The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Robert Mugabe off to Tehran

By Sports Reporter 4 hours 5 minutes ago

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe left the country on Sunday for Tehran, Iran
to attend the 16th Non-Aligned Movement summit.
He was seen off at Harare International Airport by Vice President Joice
Mujuru, several government ministers, service chiefs, senior government
officials and the Iran Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Mr Mohammad Pournajaf and
members of his family and embassy staff.

Other members of the delegation who include Foreign Affairs Minister
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and the Secretary for Media, Information and
Publicity, George Charamba travelled ahead of the President.

The 16th NAM summit will be held in three phases namely the preparatory
senior officials phase, the ministerial level meeting and the summit of the
heads of state.

Leaders from 120 countries will discuss a wide range of issues in the
political, social and economic spheres and the Palestinian problem.

The summit will be held under the theme: ‘Lasting peace through joint global

The NAM summit is held every three years in a member country and the last
one was held in the Egyptian Red Sea Coastal City of Sharm El-Sheikh in July

Joice Mujuru is the Acting President.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Robert Mugabe 'unable to stay awake during meetings'

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's octogenarian president, has become a liability and
must be replaced urgently because he is unable to stay awake in vital
meetings, one of the country's senior politicians has said.

By Aislinn Laing, Johannesburg6:10PM BST 27 Aug 2012

Welshman Ncube, leader of the smaller of the MDC's two factions in uneasy
coalition with Mr Mugabe's Zanu PF since 2009, complained that Mr Mugabe's
penchant for napping was making Zimbabwe a laughing stock.
He claimed that the 88-year-old president, who has led Zimbabwe since
independence in 1980, had to be woken up by Michael Sata, the Zambian
President and his staunch ally, during one session of the recent Southern
African Development Community summit in Maputo, Mozambique.
One of the main topics up for discussion at the summit was Zimbabwe's
progress towards a referendum on a new constitution and elections expected
next year.
"If you are strong and young, you sleep in a dignified way, but his whole
body collapses when he sleeps," he told supporters at a rally near the
southern city of Bulawayo on Saturday.
"You sleep to a point that you are woken up by an equally old Sata as early
as 9am, who would tell other leaders: 'let us wake Mugabe he is sleeping'.
You think that person can rule Zimbabwe?"

The outburst by Professor Ncube, who is also Minister of Industry and
Commerce, is rare among Zimbabwean politicians who generally maintain a
polite silence about Mr Mugabe's well-known tendency to doze.
But Prof Ncube said the issue was one of national importance and had to be
"The question is when we remove Mugabe, who we will replace him with? We
need fresh leaders with power and strength who you do not have to look at
and check if they are still awake," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA Facilitators expected as constitutional process stalls

By Tererai Karimakwenda
22 August 2012

The chief facilitator on the Zimbabwe crisis, South Africa’s President Jacob
Zuma, or representatives from his facilitation team, are expected in Harare
by the end of the week, to try and resolve the current crisis that has
stalled the constitution reform exercise.

This is according to Nhlanhla Dube, spokesperson for the MDC-N, who insisted
that their party will not allow any more concessions to ZANU PF over the
draft constitution.

Amendments proposed by ZANU PF were “received with great disappointment” and
rejected by the National Executive of the MDC-T, after an extensive meeting
that was held Friday at their Harvest House headquarters in Harare.

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora told reporters that the national
executive would not accept a new draft charter, meaning the draft agreed to
by all parties and submitted to the principals is the version that should go
to the second All Stakeholders Conference and be voted on in a referendum.

The ZANU PF politburo met again for an extraordinary session on Saturday to
decide on the way forward, following rejection of their amended draft
charter by the two MDC formations. After the meeting the Politburo said it
had endorsed the amendments and that the changes were ‘final and non

But Nhlanhla Dube said they would “stick to their guns” and not agree to
renegotiate the draft charter which they already adopted. “Zimbabweans can
be assured we will speak for them and let ZANU PF know we will not negotiate
all over again,” Dube insisted.

He added that the MDC formations had conceded enough during negotiations
that led to the draft currently in the hands of the principals. “We were
told ZANU PF decided to leave it to the principals. We hope they agree to
move forward with the current draft,” Dube said.

Asked whether this is the time when a facilitator would be needed, Dube
said: “We have indications that one form or the other of President Zuma’s
team will be here this week. That should help because SADC wants to move
According to the Herald newspaper, the politburo was also supposed to tackle
the issue of by-elections that are pending in over 38 constituencies, where
vacancies exist due to deaths or expulsion of legislators that have occurred
since 2008.

Robert Mugabe faces a Friday deadline imposed by the Supreme Court last
month to call for the by-elections.

We were not able to contact the MDC-T spokesperson for comments.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

SA judges urged to uphold rule of law in Zim land case

By Alex Bell
27 August 2012

South African judges are being urged to set a regional precedent by
upholding the rulings of the regional human rights court, as they deliberate
on an appeal by the Zim government over the unlawful land grab campaign.

The South African Supreme Court of Appeal on Monday heard an appeal by the
Zim government against a ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in 2010,
which recognised and upheld the jurisdiction of the regional human rights
The case stemmed from the Tribunal’s 2008 ruling that the land grab in
Zimbabwe was unlawful, which the Zim government has ignored.

This forced Zimbabwean commercial farmers and South African citizens Louis
Fick, Mike Campbell and Richard Etheredge to seek legal recourse in South
Africa, because Zimbabwe had refused to compensate them for the loss of
their land. The South African High Court in 2010 ruled in favour of the
farmers, enforcing the Tribunal ruling and recognising the court’s
jurisdiction. The Court also ruled that a Cape Town property owned by the
Zim government should be ‘attached’ for auction, to cover the government’s
debt to the farmers.

But this decision was then appealed by the legal team representing the Zim
government and that appeal was heard on Monday.

Ben Freeth, who is the late Campbell’s son-in-law, was in court on Monday
and he told SW Radio Africa that he is “confident that justice will be

“The judges will make a decision soon and I am very confident of what their
decision will be. They are setting a very important precedent here,” Freeth

The Tribunal was suspended almost two years ago over the land ruling and
SADC leaders are now set to reform the court, but with limited human rights

Freeth explained that the suspension “doesn’t effect the full and binding
judgement we got in 2008.”

“I still believe that one day we will see justice. The judges today (Monday)
will be setting a very important precedent by upholding the Tribunal
ruling,” Freeth said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF denies link to gangs terrorizing minibus drivers

By Tererai Karimakwenda
27 August 2012

A ZANU PF official in Harare has denied the party’s alleged links to violent
gangs terrorizing minibus drivers at bus ranks, claiming they are using ZANU
PF’s name but are just “people trying to soil the name of the party”.

There have been reports about the violent ZANU PF thugs who are forcing
minibus drivers in the capital to pay daily protection fees to operate on
certain routes. Party structures are now trying to distance themselves from
their activities.

Speaking to the state run Herald newspaper last Tuesday the ZANU PF
information secretary for Harare, Claudious Mutero, sought to explain that
these gang members were not party members: “They are just using the name of
our party. We do not get money as a party from the ranks.”

The protection fees vary, but the average at some ranks is said to be $2 per
trip per kombi. According to the Herald some of the thugs have become rich
overnight and are known as “Mandimbandimba”. They employ runners who collect
the cash, which can average over $1,000 per day.

The Herald did not mention the most well-known of these gangs, the notorious
Chipangano from the Mbare high-density suburb. Chipangano is known to be
under the leadership of ZANU PF’s youth chairman for Harare , Jim Kunaka.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa explained that bus drivers and
market vendors in Harare know that the thugs being alluded to by the Herald
are linked to Chipangano. He said the gang has a history in Harare, which
started around 2003 when ZANU PF officials used them for political

“The gang was started by Tony Gara and Savanhu. But ZANU PF leaders started
directing the activities of the gang and using them to take away people’s
houses, market stalls and businesses. They became ruthless thugs and the
police were not allowed to arrest them,” Muchemwa said.

Their activities grew into a very profitable business and according to our
correspondent greed has led to factionalism, with ZANU PF chefs fighting for
control of the territory.

