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Zimbabwe Vigil’s 7th Anniversary – 10th October 2009


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     Mugabe and Shopwell in shoe department                                   Loaded with shopping


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   Arriving at Vigil in rickshaw with champagne                   Van Orden tells Mugabe to go


President Mugabe and first lady ‘Shopwell’ Grace were not at all happy with their Harrods experience. Two members of the Vigil impersonating the presidential couple went to this puffed-up shop to illustrate what will happen if the targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies are lifted as demanded by Zimbabwe’s neighbours.


After learning about our proposed shopping spree, a pompous Harrods PR flunky phoned us and threatened to put Attorney-General Tomana on our case. ‘You can’t come in’, she said. ‘Can we take pictures outside?’ we asked. ‘No it’s out of the question’ Harrods replied, sensitive as always to the susceptibilities of their kleptocratic clients.  Well, despite Harrods’ hoity-toity response, Mugabe and Shopwell marched boldly into the bazaar.  Among the media to capture the moment was an AFP photographer rewarded by us with a Zim$100 trillion note.


Nevertheless President Mugabe (Fungayi Mabhunu) and his consort (Gugu Tutani) have decided in future to take their custom next door to Harvey Nichols.


Another of Zimbabwe’s celebrated 15-digit notes was given to Geoffrey Van Orden, Member of the European Parliament for Eastern England, who came to the Vigil to support us on our 7th anniversary together with his wife Fanny and daughters Rose and Selina.   They appeared to have a great time.


Mr Van Orden accepted our petition to hand over to the European Union calling for punitive action against SADC because of its failure to honour its commitment to ensure that the global political agreement is implemented. The petition was handed to him by President Mugabe who arrived with Shopwell by rickshaw after their Harrods expedition. Mr Van Orden called on President Mugabe to stand aside and allow peace and prosperity in Zimbabwe through free and fair internationally-monitored elections.

To mark the Vigil’s 7th anniversary we all gathered afterwards at a local pub to watch a rough cut of a film about Zimbabwe being made by David Adelstein, which features the Vigil.  Thanks to Josephine Zhuga who brought a beautiful cake for the Vigil’s anniversary which was much enjoyed by all.


Dumi Tutani and Luka Phiri who undertook a 55-mile sponsored walk for the Zimbabwean tumour girl, Tare, reminded us that she was operated on today in London.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her and all the other suffering Zimbabweans who can’t access this sort of treatment.  Betty Makoni, founder of Girl Child Network, who recently visited the Vigil to talk about Tare, has been nominated as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009.  Please see events and notices for how you can vote for her.


For latest Vigil pictures check:


FOR THE RECORD:  268 signed the register.



·    ROHR Manchester general meeting. Saturday 17th October from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: The Salvation Army Citadel, 71 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M13 9UB. Substantive committee to be elected. ROHR President and ROHR UK executive present. Contact: Fungai Chikoore 07876060929, Jeremiah Murefu 07881452495 / 07536677154, Tsitsi Jonas 07884254184, Fenny Nyatsanza 07886310005 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.

·    ROHR Leicester relaunch meeting. Saturday 24th October. Venue: Bishop Street Methodist Church,10 Bishop Street, Leicester LE 1 6AF. ROHR President and UK Executive present. Speakers: Rev Jill Marsh (Methodist Church), Celia Fisher (Leicester Aids Support Services). Contact: Dennis Sibanda 07901742649, Dr N Masamvi 07825525834, L Maposa 07837788807, F Mzemba 07932449899, G Mutimukulu 07508029001, N Maziso 07732545514, A Mutambira 07768610423 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070

·    ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well-known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607

·    Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

·    From Liberator to Dictator by Mike Auret. This is a personal account of the unravelling of Zimbabwe, written by an insider who was prepared to keep faith with Robert Mugabe until it was almost too late. Michael Auret served for many years on Zimbabwe's respected Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace, which worked tirelessly to defend human rights in that country. In this memoir, he traces his involvement in the politics of his country, from his days as an opposition MP in Ian Smith's Rhodesia to his involvement with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and his election as MP for Harare Central in the brutal election of 2000.

·    Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For more information check: or contact:

·    Vote for Betty Makoni of Girl Child Network as one of CNN’s top ten heroes of 2009 via this link:


Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.



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Biti calls Zanu-PF 'grandmasters of looting'

October 11, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - Finance Minister Tendai Biti says he has battled powerful
politicians aligned to President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party who were
determined to see the country bleed to death through unbridled corruption.

He says he has brought order and sanity into the governance of economic
affairs, much to the chagrin of 'grandmasters of looting.'

Biti, who has just won the 2009 Euro Money Emerging Market Best Finance
Minister in Africa award, is adamant he would not abandon his job through
pressure from hawks opposed to his policies.

The 44-year-old lawyer turned politician, however, says he would not
hesitate to return to his law firm if undue executive authority were to be
applied to force him to abandon the very same policies that have brought him
respect among his African peers.

Speaking for the first time since being presented with the prestigious
award, a modest Biti said he believed he had been honoured for his cutthroat
policies that have brought back sanity to what had become the world's most
turbulent economy.

"It (award) is in honour of the decent things that we have done in 2009,"
Biti said.

