A decision by controversial diamond mining firm Anjin Investments to
suspend 1,500 workers, who went on strike demanding better pay and working
conditions, has opened up a can of worms with several workers speaking out
for the first time.
In an interview with SW Radio Africa on Wednesday
one worker, who refused to be named for fear of victimisation, told us
Chinese managers at the firm were throwing away the bones of people buried
in the area now currently being mined.
Such graves have been
discovered at Jessie Mine in Chiadzwa and despite objections from the
workers that the deceased be given decent reburials, the Chinese managers
are claiming these are ‘donkey bones’ and the workers should not kick up a
fuss over them.
“Where we are working at Anjin there are graves of people
who were sometime long back buried. They managed to relocate some of these
graves but there are other graves which were left. So during mining people
would come across these graves, which means removal of some of these bones,”
the worker told us.
“The workers are not happy about that. We thought
maybe our relatives could have some proper and decent burials,” he said.
Asked how many people or graves were involved he said: “There are so many
graves that were left. So far the graves that have been dug, there are about
three of them.”
When diamonds were discovered in the Marange district the
army quickly moved in and began slaughtering hundreds of illegal panners,
using helicopter gunships and shooting panners in the back as they fled.
Human rights activists say many victims were buried in mass graves in the
area. We have been unable to verify if these are some of the graves that
have been dug up.
But so concerned are the workers they have taken photos
of the graves and they intend to use them as evidence to show what is
happening at Anjin. The company is a joint venture between senior chefs in
the Zimbabwean army and the Chinese, who run the firm and seem to have carte
blanche to do as they please.
Another very serious allegation is that
three Chinese managers have been sodomising workers. The managers have
reportedly provided a letter of apology and management has promised that
the culprits would be deported back to China. But this has not happened and
the perpetrators continue working at the firm.
The workers went on
strike last month demanding at least $650 for the lowest paid worker,
instead of the paltry $235 they are currently getting a month. Management
responded by suspending 1,500 workers for 4 days (Monday to Thursday). The
head of the workers committee, Tavengwa Chitima, was also fired last
“The workers are demanding to have a good working environment.
There are people who have been sodomised by the Chinese people. There are
people who have been beaten, physical assaults by the Chinese people and we
are not even allowed to recognise any of the Zimbabwean holidays,” the
worker told us Apparently the workers are only allowed to recognise the
Chinese Lunar New Year on 22nd January.
A recent High Court ruling
that the strike was illegal has also given the management more leverage to
harass and intimidate the workers. But the workers were set to appeal this
ruling on Thursday.
In June this year Global Witness, a human rights
group focused on the exploitation of natural resources, recommended an
investigation into the activities of mysterious Chinese business tycoon Sam
Pa, diamond firm Anjin and Sino Zimbabwe to see if they “risk funding future
human rights abuses.”
The report titled, “Financing a Parallel
government”, exposed how the Central Intelligence Organisation , army and
police chiefs were involved in the diamond, cotton and property sectors. The
ownership structures of companies like Anjin were exposed as being dominated
by senior members of the state security.
Half of Anjin’s shares are
said to be held by Brigadier-General Charles Tarumbwa, a Zimbabwean military
lawyer. Global Witness recommended the passing of legislation that bans
serving and recently retired members of state security agencies “from
control over, or beneficial ownership of, mining companies.”
One of the largest diamond companies operating in the southern
African nation of Zimbabwe is suspected of smuggling diamonds out of the
country, the Zimbabwean reported. A truck full of ore with no registration
plates thought to be containing diamonds, accompanied by workers appearing
to be wearing uniforms of Anjin were reportedly seen in the country's Burma
Unnamed eyewitnesses claim that they saw the workers
filtering the ore and separating the diamonds out. They said that the truck
was headed in the direction of the border with Mozambique.
Investments director and board member Munyaradzi Machacha denied the charges
leveled at the firm. Machacha retorted that if illegal activity was
suspected, police should have been notified. He doubted that a truck full of
diamond ore could not have passed through a region of the country that is
marked by high levels of security personnel, according to the Zimbabwean.
Reporter THE People’s Liberation Army of China has hailed its ties with the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces, which date back to the days of the country’s
liberation struggle. Commemorating the 85th anniversary of the founding
of the PLA, defence attache at the Chinese Embassy in Harare, Senior Colonel
Ju Hungbin said PLA and ZDF had worked together for a long time. “Despite
the long distance between China and Zimbabwe, recent years have witnessed
fast growing co-operation between PLA and ZDF, whose friendship dates back
to the 1960s, when you were engaged in your righteous liberation
struggle. “The high level of exchange visits are frequent and fruitful.
The visit in succession by Commander of the Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Xu
Qiliang and Deputy Chief of General Political Department Admiral
Shiping following General (Constantine) Chiwenga’s visit to China
simply demonstrates how close we are. Just a few days ago, we received a
delegation of commanders of brigades and air force bases,” he said. Snr
Col Ju said illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the West had crippled
ZDF’s operations. He said the PLA had, however, continued to assist the
ZDF. “At present, PLA is doing its best to help the ZDF. Because of the
illegal sanctions, ZDF is now facing challenges and PLA has provided
assistance in the field, in health, office equipment and personnel
training.” Snr Col Ju said every year the ZDF sent almost 100 officers to
China for training. He said China contributed much to the independence of
Zimbabwe and since then relations between the two countries
blossomed. “At independence, the two countries established diplomatic
relations. As China, we are pleased with the independence of Zimbabwe
because China made its contribution to the achievement,” he said. Turning
to the PLA’s 85th anniversary, Snr Col Ju said PLA was founded on August 1,
1927. He said since then, the PLA — under the leadership of the Communist
party — had worked hard to defend the independence of China. “Since then,
the PLA has undertaken the sacred duty of safeguarding national sovereignty
and territorial integrity and made great contributions to national
development, emergency rescue and disaster relief,” he said. Snr Col Ju said
China had pledged to pursue a road of peaceful development and working with
other nations. He said China remained committed to the policy of no first use
of nuclear weapons at any time and under any circumstances.
The draft constitution produced by the
parliamentary select committee, COPAC, has been strongly criticized by legal
experts and activists who say that it ignores the fact that Zimbabweans wanted a
president without executive powers.
The public’s views were gathered during a
controversial public outreach programme that was marred by violence, with ZANU
PF being accused of intimidating participants and victimizing those whose
comments were not in line with their policies. The exercise cost tens of
millions of dollars.
Legal expert Blessing Vava from the National
Constitution Assembly (NCA), dismissed the draft which now awaits approval from
the principals in government, saying many Zimbabweans wanted a Constitution that
provided for greater checks and balances, reducing the president’s
Vava told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that
nothing much was changed in the draft, except that the presidential term would
be limited to two 5-year terms. He described the new draft as “a copy and paste
job” on the so-called Kariba Draft, which was compiled in 2007 by the same
political parties, but was never implemented. (Click on links below to examine
“It is clear that the president is still the
head of state, head of government and commander in chief of the Defense Forces.
He is still not liable to any criminal court procedure for crimes committed in
office and he is still the one appointing and dimissing key public figures in
government,” Vava said.
He added that the president also retains the
power to pardon criminals and can declare a state of emergency. “It can be the
sort of emergency where soldiers are unleashed on the people of Zimbabwe under
the guise of restoring law and order as we have seen,” Vava
The NCA has been advocating a ‘No’ vote on the
draft Constitution in the coming referendum. The new draft still needs to be
adopted by the principals, after which it will be presented to parliament for
their approval before a second All Stakeholders Conference is held.
Vava said the Conference is a waste of time and
money because the draft cannot be changed at that point. However, the MDC-T
national executive have already approved the draft and are calling for a Yes
vote. And the MDC-N announced this week that they also advocate a Yes
Vava warned that a Yes vote would be a mistake,
saying ZANU PF is trying to fool Zimbabweans into thinking they are opposed to
the draft, so that people vote Yes in the referendum.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Wednesday increased the
minimum capital requirements for banks to $100 million, a move that some
fear will hurt the financial sector.
But central bank governor Gideon
Gono said the plan is to create a strong and healthy banking sector. In his
monetary policy statement Gono pushed for consolidation, warning that poorly
capitalized banks posed a threat to the stability of the financial sector
and the economy as a whole.
Gono said the capital requirement for
commercial and merchant banks would go up from US$12.5 million to US$100
million; building societies from US$10 million to US$80 million; and finance
and discount houses from US$7.5 million to US$60 million.
He gave the
banks two years to meet the new capital requirements, and said they must be
75 percent compliant by the end of 2013. Analysts believe the objective of
this exercise is for banks to become bigger and stronger, after facing near
collapse at the height of the country’s financial meltdown because of Gono’s
kamikaze financial policies.
