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Mugabe in Singapore for medical attention

Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:35


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is in Singapore for treatment, The Standard has

The trip is Mugabe’s seventh visit to Asia for medical reasons since

Media, Information and Publicity minister, Webster Shamu yesterday confirmed
that Mugabe was seeking medical attention. Vice-President Joyce Mujuru is
the acting president.

Shamu claimed that the 87-year-old leader had gone for a review after an eye
operation early this year.

“He went for a review following an eye operation he had earlier on. He will
be back tomorrow (Sunday),” Shamu said.

But on March 3, Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba was quoted telling
state media that his boss was “going for his final check-up”.
“As you know after a cataract operation there is a period of two weeks to
check up,” Charamba said.

A cataract is a clouding that develops in the crystaline lens of the eye or
in the envelope.

Operations to remove cataracts are usually performed using a local
anaesthetic and the patient is allowed to go home the same day.
It was not clear if Mugabe had used an Air Zimbabwe flight.

He had returned home from the United Nations General Assembly in New York on
Sunday after a burst tyre delayed his flight by more than 24 hours.

Over the years Mugabe’s health has been a source of intense speculation,
which has been heightened by leaked US diplomatic cables quoting his closest
associates saying he had advanced prostate cancer.

One of the cables released by the whistleblower website WikiLeaks claimed
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono told former US ambassador to Zimbabwe
James McGee that in 2008 doctors had given Mugabe five years to live.

The doctors allegedly told him that his prostate cancer had spread to a
number of organs and was now irreversible.

“According to Gono, Mugabe’s doctor had recommended he cut back on his
activities,” reads part of the 2008 cable.
“Gono told us last year that Mugabe was ill and that his doctor had urged
him to step down immediately.
“Mugabe told his doctor, according to Gono, that he would leave office after
the election.”
Gono has denied talking to the Americans about Mugabe’s health.

Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Moyo is also quoted in one of the cables
claiming the veteran ruler had throat cancer but the Tsholotsho North MP has
disassociated himself from the claims.

Mugabe has also admitted that his wife Grace spent some time in Asia
undergoing treatment for a dislocated hip.

The Standard first reported about the First Lady’s injury after she
allegedly fell down at their Borrowdale home.

There were also reports that the Mugabes demanded at least US$3 million from
Treasury each time they went to Asia.
The money is believed to be for medical bills and travel expenses for his
usually large entourage.

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Many MPs have Aids—Speaker

Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:31

BULAWAYO — Speaker of Parliament, Lovemore Moyo (pictured) yesterday claimed
that a number of MPs are suffering from Aids with some having lost their
spouses to the disease.

Moyo made the claims at a prayer meeting for Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani
Khupe held in her Makokoba constituency.
Khupe is suffering from breast cancer and is due to go for chemotherapy
before the end of the year.
Moyo, who is also the MDC-Tchairman challenged other leaders to emulate
Khupe and disclose their health problems to help end stigma around certain

“Let’s follow what Khupe has done by being open about her illness,” Moyo
“This is a challenge to all leaders, especially parliamentarians in this
“There are many of them in parliament who are suffering from HIV and Aids.

“They have lost their wives to HIV, we know them. They are taking tablets to
try and manage their skin to look healthy.”
He said he was concerned that the MPs were knowingly passing on the virus to
young women whom they marry without disclosing their status.
Moyo disclosed that he is suffering from diabetes even though he looks
“healthy.” Diabetes is a chronic illness.

President Robert Mugabe last month told delegates at the second national
Aids conference that he knew of senior government officials who were taking
ARVs and passing the virus to innocent women.

A journalist employed by the state media early this year caused the arrest
of Insiza South MP Siyabonga Malandu-Ncube accusing him of infecting her
with the virus.

Ncube is denying the charges and has won a High Court challenge against a
magistrate’s court ruling that sought to force him to take an HIV test.
Zimbabwe has managed to significantly reduce HIV prevalence from as high as
26,5% in 1997 to 14,3% in 2009 among adults between 15 and 49 years of age.

HIV sero-prevalence among pregnant women also decreased from 20,1% to 16,1%
by the end of 2009.

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Tsvangirai preaches peace

Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:30

BULAWAYO — Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday reiterated his call
for an end to political violence that has now spilled into major cities. “We
all want a new era in this country where knives, machetes, knobkerries, guns
and booted feet as instruments of violence and repression are no longer
fashionable,” Tsvangirai told a prayer meeting for his deputy Thokozani

“As a country we have been forced to walk the painful road of violence and
hatred and we are not prepared to walk it forever more.

“We have seen state agents actively engaged in shameful acts of violence and
the unbridled violation of the people’s rights and freedoms.”
He said the unity government he joined in 2009 had given Zimbabweans
breathing space and the reforms it had introduced would lead to a better

However, he vowed not to support the Human Rights Bill in its present form
saying it proposed that “victims of violence and human rights abuses cannot
seek recourse or justice and that perpetrators are left to go scot free.”

“The bill seeks to undermine the basic human rights that it seeks to
address,” he said.

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Mohadi, new farmers in land battle

Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:22

RESETTLED farmers in Beitbridge have accused Home Affairs co-minister, Kembo
Mohadi of trying to muscle them out of land, which he allegedly intends to
parcel out to his son and nephew, in an acrimonious row that threatens to
turn nasty.
The resettled farmers, some of them war veterans, have been involved in a
long running dogfight with the minister, in a case that at one time saw one
plot holder seeking a peace order against Mohadi’s wife, Tambudzani. In a
letter addressed to war veterans Matabeleland South chairperson, a Mr
Siziba, the resettled farmers claim Mohadi wants to resettle his child,
Campbell Junior and his nephew, Danisa Muleya.

The plot holders claim a 2009 meeting, with the blessing of the District
Administrator, changed the status of the Lot 9 A1 self-contained farms to A2
and this invited the interest of Mohadi, who already occupies the adjacent
Lot 10. This, the farmers say, was later reversed by the Provincial Land
Committee, which charged that the district committee had erred in handling
the matter, considering that the meeting did not have a quorum.

The farmers claimed that the DA, Simon Muleya had approached them and
offered them alternative land to avoid confrontation with the Mohadis. But
the farmers resisted, saying they would not move as the land had been
allocated to them and this they say, led to Mohadi employing strong-arm
tactics, a charge the minister denied.

“Whoever is saying that, should go to the DA,” he charged. “I am not an
authority on land issues.”
Mohadi, without commenting on the individual case, said there was a chain
that people could follow from the District Land Committee, the Provincial
Land Committee and the Minister of Lands if they felt hard done.

The DA, Muleya, declined to comment, saying the matter had been referred to
the Provincial Lands Committee and he, therefore, could not comment on it.
But the resettled farmers claim Mohadi has erected a 1,4 metre high fence
that stretches for four and a half kilometres, which fenced off two farmers,
while taking almost two thirds and half of the two other nearby plots

“(This) has created an island for the plot holders, as we are no longer able
to access each other or the nearest (water source)Zhove Dam,” reads the

“This is because no gateways were created along the fencing line thus
shutting down all the access routes, hence violating our rights to access
land lawfully allocated to us.”

The farmers further claim they resisted this and this led to Mohadi’s guard,
whom they identified as Knowledge, threatening them with a gun after they
attempted to stop him from driving their livestock off the land.
The farmers said the matters were handled by Officer-In-Charge of Beitbridge
Rural, an Inspector Mumanyi, with one case having been reported on August

The police boss also sat in the District Land Committee meetings that
deliberated the conflict but he declined to comment referring the matter to
Officer Commanding Beitbridge, a Chinhengo.

