BY FOREIGN STAFF, SEPTEMBER 07 2012, 09:52 | 0 COMMENT(S)
ZIMBABWE would seek funds from Southern Africa to help finance its budget as
the country battles the effects of a nearly decade-long downturn, Finance
Minister Tendai Biti said yesterday.
"I am appealing to our colleagues in the Sadc (Southern African Development
Community) countries," Mr Biti said in an address on the state of the
"I have secured an appointment two weeks from today, with South African
Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan where we are going to ask for budgetary
support to the tune of $100m.
"Another thing we are doing is appealing to our friends in Sadc. We are also
in discussions with the Angolans for a $50m credit facility."
Zimbabwe’s powerhouse neighbour SA, the continent’s largest economy, would
also be asked to make good on a line of credit promised in 2009 to the tune
of R500m, he said.
Mr Biti said although the economy was stable since the
hyperinflation-crippled local dollar was dropped in favour of foreign
currencies, money was short in both the government and the private sector.
"I regret to announce that the economy still remains depressed with funding
challenges for both private and public sectors, irrespective of the
prevailing stable macroeconomic environment and some output improvements in
sectors such as mining," said Mr Biti, who in July cut the year’s growth
forecast to 5.6% from 9.4%.
He blamed low economic performance on lack of money to fund productive
projects, low foreign investment, high unemployment, a high debt overhang
and uncertainty and delays over the constitution-making process.
Zimbabwe’s economy has shown signs of recovery since veteran President
Robert Mugabe and long-time rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a
unity government after 2008 poll chaos.
Mr Biti said revenue collections were still falling short with $257.4m
collected in July against a $271.2m target and $269.2m last month against a
target of $280.7m.
The gold-mining sector was on course to attain the annual target of
15,000kg, while inflation was on the slide due to the depreciation of the
South African rand against the dollar.
He said payments for imports rose 30% from the same period last year to
Zimbabwe’s government needed nearly $400m before the end of the year to pay
annual bonuses for workers, and to finance the 2012-13 farming season and an
expected referendum on a new constitution, Mr Biti said.
The country has struggled to attract funding from the likes of the
International Monetary Fund and World Bank due to external debt that Mr Biti
put at $9.1bn. Mr Mugabe’s drive to force foreign firms to hand over
majority shares to local interests has also kept private investors away.
September 07, 2012
HARARE — Zimbabwe's economy is growing but has yet to recover from the
catastrophic collapse it suffered in the decade prior to 2009. This week
the country's finance minister said he will seek loans from neighboring
countries in hopes of meeting some urgent needs and getting the economy
moving at a higher gear.
Some say diamonds glitter, but that shine seems to be failing in Zimbabwe.
“I regret to advise that the economy remains depressed irrespective of the
prevailing stable macroeconomic environment and some output improvements in
such sectors as mining," said Biti.
That is almost the norm for Zimbabwean Finance Minister Tendai Biti when he
opens his monthly addresses to journalists.
He mentions mining, which many thought would anchor Zimbabwe’s economy after
the collapse of the country’s once vibrant agriculture sector. Diamond
prices remain high on the world market and Zimbabwe has diamond fields
estimated to be bigger than the size of Wales in Britain.
But as Biti has noted in the past, little revenue from diamond sales reaches
the national treasury. He accuses President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party,
which controls the Marange diamond fields, of withholding diamond revenue in
preparation for future elections.
Independent economic analyst Paradzai Paradza, a former lecturer at the
University of Zimbabwe, says that move is holding back Zimbabwe's recovery.
“It is actually a stand-alone case in the whole world because we have seen
diamonds are rejuvenating economic growth in some countries. We have Angola,
we have Botswana, we have countries like DRC who have transformed themselves
into vibrant economies through diamonds. But in the case of Zimbabwe, the
situation is not like that. I don’t think companies at Marange are not
remitting the proceeds. I think they are remitting the proceeds, but the
problem is who is getting the proceeds after they are remitted," said
The news is not all gloom for Zimbabwe's economy. Since the formation of a
power-sharing government in 2009, after a disputed election, the country has
registered annual growth of about 8 percent.
But because of the shortfall in revenue, Biti says, regional countries will
have to chip in to help his country through this year. He says Zimbabwe
needs $400 million to mitigate drought effects, to raise money for
by-elections and for a constitutional referendum, among other urgent needs.
Biti told reporters he has stepped up efforts to ensure that diamond revenue
reaches the treasury. He also plans to appeal to Zimbabwe's neighbors in
the Southern African Development Community.
“The second thing that we are also doing is appealing to our colleagues in
the SADC countries," he said. "I have just come from South Africa where I
secured an important appointment two weeks from now with the South African
minister of finance. In this meeting we are going to make a request for
budgetary support to the tune of $100 million from the South African
He says he wants the South African government to honor a pledge of a $60
million line of credit it made in 2009. From Pretoria he heads to Angola
asking for a $50 million line of credit. Earlier this week Botswana
extended a $70 million line of credit to Zimbabwe to revive its ailing
Zimbabwe cannot get loans from international lenders such as the World Bank
until it has retired its current debt of about $10 billion.
The country cannot continue on its current course, Biti warned.
“We are eating that which we are not killing. We are killing a rat and
consuming an elephant. That is not sustainable," said Biti.
Wages for government workers consume about 70 percent of the treasury's
Biti hopes that when the board of the International Monetary Fund meets in
two weeks time it approves a deal to retire Zimbabwe’s international debt.
Former Rhodesian leader Ian Smith may be turning in his grave as his name is
still appearing on Zimbabwe’s voters roll, five years after his death.
Utoile Silayigwana, the deputy chief elections officer of the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission, shocked participants at a development and planning
workshop in Kwekwe Thursday when he revealed that the late Smith is still on
the nation’s voters roll.
Silayigwana said this was an indication that the voters roll is in tatters,
confirming claims by human rights activists that large numbers of dead
people are still on the voters register.
The delegates said the situation will remain the same if the voters roll is
still controlled by the Registrar-General’s Office.
Most participants suggested that a new voters’ roll should be managed by an
independent electoral commission like in South Africa and other progressive
The Registrar-General Tobaiwa Mudede, a staunch supporter and relative of
President Robert Mugabe, was not readily available for comment.
Human rights activists have been complaining bitterly over the years about
the national voters roll.
Blatant vote rigging has been proved in Zimbabwe's courts as far back as
lawmaker Margaret Dongo's case in the 1990s but Mr. Mugabe keeps holding
elections that are marked by violence, intimidation and suspected ballot
The roll of Zimbabwe's registered voters is riddled with dead voters, ghost
voters and double entries.
A partial audit in 2003 showed that 25 percent of the voters listed on the
roll in one constituency were non-existent.
The latest exposure was provided by the respected South African Institute
for Race Relations which found that the voters' roll includes an impossible
number of people over 100 years old.
The audit indicated that there were more than 40,000 centenarians - 16,800
of them born on January 1, 1901, in a country that has one of the world's
lowest average life expectancies at 37 years.
