TEXT only 23 August 2013


Beyond Salvage? by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013

BEYOND SALVAGE?  By Godfrey 22 August 2013


All things come to an end. This optimistic resignation feels very irrelevant to Zimbabweans today. Once again Zimbabwe finds herself at the mercy of power, raw power. Thirty three years and still counting, the self congratulatory cacophony, “we liberated you from the British” continues. In other words, “Shut up, sit down, be eternally grateful and let us rule you, and whilst we are at it, no questions asked.” Without countenancing what the British did to Zimbabwe, the deliberate distortion of history by Mugabe et al is self evident. In 1980 Zimbabwe was not ‘liberated’ from the British as Mugabe wants us to believe. She was ‘liberated’ from the Smith regime. This is a very important distinction which has been glossed over for obvious political purposes. Both Ian Douglas Smith, of British heritage, and Robert Gabriel Mugabe, heritage unknown to many, but probably of Malawian descent- a Mr. Matibili sired Robert Mugabe- were born in Southern Rhodesia, Smith in 1919 and Mugabe in 1924. Thus, although heritage is relevant to individuals personally, our laws then and now, even though the laws are now selectively applied, made anyone born in Zimbabwe, a citizen of Zimbabwe at birth. This makes logical and legal sense. No matter how omnipotent, it is a practical impossibility for a leader to take citizenship at birth from the beholder. A place of birth is indelible. Necessarily, Smith never ceased to be a citizen of Rhodesia cum Zimbabwe, in spite of his sixteen years of atrocious governance, just like Robert Mugabe, with his thirty three years of comparable atrocities. I can almost begin to hear the same old tired racist vitriol on my person from Mugabe’s spin doctors. I will survive the rants. To describe Ian Smith as British is just the same as describing Americans as British. In 1965 Smith, just like what the Americans did in 1776, unilaterally declared independence from Britain. Ironically, when America declared its independence it was to form a union whilst Ian Smith helped to dissolve one. At the declaration of their independence, thirteen colonies assumed the name United States of America. Smith dropped Southern from an ill fated federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland and Southern Rhodesia became a de factoindependent state, Rhodesia now Zimbabwe. Lost to many is the fact that; the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Ian Smith (UDI) was necessitated by the British stance of not allowing its colonies to gain independence before majority rule (NIBAR). The British did not want Ian Smith to declare independence without full participation of the majority black people; whites formed 5% of the population compared to 94.5% of blacks. The reason why the British wanted the majority to participate in governing their states may be debatable, probably self serving, but the fact still remains, they were no longer the governing authority when Ian Smith unilaterally declared independence from Britain. Ian Smith argued that the will of the majority was fully declared at the indaba he held with the traditional chiefs and headman in Domboshawa in 1964, a disingenuous disputation. Empirically this goes to prove that political manipulation of chiefs is not new, nor is it a preserve of Robert Mugabe alone. Chiefs are always manipulated, and they are a rare species those who still hold on to their true traditional values, their office of trust. Although the indaba proved to be purely academic, because the British boycotted the meeting, the chiefs and headmen in attendance reportedly approved the UDI, “unanimously”. After Smith declared his independence from the British the United Nations, including Britain and America, imposed a trade embargo on Smith’s Rhodesia which remained throughout his reign. Whether the imposition of sanctions was all the British could have done to speed up majority rule is debatable. However, it is worth noting that the British were not the governing authority in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe when the war of independence earnestly started in 1974 or when Mugabe ascended to the helm of ZANU, by default in 1975. Leopold Takawira, who could have succeeded Ndabaningi Sithole as the president of ZANU died in detention and Herbert Chitepo was killed by a car bomb. Edgar Tekere absolves Mugabe of wrestling power from Ndabaningi Sithole, Mugabe’s former boss. Sithole, Enos Nkala, Herbert Chitepo and Edgar Tekere and Mugabe were the founding fathers of ZANU. Sithole was the president of ZANU and Mugabe was Sithole’s secretary general. Tekere writes in his book, A Lifetime of Struggle, that it was him who orchestrated and tabled the motion to sack Sithole from ZANU because of policy differences. Sithole secured his release from prison by denouncing hostilities against the Smith regime. His fellow prisoners of conscience Maurice Nyagumbo, Enos Nkala and Edgar Tekere felt betrayed. They voted to oust Sithole. Tekere makes it a point to mention that Mugabe did not want to rebel against Sithole. Mugabe was arm twisted, Tekere reports, to abstain from voting for Sithole, leading to a 3 to 1 defeat and the ouster of Ndabaningi from the very party he helped to form. Motin Malianga, who shared a prison cell with Mugabe and Sithole, could not vote because he chaired the meeting. If Tekere’s allegations are true, and there is no reason to think otherwise, the militancy in Robert Mugabe maybe a late development and a tool he has artistically learned to effectively exploit. Mugabe has and will order the brutalization of unarmed citizens. He however, embellishes his military record to instill fear. Mugabe has been reported to have declared that he had a degree in fighting. He is on record as saying, if indigenization makes him Hitler he is a Hitler tenfold. Brutal as he may be, Mugabe is no Hitler neither does he have a degree in military fighting, seven academic degrees notwithstanding. Without dismissing the invaluable role he played in the struggle against the Smith regime, Mugabe was not the most relevant factor in the war proper. The war of liberation was very instrumental to the attainment of Zimbabwean independence. But to suggest that independence was won through the barrel of the gun without disclosing that Mugabe became Prime Minister as a result of a negotiated settlement is erroneous and misleading, a deliberate omission of relevant facts, just to boost Mugabe’s resume. If Zimbabwe had been liberated from Smith solely through the barrel of the gun, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, as the country was briefly known in 1979, would not have reverted to British authority, a step which was taken to necessitate a smooth transition to self determination. Mugabe would not have retained the likes of Ken Flower and Peter Walls within his security agents and the defense forces. Lord Soames would not have been appointed as a transitional governor of Zimbabwe-Rhodesia and there would not have been a Lancaster House Constitution which among other things reserved 20 parliamentary seats for white citizens. The reason why Lord Soames became a governor is because Margaret Thatcher, the British Prime Minister at the time, refused to be hoodwinked by Smith’s adroit puppetry. In an attempt to gain recognition and to outwit Mugabe and Nkomo, Smith conjured an internal settlement and declared an election which was won by Bishop Abel Muzorewa. Muzorewa became the Prime Minister, Josiah Zion Gumede the President and Ian Smith became a minister without portfolio. Yet, all important portfolios; the economy, judiciary, police and armed forces remained under the control of Rhodesian Front, Smith’s political party. Compare this with the 2008 Government of National Unity (GNU) and ZANU PF’s hold on important ministerial portfolios. Mugabe hated Smith, but he sure learns from history. Could the war have been won decisively, by ZIPRA and ZANLA, the military wings of ZAPU and ZANU respectively? Probably, but the fact is it was not decisively won. The combatants should be commended for ceasing fire when they did because they averted further brutalization and unnecessary killings of civilians by both sides. Mugabe’s policy decisions are engineered by real or perceived disrespect of his person. The British are a good example of such. Remember, the Robert Mugabe of the 80s and 90s, the derisively cartooned Vasco da Gama? The one who would stopover in London for tea with the queen on his way to Gweru from Harare? Remember Sir Robert Mugabe who was knighted as the Commander of the Order of the Bath in 1994 by Queen Elizabeth?  The point is, Mugabe is very fond of Britain and everything British, the tea, the assumed accent with an exaggerated drawl. All the vitriol he now heaps on his erstwhile and favorite destination is really because he cannot visit anymore. Yes, the British Labour Party reneged on an agreement entered by its predecessor to sponsor the land reform, but Mugabe is not without blame. Mugabe is not a slave to principles. He conveniently dresses his policies from a wardrobe of personal emotions which suits him fine, as long as his power remains intact. We just have to brace ourselves as we watch Mr. Mugabe do what he wills to “his” country. Now that his political hands are unfettered, parliamentary opposition and leadership decimated; Mugabe may dragoon his diktats with never before seen zealotry. Mugabe and his generals own Zimbabwe, their cosa nostra. They may continue to run it as such. As a life president, he has outdone his hero, Hastings Kamuzu Banda. He may feel validated to do what he wants without any reservations. He has populated the judiciary with his puppets, the attorney general is unapologetically partisan, the police are crooks, the military is in control, and all the government institutions are hopelessly corrupt.  Institutionalized corruption will crystallize. Impunity will run supreme. Promises made will once again be broken. There is going to be parceling out of rewards to “men of honor”, and the struggling economy will take a severe knock. China the new economic conqueror will tremendously benefit through the get rich quick cabinet Mugabe will assemble. Yet there is real opportunity here, which Mugabe can exploit and redeem his legacy. He can start by putting in place pragmatic policies that will put Zimbabwe back on track and successfully compete on the world market. Was MDC the answer? Doubtable, because the “now it’s our turn syndrome” was very real and apparent among the MDC officials. Power also got in their heads. The syndrome blinded MDC.  They failed to act or strategize. The electoral landscape was heavily tilted against them. Stupidly, they participated and in the process they validating a rigged election. They were outsmarted. A chance to at least set Zimbabwe on a path to democracy may have been lost. There is enough evidence to support that corruption had taken root among many MDC parliamentarians and cabinet members. Mugabe allowed the rot to take hold. It is part of his modus operandi and he has used it over and over again, even among his fellow ZANU PF cabinet members. Many of the MDC members who formed part of the GNU seriously and corruptly compromised themselves. Any one of them who now raises his voice to criticize the new Mugabe government will be investigated for the sins of the past and prosecuted. Even though the Attorney General may overzealously and selectively prosecute, many of these former opposition parliamentarians and cabinet members have legitimate cases to answer. Tendai Biti’s future may be sealed by the multimillion dollar defamation suit Didymus Mutasa, one of Mugabe’s staunchest backers, timely filed against Biti. It was very ill advised for Biti to repeat a parliamentary speech outside parliamentary proceedings. But even if Mutasa was defamed as he claims, to sue Biti for US$5m, is laughable, only the suit was filed in the High Court of Zimbabwe. You guessed it; Mugabe has populated his courts with his own supporters who masquerading as justices. Biti will be found liable. Damages will be assessed and he will be financially ruined. He will appeal, but the judgment will be upheld. And whilst we are at it, just watch the rate of speed at which the case is going to be heard, concluded and executed. A carrot, to turn coat may be extended to Biti. Whether he will catch the bait remains an open question. Unfortunately, those who supported MDC are now at the mercy of the vindictive and zombified ZANU PF supporters. Mugabe knows when to pounce and pounce he may. He wants to deliver a fatal blow to his and his party’s nemesis, the total destruction of MDC. He may probably co-opt some who showed political shrewdness from the opposition, teach them the ZANU PF way and allow them to join the gravy train. Others on the periphery, like Lovemore Madhuku, discredited leader of National Constitutional Assembly and a law professor, have already constructed a spring board to ingratiate himself with Robert Mugabe. Madhuku has lately made pronouncements laced with unmistakable, “I can be another Jonathan Moyo” innuendos. The best that Tsvangirai and all his entourage can do now is to make sure that their supporters are not molested. If any competent leadership is to sprout from the MDC, they have to be bold enough to protect their very vulnerable supporters and smart enough to take pragmatic steps to avoid Zimbabwe from taking the plunge. The urge to abandon ship, now that power is currently beyond their reach, is very appealing, but that is not what worthy leaders are made of. Mugabe may be destructive, but his political fortunes were originally founded on genuine and strong conviction to fight and even to die for his own people. Who could have guessed? To be continued. via https://www.facebook.com/notes/zimbabwe-situation/beyond-salvage-by-godfrey-22-august-2013/368696649899346