Chinhengo however, said he was not aware any such reports were made, despite
the fact that his subordinate had sat in all the District Land Committee

“Our workers are continually harassed by both the politicians’ farm guards
and also by the Beitbridge Rural police officers based at Mohadi’s farm,”
the farmers conclude. “This leaves us asking where our legitimate freedoms
and land empowerment are.”

The Provincial Land Committee is reported to have recommended that the fence
be removed, while those that owned land as per previous audits held early
this year should remain on their properties. Despite the recommendations
being made in August, the farmers say action is yet to be taken, although
the PLC is scheduled to meet at the end of the month and this will be one of
the items on the agenda.
Matabeleland South governor Angeline Masuku said she could not comment
because the matter was “above” her.

In another letter dated September 25, one farmer alleges that Mohadi
threatened to shoot his mother and killed a sheep.

He further alleges that the minister returned at 10pm and shot a dog,
apparently in an effort to intimidate the farmers that were refusing to be
In response they allege they tried to make a report to the police, but were
told that the officers did not have any power to arrest their minister.

“When a report is made to the Beitbridge Rural police about affairs
involving the said politicians, no visible or tangible action is taken,” the
letter reads.

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Zesa switches off Mutoko hospital

Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:21

MUTOKO District Hospital is operating without electricity after the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority reportedly cut supplies over a US$16 000 debt.

According to a hospital official who requested to remain anonymous, Zesa
disconnected electricity despite that the hospital has a mortuary and a
theatre that require uninterrupted supply of power

The official said they have since resorted to using a generator for the
X-Ray and theatre, but all other areas like the mortuary, hospital wards and
nurses’ quarters remained without electricity. “The Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai was here yesterday (Thursday), but surprisingly he was never told
by hospital management of the power cut,” the official said.

“At least maybe, if they had notified the PM, he could have assisted in the
reconnection of the electricity while the hospital looked for the US$16 000
needed by Zesa.”

Efforts to get a comment from the hospital superintendent, identified only
as Dr Kautare were fruitless as he hung up when asked about the power cut.
Attempts to call him later were futile as his mobile phone was unreachable.

Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Henry Madzorera, said his office was
yet to get a report on the predicament of the district hospital.
He however said, once he gets a report, his office would carry out
investigations. Zesa spokesperson Fullard Gwasira refused to comment saying
he was on leave, while group CEO Josh Chifamba’s mobile was unreachable.

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Invaders threaten to drive out elephants from conservancy

Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:21

A herd of 70 elephants at the Chiredzi Conservancy is under threat after
poachers, war veterans and politicians invaded the area and are threatening
to drive out wildlife.
Already two elephants, including one lactating, have been killed, while some
calves have reportedly gone missing.
The invaders and poachers reportedly threaten the lives of wardens at the
conservancy, while politicians turn a blind eye to the decimation of the
elephant population.

In a statement, Glyn Hunter, a spokesperson for the conservancy, said the
invaders were chasing the elephants, snaring them and in some cases had
threatened to shoot the animals.

Efforts to get intervention from the government have so far drawn a blank,
as Environment minister, Francis Nhema is reported to have said he would do
something about the invaders, but is still to act.

“According to local residents, while he acknowledged that the invaders were
there illegally, no attempt is being made to relocate them or address the
issues on the ground,” Hunter said.

Conservancy owners had asked the minister to help facilitate the relocation
of the elephants, but Nhema was adamant that they stay. The land invaders
have reportedly been offered alternative land, but they declined the offer,
insisting they wanted to stay on the conservancy, despite the fact that the
land is not suitable for agriculture.

The plight of the elephants is reminiscent of a case in January this year,
where war veterans were reportedly poisoning watering holes at Humani Ranch
so they could trap and kill rhinos, then dehorn them.

Due to land invasions, promoted by Zanu PF, only a handful of conservancies
remain compared to more than 640 a decade ago.

“It is increasingly critical for the coalition government to pass a law that
protects conservancies under the Tourism Act so that conservancy principles
are adhered to, for the protection of wildlife and the environment,” said
the president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union, Charles Taffs.

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Jonathan Moyo speaks on Mugabe succession

Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:05

FORMER Media, Information and Publicity minister Jonathan Moyo has dismissed
President Robert Mugabe’s potential successors in Zanu PF, saying, they had
so far, not shown vision or policy to take the country forward. “We know who
they are, but we do not know what they stand for, their policy or ideology,”
he told a meeting last Thursday.

Moyo’s statements may be seen as a thinly veiled attack on Vice-President
Joice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa, who are reportedly leading opposing
factions within Zanu PF and are positioning themselves to succeed Mugabe.

“Mugabe remains the only person who talks to the people and who talks the
indigenous talk, we are better off with him than the others,” Moyo, a Zanu
PF politburo member, said.

The Tsholotsho North  legislator said the succession issue would be resolved
through a framework within Zanu PF where the person to succeed Mugabe would
be faithful to the founding values, policy and retaining the legacy of the

He said the problem was that Zimbabweans tended to focus on individuals and
lost sight of the bigger picture, a problem he blamed on the media.
Moyo said contrary to popular perception, there was robust debate within
Zanu PF on the succession issue, but the consensus was that Mugabe was the
rightful leader.

The former university lecturer claimed the media’s handling of the Zanu PF
succession issue had been immature, creating controversy where there was

Moyo is no stranger to the Zanu PF succession debate and is widely regarded
as one of the key architects of the Tsholotsho Declaration, which was meant
to torpedo Mujuru’s ascendancy to the vice-president’s post.

He was expelled from Zanu PF after deciding to stand as an independent
candidate, only to make a return to the party in 2009, four years after his

Turning to the leaked US cables, Moyo said these had strengthened Mugabe’s
hand and predicted that those named would fall over themselves trying to
please the president in an effort to make amends for perceived

Whistleblower website, WikiLeaks released secret US embassy cables, where
Zanu PF members, including Moyo were reported to have confided in American

A constant theme in the released Zimbabwe cables was the succession issue,
as Zanu PF members expressed frustration at Mugabe’s grip on power.
“We will see those named doing everything possible to support Mugabe,” he
said. “It will take a courageous politician in Zanu PF to act as if nothing

It was widely expected that Mugabe, who reportedly does not take kindly to
disloyalty, was going to wield the axe and take punitive measures on those
named in the cables, but the expected backlash is yet to happen.

Moyo said it was inconceivable that people would lose their political
careers over the leaked cables, although he said this opened the door for
others to rise within the party’s structures.

He conceded that Zimbabwe was a closed society, saying had it been open the
upheaval over the leaked cables would not be happening.

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Journalists launch green association

Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:03


ENVIRONMENT and Natural Resources Management minister Francis Nhema has
called on Zimbabweans to take an active interest in efforts to preserve the

Officially launching the Zimbabwe Environment Journalist Association (Zeja)
in Vumba last week, Nhema said: "Our environment is burning and crying out
for help from us.

“It's not so much what we say that makes a difference but what we do as

The awareness and concern about the environmental degradation have grown
around the world over the years.

Zeja is an association for journalists formed in November last year to unite
reporters writing about the environment and development issues in order to
help curb the problem of environmental degradation in the country.

ZEJA chairman Farai Matebvu said: "Strong environmental awareness and
commitment to environmental management and control is a big necessity for
our country."

Faced with frequent power cuts, millions of people in Zimbabwe have turned
to wood as an alternative source of energy resulting in deforestation in
many parts of the country.

The country lost more than 20% of its forest cover between 1990 and 2005, an
average loss of 312,900 hectares according to statistics compiled by
environment website Mogabay.

