The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Action Alert: Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank coordinating thugs on Friedewil Farm, Chinhoyi

Since yesterday afternoon, Louis Fick of Friedewil Farm in Lions Den, Chinhoyi, has once again been unable to enter his farm because the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, Mashwiringwani,  is intent on forcing the South African national to share two of his remaining pig pens with settlers who have seized 98% of his land to date.

Fick has attempted to live peaceably with the invaders and maintained viable production of 4000 pigs up until last year.  But in April 2008 he was besieged by the same reserve bank official and made a decision to drop his production to 1000 pigs.

When the small gang of thugs was brought on to the farm yesterday afternoon, the senior workers were forced to flee in fear of their lives.  The police were called, but refused to respond as they declared it was a political issue. A further 50 to 60 reinforcement thugs were then brought on to the farm. Since then the police have visited once to prevent further violence.

Fick was told by the police that he must attend a meeting to discuss sharing the contended pens, but is unwilling to lose any more of his decimated business.  The cattle on his property have also been moved by the thugs on the farm in to a fenced area and are also not being tended to.

Fick has tried every avenue to help his starving animals.  The piglets will soon die, and a pig should drink at least 40 litres of water per day. They have received no water since yesterday afternoon.

Last year  Fick’s workers entered the besieged farm by leopard crawling under the fence at night to feed and water the distressed animals.  But the farmer now feels that he cannot endanger the workers lives in this manner.

He called the MDC Minister of Home Affairs, Giles Mutsekiwa, but his calls went unanswered. Lovemore Kudindi of Jomic was also called, and his response was that Jomic are planning to tour the Chinhoyi area in two weeks time and they will discuss the issue then. The Prime Minister is currently engaged in discussions with his executive on the way forward.

It is high time the MDC finally did something to remedy the threatened food reserves in this starving nation.

The South African embassy has also been deafeningly quiet once again and has done nothing to assist this South African national.  As a South African he is meant to be protected under the SADC Tribunal ruling that they be allowed to remain on their land.

The rule of law, food security and 98% unemployment seem to be no consideration in Zanu PF’s ongoing attempts at deflecting blame for the collapse in our nation.


Call or sms the Deputy Governer of the Reserve Bank, Mr Mashwiringwani,  on +263 (0)11 800582 and tell him that the world is watching and shocked by his unlawful actions.

Request that he gives the farmer access to the animals to prevent them from dying.

Advise him that you are contacting your governments in your countries and will be doing all you can to call attention to this shameful state of affairs. Then please do just that.

Please be calm, polite and factual when calling.

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Tentative thaw in EU-Zimbabwe ties
Saturday, 12 September 2009 22:50 UK

By Andrew Harding
BBC News, Harare

Robert Mugabe (L) and Gunilla Carlsson (R) on 12 Sept
Mr Mugabe and the EU envoys made positive noises

President Robert Mugabe, sprightly and smiling, welcomed the European Union delegation "with open arms and great expectations" to State House, near the centre of Harare.

Two stuffed lions observed proceedings from either side of the red carpet.

This is the first such visit by the EU in seven years - and there is much talk here of "thawing" and "icebreaking" and, in the words of one European official, "re-injecting dynamism into the relationship".

But behind the optimistic talk looms a mountain of scepticism and mistrust.

President Mugabe made it clear his priority was the lifting of targeted EU sanctions against him and more than 200 of his political allies and related businesses. He and his Zanu-PF party have for years loudly argued that these measures are directly responsible for Zimbabwe's economic collapse.

But the EU does not buy that argument, and is not even putting the sanctions issue on the negotiating table at this stage.

Fragile partnership

Instead, the delegation - led by Sweden's International Development Minister Gunilla Carlsson and Karel De Gucht, Europe's Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid - focused on their concerns about the power-sharing agreement between Mr Mugabe and his political rivals from the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

EU: 2002 to present
Assets freeze and travel ban on some Mugabe allies, arms-sale ban
US: 2003 to present
Trade ban against 250 Zimbabwean individuals and 17 companies
Other countries
Canada, Australia and UK among nations to have imposed their own targeted sanctions
Sources: EU, Reuters, US treasury, UK Foreign Office

The deal, known as the Global Political Agreement (GPA), is a year old now. But Zanu-PF's commitment remains in question.

Economically, Zimbabwe has undoubtedly started to improve under the new unity government's watch. But politically, things remain very murky.

The EU raised concerns about continuing human-rights violations, the arrest and harassment of MDC MPs, the rule of law, governance, property rights and the media.

Although the EU is already spending some $90m a year on humanitarian and development projects here, far bigger sums will not be forthcoming until the political climate improves.

'Still young'

After their talks, President Mugabe seemed to acknowledge that the power-sharing agreement was not always being conducted in the right "spirit" but he insisted these were minor issues and that "we have done everything we've been asked to do under the GPA".

So what happens now? This visit was never likely to produce any major breakthrough.

Instead the EU is talking of its determination to show "flexibility" in what will, inevitably, by a long and difficult process of re-engagement.

After the delegation had left State House, President Mugabe turned and strolled back inside, past the two stuffed lions.

Standing in a scrum of journalists on the red carpet, I asked him if he felt any responsibility for all Zimbabwe's troubles.

He shook his head. And did he have any plans to retire?

"That is a regime change question," he said to loud laughter. "I am still young."

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MDC-T in Crisis Review of GNU

Saturday, 12 September 2009 22:34
BULAWAYO - President Robert Mugabe yesterday claimed that he met his
side of the bargain in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) as the MDC -T
gathered here to review its participation in the inclusive government.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is under pressure from hardliners in
his party to pull out of the troubled coalition over frustration by Mugabe's
reluctance to reform and fully implement the September 15, 2008 agreement.

Sadc's failure to thrash out the outstanding issues that include
Mugabe's unilateral appointment of Johannes Tomana and reappointment of
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono at its DRC summit last week raised
temperatures in Tsvangirai's party.

The MDC-T national executive was last night still locked in a marathon
meeting to discuss the "status and health" of the unity government and
"fashion a way forward".

A meeting of the national council meeting will also be held ahead of
the party's 10th anniversary celebrations at White City Stadium today.

But a defiant Mugabe told journalists after meeting senior European
Union officials in Harare that he did not understand why there was a fuss
about outstanding issues.

"They (the EU delegation) thought things were not working, yet we did
all the things we were asked to do under the GPA, timeously even," he said.

Mugabe said he established a good rapport with the EU delegation
during the meeting at State House in Harare yesterday.

"We established a good rapport," he said. "There was no animosity."

But Mugabe also told the BBC that he bore no sense of responsibility
for anything that had gone wrong in Zimbabwe - blaming Western governments
and international sanctions, which he said should be lifted soon.

Mugabe, 85, added that he had no plans to step down, saying he was
"still young".

The EU team expressed satisfaction with the talks, stressing these
were not negotiations but discussions.

The EU team pointed out the problems with the current situation,
complaining to Mugabe about the slow pace of political reform and about
human rights violations and the rule of law.

While the team described the visit as an attempt to re-open political
dialogue with Zimbabwe, it said it was not appropriate to lift sanctions at
the moment or for major aid to start.

De Gucht said he hoped Mugabe realised the need for "more
understanding between the three principals  himself, the Prime Minister and
the Deputy Prime minister".

The first high-level EU delegation in almost a decade to visit
Zimbabwe consisted of EU commissioner for development and humanitarian aid
Karel de Gucht, Swedish International Co-operation Minister Gunilla Carlsson
and a representative from Spain, which takes over the EU presidency next

In Bulawayo, Tsvangirai said there were "serious challenges" in the
implementation of the GPA.

"We discussed the EU-Zimbabwe dialogue. We said there are issues in
the GPA," he told a press conference after meeting the EU delegation.

"We want to see the full implementation of the agreement and that is
why we have taken the issues to SADC.

