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

Zim white farmers to appeal to Supreme Court

by Own Correspondent Monday 01 February 2010

HARARE - Zimbabwe's beleaguered white farmers will ask the Supreme Court to
order registration of a SADC Tribunal ruling outlawing government land
reforms after a High Court judge conceded that the regional court's ruling
was binding but declined to register it.

One of the lawyers for the 79 farmers said they would ask the Tribunal to
take the matter before South African Development Community (SADC) leaders
should the Supreme Court - Zimbabwe's highest court - fail to order
registration of the land reform ruling.

Harare advocate Lewis Uriri said the farmers will in the coming weeks file
an appeal in the Supreme Court against High Court Judge Bharat Patel's
ruling last week in which the judge ruled that registering and enforcing the
regional Tribunal's judgment would have a negative impact on Zimbabwe's
agrarian reforms.

Patel confirmed that Zimbabwe was bound by Tribunal rulings, rejecting
claims by Harare that it does not recognise the regional court and is not
bound by its judgments. But the judge declined registering the Tribunal
order saying its enforcement would be against public policy.

Uriri: "We are going to file an appeal to the Supreme Court early February.
The state should have seen this coming, it voluntarily took the risk to be
part of the SADC Treaty. It is contrary to say invoke domestic law to defeat
its obligation at international when it has undertaken to be bound."

The Tribunal in November 2008 declared President Robert Mugabe's chaotic and
often violent land reform programme discriminatory, racist and illegal under
the SADC Treaty.

The regional court, whose judgment must be formally registered with Harare
High Court for it to be enforced, also directed the Zimbabwe government not
to seize land from the 79 farmers and to compensate those already evicted
off their farms.

While the Tribunal's order is confined to the 79 farmers who appealed to the
regional court, its enforcement would effectively undo Mugabe's land reforms
of the past decade, with all white farmers who lost their land expected to
use the judgment to claim their properties back.

The government would be required to evict tens of thousands black families
resettled on farms seized from whites in order to return the land to lawful
owners, a move Patel described as a "political enormity" with potential to
cause upheaval in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe's land reforms that he says were necessary to correct a colonial land
ownership system that reserved the best land for whites and banished blacks
to poor soils, are blamed for plunging Zimbabwe into food shortages after he
failed to support black villagers resettled on former white farms with
inputs to maintain production.

An audit of the land reforms proposed under a power-sharing deal between
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai that agricultural experts say is
prerequisite to any effort to restore order and productivity in the mainstay
farming sector has failed to take off apparently because of funding
problems. - ZimOnline.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Harare bishop seeks divine intervention

by Own Corrrespondents Monday 01 February 2010

HARARE - Anglican Bishop of Harare Chad Gandiya on Sunday led his followers
in prayers to ask for divine intervention in a battle for control of the
church with excommunicated former bishop of Harare Nolbert Kunonga.

"Our salvation is in Jesus. Do not tire to pray for our church. Ask for
other churches to pray for Anglicans so that sanity is restored in the
church," Bishop Gandiya said during the prayer session held in the open at
African Square in central Harare.

An ally of President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party, Kunonga has used the
police and ZANU PF activists to block Gandiya and his followers from using
church halls and buildings despite a High Court order that the two factions
share use of church property.

Gandiya, who had invited Mugabe, to the open prayer session told his flock
that some of the church buildings controlled by Kunonga were now being
leased to other religious groups.

Mugabe, a catholic, did not attend the prayer session. He is away in
Ethiopia attending the African Union summit.

"We have no hard feelings with the Kunonga faction," Gandiya told
journalists. "We preach peace and harmony to the parish. My job here is to
pastor the flock that is here today. As far as we are concerned, the High
Court order by Judge Rita Makarau is still valid. It is the police and the
Kunonga faction that are violating the court orders."

The mass prayer came after Kunonga's group locked up church doors every
Sunday to prevent their rivals from entering the buildings to hold prayers,
while the police have been on hand to chase away Gandiya's followers every
time they tried to insist on their right to use the churches.

The Harare Anglican church has been in turmoil ever since the Church of the
Province of Central Africa (CPCA) - the supreme authority of the Anglican
church in the region -- first suspended Kunonga as bishop of Harare and
later excommunicated him from the church, a move he has refused to accept
while he has also held onto church properties.

Kunonga was excommunicated in 2008 after trying to withdraw the Harare
diocese from the Anglican church. He claims he revolted against the mother
church because it supported the ordination of gay priests.

A staunch supporter of Mugabe who tried to use the pulpit to defend the
Zimbabwean leader's controversial policies, Kunonga was excommunicated
together with several priests and other church leaders who backed his revolt
against the CPCA.

The CPCA appointed retired Bishop Sebastian Bakare as caretaker head of the
Harare diocese before he was succeeded by Gandiya. -- ZimOnline.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZRP failing to feed suspects

Monday, February 01, 2010

Crime Reporter

The Zimbabwe Republic Police is failing to feed suspects detained in holding
cells owing to funding constraints.

The lack of money has also impacted on operational activities such as
transport for patrols and crime scene attendance.

Chief police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena on
Thursday said: "This is impacting negatively on the performance of the

"We received a budget allocation under US$30 million when we were looking at
about US$230 million."

He said they were relying on well-wishers for some of their operations in
order to feed suspects. "We have stations using their own resources with
well-wishers and suspects' relatives chipping in," Snr Asst Comm Bvudzijena
said. He applauded the role played by members of the public and the
well-wishers during the difficult times. Snr Asst Comm Bvudzijena said they
were working on various initiatives to alleviate the situation, adding: "But
we will do much better if we have adequate funding."

Police have said there is likely to be increased criminal activity in the
lead-up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup, particularly in the border towns, and
hence the need for greater operational capacity.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

AU elects leader of Malawi as new chairman

By Fazilla Tembo, APA special correspodent in Lilongwe, Malawi

APA-Lilongwe (Malawi) The African Union on Sunday, during the first day of
its 14th summit of heads of state and government elected Bingu Wa Mutharika,
President of Malawi as its new chairman, replacing Libyan leader Colonel
Muammar Qaddafi.

Born on 24th February 1934 in Kamoto Village in Thyolo, a southern district,
30 kilometres from the commercial city of Blantyre, Dr. Bingu Wa Mutharika
is a Malawian economist, politician and current state President of the
Republic of Malawi.

Born Ryson Webster Thom, this son of a primary school master adopted the
more African name of Bingu Mutharika during the 1960s when pan-Africanism
was sweeping across the continent. He did his primary and secondary
education in Malawi. He was later educated at the University of Delhi in
India where he gained a Masters Degree in Economics and later obtained a PhD
in development economics from the Pacific Western University in Los Angeles,
California, in the United States of America.

He joined the Malawi civil service during the reign of President Hastings
Kamuzu Banda, the first head of state, but fled to Zambia after some
misunderstandings under the single party rule in the 1960s.

After working for the government of Zambia, in 1978 he joined the Addis
Ababa-based UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), where he eventually
became a Director for Trade and Development for Africa.

Leaving the ECA, he worked for the World Bank briefly, before being
appointed in 1991 as the Secretary General of the Common Market for Eastern
and Southern Africa (COMESA), a regional body that promotes regional
economic and trade integration of 20 states from Egypt to Zimbabwe.

During his days at COMESA, Dr. Mutharika spearheaded the establishment of
several regional economic organizations such as the Association of African
Central Banks, Conference of African Ministers of Finance, African
Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry and Eastern and Southern
Africa Business Organization.

In the early 1990s, while still working at COMESA in Lusaka, Zambia,
Mutharika supported the then pressure group that became to be known the
United Democratic Front (UDF), to oppose Banda's increasingly autocratic

The UDF and other groups campaigned for the reintroduction of multi-party
politics in the country. The campaign culminated in the UDF winning the
elections in 1994 and saw UDF leader Bakili Muluzi becoming president of

Under Muluzi, Mutharika rejoined the Malawi government as a political
appointee in the post of Minister of Economic Planning and Development from
2003 to 2004.

Prior to this, he served as a Deputy Reserve Bank Governor of Malawi, the
country's central bank.

After Muluzi completed his two terms as Malawi leader, Mutharika succeeded
him into office in May 2004. He won re-election in May 2009 following a
landslide victory of his ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), a party
he formed after winning elections in 2004.

In addition, Dr. Mutharika has been the author of several books - including
"One Africa, One Destiny," "Africa's Response to Globalization," "Mabizinesi
Aphindu : Mayendetsedwe Abwino Amakono (Modern Methods of Running
Businesses)," "Towards Democracy, Good Governance and Development" and
"Towards Multinational Economic Cooperation in Africa."

Dr. Mutharika has also been recognized by several international, regional
and national bodies for his achievements made towards developing, not only
Malawi, but the region as well.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

White rebel cricketers called to Zimbabwe squad

31/01/2010 21:29:00

HARARE-Two white national team cricketers, who were axed by Zimbabwe Cricket
in 2004 for rebelling against what they claimed was intimidation and racial
bias in selection have been named in the Zimbabwe team to tour West Indies.

Zimbabwe Cricket have extended the olive branch to Sean Ervine and Doug
Marrillier in to strengthen the national team in their bid to test cricket.

Zimbabwe voluntarily withdrew from test cricket in 2006. Marrillier and
Ervine have name the 38-member Zimbabwe squad for the tour of the West

The pair were part 13 white players who had rebelled against what they
claimed was intimidation and racial bias in selection before they were
booted out Zimbabwe Cricket.
The International Cricket Council watched warily from the sidelines after
the ZCU announced a team containing only four first-choice players, all
black, for the impending Test series with Sri Lanka.

An International Cricket Council team tasked to solve teething problems in
Zimbabwe Cricket recommended, in their report last year that former national
team players should be called back to the team to strengthen the team

Zimbabwe is pencilled to leave for the Caribbean on February 23 to play five
ODIs against the West Indies starting on February 28 in Trinidad.

Marilliers had gone into real estate business in Zimbabwe while Ervine is in
Provisional Squad
Elton Chigumbura, Sean Ervine, Doug Marillier, Goodwin, Greg Lamb, Sean
Williams, Forster Mutizwa, Trevor Garwe, Raymond Price, Chatara, Tawanda
Mupariwa, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu, Brendan Taylor, Nyumbu, Vusi Sibanda,
Dion Ebrahim, Timycen Maruma, Hamilton Masakadza, Taurai Muzarabani, Greg
Strydom, Garvin Ewing, Stuart Matsikenyeri, Charles Coventry, Tatenda Taibu,
Edward Rainsford, Chamu Chibhabha, Prosper Utseya

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Copac swindled
Saturday, 30 January 2010 20:30

BULAWAYO - The Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac) has been
barred from paying MPs allowances and refunds for the use of their cars amid
fears of financial irregularities, it emerged yesterday.

Sources said the management committee of the constitution-making process,
made up of the negotiators from the three governing parties, MDC-T, Zanu PF
and MDC ordered an immediate audit of Copac finances a fortnight ago. It has
also emerged that allegations of the irregular payments triggered the
suspension of the outreach programme on the new constitution.

According to various sources, some Copac officials including MPs allegedly
drew varying amounts of money in unsanctioned allowances and refunds for the
use of their cars during the outreach work.

The sources said the MPs would claim re-imbursements for mileage they did
not travel.

Officially, the programme was put on hold following disagreements on the
choice of rapporteurs to accompany the outreach teams but sources told The
Standard it was stopped to pave way for an "intensive structural,
administrative and financial audit".

Some of the issues that have raised eyebrows are the administration of a
US$300 000 donation by the South Africa-based Zimbabwe Institute.

The institute, led by Professor Brian Raftopoulos, released the money for
the acquisition of various assets including office furniture and to meet
expenses during the constitution-making process.

