By Tichaona Sibanda
27 October 2011
Suspected ZANU PF supporters from the militant Chipangano group have
attacked Harvest House, the MDC-T headquarters in central Harare.
The pre-dawn attack left several windows in the building shattered but no
one was injured. A statement from the party said security details protecting
the building recovered eight catapults dropped by ZANU PF thugs as they
‘Several windows on the first, second and third floors were broken during
the attack,’ the MDC-T said.
Meanwhile, the party’s national Youth Assembly organising secretary, Phineas
Chikadaya, is in hospital after he was attacked in Budiriro on Wednesday
Promise Mkwananzi, the secretary-general of the Youth Assembly, told SW
Radio Africa on Thursday that Chikadaya was waylaid by a group of ZANU PF
thugs while walking home from a branch meeting.
‘Chikadaya was walking home in the company of a colleague around 8pm when
they were suddenly surrounded by a group of ZANU PF youths.
They accused him of being a sell-out and destabilizing the country by
working for the MDC. This was an unprovoked attack where Chikadanga was hit
with logs. They used stones to target his left leg and unfortunately he
suffered a fracture to that leg,’ Mkwananzi said.
The organizing secretary was admitted to the Avenues Clinic. A report was
lodged with the police in Budiriro but no arrests have been made. Chikadaya
has informed his party he can positively identify some of his attackers.
‘We vociferously condemn the dastardly attack on our members and strongly
speak out against the police inaction to bring the culprits to book. In the
same breathe, let me say no amount of fear will dissuade the Youth Assembly
from carrying out its legitimate mandate to remove ZANU PF from power,’
By Alex Bell
27 October 2011
Many Harare residents have this week struggled to keep their cool, with
ongoing water shortages made worse by soaring temperatures.
Tempers have already snapped in Mabvuku and Glen View where residents have
resorted to fighting while trying to access clean water. Millions of people
are struggling with severe shortages that have now lasted for weeks in some
areas, apparently because of a burst distribution pipe at the Morton Jaffray
Water Treatment Plant. The worst affected areas have been Glen Norah,
Budiriro and Glen View.
To make matters worse, temperatures have reached record highs this week with
36 degrees Celsius recorded in the capital on Wednesday. The Met Office has
already said that this has been the hottest October on record since 1962,
and the public has been urged to drink plenty of water to stave off heat
stroke and dehydration.
But the heat and lack of clean water in the capital means fears are
increasing daily about another outbreak of cholera.
Simbarashe Moyo from the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) said
the water shortages mean people are accessing water from wells and other
sources “that might not be safe.”
“This is so serious now. If the disease is to break out again it will be
very difficult to control. We already have people drinking dirty water, and
we also have burst sewage pipes, so the risk is high,” Moyo said.
He added: “The excuses from the Council are not good enough. For me, this is
a problem of incompetence and incapacity. Two years ago when we had the
cholera crisis, these issues of water supply were supposed to be sorted out.
We should not have a situation like this again,” Moyo said.
The Met Office meanwhile has warned that the sweltering temperatures of the
last few days will continue until at least Sunday. Record breaking
temperatures of 44 in Kariba, 43 in Binga and 40 in Masvingo, Kezi and
Victoria Falls have all been recorded this week. The Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare has also issued health warnings, urging people to be wary of
diarrhoea, headaches, vomiting and dehydration-related conditions.
Bulawayo, October 27 2011 - Police in Matabeleland North province have
banned three rallies planned for the weekend by the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC-T) which is led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The three rallies were supposed to be held in Victoria Falls, Binga and
Lupane. Tsvangirai, was expected to be the guest of honour to drum up
support for his party in the forth coming elections.
Speaking to Radio VOP, the (MDC-T) National Deputy Organising Secretary,
Abednico Bhebhe, said: “The police have since banned our rallies in Victoria
Falls, Binga and Lupane that were supposed to kick start on Friday until
Bhebhe who described the banning of the rallies as ‘frustrating’, said: “We
are going to defy the police ban and go ahead with the meetings;
Matebeleland North police are now fighting the MDC-T.”
Bhebhe said the police cited high level of inter-state meetings which will
require high security coverage in the three districts.
In a letter to MDC-T Matebeleland North provincial organising secretary
Thembinkosi Sibindi, Chief Superintendent Chiwona of Victoria Falls police
station noted among others:"Please take note that we are going to have a
high level inter- state meeting which will need high security coverage in
the district. So for the above mentioned reason we have seen it fit to
prohibit your rally until, after this event.”
The letter advised the MDC-T to hold their rallies after the 4th of
Last week in Nkayi North, MDC-T also ran battles with the police over their
unsanctioned rally in Nesigwe Business Centre as it was clashing with the
one for Zanu (PF).
The riot police forced Tsvangirai to abruptly end his rally when the law
enforcement agents came in full force to disperse the people who were
attending the rally.
Tsvangirai will be on tour of government projects in Matebeleland North
After the disruption of his rally on Saturday Tsvangirai warned Matebeleland
North province police chief, Assistant Commissioner, Edmore Veterai saying
he is now politicising the force and was applying the law selective by
harassing and arresting political activists week in week out.
Police in Matabeleland North have been preventing Tsvangirai from
campaigning in the province since the run up to the June 27 2008
presidential run-off poll. His armoured BMW campaign car was seized by
police in the provincial capital, Lupane and has not been released.
