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Zim parties resume talks today

by Sebastian Nyamhangambiri Tuesday 09 February 2010

HARARE - Zimbabwe's three ruling parties today resume negotiations to end a
power-sharing dispute threatening their coalition government after spending
Monday briefing South African facilitators on ground covered and issues
still outstanding in the talks that have dragged on for months.

The facilitators sent by South African President Jacob Zuma -- the Southern
African Development Community (SADC)'s mediator in Zimbabwe -- are expected
to take part in the talks between negotiators from President Robert Mugabe's
ZANU PF party and the two former opposition MDC formations of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara.

"We've given the facilitating team our feedback. We hope will resolve the
outstanding issues this time. Never mind the grand standing parties do in
front of their supporters. Talks is about give and take," said Welshman
Ncube, lead negotiator for Mutambara's MDC-M as left a Harare hotel where
the Zimbabweans were meeting with the South African mediators.

Tendai Biti secretary general of Tsvangirai's MDC-T formation said the new
round of talks has to be the last one - hinting at growing frustration
within the Prime Minister's party over the seemingly endless negotiations.

Biti said, "negotiations have to come to an end we've been negotiating since
2007 . this round of talks must rest this matter."

ZANU PF's Nicholas Goche declined to comment when approached by ZimOnline

The talks to resolve outstanding issues between ZANU PF and the MDC
formations have dragged on since the former foes agreed to join hands last
February in a coalition government that has been credited with stabilising
the country's economy to improve the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.

While analysts are confident the unity government will not collapse, they
say unending bickering among coalition partners could cripple the
administration and render it ineffective.

The MDC-T accuses Mugabe of flouting the global political agreement that
gave birth to the unity government after the veteran leader refused to
rescind his unilateral appointment of two of his allies to the key posts of
central bank governor and attorney general.

Mugabe has also refused to swear in MDC-T treasurer Roy Bennett as deputy
agriculture minister and to appoint members of both MDC formations as
provincial governors.

On its part ZANU PF insists it has done the most to uphold the power-sharing
deal and instead accuses the MDC of reneging on promises to campaign for
lifting of Western sanctions on Mugabe and his top allies. - ZimOnline.

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Zimbabwe Power-Sharing Talks Resume Amid Pressure from Pretoria

South African facilitators hope to break a deadlock arising in large part
from ZANU-PF's declaration that it will make no concessions until Western
sanctions on President Mugabe and others are lifted

Ntungamili Nkomo | Washington 08 February 2010

Negotiations among Zimbabwe's three power sharing parties resumed Monday
following a new round of consultations with facilitators sent by South
African President Jacob Zuma, mediator in the country's political crisis on
behalf of the Southern African Development Community.

The South African facilitators hoped to break a deadlock in the talks
arising in large part from ZANU-PF's declaration that it will make no
concessions until Western sanctions on President Robert Mugabe and others
are lifted.

After meeting with the South African facilitators, negotiators for ZANU-PF
and the two formations of the former opposition Movement for Democratic
Change returned to the table for intra-governmental talks late Monday. But
observers were skeptical as to the likelihood of progress at this point.

Representatives of the parties in the talks were not available for comment.
But  sources close to the negotiations told VOA that Mr. Zuma's facilitation
team told the negotiators that Pretoria was becoming impatient with the
protracted talks, urging them to compromise and resolve outstanding issues.

The governing partners are haggling over the appointments of Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana as well
as the swearing-in of MDC provincial governors and MDC Treasurer Roy Bennett
as junior agricultural minister, among many other issues.

The facilitation team of Zuma adviser Lindiwe Zulu, Mac Maharaj and Charles
Ngqakula was to meet Tuesday with President Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara.

Political analyst John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe told VOA Studio
7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo he is hopeful Zuma's team can break the deadlock
by pressuring ZANU-PF to move matters forward regardless of the sanctions,
which he said are not within the control of the MDC.

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Minister: Zimbabwe can't afford demands of striking workers

Feb 8, 2010, 20:16 GMT

Johannesburg - Zimbabwe's Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro said
Monday that his government had no money to pay tens of thousands of striking
civil servants the salary increases they were demanding.

On Friday, the Zimbabwe Public Service Association (ZPSA), which represents
about 200,000 civil servants, announced an indefinite strike to press their
demands for a hike in pay.

'It is not unwillingness on the part of the government. It is simply the
lack of fiscal capacity on our part,' Mukonoweshuro said, expressing
sympathy with the workers, most of whom are teachers.

