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Police force striking workers back to work

by Partricia Mpofu Saturday 03 October 2009

HARARE - Riot police and state security agents have forced striking workers
in the southwestern mining town of Zvishavane to return to work while seven
others suspected to have links with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC
party have been summarily dismissed from work, labour leaders said.

It also emerged on Thursday that the three workers who were shot on
September 25 at Shabanie Mine have been transferred to Harare for specialist
treatment at a private hospital.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) spokesperson Khumbulani Ndlovu said
gun-totting policemen and the dreaded secret service - Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) - went on a door-to-door campaign on Tuesday to force the
striking workers to report for duty the following day.

"The state security agents together with Shabanie Mine security Officers
visited workers in their homes on September 29 threatening them that if they
did not return to work the following day the workers should vacate not only
the mine houses they were occupying but also get out of town," said Ndlovu.

As a result, said the ZCTU spokesperson, on September 30 about three
quarters of the 2 280 striking workers returned to work.

She said management then immediately began holding "kangaroo court"
hearings, resulting in the dismissal of seven workers.

Ndlovu said the dismissed employees were charged with absence from work
without official leave, defying the general manager's memo instructing them
to return to work.

"The workers' legal representative had earlier requested management to
inform him when the hearings would take place but the mine management
declined to inform him of the date and time of the hearings. As of September
30 seven workers have been dismissed. These workers are known by management
for their MDC activism as they hold posts in the MDC youth assembly and ward
executive. It seems the matter has also become an issue of discrimination on
political grounds. Those who are known to belong to ZANU PF have been
guaranteed their jobs back," added the ZCTU spokesperson.

Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said he had not been informed of the
incident. "I am not aware that police took part in that incident," said

Ndlovu also revealed that on September 30, the home of ZCTU Zvishavane
district secretary Ndodana Sithole was raided by police officers allegedly
demanding to know what action the ZCTU was planning to take. Sithole was
also warned not to meet any of Shabanie Mine employees.

Ndlovu said in September alone, the ZCTU reported three serious cases of
violations of freedom of association to Labour Minister Pauline Mpariwa.

"To this end, the ZCTU is pushing for a parliamentary commission of inquiry
to look into the Shabanie and Mashava Mine incidents where workers have not
been paid since January," she said.

Last week police opened fire on hundreds of striking workers in Zvishavane,
injuring four workers including an MDC councilor in an incident Tsvangirai's
party condemned saying the police action was clear abuse of human rights.

Shabanie and Mashaba mines, which produce asbestos were expropriated by
President Robert Mugabe's government from exiled businessman Mutumwa Mawere
in 2004 when his company was put under judicial administration for allegedly
failing to pay debts. - ZimOnline

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Row Over Control of Marange Diamond Field Splits Zimbabwe's ZANU-PF

By Blessing Zulu
02 October 2009

Tensions in Zimbabwe's former ruling ZANU-PF party have escalated as
factions position for control of the Marange diamond field following a High
Court decision upholding an agreement between the government and a resources
company which Harare repudiated in 2006.

Sources said ZANU-PF heavyweight Solomon Mujuru, a former military
commander, holds a 3% stake in African Consolidated Resources, the firm that
brought the high court suit. Calls placed by VOA to Mujuru were not
returned. However sources said he bought company shares through the London
Stock Exchange where ACR is listed.

Meanwhile, ZANU-PF sources said Army Gen. Constantine Chiwenga and Police
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri have teamed up with Defense Minister
Emmerson Mnangagwa, a close associate of President Robert Mugabe, to bar
Mujuru faction control of the field.

Though the High Court ruled that the firm can proceed with mining operations
even if the government appeals the decision, as it has done, Attorney
General Johannes Tomana told VOA reporter Blessing Zulu that lodging the
appeal stays the court ruling.

Human rights lawyer Dewa Mavhinga, who has investigated alleged human rights
abuses in Marange, said the government's defiant stand shows there is no
rule of law in Zimbabwe.

The Kimberly Process Certification Scheme has tacitly threatened to bar sale
of Zimbabwean diamonds on world markets if Harare fails to act on
recommendations by a Kimberly team sent to investigate conditions in the
diamond field, including its demilitarization.

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Politburo members defy Mugabe

Friday, 02 October 2009 15:45

Staff Reporter
ZANU-PF politburo members in Mashonaland West have plunged the province into
political turmoil after defying a directive by President Robert Mugabe that
his ailing sister, Sabina Mugabe, should not stand for any election due to
ill health.