"However there has to be progress. The pace of the GPA has been slow
but I'm sure the three political principals will be able to sit down and
solve the issues."

Carlsson who led the delegation said the EU, which imposed sanctions
on Mugabe's inner circle for violating human rights said the block was
prepared to re-engage Zimbabwe.

"We would like to engage with the government of national unity in
Zimbabwe. But of course, we are concerned by the fact that there has been no
progress on some issues included in the global agreement," she said.

"These specifically refer to governance issues."

Meanwhile, the World Bank has refuted allegations that it is helping
Tsvangirai to set up "parallel government structures".

The state media has been waging an onslaught against the Prime
Minister after Tsholotsho North MP, Jonathan Moyo started making claims that
the World Bank was among some donors financing extra salaries for MDC-T
ministers and workers in Tsvangirai's office.

But the bank said the Zimbabwe Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) was only
supporting the placement of "qualified policy and programme specialists in
key government agencies to assist with the collection an analysis of data
which can provide sound policy options for ministers, permanent secretaries
and stakeholders to consider".

"The World Bank procedures stipulate that contracts are of a
short-term nature for a maximum of 150 days."


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Lesabe Defects to Zapu

Saturday, 12 September 2009 22:28
ZANU PF suffered a body blow yesterday after a member of its politburo
and former women's league chairperson Thenjiwe Lesabe defected to the
revived Zapu.

Lesabe's defection, announced during a meeting to discuss the Zapu
constitution in Bulawayo, will rock Zanu PF to its core especially in
Matabeleland as she was one of the heavyweights who remained when others
ditched the 1987 Unity Accord in May.

She was among those being considered for the late Vice-President
Joseph Msika's vacant post because of her seniority in the liberation

Zapu led by former Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa said it was
pulling out of the accord because Zanu PF had reneged on almost all the
commitments it made before the signing of the pact that ended the massacre
of villagers in Matabeleland and the Midlands.

"I am coming back home. You will remember that we signed the Unity
Accord with Zanu PF and formed a government," Lesabe told journalists on the
sidelines of the meeting.

"I represented Zapu in that government.

"I served in the government and I believe now is the time I should
come back home and work with my fellow colleagues in reviving Zapu."

The former cabinet minister held several posts within Zanu PF and the
government after the Unity Accord.

But she fell out with Mugabe after a group in Zanu PF linked to
Emmerson Mnangagwa lobbied for her to replace Msika in a "plot" that was
described by the ageing leader as a coup attempt.

However, she was not dragged before a disciplinary hearing alongside
six provincial chairpersons who were subsequently expelled from Zanu PF.

Some of the prominent casualties of the purge that ensued after the
"plot" now known as the Tsholotsho Declaration was uncovered are former
Information and Publicity Minister Jonathan Moyo, July Moyo (the Midlands),
Mark Madiro (Manicaland) and Phillip Chiyangwa (Mashonaland West).

Jonathan Moyo has applied to re-join Zanu PF.

Yesterday Lesabe, who revealed that a hand-delivered resignation
letter had been sent to President Mugabe, said she did not want to discuss
what pushed her out of the former sole ruling party.

"I might have things that I feel were not done well. Those are my
reasons and I shall keep them to myself," she said. "All I can say at the
moment is that I am back in Zapu and I am here to work for the development
of the Zapu agenda and ideologies."

Dabengwa said many former Zapu cadres still in Zanu PF including some
who were holding influential positions were ready to jump ship.

"Several of them said they were keen to join or they shall be
re-called as per party resolution," he said.  "We talked to them and they
have said they shall join us later."

Meanwhile, analysts have warned that more senior Zanu PF figures from
Matabeleland could follow Lesabe if Mugabe re-admits Moyo into the party.

The former government propagandist apparently made enemies with almost
all senior Zanu PF figures in Matabeleland during his short stint in the

Judgement in a case where he is suing Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo for
linking him to the Tsholotsho Declaration is also pending before the courts.

Analysts said Moyo was likely to keep his Tsholotsho North seat for
now because the laws on floor crossing do not affect independents but he
will certainly not return to parliament on a Zanu PF ticket.

"There are some people who have been complaining that he was a sell
out and were wondering where he belonged following news that he has been
busy suing opposition officials and castigating them in the press," said
Tsholotsho Agenda chairperson Pastor Edson Dube.

"Such people are likely to be disappointed by his decision and rightly
so because it is wrong for anyone to be voted in on one card and then to
sell the people's vote to another party."

The MDC-T did not challenge Moyo in last year's polls because he was
"a friendly force". Nelson Chamisa, the MDC-T spokesperson could not be
reached for comment yesterday.

University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer John Makumbe said
Moyo had finally shown his true colours.

"I think that is a good move really given that it can guarantee him
ownership of his farm," Makumbe said. "In fact, that guy never left that
party actually.

"We just hope that his experience in the wilderness has made him
mature a little bit so that he can contribute more positively to national
development than preoccupying himself with criticising the Prime Minister.

"But he should be kept out of government completely as he will not be
able to work with the young MDC ministers."

But he dreaded the prospect of Moyo reclaiming his old post saying his
track record of repression should never be repeated.


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Youth Conference: Mnangagwa Stronger

Saturday, 12 September 2009 22:25
THE Zanu PF faction led by Presidential hopeful Emmerson Mnangagwa
yesterday emerged from the party national youth conference stronger after
its candidate won the most powerful post that was under contest. Mnangagwa
loyalist Edison Chakanyuka from the Midlands was voted the deputy secretary
for youth beating Shurugwi South MP Anastancia Ndhlovu who is linked to the
Mujuru camp.

The secretary for youth is appointed by President Mugabe when he
selects members of his politburo.
Chakanyuka automatically becomes a member of the Zanu PF politburo.

The Midlands had accepted the post of deputy secretary previously held
by Savious Kasukuwere but rejected Ndhlovu as their candidate.

Ndhlovu eventually landed the less influential post of secretary for

Ndhlovu's name was missing from the original list of new office
bearers and she was seen consulting Mnangagwa before her name was included.

All the candidates from Mnangagwa's faction from Masvingo,
Matabeleland South and North, the Midlands and Manicaland secured posts in
the new youth leadership.

Other members in the new team are John Mushai, Lesley Ncube,
Khumbulani Mlilo, Bekezela Sibanda, Kudzani Chipanga, Cleopas Magwizi and
Yeukai Simbanegavi.

Joshua Sacco became the first white to hold a position in the Zanu PF
youth league. He was elected deputy secretary for production.

However, the Mujuru camp landed influential posts after Obert Mutasa
from Mashonaland Central was elected secretary for finance and Mike Gava
from Mashonaland West became secretary for the commissariat.

Kasukuwere's younger brother, Tongai, was elected deputy secretary for
external affairs.

However the factionalism that reached fever pitch ahead of the
conference came to the fore as the angry Harare Province delegates who were
accredited as observers sang derogatory songs as they sought to get their
way into the City Sports Centre.

But Zanu PF chairman John Nkomo remained steadfast and refused to let
them in. Didymus Mutasa, the party's secretary for administration failed to
silence the agitated youths.

They were only allowed into the venue after the elections but a few
seats were reserved for them.

President Robert Mugabe officially closed the conference and repeated
his attacks against the European Union, a few hours after he met a
high-powered delegation here to re-open dialogue with Zimbabwe.

"Instead of talking about sanctions, they (EU delegation) were talking
about (Gideon) Gono and (Johannes) Tomana. They said this was in the spirit
of the GPA and I told them to go and listen to our brothers from SADC," a
defiant Mugabe said.

Officially opening the conference on Friday, Mugabe lashed out at
Western sanctions against him, condemning "bloody whites" for meddling in
Zimbabwe's affairs.


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Bulawayo Gets new Catholic Leader

Saturday, 12 September 2009 18:26
BULAWAYO - Father Felix Thomas yesterday formally took over from
Bishop Pius Ncube as the Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo in a low-key
ceremony. Ncube, who attended yesterday's ordination ceremony, was forced to
resign in September last year after he was embroiled in a sex scandal.

