TEXT only 10 September 2013

  • Mugabe’s new cabinet expected this week
  • IMF remains mum after Zim misses diamond remittance deadline
  • Armed police evict 70 families despite promise of homes for votes
  • MDC claiming people’s victory
  • Mugabe’s legacy
  • Mugabe’s cabinet delay ‘affecting economy’
  • Zanu PF parcels out Harare
  • Dishonour among African election thieves
  • Small-scale miners eye US$35m funding
  • Cabinet has its work cut out
  • Chitungwiza rewards paid-up residents
  • Tourism players must comply with indigenisation law
  • NatFoods plans $7m capital expenditure
  • Still no ministers
  • Mwana raises US$3.2m for working capital
  • Zim has enough seed
  • Party gets babysitter for JuJu
  • Matabeleland’s wheat production drops
  • Tobacco farmers want increased funding 

Mugabe’s new cabinet expected this week by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Mugabe’s new cabinet expected this week | SW Radio Africa by Tichaona Sibanda President Robert Mugabe is expected to appoint his new cabinet sometime this week, according to a highly placed source. The new cabinet is expected to be in place in time for the official opening of the eighth parliament by Mugabe next week Tuesday. It has taken Mugabe more than a month to announce his new team, a sign that the ageing ZANU PF leader is grappling to balance his cabinet between loyalists and the young turks. While the constitution is silent on when the President is supposed to announce his cabinet following a general election, the new charter is clear that Mugabe must be guided by considerations of regional and gender balance. As a result of this, the cabinet is expected to have many new faces and the highest number of women the country has had since independence. The source told us Mugabe and his team at Munhumutapa building have been consulting widely to accommodate MPs from almost all the country’s provinces. ‘This is the first time since independence that Mugabe is appointing a cabinet guided by a new constitution that stipulates he has to choose from almost all the provinces. ‘Apart from Bulawayo metropolitan, ZANU PF has MPs from all the country’s provinces, presenting a headache for Mugabe, who is known to consult widely before naming his cabinet,’ our source added. Harare based journalist, Itai Dzamara told SW Radio that the delay in appointing the cabinet points to the dilemma Mugabe is facing to come up with a team that will transform his and ZANU PF’s international image. ‘I think he’s having a problem. There can’t be any other explanation because even the state media has gone quiet after initially proclaiming that the cabinet would be announced soon,’ Dzamara said. Following ZANU PF’s two thirds majority ‘win’, the delay is being seen as a sign things might not be moving in the right direction. Abednico Bhebhe, the MDC-T’s national deputy organising secretary, queried ‘what was stalling cabinet’ if ZANU PF’s landslide victory was authentic. ‘And so the drama continues. Now of all times when people want to make necessary plans and adjustments for their future, is this the good governance that is their everyday gospel. Zimbabwe’s politics is a nightmare,’ wrote Bhebhe on his Facebook page.

IMF remains mum after Zim misses diamond remittance deadline by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via IMF remains mum after Zim misses diamond remittance deadline | SW Radio Africa by Alex Bell There is yet to be an official statement from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) after Zimbabwe missed a June deadline to remit diamond cash to the Treasury, raising doubts about the country’s ability to implement a debt relief plan. The end of June was the deadline for regulations to be in place to control the flow of remittances from the diamond sector. This was in the wake of repeated concerns by the then Finance Minister Tendai Biti, that no cash was being funneled into the national coffers from diamond mines. The deadline was part of an agreement between the IMF and Zimbabwe, called a Staff Monitored Programme (SMP), signed at the beginning of June. The SMP, which ends this December, was agreed to by the IMF as part of efforts to support Zimbabwe’s plans to pay off its massive international debt, which stands close to $11 billion. As part of the agreement, Zimbabwe said it would issue a ‘Statutory Instrument’ and a report “accounting in detail for the diamond dividends, royalties and other diamond-related cash flows received in 2012 by Treasury from all enterprises in joint venture partnerships with ZMDC involved in the diamond industry,” the government told the IMF. But more than two months since the end of the deadline, a ‘Statutory Instrument’ has still not been issued, raising concerns about whether Zimbabwe will be able to undertake the other reforms it promised before December. The situation has added to high concerns about Zimbabwe’s economic future, which the World Bank has said remains “uncertain.” In its Economic Briefing for September, the World Bank said that Zimbabwe’s 2014 outlook is bleak, saying “growth in Zimbabwe is rapidly fading… with little prospects for a recovery in 2014.” Economics Professor Tony Hawkins explained that Zimbabwe’s economic forecast is influenced by different factors, including external forces like commodity prices. He explained that internally, uncertainty has been created by many issues, including the recent elections and the concerns about the IMF debt relief plan. “It was quite clear to me that it (the SMP commitments) would never be met, particularly not anytime soon, and therefore we are on a back foot,” Hawkins said. He explained that Zimbabwe needs to make “ground shaking” changes to its economic policies, particularly regarding the controversial indigenisation laws that have scared off many foreign investors. “The government has to start with changes to indigenisation because we need foreign direct investment desperately,” Hawkins said. He added that the elections have made the economic situation even more desperate, after ZANU PF promised massive debt cancellations, financial investment and job creation while it was electioneering. “This isn’t going to happen and another crisis of expectation has been created… It really is a pie in the sky situation and promises have been made that no one knows how they are going to be financed,” Hawkins said.

Armed police evict 70 families despite promise of homes for votes by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Armed police evict 70 families despite promise of homes for votes | SW Radio Africa by Tererai Karimakwenda A community of more than 70 families is reported to be homeless following a raid last week by armed police, who evicted them all after eight years and razed some of their huts to the ground. According to The Standard newspaper, the families occupied Farm 27 in Chemagora district of the Midlands province, after an election-time promise of land that was made by Robert Mugabe eight years ago. The traditional headman, Webster Madobi, and his villagers said they voted ZANU PF back into power in the July 31st elections, only for all to be evicted from their homes last week without any place to go. They had been allowed to clear the land themselves themselves many years ago and felt settled. The Standard said they feel betrayed because despite the promises made and the length of time they have occupied the land, the farm owner Farai Magadzire accused them of living on his land illegally just after the elections, and was granted an eviction order by a magistrate in Kwekwe. Headman Madobi, who is among those who were evicted, is quoted as saying: “We feel used because these politicians came here soliciting for our votes and even had a polling station on this farm but now we are being evicted,” he said. The paper also quoted John Fire Gumbo, a 72 year old who is among the evicted, as saying: “We voted for ZANU PF because they made a promise that everyone should have access to land but now we are being thrown out and forced to stay in the open like animals.” We were unable to contact the victims directly for comment on Monday, but an MDC-T official from the surrounding area confirmed the evictions. But he told SW Radio Africa that he could not yet comment on the case for fear of jeopardising a legal case that is being initiated. According to The Standard the villagers had blocked police from evicting them the first time, but “armed police then returned and arrested 24 of the settlers, who have since appeared in court, facing trespass and contempt of court charges”. The arrested 24 were each fined $100 by magistrate Taurai Manwere last week, after being found guilty of trespassing and building illegal structures. Post election evictions of MDC-T supporters have been reported countrywide since the disputed claim of a landslide victory by ZANU PF. Areas that did not vote ZANU PF by wide margins also appear to be targeted for evictions, or some form of punitive action, by ZANU PF agents, who include the police, chiefs, district leaders and ordinary party members, who all act with impunity.

