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Tsvangirai tackles Mugabe, coalition in crisis

by Charles Tembo Thursday 15 October 2009

HARARE - Prime Minister (PM) Morgan Tsvangirai cancelled a weekly
Council of Ministers meeting and will not be coming to office to protest
Wednesday's detention of his top ally Roy Bennett, in the biggest test yet
for Zimbabwe's fragile coalition government.

Tsvangirai acted apparently after several attempts to meet President
Robert Mugabe or Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa or Attorney General
Johannes Tomana to discuss Bennett's detention failed, the PM's spokesman,
James Maridadi, said.

The former opposition chief will Thursday hold an emergency meeting
with senior leaders of his MDC party to discuss the issue of Bennett, who is
party treasurer and was ordered back to jail pending the outcome of his
trial in the High Court on controversial terrorism charges.

 "The Council of Ministers (meeting on Thursday) has been cancelled.
The Prime Minister has suspended his coming to the office until the issue of
Senator Bennett is resolved. He wants that matter resolved immediately,"
Maridadi told ZimOnline.

"The Prime Minister was keen to meet President Mugabe to talk about
Senator Bennett's issue but all communication was not successful," said

The Council of Ministers that is chaired by Tsvangirai was created
under last year's global political agreement that gave birth to the
coalition government and was touted as away to balance powers between the
former trade union leader and Mugabe who chairs Cabinet.

But Mugabe, who controls the army, secret service, police, judiciary
and prison service, has done everything to show whom between him and the
Prime Minister wields real power in the unity government.

Tsvangirai's action to suspend the Council of Ministers and stop
coming to office is the first time he has publicly taking on Mugabe, after
spending the better part of the past seven months trying to convince a
skeptical world that the unity government was working and he had struck a
working relationship with his former foe.

Analysts say the MDC and Mugabe's ZANU PF may not want to see the
coalition government collapse because they both stand to benefit from its
continued existence but they warn that unilateralism by the veteran
President - long used to ruling alone - could in the long run cripple the
administration and damage its long term effectiveness.

The defiance of ZANU PF and military hardliners who have continued to
invade more white-owned private farms and Mugabe's refusal to rescind his
unilateral decision to appoint two of his top allies as Attorney General and
central bank governor have all undermined the unity government.

Western donor nations refused to provide direct financial support to
the Harare government demanding more political reforms and a return to rule
of law on commercial farms that are key to economic recovery and food

One of the MDC's most popular leaders, Bennett is accused of
possessing weapons for the purposes of committing banditry, insurgency and
terrorism - charges he denies and which Tsvangirai has repeatedly said are
politically motivated and are undermining the unity government.

Bennett's detention is seen strengthening the hand of hardliners in
the MDC and piling pressure on Tsvangirai to take a more robust stance
against Mugabe.

In statement earlier on Wednesday, the MDC said Bennett's detention
pending outcome of trial in the High Court was a "serious attack on the
credibility" Zimbabwe's power-sharing government.

"The MDC regards today's indictment and subsequent detention of
treasurer-general and deputy agriculture minister-designate Roy Bennett as
yet another serious attack on the credibility of the inclusive government,"
the party said.

Bennett's lawyers are expected to file an urgent application Thursday
for his release on bail at the High Court.

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Bennett case: Mugabe snubs Tsvangirai

October 14, 2009

By Raymond Maingire

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday snubbed Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai who had sought a hasty meeting over the controversial
imprisonment of MDC treasurer-general and deputy agriculture
minister-designate, Roy Bennett.

Bennett, a close ally to MDC president Tsvangirai, faces charges of
possessing weapons for the purposes of insurgency and banditry.

He was on Wednesday committed to imprisonment by Mutare Provincial
Magistrate Lucy Mungwari pending his trial in the High Court on Monday.

This is despite the fact that his indictment papers were not in order and
his lawyers had not been furnished with the documents to allow them to
prepare his defence outline.

Sources told The Zimbabwe Times on Wednesday that a livid Tsvangirai, who is
under pressure to abandon his softly approach to continued violations of the
Global Political Agreement by Mugabe, immediately sought an urgent meeting
with the veteran leader, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa and Attorney
General Johannes Tomana to thrash the matter out.

Mugabe's alleged refusal to meet Tsvangirai over the potentially divisive
matter angered the MDC leader, who has called for a crisis meeting with the
top leadership in his party at Harvest House on Thursday.

Tsvangirai immediately cancelled a council of ministers meeting he was set
to chair the same Thursday to try and come out with an appropriate response
to the matter, which his party said was "provocative".