Unlike Ncube's ordination as the first black bishop of the archdiocese
in 1997 which was attended by President Robert Mugabe, politicians were not
invited for the event held at the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF)

The Pope's representative in Zimbabwe Pro Nuncio George Kocherry
presided over the ceremony graced by Catholic bishops from other parts of
the country.

Father Nigel Johnson, a spokesperson for the church said politicians
were not invited this time around because "this was a religious event" and
the "church does not want to be tangled in politics".

Archbishop Thomas was born in 1960 in Vallamchira in the archdiocese
of Changanacherry in India.

After elementary school, he entered the minor seminary of the Divine
Word Missionaries in Changanacherry and took his final vows in 1987.

On May 7, 1988 he was ordained as a priest.

He has served as a missionary in Zimbabwe since 1989 where he has held
various posts in the church including that of regional superior to the
Society of the Divine Word Missionaries in the country.

In addition to his missionary experience, Archbishop Thomas has a
background in economics, having studied it at university.

He holds a degree in economics and political science and has pursued
administration and management studies with the Zimbabwe Institute of
Management (ZIM).

Since 2001, he has been the Caritas ex-officio advisor to the Catholic
Development Commission (Cadec).

He has been the director of Cadec, the Catholic Church's agency
responsible for supporting feeding schemes, health and education.

The archdiocese of Bulawayo was established on January 1, 1955 and
comprises 14 civil districts.

It is home to more than 116 000 Catholics, 40 parishes, 87 priests,
and 11 religious orders.

Bishop Giovanni Matteo Konings was the first bishop of the diocese and
was appointed in 1926. He died in 1929. After that, several others followed
until October 1997 when Ncube took over.

Meanwhile, Ncube who is now based at the Hwange Diocese in
Matabeleland North wrote a letter to South Africa's national catholic
weekly, The Southern Cross, asking for prayers.

He said state agents were following him everywhere and at one time
planted a bomb in his official car. Before falling from grace, the former
archbishop was known internationally as one of President Mugabe's most vocal

At one time he controversially prayed for Mugabe's death. Shortly
afterwards he was caught allegedly having a sexual relationship with a
married woman.


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Campaign car rots at Police Station

Saturday, 12 September 2009 18:25
LUPANE - The condition of the armoured car seized from Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai by police ahead of the June 27 presidential run-off
election continues to deteriorate because of neglect. In early June last
year police detained Tsvangirai,  who was the front runner in the March 2008
polls, for nine hours and seized the BMW X5, which his party said was
necessary for his security.

The car has been kept at Lupane police station in Matabeleland North
despite frantic efforts by its original owner a South African businessman
Adrian Espag to recover it.

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officials want the car forfeited to
the state because they say it was not being driven by Espag at the time and
that this amounts to violation of the Customs and Excise Act.

On Thursday, a shocked Tsvangirai lashed out at the police for
neglecting the car when he made a surprise visit to the station.

The car is parked in the open and the browning grass around it shows
it has not been moved for a long time.

"This is a very expensive car," said Tsvangirai. Why did you remove it
from under a shed and expose it to the sun like this?"

"You should learn to have a heart for other people's property. Surely,
this is unacceptable." the prime Minister said.

Some police officers said it was moved away from the shed to make way
for cars belonging to their bosses.

Espag's lawyer, Job Sibanda of Sibanda and Associates in a recent
interview said they were still battling to have the vehicle released.

"We are making frantic efforts to have the vehicle released into the
custody of my client. If at all the case has to be taken further, we are
prepared to do so," Sibanda said.


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Joy, Apprehension as Jailbirds go Free

Saturday, 12 September 2009 18:19
TWO old men walked out timidly as soon as the huge wooden prison door
was opened on Friday morning. They could not hide the joy carved on their
wrinkled faces as several cameras dazzled their eyes while relatives waited
to welcome them back into the real world.

They were free men after spending more that two decades each behind
the bars.

"It's like a dream. I cannot believe I am out," 63-year-old Lovemore
Bvuno remarked as he strolled out of the high walls.

Clad in a grey suit, his jail mate 64-year-old Christopher Piyo
Munyoro, pleaded with society to accept him back as he is now a "reformed

The two who were serving life sentences for murder  are among the 147
prisoners released from Harare Central Prison on Friday under the blanket
presidential amnesty.

Nine of them, though pardoned, were not released because of health

Over 2 239 prisoners were released from the country's 42 prisons on
the same day in a bid to ease congestion in the crowded jails that have
become known as "death camps".

Bvuno and Munyoro - the two "lifers" as prison officials called them -
had served 24 and 23 years respectively.

It was evident so many things had changed since they last saw the sun
setting down from the outside.

It was their first time to see and handle the US dollar, one of the
multiple currencies now being used in the country since the dollarisation of
the economy early this year.

"I have never seen this. Is this real money?" asked Bvuno as a
well-wisher handed him a US$1 note for bus fare.

At the time Bvuno was jailed in 1985, the highest denomination note in
Zimbabwe was Z$10, which was discarded ages ago.

Narrating how he ended up in jail Bvuno, a former soldier then
attached to the military police, said he killed his wife's lover after he
found them in a compromising position at his home in Masvingo in 1985.

He regrets taking the law into his hands. "If I had not killed I would
not be in this position," he lamented. "Mhuri yangu yakaparara (My family

The father of four said he does not know where his children are since
they never visited him during his incarceration. His wife is dead.

The only other relative he knows works for a local company in the city
but he has no idea how to get to his workplace. Streets have changed names,
high rise buildings have been built while others were demolished.

"I don't know how I can get to Haddon Motors (in Eastlea). That is
where my relative said he worked," he said.

Luckily, Munyoro had his young brother, Isaiah, who was waiting to
take him home. The brother pledged to help him start his life afresh.

During his 24 years in jail, Bvuno studied several courses including
plumbing, Bible knowledge and he had become a peer educator.

Bvuno said life in prison was very hard as at one time there was not
enough food, blankets and clothes. Prisoners would fight for the little
resources available, he said.

"It was survival of the fittest," Bvuno said.

Diseases such as cholera, tuberculosis, measles and pellagra killed
several hundreds of inmates especially in the past three years, he said.

This was corroborated by another beneficiary of the amnesty, Toendepi
Mahaso (40), a lawyer by profession, who was convicted of fraud.

He had served 14 months of his two-year jail term.

"I thank God I managed to survive because I saw many of my colleagues
dying of cholera last year," said Mahaso, a former senior partner in a law

Mahaso, who said he would contest his conviction, was happy with his

"Justice sometimes has to have a human face and this is it," Mahaso

Though relieved at his release, Mahaso  feels sorry for those that
were not so lucky.

"I feel the number of inmates released is too low. There is still
congestion inside there," said Mahaso, who said he practised law for 14
years before his conviction.

He urged the government to increase food rations, clothes, and
blankets and avail drugs to the inmates as well as refurbishing the

The crisis in prisons was exposed in April when documentary video
footage showed half-naked and skeletal inmates wasting away because of
hunger and diseases.

Prisons had run out of money for rations and drugs.

The situation, the released prisoners confirmed, improved after donor
organisations started supplying food, drugs and other essentials to jails

ZPS acting public relations manager Elizabeth Banda said the release
would relieve pressure on the country's crowded jails.

Banda urged society to accept and assist the released prisoners
reintegrate into the community.

The amnesty applied to all prisoners who had completed a quarter of
their sentences, those in open prisons and life inmates who had served 20 or
more years.

Amnesty International secretary-general Irene Khan said during a visit
in July that prison conditions were "deplorable and not fit for humans".

It also revealed that 1 000 prisoners had died in the first six months
of this year.

Most of them succumbed to hunger-related diseases and cholera.