Muchemwa said ZANU PF is now trying to distance the party from the rows and
violence that are taking place.

“At each rank, over five groups share different routes. The big guns have
since ditched high-density suburbs for the tranquil low-density areas and
are driven around in taxis and sleek cars,” the Herald said.

Muchemwa confirmed that many of the gang leaders have become wealthy and
drive around in posh cars. And since they also bought minibuses, they find
themselves being forced to pay protection fees to the bosses they used to
work for. This is causing many rows between officials in the same ZANU PF

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare show attendance falls by 40 percent

Monday, 27 August 2012 00:00
Herald Reporter
Attendance at the 102nd Harare Agricultural Show declined by 40 percent from
last year with about 100 000 people passing through the gates during the
show period. While many parents were more reluctant to take families after
the disappearance and suspected murder of a child last year, accounting for
a large part of the decline, Zimbabwe Agricultural Society public relations
manager Mrs Heather Madombwe yesterday attributed the decline to changes in
The show, officially opened by Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Mothoahae
Thabane, ran from August 17 to 25.
“There was a sharp decline which we are attributing to the dates.
“Most people get paid at the end of the month and it means during the time
we held our show, most people did not have excess resources.”
She said there was need for the Show Society to change the dates.
“We need to play around with the dates and bring them to the end of the
month because that is when most people would have been paid,” she said.
The society charged adults US$5 while children paid US$1 to enter the
exhibition park.
Mrs Madombwe, however, said the show was a re-sounding success despite the
low turnout.
“We are happy that at least people came and we are also satisfied by the
“Moreover, we had a minimum number of criminal incidents and lost children
except minor cases.
“In all the cases, lost children were quick to reunite with their parents
and guardians. This was as a result of our beefed up security,” she said.
This year ZAS had a surveillance system, the Closed Circuit Television
(CCTV), monitoring criminal activities.
This followed the disappearance of Gift Matapure last year at the Exhibition
His remains were found at the same venue a few months after he disappeared.
Mrs Madombwe said the Amusement Park would be open through out the year at
the Exhibition Park.
“Those still in possession of tickets which they should have used during the
show should come and use them. We will open from 10:30 am to 6 pm,” she
The show attracted more than 700 exhibitors. They also included foreign
exhibitors from Italy, South Africa, China and Namibia.
Speaking during the official opening last Friday, ZAS president Dr Dobbie
Mupawose said exhibitors in the agricultural produce and livestock sections
had improved tremendously.
“The show is supposed to be a learning experience for exhibitors and it is
clear that this leaning experience is bearing fruit.
“They (exhibitors) have embraced the idea of competition and have improved
the quality,” he said.
Dr Mupawose paid tribute to foreign exhibitors saying it showed Zimbabwe had
a huge potential to grow economically. “We look forward to further interest
from international organisations.
“Zimbabwe is a great destination. As a Society we are actively investigating
the promotion of renewable energy and we have encouraged exhibits from
organizations that are oriented towards renewable energy," he said.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Zimbabwe Prison Services and Premier
Services Medial Aid Society dominated the ZAS awards for commercial stands
THE ZDF represented by General Constantine Chiwenga won best stand exhibit
by the Zimbabwe Security Services and the best exhibit by a Government,
municipal or statutory body involved in manufacturing, producing or
marketing services.
ZPS commissioner Rtd Major General Paradzai Zimondi was also urged to lock
all criminals by Guest Of Honour Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane after
collecting the Best Product and Service Marketing award and the best overall
PSMAS group public relations executive Ms Mavis Gumbo and her entourage of
officers Mr Arthur Choga and Mrs Sarah Muchinenyika collected two trophies.
The group won the ZNCC small commercial exhibitor and the best exhibit in
the healthcare section.
Several other exhibitors including individuals also collected a variety of
prizes during the official opening ceremony on Friday last week.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Deported criminals terrorise Beitbridge

26/08/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

OFFICIALS in Beitbridge have expressed concern over the “haphazard
deportation” of criminals from South Africa blaming the felons for fueling
crime in the border town.

South Africa has stepped up deportations of illegal immigrants in recent
months but Beitbridge border post assistant regional immigration manager,
Charles Gwede, said the deportees were not being vetted to fish out

“South African authorities are supposed to deport ex-convicts separately,
but sadly we continue to receive them under a mixed batch and that is now a
major challenge," he said.

“They are supposed to be vetted first and then categorised accordingly
because most of them end up engaging in criminal activities.”

Last week more than one thousand Zimbabweans through Beitbridge, bringing to
about 35,000 the number of illegal immigrants sent back home since the
exercise last year October when South Africa resumed removals of illegal

“We received 1,207 deportees this week who were brought in through
Beitbridge Border Post aboard buses,” Gwede said.
“We have so far handled 35,031 deportees since the exercise resumed on 7
October last year. Between 1 January and 24 August, 27 276 Zimbabweans were
brought back home,” he said.

The latest batch of deportees was brought in aboard seven buses from the
main Lindela Detention Centre outside Johannesburg.
On arrival in the country, the returnees are received by the immigration
authorities at the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Beitbridge
Reception and Support Centre where they are vetted to establish whether they
are bona fide Zimbabweans.

IOM then offers the deportees overnight accommodation, medication, food and
transport to proceed to their respective homes. The IOM center has capacity
to accommodate 600 people at any given time.

However, some of the deportees turn down any form of assistance from the IOM
and most cross back into South Africa illegally through undesignated entry
points along the Limpopo River.

Gwede said several border jumpers were taking advantage of the drop in water
levels in the Limpopo River to illegally cross the border through
undesignated entry points.

“We are saying there is a need to intensify border patrols to reduce border
jumping,” he said.
“We have realised that of late there has been a sharp increase in the number
of people capitalising on the drop in water levels to cross the Limpopo
River into South Africa.

“But we would like to warn people against using undesignated entry points as
they risk being attacked by robbers who operate in bushy areas along the

Since the deportations started, the Beitbridge immigration department has
been receiving an average of 80 people on less busy days with the number
increasing to more than 500 mostly on Tuesdays and Thursdays when the
Lindela Detention Centre would is cleared for new arrivals.

Resumption of the removalss marked the end of an amnesty for illegal
Zimbabwean immigrants staying in South Africa that ran from May 2009 to July
this year.

Rights groups estimate that about a million Zimbabweans moved to South
Africa over the last few years to escape a biting economic crisis back home.

Over 275,000 of them have since regularised their stay in the country but
many remain undocumented.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Human waste litters Harare CBD

by The Standard on August 27, 2012 in Environment

I am sure those that have had first-hand experience will agree with me that
having to clean up excretion belonging to even a child is not exactly a
pleasant task. Now imagine if you had to clean up excretions from adult
people you do not even know!

Environment with Chipo Masara

I know what you are going to read about will, to some, appear somewhat
far-fetched and maybe even a little exaggerated.
I wish it was.
When I heard about it, I too initially thought there could have been some
elements of exaggeration by the city cleaners that I talked to, until they
offered (if I was strong enough to go through the exercise) to show me the
glaring evidence.
Two Harare City cleaners, who requested anonymity, took me by the commuter
omnibus station at corner Albion and Kaguvi Street.
Behind the stationed buses was an insurmountable amount of human faeces
lying in a pool of urine, while scattered all over, was mostly plastic
bottles filled with a liquid which was confirmed by the cleaners to be
Many carelessly discarded empty kaylite containers could also be seen
mingling with the urine and faeces.
“I know cleaning up the city is what I signed up for; it is my job and I am
proud of it, but this (excretions) is not what I signed up for. This is what
we have to deal with everyday. I really fear for my health every day,” one
of the cleaners said, while her workmate nodded in full agreement.
We proceeded to the Copa Cabana bus station and what I saw there was very
much disheartening. By the time I was done, I was feeling immensely
My two guides assured me that what I had just witnessed was a true
representation of the situation throughout the city.
I then tried to put myself in these cleaners’ shoes and honestly, I could
not help seeing the injustice in the situation. It left me wondering what
had happened to make people exhibit behaviour associated with stray dogs or
wild animals.
I was taught from a very tender age that no matter how pressed I got, I
could only relieve myself in the safety of a toilet, and nowhere else. Of
course there would be some rare occasions when one would be forced to
relieve at an inappropriate place, but this would normally be by some bushy
secluded spot.
This is why I cannot begin to fathom how a normal adult human being can find
it proper to not only urinate, but actually defecate right in the middle of
the capital city!
We have often talked of our on-going battle with litter and how some people
among us are comfortable going around throwing their litter everywhere.
Some initially argued that the litter scourge was as a result of city
cleaners not doing their job, which later turned out to be untrue. In fact,
city cleaners clean up every day, but people keep on littering.
Although I feel that cleaning up papers, plastics, bones, and stuff like
that is somewhat understandable, expecting them to deal with peoples’ urine
and faeces is highly unfair.
Considering this situation, one can see why Zimbabwe has been battling with
a persistent typhoid scourge. As long as this situation persists, I foresee
the health problems staying put.
It is surely time city by-laws were re-visited in a more serious manner so
Zimbabweans can once again know what to do and what not to do in public. But
more urgent is the issue of city cleaners’ health.
Cleaning up human excretion on the streets is honestly not what they signed
up for!

