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Justice Hungwe to preside over Bennett's bail application

Lawyers for human rights

15 October 2009
HRD's Watch

High Court Judge, Justice Charles Hungwe, will on Friday 16 October 2009
preside over a fresh application seeking the release of incarcerated Deputy
Agriculture Minister-Designate Roy Bennett on bail.

Bennett's lawyers, who on Thursday 15 October 2009 filed the application,
contend that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Treasurer-General is a
suitable candidate for bail.

The lawyers state that the former Chimanimani legislator, whose bail was
revoked on Wednesday 14 October 2009 and who was subsequently committed to
Mutare Remand Prison after being indicted for trial in the High Court by
Mutare Provincial Magistrate Lucy Mungwari, is not a flight risk as he has
been on bail up to 15 October 2009 and never at any point violated his bail

The lawyers argue that Bennett's social, economic and political life is
rooted in Zimbabwe to the extent that the possibility of him skipping bail
is close to zero. They also state that Bennett is anxious to clear his name,
will relish his day in court and therefore will do everything in his power
to stand trial.

The lawyers want Bennett to be admitted to bail on the same terms and
conditions as imposed by the Supreme Court when it granted him bail in

The conditions are such that he deposits the sum of US$5 000 with the Clerk
of the Mutare Magistrates' Court, continue residing at his Harare residence
and surrender the title deeds of his Stand No. 901 Umtali Township property
to the Clerk.

Bennett will also be willing to report at the Harare Central Police Station's
Law and Order Section three times a week, namely Monday, Wednesday and
Friday between the hours of 0600 and 1800 hours (as he has been doing) and
will not interfere with State witnesses.

Kumbirai Mafunda

Communications Officer

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)

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ACTION ALERT: Stand by Roy Bennett and demand that he is granted bail tomorrow

Lawyers for Roy Bennett today filed a bail application seeking Bennett’s release from custody.  High Court Judge Justice Charles Hungwe will preside over the application tomorrow, Friday 16 October.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have issued a statement on the continued imprisonment of Roy Bennett and note that:

Whilst it is the case that, upon indictment, bail granted to an accused person can be revoked in terms of the law, the Attorney General, Mr. Johannes Tomana, has the discretion to allow the accused person to remain free pending trial on the existing bail conditions – bail conditions with which Bennett has dutifully complied with. ZLHR believes that, by choosing to oppose the continuing bail of Roy Bennett and ensuring his swift re-incarceration, Tomana is now himself dangerously threatening the Rule of Law and the stability and continuation of the increasingly fragile Interparty Political Agreement (IPA).

Roy Bennett’s lawyers will point out tomorrow that Bennett has complied with all bail conditions prior to his appearance in court on Tuesday this week, and that he does not present a flight risk. ZLHR  point out the extent of Bennet’’s compliance, noting that he  willingly gave up his lawful protection in South Africa, where he had been granted political asylum in South Africa prior to his arrest in February this year.

TAKE ACTION – and please circulate this call to action widely.

Call Johannes Tomana and tell him that you are following this case very closely and that you are horrified by his decision to keep Roy Bennett imprisoned. Advise him that you are contacting your MPs in your country and asking them to take action on behalf of Roy Bennett. Tell Tomana that you will be advising your MP that the man in charge of this miserable travesty of justice is Johannes Tomana.

Please be calm and polite when you speak to Tomana. It is important that he understands you are coolly and calmly rational about this affair and that you are determined to pursue justice to the end on behalf of Roy Bennett.

Please do not allow your justifiable feelings of anger and frustration to obscure the central point of your message. Your message is that you will not stand by and do nothing in the face of the gross injustice shown to Roy Bennett ! Make sure Johannes Tomana understand this very clearly.

Johannes Tomana’s telephone number is publicly available in the phone book, so give him a call!

Tel:   00 263 (04) 499617

If you cannot speak to Tomana, please politely ask the person you do speak to to pass on your message. Keep trying again and again until you get through.

Please circulate this ACTION ALERT on your Facebook network by sharing this post, and on Twitter. Encourage everyone to get involved.

Bennett’s willingness to stay and face charges in Zimbabwe, and his complete compliance with all bail conditions despite the fact he is facing a politically motivated farce of a trial, is true to the spirit of his deep commitment to Zimbabwe and his determination to represent the people who hold him in such high esteem. It is this determination to see justice done, and to see the return to the rule of law, that threatens Zanu PF so much and underpins much of the persecution he and his family have endured.

Johannes Tomana’s decision to revoke bail is malicious, personal, politically motivated and completely unacceptable.

The incredible abuse of power  by Zanu PF stalwarts was evident again today when an activist who tried to visit Roy Bennett in jail was told by the prison authorities that they first needed to seek permission from Paradzai Zimonde before they could allow him to see Bennett. Zimonde is Zimbabwe’s Prison Commissioner who is also one of a handful of senior military figures responsible for orchestrating a lot of the violence last year, in their capacity as Mugabe’s Joint Operation Command (JOC).

Bennett has been subjected to relentless persecution by senior Zanu PF politicans for many years now. They despise him and are threatened by the fact that he is so popular among ordinary Zimbabweans. We must all stand by him, and we must insist that the persecution has to come to an end.

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Bill Watch Special of 15th October 2009 [PM''s PressConference]


[15th October 2009]

Prime Minister’s Press Conference Postponed until after MDC-T National Executive Committee Meeting

Rumours abounded in Harare today that a press conference was being held today at which Mr Tsvangirai would announce that MDC-T would be pulling out of the inclusive government.  These rumours were not true.  

In fact the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Tendai Biti were scheduled to address a press conference this morning, at which they were due to deal with various issues including the IMF Fund and Special Drawing Rights, the Finance Ministry’s relationship with the Reserve Bank, and Senator Roy Bennett’s court case, but this press conference did not take place. 

The Prime Minister cancelled today’s Council of Ministers meeting and suspended his coming to the office until the issue of Senator Bennett is resolved.  His spokesman said “he wants that matter resolved immediately," and that he had tried to arrange to meet  President Mugabe to talk about Senator Bennett's issue but “all communication was not successful".

What did happen was that there was a meeting of the MDC-T Standing Committee this morning.  There has been particular concern over the re-arrest and imprisonment this week of Mr Bennett, the party’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, and his indictment to face trial in the High Court.

The issues discussed by today’s meeting of the MDC-T Standing Committee will be considered at a meeting of the party’s National Executive Committee at 9 am tomorrow, and this agenda at this meeting will be to review the options available to the party in the light of recent events.

The Prime Minister will then announce the decisions of the National Executive Committee at a press conference scheduled for 11 am. tomorrow, Friday 16th October.  Venue: Prime Minister’s Munhumutapa Building boardroom.  

It is most unfortunate the State decided to indict Bennett in the High Court instead of proceeding with his case in the magistrate’s court.  This meant that in spite of his having previously been granted bail [with difficulty – the matter went all the way to the Supreme Court]; the State was able to insist on his return to custody pending trial.  As there is no change in the charges against Mr Bennett, there seems no good reason for the State not just to agree to the continuation of the  bail conditions agreed to in the Supreme Court.  Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights indicated that the State’s action is a case of “persecution” not “prosecution”.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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Zimbabwe government in crisis over Roy Bennett's jailing

Zimbabwe's unity government has been plunged into crisis after the former
opposition Movement for Democratic Change staged a boycott following the
jailing of its treasurer Roy Bennett.

By Peta Thornycroft in Zimbabwe and Sebastien Berger
Published: 5:56PM BST 15 Oct 2009

Mr Bennett has been remanded in custody on terrorism charges widely seen as

Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister and MDC leader, cancelled the weekly
meeting of the council of ministers, which works in parallel with the
cabinet, and did not go to his office.

Tendai Biti, the finance minister and MDC secretary-general, said: "We will
not be taking part in any official functions at present. The prime minister
has cancelled the council of ministers meeting and we will be meeting as a
party in the morning to discuss this."

There is outrage within the MDC that Mr Bennett, who has not yet received a
copy of the formal charges against him, was sent for trial in the high
court, prompting his automatic re-arrest in the eastern city of Mutare,
despite a court order compelling the state to start proceedings against him
or release him.

