The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Disgraceful responses from Paradzai Zimondi and Patrick Chinamasa

Paradzai ZimondiI’m not sure Paradzai Zimondi and Patrick Chinamasa fully get the message or understand how appalled the world is at their failure to do their jobs. Far from being worried, and trying to rectify their crimes - because let’s face it, we’ve seen grotesque violations of human rights - both are being pugnacious and unapologetic. The Zimbabwean claims that prison wardens at Beitbridge prison are in trouble with Paradzai Zimondi because cameras came into the prisons under their watch:

Beitbridge prison wardens are in trouble for smuggling in investigative reporters from SABC’s Special Assignment programme into the prison to carry out investigative work. The Zimbabwean has learnt.

The SABC crew recently produced a documentary exposing the rot in Zimbabwean prisons. In their research they managed to work with high ranking prison officials that they managed to bribe.

“We are in trouble because the Zimbabwe Prisons Commissioner believes that we had a hand in the expose. His argument is that we compromised state security. I personally feel we were right because without doing so the world would not have known what really happens in Mugabe’s jails. There is an internal investigation underway,” said a prison guard. [...]

The Zimbabwe Prisons Commissioner Paradzai Zimondi does not deny that prison life is unbearable in Zimbabwe but argues that proper channels have to be used to get information.

“It is not a secret that the situation is bad in prison but people should respect and use proper channels for accessing information. If anyone is found to have helped those journalists they will get arrested in the same prison,” said Zimondi.

Patrick Chinamasa

Chinamasa’s response is baffling. A few days before the documentary was aired he admitted things were dire in the prisons. I thought he was moving into ‘how do I get myself out of this pickle’ mode, knowing an expose was coming:

Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa has admitted to the dire conditions being experienced by the country’s 14,000 prisoners.

“Economic hardships are hitting hardest inside prisons,” Chinamasa, a member of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party, recently told parliament.

“There are no uniforms; food requirements are not being met. We are required to meet a statutory diet but it is not being complied with; rations for prisoners are not being supplied due to inadequate funding. We have recorded malnutrition cases.”

Starving in prison - still from documentaryToday reports seem to indicate Chinamasa dodging accountability and lying through his teeth:

Zimbabwe’s Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa has dismissed as “false” an SABC TV3 Special Assignment documentary which aired horrifying footage exposing how prisons in the country have become death camps for thousands of inmates who are deprived of food and medical care. [...]

In an interview with RadioVOP on Wednesday, Chinamasa said the documentary, which shocked most Zimbabweans due to its horrifying pictures of gravely ill inmates, accused the SABC team of fabricating the story.

“What was shown by the SABC3 is not true,” said Chinamasa. “The SABC is lying. We do not allow cameras into our prisons. We have made investigations and found out that the footage is not from Zimbabwean but other countries,” he said.

“The pictures shown are not from Zimbabwe prisons but elsewhere in Africa and these are being attributed to us. We know our prisons are facing challenges but that documentary was false. Also it is unethical for the SABC to show such pictures of foreign prisoners and attribute them to Zimbabwe. I want to re-state that no-one is allowed inside our prisons with cameras,” he said. (Via RadioVop)

This sort of attitude, from two men who have allowed these atrocities to go on under their watch, is only going to fan the flame of public anger and worldwide outrage to greater heights. They should be on their knees begging for forgiveness from the families of the hundreds who have died miserable deaths. It’s disgusting. Disgraceful.

I wonder if they will try ban SABC along with the BBC and other international media outlets in line with their ‘tell the story our way or damn you to hell’ media policy? Incidentally, despite the new transitional government,  the repressive media environment still hasn’t been satisfactorily addressed - thank god for undercover footage that gets the truth out! What are the ‘proper channels’ for accessing information that Zimondi refers to? Hearing it via the state controlled media?  Listening to and reporting lies?

This entry was posted by Hope on Thursday, April 2nd, 2009 at 6:05 pm

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ZANU PF farm invader arrested

By Alex Bell
02 April 2009

A staunch ZANU PF stalwart who instigated, and in most cases led, violent
farm attacks against sugarcane farmers in the Lowveld for almost a decade,
has been arrested and is set to face serious jail time.

Admore Hwarare, the chairman of the Commercial Sugar Farmers Association of
Zimbabwe (CFSA), along with two top officials within the association, were
all arrested this week for embezzling hundreds of thousands of US dollars
from other CFSA members. Hwarare has faced similar charges before but he was
able to dodge them and possible jail time because of his ZANU PF links.

Hwarare, who is also linked to the ZANU PF-loyal, Zimbabwe Federation of
Trade Unions (ZFTU) who have also been involved in recent farm attacks, has
over the years stolen several farms in the name of Robert Mugabe's land
grab. He has never been shy in using violence to hasten his land invasions,
and once even threatened to kill a young woman on one of the farms he stole.
Hwarare was also in the forefront of violence against MDC supporters in the
Lowveld, during the run up to last year's presidential election run-off -
several hundred opposition supporters were murdered in the violent campaign.

The CFSA chairman and his two colleagues were reportedly responsible for
collecting sugar from the mills in the Lowveld for distribution to CFSA
members. However, they apparently sold roughly 100 tons of sugar on the
black market and pocketed the money. One of the members who lost his sugar
and therefore money to the arrested trio, is Deputy Police Commissioner
Edmore Veterai - the man believed to be responsible for their arrest.

Veterai himself is a notorious land-stealer and for months has been living
on the property of Digby and Jane Nesbitt's sugar and crocodile farm. The
Nesbitts recently fled their land under renewed pressure from Veterai. The
Deputy Police Commissioner meanwhile has reportedly been embroiled in a long
running fight with Hwarare over the chairmanship of the CFSA, and it is
likely Hwarare's arrest is a result of such infighting. There are also
suggestions that Veterai himself is trying to ease the pressure of being a
known violent land invader off himself, by instigating Hwarare's arrest.

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Zimbabwe Farm Invasion Video

One of the latest farm invasions by Clever Kunonga, Land officer for Chegutu region. This happened on Friday 27th March 2009.

