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Tsvangirai promises compensation for victims of political violence

Saturday, 08 October 2011 19:52


GUTU – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said his party will compensate
victims of political violence and make the perpetrators accountable for
their deeds if he defeats President Robert Mugabe in next year’s elections.

Addressing hundreds of party supporters at Maungwa Business centre in Gutu
at the memorial service of the late Public Service minister, Professor,
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro yesterday, Tsvangirai said the MDC-T government will
make sure that Zanu PF militia, who were responsible for political violence,
will be punished.

Mukonoweshuro, who was also the legislator for Gutu South constituency, died
in South Africa after he suffered heart complications.“An MDC-T government
will not ignore victims of political violence.

For those who were beaten, raped, had property looted or destroyed, we are
making a commitment to heal their wounds,” said Tsvangirai. “Those who were
killed, we will take care of their children. This is a commitment we will
make and we will follow up on it. We have got the records of those

The MDC-T has said at least 200 of its supporters were killed by suspected
Zanu PF activists during the violent 2008 elections. The Premier said the
perpetrators of political violence would be brought to book.

“We cannot just be silent and let the villains celebrate their actions,” he
said. Tsvangirai said his party has been at the receiving end of political
violence at all elections and warned of more violence in the decisive
winner-takes-all elections to be held in the near future. The MDC-T leader
urged President Robert Mugabe to rein in his party supporters, whom he said
fanned violence before, during and after polls.

“We all know who brings the violence to our areas but Zanu PF should
discipline its members,” said Tsvangirai. “Mugabe should walk his talk when
he says no to violence.”

Mugabe has on several forums condemned political violence but has never been
able to rein in his supporters. Zanu PF supporters recently beat up people
at the official opening of Parliament and invaded private properties in many
towns with impunity.
Tsvangirai also condemned state institutions which he said were now
instigating violence against defenceless citizens.

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VP Mujuru demands results of police probe

Saturday, 08 October 2011 19:41


RUSHINGA — Vice-president Joice Mujuru yesterday said she is still waiting
for the report on the cause of the death of her husband, Solomon, almost two
months after the former army general perished in an inferno at his Beatrice

The retired army commander died in mysterious circumstances in August, and
it is not yet known whether he was murdered before the fire at his house or
was killed in the inferno.

Addressing villagers in Rushinga, Mashonaland Central province yesterday,
Mujuru said that she felt consoled when people from her home region came in
their numbers to pay their condolences following her husband’s death.

“Thank you for coming in your numbers to mourn your son-in-law seven weeks
ago before we knew what really happened to him,” said Mujuru.
“I am still waiting for an explanation.”

Mujuru said this after touring community projects being implemented by the
Community Technology Development Trust (CTDT) with funding from the Catholic
Relief Services (CRS).

Soon after her husband’s death, the Vice-President said she could not
understand how a military man could have failed to escape a fire in a house
which had so many accessible exit points that he could have easily used to
escape the fire.

Relatives and friends of the Mujuru family suspect that the late general was
murdered but are not privy to the reasons. Their suspicions have been
worsened by the long time the police have taken to release the results of
their investigations.

Sources said they are pushing for the exhumation of the general’s remains so
that a second postmortem could be conducted by an international pathologist.

“Family members and his friends in political circles want an independent
enquiry because they have lost confidence in investigations by the police
which have taken too long to conclude and appear to be influenced by
politics,” said one of the sources.

Even Members of Parliament across the political divide also suspect foul
play and have demanded a thorough investigation. The legislators said last
week they hoped that details of Mujuru’s death would be made public soon to
end the anxiety that grips, not only the Mujuru family, but the whole
Publicising the police findings would also end widespread speculation that
the retired general was murdered.

Early this month, Police spokesperson, senior assistant commissioner, Wayne
Bvudzijena, said they had completed the first round of investigations and
would soon be handing over a consolidated report to the family and other
responsible authorities.

He did not indicate when another round of investigations would be carried
out or the results of the first round would be announced.
Efforts to get a comment from Bvudzijena yesterday were fruitless.

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Zim Students praised for writing talent

Saturday, 08 October 2011 20:10

WINNING entries in the 2011 Cover to Cover short story writing competition
reflects the depth of writing talent among students in the country.
Speaking at this year’s Cover to Cover short story writing competition
awards ceremony held at Meikles Hotel in Harare on Friday , Swedish
ambassador to Zimbabwe Anders Lidén lauded the country’s high literacy rate.

Lidén, however, urged government to offer more support to the culture
sector. “The culture sector should have the capacity to become an income
generating industry for young people. More government support for the sector
is needed,” said Lidén. “Writers are leaders of the future. The culture
sector should be looked upon as an industry.”

The competition run by The Standard newspaper attracted entries from all 10
provinces of the country. Entries from Grade 6 and 7 pupils constituted
almost half of the entries, while the least number of entries emanated from
form 5 and 6 students.

Alpha Media Holdings Chief Executive Officer Raphael Khumalo said the
competition was aimed at nurturing children’s writing talent through
rewarding creativity. “The work that we are doing through cover to cover is
for young people.

The process is similar to planting a seed and ensuring that it grows and
matures,” he said. “Some of the people who have been nurtured by cover to
cover have become writers of repute.”

