HARARE, ZIMBABWE Oct 17 2009 13:02
Zimbabwe prosecutors agreed on Saturday to postpone from Monday the
terrorism trial of an ally of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai after his
lawyers argued that they had been given little time to prepare their case.
Roy Bennett, a senior white Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official,
has been charged with illegal possession of arms for purposes of committing
terrorism and banditry.
He denies the charge that carries a possible death penalty upon conviction.
Bennett was indicted to stand trial on Wednesday and immediately detained in
prison. He was released late on Friday after a High Court judge admitted him
"It was agreed that the trial be postponed as we have not given them [the
defence] enough time. We had given them two days instead of the minimum 10
days required by law," Chris Mutangadura told reporters on Saturday.
Bennett will appear in court on Monday when his lawyers would ask the trial
judge to set a new date. Prosecutors want the trial to start on October 27,
but defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said her team would ask for more time.
"We have proposed that the matter be heard on a later date, however the
issue is that Bennett wants this case to be finalised," said Mtetwa.
Bennett, a former white commercial farmer, is Tsvangirai's nominee for the
post of deputy agriculture minister but President Mugabe has refused to
swear him in until he is acquitted.
Tsvangirai said on Friday the MDC would boycott the country's power-sharing
government until sticking points had been resolved and a political deal was
reached, sparking the biggest crisis since the coalition was formed nine
He said the MDC would disengage from Mugabe's "dishonest and unreliable"
Zanu-PF party in the country's unity Cabinet set up in February. - Reuters
October 17, 2009
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - The trial of MDC treasurer-general Roy Bennett will no longer
proceed as scheduled this Monday after the State conceded Saturday it had
improperly indicted the deputy agriculture minister-designate.
According to the law, an accused person who has been indicted for trial at
the High Court should be allowed a 10-day grace period to enable them to
prepare their defence outline.
But Bennett, a key ally to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, only knew of
his trial date with two days to go to the trial, something his lawyers say
amounted to ambush.
The former Chimanimani MP faces charges of possessing weapons for the
purposes of insurgency and banditry.
Bennett was last Wednesday committed to a Mutare remand prison to await his
trial but was released two days later after his lawyers successfully filed
for his release on bail.
High Court judge, Charles Hungwe reinstated his bail conditions that
obtained before his indictment on 14 October, 2009, the date of his
Bennett's release coincided with yet another High Court review application
by his lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa who challenged the manner in
which he was indicted.
The matter was put before Justice Lavender Makoni on Saturday but no
submissions were made as the State quickly conceded it had improperly
"The order was reached by consent," said State representative Chris
"We never made any representations before the judge. We informed him we have
agreed not to proceed with the trial on Monday.
"The state has conceded that it had not given him enough time as required by
the peremptory provisions of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence. So in
terms of the law, we are supposed to give him a 10-day notice.
"We had given him two days notice. We have conceded to that fact."
Bennett will however still appear before Justice Joseph Musakwa in a circuit
court on Monday out of procedure as he had already been summoned for trial,
Justice Musakwa will be required to rule on a reasonable date for Bennett's
trial after hearing submissions by both the State and the defence.
Mtetwa said although they will seek a postponement of Bennett's trial to a
date further than October 27, 2009 being proposed by the State,
they are still keen to see the trial proceed and will not oppose the
The resolve to try Bennett by controversial Attorney General Johannes
Tomana, an avowed "proud" supporter of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF,
has heightened tensions in the inclusive government.
The MDC on Friday announced its partial withdrawal from government to press
for a resolution to outstanding issues haunting its eight month old marriage
with archrival Zanu-PF.
But Wednesday's decision by Tomana to revoke Bennett's bail pending trial
provided the spark to the so-called disengagement from government by the
Tsvangirai led MDC.
The MDC concedes Bennett should indeed be indicted for trial but is opposed
to what it sees as political persecution on its top official.
The former opposition says Bennett was being victimised for his political
The MDC is agitated over President Mugabe's unwillingness to swear into
office one of its founding legislators.
Mugabe wants Bennett to first clear his name in court before he can accept
him in government.
Harare, October 17, 2009 - The Zanu PF spokesman, Ephraim Masawi on
Saturday said the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) took the decision to
disengage from government business to please a "white man".
"As Zanu PF we are not surprised by this decision. The MDC has done it
several times boycotting parliament and many other important national events
so we are not surprised by this," said. "The MDC has its own problems and
wants to make these problems national problems. They are only doing this to
please a white man, they have always shifted goals posts but we will not
lose sleep over that as Zanu PF we will continue working for the people of
The mainstream MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
announced Friday its decision to disengage from all government business
until the sticking political issues under a political agreement signed last
year in September have been fully resolved.The MDC is protesting over the
continued delay in appointing provincial governors, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) governor, Attorney General and Deputy Agriculture minister designate
Roy Bennett among other issues.
The decision by MDC followed the indictment and arrest of the party's
treasurer general and deputy minister of Agriculture designate, Roy Bennett
to appear in High Court for terrorism charges. The MDC argues that its
legislators are being persecuted on trumped up charges. The party said
Bennett had been attacked for being white and a member of MDC.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa accused the Zanu PF party of racism and
ruling by law. "It's a very extraordinary development regarding this
decision that has been taken. We see this clearly as an attempt by Zanu PF
to use the rule by law instead of the rule of law, embarking on a clear
naked persecution of an individual, victimizing why Bennett on the basis of
two offences. One that he is MDC and two that he is White. We feel that this
is racist, this is provocative."
Other political analysts also shared the same sentiments with Zanu PF.
"If they disengaged on the basis of Roy Bennett's arrest then we are
disappointed," said President of a student association, Zinasu, Clever Bere.
"Why can't they disengage on the basis of the fact that students are failing
to raise money for exam fees and can't attend school. As much as we
sympathise with the persecution that they are facing from Zanu PF we are
equally disappointed by their failure to respond to the needs of the people
Trade unionist and ZCTU secretary general, Wellington Chibhebhe told
Radio VOP he was surprised by the disengagement because the Prime Minister
was on record that the unity government is working well.
"I hope this is not disengagement just for the sake of disengaging
because previously we were being convinced that the unity government is
working well. But this only confirms what we have always said from the first
place that this will not work. It has always been a non event and we are
going to see a number of such disengagements coming," said Chibhebhe.
"There is a danger with such hotel arrangements, now SADC has to be
called in but if the MDC had made the decision to enter into a unity
government after consulting the people this could have been a different
story. We are not saying we are right but we are simply saying people must
look back before making decisions."
Bennett, a former commercial farmer in Chimanimani, is facing two
counts of possessing weapons, insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism
and another count of terrorism.
Harare, October 17, 2009 - A number of Central Intelligence
Organisation operatives were accredited as journalists on Friday for the
Cosafa Senior soccer challenge which is being sponsored by the Zimbabwean
government, much to the surprise of the Sports Writers Association of
Zimbabwe (SWAZ) which had submitted a list of sports writers for
A member of the SWAZ executive who works for a government institution
and so cannot be named, confirmed there were people who work for the
President's Office who were accredited as journalists.
Journalist accreditation allows access to all areas.
However, it is not the first time that CIO operatives have been
registered as journalists for they have always done this especially when
there are international events taking place in Zimbabwe.
However there will be no prize money for the champions in the Cosafa
Castle Senior Challenge despite the government of Zimbabwe committing US1
million for the hosting for the football showcase, it has been learnt.
Sue Destombes, the COSAFA Challenge Cup chief executive officer, told
journalists in the capital on Friday night that they was no prize money but
the organisers were working flat out to ensure winners would get "something"
at the end of the tournament.
"The prize money has not been determined. The sponsorship is still
trickling. We are however working flat to ensure that the winners will get
something. We should know by the second week of the tournament," Destombes
Destombes said the 13 nations should not lose heart, as there was
"national pride" to play for and a glittering trophy.
The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority has also poured US$300 000 which will
go towards meeting the hotel expenses of the teams.
Destombes said the organiser have set aside some money for individual
awards in the tournament which burst into life on Saturday. The top
goal-scorer and top goalkeeper awards come with a US$1 000 prize, while the
Player of the Tournament will take home a cool US$1 500. The Man of the
Match for each game will receive a commemorative trophy, as will the team to
win the Fair Play
The tournament features the very best of Southern Africa's talent and
will afford spectators the opportunity to see not only the finest talent of
today, but the stars of tomorrow too in a two-week celebration of the
Matches will be played in Harare and Bulawayo, with entrance to games
in the first round through to the third-fourth place play-off priced at US$2
for standard seating, US$5 for seating in the WINGS area (apart from the
quarterfinal between South Africa and Angola, as well as the semifinals and
third-fourth place play-off, which will cost US$8) and US$15 for the VIP
area. The final in Harare on November 1 will cost US$3 for standard
entrance, US$10 for WINGS and US$15 for the VIP area.
Saturday, 17 October 2009 21:11
THE Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) yesterday said it has not
quit the inclusive government but severed ties with Zanu PF, which it
accuses of acting in bad faith and in contravention of the Global Political
It said that position would stand despite the release of Deputy
Agriculture minister-designate, Roy Bennett and would remain so, until
President Robert Mugabe resolved all the outstanding issues stalling the
The move is set to further widen the differences between the two main
parties to the government and raise the possibility of a "two
Clarifying the "disengagement", a senior MDC official and deputy
minister of information Jameson Timba said his party had disengaged from
Zanu PF and not from the inclusive government.
"The MDC has disengaged not from government but from Zanu PF with
respect to two state organs (Cabinet and Council of Ministers) where it
interacts with Zanu PF," Timba said.
"The office of the Prime Minister and the MDC ministerial offices,
parliament and our councils will continue to work towards delivering real
change to the people of Zimbabwe."
Neither presidential spokesperson George Charamba nor Minister of
Information Webster Shamu could be reached for comment.
But Zanu PF deputy spokesperson Ephraim Masawi said his party would
not lose sleep over MDC-T's disengagement because it means nothing to them.
"For us life goes on as usual. We have not lost anything," Masawi
"Vaichaya mapoto. Wakamboona kuchaya mapoto kuine marriage
certificate? (They are co-habiting. Have you ever seen those co-habiting
having marriage certificates?" Masawi asked.
Sources however said President Robert Mugabe was frantically trying to
re-establish contact with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai following the
fall out, feared to be the worst since the inclusive government was formed.
Tsvangirai's spokesperson James Maridadi said the two principals in
the unity government were yet to meet although there were rumours they met
hours after the MDC-T announced its decision.
On Friday, Tsvangirai announced that his party had "disengaged" from
Zanu PF, and would not attend cabinet and Council of Ministers meetings
until there was confidence and respect among the political parties.
However, the Prime Minister said the party would remain in government.
The latest tension was triggered by Bennett's detention on Wednesday
on sabotage and banditry charges. Bennett was granted bail two days after he
was sent back to jail pending trial.
"It's not only the Bennett issue but there are a number of outstanding
issues that need to be addressed," said MDC-T spokesperson, Nelson Chamisa.
The parties are also in dispute over the reappointment of central bank
governor Gideon Gono, appintment of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana,
provincial governors as well as the persecution of MDC-T officials.
Tsvangirai said the MDC-T is aware of the constitutional implications
of the decision, especially the provision that executive power is shared
between the President, the Prime Minister and cabinet.
"However, it is a constitutional crisis which should be resolved if
Zanu PF and its leadership know that there is a price to pay for
procrastination," Tsvangirai said.
He said if the crisis escalates, the MDC would push for the holding of
a free and fair election to be conducted by the Southern Africa Development
Community (Sadc) and African Union (AU), under UN supervision.
But analysts noted that the disengagement could be good news for Zanu
PF hardliners who are determined to see the collapse of the inclusive
It will also give Zanu PF room to unilaterally make and implement
policy decisions, they said.
