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GNU in Major Breakthrough

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 20:49

THE principals in the inclusive government, President Robert Mugabe, Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara met on
Friday for nearly seven hours and agreed on Commissions, whose members will
be sworn in this week, The Standard can report.

The chairs of two of the Commissions - the Electoral and the Human Rights -
were yesterday named as Justice Simpson Mtambanengwe and Professor Reg
Austin respectively.

Justice Mtambanengwe was seconded to the Namibian bench in 1994 and served
for 12 years as a High Court judge, Acting Chief Justice of Namibia and
chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Namibia.

Professor Austin served as the UN Chief Electoral Officer in Cambodia and
Afghanistan. Between 2005 and early 2008 he undertook electoral and
governance related work as an independent consultant with the UN and other
agencies, in Cambodia, the Solomon Islands, Ghana and Timor Leste.

Justice Mtambanengwe, and Professor Austin were actively involved with the
political and armed struggle of the Zimbabwean nationalist movement during
the 1960s and 1970s before Zimbabwe became independent. These commissions
are critical in laying the groundwork for next year's elections.

In an interview yesterday, Tsvangirai said the meeting of the leadership on
Friday provided a "candid evaluation" of the Global Political Agreement and
the fragile government.

"We all think there should be greater pace on the constitution-making,
National Healing and setting up of independent commissions," he said
describing as "cautiously optimistic" their assessment of the performance of
the Government of National Unity.

It was important, he said, to confound the sceptics. During his attendance
and participation at the World Economic Forum in Davos last week, world
business leaderssought assurances that Zimbabwe was on the road to recovery.

"I emphasised that the country is on the road to recovery and there is need
to reward it on the progress that has been made," he said.

On ongoing farm invasions, he said Friday's meeting had agreed that no
farmer should be removed from his land until all crops have been harvested.

An audit of the land reform due to commence this week would proceed because
the government wants to move away from land disruptions to productivity and
security of tenure.

He described as "sabre-rattling", "hot air" and "counter-productive" recent
attacks on him and the MDC-T and dismissed suggestions from Zanu PF that his
party bears responsibility for the removal of targeted sanctions against the
leadership of President Robert Mugabe's party and its senior officials by
the Europe and the US.

"For me personally and the MDC-T, we cannot accept liability for a policy
that has been imposed by other countries."

He said what was critical was to ensure that hope is kept alive and the
country does not slide back "because we have the mandate of the people to
deliver. People have expectations"

Asked how this was possible when there were reports of disruptions to
activities of the constitution-making process by Zanu PF supporters, the
Prime Minister said during the meeting of the National Security Council
which also took place on Friday it had been "emphasised" to the security
sector that there should be no interference or hindrance.

In an earlier interview with VOA, the Prime Minister said that early
elections could be the only way to solve the country's political problems.

In an interview he said talks about fully implementing the agreement that
brought about Zimbabwe's unity government, set to resume Monday, are
unlikely to resolve the outstanding issues.

"There is going to be a deadlock, and I have said to our party
representative that let's finalise this, let's not procrastinate by saying
we are going to have another meeting. Let's see what we have agreed and what
we have not agreed," said Tsvangirai. "Therefore we are able to say to
President Zuma and Sadc that Zanu PF is refusing to implement and therefore
as far as we are concerned the only solution is that let's agree on a road
map to an election."

Zuma is mandated by the Southern African Development Community with
facilitating talks on the implementation of the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) which brought about Zimbabwe's power-sharing government. Sadc is a
guarantor of the deal along with the African Union and South Africa.

Tsvangirai told VOA that the political and legal environment will have to
change before any further poll is conducted in Zimbabwe.

"We cannot go into an election under the same conditions. It will not be an
election it will be war as usual," he said. "Remove all the intimidation,
all the violence we can undertake an election in this country and beat Zanu
PF. What we want is a new constitution. Yes, there have been some delays,
but I think that the consultation will be in line for us to have a
referendum by November or October. Then we can decide the date of election
next year."

BY OUR STAFF/VOA


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Minister Returns Govt Vehicles

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 20:58

MINES Minister Obert Mpofu has returned two top-of-the-range vehicles - an
Isuzu and a Pajero - he illegally took away from the Ministry of Industry
and International Trade when he changed portfolios last year.

The revelation comes as pressure mounts on government officials who took
state assets to return the property or face consequences.

Mpofu is one of several government officials named in a damning report to
parliament on the rampant looting of assets by ministers and permanent
secretaries.

The report, prepared by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public
Accounts, reveals how government officials took advantage of the political
impasse between Zanu PF and the MDC formations to grab state assets.

The report notes that during this period - which saw the country being run
without a cabinet between the March 28, 2008 elections and February last
year - senior government officials took advantage of the political vacuum to
loot state assets.

It recommends the dismissal of some of the officials for "gross
incompetence".

Presenting the committee's report on the Comptroller and Auditor-General's
2009 first quarter special report on Thursday, Hatfield MP Tapiwa Mashakada
said they will deal with culprits once their report is adopted.

"Once our report is adopted by Parliament, we will follow up all those cases
to make sure that remedial measures are taken," Mashakada said.

But while the report awaits adoption, information reaching The Standard
shows that one of the ministers heavily censured in the report has already
returned government property.

Mpofu told The Standard that he had returned two vehicles to his former
Ministry of Industry and Commerce.

"This is not an issue anymore," said Mpofu. "It's you in the media who want
to make it an issue. I returned the vehicles some two months ago."

The Minister of Industry and Commerce Welshman Ncube confirmed receiving two
vehicles from Mpofu. "Yes, he has returned two vehicles, an Isuzu and a
Pajero which are now in the hands of the director of finance."

Mpofu's conduct did not escape scrutiny or censure in the Parliamentary
report.

The report noted that when he was still Minister of Industry and
International Trade, Mpofu and his former permanent secretary, retired
Colonel Christian Katsande, illegally took two and four vehicles
respectively when they changed portfolios last year.

The committee concluded that the accountability for both financial resources
and state assets by the ministry "leaves a lot to be desired".

"Hon. Minister Mpofu and Col. Katsande should return two vehicles each,
which they were using while they were still with the Ministry of Industry
and Commerce," recommended the 16-page report.
It added: "In its view, the behaviour by such senior public officials of
unlawfully taking away vehicles when they leave ministries was quite
unfortunate and deplorable."

Katsande is now Deputy Chief Secretary in the Department of Economic
Research and Policy Analysis in the Office of the President and Cabinet.

It remained unclear if he has since returned the cars as he was not
reachable for comment.
Mpofu said he "temporarily took" the vehicles because he had nothing to use
when he left the ministry. "You wanted me to walk to work? I wanted to use
them because I had nothing to use at the time," he said.

It was not just the Ministry of Industry and International Trade where the
Comptroller and Auditor-General found evidence of gross incompetence,
irregularities and general maladministration.

A total of 14 vehicles donated to the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and
Social Welfare by the Reserve Bank in 2008 were neither recorded in the
vehicle register nor the donations registered.

Vehicle registration papers were not produced and therefore the report said
specification details of the vehicles were not known to the ministry.

"The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe should consider permanent transfer of vehicles
which they donated to the Ministry of Public Service as currently their
status cannot be ascertained," says the report.
The committee also recommended that the central bank return the US$7 million
it took from the Registrar-General's Office.

The office used to bank with the central bank but can no longer access the
money.
Mashakada's committee also recommended the dismissal of permanent secretary
in the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment, Prince
Mupazviriho, for "gross incompetence" after he unprocedurally employed more
than 10 000 officers who were drawing monthly salaries.

The report noted that the ministry had misrepresented facts by making an
entry of the same date of birth of 18 April 1980 for all ward youth officers
when it could have asked the actual dates of birth from the youths.

It also noted cases where signatories would draw salaries for youth officers
and convert them to personal use.

There were 423 names of officers duplicated on the payroll.

"The committee recommends that the accounting officer should institute
measures to recover moneys paid out to officers as a result of names
duplicated on the payroll.

"It further recommends that the accounting officer should be dismissed for
such gross incompetence," adds the report.

In her report for the first quarter of 2009 financial year tabled in
parliament the Comptroller and Auditor-General Mildred Chiri revealed that
state assets such as vehicles, laptops, computers, fax machines, cell phones
and spares of cars were stolen but no police reports were made.

She also noted that fuel coupons and cash were being misappropriated.

BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE


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Governor in Trouble over Slain MDC-T Activist

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 20:48

A storm is brewing in the Midlands where Zanu PF supporters are pushing for
the resignation of provincial governor Jason Machaya, whom they accuse of
fuelling divisions and lawlessness in the province.
The squabbles have sucked in senior party officials from rival factions in
the former ruling party.
Machaya is also Zanu PF provincial chairperson for the Midlands.

Among other things, those calling for Machaya's resignation said he "failed
to show leadership" in a case where his son Farai Machaya and three others
were charged with the murder of Moses Chokuda, a Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC-T) activist in March last year.

The murder occurred during a dispute over sugar donated by the First Lady
Grace Mugabe, which was allegedly diverted to Farai Machaya's shop.

Almost a year after the murder, recorded in police records under CR No.
130/03/09, the body is still stuck at the mortuary.

Some time last year a Gokwe resident, Dakarai Matimbire, petitioned senior
government officials and security chiefs on the matter.

"How long shall the people of Gokwe wait for the governor to bury this
beloved person?" reads the petition.