Knives out for Mujuru by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via Knives out for Mujuru – NewsDay Zimbabwe VICE-PRESIDENT Joice Mujuru is reportedly in hot soup after it emerged the President’s Office has instituted an investigation into media reports claiming she insinuated that President Robert Mugabe could soon be “called by God” and that she was well positioned to succeed him. Mujuru reportedly said this in an interview with a local privately-owned daily newspaper at the memorial service for her late husband Retired General Solomon Mujuru at the family’s farm in Beatrice at the weekend. “We know that the President will soon be 90 and God might decide to call him, he has taught us a lot and how to lead the party. Zanu PF will never die because President Mugabe is no longer there; there are people who now can lead the party,” she was quoted as saying. The utterances are believed to have widened divisions in Zanu PF, with party bigwigs, war veterans, top military personnel and a faction reportedly led by Defence minister Emmerson Mnangagwa is said to be baying for the Vice-President’s blood. These people are said to be livid with Mujuru, saying her words were as good as wishing Mugabe dead. There is belief in the Zimbabwean body politic that Mujuru and Mnangagwa lead factions that are fighting to succeed Mugabe, although both have denied the existence of such rival camps. The Constitution states that in the event that the President is unable to complete his term of office for any reason, the ruling party would elect a successor. Sources in the party said the President’s Office was probing the authenticity of utterances attributed to Mujuru. But Zanu PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo yesterday said Mujuru had been misquoted. Impeccable party sources told NewsDay that the Mnangagwa faction had seized the opportunity to create a rift between Mujuru and Mugabe so that Mnangagwa remained in the succession battle. “It was an exaggeration,” Gumbo said yesterday. “You journalists have a tendency of picking a word and blow issues out of context and proportion.” Mugabe’s spokesperson George Charamba could not be drawn to comment on the matter and on being asked if there was a presidential probe on the matter he denied. “It is your creation,” he said, before hanging up. NewsDay is, however, reliably informed Mujuru’s alleged utterances have caused an uproar in the party and sections of the military and war veterans. Sources said some party bigwigs (names supplied) opposed to Mujuru met on Sunday immediately after the story was published to find ways of blocking her. The sources added that the Vice-President’s rivals debated several strategies including organising an anti-Mujuru demonstration. War veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda yesterday professed ignorance over reports that the former liberation war fighters were plotting an anti-Mujuru demonstration, but said it was “unthinkable” that Mujuru could have made the alleged remarks. “I am hearing it for the first time. It could be a mistake by the newspaper. I might have to hear it from her personally. If she did say that, it is unthinkable to predict the death of a patriot. But if she did say that, it shows that she falls below the position which we expect her to be in,” Sibanda said. “How can we wish him (Mugabe) dead when we should be wishing him well so that he completes his term of office and fulfil the new mandate he has been given by the people?”

Tenday Biti says farewell to Finance ministry by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via A sad goodbye to Finance ministry – DailyNews Live by Tendai Biti Wananchi, I said my farewells to the staff at the ministry of Finance. Zimbabwe’s greatest asset is its people, when they work together as a team for the national good. In that regard, they do not come any better than the men and women in Block B, New Government Complex. For the last four-and-half years, it was a pleasure to work together with a team oblivious to anything but the good of the country. The higher ground norm of what was purely in the best interest of the nation. Indeed over those years, we faced humongous challenges, let alone an economy whose inflation stood at 500 billion percent, total collapse of industrial capacity utilisation, and revenue collections of a paltry $4 million in January 2009.We burnt the candle, each day and gradually we brought the beast of macroeconomic misalignment to a turn around. We fought so many battles and navigated so many rapids and waterfalls, so many that a single book might not do justice to an extraordinary story of economic engineering under such stress and fragility. What was key, and perhaps what I learnt is the obligation of working as a team. A team is bound by respect, trust and a common work ethic. Each department knew what it had to do. Each knew the extremely high standards to be maintained. Each knew that any delay or lackadaisicalness would affect the whole. Above all, one learnt to listen. Each human being, each team member has something to offer. The ability to listen, digest and analyse was always key. Each also accepted the importance of playing in one’s position. A well-oiled cog. But in all this, the buck would always stop with the team leader. The team leader had to lead, had to suffer all pain and abuse, had to be strong and strong headed, had to inspire, had to be confident and had to have the vision that would lead all. And in these years I learnt one unsavoury word that I was not normally accustomed to. The word “No”. A necessary and essential word in that world where we faced the trilemma of huge demand, high expectations and no fiscal leg room. So I said zikomo, to a place that had been a home and to a team that had been family. Zikomo. Going foward, the debt question is one that will continue haunting this country for a long, long time. The country’s unvalidated sovereign debt of $10,7 billion is one of the structural binds of the economy. This debt is 103 percent of GDP of which over 70 percent is accumulated arrears. Zimbabwe defaulted on its international debt obligations way back in 1999. Since then it has not been able to access cheap credit from IFIs and international capital markets. A horrible political status quo over the years has also exacerbated the isolation from international capital markets. In the face of political and default challenges, Zimbabwe in the last years has not been able to access capital in the form of direct overseas development assistance, foreign direct investment or cheap international credit. Its fiscal diamond has thus been skewered and abnormal. However, to execute a sustained programme of reconstruction, Zimbabwe has to have access to grant or concessional capital, particularly from the IFIs that is the World Bank, the African Development Bank and other international financial institutions The kind of resources needed for gross capital formation which has never happened in this country for pretty much over forty years is huge. Think of what needs to be done in respect of electricity, water and sanitation, the roads and dams. A few years ago, the African Development Bank put the cost of Zimbabwe’s infrastructural needs at $14 billion in the outlook period to 2020. Thus, politics and noise aside, Zimbabwe genuinely needs the huge capital stored in these IFIs. It follows that the debt question is not about debt but a development question, about the enclave question and how we move beyond the same. It is precisely because of this that we developed the Zimbabwe Accelerated Arrears, Debt and Development Strategy which in May this year resulted in the agreement between Zimbabwe and the IMF for a Staff Monitored Programme (SMP). The agreement of May was arrived after years of internal and external manoeuvring and persuasion. In short, after a lot of hard, hard work. It is an agreement that is so critical to this country that its integrity and execution should be preserved and honoured. They might not know it but this will be a major, major test. Wananchi, the momentum is gathering pace to frenetic levels of sanitising the grand theft of July 31. We will watch the charades from sidelines knowing full well that these are desperate antics from desperate people who cheated desperately. However, self evidently, there are desperate attempts to create fear and to emasculate the Wananchi. They are threats to arrest everyone including our president. For what? Little people who major in minors are on the loose. The arch angels of chaos. We are watching them. History is watching them. They made their move and we make ours, for one thing and one thing alone, the restoration of legitimacy to the motherland. The cracks are there, huge, huge cracks. Watch them deepen. Just watch. Zikomo.