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SADC sets up task force to oversee Zimbabwe economic recovery

By Tichaona Sibanda
2 April 2009

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has set up a
four-member task force, led by South Africa, to oversee Zimbabwe's economic

The task force was set up following SADC's extraordinary summit in Swaziland
on Monday that looked at Zimbabwe's request for an US$8 billion bailout, to
kick start the economic recovery process.

SADC ministers of finance from South Africa, Zambia, Democratic Republic of
Congo (DRC) and Botswana will be on this task force.

This grouping also plans to urge western countries to end 'sanctions' on
Zimbabwe and all SADC diplomatic missions were given a mandate to embark on
a diplomatic offensive, to have the sanctions removed.

But once again SADC appears to be following their pro-Mugabe line. Robert
Mugabe's main focus has been on ending the targeted sanctions that stop him
traveling to a number of countries and prevent his wife from having even
more extravagant shopping trips. He also wants to see billions of dollars of
western money flow into Zimbabwe, to repair the damage he has done and
restore his credibility in the electorate.

Daniel Molokele, a leading pro-democracy activist, told us the SADC task
force's efforts will be misdirected if they focus their attention on the
western nations.

'If they want sanctions lifted, the task force efforts should be on the
Joint Monitoring Implementation Committee (JOMIC) and other structures of
the Global Political Agreement (GPA),' Molokele said.

 Targeted sanctions were slapped on a group of over 170 diehard Robert
Mugabe loyalists by the international, for their role in the breakdown in
the rule of law and countless violations of human rights.

'This is why we have these targeted sanctions in the first place. There is
no rule of law; there are no property rights and we still have a media that
operates under strict rules. So the issue is not in Washington or in London
but in Harare,' Molokele said.

'Has the inclusive government opened up the media, has the rule of law
returned, has the government even depoliticized public institutions. The
answer to all this is no. So how do you expect the western world to consider
lifting the targeted sanctions when Zimbabweans themselves are living under
sanctions imposed by their own government,' the pro-democracy activist

Molokele explained that conditions set out in the GPA concerning reforms
have yet to be tackled by the inclusive government.

'How can it be possible to approach the international community when
conditions set out in the GPA have yet to be implemented? These were agreed
to by the three parties and not the donors. The donors are simply
saying-implement what you set out in the GPA and we will help you, that's
all they're saying,' Molokele said.

The United States and the United Kingdom, two of the country's biggest
donors want the inclusive government to submit a credible economic recovery
programme. They also want the government to implement genuine and
comprehensive political and economic reforms before they can provide support
as well as lift the targeted sanctions.

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Missing journalist Kudzai Musengi released after abduction

By Lance Guma
02 April 2009

A Gweru-based freelance journalist who was abducted on Tuesday by suspected
members of the Central Intelligence Organisation, was eventually released
Wednesday evening. The Media Institute for Southern Africa-Zimbabwe chapter,
reports that three unknown men bundled Kudzai Musengi into a car and
blindfolded him, before speeding off to a bushy area where they subjected
him to intense interrogation. His captors accused him of covering stories on
the ongoing farm invasions on behalf of Voice of America's Studio 7. Musengi
denied having any links with the station.

Lawyer Tonderai Chitere narrated the ordeal suffered by his client. He said
on Tuesday around 8.45pm a man at a local bar asked Musengi to come outside
and meet 3 men in a metallic blue sedan who wanted to give him a story. It
was then that he was abducted and taken to an unknown location for
interrogation. The next day Wednesday he was still blindfolded and
interrogated by what sounded like a different team of operatives. Later in
the evening his laptop and cellphones that had been taken from him, were
returned and he was released.

Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme spoke to Musengi on Thursday and told us
that he seems to be in a state of shock and is too terrified to tell the
media anything. This would confirm reports that his abductors 'threatened
him with death and ordered (him) not to report anything pertaining to the
land issue.' Musengi was told he would continue to be under surveillance and
that any attempt to talk about his ordeal would compromise his safety and
that of his lawyer Chitere.

The ordeal suffered by Musengi highlights once more the refusal of the ZANU
PF regime to embrace genuine media reforms and allow journalists to do their
job. Almost 2 months into a coalition government nothing has changed in
terms of the legislative environment to suggest the government is serious
about such reforms. The farm invasions Musengi is said to have covered
involved members of the CIO and this was the reason they targeted him. Again
it is such brazen lawlessness which is scaring away potential donors and
investors in the country.

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Police brutality in Zimbabwe continues unchecked, HIV patients beaten

Thursday, 02 April 2009 17:23

Police on Tuesday reportedly used force to break up a sit-in protest by HIV
positive patients who were demonstrating against the high consultation fees
at the Masvingo General Hospital, leaving dozens injured.

Zimbabwe Riot PoliceThe protest, led by an HIV and AIDS support group,
Ambassadors Plus, was meant to push hospital authorities to provide patients
free consultation services as well as Anti Retroviral Drugs (ARVs).

About 100 patients from post test centres on Tuesday morning thronged the
hospital, the province's largest health referral centre, singing and
displaying placards written, 'HIV positives are also people,' and, 'Being
HIV positive is not a crime.'

Heavily armed police dispersed the patients, some of whom could hardly run,
leaving about twelve injured, two of them seriously.

Ambassadors Plus director Joshua Mavhundu, said the move by the hospital
authorities to charge R100 consultation fees as well as another R100 for
ARVs was inconsiderate, given the plight of some members of his
organization, most of whom are bed-ridden and at most times are unable to go
to work.

"Given the prevailing economic environment, it boggles the mind when
hospital authorities demand R200 per month. We used to get free consultation
and ARVs, but we were surprised this year when they started making these
demands," Mavhundu said.

He also condemned the move by the police, whom he said were too heavy

"The police were too heavy handed, we did not imagine such kind of behavior
from them in this new political set up. After all, we are fighting for their
good as wells. Anyone can get AIDS, and they will only understand us if they
get into such a predicament," said the outspoken Ambassadors Plus Director.

Acting police spokesperson, Assistant Inspector Tinaye Matake confirmed the
incident, but denied the police beat up the peaceful protesters.