MDC claiming people’s victory by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via MDC claiming people’s victory by insiderZim.com The Movement for Democratic Change, which still claims that it was robbed in the 2013 general elections, will celebrate its 14th anniversary at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare this weekend under the theme: “Claiming the people’s victory”. Party leader Morgan Tsvangirai is expected to give the key note address. The MDC, which had 100 seats in the last elections lost 51 to remain with 49 while ZANU-PF which had 99 gained 61 and now has 160 seats in the 210-member lower house. Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front leader Robert Mugabe won 61 percent of the polls. “The celebration which comes soon after the stolen victory in the just ended election could not have come at any better time as people of Zimbabwe seriously need to reflect on this monumental indictment of a people’s march to victory in the history of mankind,” the MDC said. “ZANU-PF which obviously is still basking in the glory of a false victory is in panic mode as it is still grappling to authenticate the just ended election farce so as to attain legitimacy.” In their own words: Monday, 09 September 2013 MDC to celebrate victory in face of adversity The MDC will hold its 14th anniversary celebrations running under the theme; “Claiming the People’s Victory,” at Sakubva Stadium in Mutare on Saturday. This year’s celebrations come at a time when the people of Zimbabwe’s victory was shamelessly stolen by Zanu PF in the 31st July elections. President Tsvangirai who will be accompanied by senior party members will give the key note address at an event that will be attended by thousands of party supporters from across the country. The anniversary is an annual and crucial event on the MDC calendar and we are celebrating the 14th anniversary of the formation of the MDC in 1999. It is not an illusion that over the past 14 years the MDC has established itself as a formidable political force in Zimbabwe and characteristically our most ardent critics and enemies are always unsettled and unnerved by this gesture of our periodic renewal. It is therefore not surprising that perennial and rabid critics from Zanu PF get incensed and would go all out concocting all sorts of ill-conceived ideas and myths towards our well intended gesture to the people of Zimbabwe. The celebration which comes soon after the stolen victory in the just ended election could not have come at any better time as people of Zimbabwe seriously need to reflect on this monumental indictment of a people’s march to victory in the history of mankind. Zanu PF which obviously is still basking in the glory of a false victory is in panic mode as it is still grappling to authenticate the just ended election farce so as to attain legitimacy. The people of Zimbabwe will never relent in this march towards total transformation and the MDC will never let down the people in their endeavour for a free and democratic Zimbabwe. “Claiming the People’s Victory,” a befitting theme for this Year’s Anniversary celebrations.

Mugabe’s legacy by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Mugabe’s legacy | National Post by Bradley Crawford After winning another disputed Zimbabwean election last July, 89-year-old Robert Mugabe was sworn in this month to serve his seventh consecutive term as president. Though many had hoped the tyrant’s 33-year reign would end, others still see promise in the man. In August, Britain’s The Guardian ran an article titled “Why a Robert Mugabe victory would be good for Zimbabwe” by British filmmaker Roy Agyemang. Agyemang, who spent three years in the country filming his documentary Mugabe: Villain or Hero? can barely contain his admiration for Mugabe, whom he refers to as a “dying breed” of African politician, “the surviving face of African nationalism”. Mugabe is definitely a member of a dying breed: President-for-Life African tyrants. Over his decades-long rule, Mugabe has never pretended to represent all of his citizens. To Mugabe, “Zimbabwean” refers to the majority Shona people. Minority Ndebele are lesser Zimbabweans, and the few native whites are foreigners. He is, and always has been, in it for his own interests, or at best, the interests of his own ethnic group. Mugabe came to power after the small white minority, which ruled the country at the time, declared independence from Britain in 1965. Zimbabwae’s majority black population rose up under two rival rebel political parties and their respective militias. After 15 years of fighting, a peace agreement was reached that included elections. Mugabe and his Zimbabwean African National Union party won power at the ballot box, taking office in 1980. At the time, Mugabe could indeed claim to be a freedom fighter and African nationalist hero like Nelson Mandela. He had spent close to a decade incarcerated between 1965 and 1974, using the time to gain higher education. But the comparisons to Mandela end there. Mugabe’s legacy is more in tune with that of Idi Amin, the illiterate and malicious buffoon that terrorized Uganda from 1971-1979. Like Amin, Mugabe’s style of governance is one that is fixated on violence towards all political opposition. Not long after taking office in 1980, Mugabe ruthlessly cracked down on his political rivals. He banned their rallies, intimidated and murdered their supporters, and closed their offices. Mugabe then signed a deal with North Korea’s Kim Il Sung to have North Korean officers train an elite unit of soldiers, drawn mostly from Shona recruits loyal to Mugabe. In 1981, an all-out campaign to suppress all opposition to Mugabe began, and these troops were at the vanguard. Known as the 5th Brigade, the unit’s first directive was to occupy Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland, the homeland of the Ndebele people and centre of  support for ZAPU, the main political rival to Mugabe’s party. After occupying and segregating Matabeleland from 1982-1986, the brigade proceeded to carry out beatings, torture, and executions. The unit left 20,000 Ndebele dead in its wake in an attempt to neutralize all ZAPU support and opposition. It was not until 1987 that international pressure produced a unity agreement between Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, the ZAPU leader. ZAPU was integrated into Mugabe’s party, and Mugabe himself retained all his power. The violence in Matabeleland remains a dark stain on Mugabe’s record. As does his treatment of white Zimbabweans as foreigners responsible for the nation’s suffering. Throughout his entire presidency, Mugabe has employed contentious land reform policies whereby private white-owned farms have been nationalized and redistributed to the black majority as small commercial properties. These are often converted to subsistence farms. Land reform was integral to the pursuit of racial equality and development in Zimbabwe — Mugabe and his supporters were not wrong to note that only a tiny percentage of (white) Zimbabweans owned almost all the productive land. The manner in which land reform was undertaken, however, was typical Mugabe, steeped in violence and corruption. Many of the farms seized from white owners have been given directly to individuals in Mugabe’s inner circle. The tradition of a privileged land owning minority continues unabated — the owners have changed, but the reality for most landless Zimbabweans has not. Most of those who have land bestowed on them know nothing about agriculture, which remains at the centre of Zimbabwe’s economy. Many of the farms seized have been taken violently. Thousands of Zimbabweans, who were employed on the farms, have been subjected to this violence and deliberate terror campaigns, for the crime of simply working there. The white owners have largely fled, but the black workers remain at the mercy of Mugabe’s thugs. Thousands have perished. The result of this has been the ruination of what was once called the “Breadbasket of Africa”. “[Mugabe] and his cronies have managed single-handedly to destroy one of the most promising countries in Africa,” wrote Dr. John Laband, a professor of African history. The collapse of the country’s agricultural sector lies at the heart of this undoing.Mugabe epitomizes colonialism’s violence, subjugation and indignity After 33 years, Mugabe’s legacy is this: rampant abuses of human rights, the elimination of all political opposition, the organized slaughter in Matabeleland, the exile of the white minority, the persecution, murder and dispossession of an estimated 400,000 black Zimbabwean farm workers, a massive and continuing exodus of refugees, and the destruction of Zimbabwe’s economy, which has left countless Zimbabweans starving, unemployed, impoverished or buried. Indeed, Mugabe has become exactly what he hates so fervently and claims to have spent his life fighting against. He is not a symbol of African nationalism and unity who has returned the dignity that colonialism stole. Rather, he epitomizes colonialism’s violence, subjugation and indignity. If Zimbabwe should miraculously become a peaceful nation with rapid economic growth during Mugabe’s final years it would never forgive his 33 years of violence, sectarianism and economic mismanagement. That anyone would consider his re-election a good thing for Zimbabwe shows only how little they understand its recent, bloody history and the man responsible for it. National Post Bradley Crawford is a freelance writer who holds a Master’s degree in Global History with a specialization in African conflict and development from the University of Guelph. He blogs about current affairs athttp://thotkrime.wordpress.com/