Econet Wireless Zimbabwe launches 4G network by Shelley – 08-22-2013
via VictoriaFalls24 – Econet Wireless Zimbabwe launches 4G network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe has marked the joint hosting by Zimbabwe and Zambia of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) general assembly by launching one of Africa’s first Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. The LTE will be launched in the resort town of Victoria Falls, where the assembly will be held from August 24 to 29. The new technology, which is still not available in most European and Asian countries, is also known as “4G” and allows the fastest mobile Internet speeds possible on a cell phone. Commenting on the launch of the service, Econet Wireless CEO Mr Douglas Mboweni said the hosting of the tourism event was an opportunity to show the world that Zimbabwe “is not dead and buried; we are very much alive, and we have kept pace with developments in the world.” Mr Mboweni said that his group of companies, which includes sister companies Liquid Telecom and ZOL, have invested heavily in ensuring that telecommunications services in Victoria Falls are world class. Meanwhile, Mr Mboweni has said that work is already in progress to launch 4G in the major cities, including Harare. “The business community in Zimbabwe uses our network almost exclusively, and we have a duty to ensure that they have the most advanced services available,” said Mr Mboweni. EconetEconet Wireless was one of the first operators in Africa to launch 3G well before countries like India and Nigeria. As a result, Zimbabwe was recently declared by the GSMA to be the country with the highest percentage of Internet access by cell phone in the world, at just over 58% of all Internet users in the country.

African media under spotlight as UNWTO opens by Shelley – 08-22-2013
via The Financial Gazette – African media under spotlight as UNWTO opens Shame Makoshori THE media has once again come under the spotlight, a day before the opening of the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly, which roars into life in Victoria Falls and Livingstone in less than 24 hours. The general assembly opens at a time when international tourism registered growth of four percent in 2012, reaching a massive one billion. Growth in emerging economies, incl-uding Zambia and Zimbabwe, has inc-reased by 4,1 percent in spite of the handicaps developing economies face in attracting international visitors. Growth is, however, projected to continue beyond this year riding on better publicity by the powerful global media, which will improve destination awareness. Governments are now asking about the role of the African media in promoting tourism. In Lusaka and Harare, the belief is that the African media can be the catalyst for the industry’s growth. The feeling in both governments is also that the growth registered on the continent in 2012 in terms of tourist arrivals could have been much higher had Africa not been confronted by the extreme negative publicity. Walter Mzembi, Zimbabwe’s Tourism and Hospitality Industry Minister, said it was high time the bolt of bad publicity is tackled by nurturing a vibrant African media, which tells the African story. “We have to deal with the image aspect,” Mzembi told The Financial Gazette in Victoria Falls on Saturday. “For example, we can have our own African CNN. We must fight images with images in the same manner that CNN has done.” CNN, along with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), The Economist (popular for its ‘Africa hopeless continent headlines’), and other influential media focu-ssed their African reports on famine, diseases, conflicts, civil wars, infrastructure decay, bad governance, corruption and kleptocracy. The global media’s reportage on Africa is therefore being viewed by Lusaka and Harare as destructive, obstructing foreign direct investment, whipping up emotions in volatile regions, with their agenda setting strategies said to be fuelling widespread protests against sitting governments. Both governments also accuse the global media of ignoring Africa’s achievement in technology, democracy and peace. Mzembi said there was need for investment in stronger African media to take the global giants head on in an effort to build a formidable tourism industry. Zambia’s Tourism Minister, Sylvia Masebo, has called for increased efforts to save the tourism industry through greater information dissemination. “There cannot be tourism without information,” she told reporters in Livingstone. “We need the media to market and promote our destinations. I am grateful with the work done by Livingstone journalists (in) promoting UNWTO,” said Masebo. In the past, African governments have tried to invest in stronger African media that would rival the global giants in their efforts to project a better image for the continent. The birth of African news agencies such as New Ziana in Zimbabwe and Namibian Press Agency was partly in response to the global media’s growing influence. But just like all government funded enterprises across Africa, news agencies have been operating with shoestring budgets hence they have not been effective in discharging their roles. Ironically, Western news agencies have been blossoming. But looking at Zambia and Zimbabwe, Lusaka has done much better in strategically positioning its media. The Zambian government has been cultivating a robust private media, including community and private radio and television stations. Zimbabwe’s northern neighbour has over 60 broadcasters, which has all focussed on the UNWTO. Zambia has received far greater publicity on the UNWTO than Zimbabwe, and their government has been singing praises for journalism. And yet Zimbabwe has been throwing spanners into the industry. Draconian laws and policies have discouraged free speech, a critical ingredient to development. In an environment where free speech and independent journalism have effectively been criminalised by the State, one hopes that the incoming administration would realise that a vibrant media is important not only for democracy and good governance, but for developing tourism and attracting investment.

