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Zimbabwe farmer Ben Freeth begs Barack Obama to stop Robert Mugabe land grab
October 11, 2009
Ben Freeth and his wife Laura with their children Anna, Phillip and Josh. Their farm was set ablaze while they were at church

(Justin Sutcliffe)

Ben Freeth and his wife Laura with their children Anna, Phillip and Josh. Their farm was set ablaze while they were at church

A British farmer who stood up to Robert Mugabe and was beaten, abducted and finally had his house burnt down has travelled to Washington to ask the Obama administration to put pressure on the Zimbabwe government before it seizes the last remaining white farms.

Ben Freeth, who moved to Zimbabwe from Kent, joined his father-in-law Mike Campbell in taking Mugabe to an international court to stop the farm seizures. Their secret footage of the campaign of intimidation launched against them will form part of a film to be released in London this month.

A Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal in Namibia ruled last November that the farm seizures were illegal and ordered Zimbabwe’s government to pay costs. Within a month President Robert Mugabe’s regime had sent thugs to set fire to both men’s farms while they were at church, destroying everything they owned as well as the homes of their workers.

In June the tribunal ruled that Zimbabwe was in contempt of court. Far from respecting the decision, a leaked document published in The Zimbabwe Times last week revealed that Mugabe plans to expel all the remaining white farmers and seize their land.

The land seizures were expected to stop when the former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai became prime minister last year after agreeing a peace deal with Mugabe. Tsvangirai, originally backed by white farmers, was even considered a candidate for this year’s Nobel peace prize.

Freeth said he had written four times to Tsvangirai but his letters were never acknowledged. Although the main levers of power such as the army, police and justice ministry have remained in Mugabe’s hands, Freeth insists that “Tsvangirai could at least be calling for action. He doesn’t seem interested in doing anything to get the rule of law respected”.

In desperation he decided to take his case to Washington. He spent Friday on Capitol Hill telling his story to legislators and hopes to meet Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, this week.

“The United States is the biggest bilateral donor to Zimbabwe and it’s really important that they put pressure on the government to ensure the court judgment is respected,” he said.

Last year the United States provided $900m in humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe, but Barack Obama has made clear his frustration at Mugabe remaining in power.

Freeth admits that time is running out. The leaked document states that no foreigner should be allowed to own rural agricultural land and warns that farmers who resist should be arrested.

“Land acquisition and redistribution is an ongoing process,” says a secret memorandum to cabinet issued by Herbert Murerwa, the lands minister, on August 27. “No foreigner should be allowed to own rural agricultural land in Zimbabwe.”

Only 400 white farmers out of an original 4,600 remain on their farms after a violent nine-year campaign to oust them. Instead of their land being distributed to the poor, much of it has gone to Mugabe’s relatives and cronies. Vast tracts of farmland now lie fallow and agricultural output has slumped.

The memo says there must be “no going back on farm seizures” and concludes that the prosecution of farmers refusing to move off the acquired land should be expedited.

“It makes a complete mockery of the global political agreement that committed parties in the unity government to the return to rule of law,” complained John Worsley-Worswick of the farmers’ lobby group, Justice for Agriculture.

“It shows the regime is planning to forge ahead with the so-called land reform programme even against everyone who has some protection.”

The revelation of the planned seizures came as the United Nations warned that Zimbabwe would grow only a quarter of the food it needed to feed its people, with the next maize harvest expected to fall by 70%. The country has faced acute food shortages since 2001 because of the destruction of the white-owned farms.

Mugabe has threatened to unleash the police on white commercial farmers who refuse to give up their land. He told the youth conference of his Zanu-PF party recently that the formation of the unity government between himself and Tsvangirai would not change the country’s stance on the land programme.

Farmers like the Freeths, who have resisted the seizures, have paid a heavy price. Their families and workers have endured relentless intimidation since 2004 when Nathan Shamuyarira, a Zanu-PF spokesman, arrived at the gate of their farm in Chegutu, 60 miles southwest of Harare, with an order telling them to hand it over to him.

When they refused they were arrested. Local wildlife was slaughtered, a safari lodge was burnt down and their mango crop was stolen.

Last year Freeth and his father-in-law were savagely beaten for seven hours, leaving Freeth, 40, concussed and with no sense of smell and 76-year-old Campbell with impaired memory.

In December Freeth, his wife Laura and their three young children returned from church to find their home in flames. “They had stolen all our tractors so we had no means of fighting the fire and they chose a day when the wind was blowing toward the house so it spread quickly,” Freeth said.

The local community rallied round, finding them a house in which to stay and donations of everything from pots and pans to school uniforms.

Freeth said it was difficult to describe the loss: “You feel so helpless, your whole history has been destroyed, all your photos, your children’s baby books, records of holidays, the kids’ toys.”

However, he is determined to rebuild. “I know there’s a threat we’ll finish it and they’ll take it over or burn it down over again. But it’s a road we started on a long time ago and to give up now would be a betrayal to our workers and the country as a whole.”

Mugabe and the White African will be shown at the London Film Festival on October21

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Nasarawa's white farmers hang on despite the odds

By Ini Ekott

October 10, 2009 09:40PMT

The 19 white Zimbabwean farmers who arrived in Nasarawa State in 2006, on
the invitation of the state government, were given a mandate to develop
commercial farming to a scale unheard of in the country. This effort
followed on the progress recorded by an earlier initiative in Shonga, Kwara

The promise of a new land tenure, a guarantee for a loan facility, security
and infrastructure became a rallying point for the farmers, who hoped to
begin a new life in Nigeria growing cassava, maize, soya beans and rearing
pigs and cattle in commercial quantities. The state government provided the
essential capital, which they were denied in Zimbabwe: over 10,000 hectares
of land. But just less than a year after, the realities and the
uncertainties that ranged from poor infrastructure such as access roads,
flooded rivers, to late season cultivation, affected the yields, forcing
eight of the farmers to leave in 2007.

"These were people who had to live in very basic conditions, away from their
wives and families," said Colin Spain, a farmer in Farm 10. "The challenges
were almost too much in the first year, although we fortunately found four
new farmers to replace the ones who left." But three and a half years down
the path, the challenges that pushed some of the farmers away have not
abated, in a scheme reported to employ over 2,500 locals. Of the initial
number of farmers who came in 2006, only eight are left today for a project
the Nasarawa authorities hoped will assist food production and help develop
agriculture in the country.

The farmers said the conditions under which they have worked over the past
years are different from those agreed with the government and the financial
institutions which agreed to provide a long term funding for the plan. And
as a result, yearly projections have scaled down significantly and even
becoming worse in cases where farms lay fallow many months through the
season, as a result of lack funds.

"Commercial farming obviously will be made difficult without long term
loan," said Patrick Ashton, a specialist mango farmer at Panda, the site of
the project. "But the banks here do not want to lend long term. If you
cannot pay for your house in five years, I simply cannot repay agricultural
credit in five years." An agricultural economist in Abuja said the coming of
the Zimbabwean farmers have exposed the flaws within the nation's
agricultural sector. He said Nigerian banks are not used to issues of
agricultural loans, hence the difficulties the farmers face assessing them.
Mr. Ashton said the bank involved has maintained a largely unstable rate
system, which has not assisted the project.

The UBA Plc, which offered the first loan to the farmers in 2007, accepted
that it will be on the basis of eight per cent interest. The interest rate
has since oscillated between 19 per cent and the present 24 per cent, even
with the intervention of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

"Over half of the money graciously granted us, is gone to interest rates,"
Mr. Ashton said.

Several calls to get the reaction of UBA for this story did not succeed. One
of the spokespersons for the bank, Nasir Ramon, repeatedly promised to get
back with information over a period of two weeks.

NEXT, however, learnt that the bank refused to grant additional funding to
the farmers because of the interest rate issue.

Interest rate trouble

For instance, Mr. Spain lists the planned cropping for 2009 to include the
cultivation of 2,590 hectares of cassava, 410 hectares of maize, 210
hectares of rice, 1,000 head of cattle and others -including piggery,
poultry, bananas, potatoes and vegetables - with a total labour cost
estimated at over N104 million.

The plan, Mr. Ashton said, has been "destroyed by bank failures to provide
funds as contracted. They seem not to know what they committed themselves
to." For the 2008 season, the farmers said enough finance was released to
enable timely cropping. However, half-way through the season, they said the
bank refused to release the other sums of finance. This meant crop
maintenance was not completed and this caused significant loss in yields
and, therefore, significant lower returns than budgeted and expected.

The revenues from the 2008 season were used to finance land clearing and,
later, some cultivation for 2009, Mr. Ashton said.

However, in most cases, cultivation went down to as much as 90 per cent on
2008 levels. At the moment, 30 months after negotiations commenced on
funding, the project got a little respite in August, 2009, when some money
was released to the farmers.

The Permanent Secretary in the Nasarawa State Ministry of Agriculture, Peter
Okaba, told NEXT that the poor funding of the project was due to a
restructuring of the scheme, particularly with respect to the interest rate
which the government "insists must be reversed to its initial charges." "To
my knowledge, the government said the current rate is too high and called
for a reversal. The matter is with the executive council for now, and I
cannot say of its outcome," he said, advising that the commissioner, Oyigye
Iyimoga, who was unavailable to NEXT, would be the most competent to release
details of the government's decision on the funding and other challenges of
the farmers.

Again, although the farmers said the state government and the community of
Panda have been reasonably supportive, some indigenes said they suspected
the project may not be receiving as much attention from the governor, Akwe
Doma, as it got from the immediate past governor, Abdullahi Adamu, who
initiated it.

