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'Mugabe stole my farm'

    September 27 2009 at 08:01AM

By Peta Thornycroft and Sebastien Berger

Zimbabwan President Robert Mugabe has built up a secret farming empire
from land seized from at least five white-owned businesses, an Independent
Foreign Service investigation has found.

The discovery of the holding worth about R22 million is the first
evidence of how he personally benefited from the land seizures programme
which started in 2000.

More than 4 000 commercial farmers had their land grabbed in the drive
that destroyed Zimbabwe's agriculture industry, the bedrock of the economy.

The country, now being guided by a power-sharing deal struck last year
between Mugabe and his rival, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, desperately
needs to rebuild its shattered economy.

But Mugabe's private farming empire is an obstacle to resurrecting
commercial agriculture, according to experts.

They say an audit of land ownership as part of essential structural
reforms would expose the president's controversial control of the 4 050ha

The Independent Foreign Service located Mugabe's private empire in the
Darwendale area, near his tribal home, 48km west of the capital Harare. It
is made up of six farms, including five properties seized from white owners
over the years.

The 445ha Highfield farm near Mugabe's tribal home was bought
commercially but five others were seized from their white owners. Three were
owned by the Skea family - Cressydale, John O'Groat and Tankatara - who were
forced out between 2000 and 2002 and have emigrated to Australia and New
Zealand. The owners of the other two farms - Clifford and Cressydale - were
forced out in 2006 and 2008.

Leo Skea, who used to grow proteas and other crops at John O'Groat,
said: "We arrived back from Europe in July 2002 to a farm overrun with war
vets and we made the decision to leave as we could feel ourselves getting
back on the treadmill to who knows where."

According to staff, the five seized farms were initially run by the
government's Agricultural Rural Development Authority (Arda), which poured
in millions of rands of Zimbabwean taxpayers' money.

One long-serving worker recalled the frightening days when the farm
invasions began in 2000.

"First, the president bought Highfield. Hordes of people were brought
to another farm in open trucks and gathered all the workers, and told them
it now belongs to Arda," he said. "Those who didn't want to work for Arda
were beaten up and told to leave the farm, and the invaders started staying
in the houses."

Workers said Arda's role was reduced in 2006 and a small group of "war
veterans" occupying some of the land were also asked to leave to make way
for Mugabe.

One of the war veterans said Mugabe had made sacrifices for the
freedom of Zimbabwe, including a decade in jail, and deserved to have the
land which now makes up his estate. He said: "He is our hero."

On several visits to the estate, it was clear that the six farms were
now being operated as a single business.

Workers said they were now employed either by Mugabe or "Gushungo",
his family name, which is also the new name for the estate.

"We were told the farms belong to the president," said the worker, who
cannot be named for his own safety, or the farm on which he lives

The appropriation of the farms by the president has not been
officially confirmed. Earlier this year, the state-controlled Herald
newspaper referred to Highfield as "the president's farm" but there was no
mention of the neighbouring land.

The total estate now stretches over 4 050ha on the edge of Lake
Robertson, including homesteads, managers' cottages, workers' houses, huge
barns, sheds, workshops and 19 recently-acquired portable rotating
irrigation systems known as centre pivots which cost about R940 000 each.

Mugabe visits every three months or so, according to workers.

Staff say Mugabe grows maize, rice, wheat, different sorghums, and
sweet potatoes, and has a herd of Brahman cattle, goats, plus five camels.
According to the official press, the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi presented
Mugabe with camels.

The lush lands of Mugabe's estate contrast sharply with former
white-owned land in much of the country.

Zimbabwe's white commercial farmers, and their tens of thousands of
workers, used to produce exports which earned 40 percent of the country's
foreign currency. But now satellite images indicate that less than 20
percent of the 8 million hectares that were seized are in use.

A crucial clause in the political agreement signed between Zanu-PF and
Tsvangirai's MDC party a year ago demands a land audit as a preliminary step
to rebuilding agriculture.

Brian Raftopoulous, a top Zimbabwean political scientist, said: "This
is part of Zanu-PF's rapid accumulation of property since 2000 and explains
in particular the deep relationship between Zanu-PF's unwillingness to
accede to a free and fair election, and its increasing control of land.

"A land audit would expose the deep levels of corruption of public
resources over the last decade, a very real blockage in the political
agreement," said Raftopoulous.

Mugabe even argued as part of his justification for seizing farms that
no one should have more than one farm.

Trevor Gifford, the past president of the Commercial Farmers Union,
said that as the properties were originally under six different title deeds,
Mugabe was "breaking his own rules".

"None of owners of the five farms have been paid any compensation for
them, which they should be according to the law," he said.

Vincent Gwaradzimba, the MDC secretary for lands and agriculture,
said: "A land audit would expose that he (Mugabe) has multiple farms, so one
way to avoid a land audit is to make sure there is no full implementation of
the political agreement.

"The land reform exercise was meant for the few senior members of
Zanu-PF, and they have taken most of the good land for themselves."

Independent Foreign Service has asked Mugabe whether he has received
title deeds for the five seized farms but has not received a response.

No response has been received to requests for comment from Mugabe's
office, his spokesman, the agriculture ministry, or the central bank. -
Foreign Service

This article was originally published on page 1 of Sunday Independent
on September 27, 2009

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Grace Mugabe's milk sales to Nestlé sparks human rights groups to call for action Human rights groups have called for the EU and Swiss government action over the revelation that a Nestlé subsidiary buys milk from a dairy run by Grace Mugabe.
GRACE MUGABE: Grace Mugabe's milk sales to Nestlé sparks human rights groups to call for action
The Swiss food giant buys up to a million litres a year from Gushungo Dairy Estate, controlled by Mrs Mugabe, pictured Photo: AP

The Swiss food giant buys up to a million litres a year from Gushungo Dairy Estate, controlled by Mrs Mugabe since, according to other dairymen, the previous white owner was forced by a campaign of violence to sell his property to the authorities for a knock-down price.

Under the European Union and American targeted sanctions against members of Mr Mugabe's network, it is illegal to transfer money or make transactions respectively with Mrs Mugabe.

Switzerland has its own set of sanctions, similar to the EU measures, which also target Mrs Mugabe and which prohibit providing funds to her or putting them 'directly or indirectly', at her disposition. Nestlé denies that it has broken Swiss law.

A Nestlé spokesman confirmed that at the end of last year, after eight of its 16 suppliers in Zimbabwe went out of business, Nestlé Zimbabwe - its subsidiary in the country - started buying milk on the open market, some of it from Gushungo Dairy Estate.

At first it bought it through a third party, but has been buying it directly since February, he said. "Nestlé does not provide any support, financial or otherwise, to the Gushungo Dairy Estate or to any political party in Zimbabwe," he said. "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."

The spokesman said Nestlé 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 subjet to Zimbabwean law."

Georgette Gagnon, the Africa director of Human Rights Watch, called for international investigation. "The set of sanctions that exist now are very important and must be maintained in the face of the continuing dire human rights situation in Zimbabwe.

"If these reports of this company buying things in violation of sanctions are true then obviously the Swiss government and the EU need to take action on this. They need to close this breach of sanctions."

If the evidence was "clear and unequivocal", she added, a consumer boycott was "one tool to let companies know that consumers are very concerned about their behaviour and won't tolerate it".

Amy Barry, spokesman for the anti-corruption NGO Global Witness, said: "Nestlé should ensure that it is not either directly or indirectly propping up illegitimate or brutal regimes.

"If it's true it's gravely serious and we would think it's something the European Commission and the Swiss would want to look into."

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Man plunges down Vic Falls during rescue mission

Eyewitness News | 4 Hours Ago

A tour guide working for a South African safari company has plunged
presumably to his death at the Victoria Falls.

The Zimbabwean man - whose name was not yet made public on Sunday
afternoon - was trying to rescue a tourist at the time.

State media in Zimbabwe says he was working for Sunway Safaris and he drove
up from South Africa to the Zambian side of the falls.

He had taken a party of tourists to Devil's Pool, close to the main falls,
police say one of the tourists slipped, in rescuing him the guide lost his
balance and fell.

His body was not yet recovered on Sunday afternoon; with a 90 metre drop,
authorities said there was little chance of finding him alive.

The police want to ban tourists from going to the viewing point, saying at
least one person falls to their death there each year.

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Zimbabwe's Army Brigadier Holds On To Farmer's Crop

Harare, September 27, 2009 - A Zimbabwe National Army Brigadier has
ignored a court order to allow Headlands farmer, Charles Lock access to his
USD 700 000 tobacco and maize crop.

Lock told Radio VOP at the weekend that Brigadier General Justin Itayi
Mujaji had threatened to gun him down if he enters the farm despite a court
on order on Thursday granting him an application to access his crop.

Soldiers deployed at Karori farm by Mujaji, barred Lock from getting
on to the farm in full view of the police.

"Armed soldiers barred me from entering the farm when I went there on
Friday after the High Court ruling," said Lock, whose case mirrors the
situation of thousands other commercial farmers who have been illegally and
violently driven off their farms by top government and security chiefs.

High Court judge Bharat Patel ordered the police to assist the Sheriff
or Deputy Sheriff to ensure that Lock is able to access and control all his
movable assets, including crops on the farm in Headlands,Manicaland.

