By Alex Bell
29 August 2011
Another farm invasion, this time in the Chegutu area, has left hundreds of
people homeless, as the campaign to seize the remaining commercial land in
Farmer Ken Bartholomew was forced off his property over the weekend while
awaiting an urgent court appeal to stop his Wakefield
farm from being taken over. Bartholomew is supposed to have court sanctioned
protection on his land, after winning a previous High Court order allowing
him to remain there.
But a magistrate earlier this month moved against this High Court order, and
Bartholomew and his farm workers were all forced off the land over the
The eviction was carried out by police officers and a group of about 50
armed men, who destroyed Bartholomew’s property while they were evicting
him. Bartholomew and his family are now trying to find another home, but the
fate of his 200 strong workforce and their families, who were also evicted,
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Charles Taffs told SW Radio Africa
on Monday that the campaign against the commercial farming community “is
starting to accelerate again.” He said it was “particularly worrying that
the police themselves led this eviction, in direct contravention of a court
“In terms of the rule of law, this just shows how far gone we are,” Taffs
Taffs also explained that the loss to the agricultural sector in terms of
labour, has been huge since the start of the land grab campaign in 2000.
“There are at least two million people who have been displaced since then.
So we have faced an almost complete labour drain, because most people have
either fled to other countries or worse,” Taffs said.
He added: “It just doesn’t make any political or economic sense to continue
this. We have a situation where there is a huge food deficit, where people
are losing jobs. It makes no sense to me.”
Taffs said there has been virtually no reaction from government, including
the MDC, despite what he said was a “general understanding” of what needs to
be done to stop the land attacks and the ongoing destruction of the
“We’ve spoken to government and our position is they need to put a
moratorium on land takeovers right now. We’ve told them that ‘if you
continue this there will be no investment in the country’, but no one is
saying anything, not the Prime Minister, not the Finance Ministry, no one,”
Bartholomew is at least the fourth commercial farmer to be evicted this
month alone, with farm invasions being reported in Banket, Karoi and
Nyazura. In Nyazura, more than 2,000 workers and their families have been
left destitute since March because of a wave of invasions in the area.
Despite this there has been no move to protect them, their rights, or to
stop the ongoing unlawful seizure of land.
By Lance Guma
29 August 2011
The ZANU PF side of the coalition government has forced the Libyan embassy
in Harare to take down the rebel flag which was hoisted last Wednesday,
after the toppling of long time dictator and Mugabe ally, Muammar Gaddafi
Ambassador Taher El Magrahi had led Libyan nationals in Harare who staged a
protest against Gaddafi at the embassy last Wednesday. The
demonstrators pulled down the official Libyan flag and burned it, before
raising the flag belonging to the rebels, or the National Transition Council
(NTC) as it’s being called.
Speaking to reporters outside the Libyan embassy in Harare El Magrahi said:
"From today, August 24, we follow the Libyan majority, the Libyan people,
through our National Transitional Authority. We are here representing the
Libyan people and not Gaddafi. I am not Gaddafi's ambassador. I represent
the Libyan people."
But officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all from ZANU PF, have
since declared they no longer recognise El Magrahi and that the hoisting of
the NTC’s red, black and green flag at the embassy was illegal. ZANU PF
spokesman Rugare Gumbo made the party position clear, saying El Megrahi will
only be accepted in Zimbabwe when the African Union recognised the NTC.
“So that means he must go back, and if he is reappointed by the new
government, which is recognised by the African Union, then Zimbabwe will not
have any problem with that ambassador,” Gumbo told the weekly Zimbabwe
Standard. Several reports have already quoted Foreign Affairs Minister
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi as having given the Ambassador five days to leave the
El Magrahi however has hit back, telling Zimbabwean officials the flag being
used by the rebels is in fact the original flag of the country’s
independence in 1951. It’s also being reported that a press conference El
Magrahi was supposed to address on Friday was cancelled without explanation.
Mohammed Elbarat, the country’s first counsellor in Harare, meanwhile told
the Daily News newspaper that Zimbabwe faces similar revolts to those that
toppled Gaddafi’s regime, if its leaders keep oppressing people.
“We know that the Zimbabwe government is not comfortable with the NTC flag,
but it is the reality on ground. There is democracy now in Libya and people
no longer want a ruler who stays in power for too long, as what Gaddafi did.
I don’t want to talk of Zimbabwean politics, but there is now democracy
flowing on the continent and it can happen in any country,’’ he said.
Meanwhile the coalition government in Zimbabwe has once again been exposed
as unworkable, with the two MDC parties in the government breaking ranks
with their ZANU PF rivals on the issue of the Libyan Ambassador in Harare.
Spokespersons for both parties said the position taken by ZANU PF was
equivalent to interfering in Libya’s internal affairs.
By Chengetai Zvauya, Senior Writer
Monday, 29 August 2011 10:48
HARARE - Zimbabwe faces similar revolts to those that toppled Muammar
Gaddafi’s regime if its leaders keep suppressing its people, a top Libyan
envoy has said.
Mohammed Elbarat, the country’s first counsellor in Harare, told the Daily
News that they had recently warned Zimbabwean Foreign Affairs officials that
Harare faced similar uprisings and instability if calls for greater
individual freedoms go unheeded.
“We need to support democratic trends… on the continent as (they are)
unstoppable. Our people knew about the need for democracy (for 42 years) so
they decided to rise against Gaddafi after 42 years of dictatorship and
these events can also happen here,” he said, after Libyan diplomats were
summoned by Foreign Affairs minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi last week.
Elbarat and his hierarchy, including country representative Taher El Magrahi
were not only rapped for hoisting the North African state’s new flag, but
face deportation over their support for the National Transitional Council
The diplomats face another grilling at Munhumutapa this morning, which also
houses President Robert Mugabe’s offices.
“What is happening in Libya is the new trend of democracy… (which) started
in Tunisia and Egypt early this year. We told the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs that we cannot ignore the events back home and we had to hoist the
flag of freedom,” Elbarat said.
“We know that Zimbabwe government is not comfortable with the NTC flag, but
it is the reality on ground back. There is democracy now in Libya and people
no longer want a ruler who stays in power for too long as what Gaddafi did.