"We were called by the hospital authorities to restore peace and order at
the hospital. The police did not use force, and I am yet to check if anyone
got injured in the process," said Assistant Inspector Matake.

Mavhundu said after the protest, he was locked into some meetings with the
Masvingo General Hospital medical superintendent, Dr Stephen Chirengwa, who
proposed to revise the charges downwards to R50 a month.

"I had a meeting with the medical superintendent, who said the money should
go down to R50. So I am going to consult with my members," said Mavhundu.

Dr Chirengwa confirmed the meetings, saying the hospital was forced to
consider the plight of the HIV positive patients.

"While we are also facing hard times as an institution, we have to consider
the HIV positive patients, hence our proposal to peg the charges at R50. But
they have also to bear with us," Dr Chirengwa said.

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'Mugabe responsible for collapse of TB, Aids programmes'

April 02 2009, 3:30:00

A US medical expert and human rights advocate has accused Zimbabwe's
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF of causing the collapse of TB and
Aids programmes in that country.

Doctor Chris Beyerer has told thousands of delegates at the South
African National Aids Conference that he wants the International Criminal
Court to interdict Zanu-PF on crimes against humanity. He says the Mugabe
regime has robbed Zimbabweans of a basic right to healthcare.

Beyerer visited Zimbabwe last year during the outbreak of the cholera
epidemic which killed scores of people. "Public hospitals were closed when
we were there and healthcare had been dollarised and privatised. The
situation had apparently worsened since doctor and nurse protests at Paori
General Hospital. The hospital had no food to feed patients and the hospital
last had access to clean water in August 2008," says Beyerer.

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Cholera rates drop for first time in six months

Rates of new cholera infection in Zimbabwe have dropped for the first time since the start of the epidemic.

According to the WHO, in the third week of February 5,000 new cases were reported, a reduction of 2,000 on the previous week.

Merlin started working in Zimbabwe in February, and together with our partner GAA, we have set up a network of 50 oral rehydration points (ORPs) to give much-needed fluids to people who have contracted the disease.

Kate Sheahan, Merlin's Emergency Response Programme Manager in Zimbabwe, said: "Nobody knew or knows how big this is going to become."

Although the drop suggested the disease may be coming under control, the health threats remain great.

The scarcity of trained health workers, clinics, and drugs has been exacerbated by the lack of clean water and sanitation, high rates of HIV, and chronic food shortages, creating a situation where cholera could rise again if effective prevention strategies are not prioritised.

Merlin will continue to focus on preparing health workers and supporting the health system to prevent and respond to disease outbreaks like cholera.

89,018 Zimbabweans have contracted the disease so far, while 4,011 have lost their lives.

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Court grants bail to MDC activists arrested during pro-Bennett demos

By Violet Gonda
2 April 2009

A group of 10 MDC activists who were arrested in Mutare in February, were
finally granted bail by the High Court on Thursday. Lawyer Alex Muchadehama
said the 10 were part of a group of MDC supporters who held regular vigils
for MDC official Roy Bennett, when he was in detention. They were arrested
on 14th February and charged with public violence, under the Criminal Law
Act. The State claims the 10 destroyed several properties in Mutare during
demonstrations by MDC supporters calling for the release of the MDC National
Treasurer and Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate.

However Muchadehama said his clients deny the charges, saying they were not
anywhere near the scenes of the alleged crimes.  He said the police picked
up the accused persons a day after the alleged crime.

The 10 are expected to be released on Friday, after paying bail of US$50

Meanwhile, Supreme Court Judge Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku agreed to
postpone a bail appeal hearing in respect of the three political detainees
who have been in custody for four months, after the State claimed it was not
prepared for the hearing and asked for the postponement.

Lawyers defending MDC officials Chris Dhlamini, Ghandi Mudzingwa and
photo-journalist Shadreck Andrew Manyere, accuse the state of using delaying
tactics to deny the three their basic rights.

On Thursday the three appealed in the Supreme Court but the 'excuse' given
by the Attorney General's Office was that it was not ready to make a

One of the defence lawyers Charles Kwaramba said: "This is a bail matter for
goodness's sake. It's a simple matter of releasing the prisoners on bail or

He says these three are clearly being discriminated against, especially as
they have been in custody since December and four of their co-accused are
already out on bail. "There is no basis for that distinction. Why give bail
to a few of the people who are co-accused with these ones. We will simply be
arguing that there is discrimination."

The bail appeal is expected to be heard on Monday.

They are among a group of seven who have been accused of organising a series
of bombings of police stations and railway lines to destabilise the Mugabe
regime. In February, High Court Judge Justice Yunus Omerjee, granted bail to
four of the accused, but not to these three.
In a related matter on the same day, the same judge dismissed the State's
application to appeal against a matter involving a separate group of
political activists. Last November High Court Judge Justice Hungwe gave an
order for the release of 13 abductees, who included Concillia Chinanzvavana
and 70 year old Fidelis Chiramba. All the accused had been kidnapped from
their homes and the police had denied knowing their whereabouts. At the time
Justice Hungwe said their detention was unlawful.
But on Thursday the State tried to make an appeal in the Supreme Court
against the order by Justice Hungwe. But Justice Chidyausiku dismissed the
State's appeal and upheld the High Court's earlier decision stating that
their detention was unlawful.
Charles Kwaramba, who is also one of the lawyers representing these 13, said
the Attorney General's office had been trying to use delaying tactics. He
said the latest judgment is a positive development for the accused persons.
The 13 are expected back in court on 30 April.

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Diamond body wants stop to Zimbabwe diamond trade

Thu Apr 2, 2009 4:39pm GMT

HARARE, April 2 (Reuters) - An international diamond group called on
Thursday for a ban on trade in Zimbabwe diamonds, suggesting proceeds had
been used to fund human rights violations by President Robert Mugabe's

The call by the World Federation of Diamond Bourses follows a similar one by
the European Union (EU), which in January urged the Kimberley Process -- an
international certification scheme to ensure that diamonds do not fund
conflict -- to probe Zimbabwe's diamond trade.

The EU expressed concern that the trade in illicit diamonds provided
financial support to the Mugabe government, a charge Harare has denied.