The ruling follows an application by Lock to the High Court seeking an
order to bar Mujaji, from interfering with the control of the farmer's
"The applicant (Lock) has full and unfettered right to remove all and
any of the goods, as well as any other move able assets, including his
equipment and fittings in the tobacco barns, cattle handling facilities,
household and personal effects, from the land referred to above," ruled
Justice Patel. "This order shall remain in operation notwithstanding the
noting of an appeal against it. The costs of this application shall be paid
by the first respondent (Mujaji) on an attorney-client scale."

Lock wanted the court to force the army general to allow him to move
about 150 tonnes of tobacco, grown under contract and financed by
international tobacco companies to auction floors. The farmer had also asked
the court for an order to allow him to move about 500 tonnes of maize to
buyers such as the Grain Marketing Board.

Lock's court challenge is one of many by white commercial farmers.

Before this latest High Court order, lock had obtained two eviction
orders against Mujaji both of which had been ignored.

Mujaji's action mirrors the lawlessness on the farms and disregard of
the law by security officers most of whom are staunch supporters of
president Robert Mugabe.

The often violent land seizures have been blamed for the country's
food shortages.

In November last year, the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) Tribunal ruled that farmers whose land was seized must be compensated
by the government. But Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the SADC
Tribunal ruling would not be enforced and that Harare had pulled out of the

However, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has since said Minister
Chinamasa was misdirecting the nation through making unilateral decisions
without cabinet authority.

On Sunday Britain's Daily Telegraph said it had covered Mugabe's
secret farming empire, combining six farms that had been taken from white
commercial farmers. One of the farms is being used as a dairy farm by his
wife, Grace, who sells about one million litres of milk a year toSwitzerland
based company, Nestle.

Mugabe told a United Nations General Assembly last week that
Zimbabwe's land grab was the best thing that ever happened to Zimbabwe.

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Farmer In Court For 78th Time

Harare, September 27, 2009 - A Zimbabwean farmer will on Monday mark
his 78th court appearance, just for continuing farming activities and
feeding a starving community that has largely been reliant on his help over
the years.

Robert Anthony McKersie, who operates from a 497 hectare Plot One of
Chipungu Farm in the Doma district of Makonde, has personally been involved
in the upkeep of 18km of Rural Council road on a voluntary basis and over
these years supported one secondary and two primary schools. He also
supports a local clinic with medicines.

"I'm going to court next Monday for my 78th time on exactly the same
charge. I have been acquitted three times, withdrawn before plea twice,
withdrawn before appeal once and I've had a High Court order. Six acquittals
altogether and have been in court for the same issue. These court issues don't
seem to be going away despite what we do," said McKersie.

Despite his troubles, McKersie says his faith in God and trust in
"fellow Zimbabweans, irrespective of race and colour" has kept him going.

"I was born and bred here, so were my parents, so is my grandfather.
My children are in school here. We are Zimbabweans, we continue to fight for
what is right and what we voted for. That gives me strength. I have no
foreign passport, I cannot go anywhere, I'm a Zimbabwean through and
through. The only crime I have got is ganda jena (white skin). I'll fight
here alongside Zimbabweans who are the most wonderful people in the world.
That gives me strength," said McKersie.

But the constant muggings and harassment, and his legal fees have all
but dried his pocket, while the schools, hospitals and all the other
community projects have become victims of the violent land grab.

The Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU), which represents most of Zimbabwe's
remaining white farmers numbering about 400, says over 170 of its members
have been prosecuted for continuing operations on land earmarked for seizure
by the government.

"An estimate.showed that affected farmers are currently forking out
some $88,000 per month to defend themselves against the punitive
prosecutions being brought against them by the office of the Attorney
General," the CFU says in its 2009 report.

"An extrapolation of these figures against the unknown cases (shows)
an estimated $2 million is being paid out by farmers to defend these
punitive charges during a period of extremely low income and productivity."

"I have been financing two primary schools, one secondary school and
one clinic. As we talk now they have no facilities, school books are
non-existent and I'm not in a financial position anymore where I can
continue donating books and medicines as I used to. I'm in a huge financial
squeeze as well because of these court cases."

"I enjoy massive support of the local community and am involved in a
number of local community projects, particularly those involving agriculture
which encourage transfer of skills. I am also involved in the upkeep of 18km
of Rural Council road on a voluntary basis. I have personally paid for the
education of 242 children from primary level, which culminated in 3 of them
going to University," said McKersie.

McKersie remained with the 497ha plot after ceding about 300ha to
government in May 2002 for resettlement to landless blacks. Of the 497ha
McKersie has remained with ,only 151 ha is arable.

"I have not received any compensation for the area that I ceded to
government," said McKersie.

What he has received, consistently, ever since are summons, violent
arrests and death threats, from Zanu PF sympathisers and a judiciary that
has been "arm twisted" over the years to rule against former commercial
white farmers.

Since 2004, McKersie has been in court a record seventy-five times,
sometimes on charges had been withdrawn before plea before or on charges in
which he had been acquitted before. Each year McKersie had either a new case
opened or had carryovers of cases from previous years.

Some charges have been "resurrected", while some have been "revisited"
and at times same charges have been preferred under different case numbers.

McKersie was dragged before the courts first in October 2004, case
443/04 and appeared in court four times that month before the case was
withdrawn before plea.

In May 2005, he was charged with Section 8 and Section 9 (1) (ii) of
the Land Acquisition Act and was taken to High Court, H/C 2138/05, by the
man who invaded his farm, Nyasha Nyangani, an alleged employee of the feared
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and relative of the then Lands
Minister Dydmus Mutasa. The High Court dismissed the case the same month.

In complete defiance of the High Court ruling, Nyangani invaded the
farm and assaulted McKersie and his manager the night after the court

From May 2005, McKersie, was in court under Case 125/04 only to be
discharged in October of the following year.

Exactly one year after that, McKersie was back in court this time
under Case 215/07 facing same charges. The case was withdrawn before plea on
8th May 2008 before it was re-opened in November of the same year only to be
withdrawn before plea the same month. This was McKersie's 62nd court

In between the court appearances, McKersie faced violent assaults and
arrests for violating his farm invader's peace. The invader, Nyangani
subsequently "obtained" peace orders against McKersie.

In February this year, McKersie was acquitted of "all land cases" on
his 67th court appearance before something strange happened in that court.
He was advised that his company that runs the farm, Chipungu Farm (Pvt) Ltd,
was now being charged. Starting a news series of court appearances up to the
75th appearance.

Despite the myriad of charges or court appearances, McKersie has never
been convicted on any single charge.

McKersie is one of the many farmers that have been dragged before the
courts on charges of occupying land that some senior official cherish in
their dreams.

In Manicaland, the District of Mutare North, Paul Grobler who owns
Geluk A, measuring 776.849 ha, also faces the same fate with McKersie.

Grobler's farm operations include 42ha of tobacco and 30ha under

Like McKersie, Grobler willingly subdivided 376.849ha for A1
resettlement and retained 400ha in 2001.

The beneficiaries of the subdivision were a Collin Mugayi- 168ha, a G
Mambara -141.5 ha, and a Chief Magistrate H Mawayera 90.55 ha.

Mugayi is alleged to have already occupied an A2 plot at Alma farm in
Odzi and Mambara has A2 plot no 47 at Tiverton Farm Nyazura. Mugayi works in
the DA's office in Mutare

Grobler's farm was never gazetted for compulsory acquisition.

He was first summoned to court on 12 February 2009, was remanded 9
times before trial. When trial started on 19 June 2009, Grobler was remanded
to 26 June 2009. The case is on going.

In Manicaland, Makoni district another farmer Raymond Finaughty of
Harland Brothers P/L, farming on Manda Estates A have also been in court a
number of times. Their farm is wanted by a Reserve bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
worker Winnie Mushipe.

Finaughty first appeared in court in November 2007, was remanded 6
times before the case was dismissed in August 2008. Fresh charges were
preferred on 7 May this year. He has since then appeared severally in court.

Finaughty is one of the farmers that approached the regional body, the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal seeking redress for
farms compulsorily acquired by the government.

The beneficiary, Mushipe, has attempted to have Finaughty evicted in
both the magistrates court and in High Court. In the High Court presiding
judge Felistas Chatukuta reserved judgment in the matter on 17 June.

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Dollar Prices Mean The Poor Go Hungry

Written by Simpiwe Piliso
Sunday, 27 September 2009 06:22
Supermarket prices in Zimbabwe's capital Harare are soaring - putting
a number of basic commodities out of the reach of the average consumer.

A snap survey by Business Times at a Spar in Borrowdale, one of the
city's upmarket suburbs, confirmed that scores of Zimbabweans cannot afford
to even fill a shopping basket.

This is despite the fact that the twice-yearly Economist Intelligence
Unit survey, which is intended as a guide for multinational companies who
have employees living around the world, recently ranked Harare as the
world's second-cheapest city to live in.

After the collapse of the country's economy, in April the government
licensed businesses to sell goods in foreign currency, mainly the US dollar.

However, the government insists that US$1 is equivalent to R10,
ignoring the official exchange rate.

A shopping basket consisting of a litre of milk, a loaf of bread, 500g
margarine, 1kg rice, 1kg potatoes, 1kg onions, 1kg tomatoes, six eggs, a 2kg
chicken pack, one litre of orange juice, 120ml deodorant and 100ml
toothpaste costs about $29 (R290). This is equal to a fifth of the average
civil servant's monthly salary.

Borrowdale Spar was one of the few supermarkets that had goods on the
shelves last year, while other retailers and supermarkets had gaping empty

The Spar was also among the first businesses licensed to sell goods in
hard currency in October last year.