Matimbire said what had further pained them was the endorsement of Farai
Machaya to be among Zanu PF national youth representatives.

He called on the authorities to "do something as the support of the party is
decreasing day by day in Gokwe".

"Surely with all these serious allegations the man should just resign from
the party because he has tarnished the image of the party in the whole of
Gokwe. Spot checks will reveal these," adds the petition.
Machaya yesterday confirmed that the body had still not been buried, but
said it would be illegal for him to facilitate the burial.

However, he said while his son was indeed part of the murder case, he was a
victim as the deceased was among people who broke into his shop.

"It is correct that my son is also implicated, but he is implicated as a
victim," said Machaya. The matter is before the courts, and we should allow
the courts to do their job, "

Sources in the province said Machaya "appeared to be going too far" when he
attempted to reverse the nomination of Auxillia Mnangagwa on the Central
Committee, replacing her with Vongai Muchengeti.

Although Muchengeti was "overwhelmingly thrashed" with a margin of more than
2 000 votes in her central committee bid, party heavyweights in the
province, namely Rugare Gumbo, Flora Bhuka, Jabulani Mangena and Machaya,
reportedly influenced her nomination by the presidency into the central
committee.

On December 30, members of the party's Kwekwe administrative district
petitioned the party's leadership over Muchengeti's nomination.
Muchengeti could not be reached for comment. Machaya said the matter was
"currently being handled by the province and a comment will be published in
due course".

BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE


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Shabanie Mine Shooting: Fire Destroys Case Record

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 18:48

SHABANIE Mine's wage dispute, which last year saw police shooting two
workers during a peaceful demonstration, has taken a new twist following a
break-in at the offices of lawyers representing employees in the case.

The SMM Holdings-owned asbestos mine has been struggling to pay its workers
for over a year leading to intermittent strikes.

During the break-in a fortnight ago, a file for various cases pitting the
beleaguered mine's workers against management on one hand and the police on
the other was burnt and destroyed.

Tichaona Chivasa, the Zvishavane lawyer representing the mine workers, said
nothing was stolen and they suspected the only reason for the break-in was
to destroy the file.

"The break-in took place on Sunday afternoon and nothing was stolen but one
big file with papers for the Shabanie Mine cases was burnt right inside the
office," Chivasa said.

"Other files were scattered all over the office, desks were moved from their
usual positions and drawers were thrown all over.

"There are very new computers in the office but they were not stolen,
raising the suspicion that there was a deliberate intention to destroy that
single file."

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed that police received a report
on the break-in, which he said resulted in the theft of a jacket and a
shirt.

Chivasa said the destroyed file had papers for a criminal case in which the
mine is suing 13 employees for public violence.

The charges emanate from an incident where two of the 13 affected workers
were shot by police in September during a peaceful protest against eight
months of non-payment.

The three were shot as they fled from teargas thrown by the police to
disperse more than 2 000 workers who had convened for a meeting with
management.

One of the workers, Alluwis Zhou (32) was assaulted with a gun and shot in
his left hand and in the left leg.

The other two, Leonard Simbarashe Chinhadada (30) and Taurai Zhou (50), were
shot in their legs while fleeing from the police.

"The other papers were for a labour case in which we are challenging unfair
dismissals of more than 100 employees, including the three who were shot in
September," Chivasa said.

"We are also trying to recover unpaid salaries for the workers, some of whom
were dismissed last month after working but receiving no pay since February
last year."

Chivasa said management at the company did not allow the workers' legal
representatives to the hearings leading to their dismissals.

He added that the three who were shot were dismissed when they returned from
60-days' sick leave recommended by doctors who treated them.

The incidents around the Shabanie Mine case last year prompted the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions to call for the resignation of the co- Ministers of
Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi (Zanu PF) and Giles Mutsekwa (MDC-T), whom it
accused of failing to control the police.

Mutsekwa then expressed concern over the developments and said the ministry
was going to spearhead a thorough investigation.

Mohadi last week said the ministry was "not going to divulge the
investigation's findings until they have been presented to cabinet and that
is going to happen in due course".

SMM Holdings administrator, Arafas Gwarazimba was not reachable for comment
last week but in the past he has maintained that he would not discuss the
affairs of the company in the media.

BY JENNIFER DUBE


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Heavy Load Leaves Prisoner Crippled

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 18:39

A Mutorashanga man who was jailed for rape while in his teens was yesterday
set free with a damaged spine blamed on abuse by prison guards.

Liberty Mudyiwa (now 22) from Caeser Mine was imprisoned in 2004 when he was
convicted of rape and served five years and eight months.

His release was not short of drama after officials from an NGO that had
offered to take him to his rural home were blocked from doing so at the last
minute.

The Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS), which had sought assistance in the first
place, ended up using its own transport.

Describing how Mudyiwa got injured, sources said on January 15, 2008, the
young man was forced to carry a huge log.

"He did bring it to the attention of the authorities that the load was too
heavy for him but he was forced to carry it all the same," said a source.

"He was very unfortunate because he broke his spinal code from carrying out
that task."

The sources said Mudyiwa was only taken to hospital four days later after
relatives who visited him expressed concern over his condition.

"At hospital, he could not be attended to immediately and was therefore
advised to come back later, which he did on the February 6, 2008.

"Unfortunately, he was to receive the devastating news that he had delayed a
little too long for his condition to deteriorate into what the doctors
called spinal shock."

Mudyiwa has been confined to a wheelchair since that day and he served the
rest of his sentence in that condition.

Sources said the cash-strapped ZPS had requested an NGO which cannot be
identified, with the transportation of Mudyiwa back to his village.

But the decision was reversed at the last minute after the ZPS said it had
found a vehicle to transport Mudyiwa.

"We smell a rat," a source said. "They are probably afraid of having the
matter spill into the public.
"ZPS bosses are the ones who requested the NGO to assist and one wonders why
they decided to cancel the arrangement at the last minute."

ZPS spokesperson Priscilla Mutembo yesterday confirmed Mudyiwa's release but
said she would have all the details about the case on Monday.

BY JENNIFER DUBE


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2 Million Face Starvation as Crops Fail

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 18:06

BULAWAYO - Over two million Zimbabweans face starvation before the harvest
season in March, a huge jump from the December figure of 1,74 million, a
survey conducted by a USAid food monitoring agency has revealed.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) said the number of
Zimbabweans in need of emergency food aid now stands at 2,17 million.

"The number of food-insecure people in both rural and urban areas was
estimated at 1,74 million between October and December 2009, 66% of them in
the rural areas," Fewsnet warned in a report released on Tuesday.

"This is projected to rise to 2,17 million between January and March 2010,
as cereal stocks among farming households bottom out and household incomes
remain low."

The projected food shortages, worsened by a prolonged dry spell during the
current cropping season, have added pressure on the cash-strapped coalition
government to import food.

Agriculture Minister Joseph Made last week said the country needs to
urgently import 500 000 tonnes of maize to avert the food shortages.

"What is critical is that the Ministry of Finance should already start work
on the basis of the national grain reserves, which are known to be 500 000
tonnes," Made told the state media.

Made said the government would produce its first crop assessment report on
February 15.

The grain shortages have been worsened by Zanu PF's renewed onslaught on
white-owned commercial farmers.

Farmer organisations have forecast a disastrous season saying the country
needs to import more than half its annual grain requirements of two million
tonnes.

Zimbabwe has faced food shortages since 2000 following the chaotic land
reform programme that saw landless blacks, with the approval of President
Robert Mugabe, drive out white commercial farmers.

The disturbances resulted in the collapse of the agricultural sector which
was the backbone of the economy.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU


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Hwedza Man Claims Zuma is his Father

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 18:05

A 30-year-old Zimbabwean man claims to be the love child of South Africa
President Jacob Zuma.
Dudzai Nyamuramba, of Hwedza, alleges that Zuma met his mother, Maggie
Sandimunyonga, while in exile in Mozambique. His mother, he says, has since
died.

In an interview with iLanga newspaper, Nyamuramba said he longed for the
opportunity to finally meet Zuma. He said he arrived in South Africa in June
last year, looking to be united with his father. "I would love to meet my
father and the rest of my family. I tried going to Nkandla, but I was
arrested," he said.

Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane confirmed that Nyamuramba was
arrested in January.

"He was in the country illegally as he didn't have a passport. He was taken
to immigration offices and we don't know if he was ever deported to
Zimbabwe," he said.

Earlier this week, Nyamuramba went to the Westville police station, pleading
his case, and asked them to assist him in his quest to be united with his
father. A police officer at the station, who would not be named, said a
dejected Nyamuramba had arrived at the station with his suitcase, claiming
to be the son of Jacob Zuma.

According to the officer, he bore a striking resemblance to Zuma. "He was
very tired, and he kept on asking us to take him to Nkandla so he could meet
his 'relatives'. I don't know whether he is or isn't Zuma's child, but he
sure does look like him," said the officer.

Another officer at the police station said: "This guy didn't want anything
from Zuma; he just wanted to be acknowledged as his son. He seemed so
desperate to meet the family that he never knew.
"I don't think the Zuma family will easily allow him into their nest, but
with the number of kids that Zuma has, I wouldn't be surprised if he really
is who he claims to be."

The officers said after Nyamuramba could not get any assistance at the
police station, he left, saying he would eventually find his father.

Repeated attempts to get comments from Zuma's spokesman, Vincent Magwenya,
were unsuccessful as his phone rang unanswered.

