The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

“MDC Real Change Peace Rally” Angers Zanu-PF

Marondera, October 15, 2011 - The armed military and riot police have
maintained a heavy presence here ahead of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s
star rally to be held at Rudhaka Stadium.

Graham Nyahada, the MDC-T provincial spokesman, said the atmosphere was
quite "exciting" as people awaited the arrival of their party leader.
Nyahada confirmed the heavy presence of soldiers and policefrom the support

“They are stationed at Marondera Central Police Station and more arrived
Friday. They have been going around the neighbourhoods singing in their
trucks but the people here are adamant that they will not be cowed,” said

It also emerged on Saturday that Zanu-PF Mashonaland East provincial
executive formally complained to the police over Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC-T) posters plastered in and around the town advertising
Tsvangirai's rally dubbed the "MDC Real Change Peace Rally" in Marondera.

Tsvangirai, the MDC-T leader, is expected to address the rally, according to
a statement from the party's information and publicity department.

Party officials said the heavy presence of uniformed soldiers and riot
police was intended to intimidate residents from attending the rally.

The officials added that the high military and police presence in the small
town of Marondera started being noticed on Friday evening, alleging that
Zanu-PF feared a huge turnout.

The same officials said the Rudhaka Stadium peace rally, with nine similar
ones having taken place in other provinces, would afford Tsvangirai an
opportunity to report back to the people of Mashonaland East and the nation
on the progress being made in the inclusive government and challenges faced.

"He will also address the election roadmap as a prerequisite to the holding
of a free, fair and credible election as well speak on and denounce the
disturbing violence that has resurged in the country," read part of a
statement issued by the MDC-T's information and publicity department.

The MDC National Executive this week condemned in the strongest terms, the
continued state sponsored violence that has taken place in most societies of
the country.

In particular, the National Executive Committee noted that the funding and
use of violence by Chipangano, a terrorist group in Mbare, Harare, has to
stop, and the thugs arrested if peace is to be achieved.

“The MDC urges the Police to act professionally and fulfill their
constitutional mandate of protecting the citizens of the country. Its the
hope of the MDC that the heavy presence of the police is not meant to
intimidate the law abiding citizens but should act as a deterrent to Zanu-PF’s
hooliganism as the party has shown discontent at the holding of the peace
rally by the MDC,” said MDC-T spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora.

On Wednesday, Zanu-PF representatives in Marondera town reported to the
police that they felt offended by MDC posters that had been pasted in and
around the city.

"The people of Zimbabwe deserve peace, true national healing and an
immediate stop to the persecution of democratic forces and the harassment of
innocent citizens of Zimbabwe. The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s
finish it," read part of the posters.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Illegal Panners Should Not Be Arrested: Minister

Minister of Indigenisation, Youth Development and Empowerment warned the
police to abstain from arresting panners saying there was nothing illegal
about the panning.

Speaking at the Midlands State University during a public lecture on Poverty
Alleviation Through Indeginisation, Minister Savior Kasukuwere urged the
police to stop harassing and arresting illegal panners in the country
despite the fact that environmentalists’ concerns.

Kasukuwere said it was a shame that the mining sector which is foreign owned
continued to loot the country’s resources while being escorted by the police
while local panners who he said were trying to eke an honest living were
being harassed by the same police.

“It’s high time we woke up as Zimbabweans. Mining firms continue to extract
and loot our minerals while we watch, folding our hands. When the minerals
are mined using local labour, we then authenticate their looting and
stealing by allowing our police to escort them to the borders. The same
police officers would then crack down on our indigenous panners as they try
to eke a living from their own minerals,” Kasukuwere said.

“When the panners are raided, they are sent to the courts where they are
given long sentences as punishment. We should put an end to that and make
sure that we help each and every Zimbabwean enjoy his or her mineral
resources by legalising their operations,” he added.

The Illegal panners leave open pits after extracting the minerals and in the
Midlands Province, the Environmental Management Authority has blamed them
for destroying the environment. They are even digging under the major
highway linking Zimbabwe to South Africa in search of gold.

Kasukuwere  vented out his anger also on foreign owned mines warning that he
was coming out for them for failing to give 10percent of their shares to
local communities while applauding Zimplats that has already done so. He
said stakeholders should now move from talking to action

“We have talked a lot on this subject about indigenisation and economic
empowerment and how it should be implemented. It’s now time to make sure
that this programme has been implemented so that the majority of Zimbabweans
who are owners of the huge deposits of minerals in this country directly
benefit. We will crack down on all mines to give away the 10percent. We will
move on to Mimosa, to Unki, Murowa and all the mines,” he said.

The Minister also said Government has set aside a national revolving fund,
which will require companies to contribute part of their profits towards
future use.

“In as much as we are proud to posses such huge mineral deposits in our
country there will come a time when these mineral deposits along the Great
Dyke will be exhausted. As Government we have set asidea national revolving
fund whereby mining companies are compelled to contribute funds towards the
fund for future use,” Kasukuwere explained.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Citrus farms lie idle as land grabbers give up

Citrus farms that used to generate foreign currency for the country as well
as providing oranges for local beverage companies are lying idle.
by Leona Mwayera

A survey conducted by this newspaper indicates that Zanu (PF) politicians
who grabbed the most productive citrus farms in Chegutu from their
commercial owners have deserted them after disposing of valuable equipment
to other local farmers. Lionsvalle citrus farm (Big Orange), owned by Thomas
Beattie before it was invaded by former deputy minister of Information and
Publicity Bright Matonga is in a sorry state with orange trees dying from
lack of attention. Most of the equipment grabbed by Matonga from Beattie is
grounded, while some tractors are just heaped in a rusting workshop.

“Matonga has failed dismally - he is now producing lemons instead of
oranges. The oranges he is producing are not even fit for human consumption,
never mind for export because they are sour. The equipment he took over from
our former boss is now a heap of scrap metal as you can see. A number of
skilled workers with knowledge in citrus farming left due to non payment of
wages and poor working conditions,” said Biggie Zulu, a former worker at
Lionsvalle farm.

Former workers now languishing in poverty said it was a shame that such a
productive farm, which used to supply fresh oranges to European and regional
markets earning foreign currency had collapsed. Workers at the farm told
this paper that Matonga rarely spend time on the farm and has lost interest
in the citrus business.

Recently, a magistrate at Chegutu civil court ruled in favour of Beattie,
ordering Matonga to return farm equipment he seized from the commercial
farmer. The equipment includes ploughs, harrows and tractor grader. Matonga
failed to attend court sessions for three consecutive times, forcing the
courts to pass a verdict in his absence. The story is the same at Stockdale
Estates, formerly owned by the Etheredge Family before it was grabbed by
Senate President Edna Madzongwe`s son.

Sources said the Madzongwe abandoned the farm after selling the Equipment.
He is said to have moved over 30 cattle to an unknown destination.

“The young man just destroyed the farm and rendered more people jobless. The
inclusive government should conduct an audit to flush out such culprits
because they are frustrating efforts by Finance minister Tendai Biti to turn
around the shattered economy,” said a farm worker who declined to be named
for fear of victimisation.