'Everyone in government knows that what our workers are getting does not
meet their daily basic expenses,' he admitted.

The civil servants are demanding that the salary of the lowest- paid workers
be increased from 120 dollars a month to 630 dollars a month.

The power-sharing government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai has offered to increase their wages to 122 dollars in
February, rising to 134 dollars in April.

'Even if they ask for 300 dollars for the least paid, that would bring the
salary bill to 1.3 billion dollars, which is more than the annual budget of
the government,' Mukonoweshuro explained.

He appealed to the workers to return to negotiations, saying their decision
to strike was 'premature.'

Raymond Majongwe, secretary-general of the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe, ruled out a return to work, saying: 'Let them sell diamonds and we
share that wealth instead of it being enjoyed by few individuals.'

Majongwe was referring to the Chiadzwa diamond field in eastern Zimbabwe,
which the state seized from a British mining company in 2006. Geologists say
the alluvial diamond site is the largest find in a century.

On Monday, most public schools were closed and the functioning of the
country's courts was also affected.

A year ago, when Tsvangirai took his then opposition party into government
with Mugabe's Zanu-PF, striking doctors, nurses and teachers returned to
their posts to help rebuild a wrecked economy.

Although the salaries paid by the new government were low, the workers were
hopeful that they would improve quickly with aid from donor governments.

But the billions of dollars in aid sought by the government never
materialized. Western governments have said they want to see deep reforms in
the area of human rights and governance before committing long-term,
non-essential aid.

The MDC blames Zanu-PF for blocking the implementation of agreed- upon
reforms, while Zanu-PF blames the MDC for failing to secure the lifting of
targeted sanctions aimed mainly at Mugabe and his clique.


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Zimbabwe Parliamentary Committee Blasts Mining Officials Over Marange Diamond Deals

Committee Chairman Chindori Chininga told Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation Chief Executive Dominic Mubaiwa that he would be held
responsible for financial losses to the nation

Sandra Nyaira | Washington 08 February 2010

Zimbabwe's House Committee on Mines warned government officials that they
risk being charged with corruption and sentenced to prison if they keep
mismanaging the controversial Marange diamond field of Manicaland province
and embarking on deals prejudicial to the national interest.

Committee Chairman Chindori Chininga told Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation Chief Executive Dominic Mubaiwa in a hearing that he would be
held responsible for corrupt deals and any financial losses to the nation
even if he should plead ignorance of what has been happening.

The committee blasted the parastatal agency for incompetence, especially
when Mubaiwa insisted he knew nothing about a planned auction of diamonds
which his institution's partner, Mbada Holdings, was forced to cancel last
month under pressure from the Office of the Prime Minister.

Committee members expressed irritation that Mubaiwa could not name other
Mbada directors although the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation holds a
controlling interest in the private company formed to develop the alluvial
deposits in Marange, site of alleged human rights abuses.

Studio Seven Harare correspondent Irwin Chifera reported on the tough
questioning of Mubaiwa by parliamentarians.

Elsewhere, Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has not disclosed the whereabouts of
diamonds he removed last week from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe despite a
Supreme Court ruling saying all gems from the field should be held in
custody at the central bank until a mining claims case between African
Consolidated Resources and the Zimbabwean government has been resolved.

Political analyst Farai Maguwu of the Center for Research and Development in
Mutare, Manicaland's capital, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Sandra Nyaira that
he believes Mpofu's actions last week reflect a deepening struggle within
ZANU-PF over the diamonds coming out of the Marange field.

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EU split over Mugabe sanctions

by Basildon Peta in Brussels Tuesday 09 February 2010

Divisions have rocked the European Union about whether to renew targeted
measures against Robert Mugabe and his regime cronies or heed Morgan
Tsvangirai's plea to end them to try and coax the geriatric Zimbabwean
leader into fulfilling outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement
which ushered in Zimbabwe's unity government early last year.

The EU's council of ministers meets on 16 February to decide on the matter
and authoritative diplomatic sources say it is now most likely that some
names would be struck off the sanctions list as a compromise among the
differing EU countries. But these would mainly be names of companies
sanctioned over their close links to regime cronies and not those of
targeted individuals.

The authoritative diplomatic sources said some countries led by Germany and
Denmark favoured an easing of the measures to try and prod Mugabe into
cooperating with Tsvangirai in addressing all outstanding issues in the GPA.

