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Biti blames junta for attempt on his life

By Tichaona Sibanda
7 June 2011

Tendai Biti, the aggressive MDC-T lead negotiator and firebrand politician,
has blamed the country’s service chiefs for an explosive devise that was
thrown at his house on Sunday, claiming ‘they’re out to kill me and my

In a candid interview with the Daily News, the usually composed and no
nonsense Biti shed tears as he threatened to quit the inclusive government
over the latest attack on his residence.

‘I thought I had seen the worst in my life, but quite clearly the people who
bombed my residence had the intention to harm me. My biggest worry is that I
am realising that they are not going to stop there. I have endangered my
children and my whole family. As a result, I am asking myself if it is worth

’Should I continue like this when my family is endangered? We have returned
to the 2000 era where MDC offices were bombed, where the Daily News was
bombed. I am sure that they will be back and intend more harm,’ Biti told
the daily paper on Monday.

Praised and respected by most observers, but feared and despised by many in
the ZANU PF camp, others, Biti once had a bullet sent to his house in an
envelope. The latest attack on the finance minister follows an explosive
meeting of the National Security Council on Friday were he openly clashed
with Robert Mugabe and members of the junta.

ZANU PF has meanwhile gone into overdrive to try and distance itself from
the attack, claiming it was an inside job by Biti’s enemies within the MDC.
Former Health Minister Felix Muchemwa went as far as making an absurd claim
that ‘European based MDC supporters who are into mining were responsible for
the attack.’

‘This is an MDC grand plan to make noise as we approach the SADC summit this
weekend, that there is uncontrollable violence in Zimbabwe, which SADC needs
to address urgently, starting with security sector reform,’ Muchemwa said.

He added; ‘The MDC would like to go to the SADC summit with a big issue of
violence in Zimbabwe getting out of control.’

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I want out: Biti

By Guthrie Munyuki, News Editor
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 14:55

HARARE - A day after a powerful explosion rocked his Harare home, a
traumatised Finance Minister Tendai Biti said yesterday he was considering
quitting the inclusive government.

The tearful Biti also told the Daily News last night that he feared that the
country’s partisan securocrats were out to kill him and his family. This
followed the bomb attack on his Glen Lorne home early on Sunday morning.

“I thought I had seen the worst in my life, but quite clearly the people who
bombed my residence had the intention to harm (me and my family). My biggest
worry is that I am realising that they are not going to stop there. I have
endangered my children and my whole family. As a result, I am asking myself
if it is worth continuing.

“Should I continue like this when my family is endangered? We have returned
to the 2000 era where MDC offices were bombed, where the Daily News was
bombed. I am sure that they will be back and intend more harm,” an emotional
Biti told the Daily News in between sobs.

The usually unflappable MDC secretary general said while the news that he
was considering quitting government would disappoint many people, he was
just taking into consideration the welfare and safety of his family because
the attack had “to be taken seriously”.

He believed that his principled opposition to Zanu PF and President Robert
Mugabe in the inclusive government had now resulted in there being “real
threats” from the military – which he was obliged to take seriously.

While police said last night said that they were still investigating the
bombing, they defended the absence of a guard at Biti’s home, saying that
they were severely crippled by a shortage of manpower.

“Several other ministers and deputy ministers, both MDC and Zanu PF, have
not been getting guards because of shortages of manpower. There is nothing
suspicious about the absence of a guard at Minister’s Biti home on the night
of the alleged incident,” police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said.

But Biti, whom the police said should have personally made a swift report of
the bomb attack to them, was adamant that the attack was a well-calculated
assault on his life and family.

“When I joined the inclusive government, I knew I was going into a sewer.
But even in a sewer there are rules.  I had no doubt or illusions about Zanu
PF. I have no doubt in my mind that the people who did this (throwing the
bomb) intended to harm me and my family.

“I can see the fingerprints of the state (in the attack), the military to be
precise. Zanu PF has no capacity to do that, it’s the work of the military,”
the distraught Biti said.

He said since the MDC was formed 12 years ago, there had been consistencies
in the form of threats and attacks on him – leaving him to now seriously
conclude that security agents wanted him dead.

