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Regional leaders want reforms before Zimbabwe poll

Jun 2, 11:28 AM EDT

Associated Press

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Regional leaders mediating in Zimbabwe said they
want to see democratic and constitutional reforms before fresh elections can
be held next year.

The Southern African Development Community called on Zimbabwe's coalition
government to work on a new constitution and put it to a referendum to
adhere to the terms of the power sharing deal brokered by the group in 2009,
according to a statement released by the group Saturday.

Chief mediator, South African President Jacob Zuma, will help set a time
frame for elections, the group said after a Friday summit in the Angolan
capital of Luanda. Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai were at the summit.

Mugabe has called for elections this year to end the troubled coalition

"It appears the new push would be for elections in March, 2013," said Dewa
Mavihinga, coordinator for an alliance of Zimbabwe democracy groups. He said
that Mugabe's ZANU-PF party conceded that the push for polls in 2012 wasn't

Mugabe, however, still insisted polls can be held this year, the state
Herald newspaper reported Saturday.

"We discussed the situation in our country and we all made contributions. We
should go and finish the business to see when we can have elections within
the time left for us. We want elections to be held this year," Mugabe said,
The Herald reported.

The newspaper, controlled by Mugabe loyalists, also quoted regional leaders
saying elections should be held within the next 12 months.

The rewriting of the constitution is behind schedule and has been plagued by
bickering between members of a parliamentary panel in charge of it.

A panel of Zimbabwe lawmakers has proposed a referendum by September at the
earliest. The finance ministry, controlled by Tsvangirai's party, says there
isn't enough money to hold two quickly successive votes.

Independent election monitoring groups also say voter lists are still in
disarray and need a full overhaul to remove voters who have died and
electors who appear to be listed to vote in more than one district.

On a trip to Zimbabwe last week, U.N. Human Rights Commission Navi Pillay
warned that early elections without reforms were likely to cause a repeat of
widespread violence and killings during the last disputed elections in 2008
that led to the formation of the coalition.

Only free and fair democratic elections would be recognized internationally
and by the region, she said.

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U.S. Lawmaker Ramps Up Push to Repeal Zimbabwe Sanctions

01 June 2012

Tatenda Gumbo | Washington

A United States lawmaker is calling on his government to repeal economic
sanctions against Zimbabwe saying this is the only solution to bring full
economic recovery and democratic transition to the nation.

Senator Jim Inhofe, a Republican and a leading Africa advocate, previously
introduced a bill in Congress citing the formation of the government of
national unity as an improvement in the country’s situation.

His case was bolstered by recent comments by the United Nations Rights Chief
Navi Pillay calling on the West to temporarily lift the so-called targeted
measures, and now he is wants his bill passed.

The bill, known as Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act 2011 was first introduced
in 2010 but was not voted on by Senate. Under this legislation, economic
sanctions would be lifted to restore the Zimbabwean economy, and in his
words, assist reformers need to transition to democracy.

"I fully support UN Commissioner Navi Phillay’s belief that economic
sanctions are only hurting – not helping – the Zimbabwean people, over the
last four years, Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government has improved the
economy and the general well-being of its people," said Inhofe in a

"However, with the continuing inability to receive international loans or
credits, Zimbabwe’s economy is held back from achieving total fiscal
prosperity, repealing these U.S. sanctions will provide Prime Minister
Tsvangirai and his reformers the tools they need to return Zimbabwe to being
called the ‘Breadbasket of Africa’ and engineer the transition to democracy
that we all seek.”

But independent political analyst Trevor Maisiri argued it’s not yet time
for the West to lift sanctions saying this would play into President Robert
Mugabe’s hands.

He told VOA reporter Tatenda Gumbo the international community needs to
reflect, firstly, on why the sanctions were put in place.

"If the US is to remove these sanctions, I think it not be on the premise of
the need to push the agenda of Tsvangirai's intention to bring reform to
Zimbabwe but it must be for the broader perspective of Zimbabwe"

Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity policy analyst Marion Tupy said
simply put, sanctions have not hurt the economy as much of the issues in
Zimbabwe were self inflicted by government policy.

"I am cautiously in favor of easing sanctions for political not economic
reasons," said Tupy, "from a political perspective it is certainly the case
that ZANU-PF is using the sanctions in order not to fulfill its obligations
on the global power-sharing agreement."

It remains unclear when, or if the Zimbabwe Sanctions Repeal Act 2011 bill
will be taken up for a vote by the U.S Senate.

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UN tourism body disputes Canada's reason for quitting

Ottawa — The Canadian Press

Published Friday, Jun. 01 2012, 1:59 AM EDT

Canada is withdrawing from the United Nations World Tourism Office, a move
it said was formalized this week over the agency’s recognition of Zimbabwean
leader Robert Mugabe.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told the Commons Thursday the
appointment of Mr. Mugabe as an international tourism ambassador was what
led to the withdrawal.

The UN body, however, dismissed that reasoning, pointing out that it doesn’t
actually have an ambassadorial program.

The UNWTO said it gave an Open Letter on Travel and Tourism to the
presidents of Zimbabwe and Zambia on May 29, in recognition of a tripartite
agreement with both countries on the hosting of the 20th Session of the UN
General Assembly in Victoria Falls, which straddles the borders of both

The agency added that the same letter had been given to leaders of other
countries around the world.

