Harare, February 13, 2010 - The controversial Women and Men of Zimbabwe
Arise on Saturday staged a Valentine's march in which they were calling
Zimbabweans to demand a constitution that will give Zimbabweans "bread and
The 700 members marched to the offices of the state-owned Herald newspaper,
handing out Valentine cards, red roses and abbreviated copies of WOZA's
report on the state of democracy in Zimbabwe.
The report, entitled 'Hearts starve as well as bodies - give us bread but
give us roses too! Democratising Zimbabwe - an opportunity to shine!' is a
snapshot of community activists' views on the state of democracy in Zimbabwe
one year after the formation of the Government of National Unity (GNU). It
also urges Zimbabweans to participate in democratizing Zimbabwe.
The Valentine cards handed out by the marchers read: "It is not enough that
bread has returned to our shelves. Our hearts are also starving for a
people-driven constitution. We demand a living constitution that will give
us bread and roses too! Just like the thorns on a rose, love comes with
pain, we must be willing to fight through the pain to get our new
constitution. Demand your Rose - stand up for love. Shine Zimbabwe Shine!"
At the Herald offices, the peaceful protestors chanted slogans for a few
minutes before leaving a copy of the report, a Valentine rose and a WOZA
scarf at the door before dispersing without incident.
Songs sung by the peaceful protestors included: "We want our constitution;
we want our rose", "love is needed in Zimbabwe urgently", "it is difficult
to live in a country where thorns are in our way, we need to kneel and pray"
and "if your heart is troubled, trust in the Lord (John 14:1)."
The organsiation intends to stage a similar march in Bulawayo on Monday.
The Valentine's marches have become an annual event for WOZA. The
organisation has in the past endured several arrests during most of its
various demonstrations aimed at making Zimbabwe a truly free and loving
February, 11 2010
Amnesty International today called on President Mugabe and Prime Minister
Tsvangirai to fulfil their promise to reform state institutions, in a bid to
end human rights violations that have continued in the country since the
formation of the unity government one year ago.
Torture, harassment and politically motivated prosecutions of human rights
defenders and perceived opponents have persisted, while villagers in parts
of Zimbabwe have suffered ceaseless intimidation by supporters of former
ruling party ZANU-PF.
"The Attorney General's office, police and army have been left to freely
violate human rights in pursuit of a political agenda," said Erwin van der
Borght, Africa Director at Amnesty International.
"By delaying reform, the situation in Zimbabwe remains fragile as
perpetrators continue to escape justice and are instead effectively given
the all clear to continue violating human rights."
Amnesty International called on the unity government to end on-going
harassment of human rights defenders. Several peaceful protests organized by
civic movement Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were violently broken up by
police in 2009.
Seventeen human rights and political activists who were abducted by state
security agents in 2008 continue to face charges that are widely believed to
be trumped up. One of them, Jestina Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace
Project, had her prosecution permanently stayed by the Supreme Court in
September 2009 because of overwhelming evidence that she had been tortured.
"The government must end the incessant harassment of human rights activists
and take steps to seriously protect rights to freedom of expression,
association and peaceful assembly," said Erwin van der Borght.
The Zimbabwean army and intelligence services, as well as the Attorney
General's office, have remained under ZANU-PF control, following an
agreement brokered by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in
2008. The police are co-chaired by ZANU-PF and MDC-T ministers.
"The onus is on President Mugabe and ZANU-PF to ensure that key institutions
under their control are reformed to end the culture of impunity that still
threatens stability in the country," said Erwin van der Borght.
Amnesty International's call for reform comes amid reports that villagers in
parts of Zimbabwe are being threatened with violence by army backed
supporters of ZANU-PF, in an attempt to force them to endorse the heavily
criticized Kariba draft constitution.
The Kariba draft constitution, agreed by unity government parties in
September 2007, has been strongly criticized by some civil society
organizations as an attempt by the parties to impose a constitution without
Villagers in Mutoko, Muzarabani and MT. Darwin are reportedly being warned
that they will face beatings unless they support the ZANU-PF position.
