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Armed robbers disrupt diamonds transportation

by Own Correspondent Wednesday 03 February 2010

HARARE - Zimbabwe's minerals marketing authority on Tuesday shelved plans to
transport 300 000 carats of diamonds to the central bank after armed robbers
raided the offices of one of the firms involved in a dispute over ownership
of the gems, officials said.

The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) - the sole marketing
and selling agent of all minerals produced in the country - was last week
ordered by the Supreme Court to take the diamonds at the centre of an
ownership dispute between British owned firm African Consolidated Resources
(ACR) and Mbada Diamonds to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) for safe

But the transportation was aborted after the armed robbers, who officials
suspect had information about the planned movement of the diamonds, raided
ACR offices.

"There was an apparent security breach at ACR today. We suspect the raid has
to do with the intended transportation of diamonds from our offices to the
RBZ as per the Supreme Court ruling," an MMCZ official told ZimOnline.

A senior official who was part of the team that was supposed to see the
handing over of the diamonds confirmed the incident.

"ACR security staff were beaten, and their offices were raided by thieves in
town," an official close to ACR and the central bank said, adding; "We
shelved the plans for security reasons, ACR is going to issue a full
statement on what transpired . . . the transportation of the diamonds which
was meant to take place to the RBZ has been shelved."

Sources in the diamond industry expressed shock at the incident and have
called for the beefing up of security within the industry.

"There has been to much publicity over the Chiadzwa diamonds and their
transportation and this is causing troubles for us in the industry," said a
source from the industry.

There was no immediate comment from the police.

The decision to transport the diamonds to the central bank follows a legal
ownership dispute between ACR and Mbada Diamonds - a joint venture formed
last year by the government's Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)
and Grandwell of South Africa to mine diamonds at Chiadzwa after Harare
ejected ACR from the controversial fields.

Last month the Zimbabwe government cancelled a planned diamond auction of
the 300 000 carats by Mbada, saying no gems from the controversial field
could be sold without certification by the Kimberley Process Certification
Scheme (KPCS).

ACR, which holds right of title to claims on the Chiadzwa diamond field -
also known as Marange - has warned international diamond traders against
buying the Chiadzwa gems saying they are "stolen".

Chiadzwa is one of the world's most controversial diamond fields with
reports that soldiers sent to guard the claims after the government took
over the field in October 2006 from ACR committed gross human rights abuses
against illegal miners who had descended on the field.
International rights groups have been pushing for a ban on Zimbabwean
diamonds but in November, the country escaped a KPCS ban with the global
body giving Harare a June 2010 deadline to make reforms to comply with its
regulations. - ZimOnline

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Zim white farmers granted bail

by Own Correspondent Wednesday 03 February 2010

HARARE - A Zimbabwean magistrate on Tuesday granted bail to five white
commercial farmers, including former Commercial Farmers Union (CFU)
president Trevor Gifford who was arrested in the farming town of Chipinge
last week.

According to the CFU, the magistrate in the eastern border city of Mutare
granted US$200 bail to each of the farmers and ordered them to return to
court in two weeks time.

"The farmers have been granted US$200 bail each and have been ordered to
reside on their properties. They have also been ordered to come back to
court in two weeks time," CFU director Hendrik Olivier told ZimOnline.

Gifford, the immediate past president of the CFU was arrested in Chipinge on
Thursday where he had gone to deliver a High Court order setting aside an
eviction ruling a local magistrate passed against four white farmers in the
southeastern farming town last Tuesday.

Chipinge magistrate Samuel Zuze convicted Algernon Taffs of Chirega Farm,
Dawie Joubert of Stilfontein, Mike Odendaal of Hillcrest and Mike Jahme of
Silverton Farm for refusing to vacate their properties and sentenced them to
a US$800 fine each. He ordered that they immediately move out of their homes
and vacate their farms by Wednesday evening.

The farmers filed an urgent appeal in the High Court in Harare Wednesday
evening, a move that under court procedures means the ruling of the lower
court is automatically put on hold, allowing the farmers to remain on their
properties until conclusion of their appeal against both conviction and

But Zuze on Thursday issued warrants of arrest for the four farmers for
failing to vacate their properties as he had ordered.

The mainly white CFU last has criticised the power-sharing government
between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai for
failing to end chaos in the farming sector. - ZimOnline

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Civil service strike looms as wage talks collapse

by Patricia Mpofu Wednesday 03 February 2010

HARARE - A crippling general strike by Zimbabwe's public workers inched
closer on Tuesday after wage negotiations between the government and union
leaders ended in deadlock yesterday.

Union leaders speaking after talks flopped indicated they were gearing for a
strike whose dates are set to be announced at a mass rally of all government
workers in Harare next Friday.

The strike that is expected to shutdown public schools, hospitals, courts
and other official departments will be a major test for the power-sharing
government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
two long-time foes who came together last year to end a long-running
political crisis.

Officials from the government's Public Service Commission (PSC) met with
representatives from the Public Service Association, the Zimbabwe Teachers'
Association (ZIMTA), Zimbabwe Teachers Union and the Progressive Teachers'
Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) but the parties failed to reach agreement after
nearly five hours of haggling over new salaries and improved working

The PSC that employees all government workers apparently offered an
additional US$4 million to the US$50 million budgeted for public servants'
salaries but this was turned down by union representatives.

"The employer re-stated the same position that it has no money but tabled a
long term road map that will have seen a quarterly review of salaries. The
employer proposed a new increment in April but we rejected the offer as it
was still going to be insignificant," said Richard Gundani, the secretary
general of ZIMTA.

"The addition of US$4 million to the wage bill was too insignificant. So we
will be calling a joint-mother of all rallies of civil servants on what plan
of action we intend taking," said Gundani.

PTUZ secretary general Raymond Majongwe accused the government of not being
serious in addressing civil servants' salary grievances and warned that a
public strike was imminent.

"The government should brace for industrial action now," he said.

Government workers surviving on an average monthly salary of US$160 want the
government to salaries to a minimum wage of $630.

But the government, which is already using 60 percent of total collected
revenues on salaries, says it does not have money to fund any significant
wage hikes.

If the threatened strike goes ahead, it would be the first against the
coalition government since it came into office last February.

Since the formation of the unity government, teachers had returned to work
while state hospitals were admitting patients again as nurses and junior
doctors resumed their duties.