Tsvangirai and his secretary general, Tendai Biti will also address the
media on the matter during the same afternoon.

James Maridadi, Tsvangirai's spokesperson confirmed Thursday his boss had
sought a meeting with Mugabe but said the meeting failed to materialise
because Tsvangirai could not get through to Mugabe.

"I can confirm that the Prime Minister was indeed chasing a meeting with the
President but could not manage as all avenues of communication were closed,"
said Maridadi.

"The Prime Minister is keen to have that meeting which he seeks to use to
bring finality and closure to Bennett's case."

But sources close to Tsvangirai's office said Mugabe deliberately avoided
Tsvangirai to avoid confrontation with the MDC leader.

"He knew this was going to be a bloody meeting," said the source, "Bennett's
incarceration leaves a bitter taste in the mouth as it is in open violation
of the spirit of the inclusive government.

"While it may be technically correct that an accused person who has been
indicted for trial at the High Court should be committed to imprisonment,
the decision was morally and politically incorrect in that Mugabe violated
an agreement which was there between his party and the MDC to have a stay of
prosecution on all political prisoners."

In a statement on Thursday, the MDC said the arrest of one of its founding
MPs was both provocative and vindictive.

"MDC views this as an act of machination by Zanu-PF and its sulking cabal
planted in various state institutions aimed at persecuting not prosecution,"
said the MDC.

"This latest action is deliberately provocative, unnecessary and motivated
by hatred of a personality.

"The MDC takes this matter as a serious attack on the integrity and honesty
of the party; it is not acceptable and will not be taken lightly."

Eight months into the inclusive government, President Mugabe has refused to
swear into office the former Chimanimani legislator, saying he would want
Bennett to first clear his name in the courts before he can accept him into

The matter is among the most contentious issues that have been taken for
adjudication by SADC, brokers of Zimbabwe's unity deal.

Bennett once served a one-year jail term for assaulting Chinamasa in

Following charges of terrorism, he fled the country to seek asylum in South
Africa in 2006 after the police quizzed him over the discovery an arms cache
at a house belonging to Mike Peter Hirschman, an arms dealer.

He was on February 13 this year seized by the police and some intelligence
argents at the Charles Prince Airport as he was just about to fly back to
South Africa to visit his family.

He had just returned to the country when the unity government was being
formed. He spent a month at Mutare remand prison and was released on
stringent bail conditions.

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Bennett's detention serious attack on unity govt: MDC

by Own Correspondent Thursday 15 October 2009

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party has condemned
Wednesday's indictment and detention of party treasurer general Roy Bennett,
calling it a "serious attack on the credibility" Zimbabwe's power-sharing

Bennett who is a top ally of Tsvangirai was remanded in custody by Mutare
magistrate Lucy Mungwari pending his trial in the High Court on charges of

"The MDC regards today's indictment and subsequent detention of
treasurer-general and deputy agriculture minister-designate Roy Bennett as
yet another serious attack on the credibility of the inclusive government,"
the former opposition party that formed a unity government with President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party last February said in a statement on

"This latest action is deliberately provocative, unnecessary and motivated
by hatred of a personality. The MDC takes this matter as a serious attack on
the integrity and honesty of the party; it is not acceptable and will not be
taken lightly," said the MDC.

Yesterday's ruling effectively cancelled the bail Bennett got early this
year after protracted efforts by his legal team following his arrest a few
hours before ministers for the power-sharing government were sworn in last

However, he can still apply for bail at the High Court pending his trial and
his lawyers said yesterday they were preparing an urgent application for
Bennett to be released on bail.

Bennett, who is accused of possessing weapons for the purposes of committing
banditry, insurgency and terrorism, has maintained that he is innocent and
the MDC says the charges are trumped-up for sinister political motives by
ZANU PF hardliners opposed to the unity government.

"The MDC views this as an act of machination by ZANU PF and its sulking
cabal planted in various state institutions aimed at persecuting not
prosecution. As a party, we know that Bennett is innocent. The banditry
charges are trumped-up and they poison the letter and spirit of the
inclusive government and the global political agreement," said the MDC.

Tsvangirai has repeatedly said Bennett's ill-treatment by the Zimbabwean
courts is politically motivated and is undermining the unity government.