According to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) Matabeleland North
is now the most hostile province in the country as police have so far
arrested or harass more than 40 politicians and human rights activists since
October 27 2011 at 03:49pm
Zimbabwe has secured a $300 million loan from Brazil to finance agriculture
and boost crop production after successive years of food deficits, state
media reported on Thursday.
The loan is part of Brazil's aid programme for Africa, the state-controlled
Herald newspaper said.
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made said the funds would be used to support
farmers who have largely failed to get loans from local banks that are still
recovering from a prolonged economic crisis.
“The ... programme is important for the country as it has managed to address
some of the challenges we have been facing in securing lines of credit to
support the agriculture sector that is the backbone of the economy,” Made
told the newspaper.
Once a regional bread-basket, Zimbabwe has struggled to feed itself since
2000 when President Robert Mugabe's government started to seize farms owned
by whites to resettle landless blacks.
The agriculture sector has shown signs of recovery under a unity government
set up two years ago by Mugabe and his rival, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, following disputed elections in 2008.
The sector is expected to grow 33 percent in 2011, according to government
projections. Production of the staple maize grain has risen from 400,000
metric tonnes in 2008 to 1.45 million tonnes this year, but is still below a
national requirement of 2 million tonnes. - Reuters
27 October 2011
Hundreds of protesters marched through the streets of Bulawayo on Thursday,
venting their anger at the country’s utility company ZESA, for its catalogue
of failures that have impacted so badly on residents
Demonstrators hoisted signs and chanted: ‘ZESA is raping us,’ ‘No ZESA No
money.’ Our Bulawayo correspondent Lionel Saungweme told us the mood seemed
one of exuberance, not rage, and police who shadowed the march made no
effort to interfere.
The march was organized by the Bulawayo Progressive Residents Association
whose members have inundated them with complaints over power outages and
huge bills. ZESA is also being castigated for disconnecting power from
almost 70 percent of the city’s households.
The residents association handed over petitions to ZESA, its board and the
Ministry of Energy, demanding that action be taken urgently to rectify
failing standards at the utility company.
‘The residents are angry that the failure by ZESA to provide adequate power
has impacted negatively on industry, health, environment, education. Crime
has gone up, especially at night time when victims are pounced upon in dark
areas. Most of the time there is no electricity at various industries in the
city forcing many companies to lay off workers. What surprises the residents
is that at the end of the month they still get huge bills, when half the
time they go for hours without power,’ Saungweme said.
Some of the demands from the residents are the return of the city’s thermal
power station to the ownership of the people of Bulawayo and compensation
for all those whose property was damaged by power surges.
‘The residents want ZESA to reduce its load shedding and adhere to load
shedding schedules and they’ve also asked the company to work on its flawed
billing system and stop estimating bills,’ Saungweme added.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
27 October, 2011
It has been reported that hundreds of workers at the state owned Ziscosteel
will not be receiving their salaries this month, as more drama unfolds
behind the scenes over a deal that was negotiated with the giant Indian
steel company, Essar.
According to the Newsday newspaper, Finance Minister Tendai Biti confirmed
“the deal was in limbo”. Biti is quoted as saying he was shocked “there are
people in government and cabinet” determined to block the deal, for their
own “personal reasons”.
Zisco agreed to a deal that sold 54% of Ziscosteel to Essar, with the
government keeping 36% and 10% going to minority shareholders and workers
themselves. A new company named NewZim Steel was formed. Essar is also to
invest $3.5 billion in mining under the banner of NewZim Minerals.
The deal has been described as the biggest of its kind in Zimbabwe but it is
rumoured that politicians from all parties have been battling for a piece of
the profits and kickbacks.
Political analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga said it is possible that both parties
have realized they made hasty decisions and could have secured a better
deal. “On the part of the investor, it is quite possible they have woken up
to the fact that doing business in Zimbabwe is not going to be as rosy as it
first appeared,” Mhlanga explained.
He added that someone in government may also have realized the deal was not
negotiated in the best interests of Zimbabwe and it needs renegotiating.
According to NewsDay, Ziscosteel workers said their human resources manager
Dean Chikukwa, told them at a meeting on Tuesday that salaries would not be
paid this month. The paper said rumours had filtered through the workers’
union that “government was reneging” on the NewZim minerals deal.
Ziscosteel was rife with corruption and mismanagement before the Essar deal
was negotiated, a condition that has plagued all parastatals in Zimbabwe. As
always it is the workers that suffer the most.
Bulawayo, October 27, 2011- Zimbabwe has set 17-28 August 2012 as the dates
for the country’s fourth census since independence, population census
manager, Washington Mapeta, has said.
Mapeta said the Zimbabwe National Statistical Agency (Zimstat) will finish
the mapping exercise, which it is currently conducting, in March next year
ahead of the census.
Mapping is a pre-enumeration activity that involves updating geographical
boundaries of all administration units and socio-economic infrastructure in
“We are currently undertaking a mapping exercise and we expect to complete
the exercise by March next year. This involves creating maps for every ward
in each district.
“The census will be conducted in August next year. We will start on August
17 and finish on August 28,” Mapeta told journalists on the sidelines of a
ministerial committee workshop on census held in Bulawayo at a local hotel.
Mapeta said Zimstat requires US$37 million for the August 2012 census,
saying that they have since extended a begging bowl to other nongovernmental
organisations (NGO’s) to assist government with funding.