The sources said US$60 000 from that donation had been set aside for
allowances and for paying MPs for the use of their cars during the outreach

They said the account had since been frozen by the management committee to
allow for an audit.
Copac members had reportedly claimed close to US$400 each for every week the
committee held its meetings.

"The management committee believes there is more to it than meets the eye,"
said the source.

"That is why they have decided to carry out an audit into the whole

The management committee, the sources said, is under immense pressure from
the principals in the unity government - President Robert Mugabe, Prime
Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - to
get to the bottom of the matter.

Zanu PF negotiators, Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche, Tendai Biti and
Elton Mangoma (MDC-T) and Professor Welshman Ncube and Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga from MDC make up the committee.

Ncube last week confirmed that Copac had submitted a reported on Tuesday but
he could not comment on the allegations of corruption.

"The Tuesday meeting was called specifically to receive a report of the
three co-chairpersons on what has been done and what still needs to be
 done," he said.

"That report detailed only issues to do with the training that was conducted
in Harare for the outreach teams.

"At the moment, there is nothing on the alleged financial irregularities in
the process because the report focused on the training of the outreach

Copac says the outreach programme will resume once its funders release


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Residents rip Into Nkomo’s Plan

Saturday, 30 January 2010 20:24

BULAWAYO — Water Resources Minister Samuel Sipepa Nkomo’s plans to
nationalise the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) have run into
stiff opposition in the region amid accusations he is trying to “hijack a
people’s initiative”.

Nkomo last week announced that the project’s name had been changed to
National Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (NMZWP).

He said this was a reflection of its national status since it was being
taken away from the MZWP Trust led by Dumiso Dabengwa (pictured).

But business leaders, residents’ associations, politicians, government
officials, and members of the public railed against Nkomo’s plans saying
they were “suspicious”.

The project to bring water from the Zambezi River to the drought-stricken
Matabeleland region was first mooted by the colonial regime in 1912.

Successive Zanu PF governments used the project to lure voters in the region
by pledging resources for the project but these never materialised.

The project only took off after locals formed the MZWP Trust in 1991 without
government involvement.
Matabeleland South governor, Angeline Masuku who is also a member of the
trust said the government had “blundered” by nationalising the project.

“As far as I am concerned, the project is a project developed by the people
of Matabeleland.

“They saw it fit to start it and they have the will power to complete it,”
she said.

“For the government to say it is taking over the project is belittling the
decisions of the people.

“The government, as I see it, should be complementing people’s efforts to
deal with a situation and not wanting to control the project.”

Bulawayo Residents’ Association (BURA) chairman, Winos Dube said there was
need for government to respect the historical significance of the MZWP.

“While our major concern is the completion of the water project, we wonder
why the people of Matabeleland are not being given the greater control of
this project,” Dube said.

“It should be borne in mind that this initiative is from the people of

“If the government wants to complete the project, it is welcome to do so but
it should include, to a larger extent, the people from the region.

“They are the ones who should be in control.”

Dube said residents suspected that government had hijacked the project for
political gain and it will take a lot of effort to convince them otherwise.

“We hope that this is not another intention to strip the people of
Matabeleland of their livelihoods,” he said.

Nhlanhla Mpofu, the Bulawayo Progressive Residents’ Association (BPRA)
spokesperson, said by his actions the minister was “stealing from the people
of Matabeleland”.

“As BPRA, our wish is to see water getting here,” he said.

“However, we have reservations against the nationalisation of the MZWP.

“We affirm that the controversial announcement by the minister is an attempt
by the government to take away the water project from the people.

“We see the statement that government is not happy with the 60% of work that
had been done at the site as mere political rhetoric.

“The minister and the government should be asking themselves how the 60% got
to be there.

“It is our belief that the people of Bulawayo and Matabeleland did a
splendid job and this should continue, of course with government support as
a stakeholder.”

His sentiments were echoed by ZNCC president and businessman, Obert Sibanda
who said Nkomo’s proposals were bound to face opposition in the region.

“The government is going through hard times in terms of its coffers,”
Sibanda said.

“All along, the Gwayi-Shangani Dam has been part of the project and it has
not moved.

“This is due to financial challenges.

“It could be the same situation now that there is talk of the
nationalisation of the water project.

“As the business community, our feeling is that there is no need for the
politicisation of the project.

“All that is needed is its full implementation.”

Nkomo has defended his plans saying he is only implementing a 2004
government resolution.

He said the new measures will also ensure that the project is not
politicised so that its full benefits are realised.

“We, as government, will come back to the people and ask whether what we are
doing is right or wrong,” Nkomo said.

“If there is a feeling amongst you that the approach employed is not
suitable, we will sit together and see what we can do to ensure the project
is completed.”

The government says it needs at least US$1,1 billion for the project.

Besides supplying water to towns and cities, it will also be used to create
a green belt along the pipeline powering agro-industries with potential to
create thousands of jobs.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zuma Takes GPA Dispute to AU

Saturday, 30 January 2010 20:22

SOUTH African President Jacob Zuma will this week take the disputes
threatening Zimbabwe's year-old unity government to the African Union - the
guarantors of the power-sharing agreement. Senior South African government
officials yesterday said Zuma had prepared a report on Zimbabwe, which will
be presented to the summit already underway in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Zuma is reportedly getting impatient with the continued bickering and delays
in resolving issues around appointments, and has suggested that the parties
should "park" some of the contentious issues and work towards fresh
elections next year.

Saul Kgomotso Molobi, a senior official in South Africa's Department of
International Relations and Co-operation confirmed that Zuma would put
Zimbabwe on the agenda.

"The President as the mediator will give a report on the facilitation in
Zimbabwe," Molobi told The Standard yesterday.

"I cannot get into the details, as he has not made the presentation yet."

Zuma's spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya said the report will appraise the
heads of state and government on South Africa's mediation.

The report comes at a time when the talks are currently deadlocked and hopes
for a resolution of outstanding issues are disappearing.

Negotiations were supposed to resume 10 days ago, but they were deferred
until February 8 after the parties failed to find common ground.

Zanu PF and the MDC-T have been trading accusations over who is responsible
for the collapse of the talks, now threatening the inclusive government.

On Wednesday, the Zanu PF politburo met in Harare and resolved not to "make
any further concessions" to the two MDC formations until sanctions imposed
by Western countries on its leaders are removed.

This position was adopted at the party's congress in December last year, and
appeared to have been bolstered by recent statements by British Foreign
Secretary David Miliband on sanctions. But the MDC-T also blames Zanu PF
because of its intransigence on fully implementing the GPA.

Meanwhile, MDC-T secretary general, Tendai Biti says Zuma holds the key to
the resolution of the Zimbabwean crisis.

"What is therefore required right now is for Sadc and President Zuma to take
leadership of the issue in Zimbabwe because the leadership in Zimbabwe has
failed to provide leadership on the issue," said Biti, one of two MDC-T's

"If a Sadc summit is to be convened, it must be convened so that people of
Zimbabwe can be liberated from the burden of endless negotiations. We have
been negotiating since the 14th of May 2007. A Sadc summit should be
convened to put a full stop to these issues."

Biti said the "transition is no longer dealing with certain fundamental
things that gave rise to it".


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Civil Servants’ Strike Imminent

Saturday, 30 January 2010 20:20

CIVIL servants will hold make-or-break talks with government negotiators on
Tuesday amid warnings a crippling strike is imminent. The meeting comes a
week after the 14-day strike ultimatum issued by civil servants passed
without any action.

Education Minister David Coltart and his Public Service counterpart Eliphas
Mukonoweshuro failed to take the civil servants’ grievances to cabinet
because it has not been sitting.

The government workers want their salaries increased four-fold from the
current US$150 for the lowest paid civil servant.

Raymond Majongwe, the Progressive Teachers’ Union (PTUZ) secretary general
said if Tuesday’s meeting of the National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC)
does not yield positive results teachers will down tools.

“We are pleading with government to show a bit of commitment when we meet on
Tuesday,” he said.
Their members, he said, were growing impatient with the unending

Coltart yesterday said in the various meetings he has held with the unions
they expressed their unhappiness over government’s continued lavish spending
when it says it cannot improve their salaries.

“Their concern has been the cost of local and foreign travel by cabinet and
many other things so this has made them believe that there is money out
there somewhere,” he said.

“They want everyone to tighten their belts because of the economic crisis.”

Coltart said he had also held discussions with Finance Minister Tendai Biti
who has agreed to meet representatives of civil servants when he returns
from the United States.

The minister will also brief cabinet when it resumes its meetings.

However, Mukonoweshuro appeared to pour cold water over Coltart’s optimism
saying the government was just broke.

“What we have here is a case where there isn’t that financial fiscus space
on the part of government,” he said.

“Civil servants will have to be a bit more patient while government looks
into their concerns.”


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Dabengwa Scoffs at Critics

Saturday, 30 January 2010 19:32

FORMER Home Affairs Minister Dumiso Dabengwa who is leading the revival of
Zapu has dismissed accusations that he is treating the former liberation
movement as his personal project.

The Zapu interim chairman says he is ready to have his credentials
scrutinised at the party's congress in May.

Dabengwa, who was speaking for the first time since six senior party
officials were suspended late last year amid accusations that they had stood
up to his alleged dictatorial tendencies, maintained that the revival of
Zapu remained on course.

Zapu announced last week that it would hold its inaugural congress in May, a
year after it formally withdrew from the 22-year-old Unity Accord with Zanu

The split came amid dissatisfaction in Matabeleland over the way President
Robert Mugabe was implementing the deal.

The suspended Zapu members who included Evans Ndebele, the owner of the now
defunct ZEX Airlines, former Bulawayo police spokesperson Smile Dube, and
former outspoken Bulawayo councillor Alderman Charles Mpofu accused Dabengwa
of perpetuating the Zanu PF culture.

But the former Zipra intelligence supremo says there is no room for
dictatorship in Zapu because there were checks and balances to prevent power
from being concentrated in an individual.

He said the Council of Elders, a body that consists of members aged 65 and
above, holds leaders accountable at every level.

"The role of the council was defined by congress to be that of guiding the
party, and to ensure that there is discipline in the party," Dabengwa a,
former Zanu PF politburo member, said.

"One would expect that if I was the so-called dictator I would by now have
been brought before the disciplinary committee by the Council of Elders of

"The comparison with Mugabe has no basis and is far-fetched because in the
first place no one in Mugabe's party can even think of disciplining him.

"In Zapu the Council of Elders has authority to discipline even the chairman
or president."

The veteran politician who caused a stir when he abandoned Zanu PF on the
eve of the March 2008 presidential elections to support Simba Makoni who was
an independent candidate said although there were cases of indiscipline in
Bulawayo, they were exaggerated by the media.

He added: "The party, like all institutions, be they political, religious,
social or business, has had incidents of misconduct by a few members, such
as our Bulawayo province which has had to deal with a matter within its
area, and only to refer it to the national interim executive if they have
any problem sorting out the disciplinary issue.

"The chaos is not there at all. It is an invention of the media, some of
whom are hostile to Zapu,  of course."

The May congress will culminate in the election of a substantive leadership
from all levels, which means Zapu might have a new leader to represent it in
next year's elections.

Those challenging Dabengwa's leadership say he must make way to youthful
leaders who can give Zanu PF and the two MDC formations a run for their

Although Dabengwa did not rule out chances that he would lead the party in
the next elections if he is nominated, he said he would have preferred to
retire from active politics.

"If I had my way, after the Zapu Congress I would like to retire and
concentrate on my ambition to write my book or books on my 70 years'
experiences, as a young boy, during the struggle, in prisons both before and
after Independence, and about my involvement and contribution in the
development of the our country since Independence," Dabengwa said.

He said the party would be ready for next year's elections and has already
set up structures across the country.

