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Zimbabwe Finance Minister Barricaded Into Office

Oct 3, 11:58 AM EDT

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's finance minister says militants from the
president's party tried to invade his office demanding his resignation after
they didn't receive an increase in their salaries and pension claims.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti insists he can't pay them until diamond mining
earnings controlled by loyalists to President Robert Mugabe are fully paid
into state coffers. Austerity measures in Zimbabwe's troubled economy have
triggered death threats against Biti, including live ammunition sent in the
mail and one gasoline bomb attack at his home.

He said Wednesday that hundreds of militant veterans of the bush war that
led to independence in 1980 barricaded his downtown offices late Tuesday.

Biti, who is a close aide of former opposition leader Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai, says he will not bow to demands for him to quit.

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Finance Minister Defies Vets' Calls to Resign

Sebastian Mhofu
October 03, 2012

Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti is defying calls by veterans of the
country's independence war to step down after refusing to review their
monthly pension payouts.

The veterans, who are loyalists to President Robert Mugabe, have been
preventing the minister from reaching his offices.

About 200 veterans blocked access finance ministry facilities, protesting
the minister's alleged incompetence and refusal to increase their monthly
payments, and call for his resignation.

A visibly subdued Biti, blocked from entering his offices since the
beginning of the week, addressed reporters at his MDC party offices
Wednesday, saying he would not give in to the veterans' demands.

“I hope the president and the prime minister can deal this matter with the
urgency it deserves," he said, explaining that veterans' welfare is a
government concern, but that treasury does not have the money to meet their
demands. "But if your question is ‘Will we resign?’ — that will not happen.
We will not bow down to predatoriness. So they are literally, literally
knocking on the wrong door.”

Biti has repeatedly said that revenue from Zimbabwe's diamond fields, which
are controlled by the military, does not reach the treasury, leaving a big
hole in the country's budget.

Individual veterans currently receive just over $100 monthly, while the
lowest-paid civil servants get about $200.

Since the formation of a coalition government between the MDC and President
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party in 2009, Biti has defied calls to increase wages of
civil servants. Last year an explosive device hit the security wall of the
finance minister's home in an attempted bombing.

“The attacks on the ministry of finance are political — intended to
emasculate not just the ministry of finance, but they are also personal
attacks on the person of the minister of finance in his personal right," he
said, referencing last year's failed bombing. "We are not afraid of anyone,
so you can send your bombs as you have done to some of our houses. We are
not afraid of you, we are not afraid of you, we will continue to do our jobs
as we have been asked to do so until the life of this inclusive government."

The unity government was formed after Zimbabwe's violent and disputed 2008
elections. The government has stabilized Zimbabwe's economy over the past
three years despite chronic tension between the two main parties. However,
fears of renewed violence ahead of new elections has scared away investors
and slowed economic growth.

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MDC-T blasts ZPF ‘looters’ after war vet threats on Biti

By Tererai Karimakwenda
03 October 2012

The MDC-T has unleashed a tirade of criticism against ZANU PF officials who
they say are looting the country’s resources, after a group posing as war
vets blocked access to Finance Minister Tendai Biti’s office.

A statement from the party said they condemn the “barbaric behavior”
displayed by the war vets on Tuesday afternoon, when they locked the access
doors to the Minister’s government offices.

It is not clear what the so-called war vets were after, but the MDC-T
dismissed them as “hired thugs who have been made to hold a mock
demonstration at the minister’s offices in order to divert attention from
the real looters of the country’s resources.”

“Instead of marching to Minister Biti’s offices, these self-styled war
veterans should have demonstrated at the offices of Obert Mpofu, the
Minister of Mines and Mining Development,” the MDC-T said.

They also named Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Local
Government Minister Ignatius Chombo, saying they are among the “corrupt
politicians who are buying helicopters, airplanes, boats and mansions
outside the country from the diamond proceeds.“

The MDC-T said: “The behaviour is totally uncalled for as it happens when
the Finance Minister is frantically trying to source revenue to fund various
government projects, including the salaries for thousands of civil servants
including their bonuses.”

This is not the first time that ZANU PF supporters claiming to be war vets
have demonstrated at Biti’s offices, accusing him of holding back funds that
are due to them and blocking wage increases for civil servants.

Biti has insisted there are no funds in the treasury for wage increases. He
says the government has a budget deficit of over $400 million, which the
minister attributes to senior ZANU PF officials who are not remitting funds
from the sale of Chiadzwa diamonds.

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Principals meet but still no date for constitution conference

By Tererai Karimakwenda
03 October 2012

The principals in the coalition government met on Tuesday to discuss several
critical issues, including the 2nd All Stakeholders Conference that is due
to be held by the end of October.

Robert Mugabe is reported to have agreed to ‘move’ on some key reforms that
have been pending, and to set a date for the official opening of the next
session of Parliament. Government business has been at a standstill due to
Mugabe’s delay in closing the last session, which ended July 28.

According to the Daily News newspaper, the principals meeting included
Mugabe himself, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and both the Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara and Professor Welshman Ncube.

The Minister for Parliamentary and Constitutional Affairs, Eric Matinenga,
joined the principals for a briefing and discussions on the pending 2nd
all-Stakeholders’ Conference. He told SW Radio Africa on Wednesday that no
specific date or venue was agreed on, but Harare would host the event the
third week of October.

“It was decided there were no funds to hold the Conference in Bulawayo or
outside Harare. We were able to get a venue for around the 22nd of October.
At the earliest it will be the 17th of October,” Matinenga explained.

The Minister also said that other political parties, which are not part of
the GPA, will be allowed to participate in the Conference. And any
organization recognized as an NGO will also be eligible.

Regarding funds for the Conference, which had reportedly been an issue,
Matinenga said COPAC would be meeting with their development partners on
Thursday. He added that he was “sure they will make significant

According to the Daily News, the Prime Minister’s spokesperson Luke
Tamborinyoka said Mugabe had agreed to swear-in Morgen Komichi as deputy
minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development. Komichi was picked to
fill the spot by Tsvangirai, following the death of Tichaona Mudzingwa in

Mugabe has delayed the swearing-in, along with other government business
that has been pending. Several Bills that were already passed by parliament
are also waiting to be signed and gazetted by Mugabe.

As always, no information was released by the principals regarding their
Tuesday meeting. The news blackout has been characteristic of the coalition
government’s negotiations towards a roadmap for credible elections.

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Anger over ‘unjust’ eviction of Chegutu farmer

By Alex Bell
03 October 2012

There is growing anger over the court ordered eviction of a farming family
in Chegutu, with criticism being aimed at the courts for the unjust decision
that forced the family to leave their home.

Dirk and Heidi Visagie are said to be in a state of shock after packing up
all their belongings and leaving their Wantage Farm over the weekend,
complying with a court order to leave.

Dirk was found guilty by a Chegutu magistrate in August, ending a decade
long fight to remain on his farm that he bought from a Government parastatal
back in 2001. Back then, he received a ‘certificate of no interest’ from the
Lands Ministry because the property was considered ‘peri-urban’ and not one
Gazetted under the Lands Act for seizure under the land grab campaign.

But about a month later a local official called Timothy Madavanhu, the
chairman of the rural district council, arrived to claim Visagie’s property
as part of the land grab. This was despite the fact that the offer letter
Madavanhu received from the Land’s Ministry was not for Wantage farm.

Madavanhu insisted the Visagie property was the one he wanted and he soon
initiated a campaign of harassment and intimidation that included moving
hired thugs onto the property, breaking into the Visagie family home and
lighting raging veld fires.

In 2007 Visagie was criminally charged for illegally occupying his home but
the charges were eventually withdrawn after he pleaded not guilty. The
intimidation continued over the following years and in January 2011 Visagie
was again criminally charged for illegally occupying State land “without

Visagie was found guilty, along with farmer Andrew Ferreira, a former
Zimbabwe Tobacco Association president. The pair are the last of 15 farmers
in the district who were meant to be protected by a landmark ruling in the
regional human rights Tribunal in 2008. The SADC court ruled that the land
grab campaign was unlawful and ordered the then ZANU PF government to
protect the remaining farmers. This never happened. Instead the court was
suspended by SADC leaders almost two years ago in what was widely regarded
as a clear sign of loyalty to Robert Mugabe.