But failure by the unity government to convince major Western nations to
provide direct financial support could see basic services such as health and
education collapse again as civil servants strike or, as before, resume the
exodus to foreign countries where wages and livings conditions are better. -

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World Bank concerned about delays in Harare talks

by Andrew Moyo Wednesday 03 February 2010

HARARE - World Bank boss Robert Zoellick said on Tuesday the bank was
concerned about delays by Zimbabwe's three governing parties to conclude
outstanding issues from their power sharing agreement, especially the
dispute around the appointment of the country's central bank governor.

"There are new challenges to do with the appointment of the central bank
governor there that the new government has to look at," Zoellick told
journalists in Harare via video conference from Adds Ababa, Ethiopia.

Zimbabwe's coalition partners who formed a power-sharing government last
February have failed to resolve a raft of outstanding issues - among them
President Robert Mugabe's refusal to rescind his unilateral appointment of
two top allies Gideon Gono and Johannes Tomana to head the central bank and
the attorney general's office respectively.

Gono is accused of exacerbating Zimbabwe's economic crisis by ceaselessly
printing money to fund Mugabe's political programmes.

Analysts say Gono's removal from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe is critical to
show Western donors that Harare is serious with reforming the economy that
was ravaged by hyperinflation chiefly blamed on the governor's money
printing policies.

Zoellick said the World Bank was working with other donors to see how they
can assist Zimbabwe but said that raising support for Zimbabwe depended on
how donors perceived the Harare administration.

"We have a procedure that we have to do, we are working with donors and (any
move that we will make on Zimbabwe) will depend on whether donors think the
government is ready," Zoellick said.

Harare is sitting on a US$6 billion plus interest foreign debt of which
US$1.3 billion is owed to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank
(WB) and the ADB.

Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's unity government has done well
to stabilise Zimbabwe's economy and end inflation that was estimated at more
than a trillion percent at the height of the country's economic meltdown
last year.

But failure by the former foes to resolve outstanding power-sharing issues
and to quicken the pace of political reforms has hurt the Harare government's
reconstruction programme with major Western nations refusing to release
significant financial support until the coalition agreement is fully
implemented. - ZimOnline

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Zimbabwe coalition partner denounces Mugabe's party

Feb 2, 2010, 21:20 GMT

Harare - The tension between Zimbabwe's two main coalition partners
escalated sharply Tuesday when Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's top aide
angrily denounced President Robert Mugabe's ZANU(PF) for waging war against
the democratic reform process.

The statement from Tendai Biti, secretary-general of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) and finance minister in the power-sharing
government, was seen as the most outspoken attack by the pro- democracy
party since the start of the coalition was formed nearly a year ago.

It came against a background of deadlock in attempts to bring in reforms
prescribed in the coalition government, as well of a surge in violence and
lawlessness by Mugabe's alleged agents.

The recent four weeks following the congress of Mugabe's ZANU(PF) has seen
an acceleration of destruction, including violent invasions of white-owned
farms, defiance of court orders, an overt onslaught in the state-owned media
against Tsvangirai and stalemate at the negotiating table.

Biti charged that ZANU(PF) was trying to strangle the fledgling coalition on
its first birthday.

The unity government emerged after Southern African leaders intervened in
the wake of a bloody presidential election campaign that saw an estimated
200 MDC supporters murdered and thousands more tortured and made homeless.

Mugabe was declared winner amidst widespread charges of a fraudulent poll
that was dismissed across Africa and much of the international community.

Critics of Mugabe charge that the 85-year-old president and his supporters
have blocked the roadmap toward democracy, which was to have included the
creation of a new constitution and reform of the country's notoriously
brutal security forces.

Roy Bennett, the popular white farmer and national treasurer of the MDC
appointed deputy agriculture minister by Tsvangirai, has still not been
sworn in. Meanwhile, two top officials re-appointed by Mugabe in violation
of new procedures remain in office - central bank governor Gideon Gono, who
is blamed for Zimbabwe's 500-billion-per- cent inflation, and the blatantly
partisan attorney general.

Last week, Mugabe's powerful politburo declared that there would be no
concessions over these and many other issues, and demanded that the MDC
ensure that illegal Western sanctions be lifted.

The MDC and Western governments noted that the sanctions are targeted
exclusively at Mugabe and about 200 of his powerful coterie, barring them
from visiting or investing in Europe, North America, Australia and New

'It is time that ZANU(PF) took responsibility for the dark decade of poverty
and violence their policies unleashed on the innocent people of this
nation,' Biti said.

'ZANU(PF) cannot continue to be normative members of this government when in
fact they are working against it every turn,' he said.

The Southern African Development Community (SADC), which brokered the
coalition government, has made clear it intends to ensure the next Zimbabwe
elections are free and fair.

Before each of five national elections since 2000, Mugabe's supporters are
charged with having launched lethal national campaigns of violence and fraud
to ensure he continues his 30-year reign as president.


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British MPs visit Zimbabwe

 2nd Feb 2010 20:10 GMT

By a Correspondent

EIGHT British MPs from the House of Commons International Development
Committee arrived in Zimbabwe on 1 February for a four day visit to review
the effectiveness of the United Kingdom's aid programme.

The Chairman of the Committee, Rt Hon Malcolm Bruce MP, said:

"My colleagues and I are delighted to be in Zimbabwe to see first hand how
Britain's substantial aid programme - at $100 million our largest ever in
Zimbabwe - is helping improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.

We are looking forward to visiting a number of projects in Harare and
Bulawayo covering areas, such as health, HIV/AIDS and education, where the
UK Department for International Development's work with local partners is
delivering real benefits to thousands of Zimbabweans."

Bruce added that there was no significance in the timing of the visit, which
takes place just before the European Union decides whether to renew its
restrictive measures.

"Our role is to provide independent parliamentary oversight of how the
British Government spends its aid. We are not here to advise on political
developments. The British Government has already made clear that the key to
having the EU's restrictive measures lifted is for those blocking progress
in Zimbabwe to implement the commitments they signed up to the Global
Political Agreement and to stop using sanctions as an excuse.".

