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Zimbabwe government to take over Air Zimbabwe's debt

24 October, 2011 09:49

The Zimbabwean government is expected to take over Air Zimbabwe's $140
million debt, although with plans to liquidate it over time, the country's
Herald newspaper reported on Monday.

Government would work on cutting the airline's staff and would seek a
strategic partner to buy into the national airline.

According to Transport, Communications and Infrastructural Development
Minister Nicholas Goche, Cabinet had agreed to partially dispose of the
National Handling Services.

"At its last meeting on Thursday October 20, Cabinet discussed challenges
faced by our national airline, Air Zimbabwe Holdings and resolved that, Air
Zimbabwe as a strategic government asset and brand, needed to be preserved
and supported as a going business concern.

"To this end, government must assume Air Zimbabwe's current debt and ring
fence the same."

Goche was quoted as saying that once a strategic technical partner was
found, proceeds from its equity contribution would be used to liquidate the

He said Cabinet had agreed that there was an urgent need to right size the
national airline "into a lean and effective organisation," and Air Zimbabwe
would soon start retrenching some of its workers.

"Efforts to partially dispose of the National Handling Services should be
pursued with urgency now in order to secure some financing from within the
airline in order to avoid overburdening treasury.

Goche said the airline urgently needed to rejoin the IATA bank settlement
plan and the IATA clearing house as well as pay ASCENA and other aviation
service providers.

"The airline has been crippled by relentless problems, among them strikes
that at some point forced the company to hire planes to take care of its
travellers," the Herald said.

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SA denies report of deadly deal with Zim police

By Alex Bell
24 October 2011

South Africa’s priority crimes unit and the police have denied being part of
a deadly deal with its Zimbabwean counterparts, which s resulted in the
murder of ‘suspects’ sent across the border.

According to a special report by South Africa’s Sunday Times newspaper,
senior officials in the Hawks and the police are conducting illegal
‘renditions’ with Zimbabwean police. A rendition is the illegal kidnapping
and transfer of a prisoner from one country to another and, according to the
newspaper, Zimbabwean suspects are being arrested in South Africa and then
sent across the border illegally and killed

The newspaper reported this weekend that South Africa’s Police Minister,
Nathi Mthethwa, is sitting on explosive reports, listing at least three
deaths allegedly as the result of a ‘renditions’ operation led by officers
reporting to Hawks boss Anwa Dramat and Gauteng police commissioner
Lieutenant-General Mzwandile Petros.

The Sunday Times said it has evidence that Zimbabwean Witness Ndeya, who was
suspected of shooting a policeman in his country, was “renditioned” by the
Hawks and then murdered, apparently by Zimbabwean police. Ndeya was
arrested, along with his nephew and two friends, for being “illegal
immigrants” last November. In a sworn statement by one of the four, Shepard
Tshuma, they were all taken to the Beitbridge border by South African police
and handed over to Zimbabwean officials who “told us that we are under
arrest for the murder of police officers.”

Tshuma and Ndeya were detained at a Bulawayo police station before the
former was released a week later. Tshuma said that a few days later the
Zimbabwean police told the family “that Witness Ndeya was killed by other
police officers.” Ndeya’s death certificate reportedly confirmed he died at
Hippo Valley Farm in Bulawayo, with the cause of death listed as “multiple
gunshot wounds.”

Tshuma, along with the other two surviving “renditioned” suspects, are now
hiding in South Africa, after allegedly being threatened. The Sunday Times
said that it had met the three at a secret location and they all feared
being “deported and murdered.”

Hawks boss Dramat has confirmed that Ndeya and his companions were “all
arrested as illegal immigrants” and were “deported.” According to the Mail &
Guardian newspaper, Dramat said: “We are not aware of what happened to them
in Zimbabwe. It is not our mandate to do follow-ups on deported [people].”

The behaviour of South Africa’s law enforcement members in the deportation
process faced even more criticism on Monday, after irregularities were
reported during the deportations of Zimbabweans last week. According to the
Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA), about 150
Zimbabweans at a refugee reception office in Musina were rounded up by
defence forces member and taken across the border.

CoRMSA’s Alfani Yoyo told SW Radio Africa that the deportation was done
without any proper procedures being followed, including verification of the
deportee’s status.

“Since the deportations started again, Zimbabweans have been trying to get
asylum and report at refugee reception centres. So there is supposed to be
proper verification practices. We condemn very strongly what has happened,”
Yoyo said.

Yoyo said the deportation procedure has been clearly laid out in a directive
from South Africa’s Home Affairs department, which was quietly circulated
last month. This effectively ended the moratorium on Zimbabwean deportations
in place since 2009.

“The directive clearly states that deportation can only be conducted after a
thorough verification check to establish whether or not they have a pending
application to reside legally in South Africa. Deportees must be interviewed
and the arresting official should indicate in a statement that the above
procedure was followed and ensure that the information given by the suspect
was verified,” Yoyo said.

He added: “Instead, the deportees last week were arbitrarily rounded up and
deported, and we are very afraid about this happening again.”

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MDC ready to rule — PM

By Nkululeko Sibanda, Senior Writer
Monday, 24 October 2011 16:54

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has reiterated that his party is
ready to govern when it wins the forthcoming presidential and general
elections without shedding blood and firing a bullet.

Addressing thousands of villagers in Nkayi’s Ziminya Business Centre in
Matabeleland North Province yesterday, Tsvangirai said the fact that his
party brought some modicum of stability in the socio-economic sectors meant
that they were ready.

“When I look back at the years in which this party has been in existence, I
realise we have managed to bring about change in this country without firing
a bullet,” Tsvangirai said.

“I am confident that we are going to indeed complete this change without
firing a bullet. We are ready to govern this country. This can be achieved
because Sadc has ensured that systems that would give birth to a free and
fair election are indeed put in place.

“I believe that once those systems are in place, you cannot fail to choose
your leader and governing party between that old man (President Robert
Mugabe) and a younger candidate, your son-in-law, myself,” said Tsvangirai
to a loud round of applause from his party’s supporters.

He called on the party leaders and supporters not to lose sight of the party’s
founding principles that dictated that the party would live to see the end
of Zanu PF’s rule in the country.

“When we formed the MDC, we were driven by one major goal, that Mugabe and
Zanu PF must go.

“We did win the election but did not win power to rule and govern the
country. There are those that think they and they themselves have the
ultimate authority to rule and run the affairs of this country,” Tsvangirai

“We need to ensure that we fulfil that goal that we set for ourselves so
that we can fully democratise this country.”

Turning to the inclusive government, Tsvangirai told the party’s supporters
that the route to a stable macro-economic environment in the country had not
been an easy one.

“We have now joined the inclusive government. You have to know that when we
joined the inclusive government, the country was on its knees. “Had we been
like other selfish people, we would have said to Zanu PF go ahead and rule.

But we did not do that because we realised that we had to do a service to
this nation as you had suffered enough.

“And because of that, we had to go to bed with the devil to save you from
further and serious crisis,” he added.

He highlighted that the country’s chaos and crisis had reached alarming

“Money was now printed on newspapers. Hospitals and schools had closed.
There was cholera everywhere. Everything had collapsed. But after two years
you can see and trace progress. The MDC in government is not the government.
But the MDC in government added value to government business,” he said.

He also said the fact that Zanu PF failed to bring about positive change to
the lives of the people of Zimbabwe was evidence Mugabe’s party  had run out
of ideas.

“There are some that complain that Zanu PF has given Tsvangirai an
apprenticeship to rule later. It is very clear that we cannot fail to
deliver what the people of Zimbabwe expect us to deliver for them. We have
seen what is there and how things are done. We cannot fail when presented
with that opportunity,” he said.