"I think the government continues with it without a choice," said a man who
gave his name as Musa Mohammed. "The fanfare has really reduced about it and
the government may be using it for their politics." But Iliya Bello, a
doctor of agronomy who serves as an adviser to Mr. Doma, said whatever
challenges the scheme faces falls within the normalcy of any enterprise.

"It cannot be true that the governor has less interest in it," he told NEXT
in Lafia. "Any business comes with challenges, which the businessperson
solves over time. Nasarawa State is largely agrarian, and any leader who
wants to have a direction cannot do without agriculture. The project has
started, and it will be there." Mr. Bello, incidentally, is a native of
Panda, a distance of about 150km east of Abuja where the farmers were given
20 farms in 2006. He said the governor has also started a N1 billion small
scale farming scheme that does not include the Zimbabwean farmers. "He
cannot do that if he does not believe in agriculture," he said.

Inherited tenure troubles

But whatever might be afflicting the farms could certainly be traced beyond
Mr. Doma's tenure. For instance, the former administration of Mr. Adamu
assigned the farms on a location with unresolved communal issues. Some of
the residents still lay claims to the land allocated to the Zimbabwean

One of the farmers spoken to by NEXT said in 2008, he lost about seven and a
half percent of his gross turn-over to intrusions from unrestrained nomadic
farmers who graze the area with their cattle. This affects about eight of
the farms "That is about 40 per cent of my profit," the farmer said. "We are
very fortunate to have very supportive people around, but this is business,
and you get helpless sometimes."

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Biti Blasts Gono

Saturday, 10 October 2009 19:47
FINANCE Minister Tendai Biti  has launched a scathing response to
claims by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono that he is blocking
badly-needed loans from international financial institutions.

The state media has been running a series of stories allegedly
"exposing" how Biti has prevented the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the
African Export and Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the PTA Bank from lending
money to Zimbabwe.

In August the IMF extended a loan of US$510 million as part of the
Bretton Woods Institution's response to the global financial crisis and the
Afreximbank and the PTA Bank promised a combined US$371 million in lines of

Gono in a thinly veiled attack on Biti last week said the PTA Bank
facility had been "taken off the table because we do not seem to be serious".

The central bank chief has also publicly attacked his boss over the
way he has handled the IMF funds, which has been described by Zanu PF
loyalists as tantamount to "sabotage".

But in an exclusive interview on Friday shortly after arrival from
Turkey where he attended this year's annual meetings of the World Bank
Group, Biti said there is no way he could block the loans because he was
"not the transacting customer".

Even if he were to give the go-ahead, the money would still not be
released as the process has to go through Parliament.

He said the accusations were being made by "political vultures
masquerading as advisors".

"If someone wants to be a Minister of Finance," Biti said, "they have
to go through the rigmarole of politics and learn to say slogans. A
frustrated politician should not masquerade as a civil servant."

He described the attacks as part of a "vuvuzela orchestra (that) is in
full swing".

A vuvuzela is a noisy instrument popularised by South African soccer

Artistes in South Africa are now developing the instrument further to
come up with an orchestra from the instrument.

"This business of blowing vuvuzelas of insanity should stop. But no
matter how loud the noise becomes, a vuvuzela will never play the Mozart or
Beethoven sound, and we will never dance to those decibels," Biti said.

"Government is not run through newspapers. You do not use the Business
Herald to exhibit your frustration. We do not take advice from newspapers.
We run a serious ministry with a serious mandate."

In what could add oil to the already burning fire, Biti warned that
the continued leaking of information on the loans could land some RBZ
officials in trouble with the law.

"Please do not break the Official Secrets Act by leaking sensitive
state documents," he warned.

Biti said those accusing him should not pretend like they "have a
higher dosage of patriotism than everyone else", or behave as if they "hold
the sole monopoly of best interests of Zimbabwe". He said negotiations were
currently underway between the government and international finance
institutions on the release of the funds that have been promised.

On the Afreximbank, he said they have a facility worth US$200 million,
of which $100 million is already running.

The country owes Afreximbank $59million, which was incurred through
oil for the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, a grain facility through the
CBZ Bank and strategic imports.

The current approved facility with the PTA Bank stands at $171
million, of which $45 million is already running. The country owes the PTA
Bank $55 million.

The RBZ has proposed that part of the special drawing rights (SDR)
from IMF be used to settle these debts.

But Biti said this could only be done after a parliamentary process,
which has not been initiated yet.
Once the necessary legal measures have been taken, the funds can be

"The law is very clear, if the government is taking over the debt of
another corporate body, it just cannot do it unless a Debt Assumption Act is
passed by Parliament.

"This is an elementary legal position which is so self-evident that it
shocks me certain institutions don't know about it."

In an earlier address to the 15th Congress of the Zimbabwe Commercial
Farmers' Union (ZCFU), Biti pleaded for prayers saying the accusations
against him were the work of evil forces.

"Kana mwana Grade Two chaiye akamboramba mari here? Imhepo chete
dzakasimuka, ngatidzinamatirei. (Even a Grade Two pupil cannot refuse money.
It's just evil forces at play. Let us pray)."

During a public discussion on Friday evening, Biti said although he
"knew from day one that I would swim in sewage", he would not quit.

Biti's full interview;

Over the last few weeks, Finance Minister Tendai Biti has been accused
of stopping financial injections from the International Monetary Fund, the
PTA Bank and the African Import and Export Bank (Afreximbank). The figures
mentioned in the state media reports amount close to one billion US dollars.

The MDC lawmaker spoke to our Senior Staff Writer Vusumuzi Sifile to
clarify the position on the funds, and his frosty relationship with RBZ
governor Gideon Gono.

VS: It has been reported than you are stopping the release of hundreds
of millions of US dollars from the IMF, Afreximbank and the PTA Bank. What
is happening with the funds? Are there any prospects of them getting into
the country's coffers?

TB: There is nothing like that. Imhepo dzirikusimuka chete (Its just
evil forces blowing). Zimbabwe has an excellent working relationship with
the Afreximbank and the PTA Bank.
We have ongoing facilities with the institutions.
With the PTA Bank, the current approved facility stands at $171
million, of which $45 million is running.

With the Afreximbank, we have an approved facility of $200 million, of
which $100m is running.

We owe the PTA $55million and the Afreximbank $59 million.

Of that, $19.9 million was for an oil facility through the National
Oil Company of Zimbabwe, $25 million is for a grain facility with the CBZ,
while the rest went into strategic imports.

VS: The RBZ had suggested that part of the money from IMF be used to
pay these debts. Why didn't you pursue this option?

TB: All these loans were guaranteed by the RBZ. We have made it clear
to the PTA Bank and Afreximbank that we will take over the current debts
from the RBZ once the proper legal channel has been followed, which is to
handle it through the medium of parliament.

But everyone knows that under our current parlous economic condition
we cannot liquidate these amounts.

We only have one source of revenue, which is tax. The amounts owed
represent more than two months in tax revenue. From January to June, we had
a sharp increase in tax revenue, but now there is evidence of a reversal in
that trend. This is evidence of the own goals we have been scoring.

Even if I wanted to refuse the money, I can't because I am not the
transacting customer.

The law is very clear, if the government is taking over the debt of
another corporate body, it just cannot do it unless a Debt Assumption Act is
passed by parliament. This is an elementary legal position, which is so self
evident that it shocks me certain institutions don't know about it.

VS: Has there been any engagement between your ministry and the RBZ
over these issues? From the look of things, it seems most of your
discussions are through the press. Does this mean your relationship has
irretrievably broken down you can't even sit on the same table and discuss
these issues?

TB: As you know, I have been away on government business. I only came
back today (Friday), and I have only seen the reports in the papers. There
has been not been any engagement.

Government is not run through newspapers. You do not use the Business
Herald to exhibit your frustration. We do not take advice from newspapers;
we run a serious ministry with a serious mandate. Please do not break the
law, the Official Secrets Act, by leaking sensitive state documents.

VS: What are you doing to close the rift between your office and the

TB: The vuvuzela orchestra is in full swing. This business of blowing
vuvuzelas of insanity should stop.

But no matter how loud the noise becomes, a vuvuzela (a noisy musical
instrument popularised by South African soccer fans) will never play the
Mozart or Beethoven sound, and we will never dance to those decibels.

If someone wants to be a Minister of Finance, they have to go through
the rigmarole of politics and learn to say slogans. A frustrated politician
should not masquerade as a civil servant. We have political vultures
masquerading as advisors. Don't pretend you hold the sole monopoly of best
interests of Zimbabwe, you do not have a higher dosage of patriotism than
everyone else.

VS: Is the money going to be released? If so, when?

TB: There is no way I can stop the release of those funds because I am
not the transacting customer. The problem we have now is that we do not have
a Debt Assumption law which allows treasury to take over debts created by
corporate bodies. It is the role of Parliament to determine how the money is
handled. That money has to be handled through the medium of Parliament.

VS: Your party, the MDC, is pushing for the resolution of outstanding
issues of the GPA. Among them is the appointment of the RBZ governor. How
has Gono's continued stay in office affected your work as Minister of

TB: This does not affect my work at all. We know what our mandate is
in terms of the law. We are a serious ministry. I have been consistent in my
principles, and let history judge us.

VS: What is your response to reports that your party amended the
constitution to allow Tsvangirai's term to continue beyond 2011?

TB: There hasn't been any new amendment to the party's constitution.

The constitution was amended at our last congress in 2006.

The understanding was that when you are in a struggle, you do not
concentrate on terms of office.

But in government, our position has always been very clear, the terms
of office for the members of the executive have to be limited.


