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

State accused of seeking to persecute Bennett

February 25, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Lawyers representing Roy Bennett in his ongoing terrorism trial
have accused state prosecutors of trying to persecute the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) top official.Bennett, treasurer general in the
mainstream MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsangirai, faces charges of
seeking the overthrow of President Robert Mugabe through alleged acts of
banditry and terrorism.

"This is no longer prosecution but persecution," lead defence counsel
Beatrice Mtetwa told the court Thursday.

This was after Attorney General Johannes Tomana, who is prosecuting in the
high profile trial, had advised the court that the state will bring yet
another expert in Information Technology to come and testify against

The state is intent on proving to the court that emails which were allegedly
downloaded from Peter Michael Hitchmann's computer during police
investigations constituted genuine communication between the firearms dealer
and Bennett.

Hitschmann, who was originally also a co-accused along with Bennett, was in
2006 acquitted of the offence although he served two years for a lesser

The state says the two exchanged information via the internet to hatch a
plot to blow up a microwave link station that links all four of the country's
telecommunications providers in Manicaland.

One Perekai Mutsetse, an IT expert recruited by the state Wednesday to prove
the genuineness of the emails, all but ridiculed the state's case when he
turned out to know very little about IT.

Mutsetse, was further proved to have lied to the court that he held relevant
qualifications in the field.

Apparently unprepared to stomach the increasing reality of a crumbling case
before them, the prosecutors are now trying to bring in another IT expert
who should hopefully plug the holes that were created by Mutsetse during his

But Mtetwa vigorously objected to the move.

She accused Tomana of trying to secure Bennett's conviction at all costs and
in the process abandoning his duty to afford Bennett a fair trial.

"Investigations that are done in order to supplement the State's case as we
go along are clearly prejudicial," said Mtetwa.

Mtetwa further said the trial will never end if the State were to be allowed
to bring in new witnesses each time it finds it was not satisfied with
evidence led by each one of its witnesses.

In his response, Tomana denied ever trying to persecute Bennett.

"We have never intended to persecute the accused person," said Tomana.

He was agitated at the accusations by Mtetwa which he said were a serious
allegation against him.

He sought an immediate retraction of the statement but presiding Judge
Chinembiri Bhunu reserved his ruling for Monday next week, when the trial

Earlier on, the defence had also vigorously objected to the state calling on
a telecommunications expert, one Forgive Munyeki, who says he has 20 years
experience in the field.

According to the state summary, Munyeki will enlighten the court on the
consequences of the destruction of a microwave link would have been had
Hitschmann and Bennett succeeded in their alleged plot to bomb the station.

Munyeki will also tell the court on the costs of the station's
"resuscitation" if it was bombed.

The state says the repair costs would equal US$70 million and more than six
months of its equipping to restore it to its full functional condition.

The defence was adamant such evidence was speculative and was irrelevant to
the trial at this stage.

But the defence says it was prejudicial to the accused for the state to
simply infer that the two would have destroyed the microwave link when it
was not known if at all they were going to succeed in the plan, let alone
inflicting any damage on it.

"The witness is supposed to come and give evidence on something we know did
not happen," said Mtetwa.

"The court is being asked to hear evidence of what the consequences of this
so-called destruction would have been without any evidence as to which of
the weapons would have been used.

"The court will not benefit from the obvious conjecture, surmise,
speculation and uncertain evidence of what this witness would say would have

"This evidence is irrelevant and must be dismissed."

In his response, Tomana urged the court to dismiss the objection saying the
fact that the microwave station was a key installation in the area made it
vulnerable to attack by anyone plotting to overthrow a sitting government.

"The witness will be able to enlighten the court on what a microwave link is
and what is its purpose and what its destruction will also mean," Tomana

"The microwave link in the state's case must qualify as an essential service
installation for it to qualify as an object of sabotage which is part of the
state's case.

"It is now quite clear that in the state's case, the accused and Hitschmann
conspired to destabilize the country through among other things, bringing
down the microwave link station.

"The emails speak to the conspiracy between the two on destroying the link."

After hearing both submissions, Bhunu reserved judgement for Monday next

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe finance min says West ready to cancel debt

Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:30pm GMT

* Donors waiting for green light from govt

* Govt divided on debt cancellation

* AfDB says need for quick debt decision

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Feb 25 (Reuters) - Western donors are ready to cancel Zimbabwe's $6
billion foreign debt, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said on Thursday, adding
that the lenders were waiting for Harare to put the process in motion.

The southern African country last received balance of payment support in
1999 after which international financial institutions froze out Zimbabwe due
to policy differences with President Robert Mugabe.

But last year's formation of a unity government between Mugabe and long-time
rival Morgan Tsvangirai, now prime minister, led to the first economic
growth in a decade as the country embarked on economic reforms.

Biti said there was no going back on the reforms but that the coalition
government was divided on his proposal to have Zimbabwe declared a heavily
indebted country to qualify for debt forgiveness, thereby allowing it to
qualify for new aid.