1. The visiting members of the International Development Committee (IDC)

Rt Hon Malcolm Bruce MP (Liberal Democrat - Chair)

Hugh Bayley MP (Labour)

Nigel Evans MP (Conservative)

Richard Burden MP (Labour)

Rt Hon John Battle MP (Labour)

Andrew Stunell MP (Liberal Democrats)

Daniel Kawcynski MP (Conservative)

Mark Lancaster MP (Conservative)

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Britain Rejects Pressure From Former Zimbabwe Ruling Party to Lift EU Sanctions

House of Commons International Development Committee Chairman Malcolm Bruce
said Britain has made clear that the key to lifting sanctions is for 'those
blocking progress in Zimbabwe' to honor their commitments

Blessing Zulu | Washington 02 February 2010

Britain has declared that it will not be pressured into lifting travel and
financial sanctions aimed at  Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and his
inner circle before the 2008 Global Political Agreement is implemented in

Malcolm Bruce, chairman of the House of Commons International Development
Committee, gave the British position in a statement issued on the arrival of
his delegation in Harare on Monday.

Bruce said the British government has "made it clear that the key to having
[European Union] restrictive measures lifted is for those blocking progress
in Zimbabwe to implement the commitments they signed up to."

Mr. Mugabe and the leaders of the two formations of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change, Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, today prime
minister and deputy prime minister, respectively, signed the Global
Political Agreement for power sharing in September 2008. The pact ended an
impasse following national elections marred by deadly violence.

Mr. Tsvangirai's MDC has accused President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party of
failing to honor commitments made under that agreement following the
inception of a national unity government in February 2009.

Diplomatic sources told VOA that the European Union might ease sanctions on
state-controlled enterprises and support the restoration of Zimbabwe's
voting rights at the International Monetary Fund, but said travel and
financial sanctions against Mr. Mugabe and other key figures would remain in

Bruce said such parties must "stop using sanctions as an excuse" not to
comply with the terms of the power-sharing agreement. Top EU officials are
to meet on February 20 to decide whether to extend the sanctions.

Bruce said he and seven other British members of Parliament are in Zimbabwe
for four days to assess the effectiveness of humanitarian aid.

ZANU-PF hardliners in recent days have seized on comments by British Foreign
Secretary David Miliband last month to the effect that London would look to
Mr. Tsvangirai and his MDC formation for guidance on whether the target
sanctions should be lifted. ZANU-PF seized upon his comments as proof that
the MDC could influence the West on lifting sanctions.

ZANU-PF insiders report a worrisome resurgence by hardliners, leading to the
latest crackdown on MDC members, eleven of whom were arrested Saturday in
Mount Darwin, Mashonaland Central, for holding a meeting to discuss the
ongoing revision of the Zimbabwean constitution.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC formation said the latest
arrests are boosting tension, and that state media is vilifying Mr.

ZANU-PF deputy spokesman Ephraim Masawi declined to comment.

London-based political political analyst Msekiwa Makwanya told VOA Studio 7
reporter Blessing Zulu that Britain should negotiate directly with ZANU-PF.

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Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Defaults on Redemption of Bonds Issued to Gold Firms

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Research
Institute of Zimbabwe said the central bank's default on the bonds had dealt
a major blow to the mining sector as it struggles to recover

Gibbs Dube | Washington 02 February 2010

The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe failed Monday to redeem as scheduled bonds it
issued to mining companies in lieu of cash payment for gold deposited with
the central bank by mining companies, mining and financial sources said.

The financially troubled Reserve Bank recently said it intended to extend
the term of the bonds for six months pending the outcome of talks with the
Ministry of Finance as to funding to redeem the debt instruments.

The central bank failed to pay for gold delivered to it by mining firms in
2007 and 2008, leading to the issuance of the negotiable bonds.

Blanket Mine, a subsidiary of Caledonia Mining Corporation, said it did not
expect redemption of bonds with a face value of US$3.2 million.

Other companies and small-scale miners dependent on government payments for
extracted gold have also been affected by the default.

Buletsi Nyathi, a member of the Youth in Mining Council of Zimbabwe, told
VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that many mining operations will be
crippled by the bank's failure to repay the special bonds.

"This has an effect on our operations since some of us will fail to pay our
workers and are in the process of looking for equipment to expand our
operations," Nyathi said.

Economist Godfrey Kanyenze of the Labor and Economic Development Research
Institute of Zimbabwe said the central bank's default on the bonds had dealt
a major blow to the mining sector as it struggles to recover.

"The miners are paying the price since they cannot have access to foreign
currency to conduct their businesses," Kanyenze said.

He said it remained to be seen how miners would deal with the RBZ in future
as they are statutorily obliged sell the gold they have extracted to the

Monday's development was only the latest crisis at the central bank.

The Office of the Sheriff recently attached five buildings belonging to the
bank against US$2.1 million in payments owed to Farmtec Supplies and
Implements for 60 tractors it delivered to the bank for a farm support
program under the former government of President Robert Mugabe.

Financial sources have told VOA that the central bank is insolvent and could
collapse unless it is bailed out by the Finance Ministry. But the Movement
for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whose
secretary general is Tendai Biti, the minister of finance, has long been
demanding the removal of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono.

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Zimbabwe Parliament Weighs Amendments to Draconian Public Order and Security Act

Sponsor Innocent Gonese, chief whip of the Movement for Democratic Change
formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said amendments would limit
police power to authorize political gatherings and public meetings

Sandra Nyaira | Washington 02 February 2010

The Zimbabwean Parliament resumed sitting on Tuesday following the holiday
break, with the first order of business in the House a preliminary reading
of the Public Order and Security Amendment Bill proposing to revise
legislation that critics say has been used for years to repress government

Following a first reading, the bill was referred to the Parliament's
committee on legal affairs, which was to consider the proposed amendments
before sending them for a second reading with its recommendations.

The amendments would limit the power of the police to bar political
gatherings and public meetings. The amended legislation was submitted by
Mutare Central Member and Chief Whip Innocent Gonese of the Movement for
Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Gonese told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that he the bill because the
police were abusing the legislation and their power. He said the Zimbabwe
Republic Police has registered its opposition to the reforms.

Home Affairs Ministry Permanent Secretary Melusi Matshiya told the House
Committee on Home Affairs and Defense that the proposed amendments would
"water down" police powers and undermine the effectiveness of the national
force, the state-controlled Herald newspaper reported.

Police Commissioner Solomon Mubatapasango said some of the proposed changes
would pose a risk to national security.