The decision to enter Sabina's name to contest in the Women's League
elections to be re-run today, has widened divisions within the restive
province, spawning allegations of tribalism against two senior ZANU-PF
politburo members vying to control the largely farming community.
The divisions emerged this week after a provincial executive committee
reversed a decision by the party's co-ordinating committee in Mashonaland
West to suspend ZANU-PF central committee member, Jimayi Muduvuri, and
Hurungwe East House of Assembly member, Sarah Mahoka.
The suspensions were announced at a meeting attended by senior ZANU-PF
officials who include Ignatius Chombo and Webster Shamu on Monday.
Chombo and Shamu are both members of the ZANU-PF politburo, the supreme
decision-making body of the party in-between congresses.
In what ZANU-PF insiders said was a result of maneouvres by powerful
politicians to thwart Mahoka's bid to be elected the Women's League
secretary for finance, a faction within the party surprisingly pushed Sabina's
name in defiance
of President Mugabe's directive that the latter should not stand in the
Muduvuri and Mahoka, who lost the first round of the women's elections last
month, are Karanga from Masvingo Province.
This is the second time that tribalism has reared its ugly head in ZANU-PF
polls in the province after former public service minister, Paul Mangwana,
who was a Member of Parliament for Kadoma West, was hounded out of
Mashonaland West and forced back to his home province of Masvingo, where he
is now the party's Chivi Central legislator.
Sabina's candidature at the women's congress last month caused commotion
resulting in fistfights that saw police at one time being called in to
restore order.
The party's chairperson, John Nkomo, had given Mashonaland West two weeks to
put its house in order, before new polls are held.
Fresh polls are now expected today.
However, a fresh push to yet again scuttle Mahoka's election to the top
Women's League post resumed when she was suspended last Sunday by the
provincial co-ordinating committee for indiscipline.
In an interview yesterday, ZANU-PF Mashonaland West provincial chairperson,
John Mafa, confirmed to The Financial Gazette that there are politburo
members who had defied the President's directive for his sister not to
stand, but declined to name them.
"The politburo members are defying the President. That is insubordination.
We are writing reports. Maybe the matter will be discussed by the politburo
tomorrow," said Mafa.
He added that the suspensions of Mahoka and Muduvuri were null and void
since only the chairperson has the power to call for such a meeting where a
member is suspended.
"The story that the two were suspended is all lies. Only the chairperson can
call such a meeting. I am the chairperson and I did not call any meeting.
The chairperson of the disciplinary committee is the one who suspends or
issues a prohibition order. He did not do that and he did not suspend
anyone. The meeting is null and void," said Mafa.
Sources this week said President Mugabe had communicated his directive to
Didymus Mutasa who, in turn, relayed the message to the province.
Documents in our possession show that ZANU-PF's deputy secretary for the
commissariat, Richard Ndlovu, has directed Mashonaland West province to hold
fresh polls by this Sunday to choose members who will take positions in the
party's main wing following disturbances at the Women's League congress.
The positions up for grabs are secretary for finance, secretary for gender
and culture, deputy secretary for transport and social welfare as well as
the deputy secretary for the welfare of the disabled and disadvantaged
Sources said Mahoka would stand again for the finance secretary post, while
the rival faction has decided to withdraw Sabina and push for the election
of her daughter-in-law, Barbra Zhuwao, wife to the President's nephew,
Information at hand indicates that provincial executives that met on Monday
accused Chombo and Shamu of dividing the party and meddling in women's
affairs against the party's position.
Mutasa is also said to have indicated that this time around, Sabina would
not contest in line with the President's position.

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Chombo under the spotlight

Friday, 02 October 2009 16:01

. . . as city fathers demand Airport Road deal probe

Clemence Manyukwe, Senior Political Reporter

A BRUISING tug-of-war is looming between the Harare City Council and its
parent ministry after the city fathers defied a directive by Local
Government Minister, Ignatius Chombo, to rescind their decision to stop all
projects related to the controversial Airport Road construction deal.

In a resolution last Thursday, during an ordinary council meeting,
councillors cited gross anomalies in the tender process for the highway
named after the late Vice-President, Joshua Nkomo.
The councillors said a similar road project stretching 77 kilometres, done
by resource giant, the Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) in Chegutu, was
valued at US$19 million. But the Joshua Nkomo Expressway that will link the
Harare International Airport and the city centre, a distance under 20
kilometres, has been valued at US$80 million under unclear circumstances.
The Ngezi highway, which has three bridges, was completed in a record time
in 2001.
The discord between Chombo and the city council, which is seen being
escalated to Cabinet level, is likely to delay, if not torpedo, the Airport
Road project.
While the project is not a priority for Harare residents, who are going for
months on end without water and other essential services which the city
fathers should provide, it has brought into public glare the extent to which
the government is interfering in the operations of the local authority.
Last week, the city fathers clearly showed they were spoiling for a fight by
defying Chombo's directive, rescinding a decision by council to stop all
projects related to the Airport Road deal.
Apart from freezing the construction of the Airport Road project, they also
resolved to stop a housing development on the Warren Hills Golf Estate as
councillors tightened the screws on the two projects that were awarded to a
Ukrainian company, Augur Investments, by a caretaker council appointed by
Chombo last year.
"Following further discussion, during which council noted the need for
improved communication between the Honourable Minister of Local Government,
Rural and Urban Development and council before directives are issued, it was
resolved that council notes the directive dated 17th August 2009 by the
Minister directing it to rescind its resolution to suspend work on the
Airport Road project pending investigations," reads part of the council
meeting's minutes.
". . . Notwithstanding the ministerial directive referred to in resolution
(1) above and for the reasons also stated in the preamble above, council
reaffirms its previous decision recorded under item 29 of the Environment
Management Committee minutes dated 3rd August 2009 to stop forthwith the
project on the construction of the Airport Road."
Council then tasked the mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda, to communicate its
reservations about the project to Chombo adding that councillors were not
opposed to the project to upgrade the Airport Road, but were instead
concerned about what they said were "irregularities, which are apparent in
the manner the project was awarded to Augur Investments".
The council resolution said the then Harare Commission chairperson, Michael
Maha-chi, was involved in negotiations and the subsequent signing of a
Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Harare and Augur Investments
on May 29 2008 in violation of a provision under the Urban Councils Act that
stipulates that those serving council must declare their interests and
withdraw from meetings in which they have personal interests being
Mahachi, a close ally of Chombo, was first appointed commissioner in January
2005, becoming the commission's chairperson in August 2007.
He was part of the contractors that were involved in the construction of the
Newlands by-pass in Harare.
He was then appointed "caretaker" of the city in April last year following
the electoral impasse that ensued after the March 29 synchronised elections.
Following the take-over of the city council by a Movement for Democratic
Change-led council in July last year, Mahachi was appointed as a special
interest councillor, before resigning a month later with reports saying he
was now the project manager for Augur Invest-ments.
"Council also recommends that it may be necessary to investigate similar
agreements or transactions in all local authorities, which may have been
entered into after the March 2008 elections before councillors assumed
office," reads part of the council minutes.
Council also expressed dissatisfaction with the decision made by Augur
Investments to appoint a South African company, Power Constr-uction, to
construct the Airport Road and drew parallels with the Zimplats project that
was done by a consortium of local firms, but which met international