Arrears to the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and African
Development Bank (AfDB) total $1.3 billion, which must be cleared before
Harare can get any help.

"I am in constant touch with the donors and I have no doubt that they will
cancel the debt and put in new money," Biti told reporters after meeting
senior AfDB executives.

"But they have said they will only help us once there is a green light from
the government," Biti, a member of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change, said.

That may take a while to come, with Mugabe's ZANU-PF party firmly opposed to
declaring Zimbabwe heavily indebted and poor, arguing that the former
British colony has sufficient resources to rebuild the economy.

In a country where 85 percent of people live below the poverty line, annual
per capita income is less than $400 and hospitals and schools are
underfunded, Biti said he would need "to have my head examined" if he paid
the debt.

He is working with the AfDB to craft a debt cancellation plan but the
finance minister said this would need to be backed by a good political and
economic track record.

Hassan Khedr, an AfDB executive director, said the bank stood ready to help.

"That is do-able only if the country is willing to have an arrears clearance
process that will definitely help the country get access to resources that
will be provided through the AfDB," he told reporters.

"Time is of the essence and the sooner the better for your economic

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Court favours Zim farmers

Thu, 25 Feb 2010 13:14

SADC tribunal rulings against the seizure of farmers land in Zimbabwe should
be registered, recognised and enforceable by the South African government,
the High Court in Pretoria ordered on Thursday.

Judge Garth Rabie ruled in favour of white farmers - represented by
AfriForum - who have argued that the seizure of their land without
compensation was a human rights abuse.

Speaking outside the court, AfriForum's legal representative Willie Spies
said the ruling was a "huge" coup for the farmers.

"It is a moral victory. The court ruled that Zimbabwe should honour this
ruling. They, the farmers, are desperate.

The two tribunal rulings - in 2008 and 2009 - also declared that should
compensation not be forthcoming, South Africa, as Southern African
Development Community (SADC) member could attach Zimbabwe's assets as

The Zimbabwean government did not recognise the SADC order protecting
property rights of those still on their farms.

Ben Freeth, who was in court on behalf of farmer Mike Campbell, said the
farm had been set fire to and been robbed on numerous occasions.

"It's very, very difficult, but today is a victory for justice. It's so
exciting," said Freeth.

In January, the court granted the applicants leave to add the Zimbabwean
government to the court proceedings.

On delivery of the court papers, the government filed notice to withdraw,
rendering the court application by AfriForum unopposed.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ruling on ‘unlawful’ land reform to be enforced in SA

By Alex Bell
25 February 2010

A landmark regional ruling declaring Robert Mugabe’s land ‘reform’ programme
unlawful will now be enforced in South Africa, after the High Court in
Pretoria ruled that the ruling should be honoured.

Judge Garth Rabie ruled in favour of the South African commercial farmers
who have been victims of Mugabe’s land grab campaign in Zimbabwe. The
farmers had approached civil rights initiative AfriForum to help them get
the 2008 ruling made by the human rights court of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) enforced. The same ruling, which said that land
‘reform’ was unlawful, has been openly ignored by the government, which by
law is meant to adhere to the Tribunal as a SADC member state.

Justice Barack Patel last month also dismissed the SADC Tribunal ruling,
refusing to register it in Zimbabwe. Justice Patel said the regional
Tribunal’s ruling would have no effect in Zimbabwe because of the political
upheaval reversing 10 years of land seizures would cause. He added that
enforcing the Tribunal’s ruling would be against Zimbabwe’s domestic laws
and agrarian policies, noting that ‘the greater public good must prevail.’

Registration of the SADC ruling is critical for it to be enforced and
Zimbabwe’s commercial farmers, many of whom are South African citizens, have
had no choice but to have the ruling registered in South Africa. AfriForum’s
legal representative Willie Spies told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that the
Pretoria High Court’s ruling was a huge coup for the farmers, calling it an
important ‘moral victory.’ He added that it is a positive step for the
region as a whole, because it sets a precedent that SADC Rulings cannot be
so easily dismissed.

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Deon Theron also applauded the
Court’s decision, telling SW Radio Africa that “it opens up the doors for
all kinds of possibilities.” He explained that commercial farmers will try
seeking compensation for the land they lost because of land ‘reform’’
compensation that can be sought from Zimbabwean assets in South Africa.

“Honestly no one wants to see Zimbabwe’s assets stripped in South Africa,
but when you have been abused like we (commercial farmers) have, we have to
find some route to take to get compensation,” Theron said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU PF sanctions demo youths were ‘drugged’

By Lance Guma
25 February 2010

Hundreds of ZANU PF youths were bussed in from militia training camps in
Mashonaland Central to demonstrate against targeted sanctions in Harare
after being ‘drugged with mbanje (marijuana) and hot stuff’ a youth group
has claimed. On Wednesday ZANU PF youths marched through the streets of
Harare waving placards denouncing the targeted measures imposed on nearly
200 officials linked to the Mugabe regime and about 31 companies accused of
aiding and abetting the repression under the party.

