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Mass trial of victims of ZANU PF looting in Nyanga

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
29 September 2009

Around 88 villagers will be in court at the Nyanga Magistrates court on
Wednesday, charged with extortion after they attempted to retrieve property
and livestock seized by ZANU PF thugs. The villagers, perceived to be MDC
supporters, were targeted in the run-up to the sham one man presidential
election in June last year and lost cattle, goats, chickens, ploughs and
food stocks harvested from their fields.

There has been no intervention from the coalition government to ensure a
return of the looted property and no compensation has been paid to the
villagers. Earlier this year they took the matter into their own hands and
approached the looters in Chifambe Village, under Chief Katerere, demanding
their property back. They were promptly arrested by police and were later
released on bail.

The villagers have named the master-minds of the looting as: Tichaona
Kadyamusana, Gibson Nyakuba, Loveness Nyakabobo, Martin Njanji, Chenjerai
Mukoko, Peter Masenza, Fungai Nyakurega, Mike Kadyamusuma, Obert
Kadyamusuma, Courage Kadyamusuma, Rhodah Biasi, Paul Teta, Samuel Sanyamwera
and Richard Bulawayo. The thieves allege they took food from the victims to
feed militias camped in their nearby bases of Chawagonahapana and Avilla
Business Centre in Ward 2 of Katerere.† MDC supporters were also assaulted
at the bases but local police in Nyanga refused to intervene and left the
thugs to do as they pleased.

The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are also assisting another group of 16
villagers, who are demanding around US$853 in damages for sunflower seeds,
goats, maize, sorghum, guinea fowls, chicken, groundnuts, beasts and sheep
taken.
Similar cases have highlighted the need for a workable transitional justice
and national healing mechanism to deal with grievances like this. This year
a Bikita court granted an order, allowing 7 villagers to claim US$7 000 from
ZANU PF supporters who looted their property. But villagers in Buhera, who
were also targeted by ZANU PF militias, engaged in retaliatory attacks,
frustrated at not being able to get their property back.
Experts say there is a real need for a political solution to the problem.
Given the compromised judiciary it is unlikely that victims will find any
justice and even those who win court orders will struggle to get them
enforced by a partisan police force. Even though the unity deal between ZANU
PF and the MDC commits itself to reconciliation and national healing it has
become obvious that ZANU PF accepted this out of expediency and has no real
interest in the process.


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Seven Abducted Zimbabweans Still Missing

http://www.radiovop.com

Harare, September 29, 2009 - Seven people who were abducted last year
by state security agents remain unaccounted for, almost a year after their
enforced disappearances.

Rights group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), disclosed that
seven people, who were abducted at the time of the kidnapping of prominent
human rights campaigner, Jestina Mukoko, were still missing up to now
despite the issuance of several court orders ordering the police and state
security agents to produce the abductees.

The seven include Gwenzi Kahiya, Lovemore Machokoto, Charles Muza,
Ephraim Mabeka, Edmore Vangirayi, Peter Munyanyi, and Graham Matehwa.

"Whilst we celebrate today's victory with Jestina, we are mindful that
7 other abductees remain unaccounted for to date, and we urge the Attorney
General to advise the law enforcement authorities to comply with several
court orders for them to investigate these disappearances and inform of the
whereabouts, and/or produce Gwenzi Kahiya, Lovemore Machokoto, Charles Muza,
Ephraim Mabeka, Edmore Vangirayi, Peter Munyanyi, and Graham Matehwa, which
orders they continue to defy with impunity," said ZLHR.

The statement follows Supreme Court's order to drop Mukoko's charges
due to the violation of several of her fundamental rights by state security
agents.

Mukoko, the Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, was the victim of
an illegal abduction in December 2008 and was subjected to various other
human rights violations during her incommunicado detention which included
torture.

ZLHR said the unanimous ruling on the human rights activist was the
only rightful and foreseeable outcome in light of the overwhelming facts and
legal arguments presented in support of Mukoko's application.

"Many of the violations and much of the wasted time, costs and anguish
caused by this malicious prosecution could have been averted had the office
of the Attorney General properly advised its clients, namely the police and
state security agents, of their unlawful actions and properly performed its
constitutional duty to ensure that such violations were punished by a
refusal to prosecute. Instead, representatives of this office time and again
sought to abuse their functions for the purposes of persecution, rather than
justifiable prosecution. ZLHR sincerely hopes that the Attorney General will
reflect deeply on how this case was mishandled and ensure that he does not
tolerate similar actions by the errant law officers who were involved in
this case, or any others, which may arise in the future," ZLHR said.


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Bennett says MDC have no power in government

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Violet Gonda
29 September 2009

Roy Bennett, the MDC-T Minister of Agriculture nominee, has said the
security situation in the country is now one of concern, eight months after
the formation of the inclusive government. The MDC official, who is still
waiting to be sworn into office by Robert Mugabe, said it's 'rule by the gun'
and the MDC has no means of dealing with the problems bedevilling the
coalition government, because ZANU PF is sharply in control.

Bennett was responding to criticism on SW Radio Africa by commercial farmers
who accuse the MDC of not doing anything to stop the violent farm invasions.
One such farmer is Charles Lock from the Headlands district who is being
threatened by soldiers and he and his farm workers are being forced off the
farm, despite several High Court judgments in his favour. The soldiers are
acting on behalf of army Brigadier General Justin Itayi Mujaji.

Bennett said ZANU PF is completely ignoring a Memorandum of Understanding
signed by the political rivals in July last year that there would be no farm
invasions and that there would be a land audit. "Obviously this is being
totally ignored and highlights the total disrespect for the rule of law and
the total disrespect for court judgment."

He said Lock has at least eight court judgements in his favour and has
completely followed the government procedure of applying for land and being
granted land as an A2 Settler. "Then being challenged by a Brigadier, who is
actually (Minister) Patrick Chinamasa's brother-in-law, because the two
sisters want to farm next to each other, and basically being protected by
Chinamasa and using his might as a Brigadier - and using his brigade on the
farms to protect his personal interests with absolutely no accountability."

The MDC official said his party has no means of dealing with these sorts of
issues, other than referring back to the Global Political Agreement and
appealing to SADC - the guarantors of the power sharing agreement, to see if
SADC can enforce compliance. He said a number of issues in the GPA have not
been adhered to and are being totally ignored by their partners - ZANU PF.
He said the MDC is powerless, while ZANU PF has the military and a patronage
system it uses to 'give' land to those it favours, and it is doing this with
total impunity.
Despite claiming the government's land reform programme is meant to correct
'historical imbalances' and is there to give land to landless black
Zimbabweans through a one man one farm policy, it was† revealed this weekend
that Robert and Grace Mugabe own 12 farms between them. Nearly all of them
seized from white farmers. Bennett believes this is just the tip of the
iceberg and the reason why ZANU PF is vehemently fighting any land audit. He
said this is the status quo across the country.

"You will find government ministers, businessmen who are ZANU PF
affiliated - who have thriving businesses in Harare, who have grabbed farms.
It's pure corruption, it's pure greed, it's pure theft and there is no such
thing as enough."

Meanwhile, the MDC official is expected back in court for his trial on
October 13. Mugabe is refusing to swear him in as the MDC's Deputy
Agriculture Minister, claiming he is facing serious terrorism charges.
Bennett denies these claims of 'organising arms of war' to topple the Mugabe
regime and says it is part of the on-going victimisation campaign he has
suffered at the hands of† ZANU PF.† He said there is no movement on swearing
him in and he is now waiting to see what happens when his trial starts in
mid October.