A recent report by the international civil society organisation
Civicus argued that selling in US dollars and South African rands had pushed
up prices of basic food items, water, fuel and medicines, "putting them out
of reach of ordinary people".

Last week, most service stations in Harare were selling petrol at
$1.20 a litre, while a few charged $1.17.

Diesel was $1.06 a litre.

While the average salary for a civil servant is about $150, a
teacher's average salary recently increased from about $80 to $155,
according to Harare-based Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development, an NGO
working towards social justice regarding issues of debt and trade.

But in a statement issued earlier this month, teachers' unions Zimta
and PTUZ called the increase "inadequate" and not a proper living wage.

The unions said that even with the salary increases teachers would be
unable to provide for families and that, at current costs, the average
Zimbabwean family requires at least three times the increased salary to meet
its basic needs.

But, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit survey, "Harare has
been ranked the least-expensive global location for several years, mainly
due to hyperinflation and a constantly weakening currency. This year
Zimbabwe's cost of living index has jumped 118% and it is now ranked 275th
most expensive out of 276 global locations."

Sunday Times (SA)

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Harare Water's chaotic billing defies logic

Thursday, 24 September 2009 13:34
EDITOR - The heartless and fraudulent culture that has been adopted by
the City of Harare in its billing system especially regarding water is
disappointing to say the least. Residents have been receiving letters of
final demand with exorbitant figures that Harare Water is continuously
failing to justify.
Residents in most low-density areas, for example Hillside, Highlands,
Belvedere and the city centre have raised concern over the inflated water
bills that they are getting. There are a lot of irregularities in the water
consumption units that are indicated on the bills. One case is of a
Belvedere resident who was overcharged for 17 months-worth of water. He only
discovered this after reading his water meter and comparing the figures with
those shown on his bill.
In another case, a Highlands resident was being charged for the same
amount of water consumption units on a monthly basis, even though water
supplies were very erratic in that area. One wonders how a resident can
consume a constant amount of water on a monthly basis even when water
supplies are not constant.
Most residents who live in the Avenues area blocks of flats have
complained that they are getting water bills that range between US$2000 and
Commercial consumers' bills are no less than US$500 on a monthly
Residents in areas that have gone for years without water (Mandara,
Glen Lorne, Greystone Park and Masasa, for example) are also getting monthly
water bills ranging between US$100 AND $300 and the purported water
consumption units are actually indicated on the bills!
As if that is not enough, Harare Water is threatening to disconnect
water for default of payment even to those residents who have gone without
It defies logic to note that Harare Water is demanding money from
residents who have not been getting any drop of water for years now.
Furthermore, the water department has turned a deaf ear to the
residents' complaints. Harare Water should be reminded that residents will
not sit back and watch while they are being robbed of their hard-earned
money and exposed to another cholera outbreak at the same time.
Water is a basic human right and residents should get constant
supplies at all times. There should be no payment for non-existent services!

Zanu must be wary of mercenary Moyo
EDITOR - Jonathan Moyo's effort to win back his place in the evil
party, Zanu (PF), by peddling falsehoods that officers in the prime minister's
office are being paid salaries by foreign governments seems to have left him
with egg on his face, after the World Bank explained contracts that have
been issued to some personnel working in the prime minister's office.
As explained by the World Bank, there is a facility available to all
government ministries, irrespective of whether the ministry is controlled by
Zanu (PF), the MDC or independent, to request for payment of salaries for
short-term contract workers working on important national projects.
One is tempted to conclude that there is nothing progressive taking
place in Zanu (PF)-managed ministries. It could, instead, be the case that
there is nothing developmental taking place in Zanu (PF)-controlled
ministries, but that the ministers are spending all their time plotting
against progressive elements in government.
Once the World Bank sponsors an activity, they would need detailed
reports on what has been taking place to assess progress. Our comrades in
Zanu (PF) would rather do without assistance than expose the skeletons in
their cupboards.
Jonathan Moyo's behaviour serves as a warning to all progressive
forces that the devil is working overtime, and we should never be caught
with our pants down. The good news is that the devil is finding it tough as
he is now running out of ideas.
As long as the Zanu (PF)-controlled Public Service Commission refuses
to formalise the employment of officers working for the prime minister's
office, or any other government ministry for that matter, the affected
national projects should be able to source donor funding from any donor
agent legally operating in Zimbabwe for the salaries of short-term
consultants to ensure that the projects in question are not adversely
affected by Zanu (PF) sabotage through the Public Service Commission.
And as for Zanu (PF), they should be wary of this mercenary, whose
contribution can make them worse off than they currently are. He is only
trying to come back for the money.
ANON, by email

City council is letting us down
EDITOR - It is with great concern that I respond to the issue
pertaining to the city of Harare being sued by the Environmental Management
Agency (EMA) over their continuous failure to collect refuse in the city
The city council was fined US$3,800 after having been warned by the
agency to collect the refuse in June 2009. Needless to say, the money that
will go to pay for this fine will be from the ratepayer. This is the same
ratepayer who has to pay an exorbitant rates bill, and who has to painfully
watch as what he has paid for is not delivered.
It is disheartening to note that the city council has to wait until it
is sued to actually execute its mandate. Council has made collection of
refuse to appear to be some sort of privilege for residents, yet it is a
service that residents are paying for. As long as council demands payment of
rates the collection of refuse should be mandatory.
It is about time that something be done for council to begin to
realise that we the residents can no longer go on being robbed in broad
daylight by men and women that call themselves the city fathers and yet
openly prioritise the purchasing of luxury cars before conducting their
It pains me that these men and women can go and sleep well at night
while we the residents suffer the agony of watching our loved ones die of
cholera simply because we lack men and women in leadership position with
integrity and a heart for the people.
For the city council to not even realise the efforts that the
residents are putting in by initiating clean-up campaigns is discouraging
and, to add insult to injury, they continue serving us with letters of final
warning with rate bills that are beyond most of our incomes.
The council should be reminded that residents have been patient for
long enough and, if they continue to take us for granted, we will be forced
to take action.
ANON, by email

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Zuma: Sanctions have not worked

27/09/2009 00:00:00

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma says his country's diplomacy in Zimbabwe
has had more success than the sanctions-driven response by western countries
to alleged human rights abuses by President Robert Mugabe's government.

Zuma also rejected suggestions by CNN's Christiane Amanpour that the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) "has failed to criticise,
condemn and insist that President Mugabe imposes and implements the
power-sharing agreement" with his opposition rivals.

"What are you all afraid of? Are you still afraid of really trying to
implement the law in Zimbabwe?," Amanpour quizzed Zuma in an interview
broadcast on Friday night.

Zuma shot back: "No, we're never afraid. We're never afraid."
The South African President said his country had been pressured by western
countries to "have nothing to do with Zimbabwe", but his country had
deliberately chosen engagement with the Zimbabwe parties.

"It has succeeded. The reason that you can talk about the agreement in
Zimbabwe today is because of what we negotiated," Zuma said. "I think we
should accept the fact that, at the beginning of the problem in Zimbabwe,
countries and perhaps organisations took different positions.

"Our position was not to stand up and criticise Zimbabwe. It was to engage
the Zimbabweans. We engaged.

"You have sanctions. You can't tell me, 'This is what the sanctions did, and
this was the results of the sanctions.'

". they (western countries) were saying have nothing do with Zimbabwe. Our
having something to do with Zimbabwe has produced an agreement, which we are
now implementing, and we are saying, 'Give that process an opportunity.'
That is why we are saying to those who have applied sanctions, 'Lift the
sanctions so that Zimbabwe has a free range to implement the decision that
it has taken.'"

The power-sharing government was formed in February after disputed elections
last year, but the pact between Mugabe and rivals Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has been beset with
problems as the parties accuse each other of failing to fully implement the

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Poor governance & rampant corruption and not ''illegal'' sanctions are the main cause of Zimbabwe's economic decay

Denialism is always a convenient tool for most if not all dictatorships
throughout the history of mankind.Even if Adolf Hitler was alive today,he
will vehemently deny that his expansionist and fascist policies in Europe
were a direct cause of the Second World War.If Idi Amin was alive today,he
will give you a wide grin and declare that he is the best thing to ever
happen to Uganda.Students of history and political science are quite
accustomed to the denialist tendencies of all dictatorships and thus; they
are not at all surprised when ZANU-PF religiously blames Zimbabwe's economic
stagnation and general socio-political trepidation on so-called ''illegal''
sanctions imposed on the country by Britain and her western allies.ZANU-PF
zealots and propagandists will not tell you about the autocratic and
klepocratic style of governance that their party has perfected over the
years.They will be conveniently silent about the complete disaster that has
been the hallmark of their brand of land '' reform''.In equal measure,they
will not explain to you why the so-called Look East policy has been such an
unmitigated disaster.Talk about ''regime change'' and these same ZANU-PF
apologists and sycophants will go into a trance and shout their voices
hoarse; declaring that they are a '' revolutionary'' party that should rule
Zimbabwe until thy Kingdom come! But what they will not tell you is why
their '' friends'' in the East never seem to take  them seriously. They will
also not tell you what they mean,exactly, by the term '' regime change''.
Regime change is a perfectly lawful,legitimate and democratic aspiration of
any mass political party in any country.Political parties basically compete
for political power and thus; there is absolutely nothing wrong for any
political party in Zimbabwe or anywhere else for that matter,to seek to form
the next government through peacefull,lawfull,democratic and constitutional
means. If  a political party doesnot aspire for regime change then it is not
a serious and ambitious political organisation.Put simply,therefore,there is
nothing criminal and/or treasonous for a political party to seek to change
the incumbent government through democratic and constitutional means.That is
regime change.