Zuma's brother, Michael's cellphone was switched off.- Pretoria News

By Nondumiso Mbuyazi


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Ziyapapa Moyo’s Family Blasts Zanu PF

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 17:56

ELLINA Mnkandla Moyo, the wife of the late veteran nationalist Jason
Ziyapapa Moyo, was buried last week without any state assistance.

The development has riled the family of the Zipra stalwart and his former PF
Zapu colleagues who accuse Zanu PF of double standards.

Moyo’s death came less than a month after the late Zanu first vice-president
Leopold Takawira’s wife, Sunny, was buried at the Heroes’ Acre after she was
declared a national heroine.

Retired Colonel Thomas Ngwenya, a former Zipra commander and a spokesperson
for the Moyo family, said no single Zanu PF official attended the burial at
West Park cemetery.

“The passing on of our dear mother has left us as a family with many
questions about the people of this region,” said Ngwenya on Friday.

“It is disturbing that Zanu PF and other arms of government did not bother
providing us with assistance in our time of need.”

This is not the first time Zanu PF has dithered when it comes to awarding
hero status to former Zapu and Zipra veterans.

Several of them including Zipra commander, Lookout Masuku, were only given
recognition long after their burials.

Last year former Zipra intelligence chief Dumiso Dabengwa led a Zapu
breakaway from Zanu PF protesting against the skewed implementation of their
Unity Accord.

Ngwenya said they had to proceed with the burial without government
assistance because they risked incurring more costs.

“There was no communication with the family. So we decided to lay our mother
to rest and then look at other things later,” he said.

“We met the costs of the burial as a family. This means that we have to make
representations as a family for the government to reimburse us.”

Zapu spokesperson, Methuseli Moyo said the treatment of Moyo’s widow had
vindicated their withdrawal from the Unity Accord.

“This is a simple tale of tribal and regional politics,” he said. “There is
no way Ziyapapa Moyo’s wife can be buried at West Park Cemetery while
Takawira’s wife, whose contribution to the liberation war is almost the same
is buried at the Heroes’ Acre.

“Zanu PF has showed all and sundry that it believes in politics of
discrimination and regionalism.

“It is high time Zimbabweans and the people of Matabeleland stand up and
challenge this kind of politics.

Zanu PF provincial chairman, Isaac Dakamela, said they were still to meet as
a province to deliberate on Moyo’s status.

He said members of the provincial executive were “scattered all over” making
it difficult for them to organise a meeting.

Ziyapapa Moyo died during the liberation struggle after he recieved a parcel
bomb in Zambia in 1977.

BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA


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Workers Left in a Lurch after Training Centre Changes Hands

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 17:44

ABOUT 50 workers at St Lucia Park Training and Conference Centre in Harare
face a bleak future after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority donated the place to Zimbabwe Defence Forces. ZDF later
offered the centre to Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
secretariat to establish the Sadc Regional Peace-Training Centre (RPTC).

The workers say St Lucia was jointly owned by RBZ and Zimra. They have been
given up to March to vacate the centre.

According to a Sadc report, the facility was given to the RPTC without any
conditions.

"To facilitate the smooth takeover of St Lucia Park by Sadc RPTC, the
government of Zimbabwe has allowed staff at St Lucia Park to continue with
their operations for one year," the report said.

In March 2009 the works council signed an urgent petition addressed to RBZ
governor, Gideon Gono, Zimra Commissioner General Geshom Pasi and chairman
of the St Lucia board, a Mr Chasi.

Part of the petition reads: "St Lucia Park Private Limited employees are not
against the handover of the facility but the main concerns are that no
official communication has been received by the employees from the employer
on the change of ownership.

"This development has caused a lot of confusion and uncertainty with regards
to employees' fate and welfare.

"We the undersigned on behalf of all the employees at St Lucia Park
Conference Centre call on the current shareholders, RBZ and Zimra to
formally communicate the official position of the handover, in as far as
staff welfare is concerned.

"With particular reference to employees' current employment contracts as
non-communication and non-involvement of staff is being viewed as
constructive dismissal and bad faith on the part of the employer."

The workers said Gono and the other board members did not respond to the
petition.

"They ignored the petition. We don't even know what to do and some workers
have been here for more than 20 years, what is going to happen to them?"
said one of the employees.

Contacted for comment, Chasi said he was not aware of the petition and the
plight of the workers.

"I don't have a comment because I am not aware of the petition, I have never
seen it," he said.
Pasi said he could not comment as he was on leave.

BY SANDRA MANDIZVIDZA



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Sombre Birthday for Ailing GNU

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 16:16

ZIMBABWE'S unity government will mark its first anniversary this week but
there is will be no popping of champagne corks.

On February 11 last year then opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was sworn
in as Prime Minister as part of a unity government that most Zimbabweans
hoped would end an economic and political crisis that had gripped the
country for nearly a decade.

The coalition government was the result of the September 15, 2008
power-sharing agreement signed by the two Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) formations led by Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara and President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu PF.

The marriage of convenience was forced by the inconclusive elections of
March 2008 that were accompanied by political violence on a scale last
witnessed during the Gukurahundi era.

A festive atmosphere enveloped Zimbabwe as most people saw the unity
government as a chance for a complete break away from what was considered
the worst economic and humanitarian crisis in decades.
The coalition's immediate task was to deal with an economy in ruins, civil
servants who had gone for almost a year without reporting for work, endemic
political violence, an estimated 90% unemployment and a cholera epidemic
that had killed close to 4 000 people.

However, a year later the number of Zimbabweans who still share that
optimism is diminishing.
University of Zimbabwe political science lecturer, Eldred Masunungure whose
Mass Public Opinion Institute (MPOI) has been tracking the performance of
the unity government said it was no longer a theoretical assumption.

"The euphoria that greeted the formation of the unity government has greatly
subsided and there is empirical evidence to support that," Masunungure said.

"It has gone down from above 80% around March/April to 66% in December."

Masunungure says Zimbabweans had underestimated the work that awaited the
unity government to haul the country back to its former glory after it had
reached rock bottom.

"We see that realism is now setting in on the general public who had great
expectations for the new administration," he said. "Many people had
seriously underestimated the gravity of the situation.
"Zimbabwe had reached the bottom and for it to rise to the ground floor it
would take time."

He said the disillusionment was aptly demonstrated by the current unrest in
the civil service over salaries.
Civil servants have downed tools because the unity government says it does
not have money to improve their salaries of around US$150 a month for the
lowest paid employee.

Tendai Chikowore, the chairperson of the APEC Council summed up the
frustrations on Friday.
"When the GNU was formed, we all rejoiced thinking that it was the panacea
of our social and economic problems but we have been proven wrong,"
Chikowore told a mass rally of civil servants clamouring for strike action.

"There is a lot of bickering about this and that in the GNU but we are yet
to hear them fight about our cause.
"It is painful to see them fighting over other things and yet continue to
ignore our welfare.
"If you look closely at the bickering, it is all about increasing
expenditure to improve their personal lifestyle. They fight about top-of
the-range cars and nothing about their employees, we are as good as people
without an employer."

One of the biggest expectations was that the formation of a government with
reform-minded people especially from the two MDC formations would see the
return of traditional donors.

However, government revenues remain negligible because companies are still
producing below capacity and key donors have taken a wait-and-see approach
because of the coalition partners' failure to fully implement their
power-sharing agreement.

The crisis of confidence seems to be also taking its toll on the MDC-T, a
party many Zimbabweans believed would take them to the promised land.

In a statement on the eve of the GNU's first anniversary MDC-T secretary
general Tendai Biti accused Zanu PF of working overtime to ensure that the
unity government does not deliver on its promise.

"Over the past 12 months the MDC has repeatedly shown its willingness to
work with Zanu PF to rebuild Zimbabwe, restore the people's freedoms and
deliver real change as agreed in the Global Political Agreement (GPA)," he
said.

Biti believes Zanu PF is trying to create conditions for the total breakdown
of the inclusive government.
The former ruling party recently announced that it would not make any more
compromises in the ongoing talks to resolve outstanding issues in the GPA
until sanctions imposed by the West were removed.

This position coupled with the renewed farm invasions and escalating
violence ahead of the new constitution-making process has heightened fears
that the inclusive government will not last another year. But Masunungure
believes the uneasy coalition will run its course despite the seemingly
insurmountable problems.

"It is in the nature of some of these regimes to wobble along," he said. "It
will survive.
"The problem is that people in the media tend to sensationalize some issues.
"How many times was the collapse of the previous Zanu PF regime predicted in
the media?"

Both Zanu PF and MDC seem to be readying themselves for an election next
year, which means that the unity government might only serve two years.

BY KHOLWANI NYATHI


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Donors Rescue Mpilo Hospital

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 14:36

BULAWAYO - Mpilo Hospital is sustaining its operations through donations
from well wishers because government has not released most of the promised
funding since the beginning of last year.
For the financial year 2010, the government allocated US$285.4 million to
the Ministry of Health against last year's US$121 million.

Bulawayo governor, Cain Mathema said Mpilo hospital needed about US$600 000
to adequately fund its operations but has so far received only US$60 000
from government coffers and in donations.

Mathema said due to lack of funding, boilers at the hospital were not
working while the kitchen and nurses' homes needed repairs.

He said there were shortages of linen and bedding at the hospital's wards
that must be addressed urgently.

"The zeal and interest to return Mpilo Hospital onto the map of the country's
best health institutions is there," Mathema added. "What is only lacking is
the financial power."