What next for the West? by Shelley – 08-22-2013
via The Financial Gazette – What next for the West? Ray Ndlovu AFTER its decade-long involvement in Zimbabwe’s protracted political crisis, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) gave the thumbs up to President Robert Mugabe’s victory in the July 31 elections at its Lilongwe, Malawi summit held over the weekend. The development has left the West in a fix over how to proceed in its dealings with a new government that will be led by President Mugabe. In the past, the West has imposed sanctions on the ruling elite in ZANU-PF as punishment for what they called human rights excesses. But ZANU-PF has been like the proverbial cat with nine lives after the sanctions failed to break its back. The formation of the government of national unity (GNU) in February 2009 with arch-rival, outgoing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, became the launch pad for ZANU-PF’s rival. The coalition afforded the party some breathing space, enabling it to reconnect with the grassroots. The usually frosty relations with the West also thawed under the GNU. The rivalry ensued once more after the European Union (EU), the United States and Australia refused to validate ZANU-PF’s July 31 poll victory as free and fair. The EU, US and Australia have echoed the MDC-T’s concerns that the poll outcome was manipulated hence it was not an expression of the people’s will. It is, however, the endorsement of the poll by SADC that is certain to trouble the EU and other western countries, which were unable to observe the elections and had to rely on the regional and continental blocs to make their own conclusions. President Mugabe also received yet another boost after being appointed the deputy chair of SADC, which is now led by Joyce Banda, the President of Malawi. While the SADC election observer mission declared the election “free and peaceful,” the West quickly condemned the poll results, breaking ranks with its earlier commitment to be guided by SADC’s assessment of the election. Australia went as far as to call for a fresh election to be held as the will of the people had been suppressed. Leaders from the US and the United Kingdom also expressed “grave concerns” over the fairness of the vote. Interestingly, Tsvangirai has complicated matters for his backers by withdrawing his court challenge of President Mugabe’s landslide victory. The West’s condemnation of the Zimbabwe election has not bothered SADC which proceeded to pass its seal of approval on President Mugabe’s victory at its summit held in Lilongwe, Malawi where the regional bloc stated its case against the West. Only Botswana has stuck its thumb out for Tsvangirai, at odds with the position adopted by the rest of the SADC. Banda, the incoming SADC chairwoman and Malawi President, fired a salvo at the West for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe and urged for them to be lifted. “SADC calls upon the international community to review their position on sanctions following progress being made in Zimbabwe. I believe Zimbabwe deserves better, Zimbabweans have suffered enough,” Banda said. “The SADC also commends Zimbabwe for the peaceful manner in which elections were conducted and congratulates President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party for their overwhelming win in the July 31 vote.” In response, the EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said economic sanctions against President Mugabe and ZANU-PF leaders imposed in 2001 to protest a decade of human and democratic rights abuses cannot be lifted unless the vote is deemed “credible, free and fair”. Analysts said the EU might take time to normalise relations with Harare as it fears that the lifting of the sanctions would be an embarrassing climb-down for the bloc. Rashweat Mukundu, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Democracy Institute, said the West was likely to play hard-ball in order to see the direction of ZANU-PF policies. “Engagement will likely precede any lifting of sanctions, I do not see the West taking a cue from SADC but rather from what ZANU-PF does going forward. However, the West’s position is now weakened by SADC’s endorsement as President Mugabe now has Africa firmly on his side,” said Mukundu. “The West now has the burden of setting and agreeing on new benchmarks with President Mugabe for the lifting of sanctions and as of now we can only guess what these will be.” Charles Mangongera, a political commentator, said the West would hold its own, despite the endorsement of President Mugabe by the SADC. “I do not see the West relenting on its isolation of President Mugabe and ZANU-PF. I think the question of President Mugabe’s legitimacy will be back on the West’s agenda and we are back to the same situation we had prior to the formation of the GNU in 2009,” he said. Political analyst, Tanonoka Joseph Whande, based in Botswana, said SADC was created for the benefit of regional leaders, with no concern for its citizens. “The SADC exists for the leaders, not for the citizens…Disband SADC and kill the African Union for no other reason than that they are not representative of people’s intentions; they are, instead, retarding Africa’s progress,” said Whande.

Mugabe blasts West, commends rivals by Shelley – 08-22-2013
via New Zimbabwe – Mugabe blasts West, commends rivals by Nkosana Dlamini VETERAN leader Robert Mugabe was on Thursday sworn-in as president for the next five years in a ceremony attended by a handful of African leaders but boycotted by his erstwhile colleagues from the outgoing unity government. The ceremony was held at the giant National Sports Stadium before a crowded gallery, which greeted the veteran leader with wild cheers when he entered the giant sports facility accompanied by his wife, Grace. Mugabe was taken through his swearing-in rituals – his seventh such experience since becoming Zimbabwe’s founding leader in 1980 – by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku in a ceremony that was broadcast live on national television. In his inaugural speech that lasted more than an hour, Mugabe lashed out at Western governments that have refused to accept the outcome of the July 31st poll, which saw him garner 61 percent of the presidential vote. “SADC, Comesa, the African Union, the ACP, the United Nations as well as many nations of good will have praised the elections here,” Mugabe said. “We welcome this positive spirit, this encouragement which should see us do even better, move forward faster as a nation. But like in all elections, there will always be bad losers, real spoilers, it is a price we pay for electoral democracy, isn’t it? “Indeed an inevitable phase in our growth as a people where the democratic practice, where such a grousing stance remains non antagonistic, where it expresses itself within the four corners of the law. It must be tolerated as part of the Democratic tussles, part of electoral adjustments. “For those old western countries who happen to hold a different negative view of our electoral process and outcome, well there is not much we can do about them. We dismiss them as the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mould. “They are entitled to their views for as long as they recognise that the majority of our people endorsed the electoral outcome. Indeed for as long as they recognise that no Zimbabwean law was offended against and for us that is all that matters. “After all Zimbabwean elections are meant for Zimbabwean voting citizens; after all Zimbabwean democracy is meant for the people of Zimbabwe who must within certain periods go to the polls to choose and install a government of their choice. “It is their sole perogative and no outsiders however superior or powerful they may imagine themselves to be, can override that right, let alone take it from them. It is our inherent right, we fought for it when it was lost we won it through our own blood, we keep it for us and posterity, we reserve it forever as an expression of our sovereignty as a free people. “Today we tell those dissenting nations that the days of colonialism and neo-colonialism have gone and gone forever. Today it is Britain and her dominions of Australia and Canada who dare tell us that our elections were not fair and credible. “Today it is America and her illegal elections with all that past of enslaving us, it is America that dares raise a censorious voice over our affairs and says our elections were not fair, were not credible, yes today it is these Anglo-Saxon who dare contradict Africa’s verdict over elections in Zimbabwe, an African country. But who are they we ask? Whoever gave them the gift of seeing better than all of us?” The US has ruled out lifting its sanctions while the UK said it wanted an independent audit to investigate “allegations of election irregularities”. The EU also “serious concerns” about the conduct of the elections and said it would take this into consideration when reviewing its sanctions against the country. But Mugabe insisted that said the flawless conduct of the July 31 elections left countries hostile to his government with no excuse for maintaining the sanctions which he blames for the country’s economic problems. “Yesterday the pretext for imposing those sanctions was to do with a deficit of democracy here. Today we ask those culprit nations what their excuse is. What is it now? Whose interests are those sanctions meant to serve?”

The veteran leader extended an olive branch to his former partners in the inclusive government.

“I owe nothing but praise and respect to my GPA era partners who are also my fellow countrymen. I am referring to former Prime Minister Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, former Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara and much later Professor Welshman Ncube,” Mugabe said, adding that their collaboration as an inclusive government helped produce the country’s first ever post-independence constitution. “We have worked together initially compelled by GPA protocol, we found each other and proceeded to produce the current constitution but it was the constitution to help us mould the way of life we have chosen for ourselves on this our land, our country together and for as long as our nation subsists, so will elections and the opportunities they offer also subsist. “Our own destiny bids us to work together never at cross purposes, we will be having competitions, having winners and losers but we are not competing, we shall never be competing to be Zimbabweans. No, that was a fight we fought and that was the gift that our country gave us, that we shall all we the citizens of this country be Zimbabweans.” African leaders present were President Joseph Kabila of DRC, Jakaya Kikwete of Tanzania, Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, and Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini. Zambian leader Michael Sata was represented by his deputy Guy Scott while former South African leader and now Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe stood in for President Jacob Zuma. Former Presidents Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa both from Tanzania, Dr Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, Thabo Mbeki of South Africa , Sam Nujoma (Namibia), Sir Quett Ketumile Masire and Festus Mogae both from Botswana also attended the inauguration.

But, and as expected, the two MDC formations boycotted the ceremony, which was however attended by Mutambara.

MDCs boycott Mugabe inauguration by Shelley – 08-22-2013
via Zimbabwe Independent – MDCs boycott Mugabe inauguration THE MDC formations boycotted President Robert Mugabe’s swearing in ceremony at the National Sports Stadium today in protest against what they described as celebrating a “stolen election”. Herbert Moyo/Hazel Ndebele Only Zanu PF supporters and party heavyweights attended the inauguration. The MDC-T went to the Constitutional Court although it later withdrew the case challenging the election results citing allegations of rigging. Mugabe was declared the Presidential winner by the Concourt on Tuesday to pave way for his swearing in ceremony today. Thousands of people attended the ceremony, which was graced by several heads of African states and former presidents. Among those who attended were former presidents South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, Namibia’s Sam Nujoma, Tanzania’s Benjamin Mkapa, Botswana’s Festus Mogae and Ketumile Masire. Also in attendance were DRC president Joseph Kabila, South Africa’s deputy President Kgalema Montlante, Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, Tanzania leader Jikaya Kikwete. Mugabe made a grand entrance amid wild celebrations from his supporters, most of whom were bussed from provinces across the country. EU ambassador Aldo del Arricia and other western envoys attended but were seated on the stands unlike their African counterparts who were given rapturous welcome upon their arrival. The “them and us” suggested by this sitting arrangement apparently mirrored the strained relations between Mugabe and western countries. Mugabe appeared to stalk the flames of confrontation by his prepared speech with references to detractors and “people of ill-will” before hailing Sadc and the AU for coming with references to “African solutions to African problems”.

