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Zimbabwe PM says local ownership rule too stringent

Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:35am EDT

* Says majority target "aspirational"

* Local ownership drive not expropriation

* Election seen Q3 2012

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's local ownership rules for
foreign mining companies are too stringent, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
said on Monday.

Tsvangirai also told reporters on the sidelines of an Johannesburg
agricultural conference that next elections would not be until the second
half of 2012.

Under the controversial law, the Zimbabwean units of international firms are
eventually required to become majority-owned by local blacks.

The change in ownership will take years, Tsvangirai said, with even a
minimum of 30 percent as an initial threshold being too high.

"I think 30 percent is too high," he said, adding that majority local
ownership was an "aspirational target" and that the rules represented
neither nationalisation nor expropriation.

"People who participate in any indigenisation arrangement, they have to pay
for the value," he said.

Impala Platinum agreed this month to turn over a 10 percent stake in its
Zimbabwe units to locals after facing pressure from the government to give
up the stake or lose out in a country with the world's second-largest
platinum reserves.

Tsvangirai also said that Zimbabwe's election would likely not be until the
second half 2012.

"I don't foresee us having an election in the first half of next year, maybe
in the third quarter of next year."

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Tsvangirai urges Mugabe to retire from politics

By Tichaona Sibanda
17 October 2011

MDC-T President Morgan Tsvangirai on Sunday urged Robert Mugabe to step down
from active politics, warning him he faces a poll drubbing should he stand
as a ZANU PF candidate.

Zimbabweans head to the polls in key parliamentary and presidential
elections some time next year. Analysts predict the former ruling ZANU PF
party will suffer heavy losses that will end Mugabe’s 32 year rule, since
Independence in 1980.

Speaking at a party rally in Marondera, the Prime Minister said Mugabe
risked further denting his legacy if he contested the next presidential
poll. But ZANU PF has already announced that Mugabe will be their
presidential candidate for the forthcoming elections set for 2012 or 2013.

‘I pray very hard that reason prevails on him for the sake of his legacy,
country and children. He should listen to the sixth sense that always
advises people correctly and say I have to rest.

‘I am saying this advisably that ‘old man, if I were you I would have taken
a rest, but if you want to stand as ZANU PF candidate, I would rather not
campaign. I will say just look for vision and vote,’ Tsvangirai said.

Piniel Denga, the MDC-T provincial chairman for Mashonaland East, told SW
Radio Africa that revelations in WikiLeaks cables had shown that Mugabe has
lost command of the party which was ‘collapsing before our eyes.’

‘ZANU PF is finished. We understand several of his MPs’, including ministers
at cabinet rank, have been privately discussing whether or not to dump him
as their presidential candidate. We all know what happened in 2008, and with
a whole new generation of new young voters there is every chance ZANU PF
will lose the elections by a big margin,’ Denga said.

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Zanu PF rift over Zimplats trust

Harare, Zimbabwe --- MININGREVIEW.COM --- 17 October 2011 - A community
trust set up to help the local community acquire shares in platinum mining
giant Zimplats has created fissures in Zanu PF's Mashonaland West
structures, as ordinary members charge that heavy weights want to line their

On Thursday President Robert Mugabe officially launched the
Mhondoro-Ngezi-Zvimba Community Share Ownership Trust, which was given US$10
million by Zimplats.

A war veteran who was barred from attending the colourful ceremony accused
senior government officials of sidelining the community. “It pains us to see
how our fellow comrades in Zanu PF remain the only ones that benefit each
and every time there is something of monetary value, and they never seem to
have enough,” said the war veteran who requested to remain anonymous.

“This project should be run by the community, not some ministers from Harare
dictating everything,” he insisted. “We know that these politicians have
handpicked chiefs that are loyal to them that they will use as fronts to
milk this trust with no meaningful development to this area.”

Last month Chief Nyika, whose jurisdiction covers Zimplats mine, accused
local government, public works and urban development minister Ignatius
Chombo, youth development, indigenisation and empowerment minister Saviour
Kasukuwere and area MP Bright Matonga of sidelining him.

He said he would not recognise the trust because his people had formed their
own Mhondoro-Ngezi Community Development Foundation (MN-CDF), which the
three politicians had allegedly sidelined.

Chombo, Kasukuwere and Matonga all denied the accusations.

Mashonaland West governor Faber Chidarikire appeared to be confirming the
rift at the launch when he accused unnamed government officials of being
greedy. “We will not tolerate individualism and greed over the community
share ownership trust,” Chidarikire said. “Everyone has to benefit
regardless of political affiliation.”

Meanwhile, youth development, indigenisation and empowerment deputy minister
Tongai Matutu said there was no transparency in the way the community trusts
were being set-up. “The main problem with this community trust is the
facilitation,” he accused.

“There is a need to consult all government ministries, especially those that
deal with investment and tourism, so that our ministry will not destroy the
efforts of the ministries of Mines, Tourism and Industry's efforts to get
the country's economy going,” he stated.

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SA urged to explain ‘secret’ deportation decision

By Alex Bell
17 October 2011

South Africa is being urged to explain its decision to resume deportations
of undocumented Zimbabweans, with a top official being accused of misleading
the government.

More than 500 nationals have been taken across the border and handed over to
immigration officials at Beitbridge, after South Africa apparently lifted
its moratorium on deportations last week. The deportations were expected
after a directive from South Africa’s department of Home Affairs was quietly
circulated earlier this month, indicating that the removals would begin
“with immediate effect.”

The forced removals have shocked civil society groups in South Africa, who
were previously told that the government would only resume the deportations
when it had finalised the Zimbabwe Documentation Project (ZDP). That project
has not yet been completed.

Refugee rights group PASSOP and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF) have both
now raised concerns about the lack of transparency from South Africa’s
department of Home Affairs. The groups have requested a meeting with
representatives of a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, to
try and get to the bottom of what they called a ‘contradiction’ from the
department’s Director General Mkuseli Apleni.

PASSOP’s Braam Hanekom told SW Radio Africa on Monday that there is a major
discrepancy between what Apleni told the Parliamentary Committee in
September this year, and the move to sign the directive regarding

During the presentation and question and answer session with the Committee,
Apleni stated that once the ZDP is completed a report would be compiled and
presented to the Home Affairs Minister. He also insisted that until this
process was completed “no Zimbabweans would be deported”. Apleni stated: “we
were clear that no Zimbabwean will be deported up to the time that we close
the project”.

Hanekom explained that he made these comments just a few weeks before
signing the directive to resume the deportations.

“We cannot believe that in the same week that the Director General briefed
the Parliamentary Committee on the ZDP, he then failed to mention that he
was about to sign a directive that ordered the resumption of deportations of
Zimbabweans,” Hanekom explained.

He added: “We expect transparency and honesty from the Department of Home
Affairs. After fully reviewing the meeting’s minutes and transcripts, we
believe that the Director General has misled parliament and civil society.
To this end, we have lodged a complaint and requested to meet the Committee
to discuss the matter.”

Hanekom added that the deportations have left South Africa’s community of
undocumented Zimbabweans “scared and confused.” He said that many people who
applied for asylum last year are now being threatened with deportation when
they go and renew their status.

“We are completely against this. It has seriously far reaching consequences
and is very problematic,” Hanekom said.

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Mugabe/Zanu (PF) Wary Of SA Deportations

Harare, October 17, 2011 – President Robert Mugabe and Zanu (PF) are
understood to be jittery over the resumption of the deportation of
undocumented Zimbabweans from South Africa.

There are fears the deportees might tilt the scales in favour of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the fresh presidential and harmonised
elections President Mugabe wants held in March 2012.

Sources said Zanu (PF) wanted the deportations halted as the MDC-T has
launched a campaign to registered at least three million new voters, adding
that Kembo Mohadi, the Zanu (PF) co-Minister of Home Affairs, has been
directed to “talk” to his South Africa counterparts.

Mohadi refused to discuss the issue when contacted for comment.

But Zanu (PF) National chairperson, Simon Khaya Moyo, claimed the
deportations had not resumed despite reports that nearly 400 people without
relevant documentations were last week flushed out of South Africa.

"There are no deportations that have yet started, because there is no
movement of people that we have seen on the ground. Once that happens then
as Zanu (PF) we will be in a position to comment on the matter," said Moyo.