"What are we afraid of in giving notice (of public meetings)?" he demanded.
"If we don't criminalize it we are playing around with the security of the

Elsewhere, the Committee on Mines and Energy expressed its concern at the
"careless manner" in which the government has handled the development of the
controversial Marange diamond field in eastern Manicaland province.

On Monday the committee summoned police and mining officials to ask why a
firm that is exploiting the Marange field under government contract arranged
to auction diamonds in the absence of a Kimberly Process Certification
Scheme monitor and without the knowledge of the government.

The Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe revealed an agreement between
Mbada Diamond Mining Company and Harare to give the company marketing rights
outside the scope of the parastatal agency. Committee Chairman Chindori
Chininga called the agreement careless.

Mines Committee member Edmore Marime told VOA that members of the committee
were barred from the Marange diamond zone after Mbada started mining. He
expressed concern about the consequences of diamond mining in the Marange
field, where Human Rights Watch reported massive human rights violations
including killings, rapes, beatings and forced labor.

Critics say the diamond field is being developed by a clique of politicians
of the former ruling ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe, and senior
military officials, active and retired, in the aim of self-enrichment rather
than channeling revenues into the reconstruction of the financially strapped

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Food Security Experts Paint Grim Picture of Developing Situation in Zimbabwe

The Commercial Farmers Union warned this week that Zimbabwe was likely to
need to import 1 million tonnes of maize, a staple food, given the combined
effect of poor rains in the current cropping season and ongoing farm

Patience Rusere | Washington 02 February 2010

Some agricultural experts are painting a grim picture of the outlook for
Zimbabwe's food supply in 2010.

The Commercial Farmers Union warned this week that Zimbabwe might need to
import 1 million tonnes of maize, a staple food, given the combined effect
of poor rains and ongoing takeovers of white-owned commercial farms under
land reform.

The Commercial Farmers Union said that Zimbabwe would be lucky if the 2010
harvest yields even 500,000 tonnes of maize.

The General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union reported that labor
shortages will also weigh on maize yields.

Midlands Chairman Peter Muchengeti of the National Association of
Non-Governmental Organizations told VOA Studio 7 reporter Patience Rusere
that malnutrition-related conditions such as kwashiorkor are being seen in
some areas.

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11 killed in multiple collision

February 03, 2010 Edition 2

Russel Molefe

POOLS of blood, pieces of human flesh and strewn debris bore testimony to
the horrific accident in which 11 people were killed and 18 were seriously
injured outside Polokwane, Limpopo, yesterday.

At about 4.30am, the traffic on the N1 highway, north of Polokwane, was
quiet when a bus on its daily trip from Zimbabwe to Joburg was forced to
slow down by a heavy-duty truck moving at a snail's pace.

They had travelled in convoy for some distance, in heavy mist, when the bus
driver tried to overtake. Instead, he collided head-on with a minibus loaded
with passengers and a trailer, heading home to Zimbabwe.

The minibus capsized before being hit again by the heavy-duty truck. The
minibus then rolled several times, and nine passengers died instantly.

A few minutes later, a driver of a sedan travelling north on the N1 collided
with the trailer on the minibus. The driver of the sedan and a passenger
also died immediately.

Rescue teams battled for more than two hours to pull survivors from the
wreckage. Police spokesman Superintendent Moatshe Ngoepe said misty
conditions might have been a contributing factor to the fatal accident.A
case of culpable homicide was opened.

This was the second horrific accident to have happened almost at the same
spot this year.

Transport Minister S'bu Ndebele has expressed his condolences to the
families of the dead. "We will only reduce the carnage on our roads if
traffic offences become totally unacceptable to the people of our country,"
he said. - Baobab Press Agency

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African Leaders Dissolve Nepad as Addis Meeting Closes

Argaw Ashine

2 February 2010

Addis Ababa - African leaders today wrapped up their annual summit less
divided and looking at brighter economic prospects but still facing a raft
of conflicts, including Sudan's predicted break-up.

One of the resolutions adopted was one that dissolved was the New
Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) and agreed to replace it by a new

Nepad disbandment comes after a very sharp criticism against the body which
couldn't deliver a single project during the last one decade.

Nepad was established in July 2001 as a programme of the defunct
Organisation of African Unity (OAU) and the mandate was given leaders of
Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa to steer it.

Ethiopian prime Minister Meles Zenawi has been the chairman of Nepad for the
last one decade.

Leaders approved the establishment of the Nepad Planning and Coordinating
Agency (NPCA) to replace Nepad.

Nepad's primary objective was to eradicate poverty and promote prosperity
and to halt the marginalization of Africa In the globalisation process. The
new agency will be a body of African Union and mandated to facilitate and
coordinate the implementation of continental and regional priority
programmes and mobilise resources and partners in support of their

The summit allocated $3 million as start up funding for the new office.

Another resolution adopted was one increasing the pressure on Madagascar
leader Andry Rajoelina, who seized power in a coup in March and did not
attend the summit.

The 53-member body's approach to Madagascar had been typical last year of
African discordance, with Libyan leader and outgoing AU president Muammar
Gaddafi breaking from the tough stance of the organisation's executive to
back the coup.

Closing ceremony

At the closing ceremony, incoming African Union chairman and Malawian
president Bingu wa Mutharika urged African leaders to invest on food
security and Agriculture.

Bingu also sought to boost transport infrastructure and energy which he said
are key to peace and security.

Bingu secured an overwhelming support from the summit and the 53 member
state organisation will devote its effort on Bingu's roadmap to end conflict
and hunger. "No chilled in Africa dies of hunger and malnutrition anymore"
Bingu said in the closing event of AU head of states three days summit.

Bingu outlined his priorities and in terms of peace and security and urged
African leaders to cooperate with AU to unseat power grabbers and
unconstitutional change of government. "Unconstitutional change of
government threatens peace and security of the continent" he said.

He noted that 2010 is a year of Peace and Security in Africa and we must say
'never again' to conflict and war in Africa.

During the summit, leaders defined coups as "unconstitutional power change"
and the AU was given more authority to act on it.

AU Peace and Security Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra told the Nation the
summit gave new authority to the AU to act on and unconstitutional change of
governments in Africa.

The summit also deliberates on the agenda of African common position on the
International Criminal Court (ICC) which has indicted Sudanese President
Omar al-Bashir calling for fairness in its activities.

