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PF plans to deal with rogue members
November 11, 2012 in
Masvingo — Zanu PF has threatened to discipline members that
flout the party’s
rules in their bid to seek election as it prepares for
ahead of national plebiscite next year.
The party’s spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo said democracy
would take its course
in choosing parliamentary aspirants that would
represent Zanu PF in next
“We cannot impose
candidates. That is unacceptable,” said Gumbo on Friday.
“But of course, we
have not yet completed the criteria for running the
“If there is anything of that nature, we will have to look
into it. We will
engage the provincial leadership and they will have to
Gumbo’s comments came as jostling for Masvingo North has become
The seat fell vacant following the death
of Stan Mudenge, a Zanu PF
politburo member, who was also the Minister of
Higher and Tertiary
Education, last month.
Mudenge collapsed and died
in his room at Great Zimbabwe Hotel, where he was
due to deliver a speech at
Three aspirants — Jacob Chademana, Lieutenant Colonel Davison
Davis Marapira — are eyeing the seat.
Chademana, the headmaster of Victoria Junior Primary School,
The Standard that they would start campaigning once they got
the green light
from Zanu PF.
The party banned campaigning until election dates were
Chademana is linked to a faction sympathetic to Vice-President
while Charambira is said to be close to Defence minister
Former Masvingo governor, Dzikamai
Mavhaire is linked to the Mujuru camp and
another ex-governor and
Chivi-Mwenezi Senator, Josiah Hungwe to the
PF has dispatched its politburo members and other senior officials to
mobilise support in the country’s districts ahead of next year’s
Battle for Masvingo North brewing
commenting on the
electoral contest in Masvingo North, Chademana said, “It
will be a mammoth
task. I am certain Marapira and Charambira are also
interested, while other
dark horses are also said to be waiting for the
dates to be
“As of now, the election criterion has not yet been set, so
we are all
aspiring Zanu PF candidates.”
Charambira was also upbeat
about his chances.
“Democracy will be at play. But my chances are great.
So the people will
speak once campaigning starts,” he said.
City Council attaches residents’ properties
November 11, 2012 in
Harare City Council last week attached household goods from several
residents for failing to pay rates.
REPORT BY JENNIFER
Some of the residents now fear they could lose their
A messenger of court last week swooped on the defaulting
residents in Rugare
and Kuwadzana high-density suburbs, attaching everything
from fans to sofas.
“They sent me a letter of final demand last week and
my son went to talk to
officials at the city treasury department, where he
was given up to today to
pay US$100,” Eveline Njazi of Rugare said on
“But the messenger of court came yesterday (Thursday) and
She added: “My son only got the money
later in the day and when he went to
the council offices today he was told
that the property can only be released
after payment of
Njazi owes the city council US$1 050,80 in unpaid
The messenger of court attached a four-piece sofa set, a room
kitchen table, two fans, a carpet and a heater.
50-year-old widow said she now lived in fear of eviction from the house,
together with her two unemployed sons.
Her only source of income is
the National Railways of Zimbabwe’s Widows’
Pension Fund, which pays her an
average of US$13 per month after bank
“We are just living in
this house, but we are no different from those who
have been evicted,” Njazi
“There is no one who wants to access somebody’s services for free,
but we do
not have the money”.
She said her family had no way of
raising the money and was waiting to hear
from the council, if what it
attached tallied with the debt.
Several other residents in the suburb
also received letters of final demand
last week and were running around
sourcing money so that they could pay.
“I owe them US$500 and they sent
me a letter last week,” a man who
identified himself only as Gidza
“We have tenants renting some rooms in the house, but what we
the rent is not adequate for our day-to-day needs, so how can
paying for water which we sometimes go for months without.
Move unwise: Mazorodze
Mazorodze said it was
disheartening that the attached properties were being
sold for a
One woman’s deep freezer, which was attached over a US$1 000 plus
allegedly sold for US$64, he said.
Efforts to get a comment
from Council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi, were
councillor, Peter Moyo, raised the issue at a full council
Thursday, expressing shock that people in his ward were having
property attached without a council resolution.
Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda,
whose name appears in some of the summons seen by
The Standard, told the
meeting that he had not authorised the attachments.