Similar threats were made and materialised in the run up to the June 2008
"These are early warning signs that the situation could deteriorate if no
urgent measures are taken to stop state security agents from carrying out
violent political campaigns."
"Past involvement on their part has resulted in gross human rights
violations, including deaths and torture of perceived opponents."
The government has so far failed to investigate gross human rights
violations allegedly carried out by security forces during the run-up to the
second round of the 2008 presidential elections, which left at least 200
people dead, over 9,000 injured and tens of thousands displaced.
"The unity government must investigate past and present allegations of human
rights violations by state security agents, including torture and ill
treatment of detainees," said Erwin van der Borght.
Gross human rights violations have also been taking place within the army.
At least two soldiers were tortured to death in October 2009 while being
interrogated by intelligence and military police officials in Harare.
Another soldier was reported to have committed suicide while in solitary
confinement and several others are still receiving medical treatment for
injuries caused by torture.
The victims had been arrested along with at least 95 others, on suspicion of
breaking into an armoury at Pomona barracks and stealing 21 guns.
"Zimbabwean state bodies are riddled with human rights abusers that in many
cases carry out violations with impunity," said Erwin van der Borght.
"Without genuine reform of institutions this abuse is very likely to
By Moses Muchemwa
Published: February 13, 2010
Lupane†† – The cash-strapped coalition government requires US$500 million to
secure enough food to feed the nation amid a serious drought that has
gripped the country.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told farmers in Lupane after assessing the
food security situation in Tsholotsho and Lupane districts, that the country
would experience a food deficit.
“We have not covered every part of Matabeleland North but I’m satisfied that
we are confronted with a short term food need. We need a Government
response, a mitigation plan urgently,” he said.
“By June or July we should have a mid-term plan to import food. I hope the
civic society will also play a role.”
Tsvangirai said the food would be distributed in a transparent manner
without regard to one’s political affiliation, tribe, race or gender.
He said there was also need to remove the man-made factors which led to the
country having a food deficit by ensuring that farmers were productive and
Tsvangirai announced that the Government would form a resource mobilisation
committee, which would ensure that there is money to pay civil servants.
The committee would look at exploring ways of using the country’s natural
resources such as diamonds and gold.
He said the Government would also put in place a team to look at costs,
especially those charged by parastatals, which he said were mostly
He cited electricity, telephone and water bills as examples.
“We are aware of the cost push factors such as the water and electricity
tariffs. Some of the tariffs being charged are unreasonable. At my home, I
have a borehole but I got a US$500 bill so instead of just looking at
resource mobilisation we will also look at the cost structure.”
Tsvangirai said some of the parastatals needed an overhaul as they were
serving the interest of a few individuals, giving the example of Zesa
Holdings, which has five different entities and several “unjustifiable”
He said the inclusive Government had a made a lot of progress despite the
numerous challenges it had faced.
“The Government is not fragile. There are differences yes, but we are making
progress,” he said
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) A Mexican journalist was arrested Friday while filming
tourist facilities in southern Zimbabwe, Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi
Mzembi said the unnamed journalist had been cleared by the Zimbabwean
government to film attractions in Masvingo ahead of the FIFA World Cup to be
held in neighbouring South Africa in June.
Masvingo is located about 300km south-east of the capital Harare and is
along the route to South Africa.
"We approved a journalist from Mexico to go and film in Masvingo and he was
arrested. The same journalist with my driver, my car and a government letter
were arrested," Mzembi said.
The journalist's arrest is going to affect Zimbabwe's attempts to lure
spill-over business from soccer lovers who are expected to descend on the
region during the world's largest football event in June.
The arrest also comes ahead of Zimbabwe's first major international tourism
summit on February 16 in Harare since the formation of the coalition
administration where 300 high profile international investors, including the
World Tourism Organisation are expected to attend.
React to this story
by Brian Chiwara Saturday 13 February 2010
HARARE – Tourism Minister Walter Muzembi said on Friday he was extremely
concerned about the attitude of the country’s security forces after state
agents in the southern town of Masvingo on Thursday arrested a Mexican
journalist cleared by government to film in the town.