He added that Zimstat will start recruiting personnel to conduct the census
in June next year, adding that the organisation has since also completed
drafting questionnaires to be used during the exercise.
Zimbabwe has since independence held three census exercises. The previous
ones were held in 1982, 1992 and 2002.
The last 2002 census put the population of the country at 11.6 million.
Analysts expect the next census to show either a drop in population growth
or stagnation after an economic meltdown drove more millions Zimbabweans out
of the country in search of better living conditions.
By Tonderai Kwenda in Australia
Thursday, 27 October 2011 09:08
PERTH - The European Union (EU) says financial and travel sanctions imposed
on President Robert Mugabe and his colleagues in Zanu PF will stay until
necessary democratic reforms are in place.
Baroness Catherine Ashton, Vice President of the European Commission and
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy told the Daily News yesterday evening that the ball was in President
Robert Mugabe’s court to introduce democratic reforms in Zimbabwe because
the EU stood ready to re-engage Zimbabwe.
“We have made it clear to the Zimbabwean government on what needs to be done
for us to re-engage. It’s simple. Implement the reforms and everything will
be alright,” said Ashton.
“I have met Zimbabwean ministers and we have had talks but right now they
are dealing with my director until we have something tangible on the table,”
she said on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings
(Chogam) in Perth, Australia currently underway.
The EU rights commissioner said she was unaware of the much touted lawsuit
against the grouping that Zimbabwe says will be filed at the European Court
“I am not aware of that lawsuit, maybe my director will know,” she said.
The Zimbabwean government through the Attorney-General’s office says it
plans to file a lawsuit against the EU at the European Court of Justice
arguing that it unprocedurally took a decision to impose sanctions against a
select group of Zimbabwean politicians including Mugabe and his Zanu PF
The EU foreign policy chief however said although there has been significant
progress made so far, it was not enough for EU to review its position as the
economic and social development have not been matched by the necessary
reforms on the political front.
Mugabe has often blamed the country’s woes on sanctions but his coalition
partners argue that the situation in the country is a result of bad economic
management of the country.
Chogam starts tomorrow with heads of state and government poised to deal
with an explosive report by the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group which has
recommended the appointment of a Human Rights Commissioner to deal with
issues of human rights violations in the groups.
So far the suggestion has been received with hostility by political leaders
By Tendai Kamhungira, Court Writer
Thursday, 27 October 2011 09:13
HARARE - Labour activist Munyaradzi Gwisai and five other social equality
campaigners’ trial has been further pushed back after state witness Jonathan
Shoko fell ill.
Gwisai and his colleagues were initially accused of meeting in Harare on 19
February to plot the ouster of President Robert Mugabe through popular
revolts such as those that toppled several dictators in North Africa earlier
The alleged treason has been reduced to lesser charges of conspiring to
commit violence or alternatively inciting public violence or participating
in a gathering with intent to promote public violence.
Shoko was still testifying when the court adjourned proceedings on Monday.
The case resumes next Tuesday.
On Monday, magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini was shown video footage of the
Egyptian revolution by the state as Shoko, an undercover police officer who
claims to have been part of the meeting, gave evidence.
The video footage showed Egyptians demonstrating in the streets while locked
in running battles and heavy clashes with the police.
Shoko told the court how Gwisai and the other activists watched video
footage of the Egyptian revolution while allegedly plotting to launch a
revolt against Mugabe.
“He (Gwisai) said on March 1 (2011) scores of people should gather at Africa
Unity Square without police detection and ignite a revolution,” said Shoko.
Shoko is the second state witness after Rinos Chari testified on September
14 when trial kicked off, after having been postponed on numerous occasions
for various reasons.
Chari told the court that he was severely assaulted by police as an
accomplice before he was turned into a witness.
Gwisai, 43 is jointly charged with Antonater Choto, 36, Tatenda Mombeyarara,
29, Edson Chakuma, 38, Hopewell Gumbo, 32 and Welcome Zimuto, 25.
Staff Reporter 26/10/2011 19:31:00
HARARE - Robert Mugabe's feisty Attorney-General Johannes Tomana says the
United Nations is no longer a safe haven for all its member states,
following the world body’s inaction after Switzerland refused to grant visas
to President Robert Mugabe’s delegation to the Geneva ICT conference.
Speaking in a interview with State media, Mr. Tomana said by allowing
Switzerland to apply its domestic laws of delaying to issue visas to some
top Zimbabwean government officials who were supposed to have accompanied
the President to the ITU conference in Geneva, the UN has violated
international laws which protect member countries to attend any UN
conference without undue interference.
“When the UN is affected by such illegal decisions by member-states, its
credibility is put under scrutiny,” said the AG.
Mr. Tomana however challenged the United Nations to live up to its
expectations and bring countries such as Britain, the US, Switzerland and
their western allies to book, for breaching international laws by continuing
to impose what he called illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe.
The AG said: “Failure by the UN to deal with the so-called super powers’
unbecoming behaviour is tantamount to confirming that the world watchdog is
just but a puppet of the west.”
The call by the Attorney General for the reform of the UN comes in the wake
of the denial by Switzerland to issue visas to six members of Robert Mugabe’s
delegation to Geneva namely, his wife Grace Mugabe, Foreign Affairs Minister
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Transport, Communications and Infrastructural
Development Minister Nicholas Goche, Director-General in the President’s
Department, Retired Major General Happyton Bonyongwe, Secretary for Media,
Information and Publicity, George Charamba and his aide de camp, Senior
Assistant Commissioner Martin Painona.
