government.
The government has re-launched its Treasury bill market, where it auctions
Central Bank ‘securities’ to commercial banks in return for a loan to
finance government expenditure. October saw the first such Treasury bill
market being launched since the local currency was dollarised.
But there has been reluctance by commercial banking groups to pay out these
loans at the price the government is asking. Economist Tony Hawkins
explained that the argument at the moment is about the cost of money. He
said: “The banks are reluctant to lend to government at the price government
wants which is at interest rate of 4% and less, and the banks are saying no,
they want 8 or 9%.”
Finance Minister Tendai Biti and Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono have both
warned the banks that they might be forced into accepting the arrangement if
a compromise is not reached. Hawkins said this is “basically coercion.”
“The government is basically forcing the banks rather than letting the banks
reach a voluntary arrangement. They (government) is saying: ‘If you don’t
lend voluntarily we’ll make it compulsory,” Hawkins explained.
He said he hopes some kind of compromise can be reached because forcing the
banks to buy in when they are reluctant could spell bad news for Zimbabwe’s
still battered economy.
“That would take us back to where the trouble started when banks were forced
to hold government securities that turned out to be worthless,” Hawkins
Zimbabwe’s Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) is unhappy with the
appointment of a British national on an arbitration panel. The arbitration
involves a US$35 million dispute between the ZMDC and two international
Not only is the ZMDC unhappy that there’s a Brit on the panel, but they also
want the South African judge removed from the case.
Amaplat Mauritius and Amari Nickel Holdings Zimbabwe are suing the ZMDC for
cancelling Memorandums of Understanding they had entered into for platinum
and nickel concessions.
The two companies want US$35 million for damages they claim to have suffered
as a result of the cancellation.
On the arbitration panel are Mr Stewart Isaacs, a UK barrister, nominated by
the UK International Chamber of Commerce national committee to chair the
tribunal. South African judge Justice Meyer Joffe is a nominee of Amaplats
and Zim lawyer James Mutizwa was nominated by the ZMDC, but has since
The ZMDC claim that a British national will be biased against them, because
it was the EU that imposed targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his ruling
elite. They said it was impossible for him to be impartial, when his country
They also claim he has persuaded the South African judge to be biased
They had tried to have the two removed by taking the issue to court in Cape
Town, but it was thrown out. The ZMDC then went to the International Court
of Arbitration in Paris, France, and again lost the case.
But they then went to the High Court of Zambia where they finally got a
provisional order stopping all the arbitration proceedings, until the
dispute was finalised.
Yet another case that will convince any potential investors that it’s better
to steer clear of Zimbabwe.
BY RAY NDLOVU, NOVEMBER 09 2012
MINING lobbyists are set to make a fresh bid to press the Zimbabwean
government to implement the Diamond Act, a proposed bill which it is hoped
will bring transparency to the diamond mining industry.
The industry until now has mostly been the preserve of President Robert
Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) and military-linked personnel. If implemented, the act
will bring much needed transparency to the diamond industry as it will
monitor all diamond processes such as extraction, receipting, evaluation,
grading, polishing, auctioning and the processing of export customs
This information is unavailable to the Treasury and the tax authority, the
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has cut a lone
figure pressing for the adoption of the Diamond Act, which will plug revenue
leakages, especially from the Marange diamond fields.
Mr Biti accuses Zanu (PF) of using the Marange diamonds to run a "parallel
government", while international watchdogs say Mr Mugabe is building a "war
chest" with the diamond proceeds for next year’s March election.
Mr Biti is expected to announce measures to plug diamond loopholes in the
budget announcement set for next Thursday, after mining firms in Marange
failed to meet a $600m contribution to this year’s budget and will
contribute only $150m.
A mining official, Goodwills Masimirembwa from the Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation, a government-owned company that has a 50-50 venture
with firms operating in Marange, however blamed the poor diamond inflows
from sanctions imposed by western countries.