It was not immediately possible to establish the journalist’s name or the
publication he works for in Mexico but in Zimbabwe, journalists’ work has
been complicated by the hostile attitude of state security agencies – the
feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the Zimbabwe Republic
Police who have arrested and intimidated independent journalists.
Muzembi told reporters that he feared that the continued disregard of the
country’s laws would scare away critical foreign investment and the flow of
tourists to the southern African country.
“We cannot attract tourists if we do not look at our law and order,” said
Muzembi. “We approve a journalist from Mexico to go and film in Masvingo and
he was arrested. The same journalist with my driver, my car and a government
letter were arrested.
“He wanted to film for Mexican tourists ahead of the World Cup in South
Africa, but the first call I received once he got there was he was at a
police station. He has understood that we are in a transition and we have
said it will not happen again.”
Zimbabwe remains one of the most difficult countries for journalists to
practise their profession despite formation of a coalition government by
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai 12 months ago.
Mugabe and Tsvangirai undertook in the power-sharing agreement that gave
birth to their coalition government to restore democracy in Zimbabwe and to
ensure respect for human rights including press freedom.
The former foes also undertook to reform the police and other security arms
of government to ensure they respect and uphold human rights.
But the troubled unity government is yet to move on security sector reforms
while the army and police continue to exhibit repressive tendencies
jeopardising the southern African country’s efforts to recover from a spate
of bad publicity over the past decade which affected tourist arrivals.
Muzembi said despite the impediments his ministry had faced as it tried to
reverse the decline in arrivals, Zimbabwe’s tourism industry had bounced
back to recovery in 2010, putting up a 13-percentage point surge from -9
percent in February 2009 to a positive growth of 4 percent in November.
The industry is expected to grow by 10 percent this year, the minister said.
On Tuesday, Zimbabwe hosts its first major international tourism summit in
Harare since the formation of the coalition administration where 300 high
profile international investors, including the World Tourism Organisation
are expected to attend.
“The summit will give Zimbabwe a rare opportunity to reposition itself as a
competitive destination,” he said.
He added that while Zimbabwe had mostly targeted the Asian markets in the
past decade, it will be shifting its policy to include the traditional
Western markets, which is a high spending segment with low volumes. –
Zimbabwe could face punitive sanctions at the upcoming Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species conference as a result of its
failure to control poaching of wildlife, especially rhinos
Ish Mafundikwa | Harare 12 February 2010
Zimbabwe could face punitive sanctions at the upcoming Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species conference as a result of its
failure to control poaching of wildlife, especially of the endangered rhino,
the Convention's secretary general has warned.
CITES Secretary General Willem Wijnstekers said rampant poaching of the
rhino for its horn in Zimbabwe and South Africa is on the agenda of the
Conference of Parties of CITES set for Qatar in March.
Addressing reporters in Harare at the end of a four-day visit to Zimbabwe,
he said punitive measures include suspension of trade in wildlife with an
errant country. He said if this happened to Zimbabwe, it would hurt the
"Both the conservancies and the national parks get most of their income from
hunting and tourism," he said. "A boycott on imports of hunting trophies by
the rest of the world doesn't help Zimbabwe and it doesn't help the species
as such so that is something that I would certainly would like to be
Wijnstekers added that a country could also be given time to address
poaching and other violations before sanctions are imposed.
A wildlife expert speaking on condition of anonymity told VOA that while
ordinary or so-called non-consumptive tourism had declined in the past
decade, hunters still come to Zimbabwe in large numbers. Such visits
generate millions of dollars in revenues to the sector, he said.
Wijnstekers, who met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and other senior
government officials, said he was gathering information so CITES could
better appreciate Zimbabwe's problems. He said his meetings had been
positive and highlighted the lack of capacity and resources to cope with
Accompanying Wijnstekers was CITES Chief Enforcement Officer John Sellar,
who said that while the organization has no money to help Zimbabwe beef up
its anti-poaching capacity, it is in touch with donors who can help. He also
expressed satisfaction with the way Zimbabwe is dealing with the alleged
involvement of security forces in the poaching.