“The receiving of the Open Letter implies no legal commitment or official
title attribution to the country or the recipient,” the agency said in a

But the mere recognition of Mr. Mugabe at a UN event was enough for Mr.
Baird, who called it the “last straw” for Canada’s participation in the
UNWTO, the minister’s spokesman said.

“After (minister Baird) heard that (Mugabe) was honoured at an event, after
he was invited to join this global leaders group, he signed the Order in
Council almost immediately,” said Joseph Lavoie.

Canada had already signalled a year ago, by giving formal notice, that it
intended to withdraw from the UNWTO. But an Order in Council is required to
formalize any such notice period.

“They were legitimizing him by enlisting Mugabe to promote tourism,” Mr.
Lavoie said.

“In our view that makes him a small ‘a’ ambassador.”

Mr. Mugabe is currently under a United States and European Union travel ban
because of human rights abuses in his own country.

He has been in power for more than three decades and has been blamed for his
country’s economic ruin, resulting in food and fuel shortages, rampant
inflation, high poverty and unemployment.

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Bennett returns for polls

Wednesday, 30 May 2012 21:21


Tabitha Mutenga, Staff Reporter

SELF-EXILED Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) Senator, Roy Bennett will be returning home to campaign for his party’s leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in the next elections expected to be held either this year or in 2013, damn the consequences.

In 2010, Bennett escaped to South Africa following his acquittal on charges of possession of weaponry for insurgency and banditry, to close a decade of perceived political persecution at the hands of ZANU-PF.

Despite the establishment of a Government of National Unity in February 2009 to ease political tensions, ZANU-PF refused to accept him, a development that saw President Robert Mugabe declining to swear him as the deputy Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development.

The Attorney-General’s Office has since indicated that the MDC-T official, if located, faces arrest for contempt of court after failing to appear in court after having been slapped with a US$1 million defamation suit by High Court judge, Chinembiri Bhunu.

The defamation suit was precipitated by an interview the politician gave to Britain’s Guardian newspaper in which he alleged that the judge was biased.

This week, Bennett told The Financial Gazette that he would be returning to Zimbabwe to campaign for the MDC-T leader and hinted at the possibility of running for the Chimanimani seat which he lost in 2004 after being jailed for an effective year for contempt of Parliament following a scuffle with Justice and Legal Affairs Minister, Patrick Chinamasa.

But critics of President Mugabe’s administration doubt whether hard-line militarists in ZANU-PF would allow the MDC-T treasurer general to step into the country with expected funds to bankroll PM Tsvangirai’s third presidential bid.

“I will return to Zimbabwe to campaign for my president’s re-election. The party structure will decide what, if any, role they wish me to play. The MDC is a Zimbabwean people’s driven movement. It is not for me to decide, but for our supporters who have been so courageous in our struggle to choose a leadership capable of re-building our country,” Bennett said.

He alleged that he had left the country for a multi-faceted mission to mobilise resources — human, financial, political — and it was now mission accomplished.

“The party deployed me internationally on a specific mission, which as a loyal member of the MDC, I have now to the best of my ability largely completed,” Bennett said.

At law, Bennett remains a Senator as ZANU-PF has put in abeyance plans to move a Parliamentary motion that would have resulted in him losing his Senate immunity after missing 21 consecutive sessions of the legislative assembly.

Although Parliamentary rules say non-attendance of Parliament for 21 consecutive sittings would result in members losing their seats, the ejection needs to be confirmed by more than half of the votes in the member’s respective house, a procedure ZANU-PF threatened to undertake, but never carried through.

Bennett said he would donate allowances that Parliament owes him running into thousands of greenbacks to Chimanimani constituency when the funds are finally released to Members of Parliament.

Although Bennett failed to contest for the seat in March 2005 as he was still incarcerated, his wife Heather, stood on an MDC-T ticket. She was, however, defeated by ZANU-PF’s Munacho Mutezo, but the latter was outpolled in the 2008 general elections by the MDC-T’s Lynette Karenyi.

Popularly known as Pachedu (between ourselves), Bennett has blamed his troubles on harassment, intimidation and outright persecution at the hands of ZANU-PF, which also saw him losing his Charleswood Farm in 2001 under the controversial land reform programme. The once successful coffee enterprise is lying idle and recently diamonds were discovered at the farm.

Bennett said conditions prevailing in the country at the moment do not favour the holding of elections this year as is being agitated for by ZANU-PF.

He added that Global Political Agreement (GPA) reforms must be instituted before fresh polls.

“Zimbabwe can only enter an election once each and every condition in the GPA has been adhered to. Most importantly, the military junta leaders must publicly declare to the Southern African Development Community and the Zimbabwean people that they will respect the decision of the electorate,” said Bennett.

Last year, the Prime Minister replaced Bennett with Seiso Moyo as the deputy Agriculture Minister, without having first notified the latter, raising speculation on the two’s relationship.

The speculation came against the backdrop of WikiLeaks exposures that said the MDC-T official was critical of the premier and at one stage said: “Tsvangirai does what the last person tells him to do.”

But this week, Bennett said the MDC-T was not a party of yes men, adding that his relationship with the Prime Minister was cordial.