Full interview:

In May last year Zapu announced that it was pulling out of the Unity Accord
with Zanu PF over disagreements on the way the agreement was being

Zapu effectively became the most vibrant opposition party after Zanu PF and
the MDC formations formed a unity government.

However, the revival of the former liberation movement has not been smooth
sailing and Standard's Senior Reporter Nkululeko Sibanda (NS) last week held
an interviewed Zapu interim chairman Dumiso Dabengwa and asked him about the
various challenges facing the party. Below are the excerpts.

NS: How far have you gone with the revival of Zapu since the announcement of
the pullout from Zanu PF in May last year?

DD: Zapu started its workshops outreach programmes after our congress in
May. We started in August this year. We divided our programme into phases,
starting with provincial workshops. All the provinces held and completed
their workshops by end of October. The workshops looked into three main
themes, namely, amendment of the Zapu constitution, the Zapu policy, the
Zapu ideology, and our mobilisation strategy. We also took the opportunity
during our workshops to mobilise our members to give their views during the
outreach programme for the proposed new constitution. Presenters on the
themes were people selected from among the Zapu Council of Elders, the
interim executive and experts drawn from our membership. The second phase
was the districts and branches workshops, starting from last November and is
on course and has spilled over to this year and is set to be completed by
March. The response has been very encouraging, in particular the injection
of new ideas mainly from the youths, who are participating in a very
meaningful way. As interim chairman, I have addressed some of the workshops,
such as the Harare one, which encompassed the three Mashonaland provinces,
Manicaland and Harare. I also attended the joint Bulawayo, Matabeleland
North and South workshop, and also addressed the Masvingo workshop, which
included district representatives from the province. I also attended and
addressed the Midlands workshop in Gweru, which also included delegates from
some of the districts. I also attended the Matabeleland North inter-district
workshop and later on went to address the Binga district workshop. The
workshop sessions have been very educative. Whilst we thought we would be
guiding the people on what the party and nation should be doing, we
ourselves had a lot of lessons to learn. The contributions we got from all
areas bore testimony to the political maturity among our people. We are
clear from what we got from the people at the workshops what exactly the
people want.

NS: Some of your critics in the party say you have not addressed any meeting
since the congress and they suggest this has killed the momentum created
after they announcement that you were leaving Zanu PF.

DD:  In October last year when we discussed our party programme and resolved
as the executive that workshops and the formulation of structures was our
priority so as to re-establish the nucleus of Zapu in all the provinces and
districts. Some people felt this could be done in tandem with public
meetings but we felt, and I felt as much that we should concentrate on the
workshops. However, we agreed also that where public meetings were to be
addressed, party procedures for booking meetings should be followed in order
to avoid chaos, where anyone in the party find themselves booking meetings
without the authority or knowledge of the relevant party structures and

All provinces are currently in the second phase of conducting
district/branch workshops and this is an ongoing exercise countrywide

NS: There are reports of disturbances at Zapu meetings especially in
Bulawayo. Could this not be an indication that the party is in turmoil?

DD: Zapu has not been rocked by any disturbances. The party, like all
institutions, be they political, religious, social or business, has had
incidents of misconduct by a few members, such as our Bulawayo province
which has had to deal with a matter within its area, and only to refer the
matter to the national interim executive if they have any problem for
sorting out the disciplinary issue. The chaos is not there at all. It is an
invention of the media, some of whom are hostile to Zapu, of course.

NS: Is it not that the indiscipline could be as a result of some members
having lost faith in you as a leader?

DD: I am sure that if the party has lost faith in me they will express that
feeling or decision at the Zapu congress scheduled for May this year,
wherein delegates will elect substantive leadership.

I don't have time to go about dispelling rumours, particularly this one. I
will not as leader of Zapu respond to criticism on me done through the
press, by unnamed people who I am not even sure if they are members of Zapu
or they exist in the first place. All Zapu members are free to present
criticism about me or any other party leader at rightful party platforms

NS: What tangible progress has Zapu achieved since breaking away from Zanu

DD: Tangible areas that have been covered by my interim executive since our
election at the Zapu convention in December 2008 have been to convene a
successful Special Zapu Congress in May 2009 and to implement what congress
mandated us to do, that is to identify and reactivate Zapu structures
throughout the country and to prepare to convene a full party congress
within a year, which we are doing right now.

NS: It has been suggest that you are a dictator and your run Zapu like your
personal property?

DD: One of the innovations that we came up with in reorganising Zapu was to
create a Council of Elders, consisting of members aged 65 and above. There
is a council of elders at all levels of the party. The role of the council
was defined by congress to be that of guiding the party, and to ensure that
there is discipline in the party. The council of elders is also responsible
for conducting elections at all levels of the party. One would expect that
if I was the so-called dictator I would by now have been brought before the
disciplinary committee by the council of elders of Zapu. The comparison with
Mugabe has no basis and is far-fetched because in the first place no one in
Mugabe's party can even think of disciplining him. In Zapu the Council of
Elders has authority to discipline even the chairman or president.

Our congress also recommended that there should be devolution of power to
all provinces such that each province has authority to run its affairs in
consultation with the national executive and council of elders. All these
structures have their own programme and say at our executive meetings. Our
decisions are collective; no one person has the final say on an issue.

NS: Is Zapu ready for elections next year considering that President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are pushing for an early poll?

DD: Zapu is ready to participate in any election that would be called, any
day now. Whilst we may not have as much resources as other parties, we have
faith in our members who are prepared to sacrifice and give themselves up in
order to achieve their goal. If elections were called any time, Zapu members
will stand up and do everything possible to ensure that the party is able to
come out best.

NS: There are allegations ahead of your May congress that you will seek to
hand pick delegates who will rubberstamp your bid to remain chairman. What
is your response?

DD: As we draw towards congress, we have encouraged the provinces to work
out and recommend to the Council of Elders how best the election of our
party leadership should be done, such that we come out with reliable,
honest, credible and committed leadership for Zapu. For instance some
members in Harare have suggested that each province nominates at least two
possible leaders for congress to consider. Other provinces are free to come
up with their ideas. Each branch will be represented at congress, as will be
each district and all provinces. So how would it be possible for anyone to
handpick all those people?

NS: Do you still harbour any ambitions to lead Zapu after the May congress
and will you represent the party at the next elections?

DD: If I had my way, after the Zapu Congress I would like to retire and
concentrate on my ambition to write my book or books on my 70 years'
experiences, as a young boy, during the struggle, in prisons both before and
after independence, and about my involvement and contribution in the
development of the our country since independence.
In Zapu one does not choose to be in a position. There is no such thing as
self-nomination. People nominate you. Yours is either to accept or decline
the nomination. I have never and have no intention of nominating myself to
contest anything.

NS: What should Zimbabweans expect from Zapu this year?

DD: Zapu is the mother of the revolution, together with ANC in South Africa,
Frelimo in Mozambique, MPLA in Angola and Swapo in Namibia. Our main aim as
Zapu is to reassert those values that the party had during the liberation
struggle, which unfortunately we have not seen since independence. Zapu has
identified a number of deviations and diversions from the goals and we are
anxious to reconnect all the people of Zimbabwe to build a progressive,
democratic, free and stable Zimbabwe for all the people.



Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

VP Nkomo faces witch-hunt charges

Saturday, 30 January 2010 19:29

BULAWAYO - Vice-President John Nkomo was last week facing accusations of
spearheading a witch-hunt against Zanu PF leaders who tried to block his
ascendancy after a number of them were barred from his celebration party.
Nkomo who brushed aside internal opposition to land the post left vacant by
the death of VP Joseph Msika held the celebrations at the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF) grounds last Saturday.

However, there was chaos outside the venue as those who were denied entry
tried in vain to reason with the security personnel.

President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai were some of
the high-profile government officials who attended the event.

But scores of Zanu PF ward and district officials were turned away at the
ZITF gates by state agents and armed soldiers after they failed to produce
invitation cards.

War veterans who were among Nkomo's most vocal opponents ahead of the
nominations for the vice-presidency were also barred.

Michael Sikhosana, the Zanu PF Bulawayo province spokesperson, said the
events of Saturday did not go down well with party cadres who supported
Nkomo's candidature.

However, he said, there were changes to the programme and the number of
people invited was reduced. "Initially all the 39 ward and 54 district
executive chairpersons of the party were invited to attend Nkomo's dinner,"
Sikhosana said.

"We had all senior Zanu PF officials in Bulawayo invited  but a day before
the event, the number was whittled down by half. This information may not
have filtered down to all the other party members in wards and districts who
thought they were still invited to the event resulting in them being barred
since they did not have personal invites."

Velaphi Ncube, the spokesperson for a faction of the war veterans
association in Bulawayo that supported Nkomo, said those who were turned
away were gate-crashers. "Nkomo's dinner was a family affair and the family
had a right to decide whom they invited," he said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Botswana Battles to Have Detained Nationals Freed

Saturday, 30 January 2010 17:39

THREE officers from Botswana's Department of Wildlife and National Parks
(DWNP), arrested close to two weeks ago, will appear in court tomorrow after
repeated attempts by the Botswana government to secure their release fell on
deaf ears. The three game scouts strayed into Zimbabwe on January 19 while
tracking lions that were causing havoc at Lesona, a village near the
Kazungula border.

In their desperate trail of the lions, which are said to have already killed
a number of cows, the officers entered Zimbabwe by mistake.

They attempted to find their way back, but were intercepted by the police.

The incident already appears to have set the stage for a diplomatic row
between the two neighbours, with Botswana officials accusing Zimbabwe of
being difficult in what is obviously a minor issue.

Botswana's ambassador to Zimbabwe, Gladys Kokorwe, told The Standard last
week that a team of government officials was immediately dispatched from
Kasane to assure the Zimbabwean authorities that the officials were innocent
civil servants who were performing their duties. "The officers will now
appear in court on Monday," Kokorwe said.

"They were on duty, patrolling as usual.

"They were tracking lions that were wreaking havoc in Lesona village, and in
the process they strayed into Zimbabwe.

"A team was sent from Kasane to confirm that these were innocent officers
who were on duty, but they failed to secure their release."

Kokorwe said her office took up the matter through the relevant channels in
Harare, but to no avail.

"At first my officers spoke to the Legal Affairs department, and they were
told the officers would be released.

"In fact, they told them the officers had already been released, only for us
to find out later that they were still detained. We also engaged the
Director of Protocol, but unfortunately they have still not been released."

Even high-level interventions by Botswana's Minister of Foreign Affairs and
International Co-operation, Phandu Skelemani, did not help.

Skelemani told that country's media that he had engaged the Zimbabwean
ambassador to Botswana on the issue, but to no avail.

"The response was that the (Zimbabwe) police have made up their mind that
the three should go to trial and there was nothing they could do as
government," Skelemani told Botswana media.

He said he was puzzled by the way the government handled the matter despite
the fact that many Zimbabweans, including armed officials, have been turned
away from the country without any charges.

He blamed the challenges on the lack of a fence along the border, saying it
was difficult to construct one because it could be easily destroyed by
elephants that are all over the border area.

Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi was not immediately
available for comment as he was said to be attending an African Union summit
in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Skelemani said he would discuss the issue with Mumbengegwi at the summit.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

St Anne’s Nurses Strike Over pay

Saturday, 30 January 2010 17:35

NURSES at the privately owned St Anne’s Hospital in Harare on Friday briefly
downed tools over a pay dispute that resulted in the suspension of three
workers.  Sources said the nurses are demanding a 100% salary increment from
the current US$400 for the lowest paid.

“Our other counterparts at Avenues Clinic and Westend are getting salaries
of about US$800 so we also want our salaries to match other private
hospitals,” said one of the nurses, speaking on condition she remains

“Management refused to even move an inch when we asked for that amount so we
decided to go on strike.”

