The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Zimbabwe to hold elections in March '08 - minister


Fri 2 Nov 2007, 13:58 GMT

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe will hold joint presidential and parliamentary
elections as planned in March 2008, a government minister said on Friday,
refuting press reports the poll would be pushed back to June.

A private weekly had said the ruling ZANU PF and the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had agreed to defer the polls during
ongoing talks initiated by regional heads of state to try to end Zimbabwe's
political crisis.

"There is no question of elections being moved," justice, legal and
parliamentary affairs minister Patrick Chinamasa told Reuters. "We have
always made it clear that elections will be held in March."

President Robert Mugabe's term expires in March and he has said he will
stand for re-election. Mugabe, 83, has been in power since independence from
Britain in 1980.

On Tuesday, Mugabe signed into law constitutional changes allowing the
southern African country to hold both presidential and parliamentary
elections at the same time. They have previously been held separately.

Chinamasa, leading the ZANU PF team in dialogue with the MDC, refused to
comment on the crisis negotiations brokered by South African President Thabo
Mbeki, citing a confidentiality pact agreed to by parties involved in the

The negotiations have so far led to a compromise deal under which the
opposition supported constitutional changes which allow Mugabe to pick his
successor should he decide to retire mid-term.

The MDC has been pushing for an entirely new constitution that would
guarantee basic freedoms and free elections.

Although Mugabe faces a weak and divided opposition at the election,
analysts say the country's severe economic crisis poses a major threat to
his rule. Zimbabwe has the highest inflation rate in the world above 7,900
percent as well as food, fuel and foreign currency shortages.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

'MDC Activist Shot Dead in Cold Blood'

SW Radio Africa (London)

2 November 2007
Posted to the web 2 November 2007

Tichaona Sibanda

MDC activist Clemence Takaendesa was shot dead on Wednesday while fishing in
the Mbemeswani River in KweKwe, by a retired army Brigadier with a
well-known penchant for violence.

Brigadier Benjamin Mabenge shot and killed Takaendesa and seriously wounded
his brother Taurai Chigede without firing a warning shot. Takaendesa's body
was only removed from the scene on Thursday, nearly 15 hours after the fatal
shooting. Mabenge was arrested on Thursday and is expected to appear in
court soon facing murder charges.

Mabenge has told the police he saw a group of people, including the deceased
and his brother, poaching fish from the river that runs through his farm, a
claim denied by the MDC. The MDC said Mabenge does not own exclusive rights
to the river and that there is no law in the country that prohibits people
from fishing in a river, unless it is from a private dam. Mabenge, a war
veteran, is reported to have grabbed the farm during the violent farm

On Monday, Mabenge seriously injured another man he saw cutting wood on the
farm, by hitting him with a rifle butt until he broke his left knee. The
same man is sharing a ward in a KweKwe hospital with Taurai Chigede who was
shot in the leg, according to Dr Henry Madzorere who is also the secretary
for Health for the MDC.

Speaking about the man beaten with a rifle butt, Dr. Madzorere said:
'Imagine how callous the man is. He drew a pistol and put it to his victim's
head and asked him four times whether he wanted to get shot in the head or
preferred being beaten. Numb with shock, the victim did not reply and in the
end Mabenge withdrew the pistol and picked up his rifle, which he used to
beat up his victim until he passed out. This man is hunting human beings
with the intention of maiming or killing them.'

Madzorera who is caring for the two victims told Newsreel a preliminary
probe into the death of Takaendesa on Wednesday would show that the retired
Brigadier General killed him in cold blood.

'There was never any warning shot, Mabenge just walked near to where the
victims were fishing and opened fire with a high powered rifle. The single
bullet killed Takaendesa and also seriously injured his brother. The two are
blood brothers but they use different surnames. He never bothered to check
on the condition of the victims, he just walked away as if nothing had
happened,' Madzorera said.

The retired army officer has a history of violence and causing mayhem is the
Midlands town. Between 2000 and 2005, under the protection of Zanu-PF
strongman, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Mabenge left a trail of broken bones among
MDC activists. He is reportedly responsible for the burning down of the MDC
office in the town and other houses belonging to leading party activists.

MDC MP for KweKwe, Blessing Chebundo, is one of his other victims. In 2000 a
group of youths led by Mabenge doused him with petrol but he escaped death
by a whisker when he grabbed one of his attackers. This prevented him from
being set on fire because the attacker would have been burned in the

Described as a 'maniac' by Madzorera, Mabenge committed a 'cardinal sin' by
standing against Mnangagwa in the 2005 Zanu-PF primaries. The two eventually
fell-out and now don't see eye to eye.

'I am sure this time he will do time in prison. There is no one to protect
him because of his fall out with Mnangagwa. I think KweKwe would be a safer
place without Mabenge because he has caused so much heartache in the last
seven years,' Madzorera said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Violates International Law on the Right to Health

Crisis Coalition
The Daily Catalyst
2 November, 2007

The poor water delivery system that has characterized the takeover of sewer
and water delivery from urban councils by the government-run Zimbabwe
National Water Authority (ZINWA) has witnessed the violation of human rights
especially the right to health.

Erratic water shortages, dysfunctional sewer systems and unsafe drinking
water due to shortages of chemicals in most urban areas in the country has
seen the government of Zimbabwe failing to meet its state obligations under
the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the 1976
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).

It is difficult to comprehend how the government of Zimbabwe can implement
its state obligations under these two United Nations covenants in the
absence of clean drinking water and a functional sewage reticulation system.

Article 25.1 of the 1948 UDHR that: "Everyone has the right to a standard of
living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family,
including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social

The UN Charter states that it is the duty of the State to ensure that it
promotes universal respect for and observance of human rights and freedoms
but the Zimbabwean government has failed to meet this obligation.

