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Top army officer threatens to shoot MP

October 12, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO- There was drama at a local hotel here over the weekend when
Major-General Engelbert Rugeje allegedly threatened to shoot an MDC
legislator following an altercation over the role of the army in the
inclusive government.

Business temporarily came to a standstill as Rugeje, the Chief of Staff of
the ZNA, threatened to shoot Tachiona Mharadze the MDC Member of Parliament
for Masvingo West.

Some patrons had to scurry for cover as tempers flared with the senior army
officer banging doors and tables as he violently expressed his anger during
the discussion.

The irate Rugeje then pulled out his service pistol and placed it on the
table and allegedly threatened to shoot the legislator.

Rugeje, who also made headlines during the ill-fated presidential run -up
last year when he asked soldiers to force people to vote, on Monday said he
had since forgiven the legislator.

He denied threatening to shoot the MP.

"I did not want to shoot him," said Rugeje. "I placed my service pistol on
the table inviting him to come out of the hotel so that we could fight.

"I wanted to fight him with my bare hands; that is why I placed my service
pistol on the table

"The problem was that during our discussion the MP continued to denigrate
the army and I wanted to discipline him. However, I have since forgiven

Eyewitnesses said Rugeje was riled by the MP's comments that soldiers were
abusing their power by beating up people.

"The army boss was irked by those remarks and he became very angry and that
is why he produced his service pistol and wanted to shoot the legislator,"
said the eyewitness.

As Chief of Staff, Rugeje is considered fourth in command within the ZNA.

In September, Rugeje was named by Zimbabwean non-governmental organisations
(NGOs)  among top military commanders accused of masterminding a ruthless
campaign to keep President Robert Mugabe in power in a second round
presidential election in June last year.

The runoff was condemned as a sham after rival Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out
citing intimidation and violence.

The NGOs grouped under the umbrella Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) named
77 senior military and police commanders it said spearheaded terror across
the country's 10 provinces.

Some of the more prominent officers named in the report are: Rugeje, Air
Vice Marshal Henry Muchena, Air Commodore Mike Karakadzai, Air Vice Marshal
Abu Basutu, Retired Major General Gibson Mashingaidze, Brigadier General
Douglas Nyikayaramba as well as some several senior operatives of the
dreaded state-spy Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

A power-sharing government between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and MDC formations led
by Morgan Tsvangirai and the Arthur Mutambara was established in February.
The inclusive government says it is pursuing a policy of "national healing",
which apparently does not include prosecution of  human rights abusers.

Recently, Rugeje was in the news after he grabbed Wanezi Block, a
conservancy in Masvingo's Mwenezi district, ostensibly as part of a move to
facilitate the entry of black Zimbabweans into the wildlife management

Meanwhile, the Parks and Wildlife Authority of Zimbabwe has since raise
concern over the invasion of conservancies in Mwenezi.

The department's Acting Director Vitalis Chadenga said: "We are worried
because at times there are a lot of people who enter into one conservancy
and this will destroy the whole business.

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Parly conducts rights commission interviews

by Own Correspondent Tuesday 13 October 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Parliament on Monday interviewed candidates to serve on
the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC) that is one of several key
commissions the Harare coalition government must establish as part of a
drive to reshape and democratise the country's politics.

Parliament has already held interviews for two other commissions, the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission and the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC).

It still has to interview people to sit on the anti-corruption commission,
while the House committee handling the selection process has said it used
interviews for the media commission to also pick candidates to serve on the
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.

House Speaker Lovemore Moyo said 112 candidates among them church ministers,
lawyers, medical doctors, diplomats, politicians and many others applied to
serve on the ZHRC that will be the first ever statutory human rights
commission for the country.

From the long list, 35 applicants were selected for interviews from which
only eight people shall be selected and their names forwarded to President
Robert Mugabe for appointment to the commission. The President will pick his
own chairman for the commission to bring to nine the total number of people
serving on the key rights body.

Zimbabweans hope establishment of the commission will help protect citizens'
rights and freedoms after a decade of worsening political violence and
rights abuses as Mugabe's pervious government resorted to more repressive
methods to contain rising public discontent in the face of an economic and
food crisis.

"The successful candidates will address the issues of human rights and
unjustifiable acts of human rights," Moyo said addressing the panel of
expects and members of the public before the interviews started.

Among some of the notable people interviewed yesterday was former University
of Zimbabwe (UZ) chaplain Sebastian Bakare who said he was the most suitable
candidate for the job given his experience at the university "where I was
hiding students from police brutality and hiding them within the campus and
taking them to locations."

Bakare also told the interviewing panel that he organised shelter for
victims of political violence in Manicaland where he served as bishop.

Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights chairman Douglas Gwatidzo
said he was qualified to serve on the ZHRC given his experience in
documenting rights abuses.

"Since 2002, we have been documenting human rights abuses, especially that
of political violence," he said.

Former Matabeleland North governor and ZANU PF politburo member Jacob
Mudenda, Foreign Affairs official Stewart Nyakotyo, who represents Zimbabwe
at the African Commission for Human Rights in Brussels and UZ lecturer
Joseph Kurebgwa, were also interviewed.

The committee also interviewed former immigration director Elasto Mugwadi
who critics accuse of signing deportation orders for foreign journalists
such as BBC correspondent Joseph Winter and Andrew Meldrum who worked for
Britain's Guardian's newspaper.

Others interviewed are: Petronella Nyamapfene, Bohwasi Phillip, Changawa
Susan, Nomathemba Neseni, Mbona Stanley, Sithole Ellen, Saungweme Nancy,
Malinga Joshua, Chidzonga Mavis, Moyo Stanley, Ncube Sethulo, Nyoni Peter,
Muleya Pertinent, Ndabeni Ncube, Velempini Eunice, Phulu Kucaca, Khombe
Caroll, Khumalo Casper, Sithole Irene, Chimanikire Donald, Maunganidze
Langton, Matindike Sheila, Chapfika Grace, Matonga Forbes, Makomva Behilda,
Jirira Kwanele, Mhiribidi Samuel, Charewa Jester and Mutepfa Sanyaduru. -

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Tsvangirai urges West to reward unity govt

by Charles Tembo Tuesday 13 October 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has appealed to
Western donor countries to reward the good work of his unity government with
President Robert Mugabe by widening support to include development

"People must recognise and reward progress," Tsvangirai told
journalists in Harare on Sunday evening.

He added: "There is no dispute in everyone's assessment that there is
indeed progress being made in Zimbabwe, and how do you reward that progress,
by moving away from just humanitarian aid but to economic growth,
development aid and to ensure that any restriction that is there is

Western countries that provide the most aid to Zimbabwe have
maintained humanitarian assistance but refuse to provide direct financial
support to the unity government, demanding more democratic reforms including
freeing the media and upholding human rights.

The United States, European Union, Switzerland, Canada, New Zealand
and Australia have also refused to remove visa and financial sanctions
imposed on Mugabe and his top allies as punishment for stealing elections,
failure to uphold the rule of law and human rights.

Tsvangirai said he could not defend history, apparently refusing to
defend Mugabe's controversial human rights record and undemocratic rule of
previous years that led to the West imposing sanctions.

But the former opposition leader - who agreed to join Mugabe in a
power-sharing government last February to try to end Zimbabwe's
multi-faceted crisis - said the coalition government was a new beginning for
Zimbabwe deserving of support from the West and the rest of the
international community.

"I know that a lot of people are sceptical because of the history . .
. I am not going to defend what has happened. What is important is that we
have opened a new chapter which we have agreed upon in Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai

The unity government that analysts say is the most viable opportunity
in a decade to lift Zimbabwe out of economic meltdown and political crisis
has recorded some impressive gains especially on the economic front where
hyperinflation has been tamed and basic commodities are once again available
in shops.

But the administration - that says it requires US$10 billion to get
Zimbabwe functioning again - could ultimately fail to restore the country's
once vibrant economy because of a shortage of funding and other resources.

Meanwhile Tsvangirai, who last week received two international human
rights and democracy awards from the International Bar Association and the
Spanish foundation, Cristóbal Gabarrón, said the accolades were a
recognition of Zimbabweans' fight for a just and democratic society.

He said: "It is a recognition of the struggle of the people of
Zimbabwe . . . the people to be congratulated are the people of Zimbabwe for
being resilient, for continually fighting for democratic ideals without
resorting to violence in spite of the setbacks, frustration and in spite of
the violence against them."

