October 17, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Embattled MDC treasurer-general and deputy agriculture
minister-designate Roy Bennett returns to court today (Saturday) to
challenge the manner in which he was indicted for trial at the High Court
Bennett (52) wants a review of his indictment this past Wednesday which
allowed the state to revoke his bail order and have him committed to a
Mutare remand prison awaiting the commencement of his trial this coming
He was released Friday evening after High Court judge, Charles Hungwe upheld
the bail order granted to him by the Supreme Court in March this year, a
month after his arrest shortly after his return from South Africa where he
had spent three years in exile.
Bennett, through his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa of Mtetwa and Nyambirai and
Partners legal practitioners, on Friday filed a review application to compel
the Attorney General to review its indictment of Bennett.
He faces charges of possessing weaponry for insurgency, banditry, sabotage
and terrorism, charges which the MDC says are trumped up.
His trial has been set down for Monday 19 October 2009 a circuit court due
to sit in Mutare on Monday.
Mtetwa says the State should first have written to Mutare provincial
magistrate Lucy Mungwari informing her of its intention to indict Bennett.
According to Mtetwa, the magistrate should respond by instructing the clerk
of court to summon Bennett to be served with the papers.
"In this case," said Mtetwa, "Bennett went to court in terms of a trial not
"We are saying you cannot be called to court for a trial and when you get
there you get ambushed with the indict papers.
"We are also saying the magistrate contradicted herself by allowing the
state now to indict him because she accepted our argument that the State had
not followed the proper procedure. She made a ruling to that effect but the
State lawyer Michael Mugabe chose to ignore that.
"If you are going to be tried in the High Court, you shall be given no less
that 10 days notice. Bennett was given yesterday (Thursday) and today
(Friday) and we are saying clearly that indict is invalid."
The High Court sits this Saturday (October 17) to review application which
has been set down for 11am.
Saturday, 17 October 2009
The decision by Morgan Tsvangirai to disengage from Robert Mugabe appears
dramatic, but it is hardly surprising. Yesterday he implicitly admitted that
he has been lying to the world about all being well in Zimbabwe's unity
government - well, anyone could have worked that one out.
As I warned in this newspaper shortly before February's inauguration, it was
never going to be a matter of if the power-sharing government would unravel,
but when. And as it limps from one disaster to another, my scepticism has,
sadly, been vindicated.
Yes, the government has brought improvements to the lives of ordinary
Zimbabweans, but these have been exaggerated.
The stabilising of the country's runaway inflation and the return of scarce
commodities in the shops, trumpeted as one of its best achievements, was
going to happen anyway once the country switched to the US dollar,
regardless of whether Tsvangirai was in government. The painful fact remains
that unemployment is at 90 per cent, and people cannot find suitable jobs
and the hard currency to purchase these commodities.
With Mugabe still firmly in the driving seat, there is no sign of policies
that would smooth the path with foreign donors and investors and help
kick-start the economy.
Regarding the rule of law, absolutely nothing has changed. The media space
remains constricted. Mugabe keeps militarising key state institutions.
Violence against farmers has continued. Tsvangirai's parliamentary majority
has been reversed by the arrests and incarceration of seven of his MPs on
clearly trumped-up charges.
Mugabe is by far the greatest winner. The pressure that boiled up when he
stole the presidential run-off has evaporated. The unity government has
given him the legitimacy he craved. And Tsvangirai has nothing to show for
his cohabitation. He has become a figure of pity as he is trampled all over.
Political and economic salvation shall only ever come to a Zimbabwe without
Mugabe. It is sad that Tsvangirai joined hands with a vile dictator and
derailed the march towards democracy just at the moment it had gained the
Temporary disengagement in the belief that Mugabe will somehow undergo a
Damascene conversion and honour all outstanding obligations is as
disingenuous as it is stupid. Tsvangirai has a simple choice: shape up or
The State Department
15 October 2009
The Obama administration is condemning the legal action against Roy Bennett in unusually sharp terms and making clear it will not follow Britain's lead in extending new aid to the power-sharing government led by Mr. Mugabe.
Bennett, a founding member and treasurer of the Movement for Democratic Change, the former opposition party that joined Mr. Mugabe in a unity government early this year, was jailed Wednesday and ordered to stand trial on long-pending charges of possessing weapons for terrorism and acts of insurgency.
The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangerai maintains Bennett's innocence and calls his jailing a deliberate provocation by Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party loyalists.
At a news briefing, State Department Deputy spokesman Robert Wood said the United States also believes the prosecution of Bennett is without merit.