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More farm violence and looting as soldiers ignore court orders

http://www.swradioafrica.com

Gerry Jackson
29 September, 2009

The Swiss government have cleared Nestle of any wrong doing over the fact
that the company trades with Grace Mugabe. The disingenuous argument being
used is that the Swiss regulations that bar trade with the Mugabes, only
apply to companies in Switzerland, and not subsidiaries in other parts of
the world.
But the fact is the illegal theft and plunder of farms has been the biggest
factor in the destruction of Zimbabwe's economy - and Grace, her husband and
the rest of the ruling elite are directly responsible for this. And the
destruction is continuing at an escalating pace due to a mad scramble for
the last remaining big farming businesses.
One farmer who has been on the receiving end of the madness for years now is
Charles Lock of Karori farm in the Headlands district. His farm workers have
been beaten shot, starved and evicted, despite numerous High Court orders
and contempt of court orders, issued against the land invaders. Nearly a
million dollars worth of crops have been stolen, that same amount in
equipment has been looted. But the main problem for Charles Lock is that it
is the army behind this theft, soldiers under the control of Brigadier
General Mujaji.
This past weekend the violence intensified against Lock and his farm
labourers. Having obtained yet another court order allowing him to remove
his crops and equipment from his farm, Lock went with the messenger of the
court and 3 police officers to serve the order on the soldiers. But the
soldiers just threatened to kill Lock right in front of the police. Then on
Sunday Mujaji stole the farm diesel and using Lock's own tractors set about
evicting all senior staff from the farm, and then drove off all the workers,
who are now scattered by the roadsides with no food or shelter.† Mujaji has
so far stolen 300 tons of maize and 150 tons of tobacco, despite High Court
orders to stop him. The tobacco was grown under contract and financed by
international tobacco companies.
In an interview with SW Radio Africa Lock said he had no idea what to do
next. The police can or will do nothing, the court orders are ignored and
the military are a law unto themselves. He said as far as he could see a
military coup has taken place in Zimbabwe.
A military coup is described as 'the sudden overthrow and seizure of a
government by the military'. But in Zimbabwe's case there is a government
that encourages the military to ignore the rule of law and the military is
fully behind the illegal activities of the government.
There may be a 'unity government' and a Global Political Agreement that is
supposed to ensure the rule of law - but it's clear to everyone now that
this is a unity government in name only. The MDC members have absolutely no
power - and seemingly little will to make an issue over the final
destruction of Zimbabwe's farms, and the misery that continues to be created
for the tens of thousands of farm workers in this year alone, who have lost
their livelihoods and any hope of a future.


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ZEC members want place on IZEC

http://www.thezimbabwetimes.com/?p=23276

September 29, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) deputy chairperson Joyce
Laetitia Kazembe and Theophilus Gambe, also a sitting ZEC commissioner, say
they envisage being part of an independent electoral body that is not biased
and is totally free from State interference.

The two were among three sitting ZEC commissioners who included in a
shortlist of 28 people who took part in Monday's interviews by Parliament to
nominate prospective commissioners of the soon to be formed Independent
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (IZEC).

Three candidates, Davison Kanokanga, Sithembiso Khuphe and a sitting
commissioner Vivian Ncube, failed to turn up for the interviews although it
later emerged Kanokanga had voluntarily pulled out of the interviews.

Kazembe's interview was marred by a brief stoppage during which the
interviewing Zanu-PF and MDC parliamentarians who are part of Parliament's
Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) squabbled over whether she was
supposed to answer a supplementary question posed by Constitutional and
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga.

But when she answered the seven mandatory questions, Kazembe said her
understanding of an independent electoral commission was that of a body that
was not influenced by any contesting political parties or the executive.

"Such commission would not influenced by any authority whatsoever," said
Kazembe.

"It is independent in the sense that its actions, its functions, its roles
are defined by set rules, by set legislation and they follow that without
any influence from any political party, executive.

"It is independent also in the sense that it has its resources accorded to
it by a parliamentary body.

"It seeks its funding from the treasury and that it is not answerable to any
one arm of the state and it does not fall under any government authority."

Kazembe said she felt she should be seconded to IZEC because of her
experiences in the current ZEC which she said helped establish a permanent
secretariat "which has been able to identify its weaknesses and the
capacities that were immediate".

"I am informed in electoral processes and in politics in general, both in
Zimbabwe and also regionally," she said.

The current ZEC, which is chaired by retired army brigadier George Chiweshe,
is filled with President Mugabe's loyalists.

ZEC has been criticised for alleged open bias towards President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.

The electoral body ignored pleas by Presidential contender Tsvangirai to
halt the June 2008 presidential run-off because of massive violence on his
party structures.

After the March 29 elections in which President Mugabe lost to Tsvangirai,
ZEC mysteriously withheld the results of the elections for a month.

During the interviews on Monday, Gambe berated the current electoral system
in Zimbabwe which he said emphasised much on balloting and forgot the
requisite voter education.

Gambe, who said he was an admirer of the American system of running
elections, said the local electorate was not adequately equipped with
information on the purpose and need for elections.

"The major ingredients of holding a free and fair election involve civic
education and Zimbabwe has done nothing much in that as it has concentrated
on balloting," he said.

Gambe said his perception of an independent electoral commission was one
that comprised professionals who were free to execute their duties without
any undue influence by political players.

"The management of elections itself has got to be done independently and
impartially and should be run by competent and efficient people," said
Gambe.

"An independent commission is a commission which should be able to exercise
its functions without interference from any person.

"Lack of interference also means it should operate on its own resources and
budget without being accountable in its day to day operations to third
parties."

"People should have trust in the people who manage the elections. The people
should exhibit fairness, transparency."

Gambe feels he is among the best candidates that can be included in the IZEC
as he has formed an African Union observer team that has observed elections
in Mauritius and Malawi and had "seen how others were conducting their
elections".

He also said he had also been involved in running local elections since May
2002.

But the situation got out of control when Matinenga asked Kazembe if her
commission in its 2008 report made "an independent and objective assessment
on whether the elections were peaceful, other than relying on information
they obtained from the police.

Zanu-PF members of the SROC, led by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
protested saying the question was too political.

Lovemore Moyo, the Speaker of Parliament was forced to overrule the asking
of the question after the squabbles almost derailed the process, which was
still halfway.

But that was not before MDC MP for Masvingo Central, Tongai Matutu, had
protested that the Speaker had allowed Kazembe to "get away with murder".

Other candidates who turned up for the interviews include Eveline Manyame,
Lakayana Dube, Dr Petty Makoni, Phahlani Mubonderi, Nancy Saungweme, Philip
Mazorodze, Susan Gangawa, Kalaya Njini, Muleya Ndlovu, Professor Geoff
Feltoe; Naboth Chaibva, Gowell Khosa, Blessie Nhandara, Mkhululi Nyathi,
Sinikiwe Marecha, Cassian Jakachira, Arthur Chadzingwa, Sibongile Ndlovu,
Campion Maxweba, former MP Shepherd Mukwekwedzeke, Middleton Nyoni, Daniel
Chigaru and a Dr Shana.


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NGOs stop schools feeding scheme

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk


Written by STAFF REPORTER
Tuesday, 29 September 2009 12:11
BULAWAYO -- Relief organisations have reportedly suspended a
supplementary feeding scheme for children at schools in Bulawayo saying food
supplies have improved in the country's second largest city.