Of the 1,5 million Zimbabweans estimated to be domiciled in South African as
political and economic refugees, only under 300 000 applications had been
received through Zimbabwe Documentation Project, a mere 20% of the estimated
nationals thought to be living in South Africa by Human Rights Watch.

Zanu (PF)is also said to be vehemently against allowing people in the
Diaspora to vote in the next polls. Trevor Maisiri, a political commentator,
said Zanu (PF) had every reason to be wary of the both the deportations and
the Diaspora vote.

Maisiri said the Diaspora vote, if given an opportunity would most likely be
like a “protest” vote.

“Many of the people in the Diaspora are not there because of their
willingness. Many have ran away due to both economic and political pressures
back home. Therefore if given the opportunity to vote, this is likely to be
more damaging to ZANU-PF than the MDC parties.

Zanu (PF's) dominance in government since independence is therefore
considered as having the greatest responsibility for those factors that have
led many into the Diaspora. The Diaspora vote will therefore be cast as a
protest vote against ZANU-PF,” he said.

Maisiri said the pending deportations of Zimbabweans from South Africa would
also have similar effects as the broader Diaspora vote.

“If these deportations go ahead then we are expecting an estimated 1.5
million people to come back into the country. This will put a strain on the
already struggling social support systems. These people will likely be
frustrated as they will not be able to access adequate social support
systems and they are likely to be the plug-shot for dissent and protests
against the government.

“Such protests will hurt Zanu (PF) more as the party is seen as the dominant
force in the current government and in previous governments since
independence. The deportees will also likely be motivated to register as
voters and their vote will most likely go against Zanu (PF) in the next

The figure of 1.5 million is very sizeable considering that there was a
total figure of about 2.5 million voters. This then therefore constitutes
about 60% of the votes casts in the March 2008 election.

The deportees, who are mainly above the age of 18 years, are therefore
likely to cause massive shifts in the voting patterns much against Zanu
(PF),” he said.

President Mugabe is expected to meet his nemesis Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in the next presidential polls intimated for 2012.

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ZANU PF youths disrupt public hearing on electoral law bill

By Lance Guma
17 October 2011

A group of ZANU PF youths on Monday disrupted a public hearing into the
Electoral Amendment Bill which was being conducted at Nehanda Hall in
Marondera. The incident came hot on the heels of a flopped attempt in the
same town to disrupt a weekend MDC rally addressed by Prime Minister Morgan

Speaking to SW Radio Africa Makoni South MP Pishai Mucharauya, who is part
of the parliamentary committee conducting the hearings, said: “A few minutes
into the debate, ZANU PF thugs started to chant some slogans and prevented
those who were perceived to be MDC from contributing to the debate on the

The meeting in Marondera was supposed to mark the beginning of a series of
nationwide public consultations on the Electoral Amendment Bill which are
set to end in Harare on the 24th October. But just like previous hearings,
Monday’s meeting had to be aborted because of ZANU PF thugs bussed in to

It’s now the third time that hearings into the bill have been postponed.
Similar attempts in August and September have ended in the same way.
Muchauraya said they later moved to Headlands some 135km away from Harare
and conducted a hearing at the Headlands Community Hall. A small crowd of 50
people came to this meeting and the majority sentiment favoured radical
amendments to the bill which was originally crafted by Justice Minister
Patrick Chinamasa.

Participants said they wanted ward based voting instead of the polling
station based voting proposed by the bill. They also said soldiers should
not be allowed anywhere near the polling stations nor should police officers
be allowed to assist voters. There was also strong support for people in the
Diaspora to be allowed to vote.

Muchauraya told us that ZANU PF are determined to block the Diaspora from
voting and that they also prefer having people vote at the nearest polling
station so that they can use their loyal chiefs and headman to coerce

In another example of the intolerance that can be seen at the hearings; in
Headlands Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa and about four ZANU
PF MP’s walked away because they did not like the submissions from the
people who came to contribute.

Meanwhile the High Court last week ordered Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwe
Election Commission to call for by-elections in Lupane East, Nkayi South and
Bulilima East. The seats became vacant after the three MP’s were sacked by
the MDC led by Welshman Ncube. The MP’s took the matter to court challenging
an inter-party agreement not to contest by-elections should they fall

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Fear of violence in public hearings

By Chengetai Zvauya, Senior Writer
Monday, 17 October 2011 09:34

HARARE - Fears of violence have clouded public hearings on the Electoral
Amendments Bill that start today, forcing edgy organisers to seek the
intervention of police and political leaders.

Chairman of the portfolio committee on justice, legal affairs,
constitutional and parliamentary affairs Douglas Mwonzora confirmed that his
committee was frantically seeking assurances that violence that has affected
parliamentary business in the past will not be repeated.

“We have spoken to the representatives of the three political  parties to
rein in on their supporters during the outreach programme and they have
given us an undertaking that they are going to be controlling their
supporters and we hope that is true,” said Mwonzora.

Mwonzora said his committee had also approached the police to help the
committee to maintain peace and order during the outreach programme.

“The police have also assured that they shall be deploying enough manpower
to control the public. It is the function of the police to stop hordes and
gangs of hooligans who are committing domestic terrorism. The problem of
political violence is usually associated with Zanu PF members as it has
happened in the past,” said Mwonzora.

Mwonzora said his committee will be holding public hearings from 17-24
October in Marondera, Headlands, Mutasa, Nyika, Masvingo, Bulawayo Lupane,
Plumtree, Gokwe, Kadoma and Harare.

During the hearing the public is expected to give orally evidence on what
they want to be included in the Electoral Act, the law which governs the
holding of elections in the country.

The resumption of the parliamentary public hearings follows the abandonment
of the public hearings after Zanu PF supporters in June attacked members of
the public and legislators who had gathered at parliament building during
the public hearing of the Human Rights Bill.

MDC MP for Hwange Brian Tshuma was beaten up by rowdy Zanu PF supporters in
the presence of the police who did not protect him and members of the public
resulting in the abandonment of meetings.

Prior to that, Zanu PF youths had disrupted public hearing of the justice,
legal affairs, constitutional and parliamentary affairs countrywide meetings
on the same Bill.

Last month, Zanu PF youths went on a violent spree during the opening of
parliament by President Robert Mugabe, resulting in the 87-year-old
appealing for peace amongst his supporters.

Electoral Amendments Bill Public hearings schedule

Monday 17th October

1.   Marondera – Ambuya Nehanda Hall: 10.00 am
2.   Headlands – Headlands Hall: 2 pm

Tuesday 18th October:

1.   Mutasa – Mutasa Rural District Council, DC Centre: 10 am
2.   Mutare – Sakubva Beit Hall:  4 pm

Wednesday 19th October:

1.   Nyika – Nyika Growth Point: 12 noon
2.   Masvingo – Mucheke Hall: 4 pm

Thursday 20th October:

Plumtree – Town Council Hall: 12.30 pm
Friday 21st October:

1.   Lupane – Lupane Community Hall: 12 noon
2.   Bulawayo – Small City Hall, 5 pm

Saturday 22nd October

Gokwe – Cheziya Community Hall: 2 pm
Sunday 23rd October
Kadoma – Rimuka Hall: 10 am

Monday 24th October

Harare – Senate Chamber, Parliament Building – 10 am

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Zim government reacted angrily to criticism by Commonwealth

The Zimbabwean government has reacted angrily to criticism by the
Commonwealth group of states of its appalling preparations for the
forthcoming polls and continuing rights violations.
by Chief Reporter

Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Zimbabwe's foreign minister, said the Commonwealth
Advisory Bureau's meeting on Zimbabwe combined "illegality with arrogance".

Mumbengegwi described as "acts of mischief" the meeting at which the
thinktank suggested in a briefing paper issued before the Oct. 28-30
Commonwealth summit in Perth, Australia, that the Commonwealth could offer
help to Zimbabwe to encourage progress towards democracy.

But David Howell, the Foreign Office minister responsible for Britain's
relations with the Commonwealth, expressed deep concern at Zimbabwe's
alleged violation of the rule of law and political values.

Howell said now was not the time for the Commonwealth to make a gesture to
Zimbabwe. "No-one is going to encourage, certainly Britain isn't going to
encourage, olive branches or anything else to a Mr. Mugabe who is showing no
sign of recanting, standing down or removing some of his Zanu thugs from the
scene," Howell told Reuters in an interview.

"There's got to be big changes inside Zimbabwe," he said. Mumbengegwi said
the Commonwealth had no rifght to continue debating Zimbabwe.