US State Dept. Deputy Spokesman,
Robert Wood (File)
Despite the legal action against Bennett, the British government said Thursday it is providing a $100 million aid package to Zimbabwe - its largest-ever single donation - to help restore sanitation, health care and other services disrupted by years of political turmoil.
British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mike Canning told reporters the formation of the unity government in February was a significant step and that Britain wants it to succeed.
But under questioning here, spokesman Wood said the United States has no intention of following suit while elements of the so-called Global Political Agreement between Mr. Mugabe and his former opponents remain unfulfilled.
"We will continue to provide assistance to the Zimbabwean people," Wood said. "But in terms of our sanctions that are targeted against regime members, Mugabe regime members, we're not going to in any way ease those sanctions until we see changes from that government. And we're very concerned about the situation in Zimbabwe. So we are not going to be able to make fundamental changes to our policies with regard to development assistance until we see real movement on the ground," he said.
The United States imposed targeted travel and financial sanctions against Mr. Mugabe, family members and key associates in response to past vote-rigging and human rights violations. It is one of the largest contributors of humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe but U.S. aid is delivered only by U.N. agencies and non-governmental groups.
Written by KABELO MARUPI
Saturday, 17 October 2009 04:44
Elections are underway in Botswana for parliamentary elections as
President Ian Khama faces his first election challenge after taking over
from his predecessor Festus Mogae, who retired in April last year.
Ian Khama's ruling Botswana Democratic Party (BDP) is expected to
emerge winners as more than 700 000 people of a population of 1.7 million go
to the polls to vote in landlocked Botswana, the world's largest diamond
producer. Results are expected over the weekend and no election violence is
expected in the rather peaceful Zimbabean neighbour.
Botswana's parliament has 57 contested seats, while an additional
group of four lawmakers is appointed by the president. The winning party
will need 29 seats to name their president. Khama is hoping that his MPs win
convincingly to hand him the presidency.
However, reports say the ruling party, in power since independence in
1966, could see its majority reduced. The party has also been beset by
bitter spats between rival factions and Khama has been criticised for his
Seven political parties and 15 independent candidates are contesting
the country's 57 constituencies. But the main race is between the ruling
party, the main opposition Botswana National Front and its offshoot Botswana
Botswana, a former British protectorate gained independence in 1966
when Seretse Khama became president until his death in 1980.
Meanwhile, Khama, earlier on, predicted the collapse of the coalition
government in neighbouring Zimbabwe. Khama, a fierce critic of President
Mugabe in the region is quoted saying, "It is limping along and there is a
real danger that the whole thing could collapse.
"If it was to collapse for genuine reasons we would certainly not
recognise a Zanu(PF)-only government or certainly not one headed by
President Robert Mugabe because he certainly did not win the presidential
election last year," he said.
Saturday 17 October 2009 / by Alice Chimora
Roy Bennet, whose jailing was harshly citicised by Europe and caused the MDC
to issue a statement over its decision to boycott the Zimbabwean inclusive
government, was Friday released on bail. But, far from the hue and cry over
his politically motivated persecution, he has become the subject of another
equally sensitive issue in the Southern African country.
Ordinary Zimbabweans, and mostly MDC supporters, have slammed the west for
their lopsided intervention in Zimbabwean politics crises. They have accused
the European Union and the United States of double standards on their
intervention with respect to the jailing of Roy Bennett, a prominent aide to
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
In Thursday's statement, the 27-member bloc said it was "deeply concerned"
and regretted "that politically motivated abuse persists in the country" in
apparent reference to Bennett arrest. This statement was seconded by the
United States embassy in Harare, who said that "This is a blatant example of
the absence of rule of law in Zimbabwe."
These strong statements from the west have led some Zimbabweans to suspect
that the West is pushing a racial agenda. According to Zimbabwean observers,
the recent arrest of 10 Black MDC lawmakers attracted little interest from
the European Union, who reacted "mildly". "When 10 MDC MPs are arrested, no
angry statements are issued," said Monica Sweswe, a student from the
university of Zimbabwe.
Indeed, several Zimbabweans have expressed surprise over how mum the EU has
been over the detention of an MDC deputy minister, Thamsanqa Mahlangu, who
is accused of stealing a mobile phone from a Zanu PF functionary. Tsvangirai
has also been accused for not doing enough when his ten MPs were arrested.
Besides cancelling a ministerial meeting, Tsvangirai had warned that Bennett's
case threatened the coalition before he announced his party's boycott of the
unity government following Roy Bennett's imprisonment.
Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sten Rylander whose country holds the
European Union presidency on Thursday said the detention of Bennett was
nothing less than provocative given the on-going political processes in the
country. "This action - taken just prior to very important donor discussions
on Zimbabwe, together with other negative developments recently, such as the
implied threats against independent media practitioners and the intense
attacks on Finance minister Tendai Biti in his efforts to pave the way for
continued macroeconomic reforms and debt relief - does not facilitate the
on-going dialogue to normalise relations with Zimbabwe," Rylander said.
The US embassy acting public affairs officer Andrew Posner said his
government is very concerned about the state of the rule of law in Zimbabwe
and ongoing politicised arrests and prosecutions. The MDC on its website
described Bennett's imprisonment as "yet another serious attack on the
credibility of the inclusive government". The move would poison both the
letter and the spirit of the inclusive government, it said.
By Richard Lapper in Johannesburg
Published: October 17 2009 01:35 | Last updated: October 17 2009 01:35
Zimbabwe was thrown into political confusion on Friday when Morgan
Tsvangirai, the prime minister, said his party would "disengage" from
working with Robert Mugabe, the president, and his Zanu-PF party in the
Mr Tsvangirai said, however, that he and fellow Movement for Democratic
Change ministers would remain in office as part of the power-sharing
government formed in February.
"It is our right to disengage from a dishonest and unreliable partner," Mr
Tsvangirai told a press conference in Harare.
In practical terms the decision means that the MDC and its ministers will
not attend cabinet meetings or other executive bodies, further undermining
the coherence of an administration that has been beset by tension
and division since its formation.
The fresh uncertainty casts another cloud over the country's economic
prospects, amid indications that some foreign investors are being tempted by
Zimbabwe's mining resources and signs of greater monetary stability.
The latest crisis was prompted by the arrest and imprisonment this week of
Roy Bennett, the MDC's designated deputy agriculture minister, on what the
MDC considers trumped-up treason charges. His detention "has brought home
the fiction of the credibility and integrity of the transitional government",
the prime minister said on Friday. "It has brought home the self-evident
fact that Zanu-PF see us as a junior, fickle and unserious movement."
Zanu-PF's unwillingness to revise its unilateral appointments of an
attorney-general and central bank chief, the continued detention of MDC
activists, as well as the refusal to swear in Mr Bennett all remain bones of
Mr Tsvangirai has come under increasing fire from senior MDC figures
for failing to make more headway in his battles with Mr Mugabe and has
demonstrated increasing impatience in recent weeks.
Just over a month ago at a rally to commemorate the first anniversary of a
political agreement brokered by Zimbabwe's southern African neighbours, Mr
Tsvangirai said he was not prepared "to stand by while they violate the law,
persecute our members of parliament, spread the language of hate and invade
However, neither he nor his senior colleagues appear to be prepared to leave
the government completely. An official said on Friday that pulling out was
not an option because the MDC, which won elections in March 2008, was the
only party that had a political mandate from voters.
JASON MOYO - Oct 17 2009 06:00
The decision by Zimbabwe's chief prosecutor not to defend key figures in
President Robert Mugabe's security apparatus accused of abducting activist
Jestina Mukoko has buoyed activists -- but provoked anxiety among Mugabe's
Human rights campaigners hope that making individuals accountable for their
actions will strengthen efforts to reform the security services, long
accused of being instruments of oppression.
Mukoko is suing security ministers and their senior officials for her
abduction last year. This followed a Supreme Court decision to free her on
charges of banditry, on grounds that her rights were violated when she was
seized from her home last December and held in secret locations for months.
Her supporters believe she was targeted for recording the accounts of
hundreds of victims of violence during last year's election.
Mukoko has filed for damages against Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa,
Home Affairs co-Ministers Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa (of the Movement
for Democratic Change), police commissioner Augustine Chihuri, Brigadier
General Asher Tapfumaneyi of the secret service, Attorney General Johannes
Tomana and former state security minister Didymus Mutasa.
But Tomana has told the high court he will not represent any of the alleged
His surprise decision is seen as setting a precedent that threatens many
government officials who played a role in last year's abuses. It could
trigger a spate of similar applications by other victims.
However, the decision will be a relief for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
His officials point out that the MDC pressed state lawyers not to defend the
alleged abductors, as this would have meant the party was defending those
accused of rights abuses. The MDC has joint control of the home affairs
ministry, which oversees the police.