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Sundayspecial: Shocking Squalor at Mbare Hostels

Saturday, 12 September 2009 17:59
THE scale of squalor, poverty, overcrowding and dilapidation in Harare
City council's flats in Mbare is frightening. The condition in which the
families live not only presents a fire hazard, but it is also a health time
bomb, whose scale of devastation could eclipse the loss to last year's
cholera epidemic.

Despite their hard work to earn a living through informal trading,
families in the Matapi area of Mbare say poverty is a permanent feature here
due to neglect by council.

While the city fathers are splashing millions of American dollars on
luxury vehicles for top council officials, residents of Mbare, like Rosemary
Madamombe, are living from hand to mouth  in the deplorable conditions at

"I wake up everyday at 4am to go to the market to buy vegetables for
resale. I am a hard worker but no matter how I try things just don't
balance," said Madamombe, a mother of three.

After losing all her belongings in a fire that destroyed the whole
block 5 of Matapi flats in January, Madamombe and eight other families have
been staying in an open hall at Shawasha flats.

To give some semblance of privacy the families partitioned the hall
with cardboard boxes.

The adults sleep in the compartments while about 20 children of
varying ages all sleep at the centre of the hall, their only privacy being
the separation of their blankets. "We have been living in this hall since
January," lamented Madamombe.

"We have no privacy. Our children have no privacy. A girl child sleeps
next to a boy child who is not related to them. In winter they even shared
blankets because it was very cold. How can we blame them when they become
naughty? Council told us this was a temporary set up but we are still here
several months later."

In the same hall Getrude Chanakira, her husband and four children
share space with Madamombe.

Chanakira also lost all her belongings including a sewing machine -
which was her only source of income  - in the fire.

Since then life has been a "nightmare." "In this hall we have two
stoves. We cook together and share everything because that's the only way we
can survive," Chanakira said.

As these women struggle each day to eke out a living for their
families there has been a new addition to their problems: they are facing
eviction from these premises over unpaid rentals.

The nine families who are all still recovering from the losses
received bills from the city council back dated to January and ranging from
US$150 to US$900.

These families are among many recipients of letters of final demand
from the city council for rates and rentals in Mbare and other Harare

The city council wants residents to pay the outstanding amounts in
seven days or risk eviction from their homes.

"The rentals are just too high for us and we are barely making ends
meet. I don't know where the city council thinks we will get that kind of
money," said Gladys Dzarevashe who owes council US$276.

Dzarevashe also stays at Shawasha Flats. She is a widow and takes care
of her four children through a vegetable stall.

On Thursday morning Dzarevashe was also one of the many parents whose
children were sent home from Gwinyai Primary school for non-payment of fees.

Her daughter brought back home a letter saying the school authorities
had now handed over her case to Medco Debt Management.

The debt collectors wanted her to pay US$30 within 24 hours. "My
vegetable stall can only give me US$10 on a good day," Dzarevashe said.

"I am only making enough to keep my family alive. It's not that I don't
want to pay the city council but I just don't have the money," Dzarevashe

But the city council appears to be in a fighting mood and has turned a
blind eye to the pleas of the residents for more time.

Last week council officials attempted to evict tenants at some of the
flats but faced resistance from angry residents.

The council officials fled with the residents in hot pursuit.

Residents say council has become insensitive to the suffering of many
Zimbabweans who have endured years of economic collapse.

They are also angry that the city fathers are demanding high rentals
and rates for the flats that are in a state of collapse.

The state of breakdown in infrastructure and overcrowding at these
dwellings is shocking.

Families of about five people each share single rooms and all pay
council rentals individually for each corner of the room they occupy.

The dirt and poor sanitary conditions in the communal toilets,
kitchens and outside the flats is suffocating.
Green flies swamped heaps of uncollected garbage and raw sewerage.

"They want us to pay high rentals for living like animals. That mayor
(Muchadeyi) Masunda must be really mad. He should come and see how we are
living here first before anything," fumed Madamombe.

According to the Harare Residents' Trusts (HRT), a pressure group, if
the council is allowed to go ahead with the evictions more than 5 000
families living in Mbare hostels will be rendered homeless.

But Harare City Council spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said there would be
no negotiations on the impending evictions. He said anyone who cannot afford
the rentals should vacate the council flats.


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Chebundo Rape Trial: Doctor Disputes Virginity Claims

Saturday, 12 September 2009 17:53
GWERU - The 14-year-old girl that Kwekwe Central MP Blessing Chebundo
is accused of raping had sex several times, a doctor who examined her
testified last week. On Monday, when Chebundo's trial opened the girl who is
now eight months pregnant said the alleged rape on January 5 was her first
sexual encounter.

She was speaking during cross-examination by the defence team led by
Advocate Happias Zhou.

But the doctor who cannot be named for professional reasons said he
examined the girl from Kwekwe on May 21 and found out that her hymen was
torn in three places.

However, he said it was difficult to ascertain if the girl was raped
because the examination was done almost five months after the alleged

Chebundo pleaded not guilty to the rape charges.

He said the girl might have been used by her sister with whom he
alleges they had an affair.

The MP said he ended the affair after realising that the complainant's
sister, who is a former child MP had a number of boyfriends.

There is also a possibility that the girl was being used by his
political rivals, his defence team pointed out.

His lawyers said there was no reason for him to rape the girl if he
wanted sexual favours because he enjoyed a close relationship with her

Under cross examination, the former child MP said Chebundo was only
creating the story about the affair to escape the rape charges.

She only got to know him in 2003 when she became child MP, she said.

The court heard that the former Form II student who has since dropped
from school because of the pregnancy was raped once at Sebakwe River Bridge
along the Kwekwe-Harare road allegedly by Chebundo.

Her pair of torn pants was produced in court as an exhibit. She
claimed that on the fateful day, Chebundo had given her a lift to Harare to
see her sister who was not feeling well.

According to the State, she was raped on her way back from Harare.

After the alleged rape, the court heard that the girl travelled with
Chebundo to Harare again in April.

The girl says she only reported the matter in May because the MDC-T
legislator constantly threatened her with death.

She also claimed that a mysterious voice stopped her from committing
suicide following the sexual abuse and only realised that she was pregnant
after a medical examination at Kwekwe Hospital.

This was after she made a police report.

It also emerged that after Chebundo was arrested, police took the girl
to the crime scene in the absence of the accused.

Chebundo's lawyers also said the fact that the girl was made to write
several statements that were consolidated into one which she ultimately
signed also raised a lot of questions.

Testifying on the same day the investigating officer, Chief Inspector
Paul Dheka told the court that there were two visits to the crime scene.

He said he only got to know that the Victim Friendly Unit police had
also visited the scene.

The trial resumes on October 21 when the defence will call witnesses.


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Civil Service Audit due in November

Saturday, 12 September 2009 17:50
THE audit of the country's civil service whose results were expected
this month is still in its preliminary stages and the results are only
expected in November, a Cabinet minister has said. The government was
compelled to undertake the audit of employees following discoveries that
some of the workers were not genuinely engaged by the government, amid
reports that some youth militia aligned to Zanu PF were receiving monthly
salaries from the government.

Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro last week said they had
underestimated the work that is involved in the preliminary stages of the

"The actual audit has not started," said Mukonoweshuro. "At the
moment, we are involved in the actionable governance indicator survey, which
is a preparation to the audit itself.

"It is executed as a platform to the audit itself."

This stage, he said, involves looking at the operations of the civil
service itself and its structure.

Mukonoweshuro said once the preparatory stage was completed, the
actual census of civil servants would take about a month to complete.

"The count itself is not a problem but it is these steps that are so
intricate and time-consuming that are delaying us. As things stand, we now
expect the results in November."

The Public Service Minister disputed reports that the audit, which he
initially said would only take two months to complete, was being hampered by
lack of funds.

"While lack of funds is a shared misery of the inclusive government, I
cannot say that's a problem. At the moment we are working with a budget of
US$4 million which can be revised after this preliminary exercise," he said.