He was responsible for printing truckloads
of worthless Zimbabwean dollars, a situation that led to the record
hyperinflationary levels in the country four years ago. Gono has headed the
Reserve Bank since 2003, at one time presiding over the world’s fastest
shrinking economy, with inflation reaching a whopping 500 billion
This led to Finance Minister and MDC-T secretary-general Tendai
Biti describing him as the country’s number one economic enemy: ‘An economic
saboteur, terrorist and number one Al-Qaeda who deserves to be shot by a
Lawyer and economic analyst Bekithemba Mhlanga told SW
Radio Africa the capitalization increase will make the banks more resilient
to economic shocks and enable them play a more active role in supporting
‘I also think the move will strengthen the financial
base of the banks, thereby safeguard the interest of depositors. What the
increase does is that banks will have to invest more in the economy, hence
making the financial base stronger and safer for depositors,’ Mhlanga
This year alone three banks linked to ZANU PF officials have been
forced to close after abusing depositors’ funds. In the last decade a number
of banks and financial institutions, faced the same fate after they were
looted by people with close links to ZANU PF. These banks included Interfin,
Time Bank, CFX, First National Building Society, Zimbabwe Building Society,
United Merchant Bank, Universal Merchant Bank and, more recently,
ReNaissance Merchant Bank.
A group of 29 MDC-T activists and
officials falsely accused of killing a policeman in Glen View last year
continue to serve jail time while their trial remains suspended.
of the group have been in jail for nearly one year now, after being denied
bail on several occasions on the basis that they pose serious flight risks.
The trial was suspended two weeks ago because one of the activists is
critically ill and receiving treatment at a private
Nyamadzawo Gapare was examined by a private doctor while he was
at the prison section of Harare Central Hospital and it was recommended that
he be taken to a private hospital where he could receive better treatment.
Justice Chinembiri Bhunu ruled that the trial will not resume until Gapare
is able to stand trial.
According to Clifford Hlatywayo, national
spokesman for the MDC-T Youth Assembly, defence lawyers appealed to the
Supreme Court to have their bail application heard there and were recently
granted permission. But the court has not yet set a date for the bail
Hlatywayo told SW Radio Africa last week that the majority of
the accused activists in jail are high ranking officials within the MDC-T
party, including councillors, executive board members and the national youth
chairman Solomon Madzore.
Police officer Petros Mutedza was killed by
unknown revelers in a local nightclub in Glen view back in May last year.
But the police claim Mutedza was murdered by MDC-T members who held a
meeting at the pub, despite evidence that many of them were not even at that
location on the day.
MDC-T officials accuse the police of harassing their
members and attempting to destabilize the party.
Chideme and Daniel Nemukuyu SUSPECTS found culpable in the delivery of toxic
sodium cyanide to council for water treatment will be charged with
conspiracy to commit murder, the Attorney-General’s Office said
yesterday. Mr Morgan Dube of the AG’s office said they had directed police to
continue investigating the matter. The probe is targeting the
transporters. “After going through the papers, we found conspiracy to murder
the people of Harare to be the appropriate charge under the
circumstances. “Those responsible for the transportation of the chemicals had
the correct documents showing they were delivering water treatment
chemicals, but they actually delivered poison. “There is an element of
misrepresentation on the transporters’ part. We have directed the police to
proceed with the investigations in line with the preferred charge,” he
Council yesterday allayed fears that residents were in danger
of being exposed to the poisonous chemical. Residents expressed outrage
that the system allowed a dangerous chemical to be delivered to the water
treatment plant. This is not the first time a wrong chemical has been
delivered there. Recently, a certain firm delivered salt instead of granular
aluminium sulphate. Acting Harare Mayor Mr Emmanuel Chiroto said the city
adheres to a rigorous testing routine of chemicals applied in the treatment
process. “There was no chance that the chemical was going to be used.
Chemicals are not like manure that can be used willy-nilly,” he said. Clr
Chiroto said residents should understand that the delivery was a
mistake. He said the tests determine whether or not supplied chemicals
either meet required standards or match the samples that the city
requires. “If there is a slight difference, we return to the supplier. We
test every chemical before we use it. Residents should not panic. We cannot
expose them to such mistakes.” The acting mayor urged suppliers to cross
check their deliveries to avoid causing alarm and despondency. At least
19 tonnes of the poisonous sodium cyanide were erroneously delivered to
Morton Jaffray plant. Freight World, the agent that cleared the chemical, and
LA Cargo — the contracted transporter — are trading blame for the mix
up. The correct consignment was, however, delivered. Freight World
managing director Mr Felix Nyaruwanga said LA Cargo was to blame for the
wrong delivery. But, LA Cargo official Mr Apronis Mupakaviri said blame
should go to the clearing agent because it gave the driver wrong delivery
instructions. The sodium cyanide and aluminum sulphate were imported from
India through CureChem on behalf of its customers. The consignment
comprised four containers of each chemical. The chemicals entered Zimbabwe
through Forbes Border Post. According to the Centre for Disease Control and
Prevention website, cyanide is a rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical
that can exist in various forms. This can be a colourless gas, such as
hydrogen cyanide (HCN) or cyanogen chloride (CNCl), or in crystal form such
as sodium cyanide (NaCN) or potassium cyanide (KCN). Hydrogen cyanide,
under the name Zyklon B, is a fatal chemical that was once used as a
genocidal agent by Germans during World War II.
Events surrounding the delivery of a wrong water
treatment chemical at Morton Jaffrey Water Treatment Works in Harare on 24
July 2012 have shown that residents of the city were never in danger of
The Deputy Mayor of Harare, Councillor Emmanuel Chiroto said
this at a Press Conference held in Harare today.
The Press Conference
follows reports that on the date in question at around 0710 hours, council
employees at Morton Jaffrey Water Works received a consignment of Sodium
Cyanide for water treatment instead of Aluminium Sulphate.
Cyanide is a poisonous chemical.
Clr Chiroto, the Ward 42 Councillor for
Hatcliffe, said the issue of water must never be politicized and politicians
must find another platform to criticize each other. “At no time did we
receive a wrong chemical. Thirteen steps are taken when receiving chemicals
for use at Morton Jaffrey. Only two steps were taken before it was
discovered that the consignment was flawed. At no time was the containers
unpacked or off-loaded for use. We will continue to give residents clean and
safe water,” said Councillor Chiroto.
Among the steps taken to receive
chemicals for water treatment, the receiving attendants at water treatment
plants invite the foreman, resident chemist and loss control officer to the
receiving bay after a vehicle is allowed access into the premises. In a
process that also involves the quality assurance officer, the foreman breaks
the seal, in the case of a container or opens a tent in the case of granular
consignment. After this procedure, the resident chemist compares the
consignment documents and consignment labels in the presence of the other
Supporting the deputy mayor, the Harare City Council Chief
Executive, Dr Tendai Mahachi said at no time were the lives of people in
danger because employees at Morton Jaffrey never received the consignment.
He said council has robust procedures to handle the delivery of
“Alarm is raised when two things happen. First, when packaging
is not normal and when the labeling itself is wrong. If it’s poison, we say
to our employees don’t sample, send it out,” he said.
the council officials, this is not the first time that council has rejected
deliveries at its water treatment plants.
“There are times when we have
rejected Aluminium Sulphate which was sub-standard. There is a time when
salt was delivered instead of water treatment chemicals,” said Dr Mahachi,
adding that in all the cases, receipt of the deliveries was never
Investigations by the City Council have confirmed that control
systems at water treatment plants are robust and there are skilled employees
who are able to differentiate chemicals even before sampling. There is also
a responsible management team that is effective.
Over and above, the
MDC-led City Council has autonomous teams that are authorized to act without
unnecessary consultation with senior management. This is contrary to what
residents of Harare have been made to believe by some sections of the
Speaking on the water situation in the capital, Engineer
Christopher Zvobgo, the Director of Water said in the past two weeks there
have been serious challenges caused by lack of adequate chemicals, obsolete
plants and the weather. The worst affected areas due to these challenges
have been Hatcliffe and Dzivarasekwa.
Meanwhile, starting today, the
mayor will be issuing monthly reports on the water situation, waste
management and the state of affairs of the city.
The people’s struggle
for real change – Let’s finish it!!!
