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U.S. President Obama Calls for Democratic Reforms, Free Elections in Zimbabwe


WASHINGTON — U.S. President Barack Obama has called on President Robert
Mugabe’s government to stop “harassing” its citizens and implement reforms
ahead of elections expected later this year.

Speaking Saturday at a joint press conference with South African President
Jacob Zuma in Pretoria, Obama said Harare has an opportunity to move to a
new phase where, “Zimbabwe can finally achieve all its promise.”

But, he said, that requires free and fair elections and for those currently
in power in Zimbabwe to recognize that the interests of all the people are
served over the self-interest of individual leaders.

“As the president mentioned we discussed the situation in Zimbabwe and
President Zuma has played an important role in the region’s mediation
efforts. We agreed that the harassment of citizens and groups needs to stop
and reforms need to move forward so the people of Zimbabwe can cast their
votes in elections that are fair and free and credible.”

Obama, who’s on a three-day visit to South Africa as part of a week-long
visit to the continent, also emphasized the need for term limits for

Responding to a question from the press on the situation in Zimbabwe, he
said the southern African country used to be one of the wealthiest countries
on the continent, but that bad governance led to economic disaster. He
thanked Zuma for mediating in Harare, saying this has given the country an
opportunity to start afresh.

For his part Zuma thanked President Obama for relaxing sanctions on Harare
saying this has allowed the economy to rebound.

“Mr. President, we are encouraged by the relaxation of sanctions on Zimbabwe
by the U.S. government and urge further steps in this regard as it will
strengthen the economy of Zimbabwe,” said Zuma.

Obama said he agreed with Zuma that Zimbabweans should be allowed to cast
their votes freely and that the polls be fair and credible.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo dismissed Obama’s statement saying only
Zimbabweans had the right to chart their destiny.

“Who’s Obama? He’s the President of America. They can do that in American
but we have a different situation in Africa,” said Gumbo. “Those who are in
power know exactly what their people want like President Mugabe knows what
the people of Zimbabwe want.”

He added: “We do not think it is right Heads of State of other countries to
try and dictate what is happening in other States. As far as we are
concerned President Mugabe has been consistent in establishing true African
empowerment which irks many in the West.”

MDC Tsvangirai spokesman Douglas Mwonzora concurred with Obama saying it was
time President Mugabe left office after 33 years in power.

“President Mugabe has overstayed his welcome. He has seen five South African
presidents from Botha, De Klerk, then Mandela, Mbeki and Zuma,” said
Mwonzora. “But he still remains as the only president here in Zimbabwe.”

Speaking at a town hall meeting in Johannesburg Saturday afternoon, Obama
announced the Washington Fellowship for young African leaders, a new
flagship program of the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative, known
as YALI.

Beginning next year, the program will bring more than 500 young African
leaders to the United States each year for leadership training and
mentoring.  It will also create unique opportunities in Africa for fellows
to use their new skills to propel economic growth and prosperity, and
strengthen democratic institutions.

Earlier in the day, Obama met with the family of ailing former South African
President Nelson Mandela.  In a written statement, the president said he
hopes that Mandela “draws peace and comfort from the time that he is
spending with loved ones,” and he said Mandela’s legacy is one that “we must
all honor in our own lives.”

The president said out of respect for the family, he would not seek to see
or meet Mandela himself, who is said to be in critical condition at a
hospital in Pretoria.

Obama flies on to Tanzania Monday. Over his 3-day visit to that east African
nation Obama will meet with President Jakaya Kikwete, and attend a
roundtable with African and American business leaders.

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Mawere Blocked From Presidential Race As Only 5 Are Allowed

By Chrispen Dube

Published: June 29, 2013

Businessman Mutumwa Mawere was yesterday barred from entering the race for
the presidential post.

Only the following were given the nod at the nomination court for the 2013
presidential race last night: Dabengwa Dumiso of ZAPU, Mugabe Robert of ZANU
PF, Mukwazhe Munodei Kisinoti of ZDP, Ncube Welshman of MDC, Tsvangirayi
Morgan of MDC T, according to the order recorded by the court.

The court closed at 12midnite and saw many travel from far and wide to
register for their candidacy for the upcoming elections.