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Empowerment a Zanu PF project, says Kasukuwere

Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:02

THE indigenisation programme will benefit mostly Zanu PF supporters because
other political parties are against it, Youth Development, Indigenisation
and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere has said. In an interview during
his recent visit to Mhondoro-Ngezi where he had gone to inform the community
of a trust formed to take over US$120 million in Zimplats shares, Kasukuwere
said MDC supporters would not benefit because they were against taking
companies from their white owners.
“The MDC has refused to embrace indigenisation,” he said.

“They have said they are not interested in taking companies from their white
owners, so they won’t benefit from the indigenisation drive.
“So our people, our Zanu PF supporters will benefit and become empowered
through this programme.”
Quizzed on why a national programme should be turned into a Zanu PF project,
Kasukuwere said the MDCs were not interested in being part of the
indigenisation drive.

While answering questions from journalists last Wednesday, Prime Minister
Tsvangirai said if Kasukuwere decided to be partisan over indigenisation
then there was no need for the MDC-T to support the programme.

“I am surprised. I thought this was a government policy and this government
also has other parties,” he said.
“There is sometimes ignorance that it’s no longer a Zanu PF government but a
new dispensation.
“I thought it was a genuine programme to uplift the majority of Zimbabweans
from poverty.”

MDC-T youth assembly secretary general, Promise Mkwananzi concurred with
Tsvangirai saying that the empowerment drive was meant to empower every
youth regardless of political affiliation.

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War veterans share ‘stolen’ cattle

Saturday, 01 October 2011 19:01

BULAWAYO — Zanu PF structures in Nyamandlovu last week allegedly shared
cattle stolen from white commercial farmers in Nyamandlovu, Matabeleland
North province amid reports that some of them got as much as 10 head of
cattle each. Sources in the province said war veterans and Zanu PF
supporters have all along been stealing cattle from white commercial farmers
being chased away from their farms in Matabeleland’s most productive region.

Zapu national spokesperson Methuseli Moyo said members of their party in
Nyamandlovu told them that police and veterinary officers were forced to
prepare the paperwork that created the impression that the cattle were stray
animals before the loot from the evicted white farmers was shared among Zanu
PF loyalists in the district.

Moyo described the incident as stock theft.

“As Zapu, we can confirm that we have received reports from our structures
in Nyamandlovu that Zanu PF supporters are now sharing cattle they have all
along been stealing.
“They are hiding behind statements that these were stray cattle yet it is
known that they are the ones who have been stealing the cattle.
“It is very disturbing. Stray cattle are auctioned publicly and not in this
way and the local authority must benefit from the money.
“As far as we are concerned it is stock theft. Those involved should be
arrested,” Moyo told The Standard last week.

War veterans and Zanu PF activists stand accused of invading farms primarily
to loot property as they had no skills in commercial farming as witnessed by
a drop in production outputs, resulting in the country surviving on food

Most farmers have lost hope of fighting the government in a bid to repossess
their farms or get compensation as the Sadc Tribunal, which had always ruled
in their favour, was suspended early this year.

The Tribunal in November 2008 ruled in favour of 78 white farmers who were
challenging President Robert Mugabe’s land reform programme on the grounds
that it discriminated against them on the basis of race.

Mines and Mining Development minister Obert Mpofu, who is the legislator for
the area, though confirming the development, shifted the blame to police
saying they were the ones sharing cattle seized from white commercial

“The only thing nearer to what I heard is that it is police officers who
shared the cattle among themselves.

“Why don’t you call the police and find out because it is Zanu PF people who
were complaining over that,” Mpofu said in an interview.
Officer commanding Tsholotho District, under which Nyamandlovu falls; Chief
Superintendent Johannes Gowo however dismissed the allegations as false.
“There is nothing like that. Those are false allegations. We don’t have
anything like that in our area,” he said.

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DPM Khupe’s bodyguard sues Langa

Saturday, 01 October 2011 18:59

BULAWAYO — Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe’s bodyguard, who has been
living with a bullet near his heart for a decade, is suing Deputy Minister
for Public Service, Andrew Langa for US$100 000 as compensation for his
injuries. Darlington Kadengu (32) accuses the Insiza North MP of shooting
him in 2002.
Doctors advised him not to remove the bullet saying he could die as it was
lodged near his heart.

The Standard was shown the doctors’ report and the scan confirming that a
bullet is lodged near Kadengu’s heart.
Kadengu was allegedly shot at point blank range inside Filabusi Police
Station in Matabeleland South by Langa, during the run-up to a parliamentary
by-election in Insiza that was marred by violence.

Kadengu was shot while campaigning for Siyabonga Malandu-Ncube who was the
united MDC candidate in the Insiza by-election.
Langa won the by-election after a violent campaign which saw many villagers’
homesteads being burnt by Zanu PF supporters in the constituency.
A petition by the MDC challenging Langa’s victory in that by-election is
still pending at the courts.

Kadengu blasted police for failing to arrest Langa since 2002.

“Police are sitting on the case. I have waited for too long and it is time
he compensated me,” Kadengu said.
Kadengu said he has met Langa several times during government bu-siness but
the minister has never apologised for the incident.
Langa on Friday professed ignorance about the matter. He said he never shot

“I do not know that guy. He is just hallucinating,” Langa said in a
telephone interview.

The shooting incident was reported and entered as crime record number 717273
at Filabusi Police Station in the area.

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Violence perpetrators to assist victims rebuild homes

Saturday, 01 October 2011 18:58

ZANU PF supporters who burnt down houses of MDC-T activists in Chimanimani
District early this year will assist the victims resettle at their former
homesteads by helping them rebuild their houses. This was agreed at a Joint
Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) meeting held a fortnight ago
at Nhedziwa Business Centre where local traditional leaders, police, senior
officials from Zanu PF and the two MDC formations all pledged to stop
political violence in the area.

Jomic board member Frank Chamunorwa said party leaders, police and Chief
John Mutambara made it clear to the villagers that they would not tolerate
political violence.

“We agreed that all the houses that were destroyed would be rebuilt by the
victims with the assistance of the perpetrators,” Chamunorwa said.
“Jomic and all the political parties would help in one way or the other
during the rebuilding exercise.
“We want to put in place a conducive environment that would enable their
safe return to their homes.”

Chamunorwa said the reconstruction of the houses would begin before the
start of the farming season to enable the returnees to plant their crops in

Jomic political liaison officer Lovemore Kadenge (MDC-T) also confirmed that
the perpetrators would help in the reconstruction of houses for the victims
as a way of showing remorse for what they did.

This will be done in the presence of Jomic officials, police and traditional
leaders to avoid resurgence of violence.
Chief Mutambara on Thursday denounced political violence adding that the
victims were free to come back to their homes.

He said he would either deal with perpetrators of violence himself or report
them to the police if they dared attack them again.
“Last week’s meeting was very fruitful and I am hoping people in my area
will live peacefully from now on,” the chief said.
“I am a chief for everyone regardless of political affiliation. I want both
Zanu PF and MDC supporters here to live peacefully.”

The meeting was attended by Jomic co-chairpersons Minister of Transport,
Communications and Infrastructure Development Nicholas Goche, Minister of
Regional Integration and International Cooperation Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga and Energy minister Elton Mangoma.

At least 12 MDC-T activists from Nhedziwa area in Chimanimani District have
since May been sheltered at the party’s provincial offices in Mutare after
they fled their homes following attacks by alleged Zanu PF supporters.

Another 20 are living with friends and relatives after fleeing their homes.

In Harare, Jomic is also setting up provincial liaison committees in an
effort to end political violence rocking the city.
The committees, which include officials from the three parties in the
government of national unity (GNU) will also be established in other
Chamunorwa said in the capital, Jomic would soon meet victims and alleged
perpetrators of violence separately in an effort to find solutions to
“We want to instil in people that there is no gain in violence,” he said.