Mugabe Succession Heats up as Zanu PF Leader is Sworn in by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via Mugabe Succession Heats up as Zanu PF Leader is Sworn in  by Blessing  Zulu President Robert Mugabe may have been sworn-in Thursday but his advanced age and frequent trips to seek medical attention in the far East are said to be fueling succession fights in his party. Under the new constitution, if the president dies, resigns or is removed from office or becomes incapacitated, the first vice president assumes office until the expiry of the former president’s term of office. But senior Zanu PF officials say this has not stopped the succession dispute pitting Vice President Joyce Mujuru and Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa. The two have consistently denied that they have ambitions to succeed Mr. Mugabe but Mrs. Mujuru gave an interview last week to the Independent daily news in which she said she was ready to take over the reigns from Mr. Mugabe. President Mugabe has castigated senior party officials he said were consulting traditional and spiritual healers to enhance their chances to succeed him saying there is no vacancy at State House. This has not helped to ease tensions in the party. The party is also expected to appoint a second vice president to succeed the late John Nkomo. Party chairman Simon Khaya Moyo leads the race though challengers are said to be in the wings. Political science PhD. candidate at Rhodes University Gideon Chitanga says it’s a great cause for concern that Mr. Mugabe will end his term aged 94.

Zimbabwe Poll Results Need Independent Verification by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via Britain: Zimbabwe Poll Results Need Independent Verification by Blessing  Zulu British Foreign Secretary William Hague says Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe’s re-election could not be deemed credible without an independent investigation into allegations of voting irregularities. Hague told Reuters news agency that “I strongly believe that an independent investigation of any allegations of election irregularities would be required for the election result to be deemed credible,” Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last week abandoned his court challenge of Mr. Mugabe’s victory alleging bias in the judiciary. Hague is quoted by Reuters as saying he was “extremely concerned” at the decision to abandon that challenge, saying he was disappointed that the Southern African Development Community had chosen to endorse the election result. Australia has called for a re-run of the polls warning the country will not lift sanctions against the African country unless free and fair polls are held. Washington has also condemned the elections saying they were flawed. A meeting of European Union foreign ministers Wednesday agreed that sanctions against Zimbabwe would remain suspended for another six months despite an appeal by SADC leaders for the measures to me removed immediately. In his inaugural speech Thursday that lasted more than an hour, Mr. Mugabe lashed out at western governments that have refused to accept the outcome of the July 31 poll, dismissing them as “the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mould”. International relations expert, Clifford Mashiri, a former Zimbabwe diplomat in Ethiopia, said Britain’s move is positive.

Mugabe in anti-West, anti-gay rant at inauguration by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via Mugabe in anti-West, anti-gay rant at inauguration | SW Radio Africa By Nomalanga Moyo ZANU PF leader mugabe was on Thursday sworn in as president for the next five years, in an over-the-top ceremony held at the National Sports Stadium.Mugabe took his oath of office before ZANU PF loyalist Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku. The main opposition party, the MDC-T, boycotted what it termed “a robber’s party” after Mugabe rigged his way to victory SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa said after dispensing with the rituals of assuming office, Mugabe went on to address his favourite topic – attacking the west for what he called their dishonesty and refusal to accept the outcome of the July 31st poll. “SADC, COMESA, the African Union, the ACP, the United Nations as well as many nations of good will have praised the elections here,” Mugabe said. “We welcome this positive spirit, this encouragement which should see us do even better, move forward faster as a nation. But like in all elections, there will always be bad losers, real spoilers, it is a price we pay for electoral democracy, isn’t it? “For those old western countries who happen to hold a different negative view of our electoral process and outcome, well there is not much we can do about them. We dismiss them as the vile ones whose moral turpitude we must mourn.” Mugabe further stated that Zim elections are meant for “Zimbabwean voting citizens”, and not the west. More than a million eligible Zimbabweans failed to vote in the recent polls, among many other irregularities. Civic groups and the MDC parties have dismissed the poll as having been rigged and therefore illegitimate. But African countries have said these are not enough to completely discredit Mugabe’s victory and endorsed the poll as free and credible, although they carefully avoided using the word ‘fair’. Mugabe also reserved part of his speech to attack Zimbabwe’s gay community, calling homosexuality a “filthy, filthy disease, punished in the bible.” During the election campaign season, Mugabe continuously uttered hate-filled statements against homosexuals, whom he said should be beheaded. The bash saw free fizzy drinks and food from fast food outlet Chicken Inn being distributed, with the crowd also receiving T-shirts emblazoned with Mugabe praise messages. There were also promises that the current water problems bedevilling most of the country’s major cities would end with the announcement of a new cabinet. Despite ZANU PF having been in power since 1980, with Mugabe at the helm, nothing has been done to address the perennial water shortages in Bulawayo, with basic infrastructure collapsing across the country. A banner at the stadium clearly spelt out the hard line stance that Mugabe is going to continue to take against the west. “It’s Africa versus Europe with Zimbabwe as the new battlefront”.

Most Heads of State stay away from Mugabe inauguration by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via Most Heads of State stay away from Mugabe inauguration | The Zimbabwean  by Farai Mabeza Only five out an expected 40 heads of state attended President Robert Mugabe’s inauguration today. Joseph Kabila was among the five that attended the inauguration Acting Governor of Harare metropolitan province Alfred Tome had earlier in the week announced that he expected at least 40 heads of state to attend the inauguration. Mugabe was sworn in for his seventh term of office at the National Sports Stadium in Harare today following a disputed election victory. Tanzanian President, Jakaya Kikwete, Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasago, Rajkeswur Purryag (Mauritania), Armando Guebuza (Mozambique) the Democratic Republic of Congo leader, Joseph Kabila are the ones that attended. Other nations such as South Africa were represented by senior officials. The inauguration day was declared a national holiday. MDC-T called the low attendance a “stay away” by African leaders. The party’s spokesman, Douglas Mwonzora, told The Zimbabwean in an interview that the inauguration resembled a “gathering of former heads of states”. “The heads of state were in short supply. We had been told over 40 would attend but the irony was that it seemed to have been a gathering of former heads of state because Mugabe belongs to that group,” Mwonzora said. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki and former Namibian President Sam Nujoma were in attendance.

Indigenisation clash ongoing by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via Indigenisation clash ongoing | The Zimbabwean by Farai Mabeza Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s clash on indigenisation is set to continue following remarks made by Gono in Bulawayo recently. He pointed out that Zimbabwe needed foreign direct investment to solve its liquidity problems. He told the business community that in order to attract FDI, the country must not be seen to be fighting owners of capital. According to indigenisation requirements, foreign-owned companies should cede 51 percent of their shareholding to local ownership. Gono has proposed an alternative model of indigenisation to the one championed by Kasukuwere. Kasukuwere wants an equity-based model while Gono prefers a mixture of the shareholding method and supply-side based approach. According to the central bank chief, the equity model does not lead to broad-based economic empowerment. He said it is better to force the foreign-owned companies to do most of their procurement with locally-owned enterprises. Economist, Eric Bloch, told The Zimbabwean that foreign direct investment was critical for the turnaround of the national economy. “It is absolutely critical. Without it we have no prospect of economic recovery. We don’t have the capital resources to develop the country,” he said. Bloch pointed out that the importance of FDI was not just in the flow of capital but in gaining technological knowhow. “FDI is the number one critical requirement to turning around the economy,” he said. Gono and Kasukuwere have also been at loggerheads over the indigenisation of foreign-owned banks. Kasukuwere accused Gono of being the country’s most corrupt person, saying he was taking bribes from foreign owned banks in exchange for protection. Gono said financial institutions were sensitive and should not be affected by the policy. Outgoing Finance Minister Tendai Biti agrees with Gono and feels the sector is already indigenised. Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce President, Hlanganiso Matangaidze, told The Zimbabwean that the business sector needed to focus on the right industries. “I am sure we can unlock the potential in Zimbabwe. Diamond cutting and polishing is a new industry but it is an industry that has potential for growth,” he said. President Robert Mugabe admitted that Kasukuwere has made mistakes in designing and implementing the indigenisation policy.