"We parted ways in 2003, and we don't understand this obsession with
Zimbabwe," he said. Zimbabwe was booted out of the 54-nation group
consisting mainly of Britain and its former colonies, in 2003 after the
organisation suspended it following Mugabe's re-election in a poll some
observers said was rigged.

Zimbabwe was also suspended for failing to follow the Abuja Agreement,
signed in September 2001 as a framework to bring order to the country's land
reform programme and the Harare declaration on democracy and human rights.

The Commonwealth thinktank meeting expressed concern about continued
violence in Zimbabwe, occupation of property, restriction of the media and
political intimidation. The US and European Union have also expressed

There will have to be fundamental reform in Zimbabwe and most of the change
will have to be led by a regional grouping, the Southern African Development
Community (SADC), with South African President Jacob Zuma playing a lead
role, said Howell, a member of Britain's upper House of Lords.

"But I think the Commonwealth certainly sees itself - when the time comes,
which is not yet - also being a leading force in helping the recovery of
Zimbabwe, the restoration of credible and properly monitored elections and
the revival of its whole economy and its role in the world," he said.

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Mutare Mayor attacked in robbery

By Alex Bell
17 October 2011

The MDC-T’s Mayor for Mutare, Brian James, was attacked during a robbery at
his home over the weekend.

The Mayor, who is also the party’s treasurer for Manicaland, was sleeping at
home with his wife on Saturday night when two men stormed their bedroom. The
intruders, who were both armed and wearing balaclavas, demanded access to
the couple’s safe.

According to James’ wife Lynee, the robbers accused her husband of
supporting a “sell out” before demanding cash, keys to the safe, and
diamonds. Lynee is quoted by NewsDay as saying that “the mayor became cross
and inquired what they wanted. That is when he was hit on the head with the
butt of a pistol. They proceeded to tie us and ordered us to lie on our

The robbers then made off with two laptops, cellphones, cameras and cash
amounting to about US$150 and other items. The Mayor meanwhile was treated
for a minor head wound.

Lynee meanwhile reportedly expressed disappointment at the conduct of police
who came to record statements from them.

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Madzore’s urgent bail application postponed again

By Tichaona Sibanda
17 October 2011

The High court on Monday again postponed an urgent application by the MDC-T
Youth Assembly leader, Solomon Madzore to be released from custody on bail.

Madzore was arrested two weeks ago and is facing trumped-up charges of
murdering police inspector Petros Mutedza in Glen View, back in May. Police
arrested only MDC supporters, claiming party activists killed the cop at a
local pub, despite evidence many were not even at that location on the day.

The High Court bail application by Madzore was first postponed from last
week Wednesday to Friday. On Friday it was postponed to Monday after the
State prosecutor said he was not ready.

On Monday Justice Hlekani Mwayera postponed the ruling to Tuesday, saying
she needed time to review the state’s response. The State is opposing bail
claiming that Madzore has been on the run for the past five months and that
he is a flight risk and has contacts outside Zimbabwe.

Promise Mkwananzi, the secretary-general of the youth assembly, told SW
Radio Africa that it is a ‘naked lie’ by the police to suggest Madzore has
been on the run.

‘Madzore has never been on the run. He has been attending public rallies and
meetings all along and for the police to say he is a flight risk is nothing
but rubbish,’ Mkwananzi said.

The youth leader is one of 28 MDC members who have been arrested since May
on charges of murdering Mutedzaa police officer at Glen View 3 Shopping
Centre. The police officer was murdered by unknown revellers at a night

During his initial hearing, provincial magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi denied
Madzore bail and remanded him in custody to 19th October. This forced his
lawyers to lodge an urgent High court application for bail.

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Hearing postponed for abuse case of Zimbabwean official's aide

Oct 17, 2011, 17:51 GMT

Harare - A lawsuit by a confidante to Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai who claims he was abused while in government detention was
postponed Monday so it can be merged with similar cases.

A court official told dpa that the case had been 'postponed indefinitely'
since 'the court wants other 25 cases in which the government ministers are
being sued to be consolidated with this case.'

The lawsuit targets, among others, Attorney General Johannes Tomana.

Gandhi Mudzwinga, a director of Tsvangirai's office, was a personal aide to
the prime minister in 2008 when he was abducted and held incommunicado for
weeks, during which time he claims he was tortured and starved.

Mudzwinga's lawsuit seeks a 1.2-million-dollar payment from four ministers
and security agents allegedly involved with the case. At the time, Mudzwinga
was charged with banditry and acts of terrorism.

One of the cases with which it might be combined is that of Jestina Mukoko,
who gained international fame in 2008 when she was allegedly abducted by
state agents and mistreated during detention. She is suing the state for
200,000 dollars.

A Zimbabwean court has approved her appeal for a permanent stay of
prosecution on charges of attempting to topple the government of President
Robert Mugabe.

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Police Refusing With Mujuru Death Probe Results - Makone

Bulawayo,October 17,2011- Co-Home Affairs Minister, Theresa Makone said
police are refusing to give her an update regarding investigations on the
death of Retired General Solomon Mujuru, despite being a Minister
responsible for police.

Speaking to Radio VOP in Bulawayo on Monday, Makone said she doesn’t even
know what is happening, as she has not been given any single update by
police since Mujuru's death.

“I have not been told anything about this issue, I am being sidelined, I don’t
even know at what stage police have reached with the investigations. So I
think the only option left for me is to ask Vice President (Joyce) Mujuru
about this issue, to find whether she has received any results of probe from
the police or not,” said Makone who is also chairperson of the Women
Assembly in the MDC-T.

Mujuru died in mysterious circumstances at his Beatrice farm in August, and
it is not yet known whether he died before an inferno at his house or was
killed by the fire.

Police recently said they had finished the first part of investigations but
are yet to make their findings.

Last week Zimbabwean legislators demanded that government invite foreign
police from countries such as China, Russia and Britain to investigate the
death of General Mujuru saying they don’t trust the country’s police.

Despite the calls by the MPs, the police have so far rebuffed suggestions of
incorporating any outside investigators to join its investigating team.

General Mujuru’s widow, Vice President Joyce Mujuru has also demanded
answers. She poured her heart out days after her husband’s death saying she
could not understand how a military man could have failed to escape a fire
in a house which had so many easily accessible exit points.

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Still no bailout for Air Zim

By Business Writer
Monday, 17 October 2011 10:28

HARARE - National carrier Air Zimbabwe (Air Zim) says it is still to secure
funding for operational purposes and to settling its $100 million debt.

Air Zim acting chief executive said government had not changed its position
when it turned down the struggling airline’s capital request.

“We have not been given the money yet and do not know if we will be getting
the money from government any time soon, as far as I know Minister Biti has
not changed his mind on funding for the airline, besides that I cannot
comment any further,” he said.

The airline which was previously ranked highly in the region has been
crippled by debt with pilots striking over unpaid allowances.

The Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructure Development has
taken over the responsibility of settling the airlines debt amid calls by
economists to privatise the airline.

Economists argued that the only way to resuscitate the ailing airline was to
look for private partners who would help by injecting fresh capital.

Problems at Air Zim have also been worsened by declining passenger
confidence and the coming in of major international airlines on its
profitable routes.

Emirates announced that it would be servicing the Harare-Dubai route five
times a week starting February 2012 with a bigger plane.

The Dubai-based airline has begun recruitments for staff to be based in the

South African Airways has also taken heed of the lucrative
Harare-Johannesburg route by launching an Airbus A330-200 to service the
route every Thursday to cater for the gap that was left by Air Zim.

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Urgent support for elephants needed

Urgent support for elephants needed: Your vote can help towards protecting elephants from killed in Zimbabwe

Dear Friends



A herd of 70 elephants is under threat in Zimbabwe’s Chiredzi River Conservancy (CRC) which is located in the south eastern lowveld close to Gona re Zhou National Park.

The Chiredzi River Conservancy is once again being over-run by invaders who are setting fires, clearing areas, chopping down trees and destroying riverine forests at an alarming rate. The elephants are also under threat from wildlife poaching, habitat destruction and encroachment.

The invaders are chasing the elephants away from dams and other water sources using hunting dogs, burning logs and anything else they can get their hands on. Recent reports have indicate that stress is taking the toll on the beautiful creatures and they are now exhibiting signs of being emanciated. Lack of water resources is a recurring problem which is resulting in a clash between the herd and the invaders.