Mudede has flatly denied reports that the electoral register is flawed
saying "there is no country in the world with a perfect voter registration
system". Staff Reporters
The Associated Press
Published Friday, Sep. 7, 2012 1:48PM EDT
HARARE, Zimbabwe -- An AIDS awareness campaigner and his lawyers said Friday
they are taking a groundbreaking test case to Zimbabwe's highest court to
force police and prison authorities ensure HIV sufferers get their life
Douglas Muzanenhamo said in papers filed at the Supreme Court that he was
denied appropriate antiretroviral treatment in jail for three weeks last
year and his condition veered toward death.
Muzanenhamo, who has been HIV-infected for 18 years, was freed without
charge in March 2011 after police arrested bystanders at a lecture in Harare
on the Arab Spring they claimed was in preparation for a revolt in Zimbabwe.
In court documents released Friday, he said he was kept in filthy cells
making prisoners with HIV susceptible to fatal infections. He said he was
held in solitary confinement for demanding his drugs.
Sudden changes in drug treatment over 48 hours are known to lead to a sharp
deterioration in the body's immune system, even if the drug is resume
patients are at risk that the treatment will not be effective, leading to
In the first lawsuit of its kind, citing as respondents Zimbabwe's police
and prison commanders, government ministers and the nation's attorney
general, the chief law officer, Muzanenhamo said on the day of his arrest
officers at the main Harare police station didn't allow him to call his
family to bring medication he took twice daily to a precise timetable.
After lawyers intervened, his family brought medication two days later but
they were kept by police and not given to him at the prescribed times. Then
he was given a single prison issue tablet once a day that he was unfamiliar
In the court deposition, he said he was "totally dependent" on the drugs,
along with a healthy diet, to stay alive.
He suffered hypertension and depression, fearing he was in "mortal danger"
on an insufficient diet of black tea, corn gruel and beans in harsh prison
Since his HIV infection, Muzanenhamo has campaigned among fellow sufferers
on hygiene and medical and dietary ways to be able to live a "happy and
fulfilling life," he said.
Upon his arrest, the police ordered him to take off his jacket, socks and
shoes and remain only with "one layer of clothing." He was put into a tiny
cell for five days with no running water with 15 other inmates, sleeping on
the floor without blankets.
He said was made to walk barefoot through "human excreta and dried blood all
over the place."
"Walking barefoot significantly increases the likelihood of me contracting a
life-threatening infection," he said in his Supreme Court deposition.
No official figures are available on deaths in the nation's police cells and
Lawyers acting for Muzanenhamo said Friday his plight and that of thousands
of other prisoners suffering from illness who do not get treatment was a
cruel and inhuman denial of basic constitutional rights to life for many
inmates, like Muzanenhamo, who had not been convicted of any crime.
Zimbabwe has one of the world's highest rates of HIV infections and AIDS.
By Alex Bell
07 September 2012
A Mudzi member of the MDC-T was rushed to hospital for emergency treatment
on Friday. Over a week ago he had been injured in a violent attack by a ZANU
Titus Kaneupandu who is in his sixties, suffered injuries to his head, arms
and back after an axe wielding ZANU PF supporter attacked him last week
Thursday. At the time of the attack, Kaneupandu was walking home following a
government sponsored meeting about peace and democracy that was held in
The meeting, hosted by the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee
(JOMIC), encouraged members across the political divide to join together to
talk about a peaceful future for Zimbabwe.
But the lesson was short lived and a notorious ZANU PF thug, Brian
Kazingizi, followed Kaneupandu after the JOMIC meeting and attacked him.
The MDC-T member had originally received treatment at Murerwa hospital and
also reported the incident to the police, who have done nothing.
SW Radio Africa’s Harare correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported Friday that
Kaneupandu has been hospitalised at the Avenues Clinic for emergency
treatment after his condition deteriorated over the past week. Muchemwa
spoke to Kaneupandu in hospital, who said he believes the attack was not
“He believes there was a political motive for the attack. Brian Kazingizi is
a notorious thug in the community who has previously been involved in
attacks on MDC supporters. Kazingizi is also the son of ZANU PF’s district
commissar in the area,” Muchemwa explained.
By Alex Bell
07 September 2012
The ZANU PF aligned Chipangano youth gang is being blamed for a growing
number of attacks on commuter minibus drivers in Harare, with analysts
warning that the gang is “out of control.”
Minibus drivers have been caught up in a protracted battle for control of
bus ranks across the capital, and are being forced to pay daily ‘protection’
fees to operate on certain routes. The fight is being led by gangs known as
the “mandimbandimba” and they have been flouting their ZANU PF allegiance,
by wearing party regalia and colours.
The gangs have also been attacking drivers who refuse to pay the fee. On
Thursday morning drivers at the Charge Office bus terminus were assaulted,
after more than 30 “mandimbandimba” arrived at the terminus and formed an
illegal road block. Drivers who refused to hand over their three dollar fee
were pulled out of their vehicles and assaulted. Some were strangled and
slapped and others were forced to kneel on the ground and beg for
The gang members reportedly arrived at the bus terminus in top-of-the range
cars, including black BMW X5s, Range Rovers and Mercedes Benz MLs. They were
also seen wearing designer suits and black tops inscribed with the words
‘security’. One minibus driver was quoted as saying that the gangs threaten
them every day, and they are seen wearing “badges, crčme and green berets
inscribed (with) ZANU PF. We comply with their demands because of fear.”
Another driver said that the money being extorted from the drivers will be
used by ZANU PF ahead of elections.
It is widely believed that the notorious Chipangano are linked to the
minibus scam, because the gang already controls most flea markets, council
owned flats and other bus ranks across Harare. The gang is also synonymous
with violence and intimidation in Harare and for years has led attacks
against perceived supporters of anyone opposed to ZANU PF.
Precious Shumba, the director of the Harare Resident’s Trust, told SW Radio
Africa that the gang was originally let loose by top ZANU PF officials to
ensure the party’s grip on power. But he explained that the party no longer
has control, because the gang has become financially independent.
“The gang depended on ZANU PF for protection from prosecution. But they have
now become independent financially from ZANU PF because of the money they
are making controlling markets and bus ranks. They don’t need ZANU PF
anymore. They are a gang for hire,” Shumba said.
He added: “ZANU PF has lost all control of this vigilante group.”
ZANU PF has been trying to distance itself from the attacks on the minibus
drivers, taking to the state controlled Herald newspaper to insist the gangs
are not aligned to the party. The Herald, which traditionally steers clear
of reporting on anything that paints ZANU PF negatively, has also reported
extensively on the gangs holding the minibus drivers to ransom, even quoting
drivers who have pointed the blame at ZANU PF.
Shumba said this behaviour by the party and its mouthpiece newspaper is
likely linked to ZANU PF’s plans for elections, explaining that the party
“might be trying to curry favour by condemning violence.”
“ZANU PF thinks it can play this game of talking peace and practicing
violence, and they think they have a chance of increasing their areas of
influence like this,” Shumba said.
He added that Chipangano is donning party regalia to take advantage of ZANU
PF’s reluctance to punish its members, because of the potential backlash
from its support base. He said ZANU PF would prefer to distance itself and
preach peace, than be seen taking action against a gang they can no longer
By Tererai Karimakwenda
07 September, 2012
Many areas in Zimbabwe’s second largest city went for a fifth day without
water on Friday as the Minister for Water Resources, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, was
in Bulawayo for crisis meetings with the MDC-T Provincial Council.
