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CIO chief among ZANU PF officials linked to illegal hunting in Zim

By Alex Bell
17 October 2012

Zimbabwe’s head of the notorious Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),
and other key ZANU PF officials, have been linked to years of illegal
hunting in the country’s conservancies, which is said to have been a key
source of revenue for the party.

CIO Director Happyton Bonyongwe was named in a confidential diplomatic
cable, created in 2008 by then US Ambassador James McGee, who warned that
hunting “has long been a source of ill-gotten revenue for members of the
ZANU PF elite, and given the ongoing resource grab, it is not surprising
that new hunting schemes have developed to supply the elites with forex.”

The cable, released by the online whistleblower WikiLeaks, claimed that the
government was indiscriminately issuing hunting licences in the country’s
national parks, with a devastating impact on Zimbabwe’s protected wildlife
species. At the time the illicit parcelling out of hunting licences was
linked to ZANU PF’s plans to secure as much of a grip on resources as
possible before it faced the MDC in elections.

A small group of hunters and safari operators were allegedly consistently
involved in the illegal hunting practices. The diplomatic cable named
professional hunters like Guy Whitall, Tim Schultz of African Dream Safaris,
Headman Sibanda and Wayne Grant of Nyala Safaris, Evans Makanza, Alan
Shearing, Buzz Charlton and James Macullam of Charlton Macullum Safaris,
A.J. Van Heerden of Shashe Safaris, Barry Van Heerden of Big Game Safaris,
and Lawrence Boha.

According to the US embassy, numerous conservationists had suggested that
the Van Heerden brothers were involved in suspicious hunting and land deals
with the CIO’s Bonyongwe.

McGee warned in the cable that, “this ongoing struggle over greed,
ill-gotten forex, and natural resource management is just one more result of
the continued political impasse in Zimbabwe.”

The cable was a warning of things to come and illegal hunting practices have
since been ‘normalised’ through the ZANU PF led indigenisation campaign.
National Parks in August this year issued hunting permits to 25 so-called
indigenous ‘farmers’ who were given land in the wildlife-rich Save Valley
Conservancy in the Lowveld. National Parks director general Vitalis
Chadenga, said this was part of the government’s ‘wildlife based land reform’
exercise, saying beneficiaries have been allocated 25-year land leases in
conservancies throughout Masvingo province.

Included in the list of beneficiaries are top ZANU PF officials and
loyalists, such as Masvingo Governor Titus Maluleke, former Gutu South
legislator Shuvai Mahofa and the late Higher and Tertiary Education Minister
Stan Mudenge.

The Masvingo Governor and other key MPs have since last year been
spearheading a ZANU PF led campaign of ‘indigenisation’ in the province,
dubbed the ‘Masvingo Initiative’, with the intention of grabbing land.
Former governor Josiah Hungwe, former MP Enock Porusingazi, army boss
Engelbert Rugeje, and former MP and war vet Shuvai Mahofa, were last year
also fingered by whistleblower website WikiLeaks as being part of the
Masvingo land grab.

The Save Valley Conservancy has called the handover of the new hunting
licenses a ‘criminal act’ that has nothing to do with genuine indigenisation
efforts. Johnny Rodrigues, the head of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
(ZCTF), told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that the licences need to be

“Actually, we believe that hunting needs to be suspended for three years to
do a proper audit and to put some controls in place. Otherwise, we are
heading towards doom,” Rodrigues warned.

He added that a senior government official is believed to have quietly
stepped in to stop the ongoing takeover of the conservancies, “so we will
see what will happen in the next few weeks.

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Zanu ministers clash over Save

Two Zanu (PF) cabinet ministers, Walter Mzembi and Francis Nhema, have
clashed over how to treat the Save Valley conservancies, further exposing
acrimony within the party and President Robert Mugabe’s growing

by Staff Reporter

The allocation of conservancies have caused an uproar among environmental
experts, former owners and foreign embassies who are concerned that the
grabbing of the wildlife plots by Zanu (PF) members is detrimental to the
economy and environment, in addition to being a violation of private
property rights.

The Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, Francis Nhema
insists that the issuing of 25-year leases and hunting licenses to more than
300 Zanu (PF)-linked beneficiaries was part of the government’s
indigenisation and empowerment programme.

Bad for tourism

However , Walter Mzembi , Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry
argues grabbing the conservancies is bad for tourism. He also told The
Zimbabwean that the list of beneficiaries is null and void as only 37
beneficiaries got leases and hunting licenses at the expense of the
community and tourist industry.

“Before 2000, these conservancies were run by a few white individuals and
now they have been given to the masses. This will not affect tourism at
all,” said Nhema in a recent interview with The Zimbabwean.

Mzembi said the way the conservancies were re-allocated was wrong.

“I am not against indigenisation and empowerment but why can we not
distribute the conservancies using a broad-based system and stop focusing on
a few rich individuals who have been benefiting again and again?” said

This is seen as a direct attack on the Zanu (PF)-initiated indigenisation

Mzembi, who has already clashed with party bigwigs in Masvingo province over
the seizure of the conservancies, is seen as representing an independent
crop of growing Zanu (PF) Young Turks eager to shed the old way of handling

Party divisions

According to reliable sources, the controversy surrounding the conservancies
has sharply divided the party.

The supreme decision-making body, the politburo, has been forced to set up a
special committee to investigate the parcelling out of the conservancies.

However, due to serious differences, the committee is yet to start its work.

Nhema leads the committee, which also comprises Mzembi, the Minister of
Local Government, Urban and Rural Development, Ignatius Chombo and the
Minister for Lands and Rural Settlement, Herbert Murerwa.

“The committee was formed four weeks ago and I do not think it will convene
any meeting as Nhema and Mzembi are clashing. There are bigwigs on Nhema’s
side who have either benefited or are planning to do so and Mzembi is
fighting a lone war, even though he has some support in the party,” said a

The Tourism Minister questioned the authenticity of the list of
beneficiaries of conservancies that have been allocated so far, saying it
was being used to gain “cheap political mileage” by party heavyweights.

He speculated that the Masvingo Governor and Resident Minister, Titus
Maluleke, could have been the one who compiled the list.

“The list must have been compiled by the Provincial Governor whose territory
these conservancies fall under so that the Minister of Environment could use
it to allocate leases and licenses. It was never approved by Cabinet,” he

Leaked docs

He denied having a conservancy as listed on a leaked updated document The
Zimbabwean published recently. “I never received a 25-year lease or a
hunting license as shown on the list.

In fact there are only 37 people who actually got them,” he said.

Mzembi claimed some party members were using the list to settle disputes and
mislead people.

“Nhema is the committee’s chairman and we are waiting for him to summon us.

For further information please get hold of him,” he said.

Nhema’s mobile was answered by a woman who claimed it was not his number.

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Registrar General confirms Zanu PF links

on October 17, 2012 at 7:01 pm

By Lance Guma

Zimbabwe’s Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede, in charge of the shambolic
voters roll that has helped Mugabe win countless controversial elections,
has this week removed all doubt about his allegiance to the 88 year old

Mudede was on Tuesday accredited to the Second All Stakeholders
Constitutional Conference as a Zanu PF delegate. The three day conference
(Sunday to Tuesday) will accommodate 1 100 delegates among them 246 from
political parties, 284 MPs and 571 civil society group representatives.

