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EU gives 15.4 mln euros aid to Zimbabwe farmers

Thu Oct 8, 2009 10:30am GMT

* Funds to benefit more than 176,000 households

* Aid part of $74 million donor fund for farmers

* EU says Mugabe's land seizures wrecked agriculture

By Nelson Banya

HARARE, Oct 8 (Reuters) - The European Union is providing seed and
fertiliser worth 15.4 million euros ($22.73 million) to small-scale
Zimbabwean farmers to boost grain production, an EU diplomat said on

The EU, which maintains sanctions against Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe
and his inner circle over charges of human rights abuses and electoral
fraud, remains one of the country's largest donors, giving more than 510
million euros since 2002.

Mugabe and long-term rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a
power-sharing government in February to try to end a political and economic
crisis, largely blamed on Mugabe's drive to seize land from whites to
resettle landless blacks.

Once a breadbasket of the region, Zimbabwe's farming sector has collapsed.

The head of the European Commission in Zimbabwe, Xavier Marchal, told a
meeting of agricultural experts and donors assessing the preparations for
the farming season that the EU facility was aimed at improving household
food security.

"The EC, on behalf of the EU, has signed an agreement with FAO (the United
Nations' Food and Agriculture Organisation), which will provide 15.4 million
euros to support self-reliance at smallholder farmer level in Zimbabwe,"
Marchal said.

"This programme is part of a wider EC policy aiming at moving this country
from food aid to food security."

When food shortages were at their peak in 2008, aid organisations were
feeding about 7 million Zimbabweans, more than half the population.

The EU facility is part of a $74 million fund created by donors, including
the World Bank and Britain's Department for International Development, to
support up to 700,000 small-scale farmers.

The donors' project is expected to produce about 450,000 tonnes of the
staple maize grain and meet a quarter of Zimbabwe's annual requirements.

The government has forecast total maize output at up to 2.5 million tonnes,
more than last year's production, but farmers' unions doubt the projection,
citing input shortages and poor preparations.

Marchal said the EU would increase direct assistance to Zimbabwe once talks
launched by Tsvangirai in Brussels in June were successfully concluded.

"But more importantly, government has to take its responsibilities. The
decline in agricultural production is indeed related to issues relating to
the way the land and agrarian reform programme has been conducted," he said.

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EU ready to resume Zimbabwe aid if ties normalise

(AFP) - 2 hours ago

HARARE - The European Commission on Thursday said it was ready to resume
full assistance to Zimbabwe if Brussels and Harare mend fences, an official

The head of an EU delegation visiting Zimbabwe, Xavier Marchal, said the
unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai needed to take responsibility for improving relations with the

"When and if full normalisation is achieved between the EU and Zimbabwe, as
a result of the ongoing political dialogue process launched in Brussels...
then massive and full-fledged assistance can resume again," Marchal said.

Marchal's comments come after Mugabe on Tuesday said Zimbabwe was ready to
restore relations with the West, and follows the first high-level visit last
month by EU officials to Harare in seven years.

Relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union were strained nearly 10
years ago by a series of elections marred by violence and widespread
allegations of human rights abuses by Mugabe's government.

The bloc, which maintains a travel ban and asset freeze against Mugabe and
his close allies, said last month it was moving toward more structural aid
after providing 600 million euros in humanitarian aid between 2002 and 2009.

Marchal told a conference that the EU was ready to help Zimbabwe revive its
once-vibrant agriculture sector and blamed poor government policy for the
slump in farm production.

"The decline in the agricultural production is indeed related to failing
government policies associated to the issues relating to the way the land
and agrarian reform programme has been conducted," he said.

Last week, donors including the World Bank said they would contribute 74
million dollars towards the revival of Zimbabwe's farms, up from 25 million
last year.

The UN food agency expects Zimbabwe to produce only one-quarter of the food
it needs to feed its people, with the harvest expected to drop by 70 percent
from last year.

Zimbabwe's agricultural production plummeted after Mugabe's controversial
land reforms which saw some 4,000 mostly white commercial farmers being
evicted from their properties.

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Charamba reveals media commission will be delayed

By Violet Gonda
8 October 2009

The licensing of private newspapers, television and radio stations may have
to wait a long time after George Charamba, the Permanent Secretary in the
Ministry of Information and Publicity, revealed on Tuesday that the Zimbabwe
Media Commission (ZMC) will only be set up when all other commissions are

Addressing journalists at a media workshop organised by UNICEF, the
government spin doctor also threatened newspaper publications with arrest,
if they circulated their papers without a licence. The main target was
Newsday, a new daily newspaper proposed by the Zimbabwe Independent Group.

Newsday editor Barnabas Thondhlana told SW Radio Africa: "He essentially
said if we, as Newsday, would come on the market before we got a licence
then he would instruct the Attorney General's office to send the police to
deal with this stranger who was on the streets of Zimbabwe."

"I was in utter shock and was surprised because I had asked Mr Charamba how
Zimpapers were able to launch a new newspaper recently called the H-Metro
without a licence." But Charamba told the editors that the new state owned
paper had been given a licence way back, by the defunct Media and
Information Council led by Dr Tafataona Mahoso. Thondhlana said the
editor-in-chief of the Zimpapers Group, Pikirayi Deketeke, shocked the
participants when he revealed that the group had issued a number of
newspaper licences, which are presently lying dormant.

According to Zimbabwean regulations a publication automatically loses its
licence if it is not used within six months. Thondhlana added: "And for
Charamba to say H-Metro had been licensed, we questioned how, because the
MIC was no longer in existence in the past six months."

"How is H-Metro operating without a licence but any other newspaper which
wants to operate without a licence, Charamba will send the police after

The editor says there are deliberate attempts by some in government who are
keen on maintaining the status quo and do not want to see new players coming
onto the media scene. Additionally it is highly unlikely that anyone in ZANU
PF would want to see a free media in place, ahead of the next elections.

The regulatory body that is supposed to oversee the licensing of new media
players is the Zimbabwe Media Commission. Government sources told us this
week that the Principals to the unity government finally agreed on the nine
commissioners to sit on the ZMC, but there has still been no announcement
from Robert Mugabe.

"Charamba said Mugabe is not going to make a piecemeal announcement of the
commissioners. What he is going to do is he is going to wait for parliament
to come up with a list of names for all the commissions. That is the Anti
Corruption Commission, the Electoral Commission and the Human Rights
Commission. After that is done then he will announce it as one holistic
thing. So now we don't know when these names (ZMC) are going to be
announced," said Thondhlana.