Few African leaders at Mugabe’s inauguration by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via Few African leaders at Mugabe’s inauguration | News24 Veteran leader Robert Mugabe was sworn in as Zimbabwe’s president for another five-year term on Thursday before a stadium packed with tens of thousands of jubilant supporters.Mugabe, 89, pledged “to observe, uphold and defend the constitution of Zimbabwe” in an oath administered by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, extending his 33-year rule. Supporters clad in clothes emblazoned with the image of the man who has lead their nation since independence in 1980 filled the 60 000-seater venue, a show of force after elections many say were rigged. Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai insists the 31 July vote was stolen and his party boycotted the inauguration. Tsvangirai’s spokesperson said the opposition leader “can’t attend a robber’s party”. Former colonial power Britain has called for an “independent investigation” into the conduct of the election, which Mugabe officially won by a landslide. Unlike previous low-key investitures, Thursday’s event – replete with banners, flags and chants – carried strong echoes of Mugabe’s inauguration as prime minister of a newly independent Zimbabwe in 1980. A no-show by many neighbouring leaders – including President Jacob Zuma of regional power-broker South Africa – did little to dampen enthusiasm. Tanzania’s Jakaya Kikwete, Namibia’s Hifikepunye Pohamba and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Joseph Kabila were among those leaders who did attend. Mugabe was greeted in the stadium by thunderous cheers and whistling when he arrived with his wife on board a military truck. Great day for Zimbabwe Gates to the Chinese-built stadium, the venue of Mugabe’s inauguration as president in 1987, opened shortly after dawn. The day was declared a public holiday, helping boost attendance. “Mr Mugabe, you are one of a kind,” sang a group of supporters slamming the sides of the minibus taking them to the stadium, while others waved fists as drivers honked their horns. “It is a great day for Zimbabwe and the world will come to a standstill today,” said Alfred Tome, the Harare provincial administrator and spokesperson for the organisers. A concert will include artists from South Africa, Zambia and Jamaica – whose iconic Bob Marley played at Zimbabwe’s independence event. Banners around the oval stadium carried messages praising African leaders and denouncing western governments accused of meddling in Zimbabwe’s political affairs. “Which African ever observed elections in Europe, America?” read one banner. “Africa has spoken, respect its voice,” said another. The inauguration had been delayed after Tsvangirai challenged the poll results in a petition to the Constitutional Court that was later dropped. The Constitutional Court confirmed Mugabe as president and declared the elections “free, fair and credible”, saying the results “reflected the free will of the people of Zimbabwe.”  ‘Farewell event for Mugabe’ Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist from the University of Zimbabwe, said the event was at once Mugabe’s victory lap and his “last supper”. “This inauguration is being projected as the crowning of a victory of a struggle for the past 13 years against big Western powers,” he said. There is however also an “unintended meaning”, he said. “It can be read as a farewell event for Mugabe. It reminds one of Jesus’s Last Supper.” The electoral commission declared Mugabe winner with 61% of the vote, against Tsvangirai’s 34. The vote ended a shaky power-sharing government formed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai four years ago to avoid a tip into all-out conflict following a bloody presidential run-off election. Local observers have judged the elections flawed and Western powers have raised serious doubts over the vote. But regional and continental groupings the Southern African Development Community and the African Union were less critical. Tsvangirai condemned the election as “a farce” and “a massive fraud” and petitioned the court to overturn the result. Among a series of complaints, he queried the suspiciously high number of voters who were turned away from polling stations in urban areas which are considered opposition strongholds. He also charged that his party’s supporters in rural areas were intimidated by Mugabe party backers into feigning illiteracy and voting in the presence of police and election officers. But in a surprise U-turn on Friday, Tsvangirai withdrew his petition, saying he would not get a fair hearing. But the Constitutional Court went ahead and handed down a ruling on the case anyway.

SADC summit shock by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via SADC summit shock | The Zimbabwean  by Farai Mabeza Analysts and politicians have condemned the Southern African Development Community’s decision to appoint Zimbabwe to the post of deputy chair before the country’s electoral dispute is settled. Malawian President Joyce Banda took over the Chair of the regional bloc at the recent Lilongwe summit and President Robert Mugabe will take over from her at the end of Malawi’s one year term. This means Harare will host the 2014 SADC Summit. As deputy chair, Zimbabwe will become part of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security. Political analyst Rejoice Ngwenya said SADC leaders had exposed themselves as incapable of dealing with the Zimbabwean crisis. “SADC is an institution that has overwhelming evidence questioning the legitimacy of the election of Mugabe. They never said the elections were credible, but only said that they were free and fair. They have shown that they are incapable of being the referee in this situation. “By appointing Mugabe to this post, it’s like appointing the village bully to be the class monitor. This will actually worsen the situation for Zimbabwe,” he said. Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesperson, Thabani Nyoni, said SADC had set a bad precedent by recognizing Mugabe who won in elections “that do not qualify to be labelled as credible”. “We are shocked that Zimbabwe, a country that was under the curatorship of SADC, has now been turned into a country providing leadership in SADC. There is an element of contradiction within SADC itself in that regard. What they have done is that they have set a bad precedent because that pattern will be followed in other countries that go for elections with Zimbabwe leading SADC. The body has failed to inspire confidence in Zimbabwe and the region as well,” said Nyoni. Kurauone Chihwayi, the deputy spokesman of the MDC led by Welshman Ncube said it a sad development . “SADC said the elections were free and peaceful and we agree with that. But they should have addressed the issue of credibility and fairness before taking this decision. The election did not give equal access and opportunities to all parties,” he said, adding that SADC had rubber stamped Mugabe’s fraudulent victory against the wishes of Zimbabweans who were “robbed during the elections”.

ZESA won’t survive: Mangoma by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via ZESA won’t survive: Mangoma | The Zimbabwean  by Farai Mabeza ZESA Holdings will collapse if Zanu (PF) cancels debts owed by its clients, according to the outgoing Energy and Power Development Minister Elton Mangoma. Mangoma told The Zimbabwean that the calls did not make business sense. Vice President Joice Mujuru recently announced that her party would scrap electricity bills that have accumulated since the hyper-inflationary era. “Unless ZESA gets paid for services rendered, it will collapse,” Mangoma said. He added that ZESA’s current tariff levels were not profitable. “Right now they are running a breakeven tariff regime. If these plans are carried out, the reliability of electricity supply will go away,” he said. While in office, Mangoma pushed for the introduction of prepaid meters, mainly to benefit the poor. “The accrued debts were factored into that system. If there are any disruptions to electricity supply, it is the poor in high density areas who will suffer. It costs more to buy firewood than electricity,” he said. Mangoma said the cancellation of debts was designed to benefit the rich and powerful. “We want to know who is going to benefit, the ordinary person in the high density areas or the big guys who want their debts written off,” he said. Over 280,000 prepaid meters were installed countrywide. According to Mangoma, ZESA is currently owed in excess of $600 million. Harare recently complied with Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo’s directive to write off outstanding debts of ratepayers for rentals, licenses, refuse charges, levies and rates from February 2009 to June 30, 2013. Masvingo scrapped close to $12 million owed by its residents. The city of Harare recently told residents to start paying their bills on time to allow effective service delivery. Outgoing Finance Minister Tendai Biti has said banks will be hit hard by the debt cancellation because of loans made out to local authorities.

