Budget ready? President Robert Mugabe speaks to Finance Minister Tendai Biti
by Staff Reporter I AP
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe urged lawmakers Tuesday to move “frantically and
with haste” to finalise a new constitution so elections can be held to end a
shaky coalition with the nation’s former opposition party.
Mugabe, opening the last schedule of sittings of the Parliament in Harare
before its five-year term expires next year, said he wants legislative
business wound up so that fresh elections he proposed in March can bring
closure to the coalition formed after the last disputed and violent polls in
Reforms to the constitution demanded in the power sharing deal brokered by
regional leaders needed to be urgently completed, he said. And if
outstanding disputes between the parties were not resolved, the coalition’s
leaders “will take appropriate steps” to break any deadlock, Mugabe said. He
did not elaborate.
Said the Zanu PF leader: “The select committee of COPAC should produce a
report of the conference, summarise the views expressed by the stakeholders
in particular the divergent views and submit it to the principals in
government who will take the necessary steps to set up an appropriate
mechanism to build a required consensus…..mindful that our major objective
is the holding of harmonised elections in March next year under a new
“There is now need for the government to assume the management of the
process leading to the holding of a referendum.
“Should the people express their affirmation of the Draft Constitution, then
Parliament would be asked to pass it as the fundamental law of our country.
Elections will then become a necessary sequel.”
Zanu PF has proposed amendments to the new 150-page draft constitution that
would restore some of the powers traditionally held by Mugabe and his party
since independence in 1980.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s former opposition MDC-T party opposes
changes to the draft and has called on its supporters to vote ‘Yes’ in a
referendum that the organizing panel of lawmakers has proposed for January.
Mugabe told lawmakers Tuesday power sharing with Tsvangirai had suffered
what he called faltering starts and stops from the outset.
But in the end, despite “the mischievous external hand” of Zimbabwe’s
detractors in Western countries, the coalition had worked together to craft
a new constitution and move toward new polls to end power sharing that has
outlived its useful lifespan, Mugabe said.
The annual opening of the Parliament is a formal state ceremony with
military parades and a fly by of Chinese-built Zimbabwe air force fighter
jets. Judges attend in courtroom attire of white wigs and scarlet robes.
Mugabe arrived as usual Tuesday in a vintage British Bentley limousine used
by previous British governors of the former colony. Police mounted on
horseback and wearing full ceremonial uniforms and colonial-style pith
helmets escorted the limousine downtown.
In the ceremony broadcast nationwide on state television, Mugabe repeated
recent calls for peaceful campaigning for the referendum and parliamentary
and presidential polls to follow. Mugabe’s party in the past has been blamed
for most election violence.
“Irrespective of our political differences, let’s shun violence in all its
manifestations as we look forward to our national elections. We are one. Let
us remain one,” Mugabe said.
Posted Tuesday, October 30 2012 at 21:21
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe on Tuesday said he expects fresh elections
early next year, held under a new constitution, to choose a successor to the
country's shaky power-sharing government.
"Our major objective remains the holding of the next harmonised elections in
March 2013 under a new constitution," Mugabe said in his last address in
parliament before elections he said should be held in March next year.
He said the new session of parliament "draws us closer to the end of the
inclusive government" saying there had been "some growing mutual
collaboration and commendable efforts at togetherness" in the compromise
government with long-time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
The veteran ruler urged Zimbabweans to refrain from violence in the lead-up
to new elections.
"Let us shun violence in all its manifestations and latent forms, especially
as we look forward to our national elections."
Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government three years ago
after violent and disputed polls in 2008.
Their relations have been characterised by frequent bickering and
counter-accusations of violence.
A new draft constitution which is set to go for a referendum forms part of
the key reforms to be made before fresh elections.
Last week political parties and civic groups gathered to review the draft
constitution which will go for a referendum whose date is yet to be
"As we look ahead, irrespective of our political differences, let us
continue to be bound together as Zimbabweans," he said in a parliament
sitting attended by Tsvangirai.
"It is time we believe in our capacity to confront our challenges, without
the mischievous external hand that always comes to distort the magnitude and
nature of our challenges."
Elections in Zimbabwe are often marred by violence.
Tsvangirai withdrew from a presidential run-off election in 2008 citing the
killing of around 300 supporters.
By Alex Bell
30 October 2012
Residents in Kadoma are facing another week without running water, with the
area entering its third dry week on Tuesday.
The council is reportedly battling to fix a power transformer that operates
a water pump station at Claw Dam.
This latest extended shortage follows months of intermittent water supplies
and ongoing sewage problems, as well as growing health concerns. This led
residents to picket at the local authority offices last week, demanding that
the MDC-T run council take immediate action to solve the problem.
At least seven cases of typhoid have been reported in Kadoma in the last
month. This means the number of typhoid cases reported across the country
since last year have risen to almost 5,000, and the government is under
pressure to stop the disease from spreading further.
13 fresh cases of typhoid have also been reported in Chegutu where the local
authority has been slammed for failing for provide fresh water. More cases
have been reported in different parts of Zimbabwe since last year, with the
worst affected areas being the densely populated suburbs around Harare’s
centre, including Kuwadzana and Mufakose. Other cases were confirmed in
Chitungwiza, as well as in Bindura, Mashonaland Central , Norton and Zvimba
in Mashonaland West.
A recent survey by the Harare Residents Trust has shown that members of the
public in high density areas are too afraid to drink the council provided
water, fearing disease.
Precious Shumba, the Trust’s director, told SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that
most of the people they surveyed in high density areas had experienced
either cholera or typhoid in their homes in recent years.
“In the high density areas the water quality leaves a lot to be desired. It
has a funny brownish, greenish colour and a strange odour. And it has
visible brown particles floating in it. People don’t think it is safe for
consumption so they use it for laundry, but they won’t risk drinking it,”
He said that the survey found that residents on higher ground areas around
Harare have no access to council water, “and they entirely depend on private
water suppliers who sell water to them.”
“If this situation is not handled by the local government and the water
ministry and authorities, it will burst beyond control,” Shumba warned.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
30 October, 2012
Police in Bulawayo have arrested two MDC-T officials and accused them of
painting graffiti at the home of a ZANU PF official and assaulting two
Tsepiso Mpofu, the MDC-T deputy organizing secretary, and Themba Moyo, a
bodyguard for MDC-T vice president Thokozani Khupe, were arrested Tuesday
when they reported to the Law and Order division at Bulawayo Central
Station, as they had been ordered.
SW Radio Africa correspondent, Lionel Saungweme said they are being accused
of painting graffiti at the home of Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, a member of the ZANU
PF politburo and former information minister. The assault charge relates to
two individuals who have not been named by the police.
Saungweme said the arrest comes about two weeks after police left a message
for Tsepiso to report to Bulawayo Central Station, to account for graffiti
that had just been painted at Ndhlovu’s home.
Tsepiso has said she was in Harare at the time and as she was not in
Bulawayo she also could not report to the police there.
Saungweme said Tsepiso is being targeted by police because she is a popular
organizer for the MDC-T and is well-known in Bulawayo. “They arrested her
last month just before the MDC-T 13th anniversary celebrations in Bulawayo,
and took all the posters she had,” Saungweme said.