More so ICESR affirms that the state should see to it that it takes
necessary steps to provide the reduction of the stillbirth-rate and of
infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child and the
improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene.

Since ZINWA took over the administration of water and the sewer reticulation
high density suburbs have suffered the most. Unattended water pipe bursts
and raw sewages flowing all over in suburbs like Mbare, Highfields and St.
Mary's have characterized ZINWA administration.

The government of Zimbabwe should stop interfering with the local-urban
councils and concentrate on resolving the crisis in the country. The
resolution of the governance crisis will unlock investment and the
liberalization of the economy, increase industrial export production and
increase the in-flow of foreign currency needed to import water treatment
chemicals and purchase pipes to overhaul the sewer reticulation systems in
most urban centers of the country.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

War vets demand greater say in economy

Zim Online

Saturday 03 November 2007

By Brendon Tulani

BULAWAYO - Veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war are demanding a
greater say in the economy, taking advantage of their influence as foot
soldiers in President Robert Mugabe's re-election bid.

The Zimbabwe Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) yesterday raised
the stakes in the ongoing ZANU PF succession battle by demanding a more
prominent role for its members in the running of the economy.

The war veterans are now demanding greater say and participation in every
sector of the economy.

ZNLWVA national political commissar Victor Matemadanda said his organisation
had already put these demands to Mugabe who has been using the freedom
fighters in his battle for survival at the helm of the ruling ZANU PF party.

"We want to be involved in all sectors of the economy, not just being
guaranteed seats in Parliament," Matemadanda said. "This is what we fought

He, however, did not disclose in what ways the liberation war veterans
expected to have greater say in the economy.

The ZNLWVA has in the past arm-twisted Mugabe to adopt disastrous policies
that later ruined what was once one of Africa's model economies.

Such policies included the controversial 1997 decision by the 83-year-old
Zimbabwean leader to award the war veterans hefty gratuities, a development
seen by most analysts as the genesis of the country's economic crisis.

The gratuities immediately triggered the collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar and
the resultant spike in prices of goods and services.

ZNLWVA members were also behind the violent seizure of white-owned farms in
2000, which led to a flight of investors from the country and the withdrawal
of credit lines by multilateral financial institutions.

They have recently called for the complete nationalisation of foreign
companies, demanding that the government increases the threshold of shares
to be awarded to indigenous blacks under the Zimbabwe Economic Empowerment
and Indigenisation Bill passed by Parliament in September.

The Bill, currently awaiting Mugabe's signature before becoming law, would
force foreign investors to cede 51 percent of the shareholding to locals.

The war veterans have been staging street parades in the country's major
towns and cities to drum up support for the beleaguered Mugabe who faces
stiff challenge within ZANU PF for the leadership of the party.

The demands by the war veterans come ahead of a crucial extraordinary
congress next month.

Mugabe has been using them as coercing agents in his campaign to be declared
ZANU PF presidential candidate in next year's polls.

Mugabe is battling to get his presidential nomination endorsed by his ZANU
PF colleagues amid strong contestation from a faction led by retired army
general Solomon Mujuru, husband to Vice President Joice Mujuru.

He is also under pressure to recognise the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Recruitees Association, made up of people who were in exile in neighbouring
countries at the height of the liberation war but did not receive military

The association's national secretary Petros Sibanda said his group,
comprising 10 000 members, had already presented their concerns over lack of
recognition to President Mugabe.

"As an association, we rally behind the president and we support his
candidature for next year's election fully," said the organisation's
national treasurer Jotham Ndhlovu.

Other groups vying for recognition and possible award of gratuities include
the Zimbabwe War Collaborators Association and the Zimbabwe Ex-Political
Detainees and Restrictees who pledge loyalty to Mugabe. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe faces erratic timber supplies

Zim Online

Saturday 03 November 2007

Own Correspondent

MUTARE - Zimbabwe will face severe shortages of timber after newly resettled
black farmers destroyed timber plantations in the eastern highlands,
according to a senior official with the timber producers' association.

Bill Johnstone, who is the chief executive of the Timber Producers
Federation (TPF), said a total of 252 fires had destroyed over 10 000
hectares of timber plantations this year alone.

Johnstone said there were no plans to plant pine trees to replace those
destroyed by the fires making it impossible for the country to produce
enough timber for its domestic and foreign markets.

Timber is a major foreign currency earner in Zimbabwe.

"No efforts have been made to replant those trees and consequently the
national resource is slowly diminishing thereby endangering the future
supply of timber," Johnstone told ZimOnline.

"The forestry industry develops around timber plantations in the Eastern
Highlands but its thriving potential is hanging in the balance because of a
number of drawbacks notably deliberate fires, arson attacks as well as
unwarranted clearing by an influx of illegal settlers and gold panners."

Zimbabwe has over the past seven years battled to restore order in the
farming sector after President Robert Mugabe sanctioned the violent seizure
of white farms for redistribution to landless blacks.

The villagers have often caused havoc on former white-owned properties where
they have destroyed thousands of hectares of timber in areas such as Vumba,
Chipinge, Troutbek and Chimanimani in the Eastern Highlands.

Johnstone said the government should put in place deterrent fines and jail
terms to protect timber plantations.

Chaos on former commercial farms has triggered severe food shortages in
Zimbabwe where at least three million people, a quarter of the country's 12
million people require food aid to survive to the next harvest in April.

Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who is among senior government officials
calling for the restoration of order in the farming sector, last month
lashed out at newly resettled black farmers for destroying timber
plantations in the area.