"We have stopped the bleeding. We have put in some decency and we have put
in some sanity under exceptionally difficult circumstances and conditions."

Biti was being hosted in a pre-recorded television programme, the
transition, at Harare's New Ambassador Hotel.

The programme is set to be aired on the local ZTV in a few weeks to come,
according to Information and Publicity deputy minister Jameson Timba.

Timba, an MDC legislator for Mount Pleasant constituency, is behind the
programme, which he says was meant to appraise the general public on the
operations of the inclusive government.

The award given to Biti has attracted displeasure from some of his critics
within the current inclusive government who find the prize as unbefitting
for a minister with only eight months into his job.

Outspoken Tsholotsho North Independent MP, Professor Jonathan Moyo, who has
rejoined Zanu-PF, says Biti was a "manifestly unqualified and reckless
Minister of Finance who is a laughing stock in his own country".

But Biti is adamant he deserved the honour although he admits he still needs
to do more to rescale the economic performance levels that existed in the
mid 90s.

This was a few years before a plethora of populist but disastrous polices by
President Robert Mugabe's government triggered a devastating economic
downturn that saw the once vibrant economy shrink by 60 percent in 10 years.

"We need to graduate from the macroeconomic era that we are going through to
finding an economic stabilization and to the era of growth, transformation
and reconstruction," he said.

"We would want to get an award for wiping out unemployment of 95 percent and
getting basic infrastructure working again."

Biti said he would be happier if Zimbabwe would graduate from "the small
miserable African state to an African giant that has to take its place among
the giants of the African continent".

He added, "One thing that I am proud of as an individual is predictability
and consistency. Those are the two foundations of trust."

"An economy works on the basis of predictability and trust and what we have
done in the past seven months is to bring predictability, consistency and
therefore some legitimacy."

The MDC legislator, who has won a lot of admirers for restricting
controversial central bank governor and close ally to President Mugabe,
Gideon Gono, denies accusations that he was tying to sabotage the Zimbabwean

There is a growing chorus of resentment to his policies by Zanu-PF officials
since the finance minister got involved in a wrangle with Gono over the use
of a US$510 million special credit line extended by the IMF to help
developing countries deal with the impact of the global economic downturn.

"You cannot sabotage an economy that has been abused vandalized and raped
such as the one which we had," he said.

"The order and sanity which we have brought in the governance of economic
affairs in this country has threatened shareholders of past grandmasters of
looting, grandmasters of corruption, grandmasters of eating.

"There are people that have been eating our country. What we have done is to
make sure that we play by the rules, to make sure that we play by the
constitution of this country, to make sure that we play by the economic
logic that is detected by our reality.

"There are those people that are blind to the reality of our mediocre
situation and it's a myth that is peddled that we are too rich to be poor
and so a lot of myths are being peddled.

"There are certain people that were flourishing from the status quo. There
are cat fish out there. A cat fish can only hunt in muddy waters. When it
wants to hunt, it goes to the bottom and makes sure the water is muddied."

Biti defended his firm handling of Gono, whom he has liked to a member of Al
Qaeda to be brought before a firing squad.

"In 2008, the Reserve Bank's economic activities were 34 percent of Gross
Domestic Product. In 2007 they were 24 percent. In 2006 they were 32
percent. If you have a situation where basically your economy is now the
Reserve Bank, there is something wrong.

"One has to deal with these issues of abuse which were being done through
the euphemism of something called quasi-fiscal activities when there was
nothing quasi about those activities, when they were pure involvement in the
economy to the detriment of the Treasury and to the detriment of everyone

Biti, regarded as a hardliner within the MDC, said although he took his job
begrudgingly as he did not want to join the inclusive government, he would
not be pressured out of it by people opposed to his policies.

"Having worked in the ministry of finance, I will not suffer fools. Fools
will not celebrate having made me quit. They are not going to make me quit.

"The wars that are created, the arsenals and the arrows that are sent on us
are not from government. I can live with that. I knew from day one that I
was going to swim in sewage pond, so I can't complain that the odour is

He added, "If I was to be told to sacrifice my principles that are
fundamental to get this economy on its feet. If anyone tells me to bring
back the Zimbabwean dollar tomorrow, then they would be a vacancy on the
sixth floor of the new government complex (his office) and I am very clear
on that."

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Mugabe ally 'retaliates' against Nestle for cancelling Grace's milk

Zimbabwean authorities have hit back at Nestlé for cancelling its milk order
from Grace Mugabe after an international outcry at the revelation that she
was one of its regular suppliers.

By Sebastien Berger, Southern African Correspondent
Published: 9:00AM BST 11 Oct 2009

The multinational food company bowed to pressure following The Sunday
Telegraph's report that Nestlé Zimbabwe, the firm's Harare-based subsidiary,
was buying up to a million litres of milk a year from Gushungo Dairy
Estate - owned by the wife of Robert Mugabe, the country's 85-year-old

But last week it emerged that a senior government official warned the firm
that its decision was seen as an extension of EU and American sanctions
against members of Mr Mugabe's inner circle, which have infuriated his
Zanu-PF party and which it blames for the country's descent into penury.

Shortly afterwards the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe - headed by Gideon Gono, a
close Mugabe ally - froze the company's accounts at two banks, according to
reports in Harare.