Constitutional law expert Lovemore Madhuku said while the MDC-T's move
had political significance, it had no legal force.
Among other things, Madhuku said cabinet meetings would still go ahead
in the "voluntary" absence of MDC-T ministers, and this could allow Zanu PF
to fast-track some policies.
"They said they are not pulling out of government, they will just not
attend cabinet meetings," Madhuku said.
"If they voluntarily decide not to attend cabinet meetings that will
not have an effect on other cabinet members. It is either they are in or
they are out."
Madhuku said cabinet was not regulated by strict law but by
constitutional conventions or rules of practice, most of which were not
"All legal issues work against the MDC-T. Nothing will stop the
government from working," he added.
The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairperson said the MDC-T
boycott could plunge the country into a similar situation to what happened
between March 29 last year and February 11 this year, when Zanu PF ruled
without the mandate of the people.
Some of the landmarks of that period were the controversial
appointment of Gono and Tomana.
But one MDC official said the net effect of MDC-T's "disengagement" is
a constitutional crisis and a paralysis of the inclusive government.
The official, who requested anonymity, said while Mugabe chairs
cabinet, Tsvangirai oversees formulation of policy and if the office of the
Prime Minister is no longer part of the Cabinet "it means there will be no
policy formulation and implementation to be done".
The disengagement also means that Mugabe cannot appoint anyone to
parastatals, Vice- Chancellors of universities and Commissions because
Constitutional Amendment No 19 states that he has to do that in consultation
with the Prime Minister.
Under Constitutional Amendment 19, Mugabe makes senior appointments in
terms of the Constitution and in consultation with the Prime Minister.
This, said Madhuku, would also work against the MDC-T as Mugabe may
decide to go it alone "if the Prime Minister is not available for
Zanu PF prodigal son Jonathan Moyo said the MDC had "created a perfect
opportunity for the appointment of an acting Finance Minister who will treat
international credit lines with the urgency they deserve".
"They are creating a lot of problems for themselves just for the sake
of one white person," Moyo said.
By Caiphas Chimhete and Vusumuzi Sifile
Saturday, 17 October 2009 21:03
THE entry of retired Brigadier Ambrose Mutinhiri into the race to
succeed the late Vice-President Joseph Msika has drawn the ire of Zanu PF
heavyweights from Matabeleland who now accuse other provinces of
Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa last week claimed
the absence of a clear senior leader from Matabeleland had complicated the
nominations for the vacant post.
Mutinhiri, a former Zipra chief of staff who hails from Mashonaland
East, last week added more confusion to the Zanu PF succession crisis when
he became the first candidate to openly canvass for support from the three
He reportedly wrote to the Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South and
The provinces failed to meet last week's deadline to nominate their
choice for VP amid widening divisions.
Yesterday two Zanu PF politburo members whose names have been linked
to the power games blamed the confusion on interference from other
"Mutinhiri has no chance because he is not from Matabeleland," said
one of the officials. "The people of Matabeleland are clear on who is
supposed to be the next Vice-President.
"The Unity Accord was essentially signed to end a tribal conflict and
if they now want to bring other people from outside Matabeleland it would be
a disaster for Zanu PF."
The two also accused Mutasa of harbouring ambitions to take over as
Zanu PF and PF Zapu signed the accord in 1987 to end the Gukurahundi
massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands.
PF Zapu leader, the late Joshua Nkomo became the second Vice-President
and was succeeded by Msika, who died in August.
Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo had appeared on course to land the post
after he was nominated by Bulawayo province earlier this month.
"The tradition in PF Zapu was that leaders are chosen according to
seniority and that should be respected," said another source.
The deputy president of the senate, Naison Ndlovu, is the most senior
surviving PF Zapu leader and is widely tipped to take over as Zanu PF
national chairman if Nkomo eventually becomes VP.
However, this has not deterred the likes of Mines ministers Obert
Mpofu, Bulawayo governor Cain Mathema, Mutinhiri and Zimbabwe's ambassador
to South Africa Simon Khaya Moyo from entering the race.
Mpofu and Mathema have been dismissed as spoilers because of their
unsavory history in PF Zapu while Mutinhiri and Moyo are considered junior.
In his letter Mutinhiri said he was suitable for the post because he
had remained loyal to PF Zapu since its formation and had trained cadres who
include "Retired General Solomon Mujuru, Zimbabwe National Army Commander
Lt-Gen Valerio Sibanda, Mpofu and Mathema".
Mutinhiri and Mutasa were not available for comment yesterday.
Meanwhile, analysts believe the confusion surrounding the selection of
the VP provides the clearest indication that Zapu's pullout had left Zanu PF
in a state of paralysis.
They felt if Dumiso Dabengwa had not left Zanu PF to revive Zapu he
would have been the automatic choice for VP.
"As much as they do not want to acknowledge how it has upset their
internal arrangement, the truth is that it has indeed unsettled Zanu PF a
lot," said Brilliant Mhlanga, a Zimbabwean analyst based at the University
of Westminster in the UK.
"While they refuse to acknowledge Zapu's withdrawal and revival, they
know for a fact that it means for positions like that of the VP they have to
open them up for other regions as well."
Mhlanga said although Nkomo was likely to prevail he would emerge from
the contest "bruised".
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI
Saturday, 17 October 2009 20:46
THE battle between the First Family and Nestlé Zimbabwe thickened on
Friday after the company turned away about 20 000 litres of milk from
Gushungo Dairy Estate. First Lady, Grace Mugabe owns the farm, after seizing
it from a former white commercial farmer at the height of the controversial
land reform programme.
Nestlé was one of the farm's biggest customers.
The company was however forced to cut ties with Gushungo Dairy Estate
two weeks ago.
This was after human rights groups protested against the company's
dealings with President Robert Mugabe, who they say masterminded the land
invasions that have contributed to the food insecurity in Zimbabwe.
Before severing ties with Gushungo Dairy Estate, the farm was
supplying between 10% and 15% of Nestlé's milk after most of its traditional
suppliers went out of business.
Sources said a tanker with the milk arrived at the company's
Southerton depot in Harare in the morning but spent the whole day outside
the premises after management refused to accept it.
Zanu PF youths, led by Tongai, brother of Minister of Youth
Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Saviour Kasukuwere, are reported
to have later visited the depot to try and force management to accept the
Sources said Kasukuwere arrived at the depot with five other youths
and held a meeting with management.
Nestlé Financial Director Farai Munetsi would not disclose details of
He said the decision to stop accepting milk from the Gushungo Estate
was a decision in the "public domain" but refused to comment further.
Munetsi referred The Standard to the Nestlé Group Global corporate
communications team, which he said had the mandate to comment on all matters
from the press. Despite assurances from Munetsi, Nestlé's communications
office had not responded by the time of going to press.
Over the last few weeks, activists have been up in arms against Nestlé
for purchasing milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate.
BY BERTHA SHOKO AND JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 17 October 2009 19:28
THE trial of prominent human rights defender, Alec Muchadehama started
on Wednesday with the Attorney-General's office and the police's Law and
Order section coming under fire for their "continued persecution and
harassment of human rights defenders". Muchadehama, who is accused of
contravening Section 182 (1) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)
Act, appeared before Harare Magistrate, Tsitsi Mutongi together with his
co-accused, Constance Gambara, a High Court Clerk in Justice Chinembiri
Mutongi dismissed the Attorney-General's office interpretation of
Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act which gives the state
a seven-day period within which to launch an appeal against granting of bail
to accused persons.
The state had argued that Muchadehama had unlawfully sought the
release, from remand prison, of Ghandi Mudzingwa, a former aide for Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, tor Kisimusi Dhlamini and photojournalist,
Andrison Manyere who were facing sabotage and terrorism charges.
The state was arguing that the trio who were granted bail by Justice
Charles Hungwe in April were released before the seven-day period elapsed
because it included a weekend and public holidays.
However, Mutongi said: "Paragraph six and seven of the state outline,
in my opinion, are the Attorney-General's opinion on the interpretation of
Section 121. It is up to this court to make an interpretation of the
Mutongi then ordered the removal of the paragraphs from the state
The defence, led by Beatrice Mtetwa had argued that the position of
the AG's office were "legal arguments prejudicial to the accused person".
Mtetwa said Muchadehama's prosecution was on the basis of legal
opinions and interpretation of Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and
Evidence Act by the AG's office.
This, Mtetwa said, constituted a deliberate attempt to undermine the
role of the courts "by influencing it through legal arguments masquerading
The defence also claimed Muchadehama's prosecution was part of a
campaign by the AG's office to harass human rights defenders "in an
endeavour to intimidate them into not representing persecuted civil society
activists and members of the MDC formation led by Morgan Tsvangirai".
Mtetwa also said the state had failed to effectively outline charges
against Muchadehama to the extent that the lawyer was not aware of the exact
allegations against him.
Muchadehama was arrested after the state claimed he had connived with
Gambara to seek the unlawful release of Mudzingwa, Dhlamini andManyere.
The trio's release was suspended after the state invoked Section 121
of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act to oppose the ruling.
However, the defence claims Muchadehama made a confirmation with the
Supreme Court to ascertain whether the state had filed an appeal within the
After the Supreme Court confirmed that no appeal had been lodged as at
April 16 Muchadehama sought the release of his clients on bail.
In the case of Gambara, the defence led by Denford Halimani of
Wintertons Legal Practitioners highlighted that the accused was a victim
caught up in the cross fire of a sensitive case.
He said her action resulted in the release of prisoners "whom the
state did not want to be released at all costs".
Gambara is alleged to have processed the bail order forms for signing
when Mudzingwa, Dhlamini and Manyere were released.
The defence also claimed that when Gambara was arrested, neither her
family nor legal representatives were informed. Detective Inspector Dowa and
Detective Assistant Mirimbo allegedly intimidated Gambara into admitting
charges against her.
The case was adjourned to October 22.
BY EDGAR GWESHE
Saturday, 17 October 2009 19:26
NIGEL Chanakira will get control of Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited
(KFHL) after John Moxon and his family agreed to exit the financial services
group in a landmark deal that will quicken the de-merger of the parent
company, Kingdom Meikles Limited (KML). Chanakira's investment vehicle, with
6% shareholding at the beginning of the week, will end up with 49%.
This will be less than 2% shy of a controlling stake in KFHL. In the
past, Chanakira controlled KFHL through support from Meikles and Econet
The deal, hammered in Johannesburg after six days of intense
negotiations, will close the chapter in the KML saga that has left some
executives with bruised and battered reputations.
Details obtained on Friday show that the Moxon family will swap its
18% shareholding in KFHL for 6% in Meikles Africa Limited shares held by
Chanakira's investment vehicle, Valleyfield. The share swap will leave
Chanakira with 24% of KFHL.
As part of the deal, Moxon has offered the remaining 25% shares to
Chanakira to be paid over two years on condition that the former KML
chairman is despecified, close sources told Standardbusiness on Friday.
The Johannesburg agreement led to the resignation of Chanakira,
Callisto Jokonya and Sibusisiwe Bango from the KML board.
The trio was supposed to be ejected from the board and its
subsidiaries at Friday's extraordinary general meeting (EGM) as part of the
June 22 resolution for the de-merger of the conglomerate.
In terms of the de-merger transaction Chanakira, Jokonya and Bango
were supposed to resign as directors of KML with effect from June 22 while
Moxon and Cecil Thorn were to resign as directors of KFHL on the same date.
Thorn and Moxon resigned while Chanakira, Jokonya and Bango have not.
KML was formed in 2007 as then the largest capitalised stock on the
local bourse following the merger of Meikles Africa, KFHL, Tanganda and
But boardroom squabbles erupted between Chanakira and Moxon over the
proposed sale of Cape Grace Hotel and foreign currency externalisation
claims that led to Moxon's specification in January alongside TM
TM was despecified last month.
On September 11, government struck again by specifying KML, Tanganda
and Thomas Meikles Centre.