Mugabe’s cabinet delay ‘affecting economy’ by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Mugabe’s cabinet delay ‘affecting economy’ | News24 Zimbabwean analysts have criticised President Robert Mugabe’s delay in announcing a new cabinet, saying the development has intensified economic stagnation. Almost 40 days after winning the 31 July elections, the veteran leader is yet to appoint a new cabinet. Analysts say Mugabe’s failure to initiate investor-friendly policies as well as announcing a new cabinet has caused apprehension in the economy, Daily News reported. According to the report, Zimbabwe’s equities market, which plunged 11% immediately after the announcement of election results — its biggest one-day decline since 2009 — has failed to find direction since then as foreign investors are taking a wait-and-see approach. On Sunday, The Standard reported that the World Bank had expressed concern over the southern African country’s economic future. The World Bank said the 2014 outlook for Zimbabwe’s ailing economy remained increasingly uncertain due to a host of internal and external factors, said the report. With the country’s economic indicators painting a gloomy picture, analysts say Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party seems more determined to worsen an already messy situation. Last month Mugabe threatened to expel foreign-owned companies over what he said was the West’s interference in the politics of the country he has led since 1980.

Zanu PF parcels out Harare by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Zanu PF parcels out Harare Newsday.co.zw Zanu PF — still basking in the glory of its resounding but heavily disputed election victory — has reportedly embarked on an ambitious membership drive which includes annexing and regularising several illegal peri-urban settlements dotted around Harare to extend its hegemony. Investigations by NewsDay indicate Zanu PF has already mapped out plans to dole out land to its members who have formed apparently pseudo-housing co-operatives in Mbare, Chitungwiza, Epworth, Budiriro, Kuwadzana and Kambuzuma, among many other areas. Party officials said the grand scheme was also aimed at neutralising the MDC-T’s support bases ahead of the 2018 elections. Since 2010, Zanu PF youths have grabbed several council properties in the central business district and Mbare, including market stalls and Carter House, with impunity. Zanu PF in its 2013 election manifesto promised to address urban housing shortages. Part of the manifesto reads: “After the forthcoming elections, the Zanu PF government will embark on a vigorous housing programme to address the housing backlog of 1,25 million using financial resources from assets to be unlocked from the indigenisation of foreign-owned companies.” Recently, President Robert Mugabe also said his government would consider self-contained human settlements at the periphery of major urban centres as a means to decongest cities. Zanu PF provincial youth chairperson for Harare Jim Kunaka last week confirmed that the project was ready to roll, but denied that it would benefit Zanu PF members only. “We will not let people die of hunger and we will make sure, as a people’s party, we will not look at which party an individual belongs to, but will work for the good of anyone,” Kunaka said. But Zanu PF secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa yesterday said: “It’s false, absolutely false. If anything, we are stopping it. There are people doing it purporting to be Zanu PF. Zanu PF does not do anything silly and corrupt like that.” MDC-T sources said the matter was also raised at the party’s recent caucus meeting where newly-elected councillors and mayor were tasked to work harder to block any attempts to regularise the illegal settlements. “The reason why we want a person (mayor) who can be equal to the task is because Zanu PF is building its strength by giving out land on illegal space on the outskirts of Harare,” an MDC-T source, who attended the party’s caucus meeting to counter Zanu PF campaign strategies, said. Some of the settlements are located at Hopley Farm along Chitungwiza Road next to a council farm, in Mabvuku known as KwaBob, along Masvingo Road near Granville Cemetery, and in Hatcliffe. In Chitungwiza, a Zanu PF “gang” led by a newly-elected councillor is allegedly parcelling out unoccupied council land among its members. “Zanu PF youths led by a councillor-elect (name given) are invading open spaces, parcelling out stands to each other without council approval, Chitungwiza is now finished,” a source said. “They are doing that in Unit A, Unit C, Unit K, Unit J, Unit L, Unit O, Zengeza and St Mary’s and are saying it’s part of Zanu PF ’s empowerment programme. It is chaotic and unplanned.” Mabvuku former councillor Enias Gengezha said the illegal settlement near the high-density suburb has ballooned since the run-up to the July 31 polls, with the current population now estimated at more than 5 000 people, most of them suspected to be Zanu PF members. The illegal projects have reportedly affected values of nearby properties like in Damofalls in Ruwa, where illegal stands pegged at KwaBob are selling for around $400, while genuine housing co-operatives are selling the same stands at around $8 000. Chairman of Harare City Council’s housing and community development committee Charles Nyatsuro said: “Our only hope now lies in constantly pushing the (new Local Government) minister to be appointed to move in and act on this. The last time, there were resolutions to deal with the issues, so we have to see to it that they are implemented.” MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora said his party would not be annihilated by the Zanu PF land grabs and illegal extension of the capital by Zanu PF activists. “Zanu PF may try every trick in the book, but MDC will not disappear. In fact, we have regrouped and strategising and are ready to give Zanu PF a devastating blow come the next election, be it in six months or 2018,” he said. Environmental Management Agency spokesperson Steady Kangata deplored the parcelling-out of land, saying it was illegal for residents to embark on a housing project without his organisation’s approval. “They are not supposed to develop these areas without an Environmental Impact Assessment first, which should bring out issues like how solid and liquid waste would be managed and what open spaces would be left,” he said.