A STORM is brewing in the Zambezi Valley over
plans to establish heavy mining operations along two major rivers that feed
into Mana Pools, one of the world’s most untamed wildernesses and one of
Zimbabwe’s most popular tourist attractions. A mining venture by
indigenous mining concern, Habbard Investments (Private) Limited, was
recently given a prospecting/exploration licence by the Ministry of Mines
and Mining Development through Geo-Associates (Private) Limited. The company
seeks to dredge the river beds of Chewore and Ruckomechi for heavy mineral
sands deposits (HMSD). HMSDs are used as raw materials in the manufacture of
paints and dyes; enhancing colour in plastics, paper and rubber; in
cosmetics and pharmaceuticals; and to produce titanium alloy metals used in
aircraft, spacecraft and medical prostheses. Although Habbard Investments
has contracted Impact Assessment Consulting (IMPACO) to conduct an
Environmental Impact Assessment to establish what impact the proposed
explorations will have on the wilderness, environmental groups have raised
the red flag over the whole idea which they consider to be a serious threat
to the unique natural heritage. One of the environmental lobby groups, the
Zambezi Society, a conservation organisation involved in conserving the
Zambezi Valley’s wildlife and wilderness since 1982, has strongly objected
to the mining venture because its location would be within an area that is
permanently protected as a World Heritage Site(WHS). Zambezi Society said
the proposed mine would be in the United Nations Education, Scientific and
Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Wor-ld Heritage Site, a site that includes
Mana Pools National Park, Sapi and Chewore safari areas. “Its status as a
WHS means that it is ‘a property of Outstanding Universal Value’ because of
its cultural and/or natural significance, which is so exceptional as to
transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and
future generations of all humanity,” said the Zimbabwe Society. “As such,
the permanent protection of this heritage is of the highest importance, (not
only to Zimbabweans) but to the international community as a
whole”. According to the National Parks and Wildlife Management Authority of
Zimb-abwe, Mana (meaning four in the local Shona vernacular) Pools, is
synonymous with the Zambezi River, elephants, lions, remoteness and
wilderness. The area, comprising four pools, covers 2 196 square
kilometres, which is part of an extensive 10 500 square kilometre national
parks and wildlife estate. “This unique park is a World Heritage Site,
based on its wildness and beauty, together with the wide range of large
mammals, over 350 bird species and aquatic wildlife. Mana Pools is one of
Zimbabwe’s most popular parks.” The Zambezi Society has since engaged IMPACO,
the Environmental Management Agency, the Safari Operators Association of
Zimbabwe (SOAZ), the National Museums and Monuments of Zimbabwe, the Lower
Zambezi Tour Operators and UNESCO National Commission over the matter. A
committee comprising members of SOAZ, UNESCO National Commission, Lower
Zambezi Tour Operators and the National Museums and Monuments to prepare a
position paper on the legal and technical implications of the proposed
mining venture has since been established. Habbard has so far
acknowledged that the venture would create human and wildlife conflict as
more people are introduced into the area, noise, possible obstruction of
river flow, and increased traffic and existing safari and tour operations
would be disturbed. The company, however, says the project would bring
positive impacts such employment creation, more taxes in the form of
royalties to government as well as road and infrastructure upgrading in the
THE High Court has ordered the eviction of Chief
Mashayamombe from Marsden Farm in Mhondoro to pave way for businessman Mr
Mr Goromonzi said he bought the farm from
the white former farmer.
Mr Michael Hughes Mino and Mrs Shelly Diane Mino
owned the farm through a company called Marsden Farm Private
They, however, sold the firm to Mr Goromonzi and the Minister of
State in the Vice President’s Office Sylvester Nguni after it had been
gazetted for compulsory acquisition.
Mr Goromonzi later bought out
Minister Nguni and became the sole owner of the company.
land had been gazetted, Chief Mashayamombe and his son Tendai Chiketa
occupied the farm without offer letters.
Another farmer, Mr Kudzai
Gwenhere, occupied part of the farm and was spared from the eviction because
he had an offer letter.
Justice Nicholas Mathonsi ruled that the chief
and his son acted unlawfully by resorting to self-help in occupying the
This was after convincing submissions by Mr Goromonzi’s lawyer
Advocate Isaiah Mureriwa of Scanlen and Holderness.
“It cannot be
disputed that the respondents acted outside the law by resorting to
self-help measures without due process and taking occupation of the farm the
way they did.
“The first and second respondents (chief and his son) do
not have offer letters and until such time that they are given such offer
letters, they have no right whatsoever to be on the farm.
and second respondents and all those claiming through them should forthwith
vacate and give possession of Marsden Farm situated in the District of
Chegutu to the applicant.
“The first and second respondents should
refrain from taking any equipment or implements from the said Marsden
“Application against the third respondents (Mr Gwenhere) is
dismissed. Each party shall bear its own costs,” ruled Justice
The judge agreed with arguments raised by Adv Mureriwa, but had
to clear Mr Gwenhere of any wrongdoing.
The court also condemned the
violent manner in which the chief and his son occupied the
After the farm was gazetted, it was once allocated to various
individuals through offer letters, but Mr Goromonzi successfully resisted
the move until he approached the offices of the land acquiring
He sought de-listing of the farm on the basis that it had been
acquired on the erroneous understanding that the white former farmer had
occupied it. The chief lands officer for Mashonaland West investigated the
matter and submitted a report to the director of resettlement recommending
that Mr Goromonzi should be issued with an offer letter for the farm.
President Michael Sata today held official talks with
visiting Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
The talks, which were
held at State House in Lusaka, lasted for over 30 minutes.
during the meeting, President Mugabe praised Zambia for the role she played
in helping Zimbabwe get her independence.
President Mugabe said Zambia
and other African countries played a critical role in ensuring that Zimbabwe
was liberated adding that Zambia sacrificed a lot and carried a heavy burdens
for the sake of Zimbabwe.
Mr. Mugabe explained that after Zambia got
her Independence in 1964, Zimbabwe started using her (Zambia) as ground
where people could meet and strategies on how best to end
He said because of this cooperation, countries in Africa are
still united and are there for each other.
He noted that this
cooperation should continue for the benefit of the future
Mr. Mugabe said this is why there is need for the older
generation who were present during that time to impart knowledge to the
new generation on the past experiences.
And President Mugabe has
congratulated African ministers for working together during the just ended
Africa Union (AU) summit which saw the ushering into office of South Africa’s
Nkonsizane Dlamini Zuma as Chairperson for the AU commission.
Mugabe said this is an indication that African countries are ready to
support and work with one other.
He also noted that he was grateful
to President Sata for having invited him for the state visit and official
opening of the 86th Agriculture and Commercial Show.
He noted that the
last time he attended such an occasion in Zambia was during the reign of Dr.
Earlier, President Sata expressed gratitude to President
Mugabe for accepting the invitation to come to Zambia.
Mr. Sata added
that Zambia will take advantage of President Mugabe’s visit to Zambia and
learn something from the visit.
President Mugabe, who arrived this
afternoon, is in country for a three days state visit and is expected to
officially open the 86th Agriculture and Commercial Show on Saturday.
ZIMBABWEAN Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai held a 30 minute
private discussion with President Joyce Banda of Malawi on the sidelines of
a book launch in Johannesburg.
The two were the special guests on
Wednesday night at the launch of Africa’s Third Liberation, a new book
authored by Geoff Herbst and Greg Mills.
They discussed issues of mutual
interest including the political and economic developments in the two sister
The Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Hon
Jameson Timba, briefed both PM Tsvangirai and President Banda about a forged
invitation letter to the Malawi President purportedly coming from the Prime
Minister’s Office in Harare.
President Banda described those behind
the forged letter as pursuing “primitive politics”.
said the plot explained why the people of Zimbabwe had engaged in a
democratic struggle in the past 13 years to change such primitive
Addressing the gathering at the book launch, PM Tsvangirai
said Africa’s liberation icons had betrayed the values of the liberation
“They went into office without a plan and today, the new crop
of African leaders has to deal with the economy to provide jobs to the
millions of our young people,” he said.
The Premier said the
post-liberation formations had to deal with the failures of liberation
formations that had no policies to rescue the continent.
some political parties go to their Congresses, they never discuss policy but
are preoccupied with positions.”
President Banda told gathering that
Africa should concentrate on economic development rather than the failed
policies of the past.
She warned that failure to provide jobs for the
millions of young people in Malawi and other African countries was a
potential for disaster, adding that the Arab springs were the clearest sign
that an idle but active population without jobs could be a source of
Malema has a history of cozying up to Zanu-PF.
In 2010, he made a three-day visit to the
country to swop notes with the Zanu-PF
Youth and senior Zanu-PF officials on economic transformation. While there he
also met with President Robert Mugabe and prominent businessmen. He also met the
Affirmative Action Group (AAG), a radical black empowerment pressure
While in London, Malema has been staying at the
five-star Corinthia Hotel in Whitehall Place, which charges between R7 400 and
R25 250 per night.
Sports Minister and former youth league
president Fikile Mbalula, who has been staying at the same hotel, vociferously
denied that Malema's stay had been paid for by the sports ministry and would not
comment on whether he had been in touch with Malema since arriving in
"If you think Malema is living in this hotel at
the expense of the sports ministry, then produce evidence. What your sources
told you is rubbish," he shouted at a New Age
Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League has chosen not
to comment on the trip.
UK-based businessman Conrad Mwanza told the
Sowetan that Malema's trip had not been organised by anyone in the ANC,
the youth league or the Friends of the Youth League but by event companies CMG and Base
He said that Malema was popular with members of
the Caribbean community in London, who appreciate his views on economic
But Mwanza, who has been linked to Zimbabwe's
ruling party Zanu-PF, later told the New Age that the trip had been
organied by his own company, MCG Events Management.
He denied that he had ties to Zanu-PF, saying:
"I came here from Zimbabwe but I'm not linked to Zanu-PF."
According to the New Age, Mwanza has
also invited the president of the Zimbabwean empowerment group AAG to the UK in
The former youth league leader was meant to
speak about his experiences in the ANC and his views on South Africa at an event
at the Royal Over-Seas League House on Tuesday night. Tickets were sold at £20
(R260) each but only about a dozen people arrived – half of them journalists –
and the event was
Malema also gave interviews to the British media
and used the opportunity to repeat his controversial views on nationalisation
and to roadmap his plans for the near future.