Family friend and former Chegutu farmer Ben Freeth has blasted the eviction
of the Visagie family as “racist” and a “terrible injustice.” Freeth told SW
Radio Africa that the Visagie’s only crime was remaining in their home.

“They are in a state of trauma over it all, mainly because of the injustice
of it and because it is just accepted as normal in Zimbabwe,” Freeth said.

He added: “Everyone just allows it to happen and we are so used to this
injustice that it is considered normal.”

The successful eviction of the Viasgie family comes as a group of farmers in
Mashonaland Central have also been ordered to vacate their properties, to
make way for the holders of ‘offer letters’. The Commercial Farmers Union
has warned that this renewed campaign to remove white commercial is
happening country wide.

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A White Farmer'S Crime In Zimbabwe


SADC Tribunal Rights Watch

2 October 2012

A white farmer’s crime in Zimbabwe

I spent the night in the familiar chaos of a Zimbabwean family in the process of packing up. There were just two nights to go before the September 30 deadline. Everywhere were boxes and piles of things ready to go into boxes. Outside, their once lush lawn was dry. The pump had been broken.

I was present in August when the magistrate had pronounced Dirk Visagie, a commercial farmer, guilty. Dirk had stood in the dock with his head bowed, accepting the magistrate’s words in silence.

I shall always remember the magistrate’s expression as he pronounced a verdict of guilty. It was both vindictive and malevolent.

Dirk was treated as a common criminal for living in a house he bought in 2001 from a government parastatal, with the Minister of Lands having issued a “certificate of no interest”. It was on a peri-urban plot bordering the small Mashonaland West town of Chegutu.

It was his only home and his only property. At 42 hectares it was small, but he had invested everything he had in it, and had made it a financial success.

The property was earmarked for eventual urban expansion in the Chegutu town master plan so the Visagies knew it would never be required for agricultural resettlement and could later be subdivided when the time was right.

But, two months after the deed had been paid for and transferred, Timothy ‘Shoko’ Mudavanhu arrived.

He had been chairman of the Rural District Council when I was working for the Commercial Farmers’ Union in the late 1990s and we knew each other.

We had worked together to make the rural council as efficient as possible, to make sure that the mobile clinics were properly staffed and equipped, and to ensure that the rural road network was well maintained.

Mudavanhu came armed with an offer letter. He had already taken another property near Selous belonging to farmer I also knew, Piet Martin.

He now owned a supermarket and a relatively large, comfortable house in Chegutu.

The fact that the offer letter Mudavanhu brandished at the Visagie’s plot was not actually for their plot appeared not to matter. He wanted their house and harassed them constantly to force them out.

Eventually, in 2005, he ensured that the property was gazetted and that a new offer letter was issued.

After years of continuous harassment, Dirk appeared in the dock for the first time in 2007, charged with the criminal act of living in his own home and producing crops for the nation, which was by now reliant on international food aid.

After getting numerous High Court orders and an international judgment in his favour, the charges against Dirk were finally dropped.

Regrettably, a drawn-out and expensive trial began again at the beginning of 2011 and Dirk was finally pronounced guilty last month.

The Visagies have appealed against the verdict – but know that to still be on the farm after the deadline might result in spending time in one of Zimbabwe’s filthy jails. So they have locked up, given the keys to their lawyers, and moving off their land.

In a country that is begging the international community to feed another 1.7 million people this year - and which has an unemployment rate of more than 80 percent, the Visagies are no longer allowed to farm or produce crops.

Their property will now become derelict and unused like the vast majority of commercial farmland in Zimbabwe.

The Visagies have ventured into a new and uncertain business unrelated to farming to try to sustain themselves.

This move means that only a handful of people will be employed and that the prospect of their ever farming again is unlikely. Valuable resources earmarked to develop their farm have been sidelined to renovate a house in town.

Dirk, a South African national, was blocked from farming last year. If a farmer cannot farm, how can he provide for himself and his family while at the same time paying for a long and expensive trial?

How can he fix up a house to make it habitable for his wife and children and look after the needs of the few employees he hopes to retain?

I can imagine the questions going through Dirk’s mind at this point: What in reality was his crime? Why was he stopped from farming? Why had he been forced out of his home?

What was wrong with buying a peri-urban plot from a Zimbabwe Government parastatal? Why was Heidi, his wife, stopped from helping people who were sick or wounded and who came to her gate needing medical attention?

What was criminal about growing much-needed crops in a country that is starving?

According to ZANU PF, Dirk and Heidi’s crime is that they are “white” people. The crime of their black employees is that they work for “white” people.

This scenario has been repeated again and again across the length and breadth of Zimbabwe since the state-sponsored farm invasions began in 2000.

ZANU PF’s “land reform” programme has been judged racist in an international court but the racism is supported by President Mugabe and his most powerful politicians, who have benefitted significantly from the land grab.

Racism has been embedded in Section 4.29 of our draft constitution and, after protracted and turbulent negotiations, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change party, has agreed to support the latest draft.

ZANU PF does not respect the country’s high court orders, nor the rulings of an international court. It does not respect the SADC Treaty nor the bilateral investment protection agreements (BIPPAs) signed with foreign countries investing in Zimbabwe. This includes South Africa

Through its deplorable actions, which are flout both SADC and international treaties and norms, ZANU PF is guilty of criminal behavior and of continued ethnic cleansing in Zimbabwe.


Submitted by / For further information:

Ben Freeth

SADC Tribunal Rights Watch


Cell: +263 773 929 138


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Mugabe motorcade in 4th accident

03/10/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe’s motorcade was involved in an accident on Wednesday
morning, police confirmed.

A police outrider was feared dead after his motorbike collided with a truck
near Sam Levy’s Village in Harare.

The accident is the fourth involving Mugabe’s motorcade in as many months.
Assistant Commissioner Charity Charamba, the national police spokeswoman,
said: “I can confirm an accident involving the presidential motorcade at
around 10AM today. Investigations are still in progress to establish the
cause of the accident and the number of casualties.”

Witnesses said the police motorbike rammed into a truck and immediately
caught fire.
“The police biker just lay on the tarmac not moving. An ambulance came and
took him away but he appeared dead,” said a man who witnessed the crash.

President Robert Mugabe’s official Mercedes limousine drove past shortly
after the incident.

In June this year, Mugabe’s motorcade had three accidents in which two
people were killed and more than a dozen injured.
In the first, a homeless man was knocked down by a police motorbike in
Harare as Mugabe was being driven to his rural home in Zvimba. The police
outrider and the victim were both hospitalised.

As the convoy left Kutama on the return journey, an open-top army Land
Cruiser carrying members of the presidential guard burst a tyre and
overturned, killing Private Jeoffrey Mukotekwa and injuring several others.

In the third incident, the presidential motorcade was making a brisk return
to Harare from Zvimba ahead of Mugabe’s flight to Brazil for a UN conference
when a police lead vehicle sent to clear traffic rammed into a commuter
minibus carrying 22 passengers.

A male passenger in the minibus, known locally as a kombi, died on impact
with the police Mercedes while 15 others – including two police officers –
were injured.

Police blamed the accidents on drivers who showed a “total disregard for
road regulations”.
The Transport Ministry pushed through regulations in 2002 which state that
“the driver of every vehicle on the road on which a state motorcade is
travelling... shall halt his vehicle”.

Mugabe’s convoy is thought to be one of the longest in Africa, averaging a
dozen vehicles at a time including an ambulance.

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Drama as prison officers block PM’s wife visiting Chikurubi

By Tichaona Sibanda
3 October 2012

There was drama outside the Chikurubi maximum security prison complex on
Wednesday when prison authorities barred Elizabeth Tsvangirai from visiting
MDC cadres held inside the premises.

The Prime Minister’s wife was in motorcade that had co-Home Affairs Minister
Theresa Makone and deputy ministers Obert Gutu and Murisi Zvidzai. While the
trio were cleared to enter the complex, the Premeir’s wife was blocked.

SW Radio Africa’s Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported that apart
from being blocked, Mrs. Tsvnagirai was also asked to leave her
chauffer-driven vehicle and walk to a different security check point to
argue her case.