But presidential hopeful Mutumwa Mawere of the recently formed Zimbabwe
Movement for Democracy had his papers rejected for undisclosed reasons.
Mawere’s party was formed at the end of 2012 and he was recently appointed

Other candidates for the presidential horns were Mr Langton Towungana
(Independent), Mr Gibbs Paul Gotora of the Zimbabwe Organised Open Party,
Anslem Karimupfumbi of Rusununguko United People’s Party, Mr Joseph Bushu
Makamba of Free Zimbabwe Congress and Reverend Gerald Mubaira of Multiracial
Christian Democrats, who also had their papers rejected.

The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission chief elections officer Mr Lovemore
Sekeramayi then announced that the presidential poll shall proceed since
there are contenders for the presidential horns. “Since more than one
candidate has been duly nominated for the office of the President, a poll
shall take place on Wednesday 31st of July in accordance with section 110 of
the Electoral Act as read with Proclamation Number 2 of 2013,” he said.

President Mugabe’s papers were filed by Defence Minister and Zanu-PF
secretary for legal affairs Cde Emmerson Mnangagwa, while Mr Tsvangirai had
his lodged by Dr Alex Magaisa who was accompanied by the party’s
secretary-general Mr Tendai Biti and organising secretary Mr Nelson Chamisa.
Mr Mukwazhe personally filed in his papers, while Dr Dabengwa’s were filed
by his deputy Ms Emilia Mukaratirwa.

Speaking to journalists after filing President Mugabe’s papers, Mnangagwa
said: “We have come to the end of the inclusive Government and we of Zanu-PF
are confident we will have a landslide victory with our President Mugabe
because of progressive policies we have put across to our people,” he said.

Meanwhile Mavambo Kusile Dawn leader Simba Makoni decided not to turn up for
nomination papers after announcing he is now backing Morgan Tsvangirai.

“I am happy to advise the nation that the National Management Committee
(NMC) of MKD resolved on Tuesday June 25, 2013 not to field a presidential
candidate, in the forthcoming elections… we took this decision in order to
pave the way for agreement on a single presidential candidate for all those
yearning for change in national leadership at the highest level…. I am
fully-committed to back the one candidate who is chosen by the grand
coalition,” Makoni said.

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Civic Groups Campaign for Free, Fair Elections

Dubbed “Feya-Feya,” a loose translation from the word “fair,” the campaign
was launched in Bulawayo Thursday evening by representatives from 50 civic

Sithandekile Mhlanga

WASHINGTON — Civic groups Friday staged a roadshow in Bulawayo under a new
campaign strategy to promote free and fair elections in the country.

Dubbed “Feya-Feya,” a loose translation from the word “fair,” the campaign
was launched in Bulawayo on Thursday evening by representatives of 50 civic
groups drawn from all the country’s 12 provinces.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition spokesman Thabani Nyoni said the campaign "is
unique as it involves many civic groups, seeks a national and international
audience, is apolitical, and promotes peace through arts."

Nyoni said many activities have been lined-up for the campaign throughout
the country, including a similar roadshow in Harare on Sunday.

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Madiro vows to fight old Mutasa

June 29, 2013
By Tatenda Mabasa | Mutare Bureau

MUTARE – Disgruntled Zanu PF and MDC-T cadres in Manicaland took their rebellion to the Nomination Court which sat yesterday and filed their nomination papers to stand as sovereign candidates – amid indications that such moves have the propensity to split the vote in favour of the party with a single nominee.

Mike Madiro filing his papers to stand as an independent

Suspended Zanu PF provincial chairperson Mike Madiro filing his papers before Retired Colonel Masabeya. Madiro will be standing as an independent candidate.

Another surprise was that former finance minister Dr Simba Makoni , who on Thursday announced his withdrawal from the presidential race to support of MDC-T president Morgan Tsvangirai, filled his nomination papers to contest in Makoni Central under the ticket of his Mavambo/Dawn/Kusile.

The former Zanu PF politburo member and founder president of MDK Makoni’s first aim at Makoni Central was in 2008 – but thwarted by the now embattled Zanu PF politburo member and Presidential Affairs minister Didymus Mutasa, who then parceled it to Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa who later lost it the late MDC-T MP John Nyamande.

Makoni hails from the Rugoyi area, which is the heartbeat of his Nyati. Makoni, whose papers were filed by MDK official Mr George Hukuimwe, will square against Chinamasa and incarcerated MDC-T official Patrick Sagandira.