“I dare ask those in Zanu PF that what new ideas can you bring to address
the myriad of problems facing this country? You were given 31 years to rule
this country. Instead of building this nation, you have instead destroyed
it.We said we do not want to govern this country through violence. We will
take it through the vote.”

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Fresh Mugabe health concerns

By Thelma Chikwanha, Community Affairs Editor
Monday, 24 October 2011 08:21

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe is expected to fly to Singapore this
morning amid speculation that the ageing leader’s visit is motivated by
medical reasons.

This is believed to be his eighth visit to Singapore this year.

Mugabe, who is reportedly suffering from several diseases consistent with
old age, is expected to leave this morning on a commercial plane to
Johannesburg where he will catch another commercial flight to Singapore.

However, presidential spokesperson George Charamba, who has on many
occasions said Mugabe was enjoying good health, told the Daily News that he
was not aware of the trip.

“I am in Buhera so I do not know what is happening there. Who is saying that
the President is ill,” asked Charamba.

About a month ago, Mugabe travelled the same way to Singapore but Charamba
had told the Daily News that his boss was in Harare. Mugabe’s trip, which
comes days after his ally Muammar Gaddafi was brutally killed by Libyan
forces, will raise speculation on his health.

The last time he travelled to Singapore for the trip which Charamba said his
boss had not taken, Mugabe claimed he had gone there on a private visit to
see his daughter Bona, who is studying in the Far East country.

To his credit, Mugabe has remained fit for his age and in public, rarely
shows any signs of ill-health and at one point jokingly challenged this
reporter to a physical fight and went on to throw a few punches in the air
to show his “strength.”

In one of the leaked United States diplomatic cables released by
whistle-blower website WikiLeaks, a US diplomat is said to have seen Mugabe
checking in at a cancer clinic.

According to a cable originated by Joel Ehrendriech, a US official, Mugabe
visited Singapore in May and August 2008 for cancer treatment.

Speculation on Mugabe’s health started swelling at the end of last week when
he failed to officiate at a graduation ceremony at Chinyoyi and Bindura

But Charamba denied that Mugabe’s failure to attend the ceremonies had
anything to do with his illness.

“The President was not invited to officiate,” was all Charamba said although
Mugabe as chancellor of all government universities in Zimbabwe, makes sure
that he presides over the graduation ceremonies.

Mugabe was also due to travel to Switzerland at the weekend for an UN ICT
summit and was supposed to come back via Singapore but suddenly changed

A senior government official confirmed Mugabe’s sudden change of plans.

“President Mugabe was supposed to travel to Switzerland and would have come
back via Singapore for routine medical checks but it appears something went
wrong. He now has to fly tomorrow (today) morning.

“Air Zimbabwe had already made plans to fly him to Switzerland and then
Singapore before coming back to Harare but all this has changed suddenly. It
looks like he has something he urgently needs to attend to in Singapore,”
said the government official.

Mugabe’s several trips to the Far East have gobbled millions of dollars at a
time when the country is struggling to service a $9 billion debt and is
reeling under a $700 million budget deficit.

Sadc leaders at one time even expressed concern over his health and plan to
persuade him to quit.

At some point, Members of Parliament from both Zanu PF and MDC considered
impeaching him because of his advanced age and ill health.

It is not very clear what Mugabe is suffering from but sources close to him
say he has prostate cancer; a condition which local doctors say is common to
men of his age.

Doctors also say a man of Mugabe’s age is also prone to dementia.  Charamba
however, insists that the president has eye problems.

Yet another cable suggested that Mugabe had consulted a UN medical
specialist about his medical problems.

“UN resident representative Victor Angelo on November 12 advised Ambassador
Sullivan that Mugabe has consulted with a UN medical specialist about some
of his medical problems. According to Angelo, Mugabe’s ailments include
periodic convulsions and stroke like episodes (perhaps eschemia) brought on
by diabetes and a lipid disorder which affects the covering of the brain,”
US political officer Win Dayton said.

The octogenarian leader is said to have been shaken by the brutal demise of
his long-time ally Gaddafi.

In addition to the loss, he also feels betrayed and was left depressed when
he discovered that his most trusted lieutenants went behind his back and
held secret meetings with Americans whom he considers as arch enemies,
seeking his removal from office.

Mugabe has also been under pressure from his party which wants him to
appoint a successor as they no longer have confidence in his leadership.

There are reports that Zanu PF hawks are planning to turn the party’s
conference in December into an extra-ordinary congress where they are
reportedly plotting to persuade him to step down.

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‘Zanu PF thugs are wasting time’

By Pindai Dube
Monday, 24 October 2011 08:36

NKAYI - Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo said Zanu PF is wasting time by
disrupting the on-going public hearings meetings on the Electoral Amendment
Bill conducted by a special Parliamentary committee.

Last week Zanu PF youths disrupted most of the public hearing meetings on
the Electoral Amendment Bill being conducted by a Parliament Portfolio
Committee on Justice, Legal and Constitutional Affairs across the country.

However, addressing MDC supporters at Nesigwe Business Centre in Nkayi North
in Matabeleland North province on Saturday, Moyo who is also the party
chairman said he was in full control of Parliament and Zanu PF was wasting
its time by disrupting the Electoral Amendment Bill’s public meetings.

“I heard that in Bulawayo, Marondera and Mutare some Zanu PF youths
disrupted the Electoral Amendment Bill public hearing meetings conducted by
a Parliamentary committee which I had sent. Zanu PF is just wasting its

“They think Parliament will stop operating because of this, I am not even
moved by that, I am also very cheeky and will never stop doing my work
because of Zanu PF thugs. You chose me to lead Parliament and I will do that
in a professional way,” said Moyo.

Moyo also said the Zimbabwe Parliament is not owned by Zanu PF but by the
masses of Zimbabwe.

He added that it is high time President Robert Mugabe stepped down because
Zimbabwe does not want get into the same situation as Libya.

Meanwhile, during the disruption of Electoral Amendment Bill public hearings
in Bulawayo on Friday, a group of Zanu PF youths beat up MDC deputy
provincial organising secretary, Tsepiso Hellen Mpofu.

Mpofu was beaten up in full view of journalists and other MDC members at the
Small City Hall accusing her of having insulted them.

“As you witnessed, they just jumped out of their truck and started beating
me up with clenched fists accusing me of being stubborn,” Mpofu who was
bleeding from the nose after the assault, told the Daily News.

The chairperson of the Parliament Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal and
Constitutional Affairs, Douglas Mwonzora condemned the Zanu PF youths’
behaviour adding that the public hearing meetings will continue despite the

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Public hearing meeting disrupted in Bulawayo

By Tichaona Sibanda
24 October 2011

ZANU PF supporters in Bulawayo forced the abandonment of a public hearing
meeting on the Electoral Amendment Bill, simply because one contributor used
the Shona language to address the gathering.

Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us the ‘disruptive’ ZANU PF crowd
was against the use of Shona, insisting that the unidentified man should use
either Ndebele or English during the meeting.

Douglas Mwonzora, the chairman of the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Justice and Legal Affairs, told the meeting that people were free to use any
language to put across their views.

‘The ZANU PF crowd remained adamant that only Ndebele or English should be
used in the meeting, while Mwonzora stood his ground that anyone can address
the meeting in a language they are comfortable with.

‘Tempers flared when ZANU PF activists kept heckling the man, forcing
Mwonzora to call off the meeting to avert crowd trouble,’ Saungweme said,
adding that all this was happening in the presence of uniformed police
details who took no action to prevent the disturbances.

Saungweme said it was just a ploy by the ZANU PF activists to disrupt the
meeting using the tribal card, as Shona is widely used in Bulawayo even
though the Ndebele language is the most dominant.

