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Zim pulls out of Sadc Tribunal

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

By Mabasa Sasa

Zimbabwe has formally withdrawn from any legal proceedings involving the
Sadc Tribunal until the establishment of the court is ratified by at least
two-thirds of the bloc's membership as per the requirements of rules and
procedures governing the regional grouping.

In a letter dated August 7, 2009, and delivered to the registrar of the
Tribunal on August 10, Justice and Legal Affairs Minister Patrick Chinamasa
said the court did not exist by law and as such Zimbabwe would not appear
before it anymore, and neither would Government be bound by any decisions
already made or future ones emanating from there.

This followed a meeting of Sadc Justice Ministers and Attorneys-General in
South Africa from July 27 to August 3 this year that proved the Protocol on
the Tribunal and rules of providing for the composition and powers governing
the court had not yet been ratified by two-thirds of Sadc members.

"The purported application of the provisions of the Protocol on Zimbabwe is
a serious violation of international law.

"There was never any basis upon which the Tribunal could seek or purport to
found jurisdiction on Zimbabwe based on the Protocol which has not yet been
ratified by two-thirds of the total membership of Sadc.

"As we are unaware of any other basis upon which the Tribunal can exercise
jurisdiction over Zimbabwe, we hereby advise that, henceforth, we will not
appear before the Tribunal and neither will we respond to any action or suit
instituted or be pending against the Republic of Zimbabwe before the

"For the same reasons, any decisions that the Tribunal may have or may make
in future against the Republic of Zimbabwe are null and void.

"We note that the meeting of the Ministers of Justice/Attorneys-General
recommended that the (2009 DRC Sadc) Summit should urge member-states to
ratify those protocols which are not yet in force.

"We look forward to this exercise which will no doubt create an opportunity
for Sadc to regularise the composition of the Tribunal," Minister Chinamasa

A group of 79 white commercial farmers took the Republic of Zimbabwe to the
Tribunal in a bid to block the compulsory acquisition of their farms by the
State for purposes of redistribution under the land reform programme.

The Tribunal, which is based in the Namibian capital Windhoek, subsequently
made two judgments in their favour - an interim relief and a final relief
order barring the acquisitions.

Observers saw this as an attempt to block the land reform programme, an
exercise that has seen the State correcting historical land tenure
imbalances that reserved the best arable land for whites.

However, Zimbabwe and nine other Sadc members are yet to ratify both the
Protocol creating the Tribunal and a subsequent amendment to that document.

Minister Chinamasa's letter further reads: "We add that until such a time
that the Protocol is ratified by the requisite membership of Sadc, the
Tribunal is not properly constituted and is therefore not in a position to
exercise jurisdiction even on the five members who have so far ratified the

"Zimbabwe remains bound by the Sadc Treaty that it ratified on 17th
November, 1992, and by all those protocols that is has ratified to date.

"We might also further add that Article 22 of the Sadc Treaty that Zimbabwe
ratified reaffirms the principle of international law that all protocols are
subject to ratification by State parties thereto."

Efforts yesterday to get a comment from Minister Chinamasa were fruitless
with his secretary saying he was out of the country.

When questioned on why Government had not raised these arguments earlier on
and why Zimbabwe had consistently appeared before the Tribunal since 2007,
an official in the AG's Office said it was out of the country's "respect for
the Sadc Secretariat", which he said erred in allowing the court to

"Inasmuch as the white farmers were trying to use legal manoeuvring to stop
land reforms, we felt it would not be right to abuse Sadc in such a manner.

"Our considered view was that sense would prevail but we have realised that
not everyone treats the ties that bind Sadc with the same respect that we

"We went along as an indication of our noble intentions because we had
nothing to hide and it was clear that State land reforms were embarked on to
guarantee the human and economic rights of the black majority.

"We have no choice now but to point out that the creation of the Tribunal
was an administrative blunder that cannot be allowed to continue to
subsist," he said.

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Mike and Angela Campbell’s home destroyed today in an arson attack

Mike and Angela Campbell’s farm house was destroyed this morning, burned to the ground just like the Freeth’s was this weekend. Mike and Angela Campbell are Ben Freeth’s parents in law. The Campbell’s haven’t lived in their home for months now, driven out by relentless harassment and abuse by land invaders defying court orders protecting the owners and their farm. But all their furniture was still in their home and, like their daughter and their son in law, they have lost everything. The Campbell home is also on Mount Carmel, the farm that is showcasing the worst excesses of Zanu PF lawlessness and the grotesque abuses of power that have contributed to the downfall of Zimbabwe.

The images in yesterday’s post show Freeth’s home being burned to the ground on the weekend. What they don’t depict are the burning homes of three other families who also live on the farm, who, like the Freeth family, have lost everything they owned. It’s incredible to think that possible arson took place on the weekend and a few short days later, another fire occurs within close vicinity of the first - unbelievable that this can happen twice!

Where were the police? Yes, I know, questions like this are asked in Zimbabwe all the time by people aghast at the lengths the Zanu PF regime have gone to to hold onto power, but nevertheless, all decent people will wonder how on earth the perpetrators could think they could do this twice - commit such obvious glaring crimes - and get away with it.

I actually cried when I saw the images of the Freeth’s home yesterday: the despair on those weeping  faces made me feel real grief and real anger. The extent of their loss, the horror they must have faced time and time again, the relentless intimidation they are subjected to, forced to live in the close vicinity of the people who continuously abuse and hurt them - it’s all just endlessly horrible.

I know this story - and yes, it is one of many - but the heavy-handed bullying victimisation of one family and the people who share their lives, over and over and over again is, as the comments on yesterday’s post said, utterly heartbreaking. If I - a person so removed from all this - can be moved to tears by these images, then the families  living on that farm must feel as if their souls are being ripped out of their bodies every day, inch by painful inch. What is happening is unlawful, it is brutal, but it is also so incredibly cruel.

What have all these people, in their ordinary decent hardworking lives, guilty of nothing more than being farmers, farm workers and citizens of Zimbabwe, done to deserve these atrocities and to be subjected to a complete absence of justice. There are an estimated 500 workers on the farm right now being held to ransom by armed thugs. The Campbells and Freeths have had all their crops stolen this year, and yet they continue to pay their workers, who would be destitute otherwise.

Who can these people turn to?

Those of us reading their stories are faced with the utter frustration of continuously bearing witness to endless crimes, feeling paralysed by the cold fact that there has never been such a clear-cut case of horrible injustice, and no sign that there ever will be justice. Can you even begin to imagine the frustration that the families on this farm must be experiencing…?!

The police, I have been told, are very aware of what is going on Mount Carmel but have pretty much said they can do nothing: their hands are tied. I long, as I suppose many do, for one brave policeman to stand up and face the bullies, and do the right thing regardless. But even though that is exactly what should happen, the unpalatable reality is that that brave policeman would be fired, and replaced by someone more willing to bow to the bully who has the means to end all of this. The Dispol superintendent himself has said as much, apparently saying he cannot uphold any of the legal orders as he will be in danger of losing his job and will find himself on the street.

We all know why. It is because it is none other than Nathan Shamuyarira who is behind the refusal to uphold the SADC court order upholding the rights of the farmers and their workers - an order which is reinforced by two court orders from the Zimbabwe High Courts and a failed appeal lodged by Shamyurira. The police are terrified, hands tied in the face of politically motivated terror being carried out by Shamyurira which has the tacit backing of Mugabe himself.

As for that court appeal… Zimbabwe today announced that they would withdraw from the SADC tribunal. Radio Vop have a statement from Chinamasa, one of Mugabe’s most loyal acolytes, in which he said:

“The purported application of the provisions of the Protocol on Zimbabwe is a serious violation of international law [...]

“There was never any basis upon which the Tribunal could seek or purport to found jurisdiction on Zimbabwe based on the Protocol which has not yet been ratified by two-thirds of the total membership of Sadc.

“As we are unaware of any other basis upon which the Tribunal can exercise jurisdiction over Zimbabwe, we hereby advise that, henceforth, we will not appear before the Tribunal and neither will we respond to any action or suit instituted or be pending against the Republic of Zimbabwe before the Tribunal.