I don’t want to talk of Zimbabwean politics, but there is now democracy
flowing on the continent and it can happen in any country,’’ he said.
Their ambassador, he emphasised, told Mumbengegwi’s lieutenants in no
uncertain terms that the spirit or mood sweeping across Africa cannot be
ignored and they also supported the NTC for Libyans did not embrace
dictatorships nor were they in favour of one party politics.
Mugabe’s government, which is one of a few global administrations still to
recognise the NTC, has close ties with the deposed leader and was not amused
about the “flag incident” about two weeks ago.
It also says “the celebrations” were tantamount to supporting an uprising
and lawlessness, which leads to the demise of a sovereign nation.
Joey Bimha, Zimbabwe’s Foreign Affairs permanent secretary, said recently
that Harare did not recognise the rebel-led authority, so it did not want
anything to do with the council or administration.
“We do not recognise them, we have diplomatic relationship with the Libyan
government and we do not know that flag,’’ he said.
For over a decade now, the eccentric Gaddafi has made significant
investments in Zimbabwe at the back of frequent bailouts of Mugabe’s
beleaguered government and Zanu PF party.
Last year, the stricken North African dictator’s son and financial point man
Saif was in the country to scout for more agricultural, mining and tourism
deals, but people like Elbarat have spoken against the contracts and said
they must be revisited, if not seized for the new authority.
Although the Libyan embassy number three man acknowledged possible talks
over deportation or outright expulsion at Monday’s Foreign Affairs meeting,
he chose to downplay the threats in the aftermath of the offending
celebratory and Gaddafi portrait “decommissioning” incident at
“I was with the ambassador on Friday and he did not tell me that he will be
deported, but l know they had a meeting with Foreign Affairs officials and
two days ago on Wednesday to explain everything (on) the diplomatic
relations between the two countries. We don’t have any official
communication of the deportation order except reading about it in the press,’’
He also told the Daily News that the embassy had scaled down its operations
since the beginning of the crisis in February this year and only five senior
staffers remained on the ground.
“It is not true that we are being deported, but our budget was cut because
of the problems back home (and) we will continue our diplomatic work here,”
Last week, El Magrahi led his countrymen in pulling down the fallen
strongman’s favoured colours and replaced it with a new flag reflecting the
NTC’s new vision, and thrust.
Along with Mugabe, Gaddafi had been one of Africa’s longest running
presidents and rulers, but a six months and western-backed offensive has
seen the once feared dictator scatter into thin air, and unknown bunkers.
As he remains at large, rebels have not only put a near-$2 million bounty on
his head, but he has been frequently linked with an asylum to Zimbabwe,
which also gave sanctuary to ex-Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.
Disgruntled Libyans have not only ransacked his lavish compounds in Tripoli,
but rebels are also pounding and closing in on his hometown of Sirte.
However, Mumbengegwi’s external relations functionaries have always
sidestepped the issue of the fallen dictator’s refuge here in Zimbabwe.
Headlines, News — By admin on August 29, 2011 2:37 pm
Robert Mugabe’s regime is worried about events in Libya and over the weekend
got Zimbabwe National Army Commander Lieutenant-General Philip Valerio
Sibanda to issue what was meant to be a re-assuring statement that Mugabe
would not be toppled by rebel forces as happened in Libya.
In an interview after a passout parade at Imbizo Barracks on the outskirts
of Bulawayo yesterday, Lt-Gen Sibanda said the rebellion in North Africa,
particularly Libya, was not a threat to Zimbabwe.
“Certain things have happened. There are threats of divisions within the
African Union over events like in Libya where people are fighting to further
their own interests. It is such events that show weaknesses of organisations
like the AU when they fail to deal with rebels with one voice and with a
common goal as a continent.
“The country is secure only as far as we make it, but if we decide to invite
foreigners then we will have challenges. I am disturbed to see that some
were not singing the national anthem because they think it is for a certain
group of people and not for all of us as citizens.
“I feel people do not realise it is the country’s prayer. The first stanza
is about the history of the country while the second stanza tells us about
how rich Zimbabwe is. The third stanza outlines Zimbabwe’s location between
Limpopo and Zambezi and the need for wise leaders,” said Lt-Gen Sibanda.
But amidst the bravado, his speech betrayed a deepening fear within the
regime that events in the North of Africa where repressive governments in
Egypt, Tunisia and now Libya have been toppled might be replicated in
Zimbabwe. Discussions by Zimbabweans on social networking sites show a
desire for similar rebellion.
Last week the ZANU PF side of the coalition government decided to expel the
Libyan ambassador in Harare, Taher Elmagrahi. This follows his defection to
rebels that have taken over the Libyan capital Tripoli and ousted long time
dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Ambassador Elmagrabi is being accused of leading Libyan nationals in Harare
who staged a protest against Gaddafi at the embassy on Wednesday. The
demonstrators pulled down the official Libyan flag and burned it, before
raising the flag belonging to the rebels, or the National Transitional
Council (NTC) as it’s being called.
“From today, August 24, we follow the Libyan majority, the Libyan people,
through our National Transitional Authority,” Elmagrahi told reporters
outside the embassy. “We are here representing the Libyan people and not
Gaddafi. I am not Gaddafi’s ambassador. I represent the Libyan people.”
Officials from Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said they no longer
recognise Elmagrahi and that the hoisting of the NTC’s red, black and green
flag at the embassy was illegal. Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary Joey
Bimha confirmed that they have recommended to the Immigration Department
that the ambassador’s legal status be reviewed.
On Friday several reports quoted Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi as
having given the ambassador five days to leave the country. Our
correspondent/SW Radio Africa
Anna Majavu | 29 August, 2011 18:08
President Jacob Zuma has denied suggestions that government is turning a
blind eye to ‘blood diamonds’ being sold by Robert Mugabe to fund the
DA parliamentary leader Athol Trollip had asked Zuma whether he was aware
that the diamonds mined at the Marange and Chiadzwa fields in Zimbabwe were
being sold outside of the ‘Kimberley Process’ to fund Zanu-PF.