The programme that was run by the World Vision Zimbabwe (WVZ) and the
World Food Programme (WFP) was benefiting children at about 87 kindergarten
and primary schools in the hunger-prone city.
WVZ and WFP officials were not immediately available to take questions
on the matter.† But teachers said the two groups that have helped feed
Zimbabweans since food shortages began about nine years ago sent circulars
informing school authorities that they were discontinuing the feeding
programme.
"We received circulars from WVZ and WFP before we closed schools last
term, advising us that the programme will be terminated," said a teacher at
St Patrick's primary school in the city, who declined to be named because
she did not have permission from her superiors to discuss the matter with
the Press.
"WVZ and WFP cited the improved food situation in the country as one
of the reasons for withdrawing the scheme. We really appeal to the two
relief organisations to reconsider their decision because the programme was
benefiting a lot of our children," added the teacher.
The teacher said attendance at her school had decreased by 30 percent
as a result of the withdrawal of the programme.
A local councilor, Charles Ndlovu, also appealed to the relief
organisations to review their decision to discontinue a programme he said
had become an important source of nutrition for children from vulnerable
households.
Ndlovu said: "The programme was really helping school children
especially pre school pupils and children from highly vulnerable households.
Due to dollarisation most parents cannot afford to buy their families food.
I am planning a meeting with WVZ and WFP officials next week to try to
convince them to continue with the programme in my ward."
Once a net exporter of the staple maize grain, Zimbabwe has faced
acute food shortages since 2001 after President Robert Mugabe began in 2000
his controversial land reform programme that saw experienced white farmers
replaced by either incompetent or poorly funded black farmers resulting in a
massive drop in food production.
Chaos in agriculture because of farm seizures also hit hard Zimbabwe's
once impressive manufacturing sector that had depended on a robust farming
sector for orders and inputs.
Most of Zimbabwe's industries have since the beginning of farm
seizures either scaled down operations or shut down altogether, in a country
where unemployment is more than 90 percent.


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Zimbabwe probes militant farm invasion

http://www.nation.co.ke

By KITSEPILE NYATHI, NATION Correspondent, HARAREPosted Tuesday, September
29 2009 at 16:58

Zimbabwe's unity government has launched a fresh probe into the fresh wave
of farm invasions by President Robert Mugabe's militant supporters.

Top security commanders and senior members of Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF party have
stepped up farm seizures since the veteran leader formed the unity
government with his former bitter rival and now Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai.

The few remaining white commercial farmers say the farm seizures have
increasingly become violent with the police saying they are unable to act.

At the weekend, soldiers threatened to shoot the white owner of a farm they
seized just before harvest time.

Industry and Trade minister, Professor Welshman Ncube, who is a member of
the Joint Monitoring Committee (JOMIC) - a tripartite body set up to monitor
the power sharing agreement - said the invasions had unsettled the unity
government.

"JOMIC has deployed teams that are involved in an exercise of visiting farms
to gather details regarding farm invasions," he said.

Prof Ncube of the smaller faction of the Movement for Democratic Change led
by Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara said JOMIC will meet on
Thursday to consider a preliminary report on the disturbances.

"After JOMIC has agreed, we hope that the three principals to the GPA will
also agree on measures to resolve contentious issues on these farms."

Mr Tsvangirai's party says it is considering pulling out of the unity
government because Mr Mugabe is a frustrating efforts to return the country
to the rule of law.

Security commanders and hardliners in Zanu PF most of who own several farms
each seized from whites continue to grab more land, disregarding court
orders not to do so.

Prof Ncube said a land audit promised in the power sharing agreement that
led to the formation of the unity government has not been carried because
there was no money.

In the meantime, influential people from the previous government are said to
be helping themselves to prime commercial farms.

Mr Mugabe and his wife Grace have helped themselves to at least farms taken
over from white farms.


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How Grace's empire has fallen into ruin

From The Cape Argus (SA), 28 September

Peta Thornycroft

Harare - While many of her countrymen remain hungry, Zimbabwe's First Lady
Grace Mugabe has destroyed most of the choice white farms she has seized.
Grace, the wife of President Robert Mugabe, has established a
state-of-the-art dairy on one of the six or more farms she has acquired. And
she is controversially selling milk to the Swiss-based company Nestlé.
President Mugabe has also secretly grabbed five choice farms for himself,
the Weekend Argus revealed yesterday. At least Robert Mugabe has ensured
that the farms he took as part of his "land reform programme" are
productive, if not profitable. But most of Grace's estates have fallen into
ruin. Probably the previously most profitable of them, Zimbabwe's largest
seed producing farm, Sigaro, in the rich Mazowe Valley near Harare, now
produces no crops. Its infrastructure, packing sheds, a seed factory and a
luxury home, burned down in 2007. The farm, among the top 10 most valuable
in the country in 1999, lies fallow and it would take millions of rands to
get it productive again. Next door to Sigaro, Gwebi Woods, a large export
granadilla farm, owned by Washington Matsaire, CEO of Standard Chartered
Bank, which Grace took early this year, was also burned down and lies
fallow.

Even Foyle Farm, which she took in 2003, and where she has built her hi-tech
dairy, is nowhere near as productive as it once was. It was Zimbabwe's top
producer, yet today, despite the millions of rands of world class dairy
equipment supplied and installed for Grace in June by Dairy Care, a South
African company, it still produces only a sixth of the milk it did six years
ago. Delaval, in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal which supplied Grace with the dairy
equipment imported mainly from Germany, Sweden and Poland, said it was a
top-of-the-range installation. Delaval spokesman Rykie Visser said he could
not discuss the cost of Grace Mugabe's dairy equipment. "We keep that
information confidential about all our customers," he said last Friday.
Grace Mugabe's milk is bought by Nestlé Zimbabwe, part of the international
group in Geneva, and while Switzerland is not a member of the EU it adopted
its own measures against some Zanu PF leaders, including Grace Mugabe. The
measures rule that Switzerland, like the EU, will not provide funds to
anyone on its sanctions list. Other farms taken by Grace Mugabe, Leverdale
and Gwina, in Banket, about 80km north of Harare were part of a farming
operation run by the Nicolle family which produced 20 percent of Zimbabwe's
wheat in winter. No wheat was planted this winter on these famed, rich red
soils which have provided food for tens of thousands of Zimbabweans for
decades.


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Matabeleand Rejects Mugabe - Survey

http://www.radiovop.com


Harare, September 29, 2009 - A survey has shown that the majority of
Zimbabweans, particularly in Matebeleland trust Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai more than they do President Robert Mugabe.

A research report released by Mass Public Opinion Institute said :
"From a public opinion perspective, MDC-T leader Morgan Tsvangirai is
clearly the key beneficiary of the Inclusive Government, he is trusted by
many. An overwhelming seven in ten (78%) of the total respondents stated
that they trusted the† Prime minister, somewhat or a lot. Levels of trust
for the President Robert† Mugabe are way below those of the Prime minister
as less in four in ten (36%) of the† total† respondents expressed their
trust† in him.

"On† the† job performance 81% of† the population approved Tsvangirai
performance, while 24% was attributed to President Mugabe. Thus Prime
minister Tsvangirai was at the time of the research riding high on a wave of
support and trust but it remains to be seen whether he will be able to
maintain such high support and† trust," said the report.

The† report also† revealed that† 24% of† the Matabeleland† population
supported the inclusion of† President Mugabe in the current coalition
government while the remainder rejected.