“For the same reasons, any decisions that the Tribunal may have or may make in future against the Republic of Zimbabwe are null and void.

“We note that the meeting of the Ministers of Justice/Attorneys-General recommended that the (2009 DRC Sadc) Summit should urge member-states to ratify those protocols which are not yet in force. We look forward to this exercise which will no doubt create an opportunity for Sadc to regularise the composition of the Tribunal.”

The timing of this, immediately after a double arson attack, makes my nostrils twitch with the smell of fat  dead rat. It’s hard not to notice that every time there is a landmark moment looming on the Zimbabwe issue, something happens - something designed to show the might of those who do not support the power-sharing agreement. Ben Freeth and the Campbells were both abducted and beaten when Mugabe was sworn in; Roy Bennett was abducted and locked up on the day the Ministers were sworn in, and now, just before a SADC meeting, two arson attacks followed by a withdrawal from SADC’s own courts.

Coincidence, or design?

This, I think, is their way of flicking two fingers up to the world, SADC, the MDCs, and the people of Zimbabwe. “Look at us”, these actions suggest, “We can get away with anything and we dare you to try and stop us!”

So who else can the people of Mount Carmel turn to? The MDCs in the power-sharing government perhaps..?

Mount Carmel has been visited by the Deputy Prime Minister, Mutambara as well as both ministers for Home affairs and the police on several occasions and yet the lawlessness continues. Ben Freeth has apparently written no less than four letters directly to President Morgan Tsvangirai about what is happening on Mount Carmel, and has yet to receive a reply. This disappoints me, shocks me, and all I can think is ‘what a disgrace’!

What next? Who next?

SADC will be sitting in congress on the 7th and 8th September in Kinshasa and the issue of the Zimbabwe government’s refusal to adhere to the ruling meted out by the regional’s own tribunal on 28 November, 2008, may or may not be on the agenda. However, Radio Vop also point out that “it has emerged that out of the 14 member states that form SADC, nine are yet to ratify both the Protocol creating the Tribunal and a subsequent amendment to the document”. What hope do the victims of national atrocities have of justice and a decent rule of law, if the majority of SADC’s leaders cannot find it in themselves to ratify Protocols upholding and protecting the rights of people within SADC? What signal does it send about the commitment and values of law and justice in the region if they don’t ratify these agreements.

I sometimes feel as if I’m watching a farce, a drama that demands that I suspend my disbelief to snapping point. The outrage that the Zimbabwean government has about the MDCs purported failure to demand that smart sanctions are lifted off targeted individuals is a joke - a total joke - when someone like Shamuyarira repeatedly defies laws in the country and linked to thugs who have beaten civilians and who are associated with arson. The fact that the Zanu PF party has done nothing to reign in the worst excesses of some of its members, and yet still manages to drum up outrage that there are sanctions targeted against individuals, astonishes me.

What planet do certain Zanu PF members live on? Do they REALLY believe that the MDCs have the power or ability to persuade the rest of the law-abiding world to drop their values into the gutter just because that is what some in SADC seem to be tolerant of.

In the meanwhile, people like the farmworkers who live on Mount Carmel whose names and identities and lives are unknown to the rest of the world, continue to have their lives and rights trampled on. and not even the people they probably voted into power - is standing by them.

Justice, it seems, has taken a long long holiday from the people of our country.

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TAKE ACTION: Call or sms ‘Landmine’, the person responsible for the arson attacks on Mount Carmel farm

September 2nd, 2009

Please call or send a text message to Lovemore Madangonga (aka ‘Landmine’). This is the guy who is directly responsible for organising and coordinating a lot of the crimes on Mount Carmel Farm, including the arson attacks blogged here and here.

  1. Please tell him that the world is aware of what he is doing and that his actions will not be forgotten.
  2. Let him know that you will be taking a special note of his name and what he has done to the people living on Mount Carmel Farm, and that you will be lobbying the governments in your country and leaders in SADC, to do all they can to address the fact that he is continuously violating the rule of law, and violating human rights on Mount Carmel Farm.
  3. Tell him where you are calling from so he truly knows that the world is watching.

These men currently enjoy the protection of Nathan Shamuyarira who in turn enjoys the protection of Mugabe and the Zanu PF party. Landmine and his thugs benefit from an absence of the rule of law and a partisan application of justice in Zimbabwe. This will one day come to an end, and Landmine and his colleagues need to be made aware that there will be a day in the future when all of those who continuously and repeatedly trample on human rights in Zimbabwe, and carry out crimes, will be held accountable for what they do and have done in the past.

They have a choice now, to continue along the path they are treading, or to re-consider their actions and stop their criminal behaviour.

Your calls and sms messages will help ensure that their actions are being noted by a worldwide audience. The fact that you have made an effort to actually contact him will drive home to him that you care enough to do what you can to help the people whose lives he is destroying.

We hope that his swaggering bullish confidence will be dented when he realises that his actions are being noted, along with his name, and that there will be a time when the rest of the world demands that international human rights standards are applied to the persistent human rights violators in Zimbabwe.

The more messages ‘Landmine’ gets, the more he will realise that he and his thugs cannot hide, and that they will all be held accountable one day.


Call or sms Landmine on his cell phone :  +263 (0)912 554 338

It is very important that no matter how angry you feel about this, that you remain calm and polite.

Please be polite when you talk or send an sms to Landmine. Be factual and to the point - make sure you get your point across without aggression and without insult. Remember that he is a cowardly criminal and it is critical that when calling or sms’ing him that you are very sensitive to the security concerns of families still living on the farm in the close vicinity of ‘Landmine’ and his thugs.

Please can you add a link to this post on your Facebook and Twitter accounts, and encourage people to step up and take action along with you.

If he responds, please leave feedback and tips in the comments for other people to follow too.

Thank you!

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Zim to free 1 500 prisoners to ease jail population

HARARE, ZIMBABWE Sep 02 2009 17:13

Zimbabwe's coalition government is shortly to free more than 1 500 prisoners
in a bid to ease the crisis in the country's crowded jails that have become
known as "death camps", reports said on Wednesday.

The crisis was exposed in April when documentary video footage showed
half-naked, skeletal inmates wasting away from hunger and diseases in the
country's 42 jails, as prison authorities ran out of money for rations and

Quoted on Wednesday by the state-controlled New Ziana news agency, the
permanent secretary in the Justice Ministry David Mangota said 1 544 would
be granted an amnesty by President Robert Mugabe.

The amnesty applied to all women prisoners, prisoners serving three-year
terms and after they had completed a quarter of their sentences, those in
open prisons and life inmates who had served 20 or more years. It excluded
prisoners jailed for serious crimes, including murder, rape and vehicle

The Prisons Department said jails have a capacity of 17 000 inmates, but the
current population is about 13 000.

Mangota said the amnesty was "a short-term relief option".

Amnesty International secretary-general Irene Khan said on a visit in July
that prison conditions were "deplorable and not fit for humans", and
revealed that 1 000 prisoners had died in the first six months of the year.
Zimbabwe judge president said sentencing people to jail terms was like
"passing a death sentence".

The crisis partially abated after international media reports on the
situation sparked Western aid agencies to come to the rescue with water
supplies, food, clothing and medicines. Local media reports, however, last
week quoted prison officials as saying that the rate of deaths had dropped
"from three per week to two".

Zimbabwe's once prosperous economy crashed last year with inflation hitting
an estimated 500-billion percent and the currency plumbing Z$40-trillion to
one United States dollar.

Simultaneously, the worst cholera epidemic in Africa for decades broke out,
killing about 4 000 people. Mugabe's reckless economic policies are blamed
for the collapse.

Large-scale amnesties are dreaded by ordinary Zimbabweans as they are
followed invariably by sudden waves of crime. -- Sapa-dpa

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Mugabe's green bombers paid as teachers

Wednesday, 02 September 2009 08:39

Staff reporter
THE notorious ZANU-PF militias who traumatised Zimbabwe during the
presidential elections last year are now receiving salaries and perks from
the inclusive government for perpetuating President Mugabe's iron-fist
misrule, The Zim Diaspora can exclusively reveal.