“The prison officers vehemently declared her name had not been cleared to
visit the complex. They contended that the other three, Makone, Gutu and
Zvidzai had been cleared by the Zimbabwe Prison Services in the morning,”
Muchemwa said.

He added: “Even in the presence of Gutu, their boss, the prison officers
would not move an inch, forcing the deputy minister of Justice to seek
intervention from senior prison officers.”

Gutu, according to Muchemwa was able to summon the officer-in-charge of
Chikurubi who eventually cleared the Prime Minister’s wife to enter, after
almost one and half hours of negotiations.

“Zvidzai thinks it was a well planned plot to embarras the person of the
Prime Minister and the image of his wife. He thinks it had all the hallmarks
of wanting to embarrass her,” Muchemwa said.

Since her marriage to Tsvangirai last month, Elizabeth has taken a more
prominent role in supporting her husband’s government and party roles.
This past weekend, she attended the MDC’s 13th anniversary in Bulawayo, and
also accompanied her husband when he visited his supporters who were injured
in a ZANU PF attack on their way to the anniversary rally.

Last month, she was also at the High Court to attend the trial of the MDC-T
29 activists charged with the murder of the police inspector Petros Mutedzi
in Glen View last year.

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Zimbabwe's electoral commission seeks $104m for referendum

Sapa-AFP | 03 October, 2012 10:02

Cash-strapped Zimbabwe's electoral commission on Tuesday said it needs $104
million to organise a referendum on a new constitution that would pave way
for a vote on a successor to the country's shaky coalition government.

No referendum date has been set yet, but longtime President Robert Mugabe
said he wants to hold it next month. However, the election body said it
needs six weeks to make arrangements for the vote.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chief Joyce Kazembe said it was ready to hold
a referendum if funds are made available.

In a court filing last week, Mugabe set out plans for the popular votes to
be held in the next six months, listing a "referendum, expected to take
place during the first week of November."

Zimbabwe is expected to hold new elections some time next year, the first
since a presidential run-off election in 2008 marred by violence.

The tense aftermath of the election forced Mugabe and long-time rival Morgan
Tsvangirai to form a power-sharing government in 2009 to avoid a tip into a
full-fledged conflict.

In the pact which gave birth to the compromise government, the parties
agreed to a raft of reforms and crafting a new charter before new elections.

A draft constitution negotiated by Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, Tsvangirai's MDC
party and a smaller MDC splinter group was finished in August.

The process was plagued by delays and violence at public meetings.

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Civil society alert PM on water crisis

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 11:13
HARARE - Bulawayo’s deepening water crisis has seen more than a million
people without the precious liquid and only getting supplies three times a
week, devastating an already reeling local economy facing massive

For Zimbabwe’s nongovernmental organisations (NGOs), figuring out how best
to help in such circumstances is a daunting task.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has a suggestion: first, help get a
responsive, exclusive Zimbabwe government into office at the next polls.

Tsvangirai asked NGOs to help expand the Zimbabwean government’s capacity to
respond to the challenge at a private conference with members of civil
society in Bulawayo.

The meeting came just a week after the local authority asked residents to
participate in a “big flush” concurrently at 7:30pm every Saturday evening
so that human waste does not solidify in the city’s aging sewerage pipes.

It comes as the local authority races its connection to Mtshabezi Dam so as
to avert the intensifying water crisis.

Phillan Zamchiya, Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition regional coordinator said
Tsvangirai met and briefed civil society at a meeting organised by the
Christian Alliance and Bulawayo Agenda in the second city on the sidelines
of the 13th MDC anniversary last weekend.

Civil society leaders reportedly drew the PM’s attention to the water
crisis, now considered a critical disaster problem which needs urgent

Civil society’s call to aid the ailing Bulawayo Province, where residents
are getting water for only 72 hours a week, reflected the increasing
concerns among aid workers who have proposed sinking more boreholes and
getting more water bowsers to the people as a long-term solution is being

“The Prime Minister responded to a number of quotidian concerns raised by
civil society around water shortages, decay of NRZ (National Railways of
Zimbabwe), dilapidated state of public roads and maternal health care,”
Zamchiya said.

“In short, the Prime Minister promised to make a follow-up with relevant
ministries in order to seek lasting solutions to the problems raised. As
civil society we continue to urge the government to implement democratic and
economic reforms to establish a salubrious environment for a competitive,
free and fair election that will result in the instalment of a people’s
government that can deal decisively and effectively with Zimbabwe’s crisis.”

The meeting provided a further indication that civil society is rethinking
how national development assistance should be deployed.

The Prime Minister told civil society leaders that the inclusive government
was now winding up its business in preparation for the general election.

He said civil society will be able to make comments and recommendations to
the Second All-Stakeholders Conference but amendments to the Copac draft can
only be effected by Parliament.

Tsvangirai told civil society leaders that the referendum will be held in
November, which resonates with the position put forward by President Mugabe
in his recent court application to have by-elections postponed.

The Copac draft, Tsvangirai said was a “progressive document that should be
supported by democrats.”

The PM told NGO leaders that government has not agreed on the specific date
for general elections, although he prefers to have general elections in June
2013 in order to allow ample time to operationalise the “new
constitution.” - Gift Phiri

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Water shortages lead to war

Health Advisor to the Office of the President and Cabinet, Timothy Stamps,
said the lack of water could lead to war if not properly managed.

by Byron Mutingwende

Stamps was speaking to journalists ahead of the Second Annual Zim-Afro
Medical and Health Expo to be held at Harare International Conference Centre
from the 26th to the 28th of this month.

Exhibitors at the expo include manufacturers and distributors of medical
equipment or devices, pharmaceutical companies and health insurance
companies among others. Over 35 exhibitors are expected, excluding medical

“Top on the agenda during the expo will be the issue of water the lack of
which is a crisis in Zimbabwe at the present moment,” Stamps said. “The lack
of water is the major source of war in Somalia and North Eastern Kenya and I
hope we are not heading towards that.”

He said there was need to educate people on the proper use of water. “Water
is life. We will all die if we don’t get safe water. Educating people on
simple issues of hygiene like hand-washing and brushing teeth will save the
government money spent on dealing with outbreak,” added the former health

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Dry taps for Harare suburbs till weekend

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 00:45

Municipal Reporter
HARARE’S western and parts of south­ern suburbs will have no water until
weekend owing to a major pipe burst within the Morton Jaffray Water
Treat­ment Plant. Water shortages pose a great health risk high-density
suburbs. Each time the suburbs run dry, resi­dents resort to fetching water

unprotected sources.
The unavailability of water means residents would not be able to use toilets
while schools, clinics and shopping cen­tres without borehole water might be
forced to close.

Harare water director Eng Christo­pher Zvobgo announced the water cri­sis

“We suffered a major pipe burst on the water mains that feeds the western
“The burst has caused the flooding of the pump house,” he said.

City engineers spent the greater part of yesterday draining water from the
pump house.
The flooding damaged electrical pumps.
He said the whole treatment plant temporarily lost power due to flooding.

“All the areas fed through Marimba and Lochinvar Reservoirs would be without
water until the weekend,” he said.
Eng Zvobgo said each time such a mishap happens, pumps are taken for repairs
and drying.

He said in the interim, the city would be using smaller pumps to supply the
affected suburbs, which include Budi-riro, Kuwadzana, Mufakose, Glen Norah,
Glen View, Kambuzuma and Rugare.
He urged residents to use the avail­able water sparingly.

Harare residents have not had ade­quate water in the past few weeks owing to
serious plant breakdowns at Morton Jaffray, huge leaks on the reticulation
system and a high demand caused by the rising tempera­tures.

In his report to the environmental management committee, Eng Zvobgo
attributed the water shortages to rising temperatures and constant
infrastruc­ture breakdowns.

He said the city was throttling sup­plies in all areas that were fed
directly from the water mains and would con­tinue with the leak-sealing

He said the city had introduced rota­tional water rationing.
But due to difficulties in the water distribution system, the water could
not be rationed equitably.

He said the furthest and highest areas would continue to receive less water
with Hatcliffe, Highlands, Borrowdale, Dzivaresekwa and Msasa Park the
hardest hit.