"We do not accept a situation where whole plantations are burnt because a
person is hunting for mice," Mujuru said while opening the Manicaland
Agricultural Show in the eastern city of Mutare. - ZimOnline

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Civil Society Leader Puts Opposition At Arm's Length


By Taurai Shava
02 November 2007

Zimbabwean civil society leader Lovemore Madhuku said Friday that although
he has expressed deep disillusionment with the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change for voting with the ruling party to amend the constitution
so as to change the nation's electoral framework, he did not back proposals
for a new opposition party.

Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, told a meeting in
Gweru, the capital of Zimbabwe's Midlands Province, that an alternative
opposition party would not be able to wrest power from the ruling ZANU-PF of
President Robert Mugabe so long as the constitution now in place remains in

Madhuku was responding to a suggestion from some members of his organization
that the NCA should help form a new opposition party because the Movement
for Democratic change has not promoted fundamental constitutional reform.

He told the NCA's Midlands regional assembly that the organization would
continue its fight for what it calls a "people-driven constitution"
guaranteeing free, fair elections.

Madhuku said poor governance has caused the country's deepening economic
crisis so a new constitution is needed for Zimbabwe to be well governed and
to prosper.

Madhuku criticized the MDC for voting with the ruling party to amend the
constitution. He said ZANU-PF stands to win the national elections slated
for March as the present constitution, amended many times, gives it a
crucial advantage over the opposition.

He said opposition politicians know this but are blinded by greed because
they will be able to hold well-paid seats in parliament even if the ruling
party is returned.

Madhuku said the MDC has its own reasons for compromising with the ruling
party on the constitutional amendment signed into law this week by President
Robert Mugabe, but that the NCA "does not care about the reasons, nor does
it care about the friendship that has been existing between it and the

He said the the ruling party had been forced into crisis resolution talks by
concerted efforts from the MDC and civic stakeholders organized under the
banner of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign - but that civil society has been left
out of the dialogue.

Madhuku added that while in the past the NCA had not been concerned as to
whether its members belonged to the MDC, it was now time for clearer lines
to be drawn as he charged that his organization's constitutional reform
agenda had been subverted.

He said National Constitutional Asembly regional officials are trying to
make clear that the organization disagres with the MDC on the recent
constitutional amendment, and to emphasize that it is committed to obtaining
a "people-driven" constitution.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Opposition's Tsvangirai Takes Party Pulse On Women's Crisis


By Jonga Kandemiiri, Patience Rusere and Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
02 November 2007

Movement for Democratic Change faction leader Morgan Tsvangirai met Friday
with more provincial officials ahead of a critical meeting of his national
executive council Saturday in Harare aimed at resolving bitter feuding
around its women's wing.

Tsvangirai met Thursday with faction leaders in Bulawayo where he was said
to have received a tepid welcome amidst disenchantment among members over
the faction's dissolution last month of the women's assembly executive led
by Lucia Matibenga.

On Friday he made stops in Kwekwe and Gweru, both in the Midlands. Party
sources reached in Kwekwe declined to provide details on what Tsvangirai
told them.

But analysts said his tour of the provinces reflects an attempt to gauge
feeling at the grass roots before Saturday's key meeting of his faction's
top governing body.

Cape Town based political analyst Glenn Mpani told Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that while some speculate Tsvangirai hoped to silence
his critics, such meetings are a normal part of the consultative process
ahead of a key meeting.

Meanwhile, the woman who has been named to the chair of the Tsvangirai
faction's women's assembly, Theresa Makone, said her election last weekend
in Bulawayo was properly constituted and that only the women of the party
can reverse it.

Though a women's congress elected Makone assembly chairwoman, a separate and
competing congress voted to reinstate Lucia Matibenga as head of the

Matibenga and the rest of her executive were removed early last month by the
faction leadership for alleged infighting and ineffectiveness.

Makone told reporter Patience Rusere that the controversy around her
election is being stirred up by unnamed men in the party who have hidden

Analysts voiced concern that wrangling within the Tsvangirai MDC faction
might have a serious and negative impact on larger developments in the

As a participant in crisis resolution talks being mediated by South African
President Thabo Mbeki between the ruling party and opposition, the MDC
faction if fractured could slow that process, in particular with respect to
elections due in March 2008.

There is also concern ZANU-PF could seem a more stable party than the MDC
and find support among those discouraged by the prospect of another
opposition split.

The MDC split into two competing factions in late 2005, nominally over the
question of whether to participate in elections for a reconstituted senate
though personal clashes between Tsvangirai and his pre-split secretary
general, Welshman Ncube, played an important role in the schism. The rival
faction is now headed by Arthur Mutambara.

For perspective, reporter Ndimyake Mwakelyele turned to two political
commentators: Senior Analyst Sydney Masamvu of the International Crisis
Group in South Africa, and former Zimbabwe parliamentarian and opposition
politician Margaret Dongo.

Dongo said she perceives the risk that fallout from the feud in the
Tsvangirai faction could jeopardize the progress of the South
African-mediated crisis talks just as they are about to tackle critical
issues having to do with free and fair elections.

Meanwhile, in another incident of alleged political violence by state
agents, opposition sources in Hwange, Matabeleland North, said two men died
at Saint Patrick's Hospital in Hwange this week after they were assaulted by
soldiers last weekend.

The two unidentified men were brought to the hospital by police who found
them lying unconscious at a shopping center in Hwange's rural Musuna
village. Sources said the police have ordered hospital authorities not to
discuss the deaths with the media and that a third victim in serious
condition was not be allowed any visitors.