The youths , who spearheaded ZANU-PF gross human rights violations in the
June 2009 presidential election run off between President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are receiving monthly salaries as a token
of appreciation for keeping the octogenarian leader in power. They are paid
salaries equivalent to teachers and nurses.

During the bloody presidential elections, there were widespread reports of
members of the opposition MDC being decapitated their limbs, torture,
disappearances including being burnt to death. Amnesty International
condemned the militias' acts which was immediately upgraded to serious
crimes against humanity prosecutable in The Hague.

The Zim Diaspora investigative reporter tracked down the youths and bravely
put across questions as to how they ended up in a government payroll when
they were not civil servants, the youths said it was necessary for them to
paid because they were guarding against attempts by the West to recolonise

Recolonise - has been President Mugabe's buzz word to brainwash the
country's youth and preach hatred against white Zimbabweans including those
who call for the president's ousting. In Zimbabwe, a call to outvote
President Mugabe is easily mistaken for treason.

So far, the youths tracked down in Nyanga, eastern Zimbabwe by this reporter
identified themselves as Christopher Chinhimbiti (33) Emilia Mukonomushava
(21) Dorothy Chiro (23) Emmanuel Saunyama (36) Ali Mutigwa (28) and Moses
Gutu (35).

They have been deployed by ZANU-PF in Nyanga South constituency whose MP is
Mr William Chimbetete of MDC-T faction.

"Yes many of us here receive pay. We earn the same as teachers and other
civil servants. We are co-ordinators in our respective districts so we are
paid for that. After all, Zanu pf is still ruling, there is nothing like the
unity government. That only exists on paper" said Chinhimbiti holding a pint
of castle lager.

Another youth also said they were pleased to sacrifice their lives in
support of President Mugabe saying the payments were necessary to boost
their morals.

Asked about the alleged torture and gross human rights violations the youths
has committed in the country, one youth said: "At times it is necessary to
be forceful in order to restore law and order."

It also emerged that ZANU-PF was already planning ahead of the next general
elections by deploying youths in every district offices of the country.

These youths knows as district co-ordinators are usually above the law as
they cannot be arrested for committing crimes in their places of deployment.
It has also emerged that the government is also rewarding the callous youths
who caused a lot of suffering among opposition voters with vouchers.

The minister in charge Mrs Paurina Gwanyanya Mpariwa could not be reached
for comment at the time of going on Press.

However, the issue has created tension among civil servants who are
underpaid by the government yet paying the militias.

"We know many many ZANU-PF youths who are receiving same salaries like me a
qualified teacher. It will be better for us to stop going to work so that
the government realise how important we are than to rate us in the same
bracket with militias" said Mr Simon Katerere a teacher at Mazarura
Secondary in Nyanga.

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Zimbabwe To Stay Put At Chiadzwa

Harare, September 02, 2009 - The Zimbabwean government said it will
only remove soldiers from the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields in
Marange when it gets suitable security replacements.

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told Radio VOP on Tuesday evening: "The
soldiers themselves have told us that it is not in their interest to be
there. They have their own mandate and would like to leave but they can not.
We have to make alternative arrangements, we have to get sufficient security
then they will move out. The soldiers are there to keep out rampant illegal
mining activities in the area."

After visiting the area in June the Kimberley Process - a global
watchdog that tries to prevent trade in diamonds that fuel conflict - called
for the military be withdrawn and Zimbabwe's diamond sales to be halted for
at least six months.

The KPCS, sent a review mission to Marange in late June 2009 to assess
Zimbabwe's compliance with the group's standards on mining documentation and
exportation of diamonds.

On July 4, local and international media reported that the review team
had found Zimbabwe to be in violation of these standards. The KPCS urged the
government to take corrective action by July 20 or face suspension.

The World Diamond Council has urged government participants in
Kimberly Process Certification System (KPCS) to act decisively to ensure
that mining of diamonds at Zimbabwe's controversial Marange diamond fields
complies with KPCS standards.

The council, which represents the diamond industry in the KPCS, said
it would call for Zimbabwe's suspension from the world diamond trade should
there be further delays in resolving the issue of the Marange fields also
known as Chiadzwa diamond fields, where Zimbabwe's army is accused of gross
human rights violations and engaging in illicit diamond trade.

Despite the council's recommendations Zimbabwe's army and police have
refused to leave Marange.

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Mugabe's monthly salary is $300 - Biti

September 2  20009

Written by Kingsley Kaswende in Harare, Zimbabwe
ZIMBABWE's finance minister Tendai Biti has disclosed that President
Robert Mugabe is currently earning US $300 as his monthly salary. In a bid
to persuade over 45,000 Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA) members who
plan to go on a nationwide strike today to rescind their decision, Biti said
there was no fiscal room for the inclusive government to increase anyone's
salary because it was broke.
"Unless there is a dramatic improvement in the economy and revenue
improves by 300 per cent, we have no fiscal space for a salary increment at
the moment. Even the President is currently earning US$300 and we can't draw
water from stones. The economy is not performing," he said.

ZIMTA members threatened to launch a nationwide work stoppage as the
new school term begins today, pressing for salaries better than the average
of US $155 they are currently earning.

Biti, however, pleaded with the teachers to remain patient while the
economy got back to its feet, noting that the government was concerned with
their plight.

"Our main priority is to pay the civil servants and from the time we
announced salaries for the civil service, about 70 per cent or two-thirds of
the budget has gone to pay our workers," he said.

He said in July this year, the government recorded its highest revenue
inflows of about US $90 million but 65 per cent of it went to salaries.

"We paid around US$52 million for civil servants' salaries and the
rest has to go to hospitals for drugs, the various embassies across the
world, food, and inputs for agricultural activities, among other expenses,"
he said.

Biti said there were 236,000 civil servants and if all were paid the
lowest desired wage of US$400, the government would have to spend more than
US$94 million per month.

"There is no money and government is currently operating on a cash
budget," said Biti.

The inclusive government started paying civil servants salaries in
July. Between February and June, civil servants had been earning an
allowance of US $100 across the board after the country switched from the
Zimbabwe dollar to the US dollar.

During that time, the government's wage bill accounted for 35 per cent
of total expenditure and 13 per cent of estimated Gross Domestic Product.

Effective July 1, Biti set aside an additional US$14 million per month
over and above the budgeted US$34 million per month for salaries to support
implementation of modest salaries up to December.

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Recovery may strain Zimbabwe power generation: Zesa CEO

Wed Sep 2, 2009 3:31pm GMT

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE (Reuters) - An economic turnaround could strain Zimbabwe's capacity
to generate electricity in a country already relying on imports to meet
demand, the chief executive of state-owned power utility Zesa said on

Ben Rafemoyo told an energy forum that Zesa needed to ramp up production at
its major thermal plant by more than 500 MW by year-end to cope with
expected demand as industrial output slowly rises after years of decline.

The country has not had any major investment in electricity generation since
1998 and relies on ageing equipment which would be unable to cope with
increased power supply.

"Our fear is that any slight improvement in economic activity will put
tremendous strain on our capacity," Rafemoyo said.

He later told journalists: "If industry peaks up, it means the demand would
also increase and .... put more pressure, unless we do something to mitigate

Zimbabwe's economy contracted in the past decade with industrial output
falling below 10 percent capacity, but a unity government formed between
President Robert Mugabe and rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now Prime Minister, has
raised hopes of recovery.

The new government expects production at around 60 percent of capacity by
the end of this year.

But challenges remain, with electricity supply low, coal in short supply and
problems of vandalism and a lack of skills.

The country's current peak demand is 1,600 MW but the country only produces
1,000 MW. The peak demand would increase to 2,200 MW once the country's
economy recovers.

Rafemoyo said Zesa could increase production by 500 MW by completing
refurbishment of four of the six units at its main Hwange thermal power

Designed to generate 780 MW, Hwange produces 200 MW from two units. A third
unit would be commissioned this week, another one by end of the month and
the remaining two by December this year.

"It's not going to wipe out the deficit, but it will go towards narrowing
the gap between supply and demand," said Rafemoyo.

Zesa is also considering whether to lease out its smaller thermal plants to
independent power producers or to jointly run them with private investors to
add another 250 MW.