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Outdated Sewer System Pollutes Zimbabwe, Threatens Health

Global Press Institute - Gertrude Pswarayi
Tuesday 2nd October, 2012

BULAWAYO, ZIMBABWE Sibusiso Nyathi, 43, says she was thrilled when she moved
into her seven-room house she had built in Mahatshula, a medium-density
suburb of Bulawayo, Zimbabwes second-largest city.
She saved for 13 years to afford the house, which cost $25,000 in a country
where the per capita gross national income is just $460 per year, according
to UNICEF. Her sister, who works in South Africa, also gave her money to
build the home.
But five years later, Nyathi says that a dilapidated sewage pipe nearby is
ruining her dream home. The pipe has been spewing its ghastly effluent into
the streets for more than four years.
I am under siege, Nyathi says. Pungent smell has engulfed this area for
years now. No amount of air fresheners can overpower this smell. Although I
keep all windows closed, I cannot keep the smell outside.
Nyathi, a mother of three boys and one girl, says the situation is even
worse during the rainy season, when the area is flooded. She says the area
becomes impassable, and the roads are awash with sewage.
My children used to spend hours in the streets, playing soccer with their
friends, Nyathi says. Now, they cannot step outside without confronting this
disaster. They now stay confined in the house, and they are all unhappy.
Nyathi says she has notified the local council officials but hasnt received
a favorable response.
Fellow residents have also made reports, but nothing has happened, she says
dejectedly. I can no longer afford to waste my resources to visit the city
council officers as they evidently do not have any interest in dealing with
this problem.
Nyathi says that the sewer nightmare is ruining Bulawayos reputation.
This city can no longer be called a City of Kings because kings do not live
in sewage, she says angrily. The city council officials have let everyone in
this city down. I am disappointed.
Residents of Zimbabwes major cities say that dilapidated sewer systems are
filling their streets with waste, contaminating their water supply and
harming their health. City council officials say that the government is
aware of the problem but cant afford to overhaul the outdated
infrastructure, which is further hampered by an acute water shortage.
Residents associations are fostering a dialogue between citizens and public
service providers as they continue to pressure the government.
Hyperinflation from 2006 to 2008 led to an increase in poverty levels in
Zimbabwe and a decrease in the public sectors capacity to respond
effectively to service delivery needs in the struggling economy, according
to a 2010 joint report by the Zimbabwe government and the United Nations.
Meanwhile, the service needs have been growing.
Population pressure in the urban areas has overburdened sewage and water
reticulation systems, creating serious environmental health problems such as
the much publicised (sic) cholera outbreak in 2009, according to the report.
The once functional household waste management system has deteriorated,
resulting in huge mounds of uncollected waste.
Across the street from Nyathis house is a plush eight-room home belonging to
Marko Ncube. Ncube, 65, says he built his house in 2008.
I did not realize that there were some old sewer lines close to this suburb,
he says. These sewer lines are from older suburbs, such as Khumalo, that
were established more than 50 years ago. The sewer system has not received
any major attention. The whole system needs to be overhauled.
Ncube, a retired civil servant, says he had planned to retire in a quiet
suburb away from
the hustle and bustle of Bulawayos high-density areas.
Mahatshula was the most favorable place to be, he says. There are no heavy
manufacturing industries close by, so there is no noise. The stands [plots]
were relatively big, and I thought I had found my little haven to retire
after years of serving my country.
Ncube says that if he had known of this problem, he would have settled in a
different residential area. Now, he can no longer afford to buy another
house elsewhere, as the costs have become prohibitive.
Like Nyathi, Ncube says that he has also visited the city council to report
the sewage problems. But no help has materialized.
Zibusiso Dube, 26, the information manager for the Bulawayo Progressive
Residents Association, says residents have grown tired of reporting cases of
burst or blocked sewer pipes.
There are other areas such as Luveve where leaking sewage has formed some
streams, Dube says. These sewage streams are feeding into rivers that supply
water to Bulawayo metropolitan city. This is very deplorable.
And the pollution is not just limited to Bulawayo and its suburbs.
The sprawling metropolitan city of Harare, Zimbabwes capital, lies 450
kilometers northeast of Bulawayo. A huge banner boldly emblazoned with the
message, Welcome to the Sunshine City, greets visitors on the drive from the
airport to the capital.
But Edina Banda, 54, one of the capitals 1 million residents, says the sun
has long set on Harare.
This town used to be always sparkling with beautiful flowers adorning
roadsides, says Banda, who lives in the high-density suburb of Budiriro.
There was an air of freshness everywhere, but the air is now stinking.
Everywhere you look, there is sewage flowing along the streets, and garbage
is piling everywhere because the council is failing to collect it on time.
The town is a health hazard and a death trap to us.
Banda says she fears for her safety every day and worries about the health
of her three young grandchildren, who spend their time playing in the
polluted streets.
Pretty Chabuda, advocacy officer for Harare Residents Trust, a local
residents association, says there are many areas in Harare that face
perennial sewage problems, listing various suburbs.
There is an area between Westlea suburb and Cold Comfort that has now been
given the name Pamasewage because sewage is always flowing on that area, she
says, using a term that means sewage area.
Chabuda says that the pollution is contaminating local water sources.
Despite the overflow of sewage in the suburb of Crowborough, she says that
residents in the area have been forced to dig shallow wells to get water for
domestic consumption because of the acute water problems facing the city.
These unsafe sources of water that have been dug near sewage overflows are a
key factor that is linked to the February 2012 typhoid outbreaks, where
2,900 cases were recorded, Chabuda says.
Dr. Godfrey Nerupfunde, a general practitioner in the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare, says raw sewage is harmful to humans, animals and the
Diseases such as typhoid, cholera and diarrhea become prevalent if there is
a poor sewage disposal mechanism, he says. Sewage is also harmful to the
environment because when it is decomposing, raw sewage reduces the amount of
oxygen in rivers, and this depletes aquatic life.
Chabuda calls the poor management of the sewer system an affront to the
residents of Harare and a violation of their rights to a clean environment.
Section 4
of the Environment Management Act of 2005 guarantees everyone the right to a
clean environment that is not harmful to their health. Section 57 (1) of the
same act sets fines and/or imprisonment for discharging or permitting the
discharge of any poison or toxic, noxious or obstructing matter, radioactive
waste or other pollutants into the aquatic environment or contravening water
pollution control standards.
Bulawayo City Council is responsible for managing the citys sewer system.
Nesisa Mpofu, the senior public relations officer for Bulawayo City Council,
says the city council is aware of the problems of the dilapidated sewer
infrastructure and its potential consequences to residents.
We are aware of the problem, Mpofu says. Old suburbs in Bulawayo such as
Queens Park are the most severely affected. The extent of the damage
requires a complete overhaul of the whole sewerage system, and this requires
a lot of money, which the council does not have.
Mpofu says that at the moment, donors fund most of the city council
projects, such as those regarding water supply and sewer management. She
adds that the council can carry out repairs and renovations only when donors
agree to fund such projects.
She says that the city council is aware of the potential health disaster
caused by leaking sewer pipes. But she repeats that there is nothing that it
can do because of financial shortages to carry out such massive projects.
Mpofu says that acute water shortages in the supply dams have forced the
city council to impose 72 hours of water shedding per week on residents.
This has exacerbated the sewage problem.
She says that the council asks all households to participate in a flushing
exercise to prevent blockages.
Every household is requested to flush their toilets systematically at 7:30
p.m. the very day after the 72 hours of water shedding, she says. This is
done to prevent any sewer blockages as we anticipate longer periods without
water in the reticulation system.
Meanwhile, residents associations in both Harare and Bulawayo are working to
contribute to a solution.
Chabuda says that Harare Residents Trust advocates for productive engagement
and has held focus group discussions and community forums for public service
providers and residents to interact in order to deliberate how best to
manage waste and emerging dump sites within communities.
Dube says that his organization recognizes that the city council has been
attending to some blocked sewer pipes, but the pace is slow. He says that
his organization has trained some city residents on environmental issues so
that they are more aware of hazards that may cause disease outbreaks. The
organization seeks to empower Bulawayo city residents on local governance
issues and collective decision-making through effective participation in
order to improve service delivery.
As residents and residents representing organizations, we have to continue
to lobby the city council officials to urgently attend to such potential
disasters, he says.

