Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:11
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
ANXIETY has gripped residents of Mazowe Valley in Mazowe after they were
last week ordered to vacate their houses with immediate effect by the First
Lady Grace Mugabe to make way for the expansion of an orphanage she is
building in the area.
Officials from Mazowe Rural District Council told the 62 households that
they were supposed to have moved on October 1 as the First Lady wanted to
build a school on the land they are occupying.
What worries the residents is that the area they are supposed to relocate to
has not been serviced.
The area has no roads, no toilets or running water, a recipe for an outbreak
of diseases during this rainy season.
Even if the roads were to be opened up they would not be passable because
the soils are “heavy” and become muddy when it rains, complained the
Authoritative sources said the First Lady had initially promised to
compensate the residents but she has since shifted goal posts ordering
Mazowe Council to do it.
The council, said the sources, has no money and has pledged to compensate
the evictees by giving them more land.
But residents said it would be difficult for them to build their houses if
they were not compensated financially.
After complaints from the residents, Grace on Wednesday is said to have sent
her emissaries informing them that they can stay until December.
The emissaries included Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban
Development Ignatius Chombo, Mashonaland Central governor Martin Dinha and
several senior officials from Mazowe Rural District Council.
Officials from the local authority informed residents at the meeting that
construction of roads would commence this weekend but by yesterday there was
no sign at the new site to show that work would begin any time soon.
The residents said the timing was wrong as most of them would not finish
building habitable houses in the two months they were given.
They also feared that once they moved, they would not be compensated.
But council officials, residents said, assured them that they would be
compensated but failed to give a date.
Some will be given additional stands elsewhere as compensation as the
council has no money, they were told.
Residents are furious that Grace cherry-picked an area already developed and
legally acquired to build her orphanage instead of looking for virgin land
like the one where they are told to relocate to.
“The way the Mugabes are using their political muscle is getting out of hand
now,” said another resident.
“How does she expect us to build our homes without compensation? They have a
penchant for grabbing: they grabbed farms and now it’s our land.”
Another resident, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, said
they had heard that the orphanage would be converted into a private school.
“I don’t think she (Grace) is doing this project for the orphans because if
she was doing it for them, she would also have considered our plight,” said
one affected resident.
“How do you build restaurants and a shopping mall for orphans?”
When The Standard news crew visited the area on Friday afternoon
construction workers were busy building what they said were school blocks.
But there was no activity across the road where the residents are supposed
to move to.
Other than a grinding mill which has stood there for years, there is no
other sign to show that it would be home to 62 families in two months’ time.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:24
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
NKAYI — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was yesterday forced to abandon a
rally in the Nesigwe area after police ordered the crowd to disperse during
MDC-T had on Friday secured a High Court order overturning a decision by
Matabeleland North police to bar Tsvangirai from addressing the weekend
rallies in Nkayi North and South constituencies.
A truck load of police officers descended on the venue in Nkayi South and
despite being shown the court order, they demanded that the crowd of about
1 000 people disperse immediately.
Plain clothed police officers travelling in two vehicles also arrived at the
Tsvangirai and other MDC-T officials tried to reason with the police
officers who responded by threatening to call for more reinforcements.
The PM then stopped the meeting as the situation was turning volatile. But
that was after he demanded that police show him more respect.
“I have a message for the police: does Mugabe apply to hold meetings such as
“I hold the same executive powers as Mugabe,” Tsvangirai said. “I deserve
the same respect as Mugabe.
“Mugabe is too old and he must step down.”
In seeking to bar the rally, the police had reportedly claimed it would turn
But a few kilometres from the venue in Gwelutshena, Zanu PF’s Small and
Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development minister Sithembiso Nyoni was
allowed to proceed with her rally.
Abedinico Bhebhe, the MDC-T deputy organising secretary and former Nkayi
South legislator said the party would deal with police officers disrupting
its activities when it wins the next elections.
“The MDC, starting from today, will be writing names of the police officers
who are working against the wishes of the people,” he said.
“Once the MDC goes into government we will retire such officers.”
Matabeleland North police have been preventing Tsvangirai from campaigning
in the province since the run up to the June 27 2008 presidential run-off
His armoured BMW campaign car was seized by police in the provincial
capital, Lupane and has not been released.
Tsvangirai, who had won the first round of the vote, was eventually forced
to boycott the run-off poll by violence on his supporters blamed on security
Meanwhile, Tsvangirai told the rally that elections could be held in the
last quarter of next year despite Mugabe’s wish that they be held by March.
He said the 87-year-old ruler would not be able to unilaterally call for the
polls and the MDC-T would not take part in any elections before the playing
field was levelled.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:30
BY NQABA MATSHAZI
THE entertaining sideshow of provinces stampeding to endorse President
Robert Mugabe (pictured right) as the candidate for the next election is a
missing ingredient to the run up to the party’s conference set for December
In the past years, the provinces shouted themselves hoarse, as they each
wanted to be the first and the loudest to declare Mugabe as the sole
candidate for the elections.