Rafemoyo said government's decision to allow Zesa to charge economic tariffs
and the use of multi-currencies this year made investment in the power
sector viable for independent producers.

"In fact, enquiries are coming through to us. Yes, those engagements are yet
to be realised, but it's interesting that there is a lot of interest which
was not there in the past."

Zimbabwe imports a third of its electricity from Zambia, Mozambique and
Democratic Republic of Congo, but has been struggling to pay off its debt to
the countries' utilities.

Rafemoyo said Zesa was making small payments towards its debt, which stood
at $57 million in June, and is looking for a bridging loan to refinance the

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Zimbabwe 'needs $900m' to repair power stations

Wed Sep 2, 10:51 am ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe needs 900 million US dollars to refurbish its two
main electrical stations and halt crippling power outages, the head of the
state utility said on Wednesday.

Daily outages occur across the country, while some areas go for months
without electricity as the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)
struggles to repair extensive damage to the grid.

A decade of economic collapse has left power stations in disrepair, with
generators operating at about a third of capacity.

"We are suffering from under capitalisation and technical failure. We need
to quickly embark on expansion projects on Hwange and Kariba power plants,"
said ZESA boss Ben Rafemoyo.

"Using the current feasibility studies Hwange requires 600 million US
dollars and Kariba requires 300 million US dollars," he said.

ZESA imports some power from neighbouring countries, but even with the
imports Zimbabwe currently meets only about half of its electricity demands.

Rafemoyo said the country's power needs are expected to increase as the
economy improves following the formation of a unity government earlier this

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Ministers Meet With Teacher Representatives, But Strike Appears in Offing

By Jonga Kandemiiri
01 September 2009

Many of Zimbabwe's teachers seemed likely to be absent from classrooms on
Wednesday as the country's largest association representing instructors
failed to show up for a meeting called Tuesday by Education Minister David
Coltart and Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

The two ministers were hoping to stave off a strike called for Wednesday,
when schools are scheduled to reopen for a new term, by the Zimbabwe
Teachers Association.

Coltart and Biti met late Tuesday with representatives of the Progressive
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe and the Teachers Union of Zimbabwe. But the
Zimbabwe Teachers Association is the largest representative organization,
particularly in the country's rural areas.

Sources who attended the meeting said Biti offered proof that the government
does not have funds to increase teacher salaries, and asked for patience on
the part of all civil servants whose wages now account for 70% of the
country's thin budget.

Biti said funds were not forthcoming from international donors to help meet
their demands.

Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe General Secretary Raymond Majongwe
said a strike at this point would be counterproductive, urging his members
to stay on the job.

But Zimbabwe Teachers Association Secretary General Richard Gundani told
reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that the strike Wednesday by his members will go
ahead as planned.

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'Hunger Season' Looms for Rural Zimbabweans in October - Food Monitoring Unit

By Patience Rusere
01 September 2009

Food stocks in most rural households in Zimbabwe will be depleted by early
October, warned the U.S.-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network, or
FEWSNET, on Tuesday.

The organization, operated by the U.S. Agency for International Development,
blamed the impending food shortages on poor harvests and limited access to
hard currency among rural dwellers to buy maize meal and other Zimbabwean
staple foods.

But FEWSNET said the situation in the cities is more better because foods
imports have risen this year, a situation likely to continue through the end
of 2009.

The food security monitoring unit said that although the 2009 maize harvest
showed some improvement over 2008, Zimbabwe faces a potential shortfall in
cereals of some 500,000 metric tonnes. Winter wheat production is seen
meeting just 8% of requirements.

National Director Forbes Matonga of Christian Care, a main distribution
agent for the U.N. World Food Program, told reporter Patience Rusere of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that food aid is likely to be reduced from last
year's levels due to insufficient donor support and poor data on need,
adding that he sees more problems than FEWSNET in urban zones.

World Food Program spokesman Richard Lee said his agency will conduct an
assessment of food needs in rural areas in the weeks ahead to inform its
relief initiatives.

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ZCTU pulls out of NGO body

by Cuthbert Nzou and Patricia Mpofu Wednesday 02 September 2009

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the country's largest
labour union, has pulled out of the National Association of Non Governmental
Organisations (NANGO) and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, over differences on
the on going constitution-making process.

The ZCTU severed ties with the two civic organisations whom it accused of
backing the government's constitution making process being spearheaded by a
25-member parliamentary committee.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the labour union said its general
council met on August 22 and resolved that: "The ZCTU should pull out of the
National Association of Non Governmental Organisations and Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition over differences on the current constitution-making

"This has been done to protect the interest of NANGO, Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition and the ZCTU constitutions. ZCTU affiliates should continue to
abide by the ZCTU constitution and resolutions."

The ZCTU and the Lovemore Madhuku-led National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
are opposing the government constitution-making processing saying it was not
people-driven but led by political parties in the coalition government of
President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his deputy
Arthur Mutambara.

They are also opposed to the proposal to use the Kariba Draft Constitution
crafted by Mugabe's ZANU PF party and the two Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) formations during talks that culminated in the formation of the
inclusive government on February 11.

The ZCTU and the NCA in July boycotted a two-day convention organised by
NANGO and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition arguing that the two organisations
were backing the government process.

The ZCTU and the NCA are advocating for an all-stakeholders conference to
come up with an independent commission to spearhead the crafting of the
country's new supreme law.

Sources in the civil society said the split was motivated by donor funds as
organisations jostle to outwit each other for money to bankroll activities
surrounding the constitution-making process.

The ZCTU, the surrogate mother of the MDC in 1999, has accused the
Tsvangirai-led MDC of abandoning its founding principles for a people-driven

NANGO spokesman Fambai Ngirande confirmed the withdrawal of the two
organisations. "They have formally advised us," said Ngirande. "But we can
only be in a position to comment at length later," he said.

Meanwhile, the ZCTU noted with concern the failure by government to address
the issue of low salaries for civil servants, among them teachers, who have
threatened to embark on a nationwide strike beginning today - the start of
the third term.

Government and teachers' unions were scheduled to hold crisis meetings last
night to avert the strike.

"It seems government is now in the habit of only trying to address concerns
when a strike action threat has been issued," ZCTU secretary-general
Wellington Chibebe said. "If the strike action goes ahead, then education is
doomed in this country."

The labour union backed the teachers' demands for a monthly salary of about
US$500 saying they were justified as they come against a backdrop of rising
food costs. Teachers are currently earning $155.

"Government has been making promises that salaries of its workers were to be
improved since February, but nothing much has happened," Chibebe said. "As
we stated earlier, the token increments awarded a few months ago only served
to pacify public service employees, but the tensions continued to simmer
underneath. We demand that government stop taking its workers for granted
and seriously consider the issue of awarding a living wage." - ZimOnline

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ILO team arrives to probe rights abuses

Date of publication: August 12, 2009

A three-member team of International Labour Organisations (ILO) officials is
in Zimbabwe to probe alleged violations of trade union rights by the
Zimbabwean government.

The team, which is led by Raymond Ranjeva, a senior judge with the
International Court of Justice, is set to spend two weeks in the country.

Ranjeva is accompanied by Evance Rabban Kalula, University of Cape Town
director of the institute of development and labour law, and Bertrand
Ramcharan, a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.

The probe team will visit Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru and Mutare to meet a total
of 40 victims of labour rights abuses lined up to provide testimony of their
experiences at the hands of the State apparatus. They will testify under

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) president, Lovemore Matombo and his
secretary general, Wellington Chibhebhe are among those who were assaulted
by the police for taking part in a 2006 labour rights based demonstration.

The team shall however stick to labour issues as dictated by its terms of

It will meet President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
along with selected cabinet ministers and some service chiefs.

The commission has since met with labour minister, Pauline Mpariwa and the
ZCTU leadership.

It will also meet the Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions (ZFTU), a rival
group to the ZCTU; co-ministers of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi and Giles
Mutsekwa as well as State Security minister, Sydney Sekeramayi.

The Director General of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO),
Happyton Bonyongwe; Police Commissioner General, Augustine Chihuri; and
Commissioner of Prisons, Retired Major General Paradzai Zimondi are the
service chiefs scheduled to meet the team.