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Mugabe turns up in Geneva with "hundreds" of body guards

Written by Martin
Thursday, 08 October 2009 16:40
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - The Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe made an
unheralded appearance at ITU Telecom World here in Geneva, Switzerland.
He addressed the Council of Ministers and then toured the show floor
with a large entourage made all the more conspicuous by the number of
security personnel in eccentric orbit around him.
Visitors and exhibitors alike were astonished to see Mugabe
perambulating around the show floor literally hand-in-hand with the Deputy
Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union, Mr. Houlin
Zhao. An unusual sight to be sure.
International sanctions prevent Mugabe from travelling within Europe
but United Nations events are exempt from the ban - and the ITU is an agency
of the UN. Hence his visit.
The oxygen of publicity and all that.
In his address to the Council of Ministers, Mugabe, yet again, could
not resist stirring things up and taking a sideswipe at the mysterious cabal
of "certain western countries" that, he alleges, is working to depose him
and re-impose imperialism and colonisation on Zimbabwe.
In his closing remarks Mugabe said he was "registering Zimbabwe's
dismay at the continued violation of her airwaves by certain western
countries whose radio broadcasting systems have targeted my country to
further these countries' obnoxious regime change agendas."
He added, "The political and economic challenge to our sovereignty
that sometimes has had its ICT co-relative in the process - resulting in the
flagrant violations of certain protocols which we are all party to under the
ITU. We reject the philosophy that seeks to weaponise ICT by turning them
into platforms of aggression." He did not cite the protocols referred to.
On hearing his remarks, most of the audience looked as baffled as the
media. (TelecomTV was there webcasting the event).
Quite what Mugabe was getting at is unclear. Is he suggesting that
"certain western countries" are blocking radio signals and disrupting
telecoms traffic? Is he suggesting that anti-government propaganda is being
beamed in to Zimbabwe to foment violent revolution? Does he believe shadowy
agencies are bombarding the country with wireless death rays?
And what on earth is weaponised ICT? Exploding handsets? Well that
does happen from time to time - but not just in Zimbabwe. Or perhaps he was
referring to sub-machine guns cunningly disguised as laptops? Who knows? Mr.
Mugabe didn't elaborate.
You can see Mugabe's speech by going to,
accessing the Forum Archive and scrolling down to "Council of Ministers". He
appears about 40 minutes from the end of the session. Enjoy!

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Mugabe attacks 'pirate' radio stations..... again

By Lance Guma
08 October 2009

Mugabe used an appearance at the International Telecommunications Union
(ITU) 'World 2009' meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday to attack the
West for what he called the continued violation of Zimbabwe's airwaves by
foreign based radio stations. In a speech that aptly summed up his regime's
attitude towards media freedom, Mugabe told a Council of Ministers meeting
that 'certain western countries had 'radio broadcasting systems' that were
targeting 'his' country to further their 'obnoxious regime change agendas'.

The remarks are a continuation of threats made by Lieutenant-General Phillip
Valerio Sibanda, the Commander of the Zimbabwe National Army, who last month
told a study seminar of army officers that foreign-based radio stations are
at 'war with Zimbabwe' . The soldiers attending a five day seminar on 'low
intensity operations and asymmetric warfare' at 2 Infantry Brigade
Headquarters were told to remain on guard against this threat.

In Switzerland on Wednesday Mugabe was to stun delegates further by saying
the use of Information Communication Technologies was a challenge to
Zimbabwe's sovereignty. He claimed there was a 'philosophy that seeks to
weaponize ICT by turning them into weapons of aggression.' One blogger
sarcastically suggested that Mugabe might have been talking about 'exploding
handsets' or 'sub machine guns cunningly disguised as laptops. Mugabe's
exact meaning remained obscure but all the same exposed his paranoia about
opening up the media.

ICT Minister Nelson Chamisa is also in Switzerland for the conference,
having arrived separately on Monday. Mugabe arrived for the conference on
Wednesday. Despite a European Union travel ban imposed on Mugabe and his
inner circle the ZANU PF leader and his wife Grace were able to travel
because the ITU falls under the arm of the United Nations, where they are
exempted from the travel ban. Mugabe is expected back in Zimbabwe on

Last week a Swiss based company Nestle, was put under pressure by human
rights groups to stop buying milk from a farm controversial seized by Grace
Mugabe. The pressure bore fruit, with the company saying it would stop the
purchases on the 4th October. With Mugabe spending several days in
Switzerland, where Nestle is headquartered, there was predictable
speculation over whether his wife would make any attempts to meet Nestle

Meanwhile Newsreel asked Minister Chamisa if Mugabe's attitude towards
private Zimbabwean broadcasters based outside the country reflected
government policy. He said Mugabe's speech merely reflected his fears. The
MDC Minister however said it was imperative for the government to licence
private players because 'even if you don't licence broadcasters they will
licence themselves via the internet and other forms of ICT.' He said ICT's
worldwide have helped overcome media restrictions and gave examples of
countries like Iran, Venezuela and Burma.

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Support grows for MDC to stay in Zimbabwe inclusive government  2009-10-08 19:59:29

    By Tichaona Chifamba

    HARARE, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- The online poll being conducted by
Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party still shows that
more people are keen on the party remaining in the inclusive government.

    Since polling started on Sept. 24, more people have been voting
for the former opposition party to remain in government.

    By the fifth day of the polling on Sept. 28, the party had
recorded 52.8 percent of the voters supporting the stay in government. The
margin has since continued to increase with 57.2 percent of the voters
registered as of noon on Thursday, against 42.8 percent of the opponents who
initially accounted for 47.2 percent.

    The number of respondents continues to be low, however, with 166
people having cast their votes by Thursday. This could be attributed to
limited access to the Internet by the majority of Zimbabweans.

    The spirit of keeping the MDC in government is shared even by many
within President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF, given the improvement that has
taken place in people's lives since the formation of the inclusive

    Analysts have also said it would not be in the interests of any to
pull out now, against the people's hope for a brighter future.

    The MDC initiated the poll after expressing frustration over what
it called outstanding issues to the Global Political Agreement, which gave
birth to the inclusive government.

    Among its complaints are the appointments of Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, whom the
party wants to be replaced; the failure to swear in the party's
treasurer-general Roy Bennet as deputy minister of agriculture and the
appointment of provincial governors.

    Mugabe has refused to swear Bennet into office, arguing that he
has a pending criminal case in the courts of law. He has promised, however,
that he will swear him into office as soon as he is cleared of the charges.

    On the issue of Gono and Tomana, Mugabe has said the appointments
were done in accordance of the law and will not be reversed. Gono is accused
of having contributed to the economic decline in the country, while Tomana
has declared that he is a supporter of Mugabe's party -- Zanu-PF.

    While Tsvangirai has in the past said there had been agreements on
the appointment of provincial governors, the matter is far from being

    Mugabe's party argues that provincial governors are
representatives of the president, and as such, it is the prerogative of the
president to choose the people who occupy those positions.

    Zanu-PF also argues that the only outstanding issue is the removal
of economic sanctions by the West. Opening the Second Session of the Seventh
Parliament of Zimbabwe on Tuesday, Mugabe once again called for the removal
of the sanctions, saying they were hurting the ordinary poor.

    He also called for a revival of relations between Zimbabwe and
those countries which had imposed sanctions against it.

    The smaller faction of the MDC led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur
Mutambara, and which completes the full composition of the inclusive
government, has remained relatively quiet about the outstanding issues.

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Zimbabwe bank chief rejects blame for 'killing' economy

By Godfrey Marawanyika (AFP) - 3 hours ago

HARARE - Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank chief Gideon Gono, who presided over the
collapse of the local currency, insisted he was not to blame for "killing"
the nation's economy, in an interview with AFP.