A few years ago some provinces even had the audacity to demand that Mugabe
be declared supreme leader of the party, but this year they have been
conspicuous by their silence.
Only Umguza District has come out and endorsed Mugabe’s candidacy, but many
say since Obert Mpofu, the Minister of Mines and Mining Development, is the
legislator for that area, it was only expected.
Mpofu, who infamously referred to himself as Mugabe’s most obedient son
would be expected to endorse the ageing leader.
Others claim that failure by provinces to endorse Mugabe was a replication
of the 2008 scenario, where some prospective legislators were urging their
supporters not to vote for the veteran leader and instead, figuratively,
kick the ball into the bush rather than scoring.
But political analyst, Dumisani Nkomo said it was too early to start singing
a dirge for Mugabe’s long political career, as the president could still
pull out an ace that could lead him to certain victory.
“With Mugabe you never know,” he said. “You might think he is weak then he
pulls a winning card.”
Nkomo said it was early days yet and since it was only October, some
provinces could yet start backing Mugabe to contest the next polls.
“There might be a few more people who might emerge and start licking Mugabe’s
boots, as they have done in the past,” he said.
The political analyst however said leaked US envoy cables, had revealed
deep-seated divisions within the party and it was clear that the majority of
Zanu PF members were against his continued leadership.
This sentiment was echoed by another political analyst, Effie Ncube, who
reckoned that the cables had revealed that there was fatigue within Zanu PF
due to Mugabe’s seemingly unending reign.
“There is fatigue within the party and most of them want someone else to
lead Zanu PF except those who are benefitting from Mugabe’s largesse,” he
It is reported that several senior politicians have only escaped prosecution
from corruption and other crimes thanks to Mugabe’s benevolence.
The president himself has repeatedly threatened to take action against
corrupt officials, but is yet to see out that threat.
Ncube said the failure to endorse Mugabe, hardly six weeks ahead of the
congress, showed that there were divisions and camps within the party and
this could signify that the house that Mugabe built could be crumbling.
Ncube said Mugabe and his party were on the decline and the December
conference was going to illustrate how much the party had collapsed.
The Zanu PF leader has hinted that the conference will sit like a congress,
meaning that it will have to endorse or choose a leader to contest the next
elections, which Mugabe and his party want to be held at their earliest
Since the release of hundreds of leaked American cables, Mugabe has been
playing his cards close to his chest.
Most Zanu PF members who met with US diplomats showed their disdain for
Mugabe and wanted an end to his rule. Mugabe is known for being harsh at
people who question his rule, but he is yet to take action against party
members that deviated from this strict code.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:31
By Khanyile Mlotshwa
A parliamentary hearing on the Electoral Amendment Bill was on Friday
abandoned after participants who had filled the Small City Hall started
squabbling and made it impossible for the meeting to continue.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal Affairs and
Parliamentary Affairs, which is chaired by MDC spokesperson Douglas
Mwonzora, is holding nationwide public hearings on the Bill.
On Friday evening, Mwonzora, who had managed to retain control of an
otherwise ill-tempered and emotional meeting, lost the plot when he allowed
some participants to continue with contributions that angered a section of
This led to a 30-minute slanging match with the audience prompting Mwonzora
to ask the participants to put their contributions in writing.
“We will only continue with this meeting once you learn to listen to each
“Otherwise, I would advise that those that can write, they can write and
make their submissions on paper,” he said.
A section of Zanu PF youths took advantage of the confusion and briefly sang
revolutionary songs before some of their members snatched a notebook from
one of the parliamentary clerks who were taking down submissions. “This is a
notebook that one of the committee’s clerks used to record the public’s
submissions,” Mwonzora said.
“This Zanu PF youth came and grabbed it.
“Obviously this was an attempt to steal the views that had come out.
“Unfortunately for that person, we had other recordings. We want to assure
the people of Bulawayo that their views are safely recorded in another
format,” he said.
Similar meetings have been disrupted in Marondera, Masvingo and Mutare.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:28
BY RUTENDO MAWERE
GOKWE — Moses Chokuda, an MDC-T activist, killed by Midlands governor Jason
Machaya’s son and three other Zanu PF supporters was finally buried in
Chipere village in Gokwe yesterday, nearly three years after his death.
The burial only went ahead after the governor gave the slain activist’s
family 20 cattle, US$15 000 cash and bought a coffin as compensation.
The Chokudas had reportedly demanded 70 cattle, US$15 000 and a virgin girl,
but the demands were reduced after the intervention of Chief Moses Njelele.
The governor is yet to give the family an additional 15 cattle.
The Standard was informed that before collecting Moses’ remains from the
Gokwe mortuary, where they had been removed from a metal coffin and put in a
plastic bag by police, the Chokudas spent nearly an hour alone inside.
No one knows what they were doing inside the building, where even mortuary
attendants and Chief Njelele, who mediated between the Chokuda and Machaya
families, were not allowed.