Johannes Tomana, the attorney-general, is loyal to Robert Mugabe and was
appointed to the post by the president.

Mr Bennett was first arrested in February when he arrived back in Harare
from exile to take up the post of deputy agriculture minister in the
coalition government, formed after months of talks following an election
wracked by violence.

Then, it took him a month to be given bail. He has never been sworn in to
his post.

David Coltart, the education minister who was speaking on behalf of the MDC
faction led by Arthur Mutambara, said it condemned Mr Bennett's detention

"While we believe in the rule of law, the manner in which this case was
handled is a direct assault on the spirit of the global political agreement
and Zanu PF's conduct will seriously undermine efforts to make this fragile
agreement work," he said.

There is a groundswell of protest growing within the MDC at the authorities'
handling of the Bennett case. "The state has had eight months to prepare for
his case, they have done nothing because the police have no evidence and no
witnesses," said a Harare lawyer who has followed the case. "It is malicious
and indefensible."

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Mugabe must end 'harassment' of Zimbabwe opposition: US

1 hr 27 mins ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Washington on Thursday demanded that Zimbabwe's President
Robert Mugabe "end the harassment" of the opposition, after the Harare
government detained a top aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

"Mugabe has to end the harassment of the opposition, including Mr Bennett,"
State Department spokesman Robert Wood said, speaking about Roy Bennett,
Tsvangirai's pick as deputy agriculture minister.

Bennett was arrested on February 13, the day the unity government was sworn
in, and sent back to jail Wednesday before a trial set for next week, in a
ruling his party said was a serious attack on the credibility of the
inclusive government.

Bennett, treasurer for The Movement for Democratic Change party, had been
free on bail since March after his arrest on charges of possessing arms for
the purposes of banditry, terrorism and inciting acts of insurgency.

His renewed detention has cast fresh doubt about the ability of the unity
government to overcome challenges facing the eight-month partnership of
Tsvangirai with Mugabe, his long-time rival.

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MDC to suspend 'involvement' with ZANU PF

By Violet Gonda
15 October 2009
The MDC's Standing Committee, comprising the party's top leadership, met on
Thursday and made a resolution to disengage from contact and deliberations
with ZANU PF in the inclusive government, until all outstanding issues
plaguing the coalition are resolved. The matter now awaits endorsement by
the MDC's National Council. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to
hold a press conference to reveal the outcome on Friday.

A senior official in the Prime Minister's office told SW Radio Africa that
ZANU PF has pushed the patience of the MDC too far with the latest treatment
of Roy Bennett. The MDC Treasurer General, who is facing charges of
possessing weapons for the purpose of terrorism, was on Wednesday sent to
prison again, pending trial in the High Court. ZANU PF has been criticised
over this action, with observers saying this is a clear sign that shows ZANU
PF has only contempt for the Global Political Agreement.

If the party's National Council endorses this move, it is understood the MDC
is not going to pull out of the inclusive government as it will continue to
run its ministries, but will disengage from Cabinet and the Council of
Ministers and suspend any forums with ZANU PF.

The official, who was speaking on condition of anonymity, said; "There is
now a constitutional crisis. ZANU PF has pushed and pushed and enough is
enough. This was the shortest meeting the Standing Committee has ever had
and the vote was unanimous. There was not one dissenting voice."

However, the MDC's proposal to suspend engagement with ZANU PF has been met
with mixed reactions. Those in favour say there was momentum growing within
the MDC, against the party continuing to do nothing in the face of ZANU PF's
unwillingness to share real power. But critics say if this impasse drags on
Zimbabwe might find itself in unfamiliar territory, with two parallel
government structures.

The chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly, Dr Lovemore Madhuku,
believes the MDC is losing direction. He said: "This is a senseless
position. It doesn't make sense. It has no meaning if you are still in
government that is engaging ZANU PF because that government is an inclusive
government. There is no concept of running a ministry which is different
from being in government."

The outspoken civic leader said: "This is all part of the thinking that the
Zimbabwean public and everyone else is still so gullible to keep hearing
these antics. They (MDC) must make up their minds, either they are in
government or they are completely out of it. There is no concept of a
half-way house."

The MDC say the Prime Minister had on Wednesday called for an urgent meeting
to discuss the Bennett issue with Mugabe and Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa, but 'the lines of communication were closed to them.'

Unconfirmed reports say Mugabe is threatening to dissolve cabinet and
parliament and call elections.

Meanwhile a delegation of senior MDC officials were denied access to Bennett
when they tried to visit him at the remand prison in Mutare on Thursday. The
Deputy Minister of Local Government Sesel Zvidzai, Mutare Mayor Brian James,
Senator for Nyanga and provincial chairman for Manicaland Patrick Chitake
and MP for Makoni South Pishai Muchauraya were told to get clearance from
police headquarters before they would be allowed to see him. The Mutare
Mayor told SW Radio Africa: "I think it is quite irregular that we have been
denied access to see Mr Bennett."

Bennett's lawyers are expected to file an urgent bail application in the
High Court on Friday. The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said in a
statement: "An urgent explanation must be provided to the public by those
who have caused and contributed to Bennett's renewed persecution and that
the matter must be resolved immediately by the national and regional
political forces responsible for this travesty of justice to ensure that his
safety, security, and fundamental rights and freedoms - which are being
assaulted and perpetuated through the abuse of the law - are restored."

The ZLHR said it is even more disturbing that this travesty of justice is
occurring under the eyes of the SADC Executive Secretary Tomaz Salomao, who
is currently in Zimbabwe.
SADC are the guarantors of Zimbabwe's unity agreement, but have so far been
very disappointing in their apparent unwillingness to bring Mugabe into line
and pressure him to abide by the power sharing agreement.

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Botswana won't recongise Mugabe if coalition collapses

By Lance Guma
15 October 2009

Botswana's President Ian Khama has warned that Zimbabwe's powersharing
government is on the verge of collapse with ZANU PF refusing to implement
key issues agreed to. Speaking to the AFP news agency, on the sidelines of a
rally in Botswana ahead of elections there, Khama said of the coalition, 'It
is limping along and there is a real danger that the whole thing could

Its been 8 months since the shaky coalition was put together but there has
been no progress in resolving problems around the appointment of key
officials, including a deputy minister, provincial governors, central bank
governor, attorney general and ambassadors. Even some ministerial mandates
earlier agreed to are being unilaterally tampered with by Mugabe.

If the MDC were looking for signs of regional support in the event of them
pulling out, Khama certainly provided the first one. He told journalists 'If
it was to collapse for genuine reasons we would certainly not recognise a
ZANU-only government or certainly not one headed by President Robert Mugabe
because he certainly did not win the presidential election last year.'

Khama has remained Mugabe's strongest critic in the region and was the first
to break rank with fellow SADC leaders, who continue to opt for quiet
appeasement. After Morgan Tsvangirai won the March 2008 presidential
election a bloody campaign of violence and intimidation run by the military
under the Joint Operations Command was to see him withdraw from the
subsequent run-off. Khama made it clear then that Botswana would not
recognise Mugabe's flawed win in the one man presidential run off.

Sources close to the power sharing talks last year insist Khama and
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete advised Tsvangirai not to sign the deal
until all the MDC demands had been met. This was not to happen and the MDC
signed up to the deal on the understanding that outstanding issues would be
resolved once they were in government. Evidence so far suggests that might
have been a hasty decision and took away all of their bargaining power.

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Swedish Presidency Slams Mugabe


The Swedish EU presidency has criticized the decision by a Zimbabwe
court to send a close aide to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to jail -
calling it an act of "politically motivated abuse".

In a statement released on the official Web site of the Presidency
Sweden as the current leader of the EU "regrets that politically motivated
abuse persists in the country". Further, the presidency states that "the
decision taken yesterday [i.e. Wednesday], together with reports during the
last few months of unsubstantiated legal measures taken against several MDC
(Movement for Democratic Change) members of parliament, is cause for serious

Zimbabwean magistrate Lucy Mungwari earlier ordered ministerial
nominee Roy Bennett, a close aide to Tsvangirai, back to jail to face
terrorism charges next week. Bennett's trial is expected to start on Monday
in the high court of the eastern town of Mutare.