Tsvangirai, who has insisted that joining Mugabe in government does
not mean abdication of his 10-year struggle to end the Zimbabwean leader's
authoritarian rule, was also in the running for the Nobel Peace prize
eventually won by US President Barack Obama last week. - ZimOnline

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Teachers punished for supporting MDC

Monday, 12 October 2009 16:06
HARARE - About 8 000 teachers who fled election violence last year and
only returned to their posts in 2009 have gone for months without pay as
retribution for their perceived support of the MDC, a union official has

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary general
Raymond Majongwe told The Zimbabwean in an interview last week that some
Zanu (PF) die-hards in education offices at district and provincial level
were out to frustrate the teachers and present the MDC minister of
education, sport and culture David Coltart as weak.
"It's political. There are people in the education system who feel
they've power to frustrate teachers because of their political affiliation
and their links to the MDC," said Majongwe.
"We are aggrieved because 5 000 of the 8 000 teachers who have not
been paid are our members. This is why they are being victimized."
Education minister David Coltart confirmed in an email to this
newspaper that a number of teachers had gone without pay.
"I am aware of the fact that some teachers have not been paid and I
have asked the Permanent Secretary to urgently address this. It is also the
subject of extensive correspondence with the Salary Service Bureau and the
PSC," Coltart said.
Majongwe said Zanu (PF) supporters in the education system were taking
advantage of the lengthy bureaucratic procedures which require appointment
papers to go through district and then provincial offices before they are
finally forwarded to the permanent secretary and the government's Salary
Services Bureau for processing. The Ministry of Public Service also has to
approve the appointments through the Public Service Commission.
Coltart said he had heard the reports of political victimization but
needed evidence to act on them.
"I have heard these allegations but they have not been substantiated -
you have any hard evidence I would be grateful to receive the
reports - I
will then investigate," he said.
Majongwe revealed that some education officials had been arrested
after they demanded bribes from the returning teachers before re-admitting
"There are people who've gotten used to a system that doesn't work.
There are others who want to make Coltart a failure and then there are
others who just want things to remain as they are," said Majongwe.
He said one teacher from Chivu, a Masona who was a known MDC
supporter, had gone for 15 months without pay as punishment for his
political beliefs. Other teachers were subjected to various forms of
humiliation, including having to re-apply and present their educational
papers afresh, besides having to go through the costly process of seeking
police clearance.
"There was an agreement that each teacher coming back should go back
to their original schools if there are vacancies. However, many teachers are
being victimized. They are being deployed to rural areas as punishment. This
victimization must stop," Majongwe said.
However, the union boss said the issue was likely to be resolved soon.
"I want to assure teachers that we'll get to the bottom of it. We've
got assurances from the minister (Coltart) that all teachers will get paid,"
he said.
About 15 000 teachers who had fled their schools at the height of
political violence that escalated towards the end of 2007 have now been
re-admitted into the system.
A teacher from  St Mathews Ruswa secondary school in Wedza said she
had not been paid since she signed assumption of duty forms in March this
year. The University of Zimbabwe graduate said she was considering leaving
the profession completely as she could no longer cope with the economic
situation. Her husband was unemployed and she had two young children to take
care of, besides her elderly mother who also looked up to her for support.
The teacher said she had fled her school in 2007 due to persecution
and threats of violence.
"Armed soldiers used to come and force teachers to attend all-night
meetings. All teachers were forced to attend the gatherings in the bush.
There were beatings and some women were raped. That is why I left," she
Another unpaid teacher, from Zinatsa secondary school in Chivu, also a
UZ graduate, blamed himself for having left his job as a waiter in South
Africa to return to Zimbabwe. The teacher said officials at the ministry of
education head office in Harare had told him that his papers had not yet
arrived from the provincial office since he signed them, also in March. The
teacher, a married father of one who said he earned R2 600 as a waiter in SA
said he was contemplating abandoning his A'Level students to return to SA.
Many other teachers said they would leave if the situation did not

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Zimsec Strike - State Intervenes

13 October 2009

Harare - Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister David Coltart will
today meet Zimsec staff to try and resolve a row that threatens the smooth
running of public examinations in November.

Minister Coltart said he would first meet with management before separately
engaging workers at 2pm.

He said he had requested the meeting after ascertaining that business had
ground to a halt at the exams body despite alleged claims by management that
everything was in order.

"I called for the meeting after realising that workers at the institution
had downed their tools.
"Considering that exams are just around the corner, this must be treated as
a matter of urgency so that examinations won't be disrupted," he said.

It is understood that Zimsec management might have been misrepresenting to
the ministry that there was no strike.

There are also allegations that the management wanted to buy themselves new
cars when workers were demanding improved salaries.

Yesterday, Minister Coltart met Zimsec management ahead of today's talks and
said not much headway had been made in ending the impasse.

He said management had presented him with documents showing how management
had been using funds this year and he told them to go back and clear some
grey areas.
"We could have finalised everything today (yesterday) but I queried some of
the contents of the budget.

"I ordered them to go and work on their budget overnight so that we will map
the way forward," he said.

Employees at the examinations body downed tools last Thursday demanding that
the lowest paid worker get a salary of US$400, up from the current US$115.

Yesterday, Zimsec workers vowed to continue with their strike, with some of
them saying management had resolved to buy top-of-the-range vehicles.
They accused their superiors of "general insensitivity" which they said made
it impossible for them to continue performing their normal duties.

"They are saying they do not have money but they are on the verge of
acquiring new cars. Where does that money come from?

"These managers want to enjoy themselves to the last drop with Zimsec funds
and this must be stopped immediately," said one of the workers.

They urged Government to address their grievances urgently so that 2009
examination preparations would not be affected.
"There will end up being a skeletal staff here to prepare for the exams and
this will impact on quality. Government has to intervene before things
worsen," another worker added.

Contacted for comment, Zimsec public relations manager Mr Ezekiel Pasipamire
referred all questions to his director Mr Happy Ndanga.

Mr Ndanga declined to comment on the allegations yesterday and said he would
discuss the issue "later".

There are fears that if the problem is not resolved soon, the situation will
affect the running of exams, with Grade 7 testing just a few weeks away.

Grade 7 exams are expected to start on October 27 with Ordinary and Advanced
Level papers following later.

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Shoprite 'no' to Zim


Johannesburg- Retail group Shoprite yesterday announced it had decided
not to engage in investment opportunities in Zimbabwe.

The group said due to the current socio-economic and political
uncertainty in Zimbabwe, it had decided not to engage in further investment
opportunities in that country in the short to medium term.

The announcement followed media speculation that the Shoprite group
was pursuing the purchase of OK Zimbabwe, it said. - I-Net Bridge

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Gono's wings will be clipped, vows Biti

Written by GIFT PHIRI
Monday, 12 October 2009 16:16
HARARE - Finance minister Tendai Biti  is adamant that the Reserve of
Zimbabwe Amendment Bill will sail through Parliament before the end of this
month, ensuring that central bank governor Gideon Gono will never again
dabble in quasi-fiscal activities.