Another group led by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom was of the view
that the targeted measures should stay because nothing much has changed in
terms of fostering the rule of law in Zimbabwe.

In the end, the view of some softening of the measures, accompanied by an
equal easing of language to "acknowledge the reality of the GPA and
encourage its implementation" would prevail, the sources said.

Mugabe has vowed he will not cede any further ground in negotiations with
Tsvangirai's MDC until all sanctions against him and his cronies are lifted.

Sources disclosed that Tsvangirai had written to the EU recently urging the
powerful bloc to lift the targeted measures, arguing that there would be no
movement in talks to resolve the outstanding issues in the GPA unless the
sanctions were lifted.

Last week a meeting of six "like minded countries" met in Denmark to review
the situation in Zimbabwe and formulate a position ahead of the 16 February
council of minister's meeting. The meeting was attended by Zimbabwean desk
officers in the foreign ministries of Germany, Denmark, Netherlands,
Ireland, UK and Sweden.

Sources said the meeting was told that Zimbabwean civic society very much
wants the targeted sanctions to remain until there was real progress in
implementing the GPA.

But it was also argued in that meeting by the Europeans that "removing the
sanctions in an incremental fashion could well be used in the bargaining
power with ZANU PF.." to move the GPA forward.

It was also suggested that efforts be made to engage directly with hardliner
elements in the defence forces and reformists in ZANU PF to move the reform
process forward.

Countries like Denmark and Germany supported softening the sanctions regime
to encourage reforms. "Their view is that any softening of sanctions is not
rewarding ZANU PF but the MDC after Tsvangirai asked for the removal of the
sanctions," said another source.

Because the EU works by consensus, the view that would finally emerge is on
lifting at least some of the restrictions but not the entire package of
measures, said one diplomat.

"Although the final decision will be on the 16th, you can expect the
knocking off some 10 percent of the measures.  Ninety percent will then
remain pending implementation of the GPA. This 10 percent would be
restricted to the removal of names of companies on the sanctions before any
individuals are considered." said a diplomat.

But senior Members of the EU Parliament (MEPs), who spoke at a meeting
organised by the Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN), this week made it
categorically clear that they want to see the sanctions maintained.

MEP Anna Gomes from Portugal of the socialist S&D party told the meeting
held in the EU Parliament premises that EU MEPs had wanted to visit Zimbabwe
in December to get first hand feel of what was happening on the ground and
had first been invited before being blocked at the last minute by the
Zimbabwe government which said the time wasn't right.

She said they were still anxiously waiting for a new date of a visit to be
confirmed by the Zimbabwean embassy in Brussels. She emphasized the need to
maintain the sanctions until serious progress was recorded.

Her sentiments were shared by MEP Olle Schmidt from Sweden of the liberal
ALDE party who described it as a "huge shame" that Mugabe was still in power
as well as Geoffrey Van Orden from UK of the Conservative ECR party, who
noted that while there have been progress a lot still needed to be done.

"It seems for every two steps forward made in this process, there is always
one huge step backwards.," said Van Orden, insisting that sanctions should

Prominent Zimbabwean rights activists argued for the sanctions to stay .

In fact, Gabriel Shumba, after chronicling a list of violations of the GPA
by Mugabe, said he was puzzled by any suggestions that the sanctions should
be lifted.

"The debate should instead be on intensifying the restrictive measures
against people thwarting the implementation of the GPA," he said.

Okay Machisa of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (Zimrights) said the
restrictive measures must be maintained until there was real democracy in

The implementation of the GPA has stalled over Mugabe's refusal to cede
further ground on issues like appointment of MDC governors, reversal of his
unilateral appointments of Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney
General Johannes Tomana, among others.

He argues that the MDC should ensure the lifting of sanctions and put an end
to broadcasts by "pirate radio stations" into Zimbabwe.  Although it is
secretly lobbying for the lifting of the sanctions, the MDC publicly argues
it has no liability over the sanctions measures imposed in reaction to poor
governance in Zimbabwe. - ZimOnline.

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Parly raises concern over ZMDC operations in Chiadzwa

by Own Correspondents Tuesday 09 February 2010

HARARE - Parliament's mines and energy committee on Monday raised concern
over the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC)'s inept handling of
the controversial Chiadzwa diamond field, with some committee members
suggesting that the government-owned firm be disbanded.