Thomas Meikles owns Greatermans, Barbours and Meikles Stores.
KML board chairman Muchadeyi Masunda told an extraordinary general
meeting (EGM) on Friday he had impressed upon the Home Affairs co-Ministers
Giles Mutsekwa and Kembo Mohadi on the need to remove the specification.
He said there was acknowledgement on the part of government that there
were some mistakes that led to the specifications. Masunda told the EGM he
is scheduled to meet again with Mohadi and Mutsekwa (Monday) to get a clear
picture on the progress towards despecification.
But shareholders at the meeting questioned why Chanakira, Jokonya and
Bango had not resigned from the KML's subsidiaries boards as scheduled.
Sternford Moyo representing Moxon's family told the meeting a
substantial amount of goodwill had been accumulated and there were no
chances that the parties will renege on the agreement.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 17 October 2009 19:24
BEN Freeth, the Chegutu farmer whose house was burnt down by alleged
Zanu PF militants, has returned from the US where he took his fight to hold
onto his Mount Carmel Farm. Freeth, who returned on Friday, said he failed
to meet President Barack Obama, but was able to meet aides close to the US
He said the week-long trip was aimed at raising awareness of the Sadc
Tribunal ruling, which favoured 78 white commercial farmers.
Freeth also wanted the Obama administration to press the Zimbabwe
government to stop the ongoing seizures of commercial farmland.
"The trip was very productive," Freeth said.
He met several US senators and representatives of foundations,
including all-black organisations in America and they were all interested in
the Tribunal ruling.
Freeth, who co-owns Mount Carmel with his father-in-law Mike Campbell,
made headlines last month when his house was burnt to the ground.
The house was allegedly burnt by suspected arsonists linked to former
cabinet minister Nathan Shamuyarira.
Freeth said the invaders had completely taken over his Mango-producing
farm, destroying and looting property.
Freeth has also written to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pleading
for the unity government's intervention without any joy.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa recently declared Zimbabwe was no
longer bound by the Tribunal rulings because it has withdrawn its
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 17 October 2009 19:20
NO one deserves to suffer the way a 22-year-old single mother of two
did at the hands of three soldiers. The farm worker, who preferred to be
called Winnet Makorwa in order to protect her real identity, was raped in
front of her four-month-old baby and her four-year-old daughter as part of
efforts to pressure her boss to abandon his property.
Karori Farm in Headlands has been at the centre of a violent takeover
pitting owner Charles Lock against Brigadier Justin Mujaji.
Lock said a few weeks ago soldiers loyal to Mujaji stormed the farm
and looted his crops and also raped Makorwa.
Makorwa, who is in hiding in Harare last week, recounted her ordeal at
the hands of the uniformed soldiers.
Holding her youngest daughter, she was not even strong enough to
Still visibly traumatised, Makorwa said she was haunted by nightmares
since the brutal attack three weeks ago.
"I was sleeping with my boyfriend when we heard a knock. We did not
answer and the soldiers kicked the door open.
"They told my boyfriend to leave before they attacked me.
"One of them threw me onto the ground while another raped me."
Makorwa said she screamed for help but no one came to her rescue
because a third soldier standing at the door was holding a gun.
"My children who were sleeping woke up and started crying."
Makorwa said she tried to fight back but was overpowered by the
soldiers. One of the soldiers held her hands as his colleague raped her.
"The soldier who raped me smelt of Kenge (a cheap beer imported from
Mozambique)," Makorwa said.
She fears that she could have been infected with a sexually
transmitted disease because the rapist "looked unwell" and did not use a
"I have stomach pains.what if I contracted HIV?" she said wiping off
To make matters worse, Makorwa's boyfriend has since disappeared.
"Since that night he has disappeared. He knows what happened to me but
he never came to see me."
She said the soldiers threatened her with death if she reported the
case to the police.
"I was afraid to tell the police that I was raped. I only told them
that the soldiers had unlawfully entered my house.
"With the help I am getting from other people I think I will be able
to report the rape case."
Makorwa said two NGOs came to her assistance. So far they have taken
her for a medical check-up and counselling. Results indicated she had been
Makorwa and two friends are now living in a safe house provided by an
A Headlands policeman, who asked not to be named, confirmed that
Makorwa reported that the soldiers had unlawfully entered her house.
"According to the information she gave to us she was not raped," he
Mujaji, who has been trying to wrest control of Karori Farm from Lock
for several months, has reportedly disregarded a series of court rulings
He is allegedly using uniformed soldiers to drive Lock off his
well-established maize and tobacco farm.
Lock accuses Mujaji of looting his crops and equipment despite a High
Court judgment that allowed him to remove his crops and some of his property
from the farm.
The High Court last month ruled that Lock must be allowed to collect
his harvest and some of his property from the farm but he says he has been
prevented from doing so by Mujaji.
The assets included 300 tonnes of maize, 150 tonnes of tobacco, 40
tonnes of fertiliser and other equipment.
"Mujaji has been busy looting my farm. He claims to have an offer
letter, but the offer is not valid," Lock said.
The disgruntled farmer said uniformed soldiers have been causing havoc
at the farm.
But Mujaji denied all the allegations saying Lock wanted to tarnish
"We are not defying the court order.We did not agree with it and we
have appealed to the Supreme Court," he said.
"The equipment he wants to remove belongs to the state and he has no
right to take it.
Asked about the soldiers deployed on Karori Farm, Mujaji said: "Yes
there are soldiers at my farm but they are my soldiers who are only there to
protect my farm.
"All the stories Lock has been spreading are false and the maize he is
claiming that I stole from him is mine."
Last week, Gapwuz launched its own probe into Makorwa's case and is
now seeking legal advice.
Gertrude Hambira, the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers'
Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) secretary-general, said: "When the woman reported
to the police, no action was taken against the soldiers and this has since
raised questions as to the extent of the harassment."
The violent takeover of Lock's farm is one of several hot spots in
Zimbabwe's doomed agriculture sector following a spike in commercial farm
seizures early this year by President Robert Mugabe's militant supporters.
Gapwuz says over 66 000 farm workers have been displaced since
February this year.
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 17 October 2009 19:18
MDC deputy president Gibson Sibanda beat a hasty retreat after angry
soldiers challenged his statements that the security forces were the drivers
of last year's deadly political violence. Sibanda, who is now a consultant
in the organ for National Healing and Reconciliation after he lost his
ministerial post, had told a peace conference in Mutare that healing and
reconciliation would not be possible without reforming the state security
He said it was important for reconciliation to be linked with other
processes of constitutional reform, reform of the security, justice
institutions and the land issue.
"Without reform of the organs of state which bear some responsibility
for violence towards the population they are meant to serve, there cannot be
faith within the populace that abuses will not be repeated in future,"
Sibanda told delegates.
"Without such confidence that citizens will be protected by the state
rather than preyed upon, there cannot be healing and reconciliation at any
This drew the ire of a Colonel Muzenda of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
and an officer from the President's Office who demanded to know if it was
government position that security agents were responsible for electoral
"I would like to know from the Minister whether it was government
policy that state agents were responsible for violence?" asked a visibly
To the astonishment of the delegates, Sibanda made an about-turn,
denying ever saying that the security forces were responsible for violence
in the country.
He claimed that he had said there was need to reform the security
sector so that it can protect the people in future.
"What I said is there was need to reform the security sector so that
it will protect the people in times of violence.
"If they had protected the people violence would not have occurred,"
Analysts say the organ charged with reconciling the country after last
year's bloody elections has taken too long to come up with a clear strategy
on dealing with the issue.
Last month one of the co-ministers Sekai Holland angered the people of
Matabeleland when she allegedly referred to King Mzilikazi and the Ndebeles
"as being a violent lot that stole cattle" from other ethnic groups.
Sibanda told the conference whose theme was The Basis of
Reconciliation and Healing in Zimbabwe - Lessons from the Africa Region
which was organized by the Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa (CPIA)
that impunity was promoting political violence.
"Each episode of violence and failure to hold those responsible
accountable for their actions has subsequently become part of the national
fabric ensuring the continued use of violence," he said.
Soldiers, police officers and Zanu PF militia accused of torturing and
killing MDC supporters in last year's elections have not been arrested or
questioned although some of them are known.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC), an umbrella group of
non-governmental organisations in the country, recently named 77 top
military commanders accused of masterminding a ruthless campaign to keep
President Robert Mugabe in power in the uncontested June 27 run off poll.
The MDC-T has said at least 200 of its supporters were killed by state
security agents and Zanu PF youth militia.
The violent campaign also displaced over 5 000 villagers and some had
their homes burnt down.
The coalition said there was no evidence that the unity government had
dismantled the structures of violence or recalled the soldiers.
The conference recommended the formation of a Truth and Reconciliation
Commission (TRC) with powers to investigate, recommend prosecutions as well
as legislation to parliament, recover and restore looted property to their
MDC supporters who tried to recover their property looted by known
Zanu PF supporters during last year's violent elections are being hauled
before the courts for demanding their goods and livestock back.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 17 October 2009 19:14
DURING the day young innocent-looking girls can be seen running around
the bustling business centre selling food and other items to travellers. But
when it's dark they change from their modest dresses into skimpy skirts and
troop into bars and nightclubs at Birchenough Bridge, one of the busiest
business centres in Manicaland.
The growth point is a hive of activity as it links major towns of
Mutare, Masvingo and adjacent Chipinge.
During the night the girls hop from one nightspot to another
soliciting for clients and in some cases parading themselves at entrances to
clubs to make sure that they catch the eye of every patron.
"Mazuva ano hazvisi kufaya nekuti magweja mashoma. (It's hard to get
clients these days because there are few illegal diamonds miners),"
complained one of girls who only identified herself as Gladys.
Though she refused to state her age, Gladys looks barely 12 years old.
She said most of her clients were illegal diamond miners from Chiadzwa
in Marange who rent rooms at the business centre. Long-distance truck
drivers, en route to South Africa from Mutare, also prey on the girls.
In interviews with The Standard recently most of the girls said they
dropped out of school because their parents could not afford the fees.
Others were orphaned by the HIV/Aids epidemic that is claiming about 3 000
lives every week.
Some of the girls said they had come from as far as Masvingo,
Zvishavane and Chiredzi. "I have been here for the past three months and I
can tell you it is better than in Zvishavane," said Rosemary Ndlovu who said
she dropped out of school in the mining town in July.
As the night hours tick away, the young girls become more desperate to
the extent that they begin to approach prospective clients.
They even reduce the fees for their "services". The reason for the
desperation is obvious - they have to pay rent for the rooms they occupy on
a daily basis.
"Dollar chete short time! Three dollars hauna bori usiku hwese! (One
dollar for a quickie and three dollars for the whole night)," they shout out
to patrons as they line up at nightclub entrances.
They pay between US$5 and US$10 a day depending on the condition of
Children's organisations said the situation at Birchenough Bridge was
a reflection of scenarios at most growth points as poverty ravages the
countryside especially with the dollarisation of the economy.
They said poverty, estimated to be ravaging 90% of the country's
population, has driven some people into desperate survival tactics.
The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) said as of 2003 rural
poverty stood at 63% but the situation "must now have worsened" with the
collapse of the economy and persistent droughts.
"Without a doubt the situation for rural Zimbabwe has since worsened.
We can ably assume that the collapse of the economy, the persistent
droughts, inadequate farming inputs and the recent dollarisation has
obviously significantly worsened poverty levels in rural areas," said Unicef
Information Officer Tsitsi Singizi.
She said Unicef's rapid assessments and field monitoring with its
partners have shown that poverty was contributing to the exploitation of the
girl child in the form of prostitution and other forms of child labour.
"While the causes of child prostitution are complex and related to the
fundamental vulnerability of children, especially those in child-headed
households, it is important that we remember that we are talking about a
"It is up to communities and government supported by their partners to
institute systems that protect the innocence of children," she said.