"What we intend to do is to restore credibility and legitimacy in the
Reserve Bank and we are going to do that through this bill," Biti said
during the taping of a television discussion series, The Transition, which
ZTV has refused to air.
"The RBZ Amendment Bill was gazetted on the 16th of August and we hope
to push it through Parliament before the end of October 2009," he said.
The Finance minister, who has been credited with reviving the economy
after years of Zanu (PF) corruption and mismanagement, said the RBZ reform
legislation was aimed at ending the abuse of power at the central bank.
"If you have a Reserve Bank that plays the dominant position that our
bank has played in the last five years, then there is a problem," Biti said.
"In 2008, the Reserve Bank's economic activities were 24 percent of the
Gross Domestic Product. In 2007, this rose to 34 percent. In 2006, they were
32 percent."
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai stood firmly by his finance minister,
saying: "The fiscal authority in Zimbabwe is the minister of finance," he
said. "He will set the priorities and the governor is answerable and
subordinate to him."
Biti said Gono had abused power through the so-called quasi-fiscal
activities that permitted him to assume an omnipotent role in the national
"So we have to deal with these issues of abuse, which were being done
through something called quasi fiscal activities, when there was nothing
quasi about those activities. The RBZ's involvement in the economy was to
the detriment of the treasury, to the detriment of everyone (except Zanu
(PF))," Biti said.
His remarks are likely to escalate public feuding between himself and
Gono. The two men are currently locked in an acrimonious dispute over
control of US$400 million  from the International Monetary Fund.
Biti has accused Gono of compounding Zimbabwe's crisis through dubious
activities that saw the RBZ pump millions into financing newly resettled
black farmers, most of them Zanu (PF) supporters.
The MDC accuses Gono of providing foreign currency to bankroll the
pre-election terror campaign that claimed over 200 lives last year. He also
purchased combine harvesters, tractors, motorcycles, generators and small
farming implements that were handed for free to resettled farmers by Mugabe
just before elections last March, in what analysts described as a clear
attempt by the Zimbabwean leader to curry favour with a disgruntled
Mugabe and Zanu (PF) lost the election despite this investment.
Biti said Gono's continued tenure at the helm of the RBZ remained an
outstanding issue and it was frustrating that the GNU had still not settled
the matter 10 months down the line.
President Mugabe is said to be standing resolutely by Gono, insisting
he will remain in his job and that he had actually done a fantastic job.
Biti said this hard line position was scuttling progress.
In an interview with French news agency AFP last week, Gono, who was
last week given the Ig Nobel award (an award for goofy mathematical
research) for killing Zimbabwe's currency, staunchly denied wrecking the
"The immorality and irrationality of the whole argument is that 'Gono
must go because he printed money and he killed this economy.' That's a white
lie because no single individual can harm or kill an economy," Gono told
AFP. "Whatever I did had authorisation from the government of the day."
The proposed legislative reform seeks to bring the powers of the RBZ
governor under the control of a new board, as well as to clarify the RBZ's
functions and increase its reserves.
Biti said he hoped the Bill would bring sanity to the central bank,
although critics argue that it reduces the bank's independence, in sharp
contrast to the draft SADC Model Central Bank Law, which seeks to enshrine
the principle that central banks in the region should "act independently and
without fear, favour or prejudice or direction from any authority or
Critics further argue the bill gives excessive powers of oversight to
the Minister of Finance, who must get quarterly statements showing the state
of the reserves, and obliging the minister to direct operations.

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Harare farmers receive boost from Down Under

    October 13 2009 at 12:13AM

Johannesburg - Australia has partnered with the World Bank to provide
support to poor Zimbabwean farmers, the Australian High Commission in
Pretoria said on Monday.

In a statement, the High Commission said Australia would provide
$7-million to the World Bank Global Food Crisis Response Programme to expand
maize production and food security in Zimbabwe during the 2009-10 summer
cropping season.

The programme would distribute quality certified maize seed to more
than 300 000 poor smallholder farmers across Zimbabwe.

Australia's Ambassador to Zimbabwe, John Courtney, said Australia's
contribution to the programme was part of a co-ordinated donor community
effort that was an important first step to support the recovery of
Zimbabwe's grain production.

"Up to 17 non-government organisations will distribute these seeds to
poor farmers in time for the coming planting season to expand planted areas
and raise crop yields in the communal areas," Courtney said.

"Boosting farmers' capacity to meet their household grain requirements
will help reduce Zimbabwe's dependence on expensive grain imports and food
aid," he said.

Courtney said the programme would complement those of other donors and
directly support the agricultural sector revitalisation plan outlined in the
Inclusive Government's Short Term Emergency Recovery Plan.

"This programme builds on the extensive experience of all participants
in distributing seed and fertiliser to farmers under humanitarian programs,"
he said.

While most of the seed would be distributed directly to smallholder
farmers, the project would also support the revival of rural retail markets
for agricultural inputs through a seed voucher programme.

"Under this strategy the project will support the sale of 280 tons of
hybrid maize seed through rural retailers in exchange for seed vouchers
provided to 28 000 needy rural families," Courtney explained, adding that
his country and the World Bank worked in close partnership to reduce global

He said Australia had been at the forefront of international efforts -
both political and humanitarian - to assist Zimbabwe and, since the
establishment of the inclusive government a little over one year ago, had
provided more than A$20-million in assistance. - Sapa

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Water shortages in Zim city

by Lizwe Sebatha Tuesday 13 October 2009

BULAWAYO - A break down of pumping equipment in Zimbabwe's second largest
city of Bulawayo has left the city of more than one million residents facing
shortages of clean water, raising fears of a possible outbreak of waterborne

City authorities said about US$4million was required to replace the outdated
equipment at Ncema water works which broke down last week, leaving some
suburbs without water.

"The council requires about US$4million to rehabilitate the whole Ncema
water works," mayor Thaba Moyo said.

A cholera epidemic that swept across Zimbabwe between August 2008 and July
2009 killing 4 288 people out of 98 592 infections was largely blamed on
dysfunctional water and sewerage systems in the country's towns and cities.

International relief agencies say Zimbabwe remains at risk of a fresh
cholera outbreak, with six million people or half of the country's total
population of 12 million people with little or no access to safe water and

Zimbabwe's power-sharing government between President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has promised to rebuild the economy and
restore basic services such as water supplies, health and education that had
virtually collapsed after years of recession.

But a lack of funds has hampered the administration's reconstruction
programme. - ZimOnline.

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Residents of Zimbabwe Capital Protest Purchase of US$153K Mercedes for Mayor

By Jonga Kandemiiri
12 October 2009

The Combined Harare Residents Association said the city council of
Zimbabwean capital has wasted public funds on luxury vehicles at the expense
of services by allocating US$153,000 to buy a Mercedes Benz ML320 CDI for
Mayor Muchadei Masunda.

The city spent another US$30,000 on a lesser Mercedes for his wife, Fikile,
sources said.

The residents association said it will ask Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
to take action in the matter, and is also urging a boycott of water and
other local rates in protest.

CHRA Programs Manager Justice Mavedzenge told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri that residents are outraged at what seem to be misplaced
priorities on the council.

The council said it sees nothing wrong in buying cars for use by the mayor
and his team.

Harare Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto said the residents association should
have sought clarification from city officials before launching a protest

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Grandstand Collapse in Harare Raises Concerns About Cosafa Tourney Safety

By Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye
12 October 2009

The collapse of a grandstand Sunday during a match between Zimbabwe's
Warriors national team and Premier Soccer League franchise Caps United at
Rufaro Stadium in Harare, injuring 20, has raised concerns about the safety
of sports venues with a Confederation of Southern African Football
Associations tournament set to open shortly in Harare and Bulawayo.

But Zimbabwe Soccer Supporters Association President Eddie Mboma Nyatanga
said the city council has assured his group that Rufaro will be safe for
regional fans on Saturday.

Thirteen countries were scheduled to take part in the tournament. The
Zimbabwe Soccer Association has moved to encourage international visitors
and attendance by arranging local transportation and hotel accommodation at
discounted rates.

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Church rescues prison projects

Written by Taurai Bande
Monday, 12 October 2009 16:57
HARARE-A semi-autonomous group of the Roman Catholic Church, Society
of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP), recently bank rolled Zimbabwe's prison farm
projects to the tune of US$6 000.
The society made up of voluntary members of the church, mobilized
resources to alleviate suffering among prisoners, following revelations by
the South Africa Broadcasting Cooperation (SABC), that inmates in Zimbabwe's
prisons were starving and living under inhuman conditions.
"We were touched by pictures of skinny prison inmates shown by the
SABC, and decided to assist in whatever way possible. Initially, we donated
food for inmates at various prisons across the country. To provide lasting
solutions to prison woes, we decided to capacitate prisons through
resuscitating collapsed farm projects. We rehabilitated irrigation equipment
at Chikurubi maximum prison farm and provided farm inputs such as seed, fuel
and dipping chemicals for a 300 herd of cattle at the farm," said SSVP
secretary general and president of Harare district council, Michael
Mangwende said: "Following the rehabilitation of irrigation equipment
at Chikurubi, the prison is now in a position to provide its own vegetables
for its inmates. The church society managed to resuscitate and put an 11
hectare vegetable garden under irrigation. Previously, inmates used to water
the garden with cans. The project cost US$5 000."
"At Mazoe prison, SSVP injected US$1 000 in a four hectare vegetable
project. Ridigita Prison in Marondera also benefited from our assistance at
the tune of $700 for a four hectare vegetable scheme. Our assistance thrust
is aimed at achieving total resuscitation of the country's 24 prison farms,"
he said.
Following revelations of shocking pictures by the SABC, SSVP also
donated 800 blankets, soap and cooking oil to inmates held at eight prisons
out of Harare. Each prison received 100 blankets.
The society is currently assessing clothing requirements for inmates,
ahead of a planed donation of prisoners' uniforms.
In the past, SSVP donated blankets and food to victims of Muzarabani
floods, the cholera epidemic and orphans left by cholera victims. The food
packs lasted four months.
SSVP is funded by well-wishers, the Roman Catholic church and the
church's Arch- bishop.