The attachment of
residents’ properties come at a time when the local
authority is failing to
provide basic social services such as clean water,
collection of refuse,
maintenance of roads or traffic lights.
Water from the council is usually
dirty and smells of human waste.
on Harare streets
November 11, 2012 in Local
TRAFFIC lights in most
parts of Harare’s central business district (CBD) are
not working, making it
a nightmare for both pedestrians and motorists.
REPORT BY TAWANDA
As a result, they are forced to negotiate dangerously through
streets, especially during rush hours.
The absence of
functional traffic lights in the CBD has resulted in numerous
Motorists who spoke to The Standard blasted the Harare City
failing to repair traffic lights.
“Traffic lights at
corner (Nelson) Mandela and Fourth Street have not been
working for close to
two weeks now. I am surprised that the authorities are
doing nothing,” said
one motorist, Tawanda Dendedza.
Another motorist, Anna Meki, who was
involved in an accident last week at
the corner of Samora Machael Avenue and
Sam Nujoma, said she was shocked to
find out that traffic lights near the
President’s office were also not
President Robert Mugabe’s
offices are housed at the nearby Munhumutapa
involved in an accident because of the confusion there. the robots
working,” said Meki.
Harare City Council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi,
said the council was
working to rectify the problem.
“It has come to
our attention that there are some traffic lights that are
not working, but
we are looking into it,” said Gwindi.
Police’s traffic spokesperson,
Tigere Chigome, would not comment.
Motorists fear the situation could get
worse with the onset of the rainy
council trashes MDC-T youths’ request
November 11, 2012 in
BULAWAYO — MDC-T Youth Assembly’s lobby for the conferment of the
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai with the freedom of the city status appears
REPORT BY SILAS NKALA
The city fathers have
not yet deliberated on the matter since the request
was made last year in
Bulawayo City Mayor, Patrick Thaba Moyo said the local authority
seen the request by the party’s youth league.
“No one can
lobby for that. Only the city council decides on who should be
given such a
status. It is the duty of the council to see how someone
qualifies to be
given that status.
“Those who say they are lobbying, please tell them
they cannot lobby for
MDC-T Bulawayo Youth Chairman,
Bekithemba Nyathi said they had not sent the
request to the mayor but to
“The issue might not have reached the Mayor officially, but
we met the other
councillors for consensus,” said Nyathi.
though the councillors have a prerogative of deciding who should be
honoured, the people of Bulawayo had the right to propose names.
PF sharpens daggers against dissenting voices
November 11, 2012 in
THE on-going arrests and intimidation of President Robert Mugabe’s
rivals and civil rights activists by State security agents is a
worst things to come as the country prepares for elections next
observers have said.
REPORT BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
said it has become a norm that towards elections, the country
upsurge in political violence and arrests of those critical
of Zanu PF and
The observation comes following last week’s
arrest of three key staffers of
the Counselling Services Unit (CSU), a
registered medical clinic that
provides counselling and referral services to
victims of trauma.
The three are accused of spraying some MDC graffiti on
an information centre
in Bulawayo last month in contravention of the
Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act.
The Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) described the arrests as driven
by “paranoia” as the
unit provides medical counselling care for victims of
police brutality and
The union warned of more arrests as dates for
elections, which Mugabe
insists would be held in March next year, draw
“This incident is a forerunner of more shocking raids, arrests,
and detentions that are to follow as the country gets ready for
2013,” said ZCTU secretary-general Japhet Moyo.
not only an attack on the CSU but also an attack on the broader
defenders network because within that network, CSU has been
work in providing medical and counselling care for victims of
brutality and political violence.”
The unit assisted several victims of
political violence in the 2008
elections. The MDC-T claims that at least 500
of its supporters were killed
by Zanu PF and State security agents during
Several MDC-T activists were also arrested on allegations
perpetrating violence to petrol-bombing police stations but
most of the
cases crumbled like a deck of cards in the courts.
last few months have seen several raids and arrests of human rights
activists, journalists and MDC-T officials.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum director, Abel Chikomo has since last year
been a victim of harassment
by law enforcement agents. He was charged of
leading an unregistered
The State withdrew the charges but said they would continue
by way of
Political analysts said Chikomo, like other human
rights defenders, was on
the radar of the State security agents because his
organisation has been
assisting victims of organised violence, including
those of political
“If you look at it, security agents only
target those organisations or
people who were or are helping victims of
political violence,” said one
“These arrests are political
and they will definitely increase as we head
for elections. He (Mugabe) is
sharpening his daggers.”