Unicef said the situation has been worsened by the HIV/Aids pandemic
which has contributed to about 50 000 child-headed families in the country
with an average of two children per household. "This makes 100 000 children
living on their own," Singizi said.
Analysts said children living on their own weremore vulnerable to
abuse because they are no longer subjected to parental guidance, have no
sources of income, food or other material resources.
Labour and Social Welfare Minister Pauline Mpariwa said poverty has
worsened because government and non-governmental organisations stopped food
aid programmes in May pending the finalisation of a food vulnerability
"Poverty in general leads to exploitation of the vulnerable including
the girl child," Mpariwa said.
"As government we are helping all children in need through the
National Action Plan for Orphans and the Vulnerable."
She said there were several institutions in the country where
vulnerable children were receiving assistance.
However, she added, the programme was severely hampered by lack of
"We have serious financial constraints as a ministry and as a
government but we are doing everything possible to help children in need,"
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 17 October 2009 19:10
FORMER Zanu PF politburo member and now interim Zapu national
chairman, Dumiso Dabengwa (DD) tells Nkululeko Sibanda (NS), our senior
reporter that the revival of the former liberation movement has been a
breath of fresh in Zimbabwe's polarized politics. Below are the excerpts.
NS: Zapu officially pulled out of the Unity Accord in May, what has been the
response from the people and those who remained in Zanu PF? Does Zapu now
have a membership to talk about?
DD: Since the pullout from the Unity Accord, Zapu has been working on
putting its structures in place, in particular at provincial levels,
covering both the provincial executive and the council of elders, which we
Zapu has also held and completed provincial workshops in all the 10
provinces and we are now moving to district and branch workshops.
After that, Zapu structures would now move on a recruitment and
mobilization programme. We can only talk about membership when we have
completed the district and branch workshops. In the meantime, it is enough
to let you know that our membership drive is progressing very well
throughout the country.
The response of the people throughout Zimbabwe has been of relief and
excitement that Zapu is back. It is a relief for the old Zapu membership
from the treatment they have received from Zanu under the Unity Accord. For
young people, from Zapu's pronouncements so far, they feel there is light at
the end of the tunnel.
NS: The party has held a series of workshops across the country and
rallies, who is funding them?
DD: We are using our own funds from contributions from our members,
locally and in the Diaspora, particularly those in South Africa who
contribute their own resources.
NS: What has been the response from Zapu's traditional allies such as
Russia, the ANC and other liberation movements to the revival of Zapu?
DD: Zapu's first step has been to inform its sister organisations in
Angola (MPLA), Namibia (SWAPO), South Africa (ANC), and Mozambique (Frelimo)
about our decision to pull out of the unity accord, and they have noted the
development. The next stage would be to engage our friends after the Zapu
congress due in 2010. I can't comment further on that for now.
NS: What is your reaction to criticism that you stayed for too long in
Zanu PF and you no longer have the moral ground to challenge Mugabe?
DD: The proof of my moral ground to challenge Mugabe and Zanu PF is
contained in my response that I made to his criticism or attack on Zapu and
The local papers, both government-controlled and independent, would
not publish my response for reasons best known by the editors or owners of
those papers. I refer you to a copy of the statement, which I have attached.
We can only speculate why the local media seems to be working hard to
sideline Zapu. I have all the moral ground to challenge Mugabe and Zanu but
the Zimbabwean press seems bent on ensuring that very little is published
about Zapu in this country.
That is unfair and must be addressed by those who control the
We hope the media playing field will be levelled by the licensing of
more newspapers and radio and television stations by the new in-coming
Zimbabwe Media Commission. Zapu wants media freedom and media multiplicity
to ensure diversity and fairness.
NS: Zanu PF has started a process to select a candidate to replace
Vice-President Joseph Msika. What is your view on the way the process is
being handled, do you think anyone who emerges out of it will have
DD: Zapu has nothing to do or say about the internal politics of other
political parties, Zanu PF included. We don't interfere in other parties'
internal politics. We left Zanu and it is for good and we have no interest
in how they choose each other.
NS: Do you have any ambition to challenge for the presidency of the
country and why have you gone back on your promise to retire from politics?
DD: Firstly, I need to correct your impression that I said I was
retiring from politics. Did I ever say that? No. I retired from government
and not politics. Zapu decides on its leadership and not individuals. In
Zapu you have to be nominated, seconded and elected to fill a position. You
do not nominate yourself. The people decide who they want to stand for which
position, and not me.
NS: After the formal withdrawal from the Unity Accord, what's next for
DD: Zapu stands on its own as an opposition party in Zimbabwe and will
contribute towards the politics of this country to ensure that Zapu's long
standing objectives of freedom, human rights, and economic prosperity are
NS: Can you respond to criticism that Zapu is a tribal party? How will
Zapu respond to the issue of Gukurahundi victims who are still crying out
for compensation 21 years after the Unity Accord?
DD: Zapu structures which are already in place in all provinces are
proof of its non-tribalistic or regional in character. If we were a regional
or tribal party we would only have structures in one region. Our interim
national leadership comes from all the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe.
The problem with Zimbabwean politics has always been that everything
that is initiated in Matabeleland is tribal. If we were to follow the logic
of those who say Zapu is a tribal party simply because it is being led by a
person from Matabeleland, then we have to apply the same logic to all the
Zanu PF is led by Robert Mugabe who is Shona, MDC-T is led by Morgan
Tsvangirai who is Shona, MDC-M is led by Arthur Mutambara who is Shona,
Mavambo is led by Simba Makoni who is Shona, and UPP is led by Daniel Shumba
who is Shona.
If we apply that logic, it therefore means all these parties are also
tribal because they are led by people who have tribes, like me. If you point
a finger at Zapu, be careful because the other four fingers are pointing at
you. If these parties are national parties, which they say they are, Zapu is
also a national party. We have to be consistent.
Zapu is waiting to hear from the Organ of National Healing,
Reconciliation and Integration before we can comment on the matter of
We are anxious to meet the three ministers and hear whether their
terms of reference also cover Gukurahundi, and if so, how they propose to
deal with the matter.
Our supporters are however worried that there seems to be silence on
the matter of Gukurahundi in what has so far been said publicly by the three
NS: Has there been any progress regarding the return of Zapu and Zipra
properties seized by the government?
DD: Our legal department is working on that and we hope we will have
it sorted before we go to congress next year.
NS: Has the refusal by former senior Zapu officials to defect from
Zanu PF had an impact on the revival of the party?
DD: Zapu has always been and will always remain a people's party. Its
leadership comes from the people who are committed to its ideals and
We do not recruit leadership from the faint-hearted and the reluctant.
Those ex-Zapu leaders who have not come back to the party have their own
reasons and we are under no pressure at all that they have not come.
Saturday, 17 October 2009 19:08
LAST year villagers in the Madziva area of Shamva, Mashonaland
Central, viewed each other with suspicion following the violence that
gripped the area before and after the disputed June 27 presidential run-off
election. At the height of the violent campaign, a militant outfit known as
Chabopa terrorised the villagers, leaving scores of opposition activists
injured and some hospitalised.
A few were allegedly killed in the process, while a number of homes
and shops were destroyed.
Many of those who survived left their homes and sought refuge
Following the signing of the Global Political Agreement and the
subsequent formation of the inclusive government, the situation changed for
Although there are still some pockets of mistrust and violent
behaviour, the villagers say they no longer have to spend time at forced
In an attempt to help heal the rift caused by the violence, Shamva
businessman and development activist Isaac Chidavaenzi has introduced a
programme where villagers from across the political divide work together on
Through his newly formed Chengaose Foundation, Chidavaenzi drills
boreholes at various homesteads, which will be used to supply water for
irrigation and household use.
Once the boreholes become functional, they will keep the villagers
busy and leave no room to engage in violent politicking.
"All I am trying to do is heal the rift between these political
divides," said Chidavaenzi. "We do not care which party one belongs to.
"For us what matters is to get people to focus on their own
development and aid each other's efforts, not engaging in worthless fights."
Among other things, the foundation has started drilling boreholes at
homesteads, which will be used for irrigation.
In every homestead participating in the programme, the foundation
adopts one hectare of land, which is split into three for the production of
maize, nitrogen fixing crops like groundnuts and a drought tolerant cereal.
"We have so far drilled four boreholes and deepened two existing
"We have since adapted these wells to supply water to other homesteads
while we construct more boreholes," he said.
Two beneficiaries of the programme, Simon Musiiwa and Tozivepi
Mutsvangwa said following the new intervention, they were set to multiply
their agricultural output this year.
"For all along I have just confined my activity to a small garden, but
now with all this water, I am expanding it into a big and commercial
"There is enough water in the well for me to water my crops during dry
periods," Musiiwa said.
His well, located near Mutumba School, was deepened from eight metres
to 25 metres.
Mutsvangwa said in his neighbourhood - near Nyamaruro School - there
was so much excitement among farmers about the programme.
"With this programme, people no longer have time to waste in
unnecessary fights," Mutsvangwa said.
In the long term, Chidavaenzi said, the projects will stop the
district's growing dependency on food aid.
Although Shamva used to be one of the country's most agriculturally
productive districts, changing rainfall patterns have seen a nosedive in
Villagers have even set up vegetable gardens on riverbeds, which pose
a serious environmental threat.
Most villagers in the area now occasionally have to survive on food
The food aid, Chidavaenzi said, was now eroding villagers' dignity.
"One of the saddest things I have experienced is to see people I know
to be good farmers queuing up for food aid," Chidavaenzi said.
"At some point I saw old women fighting over a small bottle of cooking
oil, which was being distributed by a non-governmental organisation.
"This kind of food aid is actually taking away people's dignity."
The healing programme is not only through development work. A soccer
tournament has also been introduced for youths from the area, regardless of
"We have a number of teams where youths from different parties play
"This will go a long way in fighting the current polarisation and help
us forget about our political differences.
"I have already met a number of people I was no longer on talking
terms with at the soccer matches," Chidavaenzi said.
Deep divisions emerged as a result of last year's political violence.
Despite the launching of a national healing programme by the
government, bitterness still reigns among those who were affected.
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE
Saturday, 17 October 2009 18:07
THE provision of palliative care in most communities is threatened by
worsening poverty and donor fatigue, research by the Southern African Aids
Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS) and IRISH Aid has revealed.
Titled Caring from Within, the report pays tribute to Community Home-Based
Caregivers (CHBC) for their personal sacrifices which ensured that their
programmes survived the long-running economic crisis in the country.
The report says the hyperinflationary environment made budgeting
difficult for programme implementers.
"The primary challenge of the CHBC programmes in the sampled projects
remains the overwhelming demand for services in an environment characterised
by inflation, food insecurity, widespread poverty and reduced donor
funding," read part of the report.
"Many of the income generating projects implemented by CHBC programmes
to provide livelihoods support for PLWHAs have collapsed because of
"The high cost and general lack of basic commodities such as food,
soap, linen, clothes and drugs make it difficult for programmes to replenish
Most CHBC programmes only managed to survive the economic crisis
because commitment from dedicated caregivers.
"In each of the eight organisations assessed as part of this project,
volunteer caregivers clearly represent the front line of HBC efforts and
services," said the report.
"Volunteer caregivers make vital contributions to managing
AIDS-related illnesses, particularly in rural areas. "They travel long
distances, usually on foot to reach affected households - despite the huge
demands placed upon them.
"Volunteer caregivers display high levels of enthusiasm and dedication
to their work."
The report says volunteer caregivers continued taking care of patients
with very limited supplies over the past 10 years.
Among the many sacrifices that the caregivers made was resorting to
the use of plastic bags in the absence of protective gloves.
Other caregivers took food from their own homes to feed their
patients, who were unable to grow their own food because of continued ill
A number of them had to forego income-generating activities that may
benefit their own households in order to take care of people living with HIV
and other affected people.