Shamiso Mtisi, a mining lobbyist with the Zimbabwe Environmental Law
Association said: "The (Diamond) Act must require all revenues and payments
made by mining and diamond trading companies and received by government to
be disclosed by it or mining companies in a publicly accessible manner and
in a disaggregated manner … talk over the act has been going on for the past
three years with nothing concrete on the table".
The country’s diamond mining industry will come under the spotlight on
Monday next week, when the mines and mining development ministry hosts the
inaugural diamond conference in Victoria Falls. Nearly 1,000 delegates are
expected to attend, among them the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme
chairwoman Gillian Milovanovic.
Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu has hinted that the
diamond conference would be used to dispel negative perceptions around the
country’s Marange diamonds — which Human Rights Watch has called "blood
diamonds", because of human rights violations linked to them.
Sources close to organising the conference told Business Day yesterday that
the two-day event would be used to "galvanise regional and global support"
against the sanctions imposed by the US. "The diamond act will not be up for
discussion, its not on the agenda. The appropriate platform to deal with
that is Parliament and Cabinet where that space is available," said the
Political analyst Charles Mangongera said it was likely Zanu (PF) would
resist any proposals that would chip away their dominance of the political
"Diamond revenue has given Zanu (PF) the edge over the Movement for
Democratic Change and they are unlikely to give ground to the demands for
transparency. Next year is an election year, and the control of the diamond
purse strings could tip the scales in Zanu (PF)’s favour and Mr Mugabe knows
that very well and as a result we are likely to see more dilly-dallying
around the law."
By Staff Reporter 2012-11-08 15:22:00
HARARE – Zimbabwe government says the successful completion of the National
Defence College, the biggest in Southern Africa, was due to its Look East
The defence college, which was officially opened in September, received
furniture worth US$1,4 million from a Chinese company.
Speaking after inspecting the furniture, the Defence Minister, Emmerson
Mnangagwa and Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General Constantine Chiwenga
described the gesture by Anhui Foreign Economic Construction Company
(AFCECC) as one of the success stories of the Look East Policy spearheaded
by the country as a way of busting illegal sanctions.
“Because of the illegal sanctions imposed on our country by Britain, the US
and their allies, which has resulted in poor performance of our economy, it
was difficult to imagine how my ministry was going to overcome the challenge
of furnishing the National Defence College. I have no doubt that donated
furniture will ensure that the college attains the much needed conducive
learning environment,” said Mnangagwa.
“The gesture by the Chinese government demonstrates the strong ties that
exist between the two countries. We would like to thank the AFECC group for
building one of the best defence colleges in the region,” said General
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Lin Lin and AFECC Acting Chairperson, Kan
Jiatao pledged more material and financial support that will promote a
win-win mutual co-operation between the two countries.
“China will stand by Zimbabwe to overcome challenges facing the country. We
will provide more equipment and instructors to ensure the success of the
college,” Mr Lin said.
“With the support of President Robert Mugabe, China will stick to a mutual
benefit co-operation policy to enhance economic development between the two
nations,” Mr Jiatao said.
The National Defence College was officially opened by President Robert
Mugabe on the 14th of September this year.
Training has since commenced in various defence courses.
The Zimbabwe Football Association vice president Ndumiso Gumede has defended
his organization’s decision not to send the under-17 team to fulfill an
Africa Championship qualifier against Congo Brazzaville this week citing
Gumede told VOA Studio 7 that ZIFA is broke and has been relying on
financial donations with the bulk coming from association president Cuthbert
Dube to stay afloat.
Fans are calling for ZIFA’s leadership to step down after the board last
week announced the dissolution of the national team, the Warriors, following
its failure to qualify for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations.
The Zimbabwe Soccer Supporters Association told Studio 7 it is disappointed
by the underperformance of administrators at ZIFA who last week announced
they were interested in developing junior football, but this week miserably
failed to send the under-17 team to the Africa Youth Championships.