"The commissioner general of police made no secret of the fact that members
of the security forces have been involved in poaching rhino but several of
those people are now in jail," said Sellar.
"I think one soldier has been killed, shot when he encountered anti-poaching
forces. It appears that the law enforcement agencies aren't in the least bit
reluctant to deal with their own rotten apples," he said.
There has been a spike in demand for rhino horn in Asian countries where it
is believed to have medicinal properties, encouraging poaching.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature and TRAFFIC noted in
a report last year that more than 95 percent of all rhino losses on the
African continent occur in Zimbabwe and South Africa. While the rhino is
endangered in Zimbabwe it does not yet face a similar threat in South
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President Takavafira Zhou said many
teachers were being driven out of schools, raising suspicions about CIO and
Gibbs Dube | Washington 12 February 2010
One week into a strike by Zimbabwean civil servants, members of the feared
Central Intelligence Organization and youth militia were reported to be
forcing teachers in Masvingo and some rural areas to join the strike.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe President Takavafira Zhou said that
members of his union were being driven out of schools in large numbers,
raising suspicions about the CIO and militia involvement in the strike.
"It worries us when we hear that the CIO and youth militia are forcing
teachers to join the industrial action," Zhou told VOA. He said some
political parties were trying to turn the strike by state workers to
Public Service Association Deputy Executive Secretary Jeremiah Bvirindi told
VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that the government had not made a new
salary offer since the strike was declared on February 5.
Senior government officials responsible for the civil service have not been
available for comment since the strike started.
Organizations calling the strike include ZIMTA, the Zimbabwe Teachers
Association, the Government Workers Association, the Professional and
Technical Officers Association, the Government Officers Association, the
Civil Servants Employees Association and Administrative and Executive
Officers' Association. Zimbabwe has some 265,000 state employees.
Written by Staff Reporter
Saturday, 13 February 2010 12:06
BRUSSELS, - The Committee of permanent representatives from European Union
member countries has decided to extend the targeted sanctions against Robert
Mugabe and his mob, official sources said in Brussels on Friday. (Pictured:
The council of ministers on 16 February will approve this decision and
propose to extend the sanctions against Zimbabwe until 20 February 2011.)
This decision arrived at during a meeting is motivated by the 'shortage of
sufficient progress' in the implementation of the global agreement concluded
between Zanu-PF led by Robert Mugabe and the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) led by Morgan Tsvangirai, according to a statement to PANA.
The council of ministers on 16 February will approve this decision and
propose to extend the sanctions against Zimbabwe until 20 February 2011. The
sanctions target 142 personalities close to president Mugabe, as well as
several Zimbabwean companies which provide funds for ZANU-PF. The leaders
targeted are banned from staying in Europe and the foreign assets of the
affected companies are frozen in European banks.
The sanctions which came into force in 2002 target the ruling regime and
were taken against Harare's policy for the accelerated agrarian reform. This
agricultural policy consists of allocating agricultural land taken from
white Zimbabweans to other citizens.
Divisions had emerged in the European Union body on whether to renew
targeted measures against Robert Mugabe and his regime cronies or heed
Morgan Tsvangirai's plea to end them to try and coax the geriatric
Zimbabwean leader into fulfilling outstanding issues in the Global Political
Agreement which ushered in Zimbabwe's unity government early last year.
The EU's council of ministers meets on 16 February to decide on the matter
and authoritative diplomatic sources say it is now most likely that some
names would be struck off the sanctions list as a compromise among the
differing EU countries. But these would mainly be names of companies
sanctioned over their close links to regime cronies and not those of
The authoritative diplomatic sources said some countries led by Germany and
Denmark had favoured an easing of the measures to try and prod Mugabe into
cooperating with Tsvangirai in addressing all outstanding issues in the GPA.
Another group led by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom was of the view
that the targeted measures should stay because nothing much has changed in
terms of fostering the rule of law in Zimbabwe.
In the end, the view of some softening of the measures, accompanied by an
equal easing of language to "acknowledge the reality of the GPA and
encourage its implementation" would prevail, the sources said.
