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Government of Zimbabwe withdraws invitation to UN Rapporteur on Torture at the last minute

As previously announced, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, was invited by the Government of Zimbabwe to conduct an official fact-finding mission, from 28 October to 4 November 2009.

Upon his arrival in Johannesburg, on transit to Harare, the Special Rapporteur was informed, that the mission had been postponed by the Government on 26 October 2009, stating that it “regrets to advise that due to the previously unanticipated Consultative process currently taking place in Harare involving the Government of National Unity and the Southern African Development Community (SADC), the Government of Zimbabwe will be unable to receive the Special Rapporteur on the proposed dates.”

The Special Rapporteur welcomes the SADC initiative and all efforts to resolve the political crisis in the country. He also understands that the SADC Consultative process might lead to certain changes in his meetings with Government officials foreseen during his mission and offered his cooperation and flexibility to the Government in this respect. He fails to be convinced, however, that the Consultative process on Thursday, 29 October should be a valid reason to cancel his eight-day mission at such a late stage.

Recent allegations that MDC supporters and human rights defenders have been arrested, harassed and intimidated during the past few days, highlight the urgency of objective fact-finding by an independent UN expert at this crucial stage. The Special Rapporteur therefore calls upon the Government of Zimbabwe to receive him in Harare and allow the mission to go ahead as planned.

Manfred Nowak, appointed Special Rapporteur on 1 December 2004 by the UN Commission on Human Rights, is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity. He has previously served as member of the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, the UN expert on missing persons in the former Yugoslavia, the UN expert on legal questions on enforced disappearances, and as a judge at the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nowak is Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the University of Vienna, and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.

Via the website of the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights

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UN torture expert to meet Zimbabwe PM despite invite U-turn

2 hrs 2 mins ago
JOHANNESBURG (AFP) - A UN independent torture expert said Wednesday he will
travel to Zimbabwe to meet Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai despite the
government's last-minute withdrawal of an unprecedented invitation.

"I am going to Zimbabwe tonight. I will meet the prime minister tomorrow at
10," Manfred Nowak, UN special rapporteur on torture and cruel, inhuman and
degrading treatment told a press conference in Johannesburg.

"I expect to meet him tomorrow and then I hope that we can define in what
terms the mission will go and for how long."

The Zimbabwe government on Monday withdraw its October 1 invitation for the
eight-day mission set to start Wednesday, amid a renewed political crisis
between power-sharing rivals Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe.

However, informed of the U-turn on arriving in neighbouring South Africa
Tuesday, Nowak said he was invited the same day to meet Tsvangirai in an
originally planned session on Thursday.

"Receiving two completely different messages, one via the Zimbabwe mission
in Geneva and one directly from Harare from the head of the government," he

"I got the clear message from the prime minister that it is his
understanding that the mission is going on. That leads me to the conclusion
that there must be some kind of misunderstanding between the different
cabinet members."

Harare suddenly announced that it could not maintain the proposed dates
citing a "previously unanticipated consultative process" with the Southern
African Development Community (SADC).

The shift came as Tsvangirai and ministers drawn from his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party boycotted a cabinet meeting led by Mugabe for
the second time.

Tsvangirai has suspended ties with the 85-year-old until all unresolved
issues in the government's unity pact are ironed out which include disputes
over key posts and a crackdown against his supporters.

Earlier this month, Nowak had announced the invitation to check on
conditions in Zimbabwe earlier this month, welcoming it as a sign that the
government was willing to open dialogue on human rights and allow
"unfettered access" to detention centres.

The UN human rights office on Wednesday underlined the urgency of the
fact-finding mission, highlighting allegations that MDC supporters had been
arrested and intimidated in recent days.

Nowak said the last minute postponement was not "the way one should deal
with the United Nations" and that he hoped to meet other members of the
unity government once in Harare.

The SADC meeting was not a valid reason to postpone the eight day trip, he

"I still count on the understanding and hope for the understanding of the
government ... I mean the entire government of Zimbabwe to receive me in a
cooperative spirit," he said.

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Mugabe trying to tear apart unity pact: MDC

HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change Wednesday accused
President Robert Mugabe of trying to tear apart a unity pact by threatening
to replace cabinet ministers chosen by the former opposition.

"It is tantamount to tearing apart the unity government," MDC spokesman
Nelson Chamisa told AFP.

The state-run Herald reported Wednesday that Mugabe was pondering replacing
MDC ministers who have not attended cabinet meetings since Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai cut ties with Mugabe's ZANU-PF after a deadlock over key

"His Excellency may have to consider appointing ministers in an acting
capacity to key ministries for the sake of a successful agricultural season
and general economic turnaround," Agriculture Minister Joseph Made told the

"Important Cabinet decisions have to be translated into action
expeditiously," he said.

Chamisa slammed Mugabe for acting outside the spirit of the global political
agreement (GPA), which has been hampered by a deadlock over key appointments
on which Mugabe insists and by a crackdown on MDC supporters.

"That is a laughable proposition. This is precisely the reason why we are
deadlocked. They are in a mode of unilateralism and arrogance which has not
helped the spirit of the GPA," Chamisa said.

"You cannot appoint an acting minister when there is a substantive minister.
It will create a parallel government," he added.

The unity government, created in February a year after disputed polls, is in
deep trouble and hopes are pinned on a meeting by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) security organ Thursday to resolve the latest

"This deadlock will have to be broken. SADC and the AU (African Union) as
guarantors will have to break this deadlock. It is in the interest of all of
us," said Chamisa.

The MDC has accused Mugabe's ZANU-PF of spurious arrests, and said Tuesday
that the party's transport manager Pascal Gwezere had been abducted and
arrested hours after a similar attempt on another party member.

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Mugabe cannot appoint acting ministers: MDC

by Own Correspondent Wednesday 28 October 2009

      HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's intention to appoint acting
ministers to replace members of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party
who have stopped attending Cabinet meetings is unconstitutional, the former
opposition party said on Wednesday as the fallout in Zimbabwe's troubled
coalition continues to deepen.

      "The announced intention by ZANU PF to appoint acting ministers
through the office of the President is not only unfortunate but it is as
illegal as it is ill-thought," the MDC said in a statement.

      Tsvangirai and his MDC two weeks ago stopped attending Cabinet
meetings and said they were cutting cooperation with Mugabe and his ZANU PF
party to protest the veteran leader's refusal to fully implement last year's
global political agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the coalition

      The MDC action was also in protest against the arrest of one of its
senior officials, Roy Bennett, on controversial terrorism charges that the
Prime Minister says are politically motivated and a further breach of the

      Tsvangirai and his MDC ministers again boycotted the yesterday's
Cabinet meeting, throwing the eight-month-old coalition into a quandary and
leading to the announcement by Mugabe's ZANU PF of the intention to appoint
acting ministers.

      "It is self-evident that Zimbabwe at the present is on a precipice
following the decision announced by the MDC president on the 16th October
2009 to disengage the MDC from the two executive organs of government where
it interacts with ZANU PF; namely Cabinet and the Council of Ministers," the
statement said.

      "Such a decision, which was made on the backdrop of a serious history
of callous disregard to the GPA and lack of respect of the MDC as an equal
partner is a decision with grave constitutional implications."

      The MDC said its action meant that executive power was crippled and
Mugabe, whose spokesman George Charamba boasted early this week that
government would continue working without the MDC, cannot make substantive
decisions without consultation with his coalition partners - Tsvangirai and
another MDC faction leader, Arthur Mutambara.

      "Executive power resides in office of the President, the Prime
Minister and Cabinet. The proper quorum and representation of Cabinet does
not lie in individual ministries but in their respective political organs,"

      "Put simply, Cabinet executive power is being shared by the three
political parties represented in the same. That means that if one of the
political parties withdraws from that Cabinet, then the same cannot function
and the same cannot make any meaningful decision.

      State media reported on Wednesday that Mugabe could soon appoint
acting ministers from his ZANU PF party to carry out duties of MDC Cabinet
members - a move that effectively shows that the MDC disengagement has
paralysed government operations.

      "With the agricultural season upon us, the issue of portfolio
leadership at ministerial level has to be addressed by His Excellency the
President as the Head of State and Government one way or the other," the
state-controlled Herald newspaper quoted Media and Information Minister
Webster Shamu as saying.

      "His Excellency may have to consider appointing ministers in an acting
capacity to key ministries for the sake of a successful agricultural season
and general economic turnaround.

      "Important Cabinet decisions have to be translated into action
expeditiously," Shamu told the Herald.

      But the MDC said according to the GPA, Mugabe can only appoint or fire
ministers after consulting his coalition partners.

      "Furthermore, it was clearly defined that ministers and deputy
ministers may be relieved of their duties only after consultation of the
principals of the parties participating in the inclusive government," said
the MDC, adding; "What ZANU PF intends to do is not to appoint acting
ministers, but to usurp the Constitution of Zimbabwe by appointing their own

      Tsvangirai and Mugabe met on Monday, when the former opposition leader
returned from a tour of regional capitals to drum up support to try to exert
pressure on the 85-year-old Mugabe, but failed to reach agreement on the
power-sharing dispute threatening the shaky coalition government.

      A team of ministers from the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) politics and security organ - also known as the Troika - is expected
in Zimbabwe today to review progress of the country's power-sharing

      Analysts say neither Mugabe nor Tsvangirai wants to see the coalition
government collapse because both stand to benefit from its continued
existence. However, they warn that the incessant squabbles between the two
could in the long-run cripple the administration and render it
ineffective. - ZimOnline

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SADC jets in as attacks on MDC & NGO's escalate

By Tichaona Sibanda
28 October 2009

With a SADC team heading to Zimbabwe Wednesday a leading human rights lawyer
said there is a disturbing escalation of conflict and violence in the

Recent attacks on MDC activists, both in urban and rural areas, have
escalated the tense relations between Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe.
The human rights defender, who asked not to be named, warned that the
country was on the brink of a major catastrophe, which if not addressed
'immediately and decisively' would plunge Zimbabwe into a crisis worse that
last year's.

The latest crisis is being covered widely by the region's media, with
newspapers in South Africa and Botswana calling on the SADC bloc to step in
and take action without delay. But the African Union Commission chairman
said on Tuesday that the AU and SADC will not unnecessarily 'interfere' in
Zimbabwe's internal affairs.

Dr Jean Ping said AU members should be given an opportunity to address
domestic problems, before the matter could be tackled at regional and
continental level.

But an editorial from a leading South African newspaper, Business Day, said
it should be noted that the Zuma administration bears a particular
responsibility for what has gone wrong with the power-sharing agreement, and
is therefore under a special obligation to take action to resolve the

The human rights lawyer told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that ZANU PF was
mobilizing thousands of its militias in the countryside and that already
these have been unleashed to attack the rural population.

'This trend indicates that the bloodshed could exceed the levels we've
previously seen in Zimbabwe, if ZANU PF is not checked. SADC should act fast
to ensure the country does not slide back into anarchy,' the lawyer said.

But he said that SADC is taking a back seat while Zimbabwe is fast hurtling
towards the precipice. The SADC team arriving Wednesday is from the less
influential SADC Troika and is a very low level team. It comprises three
foreign ministers from the organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

'Their mandate is to assess the situation and report back to the Troika, who
will make a decision on what to do next after studying the recommendations.'

'Those who seek peace and justice must not remain silent in the face of this
aggression by Robert Mugabe. We believe that the recent attacks by ZANU PF
will not serve the interest of peace and greater humanity in the SADC
region,' he added.

On Wednesday the state media reported that Mugabe may appoint acting
ministers in place of officials from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC,
further straining the tense standoff.

The government mouthpiece The Herald newspaper, quoted Information Minister
Webster Shamu, saying the MDC boycott was 'affecting the inclusive
government's work in preparing for a new farming season'. He said the
agriculture-related ministries headed by MDC-T appointees are Finance,
Economic Planning, Energy and Water Resources, among others.

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MDC Transport Manager abducted, party fears for his life

MDC-T Press Release - Six armed men in a grey Isuzu last night kidnapped MDC
transport manager Pascal Gwezere from his home in Mufakose, Harare

Gwezere had just arrived home from work when the six men descended on his
home and said he was under arrest and took him away.

A witness said six men using a grey Isuzu without number plates came and
took him away, saying he was under arrest.

Today, the men reportedly came back using a cream Mitsubishi Registration
Number AAB 0646 and took away his wife's cellphone. They reportedly told her
that Gwezere had been detained at Marimba police station.

MDC lawyers are desperately trying to establish whether it is true that he
is at Marimba Police Station.

Over 200 MDC supporters were abducted and killed last year after Zanu PF
unleashed an orgy of violence in the run-up to the sham June 27 Presidential
run-off election.

Gwezere's abduction came hours after the attempted kidnapping of Security
Administrator Edith Mashaire in central Harare. Four armed men in an Isuzu
truck Registration Number ABA 8742 tried to kidnap her on her way to work
yesterday morning but were foiled by the crowd.

The MDC fears for Gwezere's life, which exposes the soured political
environment in the country which flies in the face of the letter and spirit
of the GPA.