The summit also endorsed the newly elected peace and Security Council
members, the most powerful body of AU, and Zimbabwe was elected to a
three-year term, along with Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Libya and Nigeria.

Others elected to two-year terms were Burundi, Chad, Djibouti, Rwanda,
Mauritania, Namibia, South Africa, Benin, Cote d'Ivoire and Mali.

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Chaibva Defects To Zanu PF

02/02/2010 10:23:00

HARARE, February 2, 2010 - Former MDC legislator for Harare South
constituency Gabriel Chaibva has rejoined Zanu PF in an apparent bid to
revive his waning political fortunes.

Chaibva, a national executive member in the smaller MDC party led by
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, further castigated the party
for allegedly transforming itself  into atribal party.

This he expressed in a letter to MDC vice president Gibson Sibanda
dated January 1, 2010.

"You know I have tremendous respect for you as a person and it is for
that reason that I felt it necessary to advise you in particular of my
resignation from the party, which you now have christened MDC-M, for
the love of personality cults, I guess.

"I do not want to leave you doubting as to what my next political move
would be. I want you to know that I have joined Zanu-PF immediately. I
seek to work hard for the people's party, Zanu-PF, to regain its
revolutionary image as the defender of our freedom, democracy and the
gains of our liberation struggle."

The outspoken politician was in July 2008 dramatically relieved of his
responsibilities as secretary for information and publicity for the
MDC-M after attending the inauguration of President Robert Mugabe in

His party did not sanction his attendance.

The faction, which was backing Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
Mugabe's only challenger in the disputed June 27, 2008 presidential
run-off, did not want to associate itself with Mugabe's purported
victory, which the 86 year old leader snatched from the then contender
Tsvangirai after a two month orgy of violence which left hundreds
killed and further displaced thousands.

Tsvangirai pulled out of the election at the eleventh hour citing an
increase on state sponsored violence on his party structures.

When a united MDC split in October 2005, the nomadic legislator joined
a break away faction then led by current MDC-M secretary general
Welshman Ncube.

He has since found it difficult to win a seat in parliament and has
confined himself into being a critic for the MDC-T.

In 2006, he suffered a humiliating defeat to the MDC-T's Emmanuel
Chisvuure during a Budiriro by-election.

The controversial politician polled a paltry 504 votes against
Chisvuure's 7 949 votes.

In the same election, Jeremiah Bvirindi of the then ruling Zanu PF
polled 3 961 votes.

Recently, Chaibva has been enjoying a lot of airtime on the state
controlled ZBC TV where he has persistently poured scorn on the
Tsvangirai led MDC, which he has blamed for inviting sanctions on

Chaibva joins independent Tsholotsho North legislator Professor
Jonathan Moyo who abandoned his title as independent lawmaker to
rejoin Zanu PF.

Moyo has since been rewarded with a position in the powerful Zanu PF
central committee.

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Zimbabwe’s most powerful lawyer speaks on RBZ feat

By Privilege Musvanhiri

Published: February 3, 2010

Harare - He goes down in world history as the first lawyer to bring down
Zimbabwe’s central bank to its knees, Harare based lawyer, Davison Kanokanga
speaks exclusively to ZimEye on the latest developments to the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe case as washing machines, bedroom suites, refrigerators, coffee
tables, radios, television sets, beds and several other things belonging to
the Reserve bank are now lined up for sale in an unprecedented legal
development in the nation.

Documents shown to ZimEye indicate that the deputy sheriff moved in to
attach the property on the 13th of January.

“We now have the returns of service documents from the deputy sheriff. These
indicate that on the 13th of January 2010, the deputy sheriff attached a
number of movable assets belonging to the RBZ.

“I am now waiting for the advice from the deputy sheriff if he has removed
the assets for sale because procedurally what should happen is that after
the attachment, the deputy sheriff should remove the assets and take them to
an auctioneer who will arrange for a public auction,” Kanokanga said.

Kanokanga said five immovable properties have since been placed under
judiciary attachment in the event that the movable assets fail to offset the

“I doubt very much that the assets will be sufficient to cover the debt,
meaning that it will then open the way for us to move on to the immovable
assets with a view to have them auctioned. We are at this stage not aware of
the value of the immovable assets. Hopefully the combination of the movable
and immovable assets may cover the debt if not, we have to look at what
further action we could take,” he said.

RBZ ordered 150 tractors under the country’s controversial Farm
Mechanization and Agricultural Support Enhancement Facility in 2008.

Farmtec supplied 60 tractors worth US$2.1 million and the remaining 90 which
were to be the debt has since been increased by legal costs going up to $2.3

No Resistance from the RBZ

The central bank has not rejected to the attachment of the assets nor denied
liability. Sources also say the RBZ is insolvent and close to collapse as
its liabilities exceed its assets. Other reports say that the central bank
has also failed to refund over US$34 million deposited by the country’s
leading platinum producer Zimbabwe Platinum Mines (Zimplats) and is now
asking government to assume the debt.

Observers say the RBZ is now bearing the brunt of its quasi fiscal
activities which fuelled inflation to unprecedented levels in the last three

During the period, the RBZ was constantly accused of printing money to clean
sweep foreign currency on the parallel market for its activities but without
corresponding to production levels.

The Farmtec case could open several lawsuits from suppliers who are owed by
the RBZ.

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Mugabe's Vengeful Eviction of Black Nationalist Farmers

ZANU (PF) is a creature of habit and Robert Mugabe has sharpened the one
tool in his vast arsenal, effectively destroying persons who challenge
his authority or support any opposition to his despotism and brutal hold
onto the levers of power.

Single-handedly, Mugabe has created disunity, tribal tensions, and racial
hatred amongst people who were well on their way to becoming
Africa's true multi-cultural society.

The fast track land acquisition programme is one such tool, which has
been genetically modified by ZANU (PF) pseudo political scientists to
garner illusive votes. Land reform comes into sight as a revolutionary
exercise that corrects a colonial wrong. The illusion is that
revolutionaries are taking back stolen land by colonial settlers and
their offspring and redistributing it to landless peasants.

Since independence, ZANU (PF) has blatantly employed the tactic of land
seizures and unlawful private property requisition from black political
opponents and fellow nationalists to settle old scores and to
disenfranchise powerful opposition figures.