In August, more than 20 police officers raided
the Gays and Lesbians
Association of Zimbabwe (Galz) office in Harare and
digital versatile discs, pamphlets, compact discs and
The officers claimed that GALZ was in “possession of
pamphlets and fliers
with information that promotes homosexuality for
Mugabe, who of late has been preaching peace and
co-existence, is against
homosexuals and has previously labelled them as
“worse than pig and dogs”.
In 2008, another human rights activist Jestina
Mukoko, who heads the
Zimbabwe Peace Project, was abducted and tortured by
State security agents
because her organisation was documenting cases of
rights abuse across the
She is now suing the
Mugabe’s political rivals in the coalition government have not
A fortnight ago, Elton Mangoma, MDC-T deputy
treasurer-general and minister
of Energy and Power Development in the
inclusive government, was summoned to
attend court in Bindura on charges of
insulting the President.
Several other officials are facing the same
“What is unsettling is that the arrests come at a time when the
government should be working hard on improving critical reforms
country goes for the referendum and elections in 2013,” said the
MDC-T in a
“It is an affront to democracy and we call for
an immediate end to these
illegal acts by the State and Zanu PF.”
embassy in Harare shocked by arrests
The United Sates Embassy in Harare was
equally shocked by the arrests.
It said there was a worrying trend in
Zimbabwe of deploying security agents
to threaten political activists and
those who provided support to victims of
intimidation and abuse.
the lead up to national elections, the United States looks to the
of Zimbabwe to ensure that all security sector leaders and groups
follow President Mugabe’s call for non-violence; and that they also
policy of non-interference in democratic processes, including no
intimidation, or hints of retribution,” said the Embassy in a
associations threaten to sue Zesa over inflated bills
November 11, 2012 in
Residents’ associations in Harare have threatened to sue the
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) should it fail to refund
has been overcharging since last year.
The Administrative Court recently nullified Zesa tariffs
in September 2011, technically forcing the power utility
to revert to 2009
This was after a successful legal
challenge initiated by the Confederation
of Zimbabwe Industries
Residents, who have always complained about exorbitant charges
poor service — received the ruling with joy.
Residents Trust (HRT) executive director, Precious Shumba last week
ensure that consumers got their money back.
“To the residents, the
nullification of the rates which were introduced in
September 2011 means
that Zesa has to recalculate the bills that were
overcharged and credit the
accounts of residents that were affected,” he
“If for any
reason, Zesa fails to implement the Administrative Court’s
the HRT will have no option but to take the matter to the
legal redress. Alternatively, being the most popular route
widespread demonstrations targeting Zesa will be undertaken
objective of forcing Zesa Holdings to comply with the law.”
last month alone, the HRT intervened in nearly 80 cases relating
HRT has handled 987 cases since the beginning of the year,
up from 400 cases
Combined Harare Residents Association
(CHRA) chairman Simbarashe Moyo said
the administrative court ruling was a
clear testimony of how difficult life
was for residents.
inconsistencies have prejudiced residents for a long time,” Moyo
“First there was the estimated billing, then the US$30 and US$40 set
government for high and low density suburbs respectively.
He added: “Then
came the era of unjustifiably high tariffs which turn out to
be illegal more
than a year down the line.”
Moyo said Zesa must cancel all outstanding
bills and start on a new note
based on the prepaid meters they promised to
Zesa last week said it had so far installed 19 000 prepaid
countrywide. It assured ratepayers that power woes, would soon be
over as it
targets to complete the installation of the meters within 10
power station changes lives
November 11, 2012 in Community News
SOUTH — Access to modern and cheap energy remains a pipe dream for
families in the rural areas across the country.