The Bulawayo City Council declared a water emergency in July as
lower-than-usual rainfall continued to plague the area. A water rationing
plan put in place at the time was supposed to see residents go for a day
without water, twice a week. But the last two weeks have been much worse for
SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme reports that the situation
has been critical this week, without any help being provided by the City
“There is an emergency situation here yet the city has not even started
using bowsers to bring water to people. There are 350 boreholes in the city
and only a few are motorized. About 110 of them are also not working,”
He added that residents lucky enough to have boreholes were helping their
neighbours, but the supplies are not enough to make a difference to many
people who still struggle daily to find basic water supplies.
According to Saungweme, two out of Bulawayo’s five dams were decommissioned
last year after water levels dropped. If the drought conditions persist and
no repairs are made to the infrastructure, two more may have to be closed.
Samuel Sipepa Nkomo met with members of the MDC-T provincial structures
Friday. Our correspondent said he also tackled the water situation and the
bad publicity it has brought the MDC-T led Council.
“The Minister knows that ZANU PF caused all these problems through neglect.
But there is propaganda here blaming the MDC-T led Council and he has to
address that issue today,” Saungweme said.
The MP for Bulawayo South, Eddie Cross agreed. He told SW Radio Africa that
many Bulawayo residents do not fully understand why there is such a water
problem in the province and Minister Sipepa Nkomo was explaining the
situation to their Council so that they can explain it to their
Cross said the most affected areas were the high-density suburbs located on
the outskirts of the city. Distribution to those areas is more difficult and
current problems with power cuts have made a bad situation worse.
“Load shedding has not helped with the distribution of water to the
peripheral areas and a power surge at Wankie Station on Tuesday also
affected distribution,” Cross explained.
“In the last 15 years the population in our cities has doubled. Harare now
has about 4.5 million people and Bulawayo has 1.2 million to 1.3 million.
Our infrastructure was built to serve only 600,000 people,” The MP said.
As for immediate plans to help Bulawayo, Cross said the city is rushing to
complete a pipeline from one of the dams, which will help distribute water
to the high density suburbs. This should be completed in the next two weeks.
According to Cross, the City Council has also negotiated a deal that will
help increase the production of clean water from 5,000 cubic metres to
15,000 each day from just one dam. This will supply at least 20% of Bulawayo’s
daily consumption needs. The 110 boreholes that were not working are
currently being repaired and this should help many people.
Water shortages have plagued many other parts of the country, including the
capital Harare. Years of neglect and corruption under ZANU PF and growing
urban populations, have all combined to create the current water problems
that plague Zimbabwe.
7th September 2012
Newsday newspaper and the state media is reporting that the Prime Ministers
ex lover, Locardia Karimatsenga Tembo, is seeking an urgent High Court
interdict to stop his wedding to Elizabeth Macheka next week.
Speaking to Voice of America Tembo’s lawyer Jonathan Samukange said: “If
they get married, that will prejudice my client. Under customary law that
would mean Locardia is no longer Tsvangirai’s wife.”
Prime Minister Tsvangirai maintains he did not pay lobola to Locardia’s
parents, only damages, therefore he is not married to her.
Newsday quoted Tsvangirai’s spokesperson, Luke Tamborinyoka, who alleged
that the Central Intelligence Organisation was trying to block the wedding.
“There are two CIO operations: Operation Blackhawk and Operation Spiderweb
financed to the tune of $100 million to cause maximum damage to the person
of Tsvangirai,” he said.
On Thursday the Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai again denied that he was
customarily married to Locardia and said he would be going ahead with the
final wedding preparations to Ms. Macheka.
It’s reported that a number of regional leaders have been invited to the
extravagant event which will be held next Saturday.
Harare, September 07 - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s spin-doctors say
the premier’s former lover Locadia Karimatsenga Tembo is working with
President Robert Mugabe’s spy agency to discredit their ahead of fresh polls
after she filed court papers, seeking financial maintains.
On Wednesday Tembo filed a civil court application demanding US$15 000 a
month from the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change.
On Friday her lawyers were expected to seek an urgent interdict in the
Harare High Court to stop the premier’s wedding to Elizabeth Macheka slatted
for 15 September.
Tembo, in her maintenance application, insists that she is customarily
married to the PM, claiming the MDC leader paid lobola. But the premier’s
spin-doctors on Friday came out guns blazing, accusing Tembo of working in
cohorts with the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation.
Tsvangirai spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka said there were two CIO operations:
Operation Blackhawk and Operation Spider web financed to the tune of $100
million dollars to cause maximum damage to the person of Morgan Tsvangirai.
“Today it's a lawsuit. Tomorrow, they want to file an urgent application to
stop the wedding....But the people's resilient dream will not die. The
embodiment of that dream will march this country to the promised land,” he
But the PM, whose party is reeling from damning independent surveys which
show that his party has been eclipsed by Mugabe’s ZANU-PF, is accused of
By Tichaona Sibanda
7 September 2012
Zimbabweans have every right to demand new elections under acceptable
minimum requirements for a free and fair poll, the National Constitutional
Assembly said on Friday.
Blessing Vava, spokesman for the NCA, told SW Radio Africa Zimbabweans are
now tired of the never-ending political negotiations between ZANU PF and the
‘SADC can help so much but it must be left to us Zimbabweans to decide our
own destiny and not three political parties. The negotiations to implement
the GPA and come up with a roadmap have taken far too long and many people
are just fed up and crying out for change,’ Vava.
Under the terms of the GPA, signed in September 2008 between ZANU PF and the
MDC formations, elections can only be held when the country has adopted a
new constitution and instituted a number of other reforms. But ZANU PF has
now demanded extensive changes to the draft constitution that they had
originally signed off on. Critics had noted that the draft was far from
perfect as the MDC’s had already made major concessions to ZANU PF.
The two MDC formations have endorsed the new charter, completed on 18th
July, while ZANU PF insists it won’t accept the draft constitution without
ZANU PF wants homosexuality and same-sex marriages outlawed, the watered
down attempts at devolution to be completely abolished and replaced with
decentralization, and dual citizenship banned, even though the draft did not
legalise dual citizenship. The party claims these were popular sentiments
contained in the national report of the outreach program.
The deadlock over the constitutional process has forced the SADC Troika to
convene a special summit next month, to discuss and address the issue.
Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete told journalists in Dar es Salaam on
Tuesday that they wanted to see free and fair elections in Zimbabwe.
Kikwete, who took over the Troika chair in August, said the summit will be
held on the 7th and 8th October in Tanzania.
Friday, 07 September 2012 00:58
Lloyd Gumbo Herald Reporter
CHURCHES have vowed to mobilise their followers countrywide to vote against
the draft Constitution at the referendum if the document does not outlaw
homosexuality and same-sex marriages.
This follows revelations by Copac co-chairperson Cde Munyaradzi Paul
Mangwana that Copac deliberately left the draft vague on homosexuality after
failing to agree on whether or not to outlaw it.
Cde Mangwana’s sentiments were echoed by MDC-T policy director Mr Eddie
Cross who confirmed his party’s pro-gay stance during a discussion on Star
FM on Wednesday night.