The first victims of farm evictions in independent Zimbabwe were black

Egregious examples of aggravated farm seizures occurred when in 1983, Dr
Joshua Nkomo's farms and private property were expropriated and he
was evicted under spurious treason allegations. He is the father of
Zimbabwe's liberation struggle, the president and founder of the
Zimbabwe People's National Union (ZAPU) and commander in chief of
Zimbabwe People's Revolutionary Army (ZIPRA). Mugabe, on the other
hand, was an appointed functionary who caught the liberation struggle

In Marondera on the 14th February 1982, Mugabe told a ZANU (PF) crowd
that: "ZAPU had bought more than 25 farms and more than 30 business
enterprises throughout the country. We have now established they were not
genuine business enterprises, but places of hiding military weapons to
start another war at an appropriate time. He was trying to overthrow my
government. ZAPU and its leader, Joshua Nkomo, were like a cobra in a
house. The only way to deal effectively with a snake is to strike and
destroy its head".

Joshua Nkomo was subsequently accused and charged with treason for
unlawfully trying to overthrow the "democratically elected"
government of Robert Mugabe.

These incendiary political statements stoked the flames of hate and
formed the basis of a sequence of well-choreographed campaign rhetoric
that aroused intolerance toward the Ndebele, ZAPU, and its former freedom
fighters, ZIPRA.  This mantra was effectively regurgitated on state
controlled media until the majority of Zimbabweans believed that Joshua
Nkomo presented clear and present danger to Zimbabwe's sovereignty.

This was the precursor for Gukurahandi, the massacre of 30 000 people in
Matabeleland by the North Korean trained 5th Brigade, led by the current
Airforce Commander Perence Shiri who reported directly to Mugabe through
Minister of Defence Sydney Sekeramayi and Minister for State Security
Emmerson Mnangagwa. The 5th brigade was a separate army unit brigade,
composed exclusively of Shona speakers and ZANU (PF) veterans. In 1992,
mass graves were discovered at Antelope Mine near Kezi and contained the
remains of victims of the Matebeleland extrajudicial killings.

Mugabe invoked the draconian colonial era law and the farms were
confiscated under the notorious Unlawful Organisations Act, which was
enacted by settler regimes to suppress liberation organisations. Dr
Hebert Ushewokunze, Minister of Home Affairs, enthusiastically instructed
the loyal police to disposes land from Joshua Nkomo personally.
Collectively Dr Joshua Nkomo, ZAPU and ZIPRA guerrillas' land that
was wrongfully stolen by ZANU (PF) and Mugabe include the following

Ascot Farm, Solusi; Hampton Farm, Gweru; Woody Glen Farm, Umguza; Nest
Egg Farm, Gweru; Nijo Farm, Harare (now belongs to ARDA and fell under
management of Dr Joseph Made, the Minister of Agriculture, who was a mere
toddler when men of valour like Dr Joshua Nkomo were in the trenches
against an intransigent minority government); and Snake Park, Salisbury
Hotel (became government-training centres).

In 1992, Mugabe reiterated that no compensation would be paid to victims
of the Matabeleland Crisis because atrocities were committed "during a
state of war." At Nkomo's funeral in 1999, Mugabe came close
to showing remorse and admitting culpability for Gukurahundi by referring
to the massacres as a ``moment of madness''. In September
2006, Nathan Shamuyarira, who served as Information Minister during the
5th Brigade operations, is reported to have told a conference on national
reconciliation in Vumba: "No, I don't regret. They (5 Brigade) were
doing a job to protect the people".

In August 1963, Ndabaningi Sithole founded Zimbabwe African National
Union (ZANU). In 1964, there was a party Congress at Gwelo, where Sithole
was elected president and he appointed Mugabe to be his secretary
general. On Feb. 12, 1969, he was sentenced to six years of imprisonment
for involvement in a plot to assassinate lan Smith, prime minister of the
illegal Rhodesian regime, and two of his ministers.  Mugabe competed for
the presidency of ZANU (PF) during its early days, and his rivalry with
Sithole intensified when Mugabe took over the party in 1976.

In the 1990s, Ndabaningi Sithole argued that land should be
re-distributed to black people and that all black people should be given
equal opportunity to access the land. The response from ZANU (PF),
through the sharp tongue of its eloquent spokesperson Dr Eddison Zvobgo,
was swift. He ridiculed him for wishful thinking and called him
"mad", further commenting that ZANU (PF) would need to
colonise Zambia to achieve what Sithole was talking about. This compelled
Sithole to show his leadership resolve and resettle landless people on
his private Churu Farm on the outskirts of Harare.

The government first accused Sithole of not owning the farm, which he had
bought in 1979; later in 1992, through a "white" Minister of
Health, Dr Timothy Stamps, declared Churu Farm a health hazard that would
pollute Lake Chivero. How did ZANU (PF) employ a "white"
minister and use him to evict a black revolutionary? This political
hypocrisy and ideological insincerity renders ZANU (PF) a deceitful

Despite obtaining a High Court injunction that clearly stated: "The
Land Acquisition Act was being used as a punitive measure and political
weapon," ZANU (PF) went ahead and forcibly removed 4 000 landless
residents of opposition from ZANU-Ndonga leader Ndabaningi Sithole's
Churu Farm.  The government did not make provisions for their alternative
settlement. The late Vice President, then Senior Minister of Local
Government, Rural and Urban Development Joseph Msika said Churu Farm
residents should "go and join their homeless colleagues in the streets"
and then apply to his Ministry for aid.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) evicted the remaining 1 600 residents
of Churu and resettled them at a camp formerly used by Mozambican

Sithole was being punished amongst other things, for the following
statement, which he made in parliament, "I move that in view of the
failure of the present government to run the country to the satisfaction
of the majority of the people of this land and in view of the social
crisis which is building up, this House of elected representatives of the
people of Zimbabwe passes a vote of `no confidence' in the
present government".

"I have dwelt in the main with these CIO documents because they
reveal the true nature of our government, notably hypocrisy and
partiality, callousness and duplicity, lamentable lack of a keen sense of
justice and an abominable deficiency of what is right and what is wrong,
a government that is not fit to rule".

In December 1997, the leader of the opposition, Rev Ndabaningi Sithole,
was found guilty on all three charges of committing acts of terrorism,
illegal possession of arms and conspiring to assassinate President
Mugabe. High Court Judge Justice Chatikobo, sitting with two assessors,
convicted him. He denied the charges and appealed against the conviction.
He was granted the right to appeal, but no appeal was filed and the case
was set aside as his health deteriorated.