Dishonour among African election thieves by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Pambazuka – Dishonour among African election thieves by Alemayehu G Mariam Ethiopia’s elections in 2015 are likely to be similar to the recent Zimbabwean elections that perpetuated a ‘thugtatorship.’ As long as the US and Europe continue to provide endless handouts, Africa is doomed to remain a thugocracy Zimbabwe had its presidential elections on 31 July 2013. Elections as in rigged. Robert Mugabe, the senile octogenarian and the only president since Zimbabwe gained independence in 1980, ‘won’ for the seventh time by 61 percent of the vote. His Zimbabwe African National Union – Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF) clinched a supermajority in parliament that will allow it to change the constitution. This past May, Mugabe signed a new constitution which sets a term limit of two five-year terms for president (not retroactively applicable to Mugabe) and eliminated the post of prime minister. In 2009, following a violent election aftermath, a coalition government of national unity was formed designating opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister. APPROVING THIEVERY General Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of Nigeria, who led the African Union Election Observer team (69 observers) in Zimbabwe certified the election as valid declaring, ‘I have never seen an election that is perfect. The point has always been and will always be, how much the infractions, imperfections have affected the reflection of the will of the people and up to the point of the close of the polls our observation was that there were incidents that could have been avoided. In fact, up to the close of the polls we do not believe that those incidents will amount to the result not to reflect the will of the people.’ Bernard Membe of Tanzania who led the Southern African Development Community (SADC) election observer mission (442 observers) chimed in declaring that the election was ‘free and peaceful.’ The observer mission from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) likewise gave its approval and urged all parties to accept the election result. None of the observer missions used the phrase ‘free and fair’ to describe the elections outcomes. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) (7,000 certified domestic monitors) declared the elections were ‘seriously compromised’ and pointed out a number of serious irregularities. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai called the election ‘a huge farce’ and a ‘sham that does not reflect the will of the people.’ ONLY BOTSWANA CALLED FOR AN INVESTIGATION Botswana’s observer team did not buy Mugabe’s election victory or the AU/SADC’s affirmation of it. After reviewing the preliminary report of its 80-member election observer team led by former Botswanan vice-president Mompati Merafhe, the government of Botswana issued an official statement advising that ‘there is a need for an independent audit of the just concluded electoral process in Zimbabwe. Such an audit will shed light on the conduct of the just ended election and indicate any shortcomings and irregularities that could have affected its result, as well as the way forward.’ This is in sharp contrast to the conclusions of the 60-person African Union (AU) observer team led by former Botswana president Ketumile Masire which concluded that the 2010 ‘election’ in which the ruling regime in Ethiopia claimed a 99.6 percent victory was ‘free and fair.’ Masire said his team found no evidence of intimidation and misuse of state resources for ruling party campaigns in Ethiopia and proclaimed, ‘The [elections] were largely consistent with the African Union regulations and standards and reflect the will of the people … The AU were unable to observe the pre-election period. The participating parties expressed dissatisfaction with the pre-election period. They did not have freedom to campaign. We had no way of verifying the allegations.’ Masire’s report was a travesty of election observation. At the time, I took issue with Masire’s findings and challenged his conclusions. With all due respect to Masire, it seems that he made his declaration clueless of the observation standards he is required to follow in the AU Elections Observation and Monitoring Guidelines. If he had done so, he would have known that there is no logical, factual or documentary basis for him to declare the ‘elections were largely consistent with the African Union regulations and standards’. For instance, pursuant to Section III 9 (e) of the guidelines (‘MANDATES, RIGHTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF THE OBSERVERS’), Masire’s team had a mandatory duty to ‘observe the political parties and groups as well as the population at large in the exercise of their political rights, and the conditions in which such rights are to be exercised’. Masire by his own admission made no such observation: ‘The AU were unable to observe the pre-election period’. Under Section V (13), the guidelines mandate that ‘AU Observers should ascertain that: … (b) all competing political parties have equal access to both the print and the electronic media (radio, T.V.).’ Masire said his team ‘had no way of verifying’ pre-election complaints, including complaints of unequal access to state-controlled media. Under Section V (B) (d), the AU observers had a mandatory duty to ascertain ‘the campaign process is conducted in conditions of serenity, and that there are no acts of provocation or intimidation capable of compromising’. Masire’s team failed to make such inquiries. Under Section B (24), the guidelines mandate: ‘The atmosphere during the campaign should be carefully observed, and among the factors to consider in this regard include … (iv) persistent or reported cases of human rights violations.’ Masire’s team does not appear to be aware of such a requirement, let alone actually make the observation. It is truly regrettable to say of a former African leader that he showed no evidence of having read or understood the numerous mandatory election observation duties set forth in minute detail in the AU guidelines before shamelessly and pathetically declaring the elections ‘were largely consistent with African Union regulations and standards.’ I am gratified that vice president Mompati Merafhe’s observer team in Zimbabwe made its recommendation for an audit investigation based not only on observed election irregularities but also because the ‘various incidents and circumstances [that] were revealed call into question whether the entire electoral process, and thus its final result, can be recognised as having been fair, transparent and credible in the context of the SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections within the Community.” I would like to underscore that the Zimbabwe election also fails to meet the AU Elections Observation and Monitoring Guidelines. AMONG AFRICAN ELECTION THIEVES Are elections in Africa a colossal exercise in futility? Is it possible to have a free and fair election in any African country? Is the African Union (as ‘African Dictators’ Club’) capable of undertaking an independent and fair observation of elections in an African country? Is electoral democracy a quaint game played by African dictators for the amusement of Western donors and loaners? Is dictatorship in Africa by any other name democracy? I have long argued that many African governments and regimes including those in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia are thugtatorships. In my February 2011 commentary ‘Thugtatorship: The Highest Stage of African Dictatorship,’ I sought to explain in simple terms the nature of steroidal African dictatorships. If democracy is government of the people, by the people and for the people, a thugocracy (thugtatorship) is a government of thieves, for thieves, by thieves. Simply stated, a thugtatorship is rule by a gang of thieves and robbers (thugs) in designer suits. It is becoming crystal clear that much of Africa today is a thugocracy privately managed and operated for the exclusive benefit of bloodthirsty thugtators. In a thugtatorship, the purpose of seizing and clinging to political power is solely to accumulate personal wealth for the ruling class by stealing public funds and depriving the broader population scarce resources necessary for basic survival. Mugabe’s Zimbabwe is a classic thugtatorship. In March 2008, Mugabe declared victory in the presidential election after waging a campaign of violence and intimidation on his opponent Morgan Tsvangirai and his supporters. According to a Wikileaks cablegram, ‘a small group of high-ranking Zimbabwean officials (including Grace Mugabe) have been extracting tremendous diamond profits.’ Mugabe is so greedy that he stole outright ‘£4.5 million from [aid] funds meant to help millions of seriously ill people.’ In 2010, Mugabe announced his plan to sell ‘about $1.7 billion of diamonds in storage.’ Today, Mugabe and his cronies have sucked Zimbabwe dry. Zimbabwe has no national currency of its own and uses the currencies of other countries. When the Zimbabwe Dollar was in circulation, it had denominations of insane proportions. At one point in 2009, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe issued notes in the amount of 100 trillion dollars, which would not buy a bus ticket. In 2003, Mugabe boasted, ‘I am still the Hitler of the time. This Hitler has only one objective: justice for his people, sovereignty for his people, recognition of the independence of his people and their rights over their resources. If that is Hitler, then let me be Hitler tenfold. Ten times, that is what we stand for.’ Mugabe with his trademark Hitler moustache (tooth brush moustache) remains President of Zimbabwe. The regime in Ethiopia is also a thugtatorship. The ruling ‘Tigrean Peoples Liberation Front’ (TPLF), its handmaiden the ‘Ethiopian People’s Democratic Revolutionary Front’ (EPDRF) and their supporters pretty much own the Ethiopian economy. ‘According to the World Bank, roughly half of the national economy is accounted for by companies held by an EPRDF-affiliated business group called the Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray (EFFORT). EFFORT’s freight transport, construction, pharmaceutical, and cement firms receive lucrative foreign aid contracts and highly favorable terms on loans from government banks.’ In June 2012, the World Bank released its 448-page report, ‘Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia’ with substantial evidence showing that Ethiopia under the TPLF regime has become a full-fledged corruptocracy (a regime controlled and operated by a small clique of corrupt-to-the-core vampiric kleptocrats who cling to power to enrich themselves, relatives, friends and supporters at public expense). ETHIOPIA 2015: ANY CHANCE OF A FREE AND FAIR ELECTION? A year before the 2010 Ethiopian parliamentary election, I predicted the obvious. The 2010 ‘election will prove to be a sham, a travesty of democracy and a mockery and caricature of democratic elections.’ The ruling regime claimed a 99.6 percent victory in that election. The international powers that be accepted the results with muted expressions of concern. The European Union Election Observation Mission- Ethiopia 2010 stated: ‘The electoral process fell short of certain international commitments, notably regarding the transparency of the process and the lack of a level playing field for all contesting parties.’ The White House issued a statement expressing ‘concern that international observers found that the elections fell short of international commitments. We are disappointed that U.S. Embassy officials were denied accreditation and the opportunity to travel outside of the capital on Election Day to observe the voting.’ Johnnie Carson, then-Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs in the State Department told the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee that ‘we note with some degree of remorse that the elections were not up to international standards… The [Ethiopian] government has taken clear and decisive steps that would ensure that it would garner an electoral victory.’ Even Herman Cohen, the former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State who served as ‘mediator’ in the so-called May 1991 London Peace Talks which resulted in the establishment of the Zenawi regime decried the outcome: ‘This time opposition media and opposition groups were not given fair time on the media and opposition media tends to be suppressed and in that sense I don’t think it was a fair election.’ The outcome of the 2015 election in Ethiopia will be a repeat of the 2010 and 2005 elections. There will be no level playing field and no transparency and accountability in the electoral process. The regime will intensify its campaign of intimidation, harassment and jailing of opposition leaders, parties and dissidents in the run up to the “election”. The press will remain under even tighter control. The regime will intensify its demonization of opposition parties and depict Ethiopian Muslims as “terrorists”. In short, the 2015 Ethiopia ‘election’ will be a repeat of the Zimbabwean rigged and stolen election. After the daylight election robbery, the U.S., the European Union and the UK will shed crocodile tears as they continue to hand over billions of dollars in aid and loans to the Ethiopian thugtatorship. They will maintain their conspiracy of silence to see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil of the regime in Ethiopia. In 2015, thugtatorship will once again rise triumphant in Ethiopia. Change is inevitable even though African dictators believe they can remain in power indefinitely by stealing elections and harassing, jailing and killing their opponents. African thugtators believe they can use their military and police to crush their opposition out of existence. Yet many African dictatorships have fallen from their own internal weaknesses and contradictions. Behind the tough and gritty exterior of regimes such as those in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia remain fragile structures and confused and ignorant leaders who are clueless about good governance and what to do to remain in power legitimately. Neither Mugabe’s regime nor the regime in Ethiopia have clear long term goals or strategies to achieve legitimacy. Their deepest aspiration is to transform themselves from bush thugs to urbane statesmen, but there is no political alchemy to do that. As long as the US and Europe continue to provide endless handouts, Africa is doomed to remain a thugocracy. Change could come through peaceful free and fair elections in Africa. It is more likely that real change in Africa will come through the expression of the tornadic wrath of the people as seen in the ‘Arab Spring.’ African thugtators would be wise to heed a simple advise. ‘Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason.’ Arrrrgh! The thought of poor Zimbabwe wearing the same diapers since 1980… *Professor Alemayehu G. Mariam teaches political science at California State University, San Bernardino and is a practicing defense lawyer.

