by Own Correspondent Tuesday 15 September 2009
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's former opposition MDC party has said it will consult
supporters on the "sustainability and worthiness" of a power-sharing
government with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party.
But Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party did not say when exactly it
would consult supporters over a coalition government that has done well to
stop Zimbabwe's economy from hemorrhaging but is beset with serious problems
as the MDC and ZANU PF accuse each other of breaching a power-sharing deal
signed last year.
"The party shall consult and engage its structures and the people of
Zimbabwe within a specified period to ascertain the sustainability and
worthiness of the inclusive government as a vehicle for real change and
democracy in Zimbabwe," the MDC's decision-making national council said
after a meeting on Sunday in the city of Bulawayo.
The MDC also called on the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and
the African Union (AU) to act urgently to push for resolution of variety of
outstanding issues from the power-sharing deal that are at the center of its
dispute with ZANU PF.
The SADC and the AU are the guarantors of last September's global political
agreement that led to formation of the unity government last February.
The MDC accuses ZANU PF of failing to honour an agreement to reverse the
appointments of political allies to the key posts of central bank governor
and attorney general and says pro-Mugabe police and state prosecutors have
continued to target the former opposition party's activist and legislators
for arrest in violation of the power-sharing deal.
On the other hand ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the
power-sharing deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to
campaign for lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies.
But a SADC summit last week declined a request by the MDC to discuss
Zimbabwe's coalition government and instead said the 15-nation bloc's peace
and security organ made up of three countries should review the Zimbabwe
Addressing supporters in Bulawayo on Sunday, hours after the meeting of his
party's national council, Tsvangirai accused Mugabe of violating the
power-sharing agreement and warned the veteran leader that the MDC would no
longer tolerate victimisation of its activists and parliamentarians.
But few people expect the MDC to pull out of the unity government. However
analysts have grown increasingly doubtful about the administration's
long-term effectiveness because of the unending squabbles between ZANU PF
and MDC as well as the coalition government's inability to secure direct
financial support from rich Western nations.
The power-sharing government says it requires US$10 billion to rebuild
Zimbabwe's shattered economy. Western nations have declined to bankroll the
Harare administration demanding more political reforms and full
implementation of the power-sharing agreement between ZANU PF and the MDC. -
by Hendricks Chizhanje Tuesday 15 September 2009
HARARE - A tripartite committee comprising Zimbabwe's main political parties
on Monday began touring farms to verify reports of new farm invasions that
have continued despite formation of a unity government six months ago.
The Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) that monitors
implementation of the power-sharing agreement signed by President Robert
Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara
said it was touring farms to validate information compiled by Lands Minister
Hebert Murerwa regarding violence and lawlessness on farms.
JOMIC tasked Murerwa to compile a report on the situation on farms after
being petitioned by several farmers complaining about the fresh farm
seizures, violence and some criminal activities.
"We sent a list of invaded farms to Murerwa and he gave us a response and
now we are verifying that before he responds again," said a JOMIC member,
who declined to be named or to say what Murerwa had told the committee.
Yesterday the JOMIC team comprising Tabitha Khumalo, from Tsvangirai's MDC
party; Frank Chamunorwa, from Mutambara's MDC party and the three political
liaison officers Lovemore Kadenge, Michael Mukashi and Kizito Kuchekwa
visited Mashonaland West and Central provinces.
Another JOMIC member Oppah Muchinguri from Mugabe's ZANU PF party was unable
to travel with the team as she was engaged with other commitments.
Khumalo told ZimOnline by telephone from Mashonaland West that the team
would also visit other provinces to probe farm invasions.
"We want to verify the facts on the ground. There are conflicting statements
about valid and invalid offer letters. We want to try to put a face to the
information we have. We are hoping to complete the exercise at the end of
October," Khumalo said.
Farm invasions gathered pace almost immediately after formation of a
power-sharing government by Zimbabwe's three main political leaders last
Tsvangirai and Mutambara's MDC parties blame hardliner elements in ZANU PF
of stepping up farm invasions to undermine the unity government one of whose
main objectives is to restore law and order on farms to ensure food
production. - ZimOnline
by Own Correspondent Tuesday 15 September 2009
HARARE – The Food Agriculture Organisation and the European Union (EU)’s
Food Facility have procured 26 000 tonnes of seed and fertilizers for
distribution to 176 000 small scale farmers in Zimbabwe as part of efforts
to end hunger in the once food exporting southern African country.
The intended beneficiaries represent between 10 to 15 percent of communal
farmers in the country.
According to FAO’s Harare office, each farmer would receive sufficient maize
or sorghum seed and compound fertilizer to plant a 0.5 hectare plot.