Khumalo added that the organisers were grateful for prizes from the British
Council and the Culture Fund for printing the magazine. —BY OUR STAFF

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Mugabe going nowhere: War veterans leader

Saturday, 08 October 2011 20:08

MASVINGO — THE Zanu PF conference set for December in Bulawayo will endorse
President Robert Mugabe’s candidature in next year’s elections, a war
veterans’ leader has said.

Masvingo war veterans provincial chairman Isaiah Muzenda told The Standard
Mugabe would not leave office until he fulfilled his promise for total
empowerment of Zimbabweans. “He is not going anywhere. We are going to
endorse his candidature in Bulawayo,” said Muzenda.

“The president is yet to complete his mandate of total empowerment through
the indigenisation programme after successfully tackling the land issue.”
Asked about the chaotic manner in which Zanu PF is pushing the empowerment
programme, Muzenda blamed officials surrounding Mugabe for the problems.

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Chipangano attacks MDC-T activists

Saturday, 08 October 2011 19:58

THREE MDC-T supporters are battling for their lives at a private clinic in
Harare after they were viciously attacked by members of Chipangano, a terror
militia linked to Zanu PF.

Ten other MDC supporters who were also attacked were treated and discharged.
The three who could barely speak, were being treated for injuries ranging
from broken ribs, broken legs and suspected a fractured skull after being
struck by stones, iron bars and sticks. They were stabbed with  screw

The MDC-T supporters, who were waylaid by at least 50 Zanu PF youths at a
roundabout along Simon Mazorodze road, were also robbed of their money and
mobile phones and other personal belongings before they were left for dead
near Mukuvisi river.

The attack comes at a time when President Robert Mugabe has been calling for
an end to political violence, but has not been able to rein in his
supporters. Zanu PF yesterday denied involvement in the vicious attack.

The victims said they were attacked when coming from Rotten Row Magistrates’
Courts where, earlier in the day, they had protested against the arrest of
MDC-T youth leader Solomon Madzore on allegations of murdering a police
officer in Glen View earlier this year.

The youths said the T35 truck they were riding in was blocked when they were
approaching a roundabout near Houghton Park by a commuter omnibus and a
white twin cab Isuzu.

Afterwards the Zanu PF militia advanced towards them holding sticks, stones,
screw drivers and crowbars before mercilessly attacking everyone in the T35

Speaking from his hospital bed, Prince Mwenezhi who could hardly speak, said
he was taken to Mukuvisi River where he was beaten up using sticks and iron
bars with others kicking him all over his body.

“All the time they were beating me up they kept demanding that I give them
the money I got from Harvest house,” said Mwenezhi. “There were also
accusing me of having beaten up a police officer at the Magistrates court.”

Another victim, Vengesai Chingoriro, also speaking from his hospital bed,
said he had been blindfolded with his sweater before being brutally
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa yesterday denied the
party’s youths were involved in the attack.

He instead claimed it was the MDC-T youths who had attacked each other.
Efforts to get a comment from the police were fruitless yesterday.

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Uproar over impending deportations

Sunday, 09 October 2011 12:20

THE South African Home Affairs Department is engaged in a slanging match
with a refugee non-governmental organisation over the resumption of
deportation of the Zimbabwe immigrants.

South Africa has lifted the moratorium on deportation of the immigrants,
prompting People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (Passop) to issue
a statement saying it was concerned at the timing of the forced removals.

“The deportation of Zimbabweans resumes at a very sensitive time, with
revelations in recent months of abuse of asylum seekers at refugee reception
centres compromising their right to apply for refugee status,” the
organisation said.

But co-Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone defended her South African
counterparts saying they had done what any government in the world would
have done.

“I do not have an issue to raise with them yet, I will only do so if the
issue escalates,” she said. Makone said South African authorities had
assured her that all Zimbabweans who had applied for permits or had sought
to regularise their stay in the neighbouring countries would be unaffected
by the deportations.

The Home Affairs minister, who was at the Musina border during the
interview, said there was no congestion, but they were monitoring the events
But Passop said the renewed deportations were in contrast to the Home
Affairs’ Director General, Mkuseli Apleni’s statements that deportations
would only resume once the documentation project had been completed, appeals
reviewed and the minister’s approval for the deportations.
Apleni made these statements while addressing a parliamentary portfolio
committee on Home Affairs recently.

Deportation decision will distort census figures: PAssop

Passop charged that the lifting of the moratorium had not been done in a
transparent manner, as the Home Affairs ministry was supposed to make a
public statement on the failed immigrants.

The NGO said its efforts to get clarity on the number of Zimbabweans in
South Africa were being undermined by the deportations. “Despite Passop
being reassured by South Africa’s statistician-general, Pali Lehohla, that
it will be safe for all immigrants to participate in the census, the
department of Home Affairs has taken a seemingly unilateral decision,”
Passop said.

The organisation said due to the renewed deportations “fear and paranoia”
had crept into the immigrant community, arguing that Zimbabweans would go
underground and would be unwilling to take part in South Africa’s national

Passop claimed the move would continue “to obscure” the actual number of
Zimbabweans living in South Africa.

