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Grace Mugabe, her 'stolen' farm and how she supplies Zimbawean milk to Nestle food giant

Robert Mugabe's wife, Grace, who has taken over at least six of Zimbabwe's most valuable white-owned farms since 2002, sells up to a million litres of milk a year to Nestlé, The Sunday Telegraph can disclose.

ROBERT AND GRACE MUGABE: Grace Mugabe, her 'stolen' farm and how she supplies Zimbawean milk to Nestle food giant
Robert and Grace Mugabe are the subject of European Union and US sanctions Photo: REUTERS

Mr Mugabe, the president of Zimbabwe, his wife and a number of other figures linked to his administration are the subject of European Union and US sanctions as a result of their controversial 29-year rule over the once-prosperous country.

Nestlé, the multinational food company which is the biggest customer of Mrs Mugabe's dairy farm, is not obliged to comply with those sanctions as its headquarters are in Switzerland, but the country has its own set of measures, including against Mrs Mugabe, among which it "is forbidden to make funds available to persons mentioned, or put them, directly or indirectly, at their disposition". Nestlé denies that it has violated Swiss law.

Mr Mugabe, The Daily Telegraph disclosed yesterday, has built a secret personal farming empire comprising at least five white-owned farms from which the owners were forced out during his regime's evictions of about 4,000 commercial farmers.

Mrs Mugabe's properties total about 12,000 acres, but her most important is Gushungo Dairy Estate, formerly known as Foyle Farm. It is in Mazowe, about 30 miles north of the capital Harare.

Other dairy farmers, who have also been forced off their land, said that the previous white owner of Foyle faced a campaign of violence over several months in 2003 until he was forced to sell his property to the state's Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda). The price was set at about a quarter of independent estimates, they say, and the former owner received only 40 per cent of that amount.

Mrs Mugabe became a regular visitor as soon as the previous owner departed. Workers at the 2,400-acre property say it is now her farm, managed by Russell Goreraza, her son from her first marriage. She married Mr Mugabe in 1996, after his first wife died.

She visits the farm several times a week, according to workers at the dairy. Under her occupation, the farm has become one of the few in the country to benefit from investment in recent years and has been lauded in The Herald, the state-controlled newspaper.

Mrs Mugabe has built a new residence on the farm, remodelled the original farmhouse and constructed an office block, workers said. The dairy produces 6,500 litres of milk a day, The Herald has said, which is only about 35 per cent of its output under the previous owner, who produced 6.5 million litres a year, more than any other dairy in Zimbabwe.

Her biggest customer, according to her staff and other industry insiders, is Nestlé Zimbabwe, the local subsidiary of the Swiss company. The plant, in an industrial area in Msasa on the outskirts of the capital, manufactures powdered milk and cereals for the local market and for export to East African countries.

Mrs Mugabe uses an unmarked £100,000 tanker and trailer combination dedicated for her use to deliver milk three times a week to Nestlé's plant on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Harare, according to workers at the plant.

The dairy's only other customers, according to farm staff, are personal callers at the premises, and when The Sunday Telegraph visited, the milk cost $1 (62p) per litre. The Sunday Telegraph was unable to locate any documentation for the tanker – registration number AAF 2381 – at Zimbabwe's central vehicle registry.

It has a capacity of 30,000 litres, but sources in the dairy industry and Nestlé itself say that it carries only 6,500 litres per delivery, which would amount to about one million litres a year in sales.

A spokesman at Nestlé's global headquarters in Switzerland was unable to confirm a precise figure, but said that the estimate was "reasonable".

He said: "At the end of last year we found ourselves operating in a market where eight of our 16 contractual suppliers had gone out of business.

"As a result, in early 2009 the company started purchasing milk on the open market from various suppliers on a strictly non-contractual basis. In certain instances the milk available in the market would be from Gushungo Dairy Estate." Such milk would be bought on a "cash on delivery" basis, he said, adding: "Nestlé has no direct engagement whatsoever with this estate." But when asked to clarify whether it was bought directly or through a third party, he said: "We bought Gushungo Dairy Estate's milk through Dorkin Dairies until that firm collapsed last February, then we bought the milk directly."

Nestlé has spent years protecting its reputation amid other scandals, particularly allegations over the improper promotion of formula milk to nursing mothers in the Third World, which it denies, but which have led to consumer boycotts in the West.

American and European officials said that if Nestlé was subject to their rules it would be committing a criminal offence by trading with Mrs Mugabe.

Mrs Mugabe is one of a number of people individually targeted by international sanctions.

In July 2002, she was first included on an EU list, and she has been on Washington's list since it was created in 2003. On the Swiss list she is described as "spouse of the head of government and as such engaged in activities that seriously undermine democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law".

A spokesman for Nestlé said it had “absolutely not” broken Swiss law.

“The legislation is internal to Switzerland,” he said. “In any case, Nestlé Zimbabwe and any commercial transactions it engages in within Zimbabwe are subject to Zimbabwean law.”

Asked if it thought that it was doing anything wrong by doing business with Mrs Mugabe's operation, Nestlé said: "During the recent crisis Nestlé has not considered moving its operations out of the country. By providing basic food products to Zimbabwean consumers, Nestlé aims to meet the needs of the local population, many of whom are vulnerable and disadvantaged."

The company's code of conduct, according to its website, states: "We condemn any form of bribery and corruption." It also says that Nestlé "supports and respects the protection of international human rights", and adds that its suppliers should also adhere to its code.

Asked to explain its dealings with Mrs Mugabe in that context, it said: "Nestlé does not provide any support, financial or otherwise, to the Gushungo Dairy Estate or to any political party in Zimbabwe.

"Nestlé is a truly global company which operates in almost all countries in the world, and therefore its products are found in widely diverse political settings."

No response has been received to The Sunday Telegraph's requests for comment from Mrs Mugabe at State House or through her husband's spokesman, nor from the agriculture ministry.

Pay and conditions for workers at the dairy are meagre. A 25-year-old worker, with a child to care for, said she could not afford to buy the milk at $1 (62p) a litre.

"Do we ever get enough money? No, I get $40 (£25) a month, yet we sell lots and lots of milk," she said.

"We do get cabbages returned from the market and 25kg of maize meal twice a month, but there is no electricity in our houses, only for office staff and managers. Mrs Mugabe is here a lot, but doesn't talk to us, just the managers."

Many Zimbabweans blame Mrs Mugabe for her husband's descent into misrule and fixation on financial gain. Mr Mugabe's first wife, Sally, a Ghanaian, died of renal failure in 1992 and four years later, aged 72, he married his former typist Grace, 40 years his junior.

The couple had begun their relationship and had two children even before Sally's death, with a third child born in 1997.

With a penchant for lurid dresses, often from expensive European designers, and matching head gear, Mrs Mugabe is famous for her extravagant shopping trips abroad – during one of which, in February, she was approached by a press photographer outside a hotel in Hong Kong, and responded by smashing her jewel-encrusted fist into his face. Gushungo Dairy Estate is not the only farm controlled by Mrs Mugabe.

In 2002, she personally ordered John and Eva Matthews, both in their seventies, out of their 29-room house on the nearby 2,500-acre Iron Mask Estate, giving them 48 hours to leave.

Farmers in the area said that she had also taken over Sigaro farm from Joe Kennedy, a major seed producer who has now left Zimbabwe and did not want to comment.

Sources said that last year she took over the neighbouring property, Gwebi Wood, which had been bought by Washington Matsaire, the chief executive of Standard Chartered Bank's Zimbabwe subsidiary, in 2001.

He did not want to comment, but neighbours said the farm was now "a mess".

Mrs Mugabe also has properties in Banket, about 50 miles north of Harare.

In December last year, Ben Hlatshwayo, a high court judge who had evicted Vernon Nicolle from the 1,445-acre Gwina farm in the area, was in turn forced out by alleged "unlawful conduct" on Mrs Mugabe's part, according to court papers he reportedly filed.

His legal action was later abandoned, however, and when asked about the events he would not comment.

According to Mr Nicolle, who has emigrated to Australia, Mrs Mugabe has also taken over the nearby 1,740-acre Leverdale farm, which used to be owned by his brother Piers until he was forced out by Arda in 2002.

Last month Mr Nicolle visited both properties.

"Anything that could be vandalised and sold has been destroyed," he said.

He added that some of his former workers found him during his visit. "It was very emotional," he said. "They thought I was returning to take the farm back and were disappointed when I said I was just visiting."

Mrs Mugabe's farm management is, nonetheless, celebrated in The Herald newspaper.