The Kimberley Process was set up by the United Nations general assembly
resolution in 2003, giving rough diamonds a certificate of approval only if
they come from countries in which diamond sales are not being used to fund a
Bloomberg reported two weeks ago that Zimbabwe, as the world’s
seventh-largest diamond producer, would earn about R1.8 billion from
exporting its diamonds this year. It quoted a 2009 Human Rights Watch which
said that workers on the Marange mine were “killed and tortured” by security
But Zuma said in a written parliamentary reply yesterday that the two mines
had been given the right to sell their diamonds if the sales took place
under the supervision of an independent monitor appointed within the
“Our position therefore is that Zimbabwe has fulfilled the known and stated
Kimberly Process requirements and that sales of diamonds takes place within
that context” said Zuma.
He gave the thumbs down to Human Rights Watch’s statements that some of the
workers had been killed and tortured by Mugabe’s forces, saying that “the
Zimbabwean government, in response to these allegations, allowed unfettered
access to the Kimberly Process monitoring team in Zimbabwe and specifically
in the Marange and Chiadzwa mines”.
Heroes ... Fire fighters battle fire at Gono's farm on Sunday morning
|by Staff Reporter|
POLICE say they are investigating a blaze which swept through Gideon Gono’s poultry farm early on Sunday, sending the Reserve Bank governor and his family scampering for safety.
The fire, coming just days after Vice President Joice Mujuru’s husband, Solomon, was killed in a mysterious inferno at the couple’s farm in Beatrice, will increase pressure on the police to provide urgent answers over the two incidents.
Police spokesman Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed an investigation was underway. Detectives have so far found no links between the two fires to justify a joint investigation, he said.
But a police source said: “One fire is an accident. Two fires in as many weeks on farms of such prominent personalities looks slightly suspicious in the eyes of the public, and detectives are under tremendous pressure to provide answers in the shortest period of time.”
Police were called to the peri-urban farm next to the governor’s Borrowdale Brookes residence in Harare just after 9.30AM when flames shot up in the warehouse.
Gono and his family were getting up to their breakfast on their farmhouse a stone's throw away from the burning warehouse when they were helped to evacuate by frantic workers.
Edson Gono, the governor’s brother and farm manager, told reporters on Monday that the fire had incinerated everything in the warehouse and swept through the farm office. No-one was injured.
The Harare Fire Brigade – heavily criticised over its handling of the Mujuru inferno where they arrived with no water – responded 45 minutes after the call but arrived with “little water”, the governor’s brother said.
He added: “Fortunately, we have a small dam less than 100m away from the warehouse, so the firemen had to unroll their hoses and connect them to a hydrant which draws from the dam and we thought problem solved.
“However, there was a power cut and we had to start our standby generator to provide power for drawing water out of the dam. Only then were they able to start putting it out, but it was three hours later.”
“Performance is a product of training, technical ability, motivation and crucially resources at one’s disposal. A very well-trained, well-motivated individual can never accomplish anything if they are poorly resourced. The obstacles in the way to service delivery by our city firemen are too numerous ... their best equipment was bought in 1973,” he said.
“Forget about the cause, the question to ponder is: if, as is the case with many Zimbabweans, we did not have a little dam nearby for water supply; we did not have standby generators; we did not have workers around and it was at night, what would have happened?”
The governor’s brother said if the fire had been allowed to spread to fuel tanks next to the warehouse, the blasts “would have spread to the main house and car park”.
Poor equipment ... A 1970s truck used by Fire Brigade
Life savers ... Brave fire fighters tackle inferno at Gono's farm
by Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE will ban foreign newspapers from being distributed in the country
because they have failed to comply with the law, the press regulator said.
All publications must pay a tax the equivalent of 0.01 percent of their
total revenue and have a representative office in Zimbabwe, but none of the
foreign newspapers have complied, according to Zimbabwe Media Commission
(ZMC) chairman Godfrey Majonga.
“Most of the local publications complied, but we are going to bar the
foreign ones from coming into the country because they are not in compliance
with the law,” Majonga said.
Publications expected to be hit by the move include the South African Sunday
Times and The Zimbabwean and The Zimbabwean on Sunday whose publisher is
based in the UK.
The ZMC boss said the commission would soon notify the police and border
authorities to prevent the newspapers from entering the country.
by Own Correspondent Monday 29 August 2011
HARARE – President Robert Mugabe at the weekend said Zimbabwe’s agriculture
sector was on the rebound after a decade of decline blamed on the veteran
leader’s chaotic and often violent seizure of white-owned farmland for
redistribution to blacks.
Addressing the Harare agricultural show that ended Saturday Mugabe said
rising output of tobacco and cotton – two of Zimbabwe’s main farm exports –
was driving recovery in the agricultural sector that was the engine of the
economy before farm seizures began in 2000.
"Agriculture has been on the rebound over the last two years," Mugabe said.
"The major drivers of agricultural growth have been mainly tobacco and
Mugabe said the country was this year looking to earn US$359 million from
the sale of 131 million kilogrammes of tobacco, up six percent from the 123
million kilogrammes sold in 2010.
The country will also earn the $240 million from cotton sales, up from $107
million sold last year, while maize, groundnuts, soya bean and sugar cane
output was also rising, according to Mugabe.
However Zimbabwe will still need food assistance from international donors
because although food production is on the rise it is still short of
Once a breadbasket of the region during the first two decades of
independence, Zimbabwe has for the last 10 years relied on food handouts
from aid agencies after production plummeted when Mugabe’s supporters
forcibly took commercial farms from white farmers.
The plunge in production coincided with the collapse of the economy, which
was marked by hyperinflation and acute shortages of foreign currency and
Commercial farming was once a preserve of white farmers, but in the last
decade the sector has embraced a new crop of black farmers who have
struggled to maintain previous production levels due to widespread shortages
of farming inputs like seed and fertiliser.
Mugabe and his ZANU (PF) party are quick to remind everyone that rising farm
production is evidence that the much-criticised land reforms are finally
paying dividends and black farmers are now filling the gap left by the white
The reforms have earned the country a bad reputation for not upholding the
sanctity of property rights but ZANU-PF is unmoved by the criticism.