"I'm coming back to the ANC in December once
we've removed president Zuma," he said on BBC's Focus on Africa.
He also told Sky News that he believed deputy
president Kgalema Motlanthe was best placed to replace Zuma at the ANC's
electoral conference, and that when this happened he would return to the
In an interview with news website The
South African just before he
addressed a meeting of the Pan African Congress Movement at which he apparently
refererd to Mugabe as source of inspiration, Malema said that he had been
expelled by a faction of the ANC, not by all its members, and that he is still a
member of the youth league and is "deeply involved" in preparations for the
Zimbabwe’s national power supply authority is fighting against an
arbitration order to increase the salaries of its workers, by appealing
against what it insists is a ‘biased’ decision.
A voluntary mediation
process was launched earlier this year to settle an ongoing wage dispute
between ZESA and energy workers. That process resulted in an order that
promised a new salary structure for the energy sector as of 18th June 2012.
This included a 40% increase in salaries for employees.
But the new
salary structure was never implemented, resulting in the country’s energy
workers’ union threatening to stage a nationwide strike last month.
then retaliated by suspending more than 130 workers from across the country,
without pay or benefits, in a move slammed by other Zimbabwean workers’
unions as ‘primitive’ and ‘barbaric.
The power utility is now appealing
the arbitration order, insisting that one of the arbitrators, Professor
Lovemore Madhuku, was not independent and therefore the order was biased.
The parastatal has argued that Madhuku is registered with the same legal
firm that has been representing the energy workers.
Lawyers for Human Rights has said the appeal by ZESA is just an attempt to
‘buy time’, and the parastatal’s argument is baseless. Lawyer Jeremiah Bamu
is quoted as saying that the voluntary arbitration process allows for the
two sides to choose their own arbitrators. And in this case, both
arbitrators, including the one chosen by ZESA, agreed with the salary
August 02, 2012 - Zimbabwe's Finance minister Tendai Biti said the constant
visits to his office by war veterans and civil servants demanding money has
given him sleepless nights and left him wasted.
Biti, who upon his
appointment as minister in 2009 described his job as the “worst in the
world”, told a civic society constitutional briefing on Wednesday afternoon
that he had lost touch with life.
“Zimbabwe is the lowest on the
happiness index, some of us, you can look at me, I have lost weight because
every day I have war veterans, civil servants and Robert Mugabe and all
kinds of nonsense that impinge on my right in pursuit of happiness,” said
Biti in a jocular manner to much laughter from his audience.
to play golf, I used to support Black Rhinos, I don’t know how all that
ended. I don’t know the last time I have ever been to a night club. My right
to pursue happiness has really been infringed. I used to phone girls but all
that is gone and I don’t think it’s fair.”
Biti who appeared at the
meeting in black faded jeans, a red and black sweater and his trade mark
Scottish cap appeared to have indeed lost a significant amount of weight.
Biti is a staunch English premier league club Arsenal supporter.
August 02, 2012 - President Robert Mugabe can be prosecuted for “civil and
criminal” crimes he might have committed before and during his time in
office according to the country’s new constitutional draft.
of the draft, which deals with presidential immunity, states that “while in
office the president is not liable to civil or criminal proceedings in any
court for things done or omitted to be done in his or her personal
It however further states that “civil or criminal proceedings
may be instituted against a former President for things done and omitted to
be done before he or she became President or while he or she was
Mainstream MDC party Secretary General Tendai Biti, a lawyer
by profession, told members of the civic society on Wednesday afternoon that
this was the most important feature of the new constitution.
the most important things we have done is that the president can be
prosecuted after office for civil and criminal omissions done before he
became president or during his presidency,” said Biti.
president were to order 30 000 people to be shot and killed during
Gukurahundi when he becomes a civilian he can be prosecuted and it’s a very
important safe guard to democracy.”
Biti said apart from providing
for the prosecution of the president the new constitution also makes it very
difficult for the president to amend the constitution.
current Lancaster House constitution has been amended 19 times since
independence in 1980.
But now one will require a two thirds parliamentary
majority and a referendum to do so.
“To change the bill of rights you
will have to seek two thirds of parliamentary majority and you will have to
go to a referendum. It’s no longer that easy and the use of the simple
majority that the Zanu (PF) government used to change the constitution,”
In addition he said the president will be expected to be the
biggest defender of the constitution and derive his power to rule from it.
Section 5.1 of the new constitution says the executive authority of Zimbabwe
is derived from the constitution.
“In Zimbabwe at the moment those
who are exercising authority do not feel that they derive authority from the
people and executive authority has never been exercised in terms of the
constitution. The law is secondary. The president must uphold, defend the
constitution of the country."
"So the ultimate defender of the
constitution is the president and that’s something that the founding
presidents of America did and respected,” said Biti as Zanu (PF)’s highest
decision making body the politburo was meeting to discuss the
The Zanu (PF) party wants an all powerful president with
undiluted powers and the 5.2 clause which seeks to deal with succession
issues by making it mandatory for presidential candidates to choose two
running mates who will automatically become first and second vice presidents
“I hope our presidents will respect this constitution. The
obligation to defend this constitution begins and ends with you because you
are the constitutional embodiment of Zimbabwe.”
Progressively the new
constitution also significantly whittles down the powers of the president by
putting the executive power in the hands of both the president and the
cabinet. The current constitution says executive power is practised by the
president alone. It also limits the terms of office of the president to 10
“Africa is abused by leaders such as Mugabe who want to rule until
the cows come home and die but in this constitution one cannot rule for more
than an aggregate of 10 years which means that if one becomes an acting
president for three years those are deemed to be part of the ten years,”
In addition the president can now be impeached by a two thirds
parliamentary majority through a motion which requires only 50 percent of
signatures of members of parliament.
Written by Nelson Musonza Thursday, 02
August 2012 13:32
HARARE - Chitungwiza town this week recorded
119 cases of typhoid outbreak with lack of clean water cited as behind the
fast spreading of the waterborne disease.
As of last week, there were
eight new cases of the disease from 111cases that were recorded in July in
the dormitory town.
Director of Epidemiology and Disease Control in the
ministry of Health and Child Welfare Portia Manangazira confirmed to the
Daily News that several people have been affected by the disease in
“Of all the typhoid cases recorded in Chitungwiza,
61 were recorded in Unit L and others were being recorded in Unit M, N and
O,’’ said Manangazira.
She said the outbreak is attributed to poor water
delivery system in Chitungwiza where residents receive water which is
delivered by containers. Chitungwiza is in the throes of a crippling water
shortage with the city battling with old infrastructure and lack of finance
to repair aging pipes.
Chitungwiza, Norton, Ruwa and Epworth receive
water from Harare whose water treatment plant is facing mechanical
Some residents have resorted to unprotected shallow wells for
the precious liquid and this has exacerbated the spreading of the
Symptoms of the disease usually develop one to three weeks after
Typhoid is characterised by slowly progressing fever, reaching
as high as 40 degrees Celsius, profuse sweating and non-bloody
Untreated typhoid fever manifests itself through headaches
coughing, nose-bleeding and abdominal pains.
The government-owned Agricultural Rural Development
Authority is reeling under a $11 million debt it owes Iran for the
procurement of tractors during Zimbabwe’s economic
meltdown. 31.07.1206:40pm by Staff Reporter
This was revealed
by Arda Board Chairman, Basil Nyabadza, to members of the portfolio
committees for Energy and Mining, as well as Higher and Tertiary Education,
Science and Technology.
The two portfolio committees were on a
fact-finding mission since the closure of the Chisumbanje Ethanol plant two
months ago. The tractors are now run down due to lack of maintenance and
spare parts and are being kept at the Arda workshop in
Nyabadza said the tractors were purchased as part of a
government-to-government deal, under President Robert Mugabe’s Look East
policy. He argued that making fuel blending a mandatory requirement in
Zimbabwe would help Arda, a partner in the ethanol producing plant in
Chisumbanje, offset its debt.
“Arda needs money to offset this
hanging debt and only if we sell our product can we raise funds to pay off
this debt,”Nyabadza told the MPs during a recent tour of the Chisumbanje
The Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union has
blamed the country’s ill-advised policies for the acute food shortages that
have reduced Zimbabwe to a basket case, with about 1,6 million rural people
being reported to be in need of food aid this
by Edgar Gweshe
of the CFU, Charles Taffs, told The Zimbabwean that the lack of clear cut
policies on agriculture and the chaotic acquisition of properties over the
past 12 years had led to a reduction in agricultural productivity thereby
contributing significantly to the nation’s food shortages.
dismissed as “absolute nonsense” claims that drought was the major
contributing factor to the acute food shortages Zimbabwe is facing, saying
it was an attempt by those behind the destruction of the agricultural sector
to cover up for their destructive policies.
He also said government’s
failure to distribute inputs in time to resettled farmers had resulted in
the country failing to produce enough food for the people. The lack of
farming expertise among resettled farmers, he said, had worsened the
“There is no drought here. It’s bad planning. The country does
not have an agricultural policy. These are the real issues and it really
infuriates me when they say there is a drought.