"The WFDB and its membership worldwide are committed to do all it can to
prevent conflict diamonds from Zimbabwe or from any other source for that
matter to be traded by our members," WFDB president Avi Paz said in a

There was no immediate comment from the Zimbabwe government.

The World Diamond Council has put Zimbabwe's production of rough diamonds at
0.4 percent of world output, mostly exported with Kimberley Process
certificates. (Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe)

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Zimbabwe appeals for aid to help million homeless

Thu Apr 2, 2009 5:22pm BST

By Alison Bevege

NAIROBI (Reuters) - More than a million people in Zimbabwe desperately need
homes, the government said on Thursday as it appealed for international help
to revitalise its housing sector.

Zimbabwe is struggling under an economic crisis that includes the world's
worst hyperinflation, unemployment at about 90 percent and severe shortages
of basic goods. It's housing sector has suffered a decade of neglect.

Housing Minister Fidelis Mhashu told a UN-Habitat meeting there were 1.25
million people on a waiting list for 544,000 housing units in 29 urban
centres nationwide.

"It's quite a mammoth task, so we are looking for assistance," he told the
five-day conference in Nairobi.

The government says it needs $8.5 billion (5.8 billion pounds) for an
economic recovery plan over the next two to three years, with $1 billion for
budget support and a $1 billion credit line.

Mhashu said President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
the former opposition leader, were working harmoniously "on a daily basis"
in the new unity government.

The administration brings together Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and Tsvangirai's
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

Muchadeyi Masunda, the mayor of Harare, who was also at the conference, said
Zimbabwe's infrastructure had not collapsed but was "creaking at the seams"
for lack of maintenance.

"We are picking up the pieces from where we left off because there has been
very little housing development in the country in the last 10 years," he

When asked who was to blame for the decade of neglect, the mayor said the
resources "were just not there."

"We are not here to re-open wounds, we are here to take the country
forward," he added.

The Zimbabwean delegation said security of tenure for housing investors was
protected by law.

When asked if investors should be worried given the seizure of white-owned
farms by Mugabe's former government, Masunda said a distinction had to be
drawn between rural and urban land.

"As far as rural land is concerned, it is a political issue to be dealt with
at a higher level," he said.

(Editing by Daniel Wallis and Janet Lawrence)

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Know Your Ministers: Mhashu, Murerwa

With Conrad Nyamutata

fidelis-mhashuMhashu, Fidelis George (MDC): Minister of Housing and Social Amenities

A TEACHER by profession, Fidelis Mhashu was born on July 1, 1942 in Chegutu, Mashonaland West Province.

He is married to Monica and the couple has four children

Mhashu studied for his Rhodesian Junior Certificate and then trained as a teacher at Kutama Mission in Zvimba, Mashonaland West between 1959 and 1962. He is said to have been expelled from Kutama for his political activism.

He subsequently obtained ‘O’ and A’ Level certificates through the University of London.

He holds Bachelor’s Degrees in Education and Arts. In 1982 he obtained a Masters in Education degree.

While teaching at Mount St. Mary’s Mission in Hwedza in 1976 he recruited schoolboys to join the liberation struggle in Mozambique. He then went to the United Kingdom and while there he was involved in the establishment of ZANU branches in the country.

On return to Zimbabwe Mhashu became a lecturer at Mutare Teachers College. He then moved t in 1996 to Seke Teachers College in Chitungwiza, where he became head of department.

At one time he served as chairman of the Shingai Branch of Zanu-PF in Chitungwiza. He then became a councillor representing the same party. He later joined the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).

He was one of the founding members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999. He was co-opted into the party’s national executive.

Mhashu is currently the MDC’s secretary for education.

He was elected Member of Parliament for Chitungwiza constituency in 2000, and served as chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Education, Sport and Culture.

In April 2003, his wife, Monica, was assaulted by suspected Zanu-PF supporters during a wave of political violence in the constituency while her husband was away.

In the 2005 parliamentary elections, Mhashu was re-elected for the same constituency.

In 2008, Mhashu was elected the MP for the new Chitungwiza North Constituency. He was appointed Minister of Housing and Social Amenities in the power-sharing government.

Mhashu faces the task of finding solutions to a national housing backlog of 542 630 houses.

murerwa-herbert1Murerwa, Herbert Muchemwa (Zanu-PF): Minister of Lands and Land Resettlement

Born on July 31, 1941 in Goromonzi, Herbert Murerwa is married to Rudo Chipo Murerwa. The couple has five children, one son and four daughters.

Murerwa holds the unique distinction of serving three terms as Minister of Finance in the Government of President Robert Mugabe. He held the portfolio from 1996 to 2000, from August 2002 to February 2004, and again from April 26, 2004 to February 6, 2007.

Murerwa is credited with engineered the historic repayment of USD $120 million (out of $300 million) in debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), prior to their enforcement of a threat to expel Zimbabwe from the IMF for non-payment of arrears (August 31, 2005).

“No one can write off Zimbabwe as yet,” he said, commenting on his achievement. “We can still do things on our own.”

But during Murerwa’s tenure at the Ministry of Finance Zimbabwe’s economy shrunk by 30 percent between 2000 and 2004 following the controversial land invasions. Murerwa is regarded as having contributed considerably to the decline of the Zimbabwe economy because of his acquiescence towards Mugabe, going back to his term as High Commissioner in London up to 1990 at a time when Mugabe was still a regular visitor to the British capital.

Murerwa started his working career as a schoolteacher after his secondary education. In 1964, he joined ZANU’s Highfields branch and was later expelled from the profession due to his political activism. He left the country to pursue further studies in the United States.

Murerwa holds a Doctor of Education degree in Education Planning and a Master of Education Degree also in Educational Planning, both from Harvard University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology) degree from George William College in Wisconsin, also in the States.

In 1978, he worked for the United Nations in Ethiopia as an Economic Affairs Officer. He says he collaborated with a ZANU team working on a study of manpower requirements in an independent Zimbabwe.

At independence, he was appointed permanent secretary in the Ministry of Manpower, Planning and Development. Between 1982 and 1984 he held a similar post at the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.

He was then appointed Zimbabwe’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom until 1990.