Also set to be met are Attorney General Johannes Tomana, Chief Justice
Godfrey Chidyausiku, Supreme Court Judges and magistrates.

Other government ministers include those of public service; education;
Justice; foreign affairs; information and publicity; constitutional and
parliamentary affairs and that of lands and resettlement.

The team will go on to meet the organ on national healing and
reconciliation; the National Association of Non- Governmental Organisations
(NANGO), human rights lawyers; African ambassadors; resident donors; and the
Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace.

ZCTU information officer, Khumbulani Ndlovu told The Zimbabwe Times
Wednesday the decision to dispatch a commission of inquiry by the UN was
through pressure by the labour union for the world body's intervention to
stop the continued workers' rights violations by Harare.

The ILO is an organ of the UN.

"Since 2002," she said, "the ZCTU has been making reports of trade union
violations by the State, during ILO conferences.

"This led to the ZCTU being placed in the special paragraph resulting in the
governing body appointing a commission of inquiry to come to Zimbabwe to
investigate these reports.

"We have cases where the government was even refusing us permission to
commemorate the Workers' Day and to hold workshops."

The resultant report set to be produced by the probe team after the
completion of its mission is not likely to be in favour of the Zimbabwean

Past reports authored by human rights based teams from outside have accused
President Mugabe's government of rights abuses.

Mugabe, who claims the UN is controlled by powerful Western countries
opposed to his continued stay in power, denies any rights abuses.

Mugabe said Tuesday his detractors were spreading falsehoods about his
government because they were angered by the "peace and stability" prevailing
in the country.

"Allegations of gross abuses of human rights or failure to respect good
governance have provided fodder for the West and its media, as they
repeatedly seek blemishes to stick onto our country."

Should the ILO find Zimbabwe guilty of violating trade union rights,
Zimbabwe will join countries like Myanmar and Colombia which have been
blacklisted for similar violations.

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CNN granted exclusive with Tsvangirai

September 2, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - International news agency Cable News Network, CNN, dispatched a
team of reporters to cover the Zimbabwean story from inside the country on
Sunday after Zimbabwe's new inclusive government lifted an eight year-long
ban on the organisation.

CNN's South African-based correspondent Nkepile Mabuse led a team that flew
into Harare on Sunday and is reported to be in Zimbabwe until Friday. The
CNN team was granted an exclusive interview with Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai after a news conference held at Harvest House on Tuesday

They had reportedly lined up interviews with top officials of President
Mugabe's party, Zanu-PF.

Meanwhile, no response has been received to a request submitted by The
Zimbabwe Times to Tsvangirai's spokesman, James Maridadi, two weeks ago on
August 20 for an interview with the Prime Minister.

Mabuse declined to comment on her mission saying she could not grant
interviews without getting clearance from her authorities. She also declined
a photo opportunity.

The CNN team has been dispatched exactly a week before the opening of a
crucial summit of Southern African leaders in Kinshasa to review Zimbabwe's
six-month old power-sharing government between President Mugabe and his long
time rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now Prime Minister.

CNN, which over the past eight years filmed secretly in Zimbabwe or by
subterfuge, has now been granted unfettered access inside Zimbabwe by the

Authorities insist both CNN and the BBC were never banned in the first
place. In July, Information Ministry officials told the British Broadcasting
Corp (BBC) and CNN they could resume operations in Zimbabwe.

The BBC made its first official report from inside Zimbabwe on July 29, also
after almost eight years.

The ban was lifted after a meeting held between top Information ministry
officials and executives of the international news channels.

It was the first meeting since the CNN and BBC were banned from Zimbabwe in
July 2001, five months after the BBC's Harare correspondent Joseph Winter
had been expelled.

A meeting was held in July between Webster Shamu, Minister of Media,
Information and Publicity, the ministry's permanent secretary, George
Charamba, and principal director Sylvester Maunganidze and CNN Johannesburg
bureau chief Kim Norgaard, BBC World News editor John Williams, Africa
Bureaux editor Sarah Halfpenny and Gringo Wotshela in late July. The
government officials insisted after the meeting that both organisations had
never been banned from Zimbabwean soil.

The minister expressed hope that the interface had "cleared matters and
provided a basis for a sustainable relationship of trust, respect and mutual

The letter to the BBC reads: "For the purposes of the record, I restate the
main points of our meeting. We acknowledged the need to put behind us the
mutually ruinous relationship of the past.

"We agreed that whatever communication problems which the BBC and officials
of the Zimbabwe Government may have had in the past, the Zimbabwe Government
never banned the BBC from carrying out lawful activities inside Zimbabwe.

"To that end, the issue of 'lifting the ban' did not arise, with the BBC
free to resume activities in Zimbabwe in terms of the country's laws.

"The ministry emphasised that it would be important and helpful if the BBC
would ensure that this misconception about 'the ban' was cleared worldwide,
including with Unesco which had been wrongly made to believe that such a ban
ever existed."

Both news organisations were told to employ locals and also adhere with the
laws of the land.

The CNN team attended the press conference at Harvest House on Tuesday,
which was mysteriously switched from Munhumutapa, the centre of government,
to the party headquarters.

In his speech, Tsvangirai slammed the State media for marring the political
climate in Zimbabwe through "vicious propaganda." State Press journalists
attending the meeting, including ZTV reporter Reuben Barwe and Sydney
Kawadza of The Herald, fidgeted uncomfortably as Tsvangirai unequivocally
condemned the State media.

Tsvangirai accused the State media of seeing three political parties in the
inclusive government "through its historic perspective of hatred and
acrimony, blatantly advancing the interests of a single political party.

"This distortion of the political reality by the State media presents a real
and credible threat to this inclusive government and its ability to impact
positively on the lives of all Zimbabweans," the Prime Minister said in a
speech to mark one year of the global political agreement that gave birth to
the inclusive government.

Zimbabwe's almost six-month old unity government has raised hopes for media
freedom after President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai committed
themselves to allow foreign journalists in the country as well as grant more
TV, radio and newspapers operating licences.

The set up of a new media commission, aimed at lifting restrictions on the
operations of newspapers and journalists, has been dogged by squabbling
between parties in the GNU, eager to install their own people to control the
crucial commission.

Mugabe is still sitting on names of nominees who are supposed to constitute
the media commission, expected to support media freedom. His officials say
the commission has been stuffed with people loyal to Prime Minister
Tsvangirai's party.

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Nobody trusts us: top Zim official

by Charles Tembo Wednesday 02 September 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe requires US$53 billion to restore its economy to what it
was 10 years ago but is unable to raise funding from donors who remain
unconvinced the country was on an "irreversible path to democracy",
according to Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

A power-sharing government formed by President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last February has halted unprecedented recession
and promised to revive Zimbabwe's economy that was one of the most vibrant
in Africa just a little over 10 years ago.

But rich Western nations have refused to fund the Harare administration's
reconstruction programme demanding more political reforms and evidence that
Mugabe's genuinely committed to sharing power with Tsvangirai.

Biti -- who is also secretary general of Tsvangirai's MDC party -- said in
an interview that failure by the government to fully implement a Global
Political Agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the power-sharing
administration had crippled efforts to raise support from skeptical donors.

"The performance of our economy in the immediate short-term, and our
capacity to attract foreign assistance, depends purely and simply on our
performance and execution of the GPA. The two are inextricably connected,"
Biti said in an interview.

"Nobody trusts this government. There is not sufficient evidence from the
point of view of donors that we are on an irreversible and irrevocable path
to democracy and reform. That evidence is missing," he added.

In addition to failure to attract financial support a US$5.7 billion debt
that Harare owes various international creditors continued to constrain
efforts to rebuild the economy, said Biti, describing the debt as "a serious
albatross around our thin necks".

Analysts say the coalition government offers Zimbabwe the best opportunity
in a decade to end its multi-faceted crisis.

But they warn that the administration could yet fail because of its failure
to raise significant financial aid as well as because of unending squabbles
between Mugabe's ZANU PF party and Tsvangirai's MDC party that are the two
main pillars of the administration.

On Tuesday Tsvangirai urged a summit of Southern African Development
Community (SADC) leaders next week to discuss Zimbabwe's coalition
government, adding that his MDC party was getting frustrated because of
several outstanding issues from the GPA that he accused Mugabe of refusing
to resolve.