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MDC-T intra-party violence blamed

Sunday, 09 October 2011 12:18


Some critics of the MDC-T said intra-party violence, which has increased
over the years, is another clear sign that the MDC-T leadership is losing
control of its structures and could be badly exposed if elections were

Students, one of MDC-T’s main strategic pillars in the democratisation
movement, are disgruntled by their exclusion from activities of the party.
Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (Zinasu) recently said it had suspended
ties with MDC-T after its leaders had an altercation with its party’s
organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa at the party’s 12th anniversary.

The students are also at loggerhead with Tsvangirai over the buying of
luxury cars while they have no textbooks, accommodation and food at schools
and universities. But University of Zimbabwe political scientist John
Makumbe, who is an MDC-T activist eyeing a constituency in Buhera, said the
party still enjoys massive support.

He said the split in Zinasu and the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
were machinations by Zanu PF to weaken the populous party.
“This is why there is a split in Zinasu and ZCTU,” said Makumbe. “There are
those who want to cause confusion in the party.”

Another political analyst, Brian Raftopolous said despite organisational
problems in the MDC-T, the party remains a force to reckon with. He said it
would not be in the interest of MDC-T or the country to hold polls early as
issues of security sector reform, media, electoral reform and political
violence have not been addressed.

“The conditions are not yet ready for elections in Zimbabwe,” he said. “It’s
better to wait a little longer. However, the party remains strong despite
its organisational problems here and there.”

Mavhinga said delayed polls would give the MDC-T time to re-organise itself.
“The MDC-T is favoured by a delayed election because it gives them time to
reconnect with key allies and constituencies and the greater the delay, the
higher the chances that President Mugabe would not be a factor in that next
election,” said Mavhinga.

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Delayed poll favours MDC-T: Analysts

Sunday, 09 October 2011 12:15

THE political zeal and verve that gripped MDC-T supporters during its early
years of formation is fading with critics raising questions about the party’s
ability to revive such vibrancy and support before the next elections.

The morale of workers and students — the bedrock of MDC-T support — has
reached its lowest ebb as they accuse the leadership, now in government, of
neglecting them and deviating from the founding values and principles of the

Workers and students have accused MDC-T leadership in government of joining
the Zanu PF bandwagon to enrich themselves while ignoring their plight.
Government recently doled out US$20 million to buy luxurious vehicles for
ministers at a time when workers’ salaries remain pathetically low, clinics
remain without enough medicine; schools run without books, while thousands
of Zimbabweans need food assistance.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who still claims massive support, has
denied he has lost the political will to fight the extravagance in
government. But he rose to the defence of the vehicles-for-chefs scheme

“There is a wrong perception in this country that ministers, especially
those from the MDC, are now living in luxury,” Tsvangirai said. “Do you want
ministers to go around doing government business on bicycles?” questioned

But his ministers have each received at least six government vehicles since
2009. “The MDC-T is slowly alienating itself from its support base,” said
one political analyst. “Supporters need continual assurance that we are
together in the struggle and that should be accompanied by deeds.”

A number of MDC-T councillors have been fingered in corrupt activities and
are under investigation. Some have abandoned their constituencies to live in
the posh houses they allegedly acquired fraudulently, further angering their

Political analyst Dewa Mavhinga said the MDC-T, and all political leaders,
must strongly guard against the arrogance of power and trappings that come
with being in government.

“They must remain committed to the common cause in alliance with the person
on the street,” said Mavhinga, a senior official with the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition (CiZC), South Africa Office.

MDC-T support base now fragile

Critics said it would be in the best interest of MDC-T to push for early
elections before glaring acts of incompetence, corruption and greed are
Events in the past few months paint a gloomy picture for MDC-T, which could
see its support fall drastically if it fails to reshape itself into a
pro-worker party that it was at its birth.

This could result in supporters turning against the leadership. But others
said despite structural problems which have resulted in factionalism and
violence, the party remained a political force to be reckoned with as it was
an alternative to Zanu PF, which has lost the support of the majority

The absence of another credible party in the country, they said, weighed in
favour of MDC-T if polls were to be held anytime. Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai wants elections to be held only after Zimbabwe has achieved a
levelled playing field, but President Robert Mugabe has declared that
elections will be held early next year.

Mugabe has accused his rivals of stalling the constitution-making process to
prolong the life of the unity government.

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Khupe launches MDC-T election campaign in Byo

Sunday, 09 October 2011 12:14

BULAWAYO — The MDC-T today launches its presidential election campaign in
Bulawayo. MDC-T Vice-President Thokozani Khupe will launch the campaign at
Induna grounds in Bulawayo’s Pelandaba suburb in preparation for the
upcoming polls that President Robert Mugabe insists should be held early
next year to end the life-span of the fragile coalition government.

MDC-T Bulawayo provincial youth league chairman, Bekithemba Nyathi said the
campaign was organised by the party’s youth league in Bulawayo province. “We
are launching this campaign to show that we are ready for any presidential
election. We have parliamentarians, senators, councillors and mayors running
the affairs of the country, but now is the time to finally have our leader
as the country’s president,” Nyathi said.

MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai recently urged the nation to pray for
peace as the country heads for elections to end the government of national
unity (GNU). He said the campaigns for the elections are the “last mile”
towards achieving full democracy marked by the removal of Mugabe.

The MDC-T leader urged the nation to pray and shun political violence ahead
of the polls. “As we embark on this last mile to full democracy, I urge the
church and everyone committed to peace to unite in prayer and ask God the
Almighty to bless our country,” said Tsvangirai during a prayer meeting held
at MacDonald’s Hall, Mzilikazi Suburb, Bulawayo recently.

In his address to the Zanu-PF central committee on Thursday, Mugabe said he
wanted polls held next year as he was fed up with the discord among
political parties in the inclusive government.

“The MDC are supporters of sanctions, supporters of failure and not success.
The failure of agriculture the better (for them),” Mugabe was quoted as
saying. “That is why we would want to have this creature away from the
horizon — the inclusive government. This lack of comprehension, is the heavy
price we are paying for an incompatible marriage born out of the 2008
political compromise.”

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Retired army officer arrested for invasion

Sunday, 09 October 2011 12:06

BULAWAYO — The chairman of Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) retired members
association, Stalin Zowa, was last week arrested and dragged to court for
allegedly grabbing a residential property of an Indian in Bulawayo under the
guise of black empowerment.

Zowa (59) was arrested by police last week for evicting Naik Jayanti from
her house in Khumalo suburb and later renting out the property.
He appeared before Bulawayo Magistrate Tawanda Muchenwa on Thursday on
charges of unlawful entry.

Zowa, who is represented by Hlabezulu Malinga and Job Sibanda and
Associates, was remanded out of custody on US$100 bail to October 12. He
evicted Jayanti on September 10 last month charging that he had many
properties when many blacks in the city did not have accommodation.

His arrest comes barely a week after police in the city also arrested a
number of Zanu-PF youths, among them, the party’s youth league secretary for
economic affairs, Fundani Dewa, for allegedly grabbing buildings from whites
and Indians in Bulawayo.

The arrests and eviction of Zanu PF youths from buildings they grabbed has
however, sparked divisions among members of the provincial executive.

Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairman, Isaac Dakamela, publicly disowned the
youths as criminals while other senior provincial party members are said to
be against the arrest of their party cadres.

The arrests have triggered fresh attempts by angry Zanu PF youths to remove
Dakamela from power, accusing him of protecting interests of members of the
white community.

Zowa  backs Mugabe for presidency

The former ZNA officer, Zowa, recently said his organisation backs President
Robert Mugabe in upcoming elections and insisted on removal of sanctions to
guarantee free and fair polls.

“We want the elections to be held this year because there is a lot of
discord and indecision in the inclusive government, but if they are held
before the illegal economic sanctions are removed, the outcome will not be
fair,” Zowa recently said.

Zowa, who runs a number of businesses in the city, including Jameson Pool
and Construction Company, was also ordered to report twice a week on Mondays
and Fridays to Donnington Police Station and not to interfere with state

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Chinese investors accused of unfair business practice

Saturday, 08 October 2011 16:37


AICO Africa Ltd, one of the leading companies in the country’s cotton
sector, says it lost millions of dollars because of unfair business
practices by Chinese investors who he accused of clandestinely buying cotton
from contracted farmers. In an interview in Washington DC on Thursday, Pat
Devenish, Aico group chief executive officer told Standardbusiness his
company lost about US$10 million dollars last year after Sino-Zimbabwe
allegedly purchased cotton from farmers contracted by the local industry.

“I think we lost US$10 million following farmers breach selling to
(Sino-Zimbabwe Holdings) Sino-Zim who had not invested in the production. It
was in March 2010 that we reported a loss of US$10 million. That is a lot of
money,” Devenish said.

In July last year, Zimbabwe cotton players took steps to stop SinoZim from
using political muscle to allegedly purchase cotton from farmers contracted
by other companies in the industry.

In court papers filed at the High Court, the Cotton Ginners Association of
Zimbabwe (CGAZ) accused Sino-Zimbabwe Holdings of using “political gurus” —
including Zanu PF ministers and party youths — to buy the crop from farmers
contracted with members of the CGAZ.

The CGAZ represents the interests of local companies involved in the
production and buying of seed cotton as well as the ginning and marketing of
the product.

Represented by Scanlen & Holderness law firm, CGAZ accused Sino-Zimbabwe
Holdings of buying cotton at inflated prices from growers who signed
contracts with its members throughout the country.

Sino-Zimbabwe Holdings was operating in Gokwe, Kadoma, Mhangura, Mount
Darwin, Bindura, Guruve, Mutoko and Raffingora. Sino-Zimbabwe Holdings,
however, rubbished CGAZ’s accusations, arguing in an opposing affidavit that
the applicant “is scared of competition” and was abusing the courts.

Sino Zimbabwe director Jimmy Zerenie said the company had not induced anyone
to do business with it and had not purchased any contracted cotton.

“The applicant has various other remedies available to it which includes but
not limited to suing for breach of contract if there is such a breach
between applicant and its contracted farmers.”

“The First respondent has not induced any contracted growers to breach the
law. If anything, the first respondent has complied with the law and has
operated in a very transparent way,” read Zerenie’s affidavit.