This follows revelations by ZMDC chief operating officer Dominic Mubaiwa
that some board members for Mbada Investments, a joint-venture formed last
year by the ZMDC and Grandwell of South Africa to mine diamonds at the
Chiadzwa field, also known as Marange, had been imposed by Mines Minister
Obert Mpofu.

The ZMDC is also partnered by another little known South African firm Core
Mining and Minerals in another joint-venture operation trading as Canadile
Miners to exploit the Chiadzwa deposits.

Although the parliamentary portfolio committee is yet to prepare its final
report, three members of the committee openly voiced concern on the
interventions by Mpofu in the appointment of the board members.

"Yes we did receive that instruction (to appoint the board members), yes we
did receive a letter from the minister," Mubaiwa said.

The ZMDC chief also told the committee that Grandwell had no experience in
diamond mining as they were involved in scrap metal dealing in South Africa.
He however added that "they had financial muscle to bring in expertise in

Of concern to the committee was the imposition of four members - Robert
Mhlanga (chairman) Sthengisiwe Mpofu, Dingiswayo Ndlovu (an employee of the
Ministry of Mines) and Ms Chrystosoma Kanjoma - to the Mbada Investments
board by Mpofu.

Pearson Mungofa, a Member of Parliament (MP) from Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's MDC party said both Mbada and Canadile had no capacity to
operate at Chiadzwa.

"The companies in Chiadzwa have no capacity to reap benefits from diamonds.
The whole thing has to be reviewed and have the Botswana and Namibia
 models," he said, adding: "We want to bring in people with experience in

Simbaneuta Mudarikwa, an MP from President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party
described the goings-on and management at Chiadzwa as chaotic.

"There is bush, jungle management at Chiadzwa. We are poor as a country
because we have ZMDC which has no capacity to control its resources," said
Mudarikwa. "Are Chiadzwa diamonds meant to benefit a few people or the

Mubaiwa who was visibly uncomfortable revealing the irregularities in the
appointment of the Mbada board told the committee: "Honourable members, I
try to run away from politics."

But he received a caution from the committee chairman Edward Chindori
Chininga that he was under oath and that he should tell the truth.

"The country is starving, civil servants are on strike, we can't afford to
play around," Chininga said. "Botswana has diamonds, that have helped to run
its country, South Africa has diamonds that have helped to run the country.
The unlocking of value (of Chiadzwa diamonds) is it for Zimbabwe or it's for
personal benefit? You will be jailed, sometimes you have to be real to a
point to say you have control of what is going on."

The ZMDC boss said between April 2007 and October 2008 when the ZMDC
operated alone at the diamond field where it controls some 69 000 hectares
of exploration rights, it extracted 1,366 million carats of diamonds and
"sales that have been made amount to 876 000 carats, leaving a balance of
490 000 carats which are still in stock".

"The value of the sales made is US$8.3 million and royalty paid to
government is US$827 000. ZMDC stopped operating in Oct 2008," said Mubaiwa.

Mubaiwa added that Chiadzwa was a huge and porous area which resulted in
some of the smuggled diamonds finding their way to nations such Dubai and
South Africa.

"Before ZMDC moved in there were incidences of leakages which were rampant
resulting in some of the diamonds finding their way to countries such as
Dubai and South Africa. When we moved in there were nearly 10 000 panners
who had moved in."

The ZMDC chief said the announcement by Mbada last month that it was set to
sale 300 000 carats of diamonds was premature as it had not followed laid
down procedures.

He stunned the committee when he conceded that government has not received
any dividend from ZMDC's other mining operations throughout the country
ranging from gold, tin and copper over the past 20 years.

Zimbabwe is currently embroiled in a dispute with the diamond regulator
Kimberly Process (KP) over the appointment of a monitor to assess diamonds
emanating from Chiadzwa with Mines Minister Mpofu preferring a monitor from
an African country whereas the KP insists on the monitor coming from Europe.

The KP monitor has to assess diamond production at Chiadzwa and inspect if
there is no illegal diamond digging taking place in a bid to ensure
operations at the controversial field comply with KP requirements.

Under a set of measures meant to bring Zimbabwe's controversial diamond
industry in line with Kimberley Process (KP) standards, the diamond watchdog
must monitor production and sales of diamonds from Chiadzwa field where the
army has been accused of rights abuses against civilians.

International rights groups have been pushing for a world ban on Zimbabwe
diamonds until Harare acts to ensure mining at Chiadzwa is in full
compliance with KP standards.