REPORT BY OUR
But that is now a problem of the past for the rural community
in Mutare South, which is generating electricity from a
The US$75 000 project, a community initiative
sponsored by a
non-governmental organisation, Practical Action Southern
Africa, is designed
to improve the lives of people living in rural
So far at least 400 households, clinics and schools in Chipendeke
south of Mutare — are already using electricity from the project for
cooking, lighting and even to power their electrical domestic
A recent visit to the area by Standardcommunity revealed that
changed for the better for the community following the
commissioning of the
project, which has a capacity to generate 25 kilowatts
One of the beneficiaries of the project, Misheck Mukundwa (33)
venture had assisted the community to raise income to sustain their
“People can now afford to pay fees for their children and
buy food from the
sale of produces from the irrigation scheme,” he
A smallholder farmer, Shadreck Mudiwa said the project had enabled
boost agricultural production at Chipendeke Irrigation
“The availability of electric power has encouraged us as farmers
more food for the community and for resale in the city,” said
used to incur losses when our perishables turned bad. But now we
refrigerate them before taking them to the market.”
environmentalist, Brian Makumbe said the introduction of electricity
area had reduced environmental degradation as people now used less
for cooking and lighting.
“We really appreciated this kind of initiative
because it brings development
and sustainable management of the
environment,” said Makumbe. “We expect
villagers to save the forest because
they have an alternative source of
A nurse at Chipendeke
Clinic said before the advent of electricity, staff at
the health centre
used to light candles to enable surgical operations at
drugs was also a major challenge.
“We can now operate at night and store
our medicines in the refrigerator.
The biggest challenge was that of
pregnant mothers who wanted to deliver at
night. They had to bring their own
candles,” said a nurse who declined to be
A teacher at a local
school, Maxwell Zenda said he expected the pass rate in
schools in the area
to improve as students would now have enough time to
study and prepare for
exams at night.
Clinics and schools pay US$0,10 per kilowatt while
business and households
pay US$0,32 and US$0,15 respectively for the
Business entities pay more because they derive profit from
The project has also created employment for the
A team of villagers was trained in managing the vending system,
of prepaid meters and updating database for users and
Improving access to modern energy services
Chipendeke project is part of a five-year regional micro-hydro project
called Catalysing Modern Energy Service Delivery to Marginal Communities in
The main aim is to improve access to modern energy
services and increase
uptake of renewable energy technologies.
project seeks to remove the policy, technical and institutional barriers
that limit the development and use of renewable energy sources to meet the
energy needs of poor, off-grid communities.
According to Practical
Action, access to electricity in rural areas in
southern Africa remains low
with Malawi on 0,05%, Mozambique 0,7% and
lights turned into base stations
November 11, 2012 in Community
CHITUNGWIZA — Residents here have expressed outrage over the local
decision to allow telecommunication companies to turn tower
lights into base
REPORT BY FARAI DAURAMANZI
said the arrangement deprived them of street lighting at night, leaving
at the mercy of criminals who terrorised their suburbs.
council is renting out the tower lights to telecommunication
part of efforts to raise revenue.
Residents however, are complaining that
boosters are now the dominant
feature in the town, yet most neighbourhoods
remain in the dark.
They queried the logic behind entering into a deal
which did not force the
telecoms companies to repair street
One of the residents who identified himself as Chris Vancols of
said: “While we are not against progress, council should have
companies repair tower lights as part of their rental
Vancols operates a secondhand goods market near a
dysfunctional tower light
that has been converted into a base station.
cannot operate at night because of lack of lighting.
Kezito Makuni, the technical director for Econet said the use
of the towers
was part of their infrastructure sharing policy.
Econet gets authorisation to use a particular tower, we completely
rehabilitate it. This includes making repairs to the lighting. While
maintenance however falls on councils, Econet continues to supply lighting
materials for the towers,” said Makuni.
“For using the towers, Econet
pays rentals to urban councils, which they in
turn use to fund service
delivery to our communities, including supply of
Gurure (32) of Unit O in Seke said council must channel the money they
from renting out tower lights to repairing the lighting structures for
benefit of the community.
“Council should repair tower lights since they
are now renting them out,
where is the money going?” asked
The residents attributed increased cases of muggings and robbery
Chitungwiza to the absence of tower lights as robbers take advantage of
“It’s good that these base stations will improve
network coverage but
without any lighting we will continue losing cell
phones or worse still, our
lives,” said a man who identified himself as
Masvikepi of Unit M in Seke.
It could not be established how much the
companies were paying for the tower
Telecel communication and
branding manager Obert Mandimika said the exercise
was part of efforts to
improve service delivery.