Chinamasa scored another victory after ZEC provincial head Retired Colonel Moffat Masabeya refused to entertain a desperate request by Mutasa and his trounced side-kick Basil Nyabadza to interdict the electoral body from accepting Chinamasa’s nomination papers because they were disputing results of the intra-party poll he won.

Dorothy Mabika retrieves her papers from her purse for submission while Manicaland Governor Chris Mushowe plays with his phone.

Dorothy Mabika retrieves her papers from her purse for submission while Manicaland Governor Chris Mushowe plays with his phone.

As Nehanda Radio revealed Thursday Women Affairs director Christopher Chingosho, whom Zanu PF politburo barred from contesting its geriatric and beleaguered national secretary for administration Mutasa stung the party by filing his papers to stand in Headlands.

Mutasa, an infamous and notorious merchant of violence, was left wetting his pants as for decades, the self-taunting godfather of Manicaland, has never been challenged and his word was unquestioned.

Anyone in the province who wanted to ascend to power had to get his blessings ever since his predecessor Maurice Nyagumbo died in 1989.

Chingosho, who was escorted by hordes of fed-up war veterans furiously vowed that the era of imposition of and god-fatherism was over, left Mutasa knee-weak as he is the only member of the Zanu PF presidium who was contested after national chairman Simon Khaya Moyo and Vice President Joice Mujuru sailed through without rebellion.

The war veterans vowed to tussle Mutasa because “he did not emerge through credible party primaries or by consensus.”

The bhora musango protagonists were offended by party’s preference for Mutasa, who they regard “as a perennial non-performer; bad and corrupt leader.”

Chingosho’s supporters, who hold key positions and wield strong influence throughout the constituency, ruled out Mutasa’s chances, arguing that Zanu PF will only taste power in the constituency if it fields a candidate that emerges through an open and transparent party primary election.

MDC-T candidate for Headlands David Tekeshe

MDC-T candidate for Headlands David Tekeshe

Chingosho’s entry has buoyed the prospects of victory for MDC-T’s candidate David Tekeshe, who was seen shaking hands and embracing other Zanu PF rebels including suspended Zanu PF Manicaland chairman Mike Madiro, who is standing as an sovereign candidate in the orphaned Mutare North and his deputy Dorothy Mabika, who is standing in Chipinge Central, where her mother and incumbent legislator Alice Chitima lost fraudulent Zanu PF primaries to Raymond Machingura.

This shows that the rebellion was well orchestrated to frustrate Mutasa by his nemesis’ Oppah Muchinguri, former CIO supremo Shadreck Chipanga and Chinamasa, who nicodemously wines and dine with the trio and is entangled in a bitter war against Mutasa over the control of Manicaland.

Muchinguri, Chipanga and Chinamasa have tilted the fulcrum of power in Manicaland to their corner and have calculatively used Chingosho’s rebelion to mute Mutasa. Madiro and Mabika, who were recently acquitted of stock-theft charges pressed by Mutasa, the former had unkind words for Mutasa.

“He is too old. Zanu PF has no future with such people. Apera mudhara uye. Tarisai muone kudhonha kwaari kuita. He is gone and finished ende rwendo runo tinopedzerana, anobata chitsvuku,” said Madiro, hinting at the possibility of a grand coalition to de-campaign the clean-shaven but vicious politician in Headlands.

Former Daily News editor Geoff Nyarota files his nomination papers to stand as an independent

Chris Chingosho (Zanu PF) and Former Daily News editor Geoff Nyarota both file their nomination papers to stand as independent candidates. Chingosho was barred from challenging Didymus Mutasa while Nyarota failed to get the necessary votes in MDC-T primary elections.

Former Daily News and Manica Post Editor Geoff Nyarota broke ranks with the MDC-T after filing his nomination papers to stand as an independent candidate in Makoni South, setting the stage for a brutal second round bout against incumbent MDC-T MP Pishai Muchauraya and Zanu PF’s Manditawepi Chimene.

Chimene almost found herself in the same predicament had it not been Central Intelligence Operatives’ who swiftly reacted to intercept and dissuade Nathaniel Punish Mhiripiri from lodging his papers.