"Much of their work remains unpaid, unaccounted for and undervalued in
economic terms despite its critical contribution to the overall economy and
society in general," researchers noted.
"Due to the harsh economic environment currently in Zimbabwe volunteer
caregivers have to make do with very limited resources, which not only
increases the burden of care but may also makes caregivers vulnerable to HIV
and TB infection.
"CHBC programmes are failing to supply caregivers with basic tools
such as medication and soap or glove.
"In some instances caregivers are improvising - for example by using
plastic bags as gloves-so that they can carry out care work."
Presenting the report findings last week researcher, Patrick Mamimine
paid tribute to all caregivers in the country and called for greater support
for their work.
Mamimine said during the research his team learnt that care work was
The Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Douglas Mombeshora
said the report has valuable lessons for future care programmes.
He said many people will require palliative care because most PLWHAs
were still struggling to access antiretroviral drugs.
"In this era of ART (Antiretroviral Therapy) CHBC cannot be
disregarded as out of 500 000 in need of treatment only 170 000 are
currently accessing it," Mombeshora said.
"This shows that the existence of high quality CHBC organisations is
essential if we are to achieve our objectives as laid out in the ZNASP
(Zimbabwe National HIV/AIDS Strategic Plan).
"The exercise of documenting the evolution and best practices is very
valuable.there is much that you can learn and draw into future planning."
Some of the organisations that took part in the research are New Dawn
of Hope in Harare, Male Empowerment Project and Dananai in Manicaland
province, Uzumba Orphan Care in Mashonaland East and the Catholic Health
With public hospitals overwhelmed by the HIV and Aids pandemic the
concept of CHBC was introduced to relieve pressure on public hospitals.
BY BERTHA SHOKO
Saturday, 17 October 2009 18:05
GWERU - Since the death of her husband in 1995, 46-year-old Euphrasia
Chawuruka's health has been very poor. "For years since my husband died I
was always in and out of hospital," Chawuruka who is from Ascot told
Standardhealth in a recent interview.
"I had no idea what was causing my illness. I used to get headaches
that would last for days, chest pains and at times I would just feel weak."
Following advice from a friend, Chawuruka who had lost a lot of weight
decided to test for HIV in August last year and the results were positive.
Her life was on the edge with a CD4 count of just 79, which is
dangerously below the normal levels of more than 200.
"I was shocked with the result and it was only then that I realised
what had killed my husband and what had been making me ill all these years,"
"I felt really pained that all these years I had been ignorant about
HIV and had wasted a lot of money going to hospitals, doctors, prophets and
"If only I had known earlier."
In May this year Chawuruka was lucky enough to benefit from the Global
Fund to fight Tuberculosis, Aids and Malaria-supported Antiretroviral
Therapy programme at Mutapa Clinic. Speaking during one of her visits to the
clinic two weeks ago she said her immune system had become stronger.
Her CD4 count has gone up to 265 since she started taking the
"I feel very strong, healthy and energetic and I just don't know why I
spent all those years struggling with ill-health.
"As you can see I am very big person but my weight had gone down to
50kg. Now I am my normal 75kg," Chawuruka said.
"When I see someone walking on the streets struggling with their
health my heart bleeds.
"I feel like stopping them and telling them about the ART programme at
the clinic but it's not right to diagnose someone on the streets.
"All I do is pray that they get to hear about this programme in good
time like I did."
Chawuruka is not the only one who has spent years in and out of
hospital and wasting time visiting prophets and traditional healers.
Doricha Moyo also from Ascot spent years struggling with poor health.
"At night I couldn't sleep. I used to feel very hot and restless and
my legs used to swell," said Moyo.
"When I went to the hospital the medication failed to work.
"There is nowhere I haven't been to restore my health, to the
prophets, the traditional healers because all this time I was ill I thought
I had been bewitched."
But after the witch-hunt failed to restore her health, Moyo went back
to Mkoba Clinic in May 2006 where she tested positive to HIV.
Her CD4 count was found to be 150 and she was immediately given
Antiretroviral Drugs (ARVs).
A few months ago Moyo was moved together with many others to collect
their drugs at Mutapa Clinic to ease pressure at Mkoba Clinic.
"When my CD4 count was taken in September last year it had gone up
from 150 to 605. "This means I am as fit as someone who is HIV-negative and
this gives me so much joy.
"I can't believe that at some point people said I was a walking
coffin," Moyo said.
"The greatest joy for me is that my husband has accepted me as I am
and we are living positively with HIV, we use protection each time we have
sex as I was counselled.
"He is not yet ready to get tested."
Chawuruka and Moyo are some of the many people in Zimbabwe who have
been fortunate enough to access life-prolonging ARVs through the support of
donors such as the Global Fund.
At least 1,1 million people are living with HIV in Zimbabwe, according
to new statistics released by government.
Of the 1,1 million people living with HIV, 100 000 of these have
access to ARVs and more than 300 000 are waiting to be enrolled for the
The Global Fund is supporting ART programmes in 16 districts.
In Midlands alone the fund has managed to put at least 24 027 on ARVs.
The National Aids Council (NAC) projects that through the support of
the donors at least 210 000 people will be on ART by the end of this year.
The number of ART initiating sites has risen to around 290 throughout
the country from just two in 2004 when the country began rolling out ART,
Emmanuel Rubaya, the NAC provincial Aids co-ordinator told journalists
during a media tour that more people will have access to life-saving ARVs
after resource mobilisation.
"What you see here at Mutapa clinic is evidence of how through
increased support and more resources we can change the lives of many people
living with HIV," Rubaya said.
BY BERTHA SHOKO
Saturday, 17 October 2009 18:56
GWERU - Zimbabwean Industries will not reach the targeted 60% capacity
utilization by the end of the year as planned by the inclusive government in
the Short Term Emergency Recovery Program (STERP). The Minister of Industry
and Trade, Professor Welshman Ncube said that his ministry had carried out
its own assessments and realised that the 60% target was far fetched.
"We will not be able to reach the target average of 60%, at the moment
the productive sector capacity utilization stands at 35%," Ncube said on
Friday in Gweru where he was guest of honour at the Launch of the Centre for
Entrepreneurship Development Studies at the Midlands Sate University.
Ncube said the inclusive government was facing major challenges in
trying to resuscitate the productive sector that had collapsed over the last
He said the biggest disappointment that they were facing in trying to
make the economy work again was the letdown by international banks which he
criticised for only offering 3% of their deposits for lending, an act he
described as "criminal".
"The ratio that international banks including Standard, Barclays and
Stanbic are lending to business is criminal. We name them openly in the hope
that they will think hard.
They have decided to sit on the money that after all does not belong
to them but to Zimbabweans," Ncube said.
He said other challenges included the debts from arbitrary conversion
from the local currency to the US dollar, power and transport and also the
fact that the money secured by Zimbabwe for example from Comesa is expensive
money and has a lot of bureaucratic requirements delaying accessibility just
like the credit lines offered by other Sadc members .
Ncube also said that sanctions were contributing to the economic
problems that the country is still trying to weather.
Ncube acknowledged that Zimbabweans at the moment including government
fail to appreciate the real value of the dollar and are charging unrealistic
tariffs that have a knock on effect on the resuscitation of the productive
Turning to the issue of reintroduction of the Zimbabwe dollar Ncube
said: "Reintroducing the Zimbabwe dollar is tantamount to committing
At cabinet level we have agreed that the Zimbabwe dollar is not an
option. The real debate that can be pondered on is whether Zimbabwe should
maintain the use of multicurrency or to join the Rand Monetary Union so that
we can be able to get the rand printed specifically for Zimbabwe so that we
have more money in circulation and people can buy from the productive
sector, otherwise what we produce will be destined for the warehouse."
Ncube also condemned reckless decisions by some individuals whom he
accused of trying to undermine the desire to stabilise the country.
Ncube said the re-incarceration of Roy Bennett, Deputy Minister of
Agriculture designate, had a potential to cause a political crisis.
"The AG's office should be sensitive to the fragile political
environment and decisions should not be made recklessly. Their act calls
into question the continued participation of some political parties in the
"There are people driven with a desire to undermine political
stability. Do you think that the incarceration of Bennett is so important
that we can risk the entire collapse of the inclusive government and what it
has achieved so far?"
Ncube blamed the AG's office for not treading carefully and said even
if they had to prosecute they could have done it sensitively.
By Rutendo Mawere
Saturday, 17 October 2009 18:48
DURING the financial sector's heydays, a commercial bank was urging
Zimbabweans to open accounts because it was "a big bank with a big heart".
Not to be outdone, a smaller rival hit back saying size does not matter, but
Six years down the line, in another sector mobile operators are locked
in a mini-war for the control of the market.
The use of multiple currencies in February has spawned massive
investments in the sector as mobile operators embark on programmes to grow
their subscriber base.
The industry had endured a decade of under investment as the economic
crisis took a toll on the sector.
The massive expansion programmes have resulted in the increase in the
mobile market penetration rate to 21% as of August from 14% in February.
Mobile penetration rate describes the number of active mobile phone
numbers (usually as a percentage) within a specific population.
Advertisments placed in newspapers and on radio and television show
operators "beating their own drums" as they tussle for the hearts and minds
Econet, the largest mobile operator by subscriber base, says a million
people have "seen the light and joined the big family, bringing its total
subscriber base to over two million".
"Check your figures again. We are now three times bigger than the
other mobile networks put together and five times bigger than the next
competitor," it said in one of its adverts. "As you read this, seven out of
10 of your family and friends are already part of the biggest family," it
Then Econet goes for the jugular: "So, what are you waiting for! Make
the switch and join the biggest family. When we say they are exciting times,
we mean even for you."
Telecel is also throwing punches saying that it strives for quality
"Our recent re-certification confirms Telecel Zimbabwe as the only ISO
certified telecommunications company in Zimbabwe and the region," it boasts.
Telecel believes it has been there for the subscriber in good and bad
"Difficult times sometimes call for drastic measures, but as Telecel,
we have remained true to our commitment to offer you a personal, quality
service," it says in one promotion hype.
"During the challenging times, we kept you roaming, and our contract
customers remained unaffected without switching off packages or being forced
to pay something upfront. "We believe this is what makes for our valued
relationship - in good or bad times."
"The biggest thank you that we can give our subscribers is to ensure
that we build a quality network that you can be proud of," it says. Last
year, Econet switched off contract subscribers.
Telecel is not intimidated by its rivals and says it will increase its
subscriber base to 700 000 by the end of the month.
As of July 31, Telecel had 355 000 subscribers.
By end of October, it plans to cover "10 new geographic sites
countrywide and by the end of this year, the plan is to cover 46 new sites
The strategic plan is to ensure all highway corridors out of the major
urban areas of Harare, Bulawayo, Mutare and Gweru are covered throughout, it
NetOne managing director, Reward Kangai, said the mobile operator
would advise the market in due course on its expansion programme.
"We are not in a position to issue a press statement as of now," he
Kangai could not be drawn into revealing the company's subscriber
While this "mobile war" is escalating, the biggest winner is the
subscriber who can switch from one network to another.
In the past sim cards were a precious commodity and were even sold on
the black market. At one point, a single sim card was being sold for as much
However, the use of multiple currencies has seen prices coming down to
as low as US$10 inclusive of airtime.
Stiff competition has also meant a reduction in tariffs in another
plus for subscribers who were paying more for the service than their
counterparts in the region. The scramble for the market share has also seen
operators churning out products to attract customers.
Econet recently launched bonus minutes, where customers get free
minutes when they buy airtime. Econet already has a service where text
messages are virtually discounted.
The products are part of the operator's continuing efforts to develop
consumer-focused products and services, says Econet's corporate
communications manager Ranga Mberi.
But does size matter in the telecommunications industry?
The bigger the network, the less an operator pays in interconnect
Interconnect charges are those incurred when one network processes
calls from another.