At a ceremony at the Gushungo Dairy in June, Mr Mugabe referred to the dairy repeatedly as Mrs Mugabe's "project", saying she had invested "determination and dedication" to it. "It's now her project," he said. "I would like to congratulate her. Today you see this monument. It is a result of her efforts and time."

Mrs Mugabe herself told The Herald: "Today has been a wonderful day for me. When we came here it was in a bad state. I had to work hard to transform it to what it is today. I went into dairy farming because he [Mr Mugabe] wanted it. I did it especially for him."

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Chavez seeks Africa unity, reveals Iran uranium aid

Sat Sep 26, 2009 1:29pm EDT

By Frank Jack Daniel and Fabian Cambero

PORLAMAR, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuela's socialist President Hugo Chavez
hosted some of Africa's longest-ruling leaders at a Caribbean resort on
Saturday for a summit he says will help end Western economic dominance.

Chavez set a provocative early tone with an announcement on Friday by his
government that it is working with Iran to find uranium in Venezuela.

That came amid a fresh uproar and sanctions threats from the West over
Tehran's nuclear ambitions.

Chavez's high-profile summit guests included Libya's Muammar Gaddafi, who is
celebrating four decades in office and had a white limousine flown to
Venezuela to meet him at the airport. Also present was Robert Mugabe, 85,
who has led Zimbabwe since the end of British rule nearly 30 years ago.

Chavez has governed for just over 10 years and makes no bones about his aim
to stay in office for decades more while he works to turn Venezuela into a
socialist state.

He said the two-day meeting of African and South American leaders, which
also includes many recently elected presidents, would help the mainly poor
nations build stronger trade ties and rely less on Europe and the United

Chavez said Europe and the United States were empires that have imposed
poverty on much of the world.

"We are going to create two great poles of power," Chavez told reporters at
the luxury Hilton resort on Venezuela's Margarita island. We are "seeking a
world with no more imperialism where we will be free, uniting to escape

The presidents of Brazil and South Africa also attended the summit. Their
model of business-friendly economics mixed with a focus on the poor is more
popular among many African countries than Chavez's radical message.

The leaders at the summit were likely to agree on supporting stronger links
between the two continents and calling for reform of global institutions
like the United Nations and World Bank to give poor countries more clout.


Gaddafi, whose entourage arrived in two matching Airbus passenger jets and
pitched a Bedouin tent beside the Hilton's pool, on Wednesday told the
United Nations that big powers had betrayed the U.N. charter with vetoes and

King Mswati III of Swaziland, who was crowned in 1987, was also due to
appear on Margarita, among an anticipated 28 African and South American
leaders in total.

Their host Chavez seems to be going all out to provoke his foes,
particularly Washington. On Friday, Venezuela said Iran, an increasingly
close ally of Chavez, was helping identify the South American nation's
uranium reserves.

Chavez says he opposes nuclear weapons, but that the developed world does
not have the right to stop other countries from developing nuclear energy
for peaceful purposes.

A major oil exporter, Venezuela is seeking to widen Chavez's ALBA alliance
of mainly Latin American leftist governments to include African states.

Chavez promised this month to build a refinery in Mauritania and sell crude
to Mali and Niger in West Africa, a region that is emerging as a major new
oil frontier.

Venezuela's opposition is furious at Chavez's alliances.

"Venezuela's dangerous friendship with autocratic and totalitarian
governments like Belarus, Sudan, Libya, Zimbabwe, show Chavez's
irresponsibility in seeking ties and alliances at any cost, without regard
to the pariah state of these regimes," opposition group Mesa Unitaria said
in a statement.

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Zimbabwe should seek HIPC debt relief, minister says

Sat Sep 26, 2009 4:41pm GMT

* Zimbabwe should aim to have IFI debt cancelled-minister

* Minister says would be immoral for Zimbabwe to pay debt

By Adrian Croft

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe should aim to have its debt to
international financial institutions cancelled by seeking access to the
Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, a Zimbabwean minister
said on Saturday.

Gorden Moyo, minister of state in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's office,
said it would be immoral for Zimbabwe to pay off its debts to the
International Monetary Fund, World Bank and African Development Bank when it
could not pay teachers.

"We should be having conversations with the international financial
institutions to get them to either reschedule our debt or to cancel our
debt," he said, speaking at a Zimbabwe investment conference in London.

Moyo noted that the IMF and World Bank had launched the HIPC initiative in
1996 to help countries unable to pay their debts.

Some people did not want Zimbabwe classified as a heavily indebted poor
country, "but that's what we are, if you look at our debt ratios, if you
look at our economy", he said.

"We just need to be reclassified and get our debt cancelled. Once we get our
debt cancelled, the country will begin to have access to World Bank
resources," he said.

He said the move would also give Zimbabwe access to the IMF's Poverty
Reduction and Growth Facility, which provides loans to low-income countries
at subsidised rates.

"We will get the resources and we will get the credit lines and we can
stabilise our economy," he said.


Finance Minister Tendai Biti was working on a debt and arrears clearance
strategy for Zimbabwe, Moyo said.

Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing government with veteran President Robert
Mugabe in February to end a political crisis that shattered the once
prosperous southern African nation's economy.

The IMF said this month it had transferred around $400 million in IMF
special drawing rights to Zimbabwe under a global agreement to bolster the
reserves of the IMF's 186 member countries in the wake of the worldwide
financial crisis.

The IMF said, however, it would withhold another $102 million of Zimbabwe's
allocation by placing it in escrow until the country had cleared its $140
million IMF debt.

Zimbabwe owes about $1.1 billion to the World Bank and the African
Development Bank. Total arrears to official and private creditors amount to
about $3.8 billion.

To qualify for HIPC, countries must commit to poverty reduction through
policy changes and demonstrate a good track record over time, as well as
meeting other criteria.

The IMF's website lists 40 countries eligible for HIPC assistance. They do
not currently include Zimbabwe.

Half the funding for HIPC comes from the IMF and other multilateral lenders
and the rest from bilateral creditors.

Western donors have been reluctant to give large-scale development aid to
Zimbabwe until they see more evidence of reforms being implemented. (Editing
by Sue Thomas)

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Farmer reveals the bloody face of Zimbabwe terror
Click on thumbnail to view image

Published Date: 26 September 2009
WHEN the youths saw Murray Pott's sister filming them as they hit the Zimbabwean farmer with sticks, they smashed the kitchen window to try to get to her too.
Mr Pott, who is of Scottish descent, was left with broken ribs and head injuries after a mob attacked him on his farm in Chinhoyi, central Zimbabwe last week.

The incident shows how terrifying life has become for the country's last white farmers seven months into the power-sharing agreement between president Robert Mugabe and former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai that was widely expected to end land invasions.

"I was attacked in my mother's yard by 13 people," Mr Pott told The Scotsman. "I was hit 28 times with sticks."

Blood streaming down his face, the father of two was rushed to a government hospital. Mr Pott, who grew tobacco, soyabeans, potatoes and desperately-needed maize on his Hilltop Farm, has kidney problems because of his injuries.

Farmers' groups say that Mr Mugabe is using youths to stir up violence in a throwback to the early days of Zimbabwe's white farm seizures. Mr Tsvangirai, who is now prime minister, appears powerless to stop him.

Thirteen white farmers were murdered after Mr Mugabe ordered (now late) war veterans' leader 'Hitler' Hunzvi to lead farm invasions in 2001: since then, more than 3,000 people have lost homes and livelihoods.

Police have been given orders not to arrest perpetrators of the latest violence: when Mr Pott gave a video of Tuesday's attack to the police, they responded by charging him with public violence.

"They are saying I was the one doing the violence. But I was only one person against 13," said Mr Pott. One of the youths was knocked to the ground during the attack. "I have the paperwork to be allowed to carry on farming," the farmer said.

Mr Mugabe is defiant. "If they (white farmers] thought they would be saved by the inclusive government, that is a lie," he told Zanu-PF youths this month.

"I will just send police to drive them away."

A day after the attack on Mr Pott, the 85-year-old president told around 850 potential investors attending a mining conference in Harare that his government was not "rough and racist as some people regard us."

With what critics describe as unbelievable cynicism, Mr Mugabe said: "The sanctity of property rights and the rule of law in all its dimensions are fully respected."

Deon Theron, the president of the Commercial Farmers' Union, said: "He's lying through his teeth." The union is compiling a list of 'incidents' on white farms: last month there were 172.

Less than 500 farmers are still on the land: "Nobody's stable," said Mr Theron. "Since he made that horrible statement to the youths, things have hotted up.

"It's the youths that have always been used. They've been used right through the elections. They are just Mugabe's brownshirts," he added.