But analysts credit the recovery in agriculture and the economy in general
to the 2009 formation of a coalition government between Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Although the unity government has been rocky, which is blamed on ZANU (PF)
intransigence, it has managed to stabilise the economy while its
introduction of multiple foreign currencies in place of the worthless
Zimbabwe dollar helped reinvigorate farmers and encourage them to return to
their fields in anticipation of real earnings. -- ZimOnline
Wednesday, 24 August 2011 21:21
Tabitha Mutenga, Farming Reporter
FARMERS are failing to pay their workers the minimum general agricultural
wage of US$44 per month, citing high production costs which they say have
already affected the viability of their operations.
Farmers at the ongoing Harare Agricultural Show told The Financial Gazette
that they were finding it difficult to pay workers the gazetted wages, which
are far too insignificant to extricate farm workers from poverty.
Glendale farmer, Rita Maisiri, said she could not afford to pay her workers
simply because the production costs did not allow her to pay them more than
US$30 per month.
"Most farmers rely on casual workers; employing farm workers permanently is
not profitable for some of us as they end up stealing from their employers
when we fail to pay them," she said.
Most new farmers have failed to understand the importance of retaining a
skilled labour force especially when producing tobacco.
Tongai Marodza, a Comm-ercial Farmers' Union (CFU) labour adviser, said
wages were determined by supply and demand factors in a labour market, a
factor largely influencing incomes in the farming sector.
He said the general agriculture wage of US$44 per month, which was backdated
to September 2009, was gazetted as a Statutory Instrument this year.
There was a feeling farmers were not obliged to make back payments to their
"It is absurd to think that any legitimate employer would willingly agree to
pay seven months or more back pay in the current multi-currency economy.
This seriously undermines the viability of agriculture," he told guests at a
recent CFU congress.
Last year, the Nati-onal Economic Cou-ncil came up with another agreement
for the general agricultural sector effective Oct-ober 1, last year to
September this year, setting the minimum wage at US$55. This agreement is
yet to be gazetted by the Min-istry of Labour.
Most farmworkers were displaced during the fast track land resettlement
A number left the farming community for urban areas in search of employment,
while others resorted to gold panning to earn a living. This has resulted in
a serious shortage of skilled labour, crippling agricultural production.
Philip Nyakusa from Sanyati said family labour was more reliable than hiring
individuals for farm labour.
However, tobacco farmers said they relied heavily on consistent and skilled
labour and in some instances they were forced to pay their workers more in
order to retain them.
"As tobacco farmers, we are forced to look for a reliable team that will
bring results so we pay them a little bit more than US$44, including
incentives such as housing and groceries," Shamva farmer Musafare Muzonza
"Some farmers are now paying performance-related bonuses to ensure that they
do not lose specialised workers. It is difficult for the commercial farmer
to increase salaries at a time when the cost of other inputs are rising but
we need to retain the skilled labour," Musonza said.
Friday, 26 August 2011 13:24
REPORTS claimed this week that embattled Air Zimbabwe (AirZim) has purchased
state-of-the-art aircraft from a French aircraft manufacturer, in a deal
estimated at US$500 million. But AirZim board chairman, Jonathan Kadzura,
was quick to dismiss the reports, saying the airline was too broke to afford
to buy two A340-200 Airbus passenger planes from France.
The reports had alleged this week that the mega deal had been funded using
proceeds from the sale of Marange diamonds.
On Tuesday, Kadzura said AirZim cannot afford to buy new aircraft when the
parastatal cannot even afford to pay its own employees.
"I have heard these rumours but I don't know anything about the purchase of
new planes; that's absolute nonsense. It is stupid and malicious. How can
the airline afford to purchase new aircraft when you all know the problems
at Air Zimbabwe?" he queried.
The airline is going through a lean spell and has been incurring monthly
losses of about US$3,5 million.
AirZim has been in the throes of a month-long industrial action, the second
this year, due to its failure to pay outstanding salaries and allowances for
Negotiations to end the strike have been deadlocked because the airline
cannot raise the money required to expunge its arrears.
Earlier this year, AirZim was forced to lease an aircraft and flight crew
from Air Zambezi after failing to reach an agreement with its striking
pilots. The plane was later withdrawn over a US$460 000 debt.
AirZim operates a fleet of three old Boeing 737-200, which have been
grounded since the industrial action began in July.
By Jeffrey Muvundusi, Own Correspondent
Monday, 29 August 2011 13:27
BULAWAYO - Deputy Prime Minister, Thokozani Khupe has called for an end to
an uninterrupted invasion of foreign owned property by the rowdy Zanu PF
youths describing the conduct as totally unacceptable.
Speaking to the Daily News on the sidelines of a donation ceremony held over
the weekend in Makokoba constituency where she handed over foodstuffs to 250
orphans and widows, Khupe could not hide her frustration.
“It is totally unacceptable and that should stop immediately. No one has the
right to do that and economically, we cannot grow by grabbing other people’s
“Instead, we should be concentrating on the growth of our economy not
destroying it like that,” said Khupe.
She accused some politicians of pretending to be preaching the gospel of
peace to youths yet inciting aggression, causing political instability in
The MDC deputy president urged youths to desist from being used in issues
that derail economic progress.
“Youths should strive towards finding means to improve the economy and come
up with innovative projects that create employment than to grab what is not
theirs” she said.
Bulawayo Central Member of Parliament, Dorcas Sibanda described the
invasions as madness on the part of the misguided youth militias adding that
she is going to raise the issue in the next cabinet meeting.
“That is sheer madness; we are definitely going to have this issue tabled in
out next cabinet meeting,” said Sibanda.
Bulawayo is one of the cities that have since been hard hit by the
controversial empowerment law as the scourge of unlawful property invasion,
particularly those belonging to business people of Indian origin and whites,
Buildings such as the Zambesia, Canberra flats and the Capri Building have
not been spared by the raucous Zanu PF youths.
Just recently the unruly youths blocked Khalil Gaibe from evicting tenants
occupying the Elons Court apartment complex over alleged non-payment of
rentals while a lot more buildings are reportedly a target.
