Saturday, 24 October 2009 21:23
HEAVILY armed security officers on Friday raided an MDC-T house in
Harare searching for alleged arms of war amid fears of a fresh crackdown on
the party's top leadership following the fallout with Zanu PF.
The raid came hard on the heels of reports that guns and ammunition
disappeared from Pomona Barracks in Borrowdale in unclear circumstances.
It also coincided with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's return from
a whirlwind tour of South Africa, Mozambique, the DRC and Angola where he
lobbied for the region to pressure President Robert Mugabe to fully
implement their power-sharing agreement.
MDC-T secretary-general Tendai Biti yesterday said 50 security agents
rummaged through the house in Chisipite, assaulted occupants and forced a
caretaker to dig in the garden in search of the alleged weapons.
The police did not have a signed search warrant, he said.
Biti, who is the Minister of Finance, said the raid came after his
party had just received intelligence that the police were planning to raid
other MDC-T houses in Harare.
"We consider this a serious invasion of our privacy, of our party and
leadership," Biti said. "It's a gross provocation of our movement."
"We have no doubt that from now on there will be attempts to frame the
MDC-T and its leadership as a treasonous party."
The MDC-T feared that the police could have planted arms of war in the
garden after they took the caretaker, Moffat Sigauke, into the house while
many officers remained outside.
"When they took Moffat into the house, the majority of them remained
in the garden and we fear that they might have planted arms there," he said.
Biti said President Mugabe has a history of framing his political
rivals with treason charges in a bid to cling to power.
He said Mugabe used the same tricks to frame the late Vice-President
Joshua Nkomo before Gukurahundi and the late Zanu (Ndonga) leader Rev
Ndabaningi Sithole of treason in an effort to hound them out of politics.
"These are old tricks by an old and tired dictatorship," said Biti,
who represented Sithole during his trial.
Sources said at least 12 soldiers have been arrested in connection
with the disappearance of 19 AK-47 rifles, one pistol and ammunition from
Pomona Barracks last week.
The "thieves", said the sources, used a bolt cutter to gain entry into
However, sources in the security services wondered how weapons could
be stolen at the heavily guarded armoury.
Police spokesperson Superintendent Andrew Phiri referred all questions
to the army.
"Don't you think the best person you can talk to is the army
spokesperson? If there were soldiers arrested the army will make a statement
to the police so they are the right people to talk to," he said.
Army spokesperson Colonel Overson Mugwisi could not be reached for
But Biti said there were hardliners in Zanu PF who were determined to
see the collapse of the inclusive government.
He said the desperation by the hardliners was going to increase
following MDC-T's disengagement with Zanu PF as well as his reluctance to
release funds from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Despite efforts by Zanu PF to frustrate his party out of the inclusive
government, Biti said the MDC-T will not budge.
"We will look the dictatorship in the eyes (and) we will not blink. We
want to see who will blink first and it will not be us, I tell you," Biti
In response to Tsvangirai's appeal to the region, the Sadc troika will
be meeting in Harare this week to mediate in the crisis in the GNU.
Tsvangirai pursued a regional diplomatic initiative last week that
culminated in a briefing with DRC President Joseph Kabila who is the current
chairman of Sadc, seeking support ahead of the troika's visit on Thursday.
Prior to that, Tsvangirai met President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique
and South African President Jacob Zuma last week.
Mozambique chairs the Sadc troika or working group, which includes
Swaziland and Zambia.
Zuma said Zimbabwe "should not be allowed to slide back into
instability" and was prepared to step in to support the implementation of
the GPA. Biti said Tsvangirai had "a fruitful engagement" with the leaders
"The message is that the troika is coming here on October 29 for
mediation," Biti said.
Last week the MDC-T also met with civic society representatives to
brief them on the party's decision to disengage with Zanu PF.
But a defiant Mugabe on Friday said he will not give in to the MDC-T
Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara are
expected to meet tomorrow (Monday) where the MDC-T disengagement will top
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE AND SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 24 October 2009 21:14
THE Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity has ordered Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings and other state-controlled newspapers to stop covering
MDC-T ministers until the party reverses its decision to suspend contact
with Zanu PF.
ZBC chief executive Happison Muchechetere told the state broadcaster's
senior editors about the directive on Friday evening.
Sources said all radio stations and ZTV have dropped all stories where
MDC-T ministers are the main sources following Muchechetere's edict.
Muchechetere reportedly said the directive applied to the entire state
media, which has upped its vilification of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and his party following their partial withdrawal from the unity government
on October 16.
"He said the ministry said the MDC-T ministers cannot speak on behalf
of government following their decision to disengage," said the source. "So
until the party reverses its decision, the ministers will not be covered."
The MDC-T has said it remains part of government but will not attend
cabinet and council of ministers meetings with Zanu PF until outstanding
issues in their power-sharing agreement are resolved.
Muchechetere could not be reached for comment yesterday but ZBC's head
of news, Tazzen Mandizvidza, said he was not aware of the directive.
"I was out of the country. I came back on Friday night but if there
was such a directive I would have been informed," he said.
Webster Shamu, the Minister of Media, Information and Publicity and
Permanent Secretary George Charamba were not immediately available for
Shamu's deputy, Jameson Timba (MDC-T) who has complained that Shamu
and Charamba do not consult him on key policy issues, yesterday said he was
not aware of the directive.
But he warned that if it existed, it would poison the already
polarised political situation in the country.
"These are some of the issues that are causing tension in the
inclusive government where the public media is used to advance the interests
of one political party or individual," Timba said.
"The Ministry of Media has no business giving directives to newspapers
under the Zimpapers stable because they are not owned by the government."
MDC-T says one of the reasons it disengaged from Zanu PF was the
continued use of hate speech in the public media despite the formation of a
unity government eight months ago.
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 24 October 2009 21:06
AFTER retiring to bed with his family around 9.30pm, Moffat Nyandure
(31), the caretaker at the MDC-T house that was raided by the police on
Friday suddenly heard commotion outside the gate. "I went into the house
(from the cottage where he stays) and ran upstairs to get a better view of
what was happening," he said.
"That was when I saw a crowd walking up and down the road. I suspected
they were thieves trying to steal bricks piled by the gate. I panicked when
the people jumped into the yard and tiptoed along the driveway towards the
house with guns aimed at it".
He met them outside as he tried to escape and one of them grabbed him
by his trousers and dragged him into the house.
"I could not tell how many they were, but I remember we could not fit
into the lounge where they identified themselves as police officers and gave
me 'a search warrant' which was addressed to the residence occupier,"
The raiders took back the warrant, saying their boss had to sign it.
Within moments, they had turned the house into a mess: clothes and papers
all over, beds overturned, cushions removed from sofas, and one toilet sink
"They searched everywhere including behind mirrors in the bathrooms
and they broke one of the toilet sinks in the process. All the while they
asked me where I hid guns."
There were black marks on one of the walls, which Nyandure said were
made by three of the raiders as they got into the ceiling.
"They used an extension cord they brought to light a torch which they
took up there with them", he said. "They asked if I wanted them to also move
the carpet and I told them to do everything they thought would lead them to
what they were looking for."
After searching the garage, bar and pantry, the raiders harassed
Nyandure for not having keys to a safe they also wanted to search.
They left the house with a CV belonging to Artwell Sibanda, personal
assistant to Speaker of Parliament Lovemore Moyo, he said. The raiders also
took a calendar with names and phone numbers of MDC-T officials. They also
took a diary, a book and two photographs of MDC-T organising secretary
They went to the cottage where they slapped Nyandure's wife and her
sister, before forcing him to dig in the yard and the garden.
"I recently dug in the garden to plant some vegetables and I had also
planted some lawn in the yard", he said. They asked why I decided to plant
these this week and forced me to dig up everything.
"They also inspected the perimeter wall, the jacuzzi and the swimming
pool before forcing me to get into some of the shrubs and flowers and come
out with everything hidden there."
Nyandure said the raiders said MDC-T secretary general Tendai Biti,
who is also the Minister of Finance, was wasting money buying "a beautiful
house" which he was not living in.
At the swimming pool, they said Biti was wasting water while ordinary
Zimbabweans were struggling without.
The raiders reportedly left around 2am in three Mitsubishi trucks.
BY JENNIFER DUBE
Saturday, 24 October 2009 20:58
BALLANTYNE Park residents in Harare have demanded an investigation
into a "suspicious" land transfer deal involving the city council and
maverick businessman Phillip Chiyangwa. The transfer deal could open a can
of worms over various projects and deals that were pushed through Town House
before the new council assumed office on July 1 last year, council officials
Information to hand shows that Chiyangwa, through his Kilima
Investments (Pvt) Ltd, swapped a 25-hectare piece of land in Derbyshire on
the outskirts of Harare with five smaller pieces of land in the capital.
The five pieces of land are listed as Stand 65 Colne Valley Township
of Lot 7A Colne Valley, which covers Ballantyne Park.