The hospital authorities reportedly took the case to the Labour Court
because they felt the industrial action was illegal.

The strike has since been suspended pending negotiations that are set to
open on Monday. But Eugenia Mutariswa, the principal nursing officer at the
hospital dismissed reports there was a strike.

An angry Mutariswa accused The Standard news crew of “violating regulations”
after they took photographs of the striking nurses.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF’s Terror Campaign Threat to Constitution-making

Saturday, 30 January 2010 17:27

ZANU PF is reportedly forcing villagers to attend political meetings where
they are taught how to respond to outreach teams when they solicit views on
the new constitution. The latest reports of intimidation, especially in
rural areas, have heightened fears that Zimbabweans will once again be
denied the opportunity to freely determine their future.

Consultations on the constitution were suspended two weeks ago after the
Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (Copac) ran into a number of
logistical problems.

The political battles are set to add another dimension to the various issues
threatening the historic process.

MDC-T says Zanu PF has conscripted soldiers, youth militia and war veterans,
who spearheaded the party’s ruthless campaign in the June 2008 polls, to cow
villagers into supporting the Kariba Draft.

Zanu PF has been pushing for the Kariba Draft -— a document crafted three
years ago — to be adopted as the new constitution while the MDC-T wants a
“people-driven” process.

The MDC-T said intimidation was most pronounced in Masvingo, Manicaland and
Mashonaland East.

Pishai Muchauraya, the party’s spokesperson for Manicaland, confirmed that
Zanu PF was force-marching villagers to political meetings where they are
instructed to back the Kariba Draft.

He said Zanu PF had roped in traditional leaders, youth militia and soldiers
to intimidate or beat up those who try to resist attending the meetings.

“Only last week, people were forced to attend one such rally at Jani
resettlement area where they were told what to say when outreach teams
finally come,” said Muchauraya, (MDC) MP for Makoni South.

“Headman John Rukweza called the meeting but we have names of soldiers, war
veterans and youth militia who were driving people out of their homes.”

Rukweza, a known Zanu PF supporter, even threatened to eject people from the
area if they put forward submissions favoured by the MDC-T, Muchauraya said.

“The inclusion of soldiers, militia and war veterans in the process is an
attempt to instil fear in the hearts of the people,” he said.

“They are telling people that if they fail to support the Kariba Draft they
will be killed like what happened to others in June 2008.”

At least 200 MDC-T activists were reportedly killed during the June 2008
elections while thousands of its supporters were displaced as President
Robert Mugabe 's party embarked on a violent campaign seeking his
re-election in a run-off.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out of the race citing the violence.

Last Sunday, Zanu PF militia and soldiers frog-marched villagers to an
outreach meeting held at Xanadu Farm in Goromonzi in Mashonaland East.

“They were telling us what to say when the outreach teams come,” said a
villager who attended the meeting. “For example, we were told to reject
title deeds to our land in favour of 99-year leases.

“They are saying if we get deeds, our farms will be repossessed by banks
when we fail to pay back loans.”

The previous week, another political meeting had been held at Bromley
Country Club where villagers were also instructed to stick to the Kariba

“The other strategy is that only those selected by Zanu PF militia will be
allowed to speak when the outreach teams finally come.

“If anyone else speaks without permission that person will be in trouble
when the teams leave,” said another villager who attended the Bromley

In Nyanga North, militia bases have re-emerged with soldiers threatening
villagers with death if they refused to support the Kariba Draft.

Douglas Mwonzora, MDC-T Nyanga North MP and Copac co-chair, said he had seen
militia bases and has raised the issue with Zanu PF.

Mwonzora will also raise the issue at the constitution-making management
committee meeting this week. “We cannot carry out any outreach when these
bases are there because they bring back bad memories of June 2008,” Mwonzora

“This is political criminality designed to smuggle unwanted ideas in our

“Zanu PF calls the bases information centres but these are bases by another
name serving the same purpose; that of intimidation.”

The situation is the same in Gutu West, Zaka and Chivi central in Masvingo
as well as parts of the Midlands and Mashonaland.

“If our management committee meeting fails to address this problem we will
have to take the issue to the principals because we cannot come up with a
democratic constitution under the current environment,”  Mwonzora said.

“Article VI (of the Global Political Agreement) clearly states that the
process must be democratic and people-driven.”

But Zanu PF has vowed to intensify the party’s outreach programmes saying it
wants a constitution that reflects the ideals of the liberation struggle.

Zanu PF deputy spokesperson Ephraim Masawi said the party’s politburo on
Wednesday resolved to intensify the party’s outreach programme.

“The meeting resolved that the outreach programmes be intensified in order
to ensure that the ideals and principles of the revolution are enshrined
within the constitution,” Masawi said. He denied knowledge of the bases or
that Zanu PF was forcing people to attend their outreach programmes.

Civic organisations and MDC have rejected the use of the Kariba Draft as a
basis for the new constitution because it leaves the president’s vast powers

Some the controversial clauses include one that permits Mugabe to serve
another two five-year terms.
There are also no limits to the number of government ministers appointed by
the president neither does it promote the devolution of power to the

The draft also makes no provision for the post of Prime Minister and it
gives the president powers to declare war without consulting anyone.

The president would have the right to appoint judges and fire them at will.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Maintain Embargo, EU Urged

Saturday, 30 January 2010 17:14

IN a week in which Zanu PF revelled in "uncovering" the nexus between the
MDC-T and the UK an international rights group dealt a body blow to the
party's cause.  Human Rights Watch on Friday urged the European Union to
maintain its travel restrictions and asset freezes on President Robert
Mugabe and his inner circle until Zimbabwe carries out the concrete human
rights reforms set out in the 2008 Global Political Agreement (GPA).

A delegation of eight British MPs arrives in Zimbabwe on Monday for a
four-day visit. While the UK legislators' visit is to review the
effectiveness of British aid to Zimbabwe, their visit coincides with an EU
review of its sanctions policy toward Zimbabwe.

The British team will have an opportunity to assess how well the Department
for International Development (DFID) works with other donors, multilateral
agencies, non-governmental organisations and the inclusive government.

The delegation's report could inform the outcome of the EU's sanctions
review process.

Human Rights Watch said the GPA, signed between the two formations of the
MDC and President Mugabe's Zanu PF party contained specific measures to
promote freedom of speech and the rule of law, end politically motivated
violence, and apply laws of the country fully and impartially in bringing to
justice all perpetrators of politically motivated violence.

But the repression has continued, and the perpetrators are not being held to
account for their actions.

"Zanu PF has continued committing grave human rights abuses and acting as if
the agreement had never been signed," said Georgette Gagnon, Africa director
at Human Rights Watch.

"The European Union runs the risk of reinforcing ongoing repression and
impunity in Zimbabwe if it eases the sanctions now."

In September, the European Union sent a delegation to Zimbabwe to assess the
implementation of the Agreement. The delegation found that the inclusive
government had "failed to meet the benchmarks" the EU had established for
resuming development co-operation with Zimbabwe and lifting targeted travel
and financial restrictions on senior Zanu PF members.

The Swedish Minister for International Development, Gunilla Carlsson, who
was part of the EU delegation, said then that targeted sanctions against
Zimbabwe would not be lifted until human rights abuses ended.

Human Rights Watch said its "ongoing research and analysis" in Zimbabwe show
that the human rights situation remains virtually the same as during the EU
delegation's visit.

"As Human Rights Watch said in an August report on Zimbabwe's new
power-sharing government, state agents affiliated with Zanu PF continue to
abduct and kill MDC activists without punishment and to arrest its
legislators on spurious charges. Zimbabwe's oppressive media laws remain
unchanged. Illegal invasions of commercial farms, frequently led by military
personnel allied with Zanu PF, are continuing; and there has been no
meaningful progress in instituting promised human rights reforms or in
demonstrating respect for the rule of law."

Some government-owned companies subject to EU sanctions, like Zimbabwe
Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC), said the rights group, are also
actively involved in mining diamonds in eastern Zimbabwe, where Human Rights
Watch said it had uncovered  "rampant abuses" by the armed forces, including
forced labour, child labour, killings, beatings, smuggling, and corruption.

"These abuses continue and justify the need to maintain pressure on Zanu PF
to honour its signed commitment to reform," Human Rights Watch said.

The European Union in 2002 began imposing travel restrictions and asset
freezes on Mugabe and about 200 senior Zanu PF officials, as well as on some
state-owned companies with close ties to the party. The first round of
sanctions followed Mugabe's controversial re-election that year, a breakdown
of the rule of law, systemic human rights violations, and chaotic and often
violent land seizures.

"Some in Europe might believe that making concessions is the way to get Zanu
PF to moderate its behavior, but Zanu PF has shown that it would only take
this as a sign of weakness and dig in its heels even further," Gagnon said.

By Our Staff

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chaos Reigns in Burma Valley

Saturday, 30 January 2010 17:06

ONE of the country's leading banana producing areas - Burma Valley - a few
kilometres east of the city of Mutare in Manicaland is practically under
siege. As the Zimbabwe ambassador to Tanzania Edzai Chimonyo fights a bitter
war to wrestle Fangudu Farm from a foreign-owned company, Matanuska,
hundreds of illegal settlers have also invaded the western part of the
valley choking one of the sources of water in the area - the Nyamakari

The Chimonyo-Matanuska battle to control the rich banana farming entity
comes hard on the heels of Harare South Zanu PF legislator Hubert Nyanhongo's
fight to take over part of yet another banana farm in the valley.

The new wave of farm invasions in the Burma Valley area have taken another
level as some of the illegal settlers have invaded farms which are already
under new black owners who forcibly took over the farms from the white

The new invaders are slowly suffocating the once vibrant farming area right
from the mountaintops which border the area into the rich valley.

Some of the new farmers who took over the farms have reduced the once
banana-exporting entities to local entities as most of the farm produce is
now destined for Sakubva Musika in Mutare and Mbare Musika in Harare.

Two farms to the west of the valley which at the height of the chaotic land
reform programme were allocated to black farmers have also been taken over
by a group of illegal settlers.

The illegal settlers have vowed to fight eviction to the bitter end.

Five times the government has razed their homes and offered them alternative
land but they have refused to vacate the area.

Their argument is that the area belongs to their ancestors and therefore it
rightfully belongs to them.

Though the identity of two farmers who hold offer letters to the land could
not be immediately established, a source on the Mutare district lands
committee office revealed that government had given it to them to protect
the ecology that can't sustain bigger populations.

The area, the source revealed, could not carry a bigger number of farmers.

"Yes they are close to the source of Nyamakari River and land was allocated
to two farmers only because it can not hold a bigger number of farmers.

"But as we speak a group of illegal settlers are now choking the river

"The river is almost dry. The illegal settlers were evicted a number of
times but they are coming back and have vowed to stay.

"They were offered land elsewhere but they have refused to take up the land.
The situation is disturbing," the source revealed.

But one illegal settler who refused to be named had no kind words for senior
Zanu PF and government officials who were allocated land in the valley.

"If you look at this area some of the people who got land legally are not
from any of the areas surrounding Burma Valley.

"If I may ask, where does Nyanhongo come from or where does Chimonyo come

"All I know is that Nyanhongo is from Harare though originally he is from

"But still Nyanga is far from Burma Valley. They are using their political
muscle to get land here because they know the area is rich," the illegal
settler said.

"All these people are not from Chitakatira, Chigodora, Chisakwe or many
areas surrounding Burma Valley.

"We cannot continue to watch as some people from very far away get land here
while we do not.

"We have not taken the lucrative banana area but just the periphery of Burma
Valley, so the government should leave us alone.

"We are not going anywhere.

"Chimonyo says he got the offer letter in 2005 or 2006 thereabout but where
was Chimonyo for the past years?"