“People should know that Pre-sident (Robert) Mugabe, (Prime Minister Morgan)
Tsvangirai and (MDC leader Welshman) Ncube are always drinking tea together,
merry-making while ordinary people in Mbare and Highfield are busy attacking
each other.”

Jomic was constituted under Article XXII of the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) signed in 2008 by leaders of Zanu PF and the two MDC formations.
It was formed to ensure the full implementation of the GPA, create mutual
trust between the parties, promote continuous dialogue and to receive
“reports and complaints” relating to the implementation of the agreement.

Kadenge also said the main challenge was that the perpetrators had not
returned the goats, chickens and other property they looted from their
They were never arrested although victims reported their cases to the

“One (Zanu PF member) of them is using a cellphone handset of a victim,”
Kadenge said.
“The matter was reported but this man was never arrested so this is the
challenge. We are asking someone to co-exist with a person who is using his
stolen property.”

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Kunonga speaks on Anglican chaos

Saturday, 01 October 2011 18:57

EXCOMMUNICATED Anglican bishop Nolbert Kunonga says those who are against
his leadership have “donated” the church’s properties to God. Thousands of
Anglican followers across the country have over the last few years
complained that Kunonga was ruthlessly evicting them from church properties.
This has in some cases resulted in violent clashes.

Kunonga told journalists on Friday that as long as he was alive, all the 3
800 Anglican properties in the country would remain in his custody.
He said whoever wants to use the property should rejoin his group, because
it was impossible to have him and Chad Gandiya as bishops.
“There is always one diocese, one bishop and one throne, not two,” Kunonga

“People simply walked out in thousands, they simply walked out on their own
after being misled by nonentities. If they want to come back, they are free
to do so and we are not going to ask them anything.

“Those who ran away from the church and do not want to come back just have
to rest their case, because they donated the properties to the church, they
donated to God,”

He said a lot of people had begun retracing their steps back to his faction.
“There was a time when there were only five of us in the hundreds of
churches, but now the situation is improving and some churches now have 300
parishioners, and these are the same people coming back after realising they
had been lied to,” he said.

While extending a conciliatory hand to ordinary members of the church,
Kunonga dismissed possibilities of reconciliation with the Gandiya faction.
“We call for reconciliation, everybody is free to come and worship with us.
We invite people and we don’t chase them away,” he said.
“The dispute of bishops has nothing to do with worshippers, as has been said
in the media, some people choose to politicise the dispute, others choose to
be judgemental.

“The dispute is between ourselves and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan
Williams, and bishops of the Province of Central Africa and it is purely
doctrinal and has nothing to do with politics.”

He refuted the widely held perception that he was Zanu PF.

Kunonga said the Anglican dispute was about homosexuality, which he said was

He said homosexuality led to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah and added
the Apostle Paul condemned it as unhealthy. He also cited a number of other
Old and New Testament scriptures against homosexuality.

Elson Jakazi, Kunonga’s bishop for Manicaland said at an international
level, the Anglican church is just a fellowship, saying no diocese or bishop
was more powerful than others.

“I am fighting the British, and not any of you, black Zimbabweans when you
are also poor and continue being trampled upon,” Kunonga said.
“I will not be silenced, nobody silences a true bishop,” he said. “Those
elderly women you see running saying they are being chased from the church
are lying, this is about Kunonga, Rowan Williams and the other bishops, it’s
nothing to do with 80-year-olds, they don’t understand this.”

Kunonga dismissed allegations that he had support from the police and the
judiciary, saying he has never taken anyone to court, but the CPCA has
dragged him to court on several occasions since 2007.
He said his interest was to restore order in the church.

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Children demand better services for the disadvantaged

Saturday, 01 October 2011 18:56

CHILDREN from across the country have called on the government to be more
responsive and proactive in addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable
children (OVC), who are among the most affected by the collapse in the
provision of social services.
Although the exact figures could not be immediately established, children’s
representatives last week told the government that most OVC do not have
identification documents, a situation that makes it impossible for them to
access most social services.

Speaking at the launch of the National Action Plan for Orphans and Other
Vulnerable Children – Phase 2 (2011 – 2015), Karel Nyandoro, a 15-year-old
Form III student at Kwekwe High School said failure to address the social
services requirements for OVC was making them more vulnerable.
“Many of us are orphans and vulnerable children,” Nyandoro said.

“Our situation is made worse because we sometimes find it difficult to
access birth certificates resulting in our failure to access education,
national identity documents, passports and other basic services that have
the production of a birth certificate as a prerequisite.”

Nyandoro told senior government officials — including Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and his deputy Thokozani Khupe – that OVC “still face some
stumbling blocks as we lack adequate information on the requirements for
birth registration”.

The children petitioned the government to recruit more social workers to
assist especially OVC and to allow them to also take part in the
implementation of some of the programmes.

Nyandoro said there has been an increase in child sexual abuse, and appealed
to the government “to come up with punitive and deterrent sentences for
perpetrators of child sexual abuse and all other forms of abuse”.

“We want cases of child sexual abuse to be given first preferences in Victim
Friendly courts and be closed quickly,” she said.
The NAP for OVC is funded by the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef), European
Commission, Netherlands, Sweden and Britain, as part of efforts to
strengthen families through cash transfers to the poorest households.

The programme was launched to meet the basic needs of orphans and other
categories of vulnerable children, reaching out to some 80 000 households.

The funding target is US$75 million, of which US$45 million has already been
made available.
Unicef country representative Peter Salama said: “Protecting children from
poverty, harm and abuse begins with reducing their vulnerabilities, cash
transfers are one of the critical components that will contribute to the
realisation of children’s rights”.

Salama said the NAP for OVC will ensure children have equal access to
services, regardless of where they live or their particular vulnerabilities.
He said the programme would help over one million children with each family
getting up to US$25 a month to meet its immediate needs for food and health

Labour and Social Services minister Paurina Gwanyanya-Mpariwa said the
grants will go a long way in alleviating the suffering in Zimbabwe’s

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Zanu PF chefs exploiting farm workers

Saturday, 01 October 2011 18:55

JAMAYA Muduvuri, a former Zanu PF senator, won the hearts of Chegutu’s
Twyford Farm workers when for some time he continued to pay them handsomely
after taking over the property from a white commercial farmer in 2009.

Some 28 lucky workers who survived a retrenchment exercise developed a soft
spot for Muduvuri as he paid them well and supplied them with foodstuffs.

“You would naturally feel lucky to survive the chop which cost some 170
employees their jobs, but that lasted for just a few months,” one employee
said last week.

“As it is right now, we are yet to get our wages for March, April and May.
He paid half wages to each employee in June, July and August. We are now
suffering like all those who lost their jobs because we have never handled
the US$55 minimum wage. He is paying US$45 when he says he has paid the full
wage and US$28 when paying half.”

Muduvuri took over the farm from Catherine Jouineau-Meredith, a French
The farm, which was one of the most productive in the area, was supposed to
be protected by a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement.

Trade unionists have indicated that there are many high-ranking Zanu PF
officials who have failed their inherited farm workers like Muduvuri, with
information that some have never paid any wages since the economy was
dollarised. “Some have never paid and others have only paid for an average
of two months since dollarisation,” Edward Dzeka of the General Agriculture
and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (Gapwuz) said.
Dzeka, who is Gapwuz organising secretary for Kadoma, Chegutu, Selous and
Mhondoro said most people who took over farms in the areas are Zanu PF
bigwigs and only a few were paying their employees as expected.

“Many are paying below the minimum wage of US$55 and lay off workers without
following due procedures,” he said.
“When we engage them on these issues, they say we are MDC activists.”

