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Veld Fire Near Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, Consumes Lobengula Reproduction Palace

http://www.voanews.com

Restoration of the capital was mooted in 1993 and Zulu experts from South
Africa helped restore the buildings at a cost of millions of dollars

Gibbs Dube | Washington 25 August 2010

A veld fire has reduced the reconstructed Old Bulawayo capital of King
Lobengula to ashes, says Prince Zwide KaLanga Khumalo, a direct descendant
of the Ndebele royal family.

The fire, which started late Monday night and blazed until the early hours
of Tuesday, destroyed the reconstructed palace of Lobengula, eight beehive
huts, an old wagon shed, a house built for Lobengula by missionaries and
another built by the Khumalo clan for traditional rituals.

Khumalo said a site where President Robert Mugabe laid a stone in 1993 to
commission the reconstruction of the ancient capital was also reduced to
ashes.

King Lobengula's capital was last set ablaze in 1893 when his rule was
threatened by advancing missionaries and armed British colonizers. The king
then settled at a site in the present-day Sauerstown suburb, north of
Bulawayo and current site of the State House, the president's second home.

Restoration of the capital was mooted in 1993 and Zulu experts from South
Africa helped restore the buildings at a cost of millions of dollars.

Khumalo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube he blamed the National Museums
and Monuments of Zimbabwe for failing to protect the site. The museums
department issued no comment.


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Police after WOZA leader Jenni Williams over Constitutional program

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Tererai Karimakwenda
26 August, 2010

Jenni Williams, one of the leaders of the pressure group Women Of Zimbabwe
Arise (WOZA), has reported that she is wanted by the police for
commissioning a slogan about their parallel constitutional outreach
exercise. Williams said WOZA has been shadowing the official program,
educating Zimbabweans about constitutional issues. She described the reasons
for the police hunt as "ridiculous", saying civic education is not a
criminal act.

WOZA has been at the forefront of fighting for democratic freedom in
Zimbabwe and Williams and WOZA co-founder, Magodonga Mahlangu, have been
arrested on many occasions while demonstrating against the policies and
abuses of the Mugabe regime.

The frustrated activist said: "They are looking for us because we have asked
for someone to prepare a slogan for us for the banner about our
constitutional outreach. And so they are looking for us because we are
trying to mobilise people for the constitution. We are conducting a parallel
process, simply that, and it's ridiculous."

Williams explained that WOZA is doing their job as a civic movement. She
said they are helping people to understand the constitution, and to clarify
what they want in a new constitution.

Williams also linked the police action to the targeted sanctions that are in
place against Robert Mugabe and his close allies in ZANU PF.
She said: "The fact that the police are looking for me is a sanction on my
liberties today. And am I crying about it the same as ZANU PF are crying
about their inability to travel to Rome and to Los Angeles and to shop on
Oxford Street? No I am not. I am just living with it and saying this is an
oppressive government."

Williams explained that the targeted sanctions should remain until
democratic space opens up in Zimbabwe. She said: "When we ourselves as
activists will be saying there is no longer any oppression, everyone has
their freedoms, then there will no longer be any need for sanctions."



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Police corruption suspected in eviction of Borrowdale settlers

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Alex Bell
26 August 2010

There is rising suspicion that police officials who raided and burned an
informal settlement in Borrowdale on Wednesday had corrupt motives for their
actions.

The settlement at Borrowdale Race Course was raided and destroyed in the
early hours of Wednesday morning by an estimated 30 uniformed police
officers. The officials, believed to be stationed at Harare Central Police
Station and the nearby Highlands Police Station, arrived at the settlement
after midnight and ordered the settlers to remove their possessions from
their shacks and go and build homes in their rural areas. After about 10
minutes the police, some of whom were armed and also accompanied by police
dogs, ordered all the settlers into a police van. They then proceeded to set
fire to at least a hundred shacks.

Many of the Borrowdale settlers lost all their possessions in the fire,
after the police refused to give them more time to get their belongings
before the fire was set. The settlers were then detained in the cold weather
until the early hours of the morning, when they were taken to Harare Central
Police Station. Lawyers from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
were denied access to the group of 55 settlers, including five children, who
were held at Harare Central Police Station until late Wednesday night. 52
people were eventually released without charge although three still remain
in custody, apparently in connection with other incidents.

ZLHR Communications Officer, Kumbirai Mafunda, told SW Radio Africa on
Thursday that the settlers, who returned to their ruined settlement, were
forced to spend Wednesday night without shelter or food. Mafunda urged
humanitarian organisations to intervene to help the people who have been
left destitute, further condemning what he called "unlawful police actions."

Although there has been an angry response to the police's actions, some
residents in the area have told SW Radio Africa that they are glad to see
the settlement destroyed as the settlement is believed to house a number of
criminals responsible for a spate of burglaries in the area, and recently
two people were assaulted and robbed while walking nearby. A source said
this week that police officers are often seen talking to suspected criminals
in the informal settlement. Suspicion is now high that the police were
benefiting from the crime, and the destruction of the settlement was some
kind of revenge, possibly for being left out of a deal.

Most of the settlers whose shacks were torched down are victims of Operation
Murambatsvina and some of them are employees of the Borrowdale Race Course.
They moved to the settlement after being rendered homeless when their houses
were destroyed under the widely condemned 'clean-up' campaign in 2005 -
others had been living at this settlement since 2000.


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War vets threaten to uproot Nkomo statue

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

By Oscar Nkala
Thursday, 26 August 2010 14:59

BULAWAYO - War veterans in Bulawayo have threatened to uproot the
controversial statue of the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo unless the
government clarifies allegations that some of the material used to construct
the statue was sourced from North Korea, trainers of the Fifth Brigade which
killed at least 20 000 of Nkomo's supporters during the Gukurahundi
massacres between 1982 and 1988.

The latest flare up over the statue follows unconfirmed reports that last
week co-Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi said that some material used in
constructing the statue was sourced in North Korea.

The Bulawayo statue of the former Vice-President, located on Main Street, is
still covered in a black cloth despite its long-delayed unveiling amid
reports that only President Robert Mugabe can unveil it.

Zimbabwe Liberators Peace Initiative leader Maxwell Mnkandla told The Daily
News that the statue cannot be welcome into the city as long as it has links
to North Korea.

"We cannot have that because we will remember our loved ones who were killed
through North Korean help everytime we see it. There should be no surprises
if people uproot or even dynamite it," he said.

Morrison Dube, a member of the Zimbabwe People Revolutionary Army Veteran
Association said the city would be better off without a statue of Father
Zimbabwe than accept a mockery of his works and the ideals he stood for.

"They should pull that statue down if there is anything North Korean about
it because we will do it for them very soon if they dont. That ZANU PF
continues to mock Nkomo in his death speaks volumes of the contempt they
harbour towards him, even in death," Dube said.

Kembo Mohadi told The Daily News that anyone who harbours plans of
desecrating or otherwise interfering with the Nkomo statue faces arrest and
prosecution in terms of the National Museums and Monuments Act.

"The government has guidelines covering such monuments as statues and those
laws will be brought to bear on anyone who interferes with the statue,"
Mohadi said.

He declined to comment on reports that some components of the statue were
made in North Korea saying the media is 'deliberately mixing up issues."