Eight others were arrested along with Tsepiso on that occasion last month.
Police released the other activists soon after arriving at Bulawayo Central
Station. But Tsepiso was detained longer and forced to sign an admission of
guilt fine, before being released four hours later.
Saungweme said it is not clear when the Tsepiso and Themba Moyo will be
released. Lawyers have been sent to Bulawayo Central to assist.
Sapa-AFP | 30 October, 2012 15:03
Zimbabwe police have detained two men on suspicion of drug-dealing after
plainclothes police caught them trying to recover a corpse stashed with 1.4
kilogrammes of heroin, according to a report.
The state-owned Herald newspaper reported that the pair, in their thirties,
were arrested at a funeral parlour in the capital when they went to collect
the body of suspected drug mule Ally Omari Mpili.
"Mpili reportedly died with 1.4 kilogrammes of heroin in his stomach while
in transit to South Africa," the paper said adding that the drugs were
valued at $112,000.
His body was taken by police to a local morgue while awaiting a post-mortem
by a government pathologist.
The two men were arrested and charged with breaching the dangerous drugs
"A post-mortem done on October 25 by a government pathologist led to the
recovery of creamish ampoules in the deceased's intestines," prosecutor
Tungamirai Chakurira told the Harare magistrate's court.
Ndumbogane and Ngara were denied bail and remanded in custody until November 12.
BY KHULEKANI MAGUBANE, 30 OCTOBER 2012, 18:12
CROSSING the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe is expected to remain
a relatively simple matter after the two nations’ foreign ministers
concluded a meeting in Pretoria on Tuesday.
South African Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Maite
Nkoana-Mashabane and Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi, discussed progress made on a memorandum of understanding (MoU)
"This MoU basically abolished visa requirements between our two countries,
making it easy for our citizens to cross our borders with relative ease," Ms
Zimbabwe has drafted a new constitution to be tabled in parliament, followed
by a referendum and an election.
"South Africa — as the Southern African Development Community-mandated
facilitator — remains seized with the process in Zimbabwe, assisting the
Zimbabwean political leadership to move towards the conclusion of the
implementation of the global political agreement (which created the country’s
power-sharing government)," Ms Nkoana-Mashabane said.
In a joint communiqué on Tuesday, both ministers repeated a call for the
"immediate and unconditional removal of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the
"On continental and international issues, the two delegations expressed
their commitment to African unity and integration within the framework of
the Constitutive Act of the African Union," the communiqué read.
There is much speculation that the Zimbabwe government will press South
Africa to commit to a $100m loan request that Zimbabwean Finance Minister
Tendai Biti brought last month to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Both delegations on Tuesday also stressed the need to reform multilateral
institutions to meet the needs of developing nations.
South Africa is Zimbabwe’s biggest trading partner, and Ms Nkoana-Mashabane
said its neighbour was "one of South Africa’s top trading partners on the
In 2009, the two countries signed a bilateral investment promotion and
protection agreement, seen by many as a financial helpline for Zimbabwean
This week, the delegations resolved to keep building on this trade
The previous bilateral co-operation session was held in March 2009, and the
next will be held in Zimbabwe in 2014.
Tuesday’s meeting of ministers took place against the backdrop of Zimbabwe
ratcheting up its indigenisation drive further this week, with Tongaat
Hulett’s Zimbabwe unit issued with a 14-day ultimatum to comply with the
country’s indigenisation laws. The indigenisation programme has become the
central plank in President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) election campaign.
By Alex Bell
30 October 2012
A student leader arrested almost a month ago in the Midlands remains locked
up, after he was remanded by a Gweru magistrate on Monday.
Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) Secretary General, Tryvinne
Musokeri has been in Hwahwa Prison since his arrest on September 31st. The
ZINASU leader, who is a second year marketing student at the Midlands State
University, was arrested on contempt of court charges.
Musokeri was arrested with fellow student Believe Tevera and two other
student activists from Midlands State University. Those three were released
after spending a week in prison.
The group’s arrest on contempt of court charges came about after they missed
a court date relating to original charges filed against them for
contravening the Public Order and Security Act (POSA). These original
charges followed a demonstration staged at Midlands State University in
2011. The demonstration was to protest the barring of cadetship students
from writing exams, after the government failed to pay fees for students on
the Cadetship programme.
Meanhwile Tevera, who wrote an article protesting his and his fellow student
activists’ arrest and detention in Hwahwa, was on Monday served with a
letter of suspension from the University. According to a Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition report, the suspension letter accused Tevera of inciting public
violence through his article that was published by NewsDay.
Musokeri will be back in court on Wednesday.
By Professor Matodzi Harare, October 30 2012 - Six Epworth residents have
approached the Supreme Court demanding payment of $60 000 from the Epworth
Local Board, the Zimbabwe Republic Police and three ministers in damages for
the demolition of their residential properties.
Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri, Local Government, Rural and
Urban Development Minister Ignatius Chombo and co-Home Affairs Ministers
Theresa Makone and Kembo Mohadi were cited as respondents by the residents
together with the Epworth Local Board.
The Epworth Local Board and the police in September indiscriminately and
arbitrary razed the residents’ houses using some front end loaders and left
them vulnerable at a time of summer rain season without giving any reasons
for taking such actions.
The residents with the help of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) have
now petitioned the Supreme Court demanding compensation for the destruction
of their homes which action they say violates the constitution.
In the application filed by Tawanda Zhuwarara of ZLHR, the residents
challenged the manner and constitutionality of the destruction of the
The residents argued that the destruction of houses by the Epworth Local
Board and the police violated sections 15 and 18 of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe that guarantee protection against cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment and the right to adequate protection of the law.
“The Epworth Local Board and Police acted without lawful authority or regard
to due process of the law. Consequently, because of their arbitrary and
reckless actions, families were rendered destitute and left at the mercy of
the natural elements. The affected individuals not only lost all their
belongings in a manner that was reminiscent of Operation Murambatsvina but
also had to suffer the indignity of being rendered homeless,” ZLHR said in a
statement released Monday.
The pioneering human rights group said the actions of the Epworth Local
Board and the police were in direct violation of the United Nations Basic
Principles and Guidelines on Development Based Evictions and Displacement.
“In particular the failure by the authorities to give adequate notice,
consult with affected persons or explore fully all possible alternatives to
the house destructions violated articles 37 and 38 of the United Nations
Basic Principles and Guidelines on Development Based Evictions and
Displacement,” ZLHR said.
The lawyers’ organisation said the creation and awarding of constitutional
damages is appropriate owing to the manner in which people’s homes were
destroyed by state authorities.
The demolition of the Epworth houses is reminiscent of the callous
destruction of residents in May 2005 in a clean-up operation, which led to
the unemployment of 700 000 families and affected a further 2.4 million
By Alex Bell
30 October 2012
A meeting of the United Nations tourism authority that is meant to be taking
place in Victoria Falls next year is looking increasingly in doubt, with
local tourism officials revealing the venue of the meeting won’t be ready by
Zim Tourism Authority (ZTA) head Karikoga Kaseke has said that a new
convention centre and planned upgrades at the Victoria Falls airport will
be completed in time for the 2013 UN World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO)
conference. Zimbabwe is meant to be co-hosting the international meeting
A new conference centre at Victoria Falls as well as changes to the airport,
including an expanded runway and a new terminal building, are understood to
have been listed as key for hosting the meeting next August.