Khupe’s reaction comes at a time when the Minister of Higher and Tertiary
Education Stan Mudenge recently called for Zanu PF party youths to grab
property owned by foreigners saying the former ruling party went to the war
of liberation to disposes whites of everything.
“That is the reason we went to war to free you and take everything from the
former colonialists. Their companies should be taken away from them by
indigenous people and I know we can run this economy alone,” Mudenge said
while addressing graduating students at Masvingo Polytechnic College.
Sapa-AFP | 29 August, 2011 13:47
A Zimbabwean court issued arrest warrants for four South African truck
drivers caught up in a spat between President Robert Mugabe's wife and a
Johannesburg businessman, their lawyer says.
Cassimjee Bilal, 28, Henry Hadebe, 57, Samuel Risimati Baloyi, 40 and Sidney
Masilo, 40, were hired to deliver trucks which were part of a
one-million-dollar deal between Grace Mugabe and her ex-business partner
Ping Sung Hsieh, a Taiwanese-born South African.
The men were arrested on arrival in Harare on February 20 and charged with
fraud, after a business deal between Ping and the first lady went sour.
"The magistrate issued a warrant of arrest this morning," their lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa told AFP.
"They were supposed to appear in court for trial but they did not turn up at
the court. I don't know where they are. They haven't been in touch with me,
that's why I couldn't even oppose the issuing of the arrest warrant."
The truck drivers were released on bail after two weeks in prison and
ordered to stay at a house in Harare, with strict conditions to report
regularly to the police.
It was not clear whether the men were still in Zimbabwe or had skipped the
Prosecutors claim the relationship between Grace and Ping dates back to 2007
when funds were transfered from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to one of the
businessman's companies for the purchase of trucks.
Two weeks ago a South African court turned down an extradition application
by Zimbabwean authorities to have Ping stand trial in Harare for a case
related to the cash transfer.
Chiweshe, August 29, 2011 - Pupils in Maodzwa in Chiweshe have been thrown a
lifeline following the construction of two classroom blocks by the Member of
Parliament Shepherd Mushonga.
he construction of the classroom blocks is part of the MP’s target to
improve educational standards in the forgotten part of the country. Students
were walking more than 10 kilometres going to and from school.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai lamented the lack of development in the
area, whose accessibility is a nightmare.
Tsvangirai saw for himself the scantly thatched roofs on wooden planks that
served as classrooms for the 200 plus Maodzwa Primary school pupils. Inside
the classrooms there was no furniture for the students and pupils sat on the
grass that had been laid on the dusty floor.
Cattle found their way into the classrooms as there was no restriction to
the entrance and dropped their dung, which students were forced to clean
before they commenced lessons.
The teachers shared the only two bed roomed house at the school forcing most
of them to seek shelter in the communal areas.
Tsvangirai criticised the former government for ignoring some areas in the
belly of the country.
Maodzwa community applauded their MP, Shepherd Mushonga, for the
construction of the new classroom blocs.
Tsvangirai was in Mashonaland Central touring development projects in the
Earlier, Tsvangirai officially opened a clinic in Shopo, Mazowe Central
The clinic will save the villagers from walking long distances to seek for
“The development that is being undertaken in this constituency are for the
benefit of everyone. Community participation is very important if we are to
develop our areas,” said Tsvangirai.
He chastised suspected Zanu (PF) supporters who attempted to sabotage the
official opening of the clinic.
“I heard that there are some people who were trying to stop you from coming
to this ceremony. That is a clear example of how people easily get lost.
This is not a Zanu (PF) clinic and neither is it an MDC clinic,” said
“Why do you politicise everything? All the women who will deliver babies
here will not be asked about their political affiliation before they are
admitted because the development that is taking place here is for everyone,”
The clinic has been under construction for the 10 years with construction
but MP for the area, Mushonga undertook to complete the project.
He applauded Hon Mushonga for working together with the community to develop
the area. In some cases, the community moulded bricks, while in some
instances they provided labour.
“Community participation is very important. Your community moulded bricks
and performed other services that have contributed to this level of
development. I thank you Hon Mushonga for the development thrust you have
adopted,” said Tsvangirai.”
The Premier called for an end to violence saying that it retards
“For us to have this level of development we need peace. Stop violence. We
did not build this clinic so that people can burn others from different
political affiliations and then come to the clinic. Please you must co-exist
and be tolerant,” said Tsvangirai.
He urged locals to protect the clinic and other facilities being developed
in the area.
By Ngoni Chanakira, Harare, August 29, 2011 - Once the "Glamour Boys" of
southern Africa, Zimbabweans topped the list of asylum seekers to the United
Kingdom (UK) in 2009, Radio VOP can now exclusively reveal.
In an Report made exclusively to the popular Website, a Senior Official from
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) confirmed that 7
420 Zimbabweans had sought asylum in the UK.
"Yes this is very true," he said in an interview."In fact this was the
highest figure for that year from all the asylum seekers to the UK."
The figure was more than double that of the nest nation of asylum seekers to
the UK whose capital city is London, among the fashion capitals of the
world, and very popular with Africans.
The UK is regularly bashed by President Robert Mugabe for among, other
things, trying to topple his legitimate government using the Movement for
Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as "its puppets".
According to the report, Zimbabwe topped the list, followed by Afghanistan
with 3 535 asylum seekers, and the Islamic Republic of Iran with 2 125
The UNHCR has warned, however, that individuals who are simply passing
through a nation are not "refugees" but "asylum seekers" because they must
first seek asylum "officially" from that country's Department of Immigration
before they can be called "refugees".
The UNHCR Report covers 44 industrialised countries which provided monthly
data to its Geneva-based Head Office.
The report shows that joining Zimbabwe in the top 10 asylum seekers to the
UK in 2009, were Pakistan with 2 035 people, Sri Lanka (1 430), China (1
415), Eritrea (1 405), and Somalia (1 080).
Somalians are now flocking to South Africa through Zimbabwe crossing at the
Nyamapanda Border Post with Mozambique as their point of entry en-route to
The Zimbabwe Immigration authorities say the Somalians and Ethiopians have
not requested for asylum and are simply passing through going to what they
think is the promised land of "milk and honey" according to the Bible.