‘‘For the last 12
years, we haven’t been feeding ourselves and the problem is that we are
growing maize where it is not suitable to do so -70 percent of the crop is
not being grown where it should be grown and what’s the point of
distributing inputs in December? We need to stop making excuses now and stop
blaming others for the problems the county is facing,” said Taffs.
recent Zimbabwe Vulnerability and Assessment report (ZimVAC) reveals that an
estimated 1,6 million people in rural areas are likely to need food
assistance this season and the number is 60 percent higher than the one
million recorded last season. The report also reveals that this year’s
cereal harvest was just over a million metric tons, a third lower than that
of last year and the lowest since 2009.
Taffs said efforts to revive
the country’s agricultural industry were being derailed by “political issues
which are always at the forefront”. This, he said, had led to a huge decline
in agricultural productivity, with that adversely affecting other sectors of
“Agriculture is not to be viewed in isolation. It is tied to
banking, rural councils, schools and manufacturing industries. The problem
now is that agriculture is not working. If we sort agriculture, we sort
everything else. To have a UN food agency based in Harare is an insult,” he
Taffs also took a swipe at the country’s draft constitution which
he said is “incredibly unsatisfactory” and smacks of an attempt by some
powerful figures to sweep compensation claims by former white commercial
farmers under the carpet.
The draft constitution enshrines the right
of the state to acquire land and also states that the takeovers will be done
without compensation. The draft constitution also guarantees invaders’
rights to the properties they seize and insists Britain is responsible for
compensation of land seized during the Land Reform Programme.
is concerning is that the constitution is full of contradictions. For
example, in the Bill of Rights, it is clear that no one shall be prejudiced
of land but it is clear that white farmers are being
‘‘The Zimbabwean government in the draft constitution has
said they are not going to honour international court rulings on land.
Ignoring international court rulings on land will isolate the country
further and this is something we cannot afford to do,” said Taffs, adding
that the drafters had missed an opportunity to resolve the land question
once and for all and the stance taken on land will continue to hold back
It keeps getting clearer. The Zimbabwe Republic
Police now has a Special Purpose Vehicle called ZRP P/L. What I am not sure
about, though, is whether the company has been registered with Zimra, or
whether it has a certificate of incorporation. 01.08.1210:27am by
Whatever the case, it is very easy to locate, as
the company is housed at the very familiar Police General Headquarters, just
a stone’s throw away from State House. Augustine Chihuri is the Chief
ZRP P/L is one of the fastest growing companies in
Zimbabwe. After years of operations as some kind of a flea market, it
decided to enter the cut-throat world of real business some time last year
and now has braches on all the highways in Zimbabwe, complete with cash
points in every alley, under trees, behind bushes and even in
The company is bagging about $9m a month, I am told, and that
surely puts this ‘innovative’ company in line for prestigious awards from
the AAG and ZIIEB. What the above means, basically, is that the Zimbabwe
Republic Police has turned our roads into a business venture.
weeks ago I said something about the police using the money obtained from
roadblocks to buy luxury cars. With more detail emerging, the whole business
of gun-toting, fast-driving cops literally extorting money from motorists is
looking messier. Zimbabwe must be the only country in the world with the
unenviable reputation of having a police service that has turned roadblocks
into a commercial venture. What is even more worrying is that the trend has
been institutionalised and no-one seems ready to take action against this
despicable show of impunity.
Roadblocks, we all know, are supposed to
benefit the public. They are supposed to ensure that road users comply with
traffic regulations for the safety and welfare of everyone. They are also
supposed to ensure citizens’ general security and curb crime.
happening is the complete opposite, as they are now being conducted in a
manner that promotes institutionalised criminality.
The background to
turning our roads into money spinning ventures is easy to unpack. Augustine
Chihuri has repeatedly complained that Tendai Biti, the Finance Minister,
was not giving him enough money in successive national budgets, hence his
application to use generated revenue internally instead of surrendering it
to the national purse through the Justice Ministry.
Prior to the GNU, the
police, because of its partisan nature, easily got money from the ministry
to splash on luxuries and to oil unpopular campaigns. With Biti now on
board, the ball game is very different.
For one, the extra money to give
to the police, army, and so on, is not there because some people are
diverting diamond revenue. Second, the economy is not performing well and we
should live within our means. There is therefore no reason for the police to
be cry babies because every government department is affected.
a way to hit back Biti, and after failing to acquire a diamond mining
licence, ZRP had to turn to the roads to mine the motorists
I am sure most of us found it shocking that traffic cops are
now being given a ‘retention allowance’, apparently to motivate them to
bring in more money and avert the all-too-familiar tendency among the
officers to pocket the bribes themselves.
The manner in which the
blocks are being conducted raises many legal and professional questions.
First, ZRP has moved magistrates’ courts to the highways, empowering even
the most junior detail in the police service to preside over alleged traffic
Almost every motorist and public transport operator has been
transformed into a convicted criminal through the fines they are forced to
pay. This, of course, is an affront to justice, as the victims are forced to
plead guilty to offences that they would normally challenge. The police
officers know too well that the road users are under pressure to get
somewhere, be it the workplace, border or a business meeting, and have no
choice but to pay spot fines.
By giving traffic cops those hefty
allowances, police chiefs are clearly showing how unprofessional they are.
(Not that they are well-known for being professional.) They have created an
artificial divide between those that are receiving them and those that are
In effect, a Superintend earning $700 would always feel inferior in
front of a Constable getting his monthly $300 and an extra $2,400 as
‘retention allowance’. Furthermore the pay-outs don’t seem to be respecting
best practice in the civil service procedures as they are paid over the
Now is the time for the public to institute class action against
these senseless, irritating, illegal and certainly unprofessional roadblocks
because they cannot be left to go on just like that. *For feedback, please
write to email@example.com
FORMER Zifa chief executive Henrietta Rushwaya will face
trial next month after her application to have charges of corruptly
concealing a transaction from a principal was dismissed
Magistrate Ms Esthere Chivasa ordered the State to amend the
charges and include the name of the person representing Zifa in the
The charges against the former Zifa boss emanate from soccer
matches the senior national soccer team, the Warriors, played in
Rushwaya, who was represented by Mr Tafadzwa Hungwe and Mr Dumisani
Mthombeni of Venturas and Samukange, pleaded not guilty to all nine counts
of corruptly concealing a transaction from a principal when she initially
appeared before Ms Chivasa.
Ms Chivasa deferred the case to September
12 for trial.
In her application, Rushwaya argued that the mere
concealing of a transaction from a principal was not a criminal
She said it could be an act of misconduct and prayed for her
acquittal on that basis.
But prosecutors Mr Oliver Marwa and Mr Sidom
Chinzete said the State’s facts were clearly disclosing that an offence was
They argued that the State was relying on Rushwaya’s failure
to disclose the nature of transaction to his principal and failure to
disclose the source of funding the team’s participation in the Asian games.
Zimbabwe have been forced to close early as preparations for the country's
forthcoming national census, set to start next month, are now in full
The move, says the Zimbabwe Statistics Agency, is meant to give
teachers time to train as enumerators. Schools were originally scheduled to
close for the second term next week.
Harare teacher Abbiot Moyo said
the government should plan better in the future so students do not have to
disrupt their studies unnecessarily.
"The Government knew it would
conduct a census in 2012 and should have factored this in the school
calender last year," said an irate Moyo. "It seems as if the Ministry of
Education is always the casualty when it comes to disruptions."
schools in the country were in the process of preparing for mid-term exams
with some students laying the groundwork for Ordinary and Advanced Level
examinations in November," he added.
A Zimbabwean woman started a
new website earlier this year to give fellow Zimbabweans around the world a
platform to express their opinions and define themselves. The founder and the
site’s contributors aim to promote gender activism as a more inclusive,
empowering and positive alternative to feminism.
Published: Aug. 1, 2012
at 5:26 PM
By Geri-Leigh Diana
HARARE, Zimbabwe (GPI)--Fungai Machirori seems wise beyond her 28 years. The
vibrant woman smiles from behind her glasses in Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital,
before speaking about her brainchild, a website called Her
“It’s an important space for the alternative Zimbabwean women’s
narrative,” she explains. “Zimbabwean women are generally painted over with one
brushstroke by the media. It’s a chance to tell another story and think in a new
Machirori is the founder and managing editor of Her Zimbabwe. She
created the platform in March 2012 and says she is pleased to see it already has
1,785 “likes” on Facebook as well as countless contributors.
herself as a “journalist, blogger, poet and writer,” Machirori has also worked
in HIV and AIDS media, communication and research. She recently attained her
master’s in international development with a focus on diaspora and gender
studies, which she says inspired her to create a way to include women in the
diaspora in Zimbabwe's mainstream discourse.