But Kaseke has said the two projects were never part of the country’s bid
to host the event. He said that only a new runway at Victoria Falls airport
will be ready in time.
“The issue of the runway and the convention centre were never part of our
bid to host the event. We never said we were going to build a convention
centre or extend the run way. Victoria Falls airport was not part of our
bid,” he said.
Kaseke’s revelations echo comments by the former Permanent Secretary for the
Tourism Ministry, Sylvester Mawunganidze, who had suggested earlier this
year that Zimbabwe had not been honest during its bid to host the
international event. Mawunganidze was re-assigned from his position after
The hosting of the meeting comes as there are plans underway to start mining
exploration at Mana Pools, despite the area being a UN protected Heritage
site. At the same time, conservancies across the country have been faced
with invasions of illegal settlers, war vets, and ZANU PF officials, who say
they are carrying out the party’s indigenisation exercise.
Observers have said these issues are reason enough for the UN to withdraw
the meeting from Zimbabwe, or risk inadvertently supporting the ongoing
chaos that will ultimately destroy the local tourism industry.
October 30 2012 at 04:12pm
South Africa's economic interests and investments in Zimbabwe will remain
protected, Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said.
South Africa's economic interests and investments in Zimbabwe will remain
protected, Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi said
“There is no doubt regarding this country's economic interests in Zimbabwe.
They are and will remain protected,” Mumbengegwi told reporters in Pretoria.
He was speaking after talks with his South African counterpart Maite
They discussed bilateral relations under the auspices of the Joint
Commission for Co-operation.
Nkoana-Mashabane said the implication of Zimbabwe's Indigenisation and
Economic Act was raised during the meeting. The law requires all
non-indigenous enterprises operating in Zimbabwe to dispose of at least a 51
percent shareholding to indigenous entities.
Nkoana-Mashabane said: “South African companies will continue to engage with
the Zimbabwean authorities on this.”
Zimbabwe remained one of the country's top trading partners in Zimbabwe, she
said. - Sapa
TUESDAY, 30 OCTOBER 2012 12:20
By Ray Ndlovu,
THERE is much speculation that the Zimbabwe government will press South
Africa to commit to a $100m loan request that Zimbabwe Finance Minister
Tendai Biti brought last month to Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, as a
delegation of Zimbabwean ministers meet their South African counterparts on
The Zimbabwean delegation is led by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe
Mumbengegwi. Mr Biti refused to confirm the exact details of the $100m loan
request, mainly to shore up a budget deficit, but expressed optimism that
South Africa would open up lines of credit.
"We have been promised a figure, and more promises have been extended to us
and we remain hopeful of some financial assistance," he said. Mr Biti has
begun countrywide budget consultations in preparation for a $3.8bn budget
presentation to Parliament next month.
A senior Zimbabwean government official, who could not comment officially,
said the ministers would discuss several "hotspots", including: the
auctioning of Zimbabwe government properties in South Africa, the looming
elections in March next year, and the country’s 51% indigenisation
Mr Biti said at the weekend he wanted Zimbabwe’s next election to be
financed by donors, as the cash-strapped unity government could not afford
to foot the $104m election bill. "The 2013 budget is the crucial one in the
life span of the inclusive government because it’s a pre-election budget,"
"Countries such as the UK, Norway, and China, as well as the United Nations,
have an obligation to fund the elections, and we will soon approach them for
Meanwhile, the meeting of the ministers would take place against the
backdrop of the country ratcheting up its indigenisation drive further this
week, with Tongaat Hulett’s Zimbabwe unit issued with a 14-day ultimatum to
comply with the country’s indigenisation laws.
"South Africa is unhappy over the perceived lack of respect by Zimbabwe for
the Bilateral Investment Promotion Protection Agreement signed between the
two countries. Part of the reason for this meeting is the hope to dispel the
mixed messages coming from the indigenisation programme," said the official.
"The South Africa government wants an assurance that this intimidation will
come to an end."
The indigenisation programme has become the central plank in President
Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) election campaign.
Eric Bloch, a senior partner at H&E Bloch consultancy, cautioned the
politicking around the indigenisation programme would see the country miss
its growth target of 8.9% next year.
Attorney-general Johannes Tomana confirmed yesterday preparations were under
way to contest, in the Constitutional Court, the North Gauteng High Court
ruling allowing property owned by the Zimbabwe government to be auctioned.
A group of Dutch farmers who were forced off their land during Zanu (PF)’s
often violent and corrupt land “reform” programme have launched a campaign
to force the government to pay them the $23 million compensation as ordered
by the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes in
by Tarisai Jangara
The Dutch government has been pressuring Zimbabwe over the past two years to
fulfill its international obligations under the Bilateral Investment
Protection Agreement between the two countries. A special envoy appointed in
2010 has travelled regularly to Zimbabwe to negotiate with local officials.
Earlier this year, Finance Minister Tendai Biti promised to put forward a
payment proposal. So far he has not honoured this promise despite being
asked to do so in a letter from the Dutch Foreign Minister in August.
“We wanted to take action earlier, but decided to wait for Biti’s proposal,”
the group’s chairperson, Lion Benjamins told a Dutch daily. “But now we’re
sick of waiting. So we have decided to take steps to show Zimbabwe we’re
The government has also ignored the SADC Tribunal’s 2008 ruling which stated
that the land grab was unlawful and that farmers whose land was seized
should be compensated.
The South African High Court in 2010 enforced the Tribunal ruling and ruled
that a Cape Town property owned by the Zimbabwean government should be
attached for auction, to cover the government’s debt to the farmers.
The tribunal is however in limbo after some countries, Zimbabwe included,
argued that it had been set up unprocedurally.
The continued delay by the government to compensate Dutch farmers who lost
their land during Zanu (PF)’s often violent and corrupt land “reform”
programme is chasing away potential investors, says Commercial Farmer’s
Union President, Charles Taffs.
In an interview with The Zimbabwean, Taffs said: “Government should honour
the agreement and compensate the Dutch farmers immediately. There are a lot
of potential investors who are holding on because of this issue.”
Commenting on the investment climate, Netherlands ambassador, Barbara
Joziasse recently told this newspaper : “The Dutch will not be impressed
when they come in search of business here because we want to work with a
reliable counterpart in a reliable environment. A
A number of issues should be respected, including the rule of law, property
rights and international treaties.”
Tuesday, 30 October 2012 10:49
HARARE - Finance minister Tendai Biti has told President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to keep violence at bay ahead of
forthcoming elections, warning that the economy will suffer terribly if a
repeat of the 2008 bloodshed happens.
He was speaking on the sidelines of a 2012 government workshop programme
review and 2013 budget consultations held in the capital yesterday.
With the warning coming two weeks ahead of his 2013 budget presentation —
which is likely to show a slowdown in economic growth due to political
bickering — Biti warned that Zimbabwe’s economy could contract by eight
percent per annum in the next five years if the country proceeds with a
violent election next year.
The country is expected to hold a watershed plebiscite next year following
the expiry of the tenure of the fragile coalition government.