The kidnappings come barely four days after armed police raided an MDC house
in Chisipite. There appears to be a desperate and laughable attempt by Zanu
PF to link the MDC to the disappearance of an arms cache at Pomona Barracks
in Borrowdale. Two MDC MPs, Hon Reggie Moyo (Luveve) and Hon Albert Mhlanga
(Pumula) were arrested at a roadblock in Bulawayo and detained overnight at
Bulawayo Central Police Station on a spurious allegation that Hon Moyo's car
had been used to ferry the stolen ammunition from Polomona Barracks in

The two were released without charge the following morning.

This entry was posted by Sokwanele on Wednesday, October 28th, 2009 at 7:52

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Tsvangirai top aide's house attacked


            by Own Correspondent Wednesday 28 October 2009

HARARE - A group of unknown people early Wednesday tried to break into the
house of a top aide of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, the latest of
several attacks against the Premier's followers since he partially withdrew
his MDC party from Zimbabwe's coalition government two weeks ago.

Gorden Moyo, who is Minister of State in Tsvangirai's office, said a group
of people who did not identify themselves came to his Harare residency and
tried to force their way in, banging on doors and broke some windows before
they ran away after he threatened to shoot at them.

"They banged on my door several times and broke my window. When I threatened
to shoot that's when they ran away," said Moyo, who is not provided with
state security guards at his Harare residence.

Asked if he thought the incident was linked to the country's escalating
political crisis Moyo said, "I think so."

Police were not immediately available for comment on the matter.

Political tensions that had relatively eased following formation of a
power-sharing government between Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe last
February are on the rise after the MDC two weeks ago began boycotting
Cabinet over Mugabe's refusal to fully implement the coalition accord.

A police raid last weekend on an MDC-owned house in Harare to search for
guns allegedly stolen from an army barrack outside the capital, the
abduction earlier on Tuesday of one of the party's workers and the attempted
kidnapping of another have heightened tensions in the country.

Tsvangirai's decision to partially withdraw his MDC party from the coalition
government plunged the administration into the worst crisis of its
eight-month reign.

The former opposition leader wants Mugabe to agree to speed up democratic
reforms and that the veteran leader fires his supporters he unilaterally
appointed to head the central bank and the attorney general's office in
violation of the power-sharing accord.

Mugabe refused to concede to the demands in a Monday meeting with Tsvangirai
and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, the third signatory to the
power-sharing agreement.

A Southern African Development Community delegation is due to meet
Zimbabwean parties on Thursday to try to resolve the dispute between
Tsvangirai and Mugabe. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe's Lawyers Withdraw From Justice Conference

      By Peta Thornycroft
      Southern Africa
      28 October 2009

Zimbabwe's main professional associations, including the law society and
"Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights", will not attend a conference organized
by the ZANU-PF-controlled justice ministry. The withdrawal of the
professional groups represents a serious blow to the fragile unity

A government-sponsored conference, scheduled to get underway Thursday in
Victoria Falls, was to be the first of its kind since the unity government
came to power in February. Delegates were to discuss access to justice for
all Zimbabweans and the systems through which justice is delivered in

But Zimbabwe lawyers' associations say selective prosecutions, arbitrary
arrests, detention of human rights defenders and abuse of the constitution
continue unabated in Zimbabwe. They say they will not attend the conference.

The lawyers groups charge the continued abuse of the rule of law indicates
state institutions and personnel in the department of justice remain
unwilling to seriously address flaws that threaten the breakdown of the
justice system. They say this further erodes public confidence in the
country justice system.

The systems of justice are controlled by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF.
Patrick Chinamasa, a senior member of ZANU-PF, is minister of justice and
another party loyalist, Johannes Tomana was appointed attorney-general after
the Movement for Democratic Change and ZANU-PF signed a political agreement
a year ago.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai stopped attending
Cabinet meetings with ZANU-PF citing violations of the political agreement,
including selective prosecutions.

Human-rights groups say that since the political agreement was signed scores
of human-rights activists, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), supporters,
journalists, and lawyers have been kidnapped, allegedly tortured, and

Since the unity government was formed in February seven MDC legislators have
been arrested, charged and three found guilty in remote rural courts in
cases which the MDC says were designed to strip it of its narrow
parliamentary majority.

A senior human-rights lawyer Alex Muchadahama is facing trial after he was
arrested while attending to a client's bail, at the Harare High Court, on
allegations of obstructing or defeating the course of justice.

The Commercial Farmers' Union says more than 150 remaining white farmers,
about half those still on their land, are on trial for trespass. One, Marnie
Grove, said he was told by ZANU-PF defense minister Emmerson Mnangagwa he
had to get off his land immediately because he had sought and received
protection from the Southern Africa Development Community's legal tribunal,
a court of last resort for the regions' citizens.

On Sunday the two most senior officials of the umbrella body representing
all Zimbabwe's non government organizations were arrested in Victoria Falls
and are now out on bail.

The MDC says on Tuesday evening an official from its Harare head office was
arrested at his home by unidentified men in an unmarked vehicle. The party
says another escaped after her kidnappers were overcome by people in the
streets in central Harare.

Also in Zimbabwe, there was the last minute withdrawal of a visa for the
United Nations Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or
degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, who was due for his first
"consultative" mission to Zimbabwe.

ZANU-PF officials in foreign affairs informed him that his visit was not
possible as the government will be in talks Thursday with the SADC troika on
security, defense and politics.

The United Nations said Nowak is not convinced this meeting is a valid
reason for canceling his eight-day mission "at such a late stage."

Attempts by VOA to reach Mr. Chinamasa and Mr. Mugabe's spokesman George
Charamba were unsuccessful.

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Bennett's Former Farm Used For Illegal Activities

      Chimanimani, October 28 2009 - A former leading coffee farm in
Zimbabwe, owned by Roy Bennett in Chimanimani, is now ground for illegal
activities including, sell of opaque beer and gold panning.

      Radio VOP has established that one of the cottages at the former
farmhouse of Deputy Agriculture Minister designate and Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) treasurer general, Bennett, currently facing
terrorism charges, is now being used to sell traditional brewed beer by
Solomon  Mashingaidze, a war veteran, who invaded the property during the
height of the land invasions in 2002.
      Mashingaidze, sells traditional beer (seven days ) to fellow invaders
who have abandoned farming and have resorted to gold panning in the farm.
      The place popularly known as "kwaPachedu" has become popular with
workers from surrounding farms and timber Estates and gold panners who
frequent it especially during month ends and weekends.
      Ironically Pachedu is Bennett's nickname which he got from the local
community for his friendly and harmonious working relationships with them.
      "We are trying to keep our workers here motivated by selling them
traditional beer at very cheap prices. Before we started brewing the beer
workers were shunning us and preferring to work at nearby timber estates. I
was given the permission to sell beer in this building by our local party
leadership," said Mashingaidze in an interview with Radio VOP.
      Mashingaidze is also accused of exploiting farm workers by giving them
traditional beer in exchange of labour at his plot.
      Both the cottage and the farm house, which according to government
policy is supposed to be communally used either as a school or clinic, is
now in a dilapidated state. The farm house has been vandalised and stripped
off things like water taps, bathing tubs and window panes.
      All the coffee bushes at the farm have been destroyed and replaced by
pockets of maize and rapoko fields.
      Bennett, who is due in Court on November 09, is still fighting to get
back his farm.

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Award given to Zimbabwean lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa (October 29, 2009)

During her visit to France, Beatrice Mtetwa, a lawyer and president of the
Law Society of Zimbabwe, will be presented with the Ludovic-Trarieux
International Human Rights Prize by the President of the Senate, Gérard

Beatrice Mtetwa is the second African recipient, after Nelson Mandela in
1985, of this prestigious prize, which is awarded by lawyers to lawyers who
have distinguished themselves in their fight to defend human rights and
against intolerance.

Within the framework of her work, Beatrice Mtetwa has also defended the
rights of lawyers, journalists and representatives of civil society that
have been indicted as a result of their efforts to protect fundamental
freedoms. Her unwavering commitment means that Beatrice Mtetwa is central to
Zimbabwean political life.

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SA firm involved in illegal diamond mining in Chiadzwa

By Alex Bell
28 October 2009

A leading South African investigative television series has revealed that a
business firm in that country is involved in illegal diamond mining at
Zimbabwe's Chiadzwa diamond fields.

Tuesday night's instalment of Special Assignment exposed the horrors of the
ongoing human rights abuses at Chiadzwa, as well as the criminalisation of
the Zimbabwean diamond trade. The program further revealed that a South
Africa scrap metal company has spearheaded a shady business deal in
Zimbabwe, to illegally mine in the Chiadzwa diamond fields. The firm,
Reclamation, has dismissed the allegations as inaccurate, but Special
Assignment Producer Sasha Wales-Smith told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that
there is concrete evidence to prove the allegations are true.

"Reclamation has spearheaded a shady joint venture between a Zimbabwean
minerals group and a Mauritian off-shore company, which is trading under the
name Mbada Diamonds," Wales-Smith explained. "Any diamonds they trade will
have been obtained illegally."

The footage broadcast on Tuesday night was gathered by Zimbabwean NGOs, many
too afraid to put their names to a report that would likely have a violent
backlash. Wales-Smith explained the footage was 'horrifying', with the
military grip on the diamond fields tighter than ever before. She said it is
clear that human rights abuses are continuing at the hands of the military,
and expressed shock at the lack of accountability by the government.

"The mines minister (Obert Mpofu) has publicly dismissed reports of
atrocities at the diamond fields and reports of smuggling," Wales-Smith
said. "That couldn't be further from the truth."
The continued militarisation of the diamond fields has been in direct
contravention of recommendations made earlier this year by a delegation from
the Kimberley Process (KP), the international body tasked with stopping the
trade in blood diamonds. The group was shamed into sending the review
mission after receiving widespread accounts by Human Rights Groups of
violence, torture, child labour and murder at the diamond fields last year.
Survivors of the military violence have reported mass deaths at the hands of
soldiers in 2008, after the military was ordered to 'clean up' the area.

The KP delegation found evidence of serious non-compliance with minimum
diamond trade standards, as well as dramatic human rights abuse. The team's
interim report, which was leaked to the media and was never officially
published, recommended Zimbabwe's suspension from the regulatory body. But
the suspension recommendation was quickly denounced by the Kimberley Process
Chair who told reporters in Harare, before the team's report had even been
completed, that suspension would never happen. Under pressure, he has since
denied that he ever made the statement.
The Kimberley Process is now expected to decide on Zimbabwe's fate at a
plenary meeting in Namibia next week. But while a course of action is still
being debated, the abuses in Chiadzwa are continuing. Special Assignment's
Wales-Smith explained that there has been 'no effort' to demilitarise the
area, and she described how every few kilometers on the Chiadzwa road,
people are stopped by security check points, manned by police and soldiers.
She said the soldiers are all profiting from the illegal mining of the gems,
explaining they are involved in syndicates, which illegal panners often risk
their lives to be a part of. Only last month, diamond panner Moreblessing
Tirivangani, was beaten to death during a rotation of army units who patrol
the area. His death is believed to be syndicate-related.

"Our aim with this programme is to make people aware of the horrors that are
still being committed," Wales-Smith said. "We also want to alert the
Kimberley Process that it is time for them to deal strongly with this

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High Court upholds prosecutor's jail sentence


                  by Tendai Maronga Wednesday 28 October 2009

      HARARE - The High Court on Tuesday upheld the conviction and
sentencing of prosecutor Andrew Kumire by a Harare magistrate for contempt
of court during the trial of prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama,
but it was not immediately clear whether the state had complied with the
order to send Kumire to prison.

      Harare magistrate Chiwoniso Mutongi last Thursday slapped prosecutor
Kumire with a five-day jail term after she found him guilty of contempt of
court when he clicked his tongue in disapproval of an order the magistrate
had made.

      After the sentencing by Mutongi last week, Kumire appeared unnerved by
the ruling and simply walked out of the courtroom only to appeal against the
ruling some hours later at the High Court.

      But High Court judge Tedias Karwi's confirmation of the sentence is
likely to send a powerful message to the state counsel who was out on a
US$30 bail.

      Justice Karwi, after reviewing the matter said the magistrate had
handled it well and the proceedings at the magistrate's court were in
accordance with substantial justice.

      "Confirmed. Proceedings are in accordance with real and substantial
justice," ruled Justice Karwi in his review remarks.

      This effectively means that Kumire now has to serve the five days in
prison as stated in the earlier ruling at the lower court.

      Justifying her decision, Mutongi said after Kumire raised a certain
point of argument, the defence council objected to his line of questioning
and the court held the objection sustainable.

      "The same state counsel produced a sound that is always regarded as
contemptuous and clearly undermined the court's authority. The court decided
that the behaviour was intolerable; he should have led by example," said

      She said the court felt that such conduct should not be tolerated and
he should be committed to prison for five days.

      During the trial Kumire continuously defied the magistrate arguing
that he had not asked any leading question. The magistrate further cautioned
him against undermining the authority of the court. But he proceeded
undeterred and grumbled his disapproval against the magistrate's cautionary

      Kumire was representing the state in the trial of Muchadehama, who is
jointly charged with High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu's clerk,
Constance Gambara, for conniving to unlawfully release on bail three
political detainees from police custody.