Tsvangirai's supporters are growing impatient with the slow pace of reform
under the unity government and he is under pressure to replace the party's
man in home affairs, Giles Mutsekwa. Under Mutsekwa's watch, several MDC MPs
have been arrested on what the party claims are charges fabricated to
whittle down its slender Parliament majority. Besieged farmers seeking
police protection are routinely told police do not attend to "land issues".
Last week Mutsekwa appeared frustrated and powerless when police fired on
striking miners. He said: "We have told the police repeatedly that they
should refrain from using firearms against defenceless people."
However, he courted controversy this week by praising the conduct of the
police and appearing to repeat Zanu-PF's mantra on sanctions. The Zimbabwe
Republic Police had "steadfastly maintained its integrity in the ferocity of
machinations of the detractors determined to collapse the country", he said.
Senior police officer Peter Magwenzi, in court papers for the Mukoko
hearings, denied any police involvement. "They [the abducted activists] were
handed to me by the security agents when they were in protective custody and
I went and dropped them at their residences." He could not name the agents,
saying State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi had issued a "certificate"
gagging the police.
But in his affidavit Sekeramayi also denied his agents were involved in
abductions and, therefore, could not identify them.
While Mukoko's freedom has been celebrated by rights groups, seven activists
abducted last year remain missing, according to Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Zimbabwe first lady back after row
Barclay Crawford and Liz Heron
Oct 17, 2009 |
The wife of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is back in Hong Kong,
her first visit since she was granted diplomatic immunity to escape assault
charges for allegedly bashing a photographer.
Grace Mugabe and eight companions were escorted through a VIP entrance
of Chek Lap Kok airport after arriving on a Cathay Pacific (SEHK: 0293)
flight from Johannesburg at 7.24am, passengers on the flight confirmed.
Grace Mugabe was accused of assaulting British photographer and
long-term Hong Kong resident Richard Jones as he snapped her shopping in
Tsim Sha Tsui on January 15. The Department of Justice said Mugabe was not
prosecuted for the alleged assault because she was entitled to diplomatic
immunity as the president's wife.
After leaving the airport yesterday, Mugabe's entourage headed to an
undisclosed location in the city. Her daughter has been living in a
residential complex in Tai Po, but last night neighbours said they had not
seen Zimbabwe's first lady or her daughter, Bona, who is studying
accountancy at City University.
The JC Castle complex in Shan Tong Road was the scene of another
alleged assault, by two bodyguards protecting Bona, on two other
photographers on February 13. The justice department decided not to
prosecute male guard Mapfumo Marks and female guard Manyaira Reliance
Pepukai, saying the pair were only doing their job.
However, police later revealed they were exploring whether the
bodyguards were working in Hong Kong illegally on tourist visas, a crime
that could see them jailed.
A spokeswoman for the department said it was still examining the
tourist-visa issue, almost three months after the South China Morning Post
(SEHK: 0583, announcements, news) revealed investigations were under way
into the guards' suspect employment status.
The decision not to prosecute Grace Mugabe and her daughter's two
bodyguards for assault will also be investigated by a Legislative Council
Senior prosecutors within the department have said the bodyguards
should have been charged over the alleged assault on the two local
photographers this year.
Many countries have imposed a travel ban and financial sanctions on
Robert Mugabe, 85, and members of his regime over his despotic rule of
Zimbabwe. Once one of the richest countries in Africa, the nation is now
close to a failed state, with millions near starvation.
A spokeswoman for City University confirmed that Bona Mugabe was still
a student and defended her enrolment on equal-opportunities grounds.
"CityU is committed to providing a quality education to all students
and is not influenced by the students' parentage," she said. "The university
does not discriminate on the basis of age, sex, colour, race, creed,
nationality, social or ethnic origin, or physical disability."
CityU confirmed in February that it had enrolled Bona Mugabe following
its common admission guidelines after she applied through the normal
Several students have said she is studying accountancy at the Kowloon
Crystal Chow Ching, secretary general of the Federation of Students,
said it had recently discussed the issue of Robert Mugabe's daughter
studying in Hong Kong at its monthly meeting.
"We decided that it wasn't an appropriate issue for the federation to
take up because it related directly to a fellow student," she said.