Mourners who went for body viewing yesterday said they only saw bones in the
white coffin. This was hardly surprising as Moses’ body lay in the mortuary
for nearly three years with his family demanding justice.
Machaya’s son Farai, Abel Maphosa, Edmore Gana and Bothwell Gana were last
month sentenced to 18 years in jail for the March 2009 murder.
Machaya, who is also the Zanu PF provincial chairman, attended the funeral
where he preached forgiveness.
“When people wrong each other, it’s only prudent to ask for forgiveness,
hence our engagement with the Chokuda family,” Machaya said.
“I have children and I know how painful it is to lose a son, but what we
have witnessed today is a sign of greater things to come.
“We are aware that Moses left a son and a wife, we will try to help the
Chokuda family and we are sorry for what happened.”
Tavengwa Chokuda, Moses’s father, said the case must be a warning to
perpetrators of violence that they were not above the law.
“The Machayas realised their mistake and we have forgiven them, we can drink
together,” he said.
Chief Njelele, who mediatated between the Chokudas and the Machayas, said he
was initially afraid to get involved in the matter after hearing that Moses
was “avenging” his death. His father claimed his son had been seen seated on
top of his coffin and had chased away self-proclaimed prophets who wanted to
conduct prayers before collecting his body for burial.
“I just decided to act like (South African president) Jacob Zuma and be a
facilitator so that the boy who has been dead for two years and nine months
is buried,” he told mourners. “In our culture we don’t allow a corpse to be
kept for more than two days.
“So this had worried me for a long time, but I am glad we have laid him to
But Moses’ widow Ruramai Chokuda said she had not forgiven her husband’s
“I am still grieving and I have not forgiven the murderers and the burial is
not the end of Moses,” she said.
Finance minister Tendai Biti told more than 200 mourners that the case was a
reminder that political violence was retrogressive.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:33
BY NQABA MATSHAZI
THE government is considering setting up an independent National Peace and
Reconciliation Council (NPRC) under the Organ on National Healing,
Reconciliation and Integration (ONHRI), although there are fears that lack
of funding could choke it at birth.
Ideally, the council is supposed to be free of political interference, but
observers fear it could turn out to be a paper tiger, like the national
The draft policy framework document, produced by human rights consultant
Clever Nyathi, has been circulating among various political parties’
national executives for consideration before it goes to cabinet for debate.
Senior leaders from both MDC formations and Zanu PF were scheduled to
discuss the draft document last week, but the meeting had to be postponed
due to a Common Market for East and Southern Africa, (Comesa) summit in
The draft document titled “National Policy Framework for National Healing
and Reconciliation” says the operations of the peace council would be
financed mainly through external resources.
“An endeavour shall also be made to mobilise resources from bilateral,
international and local cooperating partners,” reads the document in part.
Already the government has declined funding from Nordic countries, which
offered to bankroll elections and human rights programmes in the country,
saying this could open the door for external interference in the country’s
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has on some occasions come
to the rescue of the organ which could not carry out its operations due to
The document said since the organ was a creation of the Global Political
Agreement (GPA), the proposed peace council “should be viewed and situated
well beyond the current GNU and inclusive government”.
“The council shall honestly deal with the past in order to shape a truly
peaceful future, provide safe space for facilitating dialogues.”
The peace council would have nine members with at least four women and
nominated members “shall be vetted for suitability by parliament”.
If ratified, it is expected that members of the council will report to both
parliament and a yet to be named ministry.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:34
BY LESLEY WURAYAYI
FOR Kudzai Makone of Harare’s high-density suburb of Glen view 2, memories
of the 2008/9 cholera epidemic that killed 4 000 Zimbabweans are still
fresh. But she still finds herself without any choice but to fetch water
from an unprotected well, a known fertile ground for cholera.
“There is nothing much we can do,” said Makone who was on her way from one
of the boreholes in Glen view where meandering queues have become the order
of the day.
“I have clothes that need to be washed and I have to bath my kids and do
other household chores.
“As for diseases, we have survived worse situations than this. Remember,
2008 was worse than this but we survived.”
Most of Harare’s western suburbs have gone for almost a week without water
after the Harare City Council embarked on a major rehabilitation of its
Morton Jaffray water treatment plant.
Council says the water cuts could continue for some time after a Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa) transformer at the plant blew up,
complicating the maintenance work.
Glen Norah, Budiriro, Kuwadzana and Glen View, the epicentre of one of the
most devastating cholera epidemics in the history of the country, are again
the hardest hit by the water shortages.
In Glen Norah B, residents wake up as early as 3am to queue at the only
borehole located at the intersection of Cross and Ambi roads. Two boreholes
drilled by the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) as a response to the
cholera outbreak are not working due to lack of maintenance.
In Budiriro, Victor Siraha said they were even getting water from drainages
and unprotected wells.
Some residents were seen fetching water from a well dug adjacent a stream of
“We have been without running water since Sunday and the council has not
bothered to explain to us what is going on,” said Vimbai Hove, a housewife.