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Zanu PF Provinces Deadlocked Over VP

Saturday, 10 October 2009 19:41
THE three Matabeleland provinces have asked the politburo to intervene
after they failed to agree on a candidate to replace the late Vice-President
Joseph Msika.

Zanu PF had given the former PF Zapu strongholds of Bulawayo,
Matabeleland North and South up to Wednesday to nominate their choice for
the vacant post.

But sources said meetings to choose the VP nominees held on Friday
were abandoned after delegates differed on the agenda. In Gwanda,
Matabeleland South, the meeting only lasted 10 minutes.

The party's national chairman John Nkomo had appeared on course to
land the post after Bulawayo province nominated him unopposed last Sunday.

But his fortunes changed dramatically after a number of hopefuls
entered the race.

Deputy President of the Senate Naison Ndlovu, Mines Minister Obert
Mpofu (pictured), Bulawayo Metropolitan governor Cain Mathema, co-Minister
of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi and Zimbabwe's ambassador to South Africa,
Simon Khaya Moyo are some of the heavyweights who are reported to be eyeing
the post.

The VP hopefuls met in Bulawayo after the aborted selection process
and asked for the politburo's intervention.

Their argument was that all the country's 10 provinces must be
involved in the selection process because PF Zapu was not a regional party.

Former PF Zapu heavyweights such as Tinaye Chigudu and Ambrose
Mutinhiri live outside Matabeleland.

"The major issue of Vice-President has been referred back to the
Politburo for further review," said Zanu PF deputy commissar Richard Ndlovu
in a statement after the Bulawayo meeting.

"PF Zapu was not a regional party but a national party. So we expect
the Vice-President to be elected by the 10 provinces as the Unity Accord

Ndlovu added: "We do not want to regionalise PF Zapu."

Sources said although the decision to refer the matter back to
politburo had dented perceptions that Nkomo is the leading political figure
in Matabeleland, it would strengthen his campaign for the post.

They said Nkomo would be a stronger candidate if all the provinces
were allowed to vote.

In terms of an internal Zanu PF arrangement which came about as a
result of the 1987 Unity Accord, Msika's position and the chairmanship are
only for those from PF Zapu.

Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF spokesperson Nathan Shamuyarira
or its secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa yesterday were fruitless.

Analysts said the fact the issue of Vice-President had been referred
to the politburo will be a headache to President Robert Mugabe who has been
relying on "a tribal balancing act" to stabilise his party.


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AG Ditches Mutasa

Saturday, 10 October 2009 19:39
THE Attorney-General's office has ditched government officials who are
being sued by Jestina Mukoko, the Zimbabwe Peace Project director, who was
abducted and tortured for 21 days. The reason for the shock move remained
unclear at the time of going to press yesterday.

Mukoko is seeking damages in the courts after she endured torture and
humiliation at the hands of state security agents.

Over a fortnight ago, the Supreme Court ruled that her ordeal was a
clear violation of the Constitution and quashed all attempts by the state to
prosecute her for alleged terrorism and banditry.

The ruling, welcomed by human rights activists, boosted Mukoko's case
against the officials she held responsible for her harrowing and
dehumanising experience.

With the highest court of appeal having ruled that she had been
tortured and her constitutional rights violated, a lawyer said proving her
case had become as easy as a hot knife cutting through butter.

And in a surprise turn of events, the AG's office filed papers in the
High Court on Friday notifying  all the parties to the case that it would
not represent the defendants.

The office did not give any reason except to say that: "Be pleased to
take notice that the Civil Division of the Attorney-General's office do
hereby renounce agency on behalf of all the defendants."

The defendants are the Minister of State Security, Land and Land
Reform, Co- Ministers of Home Affairs, Minister of Defence, Commissioner
General of Police, Chief Superintendent Magwenzi, Attorney-General of
Zimbabwe, Didymus Mutasa and Brigadier General Asher Walter Tapfumaneyi.

The AG said all correspondence addressed to the defendants should now
be directed to private legal practitioners, Mutamangira and Associates.

Yesterday Johannes Tomana, the AG was not immediately available to
explain the reasons behind the renunciation of agency. The defendants could
also not be reached.

Harrison Nkomo of Mtetwa and Nyambirai, the lawyers for Mukoko
confirmed that the AG's office had renounced agency in the matter involving
their client.


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Zimsec managers accused over strike

Saturday, 10 October 2009 19:36
SENIOR managers at the Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec)
are allegedly inciting workers to go on strike to pressure the government to
accede to their demands for luxury cars. Zimsec spokesperson, Ezekiel
Pasipamire last week told the state media that workers had downed tools
demanding that the lowest paid employee's salary must be increased to
US$400, up from US$115.

But sources said management had taken advantage of a request by
workers for a salary review to push their  own agenda.

The sources said the managers were angered by treasury's refusal to
buy them luxury cars among other benefits which they have not been enjoying
over the years due to negative economic conditions.

Zimsec director Happy Ndanga yesterday admitted that the workers were
never on strike but denied that management was angry over outstanding

"It is true that they were never on strike and that we are
negotiating," he said.


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Mystery of Geriatrics on Voters' role

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:45
ZIMBABWE has 134 202 people over the age of 90 on its discredited
voters' roll, a figure that makes a mockery of the country's life expectancy
of 37 years.

As of last year, the country had 5.9 million voters on the roll but
new research by the Research Advocacy Unit (RAU) poses fresh credibility
questions about Zimbabwe's electoral system.

The report titled 2013 Vision - Seeing Double and the Dead - has
stunned observers and reinforced long held suspicions that President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu PF has used underhand tactics to retain power.

Analysts said the figures were baffling considering that the average
life expectancy in Zimbabwe is 34 for women and 37 for men and in the light
of the fact that the World Health Organisation predicts that only 14. 7 % of
Zimbabweans live beyond 60.

"Some 134 202 people over 90 appear on the roll, with some 30 044 of
these with the listed birth date of 1st January 1901," the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network (ZESN) said in a statement.

ZESN says this could explain why the percentage poll in some wards
during the March 2008 harmonised elections exceeded the number of registered

There were also questions about the massive swing of voter preference
after the first round of the presidential elections where Mugabe was beaten
into second position by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Mugabe won the uncontested June 27 run-off with a "landslide" amid
allegations that ballot boxes were "stuffed".

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission has refused to release the detailed
results of the run-off that was roundly dismissed as a shame by world

There are a lot of other curious statistics on the roll including the
fact that 676 887 people have been de-registered since 2002.

There are 182 564 instances of entries relating to people with the
same identification number who appear on the roll twice or more.


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Judge Raps Police Over Chiadzwa

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:43
A High Court judge has slammed the conduct of the police during the
plunder of the Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange, Manicaland, after the
government muscled out a British-registered company from its claims. Justice
Charles Hungwe two weeks ago delivered a landmark judgement confirming
Africa Consolidated Resources (ACR)'s right to claims in the mining area.

The government seized the ACR claims in October 2006 and allocated
them to the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation.

The move opened the floodgates for illegal diamond hunters and exposed
Zimbabwe to international scrutiny after soldiers who were deployed to
restore law and order became involved in human rights violations.

ACR says police confiscated 129 400 carats of diamonds from its
offices but did not give any receipts, claiming they were acting on the
instructions of then mines minister Amos Midzi.

In his full judgement that was made available last week, Hungwe said
the fact that police did not deny the allegations levelled against them
showed that they were being used to further personal interests of greedy

"The police have no business acting outside the law. To do so would be
to abdicate their constitutional duty," Justice Hungwe said.

"Yet this is precisely what they did. To charge a person days later
after dispossessing that person of valuables can only be conduct which
should be condemned in the strongest terms."

The police were ordered to return all the diamonds that were seized
from the company.

Hungwe said the judiciary cannot be expected to remain a spectator as
the rule of law was violated at will.

"The courts cannot but speak loudly against such an abdication of
responsibility for the duty to protect rights to property," he said.

"The papers before me paint a gloomy picture for the duty to protect
our national heritage by those constitutionally charged with that

"I say this because the courts cannot accept that the whole state
machinery cannot be said to have failed to restore order in Marange to the
extent that a cabinet minister finds that the solution to lawlessness is to
bring in parastatals to join a free-for-all with the police selecting who
goes in and who does not."

Last week, Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu was
quoted saying the government will appeal against the judgement.

Officially opening parliament on Tuesday, President Robert Mugabe said
government had identified two investors that will mine diamonds in Chiadzwa.


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Council Wants Police to Probe Case of Missing Meat

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:43
A special committee set up by the Harare City Council to investigate
circumstances that led to the chaotic organisation of the inauguration of
mayor Muchadeyi Masunda has recommended that the disappearance of 1 150kg of
meat be referred to the police.
Guests at the function held at the City Sports Centre and presided
over by the Minister of Local Government, Ignatious Chombo in August failed
to get food although 10 beasts were slaughtered for the occasion.

Council said after it launched investigations to establish why all the
meat was not served to the guests, the 1 150kg of meat were found at the
Cresta Jameson Hotel's cold rooms.

According to a report of the committee presented to council on
September 24, the hotel did not "co-operate with the investigators" and "in
this regard the committee recommends the engagement of the ZRP to further
investigate the matter".

"When asked whether all the meat (10 beasts) supplied by council had
been served, the first reaction from the hotel was that all the meat had
been served," the council report said.

"It was only after further probing that the hotel indicated that there
might be some meat at the hotel.
"On inspection by council and hotel management it was discovered that
there was 1 150kg in the hotel cold rooms which was more than the 682 kg
purported to have been consumed at the function. Council said it had agreed
with the hotel that all the meat from the 10 beasts would be prepared and
served at the function and "platters meant for VIPs would be invoiced".