JOHANNESBURG, Oct 16 (Reuters) - A new political crisis in Zimbabwe
that erupted after the opposition said it would boycott the unity government
will likely undermine efforts to secure Western aid and investment needed for
economic recovery. Highlighting the fragility of the new government, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai said his MDC would disengage from President Robert Mugabe's
"dishonest and unreliable" ZANU-PF party in the country's unity cabinet set up
in February. CAUTIOUS WESTERN DONORS The power-sharing government formed by the old foes after a disputed election
raised hopes that the country would gain the confidence of Western donors and
secure billions of dollars to rebuild an economy critics say was destroyed by
Mugabe's policies, charges he denies. The fresh turmoil in Zimbabwe comes after a court this week ordered the
detention in prison of Roy Bennett, a senior MDC official, and ruled that he
should stand trial on terrorism charges, evidence, Tsvangirai says, of political
persecution by Mugabe. Western countries have long been suspicious of Mugabe so the new crisis is
likely to erode confidence they may have built up after the veteran leader and
Tsvangirai said they would bury their differences for the sake of Zimbabwe. DOES TSVANGIRAI HAVE ENOUGH WILLPOWER? They are looking for tangible signs that both Mugabe is willing to implement
reforms and that Tsvangirai will be able to assert himself enough to guarantee a
safe political and economic environment for their billions of dollars of cash.
Tsvangirai suggested that may be way off, saying Bennett's detention showed
ZANU-PF was a "dishonest and unreliable" partner whose actions brought home the
"fiction of the credibility" of the government. ELECTION OPTION? He said if the crisis escalated further, it would only be resolved by holding
fresh elections under supervision of the United Nations and the Southern African
Development Community. Mugabe has already made it clear that he would reject outside political
interference, so that may not be an option, leaving Tsvangirai with the
challenge of outfoxing his wily and resilient rival while trying to repair the
ruined economy from top to bottom. Zimbabweans are likely to become further disillusioned, fearing that a
protracted political struggle will just delay what is most crucial for millions
-- basic services, infrastructure and functioning hospitals and schools. For more humanitarian news and analysis, please visit www.alertnet.org
By Michael Georgy
JOHANNESBURG, Oct 16 (Reuters) - A new political crisis in Zimbabwe that erupted after the opposition said it would boycott the unity government will likely undermine efforts to secure Western aid and investment needed for economic recovery.
Highlighting the fragility of the new government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said his MDC would disengage from President Robert Mugabe's "dishonest and unreliable" ZANU-PF party in the country's unity cabinet set up in February.
CAUTIOUS WESTERN DONORS
The power-sharing government formed by the old foes after a disputed election raised hopes that the country would gain the confidence of Western donors and secure billions of dollars to rebuild an economy critics say was destroyed by Mugabe's policies, charges he denies.
The fresh turmoil in Zimbabwe comes after a court this week ordered the detention in prison of Roy Bennett, a senior MDC official, and ruled that he should stand trial on terrorism charges, evidence, Tsvangirai says, of political persecution by Mugabe.
Western countries have long been suspicious of Mugabe so the new crisis is likely to erode confidence they may have built up after the veteran leader and Tsvangirai said they would bury their differences for the sake of Zimbabwe.
DOES TSVANGIRAI HAVE ENOUGH WILLPOWER?
They are looking for tangible signs that both Mugabe is willing to implement reforms and that Tsvangirai will be able to assert himself enough to guarantee a safe political and economic environment for their billions of dollars of cash.
Tsvangirai suggested that may be way off, saying Bennett's detention showed ZANU-PF was a "dishonest and unreliable" partner whose actions brought home the "fiction of the credibility" of the government.
He said if the crisis escalated further, it would only be resolved by holding fresh elections under supervision of the United Nations and the Southern African Development Community.
Mugabe has already made it clear that he would reject outside political interference, so that may not be an option, leaving Tsvangirai with the challenge of outfoxing his wily and resilient rival while trying to repair the ruined economy from top to bottom.
Zimbabweans are likely to become further disillusioned, fearing that a protracted political struggle will just delay what is most crucial for millions -- basic services, infrastructure and functioning hospitals and schools.
For more humanitarian news and analysis, please visit www.alertnet.org
By Ish Mafundikwa
17 October 2009
Zimbabwean farmers can now use livestock and crops as collateral to access
inputs such as seeds and fertilizers under a $210 million loan program
launched by the government.
The loan program is the latest effort by the government to boost food
production and ensure food security in Zimbabwe. All farmers can apply for
the loans. But Zimbabwe Farmer's Union Director Paul Zakariya told VOA
communal farmers, who produced the bulk of Zimbabwe's food before the fall
in production, are unlikely to meet the collateral requirements. "We don't
have any cattle to talk about in the communal areas, any meaningful
population of cattle to talk about, so that means communal farmers may not
necessarily benefit out of this," he said.