Although the accounts were later freed for Nestlé to use again, the move -
reported by the Zimbabwe Independent, one of the few newspapers in the
country to stand out against the government - is being seen as a warning
shot across the company's bows.

Matumwa Mawere, a Zimbabwean businessman who now lives in exile in South
Africa after his companies were taken over by Zanu-PF in 2004, said it
threatened the credibility of the power-sharing government with the former
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which is trying to restore
investor confidence and attract foreign investment.

"If the report on Nestle's bank accounts is true, then it's a sad day for
Zimbabwe," he said.

When The Sunday Telegraph first reported that Nestlé was Mrs Mugabe's
biggest customer, the Swiss-based company insisted it was doing nothing
wrong - despite the fact that under sanctions regimes for companies with
headquarters in the EU and the US, the purchase from Mr Mugabe's spouse
would have been illegal. The Swiss government ruled that the Nestlé
subsidiary was not subject to the country's own sanctions against the Mugabe
regime, and Nestlé had assured the authorities that no-one in Switzerland
was involved.

The Herald, a state-controlled newspaper in Harare, praised the firm for
defying its critics, accusing Western media organisations of "a co-ordinated
effort to harass Nestlé into pulling out of Zimbabwe."

But after one Facebook group gathered 8,000 members in just a few days, and
a civil rights group in South Africa declared that "Nestle milk is blood
milk", the company backtracked.

Within days, Nestle announced that it would no longer buy milk from Mrs
Mugabe or any other non-contractual suppliers, and would instead buy only
from the Dairy Board of Zimbabwe - which, it said, was only now in a
position to supply all the milk it needed. But it admitted that the
controversy was a factor in the decision, which was taken in consultation
with its Swiss headquarters.

Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, told the Zimbabwe
Independent that the accounts were frozen temporarily while "two or so
transaction which we thought were irregular" were investigated. These had
now been explained and things were back to normal, he added.

Nonetheless there are fears that it was intended as a warning shot to the
firm, which the sources said could be crippled if it could not access its
bank accounts to pay its suppliers.

A spokesman for Nestle at its headquarters in Switzerland said: "No Nestle
Zimbabwe bank accounts are currently frozen." He declined to comment on
whether they had been previously frozen, or on discussions between company
officials and the government.

No response was received from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to a request for

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Mugabe cronies dumped by state in torture case

(AP) - 3 hours ago

HARARE, Zimbabwe - A Zimbabwean official says several top officials and
cronies of President Robert Mugabe being sued for torture have been
renounced by the state and will not receive legal assistance.

Deputy Attorney General Prince Machaya told The Associated Press on Sunday
that the state will not represent officials being sued by prominent human
rights activist Jestina Mukoko and eight others.

The activists are seeking US$500 million for wrongful arrest, torture and
abduction after their terror charges were dropped.

The list of defendants includes the security and defense ministers and the
police chief - all Mugabe loyalists.

Mukoko's lawyer Harrison Nkomo said the case was now a private matter
between his clients and the defendants.

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Intimidation of MDC students at Fort Hare

Published on: 11th October, 2009

AS the MDC Provincial Organising Secretary Rodgers was addresing scores of
students at Fort Hare University on Friday, e-mails were dispatched from the
Registra's office to every student asking them to notify MDC aligned
students to report to the Registra's office for disciplinary action.

The entire MDC branch leadership of 12 students will be chucked out of
college on Monday. About 600 other students who attended the rally are sure
to face the chop. A massive demonstraton at the university is looming as MDC
SA squares up with University over the continued intimidation of the

The ANC Youth League and Congress of South African Students (COSAS) have
thrown their weight behind the demonstration. We are also giving Dr. Tom
Mvuyo, up to Tuesday afternoon to rescind the decision to chop students.

We appeal to him to immediately release the students' meal cards since
payment was made already. The money was paid and  there is no justification
in starving students.

Students's meal cards were deactivated, literally sentencing them to a 'scotched
earth policy'. This is unaccaptable in any modern period. The Presidential
Scholarship is bankrolled by the tax-payer's money and students can't be
treated like rubbish by ambitious individuals who regard Zimbabwe as their
family treasury.

MDC SA Publicity & Information Secretary
Sibanengi Dube

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Aid agency launches website to lure back Zimbabweans in the Diaspora

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) The International Organisation for Migration (IMO) has
launched a website that aims to attract back to Zimbabwe experienced
professionals who fled the country's economic crisis over the last 10 years,
APA learns here Sunday.

IOM said the Zimbabwe Human Capital Mobilization website would provide
information on job and investments opportunities available in the country.

A database linked to the website would capture the profiles of skilled
Zimbabweans around the world interested in taking part in Zimbabwe's
economic reconstruction.

More than three million Zimbabweans left the country since 2000 to escape
economic hardships triggered by political bickering among the main parties.

Most of the emigrants went to South Africa, Botswana, the United Kingdom,
Australia and the United States.

Aid agencies have since the formation of Zimbabwe's coalition government in
February embarked on programmes to lure Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to
return and participate in the rebuilding of their country.