Kombi operators main culprits: cleaners

City cleaners singled out the commuter omnibus operators as the main
culprits, which was believable considering that the bulk of the excretion is
found at their spots, and because they generally appear quite unbothered by
such an environment.
Night entertainment spots were also said to be trouble spots.
The commuter operators I later talked to, although not admitting guilt to
public excretion, blamed the practice on the lack of sufficient public
toilets in the city.
They added that the exorbitant prices charged to use some public toilets
were out of their reach.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

When will these water woes end?

Monday, 27 August 2012 00:00
Jeffrey Gogo Climate Story

THE scarcity of clean, safe drinking water in Harare, and indeed, most parts
of Zimbabwe is the new battleground for accelerated social distress and
chaos. Enough cannot be said about its dangerous impacts on human health.
Some 4 000 people died in the cholera outbreak of 2008/09 and more than 100
000 were affected.
The acute shortage of water, water pollution and reduced access to improved
sanitation is a nightmare for those in public offices.
Already, it is a nightmare reaching boiling point for those households daily
robbed of precious sleep to join long slow-moving queues early in the
morning or late into the evening with buckets and plastic containers to
fetch water at council offices, shallow wells or contaminated public
With two-thirds of the world population expected to be without clean water
for consumption by 2025, according to UN estimates, politicians and
authorities responsible for the provision of water in Zimbabwe must deliver
on their promises; they must fulfil their mandates for holding public
Water is viewed as a basic human right, paramount for socio-economic
development and everybody wants it, clean.
However, worldwide, unsafe water is rather “popular” causing four billion
cases of diarrhoea annually and killing 2,2 million people mostly children
under five years, says the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Here, the battle for water has already begun. Increased water demand versus
unmatching production levels, aided by the effects of climate change and
global warming are a powerful destabilising factor in the socio-political
The crisis is central in Harare and its satellite towns of Chitungwiza, Ruwa
and Norton, where residents are stampeding for water among themselves, and
regularly running battles with the city council.
Harare is producing only half of the required 1,2 million megalitres of
water daily due to high treatment costs.
Rates and rent paying residents, even those in serious arrears, do not care.
They want to see clean and safe drinking water running through their taps
daily without disruption.
Desperation for residents
There are four children and five adults staying at the house next to my
parents’ in Dzivarasekwa in Harare.
They all live in a small two-bedroomed house with a single squatting toilet
that also functions, as the bathroom.
Three of the kids are above four years of age but below eight. The other is
at high school.
These children share a lot in common, but what stands prominent is the
frequency (and love, and joy) with which they all visit the lavatory, for
bath and other essential uses, often times, as a group.
The water problem in Dzivarasekwa over the past two months has changed the
children’s story in a lot of ways.
Group toilet visits have not completely stopped. They occur still, but
perhaps infrequently and indiscriminately.
Toilet use for hard core purposes is now a luxury. But, of course, children
being children, they don’t know that.
They pay little attention to the absence of water as a critical resource and
input for any toilet use, and when it has got them, it has got them.
Eventually, they are exposed to disease including cholera, typhoid and
Mrs Tsitsi Chitsenga, a widow and head of the family next door, said the
shortage of water was a major challenge.
She said the fight between people desiring to use the “waterless” lavatory
and it being in an unusable state, was of little effect as children still
use it in those unhygienic conditions.
Mrs Chitsenga was concerned about the reduced levels of hygiene and
sanitation caused by the scarcity of water saying this was a perfect
breeding ground for disease.
There is not sufficient clean water available for drinking and performing
other critical household duties such as laundry.
Typically, this is the story for most households in Dzivaresekwa today, and
other high-density areas who now go for up to 12 hours daily without water,
and when available it is visibly dirty.
In some parts of the suburb, water supplies are continuously absent for an
entire 24 hours.
Health officials at the Dzivarasekwa local clinic
said there had been an upsurge in the number of people
complaining of water-related illness, such as diarrhoea.
Dzivarasekwa has also been the epicentre of a typhoid outbreak reported in
the city earlier in the year.
The situation is desperate for Dzivarasekwa residents, and despite
assurances by the Harare City Council to connect the township directly to
the main water reservoir to ease problems, that has not materialised.
It is an accident waiting to happen, whose impact will certainly boomerang
to other troubled cities.
Harare’s misplaced priorities
But, in a lot of areas, Harare City Council has failed, terribly. Raw sewage
runs freely in most of the city’s high-density areas.
We know of areas where this has been happening without correction for many
This is the sewage that eventually finds its way into Lake Chivero, Harare’s
main water source, and together with other industrial waste stand, as the
main sources of pollution in the lake.
This is also why the city’s water treatment costs are so high, failure to
effectively control pollution of Lake Chivero, which could be said with a
great degree of accuracy to be home-made through the council’s own
The Harare City Council spent several millions of dollars building a
mini-hotel for the mayor in Gunhill.
The so-called mayoral mansion consists of 15 bedrooms all en suite plus
numerous other petty luxuries.
Apparently, the expensive mansion is now a white elephant. Harare Mayor Mr
Muchadeyi Masunda refused to stay at the house for obvious reasons.
However, greater conflict is brewing if nothing concrete is put in place now
to address the water situation.
Statistics from the Ministry of Water show that access to safe water and
sanitation in Zimbabwe has declined over the past 10 years.
In the rural water supply and sanitation sector, levels of access have
decreased from over 90 percent in 1999 to around 70 percent for safe water
and 30 percent to 25 percent for sanitation in 2004.
These figures, however, do not reflect the high rate of breakdowns estimated
at 65 percent in 2004 of rural water points.
There is talk of Kunzvi Dam in Goromonzi coming on board in three to four
years time to augment Harare’s erratic water supplies.
That plan has been around for so many years, and like Thomas, we will
believe it when we see the project come alive.
So, strictly speaking, Harare is devoid of a functional plan to improve
water supplies, reduce pollution at Lake Chivero except continuing with its
health-threatening rationing of water.
We understand also that it is everyone’s responsibility to use water wisely,
preserve it and avoid pollution. Residents and other commercial consumers
must also play their part.
Rainwater harvesting would be equally important. But the principal
responsibility lies with the water authorities and central Government to
avert future social unrest caused by the water crisis from becoming
God is faithful.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Econet expanding capacity to 10 million

27/08/2012 00:00:00
by Business Reporter

ECONET Wireless Zimbabwe said Monday it was taking delivery of new equipment
as part of an investment that will see network increased capacity to 10
million subscribers.

The company said the expansion drive would see its investment in Zimbabwe
exceed US$1 billion since it launched its operations in July, 1998.

“Shipment of the equipment, which began in the last few days, was expected
to continue well into next year. The equipment is being supplied by Ericsson
of Sweden and the Chinese telecom equipment manufacturer ZTE,” the company
said in a statement.

“The new expansion drive by Econet is also expected to see its investment in
Zimbabwe exceed $1 billion, the largest ever in the country's history. It
follows the approval by the Econet board to "mop up" the remaining demand
for lines in the Zimbabwe market.”