In July 1993, Mugabe said, "We will not brook any decision by any
court from acquiring any land. We will get land we want from anyone, be
they black or white, and we will not be restricted to under-utilised

James Chikerema: Co-founder of ZAPU and one of Zimbabwe's first
trained guerillas and true freedom fighter; his property, Diana Farm, was
designated and included for compulsorily acquisition without compensation
in 2000. He said, "As far as I'm concerned, it's Mugabe's vendetta
against me". Chikerema made it clear he supported orderly land
redistribution provided it was conducted fairly.

Enock Dumbutshena: Judge Dumbutshena Zimbabwe's first black judge, became
independent Zimbabwe's first black Chief Justice, and was a
respected jurist who fearlessly ruled against the government; he lost his
horticultural property-export flowers in Enterprise.

When land was being taken away from the first from blacks, most
Zimbabweans ignored the injustices, reducing it to quarrels between
political foes. Farmers with their eyes wide shut were too busy farming,
and the international community responded with deafening silence while
proponents of private property rights remained indifferent.

It has become a badge of honour to have land confiscated for political

Once there were no more opposing political voices with land to
confiscate, Mugabe moved on to white farmers, using the excuse to right a
colonial wrong. Regrettably, he targeted agricultural entrepreneurs, the
majority who had bought farms on the market in post independent Zimbabwe.
Most farmers, encouraged by Mugabe whose government issued
"Certificates of No Present Interest", invested in
horticulture, irrigation and farm infrastructure.

ZANU (PF) targets for attack and destruction any group of persons or
individuals it deems economically independent. In order for its system of
subjugation to work, the populace must be dependent upon the state.
Minorities are vulnerable, easy targets because of their skin colour,
their language and culture. Why is it that the vilest perpetrators of the
most heinous human rights violations and the beneficiaries of prime farms
through the fast tract land grab in Zimbabwe are from one ethnic group?

The post-independence land issue has never been a black / white issue -
it has been political from the beginning. After all black political
opponents' land had been grabbed, they were imprisoned or
mysteriously died, Mugabe moved on to white farmers, shifting his
reasoning to righting a colonial wrong. All along, it has been Mugabe
spinning the dogma to satisfy his own greed and to mollify sycophantic
followers whilst rewarding associates on self-enrichment exploits.

Mugabe drew first blood, realised that he could get away with it, and he
has now gone for the jugular.

Phil Matibe -

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Healing Hearts, Raising Spirits in Zimbabwe
 Posted by: Sarah Hager, February 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM
Women of Zimbabwe Arise

Women of Zimbabwe Arise

Everyone has been blessed in their life with at least one strong, female role model that showed grace under pressure, kindness when facing adversity, strength when challenged. Whether a grandmother, sister, teacher, supervisor or friend, she was someone who inspired and guided you. Personally, I think my mom is pretty fantastic; but I have also been lucky enough to know many other strong, passionate women I consider role models and among those are the leaders of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA).

 WOZA is a grassroots activist movement in Zimbabwe started by women, led by women and grown by women into a membership of more than 70,000 across Zimbabwe. Magodonga Mahlangu, Jenni Williams and Trust work to improve living conditions for all Zimbabweans as they promote the self-esteem of their members. They practice non-violent civil disobedience as they take to the streets demanding better schools, better hospitals, greater civil liberties, advancement of human rights, a new constitution that protects Zimbabweans and promotes the rule of law, responsible government that works for the people not for themselves and free and fair elections. Their marches are characterized by singing, dancing and complete passivism when faced by violent dispersal by the Zimbabwe police and anti-riot police. 

WOZA began on Valentines Day in 2003, inspired by their slogan "the power of love is greater than the love of power." Every year they mark their anniversary with large scale marches in major Zimbabwe cities. As a matter of course, these protests are broken up by Zimbabwe police officers, usually with violence. Already in the four short weeks of 2010, thirty-five WOZA members have been arrested for marching for education or meeting to discuss constitutional reform.

The Zimbabwe Republic Police already issued a public warning that WOZA must register their protests or face arrest. The problem with this registration process is that it is dubiously legal under Zimbabwe law and other organizations that have registered protests have still had their marches disrupted by violence. So basically registering paints a target on the back of these mothers, grandmothers, sisters, daughters as they take to the streets demanding the better quality of life they deserve.

Amnesty International USA is standing in solidarity with WOZA on Valentines Day. We are calling on everyone who has ever been inspired by a woman to help protect and encourage WOZA as they take to the streets. Our action encourages you to send valentines directly to the Zimbabwe riot police, asking them to treat these women the way they would expect their own mother to be treated. We also want you to send valentines to WOZA members, offering words of solidarity as they fight for a better life for themselves and for the future of Zimbabwe. All the information you need to participate in this action can be found here. Help heal hearts and raise spirits in Zimbabwe this year by standing beside WOZA as show grace under pressure, kindness when facing adversity, strength when challenged.

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Land Audit 2010 – What Happened to the US$ 2.5 billion handed to “New Farmers”?

"In 30 seconds, Haiti lost 60 percent of its GDP (gross domestic product),"
and now requires an estimated US$3 billion dollars to rebuild its economy
over the next ten years due to a natural disaster. Zimbabwe spent close to
US$3 billion funding private property looters over the past ten years and
destroyed 80 percent of the nation’s GDP due to this man-made disaster.

This season, Zimbabwe is likely to produce a paltry 500 000 tonnes of maize
and needs to import at least 1.8 million tonnes, which shall be donated by
the people whose skin colour resembles those ZANU (PF) expelled from the
country and arrested for farming in Zimbabwe. Food handouts emboldened “GIFT
OF THE EU”, coming from the kith and kin of peoples ZANU (PF) now refers to
as “offsprings of colonial settlers”.

Why does ZANU (PF) not put its money where its mouths are and demand that
only food grown by black farmers on sovereign soils elsewhere be the only
acceptable aid for the humanitarian crisis about to unfold? Starving
Zimbabweans, or elsewhere, do not care about the colour of skin of the
farmer who grew their grain. Only in Zimbabwe are farmers arrested and
jailed for farming and their farms taken away to be given to fitness
trainers, television announcers, DJ’s and absentee diplomats.