The UNHCR said other asylum seekers to the UK in 2009 which made it onto the
top 10 were Iraq with 990 asylum seekers and Nigeria with 820.
The UNHCR Report also reveals that Zimbabwe came 10th on the list of asylum
seekers to New Zealand.
This list was led by Fiji with 45 asylum seekers.
Nine Zimbabweans sought asylum in New Zealand in 2009, closely following
Slovakia which had 13 asylum seekers to that country.
26 August 2011
HARARE City Council requires US$532,4 million to replace its obsolete water
pipeline, which was laid 50 years ago. Water shortages in the capital are
affecting health, housing and industrial development.
Harare collects monthly water revenue of US$6 million. This means the local
authority has to source private funding in the form of loans and grants. The
revenue constitutes 60 percent of the total water revenue potential.
Since 2009 only 40km out of the 5 500km pipeline has been replaced, raising
fears that the aged water distribution network could crumble any time soon.
The average lifespan of the pipes is 10 years yet they have been around for
the past 40 years.
The dilapidated water pipeline is causing the loss of up to 60 percent of
all water produced at the city's water production plants.
Harare Water director Eng Christopher Zvobgo on Wednesday presented a paper
to the city's environment management committee outlining challenges and the
"We have used US$3,9 million to replace 40km of water pipeline since 2009.
Most of the pipes are over 50 years in service hence needs replacement," he
The 40km were done using part of the US$17,1 million grant from Government.
Part of that grant went towards sewer treatment infrastructure, water
production and sewer collection.
Using that funding, water production increased from 330 million litres to
600 million litres a day.
Eng Zvobgo said to date the city has received US$144 million from China,
US$17,1 million from Government, US$600 000 from the French Red Cross and
another US$600 000 from the International Committee of the Red Cross towards
water and sewer rehabilitation.
The City has used US$7 million of its own resources and has received water
treatment chemicals support from Unicef.
He said once the US$144 million is fully utilised water production would
increase to 740 million litres a day while non-revenue water would be
reduced from 300 to 100 million litres a day.
Non-revenue water is water lost through leaks or is not being paid for
because of illegal connections.
Eng Zvobgo said because of non-payment of its water bills water supplies to
Chitungwiza are categorised under non-revenue water. Chitungwiza has over
two million people.
He suggested that the way forward for Harare was to form a City Taskforce,
which would be mandated to source funding for water.
He said the taskforce would among other duties do project management and
evaluation, come up with sustainable water tariffs and interact with
The taskforce would help raise the profile of all business to do with water.
By Alex Bell
29 August 2011
The country’s leading foreign owned gold mine has had it mining licence
withdrawn, becoming the first major casualty of the controversial
indigensation scheme by ZANU PF.
The party’s empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere, reportedly cancelled
the operating licence last Friday, despite an “agreement” reached with
Canada’s Caledonia owned Blanket Mine.
Blanket gold mine
According to South Africa’s Mail & Guardian newspaper, which saw a copy of a
letter written by Kasukuwere to Mines Minister Obert Mpofu, the mining
licence had been cancelled because of Caledonia’s “failure to come up with
acceptable indigenisation proposals.” The newspaper also reported on
Saturday that the mine has now threatened to take legal action against
Kasukuwere, arguing that he has “exceeded his legal powers.”
Caledonia had last week said it had resolved a ‘dispute’ with Zimbabwe over
the ownership of Blanket mine, saying it would resubmit a new indigenisation
plan. The company met Kasukuwere last Monday and “agreed on a process that
will result in the production of a revised Indigenisation Implementation
Plan for Blanket Mine that is compliant with the Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Act,” said a joint statement.
“The plan will take into account the independently verified intrinsic value
of the mineral resources, plant and equipment at the mine,” the statement
Foreign-owned mining companies have until the end of September to submit
plans to Kasukuwere's ministry, detailing how they will ‘indigenise’ their
shareholding under the Indigenisation Act. The Act forces the companies to
‘cede’ more than half of their shares. But the ZANU PF spearheaded campaign
already has some analysts worried that the Act is nothing more than
‘legitimised looting’, with Kasukuwere threatening to take over the firms
At an indigenisation indaba last month, Kasukuwere rejected a proposal by
the Zimbabwe Chamber of Mines of a 26% takeover of mines, and vowed to “kick
out” non-compliant firms, a threat he has voiced on numerous occasions.
His ministry indicated last week that it had rejected the empowerment
proposals of 39 foreign mining companies and had issued letters warning them
to provide “acceptable” proposals by the expiry of the two-week deadline.
Kasukuwere has now issued a "14-day ultimatum" to mines and foreign banks,
including Zimplats, Anglo Platinum and banks like Barclays and Stanbic.
Johannesburg, South Africa --- MININGREVIEW.COM --- 29 August 2011 - Impala
Platinum Holdings Limited ‒ the world’s second-largest producer of the
precious metal ‒ may invest as much as US$10 billion in Zimbabwe to expand
production if the government backs down on the demand that the company’s
business there be controlled by black citizens of the country.
Zimbabwe, which has the world’s largest platinum reserves after South
Africa, passed a law earlier this year to force foreign companies to cede at
least 51% of their local assets to black Zimbabweans.
“It would run into the billions of dollars, probably between US$5 and US$10
billion,” CEO David Brown said in an interview here. “Fifty-one percent
equity just does not work.”
Impala is now the biggest investor in Zimbabwean mining.
The Impala unit, now known as Zimplats Holdings Limited, produced 182,100oz
of platinum in the year to 30 June and is in the middle of a US$460 million
expansion of its Ngezi mine, southwest of Harare, to boost output to
270,000oz by 2014, according to a company statement.
“We could begin to look at phase three and beyond, but this requires
stability,” Brown told investors at a presentation. Impala has until
Wednesday of this week to revise its May proposal to satisfy ownership
rules, after it was rejected last week.
Impala, which produces about 25% of the world’s platinum, is spending R35
billion over the next five years to expand production as rising demand
drives up prices. While most of its deposits are in South Africa, 11.3Moz,
or almost a third of its total platinum reserves, are in Zimbabwe. That’s
worth about US$21 billion at the current platinum price.