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Zanu-PF welcomes Jonathan Moyo back

October 3, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The Politburo, the top decision-making body of President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has readmitted Prof Jonathan Moyo, a former
Information minister who was responsible for crafting some of Zimbabwe's
most repressive laws.
Because of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA)
several newspapers were banned, while journalists were arrested, with many
leaving the country to live in exile.

Moyo was expelled from Zanu-PF in 2005 after he was fingered as one of the
key figures behind an alleged palace coup that sought to plot leadership
changes in the Zanu-PF presidium.

Zanu-PF's Politburo met in Harare on Thursday to consider Moyo's application
for readmission.

Ephraim Masawi, the Zanu-PF deputy spokesman, told reporters that the
Politburo had unanimously endorsed Moyo's readmission.

"The Politburo considered the application by Professor Jonathan Moyo to
rejoin Zanu-PF which was unanimously endorsed," Masawi said as he read the
communiqué issued by the Politburo.

Moyo was unceremoniously booted out of Zanu-PF after he was fingered as the
architect of the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration in November 2004 which
sought to plot leadership changes in the Zanu-PF presidium.

After Moyo was kicked out of the Politburo his attempt to wiggle his way
into the Central Committee was blocked by Mugabe by Mugabe personally. He
was subsequently fired from the Cabinet and then from Zanu-PF in February
2005 after he insisted on standing as an independent candidate in Tsholotsho
North after the party had reserved the seat for a female candidate.

Following his expulsion, Moyo (52) underwent radical transformation to
become a vicious and vociferous critic of Mugabe and his party. He is
perhaps the most controversial political figure on the Zimbabwean political
landscape, hated by many, including some of the very politicians who opened
their arms to welcome  him back to the ranks of their party.

He is a recognised propagandist, however. From a political perspective his
reunion with Zanu-PF means he brings Tsholotsho North constituency to the
party. The MDC of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says Moyo won this seat
in March 2008 as the result of a concession from the then opposition party.

Moyo came to the fore of Zimbabwean politics during the drafting of a new
Constitution a decade ago. He arrived in Harare in flight from Johannesburg
and Nairobi previously where officials at Witwatersrand and the Ford
Foundation respectively accused him of allegedly embezzling funds. Back in
the Zimbabwean capital where previously he was university lecturer, he
became the spokesperson for the committee charged with putting the final
draft of a new Constitution together before it was tabled for a referendum
in February, 2000.

Once the people of Zimbabwe rejected the draft despite Moyo's efforts to
market it, Mugabe appointed the political science professor to his Cabinet
following the 2000 parliamentary election, making him the spokesperson of
the government and Minister of Information in the President's office.

He arrived at Zanu-PF headquarters when the party was in total disarray in
the wake of a near defeat in the June 2000 elections. Many in the Zanu-PF
leadership had withdrawn to the sidelines and Moyo immediately filled the
vacuum. He became the public face of a party that had lost both support and
credibility. A Zanu-PF official was quoted in the press last week as saying
that Moyo would be required to rise through the ranks this time around,
instead of being parachuted to the top as happened in 2000.

Since his expulsion from government and Zanu-PF in 2005 Moyo has vehemently
denied the common fact that he was the architect of AIPPA and the equally
draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

Analysts and observers have labeled him as an opportunist because of his
puzzling behavior. In the space of nine years, Moyo went from being a
fervent critic of the government of Mugabe to being its fiercest defender
and then again to being one of its fiercest detractors. Now he is back in
the Zanu-PF fold again, with a crucial election on the horizon.

Analysts believe he has the potential to rejuvenate Mugabe's dying party,
because he is a master of propaganda.

"His task will not be as easy as in 2000, though," said a journalist in
Harare who has covered the ups and downs of Moyo's political career. "But he
has gone way past his 'best-by date' and his return could be futile."

Given to drama, Moyo launched his new career by declaring last week that
Mugabe must be allowed the dignity of dying in office.