He again rejected calls for his resignation after President Robert Mugabe's
unilateral decision to appoint him to a new five-year term last year -- one
of the major disputes facing the eight-month-old unity government.

"The immorality and irrationality of the whole argument is that 'Gono must
go because he printed money and he killed this economy.' That's a white lie
because no single individual can harm or kill an economy," he said.

Gono's tenure at the helm of the Reserve Bank saw inflation soar from
already staggering four-digit figures when he took office in 2003 to numbers
estimated in many multiples of billions last year.

He introduced new bank notes, sometimes every month, in denominations that
reached 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars -- even after repeatedly slashing
digits to keep the numbers manageable.

The government finally abandoned the currency in January and now uses US
dollars as its currency of reference.

Gono also stands accused of siphoning off state money into secret accounts
in Asia and Europe, a charge he denies.

"Whatever I did had authorisation from the government of the day," said
Gono, a former commercial banker.

He described his job as "a plumber mending burst pipes. I prevented this
country from descending into chaos like Somalia."

In his defence, Gono said "bureaucrats" blocked his proposals for economic
reforms. He points out that he drew ire from party loyalists for criticising
import and price controls that left most store shelves empty two years ago.

He insisted that feuding between ZANU-PF and the rival Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has done more than his policies to hurt the economy,
which has been shrinking since 1997.

"The greatest economic impediment has been political quarrels between
ZANU-PF and MDC. There was never commonality of vision. While some were
building, others were destroying," Gono said.

He also blamed western nations for undermining the economy with a travel
ban, asset freeze and other targetted sanctions imposed on himself, Mugabe
and other government officials, even though the sanctions don't affect trade
and investment in Zimbabwe.

"The single biggest obstacle to our economic progress has been the
imposition of sanctions against this country," Gono said.

The Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed in September 2008, which led to
the creation of the unity government in February, calls for Mugabe to
"consult" with the MDC leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on major

Mugabe unilaterally reappointed Gono in October last year while still in
talks with MDC over key government posts, but the central bank boss said he
was properly named.

"I am definite that the removal of sanctions was mentioned in the GPA and
not me," he said.

However, he conceded that unity deal was the road map against which the
government is "legitimately being judged".

Now, without control over the money supply, Gono has found his role sharply
curtailed and his influence overshadowed by Finance Minister Tendai Biti,
who was drawn from the MDC.

Gono is publicly feuding with Biti over control of 400 million dollars in
resources from the International Monetary Fund, but said their sparring was
purely professional.

"It's healthy to have professional differences," he said.

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Students Quit Classes - and Country - As Crisis Deepens

By Ignatius Banda

BULAWAYO, Oct 8 (IPS) - Schooling is increasingly becoming a privilege of
the rich, , Zimbabwean parents and teachers' unions complain.

The country's cash-strapped education ministry is charging a fee of 20 U.S.
dollars per 'A-level' subject to cover costs - but a majority of students
have failed to register at all as they can't afford it.

Secondary school students hoping to on to higher studies, secure an
apprenticeship or a place in a technical college must register for either
five Ordinary Level subjects at U.S. $10 each, or three Advanced Level
subjects at $20 each.

But many families are unable to find the 50 or 60 U.S. dollars needed to

"Where are we supposed to get that kind money?" complains Zanele Dube,
herself a teacher who says she failed to raise examination fees for her two

"This is the reason why we are always demanding salary increments. Imagine a
teacher failing to send her own kids to school," Dube said. Zimbabwean
teachers earn about U.S. $170 per month, but labour unions have pegged the
minimum wage at 430 dollars.

The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) says that 75 percent of
the 300,000 students who had been expected to sit for their "O" and A" level
examinations in November had failed to register before the September

Last month, one prospective public exams candidate took the Minister of
Education to court in a bid to force him to extend the examination fee
payment deadline, a further sign of the desperation of many students whose
parents' monthly incomes are frequently as little as $20, to raise the money
needed to write their finals.

Last week, a government official from Matebeleland announced that one rural
school in the district had failed to register even one student for public
examinations after parents failed to raise exam fees.

While the ministry extended the deadline to December before the court ruled
on the application by the prospective examination candidate, as part of
efforts to allow parents time to raise the money, this will not help, says

Minister David Coltart says his ministry does not have the money to undo
years of damage. While the ministry has sought assistance from the European
Union and various agencies, nothing has come through yet.

This has meant there is no money to subsidise the costs of administering the
examinations. Coltart says his ministry needs an immediate injection of at
least USD100 million for the exams to held and their subsequent marking.

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has lamented the decline of the
country's education sector in a country where teachers report that up to ten
pupils share a single textbook.

"Zimbabwe's education sector, once a model in Africa, continues to be
riddled with challenges. Public financing of the sector declined
significantly over the last decade, leaving most schools with no funds to
purchase even the most basic teaching materials such as text books and
stationery," reads a recent statement by UNICEF.

In September, UNICEF, working the international donor community unveiled a
U.S. $70 million Education Transition Fund to assist underprivileged
children, but with lack of interest in education among many students here,
this rescue package could prove to be a little too late.

However, for students like Munyaradzi Muzanhenhamo, the continuing salary
impasse between government and teacher unions might mean another idle year
ahead as there was hardly any learning this year because of the strike by

Teacher unions have already threatened they might not return to work next
year if government fails to commit itself to meeting their salary demands.

"It is possible we are not going back to classes next year even if we miss
writing this year's examinations," Muzanhenhamo said. "And this could be
because there are no teachers at all or that we failed once again to raise
both tuition and examination fees."

Last year at the height of the teacher exodus, parents working in South
Africa were reportedly transferring their children from Zimbabwean schools
and enrolling them in South Africa where education in some schools is free.

Now however, children are quitting school altogether - sometimes without
telling their parents - to head to "the place of gold" - as Johannesburg is
known here.

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Bitter struggle to learn in Zimbabwe
Thursday, 8 October 2009 16:41 UK

Zimbabwean children at school

Two Zimbabweans tell of their struggle to get an education and missed opportunities, as Africa Have Your Saybroadcasts LIVE from Zimbabwe, asking the youth if they feel they have a future in the country, since the formation of a unity government brought an end to the country's downward spiral.


I feel bitter that I have lost out.

I feel very bad; so bad because we had the best education system in southern Africa but now it is not.

I did my 'O' levels [GCSE] in 2005.

But for the past four years I have not been able to go to school.

Basically, I blame the situation that we had here as the one that stopped me from going further with my education.

Even all our most qualified teachers have gone - they are teaching in South Africa and Botswana. Most pupils are being taught by student teachers.

'We had nothing'

My father died in 2004 and my mother is a civil servant and so it has been too difficult.

I have been waiting to go back to school. I hope I will be able to one day.

For the past four years I have had to help my mother. I have two younger siblings in primary school and so I have been helping my mother by trying to work myself so we could get these guys to school and find something to eat.

Children reflections in a dirty puddle
For years, some children did not attend school

I worked at a shop and sometimes I had to go to South Africa and do some small jobs but it didn't work because I didn't have a passport.