"We have not resolved or implemented agreed positions on provincial
governors despite the negotiators agreeing on a formula on their fair
allocation. This is why we urge SADC to place the issue of Zimbabwe for
specific consideration during the forthcoming summit in Kinshasa," said

In addition to the issue of provincial governors, Tsvangirai and his MDC
party have been angered by Mugabe's decision to unilaterally appoint two top
allies as central bank chief and attorney general in breach of the GPA which
says that appointments to all senior public posts should be by consensus.

Mugabe has also refused to swear in former white farmer and MDC treasurer,
Roy Bennett, as deputy agriculture minister while farm invasions and
sporadic acts of political violence have continued across the country.

The SADC is a guarantor of Zimbabwe's power-sharing agreement alongside the
African Union. - ZimOnline.

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Outspoken Zimbabwean archbishop says government still wants him dead

Tuesday 1 September 2009
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) - The former archbishop of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe,
said agents of his country's government still want to assassinate him over
his criticism of human rights violations under President Robert Mugabe.

Archbishop Pius Ncube, 62, who now lives in western Zimbabwe's Hwange
Diocese, made his claims in a letter to South Africa's national Catholic
weekly, The Southern Cross, with the request that Catholics pray for him.
The Southern Cross published Archbishop Ncube's letter in its Sept. 2

Before his resignation as head of the Bulawayo Archdiocese in September 2007
after having had an affair with a woman, Archbishop Ncube was
internationally known as one of Mugabe's most vocal critics.

Mugabe has frequently attacked Archbishop Ncube in speeches and interviews.
Even before his resignation, the archbishop said he was being harassed

"Where I now live, every two weeks the state intelligence is there to visit
me, which they never did when I was in Bulawayo. I now refuse to talk to
them," he told The Southern Cross.

He said he was being followed by car and alleged that his telephone and fax
lines were being tampered with. Communications are intercepted and blocked
or delayed, Archbishop Ncube said.

"My attitude is that the government of Zimbabwe has no right to hound me and
get me out of Zimbabwe," he said. "I have a right and duty to live in
Zimbabwe. This has been their method to intimidate thousands of their
critics so that they leave the country."

He said that, "in compliance with the suggestions from the Vatican," he has
abstained from publicly criticizing the government, "a thing which is alien
to my convictions."

"I do not agree with quiet diplomacy when people are suffering," he said.

However, he added, that those who are harassing him "are not more powerful
than God and our spiritual mother Mary."

"I ask the people of God to help me by their prayers for my protection," he
said. "I thank all those who pray for me. I will continue to pray for the
delivery of Africa from tyranny."

In his letter, Archbishop Ncube referred to an incident last year when a
bomb he believes was intended to kill him injured a priest instead.

On April 6, 2008, Archbishop Ncube was still out of the country, but the
government allegedly heard a rumor that he had returned.

"They therefore made an arrangement to kill me," Archbishop Ncube said.

"They planted a bomb in my car. A priest used my car," he said, and about 12
miles from Bulawayo the priest -- whom Archbishop Ncube declined to name to
protect him from repercussions -- noticed that he was being followed by two

Archbishop Ncube alleged that the people following the priest "detonated a
bomb and the (priest's) car swerved and fell into the ditch." He added that
he had been advised to get a driver for security reasons, and the bomb
specifically targeted the passenger side of the vehicle.

"Had the bomb been directed to the driver, this priest would have died
instantly," the archbishop said.

While the priest was lightly injured and covered in debris, the cars that
had followed him passed without stopping or investigating.

"A third car, driven by a Chinese man, stopped nearby," Archbishop Ncube
said. The driver allegedly proceeded to take photographs of the scene.

"The priest asked (the man) why he did not help him rather than photograph
him, since he was injured. (The man) nervously scurried away and drove off
fast," Archbishop Ncube said, adding that it was nearly four hours before
the priest was taken to a hospital.

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Mukoko "still a prisoner"

2 September 2009

By Special Correspondent

HARARE-Although she has been released from prison cells on bail after
enduring months of alleged torture, human rights activist and the Zimbabwe
Peace Project directior Jestina Mukoko remains a prisoner in Zimbabwe.
(Pictured: Zimbabwe Peace Project directior Jestina Mukoko)

The State has refused to give her temporary custody of her passport to
travel to various countries including the United States, South Africa,
Sweeden and German on the pretext that she may vanish into thin air never to
return to Zimbabwe for the completion of her trial.
Mukoko stands accused of training bandits to overthrow the previous
government led by octogenerian President Robert Mugabe in favour of a new
dispensation with MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai at its helm.
She was abducted allegedly by State security agents in a pre-dawn raid at
her home in Norton in December last year virtually naked.
Beatrice Mtetwa, Mukoko's legal representative, has since written to the
State represented by Chris Mtangadura exprtessing her reservations regarding
his attitude torwards his handling of the case at a time the nation was
embarking on a national healing process.
But Mtangadura has remained intrasigent arguing that ity would take more
than Mtetwa for him to agree to relaxing Mukoko's bail conditions.
However, Mtetwa has confirmed that she has since applied to the Supreme
Court to have her client's bail conditions relaxed so she can go about her
daily business.
In her defence, Mukoko argues that she has since complied with all bail
conditions set out by the prosecuting authorities and that she would not
Mukoko's case highlighted the crucial role of the security forces in last
year;s harmonised elections which failed to produce a conclusive winner as
both frontrunners Mugabe and Tsvangirai, according to the Zimbabwe Election
Commission, failed to ganner enough votes to be declared outright winners.
This led to a run-off boycotted Tsvangirai explicitly on the grounds that
his supporters were being victimised and murdered.
Mugabe says he won the won man race, but failed to form a government until
the intervention of SADC to force him to consummate a coalition State with
the two MDC factions which first phase took place on September 15 2008 when
the three protagonists signed the Global Political Agreement followed by the
swearing in of Tsvangirai as Primer Minister on February 11 and later his
deputies and finally ministers.

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Zimbabwe cost of living eases as local produce returns to shelves

      Posted : Wed, 02 Sep 2009 17:29:36 GMT
      Author : DPA

       Harare - The cost of living in Zimbabwe edged down by one per
cent in August, as locally-manufactured goods began to return to supermarket
shelves, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) reported Wednesday. CCZ
director Rosemary Siyachitema said the average basket of goods for a poor
family dropped to 495 US dollars last month, while the cost of food alone
fell 4 per cent.

      Siyachitema said buying domestic Zimbabwean products would help
develop local industry, and that with increased production, home- grown
prices would come down and become competitive with imported goods.

      Zimbabwe's economy collapsed last year as annual inflation hit
500 billion per cent and the national currency plunged to 10 trillion
Zimbabwe dollars to 1 US dollar.

      Goods disappeared from the market as businesses were forced by
price controls under the regime of President Robert Mugabe to sell goods for
less than it cost them to produce.

      Following the inauguration in February of a coalition government
between Mugabe and the then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, price
controls were abolished, the Zimbabwe dollar was withdrawn and the US dollar
was declared legal tender.

      Supermarkets and stores quickly filled with goods, although
nearly all were expensive imports- while local manufacturers struggled to
resume production.

      Economists say local basic goods such maizemeal, bread, cooking
oil, matches and toilet paper are back on sale now for the first time in
over a year.

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Massive misuse of state AIDS levy negates years of progress

2 September 2009


A 33% infection rate in 1999 now stands at 15.6%

Thousands of HIV and AIDS affected people in Zimbabwe are in great danger as
the Southern African country is facing an acute shortage of anti-retroviral
drugs (ARVs). (pictured: AIDS infected children).

The country has proved itself as one of the best candidates in HIV control
since 1999. The misuse of an AIDS fund supported by a nationwide AIDS levy,
an at-source tax, has accentuated the shortage of ARVs and could potentially
negate a decade long progress in HIV/AIDS prevention.

More than 170 000 people are already on ARV treatment, but health
authorities are saying they hoped to put only another 60 000 new patients on
ARV treatment this year.

The National Aids Council (NAC), a government-run organisation said although
Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) centres have increased to 290 from two in
2004, it is failing to meet the demand for ARVs.