However, the granting of a visa to Information Communication Technology
Minister, Nelson Chamisa who was part of the same delegation, has reeled
Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF with party loyalists saying Switzerland appears to
be siding with Zimbabwe’s detractors.
Robert Mugabe’s wife Grace, who has gained notoriety for her exorbitant
shopping sprees during official visits outside Zimbabwe, was reportedly
denied a visa by the Swiss government last week, along with five other top
officials that were part of Mugabe’s delegation to a United Nations summit.
The Mugabes and their close allies are banned from travelling to E.U.
countries as part of restrictive measures that were imposed on them by
The group had planned to accompany Mugabe to Geneva for the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU) summit on information and communication
technologies. That portfolio belongs to MDC-T Minister Nelson Chamisa, who
was rightfully given a visa but reportedly did not attend.
According to the state run Herald newspaper, Mugabe cancelled the trip after
the Swiss authorities denied his wife, along with some of the cabinet
ministers and personal aides from his office. The paper said Zimbabwe had
“lodged a protest” with the United Nations and the Swiss government.
An unnamed “senior official” in the foreign ministry is quoted as saying the
Swiss decision was “highly regrettable” and “a clear violation” of the
United Nations host agreement, as well as “Zimbabwe’s sovereign right to
determine the composition of its delegation.”
But according to political commentator Professor John Makumbe, the Swiss
government later reversed their decision and granted Grace Mugabe and the
others their visas last Friday. The group planned to depart for Geneva over
the weekend, but Mugabe was angry at that point and decided not to attend
this important conference.
“This is ridiculous. You can’t run a country on anger,” Makumbe explained,
adding: “This underlines the rot in the inclusive government and shows how
it is not working.” Makumbe described the government as a marriage of
convenience where the couples do some things together and others apart.
Makumbe said Mugabe flew to Singapore instead, and there is speculation the
trip was for ongoing medical treatment for the ageing dictator. “It is the
ZANU PF way that if Mugabe cannot go then nobody goes,” the professor
Makumbe described them as “hangers on” who wanted to travel for personal
reasons, not as delegates who wanted to assist Zimbabwe in Geneva, saying:
“Countries with more much more wealth than Zimbabwe bring delegations half
by Staff Reporter
PRIME Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was on the ropes last night after a
showdown with MPs over his call for constitutional reforms to relax anti-gay
Tsvangirai lit the fuse on the controversial subject after giving an
interview to the BBC in London, which was broadcast on Monday.
Despite previously endorsing President Robert Mugabe’s vow that gay rights
were not up for discussion in the new constitution which is at the drafting
stage, Tsvangirai stunned even his supporters by performing a volte-face in
“Of course there is a very strong cultural feeling towards gays but to me it’s
a human right,” Tsvangirai, evidently a transformed man from just a year
before, told the BBC.
His new stance set the stage for testy exchanges in Parliament on Wednesday
in his inaugural British-style Prime Minister’s Questions.
It was Dorcas Sibanda, an MP from his MDC-T party, who raised the issue even
as Tsvangirai’s aides were trying to draw a line over the controversy.
Sibanda wanted to know if Tsvangirai had been quoted correctly, calling for
a constitution that favours gay rights.
“My personal view does not matter,” Tsvangirai began, showing no appetite to
repeat what he had told the BBC just three days earlier.
“This is an elitist debate when people have no food, when people have no
jobs, when people have so many problems. It is a diversionary attitude, to
try and put this issue at the focus of the nation is a real diversionary.
There are more important issues to deal with.”
A few MPs muttered incomprehensibles, others heckled while most from his
MDC-T party opted for polite silence.
He had a joke prepared to diffuse the tensions, telling MPs: “Perhaps I am
speaking here kuda mumwe musi mungangodai muringochani panapa (Perhaps I am
speaking here and some of you may be gays). What you do in your private
sphere is your own problem, not mine.”
Laughter in the House, and Tsvangirai had bought himself some breathing
Borrowing from a line which has been trotted out by his party since his BBC
interview aired, Tsvangirai added: “The people of Zimbabwe are writing a
constitution in which they would like to define their society, articulating
issues they want. So who am I to question their wisdom if they decide to
include the question of gay rights into the constitution?”
Some in Tsvangirai’s camp say that is the position he should have adopted in
the BBC interview and refused to nail his colours to the mast. Now his party
is in damage limitation mode, intent to be on the right side of the debate
on a controversy fast turning into an election issue.
Tsvangirai’s discomfort has been a boon for Zanu PF which has not only
pointed to his policy muddle but sought to align itself with the public
mood, which is strongly opposed to legitimising homosexual acts in the new
By KITSEPILE NYATHI 6 hours 11 minutes ago
Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai might be in the eye of a storm for
calling for constitutional reforms guaranteeing gay rights, but many will
agree he bravely confronted the elephant in the living room.
Mr Tsvangirai this week told BBC’s Newsnight programme that gay rights were
a “human right” that Zimbabwe must strive to respect in the constitution
that is being re-written.
His remarks were a major climb down after he last year surprisingly lent
support to President Robert Mugabe’s well known hostile stance against gays.
However, Mr Tsvangiriai in an uneasy coalition with the veteran ruler, could
have been influenced by a growing lobby within Zimbabwe for recognition of
The southern African country could once again be in the spotlight over gay
rights after a government agency established to fight Aids, recommended the
decriminalisation of homosexuality.