Econet is Zimbabwe’s largest telecoms company with about 6.5 million
subscribers, representing nearly 70 percent of the country’s mobile market.
Its rivals include Telecel Zimbabwe, in second place, and the state-owned
NetOne which is ranked third.

A dispute over interconnection fees saw Econet cutting off NetOne last week.
But the spat only lasted briefly after NetOne challenged the decision at the
High Court.

Econet claims its rival refuses to remit US$20 million in interconnection
fees, a charge denied by NetOne.
Meanwhile, Econet said it was also stepping up efforts to diversify into new
business areas that depend on its network such as the mobile banking
platform EcoCash which the company describes as one of its largest
investment efforts to date.

“Econet is developing EcoCash to address the acute shortage of cash in the
economy by making it easier to buy and sell goods without the need for
cash,” the company said.

“Another major new business area is the provision of solar powered lighting
which depends on the cell phone network.
A new service, called the Home PowerStation, has also gone into full
pre-commercial trials in Zimbabwe for the first time.

Econet said this product was expected to light up many homes in the rural
areas by Christmas.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Angry ethanol plant workers rough-up Mangoma

27/08/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

IRATE villagers, workers and local war veterans threatened to beat up Energy
Minister Elton Mangoma Sunday blaming him for the closure of the US$600
million ethanol plant at Chisumbanje which has left thousands of workers at
risk of losing their jobs.

Mangoma was part of a cabinet delegation led by Deputy Prime Minster Arthur
Mutambara which visited the plant as part of efforts to help revive the
stalled project.

But cabinet colleagues had to intervene to save Mangoma as angry villagers
verbally abused the MDC-T minister and threatened to beat him up as tempers
flared over the closure of the company which had created thousands of jobs
for locals.

Mangoma has refused to budge over pleas by the company for the introduce
mandatory blending of ethanol and petrol. He says there is no justification
for forcing all motorists to use the company’s products adding Green Fuel,
which is promoting the project, had also failed to justify its prices.

The stand-off resulted in the company shutting down the Chisumbanje plant
after exhausting storage capacity having stockpiled some 10 million litres
of product.

And on Sunday employees as well as local villagers laid into Mangoma,
accusing him of sabotaging the project for political reasons.
“You invited sanctions to this country and now you are inviting sanctions to
Chisumbanje. You come from Nyanga and you are coming to close our plant
here. Go and build your own plant in Nyanga and we will not bother,” one of
the villagers charged.

Another villager added: “Last time we read in the newspapers that you
(Minister Mangoma) went to Mozambique to negotiate a power deal of 21
megawatts. We are saying why are you not introducing mandatory blending and
we will produce those 21 megawatts here?”

But a visibly emotional Mangoma denied the charges, insisting the Green Fuel
had failed to address various issues raised by the government.

“The reason I went to Mozambique was that we owe them money. We have enough
electricity in the country. This country has no shortage of petrol and no
one has gone to any garage and failed to get petrol,” he said.

“You should not be told lies that there is anybody opposed to the plant. All
we want is for the company to address important issues first, like giving
land to resettle those whose land was taken away by the company.

“We should not force people to buy their (Green Fuel) product. Their product
is expensive and I have advised them to reduce it,” he said.

Unconvinced, the crowd continued to jeer the minister with some threatening
to beat him up, resulting in Presidential Affairs Minister Didymus Mutasa
intervening to try and calm the tempers.

“Let us not kill our project because of emotions. This project has brought
development in this area with people building houses and business is
booming,” he said.

One of the project’s promoters, businessman Billy Rautenbach warned that the
investors were running out of funds due to the disagreements over mandatory

“We can produce the best in Africa and what we want is mandatory blending to
force oil companies to buy Zimbabwean products,” he said.

“On the issue of land we want to develop what we promised to the people but
my wallet is now empty.”

The project is a joint venture between the agricultural parastatal ARDA and
private firms Arda, Macdom and Rating Investments.

The investors say mandatory blending could help save the country millions of
dollars annual in fuel imports.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mnangagwa Grabbed Mugabe By The Collar:Wikileaks

Harare, August 27, 2012 - Defence Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa, reportedly
grabbed President Robert Mugabe by the collar after a heated augment over
the possibility of ceding greater powers to Prime Minister Morgan
Latest Wikileaks cables said Mugabe’s bodyguards intervened and assaulted
Mnangagwa – injuring him in the process.

The cable, released Friday, was wired by then US ambassador to Zimbabwe,
James McGee on 2 October 2008.

It said Mnangagwa, who had somehow become a key player in the negotiations
for an inclusive government, allegedly grabbed Mugabe by the lapels after a
heated argument over the possibility of ceding the Ministry of Home Affairs
to the MDC-T.

Mnangagwa was reportedly forcibly subdued by Mugabe’s body guards and was
injured to the point that he had to be hospitalised.

The United States embassy admitted, however, that it was unable to confirm
the physical altercation between Mugabe and Mnangagwa, but said there was a
serious rift between the two over the allocation of ministries.

The embassy said Mnangagwa was against allowing any of the security
apparatus to pass to the MDC- T.

The ministry is currently being shared between the two parties.

Defence Forces chief Constantine Chiwenga and Central Bank governor Gideon
Gono were also reportedly opposed to the handing over of the Ministry of
Home Affairs to the MDC.

“Sources have also told us that defense forces chief Constantine Chiwenga
and Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono are opposed to the MDC assuming
responsibility for home affairs,” McGee said in the cable.

“They fear the ministry and police would investigate them for corrupt
activities. As for finance, the finance minister, in consultation with the
president, appoints the Reserve Bank governor. Zanu (PF), Gono, and top
military officials, including Chiwenga, realise that loss of the finance
ministry would likely be an end to the corrupt patronage system.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Response Strategy for Food Insecurity in Zimbabwe 2012/2013

Executive Summary

The food security situation is deteriorating in Zimbabwe. Late and erratic rains, poor agricultural practices, constrained access to inputs, and a reduction in planted area have all contributed to reducing the national cereal harvest by 33 percent this year. Economic challenges, including a lack of diversified livelihoods and the rising cost of living, have also contributed to the food-insecurity and incomeinsecurity situation, which is likely to worsen as the lean season progresses. Over the last several weeks,

WFP offices around the country have reported signs of distress, including high food prices and empty silos and granaries, pointing to an increasingly critical situation. During the peak hunger period of January to March 2013, over 1.6 million people will be in need of food assistance, according to the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment (ZimVAC) rural livelihoods assessment report.

WFP, in close collaboration with the government and other stakeholders, will scale up operations to meet the growing need. WFP’s responsive mix includes:

• In-kind food distributions with regionally procured cereals, combined with imported vegetable oil and pulses

• Cash transfers in targeted and appropriate areas using the Cash for Cereals modality

• Logistics support for a potential in-kind maize contribution from the Strategic Grain Reserve through a twinning arrangement

WFP aims for a harmonized approach between the Government, donors and the UN. In June 2012,
USAID confirmed a US$18 million contribution to the Seasonal Targeted Assistance programme to be used for in-kind distributions of oil and pulses, with the assumption that the cereal deficit would be met by other donors. Currently, the cereal pipeline break will begin in October 2012. The USAID donation for the oil and pulses component is sufficient until December 2012, however more resources are required for the January – March 2013 period.

A full cash transfer will not be used; previous experience highlights the lack of dietary diversity when beneficiaries are given cash only, as people prioritize cereals. WFP is mandated to not only provide adequate food, but also adequate nutrition to each beneficiary, and therefore the combination of inkind distributions and cash transfers has been chosen.

WFP’s total requirement until the end of March 2013 is approximately US$119 million, of which US$87 million1 has not yet been sourced. These figures are subject to change depending on the breakdown of the mix of interventions used.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Transcript of Douglas Mwonzora on Question Time: PART 1

MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora answers listeners questions in Question Time

Given the heated debate over the draft constitution produced by the three parties in the coalition government, SW Radio Africa invited COPAC co-chair Douglas Mwonzora (MDC-T) to defend his party’s position on the draft.