The statue has been under round-the-clock police guard since it was put up
more than a week ago. It is covered in a black cloth which has angered
Ndebele traditionalists who say it should not have been used on the statue
because a black robe symbolic of mourning in the local culture.


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Factionalism deepens ahead of MDC congress

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

By Oscar Nkala
Thursday, 26 August 2010 18:54

BULAWAYO - The Mutambara led MDC is heading for an explosive congress as
factionalism deepens in the party.

A potentially divisive final battle for the party control control is set
between president Arthur Mutambara and secretary-general Professor Welshman
Ncube who is openly campaigning for the party presidency.

Party sources in Bulawayo said the congress will most likely lead to a
disintegration of the party and a mass exodus of supporters and disgruntled
Members of parliament, four of whom are reported to be moving to the MDC-T
while one senator is headed for ZAPU.

The wrangling centres around the jockeying for top posts ahead of the
congress in which secretary-general Welshman Ncube has already set up his
own allies to take up key posts in a plot which, if successful, would leave
out national chairman Joubert Mudzumwe and deputy secretary
Priscilla-Misihairabwi-Mushonga and party treasurer Fletcher-Dulini Ncube.

Massive discontent has reportedly set in at grassroots level while top
leaders are fighting vicious boardroom wars. If the alleged plot succeeds,
post-congress top five leadership will feature Ncube as president, Edwin
Mushoriwa as deputy-president, Goodrich Chimbaira as national chairman,
Qhubani Moyo as secretary-general and Moses Mzila-Ndlovu as
deputy-secretary-general.

"Ncube intends to create a Council of Elders to accommodate Mutambara,
Mudzumwe and Dulini-Ncube but this may not succeed as they are quietly
plotting to shatter these plans at congress. The late VP GibsonSibanda would
have been accomodated in this group.

Generally, people see Ncube as a proprietor of the party," said the source.

Deputy-secretary-general Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga has reportedly
threatened to quit if Qhubani Moyo, seen as Ncube's right-hand man, lands
the post of secretary-general ahead of her.

"Of late, there is a flurry of replacements of party chairpersons loyal to
Mutambara and this is linked to Ncube's ascendancy plot because chairpersons
will vote on behalf of their blocks and anyone with a majority of loyal
chairpersons will win the leadership.

However, Ncube's opponents are working hard to replace block votes with
individual voting instead," said the source.

Party spokesman Gifford Sibanda told The Daily News that the party remains
intact as it gears up for congress early next year.

"We cannot dignify rumours of plots by commenting on them but here people
are free to run for whatever posts at congress, so I will not be surprised
if Ncube or anyone runs for the presidency. We are a democratic party where
leaders are elected by the people, so there are no plots except in the
negative minds of those who want posts but fear losing them because they
lack popular support," Sibanda said.

The MDC has lost a majority of its supporters to the MDC-T since the 2008
elections and is clinging to a few parliamentary and senatorial seats in
Matabeleland North and South. Political analysts have predicted that further
losses in the next election will lead the party into political oblivion.


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Zesa supply cut-off at MDC office - investigations reveal

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

By Oscar Nkala
Thursday, 26 August 2010 15:07

BULAWAYO - The MDC faction led by Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara was
this week humiliated when the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA)
disconnected power supplies at the party headquarters in Bulawayo over a
US$20 000 debt for power consumed since 2001.

Further investigations into the state of the party's bills have revealed
that four of the party's five telephone lines have been cut because it owes
a further US$16 562 to fixed telephone serviceb provider Tel One.

On Monday, ZESA officials descended on the party headquarters at the
intersection of 14 Avenue and Herbert Chitepo Street and cut power supplies,
which have not been restored since then.

ZESA officials who carried out the disconnection told The Daily News that
the party last paid its bill in November 2000 and has not owned up since the
inception of the unity government, which they are part of, and the
dollarisation of the economy in February last year.

"I do not know how they escaped detection for so long, but we were all
surprised to find that the MDC has never paid for power consumed since 2001.
A few statements of demand which were sent to them early this year were all
ignored. That is why power has been cut and it will be restored only if they
pay half of the bill. They will have to pay half of the bill and additional
reconnection and risk deposit fees to have their power restored," said a
member of the ZESA team.

Information obtained by The Daily News also shows the party to be in the red
with fixed telephone service provider Tel One. Updated telephone account
statements from the phone utility show that the party, which is listed as
customer number 472 42671, had accumulated arrears of US$16 562 as of 31
July 2010.

Sources at Tel One said the party, which used to operate at least five
telephone lines, is now left with one functional line following the
disconnection of the rest as the arrears accumulated over the past four
years.

A visit to the MDC offices revealed that electrricity has indeed been cut.
MDC treasurer Fletcher-Dulini Ncube declined to comment on the state of the
party's service bills saying he was busy attending the funeral of the late
party-vice president Gibson Sibanda who died on Monday night.


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"I wrote the letter to SADC" - Mutambara owns up to the skulduggery

http://www.thezimbabwemail.com/

26 August, 2010 08:50:00 By

THE decision to appoint provincial governors simultaneously with the lifting
of the illegal economic sanctions was reached by all three principals to the
Global Political Agreement; Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara said
yesterday.
The DPM was addressing journalists at his Munhumutapa offices. He said he
had authored a report to the Sadc-appointed facilitator, South Africa's
President Jacob Zuma, on behalf of the three principals "after thorough
consultations" before they appended their signatures. It was in that report
where it was indicated that the GPA parties had agreed that the appointment
of provincial governors would be done "simultaneously and concurrently with
lifting of sanctions".

DPM Mutambara slammed MDC-T for claiming there was no link between
appointment of provincial governors and the call to lift the economic
sanctions. "What I wrote to President Zuma, I did so on behalf of the three
principals after consultations, if you have checked, none of them have
challenged the letter," he said.

"I would be very interested if the two deny that. I was tasked to write two
letters, one on June 10 and another one on August 5 and Zuma's report was
based on my letter."

The DPM's remarks follow claims by MDC-T that there was no link between
removal of sanctions and appointment of provincial governors.

DPM Mutambara said it had been noted that some ministers and ambassadors
were not making sufficient efforts to call for the removal of sanctions. He
said it was agreed that as members of the GPA, they ought to be "sincere and
bona-fide" in opposing sanctions. The DPM said this would "shame those
countries into compliance" if they had their own agendas when they imposed
the embargo.

"It was agreed after the Maputo (Sadc) Troika meeting, that that effort has
to be linked to the appointment of provincial governors because some of us
have not been calling for their removal. Some ministers, even in their
documents, would not talk of sanctions and if you don't talk of sanctions
you are violating the GPA," said the DPM.

"Some of the ministers and ambassadors - what they say in public was
different from what they say in private. We, therefore, said it should be
done simultaneously and concurrently, but the MDC-T say there is no link.
That is a lie, that's a spin by the MDC-T," he said.

"The MDC-T should prove that they are sincere. Whether they are removed or
not it's another issue but our messages are very important. Let's shame them
by speaking against sanctions. There is no investor who can put his money
when the Head of State for that country is under travel ban."

The DPM said what was critical was to be united as parties to the GPA in
calling for the sanctions to be lifted and this should be done concurrently
with the appointment of provincial governors.