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25% health facilities lack water

Written by Martin
Saturday, 03 October 2009 15:12
HARARE - The United Nations says about a quarter of Zimbabwe's health
facilities lack reliable water supplies, raising fears that they may not
adequately respond to potential outbreaks of water-borne diseases.

The UN Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster said a recent
assessment of clinics around Zimbabwe by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) had
revealed that 300 of the 1 200 facilities surveyed had "inconsistent or
limited" water supplies.
"The cluster is alerting relief agencies to the reported water supply
difficulties so that organisations operating in affected districts can
assess the situation and work to address potential problems," it said.
The news of the irregular water supplies brings memories of last year's
deadly outbreak of cholera, which was described by the World Health
Organisation as Africa's worst in more than a decade.
The outbreak claimed more than 4 300 lives and infected close to 100
000 people between August 2008 and July when the government declared that it
had ended.
New cases of the disease have already been reported since the
beginning of last month.
At least 29 cases were detected in the Chipinge district of
Manicaland, with several more reports expected during the forthcoming
farming season which begins in November.

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German investors cast doubt on Zimbabwe progress

      Posted : Sat, 03 Oct 2009 11:17:04 GMT
      By : dpa

Harare - A group of German investors who undertook a fact- finding
mission to Zimbabwe last week said Saturday they were sceptical of the
situation in the once prosperous southern African country. "There are
questions that remain open. These questions relate to law and order," German
businessman Andreas Wenzel told the German Press Agency

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Chiyangwa and others buy into KMAL

October 3, 2009

HARARE - A consortium of entrepreneurs, which includes businessmen Philip
Chiyangwa, has acquired the shareholding of Econet Wireless in the troubled
Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd (KMAL) for a total consideration of US$27

The group is led by Rugare Chidembo, a former non executive director in
KMAL, who is now MD of Chiyangwa's Pinnacle Investments, a
multi-million-dollar construction company and also RTG boss Chipo Mtasa,
Zimre Holdings Ltd Chief Operating Officer Solomon Tembo, and Langton

In a statement issued to the market Thursday Econet said it had sold its 24
537 480 shares in KMAL at $0,71 per share. This represents a premium of 29
percent on KMAL's closing price of $0,55 before its suspension from the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange last month. Market analysts immediately questioned
how the shares of a specified company could be sold.

Econet said the US$27 million would be directed towards its network
expansion. The company said that the sale was in line with a directive
issued by its board in March that the company should sell all
non-telecommunication investments.

Last week, the company announced that it had sold some of its shares in Afre
Corporation, the life insurance and financial services group, which owns
First Mutual Life.

Econet spokesman Ranga Mberi confirmed the sale but declined to say who had
bought the shares.

"The company had received numerous enquiries about the shares from both
local and international investors, but had accepted an offer from a
consortium made up of Zimbabweans, whose membership includes business people
in the country as well as in the Diaspora," Mberi told The Zimbabwe

However, sources close to KMAL former chairman John Moxon and outgoing chief
executive officer Nigel Chanakira said the consortium led by Chidembo had
acquired the Econet shares.

Moxon told Violet Gonda of SW Radio Africa last week that he had been forced
to flee Zimbabwe last year after he was warned that besieged KMAL chief
executive Chanakira had motivated Chiyangwa, Affirmative Action Group
chairman Supa Mandiwanzira, and Youth Minister Saviour Kasukuwere to molest

The takeover of the Econet shares has taken place while the company and
Moxon are under specification. His lawyers have dismissed the specification
as illegal.  Negotiations  between Chanakira and key shareholders in the
blue chip company are currently underway in a bid to find an amicable
demerger of KMAL.

The Independent reported that Chanakira, who is receiving medication in
South Africa after he was airlifted from Harare last Monday, had said
Thursday that the talks were centred on resolving the outstanding issues of
the de-merger.

Shareholders of the group agreed in June to de-merge following serious
boardroom fights between Chanakira and Moxon.

The High Court last week postponed for two weeks the group's extraordinary
general meeting to give Chanakira time to recover. The meeting was meant,
among other things, to boot out Chanakira and two of his nominees, Callisto
Jokonya and Sibusisiwe Bango, from the board of KMAL.

Chanakira said recent events and developments relating to the de-merger had
taken a toll on his health, but he was now on the road to full recovery.

He said press reports that he collapsed were "unfortunately exaggerated".

But it is Chanakira's own lawyer, Canaan Dube, who said the businessman had
collapsed. He said this in a supporting affidavit to an application seeking
to stop last week's extraordinary general meeting.

"I confirm that recent events and developments related to the arduous and
lengthy process of demerging Kingdom Meikles Africa Ltd have had a toll on
my health," Chanakira said. "I am glad, however, that, as a result of expert
medical attention in Zimbabwe and South Africa, I am resting and recovering
well. I am confident I will be able to return back to normal duty soon."

He said his ultimate goal remained focused on ensuring the successful
demerger of KMAL so that the companies can revert to their original mandate
of growing their respective core businesses for the benefit of their

"I am as keen as everyone else to conclude the demerger of KMAL so that the
demerged companies can revert to their original shareholders and mandate to
grow their businesses. I am confident that all parties concerned are also
concerned that the outstanding issues are resolved. It is regrettable the
demerger has taken longer than we expected, but I am confident the end is
near," he said. "However, due to the sensitive nature of the current
initiatives, it would be premature for me to go into specific details,
suffice it to say there is goodwill on both sides to put this behind us."