Hippovalle farm, which was grabbed by Zimpapers journalist Emilia Zindi, is
also being underutilised. She and her two sons are accused of vandalising
and selling farm equipment.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Army campaigns for Zanu (PF)

In a desperate attempt to prop up the dwindling support base for Zanu (PF)
in rural areas, the partisan Zimbabwe National Army has embarked on an
`input donation` scheme across the country.
by Leona Mwayera

The exercise is being bankrolled by the army charity programme run by ZNA
Commander Lieutenant Phillip Sibanda. The inputs were sourced from seed
houses like Pannar. On Wednesday, over 21 chiefs from Manicaland province
gathered in Nyanyadzi were they received the inputs from Major General
Martin Chedondo.

Villagers who gathered at the venue were told that the army was working with
chiefs to make sure that Zanu (PF) regained all the seats it lost to MDC-T
during the 2008 harmonised elections. The controversial Infantry Brigade
Commander, Brigadier Douglas Nyikayaramba also warned villagers not to vote
against President Robert Mugabe as “he was not going anywhere”.

“We are giving chiefs inputs to feed the people so that they cannot sell
their country to NGOs because of hunger,” said Nyikayaramba, clad in army
regalia. Political analyst said the dolling out of the inputs by ZNA was a
ploy to buy the loyalty of traditional leaders ahead of the crucial election
next year.

Evans Mutambara, a local villager, said they were not happy that the army
was using the chiefs to reverse the will of people.

“We are not happy about this exercise. If they are genuine why can’t they
donate to vulnerable groups such as the disabled, orphans and the elderly?

They are trying to influence the chiefs so that they can force us to vote
for Zanu (PF),”complained Mutambara.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare Brought To A Halt As Women Rapists Appear In Court

Harare, October 15, 2011 -A group of women accused of raping men around
Zimbabwe at gunpoint brought the Harare magistrate court to a standstill on

The three women dressed in designer clothes and fancy hairstyles looked
unfazed by the bizarre charges that they are facing. They were quite relaxed
as they appeared in the dock.

Sophie Tendai Ngwenya, 26, Netsai Monica Nhokwara, 24 and Rosemary
Chakwizira, 28, attracted a huge crowd of onlookers when they were brought
before Harare magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini on Friday.

Seventeen men including a soldier and a policeman have stepped forward
claiming that they were “raped” by three women who were recently found with
sperm filled condoms in Gweru.

The trio is facing aggravated indecent assault charges. The women are
suspected to be part of a syndicate of women “rapists” who have gone on a
rampage along the country’s major highways, “raping” men at gunpoint for
their sperms believed to be sold in South Africa to a sperm bank and for
ritual purposes.

The women are jointly charged with Thulani Ngwenya, 24, who is believed to
have been driving the car involved in the accident where the 33 condoms were

The state alleges that the women rushed to the scene of the accident to
collect their “valuable loot” which was in the car that Ngwenya was driving.

They however could not salvage their valuable property after police arrived
before them at the scene of the accident where they discovered the 33
condoms four of which were filled with sperms.

According to state papers, on various occasions the women would use
different tricks to lure men before spraying them with unknown chemicals.

They would take advantage whenever a victim would have passed out and drive
them to secluded places, where they would force them to drink some
concoctions which were used to stimulate sexual desire, the court heard.

The court was told that the women would take turns to have sexual
intercourse with the victim before leaving him lying unconscious.

The women were remanded in custody until October 28 was they will have an
opportunity to make bail application.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

17 men implicate rape suspects

By Tendai Kamhungira, Court Writer
Saturday, 15 October 2011 14:18

HARARE - Seventeen men including a soldier and a policeman have stepped
forward claiming that they were “raped” by three women who were recently
found with 4 semen-filled condoms and 31 used ones in Gweru.

The three women, Sophie Tendai Ngwenya, 26, Netsai Monica Nhokwara, 24 and
Rosemary Chakwizira, 28, attracted a huge crowd of onlookers when they were
brought before Harare magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini yesterday.

The women are facing aggravated indecent assault charges.

Dressed in designer trousers, spotting fancy hair styles and looking exotic
they strode into the dock, in a rare case that drew a huge following and
left the court room packed to the hatches.

The women are suspected to be part of a syndicate of women “rapists” who
have gone on a rampage along the country’s major highways, “raping” men at

The three were arrested on Sunday at an accident scene on the 43-kilometre
peg along the Gweru-Lower Gweru road.
The women are jointly charged with Thulani Ngwenya, 24, who is believed to
have been driving the car involved in the accident where the 35 condoms were

The state alleges that the women rushed to the scene of the accident to
collect their “valuable loot” which was in the car that Ngwenya was driving.

They however could not salvage their valuable property after police arrived
before them at the scene of the accident where they discovered the 4
sperm-filled condoms and 31 used ones when they randomly searched the

The women were arrested after trying to retrieve the paper bag containing
the condoms.

The state alleges that 17 men who have in the past been victims of gun-point
rape, managed to positively identify the women as their tormentors.

The women “raped” men ranging from age 19 to above 35.

According to state papers, on various occasions the women would use
different tricks to lure men before spraying them with unknown chemicals.

They would take advantage whenever a victim would have passed out and drive
them to secluded places, where they would force them to drink some
concoctions which were used to stimulate sexual desire, the court heard.

The court was told that the women would take turns to have sexual
intercourse with the victim before leaving him lying unconscious.

They moved around the country from Chinhoyi to Mutare driving in
unregistered posh vehicles ranging from Mercedes Benz to Toyota Regius

The women were remanded in custody and advised  to apply for bail at the
High Court.

They will be back in court on October 28.17 men implicate rape suspects.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Political violence grips Masvingo

By Godfrey Mtimba
Saturday, 15 October 2011 14:13

MASVINGO - Ugly scenes of political violence have revisited rural Masvingo
with suspected Zanu PF thugs setting ablaze the homestead of a mainstream
MDC official in Bikita South.

The attack on MDC secretary Hazwell Muchemwa’s homestead in Matiore village,
comes barely a week after a bus belonging to Bikita South MP Jani Vharandeni
was torched.

The resurgent violence has angered the MDC in Masvingo and party members
have vowed to launch revenge attacks.
MDC Masvingo provincial spokesperson Harrison Mudzuri warned Zanu PF and
government that his party will not fold hands and watch while its members
are attacked.

“This is too much and we are saying whoever is doing this must be stopped
before we defend ourselves and retaliate. We can’t continue to fold our
hands and watch when properties belonging to our members are reduced to
ashes by the people we know."

“MP Vharandeni lost his AVM bus that serviced the constituency and now
inside three days our district secretary’s house is razed to the ground,”
said Mudzuri.

Muchemwa the district secretary said he lost properties worth thousands of
dollars during the attack.

“My homestead was torched by unknown assailants but we believe they are our
rivals from Zanu PF. I lost property worth thousands of dollars from the
attack. I wasn’t at home when the incident happened as I had gone to
Masvingo city but my maid said the attack was done in the wee hours and she
was awakened by heat from the flame and went out to call for help but it was
too late,” he said.