On Thursday the Youth Alliance for Democracy accused ZANU PF of having
deliberately drugged the youths at a meeting point near Marlborough Police
Station on the outskirts of Harare. With the youths high on the intoxicants
they were then unleashed onto the streets ‘with only 4 police officers on
bicycles,’ something which put ‘peaceful citizens at risk from thuggish
behaviour.’ The group said ZANU PF Youth Affairs Secretary Absolom Sikhosana
and Rugare Gumbo addressed the youths to ‘sensitize’ them on what to say and
do during the demonstration.

The Youth Alliance Communications Officer Thulani Mswelanto said the
demonstration, ‘only shows the extent to which the inclusive government is
polarised and dominated by mistrust and political meddling.’ He said the
demonstration by the youths was ‘a deliberate ploy by ZANU PF to divert the
people’s attention from the real issues bedeviling the inclusive government.’
Mswelanto also accused Mugabe of continuing his tradition of manipulating
youths to be the mouth piece of his political rhetoric.

‘The use of abusive language, and rekindling the memories of the June 27
‘election’ shows that these are people who are not prepared to repent, that
ZANU PF youths including their leaders view murder, torture, rape,
mutilation as highly normal and to them human rights, respect for the rule
of law are non existent and unnecessary,’ a Youth Alliance for Democracy
statement read.

The European Union recently ratified its decision to extend targeted
sanctions by another year citing the lack of progress in the unity
government. Only slight amendments were made to the list as 9 companies were
de-listed and 6 names of mainly deceased people removed. Opposition ZAPU
leader Dumiso Dabengwa who broke away from ZANU PF was one of the officials
removed from the targeted sanctions list.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zuma to plead with UK government to remove targeted sanctions

By Tichaona Sibanda
25 February 2010

South African President Jacob Zuma will use his state visit to the UK next
week to plead with the British government to remove targeted sanctions
against Robert Mugabe and his allies.
Speaking in an interview with the UK Financial Times in Pretoria, Zuma
suggested he would be happy even if conditions were set for the removal of
the sanctions. He said he was baffled that the targeted sanctions have
remained despite there being an inclusive government in place.
"If we were in the shoes of the big countries, I would have said 'here is an
agreement, we are in support of this agreement and lifting sanctions, even
conditionally, even for six months to a year, give a chance for this
agreement," Zuma said.
A number of demonstrations against Zuma's soft stance towards Robert Mugabe
have been lined up by Zimbabwean groups during his visit. The South African
President will be a guest at Buckingham Palace, the Queen's official
residence in London.
Zuma said he believed the sanction against Mugabe and his ZANU PF officials
made it more difficult to establish a 'viable coalition government' in
Zimbabwe .
"ZANU PF says they're in a cabinet of a unity government. But part of the
cabinet can go anywhere in the world for their work and part (ZANU PF
members) can't go out of the country. This unity government is being
suffocated. It is not being allowed to do its job by the big countries," he
Last week, the European Union extended their targeted sanctions on Mugabe
and his henchmen to punish them for lack of progress in implementing the
Global Political Agreement.
Political analyst Clifford Mashiri told us he strongly deplored Zuma's plans
to use his forthcoming state visit to the UK as an opportunity to campaign
for the lifting of the EU and US targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his inner
"Ironically, the South African President who is expected to be a neutral
facilitator on the stalled negotiations between MDC and ZANU PF has taken
sides by behaving like Mugabe's election manager. Zuma should remain neutral
and stick to his mandate as a facilitator or handover that role to the
United Nations," Mashiri said.
Analysts point out that the inclusive government has made no real progress
in implementing political reforms and ending human rights abuses after a
year in office.
In addition, incessant bickering between Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai over
how to equally share executive power, the appointment of senior officials in
government like Gideon Gono, Johannes Tomana and Roy Bennett threaten to
cripple the operations of the government.
Commenting on Mugabe and Tsvangirai's long drawn out battle to settle their
differences Reverend Lameck Mutete, an exiled clergyman said he thought the
two leaders should first forgive each other.
"In the bible there are many verses about forgiving one another. If the two
leaders were to do the same, we will definitely see a different approach to
how they handle these so called contentious issues," Reverend Mutete said.
The Reverend said he believed it was ill-advised for Zuma to seek the
removal of sanctions without first sorting out the dispute between Mugabe
and Tsvangirai.
"In life you can't advance to step 2 without solving issues in step 1. Zuma
is ignoring that basic rule. Why and how he's ignoring to push the two sides
to resolve the outstanding issues remains a mystery to many. He's wasting
his time trying to have sanctions removed when there is no movement towards
the full implementation of the GPA," the Reverend added.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF's Politburo Endorses The Controversial Indigenisation Law

25/02/2010 06:59:00

Harare, February 25, 2010 - Zanu PF's Politburo has endorsed the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Regulations whose main objective is
to achieve 51 percent Zimbabwean shareholding in existing businesses, the
State Owned Herald has said.