“My relationship with president Tsvangirai is cordial, transparent and constructive. However, the MDC is not about any individual. It is an institution and must be structured to survive and prosper well into the future. As an elder figure in the party, my history of support for the president and loyalty within MDC is well known. We in the MDC leadership are not a party of YES men like ZANU-PF, so there is always constructive debate ending in consensus,” said Bennett.

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Rwandese Refugees Stay Put Despite UN Cessation Clause

Harare, June 02, 2012 – About 800 Rwandan refugees staying in Zimbabwe have
refused to go back to their motherland despite spirited efforts by their
government to convince them that all is now well in the tiny central African

The refugees, mainly from the majority Hutu ethnic group, accused of
carrying out mass killings in 1994 which left close to a million Rwandans
from the minority Tutsi ethnic group dead, maintain it is not safe to go
back to Kigali.

The refugees claim that the Kigali regime is conducting witch hunts on
returnees, throwing them in jail or killing them.

Refugees from Rwanda are now required to go back home after the United
Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) evoked the Cessation Clause,
which declared the country safe and suitable for refugees to return.

The cessation Clause deadline was December 2011 but only two Rwandan
refugees who were staying in Zimbabwe offered themselves for voluntary

The rest have stayed put accusing the government of Paul Kagame of
attempting to snare them back into Rwanda and them pounce on them.

The refusal by the refugees to be voluntarily repatriated has put the
Zimbabwean government and the UNHCR in a quandary as they are not permitted
under international law to forcibly repatriate the refugees.

The UNHCR country representative Marcelline Hepie and the Zimbabwe
government commissioner for Refugees, Isaac Mukaro were dispatched to
Tongogara Refugee Camp, in Chipinge, in last minute attempts to try and
persuade the Rwandans to return home.

But they found the Rwandans were not in the mood to negotiate, telling the
two men they were not prepared at all to leave Zimbabwe for Rwanda.

“We have made it very clear to them that this is a trap,” said one Rwandan
based at the camp. “Kagame wants us to go back so that he can throw us in
jail or kill us. Many refugees have retuned and they have been thrown into
jail while others have disappeared.”

Others cited the ongoing case involving Rwandan opposition leader Victoire
Ingabire who was arrested on accusations of propagating ethnic hatred and
"genocide revisionism" - charges she says are politically motivated.

She was arrested in April 2010 and barred from standing in elections.
Ingabire is boycotting her terror trial, accusing the judge of bias.

The Rwandan government says those who are reluctant to go back home are
afraid to do so because they participated in the 1994 genocide.

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Whites Key To Reviving Zim Agriculture:MP

By Crisswel Chisango Chinhoyi, June 01, 2012 - Former Mashonaland West
governor and Zvimba West Member of Parliament, Nelson Samkange, said on
Friday that there was need to work with white farmers who had financial
capacity to revive the ailing agriculture sector.

He told Radio VOP "What we want is production and if they (whites) come, I
am prepared to work with them."

He is among top government officials who are battling to utilise the land
that they grabbed from white commercial farmers in 2000.

He is currently being sued by his workers at his Rukoba farm in Banket for
non remittance of their contributions to National Social Security Authority,
NSSA as well as outstanding salaries since 2010.

Other top government officials dragged to court over non remittance of
workers' contributions to Nssa include, Attorney-General Johannes Tomana,
Local Government and Urban Development minister Ignatius Chombo, former
adviser to reserve bank Governor Gideon Gono, Munyaradzi Kereke.

Samkange said he failed to utilise his farm following a botched up deal with
the Chinese late last year. "I had earmarked 300 hectares for maize and soya
beans but the Chinese did not honour up to their promise."

He was now selling his cattle to make ends meet after he fired 50 of his 70

"I am appealing to you to assist if I can get anyone with funding even
whites because I cannot afford to use the whole farm or employ all workers"
he added.

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Malawi's Joyce Banda discards presidential jet and luxury car fleet

New president increases popularity with ongoing rejection of predecessor
Bingu wa Mutharika's lavish lifestyle and policies

David Smith in Johannesburg, Friday 1 June 2012 15.33 BST

Malawi's new president has made numerous breaks from her autocratic
predecessor but few will be this popular: she has dumped his presidential
jet and fleet of luxury cars.

Joyce Banda, who came to power in April after the death of Bingu wa
Mutharika, has barely paused in her drive to overturn his controversial
policies and lifestyle.

Her decision to sell or lease the impoverished country's 8.4m presidential
jet and fleet of 60 Mercedes government cars seems likely to cement domestic
goodwill – and confirm her as a darling of the west.

Britain, Malawi's biggest aid donor, announced on Friday that Andrew
Mitchell, the international development secretary, had raised the issue of
the Dassault Falcon 900EX jet with Banda at a private meeting with the new
government. Mitchell said: "At a time of austerity in both Britain and
Malawi, president Banda's decision to sell or lease the presidential jet and
expensive fleet of cars sends an enormously encouraging signal to British
taxpayers and the international community about the seriousness President
Banda is applying to overturn bad decisions taken under the previous

"The proceeds can be used to provide basic services to Malawi's poorest
people who urgently need help following the vital devaluation of the

Last month Banda was quoted in local media saying the cabinet would discuss
the jet's future, explaining she had no problems "offloading it as I can
well use private airliners; I am already used to hitchhiking".