The move "indicates a lack of commitment to the letter and spirit of
the Global Political Agreement (GPA)," which allowed for the formation of
Zimbabwe's unity government including both Tsvangirai and President Robert

The Swedish presidency's statement recalled that the parties to the
GPA "agreed last year to build a society free of violence, fear,
intimidation and hatred. This commitment should be honoured without delay."

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Britain Not Impressed With Unity Government Progress

Harare, October 15 , 2009 - Zimbabwe's former colonial master, Britain
on Thursday said there had been little progress made by the inclusive
government formed in February and London will only fully engage Harare if
the Global Political Agreement (GPA) is fully implemented.

"We have seen tentative progress, we believe we have seen some
tentative progress towards fulfilling the terms of global political
agreement, but we are yet to see substantial progress in the area of
governance and human rights, we very much hope that does unfold in the
coming months, said British ambassador Mark Canning at a news conference in

"In terms of what the international community is looking for, in terms
of further engagement it will be based on the Global Political Agreement,
based on the issue of human rights, governance, that is what would dictate
the future engagements."

Zimbabwe political leaders -  President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy Arthur Mutambara -  formed a unity deal in
February after months of intense negotiations mediated by the former South
African president Thabo Mbeki through the Southern African Development
Community (SADC).

However, Canning expressed hope that with time, his country will lift
sanctions imposed on Mugabe and his cronies. "The UK wants this inclusive
government to succeed. We have in place a travel ban on 203 individuals, we
also have a ban on 40 state owned companies...The issue of sanctions is
frankly one that will go away if the spirit and the later of the GPA is
carried through."

Mugabe has said as part of implementation of the GPA sanctions against
him and his close associates must be lifted together with the travel bans
slapped on him.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Tsvangirai said Mugabe
is dragging his feet in implementing outstanding issues in the GPA which
include the appointment of key government posts that include the governor
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Attorney General.

A visiting European Union delegation which came to Zimbabwe in
September said the block will only assist Zimbabwe fully when the unity
government has implemented fully the global political agreement.

MDC's Tsvangirai on Thursday cancelled all government duties in
protest of the re-arrest of one of his aides, Roy Bennett.  Bennnett, MDC
treasurer general and deputy minister of agriculture designate, was
re-arrested on Wednesday in Mutare following an application by the state to
indict him so that he appears in the High Court in the eastern border town
of Mutare next week on terrorism charges.
The MDC says it will meet on Friday to discuss its future
participation in the inclusive government, following the latest development,
which threatens the fragile unity deal.

Canning said the jailing of Bennett again did not look good

The MDC believes charges on Bennett are trumped up and meant to
persecute him as a white person and as a member of MDC.

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PM pleas to stop soldiers invading farm, ignored

By Alex Bell
15 October 2009
An invaded farm in the Headlands district continues to be overrun by
soldiers acting as land invaders, despite a written plea by Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai to the Defence Ministry to control its armed forces.
The Prime Minister reportedly wrote the letter to Emmerson Mnangagwa last
week, requesting that the Defence Minister rein in the army brigadier
general heading the seizure of Charles Lock's Karori farm. Brigadier General
Justin Mujaji and his personal army of soldiers have completely taken over
and looted the farm in direct contravention of the law, which states that
Lock is the legal owner of the land. According to the online news service
ZimOnline, the letter was copied to Robert Mugabe as head of the army and
also to the current head of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC), Joseph Kabila.
"I hereby . . . request that your office institutes appropriate action
against Brigadier (Justin) Mujaji to ensure his immediate cessation of
illegal activities, in particular, the use of the Zimbabwe National Army to
perpetrate unlawful acts," read part of Tsvangirai's letter.

The letter, which was very quietly submitted without any indication of what
would happen if it was ignored, came hot on the heels of a written
protestation by the German Embassy over the seizure of the farm. The letter,
addressed to Tsvangirai, called for the immediate restoration of law and
order on Lock's farm, which is part owned by a German investor who has lost
at least US$1 million of his investment. Germany has argued that the
invasion of the farm by Brigadier General Mujaji is in violation the
bilateral investment protection, agreement between the two countries.

The German embassy said: "The embassy wishes to express its dismay, and
strongly protests against the criminal behaviour of Brigadier Mujaji. It
expects the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all authorities concerned to
take immediate action to restore law and order at Mr Lock's premises, and to
ensure full compliance with Zimbabwe's obligations under international law."

But the two letters, which unsurprisingly came in quick succession, have
done nothing to stop the invasion on Lock's farm. More than a million
dollars worth of crops have been stolen from the farm, with the same amount
in equipment being looted by Mujaji's men. At the same time, Lock's farm
workers have been beaten, shot at, starved and evicted, and at least one
female staff member was raped and others sexually assaulted by the soldiers
who led the eviction of the workers last month. Mujaji meanwhile is in
defiance of three High Court Orders, an arrest warrant, and a Supreme Court
order to stop the land seizure. But Lock has explained that the police are
unwilling to get involved, because of the higher power of the army.

The ongoing seizure of the country's remaining commercial land continues to
be a state sponsored and state approved affair. Brigadier General Mujaji's
wife is the sister of Monica Chinamasa, the wife of the Minister of Justice.
The Chinamasa's have been 'allocated' a farm that shares a common boundary
with the Lock's Karori farm, which the Brigadier wants.

At the same time SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme reported
this week that farmer Glen James has faced renewed attack on his farm by men
working for a Bulawayo High Court Judge, Maphios Cheda. Cheda has been
trying to force James to leave the land since August, and Saungweme said the
Judge's hired thugs have been using government equipment, including tractors
and weapons, to plunder the land and stop farming there. The thugs, believed
to be CIO operatives, have caused a number of disturbances on the farm over
several weeks, including firing shots and James' staff last month. James
meanwhile has also been issued with various offer letters dated the 21
September, despite Cheda and his men starting their seizure of the land in

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Arms deal to Zim put on hold

      Caiphus Kgosana
    October 15 2009 at 01:15PM

South Africa has halted arms sales to Zimbabwe, but has approved
weapons sales to Venezuela and is considering similar requests from Syria,
says Justice Minister Jeff Radebe.

He chairs the National Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC),
the government arms sales watchdog.

Speaking in the National Assembly in reply to a question from David
Maynier of the DA, Radebe said that since July, South Africa had decided to
halt all pending arms sales to Zimbabwe.

Radebe told Maynier that the decision had nothing to do with pressure
from the DA.

"For your information, we have not taken any decision to sell arms to
Zimbabwe since July because we monitor transactions on a case-to-case
basis," he said.

Radebe insisted that the government would not be dictated to by the DA
on its arms deals.

"We are guided by our conscience and the constitution and the laws of
this country. We cannot be dictated to by the DA who to trade arms with..."

Maynier caused a stir in August when he released documents that
revealed that the government had either approved or had arms sales pending
to a number of rogue states, including North Korea, Iran, Syria and

This elicited an angry response from the ANC, which demanded that he
be charged for being in possession of classified arms trade documents, in
contravention of the National Conventional Arms Control Act.

An ANC request to National Assembly Speaker, Max Sisulu, that Maynier
be axed from the defence committee was not granted, for a lack of grounds.
But the Speaker has since suggested that "necessary rules" be developed to
prevent MPs from disclosing sensitive information that could harm national

Radebe also revealed that the NCACC had approved arms sales to
Venezuela, which the DA had listed as one of the rogue states with which
South Africa was entering into arms deals.

"Venezuela is one of our most important trading partners and we shall
continue to do business with them.

"We have approved arms to Venezuela. There's nothing wrong with that
and it's going to increase trade between our two countries," he said.

Radebe insisted that the deals the arms control committee had agreed
to were above board and that pending transactions with Iran had been halted
when the UN imposed an arms embargo on that country.

He said Maynier's allegations that the country had flouted UN laws and
embargoes in its arms sales were untrue.

"I think he needs to be examined, this gentleman, because he repeats
this lie time and time again. We are not accountable to Maynier and the DA.

"Nothing we have done is in violation of UN regulations on arms
embargoes... We don't know why he keeps on harping on this issue," he said.