He said he believed this was done because some Zanu PF members were not
happy with role he played together with Vharandeni in organising transport
for people in the area to go and attend a recent rally addressed by
Tsvangirai in Gutu.

Vharandeni a transport operator who owns a fleet of buses under the name
Mubuku bus service was the first to be attacked when his bus was burnt.

The bus attack took place at Mashoko Mission business centre where it was
parked for the night.

“My bus was burnt in the early hours of Monday by people we suspected to be
war veterans because we have had problems with them over the
Masvingo-Mashoko route it plies,” said Vharandeni.

The two have since made police reports at Mashoko Police Station were the
police promised to launch investigations.
Masvingo Police Spokesperson, Inspector Tinaye Matake declined to comment.

“I am not in the office call me later. I can’t comment at the moment,” said

However, Mudzuri said his party would be forced to mobilise its youths to
defend themselves.

He warned the principals of the three political parties to address the issue
of violence in the country.

“First of all, I want to warn Zanu PF to stop their thugs and also warn the
leaders of the parties in the inclusive government to do something to stop
this mess. We are now at a point where we cannot take that any more. We can
mobilise our members and retaliate and defend ourselves from these thugs but
we do not want things to go that way,” Mudzuri said.

He said government should make sure that the people behind the attacks are
apprehended and instructed police to arrest them and apply the law in a fair

MDC legislators and officials in the province have been targets of arson by
rowdy Zanu PF youths and war veterans.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Kunonga strips Anglicans of property worth $40 million

Renegade Bishop Nolbert Kunonga has stripped the Anglican Church of Central
Africa of properties worth over $40 million dollars.
by Fungi Kwaramba

Reverend Clifford Dzavo, the Secretary for the Diocese of Harare, said in an
interview the church had lost 90 churches countrywide valued at $4 million
each and also 70 houses valued at $100 000 each.

Apart from churches and houses Kunonga has also taken over schools, which
were at one point the church’s major cash cow.

Last week the head of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Rowan Williams, met
President Robert Mugabe and handed him a dossier detailing the abuses that
the church has suffered in the hands of Kunonga, who is now armed with a
court order in his favour. But Dzavo says that the church does not hope for
much from Mugabe who has a soft spot for the ex-communicated bishop.

“We do not hope that much will come from Mugabe, as he indicated that the
matter is currently in the courts. But he did promise to look at the issues
to do with lawlessness being perpetrated by Kunonga.

A recent High Court ruling gave Mugabe’s bishop control of the church. But
on Wednesday the High Court ordered him to stop harassing workers at
churches he has seized.

Thousands of people across the country, who have in the past benefited from
the CPCA charity work, are falling through the cracks because of the church
standoff and the consequent flight of donors who are scared of Kananga’s
heavy handed methods.

Meeting in Harare on Wednesday the MDC-T National Executive bemoaned the
chaos that has engulfed one of the oldest churches in Zimbabwe because of
political patronage.

“Churches have ceased to be a place of worship and spiritual solitude but
have become havens of political patronage and violence. The Anglican Church
community has, since 2007, been traumatized as the police and Zanu (PF)
continue to side with a group loyal to renegade Bishop Nolbert Kunonga to
destabilise parishes and ordinary people,” said Douglas Mwonzora, the party’s

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Prosecutors call off strike

15/10/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PUBLIC prosecutors have called off their nationwide strike after the Public
Service Commission (PSC) promised to look into their grievances.

The prosecutors had been on strike over the past two weeks, pressing for
improved conditions of service.

The job action had paralysed the country’s courts system with no trials
taking place, leaving suspects stranded in remand prisons around the
However, the prosecutors agreed to give their employer an opportunity to
their concerns during a meeting held on Thursday.

Patrobs Dube, the vice president of the Zimbabwe Laws' Association said
their members had agreed to resume work while their grievances are being
The strike which started last Tuesday also affected State witnesses with
those coming from outside town being turned away.

The prosecutors and law officers want the PSC to address the salary
discrepancies with magistrates insisting they same qualifications.
Prosecutors currently earn between US$200 and US$300 monthly.

They are demanding parity with magistrates who now take home between US$500
and US$730 after the salaries were increased in July.

Public law officers are also understood to be unhappy the alleged engagement
of prosecutors from the security services claiming this was compromising the
country’s justice system.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Not enough ‘chefs’ for all the country's wealth: Kasukuwere

15/10/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

EMPOWERMENT Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has dismissed claims the country’s
indigenisation programme is providing cover for the already well-off to add
to their riches, quipping that there is not enough ‘chefs’ for all the
country’s wealth.

Critics have questioned government insistence that the process – under which
foreign companies must localise ownership of at least 51 percent of their
shareholding – would benefit the ordinary majority.

Central bank chief, Gideon Gono in May urged the government to review its
current empowerment model warning: “It has to be realised that not everybody
can fit or benefit from the equity-ownership model we are pursuing. Only a
few will and that's a fact.”

But speaking a public lecture at the Midlands State University in Gweru on
Friday, Kasukuwere defended the programme adding the so-called chefs were
also entitled to the country’s resources.

"It is quite surprising that people keep referring to chefs as the big
beneficiaries of the indigenisation programme. But honestly how many serious
chefs are in the country. There are just but less than 1 000. All the other
people referred to as chefs are not. So can only 1 000 people benefit from
the country's wealth. The resources are for everyone,” Kasukuwere said.
"In any case is it bad for those chefs to benefit from the country's

The empowerment programme has also divided the coalition government with
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai recently warning that the policy was
ill-thought out and undermining investor confidence.

Harare-based economic consultant John Robertson, also told IRIN news that
policy would force many foreign-owned companies to close down, leading to
further job losses, while people struggling to find jobs would fail to do so
because investors would keep away.

“This policy is the direct opposite of empowerment. The number of
Zimbabweans who are poor, and those who will become poorer, will increase.
The net effect is far much more poverty and far less self-sufficiency,” he

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Investor Fears of Zimbabwe's Empowerment Law Choke Off Capital Flows

14 October 2011

China, once described by President Robert Mugabe as an all-weather friend,
invested US$200 billion in Africa last year but has put only US$150 million
into the Southern African country so far this year

Gibbs Dube and Blessing Zulu | Washington

Zimbabwean Investment Minister Tapiwa Mashakada says foreign direct
investment is drying up with potential investors - including those from
China - withholding capital due to apprehension over Zimbabwe’s black
economic empowerment program.

Mashakada said investors who might like to put money to work in the
country's mining sector are currently unwilling to commit funds because of
the government’s demand that foreign companies transfer a 51 percent equity
stake to local black investors.

He said China, once described by President Robert Mugabe as an all-weather
friend, invested US$200 billion in Africa last year but has put only US$150
million into the Southern African country so far this year.

Mashakada told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that the indigenization program is
seriously hindering Zimbabwe’s efforts to attract meaningful foreign direct

Economic commentator Walter Mbongolwane said foreign investors will remain
sidelined until the country's Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Act is

Elsewhere, South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe Vusi Mavimbela met with
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Thursday to express concern over the
indigenization drive and the displacement of South African citizens whose
farms were taken over by supporters of Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party,
destituting them.