He said the MDC-T was not being called upon to remove sanctions but to make
noise about their removal.

Yesterday the MDC-T dissociated itself from the simultaneous lifting of
sanctions and appointment of governors.

Party spokesperson Mr Nelson Chamisa said the MDC-T was not aware of such a
position.

"We are not aware of such a position as a party. No such bizarre agreement
was made according to a brief we got from the (MDC-T) president (Mr Morgan
Tsvangirai)," he said.

But a senior party official confirmed Mr Tsvangirai briefed the party on the
agreement on his return from Namibia.

Also in his report to the summit, Zuma acknowledged that the three
principals resolved that the sanctions be addressed simultaneously and
concurrently with the appointment of governors.


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Zapu to forge ahead with congress

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/

Written by Steven Nyathi
Thursday, 26 August 2010 15:45

Harare - Dumiso Dabengwa the interim Zapu leader says his party would forge
ahead with holding its national congress that starts on Friday despite being
served with papers stopping them from using the Zapu name, logo and flag.

Agrippa Madlela who is leading the other faction of Zapu on Wednesday lodged
an urgent chamber application with the Bulawayo High Court seeking an order
permanently interdicting Dabengwa's faction from using the party name, logo
and flag in any activity which falls within the framework of their
constitution.

In the court application Number HC 1662/10, Mandlela want Dabengwa to pay
the costs of the suit on an attorney and client scale.

In his founding affidavit, Agrippa Hlangabeza Sheleni Madlela says he is the
president of Zapu, which was registered as a political party since its
revival in 1998.

"It has become clear to the applicant and its leadership that the respondent
and his followers are labouring under a misconception that simply because
they were once members of PF-Zapu before joining Zanu-PF following the Unity
Accord, they can at anytime decide to form a political party using the name
Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu) even though they know fully well that
the said name belongs to the applicant since about 1999," reads part of the
heads of argument.
"The respondent's use of the applicant's name and applicant's party symbol
of a charging black bull in his unconstitutional parallel structure is
causing serious confusion among applicant's members and is threatening
applicant's survival as a political party."

However Dabengwa told the Zimbabwean on Thursday that there was nothing that
would stop the congress.
"We are forging ahead with the congress nothing will stop us. We will deal
with the court order later after the congress.

Dabengwa said his party would enlist the services of police to ensure that
Madlela and his followers do not attend the congress.

Director for communication and marketing, Methuseli Moyo of the Dabengwa led
faction said they would want to make it known that they have "no intention
of succumbing to childish and amateurish blackmail tactics by one Madlela,
of the now defunct ZAPU Federal Party, also known as ZAPU 2000."

"It comes as a surprise that they now want to give an impression that they
need special treatment, simply because they purport to have a party. We have
it on good authority that they have a paltry seven members in their books.
ZAPU has no business negotiating with a seven-member party."
Moyo said party members should remain calm and not be bothered by Madlela's
moves.


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Bread price up

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/

Written by Steven Nyathi
Thursday, 26 August 2010 06:27

Harare - Stakeholders in the confectionery industry have agreed to increase
the price of bread by 10 percent with immediate effect.

The decision to increase the price follows a stakeholders meeting between
the Bakers Association of Zimbabwe, Grain Millers Association and the
National Incomes and Pricing Commission.

The new price of bread will be $1.10 and this is set to present more
problems to retailers and consumers in terms of change as smaller
denominations are scarce.

Bakers Association of Zimbabwe Chairman, Cydwell Chitehwe said players in
the sector have agreed on the price to cushion them against rising wheat costs.

"Bakers agreed on 10% increment taking into account rising imports costs of
wheat," Chitehwe said.

National Incomes and Pricing Commission Chief Executive Officer, Esau Ndlovu
applauded stakeholders for consulting before increasing the price.

Grain Millers Association of Zimbabwe last week warned of the impending
increase in the price of wheat and wheat related products in response to the
global cereal prices that have short up by 80 percent.

Prices on basic commodities that are wheat related are expected to go in the
coming weeks as market players adjust their prices in line with global
trends.

GMA chairperson Tafadzwa Musara said the ban of wheat exports by Russia has
resulted in the shortage of wheat on the global market and as result pushing
prices up.

"As a net importer without cautionary strategic reserve, the local milling
industry has no option but to increase prices of flour and other related
products by 25% of the landed prices," Musara said.


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MDC calls for investigation of Minister Chombo for corruption

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Tererai Karimakwenda
26 August, 2010

The MDC-T on Wednesday called on the coalition government to investigate the
Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development, Ignatius Chombo,
for "abuse of office" over his recent suspension of seven MDC Harare
councilors from office. The party released a statement saying Chombo's act
was illegal and an urgent probe was necessary.

Chombo himself has been under investigation by the councilors for his
alleged illegal acquisition of large plots of land, in a case that has also
implicated ZANU PF businessman Phillip Chiyangwa. It is being suggested that
Chombo initiated a case against the councilors in order to block them from
investigating his corrupt acquisition of council property.

The MDC statement said: "The latest suspensions are nothing but part of
Chombo's grand political plot to stop Harare councilors from investigating
him and Zanu PF's Phillip Chiyangwa after they looted prime council land in
Harare. Chombo's suspensions of the Harare councilors come barely a month
after he suspended another six MDC councillors in Rusape, including the
chairperson."

Simbarashe Moyo, chairperson of the Combined Harare Residents Association,
told SW Radio Africa that the councilors had actually been warned by Chombo
that they would "face the music" for producing a 54-page report that exposed
corruption in the allocation of land in Harare.

As to whether Chombo's suspensions are legal, Moyo said the Urban Councils
Act has not been amended for many years, and it gives the minister powers to
even appoint unelected councilors to run the affairs of cities, which Chombo
has done in some urban areas.

Moyo said: "Harare has unelected councilors who represent special interests
and were appointed by Chombo to be his eyes and ears in what is happening
there."

The MDC is calling for the immediate arrest of Chombo and Chiyangwa for
"stealing council land". The party claimed that the minister has no right to
suspend their councilors while they are investigating him for corruption.

The statement went further to say: "Chombo has also blocked several
investigations in Kwekwe, Chinhoyi and Chegutu that are being carried out by
the councils on senior ZANU PF officials who corruptly acquired council
land. The Local Government Minister should be immediately stopped from
continuing to abuse his national office in pursuit of narrow and partisan
political interests."



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19 days to go and still no GPA implementation

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Alex Bell
26 August 2010

Less than twenty days remain for the unity government to implement 24
outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement, and there is still no
sign of any progress.

The 30 day deadline was set 11 days ago at the SADC Summit in Namibia where
the regional bloc's Defence body, the Troika, apparently endorsed a report
by the facilitator in the Zimbabwe crisis, South African President Jacob
Zuma. Zuma's report suggested that the coalition government be given another
month to implement 24 outstanding issues in the two year old GPA. In his
report to the Troika Zuma said if the agreement on the 24 items was
implemented on schedule, it would lay the basis "for the conviction to grow
that Zimbabwe can reach her goal of holding free and fair elections."

"The parties, assisted by the Troika, should discuss the outstanding
matters. and resolve them within one month as part of a confidence-building
measure, based on appropriate consultation in keeping with Zimbabwe's law
and any other relevant instrument," said Zuma.