“As a party, we are not prepared to criminalise homosexuality because we
think 10 percent of our population have homosexual tendencies,” Mr Cross
said adding, “We think that criminalisation of personal practices and
preference is a violation of human rights.
“We fundamentally differ with Zanu-PF because they want to criminalise
Mr Cross confirmed his party’s intention to make the Constitution remain
silent on homosexuality.
Ironically, the National Statistical Report, that contains the views of the
people, says 76 percent of Zimbabweans want homosexuality outlawed.
However, Copac — which tried, but failed — to smuggle homosexuality into
the draft through phrases such as ‘‘natural differences’’, chose to give gay
rights silent treatment, a development legal experts say is open to
manipulation should the Gays And Lesbians Association of Zimbabwe approach
the courts for same-sex
Church leaders said they backed Zanu-PF’s amendments to the draft.
In its proposed amendments, Zanu-PF wants clause 4.35 that covers Marriage
Rights to include two new sections (4) and (5) to read as follows: “(4)
Same-sex marriages are prohibited; and ‘‘(5) Homosexuality, gays and
lesbian practices are prohibited’’.
The churches say the proposed new Constitution should clarify that Zimbabwe
does not condone homosexuality.
“As the church, we have never been for homosexuality and we want it
clarified in the draft Constitution that it is outlawed,” said Evangelical
Fellowship of Zimbabwe president and spokesperson Dr Goodwill Shana.
“The current draft doesn’t have a provision where homosexuality is
outlawed. We want it amended.”
Pentecostal Assemblies of Zimbabwe leader Bishop Trevor Manhanga, said
churches would mobilise people to vote against the draft at the referendum
if the amendment was not effected.
“If they don’t clarify in the Constitution that homosexuality is outlawed,
then we won’t vote for it and we will mobilise our people to vote NO. We
applaud Zanu-PF for coming up with amendments in line with what the people
said. We don’t want a situation where people will go to the court because
the law is silent.
“It is better that we answer that question in the beginning than to have
people flooding our courts,” Bishop Manhanga said.
Bishop Joshua Chiwenda of Revival Ministries International said: “If they
want to bring a draft without those amendments then the church will campaign
for a NO vote.
“There is no negotiation on that matter because homosexuality is an
abomination before God and our culture.
“We want the amendments by Zanu-PF on homosexuality to be incorporated in
the draft Constitution. We want it to be clearly outlined that
homosexuality is outlawed.
“It must be outlined that according to the Word of God and culture,
homosexuality is outlawed. These things are being peddled by the New World
Order because they are fighting God,” Bishop Manhanga said.
Pastor Alwyn Bizure of Adonai Ministries said: “We want the draft
Constitution to clearly spell out that homosexuality is outlawed.”
“If anyone commits the crime, then those people should be sentenced to life
The Constitution-making process has been referred to the Principals of the
Global Political Agreement who are now seized with the process.
The MDC formations have, however, endorsed the Copac draft with MDC-T
leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai announcing that they will soon launch a “Yes”
7th September 2012
The nightmare for Ziscosteel employees may be coming to an end after Cabinet
finally approved the multi million dollar deal between Ziscosteel and Indian
company Essar Africa Holdings.
On Thursday, Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube told NewsDay that
Cabinet approved the deal on Tuesday.
But the political infighting over the deal continues after the MDC-T and
ZANU PF MPs called for an investigation into the way Ncube negotiated the
deal. They allege that he took bribes, an allegation that Ncube has angrily
denied. His MDC party said that ZANU PF and the MDC-T were ganging up to
Criticism of the Essar deal has been ongoing with suggestions that billions
of dollars of iron ore were being given away for just $700 million. Mining
Minister Obert Mpofu has also been doing his best to block the investment,
the largest since independence 32 years ago.
But for the town of Redcliff, the reopening of Ziscosteel cannot come soon
The town sits in an iron rich area and has relied on steel production as its
source of revenue since it was founded in the early part of the last
From the 70′s through to the mid 90′s Ziscosteel F.C. was one of the country’s
best soccer teams. Zisco Rugby club enjoyed success in the national league,
while the Iron Shooter basketball team, which changed its name to Redcliff
Steelers, dominated Midlands basketball.
The Zisco Athletics teams produced many talented athletes, Christopher
Madzokere, Tinos Maridza, Sam Madzinga and Mark Fanucci, all of whom were
members of Zisco’s almost unbeatable 4×100 and 4×400 metre relay team. These
four athletes not only represented Zisco and the Midlands, but also
represented Zimbabwe at many international competitions including the 1982
Commonwealth Games in Brisbane, Australia.
Thousands of workers in the town were absolutely dependent on Ziscosteel for
their livelihoods and their way of life. Schools and hospitals in the town
were supported by Ziscosteel who paid their bills and ensured property
maintenance through its social responsibility program.
But senior ZANU PF officials took control of the company and plundered and
looted it. After many years of bad management and theft Ziscosteel was
closed down in 2008. By that time it had a $300-million debt.
Bulawayo, September 07, 2012- The Movement for Democratic Change has
rubbished recommendation made by a few misguided MDC T and ZANU PF
parliamentarians for government to institute a probe into the alleged
misconduct and corruption by Professor Welshman Ncube in the awarding of the
The MDC National spokesperson, Nhlanhla Dube told Radio Voice of the People
in an interview Thursday that it is not only nonsensical, false, defamatory,
scandalous and malicious but a desperate act by those who have been out
thought, out organised and out articulated and are now resorting to
unorthodox means as they cannot stop the green machine .
Dube said Professor Ncube like all other party deployments to government has
discharged his duties with the highest level of prudency and honesty.
“Our political party always demands the most stringent adherence to best
practice and regard for transparency in the discharge of public affairs from
all its officials in all arms of government.
“We wish to unequivocally and without any prevarication place it on record
that the accusations being leveled against Prof. Ncube are not only spurious
but pejorative and profane, sorely aimed at injuring both the person and
political credibility of Prof. Ncube as both a public servant and leader of
the MDC,” added Dube.
He said that MDC should the ill thought probe be instituted by government on
Prof. Ncube then a full announcement should be made to the public and that
those that have found it convenient to set aside their well-known political
disputes to pursue a common cause of embarrassing Prof. Ncube will eat their
self-served humble pie with the same amount of brouhaha and bravado.
“We believe that parliamentary oversight should not be used as a forum for
displaying petty jealousies. Parliamentary privilege should not be abused to
make unsubstantiated accusations against our country’s guests such as Essar.
“When Hon. Madzimure says that money exchanged hands corruptly, one would
expect the Honourable member to avail that same information to the law
enforcement agencies,” explained Dube.
He said the level of reckless and careless statement unfortunately only
serves to discredit our legislature and that Parliamentarians should not
abuse the parliamentary privileges to assassinate characters of hardworking
and progressive Zimbabweans like Professor Ncube.
MDC said such assaults on Ncube and the Party will not stop their resolve
and fight for democracy that entails empowerment of local communities
through devolution of power.
A few parliamentarians recently accused Prof Ncube of corruptly dealing with
1 hour ago
HARARE - Zanu PF loyalists including politburo member Professor Jonathan
Moyo have lambasted Mr Tendai Biti, describing him as the worst Minister of
Finance since independence.