Although the Deed of Transfer indicates that "the said piece of land
shall be used as a public place only", it is understood Chiyangwa has
already moved to develop a 7,5ha piece of prime land into a residential
Some of the properties in the deal were registered on May 22 this
year, more than a year after the transaction authorised by the commission
then running the affairs of Harare.
"We have seen sales representatives from Kilima Investments who are
already selling stands on that piece of land, which is supposed to be a
public place," said one resident.
The commercial director of Chiyangwa's Native Investments Africa
Group, Nigel Munyati, asked to have questions e-mailed to him. He however
did not respond to the questions, saying they were "malicious."
Munyati wrote back: "Reference is made to your e-mail enquiry below.
Our lawyers have advised that your questions have malice and that you should
direct them to the City of Harare. Please note that in this matter our
rights are reserved."
On Friday evening Chiyangwa was breathing fire over the enquiry and
attempted to stop this reporter from writing the article.
"There is no story. Where did you get my papers from, you have fake
papers," fumed Chiyangwa.
"What right do you have to ask me about my business? . . .What power
do you have to be asking me about my companies? Go and jump in the river.
Never phone me or my companies again. . ."
Among other things, Munyati had been asked to clarify the reasons for
swapping more than 25ha for much smaller plots within the same city, and the
benefits the deal was likely to give to the city and the people living
around the five land properties being swapped.
Copies of the Deed of Transfer show that the transfer was approved by
the commission running the City of Harare in December 2007, but the
documents were processed this year.
Harare Mayor Muchadeyi Masunda said he does not have any knowledge of
"A lot of people from Ballantyne Park have been phoning me over the
last two weeks," Masunda said.
"There is no such transaction that was authorised by my council. We
need to consult our professional advisors to rectify the situation.
Masunda said the transaction could have been "one of so many things
that were pushed through, especially during the period between 30 March and
30 June" last year, pending the swearing in of duly elected councillors.
He said the council "cannot sit back and allow a nullity". Psychology
Chiwanga, the city's director of Urban Planning, was not immediately
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:56
BULAWAYO - Government wants to evict 25 families from Nuanetsi Ranch
to make way for Zanu PF-aligned businessman Billy Rautenbach's biodiesel
project. Rautenbach, who is a close associate of President Robert Mugabe and
Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, has effectively taken over the ranch in
the Lowveld through his Zimbabwe Bio-Energy (Pvt) Ltd.
The company went into a joint partnership with the Development Trust
of Zimbabwe (DTZ), an organisation founded by the late Vice-President Joshua
Nkomo soon after Independence.
According to a letter from Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke to Lands
and Resettlement Minister, Herbert Murerwa, the provincial lands committee
on September 9 resolved to remove the farmers "as a matter of urgency".
"It was agreed that the development coming to Nuanetsi as implemented
by the investor, must not be disturbed under any circumstances," Maluleke
said in his letter seen by The Standard.
"The grazers who were occupying the part of the development area which
the investor intends to develop into a conservancy must move out immediately
to allow the investor to start on the investment programme."
Maluleke also ordered the eviction of settlers at the Chingwizi area
which he said had been set aside for sugar cane production.
"Equally, the settlers that are in the Chingwizi area which is
earmarked for cane development must also be moved to the agreed areas for
resettlement north of Tokwe River," he said.
He said those displaced by the project and the construction of
Tokwe/Mukorsi Dam would be resettled elsewhere in the province.
But the farmers are resisting the relocation. The 25 families at
Nuanetsi Ranch say they risk losing their cattle numbering more than 12 000.
The farmers have also written to Murerwa asking him to block the
"As farmers, our throughput into the beef industry has been
substantial. . .The bulk of the meat coming through registered slaughter
houses has been coming from our production.
". . . Regrettably, the future of these farmers is now bleak as we
have been given 24-hour notices to vacate Nuanetsi Ranch. Twelve thousand
plus breeding stock is now faced with imminent decimation," reads the letter
from the farmers.
They claimed that they were being forced into an area that was
unsuitable for cattle ranching.
Murerwa is yet to respond to both letters and efforts to get a comment
from the minister and Maluleke were fruitless.
Rautenbach wants to grow sugar cane on 100 000 hectares of land in the
ranch for ethanol production.
Other ventures in the pipeline include a giant crocodile-breeding
project and cattle ranching.
The $1 billion investment project will displace more than 1 000
families already settled in the Nuanetsi Ranch.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:51
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is failing to pay for the tractors it
dished out to farmers during its controversial farm mechanisation programme
and has been dragged to court by one of its suppliers. Farmtec Spares and
Implements (Pvt) Ltd is demanding US$2,1 million for 60 tractors it
delivered in October last year before the central bank's quasi-fiscal
activities were brought to a halt.
The RBZ ordered 150 tractors in July 2008 and the remaining 90 were to
be delivered after payment for the first batch had been received.
According to papers filed at the High Court by Farmtec, the RBZ has
ignored several pleas for it to settle the bill.
"In spite of demand which was followed by an admission of liability,
the RBZ has either failed or neglected to pay the plaintiff the US$2 100 011
due to it," Farmtec lawyers wrote in summons to the RBZ.
They also claimed the costs of the suit on legal practitioner and
The RBZ had 10 working days from October 8 when the summons were
served to respond but it was yet to do so by Thursday.
RBZ governor Gideon Gono's advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke, said he was not
aware of the matter.
"I don't know anything but I will check with our legal department," he
Several creditors have lined up lawsuits against the central bank,
mainly for supplies they made for its widely condemned quasi-fiscal
The RBZ's quasi-fiscal activities were blamed for Zimbabwe's world
Gono has been heavily criticised for engaging in quasi-fiscal
activities, among them printing money to fund the farm mechanisation
But he has maintained that the activities were necessary because
Zimbabwe was "under sanctions".
In May, Alshams Global Ltd, which is linked to local businessman
Jayesh Shah of Gift Investments, approached the High Court to force the RBZ
to pay it almost US$5 million for buses it delivered to the central bank.
The RBZ ordered 1 000 Swaraj (model ZT54-D-ELWB) buses from Alshams,
which delivered 89 of the buses before it stopped because the bank failed to
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:51
MASVINGO - Eight members of a Zanu PF youth militia who kidnapped and
assaulted two white managers at Bikita minerals at the height of the violent
June presidential election run-off were last week jailed for three years
each. The trio was convicted of political violence charges by Masvingo
magistrate, Timeon Makunde.
A year was suspended from their jail terms on condition of good
The eight, Simon Muchata, his brother Farai, Amon Mangondo and brother
Jeremiah, Onisimo Muchafa, Nobert Chimuka, Emanuel Mucha, and Nicholas
Dhliwayo were found guilty of kidnapping and severely assaulting Bikita
minerals manager, Nigel Graham MacPhail and salaries' administrator, Susara
The two were accused of being MDC-T sympathisers because they had
allegedly helped to ferry two MDC-T councillors to hospital after they were
attacked by Zanu PF youths.
Makunde said the youths fully appreciated the consequences of their
conduct when they committed the offence.
The court heard that on June 12 last year the youths who were
operating from a militia base in Bikita West pounced on the two managers who
were at their workplace in the morning.
The youths forced their way into the managers' offices and ordered
MacPhail and Reykene tried to resist but were bundled out of their
offices by the Zanu PF youths and were force-marched to a nearby bush.
The two were held captive for over 30 minutes.
During their ordeal MacPhail and Reykene were forced to lie down on
their stomachs while the youths severely assaulted them using sticks,
sjamboks, a fan belt and electric wire cords.
The managers sustained serious injuries that were confirmed by a
The case was delayed because MacPhail and Reykene fled the area
following the torture.
Derek Charamba prosecuted.
BY GODFREY MUTIMBA
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:41
ZAPU has accused MDC-T officials of intimidating its supporters in
Matabeleland South as the fight for influence intensifies among the two most
visible parties ahead of a series of by-elections in the region. The Dumiso
Dabengwa-led Zapu, which broke away from Zanu PF in May after an uneasy
21-year-old marriage, says it has been making inroads in Matabeleland and
this has unsettled other parties.
MDC-T won most of the parliamentary seats and council wards in the
politically restive region during last year's harmonised elections.
But four parliamentary seats have fallen vacant following the
expulsion of three MDC MPs from parliament and the elevation of then Matobo
North MP Lovemore Moyo to Speaker of Parliament.
Although dates for the by-elections have not yet been set, Zapu has
embarked on an intensive campaign.
Methuseli Moyo, the party's spokesperson, said an unnamed MDC-T
official was threatening Zapu's supporters in Matobo North warning them
against attending meetings and rallies.
"We have been receiving complaints from our members that senior MDC-T
officials are threatening them and warning them against attending Zapu
meetings," Moyo said.
"We are made to understand they tell the villagers that once they defy
that directive, they will be met with unspecified action since the MDC-T is
now part of the government.
"The villagers are now afraid to attend our meetings because of that."
However, the allegations were dismissed as baseless by MDC-T
spokesperson Nelson Chamisa.
