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Sanctions lifted on Reutenbach, Bredenkamp

17/02/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

THE European Union announced on Friday it had lifted a travel ban and asset
freeze on 51 Zimbabweans previously accused of aiding and abetting human
rights abuses.

The EU also cleared 20 companies in a review of the sanctions first imposed
in 2002 in response to claims of electoral theft and human rights violations
by President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF party.

Another 112 individuals, including Mugabe, and 11 entities will stay on the
list. These people are seen as undermining democracy, human rights and the
rule of law, said one European diplomat.
The EU's 27 member states also extended an arms embargo and a freeze on
development aid to Zimbabwe.

Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi and Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa have their visa bans suspended so that they can take part in talks
with the EU.

"The EU... welcomes progress made towards the creation of a conducive
environment for the holding of free, fair, peaceful and transparent
elections," the EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said in a

Six state media journalists – the Herald’s editor in chief Pikirayi
Deketeke, the paper’s assistant editor Caesar Zvayi, the Sunday Mail’s
political editor Munyaradzi Huni, ZBC boss Happison Muchechetere, reporter
Judith Makwanya and chief reporter Reuben Barwe – have been removed from the
sanctions list.

The EU also lifted sanctions on several senior Zanu PF figures, wives of
party officials and military chiefs, as well as two white businessmen who
were accused in the past of bankrolling Mugabe.

Former Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, former Midlands governor July
Moyo, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa’s wife, Monica, and army commander
General Constantine Chiwenga’s ex-wife, Jocelyn, join billionaire
businessmen Muller Conrad ‘Billy’ Rautenbach and John Arnold Bredenkamp who
now have restrictions lifted on their travel and business activities.

Reacting to the announcement, Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the EU
should scrap all sanctions, calling them "illegal" and blaming them for
damaging Zimbabwe's economy.

"The whole sanctions regime is illegal and racist, and we are not going to
celebrate decisions meant to patronise us while they act as lords over our
political affairs," he told Reuters.

"It's very tragic that the EU is still being used by some of its members,
principally Britain, in pursuing a neo-colonial agenda to remove Zanu PF
from power."

Analysts say the sanctions have been exploited by Mugabe for his political
purposes, blaming them for his party's economic blunders that have caused
what once was one of Africa's richest nations to now be among its poorest.

Mugabe, who was forced into a coalition government with rival Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai after disputed elections in 2008, accuses the EU of
backing Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

The EU’s Ashton said the EU was open to serious political dialogue with
Zimbabwe. But while acknowledging that "the overall situation in Zimbabwe
has improved", she said further reforms were necessary.

"The EU remains ready to reconsider the measures at any time in response to
concrete progress in the implementation of the GPA (a power-sharing
agreement) and the preparation of credible and peaceful elections."
The MDC-T refused to comment on the sanctions.

"That issue is between Zanu PF and the EU, and we don't want to get involved
because it will give Zanu PF a platform for more propaganda," an MDC-T
spokesman said.
The following individuals have been removed from the European Union
sanctions list:

· Barwe, Reuben 3
· Bredenkamp, John Arnold 5
· Chimbudzi, Alice 15
· Chimedza, Paul 16
· Chimutengwende, Chenhamo Chekezha 17
· Chinamasa, Monica 18
· Chiremba, Mirirai 24
· Chitakunye, Eliphas 25
· Chiwenga, Jocelyn 27
· Chiwewe, Willard 29
· Chiwese, George 28
· Deketeke, Pikirayi 31
· Dube, Tshinga Judge 33
· Gumbo, Rugare Eleck Ngidi 36
· Hungwe, Josaya (a.k.a. Josiah) Dunira 39
· Hungwe, Josaya (a.k.a. Josiah) Dunira 39
· Huni, Munyaradzi 40
· Karimanzira, David Ishemunyoro Godi 43
· Kazembe, Joyce Laetitia 46
· Kereke, Munyaradzi 47
· Mahoso, Tafataona 58
· Makwanya, Judith 59
· Makwavarara, Sekesai 60
· Manyonda, Kenneth Vhundukai 63
· Matanyaire, Munyaradzi 67
· Mavhaire, Dzikamai 72
· Mbiriri, Partson 73
· Mombeshora, Millicent Sibongile 79
· Moyo, July Gabarari 82
· Muchechetere, Happison 88
· Mudzvova, Paul 96
· Mugabe, Leo 98
· Mujuru, Solomon T.R. 101
· Mukosi, Musoro Wegomo 102
· Mumbengegwi, Samuel Creighton 104
· Mutasa, Gertrude 110
· Mutasa, Justin Mutsawehuni 111
· Mutiwekuziva, Kenneth Kaparadza 114
· Muzenda, Tsitsi V. 116
· Muzonzini, Elisha 117
· Ncube, Abedinico 120
· Ndlovu, Sikhanyiso 121
· Nkala, Herbert 124
· Nyawani, Misheck 128
· Patel, Bharat 132
· Rautenbach, Muller Conrad (a.k.a. Billy) 134
· Sakabuya, Morris 138
· Samkange, Nelson Tapera Crispen 140
· Sandi, Eunice Moyo 141
· Shumba, Isaiah Masvayamwando 148
· Utete, Charles 159
· Zvayi, Caesar 163
The following companies have been removed from European Union sanctions:

· Alpha International (PVT) Ltd 1
· Breco (Asia Pacific) Ltd 2
· Breco (Eastern Europe) Ltd 3
· Breco (South Africa) Ltd 4
· Breco (UK) Ltd 5
· Breco Group 6
· Breco International 7
· Breco Nominees Ltd 8
· Breco Services Ltd 9
· Corybantes Ltd 12
· Echo Delta Holdings 14
· Masters International Ltd 18
· Ndlovu Motorways 19
· Piedmont (UK) Ltd 21
· Raceview Enterprises 22
· Ridgepoint Overseas Developments Ltd (a.k.a. Ridgepoint Overseas
Developments Ltd) 23
· Scottlee Holdings (PVT) Ltd 24
· Scottlee Resorts Ltd 25
· Timpani Export Ltd 27
· Tremalt Ltd 28

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Mugabe slams EU sanctions

Reuters | 9 Hour(s) Ago

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party on Friday slammed the
European Union's decision to keep up sanctions on the country's leadership
and accused it of trying to topple its veteran leader.

EU diplomats told Reuters this week the bloc was likely to keep an arms
embargo in place and extend a freeze on development aid to Zimbabwe for
another six months in a decision expected to be announced later on Friday.

While it would maintain most of its sanctions, the EU was expected to remove
a third of the people from its list of those affected by asset freezes and
visa bans.

Zanu-PF chief party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the EU should scrap all
sanctions, calling them "illegal" and blaming them for damaging Zimbabwe's

"The whole sanctions regime is illegal and racist, and we are not going to
celebrate decisions meant to patronise us while they act as lords over our
political affairs," he told Reuters.

"It's very tragic that the EU is still being used by some of its members,
principally Britain, in pursuing a neo-colonial agenda to remove Zanu-PF
from power."

Mugabe, who turns 88 next week and has been in power since independence from
Britain in 1980, and other Zanu-PF members were hit with sanctions 10 years
ago in response to suspected mass human rights violations and vote rigging.

Analysts said the sanctions have been exploited by Mugabe for his political
purposes, blaming them for his party's economic blunders that have caused
what once was one of Africa's richest nations to now be among its poorest.