Small-scale miners eye US$35m funding by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Small-scale miners eye US$35m funding | The Herald SMALL-scale gold miners have taken steps to unlock at least US$35 million in funding facilities from Government amid indications that there have also been numerous pledges of assistance from other financiers and investors. Gold Miners’ Association of Zimbabwe president Mr Morgan Mugawu said in an interview that small-scale miners were scheduled to meet in Kwekwe last Saturday to discuss the logistics. The miners met as part of their annual general meeting during which the issue of financial assistance from Government, local banks and investors was expected to top the agenda. Mr Mugawu said his members were set to meet officials from the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development as the small-scale gold miners met to form smaller organised groups. The groups would be formed to access US$5 million each in the seven mining regions, namely Harare, Bulawayo, Ka- doma, Kwekwe, Gweru, Gwanda and Mutare. “As a group people will make a proposal of what they require and then the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development will come in and see how they can assist them,” Mr Mugawu said. He said providing financial assistance to small-scale gold miners was critical considering that they account for about 60 percent of the annual bullion produced in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe produced a total of 14 742 kilogrammes of gold last year and output is projected to reach 17 000 by the end of this year if weakening global prices do not weigh down production. In that regard, the association has made arrangements with other potential financiers such as banks and local investors who have reportedly committed to assist small gold miners. As such, Mr Mugawu said small-scale gold miners sought to organise themselves into small manageable units to make disbursement and administration of the funding facilities easier. While Government would provide US$5 million in funding per region, banks and other investors want small organised groups of miners to provide funding and critical equipment. “The investors need an association that is organised and an association that has clear structure to be guaranteed that when they provide funding the miners will pay back,” Mr Mugawu said. He said the banks and investors wanted a specific model of organisation to provide support and were actually ready to extend assistance starting with Midlands region of Kwekwe. But Mr Mugawu said as they restructure to form small groups of miners in each region they would not do away with the requirement for members to produce at least 400g per month. Funding shortage to procure new and modern equipment remain the biggest challenge to increasing gold production in Zimbabwe even among big and established gold mining companies. He pointed out that the Environmental Management Authority was also expected to attend the meeting in Kwekwe to raise awareness among the miners on environmental issues.

Cabinet has its work cut out by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Cabinet has its work cut out – DailyNews Live Mugabe’s eagerly-awaited cabinet whose announcement is imminent, has more than a mountain to climb. There is a huge expectation amongst Mugabe’s supporters, general Zimbabweans and the business community which has been edgy since the conclusion of the disputed July 31 polls. It’s been more than a month since the elections were concluded and by now, the direction Zimbabwe is going to take would have been much clearer, of course, with the appointment of a Cabinet. Delays in naming the cabinet have led to rumours and at times, unwelcome speculation to the detriment of those under consideration by Mugabe. But conjecture or no conjecture, Mugabe has to unveil a team that has the unenviable task of changing a long-held perception that his loyalists are out of touch with reality. The damning seal stems from poor performances by previous cabinets except the one appointed during the inclusive government era. Days of moribund policies which triggered lampoonery are gone. Mugabe’s cabinet must have men and women whose pedigree to restore confidence both at home and internationally, is unquestionable. The modicum of stability brought by the inclusive government must be improved on as well as coming up with policies that build on our economic growth. Zimbabwe, in the last four years has been among the top 10 countries with growing economies. The country needs to woo investors and improve health, water and sanitation facilities and unlock job opportunities. But these are tied to non combative policies which historically have not been the DNA of a Zanu PF government. Mining and agriculture need massive support to drive economic growth  while the tottering manufacturing sector needs massive capital injection. Mugabe knows these are areas of priority and one hopes that his appointments are commensurate with the tasks of deliverables on his dashboard. It is upon Mugabe to show support to his ministers. History has proved that it is one thing to have competent people at the helm of government but another having them respected in their decision-making. As long as there is no political will to support ministers and their decisions, Zimbabwe will slide towards the precipice. But Mugabe knows that this time he has got to deliver and the new cabinet will be a clear indication of how far we can trust his decision-making in appointing men and women who are dedicated to serve Zimbabwe with distinction!