This article was originally published on page 7 of Daily News on
October 15, 2009

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Brian James officially installed as Mayor of Mutare

By Tichaona Sibanda
15 October 2009
MDC councillor, Brian James, was on Thursday officially installed as the
Mayor of Mutare at the city's civic centre.

The colourful ceremony was attended by government officials, MPs,
councillors, businesspeople and hundreds of Mutare residents. During last
year's harmonized elections in March the MDC swept to a cruising victory in
the city, grabbing all the 19 municipal wards.

In August of the same year, James was unanimously elected to become the
ceremonial mayor of the city by his fellow councillors. But it has taken the
government 18 months to install the mayor, who has lived all his life in the
eastern border city.

James has already promised that council's revenue will be channeled towards
service delivery; in particular refuse removal, water, and sanitation

The deputy Minister of local government, Sisel Zvidzai, who was a guest at
the ceremony, told SW Radio Africa that since the MDC joined the inclusive
government they have witnessed a real shift in the way local councils are

'Service delivery has become the cornerstone of city governance and includes
access to water and refuse collection,' said Zwizwai.

'We want to ensure the reliability, quality and cost efficiency of equitable
services to all areas of a city or town - wealthy or poor - is the primary
responsibility of local councils, and is the most tangible result for which
the community will hold their elected officials accountable,' the deputy
minister added.

Provincial spokesman for the MDC, Pishai Muchauraya, told us residents in
Mutare are happy that things have improved across all service delivery

'Add to that, the city has also become one of the first councils in the
country to computerise its billing system and it also runs a website that
offers information about the city,' Muchauraya said.
But Muchauraya, who is the MDC MP for Makoni south, castigated the Minister
of local government, Ignatius Chombo, for meddling in the affairs of the
'Power belongs to the people. I'm sure Chombo has realized that even if he
suspends this current council like he did with the previous one, people will
still vote the MDC back into council,' Muchauraya said.
The MDC leadership in Manicaland has accused Chombo of ordering James to
have representatives of special interest groups - all from ZANU-PF - to sit
in on council deliberations, where they exercise voting rights.
Traditionally special interest representatives seated on rural, district or
city councils speak for disadvantaged groups such as the handicapped. But
all of Chombo's nominees have been brought in to try and dilute the power
that the MDC enjoys in local councils.

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Britain to give Zimbabwe $100 mln in practical aid

October 15 2009 ,

Britain said today it was providing $100 million in aid to Zimbabwe
this year to help the new unity government and ease a humanitarian crisis.
"We thought the formation of the inclusive government was a significant

The UK wants it to succeed. We are not holding back and will be
supporting it to the tune of $100 million this year," Britain's ambassador
to Zimbabwe, Mike Canning, told reporters.

Relations between Britain and Zimbabwe were strained over the last
decade, with London accusing President Robert Mugabe of implementing
disastrous policies such as the often violent seizure of white farms to
resettle blacks; electoral fraud and rights abuses. But the formation of a
power-sharing government by Mugabe and rival Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has raised hopes of improved ties.

Canning said the funds would be used to restore vital services such as
water, sanitation, healthcare and education - which virtually collapsed
after years of neglect - as well as provide food aid, seed and fertilisers
to poor households.

Dave Fish, head of the UK's Department for International Development
(DFID), said Britain was not yet giving direct funding to the new unity
government. "We would expect significant developments on the political front
before we deepen support or even provide funding directly through the
government," Fish said. - Reuters

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Hunger fears grip Zimbabwe as funding worries affect WFP activities

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabweans in need of food aid will have to brace for
another lean season until the next harvest as it emerged Thursday that the
United Nations' World Food Programme was 45 percent under-resourced and may
again fail to meet demand for humanitarian assistance.

According to the WFP, the total food requirement from September until the
end of the feeding operation in April 2010 is approximately 175 300 metric
tonnes for all commodities.

Presently, it said donor pledges show a shortfall of over 83 000 metric,
which means WFP is 45 percent under-resourced for the remainder of the

"To address the shortfall, WFP has started reducing rations for some
caseloads under the SN (Safety Net) activities and if no further funds are
received, the option may be to reduce rations and scale down activities for
all the programmes," the UN said.

This will have serious implications on the health and diet of beneficiaries
under the antiretroviral therapy and home-based care programmes who rely on
the safety net scheme.

"WFP is preparing for the medium to worst case scenarios," the world body
further warned.

Given the poor funding support, the WFP has now resorted to regional grain
purchases as a precautionary measure aimed at ensuring there are no delays
in getting the food to the hungry people.

Regional purchases will enable WFP to reduce the lead time from when a
contribution is confirmed to the food arriving in-country to two months, as
opposed to up to five months previously.

However, in order to achieve this, it is imperative that funds are mobilized
immediately for the food to arrive within two months in time for the lean
food period between January and the next harvest around March.

This is the second time in as many years that the WFP has had to reduce its
food rations in response to dwindling food donations to Zimbabwe.

In November last year, the UN agency had to reduce the rations given out in
order to maximize the number of people who could be helped.

The amount of cereals for each person had been reduced to 10 kilogrammes
from 12 kg and the amount of pulses to 1kg from 1.8 kg.

Approximately 800 000 Zimbabweans received food aid in September this year,
with the number expected to nearly double between January and March 2010.

  JN/daj/APA 2009-10-15

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Still no water, sewage for Op Garikai

Written by Tony Saxon

MUTARE – Residents at Garikai Phase 3 in Chikanga have been living without water and sewage facilities for the past four years.

Many homes in the high-density suburbs were destroyed under the notorious Operation Murambatsvina in 2005. Government then established the Garikai/Hlalani Khuhle Housing Scheme that saw people sympathetic to Zanu (PF) benefit.

But now, four years later, there is still no water or sewage, presenting a high health risk.

A resident Emmanuel Mandimutsira said: "We are using the bush system that has resulted in disease outbreaks. We have been living like this since we moved to this place. We use buckets and containers to fetch water from the nearest suburbs. We fetch the water from beerhalls, shops and from relatives. Some are charging us US$1 for 20litres of water," he said.

He added: "A big family cannot use 20 litres only per day. We need more than 20litres, maybe 80litres meaning that one has to pay US$4.00 per day. So considering that we are civil servants we cannot afford to pay so much per day."

Some have resorted to bathing at Sakubva River, some 3km away.

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Students starved for rejecting ZANU-PF

Thursday, 15 October 2009 06:31

A concerned Zimbabwean student who cannot be named has written to The Zim
Diaspora to voice his concern about the abuses of students who are
beneficiaries of Mugabe's Presidential Scholarships at Fort Hare University,
South Africa for refusing to join ZANU-PF. The details are very disturbing.
A total of 12 students have so far been withdrawn from the programme for
taking part in the opposition politics at the campus. Many who have refused
to show interest in joining ZANU-PF are now facing victimisation.
The victimisation of students is so ruthless. They are starved and
stripped-off their rights to accommodation and left as destitutes in foreign
Abyssinia Mushunje, a Zimbabwean lecturer at the university tasked with
running the programme at the University stands accused of directing
victimisation of pro-MDC students. Mushunje for example, wrote a letter to
the mother of one of the axed students, Blessing Tsiga. In it, he complained
that 'your daughter is one of the ring leaders of the MDC grouping and yet
ZANU PF gave her the scholarship to study in South Africa.'