Tsvangirai spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka quoted Mavimbela as saying his
country is not happy with the way South African businesses are being
targeted despite a bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement
in place since 2009.

Tamborinyoka said Mavimbela believes South African businesses operating in
Zimbabwe are threatened by indigenization. He said Mr. Tsvangirai promised
to "vigorously pursue" the issue given the concerns outlined by Pretoria's
ambassador in Harare.

Economist and former Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries chief Calisto
Jokonya said dialogue is needed between Harare and Pretoria to resolve such

Mr. Mugabe this week launched a community share ownership trust in
Mhondoro-Ngezi, Mashonaland West province, that is to receive a 10 percent
stake in Zimbabwe Platinum Holdings or Zimplats, controlled by South Africa’s
Impala Platinum Holdings.

Based on recent estimates of Zimplats's value, that stake is worth some
US$97 million. Its market capitalization plummeted this year as investors
realized the Harare government intended to take a 51 percent stake on
uncertain compensation terms.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Inflation Surges to 4.3 Percent in Year Through September

14 October 2011

Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington

Zimbabwe's consumer inflation for the 12 months through September jumped to
4.3 percent from 3.5 percent in August on significantly higher electricity
rates and increased food and transport prices, the Zimbabwe Statistical
Agency said Friday.

The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority boosted its commercial rates 31
percent last month and businesses passed the cost through to consumers,
economists said.

The latest inflation rate is not far from the 4.5 percent rate set by
Finance Minister Tendai Biti as a target for the end of this year, with
three months of data yet to come.

Consumer Council of Zimbabwe Director Rosemary Siyachitema told Ntungamili
Nkomo that although inflation remains relatively low, high utility charges
are of concern.

"Within the consumer basket itself we see an increase of about $14 or $15
attributed especially to electricity charges," she said. "Food prices remain
relatively stable."

Economist Eric Bloch said the ZESA electricity rate hikes were not

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Moyo plot thickens

By Chris Goko, Senior Assistant Editor
Saturday, 15 October 2011 13:53

HARARE - The more that serial political flip-flopper Jonathan Moyo tries to
extricate himself from some of his plots to oust President Robert Mugabe
from power, the more he appears to sink deeper into the mire.

Sir Richard Branson dealt a fatal blow to Moyo’s desperate attempts this
week to persuade Mugabe and other Zanu PF bigwigs that he is not a CIA agent
as alleged when the British billionaire not only re-confirmed conniving with
the former junior information minister to dethrone Mugabe from power, but
also went on to provide more damaging details about the ill-considered plot.

The two were so joined at the hip in this mission that he, Branson, even
took care of the travel and accommodation arrangements of the man who is now
also notoriously known as America’s “useful messenger” in Zimbabwe.

“We did put him up in Johannesburg for a few days, but we decided not to
continue with him,” Branson said in an interview with a British newspaper.

The mogul told The IndependentMoyo plot thickens that in 2007, he had held
covert meetings with Moyo and several respected African statesman.

He also claimed that he had also held direct discussions with Reserve Bank
Governor Gideon Gono, who was then seen as a close ally of Mugabe.

Taking a swipe at Moyo, Branson said that the plot to oust Mugabe from power
fell apart when he and his colleagues began to have serious reservations
about whether the notorious flip-flopper and his supporters were entirely
suitable people to go into the business of nation-building with.

“I was approached by the man who was mentioned in the WikiLeaks, Jonathan
Moyo, and listened,” he said.

“Eventually, we decided not to do anything with him. We just weren’t
completely sure that his was the best approach. We have subsequently done
some things for and in Zimbabwe, on some of the issues that were discussed
at those meetings, but we ultimately just felt that working with him was not
necessarily the right way forward.”

Getting into details about his alleged interactions with Gono, Branson said
the anti-Mugabe scheme initially came into being after he had a chance
meeting with the central bank governor at an airport in South Africa early
in 2007.

At the time, Zimbabwe was suffering from debilitating volatility and
hyperinflation, and this was in advance of scheduled elections the following

They allegedly had a short discussion at which several ideas for Mugabe’s
removal were raised.

Those ideas were later fleshed out via email and then elaborated in several
days of face-to-face meetings which Moyo curiously attended in Johannesburg
in July that year.

This account contradicts sharply with an earlier version of events by Moyo,
who claimed that he was the conduit between Branson and Gono.

Moyo himself appeared to clear Gono on the airport meeting in an interview
with a United Kingdom-based website and in the process described Branson as
a racist.

“I am pleased that Sir Richard just about confirms everything that I have
said about this initiative, except that he can’t remember whether he met me
or Gono, or whether the two of us were at the airport.

“I am not sure whether that’s just a memory weakness or a cover-up.

But whatever it is, it reminds me of racists in the American south who
suffer from the folly that all black people look the same.”

Gono continues to refuse to comment on all the claims and counterclaims.

Under the plan that Moyo hatched at least according to Branson and
WikiLeaks, Mugabe was to have been approached by Nelson Mandela and a
collection of other respected figures from the region.

They would have tactfully claimed that they wished to protect his legacy,
and safeguard Zimbabwe’s future by organising a peaceful transition of

Mugabe was to be offered immunity from future prosecution, as well as the
chance to appoint an interim prime minister.

In return, he would co-operate with a truth and reconciliation process
modelled on South Africa.

The existence of the scheme was made public this week, when WikiLeaks
published a series of classified cables written by Eric Bost, the US
ambassador to Pretoria.  He had got his hands on several emails between Sir
Richard and Moyo, and was eager to outline their plan to his superiors in

The Daily News, which broke the WikiLeaks story on Sunday, has reported that
its sources claim that Sir Richard had been prepared to offer Mugabe a £6,5m
($10 million) incentive to stand down as part of the plan. Branson says that
this element of the story is untrue.

“It was never discussed. It would have been cheap at the price, but it just
happens not to be true,” he said — in a statement that could be taken to
mean that the figure that may have been under consideration may have been
Sir Branson said he was troubled by the revelation that a US diplomat had
apparently been able to get hold of sensitive private e-mails.

“Obviously, they must be listening in, or doing something. I have no idea
how they got them. I’ve no idea how it happened,” he said.

His recollection of the affair raises questions about the public statements
that Moyo, who is now a member of Zanu PF’s politburo, has made this week.

On Tuesday, for example Moyo told The Independent of UK that his only
meeting with Branson had come in a check-in queue at Johannesburg airport in
April 2007.

“We chatted for about an hour and a half,” Moyo said. “When he learned I was
an MP, he was interested in my views.”

Although the 2007 scheme came to naught, Sir Richard said that the “elders,”
a group of world leaders he subsequently helped form, played a key role in
setting up Zimbabwe’s coalition government after the 2008 elections.

He stressed that his interest in easing Mugabe from office was in no way
motivated by a desire to expand any of his Virgin ventures into Zimbabwe.
“It was nothing to do with my businesses,” he said.