Mugabe has vowed he will not cede any further ground in negotiations with
Tsvangirai's MDC until all sanctions against him and his cronies are lifted.
Sources disclosed that Tsvangirai had written to the EU recently urging the
powerful bloc to lift the targeted measures, arguing that there would be no
movement in talks to resolve the outstanding issues in the GPA unless the
sanctions were lifted.
Last week a meeting of six "like minded countries" met in Denmark to review
the situation in Zimbabwe and formulate a position ahead of the 16 February
council of minister's meeting. The meeting was attended by Zimbabwean desk
officers in the foreign ministries of Germany, Denmark, Netherlands,
Ireland, UK and Sweden.
Sources said the meeting was told that Zimbabwean civic society very much
wants the targeted sanctions to remain until there was real progress in
implementing the GPA.
But it was also argued in that meeting by the Europeans that "removing the
sanctions in an incremental fashion could well be used in the bargaining
power with ZANU PF.." to move the GPA forward.
It was also suggested that efforts be made to engage directly with hardliner
elements in the defence forces and reformists in ZANU PF to move the reform
Countries like Denmark and Germany supported softening the sanctions regime
to encourage reforms. "Their view is that any softening of sanctions is not
rewarding ZANU PF but the MDC after Tsvangirai asked for the removal of the
sanctions," said another source.
Because the EU works by consensus, the view that would finally emerge is on
lifting at least some of the restrictions but not the entire package of
measures, said one diplomat.
"Although the final decision will be on the 16th, you can expect the
knocking off some 10 percent of the measures.† Ninety percent will then
remain pending implementation of the GPA. This 10 percent would be
restricted to the removal of names of companies on the sanctions before any
individuals are considered." said a diplomat.
But senior Members of the EU Parliament (MEPs), who spoke at a meeting
organised by the Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN), this week made it
categorically clear that they want to see the sanctions maintained.
MEP Anna Gomes from Portugal of the socialist S&D party told the meeting
held in the EU Parliament premises that EU MEPs had wanted to visit Zimbabwe
in December to get first hand feel of what was happening on the ground and
had first been invited before being blocked at the last minute by the
Zimbabwe government which said the time wasn't right.
She said they were still anxiously waiting for a new date of a visit to be
confirmed by the Zimbabwean embassy in Brussels. She emphasized the need to
maintain the sanctions until serious progress was recorded.
Her sentiments were shared by MEP Olle Schmidt from Sweden of the liberal
ALDE party who described it as a "huge shame" that Mugabe was still in power
as well as Geoffrey Van Orden from UK of the Conservative ECR party, who
noted that while there have been progress a lot still needed to be done.
"It seems for every two steps forward made in this process, there is always
one huge step backwards.," said Van Orden, insisting that sanctions should
Prominent Zimbabwean rights activists argued for the sanctions to stay .
In fact, Gabriel Shumba, after chronicling a list of violations of the GPA
by Mugabe, said he was puzzled by any suggestions that the sanctions should
"The debate should instead be on intensifying the restrictive measures
against people thwarting the implementation of the GPA," he said.
Okay Machisa of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights) said the
restrictive measures must be maintained until there was real democracy in
The implementation of the GPA has stalled over Mugabe's refusal to cede
further ground on issues like appointment of MDC governors, reversal of his
unilateral appointments of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney
General Johannes Tomana, among others.
He argues that the MDC should ensure the lifting of sanctions and put an end
to broadcasts by "pirate radio stations" into Zimbabwe.† Although it is
secretly lobbying for the lifting of the sanctions, the MDC publicly argues
it has no liability over the sanctions measures imposed in reaction to poor
governance in Zimbabwe.
A group of police officers from Swaziland has arrived in Zimbabwe for
specialist training as part of a regional effort to tighten and co-ordinate
policing ahead of the FIFA World Cup finals in South Africa in June.
Zimbabwe police officials said the Swazis had requested specialist dog
handling and crowd control training, and were the latest regional group to
undergo training in the country.
"The course is another clear testimony of unity in the SADC (Southern
African Development Community) region ...as we continue to tighten our grip
on criminals by exchanging notes and skills in crime management," deputy
Commissioner General Levie Sibanda said.