By Zimbabwean student at Fort Hare
We are suffering here, we are treated like wild animals, we are abused, we
are starved - our sins for refusing to commit ourselves to ZANU-PF.
Anyone of us who have participated in the MDC activities has either been
sacked or have their meals cards deactivated. Some girls have even been
driven into prostitution. They are now trading their bodies for food after
their meals cards were deactivated. Its very, very sad. And its surprising
why South African authorities have allowed ZANU-PF to treat and degrade
human beings in such a way in their country.
These are students who benefited from Mugabe Presidential scholarships. They
have fallen victim to malicious ZANU (PF) propaganda being perpetrated by
the autocratic and totalitarian committees made up of Zanu loyalists at the
ZANU-PF have set up committees in the campus to identify those who engage in
opposition politics and those who refuse to commit themselves to ZANU-PF.
These committees are all appointed at the recommendation of Abyssinia
Mushunje, a lecturer in the Faculty of Science and Agriculture at the
University of Fort Hare, who also happens to be a nephew to the programme
director, Chris Mushohwe also a former beneficiary of the fund. These people
have victimized and intimidated students suspected to be supporting
opposition political parties.
This ruthless political behaviour is designed to brainwash students into
joining ZANU-PF.
The objective is clearly to try and re-energize the party's base among
students, whatever remains of it. Secondly, and more importantly, they want
to instil fear, confusion and despondency within the student population.
A number of students have been withdrawn from the scholarship for the sole
reason that they support the MDC-T. This is very sad indeed. We, as students
now keep on asking ourselves what really was the reason of the liberation
struggle in Rhodesia. Was it not motivated by the idea of freedom, freedom
of association, freedom of speech and freedom to choose political
affiliation? This, as students leaves us asking whether the war against Ian
Smith was really worth it.
What I find more confusion is why is it that students supporting the MDC are
so much victimised yet the MDC is a big player in the inclusive government,
the so called GNU.
Why should Mushohwe and his scholarship fund looting bandwagon forcefully
chant ZANU (PF) slogans at students meetings despite clear indication that
students are not interested in ZANU-PF? Does it mean that accept the
Presidential scholarships one has surrendered his/her human rights?
We are being denied our political choices right under the nose of Jacob
Zuma. There is no right of freedom of association and expression yet our
South African counterparts belong to various political institutions such as
COPE, ANC, DA or whatever party they choose to support. There is no
victimisation for the our counterparts.
Intimidation of Zimbabwean students by ZANU-PF intensified when MDC branches
were launched at both the East London and Alice campuses last month. Mugabe's
spies have also infiltrated the university campus. About 600 other students
who have attended MDC meetings are now facing the chop.
What stuns me is that The Presidential Scholarship fund after all bankrolled
by the tax-payers in Zimbabwe yet the beneficials are treated as though the
money comes from Mr Mugabe's pockets.
Fort Hare University is an institution recognised for hope, democracy, high
standard of education, yet we will remember it as an institution of
No one seems to helping us as we suffer in the hands of Mugabe's man here.
We feel dumped and abandoned.
We therefore, call for an end to student victimization. Students should be
given the freedom to publicly support any political party of their choice.
In the first place the selection of the scholarship criteria does not
specify any student's political affiliation as a prerequisite for the
We all hope things will change naturally.
For how long are the students going to suffer the politicization of the
government funded scholarship that has become a very dominant feature in the
present-day running of the programme.
The worst case scenario is that this is a generational problem, one that is
likely to haunt students on scholarship until that generation of the
Mushohwes and Mushunjes are sacked.
Sadly, we are still grappling with issues of process, as opposed to issues
of substance in terms of how this scholarship should be run. It is the duty
of all who believe in true democracy and justice to rid this world of
tyrants who use the government programme to intimidate torture, victimize
and deny students their right to self determination.

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Zimbabwe shortlists 2 investors for ZISCO

Thursday, 15 Oct 2009 reported that Zimbabwe government has short listed 2 investors
out of the 6, who were vying to acquire the embattled Zimbabwe Iron & Steel

Among the 6 investors that were interested in taking over Zisco were Arcelor
Mittal (South Africa), Murray and Roberts (South Africa), Steel Makers
(Zimbabwe) Reclamation (South Africa) and Gateway (Zimbabwe) in association
with an Indian firm.

Mr Joel Gabuza Parastatal and State Enterprise Minister said that the short
listed investors were presently before an inter ministerial committee for
further evaluation of their history, capacity and suitability.

He added that "This is a process. For instance if there were 10 bidders
Government had to come up with say two from which the eventual winner will
be recommended to the President and the Prime Minister."

Once approved the investors would be referred to the inter ministerial
committee, which together with parent ministries would choose the final

Mr Welshman Ncube industry and commerce minister of Zimbabwe recently said
that the government would consider a sound debt management plan for Zisco as
one of the major factors in arriving at the eventual winner.

It may be noted that Zisco is saddled with a USD 300 million debt overhang
in addition to a myriad of other challenges. The company requires an
effective revival plan to resume operations which were suspended a few years
ago. The new investors, apart from clearing the company's huge debt, would
have to pump in several millions into recapitalization of the firm.

Mr Alois Gowo CEO of Zisco said that the exercise, contracted to Shougang
International of China, would chew up about USD 12 million.

(Sourced from

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Hope remains cautious in Zimbabwe
Thursday, 15 October 2009 12:09 UK

Eight months after Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai joined forces to form a unity government, the BBC's Peter Ndoro, a Zimbabwean who has been living in London, returned to his homeland to see what progress has been made.

Peter Ndoro with pupils at his old school
Peter Ndoro visited his old school in Harare to access the state of education

"How is he going to get through immigration? Are they still checking for things like that?"

I overheard a couple in the plane seats across from me looking at the book I was reading: Dinner with Mugabe by Heidi Holland.

At that moment I thought, despite all the talk of a new Zimbabwe dawning in the wake of its government of national unity, maybe things have not really changed.

As it turns out, nobody searched me and so I did not have to worry about my book after all.

I grew up in post-independence Zimbabwe and the drive to Harare city centre was familiar, but heartbreaking.

I had been home just a few years ago and yet the infrastructure had somehow managed to get even worse.

The fact that I am even here as a BBC journalist with a letter of government permission in hand is remarkable

The potholes, the rusting street lights that had not worked for years and the houses in disrepair all confirmed the stories reaching us: Harare was a shadow of the amazing city it once was.

The news though has all been about change.

The disappearance of the Zimbabwe dollar has slayed hyperinflation, and as President Mugabe runs a government alongside former enemy Prime Minister Tsvangirai, the once barren shops are once again full.

Positive outlook

The politicians have been talking about a new constitution and a free media.

This is new, and the fact that I am even here as a BBC journalist with a letter of government permission in hand is remarkable, I thought.

On the first working day our stories took us to Harare Central Hospital and a facility that was shut down for three months just a year ago.

It was working well and the patients seemed happy with the care they were getting.

 Harare Central Hospital
Patients at Harare Central Hospital seemed happy with their healthcare

I then went back to my old school to get a sense of what was happening with education.

The head prefect gave me a positive outlook about how things had turned around after a real collapse and he was optimistic about the future.

My doubts began to set in though, when I tried to interview a teacher.

Despite lauding President Mugabe's leadership, he was reluctant to have his views recorded.

I pushed him and asked if he would prefer to talk to us at the hotel.

I offered him a lift in our car but he declined. I asked why and he said: "Peter, don't act as if you have never lived in Zimbabwe."

Police service?

At the end of that day I went to see how busy one of the main bus terminals was at rush hour.

It was a hive of activity and it resembled any other bustling city on the continent as people made their way home.

But as I tried to record my thoughts, I was interrupted by two men in plain clothes claiming to be police officers.

A soldier appeared by my window, pointing a gun at me

They harassed and questioned us about why we were reporting there.

Despite our letter and protestations they started to handcuff my producer demanding money to let us go. We obliged.

At first we were scared to go the police station, remembering that not so long ago, an activist had been detained for five days before the police admitted having her in custody.

But we went there to report the incident later that evening and I have to say that the police were very helpful and cordial.

I wondered if I might be seeing the emergence of a police service out of an often brutal police force.

Could this be a Gorbachev-style glasnost and perestroika in the making?

Trust 'lacking'

My answer is that more and more people are smiling in the streets, as if their load is not as heavy.

Map of Zimbabwe

But then I took a drive to visit my sister in one of Harare's plush suburbs, where the mansions being built seem to be getting larger and larger.

In the midst of the chaos, it was clear that some were doing very well indeed, and I had heard that they might not be that keen to see change.

As we drove we stopped at traffic lights just outside State House.

I started laughing at a story my sister was telling me.

A soldier appeared by my window, pointing a gun at me. "What are you laughing at?" he asked.

"Who said that you can laugh at State House? We are trying to do serious work here! Stop the car and tell us what you are laughing at."