"That is a Zanu PF culture. We in the MDC-T believe in pluralism and
multiplicity of voices as true tenets of democracy," Chamisa said.
"We fought and continue to fight for democracy in Zimbabwe. Why would
we threaten people? We will not devour our own offspring. That is not part
of the MDC-T's value system and we condemn these threats in the strongest of
Meanwhile, Zapu held its first major meeting in Bulawayo last weekend
where more than 500 people debated the party's proposals for the country's
Zapu says it wants the new constitution to provide for the devolution
of power to the provinces and the re-introduction of the proportional
representation system in parliament.
The constitution-making process, mired in controversy over insistence
by President Robert Mugabe that the Kariba Draft be the sole guiding
document, is proceeding at snail's pace raising fears it may not be ready
within the prescribed time.
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:41
GILES Mutsekwa, the co-Minister of Home Affairs has accused the
Minister of State for National Security, Sydney Sekeremayi of trying to
politicise the armed forces following his claims that US$700 million had
been set aside for "regime change" in Zimbabwe by hostile governments.
Sekeremayi last week told senior army officers attending a course at the
Zimbabwe Staff College that Western governments were channeling the money
through NGOs under the guise of providing humanitarian assistance.
He did not disclose the source of his allegations, which were also
repeated by some of the army generals at the same forum.
But Mutsekwa of MDC-T, who with Kembo Mohadi of Zanu PF, jointly runs
the Ministry of Home Affairs that also oversees the police, said the
statements were meant to poison the country's armed forces.
"It is sad to imagine that a minister could address senior officers
undergoing a very important course and make those claims," Mutsekwa said.
"I am disgusted that he took all the government time to go and issue
statements that are only suitable for a Zanu PF political rally at the staff
"If Zanu PF is going to be removed from power, how is that a threat to
Zimbabwe, Zanu PF is just a party and not Zimbabwe."
Mutsekwa said the statements also flew in the face of efforts to
depoliticise the armed forces following the formation of a unity government
The security forces have been accused of spearheading last year's
deadly political violence especially towards the June 27 presidential
election run-off in which President Robert Mugabe eventually ran
"It's dangerous and nonsensical because the inclusive government is
trying to depoliticise our security forces but a minister in the same
government is doing exactly the opposite - trying to politicise them into
believing that Zanu PF is Zimbabwe," Mutsekwa said.
He said it was also unpatriotic for Sekeremayi to claim that NGOs
wanted to topple Mugabe because the same organisations had been there for
Zimbabweans when they needed food and medical care.
Mutsekwa said some of the ministers in the inclusive government were
spending "sleepless nights trying to find friends who can help equip, clothe
and feed the security forces but with colleagues like Sekeremayi this job
will become very difficult."
BY OUR STAFF
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:37
BULAWAYO - At least 106 orphans at a local primary school with 366
pupils have been sexually abused. And 15 of these children have tested
positive for HIV after they were raped by close relatives, a yet to be
released documentary has revealed.
The pupils at Lockview Primary School come from a neighbourhood, which
consists of peri-urban plots where victims of the government's 2005 clean up
campaign found refugee.
A Bulawayo film maker, Thandazani Nkomo said he was touched by the
plight of the children and decided on a documentary that might prompt the
authorities into action.
The documentary appears to have achieved the goal before it is even
released as it has forced community leaders and government officials to
carry out their own investigations.
Out of the 366 pupils, 350 come from families that share a single
room, which might explain the abuse.
"There is a lot of poverty in the area," said Tabitha Khumalo, the MP
for the area who said the documentary had left the community "searching for
"There are a lot of child-headed families, children staying with
relatives and most of these children have confirmed that they were sexually
abused at one point or another.
"Some of the children do not report the cases of sexual abuse because
they are being abused by people who provide them with accommodation, food
and send them to school."
About 10 people have been jailed for rape and other sexual offences
after some of the children braved threats and reported them to the police.
But four children withdrew cases of child abuse against the accused
after going hungry since the abusers were breadwinners.
"We cannot test some of the children for HIV but most of them have
tell-tale signs of the disease," a teacher at the school said.
"They confide in us about the level of abuse at their homes but we
cannot report the cases.
Most of them are always absent minded.
"The level of abuse is shocking, but it's difficult to prosecute the
abusers because they are the people that these children turn to for shelter
Khumalo said: "We are in a quandary as to how to handle the issue.we
are working on providing accommodation, building a hostel for the kids so
that they can feel secure and report the abuse. It's so painful and
Nkomo said the lack of accommodation was one of the most plausible
explanations for the abuse.
His documentary is titled Rights and Recourses.
"NGOs dealing with cases of child abuse should come to the rescue of
these children by providing them with accommodation so that they feel secure
and can press charges," Khumalo said.
Senator David Coltart, the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and
Culture, said he had been briefed about the developments at the school but
his ministry's role in resolving the problems was limited because the abuse
was happening outside the school.
"I have heard about child abuse at that school and discussed the
matter with Khumalo," he said on Friday.
"I have instructed the Permanent Secretary to investigate.
"What complicates the matter is the fact that this abuse is taking
place at their homes and not at the environs of the school.
"Nonetheless, investigations are ongoing and once complete we would
have to examine how to proceed with the matter in terms of social welfare
and taking the issue to the police."
Zimbabwe has a high number of orphaned children due to the rising
death rate attributed to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:33
THOUSANDS of school teachers who rejoined the profession following the
dollarisation of the economy in February are still to receive their
salaries, almost nine months after they were readmitted. Teachers who spoke
to The Standard last week said they were living in poverty and were
contemplating quitting the profession altogether.
They said they were spending their meagre savings shuttling from
district to provincial offices trying to get their salaries.
"I now spend more time on the bus travelling to Harare than in the
classroom with the children," said one teacher from Checheche in Chipinge
district, over 500 km from Harare.
The teacher, who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation, was in
Harare last week seeking clarification from the Ministry of Education head
Two of the country's major teachers' unions last week confirmed that
thousands of their members from across the country were still battling to
get their salaries.
The unions said the problem had mostly affected teachers in rural
Oswald Madziwa, the national co-ordinator of the Progressive Teachers'
Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said an estimated 8 000 teachers have not been paid
since readmission in February.
"The problem is quite big," Madziwa said. "We may not have the exact
figures but we estimate that close to 8 000 teachers have not been paid even
though they started teaching."
Earlier this year the government gave a blanket amnesty allowing
teachers who had left the profession to rejoin.
But Madziwa said the Ministry of Education had since changed the
readmission regulations insisting on a thorough security vetting, medical
examination, and submission of six application letters and copies of
Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) chief executive officer Sifiso
Ndlovu also confirmed that many teachers who had reapplied were still to be
He said the readmission process was "too cumbersome".
Of the 1 975 Zimta members who are seeking readmission only 448 have
managed to rejoin the profession, he said.
This means the rest are not receiving their salaries although they
have been deployed to different schools.
"This is indicative that the readmission process is cumbersome and
frustrating to those willing to rejoin the profession," Ndlovu said.
"What it means is that we will continue to have unqualified teachers
manning our schools and this will affect the quality of our education."
Madziwa said "only a handful" of teachers have been readmitted back
into the profession although about 17 000 teachers have applied to rejoin.
About 30 000 teachers left the profession during the past two years
seeking greener pastures in countries such as Botswana and South Africa.
Madziwa said: "Morale is very low and teachers are absenting
themselves from work visiting Ministry's offices trying to rectify the
Ndlovu suggested the relaxation of the rejoining requirements as well
as decentralisation of the readmission process.
"The problem is because only one person is empowered to give a nod and
that is the permanent secretary and that creates bottlenecks because he is a
busy man. I suggest the decentralisation of the process," he said.
Senator David Coltart, the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and
Culture said he wrote to his acting Permanent Secretary Lysias Bowora last
week instructing him to complete the exercise before the end of the month.
"I know of the problems and I have written to the Acting Perm Sec to
speed up the process.
"I hope this will be done," said Coltart, as if unsure that his
instructions will be carried out.
Coltart said the problem arose after the Public Service Commission
(PSC) reinstated the rigorous readmission process despite the fact that he
had waived it.
Apart from that, Coltart said his ministry had a serious shortage of
"Our staffing level is only 68% and it's very difficult to complete
the process as well as work on other issues," he said.
Efforts to get a comment from the PSC chairman Dr Mariyawanda Nzuwah
were fruitless last week.
Zimbabwe's education system was the envy of many on the African
continent for many years before it collapsed due to the economic meltdown.