Mugabe, who was forced into a coalition government with rival Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai after disputed elections in 2008, accuses the EU of
backing Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

EU diplomats told Reuters in Brussels this week the bloc had agreed to
remove 51 Zimbabweans from the list of people whose assets were frozen and
who were not allowed visas to travel to the EU. It would also drop 21
entities from the sanctions list.

Another 112 individuals, including Mugabe, and 11 entities will stay on the
list. These people are seen as undermining democracy, human rights and the
rule of law, said one of the diplomats.

Zimbabwe's foreign and justice ministers will have their visa bans suspended
so that they can take part in talks with the

The MDC refused to comment on the sanctions.

"That issue is between Zanu-PF and the EU, and we don't want to get involved
because it will give Zanu-PF a platform for more propaganda," an MDC
spokesman said.

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Zimbabwe PM urges transparent diamond trade

(AFP) – 8 hours ago

ARDA TRANSAU, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Friday
called for openness in the country's nascent diamond trade, getting under
way after the lifting of a global ban over rights abuses.

"We must show transparency in the way we exploit this resource, the way we
market it and the way we benefit for all of our very wide-range challenges
we face as a country," Tsvangirai told journalists as he wrapped up a tour
of mines in the Marange diamond fields.

Zimbabwe expects to rake in $600 million (466 million euros) from diamond
sales this year, after the global watchdog Kimberley Process lifted a ban
that was imposed over military abuses in the fields.

The military is under President Robert Mugabe's control in Zimbabwe's
fragile power-sharing government, and despite fears that diamond profits
could be siphoned off, Tsvangirai said the gems should be a blessing for

"Some people have turned oil discoveries into a successful economic take-off
for their countries," he said.

"But Africa has always experienced a curse when it comes to the discovery of
diamonds. I think we cannot say the same for Zimbabwe. I don't think the
discovery of diamonds is a curse. I think it's a blessing for our country."

Tsvangirai has said the government needs diamond revenue to rebuild the
nation. Since the unity government was formed three years ago, the economy
has begun growing again, after contracting for years.

But the government is struggling to increase salaries for its workers who
staged stayaway protests last month to push for a doubling of their salaries
and improved working conditions.

Human Rights Watch alleges that Mugabe's army killed more than 200 people
two years after the 2006 discovery of the diamond fields in an operation to
clear small-scale miners from the area.

The Kimberley Process, founded to stop the trade in so-called "blood
diamonds", has come under fire from activists for being soft on abuses in

The United States in 2008 slapped sanctions on two firms mining in the
eastern region, Marange Resources and Mbada, which are mining at the scene
of alleged human rights abuses, while powerful US-based diamond trading
group Rapaport has boycotted all Marange gems.

All the firms are jointly owned by the Zimbabwean government and foreign

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Zimbabwe civic groups dismiss charity groups ban, declaring it a breach of aid laws

By Associated Press, Published: February 16

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Civic activists say moves to ban 29 humanitarian
organizations in southern Zimbabwe are a breach of the nation’s laws and
affected groups need to ignore banning orders by the president’s party.

In a new crackdown of non-governmental organizations, a provincial governor
appointed by President Robert Mugabe suspended the activities of the groups
on Wednesday, alleging they did not clear their operations with his office.

An alliance of independent civic groups said in a statement Thursday the
governor did not have legal powers to wage “this fresh onslaught” against
humanitarian work providing food, medication, water and vital services in
the drought-prone Masvingo province.

Mugabe’s party accuses private charities of supporting its opponents and has
repeatedly threatened to shut them down.

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Zanu (PF) Supports Ban On Food Relief NGOs

Harare, February 17, 2012 - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) has stood
firmly behind Masvingo governor and party loyalist Titus Maluleke's
controversial decision to ban 29 Non Governmental Organisation (NGOs)
operating in Masvingo accusing them of siding with its enemy, the Movement
Democratic Change led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

In an exclusive interview with Radio VOP on Friday, Zanu (PF) spokesperson
Rugare Gumbo said he had not yet been fully appraised on the real reasons
behind the ban but insisted the decision by governor Maluleke had the
blessings of his party.

“Leadership at a local level are the ones who decide on what action to take
against a certain NGO,” said Gumbo.

“The principle of the party is there on the table. So he (Maluleke) is not
acting on his own. He is following the party resolutions. We are saying
these NGOs must go through the vetting process and if they are allowed, the
local leadership must decide whether they want them or not.”

Gumbo refused to indicate if the ban on NGOs operating in the hunger prone
province would be the trend in other provinces of the country which are all
being led by Zanu (PF) loyalists.

Speaking under their umbrella banner of National Association of Non
Governmental Organisations (NANGO), Zimbabwe’s embattled NGOs on Thursday
issued a concerted plea to member organisations operating in Masvingo to
defy governor Maluleke’s order to close shop.

NANGO insisted Maluleke was not a regulating authority and as such had no
legal standing to impose any ban on NGOs.

But Gumbo gave the clearest signs Zanu (PF) would unleash the country’s law
enforcement agents to respond to the situation.

“How can they defy the law? They would obviously be breaking the law,” he

Announcing this last Tuesday, governor Maluleke said the ban was also
occasioned by that the affected NGOs had ignored his calls to register with
his office.

He insisted his office was the authority that grants permission to the
voluntary organisations to start operating.

Maluleke said the ban was with immediate effect.

In what could pass as a show of might, governor Maluleke made the
announcement in the company of provincial Joint Operations Command (JOC)
comprising of the ZNA army commanders, ZRP Provincial leader, ZPS provincial
leader and the dreaded Spy agency leaders in the province.

During its December 2011 conference, Zanu (PF) declared war on local NGOs
which it said were abetting a western sponsored regime change agenda through
campaigning for MDC-T under the guise of giving humanitarian assistance.

The NGOs deny the accusations and see this as evidence of fear to lose power
by the Mugabe led administration that has lost the support of ordinary

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More NGO bannings feared
Photo: UNICEF/Kun Li
A mother brings her baby for a measles vaccination in Masvingo province in 2009
HARARE, 17 February 2012 (IRIN) - Twenty-nine NGOs providing services ranging from alleviating food insecurity to assisting the disabled in Zimbabwe’s Masvingo Province have been banned, sparking fears that this could be the start of a new wave of restrictions like the blanket ban placed on the activities of civil society organizations during the violent and disputed parliamentary and presidential elections in 2008.

Titus Maluleke, Governor of Masvingo Province and member of President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party, announced the immediate banning of the NGOs on 14 February, claiming that they had failed to register with his office.

‘‘What has happened in Masvingo can easily spread to other provinces, with undesirable consequences,’’ Abel Chikomo, director of the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, said at a hastily convened media briefing in the capital, Harare, on 16 February.

A joint statement on behalf of various civil society organizations - including the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA), the Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, the National Association of Non Governmental Organizations (NANGO), the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, and Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights - said Maluleke’s actions were “blatantly illegal…and are a nullity at law.”

“The law in this country clearly shows that he has no regulatory authority; nor does he have the power to register or de-register NGOs. Even the Provincial Council that he heads in terms of the Provincial Councils and Administration Act does not have regulatory powers over NGOs. The council exists solely to foster developmental projects initiated and carried out by central government and local government,” the joint statement said.

‘‘The governor’s rash and ill-advised utterances merely seek to confuse matters and are regrettably likely to worsen the humanitarian crisis in Masvingo Province. This is because the list of organizations he seeks to ban includes NGOs that are currently providing food, medication, water and other social and economic support [services] to the community.’’