The 1 000-bed hospital caters for referrals from within Bulawayo,
Matabeleland North, Matabeleland South, the Midlands, and Masvingo.

The plight of the hospital came under the spotlight during a visit by
British MPs last week.

The eight MPs from the House of Commons' International Development Committee
were in Zimbabwe on a four-day visit to review the effectiveness of the
United Kingdom's aid programme.

Ellen Chikerema, a senior nurse at Mpilo told visitors that the lack of
funding had hampered the procurement of essential equipment for laundry,
kitchen and boiler services.

"Our situation was worsened by the fact that the government allocation did
not come as promised," she said.
"We have been waiting for that and it is our hope that the money will come
at a later stage."

She said it was difficult for Mpilo to survive on the funds that are
realised when people pay for admission into the hospital.

"That amount is insufficient to shoulder all the expenses incurred by the
institution," Chikerema said.
Health and Child Welfare Minister, Dr Henry Madzorera demanded questions in
writing but was yet to reply at the time of going to print.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti had also set aside US$15 million in this year's
budget for the revamping of infrastructure at Harare, Mpilo and Mutare
central hospitals.

BY OUR STAFF


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US delegation to Review Zimbabwe Power-sharing Deal

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 14:27

A US Congressional delegation will visit Zimbabwe this month to review the
power- sharing deal, the embassy confirmed last week.
The delegation will also review US humanitarian work in Zimbabwe.
The delegation is expected in the country after Finance Minister Tendai Biti's
visit to Washington to lobby for the restoration of Zimbabwe's voting rights
in the International Monetary Fund.

An upbeat Biti last week said he had met congressmen who had pushed for the
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (Zidera) during his recent
visit to Washington.

US embassy spokesperson, Tim Gerhardson confirmed to The Standard about the
impending congressional visit, saying that notice would be given when the
team is due in Zimbabwe.

Gerhardson would however not say whether the delegation's visit signalled
Washington's determination to amend Zidera which empowers US executive
directors in multilateral financial institutions to vote against any
extension of any loan, credit, or guarantee to the government of Zimbabwe.

"I am not aware that there are amendments being discussed in the US
Congress. It's an issue for US Congress," he said.

Gerhardson said Zimbabwe had made progress on the economic front but noted
it was lagging on the political and democratic fronts.

The proposed amendments come at a time Washington has said it will support
Harare's campaign to regain its voting rights in the International Monetary
Fund.

Zimbabwe needs to mobilise 70% of the total voting power in the IMF
Executive Board.

However, if Zidera were to be amended today, Zimbabwe still faces some
hurdles as it owes multilateral institutions US$1.3 billion.

The debt has to be cleared before the credit lines are opened and analysts
fear the impasse on how the country's external debt could be cleared will
delay the process.

"You can repeal Zidera today but you cannot get resources from international
financial institutions until we pay the debts," said Gorden Moyo, Minister
of State in PM's office.

The Zimbabwe ruling coalition partners are haggling over the clearance of
the country's debt.

MDC-T says if the country is classified as a Highly Indebted Poor Country
(HIPC) it will create fiscal space for poverty reduction interventions to
promote economic growth.

But Zanu PF believes the country is "too rich to be poor" and can use its
vast mineral resources to clear the US$5.7 billion total external debt.

Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister, Saviour
Kasukuwere, told a stakeholders meeting on Thursday that HIPC can only be
taken on board if sanctions are removed.

"HIPC is a programme worth considering but we as political players have to
make sure that the areas we are operating in are opened up.
"We can go for HIPC until those who put sanctions realise that they have to
be removed," he said.
Moyo sees it differently.

"HIPC is a sanctions-busting method that by the end of it we would have
resources.

Chris Mutsvangwa, Zimbabwe's former ambassador to China says Zimbabwe can
use its mineral resources to clear its debt, capitalising on the demand for
minerals.

"This is prime time for Africa because our resources are in demand. We have
a Kirsty Coventry in the minerals Olympics," he said.

Coventry is Zimbabwe's world swimming champion.

For a country to qualify it should be an International Development
Assistance (IDA) -only and Poverty Reduction Growth Facility eligible and
should have per capita income of less than US$1 095.

Zimbabwe is not yet IDA-only and owes IMF US$138 million under the Poverty
Reduction Growth Facility Trust. However per capita income as of 2008 was
US$340.

For a country to qualify it has to face a sustainable debt burden.

The country should establish a track record of reform and sound policy
implementation under the auspices of an IMF and IDA supported programmes.

At the end of last year, Zimbabwe met most of the conditions.
For the country to attain the HIPC status it also has to clear multilateral
arrears to IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank.

The trio has a preferred creditors' status meaning that arrears have to be
cleared first before a country can benefit from the HIPC debt relief.

The HIPC initiative is credited for reducing debt service paid.

Of the 35 countries in which the HIPC package was approved debt service paid
declined by 2.5% of Gross Domestic Product between 1999 and 2007.

BY OUR STAFF


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‘Investor confidence crucial for economic recovery’: WB

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 14:22

PROGRESS in restoring investor confidence will be crucial to Zimbabwe’s
sustained economic recovery, the World Bank President has said.
Robert Zoellick, the WB chief who was speaking from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,
during a video conference that linked 20 African countries, said Zimbabwe’s
economic reforms to date — including use of multiple foreign currencies,
cash budgets, and liberalised foreign exchange markets — have helped reverse
the economic decline.

He said Zimbabwe was not being treated differently say from Ghana or Uganda,
adding: “Zimbabwe has a substantial arrears to the World Bank which has
prevented the World Bank from providing the same type and level of support
it has to Ghana and Uganda.

“However, the Bank is providing limited financial support through special
grant financing and substantial advisory and technical support, with support
inter alia from the Analytical Multi-donor Trust Fund, administered by the
Bank.”

What helps, he said was that Zimbabwe has better-growing neighbours. “So in
the case of Zimbabwe, we help manage a Multi-Donor Trust Fund that has tried
to provide technical assistance for the new government to understand some of
the challenges that they’re going to need to take on both with the
macro-economic issues, but also some of the structural dimensions.

“We had always kept some funding through some NGOs for some basic health
purposes. Obviously there’s still issues there, as you know better than I
do, about how the unity government can co-operate, some challenges with the
central bank. Now one other issue we’d have to deal with Zimbabwe, is that
there’s been large arrears built up, in other words, the debts from the
past, and these would have to get cleared up and we have a procedure to work
with donors to do that, but that depends on the donors' sense of whether the
government in Zimbabwe is making the right progress.

“But we would like to work with regional partners, assuming that the
government stays on the path and creates an opportunity for true unity,
overcomes some of the problems of its past. So we’re trying to position
ourselves to work closely with the African Development Bank to be able to
support that process.”
Zoellick, who in the Ethiopian capital for the just-ended African Union
summit, said relations with Harare have been “good” with constructive
dialogue on a range of economic and project issues, including discussions of
special grant support in the water and agriculture sectors.

He said infrastructure rehabilitation was crucial to rebuilding Zimbabwe’s
economy and human services, adding that once the arrears to the Bank are
cleared the Bank would be able to resume International Development
Assistance (IDA) support for infrastructure and other investments. “There is
also a possibility of some support before the arrears are cleared through a
‘Pre-Arrears Clearance Grant’ once economic reform is on a sustained track.”

BY OUR STAFF


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Poaching Threat to Wildlife

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 14:17

BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe may never know the extent of the wanton poaching that
has decimated the country's wildlife now because the government does not
have the money to carry out a game census.
The revelations came on the eve of a visit this week by Cites chief Willem
Wijnstekers, which might open a can of worms on organised illegal hunting of
game in Zimbabwe.

Wijnstekers will hold talks with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana, Police
Commissioner- General Augustine Chihuri and Zimra boss Geshom Pasi.

The Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority (ZPWMA) is supposed to
carry out a game census every year to determine hunting quotas.

However, it has been unable to carry out any game count since 2008, a
development that has unsettled conservationists.

The last census had revealed that the parks and estates had 100 000
elephants, 25 000 buffaloes and 70 00 zebras.

Some conservationists have accused the authority of deliberately delaying
the census to hide the extent of poaching by its officials working in
cohorts with ministers and other senior government officials.

"The problem with illegal hunting is that it is taking place with the
assistance of national parks officials and there are many cases where they
are involved, either for personal gain or because they are following orders
from more senior officials or politicians," chairman of the Zimbabwe
Conservation Taskforce (ZCTF) Johnny Rodrigues said in an interview.

But Caroline Washaya Moyo, the ZPWMA public relations officer, blamed the
developments on financial challenges.

"This (2008) is the last time that a wildlife population census was
conducted as the authority was facing challenges financially and hence there
were limited resources to enable it to constantly do a country-wide wildlife
count," Washaya-Moyo said without revealing how much is required to
undertake the exercise.

She dismissed Rodrigues' allegations that the delays could be deliberate as
baseless.

The country has been plagued by an upsurge in poaching activities.

In December, government had to suspend the issuing of hunting licences to
curb poaching.
According to statistics provided by the ZCTF, the country last year lost 350
rhinos, 20 000 zebras and over 6 000 elephants to poachers.

Most rhino horns and zebra skins leaving the country and southern Africa as
a whole are destined for medicinal markets in southeast and east Asia,
especially Vietnam and China.