In 1990 he was recalled from London to stand as the Zanu-PF candidate for Goromonzi Constituency. He won the election and was appointed Minister of Environment and Tourism.

In 1993, he was elected Zanu-PF secretary for administration in the Mashonaland East provincial council. At the 1994 Zanu-PF Congress, he was elected to the Zanu-PF Central Committee.

In 1995, he was appointed Minister of Industry and Commerce. A year later, he moved to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development where he remained until 2000 when he was appointed Minister of Higher Education.

He was replaced as finance minister by his deputy, Christopher Kuruneri. But following the arrest of Kuruneri in 2004, Murerwa also held the post of acting Minister of Finance. The following year, he was formally appointed as Finance Minister again.

His appointment followed the March 2005 parliamentary election in which Murerwa was again elected MP for Goromonzi.

However, as part of a cabinet reshuffle by President Robert Mugabe, Murerwa lost his cabinet post in 2007.

This followed a public spat between him and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono over fiscal issues. The Reserve Bank governor took the unprecedented step of attacking Murerwa in lengthy statements which he booked in the government-owned newspapers as advertisements.

Mugabe appeared to side with Gono, leaving the minister exposed. Murerwa and Gono had apparently taken opposing views on payments made by the Reserve Bank for various services rendered to the government.

Murerwa was nominated as Zanu-PF’s candidate for the Senate seat for Goromonzi in the March 2008 parliamentary election.

He won the seat, receiving 16 156 votes against 15 287 for Vincent Gwarazimba of the Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change.

Murerwa bounced back into cabinet in the all inclusive government as Minister of Lands and Land Resettlement.

Murerwa has the unenviable task of restoring order on the farms. There have been recent reports of renewed disruptions on the remaining commercial farms, prompting a stern warning to invaders from Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

While Tsvangirai threatened invaders with arrest Murerwa told state-controlled Sunday Mail newspaper that the commercial farmers were in fact to blame for the latest confrontation. They had not vacated their farms soon enough, he said.

Friday: Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC) and Didymus Mutasa

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Batswana to pay for Mugabe's mess

From Mmegi (Botswana), 1 April

Bame Piet

After 10 years of failed silent diplomacy on Zimbabwe, Batswana and other
regional taxpayers will be required to pay for the damage President Robert
Mugabe has caused to his country's economy. First, Southern African
Development Community (SADC) citizens will have to pop out funds to get the
country going for the coming months before digging deeper to lobby Western
countries like United States of America, (US), United Kingdom (UK), and
Germany, including China and Russia, to assist Zimbabwe to move forward. The
West will also be requested to lift the sanctions against Zimbabwe, said
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Phandu Skelemani
in Gaborone yesterday. Skelemani attended a special SADC Summit in Mbabane,
Swaziland, on Monday. Zimbabwe needs at least US8.4 billion (about P67
billion) to get the economy running again. At the moment, he said, the
country makes US20 million per month from tobacco and alcohol sales while
the public service needs US30 million per month. "This is a US10 million
deficit and hospitals and schools need to be functional," he said. Zimbabwe
now pays all its citizens in US dollars. Skelemani said the summit appointed
a committee comprising Botswana, South Africa, Zambia, and Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC) to go around the world lobbying the big countries
and international financial institutions like the World Bank and
International Monetary Fund (IMF) to bail out Zimbabwe. SADC finance
ministers will also meet to discuss what their countries can pledge for the
collapsed Zimbabwean economy.

Skelemani said that they still have to brief President Ian Khama on what to
do but things might be tough for the region because of the impact of the
global recession on their economies. "We all agreed that we should do
everything possible," he said. Botswana will talk to her friends to assist
Zimbabwe, even if it means loans with conditions, he added. Skelemani is
confident that they will get a positive response from the big countries
especially since assuming power, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has
brought hope for economic recovery. He also expressed satisfaction at the
cooperation President Mugabe showed during the Mbabane summit. He denied
reports that there are farm invasions in Zimbabwe saying it was just a
misunderstanding that the unity government has agreed to deal with as a
matter of urgency. He further said that the unity government is sorting out
issues of political prisoners and Mugabe has promised cooperation on many

Meanwhile, the minister sent a stern warning to Andry Rajoelina, who
recently assumed power illegally in Madagascar, saying that he must step
down and return power to President Marc Ravalomanana as a matter of urgency.
"It is unacceptable, he must go back to the mayorship and hand over power to
a constitutionally elected leader," Skelemani said. He accused the
34-year-old Rajoelina of using the military to take the presidency, only to
claim that Ravalomanana had resigned. "He shouldn't be recognised by
anybody, he is illegitimate. He must go immediately," the minister said.
Skelemani said that SADC and the African Union (AU) will take serious steps
against Rajoelina if he does not comply immediately, but ruled out military
intervention. "There is no need for military intervention because people in
Madagascar are now rising against him. If you look at our protocol you will
see that military intervention is the last resort," he said. He cited the
Comoros Islands and Lesotho as examples where SADC and AU military
interventions succeeded without being challenged. "Rajoelina is aware of
SADC capabilities," he said. Botswana and Madagascar have non-residential

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Zimbabwe's MDC ministers accept official Mercedes cars

April 2, 2009

Jan Raath in Harare
All but one of Zimbabwe's ministers from the former opposition has accepted
an official Mercedes Benz.

When they were in opposition MDC politicians condemned the profligacy of Mr
Mugabe's Mercedes Benz-mobilised Zanu(PF) party.

Last September, when the agreement to form a power-sharing Government was
signed, senior MDC figures made an informal decision never to accept an
official Mercedes.

But it has now emerged that all but one of the 20 new ministers, including
Morgan Tsvangirai and his two deputy prime ministers, is now making use of a
$50,000 E280 model.

Eric Matinenga, a prominent human rights advocate and now Constitutional
Affairs Minister, said he was "embarrassed" at his official Mercedes.
"It is a condition of plenty amidst deprivation," he said. "But the reality
on the ground is there there is no other. You cannot get an alternative -
they become a convenient evil."

Another minister who asked not to be named was surprised with the alacrity
with which they were offered their limousines. "There was so much pressure
on me to go and get it. I argued with them for a long time," he said.