Douglas Mwonzora a spokesman for the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai said “We are very happy as MDC (Movement for Democratic Change)
that Tobaiwa Mudede is coming as a Zanu PF delegate. It buttresses what we
have always been saying that he is not impartial.”

The 68 year-old Mudede has been in charge of all elections held since 1985.
In March this year he told the Zanu PF controlled ZBC radio that the country’s
voters’ roll is ‘perfect’ and ruled out any possibilities of rigging through
double registration, saying this would be detected by a ‘computer system’.

Before presidential elections in 2002 Mudede told a meeting at the
International School in Harare that, “he could imagine no circumstances in
which he would declare anyone other than Mugabe the winner.” Only after four
court orders were pressure groups able to see a copy of the shambolic voters
roll he used.

Last year in June a report by the South African Institute for Race Relations
said there were 42,000 people over the age of 100 on the voters roll and
that this was an ‘impossible’ number. Some appeared to be 120 years old, in
a country with a life expectancy of 43, according to the World Health

The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) also noted that
nearly a third of registered voters are dead and described the voters roll
as a ‘shambles’ that needs to be overhauled before fresh elections are held.
ZESN also want the voters roll in electronic form, rather than the paper

Two separate independent audits exposed that the voters roll has thousands
of ghost voters used to inflate figures for Zanu PF and Mugabe. Experts say
there are 2.6 million too many names on the voters roll and this phantom
vote is more than enough to settle the outcome of any election.

Mudede’s refusal to relinquish control of the voters roll reinforces
suspicions that he is a central player in rigging elections.

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Lawyers demand action on killers

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 17 October 2012 13:20
HARARE - Past atrocities such as Gukurahundi and subsequent
politically-motivated violations swept under the carpet by the coalition
government following the gazetting of the Human Rights Commission Act should
be revisited to allow national healing, human rights lawyers have demanded.

Speaking under the auspices of prominent rights group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights (ZLHR), the lawyers said it was wrong to ignore past atrocities
as suggested by the law used to operationalise the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Commission (ZHRC).

ZLHR, which has more than 200-member lawyers and law students countrywide,
expressed worry over the limited powers of the ZHRC to effectively deal with
past atrocities.

“The signing of the Bill into law allows the ZHRC to finally commence its
operations amid great expectations from Zimbabweans who have patiently
waited for years to realise this long overdue genesis,” the group said in a

Established in 2009 following the formation of a coalition government
comprising of Zanu PF and the two MDC formations, ZHRC had failed to carry
out its mandate as it did not have a legislative foundation.

ZHRC now has an enabling law after President Robert Mugabe signed the Human
Rights Bill into law last Friday.

But human rights lawyers expressed concern that the “powers of the minister
of Justice and Legal Affairs remain too wide, discretionary, and may have
the effect of blocking key investigations and adversely affecting
transparency, accountability and independence of the Commission”.

The human rights commission will ignore past atrocities pre-dating 2009
after Zanu PF prevailed over its government partners who had wanted to
include the previous violations.

Lawyers said there was need to establish an independent body that would look
into past human rights crimes.

“ZLHR reiterates its call to the coalition government to urgently establish
an independent and credible mechanism to deal with issues relating to past
human rights violations and atrocities.

“This independent mechanism must be mandated to deal with all past human
rights violations that have occurred in Zimbabwe, including the
pre-Independence era, as well as the post-Independence atrocities of
Gukurahundi, Operation Murambatsvina, and electoral-related crimes, amongst
others,” reads the ZLHR statement.

An estimated 20 000 people died during the Gukurahundi massacres of the
1980s by a North Korean-trained military brigade.
And since 2000, hundreds of people have been affected by
politically-motivated violence.

In 2005 close to a million people were left homeless after Mugabe ordered a
clean-up of cities in order to drive out people who lived in structures he
deemed illegal.

Not a single person has been arrested for the crimes amid strong
condemnation from human rights groups as well as the United Nations.

The human rights lawyers said although the powers of the ZHRC are limited,
the timing for establishing a functional human rights commission could not
have been better as the country limps towards a referendum and elections
which could be held next year.

“With a constitutional referendum and elections on the horizon, and having
reference to historical trends, the existence of a functional mechanism to
investigate and deal with politically-motivated rights violations is
extremely important, especially where such violations tend to worsen in the
run-up to, and following, such national processes.

“The police, the prosecutorial authorities and the judiciary must at all
times bear in mind that they have a constitutional and legal obligation to
respectively investigate and arrest, prosecute and punish convicted
perpetrators,” said ZLHR.

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Human Rights Commission Urged To Start Prosecutions

Tatenda Gumbo, Jonga Kandemiiri

Civic organizations have commended the gazetting of the Human Rights
Commission Act saying it is a necessary step towards the much-needed reforms
in Zimbabwe.

The Human Rights Commission Bill was signed into law last Friday, giving it
legal mandate and powers to protect and prosecute people suspected of
violating human rights.

The constitutional body will now investigate alleged human rights violations
that occurred after Febuary 2009, a section of the act long disputed by
civic society and the Movement for Democratic Change.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights welcomed the gazetting of the
commission, adding that it should carry out its mandate without fear or

In a statement, the organization encouraged the "ZHRC to immediately
commence its operations and ensure that a strong and professional
secretariat is established to assist in the implementation of its strategic
plan and the fulfillment of its constitutional mandate."

It challenged the commission to play its part in guaranteeing the
enforcement of its mandate as Zimbabwe's democratic process is in full swing
with the constitutional referendum and proposed elections on the horizon.

Senior researcher Tiseke Kasambala of Human Rights Watch also commended the
gazetting of the law but called into question the timeline for

Kasambala said Zimbabwe needed to investigate human rights violations that
occured in 2008, under Operation Murambatsvina and the massacre of at least
20,000 by the Fifth Brigade.

Meanwhile, President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his
deputy Arthur Mutambara condemned Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s
recent statement Monday that Zanu PF will never accept a Tsvangirai victory
in the next elections.

Chinamasa insinuated in an interview with the British Broadcasting
Corporation last week that his party and the army will never accept a leader
like Mr. Tsvangirai whom he said was being used to further western interests
at the expense of ordinary Zimbabweans.

MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora of Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s MDC formation
told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the three principals to the Global
Political Agreement were in agreement that Chinamasa’s statements were in
bad taste.

But Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said Minister Chinamasa might have said
these words in his capacity not as a party position.

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Mugabe's house set to become national monument

President Robert Mugabe's house in Highfield is set to become a national
monument following plans by the Ministry of Tourism to turn residencies of
some of Zimbabwe's nationalist leaders in the high density suburb into

by Edgar Gweshe

The Minister of Tourism Walter Mzembi made the disclosures yesterday at a
cocktail party hosted for exhibitors for this year's Sanganai/Hlanganani
Tourism fair.

Some of the houses set to be developed into national monuments include that
of he late vice president Joshua Nkomo, Hebert Chitepo, Leopold Takawira,
Josiah Chinamano, Enos Nkala, among others in Highfield.

"Following the adoption by cabinet of the National Tourism Policy, which
highlights Township Tourism and enshrinement of the liberation struggle, it
is the Ministry's intention, through the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority to raise
the status of these houses to national monuments," said Mzembi.