      The state alleges that last April Muchadehama and Gambara unlawfully
facilitated the improper release of freelance photo-journalist Andrison
Manyere from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison, as well as MDC officials
Kisimusi Dhlamini and Gandhi Mudzingwa who were under hospital detention at
the Avenues Clinic after their abduction by state security agents for
allegedly masterminding terror activities in the country - a charge they

      Muchadehama's trial was postponed to November 17 after the state
requested a postponement following Kumire's conviction. - ZimOnline

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Coal reserves dwindle

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

By Martin Kadzere

HWANGE Colliery Company Limited's coal reserves suitable for electricity
generation from the dragline pits will be exhausted in the next three years.

While estimates indicate the colliery's reserves for power coal lasts for 15
years, HCCL managing director Mr Fred Moyo said there were huge deposits on
the Colliery Old Number 3.
The reserves are however under water.
Although the mine was looking at ways of dewatering the mine, the HCCL boss
pointed out that the process was capital intensive and "the success is not
Hwange Colliery deposits are into two categories, the shallow reserves
extracted by the dragline and dip reserves which are mined using underground
methods which are costly.
The recently commissioned dragline at Hwange has a lifespan of about 50
years and the reserve scenario does not support such an asset's life.
"Coal suitable for power generation is found in shallow reserves and our own
resources from the dragline pits do not go beyond three years," said Mr
"While we have some reserves at Old Number 3 Colliery, the deposits are
under water and we still need to look for ways to dewater the mine without
polluting the surrounding rivers.
This now raises fears of a major power crisis if HCCL eventually runs out of
power coal reserves from the dragline pits and if not issued with new power
coal claims.
Equally confounding would be the fate of the Hwange Power Station, as lower
reserves would be insufficient to support the current and envisaged Zimbabwe
Power Company expansion project. ZPC, a subsidiary of Zesa Holdings which
plans to build two more power generation units in Hwange and these will
demand more coal.
Mr Moyo however said that they had discovered that there were more
quantities of industrial coal under the company's current operations.
"While we are running out of power coal deposits, we still have substantial
quantities of industrial coal which cannot be used for power generation."
ZPC has not been generating enough power at Hwange Power Station, the
country's oldest electricity power generation plant largely as a result of
coal shortages.
Mr Moyo said coal deliveries to HPS have drastically improved during the
recent months.
Monthly deliveries are averaging 180 000 tonnes and are expected to rise to
200 000 tonnes next month.
"Zesa is paying us in advance and they are running their four units.
"At least we are now managing to build up stock piles. We are no longer
living from hand to mouth which I think is a very positive development."
At this time last year, HCCL was supplying only 100 000 tonnes per month.
The HCCL boss said the conveyor belt which carries coal from the crushers to
the power station would be replaced at an estimated cost of R4 million.

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Ncube dismisses Thondlana from NewsDay

October 28, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Preparations for the launch of NewsDay, the proposed first daily
from publisher Trevor Ncube's ZimInd stable have hit a snag - Barnabas
Thondlana hired back in May to spearhead the launch of the paper has been

As Thondlana struggled to build an editorial team for NewsDay, Ncube took
the market by surprise when he announced in September that his new paper was
coming on stream at the beginning of November 2009, next week. Ncube
confirmed on Tuesday that his company had parted ways with Thondlana. He
said the parting was amicable.

"We are now in the process of looking for someone to run the NewsDay both
internally and externally," Ncube said.

Tondlana, 47, was the news editor at the launch of The Daily News 10 years
ago but was soon relieved of the position. He returned to the Zimbabwe
Independent from where he had been recruited. His premature departure from
NewsDay will be the second time he has been hired to launch a newspaper as
editor but has been sidelined at the last minute.

Just before the launch of The Daily News on Sunday in 2003 Thondlana was
invited to launch Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe new weekly as editor.

Tondhlana did arrive back but the company proceeded to appoint veteran
journalist, Bill Saidi, as editor of the new weekly, which was soon banned
along with its sister paper, The Daily News.

News of the removal of "Boss Barns" as he is affectionately known among
colleagues was received with shock in media circles in Harare.

While Ncube spoke of an amicable parting, Thondlana said he was equally
shocked by his sudden removal.

"I was called in by (chief executive) Raphael Khumalo Friday at the Zimind
offices," said Thondlana. "He told me that since the newspaper project was
still to be licenced they were letting me go because it had become a burden
to pay me while not producing a paper. Khumalo also told me they would call
me once they got the licence."

Thondlana said he was not certain he would be recalled if the newspaper was
granted its publishing licence.

"I can't help but think there is something sinister about the whole thing
especially since my deputy is still there and some journalists are expected
to start this coming Monday."

Sources at The Independent, Zimind's current flagship, say Thondlana was
fired after he failed to attract recognised journalists to the new project.
They say Thondlana himself was appointed editor designate after the company's
most accomplished journalist, Davison Maruziva, the most obvious candidate
for the job, turned down Ncube's invitation for him to launch NewsDay.
Maruziva is the editor of The Sunday Standard and former deputy editor of
The Daily News as well as The Chronicle and The Herald before it.

Defending his performance since he was appointed to prepare for the launch
of NewsDay Tondlana said: "We had over 600 applications but most of them
were below par so we ended up handpicking people. It wasn't my fault. I know
they were not happy about that but what could I do."

The preparations for the launch of NewsDay and announcement of a November
launch date at a time when the government of national unity is dragging its
feet on the issue of registration of new independent newspapers has
generated curiosity and speculation in media circles.

In May Ncube told the Los Angeles Times that he had spoken to government
ministers from all sides.

"I haven't received a single indication that there's somebody who doesn't
want us to be licensed," he said in an interview at his office in
Johannesburg, South Africa, where he published The Mail and Guardian.

The Los Angeles Times reported that NewsDay aimed to surpass the circulation
of the popular Daily News launched by ANZ in 1999 under the editorship of
Geoffrey Nyarota, now the managing editor of The Zimbabwe times. It was
envisaged NewsDay would be profitable within nine months.

The circulation of The Daily News peaked at 129 500 copies sold a day in
June 2000, just a year after its launch. The Daily News was the only
independent daily newspaper in Zimbabwe at the time. The newspaper's
printing press was bombed by government agents in 2001 while the newspaper
itself was banned in September 2003.

The two newspapers in the ZimInd stable, The Zimbabwe Independent and the
Standard both have a circulation of less than 20 000 copies per week.

If newspapers are allowed free registration once the long awaited Zimbabwe
Media Commission is established the daily newspaper market will be crowded
and the competition for readers and a slice of the advertising cake will be

While The Herald, which currently also sells less than 20 000 copies per day
down from 165 000 in the 1980s, will probably endure an erosion of its
readership, it will fight to retain its long-established hold on
advertising, especially the classifieds, where it has enjoyed a monopoly for
more than a century.

NewsDay will also face a stiff challenge from Reserve Bank governor, Dr
Gideon Gono's proposed Daily Evening Gazette and the revived Daily News. The
Daily News will enjoy the advantage of an established reputation and an
established readership.

There are other players on the sidelines, notably Nyarota's Zimbabwe Times
and Wilf Mbanga's The Zimbabwean, which is published in the United Kingdom,
printed in South Africa and shipped across the border into Zimbabwe.

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Zimbabwe can solve own problems: AU

Nancy Pasipanodya

Wed, 28 Oct 2009 03:34:00 +0000

THE Chairperson of the African Union Commission has told reporters he
believes the 'deadlock' over issues of public servants' appointments in
Zimbabwe is solvable and best handled by the partners to the inclusive
Government of Zimbabwe.

Dr. Jean Ping who was speaking at a Press conference on the sidelines of the
First Ordinary Session of the Second Pan-African Parliament at the Gallagher
Convention Centre (Midrand, South Africa) yesterday said the African Union,
along with the Southern Africa Development Community will not interfere in
the internal affairs of Zimbabwe.

"African Union members should be given an opportunity to address domestic
problems before the matter could be tackled at regional and continental

"Our organisation remains guided by the principles of solidarity and
subsidiarity so as to promote the common good throughout the African
continent," said Dr. Ping who is also President of the Pan-African

The principle of subsidiarity is enshrined in the Constitutive Act of the
African Union. It emphasizes that conflict resolution, decision-making,
implementation, monitoring, enforcement, and judicial recourse are best
conducted at the lowest practicable level of government, not at the regional

"Sadc would only be asked to try and help if the country cannot sort out the
dispute," Dr. Ping said in response a question on Sadc's role in breaking
the political impasse in Zimbabwe.

"If the region cannot also help, then we (the AU) and subsequently the
United Nations, can come in."

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CFU Press Statement

The Commercial Farmers' Union of Zimbabwe

28 October 2009
Productive commercial farmers continue to be prosecuted by the Attorney
General's office.  Currently this figure stands at 152 farmers.  Several
other farmers are facing forced evictions, illegal possession of farm
equipment and materials in the presence of both beneficiaries and Government
authorities.  This is clearly in violation of the terms of the Global
Political Agreement (GPA).

The impact of these prosecutions and occurrences countrywide on the current
summer cropping programme is disastrous.

The Commercial Farmers' Union therefore calls upon Government to immediately
stablise the current situation as a matter of urgency.  This call is made in
the interests of the nation as a whole.

As commercial farmers, we are prepared to contribute to Zimbabwe's food self
sufficiency, but can only do so when given the opportunity.

Full production of commercial farmland would alleviate the necessity for the
constant importation of essential food to Zimbabwe.

We now call upon Government to clarify whether white commercial farmers have
any role to play in the future of food production in Zimbabwe.





Tel:           +263 4 309 800 (CFU - Harare)

Zim Cell:  +263 912 246 233


Note:  Please refer also to our attached media release:

"Food crisis set to escalate as Zim farmers forced off land"

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Food crisis set to escalate as Zimbabwean farmers forced off land



MEDIA UPDATE                                                                                     FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


The Commercial Farmers’ Union of Zimbabwe                                       28 October 2009


Food crisis set to escalate as Zimbabwean farmers forced off land


The dramatic upscaling of violence against the few remaining Zimbabwean commercial farmers and their workers is cause for great concern, both for food security in Zimbabwe and for the region.


Over the past 12 months, the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) has seen a steady continuation, and in some cases escalation of state-sponsored violence and unlawful disturbances on commercial farms.


Farmers are being driven from their farms by beneficiaries who have been fraudulently allocated the farms on the basis of:


  1. A previous listing of their farm(s) in a Government Gazette
  2. The existence of an offer letter issued at the sole discretion of a minister or land officer in favour of the listed farm(s) in question
  3. Fraudulently generated offer letters.
  4. Taking the law into their own hands.


The beneficiaries are from all walks of life including government ministers or related families, force officers [army, police and the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)] and senior businessmen.


The prevailing unjust legal position is such that, if a matter can be classified as “political”, as is the case with all matters relating to land, then the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) refuse to carry out their constitutional duties, leaving commercial farmers and farm workers unprotected by the law, which has been the case since March 2000.


Last week the number of farmers who were evicted through the courts doubled, with 152 of the estimated 400 remaining farmers currently facing prosecution.  Five were found guilty of remaining on their farms and ordered to vacate their properties.  They were also given fines of around US$300. 


A total of 12 farmers and 34 workers have been convicted to date, heightening insecurity in the agricultural sector countrywide.  Farmers who continue to occupy and use their farms face prosecution and imprisonment.


Court cases paralyse farming operations


Friedenthal Farm, Beatrice:  The situation with respect to Mrs Hester Theron, a 79-year-old widowed farmer from the Beatrice area is a case in point.   Mrs Theron, who owns Friedenthal, a dairy and beef-producing farm, was taken to court, allegedly for refusing to vacate her property and for ignoring a fake offer letter given to the new owner, Mr Chagwadere.  On October 22, Mrs Theron was found guilty and given an automatic eviction order.  She has to return to court on November 5.


Innogo Ranch, KweKwe:  The same day, KweKwe farmer Hermanus (Manie) Grove of Innogo Ranch faced continued harassment and intimidation, with drunken employees of the beneficiary of his farm breaking through the security fence.  The intruders tried to force their way into the homestead and interfered with Mr Grove’s farm equipment and tractors.  The situation became extremely tense and the KweKwe police were informed but failed to arrive on the scene.


Mr Grove is one of 79 farmers protected by the landmark Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal ruling of 28 November 2009.  On Saturday 24 October 2009, Mr Grove approached his local MP, Mr Mnangagwa to relieve the situation on the farm.  Mr Grove was told by Minister Mnangagwa to vacate his farm because he, Mr Gove had gone to the SADC (Tribunal).


Karori Farm, Headlands:  Soldiers threatened to shoot Charles Lock, the owner of Karori farm, when he tried to enter his property after the High Court granted him access to collect his belongings.  The police said there was nothing they could do to make the soldiers adhere to the court ruling.


Chidza Farm, Masvingo:  On October 6, police arrested Carl Pistorius of Chidza farm in the Masvingo area and took him to the police station where he was intimidated and harassed.  They also attempted to fast track his case in order to evict him.  The offer letter for his farm is alleged to be fraudulent.


Mateke Hills Area, Masvingo:  Two farm managers arrested on 26 October 2009 for allegedly contravening the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act. 