Starting February, civil servants were receiving an allowance of
US$100 each a month regardless of grade.

They started getting actual salaries in July, although this is about
US$150 a month each person.

Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister Senator David Coltart is
also on record saying the government might be paying millions of dollars in
foreign currency to thousands of ghost teachers.

The country's teachers' unions say they have 60 000 members on their
books while Coltart said records in his ministry showed 90 000 were on the
government payroll.

In July, Mukonoweshuro said the government was spending about US$526
million a year on civil servants, pensioners and staff under grant-aided

The MDC has on several occasions alleged that over the past few years,
Zanu PF recruited its party militia from the notorious youth training
centres into government structures.


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Bickering Puts Damper on new School Term

Saturday, 12 September 2009 17:47
ZIMBABWE'S long-suffering school children are once again caught in the
war of attrition between the country's political rivals. An estimated 80% of
schools remained shut when the crucial third term began a fortnight ago
after the biggest union, the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) called
for a national job boycott.

Zimta says it is not happy that the seven-month old inclusive
government has failed to improve on the US$155 salaries it started giving
teachers in July.

However, Zimta's cause has been discredited by the decision by small
unions, the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) and the Zimbabwe
Teachers' Union (ZTU) not to take part in the strike.

The two unions say Zimta, which enjoyed good relations with President
Robert Mugabe's previous administration is being used by Zanu PF elements
desperate to discredit the inclusive government.

Education officials last week said the unions' positions regarding the
on-going strike were shaped more by their political inclination than by the
desire to see the plight of teachers being addressed.

Hopes for the revival of the sector had been pinned on the inclusive
government but such optimism is being dampened by the unions' endless

This, the officials said, is being worsened by the fact that the
inclusive government is broke and the critical shortage of teachers, most of
whom skipped the country for better salaries.

"The bickering by the unions mirrors the internal strife in the
inclusive government," said one official who requested anonymity.

The once "docile" Zimta seems to have suddenly found its voice
following the formation of the inclusive government in February.

It says 80% of schools in the country are closed because of the

Surprisingly the usually militant PTUZ, which widely is seen as
sympathetic to MDC-T led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has urged its
members to ignore the strike.

The union says it cannot be used to fight a war "that is not ours".

"We want government to understand that teachers' concerns are genuine
but we are not going to accept to bring back the anarchy and chaos of
yesteryear under the guise of trade unionism," said PTUZ secretary general
Raymond Majongwe.

He denies being an "auxiliary" of any political party but sees a
hidden hand in the on-going strike.
Until last term, the militant PTUZ had been leading crippling teachers'

"This strike is not a strike. Look at what is happening and you will
see a hidden hand. We cannot be part it," he declared.

The PTUZ claims that it received reports that Zimta officials were
distributing circulars countrywide urging teachers to go on strike using
Mahindra and CAM vehicles without registration number plates.

The same types of vehicles were used by state security agents in last
year's violent elections in which at least 200 MDC activists were murdered.

The militant union also claimed that Zimta officials, working in
cahoots with rowdy war veterans, were chasing away teachers who are
reporting for work, particularly in the rural areas.

The Standard heard that teachers are being told to go on strike or
"else we will do what we did to you last year".

Several teachers were brutally assaulted for allegedly supporting the
MDC last year.

"Where was Zimta when teachers were being butchered in last year's
violent elections? Where was Zimta when teachers were earning R2 a month?"
questioned Majongwe.

But Zimta acting chief executive officer Sifiso Ndlovu dismissed
claims that his union was fighting a Zanu PF cause.

"It's an unfounded statement, unfortunate and scandalous," Ndlovu

Ndlovu said Zimta, formed in 1942 before the birth of Zanu PF 21 years
later, was "genuinely representing the interests" of teachers.

Teachers earn US$150 a month. They want their salaries to match the
poverty datum line (PDL) estimated at about US$500 a month.

"This is a bread and butter issue which has nothing to do with the MDC
or Zanu PF," Ndlovu said. "Such statements from our colleagues are meant to
distract us from solving real issues affecting teachers."

Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) director Alouis
Chaumba believes the strike was being sponsored by people determined to see
the collapse of the inclusive government.

"I believe someone is fuelling this," he said. "I smell a rat. There
are people throwing spanners in the works of the new government."

But he could not give names.

Contacted for comment Education, Sport, Arts and Culture Minister
Senator David Coltart referred The Standard to a letter he wrote to Zimta
and copied to all unions on next week's National Joint Negotiating Committee
(NJNC) meeting.

In the letter Coltart said: "It is of deep concern to me that the
strike has not ended yet.

"I am increasingly concerned about the deleterious consequences for
children, especially those writing public examinations in the next few

The United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) said while it was
cognizant of the teachers' plight, it was essential to put the interests of
children first.

"While as Unicef we fully respect the need for teachers to be paid a
living wage, we are very conscious of the fact that the last academic year
was lost and we call upon all partners to put the best interests of children
first," said Unicef representative in Zimbabwe, Peter Salama in a statement.

The fund dismissed reports that it intended to directly provide
teachers with a salary package of any sort.
Parents last week lambasted teachers for putting their interests ahead
of children's future.

Amon Sigauke, whose son is in Form IV at a school in Marondera, said
teachers were being inconsiderate.
"Every other civil servant is getting such little amounts of money
because the government has no money. Why do teachers want to be special and
get much more?" Sigauke said.

Chaumba urged teachers to return to work in the interests of children
who are supposed to write end-of-year of examination in November.

"They are demanding from a source that cannot produce it," he said.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said the government has no money to
increase teachers' salaries before the end of the year.

Last year, at the height of the country's political problems
educationists say children spent an average of 22 days at schools due to the
intermittent strikes.


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Bulawayo Runs out of Burial Space

Saturday, 12 September 2009 17:45
BULAWAYO - The country's second largest city is running out of burial
space for senior citizens owing to high mortality. According to a recent
report of the council's Health, Housing and Education Committee, the little
space left at the Lady Stanley Cemetery is too rocky.

"Due to demand for space at Lady Stanley cemetery more space was
allocated near the old site and burials had continued up to now," reads the
council report.

"However, on the little space now available it is becoming very
difficult to dig graves because of the rocky nature of the ground."

The cemetery located near Mpilo Hospital along Athlone Avenue is
reserved for senior citizens and prominent people.

A number of national heroes from PF Zapu such as Zipra commander,
Lookout Masuku, Isaac Nyathi, Lizati Sibanda and Masala Sibanda were buried
at the cemetery after government dithered on their status.

Sikhangele Zhou, the chamber secretary said in the meantime the local
authority had found space to accommodate 600 graves only within the adjacent
West Park Cemetery. Council says it is also fast running out of space at the
Luveve Cemetery, which can now only accommodate less than 300 graves.

Burial space is fast running out in many cities countrywide with
health experts blaming the HIV/Aids pandemic for the high number of deaths.

About 3 000 Zimbabweans die every week due to HIV/Aids related
illnesses and the situation is exacerbated by the shortage of
life-prolonging Anti-retroviral drugs (ARV's).

Meanwhile, the cash-strapped city council wants the government to
speed up the setting up of municipal courts that will have powers to try
defaulting ratepayers.

Council, which is owed a staggering US$14 million says it has issued
65 letters of demand to ratepayers who have failed to pay US$22 025.

According to a report by the city treasurer Middleton Nyoni tabled at
a recent full council meeting, the establishment of the municipal courts
will see council avoiding the tedious route of pursuing debtors through the
normal courts.

Nyoni said the Urban Councils' Association of Zimbabwe (UCAZ) has
"approached central government on the need to establish municipal courts but
the matter has not yet been finalised".

The local authority was also owed US$593 000 by government departments
and thousands more by private businesses as of March 31.

"Total cash collected from February 2009 to July 2009 amounted to US6
248 183," reads Nyoni's report.
"Therefore ratepayers and consumers owed council US$14 million.