They also called on civil servants to show Mr Biti the door during the next
The remarks follow Minister Biti’s statement that civil servants are
unlikely to get their annual bonus this year because the government does not
Responding to the statement by Minister Biti that civil servants will not
get bonus Zanu PF loyalist Dr. Charity Manyeruke say civil servants should
now come out of the woods and use the next plebiscite to remove characters
like minister Biti from the government.
Professor Jonathan Moyo, who described Biti as the worst Minister of
Finance, said his last statement should be a wake up call for civil
Minister Biti this Thursday told journalists that there might be no bonuses
for civil servants this year because of the poor performance of the revenue
and the depressed economic environment.
Across the divide Zimbabweans have hailed Tendai Biti as the country's best
Finance Minister since independence following his brilliant work stirring
the country from a decade of unprecedented economic decline under President
While President Robert Mugabe publicly denigrates Finance Minister Tendai
Biti accusing him of throwing spanners into the works it has now emerged the
88-year old former guerrilla leader secretly extols the robust MDC-T
secretary general, as his best finance minister ever.
According to Wikileaks, US leaked cables secrets, former United States
ambassador to Botswana Stephen Nalon said Mugabe recently disclosed that he
rated Biti as the best ever finance minister he has worked with since he
took over the country in 1980.
Mugabe reportedly said he was overly impressed by Biti despite having worked
with Biti for a short period.
The late Bernard Chidzero, the late Ariston Chambati, Herbert Mrerwa,
Christopher Kuruneri and Simba Makoni, have all held that portfolio but
Mugabe rates Biti higher.
In a leaked US diplomatic cable, Nolan said; “President Mugabe praised the
work of Tendai Biti in only a few weeks and called him his best Finance
The diplomatic cable was dispatched in April 2009 but leaked late last year
by whistle blowing website Wikileaks. The cable was made available this
In the cable, Nolan said he was told about Mugabe’s appreciation of Biti’s
work by the Botswana Foreign Minister Phandu Skelemani.
Skelemani had just met Mugabe during a Sadc Summit held in Swaziland soon
after the formation of the inclusive government in Harare.
But Mugabe has repeatedly accused Biti of throwing spanners into the works
by allegedly allocating himself presidential powers; cutting support to
black farmers and failing to help struggling businesses, particularly in
“This man we gave the job of managing the country’s finances does not think
along the same lines as us,” Mugabe said recently, while in Manicaland where
he was meeting traditional leaders.
“To him and some of his colleagues, agriculture is not an important area
because they think that if they finance this sector, they will be
strengthening Zanu PF. They don’t want to see the economy prospering.”
But contrary to this, it emerged Mugabe rates Biti very high esteem. The
Botswana Foreign Minister Skelemani told the former US ambassador to
Gaborone, that he was surprised that Mugabe was so impressed by Biti and
that he was grateful about Botswana’s attitude towards Zimbabwe.
According to Skelemani, the Sadc leaders told Mugabe and the Zimbabwean
delegation, at the summit, that "you need to help us to you."
Minister Skelemani says that President Mugabe approached him to "thank him
for his attitude" during the summit.
Mugabe told Skelemani that "we are glad you (Botswana) are even thinking
about helping us." Skelemani says that he told Mugabe "we have been trying
to help you all along, even if you didn't see it."
By Tichaona Sibanda
7 September 2012
Piniel Denga, the MDC-T MP for Mbare, is to leave his relatively safe urban
based seat to run in his rural home of Chikomba in Mashonaland East province
in the next poll.
Denga, elected as MP for Mbare in 2008, is the chairman of the party in the
province and says he wants to lead from the front. The MDC-T holds three
parliamentary seats out of 19 in Mashonaland East.
SW Radio Africa understands that a popular former ZBC Radio 2 disc jockey,
now an MDC-T activist, is interested in contesting the Mbare seat.
With the next election looming Denga believes a radical approach is needed
to make significant inroads in the Mashonaland East province, once
considered a ZANU PF stronghold.
‘This is why as a province we’ve decided to ask those high-profile party
members to abandon their safe seats and concentrate on challenging ZANU PF
in their strongholds. The former ruling party is not as strong as 10 years
ago and in some areas we notice they’re now very vulnerable, and we want to
take advantage of that. In politics you take risks or there is nothing for
you,’ Denga said.
Asked if people would not assume he’s running away from the notorious terror
group Chipangano, the MP laughed at the suggestion, pointing out that there
are more than 20,000 registered voters in Mbare compared ‘to just 20 thugs
protected by the state.’
‘If it was definite the MDC-T was going to lose the Mbare seat, I wouldn’t
go anyway. I would remain there and fight to maintain our dominance in the
urban areas. But look, it doesn’t make sense to safeguard the seats you
consider safe and try not challenge the ones we lost marginally. For
instance, in Chikomba there is a seat that we lost by 27 votes, so if we
work hard, we can be able to grab that seat,’ the MP said.
He continued: ‘Over and above that, we studied the whole province, ward by
ward, constituency by constituency, and discovered that we have at least
nine seats that we lost by a sizeable margin. If we pull our resources
together, work very hard to preach our polices and what the MDC-T will do
when we win power, I think we stand a good chance of becoming the party with
the majority of seats in the province,’ Denga added.
07 SEP 2012 00:00 - MAIL & GUARDIAN REPORTERS
Mega-rich Zimbabwean businessman Robert Mhlanga stands at the centre of an
opaque network of companies set up to cash in on Marange diamond fields.
Mhlanga, a retired air vice-marshall, is widely regarded as a close
associate of President Robert Mugabe and a business representative of the
Mugabe family, although both parties have denied this.
The Mail & Guardian recently reported that Mhlanga has been on a
R200-million property buying spree in South Africa.
The company he chairs, Mbada Diamonds, and other concerns operating in
Marange have been accused of remitting inadequate revenue to the Zimbabwean
treasury despite making "a killing".
The United States and the European Union recently introduced new measures
that require processors of rough diamonds to disclose the origin of the
gems, putting a squeeze on companies operating in Marange.
Central to Mbada's operation is a South African scrap-metal company, New
Reclamation. Despite its lack of mining expertise, Reclamation was chosen to
partner Marange Resources, wholly owned by the state's Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC), in a joint venture called Mbada Diamonds.
Mbada, favoured ahead of several other established diamond-mining companies,
immediately received a 1000-hectare concession in the Marange fields.
In October 2009 Zimbabwe's minister of mines and mining development, Obert
Mpofu, appointed Mhlanga chairperson of the joint venture, which Reclamation
entered through its Mauritian-registered subsidiary, Grandwell Holdings.
Grandwell was given the mandate to oversee day-to-day operations and the
right to market all diamonds produced.
Although Mhlanga was ostensibly appointed to its board to represent the
government's interests, the M&G has established that he has a stake in other
companies linked to Mbada.