Unbelievable! Even laughing seems to be a threat to state security.

Life in Harare is still hard.

Some things are starting to get better, but trust seems to be sorely lacking.

Until that teacher can speak his mind without fear, and until people can laugh anywhere, even outside State House, the change that many Zimbabweans are seeking is still some way in the future.

For now though, maybe just having hope is change enough.

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Mugabe's grand plan to jail Bennett indefinitely

Wednesday, 14 October 2009 01:30

President Mugabe's government has secretly orchastrated a grand plan to
lock-up MDC-T treasurer general Roy Bennett for many years to come in a
desperate bid to reduce the MDC majority in Parliament, The Zim Diaspora can
sensationally reveal.

Bennett is the MDC-T's nominee for the post of Deputy Agriculture Minister.

The planned indefinite detention of Bennet also stems from President
Mugabe's racist attitudes which has undoubtedly brought Zimbabwe's economy
to its knees.

And, today a Mutare magistrate will rule whether or not Bennett should be
indicted for trial in the High Court on Monday on charges of possessing arms
for purposes of terrorism and banditry and inciting acts of insurgency.

If indicted, President Mugabe's government has said it will oppose bail and
have him locked up ahead of the trial. Since the signing of the inclusive
government pact ZANU-PF seem to have hatched a plan to go on an arresting
spree as a means of reducing the MDC majority in parliament. Bennet is a
cabinet minister-designate.

Chief law officer Mr Michael Mugabe, with the assistance of Mr Chris
Mutangadura, of the Attorney-General's Office, yesterday applied for the
indictment of the former legislator in the High Court when it sits on
circuit in Mutare next week.

Yesterday, the State told Mutare magistrate Mrs Lucy Mungwari that
investigations were complete and Bennett should be indicted for trial in the
High Court.

The State has indicated that it will oppose bail once the indictment is

Bennett's defence team, led by Mrs Beatrice Mtetwa, made a counter
application challenging the indictment saying the State should have given
their client notice for indictment as required by the law.

Mr Mugabe on behalf of the government, in his application argued magistrate
Mrs Mungwari had no jurisdiction to hear the matter and, therefore, Bennett
should be indicted to appear before the High Court.

The High Court's third and final session will commence in Mutare next

Mrs Mtetwa had submitted to the court that it was not proper for the State
to indict Bennett at this stage.

She cited Section 66 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which
reads: "Any summons shall be served, by a person authorised to serve
criminal process, upon the accused person to whom it is directed, either by
delivering it to him personally or, if the accused cannot conveniently be
found, by leaving it for him at his place of business or most usual or last
known place of abode with some inmate thereof."

But Mr Mugabe argued that the mere fact of the State indicting Bennett to
appear before the High Court was a notice in itself.

"There is no way the trial can commence before the accused person is

"The State is more than prepared to proceed with the trial, but because the
accused person needs to be indicted first we are doing that today
(yesterday)," said Mr Mugabe.

Mrs Mtetwa responded: "The State deliberately presented to the court that
today (yesterday) will be a trial date to avoid the consequences of the
court ruling, a practice which the court always frowns upon.

"If the trial cannot proceed today (yesterday), the accused person should be
removed from remand and the State is free to follow whatever rights it has
in terms of the law to bring the accused to court," she said.

Mrs Mungwari adjourned the matter to today when she is expected to make her

The trumped-up charges against Bennett arose between 2002 and March 2006
when President Mugabe's government claim that he provided one Peter
Hitschmann with money for the procurement of 26 grenades, two-schermuly
signal smoke hand, 12 rifles and other weapons.

After that, the State alleges Bennett incited Hitschmann to use the weapons
to knock down a microwave link situated at a kopje along Melfort-Bromley
Loop Road.

It is alleged Hitschmann used cellphone disabling devices to block cellphone
signals and to detonate anti-riot water cannon trucks used by police.

According to the indictment papers, 12 witnesses are expected to give
evidence for the State.

Bennett was arrested in February this year upon his return from South

Police, who had received information that Bennett was returning home,
arrested him at Charles Prince Airport in Mt Hampden.

He was denied bail by a Mutare court only to be released by the Supreme
Court a month later on US$5 000 bail.

He was also ordered to surrender his passport and to report to the police
twice a week.

Last month, Bennett lost a bid to have his bail relaxed.

He also wanted his reporting conditions cancelled to allow him to travel to
South Africa on business and to sort out his citizenship issues in that

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A new approach to global food security and hunger

By Hillary Rodham Clinton

For one billion people around the world, the daily effort to grow, buy, or sell food is the defining struggle of their lives.  This matters to them, and to all of us.  

Consider the daily life of the world’s typical small farmer.

She lives in a rural village in Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, or Latin America, and farms a piece of land that she does not own.  She rises before dawn and walks miles to collect water.  She works all day in a field, sometimes with a baby strapped on her back.

If she’s lucky, drought, blight, or pests don’t destroy her crops, and she raises enough to feed her family.  She may even have some left over to sell.  But there’s no road to the nearest market and no one there who can afford to buy from her.

Now let’s consider the life of a young man in a crowded city 100 miles from that farmer.  He has no job—or a job that pays pennies.  He goes to the market—but the food is rotting, or priced beyond reach.  He is hungry, and often angry.

She has extra food to sell, and he wants to buy it.  But that simple transaction can’t take place because of complex forces beyond their control.

Meeting the challenge of global hunger is at the heart of what we call “food security”—empowering the world’s farmers to sow and harvest plentiful crops, effectively care for livestock or catch fish—and then ensuring that the food they produce reaches people most in need. 

Food security is not only about food.  It represents the convergence of complex issues: droughts and floods caused by climate change, swings in the global economy that affect food prices and threaten the fate of vital infrastructure projects, and spikes in the price of oil that increase transportation costs.

But food security is all about security.  Chronic hunger poses a threat to the stability of governments, societies, and borders.  People who are starving or undernourished, have no incomes, and can’t care for their families are left with feelings of hopelessness and despair.  That desperation can lead to tension, conflict, and even violence.  Since 2007, there have been riots over food in more than 60 countries. 

And the failures of farming in many parts of the world—the obstacles that separate that small farmer and that hungry young man—have a powerful impact on the global economy.  Farming is the only or primary source of income for more than three-quarters of the world’s poor.  When so much of humankind works hard every day but still can’t support their families, the whole world is held back. 

The Obama Administration sees chronic hunger as a key priority of our foreign policy.  Other countries are joining us in this effort.  Major industrialized nations have committed more than $22 billion over three years to spur agriculture-led economic growth.  And on September 26, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and I co-hosted a gathering of leaders from more than 130 countries to build international support.

The U.S. approach to food security will be informed by our experience with development.  The truth is, we have spent too many years and too much money on development projects that have not yielded lasting results.  But we have learned from these efforts.  We know that the most effective strategies emanate from those closest to the problems, not foreign governments or institutions thousands of miles away.  And we know that development works best when it is seen not as aid but as investment.

With those lessons in mind, our food security initiative will be guided by five principles, which will help us get to the roots of the problem and pursue lasting change. 

First, we understand that there is no one-size-fits-all model for agriculture.  So we will work with partner countries to create and implement their plans. 

Second, we will address the underlying causes of hunger by investing in everything from better seeds to risk-sharing programs to protect small farmers.  And since the majority of the world’s farmers are women, it’s critical that our investments in agriculture leverage their ambition and perseverance.

Third, no one entity can eradicate hunger on its own.  But if stakeholders work together—coordinating on the country, regional, and global levels—our impact can multiply.

Fourth, multilateral institutions have the reach and resources that extend beyond any one country.  By supporting their efforts, we will benefit from their expertise.

Lastly, we pledge long-term commitment and accountability.  To prove it, we will invest in monitoring and evaluation tools that will allow the public to see what we have done.

This effort may take years, even decades, before we reach the finish line. But we pledge our full resources and energies. 

While we pursue this effort, we will maintain our deep commitment to emergency food assistance, to answer the urgent cry for help when tragedies and disasters take their toll—as is happening now in the Horn of Africa, where drought, crop failures, and civil war have caused the worst humanitarian crisis in 18 years.