According to our correspondent, Mwonzora then asked the people to submit
their views in writing. To Mwonzora’s horror, the written submissions were
then grabbed from a parliamentary official, never to be seen again.

Outside the venue Saungweme said ZANU PF youths attacked ZAPU FP member
Sikhumbuzo Dube, while Tsepiso Mpofu, the MDC-T deputy provincial organizer,
was also assaulted.

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Cholera fears rise in Harare as fights over water continue

By Alex Bell
24 October 2011

More Harare residents have come to blows while trying to access clean water,
as the shortage in and around the capital heightens fears of another deadly
cholera outbreak.

Sylvia Bhasikolo, the Treasurer for Mabvuku Residents Committee, told SW
Radio Africa on Monday that that she has seem many fistfights break out
among disgruntled residents. Bhasikolo said the situation is becoming

“It is more than two weeks with no water. Everyone now is fighting over one
borehole. I walked around this morning and saw people fighting and
screaming,” Bhasikolo said.

She added that some people have tried to protect the borehole and are
fighting each other every day while preventing others accessing it. She
explained that people are now trying to get water from other parts of the
area, with no guarantee that the water is safe.

“There is serious risk for cholera. Last time (during the last cholera
outbreak) we had many deaths. What if that happens again?” Bhasikolo said.

The current water shortages have been caused by a burst distribution pipe at
the Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Plant, leaving millions of people living
in Harare, Ruwa, Chitungwiza, Epworth and Norton without access to water.
The worst affected areas have been Glen Norah, Budiriro and Glen View, where
other fights between residents have broken out recently.

These areas were also some of the worst hit by the cholera outbreak in 2008,
which was only brought under control in early 2010. Thousands of people
died, all because there was almost no access to clean water.

Bhasikolo meanwhile questioned why no one has helped, despite the threat of

“Nobody has come to explain what is happening. Nobody has come with clean
water. It is very serious,” Bhasikolo said.

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Water Crisis Worsens in Mabvuku

RESIDENTS here have been involved in physical fights over deepening water
shortages, now in the second week, as the City of Harare plays truant to the
genuine demands of the citizens to have water supplies restored to the
by Staff Reporter

Sylvia Bhasikolo, the Treasurer for Mabvuku Residents' Committee told the
HRT this morning that they have witnessed several fistfights among
disgruntled residents as the pressure mounts over water shortages.

"There is no longer peace in our community," Bhasikolo said. "Our major fear
is that there is potential for a cholera outbreak and it will be difficult
to stop the deaths of people."

She said their committee was concerned that all efforts to engage the city
officials on how to address the water crisis have yielded negative results.

The HRT continues to push the City of Harare to accept the intervention of
UNICEF, which has potential to provide water bowsers that would in the
short-medium term relieve the suffering

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Zesa fears collapse

By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Monday, 24 October 2011 08:01

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, Zesa risks a gradual
shut down if it continues to charge sub-economic tariffs.

Josh Chifamba, Zesa’s chief executive said the 31 percent tariff hike in
September this year was justified as it was necessitated by the need to
improve the infrastructure of the power utility that was dilapidated.

Chifamba said the country required 2 100 megawatts (MW) of power a day but
the country was currently producing only 1 300MW, 700MW short of the
required  output.

He said the problem would be eased by the refurbishment of the Hwange and
Kariba power stations which was under way but needed over $2 billion to be

Hwange and Kariba power stations have the capacity to produce 600 and 300
megawatts respectively, when complete.

But Chifamba said, Zesa does not have the needed funds for it is owed more
than  $449 million. Nearly half  (46 percent) of it by consumers, 30 percent
by the industry  and 10 percent by government.

According to financial results of the first quarter of 2011, the power
utility also suffered a $100 million loss.

“We are bold enough to tell Zimbabweans that we had to increase the tariffs
to improve the supply of energy in the near future. If nothing is done  now,
there will be more losses to the economy due to loss of revenue when there
is no electricity.”

“If we do not do anything to improve the supply of electricity now, we will
not be able to respond to the user demand in the near future as industry
regains. The cost of doing nothing means people will have to go back to the
use of diesel,” said Chifamba.

He said there are also high chances that industry will be losing revenue of
about $4 a kilowatt hour if we don’t provide electricity.

“We are sensitive to what is happening, but if we don’t do anything there
will be more problems when we stop generating electricity,” he said.

The cost of using a generator when there is no electricity is 45 cents more
than that of what people are supposed to pay Zesa.

Most companies have been operating below capacity due to an insufficient and
inconsistent supply of electricity, torching a heated confrontation between
the power utility and the Confederations of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI).

The business grouping’s president Joseph Kanyekanye, accused Zesa of
impeding economic recovery through increasing tariffs while the hours of
load shedding increased.

The Commercial farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe said irrigation of crops had been
affected by lack of electricity while miners say they use a minimum of 5 000
litres of diesel to sustain their mining operations when they do not have

Consumers had not been spared and with increased load-shedding hours, most
high density areas in the country are going for inordinately long periods in
the dark.

Parson Chitima, 34, a resident of Kuwadzana high density suburb said he lost
his refrigerator due to power cuts and like him, many people around the
country lost their electrical appliances due to the untimely power cuts.

The Combined Harare Residents Association, a ratepayer watchdog said the
only way Zimbabweans could get enough electricity is when it stops
exporting electricity to Namibia.

NamPower, the Namibian power utility, provided $40 million for the
refurbishment of Hwange Power Station in Zimbabwe in 2008.

The gesture would be paid by importing 150 megawatts of electricity
generated at the Zimbabwean plant to Namibia until 2013.

Zimbabweans are now left to pay the price of bad corporate governance by the
power utility and for a little longer until 2013, the industry and domestic
consumers will have to do with insufficient and inconsistent supply of

Almost three years after a coalition government between President Robert
Mugabe and his arch rival Morgan Tsvangirai was formed, the country’s
future looks bleak, with erratic power supplies threatening economic

Zimbabwe will experience its worst nightmare when demand increases with
increased production and attendant demand from manufacturers.

Currently, industry is operating at between  20 and 40 percent while trying
to lift itself from the economic rut invented by a near-collapse of the
economy during the past decade.

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Nicholas Goche Gets New African Top Post

By Ngoni Chanakira, Harare, October 24, 2011 - ZIMBABWE'S Minister of
Transport and Communications. Ambassador Nicholas Goche, has been appointed
Chairman of Rascom for the next two years.

Rascom is the African association which intends to send a rocket to space.

It currently has 45 members and has US$45 million in its kitty which is
deposited with the Central African Development Bank.

Zimbabwe is among the few countries that are currently paid up members of
Rascom. Nigeria, South Africa, Libya and Egypt are, however, currently not
Rascom members and do not contribute to its dwindling coffers.

"I want to thank everyone for voting me in as Chairman," Goche said in his
short speech."...I will work very hard and ensure that members are paid up.
We need the cash from all members and it is sad to see that some of our
members are not paid up."

The annual one-day Rascom meeting was held in Harare this year but will move
to Cote D'Voire in 2013 when Zimbabwe will relinquish the top post.

Goche has been Zimbabwe's Ambassador to China and Romania before the demise
of the cold war.

He is among President Robert Mugabe's state security bosses having worked as
a top member of the Central Intelligence Office in Zimbabwe before he was
elevated to the post of Minister in government under Zanu (PF).

Goche is also among the top Zanu (PF) bosses currently negotiating with the
MDC-T for a smooth transition of power.

Rascom is meant to make Africa competent by telecommunications techniques
similar to those in the West.