In recent weeks, the issue of sanctions has been very topical
again.Infact,this particular issue is literally threatening  to tear the
inclusive government into pieces.We have heard ZANU-PF vehemently declaring
that, as a political party,they have since fully complied with all their
obligations in terms of the global political agreement that was solemnised
on September 15,2008 in Harare.This political party is,instead,blaming the
MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for failing to play ball by not
calling for the lifting of so-called illegal sanctions imposed on the
country by Britain,the US and their allies.In my humble opinion,this is what
I call errant nonsense.I have repeatedly argued that Morgan Tsvangirai does
not run Britain; neither does he run the United States nor Australia.For any
sane person to, therefore, expect Morgan Tsvangirai to instruct these
countries to lift the restrictive personal measures that they imposed on
certain ZANU-PF personalities simply boggles the mind.If some people opt to
conduct their political affairs like warlords and die-hard fascists then who
is Tsvangirai to help these kind of people to have their cake and eat it? If
the same group of people seeks to derail the democratisation process by
deliberately delaying the constitution-making process,then why should they
demand to be treated as royalty when their very actions are the exact
antithesis of the democratisation agenda? If it takes more than
 two months to consider the names of individuals selected to sit on the
Zimbabwe Media Commission before setting up the said Commission,then
who,exactly, has imposed sanctions on the innocent and suffering people of

So much has also been said and written about the Zimbabwe Democracy and
Economic Recovery Act ( ZIDERA) that was passed by the US Congress in
December 2001.What surprises some of us is that no attempt has ever been
made by the ZANU-PF propagandists to clarify,chapter and verse,how exactly
ZIDERA has caused Zimbabwe's economy to collapse and its agriculture
industry to plumet to such humi\
liating levels where we have to import  400 000 tonnes of maize this season
from a tiny country called Malawi.With or without ZIDERA these propagandists
should be told that Zimbabwe has accumulated more than US$5 billion in both
domestic and foreign debt.They should also be advised that Zimbabwe's voting
rights in the IMF were suspended because of her failure to service her debt
and clear her arrears.And how does ZIDERA impact on Zimbabwe's failure to
service her indebtness? How did this indebtedness arise in the first place?
Where is the money? Who used it and for what purpose(s)?  When Zimbabwe
chose to waste her hard-earned financial and material resources in the DRC
during the so-called Operation Sovereign Legitimacy,how  did ZIDERA
influence this absurd military escapade? Furthermore,what tangible
benefits,if any, did Zimbabwe derive from her military adventurism in the
Congo? It is  misguided military adventurism such as the Congo operation and
not the so-called '' illegal'' sanctions, that accelerated Zimbabwe's
economic meltdown.We have heard that a certain man who heads the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe boasts of being a '' sanctions'' buster.Really; if this
gentleman has managed to be a successfull sanctions buster why is that the
Zimbabwe economy literally imploded during his tenure at the Reserve Bank?
There are surely more questions than answers.

ZANU-PF's stubborn refusal to agree to the swearing in of Roy Bennett as a
deputy minister is hardly anything to surprise anyone who has studied the
modus operandi of this party.Similarly,the refusal to share the
gubernatorial posts is typical of this party; always indicating left and
then suddenly turning right.The real reason why ZANU-PF is unreasonably
refusing to fully consummate the GPA is mainly because they realise that the
MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai, is becoming so immensely popular each and
every day that ZANU-PF has got a snowball's chance in hell of ever winning a
free and fair election in Zimbabwe.The reluctance by ZANU-PF to fully
consumate this clearly loveless and almost forced marriage is informed by
the desire for self-preservation.ZANU-PF is properly advised that their
 stay in power can only be sustained by holding back the train of
democratisation.But then they have to learn from the lessons of
history.Surely,the former ruling party can fool some of the people some of
the time but they will never manage to fool all the people all of the
time.The day of reckoning is nigh.

For as long as the GPA is not fully consumated ZANU-PF can be assured that
the rest of the world will always view the new political dispensation with
extreme caution and circumspection.Surely,if a die-hard hardcore and violent
criminal tells you that he is fully rehabilitated it would be folly to take
his word on the face of it.You will have to wait and observe that the
hardcore criminal has genuinely reformed and that he has abandoned his
nefarious ways.To date,ZANU-PF has hardly managed to convince the doubting
world that it has become a rehabilitated political party that can be trusted
with pursuing a democratisation agenda; in keeping with the letter and
spirit of the GPA. No matter how much they will talk about the so-called ''
illegal'' sanctions,if they fail to honestly and in utmost good faith,fully
consumate the GPA, then the status quo shall prevail.Those characters who
are prohibited from travelling to New York,London,Paris,Sydney and some
other western cities will only see those cities on television and /or in
their dreams.This is the cold hard fact that they should learn to live
with.Indeed,poor governance and rampant corruption and not the so-called ''
illegal'' sanctions are the main and direct cause of Zimbabwe's economic
malaise and a generalised democratic deficit.

Wriiten by:
Senator Obert Gutu

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Shoprite pursues Zimbabwe deal despite Meikles drama

Written by Rob Rose
Sunday, 27 September 2009 06:06
Mugabe promises crumble promises crumble... ...but retail boss Wiese
still upbeat about Africa. OK Bazaars is R166 million target, writes Rob

Shoprite is pressing ahead with talks for a R166-million purchase of
Zimbabwe's largest food retailer, OK Bazaars, despite fears about the
nationalisation of one of the country's oldest companies, Kingdom Meikles
Africa (KMAL).

The KMAL saga shows that despite a 280% rise in the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange (ZSE) this year, the risk of government expropriating assets
remains high. It also casts doubt on President Robert Mugabe's claims at
last week's Harare mining indaba that "property rights are sacrosanct".

However, Shoprite chairman Christo Wiese  told Business Times this
week that while the KMAL case "does make investors wary, we've never had any
threats ourselves". Wiese also chairs Pepkor, which has an established
Zimbabwean business.

"We're like good Africans: we're confident a solution will be found,
and we believe the whole of southern Africa will enter a new era over the
next five to 10 years."

A team of Shoprite advisors has been in Harare in recent weeks to
negotiate with OK Bazaars.

OK is valued at $45-million (R334-million) on the Zimbabwe Stock
Exchange according to Harare-based Renaissance Capital. Shoprite would need
to pay R167-million (plus a small sweetener) for control. On Friday, OK
renewed its warning to investors that it was still in "negotiations" with an
unnamed party.

Wiese said he "cannot comment" on the OK negotiations.

Shoprite operates in 16 countries, including a small operation in
Bulawayo. Any purchase of OK would throw it into competition with South
African rival Pick n Pay, which has a 25% stake in TM Supermarkets - which,
ironically, is controlled by KMAL.

This week, the drama around KMAL, suspended from the ZSE last Tuesday,
took a new turn.

KMAL was formed by the 2007 merger of the 117-year old Meikles group
with Kingdom Financial Holdings. Its assets include the Meikles Hotel and
the Greatermans stores. But it has been crippled by a wrangle between CEO
Nigel Chanakira and John Moxon, whose family owns 43% of KMAL.

In January, Chanakira - who is close to the ruling Zanu(PF) and a
former executive of the Zimbabwe Reserve Bank - convinced government to
"specify" Moxon's family. This effectively puts Moxon's assets under the
control of two government-appointed inspectors.

Chanakira argued that Moxon illegally "externalised foreign currency"
of à10.3-million. However, Moxon has letters from Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank in
2002 authorising the transfer of cash to South Africa.

Tensions mounted last week as Mugabe's government widened the
"specification" of KMAL, putting most of its assets under the control of
government inspectors. Rattled investors read this as the first steps
towards outright nationalisation of KMAL.

On Thursday, angry KMAL investors were due to hold an "extraordinary
meeting of shareholders" to vote on whether to boot out Chanakira and other

But when shareholders arrived at the conference centre at Harare's
Meikles Hotel for the meeting, they were barred from entering by Zimbabwe's
police and Mugabe's Central Intelligence Organisation, who claimed the
meeting had been postponed.

"This meeting has been postponed for two weeks, but it seems Chanakira
wants to delay this as long as possible," said Moxon. "This debacle shows
that property rights aren't respected in Zimbabwe, which will make it hard
for it to attract foreign investment."

In legal papers lodged in SA in a separate case, Moxon claims his
''specification" is a case of Chanakira "abusing Zimbabwe's state machinery
to bring police (and) other authorities" down on him to resolve a corporate

Chanakira is apparently ill, and Business Times was told that he was
"not available to talk".

Moxon now lives in SA after fleeing Zimbabwe last year when warned he
was to be arrested.

KMAL's value on the ZSE plummeted from $500-million in 2008 to
$90-million when it was suspended last week. Moxon's share is worthless
until the "specification" order is lifted.

"All our wealth is tied up in the company, so we don't have a choice
but to fight to the end," he said.

Gilbert Muponda, the former head of Zimbabwe's Century Holdings, who
was arrested under the Prevention of Corruption Act, said the tactic of
"specifying" assets is meant to "criminalise and scandalise entrepreneurs
whose political views are perceived to be at variance with their own".

In an advert in Zimbabwe's Telegraph newspaper, Muponda said
politicians do this to ''embark on unjust self-enrichment by
misappropriating businesses using draconian legislation".