The southern African nation however escaped a KP ban last November but the
global body gave Harare a June 2010 deadline to make reforms to comply with
its regulations. - ZimOnline

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Bilateral Zimbabwe-Botswana Talks Set on Detention of Gaborone Rangers

The three Botswanan rangers were fined US$100 apiece in a court appearance
in Zimbabwe on Monday after being found guilty of unlawful entry into the
country, but were acquitted on arms charges

Patience Rusere | Washington 08 February 2010

A spokesman for the government of Botswana said Monday that Gaborone would
hold bilateral security talks with Zimbabwe on February 22 to iron out a
dispute over the arrest of three Botswanan game ranges within Zimbabwe.

The three were fined US$100 apiece in a court appearance Monday after being
found guilty of unlawful entry into Zimbabwe, but were acquitted on charges
of smuggling guns into the country and illegally possessing firearms.

The wildlife officials were picked up three weeks ago after inadvertently
straying into Zimbabwe as they tracked lions that had killed some cattle in
Lesoma village on the Botswana-Zimbabwe border.

Botswana recalled two attachés from its Harare embassy late last week over
the incident and said it was demanding that Zimbabwe's corresponding
security and military attachés Gaborone to leave by the end of the month.

Botswana government press secretary Jeff Ramsay told Studio Seven reporter
Patience Rusere he had not heard of the court he says their release would be
quote helpful in mending relations with Harare.

Our Gaborone correspondent Martin Ngwenya said  the incident has increased
tension between Botswana nationals and Zimbabweans there

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Red tape stalls revival of state steelmaker

by Edith Kaseke Tuesday 09 February 2010

HARARE - Zimbabwe is stalling on naming a new investor for the Zimbabwe Iron
and Steel Company (ZISCO) months after the parastatals ministry recommended
the winning bidder, in a move that risks scuttling badly needed foreign
investment into the recovering economy, a senior government official told

The Ministry of State Enterprises and Parastatals last September shortlisted
global steelmaker Arcelor Mittal's South Africa unit and a consortium led by
number two Indian steel producer Jindal Steel and Power Ltd, to take a
majority stake in ZISCO.

ZISCO has been mothballed for two years, but the privatisation of what at
its peak was the largest integrated steelworks in Africa outside South
Africa, would have resuscitated production given the strongest signal from
the unity government that it was determined to sell off badly performing
state enterprises, that are a drain on the fiscus.

But a senior government official said nothing had moved since the State
Enterprises and Parastatals Ministry carried a due diligence exercise on
Arcelor Mittal South Africa and the Jindal Steel and Power Ltd-led
consortium last October and recommended a winning bidder to the Ministry of
Industry and Commerce.

"Nothing has happened so far and investors are getting very, very anxious,"
the official, who is involved in the privatisation of ZISCO, said.

"We did our job and Minister (for Industry and Commerce, Welshan) Ncube
should have convened a cabinet committee on privatisation to come up with a
final position to take to the principals but this has not happened," the
official said.

Now the two bidders are anxious and continuous delay would give investors an
impression that Zimbabwe is not yet ready to welcome foreign investment.

"We are getting phone calls everyday from India and South Africa and the
question is always 'is this how you do business in Zimbabwe?'. Equipment is
rotting at ZISCO, it is our national asset and we need to take advantage of
it," the government official told ZimOnline.

Joel Gabbuza, State Enterprises and Parastatals Minister referred all
questions to Ncube, who was unreachable for comment.

Jindal Steel is India's second largest steel maker after Arcelor Mittal and
the two companies would bring desperately needed capital and technical
expertise to ZISCO, which used to directly and indirectly employ more than
3,000 employees.

Foreign investors are keen on investing in the country, that registered its
first growth in more than a decade in 2009, but political uncertainty has
forced them to hold back.

Zimbabwe is desperate to raise more than $8 billion to reconstruct the
devastated economy but Western donors, who are able to provide the money say
the unity government should fully implement the September 2008 political

"The successful disposal of shares in ZISCO will definitely give confidence
to investors that there is no going back on privatisation and re-aligning
this economy. Its something that has to be done," John Robertson, an
economic consultant said.

Saddled with $300 million in local and foreign debt, ZISCO has a capacity to
produce up to 1 million tonnes of steel annually. - ZimOnline.