Another MDC-T influential and civil society official Regai Tsunga also defied the party’s elections principles and lodged his papers to stand as an independent candidate in Mutasa South – where he will come head-to-head against former Mutare Mayor Misheck Kagurabadza, who he was barred from contesting on the grounds that he organized a golf tourney in honour of President Mugabe and Irene Zindi of Zanu PF.

Giles Mutsekwa and Arnold Tsunga from the MDC-T both file their papers with the nomination court

No electricity: Giles Mutsekwa and Arnold Tsunga from the MDC-T both file their papers with the nomination court

In Chikanga-Dangamvura constituency, the MDC-T had twin candidates Giles Mutsekwa and lawyer Anold Tsunga.


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Zimbabwe to "aggressively promote" its tourism in China

Jun 28, 2013
Zimbabwe plans to aggressively promote its tourism to Chinese tourists,
relax visa restrictions, and boost air connectivity to grab a bigger share
of the world's largest outbound tourist market, the country's tourism chief

The country boasts one of the world's most spectacular waterfalls – the
Victoria Falls, but a decade of economic stagnation has taken its toll on
tourism, leaving a huge market potential relatively untapped.

However, in an interview with a Chinese news agency Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority (ZTA) chief executive Karikoga Kaseke said the country has "waken
up from the sleep" to catch up with a previously-set ambitious vision to
receive 50,000 Chinese tourists annually by 2015.

That would mean a roughly ten times rise from the less than 5,000 Chinese
tourists to visit Zimbabwe in 2012, according to the official figures.

"China has given us the proved destination status, but we have not taken
advantages of that approval," Kaseke said. "That vision now proves to be a
nightmare. But a nightmare is what we have when we are sleeping. "

Overall, nearly 1.8 million tourists visited Zimbabwe in 2012, but more than
70 percent were nationals from neighbouring countries, according to a latest
released government tourism report.

Tourism revenue last year was about US$749 million, thanks to big spenders
like Chinese, Japanese, and Western tourists who make up roughly 10 percent
of the total tourist arrivals, the report says.

According to the ZTA's first quarter report, the number of Chinese tourists
grew an impressive 165 percent from a year ago to 3,714 in the first three
months, making China surpass Japan to become Zimbabwe's top tourism source
market in Asia.

Although the entire Asian market accounted for only 3 percent of the total
tourist arrivals, the report says the market will keep growing and the trend
is commendable "considering that China is the world's top tourism outbound
and spending market."

Statistics show there were 22.6 million Chinese tourists went abroad in the
first quarter of 2013 with the swelling middle class beginning to set their
eyes on the African continent.

But distance and safety concerns are holding off the Chinese tourists to
Africa. For those who did venture to sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya and South
Africa remain the top choices. Mauritius and Seychelles are most likely to
follow as the two peaceful Indian Ocean island states adopt visa free
policies towards Chinese tourists.

Kaseke said Zimbabwe is more than happy to grant China a Category A (visa
free) status but because the visa regime applies reciprocally a change of
the visa regime needs to be agreed upon by the both countries.

But he said ZTA is piloting an E-VISA platform for China that allows
tourists to apply for a visa online and shortens the process to three
working days.

Private airline

Kaseke, formerly head of Zimbabwe's aviation authority, also disclosed that
he and other investors will launch a private airline in August which would
also fly to China.

"Besides daily Harare-Victoria Falls route, Royal Zimbabwe Airlines will fly
to China's Guangzhou via Singapore three times a week," Kaseke said.

The state-owned Air Zimbabwe used to fly to Beijing and Guangzhou, but a
debt crisis that embroiled the airline forced it to abandon all
international routes in early 2012.

Although the airline resumed flights to Johannesburg and plans to resume
flights to London, there is no immediate plan to resume flights to China.

The ZTA report indicates that the grounding of Air Zimbabwe's international
flights had a direct impact on the sharp decline of Asian tourists,
especially from China, in 2012.

Royal Zimbabwe Airlines, once it takes off, will become the country's first
private airline and breaks Air Zimbabwe's monopoly, a bold step by the
industry’s regulatory authority.

Kaseke did not disclose details of the investment.

Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Transport Munesu Munodawafa confirmed
that Royal Zimbabwe Airlines had applied for a permit to fly to China and
that his ministry had granted them the approval.

"Yes, they have indicated the routes which they want to fly to. One of the
routes is to China," Munodawafa said.