“There have been organised accidents, a bullet sent via mail, torture at
Goromonzi by the CIO, a search at my other residence, beatings, treason
charges and now this.

“Yes, I joined the struggle knowing that we are dealing with dangerous
people, but when you attack a government minister because he is refusing to
allow further destruction of the country you begin to the see the
desperation and also dangerous signs such as this latest attack,” Biti said.

The sustained attacks on Biti are not random. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
and a host of his senior party colleagues have also in the past been
repeatedly targeted by security agents.

On March 11, 2007, Tsvangirai was left for dead by men in military boots in
Highfield during a prayer march organised by civic groups.  He needed
sutures to his damaged head.

In 2000, his aides — Tichaona Chiminya and Talent Mabika — were torched to
death in a gruesome murder allegedly by notorious CIO operative Joseph Mwale
at Murambinda Growth Point in Buhera.

Former High Court judge James Devitte described the two men’s murder as a
“wicked act”.

Surprisingly, Mwale — despite a warrant of arrest being issued by the High
Court for his incarceration, is still a free man and roaming the streets at

The latest bomb attack at Biti’s home came days after Mugabe and military
chiefs warned Biti to award civil servants salaries because their poor
remuneration was now “a security threat”.

The MDC believes that Biti is being targeted for his strong and principled
stand against Mugabe and his hardliners.

On Saturday, MDC national organiser Nelson Chamisa told supporters at a
rally in Highfield that Biti was being targeted for thwarting the orgy of
looting in the country by top Zanu PF officials.

“We have asked that money from the diamond fields go to treasury to improve
the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe, but Zanu PF is reneging. We ask: Who
is mining in Chiadzwa? All you hear are names — all Chinese companies.

“Our problem is we have mineral resources that we can use to improve
salaries for civil servants, build schools, clinics, hospitals, roads and
improve the general living conditions of the people, but Zanu PF does not
intend to share the national cake.

“Hon Biti blocked the paths they used to siphon funds from government for
personal use, so they are feeling the pinch and are furious at him and the
MDC,” Chamisa added.

Following the death of the policeman in Glen View, more than a dozen
residents were arrested and charged with murder.

The MDC denies any involvement in the heinous crime and has dismissed the
arrests as a ploy by the police and Zanu PF to portray it as a violent

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Zimbabwe's Independence Hero Dies

Peta Thornycroft | Harare  June 07, 2011

Edgar Tekere, one of Zimbabwe’s heroes in the fight for independence, who
stopped his former ally President Robert Mugabe from establishing a one
party state, died Tuesday.

Tekere was widely regarded as a key leader in the military and civil
struggle against minority white rule and for denouncing corruption after

Edgar Tekere was a founding member of the party which went on to be known as
Zanu PF and was its secretary-general at the time of Zimbabwe's independence
in 1980. He later became Minister of Labor and Man-Power Planning in

During the struggle against white minority rule, he had served ten years in
prison with the future president Robert Mugabe in what was then known as

Ten years after independence Tekere had been expelled from Zanu PF and ran
against and lost heavily to Mugabe in presidential elections.

But many analysts credit Tekere with preventing Mugabe from declaring
Zimbabwe a one party state.

Since then, and at every opportunity, Tekere claimed Mugabe had deviated
from the aims of the liberation struggle. He accused his former colleagues
in Zanu PF of corruption, of betraying democracy, and of mismanaging the

Two years ago he was guest of honor at a rally for the Movement for
Democratic Change party, now in an uncomfortable inclusive government with
Zanu PF.

Tekere had been ill for several years, and died as a poor man in a hospital
in his home town, Mutare, in eastern Zimbabwe.

Under debate now within Zimbabwe is whether Tekere will be buried as a hero
at the largely Zanu PF Heroes Acre in Harare.

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Violence Breaks Out In Chiadzwa Diamond Fields, 78 Civilians Injured

8 hours 37 minutes ago

Mutare, June 07, 2011 - Police and soldiers on Saturday allegedly set dogs
on people found loitering around the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields,
resulting in nearly 80 civilians badly mauled by the dogs.