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MDC-T MP for Mkoba arrested on false charges

By Tichaona Sibanda
24 October 2011

Amos Chibaya, the MDC-T MP for Mkoba in Gweru and Youth Assembly Midlands
South provincial treasurer, Livingstone Chiminya, were both locked up in
police cells on Sunday facing charges of public violence.
The two are detained at Gweru central police station.

Wonder Tsuro, the Midlands South provincial spokeman told SW Radio Africa on
Monday that they were surprised to hear news of Chibaya’s arrest.

‘We were with the MP in Mberengwa for a rally on Saturday. On our way back
to Gweru in the evening, I understand he stopped at Guinea Fowl business
centre for some refreshments, when he was confronted by some ZANU PF youths

‘He is a well known figure in the province, and his presence at the shopping
centre attracted the attention of these youths who tried to attack him. In
the commotion, we are told they smashed his car windscreen but he was able
to drive off safely from the scene,’ Tsuro said.

But on Sunday Chibaya, accompanied by Chiminya, went to the police to make a
report but were instead detained and charged with causing public violence.

‘The two are still detained and our lawyers are making frantic efforts to
have them freed. This is how the system works in Zimbabwe, the victim of a
crime is the one who ends up locked inside the cells,’ Tsuro added.

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Violence rocks AAG summit, Mandiwanzira bloodied

By 1 hour ago

HARARE - There was drama at the embattled Zanu PF backed outfit Affirmative
Action Group (AAG) meeting on Monday afternoon when former executive members
clashed on allegations of misappropriation of funds.

The AAG meeting, which drew provincial leadership got rowdy after
allegations of maladministration were levelled against the Supa Mandiwanzira
led executive by one of their own, Themba Mliswa, who was the first vice
president of the empowerment group.

Supa Mandiwanzira could not stomach the accusations and he forced his way to
address the gathering clarifying issues levelled against his team.

During his address, Mliswa a former rubgy player jumped to his feet and
attacked the former radio and TV personality leaving him bloodied.

Police were called in but sources said they were dispersed under the order
of controversial Harare businessman Phillip Chiyangwa.

This follows accusations and counter accusations which almost sucked in
other members of the Zanu PF empowerment group.

AAG has been facing constraints following the passing of the vote of no
confidence on the Mandiwanzira led executive which subsequently led to the
stepping down of members, paving way for founder members to take control of
the group for the next three months.

he ZANU PF led Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has launched a probe into the
goings-on of its former leadership, which some analysts have said is a sign
of deepening cracks within Robert Mugabe’s party.

Former AAG President Supa Mandiwanzira and four national executive members
all announced that they were stepping down from the group’s leadership this
week. This followed a vote of no-confidence in the executive, apparently
because the leadership was sidelining grassroots members.

The group has now been taken over by its original founder, Robert Mugabe’s
nephew Phillip Chiyangwa and founding Secretary-General Tendai Savanhu.

Savanhu has also been tasked with investigating some allegations raised by
provincial AAG members over the manner in which the group was being run.

Last week, political analyst Professor John Makumbe said the collapse of AAG’s
leadership was expected.

He explained how earlier this year Mandiwanzira and the AAG had resigned in
protest over Chiyangwa’s unilateral appointment of a Vice President. That
split was mended soon after, but Makumbe said it was only a matter of time
before Chiyangwa took over.

“The AAG is the business wing of ZANU PF and the collapse of the leadership
is indicative of the collapse of the party,” Makumbe said.

He added: “This is part and parcel of the fight within ZANU PF, which is
jockeying for control of businesses under the indigenisation drive. Every
one knows that the AAG will lead the way in determining who gets the shares,
so people are trying to offload each other from the group.”

Mandiwanzira last month also allegedly faced the ire of ZANU PF politicians
after he publicly castigated them for fighting over shares in Zimplats,
which is under pressure to cede more than half of its shareholding. Speaking
at a public lecture at the Midlands State University titled “Demystifying
Indigenisation” Mandiwanzira said the AAG was against people stepping on
each others toes in a bid to get a controlling stake of the mining firm.

“We ask these people to back off. Zimplats is a big company that cannot be
taken by an individual. We are saying every Zimbabwean should benefit from
such big profit making companies therefore every one should get the shares
instead of one person,” Mandiwanzira said.

Makumbe said it is likely that these comments caused Mandiwanzira to fall
out of favour with key ZANU PF business figures. He added that the AAG has
been widely discredited as nothing more than a platform for ZANU PF
functionaries to take root in business under the guise of ‘affirmative

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Zimbabwe's PM backs gay rights for new constitution

AFP – 1 hr 44 mins ago

Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said Monday that he wants gay
rights enshrined in a new constitution, but his spokesman hastened to add
that gays should "do their things in private".

But the remarks were a reversal for Tsvangirai, who last year had backed
President Robert Mugabe's refusal to include gay rights in the charter
currently being drafted.

"It's a very controversial subject in my part of the world. My attitude is
that I hope that the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual
orientation, for as long as it does not interfere with anybody," Tsvangirai
told the BBC in an interview.

"Of course there is a very strong cultural feeling toward gays. But to me,
it's a human right. It is something that individuals must be allowed to make
a choice," he said.

In Harare, Tsvangirai's spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka told AFP that the prime
minister still believes that "the issue of homosexuality is alien in

"However, he is a social democrat. What he was saying is that ordinary
people's rights must be respected as long as they do their things in

Tsvangirai and Mugabe formed a unity government two years ago to oversee the
drafting of a new constitution that will lead to new elections, under a
regional plan to haul the country out of the bloodshed that erupted when
Tsvangirai won the first round of a presidential vote in 2008.

The process is running more than a year behind schedule, with a referendum
on the charter expected only next year.

Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, has called
gays "worse than pigs and dogs", saying it would be "madness" to include gay
rights in the new charter.

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Zimbabwe politicians in community trust abuse

Monday, 24 October 2011 15:29

By The Africa Report

A fierce scramble for control of a $10 million Zimplats community trust set
up to help the Ngezi  community acquire shares in the platinum mining giant
has erupted in Zimbabwe as politicians and traditional chiefs wheel and deal
for control.

Two weeks ago platinum mine, Zimplats, the local subsidiary of South African
group Implats, launched a trust through which local communities in Ngezi, in
the Mashonaland West region, would receive a 10 per cent stake of the mine.
Another US $10-million is earmarked for development projects to improve
schools, roads and bridges.

The decision by the mine to cede 10 percent ownership is in line with black
empowerment laws in the southern African country, which require foreign
companies to transfer at least 51 percent of their shareholding to locals.

In recent weeks, some local communities and mines have had to fend off
interference from political officials who want to exert influence over the

With elections likely to be held next year, the country's main political
party, Zanu-PF is hoping to use mine ownership as a campaign tool to bolster
support among its poor rural support base, which up to now has been plied
with promises of  food aid and land, since the country's land reforms more
than a decade ago.

Though the trust is meant to be administered by traditional chiefs, Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo has been accused by local leaders of
trying to muscle in on the Ngezi trusts after he was quoted as saying
powerful figures had been "visiting chiefs at night" to try to buy
influence. An accusation Chombo denies.

No transparency

Bright Matonga, Zanu-PF Member of Parliament for the area, admitted there
was a row among traditional leaders over who would head the Zimplats share

"Disputes have arisen over the chairmanship of the trust, but we have
decided that the chairmanship should be rotated among the seven chiefs,"
Matonga said.

Matonga has told his community that "the benefits will start to pour into
the community as early as December".

But there are lingering doubts as to whether windfalls from the trust will
be felt so soon, especially after Youth Development, Indigenisation and
Empowerment deputy minister, Tongai Matutu (MDC-T) alleging that there was
no transparency in the way the community trusts were being set-up.

"The main problem with this community trust is the facilitation. Some of
these traditional chiefs are being manipulated at the expense of the
community, there is no transparency," he said.