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Report Shows Health Care System Declining Over Years of Authoritarian Rule


Published: October 12, 2009
An article in the British medical journal Lancet paints a devastating
portrait of the collapse of Zimbabwe's health care system, once one of
Africa's best. Although the article never mentions President Robert Mugabe
by name, it suggests that his authoritarian rule, stretching back nearly
three decades, is largely to blame.

Life expectancy in the country is now just 43 years, because so many young
adults die of AIDS. But the article, whose lead author is Dr. Charles Todd,
a former chairman of the University of Zimbabwe's medical school, points to
many failures that government could have prevented.

Maternal mortality more than quadrupled from 1990 to 2007, to 725 mothers'
deaths per 100,000 live births. In 1994, 80 percent of children received all
their basic vaccines; by 2007, only 53 percent did.

By early this year, hospitals were barely operating and the medical school
in the capital, Harare, closed for six months. Women coming to rural clinics
to give birth had to bring their own antiseptic, candles and water. The
country's gross national income has fallen to $340 per person per year.
Government doctors saw their official pay fall to less than $1 a month, and
many left. Some who stayed were threatened for treating people beaten in
2008 election violence.

The new government of national unity formed in February by Mr. Mugabe and
his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, has some support from outside donors. It
should focus, the authors wrote, on basic care like obstetrics in rural
areas, training of midlevel health workers, persuading expatriate doctors to
return and starting a reconciliation process to end political violence.

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State is malicious - Makoni

Written by Radio VOP
Monday, 12 October 2009 15:20
BINDURA - The Supreme Court will determine whether the former Finance
Minister and losing Presidential Candidate in the March 2008 elections,
Simba Makoni, should face trial for violating the repressive Public Order
and Security Act (POSA), a Bindura magistrate ruled last week.

Makoni, who broke away from Zanu (PF) early last year, to form the
Mavambo/Kusile/Dawn Political Project to contest the election as an
independent, is being charged for addressing more than 400 supporters in
March last year without police permission, as is required under POSA.
Makoni said he saw "malice" in the decision by the state to pursue
charges for a case that it had seemingly discarded months ago. He came a
distant third in the Presidential race which was widely believed to have
been won by MDC's Morgan Tsvangirai.
Police re-opened his case in June this year, a time when the former
politburo member launched his political project as a new party.
The state had lined up two Zanu (PF) members and councillors as
witnesses - Henry Magundani and Tendai Kuzvidza - who failed to turn up to
hear the ruling last week. Also subpoenaed to testify in the matter were
four police officers stationed at Glendale Police Station, namely Albert
Chifamba, Johane Chimbari, Oddington Chonze and Jacob Pedzai, to testify
against Makoni.
Denford Magora, Makoni's spokesperson said he was not surprised that
the court had seen it fit to refer his boss's case to the Supreme Court. "It
was really gong to be difficult, if not ridiculous, for the court to decide
otherwise without discrediting itself and the already battered judicial
system in Zimbabwe. It would have been interesting to hear the reasons for
the ruling that the case should proceed, as the state was insisting,"
said Magora.
President Robert Mugabe's opponents and human rights groups accuse the
veteran leader of using POSA to bar his opponents from campaigning freely
and to persecute dissenters to his controversial rule.

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Improbable research: the hundred trillion dollar book

The governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank hints at the consequences of criticising the government

A basket full of cash in Zimbabwe

A basket full of cash in Zimbabwe. Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Gideon Gono, author of the new book Zimbabwe's Casino Economy – Extraordinary Measures for Extraordinary Challenges, displays a rare, perhaps unique, kind of scholarly reserve. He is a scholar with a PhD from Atlantic International University. The US-based institution, which has mostly distance-learning courses, proclaims on its website: "Atlantic international university is not accredited by an accrediting agency recognised by the United States secretary of education." And he has reserve, or rather Reserve, with a capital "R". Since December 2003, Gono has been the governor of Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank.

Two weeks ago, Gono was awarded the 2009 Ig Nobel prize in mathematics. The Ig Nobel citation lauds him for giving people a simple, everyday way to cope with a wide range of numbers – from very small to very big – by having his bank print banknotes with denominations ranging from one cent to 100 trillion dollars.

During 2007 and 2008, Zimbabwe's inflation rate rose past Olympian heights: topping 231m%, by Gono's reckoning; and reaching 89,700,000,000tr%, according to a study done by Dr Steve H Hanke of Johns Hopkins University and the Cato Institute.

The book explains that every larger, richer country will face the same problems, at which time they will appreciate Gono's extraordinary skill at meeting the extraordinary challenges. Gono modestly shares the credit, writing on the very first page: "I am especially indebted to my principal, President Robert Mugabe."

Gono's talents were spotted by other influential persons. "I was both humbled and surprised," he writes, "to get an approach from [US] Ambassador [to Zimbabwe James] McGee on 25 July 2008 with an offer which he said was from President George W Bush and Secretary Condoleezza Rice and the president of the World Bank for me to take a position in Washington as a senior vice-president of the World Bank."

He confides that later, "my staff and I were amused to see the steady mushrooming of rather shameless news stories in some quarters of the western press and its allied media claiming that I had approached the United States authorities seeking their help to secure asylum for me and my family in some banana republic or that I somehow wanted to betray President Mugabe and Zimbabwe's national leadership and to run away from Zimbabwe in the face of what was alleged to be the collapse of the economy and President Mugabe's rule".

Gono emphasises the importance of sticking to one's principles. "My team and I were guided by the philosophy", he writes, that "where appropriate, short-term inflationary surges are a necessary cost to the achievement of medium to long-range growth in the economy".

The book is, at heart, a 232-page literary fleshing-out of an 18-word statement issued by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on 21 January 2008: "Blaming the government, the Reserve Bank or the governor all the time is unacceptable and will be met with serious consequences."

• Marc Abrahams is editor of the bimonthly Annals of Improbable Research and organiser of the Ig Nobel prize


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Press Release sent to the Zimbabwe Vigil by Geoffrey Van Orden’s office


Released by: Geoffrey Van Orden MEP
Contact: 0032 2 284 7332

Mass protest outside Zimbabwe Embassy on 7th Anniversary of London Vigil for Freedom

Hundreds of Zimbabweans gathered outside the Zimbabwean Embassy in
London on Saturday (10 October) to protest at the continued denial of basic freedoms by the Mugabe regime. Previously, there had been a ‘shopping expedition’ to Harrods by protestors masquerading as Robert and Grace Mugabe.

On the occasion of the 7th Anniversary of this
London vigil, the protestors presented a petition (Saturday 10 October) with thousands of signatures to Geoffrey Van Orden MEP, who spearheads the fight against the Mugabe regime in the European Parliament. The petition demands action from Zimbabwe’s neighbours.

In his address to the protestors, Mr Van Orden undertook to present the petition to the President of the European Parliament and commented:

 “Mugabe’s regime is entirely to blame for the tragedy which has afflicted
Zimbabwe for the past decade and more. We want to see a normalisation of relations with Zimbabwe but this cannot happen until freedom is restored, the rule of law prevails and there is an end to political oppression – that means Mugabe must step down.

 “Last September's power-sharing Global Political Agreement (GPA) has not been respected. The EU’s travel restrictions and bank freeze on Mugabe’s cronies must remain in place until there is real change.

 “The key to change rests with
Zimbabwe’s neighbours, South Africa in particular. It is shameful that most of them have conspired to keep Mugabe in power, thereby prolonging the misery of the people of Zimbabwe and the economic problems of the southern African region.”


Note to editors:

Photos are available

Geoffrey Van Orden, Conservative MEP for the East of England, has been a campaigner for a free and democratic
Zimbabwe since first being elected in 1999. He has initiated 17 Urgency Resolutions on the topic in the European Parliament.