Mutharika bought the presidential jet in 2009, claiming it was less
expensive than leasing a plane every time he travelled. But it came to be
seen as a symbol of African kleptocracy and some observers compared him with
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

Mutharika was also condemned for purchasing a 58-room mansion in his home
district and granting a salary to his wife. His regime lashed out at
allegations of corruption and cronyism at a time when Malawi was suffering
severe shortages of foreign currency and fuel.

The president's sudden death from a heart attack changed the course of the
country's history. Having thwarted an attempt by his allies to block her,
Banda assumed control and has since appointed a new cabinet, sacked his
police chief, announced the lifting of a ban on homosexuality and restored
the country's independence-era flag.

The turnaround has been welcomed by western countries such as Britain, whose
high commissioner was expelled by Mutharika for branding him "autocratic and
intolerant of criticism".

During a four-day visit, Mitchell confirmed that the Bank of England will
work directly with the Reserve Bank of Malawi to help it cope with the
impact of slashing the value of the local currency, the kwacha, by one third
earlier this month on the advice of the IMF.

The minister said: "I am also delighted to be in Malawi to relaunch
Britain's development partnership with the new president. Britain is leading
the international community by providing urgent balance of payments support
and technical assistance to Malawi through the Bank of England."

In May this year Britain pledged 23m to help stabilise the Malawian economy
and 10m for the country's health system.

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South African Vendor Locked Up For Mugabe's Nude Pictures

Harare, June 01, 2012 - A South African-based Zimbabwean is languishing in
prison after he was arrested for allegedly possessing skeletal nude pictures
portraying President Robert Mugabe.

This was after State prosecutors in Beitbridge about a fortnight ago vetoed
a bail order, which had been granted to Benias Gwenhamo Madhakasi, arrested
late last month and charged with insulting Mugabe for allegedly possessing
the pictures.

Prosecutors charge that Madhakasi, who is self-employed as a hawker in South
Africa, was found in possession of nude images of Mugabe and one of them had
an inscription which reads; “Happy 87th birthday (Operation Matibiri) Robert
Mugabe turning 87 years on 21 February 2011.”

The prosecutors said Madhakasi, who is represented by Lizwe Jamela of ZLHR,
had no right to possess such “derogatory” pictures.

Madhakasi was detained in remand prison after prosecutors vetoed a bail
order, which had been granted in his favour by Magistrate, Auxillary
Chiumbura, in the sum of $200 pending the filing of an appeal by the State
within seven days from last Monday.

High Court Judge Justice Lawrence Kamocha will on Friday hear an appeal
filed by State prosecutor Angeline Munyeriwa challenging Madhakasi’s bail.

The State also charged Madhakasi with contravening Section 4 (5) (a) of the
Protected Places/Areas for allegedly surveying or making sketches or taking
photographs on protected premises. The vendor also faces an additional
charge of contravening Section 36 of the Immigration Act for unlawful
possession of or making use of a permit or travel document issued to another

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Savvy Zimbabwe Man Takes Matters Into Own Hands to Fight Graft

01 June 2012

Chris Gande | Washington

Zimbabwe enjoys the dubious distinction of being one of the most corrupt
countries in Africa, according to a recent Africa Fraud Barometer, trailing
only Nigeria and South Africa.

Corruption has become a cancer eating away at the country's fabric. Law
enforcement agents and government officials do it with impunity. Ordinary
people too, consider it an important tool in their day-to-day survival kit.

An anti-corruption commission put in place a few years ago inspired hope,
arresting legislators accused of abusing a development fund. But it quickly
betrayed the people's trust and confidence when it caved to meddling by
politicians in the high echelons of power.

And now, a savvy Harare man is taking matters into his own hands, hoping to
turn the tide around. Tawanda Kembo has set up a whistle-blowing website
where members of the public who have paid a bribe at some point, can come
forward and tell all.

He says more than three thousand cases of bribery have been reported on the
site,, in only two days.

“I’m not afraid, it’s a good initiative. I think I will have more support
than threats,” he said.

People reporting graft cases, which will be forwarded to the relevant
authorities for possible action, remain anonymous. If they have video and
pictures, these will be uploaded on the website.

The anti-corruption campaigner told VOA he hopes the website will reduce, if
not eliminate, cases of bribery and corruption at large.

“I found a similar concept in Kenya which made it easier to report
corruption on-line, and I got an idea to start a website specifically
targeting Zimbabwe,” Kembo said.

Most bribery reports posted on the portal point indicting fingers at traffic
police officers, the Vehicle Inspection Department and the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority, among others.

One whistle blower wrote: “It was after three failed attempts of trying to
get a driver's license when I was finally introduced to a VID examiner. On
the first attempt I was convinced into paying the bribe fee of $100 through
my driving school instructor, who turned to be a conman after failing to
hand the money over VID examiners.

“The other two attempts I chose not to pay anything, only to realize that I
was never going to get it. That is when I was introduced to the VID examiner
who demanded $100. I paid the $100, and it was so certain that I was going
to pass the test. It was the easiest and fastest ever.”

Another said: “My sister failed her provisional test because she did not pay
a bribe. She wrote it a few days later and it was a different marker/people.
She now has paid $200 to guarantee passing her driving test as long as she
does not hit the drums.”