"Why were they so keen to give me a fancy car that I didn't want? It really
looked like they wanted to tar us with their own dirty brush."

David Coltart, the new Education Minister, told The Times that he had not
been in his office for 30 minutes on his first day in the job when a
transport officer burst in and told him to hurry down to the government
vehicle pool to collect his new Mercedes Benz.

"He said if didn't come down now, someone else would get it," he said.

"I had just come into a building with no running water and I was being
offered a Mercedes Benz. It was astonishing."

It was much the same for the rest of the 20 cabinet ministers of the two MDC
factions on their first day at work - each told they now had a luxurious,
three-litre official Mercedes E280 available to them

Mr Coltart, from the splinter faction of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), was alone in declining the use of the car.

The Mercedes Benz has long been the symbol of sleaze and rapacity among
Zimbabwe's ruling elite under President Mugabe, who proclaims his supremacy
with a $500,000 bombproof model S600L. As with the parasitic waBenzi class
in most of Africa, they bled the country's treasury to be able to roar down
potholed roads and past ordinary people deprived of food, homes, medicine
and education.

"The thing about driving a Merc is that it is not just a different car - it
is a different planet. How can you be in touch with the people in a
Mercedes?" once senior MDC official, now a minister, asked at the time.

Now the MDC has a dilemma, faced with being tainted as just more of the same
waBenzi clique. Some officials claim it is a deliberate tactic by Mr Mugabe's
bureaucrats to offload spare Mercedes limousines on to MDC ministers and
slowly "break the mould" of the factions' image of incorruptibility.

According to Tendai Biti, the MDC Finance Minister, the cars were bought by
the Central Bank a year ago but never distributed - "I have not bought any
cars for anyone," he said. "We either had to leave them to rot or sell them,
and get half their value. It was cheaper to keep them. It was a matter of

Of the Mercedes allocated to him, he said, "I don't like it. Half the time I
use a truck."

There are other reasons to keep the cars: the state will only provide fuel,
maintenance and official registration to the Mercs and not to ministers'
private cars. And with an official salary of $100 a month - the same as all
ranks in the civil service - and a housing allowance paid in worthless
Zimbabwean dollars, such costs are considerable.

Mr Coltart, who uses a Nissan Pathfinder 4X4, which he claims is half the
price and will get him to schools on appalling rural roads, said: "I made a
pact in 2006 never to be seen in one."

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Africa politicians: The new slave masters

Posted on Thursday 2 April 2009 - 10:34

Lord Aikins Adusei

They like to talk like sheep with humility but they act like wolves and
lions devouring their victims without mercy. Such are Africa politicians.
When they want power they would promise or say anything to get elected but
when they get the power then they forget about the electorate and the

Today in Africa people are so poor that they cannot even provide food for
their families. But the politicians in Zimbabwe, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria,
Kenya, Chad, Ghana, South Africa, Guinea, Angola, DRC, Gabon, Uganda,
Rwanda, Burundi, Togo and Ivory Coast do not know what poverty is.

Together they have hijacked and exercise full control over all the resources
including land, labour, capital and revenues from all economic activities
such as oil, gas, cocoa, coffee, tobacco, gold, diamond, coltan, tourism and
timber exports. Omar Bongo of Gabon and his circle of friends control all
the oil money in Gabon. Obiang Nguema and his cronies exercise full control
over the hundreds of millions of dollars of oil money that flow into the
country annually. Denis Sassou Nguessou of Congo does the same with his
friends and so are Eduardo dos Santos of Angola and Joseph Kabila of DRC.

Like the Slave Masters of the slave trade, the politicians, their cronies,
the business elite and the well connected determine and control everything
in Africa. They determine which roads should be constructed or resurfaced
and which one should not. They determine which village or town gets
connected to the national electricity grid; they determine which region or
district receives funding for projects; they determine which community
receives water infrastructure. They determine which town or community gets
access to hospitals and sanitation facilities. They determine who should get
a job and who should get sacked. Have you heard that 420 army recruits in
Ghana have been asked to go home by the politicians who recently took over

The deciders

The slave masters decide who gets a place to sell in the market, shopping
malls and all the major markets in the continent. The slave masters decide
who should own a business and who should have a share in that business. They
decide who should get a contract and whose certificate as contractor should
be withdrawn. Contractors do substandard works, collect hundreds of millions
of dollars, give politicians their share and that is all. So a road whose
live span is 20 years has to be resurfaced after just two years. For the
past 15 years Accra-Kumasi road in Ghana has been resurfaced more than five
times after paying contractors hundreds of millions of dollars. This
explains why school buildings collapse and children are killed. It also
explains why communities are flooded anytime it rains as poor quality
drainage networks are built. Projects costs and costs of major public
procurement contracts are inflated three or four times normal cost by the
Slave Masters and the poor people are made to pay for it.

You cannot get a certificate to operate a business unless you grease the
palm of a politician. You cannot get contract unless you know a politician
in the ruling government. You are treated differently if you know the
regional minister, the district commissioner, governor or the district chief
executive (DCE). A French investigation into corruption at the former oil
giant Elf Aquitaine, an executive testified that Elf paid £40m a year to
Bongo via Swiss bank accounts in exchange for permission to exploit his
country's reserves. Source: The Sunday Times, 2008.

As far as one knows a cabinet minister he can do whatever he likes and
nobody dares question him. It is always the poor and the have-nots who get
prosecuted and jailed while the politicians and their cronies who commit
atrocious crimes against their states live in their mansions to enjoy their
booty and ill gotten wealth. If Mr. Bernard L. Madoff had come from any
country in Africa he would have been a free man by now as his political
friends would have made sure he did not go to jail. Corruption case against
Jacob Zuma is being dropped to allow him become president of South Africa.