He gives journalist Lance Guma an update on the process and why ZANU PF is now resisting the draft. Mwonzora also responds to accusations that the clauses on land discriminate on grounds of race.

Interview broadcast 15 August 2012

Lance Guma: Good evening Zimbabwe and thank you for joining me once again on Question Time. Zimbabwe is currently embroiled in heated debate over the draft constitution produced by the three parties in the coalition government.

Because of this we have invited one of the co-chairs of the Constitutional Select Committee that came up with this draft. Douglas Mwonzora is not only the spokesman for the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai but he’s also the Member of Parliament for Nyanga North. Thank you for joining us Mr Mwonzora.

Douglas Mwonzora: Thank you very much.

Guma: Now we asked SW Radio Africa listeners to send in their questions for you and hopefully you’ll give them the answers they need but before we get to that, let’s start off by getting an update from you on the constitution making process. Where are you with the draft and what is meant to happen if you still have a timetable?

Mwonzora: On the 18th of July 2012 we concluded the negotiations into the constitution and we produced a draft. So the draft constitution that we do have is a product of two key processes: that is the outreach process and the negotiation between the, among the political parties.

After finishing the negotiations and producing the draft constitution we of course made it available to the principals of the Global Political Agreement and their political parties. Of course we gave them as for their information so that they see what we had been doing and they see what we, the product of the negotiation.

It was not to open new negotiation. In terms of the Article Six of the Global Political Agreement, under which this constitution is being written, after COPAC produces a draft constitution it must submit that constitution to the second All Stakeholders Conference.

We have already arranged for that Stakeholders Conference; the number of delegates is going to be 2,400 from across the political divide and across the cross section of the Zimbabwean society – churches, trade unions and other civic organizations.

They will come to the second All Stakeholders Conference to interrogate this draft and see whether it accords with the views of the people of Zimbabwe. Thereafter this constitution draft is then put to the referendum.

So unfortunately before we could arrange for the second All Stakeholders Conference, we were told by Zanu PF that they were still interrogating the constitution, that their leadership was not happy with the constitution, with some aspects of the constitution and so on. They then requested a week; we were very happy to give them a week.

After that week, they requested another one and another one and so on. Then we then saw that Zanu PF was embroiled not in constitutional dispute but it was involved, embroiled in deep factional fighting. Up to now, this is what has stalled the process.

We cannot organize the second Stakeholders Conference because Zanu PF is still discussing the document. We also had sent the copies to the printers; Zanu PF through its representative phoned the printers to stop the production of the constitutional copies that we were going to avail to the people of Zimbabwe.

Guma: Okay, now my next question or the first question that will open the programme is obviously by someone who is a bit puzzled by that. Sondon Stalin Mugaradziko on Face Book says – you guys produced several drafts before you came up with the now called final draft.

Is it not a fact that when the negotiators then put pen to paper to confirm the final draft they had the blessings of their party presidents? He goes on to say – common sense tells me Tendai Biti or Patrick Chinamasa would not sign a document of that magnitude without the blessings of Tsvangirai or Mugabe respectively in their capacities as party presidents.

Mwonzora: He is very right. Mr Mugaradziko is very, very right. The negotiations were not being done in a vacuum; the negotiators came as representatives of the principals and we allowed them into the Management Committee to give us political direction for the things that needed political direction.

And I remember honourable Chinamasa and honourable Goche from Zanu PF asking for time to consult their leader which they duly did and they came and told us that he had okayed certain things. So the political parties were involved, the leadership was involved.

That is why for the MDC it did not take us time for our leadership to bless the document because this was not anything new to them. They were being advised from time to time; I certainly advised the Prime Minister from time to time as co-chairperson of COPAC, representing the MDC from time to time what the document contains, what are the sticking issues and so on.

So the Zanu PF people had the blessing of their principals but the problem with Zanu PF is that there are factions and what is happening is a manifestation of the deep-rooted factional fighting which is within Zanu PF.

Guma: Some of the concessions you have made as the two MDC formations have sparked outrage. We have an email from dispossessed farmer Ben Freeth who says –

“I think everyone who believes in the rule of law is aghast that the MDC have agreed to Section 4.29 which gives the state complete power and does not protect the rights of farmers and farm workers. Indeed it allows theft to take place because being able to take something without paying for it is theft.”

Your reaction to that?

Mwonzora: Well I have read the criticism from Ben and with due respect to him I think he is misreading Section 4.29. There are two sections, three, two sections, sorry two sections and a chapter that deal with land:

There is Section 4.28, then Section 4.29 and then Section, Chapter 16 which is a chapter on agricultural land. I would then advise Ben that he reads them in conjunction with each other because if you read one section then it looks like it is unjust.

But let me try to explain: Section 4.28 deals with property rights and these property rights include the right in the agricultural land and so on and it says – 4.28 – if anybody was to take that property, wants to acquire that property they have to do so subject to fair and adequate compensation. So it provides for compensation.

Section 4.28 – provides for acquisition of land, land that has been acquired and it says in respect of land that has been acquired then the compensation shall be for improvement only. If it is land taken for redress of colonial imbalances, it shall be for compensation only.

This is land that has already been acquired, not the land that is subject to being acquired. It is land that has already been acquired. So Section 4.29 deals with acquisitions that have already happened. Section 4.28 deals with acquisitions that have not happened yet.

If anybody, if the state were to acquire new land then 4.28 and not 4.29 applies. Coming to the question of the discriminatory clause which is in 4.29 – because it is dealing with land that has been acquired presumably to redress colonial imbalances, it says that it cannot be taken to court on the basis of racial discrimination.

In other words a person cannot go to court and say you have taken too much land that belongs to my race and so on. That is the only instance where discrimination is protected on the ground of race. It is in respect of land that has already been acquired.

In respect of land that has been, has not yet been acquired then the property rights in 4.28 apply. In other words a person whose land is being taken has a right to fair and adequate compensation, has the right to approach the courts and so on. They have the right to approach the court on any ground if it is in 4.28.

Guma: But for someone like Freeth who has lost his farm Mr Mwonzora, the constitution or the draft as currently presented by COPAC does not seem to be offering him any chance of redress. We’re still under the old constitution, they were not even allowed to take their cases to court or even if they did, the judgments were ignored so why should they be hopeful about this new draft?

Mwonzora: Unfortunately a constitution does not govern the past; it does not have retro-active effect. It governs things that are to happen after its promulgation. Unfortunately the acquisitions that were done, were done in terms of a law then and not in terms of the law now so unfortunately it does not have retro-active effect. What we are trying to do under this constitution is in respect of those acquisitions that already have been done, then it is for improvement.

Guma: Would you accept as Mr Freeth is arguing that the current draft goes against the SADC Treaty and the Campbell Judgment in the SADC Tribunal? Would you also agree that the constitution specifically allows discrimination and the MDC in the draft are agreeing to a clause that not only goes against the SADC Treaty and all other constitutions but as he (Freeth) argues – against God’s law as it were? Would you agree that the discrimination there is quite clear?

Mwonzora: The discrimination in 4.29 is clear but the MDC is not, we’re making a law, is not able to govern the past. It is not able to govern what happened before it was tabled to write a constitution. It can govern only what will happen after it got into govern and it has done that.

A constitution cannot operate in reverse and that was our predicament. We cannot operate in reverse. Indeed the SADC Tribunal came to a correct judgment that the acquisition, the way it was done was not even allowed in terms of the constitution then, it was against the law then and therefore, people like Ben and Mr (Mike) Campbell had a very, very, very good case and I agree with it.

But the predicament we have is that a law cannot operate in reverse and a law cannot have retro-active effect. We have sought to govern what we can govern in terms of the law. There are many arguments why a law must not operate in reverse.

Firstly it is to put certainty into the law. People must know that their own conduct is not fair. But people must read Chapter 16. Under Chapter 16 we make it clear that land belongs to all Zimbabweans irrespective of race; there and we also go on to say that any compensation must be fair and adequate and we provide the categories of compensation.

We also talk of hypothecation of the land and the bankability, we also talk about the creation of a land market. So we were only able to govern what is going to happen in the future.