"(The) Politburo has endorsed the Empowerment Regulations," Zanu-PF
secretary for information Rugare Gumbo said after the 230th Ordinary Session
of the Politburo.

Gumbo said the regulations were not a new phenomenon in Sadc as other
countries in the region had embarked on similar empowerment drives.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has opposed the regulations, saying the
law's regulations were not cleared by cabinet.

The regulations require that all existing businesses with a threshold of
US$500 000 should within 45 days -from March 1, 2010 - declare their
shareholding status to the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Minister
through a prescribed form. New businesses will be required to comply within
60 days.

Businesses that do not meet the 51 percent indigenisation requirement will
be expected to submit a plan on how they intend to meet the requirements
within 45 days from March 1. Those with acceptable reasons will be afforded
an extension not exceeding 30 days to furnish the authorities with their
indigenisation implementation plans.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Blood Diamonds Being Certified as Conflict-Free - Industry Leaders Speak Out

Blood Diamonds Being Certified as Conflict-Free - Industry Leaders Speak Out
Against Failed International Process; Point to New Solutions
Posted : Thu, 25 Feb 2010 16:01:20 GMT
Author : PRWeb

While the diamond industry has convinced the public that the Kimberley
Process (KP) certification scheme is keeping conflict diamonds off the
market, recent events in Zimbabwe illustrate how the KP has failed to
concern itself with the violent conditions under which many of the world's
diamonds are produced. Brilliant Earth, the leading ethical origin fine
jeweler, calls for other jewelers to condemn Zimbabwean diamonds and
emphasizes the need for ethical jewelry practices that go beyond the flawed

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) February 25, 2010 -- Visionary leaders in the
diamond industry are reacting to recent events in Zimbabwe that illustrate
failures of the Kimberley Process (KP), which the industry relies on to
prevent diamond sales from funding conflict.

In recent weeks, it has become clear that blood diamonds funding murder,
forced labor, rape, and political oppression in Zimbabwe are reaching global
consumer markets labeled as "conflict-free." (See blood diamond fact sheet
for more details).

Resigning from his position at the World Diamond Council, highly influential
industry expert Martin Rapaport protested the industry's inaction: "Tens of
thousands of carats of blood diamonds are now in dealers' inventories and
jewelers' showcases - and are being actively sold to consumers. . . Instead
of eliminating blood diamonds, the KP has become a process for the
systematic legalization and legitimization of blood diamonds." Rapaport was
a principal architect of the KP, along with Ian Smillie, who has also
criticized it as a failure.

"Consumers are being misled by the 'conflict-free' diamond label. With a
broken system, it's not enough to accept a diamond's Kimberley Process
certification, you have to know the practices of the mine it came from,"
said Beth Gerstein, co-founder of Brilliant Earth, a national online jeweler
that created a new business model in response to the KP's failures.

"There are other certification and mining guarantees that a retailer can use
in place of the flawed Kimberley Process. Unfortunately it requires a
proactive and ethical jeweler to now make sure blood diamonds aren't in
showcases, and very few are willing to put in the effort to do so. We have
shown it's possible to sell jewelry consumers feel good about, and hope
other retailers join us in reform of a notoriously harmful industry," said

Beth Gerstein is available for interviews about diamond industry reform and
socially conscious jewelry through the above media contact.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Parliamentary audit unearths 10,000 govt ghost workers in Zimbabwe

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) A Zimbabwean parliamentary committee has unearthed
rampant abuse of public funds, including the existence of thousands of ghost
workers, in the public service, according to a report published here

The Parliamentary Committee on Public Accounts' report revealed the
irregular appointment of more than 10,000 ghost workers who are crippling
government's capacity to pay civil servants.

According to the report, there was a clear lack of transparency in the
recruitment of more than 10,000 youths belonging to President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU PF party as ward youth officers by the Ministry of Youth Development,
Indigenisation and Empowerment.

The youths were illegally incorporated on the government payroll in 2008,
the audit said, adding that the process was a total disregard of treasury
regulations governing recruitment of Youth Ministry officials.

The treasury regulations prescribe that no officer can be appointed unless
an appropriate vacancy exists.

The regulations also stipulates that no candidate shall be appointed to the
Public Service unless he or she has been examined by a medical practitioner
and certified to the satisfaction of the Secretary for Health, attained the
age of 18 years and completed a declaration prohibiting unauthorised
disclosure of information connected with his or her duties.

The Registrar-General's department was also found to be still paying 22
employees salaries after they had long ceased rendering service to the


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Power wrangle likely ahead of new ZUJ polls

February 25, 2010

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) could plunge into a fresh
power wrangle following a decision by the outgoing leadership to proceed
with a rerun of the disputed December 2009 elections with little having been
done to address the source of the dispute.