Read more
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 Typhoid stalks Harare
The civil society organizations urged the affected NGOs to “ignore the [banning] order by the governor”.

Maluleke’s banning order - made in the presence of senior army and police officials - was accompanied by what has become a repeated claim by ZANU-PF that civil society is collaborating with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, which in turn is a front for Western governments.

Operating in fear

Harassment, detention and arrests of NGO workers are common, even when they are not banned. NGOs were outlawed in the weeks leading up to the disputed 2008 elections when there was widescale food insecurity. Civil society organizations claimed the ban was instituted to prevent documentation of the political violence during the election period.

In the aftermath of the 2008 poll, Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed an uneasy government of national unity in 2009. Recently there have been growing calls by ZANU-PF for fresh elections, but the MDC wants certain guarantees, such as an overhaul of the voters’ roll and adoption of a new constitution, before assenting.

''It is clear that the move by the governor is linked to talk within ZANU-PF about holding elections this year''
Machinda Marongwe, of NANGO, said there was ‘‘a tense environment’’ in Masvingo. ‘‘Pronouncement of the ban has limited our movement in Masvingo." An official of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), which monitors human rights abuses, told IRIN: “There is so much fear among the NGOs.’’

“It is clear that the move by the governor is linked to talk within ZANU-PF about holding elections this year,” said the official, who declined to be named

“The party wants to monitor our movements but communities are the ones that will suffer most. ZANU-PF has used the tactic before, and soon other governors aligned to the [ZANU-PF] party will follow suit.”

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


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Don't let up on Mugabe, HRW says

Published: Feb. 17, 2012 at 10:48 AM

BRUSSELS, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- The European Union should keep pressure on
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe when it reviews its policies next month,
Human Rights Watch said.

Robert Mugabe emerged as president of Zimbabwe with Morgan Tsvangirai taking
over as prime minister in a 2008 power-sharing deal that ended a bloody
political confrontation over the country's leadership.

The European Union is set to review its policies on Zimbabwe and announce a
decision on sanctions by March 17.

Human Rights Watch says Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front was the main obstacle to peace in the country.

Daniel Bekele, director of Africa programs at Human Rights Watch, said while
Zimbabwe has made progress since 2008, Mugabe's party is still accused of
committing grave human rights abuses against its opponents.

"Easing the sanctions now would send the wrong message and reinforce the
repression and impunity in Zimbabwe," he said in a statement.

Rights group Global Witness said the diamond-mining industry in Zimbabwe was
tied to political figures such as Mugabe, whom the group notes is tied
closely to so-called blood diamonds.

The 87-year-old Mugabe is reportedly in declining health.

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Robert Mugabe supporters plan lavish celebrations for 88th birthday

MDC says Zimbabwean president is 'totally out of touch with reality', amid
rumours party will cost close to $1m

    David Smith in Johannesburg, Friday 17 February 2012 13.20 GMT

Food is running out, schools are short of books and typhoid is on the
loose – but still Robert Mugabe looks set for a near million-dollar birthday
party when he turns 88 next week.

There were accusations of a "let them eat cake" attitude when details of the
bash emerged on Friday, but it is the Zimbabwean president himself who will
be treated to a giant birthday cake.

Each year Africa's oldest leader is treated to a lavish celebration
organised by a youth group in his Zanu-PF party known as the 21 February

Three-course meals, a music gala featuring top Zimbabwean artists, a "Miss
21st Movement" beauty pageant and a football tournament dubbed the "Bob 88
Super Cup" are on this year's agenda, South Africa's Mail & Guardian
newspaper reported.

For two months supporters across the country have been raising funds for the
birthday party in Mutare, the paper said. It is rumoured that it will cost
close to $1m (£630,000) – as much as Zanu-PF's three-day party conference
last December.

Like the national treasury, Zanu-PF is often said to be cash-strapped, but
there are widespread claims that it is siphoning off profits from Zimbabwe's
diamond fields in readiness for upcoming elections.

Despite his age and speculation over his health – word is that he falls
asleep during cabinet meetings – Mugabe has declared himself eager for the
polls. To relinquish power now, after more than three decades in power,
would be "an act of cowardice", he said recently.

Not everyone will be celebrating the president's birthday. The largesse was
condemned by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose power-sharing
agreement with Zanu-PF is perpetually under strain.

"This is a total waste of taxpayers' money and typical of the attitude of
Zanu-PF," said Douglas Mwonzora, an MDC spokesman. "Right now we are faced
with a situation of food shortages in some parts of the country. This needs
to be addressed and Zanu-PF isn't doing that. Instead they are spending a
million dollars on the birthday of an 88-year-old president.

"The money could be spent on food and books. Mugabe is totally out of touch
with reality. He has a bloated ego and he thinks Zimbabweans like what he is

Mugabe's example compares unfavourably with that of other countries,
Mwonzora said. "I think he is the only president in the world who spends so
much money on his birthday. I don't think President Obama or Prime Minister
Cameron do it. Mugabe is the president of a poor African country and should
be condemned."

Civil society groups joined the criticism. Dewa Mavhinga, regional
information and advocacy co-ordinator of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition,
said: "It is the wrong way of deifying an individual: the belief that Mugabe
is a supreme being while the country is suffering.

"We have an outbreak of typhoid in the capital. Zanu-PF does not have its
priorities right. Mugabe is completely out of touch with what's going on. He
should step aside and allow for fresh ideas. He is turning 88 and we are
already seeing the law of diminishing returns. There is an urgent need for
leadership renewal in Zanu-PF and the country."

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Free Zim Global protests on Mugabe’s birthday

By Tichaona Sibanda
17 February 2012

Hundreds of people worldwide are expected to take part in the 21st
Movement—Free Zimbabwe Global Protests on Tuesday next week. This is the day
the ageing dictator Robert Mugabe turns 88 years old.

Tonderai Samanyanga, the MDC-T UK and Ireland chairman, said they will not
relent on the issue of highlighting the Zimbabwe crisis to the international

‘The 21st Movement protests are going to be a monthly event as the issues
involved are at the heart of the Zimbabwe people. This is the reason why we
are not going back on this campaign which we started last month,’ Samanyanga

In January demonstrations organised by the MDC-T and other pressure groups
took place outside South African embassies and consulates around the world.
The protests are targeting South Africa as the mediator in the ongoing
political stalemate in Zimbabwe.

Last month’s demonstrations were well received in Australia, America,
Sweden, and the Netherlands, where people gathered at the South African
embassy at The Hague.

‘The reason we have targeted February 21st is because it is Mugabe’s
birthday. While he enjoys his lavish birthday, we want to remind the world
of the suffering masses living in squalor,’ the MDC-T UK chairman added.

He continued: ‘We know President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has worked hard
to get Zimbabwe where it is today, but there is much more he and SADC can do
to normalize the situation once and for all.’

It’s been reported that Mugabe’s birthday bash next week will cost
$1million, as hundreds of guests from his ruling ZANU PF are expected to
attend the lavish party in Mutare.

According to the Mail and Guardian newspaper the celebrations will include a
huge birthday cake, three-course dinner, musical gala and a beauty pageant.
A football tournament dubbed the ‘Bob 88 Super Cup’ is also on offer.