Biti said political leaders should desist from violent election campaigns
and called for “peaceful elections and incontestable election outcomes”.
“What we are afraid of in Zimbabwe are elections that are to be held next
year. And I am appealing to the principals to preach peace to their
supporters during election campaigns,” he said.
“If we continue with our political fighting we risk plunging the economy
into an abyss. Studies have shown that all warring economies lose eight
percent of their gross domestic product for the next five years.”
Zimbabwe's coalition government between rivals Mugabe and Tsvangirai was
formed after violent elections in 2008, when Zanu-PF lost its parliamentary
majority for the first time since independence and Mugabe lost first round
voting to Tsvangirai.
Mugabe returned as president after Tsvangirai withdrew from the subsequent
runoff citing gross violence which he said was perpetrated by the military
and left over 200 of his supporters dead.
Mugabe has repeatedly said elections should be held by March 2013 but
Tsvangirai says while elections are definitely on next year, no actual date
has been set.
Part of the aim of the coalition government was to promote reconciliation
and lower political temperatures.
Biti yesterday warned that premature talk of elections usually increases
political risk and this had the potential to affect the growth of the
“We need sustainable peace for us to consolidate the economic gains of the
past four years. Considering our past history of election violence,
elections must be done in one day not in one year,” he said.
Political analysts fear a rushed election may drag the country back to the
conflict that obtained before the formation of the coalition government four
Back then, capacity utilisation in industry had dropped to below 10 percent
with job losses and the flight of skills taking a toll on the economy.
The situation was even worse in the two most critical social sectors, health
and education, which virtually collapsed because of staff shortages and lack
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently predicted that Zimbabwe’s
economy will only grow by 4, 7 percent this year from a targeted 9, 8
percent due to key risks that include political instability, a decline in
exports, fiscal slippages, financial sector stress and policy uncertainty. -
Staff Reporter 23 hours 31 minutes ago
HARARE - Finance Minister Tendai Biti says consultations which have been
going on have revealed that Zimbabweans want the national budget to
prioritise food security, provision of basic services and economic growth.
Minister Biti, who was speaking at the 2013 national budget consultation
meeting in Harare, said Zimbabweans want people driven policies to address
social and economic problems.
He said Zimbabweans have made it clear that they want a budget that ensures
a common vision by all stakeholders to address lack of capital to finance
agriculture, tourism and health sectors.
Representatives of the business community highlighted the need for the
budget to look at the rehabilitation of infrastructure, removal of import
duty on raw materials and the need to stimulate local industry production
while those in the mining sector support the reduction in royalties.
Mr Biti is expected to present the 2013 budget on the 15th of November.
Meanwhile, the Tourism and Hospitality Industry Ministry in conjunction with
the Ministry of Information Communication Technology say the 2013 national
budget should fund tourism supporting sectors to enable the successful
hosting of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) General
Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister Walter Mzembi says the success of
the UNWTO conference, which Zimbabwe co-hosts with Zambia next year will
depend on the funding of tourism supporting sectors.
He said funding the conference should be a priority when Finance Minister
Tendai Biti presents the 2013 national budget, adding that his ministry has
tabled a US$6 million.
The Minister of Information Communication Technology, Mr Nelson Chamisa
called for the setting aside of money for communication infrastructure
development to enable easy connectivity for all tourists and visitors to the
Thousands of people from across the globe are expected to descend on
Zimbabwe next year for the tourism conference.
Expectations are high that the event will not only boost the tourism
industry, but will help the economy grow.
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
The MDC has read with disdain the recent Sunday Times report on a purported
revolt by Senior MDC members against President Morgan Tsvangirai over what
the paper spuriously claimed as the President’s meddling with the draft
The paper quotes some unidentified senior members of MDC deliberately
misinforming the public that there is indeed dissonance between the MDC
President and what the paper referred to as senior party members.
For the record there is no such revolt within the MDC and the position of
the President with regard to the draft constitution has been very clear and
in tandem with the party’s position which has been well communicated in his
speech at the opening of the Second All Stake holders Conference when he
reaffirmed that this process was people driven and is being done in
accordance with Article 6 of the GPA. In the speech the President reiterated
thus;“We have no intention whatsoever at least on my part, to tamper or
meddle with people’s views.”
It is therefore regrettable that the Sunday Times chooses to ignore what the
President said in his speech and instead concocts falsehoods and
unsubstantiated claims to propel its ill-intentioned international agenda of
causing mayhem and confusion within the MDC, SADC and the International
We take great exception to this gutter journalism which is not only
irresponsible but mischievous and misleading.
We reiterate that the party is as intact as ever and is moving a gear up to
ensure that a new constitution, people driven and portraying the will of
every Zimbabwean comes into effect as soon as possible. It is in our view
that as the country moves to a new era, the constitution will enhance all
the democratic principles as enshrined in the MDC Charter.
The MDC is aware of the difficulties that Zimbabweans have endured at the
hands of ZANU PF and the Lancaster House Constitution and to this end
lampoons any efforts domestic and international to scuttle a process started
by Zimbabweans to emancipate themselves.
The MDC therefore commends all efforts through the rigorous GPA process that
have brought the draft constitution to this stage and stands ready to
safeguard any external interests through such reports as produced by the
Sunday times to frustrate this milestone.
MY voice is in: My vote is YES!!!
on October 30, 2012 at 3:11 am
By Lance Guma
The South African branch of the MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has blasted Justice Chinembiri Bhunu for his ‘choreographed
sickness’ that again led to a postponement of the trial of 29 party
High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu (left) and assessor Mr Patrick
Musengezi during the inspection in loco at Glen View 3 Shopping Centre in
Harare a few months ago.
On Monday the trial of the activists, facing what their party believe are
trumped up charges of killing a policeman, failed to kick off again and
postponed to Wednesday after the trial judge failed to come to court
claiming he was unwell.
The trial has been postponed for nearly two weeks now after prosecutor
Edmore Nyazamba sought a one week leave also claiming that he was ill. The
trial has been adjourned on many occasions for a variety of dubious reasons.
“The Court is not only unreasonably denying the 29 activists bail; but
further delaying the trial. The case was postponed two weeks ago to Monday
the 29th because the Prosecutor in the case, Mr Nyazamba, said he was sick.
“Instead of proceeding with the trial on Monday the 29th, the trail Justice
Bhunu also fell sick and postponed the trial to Wednesday the 31st of
“Whereas we wish all the sick people a speedy recovery; we are concerned
about this form of choreographed sickness that plays itself in episodes
giving turns to each other,” the MDC-T branch in South Africa wrote in
“The Prosecutor and the trial judge are taking turns to get sick yet the
activists are languishing in the filthy cells of Chikurubi and being denied
bail for no justifiable reason.”
The MDC-T SA said “the latest postponement interestingly came at a time when
the prosecution was cornered in the examination of the state witnesses
against Youth Assembly President Solomon Madzore.”
“In examination, the police officer admitted that the alibi of President
Solomon Madzore had been corroborated by the Doctor and therefore authentic,
paving way to his release. It is clear at this stage that any further step
in the trial should see the release of President Madzore.
“The postponements and delays are simple ways of buying time and
re-strategizing on new methods of continuing to hold President Madzore in
Prison. We continue to demand the release of the innocent activists,” the
MDC-T SA said.