Revitalizing global agriculture will not be easy. In fact, it is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive diplomacy and development efforts our country has ever undertaken.  But it can be done.  It is worth doing.  And if we succeed, our future will be more prosperous and more peaceful than our past. 

# # #

Issued by the U.S. Embassy, Public Affairs Section. Queries and comments should be directed to Acting Public Affairs Officer, Andrew Posner on, Tel. +263 4 758800-1, Fax: +263 4 758802. Previous reports and statements from the U.S. Embassy are available at

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USAID Recognizes Global Handwashing Day in Zimbabwe

Harare, October 15, 2009: On the second annual Global Handwashing Day, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is highlighting this simple hygiene habit – washing hands with any soap as a way to reduce disease in Zimbabwe.

During an Oct. 15 program, USAID partners Population Services International (PSI) and Children First, along with the Ministry of Health and other stake holders, will be celebrating Global Handwashing Day at the Mabvuku 1 Primary School in Mabvuku, Harare with hand washing demonstrations, a hand washing drama, and a donation of buckets and soap to schools and clinics in Mabvuku Tafara. 

“Handwashing really matters," commented Patience Ndlovu, Children First Head of Programs. “Global efforts have helped to reduce annual worldwide mortality in under-5-year-olds from nearly 13 million in 1990 to 9.2 million in 2008.” She emphasized that “Here in Harare we can decrease the incidence of serious diseases like cholera, pneumonia, and diarrhea by teaching school children to use soap and water at critical times such as before eating and after using the toilet.” 

USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) collaborates intensively with UNICEF and numerous non-governmental organizations on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) activities in Zimbabwe.  In FY 2009, USAID/OFDA committed more than $8.6 million for WASH programming throughout Zimbabwe to improve community resilience to cholera and other waterborne diseases.

As part of this effort, USAID/OFDA committed over $360,000 for 400 metric tons of soap for use in hygiene promotion programs and supported the distribution of 30 million water purification tablets.

USAID has also developed a “Healthy Water, Healthy Habits, Healthy People” educators guide on water, health, sanitation, and disease prevention for nationwide distribution in Zimbabwe. The guide, prepared by Project Wet, provides teaching materials on water resources through hands-on, investigative, easy-to-use activities such as songs, role playing, and group activities.

According to the World Health Organization, diarrhea kills almost 2 million children globally each year. Studies have shown that washing one’s hands with soap could reduce worldwide rates of diarrhea by almost half and save at least one million lives – saving more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention.

Proper handwashing and safe waste disposal are very closely related with increased health and productivity.  Lack of access to sanitation is especially difficult for children who pay the price in lost lives, missed schooling, disease, and malnutrition.  Worldwide, inadequate sanitation, poor hygiene, and unsafe water claim the lives of an estimated 1.6 million children under the age of five every year. 

The challenge is to transform handwashing with soap from an abstract idea into an automatic behavior in homes, schools and communities worldwide.

The American people, through the U.S. Agency for International Development, have provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for nearly 50 years.  For more information about USAID's efforts to fight cholera and waterborne diseases in Zimbabwe, please go to:

# # #

The U.S. Agency for International Development has provided economic and humanitarian assistance worldwide for more than 40 years. For more information on USAID programs in Zimbabwe, please visit

Issued by Andrew Posner, Acting Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy. Tel. +263 4 758800-1, Fax: +2634758802,

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Is Bennett a living martyr for democracy in Zimbabwe?

I was deeply saddened late yesterday afternoon when I learned that Mugabe's
legal gurus had played their trump card, indicted Bennett on banditry and
terrorism charges and had him returned to custody.

I am sure that there are Zimbabweans of all colours and creeds throughout
the world that feel the same as I do this morning.

"Pachedu" is suffering on our behalf in Mugabe disgusting prisons this

Today, I thought it would be relevant to have a look at the rocky road that
Bennett has walked to today, so that we may appreciate just what it is about
him that Mugabe abhors.

"In 2004 Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa told Bennett in Parliament that
Bennett's Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani would be taken by the government
and resettled. Chinamasa then said: "Mr. Bennett has not forgiven the
government for acquiring his farm, but he forgets that his forefathers were
thieves and murderers."

Bennett stood up and walked towards Chinamasa, shouting, "Unoda kundijairira
iwewe! Unoda kuti ndiite sei? (Shona: Don't think you can get away with
trying to take advantage of me! What do you want me to do?! (Also translated
as: "You are really getting on my nerves; do you think I will let you get
away with that?") Bennett grabbed the collar of Chinamasa's shirt and
wrestled him to the floor. He then tried unsuccessfully to punch
Anti-Corruption Minister Didymus Mutasa who responded by kicking him. Other
MPs then took out guns and threatened to start shooting if they did not stop
fighting. The Sergeant at Arms escorted Bennett out of the chamber. Deputy
Speaker Edna Madzongwe ejected Nelson Chamisa and Willias Madzimure for
their involvement in the fight.

The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition condemned the actions of Bennett and

A bill of attainder was then passed with even the MDC being part of the
parliamentary committee to investigate that incident imprisoning him for 15

On 28 June 2005, Bennett was released from Chikurubi Prison after spending
eight months of his twelve-month sentence in custody. It is standard prison
procedure to commute a third of any sentence for good behaviour. He told
reporters he had been made to stand naked in front of prison guards and was
then given a prison uniform covered with human excrement when he arrived in
jail. He denounced prison conditions generally in a press conference after
his release, saying "The inhumanity with which the prisoners are treated and
their total lack of recourse to any representation or justice combined with
the filth and stench of daily life is something I will never forget and I
will not rest until their conditions are improved."

Bennett declared his desire to continue in politics, saying "I am more
determined than ever to continue to strive for a better Zimbabwe for all
Zimbabweans, the current oppression cannot continue for much longer and
sooner, rather than later, the people will assert their rights." He also
said that if the opportunity arose and the people for Chimanimani asked him
to, he would stand as their representative again.

During the MDC split over the proposed boycott of elections to the Zimbabwe
Senate in 2005, Bennett sided with MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai in
support of the boycott.

Roy Bennett previously lived in South Africa as a refugee. His application
for asylum was initially rejected by the South African Department of
Immigration. On 13 May 2007, the South African government accepted his
asylum request.

During his time in exile, he had an active role in activism for Zimbabwe and
particularly the MDC in South Africa. In 2007 he became the treasurer
general for the main stream faction of the MDC faction lead by Morgan
Tsvangirai. He was also a spokesman in South Africa and made regular
interviews on behalf of the MDC.

During Robert Mugabe's 84th Birthday celebrations at the border area of
Beitbridge before the 2008 election, Roy Bennett led a demonstration on the
South African side of the border against the President. Among his words

"We are gathered here after many years of suffering, while across the river,
after 28 years, a man who is now 84 years old, is having a birthday party. A
birthday party while everybody around him is starving and dying. There's no
electricity, there are no roads, there are no jobs, there's no education,
there's no medical, there's no nothing. He is spending 300,000 US dollars to
have a birthday party."

At the end of January 2009, after several years in exile, he returned to
Zimbabwe to join a debate within the MDC to decide whether or not to agree
to the power-sharing government with Mugabe. After the MDC ultimately agreed
to share power with ZANU-PF, Morgan Tsvangirai designated Bennett as Deputy
Minister of Agriculture on 10 February 2009. On 13 February, he was arrested
again while trying to (legally) leave Zimbabwe on a private plane at Charles
Prince Airport. He was brought to police stations in Goromonzi and Mutare on
that day, and is said to have suffered an attempt to drown him on the way
there. He was charged with treason, and the MDC reported that he had been
denied food in jail. Charges were later replaced with 'conspiring to acquire
arms with a view to disrupting essential services'. When a magistrate
ordered Bennett released, the magistrate himself was arrested because "he
has passed a judgment that is not popular with the state." Bennett was
released from remand prison on 12 March 2009, but has been ordered back as
of 14 October 2009."