Fraud cases in Zimbabwe topped $1.2 billion in six months to December last
year, accounting for 32 percent of the overall value of fraud cases in
Africa at $3,7 billion, the Africa Fraud Barometer found.

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Zimbabwe's Great Leap Toward Preventing HIV in Children
Posted: 06/01/2012 11:32 am

This week, I witnessed a milestone in the fight to end HIV/AIDS in children -- and it happened in Zimbabwe.

Much of the news from Zimbabwe over the past decade has been around political and economic challenges, overshadowing a resounding public health success story.

Zimbabwe is one of the key countries to watch in the drive to eliminate pediatric AIDS in Africa.

On Monday, I attended a ceremony at Harare Central Hospital to launch Zimbabwe's national strategy to prevent new pediatric HIV infections. I joined representatives from government, international partners, donors, health workers and people living with HIV.

It was a diverse group, but all dedicated to a common cause -- that no child should be born with HIV -- not in Zimbabwe, nor in any other country.

In June 2011 at the United Nations, a Global Plan was introduced to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015. Zimbabwe was among the first of many countries to answer the call, but its commitment on this issue was evident long before that.

As early as 2001, Zimbabwe started working with the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation to introduce services to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV (PMTCT) at three pilot sites. This was at a time when PMTCT programs were just beginning to be implemented in sub-Saharan Africa.

Organizations like the Foundation and countries like Zimbabwe were taking a leap of faith. Many in the global community thought that large-scale HIV prevention and treatment programs couldn't be successfully implemented in the region.

But through the commitment of the government of Zimbabwe - and support from international partners like the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund - PMTCT programs were quickly and dramatically scaled up.

PMTCT has become a true HIV prevention success story in the country, averting thousands of new infections in children and helping identify those in need of urgent HIV treatment. From those three original sites, there are now 1,560 sites in Zimbabwe where pregnant women can go to protect their own health and their babies from HIV.

In the past three years, Zimbabwe has taken a great leap toward universal PMTCT coverage. In 2008, only 17% of HIV-positive pregnant women in the country received PMTCT services. In 2010, that number was 86%. That is truly staggering progress.


Photo Caption: Josephat was born HIV-negative because of PMTCT in Zimbabwe, and recently celebrated his fifth birthday. (EGPAF/James Pursey)
Zimbabwe's Ministry of Health and Child Welfare and its international partners -- including the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the U.K. Department for International Development (DfID), and most recently the Children's Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) -- have helped turn the tide of the pandemic in children.

And despite economic challenges, Zimbabweans have demonstrated ownership of their AIDS response through innovative, home-grown financial investments. A 3% levy on income tax in Zimbabwe -- known as the "AIDS Levy" -- is estimated to have collected US $26 million in 2011 alone toward the country's fight against HIV/AIDS.

Through this kind of political and financial commitment, Zimbabwe has become a model for the other 21 high-prevalence countries that are partners in the Global Plan to end pediatric AIDS.

The Country Director for our Foundation in Zimbabwe -- Dr. Agnes Mahomva -- made clear the key element needed to reach that goal: "a strong and effective national PMTCT program that involves all stakeholders -- mothers, fathers, communities, and indeed funding and implementing partners."


Photo Caption: EGPAF Zimbabwe Country Director Dr. Agnes Mahomva speaks at the launch of the country's national strategy to eliminate pediatric HIV infections. (EGPAF)

I witnessed that involvement and commitment at Harare Central Hospital this week, and it was inspiring.

For too long, Zimbabwe and other countries at the heart of the AIDS pandemic have witnessed the tragedy of millions of children needlessly infected with HIV and dying of AIDS. It's a sad fact that without early treatment, 80% of children with HIV don't survive to see their fifth birthday.

Zimbabwe decided that this was unacceptable. By committing to the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, Zimbabwe has ensured that its children will not only survive, but have the opportunity to thrive.

Zimbabwe has set an example for other countries to follow in its footsteps and take the same great leap toward a generation born free of HIV.

That's a story that deserves to be heard.

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Arrests in Kereke, Gono court battle

01/06/2012 00:00:00
by Phyllis Mbanje

A NASTY spat between Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and his former
adviser, Munyaradzi Kereke, exploded in a flurry of arrests in and around
the Rotten Row Magistrates Court in Harare on Friday.

Cops grabbed Kereke’s driver, his uncle and a nurse sacked by Parirenyatwa
Hospital in February as a magistrate issued an arrest warrant for a police
constable over a forged medical report which landed two RBZ security guards
in court on assault charges.

Kereke has accused Gono of a plot to harm him, claiming the central bank
chief is desperate to stop him from exposing corruption at the apex bank.

Prosecutors charged RBZ security guards Phillip Dendere, 47, and George
Nyahuye, 36, with assault after Kereke claimed the two men tailed him, and
then brutally assaulted his driver, Privilege Maturure, on March 12.

Kereke claimed the two men were sent by Gono, but lawyers for the two
security details say they were under instruction to locate and seize an RBZ
vehicle which the sacked adviser had not surrendered.

A major piece of evidence against the two security guards was a medical
report prepared for the trial, and signed by one Dr J. Marisa at
Parirenyatwa Hospital.
The doctor certified that Maturure suffered serious back and spinal cord
injuries – suggesting he would never work again.