The agricultural input packages that are worth about US$18 million will be
distributed in time for the upcoming rainy season that official begins early
“With good seasonal rains, timely implementation and effective coordination,
farmer's production in Zimbabwe could feasibly more than double this season,
compared to the previous year's national average production level,” said
Jean-Claude Urvoy, FAO's emergency coordinator in Zimbabwe.
Under the so-called the EU Food Facility, the EU has committed €1 billion
(US$1,2 billion) over three years to respond rapidly and on a large scale to
rising hunger around the world that due to high food prices and compounded
by the global economic crisis.
The EU Food Facility aims to bridge the gap between emergency aid and medium
to long-term development aid. The funds are being channeled through UN
agencies and other organisations. FAO has received a total of around €200
million (US$247 million) for work in 25 countries, of which €15.4 million
(US$27 million) goes to Zimbabwe.
According to Ambassador Xavier Marchal, head of delegation of the European
Commission to Zimbabwe: “The Zimbabwe allocation will contribute to the
Short Term Recovery Programme to be implemented by the European Commission
following the visit of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and his governmental
delegation to Brussels last June.”
In the coming weeks, the inputs would transported to 21 districts of the
country. FAO has contracted 13 non-governmental organisations to carry out
the input distributions.
The NGOs, along with the Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanisation and
Irrigation Development would provide extension services and training to the
farmers. Extension services would promote good farming practices, especially
timely planting, appropriate application of fertilizer and the importance of
According to Jean-Claude Urvoy, “many farmers in Zimbabwe can't afford to
buy enough inputs. The EU-funded inputs are aimed at giving vulnerable
farmers timely assistance so that they can move from subsistence to having
some surplus to sell for basic household needs, such as paying school fees."
The EU Food Facility is part of a larger programme in Zimbabwe that brings
together the humanitarian community to reach a total of 620 000 farmers with
agricultural inputs this year. Donor pledges so far for this collaborative
effort total over €41 million (US$ 60 million).
“This year's push for inputs will allow FAO and other organisations to make
a real difference in the lives of many rural Zimbabwean families,” Urvoy
Other countries receiving EU-funded Food Facility support through FAO are
Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Central African Republic,
Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Guatemala, Guinea Bissau, Haiti,
Jamaica, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Mozambique, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger,
Pakistan, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Togo and Zambia. – ZimOnline
By Jonga Kandemiiri
14 September 2009
Zimbabwe's Parliamentary Select Committee for Constitutional Reform has made
selections of chairpersons for 17 thematic committees that will conduct
public consultations, and will soon release the names of 17 civic activists
chosen as deputy chairpersons to those panels.
The state-controlled Herald newspaper said the thematic committee
chairpersons include former Health Minister David Parirenyatwa for ZANU-PF,
Thabitha Khumalo for the Movement for Democratic Change wing of Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, and Silanda Ncube for the MDC formation led by
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, among others.
Select Committee Co-Chairman Douglas Mwonzora told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri
of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that deputy chairs from civil society will be
September 15 2009 at 01:45AM
Harare - A Zimbabwean court on Monday threw out a fraud case against a
lawmaker from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC which the party said
was the third "trumped-up" charge to be dropped in a month.
Edmore Marima, a lawmaker from Bikita East, was acquitted of fraud
after a Harare magistrate said that no offence had been committed, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said in a statement.
"Marima becomes the third MDC MP in the past month to be acquitted of
trumped-up charges which Zanu-PF is trying to use to whittle down the ruling
party's majority in Parliament," party said.
The lawmaker was charged with abusing a farming inputs scheme
established for members of Parliament last year, but the magistrate told the
court that information had been kept from MDC lawmakers "in order to trap
them", the party said.
Several lawmakers from Tsvangirai's party have been arrested in recent
months which the MDC claims is a crackdown against the party.
In February, the party formed a unity government with veteran
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF, in a bid to end political unrest that
erupted after last year's failed elections.
But the two remain deadlocked over key appointments, while Mugabe
stands accused of dragging his feet over reforming media laws and the
Tuesday marks the first anniversary since the leaders penned a
power-sharing pact that underpins the unity government. - AFP
September 15, 2009
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - There were moments of drama in the Gutu Council offices Monday
when councillors representing the MDC boycottedof a council meeting in which
five councillors representing special interest groups were scheduled to be
sworn in. The swearing-in ceremony was abandoned and postponed indefinitely
amid heckling and an exchange of harsh words amongst the councillors.
According to the amended Urban Council Act the Minister of Local Government
and Urban Development Ignatius Chombo is empowered to appoint councillors
representing special interest groups.