Mzembi said that Highfield was the "hotbed of nascent Zimbabwean
nationalism" adding that his Ministry saw it necessary to develop homes
which housed early nationalists and provided meeting venues into national

He said:"It is really fitting that the houses that housed the early
nationalists and provided meeting venues during that period be enshrined and
be equipped with print and electronic histories of that early history of our
nation for posterity's sake."

He said in line with this, his Ministry would present a budget proposal to
Cabinet to be included in the 2013 national budget.

Mzembi said his Ministry was taking a leaf from South Africa where houses
that housed early ANC leaders in Soweto have since been upgraded into
national monuments.

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Activist and mother Manjoro gets bail in cop murder trial

By Tererai Karimakwenda
17 October 2012

The state prosecutor on Wednesday conceded that MDC-T activist and mother of
a three-year old, Cynthia Manjoro, should not be detained further and agreed
to have her bailed by the High Court.

The dramatic development followed testimony by the State’s own witness who
had clearly exonerated Manjoro, after which the judge challenged the State
to show why she should not be bailed. Prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba returned to
court in the afternoon and conceded that Manjoro should not be kept in

Defense lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa expressed great joy at the judge’s decision
to grant bail to one of the 29 MDC-T officials and members accused in the
murder of police officer Petros Mutedza. But she told SW Radio Africa that
many more should be bailed because there is clearly no evidence implicating
them in the murder.

The state witness, Cynthia’s brother Stephen Manjoro, had testified that she
was only being held as’ bait’ for the arrest of Darlington Madzonga, who he
claimed was using her car on the day officer Mutedza died.

On Tuesday Mtetwa had shed tears in the High Court after the Prosecutor
requested that they adjourn after only 26 minutes into the session. Mtetwa
told SW Radio Africa that her emotions became intense because Cynthia
Manjoro’s son was practically living like an orphan.

“I think the mother in me came out and I just couldn’t take it.
Unfortunately you are not supposed to behave like that in court but emotions
are emotions and being human is being human,” Mtetwa explained.

Mtetwa criticized the slow pace of the trial, which she claims is deliberate
and meant to prolong the accused members’ stay in detention. She said many
were arrested days after the murder, simply because they were wearing MDC

She added: “This trial has been going on for months now and if you add up
the hours in court they are less than 2 weeks. There can be no question
politics is at play. If you follow the evidence you will have to ask
yourself why these people are in court.”

The defense lawyer also criticized the MDC-T, saying the party could have
done more “to really stand up and use this case to show how the judicial
system is being used for political purposes and motives”.

Officer Petros Mutedza was killed at a Glen View pub in May last year. The
police claim he was murdered by MDC-T members who held a meeting there, a
charge the party strongly denies.

A total of 29 MDC-T members were rounded up by police after the incident,
claiming they were investigating. The accused include the Chairman of the
National Youth Council, Solomon Madzore. Several MDC-T councillors, National
Council members and youth leaders are also among the detainees.

The police arrested two more youth leaders from the MDC-T’s Glen View
structures last week, and charged them with murder in the same case. Jackson
Mabota and Tarisai Kusotera, both from Glen View South constituency,
appeared in court last Thursday and were remanded in custody till October

Some of the accused members have been in jail for over a year, with the
courts repeatedly denying them bail as flight risks.

The trial continues Thursday at the High Court.

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Tsvangirai reshuffles office staff

By Tichaona Sibanda
17 October 2012

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has reshuffled senior staff in his office
and denied reports that he had fired some of them, including his chief of
staff Ian Makone.

Several newspapers on Wednesday reported that Tsvangirai had actually fired
Makone, Head of Protocol James Maridadi and two other high-ranking
officials, for allegedly meddling in his marital affairs. Speculation and
rumour has been rife for some time that Makone and his wife Theresa have
been responsible for some of Tsvangirai’s well publicized affairs.

The two others who were ‘reshuffled’ were policy implementation principal
director Lazarus Muriritirwa and long serving aide, Gandhi Mudzingwa.

There was speculation in the media that University of Kent senior law
lecturer Dr Alex Magaisa will assume the role of Chief of Staff. Magaisa
however denied this, telling SW Radio Africa that while it is correct that
he is set to join the Premier’s office, he was not going to be the chief of

Luke Tamborinyoka, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, released a statement Wednesday
saying no members of the Premiers’ staff had been relieved of their duties.

‘The fact of the matter is that no one has been fired but there have been
realignments that will enable the effective discharge of the Prime Minister’s
constitutional duties.

‘The realignments are intended to strengthen the Prime Minister’s
Constitutional responsibilities in the areas of planning, policy
formulation, and supervision of government Ministries, management of the
Government Work Programme and implementation of approved legislation,’
Tamborinyoka said.

Our correspondent in Harare, Simon Muchemwa, said the terse statement
released by Tamborinyoka raises many questions as to what really happened
within the Tsvangirai’s office.

‘One problem they have created for themselves is playing second fiddle to
the media. Since the story broke they’ve been reacting to what the media
reported. They should have instead taken the initiative to release a
statement as soon as it was plausible to do and not wait for the media to
catch them off guard.

‘The statement does not even explain much. If they are realignments what
does that mean, have the officials been promoted or demoted? It is vague and
leaves people with questions than answers,’ Muchemwa said.

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Police assault Gwanda residents after fatal cop stabbing

By Tererai Karimakwenda
17 October 2012

Police in the town of Gwanda are reported to be assaulting people in their
own homes in what they believe to be revenge attacks, following the murder
of a police officer on Monday afternoon.

According to Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), police fired teargas before
“assaulting and seriously injuring” 12 residents in Garikai. The victims
included the wife of the murder suspect, who was hospitalized with serious

The ZPP said other victims were denied medical treatment by staff at Gwanda
hospital, who “demanded clearance letters from the police”.

The armed Riot police then invaded bars and nightclubs and assaulted patrons
in Pakama, Garikai, Ultra and Spitzkop on Monday and Tuesday night, injuring
more residents.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme received information from
angry Gwanda residents who said an unofficial curfew had been declared by
the police and they feared more attacks would follow. The residents
described the officers committing the assaults as “police in anti-riot gear”.

Saungweme said the attacks began on Monday after a police officer, known
only as Mamilimili, was fatally stabbed at a local pub called Cry
Mantengwana Bar. The patrons tried to apprehend the suspect, but he fled
before police arrived.

“Instead of hunting down the person suspected to have stabbed the police
officer, who is a well known patron in local bars, the police went on to
attack everybody. They went into pubs and nightclubs in several areas,”
Saungweme said.

Our correspondent said the area was still tense as of Wednesday and people
were staying indoors, fearing more revenge attacks by the police.

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Cancer patients ‘failed’ by lack of funding and planning

By Alex Bell
17 October 2012

Funding shortfalls and a lack of proper planning are being blamed for the
suspension of critical treatment for at least 1,000 cancer patients, with
the government stopping radiotherapy while it secures new machinery.

The radiotherapy program at the state Parirenyatwa hospital was suspended
earlier this month, meaning patients have no other option but to seek
treatment outside the country. Parirenyatwa and Mpilo hospitals were the
only facilities offering radiotherapy in the entire country. But the
equipment at Mpilo broke down in August and patients there had been referred

According to Dr. Rutendo Bonde, the chairperson of the Zimbabwe Association
of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR), this lack of planning “is so
disappointing,” She warned that the risks for patients who cannot access
outside care are “high,” and the situation has left hundreds of people

“People with resources can seek treatment in other countries. But what about
regular Zimbabweans? Like civil servants? They rely on the state health
system. This is why this is a human rights issue,” Dr. Bonde said.