The MDC then confirmed that a 30 day deadline had been set. Spokesperson
Nelson Chamisa told SW Radio Africa that the countdown started as soon as
"pen was put to paper" at the Troika meeting before the Summit of regional
leaders.

But 11 days since the Troika endorsed Zuma's report, there is still no sign
of progress. There are only clear indications from ZANU PF that they have no
intention of fulfilling the agreement, with Mugabe stating he would make no
"concessions" to the MDC until targeted sanctions against his party are
lifted.


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Police search for stolen arms in Bulawayo

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Oscar Nkala
Thursday, 26 August 2010 14:47

BULAWAYO - Police in Bulawayo on Sunday set up roadblocks on four major
roads leading into the city where travellers were ordered off buses and
subjected to highly intrusive body searches in which males wearing shorts
under their trousers were asked to lower them until they exposed their
underwear.

The roadblocks come as police intensify efforts to track down armed robbers
who raided Nkulumane Police Station and escaped with an unknown number of
firearms, among them automatic assault rifles, pistols and magazines of
assorted munitions early last week.

The Daily News crew was stopped and searched at a roadblock manned by
Criminal Investigations Department (CID) operatives and the Highway Patrol
at the 22 km peg along the Bulawayo-Johannesburg highway.

At least four buses were parked by the roadside while the passengers were
lined up and frisked by plainclothes officers from top to bottom.

A police officer who searched The Daily News crew said the operation was
activate along all major roads to stem the flow of firearms into the city
where fatal armed robberies have become a daily occurrence.

"All travellers coming along the roads leading into the city from
Johannesburg, Plumtree, Harare and Victoria Falls will be searched
intensively in the coming weeks. We are looking for guns and we search your
body, your bags and your vehicle all around, thats the routine," said the
officer.

Despite widespread protests from travellers, police stopped all cars and
searched diligently. Although there was no official comment from the police,
a senior uperintentendent attached to the crack armed crime stop squad in
Bulawayo said there was concern at the lax controls and lack of monitoring
of the highways as conduits for the guns that terrorise the city.

"The searches seek to limit this free-flow of firearms which are being used
with increasing frequency and fatality in armed crime. We are recording at
least two armed robberies per day and these arms are coming from somewhere.
We also want to recover the weapons stolen from the (Nkulumane) police
armoury last week," she said.

Intensive stop and search operations of suspicious persons and cars within
the towns and on the national highways will soon be added to increase
surveillance, she said.

"There are armed gangs prowling the highways, doing carjackings, offering
people lifts and then robbing them and some target people with broken down
vehicles. So there will be more intrusive searches for such criminals," said
the officer.

The Bulawayo public has of late complained of heavy handed police tactics in
fighting armed crime, particularly the shoot-to-kill policy which recently
led to the police killing of a college student on suspicions of armed
robbery in a suspected case of mistaken identity.

Two other people were shot in the same incident.


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Zimbabwe Youth League urges South Africa to grab mines, land from white farmers

http://www.csmonitor.com/

Youth League leaders from Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF
party urged their counterparts in South Africa's ruling party to seize land
and mines from minority white farmers to 'correct past imbalances.'

By Savious Kwinika, Correspondent / August 26, 2010
Johannesburg, South Africa

When it comes to contentious issues such as how and when to grab land from
South African white farmers, and how and when to nationalize mines, the
ruling African National Congress's Youth League (ANCYL) seeks "words of
wisdom" from its strategic partner to the north, the ruling party of
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

At a National General Council meeting held in a Johannesburg suburb on
Thursday, the ANCYL gave the stage to the Youth League of ZANU-PF, which has
ruled Zimbabwe since 1981, and has been sharing power, reluctantly, with its
main opposition group, the Movement for Democratic Change, since the
elections of April 2008.

As the ZANU-PF speakers urged South Africa to copy its example and "take
land from the white minority," it was clear that many within the ANC Youth
League, including ANC chairwoman Baleka Mbete, were warming up to the idea.

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema is on a campaign to drum up support
to nationalize the country's mines, but the ANC leadership and government
have categorically stated nothing of the sort would happen.
Act 'now or never'

Addressing the conference, ZANU-PF Youth's Secretary for External Affairs,
Tongai Kasukuwere, said land grabs in South Africa as well as the
nationalization of mines should be conducted "now or never."

Mr. Kasukuwere -- who is brother to Zimbabwe's Indigenization Minister
Saviour Kasukuwere, whose policy of redistributing land from white
Zimbabweans to blacks is blamed for scaring investors away from Zimbabwe and
leading to the collapse of its economy -- hogged the limelight at the Youth
League meeting for talking tough like President Robert Mugabe.
Right the wrongs of history, ANC told

He called on South Africa's ruling party to ignore criticism from farmers
and opposition political parties about the likely effects of nationalization
on the nation's economy, and to carry on the task of righting the wrongs of
history.

"As the new generation of Africa, we must seriously consider making our
history by taking what is rightfully ours," Kasukuwere said. "I am talking
about taking land from the white minority in order to correct the past
imbalances as well as nationalizing all mines and natural resources of your
country."

"When blacks make millions of dollars, whites call it corruption, but when
the whites make the money themselves, they call it investment," he said.
"Imperialists have tendencies of undermining Africans, and we should say to
them 'NO'!"

At this, more than 3,000 delegates erupted into applause.

Kasukuwere said "Zimbabwe was vilified left, right and center" when it
embarked on its controversial agrarian reform program in 2000, which left
the country experiencing acute food shortages.
Blueprint for success or failure?

But Kasukuwere insisted that today President Mugabe's land reform program
was bearing fruit.

"After 10 years of economic hardships we are now beginning to reap the
fruits of the land reform," he said. "If you embark on nationalization of
mines, you will definitely reap the results. The imperialists would not
leave you alone, but impose sanctions for alleged lawlessness and breakdown
of the rule of law."

Fiery ANCYL President Julius Malema said there was no going back on the
ANCYL's demands for the nationalization of mines. He said the
nationalization of mines was on top of the ANC agenda in 2012.

"Nationalization of mines is on top of the ANC agenda for 2010," said Mr.
Malema. "We need to also revisit the land reform program if we are to make
our people better."

"We carry a responsibility to transfer wealth from the minority to the
majority and that is not an easy task. We rightfully became very impatient
with those who opposed nationalization of mines," he said. "We are impatient
because it can never be correct that 16 years into democracy, more than 80
percent of the population does not control more than 5 percent of South
Africa's wealth. Africans remain in the margins of our economy, despite the
fact that this economy is built by their labor."


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Hoogstraten-link loan shark wanted by UK police

http://www.newzimbabwe.com


Wanted ... (L-R) Canaan Moyo, Greenbert Nekati and Regis Paradza wanted by Hertfordshire cops

26/08/2010 00:00:00
by Staff Reporters
Ruthless ... Frank Buyanga in photo handout from Hertfordshire police

A LOAN shark believed to have seized up to 500 stands and houses from his customers in Harare has links with the notorious businessman Nicholas Van Hoogstraten, and is wanted by British police over mortgage fraud, New Zimbabwe.com can reveal.