  JN/daj/APA 2009-10-11

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Committee resolves to drop brigadier

Friday, 09 October 2009 15:13
HARARE -The committee overseeing Zimbabwe's constitution-making
process has resolved to remove a senior army officer whose controversial
appointment to head a sub-committee on electoral reforms caused a furore a
fortnight ago, it was established last week.
Army Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba was named deputy
chairperson of the thematic committee on elections, transitional mechanisms
and independent commissions, according to a list published in September by
the parliamentary select committee tasked with leading the constitution
making process.
The former opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and political pressure groups immediately
protested the appointment, charging that it was improper to have a serving
army officer leading the process towards a new constitution.
Parliamentary select committee co-chairperson and MDC lawmaker Douglas
Mwonzora said the decision to remove Brigadier Nyikayaramba was taken at
Monday's joint meeting of the newly formed management committee. "It was
agreed that it will not be proper to have a serving member of the defence
forces being a member of the committee because that would
be tantamount to involving uniformed officers in a process that is
overtly political," Mwonzora told The Zimbabwean On Sunday last week.
He noted that when Brigadier Nyikayaramba was initially appointed, it
was under the impression created at that time that he was no longer a
serving officer. He is currently on secondment to the Ministry of
Agriculture but "Our understanding now is that Zanu (PF) is going to
withdraw his name and nominate another person to take his place," Mwonzora
Brigadier Nyikayaramba was named in a recent document by local human
rights groups as one of the army generals accused of masterminding political
violence in the run-up to the June 2008 second round presidential election
in a bid to cow Zimbabweans to support President Robert Mugabe after he lost
the first round vote to Tsvangirai.
Mwonzora said last Monday's meeting also resolved to provide funding
for the outreach programme under which the select committee would take the
constitutional roadshow to the country's 10 provinces.
Under the new arrangement, the government would make funds directly
available to the select committee and bypass the Parliament administration
as was previously the case. Mwonzora also revealed that the committee would
soon advertise for positions on the proposed secretariat that would
administer the constitution-making process. Zimbabwe's constitutional
reforms have been mired in controversy from the onset, with Zanu (PF)
accused of wanting to impose on Zimbabweans the so-called Kariba Draft
constitution that Mugabe's party says was agreed to by the three main
political parties.
Civic organisations and the MDC have criticised the Kariba Draft
constitution that they say leaves largely untouched the wide-sweeping powers
that Mugabe continues to enjoy even after formation of a power-sharing
government. Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee human rights,
strengthen the role of Parliament and curtail the president's powers, as
well as guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.
The new constitution will replace the current Lancaster House
Constitution written in 1979 before independence from Britain. The charter
has been amended 19 times since independence in 1980. Critics say the
majority of the amendments have been to further entrench Mugabe and Zanu
(PF)'s hold on power.

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ZBH workers threatened with dismissal

Written by The Zimbabwean
Saturday, 10 October 2009 14:23
HARARE - Senior managers at the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings have
threatened to fire workers in the drama production department for allegedly
leaking information to the press alleging corruption at the government-owned
Sources said a senior executive at ZBH's Pockets Hill studios in
Harare threatened to dismiss the workers following a story published by our
sister paper, The Zimbabwean, last week saying senior managers at the
studios had authorised payments to independent producers who had never
performed any services or done any productions for the broadcaster.
"She accused us of leaking the information to The Zimbabwean
newspaper. She targeted drama producers because they are the ones
responsible for preparing budgets, and threatened to fire anyone found
responsible for the information that appeared in the newspaper," said a ZBH
worker, who declined to be named for fear of victimisation.
Efforts to get comment from the ZBH on the matter were fruitless.

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Mayor's missing meat: latest

Written by Farai Shoko
Saturday, 10 October 2009 14:40
HARARE - The Harare city council wants employees of a top local hotel
investigated for allegedly stealing 1150 kilogrammes of meat during the
recent installation of mayor Muchandeyi Masunda.
Masunda's installation in August failed to live up to its top billing
after the meat disappeared despite the council slaughtering 10 cattle for
the function. Several guest, who included government ministers from Zanu
(PF) and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC),
mayors from other towns, councilors and diplomats, had to make do with the
little food served by Cresta Jameson Hotel which had been contracted to
offer catering services.
The shortage of food greatly embarrassed the MDC led council forcing
it to launch a probe into the debacle. But a special investigation into the
"unsatisfactory organization, preparation and hosting" of the inauguration
of Masunda recommended that the matter be reported to the police as a matter
of urgency. "This case must be referred to the Zimbabwe Republic police
(ZRP) with immediate effect to further investigate the matter and take
appropriate action," wrote William Dumba, the chairperson of the
investigation committee in a report to council seen by The Zimbabwean On
Dumba's report says that meat, which was meant for consumption at the
function, was later found at Jameson Hotel. It says hotel management had
failed to give satisfactory answers as to why the meat was in their
Management at Cresta Jameson Hotel refused to comment on the matter
but sources said the hotel had launched its own investigations following the
embarrassing incident.