Source: Wikipedia

Today I ask the simple question, is Bennett a living martyr for democracy in

Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man

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Zimbabwe weekly update

Week Ending 13th October 2009


South Africa's largest food retailer, Shoprite, said it is no longer
pursuing investment opportunities in Zimbabwe, citing political and economic
"uncertainty." Shoprite/Checkers planned to buy OK Bazaars, Zimbabwe's
second largest supermarket chain, despite the recent designation of the
Meikles/TM supermarkets Group by Zimbabwe government interests.

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe froze two of Nestlé's bank accounts after the
Swiss multinational bowed to global pressure last week and said it would
stop sourcing milk from a farm owned by Grace Mugabe, President Robert
Mugabe's wife. The company's accounts were later freed, but some see it as a
warning shot to the company by Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) Gideon Gono.

President Mugabe stated that Government has cherry-picked two investors to
take over the exploitation of the controversial Chiadzwa Diamond Fields in a
'joint venture' with the Ministry of Mines. Meanwhile Justice Charles Hungwe
two weeks ago delivered a landmark judgement confirming Africa Consolidated
Resources (ACR)'s right to claims in the mining area.

Barclays Bank introduced ATM withdrawals for owners of Visa credit cards.
The facility will assist tourists.


Zimbabwe is still one of the worst governed countries in Africa, according
to a report by the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. The 2009 Ibrahim Index of
Governance ranked Zimbabwe 51 out of all the 53 African countries, beating
only Chad and Somalia respectively. The rankings are based on the 2007/2008
period, prior to the formation of the unity government.

Wildlife conservancies are at risk after the government adopted a new,
controversial, land 'reform' policy aimed at 'resettling' the wildlife
sector, as the countrywide rush to grab any remaining commercially viable
land continues.


Zimbabwe's finance minister Tendai Biti said on Monday that he would quit if
he were asked to reinstate the local dollar, which he scuttled in order to
halt hyper-inflation. He said talks on the possible return of the Zimbabwe
dollar should only start at the end of next year.

The finance minister also said that he will not authorise the use of $500
million in IMF funds until the after the national budget is finalised,
presented and approved in November.


The US and the UK showed skepticism last week following Mugabe's overture
for better relations, stating that he first needs to honour the Global
Political Agreement (GPA). Mugabe said at the opening of parliament that he
was prepared to re-engage the West, calling an end to sanctions against


Around 8000 teachers who fled election violence last year and only returned
to work in 2009 have gone months without pay as punishment for their alleged
support of the MDC. Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) Secretary
General Raymond Majonwe said in an interview last week that he believed the
aim was to frustrate the teachers and show up the MDC minister of education,
sport and culture David Coltart. "It's political," 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."

Zimbabwe School Examinations Council (Zimsec) workers went on strike last
week demanding that the lowest paid employee's salary be increased from
US$115 to US$400. With the public examinations looming, Zimsec is urging the
government to address the workers' concerns.

A recent survey by PTUZ revealed that up to 75 percent of the 300,000
children who could sit their O and A Level examinations in November had
failed to register because of the exam fees. Students learning in rural
areas and on farm schools are the worst affected, with those coming from
poor urban areas accounting for a substantial amount of the victims, The
number of students who could not afford to write their examinations this
year was "the highest in the history of the country" said a PTUZ statement.

Ten Zimbabwean students at the University of Fort Hare in South Africa have
been kicked out of a (taxpayer-funded) Presidential Scholarship programme,
for allegedly supporting the MDC. Robert Mugabe gained a BA degree,
specializing in education, from Fort Hare in 1951.


Several top officials and Mugabe loyalists being sued for torture will not
receive legal assistance from the state. The officials are being sued by
seventeen human rights activists, including Jestina Mukoko. All were
acquitted of terrorism charges after being abducted, tortured and
incarcerated for months. The defendants, who include the police chief and
security and defense ministers, will face the charges (worth $500 million in
damages) on their own. It seems even the party can see their actions are

Two important cases will commence this week in Mutare and Harare. Deputy
Agriculture Minister Designate Roy Bennett, who was arrested in February as
he prepared to leave for a holiday in South Africa, faces trial for
allegedly being in illegal possession of weapons and for allegedly
contravening immigration laws. The state seems to have no evidence but is
trying to further delay proceedings by indicting Bennett for trial in the
High Court. Meanwhile in Harare, leading human rights lawyer Alec
Muchadehama is standing trial on Wednesday for alleged contempt of court.

Cholera Warning

Health experts and aid agencies have repeated warnings of a possible cholera
resurgence in Zimbabwe, blaming the current water and sanitation problems in
the country. "The circumstances that led to the cholera outbreak [last year]
are still there today," said Farid Abdulkadir, International Federation of
the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) disaster management
coordinator, at a meeting on regional water integration held in Randburg,
South Africa. Nine new confirmed cases of the disease were reported last
week in Musikavanhi district of the Manicaland province.

Commercial Farming Sector

The European Union is providing 15.4 million euros to aid small-scale
Zimbabwean farmers. The aid, in the form of seed and fertiliser, aims to
boost grain production and is set to benefit 176,000 households. "This
programme is part of a wider EC policy aiming at moving this country from
food aid to food security," said Xavier Marchal, head of the European
Commission in Zimbabwe. The aid is part of a $74 million fund created by
donors, which include the World Bank and Britain's Department for
International Development. The fund is expected to help produce about
450,000 tons of the staple maize crop and meet a quarter of Zimbabwe's
annual requirements.

The Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany has written to the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs demanding a halt to the grab of white farmer Charles
Lock's farm by Brigadier Mujaji. The German Embassy warned that the grab of
the property, Karori farm was illegal as the property is protected a
German-Zimbabwean Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement.

Ben Freeth, a white Zimbabwean whose farm was burnt down in August, traveled
to Washington D.C. last week to urge the Obama administration to put
pressure on the Zimbabwe government to stop the seizure of the last
remaining white farms. "The United States is the biggest bilateral donor to
Zimbabwe and it's really important that they put pressure on the government
to ensure the court judgment is respected," he said. In November last year
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal ordered the
Government of Zimbabwe to allow 75 white commercial farmers to stay on their
land but the seizure of protected farms and ongoing harassment has

The European Union (EU) has offered to fund the proposed Land Audit.


Mugabe's Information Minister Webster Shamu appointed eight former senior
military officials to six boards of government-controlled media
organizations, a move that the Media Institute of Southern Africa has
condemned as the "militarization of the media." Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai said that the new boards would have to be revised, as he and his
deputy, Arthur Mutambara, had not been consulted.

While it stalls the appointment of the Media Commission as the new licensing
body, government warned Trevor Ncube, owner of the Mail and Guardian and the
Zimbabwe Independent, not to launch his new Zimbabwean daily newspaper,
Newsday, without a licence. The government recently launched two new
publications without licences.

Robert Mugabe and a large entourage turned up in Geneva to attend an
International Telecommunications Union showcase and mystified delegates with
a speech condemning the use of radio as a channel for 'obnoxious regime
change agendas'.


Party leader and Prime Minister in the GPA, Morgan Tsvangirai, embarked on a
series of 'public consultations' regarding whether the people wanted the
party to stay in the GPA. No feedback has yet emerged, Tsvangirai instead
telling rallies to expect 'free and fair elections' in two years' time.

The Vice-Presidential succession is not yet settled but the Zanu-PF
Matabeleland caucus nominated one of their own: Zanu PF party chairman John
Nkomo, to take over the late Joseph Mskika's slot at the top. Nkomo is a
former member of Zapu in Matabeleland, as was Msika. But the Mashonaland
caucus is said to be backing Defence Minister Emerson Mnangagwa for the job.
As the Minister of the Interior in the eighties, Mnangagwa was the
mastermind of the Matabeleland Gukurahundi killings in which over 20 000
people are estimated to have died.

A damning audit of the country's voter's roll was issued by the Research and
Advocacy Unit (RAU). The report revealed that around 75 000 people over 100
years of age were still registered, and many duplications existed. Worse, in
some constituencies, the number of votes cast in the 2008 elections were
more than double the number of registered voters. The Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission (ZEC) has refused to release the detailed results of these polls.

The MDC has dropped from its constitution a clause limiting the party
president's terms in office, thus extending Morgan Tsvangirai's possible
tenure to beyond 2011.


Source: Zimbabwe Democracy Now

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