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Soldiers join looting spree

Touts have resurfaced at commuter omnibus ranks amid revelations that
members of the Zimbabwe National Army have joined the notorious
Mandimbandimba, a group of rank marshalls with strong links to Chipangano,
in extorting “ranking fees” from commuter omnibus drivers.

by Staff Reporter

Drivers told The Zimbabwean that soldiers were now getting kickbacks from
rank marshals in return for protection. Many marshals have become rich
overnight - building mansions and owning fleets of luxury vehicles and

“The soldiers come to the rank every day in the company of the
Mandimbandimba, usually between 3 and 4 pm, to collect up to $5 from each
vehicle,” said one driver. “When there are soldiers at the rank, the police
do not come close – giving the marshalls ample opportunity to take money
from us.”

Some drivers employ dangerous tactics in a bid to evade paying the “loading
fees”. This newspaper observed soldiers boarding commuter minibuses to
ensure that the drivers are not harassed by the police, for which they are
given a “protection fee”

Army spokesperson, Alfios Makotore, refused to comment, saying “What you are
saying is news to me.” Harare Province Police spokesperson, Insp Tedious
Chibande, urged drivers who were being forced to pay any fees to the
Mandimbandimba or soldiers to report to them and promised to investigate.

The army last month led an operation against the touts, which also involved
the ZRP and the Harare Municipal Police after Mandimbandimba attacked two
soldiers at the Charge Office rank. A full council meeting last week noted
that the municipality had been slow in moving in to the ranks and taking
control of the revenue from the commuter operators, which runs into millions
of dollars. Finance Committee Chairperson, Friday Mleya, said municipal
police had been deployed at commuter omnibus ranks since last Friday.

Almost 500 touts were arrested by police early last month in a blitz
welcomed by employers and residents.

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Enterprising Zimbabweans Cashing In On Power Shortages

Harare, October 03, 2012 - Some enterprising Zimbabweans are making a
fortune through selling generators as power shortages in the country
“Business is good. People are realising that they have no option but to buy
generators for power," said Tongai Chikwanda, a sales person at Power

"Zimbabwe is now like Nigeria, we are now a generator economy,” said
Chikwanda who sources generators from South Africa.

A school drop-out and barbershop owner, Tafadzwa Museta, said lack of
electricity was affecting his only source of livelihood.

He invested in a second hand generator to beat the power shortages but
sometimes the generator gives him problems too.

For almost 30 minutes Museta could not figure out what was wrong with the
generator when a Radio VOP correspondent visited him.

Meanwhile two clients who were waiting for him to fix the generator walked
away in disappointment.

“This is what gives me headaches in this business," he said. "Once the power
is gone we can only expect it back after many hours and worse still it goes
during the day when we are supposed to be doing business,” he added.

Power shortage are affecting potential investment in Zimbabwe despite a
number of power projects such as the Zimbabwe-Zambia joint Batoka Power
Project, which have been on the cards for years.

The Ministry of Energy has also been endlessly considering power projects
around the country. These include the expansion of the Hwange and Kariba
Power stations and the construction of a huge methane gas power station in
Gokwe. But none of these have taken off yet.

Harare based economist, John Robertson, told Radio VOP: “It’s a chicken and
egg situation, without power business cannot happen. Even if the investment
climate improves, without addressing these power shortages it will be very
difficult to attract investment.”

“The economy can’t function on generators," he said.

He said only a few companies had negotiated contracts with the power
utility, Zimbabwe Electricity Authority (ZESA), to get uninterrupted power

"What this country needs is real investment in the power sector,” said

According to the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI), some companies
complain that they lose significant amounts of stock which go bad when power
shortages occur.

Jack Murehwa, the Chief Executive Officer of Sable Chemicals, seeking to
built its own power station to pump its Kwekwe based plant, recently pleaded
with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to act on issues of power generation.

“Electricity is our biggest problem. The ZESA tariffs are too high and we
cannot operate optimally at the current rate that’s why we are seeking to
build a methane gas power plant at Munyati,” said Murehwa.

Despite the shortages in the local market, it still exports to Botswana and
Namibia under some long standing agreements. Recently Mozambique threatened
to cut off power supplies to Zimbabwe due to non-payment.

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Bikita Youths Fail To Register As Voters

Bikita, October 03, 2012 - The Youth Forum Zimbabwe (YFZ) wants government
to review electoral laws that require proof of residence to register as
voters as hordes of youths in Bikita have been turned away.
"The Youth Forum encourages the government to review its laws to allow all
deserving voters to register with few or no hustles at all. We encourage the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to review such requirements especially for
young people who usually find it difficult to produce the required proof of
residence," noted a statement by YFZ on Wednesday.

A youth, Munyaradzi Mwenga of Makuvaza village here, told the YFZ, which has
been running a voter education campaign targeted at youths, that he had
faced problems getting in touch with the headman to confirm that he resided
in the area.

"The only time I managed to talk to him, none of us had a pen so he could
not write me the so-called proof. I have tried visiting his homestead
several times and on all occasions he has not been home."

Youth Forum Zimbabwe said young people in Bikita were keen to add their
names to the voters' roll, following the organisation's campaign; hence the
youths had been thronging the Registrar's Office in Masvingo on a daily

Dorcas Garande (29) said the YFZ had helped her to see the link between
voting and the quality of life she leads.

"I have registered as a voter and I am also encouraging other youths to
register as it is only our vote that can decide our future," she said.

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) has already highlighted in a
survey it did countrywide that proof of residence in the form of utility
bills such as water and electricity was a challenge for most potential
voters living in rented accommodation.

The (YFZ) said demanding proof of residence was discriminatory to the
homeless and displaced people who qualify to vote.

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Chombo dismissed as ‘hypocrite’ for probing Harare Mayor

By Tererai Karimakwenda
03 October 2012

The Minister for Local Government, Ignatius Chombo, has been dismissed as a
hypocrite after launching an investigation into dealings by the Harare
Council, especially the Mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda.

Chombo last week set up a probe team that will look into all council tenders
that were issued in the past 24 months, alleging there was corruption and a
failure to follow council procedures.

Specifically, Chombo wants the team to investigate how Cabs, a company owned
by Old Mutual, got the tender to construct 3 000 housing units in the high
density suburb of Budiriro. Chombo has accused the Mayor of being the Cabs
chairperson, and therefore having a conflict of interest in awarding the

The Mayor has reportedly denied the allegations and challenged Chombo to
investigate. According to the Daily News newspaper, Masunda said: “I welcome
the probe as I have nothing to fear because I have never been in the
business of keeping any skeletons in the cupboard.”

Regarding the Cabs tender, Masunda is quoted as saying: “By the way, the
chairperson of Cabs is Leonard Tsumba. I am the chairperson of Old Mutual
Life Assurance of Zimbabwe.”

This was confirmed by Caspar Takura, Councillor for Tafara/Mabvuku, who
defended the Mayor saying he has worked hard to instil discipline and ensure
that no corrupt deals are made by the Council. Mutero blasted Chombo as a
hypocrite who was found to be corrupt by the Council, then fired those who
ran the probe.

“As they say the sinner always quotes the Bible and that is exactly what
Chombo has done. He is the corrupt one himself and he is trying to use the
Urban Councils Act to prosecute the Mayor. Those are unjust accusations
coming from the man who abused that Act himself,” Mutero said.

The Councillor added that Mayor Masunda has removed himself from several
meetings where he felt it would have been inappropriate to get involved.

Minister Chombo made headlines last year during messy divorce hearings, when
his former wife revealed the vast amount of properties he owned around the
country. Questions were raised as to how he had amassed such great wealth on
a minister’s salary.

Investigations by Harare councillors also implicated the minister in corrupt
land deals. But the police have done nothing with the files presented to
them by the councillors, and Chombo continues to victimize others.

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Komichi throws his hat in the ring to contest Parliamentary seat

By Tichaona Sibanda
03 October 2012

The MDC-T deputy national chairman and non constituency Senator Morgan
Komichi on Wednesday declared his intention to contest the Sanyati
parliamentary seat currently held by ZANU PF.

The deputy minister of transport designate told SW Radio Africa that issues
like unemployment, the economy, the state of the health care system and lack
of political freedom will be primary issues in his campaign.