Mugabe has refused to swear in Bennett to his ministerial post citing the
charges against him although those close to the veteran President says he
has conceded in private that the state has no case against the MDC
politician, while on the other hand the prosecution has looked not in a
hurry to conclude the case. - ZimOnline

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Constitutional body to cut outreach teams

by Lizwe Sebatha Thursday 15 October 2009

BULAWAYO - A special parliamentary committee leading Zimbabwe's
constitutional reform process said on Wednesday it was cutting back on the
number of teams to be sent out to consult citizens on a proposed new
constitution because of funding constraints.

Committee co-chairperson Paul Mangwana told ZimOnline that outreach
teams to gather people's views and ideas they wanted included in the new
constitution were being reduced after the three principals to the country's
power sharing agreement - President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister, Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - deemed them too big
and expensive to fund.

"We are also rationalising the outreach teams from 860 people to
around 600 after the principals to the GPA said the outreach teams were huge
and expensive to fund. The outreach teams have been reduced because of
budgetary constraints," said Mangwana.

Mangwana also said the committee is setting up a secretariat to make
it independent from the Parliament that initially was supposed to have
overall control of the constitutional reform process.

"We are in the process of setting up an independent secretariat since
we have been weaned away from Parliament," he said.

Under last year's power-sharing deal between Mugabe's ZANU PF party
and the MDC factions led by Tsvangirai and Mutambara, the country is
supposed to have a new constitution in the next two years to pave way for
new elections.

The draft constitution will be put before the electorate in a
referendum expected in July next year and if approved by Zimbabweans will
then be brought before Parliament for enactment.

Once a new constitution is in place, the power-sharing government is
expected to call fresh parliamentary, presidential and local government

But funding constraints and quarreling over how to proceed with the
making of a new constitution are derailing the efforts of the parliamentary
committee leading the process to create the country's first
post-independence constitution.

Differences between the coalition partners over the direction reforms
should take have also held back the constitutional reform process.

ZANU PF has said any new constitution should be based on the Kariba
draft that was secretly authored by the country's three main political
parties without citizens' participation.

However, civic organisations and the MDC are opposed to the Kariba
draft, saying the document leaves largely untouched the wide-sweeping powers
that Mugabe continues to enjoy even after formation of a power-sharing
government with Tsvangirai and Mutambara.

Failure to enact a new and democratic constitution would be disastrous
for the coalition government whose most important task, besides reviving the
economy, is to write a new constitution to replace the existing one that was
drafted in 1979 by Zimbabwe's former colonial power, Britain, with some
input from former liberation movements and has been amended a record 19

Many analysts trace Zimbabwe's governance crisis to the independence
constitution that was written more as a ceasefire document between
nationalist guerillas and the white colonial government rather than a
charter for good governance and democracy. - ZimOnline

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Mahlangu accuses Chinotimba of smearing

October 14, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Youth and Indigenisation Deputy Minister, Thamsanqa Mahlangu says
he strongly believed theft of cell phone charges brought against him by
self-styled war veteran Joseph Chinotimba were part of a broad plot to smear
him and wreck his illustrious political career that has landed him the post
of minister in the inclusive government.

Mahlangu says he was a national leader privileged with four cell phones, two
of which were government lines, and would not consciously embarrass himself
by stealing a Nokia 2210 valued at US$40.

He was on Tuesday called to testify for the first time since being accused
of stealing the phone.

The two had been invited to present their views during a July 17, 2009
seminar called by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara to craft Zimbabwe's
Vision 2040 document.

Chinotimba claims he lost his phone during a lunch break at the Harare
International Conference Centre (HICC) VIP lounge where he allegedly shared
a table with Mahlangu.

But Mahlangu denies ever remaining behind to take lunch alongside other
delegates saying he had excused himself to go to the CMED where he had other
business to attend to, a time when the master of ceremony announced the loss
of Chinotimba's phone.

Mahlangu further denied ever being in possession of Chinotimba's cell phone,
contrary to earlier and wide reports that he had been handed the phone by
his Personal Assistant (PA) and co-accused Malvern Chadamoyo, thinking it
belonged to his boss.

The MDC youth leader says the only time he touched Chinotimba's phone was a
week after the alleged offence when he was phoned by Hwange Senator Jabulani
Ndlovu, an MDC legislator informing him about the arrest by Hwange police of
two women he had hosted in Harare on the day of the alleged offence.

The two women, Geraldine Phiri, the alleged girlfriend to Mahlangu, and
Patience Nyoni, her friend are being accused of having been found in
possession of Chinotimba's simcard.