Meanwhile, Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere of Zanu-PF has openly
declared that the party's supporters will benefit the most: "our people, our
Zanu-PF supporters, will benefit and become empowered through this
programme," he said.

"It pains us to see how our fellow comrades in Zanu PF remain the only ones
that benefit each and every time there is something of monetary value and
they seem to never have enough" bemoaned a non-executive Zanu PF member who
spoke on condition of anonymity.

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Diesel shortage hits Harare

By Gugulethu Nyazema, Senior Writer
Monday, 24 October 2011 08:56

HARARE - Harare has been hit by a shortage of diesel that has affected
various sectors of the economy.

A snap survey by the Daily News yesterday revealed that most service
stations did not have the precious commodity.

Fuel attendants told the Daily News the diesel supplies to service stations
has been erratic for the past month.

Most attendants suspected that the dwindling supplies were a result of
maintenance work being carried out on tanks at the National Oil Company of
Zimbabwe (Noczim).

“We suspect that supply cannot meet demand because fuel dealers have to go
all the way to Mozambique to get the diesel. Noczim is giving out limited
amounts of diesel, while they repair their tanks.

“We are getting 15 000 litres less than what we normally get, from Noczim,”
said McDonald Fende, a Total Service Station fuel attendant in the city.

Most BP service stations had the precious commodity but was availing diesel
to account holders only.

The attendants said that most BP service stations were operating on reserve
tanks with the hope that renewed supplies of diesel would resume.

Black market fuel dealers are already cashing in on the shortage with most
selling it at almost double the usual price of $1,35 per litre.

The shortage, some observers said, could also be due to increased demand for
diesel as most households and the industry have resorted to the use of
generators to augment limited electricity supplies due to load shedding.

Mining companies in August told a Parliamentary committee on Indigenisation
that they use thousands of litres of diesel in generators per month to
support their operations when there is no electricity.

The shortage is also set to hit the agricultural community which critically
needs the precious liquid for the preparation of the 2011-2012 farming

Minister of Energy and Power Development  Elton Mangoma and Noczim
authorities were not available to comment on the issue at hand.

This is not the first time the country, under the inclusive government, has
been faced by fuel shortages.

Minister Mangoma had to resort to a controversial deal with a South African
company, NOOA Petroleum for the supply of five million litres of fuel to
avert a severe fuel shortage at the beginning of this year.

He was arrested  but the High Court later ruled that he had done it to save
the country from a catastrophic shortage of the product.

Mangoma sanctioned the purchase of $4, 4 million worth of diesel from the
little-known South African petrol agent at the height of fuel problems in

Mangoma was later arrested following the botched deal for not following the
proper tendering procedures and later acquitted.

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Essar’s Zimbabwean steel quest turns sour

Tue, Oct 25 2011. 1:00 AM IST

The African nation declines to supply the resource; firm may have to
renegotiate the terms of the contract
John Satish Kumar ,

The Essar Group’s quest for iron ore remains elusive with Zimbabwe declining
to supply the resource as envisaged in a contentious deal between the Indian
conglomerate and the African state.

The Essar Group may have to renegotiate the terms of the contract if it
wants to continue with its plans in the African nation.

Zimbabwe won’t sell 90% of its iron ore resources to one company, mines and
mining development deputy minister Gift Chimanikire said. He added that the
provision in the current pact that allowed this was wrong.

“We have said to them (Essar): Do not expect us to hand over these
resources. As government, we cannot just do that,” Chimanikire was quoted as
saying by The Herald, a daily published by the Zimbabwean government.

An Essar Group spokesman said it was against company policy to comment on
speculative reports.

“Essar continues to hold discussions with the Zimbabwe government over a
number of issues relating to the Zisco (Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Co.)
transaction, and we continue to make progress. However, we would not like to
comment on any specific points,” the spokesman said.

Essar’s deal to gain access to a captive source of iron ore has been caught
in political crossfire ever since it was signed in early August.

The Essar Group and Zimbabwe announced the launch of NewZim Steel Pvt. Ltd
and NewZim Minerals Pvt. Ltd to revive Zisco, committing an $850 million
investment by Essar Africa with the promise of job creation.

The shareholding structure in the two joint ventures was envisaged at 60:40
and 80:20, respectively.

Essar also committed to revive Zisco to its original capacity and unveiled a
plan to double annual capacity to 2.5 million tonnes.

NewZim Minerals was to undertake exploration and technology assessment, with
a testing programme commencing in the first 18 months. After this, depending
on the outcome, it was to construct a large-scale beneficiation project and
related infrastructure for an estimated expenditure of $3.5 billion.

Beneficiation is a process in which low-grade iron ore is upgraded to higher
iron content through concentration and elimination of impurities.

Some members of Zimbabwe’s coalition government have questioned the deal,
even as the strife-torn nation’s President Robert Mugabe has called for a
general election in early 2012.

Industry and commerce minister Welshman Ncube​ led negotiations when the
deal was signed.

Ncube is part of the Mutambara faction of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC-M), which split in 2005 from the original Movement for Democratic
Change, called MDC-T, headed by current Prime Minister​ Morgan Tsvangirai.
Chimanikire belongs to MDC-T’s Tsvangirai faction.

Both factions of the MDC share an uneasy alliance with the Zanu-PF in the
current coalition government.

Zimbabwe’s 87-year-old President Mugabe​, the leader of the Zanu-PF party,
has been ruling the country for three decades, but was forced to share power
with political opponent Tsvangirai after the 2008 elections.

As no candidate received an outright majority in the first round of
elections, a second was called, but Tsvangirai withdrew his candidature a
week before this, citing violence against his party’s supporters.

Amid sustained international pressure, former South African president Thabo
Mbeki​ brokered a power-sharing agreement with an arrangement, the so-called
Global Political Agreement, for Mugabe to remain President while Tsvangirai
was made Prime Minister.

“Resource nationalism is rising in many parts of the world where governments
and other stakeholders believe that value has already been created once it’s
known that resources exist, but that is a misplaced notion,” said Anjani
Agrawal, national leader for mining and metals sector at global consultancy
Ernst and Young.

Resource nationalism refers to the recent trend of governments across the
world targeting the metals and mining sector to increase revenue in the face
of commodity deficits and the consequent rise in prices.

Essar Africa Holdings Ltd, a group company incorporated in Mauritius,
emerged as the preferred bidder for Zisco and the iron ore resources that it
owned beating the world’s largest steel maker by capacity, ArcelorMittal,
and the Naveen Jindal-headed Jindal Steel​ and Power Ltd.

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Serial rapist dies

Pardoned serial rapist, Godrey Nzira of the Johane Masowe WeChishanu
Apostolic Church, has died. He was 58.
by Staff Reporter

A family relative, Simbiso Mhike told the State controlled ZBC television
Nzira died on Sunday evening after a long battle with hyper tension and a
heart ailment.

Nzira is survived by three wives, seven children and two grand children.
Mourners are gathered at his Johane Masowe Wechishanu, Chitungwiza shrine.

Nzira, a known Zanu PF loyalist, was in January this year released from
prison on what was said to be compassionate grounds. He was serving a 15
year sentence for raping seven women at his Seke, Chitungwiza shrine.

His health never improved after his release. Nzira once declared that
President Robert Mugabe has been given to zimbabwe by God and should rule
for life.

His premature release from prison was widely seen as a ploy to bolster
Mugabe’s waning popularity ahead of Zimbabwe’s elections next year.

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Chamber warns of mining decline

24/10/2011 00:00:00
    by AFP

THE Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines has issued a warning of a possible negative
effect on mining growth in the outlook period to 2015 due to prevailing
challenges in the country’s macro-operating environment.