Wildlife tourism was once one of the country's major foreign currency
earners before a decade of invasions of national parks by President Robert
Mugabe's supporters.

BY NQOBANI NDLOVU


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Comment: Sowing Seeds of Distrust

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 15:59

AFRICA is not poor. It only has a preponderance of poor leaders. Since the
first school term of 2010 started nearly a month ago, the government has not
been able to resolve the problem of civil servants' salaries.
The repeated chorus by government to demands by its workers has been that
the government has no money. It is not difficult to understand the seething
anger among civil servants: They see a government ever ready to dispatch
endless delegations and entourages to every available international
conference and they wonder how the same government can afford so many trips,
whose outcomes remain questionable yet plead impecuniousity.

More than two weeks ago government workers gave the government an ultimatum
to raise salaries. The response has been paltry piecemeal offers.

Civil servants have been patient enough and have given enough warnings of
industrial action. Now the government has to decide on several issues, among
them the ostentatious lifestyle of its ministers and officials and what it
is doing with the revenue inflows from the Chiadzwa diamond fields and the
toll gates. Evidence of lack of maintenance of major roads abounds, yet the
government has been collecting revenue from tollgates for several months.

Government workers declared a strike on Friday after their demands of a
US$630 minimum monthly wage fell on deaf ears. Civil servants are
unconvinced that the sacrifices they are being exhorted to make are shared
by those calling for such measures. There appears to be one law for the
haves and another for the have-nots. The workers see no one sympathising
with or willing to acknowledge their plight.

Out of their derisory monthly US$160 allowance that the government calls a
salary, government workers are expected to pay for rentals, electricity,
water, food, and clothing as well as meet school fees for their children and
transportation. The latest offer would have seen the least paid workers
taking home just less than 50% of what the workers are demanding for their
lowest-paid members. The government has taxed the patience of its workers,
whose members see the revenue inflows into Treasury.

The consequences of the strike will be severe. For the first time since 1998
when the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions led significant industrial action
in this country Friday's declaration will paralyse all government services.
The impact of the action by government workers will deal a severe blow to
attempts by the Government of National Unity at economic recovery.

The signs of disgruntlement have been evident since last year when the
government decided on awarding allowances instead of salaries. But a
widening disparity between service charges and what the workers are taking
home appears to have been the last straw.

Major unions representing teachers, health workers, state college and
university lecturers as well as office workers, held a rally attended by
thousands of workers at the Harare Gardens. There were angry scenes which
saw the leadership of the workers being shouted down by their members, who
said they would only return to work after the government has addressed their
demands.

The irony is that a government that was created out of negotiations and
compromise has not shown its ability to learn from past lessons. For the
first time in decades the failure to act on workers' concerns has ironically
helped to unite feuding unions.

Asking civil servants to exercise more patience when government ministers
are engaged in foreign trips which gobble up vast amounts but whose benefits
are questionable is to mock the intelligence of government workers. The
government has sown seeds of distrust. It might rue its handling of the
workers' grievances.



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Sunday View: Military Answers to Economic Challenges

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 15:43

WHAT are the most important challenges facing Zimbabwe today? Surely
economic challenges are amongst the most important, in particular the high
unemployment rate and the low productivity of the agricultural and
industrial sectors. Yet it seems little attention is being paid to this
critical area. Instead of addressing economic problems directly, our
analysis dodges the economic questions.

One response we keep getting is analysing the problems we face as a
"security" problem, to be solved through military solutions. This is
particularly so at election times.

However, military solutions obviously cannot solve economic problems. Over
the last few years, the per capita income has fallen from US$600 per annum
to US$360 per annum. Meanwhile the cost of living has increased
tremendously. It is not possible to live reasonably on the civil service
monthly income of US$150 a month, even though they are getting five times
the per capita income.

Shame! What are our solutions?

There is no doubt that the armed forces, that is, the Army, Air Force, CIO,
Police and Prison Services, play a very important role in the present and
future development of Zimbabwe. The armed forces have played very important
roles in the development of countries as diverse as China and the United
States, including in many economic fields. In South Korea, the armed forces
were the most advanced modern visionaries and implementers, and played a
critically important role in the modernisation of its economy. In our near
neighbour, Zambia, the armed forces contributed to engineering works such as
road building in the 1970s.

In China, the armed forces played an important part in its early
agricultural and industrial expansion. With some tens of thousands of people
employed in the armed forces, it is time that they contributed to real
economic development. Are they capable of handling these exciting
challenges? The military played an important role in the liberation
struggle. Today they should indeed play a key role as the leaders of the
economic revolution. So far they haven't been able to do so.

Recently we heard that more than 13 000 youths were employed by the Ministry
of Youth in 2008. These youths are still in employment, although apparently
without the permission of the Public Service Commission, which is legally
responsible for the employment of civil servants.

These youths were and are unashamedly partisan, identifying themselves as
supporters of Zanu PF, with the responsibility for beating up and removing
members of the MDCs from their areas. I wonder why the Ministry of Youth
did not identify agricultural or industrial productivity as the most
important challenges facing youth, through which they could have created
jobs and wealth for themselves? If the 13 000 youths had managed to grow say
three tonnes of food each, they could have grown enough food to feed more
than 300 000 people! That would have been a real service to the country.

Unless Zimbabwe faces its economic challenges realistically, we are bound to
continue our downward spiral, depending on donors to feed us and to give us
development funds. We should be ashamed to be beggars. And getting food aid
and donor funds further weakens our agricultural and industrial sectors.
Meanwhile our political leaders are fighting for fancy cars and foreign
trips and the government is bloated with more than 30 ministries, and more
than 60 ministers.

The government appears to spend more time blocking each other than
concentrating on development. We have a golden opportunity to put this
country on the path to development, but we see few signs of this. The
opportunity to invest in agriculture and industry was missed in the last
budget, and Zimbabwe is heading towards yet another year as a beggar for
food.

The last government - that of Zanu PF, tackled the challenge of economic
development through printing lots and lots of paper money and imprisoning
its critics. This is known as the Mobutu- Amin model of development.
Zimbabwean leaders like to boast they are more educated than Mobutu and
Amin, but unfortunately this proved to be an empty boast. In addition to
reliance on the printing press, we also relied on imprisoning industrial and
commercial leaders who broke the price controls. Somehow these tough, very
tough, measures did not lead to higher productivity. They did not build the
economy. Indeed they directly destroyed the economy.

With the Unity Agreement, the printing of useless money has stopped. The
imprisonment of industrial and commercial leaders has stopped. Those two
steps lead us back to sanity. But it is clearly not enough. We still have
not faced up to our economic challenges. We should stop wasting time and
money and face up to these challenges.

Steps that need to be taken include the following negatives:
Stop wasting money on luxuries which we cannot afford. We should realise
that our per capita income is now only US$360 per annum, and as a minimum we
need to return to our former per capita income of US$600 per annum. Whilst
our Sadc neighbours have managed to increase their per capita income, we
have managed to almost halve ours. The government is wasting a lot of
money. Is it going to waste more?

Stop allowing in foreign manufactures and food by imposing customs duties to
support our own farmers and companies. We must support our own farmers and
manufacturers.
Stop the foolish idea that giving "freebies" to political supporters will
bring about development. Zimbabwe has been seriously weakened by this
policy of "patronage" through which so-called leaders give "free" things to
their followers, whilst followers must remain as obedient beggars. The RBZ
apparently spent more than US$1 billion on "freebies". "Freebies" have
turned Zimbabweans into helpless beggars.
Positive steps include:

Invest in seed and fertiliser companies so that our brilliant farmers can
find affordable seeds and fertilisers in the shops. Malawi has shown us how
to do it. Let's keep up with Malawi.

Support our manufacturers instead of favouring foreign manufacturers. For
example, we should impose customs duties on all finished products, instead
of allowing foreign producers to compete unfairly with our own producers.

Foster employment creation. For example, why not have youths employed in
wealth-creation rather than in beating up political rivals? Are we
incapable of organising our youths in progressive ways?

Create more food-for-work and other public works programmes, so that more
people can work. There are a lot of jobs to be done through public works,
such as road building, road repairs and dam building. Why not build a dam
for every village - 10 000 dams to start off with? After World War II,
Japan spent 35% of its budget on Public Works.

Provide better loans and banking facilities for the private sector. China
provides low cost loans for its producers. Let's also give loans to
producers. To begin with we can favour loans to the construction and
engineering industries especially of housing and small dams; to
manufacturers of agricultural inputs and equipment; to pharmaceutical
companies who can produce medicines for the whole of Africa. Let's be
producers rather than beggars.

BY FAY CHUNG


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Sunday Opinion: New Thoughts on Political Parties’ Funding

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 15:43

REGIONAL and global electoral experiences present a positive link between
political parties’ funding and the promotion of multi-party democracy.
Funding for political parties is, among other things, generally credited
with discouraging political parties from resorting to unlawful means of
mobilising financial resources, encouraging competition and offering the
populace genuine options to choose from, and reducing over-reliance by
political parties on corporations, wealthy entrepreneurs and other
individuals who may end up “owning” the parties or being “kingmakers”.

This funding is even more critical in fragile democracies and weak economies
where prospects of securing sufficient funding within the domestic market
are very slim. In countries where the ruling political parties have monopoly
access to state resources, public funding of political parties ensures that
small political parties compete on an almost equal footing with the ruling
parties.