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Commercial Farmers Union to appeal Supreme Court decision

By Gerald Chateta

Published: February 9, 2010

Harare  -  The Commercial Farmers Union says it is going back to the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Tribunal and for the third
time to challenge the refusal by the Zimbabwe's Supreme Court to honour the
SADC tribunal's 2008 judgment which ruled in favour of 78 former white
commercial farmers who successfully challenged President Robert Mugabe's
2000 chaotic land reform.

CFC president Deon Theron told ZimEye in an exclusive interview that they
were returning to the SADC Tribunal to seek justice.

"We are once again going to appeal to the SADC Tribunal, because we want
justice to prevail. We are very much concerned by this sad development. How
can the judge say he respects the SADC Tribunal when he fails to respect the
judgment it passed. We understand that this is not justice at play but
purely politics. SADC Tribunal is an internally recognized court and
Zimbabwe its signatory,"said Theron.

Zimbabwe's Supreme Court last week said the tribunal's verdict did not apply
to the country.

The Tribunal in November 2008 ruled in favour of 78 white farmers who were
challenging President Robert Mugabe's land reform programme on the grounds
that it discriminated against them on the basis of the colour of their

Zimbabwe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa last September wrote to the
Tribunal advising it that Harare would no longer participate in further
hearings at the Windhoek-based regional court, insisting that the country
was not bound by the court's decisions.

Ben Freeth who is heading farmers' SADC challenge said, "the SADC ruling
gives us the legal title and therefore a right to compensation. We have a
right to equality under the international law and we are going back to SADC
because it should determine the methods of evaluation," he told journalist
in Harare.

Political analyst Takura Zhangazha said the country's justice delivery
system was compromised by the partisan land re-distribution programme.

"Zimbabwe's justice delivery system has never been professional since the
advent of the land reform because the people involved also benefited from
the process.

"We also doubt SADC or AU because of late there have been no strong voices
coming from these two organizations, but what we know is that there are
going to be some questions from the international community questioning the
legitimacy of the Zimbabwean judiciary. We also need the legal basis of the
Tribunal and its legality in Zimbabwe," said Zhangazha.

The Tribunal sessions open next month

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Judge tells SA to pay for Mugabe sins

    February 09 2010 at 06:49AM

By Karen Breytenbach

The South African government has been hauled over the coals by a Pretoria
High Court judge for not protecting its citizens from Robert Mugabe's land

The government was ordered to pay damages to a South African farmer to whom
it failed to provide diplomatic protection after Mugabe's government seized
11 of his farms in Zimbabwe without compensation.

Although the damages have yet to be calculated, it could amount to R100

Free State farmer Crawford von Abo, who began farming in Zimbabwe 50 years
ago, was arrested for "trespassing" on his main farm in 1997 and even spent
time in a Zimbabwean jail as Zanu-PF cracked down on white farmers and
expropriated their land.

After trying unsuccessfully to negotiate with the Zimbabwean government, he
turned to the government of then-president Thabo Mbeki for diplomatic
protection and, later, out of frustration, to the courts.

In July 2008, Van Abo won a landmark judgment in the Pretoria High Court,
which ruled that he was entitled to diplomatic protection from the SA

Judge Bill Prinsloo ruled then that the government should, within 60 days,
take all necessary steps to have Von Abo's violation of his rights remedied
and to report back to court about the steps it had taken.

Despite a meeting in August 2008 with the Department of Foreign Affairs and
Trade and Industry officials, and several follow-up meetings involving
Zimbabwean diplomats and officials, Van Abo did not receive the protection
to which he was entitled and had to continue his legal battle.

In a strongly worded judgment delivered last week, Judge Prinsloo threw the
rule book at the South African government, taking issue with what he
regarded as its contempt of court and failure to protect its citizens.


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RBZ clings to Time Bank assets

By John Chimunhu

Published: February 8, 2010

Harare  -  Time Bank of Zimbabwe (Time Bank) says millions of dollars worth
of its assets seized in 2004 by the Central Bank have not been returned,
weeks after a landmark Administrative Court judgement restored its banking

The emergent banking giant was stripped of its licence five years ago in
what sources claimed were Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) controversial
governor Gideon Gono's plans to frustrate banks in which he, Mugabe and Zanu
PF had no interests.

On Monday RBZ officials appeared set to delay returning the assets. In a
statement, Time Bank appealed to its customers to be patient as a date for
an official return of the assets was now going to be set.