"Responses to reminders sent out to industry and commence indicated
that some were resisting the tariff increases and therefore were not paying
their accounts."


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The Centre Re-opens

Saturday, 12 September 2009 12:54
THE Centre - an organisation founded by the late HIV/AIDS activist
Lynde Francis to offer psycho-social support to people living with the virus
15 years ago - has re-opened its doors. This was after it suspended
operations in 2007 in a cloud of uncertainty due to financial and
administration problems.

Women's University in Africa founder, Hope Sadza said she was happy
Francis' dream will live on. Her sentiments were echoed by Keith Goddard,
the director of the Gays and Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe who said The
Centre had been revived by people who cherished Francis' dream.

"It would have been sad to just let Lynde Francis' dream just go to
waste like that," he said.

Speaking at the same event, Hivos Regional Co-ordinator for HIV and
Aids, Sarah Musungwa urged The Centre's board members to work hard to ensure
that it does not close down again.

Francis died in March this year after she developed a brain tumour.

She had been living with HIV for more than 23 years.

While it will continue with previous programmes, an immediate area of
focus for The Centre will be on HIV counselling and support groups.


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Huge WB Boost for Communal Farmers

Saturday, 12 September 2009 12:53
THE World Bank will provide seed maize to 300 000 communal farmers for
the 2009/2010 agricultural season in a move that will bolster efforts to
help the country regain its bread basket status in the region.

The inputs are provided under a US$7 million Zimbabwe Emergency
Agricultural Input Project grant designed to help households to meet their
grain consumption requirements. The bulk of the funding came from the
Australian government.

David Rohrbach, the bank's senior agricultural economist said on
Friday each household will receive a 10kg bag of maize seed and at least
50kg of top-dressing fertiliser.

The programme should be running by mid-November and Rohrbach said the
seed availed to the households will be enough to put half a hectare under
crop and will produce at least 600kg to a tonne.

A household of six requires a tonne of grain to meet their consumption
needs for the year, Rohrbach said.

The project will be implemented by GRM International and most of the
seeds will be distributed to farmers by up to 20 Non-Governmental

Under the revival plan, Short Term Emergency Recovery Programme
(STERP) government envisages to support 800 000 vulnerable farmers with
inputs and Rohrbach said the organisation considers its support as a
"significant contribution".

But he said the programme was a one-off thing. "It's an unusual
programme for the World Bank. We don't involve ourselves in inputs handouts.
It's a one-off programme in our books," he said.

The inputs support scheme was launched in Malawi last year and the
country registered a surplus in food production.

He said local seed companies will be considered to supply the seed and
one of the conditions was that the seeds are readily available.

"There is enough seed in the country or waiting at the border," he

Last month the Zimbabwe Seed Trade Association - a body of 12 seed
companies - told a parliamentary portfolio committee on Agriculture said
government requires 18 081 tonnes of hybrid and open pollinated maize seed
from the Sadc region to meet the projected annual consumption for the

Zimbabwe requires 40 000 tonnes of seed for the coming agricultural
season. The annual production of maize has been on decline since 2000 when
farm invasions disrupted agriculture.

For the past nine years, the country has been importing grain after
failing to meet the annual 2.4 million tonnes of maize due to shortage of
skills and inputs.


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Zimbabwe's KP Fate Still to be Decided

Saturday, 12 September 2009 12:49
THE Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) poured a damper on
premature celebrations by the country.

KPCS chair, Bernhard Esau, has said a decision on continued membership
of the scheme by Zimbabwe will only be made after a full report from the
review team that visited the country at the end of June and beginning of

Esau said his recent visit to Zimbabwe had created the impression that
the KPCS had already reached a decision not to suspend Zimbabwe from the

"This is not correct," he said. "The recent visit to Zimbabwe by the
KPCS chair was not a review mission but a bilateral visit for informative
purposes only."

Esau said the KPCS appointed a team to conduct a review mission. It
visited Zimbabwe from June 30 to July 4.

"The team provided the KPCS and Zimbabwe with an interim update in
July but is yet to produce its final report. Any decision by the KPCS as to
Zimbabwe's KPCS membership will be taken in the light of that final report
on which Zimbabwe will have an opportunity to comment and in compliance with
the agreed KP rules and procedures," he said.

"No final decision has yet been taken. The chairman has not made any
unilateral decision on Zimbabwe and there was no attempt to pre-empt KPCS

Both the chair and the review mission visited Chiadzwa diamond fields
in Marange, Manicaland to examine the security and exploitation of the
natural resource, as well as allegations of human rights abuses especially
by security forces.

The KPCS report came on the same day two weeks ago that Gorden Moyo,
the Minister of State in Prime Minister's office said the government was
failing to fully exploit the Chiadzwa diamonds because of fierce resistance
from powerful but corrupt but government officials. Among these he
identified the military forces.

In a presentation during a Mass Public Opinion Institute discussion
forum in Harare, Moyo spoke of wide scale looting.


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Gono Fights Changes to RBZ Act

Saturday, 12 September 2009 12:45
FISSURES between the Ministry of Finance and Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) have widened amid revelations the apex bank is against the proposed
amendments to legislation governing its operations.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti, with the blessings of Cabinet, is
pushing through Parliament amendments to the RBZ Act that are designed to
ensure that the RBZ concentrates on its core business: inflation control and
financial sector stability.

The draft RBZ Amendment Bill 2009 was gazetted last month.
RBZ has been accused of fuelling inflation by engaging in activities
that should have been catered for by the national budget.

But Gono says RBZ interventions were a response to an extraordinary
situation obtaining in the country and his actions were sanctioned by the
RBZ Act.

Standardbusiness heard last week the latest battle between Gono and
Biti is the proposed takeover of RBZ assets by government in the reforms
contained in the amendments to the RBZ Act.

"Subject to Subsection 2, all the shares held by the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe in any company incorporated in Zimbabwe in which it has a majority
shareholding are hereby transferred to and vested in the State, and the
shares shall be held on behalf of the state, notwithstanding anything
contained in the memorandum and articles of association of the company in
question, by the head of the ministry to whom the company in question is
assigned," reads the Bill.

RBZ has interests in Carslone Enterprises (mining); Fiscorp (Pvt) Ltd,
Homelink (Pvt) Ltd (property development) and the Export Credit and
Guarantee Company.

It also has shares in listed companies - Tractive Power Holdings,
Astra Industries and Cairns Holdings, which are controlled by the Finance
Trust of Zimbabwe, RBZ's investment linked vehicle.

According to the proposed bill, RBZ would retain control in Fidelity
Printers and Refineries and Aurex, a jewellery concern.

The bone of contention in this latest "war' is the proposed takeover
of RBZ assets without catering for the central bank's liabilities.

Correspondence seen last week show that Gono wrote an Advisory Note to
Biti notifying him on the adverse implications of the proposed legislation.

Gono says while it is noble for RBZ to focus on its core business,
direct takeover of the apex bank's investments would be akin to government
taking over depositors' money.

RBZ operates a Retail Banking Unit that runs accounts for embassies,
diplomats, non-governmental organisations, banks and other corporates.

These are the funds that are invested in order to generate income
(value creation).
"To simply pass a law that takes over the assets (investments) without
that same law indicating how the deposits (liabilities) would be covered
will, therefore, be a serious omission with unprecedented repercussions for
the financial sector as a whole," Gono said.

"This will also have adverse spill-over effects on the country's
foreign affairs relations given that by law the RBZ is mandated to be a
banker to foreign missions among other entities."

Gono said when RBZ made investments into such projects as Homelink,
SIRTECH, Transload (Bio-diesel project) it was using the funds which did not
necessarily belong to the bank.

"In banking, prudential requirements are that to remain afloat, a bank
must diligently deploy depositors' funds lodged with it in lucrative areas
of investment so as to preserve and grow financial value, whilst at the same
time being able to pay out such deposits when the owners of the money want
it," he said.