But he said the airline should go back to the ministry and notify it of its
readiness to fly, after which the ministry would write to authorities of the
intended destination, a process Munodawafa says "won't take too long."

It remains to be seen whether the private airline can thrive.

Tourism Minister, Walter Mzembi, recently told a media briefing that most of
the foreign tourists to the continent arrive by air.

"No matter how big is our continent, only three or four African national
carriers are viable," Mzembi said, adding that given the importance of air
transport to tourism, the viability issue of the African airlines urgently
needs to be addressed.

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UNWTO team in Vic Falls

Saturday, 29 June 2013 02:03

Victoria Falls Bureau
A TEAM of technical experts from the United Nations World Tourism
Organisation (UNWTO) is in Victoria Falls to conduct a final inspection of
the country’s preparations ahead of the general assembly in August. Zimbabwe
and Zambia would co-host the 20th session of the

UNWTO general assembly starting on  24 August and ending on 29 August. The
technical team, headed by UNWTO relations and services executive director,
Mr Zoltan Somogyi, regional director for Africa, Mr Osumane Diane and Mr
Munir Rates, chief of conferences arrived in the resort town yesterday from
Livingstone, Zambia, where they were conducting a similar inspection.

They were met by the Deputy Chief Secretary to the Cabinet, Mr Justine
Mupamhanga, permanent secretaries for Transport, Communication and
Infrastructure Development, Public Works, Tourism and Hospitality Industry,
Mr Munesu Munodawafa, Engineer George Mlilo and Ms Margaret
Mukahanana-Sangarwe and other senior Government officials.

The team went on to inspect facilities including the venue for the official
opening ceremony, Elephant Hills Hotel and Resort.
In an interview, Mr Mupamhanga said the inspectors were impressed with
Zimbabwe’s state of preparedness. “Let me emphasise that the UNWTO team is
impressed with the progress on the ground,” said Mr Mupamhanga.

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Obama fundraiser digs for Zimbabwe business deals


A major fundraiser for Barack Obama has been schmoozing senior Zanu-PF
figures in the hope of winning business deals from the Zimbabwe government.

A major Chicago fundraiser for United States President Barack Obama has been
schmoozing senior Zanu-PF figures, including President Robert Mugabe, in the
hope of winning business deals from the Zimbabwe government.

In return, amaBhungane understands, senior Zimbabwean security force members
have been looking to the fundraiser, real-estate tycoon Elzie Higginbottom,
to help the country to wriggle off the hook of targeted US sanctions.

Internal Zanu-PF documents seen by amaBhungane suggest that the Zimbabwean
military was keen to enter into negotiations with Higginbottom to form a
joint-venture diamond mining company in 2011.

Higginbottom's vast property portfolio has been “conservatively" valued at
$200-million by the Chicago Tribune. Campaign finance records indicate that
he and his wife contributed $400 000 to Obama's campaign war chest between
2008 and 2012 and donated generously to both Obama inaugurations.

Higginbottom's largesse has catapulted him into a super-category of party
political funders in the US popularly referred to as “bundlers" (see
“Support in bundles").

Zimbabwe security forces apparently saw the participation of Americans in
the Chiadzwa diamond fields near Marange as key to avoiding further action
by a “hostile" US government to restrict the Zimbabwe diamond trade.

The security forces also hoped that a delegation of Chicago businessmen led
by Higginbottom would lean on key members of the Obama administration to
reverse, or ease, US sanctions against senior Zanu-PF figures.

The sanctions, administered by the US treasury's Office of Foreign Asset
Control (Ofac), prohibit US citizens from engaging in “any transactions with
any person, entity or organisation" on a list of “specially designated

Mugabe meeting
Senior Zanu-PF figures on the list that Higginbottom is known to have met
since 2011 include President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF chairman Simon Khaya

Although no evidence has come to light that Higginbottom has sealed business
deals with Mugabe or Moyo directly, he is skating on thin ice.

Ofac broadly prohibits “exports [direct and indirect], imports [direct and
indirect], trade brokering, financing and facilitation, as well as most
financial transactions".

“Attempts to evade or avoid these sanctions are also prohibited," it states.

Higginbottom confirmed this week that his company had “been seeking business
opportunities in Zimbabwe for several years".

“Our agenda has consistently and solely been related to business. We have no
political agenda," he said.