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The 21st Movement - Second Free Zimbabwe Global Protest - Tuesday 21st February 2012

Dear Vigil Supporters


The second protest of the new 21st Movement - Free Zimbabwe Global Protest is taking place on Tuesday 21st February (Mugabe’s birthday) 12 – 4.30 pm.  The protest is organized by the MDC in the diaspora who plan to hold demonstrations on the 21st of every month. Meet at the Zimbabwe Embassy at 12 noon. The protest will move to the South African High Commission at 2 pm.


South Africa is being targeted in the hope of getting President Zuma to get Mugabe to honour the GPA.


Although the MDC External Assemblies are the initiators of the protests, the Vigil and other friends of Zimbabwe are invited to take part.


The protest very much ties in with the Vigil’s aims, most recently expressed in our new initiative the monthly Zimbabwe Action Forum which is being held on the first Saturday of each month after the Vigil. The MDC was represented at the first forum. The next one is to be held on 3rd March (venue details on There is a strong feeling that real change will come from the diaspora as nothing seems to be happening in Zimbabwe and the GNU seems paralysed.




Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.




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Evicted farmer jailed for more than a week

By Alex Bell
17 February 2012

An elderly farmer who was evicted from his farm several years ago as part of
the land grab campaign, has spent more than a week behind bars as the battle
for his new home intensifies.

74 year old Peter Hingeston was forced off his Lowveld sugar cane farm in
the mid 2000s and ‘retired’ to a house and plot of land in Vumba. But it’s
believed that a top police official wants that property and for the last
four years Hingeston has been fighting to stay there.

The President of the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU), Charles Taffs, told SW
Radio Africa on Friday that Hingeston was meant to appear in court last
Friday. But Hingeston, who suffers from high blood pressure and who Taffs
said “is not a well man,” missed his court date for medical reasons.

“He had a legitimate medical reason and excuse for not making that court
appearance. His lawyer said it would be fine, and in a normal situation is
would be,” Taffs explained.

But Hingeston was arrested on the same day he missed that court date and has
been held behind bars ever since.

A very angry Taffs explained that the police are delaying Hingeston’s bail
attempts, with excuses that the case details have been ‘mislaid’. The former
farmer will now remain behind bars until next week, after a bail hearing was
postponed on Friday.

“This is absolutely unacceptable! This has nothing to do with land reform.
This is just about greed. We are hearing that there is a police official
from Mutare who wants this house, and that is all that this is about,” Taffs

He added: “We have no one to turn to. No courts, no political party, no
police to help. No one. And it is completely unacceptable!” Taffs said.

Hingeston is expected to face a bail hearing next Tuesday.

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Bail for 7 MDC-T’s in Glen View case

By Tichaona Sibanda
17 February 2012

All but three of the 29 MDC-T activists facing charges of murdering a police
officer in Harare last year are now on bail, following the release of the
Glen View 7 on Friday. They have been in jail since May 2011.

The seven were among the first to be picked up by the police after Inspector
Petros Mutedza was murdered at a beer hall in Glen View.

According to witnesses, Mutedza was killed in a violent clash with unknown
assailants who had been drinking at a beer hall. Glen View residents
described Mutedza as a violent thug who would use his rank to confiscate
goods from vendors.

The seven granted bail by the Supreme Court are Glen View councillor
Tungamirai Madzokere, brothers Lazarus and Stanford Maengahama, Phineas
Nhatarikwa, Stanford Mangwiro, Yvonne Musarurwa and Rebecca Mafikeni. The
group was denied bail on several occasions by the High Court, as the judges
claimed they were a flight risk.

The MDC-T said the bail appeal by its members was granted by Deputy Chief
Judge, Justice Luke Malaba. However three other MDC members, Solomon
Madzore, the MDC Youth Assembly chairperson, Jefias Moyo and Paul Rukanda
are still in remand prison and are yet to be granted bail as they were
arrested later in the year.

SW Radio Africa is reliably informed that the administrative process for the
actual release of those on bail was not be completed on time Friday, and the
seven will have to spend another weekend inside. Also on Monday the same
group is being indicted for trial and there are fears they could be locked
up again.

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Deputy Minister Takes Mugabe Insult Case To Supreme Court

Masvingo, February 17, 2012 - Deputy Minister of Youth, Tongai Matutu, has
made an application to a Gweru magistrate demanding that his case of
undermining and insulting President Robert Mugabe in 2005 be referred to the
Supreme Court.

Matutu who is the Masvingo urban law maker and a local prominent Lawyer made
the application for himself citing constitution rights violations by the
state for failing to try him within a reasonable time, since he was arrested
for allegedly likening President Mugabe to a dog as well as contravening
some sections of the controversial Public Order Security Act (POSA) by
allegedly citing public disobedience.

Matutu told Radio VOP on Thursday that he made the application after he was
summoned to appear before a Gweru magistrate, Meo Rubwe last week, who is
set to make his ruling on the 24th this month.

“I have made an application myself for the matter to be referred to the
Supreme Court as it is the only court in the country that can preside over a
case of this nature. I am appealing for a permanent stay of prosecution
‘that is to say I need this prosecution to be abandoned permanently because
my constitutional rights have been violated by the state that failed to try
me over the past seven years.”

Matutu said according to the constitution of the country a person is
entitled to the right to be tried within a reasonable time but the sate
failed to do so hence he has been waiting for too long.

He added that the delay of trial is attributed to the state he accused of
failing to make necessary steps to turn the wheels of justice for him.

“I have been staying in Masvingo within the jurisdiction of the area I
committed the alleged crime and have been residing at the address I gave
when I was arrested and I have been reachable to anyone so I do not know why
the state failed to take the steps necessary to move the wheels of justice
for my trial,” he added.

The sate alleges that on 25 June 2005 Matutu insulted and undermined
President Mugabe and incited people to turn against the government while
addressing a party rally at Ferry training centre in Zaka.

The court heard that Matutu likened Mugabe to a dog by saying “Handisati
ndamboona imbwa yakaita sa Mugabe, Tsunami yauraya vanhu, Zanu
(PF)irikunyima vanhu ve MDC chibage and Hurumunde yapandukira  vanhu pane
kuti vanhu vapandukire hurumende’’ and loosely translated in the docket by
police as follows “I have never seen a dog called Mugabe, Tsunami is killing
people, Zanu (PF) is refusing MDC people maize and government is turning
against people instead of people turning against government’’.

Matutu was arrested a month later for uttering the words that were said to
be contravening some sections of POSA that included undermining the office
of the President.

Gweru Magistrate, Rubwe will make a ruling on the application on the 24th of
this month to determine whether it will be referred to the Supreme Court or
he will be tried at the magistrate’s courts.

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Zanu (PF) Supporters And War Vets Demand To Exhume Rhodes' Grave

Bulawayo, February 17,2012 - ZIPRA Veterans Trust chairman, Buster Magwizi
said a group of Zanu PF) supporters and war veterans led by Monica
Mguni-Sikhosana visited Cecil John Rhodes’ grave in Matopos Hills in
Matebeleland South province this week demanding to exhume his remains and
send them to Britain.

Mguni-Sikhosana is the former Zanu (PF) Bulawayo provincial executive member
and also wife to Zanu PF’s 60 year- old national youth chairman Absolom

Speaking to Radio VOP on Thursday Magwizi said they received a call from
Chief Masuku in Matopos on Thursday alerting that Mguni-Sikhosana and her
group had visited him demanding to exhume Rhodes’ grave and send his remains
to Britain.