Big loans are contracted to build projects like presidential palaces enjoyed
only by the politicians and the poor are made to pay for it. Like the
slavery of old, the politicians, their families, the businessmen and the
well connected are not hurt by the storm of poverty in Africa. Despite
receiving hundreds of billions of dollars in loans and grants from Europe,
Japan, US, IMF and World Bank there is nothing to show for it as poverty
continue to swallow the people. The reason is that these loans and grants do
not see the light, they are stolen the very day they are released and the
poor people are paying for it. This explains why many countries have applied
for the HIPC (Highly Indebted Poor Countries) initiative. These corrupt
Slave Masters and their associates are holding the people captive with their
short sighted, ill-conceived, vote buying, and cosmetic economic policies
and programmes thereby giving the people no chance to develop.


The politicians in Africa have titles like Junior Jesus, Servants of the
Poor, Friend of the Poor, King of Africa but they are all lies. None of them
cares for the poor but their own stomach. Because they care only for their
interests, that is why the people have no jobs, no incomes, no savings and
have no place to lay their heads. That is why farmers continue to farm using
hoes and cutlasses, rely on nature to plant their crops; and have no access
to improved seeds, irrigation facilities and credit. That is why children go
to school barefooted, on an empty stomach and attend classes under trees
while the politicians' children receive education in Europe and America.

That is why Omar Bongo has at least 33 luxury properties in France alone and
spends $100 million a year while majority of Gabonese live on a dollar a
day. Dos Santos, Paul Biya, Obiang Nguema, Blaise Campore, Arap Moi, Jerry
Rawlings, John Kufuor, Joseph Kabila and most of the sitting and past
presidents and their families live a lavish lifestyle while majority of the
people live in abject poverty.

That is why people have no access to water, food, health care, education and
electricity while Citibank, UBS, Barclays Bank, Crédit Lyonnais, BNP, Credit
Suisse, are full of stolen money from the continent. That is why there are
power blackouts in Accra, Dar es Salaam, Abidjan, Cape Town, Monrovia, Free
Town, Lome, Lagos, Kampala, Cairo, Conakry and most of our cities not to
mention the rural areas. But the lights in Aso Rock in Nigeria, Osu Castle
in Ghana, El Mouradia in Algeria, Abdeen Palace in Egypt, Zimbabwe House in
Zimbabwe, Futungo dos Belas in Angola, Mahlambandlovu of South Africa,
States House in Kenya and Uganda, will not go off even if there is no water
in the Kanji, Akosombo, the Aswam, Kariba, or the Mulunguzi dams.

Because they care only for their interests that is why majority of the
people live in slumps, sprawl, shanty towns and in deplorable conditions in
Nairobi, Accra, Cairo, Lagos, Soweto, Kampala with little or no access to
water, electricity, schools, hospitals, roads, toilet and sanitation
facilities. That is why teachers, nurses, and other public workers are
poorly paid, have few rights and have little or no entitlement when they go
on retirement. But when the Slave Masters leave office after looting the
treasuries, they are given several hundreds of thousands of dollars and
properties as retirement packages. The Slave Masters have more and are given
more. The poor have none and they are denied even the little.

Stomach politicians

Because they care only for their stomach that is why they allow mining and
oil companies to destroy the environment and the livelihoods of the people.
Shell, BP and other oil companies have polluted rivers, wells, streams,
lakes, creeks and the soil in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria rendering
millions of fishermen and farmers jobless. The people of Arlit in Niger and
Mounana in Gabon are still suffering after exposure to high radioactive
contamination from uranium. The Slave Masters in Ghana, DRC, Liberia, and
Zambia look on in agreement while mining companies like Anglo-Ashanti and
Mittal pollute the environment.

In the 50 years since oil was discovered in Nigeria, over $400 billion have
been realized as revenue but the money has been stolen by the politicians
and the corrupt civil servants leaving Nigerians to fend for themselves. The
evil genius Abacha and his family were able to bank $4 billion of these
monies in Switzerland, Jersey Island, New York, Australia, France and
Britain. The story is no different in Angola, Equatorial Guinea, Ghana, DRC,
Guinea, Chad, Zambia, Sudan, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Egypt, Algeria, Sierra
Leone and Gabon where oil, gas, gold, diamond, copper and other valuable
minerals have brought in billions of dollars yet most the people live in
abject poverty. The people are poor because the Slave Masters have decided
they should remain so, as monies meant for their development have been
stolen and are sitting in UBS, Credit Suisse, Barclays bank, BNP, Crédit
Lyonnais and Citibank.

Through their grip on power, the Slave Masters have amassed wealth and
enriched themselves at the expense of the poor. And in order to perpetuate
their rule and enslavement of the people they turn one tribe and one
religion against the other as is seen in Kenya, Nigeria, Ivory Coast,
Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Ghana, Niger,
Mali, Algeria, Egypt, Togo, Liberia and Congo. They install their children
as successors instead of allowing democracy to work. Faure Gnassingbe of
Togo was installed as his father's successor and so did Joseph Kabila of DR.
Congo who replaced Laurent Kabila, his father as president. There are clear
signs that Gamal Mubarak and Major Muhoozi Kainerugaba will respectively
replace their fathers as presidents of Egypt and Uganda.

How is the following 2008 US Human Rights report on Gabon different from the
treatment of slaves by their owners in the 18th Century?

"The following human rights problems were reported: limited ability of
citizens to change their government; use of excessive force, including
torture toward prisoners and detainees; harsh prison conditions; arbitrary
arrest and detention; an inefficient judiciary susceptible to government
influence; restrictions on the right to privacy; restrictions on freedom of
speech, press, association, and movement; harassment of refugees; widespread
government corruption; violence and societal discrimination against women,
persons with HIV/AIDS, and noncitizen Africans; trafficking in persons,
particularly children; and forced labour and child labour." Source: US Human
Rights Report on Gabon 2008. Similar abuses are found in Zimbabwe, Ethiopia,
Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Egypt, Mauritania and Guinea.