The elephants are now in danger of being shot or posioned. For the full story, history and to view pictures you can click on this link:!/notes/chiredzi-river-conservancy/elephant-crisis-situation-in-zimbabwe-escalates-urgent-intervention-needed-as-au/164889610264589
If you have a Facebook account, you can also like the CRC page to get updates and generate much needed awareness.

The CRC stands a chance to win a grant by having the most number of votes.Voting will close on 31 October.  Please vote by clicking on this link: 

You will then get an email to confirm the vote. This money will be used to employ more patrol staff, supplies and equipment to protect the elephants in the meantime while an urgent solution is found.

Your vote will only take five minutes but it will make a big difference in the lives of these peaceful elephants who have the right to exist without fear and harm in the land they belong to.

This little calf’s mother was shot by poachers three days prior to the this photograph being taken.

Here it is trying to drink water but its chances of survival are slim in its weakened state.

Vulnerable youngsters need to be protected if they are to have a future.



The orphaned calf with the rest of the herd.

Water resources are being depleted and polluted at a rapid rate by the invaders.




A family group within the herd of Chiredzi River Conservancy elephants.

Hostile invaders are taking over their land and resources, causing them stress and many are losing drastic amounts of weight.




Invaders of wildlife conservancies in Zimbabwe rely increasingly on the diminishing wildlife to sustain themselves.

Pictured are invaders in the lowveld area using elephant meat as a food source.

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15 000 say goodbye to singer Tongai Moyo

By Lance Guma
17 October 2011

Over 15 000 people packed into Mbizo Stadium in Kwekwe to pay their last
respects to music superstar Tongai Moyo, who died Saturday evening. The 43
year old, affectionately known as ‘Dhewa’, died at St Annes Hospital in
Harare after a six year battle with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, a cancer of the
white blood cells.

Fellow musicians Sulumani Chimbetu, his best friend Somandla Ndebele, First
Farai and Pastor Charles Charamba and Olivia Charamba, among others,
attended a special church service that was held in Harare on Sunday. Later
on business came to a standstill as Moyo’s body, accompanied by family
members and friends, was driven from the funeral parlour to his home town of

On Monday his legion of fans were given an opportunity to pay their last
respects to the Utakataka Express frontman at the local Mbizo Stadium. It
was there that 15 000 people got the chance to file past his casket and view
his body, which was later driven to his rural home of Zhombe where SW Radio
Africa understands he will be buried on Tuesday.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday issued a statement
mourning the death of Moyo describing him as “an iconic musician who raised
the country’s flag and helped lift the arts industry in the country.”
Tsvangirai said Moyo had “kept the nation entertained through his
thought-provoking lyrics and was one of the most popular musicians in the

Tongai Moyo and Tsvangirai have over the years struck up a close bond. When
Tsvangirai’s wife Susan died in a suspicious car accident, Moyo travelled
all the way to Buhera for the burial. When Moyo’s first wife committed
suicide last year Tsvangirai spent a considerable amount of his time at his
house in Kwekwe.

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New Zim mall to cost US$100m

Eyewitness News | 7 Hour(s) Ago

Top South African retailers are throwing caution to the wind and snapping up
space in Zimbabwe's newest US$100 million shopping mall.

Developers said they also needed local tenants for the mall.

They said they could not start building until all tenants were signed up.

The Mall of Zimbabwe Millenium Park would be in Harare's plush Borrowdale

It would cost at least US$100 million to build but work will not start until

Press reports said South African firms have already booked 53 percent of the

They include shops like Spar and Pick n Pay.

The state-run Herald reported that South African investors are not fazed by
Zimbabwe's indigenisation laws.

The law suggest that foreign investors cannot have more than a 49 percent
share in firms worth more than US$500,000.

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Khaya-Moyo Denies Riches

HARARE, October 17, 2011 - Zanu (PF) national chairperson Simon Khaya-Moyo
has denied claims that he is among senior party officials who are making a
killing through their take-over of conservancies formerly owned by white

Last week, The Financial Gazette quoted leaked United States (US) classified
cables the former country’s ambassador to South Africa was among Zanu (PF)
members and ministers who owned conservancies.

In a statement at the weekend, Khaya-Moyo said: “In your newspaper’s front
page article dated 6-12 October 2011 titled Ministers strike it rich in
conservancies: Wikileaks, my name appears as one senior party official
owning a hunting conservancy in the Gwaai Valley Conservancy area. I neither
own a conservancy in the said area nor in any part of Zimbabwe, period. The
Ministry responsible or national parks can vouch that my name does not
appear in their records relative to this matter.”
Zimbabwe’s war veterans violently took farms from white commercial farmers
in 2001. It has been alleged that most of the farms have been grabbed by
Zanu (PF) government ministers and party officials.

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Former CIO agent avoids UK jail

By Bristol Evening Post
Monday, 17 October 2011 09:39

HARARE - A former Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officer, who
admitted illegally working in the United Kingdom as a care-giver, will avoid
jail if he helps the “poor and needy” at his Pentecostal church.

Phillip Machemedze, 47, who lives in the Redfield area of Bristol with wife
Febbie, worked as a bodyguard to a senior minister back home in Zimbabwe as
part of the feared CIO.

An immigration hearing this year heard that while still a CIO officer,
Machemedze broke one victim’s jaw with a pair of pliers and shocked another
with electric cables.

But this week, after seven years of working illegally at institutions in
Bristol, Machemedze was told by a judge he must devote just half a day a
week to doing good work within his church to pay off his debt to society.

An immigration judge decided in May 2010 that Machemedze could himself face
torture if he was returned home, and he and his wife — who was granted
asylum — can stay in Britain indefinitely and earn a living.

At Bristol Crown Court last Tuesday, Machemedze admitted two charges of
obtaining pecuniary advantage by deception.

He pleaded guilty to working illegally as a care-giver at an adolescent unit
within The Priory, a drug and alcohol recovery hospital in Stapleton from
June 2005 to May 2010.

He also admitted being a support worker for Milestones Trust, a charity
aiding people with learning disabilities and mental health needs from May
2003 to May 2010.

Prosecuting, Richard Posner said in April 2005 the HR manager at the
Milestones Trust received a tip-off that Machemedze was working illegally.

“At a subsequent meeting, the defendant provided a letter from the Home
Office confirming he was allowed to work in the UK,” he said.

“That letter was deemed satisfactory and he was allowed to continue to work.
This case is primarily the use of that Home Office letter in order to create
a deception that the defendant was legally allowed to work here.”

Posner said Machemedze had arrived into London Gatwick from Zimbabwe in July
2000 and was given a six-month visa but was prohibited from working.

In illegally securing jobs, he had managed to get through several checks
including an enhanced criminal record bureau check.

To obtain employment, the Zimbabwean had also been able to provide the Home
Office letter, a National insurance number as well as birth and marriage

When he obtained work with The Priory, Machemedze claimed he had worked in
UK care since 1999 but did not arrive until the following year, Posner said.

The prosecutor said in the seven-year period he had worked, Machemedze took
home a net income of around £151 000.

“After his six months in this country expired, he became an over-stayer and
it was not until 2008 that he applied for asylum. Finally in May 2010, he
was given permission to stay in the country and allowed to work,” Posner

Jane Chamberlain, defending, said her client now had indefinite leave to
remain in the country and was allowed to work but was now unemployed and
seeking benefits.

“He is a regular attendee at his Pentecostal Church where he does voluntary
work to get clothes sent back to Zimbabwe,” she said. “He also goes to bible
study twice a week.”

Judge Julian Lambert told Machemedze he would defer his sentencing for six

“I require you to work hard with your church to make better the lives of the
poor and needy,” he said.

“I expect you to devote half a day each week to serving the community
through your church. If I see you have done good work when you return and I
have your promise that you will continue that good work I shall give you
your liberty.”

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Branson plotted to oust Mugabe

October 16 2011 at 01:02pm
By Peta Thornycroft

Virgin Group head Sir Richard Branson has vehemently denied last weeks
extraordinary claims that he once offered a �6.5 million bribe to persuade
the Zimbabwean leader to stand down. REUTERS/Alex Gallardo)

LONDON: Yes, there was a secret plot to oust President Robert Mugabe. Yes,
Sir Richard Branson was one of its ringleaders. But the British billionaire
has vehemently denied last week’s extraordinary claims that he once offered
a £6.5 million bribe to persuade the Zimbabwean leader to stand down.