He has been personally banned by Mugabe from travelling to
Zimbabwe - a ban which he regards as a badge of honour.

The petition states:

“We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of
Zimbabwe at their time of trial. We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe”.

Contact details:; +32 2 284 7332

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JAG open letter forum - No. 671- Dated 12 October 2009


Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
jag@mango JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM - with "For Open Letter
Forum" in the subject line.

To subscribe/unsubscribe to the JAG mailing list, please email: with subject line "subscribe" or "unsubscribe".


1.  Under the carpet - Cathy Buckle

2.  In response to `Moral Compass' - Bev Lawes

3.  A letter from the diaspora

4.  P. Mangwende - J.L Robinson

5.  Boycott Nestle - Ed West


7.  Working with who? - The Robinsons

8.  Zimbabweans are being driven to violence

9.  Another survivor - Ann Hein

10.  Illegality epitomises Mugabe's rule - Robb WJ Ellis

11.  Justice and Honesty - J.L Robinson


1.  Under the carpet - Cathy Buckle

Dear Jag

Every window and door is open, shoes are abandoned, blankets are back in
cupboards and now we wait, every day looking upwards, waiting for the
rains to come. It's a blistering hot October and yet shortly after dawn
every morning silhouettes appear in the vleis, along the railway lines
and even on roadsides in residential areas. Bent in half, hacking away at
baked earth, men and women are preparing a place in which to drop a few
maize pips. Little children sit on their mother's wraps under the few
trees that have been spared the firewood axe, and they play in the dust.

The irony of a decade of propaganda about "our land and our sovereignty"
accompanied by a decade of agricultural destruction is never more
apparent than now. The very people who are prepared to toil on the dusty
roadsides at dawn in order to grow food, still have no land. One man I
spoke to said that four times he has filled in the paperwork necessary to
receive land from the Zimbabwe government. He says he meets all the
requirements but each time he has been turned down. He collects leaves,
makes compost and now trundles backwards and forwards depositing his
precious black gold onto the roadside where he will plant maize when the
rains come.

"There's no better fertilizer than the farmer's footsteps," my friend
says, and the man smiles and nods as he sets off again, with his
squeaking wheelbarrow, to collect another load.

Land is one of a raft of contradictions obstructing progress here.

Every day the state propaganda burbles on about developing tourism and
how we're apparently set to benefit massively from the 2010 football
games to be held in South Africa. And yet Beitbridge, the main entry
point into the country from South Africa remains a mafia headquarters
where even the most hardened visitors are harassed by touts, forced to
pay bribes and made to wait hours in queues in order to get into the
country. One recent visitor told me how every official at Beitbridge was
in on the scams and backhanders and said she was ashamed to watch border
officials treating people in buses like livestock, reducing old ladies to

Then there's the contradiction of investment. We desperately need people
to come back, old and new businesses to open, factories and industries to
get the country going, and yet the ground rules remain murky and the
boundaries unclear. Law and order, property rights and Title Deeds are
some of the problems. Double standards are another.

This week during the opening of parliament Mr Mugabe talked about how
Zimbabwe would be following SADC protocols on environmental protection,
wild fires, water, women, gender equality and others and yet just a month
ago Zimbabwe refused to accept a SADC tribunal ruling on land.

The final contradiction this week came when a BBC reporter said the
Minister of Youth was happy the BBC were back in Zimbabwe and that we had
nothing to hide. Oops, this coming from the Ministry that spawned the
Youth Brigade, green bombers we called them. Youngsters notorious for
intimidating, beating, raping, and re-educating people - particularly
before and after elections. Indeed Zimbabwe has nothing to hide, so long
as you don't look under the carpet or behind the door. Until next week,
thanks for reading, love Cathy


2.  In response to `Moral Compass' - Bev Lawes

Dear Cathy

The tears poured down my face when I read this story. When and how did
the wonderful people of this country lose their sense of compassion? I
recently found a woman lying by the roadside. She was skin and bones,
dressed in rags, vomiting and in pain. It was a very long story but I did
get her into Parirenyatwa. The care was bad and compassion was shown only
by one trainee nurse. The homeless woman had malnutrition, TB, full blown
AIDS, diarrhoea, pneumonia and a raging STI, as well as shocking genital
wounds from being badly sexually abused. The hospital insisted that they
wanted to discharge her despite the fact that she could barely walk and
had a high temperature. The social worker told me that he could not help
in relocating her. She would be `dumped' outside the hospital
gates. I hunted high and low and found her a place with the Mission
Sisters of Charity, an amazing place. But before I could take her there,
the hospital demanded $186. The chief accountant told me that there is no
financial assistance given to the poor and destitute.  I stormed out of
his office in a rage. When I slipped and fell heavily on the newly
polished (surprisingly) floor, I decided to find the $186 and take her to
a better place. The chief accountant and his minions thanked me for
caring. I asked them, with tears pouring down my face, why they
didn't care enough to help her themselves. There was no answer

Bev Lawes


3.  A letter from the diaspora

Dear Jag

I had already decided what I was going to write about this week when The
Zimbabwean popped through my letterbox. The Editorial was commenting on
the numerous reports his newspaper is receiving from around the country
of continuing violence and the police failure to deal with the culprits.
The ongoing violence and theft on the farms is but one example of the
total failure by the ZRP to abide by their constitutional duty to uphold
the rule of law. Gangs of Zanu PF youths assisted by war veterans and
soldiers are roaming the countryside, claims the Editorial, intent on
harassing and intimidating the population. Teachers in rural schools are
in the frontline of this onslaught and rural communities are being told
that the GNU's rule has no mandate outside Harare. I had personal
confirmation of this when a friend from Murehwa phoned me this week to
tell me that Zanu PF officials in the area were saying just that; Zanu PF
is still in control in the rural areas and the GNU is powerless outside
Harare; this despite the fact that MDC meetings are now being held openly
in the area! What this apparent contradiction tells us is that Zanu PF is
in election mode in the rural areas and, as always, their election
strategy is to soften up the electorate through violence and
intimidation. Morgan Tsvangirai's promise of free and fair elections in
2011 based on a new people driven constitution means very little to the
lunatic fringe of Zanu PF fanatics who continue to undermine the GNU in
every way possible.

Where will it all end and how will ordinary Zimbabweans recover from the
violence and hatred that has characterised their lives for the past three
decades of Robert Mugabe's rule? It is surely relevant to examine how
other countries have survived after periods of violence and genocide to
see what lessons can be learned. Following the arrest in Uganda of
another named genocidaire, a question-and-answer piece in the UK
Independent by Paul Vallely looked at how Rwanda was coping with the
aftermath of the genocide of 1994. In a period of 100 days 800.000
Rwandans were massacred while the world looked on and did little or
nothing to prevent the slaughter. I am not suggesting that Zimbabwe has
experienced anything on that scale, though the 2030 thousand Ndebele
killed in the Gukuruhundi certainly qualifies as a massacre. After the
Rwandan genocide some 120.000 people were arrested, they filled the
prisons to overflowing. In 2003 President Kagame realised that it would
take 100 years to clear the backlog of trials. In place of western-style
courts Kagame set up 'gacaca' courts where suspects were taken back to
the scene of their crimes to be confronted by their victims. There were
no legally qualified judges and no lawyers. Instead, respected village
elders were present to ensure that justice was done. One central
requirement was that the accused persons were required to ask forgiveness
of their victims.

Sadly, fifteen years after the genocide, the Rwandan Minister of
Education reports that there are ominous signs that inter-ethnic hatred
has bubbled away under the surface with Hutu students harassing their
fellows with insults written on walls and various other forms of abuse.
In Zimbabwe too, we see that state inspired hatred of people of different
political or ethnic origins, disseminated by a state controlled media is
not easily erased even by a Unity Government preaching tolerance and
forgiveness. Justice must be seen to be done, that is the message of
Rwanda. The 'gacaca' system dealt with almost a million cases and is
credited by Human Rights Watch with being a reasonably fair way of
dealing with a seemingly insuperable problem.

Is there a lesson in all this for Zimbabwe? As Zanu PF inspired violence
continues in the country with no sign the police will do anything to stop
it until they are instructed by 'someone higher up', there is a
post-genocide message from Rwanda that is directly relevant to the rule
of Robert Mugabe.