Chitungwiza rewards paid-up residents by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Chitungwiza rewards paid-up residents – DailyNews Live by Sharon Muguwu The Chitungwiza Town Council is rewarding paid up residents by offering a 30 percent discount on current and future bills until December. This comes after some residents who had paid their bills complained over a government directive calling for the scrapping of all outstanding debts accrued between February 2009 to June 2013. “It is appreciated that relief was felt and enjoyed as we start afresh following the writing off of hitherto burdensome huge arrears relating to residential properties….council further feels indebted to say thank you to those who manage to keep their payments up to date,” town clerk, George Makunde said in a statement. “Thus all residents and ratepayers who were up to date with their payment of dues to council, at the time when arrears were scrapped as at June 30, 2013 are set to benefit. They will be discounted at the rate of 30 percent on all their monthly bill payments up to December 31 2013,” he said. Makunde said although the government directive did not extend to commercial and industrial debtors, the local authority would be writing off 40 percent of what is owed. “It has also come to our attention that the commercial and industrial sector is also trapped and held up in the face of mounting outstanding bills. “After wide consultations and considerations thereof, it has been agreed to extend a reprieve to that sector of the community. “All those in the commercial and industrial sector have been allowed up to December 31, this year to clear their outstanding payments and benefit through a discount of 40 percent on such payments,” he said. The order by outgoing Local Government minister, Ignatius Chombo received mixed reactions, with residents on one hand in support of the move while various local bodies accused him of cheap politicking. Former Mayor, Muchadeyi Masunda opposed the move describing it as illegal, arguing councils would suffer as they needed the money to buy water treatment chemicals and cater for other operational costs. Harare City Council was owed $400 million in water bills, unit tax, rentals, fees and levies by its residents. The council has also announced the cancellation of a $14 million debt owed by the Chitungwiza municipality for water supply. Several councils including Chinhoyi, Masvingo, and Murewa have complied with the order, with Bulawayo City Council still to implement the decree.

Tourism players must comply with indigenisation law by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via ‘Tourism players must comply with indigenisation law’ – DailyNews Live by Kudzai Chawafambira Outgoing Tourism minister Walter Mzembi has warned foreigners who want to venture into the tourism sector to be prepared to comply with Zimbabwe’s indigenisation laws. “I want to appeal to our brothers and sisters in here that when you introduce projects don’t waylay projects through imaginary costing’s and inflationary pricing. “We want you to participate, that is what our trusted party (Zanu PF) stands for to indigenise, empower and create employment, but we must be reasonable to each other for these kinds of projects to take off”, Mzembi  told a signing ceremony for the proposed Hilton Hotel last week. The law compels all foreign-owned companies operating in Zimbabwe to cede a controlling 51 percent shareholding to locals. He added that compliance was the only way out as it gave locals “the opportunity they had been waiting for.” Mzembi called for a review of local government by-laws to meet international best practices, saying the current ones were hindering development. “We constrain projects because of some laws we inherited, even as far back as Rhodesia. “We have to attune our civil servants to a new thinking. The issue of multi-licensing is not on. “Even the local authorities themselves, for example when you want to start your own bottle store business you have to go through 15 licences just to make people drunk,” said Mzembi. He said the Tourism ministry was working towards extending statutory instrument (SI) 124 of 2011 and 199 of 2012 which enables players in the tourism sector to import capital goods duty-free. “I highlight two statutory instruments that have expired and we will need to make sure that we push them further in the life of the new Zanu PF government. “There were temporary but we are now advocating for the extension of these two SIs in the next five years to allow for these kinds of projects to take off,” said Mzembi. President Robert Mugabe has of late intensified pressure on foreign-owned companies to comply with the empowerment policy despite experts warning that the move could be disastrous to economy. “The indigenisation and empowerment drive will continue unabated in order to ensure that indigenous Zimbabweans enjoy a larger share of the country’s resources,” Mugabe told a Defence Forces day gathering last month. “Now that the people of Zimbabwe have given us a resounding mandate in the governance of the country we will do everything in our power to ensure our objective of total indigenisation, empowerment, development and employment is realised.” Former Finance minister Tendai Biti in his budget projected Zimbabwe’s tourism sector to grow by about four percent this year. .

NatFoods plans $7m capital expenditure by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via NatFoods plans $7m capital expenditure – DailyNews Live by John Kachembere National Foods Holdings Limited (NatFoods) plans to spend $7 million in the eight months to June 2014 on plant renovations as part of strategies to bolster capacity and unlock shareholder value. Todd Moyo, the group’s chairperson, said the listed milling and stock feeds producer will continue to develop all aspects of the business to maintain its market share. “The increase in volumes sold… necessitates further upgrades of plant and equipment and investment into our people. To this end, we will spend about $7 million on capital expenditure in the forthcoming financial year,” he said. This comes as the group’s total volumes sold surged to 489 425 tonnes in the year to June 2013, representing capacity utilisation of 46 percent. During the period under review, revenue increased to $295,9 million from $234 million spurred by increased capacity utilisation as its strategy to “fix, optimise and grow” gained traction in all core categories. Profit after tax went up 76 percent to $13,9 million. The group recorded a 76 percent increase in basic earnings per share to 20,38 cents from 11,55 cents prior year. Moyo said margins were heavily influenced by international commodity price movements, the length and cost of raw material pipeline, as well as regional competitor activity. “Accordingly, NatFoods realised margins above expectation in the first half and below expectation in the second half as the world markets moved down and against positions taken,” he said. Moyo said non-recurring profits of $3,4 million were realised through disposals ($0,8 million) and once off raw material gains ($2,6 million). “Overall profit before tax achieved of $17,2 million was therefore 61 percent higher than the previous year,” he said. Moyo noted that net working capital increased by $33,1 million to $46,7 million to fund the increase in volumes produced along with more appropriate on-balance sheet funding structures. “This change in funding structures had no material impact on earnings per share. Accordingly our net borrowings increased to $16,5 million resulting in a gearing ratio of 27 percent which is within plan,” he said. “In an effort to modernise the operating platform, the group invested $6,1 million into capital projects and has plans to invest further in key operational areas in the coming year.” The group’s milling division sold 44 percent more flour in the period under review compared to the prior year due to the introduction of tariffs on imported flour. Moyo said profitability in the maize milling unit was down 13 percent on the prior year due to subdued volumes and increased competition.