He said the application was misleading the court and that there was no
evidence placed before the court to substantiate the allegations of
political interference.

However, the High Court ruled that the matter was not urgent.

Devenish told Standardbusiness  that although contract farming with
small-scale holders was profitable, recording a US$7 million profit in March
2011, side marketing remained the biggest problem.

“You will get a company like Cottco or Cargill spending a lot of money
funding the production of cotton only to discover that someone who hasn’t
invested in the production of cotton will then be licensed to buy.

“So really, that is why statutory instrument 142 is so important because
what that does, it says you can only buy cotton if you have invested in its
production. So that’s really an important issue to us,” he said.

Section 14 of Statutory Instrument 142 of 2009 makes it obligatory for
contracted growers to sell their cotton seed to the company that supported
them in terms of the contracts.

Members of CGAZ are all signed up as contractors and buyers with the Cotton
Marketing Technical Committee in terms of the law.

The law states that seed cotton produced by a grower in terms of a contract
with a company can only be sold to the contracted company.

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Private business sector calls for removal of targeted sanctions

Saturday, 08 October 2011 16:25


THE Zimbabwe private business sector has told the World Bank and the US
State Department that sanctions targeted at certain individuals in the
country should be removed as they have a collateral damage on their
businesses. The American Business Association of Zimbabwe (Abaz) represented
by a number of its members last week met influential American officials
ahead of the October 5-7 US-Africa business summit held in Washington DC.

Group financial director of Paramount Group, an integrated clothing and
manufacturing organisation, Jeremy Youmans, told American investors at a
“Doing business in Zimbabwe” forum last week that Abaz had met with
influential American officials explaining to them how sanctions were
affecting their businesses.

He said: “We arrived on Sunday and spent the last two days meeting
representatives of facilitation organisations, World Bank and the (US) State
Department as well. We were raising concerns that sanctions were a problem
to us because although they are specifically targeted they have a collateral
damage effect.

“So what are we doing about it? We are raising those issues to the policy
makers to make them aware that they are causing us problems.”

Youmans said there was also a general misconception by some American
companies that they could not do business with Zimbabwe and this proved a
challenge for his company.

“At my own level and even at our company, we have three cases now of
American businesses that have told us — sorry we cannot supply you directly.
With the help of the embassy, those are being sorted out and some, we have
managed to sort them out ourselves,” he said.

Abaz membership list has organisations like Deloitte Chartered Accountants,
Aon Zimbabwe, Coca Cola Central Africa, Meikles Hotel, OK Zimbabwe, Western
Union, Imara and PricewaterhouseCoopers among others.

Businessman Fred Mtandah said it was high time that the private sector
lobbied for the removal of the sanctions.

“The private sector was just watching on the sidelines when everything just
collapsed during the economic meltdown, but because of dollarisation, the
powers of government and the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to print money and
finance itself has been reduced,” Mtandah said.

“Like any other country, now government has to rely on taxes and duties for
revenue and it is with that in mind business then realised that it is time
for them to use their influence to lobby. They have to find a legitimate
source of income. Zimbabwe needs a vibrant business hence the getting
together of a number of businesses in our country.”

Mtandah said sanctions, though they were targeted, ended up affecting
ordinary Zimbabweans and businesses one way or the other.

“Without actually participating in the party sponsored anti-sanctions
campaign, business realised that there was need to engage the international
community on that. We are lobbying for their removal without involving
ourselves in those aspects of politics,” he said.

“For example, two financial institutions ZB Bank and Agribank, if any person
in the Diaspora transfers money to a company or an individual who banks with
one of those institutions that money is automatically seized.

“That is the collateral damage of the sanctions on the ordinary person and
the business argument is that the international community has been promoting
rural agriculture in Zimbabwe and there is no other financial institution
capable to finance agriculture than Agribank,” he said.

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Govt courts foreign airlines

Saturday, 08 October 2011 16:22


GOVERNMENT is in talks with Qatar Airways and Singapore Airlines to lure
them into Zimbabwe, according to Civil Aviation Association of Zimbabwe
(CAAZ) chief executive officer David Chawota.
The move to lure new players into Zimbabwe is part of a two-pronged approach
to make the country an accessible destination.

There are also attempts to lure airlines that used to fly into the country
but left citing the route as unviable.

Reputable airlines such as British Airways, Swiss Air, Lufthansa, KLM,
Emirates and Air France among others, stopped flying into the country over
the past 10 years saying it had become unviable.

“We are still engaging those (airlines) that used to fly to Zimbabwe. We are
talking with new airlines such as Qatar and Singapore,” Chawota said.

“Maintenance of dialogue is good enough. This is what has been happening
with Emirates, we have been courting them for a long time.”

Emirates recently announced that it would fly into Zimbabwe starting
February next year. The airline is exhibiting at this year’s travel and
tourism fair, Sanganai/Hlanganani which ends on Tuesday.

Qatar Airways flies to over 100 destinations worldwide. It was voted the
airline of the year for 2011 in the Skytrax industry audit. Qatar Airways
and Emirates will compete to bring tourists from the Middle East into the
country whereas Singapore would bring traffic from Asia.