Guma: Due to time constraints we’ll have to end Part One of this interview with Douglas Mwonzora, the co-chair of the Constitutional Select Committee. He’s also Member of Parliament for Nyanga North and the spokesperson for the MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. But don’t forget to join me next week for Part Two where we continue this discussion with Mr Mwonzora.

To listen to the programme:

Feedback can be sent to or

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

No joy from old men

26 August 2012 By Idriss Ali Nassah

Times Opinion

In Maputo, Malawi's President Joyce Banda was inducted as the newest member of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) heads of state, a group that had, until now, been an exclusive old boys' club.

Robert Mugabe at 88 is the granddad of this club. He has been supreme leader of Zimbabwe since 1980. Eduardo dos Santos is 70 years old and has been president of Angola since 1979. Michael Sata is 75; Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia turned 77 just yesterday. Armando Emílio Guebuza is 69. Jacob Zuma is 70, but—with several official wives and mistresses—his detractors say he boasts the sexual prowess of a 27-year-old. Some say it's in the herbs from KwaZulu Natal that he drinks to prop such stamina.

In this group is a granddad that has dragged his country down the gutter and his reputation for human rights abuses is one of the most appalling in the world. But then little need to be said about why his peers have not reined him in, before one realizes that birds of a feather flock together.

At a time when African states have been trying to convince the outside world that SADC and the African Union intend to ensure all countries fully respect democratic principles and the rule of law, the repression in Zimbabwe, for example, is showing no signs of letting up.

What is worse, the old men of SADC all seem to like Mugabe's company so much and less that of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai even though Tsvangirai is apparently fighting, with the goodwill of millions, against the evils of dictatorship.

Mugabe is a president who boasts eight or so university degrees so past and present leaders like Sam Nujoma, Benjamin Nkapa, Joacquim Chissano, Sata, Pohamba, Dos Santos and Zuma have clearly shown that they are intellectually his inferiors as they have swallowed his Pan-African bait hook, line and sinker.

The old men in SADC have over the years given some sort of legitimacy to the Mugabe regime by ignoring the reality on the ground in the hope that time will force the people to resign to their fate and let the hard life roll on.

As to what may seem like Mugabe's heroic fight against neo-colonialism, it just detracts from the real issues affecting the people—the militarization of the country, unwavering dictatorship, mismanagement, breakdown in rule of law, stolen elections, political violence and a fight for freedom.

While the old men of SADC have watched with folded hands, the Mugabe regime has become even more systematic, brutal, murderous and without feeling. Bad governance has killed Zimbabwe yet some of these leaders are pretending to be still trying to figure out what the crisis is all about.

Over the years, the African leaders who have supported Mugabe blindly do so because they share similar problems with him or some merely wanted an opportunity to look and sound free from Western influence.

These leaders have mastered the frightening ability to divert people from the real issues at hand—and the real problem is that some old men are determined to cling to power at all cost and are prepared to drag everyone to the abyss.

Of course, there are a few young boys in the SADC old men's club but they are not themselves the brightest bulbs in the box. Joseph Kabila is only 41, and King Mswati is 44 years old, but then again little need to be said about their credibility, especially that of serial polygamist, Mswati, of Swaziland.

Among the younger, progressive thinking members of this club is Ian Khama of Botswana, who is 59 years of age and Tsvangirai, who, at 60, has dedicated most of his adult life to fighting dictatorship and has numerous physical and emotional scars to show for it. It is to this subset of the progressives that Tanzania's Jakaya Kikwete, who is 61 and our President Joyce Banda, who is a year older at 62, hopefully belong.

But even with this type of mix, you still cannot bank on SADC to do anything for you, especially if you are little, poor Malawi. Some people had hoped that the Maputo summit would come up with a firm decree on the Malawi-Tanzania boundary dispute. I did not.

There are no indications that the issue of Malawi and Tanzania was even on the agenda, which, to me, only signals the determination of these leaders to keep their heads firmly in the sand on the border dispute for the sake of political expediency and on the basis of the policy of 'non-interference'.

In any case, no one should be surprised by the inaction of these old men of African politics, even in the face of a dispute that has the potential to get out of control. Anyone who has followed African political history could have predicted that the Maputo summit was not going to do or say anything about our tiff with Tanzania.

Africans must now know the shortcomings of SADC and the African Union or, as it was called then, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and will be advised not to bank on any continental body for the resolutions of their problems.

In his maiden speech to the OAU summit in Addis Ababa in 1986, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda attacked the body for turning a blind eye to the events in his country as dictator Idi Amin was slaughtering some 300,000 people in one of the bloodiest regimes Africa has ever seen.

The OAU, which even bizarrely allowed Amin to chair it at the height of Uganda's turmoil, argued that it was bound by the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of its members and could never intervene.

So, if African leaders can never be relied upon to help push for restoration of freedom and accountability in member states suffering the abuses of dictatorship, oppression and misrule, how can they even be bothered by a little dispute between poor little Malawi and Tanzania over a body of water?

But Southern African leaders can no longer afford to find excuses for their inaction in effectively resolving disputes. If they don't act to restrain each other's excesses, they could condemn this region to a needless crisis right at their own doorsteps.

But our hopes lie in the fact that neither Kikwete nor JB belong to the group of the old doddering dictators.

In their progressive thinking, we trust.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Treat SADC judgement with care, court told

August 27 2012 at 07:43pm
By Andre Grobler

A SADC tribunal judgment on human rights and land issues in Zimbabwe should
be treated with caution, the Supreme Court of Appeal heard.
Bloemfontein -

A SADC tribunal judgment on human rights and land issues in Zimbabwe should
be treated with caution, the Supreme Court of Appeal heard on Monday.

“The SADC tribunal’s powers have not been domesticated into South African
law,” Zimbabwe’s lawyer Patric Mtshaulana told the court.

The SCA was hearing an appeal by the Zimbabwe government against a high
court ruling, which registered and enforced a SADC tribunal ruling locally
and resulted in the attachment of Zimbabwean property in Cape Town.

The litigation began when Zimbabwean farmer, Mike Campbell, approached the
Southern African Development Community tribunal in Windhoek in 2008 for
relief after he and his family were targeted by the land grabs of Zimbabwe's
president Robert Mugabe.

The tribunal, which consisted of five judges from various Southern African
states, ruled in November 2008 that the Zimbabwean land reform process was
illegal and racist.

It held that Campbell and 77 other farmers, who intervened in his
application, should be left in peace and their property rights restored.

Continued legislation led to the registration of the tribunal's finding in
the High Court in Pretoria in February 2010, and the attachment of a
Zimbabwean government-owned property in Kenilworth, Cape Town.

The attachment was to satisfy a punitive cost order granted by the SADC

Mtshaulana submitted that Zimbabwe enjoyed immunity from the jurisdiction of
South African courts. As such, the local courts could not have granted the
order on the property.

The local high court also did not have the power to register the ruling of
the tribunal in the absence of local laws and rules of civil procedures for
the registration and enforcement of foreign judgments.

Mtshaulana submitted there were not sufficient facts before the high court
to show whether Zimbabwe had signed the SADC Protocol, which established the

In papers, Zimbabwe contended that SADC member states were still required to
ratify an agreement amending the original treaty and the tribunal protocol,
which it had not.

Therefore, it was not for the SCA, but SADC to decide whether Zimbabwe was
bound by the SADC treaty.

Legal counsel for the farmers, Jeremy Gauntlett, argued that Zimbabwe, as a
founding member of SADC, was bound by the regional treaties it signed. Being
a member state of SADC gave the tribunal jurisdiction over it.

Gauntlett argued that the price Zimbabwe was paying, being part of a SADC
treaty, was that it had accepted it could lose before a SADC tribunal and
then had to implement the decision.

“The penny had dropped too late for Zimbabwe, before it realised what the
implications of the tribunal could be.”

Gauntlett said the tribunal’s jurisdiction was clearly established as
Zimbabwe had more than once agreed to it in the process before the tribunal.

“It accepted and when it lost they performed a U-turn we see now.”