“If they had given us prior warning, we could have made plans to store water
for drinking and cooking.”
Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda yesterday said repairs at the treatment plant
had been slowed down by the electricity outages. But he hoped the water
supplies would be restored by early this week.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:35
BY PATIENCE NYANGOVE
What may have started as a genuine need to empower locals has turned on its
head with Zanu PF youths running rampant and grabbing properties across the
country, under the guise of the indigenisation programme.
In scenes reminiscent of the 2000 land grab, Zanu PF youths and supporters
have unleashed a reign of terror, forcing people out of buildings, which
they claim to have taken over.
In the latest episode, Zanu PF youths invaded a business premise in Mbare
where they threatened to take over the building and open spaces around it.
The marauding youths last Tuesday occupied Angelbeck’s plot that houses 32
properties being leased to 87 tenants.
The property belongs to the late Samuel Koefman’s family and is currently
being administered by Knight Frank Newmark Global Real Estate.
Some of the affected properties include Club Matute, Chiduku Wholesalers and
Retailers, Karima Cash and Carry among many other businesses that include
home industries operating from the plot.
When The Standard visited the plot on Friday, the Zanu PF youths were busy
clearing part of the open space which they had grabbed while others had
already fenced off another part of the open space.
The caretaker of the plot, Everest Mayor, on Friday confirmed the invasion.
“This plot is a private property but the Zanu PF youths came and grabbed
pieces of land along Shashi Road, also at the roundabout and spaces on the
back yard of Mudhomboyi, Motsi, Masiyanise and Nhekairo businesses,” Mayor
“They are not even considering that there are water pipes on those
“According to them, once they are done with grabbing the open spaces they
will start evicting tenants inside buildings on the plot and they take
Other sources said the youths have since early this year been trying to grab
the piece of land.
“They came a few weeks before President Robert Mugabe’s birthday and tried
to extort US$5 000 ostensibly for ‘protection’ from the property owners
before management at Knight Frank asked them to make the cash request
through formal ways and that the money should not be demanded as ransom,” a
“The youths were even offered places to operate their businesses on
condition that they also, like anybody else, pay market rent but they
refused saying they wanted to use the place for free.”
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:35
BY NQABA MATSHAZI
FOREIGNERS in South Africa, particularly Zimbabweans living in Alexander
Township in Johannesburg, face an uncertain future after locals there
ordered them to vacate cheap government housing.
Authorities there have sought to assure foreigners that they were safe, but
a local vigilante group, Alex Bona Fides, says the outsiders were given
enough notice and it was time for them to vacate.
Foreigners were given yesterday as the deadline for vacating the premises,
with South Africans claiming they had been given offer letters but failed to
get houses, as these had been allocated to outsiders.
However, the foreigners got a temporary reprieve after leaders of the
vigilante group said they would now challenge ownership of the government
houses in court and report to the residents next week.
This prompted the restive crowd to demand immediate action, but Alex Bona
Fide leaders, probably fearing arrest, called off the planned march.
As early as 10am yesterday, more than 600 people had gathered at a stadium
in the township with a view to take an audit of who had been allocated
government houses, raising fears that this could ignite xenophobic violence
on the scale of the 2008 attacks that gripped the southern African nation.
Authorities said they were monitoring the situation carefully and hoped to
avoid a riot, considering that Alexander was one of the epicentres of the
2008 wildcat xenophobic attacks.
Alex Bona Fides yesterday insisted that the evictions were not xenophobic,
but rather they were repossessing government houses from undeserving people
and handing them out to South Africans, the rightful owners.
Police yesterday morning on the other hand insisted that a planned march to
the government houses was illegal, but an expectant crowd was willing to
walk to the houses and evict foreigners.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:37
BY NDAMU SANDU
WHEN Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono was pictured in
January this year all smiles with retrenched workers, it marked the end of
The retrenchment was hailed as the central bank’s first step towards
normalcy after it had steeped itself in activities that fall in the realms
of the Ministry of Finance as the custodians of fiscal policies.
Nine months after the exercise was carried out, the former RBZ employees are
struggling to make ends meet as the bank has failed to pay them retrenchment
packages on time.
In the process some have died due to stress caused by the delays.
One such victim is Clive Tinashe Gwara (30), a young man who had showed all
sorts of promises, until he was retrenched in January. He hanged himself
early this month.
Standardbusiness tracked his family to Glendale, a small town just outside
Gwara was employed in the imports division of the RBZ and his family says
his life changed drastically after his retrenchment.
His mother, Loice Gwara, in between sobs, told Standardbusiness how Gwara’s
death devastated the family.
“He was my father. Even if he was not working, he would fend for the
family,” she said.
She said Gwara had bought a digital camera and a printer, which he wanted to
use to start a photography business. But such a vision was buried with him
more than two weeks ago.
“When he was going to work, things were okay but the situation deteriorated
when he left Harare for Marondera after the retrenchment,” she said.