But ZUJ secretary general Foster Dongozi is adamant his executive has
complied with the dictates of a draft court order in which four Harare based
freelance journalists challenged the outcome of the December election,
citing gross irregularities.

"We are going ahead with the rerun," Dongozi told The Zimbabwe Times

Fresh ZUJ elections will be held on February 27 at the Royal Hotel in
Bulawayo on Saturday.

Dongozi said his executive had invited various organisations to come and
monitor the elections in order to come out with an incontestable result.

The elections would be monitored by observers from the International
Federation of Journalists, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, Zimbabwe
Election Support Network, Crisis Coalition and Solidarity Centre, which
represents 14 million American federation workers.

"There would also be translucent ballot boxes," he added.

"This is all done to ensure transparency in the process. This is on the
realisation that in the last election that we held, we gave a lot of space
to our detractors to peddle lies about the process.

"That is why we are bringing in credible observers who will produce reports
at the end of the elections".

Days ahead of Saturday's election, there were negotiations between the
current executive and some Harare journalists who sought a possible
formation of a transitional executive that was going to preside over the
rewriting of the ZUJ constitution ahead of fresh elections.

The group was adamant not much has changed on the ground to produce an
incontestable result.

According to Dongozi, the talks collapsed on Wednesday evening after the
group refused to withdraw their court appeal as one of the terms of the
envisaged pact.

"We have a problem with people who want to be installed into office through
a process of negotiation," said Dongozi.

"That does not happen with trade unionism. These are people within our ranks
who think they should be at the helm of the union at all costs. These are
people who are afraid of elections.

"That is an unhealthy and dirty culture in trade union development. Leaders
should get their mandate from their members.

"We cannot make such an agreement in Harare and expect the rest of our
membership throughout the country to accept that."

Zimbabwe's biggest trade union plunged into a leadership crisis last
December when the outgoing leadership organised an elective congress outside
Bulawayo without publicising the venue.

Some aspiring candidates claimed they were not afforded an equal opportunity
as the winning candidates to contest for positions in the ZUJ executive.

The executive was taken to court by freelance journalists Godwin Mangudya,
Conrad Mwanawashe, Frank Chikowore and Guthrie Munyuki who sought a rerun of
the process.

The ZUJ executive did not oppose the application, instead choosing to rerun
the election this Saturday.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mudenge seeks to evict war vets from farm

February 25, 2010

Minister Stan Mudenge locks horns with war veterans over seized land

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - Higher and Tertiary Education Minister Stan Mudenge is embroiled
in a farm ownership wrangle with war veterans, amid reports that he has now
resorted to the hire of Zanu -PF youths to forcibly evict the former freedom
fighters from Chikore Farm.Mudenge grabbed Chikore Farm from a commercial
farmer identified only as a Mr Buchan at the height of farm invasions with
the assistance of the war veterans.

After a decade of co-existence with the former freedom fighters on the
property, the minister now seeks to have them immediately evicted from the

Situated about 20 kilometres south of Masvingo city Chikore Farm used to
produce flowers for export.

The horticultural project featuring green houses has since been abandoned
and Mudenge now struggles to produce mainly tomatoes and cabbages on the
once thriving property.

It emerged yesterday that after failing to evict the war veterans through
the courts the minister has now recruited Zanu-PF youths to evict nearly 200
families settled on the property.

"We were surprised to see our youths from the party (Zanu-PF) coming to
terrorise us and ordering all the occupants to vacate the property", said
Willias Mutumba, a war veteran who lives on the farm.

"We are having sleepless nights over this issue and we are soon going to
declare a fully blown war with these youths who are being used by Minister

Tension was very high on the farm Thursday as the Zanu-PF youths monitored
activity on the property.

The youths said they had been sent by Minister Mudenge to evict anyone
living on the farm and to make sure that no one else moves onto the

The war veterans claimed that they had withdrawn a lawsuit against Mudenge
after he harvested their tomato crop.

"We withdrew the case in which we were demanding compensation from the
minister on the understanding that we are all sons of Zanu-PF ", said one of
the war veterans who refused to be named.

"We will soon resuscitate the case because it appears the minister is not

Mudenge who is also Masvingo North legislator maintained on Thursday that
the farm belongs to him.

"Anyone on that farm is there illegally because I own Chikore Farm ", he

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe seeks $3m from Zambia in maize debt row

By KITSEPILE NYATHI, NATION CorrespondentPosted Thursday, February 25 2010
at 20:55

HARARE, Thursday

Zimbabwe is taking legal action to recover US$3 million owed by Zambia for
maize delivered a decade ago.

The general manager of the state owned Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Mr
Albert Mandizha told a parliamentary committee that the debt, which was
US$1, 8 million before interest was being discussed by the Attorneys General
from the two neighbours.