VOA could not reach police or hospital officials for confirmation or

Hwange lawmaker Thembinkosi Sibindi told reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the
victims were brutalized by soldiers, including youth militia, for belonging
to the opposition.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mandela denies asking Mugabe to step down


November 02, 2007, 21:45

Former President Nelson Mandela's spokesperson, Zelda le Grange, has denied
reports claiming Madiba has asked Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to step

The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, quoting unnamed sources, reports Mandela
sent a team of advisers to Harare in March with a message for Mugabe. The
newspaper says Mandela advised Mugabe to leave sooner rather than later, and
expressed concern that Mugabe could be hounded in the same way that former
Chilean leader Augusto Pinochet was until his death last year.

Le Grange says Madiba no longer plays any political role.

"I can categorically deny that Mr Mandela has not approached anyone to
interfere or intervene in the situation in Zimbabwe.

"He made a very strong statement in 2004 that he's retiring from politics
completely and he has not been involved in any political discussions since
June 2004," said le Grange.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Lonrho plans 70 mln stg fund for Zimbabwe investment


Fri 2 Nov 2007, 17:09 GMT

By Sujata Rao

LONDON, Nov 2 (Reuters) - London-listed South African firm Lonrho <LONR.L>
is raising a 70 million-sterling ($145.8 million) fund that will invest in
Zimbabwe and position for a recovery in the stricken economy, the company's
CEO said on Friday.

The announcement comes as the last foreign companies are pulling out of
Zimbabwe, a once prosperous country that has been brought to near-bankruptcy
due to a series of controversial land and economic policies since 2000 by
President Robert Mugabe's government.

U.S. food group Heinz left in September and the state has acquired its
Zimbabwean subsidiary as part of its campaign to take control of
foreign-owned firms. The country is also facing chronic food shortages and
inflation at almost 8,000 percent.

But Lonrho CEO Geoffrey White told Reuters his company, once a large
investor in Zimbabwe, saw the situation as an opportunity to re-enter.

"The Zimbabwean economy will recover...most people accept the fundamental
infrastructure is solid, for instance a good road system and a good
workforce," he said. "The question is when the upturn will come. We want to
be there and ready to partake in that process."

He declined to comment on politics.

"We will work within whatever legal framework there is in the country of
operation. That's what we do across Africa."

The move is a return of sorts to its roots for the company which started out
in 1909 as the London and Rhodesian Mining Company. At its peak in 1995,
Lonrho was operating in 15 sub-Saharan African countries, with approximately
90 subsidiaries in diverse sectors like agriculture, mining, property and

White said the company had pulled out of its vast mining concessions and
agricultural land in Zimbabwe at the same time as it was disposing of its
African assets in 2000. But since 2005 it has started re-establishing itself
in Africa.

Lonrho is hoping to invest primarily in Zimbabwe's infrastructure sector, he

"We are looking at transport, manufacturing, production -- sectors that we
believe will recover relatively quickly and strongly," he said. "We were
very big participants in the economy once and we hope to be again."

He said investment had already started with the purchase of controlling
stakes in Zimbabwean telco Celsys and chemicals manufacturer Gardosave for
$5.45 million in cash.

It is unclear how the investments will be affected by Zimbabwe's new law
requiring locals to hold majority control of foreign-owned firms.

White said the creation of LonZim, the Zimbabwe investment vehicle, had been
met with a "significant amount of interest". It has mandated Russia and
Africa-specialist Renaissance Capital as the placement agent for LonZim's
fundraising which he said is expected to complete by the end of 2007.

He said the fund would list on the Alternative Investment Market or AIM -- 
considered London's junior stock exchange with lighter regulation than the
full list.

"This will be an AIM-listed investment vehicle. It will comply with London
rules and regulations and will be very transparent," White said. "It is
possibly the only vehicle investing in Zimbabwe that a wider audience can
partake of."

Lonrho shares are trading at 47.25 pence compared with 28 pence at the start
of 2007.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Canaf ditches its Zimbabwe deal

From Miningmx (SA), 2 November

Dumisani Ndlela

Canadian mining group Canaf Group Inc has abandoned a proposed plan to
acquire Great Lakes Minerals and associated mining assets in Zimbabwe,
citing the controversial Empowerment and Indigenisation Bill now awaiting
assent from President Robert Mugabe. Canaf president and CEO David Way said
political risk in the country, now in its eighth year of a recession, was
increasing, making the planned acquisition unattractive. The initial
agreement with Midas Trust for the acquisition was adjusted after the
announcement of the Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill, passed through
parliament in Harare last month, Way said in a statement. "After much
discussion, we have decided that this acquisition is not in the best
interests of our shareholders at this time," he said. "We are committed to
providing value to our shareholders and will focus on our now 90%-owned coal
processing facility, with a view of increasing both our ownership stake to
100% and the overall profitability of the plant.

Canaf is the majority holder of Quantum in South Africa, which currently
supplies Mittal Steel with approximately 6,000 tonnes of coal per month. "We
will continue to search for new high-potential mining and mining related
opportunities in Africa." Midas Trust and Canaf remained on good terms and
may choose to revisit the acquisition potential of Great Lakes Minerals at
some time in the future, he said. Canaf's decision adds to increasing
concern from foreign-owned mining companies over the effect of the proposed
law on investment in the mining sector. Rio Tinto Plc recently indicated
that it had put on hold plans for $250m of additional investment into
expanding Murowa Diamond Mine pending the outcome of agreements with the
government that will recognise and reduce the risks to Rio Tinto's existing
and future investments following passage of the proposed law through

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hopes of a better Zim

The Sowetan

02 November 2007
Hotelier sees a very different Zimbabwe this time next year, writes Andrew

Dave Bunyard either knows something we don't or he's simply naive.

The gospel according to him is that come this time next year, Zimbabwe will
be a different kettle of fish from the wasteland it is today.