Police in Harare said this week they were investigating Frank Tawanda Buyanga, 34, who has been running an illegal financial services company - Hamilton Finance -- after dozens of people handed over their title deeds to support their borrowing.

Police say people who borrowed money from Buyanga were repaying 10 percent of the sum monthly - and in the event of defaulting, it would be one percent more for everyday the premium was outstanding.

Customers failing to make any further payments have had their surety - mainly in housing stands and properties - forfeited by Buyana.

Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka said: "At least 16 people who have come forward handed him their title deeds for properties worth a combined US$3,675 million."

Investigations by New Zimbabwe.com have revealed that Buyanga is on the wanted list of Hertfordshire police along with three other Zimbabweans - Canaan Moyo, 31, Greenbert Nekati, 28, and Regis Paradza, 47, -- who are wanted on unconnected charges.

Hertforshire police were investigating Buyanga for mortgage fraud relating to properties sold in Corby where he operated a mortgage firm when he fled to Zimbabwe last year.

But Buyanga concealed his UK legal troubles, and his victims would be horrified to learn that he has connections with Hoogstraten - a controversial British property magnate known for ill-treating tenants.

Hoogstraten -- referred to as a "bully" and an "emissary of Beelzebub" by two English judges - was in 2005 ordered to pay the family of slain business rival Mohammed Raja 6 million in a civil suit after a judge found on the balance of probabilities that he hired thugs to murder him "and not merely frightening or hurting him". The Appeal Court had earlier quashed Hoogstraten's 2002 manslaughter conviction for which he had been sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Following Hoogstraten's arrest in Zimbabwe for charging his tenants in foreign currency in January 2008, the Financial Gazette newspaper reported at the time that before entering court, the tycoon thought to be worth 200 million, "met his Zambian business partner Frank Buyanga, who was on hand to give him moral support as he faced trial in a country that he claims to have helped so much."

Why Buyanga posed as a Zambian is unclear. But his ability to dispense large amounts of money ranging between US$2,000 and US$60,000 in at least 40 reported cases, and his focus on real estate, will fuel suspicions that he is a proxy for Hoogstraten.

We have also established that Buyanga registered another company in Zimbabwe, Zimconcepts Limited, which offers to "supply various types of timber -- non-processed and processed -- from Zimbabwe, shipped to any part of the world".

Although both Britain and Zimbabwe are members of Interpol, the two countries have never made a fugitive exchange. When several bankers and political opponents of President Mugabe's government fled to Britain over the last decade, UK authorities rebuffed Zimbabwe's urging to deport them back.

But with more Zimbabweans settling in the UK and some increasingly involved in serious crime, Britain may be forced to rebuild bridges to bring serious offenders to justice.


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Zimbabwe Constitutional Process in Red Again as Donors Question Use of Funds

http://www.voanews.com

Select Committee Co-Chairman Edward Mkhosi said the committee has funds for
allowances but is not in a position at the moment to pay hotels and others
providing services to outreach teams

Irwin Chifera, Patience Rusere & Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington 25 August
2010

Zimbabwe's often-interrupted and frequently disrupted constitutional
revision outreach program faced the risk of being put on hold following a
dispute Wednesday between the parliamentary select committee in charge of
the exercise and international donors funding it.

VOA Studio 7 correspondent Irwin Chifera reported from Harare that the
United Nations Development Fund and parliamentarians met to discuss soaring
costs of the program, in particular invoices from hotels putting up outreach
team that the UNDP was said to have questioned.

Select Committee Co-Chairman Edward Mkhosi said the committee has funds for
allowances but is not in a position at the moment to pay hotels and other
service providers.

Mkhosi told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere that the committee has
asked for another US8 million to cover another month of outreach meetings
around the country. Thousands have been held in smaller cities, towns and
rural areas - but they have not even begun in Harare and Bulawayo.

Outreach team members in Mashonaland West province met in Chegutu on
Wednesday to discuss issues troubling the program, but failed to resolve
differences, sources present said.

Issues included the busing of people from outside localities to public
comment meetings and violence which led to a boycott on Sunday by team
members from the Movement for Democratic Change formation led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Team leader and Kadoma Central parliamentarian Editor Matamisa of the
Tsvangirai MDC grouping told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that
team members will meet with the liaison committee of political part
representatives on Thursday for more talks.

Outreach teams in Midlands province meanwhile have written to the select
committee warning of a possible strike if they are not paid allowances.
Midlands sources said four out of 10 teams went to work today. The 30
Midlands rapporteurs are said to be complaining as well of a lack of
stationery and other basic materials.

Outreach teams in Masvingo have given the select committee until Friday to
pay allowances. Team members there are complaining that because the hotels
they are staying in have not been paid they are obliged to pay for their
own food.

But sources in Matabeleland North and South said outreach meetings will
continue although they face similar problems. Matabeleland sources said team
members in the spirit of patriotism will give authorities a chance to
organize funding and are confident they will eventually be paid.


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Chiwenga’s gun used in armed robbery?

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/

Written by Jane Makoni
Wednesday, 25 August 2010 23:57

Defence forces commander interferes with police investigations

HARARE -
Three armed robbers allegedly used a 303 rifle belonging to Zimbabwe Defence
Forces Commander, Constantine Chiwenga, (Pictured) to rob a house owned by a
Marondera businessman last week.

The businessman was brutally attacked at his home in Paradise Park and
sustained serious head injuries.

“Robbers, suspected to be soldiers, invaded the premises at around 03.45
last Thursday. They woke up a woman living in the cottage and forced her to
request the businessman to open doors to the main house. She was ordered to
tell him that she wanted to be ferried to hospital as she had suddenly
fallen ill. The unsuspecting businessman opened the doors and was hit with
an axe and iron bars. One of the robbers used the butt of a gun to assault
him. The man, who is heavily built and does weight-lifting, fought back and
managed to grab a 303 rifle from the robbers despite bleeding profusely from
the head. The robbers panicked and escaped with some loot,” said a senior
police officer at Marondera Police District Headquarters.

The victim made a report to the police and docket RRB 0951993 was opened,
but investigations have been stalled due to interference by Chiwenga whose
rifle was allegedly used in the robbery.

A Sony 46 inch Television Set, LCD/Plasma, Dell PC, Dell TFT Monitor and
Samsung Digital Camera were among the items stolen.

A source at the police station said: “Investigations established serial
numbers on the rifle used in the robbery matched those of Chiwenga’s
firearm. When contacted to assist police with investigations, Chiwenga
claimed the rifle was stolen by one of his nephews from his Marondera
Whinstone Park House some time ago. This was contrary to unconfirmed reports
that at the time of the robbery, the rifle was still in custody of Chiwenga
at the house.”

Another source at the Mashonaland East Provincial Police Headquarters
revealed Chiwenga later phoned senior police officers at the camp advising
them: “Your junior police investigations officers are bothering me with
stupid and unnecessary probing. This is a petty issue. Tell them to
attribute the robbery to one of my nephews who stole the rifle a few years
ago. Alternatively, the investigating team should shut up and close the
case.”