He said Zambia had paid part of the debt and the issue was now before the
courts. "The issue has also been delayed after the Zambian Attorney General's
term of office expired with a new person coming in but discussions are still
continuing," Mr Mandizha said.

The GMB boss also attributed the dispute over payments for the maize to the
change of leadership in Zambia. Zimbabwe used to be a major exporter of
maize in the region before the collapse of the agriculture sector a decade
ago following President Robert Mugabe's controversial agrarian reforms.

Last year, Zambian president, Mr Rupiah Banda donated maize to the
Zimbabwean government to ease massive food shortages. This year the United
Nations estimates that 2.4 million Zimbabweans will need emergency food.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZANU-PF blackmailing Nigerian, Chinese businesses

Thursday, 25 February 2010 17:34 Editor News

Harare - The cash-strapped Zanu PF party is charging Nigerian and Asian
owned businesses thousands of dollars in 'protection fees' in order  to
'safeguard' their operations in Zimbabwe, Zimdiaspora can reveal.

Over the past few years businesses owned by Nigerians and Asians,
particularly of   Chinese, Pakistan and Lebanese origin have mushroomed in
downtown areas of most major cities and towns in Zimbabwe.

A member of the Nigerian Business Community in Zimbabwe told the Zimdiaspora
that they are made to pay Zanu Pf an annual  protection fees  amounting to
not less than  $500 per business in addition to making other contributions
to the former ruling party's functions andevents."

They are fleecing us," he complained. "Last time they made us contribute for
the holding of the Zanu PF congress last December and now they are demanding
that we make contributions to President Robert Mugabe's  birthday
celebrations which will be held in Bulawayo over the weekend."

He said once the foreign owned businesses  pay the so called protection fees
to Zanu PF, their dubious deals and operations will not be subjected to
scrutiny especially with regards to following labour, customs,  health and
safety regulations.

"Once we pay the required amount, we can actually get assistance from the
party in smuggling goods into the country without paying customs. We will
also be protected for underpaying our employees," said a Chinese Shop owner
operating in downtown Harare.

Nigerian, Chinese, Pakistan and Lebanese nationals have transformed,
sometimes illegally, most offices, businesses and factories in downtown
areas  into shopping bazaars selling cheap and poor quality clothing,
electricals, cosmetics  and foodstuffs.

Some of the products pose a serious health hazard and are banned in
Zimbabwe, but find their way into the country through smuggling.

Another member of the Nigerian Business community in Zimbabwe said they also
recently hosted controversial Attorney-General and Zanu PF apologist,
Johannes Tomana who promised them further protection of their businesses.

However, a Chinese diplomat in Harare told  Zimdiaspora that China is
opposed to its nationals who set up illegal backyard businesses andshopping
bazaars selling cheap products.

"Our official policy is that we want serious Chinese investors to come to
Zimbabwe and invest in setting up manufacturing plants and other big
businesses," he said.

Zanu PF is now technically insolvent following the introduction of the
multi-currency system in January last year. The party used to rely on the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe which printed money to fund the party's operations
and terror campaigns.

The intimidation of foreign owned businesses through the charging of so
called protection fees is one of the ways devised by the now opposition Zanu
PF to raise funds for its operations.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ex-CFU chief, wife found dead at home

25/02/2010 00:00:00

POLICE in Bulawayo say they are investigating a double homicide after the
bodies of Richard Amyot, a former deputy director of the Commercial Farmers'
Union, and that of his wife were discovered at their home in the quiet
neighbourhood of Burnside.

A spokesman for Bulawayo police said they were not looking for anyone in
connection with the double killing last Saturday.

"The couple had a long-standing dispute and all evidence points to that they
killed each other," Bulawayo police spokesman, Inspector Mandlenkosi Moyo,
said without elaborating.

Inspector Moyo referred further questions to national police spokesman
Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, whose mobile phone went unanswered.

A spokesman for the Commercial Farmers' Union in Harare said the incident
was a "sensitive matter".

He added: "Police have asked us not to comment until their investigation is
complete. I can tell you, however, that Amyot's death is not

A brief statement issued by the CFU said: "It is with great sadness that we
hear of the sudden passing of Richard Amyot who has previously worked at the
CFU as Deputy Director (Commodities) before entering the private sector.

"The President, Director and staff of the Union send their sincere
condolences to his family and may the dear Lord be with them all during this
difficult time. May his dear soul rest in peace."

The name of Amyot's wife was not released, but sources told New
he divorced his first wife and entered into a "trans-cultural marriage".

And Conor Walsh, a friend of Amyot's, told New from London he
was "deeply saddened to hear of this tragedy".

"Richard was a well respected man of principle who was devoted to his
country. He made a great contribution on various fronts and one wishes he
could have lived on to play his part in facing future challenges. One's
thoughts go out to all family members," who went to Milton High School with
Amyot, and later the Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester, England.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Highfield Update

Highfield- SHAKEN by the decline in public support in his ward 25,
Councillor Silas Machetu has resorted to bullying members of the Highfield
Residents' Trust, threatening them with beatings and marginalisation in
community programmes.