In post-colonial Africa, it acts as an antidote against foreign influence in
local party politics. Regional experiences suggest that access to funding
for political parties remains exclusive as thresholds are too high to be met
by smaller political parties. Set thresholds continue to give undue
advantage of incumbency and bigger parties.

Thus while the principle of public funding of political parties is not
disputed, contested issues are how public funding of political parties can
be made to encourage political pluralism and truly democratic practices.
There is also debate on what basis should political parties and political
candidates be awarded public funding, whether political parties funding
should be awarded after or before elections, whether funding should be
restricted to mere running of election campaigns. There are also unresolved
questions about whether funding for political parties should also be for
running normal party business or routine party operations.

There is also much discussion on how political parties benefitting from
public funding can be made accountable for the use of taxpayers’ money,
whether the public should know the sources of funding of political parties,
and whether political parties and candidates should spend as much as they
can mobilise in an election campaign, without any limit.

Implied in the above fundamental questions is the need for some form of
restriction and monitoring of political parties funding. Regulation of
political parties is a global practice, with even all Sadc countries
regulating political parties through legislation that lays down registration
requirements, conditions for registration or refusal of registration and
suspension of registration.

Public funding of political parties in South Africa is managed by the
Independent Election Commission (IEC), according to the Public Funding of
Represented Political Parties Act No. 3 of 1997 and the Public Funding of
Represented Political Parties Regulations, 1998. All political parties
represented in either the National Assembly or provincial legislatures are
entitled to a percentage of the public funding of political parties in any
financial year for which they are represented in those legislatures

Public political funding is restricted to certain uses, and must be
accounted for by the political party concerned directly to the IEC.

The general consensus is that reasonable limitation on the payment of state
funds to political parties encourages serious political contenders but
discourages triffling parties from being established solely in order to
secure public funding. In Zimbabwe, over the years, there has been a
noticeable trend in which small parties emerge during election time and only
serve to confuse the electorate by splitting votes. However, if the purpose
of such regulation is to control political parties and unduly restrict their
right to freedom of association and existence as political parties, then the
move can be a recipe for mutual suspicion and distrust which can further
poison the political atmosphere.

In Zimbabwe, public funding of political parties was introduced in 1992 with
the enactment of the Political Parties [Finance] Act Chater 2: 04 of 1992.
Prior to this, political parties had to raise funds through membership dues
and contributions, donations (in cash and kind by well-wishers),
investments, fund-raising activities and loans. While initially the Act
provided for state funding of politcal parties which held a minimum of 15
seats in a 120-seat Parliament (or 12% of the seats), this threshold was
repealed in 1997 as currently the threshold for qualification for public
funding is 5% of the vote garnered during the previous general election.

The purpose of the law (in both its original and repealed version) is to
finance political parties which are represented in Parliament, that is those
who will have demonstrated to the electorate that they are a serious party
by winning the prescribed minimum number of seats in a House of Assembly.

Under this Act, political parties which qualify for public funding and wish
to receive funding in terms of the Act are required to make an application
to the Minister of Justice not later than the end of the financial year in
which a general election is held. The Act also prohibits political parties,
members of a political party or candidates from receiving any foreign
donation, whether directly from the donor or indirectly through a third
person.

Although the threshold for qualification for public funding has been reduced
from 12% to 5% of the vote achieved, smaller parties remain disgruntled
about the revised 5% threshold. While the Act provides for regulations to be
made by the Minister of Justice prescribing, inter alia, the regulations are
silent on the form and manner in which records of donations shall be kept by
political parties and the keeping by political parties of proper books of
accounts. It is also mum on the audit of the accounts of political parties,
and the form, content and publication of statements of accounts by political
parties.

Political parties are not required by law to disclose their source of
donations or to account for the use of public funds allocated to them under
the Act. The Act does not set a limit for donations lawfully received by
political parties from private sources.The Minister of Justice has the
mandate to publish a notice in the government gazette specifying the total
amount of moneys appropriated for all political parties and the amount that
shall be paid to each individual political party, and to pay the political
parties. The definition of foreign donation which includes donations made by
non-resident Zimbabwean citizens raises cause for concern as most countries
that prohibit foreign funding do not also prohibit their citizens who are
resident abroad from funding political parties in their home countries.
(Continued next week)’

zesn@africaonline.co.zw or info@zesn.org.zw


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Sunday Opinion: MDC-T Must not Put all its Eggs in one Basket

http://www.thestandard.co.zw/

Saturday, 06 February 2010 15:43

RECENT manoeuvres by Zanu PF point to bigger surprises ahead. The purported
reduction of the powers of the Prime Minister is a gross violation of the
Global Political Agreement (GPA). This coupled with the recent pronouncement
by the Zanu PF politburo that they will not be keeping their end of the
bargain in implementing the GPA (until all targetedsanctions are removed),
is a wakeup call for the MDC-T to act.

In response, the MDC-T must begin to adjust and rethink their strategy to
counter these unfortunate reversals of the crucial reforms which might have
seen Zimbabwe move towards democracy and prosperity. The perpetuation of
violence aimed at stalling the constitution-making process underpins and
highlights a glaring need for the MDC-T to strengthen their stop-gap
measures in the face of a shaky transitional framework.

There are a number of points which the MDC-T must focus their energies on in
order for them to carry the people's mandate forward. The MDC-T needs to
work towards strengthening and building the capacity of the party as the
sole political vehicle accorded the mandate and legitimacy to lead Zimbabwe.
When Morgan Tsvangirai announced the partial disengagement, he did so from
the party offices and worked from there for the duration of the
disengagement. While this might seem ordinary, it highlights the crucial
position of the party in the whole equation. It is only through the party
that Tsvangirai and his team will be able to rally the people in the event
of serious fallout in the GNU.

By party, I am not referring to that building called Harvest House whose
importance I have no illusions about but which alone might not be sufficient
as to constitute a political party.

By party, I mean the Harvest House, the party leadership, party membership,
party discourse, and party education of the masses, party regalia, party
visibility, party structures, institutions and its entire vanguard and
machinery.

The party must have the capacity to engage other parties in the region.
Parties in Africa will never engage civil society organisations - never.
They do not uphold the crucial role of civil society as key democratising
elements. It is only the MDC-T, the party - through its international
relations department, that can open up avenues to other regional political
parties. Only after such openings can some key technical institutions come
along and work together with the party in terms of information packaging and
policy articulation.

Consider South Africa for example, you cannot influence the government of
South Africa unless you penetrate the ANC and other formations which
constitute it - COSATU, SACP etc. Tsvangirai is the Prime Minister of
Zimbabwe (although he won the elections in March) by virtue of being the
President of the MDC-T not the other way round or any other way. The same
applies to most of his ministers and top government officials seconded by
the MDC-T. Unfortunately, the party seems to have been abandoned, as
evidenced by the departure of all senior party officials to focus on
government work - which justifies the call for the MDC-T not to place all
their eggs in the GNU basket.

It is my contention that our democratic endeavours have not yielded enough
to satisfy our aspirations. The situation is not yet ripe. Zanu PF is still
on the war path violating every clause they ought to uphold. This is not to
say that civil society must not criticise corruption in the MDC-T and any
other vices that might emerge.

However, criticising the MDC is different from divorcing it. The broader
goal of democratisation is shared and I do not see why the democratic forces
should not join hands to attain this noble goal.

The broader goal of democratisation is shared and I do not see why the
democratic forces should not join hands to attain this noble goal.

In South Africa, the labour movement is part and parcel of the ANC but we
all know what they are capable of doing if the workers' rights or privileges
have been undermined. Imagine if the ANC and COSATU had been at parallels in
the transitional period in South Africa. Perhaps the rainbow nation with
which South Africans pride themselves would not have been born. In short,
there is need for all to work towards strengthening and supporting the MDC-T
to get rid of the bigger enemy of democracy - Zanu PF.

Secondly, the MDC-T must take the people of Zimbabwe along in their strategy
and tactics - reporting back to, informing and consulting the people on the
broader strategy and moves. The people remain the cornerstone of the MDC's
existence and claim to legitimacy. The people of Zimbabwe have been
steadfast in authoring their future away from Zanu PF.

Since 1999, they have courageously and consistently voted for change. They
have spoken out loudly enough to be heard over the uproar of Zanu PF
violence and intimidation. It is now on public record, the ordinary people
of Zimbabwe envisage a changed political situation.

It is the duty and mandate of the MDC-T to continue to uphold these
treasured aspirations of Zimbabweans by being seen by the people to be
working for and towards change; by being seen to uphold the founding values,
traditions and objectives for which the party was formed and which have made
the MDC-T a force to reckon with.

Zanu PF would like the people to shy away from politics and concentrate on
bread and butter issues. It is the duty of the MDC-T to mobilise, educate,
inspire, motivate and instil confidence in the people in confronting Zanu PF
head on to achieve genuine democratic change. This can only be achieved by
the MDC-T being completely truthful and honest towards not just its
supporters but every Zimbabwean. The MDC-T must continue to reach out to the
people, to report to them truthfully, the opportunities and constraints
which they see in this creature called the GNU.

The MDC-T must be on the ground, protecting and supporting all the activists
who fall victim to Zanu PF violence and intimidation. The MDC-T can also
reach the people through the civil society which, as l stated earlier -
remains crucial.

Is it not clear whether Zanu PF is aiming for elections before reforms-and
the MDC-T must have a strategy of how to deal with this in an effective
manner apart from a boycott which although itself an effective
delegitimisation strategy is not adequate enough to dislodge Zanu PF.