Machirori says she noticed
that many young Zimbabwean women were using new media, particularly blogs, to
share their unique stories. The welcomed rise in this female blogging traffic
raised the level of discussions, and Machirori saw how Zimbabwean women in the
diaspora were hearing this discourse. She says she wanted to elevate this
“All these discoveries were happening at the same time as I
was a runner-up in the World Youth Summit Awards held in Austria,” Machirori
says. “There, I really started to see how young people were honing the potential
of new media to make a difference in the world. And that’s really when I thought
seriously about how a feminist cyber-activism platform could look in Zimbabwe.”
With Her Zimbabwe, Machirori says she aims to provide a space where
Zimbabwean women can celebrate their femininity and share their views and ideas
on what being a woman entails. Readers can also gain insight into the challenges
faced by others.
Her Zimbabwe opens up dialogue and removes the barriers
that separate classes, genders and ethnicities, she says. In Zimbabwe’s
predominantly patriarchal society, this forum offers women a voice in social
development, though it also welcomes the participation of men.
women say that the website offers them a unique platform to express themselves
on the issues that affect them as well as to redefine the globe’s perception of
them. Together, they strive for "gender activism," which they say is a more
inclusive and less radical form of feminism. As such, the website values men’s
participation and strives to link Zimbabweans around the world in order to
effect social change.
Zimbabwe ranks 88th out of 135 countries on the
Gender Gap Index 2011 based on economics, education, health and politics,
according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2011. Survey
respondents ranked Zimbabwe a 4.98 out of 7 on the ability of women to rise to
positions of enterprise leadership.
Drawing mostly female contributors,
Her Zimbabwe users post about a range of issues that they face as women. One
contributor, Nyasha Gloria Sengayi, posted an entry called “Whose virginity is
it anyway?” in which she exerts ownership of her virginity.
“Growing up, advice given to us by our parents and other relatives told us to
preserve ourselves and our hymens for our husbands. While this is a valuable
practice, the truth is that that little piece of meat is mine! Even my parents
don’t own it! If it belonged to my husband, then why didn’t God just place it on
Sengayi, who works with Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace
Building in Harare, says she values the platform that Her Zimbabwe
KIRSTY Coventry qualified for the women's 200m
backstroke final at the London Olympics on Thursday night with the sixth
Coventry, who qualified for the semi-finals third in the
morning heats, went slightly slower in the semi-finals with a controlled
swim. She touched in 2:08.32.
American Elizabeth Beisel was quickest
in the semi-finals with a time of 2:06.18, turning the tables on compatriot
Missy Franklin who was fastest in the morning heats. Franklin slotted in
second (2:06.84) with Australia's Meagan Nay third with a time of
Russia's Anastasia Zueva took fourth (2:07.88) and France's
Alexianne Castel's 2:08.24 time was enough for fifth ahead of the
28-year-old Zimbabwean record holder.
Great Britain's Elizabeth
Simmonds (2:08.48) was seventh overall with the Canadian Sinead Russell
stealing the last spot with a time of 2:08.76.
Coventry will fancy her
chances in Friday night's final in what is her only medal hope after failing
to reach the 100m backstroke final on Sunday and coming sixth in the 200m
individual medley final on Tuesday night.
... Sports Minister Coltart and Econet chief Strive Masiyiwa watch Kirsty on
by Violet Gonda I VOA
SPORTS Minister David Coltart says Kirsty
Coventry has done surprisingly well and overcame incredible odds including lack
of financial support and injuries to reach the finals of the London Olympic
This after Zimbabwe’s swimming sensation’s
disappointing show Tuesday where she finished sixth in the final of the 200
meter individual medley - a few days after finishing seventh in the 100 meter
Coventry won medals in both events in 2004 in
Athens and Beijing's 2008 games.
Coltart said Coventry’s spirited performance, in
the face of so many challenges, epitomises the grit and determination of
Zimbabwean sports competitors.
“I don’t think Zimbabweans really appreciate the
obstacles that Kirsty has had to overcome. We always assume that gold medals are
easy to come by, but the fact is after the Beijing games she effectively retired
and she didn’t swim for over a year.
“And when she came back into the sport she
didn’t have the environment of her old university and her old coach,” Coltart
The minister said at one point, the swimmer
dislocated her knee and was infected with pneumonia.
Getting gold in the Olympics is one way of
getting sponsors, but Coltart said this has not been the case for
“She has not had a lot of financial support and
has been very isolated and only raced two competitive races prior to the London
Olympics. So, when you compare that build up to all her competitors you will see
that what she has achieved is absolutely remarkable.”
Businessman Strive Masiyiwa and Bulawayo-born
Princess Charlene of Monaco are said to be among a few people who have supported
Coltart said: “The irony is that those two
people you’ve mentioned are the very people I know who have given tremendous
support to Kirsty. It’s more the government than individuals like that, who have
failed in providing adequate resources to Kirsty and other potential Olympic
But the minister said the problem is not only
“It’s also the environment. In the run up to
Beijing games, Kirsty came from a university environment where she had team
mates. In the last few years she literally had to train on her own.”
Coventry, who won seven of Zimbabwe's eight
Olympic medals in history, still carries Zimbabwe’s hopes when she takes part in
her strongest event - the 200 meter backstroke Thursday.
Zimbabwe is also being represented in London by
triathlete Chris Felgate, Rower Jamie Fraser McKenzie and the marathon trio of
Cuthbert Nyasango, Wirimayi Zhuwao and Sharon Tawengwa, who are all still to
Rower Micheene Thorncroft finished fourth in the
quarter finals on Tuesday and did not qualify for the semi- finals.
Apart from the medals Coventry won in 2004 and
2008, Zimbabwe scooped gold in the Moscow games after its admission into
international sport in 1980 following years in the wilderness due to smart
sanctions imposed on the Ian Smith regime.
Coltart said government has to come up with a
strategy to identify and nurture talent to lead the country's athletes to
greater heights, including making sport development a financial priority and
integrating sports into the school curriculum.
KIRSTY Coventry lifted the gloom over Zimbabwe’s 2012
Olympics effort on Thursday as she qualified for the semi-finals of the
women’s 200m backstroke with the third best time. The 28-year-old barely
registered in her first event on Sunday as she failed to reach the finals of
the 100m backstroke.
She came sixth in the 200m individual medley final
on Tuesday night.
But the 200m backstroke – her final event – was always
going to be Coventry’s best chance of a medal, having won gold in the event
at the last two Olympic games in Athens and Beijing.
She came second
in her heat behind the American Miss Franklin – whose time of 2:07.54 was
quickest overall, while Coventry’s (2:08.14) was good for third behind
Elizabeth Beisel (2:07.82), also of America. Less than a second covered the
top three, and Coventry will be feeling buoyant ahead of the semi-finals on
The final is held on Friday night.
David Coltart, who was poolside to cheer on the seven-time Olympic medal
winner, described her performance as “superlative”.
Her American coach
Kim Brackin said on Twitter: "Feeling good about an incredibly controlled
200m back by @KirstyCoventry. She values all your support tremendously -
fuels her. Thank you!." But Kirsty urged caution. In her post swim interview,
she said: “It’s tough out there, I’m not 17 anymore.”