What has become apparent in most cases is that the direct orders - which were allegedly given to police, magistrates, prosecutors and lands officials via the document titled “Handling Land Cases” - have been used.


This document was issued in February by the Attorney General’s office.  It is believed to be a direct assault against the independence of the judiciary and also the Constitution because of its alleged prejudgement of cases before they come to court.


Furthermore, it is in direct contradiction of the “presumption of innocence” and is largely responsible for the aggressive actions of the new beneficiaries who are attempting to illegally evict the owners, without compensation.


A significant number of judicial officers who preside over cases involving commercial farmers, including the Chief Justice himself, are beneficiaries of the land reform programme.


Farmers face up to two years’ imprisonment if found guilty for remaining on their farms and in their homes “illegally”.


Displacement of farm workers

The General Agriculture and Plantation Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) reports that over 60,000 farm workers have been made homeless since February 2009.


Farm workers in Zimbabwe, who together with the farmers once constituted the backbone of the economy, are largely still unemployed, have no homes and are dependent upon humanitarian aid. 

GAPUWZ says the new owners are not interested in carrying out farming - for them the properties are primarily a source of capital.

The union estimates that between 80 and 90 percent of farm workers in Zimbabwe have lost their jobs. GAPWUZ currently has 15,000 members, less than 10 years ago membership was closer to 200,000. 

Competent farmers barred from producing food

In 2007 farmers were told that farms were available (or were allowed to be retained) on a one-man-one farm and non-racial basis and they were encouraged to make applications to the Minister of Agriculture through the A2 application forms.


Approximately 800 applications were made but to date no individual farmer has received confirmation or rejection of their application. 


It is a well-known fact that a substantial amount of agricultural land has been abandoned and unutilised during the course of the fast track land acquisition programme.  However, Zimbabwe’s commercial farmers, who are very highly rated internationally, and who have the knowledge and experience required for high volume and high quality commercial production, are being denied access to their farms.


In February this year, the World Food Program (WFP) announced that it aimed to provide food assistance to 5.1 million people across Zimbabwe - the highest number of beneficiaries in a single month since the regional crisis began in 2002. In January, WFP assisted 4.3 million people.


Production decline between 2000 and 2008




2009/2010 Season: too dangerous to plant

Owing to the ongoing violations of commercial farmers and their workers, the prosecution threats and lack of security of tenure, the majority of commercial farmers will not be able to plant crops this season. 


The estimated tonnage of maize, the staple food crop, for the 2009/2010 season is just 500,000 tonnes from 2,043,000 tonnes in 2000.




2,043,000 tonnes


2009/2010 (Estimate)


   500,000 tonnes




236,130,000 kgs


2009/2010 (Estimate)


   45,000.000 kgs to

   50,000,000 kgs

2000 Agriculture



US$1,8 billion

2009 Agriculture



US$350 million


Land audit

The failure to initiate a comprehensive and impartial land audit as directed by the Global Political Agreement (GPA) is viewed as a major impediment to progress in the resolution of both the land crisis and lack of production on remaining farms.



Since the land reform programme began in 2000, compensation has only been paid for 203 farms out of the 6,571 gazetted farms.



The CFU has been exploring potential solutions, particularly regarding the elements of both compensation and restitution for our members and past members, which are an essential component of recovery.  The proposal, if accepted by our farming community, could provide a platform from which the agricultural sector and Zimbabwe as a whole could begin to recover.


Equally so it is important that Government stabilises the current agricultural sector.  A recommended starting point is the announcement of a moratorium on all new offer letters, disruptions and the prosecution of farmers.


Full production of commercial farmland would alleviate the necessity for the constant importation of essential food to Zimbabwe by the donor community. 


It would also ensure that Zimbabwe is in a position once again to produce food for the SADC region, impacting positively on food security.


However, until there is sufficient stability in the agricultural sector to encourage substantial investment, Zimbabwe will be unable to produce sufficient food to satisfy the requirements of the country and the population will continue to depend on high volumes of food aid.





Note:  Contact details overleaf/…

For further information or interviews:


Deon Theron


Commercial Farmers’ Union Of Zimbabwe

Tel:           +263 4 309 800 (Harare)

Zim Cell:  +263 912 246 233



Note:  Please refer also to our attached media statement 




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Whole School Priced Out of O-Level Exams

Felex Share

28 October 2009

 "HOW can responsible authorities sit back, watch and do nothing when a
rural school fails to register a single pupil for Ordinary Level public

"Why should we keep quiet when a student is left with no option but to drag
the Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture to court to force him to
extend the examination registration deadline?

"Our education sector is in shambles and something should be done to restore
sanity," a disgruntled parent complains.

This comes amid shocking revelations that Bambadzi Secondary School in
Matabeleland South Province failed to register a single student for this
year's Ordinary Level examinations.

This is despite a deadline extension by the Education Ministry when they
realised that thousands of students had failed to beat the initial deadline
twice on September 11 and 25.

To cushion the cash-strapped parents, the ministry unveiled a loan scheme,
which, however, failed to change their plight, as many could not commit
themselves to register their children.

Registration fees for a single subject was US$10 for "O" Level and US$20 for
"A" Level.

The loan scheme required the parents to register their children for free and
pay the fees over three months.

Bambadzi School Development Association deputy chairperson Mrs Vonolia
Ndlovu said most Form 4 students who failed to pay the exam fees dropped out
of school while a few opted to join the Form 3 class.

"The entire Form 4 class has collapsed and there are no Form 4 students as
we speak," said Mrs Ndlovu.

She said such a crisis requires a bold decision and commitment from both the
Government and the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council, as thousands of
children have been deprived of their right to education.

According to a Government official from the province, 40 percent of the
prospective candidates are not going to sit for their exams and some had
joined Form 3 classes.

"Some were not patient and chose to drop out of school, leaving them prone
to social vices," said the official.

The crisis reached its peak when a Bulawayo student, Gracious Thambo,
dragged Minister Coltart to court in a bid to force him to extend the
examination deadline.

This proved a further sign of desperation of many students whose parents
failed to raise the money needed to write examinations.

Most parents interviewed said the country should fully abide by the UN
Convention on the Rights of a Child, which explicitly explains that every
child has the right to education and the State has the duty to ensure that
primary education, at least, is made free and compulsory.

"The State must recognise that education should be directed at developing
the child's personality and talent, preparing the child for active life as
an adult, fostering respect for basic human rights and developing respect
for the child's cultural and traditional values," said Mr James Moyo of

Zimbabwe is also a signatory of the Millennium Development Goals, which seek
to achieve universal education for all by 2015.

Despite efforts to salvage Zimbabwe's ailing education sector, exorbitant
fees are driving away thousands of poor Ordinary and Advanced Level students
from writing their examinations, which are a passport to higher education
and formal employment.

Surprisingly, while parents complain, Minister Coltart believes the
examination fees were "cheaper" compared to Cambridge.

He said this during a question-and-answer session in the House of Assembly
last week.

Failure by thousands of prospective students to register for the public
examinations prompted analysts to conclude that the low registration level
is the "highest in the history of the country".

Former Minister of Information and Publicity Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu and
founder of the Zimbabwe Distance Education College said the Government
should urgently look into the issue.

"An urgent united approach is needed if we are to move forward.

"Are we going back to the pre-colonial era where education was a preserve of
the elite with the poor being edged out?" he asked.

While parents worry about their children's fate, the examination body has
decided to hold onto the actual number of students who managed to register.

However, sources within the examination council revealed that thousands of
pupils failed to pay the required examination fees.

"They have completed compiling the figures but are refusing to release them
because of fear of criticism since the registration levels are so low," said
the Zimsec source.

Persistent inquiries did not bear any fruit, as Zimsec remained mum on the

However, Minister Coltart admitted that the registration levels were very
low and promised that they would map the way forward as soon as Zimsec makes
available the final statistics.

"It is clear that a lot of students failed to register mainly because of
poverty but we have to wait for Zimsec to give the final figures and map the
way forward," he said.

He also attributed all the problems to poor funding and general poor
management that has rocked Zimsec over the past years.

"The nation has lost faith in Zimsec because of its poor performance and
people have opted for other exam bodies like Cambridge," he said, adding
that Government had no money to undo years of damage.

"Assistance has not been coming as expected so there is no money to
subsidise the cost of administering the exams," he also added.

To make matters worse, while students in neighbouring South Africa began
writing public examinations on Monday, Zimsec is yet to come up with dates
for this year's "O" and "A" Level examinations.

In the event that the timetable is released, it is likely that exams will
spill into December or even next year while in previous years the public
exams ended in November.

But what is sad is the fact that innocent children and parents have
sacrificed so much to get this far only to be disappointed at the last

Hard hit by the chaos surrounding Zimsec exams are children in rural areas
and farming communities who travel between 10 and 15 kilometres to school

However, a large number of those who have managed to register were forced to
cut the number of subjects they are sitting for, as they could not afford to
pay for all the subjects.

"You will find that students doing eight subjects have managed to pay for
only three.

"This defeats the purpose of spending four years in secondary school," said
a Harare secondary headmaster who declined to be named.

"This is far beyond what is required when one would be hoping to further

"Students require a minimum of five 'O' Level passes to proceed to 'A' level
or to qualify for an apprenticeship or gain admission to a teachers' college
or school of nursing.

"A school making history by failing to register a single pupil brings to the
fore the effect the examination fees announced by Government had on students
in poor communities," added the headmaster.

Civil servants have not been spared with many arguing that they do not have
the money to pay for their children.

"Where do they want us to get the money considering what they are giving us?
It is better for my child to go back to Form 3 and write next year," said Mr
Taitus Marimo, a teacher in Seke.

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Cross Rate Causes Havoc In Bulawayo

      HARARE, October 27, 2009 - THE "cross rate" is allegedly causing havoc
in Bulawayo - The City of Kings.

      Matabeleland North Governor, Thokozile Matuthu told Radio VOP in an
exclusive interview that the cross rate was resulting in items in shops
going up almost daily in the city.

      "The cross rate is killing industry in Bulawayo," she said. "It has
also resulted in women coming onto the streets again selling foreign

      Bulawayo uses the South African Rand to conduct business.

      Women go to SA to sell their wares such as doilies and African wear as
well as peanut butter and vegetables.

      In Harare the United States dollar is the major means of tender.

      The US and the SA Rand change rates almost daily at commercial banks
such that items in shops in Bulawayo also change as the rate decreases or

      The rate in Harare is US$1 equals Rand 10 while on the streets the
rate can be as high as US$1 for about SA Rand 14.

      "The cross rate is killing our city," Mathuthu said. "We need to do
something about it very soon before we go back to the days of the Zimbabwe
dollar when we had too many unemployed people roaming the streets selling

      She said women from the Apostolic Faith Church were mainly responsible
for the "cross rate" saga.

      Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said Zimbabwe will return to use of
its currency only when the economy returns to normal.

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Luke Tembani’s children forced out of the school their father built

NYAZURA- Two primary schoolchildren have been forced out of a school their father, Luke Tembani, built after the family was evicted from their farmer in defiance of a SADC Tribunal ruling protecting the pioneering black commercial farmer.

Tembani, a successful pioneer indigenous commercial farmer was evicted a fortnight ago by a Mutare Deputy Sheriff from the remainder of his Minverwag Farm at Clare Estate Ranch, which he bought in 1983. The new owner, Takawira Zembe claims to have bought the farm from the Agricultural Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank), formerly Agricultural Finance Corporation (AFC).

Tembani’s twin children Luke and Terrylee, who were in Grade 3 at the time of eviction at the farm’s Chimwanda Primary School have dropped out of school as a result of the displacement. They are now staying with their parents in Rusape where they are temporarily occupying a single room.

So insulting and distressing is the fact that Tembani is the one who built the farm school in 1986. The school opened its doors to students in 1987, offering free education to 321 pupils from Grade 1 to Grade 7.

Tembani said the huge cost incurred during the construction of the farm school was one of the reasons why he ended up failing to service his debts to AFC.

“In 1990 I had to purchase school furniture which cost me a lot of money. This was worsened by the national drought of 1992/1994 and as a result I became very short to service my AFC loans…It really pains me,” said Tembani.

Meanwhile, Zembe has proposed an “outrageous” proposal to allow Tembani’s children back on the farm school.

In a letter to Tembani, Zembe asked the former owner to first withdraw his appeal against the eviction and cede total ownership of the farm to him for Luke and Terrylee to be allowed back on the farm school.

Zembe said he would be willing to accommodate Tembani’s children at the farm on condition that he provided a maid to take care of them.

Tembani, who became one of the country’s first black commercial farmers shortly after independence in 1980 was evicted from his Nyazura farm in Manicaland which he has occupied for the past 26 years in defiance of a Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal ruling barring his eviction.

The Windhoek-based Tribunal recently ruled that the repossession and sale of the farm by the State-run Agribank in order to recoup an outstanding loan was “illegal and void.”

The Tribunal ordered the government to take all the necessary measures through its agents not to evict Tembani or his family from the property and to stop interfering with his use and occupation of the farm.

But the government has refused to comply with the regional Tribunal’s orders. Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa unilaterally pulled Zimbabwe out of the SADC Tribunal, a decision which was disproved by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

This story was extracted from Edition 18 of The Legal Monitor. Available to download here in pdf format. More about Luke Tembani via ZimOnline.