The family has a house in Marondera.
“When you leave one job you keep on applying thinking that you will get
“His friends would come to see him with their cars, but for him he had
nothing despite his two degrees,” she said.
Loice Gwara spoke of how her son, Clive, was hallucinating and his behaviour
had changed in the few days before he met his fate.
The family took him to a psychiatrist at Harare Hospital who referred them
to a physician. On the day that he was supposed to go to the physician,
Gwara is one of the former RBZ employees who died before receiving exit
packages as the institution has failed to honour its part of the bargain. As
part of the agreement that paved way for the retrenchments, the RBZ agreed
to pay the former workers a lump sum of US$5 000 each when they left the
organisation. It promised to settle the packages in two installments, on
March 31 and on June 30.
The bank agreed to cover medical and funeral expenses for six months to
coincide with the last date of paying the installment. RBZ also said that it
would pay school fees for two terms to employees who enjoyed that privilege.
While the bank is still to fully pay all the former workers, it stopped
paying out medical aid and funeral cover after six months. To date RBZ has
paid the retrenched workers US$15 000 in three equal installments.
‘Situation dire for RBZ retrenchees’
Webster Ngundu, a representative of the retrenchees told Standardbusiness
that the situation was dire for the former workers.
“It’s the retrenched and the entire train behind him. Assuming that the
retrenched worker had a family of six to look after, we are talking of more
than 7 000 people suffering,” Ngundu said.
The bank says it has no money and will only pay out after it has completed
the disposal of its non-core assets.
The ex-workers approached the Labour Court in May to force RBZ to honour its
An arbitral award issued on September 16 ordered the bank to pay all
outstanding dues immediately and pay compensation of 5% per annum as a
penalty for delaying payments.
The court ruled that a focal person should be appointed to interface between
the bank and the former workers. In its appeal against the award, RBZ argued
that it would suffer irreparable harm if the award was enforced.
“Respondents (ex-workers) have already indicated they will be approaching
the High Court for enforcement purposes. If the award is enforced, the
applicant may not be able to pay and contempt of court proceedings may
follow to the detriment of the applicant,” RBZ averred.
Ngundu says the delay in paying the packages shows that the bank does not
understand the true value of money.
RBZ contends that no one has been prejudiced as it had already paid workers
part of the money.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 12:21
BY NQOBILE BHEBHE
The revitalisation of the collapsed industrial sector in Bulawayo would be
difficult because it has been politicised, the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt
and Development (Zimcodd) has claimed.
In its latest report, A Contribution to the Ongoing Debate on the
De-industrialisation of Bulawayo, Zimcodd also cites political instability
and squabbling in the inclusive government and lack of funding as
impediments to re-industrialisation.
“The biggest impediment to industrial revival however, is the politics of
“This can be identified in two ways. Firstly political instability and
squabbling in the inclusive government has not helped business confidence.
It is perhaps due to political uncertainty and the threat of seizure of all
businesses under the country’s empowerment law that has discouraged
industrial growth,” reads part of the report.
“Secondly, revitalisation of industry in Bulawayo has already been
politicised, with the country’s three main political parties (Zanu PF, MDC
and MDC-T) positioning to score cheap political goals from the issue.”
Zimcodd said the focus and strategy to revitalise had been centred on
Bulawayo, without accepting the far-reaching nature of the city’s problems.
“From the above analysis it is clear that a strategy to revive Bulawayo that
is outside a broader strategy to revive the country’s economy is either
misinformed or dishonest,” it added. Government has set aside a US$40
million fund under the “Let Bulawayo Survive” campaign to revive industries
in the city.
Over the years, almost 100 companies have closed shop in Bulawayo and over
20 000 workers lost their jobs, a development that has put the coalition
government under pressure to save the country’s second-biggest city.
Bulawayo was historically known as Zimbabwe’s industrial hub.
All big companies like Zimbabwe Engineering Company, Hubert Davies, Radar
Metal Industries, National Blankets, G & D Shoes, Merlin, Tregers Group,
Stewarts & Lloyds, Hunyani Holdings and Cold Storage Company among others
were based in the city but have since closed or have downsized.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 12:14
BY NDAMU SANDU
NKULULEKO Rusununguko Mining Company, the government-approved empowerment
partner for Zimplats, can only be considered after government has completed
the broad-based empowerment of locals, a Cabinet minister said last week.
Saviour Kasukuwere, Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment
minister said on Tuesday the empowerment legislation would first look at
three critical areas — community share ownership trusts, employee ownership
trusts and the Sovereign Wealth Fund.
This, he said, is designed to ensure that the programme achieves its
objectives of empowering the masses.
“There were a number of groupings which existed before . . . from where we
are in terms of indigenising the economy.
“The first step is to empower the communities. Those who are interested, as
the programme unfolds, we will be looking at the situation, but as far as we
are concerned, the three-layer strategy basically forms a uniform
empowerment programme that we are undertaking as a ministry.”