The bank said among the clients' assets in the RBZ's possessions were title
deeds. Bank properties were also held by the regulators in a
heavily-condemned swoop on allegedly erring and corrupt financial
institutions. Gono, newly arrived at the RBZ said he was going to clean up
what he alleged to be the mess in the banking industry but was later accused
of nearly crashing it.

TIME Bank managing director Chris Tande invoked the Administrative Justice
Act (AJA) and successfully applied for a restoration of the bank's operating
licence through an Administrative Court (AC).

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Zimbabwe coalition turns one, but champagne kept on ice

By Jan Raath Feb 9, 2010, 5:04 GMT

Harare - When any section of the Zimbabwe civil service goes on strike, the
usual retort from the long-suffering public is: 'How do you tell the

A year after the heady inauguration of the country's power-sharing
government between autocratic President Robert Mugabe, 85, and his former
opposition opponent, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, Zimbabweans want to
know: 'How do you tell the difference? (between this government and Mugabe's
previous regime).'

The unlikely cohabitation of Mugabe and Tsvangirai was brought about in
talks mediated in 2008 by southern African leaders.

Mugabe had lost parliamentary and a first round of presidential elections in
March that year. Three months later, he was declared the winner of the
second round of presidential elections after a bloody crackdown on the
opposition, in which around 200 supporters of Tsvangirai's Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) were killed.

Yet Mugabe emerged from the negotiations to continue as executive president
and Tsvangirai was coerced by regional leaders, most of them Mugabe allies,
into accepting the distinctly lesser job of prime minister.

A detailed agreement signed by the two was meant to lead to the drafting of
a new constitution by the end of 2010, a referendum to approve it next year
and then, free and fair elections.

But progress towards those goals has been scant. 'Not much to celebrate,'
said one MDC government official, confirming no official celebrations were
planned. '(Mugabe's) Zanu-PF is in charge and it's business as usual.'

On the government's first anniversary Thursday, popular white MDC treasurer
and deputy agriculture minister-designate Roy Bennett will be back in the
dock in his drawn-out trial on what human rights lawyers call clearly
trumped-up charges of terrorism.

Another MDC official, Pascal Gwezere, was finally released from police
custody last week after being tortured and detained for three months for
allegedly stealing military firearms. He was released for lack of evidence.

Three weeks ago a 70-year-old Dominican nun was beaten up by police for
'resisting arrest,' according to church sources.

The past year has also seen a resurgence in the violent invasions of
white-owned farms. Only 300 white farmers are precariously left on the land,
out of the 4,500 that were farming when Mugabe gave the nod for lawless land
grabs to begin in 2000.

Aid agencies are feeding 2.7 million people after a ninth consecutive failed
agricultural season.

There have been some positive developments, however. Most Zimbabweans are in
better health and have far more purchasing power than they did before

A terrifying cholera epidemic that claimed 4,300 lives was stopped by May
last year thanks to Western aid agencies.

The shelves of shops that were emptied by Mugabe's price controls are full
again, inflation is down to a manageable 4 per cent and the endless queuing
for wages in worthless Zimbabwe dollars is over after Tsvangirai's finance
minister, Tendai Biti, adopted the US dollar and South African rand as
national currencies.

Political violence has also fallen dramatically.

But hopes for an end to Mugabe's rule by repression, as promised by the
accord he signed with Tsvangirai which underpins the unity government,
remain elusive.

The drafting of a new constitution, regarded as the most important item in
the accord, is running six months behind schedule.

A year after applications to set up new independent radio stations were due
to be processed, Zanu-PF, known for its propagandistic invective, continues
to monopolize the media, and no new newspapers have been permitted.

On a raft of major issues, from Mugabe's unilateral appointment of a party
crony as attorney-general, to his refusal to swear in provincial governors
from the MDC, the two coalition parties have been in deadlock for the entire

'Every step that is meant to lead to reforms, freedom of expression, the
entrenchment of human rights, is being blocked by Zanu-PF. Because that
means them losing power,' a Western diplomat, who did not wish to be named,
told the German Press Agency dpa.

At the weekend Tsvangirai said he was 'cautiously optimistic' over the
future of the transitional government. Finance minister Biti was less
upbeat. 'Zanu-PF is trying to strangle this fledgling authority on its first
birthday,' he said.