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Zimbabwe Healing Minister Draws Historical Parallels & Touches a Nerve

By Sandra Nyaira
25 September 2009

Controversy has been brewing in Zimbabwe over recent comments on the
historical roots of violence in the country by Co-Minister for Healing and
Reconciliation of the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Some in the country's southwestern Matabeleland region have accused her of
slighting the 19th century Ndebele King Mzilikazi after she allegedly
referred to him and his warriors as a "mob" of cattle thieves who used
violence to expand his realm. She mentioned other rulers and the British
colonizers of the former Rhodesia, but her remarks about Mzilikazi, who led
a band of Zulus north into Zimbabwe from present day South Africa, struck a

Security around the minister was said to have been tightened as she pursued
a program of outreach to traditional chiefs and community leaders with
fellow healing ministers John Nkomo representing ZANU-PF and Gibson Sibanda
of the MDC wing of Arthur Mutambara.

Sources said Holland delivered the offending speech in Mozambique, naming
Ndiweni, Munhumutapa and Mzilikazi as rulers who built their kingdoms with
violence. But an audio file circulating on the Internet only quotes her
comments regarding Mzilikazi, sparking outrage although Holland herself
comes from the Ndebele ethnic group Mzilikazi founded.

VOA was unable to reach Holland for comment on her remarks and the furor
they created.

Mr. Tsvangirai was very displeased at the insensitivity of the comments, his
spokesman James Maridadi told reporter Sandra Nyaira of VOA's Studio 7 for

But Women's Trust Executive Director Luta Shaba said Holland should not be
attacked for bringing up unpleasant or inconvenient aspects of Zimbabwe's

But London-based political commentator Brilliant Mhlanga said Holland should

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Zimbabwe to import maize from Malawi

September 26, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Malawi, swamped with surplus maize from the country's fourth
consecutive bumper harvest, will export 40 000 tonnes of the staple monthly
to cash-strapped Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe once exported maize to Malawi and other countries in the southern
African region.

"Malawi has had four good years of a bumper maize harvest and has a surplus
of about 1.3 million tonnes," Grace Mhango, chairwoman of the Grain Traders
Association of Malawi, is quoted in the Malawi media as saying. "Zimbabwe
has been shopping around for maize. We will be exporting 40 000 tonnes of
maize monthly following demand from that country.

"The general picture in the region is that there is a problem and there is
demand for our maize and we will export on a first come first served basis."

She said another 40 000 tonnes would be exported to drought-hit Kenya at the
agreed export price of US$340 per tonne, Malawi will earn about U$27 million
from selling 80 000 tonnes a month, Mhango said.

Malawi harvested 3.7 million tonnes of the grain this year up from 3.2
million last season, making a complete recovery from a drought in 2005 that
left close to five million people in need of food aid.

At the other end of the scale, Zimbabwe is struggling against food and
foreign currency shortages even after formation in February of an inclusive
government that was expected to bring relief.

Zimbabwe replaced its own currency with foreign currencies in February to
counter run-away inflation.

"The Zimbabwean government wanted us to supply more than that, ," Mhango
said. "We told them it was not possible in terms of logistics - processing,
fumigation etc."

Zimbabwe has battled severe food shortages over the past nine years after
President Robert Mugabe's government violently seized productive commercial
farms ostensibly for redistribution among landless blacks. Critics of the
programme say well-heeled officials of Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and
well-connected businessmen have benefited mostly.  The bulk of rural
peasants remain landless while farm workers have also been forced off the

The often chaotic and violent land reform programme slashed food production
by 60 percent, leaving millions of Zimbabweans to rely on food handouts from
international relief agencies.

In May, the United Nations appealed for US$718 million to buy food for 5,1
million food-insecure Zimbabweans.

Meanwhile, President Mugabe has warned the country's few remaining
commercial farmers, all of them white, who are resisting eviction from land
targeted for seizure that the police will forcibly evict them.

He insinuated in a rare interview on CNN on Thursday on the sidelines of the
UN General Assembly summit that whites cannot have any right to land in
Zimbabwe, calling them "citizens by colonization, who seized land from the
original people, indigenous people of the country."

Zimbabwe's maize imports from Malawi represent a dramatic reversal of
Zimbabwe's fortunes, once the bread-basket of the region, but now forced to
import hundreds of thousands of tonnes of maize.

Harare blames the shortfall on lengthy drought but critics say its land
reform programme is largely at fault.

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Chinese urged to learn African languages

Updated: 2009-09-26 17:19HARARE: The director of the Confucius Institute at
the University of Zimbabwe, Pedzisayi Mashiri, has called on the Chinese
community to learn Zimbabwean local languages if they are to make more
inroads with their business ventures.

In an interview with Xinhua on Saturday as the Chinese community celebrated
the 60th anniversary of the founding of the new China, Mashiri said it would
be proper for Chinese business people to also learn local languages as this
would ease communication problems between them and locals.

Although Zimbabwe has high literacy levels, there are some locals who cannot
speak languages other than their native ones. So, even when the Chinese can
speak English, they may find communication difficult in some  parts of the

"Since we are learning the Chinese language in Zimbabwe, I think to
strengthen the inter-cultural communication would be proper for them to also
try to learn local languages such as Shona and Ndebele," Mashiri said.

The Confucius Institute was established in 2007 to propagate and expand the
learning of Chinese culture and languages and offers demand-driven courses
for people who are either in politics or in business.

"It is a vehicle for expansion and also consolidates the relationship
between China and Zimbabwe.
"At the moment the relationship between China and Zimbabwe is excellent. As
you know the relationship is anchored on a long history of collaboration in
various fields. At the moment, because of language as vehicle for
inter-cultural communication, the relationship has been consolidated because
now we are receiving post-graduate scholarships for our students.

"From 2007 to now we have sent seven students from the University of
Zimbabwe who are studying for their PhDs in various fields such as
engineering, linguistics, theater and psychology, and  because of that kind
of educational program, the relationship between China and Zimbabwe has been
further strengthened," he said.

The Confucius Institute at the University of Zimbabwe is the 85th around the
world, and was jointly built by the Office of Chinese Language Council
International and the university.

Mashiri was among some academics, politicians and diplomats who celebrated
the founding of the new China at the Chinese Embassy's new chancery just
outside the city center.

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Investor interest in Zimbabwe slow to become reality

Sat Sep 26, 2009 8:32pm BST

* Pick-up in foreign investor inquiries about Zimbabwe

* Slow to translate into investment on the ground

By Adrian Croft

LONDON, Sept 26 (Reuters) - Foreign investor interest in Zimbabwe has picked
up since a power-sharing government was formed in February, but it is not
yet translating into investment on the ground, Zimbabwean officials said on

"Since February ... we've seen a significant increase in the level of
investment inquiries and project approvals," said Richard Mbaiwa, head of
the Zimbabwe Investment Authority, the government's investment promotion

"But of course investment ... is not something that happens overnight. This
interest is exciting but it is still to be translated into actual investment
on the ground," he told a Zimbabwe investment conference in London.

Investor interest was coming from China, Pakistan, India, Mauritius, South
Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Britain, the United States and Canada, he said.
Mining attracted most interest, followed by manufacturing, tourism, services
and construction.

Veteran President Robert Mugabe formed a national unity government with
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in February to end a political crisis that
shattered the once prosperous southern African nation's economy.

Emmanuel Munyukwi, chief executive of the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, said
there was investor interest in Zimbabwe but people were mostly just
"watching the situation".

"There is a lot of interest in mining because the potential there is huge,"
he told Reuters. "But (for) mining, you need technology, you need capital,
and we don't have those things."


Hardly a week went by without him seeing a fund manager from Europe or
America, he said.

"There is a ray of hope, but it's all contingent upon the politicians
sorting out their problems. If the politicians move fast, business can move
very, very quickly," he said.

It was time for the rest of the world to re-engage with Zimbabwe, he said,
pointing to the country's mineral wealth. He urged Britain and the United
States to resume aid to Zimbabwe.

Western donors are waiting to see more reforms in Zimbabwe before they
resume large-scale development aid.

Niels Kristensen, head of Rio Tinto's (RIO.L) diamond unit in Zimbabwe, told
a mining conference there last week the country would not see new investment
in its mining sector unless uncertainty over a mining law and fiscal policy
were resolved.

An empowerment law adopted last year compels foreign-owned firms, including
mines and banks, to give up at least 51 percent control to local people.

Munyukwi said he disagreed with the local ownership law, saying the most
important thing was to create wealth, jobs and infrastructure.