Komichi is also expected to be appointed the deputy minister of Transport
soon following the recent death of Tichaona Mudzingwa.

The veteran trade unionist outlined many of his hopes and visions for a new
Zimbabwe under an MDC led government. He promised also to transform the
living standards of constituents under Sanyati if voted to represent them in
Parliament, during the anticipated elections in early 2013.

“The time has come to write a new chapter in the history of Zimbabwe because
we are talking about the future and not the past. I love Sanyati, I love the
Midlands province and I’m in love with Zimbabwe. I want to put my life in
its service that’s why I’m announcing my candidacy to challenge the sitting
ZANU PF MP in the constituency,” Komichi said.

The seat is currently held by Fungai Chaderopa who gained notoriety in her
constituency in the run up to the June 2008 elections, through her heavily
militarized, systematic perpetration of political violence.

Komichi said he had no fears challenging a ZANU PF held constituency because
his interaction with most of the people showed that they were “desperate for

He emphasized there was need for Zimbabwe to become a country that has the
courage to own up to its mistakes, and fix them together.

“We are not like ZANU PF that denies killing its own people, a party that
also denies it has messed up the economy and always wants to blame other
people and nations for their mistakes. But as MDC we want a country that
reflects our values, that protects our heritage and culture and respects our
identity,” Komichi said.

The senator promised to bring positive change in the Sanyati constituency if
elected, including fighting political polarisation that he said has hindered
development in the area.

“I will fight to mobilise communities whether ZANU PF or MDC to live with
each other in peace. There are much better things to do in life than beat up
your political opponents,” Komichi said.

He added: “There are a lot of things such as roads and hospitals that need
to be established. Therefore, I would like to urge people in Sanyati to
choose representatives, who have vision for this region.”

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Conflicts in State Unions Derail Salary Negotiations

Jonga Kandemiiri

Public Service Minister Lucia Matibenga has written to the state negotiating
body, the Apex Council, and the Public Service Association (PSA) informing
them to put their house in order first before the government and civil
servants table new salary packages.

Matibenga’s office recently received two different lists of negotiators from
the council and PSA indicating that they would be representing civil
servants in the salary negotiations.

The minister has dismissed the two saying it is impossible to negotiate
salary increases with both entities purporting to be representing state

The PSA boycotted elections that brought into office the current Apex
Council leadership following disagreements over candidates.

Civil servants in Zimbabwe are demanding that the lowest paid worker be
given at least $560 a month in line with the nation's poverty datum line.

The government argues that it has no money to increase civil servants'
salaries due to tight fiscal space.

Apex Council chairman David Dzatsunga told Studio 7 they were surprised by
the minister’s letter, adding that the organization is not aware of any
differences in the council.

But PSA secretary general Emmanuel Tichareva said they are working towards
addressing the issue.

Meanwhile, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) is threatening
to call a strike within the next few days if the current negotiations fail
to yield positive results.

PTUZ general secretary Raymond Majongwe said their members, currently on a
go slow, will engage in a nationwide strike if their grievances are not met
by this Friday.

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Student Union Leader Locked Up Over Protests

Tatenda Gumbo

The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) has condemned the arrest and
detention of its secretary general Tryvine Musokeri saying charges laid
against him are politically-motivated.

Musokeri, who was arrested with six other ZINASU members at the Harare
magistrates court where they were supporting 29 Movement for Democratic
Change activists arrested in Harare’s Glen View suburb in connection with
the death of a policeman, appreared before a Gweru magistrate yesterday.

He was remanded to an indefinite stay at Hwahwa Maximum Remand Prison.

Musokeri is expected to be further detained for contempt of court after
failing to attend a case stemming from the sentencing of University of
Zimbabwe lecturer Munyaradzi Gwisai and 40 others who were accused of
attempting to overthrow the Zimbabwean government – Egypt-style.

The ZINASU leader was accused of celebrating the release of the 41 political

In a statement, ZINASU said it fears for Musokeri's life "given the fact
that Hwahwa like many detention centres around the country have no access to
clean water or ablution facilities which can potentially lead to an outbreak
of such diseases as cholera and typhoid which are fatal in prisons where
basic health care is nonexistent."

Musokeri and other students were also planning to stage protests over the
government’s failed cadetship scheme which has left scores of students
nationwide with huge debts.

ZINASU spokesman Zachariah Mushawatu told VOA they are working with their
lawyers to have Musokeri removed from remand prison.

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Zimbabwe Diamond Firm Finds 1000 Carats Monthly

03.10.12, 11:12 / Mining

A diamond company jointly owned by a Russian firm and a Zimbabwean trust is
making significant finds of rough diamonds at a diamond concession in the
Chimanimani region of Zimbabwe, Rough and Polished reported.

DTZ-OZGEO, a partnership between Russian-owned OZGEO and the Development
Trust of Zimbabwe, announced that its exploratory activities in Zimbabwe are
responsible for unearthing 1,000 carats of diamonds every month. DTZ-OZGEO
director Ismail Shillaev notes that the current rate of production is a
four-fold increase over its rate of production from only four months ago,
when it was harvesting approximately 250 carats per month. Shillaev added
that at least some of the diamonds have fetched a per-carat market price of
$120, according to Rough and Polished.

Overall, the DTZ-OZGEO's concession is thought to contain approximately
80,000 carats in total, but Shillaev points out that although they are small
and found at relatively low concentrations, they are of higher quality than
the stones mined in the Marange region.

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Life without a destination
Photo: IRIN
Many former farm workers have become IDPs
GOROMONZI, 3 October 2012 (IRIN) - For more than a decade, farm worker Maria Bhamu, 48, and her 10-year-old grandson have wandered across Zimbabwe's Mashonaland East Province, enduring a string of evictions in the aftermath of the country’s fast-track land reform.

Their itinerant life began in 2001, a year after President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government began implementing the land reform programme, which saw thousands of white farmers - who employed an estimated 320,000 to 350,000 farm workers - displaced to make way for landless black Zimbabweans.

Her husband was seriously injured when their employer’s farm was taken over; he later died. Bhamu settled on a nearby farm where she was hired as a labourer, but several years later, that farm was also taken over.

She now lives in a plastic-and-cardboard shelter in rural Goromonzi, about 40km southeast of the capital Harare. Her grandson begs for food and money nearby. The police have warned her that they intend to destroy her makeshift shelter.

“Since 2001, when our employer was chased away by the war veterans, I have been moving from one place to another and, as you can see, this is where I have ended up. Who knows, you might find me gone if you return tomorrow, but then, I don’t know my next destination,” Bhamu told IRIN.

''First, it was black people invading white farmers’ land and now it is resettled farmers against their black comrades''
Her most recent eviction was in February 2012, when she and 15 other families were forced from a farm about 12km away after a high-ranking government official claimed ownership from another resettled farmer.

“Since the beginning of the land reform programme, things have not been stable. First, it was black people invading white farmers’ land and now it is resettled farmers against their black comrades, but it is us [farm workers] who suffer the most,” Bhamu said.

Unknown number of IDPs

Thabani Nyoni, spokesperson for Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CiZC) - an umbrella organization of more than 350 NGOs - told IRIN, “Even though we don’t have specific figures of affected former farm workers, I can vouchsafe that the numbers are disturbingly high. The land reform programme created a number of problems for farm workers, problems that still persist.”

Although the government has called for a more comprehensive nationwide survey of internally displaced persons (IDPs), one has yet to be conducted, contributing to “the lack of information on the scale of continuing internal displacement,” said a December 2011 report by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

''Whenever ownership disputes arise, the workers are disregarded''
“Whenever ownership disputes arise, the workers are disregarded,” Nyoni said. “They lose employment and, as if that is not enough, they lose their right to shelter. What is saddening is that these victims are suffering in silence as they don’t know who to talk to and hardly anything is being done by government to address their plight.”

Nyoni said a tense political atmosphere is complicating humanitarian interventions, because the displacements mostly involve high-ranking officials. Aid agencies and members of civil society fear being labelled political enemies for helping out farm workers, he said.

A 2008 report by IDMC noted, “Indeed, so sensitive is the issue of displacement in Zimbabwe that IDPs… are not even called IDPs but instead have come to be referred to as ‘mobile and vulnerable populations’”.