To address funding gaps, former Premier Soccer League chief executive Chris
Sambo said ZIFA should rebrand itself to attract sponsors and increase
"ZIFA managed to raise pledges under the Mzansi 90 Committee for the
Warriors' last lag in Angola which means they can still attract sponsors if
they spruce up their image and market themselves as a good brand," said
Gumede said there is a looming anti-ZIFA demonstration calling for the
ouster of the entire board, but he is not fazed as people are, in his words,
“entitled to their own opinions on how to run football”.
"I am ready to give up my vice presidency next year as I will not seek
re-election but will not bow down to sympathizers of those found guilty of
the Asiagate scandal who I understand are planning to stage an anti-ZIFA
campaign," said Gumede from his rural home in Inyathi, Matabeleland North
Last month, the ZIFA board slapped lifetime bans on 15 players and
administrators found guilty of participating in the so-called Asiagate
scandal, and was heavily criticized for the lengthy time they took to
conclude the matter.
Sambo added that the ZIFA administrators lost track of their core business
of running football and instead concentrated their strengths on the Asiagate
Studio 7 reporter Marvellous Mhlanga Nyahuye turned to Gumede and Sambo for
their perspective on the state of football in the country and anti-ZIFA
Sekai Holland says senior members of Zanu PF are making “ridiculous
statements” because they know their time in power is at an end.
Minister for Reconciliation, Healing and Integration is on a visit to
Australia to accept her Sydney Peace Prize which she was awarded for her
efforts to further political reform in Zimbabwe.
Holland told Australian media she was now comfortable being involved in the
“All the things Zanu PF are saying are just sulking because they know they
are going,” she said.
“We know they are going, and we know that things we are signing together are
going to happen because they are by agreement.
“So the more ridiculous the statements become, the closer the end for them
is. They can sense it.”
Holland said the situation in Zimbabwe had improved since 2008 and 2009,
when political instability made headlines in Australia, and expressed
confidence the political changes would be long-lasting.
She described the Global Political Agreement as a “peace document” which
allowed politicians a framework to re-build civil institutions in Zimbabwe.
“Our understanding of what the inclusive government was has been clarified
by reading through the Global Political Agreement,” she said.
“It is meant to get Zimbabweans setting up new institutions, new systems,
new protocols, new regulations to prepare the country for free and fair
“Secondly, to have elections that have an outcome, that is, not contestable
and have a smooth transition to a new government. That’s what it was aimed
to achieve and what we are on course to achieving.”
Holland, who lived in Australia in the 1960s and 1970s to study, worked with
Aboriginal Australian groups.
She also used her wide-ranging peace prize lecture and television to inject
herself into the local political issues, criticising Sydney police’s use of
tasers, sexism and lamented the lack of progress in improving the life
quality of Aboriginal Australians.
Holland was also awarded a trophy and $50,000.
U.S. Embassy Harare
Public Affairs Section
STATEMENT: Arrest of the Counseling Services Unit counsellors and staff
Harare, November 8, 2012: The United States is deeply concerned about the November 5th police search of the Zimbabwean Counseling Services Unit (CSU) medical clinic and the arrest of three senior programme officers. CSU is a lawfully registered medical clinic providing non-partisan counselling and referral services to all victims of trauma.
This search represents the latest incident in a worrying trend of deploying elements of state security sector institutions to threaten and intimidate political activists and those who provide support to victims of such intimidation and abuse.
In addition to the arrests and subsequent transport of the three CSU employees to Bulawayo, the United States is concerned about the disruption of medical services to victims of trauma that occurred during the search of CSU premises and the illegal access to confidential patient medical records. Patient record confidentiality is a critical part of medical services and should be respected through strict adherence to the law.