“Most of my time now, about 70 percent, is spent on philanthropic work. And
if I’m in a position to help with resolving conflicts, I believe I should do
so.” – with The Independent of UK.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

We will not be forced to vote for Zanu (PF)

Villagers here have vowed that Zanu (PF) candidate Gilbert Nyanhongo will
never win the seat - no matter how much violence and intimidation Zanu (PF)
thugs use.
by Leona Mwayera

They have demanded that perpetrators of violence who killed innocent people
be brought to book.

Nyanhongo, a retired Brigadier who is deputy minister of Power and Energy
Development, is eyeing Douglas Mwonzora’s Nyanga North constituency.

Villagers said they were being intimidated by overzealous war veterans and
militia and blamed the police for being partisan and unprofessional. “We
wonder why the police are applying the law selectively. Those who are
terrorising us are walking scot free, while innocent villagers are
persecuted,” said one villager who declined to be named for fear of

“Please Zanu (PF) give us a chance to elect people of our choice. We are
sick and tired of your dirty political tactics. We don’t see the reason why
people should be beaten up for supporting a candidate of their choice. We
don’t want candidates who splash money but those fight to democratise
political space,” said Chris Kagoyo.

“We want to petition the Prime Minister as Head of Government to discuss the
matter with Zanu (PF) leader President Mugabe because we are fed up with
this cheap politicking,” said Muchadura Maromo, an MDC-T activist.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Villagers sacrifice herds to get decent news

Impoverished villagers have sacrificed their livestock to invest in
free-to-air satellite dishes as local broadcaster ZBC continues to churn out
coarse propaganda in support of Zanu (PF).
by Staff Reporter

South African Broadcasting channels 1-3 and Botswana television are
available in Zimbabwe via satellite.

Irate villagers told The Zimbabwean that ZBC mostly screened historical
material which was irrelevant to their lives today.

“We are tired of propaganda by ZBC. Although we are poor we have seen it fit
to sell some of our livestock and subscribe to foreign media where there is
better programming.

We don’t eat history,” said Misheck Mwonzora of Ruwangwe village who has
subscribed to DS-TV.

“We are missing a lot from what is happening in our country because some
people have turned a national broadcaster into private property. We rely on
foreign stations such as Voice of America, Studio 7 and SW Radio and
newspapers such as The Zimbabwean which keep us well informed and updated,”
said Rudo Kamanga, a vendor. Villagers blasted ZBC for continuing to operate
as a mouthpiece of Zanu (PF) instead of serving citizens objectively as
national broadcaster.

“How can we say we are living in a democratic country if people are being
denied such a critical service of being informed objectively by a national
broadcaster. It’s a disgrace. Key development information which is supposed
to reach to people remains elusive,” said a local political observer Lucas

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

S. Africa's Continued Deportations Of Zimbabweans Signals Moratorium Over

14 October 2011

Zimbabwean Co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone said Harare and
Pretoria worked hard to regularize the status of the estimated 1.5 million
Zimbabweans in South Africa, but relatively few took up the offer

Tatenda Gumbo & Blessing Zulu | Washington

South African and Zimbabwean officials confirm that deportations of
Zimbabweans living illegally in South Africa have resumed following a
moratorium called to allow those living there illegally to seek residency
permits, saying the law is now being enforced.

Reports said South African immigration authorities deported some 600
Zimbabweans to their homeland this week, signaling an end to the moratorium.

South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe Vusi Mavimbela said Thursday that
Pretoria was not targeting Zimbabweans, but that officials were merely
applying immigration laws. It is estimated that at least 1.5 million
Zimbabweans are living in South Africa, but only about a quarter of a
million filed applications for residency permits by the end of 2010.

Zimbabwean Co-Minister of Home Affairs Theresa Makone said both governments
worked hard to regularize the status of Zimbabweans in South Africa, but
that relatively few sought to regularize their status and authorities have
exhausted their options.

During the documentation period some 275,000 Zimbabweans sought permits to
live, work and operate businesses in South Africa.

Members of the Zimbabwean Stakeholders Forum in South Africa said the
resumption of deportations came as a surprise. Gabriel Shumba of the
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum said he and colleagues were told that they would be
informed before the moratorium ended.

Elsewhere, deserters from the Zimbabwean National Army living in South
Africa are urging soldiers at home to resist being deployed against citizens
in the national elections which are generally expected to be held some time
next year.

Former Zimbabwean troops told VOA reporter Benedict Nhlapho they fled the
service so they would not have to take action against civilians.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Red Cross welcomed

Villagers in the Marange district have welcomed the intervention of the
Japanese Red Cross to alleviate the food crisis in the area.
by Leona Mwayera

The Japanese government has donated $1, 4 million through Red Cross Society
to avert starvation in the diamond-rich community.

The area has been affected by a series of droughts and villagers have not
been able to harvest their fields for consecutive farming seasons. Locals
have been surviving from food aid from NGO’s. Despite efforts by Plan
Zimbabwe to unveil inputs to the people of Marange, droughts have impacted
their efforts to boost food security.

Zimbabwe Red Cross Society general secretary, Emma Kundishora, revealed that
they had launced a programme to start food distribution immediately. She
added that the food programme would be a joint venture between the
International Federation of Red Cross, the Red Crescent Society and the
Japanese government.

“The programme will also assist other affected people across the country.
The assistance we are receiving from our international partners will go a
long way towards alleviating hunger among suffering villagers,” said

A visit to the area by The Zimbabwean indicated that most villagers were
relying on food aid from donor agencies.

“Our crops are now a write-off because of lack of sufficient rains. Although
other areas have received much rainfall, our place has been hit by a series
of droughts,” said Tatenda Munongedzo, a local villager.

Villagers said the government should use the proceeds from the diamonds
fields to initiate irrigation schemes in their drought prone area.

“It’s a pity that we are sitting on diamonds, but we are the poorest people
in the world,” said another villager.

According to a recent report by Food and Agriculture Organisation/World Food
Programme, Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission an estimated 1, 7 million
people in the country are food insecure.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Death penalty ungodly: former judge

Former High Court Judge Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe has described capital
punishment as ungodly and also decried the political violence in the
by Fungi Kwaramba

Matambanengwe, who sent several people to the gallows in his tenure as
judge, delivered a powerful message at a workshop organized in Harare to
talk about the death sentence.

“‘Thou shalt not kill’ those are the words of God and I am a creature who
must obey those words,” said Mutambanengwe, who is now the head of the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the body charged with presiding over
elections in the country.

Zimbabwe is yet to decide whether the death sentence should be part of the
supreme law. However, Mutambanengwe said that there is no need to debate the
death penalty as it is the law of God that was given to Moses.

“Zimbabwe is duty bound to obey the word of God and it is therefore not a
matter of opinion. It is a matter of faith and obedience, life is sacred,”
said Mutambanegwe.