A University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer said the rejection
of Mugabe's inclusion in the inclusive government is because of lack of
confidence by the Ndebele tribe in Mugabe administration.

"The Ndebele people are bitter and feel cheated by ZANU(PF) when they
signed the unity accord by ZAPU in 1987. They no longer trust Mugabe because
of† his insincerity, and† they did not reap any benefit from the
Mugabe/Nkomo coalition. The other reason is that the atrocities of
Gukurahundi in the province in the early 1980s are also haunting them. Given
the fact that no national† healing and reconciliation was conducted† to
heal the wounds of the affected is also a contributing factor to the
rejection of Mugabe by the Ndebele tribe," said the† political scientist.

The inclusive government was formed in February and has contributed to
the stabilization of the country's economy.


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Veld fires stoke food production fears


Photo: Save the Children
Wild fires threaten food production
HARARE, 29 September 2009 (IRIN) - The increasing incidence of wild fires is eroding food production in Zimbabwe, which remains a food insecure country despite a turnaround in agricultural production.

The Environment Management Agency, a government department, said recently that veld fires were being reported mainly in areas settled by new farmers, the recipients of President Robert Mugabe's fast-track land reform programme, which began in 2000 and has led to more than 4,000 white commercial farms being redistributed to landless blacks.

About 46,000 hectares of arable land has gone up in flames in recent months. Environment Africa (EA), a non-governmental organization promoting environmental management and biodiversity practices, said the capacity to fight wild fires had also been diminished in the past decade as a consequence of the country's economic contraction.

"The ability to put out fires is currently not there, and it will take some time before those charged with safeguarding the environment can respond to fire outbreaks timeously and effectively," EA spokesperson Deliwe Utete told IRIN.

"We are poorly equipped as a country, even though we are aware that there are moves by the meteorological department to source disaster identification and prevention technology." She said the increase in wildfires had been exacerbated by the nature of land redistribution.

"The patterns of ownership that resulted from the fast-track land reform programme make it easy for fires to spread - plots have been carved up to accommodate several farmers on a single plot, and the new occupants no longer prioritize putting up structures that guard against fire outbreaks."

In the first quarter of 2009, nearly seven million Zimbabweans were relying on emergency food aid, but this number is expected to decrease to around 2.8 million by the first quarter of 2010.

The land reform programme that sparked the country's decade of economic shrinkage, as well as dry weather patterns and political instability, are blamed for turning the country from a net food exporter to a donor-dependent state.

The formation of a unity government in February 2009 is gradually turning the country's fortunes around, although analysts believe it will be many years before Zimbabwe recovers.

Utete said the new farmers did not appreciate the importance of firebreaks and the situation was compounded by the absence of environment officers, who used to educate communities about fire management.

Denford Chimbwanda, president of the Grain Cereals Producers Association (GCPA), blamed government and the resettled farmers for not doing enough to prevent the fires.

Government failing to take action

"The government does not seem to be interested in fire prevention any more, and for as long as tough action is not taken against offenders, they will continue to cause veld fires, which are worse this year than in previous years. Even if we receive good rains this year, the amount of food that we should have produced has been reduced before the farming season starts," Chimbwanda told IRIN.
''The government does not seem to be interested in fire prevention any more, and for as long as tough action is not taken against offenders, they will continue to cause veld fires, which are worse this year than in previous years''

"Our members from across the country have reported losing inputs, food reserves, and draught power [animals used for ploughing] in the fires that have also killed people, while livestock will have nowhere to graze because pastures have been destroyed."

He said it was not possible to quantify the losses, but "Many households will be forced to buy food using scarce resources because of these veld fires."

Vice President Joice Mujuru announced the formation of various committees to combat the rise in veld fires, but told the local media "It [environmental management] is not a priority for most of our people in business, government and society at large."

Innocent Makwiramiti, a former chief executive officer of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, now an economist based in the capital, Harare, was not optimistic about any meaningful response to the veld fires.

"The government is currently broke and it would be difficult to deploy these committees effectively. In any case, the damage is already done, and attention should be put on how best to help those farmers whose preparations have been adversely affected by the veld fires."



[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


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Zim makes recovery - US dollar brings stability to ailing market

From AFP, 28 September

Harare - Zimbabwe's moribund economy is slowly stirring, with signs of life
in once-shuttered businesses helping to revive a stock market that was
closed amid a scandal last year, analysts say. Hammered by world-record
hyperinflation, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange was shut down last November as
the central bank sought to curb traders using dud cheques as well as
activities of market speculators. Trading resumed in February, after the
local currency was abandoned and a unity government was formed between
President Robert Mugabe and his long-time rival, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai. Since then the value of monthly trade is up 20-fold, though
that's coming off a base of just US2,5million. ZSE boss Emmanuel Munyukwi
said that there's still signs of at least cautious optimism in the country.
"This is a sign that confidence is coming back to the bourse when compared
to last year," he said. "There has been huge interest on our counters. Most
of the buyers are foreigners, especially from South Africa and United
Kingdom."

Monthly trading peaked in June at US57million but has since slowed. Munyukwi
expects this month's figures to register around US50million. Without a local
currency, trading is now conducted in US dollars, limiting currency risks
for foreign investors, Munyukwi said. That's brought stability to a market
ravaged by inflation estimated in multiples of billions last year, said
Dzikamai Danha, an analyst with Renaissance Capital, a Russia-based company
that tracks emerging markets. "The real reason why the economy has
stabilised and the real reason why the stock exchange has had a fine
rally... is as a result of confidence in the use of the US dollar, which
does not fluctuate like the Zimbabwe dollar," Danha said. "Last year, the
ZSE in terms of business was actually smaller to that of Botswana, Malawi
and Zambia," some of the world's smallest markets, he said. Danha expects
ZSE market capitalisation to be US4,1billion by year end, representing a 138
percent increase over the quarter ending in June, but still tiny even
compared to neighbouring South Africa's bourse.

Significant political risks remain, as Mugabe and Tsvangirai publicly feud
over key appointments, including the naming of the central bank governor.
"Although the political noise surrounding these disagreements has
intensified in recent months, we do not believe any break in the government
is imminent," Danha said. But Jonathan Waters, analyst at the economic and
financial data group ZFN, said that despite the gains this year, the market
remains far off its historic peaks. The ZSE had a market capitalisation of
about US9billion in mid-1997, before inflation began surging. Last year at
the height of the hyperinflation, the market was capitalised at about
US4billion, against US3,5billion last week, he said. "So in fact it's gone
backwards," Waters said. But as companies adjust to doing business in a
dollarised economy, some are performing surprisingly well, while foreign
investors have begun returning to Zimbabwe, he said. "Between 50 to 150
million dollars has certainly come into the country" this year from foreign
investors, Waters said, adding that banks had performed well in their first
quarterly results under the new financial regime. "Our first dollarised
results for the period to June have just been released, and we have been
surprised by the performance of the banks," he said. Although 79 firms are
listed on the ZSE, 10 dominate trading ‚€“ most of them local subsidiaries
of banks such as Barclays and Old Mutual, as well as local telecom Econet.


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Prevalence rate down


Photo: IRIN
Getting the message
HARARE, 29 September 2009 (PlusNews) - Zimbabwe's adult HIV prevalence rate is continuing its downward trend, showing a drop from 14.1 percent in 2008 to 13.7 percent in 2009, according to new estimates released by the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

The 2009 Antenatal Clinic (ANC) Surveillance Survey, based on blood specimens collected from 7,363 pregnant women anonymously screened at 19 clinic sites throughout the country, estimated that 1.1 million Zimbabweans in a probable population of around 11 million were living with HIV.