and medical counseling is a vital part of Zimbabwe’s work to re-build a strong,
just democracy after over a decade of political trauma. The United States calls
on all Zimbabweans to support and protect that work. In the lead up to national
elections, the United States looks to the government of Zimbabwe to ensure that
all security sector leaders and groups strictly follow President Mugabe’s call
for non-violence; and that they also follow a policy of non-interference in
democratic processes, including no harassment, intimidation, or hints of
# # #
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6 NOVEMBER 2012
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen—
I am going to keep my comments very brief. Over the last decade, just about
everything that can be said about Zimbabwe has been said. I am not here to
scrape around and present you one or two pieces of trivia that you may not
have heard before. Neither am I here to draw an intricate analytical picture
of what could happen in the next 12 months. Rather, I want to point to what
I believe is the basic truth about Zimbabwe, but one that is increasingly
forgotten amidst all the background noise. This background noise often
reaches such levels that we forget what lies in the foreground. My message
is a simple one: there needs to be a clean break with the past in
Zimbabwe—and very soon—or else the country will be a permanent basket case
akin to the Democratic Republic of Congo or the Central African Republic, or
any of the other forgotten and forsaken backwaters in Africa, distinguished
only by occasional atrocities and marked by the utter, grinding poverty of
We are, of course, already a basket case, but the sense that this is
permanent is becoming ever stronger. I reject the notion that Zimbabwe can
evolve toward democracy and prosperity. That is the fallacy that has been
peddled by many politicians in Zimbabwe and accepted by a growing segment of
the international community. But, realistically, what are the grounds for
such expectations? I put it to you that nothing much has changed in Zimbabwe
since the last elections in 2008, barring the end of hyperinflation. It was
a one-hit wonder that has removed the intense desperation of economic life,
yet it has not changed the fundamentals. The desperation is there still; our
industrial and agricultural capacity remains derisory. Our prospects for
substantial domestic growth or foreign direct investment remain pitiful as
long as corrupt ZANU PF functionaries pedal the lunacy of Crony
Yet I am not going to focus on economic measures of our health. They, too,
are just a symptom of a deeper and more serious illness. We have not yet rid
ourselves of the cause of these problems—first and foremost, Robert Mugabe’s
Zanu (PF). They are still in control of the instruments that have steered
Zimbabwe since independence in 1980—the army, the police, the air force, and
the intelligence organisation. The optimists among us point to the decline
in political violence, the divisions in Zanu (PF), the ageing of that party’s
war veterans, and so on and so forth. These arguments have been peddled for
years. We must begin to regard such people as false prophets. I prefer to
look at the enduring realities. Remember that there was little political
violence in Zimbabwe for a full ten years from the late 1980s. Remember that
violence has always, almost without exception, declined between elections.
Why go to the effort of beating and killing people when power is not at
stake? Remember, too, that there have been major fissures within Zanu since
the early 1970s. And don’t forget that there are any number of clones among
the younger generation within Zanu (PF) who are eager to follow in the
footsteps of the war vets, notwithstanding the fact that they know no
nothing of the colonial period that continues to be the stock-in-trade of
Zanu propaganda. White Zimbabweans now make up approximately 0.25 percent of
Zimbabwe’s population and yet—if Zanu’s apologists are to be believed—they
constitute about 99 percent of the country’s problems. This obsession with
race is utterly absurd, and is intended to hide the continuing inept,
corrupt ZANU PF machine from reasoned scrutiny. These are the realities of
military dictatorship, the rape of our resources, and the bastardisation of
our national culture.
It is this last aspect that concerns me the most. Aside from continuing to
hold our nation to ransom with guns, and baton sticks, Zanu (PF) have slowly
and insidiously infected and corrupted our culture with their own venal
disease. From the lowly constable to the political elites—the individuals
and institutions that are meant to be the foundations, the bricks and the
mortar of any civilised system—have instead become predators. Self-seeking,
greedy and lawless, they suck the life out of our people—and our people, in
turn, are becoming amoral survivors in this world of dog-eat-dog and
rat-eat-rat. If you don’t believe me, just go through the border at
Beitbridge, a living nightmare of vice and corruption, where officials and
touts compete and collude for the spoils of hapless travellers, most of whom
are their own Zimbabwean brothers and sisters. And if you are heading north,
when you eventually manage to escape that cesspit, you are faced with
innumerable roadblocks, where the parasites from our police force fleece you
of anything from cash to drinks to personal belongings. Our border posts and
our roads are a microcosm of what is happening to our integrity as a people.