Joint venture deal
These include the mysterious Hong Kong-registered Transfrontier Mining,
which acquired 49.99% of Grandwell last year. The owners of Transfrontier
who would benefit could not be established. However, Mbada's Marange
concession was increased sevenfold after Transfrontier bought into
Mhlanga's lawyer of more than 10 years, Paul Casasola, a director of
Grandwell and Mbada, is seen to represent Mhlanga's interests in both
companies. The M&G was told that Casasola was involved in crafting the joint
venture – although he insisted that the negotiations "occurred prior to my
appointment as director at Mbada and Grandwell". He said he was a director
of both companies but "had no financial interests in either".
He did not respond to a question asking him whether Mhlanga had employed him
to work in the companies.
At the time the joint venture deal was clinched, Grandwell was wholly owned
by New Reclamation. Casasola said he had "absolutely no relationship" with
The M&G has also established that when a ZMDC team visited Johannesburg to
conduct due diligence on Reclamation in August 2009, Mhlanga was among the
representatives who met the group. Mhlanga attended the meeting in his
capacity as the chairperson of a South African-registered commodities
company, the Liparm Corporation, which trades in diamonds. He is its sole
shareholder and director.
Share registry documents indicate that Liparm does not have a stake in the
Reclamation group. Reclamation's lawyer, David Hertz, said the scrap metal
company "has a commercial arm's length relationship with Liparm".
Until early this year, Liparm listed Transfrontier and Mbada Diamonds as
sister companies on its website. However, the relevant section has been
removed from the site.
In questions put to him through Casasola, the M&G asked Mhlanga to explain
his role in Mbada, but he did not respond. Mhlanga also did not answer a
question about the nature of his relationship with the Reclamation Group and
its chairperson, David Kassel, a director of both Grandwell and Mbada.
Vision and growth strategy
Casasola said he would meet Mhlanga on August 20 to put the M&G's questions
to him, but later said the meeting did not take place.
Mhlanga is believed to have played a role in ensuring Reclamation's
acceptance as the ZMDC's partner, ahead of specialist mining companies such
as Alrosa, Namakwa, Gem Diamonds, SAIIC and Community Energy. It is thought
the scrap metal company's relationship with Mpofu dates to when he was
Zimbabwe's industry and trade minister.
In 2008 Reclamation approached Mpofu to acquire a stake in Zimbabwe's ailing
state steel manufacturer, Ziscosteel. However, Mpofu was reassigned to the
mines portfolio in February 2009 before the deal was concluded and
Reclamation's Marange coup followed soon after.
Ironically, the ZMDC team that came to South Africa to conduct due diligence
"on approved" companies noted that Reclamation had no experience in diamond
mining. Despite this, it gave the company the thumbs-up. Allegations are
that Mhlanga and Mpofu's influence may have been crucial.
"Reclam is not a mining house and is currently not involved in mining ...
They have no diamond mining as part of their vision and growth strategy,"
the due diligence report states.
Complicated mining techniques
Hertz said there was nothing amiss with Reclamation landing the deal,
because the company "drew on the experience of certain key executives and
employees who have extensive experience in the mining sector".
"These individuals were involved in the reopening of the Roberts Victor
Diamond Mine in Kimberley and the Monarch Gold Mine in Botswana, which ...
required the utilisation of complicated mining techniques and methods," he
said. This is an apparent reference to Kassel, whose role in the two mines
is mentioned on the company's website.
Hertz said none of the Reclamation executives have a personal relationship
with Mpofu. It had bid for Ziscosteel but the minister had not influenced
"The first time a meeting was held between any members of the Reclamation
Group's executive team and minister Mpofu was in 2009 when the ministry met
with the Reclamation Group to discuss the then prospective Marange
transaction," Hertz said. "Subsequent to that meeting, the Reclamation Group
interacted with the ZMDC and its wholly owned subsidiary, Marange Resources
Allegations of diamond revenue being diverted into private pockets and
concerns that elements of the Zimbabwean security forces have control of
diamond companies have resulted in the US, Australia, New Zealand and
European Union imposing restrictions on diamonds from Marange.
Repeated efforts to contact Mpofu for comment were unsuccessful.
The M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism (amaBhungane) produced this
story. All views are ours. See www.amabhungane.co.za for our stories,
activities and funding sources.
by Staff Reporter
A WEEK after threatening to sue The Daily News for $45 million, Munyaradzi
Kereke launched into a new legal battle with the weekly Financial Gazette on
The Rocfoundation Medical Centre founder wrote to the newspaper’s editor to
claim that an opinion article by Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono was in
fact his “intellectual property”.
The article, published in the newspaper’s ‘Special Report’ page under the
title ‘Revisiting the pre-election pact in the economy’s interest’, was
originally printed in the same newspaper under Gono’s name just before the
June 2008 presidential election run-off.
Kereke – who was an adviser to Gono until February this year – claims the
piece, a cautionary note to the country’s political leaders, should have
been published under his name – and not Gono’s.
He wrote to Financial Gazette’s editor Hama Saburi to claim: “Please take
note that I am the author and owner of those views and article.
“Urgently, therefore, publicly retract your erroneous attribution of this
article, failure of which I would be bound to take immediate legal action
against your paper and Dr Gono for theft of intellectual property.
“Please take this matter as an urgent and serious one.”
The Financial Gazette, which is owned by Gono, said it would not be
retracting the article and encouraged Kereke to file his court claim.
A spokesman for the newspaper said it was curious that Kereke would assert
authorship of an article published in 2008 when he did not raise the same
objections at the time.
“Because of our association with Dr Gono, our paper had taken a
self-censorship stance that we would not get involved in Kereke’s misguided
mission of rubbishing our principal through his unfounded and ludicrous
claims, which he has now chosen to extend to us,” the spokesman said.
“Our silence, while he behaves like a bull in a china shop and goes about
intimidating media houses and their editors through his unending frivolous
claims, is not a sign of weakness or approval of his deplorable conduct.
“We will not tolerate his threats. Let him proceed with his legal action and
we will meet in court.”
Last week, the litigious Kereke threatened to sue The Daily News for
publishing details of correspondence between a lawyer for a 13-year-old girl
allegedly raped by Kereke in 2010 and Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri.
Kereke – who maintains his innocence – asked the newspaper to publish an
apology within seven days or face a US$45 million libel lawsuit. The Daily
News defended its reporting with a spokesman insisting: “We will defend the
action when it is launched.”
The Financial Gazette and The Daily News join The Standard newspaper which
Kereke sued for US$5 million in November last year over its coverage of the
Since leaving the apex bank, Kereke has targeted his former boss with a
string of corruption allegations. He has also accused Gono of hiring a
hitman to kill him.
Gono responded by filing a US$25 million defamation suit last month,
challenging Kereke to prove his claims.
Posted: 12:35 PM
Last Updated: 1 hour and 2 minutes ago
By: Sarah Beth Hensley, email@example.com
By: Brandi Smith, firstname.lastname@example.org
CINCINNATI - A federal grand jury has charged seven people who lived in the
Tri-State with using stolen identities to rack up as much as $10 million in
fraudulent income tax refunds.
The indictment, which was announced Friday morning, includes seven people —
six of whom are citizens of Zimbabwe. The people named on the indictment are
34-year-old Kudzaiishe Marimbire, 30-year-old Hlomera Mabhande, 37-year-old
Johanes Tagarisa, 26-year-old Kudzaishe R. Bungu, 23-year-old Tawanda
Marimbire, 22-year-old Andrew Bere and 32-year-old Julius Marimbire.