A slowdown in Zimbabwe's HIV/AIDS epidemic was first observed in the late 1990s and was supported by data from a 2005/06 population-based survey.

The prevalence rate is expected to continue decreasing; investigations have shown that the decline "most likely resulted from a combination of an increase in adult mortality and a decline in HIV incidence, resulting from adoption of safer sexual behaviours", said Dr Douglas Mombeshora, Deputy Minister of Health and Child Welfare.

"When prevention programmes achieve heightened awareness, significant changes in behaviour will occur, and one of the main outcomes is the significant reduction in the need for PMTCT [prevention of mother-to-child transmission] services, as well as a reduced number of new HIV infections," he noted.

Mombeshora acknowledged that even the 13.7 percent prevalence rate was too high, and called for continued efforts to reduce HIV infection. "These positive signs in our fight against HIV and AIDS should spur all Zimbabweans to redouble their efforts and commit themselves to further reduce the burden of HIV and AIDS."

However, he noted with concern that while HIV infection at most survey sites had come down, some sites had registered notable increases, particularly those near border posts, mines and resettled farms. The highest rate was among women aged 20 to 39.


[ENDS]

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


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Civic Groups Warn Slow Reform Pace Erodes Confidence in Zimbabwe Government

http://www.voanews.com

By Jonga Kandemiiri
Washington
28 September 2009

The newly elected chairman of the civil society umbrella organization Crisis
in Zimbabwe Coalition, Jonah Gokova, said the Zimbabwe unity government's
failure to rapidly implement reforms is undermining confidence on the part
of non-governmental organizations

Gokova said the power-sharing administration of President Robert Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has not solved the country's problems
because it thinks that the solution lies with the three political parties
that signed the global political agreement.

Mr. Tsvangirai's formation of the Movement for Democratic Change has accused
Mr. Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party of failing to respect the terms of the
September 2008 Global Political Agreement underpinning the power-sharing
arrangement put in place in February, among other alleged violations by
failing to swear in MDC governors and other officials.

ZANU-PF says the MDC has failed to use its influence with the United States,
Britain and other Western countries to obtain the lifting of sanctions on
Mr. Mugabe and other officials.

Gokova told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he
believes the former ruling ZANU-PF has seized on sanctions to distract
attention from other issues.


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The Legal Monitor - Edition 14

http://www.sokwanele.com/thisiszimbabwe/

September 29th, 2009

The Legal Monitor - Edition 14Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have emailed out Edition 14 of The Legal Monitor.

Contents:

  • Mass trial for victims of looting
  • Mukoko ruling: justice on trial?
  • Police break up march against brutality
  • Kenyan arrested
  • Fears of fresh abductions as police hunt MDC director
  • Bill Watch: ZEC interviews
  • UK firm wins diamonds ownership case
  • What is a Human Rights Commission?
  • Army defies yet another court order
  • Magistrate to rule on cellphone case
  • Police arrest sect members

We are archiving copies of The Legal Monitor on our website.

Edition 14 can be downloaded from this link here.


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Virgins Forced into Marriage to ‘Appease’ Evil Spirits

http://www.ipsnews.net

By Nyarai Kachere

′MUTARE, Zimbabwe, Sep 29 (IPS) - Three years after being seized from their
families and forced to marry and have sex with adult men in a Shona ritual
to appease an avenging spirit, five teenagers are facing a dismal reality.

The girls from Honde Valley in Manicaland had to drop out of school, become
under-age wives and mothers and live an impoverished life as vegetable
vendors to contribute to their new families’ household income.

In 1999, Felicitas Nyakama, Nesta Maromo, Juliet Muranganwa, Precious
Maboreke and Perseverance Ndarangwa, who were then between the ages of seven
and 15, were handed over by their parents to the family of Gibson Kupemba as
payment for the man’s murder. The girls' relatives killed Kupemba to prepare
muti, traditional medicine, which is sometimes made from body parts.

According to traditional belief, a murderer's relatives need to appease a
dead person’s spirit with virgin girls, sometimes as young as six years old.
The virgin has to live with the murdered person’s family, no matter her age.
When she reaches puberty, she is made the wife of one of the male members of
her new family.

Kupemba's grandson Gibson (junior) said his grandfather appeared to him in
his sleep, demanding a virgin girl as compensation from each family involved
in his murder. He insists the girls were not forced to offer themselves, but
it was their personal choice to rescue their families from an evil spirit.

"They came here to confess on their own volition. Each girl must be
accompanied by 22 heads of cattle," said 28-year-old Kupemba junior, who
married Precious Maboreke in 1999, when she was 15 years old. They have
three children.

While five girls have already been pledged to the Kupembas, Kupemba junior
says his family still demands twelve more virgins to avenge his grandfather’s
death.

Kuripa ngozi, or virgin pledging, is a punishable offence under Zimbabwe's
Domestic Violence Act, the practice is rampant throughout the country but no
perpetrator has ever been prosecuted.

The saga of the five girls began in 1995, the year Kupemba was murdered by
four local grocery shop owners with the help of 13 other villagers.
Kupemba's mutilated, decomposing body was found discarded in a dry riverbed.

Some time later, locals say, Kupemba's spirit started causing sudden
ailments and deaths in the families involved, resulting in some of them
confessing to killing him. The shop owners admitted to having chopped off
his private parts, little fingers, tongue and a patch of hair for the
preparation of traditional medicines to boost their businesses.

Despite the confessions, no arrests were made, and Kupemba’s relatives
allege the shop owners bought the police’s silence.

To appease the dead man's spirit, the families handed over the first five
virgins to the Kupemba family from 1999 onwards, but the process was stalled
in 2006 when children's rights organisation Girl Child Network (GCN)
compelled the police and the Department of Social Welfare to investigate the
matter and return the girls to their families.

But shortly thereafter, investigations were put on ice. Headman Samanga of
Honde Valley told IPS he pulled out of the Kupemba case, as all involved
families had accused him of preventing them from resolving private, domestic
affairs.

"In this area, people strongly believe kuripa ngozi can only be settled by
offering a virgin girl. I was the lone voice against the practice, and it
was soon drowned. The families believed I was hindering their efforts to
settle their transgressions," he explained.

Eventually, the police, which had rescued four of the girls from the Kupemba
family and put them under the custody of GCN, ordered GCN to send the girls
back to their families, who returned them to the Kupembas.

Only the mother of one of the girls, Anna Ndarangwa, says she tried to
rescue her daughter from the ritual. "I had a heated argument with the
Kupembas," she said, but did not manage to take her daughter home.

Ndarangwa believes the girls were brainwashed into believing that the health
and well-being of their families were dependent on their personal sacrifice.
"It was like something was upon them. I don’t want my daughter to pay for a
crime she did not commit. I will die fighting for her," she declared.

Afraid to talk to the media, all five refused to be interviewed by IPS.


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Making the case for security sector reform in Zimbabwe

http://www.rusi.org/news/rss/ref:N4AC1E2AC1945D/

The Case for Security Sector Reform in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's politicised military, paramilitary and police forces remain a threat to stabilisation one year after a breakthrough power-sharing agreement, unless the Government of National Unity, and its regional and international partners make security, and security sector reform, in Zimbabwe an urgent priority, according to a new report published by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).