The impact of this moral disintegration on the opposition movement is the
worst part of it all—and its reversal contains the only hope that our
DRC-like trajectory can be halted. It is a fact that some in my party have
joined the ZANU PF GRAVY TRAIN. Having participated in the so-called
inclusive, government, some now do exactly what their Zanu counterparts do.
They drive the same cars, they buy the same houses, and they dress in fancy
suits. Politicians from both parties spend more time doing so-called
business deals than anything else. There are regrettably some who have even
turned to violence. Change must come from politicians with integrity, who
respond to the people’s desperate cry for participative, transparent
democracy. I truly believe that the window of opportunity could nearly be
closed for Zimbabwe. Historically, we will look at the period from 2000 to
2015 as the turning point. Unless we in MDC renew our vision and
determination and complete the return to Democratic Normalcy in the next
three or so years, it might be too late. There will be no new Zimbabwe.
I am not predicting an apocalypse. That is quite possible, but it’s equally
likely that Zimbabwe will degenerate into a Somalia. It will be just be
another perennial slum in Africa, a shantytown, a bantustan where the dream
of the citizens extends no further than emigration. The privileged few will
gorge themselves, on the scraps. In practical terms, MDC and Civil Society
must drive Zanu (PF) from power and find enough leaders who will put the
country before themselves. We who began MDC as a Broad Based movement ——
must now renew ourselves. We must find ways of uniting and working with each
other. We must re direct ourselves to give it a last, all-out push toward
our original objectives. We used to know what our objectives were. They
remain the objectives of the majority of Zimbabwean citizens. The
evolutionary strategic approach toward co-operating with a ‘reformed’
ZANU-PF is a pipedream. One example of the myth of a ‘reformed’ ZANU-PF and
there are many, is to consider the shameful attacks every Sunday on Anglican
parishioners beaten and harassed by ZANU-PF as it terrorizes
institutionalized Christian denominations. This is a deliberate strategy of
theirs. Have we heard any so-called heavyweight ZANU-PF functionaries
denounce this disgusting behavior? Not a chance.
I’m not really surprised that the diplomatic communities have latched on to
this muddled concept. Western and regional countries are busy with their own
problems, and are tired of seeing the same old B-grade Zimbabwe movie
over-and-over again. And, at the end of the day, they don’t have to live in
Zimbabwe. If evolution turns out to be a Somalian mirage, what do others
really care? But us Zimbabweans need to be real. If we don’t get it
right—and quickly—we are facing a future of enduring squalor and oppression.
on November 9, 2012 at 10:02 am
By Addmore Zhou
“An evil remains an evil whether practiced by white against black or by
black against white. Our majority rule could easily turn into inhuman rule
if we oppressed, persecuted or harassed those who do not look or think like
the majority of us”.
Farm invaders taunt white farmer
These were the words of Prime Minister elect Robert Mugabe on the eve of the
country’s independence celebrations in 1980. Whilst the words remain
stubbornly true and more relevant today, the man’s actions have since
drifted away from them.
The independence celebrations were a culmination of a protracted war of
liberation which was triggered by a cocktail of injustices perpetrated
against blacks by the Rhodesian white minority regime. Chief among them was
the issue of land which was grabbed from majority blacks and distributed
among few white settlers of European decent particularly Britain.
Robert Mugabe’s speech was welcomed by all and sundry as it contained
positive glimpses of the way the man was going to govern the new country. He
came out as a benign leader who amorously espoused the principles of
togetherness, racial integration and reconciliation.
Decades later, his handling of the land reform program revealed some
worrying traits of malevolence, intolerance and racial hatred which
contrasted sharply with his founding vision for the country.
Under his leadership, the country has degenerated into a vindictive and
somewhat racist nation. There is no denying that the colonial regime was
evil in both actions and purpose. There is also no denying that the land
issue was central to the struggle and therefore needed to be addressed
But how was it addressed and was it the right way?
From independence in 1980 up until 2000, Zimbabwe was virtually a one party
State with national politics dominated by ZANU PF which had a majority in
parliament. The party had enough legislative powers to pass laws which could
allow and enable the country to compulsorily acquire land.