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Parly to consider RBZ Bill

Saturday, 10 October 2009 15:02
HARARE - The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Amendment Bill, which
seeks to clip the wings of central bank chief Gideon Gono , will be tabled
in Parliament soon after the House resumes sitting on October 20.
Cabinet unanimously approved the RBZ Amendment Bill in July after its
committee on legislation endorsed the draft law that seeks to limit the RBZ
to the traditional role of managing monetary policy. Parliamentary sources
told The Zimbabwean on Sunday that the House of Assembly's portfolio
committee on budget, finance and economic planning will go through the bill
and table a report before the House of Assembly.
"The portfolio committee will use the next fortnight to analyse the
bill before presenting it in the House of Assembly for the second reading,"
he said. "I doubt there will be a public hearing."
President Robert Mugabe officially opened the second session of the
seventh Zimbabwe Parliament on Tuesday, and said Parliament was expected to
commence debate on the landmark Bill.
Among other key proposals, the bill seeks to bring the powers of the
governor of the Reserve Bank under the control of a new RBZ board that will
ensure the central bank sticks to its monetary policy functions and that it
works to increase its reserves.

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Stopping car imports will backfire

Saturday, 10 October 2009 15:05
HARARE - Cash-strapped Zimbabwe is unlikely to be in a hurry to
implement a proposed ban on second-hand vehicle imports - such a move will
likely inflict the proverbial sucker punch to the new Harare administration
which is literally living from hand to mouth.
President Robert Mugabe announced last week that the new power-sharing
regime in Harare was contemplating a ban on imports of second-hand cars and
the use of retreaded tyres on public transport vehicles as part of measures
to curb road carnage. He said his government was concerned about the high
incidents of fatal road accidents, which have claimed more than 80 lives
since the end of July and mostly involved buses.
But analysts warned last week that outlawing imports of used motor
vehicles would be ill-advised under Zimbabwe's present circumstances marked
by low donor support for the country's economic programmes. "This will be
another classic case of killing the goose that lays the golden egg because
duty on imported vehicles currently constitutes a large proportion of
government revenue at present," observed an analyst with a Harare-based
stockbroking firm.
According to the 2009 mid-year fiscal review presented by Finance
Minister Tendai Biti in July, customs duty accounted for about 32 percent of
the US$285 million revenue collected between January and June this year. It
was second only to Value Added Tax collections which contributed a
significant 39 percent of total revenue during the same period.
Duty on imported vehicles makes up a large proportion of the customs
duty collections by the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority.
Banning imports of second-hand vehicles would, therefore,
significantly reduce one of the government's cash-cows at a time it is
desperately looking for funds to meet salaries of civil servants and other
recurrent expenses.
Corporate tax income accounted for an insignificant 2.4 percent of
total revenue against a target of US$32.6 million at the last fiscal
stock-take in July, meaning the government does not have much room to play
with regards to tampering with its income base.
Economic consultant John Robertson said banning used vehicle imports
would be tantamount to interfering with the operations of free market
economy. "Why they would choose to ban the imports remains a mystery. If you
leave the markets alone, the people in those markets will ultimately work
out for themselves what is right for the market," Robertson said.
The analysts also questioned the timing of the planned ban, saying
such a move would only make sense if it is implemented at a time when the
domestic vehicle assembly industry has improved its capacity to supply the
The state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation reported last month
that the government-owned Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries (WMMI) was
currently operating at about 20 percent of capacity due to funding
WMMI boss Dawson Mareya told the public broadcaster that conditions
had not changed from last year, with the company unable to meet demand.
Business has, however, been booming for importers and distributors of
second-hand vehicles who have set shop through the major towns and cities.
ZIMRA sources said at least 20 imported second-hand vehicles are
processed through the Beitbridge border post each day, with the revenue
collector netting an average US$50 000 daily from duty paid. Used Japanese
and Singaporean vehicles have a ready market in Zimbabwe.

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NGOs want arms ban on Zim, Libya

Written by The Zimbabwean
Friday, 09 October 2009 08:36
HARARE - A coalition of international non-governmental organizations
led by British charity Oxfam International has launched a campaign against
selling arms to countries like Zimbabwe, saying the weapons could end up in
the wrong hands and used to oppress people. Many people believe it is the
army that stopped the former opposition party from taking power after it
winning elections last year.
Oxfam and 11 NGO allies said in a report released last week all
international arms transfers should be authorized based on criteria centred
on international human rights law, international humanitarian law and
sustainable development.
Oxfam executive director Jeremy Hobbs said the world should come up
with a robust arms treaty that would make it harder for warlords and
dictators to obtain new arms and ammunition.
"Dangerous arms deals like recent deals with Chad, Zimbabwe or Libya
should be avoided as thousands of weapons can end up in the wrong hands. In
all these cases, the sale of arms should have never been authorized," Hobbs
South Africa's opposition Democratic Alliance reported in August that
President Robert Mugabe was stockpiling arms and ammunition in preparation
for another round of terror to cow hapless Zimbabweans ahead of next year's
constitutional referendum.
The report compiled by two DA legislators who visited Zimbabwe in July
said the Zimbabwean strongman was stockpiling modern weapons and was due to
receive another shipment of ammunition from the South African government.
According to the report compiled by DA parliamentarians Wilmot James
and Kenneth Mubu, Pretoria had already sold an unspecified number of 9mm and
7.2mm ammunition to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and the South African
Parliament's National Conventional Arms Control Committee was also
considering authorizing more than a million rounds of bullets for export to
Besides South Africa, other countries cited as arming Mugabe were the
Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.
More than 200 people - most of them MDC supporters - were killed
during the wild violence scenes that accompanied the second round of the
2008 disputed presidential polls.
Oxfam and its partners said the NGOs talks to establish an effective
international treaty on the trade in conventional arms were going on at a
snail's pace because of self interest and delaying tactics by some major
arms exporters.
Governments are meeting this month at the United Nations in New York
in a make-or-break debate to decide whether to officially kick start formal
negotiations on creating an arms trade treaty.
A robust treaty could limit the flow of weapons and ammunition and
prevent arms deals that fuel poverty, conflict, armed crime and abuse of
human rights.