And as the wrangle continues, some of the illegal settlers have turned to
cutting down firewood, as there is a ready market in Mutare.

Piles of firewood are now a common sight along the Burma Valley road.

And it seems the firewood business is booming against the backdrop of
erratic power supply in the country.



Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘They’ll go back home in coffins’

Saturday, 30 January 2010 16:32

CAPE TOWN — More than 2 000 Zimbabwean immigrants are under siege again in
the volatile farming area of De Doorns in South Africa’s Western Cape about
100 km outside Cape Town. The Zimbabweans are currently accommodated by
United Nations and Red Cross at a local sports field after locals drove them
out of their homes at the beginning of December last year.

South Africans from the local townships have publicly warned the traumatised
Zimbabweans that if they return to the townships, they would go back to
their country in coffins.

The authorities are taking the threats seriously. Zimbabweans are even
afraid to go to the shops for fear of being attacked.

While the authorities are trying their best to make foreigners feel welcome,
the locals have made it clear they are not wanted. Zimbabweans in Cape Town
top the list of the most hated African immigrants.

In De Doorns the locals also accuse the Zimbabweans of depriving them of
income by accepting to work for lower wages.

Vigilante groups in the townships have also warned local girls that if they
are seen in the company of foreign men, they would be killed.

“We are going to braai Zimbabweans if we see them anywhere in the
 townships,” one of the men told a local paper.

Charles Ntsomi, the Mayor of Breede Valley Municipality which administers
the farming community of De Doorns says he cannot guarantee the protection
of the immigrants if they return to the townships where they stayed before
they were attacked in December.

The municipality is under pressure from councillors to remove the immigrants
from the sports fields. They say accommodating foreigners costs the local
authority R17 000 a month. When I spoke to the Mayor he said he was
preparing to re-integrate the foreigners into the community.

“My wish is to see the Zimbabweans return to their homes but we cannot
guarantee them protection from attacks,” said Ntsomi.

According to Thembi Ndlovu a Zimbabwean woman who works for a local aid
agency the Zimbabwean immigrants made the situation worse themselves when
they attacked a resident who order led them to leave.

“I tried to warn them that beating up a local would be a big mistake but
they did not listen. Today they are in trouble and living in tents and some
have lost their jobs,” said Ndlovu, who comes from Bulawayo. Her
organisation has been assisting foreigners displaced by xenophobic violence.

All the Zimbabwean immigrants working on the farms in the Breede Valley are
from Mashonaland, Manicaland and Masvingo.

Sarah Chigumbira says South Africans hate them with a passion. “These people
don’t even want to see us here. If they had their way they would kill us
all,” said Chigumbira, who says she comes from Bindura in Mashonaland

But Nomusa Sibanda another Zimbabwean from Bulawayo and living in
Khayelitsha denies that South Africans hate Zimbabweans.

At a meeting to discuss the plight of the foreigners, some councillors
objected to the return of the immigrants to the farms. The councillors
argued that the foreigners were taking jobs meant for locals and therefore
want foreigners to return to their countries.

By Thabo Kunene

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mash Central hit by Malaria Outbreak

Saturday, 30 January 2010 12:58

MASHONALAND Central has been hit by a serious malaria outbreak with a number
of people feared dead in farming communities. Although Health and Child
Welfare Minister Henry Madzorera and his deputy Douglas Mombeshora said they
were not aware of the outbreak, a visit to Shamva - one of the most affected
areas - showed that patients exhibiting malaria symptoms were trekking to
health institutions.

Local health authorities who spoke on condition of anonymity said most of
the patients at Shamva Rural Hospital had come from areas such as Mugagau,
Town centre, New Briston, Nherera and Riverbed farms.

They said they suspect the outbreak was caused by the government's failure
to implement prevention measures ahead of the rainy season.

Usually, the Ministry of Health with the support of donors sprays areas most
affected by the disease and also provides mosquito nets.

"Just like what happened when there was cholera there is just of lack of
preparedness by health authorities," said Mugove Nzira of Shamva.

"Many people in this area have malaria and they are coming here to be

"Some are dying at home because they can't afford the treatment."

He said about 100 people were receiving attention at the hospital every day
where treatment costs US$2 for an adult and US$1 for children.

A teacher at Chiraramo Primary school said many children had succumbed to
the preventable disease.

"Seven of my students did not come to school this week because they had

"I also heard other teachers saying some of their pupils have malaria," he

"People do not have money to go the hospital. Malaria should just be treated
for free."

But when contacted for comment, Madzorera said he did not want to talk about

"I am busy at the moment. You don't have to call me about malaria or
measles. Call the Ministry of Health offices, they will tell you the right
person to talk to," he said.

Many parts of the country are also battling a measles outbreak that has
killed over 50 children.

Mombeshora who had referred this reporter to Madzorera said they were yet to
receive reports of an outbreak.

According to a report by Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partnership released last
week, Zimbabwe faces a potential malaria outbreak this year if health
authorities continue to put all their attention on the cholera outbreak.

RBM said no indoor residual spraying (IRS) or insecticide treated nets (ITN's)
were rolled out to cover the rainy season.

In 2007-2008, a total of 322 278 households representing over 1.6 million
people were covered by IRS.
Malaria kills about three million people every year, the majority of whom
are African children.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Japan Joins Fight Against Measles

Saturday, 30 January 2010 12:49

THE battle to contain the measles outbreak that has killed more than 50
children countrywide received a major boost on Tuesday when Japan donated
US$1.4 million to the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) and
government. At least 54 children have died since the outbreak was first
detected last year.

Most of them had not been vaccinated because their parents are members of an
Apostolic Faith sect, which discourages its followers from seeking medical

Mary Kamupota, the national co-ordinator of the Expanded Programme on
Immunisation (EPI), said the money will be used to buy a year's supply of

She said priority will be for measles vaccines to help expand the emergency
vaccinations to counter the latest outbreak.

"These vaccines will go a long way in reducing vaccine preventable diseases
such as measles," Kamupota said at the handover ceremony.

"This is Japan's fifth year of support to Zimbabwe's children in the
procurement of vaccines.

"This year's grant will procure all 2010 traditional vaccines, injection
supply material and also the cold chain equipment."

Kamupota said government was working on a legal framework to deal with
religious sects that prevent children from being vaccinated against the
killer diseases.

She said the outbreak was also a reminder of the shortage of vaccines in the

At least 98% of the children who have succumbed to measles during the latest
outbreak belong to the Apostolic Faith sect.

Unicef country representative, Dr Peter Salama said they would continue to
offer technical support to affected areas.

"The deaths from measles from this outbreak really underscore why the grant
from the government of Japan is so important.

"It's easy to forget that simple preventable diseases such as measles can
kill children if they are not vaccinated," he said.

"We must access these unvaccinated children and ensure that the deaths stop
and we would encourage all families and communities to take their children
to be vaccinated because this is a disease that can kill children, we have
seen this again and again."

Salama said the grant will also help reduce the rate of child mortality in

Recent statistics from the Central Statistics Office show that there has
been a 20% increase in the number of children who die before reaching the
age of 10.

Koichi Morita, the Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe, said immunisation
eventually saved costs on treatment.

Reducing child mortality by 2015 is goal number four in the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) set by the United Nations for member states.

Unicef has warned that Zimbabwe is unlikely to meet its MDGs as a result of
the decade long economic collapse before the formation of the unity
government last February.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZCTU Proposes ‘paternity’ Leave for men

Saturday, 30 January 2010 15:23

GWERU — The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has proposed radical
changes to the Labour Act that might see men taking paternity leave. The
proposals, which were revealed at a ZCTU Women’s Advisory Council workshop
last week, have already been submitted to the Minister of Labour, Paurina

ZCTU says it has also met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who cut his
political teeth at the country’s labour centre, to drum up support for the
potentially far reaching reforms.

According to the Labour Act, only women are allowed to go on maternity leave
after giving birth.

But the labour body says the provision is not only discriminatory but also
disadvantages women.

“We have since made our submissions to Labour Minister Paurina Mpariwa and
it is our hope that they will be taken seriously and incorporated in the
envisaged new labour law so workers can enjoy various rights and freedoms,
some of them denied since the colonial era,” ZCTU legal advisor Zakeyo
Mtimtema said.

“We made the same submissions to the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on
Labour last year.

The ZCTU wants men to be allowed 14 days paternity leave so they can assist
their partners soon after giving birth.

Mtimtema said they also wanted changes to the provision that says maternity
leave can only be granted to employees who have completed one year with the
same employer.

The same provision stipulates that an employee can only be granted maternity
leave thrice under one employer and that there should be 24 months in
between pregnancies.“The solution is to give the right to all female
employees without considering period of service,” he said.

“Employees must be allowed to decide how they want to space their children
and how many children they want to have regardless of whether they changed
the employer or not.”

ZCTU also wants the breast feeding period to be increased from one hour per
day to two and this should be over 18 months and not the current six.

Other proposed changes include a 48-hour notice to go on strike instead of
the current 14-day written notice.

“We demand that notice be only 48 hours like in South Africa so that workers’
grievances can be expressed with the urgency they deserve,” Mtimtema said.

The unionists say they want a Labour Act that decriminalises strikes,
outlaws police intervention and bars employers from replacing workers who go
on strike.

They also want workers who go on strike to receive full pay and solidarity
strikes legalised.

On retrenchments, the labour body demands that employees must be given two
months’ remuneration for every year served, six months’ severance pay, three
months’ salary for relocation costs where applicable and one year medical
benefit after termination of contract.

It also proposes that the Labour Court, which it describes as a toothless
dog, should be given additional powers so it can enforce its decisions
contrary to the prevailing situation whereby employers can ignore its
judgments without any repercussions.

ZCTU also wants the Labour minister’s powers, condemned by the International
Labour Organisation (ILO) in 2000, to be clipped so that unions can be

According to the current legislation, the minister has powers to investigate
trade unions, set aside union elections, fix the qualifications of
unionists, postpone or change venue or procedure of election and make
regulations to control trade unions.

Employers through the Employers’ Confederation of Zimbabwe and the Public
Service Commission are also expected to make submissions on the proposed


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sundayopinion: The Problem With Privatisation

Saturday, 30 January 2010 16:45

ZIMBABWE is in a quandary. Put bluntly the government needs money in order
to kick start all sectors of industry and improve provision of social
services. So the official thinking is that it's best to sell off resources
and privatise parastatals.

This is the line that the government has been pushing recently when it
announced plans to begin unbundling parastatals to foreign investors.

This was temporarily shelved due to the global recession. But only

A wholesale of Zimbabwe's resources and the privatisation of its social
services will be a quick fix that ultimately leads to disaster. We only need
to look into our history of structural adjustment while at the same time
learning from regional experiences of privatisation to see why.

The Economic Structural Adjustment Programme (Esap) of the 1990's was
Zimbabwe's baptism of economic fire. The World Bank and IMF's buzz words of
"liberalisation" and "privatisation" were so far-reaching that even primary
school children joked at the time that "Even Sadza's A Problem".

Through removal of trade barriers, tariffs and subsidies Esap was supposed
to make Zimbabwe more competitive and prosperous. Through
 "commercialisation" of parastatals Zimbabweans were expected to receive
better services.

In fact, the opposite happened as a period of de-industrialisation began.
Industry was no longer allowed any state support while workers became more
impoverished with the average worker in 1995 twice as poor as in 1980.

Wages as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) fell from 57% in the
1980s to 45% by 1995. During the first phase of Esap manufacturing's share
of GDP fell from 20% to 16%. Spending on social services was also vastly
reduced in line with World Bank policy.