The IRS estimates that in the last five years, the defendants filed IRS
refunds claims that totaled as much as $10 million, according to information
released Friday by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of
Ohio, Carter Stewart.
“The indictment alleges that the defendants stole personal identifying
information for thousands of actual people,” said Stewart in a news release.
“They allegedly used this information to file false federal income tax
returns to obtain refunds, often before the actual taxpayers ever filed
legitimate tax returns. The defendants usually received the fraudulent
refunds on debit cards tied to the returns.”
Once the false income tax refunds were deposited on the prepaid debit cards,
the defendants and others working on their behalf allegedly cashed them in
at ATM machines or by purchasing money orders. The cash was then allegedly
sent through bank wires to other people in the operation in Africa who
purchased expensive vehicles in the United States and had them transported
Kudzaiishe Marimbire and his brother, Julius, started a tax preparation
service in approximately 2007 to help with their effort, according to the
All seven are charged with conspiracy, which is punishable by up to 20 years
in prison. The indictment also includes charges of fraud, aggravated
identity theft, money laundering, making false claims and filing false
income tax returns.
Five of the defendants are fugitives. Tawanda Marimbire is in custody
outside of Ohio and will be returned to Cincinnati to face the charges.
Bungu has been summoned to appear in federal court in Cincinnati on Sept.
13, according to the release.
Mark Porter, Secret Service special agent in charge, said identity theft has
emerged as a major threat to our nation's financial infrastructure. It's the
secret service's investigative mission to protect our financial
"There are multiple ways that a citizens identity can be stolen," Porter
said. "For example, the taking of a victim's trash from their home, to the
stealing of their mail, to their home being or their vehicle being
burglarized, or as simple as losing a purse or a wallet."
Darryl Williams, special agent in charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal
Investigation, Cincinnati Field Office (IRS), also spoke at the Friday
morning press conference.
"The IRS is aggressively pursuing those who steal others' identities in
order to file false returns," IRS Special Agent in Charge Williams said.
"Our cooperative work with the U. S. Attorney's Office and other law
enforcement agencies will help protect taxpayers in the Cincinnati area, as
well as the State of Ohio, from being victimized by identity theft and bring
identity thieves to justice."
No other information has been released at this time.
By Teo Kermeliotis, for CNN
September 7, 2012 -- Updated 1214 GMT (2014 HKT)
(CNN) -- Simba Makoni, the former Zimbabwean finance minister and
presidential candidate in the country's last elections, describes himself as
"an eternal optimist."
"I believe those of us who don't see a half-empty glass but a half-full
glass will prevail over those of us who want to keep us stuck in the past,"
he said reassuringly as he concluded his speech Tuesday at a Royal African
Society event in the UK entitled "Whither Zimbabwe?"
Yet, Makoni's optimism-filled end remarks could do little to lift the gloom
that had descended upon the packed room moments ago while he was describing
life in today's Zimbabwe.
"Surviving is very difficult on a daily basis," Makoni, founder and
president of the Mavambo.Kusile.Dawn party, had told earlier the crowd of
analysts, activists and members of the diaspora gathered at London's School
of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Unemployment is soaring, he said, and acute food shortages threaten
vulnerable parts of the population with starvation. Schools are short of
books and hospitals often lack the most basic supplies -- just a few days
ago, he said, a hospital in Harare was left without running water.
The price of dissent in Zimbabwe Zimbabwean PM responds to verdict No chance
of an Arab Spring in Zimbabwe Inside Zimbabwe's diamond industry
"This is why all our leaders when they're falling ill they leave the country
and go for treatment in Thailand, in Singapore, in Malaysia, in the UK and
the rest of us must die," he said.
Read related: Inside Zimbabwe's controversial Marange diamond field
A former member of Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, Makoni first joined
Zimbabwe's government in 1980, the year the southern African country gained
its independence from Great Britain. He served as a deputy minister of
agriculture before leading the industry and energy development.
During his tenure as finance minister in the 2000s, Makoni backed the
devaluation of the Zimbabwean dollar and faced strong opposition as some of
his policies contradicted the rest of ZANU-PF. He left the party in 2008 to
run for president against Mugabe, garnering 8.3% of the vote in that year's
Makoni's speech at SOAS was billed as a conversation "on issues in
contemporary Zimbabwean politics."
Yet, it felt more like the launch of a new presidential campaign.
Makoni blamed Zimbabwe's unity government for failing to meet people's
expectations and regenerate the economy in a country beset by widespread
"The people of Zimbabwe are thoroughly disgruntled with the inclusive
government and they would like the shortest opportunity to be rid of [it],"
Zimbabwe has been ruled by a fragile power-sharing government cobbled
together after 2008's disputed elections prompted months of violence that
paralyzed the country. Under the deal, ZANU-PF leader Robert Mugabe remained
president while his political foe, Morgan Tsvangirai, head of the Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC-T), became prime minister. Third party leader
Arthur Mutambara was named deputy prime minister.
Yet, tensions have always remained high within the coalition. Its two main
parties quickly formed polarized political camps, quarreling publicly on a
number of issues, including the draft of a new constitution. After many
disagreements about the date of the next vote, Zimbabwe is now expected to
go to polls within a year.
Makoni said that Zimbabweans "are yearning for elections the soonest" but
are also "fearful of the violence" that had engulfed past votes. "They would
like assurances that that election would be free and fair, without violence
He noted, however, that Zimbabwe does not need a new constitution to hold
free and fair elections. In principle, Makoni said, the existing law and
institutions such as the Zimbabwean Electoral Commission are adequate: "If
we put the right people in it but more importantly if we take out the wrong
people who are in it at the moment."
Read: Zimbabwe 'open for business'
Last month, a Freedom House survey said that support for Tsvangirai's party
fell from 38% to 20% in the last two years, while Mugabe's ZANU-PF grew from
17% to 31% in the same period. But also in August, a survey by Afrobarometer
described a different picture, giving ZANU-PF 32% and MDC-T 31%.
Presented with these figures, which show that 2013's elections will be once
again a contest between Mugabe and Tsvangirai, Makoni was quick to stress
that 47% of the respondents in the Freedom House survey did not disclose
their voting preferences.
"That is the most significant for me," he said. "For me and for others who
are not in that global political agreement that is our target constituent
because whoever gets half of that 47% is the person who will make the
government of Zimbabwe the next time around."
Mugabe, who's been in power for 32 years, has blamed many of his country's
economic woes on the sanctions, imposed by the United States and the
European Union in 2002.
But Makoni argued that the sanctions, which include travel bans, and
freezing of assets, were not affecting ordinary people. Instead, he said,
the measures are aimed at Mugabe and his allies.
"These are targeted measures against individuals who are perceived to
perpetuate the violation of human rights," said Makoni, who was also subject
to the EU travel ban in the 2000s as a member of Mugabe's regime.
Trade between Zimbabwe and the EU grew by almost 50% in the last 12 months,
Makoni said. Nearly all of the country's platinum production and most of its
tobacco is heading to the northwestern hemisphere, he added.
"These things don't happen in a country that is under sanctions,
particularly trade and economic sanctions," he said.