He said SADC police were co-ordinating their work to combat crime in the
region ahead of the World Cup finals in South Africa.
Cross border crime, particularly human and drug trafficking, is rife in
In addition to training, Swaziland has also bought Zimbabwean police dogs
for use in the country. Malawi has also similarly imported police dogs from
Harare - Pana 13/02/2010
Harare, February 13, 2010 - Political turncoat Jonathan Moyo's quest to rise
in the Zanu PF power hierarchy hit a brick wall Friday when the central
committee blocked his appointment to the party's highest decision - making
Moyo had been heavily tipped to take over either as party's information
secretary from old Nathan Shamuyarira who has retired from active politics,
or to head the party's influential commissariat left vacant by the late
But Rugare Gumbo rose from Zanu PF political doldrums to land the powerful
post political commissar while the party's information secretariat went to
The last minute decision to dump Moyo is said to have been influenced by the
Zanu PF old guard who found it difficult to trust the cunning professor
enough to be part of the Zanu PF inner circle.
Moyo had worked hard, employing his political sophistication to regain lost
favors from President Robert Mugabe by outwitting and attacking Morgan
Tsvangirai at every opportunity.
But as it turned out Friday Moyo's efforts appeared to have come to naught
and it's back to square one for the former powerful minister of information.
Zanu PF has benefitted from Moyo's sharp political brains which the party
has exploited to extricate itself from at least two close shaves with
political demise but the professor has apparently proved too clever for
Many both inside and outside Zanu PF consider Moyo an outright political
turncoat who cannot be trusted.
A Zanu PF central committee said Moyo would however appear unhurt and
continue to work for the party in the crucial battle of wits against the
MDC. Zanu PF is pushing Tsvangirai and his party into the corner in Global
Political Agreement negotiations where Mugabe has stuck his foot demanding
that all sanctions against him and his inner circle be removed before any of
the MDC's numerous demands are even considered.
President Robert Mugabe's nephew Patrick Zhuwao also managed to get himself
into the politburo as the deputy secretary for science and technology.
Former health minister David Parirenyatwa got the the post of secretary for
health he will be deputised by Douglas Mombeshora.
Other senior Zanu PF officials retained their positions in the party's
highest decision making organ.
Harare, February 13, 2010 - The ongoing Parliament-driven constitution
making process has become illegitimate and confusing, National
Constitutional Assembly Chairperson Lovemore Madhuku has said.
Madhuku said this while addressing journalists in the capital on Thursday
where he lambasted politicians for exhibiting confusion and "power hungry"
"It is illegitimate as it is nonsensical that you cannot tell who has the
power in the process. The Minister has no power over anything, COPAC has no
power and what it does can be reversed by the management committee, what the
committee does can be reversed by the principals, Mugabe in particular."
" What this means now is that this process is not people driven especially
with news that the parties are making rallies coaching people what they want
in the final draft. MDC has its draft that it wants to sell to the people
while Zanu PF has the Kariba draft," said Madhuku.
"The process has become illegitimate to qualify to be a process."
Madhuku said that the bickering in the process once referred to the
principals, Mugabe will have the last laugh as 'he is the principals'.
"Government is under complete control of Mugabe. MDC must not be hoodwinked
into believing that they are in this together"
"The appointment of commissioners to lead the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
and Human Rights commission spells out that Mugabe is in charge.† All the
people who are leading the commissions were once appointed into different
services by Mugabe. Mugabe knows more of the guys than Tsvangirai," said
Simpson Mutambanengwe and Reg Austin were appointed to these commissions
Madhuku said he was establishing a strong movement to oppose the parliament
led process. He also criticized donors for fuelling confusion by supporting
this process denouncing the "democratic NCA idea".
"The NCA was formed entirely to deny any process that is not people driven
and surprisingly those who formed it are forwarding the agenda to make a
political party-driven process".
Madhuku also took a swipe at some donors who are financing the political
party driven process saying they have become self appointed judges of the
"They is a lot of nonsense in this process funded by donors," said Madhuku.