Tichaona Mutedza, a brother to the deceased cop, last month blew big holes
into the prosecution case when he said that his brother’s body had no
genitals and tongue and that he believed the 29 suspects who have been in
custody since last year in May are innocent.
Solomon Mutedza the father of the murdered cop also joined his brother in
accusing Zanu PF and state security agents of killing his son. During cross
examination in the bail application for the 29 activists Solomon Mutedza
exonerated those in custody and said the police knew the real killers.
Strangely Justice Chinembiri Bhunu is dragging his feet over granting the
accused bail, even though they were previously released and tasted freedom
for a few weeks in which they did not abscond. There are already allegations
that Justice Bhunu is taking political instructions from Zanu PF over the
By Tererai Karimakwenda
30 October, 2012
A private company, believed to be linked to a “prominent” ZANU PF official,
has been granted permission to sue two independent daily newspapers,
claiming they published stories about political violence that caused them
Vakakora Capital had approached the High Court, claiming that a Namibian
bank cancelled a loan for $250 million after reading political violence
stories published by NewsDay and the Daily News newspapers in May, 2011.
Vakakora claims the stories misrepresented the situation in Zimbabwe and
influenced the bank’s decision. But the company’s links to ZANU PF would
indicate that this is just another attempt to muzzle independent newspapers,
ahead of elections due next year.
Andy Moyse, director at the watchdog Media Monitoring Project (MMPZ),
agrees. He explained that the case is still in its initial stages, where the
judge simply granted permission for the company to sue. In the past
publishers could only be sued for defamation, but this ruling adds another
“The judge said they can sue for a civil wrong that is alleged at the
moment. I would imagine there are absolutely no grounds for it to succeed.
They will have to prove that the reports were inaccurate, when in fact there
was plenty of evidence showing a continuation and rise of political violence
at the time,” Moyse said.
According to the state run Herald newspaper, Vakakora told the High Court
that it had lost a $250 million credit facility, secured from a Namibian
company to finance projects in Zimbabwe. The Namibian company cancelled
shortly before the signing ceremony, saying their decision had been
influenced by the violence reports .
Andy Moyse said this case is being pursued by people who want to intimidate
journalists and muzzle the local press, hoping newspapers will be hesitant
to publish anything that might lead to prosecution, resulting in
Last month police raided the offices of Afromedia, a Harare based company
that provides news content for an externally based television channel. The
police claimed the company was operating illegally and seized most of their
equipment. Afromedia denied the charges and said they were legally
registered to operate in Zimbabwe.
Harassment of the media is a ZANU PF strategy to generally stop people from
accessing independent media. The harassment always intensifies ahead of
Elections also increase the frequency with which independent radio stations,
like SW Radio Africa, are jammed by the Mugabe regime.
MDC-T Hwange Central legislator, Brian Tshuma faces a disciplinary hearing
for attending a Zanu (PF) rally addressed by Obert Mpofu, The Zimbabwean can
by Ashly Sibanda
The rally was held at Dinde Shopping Centre in Hwange Central Constituency
on 31 August.
Sources said the MDC T Matabeleland North provincial executive is
investigating Tshuma’s links to Zanu (PF) after he attended that party’s
rally. Tshuma could not be reached for comment.
Sengezo Tshabangu, the MDC T Matabeleland North Provincial Chairman, however
alleged that Mpofu was bribing opposition’s party supporters, councillors
and legislators in the province to defect to Zanu (PF).
“We are aware that Mpofu is using money to bribe our supporters, councillors
and legislators in the province to defect to Zanu (PF). We are investigating
“You will recall that Mpofu recently said that he was going to win the whole
of Matabeleland North for Zanu (PF) and is therefore using money to try to
achieve that by bribing our people,” Tshabangu said.
He refused to mention names of the alleged party supporters, councillors and
legislators who are being bribed by Mpofu to defect to Zanu (PF).
Mpofu who has said that he is the biggest political figure in Matabeleland
North and has been holding rallies in the province every weekend.
“I am big in this province, in stature and in position and I have a
constituency while others who just hold on to party positions have no
constituencies, they were not elected by people. We are taking over from
MDC, we need to win back the constituencies we lost,” Mpofu said recently.
He could however not be reached for comment on allegations of bribery.
by Staff Reporter
ZANU PF political commissar Webster Shamu has reiterated his party’s demands
for devolution of power to be expunged from the draft constitution.
Zanu PF officials have not lost hope of forcing changes to the draft, with
devolution and a provision on presidential running mates set to be the major
battlefronts. The party also wants homosexuality explicitly criminalised.
Shamu, addressing Zanu PF leaders in Bulawayo on Sunday, said: “Our economy
cannot sustain a federal state. We are a very small country.
“When we are centralised we are able to sustain ourselves. Zimbabwe is a
unitary state and we need to explain that to people, the importance of
having a government where we can complement each other in terms of
The two MDC factions say decentralisation of political power was approved by
most of the country’s provinces during the outreach programme overseen by a
But Zanu PF is determined to block devolution, which President Robert Mugabe
has already said could encourage some radical groups in the Matabeleland
region to go a step further and campaign for secession from the rest of
Zanu PF politburo member and Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo, writing in
the Sunday Mail, accused the MDC factions of “subterfuge” and
The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC)’s National Statistical
Report, said Moyo, showed that 71,08 percent of the 1,950 wards that
responded on systems of government “clearly and unambiguously indicated
that they want a unitary state”.
He added: “In the same vein, and from the same Report, seven provinces out
of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces recorded very high scores of wards that said they
wanted Zimbabwe to be organised and governed as a unitary state.
“This sharply contrasts with the fact that only three provinces supported
or preferred a ‘devolved’ state anchored around provincialism which is
unknown in Zimbabwe’s history, geography and politics.
“Therefore, the people of Zimbabwe as a whole unequivocally support a
unitary state and they must get one.”
A summit on the constitution held last week ended with recommendations by
Zanu PF for 266 amendments to be made to the draft, while the MDC factions
led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry Minister Welshman Ncube
are reluctant to make major changes.
Officials say the draft will be put to a referendum early next year to pave
way for elections expected at the end of March 2013.
Tue Oct 30, 2012 2:47pm EDT
Oct 30 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund on Tuesday relaxed
restrictions on technical assistance to Zimbabwe, opening the way for an IMF
staff-monitored economic program.
The move marks a major step toward normalizing relations with the southern
"The executive board has decided to resume IMF technical assistance in
certain new areas to support Zimbabwe's formulation and implementation of a
comprehensive adjustment and structural reform program that can be monitored
by the staff," the IMF said in a statement.
While Zimbabwe is still not able to tap IMF funding, easing the restrictions
moves it in that direction. The IMF would want to see a track record of
sound policies by the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai before it agrees to a lending program.
The IMF suspended Zimbabwe's voting rights in 2003 over policy differences
with the Mugabe government and payment arrears to the global lender. The
voting rights were restored in 2010, allowing Zimbabwe to again participate
in IMF decision-making.
In its statement, the IMF said its board of member countries agreed there
had been "significant improvement in Zimbabwe's cooperation on economic
policies and renewed commitment to address its arrears problems."