Ndlovu further said he had been informed by "inside police sources" at
Hwange police station the Nkulumane MP was being implicated in the theft of
a phone belonging to "a top Zanu PF official" who was later revealed to be

At the time, Mahlangu said, police in Hwange, 900 km from Harare, were being
said to be denying Ndlovu, a practicing lawyer, access to the women as he
wanted to represent them in the matter.

Police were also denying the two relatives the opportunity to give them food
during their detention.

Mahlangu said he had been advised by Ndlovu that he suspected the matter
could be political and "for my own good", he must find Chinotimba and
resolve the matter amicably with him.

Mahlangu says he had earlier tasked his PA to take Chinotimba's phone back
to the organizers of the conference on discovering the PA was in possession
of a phone that did not belong to him.

On discovering that his PA had not followed through on his instruction, he
then approached Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to ask him to help resolve
the matter which he said was between Chadamoyo and Chinotimba.

He said he could not personally approach the fiery Chinotimba himself
because he was "unpredictable". Chinotimba is leader of Zimbabwe's violent
farm invasions in 2000.

Mahlangu's trial opened in August this year with seven State witnesses in
the matter being called to testify.

They include Chinotimba himself and Kasukuwere, Mahlangu's boss.

During his trial, Mahlangu accused Chinotimba of "blowing out of proportion"
the alleged theft of his cell phone and failing to embrace the spirit of the
inclusive government.

He told the packed Harare magistrate's court that while he had good
intentions in the inclusive government, the allegations brought against him
by Chinotimba had alerted him to the fact that there were party
functionaries who had other thoughts.

Chinotimba had told the same court when he gave evidence at the commencement
of the trial that he was convinced Mahlangu had stolen his phone to fix him
for being Zanu-PF.

He said there were remnants of bad blood between the two parties despite the
rivals forming a unity government early this year.

"From someone outside the inclusive government," Mahlangu said, "his views
may be different from mine. Personally, I am happy with the inclusive
government. We are working well.

"The fact that the complainant wants to drag political issues into this
court on a simple issue of a phone actually showed me that we still have
some people who do not want to see this inclusive
government succeeding.

"The way this issue has been blown out of proportion by the complainant
confirms what I have said."

Chinotimba, who in July this year led a group of Zanu-PF supporters to
disrupt a Stakeholders conference on the making of a new constitution
convened by the inclusive government, is claiming US$19 million from
Mahlangu for alleged loss of business during the alleged theft of his phone.

Mahlangu's trial was set to continue on today, Wednesday.

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Sibanda defies ministerial order . as villagers' cattle die

Wednesday, 14 October 2009 13:32
JOHANNESBURG - Villagers from Jibhi Village, a communal area on the
Tsholotsho-Plumtree boundary, say that they are in a quandary on what to do
to regain their land - fenced off by a businessman and member of President
Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) party early this year. (Pictured: Samson Nkezo -
He brags too much)

The villagers, most of who are working in Johannesburg, early this
week told The Zimbabwean that the businessman, Vuka Sibanda (42), had so far
defied a ministerial order to remove his fence, which robbed them of their
cattle's grazing land and dams, among a host of other things necessary to
their livelihood.
Sibanda, from Somnene village, owns Tsholotsho-based Vukuzenzele
trading stores, where he has a general dealer, butchery and a grinding mill.
This newspaper first carried a report on the dispute in July this year
and the villagers say that the report jerked officials from the government
of national unity off their feet in response.
"Officials from both Zanu (PF) and the MDC held a series of meetings
with us and the businessmen to resolve this dispute," said Merciful Ncube,
one of the affected villagers.
The most recent of those meetings was held in Jibhi Village on
September 20, and attended by Lands and Rural Resettlement Minister, Hebert
Murerwa, Tsholotsho Senator Believe Gaule, Chief Gampu 4 from Somnene and
Plumtree's Chief Kandama.
"After hearing our arguments, the ministers told Vuka that he had no
right to fence off our area and ordered him to remove the fence within 21
days," said Ncube.
Sibanda was also ordered to withdraw his court case against 61 elders,
including four headmen, who were allegedly tortured by Figtree police and
detained for days without trial, at the behest of the businessmen.
The case was scheduled to go to court on September 23 and Vuka,
despite having been told to withdraw it on September 21, is said to have let
it go ahead in defiance of the 24-hour deadline.
The case was finally struck off the court roll on the instructions of
Police Deputy Commissioner, Levvie Sibanda.
This was after three of the villagers - George Nkezo (81), Aleck Gumbo
(79) and Joseph Gumbo (74) had been arrested and tortured by three police
officers, who are said to be living in Vuka's business compound and driving
around in the businessman's vehicles.
The villagers' ordeal stemmed from their decision to "abscond from
court" on the same case that both Nkomo and Murerwa had ordered to be
The police officers, led by one that the villagers identified as Gono,
are said to have severely tortured the three old men for three days and
three nights, during which they denied them food and force-marched them from
one station to another, until their release in Plumtree, from where they
were made to walk more than 40 kilometres back to their homesteads.
Sibanda is also said to be stalling on removing the fence and is
instead, going around the area intimidating the villagers further.
"He says that he will not listen to instructions given in favour of
poor people because he has a lot of money that buys him favours. We also
understand that he is trying to forge some papers indicating that he legally
obtained the land and is working with the Plumtree District Administrator to
do that," he said.
The villagers expressed fear that they would not be able to till their
land this farming season, which begins later this month, as most of their
cattle had died due to failure to access their grazing land.
"So far, more than 58 cattle have died and more continue to die due to
the lack of grazing land and Vuka is bragging that we will not till our land
this year," said another villager, Samson Nkezo.