President Kagame of Rwanda is an authoritarian ruler; no doubt he has
needed to be in a country torn apart by ethnic divisions. His critics
accuse him of "suppressing internal opposition and dissent more
ruthlessly than Robert Mugabe does in Zimbabwe." But, says Paul Vallely,
the difference between the two men is that Kagame with western help has
brought economic stability to his country. Rwanda, he claims is one of
the safest and most orderly countries in Africa, its GDP has tripled,
tourism is booming and foreign investment is being attracted. And for the
Rwandan people, that means jobs, There are new schools too and
hospitals,clinics and roads are being built.

While Robert Mugabe in Switzerland this week once again rants against
independent radio stations and the use of the internet to 'bring about
regime change' Rwanda by contrast has, according to Vallely, "an
efficient mobile phone and broadband internet service in the cities which
is moving rapidly into the countryside."

Perhaps the message of all this is that there is hope for Zimbabweans,
even after thirty years of brutal repression, racism and intolerance.
There is hope of a new dispensation for Zimbabwe, providing of course, we
have a people-driven constitution, a completely new electoral register,
minus dead voters, duplicate identities and centenarian voters, followed
by free and fair elections. Not so much to ask, is it? If Rwanda can
survive the horrors of genocide there must surely be hope for Zimbabwe?

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.


4.  P. Mangwende - J.L Robinson

Dear Jag

P Mangwende's rational analysis of the Zanu policy over the last
few years is what Edward de Bono would refer to as White Hat thinking
- dealing with the facts. The policy itself is Red Hat thinking
- relying on emotion. I think there are many believers in
Mangwende's interpretation of the facts.

However, if we take the very small number of persons who have benefited
from the Zanu looting programme - taken from their tiny perspective
of matters - it has been a great success for them.

Take the beneficiary of a $600 000 mango crop ready for reaping, or a $2
million citrus crop, or the beneficiary who walked into a 100 000 poultry
operation with an "offer letter" - it was a win for him
or her. Every one of these persons will sing the praises of the FTLRP!
This choir might only boast a membership of a thousand - but it
will have prime spot on ZBC, ZTV and the Zanu newspapers.

It would appear that Zanu has emulated the Russian example of an
oligarchy where about seven individuals controlled the bulk of the

It is fairly easy to see (even in the dark - no Zesa!) the
opportunists trying to milk off corporate pickings and props before the
play "Destroy Zimbabwe" enters Act 2 Scene 1 - and then
suddenly the lights might come on!

This is a very busy time back stage and the opportunists think that they
can run wild.

Today an 88 year old Hungarian born man, living in Australia, is
appealing not to be extradited to Hungary to answer charges regarding the
death of a Jewish man in 1944.

We might well need to start thinking about an 85 year old Mashonaland man
being extradited to The Hague to answer charges for the death of 25 000
Matabele civilians in about 1983?

The international focus, perception and image needs to shift from the one
of self projection as a liberator - to the white hat facts of
answering to charges of crimes against humanity.

Does anybody really believe that the families of the 25 000 murder
victims will find his latest blurb on national reconciliation, a
"truly touching gesture?"

Zapu at least certainly appears to be rather "underwhelmed"
by it all?

J.L. Robinson.


5.  Boycott Nestle - Ed West

Dear Jag

It has become public knowledge yesterday that Nestlé Zimbabwe is buying a
MILLION litres of milk a year from Grace Mugabe's farms in
Zimbabwe, which were confiscated, ostensibly, to resettle the POOR !!!

Nestlé SA has issued a stupid statement that they are independent of
their company in Zim and Nestlé has issued a statement that they are not
subject to EU sanctions against the Mugabe elite as the headquarters of
Nestlé are in Switzerland and therefore not subject to EU rules.

embarrass that organisation.

I have contacted the international network AVAAZ to help distribute this

Please email it ONTO EVERY person AROUND THE WORLD in your email address
book and to every politician around the world that you have email contact

Ed West



They do say we should be wary of a soft-spoken tyrant. And this is
relevant when it comes to Mugabe. We are all used to his breathing fire
and his melodramatic allegations and threats. In fact, we are all
hardened against it.

"A rather subdued Robert Mugabe finally opened the Second Session of the
Seventh Parliament on Tuesday, where Morgan Tsvangirai was also present
at the official opening for the first time as Prime Minister.

Several parliamentarians also said that for the first time there were no
tensions in the House while Mugabe was delivering his speech which was
'relatively devoid of his usual nastiness.'

Observers say it appears the political rivals may have made some
concessions to be 'civil with each other'. Last August Mugabe was
humiliated and left rattled after MDC-T parliamentarians jeered, heckled
and sang 'ZANU PF is rotten' during his speech, but there was none of
that this time around. Some MDC MPs, speaking on condition of anonymity,
said they were told by the top leadership in the inclusive government not
to repeat last year's performance."

For someone who has nothing but disdain for the colonial era, he is quite
happy to revel in its glory, is he not?

Mugabe loves any kind of opulence - whether it is a parade or the latest
suit - he has to have the best. And the opening of parliament suits him
down to the ground.

How can the man that ridicules the West have a 32 horsemen escort dressed
in the BSAP uniform of yesteryear? Mugabe hates anything to do with the
British - or Zimbabwe's predecessor, Rhodesia. (The British South Africa
Police - BSAP - was the police force of Rhodesia.)

Mugabe's love of all things fine and flashy has become quite garish - and
this, I believe, is because his market is somewhat limited with the
travel sanctions in place against him, his family and all of his
apologists and loyalists.

Mugabe's wife has the ability to shop until she drops and it is often
reported that 'plane-loads of goods arrive for Amazing (Dis)Grace and
circumvent customs.

How she would dearly love to shop again in London and New York!

So Mugabe has decided to soften his tone and has even gone so far as to
say that he would like to be friends with the Queen again.

But we know that a leopard doesn't change his spots. He has nothing but
ridicule and disdain for the Western way of life - but opens Parliament
with all the pomp and ceremony of a colonial ruler!

"A regal Mugabe and his wife, resplendent in a blue outfit, were riding
in the gleaming Rolls Royce once used by Lord Soames, the last governor
of Rhodesia. As he mounted the saluting dais and the national anthem was
played, a chorus of jeering and salutes began."

It is nothing short of a slap in the face for the history of Zimbabwe
that Mugabe should choose to open Parliament with a backdrop that is
nothing more than the colonial past that he hates so much.

Mugabe fails to hoodwink that people of Zimbabwe, and fails entirely to
convince the West that he is a changed man.

Beware of a soft-spoken tyrant - although I do prefer him as the angry,
much-deluded dictator that he really is.

Robb WJ Ellis

The Bearded Man


7.  Working with who? - The Robinsons

Dear Jag

One CFU President's legacy from 2002 is "we are working with
the government on the land reform programme." By then there were
about 1200 evicted farmers who were not quite sure about that very

Seven years later, we now have a CFU President who has explained fully
what "the land reform programme" has done to the holistic
governance of the country over the last seven years.

De Bono would call this "white hat thinking" - dealing
only with the facts.

In 2002 CFU policy exposed itself and agriculture to working with
("dialogue with') drugged up, intoxicated Zanu Youth Brigade
who wanted to lay their hands or destroy anything they could.

"Jambunja" - along with other unique Zanu social behaviour
such as defecating on the floors, attacking civilians and burning
homesteads - aside from rape, torture and murder that is -
became the work experience or practical bit for farmers carrying out the
"dialogue" policy.

It would appear that CFU, Jag and SACFA might now rather say that they
are "working with SADC Judiciary" based in Windhoek. With a
bench of respected impartial international Supreme Court Judges they
would be focused on the application of the rule of law - rather
than inciting people to defecate on the verandah.

The process of rehabilitation for persons who have an innate desire to
defecate on the floor of a house, rape and murder civilians, burn or
break everything that they cannot take away and then expect the western
world to embrace them as heroes - may well be a long and
complicated process.

The process of rehabilitating politicians who have incited these persons
to carry out these barbaric acts - can only be more complicated, in
my opinion. We need to remember that the inciters or planners of this
behaviour will probably be in pin stripe suits at UN or EU conferences,
or CNN interviews - eloquently, and ever so softly expounding the
virtues of their political party and its manifesto about human rights!
Ask a "verandah defecator inciter" (VDI) about Bishop Tutu or
the SADC Tribunal - and out comes the aggression and the denial.