IMF technical advice to Zimbabwe will now be extended to cover tax policy
and administration, public financial management and expenditure policy,
financial sector and central bank reform measures, monetary and exchange
policies, and economic statistics.
The country faces a huge debt burden. Its total external debt is estimated
at $10.7 billion, or 113.5 percent of GDP, at the end of 2011. More than
half of it is in arrears.
Zimbabwe is still emerging from a decade of economic decline and
hyperinflation. The economy has slowly been on the mend since the formation
of a unity government in 2009, and the government recently projected growth
of 8.9 percent in 2013.
However, there are concerns over upcoming elections due next year given
Zimbabwe's recent history of violent and disputed elections.
October 30th, 2012
Zimbabweans know we are entering the season of elections, for always at
these times ZanuPF starts digging around for subjects which the majority
wants and makes empty promises to deliver to them. This time they are
targeting small scale miners popularly known as Amakorokoza. Over the years
ZanuPF has been harsh to these poor and desperate citizens who use shovels
to dig in search of fortunes from the soil. These small scale miners risk
life and limb looking for points of gold which they sell to make a meagre
living. Over the years they have been arrested and jailed for up to five
years. According to Zimbabwe Miners Federation there are over 2 000 illegal
gold miners who are languishing in prison over illegal gold panning.
The Midlands and Matabeleland provinces have long shown their support to the
opposition and in a desperate attempt to lure them over the desperate cadres
in ZanuPF are appealing to the mineral rich provinces with false and
irresponsible promises. It is in these provinces that gold panning is a
major source of income to residents.
Seeing this opportunity ZanuPF is using the Indigenisation law. The
iniquitous Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu, who hails from
Matabeleland, claims that gold panning is soon going to be legalised. Mr
Mpofu my question is why now?
Justifying his move for the legalisation of gold panning Obert Mpofu said
gold panners, have contributed at least 30 percent of the gold delivered to
treasury since January this year. What about all the years when gold
panners were being arrested? Where they not contributing to the development
of the nation then?
But Mr Mpofu another damning question for you: What about the environmental
issues associated with illegal gold panning? Have you spoken to the Minister
of the Environment about your mad antics?
Gone are the days when people were be fooled by ZanuPF. Zimbabweans hailed
their calls in 2000 to invade land, then ordered settlers not to construct
permanent structures. To date these resettled farmers do not know what
tomorrow holds for them as they do not have title deed of the land they are
occupying. Our nation is starving with 1,6 million people in need of food
aid, all because we do not produce our own food any more.
Mr Mpofu please, lose some weight, and then maybe you can fit in the holes
pockmarking our country, holes desperately made because of unemployment and
despair. Wake and smell the coffee, we just don’t believe you any more.
This entry was posted by Tawanda Makusha on Tuesday, October 30th, 2012 at
Tuesday, 30 October 2012
President Tsvangirai today attended the official opening of the 5th Session
of the 7th Parliament of Zimbabwe in Harare. The event was attended by
hundreds of people who included the Speaker of Parliament and MDC national
chairperson, Hon. Lovemore Moyo, diplomats and MPs.
Once, the MDC notes the speech made by Zanu PF’s Robert Mugabe in denouncing
violence. The MDC implores Mugabe to walk his talk in denouncing violence.
We urge Mugabe to urge his supporters to desist from any form of violence as
the country gears for the referendum on the draft Constitution and the 2013
We also note that Mugabe called for the expeditious completion of the new
Constitution ahead of general elections which he said shall be held in March
next year but that he failed to articulate the correlation between the
economy, investment, agriculture and peace which are critical factors in the
Mugabe’s call comes at a time when President Tsvangirai is on a whirlwind
tour across the breath and length of the country, visiting victims of
political violence and calling for an end to politically motivated violence.
This last session is expected to discuss several Bills and motions.
Notable among the Bills would be the Constitutional Bill that seeks to give
effect to the new Constitution. The introduction of the Bill would, however,
be subject to political parties in the Global Political Agreement agreeing
to the Copac draft. Other Bills to be tabled include amendments to existing
legislation to make them consistent with the new Constitution.
Some of the Acts to be amended include the Electoral Act, and the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission Act.
Meanwhile, the bail application at the High Court by Jackson Mabota and
Tarisai Kusotera, the two MDC members who were arrested early this month on
trumped up charges of murdering a police officer in Glen View, Harare last
year in May has again been postponed to tomorrow.
The matter was postponed for the second time in two days to Wednesday after
the State lawyer; Edmore Nyazamba filed his response to the bail
This forced Justice Hlekani Mwayera to postpone the matter to tomorrow
saying she needed more time to go through Nyazamba’s response. Nyazamba is
opposing bail claiming that the two are a flight risk notwithstanding that
they were arrested at their homes a year after the death of the police
On Monday the bail application hearing failed to kick off after Nyazamba
failed to submit his response claiming that the Attorney General’s Office
had no enough manpower to type reports for the courts.
The arrests of Mabota and Kusotera this month brought to 31, the number of
MDC members who have been arrested on the same charges. Some of them have
been in remand prison on trial for over 18 months. The trial at the High
Court will resume on Wednesday after it was postponed for more than a week
after the State counsel and the trial judge, Justice Chinembiri Bhunu had
claimed that they were unwell.
Among those in remand is the MDC Youth Assembly chairperson, Solomon
My voice is in: My vote is YES!!!
11 October 2012 – 22 October 2012: This update has been made possible by
resources provided to the Harare Residents’ Trust (HRT) by well-wishers in
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Comment: Harare City Council finally Accepting Failure to provide clean
water to Residents
The Harare Residents Trust (HRT) is shocked at the level of admission of
failure by City of Harare officials to provide adequate clean water to
residents. Director of Harare Water, Engineer Christopher Zvobgo recently
said the City of Harare was encountering serious challenges in providing
adequate and clean water to the residents due to increased bursts and
leakages along the distribution network. But given the obsolete and aged
pipes, it has remained a mammoth task for the Harare Water Department to
cope with the ever increasing demand for water against their pumping
capacity. While humanitarian agencies drilled several community boreholes to
augment water supplies by the City of Harare, the situation is dire as most
of the boreholes have become dysfunctional. From the citywide surveys that
the HRT conducted in most high density suburbs residents have to endure long
queues in search of water while some boreholes have remained broken down
without anyone taking responsibility to repair or maintain them. Maintenance
of community boreholes is in our view the main responsibility of the City of
Harare, working with residents to set up community maintenance teams,
because this was done by humanitarian agencies, concerned with the
incapacity of the City of Harare to provide water to all residents. This
exhibits lack of seriousness of the city fathers in genuinely addressing the
concerns’ of the residents in so far as service delivery is concerned .The
HRT views the admission by Harare Water of its failure to provide clean
portable water, highlighted in a their report titled Harare Water Supply
Status, Challenges and the Way Forward as a clear invitation for a robust
intervention of other stakeholders. This development calls for the immediate
intervention of Central Government and other non-state actors to come up
with a multi -sectoral approach to address the challenges which Harare City
Council is facing in the provision of the water. This will go a long way in
complementing each other’s efforts to provide a sound and efficient water
distribution network in the once beloved Sunshine City.