For instance, if an Econet subscriber calls a NetOne subscriber,
Econet is supposed to pay NetOne interconnect charges which currently stand
at US$0.07 a minute.
The selling-point of Econet's new "Be part of something Big" campaign
is that it is cheaper for mobile customers to make calls within the Econet
network, because they don't have to pay for interconnect charges.
This appears to be an attempt by Econet to attract customers from its
rivals, Standarbusiness has gathered.
Information and Communication Technology Minister, Nelson Chamisa,
said competition was to the advantage of the customers and even operators in
terms of quality of service and innovation.
He said in the past eight months service has improved and there is
deployment of infrastructure to rural areas as part of the Information and
Communication Technologies (ICTs) revolution.
"We want to make ICTs available to all and sundry. ICT is the last
bridge between the rich and poor," he said.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 17 October 2009 18:40
THE accuracy and integrity of voters' roll is an essential component
of free and fair elections. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has
repeatedly pointed out that the current electoral roll is highly inaccurate
and needs complete overhaul before next general elections.
Claims of duplicate entries, voters enrolled in wrong constituencies,
eligible voters being left out, and, dead persons remaining on the voters'
roll continue to be reported. Ideally, an audit of constituency roll should
be conducted and anomalies rectified before any by-election is held.
Presently the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) supervises electoral
processes while voter registration is conducted by the Registrar-General.
ZESN recommends that the function of voter registration be removed from the
Registrar-General's Office and taken over by the Electoral Commission.
The Electoral Act must be changed to require the Electoral Commission
to disclose promptly the number of ballot papers printed for an election and
to disclose other such information, for example the number of ballot-boxes
issued to each polling station.
In the last election, electronic voters' roll was made available to
political parties but at considerable cost and not in computer searchable
ZESN recommends that they be in computer searchable format.
ZESN also recommends that voters' roll must be available both in
electronic and printed form and be made available free of charge to polling
agents, observers and political parties.
Counting and tabulation of results must be properly done within the
provisions of the Electoral Act. The counting and collation processes should
be done in the presence of candidates or their polling agents.
After counting of the votes and posting of results outside polling
stations, results must be sent to the Ward Collation Centre where they are
collated and verified.
The collated results should be posted outside the Ward Centres.
These results should be immediately transmitted to the constituency
elections officer for collation and verification who will declare the
results and post them outside the Constituency Collation Centre.
These processes must be done efficiently and expeditiously after
polling has taken place with no unreasonable delay in announcing the
results. Any recounts of votes should only take place after the announcement
of the results.
Independent observation of elections is vital part of fair electoral
process as it lends credibility to the process. Existing law relating to
observers is highly restrictive and should be reformed before by-elections
Local and international observers should be free to observe all
by-elections, should be free to observe during the lead up period to the
referendum, should be free to observe the voting process and the collation
and announcement of results and the period following the announcement of
The accreditation of observers should fall under the management and
control of ZEC. There is also need to remove veto power of Justice and
Foreign Ministers to exclude persons or organisations government does not
want to observe elections.
Ideally the whole media arena should be opened up so that there can be
media diversity in both print and broadcasting prior to by-elections.
The ZBC should also be transformed from a highly partisan broadcaster
into a genuinely public broadcaster that will cover elections on a fair and
balanced basis. The repressive media laws that exist currently must be
In the meantime the Electoral Commission must use the legal powers
already incorporated into the Electoral Act to ensure fair coverage of
elections and avoidance of hate speech.
The Electoral Commission must be pro-active in monitoring the media
and ensuring that they abide by the legislation in the lead up to the
various by-elections that are due to take place. This should be done in
conjunction with the Zimbabwe Media Commission established under
Constitutional Amendment No 19.
The regulatory powers of the Electoral Commission in respect of
elections should be more limited and specific.
The regulations that ZEC is empowered to make should not be subject to
approval by the Justice Minister.
The President should not be able to use the Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) Act to change any of the electoral rules.
Police must not be deployed inside polling stations. Voters in need of
assistance should be helped by relative or friend. Police officers should
not be present.
In this section ZESN prioritizes critical reforms that should be made
before the holding of a referendum in order to ensure that the referendum is
perceived to be free and fair and that the published result accurately
reflects the will of the people of Zimbabwe.
Certain changes to the Referendums Act will also be made.
Article 6 of the Global Political Agreement provides the process and
timetable for the drawing up of a draft new Constitution for Zimbabwe and
the submission of the Constitution to a referendum at which Zimbabweans
voters will decide whether to approve or not approve this draft.
Before the referendum is held the draft must first be submitted to the
Second All-Stakeholders' Conference where the draft will be debated and
decisions made on whether the draft properly reflects what the people said
they wanted in the Constitution during the outreach program.
Thereafter the draft Constitution and accompanying Report is to be
debated within Parliament for up to one month.
However, it is not clear what Parliament's role and functions are when
it debates the draft Constitution.
Will the Parliament be at liberty to amend the provisions of the draft
or will it simply debate whether the draft reflects what is contained in the
However the draft is in effect draft legislation and under the
Constitution the legislative authority lies with Parliament any legislation
brought before it.
Also worrying is that the process is running behind schedule as the
timetable envisages that the draft Constitution would be put to a referendum
around July 2010.
*Prepared by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network.
Saturday, 17 October 2009 18:37
THERE are, perhaps, few places on this earth where the description of
'survival of the fittest' applies more starkly as it does in the tropical
rainforest. Here, the perennial rains nourish and nurture plant and animal
life in abundance. Plants race to the top as they literally reach for the
sky in the relentless quest for precious sunlight.
The trees grow straight and tall - a moment of rest or a detour could
easily spell doom. So they tower above the earth, the big trees, forming a
natural canopy, leaving the smaller plants literally in the shade.
But even the biggest tree knows that one day it will have to give way.
It knows that one day it will have to answer nature's call. It cannot grow
tall forever. One day it may develop back pains; it may develop sore feet or
the great canopy will become too heavy for its ageing body. At that point,
it will have to give in.
And when it does, it comes down with a heavy thud. But it is true also
that when that circumstance occurs, it will not go alone. Since it is so
tall and heavy, when it comes down at its mercy is everything that stands in
The innocent pleas of its unfortunate neighbours, if any, matter very
little. They, too, have to pay the price for the unbridled ambitions of
their great neighbour, who, like others near him, thought it could one day
touch the underside of the sky.
Even though it knew that it would come down to earth some day, it just
went on, relishing the fierce competition and enjoying the fresh air closer
to the heavens.
It is the arrogance of big things; they end up believing their own
dreams even if they are unrealisable dreams to live and rule forever. And
others in its neighbourhood will have to bear the brunt of this uncultured
and unrestrained ambition.
Yet Nature is not dull. She has her ways because she is blessed with
abundant wisdom. She knows that the fall of the big tree is not the end of
the world. Rather it is the beginning of new things. It represents renewal.
For upon its fall, light is given entrance to the lower reaches of the
rainforest. It opens up opportunities. The little ones who may have waited,
some of them with growing impatience, now have a chance to also rise to the
top. The patient and calculating survive. But some would have been too
impatient, leading to early sunsets.
Not only does Nature shower the young with light, she also ensures
that the old fellow becomes reunited with the earth and from it, is derived
more nutrition for the young ones. Nature has its agents to ensure that
process of renewal and re-birth.
That is the gift of the old tree - that when it falls, it provides
opportunities, not complete closure. It brings light, not darkness. It
yields itself for the consumption of the new and young, indeed, those that
it sired and lay in the ground for years, waiting their turn.
Much of the same is not alien to human societies. Some human beings
have captured the essence of this type of life, for better or worse. They
understand that some among them grow to become the big men and women and
that some will be left in the shade, struggling to make ends meet.
They know that this process is often competitive and can be harsh. We
see it everyday, within and among families, in business, at the workplace
and, above all, in politics. It is dirty. Sometimes, it is quite vicious.
However, just like the big tree that wants to grow the tallest; like
the large tree that wants to outdo others, the human versions also tend to
lose sense of reality.
They want to go on forever. There want to stay there at the top and
keep everyone else in the shade.
But Nature knows that even the biggest tree cannot go on forever. Age
and the elements finally catch up with it. In the same way, these things
also catch up with the big men and women among us.
There are some statistics that cannot be changed. They cannot be
rigged. The clock ticks towards the inevitable.
You would think our leaders would understand that simple reality. You
would hope that they appreciate that they cannot defy Nature's will; that
their stepping down is not the end but only provides light and nourishment
If the big tree remains arrogant, its young become more and more
impatient and their lives are short and miserable. They may be lucky, if
another agent takes them elsewhere, where, if they are favoured, they may
find light and nourishment.
There they might grow and later nourish those lands. It happens too,
with humans. It has happened to Zimbabwe. The young and able that have been
kept in the shade have found comfort elsewhere.
They contribute to the growth and beauty of those new places. All
because the large trees at home refuse to share the space and light.
I am told there is a beautiful saying among the Edo of Nigeria. They
say that a cockroach knows how to sing and dance, but it is the hen that
prevents it from performing its art during the day.
Perhaps that explains why the cockroach spends the day hiding in
cracks and crevices of wood and rocks during the day and appears the dark of
It is not that it does not like to roam around and show its talents
during day. It is just scared that if it appears, it will be devoured by the
There are many in Zimbabwe today who cannot show their talents; a lot
who could rise to sing, dance and show their talents; many who cannot stand
openly for their interests. It is because there are some hens that stand
ready to devour them should they dare come out.
Then again, they say in Liberia that when a honey-gatherer uses smoke
to gather honey, the smoke does not only affect the honey-bees. It also
affects the honey-gatherer.
Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, 17 October 2009 18:34
AFTER eight months of cohabitation Zimbabweans ought to have a clear
idea of the future course of the country. Investors too have for some time
sought to extract exact assurances. The international community - including
Zimbabwe's friends - has been baffled as one party to the Global Political
Agreement, Zanu PF, moved from apparent co-operation to what seems a
deliberate strategy to frustrate the Government of National Unity.
The expectation appeared to be to force the withdrawal of one of the
parties - the MDC-T.
Declaring "We have an unreliable and unrepentant partner in the
transitional government," Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his party
last week decided that they had enough of this lack of clarity and
commitment to the future. They took the unprecedented action of disengaging
from Zanu PF in government in order to force President Robert Mugabe's party
to deliver on its obligations to the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Twelve months ago when the principal political actors - Mugabe,
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - signed the GPA,
there were clear guidelines indicating who was responsible for what specific
But harassment of human rights defenders and political activists, the
continued invasions of commercial farms and the inordinately slow pace of
progress on media and constitutional reforms are areas of growing concern.
The enthusiasm and optimism with which Zimbabweans greeted February and
March is giving way to disenchantment as targets and goal posts are
The international community continues to call for further reforms
before they can engage more fully with Zimbabwe. Issues of new provincial
governors, the governor of the Reserve Bank and the Attorney-General are
being defiantly resisted to the extent the MDC-T is being rendered powerless
Even as the Prime Minister protested that no respect was being
accorded his ministers in government and his party, the state-broadcaster
rallied and then unleashed critics who proceeded to savage the position
adopted by the MDC-T, as if to egg them on to quit the GNU.
Opening up of the media landscape and allowing the return of exiled
Zimbabwean journalists are critical in ensuring that every Zimbabwean has
the right to "seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any
media and regardless of frontiers", as enshrined in Article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights. A free and independent media
environment is the backbone of strong, functioning democratic societies and
is key to investment promotion.
The absence a clear commitment to the rule of law and property rights
has had several immediate backlashes during the past week.
The first was over the Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd saga, where a
government minister admitted he had acted without properly investigating the
issue. The immediate outcome of the minister's actions can be directly
linked to a decision by Shoprite, the South African retail chain to place on
hold its plans to invest in Zimbabwe.