Sources in the eastern border town told VOP on Tuesday that the 80 civilians
have been hospitalised at Mutambara hospital.
According to Zim-Rights, a human rights campaigner, soldiers on horsebacks
and police with an estimated 100 dogs on leash, attempted to chase away
desperate diamond dealers and panners that hovered around the fields on
Saturday night.

Some state security agents guarding the controversial fields allegedly
indulge in illegal trade with villagers and other fortune-seekers, some as
far as from Bulawayo, Gwanda and other outlying areas.

It is understood the soldiers and the police unleashed the dogs on the
civilians gathered around the fields after switching on floodlights.

“They let loose their dogs on the people whom they suspected had an interest
on the special resource,” said Zim-Rights in a statement to the media.

“Systematic looting of the diamonds occurs on a daily basis and large
numbers of corrupt and greedy policemen and army personnel are deployed in
the diamonds fields to ensure that no ordinary people gain access.
Zim-Rights call for the responsible authorities to instruct their messengers
to stop committing crimes in Chiadzwa. The uniformed forces are also duly
reminded to perform their duties in the way they are stated in the nation

Wayne Bvudzijena, the national police spokesman, said he had not been
informed of any disturbances at the diamond fields and promised to

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Former Air Vice Marshal Muchena To Crack Whip In Bikita

12 hours 22 minutes ago

Masvingo, June 07, 2011 - President Robert Mugabe has sent former Air Force
of Zimbabwe Air Vice Marshal, Henry Muchena into the hot political fray of
Masvingo to crack whip to political factions in Bikita that are threatening
to tear Zanu (PF) apart due to infighting, amid reports that the district
has two operating party offices at Nyika Growth Point.

Sources said Muchena’s first port of call was Masvingo’s troubled Bikita
district where retired army colonel Claudius Makova and Reserve Bank
Governor Gideon Gono’s advisor, Munyaradzi Kereke, are fighting for the
control of the party to such an extent that there are two Zanu (PF) PF
offices operational at the sprawling Nyika growth point.

Makova has control of the old office-located at a filling station besides
Masikati Bar-while Kereke’s operations are being run from another office at
New Management shop in the growth point.

“Muchena is expected to come down here anytime this week and sit down with
the two warring factions on behalf of the president. I cannot tell you the
exact day, you will eventually know. He has been sent by Mugabe to reason
out with Makova and Kereke and stop dividing the party in the district. He
is expected to read the riot act,” a source said.

While Muchena could not be contacted for comment, Zanu (PF) provincial
chairman Lovemore Matuke confirmed his visit, but denied it was to solve
factionalism in the party.

“He is expected to have a tour of the province to get a better appreciation
of Masvingo. He is not only coming to Bikita as you believe, but other
districts as well. His visit was not spawned by your so called factionalism,
which I do not see or feel,” Matuke said.

Factionalism has been the tradition in Masvingo even in the days of the late
veteran politician Eddison Zvobgo and deceased late Vice President Simon
Muzenda, who were commanding two different camps in Zanu (PF). The
factionalism even spilled downwards and still exists and has become more
fierce years after the two departed.

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Indigenization Minister Kasukuwere owns nine farms

By Lance Guma
07 June 2011

Every Tuesday SW Radio Africa investigates unsolved and deliberately ignored cases of political violence, torture, murder and other forms of abuse, by people in positions of authority. The series is receiving tremendous public support and information and the coming weeks are set for some explosive exposures.

Last week we looked at the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenization and Empowerment, Saviour Kasukuwere and how he has led and sponsored terror gangs in Mashonaland Central. This week we publish stunning details of how the same Minister owns nine farms, despite claims by Mugabe’s regime that they seized white owned land to give to landless blacks.

Confidential documents sent to SW Radio Africa show that 40 year old Kasukuwere owns part of Pimento Farm in Mashonaland Central, South Bamboo Creek in Shamva, Cornucopia Farm Orchard, 500 hectares of Harmony Farm in Mazowe, Bretton Farm, Allan Grange Farm, Auchenburg Farm, Bamboo Creek Farm and Bourne Farm.