My older brother is 22. He's not been living with us. He is based in South Africa and he's the one who was sending us groceries and supplies and money. Right now, he doesn't have to send groceries because at least that is OK now.

Before this deal, we had nothing.

You had to stand in a queue for two hours just to get a loaf of bread.

'Just hoping'

Education here is getting OK again but the problem is how expensive it is because we are using the US dollar.

Patriotism should be your motto in these troubling times. Don't get fool by politicians who care only about themselves
Laura Golakeh, Monrovia

Myself, like the majority of people, I don't work and so it is a struggle to pay.

The majority of parents are paid $150 [a month] and for fees, the schools they want $30. It is a lot. A while back it was even more that the schools were asking for but no-one could afford so it was actually reduced from $80.

It was too much. Still, some people are not even going to school.

It doesn't help because people just do not have money.

The way I see the future, I am just hoping, but I am very sceptical.

Our leaders, they are always blaming each other. And so the way things are, I am really, really hoping.

Recently, we have faced a difficult time and even now that is why I am not revealing my real name because I know how things were and I don't know what will happen in the future.

I am just hoping that the situation and the intensity of difficulties and struggles can be adjusted.

It's a long process. How do you know that these plans will be fulfilled?

Everyone is hoping that life can be better but from my own perspective, if you ask anyone, the situation here will not change until we are free from the ones that liberated us.


I believe we do have a future. Now with the national healing and the economic turn-around we do have a future.

I completed my first degree in accounting at university in Bulawayo [Zimbabwe's second largest city].

It took me four years and I count myself as being very lucky because I surmounted all the odds.

When I was in second year, our lecturers went on strike and we really struggled to get through.

It lasted a whole semester - three months.

'Who you know'

We had external lecturers coming in but they would come in their own time and so we didn't learn adequate stuff.

Us students worked in groups and did discussions and organised each other - we were very proactive and helped one another.

Zimbabweans queuing to vote [file photo from June 2008]
Last year's troubles seem far away for Pamela

And all this time our parents still had to pay.

Most universities suffered a huge downfall.

Our lecturers left for neighbouring countries.

For all my studies I had to source my own books. My older brother in the diaspora would send me the books I needed.

My graduation ceremony is being held next March. When I reach that point, it will feel like a burden off my shoulder.

I am already working. It wasn't easy for me to get a job but I managed - it comes down to who you know.

The job market is very scarce here in Zimbabwe because most companies have closed down.

But now with this unity government, the future looks bright. For one, the money I get paid is adequate for my needs.

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Confusion over Shamu's appointment of Broadcasting board

By Tichaona Sibanda
8 October 2009

A highly placed source in government has said that the principals to the
Global Political Agreement agreed during their Monday meeting that the BAZ
(the Broadcasting Board of Zimbabwe) should be dissolved.

The Information Minister Webster Shamu last week named several media boards,
packed with former military men and allies of Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party.
While he is authorised to appoint board members to NewZiana, Transmedia,
Kingstons and ZBH boards (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings), the minister
overstepped his mark by appointing new Zimpapers and BAZ boards.

The BAZ is supposed to spearhead the opening up of airwaves by licencing new
broadcasters to rival the government's ZBH, presently the country's sole
radio and television broadcaster. But there are few analysts who believe
this will be allowed to happen before the next elections. Since the creation
of the BAZ in 2000 no independent broadcasters have been licenced.

Shamu was forced to withdraw the Zimpapers board after being advised he had
no powers to do so because the government, like all other shareholders, can
only recommend names for appointment to the board at the company's annual
general meeting next March.

Shamu also conceded he was wrong to appoint a new BAZ. But he said the law
requires him to recommend to Mugabe names of people for
appointment to the broadcasting authority. He also said he was not required
to consult anyone else other than Mugabe.

Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare on Tuesday that the appointment of
board members to the BAZ was the business of the three principals as
stipulated in the GPA. Under the power-sharing agreement BAZ board members
are supposed to be appointed only after full consultation between Mugabe his
coalition partners.

The GPA signed by all parties to the inclusive government, calls for the
country's tough media laws to be changed and to allow private radio,
television and daily newspapers to operate under a unity government.

But Shamu ignored this and went on to appoint a new board chaired by the
former chairperson of the defunct Media and Information Commission (MIC),
Tafataona Mahoso. This prompted widespread protests and condemnation because
it is believed Mahoso would completely block the opening up of airwaves.

Mahoso is the wrong man for the BAZ job after his role at the MIC, where he
became known as the 'media hangman' after ordering the closure of four
independent newspapers, including the Daily News, that were critical of
Mugabe and ZANU PF.

MDC Senator Obert Gutu told us he was pessimistic that ZANU PF will agree to
a complete overhaul of the BAZ board. He said any changes would probably be
just cosmetic, taking into account ZANU PF's  obsession of not wanting any
meaningful reforms.

'I will not celebrate yet on the proposed changes to the BAZ board. Those
people in ZANU PF are not reformists because they're so obsessed with power
retention,' Gutu said.

Former ZBC radio and television newscaster Senzo Mpofu said it was obvious
ZANU PF were not comfortable with opening up the airwaves because of the
vast influence of the electronic media.

'Radio and TV are more owerful than any form of media because they cover
almost the width and breath of the country. Most people are better of
listening than reading and Mugabe knows the moment there is independent
radio in Zimbabwe, his chances of winning an election will be minimal,'
Mpofu said.

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Soldiers involved in rape and other sexual violence on farms

By Alex Bell
08 October 2009

Cases of serious sexual violence, including the recent rape of at least one
woman by soldiers on an invaded farm, are being investigated, as members of
the armed forces continue their illegal seizure of the land.

The woman, part of a group of more than ninety farm worker families from
Karori farm in the Headlands district, was reportedly raped more than a week
ago when soldiers evicted them from the farm. Several people were also
beaten in the operation that has formed part of the ongoing illegal and
often violent takeover of the farm owned by Charles Lock. Lock told SW Radio
Africa on Thursday that he is desperately trying to get police help, but
added that "the police can't deal with the soldiers, and they say there is
nothing they can do."

Lock voluntarily gave up his own farm to the State for the land 'reform'
programme in 2002 and moved on to his father-in-law's farm to head
operations there. In 2004 Lock and his father-in-law were both arrested and
charged with being on state land illegally, after they had been asked to
give up yet more land the year before. Charges against them were dropped and
at the time, both the Rusape Governor and the Land Task Force acknowledged
their legal right to the property.

But since 2007, Lock and his staff have faced ongoing and often violent
intimidation and harassment by the man set on taking over the farm, army
Brigadier General Justin Mujaji. His efforts to force Lock off the land have
been in violation of numerous court orders and arrest warrants against him,
which the police have chosen to ignore. Mujaji and his own personal army of
soldiers have repeatedly looted the farm, interrupted farming activities and
used violence against Lock's staff. Just last year, during another 'jambanja'
by Mujaji's men, Lock's staff were beaten and evicted from the farm, in an
attack similar to the recent eviction operation.

"My workers are all so traumatised and in shock and there is nothing,
absolutely nothing being done," Lock said.