The Chamber’s mineral economist David Matyanga told a 2012 National Budget
consultative meeting that Zimbabwe could experience a decline in mineral
output this year.
“The sector's rate of growth this year could be much lower than
 anticipated,” he said.

“For instance, gold output will grow by 22 percent, down from 35 percent
last year; nickel will increase at 22 percent (down from 26 percent last
year), chrome by 15 percent (from 166 percent in 2010), platinum by 21
percent (from 26 percent last year), and coal by 17 percent (from 66 percent
last year),” Matyanga pointed out.

“The mining sector is facing challenges in terms of the infrastructure. Some
mining companies have signed ring-fencing agreements with the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority; others have not and these are feeling the
pinch of constant power outages.”

Matyanga also lamented the fact that the sector was facing challenges in
respect of financing, with most local banking products being considerably
expensive ‒ some loans with interest of up to 22 percent.

Meanwhile, global analysts Business Monitor International (BMI) say the
mining sector will grow by an average 8 percent to 2015. BMI explained that
although it expected the mineral sector to experience short-term, renewed
weakness as a result of internal policy shocks, it would quickly recover.

“We believe the mining sector will grow by more than 8 percent a year over
our forecast period to 2015, with risks to the upside once the uncertainty
over indigenisation has come to an end,” said the analysts.

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Zim fails to meet tobacco sales target

By Roadwin Chirara, Business Writer
Monday, 24 October 2011 09:28

HARARE - Zimbabwe's failure to meet its tobacco sales by 40 million
kilogrammes (kg) has also affected its revenue collections in the third
quarter, Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) chairman Sternford Moyo has

The country auctioned off 140 million kg’s during the past tobacco-selling
season against a projected 180 million while its total revenue collections
increased by three percent to $660,7 million for the quarter.

“The price of tobacco which fell as the season progressed, as compared to
the price that prevailed at the beginning of the season.

“The lower collections from Tobacco Levy are attributed to the fact that the
country produced lower volumes than originally projected,” Moyo said.

In the period under revenue, Zimra’s major contributor value added tax (Vat)
missed its set targets by six percent to close at $225,5 million.

“Vat collections fell short of the Ministry of Finance target because
capacity utilisation for the local industry is gradually picking up hence
Vat on local sales did not perform optimally.

“Vat on local sales contributed 44 percent of total Vat revenue while the
remainder was from Vat on imports,” Moyo said.

He said Zimra’s individual tax collections had increased by 20 percent to
$148,6 million against a targeted $123,7 million.

“This constituted a positive variance of 20 percent against target.
Improvements in local capacity utilisation had necessitated the recruitment
of more employees, hence the improvement in the performance of the revenue
head,” the Zimra chairman said.

He however said the revenue collector had also failed to meet its corporate
tax collections by 16 percent which he attributed to company operational

“Collections were $67,9 million against a target of $81,1 million as many
companies are still affected by liquidity challenges, owing to lack of lines
of credit, resulting in them operating with low working capital,” Moyo said.

“In addition, constant power outages are working against productivity in
many companies and this is negatively affecting profitability,” he added.

Moyo said Zimra had realised $85,2 million in customs duty collections
against a projected target of $89,2 million.

“The quarter was marginally missed because the local industry has now
significantly improved in terms of capacity utilisation. As a result of this
improvement, the economy is no longer fully dependent on imports,” he said.

Moyo said increased fuel demand due to a recovering industry has seen its
excise duty collections surpass its targets by 43 percent to $81,1 million.

“Excise on fuel contributed 67 percent of the total Excise Duty collected.

“Beer came second with a percentage contribution of 22 percent,” the revenue
body chairman said.

“As the economy recovers, consumers are getting more disposable income to
spend on excisable product,” he said.

Zimbabwe tobacco production still remains below peak levels of about 236
million kilograms achieved in 2000
Zimbabwe earned $347,8 million from tobacco sales last year, according to
industry regulator, Tobacco Industry Marketing Board (TIMB) with China
emerging as the main buyer of the crop.

Zimbabwe is the world’s sixth-largest exporter of the flue-cured tobacco and
behind Brazil, India, the US, Argentina and Tanzania.

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Diaspora Can Play Bigger Political Role: DBIC

By Trust Matsilele, Johannesburg, October 23, 2011--Director for Democracy
Begins In Conversation Betsie Pendry said Zimbabwe diaspora could play a
bigger role in giving political direction and influencing political process
of their home country.

Pendry in an exclusive interview with Radio VOP also indicated the need to
incorporate creative expression in the democratic struggle as it allowed
more room for openness compared to direct political expression.

Bhekilizwe Ndlovu a director of the Drama For Life-Zimbabwe Social Justice
Project in agreement with Pendry on the importance of creative expression
said “drama is a powerful communication tool in that it engages people both
at intellectual and at emotional level.

“Unlike a novel or newspaper which is normally read by one person, drama can
only be watched by a community. So it has the other benefit of building
communities by making them do something collectively like watching drama”.

Munjodzi Mutandiri of the National Constitutional Assembly speaking to Radio
VOP at the close of a three day workshop said “the group reiterated the
importance of diaspora vote and also escalation of discussion of tribalism,
one of the postponed problems Zimbabwe is facing”.

Tafadzwa Maguchu, Programmes Assistant of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition added
that “his coalition supported community dialogue as between Zimbabweans and
South Africans and Zimbabweans among themselves especially on issues that
are seldom avoided but crucial like tribalism”.

Vito Jeketere, a Zimbabwean national but studying law with University of
South Africa said the three day workshop that ended Sunday afternoon helped
quell some stereotypes existing between South Africans and Zimbabweans as
two nations were represented in the workshop.

A group from Duduza-Soweto South of Johannesburg acted a drama on xenophobia
that sought to assist countries that still treat foreigners with suspicion
and hate.

Bongani Nyathi an educator and human rights activist praised the Living
Together Institute, Drama For Life-Zimbabwe Social Justice Project, Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition and National Constitutional Assembly for bringing such
initiatives to the younger age that were the main target of the workshop.

“The target group was strategic as it has people with viral potential to
influence community in changing negative perceptions about Zimbabweans in
South Africa and the nature of the Zimbabwean crisis”.

Nyathi added that most of South Africans thought Zimbabweans were in their
country in search of greener pastures when the real issue is that they ran
away from political persecution.

Lumour Makua a facilitator with Living Together Institute projects lamented
the absence of women in Zimbabwe political struggles and said it was
unfortunate as they only appeared as victims.

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Goche conceded Mugabe lost 2008 election

By Lance Guma
24 October 2011

Former Security Minister and ZANU PF MP Nicholas Goche conceded that Mugabe
lost elections in 2008 and that senior ZANU PF officials were reaching out
to Tsvangirai to be accommodated in a new government. The stunning
revelations are contained in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s new book ‘At
the Deep End’.

In the book Tsvangirai claims that Goche called up MDC-T chief negotiator
Elton Mangoma and wanted to negotiate transitional mechanisms, that would
also involve Tsvangirai accommodating ZANU PF MP’s who had won parliamentary

ZANU PF has reacted to Tsvangirai’s book by using the state media to pick
out sections of it that would suit their agenda. They accused him of trying
to take power by force and called him an opportunist, among other things.
Over the weekend Tsvangirai’s spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka reminded the state
media of the bigger story.

“The big news here is that if the Minister of State Security conceded to
defeat, as alleged, there is no doubt therefore that ZANU PF and its
candidate were defeated outright and the run-off was contrived.”