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, with a current market capitalisation of around
$3.5 billion, began denominating trades in U.S. dollars in February and
Munyukwi said it would be a retrograde step to go back to the Zimbabwe
dollar in either stock exchange trades or the broader economy. (Editing by
Charles Dick)

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South Korea keen to invest in Zimbabwe

Posted on Saturday 26 September 2009 - 10:30

  Ronny Zikhali, AfricaNews reporter in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
  South Korea has committed itself in investing in Zimbabwe's mining sector,
a cabinet official said. Zimbabwe's Minister of Mines and Mining
Development, Obert Mpofu said the South Korean ambassador hinted that a
number of that country's companies have shown interest in venturing into
mining as well as assisting in the mechanization of small to medium scale

  "Some investors from South Korea seemed to appreciate the challenges being
faced by the small scale miners as well as their potential.

  "One of the companies, Trapeace pledged to venture into coal mining and we
are seriously considering their proposal as they have also seemed quite
serious in mechanizing small scale miners with requisite equipment," he

  The minister said there is need to fully-equip the modest miners so as to
ensure that they contribute significantly to the turnaround of the country's

  The small scale miners have over the years cited the need to be mechanized
so as to ensure effectiveness and high output, stating that in most
concession areas, opencast mining had ceased due to the distance covered to
reach the deposits, thus leaving underground mining as the only appropriate
means of extraction.

  The mining sector is also reeling under various challenges. Gold
production, in particular, has mainly been constrained by high production
costs, power outages and shortage of critical inputs such as cyanide and
explosives, among others.

  "The mechanization of small scale miners has been long overdue because the
country has been bleeding for sometime due to the shortage of foreign
currency yet if mechanized small scale miners can increase their production
levels," said the Zimbabwe Miners Federation's chief executive officer,
Wellington Takavarasha.

  He said the miners should be allocated compressors, stamp and boll mills,
dumpers, generators, water pumps, tractors as well as working capital.

  Mining was Zimbabwe's leading industry in 2002, contributing 27 percent of
export trade. The chief minerals were coal, gold, copper, nickel, tin, and
clay, and Zimbabwe was a world leader in the production of lithium minerals,
chrysotile asbestos, and ferrochromium, with more than half of the world's
known chromium reserves.

  The country was self-sufficient in most minerals, producing 35 commodities
from 1 000 mines, mostly small, and exporting 90 percent of its mineral
output. The total value of mineral production exceeded US$500 million per
year, and the mining sector employed 60 000 people in formal operations.

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Marange is African Consolidated's, says High Court

Written by David
Saturday, 26 September 2009 09:43
African Consolidated  Resources  plc, the  Zimbabwe  focused  mineral
exploration  company  is  pleased  to  announce  that  at  a  hearing
yesterday in the Zimbabwe High  Court judgement was issued in  favour of the
Company's  subsidiaries  (the 'Group')  which  confirmed  the Group's title
to the  claims previously registered  in its name  (the 'Claims')  on  the
Marange  diamond  field.

Full  details  of  the judgement are awaited pending the  publication
of the transcript  and further announcements will be made as necessary.

The Group  acquired the  Claims  in early  2006  but was  evicted  in
October 2006 as a result of which the Group issued proceedings in the
Zimbabwe High  Court  for  their recovery.   During  the  intervening period
the  Group has  attempted to  work with  all elements  of  the  Zimbabwe
Government  in  order to  agree  a joint  venture  with  the  Zimbabwe
Government or parties  nominated by them  in order to  avoid  litigation.

Following the Group's success  in the Zimbabwe  High Court the  Group
remains committed to  dialogue with the  Zimbabwe Government, with  a  view
to establishment of a joint  venture which will operate for  the  benefit of
both the Company and  the people of Zimbabwe.  As soon  as  the joint
venture achieves  physical possession  of the  Claims  its
immediate priority will be the establishment of full security as soon
as is  practicable.  Thereafter the  Company  hopes to  make  further
announcements in respect  of its intentions  to establish a  mutually
beneficial operation as the situation develops.

As stated in the  Company's Annual Report published  on 30 July  2009
the Marange diamond field has been topical in the world news of late, and
operations on the ground there have led to a recent visit by  the  Kimberley
Process   review   team.    This   review   has   led   to  dissatisfaction
with the status quo and the Company has stressed that  tenure needs to be
resolved in order to enable formal mining so  that  Kimberley Process
compliance can be achieved.  The Company is pleased  to note the security of
tenure evidenced by the High Court judgement,  and hopes that the security
and transparency of operations that  the  joint venture  intends to  put in
place will  be recognized  by  the Kimberley Process.

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Zimbabwean farmers have generated no fewer than 4,000 jobs in Kwara - Prof. Gana Yisa

Unfortunately the full article is only available by paid subscription....

Published: Saturday, 26 Sep 2009

What was the beginning like for the farmers? When they first came, they
stayed in the hotel for a week. But to show that they meant business, by the
following week, they moved to the site and put up tents. And that was how
the real project commenced. The Zimbabwean farmers, now renamed New Nigerian
Farmers, are just 13 in number, with their families. The government leased
the land to them for the first 25 years, renewable afterwards. Because these
farmers were not allowed to move their farming equipment out of Zimbabwe,
the Kwara State Government had to come in to assist in procuring the
necessary equipment.

Who made the first move - the government or the farmers?

The government of Governor Bukola Saraki did. We believe that if we must
move the state forward and also provide food security for ...

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Mugabe’s address at UN General Assembly

September 26, 2009

Mugabe addresses general AssemblyPresident Robert Mugabe addresses UN General Assembly on Friday, September 26, 2009.

THE following is the full text of President Robert Mugabe’s address on the occasion of the 64th UN General Assembly.Your Excellency, President of the 64th Session of the General Assembly, Mr. Ali Abdulsalam Treki; Your Majesties; Your Excellencies, Heads of State and Government; Your Excellency, the Secretary General of the United Nations,Mr. Ban Ki Moon; Distinguished Delegates; Ladies and Gentlemen; Comrades and Friends.

Let me begin by extending our warmest congratulations to you, Mr Treki, on your election as President of the 64th Session of the General Assembly. Your election to this high office is a befitting and eloquent tribute to the personal and diplomatic qualities that we have witnessed in you over the years. We are, indeed, proud of the honour that has been bestowed upon the African continent as a result of your election. We are confident that, under your wise stewardship, we will make pleasing progress on the important agenda before us.

In the same vein, I wish to commend your predecessor, the President of the 63rd Session, Father Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, for having brought his experience and wisdom to bear upon the various meetings and conferences that he presided over during the last year. He brought integrity, transparency and credibility to the deliberations of the General Assembly. Indeed, we share his assertion, that the G-192, that is, the General Assembly, being the most representative body of the United Nations, is the best forum to tackle global issues which include the current financial and economic crises. We commend him for standing up for what is right and for upholding the right of each Member State to be heard, no matter how small.

Mr. President, Over the years, my delegation has underlined the need for the United Nations and other international bodies to truly serve the collective interest of all Member States.

Our unchanging conviction is that all international institutions should abide by the universal principles which underlie multilateral processes of decision-making, particularly, the principle of equality among States and the right to development. It is in this context that we welcome the appropriate, indeed, timely, theme of this session: “Effective global responses to global crises, strengthening multilateralism and dialogue among civilizations.” It is our hope that we will have a candid and holistic debate on the global responses to the crises that currently affect our world.

Mr. President, Zimbabwe supports the revitalization of the General Assembly to make it more effective and thus enable it to fulfil its mandate. As the pre-eminent deliberative and policy- making body of the United Nations, the General Assembly should play a more active role in mobilising action against such challenges today as peace and security, the financial and economic crises, economic and social development, and climate change. Accordingly, the encroachment of other UN organs upon the work of the General Assembly is of great concern to us. We therefore reiterate that any process of revitalization should strengthen the principle of accountability of all principal and subsidiary organs of the United Nations to the General Assembly.

Mr. President, it is our hope that the current negotiations on the reform of the United Nations Security Council will break the deadlock that has for some time now prevented us from making progress in an area of strategic interest for Africa. The reform of the

Security Council is not only desirable but imperative, if it is to ensure the successful implementation of its global mandate to maintain international peace and security on behalf of all Member States. The fact that Africa, a major geographical region, remains under-represented and without a permanent seat on the Security Council is not only a serious and antiquated anomaly whose time for address is overdue. It is also clearly an untenable violation of the principle and practice of democracy in international relations. The reform of the Security Council should urgently take full notice of the African position which demands two permanent seats, with complete veto power, plus two additional non-permanent seats.

Mr. President, the UN Conference on the Financial and Economic Crises held in June 2009 rightfully positioned the United Nations at the centre of efforts to deal with the global financial and economic crises. The devastating effect of the current global crisis has clearly exposed the folly of leaving the management of the global economy in the hands of a few self-appointed countries and groupings. My delegation, therefore, fully supports the setting up of a follow-up working group under the aegis of the General Assembly. It is urgent and critical that the working group reaches an early agreement on immediate policy actions to be taken by the international community in support of developing countries, who have suffered the most as a result of this global financial meltdown. Such actions should include the development of a global stimulus plan to respond to the crisis and other issues related to it.