"Contrary to this, the hotel served 1 500 menu platters for the other
guests and for the VIPs, 350 costing US$9 and US$12 per platter
respectively," the report said.

The committee said it was absolving council workers of any wrong doing
until the hotel co-operates with investigators.

Officials at Jameson Hotel yesterday referred questions to a Judy
Jones at their head office whom they said would only be available tomorrow.

Masunda was not immediately available for comment.


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Police Arrest Kadoma Councillor

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:42
A Kadoma town councillor has been arrested on allegations that he
leaked information to the media exposing council management for allegedly
awarding themselves a hefty salary increment without authority. Erasmus
Jochore was picked up by police on Tuesday last week after The Standard
reported that Kadoma councillors were livid that management had awarded
themselves allowances ranging from US$400 to US$1 500.

Councillors had only approved allowances of between US$150 and US$200
a month.

Jochore, who chairs the works' council- which decides on workers
salaries - handed a petition to the mayor Peter Matambo warning him that
workers were threatening to go on strike because of mounting corruption
within the local authority.

His lawyer, Alec Muchedehama, said it was still unclear what charges
the councillor would face but senior council officials were accusing him of
breaking into offices to steal confidential information.

"The charges are not yet very clear but I can confirm that he was
questioned, a docket was opened and that he will be appearing in court on
Monday," Muchadehama said.

Kadoma Residents and Ratepayers' Association acting chairman Simon
Mojapela said the arrest was an attempt by council management to sweep the
corruption allegations under the carpet.

"As residents we feel that the arrest of Jochore is an attempt to put
a lid on the fraudulent activities that have been going on at the council,"
he said.

"Even if they arrest Jochore we want the issues of the abuse of funds
that have been going on to be investigated and this will not stop us from
pursuing the interests of residents."

When the scandal was exposed, the acting town clerk Joel Madzivanyika
insisted all the salary adjustments were done above board.

Police spokesperson, Andrew Phiri said he wanted to contact Kadoma
police before he could comment on the issue.


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Jestina Mukoko: I Bear Emotional Scars

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:35
JESTINA Mukoko's emotional scars from her abduction, illegal detention
and torture by state security agents in December are still fresh.
"Sometimes I wake up feeling emotionally drained," said Mukoko in an
interview. "Some events remind you of the horrific experiences and it sets
you back.

"You re-live those moments in your mind and the feeling is traumatic,
it's hard."

Mukoko's personal ordeal is now seen as a representation of the untold
suffering several MDC-T and human rights activists have endured since their
abduction and subsequent indictment on spurious banditry charges.

The former ZBC news anchor who was abducted from her Norton home in
early December last year was tortured by state security agents and denied
medical attention while detained at an unknown place for 21 days.

A fortnight ago the Supreme Court ruled that she could not be
prosecuted because her abduction and torture in custody infringed on her

The Zimbabwe Peace Project director said although she was receiving
counselling she had not fully recovered because the therapy "is not a
one-day event".

"It is those nightmares that can even take you five sessions back. It's
an ongoing struggle to find yourself again. The emotional scars are too
deep," she said.

The single mother said it was important for family members of tortured
victims to receive counselling because they were equally affected.

While Mukoko is fortunate that she is receiving psychological therapy,
several hundreds of MDC-T supporters who were also abducted and tortured are
not so lucky.

One such victim is Graham Matehwa, MDC-T youth chairman for ward 26,
Makoni South in Manicaland.
For 51 days he was not allowed to see sunlight and did not even know
which day of the month it was.
He has injuries on his stomach and under his feet which are consistent
with bashing by a wooden plank.
"He is having a problem with his kidney which was kicked countless
times but his main problem is day-and-night hallucinations," said a relative
who refused to be named.

During detention he was thrown into a "room full of corpses".

"He calls out at night. He is forever looking in all directions as if
in fear that someone is about to snatch him again as happened on December
17, 2008 when six men bundled him into a vehicle and drove him away leaving
his wife and one child in tears," the relative said choking with emotions.

The MDC-T last week said Matehwa will receive medical treatment and
counselling this week.

Matehwa is among seven MDC-T activists who were abducted and tortured
before they were released without any charges being preferred against them.

Several others who are facing charges similar to those preferred
against Mukoko still face the double challenge of dealing with treason
charges hanging over their heads and trauma they suffered at the hands of
the state agents.

The MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says it is not only
those awaiting trial who have to deal with psychological trauma from last
year's madness.

Thousands of MDC-T supporters were tortured by marauding Zanu PF
militants ahead of the aborted June 27 presidential run-off poll and the
majority never received any form of treatment.

The party's director of welfare, Kerry Kay, said several hundreds of
MDC supporters seriously need urgent counselling after last year's violent

Some victims, mostly from rural areas, still have nagging physical
wounds because they failed to get immediate medical help after they were
threatened with death if they left their homes for urban centres.
Some of the victims nurse amputated limbs, bear deep scars on their
bodies while others are crippled for life and having difficulty coping with
the new conditions.

Women were raped while other activists had their homes burnt down,
livestock and household goods looted by their neighbours in broad daylight
after they were accused of being sell-outs.

At least 200 MDC-T activists were killed while over 5 000 supporters
were displaced during last year's political violence orchestrated by the
state security agents, Zanu PF militia and war veterans, the MDC-T said.

A counsellor with a local non-governmental organisation working
closely with victims of last year's political violence said many of them
were struggling to cope with the emotional scars. The counsellor, who
requested anonymity for professional reasons, said some of the victims were
having difficulties concentrating, felt hopeless and were generally
withdrawn because they do not trust anybody anymore.
Some victims, said the counsellor, were having nightmares after
witnessing their relatives, parents or children being hacked to death.

"These people's lives will never be whole again," she said.

Kay said the MDC-T was carrying out an outreach programme to identify
and assist victims of last year's political violence.

The programme will also help identify the number of victims who still
need assistance.
However, the programme is being slowed by lack of funds and some areas
are still not accessible to MDC-T officials.

So far 14 000 victims have received medical help or some form of
psychological assistance since last year, she said.

"These people are still traumatised. If you look into their eyes you
see they are shut down," said Kay, who is a counsellor by profession.

Kay said MDC-T recorded at least 130 cases of rape against women
during the violent elections.
Some of them were raped in front of their children or husbands while
others were raped at terror bases established by Zanu PF militia and war
veterans, she said.

The MDC-T said Zanu PF must bear the cost of counselling the victims
and pay them reparations as it was responsible "for 99,9% of the political

"You cannot have national healing without justice and reparations,"
said Kay. "The whole process of healing does not only involve telling part
of your story but for the perpetrators to acknowledge what they did and pay


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Mohadisi Implicated in land grab plot

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:35
TWO Beitbridge women have sought protection from the courts after they
were allegedly assaulted and verbally abused by the co-Minister of Home
Affairs, Kembo Mohadi and his wife.
According to summons issued by the Beitbridge Magistrates' Courts
against Mohadi and his wife, Tambudzani who is a Senator for the area, the
two Zanu PF heavyweights are trying to forcibly take over plots belonging to
the women.

The two women are beneficiaries of the land reform programme, which
the previous Zanu PF government claimed was meant to empower landless

One of the women, Judith Mugombwi says the Mohadis assaulted her on
September 27 after they unsuccessfully tried on several occasions to force
her to give up Plot 1 Jompepi Block.

"The Mohadis came to my plot when I was cooking dinner. Tambudzani
strangled me and pushed me to the ground," said Mugombwi in her affidavit.

"She then hit me with a cooking stick resulting in the cooking stick
breaking into pieces.
"She further threw away the pot from the fire and poured mealie-meal
over my head.
"All this happened when my children were watching helplessly."

The following day Mugombwi says one of Mohadi's workers came to her
plot demanding to be intimate with her but she turned him down.

She reported the matter to an Inspector Mpofu of Beitbridge rural
police station. She said the inspector refused to open a docket against the
minister resulting in her seeking advice from lawyers.

"I am now afraid of going back to my plot. I am therefore applying for
a peace order against them to stop visiting me or harassing me," Mugombwi
says in her affidavit.

Another alleged victim is Sofiria Ndou, a widow who claims the Mohadis
visited her regularly in a bid to scare her away from a farm that was
allocated to her late husband in 2002. "I am a widow, my husband passed away
in 2005. He was a beneficiary of the land reform programme.

"Now I am being evicted by Senator Mohadi to pave way for her nephew
Danisa," she said.
"The Senator strongly advised me not to cultivate my field this
season. She said I should move out of my plot since it was re-allocated to
her nephew.

"This is surprising since I have tried by all means to develop my
plot. I cannot go anywhere"
The Mohadis have been summoned to appear in court on October 22 to
explain why the two women cannot be given peace orders against them.

In July, eight villagers from Mohadi's farm appeared in court facing
attempted murder charges after they allegedly assaulted 11 villagers who
were reportedly trying to recover their cattle from the minister's wife.
The workers allegedly assaulted the villagers with fan belts, sticks,
hands and boots accusing them of stealing the minister's cattle.

On Friday, Mohadi said he was in Bulawayo and was not aware of any
legal proceedings against him.
"I do not know about it. I have never threatened anyone. I have my own
farm," he said.


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Police, Council lock Horns over Water Disconnections

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:32
BULAWAYO - The City fathers and the police are embroiled in a war of
words after municipal workers were allegedly barred from disconnecting water
supplies at various police camps over unpaid bills.
Council recently launched a blitz against government departments in
order to recover over US$2,1 million.
It emerged during a full council meeting on Wednesday that the police
have been threatening council employees enforcing the directive to cut off
non-paying customers.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, under which the police falls, owes the
local authority US$570 000.
"I think it is not proper for police to stop disconnection teams,"
said Councillor Phineas Ndlovu, who chairs the Lands and Planning Committee.
"Police are not special from other ratepayers.