Investigating officers reportedly probed Chiwenga about whether he reported
the incident of the stolen 303. If so, where was the report made and what
was the RRB number? Chiwenga failed to furnish these details. This resulted
in a deadlock with Chiwenga insisting police should take his side of the
story while investigating officers refused to attribute the robbery to the
said nephew. Given the stalemate, police feared the case could be closed
without arrests. “Investigations have been shelved for now,” said the
source.

Meanwhile, an army source has revealed that soldiers guarding Chiwenga’s
Whinstone Park House are dissatisfied with erratic supplies of rations.

“They claimed they sometimes do not get three decent meals per day.
Compounded with poor salaries which barely meet soldiers’ basic needs,
troops would be tempted to use firearms in criminal activities to make a
living. Chiwenga was desperately trying to down play the robbery case as it
was the tip of an iceberg regarding discontent and indiscipline crippling in
the defence forces due to poor remuneration. Senior officers in the defence
forces continue to enjoy the better chunk of the national cake at the
expense of juniors. Junior soldiers live pauper lives,” the source at Army
Headquarters (KG6) Barracks said.

Like other struggling government workers, soldiers earn an average $150 per
month.

Residents have called on Cabinet and Co-Home Affairs Ministers, Theresa
Makone and Kembo Mohandi, to ensure the Chiwenga 303 rifle saga, is not
swept under the carpet but fully investigated.

“No one should be above the law. In the interest of justice and public
security, the law must run its course. Residents would follow with interest
developments in the high profile armed robbery case. People could not afford
peaceful sleep, when guns under custody of a top gunman on the land continue
to be misused”, said Richard Murenje of Dombotombo.


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Analysis: Death exposes Zim’s superficial unity

http://www.zimonline.co.za

by Edward Jones Thursday 26 August 2010

HARARE – President Robert Mugabe turned down a request to declare National
Healing Minister Gibson Sibanda a national hero, unmasking the deep rifts
that still exist between partners in Zimbabwe’s shaky coalition government
that is preaching reconciliation and unity.

Sibanda, a veteran trade unionist and one of the founding leaders of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in 1999, died this week after
succumbing to cancer at age 66.

His smaller breakaway MDC group had requested Mugabe, who chairs the
Cabinet, to consider according Sibanda national hero status, but this was
quickly turned down and immediately renewed calls to review the process that
critics say has been turned into a partisan affair.

Under the National Heroes Act, Cabinet is the authority vested with powers
to declare heroes, but Mugabe’s Soviet-style ZANU-PF politburo, a clique of
the veteran leader’s loyalists, has since independence in 1980 held sway
over who becomes a hero.

“If you had any doubt that there is no unity among the political parties
despite the pretence by ZANU-PF, this is your evidence,” John Makumbe, a
veteran political commentator and Mugabe critic said.

Not ZANU PF

“There is no doubt that Gibson (Sibanda) is a candidate for national hero
but he was not a member of ZANU-PF politburo.”

The move by Mugabe, whose ZANU-PF politburo took less than fifteen minutes
to declare his sister Sabina a national hero, brought to the fore the
superficial unity within the coalition and thrown open old differences
between the 86-year-old octogenarian and his two coalition partners.

The unity administration, which was formed last year in February after
pressure from the regional Southern African Development Community, has
stabilised the once wrecked economy and reigned hyperinflation but political
intolerance remains high while real unity is ever elusive.

The snub by Mugabe will intensify calls for the country to immediately set
up an agreed multi-party committee that will determine who is accorded hero
status.

“Any meaning of a hero, either a dictionary meaning or political
interpretation would fit Sibanda. There is no debate at all,” Nelson
Chamisa, spokesman in Tsvangirai’s MDC said.

“We once again implore our brothers in ZANU-PF to see reason. Every
Zimbabwean qualifies to be a hero.”

Sibanda was deputy leader of the breakaway MDC faction led by Arthur
Mutambara after falling out with long time comrade, Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai in 2004. The two were compatriots from their days as leaders of
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).

Not one of us

Sibanda, whose gentle demeanour won him friends on both sides of the
political divide, seemed to have paid the price for opposing Mugabe while in
the MDC and more for leading a potent ZCTU that irritated Mugabe when it
carried the country’s most damaging strikes in the 1990s when ZANU-PF was
still entrenched in power.

The MDC is the only party that has ever come close to unseating Mugabe from
power.

Mugabe, whom critics say wants to be a president for life, is known for
keeping grudges and never forgiving adversaries who cross his path.

The majority of heroes buried at the National Heroes Acre in Harare and
around the country’s ten provinces are from ZANU-PF, with a few from Joshua
Nkomo’s PF-ZAPU, which merged with Mugabe’s ZANU-PF in 1987.

“The message from Mugabe is very clear: if you are not one of us (ZANU-PF)
you don’t qualify to be a hero. That smacks of arrogance,” said Makumbe.

A visibly angry Mutambara told journalists in Harare that his party did not
recognise the authority of ZANU PF to declare national heroes or heroines.

“We do not recognise the ZANU PF politburo as an authority in determining
who becomes a national hero, so we reject lock, stock and barrel the
decision by the Zanu PF politburo that Gibson Sibanda is not a national
hero," Mutambara said.

"Robert Mugabe and his party have no authority and locus standi in this
country to determine who is a hero and who is not a hero,” added Mutambara,
who did not indicate whether his party was planning further action over the
matter.

The issue of how to nominate national heroes is one of the outstanding
issues raised by the two MDC formations but an agreement to set up a
committee comprising members from the three political parties in the
government has not been honoured by Mugabe.

Expecting too much

Regional leaders last week avoided confronting Mugabe to honour terms of a
2008 political agreement, and instead set a deadline for the full
implementation of the power-sharing pact.

Mugabe was forced into the power-sharing arrangement when his party lost its
majority in parliament in March 2008 but has always sought to undermine his
partners by treating them as junior members in the government.

He has previously labelled Tsvangirai a “pathetic puppet” and says the MDC
was created by Britain’s political elite to remove him from power as
punishment for seizing white-owned commercial farms to resettle blacks.

“Maybe we need to ask ourselves whether we are not expecting too much from a
man who has never accepted the MDC as an indigenous party,” said Eldred
Masunungure, who chairs local political think tank Mass Public Opinion.

“He is a man with a lot of pride and according Sibanda the status of a hero
would be to embrace the MDC and accept that the party has contributed
something to this country, which he does not accept,” said Masunungure
said. – ZimOnline.


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HOT SEAT: Outgoing Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe

http://www.swradioafrica.com/pages/hotseat200810.htm

SW Radio Africa Transcript

HOT SEAT: Outgoing Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe

BROADCAST: 20 August 2010

Violet Gonda talks to the outgoing Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe Sten Rylander, who discusses his hopes for the GNU and the opening up of political space. He refutes the state owned Herald newspaper report that said he had called for the lifting of the targeted sanctions against the ruling elite, saying; "That is not a direct quote from me. It is incorrect." He also denies allegations that Sweden helped ‘sponsor the split in the opposition vote in the 2008 elections’. The Ambassador believes in the current constitution making process and that the next two months are going to be very important.

farai maguwu

Violet Gonda: Hello and welcome to the programme Hot Seat. My name is Violet Gonda and my guest today is Mr Sten Rylander the outgoing Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

Ambassador, you have concluded your term in Zimbabwe, what would you say you have achieved and do you have any regrets?