But the case was turned on its head last Friday after Nyahuye and Dendere’s
lawyers subpoenaed the doctor who signed the medical report, only for
prosecutor Liberty Gono to tell the court they were unable to locate him.

But Dr Johannes Marisa – after reading media reports that he could not be
found – came forward over the weekend to deny he had ever met Maturure. He
dismissed the medical report as fraudulent.
Marisa was called to the witness stand on Friday and his testimony sparked
the arrests.

The doctor testified: “I left Parirenyatwa in 2008 and I’m now running a
surgery in Kuwadzana so there is no way I could have written that affidavit.
"I can only assume somebody created this fictitious document under my name.”

The trial heard Jacob Chiweshe, a former nurse at Parirenyatwa who was
sacked in February, a month before the alleged assault, was the originator
or the fraudulent document.
Asked if he knew Chiweshe, Dr Marisa said he knew him as his brother-in-law,
and as a nurse at Parirenyatwa.

He denied he had anything to do with the fraudulent document, insisting that
he last set foot at Parirenyatwa four years ago, before opening his own
medical practice in Kuwadzana suburb.

Prosecutor Liberty Gono – no relation to the RBZ governor – then applied for
a trial within a trial, asking magistrate Jarabini to put a pause to
proceedings while police investigated the medical report forgery.

Gono wanted Maturure recalled to the stand to point out who had attended to
him, as well as the commissioner of oaths who signed the medical report. He
also hoped to put Chiweshe on the witness stand.

But defence lawyer Advocate Linos Mazonde argued that delaying the assault
trial over faulty prosecution evidence would “unnecessarily prejudice” the
two men.

The magistrate rejected the prosecutor’s pitch, insisting that the trial
must continue. He adjourned the court to an afternoon session when a
Constable Mavhene, who inserted the dodgy medical report into evidence, was
expected to testify.
When the police officer failed to take the stand, the magistrate ordered him
arrested and brought to court.

Detectives also moved to arrest Chiweshe, Maturure and his uncle, Brian
Matonsi, who has also been implicated in the forgery.

Prosecutors say Kereke was being driven by Maturure in the company of his
brother, Cleotas, on March 12 when they noticed they were being tailed by
another car.
Kereke ordered his driver to steer the vehicle back to his private clinic on
Norfolk Road in Harare.

Dendere and Nyahuye, it is alleged, parked in the front of the building,
blocking ambulances. Prosecutors say they disembarked from their car and
began assaulting Maturure.
Later, an affidavit was purportedly signed by Dr Marisa at Parirenyatwa,
describing Maturure's injuries as severe.

The two security guards deny assault, and will tell the court that they only
tailed Kaseke because they were under instruction to recover an RBZ vehicle
which he had failed to surrender, according to their lawyers.

The outcome of the case could have serious implications for both men. Kereke
is seeking to bolster his claims of harassment by Gono, while the RBZ
governor – who denies targeting his former aide – hopes an acquittal will
show Kaseke as unbalanced and unreliable.

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Mugabe to fund Malema UK hate-speech trip

Tinashe Madava 22 hours 2 minutes ago

ZANU-PF and South Africa’s African National Congress (ANC) are headed for a
clash over revelations President Robert Mugabe’s party has pledged to fund a
round-robin trip to the United Kingdom by expelled ANC Youth League leader
Julius Malema to attend a conference of African liberation movements in
Birmingham this weekend.

Malema, an outspoken and controversial figure in South Africa, is a darling
of ZANU-PF because of his black empowerment ideologies that resonate with

When he visited Harare in 2010, the controversial ANC infant terrible
showered praises and waxed lyrical about ZANU-PF and its leader President
Mugabe, much to the chagrin of the formations of the Movement for Democratic
Change, peeved by what they considered as the ANC’s interference in Zimbabwe’s
internal affairs by openly supporting their rivals.

Sources within ZANU-PF say some bigwigs in the party had pledged to take
Malema to the UK where he is scheduled to address a gathering there on

Other speakers at the event include pan Africanists: the historian Cecil
Gutzmore, Sarudzayi Barnes, Anna Magowa, Makola Libango, lawyer and
community organiser, Afryea Adofo.

The meeting, whose theme and motivation is: “An occasion when African people
worldwide focus on the fight for total liberation and self determination”,
was earlier scheduled to mark Africa Day on May 25.

Organisers of the meeting told an online publication that Media, Information
and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu had assured them that he will see to it
that Malema gets the resources needed to fly to the UK, indicating that he
would ensure that the South African youth leader would be provided for by
ZANU-PF or individuals within the party.

One of the senior organisers, Bini Butuakwa, of West Indian origin, was
quoted at the weekend confirming the ZANU-PF’s recent show of support to

webster shamu 01-06-12.png“The Information Minister in Zimbabwe said that he
will get him to come over and if he has a problem with paying he would cover
the fare . . ,” he said, adding that at present Malema was still struggling
to obtain a travel visa.

Contacted for comment, Shamu laughed off the allegations.

“This is the joke of the year. How can I fund him when my Ministry is
struggling to fund trips to Muzarabani? Even in my personnal capacity in my
constituency there are a lot of projects that need funding,” said Shamu.

ZANU-PF spokesperson, Rugare Gumbo also dismissed the reports saying his
party did not have any money to waste.