Over the past five years teachers have been holding intermittent
strikes demanding better pay and improved working conditions.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:30
BUFFETED by criticism over the consistent incompetent handling of
schools examinations, the local organising body has turned to the University
of Cambridge for assistance. At a time when examinations are supposed to
have already started, the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (Zimsec) is
still struggling to put systems in place, throwing into disarray the
education of thousands of Grade VII, Ordinary Level and Advanced Level
Journalists attending a media briefing at the British Embassy recently
heard that meetings between the University of Cambridge International
Examinations and Zimsec had already taken place to establish how the British
The British Council and Cambridge are working with Zimsec on ensuring
the country once again has a credible and reliable examining system, after
years during which it had lost the confidence of a majority of parents and
Zimbabwe used to have one of the best examination systems in Africa
through collaboration between the government and Cambridge. That
co-operation ceased at the height of political differences between Zimbabwe
"More assistance will be made available through the Department of
International Development (DfID)," Rajiv Bendre, the Director of the British
Council, told journalists. "Zimsec needs support from the Ministry of
Education and all other stakeholders."
The support is part of a US$100m UK aid package for Zimbabwe's
education, health, sanitation and water sectors.
The UK is actively engaging with the inclusive government to help it
achieve the reforms to which it has committed itself. There are however
still strong concerns over, for instance, the harassment of human rights
defenders and political activists as well as the continued invasions of
"We continue to work with the international community to ensure that
the inclusive government is held to its commitments to meet the political,
economic and social reforms as outlined in the GPA," John Dennis, head of
the Zimbabwe Desk at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, told The Standard
"We regularly speak with governments to encourage their commitment to
help Zimbabwe reform, urging those in Sadc in particular, as guarantors of
the GPA, to take an active role.
"CHOGM represents a good opportunity for the Commonwealth community to
address Zimbabwe's problems and we would look to the meeting to deliver a
firm message on the need for the inclusive government to deliver further
The summit of leaders of the Commonwealth meets in Trinidad and Tobago
next month against a backdrop of a series of civil society meetings in
London and South Africa agreeing on returning the country to the grouping.
President Robert Mugabe pulled Zimbabwe out of the Commonwealth in
2003. But there is a groundswell of opinion that points out some of the
shortcomings facing the country which could have been addressed with
technical assistance and expertise from the group.
The UK is also an active participant in increasing EU interaction with
Zimbabwe. The EU has commenced Article 8 political dialogue with Zimbabwe,
which deals with how the international community re-engages Harare.
British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mark Canning said the UK supports last
month's visit by the EU Troika and the clear messages of support for reform
that they delivered. He pointed out there was need for further progress on
implementation of the GPA before greater EU engagement.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai visited Britain as part of his
eight-nation tour of the US and Europe in June. However, the UK says the
level of its engagement reflects the extent of change on the ground.
The UK is a significant donor to Zimbabwe, having committed US$100
million this year. This comprises essential humanitarian assistance and
support to basic services including healthcare and work in the water and
sanitation sectors to reduce the risk of further cholera outbreaks; food aid
and the provision of seeds and fertilisers; assistance to vulnerable
communities, including orphans and those living with HIV and Aids, and
provision of school textbooks.
"The support represents the largest ever UK aid programme to Zimbabwe
and we are in dialogue with the inclusive government in ensuring this money
helps to meet priorities under the STERP and underpins progress on much
needed reform," Ambassador Canning said.
For the time being all funds will be channelled through the UN and
non-governmental organisations because of concerns over lack of transparency
The UK is also supporting investor interest in Zimbabwe as
demonstrated in last August's conference organised by the Zimbabwe Diaspora
Development Interface (ZDDI).
Significant interest from foreign investors in Zimbabwe should act as
an incentive to the inclusive government to achieve its commitments made in
the GPA to reform and to create a stable business environment.
The Standard also heard that as many as 200 elderly or vulnerable
British nationals in Zimbabwe are expected to have met conditions for
resettlement when the deadline expires at the end of the year.
About 70 people have been resettled in the UK while another 125 are in
the process of having their applications for resettlement considered.
Ambassador Canning said they expected a rush before expiry of the
deadline. There are on-going exchanges between those who have been
successfully resettled and the remainder waiting to finalise their
The scheme was developed in 2008 in response to the difficult
situation faced by some vulnerable British nationals who were struggling to
access adequate food or medical care. It was developed before the formation
of the inclusive government and will be closing for applications in December
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE AND DAVISON MARUZIVA
Saturday, 24 October 2009 16:41
THE manufacturing sector saw a 72% increase in working hours in the
second quarter of the year on the back of increased demand that has pushed
capacity utilisation three fold, a report by the Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI) shows. According to the 2009 CZI Manufacturing Survey
report, the increased working hours spawned a corresponding increase in the
wage bill from the previous year.
"The industry at large saw a staggering 72% increase in working hours
in the second quarter of 2009 largely on the back of increased demand for
products as companies built up volumes to meet the demand," the report said.
But the report shows that there were more companies (82%) with
capacity utilisation of less than 50% leaving the balance of 18% of
companies with capacity utilisation of above 49%, "thus showing
unprecedented levels of idle capacity in the economy".
It says that only six percent of the industry was producing at more
than 74% of its capacity.
The economic revival plan, the Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme
(STERP) seeks to push capacity utilisation to 60% by the end of the year.
The manufacturing sector is in a recovery mode following the formation
of a unity government in February.
At its peak in the 1990's the manufacturing sector contributed exports
and foreign exchange earnings of up to 37%, according to the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe Monetary Policy review.
In the first half of the year, the manufacturing sector accounted for
14% of export shipment trailing mining (44%) and tobacco (26%).
Total shipments for the sector in the first half of the year amounted
to US$67.1 million, compared to US$123.5 million, a 46% decrease from the
same period last year.
The 2009 survey showed that Zambia has regained its 2005-2006 position
as Zimbabwe's leading export destination accounting for 31% of the
manufacturing industry's exports for the first half of 2009 followed by
South Africa (20%).
Of the firms used in the survey, 28% of them cited uncompetitive
export markets as the major reason for not exporting during the first six
months of the year.
Cost of production is still high as companies are using obsolete
equipment caused by a decade of under investment as companies struggled to
put their heads above water.
The obsolete equipment increased production costs making products more
expensive than those from their counterparts in the region.
Working capital constraints hindered sampled firms from exporting
primarily "because they could not import enough requisite inputs to produce
high quality goods demanded in international markets".
The report says only 17% of the respondents invested in the first half
of 2009 while 83% did not make any investment.
The investment made in the second quarter was largely for expansion
purposes with 78.6% respondents having invested in plant and machinery.
However, a different trend was found in the first quarter when the
bulk of the investments were for replacement purposes.
This supports stabilisation efforts by the authorities where the
industry is now gunning for expansion as output increases, the report said.
"The bulk of the investment was in the second quarter of the year at
$1.2 million at cost.
"This was a nominal increase of 236% from investments of $354 000
during the first quarter of the year," the report said.
The report recommended the re-engagement of the international
community and local financial institutions to avail long term lines of
credit which have favourable interest payment schedules to provide the
working capital needed to oil the sector.
The report proposed a legal framework for Public Private Partnerships
(PPPs) that will attract private funding into the rehabilitation of
Zimbabwe's infrastructure - road, rail and water sanitation among
others- have dilapidated from years of little maintenance and investment.
The dilapidated and malfunctioning infrastructure has increased the
cost of production, which makes local products uncompetitive.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 24 October 2009 16:38
THE state-owned Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) is bankrupt and has
sent about 46 workers on forced leave, confidential documents at hand
reveal. ZDI, which supplies army uniforms, field equipment and ammunition,
closed down its factory last year owing to viability problems but workers
were told it was because a bus used to ferry them to work had broken down.
They were given their salaries although they remained redundant for
The salaries were later stopped without any explanation in May,
prompting the workers to demand a meeting with management. The meeting was
eventually held last month.
According to minutes of the meeting, management finally opened up on
the financial problems.
Lack of resources, erratic water supplies and electricity shortages
were some of the reasons cited for the collapse of the company.
"The management also mentioned that due to the inactivity at the ZDI
factories, no income was being generated and could not continue to pay
workers at home," reads the minutes.
Another internal memo says: "Management advised those workers who want
to resign or those who may opt for retrenchment that they may do so, but
there is no money at ZDI for terminal benefits or for retrenchment
A ZDI employee claimed that they were threatened by management when
they tried to take legal action.
"We can't report our case. They threaten us if we try to take any
legal action," he said.
The company's chief executive officer Retired Colonel Tshinga Dube
confirmed that the ZDI was broke saying they can not afford to pay the
workers on forced leave.
"Its true we are not paying those workers, the company does not have
money and we don't get any funding from the government," he said.
He said they had closed the factory because the company was not making
"We closed because we were not making any production, but if the
situation improves we will re-engage all of our workers," he said.
In the past the company has been involved in controversial deals.
In 2005, the company sold weapons of war to 70 mercenaries who were
intercepted in Harare en-route to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The arms included AK assault rifles, 45 000 rounds of ammunition, 300
offensive hand grenades, 20 PKM light guns and 30 000 rounds of ammunition,
50 PRM machine guns and 100 RPG 7 anti-tank launchers and 1 000 rounds of
BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA
Saturday, 24 October 2009 16:33
PRIVATISING loss-making parastatals before the resolution of
contentious issues threatening to tear apart the inclusive government will
see most of the state assets going for a song, economic experts have warned.