The forced eviction of the workers and the reported cases of rape and sexual
harassment by the soldiers have also been ignored by police. The General
Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) is now trying
to force an investigation, with the help of human rights groups in the

"When the women reported to the police, no action was taken against the
soldiers and this has since raised questions as to the extent of the
harassment and as a union we are going to make sure we follow up on this
case using the relevant offices and we have since sought legal assistance
from our human rights partners," said Gertrude Hambira, General Secretary of
the union.

The union has reported that more than 60 000 farm workers have been
displaced since the formation of the unity government in February, as a
result of the renewed land-grab offensive. And yet the government has made
no move to put a stop to a country-wide operation that is set to leave
millions of people hungry in the upcoming months. This is all despite
agreements by the principals of the coalition government to encourage food
production and ensure a better Zimbabwe for its people. Instead, the same
principals, including Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, have made no
move to stop the land attacks, which Robert Mugabe predictably has condoned.

Meanwhile, on Karori Farm, Mujaji and his men have continued their spree of
theft on the farm, which Lock and his family no longer has access to. In
recent months, the soldiers stole well over 300 tons of maize and more than
100 tons of tobacco. In the last few days alone, Lock has reported that at
least seven trucks of maize have been taken from the farm, totalling more
than 200 tons of maize. Again, Lock's pleas for police intervention or any
kind of legal assistance are being ignored.

 "It is ridiculous that these soldiers, who are high ranking and are abusing
their powers, are completely untouchable," Lock said. "The principals to
this government need to do something about the lawlessness in the country or
we will all be lost."

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Spain promises to help Zimbabwe improve relations with EU

      Posted : Thu, 08 Oct 2009 13:41:16 GMT
      By : dpa

      Madrid - Spain on Thursday promised to help Zimbabwe improve its
relations with the European Union during its EU presidency in the first half
of 2010. Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told Zimbabwean
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that Spain wanted the EU to step up its
dialogue with the southern African country to help it move towards a
"democratic stabilization," government sources said after the two leaders
met in Madrid.

      Tsvangirai, a former political opponent of President Robert
Mugabe who entered a national unity government in February, said he felt
hopeful about the possibilities of a "national reconciliation" in Zimbabwe.

      Tsvangirai asked Spain to promote an "open and direct" dialogue
between his country and the EU to normalize gradually Zimbabwe's relations
with the West.

      An EU delegation that visited Zimbabwe in September said the EU
was prepared to normalize relations and to resume development aid once
Harare showed it respected human rights, and once Mugabe met the conditions
set in the agreement that led to the formation of the national unity

       Tsvangirai was visiting Spain to meet with Zapatero and to
receive a human achievement award.

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Tsvangirai wins two international awards

By Violet Gonda
8 October 2009

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai received a prestigious human rights award
and a lifetime achievement award in Spain on Thursday.  Tsvangirai's
spokesperson James Maridadi told SW Radio Africa from Spain that the
International Bar Association has awarded the Prime Minister with their
human rights award in recognition of his efforts to advance the cause of
human rights in his country. Tsvangirai was also given the International
Lifetime Achievement Award 2009 from the Spanish Foundation Cristóbal
Gabarrón, for his fight for peace and democracy.

Maridadi also confirmed the Prime Minister has been nominated for the much
celebrated Nobel Peace prize.

He said: "It is hardly surprising. If you look at the road Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai has walked since the formation of the MDC, if you look at
the road he has travelled ever since the formation of the inclusive
government. It is hardly surprising that he would be in the running for a
Nobel Peace prize"

The spokesperson went on to say: "We got the information last night and all
he said was that just being nominated alone was enough to humble him. He
looks at the nomination as a vote of thanks to the people of Zimbabwe in
their steadfast quest to bring about democratic change and real change
through peaceful means. He says he has chosen the ballot and not the bullet
to bring about real change in Zimbabwe."

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Zanu PF Hijacks Education Fund

Plumtree, October 8 2009 - Zanu (PF) officials in Mangwe district have
hijacked the Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) fund.

The fund was set up by the government last month to assist children
with school fees from poor backgrounds. Parents at Chombe secondary school
in Mangwe on Wednesday complained about the nomination and selection process
for BEAM beneficiaries which they claimed was being spearheaded by well
known Zanu (PF) officials in the area.
"We do not know if this is a Zanu (PF) or government programme because
the selection forms are being distributed by David Mpala, the local Zanu
(PF) ward chairperson. Children of MDC supporters are having difficulty accessing the forms," said Tumela Ncube, MDC councilor in the area.
Ncube said he had raised the issue with the local headmaster but said
the headmaster had professed ignorance on where Mpala got the forms which
are supposed to be distributed by school authorities.
"I confronted the headmaster about the issue but he explained to me
that different offices such as the district education officers and the
Social Welfare Department are involved in approving the forms. It seems we
have a problem with the selection criteria because these offices only
approve what has been selected already. There is need to establish where
Zanu (PF) officials are getting the forms," said Ncube.

The parents allege that some of the forms were distributed to Zanu
(PF) supporters during a party meeting held at Chombe business centre last
When reached for comment Mpala denied distributing BEAM forms but
admitted that he had helped some children in his ward to access the forms.
"I have facilitated for the forms to be made available in my area. I
do not distribute the forms myself but I link those who need them to
respective offices," he said Mpala.

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MEP to accept Zimbabwe Vigil petition



8th October 2009


MEP to accept Zimbabwe Vigil petition


The Member of the European Parliament for the East of England, Mr Geoffrey Van Orden, has confirmed that he will be attending the Zimbabwe Vigil on its 7th anniversary on Saturday 10th October to accept a petition to the EU demanding punitive action against the Southern African Development Community because of their failure to meet their human rights obligations to Zimbabwe. Mr Van Orden, who has taken a close interest in the Zimbabwean situation, will be at the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London at 4 pm to accept the following petition:


A Petition to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of trial.  We urge the UK government and the European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the starving in Zimbabwe.”


The petition will be handed over by a Vigil member impersonating President Mugabe who will arrive by rickshaw with ‘first lady’ Grace from a shopping expedition at Harrods to illustrate what would happen if the EU agreed to the SADC demand to end targeted sanctions against the Mugabe regime.


Programme for the Day

2 – 6 pm Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London WC2R 0JR

3 – 3.15 pm   Mugabe (represented by Fungayi Mabhunu wearing a Mugabe mask) accompanied by his wife Grace (played by Gugu Tutani) outside the central Hans Crescent entrance to Harrods. They can be photographed with their shopping.

4 pm       Mugabe and Grace arrive at Zimbabwe House by rickshaw with shopping and present petition to Mr Geoffrey Van Orden, Conservative Party MEP for East of England, who will say a few words about Zimbabwe.


Event:                                Mugabe’s Shopping Spree on Vigil’s 7th anniversary

Venue:                                Outside the Zimbabwe Embassy

Date:                                   Saturday 10th October 2 – 6 pm

Photo Opportunities:          Mugabe and Grace with their shopping. Mugabe presents petition to EU.