She said the lack of planning was further impaired by the critical lack of
funding into cancer in Zimbabwe, where she warned that only a small fraction
of people are being diagnosed early.

“We should be focusing on prevention first and there should be a widespread
population screening that currently is not there. Cancer rates are rising
and people invariably need greater national investment in their care,” Dr.
Bonde warned.

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COPAC asks Civil Society to submit list of delegates

By Tichaona Sibanda
17 October 2012

COPAC has assured delegates from the Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s)
that they will be encouraged to participate in the 2nd All-Stakeholders
conference without aligning themselves to political parties.

The conference kicks off in Harare on Sunday and delegates to the gathering
started their accreditation on Tuesday throughout the country.

Following a meeting between leaders of the CSO’s and the three co-chairmen
of COPAC in Harare on Wednesday, an undertaking was made that the groups
will be treated as independents.

Macdonald Lewanika, the director of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told
SW Radio Africa there were perceptions that various CSO’s were aligned to
political parties.

‘This is the fallacy that we are trying to do away with given the polarized
nature of politics in Zimbabwe. We reassured them that while polarization
may be there, the best way to deal with it is not to promote it, like trying
to invite CSO’s under political parties,’ Lewanika said.

He added: ‘They should allow civics to participate at the 2nd All
Stakeholders Conference in their own right.’

Lewanika said the CSO’s had submitted a provisional list of 408 delegates to
COPAC to allow them to compare and see whether all sectors are covered.

‘We have tried to come up with a comprehensive list that includes groups
from across the country, including groups that we know are partisan to ZANU
PF, like Upfumi Kuvadiki.

‘Over and above that we have been objective in terms of gender, race,
religion and the disabled. We have every group covered,’ Lewanika added.
Upfumi Kuvadiki, is a so-called youth empowerment group that campaigns for
ZANU PF’s indigenization drive.

The COPAC gathering on the draft governance charter is to be attended by at
least 1,101 delegates, among them 246 political party representatives, 284
MPs and 571 civil society groups representatives.

Members from the CSO’s, local and foreign observers, including journalists,
will be accredited on Friday. Every diplomatic embassy in Harare has also
been invited to send officials to observe the proceedings.

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State agents abduct and torture 2 MDC-T officials

By Tererai Karimakwenda
17 October 2012

Heavily armed men, believed to be state security agents, abducted two MDC-T
officials in Bulawayo last week Wednesday, torturing and interrogating them.
They were released the next day.

According to a statement from the party, Emanuel Kambarami and Andrew Vera
were abducted from their homes in Mpopoma by five agents last Wednesday
night. Kambarami is the chairperson for Mpopoma, ward 9 constituency and
Vera chairs the ward’s Youth Assembly.

The two reported that they were taken to Magnet House, a building known to
be owned by ZANU PF Politburo member Obert Mpofu and which serves as the
Central Intelligence Organisation’s provincial head office. The assaults and
interrogation allegedly took place at this location.

The MDC-T members said the agents wanted to know who had written a slogan
that read, “MDC Kwese Kwese” (MDC everywhere) at the Mpopoma home of
Sikanyiso Ndlovu, another ZANU PF Politburo member.

Kambarami and Vera said they were then photographed and warned not to report
the incident to the press, or they would be abducted again and made to
disappear for good. But apparently the abduction made the duo more resilient
as they claim they won’t be intimidated by “politicians facing defeat in the
next elections”.

The two are currently receiving treatment for injuries sustained during the
assault and say they have received anonymous phone calls and visits from
people driving unmarked vehicles.

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Strained Zim-US Relations Affecting Hunt For Rwandan Genocide Fugitive

Harare, October 17, 2012 - Strained political relations between Zimbabwe and
the United States are compromising the chase for Rwandan genocide fugitive,
Potrais Mpiranya, believed to be holed up in the southern African country.
Last month Zimbabwean police said they were looking for Mpiranya, a former
commander of the elite Presidential Guard during the genocide in 1994.

He is accused of playing a key role in the slaughter of 800,000 ethnic
Tutsis and moderate Hutus during 100 days of bloodletting. Mpiranya’s head
carries a $ 5 million bounty pledged by the US government.

Security sources said what was complicating the matter was the involvement
of the US government because Harare was not willing to cooperate with

Besides, the sources said, if Mpiranya was to be apprehended by Zimbabwean
police, there was no guarantee that the US government will give the $5
million reward to the Zimbabwe Republic Police.

“The problem with this operation is that our political relations with the US
are so strained to the extent that no one really believes that if we
apprehend this Rwandan we will get the promised money,” said one security

“It’s better to just ignore everything than for us to be used to assist the
Americans get their way.”

Last month the police showed what appeared to be vigour in searching for the
fugitive, believed to be wealthy and running several businesses in Zimbabwe,
Zambia, the DRC and in Europe.

"We want him dead or alive. We are looking for information to arrest him; we
don't know how long he has been in the country," chief superintendent Peter
Magwenzi of the police homicide section told the AFP news agency.

But the verve has died down. Sources said they appear to be no political
will on the part of Harare to cooperate.

Relations between President Robert Mugabe are bad. The US administration
accuses President Mugabe of stifling democracy in Zimbabwe.

On the other side, the veteran Zimbabwean ruler accuses Washington of
seeking to remove him and his party, Zanu (PF) from power and installing a
puppet regime in Harare.

The US government has slapped Mugabe and his lieutenants with an assortment
of punitive measures including travel bans.

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Zimbabwe lowers diamond earnings forecast

(AFP) – 4 hours ago

HARARE — Zimbabwe has lowered its projected $600 million earnings from
diamond sales after miners cut production in response to a decline in
diamond prices on the international market, the mines minister said
"The $600 million target has now been affected," Obert Mpofu told
Mpofu said that over the "past three to four months the diamond prices have
actually gone down".
"When the prices go down, producers also reduce their production capacity.
They cannot produce at a loss."
Mpofu did not give the new target for diamond sales.
In July, Finance Minister Tendai Biti complained about the low revenue
trickle from diamond sales saying by mid-year only $46 million had been
realised against the year's anticipated $600 million.
That forced him to slash the 2012 budget spending target by 10 percent to
$3.6 billion.
He said earnings from key minerals such as gold and diamonds were not making
it into state coffers.
Natural resource extraction watchdogs have accused President Robert Mugabe's
ruling party of funneling profits from Marange diamonds to senior military
officers and party leaders.
Diamond watchdog Kimberley Process has given the country the green light to
sell its gems despite opposition from rights groups and Western nations.
Next month, Zimbabwe hosts a conference expected to attract hundreds of
traders, diamond experts and non-governmental organisations.
Mpofu said the conference would seek to manage world perception of the
Zimbabwean diamond industry and attract foreign investors.

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Mutare lures Chinese investors

Chinese investors have shown interest in building houses for low income
earners, which could reduce the city’s 45,000 housing waiting list by 45 per

by Tony Saxon

The deal was initiated by the Acting Mayor, George Jerrison who was in
Beijing last month on a week-long workshop. He told The Zimbabwean: “I met
several investors in China who are interested in building houses for
home-seekers in Mutare. One of them will visit Mutare at the end of October
to assess the land that we have available.”