At one citrus farm owned by a senator, workers said they were earning US$40
per month and although they receive the wages every month, they usually come
on the 9th of the following month.

“She said she does not consider us as her workers but casual employees,
including some of us who used to be permanent employees at this farm,” one
worker said. “So she said, each of us earns US$2 per day. The problem here
is that the oranges are not doing well because of lack of chemicals and

At another farm owned by a Zanu PF politburo member, workers said the
minimum wage was pegged at US$32. “But the biggest problem here is the
acrimony between those who were sacked and those who are working as those
who are still employed sometimes harass those who lost their jobs, ordering
them out of the compound,” one employee said.

“A lot of people are surviving on piece jobs whereby they earn as little as
US$1 per day while others are paid for spying for the managers.”
While some farm owners were unreachable, Muduvuri disputed the claims saying
he was paying up as expected.

“I have 30 workers and the lowest paid earns US$85 while my drivers earn
US$100 and the farm managers as much as US$600,” he said.
“Come on the ground and ask any employee if they are not being paid and they
will tell you that I do not owe any of them any money. I give each employee
a bucket of mealie-meal and other basic foodstuffs every month and I also
assist them with funeral costs if need be.”
Labour and Social Services minister Paurina Mpariwa yesterday said she could
not comment on the matter as she was at the airport preparing to leave the

Farm workers, whose livelihoods were destroyed by the land reform programme,
have often been victims for their alleged links to the Movement for
Democratic Change.

A report prepared by the Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe in 2003, said
prior to the land reform programme, an estimated 320 000 to
350 000 people were employed by about 4 500 commercial farmers.

Their dependants numbered between 1,8 million and two million, nearly 2% of
the country’s population.

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Colourful festival for king Mzilikazi

Saturday, 01 October 2011 18:51

BULAWAYO — Yet another colourful festival was held in the city last week to
celebrate the life of first leader of the Ndebele kingdom, King Mzilikazi.
The festival was organised by the Institute of Ubuntu which was set up in
2001 with the objectives of “promoting African Renaissance and to develop a
cross-cultural exchange among different African tribes”.

The cultural tourism, the first of its kind to be organised in the country,
was a two-day event.

Director of the Institute of Ubuntu, Dumiso Matshazi told journalists that
the festival was aimed at preserving and developing African culture.
“We were inspired by the moral degeneration in our country and thought that
with this festival, we can preserve, restore and develop our cultural
“The festival will be an annual event held every September to celebrate King

“Activities at the festival involve a variety of ethnic displays since King
Mzilikazi’s rule was built around different ethnic groups,” Matshazi said.

The two-day festival began with a march across the central business district
from Inxwala Festival Arena at the corner of Main Street to the ZITF.
Matshazi added: “The focus is on bringing together traditional leaders, King
Mzilikazi’s traditional provinces and other communal leaders on a two-day
“Our wish is to work with everyone but we want to also put the record
straight that we are not sponsored by any political party.”

Among the traditional leaders that attended the official opening of the
cultural festival were Chief Dakemela (Nkayi), Chief Bakwayi (Kezi), Chief
Jahana (Insiza), Chief Ndondo (Mbembesi) and Chief Gwebu (Umzingwane).

Last month, uMthwakazi kaMzilikazi Cultural Association, which has the
backing of Mzilikazi’s descendants, held commemorations marking the death of
the king.

Mzilikazi Day is commemorated on September 9, with celebrations in Zimbabwe,
South Africa, The United Kingdom and the United States of America.
At the ZITF, there were multi-ethnic presentations on poetry, music and
dance in celebration of the cultural life of King Mzilikazi.
In the evening, there was a musical show featuring contemporary musicians
like Cool Crooners, Lwazi Tshabangu and Jeys Marabini.

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Striking college lecturers suspended

Saturday, 01 October 2011 18:50

MASVINGO — Lecturers at tertiary institutions who have been on strike,
demanding better working conditions got the shock of their lives when they
were suspended from work for three months. Their salaries and allowances
have also been slashed by half.
Lecturers countrywide have been on a three-week sit-in, demanding a salary
increase equivalent to that being paid to state university lecturers and
better working conditions.

College lecturers Association of Zimbabwe (Colaz) president, David
Dzatsunga, yesterday confirmed receipt of suspension letters of about 36
lecturers from Morgenster Teachers College. Others from different colleges
have been charged with misconduct.

“We received suspension letters and letters of other lecturers being charged
with misconduct from Morgenster Teachers College yesterday.
“The affected members are 36 from Morgenster Teachers College.  Other 60
lecturers from Bondolfi Teachers’ College, Masvingo Teachers (90), and 80
from Joshua Mqabuko are yet to be served with their letters, although they
have been notified of such action,” Dzatsunga said.

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Mugabe in another elections conundrum

Saturday, 01 October 2011 16:55


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s (pictured right) calls for elections before March
next year are increasingly becoming another pipe dream, analysts have said.
Four months after the three governing parties — MDC-T, MDC and Zanu PF,
agreed on a roadmap for free and fair elections nothing tangible has
happened, they noted. The roadmap initialed by negotiators from the three
parties in April had called for voter registration and mobilisation in 60
It also called for the preparation of the new voters roll that would take 60

The roadmap was a result of protracted negotiations between Zanu PF and the
two MDC formations under the watchful eye of South African President Jacob
Zuma’s facilitation team.

But the parties are still deadlocked with the drafting of a new
constitution, a key sign-post for the new polls, still far from completion.
It is increasingly unlikely that the parties will complete the constitution-
making process and other conditions imposed by the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) in time for a March poll.

Analysts say for elections to be held even by the end of 2012, the new
constitution must be completed by the end of this year, which is now a
remote possibility.

Despite the indications that an early election is now impossible, Zanu PF
has not abandoned its rhetoric with senior Zanu PF officials continually
calling for the end of the government of national unity (GNU).

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (Zesn) in its latest “Ballot Update’’
says the fact that the environment is not conducive for free and fair
elections is a serious indictment on the coalition government.

“There seems to be impatience on the part of Zanu PF to end the GNU which
would be premature given that Zimbabwe is not ready for elections and the
constitution-making process needs to be concluded before any general
election is conducted,” Zesn said.
“The inclusive government has failed to civilise the conflicts that led to
its formation.”

Last week Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai also called for “clear roadmap to
free and fair elections that will lead to a legitimate government”.
Zanu PF politburo member Jonathan Mo-yo, who has been vocal in calling for
fresh elections, believes that the delays would only benefit Mugabe.
“You say you do not want Mugabe but then when he calls for elections you say
you want the constitution first.

“But there are people who are deliberately delaying the constitution and for
every day that they delay Mugabe remains in power,” Moyo said at a Sapes
Trust lecture on Thursday.

“So you choose what you want Copac (or elections as a way to keep Mugabe in
“Copac delay means that Mugabe must stay, it’s a de facto way of saying
Mugabe must stay.”

Early this year Moyo criticised the Southern African Development Community
election roadmap saying it was untenable.
“It is now clear in the national interest that the next harmonised general
election must be held this year in 2011, failure of which it should be held
in 2016  and not any time in between,” the political scientist wrote in one
of his newspaper articles.

Mugabe has justified his calls for early elections saying the unity
government formed in 2009 has failed to work.
He claims the parties have serious ideological differences and would never
be able to work together.

But analysts believe he is trying to ensure that he has enough energy to
campaign considering his advancing age.

There have also been unsubstantiated claims that Mugabe is suffering from
prostate cancer.
However, he has bru-shed aside the claims saying at 87 he is still fit to
lead the country.