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Charamba Accuses The Zimbabwean Of Not Paying Taxes

HARARE, October 11, 2009 - George Charamba, Permanent Secretary in the
Ministry of Information and Publicity has blasted The Editor-in-Chief of The
Zimbabwean newspaper,Wilf Mbanga, saying he is reaping where he does not sow.

Mbanga is currently based in London in the United Kingdom.  He
publishes The Zimbabwean which has a weekly Sunday newspaper, as well as a
Tuesday and Thursday version.
 "He does not pay taxes but still gets his United States dollars in
Zimbabwe," Charamba told stunned editors in Harare. "He just makes money and
sends it all to Europe where his masters are," an angry Charamba said.
"At least Trevor Ncube pays taxes and he also pays (National Social
Security Association -NSSA). Mbanga grabs the money and immediately takes it
to straight to London - the United Kingdom - where he is based."
Asked to comment by Radio VOP, Mbanga said he was paying his taxes.
"All the money we earned for the past two years - until August 2009 was paid
to Zimra to cover the punitive 70 percent import duty which all our
newspapers have been charged since June last year - following the hijacking
and burning of our truck carrying 60 000 copies of the Zimbabwean on Sunday
on May 25, 2008. Since August 1 we have paid 15 percent duty at the border
on every issue imported - including cost, transport/freight and insurance -
the value of which is determined byZimra." "The little money we make inside
the country goes to cover our local expenses. We do not take money out of
Zimbabwe," said Mbanga.
Trevor Ncube, based in South Africa, is Chairman of the Zimbabwe
Independent Group of newspapers which intends to publish a daily
newspaper -Newsday. The group already publishes The Zimbabwe Independent
every Friday and The Standard every Sunday.
Charamba was addressing editors from the country's newspapers.
 He had earlier threatened Barnabus Thondlana, Editor of Newsday which
is from Trevor Ncube's Zimbabwe Independent Group stable.
Charamba said however he sympathised with Ncube who had come to
government asking that his paper be given a licence.
"He is probably disinvesting in South Africa and wants to invest in
Zimbabwe," Charamba said. "We spoke to him at the ministry and told him what
needed to be done before we give him his licence."
There has been concerns that government has issued licenses to
state-owned papers to launch additional papers ahead of independent papers.
Zimbabwe is still awaiting a formal announcement of the Zimbabwe Media
Commission Board which will be responsible for issuing licenses. Unconfirmed
reports say former Sunday Mail editor and Ziana and ZBC chief executive
officer, Henry Muradzikwa will chair the Commission.

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A most unkind ruse

Written by The Editor
Friday, 09 October 2009 10:15
The actions of the Zanu (PF) wing of the unity government and
revelations that the voters' roll remains as untruthful as ever before once
again demonstrate to all - except the fatally optimistic - that the unity
government experiment is ultimately an exercise in futility.

It matters little whether this government delivers a new constitution,
be it one authored by the people or by the three wise men in the dead of the
night in a boat moored in the middle of Lake Kariba. It is even less
important that a new Independent Zimbabwe Electoral Commission is set up
with full authority over elections in the country.

For, a constitution and an electoral commission can never deliver a
credible election when the voters' register is packed with tens of thousands
of names of dead people and some who have never walked this earth but who
will most certainly be present on voting day to cast a decisive ballot in
favour of the usual suspects.

As we report elsewhere in this paper, a study of the voters' roll by
the Research and Advocacy Unit has identified names of 74 021 voters aged
above 100 who are registered to vote in late 2010 or early 2011 when new
elections expected.

This is a truly amazing discovery in a country where very few people
outside the Zanu (PF) elite can ever hope to live beyond 50 let alone 100

Thanks to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF)'s warped polices of
the last 29 years, average life expectancy in Zimbabwe is 34 years for women
and 37 years for men. Where are all these centenarian voters coming from?

So, we could get a new constitution and as many "independent
commissions" as we like but Zanu (PF) gets to retain the tools of deception
such as the fraudulent voters' roll.

The Zanu (PF) game is about wining power at all costs. Forget the
people's will!

This explains the indecent haste by Information Minister Webster Shamu
more than a week ago to unilaterally appoint boards to all government media
and information companies.

Zanu (PF) has always regarded government owned newspapers and the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) as vital cogs in the party's vote
mobilisation machine. That is why Shamu must ring-fence them to prevent
"infiltration" by the MDC and other perceived enemies.

The Zimbabwe Media Commission can come but it can never retrieve the
state-owned media from the claws of Zanu (PF) when former military men and
trusted allies of Mugabe's party sit on the boards of ZBH and the newspaper

And just in case everything else fails and electoral defeat for Zanu
(PF) becomes inevitable, the unreformed security forces are on standby to
overthrow the people's will. Remember June 27, 2008!