Women and children

After her husband died, Bhamu tried to find shelter at her home town, Mutoko, but the community leadership turned her down. “The headman said he could not give me a place to build a home because I left the area a long time ago. He also said I did not have an identity card, which I lost when we moved from one place to another, but I think he gave me all those excuses just because I am a woman, and they think I sympathise with whites,” she said.

Bhamu’s grandson does not have a birth certificate; he has attended school only sporadically.

Women and children are worst affected by the displacements, Nyoni observed. “Women, who [are] about 50 percent of the victims, face the burden of adjusting to new situations through livelihood activities such as fetching firewood, looking for food and caring for the children, who suffer the shocks that come with violence-related movements,” he said.

About 10 families that were ejected in April from a farm in Norton, about 50km west of Harare, have set up camp along a nearby river, joining about 100 other people living in an informal settlement there.

“The government should give us land to build our own houses,” Ben Bhauleni, 30, one of the evictees, told IRIN. “We don’t have money to join housing cooperatives, and we fail to understand why we should continue to be victims of other people’s disputes over the farms."

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

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Conservancies: who got what?

The Minister of Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Walter Mzembi, is one of
the biggest beneficiaries of the shady conservancy allotment exercise that
has attracted international condemnation.

by Thabani Dube

The Zimbabwean is in possession of a leaked updated document showing the
allocation of wildlife properties as at 15 June 2011. It lists Mzembi as
sharing the 16,975ha Eaglemont property in Chiredzi with one Noel Farai,
lease valid from 2008 to 2033.

Some countries have pointed out that the looting frenzy is in violation of
bilateral investment and property protection agreements between, with the EU
suggesting a tightening of targeted sanctions on individuals involved.

Mzembi has condemned the grabbing of conservancies by his counterparts in
Zanu (PF), saying it drove away tourists and tarnished the country’s image.
But Environment and Natural Resources Management Minister, Francis Nhema,
told The Zimbabwean that people should desist from “making a storm in a tea
cup” about it.

“Before 2000, these conservancies were run by a few individuals and now they
have been given to the masses. This will not affect tourism at all. The
media should rather be advocating against open defecation which has a more
bearing on tourist arrivals than concentrating on these conservancies.”

Other Zanu (PF) bigwigs named as beneficiaries of the takeover of
conservancies include Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa (6,210 ha of
Moreena Farm, a Midlands black rhino conservancy), former Deputy Minister
Obert Matshalaga (2,000 ha of South Shangani Farm Subdivision), Provincial
Governor Machaya (3,278 ha of Pitscottie Farm) and Cephas Msipa, a former
governor with 3,043 ha on South Shangani, another black rhino conservancy.

The list includes 69 properties in Masvingo leased to more than 250 Zanu
(PF) beneficiaries while the Midlands has 24 and Matabeleland North and
South provinces seven. The leaseholders were charged an administration fee
of $200 for the properties.

The document does not say how the properties were identified or whether the
erstwhile owners will be compensated. Mzembi has recently been under fire
from party colleagues, particularly in Masvingo, who accuse him of selling
out on the party.

The schedule includes a substantial number of chiefs and people bearing the
same surnames as Zanu (PF) beneficiaries, indicating the possibility of
nepotism. Common names appearing include the Malulekes, Baloyis and Hungwes
from Masvingo and Nkomos from Matabeleland.

Other beneficiaries

Senior party official July Moyo, Vice President John Nkomo, Joshua Malinga,
Manicaland party stalwart Enock Pourisingazi, Attorney General Johannes
Tomana, Army chief of staff, Major General Engelbert Rugeje, Masvingo.
Provincial Governor and Resident Minister, Titus Maluleke, former governor
Josiah Hungwe, Shuvai Mahof a and Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana, the COPAC
co-chairperson, Paul Chimedza, Fortune Charumbira, leader of Chiefs’
Council. The majority of these beneficiaries are already on the EU sanctions
list, but if the bloc were to go ahead and include the rest, it would see a
ballooning of the number of affected Zanu (PF) members.

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'Zimbabwe Has Changed For The Worse'

Revolutionary: Activist Christopher Maphosa

CHRISTOPHER MAPHOSA is a quiet and unassuming building manager who has worked for the Chickenshed theatre company for 12 years.

Last winter whilst talking to fellow employee and writer Dave Carey, Maphosa recalled his life story of growing up in Zimbabwe. Now, the bitter-sweet tale of the manager’s turbulent journey from Rhodesia to the UK has become the subject of Chickenshed’s one-man show, The Rain That Washes, starring newcomer Ashley Maynard.

Born in 1964, Maphosa was a teenage freedom fighter who fought against the brutal white supremacist government led by Ian Smith. By the age of 15 he had escaped the vicious apartheid ruled Rhodesia to fight for independence and further his studies in Bulgaria.

Within a year Zimbabwe was liberated from white minority rule and the youngster returned home, only to witness what he describes as the greatest betrayal of all - a new and equally vicious government led by Robert Mugabe. And according to the activist, the brutality of the countries’ leader is the only thing that has not changed since colonisation.

“Zimbabwe has changed for the worse,” said the 47-year-old. “If ever there was brutality it did not stop with the end of colonialism, the citizens are still being brutalized. My country has had one leader who has ruled it for 32 years and the population does not know how they can change that situation. The government has corrupted the entire system in the country. As we speak there are people struggling, who must support the ruling party in order to get rations of food.”

The Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front or ZANU PF is the ruling party which has been in power since the South African country gained independence in 1980.

Before coming to power Mugabe worked with his political rival and leader of the Zimbabwe African People’s party Joshua Nkomo’s to fight against Ian Smith’s apartheid government. But after the civil war ended so did the uneasy alliance between Mugabe and Nkomo. February 1980 saw Zimbabwe’s first elections since liberation, which ZANU PF won by a landslide.

At that time Maphosa was still full of hope for the future, but he would soon find out that independence did not mean a free and secure country.

“When it was time for the first free democratic elections we were full of hope that a new dawn had come,” the farmer recalled. “That a new nation would be made and the people would come together equally and in harmony.”

“Unfortunately my party ZAPU did not win the election, it was won by ZANU, and instead of celebrating independence we had a leader that he did not want to unify the country. He was teaching hate, telling his supporters to burn people’s houses down because they belong to a different party.”

Despite being ruled by a tyrannical dictator, Maphosa stayed in Zimbabwe, until he was almost killed in 2000 following an argument with ZANU PF supporters.

“Mugabe embarked on a programme to seize land from the white community using war veterans. There was a group of ZANU supporters asked a district administrator in my area to authorise their occupation of some farms, but this administrator said no. They started to beat her and it was at that point I stepped in and was beaten also. I woke up in hospital and that is when I found out that anyone who opposes the regime was no longer safe and I was no longer safe.”

The Rain That Washes will play at the Leicester Square Theatre, 6 Leicester Place, WC2H until October 6. For more information visit

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Re-framing the Wildlife Based Land Reform Programmes in Zimbabwe

October 3rd, 2012

Black Rhino

By Mandivamba Rukuni, a discussion paper in the Zimbabwe Land Series


In this article I discuss the future options for wildlife conservancies. I will review the policy that is guiding this sector and propose a desirable future and how that could be built from the current situation. I will argue that the wildlife land reform policy itself, although not perfect, is built on sound principles. It is the implementation or lack of resolution on the indigenisation options that once again left the issue open for a frontal political bombardment. I will also argue that in the long-term the most viable business model is one centred on direct community participation. In terms of conservation principles I also advocate gradual shift from consumptive and hunting to non-consumptive and cultural tourism.


Although the Wildlife Based Land Reform Programmes (WLBLRPP) and the Forestry Based Land Reform Programme (FBLRP) were part and parcel of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme (FTLRP), not much public attention has been brought to these over the last decade. Not until recently of course when the Save Valley Conservancy developments made it into the popular press. Most Zimbabweans, however, are not even aware that there is also the FBLRP that saw A1 settlers on potions of the Forestry Commission land. But the forestry-based land reform is unlikely to make it into the news because it lacks the combustible elements that the wildlife one has, that is: the indigenization issue; and the potential big business—in this case the lucrative hunting concessions.