Violet Gonda: Hello and welcome to the programme Hot Seat. My name is Violet Gonda and my guest today is Mr Sten Rylander the outgoing Swedish Ambassador to Zimbabwe.

Ambassador, you have concluded your term in Zimbabwe, what would you say you have achieved and do you have any regrets?

Sten Rylander: Well I’m leaving after some few years here and I leave on a note of optimism and positive achievement. We’ve been through so many difficulties and problems but right now I feel that Zimbabwe is turning a corner and that we are on the right track and moving in a better and good direction.

Gonda: There are others who may feel a bit different from what you have said in terms of the achievements you have seen. Can you spell some of them out for us and also, do you have faith in the inclusive government and on what basis?

Rylander: Well of course there are differing views on this but we have the government of national unity up and running although there are some tensions and some lack of implementation still of the Global Political Agreement but the constitution making process is on-going, we have a efforts to heal the nation, healing and national reconciliation also going on. There is much less violence now than what it used to be certainly in 2007 and 2008 which was a very bad and very dark period in Zimbabwe’s history, and we have contacts going on between Zimbabwe and the European Union and the United States about the restrictive measures. They have not yet resulted in a positive outcome but that will come after some time.

Gonda: Critics ask how you can say there is progress when there is still complete arrogance and also disregard of the rule of law and little progress on social issues. How would you respond to that?

Rylander: Well I think that you see some very nasty negative examples still but democratic space is opening up and it’s more tolerant in the society. I certainly see a clear trend in that direction. We have the media reforms coming, we have the media commission up and running, we have permission for the new dailies coming out and hopefully soon also community-based radio, so space is opening up and there is another climate in the country.

Gonda: From your observations, where does power reside in Zimbabwe right now?

Rylander: Well that is a difficult question to answer because we don’t really know but we have the government of national unity, I said they’re supposed to run the country, but we also have the military sector exercising quite a lot of influence I think. And we need to proceed with further reforms in that area in order to reach back to a normal situation. Security sector reform in particular I would think is very important.

Gonda: And you are widely reported as saying that the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe should be lifted immediately as they are not serving any good and this was in the Herald newspaper.

Rylander: That is not the correct quote from me, I never said that. I said that there is a process going on, there’s been a visit by Zimbabwe in Brussels, contacts are going on and I can foresee that after some while and with intensified dialogue on both sides that we could have positive results sooner rather than later. I never called for an immediate lifting of sanctions, I think we need to have some more progress, certainly on the Zimbabwean side. I have pointed out the fact that implementation of the GPA and the solving of outstanding issues is a key factor in this regard.

Gonda: So at what stage do you think the European Union and other western countries, who have imposed the sanctions, should start thinking about this?

Rylander: Well we are thinking about that all the time in various capitols and I think you have picked up that there’s a new government in London for instance, there is some movement in Washington, we are trying to find ways and means to think outside the box. I think we need some more progress though until we can see definite results in this dialogue.

Gonda: What exactly do you mean when you say ‘we need to find ways to think outside the box’?

Rylander: Well I cannot go into that in this interview now. I think we have been stuck on both sides and we’ve been pushed into corners and I think there is a need to realise that the situation cannot continue for long. And on our side I think we need to recognise the fact also that the government of national unity have a solidified unit and common position on this now. That was not the case last year for instance when MDC-Tsvangirai was fairly quiet on the whole issue of so-called sanctions. That has now changed and so there is a common position, we have a common view also in SADC and the region and we need to take that into account I think.

Gonda: And do you believe that conditions in Zimbabwe now warrant some sort of removal of the sanctions?

Rylander: Well I see them coming together on a common position on this and that is a new factor that we need to recognise. What is very important in the next few months is to see how the constitution making process goes and how the healing efforts proceed and so on. I think that is very important.

Gonda: Right and so far, how do you see things in terms of the constitution making process because some of the reports we’ve been getting show that people are still being abused in some of the rural areas in the country?

Rylander: That is true, there have been quite a few examples of negative developments but the overall assessment that I make at this point is that this process is going better than what we had expected and that it is under control and that these difficulties are being dealt with. But I think there are some problems but the main trend I think is positive.

Gonda: How do you respond to people who say Robert Mugabe has stolen elections; he has used extreme violence against his own people and is still being allowed to get away with it?

Rylander: Well I say, as I see it there has been a lot of violence and the elections have not been credible and they’ve not been free and fair, certainly not the last election according to regional observers and so on but it’s been a very, very difficult situation to deal with and the way out in Zimbabwe was to find ways and means for the three parties to negotiate and form the government of national unity. I think it was a good step in Zimbabwe but I cautioned also against this as a problem solving mechanism in Africa as a whole, because if you do that in every situation when you have stolen elections you undermine democracy and you cannot have such situations develop in Africa as a whole.

Gonda: So in what way was it a good step in forming the government of national unity with what you have said?

Rylander: Well because the problems have been so entrenched and there’s been such deep divisions in the country for a long time, for many years and for them to come together to talk about the nation and the problems in the nation and how to solve these problems has been a good thing and that has been, we can see that on a daily basis and also in my interactions with the Prime Minister and Mr Mutambara and others, I can see that they are coming together, they are making it more easy to deal with the national problems.

Gonda: Some senior MDC officials have said that some Nordic countries, especially Sweden, played a role in the delay to a democratic transition by sponsoring the split in the opposition vote in the 2008 elections and that it’s now not a surprise to hear you calling for removal of sanctions right now. What is your response to this?

Rylander: Well I cannot understand, I did not hear this before that we have been sponsoring a division of the opposition. We have been in favour of opening up democratic space, in favour of free and credible elections and that’s the only thing we’ve been going for. We have a close and good relation with all parties along the whole political line.

Gonda: Some in the opposition or in the MDC say that you were a key figure in supporting private talks in South Africa before the formation of the GNU and that it was your alternative approach that helped produce a stalemate. Can you comment on this?

Rylander: I never, never heard that before and I take the strongest exception to that. It is true that there have been platforms operating in South Africa through various organisations that we have been also been supporting but that has been helpful avenue in the difficult road to opening up space and to find a more normal situation in Zimbabwe and the two MDC formations, Dumiso Dabengwa, Simba Makoni, all people who have been involved in this, have been participating in these talks and I think they have found them very valuable and useful.

Gonda: So did you go on a venture to sponsor the Simba Makoni presidential campaign and later on the MDC-Mutambara’s role in the unity government?

Rylander: We have never supported political parties like that. There has never been any direct support to the Mavambo Movement, but I was one of many who looked upon this as an interesting situation when Simba Makoni came out late 2005 and I’ve been following his efforts with a keen interest but there’s been no support as such.

Gonda: You are quoted in the Herald newspaper also saying that the MDC-Tsvangirai’s disengagement from government last year was a major set back to negotiations between Zimbabwe and the European Union. Can you explain?

Rylander: Well it was a set back in the sense that we were just about to strengthen and intensify the dialogue between the European Union and Zimbabwe at the time. Sweden held the EU presidency if you remember from July to December last year and we had a good team in place in Harare and we were trying very hard to find ways and means to reach results but then came the disengagement by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and it meant that there was no counterpart on the other side, the government was not working properly so we lost momentum and we lost some time. For the rest of our EU presidency we couldn’t achieve much so we just had to wait until the government of national unity was back up and running again.