Mr. President, these measures will not achieve the desired objectives unless accompanied by a comprehensive reform of the Bretton Woods institutions which, among other things, would include representation of sub-Saharan Africa on the Executive Boards of these institutions. We are glad that our unequivocal call for their reform is beginning to bear fruit. We, therefore, welcome the recent decision by the World Bank to establish three seats for Africa on its Executive Board. We are similarly pleased that, earlier this month, the IMF finalised the re-allocation of Special Drawing Rights on the basis of the US$250 billion pledged by the G20 at its meeting in April 2009.

Regrettably, only a mere US$18 billion of this money was allocated to low income countries, while the developed countries, which caused the crisis, got the lion’s share.

Mr. President, the need to ensure global food security has been raised and re-stated at many international forums. We reiterate our call for an urgent and substantial increase in investment in agriculture in developing countries. It is critical that provisions of agricultural inputs, seeds, fertilizers and chemicals be put in place for small scale farmers, particularly, women. To achieve this, there is need to channel more support towards agriculture, which has dwindled over the last few decades. In addition, we call upon the developed countries to remove or reduce their agricultural subsidies and to open up their markets for agricultural products from developing countries.

Mr. President, in the area of health, efforts to reduce maternal and child mortality, and combat HIV and AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis, still fall short of targets despite the commitments made at the national and international levels. Over the last few years, Zimbabwe has made great strides in the fight against the HIV and AIDS pandemic, our limited resources notwithstanding. The country has witnessed a drop in the adult prevalence rate of 20 per cent in 2000 to 11 per cent this year. However, the country still faces a major challenge in increasing the availability of affordable anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs). We, therefore, continue to urge the international community, in cooperation with pharmaceutical companies, to assist in increasing access to affordable essential drugs, particularly for people in Africa.

Mr. President, people living with HIV and AIDS expect delivery on the commitments we have made. For sub-Saharan Africa, malaria presents yet another still formidable challenge. The commitment of the international community and national governments therefore needs to be strengthened so as to eradicate the scourge of malaria from our part of the world.

We warmly welcome the renewed enthusiasm by Russia and the United States to pursue actions to achieve a world free of nuclear arms and we urge other nuclear weapons states to do the same. In this regard, Zimbabwe is honoured to have chaired, in May this year, the Third Preparatory Committee for the 2010 Nuclear Proliferation Treaty Review Conference and takes this opportunity to thank all members for their support. We are hopeful that, having secured agreement on the Conference agenda, members will produce a renewed commitment to the three pillars of the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty; namely, nuclear disarmament, nonproliferation and peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Mr. President, may I now turn to the developments in my country. Since its formation in February this year, the Inclusive Government in Zimbabwe has demonstrated a conviction and unity of purpose, and an unwavering commitment to chart a new vision for the country and to improve the lives of the people in peace and harmony. In the Global Political Agreement, we have defined our priorities as the maintenance of conditions of peace and stability, economic recovery, development, promotion of human rights and improvement of the condition of women and children.

Regrettably, while countries in the SADC region have made huge sacrifices and given Zimbabwe financial and other support at a time when they too are reeling from the effects of the global economic crisis, the western countries, the United States and the European Union, who imposed illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe have, to our surprise, and that of SADC and the rest of Africa, refused to remove them. What are their motives? Indeed some of them are working strenuously to divide the parties in the Inclusive Government. If they will not assist the Inclusive Government in rehabilitating our economy, could they please stop their filthy clandestine divisive antics? Where stand their humanitarian principles when their illegal sanctions are ruining the lives of our children?

We similarly call for an immediate end to the coercive, illegal and unjustified fifty-year economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba which is estimated to have cost Cuba so far a total of US$96 billion, causing untold suffering on that country and its people. My delegation joins other Non-Aligned Movement countries which have repeatedly condemned the use of unilateral coercive measures as a flagrant violation of the norms of international law and international relations, especially as they govern relations between States under the UN Charter.

Mr. President, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Let me conclude by reiterating the need for effective and comprehensive multilateralism to promote the global partnership for peace and development. The United Nations and other international organisations which carry the legitimacy of multilateralism should play a leading role in directing the course of events and developments, taking into account the interests of the majority of its members in an inclusive, peaceful, just, universal and democratic manner. It is our hope that through our unity, solidarity, cooperation and commitment, the challenges facing the international community could be addressed. Let us rise to the occasion and demonstrate our political will and ability to work together for the good of humanity.

Zimbabwe is willing and ready to play her part.

I thank you.

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Africa's Worst Job

By Scott Johnson | NEWSWEEK
Published Sep 26, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Oct 5, 2009

High on the sixth floor of a drab building in downtown Harare sits Morgan
Tsvangirai. Dim and barren, his office is a far cry from the digs most prime
ministers enjoy. But Tsvangirai is far from most prime ministers. If he
needs any reminder of this, there, on his otherwise bare office wall, hangs
an elegantly framed portrait of Robert Mugabe: the dictator Tsvangirai has
tried to overthrow for more than a decade and with whom he now shares power.
Tsvangirai isn't intimidated by the gaze of his nemesis, the last of
Africa's Big Men. "He's not the only one who can watch," Tsvangirai says.
"I'm looking right back. I'm watching him too."

The collaboration between these two men is as unlikely as it is
uncomfortable. The result of a deal struck in February under international
pressure after elections that most think Tsvangirai won but Mugabe tried to
steal, it is an almost unprecedented arrangement: an emblematic dictator
ceding partial power to a hated insurgent in a last-ditch bid to shape his
legacy. Neither man trusts the other and neither has taken to their forced
cohabitation easily. "Can you imagine [working with] someone who has
threatened your very existence?" asks Tsvangirai, whose face bears the
emotional and physical wounds of their combat. "Sitting down in the same
room? It's unimaginable," he says. Yet that's precisely what they're doing.

As prime minister, Tsvangirai has finally gone from being Zimbabwe's public
enemy No. 1 to an officeholder with real executive muscle. Yet his challenge
is enormous: reforming the economy with limited power, convincing skeptics
that Zimbabwe is a good investment, and trying to ease out Mugabe without
destabilizing the regime. And for every gain there have been terrible
losses. A week after the election, Susan Tsvangirai-his wife of 31 years and
his most trusted adviser-was killed in a car crash many think Mugabe
engineered. Tsvangirai has met with Barack Obama in the White House, but he
struggles to enact the simplest laws at home. Mugabe loyalists still control
the attorney general's office, all the major security portfolios, and the
state-run media. Tsvangirai's party, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), has fragmented, and its members continue to be threatened and jailed.

So far, the prime minister has focused primarily on stabilizing the economy,
to some success. Within weeks of taking power, he replaced the Zimbabwean
dollar with the U.S. one, ending years of fiscal chaos and an inflation rate
in the millions. The results were immediate: industrial production shot up,
and after years of decline, the economy has grown by 3.7 percent this year,
according to the World Bank. Zimbabwe is now a changed place in many ways.
Under the power--sharing deal, MDC officials took over key posts such as the
ministries of finance and planning. The sense of economic panic that once
prevailed, when the price of bread could double in a few hours, is gone.
Ordinary people seem to enjoy a newfound sense of routine. Journalists
(including this one) can work fairly freely, and while the intimidation of
MDC supporters continues in some areas, it's a far cry from the mayhem that
prevailed last year.

Tsvangirai has even managed to craft a working relationship with the
president. "Mugabe's work over the last few years is indefensible, but we've
agreed to work together," says Tsvangirai. "The wheel is turning slowly."
The two men now meet every Monday morning in Mugabe's office, where they
confer in a mixture of English and Shona. They ask about each other's
families. Little by little, Tsvangirai has begun to raise the most delicate
issues, including Mugabe's record corruption and abuse. "He doesn't want to
own up to that," Tsvangirai says, "but I confront him, I do. He denies it. I
try to bring the evidence, but he denies those things."

Indeed, in many ways the battle to control Zimbabwe remains as fierce as
ever. The MDC controls Parliament, but just barely. Finance is Tsvangirai's
only powerful portfolio, while Mugabe still controls the men with guns. His
judges still sit on the bench, and the president has managed to block the
appointment of a new Reserve Bank governor and attorney general as called
for under the power-sharing deal, as well as the appointment of key
provincial governors. "The last four months have been hell," says Tendai
Biti, one of Tsvangirai's closest friends and the new finance minister.
"This has been a forced marriage of two people that were never meant to
meet. There is suspicion, disrespect, and derision." Biti, by transforming
the finance ministry into a watchdog for all things economic, has had some
success at blocking the efforts of Mugabe cronies to loot the state. But, as
he says, "the guns are still loaded. It's a very poisoned atmosphere."