The number of the appointed councillors should not exceed one third of the
Councillors from the MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have
resisted moves by Chombo to appoint the councillors, arguing that it was a
move meant to outnumber them in council.
Tempers flared yesterday when Gutu District administrator Peacemaker Muzenda
who was representing Chombo arrived at the Gutu Council offices and advised
councillors that he had come to swear in the five councillors who are
aligned to Zanu-PF.
The MDC councillors immediately walked out of the council chambers in
protest against the move.
"We can not allow Chombo to impose people on us", said one of the
councillors. "We have walked out because we do not want to be part and
parcel of this abuse of power because these people were not elected".
Masvingo provincial administrator Felix Chikovo yesterday confirmed the
drama at the Gutu Council offices, saying he was still to receive a full
report of proceedings.
"I have just heard that but I am yet to be given a full report", said
Gutu Rural District Council has 38 wards 20 of which were won by the MDC-T
while Zanu Pf secured the remaining 18.
The then Zanu-PF government changed several sections of the Urban Councils
Act after realising that the MDC was winning most of the council seats
within the local authorities.
In terms of the amended Act Chombo is authorised to handpick councillors of
his choice under the guise of insuring that special interest groups are
The MDC feels "special interest groups" is a euphemism for Zanu-PF.
MDC MP acquitted
Meanwhile, Bikita East MP, Edmore Marima was on acquitted of fraud at the
Harare Magistrates' Court with the magistrate saying he had not committed
Marima faced charges of abusing the farming inputs scheme that was
established for MPs last year.
However, Magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini acquitted the MP after he agreed
with the defence lawyer Douglas Mwonzora that the MP was given the farming
inputs in order to trap him and other MDC MPs.
"There was no offence committed," the magistrate said. "Information that was
meant for the recipients was purposely kept away from MDC MPs in order to
Marima becomes the third MDC MP to be acquitted over the past three months
on trumped-up charges which Zanu-PF is trying to use to whittle down the
ruling party's majority in Parliament.
Several MDC MPs have in recent months been arrested and brought to court on
various charges dismissed by the party as trumped.
Written by GIFT PHIRI
Monday, 14 September 2009 17:06
MUTARE - Zimbabwe's military is sustaining its grip on the lucrative
diamond fields in Chiadzwa, amid reports soldiers captured and murdered
Moreblessing Tirivangani of Harare on Sunday last week.
The Mutare-based Centre for Research and Development said Tirivangani
died after enduring all-night beatings at a military base in Chiadzwa.
Police officers who took his body to Mutare General Hospital Mortuary
claimed he was killed while trying to disarm soldiers.
"Tirivangani had plastic covering his nose, suggesting that he may
have been tortured before his death," said the CRD. "He also had stripes and
bruises on his ribs, suggesting persistent beatings."
The murder followed a September 3 visit to the Marange diamond fields
by the commander of Zimbabwe National Army, Lt Gen Phillip Valerio Sibanda,
accompanied by Brigadier General Chimonyo.
An "illegal curfew" was imposed around Chiadzwa during Sibanda's
visit. Zimbabwe police and army have refused to remove soldiers and police
officers from the diamond fields despite calls by a top diamonds
certification body to do so.
The Kimberley Process, the international watchdog body fighting trade
in "conflict diamonds", has dispatched three fact-finding teams to Zimbabwe
since the formation of the inclusive government in February, in the wake of
damning reports accusing Zimbabwe's military of conscripting villagers -
both adults and children - to mine diamonds in Chiadzwa.
Rights group Human Rights Watch has said there was appalling violence
to clear the diamond fields of illegal miners - with over 200 killed in the
operation, dubbed 'Hakudzokwi', that commenced in 2007. The killings
continue to this day.
The Kimberley Process has urged the government to immediately withdraw
troops from the controversial diamond fields. But officials have played down
the adverse conclusions spelled out by the KP team in its memorandum. A
confidential memo by the KP concluded that the military had been directly
involved in illegal mining and that the authorities had carried out
"horrific violence against civilians".
Although the government stated that it would comply with the team's
recommendations, including a phased withdrawal of the military, the latest
news is that the military will stay in place for "security reasons".
Officer Commanding Manicaland, Senior Assistant Commissioner
Murombedzi Shava Matutu told a recent news conference that the security
forces would remain in place to curb illegal mining.
Commander of 3 Brigade in Mutare, Ronny Mutizhe said the permanent
solution would be to relocate people from the area.
"For now security forces cannot abandon the area," he said.