The disclosure is a fresh setback for the outfit which has been struggling
to buy the 15% stake after it won the bid to partner Zimplats in 2004.
A cabinet committee gave the nod to Nkululeko ahead of Needgate and National
Investment Trust. Alex Manungo, the outfit’s boss could not be reached for
comment since Tuesday.
As part of the transaction, Nkululeko could have bought 13 390 423 ordinary
shares at a price of A$3,47, which is 69% more than the share value on the
Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
However, despite getting the green light, the empowerment grouping has
failed to execute the transaction after facing serious hurdles as government
was offering conflicting statements.
Then Mines minister Amos Midzi was pushing for the creation of a Special
Purpose Vehicle to accommodate losing bidders, Needgate and National
The process was also stalled after central bank chief, Gideon Gono, wrote to
Zimplats imploring them not to proceed with the transaction.
Zimplats had written to Gono informing him that they were proceeding with
the transaction in line with instructions from the Ministry of Mines.
Gono told Zimplats that the Reserve Bank was interested in the platinum
industry “including the fact that we are now interested and mandated to
examine all indigenisation programmes in that sector before they can be
Gono told Zimplats to comply with the new policy framework, “which seeks to
consolidate growth in the sector in a transparent and investor friendly
According to the Indigenisation and Empowerment Act, locals must have at
least 51% shareholding in all foreign-owned companies operating in Zimbabwe.
The ministry has already concluded discussions with major mining houses and
will now move to the manufacturing and financial sectors.
Kasukuwere said after the launch of the Mhondoro-Ngezi Community Trust,
similar schemes and employee share ownership trusts would be launched in the
next two weeks.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 12:11
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
BULAWAYO — Government has availed US$11 million to the National Railways of
Zimbabwe (NRZ) against the US$2 billion it requires to rehabilitate its
ageing infrastructure, Transport, Communications and Infrastructure
Development minister Nicholas Goche has said.
Goche told journalists on the sidelines of a NRZ stakeholder’s conference
held in Bulawayo on Wednesday that government had only managed to avail
US$11 million out of the US$15 million allocation to the troubled
He said the rehabilitation of the NRZ infrastructure was necessary in order
to accommodate and facilitate the promotion of trade in the Southern African
Development Community and Common Markets for Eastern and Southern Africa
“As a shareholder, the government is committed in supporting NRZ’s
“This year, government allocated US$15 million and so far US$11 million has
since been disbursed towards railway infrastructural rehabilitation,” Goche
“The funding is not enough since the NRZ requires nearly US$2 billion over a
period of 10 years for its long term total rehabilitation programme of the
He said in the short to medium-term, US$395 million was needed to restore
the infrastructure to acceptable levels of safety and service delivery,” he
NRZ, like other state parastatals, is facing numerous problems, stemming
from lack of funds to import spare parts and improve services.
Most of NRZ diesel and electrical locomotives are out of service while
passenger and freight services are constantly cancelled.
Other challenges facing the company include the widespread collapse of the
rail infrastructure, vandalised communication equipment and dilapidated yard
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:45
By Jeffrey Moyo
The International Day of Peace came and went past, but global peace summits
continue to be held, with millions of people across the world fooled by
politicians who fantasise about embracing peace while wars are raging in
scores of countries across the world.
Peace is the absence of war, but Barack Obama, the American President,
addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York recently said:
“Peace is not only the absence of war…..”
This then shows that there is more to peace than just the mere absence of
war, which renders our global peace questionab-le.
In Somalia, th-ere is no legitimate government. The country is literally run
by warlords, with close links to marauding sea pirates, who raid ships
loaded with goods in transit, and demand extortionate ransoms, which they
use to perpetrate anarchy in the chaotic nation in the Horn of Africa.
Starvation and drought continue in Somalia, with millions of people fleeing
the country. Some escape political unrest while others run away from hunger,
with millions of children dying from malnutrition every day. It boggles the
mind to talk of world peace commemorations, or even its existence when
people continue to face such situations.
Coming back home, the International Day of Peace may have had no relevance
in our context as we have been divorced from it by the horrible and
increasing levels of political violence. It is now over 10 years since the
turn of the new millennium, following the then government’s chaotic land
seizures from commercial white farmers, throwing the entire nation into long
periods of starvation.
In Zimbabwe, years of political and economic crisis have thrown many people
into abject poverty, with the country suffering an unemployment rate of over
Unquestionably, Zimbabwe has had nothing to celebrate during all the
successive years of international peace days.
Rather, the country should have invited the rest of the world to come and
bemoan the death of peace nationwide at the hands of abusive security forces
and violent politicians and youth militia. Journalists and ordinary
citizens have been routinely arrested, brutally assaulted and tortured or
detained in filthy cells.
Poverty is rife in North and South Sudan, with people still living in tents
although South Sudan became independent from the mainland in July this year.