No one has felt that bitterness more than Tsvangirai himself. He first
appeared on Mugabe's radar in the 1980s, when he replaced Mugabe's younger
brother Albert as the head of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and
immediately set about trying to peel it out of Mugabe's clutches. This began
a long struggle. Tsvangirai probably won the 2000 election, but Mugabe
rigged it to stay in power. Mugabe then put Tsvangirai on trial for treason
in 2004, an ordeal that nearly tore Tsvangirai's family apart. In March
2007, Tsvangirai was beaten and almost killed by regime thugs. And then came
last year's election and the death of Tsvangirai's wife. Biti, who was with
the future prime minister at Victoria Falls when his chief of staff broke
the news to him, says Tsvangirai took Sarah's death "on the chin." But two
weeks later, when a beloved grandson drowned in a swimming pool, Tsvangirai
finally collapsed. "He said, 'Why me? Why me?' " recalls Biti. "All I could
say was, we just have to pray and be strong." Tsvangirai broke down and

It's a cruel irony that critics now accuse Tsvangirai of going too easy on
the man he's fought for so long. A persistent rumor has it that Mugabe
bought off Tsvangirai with money, power, or influence-a tactic Mugabe has
used in the past. There are signs that some in the opposition are growing
disillusioned with their leader. Tsvangirai "shares executive power with
Mugabe, but he doesn't push it," says one well-placed source who has asked
to remain anonymous because of his relationship with the prime minister.
"He's too soft. He doesn't crack the whip."

Soft or not, the arrangement does seem to suit the president's interests.
Mugabe has basically confessed to Tsvangirai that he knows that this is
probably his last chance to change the way history judges him. "Mugabe is
aware that people don't trust him," says William Bongo, one of Tsvangirai's
closest aides and his former spokesman. It's even possible that Mugabe would
go further if he could. The president has signaled to Tsvangirai that
opposition from the hardliners in his own party is what's stalling progress.
As Bongo puts it, "Mugabe is under tremendous pressure from these
people-militants, diehards, military guys, all those who benefited from the
failed state. They feel let down" by the power-sharing deal.

According to Tsvangirai's son and confidant Edwin, his father is not trying
to "reform" the president. "But I think he's trying to allow him, perhaps as
a victimizer, to see no animosity. He is saying, you are at a moment where
you don't have much hope to look forward to anything, to even realize what
you've fought for. But you still have this window, before you exit this
life, to make a sacrifice."

If the dictator has softened, however, the hard shell of corruption and
cronyism surrounding his party, ZANU-PF, has thickened. Tsvangirai and his
allies continue to discover all kinds of theft and financial irregularities
by regime loyalists. But the prime minister tries to be positive. "To me
it's about rewarding progress rather than punishing."

Still, that's easier said than done. Initial cooperation between the two
camps-on economic issues, for instance-has not extended to other areas
like -security--sector reform, drafting a new constitution, or reinstituting
the rule of law. And many fear that the diehards are digging in for a long
and nasty fight. "ZANU can't make themselves more popular, but they can make
us unpopular," says one key Tsvangirai aide who asked to remain anonymous.
"It's like [George Orwell's] Animal Farm at the end, when the animals can't
tell the difference between the pigs and humans. That's ZANU's strategy."
Tsvangirai is finding it hard to keep his party together. After spending so
long out in the cold, the benefits of power are hard to resist. Earlier this
year, for example, ZANU made sure that all the new Tsvangirai loyalists in
government got a brand-new Mercedes. "We shouldn't have taken them, but we
did," says the adviser.

Such moves haven't helped Tsvangirai persuade the West to pony up
much-needed funds for reconstruction and development. Zimbabwe still scores
shockingly badly on development and health-care indicators. But Western
countries, including the United States, are loath to do anything that would
give Mugabe more staying power. Last week the European Union refused to lift
sanctions or offer more aid unless long-awaited political reforms are
enacted. No one doubts the scale of economic progress made by Tsvangirai,
but it won't come to much unless the government makes political changes that
allow improvements in health, education, and food production. Without them,
"things will sputter along, with some incremental progress, but we won't see
things take off," says one Western diplomat in Harare who didn't have
permission to speak on the record.

All these pressures have forced Tsvangirai into what may be his toughest
role yet: cheerleader for a regime that he both opposes and is a part of.
"Everyone across the political divide wants to see this government succeed,"
he says, looking at up at the portrait of Mugabe on his wall. "That's the
only way that can take this country forward. No one benefits from this
government sliding backwards to where it was before," he concludes. If
Tsvangirai can convince the world-and Mugabe-of that fundamental truth, it
will be a monumental achievement indeed.

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Andrew Mitchell MP: The tectonic plates of Zimbabwe are shifting

Andrew Mitchell MP, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development,
recently became the first senior British politician to visit Zimbabwe in an
official capacity in many years.  Here, he writes about the progress he
witnessed that has been made in recent months - and the challenges that

This time last year the shops in Zimbabwe were empty, a cholera crisis that
went on to claim over 4,000 lives was sweeping the country, most schools
were shut and hyper-inflation of over 200 million per cent was raging.
Today, markets across the country are coming back to life, most schools have
re-opened and the faltering economy is being resuscitated.

Individual Zimbabweans are beginning to get on with the business of making a
living again.  At a township outside Harare I met Sammy, a young
entrepreneur whose market stall was crushed by Zanu PF bulldozers before the
election during a clearance operation aimed at scattering the MDC's urban
voters.  Sammy now has a permanent hardware stall in the newly rebuilt
Chitungwiza market, and he and a group of neighbouring stallholders are
helping each other get by with a group savings and loans scheme.  Around the
corner, a father showed me around his carefully grown garden in which he had
coaxed rows of lush green vegetables from the red earth so that he could
feed himself and his family.

The tectonic plates of Zimbabwe are shifting.  There has been considerable
progress given the extraordinary circumstances, and it is almost exclusively
down to the determination of Morgan Tsvangirai and his colleagues in the
MDC.  The events of last spring, when Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies
stole the Presidential election, eventually gave way to a power-sharing
agreement which so far appears to be holding.  Zanu PF hoped that by giving
the MDC the most difficult portfolios - the ones that would most affect the
lives of ordinary people - the MDC's failure would rebound to their
discredit and Zanu PF's advantage.  The opposite has been the case.

Take Tendai Biti, the Finance Minister.  He has raised revenues from customs
and business taxes from a paltry $4m in January to $98m in July.  By
replacing the Zimbabwean currency with the US dollar he has halted the
country's trademark runaway inflation - it has now stabilised at a
respectable 3%.  And when the IMF recently granted Zimbabwe $500m, the
disgraced Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono thought all his Christmases had
come at once - but Biti outmanoeuvred him and the money will now be used to
help rebuild the country rather than being embezzled for the advantage of
Mugabe and his tightly-knit circle of henchmen.  Despite continued
pressures, the man who not so long ago received a live bullet in the post is
beginning to transform the Zimbabwean economy.

There is good news in health and education, too.  Children are back at
school, and thousands of doctors and nurses who weren't at work when last
year's cholera crisis struck are back at their health centres.  Both of
these Ministries are headed by MDC Ministers.

This is encouraging progress, and it must continue.  But elsewhere the
picture is less promising.  Many of the fundamental provisions of the
power-sharing agreement are yet to be implemented and Zanu PF shows little
sign of delivering on most of its commitments.  Some major sticking points
stand out.  The constitutional review process is meant to see a new
constitution consulted on, drafted, and then made the subject of a
referendum.  A land audit that establishes exactly who is in possession of
what, as a first step towards a conclusive settlement on this most sensitive
of issues, is crucial yet shows no sign of getting off the ground.  Nor has
Mugabe released all political prisoners, or honoured his commitments to open
up the media space.  And all the while Zanu PF thugs and militia lurk in the

So, what next?  Well, Britain and the international community are ready to
step in with financial and technical support, but this will need to be
subject to real progress and reform.  We must keep up the pressure for the
implementation of the Global Political Agreement and undoubtedly maintain
the international sanctions which are targeted at senior Zanu PF officials
and their backers.  Mugabe complains vigorously about the sanctions - a
testimony to their value.

Almost everyone I spoke to on my visit (and I refused to meet anyone from
Zanu PF) had a different perception of when the next election could and
should take place, but it is clear that the goal must be a free and fair
election in which individual Zimbabweans can have their say about their
future without fear of the blatant intimidation and repression that blighted
the last round of elections.