The mogul told The Independent exclusively that in 2007 he orchestrated
covert meetings between Jonathan Moyo, a minister in Mugabe’s government,
and several respected African statesmen.

And, in a revelation that could send shockwaves through Harare’s political
establishment, Branson revealed he held direct discussions with close Mugabe
ally Gideon Gono about removing the old autocrat. As governor of the country’s
reserve bank, Gono has, for years, bankrolled the regime.

But Branson claimed the plan, revealed last week by WikiLeaks, fell apart
when he and his colleagues had serious reservations about whether Moyo and
his supporters were suitable people to join in the business of

“I was approached by the man who was mentioned in the WikiLeaks, Jonathan
Moyo, and listened. Eventually, we decided not to do anything with him. We
just weren’t completely sure his was the best approach.

“We have subsequently done some things for, and in, Zimbabwe, on some of the
issues discussed at those meetings, but we ultimately just felt working with
him wasn’t necessarily the right way forward.”

But it is Branson’s description of his dealings with Gono, far more
influential than Moyo and one of Mugabe’s inner circle, that will raise
eyebrows in Harare. Branson says he also held discussions with Gono about
the possibilities of regime change.

Branson says the scheme was prompted by a chance meeting with Gono at an
airport in South Africa early in 2007. At the time, Zimbabwe was suffering
from growing volatility before elections the following year.

They had a short talk in which several ideas for Mugabe’s removal were
raised. Those ideas were later fleshed out via e-mail and elaborated in
several days’ face-to-face meetings which Moyo, but not Gono, attended in
Joburg in July that year.

That account contradicts an earlier version of events from Moyo. He told the
Zimbabwean Daily News he was the conduit between Branson and Gono, who
refused to pass the message on to Mugabe. Gono refused to comment.

Branson said: “I remember meeting Gideon Gono at an airport. I can’t
remember whether I also met Moyo then. Maybe they were together… We did
later meet (Moyo), and we did put him up in Joburg for a few days, but we
decided not to continue with him.”

Gono is a controversial figure, since his time as Zimbabwe’s top banker has
coincided with hyperinflation that has exacerbated its economic ruin. His
private life also makes headlines. Last year, he was forced briefly into
hiding amid rumours he had pursued a five-year extra-marital affair with
Mugabe’s wife, Grace.

According to the plan Gono and Moyo helped hatch, Nelson Mandela and a
collection of other respected figures would have approached Mugabe. They
would have tactfully claimed they wished to protect his legacy, and
safeguard Zimbabwe’s future, by organising a peaceful transition of power.

Mugabe was to be offered immunity from future prosecution, as well as the
chance to appoint an interim prime minister. In return, he would co-operate
with a truth-and-reconciliation process modelled on South Africa’s.

The existence of the scheme was made public last week, when WikiLeaks
published a series of classified cables written by US ambassador to
Pretoria, Eric Bost. He had got his hands on several e-mails between Branson
and Moyo.

The Daily News, which broke the WikiLeaks story, claimed Branson had been
prepared to “offer Mugabe a £6.5m incentive to stand down”.

That element of the story is untrue, Branson insists. “It was never
discussed. It would have been cheap at the price, but it just happens not to
be true.”

Branson says he was troubled by the revelation a US diplomat had apparently
been able to get hold of sensitive private e-mails. “Obviously, they must be
listening in, or doing something. I have no idea how they got them.”

His recollection of the affair raises questions about the public statements
Moyo, who is now a member of Zanu-PF’s politburo, made last week. For
example, on Tuesday, Moyo told The Independent his only meeting with Branson
had come in a check-in queue at OR Tambo Airport in April 2007.

“We chatted for about an hour- and-a-half. When he learnt I was an MP, he
was interested in my views. Mr Branson is a good man.”

Although the 2007 scheme came to naught, Branson said, The Elders, a group
of world leaders he helped form, played a key role in setting up Zimbabwe’s
coalition government after the 2008 elections. He stressed his interest in
easing Mugabe from office was in no way motivated by a desire to expand any
of his Virgin ventures into Zimbabwe, but was largely philanthropic. – The

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‘SA backed coup plot’

October 17 2011 at 10:19am
By Daily Mail and Daily News reporters

South Africa’s National Intelligence Agency (NIA) gave the green light to
the 2004 Equatorial Guinea coup attempt, along with the intelligence
agencies of America, Britain, China and Spain, mercenary Simon Mann has

The man who led a private army against dictator Teodoro Obiang in 2004, said
this weekend that his plan was known – and sanctioned – by Britain’s MI6,
the US’s CIA and NIA bosses, all keen for a regime change without getting
their hands dirty.

He cites as evidence a secret, detailed report which his team hacked from
the computer of a spy with NIA, in 2003. The NIA has close ties to the CIA,
and Mann is confident the Americans shared their information with London.

In March 2004, 64 mercenaries were arrested after their plane landed in
Harare, Zimbabwe, to pick up weapons.

Three men who went to meet them in Harare, including Mann, were also

Questions were raised at the time about how the plane could have left South
Africa without the authorities knowing about the coup plot.

After being extradited to Equatorial Guinea, with some other South Africans,
Mann was found guilty.

Most of the men received one-year sentences for violating Zimbabwe’s
immigration laws. After their release they were deported back to South
Africa. Several of them were charged under SA’s anti-mercenary laws.

Mann was pardoned and released after serving 15 months of a 34-year
sentence, along with four other South African mercenaries, just after a
visit by President Jacob Zuma to Guinea in 2009.

Mann told London’s Daily Mail on Saturday night:

“I believe Britain and America had full visibility on what we were doing.
The South Africans passed on intelligence to the UK and the USA, who had
vested interests.


“When I saw the NIA report, I thought we were busted, that the coup was off.

“But my South African staff, who were linked to the government, reported
back that not only did Pretoria support the coup, but wanted it swiftly

“Later, a South African spook asked me for contact details for Severo Moto
(who Mann planned to install as Equatorial Guinea leader) so the South
African president could hold clandestine talks with him.

“The Spanish government told our main backer it would recognise Moto’s new
administration. That would have legitimised it.

“Once Spain, the former colonial power, had led the way, the UN would
follow. That would allow the US in.”

Other countries such as China were also involved to a lesser extent. One of
Mann’s minor backers was a Chinese arms agent who

insisted a new regime must not support Taiwan in the UN.

“Hardly the request of a private individual but certainly something Peking
would seek,” Mann said.

“Any of these countries could have busted the operation but they didn’t want
to. There’s no question they wanted Obiang toppled. He was perceived to be a
ghastly dictator who ate his enemies and there was a lot of money to be

“What do you need to achieve regime change and make trillions of dollars? A
written invitation?

“Equatorial Guinea has been in play for years. Israel was there, the French
were desperate to get in, the Spanish wanted it back, and America was
watching from the sidelines, all for the petrodollars.

“None of them was officially willing to achieve regime change so a private
military company was always going to be permitted to try. If MI6 or any of
the others had said ‘back off’ I would have had to. But they didn’t, and
that gave us the green light we needed.”

Yesterday Brian Dube, the spokesman for State Security Minister Siyabonga
Cwele, refused to comment on any link the NIA had to Mann or the failed

“We have not seen either the report or his (Mann’s) book and its contents.
But anyway we would not get involved in acts which contradict the country’s
foreign policy,” he said.

Clayson Monyela, the spokesman for the Department of International Relations
and Co-operation did not respond to phone calls and SMSes on Sunday.

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NZ win Twenty20 series in Zimbabwe

18/10/2011 03:54 AM

A Zimbabwe capitulation helped New Zealand claim the second Twenty20
international by 34 runs in Harare on Monday.

Both teams had their overs reduced to 18 following a short rain delay, but
that only prompted a greater urgency from the tourists, and they duly
clubbed their way to 187-3.

In reply Zimbabwe looked good in spots, but suffered a calamitous end to
their innings to be bowled out for 154 from 16.5 overs.

Openers Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill had been responsible for
Zimbabwe's demise in the first T20 on Saturday.

And they were at it again two days later, with a damaging partnership of 120
for the first wicket.