"What's so special
about  the police who graduate after six months' training? They are
like our security guards."
Deputy Mayor, Amen Mpofu accused the police of abusing council's
goodwill and reiterated that the disconnections will continue.

But Bulawayo police spokesman, Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo on Friday
said the council employees might have failed to identify themselves

"If anyone wants access to offices, they have to identify themselves
and if they do not, and given the security required at the station, the
police manning the entrance to the station would obviously not allow them
in," Moyo said.

He said if the councillors wanted a genuine solution to the problem
they "knew" the protocol they had to follow.
"We are a very transparent organisation that does not have anything to
hide," Moyo said.


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Cholera Still Lurking, aid Agencies Warn

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:16
AID agencies have warned that the general lack of urgency in resolving
the current water and sanitation problems in Zimbabwe could lead to another
cholera outbreak. As the rainy season approaches, fears of a fresh cholera
outbreak heightened following the recent outbreak of new cases in

International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
(IFRC) disaster management co-ordinator, Farid Abdulkadir said not much has
been done to resolve the water woes that triggered the cholera outbreak last

"The reason why cholera occurred in Zimbabwe, the circumstances that
led to the cholera outbreak are still there today.

"The water system still needs to be worked on, the health system still
needs to be improved," Abdulkadir said.

He was speaking at a meeting on regional water integration held in
Randburg, South Africa.

Abdulkadir said the problem had been compounded by the various
disasters that befell Zimbabwe last year including the food crisis, floods,
political violence and cholera.

"We tried to look for funds to intervene in Zimbabwe but very few
people came," Abdulkadir said.

"Whether this was due to political reasons or people got tired, God
knows. But everyone knows that 4 000 people died because of cholera."

The situation could get worse with changing weather patterns due to
climate change, he said.

"A lot of things have turned upside down because of climate change,"
added Abdulkadir.

"Like when cholera occurred in Zimbabwe, it was during the dry season.
Usually, you would expect it during the rain season."

In most cases, noted IFRC's communications manager Matthew Cochrane,
people hide behind the fact that some disasters, which could be avoided, are

"Cholera was not a natural disaster as people call it," Cochrane said.

"There is nothing natural about a child dying. . .we need to address
the structural aspects of water supply."

Shantha Bloemen from the UN Children's Fund (Unicef) said while
improving water and sanitation infrastructure was important, there was also
need to scale up programmes to empower people at the grassroots to sustain
that development.

"It cannot be just infrastructure, it cannot just be hardware," said
Bloemen. "It is about empowering communities. . .giving communities the type
of support they need to support their development."

Meanwhile, the Deputy Minister for Health and Child Welfare, Dr
Douglas Mombeshora says the cholera and swine flu outbreaks in the country
are under control.

He said about eight cases of cholera and 14 of swine flu had been
confirmed countrywide since the outbreaks were detected.

Mombeshora said of the eight cholera cases, seven were reported in
Chibuwe, Chipinge, and one in Mabvuku high-density suburb.

He said nine cases of swine were reported in Mt Mulani, Chipinge, four
in Mutare and one at Howard Mission.

"These are the only figures of swine flu and cholera that we have so
far, but we would like to believe the situation is under control," he said.
"We also believe that cholera in Chipinge was imported from Mozambique."

Mombeshora, who was speaking on the sidelines of the Association of
Healthcare Funders of Zimbabwe Biennial all-stakeholders' conference in
Nyanga, said there was an urgent need to revamp the health sector to make
sure that it can cope with emergencies.


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Justice Hungwe's Judgement on Marange

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:10
The following is part of the judgement by Justice Charles Hungwe in
the case brought by the applicants (African Consolidated Resources and five
other companies) against the government over the mining claims in Marange.

THE case for the applicants is established in the affidavits filed by
the Assistant Mining Commissioner, the Mining Commission as well as by the
first respondent heads of argument.

Once it is established that the applicants claims were lawfully
registered it follows that they are entitled to the diamonds which they
extracted from their claims.

As they were legally entitled to prospect, it can hardly be argued
that they could not lawfully possess diamonds. In my view the applicants are
entitled to the diamonds which they found on their claims. I say so for the
following reasons.

Serious allegations were levelled against the police by the applicants
in respect of both their role at the Marange diamond area generally and more
specifically in respect of the eviction of the applicants from their claim
in the ACR claims area.

In Harare the applicants claim that the police took  129 400  diamond
carats from its offices without giving a receipt for it and claimed they
were acting on the instructions of the first respondent.

This averment was not disputed by the fourth respondent. In fact, the
whole attitude of the police was to indicate that they will abide by the
decision of this court.

The police have no business acting outside the law.

To do so would be to abdicate their constitutional duty.

Yet this is precisely what they did. To charge a person days later
after dispossessing that person of valuables can only be conduct which
should be condemned in the strongest terms.

Such conduct confirms perceptions, which abound of influential members
of society who use the security establishment to further not the national
interest, but personal interest.

The courts cannot but speak loudly against such an abdication of
responsibility for the duty to protect rights to property.

The papers before me paint a gloomy picture for the duty to protect
our national heritage by those constitutionally charged with that

I say this because the courts cannot accept that the whole State
machinery cannot be said to have failed to restore order in Marange to the
extent that a Cabinet Minister finds that the solution to lawlessness is to
bring in parastatals to join a free-for-all with the police selecting who
goes in and who does not.

This in essence is the effect of the affidavit filed by the second
respondent when he states at para 9.2 that:"It was therefore imperative that
the second respondent begins its mandate by mopping up what diamonds it
could in the area.

I must state that this process did not seek to overrun the effects by
the police, who were conducting their own simultaneous operations but it was
clear that people had devised means of evading the police as each sought
some form of gain for their illegal efforts.

"In order to avert imminent sanctions, second respondent with the full
mandate of the government, embarked on the cash in exchange for diamonds

Thereafter the respondents have the temerity to deny that they were
not buying diamonds from illegal miners!!

In my respectful view, the government has the capacity to enforce law
and order in Marange.

This matter demonstrates that either it is unwilling to do so for
reasons best known to itself or it just will not do it!!

The courts will be failing in their duty if they did not pronounce
themselves clearly in such situations.

The applicants' rights have been contravened. They are entitled to a
declaration of those rights.
I therefore issue the following order:

1. The African Consolidated Resources P/L  claims issued to the third,
fourth, fifth and sixth applicants within the area previously covered by
Extension Prospecting Order 1523 held by Kimberlitic Searches P/L are valid
and have remained valid since the date they were originally pegged

2. The right granted to the third respondent by virtue of the Special
Grant shall not apply in respect of the African Consolidated Resources P/L
claims area as indicated on annexure "B" to the papers.
In that regard it is hereby ordered that third respondent cease its
prospecting and diamond mining activities in the said area.


3. That second respondent return to the applicants possession the 129
400 carats of diamonds seized from applicants offices in Harare on January
15, 2007.

4. The second respondent return to the applicants all diamonds
acquired by second respondent from the African Consolidated claims area
using the register kept by the second respondent in compliance with the
Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

5. That fourth respondent be and is hereby ordered to direct Police to
cease interfering with the applicant's prospecting and mining activities.

6. That first, second and third respondents pay applicant's cost on a
legal practitioner and client scale, the one paying the other to be

7. Any appeal noted against this order shall not suspend the operation
of the order.

Here is the Judgement in Full;











olebile investment (private) limited


minister of mines and minidng development                   1st








HARARE 24 September 2009    .

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Power Exports to Botswana

Saturday, 10 October 2009 17:22
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe might soon start exporting 40 megawatts of
electricity to Botswana for three years after the two neighbours opened
negotiations on the revival of the Bulawayo power station. Zimbabwe, which
faces a huge electricity deficit, has been struggling to operate its small
thermal power stations in Bulawayo, Harare and Munyati due to a shortage of
spares and coal.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Authority (Zesa) is already selling
electricity to Namibia to repay a loan advanced by the Namibia Power Company
for repairs of its generators at the Hwange Power Station.

It emerged last week that negotiations between the Zimbabwean and
Botswana governments for the resuscitation of the Bulawayo station with a
capacity to produce 90 megawatts of electricity a day were at an advanced

Zesa officials reportedly met a Botswana delegation led by that
country's Minister of Minerals, Energy and Water Resources
shego Kedikilwe met in Francistown recently where it was agreed a
Memorandum of Understanding on the project be signed before the end of the

Botswana, which says it risks losing 100 megawatts of electricity in
imports from neighbouring South Africa due to increasing demand in that
country, will fund the bulk of the rehabilitation exercise through its
utility, the Botswana Power Company (BPC).

Energy and Power Development minister, Engineer Elias Mudzuri
confirmed the latest developments saying they were only waiting for the
paper work to be finalised.

"It is true there is a deal involving Zesa and the Botswana Power
Company," Mudzuri said.

"Under the deal, it is envisaged BPC will inject money into firing
some stations in the country, starting with Bulawayo whose station has been
lying idle for some time.

"After the injection, Zesa will then work on ensuring that some of the
power generated from the stations is exported to Botswana."

The minister indicated that the deal was good as done saying: "We have
been communicating with our counterparts in Botswana and we are confident
that come November, the MOU will be ready for signing and that is when the
full details of the deal will be unveiled."

Zimbabwe imports electricity mainly from Mozambique and the DRC but is
always struggling to make payments on time.