It is to be hoped that South Africa's new President, Jacob Zuma, will be a
key figure in helping to mediate the political process.  Like a batsman
digging in at the crease, he appears to be preparing to make Zanu PF face up
to their commitments under the power-sharing agreement - replacing the
'quiet diplomacy' of his predecessor Thabo Mbeki.  Zuma's presence could
change the geometry of SADC meetings if coupled with real political will.

We should do everything possible to maintain the pressure for genuine
political progress, and stand ready to help transform Zimbabwe when the time
is right.  Zimbabwe is not a naturally poor country.  It has fertile land
for agriculture, the basic infrastructure for a functioning state, and a
population that is literate, skilled and entrepreneurial.  Britain should be
ready to lead a significant development and rehabilitation effort in
conjunction with other Commonwealth countries and international donors to
give Zimbabwe the chance of a fresh start.

September 26, 2009

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Mugabe and the lazy-farmer mentality

September 26, 2009

By Chenjerai Hove

AS I painstakingly went through the tortuous exercise of watching President
Robert Mugabe putting up a sham show on CNN, I could not avoid reflecting on
what my farming father told us in our youth on the farm.

As a highly successful African Purchase Area farmer, he had tales about the
stories of unproductive farmers.

According to my father, a lazy Zimbabwean farmer always finds someone to
blame for his poor crop. Whenever there was a drought, the lazy farmer had
the whole world to blame, including everybody's ancestors and the creator as

The lazy farmer would protest that the ancestors and God had, indeed,
abandoned all of us, all humanity to perish through starvation.

He would paint a bizarre picture of children and their mothers dying in the
fields and valleys, surrounded by skinny, dying animals, dry vegetation,
sandy, waterless streams and rivers snaking their way through the rocky

There was no sign of life, with everything abandoned by the ancestors.

But then when the rains came during good seasons, the lazy farmer blamed his
neighbours for bewitching the soil in his fields to make them infertile.
Fantastic stories were told of how some neighbouring farmers were so skilled
in the art of even diverting the rain away from the lazy farmer's fields.
Such bewitching farmers had the craft to divert the rain-bearing winds too.

Or if the rains came to the lazy farmer's fields, they also were hired to
bring harsh and deadly thunderbolts and lightning which always struck his
homestead, leaving the thatch roofs smouldering in smoke and ash.

It was only the lazy farmer's fields which did not receive rains.

In the lazy farmer's imagination, even the owl which perched on his roof was
an ominous sign of bad harvests and inexplicable deaths to come. Everything
was caused by outside forces. A child suffering from clear cases of
illnesses such as malaria was said to have been bewitched by the bad
neighbours whose plan was always to ensure the lazy farmer never went to the
fields while attending to the sick. Every natural force wreaked havoc on the
lazy farmer's production plans.

The lazy farmer's mentality is with us today. Every problem I encounter is
caused by other people. In President Mugabe the lazy farmer mentality has
manifested itself in modern day Zimbabwe, but this time through a man who
spent a sizeable amount of time studying books, and in the process,
obtaining numerous academic degrees. The lazy farmer blames either the
weather or his neighbours for his own failure or incompetence. Mugabe blames
the United States and Europe for his own errors of judgement or even for his
deliberate mistakes.

Zimbabwe's economy started collapsing in 1997 after the dishing out of
unbudgeted-for money to pay ex-combatants who had been totally forgotten for
17 years. Because of the political urgency of the matter, even
non-combatants stood at the front of the queue with empty bowls for the
ready cash. True combatants had lived as paupers who, allegedly, had only
themselves to blame for failing to integrate into the tyrannical society
they had fought against. How else could we explain the omission?

But of course, according to farmer Mugabe, the collapse of the Zimbabwean
economy only occurred after 'sanctions' were imposed by the Europeans and
the Americans. On talking with the then Minister of Finance, Dr Herbert
Murerwa, about where the government was going to get all those billions to
give to ex-combatants, he did not lie to me. 'I don't know. I also saw it in
the news like you,' he responded before he soon lost the job.

Mr Mugabe has transformed a once professional army to some kind of personal
militia with no military ethics. They can salute only him, their code of
conduct says, and nobody else. The Americans and the European Union are to
blame for that. He has nothing to do with it. Once again, the lazy farmer

A few years ago, a Herald story about droughts covered almost a full page in
which the author of the piece went to town in trying to explain how the
Americans were tampering with the weather pattern over Zimbabwean skies in
order to inflict heavy droughts on the 'revolutionary' Zimbabwean leaders.

The final American goal was to make people starve so they could rebel and
remove Mugabe from power. A reader faced with such stories cannot avoid
thinking the country is run through some kind of science fiction! In this
case, we could just call it a lazy farmer mentality, according to my father.
Reasonable people are supposed to study the weather patterns of our poor
earth instead of shifting into the lazy farmer mentality.

First, the opposition was the creation of the British and the Americans, who
were bent on creating unpatriotic, treacherous characters to destabilize the
nationalists and revolutionaries of Zimbabwe. Somehow, in this vein, Mugabe
and Ian Smith are not different. Smith, may his soul not rest in pieces,
always thought when his 'black Rhodesians' rebelled against him, it was
definitely with the incitement of the Communists somewhere in China and

Equipped with this Cold War mentality, Mugabe also thinks should Zimbabweans
rebel against his politics of tyranny, they surely are inspired by the
imperialist Britain and capitalist America. Left to themselves, Zimbabwean
are sheep going to the slaughter without a whimper.

Once again, lazy farmer mentality.

And when he manoeuvres the Government of National Unity into a dormant and
non-functioning political ghost, he blames the imperialists for dividing the
new government. It is the very Mugabe soldiers and ministers who work full
time to ensure the new government is crippled in its attempts to bring
services to Zimbabweans. But Mugabe would have none of the responsibility.
The imperialists are to blame. It would seem the imperialists are his own
side of the cabinet, including himself.

The lazy farmer mentality ensures that Mugabe will never admit to making any
mistake in the governance of our country. The whole economic mess, the
corruption and human rights abuses are caused by outside forces. The lazy
farmer mentality is so deeply embedded in Mugabe's mind that we can actually
prove that he is not running the country at all. Our country, according to
the lazy farmer mentality, is run by others while Mugabe simply looks on
like a helpless spectator from the comfort of State House.

Mugabe's ministers and the army actually cherish the lazy farmer mentality
of the President. So, they don't have to be efficient at anything since all
their corruption, abuse of power and looting is always blamed on the

The lazy farmer mentality is born of the incapacity to evaluate oneself in
the affairs of daily conduct. Mugabe has never developed the capacity of
introspection to evaluate his political performance in order to achieve some
kind of refinement.

According to my late father, such men never improve or create anything
positive as they fully engage in the lazy farmer mentality,

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Peace Watch of 25th September 2009 [Jestina Mukokocase: Supreme Court decision due Monday]


[25th September 2009]

The Supreme Court will hand down its decision on Jestina Mukoko’s constitutional application on

Monday the 28th of September 2009 at 9.30am

Venue:  Supreme Court building, corner Third Street and Kwame Nkrumah Avenue, Harare

Monday’s proceedings will be brief.  The court’s order granting or dismissing the application will be read out – and, if the application succeeds, whatever other orders the court considers appropriate to give effect to its decision.  The court’s reasons for its decision will only be made available at a later date yet to be announced. 

Note: Jestina’s application requested the Supreme Court to:

·         declare that the conduct of the State through its security agents violated section 13(1), 15(1) and 18(1) of the Constitution by abducting, detaining and torturing her

·         grant a permanent stay of [i.e. put a permanent end to] the criminal proceedings against her on charges of recruiting persons for training as insurgents or saboteurs

·         order the State to pay her legal costs, including the costs of two instructed advocates, on the scale as between legal practitioner and client

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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Constitution Watch 9 of 24th September 2009 [ThematicSub-Committees]


[24th September 2009]

Thematic Sub-Committee Chairpersons and Deputy Chairpersons

The Select Committee on the New Constitution has announced the chairpersons and deputy chairpersons of its seventeen thematic subcommittees.