Mutambanengwe added that Zimbabwe should obey every word of God who gave the
country the freedom that it is enjoying today.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Commonwealth in bid to ensure free, fair polls

By Tonderai Kwenda, Deputy News Editor
Saturday, 15 October 2011 14:09

HARARE - A United Kingdom-based organisation working through the
Commonwealth structures to help Zimbabwe recover from a decade  long
political and economic crisis says the grouping of former British colonies
should find ways of working with the regional Sadc body to ensure that the
country holds free and fair elections.

The Commonwealth Organisations Committee on Zimbabwe (COCZ) says
Commonwealth governments should find ways of helping Zimbabwe hold free and
fair elections when they meet later this month in Perth, Australia for the
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings.

“The Committee encourages the Commonwealth Secretariat, in co-operation with
the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), to engage with the
Government of Zimbabwe to identify those areas in which it can use its
expertise to assist with technical and relevant electoral advice to help
secure satisfactorily conducted elections, in the context of the Harare
Declaration, which could make Zimbabwe’s return to the Commonwealth
possible,” COCZ said in its latest report titled:  Zimbabwe: Routes to

The organisation says there has been some positive changes in the recovery
of the country’s economy since the formation of the coalition government in
2009 but remains worried by the wanton disregard of the rule of law and
violation of people’s human rights.

“The Committee notes with concern the lack of progress with constitutional
reform, which is the essential prelude to a framework for future elections.
As a result, there have been numerous violations of human rights which
should be addressed as a matter of urgency,” the report stated.

COCZ was formed in London following the formation of the government of
national unity.

Its purpose was to bring together organisations including, but not
exclusively, civil society with a background of work within Zimbabwe, who
wished to assist with the rebuilding of the Zimbabwean economy and
democratic structures in a climate where a degree of political consensus had
been achieved.

Now in its third year, the organisation works through its member
organisations and relevant Zimbabwe counterparts to facilitate regular
democratic, economic, social and technical improvements within the country.

The report also stated that there has been no significant progress made  in
the country’s constitutional reform process and the committee remains
worried at the concerns raised by the Sadc troika on politics, defence and
security over the rising cases of political violence across the country.

The committee urged commonwealth member states through its institutions to
“engage with the Government of Zimbabwe, the parties to the GPA and relevant
governments in the region to identify and promote those aspects of the GPA
process which serve the welfare and security of the people of Zimbabwe.”

This it says will help Zimbabwe comply with the principles of the Harare
Declaration which will lead to the establishment of conditions necessary to
enable Zimbabwe to rejoin the Commonwealth family of nations.

The Harare Commonwealth Declaration was a declaration of the Commonwealth of
Nations setting out the Commonwealth Nations setting out the Commonwealth’s
core principles and values detailing the Commonwealth’s membership criteria
and redefining and reinforcing its purpose. The Declaration was issued in
Harare, Zimbabwe on 20 October 1991.

President Robert Mugabe dragged the country out of Commonwealth in 2003 in
protest against a barrage of criticisms directed at him for running a deeply
flawed election which was marred by incidents of violence. He also barred
European Union (EU) election monitors to the election.

The committee recommended an urgent reconstitution of the Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), licensing of aspiring private broadcasters and
community radio and reconstitution of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation
(ZBC)  governance board to ensure that the broadcaster fulfils its
public-service mandate.

In addition it also urged the coalition government to urgently repeal or
extensively amend laws that impinge on freedom of expression and media
freedom, and citizens’ right to access to information, notably Aippa,
Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA), the Criminal Law (Codification and
Reform) Act and the Interception of Communications Act.

COCZ says the coalition government has managed to stabilise the civil and
political environment but has not bought peace and justice in the country.

“There are growing concerns over the failure of the Inclusive Government to
abide by the provisions of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and its
apparent inability to address the social, political and economic crisis
still facing the country,” the committee reported.

“During 2011 there has been an upsurge in cases of political violence, which
has spread throughout the country with impunity. The environment for human
rights defenders is hostile, with routine harassment. Citizens are arrested,
and subjected to repression or violence for speaking out against rights

“The nation continues to be polarised, with freedom of association and
assembly curtailed. The law is flouted for political gain.”

The committee recommended the reforming and re-training of members of the
judiciary, including the introduction and enforcement of a Code of Conduct
for judges and the protection of the independence of the magistracy.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim and the Commonwealth

As yet another CHOGM looms, it seems appropriate to ask the question in
respect of Zimbabwe - “who divorced whom?” This is a fair question, given
the standards by which the Commonwealth ought to operate in the aftermath of
the Harare Declaration, and its historical basis in South African and
Zimbabwean history.
by The Zimbabwean Harare

However, Zimbabwe, just like Southern Rhodesia before it, has created major
problems for the Commonwealth, but, unlike Southern Rhodesia, the
Commonwealth has failed Zimbabwe.

Greatest success

This is even the view of one of those who fought so hard to bring Zimbabwe
into existence, Sir Malcolm Fraser. As he put it:

“Zimbabwe is not only one of the greatest successes of the Commonwealth – in
terms of what happened in 1979 – but also one if its greatest failures. The
Commonwealth could have made it extremely difficult for President Mbeki to
stand up and support Mugabe.”

Fraser’s Commonwealth partner on the Southern Rhodesia problem, Kenneth
Kaunda, is more upbeat:

“Now the Commonwealth should be trying to engage more proactively with the
Government of National Unity. Quite a number of leaders have been involved
in Zimbabwe quietly already, and it has had some good results. Why should
the case of Zimbabwe be treated so differently to that of Southern

Firstly, Zimbabwe is not Southern Rhodesia. There is no treasonous
Unilateral Declaration of Independence, no Cold War, and no apartheid. The
Commonwealth is not the club that it was in 965, but an organization with
standards, principles and mechanisms of enforcement. It now has substantial
instruments for dealing with the misdemeanours of its members.

Secondly, it seems evident to all that Zimbabwe’s withdrawal from the
Commonwealth was not an expression of the will of the people of Zimbabwe,
but a result of Presidential action alone.

The opprobrium of the Commonwealth and Zimbabwe’s subsequent withdrawal from
the group should not be treated lightly. This was certainly not the case
when South Africa withdrew, or the case when Southern Rhodesia declared an
illegitimate independence from Britain. The Commonwealth stood firm in the
defence of the ordinary citizens of those countries.

Flawed elections

In Zimbabwe’s case, however, the Commonwealth itself concluded that the
elections in 2000 and 2002 were seriously flawed, with the obvious
implication that the government subsequently established was illegitimate.

The Commonwealth meekly let Zimbabwe off the hook. This was pointed out in
considerable detail by Zimbabweans themselves and the point has been pressed
by Zimbabwean civil society.