“We received a call from Chief Masuku notifying us that some Zanu (PF)
supporters and Zanla war veterans led by Mguni visited him, saying they
wanted to exhume Rhodes’s grave. We are shocked by the behaviour of these
people, they should be arrested,” said Magwizi.

Magwizi added: “We wonder where there are getting permission and guts to do
that, because that is a respected and protected area”.

Matopos Hills are within a government national park and Rhodes' grave is
guarded by police 24 hours a day.

In 2010 Cain Mathema, the Zanu (PF)  governor of Bulawayo once blamed
Rhodes' protected grave within the Malindidzimu Shrine (resting place of
spirits) in Matopos Hills,  for the lack of rain around  Matabeleland

Rhodes an English-born South African businessman, mining magnate, and
politician was an ardent believer in British colonial imperialism; he was
the founder of the state of Rhodesia which was named after him.

He died in Cape Town in 1902 at the age of (48) but wanted to be buried in
the country named after him, Rhodesia. In 1980, Rhodesia, was granted
independence by Britain and was renamed Zimbabwe.

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Factions want to kick Mugabe out

By Thelma Chikwanha, Community Affairs Editor
Friday, 17 February 2012 12:00

HARARE - Factions opposed to President Robert Mugabe within Zanu PF are now
using a clause in the draft constitution which blocks him from participating
in the next elections to settle the succession issue which has caused
divisions in the former ruling party, the Daily News has been told.

Hawks within Zanu PF, keen on seeing Mugabe’s back and settling the
succession issue are now bent on using the constitutional clause that will
effectively bar him from contesting in the next elections to get rid of the
veteran leader who turns 88 next week.

The clause which is in the draft leaked to the media by Zanu PF members
within Copac states that; “a person is disqualified for election as
President if he or she has already held office for one or more periods,
whether continuous or not, amounting to 10 years.”

The clause automatically disqualifies Mugabe whom Zanu PF endorsed as its
candidate in the next elections.

Zanu PF members in the Constitutional Select Committee (Copac) allowed the
clause that bars anyone who would have served as president for two five-year
terms to run in future elections, a development which has created a storm in
the party.

High-level briefings to the Daily News show that high ranking Zanu PF
officials, some of whom worked with foreign governments to remove Mugabe,
were putting pressure on Copac members from the former ruling party to
ensure that they kick out the veteran leader through the constitution.

“Zanu PF officials opposed to Mugabe but who can’t say it publicly see this
as an opportunity to boot out the old man. They can’t do it through the
congress because of backlash fears so they have found an opportunity through

“It is clear that the majority of people in Zanu PF, especially the top
leadership, are against Mugabe and that is why they met Americans to find a
way of pushing him out. They pretend to be his defenders but in the middle
of the night they plot against the poor old man,” said a top Zanu PF

Zanu PF has 10 select committee members, the same number as Tsvangirai’s
MDC. Welshman Ncube’s smaller MDC faction has two members.

In an interview with SW Radio, crisis coalition regional director Dewa
Mavhinga said hawks in Zanu PF were capitalising on the clause after failing
to unseat the 87-year-old-leader through normal Zanu PF channels.

“It’s a shrewd move by people who have run out of options on how to contain
Mugabe on the way of democratically barring him from running again for the
presidency. It may be Zanu-PF elements calling out for help that through a
constitutional amendment Mugabe may be stopped from contesting the next
election,” Mavhinga said.

Zimrights director Okay Machisa concurred with Mavhinga, and said those who
no longer had confidence Mugabe’s leadership would seize this opportunity to
get rid of him.

“Some of them are cowards who could not come out in the open and tell him
(Mugabe) to step down. It is the right time to bring in their issue of
succession because those who have been open about the matter in the past
have been punished. They have to do it,” Machisa said.

This development presents one of the biggest threats to Mugabe, who has been
president since 1987.

His loyalists are now on a war path with Zanu PF members within Copac who
gave the green light for the clause to sail through the first draft further
dividing the party which is struggling to remain united.

On Monday, Goodwills Masimirembwa, technical advisor to Copac co-chairperson
Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana of Zanu PF walked out of a Copac meeting after his
request to have the process started afresh was rejected.
Sources within the parliamentary select committee tasked with ushering in a
new constitution said he accused Mangwana of being a “sell out”.

The former ruling party has of late been plagued by the “sell out” syndrome.

Last year, a whistle-blower website WikiLeaks published US diplomatic cables
which suggested that members of Mugabe’s inner circle who praise him by day,
plotted his ouster with the Americans by night.

In a telephone interview with the Daily News on Wednesday, Zanu PF secretary
for administration Didymus Mutasa said those members had gone off the party

“Why do they want to block our president from standing? Who do they think
they are? Why are they trying to play around with the constitution? Those
people are not doing what Zanu PF agreed on. Please, make it very clear that
Zanu PF is greater than them,” Mutasa said.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said it was too farfetched for Zanu PF
members to use a constitutional clause to deal with an internal matter
because it was clear that the constitution was a negotiated settlement.

“It’s hard to imagine a politician sneaking in a clause that will push out
Mugabe. I doubt that it might work. Zanu PF hardliners who leaked the draft
to the media did it to cause confusion. They want Mugabe to lose confidence
in the process,” Mangongera said.

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Zimbabweans Object to Special Treatment for Politicians on Utility Payments

16 February 2012

The Combined Harare Residents Association Thursday slammed the Harare City
Council for moving to attach property of residents who owe money for water
or other services

Violet Gonda | Washington

Zimbabweans are up in arms over the selective application of the law between
ordinary people and senior state officials and lawmakers when it comes to
paying utility bills.

Residents owing less than US$100 see their electric power cut off by the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority while officials run up huge bills
without consequences.

The Combined Harare Residents Association Thursday slammed the Harare City
Council for moving to attach property of residents who owe money for water
or other services.

This week 30 families in Mabvuku fell victim to this exercise – although
residents have complained that they have had no running water for the last
five years.

The association said residents owe the city an average of $60 million and
yet the government, which owes $80 million, has not had its property

Combined Harare Residents Association Director Mfundo Mlilo said measures
must be put in place to ensure officials do not abuse their political

“To add salt to injury we are further shocked to see that our legislators
and the ministers are running high bills which ZESA has not done anything to
recover ... yet they are the people who are directing these parastatals to
take property from residents," Mlilo said.

Lawmaker Edward Chindori Chininga, chairman of the parliamentary committee
on mines and energy, said his committee that raised the issue of officials
abusing their power and pressured Energy Minister Elton Mangoma to expose
what is going on.

“We have done our own investigations and we have names of those in [the]
Cabinet and those in senior positions in the civil service who have not paid
their bill but have not been disconnected" though running bills ranging from
a few thousand to $150,000.

"Those revelations started from us," Chindori Chininga said.

“As a committee we did not know that senior politicians were not paying
their bills and were using their influence not to be disconnected and that
some were running in hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you take 20
members of parliament who have [bills of] $100, 000 each, it means US$2
million has not been paid to ZESA," he said.

"It is irresponsible for policymakers to do that.”

In a similar vein, this week Parliamentary Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga
released names of nine legislators, three of them Cabinet ministers, who
have failed to account for $50,000 paid to them out of a constituency
development fund.