Talk is cheap, but Bunyard and his company, Zimbabwe Sun Limited are backing
their unwavering beliefs in that blighted country with hard, cold cash.

The general-manager of marketing of this dominant Zimbabwean hotel chain -
it owns 13 hotels in Zimbabwe which employ some 1800 people - said he and
his company were excited

The chain has also built or acquired hotels in Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea,
Tanzania, South Africa (The Grace) and have set their eyes on neighbouring

"The situation can only improve," he told me over coffee at the
recently-revamped The Grace boutique hotel in Rosebank, Johannesburg.

"At the Zimbabwean Sun group we want to position ourselves so that we are
ready when international tourists start pouring into the country again," he

After Mugabe seized white-owned farms in a massive, controversial land grab
in 2003, tourism to Zimbabwe dwindled .

Today, a little more than 60 percent of hotel guests are locals with a fair
share of visitors from neighbouring countries like South Africa, Botswana,
Zambia and Mozambique.

Bunyard, unlike any other white man I have come across, believes that at
some stage land redistribution was inevitable and that white dominance of
farms was unsustainable.

You don't have to be a battle-weary journo to know that . No board member of
a large concern would want to be critical of a regime on whose empire his
welfare rests.

Bunyard is no different. For starters, his PR company requested that I asked
no fat political questions.

As we sat down at The Grace, he told me: "I'm no politician.

"I'm a hotelier with a great hope for the future of my country".

He was, of course, born in Zimbabwe. He hadn' t experienced the brutal and
sometimes murderous uprooting of the people of his forefathers.

"You could say I'm a city boy. I was born, went to school and grew up in

But PR or not, you can't but be amazed at this eternal optimist.

The Zimbabwe Sun's flagship hotels, the Victoria Falls Holiday Inn and the
Harare Holiday Inn are big cash cows.

A few months earlier I spent 10 days at the Harare Holiday Inn and was not
impressed. Far from that. Food was bad and sparse. Every other bottle of
beer had some foreign bodies floating inside.

Of course, you can't blame the hotel for that. It simply supplies its guests
with what the local breweries dish out.

But that is a sure sign of how low that beautiful country has sunk.

Quality control institutions have either closed shop or their best people
have migrated to better climes. The workforce is demotivated.

Who wouldn' t be when the most you could expect is less than R400 a month?

Sad, sad little country.

But Bunyard believes things will eventually turn out for the better.

Hope is a rare commodity in that part of the world.

But his hope is infectious. It rubs off on you.

As many multinationals, including many South African companies cut their
losses and pull out of Zimbabwe, he is looking at building more hotels and
golf estates.

With sanctions pushing Zimbabwe to the edge of an economic collapse and
worker salaries being slashed, Bunyard and his people increased pay of their
workforce by 150percent this year alone.

"We apply the basic principles of hoteling," he told me. "An underpaid
worker creates an unhappy guest."

The hotel chain also helps its workers with school fees and contributes
hugely from its social responsibility programme.

I was an unhappy guest at one of his hotels, mainly because of the
pedestrian grub and bad customer service.

But he assures me that next time I'm in the land of Monomotapa, things will
be hunky-dory.

Next time I cross the Limpopo River and venture into that wonderful and
ancient country, I will get my favourite sirloin steak, spare ribs or leg of
lamb .

That is if I take Bunyard on his word.

How they plan to achieve that in a land where farms are wastelands and hard
foreign currency is as scarce as chicken teeth, does not need one to be a
rocket scientist, according to Bunyard.

Next year this time I hope to be back in Zimbabwe and also hope to enjoy a
home-grown piece of quality steak and good home-made cheese.

I'm taking you on your word, Dave. And good-luck with your country.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Courts Crippled As Magistrates Go On Strike

SW Radio Africa (London)

2 November 2007
Posted to the web 2 November 2007

Henry Makiwa

The country's courts are in crisis following a nationwide strike by
magistrates in protest at low pay and poor working conditions.

Regional magistrates at Harare, Mbare and Chitungwiza courts stopped work on
Thursday and others followed suit across the country. The magistrates
reportedly have sent a strongly worded letter to Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, Attorney General Sobuza Gula-Ndebele and acting director of
public prosecutions Florence Ziyambi, voicing their concerns.

It is understood that scores of magistrates have tendered resignations and
only one is left at Harare's main court. According to our correspondent
Simon Muchemwa, prosecutors and support staff have also joined in demanding
that the government look into their salary concerns.

Muchemwa reports: "The courts have seized functioning. Many cases are not
being attended to and the government has recalled some retired prosecutors
to act as magistrates.

"The magistrates say they have a genuine demand because of their status in
society. They are surviving on a paltry salary and yet they have to deal
with some serious legal cases at the courts. They are as such left prone to
corrupt practices or exposed to dangerous elements. Many are said to have
resigned and are looking for greener pastures beyond the borders."

Observers have criticised the government for turning a blind eye to the
magistrates' crisis, whose ripple effects include an increased backlog of
cases needing trial. Inmates in custody cells will be affected most as
conditions in prison continue to deteriorate.