“It’s a huge disappointment that we find ourselves in this position - we’ve
been a model investor in this country,” Brown said in the interview. “Impala
believes an appropriate level of ownership will be the final result of talks
with the government,” Brown told investors. “The ownership rule could retard
investment in mining and other industries at a time when it’s needed,” he
When Bloomberg News reached him by phone in Harare, mines minister Obert
Mpofu said he could not comment yet because he had not heard about the
possible investment. Calls to Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s
office in the city weren’t answered.
By Business Writer
Monday, 29 August 2011 13:05
HARARE - A huge Impala Platinum Holdings (Impala) investment is in doubt if
Zimbabwe’s government continues with its indigenisation policy.
Impala, which holds an 87, 3 percent stake in Zimbabwe Platinum Mines
(Zimplats), says it is willing to invest up to $10 billion in the country.
Zimplats accounts for close to 10 percent of group production.
David Brown, Implats chief executive said the group was willing invest more
in the southern African nation, but the country’s indigenisation model would
“It would run into the billions of dollars, probably between $5 and $10
billion,” Brown said in an interview in Johannesburg.
"We believe that 51 percent equity just does not work," he said.
"What they are doing is very bad for the country ... and has the potential
to retard investment," he said in comments that were unusually blunt for a
company official on the issue.
He also said the company wanted to see the law changed.
“We could begin to look at phase three (expansion) and beyond but this
requires stability,” Brown said.
Impala, which produces about 25 percent of the world’s platinum, used to cut
car emissions and make jewelery, is spending 35 billion rand over the next
five years to expand production as rising demand drives up prices.
It first invested in Zimbabwe in 2001 when it bought 30 percent of Zimplats
for the equivalent of $47 million and later took control of the company.
It is currently the biggest investor in Zimbabwe’s mining sector, with the
country in the third year of recovery from a decade-long recession sparked
by the seizure of white-owned commercial farms for redistribution to black
Zimplats produced 182,100 ounces of platinum in the year to June 30 and is
in the midst of a $460 million expansion of its Ngezi mine, southwest of the
capital Harare to boost output to 270,000 ounces in 2014.
“It’s a very big risk for Zimplats and by extension Impala,” Piet Viljoen,
chairman of asset manager Regarding Capital Management, which manages about
18 billion rand ($2.5 billion) of assets, said in Cape Town.
“If the government takes up to 50 percent of the company for no
consideration it’s like giving away 50 percent of a valuable asset. It’s
entirely possible,” Viljoen said.
Impala has until August 31 to revise a May proposal to satisfy ownership
rules after it was rejected last week.
This comes after Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere rejected the
group’s empowerment plan and gave it a two weeks ultimatum to resubmit or
risk losing its operating license.
Impala also owns the Mimosa mine in the country in a 50:50 venture with
While most of its deposits are in South Africa, 11.3 million ounces, or
almost a third of its total platinum reserves, are in Zimbabwe. That’s worth
about $21 billion at the current platinum price.
“It’s a huge disappointment that we find ourselves in this position - we’ve
been a model investor in this country,” Brown said in the interview. Impala
believes “an appropriate level of ownership will be the final result” of
talks with the government, Brown told investors. The ownership rule could
“retard” investment in mining and other industries at a time when it’s
needed, he said.
Economic expansion has been “largely confined to the mining and agriculture
sectors,” the London-based Economist Intelligence Unit said in a report
earlier this month.
Power shortages, uncertainty over the likely election timetable “and
continued confusion about legislation requiring 51 percent local ownership
of all enterprises, are likely to prevent more rapid gross domestic product
expansion,” it said.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu said he can’t comment yet because he has not
heard about the possible investment, when Bloomberg News reached him by
phone in Harare. Calls to Indigenization Minister Saviour Kasukuwere’s
office in the city weren’t answered.
Zimplats signed an agreement with the government in 2006 to release of a
portion of its mining claims in exchange for a combination of black
empowerment credits and cash. Impala said in a June statement that year the
area contains 99 million ounces of platinum, palladium, rhodium and gold.
The area could support open-pit mining and “could be turned into quite a
profitable concern,” Brown told investors yesterday. “They gave that ground
to people who weren’t necessarily interested in mining it.”
The country also has the world’s second-biggest chrome reserves, as well as
deposits of coal, gold and iron ore.
Impala gained 3 rand, or 1.8 percent, to 168.50 rand by the 5 p.m. close in
Johannesburg, giving it a market value of 106 billion rand.
Anglo American Platinum Ltd., the world’s largest platinum producer, and
Aquarius Platinum Ltd. (AQP), also mine the metal in the southern African
Brown also said the group's platinum output for the 2012 financial year
would likely decline to 1.7 million ounces from just over 1.83 million in
the past year as old infrastructure becomes less productive. But as new
shafts ramp up the company is aiming for 2 million ounces by 2014. -
How Zanu PF would win an Election Against the MDC
The opinion polls all say the same thing, Zanu PF, once the Mammoth of
Political Parties in Zimbabwe, could only command less than 5 per cent
support in urban areas and about 15 per cent in its strongest Provinces in
rural districts. Yet they are on record demanding an immediate election –
why? What would they do to win such a contest, or at least avoid a debacle?
It has become clear in recent days that once they had determined that the
GPA road map would end in a total electoral defeat, they have been working
on alternative strategies. The electoral one, favored by Mr. Mugabe and some
of his cohorts was based on the following assumptions and strategies:
That it was essential to restore credibility and legitimacy to a new Zanu PF
led government in whatever form it emerged from the GPA process. The group
that then argued for a snap election believed that it was possible to win
such an election under certain conditions and that if they could defeat MDC
by even one percent, it would be enough to restore legitimacy and put them
back in charge, secure for at least five years.
That by controlling the new diamond fields at Marange, they had more than
adequate resources to fight the election and implement the strategies they
had agreed were necessary for such a victory.
That to be successful, they had to put aside any moral feelings or
considerations of human rights or the political freedoms that had formed the
basis of their long struggle for Zimbabwean independence. The retention of
power was the overriding consideration, this was to be a struggle without
rules or boundaries – whatever it took, the game had to be won.