Peace remains fragile in the two states, with we-apons everywhere in the
countryside and rampant tribal battles taking their toll in the troubled
In the fragile border region of Pakistan and Afghanistan, terrorism and
extremism are daily occurrences. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is one of the most
fragile areas in Pakistan in which terrorism has grown to become one of the
biggest security threats to the region and beyond, jolting powerful nations
into action against the scourge.
Militant groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to incite extremism and
violence among young people.
Israel and Palestine continue to engage in a war that has been going on for
a very long time while Kashmir, a disputed territory between India and
Pakistan, continues to be a source of violence and brutality among the
divided Hindu and Muslim communities, forcing over 40 000 people to flee
World leaders have gone for summit after summit to broker world peace, but
more and more conflicts have continued to emerge globally, with reports of
over 45 wars taking place across the world presently.
It defies logic for the world to commemorate International Peace Day year in
year out when peace is so elusive, if not non-existent; when poverty and
corruption have blighted the entire world, and when economic and political
suffering is evident everywhere, particularly in Africa.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:41
By Nevanji Madanhire
Most of Zimbabwe’s mineral wealth is found in the Great Dyke, a geological
feature that runs almost in a straight line north-south through the centre
It is made up mostly of hills spanning about 550 km. It is host to vast ore
deposits, including gold, silver, chromium, platinum, nickel and asbestos.
This makes it a very strategic economic resource with significant quantities
of chrome and platinum. Economic concentrations of nickel, copper, gold and
platinum group metals (PGM) exist in the dyke.
First discovered in the middle of the 19th century by European explorers,
its vast mineral wealth was only known in 1918.
Now it has dramatically been turned into a major source of conflict.
The new indigenisation method launched recently by the Zanu PF half of the
inclusive government and put into effect recently at Zimplats by no less a
person than President Robert Mugabe himself sounds well-intended and, if run
properly, communities in which major economic activities are taking place
will benefit immensely.
But the concept of community share trusts immediately alienates huge chunks
of Zimbabweans who do not live anywhere near the Great Dyke. At its
broadest, the dyke is only 12 km wide. Outside the dyke there is a
sprinkling of minerals here and there but huge swathes of populations live
in semi-arid lands that have little to offer but subsistence agriculture and
angry young men. This is how the concept becomes problematic.
Mugabe called the launch at Zimplats “a commendable development in the
implementation of our indigenisation and economic empowerment laws,” but
failed to appreciate its implications on other issues that have dogged
efforts to economically empower all Zimbabweans. Land reform, for example,
benefited only a few. It is true, as he said, the country is endowed with
natural resources mined over the years by multinational corporations without
benefiting the people. But to craft a policy that would result in oases of
prosperity dotted across the country that are surrounded by large deserts of
debilitating poverty is to discriminate people according to a whim of
Chrome is mined throughout the dyke, especially in the Darwendale, Lalapanzi
and Mutorashanga areas. So, only the communities in those areas will benefit
when the three largest chrome mining companies, Maranatha Ferrochrome,
Zimaloys and Zimasco are also forced into community share ownership schemes.
Besides the Zimplats venture at Ngezi, platinum group metals in the dyke are
mined at Unki Mine near Shurugwi by Anglo American and Mimosa Mine near
Zvishavane by Zimasco. Again, only communities around these areas will
The president said whereas in the existing model in which the communities
did not directly benefit from economic activities in their areas, such
communities relied on government and donor funding for social and economic
infrastructure development. At face value it might sound wrong for
communities to depend on government. But if we take away the donor factor,
it is the duty of government to fund social services and infrastructural
development; that is why companies pay taxes.
Controlled centrally, these taxes could be distributed equitably throughout
the country thereby benefiting everybody including those who, for historical
and geographical reasons, find themselves living in less
natural-resources-endowed regions. This does not reinforce a dependency
syndrome; it enforces natural justice.
“Community Share Ownership Trusts are a vehicle for broad-based
participation in shareholding in various businesses by our communities. The
proceeds from such participation shall be used for the provision of social
and economic infrastructure in line with the priorities of the communities
concerned, such as the provision, operation and maintenance of schools,
clinics, dipping tanks, roads, water works, sanitation, soil conservation
and prevention of environmental degradation,” Mugabe said.
Is this some kind of devolution? Many regions have, in the past, called for
devolution to be enshrined in our national constitution without success
mainly because of the potential dangers it poses to national unity. But
after the launch of the community share ownership trusts it becomes
impossible to stand in the way of devolution; only the devolution this time
would not be according to provinces but according to little communities
living around rich areas. This will splinter the nation into fragments of
few rich and many poor clans who will naturally turn against each other.
Most conflicts are fights for natural resources.
Mugabe said the proceeds from the community share ownership trusts should be
properly accounted for and used in projects that benefit communities but
this is well-nigh impossible, not just because of the corruption such
schemes naturally sp-awn, but also the impracticality of traditional leaders
overriding the dictatorships of the political leadership.
But already we have seen politicians circling the programmes like vultures;
infighting has already escalated among the political leadership and the
traditional leaders have also turned against each other as they already
smell foul play. This is just a microcosm of what will happen when the
scheme goes national.