The liberalisation agenda benefited foreign corporations that were able to
flood Zimbabwe with their goods as well as benefiting local elites involved
in unproductive speculation. As usual the poor suffered and found no
benefits in the World Bank's liberalisation policy.

The commercialisation drive begun by Esap has been revived recently in
Zimbabwe. "Commercialisation" means turning what should be a social service
for all into a commodity with a price tag.

This has been done with the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) and
more recently with the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa). Zinwa
in typical fashion took over the handling of water provision from local
councils and began charging exorbitant bills while not repairing the
existing infrastructure.

This led to a successful campaign against Zinwa - part of the movement for
access to water - where in October 2008 the Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and
Development presented to government 4 000 signatures on a petition
protesting against Zinwa's incompetence. Zinwa's control of water provision
was subsequently reversed.

Electricity has also become a site of struggle as Zesa recently sparked an
outcry as it began disconnecting poor people's homes in Bulawayo because of
their failure to pay ridiculously inflated bills. Such commercialisation of
basic social services is laying the ground for all-out privatisation.

South Africa is a key example of the effects of the privatisation of social
services. The ANC came to power in 1994 on a groundswell of popular support
and optimism.

Yet despite the Constitution claiming that "everyone has the right to
sufficient water" the ANC soon reversed this as it launched its World
Bank-supported GEAR economic policy in 1996 which turned water and other
services into commodities, not rights.

Municipalities began the process of privatising water and Johannesburg City
Council handed the running of their water to French multinational, Suez
Lyonnaise des Eaux. Poor communities were hit hardest as Suez increased
tariffs by 55%. This privatisation drive has been reproduced across South
Africa resulting in over 10 million people having their water disconnected
and over 2 million people evicted from their homes due to so-called "cost

The effects on the urban poor have been devastating as diseases abound
including outbreaks of cholera in places such as KwaZulu Natal. Incredibly
the poor are asked to pay more than the rich as their tariff increases are
much higher. So while corporations enjoy cheap water it's the poor who foot
the bill.

This unjust situation has produced considerable community resistance
epitomised in the Anti-Privatisation Forum (APF) which was formed in order
to oppose privatisation.

The APF has been part of community struggles which have seen the "water
warriors", as protesting residents have been labelled, resisting water
disconnections and fighting against the installation of pre-paid water

These struggles against water privatisation and poor social service delivery
have erupted across South Africa. The country now has more protests per
capita than any other country in the world.

So why would Zimbabwe want to import such a disastrous policy? Unfortunately
the very same World Bank that imposed Esap currently advises those in
government that shape our economic policy.

Yet if we are to learn from our past then we would see that Zimbabwe's foray
into liberalisation hurt the poor and only benefited local elites. South
Africa's experience shows us the nightmare of full-blown privatisation as
profit comes before people.

Ultimately Zimbabwe needs new politics where communities participate in
decision-making and budget-making processes instead of the top down,
profit-motivated approach.

There is a new discourse amongst global social justice activists: it's one
about "the commons" where water, electricity and the like are all seen as
something that should benefit everyone as opposed to being something to be
commodified and sold.

If we don't start seeing social services as part of "the commons" that
should benefit all then say hello to a new generation of "water warriors".


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sundayview: Land: A key Objective of the Liberation Struggle

Saturday, 30 January 2010 16:42

THE right to own land and the right to education were the two key objectives
of the liberation struggle. Landless peasants, whose sons and daughters
formed half of the freedom fighters, were fighting primarily for land.

The land hunger was respected for the first three years of Independence,
when some 2 million hectares of land were given to landless peasants.
However land resettlement slowed down, and by 1987, had halted.

It was only to resume in 2000, following a forceful reminder by war veterans
that this important aspect of the liberation struggle had been forgotten and
neglected. Soon after, the programme was taken over by Zanu PF, and named
the Third Chimurenga.

War veterans and a large number of youths were recruited to take the
programme to scale. Now, almost a decade later, it is appropriate to examine
the positive and the negative sides of the Land Resettlement Programme.

Originally, the commercial farm lands covered 16 million hectares, farmed by
some 5 000 white farmers.

These large farm holdings averaged about 2 000 hectares each. In 1976, only
327 white farmers were extremely successful, utilising their land fully.

About 40% were successful enough to pay tax, whilst as many as 60% were not
earning enough to be taxed. At Independence, 3 million hectares were bought
through a US$80 million grant given by the Conservative government under
Margaret Thatcher.

When the Labour Party came into power in 1998, they, through international
aid Minister Clare Short, flatly refused to fund any further land

Although land resettlement had fizzled out a decade earlier, there were some
hopes that it would resume.

Zanu PF has consistently blamed the British Government for the stalled land
resettlement programme. The Zimbabwean government was dependent on British
funds for this important programme. Donor dependency was part of the

The 2000 Land Resettlement Programme differed from the 1981 - 1983
Resettlement Programme, and perhaps gives a hint as to why the earlier
programme was halted.

The 1981 - 1983 Programme gave land to landless peasants. By 2000 it was
decided that some of the land should go to people who were well resourced.

However in both cases the land was not sold, but was given free of charge.
The new programme divided land resettlement into A1 and A2 schemes, A1 being
for small-scale farmers and A2 being for large-scale farmers.

In an imitation of the colonial set up, the land was being divided in effect
into large-scale commercial farms for the well endowed and small-scale farms
for the poor, who were the majority.

Land was being given to Zanu PF loyalists, irrespective of their knowledge,
skills and experience in farming.

Little was given in terms of training and extension support. Whilst seeds
and fertilizer were being distributed either free or at a very low price,
this was difficult to access, and went mainly to the top political

Four weaknesses of the programme can be identified: firstly the blind
imitation of the settler colonial agricultural set up favouring large-scale
farmers, yet it is well known that it was communal farmers who had fed the
nation since the 1980s; secondly the failure to provide training and
extension support; and thirdly, the failure to provide adequate seeds,
fertiliser and draught power. The fourth weakness, and the most fatal, was
to tie the programme to patronage, utilizing political loyalty as the main
criterion at the expense of actual commitment and capacity to farm.

The provision of free handouts under the patronage system proved fatal, as
non-farmers were able to sell the handouts at a premium without actually
planting anything. Whilst a small percentage of political supporters may
also be excellent farmers, on the whole political loyalty does not prove
that one has farming skills.

Land resettlement remains one of the most important challenges facing

It is impossible to return to the past. It is also counterproductive to
retain the colonial settler model, as has been done in the 2000 imitation of
the Rhodesian system of dividing farmers into well endowed large-scale
commercial farmers and small-scale subsistence farmers, with inputs being
made available mainly to the large-scale ones.

About 11 - 12 million hectares of the land formerly held by white commercial
farmers have now been taken over by the government.

The issue of multiple ownership of land is clearly against stated government
policy, and this can be speedily rectified.  Some 200 - 300 of the political
elite hold multiple farms.

Ending multiple farm ownership could free up about half a million hectares
of land.  This land can become the core of a new land resettlement scheme.

The majority of the resettled, about 150 000, do not own multiple farms.  It
would be extremely disruptive to have a wholesale movement of the newly
resettled at this point.

On the other hand, un-utilised and under-utilised land is absolutely
detrimental to the development of Zimbabwe.  A number of approaches can be
taken to ensure that all land is productively utilised.  A few of these

The first is to provide training and extension services to those who have
been given land.

The second is to make inputs, in particular seeds and fertiliser, freely
available on the open market, so that everyone can access them.  Seeds and
fertiliser should not be free, and should be available in hundreds of
outlets, such as farmers' co-ops and village shops. Imagine if tooth paste
or soap were only available in one depot per district!

There would be queues and corruption, as has been the case with seeds and

Seeds and fertiliser can be subsidised so that they are affordable.   This
would be based on an analysis of production costs, profit level, and
affordability to the majority of farmers.  Since these inputs would be sold,
they will generate funding for further investment.

Loans should be made available to both small-and large-scale farmers to
enable them to buy inputs.

"Land to the tillers" is one of the most important slogans of the liberation
struggle, and should be adhered to.  The situation where the politically
powerful have been able to hold onto large farms without farming them should

Present settlers should be given a five-year licence to remain on the land,
during which period they have to prove that they are serious farmers.   They
should have opportunities to train, to enjoy extension services, to buy
inputs at reasonable prices, and to access loans.

At the end of five years, each farmer's production record can be examined,
and decisions made case-by-case regarding whether they can retain their
farms or not.

Serious farmers will be given the opportunity to buy their farms or part of
their farms on a 99-year leasehold system.  The price should not be set by
market prices, but should be based on productivity and affordability.

In the 1981 - 1983 Resettlement Scheme land was bought from white farmers at
an average of US$200 a hectare.  Some of it was for less.

This could very well be an affordable bench mark, and farmers will have had
five years to save enough to buy one.  Thus a good small-scale farmer could
pay US$1 000 for a five-hectare plot, whereas a large-scale farmer could pay
US$80 000 for a 400-hectare plot.

The gradual sale of 10 million hectares of land will bring in about US$2
billion, and this can be spent on improving agricultural productivity.  Such
leaseholds can be sold, with one or two conditionalities, such as they can
be sold only to serious farmers.

Inheritance is also possible, but only if the heir is a serious farmer.
Serious farmers would prove their seriousness by acquiring some form of
agricultural training or by proving that they have been productive on
allotments or communal farms.

A serious farmer would also spend a large amount of time on the farm itself,
and this can be measured.

Only the indigent or very poor should be given land free of charge.
Assuming that there are 2 million indigent families in the country, and each
is given half a hectare of land, this will mean reserving some 1 million
hectares of land for this purpose.

Indigents should be given land according to the allotment system, where land
can be hired for short periods of time, such as one to five years.

This would be social welfare scheme, providing the indigent with the
opportunity to utilize land for survival purposes.  Allotments can be dotted
all over the country.  The objective is to allow the indigent to feed his or
her family.  Free and/or low cost seeds and fertiliser can be made available
to this group.

The successful ones would qualify to become farmers through the mainstream
land resettlement programme.

Land is too valuable to gamble with.  Land must be utilised to best effect.
Land must be productive.  Land is the lifeline of the country.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Alex Magaisa: A Case of the Embarrassing Uncle

Saturday, 30 January 2010 16:39

IN almost every extended family, there is one like him. He is the fellow who
likes to talk at public gatherings but those who know him often go to great
lengths to make sure he is not given the floor. You can imagine the scene at
a funeral or a wedding during that period allocated for speeches.

The elders make a call to the organisers. "Please make sure, Sekuru (Uncle)
Rameki does not speak," they plead.

"Please, handiti vatombonwa mangwanani ano?" ("Please, especially now, hasn't
he been drinking all morning?"). They would have reason to be apprehensive.

Experience would have taught them some bitter lessons. That Sekuru Rameki
has an unusual propensity to stick his foot in the mouth to the
embarrassment of the whole family; especially when this tendency is
propelled by the often reckless and uninhibited consumption intoxicating

It doesn't matter that Sekuru Rameki's speeches may contain grains of truth.
Often he says it as it is.

The trouble is that he knows neither the location nor the time to make his
utterances. So at weddings or funerals or indeed any such gatherings where
public speeches are made, someone is assigned to make sure Sekuru Rameki
does not utter a word in public.

I was reminded of the likes of Sekuru Rameki last week when the furore broke
over the statements made by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband in
relation to the contentious issue of sanctions in Zimbabwe.

He is reported to have stated in Parliament something to the effect that
sanctions could be lifted upon the advice of the MDC-T, the erstwhile
opposition party that is now an uneasy partner with Zanu PF in the delicate
power-sharing government. This has placed the MDC-T in a very embarrassing
position. It's not hard to see why.

For years, Zanu PF has blamed sanctions imposed by Western countries for the
economic decline in Zimbabwe and the MDC-T has been accused of having called
for such sanctions.