Chanakira and Moxon are embroiled in a boardroom battle over the control of
KMAL amid accusations that the top banker lined up Zanu-PF politicians to
take over one of Zimbabwe's largest corporate organisations.

On the other hand, Chanakira accused Moxon of externalising huge sums of
foreign currency. Moxon, some members of his family and some companies under
the group have been now specified by the government as a result.

The boardroom wrangle has seen the value of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange
listed company drop from US$500 million last year to US$90 million.

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Suspended doctors reinstated

Friday, 02 October 2009 15:29

Staff Reporter.

THE nine doctors that were suspended from the Parirenyatwa Group of
Hospitals for allegedly spearheading a recent three-week strike were
reinstated this week.

The doctors, expected to start work today after a month-long suspension,
were called to fill in assumption of duty forms on Monday. They were part of
the health professionals who downed their tools on August 11, protesting
against poor salaries.
A doctor who spoke to The Financial Gazette on condition of anonymity, said
they were exempted from attending disciplinary hearings on charges levelled
against them as required by the labour laws.
"The situation seems like we were on forced leave without pay. We are being
reinstated as health workers who were on an unpaid leave for a month. We are
not getting our government salaries for the month of September as well as
the donor salaries that other doctors will get because our names were not
submitted to the relevant authorities," he said.
"We wrote application letters to be reinstated earlier on and the clinical
director said that our letters didn't show any remorse so we had to rewrite
and resubmit our applications. The Medical and Dental Practitioners of
Zimbabwe as well as the Ministry of Health were silent on the matter and yet
they are supposed to be our responsible authorities," the doctor added.

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Chiefs cry foul over 'interference'

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Herald Reporter

TRADITIONAL leaders attending the chiefs council meeting in Harare yesterday
expressed outrage over alleged interference by the police and magistrates'
courts in matters falling under their jurisdictions.

The chiefs appealed to Government to intervene arguing that their judicial
powers were being undermined.

The traditional leaders said verdicts they imposed on their subjects were
often being reversed by the magistrates' courts on appeal.

The law allows people to appeal against a ruling passed by traditional

However, there is lack of co-ordination between the magistrates and chiefs'

The chiefs also accused the courts of interfering in cases to do with
installation of traditional leaders.

They said it had become a tradition for the courts to reverse the
appointment and installation of chiefs when rival candidates seek legal

They also castigated police interference in operations of their courts.

Chief Chiweshe said he was once arrested after he attached a convicted
subject's goats.

At times, the chiefs said, they were summoned by the police to explain
judgments they imposed on their subjects, a situation which demeaning their

In response to the chiefs' concerns, Justice and Legal Affairs Minister
Patrick Chinamasa pledged to look into the complaints and find ways to
harmonise the relations between the chiefs and magistrates' court.

He also promised to arrange a meeting between the chiefs' courts,
magistrates' court and the police to iron out the differences.

Minister Chinamasa said police had no right at law to reverse judgments
passed by traditional leaders.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police, who were also represented at the meeting,
underpinned the need for the police, the chiefs and courts to work as a unit
as their duties sought to achieve same objective.

Meanwhile, the president of Chiefs Council, Chief Fortune Charumbira, has
accused MDC legislators of disrespecting traditional leaders in their
respective constituencies.

"MDC MPs are encouraging people to disrespect traditional leaders. They
always run to the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights whenever they are
convicted in our courts," he said.

Chief Charumbira said the MPs boast that the ZLHR represented the interests
of the MDC.

However, Justice and Legal Affairs Deputy Minister Jessie Majome said the
ZLHR was an independent organisation and had nothing to do with the MDC.

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Zim investment house closes down

by Own Correspondent Saturday 03 October 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe's oldest investment house, The Discount Company of
Zimbabwe, is set to close down due to viability problems, the firm announced
on Friday.

Group chairperson Busi Bango said the financial services group would be
surrendering its discount licence to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe but did
not give a date when the licence would be handed back to the central bank.

"The Discount Company of Zimbabwe struggled to sustain its operations
although it managed to obtain a limited dealer licence, which allowed it to
raise deposits and lend in US dollars," she said.

Currently the business unit, which is owned by Kingdom Financial Holdings
(KFH), was operating on a limited dealer licence.

KFHL plans to merge the discount house with that of its micro finance
business, Microking.

"Going forward, the group plans to surrender the discount house licence and
amalgamate the discount house business with that of Microking Credit and
Savings Company to form a Microfinance bank."

The closure of Kingdom's discount house comes hard on the heels of the
dollarisation of the economy by the government this year which has brought
some economic stability but leaving many people without disposable income.

Already, Highveld Discount House, which was last year rated as one of the
best discount house groups in the country, has shut operations also citing
viability problems. - ZimOnline

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Doing business with the devil

JASON MOYO - Oct 03 2009 06:00

A row over Nestlé's business dealings with Grace Mugabe is likely to spook
many other foreign companies in Zimbabwe, where business dealings with
members of Robert Mugabe's circle are a daily reality.