In March 2008 Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party won the harmonized
parliamentary and presidential elections. But results for the presidential
poll were withheld for weeks by an electoral commission packed with Mugabe

In the end it’s alleged that doctored results were released and a run-off
election called. The Joint Operations Command (JOC), a grouping of state
security agencies in the army, air force, police, and Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO), supervised a murderous retribution campaign which forced
Tsvangirai to boycott the run-off election.

Meanwhile reports over the weekend said Tsvangirai was on Saturday forced to
abandon an MDC-T rally in the Nesigwe area of Nkayi in Matabeleland North.
Despite a High Court order overturning a police ban of the rally, police
ordered the crowd to disperse while Tsvangirai was addressing it.

A truck load of police officers descended on the venue and demanded that the
crowd disperse. This was despite the fact that a similar campaign meeting by
ZANU PF’s Small and Medium Enterprises and Cooperative Development Minister,
Sithembiso Nyoni, was allowed to proceed.

A furious Tsvangirai tried to reason with the police but to no avail. “I
have a message for the police. Does Mugabe apply to hold meetings such as
these? I hold the same executive powers as Mugabe. I deserve the same
respect as Mugabe. Mugabe is too old and he must step down,” Tsvangirai

Former Nkayi South MP Abedinico Bhebhe, who lost his seat after being sacked
by the smaller MDC under Welshman Ncube, is now the MDC-T deputy organising
secretary. He warned that they will deal with police officers who were
working against the wishes of the people, once they are in power.

“The MDC, starting from today, will be writing names of the police officers
who are working against the wishes of the people. Once the MDC goes into
government we will retire such officers,” he said.

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‘No Vote’ was a blunder: Tsvangirai

by Tobias Manyuchi     Monday 24 October 2011

HARARE – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said rejecting a government
draft constitution 11 years ago was a blunder that condemned Zimbabwe to a
decade of “political chaos and hazardous struggle to achieve democracy”.

Tsvangirai -- then the country’s main opposition leader -- worked with his
MDC party, labour and civil society groups to successfully mobilise
Zimbabweans to reject the draft constitution sponsored by President Robert
Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party, saying the document sought to entrench
the veteran leader’s rule.

But several of those who led the ‘No Vote’ campaign, including Welshman
Ncube, who leads a splinter faction of the MDC, have since admitted it was
strategic blunder, especially because most of the democratic reforms
Zimbabweans are clamouring for now would have been carried out years ago had
the proposed constitution been adopted.

Tsvangirai, who had until now not spoken publicly on whether it was wise to
reject the draft constitution, says in his recently published biography that
had cool heads prevailed and the constitution adopted, Mugabe would have
been out of power by now.

“My analysis of this is that if we had accepted that draft constitution and
kept cool heads, Mugabe would have been out of power within a much shorter
time,” Tsvangirai said in the biography titled, At the Deep End.

“We could have saved ourselves 10 years of political chaos, economic havoc
and hazardous struggle to achieve democracy,” said the former trade union
leader, who has been accused by critics of making serious strategic blunders
and flip-flopping during his 12-year struggle to unseat Mugabe.

Tsvangirai said: “Within a short space of time, circumstances would have
forced Mugabe to accept what the SADC (Southern African Development
Community) and Zimbabweans finally pushed him to do after losing the
presidential election in March 2008. He would have worked out an exit
strategy fairly early on.”

He added that all indications showed that by the time the constitutional was
held in 2000, Mugabe was already tired, had lost control of ZANU-PF and with
limited room to manoeuvre.

“We could (had a new constitution been adopted) have achieved the transfer
of power in a much more clear-cut and orderly fashion than what we
eventually had to go through on the way to compromise of the government of
national unity,” Tsvangirai said.

Mugabe’s defeat in the constitutional referendum was his first in a major
vote since taking power at Zimbabwe’s 1980 independence from Britain.

Many analysts say the referendum loss was a wake up call to the veteran
leader who within months of the plebiscite called general elections, while
setting off security forces and youth militias on a campaign of violence and
intimidation to force the electorate to return ZANU-PF to power with a
narrow victory over the MDC.

Zimbabwe’s elections have since then been characterised by violence and
charges of vote rigging, which saw the European Union and United States
slapping sanctions on Mugabe and senior members of ZANU-PF.

The country's most recent election in 2008 ended in stalemate after
Tsvangirai defeated Mugabe in the first round ballot but election officials
withheld results for five weeks, only to call for a run-off vote, which was
marred by violence and boycotted by Tsvangirai citing deaths among his
supporters at the hands of ZANU-PF.
Mugabe was elected unopposed but his blood-soaked victory was rejected by
the international community including some of his African allies forcing him
to agree to form a power-sharing government with Tsvangirai. – ZimOnline.

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Letter from Harare: why Mugabe is unlikely to share Gaddafi's grisly fate

The ageing dictator's greatest enemy is not an army of rebels but failing

        David Smith, Monday 24 October 2011 20.00 BST

The jacaranda trees are blooming in Harare, draping its broad avenues with
canopies of purple and green. The shops are bustling, hotels and restaurants
are often full, children are at school, young couples are walking in the
park. No sign of a revolution here.

Coming to Zimbabwe after two spells in Libya this year, I felt like they
were not merely the length of a continent apart, but on different planets.
While north Africa has been convulsed by revolution, life in Zimbabwe in
2011 has continued to flow in a comparatively gentle, uneventful way.

President Robert Mugabe, immovable for three decades, has little cause to be
kept awake at night by last week's chilling images of a bloody, battered and
bewildered Muammar Gaddafi pleading for his life. Could it happen here? Not

I wondered why not. After all, Zimbabweans (led by Mugabe among others) rose
up a generation ago to overthrow Rhodesia's white minority regime.

"Fear," explained one former minister in Mugabe's government. Past public
marches have been brutally crushed. Earlier this year 46 activists here were
arrested and charged with treason for merely watching a video of the
uprising in Egypt.

Okay Machisa, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association, told me:
"The Arab spring did not go down well with the Mugabe regime. Jailing those
activists was a way of saying we don't want people to go on the streets and

But there was plenty of fear in Gaddafi's Libya too. What's different is
that Zimbabwe offers the illusion, at least, of freedom of speech and
democracy. On street corners vendors sell independent newspapers with
virulently anti-Mugabe headlines and editorials. (TV and radio remain a
different story. Some newspapers too. One ruefully exclaimed: "If only
British politicians were as brave and selfless as Robert Gabriel Mugabe!")

Whereas Libyans had no hope of removing Gaddafi except by desperate force,
Zimbabweans can channel their efforts into a political party, the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC). The MDC possibly acts as a sponge, soaking up
revolutionary fervour that would otherwise find expression on the streets.

I visited the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who has survived beatings and
electoral fraud to become prime minister in a fraught power-sharing
agreement with Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. He lives in a relatively modest
three-bedroom house with a big, English-style garden surrounded by a high
wall with razor wire. The sound of birds and crickets fills the air. We sat
in a back office where an old campaign poster adorned the wall and Bill
Clinton's autobiography was among books on the shelves.

Does Tsvangirai envy the Arab spring? "No. It's their situation and
circumstances and conditions that dictated behaviour. One of the fundamental
things that I can say is that you cannot suppress people for ever. One thing
to learn from that is people will always cry for freedom. It is universal.

"We are in a different situation, we have different circumstances and we
have got our own way of dealing with our situation. That is why the MDC has
pursued change without bloodshed and I think we are correct."

Elections are expected in the next year or so, and with them the fear of a
return to violence and chaos. For Mugabe seems unwilling to ever let go of
power, not least, some claim, because he fears prosecution for past crimes
under international law.

At 87, Mugabe is the oldest member of Africa's ageing dictators club. Three
of the 10 longest serving leaders have fallen this year – Ben Ali of Tunisia
ruled for 23 years, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt for 30 and the longest, Gaddafi,
for nearly 42.