Chindori Chininga is one of those lawmakers accused of not submitting his
account. He said he had some ‘technical problems” but has now submitted his

“There must be no excuse," the parliamentarian said. "We must prosecute
those who have abused the $50,000 or did not use it correctly."

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Zim votes against human rights in Syria

By Alex Bell
17 February 2012

Zimbabwe has taken another step towards almost complete international
isolation, by siding with 11 other repressive regimes that voted no to
condemning human rights abuses in Syria.

In an official resolution on Thursday, which received the backing of 137
other countries, the United Nations General Assembly condemned “widespread
and systematic violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms by the
Syrian authorities.” The UN General Assembly also declared its backing for a
plan that calls for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down.

A violent crackdown against anti-government protesters in Syria has
continued for almost a year, as part of a wave of civil unrest against
governments in the Arab World and parts of North Africa. Syrian officials
have insisted the country has been attacked by ‘terrorists’, but this has
not stopped images of dead and dying civilians, including women and
children, being sent around the world.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon on Thursday called on the Syrian government
to stop the bloodshed. He told reporters that “the longer we debate, the
more people will die.”

The vote for the resolution, which is not legally binding, was 137 to 12
with 17 abstentions. The 12 countries that voted against the resolution were
Belarus, Bolivia, China, Cuba, North Korea, Ecuador, Iran, Nicaragua,
Russia, Syria, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

This makes Zimbabwe the only African country to vote against the UN

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Britain, Zim’s all-weather friend — Madzorera

By Richard Chidza
Friday, 17 February 2012 15:45

HARARE - Health and Child Welfare minister, Henry Madzorera yesterday
described President Robert Mugabe’s arch-enemy Britain as Zimbabwe’s all-
weather friend which has provided support for health service delivery.

Madzorera was officiating at a function to receive a donation of $120
million from the UK’s Department of International Development (DFID).

“We gather today with one of our most reliable all-weather partners in the
delivery of healthcare to the people of Zimbabwe. Let’s celebrate this
relationship as we look forward to a future Zimbabwe where health care in
its totality is available and accessible to all our people through our
mutual efforts,” Madzorera said.

The Health minister said DFID had supported health promotion, disease
prevention, curative services and rehabilitation services in Zimbabwe for a
long time.

“This includes our period of “Great Depression” during which the DFID joined
other partners to fund a health worker retention package.

“It worked wonders and we were able to restore sanity to the health sector
long before our economy started showing signs of recovery,” Madzorera said
in apparent reference to Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown precipitated by the
chaotic land reform exercise and disputed elections.

DFID permanent secretary Mark Lowckock said Britain is committing 74 million
pounds (almost $120 million) over the next four years to help improve the
health of women and children in Zimbabwe.

“This package sums up what British assistance is all about: helping
vulnerable people and ensuring that many more Zimbabweans have access to
basic services such as healthcare, education, clean water and sanitation."

“In short this is great news for ordinary Zimbabweans who need access to
healthcare,” Lowckock said.

He said the $120 million is a continuation of UK’s long history of support
to the health sector in Zimbabwe.

“The donation will support the Health Transition fund to the tune of US$80
million, 30 million for purchase of life saving anti-retroviral drugs, 3
million for the resuscitation of community health committees and 3 million
for monitoring these programmes.

Madzorera chronicled a host of projects that have been funded by the UK over
the years.

“The Vital Medicines Support Programme, Infrastructural rehabilitation for
hospitals for three provincial hospitals and one district hospital last
year, anti-retroviral drugs to 50 000 people, provision of 44.5 million male
and 2 million female condoms among numerous other programmes DFID’s great
exploits in Zimbabwe."

“The 74 million support will certainly see us on our way to eliminating user
fees for pregnant women and under fives and to ensuring universal access to
skilled attendance at delivery, I want to thank heartily DFID for this,”
said Madzorera.

The minister’s comments on Britain are in sharp contrast to President Robert
Mugabe who has taken every opportunity to vilify the UK and its political
leadership accusing them of seeking to re-colonise Zimbabwe while describing
China as the country’s all weather friend instead.

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Zim customs conduct strip searches

Eyewitness News | 6 Hour(s) Ago

Customs officials in Zimbabwe are said to be conducting strip searches at
the Harare International Airport and Beit Bridge Border Post.

They are searching travellers to ensure that they do not try and smuggle in
new clothes.

Diplomats have complained to the Foreign Affairs Ministry about the

Finance Minister Tendai Biti recently introduced a tax on imported clothes.

But Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said the searches were dehumanising and
warned that they could scare foreign visitors.

Tourism Authority head Karikoga Kaseke said entry points have been turned
into torture chambers, as customs officials try to increase their takings.

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WOZA Founders Face Sham Trial

Womens issues.JPG

Women’s Issues – An international campaign has been launched following the decision to subject two women’s rights activists to trial in Zimbabwe. Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu, founders of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), were arrested last September along with ten Woza members, following a peaceful protest to mark the International Day of Peace.


After detainment in poor conditions, the ten members were released without charge, but WOZA’s founders will be subject to trial on charges of “kidnapping and theft.” Without any audio recording of the trial, WOZA has expressed concern that language differences between the judge and witnesses has resulted in a miscarriage of justice. With a pattern of targeted arrests over recent years, it is also clear that both Williams and Mahlangu have been victims of a concerted effort to remove them from society.


With over 70,000 members, WOZA is clearly a force to be reckoned with. It was created ten years ago with the goal of uniting Zimbabwean women against social, economic, and human rights violations. Amnesty International has tracked the treatment that the group has received since its creation, noting incidents of harassment and violence by police. Members have also reported “being severely beaten while in detention, being held in stress positions for long periods, or having plastic bags put over their heads when they refused to talk.”


Unfortunately, the experience of WOZA members is all too common. As the voice of women has grown, so too has the voice of resistance. In societies where gender equality is a distant dream, it takes extreme courage to stand up for the rights of women. Williams and Mahlangu are victims of entrenched discrimination, but there is little doubt that they will continue their fight.