Written by Mussa Woodend
Monday, 14 September 2009 17:32
GWANDA - The Zimbabwe examination Council (ZIMSEC) has been forced to
extend its examination registration exercise yet again, after scores of
Ordinary and Advanced level pupils failed to meet Friday's fee payment
In a statement last week, the acting Director of Zimsec, Esau
Shingirai Nhandara, advised examination centres, parents and pupils that the
registration period had been extended to September 25, but the fees remained
Arthur Maphosa, a headmaster at Gwanda High said efforts to send
pupils back home to collect the fees had yielded nothing. He said the timing
of Friday's deadline was ill-advised as most parents were broke.
He added that a number of 'O' level students who managed to register
for the exams by Friday had cut the number of subjects they would write due
to financial constraints.
"You will find that pupils doing seven subjects have registered for
only five", he said.
A minimum of five 'O' level passes is required from students intending
to proceed to 'A' level.
The worst affected pupils are those in rural schools.
Pupils are paying US$10 per subject for 'O' level examinations while
'A' level students pay US$20 for a single subject.
Parents have since urged the ministry of education to let pupils sit
for the exams even without paying.
"The government says it does not have money for our salaries and we do
not have the cash to pay the exam fees, so they should let the kids write
the exams without paying," said Tisetso Moyo, a nurse by profession.
Written by Taurai Bande
Friday, 11 September 2009 13:03
HARARE - The MDC must initiate a political decision to reinstate 2,135
Tel-one and Postal service employees dismissed from work on political
grounds by the previous Zanu (PF) government in 2004, President of the
Communication and Allied Services Workers Union of Zimbabwe (CASWUZ)
Lovemore Matombo (Pictured) has said.
The workers, who were fired for demanding increased salaries, made up
65 per cent of the total organization's manpower. Matombo said the dismissal
was a Zanu (PF) grand plan to destroy the workers' union which was perceived
as militant and a threat to President Robert Mugabe's autocratic rule. "We
have engaged Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the minister under which
the affected workers fall, Nelson Chamisa, to make a corrective political
decision as the workers were dismissed for allegedly supporting the MDC. The
MDC must not take a soft diplomatic approach towards the issue as the
dismissal judgment was reached following suspected political interference at
the supreme court. How can the highest court of appeal rule that 2,135
workers had to be fired as they were absent from work without official
leave?" Matombo asked.
He said that though his union respected rulings made by the judiciary,
it was not happy about the supreme court ruling and how the judgment was
reached. Matombo, whose union recently sensitized the International Labor
Organization delegation in Harare about the unfair dismissals, said: "The
supreme court quoted a labor act which indicated that a worker who absents
himself from work for five days in a year should be dismissed. The referred
Act was not appropriate for the circumstances." The dismissal judgment by
the supreme court overturned previous labour and High court rulings, which
were in favour of the striking workers. The union appealed to the High Court
following refusal by management at Tel-one and the postal services to honour
the labour ruling.
"High Court Judge Rita Makarawu categorically upheld the ruling made
by the labour court that the workers should be reinstated as they had a
justified case," said Matombo. Following the Supreme Court judgment, CASWUZ
took their case to the International Labour Organisation in 2006 for them to
impress on the Mugabe government the need for fair treatment of workers.
Nothing positive came out of the lobby. More than 400 of the dismissed
workers have since been reported dead before justice has been done. Matombo
suspected most of the deaths were as a result of stress due to job loses and
inability by the dismissed workers to raise money for medical bills and
decent food. "We hope the MDC will give the case the urgency it deserves.
With the advent of democracy, we expect the dismissed workers to be
re-instated," Matombo added.
Written by NATASHA HOVE
Monday, 14 September 2009 13:50
BULAWAYO - The Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra), which has become
the unity government's main source of funding, collected a paltry US$5.8m in
taxes from companies against a target of US$24.6m between June and August.
In its quarterly report, Zimra said several revenue streams, such as
taxes from Companies and excise duty failed to meet set targets while
individual taxes and value added tax recorded some positives. Zimra
chairperson Gibson Mandishona said: "For the months of May and June, VAT on
local sales surpassed VAT on imports - a clear indication that the economy
is picking up quite well." Individual tax, also known as pay as you earn,
contributed US$36m, against a target of $28m.
"Most employers that were paying their workers in local currency
during the first quarter began to pay in foreign currency. In addition, some
of those companies that were paying in foreign currency within the tax-free
range reviewed their employees' salaries upwards," said Mandishona.