Reacting to reports that Mugabe's wife Grace owns the multimillion-dollar
Gushungo Dairy Estate seized during Zimbabwe's land grabs, which now
supplies Swiss company Nestlé, Georgette Gagnon, Africa director of Human
Rights Watch, called for an international investigation into "corporate
behaviour and irresponsibility".

Anti-corruption group Global Witness said that "it's something the European
Commission and the Swiss would want to look into".

According to Nestlé, half of its contracted dairy suppliers had gone bust
under Mugabe's land seizures, forcing the company to source milk on the open
market, including Gushungo. The latter accounts for between 10% and 15% of
Nestlé's local milk supply.

"Had Nestlé decided to close down its operations in Zimbabwe, the company
would have triggered further food shortages and hundreds of job losses among
its employees and milk suppliers in an already very difficult situation,"
the company said.

It was the familiar refrain of foreign companies pressured to leave
Zimbabwe: pulling out would leave hundreds jobless. But the truth is that
with Mugabe backers now major players in agriculture and industry, few
businesses have an alternative.

British American Tobacco's Zimbabwe associate, BAT Zimbabwe, remains one of
the largest buyers of tobacco, which is grown by the few remaining white
farmers, poor black peasant farmers and some senior Mugabe henchmen.

BAT Zimbabwe this year bought 15-million kilograms of tobacco from the
farmers. The company will consume just 10% of this, exporting the bulk to
other BAT operations worldwide, according to BAT managing director Lovemore

Last year, German company Giesecke & Devrient was pressured into cancelling
a contract to supply the paper on which the Reserve Bank printed worthless
Zimbabwe dollar banknotes.

Foreign banks, such as Barclays, continue to channel cheap state loans to
farmers sitting on seized land. Such services are mandatory and banks risk
their licences by not complying.

Two South African retail giants looking to expand in Zimbabwe will
inevitably have to source produce from seized farms and will have some
business dealings with a Zanu-PF-linked company Pick n Pay owns 25% of
Zimbabwe's biggest supermarket chain, TM, whose parent company Kingdom
Meikles Africa Limited is going through a politically charged de-merger.

Shoprite, which has a single store in Bulawayo, is said to be negotiating
for a majority share of OK Zimbabwe, valued at $52-million.

Mount Carmel farm, the country's biggest mango producer, was taken over and
farmer Mike Campbell's farmhouse razed to the ground. His $600 000 mango
crop was seized and a pressure group drawn from white farmers had to mount a
campaign to try and stop stores from buying the produce.

In 2002, Sainsbury's of London purchased close to $750 000 worth of produce
from a farm seized by army general Constantine Chiwenga. At the time,
Sainsbury's claimed it was unaware the farm had been taken over, as the
purchase was channelled via British-owned agent Hortico.

According to central bank export reports, Sainsbury's and UK retailer
Waitrose still source fish from Zimbabwe. British supermarket chain Tesco
only stopped buying farm produce from Zimbabwe last year, eight years into
Mugabe's land grab.

The company had previously bought $2-million worth of citrus from Zimbabwe
annually, according to central bank figures. While most companies have
chosen to ride out the storm, others have withdrawn under pressure.

In 2007, United States food giant Heinz sold its 51% shareholding in
Olivine, Zimbabwe's largest cooking oil producer.

The government accused the company of acting on Washington's orders not to
buy sunflower seeds and soya from farms seized from white farmers. But with
investor interest growing, assets put up for sale by fleeing foreign
interests are quickly snapped up.

As soon as BP and Shell announced a pullout from Zimbabwe last month, Engen
and Kenya's KenolKobil put in a bid for their 75 service stations and
30-millionlitre blending plant. While seizure of their assets by Mugabe is
their greatest anxiety, many foreign businesses also fear losing market
share when many believe the battered economy has bottomed out.

Shoprite and Pick n Pay, for instance, will find the retail market is
increasingly being taken over by Chinese-owned supermarket chains whose
owners are gobbling up prime locations abandoned by larger operators and
have fewer misgivings about dealing with Zanu-PF.

Many foreign firms have come to believe that having influential political
figures among the shareholders is good for business.

This week, African Consolidated Resources, the British company whose diamond
claims in eastern Zimbabwe were seized by the government and allowed to
descend into anarchy, won a landmark court ruling that allows it to take
back the rich diamond fields.

The company, listed on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investments
Market, is said to be partly owned by Solomon Mujuru, a senior Zanu-PF

Mujuru is also a partner in another diamond mine, River Ranch, together with
Saudi billionaire Adel Aujan. Zanu-PF itself, via a string of shelf
companies, is also a major investor on Zimbabwe's booming stock exchange.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Moral compass

Dear Family and Friends,

Its hot and purple in Zimbabwe: Jacaranda trees adorned in purple

flowers; skies heavy with purple rain clouds, bougainvillea creepers
ablaze with carpets of purple blooms and Mulberry trees dripping with
sweet, sticky, staining berries. Overhead the flycatchers are back,
the long russet tails of the males flicking through the trees as they
chase their mates. Underfoot, emerging from the ash of a million fires
that have again devastated so much habitat, the wild flowers are on

defiant display: yellow heads, violet gentians, orange pimpernels and
exquisite salmon pink gladioli.