When optimists say - it is all good because they have all changed
- I think of the saying "the best prediction for future
behaviour is past behaviour."

J.L. Robinson.


8.  Zimbabweans are being driven to violence by Regional and
International Governments.

Dear Jag

Mugabe has ruled Zimbabweans with an iron fist for close to 29 years,
committing Genocide several times, causing the deaths of thousands of
people through murder and bad governance, he and his party have stolen
all the riches of this country from the people, supposedly to adjust the
injustices of colonial rule, but it has become obvious now, even to the
most biased that it was just to in rich a few and keep him in power.
Obviously all the beneficiaries of stolen and looted farms, companies and
mines would cheat, fight and kill to keep him in power.

Mugabe has snubbed his nose at the International community, the United
Nations, the African Union, SADC and his neighbours, knowing full
well that many would support him and at worst some would just make a

The forming of the Government of National Unity, which was forced on the
MDC party, gave hope to many Zimbabweans, because if the Guarantors, SADC
and the International community were able to force both party's to keep
to the letter of the agreement, all would be well, Zimbabweans would get
a new peoples constitution and an election within two to three years,
under that constitution.

But what have Zimbabweans seen happen to their hopes for true democracy!
Mugabe has not kept to the letter of the Government of National Unity
agreement, he has done just the opposite and is still firmly in power,
and what have the guarantors of the agreement done to put this right,
actually they have achieved nothing to solve the many issues and non
compliance of the agreement that Mugabe and his ZANU PF party are guilty

What options are now left for the embattled and oppressed people of this
once thriving nation, it has become obvious it cannot be done through
elections or power sharing agreements, the only way for the people who
want change, is to resort to a violent take over, every day that
passes the possibility for this to happen is growing, because all
citizens, army and police included, will react to going back to the
conditions that existed before the power sharing agreement and this is
where Zimbabweans are heading.


Gerry Whitehead


9.  Another survivor - Ann Hein

Dear Jag

Polish up the begging bowls for the poor little children of Zimbabwe
suffering from malnutrition.  If the latest farm grab goes through in
Midlands, then there is going to be a shortfall of about 2 tons of milk
per day in the future - one of the biggest dairy farmers surviving in the
country will probably be "off" by the end of the week. Just proves that
even the dairy farmers are not immune any more.


Survivor (so far)


10.  Illegality epitomises Mugabe's rule - Robb WJ Ellis

Dear Jag

I could probably write at least a couple of thousand words on this very
subject - but today I want to look at the periphery of Mugabe's
kingdom, and how he uses these associated wings of his administration to
the best of his advantage to queer the MDC pitch for clear and
transparent democratic rule.

The first of his associative bodies is the police - the Zimbabwe Republic
Police - a force that I was once a proud member of. Within the Police
Act, the constitutional act under which the police force is regulated and
governed, it is stated as a prerequisite that officers have to be

Apolitical means without any political bias towards any particular party.
This, when I was serving in the ZRP, was one of the easiest requirements
as I had absolutely no interest in the politics of the day.

But today the ZRP is headed up by a ZANU PF maverick, Augustine Chihuri,
who, in typical pro-Mugabe fashion, ensures that the officers under his
command toe the ZANU PF line.

How can I be so sure of this? Simple. Look at the land grab, now ongoing
for nine years. The seizure of farmlands has been littered with violence,
theft and murder. The numerous reports on the internet openly state that
the ZRP, whilst being present, have not lifted one finger to assist those
being beaten, stolen from or killed.

No one has been prosecuted for any of the political deaths in last
year's reign of terror visited upon the MDC by ZANU PF - even
though the perpetrators have been named.

Yesterday, an article in the press stated that the author of a dossier
detailing the events during the election last year was questioned at
length by Mugabe's secret police, the Central Intelligence

The war veterans - those aging people that were active during the bloody
bush war against the Rhodesian security forces during the 1970s - are
also allowed to perpetrate whatever acts they like upon the people of
Zimbabwe. The leader of these brigands is not even a war veteran! But he
has adopted that persona and that is that!

Two weeks ago, we read about him brandishing a firearm whilst
orchestrating the eviction of an old lady from a disputed household in
Gweru. In Zimbabwe, the last time I checked, it was illegal to brandish a
weapon in a threatening manner. I wonder whether he even has a licence to
own the weapon

The security chiefs - commonly referred to as the Joint Operations
Command (JOC) - openly defy court orders, norms of practise - and have
even threatened to go to war against the people of Zimbabwe!

They refuse to salute the Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, because,
they say, he has no chimurenga credentials - meaning that he never
partook in the bush war. Even though many of their own do not have any of
those credentials either!

The whole spectrum of Zimbabwean politics is stained by the ZANU PF
reliance upon loyalty - and the need they have to reward that loyalty
with the "spoils of war" the farms, luxury motor
vehicles and important public offices.

But there must be an end to this reign of mercenary behaviour, and there
will come a time when the ZANU PF upper strata begin to fall off their
perches naturally and move on to meet their maker.

More and more people are becoming aware of the falseness, the illegality
of Mugabe's rule, the plunder and theft conducted not only against
the people, but against the country. It will happen that one day ZANU PF
will no longer be able to warp any election result, and they will begin
the slippery slide into oblivion.

And that day can't come soon enough.

Robb WJ Ellis

The Bearded Man


11.  Justice and Honesty - J.L Robinson

Dear Jag

Symond Fiske made a study of the political process and the accompanying
"agrarian reform" in Africa - as the British steadily
relieved themselves of colonial outposts. It was more of a "Cairo
to Cape" route than Cecil John's original vision of
"Cape to Cairo."

Fiske's work is painfully accurate and well researched. The
nationalization of land in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique and
Zimbabwe have all been high on political emotion and spin (with looting)
and scant on planned sustainable modelling - based on scientific and
business principles. The sitting Presidents of the countries at the time
were clinically evaluated. The single saddest (or funniest) part is that
each country (or political system) has had to travel along their own
learning curve themselves. It was not possible for them to study the
previous examples as precedents, or perhaps listen to Julius Nyerere. Of
course, the offer of a lovely dairy farm in Mazowe could well cause any
politician, or a glamorous Harrods shopper wife to prefer to ignore
Nyerere's words about some of the problems it could precipitate!
South Africa is now going to travel along the same pattern as those
countries north of it, but will re-invent a "brand new"
script identical to a handful approaching fifty years of age. SA, with a
population of 50 million people could well be a far more exciting game.
The results should be much quicker than Zimbabwe - a 20-20 game as
compared to a five day test.

Fiske's 2002 prognosis of Zimbabwe and Mugabe have come to be:

"The frightening thing about Robert Mugabe's policies is not
that the man is a racist determined to chase white people away; his
determination to rid his country of justice and honesty in order to do it
is more ominous by far."

J.L. Robinson.

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My Grandfather's Farm Taken by Mugabe

Published: October 13, 2009
Dear Editor
My grandfather is one of the many farmers in the Chipinge South and on that
farm he has pretty much lived on it for decades and that's where I grew up
and spent most of life at.