"There are some indications that at least 60 000 patients will have
commenced on ART in 2009 alone," NAC said. "As we speak Zimbabwe is
maintaining upwards of 170 000 patients on ARVs out of the 300 000 who
urgently require them," the organisation said.

Since the inception of ARV therapy in 2004, Zimbabwe has faced serious
shortages of foreign currency as donors witheld the much needed funding as a
result of diplomatic impasse between Harare and many Western countries.

Zimbabwe is one of the few countries in the world to have recorded a sharp
decline in the HIV prevelance rate over the years. In 1999, an estimated 33
percent of Zimbabweans were affected by the HIV/AIDS virus, but according to
latest estimates the infection rates have declined to 15.6 percent. "The
decline in the HIV prevelance has taken place in very constrained
environment with limited resources," NAC said

However, it emerged last week that out of US$1.7 million NAC collected since
January, only US$20 000 has been spent on desperately needed ARVs, which can
significantly alleviate the suffering of AIDS and HIV patients.

The rest was spent on "luxuries" for staff at the National AIDS Council,
including well-funded junkets to foreign countries, luxury cars and shameful
salaries against the background of civil servants who earn only US$100 per

Every Zimbabwean worker has to pay what is called an AIDS Levy on their
earnings. The money is deducted at source, just like income tax. The
Government policy states that 50% of the Aids Levy should be spent on drugs.

In 1999 the government introduced an AIDS levy on all taxpayers to fund the
work of the NAC. The 3 per-cent AIDS levy that is deducted from the workers'
hard earned salaries should automatically make them the important
stakeholders of the fund, with full rights to inquire about the way it is
managed to hold NAC accountable.

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Police refuse to charge Mugabe ally for sodomy

By KITSEPILE NYATHI, NATION CorrespondentPosted Wednesday, September 2 2009
at 14:00

HARARE, Wednesday

Zimbabwean police say they will not bring any charges of sodomy against a
key ally of President Robert Mugabe after deciding that his accuser was

A 31 year-old man, Mr Mncedisi Thalwa last week caused a political storm
after he told police that Zanu PF national chairman Mr John Nkomo sodomised
him in April 2003.

Mr Nkomo who is also a co-minister responsible for national healing and a
front runner for the vacant seat of vice president has vehemently denied the

Analysts have also linked it to the fierce battle to succeed Mr Mugabe now
in top gear ahead of Zanu PF's congress in December.

Chief police spokesman, Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena told
sate media that police had investigated Mr Thwala's claims and found them to
be baseless.

He said they found that Mr Nkomo was not booked at the Bulawayo Rainbow
Hotel on the day that the alleged assault is supposed to have taken place.

Snr Ass Comm Bvudzidjena said the man would now face charges of "obstructing
the course of justice" for allegedly making a false report.

"Investigations have been finalised and he would go to court by summons," he
told the Herald newspaper.

However, human rights groups have accused the police of trying to make a

"Police have failed to tell us who the complainant (against Thwala) is, and
what false reports he made when their so-called investigation have been half
hearted to put it mildly," said Mr Kucaca Phulu of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Human Rights.

If police had gone ahead to investigate the claims, it would have caused a
lot of embarrassment for Mr Nkomo if not eliminating him from the race to
succeed Mr Mugabe.

The 85 year-old Zimbabwean leader hates homosexuals with a passion and says
they are worse than "dogs and pigs."

In 1999, Zimbabwe's first ceremonial president Reverend Canaan Banana was
jailed for sodomising one of his aides.

He only served six months of his 10 year sentence before Mr Mugabe pardoned

Rev Banana died in 2003 and was buried at his rural home without the full
honours that are traditionally accorded former heads of state.

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Zimbabwe to host mining conference

by Cuthbert Nzou Wednesday 02 September 2009

HARARE - Zimbabwe's cash-strapped government will this month hold an
international mining conference in Harare in a desperate bid to woo
investors and save the flagging mining sector.

The two-day conference scheduled to start on September 16 is the first
mining indaba since formation in February of an inclusive government made up
of ZANU PF and the two MDC formations.

"The focus of the indaba is about reviving the mining sector in Zimbabwe and
putting Zimbabwe back on the map as an attractive mining destination," the
Ministry of Mines and Mining Development said in a statement on Tuesday.

"Zimbabwe mining sector is certainly very topical at present, and
discussions will centre around, but not limited, to investment opportunities
and processes in the mining sector, the macro-economic environment, mining
exploration, indigenisation and empowerment."

The conference would be officially opened by President Robert Mugabe, with
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai also addressing the indaba.

Several international mining executives, among them Tanzania Chamber of
Mines president Emmanuel Jengo, South Africa's Public Investment Corp chief
executive officer Fidelis Madavo and former chief executive officer of
Harmony Gold Bernard Swanepoel.

The conference would be held about four months after government withdrew
from Parliament a controversial Mines and Minerals Amendment Bill that
sought to cede 51 percent of all foreign-owned mining firms to Zimbabweans.

The Bill was withdrawn to allow for consultations with stakeholders.

Ministry of Mines permanent secretary Thankful Musukutwa said there was a
realisation in government that the Bill in its present form would render
Zimbabwe unable to attract meaningful investment in the mining sector.

"Zimbabwe competes with other countries for investors. What would be
contained in the new Bill is dependent on the consultations and input
stakeholders would have put forward," he said.

The Bill, among other investor-unfriendly facets, sought to transfer a
majority stake in international mining houses to locals, including giving
the Zimbabwe government a free 25 percent stake.

Under the draft law, foreign firms mining strategic minerals such as coal
and coal-bed methane were required to cede 51 percent shareholding to
government, with the state taking 25 percent of that for free.

Government was also entitled to take 25 percent shareholding in precious
minerals such as gold, diamonds and platinum while 26 percent would go to

The changes to the Mines and Minerals Act were approved by the Cabinet in
2006, but never signed into law.

Mining accounts for about 4 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 16
percent of total annual foreign currency earnings to the country.

Over the past decade most mines in the country shut down due to the country's
poor economic performance blamed on poor policies by Mugabe's

Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has reportedly grossed US$19,6 million from diamond
sales during the first seven months of this year, amid concerns of human
rights abuses at diamond fields in Manicaland. - ZimOnline

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JAG - farm situations communique - Dated 1st September 2009

Email: :

JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799410.  If you are in
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KARORI Farm Update


Brigadier Mujaji continues to defy the law.  For the past three weeks we
have been put under huge pressure by Mujaji and his soldiers.  Mujaji has
told me he will allow me to deliver my maize and tobacco provided I agree
that the farm belongs to him. Plain extortion.  The soldiers have shut
the farm down for two weeks in August and then seized our tractors and
irrigation equipment.  We have been stopped from putting in a crop for
this season and the soldiers have now taken all the keys to the farm.
The police still refuse to act despite all the court orders we have in
our favour.  The rule of law has totally collapsed and the national army
are doing what they want.  We still have 150 tons of tobacco and 400 tons
of maize waiting to be delivered and this is all deteriorating.  It is
clear that Mujaji is using the army to steal what he can with the support
of the government and police just because he has soldiers who take
orders.  Everyone in the area knows we were properly allocated the farm
in accordance with the land programme and this is straight criminal theft
and looting of the worst order. There are over six soldiers on the farm
at any one time and all armed.

We have still maintained our presence on the farm and every day we try
and grade our tobacco only to be stopped whenever the soldiers feel like
stopping us. Last week they fired shots over the heads of the guards to
remind them that they are armed and should be obeyed.  The police still
ignore our near daily reports to the station stating they have been
informed not to act by their superiors.  The country is desperate for
food and production and this is carrying on unabated.  There is a warrant
for Mujaji's arrest issued by the high court but this is ignored.  The
unity Government should intervene if it is serious about attracting any
sort of investment.

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Why, why and why again?

September 2, 2009
John Robertson

ZIMBABWE used to be one of Africa's success stories. Its skilled workforce,
excellent producers, sound banks and reliable infrastructure made possible
trade surpluses that paid for needed imports as well as maintenance and
improvements to existing capacity. What was the argument that persuaded the
authorities to break down the system that had delivered so much?