Below is a snapshot of the state of water provision affairs in the various
suburbs in Harare:
Glen View 1, 2, 3 and 8: Water has been consistently supplied with normal
pressure but at times the pressure of the water is low.
Glen Norah B: Water comes around 10 pm and during the day residents resort
to the use of the communal boreholes nearby. Water supplies inconsistent
Glen Norah Specimen: In the afternoon there is no water. Water is available
around 5pm and 6 pm. However, in the areas on higher ground the water
usually comes around 8-9 pm due to the low pressure in the water
Glen Norah, Chitubu: Water is available from 8pm to 6am and trickles during
the day. Sometimes it is dirty. Bills are high in this area, making most
residents fail to pay their outstanding debts.
Highfield, Western Triangle: Water supply is inconsistent in this area.
Water usually comes around 8-10 am in the morning. If the water is
unavailable, residents go to neighbouring suburbs to fetch water. They do
not have a single community borehole.
Highfield, Geneva: In Geneva, most houses do not have water from taps. At
times the pipes are blocked and the City Council is not fixing them. Most
people queue up every day at neighbours’ houses to fetch water. Huge bills
remain a serious problem. There is no community borehole in Geneva.
Highfield, Lusaka, Egypt and Jerusalem: Water is available in the Egypt and
Lusaka areas but the final demands from the City Council are scaring off
many residents, as they have become really problematic. The residents are
increasingly becoming uncomfortable with the attitude being portrayed by the
city fathers despite the chaotic billing system, which the council has
failed to address since February 2009. Water is available everyday but
pressure is low. In Jerusalem, water is available but there are serious
hiccups in the sewer system as the area experience consistent sewer bursts,
which take long to repair.
Highfield, New Canaan and Engineering: There is no water from taps because
most pipes are blocked. Residents fetch water from pipes that they have
connected illegally to the main pipes. City Council is not taking any action
for almost 5 years. In the Engineering area water is available from 6am –
8pm, but when it’s available during the day, the pressure is low and on high
ground it trickles. Final demands were served to most residents in the area.
Budiriro 3: Water is partially available in the area but when the water is
not available from the tap, residents resort to the use of borehole water.
When the water is available, residents are sceptical to drink it as it has
visible In the same vein it should be realised that vein if the tap water is
available residents are sceptical to drink water from the tap as it is
deemed not of palatable drinking quality.
Mufakose ward 34, 35 and 36: Water has been available consistently in the
area. But most of the boreholes in the area are broken down and it’s a
challenge for the residents particularly at Tendai Community Hall the
borehole is still broken down but the Harare City council has so far not
made any effort to repair this water point
Sunningdale: Water is always available except when there is a burst water
Waterfalls, Uplands, Mainway Meadows, Shortson, Derbyshire: The boreholes at
Uplands Shopping centre are still not working, after breaking down some
three months ago. In areas like Prospect, Parktown, and Cheviot they have
water during the night. The water situation in this area has been very
consistent over the past week.
Ardbennie and Mbare: The water situation has not changed from last week.
Water is consistently available except for the past two weeks when there was
no water in some parts of Harare from the 21- 23 September 2012. Most parts
of Mbare have constant water supplies. But in Mbare National along
Runyararo, Ruredzo Makoni Street and Beatrice Cottages sometimes when
residents have no water, they fetch water from the industries along St
George’s Street where there is continuous burst that does not seem to get
repaired at all.
Borrowdale and Mt Pleasant, Glen Lorne, Avondale: Water supplies are erratic
here. In parts of Glen Lorne there is now water after three months without.
In Mount Pleasant there is no water most of the time, but is only available
in low lying areas. Avondale West- most of the water is lost through water
leakages in Ayre and Perth roads so has low pressure.
Kuwadzana, Dzivarasekwa and Warren Park: In Kuwadzana Extension there was no
water on Saturday and Sunday 20-21 October 2012 around the areas in 10 and
11th streets near the water tank in Kuwadzana Extension. In Dzivarasekwa 3
there is no water along Murehwa Road where some houses have not had water
for a very long time. Residents there resort to borehole water fetched from
Mandara, Greendale and Chisipite: Water was available in these areas for
three days last week now as we speak water is available. Areas on higher
ground do not receive city of Harare water.
Kambuzuma and Rugare: In Rugare water is available most of the time. In the
adjacent Westwood suburb, there is no water in households that are located
on higher ground but on the houses that are in lower ground water is
available in these areas.
The Zimbabwe Book Fair (ZIBF) who are the custodians of the four thatched
gazebos situated at the Harare Gardens next to the Art Gallery of Zimbabwe
have denied Theatre in the Park, which has been using one of the gazebos as
its venue for the past 17 years, access due to contractual disagreements.
Theatre in the Park has been using the thatched gazebo at the centre of the
space under the ZIBF jurisdiction for the past 17 years and that gazebo has
become associated with theatre, although occasionally it has hosted other
While we acknowledge ZIBF as custodians, we feel that we are being treated
unfairly by the current executive board led by Professor Musaemura Zimunya.
For the past years we were being made to sign a one year contract but in
July this it was shortened to 6 months without any explanations.
We have refused to sign the contract as we feel that there are certain
clauses we are not in agreement with. For starters we want them to revert to
the previous one year lease agreement. It helps us in terms of planning as
we run a yearlong theatre calendar and therefore we would want to plan ahead
with the assurance that we will still have access to the venue at least for
a full year.
The current contract they have tabled states that the period of lease shall
run from 9 July 2012 to 31 December 2012 and they also increased the
maintenance fees. On top of that they have included a clause where they will
review the fee quarterly. Due to dollarization we are no longer operating in
a hyper inflationary environment and it is alarming that they would want to
review the maintenance fees quarterly.
Strangely we are all arts institutions which should be collaborating and
helping in each other in building our own industry, yet the Zimunya led
board is choking the growth of the theatre industry by threatening to shut
down the venue.
The agreement also states that the lessee (Theatre in the Park) shall “fully
respect the scheduling of ZIBF activities including those of its other
clients and avoid any disruptive behaviour or activities.” While it is their
prerogative to schedule their calendared events we feel that they are
causing tension within the theatre industry and setting us up with other
players within our industry.
Recently we were chucked out of the venue to pave way for the Protest Arts
International Festival (PAIF) to run their theatre event at the home of
Theatre in the Park. While we are not against the organisers of PAIF from
using the venue we feel that they should come through us as the current
occupiers of that space. It is unfair for us to be thrown out of the venue
to accommodate another theatre organisation yet our own theatre programme
suffers. We feel that the Zimunya led board is breeding mistrust and tension
within the theatre industry.
We are supposed to be collaborating and working well with other theatre
organisations but what the ZIBF board is doing is retrogressive and harmful
to the arts industry as a whole.
This year alone, more than four of our productions have suffered and our
revenue has been severely affected. The play Desperate in Love was disrupted
as were thrown out of the venue the NSSA Wellness Week, the Mawungira
Enharira and Storytelling week had to be cancelled to pave way for the NANGO
Last week our Comedy Fiesta which was supposed to run for 5 days was cut to
three days because of PAIF. This week we were supposed to have a week run of
Wusiku, a play which premiered at PAIF. However, we have had to cancel the
show, as we have been told we cannot have access to the venue if we have not
yet signed the contract.