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GNU better off without Gono

      27/10/2009 00:00:00
     by Jacob Rukweza

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 beyond doubt why he should be summarily
evicted from the central bank.

From the day that Tendai Biti took over as the Minister of Finance and put a
full stop to the central bank's quasi-fiscal misadventures, Gono, who is
apparently very bitter, has been running in all directions like a headless

With the assistance of hired foot-soldiers in the state media, especially
the Herald and the Sunday Mail, 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 the economy.

Gono's well publicised tomfoolery has not only served to annoy the majority
of hopeful Zimbabweans but is now threatening to derail strategic operations
of the ministry which has been given the crucial task of resuscitating the
economy which collapsed when he was in charge as quasi-finance minister
between 2003 and 2008.

Among other outstanding issues, Gono's contested presents in the unity
government, at the expense of the integrity of the central bank, is also the
reason why the delicate coalition is now disconnected and facing collapse.

Gono's evil and doomed campaign to sabotage and vilify Biti can be captured
in four episodes which have received remarkable media publicity not because
they are newsworthy but because the governor has always used bribes to
persuade underpaid journalists from the state media to write PR articles on
his behalf which are always passed as business news.

No wonder small-time journalists at the Sunday Mail and the Herald now drive
expensive cars -- Mahindra trucks -- which they cannot afford considering
their paltry salaries, but were sourced by Gono through the central bank in
2007 using taxpayers' money.

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 measure 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, knows 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 with his long letter was to try and put a
wedge between the minister and the prime minister in the naive hope that he
would successfully recruit the prime minister to fight in his corner against
But everybody now knows that Gono's long letter, written in broken English
in most parts, 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 inflationary Zimbabwe dollar, a dead horse that he has
successfully sold to Zanu PF loyalists including President Robert Mugabe who
is part of the discordant orchestra advocating the revival of the useless
local currency.

From the look of things, the ageing Mugabe does not even believe in the
chorus he is being made to sing beyond the singular fact that his embattled
banker is the one leading the choir.

Biti has made it clear that he will resign from the government if he is put
under undue pressure to revive the dead and buried Zimbabwe dollar for the
simple reason that the currency had become an instrument of arbitrage and
rent-seeking behaviour during Gono's reign as quasi-finance minister.

And that should be good news to Gono whose four-pronged campaign is to
vilify, sabotage, frustrate and displace the Minister of Finance by any
means necessary.

But it is also the reason why the MDC 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 attack dogs in the state
media to peddle the scurrilous allegation that Biti is blocking a total of
US$800m 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 of United States dollars that are urgently needed to get Zimbabwe's
economy working again.

Nobody except the superstitious dead wood in the Zanu PF leadership - who
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.

And where loans have been extended to the coalition government by the
international community, Gono has relentlessly sought to usurp Biti's powers
by demanding that he be allowed to decide how the money should be used when
that fiscal role is the sole function of the Minister of Finance while the
governor may only give advice, nothing more nothing less.

What is coming out clearly from Gono's mischief is that Zanu PF is trying to
resurrect the bygone era of quasi-fiscal insanity where the minister of
finance took instructions from the central bank governor instead of the
other way round.

It remains imperative to remind Gono that he is an illegal Reserve Bank
Governor whose appointment is not recognised by the GPA which gave birth to
the coalition government that he purports to be serving.

Remember being a senior civil servant, Gono's appointment was supposed to be
done after consultations among the three principals of the unity government
coming as it did three months after the signing of the GPA on September 15,

The Prime Minister has made it clear that these mandatory consultations did
not take place which makes Gono's 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 31 November

Gono and those who have supported his unprocedural 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 when he
obviously is not - that is why it's called a coalition.

If the unity government collapses today, Gono should be prepared to shoulder
culpability for this national catastrophe and to live with the wrath of the
suffering masses who will blame him eternally for refusing to vacate office
when the cohesion and success of the unity government depended on it.

Strictly speaking, what is urgent now is for Gono to be evicted from 80
Samora Machel Avenue before he achieves his sadistic ambition to resuscitate
the dead and buried era of quasi-fiscal madness where the central bank was a
major player in the opaque black market economy.

After his eviction, maybe we may then talk about why Gono should be
investigated for corruption and criminal conduct during his tenure at the
central bank between December 2003 and November 2008.

The truth of the matter is that in the coalition government, we have a
problem called Gideon Gono and as such all Zimbabweans need to look this
individual and his intentions with suspicion and doubt.

Gono's track record will continue to tarnish the integrity of the unity
government which will not succeed in attracting major financial assistance
from the larger international community for as long as the coalition retains
incompetent and corrupt civil servants within its ranks.

The bottom line is that Zimbabwe's government of national unity will be
better off without this blundering civil servant.

Jacob Rukweza is the MDC councillor for Ward 17 in Chitungwiza

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Before the GNU Collapses - Remodel Zimbabwe's Chikurubi Prison

"Mbudzi yaba nyama imbwa iripo" - The goat steals the meat while the guard
dog looks on.

As the bankrupt apartheid regime in South Africa was waning, and in its very
last days of existence, it was said that the cabinet of President P.W. Botha
convened an emergency meeting. The purpose: frantically allocate funds that
were still held in the national coffers before Nelson Mandela assumed power.
As frenzied ministers jostled for monies to be allocated to their respective
department, Minister of Defence Magnus Malan requested for the lion's share
of the fiscus. This instantaneously triggered a counter-plea from the
apartheid's gatekeeper, the dreaded Adriaan Vlok, Minister of Law and Order.

Malan apparently requested funds to enable him to re-equip the SADF, so that
he could effectively defend apartheid, while Vlok wanted the money to build
more prisons. Minister of National Education, F.W. De Klerk, stood up and
asked for all the funds so that he could build better schools for blacks

Vlok had eloquently laid out an elaborate proposal to build state-of-the-art
prisons complete with air-conditioning, gymnasiums, wall to wall carpeting,
and beds with therapeutic mattresses, colour televisions with satellites,
three hot meals a day, and hot showers. Weekly conjugal visits from the
prisoner's partner of choice (any sexual orientation and ethnicity) were
proposed as an amendment to the Prison Act.

P.W. Botha requested Vlok to explain his unusual, extravagant and seemingly
irrational request. Vlok emphatically asked the entire cabinet, "When these
ex-freedom fighters take over, do you think they are going to imprison us in

Whether this cabinet debate took place or not is contentious; however, what
is not debatable is the urgent need for ZANU (PF) to recalibrate its violent
posture. The day for justice is looming closer and indeed ZANU (PF) human
rights violators are not going to be housed in schools or on the farms they

Zimbabwe's gulag is the notorious flea-infested Chikurubi Maximum Security
Prison; a colonial relic built in the 1940's and home to ZANU (PF)'s
imagined and perceived enemies since independence. It shall soon become the
new zip code, the eternal domiciliary for all ex-ministers, and the secure
abode for their unrepentant lackeys.

To cater for the spill over, and to avoid sharing beds, ZANU (PF) needs to
include Khami Maximum Security Prison, Kwe Kwe, Gonakudzingwa, Sikombela,
and the Wha Wha detention centres in the same remodelling project. A
constitutional amendment to allow the privilege of conjugal visits to
ZANU(PF) prisoners shall not be entertained.

Mugabe is cognisant of the looming day of reckoning and has proactively
pardoned over one thousand hardcore criminals to prudently make room for his
bloated government's war cabinet (amadhodha sibili). Dockets alleging acts
of murder, rape, torture, and theft of state property are being prepared by
the people of Zimbabwe who have been witnesses and are the innocent victims
of ZANU (PF)'s misrule, since 1980.

Phil Matibe -

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Zimbabwe Trapped Again – Mugabe and Moyo’s Genocidal Incitements

Important lies were told this week while it is increasingly becoming more difficult to be optimistic about Zimbabwe again. Especially when you hear that armed police, under military supervision, raided MDC residence over the weekend.  Subsequently, Jonathan Moyo’s dire warning that war veterans will set Zimbabwe ‘on fire’ if Bennett is sworn was another shocker. Instead of recanting such contemptible incitements, Mugabe was quick to vow that Bennett will never be sworn. He obtusely told MDC and SADC that Zanu PF has ‘fulfilled’ every obligation stipulated under GPA terms.

Even more debilitating was yet another lie from Jonathan Moyo. He recently told the nation that only Zanu PF can win free elections.  “MDC cannot win a free and fair election as was shown in March 2008,” he said. What an oxymoron! Moyo is doing exactly what he does best – spin. On his website he admits that “the dictator” has been stealing elections.

The voters rejected Mugabe on March 29”, wrote Moyo on his website  - . In another article entitled “Reject Mugabe’s ploy to rule forever” -, Moyo called for massive resitance against Mugabe. Similarly, last year Mugabe showed his total contempt for democracy declaring that he will "never allow an event like an election to reverse our independence…only God who appointed me will remove me.”

Just last week Moyo said, “Given that the late three Vice-Presidents (Nkomo, Msika, Mzenda) all died in office… why should the only remaining founding father, that is President Mugabe, be treated differently from the three who have left us while in office and with the dignity of the office even when they were no longer discharging the responsibilities of their office?”

 Call him schizophrenic, delusional or suffering from selective amnesia, but what we have here is a case of a political deceiver and trickster. Moyo is always ready to disown his entire legacy for political expediency. As his application for readmission to Zanu PF was still pending, Moyo conveniently apologized. He recently pleaded for clemency saying, “I regret some of the things I have said”. Never mind that the statements he made were statements of fact and not speculation. Zimbabweans must prepare for the unknown and be aware of old political manipulations by Jonathan Moyo in the pursuit of damnable personal ambitions.

Moyo wrote “Mugabe is a fatal danger to the public interest of Zimbabweans at home and in the diaspora that each day that goes by with him in office leaves the nation’s survival at great risk while seriously compromising national sovereignty”- (Full article available at But now the people of Zimbabwe know that Moyo and Mugabe are both fatal dangers!

Moyo knows pretty well that what is called the Government of Zimbabwe is a real illusion. At face value, it looks like a well-organized and robust criminal entity. But intrinsically it is Mugabe and a few evil men strategically placed to do his dirty work. Moyo knows how state machinery works. There is a huge political price to be paid for not heeding such doomsday ‘prophecies’ from Moyo.

After all, it was Moyo who breathed life into an otherwise imploding dictatorship beginning the year 2000 with a botched constitutional re-writing exercise which he presided over. Following that he animated the land-grab exercise. He literally composed lousy jingoistic anthems pandering to chauvinistic patriotism. He played them non-stop on state television and radio having successfully created a state monopoly of press after muscling his way to upper echelons of power in Government.

War veterans and Zanu PF thugs (also masquerading as war veterans) overwhelmingly responded to Moyo’s incitement causing cold-blooded deaths and destruction on the farms throughout Zimbabwe even to this present day.

Moyo is the sole architect of draconian laws that gagged free press. He essentially ordered the bombing of the independent Daily News and the nation will never forget how its printing press was bombed military-style on January 28, 2001. 48 hours before the Daily news was bombed, Moyo had gone on a frenzied verbal assault of the paper on national state television describing it as a “threat to national security” that needed to be dealt with “once and for all”

 Moyo went on to mastermind the sham election of 2002 which was stolen by Mugabe.  That violent presidential campaign of 2002 left hundreds of MDC supporters murdered.

The political calculus of Moyo rejoining Zanu PF is already taking shape. He is back, thrusting himself at the top, even though most of his former comrades in Zanu PF publicly expressed their desire to see Moyo organically growing in the party. “He will have to start at cell level and rise through the ranks like everyone else. He is not going to start at the top; that is for sure,” said party insiders.

They were wrong. Little did they know that in less than a month Moyo would have taken over, as he has done before. Moyo has skillfully mastered the concept that power is not given but taken. “Zanu PF must rise from the dead if it is to remain in power”, he said.  We know fully well that Zanu PF can only rise through political deviousness.

In spite of his evil intentions and animalistic callousness, I think there are few important lessons to be learnt from this man especially the courage, the unapologetic approach to politics, hard work and his zealousness.  Regrettably, these are some of the qualities that make him a very dangerous person. If MDC had many men and women with that kind of passion, political gravitas and stamina fighting for the people, things would be different today.

With the power of the media on his side, he warned MDC that “they haven’t seen anything yet” as he made his grant re-entry into Zanu PF having invented a great lie that MDC is being funded by USA and EU to effect regime change. He has taken over the Herald bombarding MDC left, right and center, writing as himself and using several pseudonyms. Moyo is Joseph Goebbels (Hitler’s Minister of Propaganda) reincarnated who during the Nazi era once said “A lie, repeated often enough, will end up as truth.”

Turning to the Roy Bennett debacle, it does not only make a mockery of national healing and reconciliation but raises questions about Zanu PF’s selective application of racism. David Coltart served alongside Roy Bennett in the British South African Police. But he was sworn-in. Was it because he belongs to a friendlier (dubious at best) opposition party (MDC-M) led by Mutambara?  In 1980 didn’t Mugabe say to the whites “stay with us, please remain in this country and constitute a nation based on national unity.” 