Pimento was seized from white farmer Oliver Newton, South Bamboo Creek from farmers N Richardson and R. Morkel, while Kasukuwere reportedly seized the Cornucopia Farm Orchard from Interfresh in 2006. His brother Donald Kasukuwere also helped himself to two farms, Usaka in Mazowe, Mashonaland Central and Sangokwe North in Mwenezi.

In addition to the farms Kasukuwere is also involved in oil procurement and distribution. He owns ComOil (Pvt) Ltd, an oil procurement company, United Touring Company (UTC) which has been so run down it is in serious financial difficulties, a substantial shareholding in Genesis Bank, plus Interfresh (Pvt) Ltd. In 2009 he was accused of trying to block fresh investment in the energy sector to force companies like BP and Shell to sell their assets to his oil company, ComOil.

Even in government Kasukuwere has run his Ministry like a mafia organization. He illegally smuggled more than 11,000 youth militia onto the civil service payroll and deployed them countrywide, to intimidate opposition activists. In a single day, on the 26th May 2008, his ministry alone hired 6,861 youth militias. This was just a few weeks away from the bloody one man presidential run-off in June 2008.

Up to now the status of those youth militias, draining the civil service wage bill, remains a source of much acrimony and debate in cabinet. This is despite an audit showing that there are 75,000 ghost workers, gobbling up US$20 million every month. The audit also shows that there are 17,088 civil servants with unclear positions and the smart money is on Kasukuwere’s Ministry harbouring most of these people.

Residents who stay in his Mt Darwin constituency say he regularly describes himself as an ex-CIO agent, to ensure that they fear him. What he does not tell them is that he was actually fired from the CIO over several corruption allegations. Most of Kasukuwere’s victims have also testified to his violent nature, saying he is an active participant in most acts of torture and beatings meted out to perceived MDC-T supporters.

A number of reports credit Kasukuwere with setting up ZANU PF torture bases in Mashonaland Central in the run up to the 2000 parliamentary elections. He initially funded 28 youth militias who lived in a building owned by his campaign manager Terry Marodza. Showing how the violent streak runs in the family was the fact that the gang was also partly sponsored by his sister, Sarah Kasukuwere.

As Indigenisation Minister, Kasukuwere is leading ZANU PF’s so-called empowerment drive, but the evidence suggests this crusade is another looting mechanism for ZANU PF, where the already wealthy (from various corrupt activities) seize assets and companies that other people have built up over the years.

Lance spoke to Elliot Pfebve a parliamentary candidate for the MDC in 2000. He explains how Kasukuwere using a crow bar smashed the windscreen of his car and also hit his driver in the face, removing his eye.

Listen here

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Patients Evacuated as Power Outage Persists at Leading Zimbabwe Hospital

Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo, chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for
Human Rights said Zimbabwe's s chronic power cutoffs must be addressed to
prevent needless loss of life

Sandra Nyaira & Gibbs Dube | Washington  06 June 2011

An electric power outage at Parirenyatwa Hospital in Harare, Zimbabwe, has
led medical authorities to send patients home until electricity can be

One doctor at Parirenyatwa who declined to be named told VOA that the
intensive care and kidney dialysis units are most affected as they have more
equipment drawing power. He said outpatient services have continued with
limited generator power.

Hospital sources said a major power cable burned out on Saturday. They said
workers from the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority staff were trying to
restore power.

Patients could be seen Monday grappling through dark corridors as they
sought medical assistance, sources said. Dialysis patients received text
messages telling them to stay at home Monday and wait for another text
telling them power has been restored.

Dr. Douglas Gwatidzo of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights
said the country’s chronic power woes must be addressed to prevent needless
loss of life.

Elsewhere, modest increases in prices of basic goods pushed living costs for
an urban family of six to US$504.05 from $501.79 in April, according to the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says. It said rent, water, electricity and
education costs held steady.

Consumer Council director Rosemary Siyachitema said that although price
increases are marginal – sugar for example was up just 5 cents, milk by 3
cents – urban workers feel pinched due to their very wages which have hardly
increased since 2009.

Development worker Liberty Bhebhe said any price increase affects most

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ZANU PF hijacks Murambatsvina housing scheme

By Alex Bell
07 June 2011

ZANU PF has hijacked a housing scheme in Bulawayo meant to benefit victims
of Murambatsvina, with people being forced to register as party members in
order to keep their stands.

The Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle Housing Scheme was launched nationwide by the
government in 2005, as a result of international condemnation of Operation
Murambatsvina. The Operation saw ZANU PF demolish thousands of what it
called ‘illegal slums’ in all urban centres, leaving an estimated 700,000
people homeless.

The Housing Scheme was supposed to give these victims preferential access to
new homes. But according to SW Radio Africa’s Bulawayo correspondent, Lionel
Saungweme, the homes of victims in Cowdray Park Township are being

“The local treasurer of the Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle Housing Scheme, Clara
Gwekwerere, who is also a ZANU PF member, is telling people that they must
register as ZANU PF members and produce party cards to get houses,”
Saungweme explained, adding; “The whole process has been hijacked.”

He continued, that Gwekwerere is being supported by a security officer
identified only as Sibanda, who is a serving member of the Zimbabwe National
Army. He said the pair, together with the Housing Scheme’s Vice Secretary Mr
J Khumalo and some police members, has also blocked residents from holding
any meetings about the housing programme.

“This behaviour by serving members of the police, army and Clara Gwekwerere,
together with the collaboration of ministry officials based at Mhlahlandlela
Government Complex, proves that the government is bent on changing the
demography of urban areas,” Saungweme said, explaining that ZANU PF has
failed to get support in Zimbabwe’s urban areas.

Saungweme said the Cowdray Park Murambatsvina victims are being left in a
desperate situation. He explained that most of the victims have been trying
to make a living by selling goods at markets stalls. But with no proof that
they are resident in the area, they are legally not allowed to trade.
The Housing Scheme has already been the subject of much concern, with most
of the houses being hurriedly built as empty shells, with no proper
facilities. Last week National Housing and Social Amenities Minister Giles
Mutsekwa told parliament that cabinet had already approved a plan to hand
over the scheme to local authorities, in order for the residents to get
water and sewer services.

“Regrettably we have got a situation in the country where the houses
constructed during Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle exist with no
infrastructure or amenities,” said Mutsekwa.

He added; “Cabinet has approved and adopted these houses that fall under
this particular scheme be handed over to local authorities who are going to
take over this infrastructure so that the inhabitants of these houses also
live a normal urban life just like any other person.”

Meanwhile a local chairman in Zvishavane in the Midlands province has raised
concerns that the Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle Housing Scheme there is being taken
advantage of. Chairman Alluwis Zhou told NewsDay last month that “army
officials who were in charge and their relatives had access to the houses,”
and not any local residents.

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Glen View residents hauled before courts

By Tendai Kamhungira, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 15:08

HARARE - Eight more Glen View residents have been hauled before the courts
for allegedly stoning Petros Mutedza, a Harare policeman to death.

This brings to 20 the number of people charged in connection with the case,
which has courted the ire of human rights organisations over the way police
have allegedly randomly picked up residents and used torture to induce

The eight are Tafadzwa Billiard, 26, Simon Mudimu,37, Dube Zwelibanzi,35,
Simon Mapanzure,40, Edwin Muingiri,32, Augustine Tengenyika,39, Francis
Vambai,30 and Gapara Nyamadzawo,47.

They are being charged with murder and have been remanded to the same date
as 12 other suspects who appeared in court last Friday. Some of those that
appeared in court on Friday exhibited fresh wounds after allegedly being
brutally assaulted by police while in custody.

Magistrate Shane Kubonera has since ordered that the Attorney-General’s
Office investigate the alleged abuses, while the residents should get urgent
medical attention.

The state says Mutedza had gone to Glen View 3 as part of a reaction team
assigned to disperse a group of alleged MDC supporters who were braaing and
drinking alcohol at a local bar. The activists allegedly started shouting at
the police officers and began throwing stones, empty bottles, steel stool
frames and other missiles.

Feeling out-numbered, Mutedza rushed to a Nissan Hardbody which he
mistakenly identified as a police vehicle and tried to open the door to seek
refuge but was hit by a brick on the left side of his head and fell down,
according to the state.