“We placed our equipment as part of measures to
speed up out turnaround time
in terms of reaching out to subscribers and
council has approved it,” he
He said arrangements were being
made to restore the functionality of the
tower lights as part of the
company’s social responsibility.
Newly-appointed Chitungwiza Town Clerk,
George Makunde said he did not have
details of the deal and promised to make
“It’s normal procedure for council to rent out its property,”
“However, I am still to be briefed on the contents of the
council and telecommunication companies.”
returns to Domboshava
November 11, 2012 in Community News
tranquillity have since returned to Chinamhora community in
which was recently hogged by a series of murders that disrupted
economic and social life.
REPORT BY BY WELLINGTON
Christopher Chidziva, who is reigning Chief Chinamhora,
return of peace to efforts by the church in the
Addressing thousands of the African Apostolic Church
Domboshava Showgrounds last week, Chief Chinamhora said they
had to seek
divine intervention following a spate of murders in his
“As you know, in the previous months the Chinamhora community was
by a spate of murders that saw fear gripping the area,” said Chief
“At the height of the killings, I phoned ‘Mudzidzisi’
requesting him to come and pray over the issue but he assured
me he would
come at a later time but would pray from where he was. I am glad
have regained our peace and everything has returned to
The African Apostolic Church is led by Archbishop
Last week’s church gathering was attended by worshippers from
Chitungwiza and surrounding areas who heeded a call by the local
to converge for prayers over the gruesome murder incidences in
Over 300 people, most of them locals, attended the church
One headman Murapi also thanked the church for ensuring that
harmony returned to the area.
“We have been engaging
Christians from different denominations and a few
weeks ago we held prayer
sessions with leaders from local churches and we
are really grateful for the
support given during the difficult period,” he
Six men were in
September murdered in Domboshava, five of them using the
raising suspicions that a gang of dangerous criminals was on
The five, four of them murdered as they left Showgrounds business
were believed to have been hit with blunt objects on their heads
bodies had bruises.
As panic gripped the area, social and
economic activities were disrupted as
nightclubs and shops closed early for
fear of the murderers.
This led the police to beef up security in the
area and intensify night
Blessing Kunaka and Joshua Chibonda
have since appeared before a Harare
magistrate facing three charges of
murder, one of attempted murder and two
of armed robbery.
accomplice, Dirayi Chibhobhoribho was said to be on the run.
challenges to persist — Gono
November 11, 2012 in Business
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono has warned that
challenges will persist as Zimbabweans continue facing stringent
to access lines of credit.
REPORT BY OUR STAFF
stakeholders attending the Zimbabwe Independent Banks and Banking
meeting last week that out of the offshore facilities worth US$2
approved by the External Loans and Coordinating Committee (ELCC),
US$899 million has been drawn down since the beginning of the year.
. against such low utilisation levels of 42% realised this year to
country will continue to face persistent liquidity challenges,”
Gono said notable issues that have affected utilisation levels
facilitation fees, deposit requirements and various legal aspects,
sometimes take up to six months to be fulfilled.
facing liquidity challenges and has failed to get lines of
multilateral financial institutions.
The situation has been complicated
by the inability of the central bank to
print money under the multi-currency
Gono said under the auspices of the multiple currency
system, major sources
of liquidity and broad money for the Zimbabwean
economy, comprised export
earning, diaspora remittances, offshore lines of
credit, foreign direct
investment and portfolio inflows.
extent that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has not been issuing
the multiple currency system, there is need to ensure that
these streams of
foreign currency inflows continue to meaningfully
contribute to liquidity
levels in the economy,” Gono said.
Under the multi-currency environment,
RBZ is a bystander, as it cannot
intervene in a crisis.
in Europe have been able to intervene in the euro crisis by
adjusting their monetary policies through introducing austerity
and when needed.
An austerity measure is an official action taken by
central banks in order to reduce the amount of money
that it spends or the
amount that people spend.
This ultimately has
an effect on the liquidity position of a country’s
RBZ rendered ineffective
Without the ability to control a
country’s monetary policy and implement it,
RBZ is ineffective in
introducing austerity measures when needed.