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Exam dates set at last - but markers on strike again

Written by Staff Reporter
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 12:50
HARARE - The beleaguered Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (ZIMSEC)
has finally announced the dates for the delayed 2009 Grade Seven exams, amid
fears internal problems may again affect the holding of public exams.
According to a circular sent by ZIMSEC to schools last week, Grade
Seven examinations are scheduled to commence on October 27 and run until
November 5, but there is still no word on the O and A level exams.
The 2008 public examinations were mired in controversy after ZIMSEC
markers refused to mark scripts until they were paid in foreign currency.
Grade Seven results were only released in July this year, more than seven
months late, while O and A Level results came out in June and May
This year's exams could face the same fate after ZIMSEC workers went
on strike last week, demanding that the lowest paid employee's salary be
increased from US$115 to US$400.

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Inflation down, local products up

Written by The Zimbabwean
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 13:39
HARARE - Even though civil service salaries are still paltry, life is
slowly becoming bearable for Zimbabweans at the top end of the food chain as
the September family basket experienced a decline, largely owing to the
reduction of tariffs by service providers.

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) indicates that the basket has
declined by 1.01 percent to US$490.08 from US$495.05, the previous month.
CCZ said local products were increasingly becoming available on the
market competing with imported products. The grand total for the local
products in September was US$479.64 representing 98 percent of the total
The CCZ attributed the slowdown in September prices to an improvement
being made by utility providers especially telecommunications and
electricity concerns to rationalise the cost of services.
Two weeks ago Government directed service providers such as Tel One to
reduce their service charges. As a result, TelOne has reduced tariffs by 28
percent with effect from July this year. TelOne has also written off the
bills for January this year.
This was done to avoid problems since the telecommunications company
had billed customers in hard currencies at a time when the local unit was
being used.
"Services such as electricity, water and rentals constitute a
significant proportion of the production costs for the productive sectors.
Evidence of the negative effects of high service is the recent announcement
by Sable Chemicals, a subsidiary of TA Holdings Limited that it had decided
to close down citing high electricity charges.
"The outlook continues to point to a stable inflation situation. Zero
percent duty on basic commodities will ensure continued availability of the
said products by way of imports, should local supplies become inadequate,"
reads part of the statement. Furthermore, the imports will act as a
deterrent to local producers who are itching to maximise their profits by
increasing the prices of their products.
"They still cannot accept the fact that profitability in the new
dollarised business environment should emanate from increased turnover, not
an increase in prices. It's now a volume business," said an economist.
On the negative side, however, are the continued liquidity challenges
that continued to affect the economy which mean that banks are unable to
offer adequate medium to long-term credit to the productive sectors so as
increase capacity utilisation which is required to reduce prices or, at
least, keep them stable.

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Suspicion over police inquest

Written by Natasha Hove
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 12:56

BULAWAYO:- AN inquest into the murder of two Bulawayo men by police
detectives begins in Bulawayo next week at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court.