In 2008, Zimbabwe tightened its sodomy laws to include any acts involving
physical contact between males that would be regarded by a reasonable person
as an indecent act.
President Mugabe uses every available opportunity to attack gays and
lesbians, who he describes as worse than dogs and pigs.
Government ministers mainly from his Zanu-PF party enthusiastically support
the veteran ruler's stance with some going as far as saying homosexuals were
not welcome in Zimbabwe.
Zanu-PF described the PM’s remarks as “misguided” and out of “sync with
reality on the ground.”
However, they might soon be forced to face the reality after a study by the
National Aids Council (NAC) found out that some of Zimbabwe's laws
"seriously hampered safe sex initiatives".NAC said studies had shown that
men having sex with men (MSM) and commercial sex workers had become the most
vulnerable groups in HIV transmission in Zimbabwe.
The findings of the study carried out by a consultant hired to review a
number of laws that affect the fight against HIV/Aids, encourage Zimbabweans
to be open-minded about Homosexuality.
It also calls for contraceptives "to be made available in
schools...stipulate placing of condoms in hotels, night clubs and beer
The proposals to allow school children access to contraceptives has been
roundly rejected by Zimbabwe's conservative society.
NAC, which is a government body, says it had not adopted the findings,
including those on homosexuality, but was encouraging debate on the
Dr Tapuwa Magure, the NAC chief executive officer, said it was premature to
say if the proposals would be pursued.
"We hired a consultant who made those recommendations, but we have not yet
sat down to go through them as an organisation, so we currently do not have
a position regarding them," he said.
"We, however, believe that all populations, be it the disabled or prisoners,
should have access to interventions and as a country, we are doing well in
The Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe (GALZ), whose attempt to take
part at the Harare book fair in 1995, sparked President Mugabe's now often
repeated attacks on homosexuals, has welcomed the proposals.
"Service providers such as doctors and nurses also tend to develop negative
attitudes when dealing with LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans-gendered)
people as a result of lack of information," GALZ said.
"In terms of HIV prevention, this is serious, particularly as GALZ is the
only organisation in Zimbabwe providing services specifically to the lesbian
and gay community; and very few other HIV/Aids organisations even consider
MSM/ women having sex with women (WSW) in their intervention work."
Zimbabwe has no data for sexual minorities, but studies done in Botswana and
Malawi, among other regional countries, showed that the HIV prevalence among
gay man was between 20 to 33 per cent.
A fortnight ago, the Zimbabwe Prison Service (ZPS) rejected calls by human
rights groups to distribute condoms to the country's 13,000 inmates, saying
there was need to change a number of laws first.
ZPS Deputy Commissioner Agrey Machingauta told MPs that although the
authorities were aware that homosexuality was rife in prisons, distributing
condoms would violate a number of laws.
He said prisoners found committing homosexual acts were punished.
GALZ says the criminalisation of homosexuality had even endangered people
considered to be heterosexual because some gay men had women partners.
"The right to health should be accorded to everyone regardless of sexual
orientation, gender, sex or creed," GALZ said.
"Decriminalising consensual same sex practice will reduce fear, stigma and
discrimination as it has to be accompanied by education, trainings and
sensitisation of all stakeholders including the police."
It said the availability of information would also go a long way in
preventing new HIV infections among gay men who contribute to the
generalised epidemic in Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has one of the highest HIV prevalence rates in the world among
adults, at 13.1 per cent.
The country used to have one of the biggest Aids epidemics in the world
until the number of people infected with HIV almost halved from 29 per cent
to 16 per cent between 1997 and 2007.
The figure has since gone further down to around 13 per cent. South Africa
was the only African country that had decriminalised homosexuality.
Critics, however, argue that implementing some of the recommendations in
Zimbabwe could be difficult given the fact that most people were Christians.
President Mugabe's homophobia will also pose a serious challenge to the
Last year, the veteran ruler told a gathering to celebrate Women’s Day that
gay rights were not up for discussion.
“The issue is not debatable….it’s just madness, insanity. The ancestors will
turn in their graves should we allow this to happen.”
Speaking after President Mugabe on the same occasion, Mr Tsvangirai said: “I
totally agree with the President. Women make up 25 per cent of the
“There are more women than men, so why men should be proposing to men?”
The PM’s comments sparked outrage from local and international human rights
He is now singing a different tune, telling the BBC: “My attitude is that I
hope the constitution will come out with freedom of sexual orientation.”
“For as long as it does not interfere with anybody, who am I to define what
individual opinion would be as far as their sexual preferences are
GALZ welcomed the Premier’s new position and urged him to “take positive
action to support his most recent statement on the indivisibility of human
by Tobias Manyuchi Thursday 27 October 2011
HARARE – Zimbabwe’s economic empowerment programme should seek to attract
investment and grow more wealth to benefit ordinary citizens rather than
powerful elites, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said on Wednesday.
Tsvangirai, who has opposed an ongoing indigenisation drive by President
Robert Mugabe as a ploy by the veteran leader to reward his political
allies, said wealth creation and not politics should drive economic
Fielding questions from parliamentarians during the inaugural Prime Minister
(PM)’s question time, Tsvangirai said: “we need to promote (and) not damage
investment in the country.”
Under the empowerment plan championed by Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party,
foreign-owned firms, including mines and banks, are required to surrender at
least 51 percent shares to locals by 2015.