Conservancies are a unique form of wildlife conservation, and in Africa these are prominent in South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe has a total landmass of 36.9 million hectares with 33 million reserved for agriculture. 5.5 million hectares or 15% percentage of Zimbabwe’s total land mass is reserved for wildlife production and 11% fall under the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE). Therefore, of the land reserved for wildlife production, 93% is state controlled through the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority with 7% held in private control including land held by Rural District Councils, Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA), local and foreign investors. Conservancies constitute 2% of Zimbabwe’s total landmass that is held in private, communal, local and foreign hands (See figure below). In addition to Save Valley Conservancy, the other conservancies include Bubi and Bubiana in Matabeleland South, Gwayi in Matabeleland North and Sebakwe in Midlands.

The Wildlife Based Land Reform Policy

Although the popular dialogue today is on the controversial developments centred on the indigenization of the conservancies, I would like to explore the policies on one hand and the implementation of the policies on the other, and then explore the future possibilities. The wildlife and forest based land reform policies were crafted and approved by Cabinet almost a decade ago. Wildlife-Based Land Reform is an integral part of the Government’s overall land reform policy with focus on land with limited agricultural potential. The objectives of the WLBLRP policy are stated as: a) to achieve greater equity in the ownership and management of conservancies and wildlife ranches; b) to maintain business viability and investor confidence in the sector.

The key elements of the policy are also stated as, and I quote:

  • All wildlife will remain res nullius. However, usage rights, including trading rights are to be allocated to conservancies by an appropriate authority;
  • All land except that covered by Bilateral Investment Protection Agreements (BIPAs) be will acquired and illegal settlers removed;
  • The economic interests of local communities surrounding each conservancy or ranch shall be managed through a Trust linked to that conservancy;
  • The Trust will operate under the auspices of the relevant RDC. However the beneficiaries for each Trust must be defined based on who shares the costs, (not just benefits) in the relationship;
  • Existing farmers will be encouraged to remain in operation subject to their acceptance of indigenisation options; and
  • Farmers will be compensated for infrastructure with compensation paid by Government, creating equity for new participants in conservancies.

The Indigenisation Options: In general, the Corporate Model is touted as the foundation, with business and conservation principles guiding operations. In the policy statement, the ‘share transfer’ is considered the most appropriate vehicle for delivering these principles. The following three options are proffered to existing owners and prospective new participants:

  1. Current farmers team up with Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (P&WMA) and Communities, with all three contributing some form of capital/assets and also deriving benefits.
  2. Current farmers team up with Communities: The partnership is between only the existing operators and their Communal Area neighbours; P&WMA are not a commercial participant in the venture but revert to their regulatory and advisory role.
  3. Current farmers team up with Communities and Private Indigenous Investors. (consotia).

The policy document further states that– In all the options outlined above, assets will be evaluated with current operators required to dispose their majority shareholding to co-operating partners including communities; and with all actors forming a joint management structure consistent with sound business practice.

Selection criteria for indigenous partners as stated in the policy include the following: a) Demonstrable interest and experience in wildlife conservation; b) Demonstrable capacity for business development and management; and c) Ability to contribute to the asset base.

Contradictions in Policy and Implementation

As I have already alluded to, the policy and the indigenisation options are a basis for sound business models as well as sustainable conservation approaches. The proposed selection criteria for the new indigenous partners are also sound enough for bargaining purposes as far as I am concerned. So what went wrong?

According to the plan for implementation of this policy, the following procedure was provided for, and I quote:

  • All conservancies were to be acquired and become state land except BIPA properties
  • A due diligence was then to follow on each acquired property
  • Invitations for expression of interest from consortia and interested parties were to follow; and
  • Consortia were to be selected based on the selection criteria for each conservancy, and then the selected would be allocated Offer Letters.

None of the above was actually implemented.

The fact that it took almost a decade before the recent developments on Save Valley Conservancy unfolded says to me that both Government and current conservancy property holders were unable, for some reason or reasons, to act upon and take advantage of the positive elements of the policy. Either party could have focused on any of their preferred option out of the three. Moreover, effort was needed to go into identifying, promoting and encouraging black investors. Both parties could have invested time and effort in identifying appropriate black investors who met the stated criteria. Moreover, it would have made even more sense for both entities to explore the indigenisation options that emphasise community participation. That did not happen either to a scalable level over the entire 10-year period. In the end it was left to the predictable competition and contestation between current powerful BIPA protected foreign white investors and local white owners on one hand, and the politically powerful provincial black elite. The final outcome of this contestation is still to been seen. However, the long-term solution lies in broadening the scope of the conservancies through expanding community participation.

Community Participation is the future

Zimbabwe has 3 decades of experience with the Communal Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (CAMPFIRE) programme. From that experience the model can be improved further into establishing more self-reliant Community Trusts with sufficient autonomy from the Rural District Councils (RDCs) who, in my opinion, should play a facilitating and regulatory role rather than as a business player. Conservation strategists have proved that the Save Valley Conservancy, as an example, can expand in physical size by crafting community held land and resources into the conservancy. It is then conceivable that the conservancy would eventually ‘merge’ with Gonarezhou National Park in the south, which in turn is conceivably linked to the inter-country transfrontier conservation areas. Going beyond Save, the southern and south-western parts of Zimbabwe can eventually share transfrontier boundaries with such prospects as the Greater Limpopo, Kazaand Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Areas. The scope for tourism and related business for Zimbabwe and Southern Africa are enormous. I, however, do not see how this potential can be harnessed to the optimum through large-scale commercial interests alone (be they foreign, indigenous, or a combination) without significant community engagement and participation.

According to reasonably reliable press and other reports, the recent developments at Save Valley Conservancy have had a mixed reaction in Cabinet and there is a talk of ‘nationalising’ the conservancy into a national park. This may well be a practical political solution on the one hand, yet not an optimal economic solution on the other. In terms of business options, the nationalization solution sounds like a lose-lose solution for the contesting parties who up to now have failed to negotiate a win-win solution.

Going back to my proposed long-term solution, I would say that community participation also requires comprehensive planning and investment in terms of capacity. There is need to refine and regularise the relationships between Rural District Councils and Community Trusts moving forward. There is need for the RDCs and Community Trusts to enter into a Memoranda of Understanding with respective conservancies so as to formalize roles and responsibilities around the commercial undertakings they enter into with these conservancies. There is need to build the capacity of communities to establish viable Community Trusts with capabilities in both social and business entrepreneurship. The Community Trust should be established on the basis of a much broader community vision and plan for development, and not restricted to business participation and share ownership. The Community Trust assumes all fiduciary responsibilities for the rural community it represents. Community Trusts need to enter effective management agreement with their business partners.


The Wildlife Based Land Reform Policy is still in force, as far as I know, and has not been repealed by Cabinet. I believe therefore that there is room to revisit the policy and its implementation strategy with the view to sharpen the indigenization options so that the three potential participating groups can find legitimate expression. The 3 groups are: the existing white property holders; prospective new black investors (or consortia) who meet the criteria; and surrounding communities who can invest in land and local resources. It is prudent in my opinion that the former two find ways of establishing business partnerships that in turn invest time and effort into establishing broad-based business and social partnerships with neighbouring communities. After all, community participation offers more potential benefits. The prospects for both economic and social impact are greater. These communities historically had strong relationships with the wildlife anyway. It was part of African culture and heritage to have a symbiotic relationship with wildlife. In folklore, mythology and traditional religions, wildlife is the most significant inherited form of relationship with nature that defines family, clan and ancestral identity. The traditional beliefs in the sacredness of wildlife should be re-invented by once again formalising the relationship between communities and wildlife. This is a more effective and least-cost means of conservation because enforcement against poaching does not require a plethora of laws, regulations and game wardens. Rather the people’s beliefs and conscience is a far better policeman and deterrent. By expanding conservancies through the incorporation of neighbouring communities, the potential of expanding options beyond consumptive tourism towards more cultural, photographic and other non-consumptive forms of tourism are greater. The prospects for more effective integration with transfrontier conservation efforts are also greater. These, in my opinion, are the principles that should guide Zimbabwe’s strategic vision for conservatives moving forward.

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