Making the Case for Security Sector Reform in Zimbabwe (PDF) argues that Zimbabwe's security sector will hold 'the casting vote' on whether Zimbabwe's existing stabilisation and growth lasts, or collapses. Written by Dr Knox Chitiyo, a Zimbabwean who is Head of RUSI's Africa programme, the paper outlines both short term and long term policies for demilitarising the Zimbabwean state and making the country's return to democracy both sustainable and secure.

Acknowledging that there have been some positive steps in the realm of national reconciliation in Zimbabwe recently, the paper also highlights the establishment of the National Security Council as a major step forward in civil-military relations. But one year after the breakthrough power-sharing agreement, much of Zimbabwe's security sector still remains highly politicised, and political violence remains a major problem.

'The security sector remains the biggest "known unknown" in Zimbabwe's current politics, the report concludes; 'what is certain is that the military has the capacity to contain or roll back political transition through the use of force, coercion and co-option'.

As well as this possible role as a 'spoiler', however, the paper explores a role for the security sector as an 'enabler' of the rule of law. Stressing the major contribution Zimbabwe's military has made in the past to nation-building and development, the report outlines how - if the military is seen as a 'partner' rather than an 'enemy' - it can do so again. Yet, for this to happen, the Government of National Unity, the security sector, civil society, and Zimbabwe's regional and global partners, must make security, and security sector reform [SSR] an 'urgent priority'.

The RUSI report makes four key recommendations:

  • - The Government of National Unity must draw up a new National Defence and Security Strategy, in which SSR would take a central role. 'Regionally and globally, many countries are undertaking national Defence Reviews. Such a review, which would include SSR, is long overdue for Zimbabwe,' the paper points out.

  • - Stakeholders must integrate the military into the country's ongoing political and social reconciliation process, aligning SSR with popular demands for a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and transitional justice. While many international organisations have underlined the need for SSR in Zimbabwe, what matters is that it is Zimbabweans - including many in the security sector - who are calling for security reform.

  • - Reform and capacity - building of Zimbabwe's police must become a priority in its own right, returning to a focus on combating a rising wave of criminal violence, and ending 'a crisis of politicised policing'.

  • - Zimbabwe's international partners must commit to a strategy of 'smart' SSR. In particular, the United Kingdom must change its policies towards Zimbabwe, favouring 'inclusive engagement' with all the key stakeholders in the security sector and the Government of National Unity.

Making the Case for Security Sector Reform in Zimbabwe†focuses on the security sector's role in the power-sharing agreement at a time when the stability of the Government of National Unity has been†questioned. Security concerns also impact on investment and international relations - in September 2009 a top-level EU delegation to Zimbabwe declined to lift sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and several advisers from his ZANU-PF party.†

Major policy differences between the three parties have strained the coalition in Zimbabwe. Many of the problems are a result of major failings in the rule of law and the depredations of security personnel and paramilitary groups. †In particular, the paper warns that military intervention remains a threat to free elections in Zimbabwe: 'electoral transparency and monitoring is key, and without mechanisms to ensure the safety of the voters and neutrality of results, the military could again take charge and short-circuit the transitional process'.

Speaking at the launch of the new RUSI publication, Dr Knox Chitiyo, the report author said:

"Zimbabwe's recent remarkable economic recovery is not only important for her people; it is crucial for the region, and also has global significance. But Zimbabwe's full potential will only be realised when there is a shift from the security of the state to the security of the people... †if Zimbabwe's renaissance is to be sustainable, security must be embedded in the national agenda."


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The free world watches - but does nothing



As the days go by, and the interest is awash with stories of the ZANU
PF/Mugabe duplicity, I am always quite stunned at the inaction taken by the
free world.

More and more stories uncover the manner in which Mugabe 'rules' Zimbabwe.
The latest of which is the revelation that Nestlť is being supplied with
milk by Mugabe's wife, Grace - from a farm seized in the controversial 'land
grab' that has been going on in Zimbabwe since 2000.

Other institutions, like the United Nations, have a penchant for inviting
Mugabe to their conferences - even though he is subject to targeted travel
sanctions - and then the UN make an absolute mockery of the whole sanctions
idea by opening the floor for yet another Mugabe tirade against the West,
accusing them of all manner of conspiracies and intentions - whilst at the
same time, Mugabe asks the West to dig into their pockets and finance the
rebuilding of the country - necessitated by Mugabe's heavy-handed rule.

As the days, weeks, months and years go by, it becomes more and more obvious
that Mugabe is not interested in working with the MDC in a coalition
government, but he has been demanding that the World Bank, the IMF and
various countries cough up to allow the country to rebuild.

Mugabe has no right to 'demand' anything! But all his demands are couched in
such a way to make the free world develop a conscience, and he hopes that he
will strike it rich by this means.

Just like the diamond find in the Marange Fields in the North East of the
country, Mugabe is intent on using the money so received to finance his own
forays on political and personal fronts - he has no want or desire to use
the money for what it was originally intended.

Just yesterday, we read how "Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono
planned to divert a huge chunk of an International Monetary Fund loan to pay
back money diverted to President Robert Mugabe's bloody re-election campaign
last year, documents show.

According to proposals submitted by Gono to Finance Minister Tendai Biti
recently, and seen by ZimEye, US$90 million of the $510 million availed to
Zimbabwe (or 21.5%) would have been used to pay NGOs, exporters and banks
whose funds were raided by Gono in June last year to prop up Mugabe's
bankrupt campaign.

Biti rejected the proposals."

Please note that Mugabe said that the theft of money from accounts by Gono
were excused by Mugabe and the majority of that money has yet to be repaid.

I have written on many occasions that any debts run up by ZANU PF should be
paid for by ZANU PF, not the country, and certainly not acceded to by the
watching world.

At least the watching world is holding the purse strings - for the time
being.

"The finance minister reportedly told Gono that any expenditure should first
be approved by parliament through the normal budget process.

Gono has now launched a vicious media campaign against Biti, blowing up
public funds on full-page adverts attacking the minister.

The matter has also been taken up by ZANU PF politicians, who normally say
they do not need the IMF, but are now evidently upset about Biti's move to
prevent looting of the loan."

Gono has been "accused of by the MDC of bringing down the Zimbabwean economy
by financing Mugabe's political campaigns. Corruption investigations are
underway against the central bank governor who's money-printing to bail out
Mugabe's bankrupt regime drove inflation to astronomical proportions.

Faced with an election that he could not afford last year, Mugabe ordered
Gono to loot foreign currency belonging to private organisations. The
government has so far been unable to pay back the money. Gono's latest
proposals give a rare indication of the massive amounts looted, analysts
said."

Mugabe is not interested in rebuilding Zimbabwe, but in diverting money to
his own account - and the whole world, even though they have largely fallen
wise of Mugabe's intentions, still remain seated, watching from a distance,
unwilling to do anything to assist the Zimbabwean people - in case Mugabe
shouts at them - again!

Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man


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JAG - farms situations communique - Dated 28 September 2009



Email: jag@mango.zw : justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw

JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799410.† If you are in
trouble or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here
to help!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1. KARORI Farm update

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.† Karori Farm - Charles Lock

On Thursday we obtained a High Court order, not withstanding an appeal,
to remove our crops and equipment from Karori farm. The value of this is
well over one and half million dollars.

We arrived on Friday morning with the messenger of Court and were only
given three police officers by the DISPOL.† The order specified that the
Police were to ensure that the order was enacted.† On arriving at the
farm the messenger attempted to serve the papers on the soldiers under
Brigadier Mujaji however the soldiers said that they had ben instructed
by Mujaji to shoot anyone who attempted to take anything off the farm.
The two lorries we sent there were returned to Harare.