“Determining a monetary
policy and implementing it, is at the core of any
central bank and for as
long as we don’t have a local currency, RBZ will
always have limited impact
in the smooth operations of financial markets in
Zimbabwe,” an investment
“The best RBZ can do now is being a regulator of our local
markets, but a regulator without ability to introduce relevant
to ensure smooth operations of our financial markets, in case
needed, is weak. And only through a monetary policy are you able to
Diamond Conference opens
November 11, 2012 in Business
Diamond Conference opens in Victoria Falls tomorrow as
Zimbabwe plans to tap
knowledge on how it can harness diamond resources.
REPORT BY OUR
This comes at a time the country is exporting rough diamonds, which
that it is exporting labour to various countries, notably
Prince Mupazviriho, Mines and Mining Development permanent
Standardbusiness on Friday the conference was meant to
gather ideas on how
the country could develop the industry, having attained
“The conference will look at how we
develop the industry, having attained
compliance. We will share information
on how we can develop our own
systems,” he said.
the conference would help the country on how it can
complement the Diamond
The conference will bring together key stakeholders in the
include officials from the World Diamond Council and Antwerp
Zimbabwe mines diamonds from Murowa and
the resource-rich Marange fields.
Four companies — Marange Resources,
Mbada, Diamond Mining Corporation and
Anjin —are mining on concessions in
Marange, which are owned by the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation
ZMDC wholly owns Marange Resources and is in a 50-50 joint
other partners in DMC and Mbada. A Chinese consortium is
operating with the
army in Anjin.
Diamond revenue was expected to
plug the gap and was projected to reach
US$600 million this
Minister Tendai Biti has been accusing diamond producers of not
Diamond producers and the Ministry of Mines
say sanctions have had an effect
on the prices of diamonds and hence are
expected to revive industry
November 11, 2012 in Business
minister Tendai Biti presents the last national budget of the
government on Thursday, amid expectations he would provide the
needed for the manufacturing sector that has recorded a dip in
REPORT BY NDAMU SANDU
A survey released by the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) last
week showed that for the
first time since the use of multi-currencies,
capacity utilisation had gone
down to 44,2% from the 57,2% recorded last
year, painting a gloomy picture
in the outlook.
The survey came after Biti had cut projected growth for
this year to 4% from
an earlier forecast of 5,6%.
Analysts said last
week, the dip in capacity utilisation should jolt
government into action to
introduce policies that help revive the industry.
James Wadi, chief
economist at regional banking group BancABC, told
budget should provide ways to revive the manufacturing
industry, “given what
it has said”.
He said while industry required money, some of its
non-monetary, such as the provision of an environment
conducive to attract
Wadi said government had to honour
Bilateral Investment Promotion and
Protection Agreements (Bippas), so as to
unlock the external lines of credit
needed to boost the economy.
have to honour that and the moment we start acting otherwise it sends
signals to investors,” he said.
The local manufacturing sector is beset
by a string of challenges, notably
power outages and ageing equipment that
has pushed up the cost of
production, meaning local products are more
expensive compared to imports.
Zimbabwe has become a supermarket economy,
with imports flooding the shops.
Exports for most commodities have been
reduced and as a result, the economy
is not generating foreign currency
Regrettably, imports continue to increase thereby widening the
The little money generated locally would go to imports, starving
sectors of the economy of funding needed for revival.
Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono told the banking sector’s
last week that improved export capabilities required that the
investment image be improved.
“This remains key in the meaningful
attraction of both domestic and foreign
direct investment into key
productive and export sectors of the economy in a
manner that improves the
competitiveness of domestically produced goods and
Gono said the “country’s import dependency syndrome must be shed
the implementation of comprehensive structural policies that
resuscitation of domestic industrial production”.
would assist in bridging attendant supply gaps that have sustained the
importation of finished goods largely from South Africa and the Far East,”
Biti has in the past indicated that he would increase some
taxes as way of
generating more revenue.
However, analysts say, there
are some low-hanging fruits that can be
harnessed to raise more revenue for
the economy. “We have porous borders and
why should we not automate?” Wadi
asked, adding that the same could be done
automation would remove the human intervention and there was an
that the money would come.
In its submissions, CZI said there were high
levels of corruption at border
posts, especially at Beitbridge and the long
transit times spent obtained a
hamstrung to trade.