Thirdly, the MDC-T must intensify its efforts and continue to engage, lobby,
inform and exchange ideas with primarily the region (Sadc), the continent
(AU) and the broader international community. But foremost, it is crucial
for the MDC-T to understand that South Africa is and will remain the gateway
to their international strategy.

Fortunately, there are indications that the South Africans have taken a
positional shift in as far as Zimbabwe is concerned. It appears they have
abandoned a reformed Zanu PF agenda and are now seriously looking into the
MDC-T as the best alternative for the people of Zimbabwe. This however
entails that the MDC-T works even harder to prove themselves and take
advantage of this opportunity. This stance is also informed by the South
Africans' desire to host a successful Fifa World Cup.

If the MDC-T does not take advantage of this critical timeframe, the
situation might be different after the world cup. The MDC-T must take the
South Africans and the region along in their political processes.

This means that they must show and prove to the region and the international
community that Zanu PF has not dismantled militia bases since June 27, 2008.
The evidence is there in abundance. It just needs to be documented and
exposed. They must show that it is Mugabe who does not want sanctions
removed. They must show that it is Zanu PF which is applying the law in a
partisan manner, by denying swearing in a deputy minister-designate on the
basis of serious charges while swearing in other ministers who face equally
serious charges and bastardising the long-standing cardinal presumption of
innocence until guilt is established beyond doubt by a competent court of
law.

A week before the EU reviews its position on sanctions is the time which
Mugabe chooses to direct ministers to report to the Vice-Presidents -
clearly violating the GPA, is the time when he chooses to set militias to
coerce people to adopt the Kariba Draft as a principal text of the
constitution-making process. There is further evidence to show this.

There is need to keep talking, supporting and urging our colleagues in the
MDC-T to keep their eyes on the ball and to fight astutely to the final end.
If you are watching a race - to draw an analogy with athletics - you cheer
your candidate to the end even when he is safely leading the race. We need
to support and continue to urge the democratic actors in Zimbabwe not just
to continue but to ensure that they continue to do and to stand for what is
right.

BY PROMISE MKWANANZI


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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe pays security goons $5,000 a day

http://www.timesonline.co.uk

February 7, 2010

Jon Swain in Harare

WHEN President Robert Mugabe arrived in Geneva to attend an international
telecommunications summit last October, he was greeted at the airport by a
crack team of security officials from Zimbabwe's secret service, the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO).

Sent to Switzerland several days in advance to prepare for his visit and
ensure it was safe for him to come, they whisked the president to his hotel
in a limousine.

There was nothing unusual in that. Mugabe, who turns 86 this month, has
always been paranoid about his security, especially on foreign trips, where
he has twice been the target of an attempted citizen's arrest. He also has
critics and enemies among Zimbabwean exiles forced by repression and
economic collapse to leave and find work overseas.

What was unusual was that the CIO team of six men and one woman were paid
special allowances of $5,000 (3,200) a day to keep Mugabe safe.

Over 10 days in Switzerland, each accumulated a total of $50,000 in cash.
The money was theirs to keep, a perk of the job, and they did not have to
account for it on their return to Harare.

Happyton Bonyongwe, director-general of the CIO, submitted the request to
the Treasury on October 1, stipulating that the "allowances equivalent of 10
days must be paid in cash" to the "seven crack officers of the advance team
to Switzerland". One of them was named Alice Mugabe. It is not clear whether
she is a relation.

In any country, $5,000 a day would be considered good money. In Zimbabwe,
where most of the population lives on less than $1 a day and a teacher or
nurse earns $5 a day, such sums are beyond people's wildest dreams.

A few weeks later, on November 16, Mugabe and his 60-strong delegation,
including three personal caterers, arrived in Rome on a private flight to
take part in a summit on world food security. They stayed for a week.

As usual, Mugabe was accompanied by his wife, Grace, who has become infamous
for her shopping expeditions.

Again special allowances of $5,000 a day were paid to the CIO officials
looking after his security. Less important members of the huge entourage
were paid $2,000 (1,300) a day. Authoritative sources have told The Sunday
Times the entire visit cost the cash-strapped unity government 1.4m.

Although Tendai Biti, the finance minister, called for restraint after
revealing that the government had spent 18m on foreign travel in 10 months,
Mugabe commandeered Air Zimbabwe's only serviceable Boeing 767 to fly him to
the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen with a 59-strong
delegation. More millions were spent as the president used the occasion to
harangue the West.

Donor governments giving millions in aid to Zimbabwe had been led to believe
such practices had ended with the formation of a unity government. Power is
shared between Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and the Movement for Democratic Change
of Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister.

"We were under the impression the figures were closer to $500 or certainly
under $1,000," said a western diplomat. "These $5,000 special allowances
show it is business as usual.Mugabe still does pretty much what he likes and
gets away with it."

The unity government is one of the most bloated in Africa. Seventy-four
officials are rewarded with top-of-the-range official cars and other perks.

Last week it was announced that strict restrictions would be imposed on
officials travelling outside the country. But the cost of presidential
travel was not mentioned.

With Gideon Gono, a Mugabe stalwart, still at the helm of the central bank,
Biti is finding reform an uphill battle. Sources said large sums of money
were still being extracted from the budget and placed at Mugabe's disposal.

Under Gono, the bank is a law unto itself and an example of unbridled
extravagance. His senior executives spent $215,000 in six months on food.

Recently, while Biti was abroad, Gono plundered millions from the statutory
reserves to pay bills, including some questionable sums that found their way
into a fund connected with the presidency.

"There are all sorts of scams to circumvent Biti. A lot is authorised by
people beneath him in the finance ministry who have a high level of
authority," said one source. "It goes on beneath his radar."


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Zimbabwe’s Parliament is on the move

http://www.thenational.ae

Thulani Mpofu, Foreign Correspondent

MPs have complained that the current building's chamber is too crowded. Desmond Kwande / AFP

HARARE // After hosting legislatures for more than 112 years, Zimbabwe’s parliament building in central Harare will soon be replaced as the government starts constructing a new facility to accommodate its growing number of parliamentarians.

The existing parliament building, a regal six-storey edifice, was built in 1895 as a hotel to serve white settlers. Situated about 100 metres from the point where the Union flag was hoisted by Cecil John Rhodes’s imperialist invading force on September 13, 1890, it was converted into a parliament building three years later.


The current finance minister, Tendai Biti, said the state-of-the-art structure, built at a cost of US$120 million (Dh441m), would stand on top of an equally historical site – the Kopje – a hill four kilometres south-west of the present parliament in Harare, the capital.

Members of the Pioneer Column, as Rhodes’s occupying force was known, initially pitched their tents on the Kopje when they landed in what is present-day Zimbabwe. The next day, they moved to the centre of Harare, near the present parliament, raised the British flag and built a fort. Years later that centre became known as Cecil Square. In 1980, it was renamed Africa Unity Square.


“We expect work will start any time before the end of this year,” Mr Biti said. “We are negotiating with prospective funders, locally and abroad.”

The proposed facility would offer space for two legislative chambers, consistent with the country’s bicameral parliament system. It will also provide on-site boarding facilities for use during sessions by MPs who come from outside Harare and do not have residential accommodation in the city.

Jabulani Mangena, an MP for rural Mberengwa North constituency, 400km south of Harare, said parliamentarians were often “squashed” during sessions. The situation was worse in the 210-seat House of Assemby, the lower house of parliament, he said.

“It is a good idea because if every MP is present, especially in the House of Assembly where I sit, we would be squashed. It is not an ideal situation. It is clear that the present parliament was meant for fewer people than we have now. The opportunity cost of building it is huge, considering the hotel bills that parliament is incurring now.”


The cash-strapped parliament was recently caught in a media storm after revelations that it spends $17,000 daily to pay for accommodation and food for MPs during sessions.

Following its renovation into a parliament in 1898, the current building remained unchanged until 1937 when it was enlarged. In 1969, the building was increased to six storeys and in 1989, the chamber was further extended to accommodate an expanding legislature. In 2000, it was enlarged again when an adjacent building was leased to parliament, but it remains small for the 320 MPs for Senate and House.


The Kopje gives commanding views of Harare’s central business district to the north-east, its industries and residential areas to the west and south. It is a quiet place and favoured as a picnic spot. Or was. Keeping a picnic spot is not in the new parliament plans.

Charles Matongo, a photographer, who sometimes operates from the proposed construction site, said the location was symbolic.

“Parliament performs an oversight role of the executive and other arms of the state. From here, I believe their sight would be sharper and broader,” he chuckled.



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Private schools sprout in Zim as public system struggles

http://www.mg.co.za

FANUEL JONGWE | HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Feb 07 2010 05:28

"No disruption to learning" touts a newspaper ad for a new private
Zimbabwean school, one of many springing up in living rooms, backyards and
plots across Harare.

It's a big selling point in a country where government schools lost an
estimated 20 000 teachers in 2008, a year when students attended class only
50 days. Teachers launched a new strike on Friday, raising worries about the
new school year that began just last month.

Zimbabwe's crisis in education eased last year with the creation of a unity
government between President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai.

That ended Zimbabwe's economic freefall and halted the political unrest that
saw nationwide attacks mainly against the premier's supporters.

But government schools still struggle with up to 50 students in a class and
20 children sharing a book.

Cashing in on the situation, new private schools run by individuals,
families and organisations are sprouting across the country, often inside
homes, in yards and in plots designated by the municipalities, offering an
alternative to parents.