The MDC-T has denied this charge and further argued that it has neither the
power nor the facility to get the sanctions lifted.

As if that wasn't enough, Zanu PF has long characterised sanctions as an
"outstanding issue" in the on-going negotiations to fully implement the
Global Political Agreement (GPA) that facilitated the birth of the
power-sharing government in February 2009.

Zanu PF has argued that the MDC should do more to get the sanctions lifted
believing that since it allegedly called for the sanctions and is in cahoots
with the Western powers, it therefore has the leverage to influence their

The MDC-T has counter-argued that it does not have the leverage to do so,
submitting that it is entirely within the domain of those who imposed the
sanctions to remove them at their will. It has for its part, notwithstanding
previous denials of their existence, even called for the lifting of

So unsurprisingly, the statements made by Miliband have added fuel to
already burning embers in the context of Zimbabwe's fragile political

They suggested that the MDC-T does have the leverage that it has been
denying. In that respect, they suggested that the MDC-T was not being
sincere in its denials of its ability to resolve this so-called "outstanding
issue". There is reason to put up a brave face but privately it is
reasonable to presume that MDC-T leaders are appalled and embarrassed by
these statements.

But this is not the first time that the MDC-T has been placed in this
awkward position by those that seemingly sympathise with its efforts.

A few years ago, on being asked what Britain was doing about the situation
in Zimbabwe, the then British Prime Minister Tony Blair stated in Parliament
something to the effect that they were working hand in hand with the MDC-T
to rid the country of the Mugabe regime.

This positioned the MDC-T as an accomplice in the regime-change agenda and
appeared to confirm Zanu PF's rhetoric that the MDC-T was no more than a
puppet created to further the Western-engineered regime change plot.

Now all this may not have affected the Zimbabwean electorate, whose views on
the political protagonists is informed more by their condition and personal
experiences than by what is stated in the British Parliament or the media.

Indeed, it is highly probable that little of what Miliband said will have
filtered down to the townships or far-flung rural communities let alone
influenced their views on Zanu PF or the MDC-T.

The ordinary people are unlikely to change their political views simply
because of statements made by a British politician. These are political
views that have been horned over a long period of time and it will take more
than a faux pas by a foreign political figure to change them.

But it would be naïve to dismiss their effect entirely given the nature of
Zimbabwe political dispensation which is influenced less by the electorate
than by the key figures, external and internal within the context of the GPA
negotiating process. For a start, there can be no doubt that these
statements will be exploited to the maximum possible levels by the
propaganda machinery.

And to be sure, you can't blame them - in politics, gifts don't come more
easily. Anyone in that position and given the circumstances would happily
exploit the statements for leverage in the negotiations.

Indeed, if the MDC-T were in Zanu PF's position they would probably be doing
exactly the same thing. It's the nature of politics.

Further, the political situation in the country at present is not one that
is within the control of the electorate. The matter is entirely within the
domain of politicians. In that arena, the sanctions issue carries more
weight than it does on the general electoral platform.

There is some impact on how the MDC-T is characterised within the Sadc arena
which presently controls the political direction in the country.

The argument that the MDC-T is a mere façade of a Western plot to topple the
government has been used effectively to sway some African leaders to view
the MDC-T with suspicion.

And because, ultimately these African leaders have acted as the mediators in
Zimbabwe, it is fair to say that the cloud surrounding the MDC-T's
relationship with the West has not helped matters. These unfortunate
statements will only have added unnecessary baggage that will require much
effort to dislodge.

It is why the statements have given Zanu PF more arsenal than they had
previously. It is also why it has placed the MDC-T in an awkward situation
where it may now have to give some ground to redress the new imbalance.

There are lessons to be learnt. There are a lot of people around the world
who would like to assist Zimbabwe. Some of them are well-intentioned. But in
their bid to provide that help, they probably make unhelpful choices.

As with the likes of Sekuru Rameki, they say or do things at the wrong
moments. And in doing so, they cause not only embarrassment but also
crucially undermine one's strategic position.

It is on those occasions when those gathered plead: "Ko vanotaurireiko
vachidaro Sekuru Rameki? Ko mazoregereiko vachitaura?" (why does Sekuru
Rameki speak in that manner? Why did you let him speak?"). Then again, it's
not that simple.

The MDC-T does not have the power to control what the British Foreign
Secretary says or does. The message for those who seek to assist is that
perhaps they could control the tongue a little bit better. Rurimi inyoka -
the tongue is a snake, so the wisdom of our ancestors schools us.

In Britain, they should know better. Prime Minister Gordon Brown has spent
quite a few days in Northern Ireland in the past week trying to save the
power-sharing government there, an arrangement not terribly unlike what we
presently have in Zimbabwe where erstwhile protagonists are trying to work
together for the greater good. They deal with that situation with a lot of
care and sensitivity. They could accord the same to the fragile arrangement
in Zimbabwe, if anything, out of respect for those they seem to sympathise

Alex Magaisa is based at, Kent Law School, the University of Kent and can be
contacted at

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Comment: Water Project Needs Action not Rhetoric

Saturday, 30 January 2010 16:37

THE government might have the right motives but the decision to take over
the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project (MZWP) and subsequent appointment of
consultants has a familiar ring to it - leading the people of that region up
the garden path. The one thing that the project does not require is another
consultancy. We believe that must have been covered by the previous

It is not possible that in all the years the project has been under
consideration - almost a century - no plan on how to proceed has been drawn

A fortnight ago the Minister of Water Resources Development and Management
announced that the government had taken over the project and renamed it.

The Minister also announced that he had appointed consultants to lead public
consultations on how to proceed with the project and mobilisation of funds.

The project was first mooted in 1912 and renaming is really tinkering at the
periphery of the problem.

After decades of being lied to by successive administrations the people of
Bulawayo and the western regions deserve development that will assure them
of regular water supplies.

Uncertainties over Bulawayo's water resources have had several devastating
effects. Among these is the flight of industries from what historically was
the country's industrial hub. New investment has been shunning Bulawayo
because there is no reliable source of water. These and other factors have
conspired to contribute to the underdevelopment of the western region.

There are serious questions about issues of transparency over the
appointment of consultants. For example, how wide-ranging were the
consultations that informed and led to the engagement of consultants, and is
that the most critical step in the process of beginning to implement the

We believe what should have taken place is an audit on what work has been
done so far and what specific measurable stages should be taken in launching
the project's take-off.

Government does not have the kind of resources required to implement the
project and so it would have been useful to establish whether over the years
there have been investors who have consistently shown interest in the matter
and what their specific proposals were.

The people of Bulawayo and Matabeleland could do with less theatrics and
more actualities.

There may be differences with the previous people running the project but
what is most important is that whoever comes builds on what was achieved
before. Starting afresh can only be a re-enactment of Zanu PF's unfulfilled
promises to the people of that region.

That would be insulting the patience of Zimbabweans in that part of the
country, or was this an excuse of trying to attend to Harare's Kunzvi Dam
without courting the ire of the people of Matabeleland? There have been too
many false starts already.

It is curious that the government could think of such a grand project, which
will take much longer to implement when linking up Mtshabezi Dam to Bulawayo's
water reservoirs and fully rehabilitating boreholes to draw water from the
Nyamandhlovu aquifer appear the most immediate and logical steps.

We don't even mention Tokwe Mukorsi Dam which was abandoned by two separate
sets of investors - Italians and Iranians - because of the government's lack
of commitment.

The renaming of the project and the appointment of consultants could be
nothing more than an attempt at seeking popularity. The people of Bulawayo
have had enough of that, especially over the past 30 years.

Consulting Botswana, Zambia and other countries with which Zimbabwe shares
the Zambezi is not new territory.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Vigil Diary – 30th January 2010

With the failure of the SADC-mediated talks to resolve differences over the Global Political Agreement, the Vigil has launched a new petition calling for elections as soon as possible.


The petition reads: ‘Petition to President Zuma of South Africa: After a year of the Zimbabwe interim government it is clear that it is going nowhere so we call on President Zuma as mediator for the Southern African Development Community to arrange free and fair elections as soon as possible.’


It is our intention to submit the petition to the South African High Commission during President Zuma’s state visit to Britain in March. 


Zanu-PF has made clear it will not honour the GPA; in fact it has shown that it will sabotage any reform that endangers its hold on power, including the constitution-making fiasco.


The MDC is apparently asking SADC to step in and resolve the impasse. The Vigil’s view is that SADC must set a date for new elections and take steps to ensure that these are free and fair.  This could include seeking help from the African Union and the United Nations. After all, elections have been organised in Afghanistan and Iraq in even worse circumstances.


We were puzzled by Tsvangirai’s remarks at the international meeting in Davos about easing sanctions. He spoke of ‘rewards for progress’. Reward Mugabe for obstructing the GPA? Reward the MDC for caving in to Zanu PF? Tsvangirai said ‘It’s not as if I am here as a salesman for Zimbabwe’. He sounded like a salesman for appeasement. 


It was another freezing day. Several people joined us straight from supporting the first Swazi Vigil outside the Swaziland High Commission near Buckingham Palace, including Thobile Gwebu, the organiser of the Swazi Vigil.  They noted that the Swazi flag was lowered when they started drumming and that they were filmed by people inside the building. Hero of the day was Fungayi Mabhunu of our management team who carried a heavy table and a drum on public transport to help our Swazi friends. Supporters of the Swazi Vigil are puzzled how the Swazi government can afford to maintain a High Commission in London while its people starve.


The Swazis wish to thank David McAllister of the Zimbabwe Vigil who set up a website for them –


There has been good progress on the delivery of goods to our selected schools in Zimbabwe. Pupils and staff at Gwinyai Primary School were delighted to received sports equipment and stationery.  A video of the occasion is being sent to us. We will report when the rest of the goods are delivered.


Some other points:

·       Susan Chechita boarded a bus in Liverpool at 6.20 am to be with us at 2 pm. Heaven knows what time she got home but we were pleased to see her.

·       Mathias Makozhombwe and Nasiso Kashiri of Motherland ENT, a Zimbabwean music production outfit based in Coventry, were back with us today.  They took more video footage of the Vigil and will send us the link to their video in due course.

·       A human rights lawyer came by to see us because their practice has so many Zimbabwean clients.  The lawyer was very please to spend some time with us.

·       A lady from Yorkshire stopped by and said that her 8 year old son had written to the Prime Minister Gordon Brown because of the situation in Zimbabwe!

·       Thanks to Nobuhle Ndlovu for her help today, especially with the register and merchandise on the back table.

·       Congratulations to Patson Muzuwa and Esther whose baby son (also Patson) was born on Wednesday.


For latest Vigil pictures check:


FOR THE RECORD:  185 signed the register.



·       ROHR Liverpool demonstration. Saturday 6th February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Church Street (Outside Primark) Liverpool City Centre. Next demonstration on Saturday 20th February. Same venue and time.  For Details please contact: Desire Chimuka 07917733711, Anywhere Mungoyo 07939913688, Patrick Kushonga 07900857605, Trywell Migeri 07956083758.

·       ROHR Woking general meeting. Saturday 6th February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: 1 Ravenswood Court, Hillview Road, Woking GU22 7NR. Contact Isaac Mudzamiri 07774044873, Sithokozile Hlokana 07886203113, Thandiwe Mabodoko 07552402416 or P Mapfumo 07932216070 / 07915926323.

·       ROHR Stoke-On-Trent general meeting. Saturday 13th February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Shelton Centre, Crowther Street, Stoke-on-Trent ST4 2ER. Substantive committee to be elected. Executive members present on the day. Contact: Pauline Mutema on 07850462301, Agnes Chivhimbo 07908447037, Joana Zhira 07845896347, Farirai Muchibwa 07746628397.