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Mawere Saga: Fresh Court Battle Looms

Saturday, 10 October 2009 17:14
SCHWEPPES Zimbabwe Limited (SZL) has filed opposing affidavits with
the Supreme Court in the case where Petter Trading of South Africa are
challenging the Reconstruction Act that was used to seize Mutumwa Mawere's
business empire.

Last month, Petter, which is under liquidation, argued that if the
Supreme Court were to confirm the reconstruction of Mawere's  assets, it was
going to lose equipment it bought for SZL which is close to sealing a merger
deal with Delta Corporation.

Petter is asking the Supreme Court to declare Sections 6, 12 and 18 of
the Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Act (Chapter 24:27) in
violation of sections 16(b), (c) and (d) and 18(9) of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe and therefore of no force and effect.

Petter liquidator, Harry Kaplan said pursuant to Section 4(3) of the
Reconstruction Act, an order issued against a company could affect any
associate company or another which "benefited from the same credit or
guarantee payable from public funds".

"The effect of this section was to place not only the Second
Respondent (Mawere's SMM) under the control of the Fourth Respondent (SMM
administrator Arafas Gwaradzimba) but also technically the Applicant
(Petter) as it can be argued that it was an associated company of the Second
Respondent on account of the fact that it carried business with the
 company," he said.

But in his opposing affidavit filed on September 25, SZL managing
director, Charles Nkululeko Msipa said Coca-Cola Central Africa's (CCCA)
rights to recover the shares in SZL from Fidelity Life Asset Management
(FLAM) arose not from the implementation of the Reconstruction Act, but
rather from the breach of the 2003 Sales Purchase Agreement.

SZL said CCCA paid for the assets which are subject of the application
to the second respondent (SMM Holdings Private Limited) and Petter should
look for relief from SMM.

"The issue as to whether or not the cited sections of the
Reconstruction of State-Indebted Insolvent Companies' Act are
unconstitutional or the actions of the Third (Patrick Chinamasa) and Fourth
respondents are unfair and unconstitutional matters which do not concern
SZL," Msipa argued.

SZL said since FLAM was in breach and SZL under reconstruction, CCCA
had no option but to deal with Gwaradzimba.

"Further, in the circumstances that obtained at the time in which FLAM
was in breach and SZL under reconstruction, CCCA had no choice but to deal
with the Fourth Respondent who had the de facto and apparently de jure
control of SZL and thus Applicant can have no grievance or right of claim
against either SZL and or CCCA and this application simply has no merit
against SZL and ought to be dismissed with costs on a scale of a legal
practitioner and client," it said.

In 2003, FLAM entered into a Memorandum of Agreement of Sale with CCCA
and Schweppes Holdings Limited in which the asset managers would purchase
SZL for a price of $1 on top of a US$5.8 million injection for equipment

The upgrade had to be completed in February 2004 for SZL to meet the
international standards while CCCA had to dispose of the stake to comply
with the Competition and Tariff Commission directive to localise the

Since FLAM had no access to foreign currency, it turned to Mawere's
Africa Resources Limited which then instructed Petter to pay for some

The equipment at the centre of the dispute includes a PET form System
for the production of petforms, PET Blow Moulding System, a technological
plant for making PET plastic bottles and 4PET Bottling lines.

Mawere's empire, FLAM included, was put under reconstruction in 2004
after the government said it was indebted to the state.
SZL was also put under reconstruction and was only released after CCCA
had paid money owed to SMM and FLAM to Gwaradzimba.


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Massive Interest for Zim Travel Fair

Saturday, 10 October 2009 17:14
AT least 493 exhibitors, more than 40% of the targeted number, have
confirmed their participation at this year's Sanganai World Travel and
Tourism Africa showcase which starts at the Exhibition Park on Wednesday.

The fair runs up to October 18.

Statistics obtained from the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA), the
organisers of the annual travel and tourism fair, show that the 350 target
for this year had been surpassed.

The ZTA says it is targeting 500 exhibitors for next year's fair.
This year's edition will focus on domestic tourism to encourage locals
to visit tourist resorts.

"We are telling our people to visit Zimbabwe first and from October 14
to October 2010 our slogan is visit Zimbabwe first," said ZTA chief
executive officer, Karikoga Kaseke.

A total of 310 buyers have confirmed their participation with a number
of them leaning towards investment to renew the tourism product.

"Some of the buyers who are buying not only tourism but (are looking
for investment) have already arrived from China," Kaseke said.

"Most of the buyers for Sanganai are more of investors not outbound
tour operators."

The investors will renew the tourism product to compete with the best
in the region, Kaseke said adding that the industry had not been renewed for
a long time.

Concern had been raised on the deteriorating standards in the industry
with operators failing to adhere to the prescribed minimum standards.

Kaseke admitted that the standards have gone down blaming it on the
deteriorating economic environment that prevailed in the past 10 years.

"Our industry has gone through a harsh period but that does not mean
that people can do what they want," he said.

"If we have not been lenient no hotel in this country would be a four

"There is no four-star anywhere in the world which does not have high
speed internet in the rooms and the issue of connectivity is outside the
operators' realm," he said.

He said where operators have worked to improve the product, ZTA had
been lenient.

Zimbabwe's tourism industry is picking its pieces after years of

The inclusive government has identified tourism to provide the
quickest turnaround ahead of other sectors such as mining, agriculture and
manufacturing in the revival plan, Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme.

In April, government gave the industry some fiscal incentives to renew
its products.

Statutory Instrument 46 of 2009 provides the terms and conditions
under which the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) may grant suspension of
duty on specified types of motor vehicles for licensed tourism operators.

The suspension is effective March 1 and will run up to February 28,

Under Statutory 60 of 2009 Zimra may grant rebate of duty on new
capital equipment, boat equipment and other goods taken out of bond for the
tourism sector.

To qualify for rebate, the capital equipment must be used for
expansion, modernization and renovation of hotels and restaurants.

Beneficiaries of the facility should be registered with ZTA.
In another plus for the tourism industry, Barclays Bank announced that
holders of Visa branded card can withdraw money from any of the institution's
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

In the past visitors to Zimbabwe had a burden of carrying large sums
of money as the country does not offer credit cards facilities.

"As long as your card is Visa branded you can withdraw money from
Barclays' ATM. Our next step is to allow those with Master cards to withdraw
money," said George Guvamatanga, Barclays' managing director.

The World Cup in South Africa next year is expected to increase
tourism arrivals into the country and all eyes will be on the tourism
industry as Zimbabwe hosts the Cosafa Senior Challenge Cup.

Cosafa is seen as a dress rehearsal for the 2010 World Cup for


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Comment: A Case for Re-engaging Commonwealth

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:20
WORLD Teachers' Day was commemorated last week but in Zimbabwe this
year the occasion only served to remind many of the numerous hurdles ahead,
chief among them the crisis over whether the majority of children will write
their final examinations.
The registration for the examinations has been extended to Friday,
October 16, but after the initial registration period expired with many
students unable to register the real issues are whether all students
intending to write this year are fully aware of the extension and secondly
whether they can afford the registration fees.

Many will not be able to manage the fees because their parents simply
cannot afford the amounts. The real question is whether the amounts should
not be revised to levels that will make them accessible for the majority of

Clearly the fees did not take cognizance of the predicament of the
parents many of whom are earning less than US$200 a month.

There is need for a once-off decision to enable students who have
struggled against all odds to write their final examinations this year.

If there is an argument for cost recovery examination fees, the
government may want to engage the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (Unesco) - the world body's agency that sponsors
programmes that promote education, communication and arts. Then there is
Unicef and other organisations with a similar focus for a once-off
assistance. Unicef has been the lead agency at the forefront of humanitarian
measures with a focus on children.

If that does not work then perhaps it would be worth considering
allowing all students to write but with the condition that they have to pay
upon collection of their examination results.

Zimbabwe cannot afford to have a whole generation missing out on
writing final examinations. The consequences would be catastrophic.

What makes this whole issue tragic is that there is never a shortage
of resources to send Zimbabwean delegations to this and that international
conference. The country would save more than enough to pay for this year's
examination fees if only it had the will to forgo one international
conference. But international meetings have become a revenue-generating
source and those pushing for Zimbabwe's participation at the various
international forums are unlikely to spare a thought to the plight of
students whose final examinations are in doubt.

The theme for this year's World Teachers' Day was Investing in
Teachers for Quality Education. The truth, however, as demonstrated by the
paltry allowance given to members of the profession, is that it is failing
to attract the best and teacher training in general has been compromised.
The government has not invested in staff development of members of the

A survey conducted by one of the teacher organisations paints a bleak
picture of the plight of teachers in the country. For example, 44% of the
teachers rely on other sources of income to supplement what the government
is paying them. That is hardly a situation where quality education can be

Given the progress the country made in the education sector during the
first two decades of Independence, the prospect of hundreds of thousands of
students unlikely to write their final examinations is the greatest

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting is due to take place next
month in the West Indies. Zimbabwe needs to examine whether the country
should not return to the grouping. Some of the problems the country is
facing could have been dealt with by drawing on resources and expertise from
the Commonwealth.

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SundayView: Priority Areas for Electoral Reform

Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:15
A year after signing  of the GPA, vacancies for elected parliamentary
seats are still to be filled. Parliament on one hand claims it promptly
notified the President's Office about the vacancies in the Houses of
Assembly and Senate while the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) on the
other, claims that there is no money to hold by-elections and even suggests
that by-elections cannot be held until new ZEC is in place.
This is despite the fact that section 39 [2] of the Electoral Act
explicitly states that the President and the Commission has to be notified
[in writing] by the President of the Senate or the Speaker of the House of
Assembly once a vacancy exists in the membership of either the House of
Assembly or Senate.