It is a most unkind ruse they are playing on us all. But one so
impossible to execute should the MDC take a firm stand and demand that
Mugabe and Zanu (PF) fulfill all their commitments under the GPA. It's over
to you Mr Prime Minister.

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Mugabe's moves stifle media plans

    October 11 2009 at 10:06AM

By Basildon Peta

It's been a bad week for Zimbabwe's embattled media. President Robert
Mugabe appointed some of his top army cronies to run key state media bodies
in what the Media Institute for Southern Africa has condemned as the
"militarisation of the media".

Zimbabwe's arch-opportunist Jonathan Moyo, formerly the scourge of the
media as information minister, then an independent, was readmitted into
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. And now, the government has issued a warning to Mail
and Guardian owner Trevor Ncube not to launch his new Zimbabwean daily,
Newsday, as planned, on November 1, without a licence. Yet the government is
launching its own new newspapers without licences.

Mugabe has not yet appointed the new Zimbabwe Media Commission tasked with
licensing newspapers, even though Parliament submitted the names of nominees
to him two months ago. But the state-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers Group has
since launched two new publications, The Midlands Chronicle and Harare
Metro, without the required licences. This prompted Ncube to announce that
he would launch Newsday on November 1 without a licence, since there was no
commission to give him one.

But Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, said the government would move fast
to shut down Newsday if Ncube launched it without a licence. It would also
arrest its staffers. "If you find yourself on the street without proper
registration, ahh, you are inviting us and we will react instantly," said
Charamba to a meeting of editors in Harare this week.

These developments have dashed any hopes that the government of national
unity launched by Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change leader Morgan
Tsvangirai in February would lead to media freedom, as it was supposed to
under the Global Political Agreement the parties signed as the framework for
the unity government.

Particularly ominous for the media is Moyo's return. As minister of
information he masterminded the closure of four independent newspapers. The
printing press of the Daily News, the only independent daily, was bombed and
destroyed in 2001 at a time when Moyo was warning it would be "obliterated".
If Moyo is co-opted into a Zanu-PF strategy team as widely speculated,
journalists fear his influence will again be malevolent.

Journalists and politicians have widely condemned Mugabe's appointments of
retired army generals and brigadiers to the boards of Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings, which enjoys a monopoly over broadcasting; Zimbabwe Newspapers,
which publishes all major state newspapers and the country's only two
dailies; and the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe, tasked with issuing
broadcast frequencies.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, leader of the smaller MDC faction,
has said the appointments of the boards would be reversed because they were
irregular and unprocedural.

"Those appointments are null and void," Mutambara said. "The cabinet was not
consulted, the prime minister was not consulted... We are going to reverse
them." However, neither Mutambara nor Tsvangirai has been able to reverse
any of Mugabe's past decisions. - Independent Foreign Service

This article was originally published on page 24 of Sunday Argus on October
11, 2009

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Social democracy underpins the MDC ideology

The MDC brand is under siege from relentless propaganda churned out by the
ZANU-PF controlled media such as Zimpapers and the ZBH.These propaganda
organs are slavishly assisted by latter-day ZANU-PF apologists and
opportunists most of whom have dubious and scandal-ridden profiles.In this
desperate attempt to demonise and in some instances,openly criminalise the
MDC and its top leadership,we have witnessed a recent escalation of the hate
language that ZANU-PF propagandists have traditionally used against the
MDC.Both the Herald newspaper and its sister weekly,the Sunday Mail, have
been misused and abused as vehicles to viciously and maliciously attack the
MDC as a party and its top leadership in their individual capacities.The ZBH
takes the propaganda war to another level by deliberately imposing a virtual
blackout on all activities undertaken by the MDC led by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai.All MDC rallies and important report back meetings are
never covered on ZBC television.The MDC recently celebrated its 10th
anniversary at a mammoth rally attended by thousands of people at White City
stadium in Bulawayo but this historic event was hardly covered by ZBH; both
on radio and television.Contrast this with the massive coverage that ZBH
gives to a mundane and poorly attended ZANU-PF district meeting in Mbare!

Since its formation in September 1999,the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has quickly developed to become Zimbabwe's largest and most
popular political party.You simply have to undertake a quick survey
throughout the length and breath of Zimbabwe to appreciate how enormously
popular the MDC has become.The thousands of people who throng MDC rallies
and report back meetings weekend in and weekend out is clear testimony of
the breathtaking popularity of the MDC.It is this remarkable popularity of
such a young political party such as the MDC that irks ZANU-PF and
ultimately motivates the crude propaganda onslaught against the MDC.It is
pretty obvious that the ZANU-PF leadership is acutely aware of their party's
declining popularity and its gradual breakdown into a rag tag organisation
loosely held together by small and ineffective tribal cliques and regional
groupings.For what can one say about a party that has dismally failed to
organise elections for such a strategic area such as Harare province.Witness
the primitive violence at the recently held ZANU-PF Women's League's
congress and you then start really appreciating that ZANU-PF is a mortally
wounded organisation; a political party that has certainly gone beyond its
sell-by date! Move a step further and visit the ZANU-PF Mashonaland West
province.Witness the paranoid hatred for people of Karanga origin and just
observe how the ZANU-PF provincial executive led by one John Mafa is now
literally under siege from the Zezuru supremacists led by some well-known
ZANU-PF political heavyweights.And this is a party that dreams of beating
the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in free and fair elections?
They can dream on.