The plan has spooked investors and has sharply divided the Harare coalition
government, with Tsvangirai and his MDC party warning that the plan will
plunge the economy back into crisis after it had started recovering from a
decade of collapse.
“The idea is not to share a small cake but to grow the cake that people are
able to share. We need to create wealth through the creation of funds so
that the people are able to benefit,” Tsvangirai said.
The PM’s Question Time abolished when Mugabe became executive President in
1987 affords the premier an opportunity to answer questions from Members of
Parliament (MPs) and to explain government programmes and policies.
Asked by Mutare Central MP Innocent Gonese to clarify the government’s
position on media freedom, Tsvangirai said the administration was working to
create a plural print and broadcasting media as a way to enhance democracy.
“Without (free) media space, you cannot speak about democracy,” he said.
But the PM, who has been regularly derided and ridiculed by the pro-Mugabe
state-owned newspapers and television, lamented the use of hate speech in
“One would be forgiven for thinking that there are two governments in
Zimbabwe,” he said, alluding to the way in which the state media openly
support Mugabe while regularly lampooning him.
Tsvangirai criticised state-owned firms for what he said was a lack of a
“sense of responsibility” that has seen most parastatals performing badly
and costing the fiscus dearly as they have to be regularly bailed out by
Treasury to save them from collapse.
He said, “the greatest weakness in the parastatals is that there is no sense
of responsibility among the board members because they feel it belongs to
the government and they don’t care if they make a loss. These parastatals
are a very serious drain on our resources.”
Turning to political violence that is resurgent in many parts of the
country, Tsvangirai urged the police and the home affairs ministry to do
more to curb politically motivated lawlessness and violence.
“The three principals in the inclusive government have made commitments that
there should be no violence in the country. Those who commit violence should
be arrested,” he said, adding that the leaders of the three main parties
were planning a meeting to seek ways to stop political violence.
On the situation in Libya where longtime dictator Muammar Gaddafi was
toppled by rebels, Tsvangirai said Harare stood by the position of the
Africa Union that the people of Libya should be granted an opportunity to
choose their leaders without undue interference from an quarter. --
26 October 2011
Investment Minister Tapiwa Mashakada said although the funds are limited,
the input scheme will go a long way to help struggling farmers
Gibbs Dube & Violet Gonda | Washington
The Zimbabwean government has earmarked $45 million for financially strapped
small farmers and poor households lacking the means to buy seed and
fertilizer to plant maize crops now that the Grain Marketing Board,
traditionally a main source of inputs for struggling growers, has downsized
its operations in this respect.
Investment Minister Tapiwa Mashakada said $20 million will be channeled to
communal maize growers and $17 million to small-scale commercial farmers,
with another $8 million going to vulnerable households. The funds will be
administered through the Grain Marketing Board, the minister said.
Many farmers are under pressure because they cannot get bank loans to
finance crops. Some are still owed money by the GMB for grain delivered last
year and will be encouraged to accept payment in kind in seed and
Mashakada told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that although the funds are
limited, the input scheme will go a long way to help struggling farmers.
Deputy Agriculture Minister Seiso Moyo said the government expects the Grain
Marketing Board to distribute the agricultural inputs without reference to
Independent agronomist Thomas Nherera, a founder of the Zimbabwe Commercial
Farmers Union of Zimbabwe, said there are high hopes farmers will soon start
planting their crops as they will now be able to more readily access
subsidized agricultural inputs.
With elections possible next year, the Zanu-PF affiliated Chipangano gang
seems to be stepping up its campaign of violence.
27 October 2011 - 1:05pm | By Andrew Mambondiyani
For many years, a group in Mbare, a suburb of Zimbabwean capital Harare, has
terrorized people perceived to not support Zanu-PF. Of late, the group has
almost taken over suburb making it a no-go zone for those thought to be
anti-Zanu-PF. And its members, who have strong links to Zanu-PF, are
seemingly more emboldened than ever, arguably growing beyond the control of
their political patrons and defying even President Robert Mugabe’s call -
however insincere it may be - for an end to political violence.
Chipangano started life in 2000 as a small group, intended to spearhead Zanu
PF’s election time campaigning and weed out all known anti-Zanu-PF elements
from Mbare after the then newly formed opposition party, MDC, won both Mbare
parliamentary seats in the 2000 elections.
Gang members were supposed to be paid, but the funds to do so filter down
through Zanu-PF ranks. Many group members have claimed that, consequently
they never received any payment after joining. As a result, many members of
Chipangano resorted to criminal activities, which they carried out with
As powerful as the war veterans?
Like the 1970s war of liberation veterans, Chipangano became an appendage of
Zanu PF, but later grew into a monster which the party either can not or
does not care about controlling. The war veterans then led by the late
Chenjerai Hunzvi spearheaded the invasions of white-owned farms in 2000.
They also intimidated voters suspected of opposing Zanu-PF. Thousands of
people were maimed or killed as the war veterans unleashed an orgy of
violence. Thousands were also displaced. The war veterans become so powerful
that Mugabe and his Zanu PF could no longer entirely control them. They
created bases reminiscent of those formed during the liberation struggle.
And today, Chipangano has activated similar bases which, it is claimed, have
become outposts for torture, rape and other forms of abuse.