·       ROHR North London general meeting. Saturday 13th February from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Tottenham Chances, 399 High Road, Tottenham, London N17 6QN. Closest Station: Seven Sisters. From Seven Sisters towards Tottenham three stops on Buses 123, 149, 256, 349, 341 and 476. Contact:  Gladys Mapanda 07877670522, Valarie Chengaose 07956586377, Nobuhle Ndlovu 07949588597 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.

·       ROHR Luton (Bedfordshire) launch meeting. Saturday 20th February from 1.30 – 5.30 pm. Venue: Bury Park Community Resource Centre, 161 Dunstable Road, Luton LU1 1BW. Milton Keynes Branch in support. ROHR Executive members present and a chance to buy raffle tickets for Hayes fundraising do on 27th February. Contact Edson Kureva on 07767773949, Martha Jiya 07727016098 or P Mapfumo 0791596323 / 07932216070. The car park at the back of the community centre in Avondale Road is available.

·       ROHR Hayes fundraising party. Saturday 27th February from 3 pm till late. Venue: Coronation Hall, Stoke Road, Water Eaton, Bletchley, Milton Keynes MK2 3AB. Admission £7.50 including food (lots of traditional food: mazondo, maguru mubhoora and all). Fashion show. Zim Music. Raffle: tickets £10. Prizes include: computer, printer, mobile handset, DVD player. To be drawn at 10.30 pm. Nearest station: Bletchley. Bus number 5 from central Milton Keynes or Bletchley. For more info contact Rodah Kuhlengisa 07958205544, Charity Nyamuzuwe 07898765091, Snodia Chihowa 07852921523, Martha Jiya 07727016098 or P Mapfumo 07915926323/07932216070.

·       ROHR Stevenage & Hatfield (Hertfordshire) general meeting. Saturday 6th March from 1.30 – 6 pm. Venue: Poplars Bandley Hill Community Centre, Magpie Crescent, Stevenage SG2 9RZ. ROHR executive present and respected guests. Contact: Kennedy Mashonganyika 079623838720, Jemtiasi Mare 07909338769, Bertha Mwatse 07404112684, Clarkson Shumbanhete 07958550506 or P Mapfumo 07915926323 / 07932216070.

·       ROHR Sheffield launch meeting. Saturday 13th March. Venue: Ruby Lounge, 35 Carver Street, Sheffield S1 4FS. Come and share ideas on how we can tackle the human rights abuses of our fellow countrymen. ROHR President & Executive present together with some VIPs. Contact: Prosper Mudamvanji 07846621050, Raymond B Jonga 07729472879 or P Mapfumo 7915926323 / 07932216070.

·       Zimbabwe Association’s Women’s Weekly Drop-in Centre. Fridays 10.30 am – 4 pm. Venue: The Fire Station Community and ICT Centre, 84 Mayton Street, London N7 6QT, Tel: 020 7607 9764. Nearest underground: Finsbury Park. For more information contact the Zimbabwe Association 020 7549 0355 (open Tuesdays and Thursdays).

·       Strategic Internship for Zimbabweans organised by Citizens for Sanctuary which is trying to secure work placements for qualified Zimbabweans with refugee status or asylum seekers. For information: or contact:

·       For Motherland ENT’s videos of the Vigil on 26/12/2009: and


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.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bill Watch 4/2010 of 30th January 2010 [Recent CourtCases Affecting Governance and Rule of Law]


[30th January 2010]

Recent Court Cases Affecting Governance and Rule of Law

Court Cases affecting Elections

On Voting Procedures for the Visually Impaired:  On 28th January the Supreme Court struck down section 60 of the Electoral Act, which requires polling station officials to assist visually impaired voters to mark their ballot papers.  The court said this was inconsistent with the constitutional right of citizens to vote in secret [Constitution, section 23A, a provision added by Constitution Amendment No. 19 in February 2009].  This means the Electoral Act will have to be amended to allow visually impaired voters to vote in secret – suggested methods include being assisted by a trusted person of the voter’s own choice, Braille ballot papers or other measures that have been adopted in other countries.

Challenge to Presidential Election in Supreme Court:  On 21st January a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court dismissed Mr Justin Chiota’s bid to overturn the March 2008 Presidential election.  The full reasons for judgment will be given later.  Mr Chiota, a would-be Presidential candidate in 2008, relied on the Supreme Court’s August 2008 declaratory order stating that he and Mr Daniel Shumba had been unlawfully turned away by the nomination court.  But the Supreme Court said the 2008 decision did not entitle him to an order re-opening the nomination court proceedings or overturning the election – because there was no basis in the evidence before the court for concluding that the election result might have been different if Mr Chiota’s name had been on the ballot paper.  [Supreme Court’s 2008 judgment available.]

Court Cases affecting Parliamentarians

Roy Bennett Case:  Roy Bennett [MDC-T] was sworn in as a Senator by the President of the Senate on 18th March 2009.  But although allocated the post of Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development by the Prime Minister, he has still not been sworn in as such by President Mugabe.  The excuse given is that he is facing serious criminal charges, a stance which violates the fundamental principle that a person is innocent until proved guilty.  [Note: other Ministers have been sworn in although facing serious charges.]  Senator Bennett was arrested in February 2009 and detained for over three weeks before getting bail.  He was charged with possessing arms for insurgency purposes and conspiring to commit acts of insurgency only in November when his High Court trial started.  The trial adjourned in early December and resumed on 12th January.  The State’s key witness, Peter Hitschmann, refused to give evidence implicating Bennett.  The Attorney-General tried to “impeach” [discredit] Hitschmann by producing selected statements of his and a video-taped interview purporting to implicate Bennett.  The judge ruled that the statements and the video were inadmissible, having been disallowed at Hitschmann’s own trial as he claimed they were made after he had been subjected to torture.  The judge did allow the Attorney-General to cross-examine Hitschmann as a hostile witness, but he could elicit nothing implicating Bennett.  The trial has now been adjourned until 3rd February for the judge to consider a defence objection to the State’s production of emails involving Bennett, said to be from Hitschmann’s computer, without expert evidence as to their authenticity.

Deputy Minister Acquitted:  On 20th January Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, Gender and Community Development Evelyn Masaiti [MDC-T] was acquitted on a charge of fraud alleging misuse of agricultural inputs.  At the close of the State case the magistrate upheld the defence submission that the State had failed to make out a case for Mrs Masaiti to answer.

Trial of Constitution Select Committee Co-Chairperson Postponed:  Douglas Mwonzora, MDC-T MP for Nyanga North and co-chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee for the new Constitution, was summoned to stand trial mid-January on a charge of insulting President Mugabe by calling him “a goblin” during a March 2008 election campaign speech.  But the prosecutor called off the trial and said he would issue a fresh summons.  Mr Mwonzora has denied the charge and questioned the delay in bringing it, suggesting that the prosecution is a ploy to interfere with his constitution-writing duties.

Judgment Expected on Challenge to Election of Speaker:  In this case Jonathan Moyo, ZANU-PF MP for Tsholotsho [formerly Independent, but recently welcomed back into ZANU-PF] has asked the High Court to nullify the election of Lovemore Moyo, MDC-T, as Speaker of the House of Assembly, because the voting was not conducted properly by secret ballot.  The case was heard in July 2009 by Justice Patel, but judgment was deferred.

On SADC Tribunal Judgments

On Enforcement in Zimbabwe:  On 26th January Justice Patel dismissed an application for the registration and enforcement in Zimbabwe of the SADC Tribunal’s decision of 28th November 2008 in the Campbell case.  The application had been brought by Gramara (Pvt) Ltd, one of the 79 successful applicants in the Campbell case.  In that case the Tribunal decided that section 16B of the Constitution and the Government’s land reform programme were in breach of the SADC Treaty, and ordered that applicants already evicted from their farms must be properly compensated and that the Government must protect applicants still on the land and ensure they were not evicted.  Justice Patel rejected the Government’s argument that the Tribunal was not validly constituted and decided that the Campbell case was within the Tribunal’s jurisdiction and that its judgment was binding on Zimbabwe at the international law level.  However, he ruled that the Tribunal’s judgment could not be enforced in Zimbabwe because to do so would be to impugn the legality of the land reform programme as implemented by section 16B of the Constitution and sanctioned by a 2007 decision of the Supreme Court – and therefore would be contrary to Zimbabwe’s “public policy”.  [Text of Gramara judgment available.]

On enforcement in South Africa:  Three farmers dispossessed of their farms in Zimbabwe under the land reform programme have lodged an application in the North Gauteng High Court for the registration of the SADC Tribunal’s Campbell judgment.  Their objective is enforcement of the Tribunal’s judgment in South Africa, for instance, by attaching Zimbabwe government assets in South Africa.  [Note: In December the same court issued an order recording the South African government’s undertaking to respect and honour the rulings and orders made by the Tribunal in the Campbell case in terms of South Africa’s  own obligations under the SADC Treaty.]  [Full text of earlier  order available.]

Chiadzwa Diamond Field Developments

In the latest legal development on Chiadzwa the Chief Justice has ordered that all diamonds extracted from the mining claims taken from African Consolidated Resources [ACR] in 2006 must be handed to the Reserve Bank for safe-keeping pending the determination of the appeal against Justice Hungwe’s decision of 24th September 2009 restoring the claims to ACR.  This ruling temporarily replaces that part of Justice Hungwe’s order directing the return of the diamonds to ACR.  This should halt, for the time being, any attempts by the Government’s joint venture partners to sell diamonds extracted from the ACR claims.  The Government had already called off an auction announced by Mbada Mining for 7th January, citing Mbada’s failure to follow proper procedure and its non-compliance with Kimberley Process requirements agreed to by the Government in November.  Potential buyers would also have been deterred by ACR’s public warnings that diamonds slated for auction were stolen property and that Interpol had been alerted.  Meanwhile, the Environmental Management Authority [EMA] has lifted its ban on Mbada’s mining activities.

On Justice System

Police Harassment of Legal Practitioners:  Justice Chitakunye has ordered the Commissioner-General of Police to investigate incidents detailed in an application brought by the Law Society, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights and six individual legal practitioners complaining of police obstruction of legal practitioners in the course of their lawful professional duties.  Assaults, threats and denial of access to clients were among incidents cited.  The judge also ordered the Commissioner-General and his officers to refrain from hindering legal practitioners from exercising their rights and warned that officers flouting the order will be guilty of contempt of court.  In a recent example of harassment, Harare lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu was arrested and remanded on an obstruction of justice charge on the strength of a letter he wrote to the Attorney-General on behalf of Peter Hitschmann, explaining his objections to giving evidence in the Bennett trial.  On 14th January a Harare magistrate threw out the charge, ruling that the facts alleged by the State did not constitute an offence.  Mr Mahlangu has announced his intention to sue the Attorney-General, the co-Ministers of Home Affairs, the Commissioner-General of Police and the arresting police officers for damages for wrongful arrest and unlawful detention.

Note on Justice System

Judge-President Rita Makarau at the opening of the legal year in Harare drew attention to the fact that the Judicial Service Act of 2006 has not been brought into operation and that as a result magistrates are still members of the Public Service, under the control of the executive and not accountable to the Chief Justice and the Judicial Service Commission.  [Note: The Judicial Service Act, although gazetted in January 2007, will not come into operation until a date fixed by the President in a statutory instrument.  The Act provides for the transfer of magistrates from the Public Service to a new Judicial Service, which will include Supreme Court and High Court judges, judges of special courts and magistrates, and will be administered by the Judicial Service Commission.  As members of a unified judiciary coming under the Judicial Service Commission rather than the Public Service Commission magistrates would be in a position to function as truly independent judicial officers.]  [Available: (1) Full text of Judge-President’s address and (2) Judicial Service Act.]


Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

Back to the Top
Back to Index