The state media on Friday however reported that government has made offers
to provide all magistrates with cars and better pay.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Saga could land Mudede in court - diesel n'anga claims another scalp

From The Financial Gazette, 1 November

Clemence Manyukwe, Staff Reporter

Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede faces potentially embarrassing obstruction
of justice charges for allegedly harbouring Rotina Mavhunga, the Chinhoyi
spirit medium who duped government officials to part with $5 billion after
claiming she could conjure refined diesel from a rock. A letter seen by The
Financial Gazette this week, written by the prosecutor's office in Chinhoyi
to the Harare Central Investigations Department's Homicide Division, directs
the police to investigate Mudede and to produce a docket. The letter is
copied to the Attorney General. Court records seen by this paper also show
that in denying Mavhunga bail last month, Chinhoyi magistrate Ngoni Nduna
questioned why Mudede had not been charged for protecting a wanted person.
On the day of judgment on the bail application, the officer investigating
the case revealed for the first time that Mudede had shielded Mavhunga from
arrest. Up to that point, police had only referred to the Registrar General
as "a high ranking government official". The records show that the
magistrate denied Mavhunga bail on account of her links with Mudede, whom he
said could facilitate the woman's escape. Court papers also show that the
prosecutor, Herikiya Maromo, made an application to have Mavhunga's state of
mind ascertained in terms of the Mental Health Act. The prosecutor said the
accused might have a split personality, as evidenced by her use of a string
of different identities - Rotina Mavhunga, Nomatter Tagarira and Changamire
or Sekuru Dombo. Defence lawyers opposed the application, saying their
client's constitutional rights were being violated. The prosecution deferred
the application pending the determination of the matter by the Supreme

The Financial Gazette reported last week how government plied Mavhunga with
$5 billion, a farm, and other services while pursuing her claims that a rock
could produce diesel if she pointed her "sacred stick at it." She faces
allegations of fraud, or alternatively charges under the Criminal Law
(Codification Reform) Act for being a "criminal nuisance." According to the
state, the saga began last year when Mavhunga, and a group of gold panners
still at large, came across a container of diesel at Muningwa Hills in
Chinhoyi after which they connived to convince government officials that it
was flowing from a rock. Many speculate the diesel tank could have been left
there in the years leading up to independence. According to court records,
Mavhunga connected a hose from the container to the foot of the hill,
dazzling the gullible with mystical incantations - which must have been a
signal to her sidekick to open a tap - as the liquid flowed. However, when
the diesel finally ran out, according to court records, Mavhunga would buy
more from passing truckers to continue her con.

"As a result of this misrepresentation by the accused, the whole country's
interests and government interests at large resulted in the government of
Zimbabwe committing human and material resources into the issue, which later
turned out to be false," court papers say. "As a result of this
misrepresentation, the accused unlawfully solicited and received food,
money, services, a farmhouse and a farm from the government of Zimbabwe,
knowing well that her claims were false." So convinced was government, that
it sent in three different teams of senior officials to secure what they
must have believed was the solution to years of fuel shortages. The first
team comprised State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa, Defence Minister
Sydney Sekeramayi and Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi. A second team was
made up of Energy Minister Mike Nyambuya, Science and Technology Minister
Olivia Muchena and Mines Minister Amos Midzi. Yet another committee, led by
deputy Police Commissioner Godwin Matanga, and including security forces,
government officials, supposed academics and traditional leaders, had also
once been rushed to the site. Government's n'anga shame has blown the lid on
how deep the belief in superstition and sorcery among the country's
political leaders runs

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Refugees and cops clash


November 02 2007 at 11:47AM

By Lavern de Vries

A peaceful sit-in by desperate asylum seekers at the Department of
Home Affairs offices on the Foreshore, Cape Town, erupted into pandemonium
when refugees clashed with police.

Last night's violent confrontation led to the arrest of two members of
the refugee advocacy group Passop (People Against Suffering Suppression,
Oppression and Poverty) and the manhandling of a refugee.

Earlier a group of about 40 refugees had refused to leave the
department's premises after waiting for more than seven hours to be served.

One irate Zimbabwean refugee said he had arrived at the department at
2am, hoping to be one of the 100 firstcomers that the department recently
agreed to serve.

"After waiting for seven hours, they told me I needed to fill in a
form with my details and they would phone me on Wednesday to be helped. I
can't wait until Wednesday because I may be picked up by police who will
arrest me and deport me," the emotional man said.

Despite being informed that they might be arrested for trespassing,
the angry group staged a sit-in at the offices, refusing to leave until they
were served.

Helpless officials then called the police who explained to the group
that they could not sleep in the centre because the department was not
liable for their safety.

After 30 minutes of negotiating, the police called for back-up.

A Cape Argus team witnessed a group of about 15 police officers
disperse the group using pepper spray.

A Zimbabwean refugee, who reiterated that he could not leave because
he would miss his turn in the queue this morning, curled into a ball and
started crying.

Attempts at asking him to leave failed and about seven policemen
started kicking him.

Passop chairperson Braam Hanekom then pleaded with the police to stop
and requested that they remove the man without force.

Upon exiting the building, police taunted the crowd by laughing at the
injured Zimbabwean and a scuffle ensued between Hanekom, another Passop
member and the police.

Police again sprayed the crowd with pepper spray and chased the group
from the premises, warning that they would be beaten with batons and

Hanekom and a Passop member known only as Ben were handcuffed and
shoved into a police van. The two are to face charges of riotous behaviour.

On Friday Patrick Chauke, portfolio committee member for Home Affairs,
said he was "utterly disturbed" by last night's events.

Chauke, who during a recent visit to the centre described the
situation as "chaotic", urged refugees to remain patient and allow home
affairs to handle the problem.

Police and Home Affairs were unable to comment at the time of going to
press. - Additional reporting by Jade Witten.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Cape Argus
on November 02, 2007

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Paul Thomas: Democracy is democracy be it in Africa or Europe

New Zealand Herald

5:00AM Saturday November 03, 2007
By Paul Thomas

In the mad, mad world that is Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, the Lotto ticket
buyer's dream of becoming an instant millionaire is an everyday reality.