Call on the Zimbabwean authorities to stop the harassment of WOZA members here -


Read more at Safe World for Women -



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Revival of Zim post service

Service Delivery Thermometer – ZimPost
ZimPost has become a white elephant as people shun its services due to
inefficiency. At the time of its collapse, the company was marred with
corruption. Customers passed complaints of opened letters, stolen or missing
goods and delays in delivery of letters and parcels. As the economy recovers
from its downturn some companies have made efforts to improve and resume
operations, sadly the post service provider is not reflecting much progress.
In recent years companies like Edgars and Topics send account information to
clients in the form of text messages. People have also resorted to private
companies such as DHL and Swift to send and receive goods and documents.
ZimPost also offers the same services. Alternatives to ZimPost are either
expensive or accessible only to a few members of the community. ZimPost
unlike, most private courier companies, has offices positioned at the
resident’s convenience. In each constituency there is a post office which
offers various services to residents.
In an information age communication is most necessary whether it is done
online or via post. Despite technological advancements the importance of
postal service cannot be over emphasised. In Zimbabwe in order to register
to vote, open a bank account among other things one is required to produce
proof of residence. As proof of residence people usually produce documents
in the form of bills and letters addressed to them. This therefore means
that it is important for one to receive letters as these may come in handy
as proof of residence.
In light of this, BPRA urges the Ministry of Transport and Communications to
ensure the revitalisation of post services. The post office offers a number
of essential services. Below is a list of some of them:
Mail services – Letters, boxes and bags, mail room service
• Import and export of goods – All parcels or packages containing goods
which have been imported by post are held by postal authorities (ZIMPOST)
for examination at places within Zimbabwe at which there are customs houses.
The parcels are made available to ZIMRA officers for examination and
assessment of any duty due thereon.
• Letters – Classified into domestic and international letters, these should
be cleared from posting boxes regularly with international letters
dispatched by the first available flight.
• Business reply service – This is a promotional activity where companies
enclose return addressed envelopes into their client’s mail with the payment
for the postage stamps done by the promoting company after receiving
feedback from clients.
• Postage Paid In Cash (PPIC) – For corporate bulk mailers who post at least
100 letters per batch. No stamps are fixed but the customer gets a receipt
for the postage.
• Franking machine – Customers purchase franking units equivalent to the
postage paid they want to use and there are no limit for letters to be
• Parcels – are categorized as domestic or international. Domestic parcels
originate and are delivered within the country. International parcels are
foreign parcels that are either ordinary or insured parcels. Insured
parcels – the customer will be compensated in damage or loss of the item.
Bar coding of items enable track and trace of the route of the parcel using
the parcel number.
• Registers – are classified as domestic or international. Also bar coding
is essential and assist in terms of tracking the registers using a system
International Postal System.
Financial services: Electronic mail order, e-Mali, Exchange 4 free, Rand
Postal Order, EcoCash, OneWallet
• Electronic mail order – With ZimPost one does not have to have a bank
account to transfer money. The Electronic Money Order is a secure reliable,
convenient and simple way of sending or receiving money countrywide using
the network of over 300 post offices. Money is not physically posted to the
payee. A simple payment instruction is electronically transmitted to the
payee’s nearest post office for payment. The payee receives the money
transferred real time.
• e-Mali – People can now transact using e-Mali card at selected Zimpost
offices. Customers can access the following services:
 Cash withdrawals
 Deposits
 Point of Sale(POS) Purchases
 Money transfers
 Bill payments
 Mini Statements (last 5 transactions plus closing balance).
• Exchange 4 free – One can now receive money from the Diaspora through the
Exchange 4 Free at their nearest Post Office.
• Rand Postal Order – When one buys a rand postal order in South Africa they
can send money from South Africa to someone at any place in Zimbabwe. The
recipient will then cash the rand postal order at the nearest Post Office.
It’s a safe and reliable service.
• Ecocash – This service will allow users to send and receive money, buy
airtime, and make other payments using their mobile phones. Customers using
EcoCash can also send and receive money across all networks. All these
payments are done from the customer’s virtual account opened at the nearest
Econet shop or Zimpost postal outlet
• One Wallet – One Wallet mobile money is a cocktail of services that
include, sending or receiving cash, topping up own account, topping up
another’s account and paying bills via the mobile phone.

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3 yrs on, Zimbabwe unity govt 'still dysfunctional'

AFP 9 hours 51 minutes ago

Harare - When Zimbabwe's unity government was formed three years ago, the
unlikely coupling of long-ruling Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan
Tsvangirai was seen as a stepping stone to new elections.

Now the electoral preparations are two years behind schedule, and analysts
say the rocky coalition could hobble along for yet another year.

"We will have to continue with the dysfunctional inclusive government for
much longer than it was supposed to last as long as the parties keep
arguing," said John Makumbe, a political scientist at the University of

Mugabe and Tsvangirai have described their power-sharing regime formed
February 2009, as "a difficult marriage", "a strange beast", and "a
two-headed snake going in no particular direction".

The two remain sharply divided over reforms of the security forces - still
under Mugabe's control - as well as a new constitution and the sharing of
key government posts.

After years of economic contraction, the unity deal has helped Zimbabwe's
economy to grow again, but poverty and unemployment remain endemic.

Human rights activists and members of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), from ministers and to ordinary supporters, still suffer arrest
and harassment.

Victims of political violence, which has marred every election since 2000,
have received no redress.

Poverty alleviation

"As a result of the tug-of-war, nothing meaningful has happened in terms of
poverty alleviation and the implementation of government policies," Makumbe
said. "The inclusive government is not working and this standstill situation
will continue for the rest of the year."

Mugabe and senior members of his Zanu-PF party want elections this year, but
legal experts say that's impossible.

After years of economic contraction, the unity deal has helped Zimbabwe's
economy to grow again, but poverty and unemployment remain endemic.

Human rights activists and members of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), from ministers and to ordinary supporters, still suffer arrest
and harassment.

Victims of political violence, which has marred every election since 2000,
have received no redress.

Poverty alleviation

"As a result of the tug-of-war, nothing meaningful has happened in terms of
poverty alleviation and the implementation of government policies," Makumbe
said. "The inclusive government is not working and this standstill situation
will continue for the rest of the year."

Mugabe and senior members of his Zanu-PF party want elections this year, but
legal experts say that's impossible.

"We may have elections by June next year," said top lawyer Lovemore Madhuku
said. "To try to have them before the end of December is not possible."

"The government will continue despite its faults and fissures because none
of the players want it to collapse."

"Whether or not the government collapses depends on whether the MDC feels it
can't continue in an arrangement where it has got no power," he added.

Before any polls, the regionally-brokered unity deal requires a new
constitution, but work on it has run in fits and starts, hindered by attacks
on meetings by Zanu-PF supporters.

The minister in charge of the process said on Wednesday that a referendum on
the charter could not be held before August, meaning elections would likely
take place only next year.

"My assessment is the earliest we can have a referendum is August or
September," Eric Matinenga told journalists.

Matinenga, a lawyer and MDC member, said the government would then have to
clean up the voters' roll and mark out constituency boundaries.

Outstanding issues

A national census set for later this year was likely to further delay the
process, the minister said.

"One hopes the politicisation of this process will be reduced to a minimum,"
Matinenga said. "This is a national process rather than a party process.
Unfortunately we have people asking, ‘to what extent does this process
advance the cause of my political party?'"

"As of now we don't have a deadlock," Matinenga said. "There is a desire to
move forward on issues which are outstanding.

The Financial Gazette newspaper said in an editorial on Thursday the
inclusive government has had little impact as the parties spent more
energies grappling over outstanding issues.

"At the rate the coalition government is going, it risks the epitaph on its
tombstone having these words inscribed: "Here lies the government of
national unity whose only achievement was to bring together two strange
bedfellows to milk a sick cow while the proverbial Rome was burning."


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Will 2012 be the Year of the African Despot, again?

Senegal's Wade plans to run for president, despite a constitutional ban.
Zimbabwe's Mugabe is banning NGOs ahead of presidential polls in 2013.

By Scott Baldauf, Staff writer / February 17, 2012

Senegal’s Abdoulaye Wade is running for a third term, even though his
country’s constitution specifically bans it. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe has
also indicated he will extend his 32 years in power, even as his parliament
is attempting to ban the move. Congo’s President Joseph Kabila is trying to
patch together a coalition to stay in power, even though his party lost more
than 40 percent of its seats in parliament in last December’s elections.

The signs are ominous. While democracy appears to thrive in a few African
countries – such as Liberia, South Africa, Ghana – irregularities,
vote-rigging, and intimidation appear to be the rule in much of the
continent. Zimbabwe’s long-ruling President Mugabe is hardly a surprise, of
course, but in countries such as Senegal and the Democratic Republic of
Congo, where peaceful opposition groups rose to power under a banner of
reform, any sign of backsliding is a cause for concern.
Senegal's hope

Consider Senegal. Just 12 years ago, President Wade – a longtime opposition
leader – rode to power after defeating long-ruling Abdou Diouf and promised
to reform the Senegalese political system. He saw through a constitution in
2002 that banned presidents from holding office for more than two terms.