We returned to the DISPOL in Rusape and the messenger requested more
police officers to enforce the order.† The DISPOL told the messenger to
take his order back to Harare as the police would not support it.

That message was conveyed in my presence to Superintendant Mahla by Ass
Commissioner Crime Khumalo at PGHQ.† I heard the order as I was in the
office of Sup Mahle.† We had to return and the messenger filed his return
papers citing gross contempt by the soldiers and police.

On Sunday Mujaji and his soldiers stole diesel from the farm then using
our tractors evicted all the senior staff from the farm and drove off all
the workers who were trying to guard the maize and tobacco that we are
attempting to deliver.† The workers were dumped at Halfway House.† Our
cattle were driven off the farm.† As it stands it is now a looting
exercise as Mujaji has stolen over 300 tons maize and 150 tons of tobacco
and all my equipment in spite of High Court Orders issued by Judge
Patel.† I am not even allowed in my home as the soldiers have threatened
to shoot me.† My domestics have been evicted off the farm by the army so
my house will likely be looted tonight.

It is apparent that a military coup has taken place in Zimbabwe as the
army are running the show and looting at will in face of the highest
courts in the land.† The Police are party to this and refuse to help
openly.† We have had workers shot, starved, evicted, over US$750 000
worth of crops stolen and that amount in equipment by the Zimbabwe
National Army.

We are appealing to the GPA to sort this out or do we take the GPA to
Court and SADC for this theft by the Army and Police


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JAG open letter forum - No. 668- Dated 28 September 2009



Email: jag@mango.zw; justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
jag@mango JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM - No..zw with "For Open Letter
Forum" in the subject line.

To subscribe/unsubscribe to the JAG mailing list, please email:
jag@mango.zw with subject line "subscribe" or "unsubscribe".

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.† It's Time - Cathy Buckle

2.† Zanu Military Junta - J.L. Robinson

3.† SADC Agreement - J.L. Robinson

4.† Stolen Vehicle Alert - Gary Farr

5.† Deadlock within Government - Stu Taylor

6.† A letter from the diaspora - PH

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

1.† It's Time - Cathy Buckle

Dear Jag

I was about 8th in a queue in a supermarket this week and kept looking to
the front of the line impatiently to see why things were moving so
slowly. I was waiting to buy airtime for a mobile phone and suddenly the
reality of what I was doing struck home. I'd recently heard from someone
who wanted "the real scoop" about daily life in Zimbabwe and in fact here
it was, right in this queue.

Less than a year ago I wrote about this very same supermarket which
sometimes used to open at 9 or 10 in the morning, some days it didn't
open at all because it had nothing to sell. Less than a year ago huge
supermarkets had only cabbages, condoms or bundles of firewood for sale.
Now the shelves are brimming with goods again and if we have money there
is food to buy.

This time last year if there was a queue in, or outside a supermarket,
you were literally taking your life in your hands if you joined it.
Queues for bread, sugar or maize meal were controlled by riot police.
People were waiting outside supermarkets all night for the chance to get
a single loaf of bread or little plastic packet of sugar. At opening time
thousands of people would surge forward, some were injured and others
even died in the stampedes.

This time last year we were still dealing in Zimbabwe dollars - worthless
paper in denominations of billions and trillions which had expiry dates.
We were queuing outside banks for days at a time to be allowed to
withdraw miniscule amounts of our own money. Amounts that weren't enough
to even buy a bar of soap or a cup of tea. This dreadful time is also now
a thing of the past and the banks are deserted places because most people
don't have enough money to save and don't trust the banks who so recently
treated their customers and their life savings with such casual contempt.

The reality of life in Zimbabwe this October 2009 is that the basics are
back: food, fuel and bank notes. Yes the food is all imported and the
bank notes are American but they have given such relief to an existence
that had become almost unbearable. Everyone, without exception, knows
that the bank crisis, the currency crisis and the food crisis were bought
on by bad politics and bad governance and we also know who fixed their
mess and what courage and determination it took.

And now, as we are just a fortnight away from the rainy season, it is
time for the next battle of the basics to be fought and won. Now
it's time for Zimbabwe to start growing its own food again. Bad
politics and bad governance forced us to import our every need and now
it's time for the brave and determined people who gave us back
money food and fuel, to give us back functional farming and our own food
on tables. We've wasted eight good rainy seasons and it's time to
turn the corner. Until next time, thanks for reading, love Cathy

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

2.† Zanu Military Junta - J.L. Robinson

Dear Jag

The recent UN summit and the CNN interview of the Dear Leader have
illustrated the polished eloquence which remains the front for the Zanu
Military Junta. We can start with the genocide in Matabeleland in the
early eighties - or even before that when Zanu caused the murder of
then sitting MP for the lowveld on the 19th March, 1978 - Mr. Simon
Chengeta - but the modus operandi remains the same - terrorism.

Butter could not have melted in the Dear Leader's eloquent mouth on
CNN. However, many millions of people in the broader world know all about
the Matabele genocide and the unending Third Chimurenga beatings,
mutilations and murders since 2000. The Dear Leader's eloquence
indicated that the farm workers were all aliens and that citizens were
never chased away - and non Zanu supporters could not be citizens
anyway. The problems with the country were all the result of sanctions.
Tutu is an evil little man who knows nothing. QED.

The moves afoot on the ground point to "another free and fair Zanu
election" as their high priority focus.

Those that do communicate with Mr. Zuma and the SADC will need to be sure
that the facts on the ground are carefully and accurately recorded and
related - in writing - to distance genuinely professional
participants in the GNU from Zanu criminal acts. Zanu will want to
include and incriminate as many of their opposition as they can into
their programmes to create a situation where they say "if you
can't beat them, join them."

Zanu's catch phrase is "Join the boys and share the
spoils!" There are many that failed to resist this temptation
- who were then trashed by Zanu in due course. Mawere?† With 90% of
the old CFU membership effectively trashed - we can see that Zanu
only have about 10% left to loot. Then what?

With past behaviour usually being the best indication for future
behaviour - we might well be able to predict the future actions of
Zanu, Mugabe, Shiri, Mujuru, Chihuri, Gono, Tomana, Mudede, and the
likes.† At the very start they said "we are having a controlled
revolution, and it might be necessary to take it all back to ground
zero."

On CNN I saw an aging octogenarian revolutionary, clad in pin stripe
suit, eloquently defending every barbaric act ever carried out in the
name of "his revolution" over the last 35 years.

Did the other partners in the GNU see and hear what I saw and heard?

Did the SADC see and hear what I saw and heard?

And how about his hosts - the UN - did they listen?

The behaviour of the SADC, the MDC and the UN - in the coming
months - will indicate their perceptions of the intentions of the ZMJ.

I think that ZAPU has already stated its position - based on 29
years of experience, perhaps.

J.L. Robinson.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

3.† SADC Agreement - J.L. Robinson

Dear Jag

The recent disclosures of Mr. and Mrs. Mugabe's personal
enrichment, as a result of their desire to "correct colonial
imbalances" does tend to put the whole exercise into a far clearer
context.

Mrs. Mugabe has managed to acquire six farms and Mr. Mugabe about the
same number. Mr. Mugabe's agricultural empire is a rambling 10 000
acres in Mashonaland West - which he very magnanimously allowed some
"citizens by colonization" to do the primary development on!
Mr. Gono's ingenuity with the printing press was possibly called
upon to generate the capital for the next development phase.