It would seem the share ownership scheme project is gimmick to purchase
votes in anticipation of the watershed elections likely to come next year.
This is reinforced by the fact that the schemes are not government projects
but are driven undisguised by a political party. Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said this over and over again,
that the schemes are a Zanu PF project. But this is likely to backfire and
alienate communities against Zanu PF.
If the taxman, in this case the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority, has failed to
collect taxes thereby necessitating this extra-judiciary tax on
foreign-owned companies then Zimra should be revamped to make it more
effective. But Zimra has generally been doing a good job; sometimes too good
to the extent of exercising extortive measures to collect revenue.
The problem has been that government has been profligate in spending the
revenue and the now-all-pervasive corruption has taken its toll. So, it’s
not entirely because of lack of money that government has failed to fund
community development projects and social services but because of bad
governance which has resulted in the national kitty leaking like a sieve.
Share ownership schemes should be controlled centrally and the money
distributed equitably among all communities regardless of where they live;
to do otherwise is to fail in nation building.
Sunday, 23 October 2011 11:39
In March this year, Richard Emslie, chief scientific officer for the Species
Survival Commission of the International Union for the Conservation of
Nature and head of African Rhino Specialist Group (AfRSG), told a meeting of
top rhino experts gathered in South Africa that poachers had slaughtered
more than 800 rhinos in Kenya, South Africa and Zimbabwe in 2010 alone.
Emslie also told the three governments why the rhino conservation lobby was
deeply concerned about the ongoing butchery: “Although good biological
management and anti-poaching efforts have led to modest population-gains for
both black and white African rhino, we are still very concerned about the
increasing involvement of organised criminal poaching networks, and that
unless the rapid escalation in poaching in recent years can be halted,
continental rhino numbers could once again start to decline.”
At a local level, we are now concerned that unlike South Africa and Kenya,
which took the advice of the experts and turned the tide against rhino
poaching, the Zimbabwean government is not doing anything to save this
endangered species. We do not understand why the government has not taken
robust action to crackdown on the Harare-based, Chinese-sponsored syndicates
which are responsible for rhino plunder in conservancies around the country.
However, we fear that this is because top government and “party” officials
are implicated, as are members of various arms of the security forces.
This has been proven in many court cases where poachers have turned out to
be serving or retired troopers. Some ministers and top Zanu PF politicians
have also been named in various reports as the prime suspects behind many
With the rhino horn selling for as much as US$60 000 per kg on the black
market, it is not difficult to understand why greedy politicians can’t avoid
spilling rhino blood to shorten their route to riches.
We are even more concerned that despite numerous cases where evidence of the
complicity of members of the security forces is presented in court, there
seems to be no institutional measures taken to weed out poachers from among
their ranks. The rhino conservation lobby is also disturbed by government
in-action against the continued use of state-owned firearms in poaching. The
AK-47 rifles and heavy machine guns which poachers use to kill rhinos are
defined as arms of war in this country and as such, they are not sold in any
gunshop but are owned by government, and issued only to the security forces.
So we maintain that poachers source these high-calibre assault rifles from
the national security armoury. Recently, parks-director Vitalis Chadenga
told a collection of local, German and British “environmental” journalists
that the poaching scourge is the work of foreign syndicates. True and well
said, but Zimbabweans also know that foreigners operate here with local help
and enjoy protection from “party” politicians, rogue elements of the
security forces, parks officials and even provincial magistrates (as in one
district of Matabeleland North) who are part of the syndicates.
There is no doubt that foreigners —South Africans, Russians, Chinese,
Americans, the British and the French — are deeply involved. But the Gwayi
Valley Hunting Report of 2003 which mentions these nationalities also shines
a brighter light on many local politicians who colluded with the foreigners
in poaching all over that Intensive Conservation Area between 2000 and 2003.
Our fear is that the poaching crisis will escalate because Zanu PF
officials, securocrats and their Chinese benefactors are too deeply
involved. There is also a clear lack of political will to stop it in both
factions of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) because species
conservation does not seem to have a place on their agendas.
The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority claims that the country has over
1 000 rhinos but we find this very difficult to believe because authority
has no history of accuracy with figures. Instead, it has a long reputation
of doctoring figures to keep poaching casualty figures as low as possible to
fool the world and please the political master in Zanu PF.
Instead of taking measures to protect rhinos, the authority is working hard
to distort reality and downplay the intensity of the poaching crisis. The
crisis is much bigger and it cannot be dressed up or sanitised by naked
Poaching will not stop until Zanu PF stops encouraging supporters to invade
and poach with impunity in conservancies as continues to happen in Masvingo,
the Save Valley, Chiredzi and Gwanda.
The conservation of threatened species will not happen when senior
politicians encourage invaders to stay put in conservancies and eat all the
animals if they choose to, simply because they are the black Zanu PF
followers and the conservancy owners are white like the Rhodesians used to