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British MPs impressed with villagers' productivity

Posted By Own Staff Monday, 08 February 2010 09:04

BRITISH Parliamentarians on Wednesday told Tsholotsho villagers that their
government would continue supporting them financially as they were impressed
with their agricultural skills.
The  MPs toured  Tsholotsho to assess agricultural activities they are

Team leader, Nigel Evans said they were impressed with various activities.

" What we are witnessing today is real hard work and determination by
underprivileged people who want to uplift  their standards of living.' As
British government, we realise that our taxpayer's money is put to good use
here," said Evans.

The MPs mission was to  assess how the monetary aid that Britain advanced to
various non governmental groups was used. They toured gardens, conservation
farming projects and livestock projects. At Matindi Sand Abstraction point,
60 householders are into gardening using water drawn from a nearby dam.
Catholic Relief Services installed a sand abstraction system , a technology
which draws water from sandy river beds. The water is used for watering
gardens, livestock and periodical tests are done to ensure that it is safe
for human

A total of 25 sand abstraction and micro-irrigation systems have benefited
2500 households. A beneficiary,  Modie Ndhlovu, said she was grateful for
the  British assistance.

" Before the British came on board, I was struggling to come up with a good
harvest. Now I can harvest up to five tonnes per hectare up from just one
tonne per hectare".
She said after harvesting she sold excess produce to the Grain Marketing
Board and that had helped her to pay school fees for her children.

Britain pumped in US$100 million in aid for 2009-2010. A report on how
Zimbabwe was using British money would be produced and  a decision would
then be reached on whether to
continue funding.However, in a statement released on their arrival on
Monday, the MPs said they were not in the country to " advise on political

"Our role is to provide independent parliamentary oversight of how the
British government spends its aid. We are not here to advise on political
developments," they said.They said the  UK government was committed to
helping the poorest and most vulnerable people in Zimbabwe.

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

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BCC still owed thousands

Posted by Jabulile Mlotshwa Monday, 08 February 2010 09:23

THE Bulawayo City Council (BCC) is still owed thousands of dollars in rates
payments by individuals and companies, with the Government remaining the
biggest debtor.

The public relations officer, Mrs Nesisa Mpofu asked for questions in
writing, but later said she could not reveal the latest figures as
Councillors had not yet been informed.
However, according to inside sources, the Council had managed to collect
about 35 percent of what is owed to it by individuals, companies and the
government a situation which had contributed to Council workers not
receiving their salaries on time.

"Most people are still not paying their rates due to high cost of living and
those who are, are paying what they can afford. The Council only managed to
collect a significant amount of money after it had disconnected services to
homes and businesses," revealed the source.Two weeks ago, the BCC workers
were up in arms as they were last paid in November 2009. Last week, they
were given half of their December salary, an indication that the Council was
facing cash flow problems. Meanwhile, the Council has proposed to have a
standstill budget which will see the 2009 budget being carried over to 2010
and the tariffs remaining unchanged.

This is because Council did not achieve what it wanted to do and it would
not be logical to increase rates for 2010 when only 20 percent of ratepayers
were able to pay in 2009.
The total budget for 2010 stands at US$123,402,271 and the Council is also
proposing  a capital budget of US$179 million. Of this amount 37.5 percent
will be for general expenditure, 33 percent for repairs, and 27.5 percent
for staff welfare. Capital contribution will be 1, 8 percent and 0, 2
percent will go to capital charges.

These figures were reached after two budget consultations were carried out
in Bulawayo's 29 wards, where it was also agreed that the budget should run
up to June 2010 then it should be reviewed to assess whether there was any
commitment from ratepayers to pay.Council went on to highlight the actual
cost of some of their services and how much residents were paying:

Service          Actual cost    What consumers are paying (US$)
Dechoking        58.97            42.86
Ambulance       46.90            20.00
Maternity          71.19           55.00
Graves             43.22            38.99
Water                0.54            0.06
Fixed cost for water    7.82     0.66

At the beginning of the year, the BCC was said to be sending a delegation to
Harare in the hope of recovering a US$3.3 million debt it is owed by the
The issue was brought up for debate during a full council meeting held at
the council chambers in early January, with Councillors suggesting that
sterner measures had to be taken  to recover the debt.

According to the minutes of the meeting, government departments owe council
a total of US$3 231 153, 18 with the Ministry of Water Resources and
Development owing US$1 124 128 followed by the Ministry of Home Affairs
which owes about US$1 036 489. Of the total amount owed the government had
only managed to pay US$66 268 as of July 2009, which is just over two
percent of the total.

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