The warning comes after the inclusive government said it was compiling a
list of State enterprises for privatisation, commercialisation or
restructuring to ensure viability.
But economic analysts said no investor would want to put money in a
politically unstable nation which does not respect property rights.
They said investor confidence further plummeted when MDC-T partially
withdrew from the coalition government citing President Robert Mugabe's
flagrant disrespect of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
A position paper by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in
Zimbabwe (CCJPZ) released last week says the country's risk factor would
affect the disposal of the state enterprises.
The paper by CCJPZ national director Aloius Chaumba and economic and
trade justice consultant Charity Manyeruke says in the absence of meaningful
progress on political reforms, the enterprises will be disposed of at
heavily discounted prices as investors factor in a significant premium for
They said the resolution of outstanding political issues was a key
confidence building measure that will help further unlock the much-needed
external funding support in the form of credit lines.
"Our view is that the conclusion of political and governance issues
should precede the proposed divesture from state enterprises," they said.
"Proceeding with the disposal of assets under the current
circumstances will not serve the best of the interest of the public."
Some of the outstanding issues include the re-appointment of central
bank governor Gideon Gono, the appointment of Attorney General Johannes
Tomana and continued persecution of MDC-T officials.
Insiders said government would target loss-making parastatals for
privatisation or partnerships.
Public enterprises which are owned 100% by the government include the
National Railways of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa),
Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Air Zimbabwe, TelOne, NetOne, Industrial
Development Corporation, Zimbabwe Mining Development Company, Minerals
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe and National Oil Company of Zimbabwe.
In an interview Chaumba said the companies must be evaluated before
they are sold.
"Thorough evaluation of the companies must be made first before they
are disposed of to ascertain their net worth by reputable, independent
chartered accounting firms to minimize the tendency to award these to the
usual cronies of the present system currently obtaining," he said.
Chaumba said targeted enterprises must be placed on a recovery path
before putting them up for sale to yield better returns.
Prosper Chitambara, an economist with the Labour and Economic Research
Institute of Zimbabwe (LEDRIZ) concurred that it was not the best time to
sell state-owned companies.
"I don't think they fetch the real value because of the low investor
confidence and the fact that we are coming out of a global recession,"
"They also need to deal with the root causes of the poor performance .
as you might know some were affected by political interference."
He said the government was under pressure to raise funds because
treasury was broke since the country has been failing to attract investment
for the past decade.
However, Chitambara urged the government to treat each company
differently as well as involve the other social partners such as labour and
LEDRIZ is a think-tank of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
Another economist who requested anonymity urged the government to
spare public utilities such as Zesa and water reticulation saying
privatizing such entities would push service delivery beyond the reach of
But the Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals, Gabbuza Joel
Gabbuza said government was forging ahead with privatisation,
commercialisation and restructuring of state enterprises.
He said the listing of targeted companies has already been completed
and the Finance Minister Tendai Biti will soon present it to Cabinet for
"We are not going back on that but whatever we are doing is in the
interest of the public," said Gabbuza. "We will not just dispose companies
of strategic importance. Companies will be treated separately."
He said most of the parastatals were operating at between 8% and 20%
Most parastatals have been surviving on the central bank's
quasi-fiscal bail-out packages abandoned by the coalition government as it
seeks to stabilise the economy through the Short Term Emergency Recovery
They also feared that the companies would be snapped up by a few
politically-connected individuals if not properly implemented.
"The whole disposal process should be guided by a credible and
transparent policy framework to avoid benefiting a well connected few," said
"An independent firm of experts such as chartered accountants could be
engaged to advise and provide oversight over the whole process."
Zimbabwe is recovering from a devastating economic crisis that was
marked by the world's highest inflation rate, shortages of foreign currency
and the closure of companies, which pushed unemployment past 90%.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 24 October 2009 16:30
INTERNATIONAL buyers who came for the Sanganai/Hlanganani World Travel
and Tourism fair gave Zimbabwe thumbs up as a destination but were rattled
by news of MDC-T disengagement from Zanu PF, organisers of the exhibition
said last week. MDC-T announced last Friday that it was disengaging from
Zanu PF until the resolution of outstanding issues in another blow to the
inclusive government formed in February.
Among the outstanding issues threatening to tear the government apart
include the appointments of the central bank governor, the Attorney General
and provincial governors.
The announcement of MDC-T's "disengagement" coincided with the
official opening of the fair which ended on Sunday.
In his postmortem of the fair Karikoga Kaseke, Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority (ZTA) chief executive officer said MDC-T decision was a blow to
the tourism industry. "We are not talking about the merits or not of
disengaging but the timing which was wrong," he said.
Kaseke said investors were interested in pouring in US$2.3 billion to
revive the local tourism product, neglected over the years due to the
He said as a result of the MDC-T announcement, some possible investors
had put discussions with local businesses on hold.
Zimbabwe Council for Tourism president, Emmanuel Fundira said interest
in Zimbabwe as a destination was overwhelming but investors were concerned
about the political developments in the country. "Investment is something
which is sensitive to perception. Inasmuch as we had the interest, we run
the risk of losing momentum because of politics," he said.
Fundira said Zimbabwe was coming from a highly polarised environment
and "any side which shows there is no cohesion disturbs the interest of
The number of international buyers totalled 234 with more than half
(154) coming as hosted buyers. Hosted buyers have their expenses catered
for by the organisers.
Of the 155 hosted buyers at this year's fair, 60% were new while the
remainder were repeat buyers who have been at the fair before.
There were 80 non-hosted buyers, the majority coming from Indonesia,
Iran and South Africa.
The hosted buyers included German based African Jacana Tours
represented by Andrea Münster.
Münster was returning to Zimbabwe after nearly 10 years having failed
to market Zimbabwe as a destination due to the economic conditions
prevailing in the past few years.
She said in the past, attending the travel fair would not have brought
in the desired results as very few people were making inquiries about the
Münster said the greatest assets the country had was its people who
were warm and loving adding that she would encourage tourists to "come and
have a fantastic experience.
Of the 497 exhibitors that graced the 2009 edition, 19 were foreign.
Attempts to reflect the inclusive nature of the government did not
work according to plan either.
While Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara was the guest of honour
at the buyers and exhibitors cocktail, attempts to rope in Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai to officially open the fair hit the brick-wall after his
MDC-T announced on Friday that it was "disengaging" from Zanu PF.
But the organisers will feel let down by the poor turnout during
public days at a time attention had been focused on attracting locals to
Kaseke admitted that the organisers had not done much to encourage
people to visit the stands.
The 2009 edition of the travel fair was held under the "Visit Zimbabwe
First" campaign to encourage locals to visit tourist resorts.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 24 October 2009 16:28
BULAWAYO - The government has given the city council R1 million to
repair its battered road network but councillors say the funds are just a
drop in the ocean. Council says it needs US$5 million to reconstruct the
heavily patched roads.
At least U$2 million would be spent on reconstruction and another US$2
million on patching up potholes. The remaining US$1 million would be used
Deputy Mayor, Amen Mpofu said the R1 million availed to the local
authority was not adequate.
"The road network in Bulawayo is due for reconstruction as it is over
20 years old hence the many potholes.
"About US$5 million is required to effectively reconstruct the whole
road network in Bulawayo and the R1 million from the government is just a
drop in the ocean," Mpofu said.
According to the latest council report, the Department of Engineering
Services revealed that the Zimbabwe National Road Authority (Zinara) had
disbursed R994 215 for the road maintenance works.
Council's municipal procurement board said the funds would be used for
repairing the road network that is littered with potholes.
The procurement board said council had gone to tender to hire
specialist plant and equipment for the road maintenance project.
The local authority said private companies - Asphalt Products Private
Limited, Bitumen Construction Services (Pvt) Ltd and Windy Construction -
were interested in undertaking the project.
BY NQOBANI NDLOVU
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:21
THERE was a story in the Zimbabwean media recently of a woman who was
allegedly assaulted and chased from the matrimonial home by her husband.
The reason for the assault was that she had chosen to sunbathe in a
bikini within the walls of her home. It goes without saying that there can
be no justification or defence for spouse-battering. I was, however,
intrigued by the woman's response.
She is reported to have said that she could have taken her husband "to
the cleaners" on account of the assault. That presumably means she could
have reported him to the law enforcement authorities.
Apparently, the only thing that stopped her, the report says quoting
her is "the fact that I love him". Instead, she took the option of
relocating to her parents' home until such time that he repents.
The report quotes her as saying, "But as long as he does not show
remorse for his actions, I am staying put at my parents' home. He should
promise never to beat me again because I was not married to be a punching
bag. My parents support my decision because they do not want me to be hurt."
Few can argue against her stance.
In the same week, another marriage was on a very rocky patch, this
time at the national level.
The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai announced that it was
disengaging from its relationship with ZANU PF accusing the later of being
insincere and unfaithful to the cause. In many ways, the MDC was registering
its protest against abuse in the shaky relationship.
The MDC has retreated to Sadc, the regional block that actively
encouraged the union between the parties to form the Inclusive Government
since February this year.