McCullum was eventually bowled but not before making 64, and Guptill had
reached 67 by the time he was dislodged, with Kyle Jarvis claiming both

Ross Taylor was the only other NZ wicket to fall, run out for eight, leaving
Jesse Ryder unbeaten on 30.

The Zimbabwe chase was a mixture of feast and famine; Chamu Chibhabha
plundered 65 and Elton Chigumbura 39, while Forster Mutizwa weighed in with
a handy 22.

But the home side also saw two key men, Charles Coventry (0) and skipper
Taylor (one), depart cheaply, meaning they never truly threatened.

The dismissals of Chigumbura and Coventry were both claimed by Nathan
McCullum (3-23), caught and bowled in the space of two deliveries.

Despite McCullum's efforts, the hosts might have felt in with a chance at
149-6, and with four overs still to come.

But any hopes of an unlikely victory were dashed by an insipid conclusion to
Zimbabwe's innings.

The loss of Malcolm Waller for 12 runs in the 16th over proved to be the cue
for a dramatic collapse.

Waller was followed by Mutizwa four balls later.

And tailenders Ray Price, Jarvis and Chris Mpofu all fell for successive
ducks in the next over.

Mutizwa and Price were run out, while wild swings from Jarvis and Mpofu
gifted Doug Bracewell (3-25) two easy wickets in his second international

Jacob Oram and Graeme Aldridge had one wicket apiece for New Zealand, who
will already be eyeing victory in the first of three one-day internationals,
which takes place in Harare on Thursday.

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How to take tea and turn the tables on Mugabe

By Alec Russell

Published: October 17 2011 19:26 | Last updated: October 17 2011 19:26

The invitation was for afternoon tea at the presidential state house.
Irresistible, one might think, to sit down on a balmy southern spring
afternoon with one of the more clever and courteous presidents of the 21st
century – except that he is also one of the more calamitous. How was a
cleric with a conscience to respond?

Under the circumstances, the Archbishop of Canterbury did pretty well last
week as he paid the first visit to Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe by a British
dignitary in a decade. Rowan Williams rightly disdained the doubters who
said that to visit the old autocrat would be a propaganda coup for a noxious
regime. He was also rather more robust in the presence of that arch-operator
than many western questioners to precede him.

Mr Mugabe has been outsmarting adversaries since long before he took power
more than 30 years ago. This is a man who is as at ease talking of cricket
and reminiscing about Buckingham Palace, as he is whipping up crowds to
harass foes. I wince at memories of my attempts to challenge him on
democracy in 1994. He gave a series of quips and walked on, beaming.

The archbishop was better at sticking to his script. He handed over a
dossier documenting abuse of churchgoers by state security forces. The day
before he had lambasted Mr Mugabe’s record. So far so good. Lambeth Palace
deserved the favourable reviews. But the archbishop missed a trick, and an
important one.

In one deft stroke he could have wrongfooted Mr Mugabe, compelled the west
to rethink its strategy towards Zimbabwe and helped to end its current awful
limbo: he should have stepped out of state house, and called for the US and
European Union to give a timetable for the lifting of their targeted

There will be many in Britain, the old colonial power where Zimbabwe is seen
in particularly stark if sometimes simplistic colours, and indeed some in
that wretched country’s hard-pressed opposition, who will be appalled at
such an idea. The travel and trade bans on Mr Mugabe and senior lieutenants
were after all imposed after repeated brutal crackdowns on the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.

Does not Mr Mugabe rail against the sanctions in speech after speech,
blaming Zimbabwe’s every woe on their impact and their sponsors in the
imperialist west? Would the archbishop not have been just a “useful idiot”
if he had called for them to go?

The answers are yes and no. It is time to call Mr Mugabe’s bluff.

If the sanctions are lifted he will of course claim victory and argue that
the west is in retreat. Let him crow. The truth is that the sanctions,
limited as they are, salve our consciences in the west but in fact do little
but help keep a despot in power. Officials of the MDC, in year three of an
unhappy government of national unity with Mr Mugabe’s larcenous Zanu-PF, are
desperate for them to go. Blaming the sanctions is one of the last two
weapons the 87-year-old has in his rhetorical armoury – the other is his
on-off push to have a majority state stake in foreign-owned mines and banks.

Mr Mugabe’s claim that the sanctions have destroyed the economy is
ludicrous – his ruinous populism has done that – but they are, say business
people, inhibiting investment. Also it is time to heed South Africa, for it
is Pretoria not Whitehall which is steering policy on Zimbabwe.

The regional hegemon may have an erratic foreign policy – most recently it
clumsily bowed to Beijing’s pressure and denied the Dalai Lama a visa to
attend Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 80th birthday – but it has been reining in
some of Mr Mugabe’s excesses. Its pressure helped avert Mr Mugabe’s
aspiration for a snap – and presumably brutal – election this year.

Pretoria wants sanctions lifted to discountenance Mr Mugabe’s party, which
cites them as a reason not to implement the three-year-old political
agreement that should underpin a free and fair election.

Many EU diplomats privately say sanctions achieve little and suggest that
Britain backs them primarily to keep its rightwing press off its back.
Foreign Office old hands like to say governments have three options: invade,
impose sanctions and do nothing. Neither option one nor three is viable
here, an old mandarin observes, so sanctions endure.

The prospect of seeing Mr Mugabe shopping in Harrods once again is of course
distasteful – although he can and does travel to UN summits. But few outside
Pyongyang will really believe him now if he claims to be exonerated.

It is not that sanctions never serve a purpose, but Zimbabwe’s have outlived
theirs. Far from boosting Mr Mugabe, their removal will hasten the prospect
of Dr Williams meeting the MDC’s doughty leader next time he has tea in
State House, Harare.

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Keynote Address by the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe

Keynote Address by the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, the Right Hon. Morgan Tsvangirai, at the Agribusiness Forum

Johannesburg, South Africa

17 October 2011

The Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, South Africa Hon. Joemat-Pettersson
Honourable Ministers here present
Business Leaders
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to be invited here to address this year’s AgriBusiness Forum here in South Africa.

This is clearly a key event not only for those who wish to take part in investing in Africa’s agriculture industry, but also for the Africans themselves for whom food has been a key demand in recent years.

The current starvation and acute food shortages especially in the Horn of Africa is a wake-up call on the need not only to take agriculture as a serious industry, but also to see how best we can marshall our collective effort to ensure none of humanity starves. 

I am told the AgriBusiness Forum aims at strengthening the Agri-Food sector in Africa, by encouraging partnerships, exchanging best practices and attracting investment.

The programme is premised on the belief that the success of Africa depends on the development and growth of its private sector. 

I notice that some of the objectives of this Forum include:

1. Attracting new public and private sector investment for Africa’s Agri-Food Sector;  

2. Driving the attention on the importance of Regional Value Chains; and,

3. Highlighting both public and private sector driven initiatives, among others.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am the eldest son of a bricklayer and rural farmer, hailing from a rural village in Zimbabwe and therefore can claim some knowledge on the importance of agriculture in the provision of food to an ordinary African family.

While as Africans we have traditionally concentrated on engaging in agriculture for domestic sustenance, there has been a huge development in the past few years which has seen many people engage in commercial agriculture.

This necessitates the need for training, skills retention and massive investment in the agricultural industry so that we not only build adequate reserves for national domestic use, but also that we may be able to boost exports and improve our economies.

I am well aware that a noxious combination of drought, failed harvests, a collapsed agricultural infrastructure and rising food prices have brought acute food shortages to Africa.

Changes to weather patterns in recent years have meant that farmers in Africa are increasingly facing challenges in predicting farming seasons.

And when the rains do come, whether there will be too little or too much rainfall – a failure which could have devastating consequences on agricultural production and food security in most African countries.

Success or failure in agricultural production, obviously has a direct bearing on food security. Therefore, discussion must be held to examine the key direct and indirect determinants and consequences of food insecurity in Africa.

Research has shown that there is global recognition that hunger and the cycle of poverty in Africa are two of the most significant development challenges that the world faces today.

Studies have also shown agriculture to be the most effective driver of growth in the world’s poorest countries. Raising agricultural productivity is essential for reducing rural poverty, enhancing food security, and stimulating broad-based economic growth.

But why has Africa become poorer and food insecure despite having arguably the best agricultural land, water points and mineral wealth that the world envies?

I will provide a critical response to this pertinent probe using Zimbabwe as a case study.

Agriculture is the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s economy but political instability, failure to access loans and a low financial liquidity  position continues to threaten this key sector.