Mandishona said the revenue collector brought in a total of US$208.5m in
the second quarter against a target of US$194m. "Although some challenges
are still prevailing in the economy, the remaining half of 2009 promises to
be an improvement on the first half, especially if the inclusive government
succeeds in implementing its recovery programmes," he said. Experts say
revenue collections through taxes are expected to further improve as
THE Zimbabwe government has seized assets of the Stock Exchange-listed
Meikles group under a controversial anti-corruption law.
The seizure was authorised by the country's two Home Affairs Ministers,
Kembo Mohadi and Giles Mutsekwa, according to an extra-ordinary government
gazette published last Friday.
Kingdom Meikles, Tanganda Tea Company, Thomas Meikles Centre and Murlis
Investments were all listed as "specified" companies in the gazette which
allows the government to place them under administration.
Kingdom Meikles managing director Andrew Lane-Mitchell is cited as a
specified person under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The move, although not unexpected, follows Meikles Africa Limited's messy
divorce from a merger with Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited in June.
Before the de-merger, an investigation by BCA Consultancy concluded that the
Meikles family had established externalisation deals "indirectly or
Meikles is accused of stashing huge sums of foreign currency in foreign bank
accounts in breach of Zimbabwe's exchange control regulations.
But the company has vowed to fight. The company's lawyer Sternford Moyo of
Scanlen and Holderness said the specification was illegal. Meikles will
argue that under the terms of Statutory Instrument 128 of 2006, the
administration of the Prevention of Corruption Act was assigned to the
Minister of State for State Enterprises, Anti-Corruption and
Moyo said: "Although that ministry is now defunct, the statutory instrument
has not yet been repealed, therefore, the joint Ministers of Home Affairs
are not the minister referred to in the statute."
Before Meikles' specification, the most controversial use of the law was the
government's 2004 take-over of assets owned by businessman Mutumwa Mawere,
including the country's largest asbestos mines - the Shabanie Mashaba Mines.
Mawere has approached the Supreme Court for a final showdown with the
Written by The Editor
Monday, 14 September 2009 10:58
The state media has been awash with reports describing how the
Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) summit held in Kinshasa last
week was a success for "Zimbabwe and its people", and how "anti-Zimbabwe
lobbyists" had failed to convince the regional bloc to put Zimbabwe on the
There was also a glut of stories and commentaries on the fact that
SADC had called for the lifting of "sanctions". State apologists and
propagandists have never explained convincingly how keeping a problem that
needs urgent resolution off the agenda can be said to be a rational or
logical approach. This incongruous behaviour is only resorted to by people
who have plenty to hide. Over the past decade, President Robert Mugabe and
his party have mounted a determined offensive to prevent the Zimbabwean
crisis to be tabled before SADC, the Commonwealth, the African Union and the
United Nations. Events in Kinshasa last week proved that nothing has
changed, despite the existence of a so-called government of national unity.
South African Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe, gave an interesting
insight into SADC's complacent and defensive posture. He is quoted in some
media as defending calls to lift "Western sanctions" imposed on Mugabe and
his inner circle. He argued that calls for the lifting of the restrictive
measures were designed to enable Zimbabwe to attract the 'necessary '
investment. Motlanthe and SADC cannot be serious in pretending that there is
no cause and effect link between the lack of democratic governance in
Zimbabwe and the imposition of "sanctions". The crafters of the various
forms of embargoes against the ruling elite have made very clear what
changes they expect to see before considering lifting the restrictive
measures. SADC would be entitled to call for the lifting of "sanctions" if
indeed it had done everything in its power to end human suffering in the
country. The regional bloc has never spoken out against political violence,
abductions, arbitrary arrests, the crushing of dissent, lawlessness and
selective interpretation and enforcement of the law that continued even as
the SADC leaders deliberated in the Congolese capital.
Motlanthe is also quoted as saying it is futile to focus on Mugabe in
relation to the Zimbabwean crisis because of his advanced age. Mugabe may be
an octogenarian but he presides over a country where unspeakable horrors
have occurred and continue to happen. The buck stops with him. It is
preposterous for SADC to use Mugabe's age to justify its condoning of
impunity. An organisation that purports to embrace the tenets of democracy,
justice and the sanctity of human life and then proceeds to stand by while
all these values are trampled upon can only create an unbridgeable
credibility gap. This is what SADC has done. Its impotence and collusion
have allowed the pit that Zimbabwe must eventually dig itself out of to
Monday, 14 September 2009 23:10 UK
White farmers in Zimbabwe have told the BBC that there is still "anarchy and lawlessness" in some parts of the country, a year after a historic power-sharing deal was reached.
The country is preparing to mark the first anniversary of the deal between Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan Tsvangirai.
It was supposed to bring stability to the country.
Africa Correspondent Andrew Harding reports.