But documented attempts by Higginbottom's team to negotiate a diamond-mining
joint venture with a business team from the Zimbabwe ministry of defence
rings alarm bells. Evidence gathered by civil rights groups and journalists
in recent years suggests that the military has perpetrated human rights
abuses in the Marange diamond fields, and that senior military figures have
imposed themselves as silent shareholders in diamond mining companies.

Concerns have been raised – most recently in a damning report by both
Zanu-PF and Movement for Democratic Change MPs on the parliamentary
portfolio committee on mines and energy – that these diamond companies remit
only a fraction of their revenue as taxes to the government.

Parallel state
There are suspicions that diamond revenue is being used to fund a parallel
state presided over by securocrats and anti-reformers, and possibly to
finance another violent Zanu-PF election campaign ahead of general elections
planned for this year.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition director McDonald Lewanika told amaBhungane
that “the money from diamonds is being turned into black money to serve dark
political purposes".

Higginbottom distanced himself from diamonds this week: “We are no longer
pursuing any diamond interests," he said. “The Zimbabwe state diamond
entities engaged in the diamond trade are sanctioned and thus we have
eliminated this area from our potential ventures. We are and will remain in
full compliance with US policy and laws."

However, a source said Higginbottom still retained the services of a
geologist in Zimbabwe, but Higginbottom said “our geologist is looking into
other possibilities".

Another source connected with military leaders in Zimbabwe said: “I have
been told that they [Higginbottom] were also interested in exploring the
recently discovered diamonds in the Bikita area, near Devure in Masvingo
Province. They made it clear that they were not interested in politics, but
that they were remaining behind while the Chinese and Russians were moving

Higginbottom was exploring a wide range of other business opportunities in
Zimbabwe in 2011, including agriculture, tourism and real estate.

“I would be very surprised if someone like Higginbottom, with the kind of
money he has and the ambitious investments he proposes, can be in Zimbabwe
for three or four years without having to transact with senior Zanu-PF
government, security and intelligence officials subject to sanctions," said
a long-time security and intelligence source working for the Movement for
Democratic Change.

US reaction
A spokesperson for the US embassy in Harare, Sharon Hudson-Dean, declined to
comment on Higginbottom's business interests in Zimbabwe, but said:
“Compliance with US laws is non-negotiable for anyone engaging in or
investing in any business covered by those laws."

Moyo said that he could not comment on Higginbottom's activities in Zimbabwe
as the party's primary election results were about to be released and “I do
not want to be diverted at all".

Multiple sources in Zimbabwe have confirmed that Higginbottom actively
continues to pursue business opportunities, and that the government is keen
to do business with him.

Tourism Minister Walter Mzembi said: “We have a 1 200ha park in Victoria
Falls which is open to investors and, since Higginbottom is a property
mogul, I am sure if we packaged it properly, they would be very interested.
We have also had discussions with him about starting an airline. But they
are just discussions."

Higginbottom's business dealings with Zimbabwe have been inextricably
entwined with politics from the beginning, and he has associated himself
with the major thawing of US-Zimbabwe relations this year.

He first met Mugabe on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly
in New York in 2011, and sponsored a Doing Business in Zimbabwe Day in
Washington, DC.

He then led a delegation of Chicago businesspeople to Zimbabwe in November
2011, where he met Mugabe again.

Disgraced former US congressman Mel Reynolds, who assumed the mantle of
Higginbottom's spokesperson during that trip, told Zimbabwe state media that
“mining, housing, insurance, farming, banking, medical and other" deals were
under discussion.

In a wide-ranging interview with the state-owned Sunday Mail, Reynolds
praised Mugabe as “one of the last lions of Africa that brought freedom to
the people of this great continent".

He concluded with a statement: “I personally believe that sanctions should
have never been imposed in the first place. I also believe that Zimbabwe can
move forward despite sanctions."

Reynolds's position was also noted by Zimbabwean security forces in internal
documents seen by the M&G.

Higginbottom distanced himself from the claims attributed to him in Zimbabwe
in November 2011, saying that they were made in his name without his

“We can assume no responsibility for comments he [Reynolds] made in Zimbabwe
or elsewhere about his political/professional affiliations. Nor did we
approve any representations he may have made about our objectives that were
not true," said Higginbottom.

Reynolds could not be reached for comment.