Pius Wakatama who was present at the event confessed that he used to believe
Madhuku was fighting a lone struggle until he came face to face with the
confusion at the Rainbow Towers at an event that was supposed to be an
"I used to believe that Madhuku was crazy in opposing the process but after
the confusion that I have seen, Madhuku was right," said Wakatama.
Written by The Zimbabwean
Thursday, 11 February 2010 17:31
Compare the discovery of diamonds and the development of the mining industry
in South Africa with the same story in Zimbabwe, writes our SPECIAL
CORRESPONDENT. One contributed to the improvement of a nation and the
enrichment of a few, and the other to the destruction of a nation and the
enrichment of a few.
In the late 1800s, diamonds were discovered in the North Western Cape in a
town now known as Kimberley. The hole that was dug by the early miners is
now a tourist site with a museum enabling the visitor to review the
development of the mine and the diamond industry. After the initial chaos,
order was restored and South Africa and De Beers in particular were able to
dominate the world diamond industry. Forgetting the politics of apartheid,
in general the whole country benefited from the interest in South Africa's
resource base and that is why South Africa is where it is today. That is not
to forget that a few did become exceedingly wealthy.
Jump forward the 135 years to Zimbabwe and the discovery of diamonds in
Chiadzwa. Since the first panners went in there, it has been a litany of
chaos and corruption with all sorts of horror stories emanating. I am sure
that not all the stories have been told, but nevertheless, one salient fact
stands out beyond the loss of human life. It is variously estimated that the
revenue from these diamonds should be in the order of US$100m a month. I
have no idea about the life of the mines, but I understand that a new seam
has been found near Chimanimani. In any event, the wealth from these mines
is substantial. So where is this $100m a month going? You can be pretty
certain that it is not going into State coffers.
Just review the following headlines from one day's summary of news from
Zimbabwe: Two million people face starvation; donations support Mpilo
hospital; arrears to World Bank; no funds to carry out game census; problems
in paying civil servants.
AndHow much better would be the following? Diamond earnings fund food
imports; diamond earnings rebuild Mpilo hospital; diamond earnings reduce
arrears to World Bank; diamond earnings fund game census; diamond earnings
enable civil servant salary increase. Do those in charge of Zimbabwe not see
the incongruity between the wealth at the collective disposal of the country
and the reality of an impoverished nation?† Those in charge readily spend
£18m on overseas travel; contemplate spending US$120m on a new parliament
and other wasteful expenditure. Minister Biti has toured some of the world
capitals seeking investment and assistance of approximately US$10 billion
from the IMF and World Bank to rebuild Zimbabwe. Perhaps the prerequisite
would be to bring Chiadzwa and similar mines under proper control.
In the same day's news summaries, Fay Chung asks an important question about
the most important challenges facing Zimbabwe. She answers that economics is
the most important, but goes on to suggest that the military has a role to
play. Unfortunately in Zimbabwe, the military is part of the problem and
despite conventional wisdom should not be part of the solution. Fay goes on
to express the need for restrictions on imports to enable local industry to
compete, conveniently forgetting that over the last 10 years Zanu (PF)
policies have contributed to the deindustrialisation of Zimbabwe and reduced
much of it to pre-1950 levels.
No, Fay, it is not control of imports that is required, but to create an
investment and operating climate that will be attractive to investors, to
restore the rule of law and, most of all, create an environment where
everyone can participate, not just the well-connected few. When the history
of Chiadzwa is finally written, it will be appropriate to compare it to
Kimberley and see how, and more importantly, why two similar events have
significantly different results. One contributed to the improvement of a
nation and the enrichment of a few, and the other to the destruction of a
nation and the enrichment of a few. In 100 years, will Chiadzwa have a
museum for the tourists or will it just be another blot on the landscape of
Dear Family and Friends,
We all wondered what would happen when there were no more farms left
to grab and this week we got the answer. It's not diamonds as we
thought, those are undoubtedly destined only for the very deep,
velvet lined pockets of the really big wigs. It's the companies and
businesses that are next.