These disruptions have affected the livelihoods of over 30 artists and over
60 dependents who depend on theatre for their survival. It has also affected
our relationship with our clientele who have lost confidence in us as we
have been sending them away due to cancelled shows.
It is shocking that while they have three other gazebos which can be
utilised by any other organisation, we feel that we are being personally
targeted. There is another gazebo which can be used as a theatre venue yet
ZIBF still wants to stifle our programming yet they can easily hire out the
Early 2002 The Farmer magazine that first appeared in 1942 as Vuka the organ
of the Matabeleland Farmers’ Union suddenly disappeared. The official
statement issued by the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) at the time was
‘financial constraints’. Mike Rook its CEO who served the CFU for 23 years
(1979-2002) now publicly reveals the true story behind its forced shut down.
Since my review of Rory Pilossof’s book THE UNBEARABLE WHITENESS OF BEING;
Farmers Voices From Zimbabwe, I have had numerous feedback from Zimbabwe
farmers, mostly concerning the chapter devoted to The Farmer magazine. The
question everyone asks is why were large scale commercial farmers in general
and Commercial Farmers Union members in particular not consulted or even
informed of the arbitrary shut down of their only means of communication?
It was a matter of fact that the CFU licence fee was structured to include
receipt of The Farmer. It would therefore have been courteous and correct
for CFU to have facilitated open discussion and debate amongst its members
before closure of the magazine, allowing an opportunity to mount a concerted
rescue operation. The opposite occurred! To set the record straight for
Zimbabwe’s large scale commercial farmers past present and future, I have
decided to put this topic into the public domain.
The closure of The Farmer magazine in early 2002 was orchestrated by the
existing CFU administration and the magazine’s own Board of Trustees, that
included the incumbent CFU president and director. The lame excuse given for
its demise was lack of viability. Due to prevailing circumstances the
magazine was no longer the Union’s ‘cash cow’.
Despite CFU trying desperately to stop the accessing of its members’ email
addresses the magazine’s CEO received them surreptitiously from a
sympathetic Head Office staff member. The resulting feedback was
overwhelming support for The Farmer. The vast majority of CFU members not
only agreed to pay for the magazine, but insisted it continue publishing. A
business plan with an accompanying income expenditure analyses showing a
reasonable financial surplus was subsequently presented to CFU and the
magazine’s Board of Trustees. The business plan was never even considered.
It was summarily shelved and conveniently ignored by the Union and The Board
So why such perverse skulduggery? Why was The Farmer with its proud history
of serving Zimbabwe’s large scale farming community for over half a century
through wars pestilence and droughts silenced? The simple answer is that
neither the Union or its Board of Trustees were able to influence the
magazine’s content or compromise its independence. Being too timid to sack
the editor it was decided to remove the publication instead.
To add insult to injury the manner of the closure itself was a shameful
example of duplicity and Machiavellian conspiracy between CFU and the Board
of Trustees. To avoid legal obligations of severance pay due to the enforced
redundancies of loyal and long serving staff: CFU and The Board of Trustees
connived together to present the Trust as the employer, not CFU. As the
Trust had no reserves of capital this meant staff, some with over thirty
years on the magazine, would leave with nothing. A letter solicited by the
magazine’s CEO from CFU’s own lawyers clearly stated the employer as CFU.
The CFU and Board of Trustees were forced to back down and the issue was
forcefully redressed, albeit harshly with some malevolence and under duress.
The Farmer was sacrificed on the altar of expediency by those in trusted
positions that were expected and required to display and implement the
highest standards of morals integrity and fortitude.
Alas! The realisation that it is easier to tear down than to build up came
too late to save The Farmer.
Subsequent CFU administrations on two occasions tried unsuccessfully to
launch replacement magazines. The publication AgriZim was launched and
managed to publish for awhile before disappearing, and afterwards a second
attempt at a magazine with European Union funding never even saw the light
By Alex Perry Oct. 30, 2012
Taking a holiday in other people’s misery, to paraphrase the Sex Pistols,
isn’t always as reprehensible as it sounds. As visitors to Burma, Cuba,
Iran – and even the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia – can tell you,
things can be very different on the ground. The vast majority of your cash
turns out to go not to generals but to private guesthouses, restaurants and
even airlines who desperately need it. And having seen hardship firsthand,
most likely you’ll come away informed, empathetic and able to enlighten
So perhaps it’s time to take a second look at Zimbabwe and one of Africa’s
great attractions, Victoria Falls. Tourism withered a few years ago as
President Robert Mugabe’s repression of Zimbabwe’s opposition gathered pace:
his security forces killed more than a hundred of his opponents and
imprisoned, beaten and tortured thousands more. Not surprisingly, tourist
numbers dwindled, then all but dried up. Those operators who could migrate
across the Zambezi to Zambia – microlight and helicopter operators,
white-water rafting groups – did so. But the hoteliers, restaurateurs and
wildlife wardens were stuck. “Vic Falls became a ghost town,” I was told on
a recent trip. “Everybody was empty.”
In the past two or three years, however, some business has returned. Though
most visitors still stay in Zambia, a steady stream of the curious is
venturing back over the bridge into Zimbabwe and rediscovering why the
eastern bank of the Zambezi was always considered superior. The view of the
falls is better, as are the sunsets. The town is smaller, more manageable
and closer to the river. And the hotels are just as good, with none of the
outrageous prices of the far bank. Take the Victoria Falls Hotel itself.
This is one of Africa’s colonial jewels – a colossal wedding cake affair at
the end of the railway line from Bulawayo with a direct view of the Zambezi
canyon, a giant terrace, huge pool, glorious state rooms, impeccable food
and drinkincluding the best high tea on the continent, hundreds of recently
upgradedrooms, a chorus of frogs in the courtyards and warthogs in the
garden. Rooms start at $258, though many travel agents offer discounts.
Smaller, often more expensive but also more exclusive is the Ilala Lodge,
which is even closer to the falls and claims to outmatch the Victoria Falls
Hotel for service and food. For those who cannot get enough of sleeping
under canvas in Africa, or who like to cook their own, the Rest Camp has
tented chalets from $25.
Victoria Falls is an adventure sports mecca and you’ll find the same endless
range of activities in Zimbabwe as in Zambia. For anyone under 50,
white-water rafting is a must – hard work, thrilling, but surprisingly safe.
For the insatiable thrill-seeker, there are bungee jumps, zip-line rides and
walking with lions. For those who prefer a slower pace, an unbeatable trip
is being paddled by a guide in a canoe at sunset, wine glass in hand,
through the upper backwater of the Zambezi, where you might spot crocodiles,
hippos or even a line of elephants swimming, trunk to tail, from one bank to
another. The biggest, most comprehensive and often most reasonable operator
on both sides of the river, and in nearby Botswana too, is Wild Horizons.
Whatever your appetite for adrenalin, the highlight of any trip will be the
falls themselves. At once immense and deafening and yet intricate and
calming, there is no sight in Africa to compare. And unlike on the Zambian
side, if venture out at dawn on the Zimbabwean riverbank you’ll have one of
the world’s most majestic natural wonders almost entirely to yourself.