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Preserving wildlife can rebrand Zim

Saturday, 01 October 2011 16:49

Tarisai Shumba
It is time the world read and heard some good, encouraging and proactive
news coming from Zimbabwe. The recovery of its wildlife sector is a great
potential for rebranding Zimbabwe.
Greed, selfishness and blindness towards national development, abuse of
political positions should not be allowed to destroy innocent animals that
do not even vote and are a treasure and heritage for the next generation of
Zimbabwe, the region and the world.

With the political instability, which Zimbabwe has experienced over the last
decade, most of the benefits of its state and private wildlife heritage have
been under-utilised. Inappropriate resettlement and lack of the rule of law
has seen the demise of an asset, which is at the core of the nation-building
initiatives for the immediate and future generations of Zimbabwe and the
global context.

Some 80% of Zimbabwe’s wildlife was destroyed in the last 10 to 12 years
according to the director-general of National Parks due to political
factors, poor management and uncontrolled poaching.

The UN body Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of
Wild Fauna and Flow (Cites), has been critical towards Zimbabwe’s past and
current management of its wildlife assets.

Private conservancies which are the last vestiges of wildlife conservation
and protection, are currently facing serious threats — vulnerability to
their operations and to the wildlife. The threats are mostly due to some
politicians wanting to grab properties within these conservancies so as to
enrich themselves.

The threat: While genuine arms length investments are encouraged by
government and embraced by current operators, certain individuals,
particularly in the Masvingo province, continue to threaten violent and
illegal occupation rather than relevant investment.

The victims are highly fragile and unique wildlife areas within these
conservancies which cannot be replaced once they are destroyed.
The Zanu PF political leadership in Masvingo led by Governor Titus Maluleke
seems oblivious of this.

The solution: Investors with the capital and a passion for wildlife are
needed — investors who understand that wildlife management absorbs large
amounts of capital but has low and slow returns over an extended period.

Further, the industry viability is compromised by the perceived poor
reputation of Zimbabwe as a destination among international tourists.
Despite the negative recent history, wildlife offers a solution to some of
Zimbabwe’s problems.  Wildlife has always demonstrated a remarkable survival
instinct, given protection.

Sound government policies which encourage wildlife protection will benefit
the country which has vast areas of land classified a Region five
(unsuitable for cultivation and domestic livestock production).

Wildlife tourism, coupled with cultural tourism will dispel the negative
publicity generated in the last decade, support employment, assist poverty
eradication and bring sorely needed foreign currency income to the country.

Background: It is not until the late 1960s when the true value of wildlife
was realised and appreciated by the authorities in this country. This
realisation led to the development and introduction of the 1975 Parks and
Wildlife Act, which to this day is viewed by many as the most progressive
legislation towards conserving wildlife in southern Africa.

Prior to this law conservation was a term associated with national parks,
recreational parks, botanical gardens and safari areas. On commercial
agricultural and farming lands, wildlife was viewed as a menace, competing
with livestock for food and water, carriers of disease and predators killing
livestock. Private owners were not allowed to hunt, cull or sell venison and
relied heavily on the state for assistance with wildlife controls.

Meanwhile it proved that in arid regions, also referred to as region (five)
“V”, wildlife is the preferred land use, where sustainable dry-land cropping
or ranching is not possible as a way of preserving the environment, job
creation and foreign currency income.

The most influential part of the new 1975 Wildlife Act was that wildlife was
granted res nullius status. The term res nullius implied that wildlife did
not have an owner, neither private nor the state. The act made provision for
the controlled use of wildlife, but at the same time, legislation was also
in place to prevent abuse.

Under the Wildlife Act, private land owners were granted the status of the
“appropriate authority” on their land and were now able to utilise wildlife
commercially either in the form of hunting, tourism, animal products or

The wildlife industry immediately responded positively and by 1995 18% of
commercial farmers were registered as wildlife production areas and by 1994
private wildlife land made large contributions to the wildlife numbers
within Zimbabwe.

A researcher, Hill reported in 1994 that 94% of all eland, 64% of kudu, 63%
of giraffe, 56% of cheetah, 53% of the sable, 53% of the impala and 46% of
zebra populations were already held on private land. In many areas,
commercial farms were joined by removing fences, to form “conservancies”.
These large tracks of land allowed for the re-introduction of endangered
species such as the black rhinoceros and for viable populations of the
endangered wild-dog to exist.

* Tarisai Shumba is Public Awareness Reporter: Wildlife Heritage Project

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Indigenisation drive shifts to financial services sector

Saturday, 01 October 2011 16:32

THE indigenisation drive has now shifted to the financial services sector
amid allegations that some players are reneging on their commitments.
Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment minister Saviour
Kasukuwere on Thursday said major mining companies had complied with the
legislation but he was worried by the attitude of some players in the
financial services sector.

Government is pushing a policy that seeks to ensure that locals have a
minimum of 51% shareholding in foreign-owned companies operating in the
“We have a challenge in the financial services sector and we will be
cracking (the whip) on that sector,” Kasukuwere said.

“We have our Standard Chartered Bank who still show a lot of disrespect to
our laws, Barclays Bank who try to find all the excuses they can and Stanbic
Bank which ignored its own commitments to the people of this country when
they said that they will make 30% available for Zimbabweans to participate.”
When Standard Bank acquired ANZ Grindlays (Zimbabwe) in 1993, it pledged to
sell 30% to locals.

“If you look at their own history, South Africans are participating in their
bank and what we are simply asking them to do is that they must honour their

Foreign-owned banks operating in Zimbabwe are considered safe by depositors
and have been attracting more deposits.
However, they have low loan-to- deposit ratios, which has upset authorities.

The move to crack the whip on foreign banks is likely to draw a sharp
response from the central bank governor Gideon Gono who has been at the
forefront in calling for caution when dealing with the delicate financial
sector, the nerve centre of the economy.

In an apparent reference to the empowerment legislation, Gono told delegates
at the launch of the mobile money transfer business on Thursday that the
central bank was ready to offer banking licences.

“Those who would like to start financial institutions, I will never tire
from putting my signature to banking licences should you want licences.
“I am happy to give you a licence where you own 100% of the bank, don’t be
satisfied with anything less,” he said.

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Strike costs NRZ US$5m

Saturday, 01 October 2011 16:29

BULAWAYO — National Railways of Zimbabwe says it lost close to US$5 million
in one week due to a debilitating strike action that is costing the troubled
transport company about US$1 million per day, general manager retired Air
Commodore, Mike Karakadzai said on Thursday.

NRZ workers on Tuesday began a strike action to press for better pay,
allowances and outstanding salaries dating back to 2009 after the adoption
of the multi-currency regime.

The strike action, which entered its fifth day on Friday, drew the whole NRZ
workforce affiliated to the Zimbabwe Amalgamated Railway Workers’ Union,
Railway Association of Yard Operating Staff, Zimbabwe Railways Artisans’
Union and Railways Association of Engineering.
Karakadzai said the strike was costing the troubled parastatal over 15 000
tonnes of unmoved cargo business per day, translating to US$1 million in
lost revenue daily.

“In terms of tonnage, we are losing about 33 000 tonnes of traffic that
should have been moved and that translates to about US$2 million in two days
since workers went on strike on Tuesday,” Karakadzai said after a crisis
meeting held at the NRZ headquarters.

He said, inasmuch as the company wanted to pay workers their outstanding pay
and to meet their salary demands, the parastatal could not afford as it was
incurring a US$3million loss every month. He appealed to workers to return
to wo

rk while negotiations were being held.
Karakadzai said NRZ would sink if it tried to meet workers’ salary demands.
“On average per day, NRZ makes about US$225 000, translating to about
US$7million in a month against monthly expenditure of about US$10,5 million
for fuel, salaries and spare parts,” he said.