Mtshaulana, in reply, said being part of a SADC treaty did not mean a
country waived its immunity in another country. He said Zimbabwe could not
accept judgments as binding if it was against the country's laws and public

Judgment in the hearing, before a panel of five judges, was reserved.

Campbell’s son-in-law Ben Freeth said they were happy with the appeal
hearing. He said it was exciting to see judges had delved into the case in

“We are positive that we are on the right side of the law and that what
happened to us was wrong.” - Sapa

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The Privatisation of the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company

Zimbabwe has a steel plant located in the Midlands with an installed capacity for about 1,2 million tonnes of steel a year. However, the plant has been vandalized and badly managed and maintained and will require a complete redevelopment before it can produce a kilogram of steel. In addition it has about $700 million dollars of debt in various forms.

The third largest steel manufacturer in the world, ESSAR has negotiated a deal that gives them 60 per cent of ZISCO and 80 per cent of BIMCO the associated mining company. In return for this equity stake under this arrangement ESSAR gets management control, intends renaming the company and paying all debts. Then it proposes the following major developments – all funded by ESSAR:

  1. Rebuild ZISCO and raise steel production to 2,5 million tonnes a year. This includes taking over the Munyati Power Station and refurbishing it to produce 130 megawatts of power. A secondary power station will use gases from ZISCO to produce another 30 megawatts and this will make the steel company independent of ZESA. The cost of this project is $3 billion and includes railway refurbishment including an upgrade of the line to Beira and new Port facilities in Beira.
  2. Reorganise BIMCO so that it can mine the requirements of ZISCO as well as the needs of a new smelter and pelletisation plant at Chivu which will be capable of producing 2 million tonnes of iron pellets with a 95% Fe content for export to India. This project is enormous and will involve two 600 megawatt power stations based on coal and $7 billion in new investment. It would also involve a new rail line to the Mozambique coast.

The deal as negotiated includes 50 billion tonnes of iron ore at Mwenezi with a 45 per cent Fe content. This is enough iron ore for 1000 years of operations. The deal as signed includes all the rights to these reserves (one of the largest in the world) and the ESSAR position is that as far as they are concerned the deal for ZISCO has negative value – their real target from day one has been BIMCO and the Mwenezi iron ore reserves.

The contract for this exercise was signed by President Mugabe 18 months ago and then launched in a formal ceremony at Redcliff attended by half the Cabinet as well as the President and the Prime Minister. However, it has not been consummated because of the failure by the Ministry of Mines to allow the transfer of ownership and control of iron ore reserves to ESSAR as provided for in the contract.

After nearly two years of wrangling over this critical issue, the Chairman of ESSAR came to Zimbabwe last week to try and get the outstanding issues resolved. Instead he was confronted by further demands from the Zanu PF leadership that the deal be completely renegotiated to give the State a 51 per cent stake and control even though the cash resources to fund this huge investment was to come totally from ESSAR. ESSAR have now stated that if these issues are not resolved and the deal consummated as signed in 2011, they are withdrawing from the Contract. Statements in the Zanu PF controlled press that the deal is being renegotiated are simply not true.

If this problem is not resolved immediately and the State insists on the retention of a major part of the iron ore reserves and majority control, then ESSAR will walk away, even though to date they have spent some $50 million in the negotiations. They have a skeleton staff in Harare and have already downscaled their operations here by 90 per cent already.

If this happens we have to consider the implications, I suggest the following:

  1. This would be the second time the ZISCO negotiations have failed, in both cases involving players of global stature and importance;
  2. The impact on our reputation would be very considerable and would affect all similar negotiations involving the sale of State Assets in the future as well as any new joint ventures with the State in Zimbabwe;
  3. It would mean another two years of negotiations leaving the plant and the Mine in limbo, all staff out on their own without any income; vandalism and the theft of assets will accelerate and render the plant even less valuable;
  4. It would delay the rehabilitation of infrastructure and the installation of substantial new power generation capacity (1350 megawatts). The new investor in the iron ore may not be willing to undertake the investment to concentrate the iron ore, pelletise and build the massive rail and Port facilities needed.
  5. The setback to the economy and the Midlands would be very serious. This is a $10 billion investment over five years – $2 billion a year. Sales would be worth at least 500 million dollars a month when both plants are fully operational. In three years they would double our installed power generation capacity at no cost to ourselves. Surplus power would be available internally.
  6. They would employ not less than 22 000 people when the projects are all operational.
  7. The impact on the midlands economy will be huge, the multiplier effect will be at least 3:1 and when you consider that present exports for the whole economy are $500 million a month this programme will accelerate our GDP expansion in the next 10 years very dramatically.

This is yet another example of the disastrous and criminal approach of Zanu PF to the economy and the welfare of the people. Greed and corruption are the norm and the insistence on the demand for 51 per cent control – something that no investor is going to accept under any conditions, is ridiculous and very damaging to the interests of Zimbabwe.

The Government of Zimbabwe, representing the three political parties, has one last chance to rescue this deal. If they fail to do so, the failure will be directly attributable to the Zanu PF elements in the Government but the consequences will be borne by every Zimbabwean and especially the thousands of ZISCO employees who will go to bed hungry again.

Eddie Cross

25th August 2012

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Stealing the Save Valley Conservancy: Zimbabwe’s Last Hope in Peril
A grandfather of 6 who was born on what is now the Conservancy, this man has worked as a tracker for safari hunters for more than 35 years. He is one of hundreds of workers in the Save whose livelihoods have been put at risk by the regime.

By Keith Wood

News from Zimbabwe has rarely been good over the past 20 years: violent voter suppression, regime-endorsed land confiscation, staggering HIV/AIDS rates, and staggering inflation combine to paint a tragic picture. Out of years of tragedy, a glimmer of hope emerged- an island of land where doing the right thing has continued to hang on. A place where property rights have been respected and the endangered game animals have been protected. This shining star is called the Save (sah-ve) Valley Conservancy, and it sits in Southern African nation’s Eastern Lowveldt. Now, all that has been built and preserved in the Conservancy is under assault from Zimbabwe’s corrupt regime.

Only in Zimbabwe would the properties of the Save Conservancy be considered utopian societies. Barefoot children walk miles on dusty paths to school, workers cook their rations of Sadza cornmeal and organ meat over open flames, game scouts scramble to protect endangered species such as the black rhino, and the only store in the area has been closed by “War Vets” (squatters used as political enforcers by the Mugabe regime). But in a nation with a fractured education system, rampant poaching, an estimated 95% unemployment rate, and a life expectancy of less than 50, any job is a good job, any food is good food, and education is a privilege that few children enjoy. After witnessing so much destitute humanity on the five-hour drive from Zimbabwe’s capitol of Harare, passing through the Conservancy’s boom gate is like entering a passageway into hope. That hope is fading.

This month, under the banner of “indigenization” and ignoring decades of settled property rights, the various farms and ranches that constitute the Save Conservancy have been forced into “partnerships” with individuals designated by the Mugabe/ZANU-PF regime. These “farmer partners”, which include political and military leaders, have been granted 25-year leases and will control the hunting permits granted by the National Parks and Wildlife Authority (who, ironically, is tasked with protecting the nation’s natural resources). Real indignation efforts have been under way for years and an agreement was nearly made in 2011 that would allow the landowners to maintain their properties in a good faith partnership with other members of the local community. Those negotiations became a stalemate when the other parties demanded “cash on the table.” The result was partnership brought by the tip of a political bayonet. The Save’s leadership has called the government’s actions “a criminal act” and is confident that the move will destroy the region’s crucial hunting industry.

These children are far from rich but, unlike many Zimbabweans, they live in relative safety and will receive at least a basic education thanks to the safari and farming operations at Humani.

In reality, this has nothing to do with indigenization and everything to do with greed. There is a real sense among Mugabe’s cronies that the 88-year-old President’s days on this Earth are growing short. Unsure of what faction of the ZANU party will take over after his death, those in power are stealing everything that they can while they have the influence to pull it off. The irony is that the real losers of this indigenization effort will be the local indigenous population who have survived on the food and wages produced by the Save‘s safari industry over the last twenty years.