If it’s as
tough as it was on Thursday morning, Zimbabweans would not want it any other
TOP 8 QUALIFIERS WOMEN’S 200M BACKSTROKE SEMIS
Franklin 2:07.54 USA Elizabeth Beisel 2:07.82 ZIM Kirsty Coventry
2:08.14 AUS Meagen Nay 2:08.40 AUS Belinda Hocking 2:08.75 FRA
Alexianne Castel 2:08.92 CAN Sinead Russell 2:09.04 RUS Anastasia Zueva
2:09.36 KIRSTY COVENTRY’S LONDON 2012 DIARY
Thursday, August 2, 2012
(7:50pm) at Aquatics Centre, Olympic Park: 200m Backstroke
Friday, August 3, 2012 (7:30pm) at Aquatics Centre, Olympic
Park: 200m Backstroke Finals
Sunday, August 12, 2012: London
2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony at Olympic Stadium
Matiza in LONDON YESTERDAY was Day Six of the 2012 London Olympic Games but
Zimbabwe was still missing from the medal table’s radar of the world’s
biggest sporting showcase which began here last Friday. In fact by the end
of Day Five on Tuesday night, Team Zimbabwe’s tally read zero after the
country’s biggest medal hopeful, swimmer Kirsty Coventry failed to get a
podium place in the first two events that she took part in at these on-going
London Games — the women’s 100m backstroke and the 200m individual
medley. Coventry first failed to reach the final of the women’s 100m
backstroke on Sunday, falling by the wayside in the semi-finals but she
managed to reach Tuesday night’s final of the 200IM. But the two-time
Olympic Games women’s 200m backstroke champion found the going tough in the
final of the 200IM in which she finished a disappointing sixth in 2:11.13 in
a race which was won by young Chinese swimmer Shiwen Ye in a new Olympic
record of 2:07.57. In fact, Ye became the sixth woman to win both medley
events (400 and 200m) at the same Olympic Games, and easily the youngest at
16. Before Ye’s remarkable achievement on Tuesday night, Yana Klochkova of
Ukraine was the youngest to win both medley events at the same Olympic
Games, at age 18 at the Sydney Games in Australia in 2000. Ye also became
the first swimmer aged 16 or under to win two individual medals at the same
Olympic Games since Diana Mocanu at Sydney 2000. And how Zimbabwe’s Coventry
wished she was in Ye’s shoes at the London Games in which she is still
looking at adding one more medal to the seven — two golds, four silvers and
one bronze — that she mined at the last two Olympics in Athens, Greece, in
2004 and Beijing, China, four years later. Talk in some quarters of the
28-year-old Zimbabwean swimmer going for two more medals prior to the London
Games was too ambitious, partly due to the fact that time has caught up with
Coventry to some degree as was evidenced by her poor performance in Tuesday
night’s final of the 200IM. But Coventry was not disappointed by her poor
showing on Tuesday night and partly attributed this to the knee injury and
Pneumonia that she had at the beginning of this year. “I would have loved
to have medalled (on Tuesday night) but from what I have had to go through
this year, I’ll take 6th with a smile on my face,'” Coventry Twitted soon
after Tuesday night’s 200IM final. Coventry’s hopes of picking up a medal in
the 200IM were heavily diminished when she only sneak into the final as the
slowest qualifier and had to start one of her flagship races in lane
eight. However, Coventry has the chance to correct that today when she
competes in the opening heats of her favourite stroke — the 200m
backstroke. In fact, Coventry will be going out for hat-trick of victories in
the Olympic Games women’s 200m backstroke event after having first won it at
the 2004 Athens Games in Greece. She successfully defended her title at
the next Games in Beijing, China, four years later where she also picked up
three silver medals to bring her medal haul to seven and becoming the most
decorated Zimbabwean swimmer in history. In today’s women’s 200m
backstroke qualifying rounds, Coventry has been placed in Heat Five where
she will be fighting for a place in the evening’s semis with Yige Yao of
China, Sharon van Rouwendaal of the Netherlands, American Missy Franklin,
Australia’s Meagen Nay, Laure Manaudou of France, Great Britain’s Stephanie
Proud and Eyglo Osk Gustafsdottir of Israel. And among the eight swimmers
who are in this morning’s Heat Five of the women’s 200m backstroke, Coventry
has the fifth-best qualifying time of 2:08.41. She is also the Olympic Games
record holder in this event with a time of 2:05.24, set at the Beijing Games
in China in 2008.
ETON DORNEY, ENGLAND — Rachel Davis and Micheen
Thornycroft may not have a lot of government funding, corporate sponsors or
Olympic experience. But they have an awful lot of friends.
Davis, a Cambridge-raised rowing coach, and
Thornycroft, her Zimbabwean rower, are quite possibly the most well-liked pair
at Eton Dorney, the historic countryside course that is the rowing venue at the
When Thornycroft showed up at the Olympics last
week, her boat was missing in transit. So her Brazilian opponent loaned the
rower one until hers arrived, five days later.
It’s been that way pretty much since the
cash-strapped duo from the African country started showing up on the
international circuit, trying to work their way to London.
Other teams found themselves doing favours for
the likable pair, whether it was lending equipment or trailers, giving them a
place to stay or helping them find sponsors.
“We’ve had some tough times, but the other
nations have stepped in and helped us,” Thornycroft said. “I’m setting up on the
start line, and I feel like all those girls, they’re my friends.”
So much for cutthroat competition. Davis and
Thornycroft have been laughing and smiling their way through their first
Olympics together, and winning over rivals as they go.
On Tuesday, the Zimbabwean-born athlete just
missed her shot to advance to the semifinal round in the women’s single sculls
at the Olympics. Now she’ll drop down and compete in a lower classification that
doesn’t give out medals.
But that’s fine with her and her coach, who met
at a private school outside Harare where the Canadian was teaching. The
Olympics, they say, shouldn’t just be about winning at all costs.
“I feel like we embody what the Olympic spirit
is all about. When we walk into a room, we’ve had so many connections with most
of the countries,” Davis said. “We’re often the cheery face that picks other
athletes up when they’re feeling down.”
That happy-go-lucky approach seems to be missing
from some of the bigger rowing nations in London, with their deep pocketbooks
and heavy sponsorship deals weighing them down with expectations.
“There’s a lot of athletes out there that have
forgotten why they do this. I think we’ve had the opportunity to show them at
this level it doesn’t have to be all about sacrifice, hard work and drudgery. We
do it because we choose to do it.”
Out at Eton Dorney this week, Davis was speeding
alongside the rowing course on a bicycle, doing split-times on her watch and
shouting out encouragement as a packed grandstand roared their approval to the
racers on the water.
“I love to watch her race, and to be in this
environment. We’re enjoying the ride,” Davis said.
The pair’s unlikely journey to the Olympics,
often scraping by on the generosity of others, has won them plenty of fans in
international rowing circles. Much of the gear they compete in has been gifted
Even the race suit that Thornycroft wears as she
competes in London was donated by Regatta Sport, a Canadian company.
Their whole story seems like an improbable dream
come true. Zimbabwe, a landlocked, poor African country, is known for a few
things — but rowing certainly isn’t one of them. To get here, Thornycroft and
Davis trained at a dam north of the capital, dodging hippopotamuses and
crocodiles while their lake dried up in drought.
They’re having such a blast, they’re already
talking about doing it all over again for the 2016 Games in Rio de
“This means everything to me, it’s all I’ve ever
wanted. Zimbabwe is tiny, but we’ve got so much support all over the world. Our
support base has grown,” Thornycroft said.
“Me and Rachel have just had so much fun, I want
to carry on. I love it, it’s been the best year, ever.”
Thornycroft credits her coach with sacrificing
her job, family time and money to get here. Davis’ father, David Fallows,
meanwhile, paid for plane tickets to send her three kids, Jessica, Sean and
Samantha to London to see their mother at work.
Davis, who isn’t paid to coach Thornycroft,
simply does it because she loves what’s she’s doing, her rower said.
Back when she was known as Rachel Fallows, Davis
was a star athlete at Preston High School in basketball, soccer, volleyball,
track and field and cross-country running. She took up rowing at Carleton
University, and was sent to Zimbabwe in 1996 by FISA, the international rowing
Her mission was to spread the sport in the
African country. She’s never left and is still working toward that goal
Her impact in Zimbabwe’s fledgling rowing
community has not gone unnoticed. Another one of her former students,
19-year-old James Fraser-Mackenzie, also qualified for the 2012 Olympics in
rowing, although he’s moved his training to a private school in
Thornycroft isn’t the first rower from Zimbabwe
to compete in the Olympics, but she’s the first to earn her way there. Three
others have competed before her, but only in showcase events or on invitation
from the International Rowing Federation.
Peter Cookson, Rowing Canada’s director of high
performance, said Davis’ work to get two Zimbabwean rowers to the Olympics is
“To get two athletes here is pretty
extraordinary,” he said, after a race at Eton Dorney.
“The thing about Zimbabwean kids is they’re
extremely tough. They’ll go to any means to accomplish their goal. Rachel, as a
Canadian, has a similar ethos in terms of ‘hard work gets you places.’ She’s
brought that up there.”
To be an elite rower from Zimbabwe means facing
all sorts of obstacles most athletes never have to, said Cookson, who has
coached in the country.
“They row on a lake that has all sorts of
challenges. They’re very strapped for finances, they’re strapped for equipment,
they’re strapped for all the structure that’s normally around a high-performance
team,” he said.