According to correspondence between Matabeleland magistrate in charge,
John Masimba, the police and relatives of the two men shot by police, the
inquest is set for 21 October with evidence being led from seven witnesses,
six of them police officers attached to the Homicide Section.
Nehemiah Vumbunu and Andrew Jabulani Sibanda were shot dead by police
detectives in April.
Police sources say the two had undergone torture at the hands of the
detectives to force them to admit to charges of armed robbery.
Police sources say the two died during torture, leading to the police
detectives later shooting them and then claiming that they shot them dead
because they were trying to evade arrest.
But family members of the two disputed the allegations and hired a
lawyer and filed charges against the police in court.
In their application, the relatives through their lawyers, Doreen
Vundla assisted by Christopher Dube-Banda of Dube-Banda, Nzarayapenga and
Partners wanted police to be ordered to "look into the circumstances leading
and surrounding the death of the two.
The lawyers also wrote to Snr Asst Comm Muchemwa to furnish them with
details as recorded in the Detention Book relating to their client's son,
the circumstances surrounding his death and whether any action is being
taken or considered against the person who caused the death of their
client's son.
But the CID Co-ordinator for the Southern region, Assistant
Commissioner Erasmus Makodza, responded by saying Sibanda had not been
lodged in police cells as "he was assisting police with investigations from
the time of his arrest until his intended escape from lawful custody".
This effectively meant that no details could be found in the Detention
Book, thereby raising suspicions surrounding their arrest, torture and

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Zimbabwe's MDC Distances Itself From Minister's Comments on Police, Sanctions

By Sandra Nyaira
14 October 2009

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for
Democratic Affairs was distancing itself Wednesday from comments attributed
to MDC Home Affairs Co-Minister Giles Mutsekwa blaming Western sanctions for
the shortcomings of police.

The Herald quoted Mutsekwa as commending the Zimbabwe Republic Police in
remarks to the general assembly of the International Criminal Police
Organization in Singapore, saying that the national police force had
maintained its integrity despite "machinations" by the country's unnamed
detractors bent on bringing about its collapse.

It said he praised the police, accused by rights activists for numerous
abuses, for maintaining operations despite "illegal sanctions" which he said
have damaged its capacities.

VOA was unable to reach Mutsekwa, who was said to be in transit returning
from Singapore.

But Tsvangirai MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Sandra Nyaira of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the party's leadership does not agree with
Mutsekwa and will take up his reported comments with him upon his return to

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Zimbabwe's Matabeleland Declines to Nominate for Vice Presidential Slot

By Blessing Zulu
14 October 2009

Divisions continued within the ZANU-PF party of Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe over selecting the successor to the late Vice President Joseph Msika,
who died in August.

A deadline for nominations that fell Wednesday was extended as party leaders
scrambled to address a challenge over the process from the western
Matabeleland region whose three provinces failed to agree to back
front-runner John Nkomo, ZANU-PF's chairman.

Matabeleland is considered to have a particular interest in the vice
presidential appointment as the post has traditionally been held by a
political heir to Zimbabwe African People's Union President Joshua Nkomo,
who was vice president until his death in 1999.

PF-ZAPU combined with Mr. Mugabe's ZANU party in 1987 following fighting
between the two former rival liberation movements, resulting in a Unity
Accord and the merged ZANU-PF. But a number of former ZAPU politicians have
lately abandoned ZANU-PF, claiming discrimination, which have muddied the
waters of ZANU-PF politics in the Ndebele-speaking region.

Only Bulawayo nominated Nkomo, but following a meeting of officials from
that metropolitan province, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, the
matter was referred back to the politburo of the former ruling party.
Politburo member Sihkanyiso Ndlovu told VOA that all 10 provinces should
participate in the decision, saying this was non-negotiable.

The state-controlled Herald newspaper reported that ZANU-PF Matabeleland
North Chairman Zenzo Ncube, who led the regional revolt, had quit politics
following his suspension by the provincial leadership. The paper said he was
suspended after being convicted of the theft of party funds. But Ncube
blamed detractors for what he said were trumped-up charges.

Ncube said that although he has been suspended he has not quit politics.

The ZANU-PF national leadership is believed to favor Nkomo, but there is
brisk lobbying for potential rivals including Ambassador to South Africa
Simon Khaya Moyo, Bulawayo Governor Cain Mathema and Mines Minister Obert

Political analyst John Makumbe told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7
for Zimbabwe that the Matabeleland provinces are right to insist the
decision be a national one.