With the law in Zimbabwe effectively being "Mugabe Law"
- it is somewhat obvious why his preconditions to the SADC
agreement were that firstly - he was the duly elected President,
and secondly - that the land reform programme was irreversible. In
the first instance he protected is sovereign right to be head of state,
and then he protected his material gains gathered through the
"revolutionary agricultural investment programme" that he
drives and controls completely.

With these preconditions set down, the SADC and the MDC - and other
UN members, appeared to genuinely think that the country was now ready to
go forward. But what if Mr. and Mrs. Mugabe have a sudden desire to own
the Meikles Hotel in Harare - not a bad venue to entertain Gadaffi,
Mengestu or Castro really? Or perhaps the Mawere business interests?

Comrade Zuma - and all the others maintaining the present status
quo in the country need to comprehend the girth and depth of this
"tap root of greed and evil" in the country - it could well
need much more than 12 farms, the Meikles Hotel, travel bans to be lifted
and say six or seven billion US dollars to satisfy this tap root.
It's a mother of all tap roots from what I can see.

J.L. Robinson.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

4.† Stolen Vehicle Alert - Gary Farr

People need to know the following: When you take your vehicle for a
service

- the location† of all antitheft devices are known. They copy all
necessary keys and probably work out ways to get around solex locks and
'fix' them before collection. They know your address from when you sign
in. DO NOT GIVE A PHYSICAL ADDRESS when taking a car for a service. Find
an extra security device to fit which they don't know about when
servicing. Be interesting to see when vehicle was last serviced. I bet it
was recently. Also need to know that the dealer where a car was bought
will have all sorts of useful information and insiders love to make extra
money.

Best Regards,

Gary Farr

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

5.† Deadlock within Government - Stu Taylor

With the current state of affairs vis-a-vis the deadlock within the
"government of national unity", it is fairly obvious who is obstructing
the process of change for the better - the sooner Mugabe and his cronies
acknowledge the fact that they are in fact a spent force and are impeding
the nation's forward movement, the sooner we WILL go forward and progress
toward what we were at "independence"; that's what we've done in nearly 3
decades under Mugabe's misrule: go back to the 19th or 20th centuries.

The whole scenario reminds me of a convoy of vehicles on a muddy
route where the tail enders have been bogged down and cannot/don't want
to be rescued and they are being left behind by the rest - the
forerunners being in possession of modern technology to enable them to
extricate themselves from the mud - whereas these tail enders have no
chains/winches and rely on tired old passengers to vainly attempt to
manually remove themselves from the quagmire, which THEY in fact produced
themselves.

The people caused dollarization, thus enabling us to stave off
starvation, thus it will be the people that drive the politicians from
their lethargy. Have a good day - Stu Taylor.

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6.† A letter from the diaspora - PH

Dear Jag

"Pass a law no whites are allowed to farm," said a white commercial
farmer this week, "Then it makes it clear." It's not hard to understand
the white farmer's bitterness, anyone with a white skin in Zimbabwe,
farmer or not, knows very well that the possibility of his or her being
declared a non-citizen at any time is never far away. Accurate population
statistics are a thing of the past in Zimbabwe but I can't believe there
are more than 20-30.000 whites left inside the country but if Robert
Mugabe and his Zanu PF apologists are to be believed, this handful of
people is responsible for every evil under the sun.

Mugabe is at the UN this week, no doubt loving the opportunity to outdo
all his friends in their anti-imperialist rhetoric. It was Gadaffi's turn
earlier in the week and he ranted on for over an hour; Iran's man was
also there with his holocaust denial and claims that his recent hotly
contested election was all above board and today it will be Mugabe's
turn. More of the same, no doubt! How he loves these opportunities to rub
shoulders with world leaders and play the international statesman! As a
foretaste, perhaps, of what he will say today, Mugabe gave an interview
to CNN's Christiane Amanpour yesterday. She asked him some pretty direct
questions but, as usual, Mugabe was in total denial of the facts; he
prefers his own version of reality. When taxed with the vexed question of
sanctions by Amanpour who reminded him that sanctions were directed only
at individuals within his regime, he simply told her she was wrong.
Sanctions had ruined the country's economy and thus harmed the whole
population, he claimed, while at the same time stating that the country's
economy was healthy! On the question of land, Mugabe said, "The land
reform is the best thing that could have happened to an African country.
It has to do with national sovereignty."

That old chestnut again! The problem is that Mugabe has never defined
exactly what he means by this catchall label. What it appears to mean is
that he can do exactly as he likes with 'his' Zimbabwe and 'foreigners'
must just keep out -except those with money to give, of course. And who
are these 'foreigners'? Now we come to the nub of the matter, "Zimbabwe
belongs to Zimbabweans, pure and simple." he said, "White Zimbabweans,
even those born in the country with legal ownership of their land, have a
debt to pay. They occupied the land illegally. They seized the land from
our people." And if that wasn't clear enough, he went on, "They are
British settlers - citizens by colonization, seizing land from original
people, the indigenous people of the country."

When I read those words of his I was reminded of an incident that
happened when I was living in Murehwa. In one of the only racially
motivated incidents I experienced in my twelve years in Murehwa as the
only white person in an all-black town, a complete stranger stepped out
into the road as my vehicle passed, stuck his clenched fist in the air
and shouted "Go back to Britain!" 'How does he know I'm British?" I
thought, I could be any European nationality.' Then it struck me, what
that complete stranger saw was not my nationality but the colour of my
skin. If my pigmentation was white, then I was a foreigner, in the eyes
of Mugabe and his followers and apparently not a part of the 'national
sovereignty' that he constantly refers to.

So, like the white farmer quoted at the beginning of this Letter, I too
wonder why Mugabe doesn't come right out and say clearly that whites are
not and cannot ever be Zimbabweans? My five children were all born and
brought up in Zimbabwe but to Mugabe they are still 'settlers' who, in
his words, 'have a debt to pay'. That nonsensical argument is used to
justify the hideous violence and injustice being meted out not only on
white farmers but also on black farm workers who are caught in the
tsunami of land invasions that rolls across the country. Are they not
'the indigenous people of the country' to use Mugabe's definition of what
it is to be a true Zimbabwean?

The truth is that anyone, black or white who stands in the way of the
bottomless greed and corruption displayed by Mugabe's followers and -
dare I say it - perhaps some newly powerful MDC followers too, is liable
to be beaten or killed and have his property destroyed or stolen. The
police will not lift a hand to defend them,† they are too busy invading
farms.

Week by week, we hear of the moral collapse that has engulfed Mugabe's
Zimbabwe. The lack of response from the population at large to actions
that would once be totally unacceptable in African culture is shocking. A
seventy-year old woman is stoned to death by Zanu PF youths for daring to
protest at the mini-murambatsvina being proposed by Harare City Council
against market traders; a man is beaten bloody for wearing a T shirt
saying 'No to the Kariba draft' and forced to don a Zanu PF T shirt and
at the Chiadzwa diamond fields another young man is killed by soldiers
anxious to protect the 'blood diamonds' for greedy army generals.
Zimbabwe seems to have totally lost its moral compass. Even the churches
remain strangely silent about the abuse of basic human rights in the
country. As for the MDC, having 'sat down with the devil' they appear
powerless to raise their collective voice above a whisper to defend
anyone from Mugabe's vindictive spite against all his perceived enemies,
be they black or white. We are all 'paying the debt' for our complicity
in permitting thirty years of Zanu PF's tyrannical rule.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.

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