Gonda: But do you not believe their reasons for disengagement were legitimate?

Rylander: I can, I don’t question that, it’s just a statement of fact that it was not possible to pursue the dialogue and to negotiate under these conditions but I’m quite sure that MDC-Tsvangirai had good reasons to do what they did. So I’m not criticising them per se just because of that.

Gonda: Even though they returned to the negotiating table, what progress has been achieved since the time that they disengaged and later went back to work in the GNU? Has there been any progress in terms of the fundamental issues that they were calling for?

Rylander: Not enough progress but what was achieved by the disengagement was that that prompted a much more determined line on the part of SADC and the South African government. If you remember there was a meeting in SADC I think in Mozambique towards the end of the year and it was a much more hands-on effort by SADC and South Africa to help the parties to make further progress, so in that sense you can say that, and there were efforts by the South African mediation to pinpoint the outstanding issues and try to deal with them and that has been a protracted and difficult process ever since but I think after the disengagement we have had more interaction between SADC and South Africa on the one hand and the Zimbabwean parties on the other hand.

Gonda: And in your opinion, what strategy would work right now to resolve the political crisis in Zimbabwe because there is this stalemate.

Rylander: Well I wouldn’t call it a stalemate. They are stuck on some issues but they are still dealing with the outstanding issues, they are discussing them, there are progress here and there, they are discussing electoral reforms for instance and there’s quite a large degree of agreement on those and the commissions are up and running and as I’ve said before, the constitution making process is there. They are also dealing with a very difficult issue about the sale of diamonds and how to deal with that in the future and there we also see some progress although we are a long way from an orderly, transparent and accountable system for that.

Gonda: And on the issue of diamonds that you have just mentioned, do you think that the diamonds in Zimbabwe, which are now being sold, do you think they will benefit the finances of the nation?

Rylander: Well according to what has come out in the media and from my interactions with the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti and others, steps have been taken and some money is now coming into the national fiscus, and you can imagine that this is a very delicate and difficult process and will take some time until you come back to a system that is perfect so this is also progress. What I take note of is that good negotiations and talks are going on and they reach results and there is gradual progress in this.

Gonda: It’s been said that ten percent of the diamonds sold will go to the fiscus. Is this what you are referring to, this ten percent?

Rylander: That is what I am referring to. It’s not all money from this sale coming into the national fiscus but a large step has been taken.

Gonda: Do you think this ten per cent is enough to run the country?

Rylander: No I don’t think so. You want to have a normal situation that you have in other countries. Look at Botswana, look at Namibia, look at South Africa. It’s a long way to go until, and I don’t want to discuss in terms of percentages, but there must be transparency and accountability in this whole operation as it is in most other countries.

Gonda: Right, and you also, you also talked a bit about the constitution, do believe with what you’ve seen on the ground in Zimbabwe so far, believe there’s a chance of Zimbabwe actually having a decent constitution after this process?

Rylander: I believe so, yes. I’m not underestimating the difficulties but I’m rather positively surprised to know by the openness and the process that has taken place so far. I think there is an open debate on many very sensitive issues in most places where these discussions are going on.

Gonda: But is there really an open debate when people are being forced to follow a particular angle, a particular line, especially in the rural areas - where they are being intimidated by war veterans and other partisan groups?

Rylander: Well we have to follow what is happening and these so-called war veterans, some of them are really not very helpful and they must be dealt with. They must not be allowed to disturb the process as has happened on a few occasions already.

Gonda: And do you think more could have been done to express Europe’s view over the rigged elections of 2008 and the consequent violence?

Rylander: Well I think we had done a lot, not only us but in the broad international community has expressed their very firm views about what happened in 2008 and certainly about the widespread violence that we saw, especially in May/June 2008 and that came not only from the so-called west but it came also from the African observer missions and from the South African government.

Gonda: And there have been calls for elections in Zimbabwe, in your view, is Zimbabwe really ready for elections or the only option right now is this inclusive government?

Rylander: I have been cautioning Zimbabwean friends not to rush into new elections too quickly because there is a very great chance that you can slide back into old negative patterns of a lot of violence and so on, but this is for Zimbabweans to decide but my hope is that you lay a good foundation first by having a new constitution, pushing through electoral reforms and then go for elections. That will mean not before end of next year, possibly later, 2012 or so would be a safer solution I think and a better election that would be credible and democratic.

Gonda: And Ambassador Rylander you end your mission in Zimbabwe this week. Lessons learned?

Rylander: Well there are many lessons learned. I’ve been in this region, dealing with this region for 30 years and I lived in southern Africa for 20 years but one lesson that I picked up also in Namibia and other places is that liberation movements have difficulties sometimes to make the transition into a modern democracy and to a democratic party and they have been struggling with that, both the ANC, SWAPO, ZANU and so on and that has been very interesting to follow and I think there’s been particular difficulties here in Zimbabwe on that score.

Gonda: And a final word?

Rylander: I wish this nation good luck and I really hope that the positive trends that we see now in the direction of coming together as a nation and national healing that this will continue during the next year or two. That will be very critical for Zimbabwe.

Gonda: Where to from here? Are you going to another country or what next for you?

Rylander: I’m going back home and I will retire very soon. Early next year in February I’ll reach the upper limit, age limit, 67 so then I will retire and I will have more time to nurture my African roots and reflect on my vast experiences from this region.

Gonda: Thank you very much Ambassador Sten Rylander for speaking to us on the programme Hot Seat.

Rylander: Thank you.

Feedback can be sent to violet@swradioafrica.com


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Ireland's Zimbabwe tour confirmed

http://www.cricinfo.com

Cricinfo staff

August 26, 2010

Ireland's trip to Zimbabwe has been confirmed, and in addition to the
Intercontinental Cup match against Zimbabwe XI, three one-day internationals
between the senior national teams have been arranged. All of the games will
take place in Harare, with the four-day fixture starting on Monday September
20. The ODIs follow on September 26, 27 and 30.

Zimbabwe withdrew from Test cricket in 2006 and were subsequently admitted
to the Intercontinental Cup on the understanding that Zimbabwe XI's four
home games would be played at neutral venues. But along with the relative
political stability in the country, Zimbabwe Cricket has worked hard to
improve its structures after divisive squabbling between players and
administrators had wrecked cricket in the country.

There had been some speculation as to whether Ireland would make the trip at
all, and for a time there had been a possibility that the Intercontinental
Cup fixture would take place in South Africa. But both Kenya and Afghanistan
recently played their Intercontinental Cup matches in the country, and
Zimbabwe also hosted Sri Lanka and India in a one-day tri-series in June
this year, so the pressure on Ireland to make the trip was always going to
be immense. Now that their tour has been confirmed, it is almost certain
that Scotland - who are scheduled to play Zimbabwe XI in the middle of
October - will also make the trip.

Zimbabwe XI are currently in third place behind Afghanistan and Scotland in
the Intercontinental Cup having drawn against Afghanistan and beaten Kenya,
Netherlands and Canada. Ireland are fifth on the points table after draws
against Scotland and Kenya and a loss to Afghanistan at Dambulla.

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