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Zimbabwe Media Commission

Written by The Zimbabwean
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 13:08
The main function of the Media Commission is to uphold and develop
freedom of the press (radio, television, newspapers and magazines). It is
also its responsibility to promote and enforce good practice and ethics in
the media and ensure people have fair and wide access to information. It has
power to conduct investigations and enquires into circumstances that appear
to threaten the freedom of the press and to take disciplinary action against
journalists and people who work in the media who have breached the law or
code of conduct applicable to them. The Media Commission consists of a
Chairperson and other members appointed by the President from a list
submitted by the Parliamentary Committee on Standing Rules and Orders.
Issues of concern
Freedom of expression and communication is a right.  How does the
Constitution ensure that the appointment of the Commissioners and how they
carry out their duties is done in a non partisan manner? The Commission has
in the past been criticised on the manner in which it has exercised its
disciplinary powers over media houses, journalists and others in the media
industry. How can the Constitution ensure that such powers are exercised
professionally and without bias?
The Global Political Agreement (GPA) stipulates that there is need for
balanced and fair coverage of all political parties in the media as well as
avoidance of the use of abusive language which incites hostility, political
intolerance and ethnic violence. What should the Constitution contain to
translate this into reality? Should the Constitution guarantee the opening
up of airwaves, so that radio and TV broadcasting licences are issued to
other players in accordance with the GPA?

Legal Resources Foundation
Tel:  04 251170-4
Visit any Legal Projects Centre in your area

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World Bank clinic now a white elephant

Written by Natasha Hove
Wednesday, 14 October 2009 13:52
BULAWAYO - A state of the art clinic, whose construction was funded by
the World Bank, has turned into a white elephant as it has remained shut due
to lack of funds to buy necessary medical equipment.
The clinic, in Mahatshula low density suburb, remains shut years after
it was built because the Bulawayo Council that owns it, has no funds to buy
beds, hire nurses or buy the necessary health equipment to make it
functional. Construction at the clinic began in 1999 and ended three years
later. The Zimbabwean could not obtain the exact cost of construction, but
estimates say it was millions of United States dollars. "Residents of
Mahatshula and neighbouring suburbs are forced to go to the city centre to
access health care because their clinic remains shut because," said Martin
Moyo, the councillor for the area.
Zanele Hwalima, the Director of Health Services, confirmed that lack
of funds had stalled the opening of the clinic. Hwalima indicated that the
local authority was mulling leasing the clinic to the Premier Medical
Services Investment (PSMI) medical aid society. Ekusileni Medical Center
(EMC), a private, 160-bed hospital and a brainchild of the late Vice
President, Joshua Nkomo, also remains shut years after it was built. It was
intended also to be a teaching site of the public medical school in southern

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Analysis: Zim coalition in tug of war

by Edith Kaseke Thursday 15 October 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe's minister responsible for parastatals has invited
applications for new board members of state entities, including the national
broadcaster and news agency, in a sign of widening rifts and battle for
control of key state firms in the country's coalition government.

Joel Gabuza, Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals ran
advertisements in state-owned newspapers this week seeking applications for
candidates to sit on the boards of 75 government-controlled enterprises.

Gabuza, a minister from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party, said his ministry had a mandate to maintain a
database of potential candidates for appointments to the various boards.

But his move is at odds with Media and Information Minister, Webster Shamu,
who recently named new faces to serve on the boards of Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Holdings (ZBH), New Ziana, Kingstons among several other government-owned
media and information companies.

Political analysts say ministers are fighting for influence in the new
government, with some in open conflict while others were conducting "low
intensity warfare".

"This was bound to happen where you have two political parties fighting for
influence, it will probably go on for some time to come," John Makumbe, a
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer said.

Need to sit down

"Some of the battles are not obvious to the public but what is also clear
now is that the three principals need to sit down and carefully define the
mandates of the different ministries to avoid such things."

Clashes over the mandate of ministries is not new after Mugabe sought to
take away from Nelson Chamisa some of the functions from his Ministry of
Information, Communication and Technology and hand them over to his ally
Nicholas Goche, Minister Transport, Infrastructure Development and

Shamu's appointment of media boards last week, which was packed with ZANU PF
sympathisers and retired army men loyal to Mugabe, was heavily criticised as
"unilateral" while the MDC called them illegal, again exposing the fragile
relations and discord in the unity government.

The unity government was formed last February and was seen as offering the
best hope of plucking Zimbabwe from a deep recession and a political crisis
that had fanned electoral violence since 2000.

Gabuza's ministry is in overall charge of state parastatals and sets policy
direction for the entities but parent ministries are responsible for
appointing board members. After the formation of the new government, all
senior appointments that need to be approved by Mugabe can only be made
after consultations with Tsvangirai.

Political appointments

Gabuza said the advertisements by his ministry were intended to reduce
incidents of political appointments to boards of parastatals.

"We are trying to eliminate arbitrary appointments as has been the case with
alleged appointments at ZBH, Zimpapers and BAZ. What we want is a situation
where every qualified Zimbabwean has a chance to serve on these bodies
irrespective of their political affiliations," said Gabuza.