There have been many and varied views about the MDC'S decision and the
role of Sadc. Some are questioning why they had to do so now, indeed why
they didn't do it earlier. Others question the meaning of disengagement,
whether or not it's formal. But as marriages go, what has happened and is
happening is hardly new or surprising.
There is the story of Mai Chipo, who in her youth was a true
representation of the remarkable handiwork of the Maker. But now at 35, Mai
Chipo is a shadow of her former self.
The bright eyes shine no more. She walks with a slight limp. The
generous smile has disappeared.
She keeps the lips sealed to avoid revealing the space vacated by some
of her front teeth. She has become withdrawn. She often discovers, to her
surprise that she is talking to no-one but herself. Joe, her husband could
have become a heavyweight champion of the world, if he had gathered enough
courage to enter the boxing ring to display the range of skills that he
demonstrates so often on Mai Chipo, his wife.
She has cried and bled many times, but she has remained loyal. She
awaits her day when, she hopes, it will all come right. She believes that
day will come. She has convinced herself that it will come. For the sake of
the rose, we must continue to water the thorns, she has often said to
Tete Kristina, her husband's sister to whom she often goes for advice
has said as much. For Mai Chipo, it's comforting to know that there are
people who share similar thoughts. Sometimes they get together to sing songs
from the scriptures. They petition the Lord for the day of happiness to come
sooner. The answers are still on the way.
Mai Chipo suffers from a familiar but understated problem. It occurs
when a person is repeatedly subjected to physical and psychological abuse by
another until such point that the victim ends up believing that she, not her
abuser is the problem.
Even society has caused it to appear as if she is the culpable party.
Those around do not help. They too end up laying blame on the battered
spouse. They tell her, as Tete Kristina has said to Mai Chipo, that 'uri
mukadzi, wotoshinga' (you are a woman, you have to remain strong). They say,
'usazvinetse, ndizvo zvinoita varume' (don't worry, that is how men behave).
The victim is given responsibility.
Despite the violence the woman sticks to her man. She is afraid. She
does not believe and may even stop herself from believing that there is
something else beyond her present station.
Indeed, it may be the case that on some occasions, the abuser appears
to be caring and loving. He might even show some remorse for his conduct or
indicate a desire to be cooperative. For this reason, the victim derives
some optimism; that perhaps the abuser is capable of reforming and will
improve. Therefore, she always gives the second chance.
Like Mai Chipo, she covers up the violence and pretends it is not
happening. She stays in the house until the wounds have healed. She does not
go to the doctor for medical help and if she does she finds a convenient
excuse for her problem.
"I slipped, fell awkwardly and lost my tooth", she will explain to the
doctor. She will try to cover for her spouse all the while hoping that he
will see sense and improve.
She could even find excuses for her husband's behaviour. "Idoro
rinomukanganisa" ("It's the alcohol that makes him wayward, otherwise he is
a good man"), she will say notwithstanding the wisdom of the Scriptures
which removes the weight of culpability from the substance that is imbibed.
In some cases, she will excuse her spouse by placing blame his friends
and associates. "Ndimi munokanganisa murume wangu" (You are the ones who
cause my husband to misbehave, otherwise he is a fine gentleman), she will
chide her husband's friends and associates. She sees those around him as the
problem, not the subject himself.
The situation is not helped by law enforcement authorities to whom Mai
Chipo reports. They can be indifferent, often dismissing her pleas for help.
Perhaps they are also men or women who are socialised to believe in their
own subordination. "Endai munopedzarana kumba kwenyu" ("Go and solve your
domestic problems at home"), the authorities will say, dismissing the
She could even get herself in worse trouble for having the audacity to
wash the family's dirty linen in front of strangers. "Hazvinzarwo" ("You
cannot do such things"), relatives will advise Mai Chipo, blaming her for
trying to get the problem resolved.
The story of Mai Chipo, like that of Rejoice, the bikini woman, may be
about domestic matters but it also finds resonance in national politics.
Zimbabwe is a home with an unusual marriage. It is not a marriage of
choice but one of compulsion.
Circumstances forced the tripartite union of the three political
parties. One party has more power than the others. The other parties have
tried to contain their troubles; they have tried to put up a brave face, an
overly cheerful face at times, against the bitter realities of the
If Sadc was the presiding officer at the marriage ceremony, President
Thabo Mbeki was the matchmaker. As spouses do, if there are problems, they
resort to the family - they go to the family to ask for help.
One would expect Sadc has to play its role. It can't stand aside and
advise as did Tete Kristina to Mai Chipo, that 'ndizvo zvavanoita, shinga
chete' (that is what they do, be strong).
They are the guarantors of this political creature and if they have to
retain their credibility, they need to solve the root cause of the problem,
not to merely cover the cracks. The challenges are clear; it simply takes
courage and honesty to confront them otherwise the charade of the GNU will
consign Zimbabwe to an even more uncertain and harsher future.
Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted at email@example.com
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:18
BEFORE a referendum is held the draft must first be submitted to the
Second All-Stakeholders' Conference where the draft will be debated and
decisions made on whether the draft properly reflects what the people said
they wanted in the Constitution during the outreach programme.
Thereafter the draft Constitution and accompanying Report is to be
debated within Parliament for up to one month.
However, it is not clear what Parliament's role and functions are when
it debates the draft Constitution.
Will the Parliament be at liberty to amend the provisions of the draft
or will it simply debate whether the draft reflects what is contained in the
However the draft is in effect draft legislation and under the
Constitution the legislative authority lies with Parliament any legislation
brought before it. Also worrying is that the process is running behind
schedule as the timetable envisages that the draft Constitution would be put
to a referendum around July 2010.
Paragraph 23A [c] of the Constitutional Amendment 19 provides that
every citizen is entitled to free and fair referendums whenever they are
called in terms of the Constitution or an Act of Parliament.
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) recommends that relevant
electoral reforms be put in place prior to the referendum and that there be
a proper legal framework for the holding of the referendum.
While during the Presidential and parliamentary elections, voters were
required to vote in wards in which they are registered as voters, section 11
of the Referendum Act seems to require people to vote in the constituencies
in which they are registered or are entitled to be registered.
For the upcoming referendum it would seem that serious consideration
should be given to changing the law to allow people to vote at any polling
station throughout the country on the basis of their National Identity Cards
rather than in constituencies on the basis of proof of registration as
Any person who satisfies the presiding officer of polling station that
he or she is 18 or above and is eligible to be registered as a voter on
voters' roll is entitled to vote at a referendum.
The decision should be made on the basis of the possession of a
National Identity Card [either the metal or plastic disc or the provisional
green form] that establishes that the person is a citizen who is over 18.
Independent observation of elections is critical to the holding of a
referendum to assess public opinion.
Given the heated debate over the process leading to the compilation of
the draft constitution and what is likely to be heavily divided opinion over
the acceptability of the draft, it is imperative that the referendum process
be subjected to thorough independent observation.
Local and international observers should be allowed freely to monitor
the pre-during and post referendum environment period. Present unreasonable
restrictions on observers should be removed before the referendum.
Comments made before on the need to replace partisan senior staff of
the Electoral Commission apply equally in relation to the referendum.
The process of counting and tabulation of the results must be
undertaken efficiently and expeditiously and the results must be announced
as quickly as possible.
Given the politically polarised debate over the new Constitution and
the strong efforts to promote the Kariba draft, there is a distinct
possibility of violence and intimidation arising. The comments above on the
need for the Electoral Commission to take a firm stance in trying to stop
any such activity apply equally here.
For voters to decide whether or not they will vote in favour of the
draft new Constitution, they obviously need to be aware of the contents of
the draft. Simplified written materials encapsulating the essential features
of the draft should be circulated for scrutiny throughout the country.
There is also need to ensure that the coverage given by the media to
the constitutional debate is fair and balanced. Civic organisations must be
allowed to circulate information to the public on the constitutional
outreach programme, the important aspects of constitutional reform, and the
voting process in the referendum.
Comments made above on disclosing the number of ballot papers printed
for an election and to disclose other such information, for example, the
number of ballot-boxes issued to each polling station apply to the
The power of the Electoral Commission to make regulations in respect
of the referendum should be more limited and be made more specific and the
regulations that they are still empowered to make should not be subject to
approval by the Justice Minister. The President should not be able to use
the Presidential Powers [Temporary Measures] Act to change any of the
The new Zimbabwean constitution should have a buy-in from as many
Zimbabweans as possible and therefore Zimbabweans outside the country should
be encouraged to vote in the referendum by facilitating voting by them.
There are strong arguments in favour of setting up a reliable,
tamper-proof system to allow Zimbabwean citizens who are externally resident
to vote in the referendum outside the country if they are unable to return
to the country to vote. It is also in violation of section 23A of
Constitution not to establish system to allow citizens outside to vote.
It remains to be seen whether the new Electoral Commission will be
composed in such a manner that it properly performs its duty of ensuring
that elections are free and fair.