Zakariya says that unlike previous programs to help farmers, where the
government doled out farm equipment and inputs, this one is administered
through the banks. On approval of a loan application, the bank gives the
farmer a voucher, which will be used to collect the inputs. Critics of
previous plans say they benefitted supporters of President Robert Mugabe's
former ruling party Zanu-PF.
Zakariya says the fact that the farmers have to provide collateral may
discourage past practices where those who received them sold the inputs.
Beneficiaries of Zimbabwe's land reform program, who took over white owned
farms, cannot, according to Zakariya, use that land as collateral. So, he
says, they must have other property, such as houses, in their names. "Title
deeds where bonds can be registered, those do offer security because you can
actually take the title deeds to a property valuer and they can tell you the
value of your property," he said.
Zakariya expressed concern that the scheme has been launched too close to
the cropping season. By the time banks go through the process of verifying
who owns what and studying their proposals, the cropping season could be
well under way. "If we had started around June processing applications and
giving vouchers to farmers only for farmers to start taking delivery of
their inputs around this time it would have made a lot of sense," he said.
He also says that while the facility is a welcome boost, it falls way short
of the more than one billion dollars required to revive Zimbabwe's
The shortage of agricultural inputs during Zimbabwe's economic meltdown, as
well as unseasonable droughts reduced the country once known as the
breadbasket of the region to dependence on food aid. In another effort to
improve food security, the international community has made available a $70
million input scheme targeted at the most vulnerable farmers.
16th Oct 2009 22:15 GMT
By Rhoda Mashavave
AS the constitutional debate rages on in Zimbabwe, women have been urged to
unite so that their contributions are well incorporated.
In May Vice President Joyce Mujuru implored lawmakers to include women in
the drafting of a new Constitution to ensure that they do not remain
She made the remarks during an Indigenous Business Women's Organisation
stakeholders' meeting that ran under the theme 'Emancipation and Economic
Empowerment of Women and their Role in the Development of the Economy'.
According to women activists in Zimbabwe, "the current constitution makes
men more equal than women, setting the basis for inequality in terms of the
law. That inequality, negatively affects women and children when national
resources are allocated".
Senate President Edna Madzongwe has also underscored the need for women
parliamentarians to play a role in constitution making.
She made this call while addressing participants at a four-day workshop
organised by Women in Politics Support Unit. She said the drafting of a new
constitution was a golden opportunity for them to reclaim their space as
equal citizens to their male counterparts in terms of the law.
Women in Politics Support Unit (WIPSU) director Cleo Ndlovu says: "We hope
that this coming constitution will recognise us as equal citizens to our
male counterparts and eliminate all forms of discrimination against women."
Deputy Prime minister Thokozani Khupe says while women constituted 52% and
contributed 80% to GDP, they remained in the minority in terms of their
direct contribution to economic development.
She made this observation during a gathering to mark this year's women
The Short Term Economic Recovery Programme launched in March has however
raised hopes for women as it includes a section focusing on
de-marginalisation of women through specific and concrete gender
mainstreaming policies and programmes in every sector and facet of
Vice Chancellor of the Women's University in Zimbabwe, Professor Hope Sadza
has urged government to enact policies that ensure equity between men and
women in both the business and political sphere.
She said women have been marginalised for too long and it was time for
legislators to enact laws and policies that help reinstate the status in
both the political and business world.
"We have a crisis in Zimbabwe especially at the work place were women in
particular are failing to recognise their full potential as business
leaders," she said at a workshop in Harare to mark Women's Day.
This is despite that women in Zimbabwe are well presented in the current
government. They hold the deputy Presidency and deputy Prime minister-ship
posts, among the highest political office.
There are also five female cabinet ministers in the current inclusive
government; Sithembiso Nyoni, Olivia Muchena, Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga, Theresa Makoni and Purina Gwanyanya Mpariwa.
Women activists in Zimbabwe say the current economic problems affected them
as they had to fend for families.
Zimbabwe's living standards have declined by 150% within the last decade, a
survey by the public service and social welfare ministry.
The Food Poverty Line for a family of five stood at US$552 in January
according to the Central Statistical Office. A national statistics agency
which also calculates inflation in March said of the US$552, US$177 was
needed for food.
This average family will need to spend US$375 on basics such as
accommodation, transport to and from work, school fess. There is no
provision of other basics.
Between 1995 and 2003, more than 63% of rural people could not obtain enough
money to meet both basic food and non-food requirements.