Councillor Machetu's action follows his humiliation by residents at a public
meeting held at CJ Community Hall in Highfield on Saturday 13 February 2010.
At the said meeting councillor Machetu was unable to provide satisfactory
responses to residents' enquiries on his involvement in alleged corruption
involving council houses, his alleged incompetence and failure to represent
them at council.

The leadership of the Highfield Residents' Trust has been receiving threats
from identified officials, including from Councillor Machetu who accuse the
residents' leadership of exposing the councillor to public ridicule. The
councillor feels that he can only address residents from his own political
party, a decision the HRT rejects and denounces in the strongest terms.
Elected officials represent all people once they assume public office.

The Harare Residents' Trust (HRT) is concerned at this intolerant behaviour
by an elected councillor, who should be glad to be given an opportunity to
meet residents in his constituency, something he has failed to do since his
election in March 2008.

What Councillor Machetu has managed to do is to attend to his weekly party
district meetings, at which he is pampered and allowed to lie without being
asked to account for his growing wealth, in comparison to his average US$150
councillor's allowance.

The HRT is preparing a protest letter to the Mayor of Harare, decrying the
incompetence and intolerant attitude of Councillor Machetu. If nothing is
done to address these legitimate concerns of residents, the MDC-T as a party
will continue to be shamed by such malcontents and local governance will be
the loser.

The Inclusive Government is built on the desire to strengthen Zimbabwe's
democracy and good governance. Unaccountable elected leaders should be
rejected in future elections.

Water Disconnections:
The City of Harare continues to disconnect water from residents who have
failed to pay up their dues. While it is appreciated that the City needs
money to operate, their action is insensitive and deprives residents of
their right to adequate and clean water for survival and hygiene. The
alternative is for the City of Harare to reduce the flow of water to
defaulting households. This is additional work but it can be achieved.
According to reports coming to the HRT, there are nearly 5 000 households
across Harare that have been disconnected, creating a potential health
hazard. The impact on school going children, women and the general health
situation is frightening.

We urge the authorities engage in dialogue with the citizens and reach an
understanding that benefits both parties. It is unhelpful to be
confrontational and using all sorts of threats. A cornered citizenry can
react in an unexpected manner.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

It’s the EU not the MDC, Stupid!

In a recent article posted on the chronicle, the self appointed policy
analyst and well known academic and financial fraudster, Qhubani Moyo,
alleges that there ‘are sanctions’ and scoffs the MDC for calling them
restrictive measures. While it would be doing the academic world a
disservice to call such statements by him intellectual   dishonesty, I am
sure it is some form of dishonesty if not ignorance. In fact, by any
standards, his article lacks both academic eloquence and intellectual logic.
Maybe others are wondering why I call Qhubani an intellectual fraudster. He
is the only guy I have met who completed in Four years a three year BA
General degree focusing on Ndebele, Afrikaans and English. Despite having
attained a Third class pass he corruptly managed to gain his admission to a
Master of Master of science in Tourism and Hospitality Management. Given the
huge distance that existed between his qualifications and the entry
requirements for the masters programme, it is clear that he paid a fortune
for it. This was nothing to Qhubani since he had just defrauded Radio
Dialogue of thousands of United States dollars resulting in him being sacked
by that organisation. This explains why he stands as an advocate of the
other criminals who have defrauded the state treasury. In a country with a
rule of law, he should be rehabilitating in prison.
The issue of how he has robbed the donor community of thousands of dollars
and used his CIO and ZANU PF connections to evade persecution will be left
for another day.
Through his not so well thought out article, not that we expect much from
him, he points out that the MDC must stop referring to restrictive measures
by their name and start calling them Sanctions as his colleagues in ZANU PF
would prefer them to be called. It is common knowledge that the EU document
that acts as a birth certificate to these restrictive measures calls them
restrictive measures and not sanctions. It does not matter whether your
friends call you “Mabhensane” during your social outings but if your birth
certificate does not formally recognise you as such then you shall be called
Qhubani Moyo officially.
Surely it can only be the prayer of an ignoramus to hope to solve the issue
of the restrictive measures outside their historical context.  The article
by the chronicle appointed and self certified policy analyst, Qhubani Moyo,
is either an attempt at exposing absolute ignorance or just political
imbecility. Thinking that shouting at the top of one’s voice will sweep away
the existing conditions that necessitated the imposition of the restrictive
measures is excessive parroting  of the ZANU PF agenda
The need for imposing sanctions on Zimbabwe was inspired by several factors.
It is only a certain level of progress in dealing with these causal factors
that will culminate in the relaxation or total removal of these restrictive
measures. It is common knowledge that, since 1997 a combination of complex
factors such as the large unbudgeted expenditures to war veterans (which
resulted in that Black Friday in which the Zimbabwean dollar fell by 72% to
the US$ to mark the beginning of a serious down turn in the economy), an
unbudgeted for involvement in the DRC war in which it was estimated that the
Zimbabwean government was using at least US$1 million dollars a day,
differences over the handling of the land question, defaulting in debt
servicing, disputed election results, deteriorating human rights record, and
questions over the rule of law, constitutionalism, and mode of governance,
provoked some sections of the international community to impose various
restrictive measures against ZANU PF.