British Airways, KLM and Air France among others will connect Europe to

Tourism players say the more the airline fly into the country, the easier it
becomes in marketing Zimbabwe as a tourism destination.

Zimbabwe has become an expensive place to visit because there are no direct
flights from Europe, Middle East and Asia into the country.

This means that passengers have to connect via South Africa and in most
cases becomes an extra cost to the passenger.

In tourism terms if the country is inaccessible, it becomes difficult to
market that destination.
Accessibility is one of the 4As of destination marketing. The others are
attraction, accommodation and advertising.

The tourism industry is optimistic that the return of Emirates will spur
other airlines to fly into the country.
“It is a big boost and we hope this will inspire other airlines like BA
(British Airways) to fly to Harare,” said Karikoga Kaseke, Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority CEO.

Kaseke said when more airlines fly into a destination it creates competition
which is healthy for tourism.
“Once there is choice, passengers can travel more because fares will come
down,” Kaseke said.

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Sunday View: WikiLeaks exposes the questionable calibre of leaders

Sunday, 09 October 2011 12:32

I do not care much about the revelations of the WikiLeaks; neither do I
worry about alleged United States sinister motives on Zimbabwe. This is so
because the US, like any other sovereign state, is entitled to whatever
means necessary for its existence and survival.

What concerns us, as Zimbabweans, is the exposure of the calibre of
politicians that we have at the moment. Like it or not, the change that we
want and aspire for is still very far away.

We have politicians whose wisdom and capability to transform this country
from the current precipice remains highly questionable. WikiLeaks has helped
us realise how politicians of this land are people of little wisdom.

The political arena in Zimbabwe needs urgent and complete overhaul. Zimbabwe
is currently hijacked by people who have subjugated the electorate into
believing that they are the only viable candidates available to represent us
in Parliament.

Politicians of this land from across the political divide are hypocrites and
a brood of vipers that smile to their leaders and the entire nation during
the day and bites them during the night.

The damage has already been done. We have men and women who forcibly want
the entire nation to believe in what they themselves have never believed.
This is like the  preacher who delivers sermons daily that he does not
subscribe to.

What leaders of political parties do should never be kept secret. Public
office is not personal or party politics. We are talking about the people
whom the nation has bestowed trust to occupy the highest offices of the

We need to know what judgement they make of themselves and those around
them. We cannot have only the media giving us updates about WikiLeaks; what
is President RobertMugabe or Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s position on
their party’s colleagues who doubt their leadership competency?

I believe the WikiLeaks revelations are more scandalous than the WillowGate,
the Tracy Mutinhiri saga or even the Elias Mudzuri and Lucia Matibenga
conspiracies. Let the same harshness that befell these individuals be seen
if our political leaders’ pledges to the tenets of justice and fairness are
to be taken seriously.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinions and beliefs but joining or
even forming of any given group like a political party is an indicator of
commonality and sharing of similar norms, values and beliefs by a given
group. Politics is not just like any other business.

Politicians need to be honest and clear in what they believe in, because
these are the very same people who are entrusted with the nation’s heritage
and wealth.

Both Zanu PF and MDC-T are composed of ambitious politicians who daily
specialise in strategically positioning themselves to overtake those ahead
of them in positions of power rather than charting ideologies of the parties
that they purport to represent.

It is going to be difficult for the ambassadors of the so-called
revolutionary party to stand in front of a rational crowd and chant slogans
of a party whose leader they regard with contempt. Any rational Zimbabwean
will not take the current empowerment rhetoric seriously. No one will take
heed of the concept of rebranding Zimbabwe.

This is so because those that present themselves paragons of virtue are
seriously compromised. The so-called “change team” will not bring change any
more. The supposed party of excellency has become a party of failure.

This is so because those we thought to be brilliant and young leaders have
proven to be crooks. We cannot trust what they preach any more. They are
busy discrediting a leader who has bestowed his trust on them.

If our country had been serious about its politics such as practiced in
genuine democratic states, we could have witnessed a series of resignations
by all people exposed in WikiLeaks by now. Regrettably, our politicians do
not have shame and they don’t give a damn.


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Foreign trips a drain on the fiscus

Sunday, 09 October 2011 12:29

Government has so far spent a whopping US$40 million on travel expenses
alone. That was the shocking news delivered by Finance minister Tendai Biti
to MPs in Parliament on Thursday.

To drive his point home, Biti said with that amount Zimbabwe could construct
the much-needed electric railway line from Gweru to Bulawayo. The benefits,
in the form of employment and business that could be generated by the rail
track for the bankrupt National Railways of Zimbabwe and companies moving
their goods, are too numerous to mention.

But these benefits can only remain a pipedream if government continues to
waste resources on unnecessary and unhelpful trips abroad. Biti’s revelation
merely confirms what is in the public domain. Since the beginning of the
year, President Robert Mugabe has undertaken trips to Asia that have drained
an already overburdened fiscus.  He is reported to have demanded as much as
US$3 million from treasury each time he has gone abroad.