If it is, then a lot of what has been said above may fall into place.
ZESN will continue to lobby for the implementation of reforms that will help
to ensure that by-elections, the referendum and ultimately that the next
general election will be as free and fair as possible.
There cannot be free and fair elections if political participants
treat elections as a form of mortal combat in which you can use any tactics
whatsoever to ensure victory.
Prepared by Zimbabwe Election Support Network. firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:16
THE explosion in the number of tertiary institutions in the country
has compromised the quality of education delivered. Chinhoyi University of
Technology proved the point last week.
At least 15 students at the university have been diagnosed with
sexually transmitted infections in a development that is damning to Chinhoyi
Orientation periods for new students at institutions such as Chinhoyi
are meant to impart life skills and how to negotiate the challenges of life
On this score the university appears to have fared dismally and in the
process recklessly put the lives of impressionable young people at risk.
Parents with children studying at the university have every reason to
be concerned by the institution's failure.
Organisations such as the National Aids Council, Population Services
International, New Start, Family Planning Council and even the Zimbabwe
National Students' Union, among others, claim to champion HIV/Aids
prevention and safe sex. Obviously claims of their reach and effectiveness
are brought into question by the STI explosion at Chinhoyi University.
Zinasu claims to be "also convicted by nature to spearhead programmes
on democracy, human rights, sustainable development, Aids prevention and all
other issues of national importance". Funding organisations that have
supported the student movement may want an audit of the programmes relating
to safe sex and HIV /Aids prevention.
The brain drain has left many institutions with fewer lecturers who
have to cover for the vacant posts. Overstretched and overworked, the result
has been a failure to execute their duties with potentially disastrous
Zimbabwe's population is made up of more than 50% that is aged below
35 years. Young people are the group most vulnerable to HIV and other STIs.
It is therefore critical to promote integration of campaigns and behaviour
change skills on HIV/Aids into sexual and reproduction health programmes
that have a specific focus on youths.
The Chinhoyi University STI cases are of major concern. They raise
questions about the prevalence rate of STIs among the more than 40
universities, teachers' colleges, polytechnics and agricultural training
institutions in the country. Only further tests will be able to establish
whether or not the infections also extend to HIV.
A healthy and educated human resource base is key to economic growth
and sustainable development. It is imperative for organisations championing
issues of HIV/Aids prevention to focus their campaigns on campuses. It's
not about promoting promiscuity, rather it is about safeguarding lives.
It maybe argued that the discovery of treatment drugs lessens the
human capital haemorrhage but the resources that would be required for
treatment and therapy are considerable. Prevention is therefore less costly.
In trying to come to terms with the explosion in the case of STIs much
is made of the role of sugar-daddies or mummies. The initial evidence from
Chinhoyi does not entirely support this view.
There is need for a three-pronged approach - move into the
institutions in order to bridge the awareness deficit; empower the students
to protect themselves; and examine the barriers that young people encounter
in accessing information and health services they require to protect
themselves against STIs and other threats. Years of campaigns intended to
raise awareness about STIs and HIV/Aids are not yielding the intended
Other strategies may need to be considered.Clearly there are serious
misconceptions about STIs and HIV/Aids among young people otherwise we
wouldn't have the kind of explosion witnessed at Chinhoyi University.
Saturday, 24 October 2009 18:13
SINCE the inception of the coalition government, the disputed governor
of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono has displayed disquieting
tendencies that have demonstrated why he should be summarily evicted from
the central bank building. From the day that Tendai Biti took over as the
Minister of Finance and put a stop to the central bank's quasi-fiscal
misadventures, Gono, who is apparently very bitter, has been all over the
place screaming and kicking.
With the assistance of hired foot soldiers in the state media, the
emasculated governor has launched a sinister campaign to sabotage and vilify
everything good that the Minister of Finance is trying to do to turn around
Gono's well publicised theatrics have not only served to annoy the
majority of hopeful Zimbabweans but are now threatening to derail strategic
operations of the ministry which has been given the crucial task of
resuscitating the economy which collapsed when Gono was in charge as
quasi-finance minister between 2003 and 2008.
Gono's doomed campaign to sabotage and vilify Biti can be captured in
three episodes which have received remarkable media publicity not because
they are newsworthy but because the governor has always abused journalists
from the state media to write puff pieces about himself which are then
passed as "business news".
Immediately after the appointment of Biti in February a bitter Gono
went on the offensive accusing the minister of having a personal vendetta
against him when Biti demanded that the governor should be relieved of his
job not only because he had failed in his duties as evidenced by the
comatose economy but also because his appointment was unprocedural in terms
of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).
Gono went to the desperate extreme of writing a long letter to Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pitching the preposterous allegation that Biti
was out to settle a personal score against him although it is common place
that everybody in the MDC, including the prime minister, subscribes to the
naked truth that Gono's appointment is irregular in terms of the letter and
spirit of the GPA.
What Gono was trying to achieve through his long letter was to drive
a wedge between the minister and the Prime Minister in the naive hope that
he would successfully recruit Tsvangirai to fight in his corner against
But everybody now knows that Gono's letter was rejected before it
landed on the Prime Minister's desk.
The second highlight of Gono's doomed campaign was his call in August
for the return of the Zimbabwe dollar.
Biti has made it clear that he would resign from the government if he
is put under undue pressure to revive the Zimbabwe dollar before the end of
2010 for the simple reason that the currency had become an instrument of
arbitrage and rent-seeking behaviour during Gono's reign as quasi-finance
And that should be good news for Gono whose four-pronged campaign is
to vilify, sabotage, frustrate and displace the Minister of Finance by any
But it is also the reason why the MDC-T will not allow Biti who has
done a sterling job so far to resign from his post come rain or sunshine.
The most recent highlight of Gono's atavistic tendencies has been the
absurd allegation that Biti is blocking capital injections from
international financial institutions.
Over the past few weeks, Gono has been using his lapdogs in the state
media to peddle the scurrilous allegation that Biti is blocking a total of
US$800 from the International Monetary Fund, the Preferential Trade Area
Bank and the African Import and Export Bank.
Everybody except Gono and his friends in Zanu PF knows that Biti
cannot block funds which are meant to help resuscitate the comatose economy
when the same minister has been going around the world with a begging bowl
trying to raise such funds.
It is on record that for the past eight months the finance minister
and the Prime Minister have criss-crossed the globe, visiting Britain,
German, Belgium, the Netherlands and USA among other countries, trying to
raise billions that are badly needed to get Zimbabwe's economy working
Nobody except the superstitious dead wood in the Zanu PF leadership -
who still believe that diesel can be extracted from a rock - will believe
the hogwash that Biti is going out of his way to block badly needed loans
from donor institutions when the minister knows more than anybody else how
badly the country needs that money.
What is coming out clearly from Gono's mischief is that Zanu PF is
trying to resurrect the bygone era of quasi-fiscal insanity when corruption
was official and the Minister of Finance took instructions from the central
bank governor instead of the other way round.
The Prime Minister has made it clear that the necessary consultations
did not take place before the re-appointment of the central bank governor,
which makes Gono's re-appointment null and void regardless of what President
Mugabe thinks or says.
The lie being peddled by Zanu PF mandarins that the appointment of
Gono was made before the signing of the GPA will not fool anyone because
everybody knows that Gono was re-appointed by President Mugabe three months
after the GPA on December 1, 2008 after his five-year term expired on
November 30, 2008.
Gono and those who have supported his unprocedural re-appointment are
making the ignorant and dangerous assumption that President Mugabe is the
sum total of the unity government with the final say on all GPA matters.
What is urgent now is for Gono to be summarily evicted from 80 Samora
Machel Avenue before he resuscitates the dead and buried era of quasi-fiscal
madness where the central bank was a major catalyst of the black market
BY JACOB RUKWEZA
by Own Correspondent Sunday 25 October 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe Catholic bishops this week accused the government of using
state institutions as partisan tools to support the ruling party and stifle
democracy, leaving minority groups in the southern African nation
In its latest pastoral letter on national healing and reconciliation, the
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC) said anybody who has spoken out
against the ruling party has been marginalised over the years.
"Those who have opposed the ruling party have been marginalised and
sometimes criminalised. In our history, there has not been space created to
allow for healthy political debates and contestation," the letter said.
"This has caused a lot of frustration and resentment. The formation of
strong political opposition parties has become a source of strong political
conflicts and violence. Women, the youth and minorities feel that they are
not fully included in the development of the country. So politically, our
country is deeply divided."
As a country, Zimbabweans have sinned as there are serious social, political
and economic mistakes that have been made over the years, said the bishops,
adding that anybody who has advocated or perpetrated violence should not
hold any public office.
"Anybody who has used his or her position to direct, command, plan or
directly commit acts of violence should not be allowed to hold any public
office that he or she can use to perpetrate further violence in future.
"We appeal to the perpetrators of these atrocities, accomplices and
instigators of violence to acknowledge the evil deeds and in conscience to
own up and make restitution as Zacchaeus did. You need to be justified
before God to find peace," the ZCBC letter said.