There is no record of trade sanctions on Zimbabwe anywhere. That is why you
see that Australian companies continue to trade with Zimbabwe despite
Australia’s position on Zimbabwe. For example, the Department of
Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry continued to import snow peas and cut
flowers (mainly roses) from Zimbabwe. Cut-flower imports totalled $33, 000
in 2007-2008 while fresh vegetable imports totalled $20, 000-$25, 000. A
spokeswoman for Australian Foreign Ministry, Stephen Smith said that
‘imports from Zimbabwe are not covered’ by the restrictive measures.

It is cheap ZANU PF politics to allege that the poor in Zimbabwe are in such
a position because of these restrictive measures. The truth is that Zimbabwe
under ZANU PF has suffered from crony-state capitalism – an economic system
that is terribly hostile to the country’s poor and working people and that
empowers and enriches political elites and their clients. Right through the
days of ESAP, ZANU PF adopted what analysts have termed ‘party-capitalism’
that resented accumulation outside party networks and that authorised
looting by political elites and their clients. ZANU PF elites have continued
to pursue this zero sum extractive form of politics as is evidenced by their
involvement in the Chiadzwa diamond fields while the nation remains

In a classical case of an idiot shooting himself on the foot and attempting
to run, Qhubani Moyo admits that those conditions that caused the EU to
impose restrictive measures are still in existence in Zimbabwe. In his
article he states that, “Evidence on the ground points to little change in
the political landscape ............ The same laws that existed before are
still in place and the state security apparatus has not changed its attitude
towards Tsvangirai....” In a clear case of showing his inability to apply
his mind logically to anything, he then accuses the MDC of failing to cause
the removal of Sanctions. Is Qhubani Moyo insane or what?.
I think many like me who were wondering why he is so much in defence of ZANU
PF must now understand that it is payback time. They defended him against
prosecution and he must now pay them back by publishing such embarrassing
articles in the state run chronicle newspaper.
The only precondition for the removal of Sanctions is implementation of the
GPA regarding human rights, security, economic policy, and a return to rule
of law in all aspects of national governance. The full implementation of the
GPA is the most important aspect in this endeavour towards ending Zimbabwe’s
decade long international isolation.

By David Mpiyezwe Nyathi
David Mpiyezwe Nyathi is a Zimbabwean Law student at the University of
Witswatersrand in Johannesburg South Africa and can be contacted on

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Residents convene a public meeting


CNewLog2145 Robert Mugabe Road, Exploration House, Third Floor; Website:

Contacts: Mobile: 0913 042 981, 011 862 012, 0733 368 107 or email,,




Residents convene a public meeting          ...Amidst chaos in service delivery


25 February 2010


Residents of Arcadia, Braeside and St Martins convened a public meeting in conjunction with the Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA), on the 22nd of February 2010, amidst serious complaints by many from the locality on the state of service delivery which is in shambles. The meeting was attended by more than 150 residents from the above mentioned three areas which constitute Ward 2.


The residents expressed their disappointment with the way the City of Harare is demanding money from residents and yet there are no services. One of the residents fumed saying “…the council expects us to pay our rates in full and on time, but we have never seen any consistent collection of refuse…” Indeed the council has been charging residents for services which have not been rendered. CHRA has been receiving numerous complaints from residents over the outrageous bills that Council is sending to residents. Furthermore, Council has continued to issue “letters of final demand” to residents with outstanding bills, threatening them with legal action. Residents who attended the meeting professed ignorance of any refuse collection being done in the area saying “we have forgotten the last time we saw a council truck collecting refuse”.


Mrs. Jampees, one of the residents who assisted in coordinating the meeting said that residents will not pay for non-existent services.   Residents also raised concern over Council’s tendency to be extravagant when service delivery is in a sorry state. One of the issues that were raised in connection to these concerns is the purchasing of expensive vehicles by the City Council. Other issues that were raised include the inconsistent billing by the City of Harare, high levels of corruption within the Council as well as non-consultation of residents by Council in decision making processes.


CHRA maintains its position that residents should not pay for non-existent services. The Association urges all residents who have been victims of Council’s chaotic billing to contact the CHRA offices for assistance. CHRA remains committed to advocating for good, transparent and accountable local governance as well as lobbying for quality and affordable municipal services.


CHRA Information, making the implicit, explicit



Back to the Top
Back to Index