With inflation at 8000 per cent and US$1 now worth one million Zimbabwe
dollars, the local currency is good for nothing except starting a fire. Who
could afford to hire the convoy of trucks needed to transport the mountain
of cash it would take to fund a regulation trip to the supermarket? Not that
there's anything on the supermarket shelves or any staff to serve you since
police arrested about 10,000 businesspeople and confiscated their stock for
failing to enforce price controls.

Like many a revolutionary saviour turned tin-pot dictator, Mugabe promised a
people's paradise but delivered hell on earth. The land once known as "the
breadbasket of Africa" is now racked by famine. Even wildlife in game
reserves is being slaughtered for food. In 20 years, life expectancy has
fallen from 62 years to 38.

It wasn't always thus. The transition from white-ruled Rhodesia to
black-ruled Zimbabwe in 1980 was greeted with near-universal approval and
optimism, but perhaps we should have heeded the prophetic lines Shakespeare
gave Julius Caesar - "Let me have men about me that are fat. Yond Cassius
has a lean and hungry look; he thinks too much: such men are dangerous" -
when Mugabe superseded fellow revolutionary and rival, the beefy Joshua

It didn't take Mugabe long to demonstrate that he wasn't a Nelson Mandela, a
healing figure blessed with a saintly capacity for forgiveness and
reconciliation and untouched by the paranoia and totalitarian urges which
often infect leaders who cut their teeth in revolutionary struggle.

He brought in North Korean military advisers to train the Fifth Brigade, a
unit made up entirely of veterans of his ZANU Party's military wing which
operated outside the army's command structure, answerable only to Mugabe

In 1982 the Fifth Brigade pounced on Matabeleland, Nkomo's power base:
20,000 people were butchered and the potential opposition smashed. Nkomo
fled the country.

His 1984 autobiography contained this plaintive and bewildered line which
pretty well summarises post-colonial Zimbabwe:

"Nothing in my life had prepared me for persecution at the hands of a
Government led by black Africans."

Since then Mugabe has seldom deviated from a course that has transformed the
breadbasket into a basket-case and secured his place in Africa's chamber of
horrors alongside other gangster-megalomaniacs such as Amin, Mobutu, and

International opinion, especially in the Third World, has struggled to come
to terms with Mugabe, perhaps because people find it hard to separate the
individual from the cause or to accept that the euphoria which greeted the
end of white rule was premature.

Nkomo notwithstanding, it's easy to assume that for a black African corrupt
and tyrannical rule by one of his kind would be easier to bear than being
treated as second-class by the white master. The danger with this type of
rationalisation is that it can classify black-on-black tyranny as a lesser
evil or give rise to the troubling proposition that because of historical
and cultural factors, notably tribalism, democracy as we understand it
doesn't work in Africa.

So are the usual accompaniments of one-party states - suppression of
opposition, denial of human rights, corruption, incompetence - part and
parcel of "the African way"? And what is the cultural context of state

"They're entitled to do things their way" trips off the tongue but ignores
the fact that they - in the sense of the citizenry whose Western
counterparts get to choose and dump their leaders - don't have much say in
the matter. This is as fatuous as critics of the Iraq war who insisted it
was up to the Iraqi people to depose Saddam Hussein.

"My country right or wrong", the catch-cry of the American right during the
Cold War, had a left-wing echo in "No enemies on the left." These slogans
led both sets of believers down a moral and intellectual cul-de-sac,
encouraging them to view matters of fact and questions of right and wrong
through the distorting lenses of patriotism and ideological solidarity.

To think and act on the basis of my race or religion or skin colour right or
wrong carries the same risk: that of having to defend the indefensible.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tell Dem Jah Man!

Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)

2 November 2007
Posted to the web 2 November 2007

Darlington Majonga

JAMAICAN reggae star Luciano was this week wheeled in to buttress state
propaganda designed to portray Zimbabwe as a safe tourist destination.

Luciano's visit is only the latest in a pathetic PR exercise under the aegis
of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority which in the past has included usurping
and commandeering beauty pageants.

No doubt these publicity stunts -- ingratiatingly well-oiled by the state
media -- are targeted at glossing over Zimbabwe's crisis ahead of the 2010
World Cup in South Africa which will lure droves of tourists to this region.

Does anyone care to tell us how many tourists have been to Zimbabwe since
the country hosted the Miss Malaika pageant in 2002 at a huge cost to the

At least we can count the costs of the government's misrule without effort.

Luciano incidentally visits at a time his kith and kin are considering
whether or not they will be safe to play cricket in Zimbabwe later this

In July, West Indies did not hesitate to withdraw their A side from
fulfilling a tour of Zimbabwe because of player security concerns.

Who would blame them if they can't trust a country where opposition
activists can be bashed while in police custody?

This probably explains the desperate propaganda surrounding Luciano's visit:
Zimbabwe is a safe tourist destination.

"It is our honour to celebrate our Jacaranda Jazz Festival with you and I
hope your eyes will do the talking when you return to Jamaica," Tourism
minister Francis Nhema told Luciano.

"If you want to go to Mbare, Highfield or Chitungwiza we will make
arrangements so that you preach what you would have seen."

The Rastaman has been dutiful so far.

Luciano has since his arrival on Tuesday gratifyingly extolled President
Robert Mugabe's leadership, chanting the unoriginal rhetoric that the
geriatric politician was still needed to extricate Zimbabwe out of

But hailing the land reform or heaping praises on Mugabe will neither put
food on our tables nor make Zimbabwe a safer tourist destination - assuming
safety has ever been an issue for those who want to visit the Victoria
Falls, Hwange, Kariba, Matobos or the Eastern Highlands.

Coincidentally, Luciano's see-and-tell-it-like-it-is tour was preceded by a
visit --though unrelated -- by another man from the Caribbean.