After a year of appeals, conferences and seminars to try and attract
investors back to Zimbabwe, everything was wasted in a single stroke
this week. A new regulation has just been gazetted requiring that all
local and foreign owned companies must hand over at least 51 per cent
ownership to "indigenous" Zimbabweans. Multiple thousands of
companies are going to be affected and economists predict that many
local industries will be forced into bankruptcy.
An article in the UK Daily Telegraph quotes an expert who explains
the implications in simple language that anyone can understand:
"Daniel Ndlela, Zimbabwe's most eminent regional economist said:
"There will be no foreign investment into Zimbabwe. Why would anyone
come into Zimbabwe with $100 and be left with $49? ... those who
might have invested in Zimbabwe will now never come."
This new regulation does not just affect foreign companies but also
those belonging to Zimbabweans whose skin happens to not be black. It
affects men and women who were born here, went to school and
university here, built homes and businesses here and have lived in
Zimbabwe all their lives - people who know no other country but
Standing chatting to a young "indigenous" Zimbabwean one evening this
week he said to me:
"It shames me to say that nowadays if you are white you are always in
the wrong. Even if you are in the right, if you are white, you are
"Like it was for blacks before 1980?" I suggested.
He laughed and said :"I don't know, I wasn't even born then!"
We slapped hands in that Zimbabwean way of sharing a good laugh and
changed the topic.
We've just heard that Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is talking
about elections in April next year. "Park and proceed" is what the PM
is saying. Everyone knows that the endless stalling and so called
negotiations between Zanu PF and the MDC are never going to be
resolved. As MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said this week: " We don't
want to keep Zimbabweans in suspense and anxiety. We are holding
everyone to ransom."
They are indeed because all we want to do is get on with our lives,
change, improve, prosper and stop going backwards. So lets park that
rusty old bus and proceed. What a good idea. Until next time, thanks
for reading, love cathy
� Copyright cathy buckle 13 February 2010.
Written by The Editor
Friday, 12 February 2010 15:13
On countless occasions promoters of the unity government have told us that
it deserves support from every well meaning Zimbabwean because the
administration is the only viable option to extricate our once proud nation
from the mire. It is the only game in town, they have told us. By the look
of things, the unity government is fast degenerating into the only circus in
town. With the signs of impending humanitarian disaster written large on the
walls and requiring any government worth the tag to act urgently to put in
place measures to avoid needless suffering and even death of citizens, all
we see from Messrs Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara is
episode after episode of an embarrassing and increasingly juvenile power
Civil servants have gone on indefinite strike to press for better wages and
soon we could be back to the 2008 situation with paralysed state
institutions and a government that existed in name only. Multitudes of
Zimbabweans or at least two million people by some estimates face hunger
after a failed agricultural season, while many millions more continue to
struggle against the same challenges and threats such as deepening poverty,
HIV/AIDS and unemployment that they faced before formation of the coalition
government. Even the worst of political morons would probably tell you that
the government needs to put a united front in the face of looming disaster.
Yet the Class of 2009 is courting paralysis with the President pulling in
one direction and the Prime Minister pulling the other way. No, this is not
how transitions work!
The defenders of the Zimbabwe power-sharing government have often mentioned
the example of South Africa's bitter, painful and ultimately successful
transition from apartheid to democracy under the guidance of Nelson Mandela
and Frederik Willem de Klerk. But they miss one point, Mandela and De Klerk
were great foes who were brought together by a genuine desire to build new
and better South Africa that all its citizens could proudly call home.
Nothing unites Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara. No doubt, they each have a
vision of a better Zimbabwe but they clearly differ on what constitutes that
'better Zimbabwe' or the methods to achieve it.
The three men are in the unity government solely because none of them can
see any better option outside the power-sharing arrangement, now that is
hardly good enough a reason for a government to exist. The task to rebuild
Zimbabwe is huge. We have neither the resources nor time to keep a
government in office for the simple reason that its leaders and top
officials need jobs. Now is the time for Zimbabweans to demand that this
unity government puts its act together and deliver on its many promises. The
administration must deliver on constitutional reforms, press freedom and
other basic freedoms, health, education, jobs and human rights -- or do us a
favour and disband!