Unfortunately, little was done on the land front with the exception of a
handful of acquisitions which were not enough to solve the century long
grievance. Instead the government waited for more than two decades until the
situation deteriorated into anarchy and chaos.
There are some unsubstantiated claims to the effect that the Lancaster House
agreement and constitution did not allow the government to acquire land for
resettlement and that the moratorium was to be in effect until ten years
These arguments don’t seem to be supported by any clause within the
Lancaster House document. To the contrary, the Lancaster House constitution
allowed the government to acquire land from farmers and land owners.
An extract from the Lancaster House constitution reads:
“Every person will be protected from having his property compulsorily
acquired except when the acquisition is in the interests of defence, public
safety, public order, public morality, public health, town and country
planning, the development or utilisation of that or other property in such a
manner as to promote the public benefit or, in the case of under- utilised
land, settlement of land for agricultural purposes. When property is wanted
for one of these purposes, its acquisition will be lawful only on condition
that the law provides for the prompt payment of adequate compensation”.
It is evident and clear that compulsory acquisition of land was allowed. It
was up to the government to provide reasons behind acquisitions and also
provides compensation for acquired land. In fact, the government of Zimbabwe
passed the 1985 Land Acquisition Act which gave government the powers to
acquire land under the willing buyer willing seller basis and the right to
first refusal of any commercial land which was available for sale.
The world over, governments have powers to acquire land forcefully provided
they compensate the landowners. Public interest has to be served through the
use of compulsory purchase powers allowing land to be acquired for economic
and social development.
Britain itself, which is Zimbabwe’s former colonial master, has the Land
Compensation Act of 1961 and other subsequent legislation such as the Land
Compensation Act of 1973 which allow the country to forcefully acquire land
for national good.
The issue therefore is not about whether the Zimbabwean government had the
right and powers to acquire land. Rather it is about whether it was the
right thing to acquire land and property without compensation.
There are genuine arguments as to why and how a new and poor government was
expected to raise funding to compensate white farmers especially when the
land was grabbed from blacks for free in the first place. There are also
those who argue that farmers were not willing to avail land under the
willing buyer willing seller basis.
Today, other regional countries such as South Africa and Namibia are
grappling with land shortages for resettling landless majority. They cite
the principle of willing buyer willing seller basis as an impediment to land
redistribution. Like the Zimbabwean government, they do not have a clear
understanding of the meaning of willing buyer willing seller, hence they are
stuck with a surprisingly easy problem.
Whilst at face value the doctrine of willing buyer willing seller may be
interpreted to mean the landowner must be willing to sell to a willing
buyer, it has a far deeper meaning when it comes to land acquisition issues.
To put it simple, land can still be acquired under the principle without the
seller’s willingness to sell. The next question is how could that be?
The principle is simply meant to create a platform for a market where the
value of land for compensation purposes is determined by market conditions.
It is merely an assumption premised on the context that the seller and the
buyer are negotiating freely at arm’s length without either party
arm-twisting the other hence the resultant price for compensation purposes
is deemed fair.
If the seller is not willing to sit on the table and negotiate the price,
his seat will be replaced with another symbolic seller who will act on his
behalf under the same conditions. In other words, the transaction will go
ahead in his absence and the compensation given to the seller will be fair
based on the market values of similar properties or existing demand within
the market. It is therefore a basis for determining the price to pay the
landowner and not concerned about whether he is willing to sell or not.
As previously mentioned, the Zimbabwean land issue was not about whether
white farmers were willing to sell the land or not because every government
has the right to forcefully acquire land. The same applies to South Africa,
Namibia and any other country facing the same problem. The issue for debate
is what was the compensation supposed to cover.
Under normal compulsory acquisition laws, the landowner is compensated for
the value of land taken and any collateral injurious affection arising from
the acquisition. The value of land taken may include identifiable
hereditaments and appurtenances commonly known as developments on the land.