West Indies Cricket Board (WICB)'s cricket operations manager Tony Howard
spent last week in Zimbabwe to assess the security situation in the country
ahead of the Caribbean side's tour scheduled for this month.

Although Howard has attempted to downplay the purpose of his visit, saying
it was just a routine "pre-tour assessment", we know why he was specifically

This happens four months after the Caricom politicians barred West Indies A
from fulfilling a cricket tour of Zimbabwe on security grounds.

It must have been hard for the WICB to make an embarrassing climbdown and
immediately declare Zimbabwe safe to visit.

Howard might have seen something that will stop the Windies from coming to
Zimbabwe, but at least he should be encouraged that India A, South Africa
and their A side as well as Sri Lanka A have toured the country without any

But whatever Howard and his security expert saw, it certainly has nothing to
do with the security of West Indies in Harare.

If West Indies don't want to come to Zimbabwe, they better give us another

Security -- especially of tourists -- is not an issue in Zimbabwe.

In that sense, roping in Luciano to depict Zimbabwe as a safe tourist
destination is a futile effort and a sheer waste of taxpayers' money.

Instead of a merry-go round with Luciano in a Hummer, why doesn't the
musician's handlers let him out on his own at night to see if he will be

The Jah Man can hobnob with sistrens and ruggamuffins until the wee hours of
morning if he wants; he can commute on public transport to the House of
Nyabinghi in Chitungwiza if he so wishes.

And chances are high no one will touch him, unless he's unlucky to have
someone picking his foreign currency-lined pockets.

Fortunately too -- and with respect - very few will recognise him on our
streets because most of us have not seen him on television as we constantly
don't have electricity.

But more seriously, there's no point in the West Indies Players Association
refusing to fulfil an ICC Future Tours Programme series on the basis that
their cricketers' security will be compromised in Zimbabwe.

As for food, there's no doubt whatsoever that Zimbabwe Cricket will make
sure the West Indies have enough to eat.

The only people who can worry about their safety are opposition politicians
and activists as well as those who dare point a finger at those they think
are responsible for their penury.

The only people who can worry about food shortages in the country are us
ordinary Zimbabweans who have suffered the consequences of never-thought-out
populist policies.

Next will we hear West Indies refusing to tour South Africa because their
brethren, reggae icon Lucky Dube, was shot dead in one of the numerous
high-profile murders in that country?

Will Wipa tell us they will not tour Karachi because they fear bomb blasts?

Maybe next time the Windies will refuse to play at home in the Caribbean
because former Pakistan coach Bob Woolmer is suspected to have been murdered
there during the 2007 World Cup?

On that note, we can only listen if West Indies say they will not come to
Zimbabwe on moral grounds.

We can only understand if the Windies are honest enough, just like the
Australians, that they don't want to come to Zimbabwe because of Mugabe's
alleged human rights abuses.

Still, if West Indies don't come for political or moral reasons, that will
be tantamount to cricket sanctions against Zimbabwe.

Do we as Zimbabweans deserve that?

If anything, cricket sanctions would give Mugabe a good chuckle.

By the way, it appears the Old Man will be with us for some time. Nuff

Anyone who believes Mugabe would shed a tear if West Indies were to call off
their scheduled tour of Zimbabwe might as well believe the veteran leader
will spend the remainder of his old life in a monastery.

The Old Man is determined to remain in power no matter what you, me and even
his wife may say.

Again the West Indians should know that if they take the Australian route
their efforts would be nearly futile.

Having said security is not an issue, we sincerely hope West Indies will
make a sporting decision instead of a political one.

Zimbabwe's young and inexperienced cricketers need West Indies more than the
Zanu PF government does.

The young players have a future and Mugabe doesn't.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

FEWS Southern Africa Food Security Outlook Oct 2007 - Mar 2008


This report covers the period from 9/13/2007 to 10/30/2007

The FEWS NET Outlook for Southern Africa incorporates the findings from six country outlooks for the period October 2007 to March 2008. This outlook provides a basis for regional and global resource allocation and contingency planning, as well as in-country planning. This report summarizes the results of this process for Southern Africa, highlighting what FEWS NET believes are the major threats to food security in the period October 2007 to March 2008.

The most likely regional food security scenario between October 2007 and March 2008 is a continued decline in food security conditions in areas now facing moderate to high levels of food insecurity as noted above. The exception is Zimbabwe, where the situation as at end of September is expected to improve marginally between October and December, as the number of areas with high levels of food insecurity declines as a result of improvements in emergency interventions. The situation will however deteriorate again between January and March, during which the hunger season peaks, and more districts become moderately food insecure. This analysis takes into account the regional seasonal forecast which in general indicates a normal to above normal rainfall season for the period of the outlook.

The worst case scenario would arise if the assumptions under the most likely scenario do not hold, and instead, conditions deteriorate leading to extremely high levels of food insecurity, particularly in Zimbabwe and southern and central Mozambique, countries which face moderate to extreme food insecurity even in the most likely scenario. The situation would be further exacerbated if rainfall performance is poor with a delayed start and/or lengthy dry spells. Extreme levels of food insecurity will arise in parts southern Mozambique in the period October to December; while in Zimbabwe, most extreme levels would occur in the January to March 2008 period.

In Lesotho and Swaziland, where widespread food insecurity has been assessed, the situation is likely to be mitigated through on-going emergency interventions targeted at vulnerable households. However adequate assistance will depend on improvements in the responses to appeals for resources by governments and humanitarian agencies. Currently the UN appeals for emergency assistance are 18 percent funded in Swaziland, and 49 percent in Lesotho.

Full_Report (pdf* format - 454.1 Kbytes)

Back to the Top
Back to Index