The Save sits just over the mountains from Mozambique and started as a cattle operation in the 1920s by Jimmy Whittall when he immigrated to what was then Rhodesia from Turkey. Wildlife was always part of the picture, which made the agricultural operations a constant challenge- lions and cattle don’t mix. Though the farm, known as Humani, eventually proved to be a success, Jimmy’s son Roger had a vision to turn this successful farm into a place where wildlife could flourish. In 1991, after years of planning and negotiations, he convinced his neighbors to tear down their fences, sell their cattle, and form a sprawling conservancy where wildlife could move freely under the protection of the various property owners- the million-acre Save Valley Conservancy was born. The difference between the Save and Zimbabwe’s tribal lands and safari areas is that the Save sits on private lands which do not depend on tax revenues, international aid agencies, well-intentioned charities, or environmentalist groups to operate. The Save has flourished as a collection of private-sector businesses built on the backs of hard-working people both black and white, working toward a common goal of sustainable conservation. It survives because foreign hunters are willing to travel thousands of miles to a sportsman’s paradise frozen in time.

Where Africa’s wildlife is concerned, there are two distinct factions with an interest in preserving the various species. The “green” movement seeks to protect the animals through pure preservation. While emotionally well intentioned, their tactics are faced with the harsh realities of Africa’s failing economies, exploding populations, profiteering poaching syndicates, habitat loss, and starving people. In stark contrast is the conservation movement, which believes that the sustainable use of wildlife is the most valuable way to preserve the species in their natural environment while managing them to prevent habitat destruction, animal-human conflicts, and to feed the very individuals who will guarantee their survival. Conservationists call this the “North American model.” The Save is a classic example of the effectiveness of this model where sustainable trophy hunting provides the revenues necessary for aggressive anti-poaching efforts, habitat preservation and improvement, and places a fiduciary incentive on the local population to protect the species. The animals that need to be protected are protected, and the animals that are in-abundance are hunted responsibly.

The game on the Save has managed for years using quotas determined by the Conservancy’s board in order to achieve and maintain a proper balance of a given species, as well as the population and habitat as a whole. The quota is set annually with a long-term vision of biodiversity in mind. Contrary to popular opinion, elephants are severely overpopulated in much of Southern Africa and can be incredibly destructive to the habitat that supports entire ecosystems. According to the World Wildlife Fund, elephant populations in southern Africa are large and expanding, with some 300,000 elephants now roaming across the sub-region. Elephant-human conflicts are common in the tribal areas, with hungry young bulls often raiding maize crops, which are vital to the local food supply. When the conservation model works, the foreign hunter pays hard currency to hunt the problem animal, the money helps protect and expand habitat so fewer animals must be killed, the animal no longer raids the crops, and the locals are provided with both employment and badly-needed protein in the process. This is the way it works in the Save: like all game animals, elephants are hunted responsibly within the limits of their habitat.

The oldest of the Save’s safari operators, Roger Whittall Safaris operates on the Whittall family’s Humani homestead, just one of 21 properties that make up the Conservancy. Humani alone employs and supports an estimated 550 workers through its safari operations, citrus groves, row crops, and general ranch maintenance. Safaris provide direct employment and competitive salaries for Professional Hunters, trackers, skinners, cooks, and maids. These wages are often supplemented by tips, which can amount to several weeks’ pay. The indirect economic impact of safaris is similar to any tourist industry, though generally in much greater amounts due to the high prices paid by hunters. All of these jobs are now at risk: if legitimate hunting operations cease, the flow of outside currency will cease as well.

For example, a hunter who comes to the Save to hunt cape buffalo with one of the many safari operators will pay approximately $13,000 as well as a 2% government levy, both of which provide revenue for the game department. Each property’s 2011 quota for buffalo was around 40 animals, which equates to a minimum of over $520,000 of revenue for the ranch and its operations, and that doesn’t count the other varieties of game that are hunted on the property. Though expenses cut deeply into those figures, the fact is that no “green” photo safari camp can have the massive economic impact to conservation efforts and the local economy as sport hunting operations. Besides, few “Eco tourists” bring their cameras and tourism dollars into Zimbabwe except perhaps to walk across Victoria Falls from the Zambia side- they opt instead for the plush lodges and relative political stability of South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, and Tanzania.

In Zimbabwe, effective anti-poaching efforts are a key element to wildlife conservation and mean the difference between a flourishing ecosystem and miles of wilderness devoid of any sign of game. It is no secret that much of the fee revenue collected for anti-poaching efforts on government lands is embezzled by corrupt ministers whose wives go on lavish shopping trips to Europe with funds meant to put game scouts in the field. Without these tireless eyes on the ground, the animals are at the mercy of starving locals who use wire snares to meat hunt and professional poachers of ivory and rhino horn who fulfill the demands of the Far East, often in collaboration with wildlife officials. The only government concessions with adequate controls on poaching are those leased by private sector safari operators with an interest in preserving the game.

According to sources inside Zimbabwe, 6.3 tons of illegal rhino horn disappeared from government storage three years ago and there’s demand for plenty more. The horn is shipped to Asia via the North Korean embassy in Harare at a rate of $50,000 per kilogram. Asians aren’t the only ones creating a demand for poaching, a reported 11,000 illegally procured zebra hides have been smuggled to Germany. If government game scouts arrest the poachers or complain about their lack of pay or equipment, they are sometimes taken from their homes in the darkness- never to return alive. It’s the kind of story that’s whispered to you by a tracker or scout in hope that the “outside” world will hear about it. This is the staggering reality of a brutal dictatorship, and the results have been tragic for Zimbabwe’s game animals.

Despite being hunted to manage their numbers and to provide revenue, elephants like these thrive throughout the Save Conservancy. If the poachers gain a foothold, they will be among with first game animals to perish.

For years, the Save Conservancy’s dedicated game scouts have been privately funded and are not subject to the whims of Ministerial corruption. The funds come from the revenue driven by sport hunting, and the meat that sustains the scouts during their long hours afield is provided by the hunters’ quarry. Due to the effectiveness of this private sector anti-poaching effort, endangered species such as the black rhino are often transported to the Save Conservancy for protection. Thanks to these efforts, the Save is one of the few wild places left on Earth where one can walk among the “big five” of lion, leopard, elephant, cape buffalo, and black rhino. Without the funds generated by the traditional safari operators, these anti-poaching efforts will cease to exist.

The conservation efforts in the Save have paid off. The combined properties support one of the most diverse animal populations in Africa. Large herds of elephant and buffalo visit water sources inhabited by crocodiles and hippos while nyala bulls battle for breeding rights among troops of screaming baboons. Both black and white rhinos roam the thick bush, many of them sporting nubs of horns which have been cut off to discourage poachers. Scores of impala, kudu, and warthogs provide food supplies for healthy predator populations of lion and leopard. In most areas of Africa, you either see an abundance of elephants and predators or, in their absence, an abundance of plains game. In the Save, you see them all in great numbers. With the new “stewards” in charge, all that is about to change. If the rampant poaching in the absence of the economic incentive of conservation that we have seen across Zimbabwe and Africa is any indicator, the game animals of the Save are in big trouble. There’s about to be a “fire sale” on wildlife in the Save, with zero interest in anything but short term financial profit.

Despite death threats and years of an uncertain future, for now the farmers and safari operators in the Save are clinging to their homesteads and hoping to negotiate a livable arrangement with their new “partners.” They stay because it’s their home, they stay because of the people who they employ, and they stay because of the animals that depend on them. Perhaps this latest blow to their property rights will be the final nail in the Conservancy’s coffin. Let’s hope not for the sake of the farmers, the hundreds of employees, the children in their schools, and the endangered and threatened species that they conserve and protect. Like the future of the Save Conservancy, the future of Zimbabwe’s people and wildlife remain uncertain. What is certain is that if effective conservation efforts like those in the Save are ceased due to greed, racial divisions, or political cronyism, the species will suffer a dire fate.

Keith Wood is a former state lobbyist for NRA-ILA and is currently a contributor to American Hunter, American Rifleman and Petersen’s Hunting.

Back to the Top
Back to Index