The 1991 Harare Declaration, was the flagship for the Commonwealth’s new
standards, demanding that its members commit themselves to a code of human
rights observance and good governance. The Commonwealth then went much
further than this: it later provided for enforcement of the standards
embodied in the Declaration concluded in Harare. Zimbabwe repeatedly
violated these standards. The non-adherence to the Abuja Agreement by
Zimbabwe, and the discredited elections of 2000 and 2002, gave the
Commonwealth the first test of its commitment to its own standards. It
failed miserably. This is not withstanding the commitments made at

So what has the Commonwealth done to fulfil its own standards and this
commitment? How has it “reinforced the need for change”? It suspended
Zimbabwe, and Mugabe withdrew from the Commonwealth before the issue of
renewal of the suspension could be considered. Rather than implementing the
provision cited above, the Commonwealth appears to have taken the view that
it no longer needed to be seized with the Zimbabwe issue. How many countries
limited government-to-government contact? How many countries limited trade
restrictions? How many countries introduced bilateral measures against
Zimbabwe for violating the Harare Declaration? How many countries got
together to introduce multilateral measures against Zimbabwe for violating
the Harare Declaration?

A wistful goodbye

It seems to Zimbabweans that the most that the Commonwealth did, as a
Commonwealth, was to wistfully wave Zimbabwe goodbye, and then every country
worked out, independently, how they would continue to re-engage with
Zimbabwe as a non-Commonwealth country.

To be fair, the Commonwealth did not entirely abandon Zimbabwe: it merely
passed the buck to the AU. The AU then passed the buck to SADC (of which 10
of the 15 members are Commonwealth countries) and SADC passed the buck to
South Africa.

If the Commonwealth is serious about re-engagement, then it needs to
re-engage, and the best way to do this is to convene the Eminent Persons
Group, send them to Zimbabwe and the SADC region.

This is not the time to discuss re-calibrating elections, but rather to take
the temperature of Zimbabwe as a nation (and its wholly sidelined
citizenry), and then think about what steps should be taken.

Litmus test

As Afari-Gyan, Jahangir and Sheehy pointed out in Democracy in the

“Elections are a litmus test of democracy. It is the moment one can see most
clearly if people are able to exercise their fundamental human rights. The
lack of respect for the basic principles of such a system means that
governments often come to power (or remain in power) with at best a tainted

No better description can be given of the reasons why Zimbabwe and the
Commonwealth fell out, and why the Commonwealth needs to ascertain carefully
whether the “basic principles” referred to above are in place. – Research
and Advocacy Unit

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Africa's despots gather without fear of arrest

Ginny Stein reported this story on Saturday, October 15, 2011 08:10:00

ELIZABETH JACKSON: In Africa, some of the continent's most notorious and corrupt leaders have come together for a regional trade summit. Sudan's president Omar Al Bashir travelled to Malawi for the conference in defiance of an international war crimes warrant against him. His 26-member delegation was welcomed with traditional dancers and an honour guard.

Here's our Africa correspondent Ginny Stein.

GINNY STEIN: The gathering in Malawi is a veritable who's who of the continents leading despots and dictators.

Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, never shy from attending an international gathering flew in, taking out of service one of the national airline's few remaining serviceable aircraft. Swaziland's King Mswati, who has presided over his country's economic collapse joined Eritrea's Issaias Afeworki, who has helped turn his nation into one of the most paranoid and totalitarian states in Africa. Eritrea is also accused of supporting Al-Shabaab Islamic militants in Somalia.

Henning Snyman is a political researcher with South Africa's Institute for International Affairs. He says it comes as no surprise that Malawi announced prior to the start of the conference that it would take no action against Sudan's president Omar Al Bashir.

HENNING SNYMAN: He's cancelled trips in the past to Tanzania and South Africa and a few other countries that said if he lands here, he will be arrested. But in Malawi they've come out stronglyto say that he's a free man and they wouldn't arrest him.

GINNY STEIN: When Omar Al Bashir arrived for the conference, he gave waiting media a wide berth and headed straight to his downtown hotel in Lilongwe, Malawi's capital.

As a signatory to the Rome Statute, Malawi has a treaty obligation to arrest Sudan's president over war crimes committed in Sudan's troubled Darfur region. But a foreign ministry spokesman, told news agency AFP, Malawi would not arrest President Bashir as he was a friend of Malawi's president.

This is not the first time, President Bashir has travelled abroad with an international warrant hanging over him. African leaders have turned a blind eye in the past, as has China, which gave him a red carpet welcome earlier this year.

Henning Snyman says by welcoming President Bashir, African leaders are making a mockery of the ICC, the International Criminal Court. And he says it's not likely that leaders who are themselves accused of committing heinous crimes will likely act any time soon.

HENNING SNYMAN: It's one thing to sign an agreement and it's another thing to enforce it. Especially if you're unsure if you might be at the wrong end of the stick in the future.

GINNY STEIN: Is it a simple case do you think that many African leaders aren't willing to enforce it because it could be them next?

HENNING SNYMAN: Correct. And I also think, I mean there's an argument that the ICC and the UN Security Council are instruments in the hands of the West and the friendless nations of the world get hammered by the UN and the ICC which I believe is totally wrong. I mean most of the cases in front of the ICC right now had been referred by African countries themselves and not by the ICC.

GINNY STEIN: The example that this sets, I mean it's not the first time that Omar Al Bashir has shown up in Africa and no one has taken action.


GINNY STEIN: For it to continually happen, what example does that set?

HENNING SNYMAN: I think it make a mockery of the ICC and actually ending impunity on the continent.

GINNY STEIN: The UN says at least 300,000 people have died since the uprising in Darfur started in 2003. President Omar Al Bashir is the first sitting president to be indicted by the International Criminal Court for charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

But Darfur wasn't on President Bashir's agenda at the annual trade summit for Eastern and Southern Africa, he was there for one thing only, to discuss trade. This was business. Human rights would have to wait.

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Ginny Stein with that report.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

"Mugabe in Grace's hand bag" - WikiLeaks

By KELVIN JAKACHIRA 21 hours 49 minutes ago

First Lady Grace Mugabe should not be underrated because she wields so much
power and influence over President Robert Mugabe.

The First Lady acts as President Mugabe’s gatekeeper and often controls
people that see him and what information gets to him. The First Lady also
played a crucial behind the scene role during the power-sharing negotiations
after the disputed presidential run-off poll in June 2008.

This information is contained in United States diplomatic cables intercepted
and leaked by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

One cable quotes then US ambassador to Zimbabwe Charles Ray saying the First
Lady wielded immense influence over the former guerilla leader, who has
ruled Zimbabwe for nearly 32 years.

Ray made the assessment after a meeting with Norwegian ambassador to
Zimbabwe Gunnar Foreland, an experienced Africa hand, who provided his
insights on Zimbabwe.

The Norwegian ambassador told Ray on November 25, 2009 that many people did
not appreciate the role the First Lady played in terms of having the
President’s ear.
“She acts as a kind of gatekeeper, often controlling who sees him, and what
information gets to him,” Foreland reportedly told the US top envoy in

“In this, she is assisted by (Reserve Bank governor Gideon) Gono who acts as
(President) Mugabe’s bag man and who has played a critical role in most of
Grace’s ‘businesses’.”

The cable said the First Lady had made more headlines for her “shopping”
than for her political role, but she started coming into the political
limelight after the March 2008 elections which her husband lost to MDC-T
leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

In another cable dispatched on July 25 2008, Gono reportedly said he had
discussed amendments to the power-sharing deal with the President and the
First Lady and that the couple was agreeable to an accord with several
amendments, including that President Mugabe should be allowed to serve as
President indefinitely and should not have to retire at a certain time.