Still no ministers by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Still no ministers – DailyNews Live by Thelma Chikwanha There was high anticipation that President Robert Mugabe would announce his new Cabinet at the weekend but Zimbabweans were disappointed when the 89-year-old leader failed to do so raising speculation that he is struggling to come up with an acceptable team. A month after Mugabe won the July 31 disputed polls, government operations are virtually at a standstill as the Zanu PF leader is reportedly battling to come up with a Cabinet. He is said to be coming up with a team which caters for factions in his party, tribal considerations, loyalists and deadwood, some of whom have been ministers since 1980. At the same time, Mugabe is said to be considering a development Cabinet which will see radical changes in the ministries in a bid to win investor confidence. Mugabe has already said that he would not appoint candidates who lost elections to Cabinet posts. The president is empowered to appoint five non-constituency Members of Parliament and hopes are high that he will consider technocrats in industry who will turn around the economy. Investors have been trading cautiously since the July 31 harmonised election, a development that has impacted negatively on the economy. A top government official told the Daily News yesterday that Mugabe was battling to balance his options. “From the day election results were announced, there has been massive lobbying for cabinet posts and the old man himself has to make astute appointments otherwise the country will slide into economic chaos. Yes, there are loyalists and hardliners who helped him win elections, but he has to bring in new people with new ideas. “The President is aware that bringing back the likes of Didymus Mutasa, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Nicholas Goche, Sydney Sekeramayi, Saviour Kasukuwere, Olivia Muchena, Ignatius Chombo and many others like them will bring him loyalty but  honestly speaking, re-appointing these people will be like saying to hell with everyone. “He has to bring in technocrats and young Zanu PF Members of Parliament who won in the harmonised elections. But cabinet has to be appointed and talk around Munhumutapa Building is that it will be announced this week any day from tomorrow (today). The president is keeping everyone guessing,” said the source. Other officials who spoke to the Daily News said Mugabe’s delay was due to the fact that the Zanu PF strong man was also considering persuading MDC officials to join government after the success of the unity government. Political analysts say the economy which had begun to show signs of recovery during the four year period of the coalition government is slowly collapsing. Political analyst, Maxwell Saungweme says Mugabe is in a catch 22 situation as he is facing pressure to balance his appointment based on different interests of the factions within his party. “The new cabinet is very crucial for him in terms of succession and his legacy. It also makes sense that he will be looking at accommodating some officials from the MDC as the issues around the economy require that he extends his invitation for ministerial posts to the opposition. He needs everyone to get the economy right,” Saungweme said. He added that; “At his age and given the complications in his party and the economy, it makes sense that he takes all the time he needs to appoint the right people to the right positions.” University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Shakespear Hamauswa concurred with Saungwemwe. He said Mugabe has to seriously evaluate his appointees because the status of the economy requires that he appoints ministers who can deliver. “There are intellectuals and war veterans who Mugabe has to reward. The security sector, the likes of Oliver Mandipaka and others will also be looking forward to being rewarded and there is of course the Unity Accord which poses another challenge for him when appointing ministers. There are also constitutional provisions which require him to consider gender balance,” Hamauswa said. In a post on his Facebook page, the faceless but popular Baba Jukwa who enjoys cult hero status among Zimbabweans yesterday said  Zimbabweans may even wait for the end of September before the swearing in of government ministers. “Zimbabwe, the coming few days are days of intense suspense. As we speak I tell you all that Mugabe has proposed retaining Tsvangirai’s successor apparent Tendai Biti in the Finance Ministry. Other MDC officials from Tsvangirai and Ncube factions are also under consideration; but it will be an embarrassment if the offers are made and then rejected. George Charamba dreads this happening and they have all admitted in meetings this past week,” Baba Jukwa said in a Facebook post yesterday.

Mwana raises US$3.2m for working capital by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Mwana raises US$3.2m for working capital by NewZimbabwe REGIONAL mining group, Mwana Africa has brought in around US$3.2 million through a share subscription to provide working capital, the company confirmed this week.The funds, given the firm’s progress on cost cutting, should be enough to meet its working capital requirements for the “foreseeable future”, the miner said. Mwana Africa’s Zimbabwe operations Bindura Nickel Corporation (BNC) and its feeder Trojan and Shangani mines as well as the Freda Rebecca gold mine. The company also has operations in Angola, Botswana, the DRC and South Africa. The group’s largest shareholder, China International Mining Group Corporation (CIMGC), took part, subscribing for around 42 million shares of the approximate total of 130.25mln and will now hold 23.07% of the firm. Ning Yat Hoi, the chairman of CIMGC and a director of Mwana, also participated and will hold 6.85%. In a statement, the group said: “As previously announced, given the fall in commodity prices in recent months, the company has urgently required further funding and the Board has been engaged in a process to secure that funding. “As part of this process the board of the company has explored a number of funding alternatives and is pleased to have secured the Subscription proceeds at such an important time for the company. “The board welcomes the support shown by its major shareholder and looks forward to benefitting further from association with CIMGC’s banking and industry connections. “The net proceeds from the Subscription will provide general working capital for the company, and, given progress made to date on cost cutting measures, is considered sufficient to meet Mwana’s working capital requirements for the foreseeable future.” Mark Wellesley-Wood, Mwana’s non-exec chairman, added: “I am delighted with the support shown by CIMGC and Mr Ning for the company.  Our focus now is on dribing down costs and extracting maximum value for shareholders from our asset portfolio.” The pan-African mining company said its Freda Rebecca Gold Mine is currently cash flow generative, and Mwana will continue to seek efficiencies and explore tailings retreatment opportunities to further enhance value at the mine. “Zani Kodo, Semhkat and Bindura Nickel Corporation (“BNC”) will remain within the Mwana portfolio; any further development of these projects will be done through project level funding, either in the form of joint ventures and/or debt finance,” the company said. “As previously announced, in light of the new resources statement at the BNC Trojan mine, the Trojan mine plan has been revised to target the higher grade zones of the ore body, known as ‘massives’, which significantly improves BNC’s cash flow and reduce its working capital requirements,” the firm told investors in Thursday’s statement. A broker in London said: “The additional funding addresses short term financing concerns and the recently articulated cost cutting measures show a firm commitment from management in facing the company’s current difficulties.”

Zim has enough seed by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via ‘Zim has enough seed’ | The Herald There is enough seed in the country to meet farmers’ requirements this season, although fertiliser supply remains a challenge, outgoing Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development Joseph Made has said.

 Minister Made – courtesy the Herald

The minister said an appeal was being made to President Mugabe to expand his presidential well-wishers input support programme. President Mugabe has for years been single-handedly sponsoring farming to ensure food security at household level after outgoing Finance Minister Tendai Biti ditched the sector for political expedience. Minister Made appealed to President Mugabe to continue his Presidential well-wishers input support programme that supported farmers throughout the tenure of the inclusive Government. “Remember the Presidential well-wishers programme single-handedly, is what supported our farmers for the past five years. Again our appeal is once more to the President that as per the Zanu-PF manifesto that programme is also continued if not expanded,” Minister Made said. Weather experts have predicted normal to above normal rains for Sadc countries during the 2013/2014 farming season, while Zimbabwe’s specific rainfall patterns are expected on Wednesday. In an interview last week, Minister Made said Government’s immediate task was to ensure farmers accessed inputs on time this year to avoid food shortages. “The immediate task of Government is really to have seed supported. Fortunately, the seed houses have indicated there is enough seed to the extent of 52 000 metric tonnes of seed in the warehouses. “Unfortunately because of the activities of the past five years (Inclusive Government era), we owe seed houses money which we have not been able to give them,’’ he said. According to an Agritex official who declined to be named, the country needs between 42 000 and  45 000 tonnes of seed, while between 300 000 and 400 000 tonnes are required to cover between 1,7 million and two million hectares of maize. However, Chemplex Corporation Limited boss and the fertiliser industry spokesperson, Mr Misheck Kachere, said he could not give figures of the amount of fertiliser available in warehouses as he was attending business meetings outside the country. Minister Biti was reluctant to support farmers on grounds that Zanu-PF believed were aimed at frustrating Government’s land reform. “We owe the fertiliser companies money and the appeal from agriculture would be obviously that payment be made quickly to those two sets of sub-sectors that provide the primary materials that we use for the agricultural season so that they are able to continue their business operations. “That is the important task to make sure that those companies are looked at from that point of view,” Minister Made said. He said both small-scale and A2 farmers needed support from Government to ensure a successful farming season. “Focus should be given to those areas with better rains. Every effort should be made so that we do not leave that land lying idle. “It must be the effort of the farmer and then intervention that Government can come up with. The primary intervention is fertiliser and seed. Seed is enough, fertiliser no. Fertiliser is a different story,” Minister Made said. He bemoaned the current electricity challenges facing the country saying load shedding was negatively impacting on fertiliser production and the whole agriculture sector. Minister Made said the fertiliser industry must be given constant electricity supply as failure to do so will have ripple effect on agriculture. He also spoke about the predicted rainfall patterns. “When weather patterns say normal to above normal rains, it means that we are likely to have soil leaching. That is the double edge of better rains. It means soil leaching. “The reason why I am emphasising this is because the Ammonium Nitrate and Compound D fertiliser must be manufactured almost simultaneously so that as your crop gets knee height you top dress it immediately before the fertiliser that is in the soil is leached,” Minister Made said. “What is central and critical is that the planning is ready. It is on the table but the bigger challenge is mobilisation of resources, otherwise the farmer is ready. “They are preparing. We just hope that now we deal squarely with paying farmers and paying the industry that supports the agriculture sector.”