Judge Bhunu under fire for call to arrest Tsvangirai’s lawyers by ZimSitRep – 08-22-2013
via Judge Bhunu under fire for call to arrest Tsvangirai’s lawyers | SW Radio Africa  by Tichaona Sibanda High court Judge Chinembiri Bhunu’s stinging rebuke of lawyers representing the outgoing Prime Minister, and a call for their arrest, is a dangerous decision. Exiled human rights lawyer, Gabriel Shumba, said it may also worsen human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Speaking to SW Radio Africa from Johannesburg, Shumba said Bhunu’s remarks are a troubling legal throwback. He added that the judge’s comments reinforce the often repeated statements that the judiciary is compromised and failing to protect constitutional and human rights. ‘Rather than assuaging the political tension, the courts have corroded the rule of law and worsened tensions. Rather than constraining militarisation and protecting minority rights, some judges have entrenched favoured allies and punished their foes,’ Shumba said. Tsvangirai’s lawyers face prosecution for contempt of court, following statements made by the outgoing Prime Minister in his Electoral Court application, questioning the integrity of the judiciary. The lawyers representing Tsvangirai are Lewis Uriri, Alec Muchadehama and Tarisai Mutangi. Bhunu said that the statements brought the court’s integrity into disrepute. The MDC-T last week filed a Constitutional Court application, seeking to nullify the election result, but later withdrew the petition citing the politicized bench. The MDC-T issued a statement Wednesday criticizing attempts to arrest the Premier’s lawyers, describing the move as unfortunate and seriously putting to question the credibility and impartiality of the judiciary system. The judiciary, said Shumba, should learn to tolerate ‘sharp criticism’ and be able to put up with it, correct mistakes if it has committed them and avoid them if it has not. ‘His comments and suggestions that Tsvangirai’s lawyers be arrested will be construed as pandering to wishes and whims of another party to the detriment of another. ‘The only reason they’re not mentioning Tsvangirai by name is the realization that SADC has not yet released it full report on the fairness of the poll. But through the judiciary, Mugabe is firing warning shots and testing waters by advocating for the arrests of the lawyers,’ Shumba added.

SADC dances the Mugabe victory jig by ZimSitRep – 08-21-2013
via http://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2013-08-21-sadc-dances-the-mugabe-victory-jig/ It’s been a good few weeks for SADC, at least as far as the region’s leaders are concerned. But nothing was a bigger cause for celebration for the assembled regional leaders at the summit in Lilongwe than Robert Mugabe’s convincing victory in Zimbabwe’s elections, which provide exactly the kind of stability the organisation craves. By SIMON ALLISON.

This weekend’s summit of the Southern African Development Community was, by all accounts, a joyous affair. For the region’s leaders gathered in Lilongwe, there was plenty to celebrate. In Madagascar, progress is tentative but encouraging. A special electoral court has made a couple of tough but necessary decisions, telling incumbent president (and 2009 coup leader) Andry Rajoelina that he can’t run for office again. Nor can Lalla Ravalomanana, wife of deposed president Marc Ravalomanana. Both had submitted their candidacies in blatant violation of the terms (in Rajoelina’s case) and the spirit (in Lalla’s case) of the SADC mediation deal which made the elections possible. The court’s decision echoed what SADC has been telling the two parties all along, and hopefully paves the way for a slightly less contentious presidential election on August 23 – there will, at the very least, be a new family in charge. There’s positive change too in the SADC secretariat, which appointed a new executive chair to replace the outgoing Tomaz Salamao. Tanzania’s Stergomena Tax takes the hot seat, the first woman to ever hold the position. With Malawi’s Joyce Banda taking over the SADC chairmanship, this means that the top two positions in the organisation are both held by women – for all its flaws, SADC is doing a fine job of promoting gender equality at the highest level. But the loudest cheers were reserved for SADC’s greatest success: the remarkably smooth and mercifully bloodless Zimbabwean election. As I have argued before, a convincing Robert Mugabe victory – by fair means or foul, the fewer questions asked the better – was the best-case-scenario for most southern African leaders, who have consistently favoured stability and maintaining the status quo over political reform. After more than three decades in power, Mugabe is about as status quo as it gets. In its final communique, SADC was unequivocal in its stance on Zimbabwe, expressing its satisfaction with the “free and peaceful” election; commending Zimbabwe’s government for keeping that peace; congratulating Mugabe and Zanu-PF on their victory; and calling for all sanctions on Zimbabwe to be lifted with immediate effect. All this despite the fact that SADC’s observer mission has yet to submit its final report. In fact, SADC were so enamoured with Mugabe at this summit – the same Mugabe who had so casually dismissed SADC at the last such gathering, saying it had no power and that Zimbabwe didn’t need it – that he was appointed as deputy chair, meaning that the major 2014 meeting will be held in Harare and Mugabe will be chairman next year. There was a whiff of the irregular about Mugabe’s appointment. According to Tomaz Salamao, Mugabe was chosen because he was next in country alphabetical order. This doesn’t ring true, suggesting that SADC might have been making some kind of solidarity statement by giving Mugabe the high-profile position. “The formula to explain the jump from M for Malawi to Z for Zimbabwe, scaling many other member states, was not immediately clear,” Business Day’s Nick Kotch observed drily. The biggest surprise of the weekend, however, came from Mugabe himself, who delivered a good-humoured apology to “that idiotic street woman” Lindiwe Zulu. In the run-up to the election, Zulu had dared to question Zimbabwe’s readiness for the polls, and Mugabe had lashed out at her with some very public insults. As a result, Zulu received a very public dressing down from President Jacob Zuma, which was perhaps exactly Mugabe’s intention – the Lindiwe Zulu incident showed the world exactly whose side Jacob Zuma was on. This is all now just water under the Beit Bridge. “I love you Ms Lindiwe, I love you, I don’t hate you,” said Mugabe, although Zulu was not actually in the room at the time. “It was a time when everyone was campaigning and one can do anything in order to win the elections,” he explained. (One can indeed, especially when SADC is on hand to rubber-stamp the results). Speaking to Stephen Grootes of the Midday Report (and Daily Maverick), Zulu outlined what happened. “At the SADC Summit in Malawi, one of the meetings where I wasn’t in attendance, I was informed that President Mugabe raised the issue and indicated that there were certain things that were said which shouldn’t have been said. But on the following day of the summit, my president [Zuma] also took me to President Robert Mugabe where, if I may say, we closed that chapter. I think that in as far as President Mugabe is concerned in this particular instance, honestly he acted like a statesman because there was no pressure whatsoever on him to do that. I was pleasantly surprised because it had been something that had not been sitting very well with me.” As a politician, this, perhaps, is Mugabe’s greatest gift (and the reason he’s still in power). Somehow, he can humiliate Lindiwe Zulu only to have her call him a statesman; he can threaten to withdraw from SADC only to be feted by his fellow leaders; he can collapse his country’s economy only to make the opposition look like the incompetent bad guys. After all these years, he’s still calling the tune – and we’re still dancing to it.DM

Marange: where is the diamond money? by ZimSitRep – 08-21-2013
via http://www.opendemocracy.net/andrew-mambondiyani/fields-of-marange-where-is-diamond-money? by  ANDREW MAMBONDIYANI