The cable said the power sharing agreement was drafted by Econet boss Strive

Another cable said Tsvangirai told former US ambassador to Zimbabwe James
McGee the powerful Joint Operations Command (JOC), allegedly supported by
Gono and the First Lady, discussed delaying the inauguration of the new
government and marginalising him.

The cable was dispatched on October 10, 2008 before the coalition government
came into effect.

During the meeting between Foreland and Ray, the diplomats discussed a wide
range of issues on Zimbabwe.

Foreland reportedly told Ray the interplay of Shona and Western culture and
the role ethnicity plays in the relationship between President Mugabe and
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, the relationship of Gono and the First
Lady to President Robert Mugabe, and the importance of security sector

“A long-time observer of the Africa scene with vast experience on the
continent, Foreland said we in the West often fail to appreciate the way the
indigenous culture merges with Western culture to shape the behaviour of
people here,” Ray said in the cable

“He said, for instance, in Zimbabwe, the dominant Shona culture often exists
side by side with Western culture and locals see no conflict. Many
Government of Zimbabwe agencies and officials switch between the two
whenever it is to their advantage.”

Added the US envoy: “He thinks that Tsvangirai’s deference to (President)
Mugabe, for instance, is rooted in Shona culture: respect for elders and
respect for a fellow Shona.

“The ethnic factor also plays a role in the attitude of South African
President Zuma toward (President) Mugabe. In addition to not being a
‘revolutionary comrade’ as Thabo Mbeki was, Zuma, being Zulu,does not have
the same sense of kinship with (President) Mugabe, a Shona.” - NewsDay

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NZ crush Zim by ten wickets

October 15 2011 at 06:02pm


New Zealand raced to a 10-wicket win in the first Twenty20 international
against Zimbabwe.

Harare – Brendon McCullum slammed an unbeaten 81 as New Zealand raced to a
10-wicket win in the first Twenty20 international against Zimbabwe at Harare
Sports Club on Saturday.

The New Zealand bowlers set up the victory by restricting Zimbabwe to 123
for eight in their 20 overs after being sent in, with home skipper Brendan
Taylor the only batsman to shine, making 50 not out.

Opening bowler Kyle Mills and off-spinner Nathan McCullum took two wickets
each in a steady New Zealand bowling performance.

Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill (40 not out) made the target look
ridiculously easy, needing only 13.3 overs to score the required runs.

McCullum thrashed six sixes and five fours off 46 balls as he confirmed his
reputation as one of the world's most destructive hitters in the shortest
form of the game. Guptill hit two sixes and two fours and faced 30 balls.

New Zealand captain Ross Taylor was delighted with the way his team played
in their first competitive match since the World Cup in March.

“When you have been out of cricket for so long, the way we backed up the
bowlers in the field was excellent. Brendon and Martin were outstanding with
the bat,” said Taylor.

Zimbabwe were hit by the late withdrawals of two key players, experienced
wicketkeeper-batsman Tatenda Taibu because of injury and batsman Vusi
Sibanda, whose mother died early on Saturday.

Tall seam bowler Mills struck two early blows for New Zealand, dismissing
both opening batsmen inside the first five overs.

Hamilton Masakadza holed out to mid-off after hitting Doug Bracewell for six
in the previous over and Chabu Chibhabha edged an attempted drive to
wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum.

Taylor and Forster Mutizwa added 28 for the third wicket before Mutizwa was
leg before to left-arm spinner Luke Woodcock.

Malcolm Waller tried to lift the scoring rate, hitting Nathan McCullum for
six, but was caught at deep square leg in the same over. Charles Coventry
also fell playing an ambitious shot against McCullum caught at cover.

Hopes of a late flurry were dashed as three wickets fell off the final seven
balls of the innings.

Mills finished with two for 15 and Nathan McCullum took two for 17 but with
the exception of one over from James Franklin which yielded ten runs, all
New Zealand's bowlers proved difficult to score off. – Sapa-AFP

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

That's my throne!

Dear Family and Friends,
When the Archbishop of Canterbury came to Zimbabwe last week it gave
us all a lift, regardless of our religious persuasions. Here was a man
who had the courage to say it like it is, something we’ve been sadly
starved of for the last two and a half years. Zimbabweans are
frazzled, worn down and bone tired of the platitudes and diplomatic
niceties that have come to characterise our once firebrand
politicians. None of our leaders say it like it is anymore and that
made the visit of the Archbishop even more refreshing.

The Anglican Archbishop didn’t mince his words in a sermon he gave
to the multiple thousands of people who had gathered at the City
Sports Centre in Harare. To outsiders it may have seemed strange that
Archbishop Rowan Williams was addressing Anglicans in a sports stadium
rather than in the Cathedral. But he couldn’t because the previous,
and ex-communicated Bishop, Nolbert Kunonga, has taken over the Harare
Cathedral and 40 percent of other Anglican churches in the country.
Kunonga is an open supporter of Zanu PF and has described President
Mugabe as a “prophet from God.” Speaking to the press at the
Harare Cathedral, Kunonga said that Archbishop Rowan Williams was no
threat to him. Kunonga said: “I am in charge of the church, of all
its properties. I am in the cathedral. That's my throne. He cannot
come here.”

In the last few months Kunonga got a court ruling and started taking
over church houses, schools, clinics and orphanages, evicting anyone
who does not support his breakaway church. Harassed, intimidated,
beaten, arrested and locked out of their churches, Anglicans have been
hounded by Kunonga and his band of followers. They have taken to
holding religious services in private homes, tents and even under
trees. It is a truly humbling sight to witness this vast body of
people turning the other cheek.

In his sermon at the sports centre, the Archbishop’s references to
events of the last decade were obvious. He said: “God has given so
many gifts to this land. It has the capacity to feed all its people
and more. Its mineral wealth is great. But we have seen years in which
the land has not been used to feed people and lies idle; and we have
begun to see how this mineral wealth can become a curse…” Weaving
his message into biblical references, Zimbabweans knew exactly who the
Archbishop was talking about when he asked if we could hear the voice
of the Creator saying: “ ‘Why will you turn my gifts into an
excuse for bloodshed? Why will you not use what you have for the good
of a community, not for private gain or political advantage?’ ”

The day after delivering his sermon, the Archbishop of Canterbury met
President Mugabe and gave him a dossier detailing abuses being
suffered by Anglicans in Zimbabwe. The Archbishop asked Mr Mugabe to
guarantee the safety of worshippers and “put an end to illegal and
unacceptable behaviour.”

The Archbishop then went on a visit to Manicaland and described how he
met Anglicans in the area : “They gathered at the roadside to meet
us, they gathered in extremely smelly disused cinemas to meet us and
in the middle of a field. …It's been hugely moving and I'm very glad
I came."

This stoicism and continual turning of the other cheek in the face of
violence, oppression and blatant theft has become the national
character of Zimbabwe; it has become our middle name.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy Copyright � Cathy
Buckle 15th October 2011.

Back to the Top
Back to Index