Jerrison added that the investor, who is involved in a similar project in
South Africa, had indicated that they would 20,000 units with two to three

Meanwhile, a Chinese delegation from Xinyu city visited Mutare last week and
signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the City Council aimed at promoting
economic, cultural and educational relations.

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‘O’ Level examination papers disappear

17/10/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

BULAWAYO police have launched investigations after a batch of November 2012
Ordinary Level examination papers meant for a Bubi secondary school
disappeared over the weekend.

The question papers, which were for the English, Commerce, Geography,
Integrated Science and Mathematics examinations, were destined for Sijahugwe
Secondary School in the Siganda area of Bubi District.

The school’s acting head, Panganai Zimhuno, collected them from the Zimbabwe
Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) offices in Bulawayo on Friday and spent
the night in the city intending to travel back to the school the following

In the morning he reportedly loaded a box containing the papers onto the
trailer of a commuter bus bound for Bubi.

But some 20 kilometres into the journey, Zimhuno stopped the bus to check
whether the papers were secure only to discover they had vanished.

Matabeleland North provincial education director Boithatelo Mnguni confirmed
the development saying: “I received a report that the acting headmaster of a
school in Bubi District lost examination papers when he was travelling from
Bulawayo to his school.

“I am yet to get the full details of what exactly transpired (but) a report
has since been made to the police and they are searching for the examination
papers. I hope that they are still intact and in a safe place.”

Bulawayo provincial police spokesman Mandlenkosi Moyo added: “The papers
were stolen between Renkini (bus station) and the 30km peg along the
Bulawayo-Nkayi Road and the theft was reported at the Mzilikazi Police
Station in Bulawayo.

“I would like to appeal to members of the public who might have information
about the whereabouts of the examination papers to contact the nearest
police station.”
Meanwhile, Mguni urged schools to find secure ways of transporting
examination papers.

“While school authorities are allowed to use public transport when carrying
examination papers, they are advised to ask for assistance from their
district offices if they cannot manage to do so on their own,” she said.

“The school in question is small with a few candidates and I would like to
believe that the acting headmaster thought he would manage to carry them on
his own. It is, however, unfortunate that he lost the papers.”

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Zanu heavies wanted bribes: Mawere

President Robert Mugabe is unwittingly being used by people close to him to
settle scores with their enemies, The Zimbabwean has been told.

by Staff Reporter

This emerged amid renewed controversy regarding Shabanie-Mashava Mines, a
Midlands-based asbestos mining company owned by business mogul Mutumwa
Mawere and placed under curatorship by the government in 2004 over claims
that it was heavily indebted and needed reconstruction.

Allegations emerged this week of selfish manoeuvring by senior Zanu (PF)
officials who deliberately misinformed Mugabe as a way of getting at Mawere
for not giving them kickbacks after they enabled him to acquire the
British-owned mine.

Observers say this is in line with normal Zanu (PF) practise whereby anyone
assisted by them to get ahead in business has to be generous in greasing the
palms of the top officials involved.

Mawere, speaking in a telephone interview from South Africa, described
Mugabe as an ill-advised person. “Individuals with their own agendas chose
to give Mugabe the wrong advice and he is being confused in the process. He
should be properly informed in order to make balanced decisions. Mugabe is
watching with his eyes wide open as the constitution and other laws of the
country are being murdered,” said Mawere.

He reiterated the argument he had put forward in court that the role of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, headed by Gideon Gono, was questionable.

“You don’t understand where the RBZ came from in this absurdity (placing of
SMM under curatorship). What was Gono’s interest in it? If at all I owed
anyone money, was the RBZ part of that? There are things that just don’t
make sense,” said Mawere.

A source privy to the process leading to the takeover of SMM named two top
government officials as having influenced Gono to present a case against
Mawere’s continued hold on the company to dovetail with a plot that started
in 2003 and had gone a step further with the gazetting of legislation
specifically meant to ruin Mawere.

He said one of them, who has a vast business empire and has been named in
the looting of diamonds from the Democratic Republic of Congo in the late
1990s when Zimbabwe militarily intervened to prop up Laurent Kabila, was
angered by the fact that Mawere was not giving him kickbacks from the mining

He further alleged that Gono “cooked up figures” that he showed to Mugabe to
demonstrate that SMM was compromised by a heavy debt and therefore needed to
be placed under curatorship.

This reportedly followed the promulgation of the Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) Reconstruction of State Indebted Insolvent Companies
Act in 2004.

Speaking about the law, Mawere has reiterated his position that it was
enacted to fix him. “How can you create a law to deal with one individual?
Since it was used on me, have you heard of any other individual or company
that has been dragged to court using the law? Yet how many companies are
severely in debt. In any case, who is reconstructing SMM and how far have
they gone?” said Mawere.

Mawere also queried the role of the government in the SMM court saga, saying
it did not make sense for the government to impose itself as the creditor
and curator, insisting also that the case of debts should have simply been
handed over to the courts to deal with at a civil level.

Documents at hand suggest that the State broke the law when it placed SMM
under curatorship as it violated the in duplum law that provides that no
loan should acquire interest in excess of the capital borrowed.

According to a management report originated by a reputable auditing firm for
the year ended 31 December 2006, a loan acquired by SMM from government
accrued interest more than four times the sum borrowed.

The auditors recommended that, “in the absence of a structured agreement to
the contrary, interest accrued should not exceed the capital amount granted”.
SMM was also accused of externalising foreign currency by selling asbestos
outside the country and failing to remit the money back to Zimbabwe.

Gono had not responded to e-mail questions sent to him. His Senior Personal
Assistant, Denise Naicker told The Zimbabwean that Gono had had sight of the

The RBZ governor at one time indicated that he supported moves to have SMM
returned to Mawere.

A South African High Court judge ruled recently that Mawere, now living in
self-exile in that country, should pay R18 million to SMM. The judged
concluded that Mawere had used two South African-based companies to deprive
SMM, a Zimbabwean company, of the money due to it from the sale of asbestos.

The case has been dragging on in the courts since 2006 and Mawere has since
launched an application to challenge the verdict, accusing the judge of
racial bias and failing to adequately consider submissions made by his
defence team.

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Bring in the expatriates: MP

Jeffreyson Chitando, a member of the Parliamentary Committee on Sport, has
urged national team coaches to consider players who left the country at a
young age.

by Michael Kariati

He bemoaned the fact that many talented Zimbabwean footballers play for top
European clubs and are not being considered for national duty.

“I have talked to some of these players, who think they are not being
considered because the coaches know nothing about them,” said Chitando.
“Some believe the coaches are too scared to call them because they fled
hardships here.”

Bradley Pritchard, who plays for English Championship side, Charlton
Athletic, was called in by Warriors coach, Rahman Gumbo, for the Africa Cup
of Nations qualifier against Burundi. However, he did not play, as he holds
a British passport. He can only play for The Warriors after acquiring a
Zimbabwean passport.

Chitando, who believed that Pritchard could have easily fitted into the
national team, also said there were more exiled quality players waiting on
the wings, including the Sheffield Wednesday duo, Cecil Nyoni and Ingo
Madinda Ndlovu Juniour, Galway United’s Oscar Sibanda, Mikaeel White of
Barnet, and Farai Hallam of Stevenage as some of those stars.