Numerous investment conferences have taken place in Zimbabwe, South
Africa and the UK and the one recurring question that no one has been able
to assure prospective investors on is: What guarantees are there that their
investment will be protected?
What the MDC-T is merely saying is that the GNU needs to sort out this
discordant approach, ensure there is absolute consensus on all government
decisions so that they begin next year on a clean slate, free of the current
hollow posturing that harms Zimbabwe's prospects of economic recovery.
Saturday, 17 October 2009 18:29
ZIMBABWEANS received news of the signing of the Global Political
Agreement by Zanu PF and the two MDCs with a mixture of anxious optimism and
downright pessimism. They just couldn't believe that their suffering was
finally over. This was to be expected. They don't trust President Robert
Gabriel Mugabe. They know him very well for he has ruled them since
He is nowhere near his biblical namesake Gabriel, the righteous and
kindly angel who was God's messenger.
Mugabe, himself, never made a secret of the fact that he is a cunning
old man. He once publicly said: "If you have never played card games, you
must play me. Then you will know just how crafty I am." And: "This little
fist of mine (kachibhakera kangu aka) can cause a lot of damage."
Zimbabweans were, therefore, rather wary. They suspected that Mugabe
was not sincere when he signed the Memorandum of Understanding, which was a
preamble to the power- sharing negotiations.
They remembered what happened to Joshua Nkomo and the Zimbabwe People's
Union (Zapu). After over 20 000 people were massacred by the army, Nkomo
signed a power- sharing deal with Mugabe just as the two MDC leaders did.
Nkomo and a few Zapu leaders were given a few seats in government and Zapu
was swallowed hook, line and sinker to form the present Zanu PF. The rank
and file of Zapu got nothing in return.
The status quo not only remained but was made stronger. They were,
therefore, rightly asking themselves whether history was not going to repeat
itself or had the Zimbabwean leopard finally changed its colours.
When the Memorandum of Understanding was signed, the gullible among us
actually expected all state-sponsored violence to stop and that the
negotiations would take place in a peaceful and conciliatory environment.
The then leader of the opposition MDC party, Morgan Tsvangirai,
himself had said: "No negotiations can take place while the Zanu PF regime
continues to wage war on my party and the people of Zimbabwe!"
Zimbabweans were, therefore, dismayed when the negotiations were
officially launched in South Africa while state-sponsored violence
escalated. Even though mass violence had subsided, it was now replaced by
harassment and violence targeted at key MDC activists, outspoken civil
society leaders and their lawyers, as well as independent journalists.
Nevertheless, the Government of National Unity document was signed.
After listening to the signatories, Arthur Mutambara, Tsvangirai and
Mugabe's speeches after the signing ceremony a whole lot of Zimbabweans and
I were not overly impressed.
Mutambara and Tsvangirai animatedly spoke of the event being a
historic moment and about forgetting the past, looking ahead with hope and
working together to alleviate the people's suffering by bringing democracy,
peace and prosperity to Zimbabwe as a matter of urgency.
Mugabe was his old self. He spoke about his role in fighting for
independence from British oppressors and how he helped the African
countries, represented by African leaders there, to gain their independence.
He rubbished the West in general as unwelcome meddlers, who had no role to
play in Africa. At this the audience was apparently fed up and some booed
Morgan Tsvangirai promised the people that the power-sharing
arrangement was going to work. Zimbabweans remained sceptical. They had no
confidence in the Sadc which brokered the power-sharing talks.
There is so much talk from African leaders about African solutions for
African problems. When one takes into account the fact that the African
Union was presided over by none other than Muammar Gaddafi of Libya some of
us are indeed sceptical about those African solutions. Now we have as head
of Sadc, young Joseph Kabila, who is indebted to President Robert Mugabe in
more ways than one. What African solutions can he offer Zimbabwe?
I once pointed out to Prime Minister Tsvangirai that going into a
government of national unity with Zanu PF was like hugging a skunk. One was
in danger of ending up smelling like one. My colleagues later remonstrated
with me for saying that to him. After one year of the inclusive government
it seems as though I was right after all.
Nothing much has changed. It is true that there is now food on
supermarket shelves and the health and education situation has improved to a
certain extent. However there are so many negative things going on. The
Global Political Agreement itself has not been fulfilled and the MDC-T is a
despised junior partner in the inclusive government.
Some of us had placed our money on President Jacob Zuma because South
Africa is directly and negatively affected by the Zimbabwe situation. They
are over three million Zimbabwean refugees who are a strain on that country's
resources. Next year South Africa is hosting the soccer World Cup.
It is in Zuma's best interests to have all those miserable millions of
Zimbabweans back in a peaceful Zimbabwe. His party, the ANC, is pushing him
to do the right thing for they don't want to lose their newly acquired
ANC partners, Cosatu and the South African Communist Party who are
sympathetic to the MDC-T are breathing down his neck. At the same time, the
machine-gun loving, old war-veteran does not want to appear to be the
odd-man-out in the Sadc Boys' Club. Let us hope that he has something up his
As I write the MDC-T leadership is split over whether they should
remain in the GNU or pull out. At present they are going around the country
asking members what they should do. That is rather silly! When they
compromised and entered into the GNU they did not first ask the people but,
in good faith, the people followed.
They still have that mandate. Whatever decision they make the majority
will follow, for better or for worse. As things stand there is no viable
He, who has ears to hear let him hear!
BY PIUS WAKATAMA
Updated 1 hr(s) 57 min(s) ago
By Oscar Obonyo
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's decision to boycott the unity
Government until sticking issues are resolved reads like a script all too
familiar to Kenyans.
Tsvangirai's threats are akin to his Kenyan counterpart Raila Odinga's,
during the nascent stages of the Grand Coalition Government. Tsvangirai and
Raila, who maintain their election victories were stolen, are both stuck in
a political marriage of convenience. While their separate power-sharing
pacts dictate a 50-50 deal, coalition partners, Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe and President Kibaki retain and enjoy the bulk of the power.
University of Nairobi Political Science Lecturer Adams Oloo points out this
anomaly as the basis of friction in the Zimbabwe and Kenya.
"There was no way Kibaki and Mugabe were going to share power equally with
individuals they perceive forced themselves into their Governments. While
Raila finally accepted this fact and opted to quietly negotiate for his
space, Tsvangirai seems unable to negotiate from within," observes Oloo.
The apparent denial by Tsvangirai that his Movement for Democratic (MDC)
party is practically a junior partner to Mugabe's Zanu-PF, has impeded
harmony in Government.
Tsvangirai's latest battle is a protest against the arrest of Mr Roy Bennet,
a senior MDC official.
"The detention of our party treasurer has brought home the self-evident fact
that Zanu-PF sees us as junior, fickle and unserious partners," said
Tsvangirai last Friday when he "disengaged from government".
Tsvangirai, who is certain his decision will paralyse operations of the
Government, has threatened to pull out from Government altogether if Mugabe
does not stop his "dishonest and unreliable ways".
The action of Zimbabwean politician is watched closely by some ODM members,
who feel their party leader has endured a lot of dishonour from PNU. While
some MPs have openly asked Raila to pull out of Government in protest,
political analysts are convinced the PM will stay put.
According to Munene Macharia, professor of History and International
Relations at the United States International University, Raila is unlikely
to pull out of Government because he has negotiated a better deal compared
"But again this has more to do with the characters and personalities of the
individuals in question. Tsvangirai does not appear as forceful as his
Kenyan counterpart, let alone the general perception in the eyes of the
international community that Raila calls the shots in Kenya," says Munene.
Unlike Kibaki, who seems indifferent in issues of governance, Munene
observes that Mugabe has a tighter grip on the events of his government.
Oloo further points out that Mugabe and Tsvangirai have nothing that binds
them together as opposed to the Kenyan principals who share a history and
good inter-personal relationship. Their foot-soldiers in PNU and ODM might
be embroiled in a verbal war", observes Oloo, but "Kibaki and Raila have no
choice but work together".
In Kenya's case, Oloo notes that a number of tasks, including long-term
ones, were set up under Agenda Four compelling the two principals to walk
through the process together.
New electoral body
"In Zimbabwe's case, there is no new electoral body or any other that has
been set up. It was simply a question of Mugabe and Tsvangirai forming a
united Government," he says.
Except for the circumstances under which the coalition governments were set
up, following botched presidential elections, the Kenyan situation is quite
different from Zimbabwe's.
Raila, for instance, is paired with a partner who is on his way out of
political power after 2012 and who is believably not engaging the PM in
dirty battles. On the contrary, politicians in Zimbabwe confess they have no
idea if and when Mugabe will exit the political scene. All the moves by the
strongman of the Central African nation are accordingly perceived to be
geared towards power retention.
Back home, President Kibaki is equally under pressure from members of his
PNU brigade to groom one of their own to succeed him. The President, who
last year officially assumed the position of party leader during PNU's
national conference, may be involved in the party's activities, but he is
yet to publicly anoint his successor.
In the meantime, Zimbabwe grapples on with a difficult administrative phase
same as Kenya's a year ago, when Kibaki and Raila locked horns over
appointments to the Civil Service and diplomatic postings.
"Unlike Raila, Tsvangirai has the MDC numbers solidly behind him and he may
just give meaning to his threat. Raila's party, on the other hand, is
leaking slowly and a decision to opt out of Government might not be very
prudent for ODM," says Munene.
But Oloo argues that the PM has experienced the folly of fighting the
Government from outside and cannot make that mistake this time around.
Observes the expert: "He learnt from his late father, (Kenya's first
Vice-President) Jaramogi (Oginga Odinga) who formed KPU party but the State
machinery battled him to near political irrelevance. On the flipside, Raila
joined Kanu in 2002 and walked away with the heart of the party days to the
General Elections, leaving it virtually dead."
Written by Daniel Steinmann
Friday, 16 October 2009 08:28
A report on land reform across the African continent came across my
desk during the week. The first interesting fact that jumped at me was that
most sub-Saharan countries have land distribution problems so it is not a
uniquely Zimbabwean or Namibian or South African phenomenon.
The second important conclusion I noticed is that arrable land will
become less and less available as politically popular but economically
suicidal land reform programmes are pushed through to try and garner votes
but without any regard to future food sufficiency and agricultural
Then came the punchline, which in my mind should be the most important
guiding principle in any land reform programme. The report made it clear
that any land reform programme must only empower individuals and communities
with a vested interest in agriculture. To me this is such a fundamental
truth, I almost view it as axiomatic.
This begs the question what exactly is a "vested interest in
agriculture". At this point I leave the report and formulate my own
definition, one that applies to our situation while keeping an eye on the
ultimate goal of land reform.
Perhaps I should start by looking at the land reform failures that
poke one in the eye and then move to those that produce seemingly acceptable
On my list of biggest land reform failures I do not hesitate to list
Hoachanas near Stampriet as the biggest failure so far. Whole communities
were resettled on Hoachanas, once a profitable small stock farming
operation, turning it into the south's biggest rural communal squatter camp.
Those that reside in Hoachanas today have been relegated to permanent
poverty and their only contribution is to deteriorate the value of
surrounding land making any profitable undertaking on adjacent farms almost
impossible. What topped the stupidity around Hoachanas was when some
government hotshot called it a major success some time back. My response
then was the same as my response today: Any fool who calls Hoachanas a
success has either never been there or does not know what the word success
Next is Voigtsgrund. For many years a resettlement community for
ex-soldiers, ex-cadres and all sorts of exes and excess. This farm boasts
one of the largest dams on private land in the entire country yet I do not
think anything has been irrigated on Voigtsgrund for the past 18 years. The
valuable farm buildings are run down, many of them in a derelict condition
and the productive date palm grove, which used to be irrigated from the dam,
has been destroyed. Today it is just another resettlement farm of which its
neighbours mend the boundary fences otherwise these would have been gone
There are dozens more examples of this type of destruction resulting
from superficial policies and a lack of guidance for the new owners or
settlers but these two suffice to support my observations. There are even
intances of Agribank now leasing former white-owned farms back to white
farmers just so that the Affirmative Action loans the bank extended, can be
repaid by non-Affirmatives.