Zimbabwe needs this beauty more than ever now to soften the ugliness
of what's going on around us. Tragically its not just political and
economic ugliness we're dealing with, its a basic loss of compassion
and empathy that seems to have engulfed us as a nation. We've lost
our moral compass, someone said this week and how true that is.

Recently asked to assist in finding help for people in need I heard
stories that are cause for deep shame. A doctor described being
ushered into a small dark house in a high density township where he
examined a 43 year old woman. The patient, Mrs M, has no regular
income and is dependant on donations made by scattered relatives. The
doctor easily diagnosed a large cauliflower growth as advanced breast
cancer. He was amazed Mrs M had not sought help before and felt
despair as he heard how she had tried and failed, again and again, to
get help. Referred to a government hospital 6 months earlier when her
problem began, Mrs M's first attendance yielded nothing because the
nurses and doctors were on strike. Weeks later she tried again and
was referred to the Chitungwiza Hospital in Harare where she was seen
by a junior doctor and given a date to return to see the surgeon on
duty. More struggle and begging for help to get bus fares for another
trip to Harare. On the specified date the surgeon ordered a chest X
ray and some blood tests and told Mrs M to return with her results.
To her dismay Mrs M found she had to pay cash for the tests but she
had nothing left. The hospital would not waive the fees and so again
she returned home without having been helped. On her third attempt
and with money for transport, X rays and blood tests, Mrs M returned
to Chitungwiza but the surgeon did not arrive to conduct his clinic
and so she was sent back home again.

The doctor said that when he saw Mrs.M.again recently her tumour has
doubled in size and she was in considerable pain. Deep down, he said,
he knows Mrs M has missed all chance of a cure but hopes for some
compassion, empathy and palliative care.

Such anguish for the price of an X ray, the cost of a blood test or
just the hand of compassion - our poor Zimbabwe. Until next time,
thanks for reading, love cathy. 3 October 2009

Copyright cathy buckle

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

JAG open letter forum - No. 669- Dated 2 October 2009


Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
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2.  A. McCormick - Charles Lock

3.  Looking for Colin & Anne Randell

4.  Tendai Chaminuka




This morning, the internet had a story that told us that just 3% of
farmers had been compensated for the loss of their land.

Before we can actually comprehend what that 3% represents, we have to
remember that Mugabe and ZANU PF will only pay compensation for
improvements to the land - nothing more.

But a fair percentage of the land taken by Mugabe was purchased since
independence by the commercial farmers after his government had declared
'no interest' in developing the land.

Then it must also be borne in mind that the compensation paid will be
based upon figures arrived at by a ZANU PF appointed assessor who,
reportedly, undervalue the land by as much as 90% and then, consequently,
the improvements thereon.

Any compensation for the land itself is to be paid for by the British
government. Well, that is what Mugabe wants - but he wants that money to
be channelled through his government - so he can plunder it just like he
has done with any other money that has been detoured via his government.

But let's not concentrate on supposition. Just 3% in nine years - even
based upon the ZANU PF undervalued assessment - is a few shillings only.

I remember reading an article quite a few years ago where it was reported
that evicted farmers were pressured into accepting the reduced payments
because they had been rendered paupers by the evictions and needed the
money to stay alive!

Mugabe will, no doubt, wear the 3% as a badge of some merit, telling the
world that his administration has paid that much without the assistance
of the former colonial power. In reality though, the monies so paid - and
I find it quite annoying that the article has failed to quantify the 3% -
a far less than the true value of any improvements to the land.

And that some of the farms that were forcibly taken over, were valueless
even after independence, and it is only the work of the commercial
farmers that have endeavoured to make that land worth something.

To declare no interest in the land until such time as the commercial
farmer has developed it into a project that is worth something, not only
to the farmer, but to the country as a whole, is tantamount to theft -
especially if the 'compensation' is a mere fraction of the investment on
the land, let alone the initial financial outlay to purchase the land!

I, personally, understand the need for the land appropriation, but would
certainly have preferred that it be done properly without any violence,
abductions or deaths. Mugabe is steadfast in his claim that Britain
should pay any compensation, but is also ignoring the basic rule of law
in Zimbabwe by allowing the land grab to take on such a tragic

We should also remember that it is not just the commercial farmer that is
rendered without a farm, a livelihood and a home when these enforced
evictions take place. The farm workers are also rendered jobless and
homeless when the farmer is thrown off, as the new 'owner' has no
requirement for workers who sided with the 'bloody whites' (Mugabe's
words, not mine) - not to mention how the country is affected by the loss
of the farm's production which is for either domestic use or the export

Land appropriation is one thing, a 'land grab' is another thing entirely
- and Mugabe may profess to be conducting the former when he is really
perpetrating the latter.

Robb WJ Ellis

The Bearded Man


2.  A. McCormick - Charles Lock

Dear Jag

Maybe it is time (overdue) for Lock to engage the Tribunal citing jointly
SADC as guarantors of the GPU, Mbeki in his personal capacity as promoter
of the GPU, the First Secretary of ZANU(PF) in his personal capacity for
inciting the violence (at party functions), and the GPU for his
losses.  Obviously the necessary claims and notices would have to go out
first.  Until people are held personally liable I don't see an end to the
ongoing lawlessness.