Gono said for every investment that RBZ holds the liabilities were not
government equity but funds the central bank owes to "legitimate depositors
and other direct lenders".

He said government's equity in RBZ amounts to only Z$2 (old

Gono said taking over assets would be feasible to the extent that
government recapitalises RBZ.

He advised Biti to set aside the intended takeover of RBZ assets
unless government pays the central bank its equivalent investment value "to
enable the bank to settle its obligations to its bona fide depositors in the
banking operations arms of the institution".

"Doing otherwise will be akin to government walking into a commercial
bank and simply taking over bank assets without saying how the depositors'
money will be settled," Gono said.

"Hon. Minister, please kindly take note that the investments done by
the RBZ did not necessarily use government money but rather pooled funds
belonging to RBZ's depositors and in some cases statutory reserves held in
trust for commercial banks."

Despite Biti and Gono dismissing their long-running feud as a creation
of the media, the duo has been engaged in a battle for the control of the
central bank.

In the run up to the harmonised election last year, Biti blamed Gono
for the collapse of the economy and likened him to "an economic saboteur,
terrorist and number one Al-Qaeda who deserves to be shot by a firing squad".

Gono alleges that Biti's onslaught is to divert attention after RBZ
discovered that a law firm in which the finance boss is a partner was
externalising funds.


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Zimbabwe Still Bad

Saturday, 12 September 2009 12:23
ZIMBABWE is still one of the worst places to do business despite
change on the political and economic fronts, according to a report released
on Tuesday by the World Bank.

The report, Doing Business 2010: Reforming Through Difficult Times,
ranks Zimbabwe 159 out of 183 countries used in the study during the period
June 2008 to May 2009.

Although its ranking is one place better than last year, authorities
say the country has reformed so much that it merits a better ranking.

Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA) chief executive officer, Richard
Mbaiwa believes the report does not portray a correct picture of what is
happening on the ground.

"I would expect that we would be below 100 on the rankings," Mbaiwa

"We are not taking time to process projects; the maximum time is two
weeks. For company registrations, the maximum time is 24 hours."

Singapore maintained its position at the top for the second
consecutive year.

The new ranking places Zimbabwe poles apart with its regional
neighbours South Africa, Zambia and Botswana.

Mauritius at 24 is the best placed country in Africa while South
Africa is a few rungs lower at 34.
Namibia (66) and Zambia (90) are some of the southern African
countries in the top 100.

The 2010 report is seventh edition of annual reports investigating
regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it.

On starting a business Zimbabwe was placed 145 on the ladder and it
performed dismally in dealing with construction permits to merit 178th

Zimbabwe fared badly on the employment of workers and was ranked 142
but better in registering property where was placed at 84.

On getting credit and protecting investors, Zimbabwe was placed 113
and 119 respectively. Empowerment legislation has rattled foreign investors
who fear losing their businesses.

Zimbabwe performed better on the enforcing contracts category where it
is ranked 78 while on paying taxes and trading across borders, the country
was placed 130 and 167 respectively.


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Alex Magaisa: Zimbabwe: Mucha and Ticha, a Tale of two Friends

Saturday, 12 September 2009 17:38
PERHAPS, some day, a folk story will be narrated to the children of
Zimbabwe. They will gather around the fire, deep into the night, listening
to the storyteller telling the tale of the lion and the zebra.

She will talk about the lion called Muchadura (Mucha) and the zebra
who answered to the name Tichaona (Ticha). She will describe how many years
past the two lived happily side by side as great friends in the shadow of
the great Gandamasungo Mountain.

Mucha hunted his prey whilst Ticha grazed peacefully in the lush green
fields of the land, which they shared. It was a beautiful friendship. Each
looked after the other and their children played together in the fields.

Then one year the rains did not come as normal. The land was dry. The
great Save River which once flowed effortlessly was filled with sand and
debris. Things were hard and Mucha, Ticha and their families suffered
greatly. Mucha who was the chief grew paranoid and thought the world was
against him. He grew suspicious of Ticha. The two friends blamed each other.

Mucha's children cried for food but he found it hard to provide for
them. Then one of his children asked, "But father, why do we suffer when we
have so much food in our land?" He was pointing to Ticha and his children.
"Why can't we eat them? They are food aren't they?" he asked his father.

So Mucha and his children began to devour Ticha's children one by one.
They would go silently in the dark and devour them in secret.

Then Ticha noticed that something was wrong. His tribe was getting
smaller by the day. His children were scared and others ran away to far off
lands. He discovered what Mucha was up to and he decided to put up a fight
for his tribe. But Mucha was too powerful and he devoured even more of Ticha's

Ticha saw that he had little power against his old friend. So he
decided to take his case to the elders in neighbouring lands. He told his
story and how his friend Mucha had broken his promise of everlasting
friendship. The elders listened and then they called Mucha to a big meeting
at Domboramavara.

The elders said what was happening was not right because Mucha and
Ticha were old friends whom everyone had respected for years.

They said they were embarrassed by what was happening and feared this
would cause the gods to get angrier. If they got angrier they would stop the
rains for many years to come and they would all suffer. For his part, Mucha
said that Ticha was to blame for the lack of the rains because he had gone
against the customs of the land.

In the end, the elders managed to talk to both Mucha and Ticha. They
asked them to accommodate each other so that they could live happily
together again.

They promised to share some of their food so that Mucha and Ticha's
familes would not have to go hungry and fight each other again.

Ticha wanted them to come make sure everything was alright but the
elders said they were adults and they could now go back and try to work
together. Mucha promised to behave and treat Ticha fairly. They ate, drank
and they were all happy at the end of the meeting.

When Mucha and Ticha returned home all seemed to be going well for a
while. But Mucha's relatives did not stop their ways. Ticha tried hard to
put up a brave face.

He humbled himself and pretended everything was going well. He thought
Mucha and his children would soon change. He wanted them to change. When his
children cried that things were still not good, Ticha said, "Don't worry, my
kids. Zvichanaka chete" (Things will get better).

Ticha tried hard to make Mucha happy and comfortable, always hoping
for the best. But Mucha remained wary and kept a vigilant eye on Ticha. He
was convinced that Ticha was out to seek revenge.

He never trusted Ticha, however hard the latter tried to embellish his
image to the wider world. Mucha did not keep to his promises. He kept
dilly-dallying and delaying. Ticha grew frustrated. His children were
looking to him but he realised Mucha would not budge.

Feeling powerless yet again, Ticha travelled to meet the elders once
more. He told them that Mucha was back to his old ways. He reported that
Mucha had simply ignored all the promises that he had made and that he
feared that his children were still at risk. He begged them for help. The
elders asked him to be patient and said they would do something about the

They called Mucha and Ticha again to Mutungagore where they were
meeting. Mucha warned the elders that they should not forget who they were;
that he, Mucha was one of them and they were different from Ticha.

The fact that Mucha had lived side by side with Ticha and agreed to
accommodate him did not make him one of them. He was still a zebra and they
were lions. He warned that if they listened to Ticha too much they would
soon be in big trouble. He advised them that he was well aware that Ticha
was busy mobilising his friends and relatives from other lands against all
of them. If they were not careful, they would be wiped off the face of the

The elders then called Ticha and said to him, "Look here, Ticha. We
have listened to you and Mucha. We have also sent inspectors to see for
themselves what's going on in your land. We think there is progress there
and we think it's quite satisfactory. Do they not say Rome was not built in
day? Things will get better. Just be patient"

"But Mucha will not change unless you get a bit tougher with him, my
elders" pleaded Ticha.

But the elders replied, "Now, now, you do not get it do you, Ticha?
Remember that you are a zebra and Mucha is a lion. Do you look at us and see
any zebras here? You have to count yourself lucky that you can sit here
among our tribe. Remember lions eat zebra.