He said his own business was effectively expropriated by a front
company for reserve bank governor Gideon Gono, called Network Investments.

Concerns over KMAL could act as a brake on the recovery of the ZSE,
which re-opened in February this year when the US dollar was chosen as the
currency of choice.

Since then, the ZSE has surged from $1-billion to about $3.8-billion,
Renaissance Capital believes the exchange could hit the $5-billion mark
before the year is out. By contrast, SA's JSE exchange has gained 16% this

ZSE CEO Edward Munyukwi said the recovery is due to foreigners buying
shares from Zimbabweans. Until the US dollar was introduced in February,
Zimbabweans put cash into the ZSE as the only way to "retain the value" of
their Zimbabwean dollars.

"There has been a lot of interest this year from European, US and
South African investors," he said

Dzika Danha, analyst at Renaissance Capital, said the value of the
exchange could hit $7.4-billion within two years, "provided there are no
economic policy inconsistencies that emerge from government".

Sunday Times (SA)

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Rautenbach free to live south of Limpopo

September 27, 2009

By Peta Thornycroft

*  Controversial businessman pays R40m admission of guilt fee

*  'It's always been my goal to return to SA' - Rautenbach

The past few days have been good for Zimbabwe's rich and controversial
businessman Billy Rautenbach.

He is spending his 50th birthday at his hunting camp on the lower Zambezi
this weekend after paying a R40 million admission of guilt fine for fraud in
South Africa and is now free, after 10 years, to resume his life south of
the Limpopo.

The fine was petty cash considering that in the same week he made about
R730m for his share in a British company listed on London's alternative
markets. Whether he will get the money or it will be frozen - as he is on
the EU and US sanctions list - is not clear.

Allegations against Rautenbach in South Africa 10 years ago were that his
company, SA Botswana Hauliers, operating out of Botswana and assembling
Hyundai vehicles, had massively fiddled customs duties and the SA Revenue

Shortly before he fled to Zimbabwe Rautenbach's company was put into

Protected by political allies in Zimbabwe from extradition to face trial in
South Africa, the complex case against Rautenbach's company became stale and
insiders said eventually it was a headache for the National Prosecuting
Authority - easier to settle than process through court.

The source of Rautenbach's wealth is well documented with its origins in the
extraordinary assets he was given, firstly from the spoils of war in the
Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and secondly by President Robert
Mugabe's henchmen in Zanu-PF.

He used the gifts well, if ruthlessly, and worked hard, developing good
contacts among officials in both the DRC and Zimbabwe.

He is not a miner, and the DRC and Zimbabwe are wild countries where a bribe
to mining officials to circumvent problems happens all the time, according
to industry insiders.

Rautenbach is lean, of medium height, with a mane of grey hair and a stable
family life and he has successfully avoided press photographers so the last
available images of him go back 10 years to just before he fled to Zimbabwe.

After escaping ahead of charges in South Africa, Rautenbach was recommended
by Zanu-PF to head up the DRC's enormous, bankrupt, disintegrated state
mining company, Gecamines, after Mugabe had stepped in with his army to save
his ally, Laurent Kabila, in the civil war that had sucked in five
neighbouring countries.

Gecamines was more than just a massive conglomerate with extraordinary
mineral assets, it was a source of survival for generations of the labour
force, which depended on the company from birth to death, regardless of
production and plunder by Mobuto Sese Seko, the president of the DRC, then
known as Zaire.

Gecamines was a shadow of what it had been when the Belgians fled 40 years
or so earlier.

Rautenbach, by all accounts, slashed overheads, boosted production of cobalt
in particular, established some financial sense in the mining empire but
offended the unionised workforce.

Kabila, in fragile control of the DRC after the country's years in the
wilderness, accused Rautenbach of cheating Gecamines of cobalt revenues and
expelled him from the country. He took back the gifts of mining assets of
the three rich sites he had been given, including the famous Mukondo cobalt
mountain in Katanga province, which Rautenbach was mining.

Expelled from the DRC Rautenbach fled to Zimbabwe again and took the DRC to
court for the return of the assets he had been given.

In 2004, and with Kabila dead, half of the assets were returned after
powerful Emmerson Mnangagwa, who leads a faction in Zanu- PF, and is
determined to succeed Mugabe, intervened.

Rautenbach returned to Katanga, and sold a substantial part of his mining
and transport companies to the Central African Mining and Exploration
Company (Camec), led by British cricketer Phil Edmonds and British chief
executive Andrew Groves. It was not a happy company.

South African engineers were hauled off to a kangaroo court Groves set up to
allegedly deprive them of share options in the company. Another in the South
African team employed by Camec had to flee the country ahead of DRC
intelligence agents allegedly put on him by Groves.

Camec's name was dirt, as dirty at least as some of the Congolese officials
demanding bribes.

Camec did, however, mine and set up plants in the DRC and, after Rautenbach
was expelled again, after an application for his extradition to South Africa
was lodged in Zimbabwe, he ran much of it long distance from Harare.

In Zimbabwe, Rautenbach was busy. With his influence, Camec was handed two
platinum sites, and paid $100m (R745.3m) into Zanu-PF for assets that would
take more than Camec's resources or skills base to develop.

Rautenbach formed a new company, Cutstar, and he is now in effect in control
of the largest chunk of rural land in Zimbabwe, when most of the remaining
few hundred white farmers are under constant harassment.

Rautenbach says he is going to grow sugar and produce biofuels. That
development has hardly begun and the sugar industry says he does not have
access to enough water to grow more than a token amount.

Right now, he is stocking the land he was given with buffaloes secured from
the Hwange National Park. The buffaloes will endanger the remaining large
cattle in the area but will make the land more attractive for sale as a
tourist asset.

Many white businessmen have had a hard time in Zimbabwe in the last 10

Most, especially in the retail trade, say that they lost 95 percent of their
asset base when Zanu-PF slashed prices two years ago and Zanu-PF insiders,
and others, walked into the shops and looted them.

Others were locked up on the orders of central bank governor Gideon Gono for
using scarce foreign currency to import goods to keep their businesses

Serious mining executives had to go into hiding to avoid arrest.

While farmers have been harassed and beaten, Rautenbach's family beef farm,
200km north of Harare, has remained untouched.

It seems that he was, and is, a law unto himself in Zimbabwe, and it is
believed that most of his external assets are hidden offshore, in the Virgin
Islands for example.

Some say that he would like to get out of the clutches of Zanu-PF and, now
that he can, move to South Africa. He has assets here, secured during his
company's dubious Hyundai days.

Should he leave Zimbabwe, and and cut his ties with his benefactors in
Harare, many in the battered business community would feel a sense of

A few months ago he was telling Western diplomats and anyone prepared to
listen that he had made progress in putting his case to Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the senior partner
in a difficult unity government where Mugabe blocks every possible positive

At the top of the MDC, however, indications are that he has made no progress
whatsoever. He is seen as a stooge of Zanu-PF, which has destroyed the

EU and US sanctions against Rautenbach are not going to be lifted easily. He
has few friends in any sector in Zimbabwe, many have been angered by his
short temper and the selective justice he appears to enjoy and, on a more
mundane level, some of his suppliers wonder why he takes so long to settle
bills in what is a cash economy.

"It's always been my goal to return to South Africa to pursue potential
business opportunities once my name was cleared," said Rautenbach in a press
release released by his public relations executives last week.

"It's been a frustrating time of exile for me having to watch the evolution
of business in South Africa and being unable to make my contribution."

Clearing his name, however, among those bruised by his favoured status, may
take a bit longer.

"Billy Rautenbach's fortunes stem from gifts from political leaders, nothing
else," a former associate from Katanga said on Friday.

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Signs of life stir Zimbabwe's stock market

September 27, 2009 - 3:54PM

Zimbabwe's moribund economy is slowly stirring, with signs of life in
once-shuttered businesses helping to revive a stock market that was closed
amid scandal last year, analysts said.

Hammered by world-record hyperinflation, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange was
shut down last November as the central bank sought to curb traders using dud
cheques as well as activities of market speculators.

Trading resumed in February, after the local currency was abandoned and a
unity government was formed between President Robert Mugabe and his
long-time rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Since then the value of monthly trade is up 20-fold, though that's coming
off a base of just 2.5 million US US dollars. ZSE boss Emmanuel Munyukwi
told AFP that still shows signs of at least cautious optimism in the

"This is a sign that confidence is coming back to the bourse when compared
to last year," he said.

"There has been huge interest on our counters. Most of the buyers are
foreigners especially from South Africa and United Kingdom."

Monthly trading peaked in June at 57 million US dollars but has since
slowed. Munyukwi expects the September figures to register around 50 million
US dollars.

Without a local currency, trading is now conducted in US US dollars,
limiting currency risks for foreign investors, Munyukwi said.

That's brought stability to a market ravaged by inflation estimated in
multiples of billions last year, said Dzikamai Danha, an analyst with
Renaissance Capital, a Russia-based company that tracks emerging markets.

"The real reason why the economy has stabilised and the real reason why the
stock exchange has had a fine rally... is as result of confidence in the use
of the US dollar, which does not fluctuate like the Zimbabwe dollar," Danha

"Last year, the ZSE in terms of business was actually smaller to that of
Botswana, Malawi and Zambia", some of the world's smallest markets, he said.

Danha expects ZSE market capitalisation to be 4.1 billion US dollars by year
end, representing a 138 percent increase over the quarter ending in June,
but still tiny even compared to neighbouring South Africa's bourse.