The actual strategies were tried and tested – they had been used in every
election contested by the MDC since 2000 and in smaller ways in all
elections before that. In fact it is difficult to identify an election in
Zimbabwe that has ever been free and fair. The words do not enter Zanu PF’s
The first step they took was to ensure that the voters roll created the
foundations for the elections and the controls needed. So instructions were
given to the Registrar General, Tobaiwa Mudede and by August 2010, he had
the roll just about finished – 6 million names, roughly half dead or absent,
75 percent in the rural districts and 25 per cent urban. How they did this
was by simply manipulating the rolls administratively using their records
and using field agents to get people to move their votes from urban to rural
Using this “modified” roll they then intended to hold a carefully managed
delimitation exercise using a co-operative Judge or two. This would be based
on the roll and would reduce the number of urban Parliamentary seats from
just over 80 to 52. This would then be further “adjusted” to make sure that
the former commercial farming districts had over 50 seats and the remainder
would be in the Tribal Areas (100 plus seats).
The next piece in their battle plan was total physical control of the former
commercial farming districts. They had already driven 95 per cent of all the
commercial farmers off the land, now they had to make sure that any farmers
holding any form of land rights in the commercial farming areas, were
totally Zanu PF controlled and would do, without question, what they were
told to do. Anyone not fitting these criteria was then simply removed by
force and their staff disbursed. By mid 2011, the commercial farming areas
were rendered “no-go” areas for the MDC, all MDC structure in these
districts were destroyed or disrupted.
Then they moved to ensure control of the tribal areas – the Chiefs Council
was called together several times. Chiefs and Headmen throughout the country
were told that they were expected to control and direct their people in any
forthcoming election or face penalties. The withdrawal of allowances and
even dismissal was threatened. Every Headman was instructed to make lists of
all the families in their villages and to note the MDC activists. Lists of
MDC leaders were compiled in all areas and their homes noted.
Finally the JOC (the Joint Operational Command) system was activated. JOC’s
were formed at Provincial and District level controlled by senior Civil
Servants who are Zanu PF loyalists or military and security personnel. Then
teams were inserted into every District comprising a small group of
“enforcers” under the leadership of a military or security figure in plain
clothes. These structures were expected to “do what was necessary” to ensure
a victory for Zanu PF in that area.
Based on the experience in 2008, it was decided that the campaign of
violence and intimidation would be more muted and anonymous. People would
disappear rather than end up in hospital. Particular attention was to be
paid to the support base and activists of the MDC in all areas. In some
selected urban centers it was agreed to experiment with efforts to
destabilize the MDC and we saw the emergence of gangs such as Chipangano in
Mbare in Harare. Some idea of the scope and size of this programme was
inadvertently revealed when a mineshaft in Mt Darwin was opened up and over
800 bodies extracted.
Finally they reinforced the mechanisms designed to control the voting and
reporting of the vote. As Stalin said, “It is not who votes that counts, it
is who counts the vote”. The new Electoral Commission was moved to the
Ministry of Justice where Chinamassa could supervise it. Their funding was
limited and foreign support restricted and the staff was drawn from CIO and
military sources. It was clear, they were going to restrict voting rights
and stuff ballots where required and manipulate the vote if needed.
By August 2010 they were ready and a snap election outside the framework
established by the GPA was called for October. When this was prevented by
the personal intervention of the South African President, they regrouped and
tried to force an election in March/April 2011. This was again prevented by
SADC intervention and pressure. Now they are confronted with a firm SADC
position on elections – only AFTER the full implementation of the reforms
called for and agreed in the GPA, they are rethinking their strategies.
The scope for this is limited but they have access to almost unlimited
funding and are ruthless and determined. As has been amply demonstrated in
other parts of the world recently, change under these circumstances can only
happen if the region stands firm on principle and the international
community is prepared to support change strategically.
All the elements are in place in Zimbabwe for a peaceful, democratic
transfer of power to a new principled government. Those who seek to
frustrate and impede such a process have to be firmly dealt with and denied
the opportunity to derail the whole process. It is not the time to back off
Bulawayo, 27th August 2011
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 29/08/11
The ongoing delay in announcing results of the Mujuru death probe has
aroused understandable public anxiety and suspicions of foul play, but it is
not without precedent, because there have been numerous inexplicable deaths
of many politicians in Zimbabwe.
However, the current anxiety resembles that which gripped the nation during
the 5 –week freeze of the 2008 presidential results in which Robert Mugabe
lost to Morgan Tsvangirai plunging the country into a crisis.
Withholding vital information (2008 poll results) became the only viable
weapon at the disposal of the much-feared securocrats and the party’s
apparatchik as they worked around the clock to salvage Mugabe’s depleted
Some likened the ‘pregnant pause’ in the electoral process to post-traumatic
stress counselling for the defeated candidates.
Accordingly, the trade-off from the embargo of poll results was arguably
giving Mugabe time to ‘heal’ after his over-confidence was shattered having
declared on polling day that a second round would not be necessary as he was
going to knock out all his opponents and conquer them in the first round.
Similarly, the delayed release of the investigations into Rtd Gen Mujuru’s
death can be seen as giving Mugabe time to find the right ‘formula’ for
maintaining internal party unity should there be proof of foul play
implicating political rivals of the deceased.
Meanwhile, suspicions of foul play have been strengthened by his widow’s
reservations, despite the regime’s efforts to stifle reportage claiming that
would “stoke hatred and confusion” (NewsDay, 29/09/11).
Mystery deepened further at the weekend following media claims that the
bereaved family had been reportedly “shell shocked” by a report which was
compiled by South Africa-based private investigators which suggested foul
play (Daily News, 28/08/11).
Rtd General Mujuru’s death is likely to remain a mystery for as long as the
Zanu-pf politburo continues to prevaricate on the issue. While Mugabe’s
cautious approach is understandable and not surprising, the public will
always find other means of filling the vacuum or interpreting the belated
However, the implications for public and business confidence in Zimbabwe
should not be underestimated.
©Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Ex-diplomat & Political Analyst, London,