On receiving this notification, the President is obliged [within a
period of fourteen days] to publish a notice in the Gazette ordering a new
election to fill the vacancy.

For electoral reforms to take hold, certain essential prerequisites
must be in place, among which are the need for a complete change in
political mindset; the need for a strong, independent ZEC manned by non
partisan management staff; the need for drastic overhaul of all laws such as
POSA and AIPPA which curtail freedom of assembly, association, speech and
media freedom; and, the need to ensure impartiality in the enforcement of
law by the police.

Electoral experiences strongly suggest that legal reforms alone
without political will to enforce them are not enough as they are at high
risk of being flouted with impunity.

For instance while comprehensive provisions on intimidatory practices
cover all forms of violence and intimidation, these have been rendered
ineffectual by a partisan police force which fails to enforce them to
protect party supporters from one party against violence by members of
another party. Provisions on fair media coverage of elections are only
effective if ZEC monitors properly the media and takes action to put stop to

The political environment before, during and after voting must allow
political parties to campaign freely and voters to freely express their
electoral choices without intimidation and reprisals. There is need to amend
POSA to ensure that unreasonable restrictions on political campaigning are

The police must apply law properly and impartially. Previous elections
such as the 2008 re-run of the Presidential elections witnessed considerable
levels of violence and intimidation.

When entire party structures are focused on a single by-election, the
risk of even more violence and intimidation is likely to be high. ZEC should
therefore carefully monitor the situation on the ground before and after
elections and where instances of violence and intimidation are reported,
should do all in its power to put a stop to such practices.

During the 2008 elections, violence was directed against opposition
political parties. To avoid a replay of these political malpractices, ZESN
recommends that the names and addresses of chief election agents and
ordinary party agents should no longer be published and that party election
agents must not be prevented from witnessing polling process.

Since ZEC is a critical body that is constitutionally mandated to
ensure that elections are free, fair, transparent, and in accordance with
the law, urgent priority should be given to the establishment of a new

With new Commissioners to be appointed in due course under
constitutional amendment 19, it is imperative that the public have
confidence that these new Commissioners will perform their duties
conscientiously, independently and without political bias.

While Constitutional Amendment number 19 has changed somewhat the
composition and method for appointing Electoral Commissioners, ZESN feels
that the manner in which the chairperson is appointed is not satisfactory.

ZESN recommends further changes to method of appointment of
Commissions such as removing discretion of President to select Commissioners
after Parliamentary Committee has chosen most suitable candidates. There is
also need to comply with constitutional provisions that clearly stipulate
that Commissioners cannot be members of political parties, that they must
relinquish political membership without delay when appointed, and, that they
must be non-partisan.

Before by-elections are held, the incoming Electoral Commission should
address the issue of their senior management staff. ZEC staff must be seen
to be scrupulously impartial and apolitical in the performance of their

There is widespread perception that there has been politicization and
militarization of key staff position and that the senior managers are
politically biased. The new Commission must move in to replace discredited
Staff members with new staff that will carry out their duties independently
and without political bias.

The Commission can obtain staff for its activities during an election
from the public service, such as teachers, the health service and the
statutory bodies and councils who should operate in various capacities such
as presiding officers at polling stations. Only limited numbers of police
officers should be used for security at polling stations and these officers
must not be located inside polling stations.

The accuracy and integrity of voters' roll is an essential component
of free and fair elections. ZESN has repeatedly pointed out that the current
electoral roll is highly inaccurate and needs complete overhaul before next
general elections. Claims of duplicate entries, voters enrolled in wrong
constituencies, eligible voters being left off, and, dead persons remaining
on the voters' roll continue to be reported. Ideally, an audit of
constituency roll should be conducted and anomalies rectified before

Presently ZEC supervises electoral processes while voter registration
is done by the Registrar General. ZESN recommends that the function of voter
registration be removed from the Registrar-General's Office and taken over
by the Electoral Commission.

The Electoral Act must be changed to require the Electoral Commission
to disclose promptly the number of ballot papers printed for an election and
to disclose other such information, for example the number of ballot-boxes
issued to each polling station.

In last election, electronic voters' roll was made available to
political parties but at considerable cost and not in computer searchable
format. ZESN recommends that they be in computer searchable format. ZESN
also recommends that voters' roll must be available both in electronic and
printed form and be made available free of charge to polling agents,
observers and political parties.

Counting and tabulation of results must be properly done within the
provisions of the Electoral Act. The counting and collation processes should
be done in the presence of candidates or their polling agents. After
counting of the votes and posting of results outside polling stations,
results must be sent to the Ward Collation Centre where they are collated
and verified. The collated results should be posted outside the Ward
Centers. These results should be immediately transmitted to the constituency
elections officer for collation and verification who will declare the
results and post them outside the Constituency Collation Centre. These
processes must be done efficiently and expeditiously after polling has taken
place with no unreasonable delay in announcing the results. Any recounts of
votes should only take place after the announcement of the results.

Independent observation of elections is vital part of fair electoral
process as it lends credibility to the process. Existing law relating to
observers is highly restrictive and should be reformed before by-elections
are held. Local and international observers should be free to observe all
by-elections, should be free to observe during the lead up period to the
referendum, should be free to observe the voting process and the collation
and announcement of results and the period following the announcement of
results. The accreditation of observers should fall under the management and
control of ZEC. There is also need to remove veto power of Justice and
Foreign Ministers to exclude persons or organizations government does not
want to observe elections.

Ideally the whole media arena should be opened up so that there can be
media diversity in both print and broadcasting prior to by-elections. The
ZBC should also be transformed from a highly partisan broadcaster into a
genuinely public broadcaster that will cover elections on a fair and
balanced basis. The repressive media laws that exist currently must be
completely overhauled. In the meantime the Electoral Commission must use the
legal powers already incorporated into the Electoral Act to ensure fair
coverage of elections and avoidance of hate speech. The Electoral Commission
must be pro-active in monitoring the media and ensuring that they abide by
the legislation in the lead up to the various by-elections that are due to
take place. This should be done in conjunction with the Zimbabwe Media
Commission established under Constitutional Amendment No 19.

This article was done by Zimbabwe Election Support Network. Any
comments can be submitted to This e-mail address is
being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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Zim Standard Letters

Interrogating aid Effectiveness as the Driver of Development
Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:36
THE 2005 Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness was the outcome of the
High-Level Forum II meeting organised by the Development Assistance
Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
(OECD-DAC) in Paris. At this forum, development ministers from developing
and developed nations, and heads of bilateral and multilateral development
institutions (including the UN and World Bank) resolved to adopt far
reaching and monitorable actions to reform the ways in which they deliver
and manage aid in view of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Targets were set for implementation and monitoring by donor and
partner governments up to 2010.

Civil society was not extensively involved in the process leading to
the Paris Declaration (PD).

The Jubilee South (JS) movement has previously declared that Southern
governments must consider aid as a temporary source of inflows. Indeed, the
movement asserts that justice and reparations are due to people of the
Global South, who are actually creditors of a massive historical and
ecological debt.

In their view, unconditional debt cancellation is a major requisite
for aid effectiveness. Increasingly, eminent authorities on the topic of aid
are adding their voice to the disillusionment with aid. One of the latest is
former World Bank consultant Dambisa Moyo, who in her book Dead Aid explains
why aid is not working for Africa, whilst articulating a position on
alternatives to the dependency model.

One area where contradictions manifest is the relationship between aid
and external debt service. Indeed it has been observed that many developing
countries pay out more in external debt service than they receive in aid.

Another is the relationship between terms-of-trade losses suffered by
African countries versus inward aid inflows. According to the African Forum
and Network on Debt and development (AFRODAD), whilst it has been calculated
that the continent needs US$ 64 billion in aid annually, the continent
actually suffers more than US$75 billion in financial leakages made up of
US$60 billion terms of trade losses and US$15 billion in unwarranted debt

The terms of trade losses are mainly caused by unfair policies
advocated for and perpetuated by developed countries and multinational
companies through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), resulting in
unbalanced trade relations between powerful trading blocs such as the
European Union (EU) and weaker economies in the developing world.

The implementation of AE in Zimbabwe is coming in a peculiar context
and extraordinary circumstances.
The total resource requirements for the key priority areas outlined in
STERP are in excess of US$8 billion. Unfortunately, the country is not in a
position to generate all these resources internally in the short term, hence
the need for external funding.

The most important point to note on the implementation of AE in
Zimbabwe is that the country has not officially signed onto the list of
"Countries, Territories and Organisations Adhering to the Paris Declaration".

While it is innovative for the inclusive government to link aid to
investment, they must give equal weight to the creation of a good domestic
investment climate. A good start would be to restore all the savings and
pensions which were eroded by hyperinflation.

The government should also urgently launch a transparent and
non-partisan land audit in line with article V of the Global Political
Agreement. Surely, it is also not serious for the government to go around
with a begging bowl to stimulate aid for investment purposes, while land
invasions and farm disruptions are still taking place!

Zimbabwe is also refusing to incorporate land rights to conclude a
Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) with South
Africa. It goes without saying that agriculture was the mainstay of our
economy, and efforts for economic reform should start there.

At this point it helps to note that there are six references to the
need for Zimbabwe to wean itself from development aid in the policy.

Furthermore, the government seems to be abandoning the strategy of
regional integration, and signing up to open up its ailing economy to
competition from larger trading blocs such as the EU through the Economic
Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which have aid attached to them as a

Potential investors in mining also have their concerns, which the
government is still a long way from addressing.

It's really hard to see how this current approach will result in a
regenerated and competitive economy which is solely dependent on internal
resources as articulated in the government's policy document.