There is also the Poland-based duo of Ndabenkulu Ncube and Peter Nzerumbaye
of Klub Sportowy.

“These players are all 23-years-old and below and can play for our junior
and senior national teams, but they are not being considered. The coaches
need to spread their wings,” said Chitando.

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UK donates $8million for water and sanitation

Zimbabwe has received over $8 million from the UK over the past three year
to improve access to clean water countrywide.

by Ashly Sibanda

The funding, managed by UNICEF, has been coming from Britain’s Department
for International and Development.

UNICEF Zimbabwe Representative, Gianni Murzi said the agency is concerned
with reports that most Zimbabweans, 30 percent of them in rural areas, do
not have access to clean water.

Murzi said the statistics “make a compelling case to increase investment to
improve water and sanitation services.”

“Since 2009, DFID has channelled more than $8million through UNICEF to
improve the supply of clean water and adequate sanitation facilities for all

“I wish to highlight that poor sanitation has a negative bearing on the
country’s Millennium Development Goal priorities, including poverty
alleviation,” Murzi said.

Murzi’s remarks were made on his behalf in a speech presented by UNICEF
Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Section, Kikwe Sebunya, during a
Ministry of Water Resources Organised WASH sensitisation meeting held in
Bulawayo at a local hotel on Wednesday.

“In Zimbabwe, we have seen how poor access to WASH services combined with a
deteriorated health care system resulted in the 2008/09 cholera crisis
resulting in more than 98 000 cumulative cases and 4300 deaths,” he added.

The WASH programme was launched recently to support the rehabilitation of
existing water and sanitation infrastructure.

The country experienced a severe cholera outbreak in 2008 that left at least
over 4000 dead by 2010, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The cholera outbreak was blamed on poor hygiene, lack of access to clean
water and shortages of the precious liquid in some cities.

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Access to water is a national crisis in Zimbabwe

Some excellent suggestions from Combined Harare Residents Association

1. The government of Zimbabwe should take the responsibility and acknowledge
the incapacitation inspired by the underfunding of local authorities and
declare the water issue as a national crisis. This will definitely bring on
board international partners who will assist the government of Zimbabwe to
mobilize funds for water infrastructure, rehabilitation and provision. The
government of Zimbabwe released only 18 million for the rehabilitation of
water pipes in Harare but the figures coming in from council shows us that
the local authority is in need of more than USD 200 million to deal with
water alone.

2. Collaboration with residents Associations in forming community water
groups responsible for water conservation initiatives and education will go
a long way in saving the water we have in its small quantities.

3. Construction and funding of the Kunzvi Dam water project (the Zambezi
river water project for Matabeleland) will go a long way in easing pressure
on the current water sources we have.

This entry was posted on October 17th, 2012 at 3:25 pm by Bev Clark

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Wave Of Harassment Of Independent Journalists - Reporters Without Borders


Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by a recent wave of arrests of
journalists in Zimbabwe and urges the authorities to stop trying to
intimidate independent privately-owned media and to take measures against
those responsible for physical attacks on reporters.

"This sudden wave of lawsuits and incidents involving the police does not
bode well for the coming months," Reporters Without Borders said.
"Journalists must be guaranteed the freedom to cover political stories
without fear of abusive criminal prosecutions. We are very worried about the
judicial harassment of independent journalists and media in the past few

The latest incident was on 13 October when two reporters for the
privately-owned Daily News on Sunday, Tendai Kamhungira and Bethule Nkiwane,
were threatened and attacked by the bodyguards of visiting South African
politician Julius Malema, the former head of the ruling ANC’s youth wing,
when they tried to interview him.

The bodyguards forced them to delete the photos they had taken to illustrate
their report and then seized their camera’s memory card. A complaint has
been filed with the police.

Five days before that, on 8 October, Daily News editor Stanley Gama and
deputy editor Chris Goko were briefly arrested in connection with a report
claiming that parliamentarian Munyaradzi Kereke may have faked his family’s
abduction for political purposes.

The arrests followed a series of threats by Kereke in recent weeks against
the two journalists, who are now facing criminal libel charges and a demand
for the absurd sum of 25 million dollars in damages.

Another journalist, Kudakwashe Matura, was arrested on a libel charge on 8
September in connection with a report in the Kariba News newsletter and is
due to appear before a criminal court on 19 October.

The police raided the premises of African Open Media Initiative (Afromedia),
a Harare-based video news production company, on 26 September, detaining at
least 10 journalists and seizing computers and video editing equipment on
the grounds that they were not properly licensed.

The journalists were released the next day without being charged, but
Afromedia’s editor, Sifelani Tsiko, and two of its other journalists have
been forced to report regularly to a police station ever since. The
equipment still has not been recovered.

The raid could be seen as a warning to Afromedia, which has not been
registered by the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ). The BAZ tends
not to recognize or issue licences to media that do not support President
Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party.

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‘Zimbabwe Spending Too Much on Defence and the Military’

16:05 GMT, October 16, 2012

The Zimbabwean government is spending too much on defence and the military
at the expense of other development sectors such as education, says a senior
official in the splinter Movement Democratic Change (MDC), lead by Professor
Welshman Ncube. Earlier this month Zimbabwe opened its $98 million National
Defence College.

Zimbabwe is currently being run by a joint administration, bringing together
the three major political parties in the country – Ncube’s MDC, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T and President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF

Tsvangirai has criticised African leaders for “investing in arms and the
military”. David Coltart, Zimbabwe’s Education Minister, has castigated
Zimbabwe’s excessive spending on the military and defence for a country that
is not at war. He said Zimbabwe’s "defence has been allocated $35 million"
in the first half of the current year while education has received only $5
million, about 6% of the money budgeted for education.

"We are spending so much on defence and only a pitiful amount on education.
If we don't address these issues then the education of an entire generation
will be lost."

However, the views of Tsvangirai and Coltart are in sharp contrast with
those of Mugabe, whose ZANU-PF party has seconded army personnel to senior
positions in state parastatals and other government organisations. Retired
Major-General Mike Nyambuya was appointed to head the National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board two weeks ago in the latest
move to militarise key institutions. Key parastatals and strategic public
institutions in which ex-military personnel are heavily involved include the
National Railways of Zimbabwe, Grain Marketing Board, Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings, Broadcasting
Authority of Zimbabwe and Zimpapers.

Last month, Mugabe officially opened the National Defence College just
outside Harare which was built with assistance from China, with whom
Zimbabwe is said to enjoy stronger military ties. In his address, he said
there was need to enhance the security systems and intelligence systems of

He said China and Pakistan would avail expert military training for
Zimbabwean army personnel at the defence college. Those to be trained there
include military personnel from the ranks of colonel and others ranked above
the colonels.

The defence college, built on a total area of 40,000 square meters, was
constructed at a cost of $98 million (loaned by China) and took two years to

China is Zimbabwe’s leading arms supplier, providing at least $66 million
worth of small arms during Zimbabwe’s involvement in the civil war in the
DRC (1998-2002). Since 2004 China has sold to Zimbabwe 139 military vehicles
and 24 combat aircraft. Last year it was reported that Zimbabwe had taken
delivery of 20 000 AK-47 assault rifles from China, together with other
military and civil security equipment.