What message are they sending people like Nick Price who have served Zimbabwe with so much pride and honor, carrying the Zimbabwe flag and unashamedly proclaiming that Zimbabwe is their motherland given all the shame surrounding Zimbabwe? He bore the burden of carrying a stinking Zimbabwe brand. Will Moyo and Mugabe disown him because he once served in the Rhodesian Army? What about Mugabe’s own crimes which killed 20 000 people including Moyo’s father?

Just for intellectual curiosity, here are some miscellaneous questions never asked before: Is Moyo therefore seeking revenge for his late father by inciting Mugabe into genocide? How genuine is Jonathan Moyo this time around? What is really behind the Moyo facade? What is Moyo’s real agenda? What are the unintended consequences of re-admitting Moyo? How does burning Zimbabwe benefit Moyo? Why is Moyo so close to Chinamasa -a former Zapu die-hard,  a Tsholotsho co-conspirator and a ruthless Zanu PF hardliner? Apart from jostling for his power, is Moyo working hard to incite Mugabe to ‘Gukurahundi’ the Shonas? Mugabe ‘don’t’ care, he can kill as long as it benefits his throne!

Zimbabweans must wake up to the political realities of the country. Moyo and Chinamasa alongside the military and so called security apparatus know very well that Mugabe’s days are numbered.  They are fighting for a post-Mugabe era. "I worked well with him (Moyo), as you know, and he made an immense contribution to our fight against imperialism and neocolonialism. He ranks among the patriots in the party,” said Chinamasa. Of course as minister of (in)Justice, Chinamasa wants Roy Bennett dead just like Jonathan Moyo. Remember that Chinamasa-Roy Bennett fist-fight in Parliament?

In a series of articles written last year, Moyo succinctly reveals his anger towards Mugabe’s “crude tribal bigotry and the evils of Gukurahundi”, as he described it. He wrote, “Mugabe’s Bantustan ideology bred the Gukurahundi atrocities between 1980 and 1987 and the Murambatsvina atrocities in 2005... These atrocities were a product of hallucinations of ethnic challenges to Mugabe’s power.

“ In the case of Gukurahundi, Mugabe’s tribal hallucination led to the massacre of over 20,000 people in the Midlands and Matabeleland provinces and the destruction of homes and livelihood of many more” -  In another article he wrote: ”Robert Mugabe is an ethnic bigot masquerading as a nationalist” Isn’t it fascinating that all of a sudden, Moyo sees a noble leader in Mugabe?

In the meantime, our leadership ‘disengaged’ or  ‘withdrew’ or ‘boycotted’ (whatever they ended up calling it) and wasted no time escalating the sticking issues back to SADC and AU, the very embodiments and conduits of Mugabe’s dictatorial entrenchment. Some of us - the loyal opposition of the opposition (MDC), were quick to provide reality checks in form of self-criticism arguing that the strategy which our party was pursuing had not been carefully thought out.

Of course in MDC, there exists the civility of respectful disagreement and accommodation of opposing views as we believe that no-one possesses monopoly of political thought. To my followers on facebook, tweeter and elsewhere in the blogosphere, I described the strategy as an antithesis of a political masterstroke, devoid of wisdom, contrary to how others in the party viewed it.

Given Mugabe’s scorched earth politics, it’s almost as if MDC will have to renegotiate its way back into the inclusive agreement no matter how one looks at it (with or without spin)especially considering the fact that MDC has been in office but not in power all along.

 Some of us believed that the strategy would open doors for all kinds of distractions and vitriolic attacks, humiliation and ridicule at a time when some progress is being made on the economic front and somewhat political. In the process, it depleted MDC’s political capital, to a certain extent. In retrospect, some might argue that it was a necessary public relations offensive to show the world the kind of animals we are dealing with in Zanu PF.

But again who doesn’t know that and how does it benefit the nation at this stage given the fact that the outcome (of nothing) was almost guaranteed? We took our eyes off the ball and provided breathing space for Zanu PF to the extent that they are threatening to appoint acting ministers to replace MDC ministers. Sounds vain, but that is Zanu PF game plan!

Just like his predecessor Mbeki, Zuma dithered and so did that useless Mozambican chap, what’s his name? PM went to Angola but Angola is a waste of time. When that Chinese ship suffocating with weapons to kill Zimbabwean opposition members, was barricaded from entering South Africa, didn’t Dos Santos volunteer to sneak them in? In spite of the tokenism, going to DRC was the ultimate joke. It’s like going to seek help from Afghanistan. DRC is burning!

Outside of our brothers Ian Khama and Raila Odinga, MDC is alone on the continent. Even though SADC and AU are the guarantors of the GPA, their profound lack of urgency and compassion for the Zimbabwean crisis has always been consistent. But it is gratifying to note that the people of Zimbabwe are solidly behind us, that’s what really matters at the end of the day. The rule of thumb therefore is for MDC to consult the people especially before making such huge decisions of destiny even though the leadership is entrusted with the authority to lead the people.

Disengagement played to Mugabe’s strategy of trying to frustrate us until we cut and run. Mugabe mockingly said “"I do not read that they would want to leave the inclusive government. I think they will come back to it soon”. As previously stated, the solution lies within Zimbabwe. The political reality is to fight for change from within: taking media wars head-on, pushing unyieldingly for a new constitution, influencing SADC and AU in a strong way, and pressing for economic and political reform day by day no matter how painstakingly slow the process might be as well planning for new elections and rebuilding alliances with other civic bodies.

At the same time Zanu PF is manipulating a basic fallacy that sanctions were indirectly imposed by the MDC. There is a fundamental disconnect in this argument because sanctions were a response to daylight murders, abductions and torture of ordinary citizens. It is absurd to lump it as MDC’s responsibility. Not to mention that violence is on the increase in Zimbabwe. After all, the sanctions are targeted at those responsible for violence. Somewhere in Zimbabwe a rapist or a murderer is laughing instead of languishing in prison for crimes against humanity.

If Zimbabwe’s justice system had not been successfully privatized, Mugabe and his men would be answering for crimes against humanity. Instead they continue to use violence to silence the people of Zimbabwe. In any case didn’t they say Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans and bombarded us with the gospel of their version of newfound friends in the East. Now they realize that their policies represented a dangerous lack of knowledge of the rudiments of the international economy.

By now I sound as if I am really fawning for Mr Biti, but ‘give it up to’ the Minister. He is doing a terrific job under the most trying of circumstances. As they raided the MDC residence Mr Biti delivered this:, “"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," Thank you Tendai!

Mr Biti’s most recent courage and candor are stupendous, especially considering last week’s inconvenient truth where he revealed that Jongwe was indeed murdered by Mugabe and his thugs. Zimbabweans already knew that but someone with real political clout like Biti had to say it (on our behalf). Even though I previously ridiculed Mr Biti for calling the late Msika a true hero”untainted by corruption”  the very same week he (Biti) got a bullet in the mail, I have since seen the best of him so far.

My central argument in the article, probably one of my best, “Msika’s Botched Legacy” ( was that how can Msika be a national hero given the fact that he co-authored Zimbabwe’s miseries especially the violence against many MDC supporters who were murdered by the regime. While at a rally in Zaka last year, Msika declared: “Voting for the MDC in the runoff will be like voting for Rhodesia and the British and that means voting for war”.

As a direct beneficiary of Mugabe’s overstay in power and rape on democracy, Msika’s infamous statement that “there was someone who wanted to bring up that issue (of succession) here, we were going to deal with him. Mugabe cannot go”, lingers on. His sole pre-occupation since becoming Vice President in 1999 was all about promoting the selfish interests of Zanu PF hegemony.

Likewise, Mutsekwa needed to be told that he is an incompetent especially considering how he bungled the Meikles saga. Similarly as our co-Home Affairs Minister he needs to explain what he knows about the recent raid of MDC residence by the police or at least get an apology from Mohadi and demand a thorough investigation of such lawlessness. There is no vendetta against the Minister, it’s just that life or death issues are at the doorstep of many Zimbabweans!

There are ominous signs that Zimbabwe is inching closer to yet another dark episode of mass torture and mass murders. The word ‘genocide’ is no longer a remote possibility especially considering that militia camps have been sprouting across Zimbabwe against a backdrop of growing incitements by Mugabe and his newly rehired propaganda chief, Jonathan Moyo.

Janjaweed militias were a bunch of rented thugs on government payroll hired to systematically exterminate and butcher innocent civilians as ordered by the Islamic government of Sudan. In 2008, Zimbabwe’s militia tortured, raped and murdered hundreds of opposition supporters, real or perceived, with the government’s unconcealed approval  and guaranteed immunity from prosecution.

MDC cannot afford to mismatch Jonathan Moyo’s negative energy. If necessary let every Ministry be a battleground for change and not just maintaining the status quo. We have got to weather these troubling times. For every Kasukuwere who is corrupting our youths, there must be deliberate campaigns by MDC Ministers to engage youths in entrepreneurship programs and human rights fundamentals, for example.

At the same time I am also sensitive to the difficulties faced by MDC leadership in the homeland especially our Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who is steadfastly seeking to improve livelihoods of fellow Zimbabweans. At a time millions of Zimbabweans are haunted by the regime, we appreciate the Prime Minister’s efforts and courage. It is never easy dealing with geriatric dictators in the mold of Mugabe.

But all hope is not lost, it’s time to gather ourselves with the people of Zimbabwe who gave us the mandate to lead and build a united front, reaching across the isles even to an iota of progressive Zanu PF men and women. That’s not conceding defeat but seeking to build a nation. The people of Zimbabwe must devote to end the crisis before aspiring dictators, virulent polarizers and rabid opportunists like Jonathan Moyo entrap Zimbabwe again to recede to the perils of yesteryear as they pursue selfish agenda.



Dr Paul Mutuzu

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Letter from Zimbabwe: Child-headed families
Published on : 27 October 2009 - 5:29pm | By John Masuku

Nineteen-year old Lazarus, now in his first year at a commercial college in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second capital, has been the head of his family, comprising of him and two younger siblings for the last four years. They live in the family’s four-bedroom house in a leafy and quiet suburb. Meanwhile, in a small backyard shack in Harare’s oldest township,  Patricia who has just turned fourteen is responsible for her ten-year old brother and six- year old sister.
The sad phenomenon of child-headed families as a result of parents‘ permanent or temporary absence due to the HIV/AIDS scourge or relocation to other countries  to work and live as economic refugees has been well pronounced since the turn of the new millennium. In the past, the extended family system would have absorbed them but that is slowly disappearing because of economic difficulties, greed and jealousy among families.

In his weekly column 'Letter from Zimbabwe', John Masuku, Executive Director of Radio Voice of the People (VOP) comments on a hot topic in his country busy going through a transitional phase. VOP strives to bring an independent voice to a muzzled Zimbabwean media. John Masuku writes “Letter from Zimbabwe” in his personal capacity.

Better off
In Lazarus’s case, sad as it is, after both parents died of AIDS, he and the young ones are actually better off on their own. Their parents’ clearly written will saved them from lots of unnecessary trouble. For example, relatives who would only be after the possession of their beautiful house and other property left as their heritage. Luckily, Thabo their elder brother, who migrated to the United Kingdom three years ago, sends them money for school fees and food. However, he cannot visit them because he has no proper work permit. He has to make more money doing menial jobs to send for basic essentials back home, than to think about saving  for an air ticket.

Abandoned and abused
Patricia’s parents divorced two years ago and, one by one, abandoned their children in a two-room rented accommodation until they were kicked out by the landlord for not paying rent. But he was “kind” enough to accommodate them in a backyard plastic shack and exploits them in his informal trade, selling cigarettes, sweets, candles and matches for almost nothing. Their school attendance is very erratic since it is not monitored by anyone. All their close relatives in the city reject them while their uncaring parents are understood to have founded new families elsewhere.
Young house maids have also been left to care for children of professionals who have secured well-paid international jobs with, for example, the United Nations agencies and a variety of non-governmental organizations in hotspots such as Rwanda, Darfur, Democratic Republic of Congo and Afghanistan among others.
“We face a lot of temptations from unscrupulous relatives and neighbours who want to take advantage of our vulnerability. Some persuaded us to sell our house and property or attempted to abuse us sexually, but we know others like us who have easily fallen prey due to poverty, hopelessness and helplessness,” said seventeen- year old Chipo whose parents died in a road accident a year ago and she now looks after her two young sisters and brother.
Unfortunately, Lazarus, Patricia, Chipo and many other young heads of families around the country are suffering from a lack of parental care, love, advice and proper social integration which would mold them into being loving and responsible citizens themselves.

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Zim Democracy Now Weekly Bulletin

Week Ending 27th October 2009



Lengthy talks on Monday between Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and
President Robert Mugabe ended with no agreement, deepening the political
crisis. It was the first meeting between the two men since Tsvangirai
disengaged from the coalition government on Oct. 16. The MDC says it is now
looking to a meeting in Harare later in the week with the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to try to end the stalemate. "If that fails...
a free and fair election under the supervision of the international
community, SADC and the African Union will be the only option," Mr Chamisa
told the BBC.