This means food security continues to be threatened and as government, we have to take urgent steps to ensure that there is food security in the country.

Food security in Zimbabwe remains a pressing issue with achievements at risk from a protracted dry spell which affected six out of ten provinces during the 2010/2011 season.

Rates for chronic and acute childhood malnutrition still stand at 35 percent and 2.4 percent respectively.

Zimbabwe used to be the breadbasket of southern Africa until a wanton destruction of agricultural infrastructure when some political actors bastardised a noble land redistribution programme  into a chaotic enterprise.

During the 1980s and 1990s, Zimbabwe was a reliable exporter of food to neighbouring countries.

During those years, horticulture, alongside tobacco, was one of the top consistent foreign currency earners for the country.

But the advent of the chaotic and violent land invasions decimated the sector and caused loss of confidence in agriculture as an industry.

The chaotic land reform programme left thousands of farm workers destitute and exposed downstream industry to severe shocks that collapsed the economic fabric of the once prosperous nation.

The nobility of land redistribution in Zimbabwe was never in doubt, but it became an avenue for avarice, looting and aggrandizement as chefs and the politically-connected grabbed farms for themselves, leaving former farm workers destitute and ordinary Zimbabweans crowded out of this national process.

Financial institutions that had supported agriculture for a long time were also left exposed as farmers failed to service loans advanced to them having been stripped of their assets. They all suffered for investing in agriculture.

Since then Zimbabwe has become a basket case and as government, our major challenge is to ensure that we support this critical sector by moving from the rhetoric of land redistribution to the practicality of land productivity.

I genuinely believe in supporting the empowerment of locals in the area of agriculture, but I believe in us going further that simply doling out a farm without title, without training, without markets and without downstream processing industries to enable beneficiation and value-addition to their products.

Because, Ladies and Gentlemen, we cannot have a progressive society by creating more peasants, without security of tenure on their land and without the relevant infrastructure to engage in meaningful agriculture that averts food insecurity.

And the question of support, the question of marketing, training of rural farmers and small-scale farmers, must become part of our new thrust to create the right conditions for an agriculture boom in Zimbabwe.

It is also imperative that we address out toxic politics by averting violence in the farming and rural areas, stopping new land invasions and instead concentrate on how best we can ensure productivity by our new farmers.

To kick-start the agricultural revolution, the transitional Government we established in 2009 following disputed 2008 elections, has agreed to finding a lasting solution to the land issue.

Land involves social, legal and economic relationships. That being the case, there should never be any ambiguity about land as a legal expression.

Property rights and title deeds must underpin the agrarian reform and therefore the constitution must recognize land and its ownership as a basic ground norm, which will be consistent with international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights.

These basic rights and norms in respect to title rights in agriculture have been consistently and violently violated over the past decade in Zimbabwe.

Unfortunately, Ladies and Gentlemen, this has driven agrarian investment elsewhere because no sane investor will pour their hard earned funds into a country where property rights are not guaranteed.

If land is a constitutionally protected human right, then its acquisition and distribution must also be a constitutional issue.

This means that the distribution of land for the public good must be totally de-politicised and must not be subject to the whims of an executive driven by political concerns.

I am aware that land re-distribution is an issue in many African countries. The task of distribution and acquisition must be entrusted to a Land Commission, duly set up by an Act of Parliament, whose majority members must be experts of integrity.

Therefore, constitutionality and the rule of law must be the basis on which any democratic government must resolve land ownership imbalances.

Accordingly, citizens share the fundamental right to the protection of their person and property and to be selected for settlement regardless of their gender, race, ethnic origin, religion or political opinions.

Without these guarantees, Distinguished Guests, attracting investment in this key sector will remain a pipe dream.

To entice investment into the critical sector, the Government must take the lead in demonstrating the importance of agriculture.

To resuscitate the decimated agriculture sector, the political agreement that led to the formation of the transitional Government in Zimbabwe dictates that we conduct a comprehensive, transparent and non-partisan land audit, during the tenure of the current Parliament, for the purpose of establishing accountability and eliminating multiple farm ownerships.

We have also committed to ensuring that all Zimbabweans who are eligible to be allocated land and who apply for it shall be considered for allocation irrespective of race, gender, religion, ethnicity or political affiliation, to ensure security of tenure to all land holders and above all, to work together for the restoration of full productivity on all agricultural land.

The agricultural sector remains one of the key sectors of the Zimbabwean economy. To that extent it is therefore critical for government to create a conducive environment and policy framework to maintain sustainability of this key sector. 
In this regard the Government has since 2009 ensured meaningful financing to agriculture together with the private sector and cooperating partners. 
Between 2009 and 2011, the Inclusive Government together with international partners and private financiers have committed a total of US$1.9 billion into the agricultural sector. Budgetary support on its own has totaled US$552 million. 

Government finance alone has risen from US$79 million in 2009 to the projected US$248.2 million in 2011.

Government has committed itself to mobilize and coordinate banks, development partners, seed houses, farmers unions, fertilizer companies as well as individual farmers to put in place the necessary financing arrangements for the 2011/2012 Summer Cropping Season which will target 500 000 vulnerable farmers including 100 000 vulnerable households and will be complemented by cooperating partners.

I am aware of the existence of vulnerable farming groups in the country in particular communal farmers and therefore, I believe that Government has a responsibility to support these vulnerable farmers.

However, I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the skewed nature of distribution of inputs and the use of inputs and food as a campaign tool by some of our partners in this coalition government.

Among other things we are calling for is the compensation to the former owners of commercial land in Zimbabwe and clear and immediate legislation on maximum sizes of farms.

There must be legislation confirming the principle of one family one farm in respect of all land that was subject to the land reform program.

There must be creation of proper financing structures for agriculture that are primarily dependent on private capital, banks and other farming interests.

Proper market mechanisms for agricultural commodities should be promoted.

Clearly a commodities exchange is required and in future a Grain Exchange. The current model where the Grain Marketing Board is used as a buyer of first resort instead of a buyer of last resort is unworkable and unsustainable.

The State cannot and should not fix pre-planting prices for any commodity. This creates distortions and causes an unsustainable burden on the State.

We certainly need to inject massive investment in Research and Extension Services, particularly in light of global warming and climate change which have redesigned and reshaped the face of agriculture globally.

Equal treatment must be given to all forms of agriculture that is those that are producing grains and those involved in livestock.

Automation and mechanization of agriculture, value addition to all agricultural commodities and agro-processing must be at the epicenter of our new thrust in agriculture.

The State, through Public Private Partnerships and Build Own Operate and Transfer  (BOOTs) must develop supportive infrastructure that include energy, roads and water. Water and energy in particular are critical in liquidating rural poverty and the exploitation and under development of women.

In the absence of any contrary scientific research, the State should carefully embrace GMO technology in agriculture.

But any plans for improving agriculture depend on improving the technical, economic, legal and trade conditions under which farmers and agribusinesses must operate.

There is a need, therefore, to understand that rural production, involving both agri-industry and peasant agriculture, can do more than urban industry if properly planned and supported.

The question is one of effectiveness, not the gross number of workers in any sector.

I am a firm believer in the need for boosting rural infrastructure and productivity in rural and small-scale agriculture.

By the way, as I mentioned earlier, I come from a small village in the eastern part of the country and I have a passion for the success of the ordinary small-scale farmer!

Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my humble submission that investment opportunities exist in the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe and many other African countries.

It is also my humble submission that Africa can feed the whole world if our policies are in sync with international best practices and if our governments commit to transforming agriculture into a viable industry.

I leave with you with the challenge to come up with practicable recommendations and resolutions that may influence the development of prudent agricultural policies in our Africa as a precondition to ensuring food security.

But it would be remiss of me to miss this opportunity to call upon all of you here to support a peaceful transition to a legitimate government in Zimbabwe.

Agricultural production and investment are also sensitive to politics and I urge you to pray for a peaceful, violence-free election in Zimbabwe; a free and fair election that will yield a peaceful nation where ordinary citizens are free to pursue and live their dreams. 

The people of Zimbabwe look forward to your prayers and your support in that regard.

I thank you.