However, Zimbabwe sometimes struggles to take delivery of weapons due to
sanctions. In 2008 South Africa prevented delivery of six containers of
small arms and equipment when they stopped the China Ocean Shipping Company’s
vessel An Yue Jiang from unloading in Durban. The weapons on board were
shipped by Poly Technologies Incorporated of China.

According to the International Peace Information Service (IPIS), a Belgian
research hub, in August 2008, 53 tons of ammunition were allegedly flown
from the Democratic Republic of Congo to Harare. The ammunition was flown by
Enterprise World Airways, aboard a Boeing 707-3B4C aircraft registered as

The first shipment on August 21 contained 32 tons of 7.62mmx54 cartridges.
Two days later a second shipment arrived, containing 20 tons of 7.62mmx39
cartridges, which are used in AK-47s. The ammunition arrived in Zimbabwe
four months after the arms shipment was turned away at Durban, only to be
flown into the country later from Angola, the report claimed.

Despite denials from Luanda and Beijing, an employee of the state-owned
Zimbabwe Defence Industry (ZDI) in Harare told IPIS that the shipment, which
contained mortar bombs, rockets and ammunition, had arrived in the country.

“The most prominent supplier of arms to Zimbabwe has been China, which
supplied more than one-third of the volume of Zimbabwe’s major weapons
between 1980 and 2009,” the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
(SIPRI) has said.

The Institute said that China supplied 100 Dongfeng military vehicles to
Zimbabwe via the Mozambican port of Beira in early 2005.

David Maynier, the Democratic Alliance’s defence spokesman said South Africa
“should not be exporting conventional arms to a repressive regime such as
Zimbabwe" after it emerged that South Africa had sold military equipment
worth R2.2 million to Zimbabwe.

"The fact is there has been a de facto arms embargo on exporting
conventional arms to Zimbabwe for nearly a decade,” he said.

By Tawanda Karombo/defenceWeb

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Chinamasa’s Statements Signal Another Electoral Charade

By Alex Magaisa

Published: October 16, 2012

Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa last week declared in an
interview with the BBC’s Andrew Harding that MDC-T leader and current Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is “asking for trouble” if he wins the
Presidential election scheduled for next year.

When asked whether ZANU PF was prepared to accept a Tsvangirai victory
Chinamasa responded: “He [Tsvangirai] cannot win”. And later, he is quoted
as saying that “I know he [Tsvangirai] is the front of (sic) the countries
that impose sanctions. And if those countries impose for him to win, that
result will not be acceptable. We will not accept it. We will just not
accept it. Isn’t that clear?”

This comes at a time when President Mugabe is declaring that the country is
ready to hold free and fair elections and that those who do not want to
contest will not be forced to do so. The statements attributed to Chinamasa
are certainly out of sync with this message but confirm what has long been
feared about elections in Zimbabwe: that in ZANU PF’s world-view, the only
election that is acceptable is an election that delivers a positive result
for itself. Anything else would be unacceptable.

Chinamasa is the Minister responsible for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
affairs in Zimbabwe and that portfolio gives him the role of administering
the Electoral Act, among other laws that deal with elections. As Justice
Minister he will have a role in the next electoral processes, including the
accreditation of election observers. Yet already, long before the election
dates have been declared, Chinamasa is not only defining the goalposts, but
declaring that one of the prospective contestants cannot score or let alone
win the contest.

What Chinamasa has said is, of course nothing new. In the past, military
commanders have issued statements to the same effect, indicating clear
hostility to the man and his leadership aspirations. There is a long list of
such threats of subverting the people’s will and Chinamasa’s is just the
latest in the catalogue. On this occasion, Chinamasa also invoked the threat
of ZANU PF’s military might:

“And this is where the military comes in …” he said suggesting that the
military step in to prevent a Morgan Tsvangirai victory and subvert the will
of the people and therefore, the Constitution.

So in Chinamasa’s opinion, the people of Zimbabwe are so immature that they
are unable to make their own political decisions and instead they have to
rely on the wisdom of ZANU PF and its allies in the military. Should they
vote for Tsvangirai, that decision will be deemed incorrect and will be
subverted by ZANU PF, the military and war veterans.

This then begs the question regarding the hullaballoo over the elections; of
why ZANU PF is so intent on having an election whose result is already
pre-determined. Why are they so keen on going ahead with an election when
they are not prepared to accept the results of that contest, should the
result not be in their favour? Why not simply come out in the open and
declare that Tsvangirai and the MDC-T are prohibited from contesting the
election? Why go through the charade of an election when an unfavourable
result will not be accepted?

The fact is these are the types of reckless stunts that do Zimbabwe no
favours at all. Even those who may have been prepared to take ZANU PF more
seriously in recent years surely have to despair when a senior official
utters such remarks which essentially rubbish the entire election process
which they would otherwise wish to present as credible and legitimate to the
rest of the world.

Such statements also debunk the myth that ZANU PF banks on its policies to
win elections; the one that has gained currency in recent years that in
indigenisation and land reform ZANU PF has cogent policies as points around
which to rally support to beat rivals in an election. Chinamasa’s statements
and threats suggest that the party does not have confidence in a
policy-based approach and instead can and will only rely on the power that
it draws from the security structures.

In this regard, Chinamasa’s statements only serve to confirm what has long
been known: that ZANU PF’s main source of power lies in the national
security structure. The other traditional structures of power, namely
finance, production and knowledge play their part but none more so than the
security structure.

However, coming as they have done well in advance of the elections, by the
law of unintended consequences, Chinamasa’s statements are in a strange sort
of way quite welcome. They are welcome because they demonstrate the reality
of attitudes and positions on the Zimbabwean political landscape: that
nothing has changed to make the next election free and fair. People who have
doubted the sincerity of the tolerance and peaceful tune that President
Mugabe has been singing in recent months will feel vindicated by Chinamasa’s

President Mugabe’s backers might say Chinamasa was not representing the
President or his party position or indeed the military. Well, if that is the
case, the one way to prove it would be correct the representations that have
been given so publicly on the world stage by Chinamasa or to publicly
censure him for his remarks. After all, they represent a threat to disregard
and disrespect the Constitution which is the supreme law of the land. As
Justice Minister, a lawyer and member of the Law Society of Zimbabwe,
Chinamasa knows that only too well and both his oaths as a minister and as a
lawyer oblige him to respect and uphold the laws of the land.

Chinamasa says Tsvangirai and the MDC-T seek to reverse the land reform
programme, which is a gross misrepresentation. As one of ZANU PF’s
negotiators in the constitutional reform process, he knows that the agreed
clauses on agricultural land do not such thing. This is why even in ZANU PF’s
own set of amendments, the Copac draft’s clauses on agricultural land have
not been seriously amended, reflecting the accommodation that has been
reached between the parties. The reason for continuously raising the spectre
of the MDC-T reversing the land reform programme is simply to perpetuate a
tired line that the MDC-T is anti-land reform.

Coincidentally, ZANU PF removed all provisions in Chapter 16 of the Copac
draft Constitution relating to the establishment of the Land Commission
whose main functions include carrying out a land audit and ensuring
adherence to the “one person-one farm” principle. The effect of this would
be to ensure transparency and prevent multiple farm ownership. Only those
who are multiple farm owners can be afraid of the existence of a body like
the Land Commission. Far from reversing the land reform process, the agreed
aim is to regularise the process, to ensure security of tenure and to set
out a basis for productive agriculture.