That ZANU-PF is a party facing inevitable demise and eventual disintegration
has never been in doubt.It is now just a question of when and not whether
this party will disintegrate into small and ineffective ethnically based
factions.And some of us are actually excited by the re-entry of one Jonathan
Moyo into the sinking boat that is ZANU-PF.Just watch this space.This man
will,with his usual efferversence and fury,catalyse the disintegration of
ZANU-PF; the erstwhile revolutionary party.For us in the MDC,the
re-admission of Jonathan Moyo into the ZANU-PF fold should be cause for
massive celebration.Only a miracle can serve ZANU-PF from its impending and
inevitable disintegration.And Jonathan Moyo is not a miracle! In some of my
previous articles,I have discussed the need for any organisation,be it
political,religious or even business, to periodically renew and regenerate
its leadership.Simply put,the concept of dialectical materialism entails the
inevitable collapse of the old and backward and the emergence of the modern
and more forward-looking.Because ZANU-PF has dismally failed to periodically
renew its top leadership structure ever since the days of the armed
liberation struggle of the 1970s,for students of history and political
science,what is happening to this formerly formidable political organisation
is not at all surprising.What we are presently witnessing is the inevitable
collapse of a once mighty political organisation.This is a party whose
ideology is still stuck in the mantra of the Cold War era; a party
completely lost on strategy and stuck in history.A political party that has
stubbornly refused to move forward and change with the times and a party
that is now the victim of its own former glory.How the mighty have fallen!

By contrast,the MDC is a young and vibrant social democratic party.It's top
leadership consists of a tantalising mix of fairly old and young blood;
vibrant comrades from the world of trade unionism and some of Zimbabwe's
finest brains.The MDC's membership consists of an interesting mixture of the
urban poor,the students,the middle class and now; the rural peasantry.Some
misguided political analysts have stoically argued that the support base of
the MDC is full of contradictions.Some of them pose the question of how a
poor peasant in Dotito can relate to a young and up and coming business
executive in Harare or Bulawayo.The answer is simple.As a social democratic
party,the MDC easily appeals to all people,across the racial,ethnic and
class divide, who aspire to a serious paradigm shift in the manner in which
matters of governance have been conducted in our beloved country.These are
people who are sick and tired of the politics of patronage,kleptocracy and
autocracy.These are people who sincerely love Zimbabwe and who refuse to
hate someone simply on the basis of the colour of their skin or the part of
the country where they come from.Primitive concepts like racism and
tribalism have no place within the MDC.Unlike ZANU-PF which somehow believes
in some form of gerontocracy( i.e. rule by the elders),the MDC is a vibrant
political formation that looks at one's inherent abilities and talent rather
than age when it comes to getting elected into leadership positions.This is
one of the reasons why the MDC has some of the youngest cabinet ministers;
one of whom is  aged only 31.Contrast this with ZANU-PF who are about to
elect a man in his 80s to become one of the country's Vice-Presidents!

Because social democracy underpins the MDC's basic ideology,the party is
finding it very easy to attract new supporters each and every day; across
the racial,ethnic and social divide.The majority of Zimbabweans,both urban
and rural,see a future for themselves and for their children by supporting
the MDC.ZANU-PF is now generally associated with
violence,intolerance,corruption and greed.And the majority of the people now
do not support them because of these deeply entrenched vices.Put simply,in
ZANU-PF,the majority of Zimbabweans see more gloom,more hunger,more
repression,more corruption and indeed,more suffering.No matter how much
crude propaganda the ZBC and Zimpapers continue to churn out,the people have
now opened their eyes and they should no longer be taken for granted.If
anything,the relentless propaganda against the MDC and its top leadership
has had the net effect of making Morgan Tsvangirai the global brand that he
has become.Indeed,for Morgan Tsvangirai to be nominated as a Nobel Peace
prize laureate is in itself a wonderfull lifetime achievement which some
political leaders will only encounter in their dreams.The ZANU-PF brand is
damaged goods and this is why the people of Zimbabwe have repeatedly voted
for change since the year 2000.Indeed,the people have spoken.

Written by:

Senator Obert Gutu

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Rebuilding Zimbabwe: Australia's role in supporting the transition

Last month marked the first anniversary of the 2008 power-sharing accord that resulted in the creation of a new unity government in Zimbabwe. In a new Lowy Institute Policy Brief, Joel Negin and Jolyon Ford assess what Australia can do to assist the country’s re-emergence.

In March 2009, Australia became the first major donor country to provide assistance to the new power-sharing government. Given the pervading influence of hardline elements in the new government, however, many still worry about the risks involved in providing external support. Negin and Ford argue that external assistance can help sustain momentum for reform in Zimbabwe and sustain public belief in a post-Mugabe era. They propose several areas where Australian aid can provide support to the country’s fragile recovery process, including through a focus on agriculture and food security.
Click here to read the full document

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