After securing a bloody win for Zanu-PF in 2000, the war veterans became
indispensable, demanding one thing after another from the government, even
going so far as to demand a quota of the parliamentary seats in 2005. The
war veterans become a powerful entity, but were slowly consuming Zanu-PF.
Mugabe himself did not have free reign to confront them; much like his
failure to stop or challenge the criminal activities of the Chipangano gang
Beaten for not gaining approval
A businessman from Mutare, Paul Mutisi, recently encountered Chipangano when
he went to Harare to sell timber. He told Think Africa Press that he was
assaulted for attempting to operate without the gang’s approval. His efforts
to seek police intervention proved fruitless, resulting in him losing timber
worth thousands of dollars.
“I was really shocked that such a thing could happen in a country with law
enforcement agents. I lost my timber to the gang, and the police were not
willing help,” Mutisi said.
“The gang has taken over Harare. I have heard of the group but I never
thought it so powerful.”
This is a classic case of the group’s organized crime activities. It extorts
money from market vendors, business people and transport operators, and has
threatened to take over market stalls belonging to suspected MDC members.
The Zanu PF leadership appears to be at a loss as to how to deal with the
group. Some senior party leaders like Zanu PF secretary for administration,
Didymus Mutasa, have claimed ownership of the group, publicly pledging the
party would stand by them to the extent of providing legal counsel if its
members were arrested. Others, like party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo, have
disowned the group, clearly exposing the divisions that lie at the heart of
It seems that Zanu-PF is secretly banking on the gang to force the
electorate to vote for the party in the coming general elections,
tentatively scheduled for next year. With Zanu PF’s support base dwindling
in urban areas in general and Harare in particular, the only hope for the
party is to unleash a wave of violence as it did in the 2008 presidential
Of late, cases of politically motivated violence have been rising in Harare.
Recently, the group attacked perceived MDC supporters outside the Zimbabwe
parliament building as Robert Mugabe officially opened the fourth session of
the seventh parliament of Zimbabwe. No arrests were made. The following day
Chipangano besieged Machipisa Township in Harare, seeking to seize market
stalls from suspected MDC sympathisers. Resistance led to clashes which
transformed the township into a battlefield. In Mbare, MDC Youth Assembly
member and Mbare resident Edwin Machokoto was waylaid by Chipangano youths
who attacked him for putting up party posters.
As testimony from a member has revealed, the inspiration for such attacks
comes directly from Zanu-PF patrons. Contrary to the party's claims, a
member has revealed that drug-fuelled training takes place at a Zanu-PF base
where attacks on MDC, coordinated by the Harare Zanu-PF chairman Amos Midzi,
are labelled "community service".
Wreaking havoc in Harare
Chipangano has wreaked havoc in Harare, where it has literally crippled the
operations of elected public officials including the mayor, Muchadeyi
Masunda, and his council, who have all but given up on controlling the group’s
disruptive and violent activities. Harare deputy mayor Emmanuel Chiroto
threatened to resign out of frustration, while co-Minister of Home Affairs,
Theresa Makone (MDC-T), told local press that she had failed to rein in the
MDC-T organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, challenged Mugabe to the stop
the shadowy group from terrorising Harare residents to prove he was sincere
in his calls for peace. Chamisa said Mugabe must put his sincerity to the
test by reigning in the Chipangano gang.
“This violence must stop,” Chamisa said. “Mugabe said there should be peace.
The call for peace should migrate from your lips and stop contradictions.
Violence must stop and this demon of beating up people should not continue.
But for it to stop, we need to pray. Zanu PF believes in Chipangano, but we
are on total promise and believe in chirangano (promise).”
Bulawayo East MP Tabitha Khumalo (MDC-T) described how ZANU PF politicians
were using violence as a tool to acquire or retain political support.
Speaking at an event in the UK, the MP was in no doubt about where the
ultimate blame for Chipangano’s operations must lie, suggesting that
although not all in Zanu-PF condone Chipangano, Zanu-PF consent enables its
impunity to sustain.
“There are four branches within Chipangano,” Khumalo explained. “There is
Chipangano one, two, three and four. Chipangano one identifies MDC
activists. Chipangano two carries out surveillance and monitors individuals
and structures of the MDC-T. Chipangano three approaches our members and
verbally warns them of dire consequences of supporting the MDC. Chipangano
four is the deadliest of all the groups. This group beats the hell out of
“They beat me up in parliament and I cracked my denture,” he went on. “This
is a group that attacks parliamentarians, journalists and ordinary people
whilst their party leader preaches peace and unity.
“It is so shocking that a group of people can enter parliament where we felt
secure and safe and beat up members.
"Only a group linked to Zanu-PF can do this.”
By Staff Writers
Thursday, 27 October 2011 08:56
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s book, At the Deep End, has
caused a storm in the country after he sensationally revealed that President
Robert Mugabe was ready to hand over power to him after the 2008 elections.
Tsvangirai claims in his book that the then State Security minister,
Nicholas Goche approached his party with proposals from Mugabe on transfer
of power where the 87-year-old was reportedly pleading for concessions.
Tsvangirai had trounced Mugabe but according the Zimbabwe Elections
Commission (Zec), the MDC leader did not have the 50 percent plus one vote
needed to clinch power.
Yesterday, the Daily News sought views from ministers Jameson Timba, Goche
and Patrick Chinamasa who reportedly played roles in the discussions around
the Mugabe issue.
They offered contrasting views. The Question is who approached who? Readers
can send their comments on this issue to: firstname.lastname@example.orgThis e-mail
view it .