“That is not true. It is absolute hogwash. We don’t have money to fund such
things. Why would we fund a foreigner?” charged Gumbo, before telling this
reporter to contact Shamu.

But confidential sources say officials at Luthuli House, the headquarters of
the ANC, are seething with anger at their fellow comrades north of the
Limpopo — ZANU-PF.

“The belief at Luthuli House is that some ZANU-PF officials are indirectly
sponsoring the militant Malema, materially and ideologically, to topple ANC
president, Jacob Zuma at the party’s elective congress to be held at
Mangaung in December with a view to disengage him from the seat of power,”
said a source.

ZANU-PF which used to have its way during Thabo Mbeki’s administration has
been having it tough under Zuma who has become a stumbling block to the
party’s survival strategies. Zuma has stood his ground on the need for a new
constitution in Zimbabwe and other accompanying political reforms before
fresh elections could be held.

He has departed from his predecessor’s quiet diplomacy, spectacularly
ridiculing President Mugabe and his team in his damning report presented at
a Southern African Development Community (SADC) summit held in Livingstone,
Zambia in March last year.

ZANU-PF, which is vehemently opposed to political reforms for fear of losing
power, views anyone opposed to its policies and line of thinking as either
an enemy or agent of the imperialist west. The revolutionary party is
therefore fed up with Zuma and has intimated that he must cease to be SADC’s
facilitator in the Zimbabwe dialogue.

Intelligence and diplomatic sources say certain ZANU-PF officials have been
backing Malema in his fight to push Zuma out of power but they have not been
smart enough to avoid a diplomatic furore.

ZANU-PF youths have openly supported Malema who is baying for Zuma and Gwede
Mantashe’s head at the elective Mangaung in December. Mantashe is ANC’s
secretary general.

Organisations such as Chama cha Mapinduzi youth of the ruling party of
Tanzania, Cuban and youths from Botswana National Front — Gaborone’s main
opposition — have also pledged their support to Malema after he was expelled
from the ANC pending his appeal. His appeal has since been dismissed.

While Malema was pivotal to Zuma’s ascendancy, they fell out last year
because of Malema’s high levels of indiscipline, which was undermining Zuma’s
leadership. Malema has openly attacked ANC’s policies, demeaned the party’s
leadership, threatening nationalisation of mines and driving a wedge between
governments particularly between Pretoria and Gaborone. He has also caused
racial tensions in South Africa to escalate.

After the fall-out, Malema is now backing any other leader to replace Zuma,
with deputy president Kgalema Motlanthe tipped to give the incumbent a good
run for his money.

Malema’s strategy has not only found takers among a clique in ANC but in
ZANU-PF as well which requires a pliant leader in Pretoria to shield itself
from international criticism.

But observers say while ZANU-PF is a strong advocate of non-interference in
the internal affairs of any sovereign state, the Malema debacle might strain
relations between the two liberation war movements.

Should Zuma win in December, relations between the two parties would be
significantly strained yet if Malema prevails, South Africa could be dragged
into adopting policies similar to those that brought economic turmoil in
Zimbabwe over the past decade. A recession down south could spell doom for
Zimbabwe which has over two million migrants there. - Fingaz

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Zimbabwe investors find glass half-full

31 May 2012 07:38 - Jason Moyo

Uncertainty has become a way of life for businesses eyeing Zimbabwe's
consumer boom. Jason Moyo reports.

For foreign investors willing to take a risk on Zimbabwe, it is always a
question of which news to trust. Just as foreign investors at a conference
in Harare last week were being plied with the good news – a growth forecast
of 9.4% and a property and consumer boom – an order given by the central
bank ordering the country’s biggest investor to close all its foreign bank
accounts brought reality home.

But Zimbabwe looks attractive to some investors, despite the

Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono has ordered local banks to cease dealing
with Zimplats, the 78%-owned Implats unit and the country’s largest foreign
investor, to force the company to close its foreign accounts and repatriate
all its funds to Zimbabwe.

The government hopes that, by ordering mines to close all their offshore
accounts, the repatriated funds will ease the liquidity shortage that has
slowed growth.

Zimplats was deliberately targeted to force others into line. “If it defies,
everyone else will defy,” Gono said.

Looking for reassurance
Such controversies have a habit of popping up when investors are in Harare,
sniffing around for opportunities and looking for reassurance about the
safety of their interests.
The news came as about 100 investors from around the world, including South
Africa, were gathered at a conference arranged by Imara, one of Zimbabwe’s
biggest fund managers. Tino Kambasha, head of sales at Imara, said: “Some
are jetting in from the eurozone, which just reported zero first-quarter
growth. They arrive at a time [when] Zimbabwe is predicting 2012 growth of

Much of the growth will be driven by mining, which is set to grow by 15%
despite worries about empowerment, and agriculture, which will grow by 11%
as increased funding begins to undo the damage land reform caused.

John Legat, head of asset management at Imara, said many investors were
taking the leap.

“What is encouraging is the seriousness of the investors who are already
here,” he said.

The country is experiencing a consumer boom. Its two largest firms, telecoms
firm Econet and brewer Delta, are used by analysts as a barometer to gauge
the state of the consumer market. Their most recent financial results were
above expectation, with Delta reporting that beer sales had beaten the
previous record set in 1998.