Last year, the Catholic also strongly spoke out against the violence which
broke out after the March harmonised elections.
The letter said Zimbabweans have sinned against God which has been
characterised by very "serious social, political and economic mistakes over
Zimbabwe has suffered unprecedented economic and humanitarian crisis marked
by the world's highest inflation of 231 million percent as of last July last
year, acute shortages of food, disease and deepening poverty.
Critics blame the crisis on President Robert Mugabe's controversial policies
but the 85-year-old leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since its 1980
independence from Britain, denies mismanaging Zimbabwe and instead accuses
his Western enemies of sabotaging his country's once brilliant economy.
Mugabe last February formed a power-sharing government with long time
political foe Morgan Tsvangirai, who is now Prime Minister, to end a
political crisis following inconclusive elections last year.
The unity government is supposed to stabilise the southern African country's
economy, liberalise the media and democratise key state institutions that
have been under the control of Mugabe's ZANU PF party since independence.
The unity government should also write a new constitution for the country
after which free and democratic elections should be held. - ZimOnline
October 24, 2009
By Morris Chioni
ROY Bennett's current court case is sub judice so Jonathan Moyo's comments
about the case amount to contempt of court.
There is no way Bennett is going to receive a fair trial when the likes of
Moyo try to gain political mileage by writing malicious articles in the
press. Moyo is trying to impress his new Zanu-PF masters by penning
nonsensical articles in the press.
Is Bennett being tried for his actions before independence? This is the
question the court will have to address.
If people are going to be tried for serving the Southern Rhodesia or
Rhodesian regimes then 90 percent of the population, including those in
Zanu-PF will have to be tried as well.
Moyo has just opened a can of worms. He is trying to worm his way into the
good books of Zanu-PF by invoking tired archaic nationalistic ant
anti-colonialist rhetoric. Mugabe is not as anti-colonialist or anti-British
as he tries to pretend. When we voted Zanu-PF into power in 1980 Mugabe
implored the overseer of the elections, the British Governor, Lord Soames,
to extend his stay by three years and help out the new government.
Soames politely refused.
Mugabe went on to appoint Rhodesian Front ministers to his cabinet. The
long-serving Rhodesian chief of the CIO, Ken Flower, continued as head of
CIO under Mugabe as he had done under Bishop Abel Muzorewa, and left of his
own accord. The same happened with General Peter Walls who served as head of
the army under Mugabe.
Not exactly the stuff of colonialism-hating revolutionaries, is it?
Zimbabwe received foreign aid from Britain, among other nations, including
training for the Zimbabwean army right up to 1999. Why would Mugabe accept
aid and have the army trained by the former colonialists whom he hated so
much? Moyo's is downright hypocrisy.
The judiciary was headed by an English man, Anthony Gubbay, for a long time
before he was pushed out around 1999. We cannot unlearn events we
experienced firsthand and what we already know.
Even Joshua Nkomo was not anti-British, as it turned out to be. When Nkomo
had problems with Mugabe at the height of the arms caches crisis he went
into exile in London in the United Kingdom. He did not go to Zambia or
Malawi, but to the UK and this was well after independence.
Not so long ago Jonathan Moyo was chastising Zanu-PF for its blatant racism.
Here is an excerpt from an article written by Jonathan Moyo in 2006.
"Earlier in 1980 no human principle or ideal informed Mugabe's rhetorical
declaration of national reconciliation which stands in retrospect as cynical
propaganda never intended to achieve any racial harmony beyond consolidating
Mugabe's political power. Witness how today Zanu-PF is prone to shocking
racism. In the 2005 parliamentary election campaign, Zanu-PF political
commissar, Elliot Manyika, had no qualms about singing at rallies and in the
electronic media, "Musha une Bhunu ndewani tibhombe?" (Whose home has a
white man in it so we can bomb it?)
"Similar trappings are evident in Mugabe's claims to national unity that are
all about self-preservation without any lasting principles or human ideals.
"Zimbabweans will never understand how a leader committed to national unity
could have allowed the madness of Gukurahundi in which over 20 000 people
were massacred while many more had their homes and livelihoods destroyed.
"The fact that Mugabe has done absolutely nothing of national significance
to heal the Gukurahundi wounds even after rhetorically acknowledging the
madness speaks volumes about his disdain for enduring human principles and
ideals. It is this disdain that has left the door wide open to such evil
deeds as Operation Murambatsvina whose victims numbering at least 18 percent
of the population are still trapped in untold misery to this day."
The article goes on , "In the same vein, the disastrous failure of the
otherwise necessary land reform programme undertaken in 2000 is defined by
its lack of grounding in enduring human principles and ideals that can
withstand the prejudices of the moment. Mugabe's self-indulgent propaganda
that Constitutional Amendment 17 brought finality to land reform remains
dangerous nonsense because, as a trained lawyer, he should know better that
there can never be such finality through a law that bars people who lost
land during the chaotic reform process from approaching the courts".
What I have noticed is that Jonathan Moyo is mentally unstable; he has had a
go at almost everyone across the political divide. His recent article about
Roy Bennett is replete with the same outrageous racism which he was
condemning a few months back. He acknowledges that Mugabe and his military
Five Brigade murdered over 20 000 people in Matebeleland including Moyo's
own father. But Mugabe and the military were not punished; neither did they
lose their positions up to this day. He should not give Nazis and Israelis
as examples when there are classic examples in Zimbabwe. In the recent
election over 200 supporters of the MDC were murdered and no one has been
prosecuted. The military and Mugabe are still in place.
He goes on to say that, "..reclaiming our priceless land from British
colonialists who brutally and illegally stole it from our ancestors was the
single most important driver of our national liberation struggle,..". What
he terms national liberation was actually a power struggle by people who had
been united as a colony by the white colonialists. And those power-hungry
people are still clinging on to power at all costs by giving excuses that
the colonialists are about to come back to re-colonise Zimbabwe.
Perhaps Moyo would be in a position to tell us who the legal occupants of
this land were? Legal as dictated by who? As far as we know Southern
Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, was a British colony. The British set out the
borders to include the Shonas and Ndebeles who could otherwise never have
been able to form a nation on their own because they were hostile to each
other. And that is fact, not fiction.
We are not aware of a situation where Mbuya Nehanda had signed a unity
agreement with Lobengula and Mashayamombe to create a state. In other words
there was no recognised authority other than those we now call chiefs who
were drifting from one area to another. There were no definite boundaries as
we know them today. The Ndebeles came from some area in South Africa before
settling in the Bulawayo area.
If you follow the logic through you will find that anyone's claim to a
certain area of land was tenuous. The power-hungry nationalists don't like
this development because it lays bare their claim to land. In other words,
were it not for the colonialists there would be no Zimbabwe to talk about!
As for brutality who would have thought a black man's government would
slaughter more than 20 000 blacks?
Again in 2006 when he formed his ill-fated party, the United People's
Movement, which he dubbed 'The Third Way' Moyo acknowledged the important
role played by the hated Rhodesians in the development of Zimbabwe prior to
independence. Here are excerpts from an article by him:
"At independence in 1980, Zimbabwe had all the necessary political
background to be Africa's first real sovereign multi-party democracy
pursuing economic growth and development for all Zimbabweans. The existence
of PF-Zapu and Zanu-PF provided the necessary fountain for a strong
nationalist base from two different points of view informed by Zimbabwe's
liberation struggles since 1890. Abel Muzorewa's African National Council,
Ndabaningi Sithole's Zanu and Ian Smith's Republican (sic) Front had their
own limited but strong constituencies to have assured vibrant multiparty
politics in Zimbabwe, only if they had not been crushed by Zanu-PF outside
"The fact that the Rhodesians had built a limited but fairly sophisticated
economic infrastructure driven by agriculture and a viable import
substitution industrial strategy combined with an excellent skills base
brought by black Zimbabweans who had studied or worked at some of the best
institutions or companies around the world to give Zimbabwe a comparative
advantage in pursuing economic growth and development.
"Related to this, a formidable class of black businessmen such as the
Zwambilas, Mwayeras, Chinamoras and many others had developed during
Rhodesian days. This class generally supported the liberation war and stood
ready at independence to take off into real entrepreneurship subject to
support by the new black government led by then Prime Minister Robert
Mugabe. But no such support was given".
The fact that Jonathan Moyo is able to read and write is because of
colonialism. He must have started primary school in a Rhodesian government
school around 1965. He must have been sponsored directly or indirectly by
some benevolent white man's organisation to study in the USA. Studying there
is not cheap.
People like Mugabe, Murerwa, Takawira and thousands of others worked as
civil servants at one time or another for the colonial Rhodesian government
before entering politics. Some were teachers. The fact that Roy Bennett was
a member of the Rhodesian Light Infantry should not come as a shock to Moyo.
Phillip Chiyangwa was a police reservist in the late 1970s but he is a big
Zanu-PF shot. You will be hard-pressed to find a politician who was not
sponsored by the British or American organisations to study in their
countries or at home.