   Zimbabwean singing, dancing and drumming

Interview Opportunities:    Mr Van Orden, political activists, torture and rape survivors

Further information:            Rose Benton (07970 996 003), Dumi Tutani (07960 039 775), Ephraim Tapa (07940 793 090), Fungayi Mabhunu (07743 662 046), Dennis Benton (07932 193 467).


The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.



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ZESN: Serious problems in voters roll

Executive Summary

This report exposes the serious inaccuracies in the current electoral roll
in Zimbabwe. Because the current roll is so badly flawed, the report
recommends a completely fresh registration of voters instead of attempting
to correct the glaring deficiencies in the current roll.

An accurate and up to date voters' roll is essential for the holding of a
fair elections. Which voters are enrolled on the voters' roll could have a
decisive impact on which political party wins the election. An incomplete
voters' roll may disenfranchise people who should be entitled to vote. An
inflated roll that has duplicate entries and continues to have listed
persons who have emigrated or died, lend itself to electoral fraud, by
devices such as ballot box stuffing, multiple voting or manipulation of the
figures on returns. An inflated roll will justify printing of excessive
ballot papers thus providing scope for electoral fraud. An inaccurate roll
skews the delimitation of constituencies, as it will lead to wrong figures
of voters in the different constituencies. In Zimbabwe's first-past-post
system for parliamentary seats, inflated figures in constituencies will
increase the number of "wasted votes" in those constituencies, whereas
deflated figures in constituencies will lead to the voters in those
constituencies having a disproportionate effect on the outcome of the poll.

In the past there have been repeated allegations that the electoral roll in
Zimbabwe is highly inaccurate. The Research and Advocacy Unit has carried
out a comprehensive audit of the roll, using a methodology full details of
which are provided in this report. The reliability of this methodology and
the results of its use can thus be tested by other researchers. The overall
results of the RAU audit are as follows.

Inflated registration figures

The number of voters enrolled on the 2008 register was 5 934 768. Given the
estimated size of the population and the numbers of Zimbabweans outside the
country, the numbers lacking the necessary documentation to register and the
large number of non-Zimbabweans in the eligible age group, the number of
registered voters appears to be statistically implausible.

Discriminatory registration process

Prior to the 2008 elections, the office of the Registrar-General conducted
programmes to register voters using mobile registration stations. There is
convincing evidence that this programme was carried out in a manner that
favoured ZANU PF in its timing, advertising and the areas concentrated upon.

De-registration of voters

About 676 887 voters have been deregistered since 2002. This is an
exceptionally high number if is does not include persons removed because
they have died. The bulk of those deregistered were Malawian and Mozambican
farm labourers and white Zimbabweans. The ostensible reason for their
removal from the roll was that they had not renounced their entitlement to
foreign citizenship and thus forfeited Zimbabwean citizenship. However, the
real motivation for deregistration of these voters appears to be to
de-register those likely to vote against ZANU PF.

Duplicate voters

There are 182 564 instances of entries relating to people with the same
identification number who appear on the rolls twice or more. Duplication
cannot be explained on the basis of migration of voters to different
constituencies and a failure to remove their names from their original
constituencies. The large bulk of the duplicate entries relate to persons
registered in two rural constituencies. This means that the explanation of
duplicates arising as a result of urban drift is untenable.

A distinction must be drawn between duplication and the erroneous copying of
entire blocks of voters in two constituencies.

Dead "voters"

Obviously persons who have died must be removed from the voters' roll. The
Registrar-General of Voters also keeps the register of deaths, it being a
legal requirement that all deaths are reported and entered into a register
of deaths. It is thus a simple task to ascertain which voters have died and
these names should be removed from the roll. By law a constituency registrar
must remove any person from the voters' roll that he has reason to believe
is dead. Although RAU had no access to the register of deaths, it is
possible to draw inferences by analysing the current roll. As the dates of
birth of voters are listed on the roll, inferences can be made on the basis
of the age of voters. Some 134 202 people over 90 appear on the roll, with
some 30 044 of these with the listed birth date of 1st January 1901.

Inferences from 2008 election results

A comparison can be made between the election rolls and the election results
from the 2008 presidential election polls.

ZEC has refused to release the detailed results of these polls, but it has
published the returns by province for these polls. The totals of these
returns are inherently implausible. The massive swing of voter preference
between the first round of the election, which Tsvangirai won, to the second
round, which Mugabe won with a landslide, although Tsvangirai had pulled out
of this latter election because of election violence. The second round of
the election was largely unmonitored, which could have allowed for the
submission of fraudulent returns on a massive scale. The voter turnout
between the two elections remained the almost the same, despite an observed
decrease in the number of voters. Despite the inflated voter base, there
were still wards in the 29 March 2008 elections where the percentage poll
exceeded the number of registered voters or was implausibly high.


There is clear evidence that there are major flaws in the current electoral
roll. The inflated number of voters has provided scope for electoral fraud.
Additionally certain categories of voters have been disenfranchised.

ZEC has failed to take action to ensure that the electoral roll is accurate.
It has not conducted a proper, professional audit of the roll.

There is therefore an urgent need to compile an accurate voters' roll so
that voters can be assured that this vital component of the electoral
process will lead to unfairness in the entire process.

A complete re-registration of voters could be carried out efficiently and
accurately, and within a reasonable time frame by a South African company
that has carried out voter registration programmes in Africa funded by the
UNDP. It is imperative that this should also be done in Zimbabwe. This would
go a long way to restoring the faith of the electorate in the integrity of
the electoral system.

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Zimbabwe Constitutional Minister Hails Mugabe Pledge to Heed Popular Will

By Jonga Kandemiiri
07 October 2009

Zimbabwean Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga said Wednesday
that he welcomed President Robert Mugabe's promise earlier this week that
the views of all the people will be considered in the process of revising
the national constitution.

Mr. Mugabe made the that pledge in remarks Tuesday upon the opening of the
second session of Parliament. The president said thematic committees will
"garner the views of all our people for consideration" as the constitution
is revised with a deadline in late 2010.

Controversy has dogged the revision process, however, in particular over
whether the new basic document should substantially incorporate the
multi-party Kariba draft of 2007 as Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF wants, or if
framers should simply pick and choose from that version.

Constitutional Affairs Minister Matinenga told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Mugabe confirmed the position his
ministry has adopted which is that Zimbabweans should have full freedom in
fashioning their new constitution.

Some civic organizations led by the National Constitutional Assembly have
vowed to campaign for a "No" vote in an eventual referendum on the new
constitution, holding that the process should have been led and controlled
by an independent commission, not politicians.

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"I was hired by politics to make them pretty" says Mugabe's spokesperson

 By Stephen Chadenga  Thursday, October 8, 2009
In Zimbabwe's "highly polarized environment" the media is political,
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity and
85-year-old President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson, George Charamba has

Addressing editors from both the state controlled and private media at a two
day UNESCO workshop on Building Bridges and Closing Gaps-An Editors Dialogue
Towards Common Ground at St Lucia Park in the capital Harare yesterday,
Charamba said in today's "mediased world politics plays throughout the

". If truth be told, in our highly mediased world, politics plays throughout
the media. This is why I am here as your permanent Secretary. I was hired by
politics to make them pretty. I am politics' technician.
'I need you often. I demand you."