More importantly, however, the statements are welcome in that they remind
SADC as the facilitator and guarantor of the GPA, the AU as the other
guarantor, the United Nations and the rest of the world regarding the
challenge that continues to encumber Zimbabwe. Far from signalling any
confidence in the prospect of a free and fair election, Chinamasa’s
statements signal a repeat of the 2008 charade. For a man of his stature,
the statements were remarkable for their reckless and plain disregard for
the law and the will of the people.

As the old saying goes, however long it stays in the river, a log will never
transform into a crocodile.

Note: Chinamasa lost to the MDC-T’s John Nyamande in the 2008 parliamentary
elections. He was later appointed to Parliament by President Mugabe as a

Dr Alex Magaisa is a Lawyer and Senior Lecturer based at Kent Law
School.This article was originally published at

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Harare - a tribute in hip-hop
Collaboration by Zimbabwe's finest rappers gives a rare glimpse into one of the world's most demonised countries

Amkelwa Mbekeni for Africa is a Country, part of the Guardian Africa Network, Wednesday 17 October 2012 15.46 BST

Synik: 'There is a joke here, you may have freedom of expression but no one guarantees you freedom after expression.'

Zimbabwe is a paradox. A country riddled with contradictions. While the often unpalatable and sometimes hair-raising stories are making news, the stories of everyday people of Zimbabwe are less reported, if not altogether the country's best kept secret.

"Generally, Africa seems to be portrayed in a negative light," says Gerald Mugwenhi, better known as Synik, the four times nominee of the 2012 Zimbabwe Hip-Hop awards. "If people are showcasing the positive side they are usually the exception. Zim is like anywhere else, there are problems, yes, but there are also great things to talk about. However, the focus, when people hear of Zim, is the politics, but the people are a better story."

Synik is a lyrically talented and much respected Hip-Hop and spoken word artist from Harare. He earned his initial stripes in the Zimbabwean Hip-Hop scene in 2008 when he released an EP which gained him the momentum to make contacts with other local artists. His debut album Syn City has been making some waves as a free download recently.

"The point of the free download was to make the music accessible to everyone. It is available to buy on all major online platforms but I wanted to give people who aren't familiar with me or my music a chance to hear it as well. It made the album popular as many people got to talk about it, and to share it as well. I believe that sales would never have translated into much had we made it strictly for sale. A number of people got the free download and still bought it to show support, but for many people in Zimbabwe – and maybe some other parts of Africa – buying online is not a possibility."

The buzz that resulted from the album release had a lot to do with its accessibility. "I didn't have any misgivings about the free download. I think it's a good strategy for a debut album and the focus is more long term than immediate returns."

Syn City, produced by Begotten Sun, is a result of a collaboration with many of Zimbabwe's finest emcees such as Metaphysics, JnrBrown and Karizma to name a few. Out of mutual respect these artists got together with Synik to share their life experiences in Harare, so that the album could give a clearer reflection on their lives, and allowing for different voices to tell their stories.

To Synik this album is a tribute to the city which helped shape him as an individual — particularly having left his job as an account assistant to pursue his music. The album offers a rare opportunity to get a glimpse into the capital city of one of the most demonised countries of today through the lenses of articulate young people, giving a broader understanding of what is really going on. One could argue that it gives an account of life in Zimbabwe that is not of the newspaper variety.

These artists — cue Chuck D — are the news anchors of the streets of Harare.

"I live in Harare, which I dubbed Syn City playing on my moniker and loosely borrowing the art from the movie," Synik explains, "but the stories in the album are not unique to Harare. Syn City can be any city." The film he is speaking of is Sin City, and its visuals are also referred to in the video for the title track which is said to be the first 3D music video from the African continent:

Syn City was shot on a green screen, the backplates are photos we took around the city. The wide angle of the city is a photo we took which was then built into something resembling a 3D environment. By so doing we were able to control the separate elements and achieve the Sin City feel were going for."

The video, produced by Nqobizitha Mlilo and Rufaro Dhliwayo, has been released online but is not intended to be limited to the online market only. So far it has not yet enjoyed airplay on Zimbabwean television or regional music channels. However, Synik is determined to have it shared on as many platforms as possible.

The album is a mixture of various sounds including the mbira combined with the occasional use of his mother tongue Shona to give it a Zimbabwean feel.

"I think a true reflection of my communication is the balance between my mother tongue and English. There are ideas one can express easier in one language and not the other, so using both gets the message out truthfully."

The album is self-explanatory. Synik is being brutally honest in his account of life in general and his life in specific, not even shying away from showing his vulnerable side. The track 'Muripo' is the one song he says was made at his most vulnerable, expressing his emotions quite freely. It is a deeply personal album. The original album had 12 tracks, but soon after its release a bonus track 'Marching as One', originally just an interlude, was added.
"Marching as One is a rebellious song," Synik says, "so on the album it was good for transitioning into the AfrICan joint. We later on did the full version of 'Marching' for the [urban art] Shoko Festival special edition of the album."

Apart from music, Shoko Festival seeks to incorporate many other art forms such as photography, comedy and dance. It also has a strong element of skills-sharing through workshops and discussions to bring about social change. One of the themes discussed this year was freedom of expression.

Since the Zimbabwean government introduced tough media laws in 2002, freedom of expression has been under attack, and it is interesting to see what the role of artists has become.

"There is a joke here," Synik laughs, "you may have freedom of expression but no one guarantees you freedom after expression." He points out that fear may have been used as a political tool so much that paranoia has become a by-product. "Hip-Hop as a radical and outspoken art form is the perfect tool in cultural activism." That doesn't mean, he adds, that one would automatically have to become the 'voice of the voiceless'. "There are artists, who speak boldly, but personally I am not an outright political individual." But in the same breath he admits that the line between the personal and the political is thin — especially in a place like Zimbabwe.

"I've never really felt motivated to be a voice because of the conditions around me. I just express what I'm feeling at the time. I try to bring about positive change through my music. Whether it's through introspective music, where I try to deal with myself from the inside, or through asking bigger questions about what's going on around. I just believe artists have a great opportunity to hold up a mirror to society so it can change if it needs to. It takes a certain amount of bravery to speak against some things."

Although Synik is gradually getting recognition for being a Hip-Hop artist, he also has performed as a spoken word artist and still supports the poetry events happening in Harare. To him, Hip-Hop and poetry are very much interrelated. Synik continues to grow in his musical expression and has recently incorporated the acoustic guitar to his performances. He considers himself to be one who is still trying to find himself.

There is no denying that Zimbabwe is experiencing tough times. Popular western media have been almost relentless in their reporting about the calamities it is facing. Amid all the chaos, human rights violations and economic turmoil, in meeting Synik, a different kind of story is unearthed. A story of a young and driven individual who is determined to realise his dreams, making it despite all the portrayed doom and gloom. Media is only telling one story, so it's only right that Synik tells another one. His story is told from his — and possibly many other urban Zimbabweans' — perspective. Just because not everything is a dream doesn't mean that everything is a nightmare. Home is home and the place Synik calls home is Harare; Syn City is a shout-out to this place.

Amkelwa Mbekeni is one half of the Planet Earth Planet Rap International Hip-Hop segment of And You Don't Stop! radio show on WBAI (New York)

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