"Now, if barring Robert Mugabe and Grace Mugabe coming to London to shop at
Harrods are sanctions against Zimbabwe, you will have to make a new
definition of sanctions."
Looking toward the upcoming vote, Mokani said that his party has already
began conversations in Zimbabwe to bring together other political groups and
patriotic Zimbabweans who can help the country escape its hardship.
Not surprisingly, he said was hopeful about the Zimbabwe of tomorrow -- the
people's resilient spirit and skills, coupled with a better management of
Zimbabwe's natural resources, will all contribute to the country's
resurgence, he said.
"There is a silver lining around this dark cloud hovering over Zimbabwe,"
declared Makoni. "The future of Zimbabwe is bright."
And when asked about who was going to win the next elections, Makoni, as
optimistic as ever, replied: "Simba Makoni."
Friday, 07 September 2012
President Tsvangirai will tomorrow launch the Vote Yes campaign at a
colourful event at the Harare Show Grounds at 10am.
The Yes Vote campaign will be held under theme; “My Voice is In – My Vote is
The campaign is meant to sensitise, inform, educate and engage the people of
Zimbabwe on the new Constitution. Zimbabweans made contributions to the
draft during the outreach process, which views were captured in the new
The people will define the destiny of the draft Constitution during the All
Stakeholders’ Conference and through the Referendum, which will lead to the
holding of credible, free and fair elections next year.
The MDC National Standing Committee members, National Executive officials,
ministers, Members of Parliament, councillors, Harare provincial party
structures, members and supporters will attend the Harare launch, which will
be preceded by a nationwide roll out programme.
The launch comes at a time when Zanu PF is dithering and trying to stop the
Constitution making process, by bringing a totally new draft constitution,
which disregards the people’s views.
The new Constitution preserves our history, secures the future of the
country and its people including those in Zanu PF. During the outreach
campaign, Zanu PF used operation Chimumumu where only a few selected party
members were allowed to speak. Now the sunset party would like to take that
away from the people by rewriting the draft Constitution and bringing in new
changes totaling 266 alterations
My vote is in. My voice is YES!!!
September 6, 2012
On the surface of it, it would appear that the political dispute over the
Save Valley Conservancy in South Eastern Zimbabwe is yet another story of
‘illegal land-grabs’. It must however be said at the onset that this is an
understandable perception given the controversy and violence that has come
to be associated with our government’s land reform policies since the year
2000. The fault for such a perception resides with the same said government
and I do not hold a brief to assist it in changing how its policies are
viewed globally or domestically. It is however important that the issue of
the Save Conservancy not be lost in the conundrum of typical debate about
land conflict and/or reform in Zimbabwe. This is because it is more
complicated than what is currently being placed in the public domain.
Evidently, and as has been reported in the media, there are four points of
conflict over and about this safari area. The first being that of the broad
policy of the Zimbabwean government to pursue indigenisation of the national
economy. In this, the government has insisted that all sectors of the
economy must be placed into indigenous ownership. Given the fact that parts
of the conservancy are managed by some local state and private entities in
partnership with foreign nationals, it appears that the Zimbabwe Community
Areas Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire) is not immune
from indigenisation . In response, the European Union has issued a warning
that it may renew sanctions on Zimbabwe over this matter. This of course is
in keeping with the contemporary narrative of our government’s international
relations and domestic policies.
The second point of conflict over the Save Conservancy has been between the
political parties in the inclusive government. The two MDCs in government
have denounced not only the broader methodology of economic empowerment but
also specifically the takeover of the conservancy through the same policy
and by persons perceived to be functionaries of Zanu Pf.
This also leads us to the third and rather surprising node of conflict
surrounding this matter. This being that of the Zanu Pf intra-party
divisions over the allocation of parts of the conservancy that have
reportedly required the intervention of Vice President Mujuru. The fourth
and perhaps most important point of dispute over the Save Valley Conservancy
has now been reported as coming from traditional chiefs who are arguing that
any redistribution of the land there must not be only for the bigwigs but
must benefit the community.
This claim by the chiefs should however be accepted with caution as it is
not clear whom and whose interests they are representing. Fundamentally
however, all of the four nodes of disagreement have some sort of tentative
acknowledgement that whatever happens, the conservancy must benefit the
‘community’ and this is a point that must be debated honestly.
The general narrative about conservancies has been about preserving wildlife
both for environmental reasons or alternatively touristic and game hunting
profitable endeavors. As akin to our forestry protection policies,which are
largely a carry over of colonial policy, conservancies are protected
particularly from what have been perceived to be the ‘marauding’ locals who
are deemed to have a limited understanding of either the environment or the
wildlife that they live in close proximity with. (Hence some of the
statements from the incumbents at the Save Conservancy that some of those
that wish to take over do not understand a thing about running safaris).
Further still, even those that have been in partnerships or those that
intend to politically take over the conservancy have not shifted in their
approach to the same ‘local community’. As it was in the beginning of the
laying of the boundaries between villages and the wildlife/forestry areas
before independence, so it has remained. This even in the aftermath of the
once much celebrated Campfire which has demonstrated the patent ineptitude
of many a rural district council since its inception in 1989. In effect, all
players in this new environmental/safari tourism cum political contest have
essentially become part players in what is referred to in some academic
circles as the lie of the land ( an unquestioning acceptance of statistical
data from environmental and other NGOs that Africa’s rural poor damage their
own environment). This has been the underlying reason why local communities
are barely in with a chance of benefiting from such projects. This is
especially so when one looks at the example of displacements of people from
Matopos to the Gwaai Shangani forests and their subsequent placement under
another Campfire project in their new locations after independence
(ostensibly to protect the elephants and other wildlife).
In extending its indigenisation programme to conservancies, the government
has not demonstrated a thorough re-examination of its Campfire programmes
thus far and is not necessarily seeking to depart from ‘colonial’ policy
understanding of the interaction between environmental/natural resources and
the country’s citizens. The Save Conservancy debacle is the latest proof of
this. To seek to merely want to replace existing owners of the wildlife
sanctuary and assume that is ‘progress’ is thoroughly inadequate.
Simultaneously to talk of community share ownership trusts without a
thorough re-examination of Campfire’s successes and failures is to give
false hope (if any) to communities in the vicinity of the area.
The primary challenge is now not only about managing the narrative of
investor confidence ahead of the Untied Nations World Tourism Organisation
conference. Instead, it is of the urgent need for the country and government
to depart from the exclusionary policies of the colonial past not by way of
displacement or replacement but by wholesale democratic reform of the manner
in which our natural resources are managed in the best public interest. This
would begin with an evident understanding that what is happening in Save is
a proverbial case of the grass suffering while the elephants fight in order
for things to remain the same.
^ Phrase ‘Lie of the land’ title taken from the title of the book by
Melissa Leach and Robin Mearns, eds. The Lie of the Land: Challenging
Received Wisdom on the African Environment Oxford: James Currey and
Portsmouth, N.H.: Heinemann, 1996.
* Takura Zhangazha writes in his personal capacity.
Read about the Makgadikgadi Pans expedition undertaken by Ben Freeth and his young sons to
raise funds for the Mike Campbell Foundation, which works on human rights and justice issues
and assists destitute Zimbabwean farm workers.