The NRZ boss said the company was overstaffed and there was need to retrench
some workers to cut costs.

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Econet launches mobile money transfer service

Saturday, 01 October 2011 16:26

ECONET has launched its mobile money transfer service titled Eco-cash as
mobile service providers seek more innovative ways of tapping into the
country’s un-banked market.
The mobile cash transfer transaction facility does not oblige a subscriber
to open any bank account and the service is mobile network neutral as
customers can move money across various mobile networks.

Econet has already deployed 500 Eco-cash agents throughout the country and
has forged partnerships with 200 Zimpost offices, 300 independent agents and
25 TN Holdings branches.

Speaking at the launch, CEO Douglas Mboweni pointed out that Econet
considers the unlocking of access to financial services a serious need
adding that technology was useless unless it met the specific needs of

Mboweni explained that research indicated that there are four billion mobile
users throughout the world and the figure was increasing.
“The banking population in Zimbabwe is very low with 14 people in every 1
000 being banked,” he said.

“Zimbabwe’s mobile penetration rate is at 70 % yet with that we only have
1,4% of the population being banked,” said Mboweni.
Mboweni said between 60% to 65% of people reside in rural areas in Zimbabwe
and the future indicates that the figure will continue to be in the 65%

It is estimated that mobile money is a US$5 billion market opportunity in
Africa which Econet intends to take advantage of.
The service provides security, cost effectiveness, speed and timely

Interestingly, NetOne already runs a similar service titled One Wallet or
Skwama in a development that should transform the country’s money transfer
needs as competition hots up.

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All set for Sanganai travel expo

Saturday, 01 October 2011 16:26

OVER 500 exhibitors have confirmed participation at this year’s travel and
tourism show, Sanganai/Hlanganani that organisers said is a massive response
to the event which is listed on the United Nations World Tourism
Organisation calendar.
The event, which runs from October 8-12 at the Harare International
Conference Centre is organised by the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) and
other stakeholders in the tourism industry.

Tesa Chikaponya, ZTA executive director destinations marketing told
Standardbusiness that they were overbooked and some exhibitors would be
sharing stands. Last year the fair pulled in 470 exhibitors.

The exhibitors include Emirates which recently announced that it will be
flying to Zimbabwe starting February next year.
Chikaponya said at least 190 buyers have confirmed participation and that
there will be inquiries towards the start of the fair.
The tourism industry would host 88 buyers. This means that the industry will
pay for the buyers’ accommodation and flight expenses. The remainder is made
up of non-hosted buyers.

“We are having more of non-hosted buyers which shows the growth of Sanganai.
“In the last few years we were bringing the buyers to the fair,” she said.

The buyers are drawn from UK, Baltic Islands, Germany, Japan and Poland.

There are also buyers coming from Iran, Dubai Ghana and Nigeria among

She said 30 business executives from Mauritius would participate at the

The delegation will be in the country for a   business convention. Even with
the high turnout, ZTA feels it is not doing justice to the fair.
Karikoga Kaseke, the authority’s boss said they were looking for an
alternative venue to accommodate more players. “We left HICC four years ago
citing the size of the place but we were left with no options after we tried
the (Zimbabwe International) Trade Fair Grounds (in Bulawayo), which has its
own problems related to costs because most of the exhibitors are from
Harare,” Kaseke said.

He said the organisers have tried for two years

to get an alternative venue, the Exhibition Park, but the industry said the
place was not suitable for tourism.
The fair starts with a street procession from Africa Unity Square on
Saturday which will lead to a family fun day at the Harare Gardens.
There will be two trade days, October 10 and 11. The last day of the fair is
reserved for the public.

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Sundayopinion: Inclusive govt must redefine priorities

Saturday, 01 October 2011 16:46


In travelling across the greater parts of Zimbabwe, one is struck by the
life-goes-on way of existence of many of the country’s citizens; there is a
somewhat evident lack of urgency about anything, except perhaps for
processes related to the search for the next dollar. But even these
processes such as the selling of “airtime juice-cards” or the running
battles between municipal police and vegetable vendors are now increasingly
run-of-the-mill routines with no questions asked and no alternative or
better solutions proffered.

In all cities and other smaller settlements, when one talks to comrades and
colleagues, there is testimony to the fact that “life is tough here” with
some comrades talking with resignation about heading back to the rural areas
since city or town life is not offering them better prospects.

Other colleagues who, having dabbled in politics in the last 10 years  and
having waited with great anticipation for new jobs, better lifestyles and
social services, express their dismay and powerlessness with our current
political leaders, particularly those who had offered hope. Colleagues from
rural areas that are close to the highways ask if their members of
parliament and councillors are aware that a borehole used by hundreds of
families and their livestock for water has not been functioning for over
half a year now while at the same time they talk about plans to dig new
wells for themselves because there is no hope from government anytime soon.

All of these conversations and observations can be considered abstract
except that these issues are about people’s lives and how they are shaping
their opinion on the nature of their society, state and the inclusive
government’s performance. Indeed there are political loyalties that inform
the perspectives I encountered.

Most of the compartriots I interacted with are arguing that perhaps the
inclusive government is burdened by its ambiguity attributed to Zanu PF’s
refusal to let go of power. Others argue that it is now difficult to tell
the difference between the political parties in the inclusive government.
They argue that those that claimed to be about bringing “change” are no
longer practicing what they have been preaching. The examples given to prove
the change of focus of the “change leaders” include the issue of the
purchase of expensive vehicles for ministers and members of parliament while
they are announcing that the country is broke.

And there are others who are arguing that there has been too much focus on
partisan politics to the detriment of the livelihoods of ordinary people.
Everything, they argue, is viewed within the prism of which party one
belongs to and therefore all sense of objective attendance to people’s
grievances are lost in the conundrum of political partisanship.

In all of these perspectives from a limited audience, what is evident is an
increasing disconnection of the inclusive government with the lives of the
country’s citizens. While many accept the reality of the rivalry between
President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai, they do not see the same in
relation to political principles or values. Instead, they see the rivalry as
just that, two bulls in a kraal and depending on what each bull can offer in
return, their most solid supporters are those that are in proximity to one
gravy train or the other.

Further to this, the government’s short-term strategic plans have been more
on paper than they have been evident in the public domain. The most
effective government policy document has been the annual budget presented to
parliament by the Finance minister and of late this has caused a lot of
anxiety among the informal traders due to the introduction of tariffs on the
importation of basic commodities. In education, health and transport, there
has been little to show by the government except for their outsourcing of
these services to international NGOs.

Symbolic  of all this is the purchase of luxury vehicles, the lack of an
adequate public explanation of the usage of tollgate revenue and the medical
treatment of government officials in foreign hospitals.

This is not to say we are expecting the inclusive government to perform
miracles. It must however at least show a commitment to bettering the lives
of the people of Zimbabwe before seeking to better the lives of its
officials. It must also demonstrate the necessary understanding of the
hardships people are facing in their day-to-day lives beyond the rhetoric of
its medium-term “strategic plans”.

That would entail re-thinking its policies on education, health, transport
and employment creation as well as a demonstration of full commitment to
ensuring the enjoyment of the political freedoms in our bill of rights by
all citizens. Where it fails to do so, our politics will remain without
evident public value except to wrongly teach younger generations that one
gets into politics for self-aggrandisement.