Charamba, who is also President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson,  said editors
just like himself have been hired by "political publishers" to defend
certain political positions.
"In our highly politicized environment, the media is politics, raw politics,
which is why you are here as little, imperfect shadows of bickering

"Like me you have been hired by political publishers to become their
technicians to either defend and deepen the status qou or to challenge and
change it. You need me, the only difference being that some need me alive
while others need me in a coffin," said Charamba.

The Media Ministry Permanent Secretary, often accused for blatantly
attacking the private media, said the problem of a polarized media in
Zimbabwe is not "imaginary" but reality,  adding that his ministry
acknowledged it saying addressing the problem is the first step in creating
an inclusive media industry in the country.

"UNESCO has put together this roundtable to deal with the problem of a
polarized media. It is not an imaginary problem. It is real. Let us
acknowledge it. We in the Ministry have acknowledge (sic) it. In fact the
thesis of a polarized media came from the ministry when all of you in the
media were still wondering what it is that afflicted you.

"Your Ministry has already rejected that polarisation by way of the media
indaba we held in Kariba.This was our first tentative step towards
rebuilding an inclusive media industry in the country," added Charamba.

The outspoken Charamba said editors in Zimbabwe have never disagreed on
professionalism in journalism but that the wide chasm between state
controlled media and private editors is who is better in power President
Mugabe or Prime Minister Tsvangirai.

"Interestingly Zimbabwean editors have not lost one another over
professional questions. The fury has not been over training, remuneration,
ethics, escalating input costs, distribution, advertisers, tax regime...

"The fury has been over who makes a better prince of power Robert Mugabe or
Morgan Tsvangirai; over who makes a better party Zanu (PF) or MDC-T. Ladies
and gentleman you have been polarized by politics, not by journalism."

"..You have been polarized by politics not because you are victims of
politicians, but because you have become political yourselves," added
He said the trend of journalists turning political activists hit newsrooms
at the same time of the controversial land reform programme.

"The phenomenon of pressman turned political activist hit our newsrooms
about the same time of land reforms, itself another political milestone, not
a journalistic one."
Charamba also lambasted the media bodies in Zimbabwe saying they have
"nothing or little" to do with media interests.

"You guys have tended to be organized by money, never by promptings of your
own minds. The Voluntary Media Council will never come right until and
unless it abolishes itself, to again found itself as a genuine media

"It scares me stiff when violent opposition to the Media and Information
Commission (MIC) is cured by a poor recreation of the same MIC with greater
powers implied by the aura constitutionalism. The raw message coming through
the constitutional Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) that better be
misgoverned by gods than by mere mortals," he said.

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TAKE ACTION : No more forced evictions in Zimbabwe!

October 8th, 2009

Amnesty International USA are calling on people to support their action to stop further mass evictions taking place in Zimbabwe.

Currently, thousands of informal traders continue to face forcible eviction as the government targets vendor stalls in Harare for demolition. Unemployment in Zimbabwe remains near 90%. These market stalls provide goods at a price affordable by the populace and generate necessary income for those unable to work in the formal sector. The mayor of Harare defended these actions by claiming the stalls were a health hazard and violated city regulations.

The action also asks the Zimbabwe government to provide adequate alternative housing and compensation to victims of Murambatsvina, many of whom are still living in terrible conditions after the Zanu PF government’s vicious ‘Clear out the Rubbish’ policy – forced removals – in 2005. To take part, follow this link and send an email to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai using the tool Amnesty USA have set up.

The video above gives a poignant insight into how terribly people have suffered, and are still suffering, in the wake of Murambatsvina. Help make sure it doesn’t happen again by supporting Amnesty’s call to action.

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Implementation of the EU Food Facity in Zimbabwe through FAO Coordination



Comments by Xavier Marchal

Ambassador, Head of EC Delegation



Thank you for giving me this opportunity to address you.  FAO is a key partner to the EC.  It implements fundamental programs in Zimbabwe in close coordination with Government Authorities.   We are working together on building self-reliance at small farmer level.  We do this in line with current EU restrictive policy towards Zimbabwe.


This year, EC on behalf of EU, will provide around 25 % of all fertilizers needs for smallholder farmers.  This is significant.  Most of this is done through FAO. Input provision is only part of what we do.


Indeed, the EC has signed an agreement with FAO, which will provide 15,4 million euros to support self-reliance at small holder farmer level in Zimbabwe.


This is part of a massive worldwide EC Food facility of one billion euros, which was adopted at the end of last year as a response to the growing food security problems in many developing countries, resulting in particular to worldwide higher food prices.


Zimbabwe has been well served by this Facility, comparatively to many other countries also in need. 


In response to the STERP and the preparation for the coming cropping season this grant will contribute to boost Zimbabwe's preparedness with mobilization of agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers and extension support to small scale farmers.


The programme is conceptually simple. It ensures maximum impact on household and national food availability and security. It is focused on staple grain production in communal and old resettlement areas. It will contribute to both household and national food security. It will improve productivity, and in consequence, food security.


Inputs distribution will be complemented by well coordinated extension services provided by a range of implementing partners and government to promote good farming practices, particularly timely planting and application of some conservation agriculture principles and practices.


The programme is expected to support 176,000 farmers in Natural Regions II, III and IV. In these areas, production costs per metric tonne are comparable to current import parity prices, or below. With good rains, timely implementation and effective coordination, yields and production could easily double, further reducing production costs, and contribute to making Zimbabwe self sufficient in staple grain production. Then, no need for food aid anymore, with less financial support needed which is even better.


This programme is part of a wider EC policy aiming at moving this country from Food Aid to Food Security. We strongly feel that the stabilisation and eventual rehabilitation of the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe is crucial to her economic revival.


We are significantly supporting rural populations to improve livelihood security. This includes health, water, basic education, social services. This is done through NGO's, UN agencies, and Government.


We also work extensively with farmers Unions: ZFU, CFU, ZCFU.


Let me remind here that between 2002 and 2008, EC on behalf of EU has committed more than 570 million euros to support the population of Zimbabwe, mostly in rural areas.


Under the Global Political Agreement, we are now implementing a Short Term Strategy of around 110 million euros, most of them again in relation to food security including health and basic education.


The EC has a strong experience in agriculture in Zimbabwe. When and if full normalisation is achieved between the EU and Zimbabwe, as a result of the ongoing political dialogue process launched in Brussels on 18 June by the Prime Minister and his inclusive delegation, then massive and full fledged assistance can be unleashed again.


But more importantly Government has to take its responsibilities. The decline in the agricultural production is indeed related to failing Government Polices associated to issues relating to the way the land and agrarian reform program has been conducted. These need to be addressed by Government.


The land reform, as has been conducted, has had catastrophic effects causing the large scale commercial agricultural sector and with large part of the support industry to collapse almost entirely. The small scale sector which is strongly dependent on the former has also been severely hit and outputs have declined significantly.


We are ready to assist Government to implement an inclusive, transparent, and comprehensive land audit as provided for in the GPA, and which should be aimed at resolving the land issue. This is the bigger picture, which cannot be ignored if Zimbabwe's agriculture is to become highly successful again.