Mugabe has insisted that his party has abided by all the conditions laid out
in the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Note: However, after the signing of the GPA on September 15, 2009 there were
still disagreements, resulting in further negotiations. Agreement was only
achieved four months later through the SADC communiqué of January 27, 2009 -
in effect an addendum to the GPA. It is the communiqué which contains some
of the issues that are outstanding in the GPA implementation, such as the
appointments of the Reserve Bank Governor, the Attorney General, and the
Provincial Governors.

Zimbabwean armed police raided a house in Harare on Saturday belonging to
the MDC. The party's secretary general Tendai Biti said fifty armed police
officers searched the house, in which senior party members stay, claiming
they were looking for weapons stolen from the police. "[They] ransacked
every room and took a bunch of valuable party material from a room occupied
by our organising secretary Morgan Komichi.They beat up the wife and sister
of the caretaker before they started digging part of the garden ostensibly
in search of weapons," said Biti. Zimbabwe's police spokesperson Wayne
Bvindzijena says they will investigate the raid.

Angolan Head of State José Eduardo dos Santos told Prime Minister Tsvangirai
on Friday in Luanda that he will continue aiding efforts to resolve the
impasse between the MDC and ZanuPF. Tsvangirai spent most of last week
lobbying SADC leaders with stops in Mozambique, South Africa, the Democratic
Republic of Congo and Angola.


The Zimbabwe government has finally agreed on how to allocate a US$400
million grant from International Monetary Fund (IMF), after months of
feuding about its allocation, said Industry Minister Welshman Ncube last
Wednesday. The money will be used in the completion of public works. The
decision was taken at a cabinet meeting on October 13, before the MDC's
withdrawal from Zanu-PF.


Foreign investors are drawing back from Zimbabwe following the MDC's
disengagement from cabinet. Industry Minister Welshman Ncube last Wednesday
told a meeting of local business executives that since February, several
potential investors were now hesitant.

"For example, investors who were keen to invest in Zisco (Zimbabwe Iron and
Steel Company) are now phoning asking if it is worthwhile, given the
announcements which were made last week Friday," Ncube said.

The pro-ZanuPF Affirmative Action Group (AAG) described as "unacceptable"
Nestlé's decision last month to bow to global pressure and stop sourcing
milk from First Lady Grace Mugabe's Gushongo Dairy Estate. "We are demanding
that with immediate effect Nestlé must be indigenised," said an AAG
spokesman. This farm is one of at least six of Zimbabwe's most valuable
commercial farms to have been taken over by Mrs Mugabe since 2002.


At 8.10 this morning (27 Oct) Edith Mashayire, senior security officer for
the MDC Headquarters at Harvest House, was accosted by four armed men in
civilian clothing, three with AK 47 assault rifles and one with a pistol.
They tried to force her into their white twin cab Isuzu truck but people in
the vicinity reacted immediately and were able to free her.

Intimidation and violence are on the increase in Zimbabwe's rural schools,
the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said Friday. The union
said ZanuPF youth militia are targeting teachers who are regarded as MDC
loyalists in the wake of the MDC's withdrawal from ZanuPF. The PTUZ reported
incidents in Chiweshe, Mashonaland Central province, Buhera, Manicaland
province, and Murehwa, Mashonaland East. It said the violence could
jeopardise the upcoming national exams.

Fifty homes belonging to known MDC supporters in Chiweshe district were
burnt down by ZanuPF militias last week. MDC MP for Mazowe central Shepherd
Mushonga told SW Radio Africa that MDC supporters and activists are being
driven out by the militia.

Reports were received of militia moving into the Mhondoro area, east of
Chegutu, and Mashonaland East and into Masvingo province.


Zimbabwe's controversial Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, says he has
taken the lead role in the prosecution of MDC treasurer general Roy Bennett
because the case poses a serious security threat to Zimbabwe. "This case is
a very serious one and carries serious security issues," said Tomana in an
interview with the Zimbabwe Times last Tuesday. Bennett faces weapon and
terror charges that he denies and that the MDC says are false.

Two officials from the National Association of Non-Governmental
Organizations (NANGO), the umbrella organization for all of Zimbabwe's NGO's,
were arrested on Sunday after attending the Directors' Forum Summer School.
The arrest of chief executive Cephas Zinhumwe and chairwoman Dadirai
Chikwengo took place at the Victoria Falls airport. "Police have accused
them of holding an unauthorized political meeting, which is untrue," said
spokesman Farai Ngirande. The officials were held by police overnight, and
were due to appear in court Monday afternoon.

Commercial Farming Sector

Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Monday that the government would float
grain bills valued at US$5 million this week to buy an additional 50,000
metric tonnes of maize.
Biti said that the grain bills were the start of a programme under which the
government would buy more than 400,000 tonnes of surplus maize from local
farmers. The programme aims to rebuild strategic reserves diminished by
years of poor harvests. Small maize growers have been reluctant to sell
their grain to the parastatal Grain Marketing Board as many did not get paid
for their last deliveries, receiving promissory notes instead.

Last week the number of commercial farmers who were evicted through the
courts doubled, with 152 of the estimated 400 remaining commercial farmers
currently facing prosecution.

Health Crisis

International humanitarian organisations on Friday said the breakdown of
political order and lack of respect for its citizens is putting Zimbabwe's
population at risk as hunger and disease threaten to seize the country
again. In a joint statement following the MDC's boycott of ZanuPF, the
organisations, which included UK-based Oxfam, Medecins Sans Frontieres
(MSN), UN's Roll Back Malaria Partnership and United Nations Children's Fund
(UNICEF), said Zimbabwe needs coordinated "robust leadership" to prevent
another cholera epidemic and widespread hunger. "We are obviously concerned
that the government of national unity continues to work," head of Oxfam-UK's
operations in southern Africa Charles Aban said.


The Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity has allegedly ordered the
ZanuPF-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and other
state-controlled newspapers to stop covering MDC-T ministers until the party
reverses its decision to withdraw from ZanuPF. According to the privately
owned Zimbabwe Standard, ZBC chief executive Happison Muchechetere told the
state broadcaster's senior editors about the directive last Friday evening.

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Homeless put their hope in handmade bricks

Photo: IRIN
Laying bricks in Zimbabwe
BULAWAYO, 28 October 2009 (IRIN) - The use of handmade bricks is revolutionizing housing in Chinhoyi, 120km north of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, where housing estates built by poor people have mushroomed in a development that has caught the attention of the housing ministry.

"We hope to come up with a new dynamic housing policy that addresses the needs of the poor, together with enabling legislation on standards, as well as how the homeless can access affordable funding," housing ministry secretary David Munyoro told IRIN.

"We also want to change the legal framework of housing delivery in Zimbabwe and learn from the best practices," said the national housing and social amenities minister, Fidelis Mhashu.

The nationwide shortage of accommodation resulted from a lack of government investment in housing, and President Robert Mugabe's Operation Murambatsvina (Drive out Trash) in May 2005.

Murambatsvina was launched on the premise of slum clearance, but was seen by analysts as retribution for city residents giving their support to the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). The evictions and demolition of homes and other buildings that began in urban centres and then spread across the country were condemned internationally; about 700,000 people were left homeless.

Before the operation began, more than 300,000 people in Harare were on the housing waiting list, but this is seen as a fraction of Zimbabwe's housing deficit.

In 1999 Timothy Garamimba, in Chinhoyi, signed up to a government housing scheme in which prospective homeowners paid monthly instalments to a national housing fund while they waited for houses to be built.

The scheme collapsed, mired in corruption and allegations of abuse of funds, forcing the government to allocate residential stands in lieu of refunds to subscribers, on which they could build their own homes.

"We waived the bye-law concerning standard building material on residential stands in three of the suburbs [that the town] council was opening up, and allowed people to build using farm [handmade] bricks," Chinhoyi's town engineer, Pretty Masekesa, told IRIN.

The cheapest manufactured bricks cost US$0.23 each - US$230 per 1,000 bricks, the equivalent of about two months' salary - compared to US$50 per 1,000 handmade bricks.

Homeowners have now built "farm brick" homes on more than 4,000 residential stands, but the local construction boom is also attributed to the presence of soils ideal for brick-making.

"You cannot tell those [houses] built with commercial bricks from the ones constructed of bricks that owners mould on their own," said Garamimba, 30, standing ankle-deep in thick mud.

"Using these bricks has really cut my construction costs, because I can mould them myself or buy additional quantities from groups engaged in brick-moulding - it is way cheaper," he told IRIN, pointing to a group of young men putting firewood into a kiln a short distance away.

It has been a long wait for Garamimba, who is building a three-bedroom house. "There is no security of tenure if you are a lodger, and nothing is as exciting as having a home of your own."


[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

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Zimbabwe to boost power supply by June 2010

Wed Oct 28, 2009 11:38am GMT

* Hwange to reach full 750 MW capacity by June 2010

* Botswana to invest $8 million in 90 MW power station

* ZESA revenues rise to $25 mln from below $1 mln in Feb

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Oct 28 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's Hwange power station will reach full
generation capacity of 750 MW by next June while 90 MW would be produced
from a smaller station with help from Botswana to boost output, the energy
minister said on Wednesday.

Elias Mudzuri, Minister of Energy and Power Development said four generation
units were running at Hwange thermal power plant and two more units would
come to life in January and June 2010.

"At Hwange we have four units which are producing 450 MW and we have a
deficit of 300 MW, so we will be able to produce 750 MW when the fifth unit
is running in January and the sixth unit in June," Mudzuri told Reuters.

Mudzuri said Botswana Power Corporation had agreed to invest $8 million to
restart Bulawayo power station, which has not generated electricity for
nearly a decade.

The deal is similar to one signed with Namibia's utility NamPower last year,
which allowed the company to invest $45 million to rehabilitate Hwange in
exchange for electricity.

"We are likely to share 50-50 and the capacity of Bulawayo is 90 MW, but it
could go to 120 MW. We are targeting that by June we should be producing
electricity from Bulawayo power station," Mudzuri said.

Zimbabwe has faced serious power shortages, relying on imports to make up
for the deficit.

The southern African country currently produces 1,100 MW against a peak
demand of 2,000 MW and imports between 300-500 MW, mostly from neighbouring
Mozambique and Zambia.

To guarantee adequate supply, Zimbabwe has long planned to add two more
units at Hwange, generating 300 MW each, and expand its Kariba hydro power
plant with two generators, adding 150 MW each by 2012 at a total cost of
$800 million.


But the government has so far failed to attract independent power producers
and Mudzuri said the country's unstable political environment deterred
private investors.

A unity government formed in February between President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that had raised investors' hopes may yet
unravel after Tsvangirai's party boycotted cabinet meetings over how to
share executive power.

State power utility ZESA is seeking an independent power producer to develop
its Gokwe North power plant to produce 1,400 MW at a cost of $1.6 billion.

Zimbabwe could also tap 300 MW from Lupane Gas project, a greenfield project
at a cost of $300 million while ZESA jointly owns with Zambia the Batoka
power project with potential to generate 1,600 MW at a cost of $1.8 billion.

Mudzuri said monthly revenue collections by ZESA had increased since
February when the utility began charging for power in foreign currency.

"This October we have had reasonable collection. It has been increasing
gradually. I can tell you that we started below $1 million in February and
we have increased to about $25 million and our target is 35-40 million,"
Mudzuri said. (Editing by James Jukwey)

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frican governments must pressure Zimbabwe on human rights -  Amnesty International


      Wednesday, 28 October 2009 17:38
      Amnesty International today warned that Zimbabwe is on the brink of
sliding back into the post-election violence that marred the country last
year, risking undermining the stability brought about by the creation of the
unity government in February.

      The organization called on Southern African Development Community
(SADC) foreign ministers, visiting Zimbabwe on Thursday to assess the eight
month-old unity government, not to ignore the worsening human rights
      In recent weeks, there have been several arrests of civil society
leaders and reports of harassment and intimidation of political opponents by
ZANU-PF supporters in rural areas. In particular, Amnesty International has
received reports of increased threats of violence in Mashonaland East and
Central provinces against known supporters of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) formation led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
      On 25 October, Cephas Zinhumwe, Executive Director of the National
Association of Non-Governmental Organisations (NANGO), and Dadirai
Chikwengo, NANGO board chairperson, were both arrested by police in Victoria
Falls after NANGO convened a workshop for NGO directors.
      "Dozens of human rights and MDC activists are on trial for simply
exercising their internationally recognized rights, including the rights to
freedom of association, peaceful assembly and expression. Some of these
people were victims of enforced disappearance in 2008," said Erwin van der
Borght, Director of Amnesty International's Africa Programme
      Amnesty International urged the SADC ministers to rethink the role of
the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), created under the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) establishing the unity government, to
ensure the implementation of the agreement, including its human rights
      "JOMIC is ineffective and has fallen victim to political polarisation.
It is very weak and is solely dependent on the good will of the feuding
parties - a recipe for disaster," said Erwin van der Borght.
      Amnesty International also challenged the SADC and the African Union
(AU) to tackle human rights violations by government bodies under the
control of ZANU-PF.
      "Some elements in the unity government continue to persecute perceived
political opponents through unlawful arrests and malicious prosecutions.
This is fuelling tension in the unity government and increasing fear amongst
the people," said Erwin van der Borght.
      "SADC needs to recognize this recent deterioration in the human rights
situation and tackle it immediately - before it degenerates further."
      The organization said that central to addressing the crisis in
Zimbabwe was the need to rein in the country's security agencies and end the
culture of impunity for human rights violations. Amnesty International
called on the Zimbabwean government to implement institutional reforms,
including reforming the country's security agencies to ensure that they
respect and protect human rights of all people in Zimbabwe.