Because of the history behind the land issue in Zimbabwe, it will be
reasonable to argue that compensation must be limited to developments on the
land and must exclude the land itself since it was not paid for in the first
Exceptions could be filtered in for landowners who prove that their
ownerships were a result of normal purchases not linked to colonial
allocations. The argument makes political, social and economic logic
although it may not be fair to some farmers. On the other hand, it is
completely unfair not to compensate for developments on the land.
When the country’s current black farmers were settled on the farms, they
found infrastructure such as canals, irrigation pipes, houses, tanks and
other machinery already existing on the farms. Such infrastructure was not
available when colonial farmers first settled on the farms. The
infrastructure has been useful to current black farmers and the country as a
whole, hence the need to acknowledge its beneficence by compensating
previous white farmers.
Compensation will also give finality to a very contentious issue which the
country cannot afford to leave hanging. It will give current farmers
security of tenure and be able to invest fully on the land knowing the
ownership part is solved permanently. Uncertainties in land ownership have
been hampering productivity on the farms as farmers could not fully commit
their resources on land for which they have no secure titles.
On the other hand, agricultural funding has not been forthcoming as banks
are not willing to accept unregistered land as collateral for financing
purposes. The value of land as an economic asset has not been fully realised
for more than a decade. As a result, very few markers of achievement have
been witnessed since the program started.
Politically, the country cannot take chances by procrastinating and hoping
that somehow the issue will die a silent death. There has been a lot of
posturing and pandering by all parties within the inclusive government about
the issue. ZANU PF has failed to realise that it has a duty to respect
property rights regardless of the painful historical past associated with
the Zimbabwe land question.
MDC formations and in particular MDC T have also lost an opportunity to
address the issue. The strategic impetus and opportunity presented by their
involvement in the coalition government was lost when MDC T insisted on
choosing Roy Bennett, a former white farmer, as the designate Co-Minister of
agriculture. They failed to realise that the issue was not about pleasing
whites within their ranks but rather about solving the land issue for the
benefit of all races and people of Zimbabwe.
The decision was ill-advised, not well thought after with no results in the
end as President Mugabe refused to swear him as Minister. Even if he was
sworn in, he was likely to make little progress since he is part of the
previous group of farmers and his actions and plans were likely to be viewed
as biased and therefore face resistance.
As a way forward the government must immediately engage previous farmers
with the hope of finding a way of compensating them. Because of the time
which has since passed since the program began, it is difficult to ascertain
the accurate values of developments which were existing on the farms more
than a decade ago. A compromise quantum amount is the only viable
Previous white farmers on the other hand must realise that the issue is
socially and politically sensitive and should not expect to emerge as
winners. All sides must be prepared to lose one way or the other if a
lasting solution is to be found. The current situation where the government’s
assets are being attached in different countries such as South Africa as a
way of enforcing compensation is not sustainable and surely not good for the
Britain on the other hand must realise that it cannot simply walk away from
the issue. The problem was created by its past colonial presence in the
country. It benefited from the country’s resources whilst it was still under
its empire, hence it has an obligation and responsibility to contribute
resources towards solving the problem. Whilst it will be unreasonable to
expect British taxpayers to pay for the program, Britain must provide
interest free loans to the country for the purpose.
The Zimbabwe government must continue to engage the international community
under various auspices such as the UNDP and other financiers such as the
World Bank in order to mobilise resources needed for the program. There is
need for the government to put in place a well-informed proposal outlining
the strategic, sustainability and moral imperatives of the plan.
The government must be transparent with the program especially with regards
to current ownership. The international community cannot be expected to
partake in a process which is partisan in nature, benefiting certain groups
or people of certain political persuasions at the expense of the country.
Land is a national asset which must never be used by one political party for
political purposes. It must remain a strategic national asset, which if used
properly, will benefit the country as a whole.
The country cannot pass on the problem to future generations to solve. The
President, the Prime Minister, Ministers of Finance and Agriculture must
spearhead the compensation process and present a comprehensive proposal
before parliament for debate. The government must seriously consider
compensating white farmers because it is simply the right thing to do.