On pamphlets and flyers, in newspapers and on radio and television,
advertisements promising anything from one-on-one tuition, free textbooks
and transport, to a Christian environment, have become a familiar feature.

Scarce resources
Education Minister David Coltart said the government realises that it does
not have the resources to provide the schooling that was once the envy of
Africa and made Zimbabwe the most literate country on the continent.

"Our policy is, we recognise that we cannot hope to cater for the entire
education of all Zimbabwean children as the government," he said.

"There is no doubt that the government has not been able to allocate
sufficient money to education to be able to provide the educational service
it has in the past."

"What's of concern is that there is the establishment of schools that have
not obtained the authority to operate and the danger of that development is
standards will not be met."

Government inspectors tasked with monitoring schools don't have access to
transportation to visit all the new facilities, which in some cases are
simply homes converted to schools, but without extra toilets or other
amenities.

"It has its good and bad sides," said Lovemore Kadenge, a parent whose child
attends one of the new schools in an upmarket suburb.

"The mushrooming of private schools is a good idea. If we have many of them,
there is competition, standards are improved and children have good
education," he said.

"But there is a downside to it. It depends whether the government is
monitoring the activities of these private schools. There should be a system
in place to ensure the safety of the children."

Exodus of teachers
At the height of Zimbabwe's hyperinflation in 2008, when prices rose several
times a day and the local currency became worthless, qualified and
experienced teachers left to seek better-paid jobs in neighbouring South
Africa or Botswana, or as far away as Britain and Australia.

Often they found work doing manual labour better paid than teaching.

Those who remained practised what they termed "remote control teaching",
where they left their class under the charge of a pupil or student teacher
while selling sweets on the roadside to supplement their pay.

Even government schools charge fees, frustrating many parents who say they
see little result for their money.

"There is an admission that in the public school system there are problems,
hence they are registering more players in the education sector, some of
them charging slightly above government rates," said Wellington Koke, who
runs a private school in central Harare.

With a total enrollment of 50, Koke say his school will insist on small
classes unlike government schools where a teacher can have a class of 50
pupils. His school is a refurbished home.

"We have always had this idea of having well-paying pupils who are
well-serviced," Koke said.

After government abandoned the local currency one year ago, teachers and
other civil servants began receiving a flat salary of $150 a month -- which
was a significant improvement but still too little to make ends meet.

Strike action
Teachers and civil servants are clamouring for raises, sparking fears among
parents that their children could lose another year in the classroom to
strike action.

But Coltart worries that the new schools are springing up so quickly that
parents have no way of knowing that basic standards are being met.

"In principle I am not against the proliferation of private schools," he
said.

"So long as they are within the laws of Zimbabwe and certain standards are
met in terms of the state of the buildings and that there are sufficient
safeguards to ensure that we don't have paedophiles teaching at these
schools." - AFP


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Maize plots now ‘fields of death’

http://www1.sundaymail.co.zw

Sunday, February 07, 2010

By Kuda Bwititi

AT this time of the year, most urban farmers in Harare are delighted at the
sight of their flourishing maize fields.

They have reason to celebrate because the healthy crops are promising a good
harvest.
But there are some people who have a totally different reason to rejoice at
the sight of the thriving maize fields.
Criminals view the maize fields as a fertile ground for their nefarious
activities.
The maize fields have become havens for rapists, murderers and armed robbers
who use them as camouflage to pounce on unsuspecting victims.
The dense vegetation and the tall grass that surround the maize fields are
providing extra cover for criminals as they waylay their victims. And the
felons seem to have sharpened their skills and have become more brutal as
they patrol the dense areas like marauding lions.
Many people have fallen prey to criminals in recent days while using
footpaths that pass through the maize fields. Most of the incidences happen
during the night, but it has since become equally dangerous to walk through
the maize fields during the day.
Some daring criminals are actually operating in the maize fields in broad
daylight. Police in Harare said they have recorded an increase in murder,
rape and robbery cases in recent weeks as the criminals use the maize fields
to commit the heinous crimes.
“They usually want cash and any valuables from their victims,” said police
spokesperson Inspector James Sabau.
“As police, we urge members of the public to avoid using footpaths.”
In the past three weeks, three people have been murdered, while several have
been raped, robbed and assaulted in maize fields in Harare’s suburbs. Many
more cases go unreported as the victims manage to escape before being caught
by the criminals.
These criminal activities have led some people to refer to the maize fields
as the fields of death.
More victims could be recorded as we still have more than two months before
harvest.
A bloody incident was reported three weeks ago when a Chitungwiza woman got
the shock of her life when she discovered the decomposed body of a male
adult lying in a maize field in Waterfalls, a middle-income suburb south of
the capital. The woman, Plaxedes Chirume of Zengeza 4, had gone to Eyestone
Farm when she saw the body.
The dead man was about 50 years old.
In another incident, Tatenda Maruta (24) of Tynwald was brutally murdered
when his assailants waylaid him in a maize field at the centre of the
high-density suburb.
He was hacked while using a footpath and sharp objects were used during the
murder.
Police observed deep cuts on Maruta’s forehead, raising the likelihood of a
gruesome murder.
Maruta was on his way home from the local shopping centre where he had just
watched a friendly soccer match between South Africa and Zimbabwe that was
beamed live on television last week in the evening.
Esnath Basopo alerted other residents when she discovered Maruta’s body the
following morning and a report was made to the police.The suspects are yet
to be brought to book. In yet another incident, police said they found the
decomposing body of Andrew Maneka in a maize field in Mabelreign.
Maneka’s girlfriend, who is a suspect in the murder case, was arrested and
is assisting police with investigations.
Insp Sabau said all the cases showed a peculiar trend that the criminals
were becoming more brutal as they realised that they could use the dense
vegetation to escape.
“All these cases show a particular trend,” he said. The criminals believe
that they can easily escape and disappear into the tall grass and dense
vegetation at night.
“As such, they are becoming more daring and brutal.” Insp Sabau advised
members of the public to avoid using footpaths and secluded areas when
walking at night.
“This is not the time for people to use footpaths,” he said. Even during the
day, it is not advisable to use footpaths.
“These criminals waylay their victims and they are capable of doing
anything.” It seems Kuwadzana high-density suburb has had its fair share of
the criminal cases recorded in maize fields.
Residents blame Zesa, which they say is unilaterally cutting power to the
suburb. They say the lack of electricity has thrown darkness over the suburb
which criminals take advantage of to engage in their wicked activities.
The story of Nhamo Laisi perhaps sums up the fears of Kuwadzana residents.
Laisi, of Kuwadzana 1, said he was lucky to be alive after three assailants
attacked him last week.
He had decided to use a footpath in a maize field while returning home from
a nearby beerhall. Laisi suffered serious injuries, including a broken jaw
and a broken cheekbone.
The Sunday Mail In-Depth caught up with him last week on his way to Howard
Mission Hospital in Mashonaland Central to seek treatment for his wounds.
“It was a near-death experience,” said Laisi. “I was walking home at around
11pm when three guys suddenly emerged from the maize field.
“They grabbed me from behind and assaulted me with a metal object. They
demanded cash, but I told them that all I had was a packet of cigarettes.
“They took the cigarettes and assaulted me before they disappeared into the
fields.” Laisi said he believed that many of the criminals were targeting
Kuwadzana because the area goes for days on end without electricity.
“Before I was attacked, we had gone for four days without electricity in the
area,” he said.
“The criminals were using this to their advantage because they realised that
they could easily disappear in the dark without being noticed.”
Another Kuwadzana resident, Mr Simbarashe Gwangwara, said that the
assailants seem to have little fear as they start patrolling in the early
hours of the night.
He said that even if electricity were available, all the streets and tower
lights were not working, giving an advantage to the criminals to freely
prowl the maize fields.
“These days it is not safe to walk in the suburb even around 7pm,” said Mr
Gwangwara.
“It appears that the criminals now consider maize fields as their
territories and they will strike at anyone as soon as it gets dark.”
Mr Gwangwara said the thugs had become so daring that they could attack
people in full view of passersby.
“People in Kuwadzana are now very afraid,” he said.
“We are living in perpetual fear because the criminals do not even care that
the fields are located close to people’s houses.
“We are just appealing to Zesa to reduce the power cuts and for the council
to fix the tower lights to deter these people.”
Feedback: email kbwititi@gmail.com or phone (04) 795771 extension 1507.


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New diamond rush hits south-eastern Zimbabwe

From Eye-Witness News (SA), 6 February

First it was diamonds in Chiadzwa, but now panners in Zimbabwe have found
another rich seam in the mountains of Chimanimani. Police said they are
fighting running battles with panners and dealers who are invading the area
with their posh cars. The existence of these diamonds has already been
confirmed by a team of South African geologists. The new diamond fields in
Tongo Mountain, Chimanimani, cover an area of around 35 square kilometres.
Like Chiadzwa, Chimanimani is also in the east of Zimbabwe, but it is a good
two hours drive from the now infamous diamond fields. There has been
sporadic panning in the area for the last two years but in recent weeks
digging appears to have been scaled up. Local news reports claim there have
been murders in the area as panners attack each other, and police say it is
too dangerous to drive there. The police have set up roadblocks to try to
trap diamond dealers. Obviously the authorities are hoping to avoid a rerun
of the diamond rush in Chiadzwa in 2006 and 2007, when small-scale panners
caused huge environmental and social problems.


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