When I look at the successes, they invariably come from individual
commercial farms, owned by individual farmers who farm for a profit. These
so-called emerging farmers are also black but the single biggest reason for
their success is that they produce for a profit. On these farms it is not a
case of turning profitable land into a rural squatter camp. In this regard I
can take you to dozens of Herero-owned farms in the Okakarara and Waterberg
area. It should be an eye-opener just how profitable most of these farms
are, not because the owner is white or black but because the commercial
principles on which they operate, are sound. In terms of communal land,
there are also numerous success stories especially where individuals work
their own plots for their own pockets on land allocated according to
traditional tribunal guidelines. Food production in these communal areas
have grown exponentially as occupants enjoy some form of title, are allowed
to grow for a profit, and as research and finance make available better
quality seed and fertiliser.
When I consider all the variables, I suggest the following very simple
definition of a "vested interest in agriculture". The occupant, whether he
is the title holder or not, must be allowed and encouraged to produce for a
profit and he must produce food. In essence, he or she has to contribute to
food security and food self-sufficiency in Namibia. If not, then that person
is on that land for the wrong reason, and will ultimately fail.
It's a sad fact that people in Zimbabwe are judged by their political views,
or racial background rather than as Martin Luther dreamed "by the content of
their character" and this in Africa in 2009. So many, many precious men,
women and even children, have had their lives destroyed in Zimbabwe because
they got in the way or dared to challenge the greed of the few.
So lets honour and remember just one such man who was a true Zimbabwean and
clearly believed in fairness & justice. A member of ZEC he blow the whistle
on gross irregularities in the elections process in June 08.
It's so easy to look the other way, keep your head down, or just keep
quiet..but Ignatious Mushangwe spoke up and a year ago paid the ultimate
He had to be silenced because leaders in Mugabe's Zanu-PF fear truth &
transparency more than anything because their deeds are evil (John 3:19-20)
As reported then "Mushangwe had announced publicly that ZEC had printed
600,000 postal ballot forms, when less than 10,000 were actually required.
He also revealed that some 9 million normal ballot papers had been printed,
for only 5.9 million registered voters"
Kidnapped from his home on June 17, his body was discovered a year ago on
18th October in Norton. A post mortem revealed that Mushangwe had "been
first strangled, then doused in petrol and set alight." You can learn more
A year on and his killers have not been brought to account. But one day
justice will come.
Until that day let's remember and continue to remember such men of courage
like Ignatious who one day will be rightly honoured by Zimbabwe.
Written by Adrian Smale
16th October 2009
Here in the UK diaspora, I first got the news on Wednesday from a contact at
the Human Rights Forum that Roy Bennett was likely to be indicted for trial
in the High Court on a charge of terrorism. A magistrate in Mutare was
'deciding' - with more than a little pressure from the politically partisan
Attorney General, no doubt - whether the case should be heard before the
High Court when it moves to the eastern capital on circuit. With the
inevitability of Greek tragedy the magistrate decided that the charge was
too serious for her court and Roy Bennettt was immediately sent back to
Mutare Remand Prison to await trial which, we are told, cannot be until next
year because the High Court calendar is already full. Pending an application
for bail, that is where Bennettt will remain until his case is heard before
the High Court.
I waited to hear how the BBC would report the matter; after all they are now
free to broadcast from inside Zimbabwe but apart from a brief mention on BBC
World News and a small item on Channel Four, Bennett's imprisonment was
barely touched on. It seems some form of self-censorship is going on, so
desperate are the British authorities to show that all is well in Zimbabwe
under the Inclusive government. Nothing must be done to upset the boat
despite the fact that events on the ground demonstrate very clearly that the
boat is already sinking!
Inside the country, however, the comments have come fast and furious; this
is not prosecution through properly constituted legal channels, it is
downright persecution for political purposes. The disgust and outrage this
case has provoked has already been expressed in numerous articles by human
rights activists, journalists and foreign diplomats. "Politically motivated
abuse" said the EU president and the US State Dept described the jailing of
Roy Bennettt as "a blatant example of a lack of the rule of law." The newly
appointed British High Commissioner's comment was curiously restrained, "The
jailing of Bennett did not look good politically."said Mark Canning. That
has to be the understatement of the year! But perhaps his recent experience
as British Ambassador to Burma has left him with a healthy fear of military
My own reaction to the news of Roy Bennett's re-incarceration can be summed
up in one question, "Well, what did you expect? Have you learned nothing
after thirty years of Zanu PF misrule?" Duplicity and double-dealing are all
you can hope for from the likes of Robert Mugabe and his politically
appointed law officers. In the case of Roy Bennettt, it is clear that
personal animosity is the one over-riding consideration in his continued
persecution. Zanu PF and the Minister of Justice in particular hate Roy
Bennettt a) because he is white and a successful farmer and b) because the
people love him. If that sounds childish and immature, then that is exactly
what it is. Time and again we have seen how the former ruling party react to
any white person who is loved by the common people. Remember what they did
to David Stephens, to Ian Kay and to so many others whose bloodied bodies
were testimony of the racist hatred spewed from the mouths of Mugabe and all
the rest of his mentally and emotionally challenged followers. They simply
cannot forgive anyone, but especially someone with a white skin, who has
earned the love and respect of ordinary black Zimbabweans. Roy
Bennettt/Pachedu was elected by an overwhelmingly black electorate in
Chimanimani; he is a fluent Shona speaker whose every word demonstrates his
love of the people and the land he was born in. That's what Zanu PF cannot
abide: the white African who dares to stand up for the cause of justice and
democracy, a cause which the government of Zanu PF has comprehensively
failed to address for thirty years.
The initial reaction of the MDC to Bennettt's imprisonment was a curious
mixture of threats and boycotts: they will not pull out of the GNU but they
will suspend all contacts with Zanu PF forums - whatever that means - and
they will no longer attend cabinet or Council of Minister meetings. The
comparison of the GNU with an arranged marriage is one that has been made by
Morgan Tsvangirai himself. So where does the marriage stand now? As one
commentator pointed out, it is the GNU of which the MDC is a part that has
acted in the case of Roy Bennettt. The MDC are hoist with their own petard;
they joined a government of national unity for the good of the country, they
said, and now find themselves complicit, by association, in Zanu PF's unjust
and illegal behaviour. As Roy Bennettt himself had said earlier this month;
the MDC is in government but has no power; this is a marriage in name only.
"Limping along" is how President Khama of Botswana described the coalition
government in Zimbabwe. The case of Roy Bennettt may well bring the whole
arrangement to a juddering halt. It certainly constitutes a test of the
MDC's moral courage; whether they will be prepared to stand by Pachedu and
risk losing all the benefits they have personally gained in this
ill-considered marriage of convenience is not something I feel able to
predict but one thing I am sure of: Robert Mugabe, his Attorney General and
his Minister of Justice will not rest until they have got rid of Roy
Bennettt - one way or the other.
Postscript: I had finished my Letter and was preparing to press 'send' when
I checked the BBC website to see if there was any news of Roy's bail
application. No news of that yet but instead a report of Morgan Tsvangirai's
Press conference, dated 16.10.09, time 12.27. The MDC has 'disengaged' from,
the Unity government. "We will not continue working with Mugabe's party
until all outstanding issues of a power sharing deal have been dealt with"
announced the MDC President and Prime Minister of Zimbabwe. He added "It
(Roy Bennettt's imprisonment) has brought home the reality that we have an
unreliable and unrepentant partner in the transitional government"
No doubt all the 'political' analysts will have plenty to say about this
over the weekend. This diasporean remains sceptical but it is perhaps a sign
that moral courage is not entirely lacking in the MDC. Small comfort for Roy
Bennettt as he awaits his bail application in Mutare Remand Prison yet again
but a welcome sign that the MDC have finally woken up to the reality of
dealing with Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.
Dear Family and Friends,
The news readers on the state controlled ZBC television have been
wearing black football T shirts all week. Every night, before the
bulletin begins the news readers tell us solemnly how many days are
left before the football game. On Friday night the newsreader smirked
as she began to read the "news." The headline story was President
Mugabe talking about the impending football game. Second in line was
President Mugabe giving computers to a school. Then came a report on
SADC and regional peace, then the Chinese Ambassador talking to army
staff. After a commercial break and 21 minutes into the bulletin came
the real news: the MDC were disengaging themselves from Zanu PF and
the cabinet. In less than 2 minutes and airing just a few sentences of
Mr Tsvangirai's press statement, ZBC soon turned to their invited
guest for comment.
~ The blame is on the Rhodesians; Roy Bennett is a Rhodesian, Morgan
Tsvangirai is having difficulty pleasing his white masters~ said the
analyst. The news reader's smirk grew as the absurd comments continued
and we thought about what they hadn't reported but what had actually
It was a shocking week in the country when Roy Bennett, deputy
Minister of Agriculture, who is yet to be sworn in, was detained in
custody by a magistrate in Mutare. Everyone, everywhere was talking
about it. Disbelief, shock, contempt, disgust and anger were the
widespread, unanimous expressions. The MDC issued statements
immediately using words like 'provocative' and 'persecution.' Perhaps
the most appropriate part of their statement rang true for everyone:
"This latest action is deliberately provocative, unnecessary and
motivated by hatred of a personality."
Two days later Prime Minister Tsvangirai held a press conference. He
came out with the fighting talk that we are all familiar with but
haven't heard for a year. Mr Tsvangirai said that provincial governors
have still not been appointed, the issues of the Attorney General and
Reserve Bank governor remain unresolved and the government itself is
not even properly constituted. The Prime Minister said he knew the
countryside was being militarized and that 16,000 Zanu PF youth have
been imposed on the government payroll. He said that Zanu PF were a
dishonest, unrepentant and unreliable partner The Prime Minister than
said the words that have been burning a hole in the hearts of our oh
so patient nation:
"The truth of the matter is that it is our Movement that won the
election of 29 March 2008. It is our Movement that has the mandate of
the people to govern this country. It is our Movement that has
strategically compromised on that mandate by executing the GPA and by
entering into the transitional government. It is our Movement upon
which the hope and future of millions of Zimbabweans is deposited."
Yes Mr Prime Minister, your Movement did compromise the mandate of
the brave people of Zimbabwe who courageously stepped forward and
literally risked their lives to give you and your party their votes.
People were beaten, tortured, raped and lost everything to bring the
MDC into power, hundreds were murdered. The MDC gave us back money in
our pockets and food in the shops but now its time for accountability
and real democracy, not this sham.The time for threats, words and
strategic compromise is past.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy Copyright cathy
buckle 17th October 2009 www.cathybuckle.com
(UKPA) - 1 hour ago
Zimbabwe took an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-match ODI series against
Kenya with a six-wicket victory in Harare.
Prosper Utseya set the foundation for the hosts, taking four for 46 as the
visitors made 270 for eight, before a stand of 111 by Mark Vermeulen and
Forster Mutizwa guided Zimbabwe to 271 for four as they claimed victory with
12 balls remaining.
Kenya had won the previous match and opener David Obuya's 49 off 58 balls
ensured they got off to a good start before he was lbw to Utseya.
Maurice Ouma top scored with 58 off 58 deliveries alongside a more cautious
47 from Rakep Patel as the pair shared a stand of 86.
Hamilton Masakadza was out with 30 on the board but that saw Vermeulen and
Mutizwa come together at the crease.
Vermeulen made 56 off 62 deliveries and Mutizwa 79 off 97 with both players
hitting six fours and one six to take the hosts to 141 before the former was
An unbeaten 60 by Brendan Taylor then guided Zimbabwe to their winning