Significant political risks remain, as Mugabe and Tsvangirai publicly feud
over key appointments, including the naming of the central bank governor.

"Although the political noise surrounding these disagreements has
intensified in recent months, we do not believe any break in the government
is imminent," Danha said.

But Jonathan Waters, analyst at the economic and financial data group Zfn,
said that despite the gains this year, the market remains far off its
historic peaks.

The ZSE had a market capitalisation of about nine billion US US dollars in
mid-1997, before inflation began surging.

Last year at the height of the hyperinflation, the market was capitalised at
about four billion US dollars, against 3.5 billion US dollars last week, he

"So in fact it's gone backwards," Waters said.

But as companies adjust to doing business in a dollarised economy, some are
performing surprisingly well, while foreign investors have begun returning
to Zimbabwe, he said.

"Between 50 to 150 million US dollars has certainly come into the country"
this year from foreign investors, Waters said, adding that banks had
performed well in their first quarterly results under the new financial

"Our first dollarised results for the period to June have just been
released, and we have been surprised by the performance of the banks," he

Although 79 firms are listed on the ZSE, 10 dominate trading -- most of them
local subsidiaries of banks such as Barclays and Old Mutual, as well as
local telecom Econet.

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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 26th September 2009

IMG_8723 by you.    IMG_8761 by you.

       Dumi and Luka arrive at the Vigil                                   Dumi and Luka with Betty Makoni


A triumphant cheer with exuberant ululating greeted two members of the Vigil management team, Dumi Tutani and Luka Phiri, when they arrived at the Vigil after completing a 55-mile sponsored walk from Brighton on the south coast. Despite their exhaustion, they immediately joined in the celebratory dancing. 


They had set off just before 5 am and covered the distance (twice the length of a marathon) in thirteen and a half hours including two short breaks. 


“I really enjoyed it” said Dumi, wearing a Vigil tshirt. “People were very supportive as we passed by”. Luka, whose idea it was, could not suppress a huge grin.


The walk was to raise funds to help a Zimbabwean girl with a severe facial tumour who is coming to the UK for urgent medical treatment. The girl, Taremeredzwa Nomatter Mapungwana, is supported by the Zimbabwean charity Girl Child Network ( Tare is to have an operation soon at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London.


Dumi and Luka were greeted at the Vigil by Betty Makoni, founder of Girl Child Network, who was warm in her praise. “Because of your walk people here have now heard of our work”.


Betty addressed the Vigil about her experience as an activist on women’s issues. She said she had been forced to flee Zimbabwe because of her role in helping women victims of political violence.


She said one woman she had helped had been traumatized by being raped by 18 soldiers. Another, who was pregnant when she was raped, had been so badly injured that the doctor she was taken to in Botswana had cried. A recent appeal for help had been from a woman on her deathbed as a result of injuries sustained in June last year.  She added that women that had been raped didn’t find it easy to share their stories.


Betty said rape had been used as a weapon of war since 2002 and women and their families were still being harassed and intimidated. Husbands would be taunted by the perpetrators, who believed they could act with impunity


While Betty spoke to the Vigil about the situation in Zimbabwe a different picture was being painted at a conference elsewhere in London addressed by representatives of the Zimbabwe government trying to get the diaspora to invest back home – despite the clear absence of the rule of law displayed so eloquently by Mugabe’s xenophonic ranting at the UN.


We had a good attendance despite many Restoration of Human Rights supporters attending a ROHR fundraising party in Birmingham.


For latest Vigil pictures check:


FOR THE RECORD:  170 signed the register.



·    ROHR Bournemouth general meeting. Saturday 3rd October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: East Cliff Reformed Church, Holdenhurst Road, BH8 8AW. Contact: Mike Mhene 07774521837, Abigail Nzimba 07917458873, Gift Pfupa 07909831158, Sekai Mujeyi 07765244138 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070

·    ROHR Surrey & Hants general meeting. Saturday 3rd October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: 10 Elmdene Court, Constitution Hill, Woking, Surrey, GU22 7SA. Contact: Isacc Mudzamiri 07774044873, Thoko Hlokama 07886203113, Thandi Mabodoko 01483600201, 01483826764 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070. Feedback from the Chair's meeting held in Coventry 

·    Zimbabwe Vigil – 7th Anniversary. Saturday 10th October at 6.30 pm.  The Vigil started on 12th October 2002 and we are marking this anniversary on the nearest Saturday to that date.  There will be a social gathering after the Vigil, downstairs at the Bell and Compass, 9-11 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6NA, next to Charing Cross Station at the corner of Villiers Street and John Adam Street.

·    ROHR West Bromwich general meeting. Saturday 31st October from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: St Peters Church Hall, Whitehall Road, West Bromwich B70 0HF. ROHR Executive and a well known lawyer present. Contact Pamela Dunduru 07958386718, Diana Mtendereki 07768682961, Peter Nkomo 07817096594 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 0793221607

·    Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

·    From Liberator to Dictator by Mike Auret. This is a personal account of the unravelling of Zimbabwe, written by an insider who was prepared to keep faith with Robert Mugabe until it was almost too late. Michael Auret served for many years on Zimbabwe's respected Catholic Commission of Justice and Peace, which worked tirelessly to defend human rights in that country. In this memoir, he traces his involvement in the politics of his country, from his days as an opposition MP in Ian Smith's Rhodesia to his involvement with the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and his election as MP for Harare Central in the brutal election of 2000.

·    Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For more information check: or contact:


Vigil Co-ordinators


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




Vigil co-ordinator


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




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After decades away, returning to Zimbabwe home

9/27/2009, 12:04 p.m. EDT
The Associated Press

(AP) - EMBAKWE MISSION, Zimbabwe - The imposing cross atop the brick church
looms out of the bush like a beacon. The bells sing out with impatience,
urging the faithful to hurry along, and one small bellringer is swept right
off his feet.

A peremptory roll from a handmade wooden drum topped with goat skin is
followed by a call from a cow horn.

The choir breaks into an a capella hymn. It's a far cry from the stately
Gregorian chant of my youth, all in Latin, which I could recite from memory
with no idea what it meant. Everyone stands as a dozen altar boys, one
carrying a large cross, escort the Rev. Johannes Maseko and two seminarians
up the aisle.

It's the first time I've seen altar boys in robes of brilliant African
fabric-orange and green. Those in the congregation tap their feet, clap
their hands and sway to the music. My face is wet with tears.

And I tear up again at the end, when the priest introduces me to the
congregation as "baby Michelle" who was born here and is coming back after
nearly five decades away.

"You have returned to your home," he says. "We are your family. We are happy
to have you with us."

On closer inspection, many collars in the pews are frayed, jerseys darned,
Sunday-best shoes worn down at the heels. And at the offertory, only coins
are placed in the basket along with offerings of tea biscuits, a packet of
sugar, some tea leaves. These are precious commodities: Someone is doing
without to make this gift.

Embakwe Mission once was an example of progress and success. But now it is
suffering along with the rest of the country, and in particular the province
of Matabeleland-land of the Ndebele people.

Many people here are worn down by back-to-back wars and crises that keep
this southwestern corner, on the brink of the Kalahari Desert, the poorest
in a deprived nation. I find a place where no textbooks have been purchased
in nearly a decade, where children come to school faint from hunger, where
life savings have been wiped out.

Embakwe Mission was founded in 1902 by the spirit medium Njemhlophe, who
gave up throwing the bones after he converted to Christianity. He came at
the behest of Catholic missionaries who soon followed, a Jesuit priest on
horseback and three intrepid nuns fresh from England in an ox wagon loaded
with provisions, including a hen, a cock and a cat.

First they turned back because of a thunderstorm with forked lightning. On
the second attempt, the wagon got bogged down in mud. So the nuns, from the
Belgian-based Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur, trudged through the sludge to
their new home, a loaf of bread under one arm and a bottle of altar wine
tucked under the other.

I think of them as I follow a rusting sign off the road onto a dirt track. I
slow to cross the dry bed of Embakwe River. Some women are digging holes in
the loose sand to collect water. A barefoot child waves hello.

"Salibonani," I yell back out the window.

A grey lourie responds with its fish-wifely "go-away" squawk-hunters hate it
because it warns their prey. The familiar song of cicadas hums through the
bushes and the blue, blue sky is painted with clouds drifting lazily and so
low you want to reach out and fluff them up.

"Embakwe Mission," announces the same old carved stone, once whitewashed but
now weathered grey. The mission's signature red-brick buildings are also
weathered, including a church, clinic, a primary day school, a high school,
hostels for boarders, a pigsty, playing fields.

Outside the mission, the air has a homely whiff of woodfire and cattle dung.
The bush is thinned out because trees are used for fuel; the grass appears
shaved from overgrazing.

There's no running water, no electricity, no telephones. And we're out of
reach of cellular phone service unless you climb a certain tree on the

Villages are also strangely bereft of young people.

James Mapegani Macebo Ncube, 78, taught at Embakwe for 45 years. His elder
son went to neighboring South Africa and has not been heard from in 15
years. But his younger son graduated from Embakwe two years ago, got a job
working with computers in South Africa and hopes to visit at Christmas.

"Because of this government, I cannot enjoy my children around me. They
could not tolerate staying, like all the young people: There are no jobs,
nothing for them."

Macebo is caring for a 13-year-old orphan, the son of his wife's sister, who
died in 2004 followed by her husband in 2006, presumably of AIDS.