"There have been allegations of partisan appointments but as the responsible
minister and with the concurrence of the principals to the GPA, we have had
to come up with a new way of doing things so that we create transparency in
the appointment of people to sit on state enterprises and parastatals," he

Shamu could not immediately comment yesterday but he told ZimOnline last
week that he acted within the law when he appointed the new boards to
oversee the government's media empire.

He argued that the law did not require him to consult Tsvangirai who has
said the appointments were irregular and should be revised.

Tsvangirai hinted at a press conference on Sunday that he and Mugabe had
agreed that the Zimbabwe Mass Media Trust, majority shareholder in
Zimpapers, and New Ziana should be reconstituted and that the appointments
at Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe should be revisited.

Nature of coalitions

Analysts however said the tussle for influence within the government would
continue but would not threaten its existence.

"It is only natural that the parties to the inclusive government seek to
assert their control but at the moment it does not seem that this presents a
threat to the well being of the unity government," said Eldred Masunungure,
chairman of Political Science department at the University of Zimbabwe.

"That is the nature of coalitions although things can be managed better," he
said. - ZimOnline

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Feature: Families in ambitious bid against hunger

by Chris Anold Msipa Thursday 15 October 2009

MVUMA - Impoverished families in rural Zimbabwe are coming up with bold
ideas to fight hunger and poverty, despite economic difficulties in the
Southern African nation.

At least 25 residences in the central region gold mining town of Mvuma,
190km south-east of the capital, Harare, are being turned into
agro-industrial schemes.

The poverty-ridden residents say they want to produce all their domestic
requirements like food, medicines and livestock feed at home, without having
to rely entirely on the traditional suppliers.

The scheme, involving people who bought relatively low-priced plots of land
on the outskirts of the degenerated town, is run by a group calling itself
the Mvuma East Peri-Urban Ideal Homes Development Club.

Project secretary, Tamuka Matambo, a soft spoken retired primary school
teacher, says the idea came after the serious food shortages caused by
drought and non-existence of basic goods in shops last year, when desperate
hundreds of people fed on wild fruits.

"The plan is that each family's two hectares of land should yield a
balanced, complete diet and the people become self-sufficient in basic
supplies and drastically reduce dependence on shops," he explains.

To achieve the intricate objective, they have engaged the state-run
Agricultural Extension Service for guidance and the department has committed
one officer, Faith Mudiwakure, to help them in the projects they have lined

"Farmers should be able to build their own homes, repair their implements,
and construct crop and livestock houses," she says.

She guides them to operate gardens, small butcheries, keep domestic animals
and produce fruits. Numerous problems are frustrating progress though.

Ms Mudiwakure says Mvuma East has rich soils with high potential for serious
production, yet the relatively virgin area is dry and as result many
families have to rely on Mvuma town - some four kilometres away - for
domestic water.

"We have approached the Church of God in Christ for help to drill
 boreholes," she says. But the religious group is yet to respond.

In addition to water problems, wild animals and stray cattle that freely
roam the sparsely populated area have been another scourge for the families,
ravaging crop fields especially at night when there is no one to watch over

Group Chairman Onesmo Mapope says some 207 people were six years ago
allocated land in the area. Only 25 of them have since developed their
places, leaving the settlers helpless against thieves and wandering animals.

Another group member says the poverty-stricken residents expect to benefit
immensely from their joint scheme, given their enthusiasm for work.

Augustine Chapwanya says, "I tilled the land by hand and also planted other
crops like rapoko and peanuts. My harvest would have been even bigger had it
not been for cattle and wild animals."

Meanwhile, the co-operators expressed concern at the apparent reluctance of
the authorities to develop infrastructure suitable for meaningful
production. A point echoed by some agricultural and rural development
experts who say the government has failed to give the sector "the attention
it deserves".

Dr Bright Mombeshora, a farming expert says the top-to-down way of doing
things is probably the biggest enemy of any schemes that state or private
agencies have introduced to try to improve agriculture as a way to bolster
development in rural communities. Most of the projects have failed dismally.

"Those people know what they want and the best means of achieving it. They
need financial and technical help, not imposed programmes. They have to own
the project; otherwise it will be a foreign exercise to them," he says

The agricultural scientist says most development schemes introduced over the
years in the country failed because either the state initiated them and
lacked community support or communities started them and could not get
government backing.

However, the Central Zimbabwe project promises to become a different tale,
as it is both a community initiative and a state-backed programme. -

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