Now export revenues are small and Zimbabwe can barely afford to import the
essentials it used to produce. Everyone wants to know why the country has
not identified and solved its problems. What could possibly be so difficult
about going back to ideas that worked before?

Far too many answers that have not been helpful have been suggested, but
more seriously, the answer that everyone knows would have solved the problem
has been ruled off limits. So we now have to find the answer to a different
question: why prohibit the solution that would work? Surely everyone wants
to see the package that succeeded before being restored?

It was quite a package, and its foundation was Zimbabwe's successful
large-scale commercial farming sector. It delivered hundreds of thousands of
jobs, the country's biggest export revenues and inputs to hundreds of
factories that supplied goods to local and foreign customers.

For government, it was the origin of almost all the tax revenues from
exporters, importers, factories, shops and shoppers. The farms also
generated business for all suppliers of farm machinery and implements, crop
chemicals and veterinary supplies, and for banking, insurance, transport and
construction service providers, all of whom also paid tax.

On top of these were the social benefits of schools, clinics and
accommodation for the workers and their families, who totalled about two
million people.

Why does government keep on expressing its determination never to permit
large-scale commercial agriculture to be re-established? This sector was the
envy of almost every country in the Third World. Surely the politicians
could admit that they made a mistake and that the sector should be restored?

In answer, all that Zimbabweans can get government to say is things like "We
will never go back on Land Reform!" but they never say why. They do not deny
that Zimbabwe needs food security, jobs, exports, local consumer goods
producers and tax revenues. And they do not deny that years ago Zimbabwe had
made more progress in those directions than almost every other country in
Africa. But they still say "Never again!" Why?

Toyota, the giant Japanese vehicle company, developed a management technique
about thirty years ago called the Five Whys Strategy. It involved starting
with the end result and repeatedly asking: "Why?" By working backwards, the
root causes of problems often became apparent.

Zimbabwe's Land Reform consequences seem to be a good place to start such an
exercise. But descriptions of the end results of this process could fill the
pages of several books. From the imported onions in the supermarkets to the
collapse of service delivery by the National Railways, or from the failures
to print new telephone books to the crippling of the University of Zimbabwe,
all these are consequences, even if some are on the fringe.

More central issues would be the lost crops, the lost foreign earnings, the
lost manufacturing companies, the lost national savings and pension funds,
the lost international airline services, the lost credibility among lenders
who are still waiting for repayments years after due dates and the loss of
perhaps 40 percent of the country's formal sector jobs.

Add the need to import food ever since Land Reform, plus the power cuts, the
disappearance of almost every investor, most tourists and nearly everyone
with marketable skills and the dimensions of the catastrophe begin to

But the links between Zimbabwe's misfortunes and Land Reform are also
glaringly obvious in election violence, blown-up newspaper offices, slum
clearances, hyperinflation, cholera epidemics, abductions, murders and the
confiscation of merchandise from shops accused of disobeying price controls.

The reason why Land Reform did so much damage is basically because the
commercial farms that were closed down were actually thousands of business
organisations that made up Zimbabwe's biggest productive sector. The country
had become dependent on its continued success.

Why was it that its success is so important? Because the multiplier effects
of money spent by farmers generated activity and tax revenues from all the
sectors on which the growing population and the government depended. And
because that population growth had been faster in Zimbabwe than anywhere
else in Africa and possibly faster than anywhere else on Earth.

Why was the influence of the farmers so great? Because they used their land
as collateral for the bank loans they needed to function, and these loans
were available because of the marketability of their land. By efficiently
employing the borrowed money, the farmers supported the activities of every
other business sector in the country.

Therefore, the collateral value of farmland was a key element in a complex
process. When the Land Reform programme declared this land to have no
collateral value, that one action brought the whole system to its knees.
Considering how successful the system had been, why was that done? Well, it
was simply because the farmers were seen to be too successful.

Government saw that landowners had rights and that these rights had
empowered the commercial farmers to become successful enough to challenge
the authority of government. The party heavyweights wanted only to wield
power, not to share power with landowners. Prompted by their declining
political popularity, they made deliberate plans to dis-empower the
perceived culprits by changing the constitution to cancel their property

Could that be the root? Acquiring land to give away, to feed the
patronage-dispensing machine, might round it off, but that too was part of
the popularity-rebuilding mission.

And what now? Having wrecked the economy, these are the people who want to
be re-elected. The biggest "why?" of the lot has to be: Why would any of us
ever want them back?

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Zimbabwe's Film Festival Survives Country's Problems

By Ish Mafundikwa
02 September 2009

Zimbabwe International Film Festival
In Harare, the organizers of the Zimbabwe International Film Festival have
opened the 12th edition of the annual event. The organizers have a lot of
hope for the future.

The theme for this year's festival is Reel Inclusion. Festival Director
Nakai Matema says this reflects the mood in the country, after the formation
of the national unity government.

"We are trying to celebrate the transition that the country is going
through. It's all about the sharing of ideas, the forging of common vision
of people coming from different areas and mindsets - different ideas and
forging them together," said Matema. "It's also reflecting on what's
happening in the country, the optimism, the positivity."

That positivity has not translated into increased funding from the
traditional diplomatic missions, who cited the world economic crisis for
cutting back on their support for the festival. But, on the upside, Matema
says the corporate sector made some contributions, unlike last year. She
attributes this to the dollarization of Zimbabwe's economy, which makes it
easier to plan, unlike last year's festival, which happened during the worst
of Zimbabwe's hyper-inflationary period. Also, countries such as Indonesia,
which had not previously funded the festival, stepped up to help.

However, the funding difficulties caused the plan to screen short films by
Zimbabweans to be scrapped. Matema explains that, by the time the money was
released by the donor, it was too late to shoot short films of the quality
expected. The screening of the short films has been the highlight of
previous festivals.

Matema says the central bank's "borrowing" of money from foreign currency
accounts, without asking permission, has not helped the festival's financial

"I am always saying we only had $39,000 taken and people say 'what do you
mean only,' because $39,000 is a lot of money," added Matema. "But I have
heard of other people who've had about $1 million [taken]. But it is a
substantial amount of money that we could have used for administration and
it could have helped in getting things on time."

In addition to the screening of films from various countries, the festival
has once again been a platform for the exchange of ideas, as workshops are
organized where experienced filmmakers from abroad interact with their
Zimbabwean counterparts. Patience Tawengwa trained in the United States and
South Africa as a filmmaker. Her short films have won awards at previous
festivals. She says the workshops are invaluable.

"It's an ever changing world and skills are changing, as technology changes,
so it's very necessary to have these kinds workshops at ZIFF [the film
festival] because technology is constantly changing and we need to keep
upping our game and seeing what's going on in the world," said Tawengwa.

Zimbabwe hardly has a film industry, but both Matema and Tavengwa believe
the foundation has been laid for one.

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Help Zimbabwe's SPCA


ZNSPCA are currently taking care of nine elephants held at Sondelani Ranch
in the southern region of Zimbabwe. The elephants had been captured from the
wild and trained for commercial use. After discussion amongst the relevant
authorities and the ZNSPCA Inspectorate team, ZNSPCA were instructed by the
Honourable Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Management, F.
Nhema, to release the elephants. Mr.

Basil Steyn, the owner of Sondelani Ranch, has agreed to work with the
ZNSPCA team to facilitate this release.

Our priority at present is to improve the physical condition of the
elephants prior to their release. We are appealing for donations of game
cubes, hay bales, fruit and vegetables from local companies and members of
the public to use as supplementary food for the animals. Our aim is to hire
a truck from Bulawayo to transport the food down to Sondelani early next
week. The truck hire will cost approximately US $ 500 hence we are asking
for donations either in cash or diesel that can assist us to pay for this

International experts assisting ZNSPCA with the rehabilitation of these
elephants agree that at present, high quality nutrition for the elephants is
a priority.

Any donation towards assisting ZNSPCA achieve our aims with regards to the
nine elephants on Sondelani will be greatly appreciated.

Please contact our offices for any further information you may require or
for drop off sites for any food or fuel donation in this regard.

Thank you all for your continued support.

ZNSPCA Headquarters

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