Like all aging Zimbabweans, his pension was wiped out by dizzying inflation
as the government recklessly printed money to mask the collapse of the
economy. Zimbabwe's dollar was on a par with the U.S. dollar at independence
in 1980. The goverment abandoned the local currency in January, shortly
after printing a 100 trillion-dollar note.

In their old age, Macebo and his wife, Lilliam, are forced to survive off
the land, much as the missionaries found their great-grandparents. They have
two cows, a handful of goats and some chickens, and they grow corn, sorghum,
millet and a variety of other crops.

They live in a brick home topped by a grass thatched roof. If they need the
toilet at night, they walk outside to a small brick building. Bedtime is
when it gets dark, because there is no money to buy paraffin for the lamp
gathering dust in a corner.

If there's a medical emergency, Macebo is lucky. He has two donkeys and a
scotch cart that could carry them to the mission clinic.


The clinic is surprisingly well-equipped and squeaky clean. On this day it's
filled with the cries of children getting vaccinated. Nurse Barbara Moyo
says the drugs come from a European doctor who works at a nearby mission and
gets donations from Germany.

When AIDS antiretrovirals are handed out, scores of people line up, winding
their way around the clinic. Moyo says as much as 75 percent of the working
population is infected with AIDS-those aged from about 20 to 49.

That astonishing figure-five times the national average-she attributes to
migration for work, including prostitution, and the booming cross-border
trade with nearby Botswana. Men get infected there and bring the disease
home to their wives.

The mission's schools also reflect crisis. Halfway through the term, the
primary school has only one box of chalk and no money.

Frederick Chikwane, a Cuban-trained chemist who is headmaster of the high
school, says parents would not agree to pay more than $250 for a 13-week
term for a boarder.

His student body has shrunk from about 700 to 420 this year, with some
parents putting students into cheaper day schools, some sending their
children to South Africa. Less than two-thirds of school fees have been
paid. In June, Chikwane was forced to send home some students whose parents
had not paid.

"Some of our students are dropping their schooling altogether, going to
Botswana or South Africa to do manual labor, or just turning delinquent,"
Chikwane says. "It's a sad story."

Worse off is the primary school. Deputy headmaster Mongameli Phakathi says
he cannot even look at the account books without getting a headache. The
government announced this year that children in rural areas must not pay
school fees.

Children come to school too weak to play sports. Some come only for the
mid-morning bowl of high-nutrition porridge provided by a Catholic charity.
"For some, that's the only food they are getting," Phakathi says.

Still, Chikwane says, things are better since the government abandoned the
Zimbabwe dollar.

"Costs rose so much, there was no money to buy food and, even if you had the
money, you couldn't get it from the bank," Chikwane says. "We had to ask the
parents to pay school fees in groceries."

Most people in rural areas, with no access to any kind of currency, have
turned to primitive barter. A friend told me about an elderly woman who
offered a bus driver at Lion's Den her live, trussed-up chicken for a
four-hour ride. The driver agreed, but passengers argued the woman was owed
change-at least three eggs.

In the dining hall at Embakwe, boys and young men gather for dinner. They're
hungry and there's some pushing. Each holds an enamel plate onto which one
server ladles sadza, the stiff maize meal porridge that is a staple, another
some grey, watery cabbage.

Sister Mary Anthony Madanga, who runs the kitchen, complains the boys are
not getting a balanced diet: They have had greens only three times in six
months, there is no fruit, meat is served three times a week if a cow is
slaughtered. Most days it's a soup of whatever vegetables are available,
often the cabbage, which "the boys hate."

I remember Embakwe as a land of plenty, providing for more than 1,000
students, missionaries and lay teachers. The mission became near
self-sufficient after 1953, when the biggest private dam in the country was
built. Canals channeled water to a vegetable farm and orchard. Wildlife was
plentiful and we ate so much venison I can't stomach it today.

But now most mission fields are overgrown by knee-high grass. There is bush
where I remember hundreds of orange, nectarine and banana trees.

Maseko, the youthful mission director at 29 years old, says he hired an
experienced farm manager in 2006. But the crops failed, tomatoes rotted in
the fields, a lot of money was lost.

There apparently was corruption, greed and mismanagement-the same evils that
have helped destroy the entire country. The headmaster was fired for theft
and took off with one of the two tractors.

Maseko turned to the sole remaining white farmer in the area, who now uses
part of the mission land and provides the school with some vegetables. The
fields are constantly pillaged. A few days before my visit, thieves were
caught with more than 200 pounds of tomatoes.

Much of the countryside looks like the road from Bulawayo to Embakwe-mile
after mile of destroyed farm fences and land left fallow.

Land was once the bedrock of my country. Some 5,000 white farmers owned
two-thirds of Zimbabwe's richest land at independence, employed the largest
workforce and produced enough food to feed the country and export.
Zimbabwean beef was famous, its steak considered on a par with Argentina's.

But millions of black peasant farmers were crowded onto overworked marginal
land. So Britain, the former colonial ruler, funded a land resettlement
program at independence and made annual payments for President Robert
Mugabe's government to buy white farms. It only stopped in 1997 when it
became clear that the land was being given to Mugabe's generals and cronies.

After Mugabe lost a referendum to entrench his powers, he ordered violent
seizures of commercial farms in 2000, accusing the farmers of ordering their
black workers to vote against him. Banks suffered since many of their assets
were in farm mortgages. The land itself became worthless.


In the years after 1980, thousands of schools, clinics, dams and roads were
built. But not in Matabeleland, where the minority Ndebele people had voted
overwhelmingly for Joshua Nkomo's party, not the winning party dominated by
Mugabe's Shona people.

A handful of Nkomo's guerrillas attacked white farmers and killed some white
tourists near the Victoria Falls. This led to a full-fledged battle in
Bulawayo, the Matabeleland capital a two-hour drive from Embakwe.

Mugabe got North Korean instructors to "train" the Fifth Brigade, which
swept through the province like its nickname "Gukurahundi"-Shona for "the
first rains that wash away the chaff."

Under Perence Shiri, now commander of the Zimbabwe Air Force, those troops
attacked and killed up to 40,000 civilians in a five-year purge that some
human rights activists liken to genocide. Some were buried in mass graves.
Others were thrown down mine shafts. Limestone was thrown on some bodies to
disintegrate the bones.

Entire sections of Matabeleland were blocked from access to medicine and
food during a drought.

With some 3 million people facing death by starvation, a defeated Nkomo
signed a unity accord with Mugabe in 1987, effectively making Zimbabwe a
one-party state.

Many wonder if the same fate does not await the latest unity
government-formed in February between Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai, the man many believe won elections last year.

People still talk about "Gukurahundi" in whispers. Some watched siblings,
sons and daughters tortured and gunned down. Others were forced to dig their
own graves before being shot or bayonetted. Entire families were locked into
their thatch-roofed huts and burned to death.

Mugabe-who once taught at a mission neighboring Embakwe in the 1940s-denied
anything was happening.

Local and international human rights groups say Mugabe and Shiri should be
tried at the International Court of Justice for crimes against humanity.
Some say fear of prosecution is the main reason Mugabe and his cabal cling
to power.


At a village near Embakwe, Mtabisi George Ndlovu wonders why he ever
bothered to fight for independence.

"Look at us," he orders, pointing to a wife with one baby in her lap and two
others hiding in her skirts while other children chase fowls around the
dusty compound.

In her pantry are a couple handfuls of dried beans and a cupful of
cornmeal-not enough to feed the family. How many children do you have? I ask
Ndlovu. For an answer, he turns to his wife, who says there are seven.

Ndlovu gets a war veteran's pension of $40 a month, but it costs him nearly
$10 to travel to Bulawayo for the money.

"We eat poorly, once a day," he complains. "When we were in the struggle,
they promised us land, good houses with water and electricity, free
education for our children, free health care. What did I get? Nothing."

As I drive away from the mission, I'm filled with a sense of trepidation.

I stop at the untended cemetery where thigh-high grass prevents me finding
the grave of that first Catholic convert, Njemhlophe. In a cleared patch,
mounds of three new graves are a reminder of the high death rate in a
country devastated by AIDS and the diseases of poverty.

These days the graveyard is so full that people must be laid to rest

AP correspondent Michelle Faul returns to her home in Zimbabwe, where she
was born and grew up, after being away for nearly five decades.

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Book Review: Wild Honey by Bookey Peek
by Shirley le Guern
27 September 2009
Authoress: Bookey Peek

"Stone Hills often feels like an island perched on the tip of a powerful and malevolent volcano - sometimes it roars and rattles the windows of the house. But nothing disturbs the peace of the everlasting hills; for like the summer storms that sweep across their heads year after year, this too must pass. Our lives may change tomorrow, but until they do, Rich will keep filming and taking his magnificent photographs and I’ll keep writing about Stone Hills, trying to fix this precious place in my mind, so I can remember all of it when one day we are no longer here. " (An excerpt from Wild Honey by Bookey Peek)



 is hard to describe Bookey Peek’s latest book, ‘Wild Honey’.  As the old cliché goes, it makes you laugh and it makes you cry - and it helps you understand the crazy contradiction that is at the heart of living in Africa.

At Stone Hills, the Peek’s family home and animal sanctuary, there is not only the opportunity to live in paradise and share in the rehabilitation of beautiful wild creatures like the honey badger for which this book is written, but the chance to actually live the Zimbabwean tragedy.