Haiti is now a witness to the humanity and goodwill from the relatives of
the very people it once expelled from this tiny island in 1804, albeit they
were slave masters.

Land must go to people with a passion for farming and not to persons with an
insatiable penchant for handouts and public funds. Farming is a business—an
art and a science—which requires capital, experience, an entrepreneurial
spirit cast in stone, and both inspiration and perspiration.

The ZANU (PF) beneficiaries of farms acquired under the fast track land
exercise, whom the government refers to as “new farmers”, have received a
whopping US$2.5 billion largesse since year 2000. What happened to all these
public funds?

As of January 1 2008, the official exchange rate was 1US$ = ZW$30,000, which
means that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) disbursed US$2 073 333 333.
Assuming that the disbursement was equitable, each of the 25 477 “new
farmers” should have received an average of US$ 81 380 dollars – where is
the money?

Whilst refuting the need for a land audit, Minister of Agriculture Joseph
Made said it is still early days for a land audit in Zimbabwe and too early
to judge “new farmers’” production capabilities because they have been
operating under harsh conditions characterised by illegal economic sanctions
imposed by the West.

Farming is a difficult business, which operates at the best of times under
the harshest of climatic conditions, financial challenges and political
meddling. Managing droughts, floods, insect infestations, wind, locusts,
labour, and low producer prices is just another day at the office.
Overcoming these challenges is universal amongst farmers and is what
separates men from boys.

The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Lands, Land Reform Resettlement and
Agriculture during the first session of the sixth parliament on 2 November
2005, revealed the depressing state of agriculture in Zimbabwe. The RBZ
Governor, Gideon Gono presented the committee with a detailed synopsis of
ZANU (PF)’s financial handouts to “new farmers” as follows:

In 2000 - $ 1 6 billion, 2001 -$ 4 6 billion, 2002 - $8 5 billion, 2003 - $
80 billion, 2004 - $25 billion under the ASPEF, at 5% interest rate.

National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) officials revealed that, between
January and September in 2005 alone, it supplied the agricultural sector
with 19.4 million litres of fuel. Who were the beneficiaries?

The Ministry of Agriculture officials informed the committee that the
introduction of the Agricultural Inputs Scheme at the onset of the Land
Reform Programme was not clearly explained to new farmers. “Farmers are
still not clear whether the scheme is a loan scheme or a free handout scheme
and consequently this has created a dependency syndrome in farmers”.

The Zimbabwean fast track land exercise is the most publicly assisted sector
of the economy. Its output does not match the extent of support “new
 farmers” receive, as the country’s food security situation is worsening.

The ASPEF productivity enhancement facility requires the farmers to support
their loan applications with evidence of actual past performance and
commitment to reinvesting their own incomes into farming programs that
enhance food security.  Against its own stringent lending conditions, the
RBZ looked the other way and shoved wads of cash down the throats of
unqualified ZANU (PF) devotees, who are now hungry for more.

In 1912, the Land Bank was formed to encourage and support new settler
farmers as successful farmers. The Land Bank, later transformed into the
Agriculture Finance Corporation (AFC) in 1971, this later transformed into
the Agribank, which is almost insolvent due to the non-repayment of loans
advanced to politically connected non-farmers.

South Africa, which made the R300 million donation, entrusted the aid
operation to the regional bloc, Southern African Development Community
(SADC), which established the Zimbabwe Humanitarian and Development
Assistance Framework (ZHDAF) to undertake the distribution of the farm
inputs. What happened to these funds?

The RBZ is tittering on the verge of bankruptcy due to the non-payment of
loans to ZANU (PF) land beneficiaries who have failed to farm. The Governor,
Gono, recently admitted that, “The assets that the bank has, if any, are
fewer than its liabilities and therefore it is technically insolvent and is
likely to collapse”.

As at 31 August 2007, the RBZ had dolled out a cumulative $3.9 trillion
under the Agricultural Sector Productivity Enhancement Facility (ASPEF) to
21 940 new farmers. Statistics made available by the central bank show a
cumulative amount of $62,2 trillion had been disbursed under ASPEF to 25 477
applications as at January 4 2008.

The seizure of farms taken under the fast track land acquisition programme
occurred during the peak season with the crops—maize, tobacco, citrus—ready
for harvest and livestock—chicken and cattle—on the ground. Evicted farmers
were prohibited from removing equipment, livestock and crops. What happened
to all this produce, tractors, irrigation equipment and crops?  Who took
what? What is an offer letter? Is it constitutional? Is it legal to offer
national state land only to people who belong to one political party?
In September 2007, speaking at the Zimbabwe Farmers’ Union (ZFU) national
congress in Masvingo, then Minister of Agriculture, Rugare Gumbo said the
newly resettled black farmers had let the nation down after they failed to
maintain production on former white-owned farms.
“I am disappointed that our new farmers have proved to be failures since the
start of the land reform programme in 2000. In spite of all the support,
government has been pouring into the agricultural sector, productivity and
under-utilisation of land remain issues of concern. I am painfully aware of
the widespread theft of stock, farm produce, irrigation equipment and the
general vandalism of infrastructure by our new farmers”.
Gono said, "The primary motivation out of which ASPEF was born, was to hold
our farmers' financial hands to cross over the grey era of apprehensions and
general inertia by the banks to lend into agriculture during the emotive
stages of the land reform programme”.

Gono further reiterated that, after having sustained new farmers for years,
through access to concessional finance, under the ASPEF, new farmers should
be weaned off.

Even during a drought year, Zimbabwe should never suffer from a food deficit
if water from existing dams is harnessed and used for targeted production of
food crops. There were 25 dams built by government since independence, whose
water is still lying idle. These dams have a combined potential to irrigate
48 000 hectares.

Ministry of Agriculture officials disclosed that Treasury had indicated that
the fiscus alone did not have the capacity to bank-roll the programme to the
tune of Z$14,992 trillion dollars due to “other pressing national
 priorities”. Hence as late as September, Treasury had still not committed
itself to funding the programme. However, RBZ released Z$7 trillion dollars
under ASPEF.

Other “pressing national priorities” that year included the procurement of
fighter jets from China.
Who is to blame for the failure of “new farmers” and for the collapse of
Zimbabwe’s agriculture? How can mere land “occupiers” who earn their living
from political patronage, consume agricultural handouts, and produce no
crops, be called “farmers”?
Phil Matibe –

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