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From the Editor's desk: Of rats, smokers and the scourge of litter

Saturday, 01 October 2011 16:44


A few weeks ago I put my head on the block by defending the city of Harare
against a damning report by the Economist Intelligence Unit which said the
Sunshine City was the worst metropolis in the world to live in. I got plenty
of kudos from Hararians for my patriotism but more discerning citizens
called and said, “Thanks Nevanji, but no thanks.” Their slogan was, “We love
Harare, but not the litter!”
One of the discerning citizens invited me for lunch at one of the
restaurants in Alexandra Park just opposite the main entrance to the
University of Zimbabwe. As I drove from my city centre office I couldn’t
help but notice the litter strewn all over the city. After the sumptuous
lunch as we left the restaurant we were confronted by a huge billboard being
erected just across the road. Solid metal that upstaged the greenery in the
university grounds.

I thought to myself, what if whoever was erecting that metallic eyesore,
instead of advertising a new telephonic toy, just wrote on the billboard,
“We love Harare, but not the litter.” Wouldn’t that make a difference? I was
thinking of the American city of Texas’ own iconic statement to litterbugs:
“Don’t mess with Texas!”

According to the online encyclopaedia Wikipedia, the phrase Don’t Mess with
Texas is now a trademark of the Texas Department of Transportation, which
began as part of a statewide advertising campaign started in 1986 whose
intention was to reduce littering on Texas roadways and has garnered
national attention.

The phrase was prominently shown on road signs on major highways,
television, radio and in print advertisements. The campaign is credited with
reducing litter on Texas highways by roughly 72% between 1986 and 1990.
While the slogan was originally not intended to become a cultural icon, it
did. Beyond its immediate role in reducing litter, the slogan became a Texas
cultural phenomenon and it has been popularly appropriated by Texans.

I cannot imagine how the companies erecting billboards all over our city
roadways think! You find a colourful billboard standing like a colossus
astride huge heaps of litter and falling ugly-looking streetlight pylons.
What do motorists read on the billboards? I for one see the companies as
part of the litter. In Ghanaian folklore there is a bird called the
chichidodo which loathes dung but feeds on the worms that eat the dung. That’s
exactly what these companies are doing.

Without merely being unsightly, litter comes with so many other problems;
the main one of which is disease. Some say Harare is now a rat city; there
are so many rats running around that at night all the alleys are the venue
of the proverbial “rat race” so to speak. Rats carry diseases; remember The
Black Death?

Black rats which were constant stowaways on merchant ships carried with them
fleas that transmitted bubonic plague.
The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30–60 percent of Europe’s
population, reducing the world’s population from an estimated 450 million to
between 350 and 375 million in 1400. It took 150 years for Europe’s
population to recover. The plague returned at various times, killing more
people, until it left Europe in the 19th century.

Without sounding like a doomsday cultist, who knows what else the rats may
carry? I remember decades ago watching a movie called Night of the Lepus, a
1972 American science fiction horror film focusing on members of a small
Arizona town who battle thousands of mutated, carnivorous killer rabbits.
Lepus is Latin for hare.

The film’s morale is that we can create something that will one day go
completely out of hand. Imagine the havoc that rats in our cities wreak on
furniture, electric cables and non-metallic piping! Can domestic
electrocutions be a result of power cables that have been gnawed away by
Next time you throw away a packet of leftover junk food, know that you are
feeding a rat that will eventually eat away electric cable insulators and
cause your death or your children’s.

In the Northern Ireland city of Belfast it has been noted that 75% of all
the litter is attributable to smokers. This might as well be a worldwide
trend. In Harare up to one in every five people smokes. Smokers throw their
cigarette stubs on the street and dump the empty packets wherever they are.
One can’t walk as much as five metres without coming across an empty
cigarette packet.

Most public places have been made smoke-free zones; this must be extended to
our streets! If this is seen as too draconian a measure then smokers must be
forced to carry pocket ashtrays in which they can dispose of their cigarette
stubs if there is no bin. Smokers should also realise that smoking is not
“cool”. What happened to the good old slogan in which girls said, kissing a
smoker is like licking an ashtray?

Another source of litter is chewing gum. Removing chewing gum from the
streets must be a long and expensive exercise. Have you ever stepped on
discarded gum? Remember how disgusting the process of removing it from the
sole of your shoe is?

Besides making our streets dirty, chewing gum is singly the most churlish
habit of them all. We know Manchester United manager the knighted Alex
Ferguson is always chewing, apparently to avoid a nervous breakdown, but
that doesn’t mean it’s cool to imitate him.

Gum chewers (read Man U supporters) must move around with gum pouches and
wrap-its. These are reusable pocket-sized wallets which can hold used gum
until one finds a bin.

The most obnoxious source of litter are people who eat their food in their
cars then throw away the wraps and the leftovers through the window of their
moving vehicles. Our streets and highways are now a blot on the landscape. I
find motorists and commuters in this habit insufferable. The correct thing
to do is to keep everything in the vehicle until you get to a place where
you can dispose of the litter. Please stop the drop!
Travelling from Bulawayo recently I found all cities on the way spick and
span; I must say Chegutu was the cleanest. Getting into Harare was like
getting into a cinema to watch Taste the Blood of Dracula!

* The Standard is going to launch an anti-littering campaign soon. Watch
this space.

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Sundayview:Pros and cons of polling station-based voting system

Saturday, 01 October 2011 16:42


One of the major features of the proposed electoral reforms is the possible
introduction of a localised voting system which will be conducted using
polling station-based voters’ rolls. This means a voter will only vote at
the polling-station at which his or her name appears on the voters’ roll.
This is significantly different from the present system whereby voters can
vote at any polling station within the ward.

Supporters of the polling station-based voters’ roll argue that it will
prevent instances that have occurred in past elections when voters from some
areas have been moved to other areas in a bid to bolster the fortunes of a
particular party’s candidate in that area. If a voter can only vote at a
polling station where their name is registered on the voters’ roll, it will
mean those who are brought into the area to artificially inflate support for
a particular party or candidate will be prevented from voting at that
polling station.

Supporters of this system also argue that it will prevent double-voting
whereby a voter can move from one polling-station to another within the same
ward in order to vote more than once in the same election.

It is important to consider the risks inherent in this system.
The first risk is that such a system might make it easier to use the tactic
of pre-election displacement of voters from the areas where their specific
polling station is located.

If a person can only vote at a specified polling station, the easy way to
ensure they do not vote is to displace them or otherwise prevent them from
reaching that polling station.

If displaced in advance of an election, it may be proposed that such voters
should be able to use the facility of postal voting.
The problem however is that the facility of postal voting is restricted to
persons who are outside the country on government business.

The second risk is that a polling station-based voters’ roll system
increases opportunities for post-election retribution. In the past, voters
have been targeted for punishment for voting for the wrong party or
candidate by losing contestants. One approach was to target constituencies
where a contestant would have lost — that gave rise to suspicions that the
population in the constituency had voted “wrongly” in that they would have
voted for the opponent. Acts of violence have been recorded in post-election
periods. Now, the risk is that with a more localised and specific
polling-station based voters’ roll, it will be even easier to identify
voting patterns at small local levels. It will be easy to see which villages
or suburbs voted for what candidate and therefore make the voters easy
targets for post-election retribution.

These negatives must be weighed against the positives of the polling station
based voters’ roll. What makes sense in theory might not be the right thing
in practice. The first question to be asked is: do the identified risks
exist in the present system?

They do, which is why there has been pre-election and post-election violence
in the past. The second question may be: do the risks increase under the
polling station-based voters’ roll?

It seems that they do escalate given the localised character of the polling
station-based voters’ roll. But there is a third question, which is, would
the opportunities “bussing in” voters and double-voting be reduced under the
polling-station based voters’ roll? The answer seems to be that those
opportunities would be reduced.

If therefore the system of preventing election violence and intimidation is
effective, it would seem that the benefits of polling station-based voters’
roll outweigh the negatives.

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