Attempted mediation
Higginbottom also accompanied civil rights activist Jesse Louis Jackson on a
quasi-diplomatic visit to Zimbabwe in May this year, following the state
department-sponsored visit to the country by former US ambassador to the UN,
Andrew Young, in April.

Jackson hosted a breakfast meeting at the high-end Meikles hotel in Harare
to discuss mediating in the land-compensation dispute between the Zimbabwe
government and the Commercial Farmers Union.

The union's president, Charles Taffs, confirmed being introduced to
Higginbottom at the meeting and recalled being keenly questioned by him
about “investment protection and property rights".

Taffs said he knew nothing about Higginbottom's planned forays into the
Zimbabwean farming, tourism and real-estate sectors, but commented: “We
welcome equal partnerships coming in to attract foreign investment, but want
a situation where the rule of law, property rights and human rights are

“If there are investments coming in through the back door for personal gain,
that's not a solution, that's just going to prolong the agony of this

Support in bundles

There are limits to how much money a single person can directly contribute
to federal political candidates in the United States, but there is no limit
on how much people can “bundle", said Michael Beckel, a reporter who
monitors bundling for the US Centre for Public Integrity,

“‘Bundling' is the term given to the process of asking friends, relatives or
business associates to make a contribution to a candidate," said Beckel.

“The bottom line is this: Bundlers are elite fundraisers. They can enjoy
access to policy makers and decision makers that ordinary citizens do not

“They can have the ear of a candidate, or the ear of the president. And
having the ear of the president can be a powerful thing." – Lionel Faull

Lionel is a reporter at the Mail & Guardian Centre for Investigative
Journalism, Amabhungane.

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Judgements are not to be evaded

June 29, 2013, 11:31 am

Dear Family and Friends,

It has become almost impossible to keep up with the so called ‘election
roadmap’ in Zimbabwe as every day the tangled web gets ever more
complicated. Every day the deadlines, dates and rules change as
complications pile on top of each other. At the time of writing we still don’t
have an election date. We don’t know if the second round of voter
registration will be extended after the barrage of criticisms about
unacceptable delays which in some cases have even led to riot police having
to be called. We don’t understand how parliament can close before it has
aligned the Public Order and Security Act or the Electoral Act in accordance
with prior agreements. We are now a country without a parliament and without
an election date. Everyone’s concerned about how long we’ll be in this state
of limbo and who’s running the country while we are?

At the time of writing we still don’t know what’s going to happen to the
multiple thousands of Zimbabweans who took up citizenship of other countries
after they’d been disenfranchised and classed as ‘aliens’ in the last
decade. The new constitutional court has just ruled that anyone born in
Zimbabwe is automatically a citizen and can also hold citizenship of another
country. The Court ruled that dual citizens are entitled to have the ‘alien’
status on their ID’s changed to citizen status and can be re-admitted to the
voters roll. But how can this be effected, we ask, when the ruling  has come
just days before voter registration closes. There’s not enough time now for
dual citizens, many of whom may be working outside of the country,  to get
into the mayhem of registration office queues to change their ID’s and get
back on the voters roll.

Meanwhile a little light came on across the border regarding Zimbabwe’s land
seizures. The SADC Tribunal Watch said recent developments had taken place
in the legal campaign “to ensure that Zimbabwe is unable to escape its
international-law obligations” in relation to land seizures. The South
African Constitutional Court dismissed an appeal by the Zimbabwe government
against an earlier ruling authorizing the  attachment of Zimbabwe government
property in  execution of awards by the SADC Tribunal.  The Chief Justice
said :  “Lawful judgments are not to be evaded with impunity by any State or
person in the global village.”

To hear the phrases: “international-law obligations,” and “judgements are
not to be evaded,” brings tears to our eyes and restores faith and hope. For
thirteen years there’s been no relief for the thousands of people who had
their farms seized without compensation in Zanu PF’s land reform programme.
Contrary to the usual parroted excuses for what went on,  most of us who had
our farms seized weren’t colonialists who came and grabbed land in the 1940’s,
50’s and 60’s, we bought our farms legally on the open market in Zimbabwe
after Independence, paying taxes and levies to the same government who later
evicted us to gain political mileage.

And so with at least one glimmer of sanity, we turn back to our own messy
little tangled web looking for an end, or a beginning. Until next time,
thanks for reading, love cathy

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