At first sight, Wild Honey is simply about the rehabilitation of a honey badger that unexpectedly became part of the Peek’s menagerie. However, you are almost half way into the book before you even meet what is apparently one of the most feared and misunderstood inhabitants of the African bush.  Instead, Wild Honey is an unforgettable look into the wonderland of Stone Hills plus a sequel to All The Way Home, Bookey’s initial collection of African wildlife stories that started with the rescue of Poombi, the crazy warthog piglet, in 1996.

The two books are now being sold as a pair by Penguin and the film version of Badge’s rehabilitation - Honey Badger: Raising Hell - is being marketed by National Geographic.

But back to the beginning. The Peek’s are a fascinating couple. Richard, Bookey’s husband, is a zoologist and ecologist who spent 14 years with the Department of National Parks and Wildlife as well as an award winning photographer and safari guide. Bookey gave up her international travels and career in law for life in the bush and has gleaned her share of writing awards along the way.

Together, they ventured into the hospitality industry and created a wildlife sanctuary among Zimbabwe’s ancient Matobo Hills where they are raising their son David and family of wild creatures.

As Bookey explains, she has always loved writing and moving to Stone Hills was a God-given opportunity to combine her two passions - writing and the bushveld. From the outset, she kept a diary which is now 800 pages long and an invaluable collection of material. She had written for magazines and always wanted to write a book - but it took the amazing experience of being introduced to Poombi’s first two piglets that turned this into a reality.

“Once I started, nothing could stop me,” she says of a first draft that took almost a year and a half to write in between the demands of life at Stone Hills. Then she simply put it away without intending to publish it.

Having run the gambit of retrieving her book, finding agents and publishers, she says the sequel was almost inevitable. “Badge came into our lives and he just had to be written about,” she explains, adding that the third book, of which she has already written four chapters, will continue Badge’s adventures back into the wild.

Central to the whole Badge experience is the fact that people (from locals to wildlife experts and even scientists) reacted to the prospect of rescuing a honey badger with horror. Most viewed them as aggressive, unpleasant creatures that could never be tamed. The reality is that the Peeks had no intention of making Badge a pet but of returning him to the wild.

Along the way, she says, they found many people “in the woodwork” who had raised honey badgers. Every story was the same - these animals were adored simply because of their charisma and sense of humour. 

Bookey says she has realised that people are fascinated by the relationship between wild animals and people and the notion that each one (including the small animals that are so often overlooked) has a unique character of his own. “We’re lucky because we have a perfect situation. We can discover the essence of an animal through a close relationship in a way that you can’t do by watching them at arm’s length.”

However, the most important thing of all is that these stories are far more than Gerald Durrell in Africa.  The spectre of Robert Mugabe and his war veterans puts paid to any notion of an African happily ever after. Perhaps the most memorable part of the book is the family’s heart-breaking decision to evacuate their farm after gut-wrenching months of waiting for farm invaders to appear at their gate - and their inability to stay away.

Bookey describes the situation in Zimbabwe as “imponderable” and adds that it is simply a question of luck when it comes to having or not having your farm taken over by war veterans. “Our little corner of the world has been affected, but not to the same extent as others,” she says, adding that there will always be a question mark over their future in Zimbabwe.

“We live from day to day with the intention of staying forever. We’re really living a privileged life,” she muses. 

According to Bookey, although there have been political changes, nothing has yet happened that will make a real difference to the future of Zimbabwe’s wildlife. Tourism has all but died and there is now little income that could be used to look after precious resources. Nevertheless there are many who are doing wonderful things to help preserve nature and to educate future generations.

For them and for Bookey, this is all for the love of wildlife and not for money. She believes that the publication of her books will, sadly, have little effect on the ongoing wildlife crisis in Zimbabwe. Those most likely to read them are already converts and don’t need persuading, she points out.

“I do it because I have to and because I love to. (The situation) can come right but things have to change in Zimbabwe,” she concludes.

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Constitution Watch 10 of 26th September 2009[Constitution-Making Process under New Management?]


[26th September 2009]

Proposed Changes in the Constitutional Process

PRESS RELEASE by Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs on Constitution-Making Process, 18th September

On September 10, 2009, I announced that the three Principals to the Interparty Agreement were due to meet to rationalise the constitution making process.

Pursuant to the announcement, the three Principals met at Zimbabwe House yesterday September 17, 2009.  In attendance at the meeting was the Vice-President, Honourable Mujuru, Ministers Mnangagwa, Chinamasa, Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Ncube, Mangoma and myself (Matinenga). 

The meeting defined the Parliamentary Select Committee described in Article VI of the Interparty Agreement as a special purpose vehicle set up to spearhead the constitution making process.  This Committee is not an ordinary Parliamentary Select Committee.  Consequently the strict Select Committee Rules do not apply to it.

The meeting addressed issues of efficiency, capacity and inclusivity of the Select Committee and decided that:

1:  An Independent Secretariat be set up to provide administrative services to the Select Committee.  Appropriate office space will be provided for the Select Committee and the Administrative Structure. 

2:  The current Management Committee of the Select Committee will be configured and will now be made up of the current three co-chairs of the Select Committee; a negotiator or a representative of the negotiator from each of the parties to the Interparty Agreement and the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.  This Committee provides leadership and policy direction to the constitution making process.

3:  A Steering Committee made up of the current three co-chairs; the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and the co-chairpersons of the 1st Stakeholders Conference, Drs H. Sadza and Makhurane (these two are still to be invited to participate in this role).  The Steering Committee is responsible for managing the operations of the constitution making process.

4:  Due to the unfortunate polarisation brought about by reference to the Kariba Draft neither party to the Interparty Agreement should seek to promote the draft at the expense of other constitutional material it being accepted that the draft will be open to study and scrutiny just like any other constitutional material available.

E.T. MATINENGA, MP  Minister, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.  September 18, 2009.


Parliament – An aide to the Speaker said on Friday that Parliament had not yet been officially informed of this development.  Parliament’s Presiding Officers [Speaker and President of Senate and their deputies] will be meeting this week to deliberate on the consequences of the changes decided on by the principals.

Select Committee - The chairpersons consider the establishment of an independent Secretariat is a positive development, as the committee will no longer have to rely on the services of the overstretched staff and resources of Parliament.   It ties in with their resolution at a meeting a fortnight ago that a special Secretariat with an Executive Director should be set up to back its work on the Constitution.  They also hope that this new set-up will enable funding to be secured.

ZANU-PF - spokesman Ephraim Masawi hotly challenged the clause in Minister Matinenga’s statement on the Kariba Draft and said that in the GPA all three parties had agreed to its use as the key reference document and it is nonsensical for anyone to suggest that that position has been reversed.  .“ZANU PF made a decision on how the constitution-making process should proceed and as far as we are concerned that decision has not been changed.  The Kariba draft remains.”  He suggested that MDC-T’s downplaying of the Kariba draft was to  appease its civic society allies who are opposed to the document. 

MDC-T  The Prime Minister’s newsletter states  Concerned by delays and disputes over the constitution-making process, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has re-organised the structure of the oversight process to ensure greater accountability and effectiveness.”  It is not easy to see how putting in Ministers as part of the oversight mechanism chimes with the latest MDC National Council resolution that “The Party remains firm on the need and duty for a new Constitution in Zimbabwe and restates that the people of Zimbabwe should write a Constitution for themselves, by themselves”.

MDC-M – perceive the setting up of an Independent Secretariat as a step forward.  They, however, maintain their position that the Kariba draft, having been drawn up by the key negotiators of the parties over a considerable period of time, represents a confluence of ideas on the Constitution between the parties, and was agreed to in the  GPA as a starting point for the process of consultation and its clauses should be put to the people for acceptance, rejection or amendment.

NCA – have issued a statement that notwithstanding the purported addressing of issues by the inclusive government's principals, the constitution making process remains under the control of politicians.  “As long as it remains under the stewardship of three political parties with vested and often conflicting interests, the GPA inspired constitution-making process will never be efficient and inclusive.”  They maintain that  it will always be difficult if not impossible to get a democratic and people-driven constitution from a process that is primarily motivated by the quest to promote party political interests.  


These proposals raise a number of concerns:

·     As the proposed Management Committee is to provide leadership and policy direction to the constitution-making process and will include, in addition to the current three co-chairs of the Select Committee, the chief negotiator from each of the parties to the Interparty Agreement [MDC-T secretary-general, Tendai Biti, Patrick Chinamasa from ZANU PF and Professor Welshman Ncube from MDC-M] there is a realistic fear that that this Committee will opt for the Kariba draft notwithstanding Minister Matinenga’s assurances to the contrary.  The Kariba draft was the brainchild of these negotiators, and at least two of them have been adamant that it should be the document on which public consultation is based.  

·     As the Parliamentary Select Committee would come under a Management Committee including the negotiators, who are all three key Ministers and in close touch with the party principals, this may lead to new conflicts – arising from Parliament feeling its brief of driving the process is being interfered with by the Executive arm of Government.

·     The legal basis of the statement that the Select Committee on the Constitution is not bound by strict Parliamentary rules applicable to select committees is not clear – Parliament could raise objections to one of its committees coming under a separate Management Committee and serviced by an Independent Secretariat.

·     As it is envisioned that the Independent Secretariat would be housed outside Parliament there are likely to be more delays while offices are established and staff recruited.

·     The new scheme is no guarantee that funds will come in a manner acceptable to ZANU-PF, who have insisted that the constitution-making process should not be funded “directly” by donors but through government.

·     It is a pity that the inclusive government has not yet gazetted the powers of the Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs – this omission makes his position vis-à-vis Parliament and the constitution-making process ambiguous.

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

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