Of course, we need good rains, and rainfall is the immediate external challenge faced by farmers every year. In Zimbabwe, rainfall is by essence erratic, from year to year and within a season. I profoundly hope that rains will be good this year, in quantity and in quality.


Rain can be a blessing, a curse, or even a cover up. But with proper policies, sufficient inputs, and good agricultural techniques, it can become a secondary factor.


When Zimbabwe will not focus on rain as much as she does now, then we all will conclude that she has regain total self sufficiency and pride.


Thank you


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Residents anticipate a bleak future… as the world commemorates World Habitat Day

CNewLog2145 Robert Mugabe Way, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website:

Contacts: Mobile: 0912 653 074, 0913 042 981, 011862012 or email,,





Residents anticipate a bleak future… as the world commemorates World Habitat Day


08 October 2009


The World Habitat day comes at a time when residents of Harare have become victims of poor urban planning, forced evictions, corruption and bad local governance practices. While the population of Harare has increased significantly, nothing much has been done in terms of upgrading the sewer reticulation system, water infrastructure and housing security; a situation that has drained hopes of a better future for the residents of Harare.


Despite the fact that the sewer reticulation system has been stretched beyond its carrying capacity due to population increase in the City, the local authority and the key Ministries responsible have not done enough to improve living conditions of the residents. For example, the Mbare Matapi, Nenyere and Shawasha Flats which are in a state of collapse have been over- crowded to the extent that a room which is meant to accommodate 2 bachelors is now housing more than 15 people; a situation that has put a strain on the sanitary facilities in the area. This has led to constant leakages of raw sewer due to burst sewer pipes and blockages. Media reports have revealed that the City of Harare is planning to demolish these flats so that better ones can be built. Thus the occupants of these flats are facing pending evictions but they do not have anywhere to go. This is a clear indication of poor planning on the part of the City of Harare. The first thing that would have been expected of a Council that was voted into office by the same residents would have been to construct alternative accommodation for these people before demolishing the flats instead of replaying another Operation Murambatsvina.


Victims of Operation Murambatsvina, a notorious exercise which was unleashed by the former government and its state apparatus in May 2005 continue to live in temporary shelters in areas like Hopely Farm, Gunhill and Highlands informal settlements, Mukuvisi and Caledonia. The City of Harare continues to sell housing stands to private land developers who in turn sell those stands to the public at prices beyond the reach of many. Thus decent accommodation remains inaccessible to many residents. The City’s Department of Housing continues to have endless waiting lists of residents who need housing stands in spite of the fact that Council is leasing some pieces of land for commercial purposes. This unfortunate situation has also persisted partly due to the fact that Operation Garikai, a programme that was supposed to benefit these homeless people, was abused by some politicians who saw this as an opportunity to increase their properties and partly because the city fathers have not seen the need to build houses for these people.


With this year’s theme being “Planning our urban future”, CHRA urges the Council to make the provision of decent housing to every resident of Harare one of its top priorities. Informal settlements will forever be a part of this city for as long as the Council does not embark on projects that focus on providing shelter for its residents. CHRA remains committed to advocating for good and accountable local governance as well as lobbying for quality and affordable municipal services on a non partisan basis.


CHRA Information, making the implicit, explicit


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The magic of Zimbabwean mathematics

Writing about Zimbabwe every day can be most educational - especially when,
in the last few years, I have learned more about mathematics than I did in
all my years at school.

Who could have dreamt that I would ever have use for such figures: "Three
hundred and sixty five octillion, two hundred and thirty six septillion,
five hundred and forty four sextillion, eight hundred and seventy six
quintillion, three hundred and twenty four quadrillion, five hundred and
sixty four trillion, six hundred and seventy two billion, four hundred and
fifty three million, one hundred and eighty five thousand, three hundred and
thirty three dollars and fifty two cents only"? (Don't you love the "only"
at the end of the cheque?

In figures, this would read "365 236 876 325 564 673 453 185 333,52"!

Yes, I fully realise that this is an internet "spoof" but this kind of
figure was commonplace in Zimbabwe until they decided to shelve the local
currency which cost more to print than the face value of the notes.

And whilst this sort of huge figure accounting must have led to some
almighty faux pas, I think that it would be a safe assumption to reckon that
there was also some fairly imaginative accounting practises adopted across
the board!

I do hasten to assure you that not all of these practises were fraudulent.

These huge figures have faded into our memories with the economy adopting
the currencies of South Africa, America and the UK.

I was rather interested, therefore, in an article that I read today that
dealt with inaccuracies in the electoral nominal role - and the facts
therein suggest that the listing wad given the same amount of attention as
the broken Zimbabwean economy.

"A preliminary report released by the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) has
found that 74,021 names on Zimbabwe's voters' roll are for people aged 100
and over. The report, titled '2013 Vision - Seeing Double and the Dead' also
found that there are 82,456 people registered who are aged between 90 and
100. These figures are quite amazing when you consider that average life
expectancy in Zimbabwe is 34 for women and 37 for men, and in light of the
fact that the World Health Organisation predicts that only 14.7% of people
live beyond 60 in Zimbabwe.

This is just one massive question thrown up by the RAU's audit of Zimbabwe's
voters' roll - the same roll used in the discredited 2008 elections.

The researchers have not been able to determine whether the very large
number of elderly people on the voters roll (over 17% of the roll comprises
people aged 60 and over) are living or deceased. Under Zimbabwe's repressive
'Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act' (AIPPA), the RAU was
obliged to apply to the Registrar-General for an electronic copy of
registered deaths. The Registrar-General is obligated to reply within 30
days of receiving the request - but he failed to comply with the law."

The report goes on to highlight how 3 voters are supposed to have put
together 339 ballots - and for some reason this is overlooked by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission who reported a 'free and fair' election -
evidently not when you remember that ZANU PF operatives removed the ballot
boxes of the first round of the Presidential election and held them at an
unknown place for five weeks.

In that time, the ballot result was re-adjusted to ensure that Morgan
Tsvangirai's vote count did not cross the 50% plus one vote needed to defeat
Mugabe. Obviously I am in no position to substantiate this claim, but surely
it is evident enough.

"The audit highlights other irregularities. For example, the researchers
also call attention to the large number of duplicate entries on the roll.
Despite the fact that the Registrar-General has said, "There is no way an ID
number can appear twice in the same roll as alleged," the researchers show
that in some cases ID numbers, names, addresses, birth dates and all details
are duplicated. Specifically: 182564 instances of duplicate entries were
identified where people were registered in two or more constituencies
simultaneously. The report acknowledges that this is could happen, for
example, if a person was registered in one constituency during one poll, and
another a second time. However they point out that 66.7% of the constituency
shifts (if this is what the duplicate entries are supposed to signify) occur
in rural areas, and therefore do not reflect the typical rural-urban
migration pattern that has taken place in recent years in Zimbabwe."

Mugabe and his cohorts obviously love to play with numbers, but their web of
deceit and lies has a habit of being found out. Sadly, not within a
timeframe that allows anyone to object or prevent such deception.

Mathematics in Zimbabwe has magical overtones that we were never made privy
to at school.

Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man

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