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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Bill Watch 43/2011 of 14th October [High Court Orders Holding of 3 Matabeleland By-Elections]

BILL WATCH 43/2011

[17th October 2011]

Both Houses of Parliament have adjourned until Tuesday 25th October

Bulawayo High Court Orders By-Elections

In a judgment handed down on 13th October Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Ndou has ordered President Mugabe to announce within 14 days dates for the holding of by-elections in the House of Assembly constituencies of Lupane East, Nkayi South and Bulilima East.  The 14 days will start running when the order is delivered to the President’s office.  The last time the High Court ordered the holding of overdue by-elections was in 2008 after the deaths of candidates caused the cancellation of polling in three constituencies in the March general election.  The Government complied with the court order and the by-elections were held on the same day as the Presidential run-off election at the end of June 2008.

So far there has been no official comment; the responsible Minister – the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa – only returns to his office today after presenting Zimbabwe’s Universal Periodic Review report on human rights to the United Nations Human Rights Council last week.  [If the Government were to appeal to the Supreme Court, it would be unlikely to succeed, so an appeal would be little more than a delaying tactic.] 

The House of Assembly seats for these constituencies have been vacant since August 2009, when MDC-M notified the Speaker that the sitting MPs had been expelled from the party and no longer represented its interests in Parliament.  The MPs concerned – Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso Mguni and Norman Mpofu – then automatically lost their seats in terms of section 41(1)(e) of the Constitution. 

Reminder: Under Article 21 of the GPA the three GPA parties agreed that for one year they would not contest by-elections against each other, but would leave the party that formerly held a vacant seat to field a candidate unopposed by the other two parties.  The one-year pact was later extended by agreement of the party principals.  But this did not change the Constitution, which entitles voters in constituencies to have their representatives in Parliament, or the Electoral Act, which requires the prompt holding of by-elections.

The High Court’s order has wide implications.  These are not the only vacant Parliamentary seats.  Vacancies have been occurring since July 2008 and no by-elections have been called.  There are now 18 vacant seats in the House of Assembly and Senate.  Calling by-elections is the duty of the President, not the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, and the Electoral Act says the President must call a by-election within 14 days of a vacancy being officially notified to his office.

UN Periodic Review [UPR] of Zimbabwe’s Human Rights Performance

The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs presented the Government’s UPR report at a meeting of the working group of the United Nations Human Rights Council [HRC] on Monday 10th October.  [For those with appropriate Internet access video footage of the entire 4-hour proceedings can be viewed at /tv/webcast /2011/10/upr-report-of-zimbabwe-12th-universal-periodic-review.html]  The Minister blamed shortcomings in the country’s human rights record on “illegal” international sanctions.  In accordance with HRC rules, the views of other stakeholders [Zimbabwean and international human rights organisations] were presented and these are summarised in a report by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights [OHCHR] in a report in which many of the assertions in the Government report are challenged and a rather different picture of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe presented.  The OHCHR also produced a compilation of the information contained in the reports of treaty bodies, including observations and comments by Zimbabwe, and other relevant official United Nations documents.  [Electronic versions of the Government report and the two OHCHR documents are available from]  Out of 177 recommendations to improve the country’s human rights situation the Minister rejected 67 [including the scrapping of POSA and AIPPA and “security sector reform”]; will respond to 31 at the HRC’s next session in 2012; and accepted the remainder.  Of those accepted, many were “soft options” to respect economic, social and cultural rights given adequate resources, and unlikely to halt the many serious human rights violations in Zimbabwe.  But it is promising that the Minister undertook that the Government would work with civil society in the human rights field.

Zimbabwe Near Bottom on 2011 Ibrahim Index of African Governance

Once again, repeating the 2010 rankings, Zimbabwe is ranked near the bottom of the just-released 2011 Ibrahim Index of African Governance:

·        51st out of the 53 African countries [the Index is based on data from 2010, so it excludes the newly independent South Sudan] 

·        12th out of their grouping of 12 Southern African countries.

Only Chad [No. 52] and Somalia [No. 53] have lower rankings.  Just above Zimbabwe are the Central African Republic [No. 50] and the DRC [No. 51].  The top five places are held by Mauritius, Cape Verde, Botswana, Seychelles and South Africa.  Although Zimbabwe has done reasonably well on Infrastructure [15th position, scoring 37 out of 100, against an African average of 31] and Education [24th position, scoring 49 against the average 51], it is way down the list for Participation and Human Rights [47th position, scoring 27 against the average 45]; Safety and Rule of Law [51st position, scoring 28 against the average 53]; Business Environment [52nd position, scoring 9 against the average 50].  [Full data on this years Index rankings can be found at]

Pre-Budget Seminar for Parliamentarians

The Pre-Budget Seminar for all MPs will be held at the Elephant Hills complex, Victoria Falls, from Wednesday 2nd to Saturday 5th November. 

Portfolio Committee Public Hearings This Week

Bill Watch – Parliamentary Committee Series bulletins dated 12th and 14th October have given details of this weeks countrywide public hearings on: 

·        the Electoral Amendment Bill

·        the 2012 Budget. 

Last Week in the House of Assembly

The House sat on 11th and 12th October, and for 14 minutes on 13th October.

Bills  As expected, no steps were taken to restore the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill or the Electoral Amendment Bill to the Order Paper.  This was because the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, who is responsible for both Bills, was out of the country all week on official duty in Geneva.   The other Bill waiting to be restored is the National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill; a motion to restore it has been put down by the Minister of Industry and Commerce.

BIPPAS approved  Without debate or objections, the House approved Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with Botswana, India.  There was no further queries about the BIPPA with Iran, despite MPs’ complaints the previous week that the Minister had not laid a sufficient basis for its approval.  The agreements were then transmitted to the Senate for consideration.

Motions  There was progress on:

·        the General Mujuru condolence motion – One MP suggested that public lack of confidence in the police force necessitates the appointment of independent investigators into the circumstances of his tragic death.

·        the motion calling for the withdrawal of the Indigenisation and Empowerment Regulations [SI 21/2010] and the indigenisation requirements for the mining industry [GN 114/2010] and their replacement by revised versions addressing broad-based programmes – MDC-T MP Alexio Musundire proposed the motion in a short speech stressing the conflict between the regulations and the Government’s economic revival policy, and calling for new regulations that would create an atmosphere for economic revival and foreign direct investment and would allow ordinary Zimbabweans rather than an elite clique of already rich people to enjoy the benefits.

Question Time  Issues raised on Wednesday 12th October included:

Effect of indigenisation policy on foreign investment – the Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion acknowledged that investors are concerned about the investment law, with the result that implementation of by the Zimbabwe Investment Centre is affected by a “wait and see” attitude on the part of investors.  But the Minister also said that the 51% indigenisation requirement is flexible enough to permit a lesser investments approved percentage to be negotiated in special cases.  [This seems contradicted by Zimbabwe’s next-to-bottom ranking for “Business Environment” in the Ibrahim Index.]

Chiadzwa diamond mining  The Deputy Minister of Mines and Mining Development explained that the law governing diamond mining is presently set out in the Mines and Minerals Act and Precious Stones Trade Act, but that the Attorney-General’s Office is engaged in drafting a Bill for a separate Diamonds Act.

Last Week in the Senate

The Senate sat on Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th October, then adjourned till the 25th October.

Motion to Restore POSA Amendment Bill to the Order Paper  Hon Gonese spoke in support of his motion to restore this lapsed Bill to the Order Paper.  ZANU-PF Senators spoke in opposition, referring to Minister Chinamasa’s assertion last session that the Bill should not be further debated because POSA is being considered by the GPA party principals.  Eventually Mr Gonese moved the adjournment of the debate until Minister Chinamasa could be present to explain the position further. 

Motion of thanks to the President for his speech opening the session.  There were brief contributions to this ongoing debate. 

Looking Ahead to the Sittings Starting on 25th October

As Parliament will not be sitting this week – or, because of the Victoria Falls Pre-Budget Seminar from 2nd to 5th November, during the week after next – the three or four sitting days from 25th October are likely to be busy.  The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs can be expected to push for his Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill and Electoral Amendment Bill to be restored to the Order Paper and taken through both Houses during the week.  

Status of Bills [no changes]

Bills Passed by Parliament awaiting gazetting as Acts

Deposit Protection Corporation Bill

Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill

Bill Awaiting Presentation

Older Persons Bill [gazetted 9th September]  [Electronic version available from]

Government Gazette 14th October

No Bills, Acts or statutory instruments were gazetted.

The Government’s Consolidated Statement of Financial Performance for the month of July 2011 was included in this Gazette.


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