Perhaps he should also institute a parallel civil suit against Brigadier
Mujaji, Ass Commissioner Crime Khumalo, DISPOL in Rusape, Chiuri, et al.

He is lost anyway but he may get some financial compensation - the only
problem is his personal safety which is what has stopped us from
challenging the regime all along.  But a sacrifice like this may help
turn around Zimbabwe.


Alan McCormick


3.   Looking for Colin & Anne Randell

Dear Jag,

A friend of mine is looking for Farmers Colin and Anne Randell.  They
farmed in the Bulawayo area.  Please if you have any information on this
couple could you contact me.

Best Regards

Mandy Retzlaff



4.  Tendai Chaminuka

The situation on Zimbabwe farms is not something that can be admired. To
any right minded Zimbabwean the situation on farms is a shame and very
retrogressive. A colonial and historical wrong cannot be corrected by a
post independence wrong. The demise of an ordinary Zimbabwean is that the
key players in this land issue belong to a generation of failures. A
generation which does not value human life. It is an open secret that
most of the commercial farmers are somehow associated with either the
First and Second World War. What they experienced was inhuman. Coupled
with the local Second Chimurenga, this generation became hardened in
their thoughts and actions. They then created an exclusive class which
could not accept change. Even when change finally came they did not see
it as real and they continued living in fantasy. Whilst everyone
became Zimbabweans in 1980, they remained Rhodesians on their farms.
Their treatment of the locals was inhuman. They treated locals as
inferior. The only group they could associate with were the politicians.
Those are the only people whom the treated as equals because they wanted
protection from them whilst the politicians wanted their wealth.
Together, they formed a band of ruthless capitalists who exploited the
suffering majority on the farms and factories.



As the days go by, and the interest is awash with stories of the ZANU
PF/Mugabe duplicity, I am always quite stunned at the inaction taken by
the free world.

More and more stories uncover the manner in which Mugabe 'rules'

The latest of which is the revelation that Nestlé is being supplied with
milk by Mugabe's wife, Grace - from a farm seized in the controversial
'land grab' that has been going on in Zimbabwe since 2000.

Other institutions, like the United Nations, have a penchant for inviting
Mugabe to their conferences - even though he is subject to targeted
travel sanctions - and then the UN make an absolute mockery of the whole
sanctions idea by opening the floor for yet another Mugabe tirade against
the West, accusing them of all manner of conspiracies and intentions -
whilst at the same time, Mugabe asks the West to dig into their pockets
and finance the rebuilding of the country - necessitated by Mugabe's
heavy-handed rule.

As the days, weeks, months and years go by, it becomes more and more
obvious that Mugabe is not interested in working with the MDC in a
coalition government, but he has been demanding that the World Bank, the
IMF and various countries cough up to allow the country to rebuild.

Mugabe has no right to 'demand' anything! But all his demands are couched
in such a way to make the free world develop a conscience, and he hopes
that he will strike it rich by this means.

Just like the diamond find in the Marange Fields in the North East of the
country, Mugabe is intent on using the money so received to finance his
own forays on political and personal fronts - he has no want or desire to
use the money for what it was originally intended.

Just yesterday, we read how "Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon
Gono planned to divert a huge chunk of an International Monetary Fund
loan to pay back money diverted to President Robert Mugabe's bloody
re-election campaign last year, documents show.

According to proposals submitted by Gono to Finance Minister Tendai Biti
recently, and seen by ZimEye, US$90 million of the $510 million availed
to Zimbabwe (or 21.5%) would have been used to pay NGOs, exporters and
banks whose funds were raided by Gono in June last year to prop up
Mugabe's bankrupt campaign.

Biti rejected the proposals."

Please note that Mugabe said that the theft of money from accounts by
Gono were excused by Mugabe and the majority of that money has yet to be

I have written on many occasions that any debts run up by ZANU PF should
be paid for by ZANU PF, not the country, and certainly not acceded to by
the watching world.

At least the watching world is holding the purse strings - for the time

"The finance minister reportedly told Gono that any expenditure should
first be approved by parliament through the normal budget process.

Gono has now launched a vicious media campaign against Biti, blowing up
public funds on full-page adverts attacking the minister.

The matter has also been taken up by ZANU PF politicians, who normally
say they do not need the IMF, but are now evidently upset about Biti's
move to prevent looting of the loan."

Gono has been "accused of by the MDC of bringing down the Zimbabwean
economy by financing Mugabe's political campaigns. Corruption
investigations are underway against the central bank governor who's
money-printing to bail out Mugabe's bankrupt regime drove inflation to
astronomical proportions.

Faced with an election that he could not afford last year, Mugabe ordered
Gono to loot foreign currency belonging to private organisations. The
government has so far been unable to pay back the money. Gono's latest
proposals give a rare indication of the massive amounts looted, analysts

Mugabe is not interested in rebuilding Zimbabwe, but in diverting money
to his own account - and the whole world, even though they have largely
fallen wise of Mugabe's intentions, still remain seated, watching from a
distance, unwilling to do anything to assist the Zimbabwean people - in
case Mugabe shouts at them - again!

Robb WJ Ellis

The Bearded Man


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