Local communities were supposed to reap the benefits of rich resources since Zimbabwe’s Marange diamond fields were opened up to formal mining in 2009. Four years on, impoverished locals are still waiting.
Even in winter, areas surrounding the Marange diamond fields in Zimbabwe can be very hot. Characterized by sparely populated acacia and Mopani trees, Marange and its environs used to carry the very aura of death. But the discovery of diamonds has changed the whole area, bringing it to the attention of the international community, mostly amid controversies and heated debates. Marange grabbed international headlines particularly after 2008’s Operation Hakudzokwi, which saw the government viciously evicting illegal diamond miners to make way for formal mining in the area. According to the international human rights watchdog, Human Rights Watch, more than 200 illegal miners were brutally killed. By early 2009 formal mining began with local communities gleefully anticipating the benefits from such rich diamond resources. But four years on, impoverished villagers are still watching as diamonds are shunted out with little or no benefit to the area. The much hyped Zimunya-Marange Community Ownership Scheme which was launched by President Robert Mugabe last year has not benefited the local communities either. Instead the communities have complained of the discharge of toxic waste into the rivers by the diamond companies. And the locals depend on the rivers for water, both for domestic use and for their livestock. Hundreds of livestock have died since the start of formal mining in the area with villagers alleging that the deaths have been a result of drinking polluted water. Even people who come into contact with the polluted water were developing skin ailments. Villagers,  with the assistance of a local environmental watchdog, Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association, have since taken the companies to the High Court of Zimbabwe with the view of stopping them from discharging toxic waste into the rivers.  The organization commissioned scientific research which confirmed that the water was highly polluted by toxic waste. But the case is yet to be heard at the High Court. Even villagers who were displaced to make way for formal diamond mining have not received adequate compensation from the diamond companies. And the outgoing Finance Minister Tendai Biti from the Movement of Democratic Change revealed that very little revenue from diamonds was going to government coffers. These developments in Marange have forced many people to ask: “Where is the diamond money?”  President Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, which has a strong grip on the diamond mining in Marange through the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development, has been accused of stashing diamond revenue to fund its election campaign prior to the recent general elections. The party refuted the allegations. But events preceding the general elections suggested otherwise, as the party embarked on a well oiled campaign which saw goodies dished out at political rallies and and the whole country flooded with campaign regalia. Even the party’s candidates were given top-of-the-range vehicles to use during the campaign. There are also allegations that President Mugabe and his party paid a shadowy Israeli company, Nikuv, more than US$10 million to help the party to rig the election. The losing party, the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, has since challenged the election results. It seems that the companies operating in Marange are not yet ready to share information on their operations with the outside world, as they tried to prevent a parliamentary portfolio committee from access to the mines. Company executives have even refused to appear before the committee. The committee’s report revealed that in 2010, on several occasions, the committee invited diamond companies to appear before it. In the face of resistance, the committee was forced to invoke Section Nine of the Privileges, Immunities and Powers of Parliament Act, empowering Parliament to issue summons, delivered by the police to a witness to appear before the committee. The first attempt to visit the mines by the committee was made in April 2010, where it was denied entry. “The first attempt was very unpleasant because the committee was constantly mobbed by security agents during the three day encampment in Mutare,” reads part of the hard-hitting report. The second attempt was in August 2010, where the committee was denied entry before it had even left the precincts of the Parliament building in the capital, Harare. On both occasions, the committee was denied entry on the grounds that it needed clearance from the police since the area was protected under the Protected Places and Areas Act. Permission to tour Marange was finally granted in April 2012. But soon after the release of a hard-hitting report by the committee in June this year, the chairman of the committee Edward Chindori Chininga died in a mysterious vehicle accident. “How long can we keep on suffering when we have such a rich resource in our backyard? It is time we benefit from the diamonds. We need better schools, clinics and roads. We need jobs,” a local villager, Jonas Mutsago, demanded. Other villagers, like Neria Runde, are more resigned: “These diamonds are a curse. The earlier these companies exhaust mining the diamonds, the better for us”. She added dejectedly: “We have not benefited from the diamonds. Instead we are suffering; our rivers have been polluted and we no longer move around freely for fear of being labeled illegal miners”. The Zanu PF party’s strategy seems to be more interested in shifting the blame onto individual greed. Didymus Mutasa, a senior official for President Mugabe, spoke to journalists recently in the city of Mutare: “President Mugabe is aware of the problems in Marange. He is not happy as the diamonds are not benefiting the people in the province.” All rhetoric aside, the situation remains far from resolution. For now the question remains: “Where is the diamond money?”

EU Concerned by Allegations of Election Irregularities in Zimbabwe by ZimSitRep – 08-21-2013
via EU Ashton: Concerned by Allegations of Election Irregularities in Zimbabwe – WSJ.com. The European Union said Wednesday it was concerned by allegations of irregularities in Zimbabwe’s recent election in a sign the bloc may not suspend remaining sanctions on the country. In a statement issued by EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton on behalf of EU member states, she said the EU “takes note” of the announced election results. “The EU is worried by the allegations of irregularities and information indicating voter registration may have been incomplete as well as by the…lack of transparency,” the statement said. The EU “will continue to follow how the situation evolves and will work closely with its international partners in the coming weeks.” Official results of the July 31 election gave longtime President Robert Mugabe 61% of the ballot, against his main rival Morgan Tsvangirai’s 34%. Mr. Tsvangirai has contested the results alleging large-scale fraud. The EU has scaled back much of its decade-old sanctions on Zimbabwe but had maintained travel bans and other measures on Mr. Mugabe and his top officials pending the elections. Write to Laurence Norman at laurence.norman@wsj.com

Five players restored to Zim squad by ZimSitRep – 08-21-2013
via Five players restored to Zim squad | Pakistan Today | Latest news | Breaking news | Pakistan News | World news | Business | Sport and Multimedia Opener Tino Mawoyo has recovered from injury and joined experienced bowlers Graeme Cremer and Shingi Masakadza in being recalled on Wednesday to Zimbabwe’s 20-man squad for the upcoming series against Pakistan. Wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva and allrounder Tinashe Panyangare are also back in the squad after missing out on the 5-0 one-day international series loss to India, which ended at the start of the month. Zimbabwe will host Pakistan in two tests, three ODIs and two Twenty20 internationals. The series starts on Friday with the first T20 encounter in Harare. It will be the fourth series of the year for Zimbabwe, heralding an increase in the frequency of international competition, but comes on the heels of the threat of a strike by players wanting better contract terms and the settlement of unpaid wages. Zimbabwe have also been rocked by the decision at the weekend of key fast bowler Kyle Jarvis to quit the team to take up a three-year contract with Lancashire. SQUAD: Brendan Taylor (captain), Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Michael Chinouya, Graeme Cremer, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Shingi Masakadza, Tino Mawoyo, Natsai M’shangwe, Tinotenda Mutombodzi, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.

Financial Squeeze Hampers Zim UNWTO Projects by ZimSitRep – 08-21-2013
via RadioVop Zimbabwe – Financial Squeeze Hamper Zim UNWTO Projects By Nyembezi Khumalo The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) general assembly kicks off this week but infrastructure development projects have not been completely refurbished or constructed due to financial constraints. A planned street carnival scheduled to be held on the eve of the UNWTO event that begins on Saturday has also been scrapped due to lack of financial resources to pay local, regional and international artists to be invited to grace the event. “The carnival has been cancelled due to lack of funding,” Sugar Chagonda, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s spokesperson told Radio VOP over the weekend. The UNWTO tourism indaba runs from24-29 August and is co-hosted by Zimbabwe and Zambia. Radio VOP was part of a media crew that visited Victoria Falls on a tour of the resort town ahead of the opening of the indaba. The tour revealed that construction projects were behind schedule, with only less than a week to the UNWTO event. The extension and upgrades to the Victoria Falls Hospital and construction of a new airport look likely not to be completed in time for the event. The government has resorted to widening the existing terminal owing to realisation that a new airport will not be constructed in time due to financial challenges. A 24 kilometre stretch of road from the Victoria Falls Airport into the resort town has been widened but not fully resurfaced to ensure the smooth flow of road traffic while most street lights are not functional. On Saturday, construction workers were still busy trying to put final touches to the pre-fabricated semi-permanent structure to house the proceedings of the UNWTO general assembly. A new water pipeline, electricity substation and improvements to fibre optic links and bandwidth availability is however complete with residents of the resort town bidding farewell to water shortages and power cuts. “We used to be subjected to daily power cuts and water rationing but it’s now a thing of the past. We hope that this will continue well after the general assembly,” Patson Moyo, a resident of Chinotimba high density suburb told Radio VOP. Outgoing Tourism Minister, Walter Mzembi on Saturday expressed confidence that all infrastructure development projects and the road resurfacing will be complete before the UNWTO event starts. “We are happy with the preparations and I am confident that we will successfully co-host the event with Zambia,” Mzembi told a team of journalists during a tour of UNWTO general assembly projects. Mzembi said Zimbabwe had spent close to US$12 million towards the event to match international standards.  Government had only allocated US$6.5 million towards the event, leading to his ministry’s sending a request to the corporate world to chip in with financial assistance. Accreditation of delegates from over 65 countries is complete, Mzembi said, adding that all is set for the event that is earmarked to market Zimbabwe and result in the country becoming a tourist destination of choice.

Delegates jet in for inauguration by ZimSitRep – 08-21-2013
via Latest :Foreign delegates jet in for inauguration | The Herald. Former Mozambican president, Mr Joachim Chissano has arrived for the President`s inauguration to be held tomorrow Foreign delegates to attend the inauguration of President Mugabe at the National Sports Stadium tomorrow have started arriving in the country. Tanzania’s President Jakaya Kikwete is now in the country while President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea has also arrived to be part of the historic event. Former Tanzanian presidents Mr Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Mr Benjamin Mkapa and that country’s Foreign Affairs Minister Bernard Membe arrived in the country early in the morning and were followed by Swaziland Prime Minister Mr Barnabas Sibusiso Dhlamini and South Sudanese Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Barbana Benjamin. Swaziland Prime Minister Barnabas Sibusiso Dlamini upon arrival at the Rainbow Towers Hotel today. Former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano and Chinese special envoy Mr Li Liguo arrived yesterday. They were met at the Harare International Airport by senior Government officials.