Some of the comments will be published.
Who approached who?
Goche approached me: Timba
(please note this is an email response)
In fact what happened is that a very prominent industry captain (whose name
I am not at liberty to divulge — unless he does so himself) — called me and
requested for a meeting. I met him at Meikles hotel.
During the meeting, he indicated that ZPF (Zanu PF) and President Mugabe had
conceded defeat and they wanted to talk.
I advised him that I did not have a mandate to speak to them and would take
up the matter with our party President.
I then proceeded to meet with President Tsvangirai who then instructed me
and Elton Mangoma to engage them.
A meeting between myself Mangoma and Goche in the office of the industry
captain was then convened.
In the meeting, in addition to what has been published in the book, Goche
indicated that Chinamasa was supposed to join us but he refused saying he is
angry because he believed President Mugabe had cost them the election.
On the second day of our meeting, Goche said that some Service Chiefs had
requested that the President be allowed to step down but only after six
Goche, since there was no functional government at the time, indicated to us
that he was the acting minister for all security ministries.
I then queried the constitutional basis of the six months proposal and also
the basis upon which we would even involve the security establishment in
matters which were purely political.
The meeting ended with Goche saying he was now going to brief President
Mugabe and we would meet the following day at 2.30pm. At the agreed time
myself and Mangoma appeared at the office of the industry captain.
We waited for about 30 minutes then we called Goche.
Goche then said he was in Shamva and would not make it for the meeting. At
that stage, myself and Elton (Mangoma) concluded that the talks had now
collapsed and another agenda was now on the offing.
Elton then proceeded to go and brief President Tsvangirai.
The collapse of the talks was confirmed by The Herald of the following day
where Chinamasa came out saying he had been appointed the chairperson of a
Zanu PF information subcommittee and that they wanted a presidential run-off
and a recount of votes in some parliamentary constituencies.
He also rubbished our meeting with Goche by attacking the industry captain
without naming him. The rest is history.
The MDC came to me — Goche
State security minister Nicholas Goche has brushed off claims by MDC
secretary for International Relations Jameson Timba that the two held
meetings where he reportedly confided that President Robert Mugabe had
conceded electoral defeat and was ready to step down from power.
According to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s memoirs, At the Deep End,
the former trade unionist wrote that Goche was sent to the MDC by Mugabe to
discuss possibilities of a power handover programme following Mugabe’s
defeat during the first round of the 2008 presidential election.
In the book, Tsvangirai said Goche called one of his party’s senior members
and the two held meetings where the hand over-take -over plan was discussed.
Timba yesterday insisted to the Daily News that Goche made overtures after
realising Mugabe had lost an election for the first time since independence
In an interview with the Daily News yesterday, Goche dismissed Timba’s
assertions that he met him at a Harare hotel where the issue was discussed.
Goche, instead, said he was called by Delta Beverages executive Joe Mutizwa.
“Tsvangirai’s book has a lot of lies in it,” Goche said.
“What I have said in the past is that I never contacted anybody at the MDC
for any discussions of that sort. In fact, have you asked Joe Mutizwa?” he
“I did not know who Jameson Timba was until that time. So what nonsense is
he talking,” Goche fumed.
He said that he never held “several” meetings with Timba and Energy minister
Elton Mangoma, but only held one meeting where “a discussion” was held.
“I attended one meeting, and that claim that I attended several meetings is
a figment of their own imagination. Why does Mangoma and Timba claim that I
attended several meetings with them.
“I have witnesses that were at the meeting who can testify,” said Goche
before hanging up.
Contacted for comment, Mutizwa said he had nothing to say regarding the
During the watershed elections, Tsvangirai polled 47,8 percent while Mugabe
polled 43,3 percent of the votes.
Simba Makoni of the Mavambo/ Kusile/ Dawn (MKD) polled a paltry eight
percent of the total vote — a margin desperately needed by the two leading
candidates to win outright majority to rule.
A bloody presidential run-off was held in June 2008, forcing Tsvangirai to
pull out of the polls due to violence, leaving Mugabe to declare himself the
ultimate winner of the election after a one man election.
Tsvangirai and the international community described the poll as a sham.
This is nonsense: Chinamasa
Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a leading
negotiator for Zanu PF, called the Daily News fuming that his party never
conceded defeat when Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai polled more votes than
President Robert Mugabe during the 2008 elections.
“It is not true. We never conceded defeat. How can we concede defeat when
the constitutional law says that a person has to have 50 percent plus one
for a presidential candidate to emerge successful,” Chinamasa said.
The minister was responding to an earlier Daily News report that quoted
Tsvangirai’s recently released memoirs suggesting Zanu PF bigwigs courted
the MDC for a deal well before presidential election results were announced.
“If anyone is saying we conceded defeat, he is a bloody liar. I was never
called to any meeting to do with the MDC. After the March 2008 elections,
we went into gear for the run-off after we realised there was no clear
winner,” Chinamasa said.
Chinamasa went on to say he had no idea whether Goche had held any meetings
with the MDC and that he had not been invited to the meetings.
“To be honest I do not know whether he held those meetings because the law
was very clear. A candidate can only be termed successful if they got 50
percent plus one of the votes.
“I am now told the Prime Minister did not know the law. Being a leading
candidate in a race that had not been finished did not make him a winner. He
must have stayed the course,” Chinamasa said.