We are different tribes. But we have been nice to you. We have told
your old friend to give you some space and he has promised to do that. For
your part, you have to behave and know your limits. Never forget that you
are a zebra and we are lions. Be grateful, young fellow, for the little that
you have got.

There are many others in your position who have nothing. Go home and
work with your chief. Try and make the most of what you have got now which
others can only dream of. We will deal with Mucha our way, the way of the

And with that Ticha went away. He felt dejected and vulnerable. He
wanted to cry but he knew his children were watching so he put up a brave
face. It dawned on Ticha that try as he might, he would never be a lion and
that also he would never understand the language of the lions and they in
turn would never understand him. He sat with his children, contemplating the

The storyteller will see that the children are getting excited. She
will as they all do, tell them to come back the next evening, to hear what
happened next.

So she will say, ndipo paparera sarungano (the story ends here, for
now). The children will be sad not to get to the end of the story.

They will probably spend the rest of the night and the next day
thinking about Ticha and his children, wondering if there is a happy ending.
But they will have to wait. They will know this is how stories go, in
fiction, as in real life. Sometimes the boundary is just too thin to be seen
or felt.

And so it is that the story of Zimbabwe will go on. I wonder what
happened when Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and President
Robert Mugabe met the leaders of SADC at the recent conference in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). I wonder what Ticha, the zebra would
have made of it.

Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and
can be contacted at  or

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Sundayview: GNU Must Rectify Anti-students Laws

Saturday, 12 September 2009 17:35
THE whole world is watching helplessly as Zimbabwe's education sector,
especially students suffer from the effects of a past and continuing
onslaught against academic freedoms. The outrageous fees, for example, are a
thorn in the flesh and such injustice is institutionalized by grossly
undemocratic anti-students legislation.

The background of this aggression is to accomplish what was the then
government's major objective since it took power in 1980- - to silence all
opposition and curb all intellectual and academic freedoms the exercise of
which tended to inconvenience it.

Historical evidence has shown that over the years that the government
has been trying to create an atmosphere for abrogation of the fundamental
rights of the university community generally and students in particular.

Since 1990 the methodology of accomplishing these sordid goals was
tactically switched from the open and blatant use of strong arm tactics
alone to silence dissent, to mixing it with oppressive legislation.

Why change of tactics? The government was getting widespread
condemnation from society over its use of organs of coercion like the police
to silence dissent.

Thus there was a switch to repressive legislation which is more subtle
and which usually not everyone in society understands easily. Parliament
enacted one of the most timidly and hastily enacted pieces of legislation -
the University of Zimbabwe Amendment Act, the Ordinance 30 and the carefully
worded Education Act.

These concentrated power in three people - the Minister of Higher and
Tertiary Education, the University's Vice-Chancellor appointed by the
President, and the President as the Chancellor.

Evidently, this cocktail of laws is a recipe for dictatorship. Power
must be devolved and other players, like parents, students and civic society
allowed on board.

The government has on many occasions tried to use the legal machinery
and laws to thwart student dissent.

It is embedded in recent history that on all these occasions the
government has failed. Dismissals and withdrawals of state cases against
students show that there was no merit in the state cases.

Nevertheless, the cases show the legislation being used as mere
mechanisms for open and blatant victimization of the student fraternity.

Why has there been so much confrontation between the government and
the students? Why was there no such confrontation in the first half decade
Zanu PF had been in power? Why have the intellectuals been drawn  into such
an uncomfortable relationship with a "democratically" elected government,
led by what some people term the most educated leader in Africa (at least
that's what the papers show).

Does this mean the current generations of students, dating back from
the 1988 demonstrations, suddenly became rowdy and ill-behaved and are less
wise than the previous 1980-85 students?

One has to bear in mind that students come from a wide spectrum of
society. They are thus in a better position and are endowed with the
requisite intellectual tasks to make an informed dissection and assessment
of ills and evils in society. They reflect and articulate the ills of

Thus all scenes of unrest at the 10 universities in Zimbabwe can be
traced from the September 29, 1988 demonstration against political
manipulation of academic freedoms. Of course in all these unpleasant scenes
the government of Zimbabwe has always taken an offensive and
non-compromising stance.

Government has gone on to use its diabolic legislation to suspend
students and shut down Student Unions. Currently the University of Zimbabwe
has no Students' Union, the last elections having been held in 2006.

The President, the Prime Minister and other ministers should come to
universities and explain on how the country is being run and so allow
simmering emotions to come out rather than to wait for a demonstration
first. Do not make the previous regime's mistake of thinking that its
offices were too big and could not be seen talking to "small people"- the
students. Accept that government's record in universities is unacceptable.

The Prime Minister has addressed South African universities and to
appeal to him to do the same here is not really out of place. Let's break
the convention of controlled and stifled learning. The anti-students
legislation in Zimbabwe dismisses dialogue as a means of resolving
university problems. It is a disastrous setting that has made sure that
every problem that arises in the university marks the offensive state being
countenanced by resisting students. There will never be a common position.

The GNU should rectify the anti-students law it inherited and depart
from the retrogressive and detested oppressive order.


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Comment: What is the Role of the Elected?

Saturday, 12 September 2009 17:29
OPERATION Murambatsvina remains one of the greatest man-made purges
ever to blight this country. Scores of those rendered homeless haven't even
fully recovered from that loss even though the government claimed it
launched Operation Hlalani Kuhle/Garikai to shelter them.

The threats by the Harare City Council to evict residents of the
hostels in Mbare are remarkable for their insensitivity. In January council
hostels in the suburb were burnt leaving them uninhabitable. Families lost
much of their property. Many are still recovering from the setback.

The victims of the January fire sought alternative accommodation in
the area. That has resulted in unprecedented overcrowding. The risk of
disease outbreaks and fire has increased as a result.

Yet instead of addressing these threats, the council wants to evict
the affected families. The housing crisis after Murambatsvina and worsened
by the fire at the hostels in Mbare remains unattended.

The hostels in Mbare are a legacy of settler administration. They were
built for single men. Today, there are families living in the hostels.

Nearly thirty years after independence the government has done
absolutely nothing to change the appalling conditions in hostels in Mbare.
The squalid conditions are a disastrous health time-bomb waiting to explode.

The timing of the eviction threats by the city council is remarkable
and reckless. With the rainy season about to start, the consequences of the
actions of the city fathers could spell a crisis of a scale similar to last
year's cholera epidemic.

The proper course of action for the council should have been to
renovate the hostels affected by fire first and get the families back.
Renovating the hostels would enable the local authorities to reconfigure
them into proper units designed for single families and not the situation
that obtains in the council hostels at present.

The hostels have generally been places associated with squalor and
anti-social conduct. What the city council should be doing is a gradual
transformation of the hostels into safe rented accommodation for families.

The tragedy is that local authorities have been contented with
collecting insignificant revenues, when more could be realised if more is
done to convert the hostels into proper places for families.

Both council and central government have abdicated their
responsibility for providing shelter to the poor among society.

But what is striking about the families in the hostels is their
apparent support for Zanu PF. Every compartment that families call "home" is
adorned with the party's 100% total empowerment banners and posters of
President Robert Mugabe.

Whether this is a measure of the support Zanu PF enjoys or the extent
to which families will go in order to protect themselves is anyone's guess.

But the question begs: what has support for Zanu PF brought them?
Every weekend the residents of the hostels are compelled to attend the party's
rallies. It is time the residents related the frequency of the forced
meetings to the squalor to which they are banished.

If other parties are prepared to go beyond lip-service, Mbare hostels
are a fertile ground for recruiting membership. The families there have for
far too long been taken for a ride.

They need to begin to find and reclaim their power. When authorities
neglect residents but push them far, there is need to draw a line and say:
enough is enough. What exactly is the point of having elected
representatives in the midst of such neglect?

Civil society organisations must rally to the side of the threatened
families and force, the councillors for the area and the MP to do what the
voters elected them to do: represent interests of the electorate.

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