Pathetically, Africans demanded independence from colonialism only to be
decolonized and enslaved by our own leaders. A US Senate investigation in
1997 established that Bongo and his family spend fifty-five million pounds
every year. Like Omar Bongo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Teodoro Obiang Nguema,
Blaise Campore, Dos Santos, and their friends in Chad, DRC, have all
enriched themselves at the expense of their poor countries often in
collusion and connivance with the French political and the business elite
and the banking and property institutions. Robert Mugabe was seen having a
lavish birthday party with his family and friends while millions of his
people face starvation and cholera. Africa is poor because of the
incompetence of her leaders. The people are poor because they have been
denied the opportunity to develop. There are no efficient transportation
system; no major infrastructural development, no viable manufacturing
sector; no major breakthrough in the universities because monies meant for
all that have been stolen by the Slave Masters in full agreement with
Switzerland, France, Britain, USA, Luxembourg, Jersey Island, Austria and

What will you say when people have no access to food, water, electricity,
education, health facilities; cannot pay their rents and fees for their
kids; have no jobs and no savings; have no access to toilet and sanitation
facilities and cannot democratically change their leaders? If these corrupt,
power hungry and heartless men and women are not slave masters, vampires,
parasites, blood suckers and draculars then who are they?

*The author is a consultant, political activist and anti-corruption

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Nguva Yedu - Post Festival report
Thursday, 02 April 2009

HARARE, 24-28 March 2009



Riot Zungu of Gang of Instrumentals (SA) + Zimbabwe’s ‘Mic-Inity’

 A spectacular concert in an atmosphere of joy and freedom marked the end of the inaugural Nguva Yedu ~ Thuba Letu ~ Our Time youth arts festival in Harare.  600 people packed the Book Café car park for the final concert on Saturday 28 March, which presented 10 hours of outstanding poetry and some of the southern African region’s top music acts.

South Africa’s Gang of Instrumentals inspired the occasion with their tight arrangements and rock-funk inspired hip hop. The Harare audience erupted as the group – first time visitors but already well known to Zimbabweans - delivered one hot song after another.
An electrifying performance by Ugandan star Jose Chameleon had the audience on its feet, waving, dancing, laughing and singing along, and fittingly, on the back of his glitzy stage costume the words “Freedom … is not Free”. 
When young Zimbabwean reggae star MicInity appeared as the last act, waving a massive rasta flag, the crowd was in pungwe (all night) mood.  The concert closed with visitors Riot Zungu (GI) and Jose Chameleone joining MicInity on stage, where they delivered a free-style rendition of a Bob Marley classic to a euphoric audience.  It had been an unforgettable happening for everyone, passionate and happy.  It marked a moment of renewal, the time of youth – our time!
It had all started at 2pm on the afternoon of Saturday 28 March.  Wave after wave of youth acts took the stage, featuring young artists from Pamberi Trust’s youth and gender projects; it seemed never ending. The exuberance of each act added to the sense that something wondrous was unfolding, this was a ‘happening’; everywhere in the audience people were amazed at the depth and diversity of young Zimbabwean artists - professionalism, stage craft, musical and poetic skill marked the entire event.  Dudu Manhenga performed a lovely set in her own inimitable afrojazz style, backed by the group Color Blu, with massive stage presence, extremely comfortable on the big stage.  19-Year-old John Pfumojena amazed the crowd with his extraordinary vocal control and range.  Zimbabwe’s immensely popular afro artist Victor Kunonga was joined on stage by Ghanaian percussionist Yao, and amidst guitar interplay reminiscent of the great guitar bands of the 1980s, the Ghanaian artist from the group Nomad-yi performed one of the finest percussion and drum solos seen on a Harare stage for some time.  A poet to watch out for - Outspoken has it all, timing, verve, voice, movement, attitude – a star in the making, while Cde Fatso, toyi-toyi peoples’ poet, has grown in stature – his sound reaching towards chimurenga and 1980s Afro-rock – his laughter infectious and his jokes really very funny.
Over 3 days, the festival had featured powerful performances. The young voice of Sam Mtukudzi is beginning to develop texture and personality, and the audience danced until the end.  Nomad-yi literally shook the house with their hard-edged Joburg hip-hop, sung uniquely in Wolof, French, English and siNdebele.  Tomas Brickhill’s gentle, personal touch had the audience singing along ‘sokwanele baba’.  Antonio Lyons, dressed in white, managed a remarkable feat – he drew the crowd into his poetry – and a boisterous, dancing Book Café quietly listened and applauded in delight at each poetic moment of reckoning.
There were dozens of other performances through the 3 days of festivities, most memorably Bongo Love, Alexio Kawara, Edene Timbe & Fire, Pachena Kids, Initiative Arts from Bulawayo, Afrodiziak with Q Montana and Filbert Marova and The Other Four with Clare Nyakujara.
‘Mindblast: Young Zimbabweans Talk – an exploration into the spirit of Zimbabwe’ had been an intense experience earlier in the festival.  An outpouring of expression the debates were  chaotic, diverse, questioning and interspersed with moments of brilliant insight.  Through it all, patterns of thought began to take shape. Young Zimbabwean creative minds abhorred the repression of ‘freedom of expression’, embraced cultural diversity, and above all, craved renewal - they want their voices to be heard.
Arts writers from Ethiopia, Cameroun, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa under Marimba Media joined the discussions, sharing their perspectives with Zimbabwean artists and writers.  From this came a sense that in some ways Zimbabwe’s difficult political journey has not in fact been that unique - all over the continent Africans have had to find the path towards free expression which has not been easy.
In a ground-breaking Zimbabwean ‘first ever’ the discussions and events were beamed by live webcast and watched by groups of Zimbabwean Diaspora and other interested people in Zimbabwe, South Africa, USA, UK and as far away as Saudi Arabia, Czech Republic and Malaysia.  238 people around the world were logged into the webcast in ‘real time’, responding directly to the webcast team via live chat – applauding the festival and wishing they were there.
The event was organised by Pamberi Trust – Book Café in collaboration with African Synergy, a pan-African network of African arts and festivals with support from the Danish Centre for Cultural Development (DCCD), the National Arts Council, as well as its many friends and partners.
  Pamberi Trust says the Nguva Yedu – Thuba Letu – Our Time festival (which had almost everyone singing and saying its name – in songs and poetry and humour, it makes a great rap line!) is the first of an annual youth arts festival – and what a debut it has been!
All across Africa the youth are saying “Nguva Yedu – Thuba Lethu – Our Time!”  And now it is time for us to listen to what they have to say.  The youth are our tomorrow. 
Pamberi Trust, The Book Café

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