1.     Founding Principles of the Constitution

Chairperson: Dr David Parirenyatwa MP Murehwa North [ZANU-PF]

Deputy Chairperson: Bishop Goodwill Shana [Chair, Heads of Christian Denominations]

2.     Arms of the State [Principle of the Separation of Powers]

Chairperson: Thandeko Mkhandla Gwanda North MP [MDC-M]

Deputy Chairperson: Shingi Mutumbwa [Lawyer in private practice]

3.     Systems of Government

Chairperson: Tabitha Khumalo MP Bulawayo East [MDC-T]

Deputy Chairperson: [Chairperson, National Incomes & Pricing Commission]

4.     Bill of Rights and Citizenship

Chairperson: Shepherd Mushonga MP Mazowe Central [MDC-T]

Deputy Chairperson: Mrs Mercy Chizodza-Chiunye [lawyer]

5.     Women and Gender Issues

Chairperson: Betty Chikava MP Mount Darwin East [ZANU-PF]

Deputy Chairperson: Mrs Emilia Muchawa [Zimbabwe Womens Lawyers Association]

6.     Youth

Chairperson: Settlement Chikwinya MP Mbizo [MDC-T]

Deputy Chairperson: Vivian Banhire [ZANU-PF youth]  

7.     The Disabled

Chairperson: Felix Sibanda MP Magwegwe [MDC-T]

Deputy Chairperson: Joshua Malinga [ex-ZANU-PF mayor of Bulawayo]

8.     Media

Chairperson: Makhosini Hlongwane MP Mberengwa East [ZANU-PF]

Deputy Chairperson: Qubani Moyo [Academic and writer on public affairs ]

9.     War Veterans

Chairperson: Clifford Sibanda MP Bubi [ZANU-PF]

Deputy Chairperson: Raymond Majongwe  [Progressive Teachers Union]

10.     Land, Natural Resources and Empowerment

Chairperson: Senator Martin Dinha [ZANU-PF] Provincial Governor, Mashonaland Central

Deputy Chairperson: Munyaradzi Gwisai [lawyer]

11.     Labour

Chairperson: Lucia Matibenga MP Kuwadzana [MDC-T]

Deputy Chairperson: Noah Gwande [Zimbabwe Transport and Allied Workers Union]

12.     Elections, Transitional Mechanisms and Independent Commissions

Chairperson: Tongai Matutu MP Masvingo Urban [MDC-T]

Deputy Chairperson: Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba [Zimbabwe Defence Forces]

13.     Executive Organs of the State [Public Service, Police, Defence, Prisons]

Chairperson: Senator Reuben Marumahoko, Hurungwe [ZANU-PF]

Deputy Chairperson: Ms Choice Ndoro [Zimbabwe Election Support Network]

14.     Public Finance

Chairperson: Silandu Ncube MP Insiza South [MDC-M]

Deputy Chairperson: George Mutendazamera [Business Council of Zimbabwe]

15.     Traditional Institutions and Customs

Chairperson: Senator Chief Lucas Mtshane

Deputy Chairperson: Mrs Gertrude Hambira [General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union]  

16.     Religion

Chairperson: Senator Sithembile Mlotshwa MP Matobo [MDC-T]

Deputy Chairperson: Rev. Andrew Wutawunashe [Pastor]

17.     Rights of Minorities and Languages

Chairperson: Andrew Langa MP Insiza North [ZANU-PF]

Deputy Chairperson: Alexander Phiri [National Council for the Disabled]

Chairpersons are all Parliamentarians – either members of the House of Assembly or Senators.  7 subcommittees are chaired by ZANU-PF nominees, 7 by MDC-T, 2 by MDC-M and1 by a chief.  

ZANU-PF nominees will chair the following thematic sub-committees: Founding Principles of the Constitution; Women and Gender Issues; Media; War Veterans; Land, Natural Resources and Empowerment; Executive Organs of the State (Public Service, Police, Defence, Prisons); Rights of Minorities and Languages.

MDC-T nominees will chair the following thematic sub-committees:  Systems of Government; Bill of Rights and Citizenship; Labour; Youth; Elections, Transitional Mechanisms and Independent Commissions; Religion; The Disabled.

MDC-M nominees will chair the following thematic sub-committees:  Arms of the State [Principle of the Separation of Powers]; Public Finance.

A Chief will chair: Traditional Institutions and Customs.

Deputy Chairpersons have been appointed by the Select Committee from civil society.  These were selected by the three political parties following the same pro rata basis as for the chairpersons.  

Members of the thematic sub-committees have not yet been announced.  There will be 25 members of each thematic sub-committee, including its Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.  

Work of Thematic Committees

The first task of the thematic sub-committees will be to undertake the public consultation process.  For this the 425 persons in the thematic committee will be joined by another 435 persons, both Parliamentarians and non-Parliamentarians.  These extra people for the outreach teams also still have to be announced.  The outreach teams will use a questionnaire drawn up by the Select Committee with the help of “experts” [so far there is no transparency about this process – and these questions are crucial to what answers the people will give].  The thematic committees will be asked to approve the questionnaires.  Then the outreach teams will have to be trained in their use.  Trainers will be appointed by the Select Committee.

Members of the outreach teams will be working full time from the time they first meet until the end of the outreach process.  After that the extra members work will be done.  Thereafter the thematic committees will continue to meet as needed – probably at least a couple of days a week – to help with the analysis of the public responses and the preparation of reports containing the principles on which the drafting committee will work.

These continuous delays will make it very difficult for the staff of Parliament to plan the normal business of Parliament and for those in responsible jobs in civil society to plan their commitments to the constitutional process.


Reminder of GPA time-line  13 November - Public consultation process must be completed – no later than 4 months after date of First All Stakeholders Conference convened on July 13th.

The Select Committee say they are still hoping to keep to the end date of this time-line and one of the MDC September 13th National Council resolutions was  “The time limits defined in the Article 6 of the GPA must be complied with”.  If this is done it will be at the expense of enough time to do a proper consultation.  

Problem of Funding

The Select Committee have said that the problem of keeping to the time-frame has been one of finance – major funding is needed for the outreach programme – for allowances, transport, accommodation, etc. for 860 people and support staff and services.  The Select Committee ZANU-PF members are insisting that donors must fund via the government, as to accept direct funding for the process from foreign governments and external donors would create the wrong perception.   

The perceived infighting between parties over the whole process and the insistence by ZANU-PF that a new Constitution be based on the Kariba Draft, and the opposition to this by MDC-T and many civil society organisations, has not facilitated fundraising.  The chaotic All Stakeholders Conference was not an inducement for funders to come forward.  Civil society was informed that the reports, including a financial report, on this conference would be forthcoming the Monday a week after the conference – i.e. 20th July.  The reports have still not been made available.  The numerous meetings of the Select Committee since then to plan work they have not yet been able to carry out have eaten up resources and the long delays have not helped to restore confidence

It is hoped that the new Independent Secretariat will also assist the whole process although there are fears it may involve more expense and raise more problems.

Could the consultative process be done more efficiently

The All Stakeholders Conference was a costly exercise and proved so chaotic that what came out of it was hardly different from what the Select Committee had proposed before it was held.  Very little consultation was achieved and civil society recommendations, including setting up a Parliamentary–Civil Society Joint Coordination and Management Committee to improve the management of the process, have been largely ignored and the Conference resolutions on time frame of setting up committees not adhered to.  

Are 17 Thematic Committees a Necessity or an Extravagance?

·   It is of interest that South Africa, a far wealthier country, in the process of writing their new constitution, had 6 thematic committees [see below].  The 1999 Zimbabwe Government Chidyausiku Constitutional Commission had 8 themes [see below].  

·    Some of the wide range of themes the Select Committee has proposed could have been more rationally dealt with under the Bill of Rights theme.  [Note: Even such a wide range cannot be fully inclusive – for example, the elderly, children, other minority and vulnerable groups, etc do not have their own themes – hopefully their rights will also be taken aboard by the Bill of Rights committee].  

·    The youth, women and the disabled said specifically they wanted to be represented in each aspect of Constitution making – it may have been more appropriate to make sure that their representatives were on each of a more limited number of thematic committees.  

·    For some of the 17 themes, such as Languages, it would have seemed more appropriate to let the Bill of Rights committee set up a small expert panel.

Comment: It is a pity that the Select Committee bowed to pressure from one political party not to invite experts from other countries for the benefit of their experience, and that the All Stakeholders Conference did not permit real dialogue with members of the public who have been involved in constitutional issues for a long time.  It is also a pity that Select Committee deliberations have not been more transparent and open to public input – they may have been encouraged to come up with a more practical and less expensive work plan.

The South African Constitutional Assembly Set up Six Theme Committees

·    Character of a democratic State

·    Structure of Government

·    Relationship between levels of Government

·    Fundamental Rights

·    Judiciary and Legal Systems

·    Specialised Structures of Government

Chidyausiku Commission Themes

·    Fundamental Rights

·    Customary Law

·    Executive Organs of the State

·    Independent Commissions

·    Levels of Government

·    Public Finance and Management

·    Separation of Powers

·    Transitional Mechanisms

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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