Mugabe has also commandeered Air Zimbabwe to fly him to Asia even when
pilots were on strike. This year alone, Mugabe has gone to Singapore a
record seven times, allegedly to seek medical attention. Apart from these
personal trips, Mugabe has also travelled to international meetings with
bloated delegations.

For observers, it defies logic that Mugabe needs to be accompanied by 100
officials to attend a United Nations meeting in New York. These officials,
from both Zanu PF and the MDC parties, get hefty allowances for accompanying
the President.

In light of Biti’s appeal, MPs need to tell cabinet in no uncertain terms
that money wasted on useless trips abroad could be better channelled to more
needy sectors such as health, housing and food procurement for millions
facing starvation.

The MPs should also amend the Public Finance Management Act so that a
powerful budget office is able to monitor government expenditure.

They should go the extra mile and make it illegal for the President or any
government official to abuse public resources through making personal trips
Travelling abroad should be regulated and only be limited to crucial
meetings. And it should be subject to availability of funds.

Quote of the week

Let us work for a culture of peace and non-violence and let us take this
message to our provinces and districts and the people will welcome that,”
President Mugabe addressing Zanu PF central committee last week.

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Editor's Desk: Turn violent groups into cleaning brigades

Sunday, 09 October 2011 12:26

I got the missive below from Marshall Ngwenya a reader from Bulawayo:

Thanks for your piece on litter. I stay in Bulawayo and it’s not any
different. I see very beautiful smartly-dressed ladies throwing used
tissue-paper on the pavement and they just spoil their outlook. I hope we
can change this as a nation.

He was referring to my column last week in which I bemoaned the littering in
our cities and on our highways. This little letter from Bulawayo shows that
littering is indeed a national problem. But what is heartening is that
people who wrote to me and those I socialise with have said they are very
willing to make a difference.

Hazel Magumise a senior officer in the Ministry of Trade and Commerce called
and urged a national crusade to keep our country clean. Last Sunday morning
as I was driving to the shops, the motorist just in front of me threw an
empty beer can onto the road. Guess what? I trailed him until he reached his

He was a lovely gentleman and we had a chat. Afterwards he said he realised
the foolishness of his habit and would stop it with immediate effect. He
would also talk about it with any motorist he saw throwing litter out their

But my most heartening experience was the immediate behaviour change by
patrons at my local. Whenever they need to smoke they leave the bar; so the
bar is now a non-smoking haven. But there is another little problem with
this; they are still dropping their stubs on the paths and the lawn. I will
kindly ask the proprietors to provide ashtrays and little bins outside the

The other day while driving in town I saw three ladies dressed in immaculate
red dresses; they wore gumboots and elbow long gloves. They were cleaning
the streets. Obviously, they were too few to cope but it was heart-warming
to see that the city fathers are doing something about the litter.

But another thought struck me! What do litterbugs think about these women
and men who clean our streets? Do they respect them? Do they see them as
human beings who should pride themselves in their jobs? One thing was
certain; litterbugs are contemptuous people who think some lesser humans
should go around picking after them.

This I think is a remnant of our colonial mentality. During the colonial
days street cleaners were contemptuously referred to as scavengers by their
white bosses who had a false sense of superiority.

The term in itself used correctly is not scornful. Any dictionary will
define scavenging as both a  carnivorous and herbivorous feeding behaviour
in which individual scavengers search out dead animal and dead plant biomass
on which to feed. Scavengers play an important role in the ecosystem by
contributing to the  decomposition of dead animal and plant material.

In Zimbabwe people ignorantly look down upon scavenging animals and birds
such as dogs, hyenas, jackals, crows and vultures. The cleaning role they
play to our ecosystem is all but forgotten. So during the colonial era when
city cleaners were referred to as scavengers people associated them with
these scorned animals and birds.

This is what bore the attitude that we can throw our litter and leftovers on
the pavements because scavengers will come along and clean after us. It’s a
wrong attitude. These women and men are honourable people and they deserve
all our respect.

Their job is maintaining the cleanliness of our cities and towns. They work
from the assumption that our cities are clean; all they have to do is to
maintain the cleanliness. But litterbugs have reversed this thinking; they
work from the warped premise that cities must be dirty so that they can be
It will take a while to change this attitude because it seems to be
ingrained in our collective national psyche. Two ministries must play a key
role in banishing this attitude. The ministry responsible for the
environment must come to the forefront and lead in the cleanliness crusade.
But more importantly the Ministry of Education should see to it that we
“catch them early” so to speak and design curricula that emphasise value of
a clean environment targeted at children   from grade zero.

Now and again we see the Minister of Environment, Francis Nhema and
officials from his ministry, dressed in new dustcoats joining groups that
clean our cities for their own selfish marketing purposes. His efforts to
lend credibility to these self-serving groups and to himself do not mean a
thing if there isn’t a sustainable, practicable national policy on cleaning
the environment.

Without education these half-hearted attempts by the minister to convey a
message on the environment come to nought. This is why we should see Nhema
work closely with David Coltart at the Ministry of Education.

Zimbabwe has recently seen shadowy groups sprouting all over town and
involving themselves in activities that disturb public peace. The most
notorious of these is Mbare-based Chipangano. We also have youths who call
themselves Upfumi Kuvadiki who advocate, through unsavoury means, youth
economic empowerment.