But all were in the Arab north. South of the Sahara, in "black Africa", the
winds of change are mere zephyrs. Still going strong are Teodoro Obiang
Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (32 years), Jose Santos of Angola (32), Mugabe
(31), Paul Biya of Cameroon (29), Yoweri Museveni of Uganda (25), King
Mswati III of Swaziland (24) and Blaise Campaoré of Burkina Faso (24).

There has been some mild turbulence for some of them this year but nothing
to frighten the presidents' horses. Far from Gaddafi's grisly demise, Mugabe
seems destined to go quietly into that good night. His greatest enemy is not
the gun-toting revolutionary with a mobile video camera, but time.

The octogenarian president makes mysterious trips to Singapore for medical
treatment, has been photographed falling asleep at meetings and, according
to a US cable released by WikiLeaks, is suffering prostate cancer that could
spread and kill him by 2013.

Gossip about his ailing health now grips Harare's bars, diplomatic circles
and international newsrooms already transfixed by 93-year-old Nelson
Mandela's pulse. I asked one analyst if all this speculation is paralysing
politics in Zimbabwe. He replied: "Mugabe's health is politics in Zimbabwe."

Tsvangirai gave this view: "President Mugabe's health is a national
question, a national concern. Why? Because when you have a partner whose
state of health is unpredictable, and that partner holds the key to the
unity of the opponent, what is likely to be the outcome should he die is
instability in the party, which leads to instability in the country."

It was a question that arose with Saddam Hussein in Iraq and now again with
Gaddafi in Libya. Once the linchpin of dictatorship is yanked out, must
infighting and anarchy follow? Some believe that Mugabe, whose reign is as
old as independent Zimbabwe itself, is the toxic glue that holds his party
and country together.

But others point to neighbouring Zambia, where recent elections saw the
president accept defeat and a democratic transition of power. Rupiah Banda
is little known around the world and his unbloody, unspectacular fall gained
only a fraction of the coverage of Gaddafi. But it may have been just as
revolutionary in its way – and just as unnerving to that cabal of ageing

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Leadership and Accountability

Recently we have had a spate of incidents where countries have removed
incumbent leaders in often violent circumstances. The Ivory Coast, Egypt,
Tunisia and now Libya; the images are graphic, leaders in cages being judged
by the Courts, leaders being dragged out of their hiding places and
manhandled by troops and citizens and finally the graphic images coming out
of Libya.

I do not think that this is the way to change governing authorities but one
has to sympathise with the people of these countries who have lived under
repressive and authoritarian regimes for many decades. Perhaps, many would
say, they had little alternative, they had tried persuasion, appeals and
campaigns to no avail. There is little doubt that the Libyan authorities
would have used brutal force to hang onto power had they not faced
overwhelming military opposition.

But it is not just the manner of them going that is at issue here, it is the
legacies they left behind. Broken, divided, impoverished countries with weak
institutions and little or no systems to hold leadership of any sort
accountable. Do not for one minute imagine it is going to be easy to replace
these repressive regimes with new, more accountable and democratic ones.

But it goes beyond just the broader issues of governance; it also involves
financial questions, often on a scale that is almost unimaginable. Mobutu in
the Congo used the Reserve Bank as his private bank and siphoned off from
his desperately poor and broken country (up to 10 million people have died
in the Congo over the past decade from conflict, hunger, poverty and
preventable diseases) an estimated $5 000 000 000 into bank accounts around
the world. It was a sum that was equal to the National Debt of the Congo and
only $350 million has been discovered and recovered.

But by all accounts, the leadership of Libya, a small country on the
Mediterranean that is mostly desert with oil under its sands, accrued the
astonishing sum of an estimated $100 000 000 000. I show the noughts because
you only understand what sums we are talking about when you see them like
this. Link this to the life styles of the elite in these regimes, the luxury
homes, the aircraft, the cars and other symbols of power and influence. You
get a glimpse into what life has been like for these tyrants over the past

There are plenty of examples of regimes where such looting of State
resources is continuing – in Angola it is estimated that the elite there
steal a third of all oil revenues – amounting to several billion dollars a
year. Recently the daughter of the State President of Angola came to Harare
and was wined and dined. She controls a massive business empire built on the
capital of these funds purloined at the expense of the people.

But the main thing that astounds me is the almost complete absence of any
morality or accountability, even sense of public service, in these regimes.
It is all about wealth and power and if they have to stamp on the rights and
even the basic welfare of their people to get there, they will go to almost
any extreme to maintain their positions. What good was all that accumulated
wealth to the leadership in Libya last week? Stripped naked, shot and
dragged through the streets, not a shred of dignity or respect and little
prospect of anything beyond a hard pallet in a refrigerated container in the

I am sure there was little sleep in certain quarters in Harare that night.
The regime here started out with such promise and hope. They had fought a
long war to get control of the State, finally it was theirs. The struggle
totems had been many – I recall a reply by Ndabaningi Sithole to a question
from an elderly pastor “What does a boy need to become the pilot of an
aircraft?”, he replied with one word and it cut through that meeting like a
sword “Mdara, Independence!” The struggle was for democratic values – “one
man one vote”, for “Freedom”, “Equality”, “Justice”.

The young men and women who so willingly gave up their lives and education,
even jobs and marriage, to enter the struggle were taught that theirs was a
just fight against injustice. That the society they would build from the
ashes of Rhodesia would be one characterised by a decent standard of life
with real freedom and opportunity. No longer would they be simply vassals in
the service of white masters. Black would be both beautiful and powerful and
their sacrifices would transform the lives of millions.

The espoused ideologies were those of the socialist republics in the
Northern Hemisphere. The horses of democracy and socialism were to be used
to drag Africa towards a new world order. It was heady stuff.

32 years later, the dream is replaced by a nightmare. The regime brought to
power in 1980 still hangs onto power and privilege, claiming they “deserve”
it all because they sacrificed to bring change. The country is derelict,
burnt by runaway wild fires that simply rage unrestrained, Orchards of fruit
trees are dead and we import 70 per cent of the food we eat. Our savings
from a century of hard work and investment and enterprise have been wiped
out and our elderly are almost all destitute. Death rates are the highest in
the world and our life expectancy one of the lowest.

But perhaps the saddest aspect for those who struggled to bring about
Zimbabwe in 1980, is the almost total absence of any sense of accountability
and morality in the leadership of the former ruling Party. Up to the end of
their total control of the country in February 2009, they were stealing
billions of dollars from the people of Zimbabwe each year. Through the
Reserve Bank they were taking 35 per cent of all export proceeds, from NSSA
they were taking millions subscribed by workers from their hard earnings.
They were stealing from every State enterprise and especially those involved
in trade like NOCZIM. The evidence of the wealth created by the corruption
is everywhere. In a country where it was impossible to buy bread, we had a
weekly flight by the National Airline to Dubai which was in essence a
shopping trip for the elite.

Now we have Chiadzwa – a diamond discovery that is quite extraordinary.
Millions of carats of diamonds are being mined and exported with nearly all
the proceeds being siphoned off into private accounts and lavish lifestyles.
A criminal mafia runs the field protected by the armed forces and for the
benefit of political and military elites. The example next door of Botswana
where massive diamond mines are operated transparently and accountably with
70 per cent of the total proceeds going  to the State coffers. Education and
health services are free. Income tax is not levied and political leaders
live modestly, is simply ignored.

It is no wonder that the people who suffer under such regimes take it out on
the elite when the opportunity presents itself. In many ways they deserve
everything that comes to them and perhaps it is a good thing that many in
this sad, fallen country of ours, cannot sleep too well at night.

Eddie Cross

Harare, 23rd October 2011

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