Addmore Zhou is a business and real estate consultant. He is a real estate
graduate of Kingston University in London and an MBA Business Finance
graduate of University of Liverpool Management School. His PhD research
interest focuses on Real Estate Investment and Development in developing
countries. He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri 9th November 2012
News that MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai has lined up international rallies
to woo an estimated three million Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to return home
and vote (Newsday 9/11/12) sounds like the legendary story of the Pied Piper
The story of the Pied Piper should be familiar to everyone who went to
primary school. It featured a man dressed in pied (i.e. multicoloured)
clothing (Wikipedia) leading children away from the town of Hamelin in Lower
Saxony, Germany never to return.
Although the story has many interpretations, there seems to be a consensus
that it symbolises the tragic death of children who were lured away on a
So what is the link with Tsvangirai’s planned mission to woo Diaspora Vote?
The draft constitution agreed to the two MDC formations in a record time
with no amendments and later amended by Zanu-pf to safeguard Mugabe’s
continued stranglehold on the poor country, does not allow the Diaspora
(expatriate or exiled Zimbabweans) to vote.
While Zanu-pf was steadfast in its opposition to the Diaspora Vote right
from the beginning of the so-called negotiations for a new constitution, MDC
formations shocked millions of exiles in September when they announced that
the decision by the coalition government to deny exiles to vote had been
The MDC-T’s deputy national organising secretary, Abednigo Bhebhe, kindly
revealed that this decision had been made in an attempt to curb potential
vote rigging (Alex Bell, Diaspora vote put aside by government, SW Radio
Africa, 17th September 2012).
Bhebhe was further quoted as saying the partners in government had agreed
that only Zimbabweans outside the country on diplomatic and official
government duties would be allowed to cast their postal votes, despite
efforts by exiled Zimbabweans to win back their right to vote in forthcoming
What makes Tsvangirai’s plan to woo exiles to return home and vote similar
to that of the Pied Piper of Hamelin is the prospect of violence given what
is already going on the police state or what others have branded the Banana
Republic of Zimbabwe since no credible reforms have been made ahead of the
referendum and the elections.
Significantly, the recent police crackdown on human rights defenders and
political activists including the arrest and alleged torture by Zimbabwe
police of three employees of the Counselling Services Unit (CSU) is sending
an unequivocal message of defiance to the whole international community
about the “invincibility” of Zanu-pf.
The prospect of violence is extremely high in the coming elections given
Zanu-pf’s US$20million secret election funding launched last week by way of
handouts of agricultural inputs (voting baits) by the party’s leader Robert
The media continues to be harassed in Zimbabwe ahead of elections. For
example, Dennis Kagonye, editor of the Weekly Mirror was recently arrested
and convicted on charges of contravening Section 72 pf the draconian Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Together with the Public Order and Security Act (POSA), AIPPA are repressive
laws that should have been repealed within 100 days of the coalition
government, but remain in full force as the laws of choice for the regime,
come election time.
What also makes the call on exiles to return and vote is what has happened
to others in past. One good example of how false assurances of safety and
security in Mugabe’s Zimbabwe fell flat is that of the arrest and
incarceration of Roy Bennett, treasurer of MDC-T in February 2009.
Only hours before Bennett was arrested, Tsvangirai told journalists that the
world needed to stop thinking of Mugabe as the problem and to see instead
that confidence in the power-sharing deal (Celia W. Dugger, ‘Aide’s Arrest
in Zimbabwe Draws Fire of Premier,’ New York Times, 14 February 2009).
After all that Bennett went through, losing his farm and improvements,
seeing dead people while he was in prison, and the protracted trial which
ended with his acquittal should be a reminder to all who might fall for ‘the
Pied Piper’s’ assurances.
After all, Roy Bennett has up to now not yet been appointed Deputy Minister
of Agriculture as previously planned in 2009, due to Zanu-pf’s
Meanwhile, a group of 29 MDC-T activists and officials accused of killing a
policeman in Glen View in May 2011 continue to serve jail time after an
ongoing trial which was preceded by denial of bail on several occasions.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,