Wadi said such a
mismatch was not unique to Zimbabwe but obtains in other
countries in the
region. However, Wadi said other countries had managed to
financing for infrastructure.
Mugabe: Robin Hammond Records the Suffering of Zimbabwe
for Carmignac Gestion Photojournalism Award
people living near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, made a home from an
empty plot of wasteland. Their previous dwelling was destroyed in Operation
In December 2011 Robin Hammond, then a
neighbor of mine in Cape Town, arrived in Zimbabwe for what he’d planned as his
longest trip yet to a country, and a story, he knew well – several months
documenting that country’s decline. There are worse places in Africa and there
are plenty of uplifting stories to be had in Zimbabwe. But in the context of the
stunning progress Zimbabwe achieved in its first decade of independence, its
collapse over the next two is nonetheless remarkable – and the main reason Robin
has covered the country so extensively since 2007. “There are very few countries
that have fallen as far as fast as Zimbabwe,” says Robin. “These are educated
people with high expectations who are now living in really extreme
For months, living on a grant from
the Carmignac Foundation, Robin worked his way across the country, getting to
know Zimbabweans, living with them, sharing their lives. He discovered a hidden
urban poverty that most journalists, myself included, have missed. “Robert
Mugabe’s only been screwing it up for 20 years, so there are still some
half-decent roads and buildings,” says Robin. “But you get into some of these
places and they’re vertical city slums: no power, no water, no jobs. And the
atmosphere. I’ve been to Congo and Somalia and all those kinds of places but I
don’t think I’ve seen people as scared as the people in
As Robin discovered, there was good
reason to fear. In March, as he photographed a farm in the east of the country
that had been seized by the regime, he was arrested and held overnight. A few
weeks later in mid-April, he was arrested a second time as he tried to take
pictures of Zimbabwean refugees crossing the Limpopo River into South Africa. In
2007 I did five days in a Zimbabwean prison in the same part of the country.
Robin was held for four weeks. Most of his time was spent in a
five-meter-by-10-meter cell with 37 other inmates. The prisoners had a concrete
floor to sleep on, blankets infested with lice as their only covering, one
toilet between 250 and, for food, slop infested with weevils. Many of his fellow
prisoners had been inside for years. Eventually, Robin was deported. “They did a
pretty good job of making me feel afraid,” he says.
After arriving in London, then
relocating to Paris, Robin began assembling his work. What emerges in these
stunning, fearful pictures, now being published in a book and shown at an
exhibition which opens this week at Chapelle de l’Ecole Nationale Supérieure des
Beaux-Arts in Paris, is an arrestingly original portrait of a country whose
nightmare is far from over. Robin’s pictures lay bare in unprecedented fashion
the depth of Zimbabwe’s destruction and how, for millions, there is no recovery,
nor even much hope of one.
Yet, with a fresh election expected
next year, hope persists. Robin says Zimbabwe has taught him a cruel lesson
about that: how hope might keep you going, but how it can also be dangerous.
Robin learned that for himself in prison. “When you’re told you’re going to be
let out that day, then you have to go back to your cell, that can be really
depressing,” he says. “You have to set your mind to the idea that you could be
there for months.” For Zimbabweans, hope has proved even more perilous, says
Robin. A curiosity of Mugabe’s 32-year rule has been how, even as he plundered
his country, ruined it, and killed and beat his challengers, he has never
extinguished his people’s belief in change. The Zimbabwean President holds
elections, shares power with the opposition and negotiates a theoretical
transition with Zimbabwe’s neighbors. None of these initiatives have come to
anything. But to those who ponder Mugabe’s survival – about why Zimbabweans
haven’t staged a second revolution – Mugabe’s repression provides one answer and
his careful nurturing of hope the other. Even now, says Robin, “Zimbabweans are
eternally optimistic. They always think the next election will be the one to
change their lives.” It is a testament to Robin’s art and courage that the way
those expectations have been so mercilessly – and so deeply and comprehensively
– disappointed has rarely been better captured.
Alex Perry is TIME’s Africa bureau
Robin Hammond is a photojournalist based in South
National Geographic Magazine will be
publishing a story next year that will feature the work from this project. The
series will also be on display from Nov. 9 through Dec. 9 at Chapelle de l’Ecole
Nationale Supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris, with an opening reception on Nov.