Brief History
Chipinge South lies on the boarder of Mozambique. As far as I know when the
war was going on in Mozambique and there was a mass exodus of most of the
Mozambicans, the farmers in that area made a pact to accommodate as many as
they can, so most of them have been residents since the late 70s and the
early 80s. They have also become part of the family as the years went on and
there was always that sense of a community. The farmers worked so hard to
establish their farmers including installing their own electricity,
telephone lines, boreholes and even large solar panels.
In the early 90s all farmers were made to hold a ZANUPF membership otherwise
their produce would not be sold or accepted at the wholesalers like the
Grain Marketing Board, The Tanganda Tea Company or even to attend the
Farmers' Union. Now knowing him that much, he was, Like many Manicaland old
guns, a hardcore ZANU Ndonga fan, but he was forced to hold a ZANUPF card
just for him to be able to sell his produce.
Like many farmers, when my grandfather left the war he was made to keep his
gun as long as he had the license to hold rifles and he had two of them, one
was for shooting birds. Earlier this year, all the farmers were made to
surrender all ammunition, unless they kept them in a locked rifle cabinet.
My grandfather raised an argument that he has kept his rifles since the
early 80s and he has never harmed anybody, other than scare people off the
farm with it, shoot birds, guinea fowls, monkeys, wild pigs etc. My uncle
convinced him that there was a rifle cabinet but it had to be unlocked and
to find a new key for it in Mutare, so my grandfather finally gave in and he
surrendered both riffles.
While that was going on a coup was being setup against all the farmers, and
apparently it had been established for some years now and they are calling
themselves the Blackboots or Mujibha's. They managed to convince all the
residents on the farms that they can get about 3hectares of the land were
they to agree to join them and force the farmers to give up the land.
Apparently they agreed and most of them did join and they approached the
farmers. Again my grandfather's argument was that how can they call
themselves Mujibhas when they had not actually seen or been to the war and
not know the history behind how the land got to be distributed amongst the
All the farmers then managed to contribute 80rands each so that they can
afford to pay a lawyer to represent them. They found one and they won the
case in court. The Blackboots guys came back livid saying that they will not
accept any form of law because they were THE law. So on the night of Friday
the 9th October 2009 the Blackboots came at night and targeted the well-off
farmers and burnt the houses down.
While this was happening the other farmers noticed that the other farmers'
houses were being burnt and they took the decision to drive an hour's
journey to Chipinge Town to get the Police because the electricity was gone.
Unfortunately one of the houses and farm that was vandalised and burnt was
my grandfather's and he himself got abducted and no one knows where he is.
At least five families including my grandfather's have lost their
possessions and I doubt that they have anywhere to stay since the people
they even helped managed to turn against them.
I am being forced to say rude words and swear and I don't care who or where
this story is read because what happened is really disgusting beyond belief
and words. I grew up on that farm and have spent most of my life on that
farm and had seen my grandfather and the rest of the farmers working their
backsides off to achieve what they have now. I have worked on it whether it
was raining or sunny or windy, or whether it was at the break of the day or
the end.
I still bear the wounds of how much I have worked on that farm up to this
day and they are the wounds that will never ever go away. I know the day
when we have to plant the first seed of maize for the season (and for those
who don't know it's the 15th of October!!), and when to harvest because my
grand father taught me all that. I was there when the war in Mozambique was
going on and I have seen the bullets between the Zimbabwean Red Barrett Army
and the Mozambican Army (Matsanga, we used to call them) flying back and
forth almost every night in the neighbourhood, and I even went through the
1800hrs curfew when the Red Barretts used to tell us to be indoors by then.
I witnessed the trauma that the Mozambican community went through when they
used to have their ears, nose or lips chopped off by the Matsanga army if
they don't run away. I witnessed the experience the Zimbabwean community
went through if they do not reveal to the Matsangas where the Red Barrett
Army was (because on several occasions they were playing a game of hide and
seek). And one farmer had to be chopped off in the middle of nowhere because
he refused to reveal where the Red Barrett Army was. I have seen the second
generation of that farmer's family revive that farm and carried on as if
nothing ever happened. And I went through the time when we had to be
escorted to and fro the school by the Red Barrett Army because they were
protecting us from the Mozambican Army.
Now I defy anyone who stands up to the people like my grandfather, who were
quietly and comfortably making their own through life in one of the most
peaceful part of Zimbabwe, and have the audacity to tell him and the rest
that they themselves are Mujibhas when they don't know anything and nothing
about what those guys went through, just because they never talk about it,
and how they built their lives from nothing to somebodys throughout their
lives. And even me who saw the slightest patch of war I couldn't even
understand what they had to go through.
I am disgusted and fundamentally so, that someone who was and is from the
right and father, mother and planet could do such a horrendous activity, and
taking away something of which they never worked for or understand how it
has been attained. Completely and utterly disgusted to the core!! On that
land lays my aunt, my uncles and my cousins, as with on many farms and that's
completely insane and I don't think that even someone who takes the weirdest
dosages of crack cocaine can even do such atrocious acts because they know
that there is not much media coverage to publicise what those farmers are
going thorugh.
I believe that my grandfather was abducted because even in the middle of the
night he stood up for what he believed in, and the cowards, selfish,
uneducated rugrats, knew that he was and they were all defenceless because
their weapons had been taken, and even so they could not even undertake
their evildoing witchcratfy ways during the day, because they knew they
would be caught. Words to describe them are not even flagging up in my
dictionary and I don't care whether whoever somebody know my name because I
just don't care, I just don't care!!! That was his legacy as a BLACK AFRICAN
FARMER now it has been taken away. Whoever is facilitating that is
disgusting, and beyond disgusting!!
By Pamela Mahaka

56 Leonard Street


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Matabeleland and the ghost of Mzilikazi

13/10/2009 00:00:00
     by Tendai Huchu

THROUGHOUT Zimbabwe's modern history, Matabeleland has consistently punched
above its weight when it comes to key events that determine the nation's
future. Exactly why this is so is something that has never been analysed in
any great detail.

The exodus of the great King Mzilikazi and his people across the Limpopo
during the Mfecane was one of the single most important events in Zimbabwean

The decline of the great Shona Empires (i.e Rozvi, Great Zimbabwe,
Munhumutapa) had left a country ruled by fragmented small chieftainships
with no great central authority, as had been the case in the past.

This state of affairs greatly helped the colonialists especially in the
north as there was no one leader to coordinate resistance to colonialism. It
was Mzilikazi's successor, King Lobengula, who first recognised that
Zimbabwe was a unified state when he signed the Rudd Concession.

The Rudd Concession was presented as something that would leave the nation a
sovereign, united state, but alas he was tricked.

The first resistance to colonialism was the Ndebele Uprising of 1893 which
saw the end of Lobengula's rule and an intensification of the colonial

The second coordinated resistance was the First Chimurenga of 1896
(sometimes wrongly called the Second Ndebele Uprising). Figures like Mlimo,
a great religious leader, were prominent in co-ordinating the war effort as
were Nehanda and Kaguvi.

When this resistance was crushed, the Rhodesian state was firmly
established. It is decades later, with the emergence of men like Joshua
Nkomo, that the liberation movement would be reinvigorated and given a
central focus.

Because of the strength of Rhodesian resistance, it is hard to estimate when
Zimbabwe would finally have gained independence if he had not emerged at
that time. Perhaps it may have had to wait as long as South Africa and

Independence did come in 1980, but the most dangerous threat for national
stability was the conflict taking place in the south. The Unity Accord of
1987 which came after the Gukurahundi massacres guaranteed stability for a
time, but this was not to last.

As the government became increasingly autocratic, Matabeleland threw her
weight behind the newly-formed MDC in the 2000 elections. Looking at the
track record of other parties like Zanu Ndonga, ZUD and ZUM, it is easy to
see how without this crucial support, the MDC would have been just another
second rate party doomed to failure. The MDC managed to get seats in most
major cities but it was Matabeleland which gave it rural seats it could
never hope to get in other provinces.

This was very important in giving the MDC legitimacy both domestically and

However, during the 2008 elections, parts of Matabeleland withdrew their
support for the main MDC party as represented by founding leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai. A split in the MDC denied the party what should have been
guaranteed victory, and many voters threw their lot with a rival MDC faction
led by Arthur Mutambara.

In the post-election negotiations for a unified government, it was this MDC
faction that severely weakened Tsvangirai's hand. There was always a risk
that Zanu PF and MDC-M would cut a deal leaving Tsvangirai's party in the

The question for any political strategist looking into the future has to
be -- why does Matabeleland behave in this way? There is no easy answer to
this question. Some say it is just a result of tribal demographics at play.
This is a naïve and simplistic answer.

But one has to look back over a hundred years to a minor chief in the Zulu
Empire to understand the psychological and historical factors at play. When
Mzilikazi led his people out of what was increasingly a hostile despotic
state, he was in real effect giving them a philosophy as important as the
Magna Carta -- the principle of Social Justice. It is a universal principle
that has infused throughout the nation and is not the preserve of one
particular tribe or group of people.

Mzilikazi's example teaches us that a people must resist their rulers if
they are not acting in accordance to their interests. It is an open secret
that a significant amount of people in Matebeleland feel marginalised. The
south of the country is underdeveloped compared to the north. Whoever
governs Zimbabwe in the future must realise that unless they govern with the
people at heart, Mzilikazi's ghost will always be lurking in the shadows.

Tendai Huchu is a regular contributor to New

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