Consumer boom
The president of the Retailers’ Association of Zimbabwe, Themba Ndebele, who
heads Truworths Zimbabwe, said, although capital inflows remained slow, they
would pick up over the medium term.

To take advantage of the new money driving the consumer boom, South African
companies are raising their investment in Zimbabwe. Pick n Pay has increased
its share of TM Supermarkets, one of Zimbabwe’s big three retailers, and
plans to open several Pick n Pay stores.

A proposed $100-million mall development in Harare’s upmarket Borrowdale
suburb, to be built by a consortium including South African investors, has
already had half its space taken up by South African retailers.

Some investors are looking past the uncertainty and stepping up their game.
Harpal Randhawa, whose private equity group, Global Emerging Markets,
recently bought 25% of miner RioZim, is bidding to buy the diamond assets
Rio Tinto is selling in Zimbabwe.

“We’re now in discussion with Rio Tinto to acquire the 78% of Murowa
[diamond mine] that it wants to offload,” Randhawa said.

Mass exodus
The threat of nationalisation has not caused the mass exodus that many
predicted and many have learned to accept the uncertainty.

Empowerment Minister Saviour Kasukuwere has shown two faces in his crusade:
the belligerent hardliner when speaking to Zimbabwean audiences and the
conciliatory technocrat when meeting with investors. Speaking to investors
in Harare, he addressed what he called “the elephant in the room” – the
indigenisation law – but stressed it was not nationalisation.

“Let us [have a] dialogue and not confront each other over the matter. Let
us have dialogue, let us find each other. Companies should not run away from
us,” he said.

But the trouble large investors such as Zimplats have faced has kept
Zimbabwe from realising the major investment deals it had hoped for when the
unity government was formed.

Essar Africa had hoped to invest $4-billion in Zimbabwe over four years
after it was allowed to buy the country’s biggest steel-maker, but the deal
remains bogged down by a row over access to ore reserves.

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Blood in the dust

Dear Family and Friends,
With overnight temperatures starting to drop below 5 degrees Celsius
and frost peeping over the hedges, winter is upon us but it’s not
just the temperatures that have left us chilled and shivering in the
last few days.

Hardly had the UN Human Rights commissioner Navi Pillay left Zimbabwe
after her five day visit to the country than there was blood on the
dusty ground of Mashonaland East. During her visit Ms Pillay had
commended President Mugabe on his recent calls for no more political
violence but as soon as she was out of sight, news came of murder and
mayhem in Mudzi.

Sixty seven year old Cephas Magura died after being hit with stones
while seven other MDC members were seriously injured and rushed to
hospital in Harare. The MDC had police clearance for their rally but
said that when their members came under attack from Zanu PF youths the
police: “did not act.” Eye witnesses also said they saw the Zanu
PF Member of Parliament for the area a few metres from the site of the
attack. The MDC reported that an autopsy on Mr Magura showed there had
been multiple blows with blunt objects to his body and head. On
release from hospital another of the MDC victims not only named his
attackers but also described how his desperate calls for help from
Police were ignored. “ When I ran to the police officers seeking
protection they locked their doors and drove off at high speed leaving
us at the mercy of Zanu PF thugs,” the man said. A few days later
the US Embassy In Harare issued a strongly worded statement on the
violent encounter and clearly pointed a finger at both the
perpetrators and the police. They embassy said : “The United States
condemns the ZANU-PF thugs responsible for committing these attacks
and the members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police who failed to fulfil
their official duty to serve and protect their fellow Zimbabweans.”

Next came the news that a BBC Radio 3 classical music presenter,
Petroc Trelawny had been arrested while he was attending a music
festival in Bulawayo. Mr Trelawny had come to the country representing
a charitable organization called The British Friends of the Zimbabwe
Academy of Music and was acting as a compere at the Festival. One of
the music festival’s committee members said Mr Trelawny was:
“telling stories to about 500 children when they arrived to take him
away." Mr Trelawny was charged with failing to apply for a Temporary
Work Permit. Things got worse when Mr Trelawny slipped whilst in
police detention and dislocated his shoulder and while he was in
hospital the wrangling went on. First a judge ruled that Mr Trelwany
should not be prosecuted but immigration challenged the decision
saying Mr Trelawny had lied on his visa. Finally, a week later a
Bulawayo magistrate ruled there was no law prohibiting tourists from
taking part in music events and said Mr Trelawny was free to leave

In the midst of murder and bloodshed, classical music and arrest, came
the amazing news that President Mugabe had been jointly chosen with
Zambia’s President to be a tourism ambassador. The pair are to
co-host the United Nations World Tourism Organization's general
assembly in August 2013. Almost as soon as the announcement had been
made, the UN came in for strong international criticism and quickly
back-pedalled. The UN said that the two weren’t actually tourism
ambassadors or even tourism leaders but in fact had just received an
open letter calling on African leaders to promote tourism That
wasn’t how Zimbabwe saw it and the government controlled Herald
newspaper had headlines boasting: “President appointed UN Tourism

It’s hard to see how tourists could be attracted to a country where
you can be stoned to death for going to a political meeting or you can
be arrested and detained for a week for being a voluntary compere at a
music concert. Zimbabwe will remember Cephas Magura and we send our
condolences to his family and friends. Until next time, thanks for
reading, love cathy 2nd June 2012. Copyright � Cathy Buckle.

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