The strategic positioning of the Premier in an aid co-ordination role
within the power-sharing government may be interpreted as reflecting the
political economy of the ongoing political transition. Some observers have
speculated that the incumbent Prime Minister, and indeed his party have the
potential of attracting new aid from donors.

Dakarayi Matanga

Criminal Vandalism
Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:34
DRIVING to Harare last week I saw an astonishing sight just outside
Gweru. From Gweru to Harare, a distance of more than 250 kilometres, the
electrical system built after independence at a cost of over US$100 million
dollars, has been stripped and lies derelict and destroyed.

Tens of millions of dollars damage carried out on the side of the main
road and in front of the entire country and its police force. Recently the
co-Minister of Home Affairs, responsible for the Police had his 30-tonne
truck impounded with 30 tonnes of stolen copper wire on board.

We have heard nothing since then but I understand a close relative has
been running a gang stripping wire from power lines for several years. The
police at Beitbridge are well aware of this and have done nothing.

This is criminal vandalism on a massive scale, just when we need our
railways for exports and bulk movements of food, coal and other commodities,
someone cripples the only major investment we have carried out in our rail
system since Independence.

Eddie Cross

Lost Relevance
Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:33
ONCE upon time Zimbabwe had a professor whom many said was wise,
articulate and whose brevity matched none other in the country. Many of his
colleagues spoke highly of him and tipped him to be the future of Zimbabwean
politics. He joined Zanu PF in 2001 and within a short period he had risen
within the ranks.

He was used like a rag and most of us felt sorry for him, only to be
ejected from the party after years of hard labour just like it was during
the days of the slavery. The only difference being that he was a paid one.
His name is Jonathan Moyo.

By rejoining Zanu PF Moyo only proved to the whole of Zimbabwe how he
has lost political relevance and meaning in Zimbabwe. What he has done is to
show the people of Zimbabwe what a coward he is.

Rawlings Magede
via e-mail

A bit of Common Sense Would Avert This Inconvenience
Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:31
SOME things require common sense. An example is the official opening
of Parliament loast Tuesday. Each time this happens there is great
inconvenience to the motoring public yet not a single person among those
responsible for co-ordinating preparations for the official opening seems to
realise that a bit of common sense - such as allowing closure of the streets
near Parliament at, say 9am would remove the traffic congestion that is
created by closure of the same roads as early as 6am.

Just because this has been the practice over the years does not
necessarily mean it has to be followed unquestionably.

It is a practice that served its purpose well during a certain era but
clearly it no longer is of use in the present circumstances. For one, the
volume of traffic was lower than the present and so the extent to which the
official opening interfered with people on their way to work was not that

So next time there is another official opening of Parliament I expect
those in charge of the preparations to show a bit of common sense and allow
people who are trying to ensure the economy continues to tick to reach their
offices before closure of the roads at 9am.

While we are there, do the same officials not see that the dais could
do with a replacement? The one that was left outside Parliament at the end
of business on Tuesday looks embarrassingly tatty. And could the
accident-damaged vehicles be taken away and auctioned off. They are a sore

A survey of all government complexes shows a lot of cars that are
accident-damaged or broken down.

Wouldn't it be better for the government to sell the cars and realise
some revenue, because they are unlikely to get the vehicles back on the road
any time soon.

G R Munhuwamambo
Avenues, Harare.

Have They Forgotten the British Hospitality They Enjoyed?
Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:25
FROM Cold Comfort Farm, just outside the capital city, Harare, Didymus
Mutasa ran away to the United Kingdom.

He chose the UK because of the warm British hospitality which he could
not get from Ghana, Nigeria, Egypt, China and Russia if he had gone there.
Remember that these countries were already independent.

At the same time Amnesty International, a major human rights
organisation was helping families of the detained nationalists. The help
that the families of the jailed and detained nationalists received was in
the form of money that went towards payment for their rent and school fees.

Today Mutasa is condemning international human rights organisations
and yet they are doing noble work. Does Mutasa still remember these good and
noble deeds done for his fellow nationalists?

From his racial and evil utterances concerning white commercial
farmers, it shows that he has forgotten all that international organisations
such as Amnesty International did for them in the past.

Didymus Mutasa and his fellow so-called revolutionaries have  become
black racists, fascists and admirers of Nazis, who enjoy seeing the
suffering of fellow Zimbabweans, both black and white in the guise of giving
land to the landless blacks.

For Mutasa, my question is: Can those who own six farms each be said
to be landless blacks? Think about these issues.

D R Mutungagore

SMS The Standard
Saturday, 10 October 2009 18:20
What's the deal? WHY is it the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association is
deducting money from stranded teachers without their knowledge? -Teacher

TSVANGIRAI says he is Head of Government, Mugabe insists on being
addressed as Head of Government. What does the GPA say? Is it okay if I call
myself head government as well? - Mekhi Sithole.

PEOPLE in Beitbridge are forced to go to other towns for the changing
of ownership of vehicles. If they do not trust Zimra at Beitbridge they
should not allow them to work on imported vehicles. Biti, please wake up
because people are not paying that percentage to Zimra. - Angry resident.

Moyo, the curator
HAS Jonathan Moyo rejoined Zanu PF in order to complete his grand plan
of banishing Zanu PF into the museum of politics, a place that he is quoted
as saying, "that the current Zanu PF leadership belong." I feel Moyo has
faced the reality and has decided to become a museum curator. - Mr X.

EACH time The Herald or Jonathan Moyo attack the PM and or Biti their
popularity goes up. So make our day and make more rabid attacks. -
R Mataya.

Don't copy Zanu PF
I would like to advise the South African Embassy to advise their
government to stop their press from generating news that imply they might
want to take the Zanu PF route of resolving the land imbalance. That was a
mad man's idea of doing things. Their press should desist from referring to
it as the Zimbabwean way because the majority do not subscribe to the way it
was done. The South Africans shouldn't copy wrong things. Just formulate
laws that define maximum sizes of farms and redistribute excess land and
compensate for that land and redistribute to the needy. Also discuss your
intention with the affected and allow those who genuinely want to farm to do
so and produce for the people and the country. The Zanu PF way is now the
origin of our problems in Zimbabwe and Zimbabweans are not even proud of it.
So be warned before you repeat a mistake.- Landless.

Mbare belongs to MDC
NYANHONGO please shut up. we did not vote for you. Mbare belongs to
MDC. Makajaira kuuraya patsunami - how many houses did you demolish? Do you
think people are that stupid. Come elections, we will show you. - MDC for

PLEASE Chinotimba, patron of Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (TUZ) leave
us. We are not your members musabate mari yedu  pasina mvumo please. We can
sue you.- Teacher Kubvo, Murerwa
'Consider the widows'

WHEN examination candidates, most of whom come from poor and
economically marginalized backgrounds are asked to pay US$10 per subject it
is very unfortunate. A society that does not consider the widows, orphans
and the poor is a sick one! Let the government pay for the children's exams.
After so great a stride in the education sector, can we afford to retrogress
now? - Herbert Mugwagwa, Chitungwiza.

ZANU PF, whether they like it or not shall implement GPA and the more
they implement it the more they kick themselves out of power. GPA is the end
of Zanu PF. - Wellwisher.

THE Minister of Local Government, Urban and Rural Development, Dr
Ignatious Chombo and the Deputy Minister of Transport, Hubert Nyanhongo must
not pretend to sympathise with the residents of Harare over municipal market
stalls. Where were they when their boss unleashed Operation Murambatsvina
and destroyed our homes, tuck shops and market stalls? - Baba Nhingi,

HAS President Robert Mugabe suddenly discovered that he is the Head of
State and government and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces with the
advent of the Global Political Agreement? The titles will not endear him to
us. Instead they demonstrate how power hungry he is. It makes us even eager
to kick him out at the next election. Let him hold free and fair elections
and we will show him where he really belongs. We no longer need him in
government. - Tired, Harare.
Appointments snub women
THE Federation of African Media Women Zimbabwe notes with great
concern the composition of the recently appointed boards of media
institutions. It is disturbing to note the compositions lack gender balance
and inclusiveness. Therefore the struggle for gender equality in and through
the media is far from being won. It is sad to note that the Zimpapers board
consists of only eight men. The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe has seven
men and four women, while Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings has 11 men and one
woman. Kingstons, Transmedia and New Ziana boards have six men and three
women. The number of women on these boards is of little value and
significance and reflects lack of will on the part of the powers that be to
promote women to positions of decision-making. - FAMWZ, Harare.

GUESS what Minister Webster Shamu? Now we will definitely not pay for
our television licences. We have had enough and nothing they do will stop
the tide of change. - Justice, Harare.

IT'S time Zimbabweans learnt to call a spade a spade. The reality is
that the opposition Zanu PF's land reform programme has failed. I would like
to advise the South African Embassy to caution their government to stop
press reports implying that they might want to take the Zanu PF route of
resolving the land imbalance. That idea is mad. Their press should desist
from referring to it as the Zimbabwean way because the majority do not
subscribe to the way it was done. The South Africans should not emulate
disastrous examples. What they need are laws that define the maximum sizes
of farms, then redistribute excess land and compensate those whose land is
redistributed to the needy. They must also discuss their intentions with the
farmers who will be affected by the land redistribution exercise. Then allow
only those who genuinely want to farm to do so and let them produce for the
people. The Zanu PF way is the source of all our problems. Most Zimbabweans
are not proud of it. So they should be warned before they repeat the
Zimbabwean mistake. - Oracle, Harare.

WHETHER Zanu PF likes it or not they are going to implement their
obligations under the Global Political Agreement. The more they implement it
the more they will oust themselves from power. The GPA is the beginning of
the end of Zanu PF. - Reality, Harare.

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