Party gets babysitter for JuJu by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Party gets babysitter for JuJu – Times LIVE by Denise Williams

 Image by: Moeletsi Mabe

Julius Malema has been assigned a babysitter to ensure he does not bring his latest party, the Economic Freedom Fighters, into disrepute. Western Cape co-ordinator Gcobani Ndzongana said the newly launched party had commissar “Dad” Mpho Ramakatsa, a former Umkhonto Wesizwe and ANC member, to keep the militant party in check. “He is a kind of father to us. Anyone who is going to do something on their own, he will call that person to order, including commander in chief [Malema],” he said. Ndzongana said Malema was the soul and driving spirit behind the party, but that it could survive without him. “He was not a part and parcel of that initiative. His influence was about his leadership. He was unaware that there [were] people working tirelessly for him,” he said. Malema confiscated fake EFF berets in Johannesburg last week during a raid. “There are other leaders but we said currently this is the right leader for today. It’s not about him … We know that even before elections they can take him to prison, so we planned around that,” he said. Elaborating on this, Ndzongana said the Western Cape EFF branch was adamant that the DA would not win the next election. “To be honest, we don’t take the ANC seriously … in fact, the ANC is not the biggest threat to us. We are focusing on the DA. “We don’t even want to be a strong opposition … we want to take over the Western Cape next year. And we can see … the response from the people,” he said. The party claims to have more than 6000 members in the province and aims to garner 10000 by the end of the year. “The formation of the EFF is like a magnet: you throw it inside a lot of particles of iron and they just go in one and assemble to each other, that is what has been happening. “People are just coming in numbers and saying enough is just enough; you know we are sick and tired,” said Ndzongana. But the public should not fear a violent takeover, he said. “People cannot believe the lies … we know the swart gevaar smear campaign. We know people will do anything to belittle our campaign. “You must not believe it tomorrow when you wake up and hear it from the news that we are going to eat white people, that is never going to happen. We are not going to do that,” Ndzongana said.

Matabeleland’s wheat production drops by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Matabeleland’s wheat production drops by Musa Dube of The Standard WINTER wheat production has drastically fallen in the past few years in Matabeleland region, as farmers abandon the crop due to lack of capital, intermittent power cuts and uncompetitive prices on the market. A visit to Umguza and Nyamandlovu districts in Matabeleland North by Standardcommunity recently revealed a sorry state as large tracks of land where winter wheat used to be grown are now covered with tall grass and shrubs. Umguza District, one of the prime farming areas in Matabeleland North, used to produce a substantial amount of winter wheat before the 2000 land reform exercise, which saw the displacement of hundreds of white commercial farmers. Farmers who spoke to Standardcommunity recently said they could not plant winter wheat because they did not have enough capital to buy seeds and fertilisers. They also complained about regular power outages. “A majority of us no longer plant winter wheat because we do not have the inputs. The government always promises that it would avail loans and inputs for winter wheat production, but that never happens,” said Vusa Nyoni, an A2 farmer from Umguza. “Winter wheat is no longer viable because the gazetted producer price is far below the production costs. To make matters worse, we don’t get payment for the delivered produce in time.” Ndumiso Ncube, an A2 farmer, said the hectarage for wheat production decreased this year after Zesa introduced pre-paid metres. “The Zesa pre-paid system discouraged us from growing the wheat crop because we could not afford the payments,” said Ncube. “We also faced water problems because of our poor irrigation infrastructure. ” Matabeleland North agriculture extension officer (Agritex) provincial agronomist, Davison Masendeke confirmed that fewer farmers were still taking up winter wheat farming. He said farmers had targeted to plant 539,8 hectares last year, but only managed to plant 356 hectares. “The target area was 539,8 hectares last year but the farmers managed to plant 356 hectares while the target area is 470,25 hectares this year,’’ said Masendeke. Winter wheat production has been on the decline in the last decade in Zimbabwe. Only 12 000 hectares against a targeted 45 000 were planted in 2011, while only 4 000 hectares were planted against the targeted 26 000 hectares last year. As a result, the government has been forced to import the cereal crop to meet the local demand. FARMERS TO VENTURE INTO TOBACCO FARMING A number of farmers in Matabeleland North are contemplating venturing into tobacco growing. “Next year, I will venture into tobacco farming, as the crop is currently fetching a good price on the market. The type of soil we have here is suitable for tobacco growing,” said Lungile Sibanda. Tobacco has been the country’s largest export earner for many decades, accounting for a third of all foreign currency earnings.

Tobacco farmers want increased funding by ZimSitRep – 09-09-2013
via Tobacco farmers want increased funding by Kudzai Chimhangwa of The Standard THE Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board (TIMB) has said that farmers should access funding in order to boost production levels for the country.Zimbabwe missed the 170 million kg tobacco production target which the board had previously set, instead raking in 165 million kgs. TIMB chairperson, Monica Chinamasa said although output slightly fell short of target, the board was relatively satisfied with the increased volumes of the golden leaf that went under the hammer. “We need funding. Farmers are just not getting any funding to boost production levels, this development has impacted negatively on tobacco production,” Chinamasa said. “Another factor was the weather, in particular the rains which are unpredictable. With regard to marketing, the facilities were more than adequate, we had three auction floors which were able to handle the volumes.” Tobacco remains the country’s biggest agricultural export, spurred by high international prices for the crop. Demand for the crop from countries such as South Africa, China and the United Arab Emirates has been the fundamental reason behind the rise of the small holder tobacco farmer. However, funding continues to be a major challenge for farmers, as the liquidity crunch and to a larger extent lack of clarity surrounding 99-year land leases continue to deter banks from funding the sector. Tobacco Association of Zimbabwe president, Temba Mliswa took a swipe at international companies involved in tobacco production, arguing that if they could repatriate the money from sales, the farmers’ liquidity situation would be slightly better. “Tobacco is a self-financing crop, it is a cash crop. International companies are not repatriating the monies earned from the sale of the crop,” said Mliswa. “The key question is, how much of it [money] is coming back to Zimbabwe, compared to how much has been made.” In 2000, government embarked on a land reform programme and seized white-owned commercial farms to parcel out to landless indigenous Zimbabweans. Before the land reform programme was implemented, most of the tobacco farmers were characteristically white with operations on a much larger scale. According to the Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, the country reached its peak tobacco production levels in the year 2000 at 236 715 481kgs, with 8 531 growers. In 2013, 165 million kgs were produced with an estimated 75 000 growers. Economist John Robertson said the dynamics in the tobacco growing sector have greatly shifted. “Back in the days farmers could easily approach banks, pledge their title deeds and access loans to fund their crops. “Farmers could then come up with a viable cropping programme after banks were satisfied with the farmers’ previous track record of performance,” he said. Robertson said one has to be a very good farmer in order to cope with the demands of borrowed money. “You can’t grow a cash crop if you don’t have the money to pay for the inputs,” he said.