CHIREDZI, in Masvingo
Province’s south eastern Lowveld, is a place described in the country’s
geography textbooks as a land of vast money-spinning sugarcane estates. But
it is also a place contemporary journalism fondly likes to identify with
hunger, drought and searing heat. All the descriptions are indeed true
portraits of a land that is physically separated into two contrasting images
by one simple feature: the 200-metre wide Runde River. Occupying Runde’s
northern bank are the lush Triangle, Mkwasine and Hippo Valley sugarcane
plantations while on the southern bank are the dry and khaki communal lands,
all reflecting on an enduring colonial legacy that 32 years of the country’s
independence has failed to amend. Chiredzi, before 1930, was undeniably
hunger-stricken, drought-prone and simmering under sweltering tropical heat,
but the lone efforts of a Thomas Murray Macdougall, who in 1931, decided to
tame the hostile savannah countryside using water from Mutirikwe River,
turned Runde’s northern bank into the luxuriance it is
today. Macdougall’s efforts to tame 300 000 hectares of part of hostile
Chiredzi, which began as far back as before the First World War when he was
involved in cattle ranching then ended with the sugarcane estates that have
endured time to this day. The southern bank of Runde, where the indigenous
population has lived for generations, remained stuck in the belly of a
hostile environment until today. However, the success of Macdougall’s
individual venture reflects on the potential the entire Chiredzi District
possesses, albeit its hostile setting. The sugarcane greenbelt, occupying
just over 300 square kilometres of countryside, is a mere two percent of the
entire district measuring nearly 15 000 square kilometres. Although the
largest part of Chiredzi is yearning for development through irrigation
similar to that currently taking place north of Runde River, some Zimbabwean
politicians who are seeking to redress colonial economic imbalances, are
gunning for a share of the sugarcane greenbelt instead. Demands that Triangle
and Hippo Valley Estates, owned by Tangaat Hulett, cede 51 percent of the
business to indigenous business people, are probably missing the point as
The Financial Gazette observed recently. Even the spirited demand that
conglomerates cede 10 percent of their shares to local communities is an
empowerment drive that will forever condemn the rest of the district to
underdevelopment given past experiences with programmes such as the Social
Development Fund that has been abused left right and centre by
politicians. Obtaining 51 percent ownership of the present sugar estates
does not translate to people being able to avert hunger due to incessant
droughts wrought by the hostile environment they live in because only a
handful of individuals will enjoy the benefits. Also, the country’s 10
percent Community Share Ownership Scheme model is ideal for communities with
mining enterprises, but it is probably not the best option for the
agro-industrial sector given the ever highly volatile commodity price regime
on the international market, this reporter also noted. ZANU-PF politburo
member, Dzikamai Mavhaire, who is also a resident of Masvingo Province, hit
the bull’s eye recently when he said: “Land ownership does not create
wealth. Land production creates wealth,” adding that it is time that
appropriate farming methods be applied in each natural region of the
country. Inspirational to anyone who loves tilling the land, Zimbabwe’s south
eastern sugarcane estates, bound between Mutirikwe, Chiredzi and Runde
rivers, can easily be a strong basis to unleash the latent wealth that
abounds in Chiredzi. In 1977 Colin Saunders, author of a book about the
life of the pioneer of the sugarcane plantations titled: Murray Macdougall
and the Story of Triangle, wrote: “The story of MacDougall’s pioneering
feats in establishing the possibilities of large-scale irrigation in the
south eastern Lowveld of Rhodesia is one of the great epics of human
endeavour of our time, and his single-minded faith and determination
provided a solid foundation on which were built the fortunes of a great
company, whose example has already been followed, with success, by
neighbours, and by other organisations which one can only hope will increase
vastly, in the interest of our country.” Granted, colonial rule was the worst
thing that could have ever happened to the indigenous people of Zimbabwe but
building upon some of the positive legacies, which at one time benefited a
few white colonialists, can only make Zimbabwe much greater than what it is
today. With Triangle and Hippo Valley estates currently managing to satisfy
only 20 percent of the estates’ total combined milling capacity of 600 000
tonnes of sugar from 4,8 million tonnes of cane, room for new players is
vast especially given the existing high demand for Zimbabwean sugar by the
European Union (EU) nations. More land beyond that currently occupied by
Triangle and Hippo Valley can be opened up as the Tokwe-Murkosi Dam
long-term development agenda suggest. The completion of Tokwe-Murkosi Dam,
currently under construction in Masvingo’s Chivi District, will result in
the development of five irrigation schemes, Tokwane North, Tokwane South,
Hippo Valley, Runde South and Matibi II, with Matibi II, located south of
Runde River, billed to be the largest small-scale irrigation development
ever to happen in the country. The total irrigated area, whose development is
expected to last a decade after the completion of Tokwe-Murkosi Dam
construction, is expected to be 2 400 square kilometres or 39 000 hectares,
exceeding Triangle and Hippo Valley estates by more than 10 000 hectares. It
is envisaged that 65 percent of the irrigated area will be set aside for
sugarcane, 24 percent for fruit production while 11 percent will be for
annual crops for the resettled and communal farmers. This, however, is a
pipedream that has existed in the country’s State blueprints for nearly half
a century now. Evidence on the ground, as exhibited by the villagers’
determined efforts to make hostile Chiredzi as comfortable as possible,
indicates that something can meanwhile be done to unleash the area’s vast
potential. From the dust bawls of Chiredzi, at Mapume Village under Chief
Masivamela some 50km from Runde River, the Chiwara family managed to harvest
a tonne of healthy maize in a district where such a harvest is presently an
unimaginable feat. “It is virtually impossible to grow maize here but we
managed to do so through conservation farming,” said Patricia Chiwara
adding: “It was tough when we started but working as a group of four other
farmers the task became easier.” The ‘miraculous’ family harvest, from
half a hectare of land, was achieved by purely relying on the area’s highly
unpredictable rainfall which is largely detected by a climatic condition
that allows less than 450 millimetres of rain every year. About 10
kilometres away from the Chiwara’s homestead, at Chinyetu Village, the
Matimbe family has turned part of the seemingly barren Mopani tree-studded
landscape into a small greenbelt the size of a football field. Flourishing on
the small plot, by means of irrigation, are several types of vegetables and
legumes in such a beautiful scene that one cannot help but marvel. From
the healthy looking herds of cattle and goats foraging for pastures in the
countryside, Chiredzi is undoubtedly also suitable for intensive and
extensive livestock production. But unfortunately, as this reporter
learnt, the majority of cattle are hardly offered for sale: They are mere
symbols of wealth in a land that is ironically stalked by hunger due to
perennial crop failure. It is also doubtful whether the EU community’s
yearning calls for the country’s world-class organic beef has ever reached
The worst constraints affecting
Zimbabwe’s economic recovery continue to be self-inflicted policies that are
still having profound effects on business confidence. Because political
objectives lie behind all the policy decisions, it is impossible to describe
the situation in purely economic terms. 01.08.1208:41am by John
This remains true of the latest policies imposed: huge
increases in mining taxes, fees and royalties, renewed attempts to force
non-indigenous investors, ranging from international banks to neighbourhood
nursery schools, to relinquish 51% of their shares. And now the Draft
Constitution reinforces assertions that the State has the right to evict
agricultural landowners and to deny them recourse to the law.
moves have decisively undermined any hope of business expansion, job
creation, export revenue growth or capacity improvements that could have
promoted growth, made the country more competitive or improved revenue flows
to the fiscus. Even Zanu (PF) does not deny that this has been the result,
but the party’s officials have resolutely kept the policies in place. The
purpose of the policies, therefore, is clearly much deeper than the widely
discredited hopes that a lucky few beneficiaries of the indigenisation
programme will suddenly become rich.
Very poor dividend prospects and
the uncertain futures of the businesses are now seen to promise nothing but
disappointment, so energetic defence of the policies can only mean that a
few influential people are getting something else they want.
they want, and what they are getting, is the prevention of any hope of
economic recovery, whatever the cost. And the reasoning: to them, a far
greater cost would be to lose the next election. As an economic recovery
would be fully credited to the MDC, and as that might tip the electoral
scales, all moves toward economic recovery are being deliberately
Tragically for Zimbabwe, the cost has already been
staggeringly high. However, the ruling political class is happy to dismiss
the entire topic with a simple, “Who cares?” response. This is because they
have very deliberately directed all these costs onto the shoulders of the
general population, a population that is considered deserving of both
punishment and contempt because the majority has transferred its loyalty to
the opposition party.
So deep is the ruling political class’s disdain
for the population at large, it doesn’t even pretend to believe its fatuous
promise that the painful costs to everyone will be comfortably offset by
indigenisation empowerment gains. They all know that their promises cannot
be kept and they have never even pretended that they planned to keep
However, most targets of the intended deception have understood the
real objectives better than the perpetrators. Every day they receive
reminders of tough conditions that have made them victims, not
beneficiaries, and all too clearly they see evidence of the increasing
riches of their oppressors.
While they know that only temporary
empowerment will be acquired by very few, they are also keenly aware that
ordinary people will carry the enormous costs of the privileged class’s
ill-gotten gains for years to come.
A few years from now, the ruling
political class might well decide that its dismissal of the masses was its
biggest mistake. Ordinary Zimbabweans know the origins of their handicaps
and are measuring the costs a lot more carefully than are the politicians
who are imposing them.
To shake off responsibility, the politicians are
much more preoccupied with placing the blame elsewhere. And they can conjure
up myths of sanctions, drought and regime-change conspiracies as fast as
they can use the party-controlled media to spread their
Evidence that the law is unworkable has accumulated fairly
quickly and most of it can be placed into two separate folders: the evidence
that almost everybody realises it will do nothing whatever to empower the
population at large, and the evidence that the demands of the legislation
are in conflict with many other established and much more important
In particular, it is in conflict with Companies Act, with the
Constitutional rights of citizens and with the obligations of the State to
foreign investors, specially those from countries with which Zimbabwe has
signed a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection
Parts of the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act are
even in conflict with other parts of the same Act, and also with clauses in
the Statutory Instruments that are supposed to give effect to the Act.
However, a third folder has been filling up with a different kind of
This does not argue against the claims that the indigenisation
law will prove massively disappointing to those who hoped to get something
out of it, or that the law is already harming the business environment.
Instead, this evidence suggests that from the start, the whole purpose of
the legislation has been to slow, if not prevent the recovery of the
Zanu (PF) authorities seem to have been happy to see
all the various claims and counter-claims absorbing the energies of
non-indigenous company officials and fuelling the excitement of the less
well-informed who have been deceived into believing that riches will soon
flow into their pockets. But these party officials seem to be getting much
more satisfaction from the powerful evidence that they have achieved their
hidden motive: Zimbabwe’s economic recovery has been scuttled.