And then in late 2011, after serving two terms, he announced he would run
again this year. Opposition lawyers argue that the country’s 2002
Constitution specifically bans presidents from running for more than two
terms, but the court ruled that Wade has only served in one seven-year term
since that constitution came into effect.

On Wednesday, riot police fired rubber bullets and tear gas on protesters in
the nation’s capital of Dakar, and three opposition supporters were killed
in a separate clash between ruling party and opposition supporters in the
southern Senegalese village of Berkel.

Music star Youssou N’Dour, who was disallowed from running for president for
insufficient signatures on a petition, told opposition activists at a rally
that “Senegal needs to free itself, to rediscover its democracy ... We are
allowing a dictatorship to set in here."
Congo crash

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, expected talks between the ruling party
of President Kabila and opposition groups may have been put on hold
following the death this weekend of Mr. Kabila’s main negotiator, Augustin
Katumba Mwenge, in a Feb. 12 plane crash.

Congo’s independent election commission announced Kabila as the winner of
last November’s elections, even though widespread irregularities and poor
organization caused many international observer groups to declare the
results inconclusive. More than 24 people were killed in protests in the
election aftermath, and one opposition candidate, Etienne Tshisekedi,
declared himself president even before the vote count was finalized.
(Correction, he declared himself president before the votes were cast.)

Now begins the task of forming a government to rule Congo, a country of vast
untapped natural mineral resources and precious little government oversight.

More than 80 separate parties secured seats in the 500-seat parliament.
Kabila’s party has the most with 63 (down from 111), and Tshisekedi’s party
came in second with 41 seats.

Zimbabwe constitution?

Down south in Zimbabwe, President Robert Mugabe has indicated that he will
run for office yet again in 2013, after serving as prime minister and later
as president for the past 32 years. A draft constitution, written up by a
committee that includes opposition members in Mugabe’s own coalition
government, forbids such a continuous time in office, but Mugabe insiders
say the president will never sign the document in its present form.

    "President Mugabe has already said he is contesting the next elections.
As long as I am in Copac, there is no way we are going to allow a draft
which is detrimental to my party [Zanu-PF] and its leader," said Mugabe
supporter and Constitution Select Committee (Copac) co-chairperson
Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana.

To prevent the possibility of the kind of civil protests occurring in
Senegal, Mugabe’s government has banned 29 local and international aid
groups, including Care International. The government accuses the aid groups
of failing to register officially, while the aid groups contend that the
bans are political intimidation ahead of next year’s polls. Aid workers
worry that in a country that depends on foreign food imports and food aid
for daily survival, any cutoff in aid could make thousands of poor
Zimbabweans vulnerable to starvation.
Sacrifice in Malawi

In Malawi, concerns about President Bingu’s “creeping autocracy” and
economic mismanagement has caused international donors, including the
International Monetary Fund, to suspend loans and financial aid to Malawi.
The country now has a $121 million shortfall in its current budget.
President Bingu, in recent months, has jailed a human rights lawyer for
calling on him to step down, jailed a journalist for taking picture of his
house, and sent riot police to break up July 2011 demonstrations over fuel
and food price hikes. At least 18 people died in the ensuing crackdown.

He also expelled Britain's high commissioner (ambassador) to Malawi when
that diplomat said President Bingu was "becoming ever more autocratic and
intolerant of criticism."

In an interview with the Guardian, President Bingu, a former World Bank
economist, says he is no autocrat and blames "foreign elements" for trying
to undermine his regime.

    "I will leave Malawi better than I found it, but I am retiring in 2014.
Is that not democracy? What demonstration of democracy is there more than
that? An autocrat has no timeframe, can stay forever."

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Sanctions, the force of persuasion on the undemocratic

February 17, 2012, 12:21 pm

Despite SADC’s appeal to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe, it appears that
the European Union has extended the measures against Zimbabwe for another
year but trimmed down the number of individuals affected by sanctions.

Sanctions came into force in 2002 after the violent and fraudulent elections
of that year. For or against, views on both sides of the argument are
equally strongly held about the efficacy - or otherwise - of sanctions.
Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF cronies blame sanctions and the British for
all that is wrong in Zimbabwe; but then it is Zanu PF ‘top chefs’ who are
most affected. The argument by the pro-sanctions group that Zanu PF
individuals are likely to change their political affiliation under the
pressure of sanctions has been shown to be false. Equally, the argument by
the anti-sanctions lobby that the whole issue is merely a cover for the
British to over-run Zimbabwe and get their hands on the country’s vast
mineral resources seems far-fetched and lacking in substance. Just this week
the UK government announced that they are giving $74million to help the
recovery of the health sector in Zimbabwe. That hardly indicates malign
intent on the part of the British, does it? Robert Mugabe and his Zanu PF
party claims that sanctions have been the cause of untold suffering for
thousands of ordinary Zimbabweans but it’s easier to blame sanctions than
admit his own culpability for the country’s decline. For most ordinary
Zimbabweans I suspect the sanctions issue is not a significant factor in
their lives.

The truth is that for sanctions to work as a force of persuasion on
undemocratic leaders it needs time and the support of many governments and
commercial concerns. I was reminded of this when watching a series that BBC
4 is currently running on The End of Apartheid in South Africa. The whole
world, with a few notable exceptions, supported the stance against
apartheid. Watching again the massive demonstration in European capitals, it
was very clear that thousands of ordinary citizens loathed the concept of
what the then South African government called ‘separate development’.
Apartheid was born in 1948 and coming as it did after a cataclysmic world
war against the Nazis with their hated philosophy of racial purity and the
doctrine of the master race, apartheid was akin to Nazism in the popular
mind. The anti-apartheid cause was thus able to tap into the general public’s
hatred of the notion of racial superiority; sanctions against South Africa
involved ordinary citizens in Europe to the extent that ‘Don’t buy South
African goods’ came right down to the weekly shopping basket. It was this
commercial consideration involving hundreds of firms disinvesting from South
Africa that finally brought the apartheid regime to its knees but it took
twenty years and a massive campaign by the anti-apartheid movement for it to

The present situation with regards to Zimbabwe is very different. Mention of
Robert Mugabe’s name does not produce the same frisson of horror in the
European mind that the word ‘apartheid’ once did. Apartheid was a clear
black/white issue whereas the Mugabe regime involves black Africans’
internal struggle for democracy in their country. The fact that African
leaders themselves seem to be ambivalent towards the Mugabe regime makes it
more difficult to argue the pro-sanctions case.

The current constitution being drafted in Zimbabwe states that “A person is
disqualified for election as President if he or she has already held office
for one or more periods – whether continuous or not – amounting to ten
years.” No wonder Zanu PF wants the drafters of the constitution sacked,
claiming that the draft document ‘threatens national security’. What all
this tells us is that without Robert Mugabe, Zanu PF is finished. As I see
it, the imposition of sanctions is the only tool left to exert pressure on
the Mugabe regime and for that reason sanctions should remain in place. If
sanctions are removed now, the regime will claim with some justice that they
have the west’s approval of – or indifference to - their continued hold on
power; Robert Mugabe would like nothing better.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.

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