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Stop living the lie

Speaking with a friend on the telephone the other night, we discussed just
how difficult it is to maintain a stand against Mugabe's brutish rule in
Zimbabwe - and we also agreed that whilst we may be divorced physically from
events on the ground, at least we have the freedom to write (within reason)
about the warped situation in Zimbabwe.

And for that, I am profoundly thankful.

And, as I got to thinking along those lines, I began to focus on the
comments and emails I get from anonymous readers who belittle me for what I
have to say, for my opinions and my stance.

Interestingly, the majority of these comments which tell me to back off, and
leave the idea that I might be in some danger, come from Mugabe apologists
who live in the Western world. My stock reply to them is: "Go home to
Zimbabwe and see what it is like to live in a country ravaged by the rule of
one man."

But I gave the situation in Zimbabwe further thought and I realised that
ZANU PF seem to think that if they say it is so, then it is so. Little
regard is given to the truth, and little regard is given to the consequences
of that action.

Just recently, Didymus Mutasa, a senior figure within ZANU PF, denied that a
warrant for his arrest had been issued by a magistrate as Mutasa had failed
to appear in court having been subpoenaed to appear.

On a radio interview with SW Radio Africa, Mutasa became quite vocal in his
responses to presenter Violet Gonda, and he decided to terminate the call.

Typical ZANU PF.

I see that the magistrate in the case has recused himself.

A court recently ordered the police chief and the army chief to discipline a
senior army officer who was intent on taking over a farm which was protected
by a court order. The order was defied and we sort-of expect the Judge
President to issue a warrant of arrest for Sibanda and Chihuri - and if that
happens, it will be ignored.

And nothing will happen in response to that defiance.

Mugabe repeatedly tells the world that the West is seeking to re-colonise
Zimbabwe - but he fails to substantiate that claim. He claims that the West
is seeking 'regime change' in Zimbabwe, but fails to substantiate that

He sells the land grab to the world as a return of the land to the 'landless
black' and then gives the seized land to his loyalists.

He offers no explanation, and maintains that what he and his band of
brigands have done is for the good of the country.
And expects the nation to accept his word on the exercise - whilst his
government continue to excuse the lack of a land audit on lack of finance.
They say that a land audit will cost in the region of US$30 million.

And now that financing has been offered, we hear nothing further.

He and his ministers claim that Zimbabwe can feed itself and that this
season will see a bumper harvest. How so, when the land is in the hands of
ZANU PF bigwigs who have done nothing with it?

He and his close advisers, ministers and supporters may be able to feed
themselves - financed by money taken from public and private coffers.

Mugabe lies to the people of Zimbabwe, lies to the international bodies and
expects everyone to believe it - because Mugabe said so.

But his lies are proving his undoing - and as he lies himself into a corner,
less and less people believe him and more and more people enter the fray
pitted against him and ZANU PF.

If ever he wanted to make a comeback, then the answer is simple.

Stop living the lie.

Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man

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Bill Watch 35 of 26th October 2009 [SADC Organ TroikaMinisters in Harare Thursday to discuss GPA]

BILL WATCH 35/2009

[26th October 2009]

The House of Assembly reopened last week and has adjourned until Tuesday 3rd November

Senate has adjourned until Tuesday 10th November

Update on Parliament

Sittings last week:   After a two week adjournment following the opening of Parliament on 6th October the House of Assembly sat on Tuesday [1 hour 37 minutes], Wednesday [2 hours 38 minutes] and Thursday [2 hours 49 minutes] before adjourning to 3rd November.   The Senate sat on Tuesday and Wednesday before adjourning to 10th November; the sittings were brief [31 minutes and 86 minutes respectively]. 

As assured in the MDC statement of disengagement, Parliament sat with MPs and Ministers from all parties attending to business.

Business in the House of Assembly

Debate on the President’s speech opening the Second Session took place on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Wednesday’s debate became heated when a ZANU-PF MP criticised the MDC’s disengagement and an MDC-T MP was critical of the President’s speech, leading to spirited interjections requiring several interventions by the Deputy Speaker. 

Members’ Question Time on Wednesday saw Minister of Finance Tendai Biti explaining that in November he will ask Parliament to approve the use of the IMF special drawing rights [SDRs] about which there has been much controversy; he stressed that the special drawing rights are a non-concessionary loan carrying interest, not a grant.  He also gave details of Zimbabwe’s “huge debt”.  Minister of Economic Planning and Investment Promotion Elton Mangoma discussed what needs to be done to attract investment, and referred to the problems created for potential investors by land invasions and political interference in business, such as threats against international companies operating here.

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Amendment Bill received its First Reading on Wednesday and was referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee. 

SADC Protocol on Gender and Development was approved with support from all parties, and will now go to the Senate for its approval. 

Committee Report – the report of the Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructural Development on the Zimbabwe National Roads Authority Fund was presented to the House of Assembly on Thursday.

Comptroller and Auditor-General’s Reports – the Minister of Finance tabled reports for the 2007 financial year and for the first quarter of 2009.  

Business in the Senate

The only business dealt with was the debate on the President’s speech opening the Second Session.

MDC-T Disengagement: Impact on Government

The President in a belated public comment on the disengagement late last week, dismissed it as a “non-event”.  Minister of State in the President’s Office Mutasa said: Zimbabwe is going to go on without them, as in the past.”

The Prime Minister spent most of last week outside the country on an outreach mission to brief regional Heads of State on the current situation ahead of an anticipated SADC Organ Troika meeting.  He met Presidents Khama of Botswana, Guebuza of Mozambique, Zuma of South Africa, Kabila of the DRC and dos Santos of Angola.  

Council of Ministers did not meet.

Cabinet met on Tuesday without MDC-T members – an MDC-T press release stated “Any purported Cabinet decision made by the Zanu PF caucus in the absence of all the three political parties is null and void.”  Constitutionally this is incorrect – there is no required quorum and decisions are taken by consensus.  Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara said that, while he sympathised with Mr Tsvangirai’s complaints, MDC-M ministers would not disengage and would be “going to Cabinet in order to stop ZANU (PF) from making outrageous decisions”.   He also saw the role of MDC-M as that of mediator between the two other parties.  These sentiments are in direct contradiction to Mr Chaibva’s statement when interviewed by ZTV as representing MDC-M  [Bill Watch 34].  Mr Chaibva is not in fact an MDC-M MP.

Ministers and Deputy Ministers from MDC-T reported for work as usual.  There were reports of difficulties and delays in work of some Ministries where Minister and Deputy Minister are from different parties, and lack of liaison – but that is not exactly new, having already been the case in some Ministries.  But following the “disengagement” lack of communication becomes more problematic.  An example being that ZANU-PF Minister of Information Shamu has been quoted as saying that “MDC-T ministers cannot speak on behalf of government following their decision to disengage”… "So until the party reverses its decision, these ministers will not be covered."  His MDC-T Deputy Minister Timba said he “was not aware of this” and “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”.

Parliament sat as usual last week [see above].

Constitution-making process – the Select Committee and the new Management Committee, which includes Ministers, have met as usual, with all parties present.  The “disengagement” relates to activities of the executive – Cabinet and Council of Ministers – not to the work of Parliamentary Committees and of individual Ministers.

Principals’ Meeting Monday 26th October

The meeting between the three principals – President Mugabe, Prime Minister Tsvangirai and DPM Mutambara went on for three  hours this afternoon.  An MDC-T spokesperson said afterwards that the MDC-T and ZANU-PF remain “worlds apart”. 

SADC Organ Troika Mission to Zimbabwe

The SADC mission to Harare on 29th October will consist of the foreign ministers of the Organ Troika countries – Mozambique, Zambia and Swaziland – not the three Heads of State.  The ministers will report back to their principals.  The chair of the Organ Troika is President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, currently busy campaigning ahead of polling in that country’s national elections on 28th October, which rules out his coming to Harare on the 29th.  [Note on SADC responsibilities:  SADC and the AU are guarantors of the GPA.  In addition, as pointed out by Tendai Biti when briefing civil society on 23rd October, MDC-T’s list of unresolved issues includes ZANU-PF’s failure to comply with directives on sorting out these issues given to the parties by the SADC Summit in January 2009.]  

Chairperson of SADC, President Kabila of DRC to visit Harare?

Mr Tsvangirai announced from Kinshasa on Thursday that President Joseph Kabila of the Democratic Republic of Congo [DRC] will visit Harare in the coming days to mediate the crisis bedeviling the Zimbabwean government.  "President Kabila has committed himself to come and share with us the rich experience of DRC in matters of political transition."  Mr Kabila is the current SADC chairperson. 

Constituency Vacancies Awaiting By-elections

A new vacancy in the Senate – with the death of elected Senator Misheck Chando [ZANU-PF Bindura-Shamva] on 23rd October in a road accident the number of Senate vacancies requiring the holding of by-elections has risen to 6.  In the House of Assembly there are 9 constituency seats vacant.   The country is now awaiting 15 by-elections

MPs in Court

Senator and Deputy Minister of Agriculture Designate Roy Bennett – the High Court trial on two charges under POSA is due to commence on Monday 9th November in Harare

Deputy Minister Thamsanqa Mahlangu – the defence case has been concluded and the magistrate will deliver judgment on 2nd November [the Deputy Minister and his co-accused are charged with theft of a cell phone].

Update on Independent Constitutional Commissions

Human Rights Commission [ZHRC]:  A list of 16 nominees for appointment to ZHRC was sent to the President by Parliament following the interviewing of 35 short-listed candidates by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders [CSRO] on 12th October.  CSRO members were unanimous in their  assessment of the candidates.  It is now for the President to appoint the 8 members [4 of whom must be women] of this Commission.  To complete the composition of the Commission the President must also appoint a chairperson, who must be a legal practitioner of at least 5 years’ standing, after consulting the Judicial Service Commission and the CSRO [he is not bound to follow their advice, but if the appointment is not consistent with any recommendation of the JSC the President must inform the Senate of that fact “as soon as practicable”].

Anti-Corruption Commission [ZACC]:  No interviews are scheduled for those who applied to Parliament for positions on this Commission.  The Constitution does not require the CSRO to submit a list of nominees for ZACC; instead, it states that the President must appoint the members of ZACC [not less than 4 and not more than 9] “in consultation with” the CSRO.  Further developments are awaited. 

Electoral Commission [ZEC] and Media Commission [ZMC]:  There has been no announcement of appointments of members and chairpersons of these commissions.  The President’s spokesman has been reported as stating that the President’s intention is to announce the formation of all four of the Commissions together, once all appointments have been settled, something the MDC-T’s present disengagement from ZANU-PF may hold up.

SADC Tribunal: Another Ruling Defied by Zimbabwe

Pioneering black Zimbabwean commercial farmer Luke Tembani was evicted from his farm in defiance of a SADC Tribunal ruling in August prohibiting the eviction.  The eviction was carried out by the Deputy Sheriff.   Mr Tembani, who owed Agribank money, fell victim to the law allowing Agribank to repossess and sell his farm without recourse to the courts.  The Tribunal ruled that the repossession and sale of the farm by Agribank was "illegal and void", holding the law under which it was done to be inconsistent with the principles of the SADC Treaty.  This eviction has gone ahead in spite of the Prime Minister’s statement that the Cabinet was yet to decide on Zimbabwe’s position vis-à-vis the Tribunal.  

Legislation Update

Bill Tabled in Parliament:  Reserve Bank Amendment Bill [HB 7, 2009] – gazetted on 14th August. This Bill has been referred to the Parliamentary Legal Committee following its First Reading.  [See Bill Watch Special of 8th October, which notes that one clause may be inconsistent with the Declaration of Rights].  

Bills gazetted awaiting introduction in Parliament:

Public Finance Management Bill [HB 9, 2009] – gazetted on 16th October.  [Electronic version available on request.] 

Audit Office Bill [HB 10, 2009] – gazetted on 2nd October.  [Electronic version available on request.]  

Financial Adjustments Bill [HB 8, 2009] – gazetted on 25th September.  [Electronic version available on request.]

Bill passed by Parliament but not yet gazetted as Act The Appropriation (Additional) (2008) Bill, passed in early April, has at last been submitted for the President’s assent and signature but has still not been gazetted. It is not an Act until gazetted.   [The Bill approves expenditure incurred without Parliamentary authority in 2008.]

Statutory Instruments

New licensing fees under the Broadcasting Services Act were mentioned in press reports last week – although these were in fact gazetted over two months ago [SI 130/2009 of 7th August].

Statutory instruments gazetted on 23rd October included:

SI 164/2009, which fixes a new rate of interest [5 per cent per annum],for the purposes of the Prescribed Rate of Interest Act.  This is the default rate of interest applicable to overdue debts; it applies unless a different rate is fixed by a court or by agreement of the parties. [Electronic version available on request.]

SI 165/2009, which contains the agreement between Zimbabwe and Zambia for the establishment and implementation of the one-stop border post at Chirundu.


Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.


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