Like Chipangano, they have become a law unto themselves. We also have
belligerent war veterans associations, particularly the one led by Jabulani
Sibanda which is rampaging across the countryside terrorising peace-loving

What if they transformed themselves into peaceful outfits that began by
cleaning the areas in which they live? Mbare would be the cleanest suburb if
the Chipangano thugs cleaned it with the same enthusiasm and gusto with
which they beat up people.

When I checked the word scavenger on an online encyclopaedia I found the
following fascinating:

“A Scavenger can also refer to someone who is a member of scavenger, a group
of people who are trying to reduce the amount of waste that they produce by
giving away their unwanted/redundant things to other people rather than
disposing of them.

Most of them are within the UK but there are members from all over the
world. Scavenger is just one of the many groups, that are springing up
around the world, involved in the free gifting movement (gift economy).” We
should see such groups mushrooming in Zimbabwe; the best place to begin
would be in the streets in which we live.


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Sunday Opinion: Zim rights report far from truth

Sunday, 09 October 2011 12:23

Zimbabwe is up for its first review during the current cycle of the
Universal Periodic Review (UPR), a mechanism of the United Nations Human
Rights Council, under which all United Nations (UN) member-states report on
measures taken to push towards the respect of “Red” Rights (Civil and
Political) and the progressive realisation of “Green” Rights
(Socio-Economic) in their countries.

The report is made to the UN Human Rights Council, with scrutiny coming from
fellow UN members. Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa will, tomorrow,
deliver to the UN, Zimbabwe’s human rights scorecard.

A reading of the report, however, shows that there is a clear attempt to
gloss over and subvert the truth of the situation over the last four years,
and a self-righteous allocation of blame.

This allocation of blame, for an otherwise poor human rights record, on
sanctions, is the sine qua non of the report that Chinamasa is in Geneva to
sell. This is clearly discernible from the fact that it is part of the
starting premise in the government’s report, and is part of its conclusion,
as well as a major element of the challenges that the state cites for
non-compliance and fulfilment of some rights.

Several government apologists have, over the weeks, abused the opinion pages
of public newspapers, strongly advancing this half-baked argument, which
fails to explain how the “sanctions” have led to sustained assaults on civil
and political rights, while also failing to engage the issues around lack of
transparency and accountability in the administration and exploitation of
the country’s vast mineral wealth.

One of the cardinal rules to progress is that you have to face the hard
facts and then develop a plan for dealing with them. The harsh reality is
that there is wanton disrespect for human rights in Zimbabwe, and
unfortunately a lot of these violations are state-sponsored.

The bigger tragedy is that when opportunities like the UPR come up, the
government turns a blind eye to the facts, choosing instead to grandstand
and point accusing fingers at everyone but themselves. Where there is no
honest reflection, and acknowledgement of the shortcomings, whatever
recommendations are posited will not work, as they will be based on a
foundation of lies.

One of the things that the government report cites is the indigenisation
drive, as a key policy and strategy seeking to “Correct the colonial
imbalances by facilitating access to, and ownership of means of production
by the indigenous Zimbabweans”.

It is difficult to argue against the notion of indigenisation and
empowerment, as a policy, when the sponsors are genuine. In our case
however, the reality is that this noble agenda is driven by a money-hungry
elite, whose motivation is less the attainment of economic empowerment for
“the people”, but more to further fatten the bustling pockets of the fat
cats in government and their praise singers.

The agendas are selfish, poorly thought out, and in themselves, are spanners
in the works towards progressive realisation of socio-economic rights for
the people of Zimbabwe, in their current construct.

The real human rights challenges in Zimbabwe are known to its citizens, and
those who have been following the country’s developments over the last
decade or so. If as the report states, Zimbabwe is “desirous of promoting
and upholding human rights for all”, here is what the state must do:

Respect civil liberties — Allow people to assemble, interact, associate and
speak freely.
Grant us our rights to water, power, education and health.

Dismantle the infrastructures of violence, including vigilante groups like
Chipangano, that have been at the centre of torture, summary killings,
enforced disappearances, arbitrary arrests, cohesion and other forms of
politically motivated human rights infractions.

Stop abusing our security sector, and develop them into a non-partisan
professional security sector that doesn’t meddle in the political affairs of
civilians, and is not used, as the blunt instrument of choice, in dealing
physically with perceived enemies of the establishment.

Develop genuine empowerment policies that are not aimed at expanding the
patronage base of those who occupy the state, or which only serve small
political and economic elite, as this does nothing for the progressive
realisation of socio-economic and cultural rights.

Remove the “sanctions” that the state has placed on the people, which have
manifested themselves in the shrinking of democratic space, and the wanton
disrespect of human rights (including rights to title and property).

Repeal and amend laws that give life to these “sanctions” on our people like
Posa, Aippa and the Criminal Law Codification Act.

Remove the “economic embargoes” that corruption, cronyism, primitive
looting, government largesse and political patronage have placed on our
people’s access to the economy and a more prosperous life.

The government needs to stop lying to the world, its people and itself,
because perpetuation of these lies is tantamount to building a house on
sand – it will not stand, and will sooner rather than later be washed away.


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