The group allegedly kicked him until he passed out. Mutedza was rushed to
Harare Central Hospital where he died on arrival, according to the state.
The residents are set to apply for bail at the High Court.

Since Mutedza’s death, police have launched a vicious manhunt for the other
suspects who are allegedly still at large.

Lawyers and human rights groups, while condemning the death of the police
officer, say police have turned Glen View into a mini-war zone leaving
residents terrified. Groups have also accused police of double standards.

“Inspector Mutedza’s death came at a time when a man claiming to be a leader
in Zanu PF, Namion Chirwa, in Mbare is reportedly terrorising residents for
allegedly refusing to vacate their houses to pave way for identified Zanu PF
youths,” said the Harare Residents’ Trust, which mainly represents residents
from poor and working class suburbs such as Glen View.

“Failure by the police to deal decisively with this issue will continue to
impact negatively on their neutrality in cases of political violence.
Residents deserve peace, security and protection from political
 persecution,” the group said.

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White farmers shut out: CFU

By Chengetai Zvauya, Staff Writer
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 15:04

HARARE - The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) says government is refusing to
consider white farmers who have applied for land under the land reform
programme, while the government says the applications will only be
considered once all blacks have been catered for.

CFU vice-president Charles Taffs told the Daily News that close to 4 500
farmers who were evicted since the beginning of the land reform programme in
2000 had complied with a government requirement to apply for land. They have
not received any response, a decade later, Taffs said.

“All of our members who were evicted from their farms applied for leases so
that they can be considered. We started the meetings with the late vice
president Joseph Msika and different ministers of agriculture to be
considered for the leases but we are not getting any favourable response
from them,” said Taffs.

Government in 2006 introduced 99-year leases for land beneficiaries who
wanted to venture into commercial agriculture. Among these were cabinet
ministers, senior government officials and army chiefs who had grabbed
lucrative farms under the chaotic and often violent agrarian reforms.

Only 250 white farmers remain on the land, out of the 4 500 before the
reforms began.

Taffs said CFU members had been trying to engage government as the white
farmers wanted to return to farming and were hoping to be considered since
government has said the land reform programme would benefit all Zimbabweans
irrespective of colour.

“We are still waiting for our leases as we had been promised that we are
going to be considered  in the land reform programme and to date no white
commercial farmer has been offered the 99-year lease, ‘’ said Taffs.

Herbert Murerwa, the minister of Lands and Rural Resettlement was not
reachable for comment.

Vice-president John Nkomo, whose office the white farmers have been using to
access the leases, said the farmers would be considered last.

“The CFU has made several approaches to our offices over that issue but the
land reform is irreversible. Every Zimbabwean who has applied for land will
be given so if they have applied we are going to treat them fairly and
consider their applications.

“But they must know that we want to empower our indigenous people first,”
said Nkomo.

Taffs said if the CFU members were given the leases, they were willing to
return to their farms from neighbouring countries like Zambia, Mozambique
and South Africa where some have sought refuge while starting farming
ventures in those countries.

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Blindfolded and tortured for daring to stand up to Mugabe

Jan Raath Harare – June 6 2011

Five men who sought to set up a political party to oppose President Mugabe
have finally been released from jail after serving four years without trial
on charges of treason.

Of their four years and a day in custody, two years were spent in solitary
confinement. All five men were badly beaten and tortured while imprisoned.

The five — mostly educated businessmen — were acquitted and then re-indicted
on the same charges, then acquitted of a false charge of an attempted
jailbreak before they were released.

A sixth member of the group remains in solitary confinement in Chikurubi
prison, outside Harare, on charges of plotting to escape. He denies the
charge. Albert Matapo, the imprisoned leader of the group, once told his
torturers that they had “no brains”.

Last week, Patson Mupfure and his prison comrade Nyasha Zivuku, spoke to The
Times of their ordeal.

Mr Mupfure kept a secret diary in a tiny Bible that serves as a detailed
record of their four years. His hand is now numb after it was starved of
blood for three days in 2007 by handcuffs so tight that they cut through his

Mr Mupfure lost a tooth after an interrogator kicked him in the mouth when
he begged for the handcuffs to be loosened. His eyelid is permanently half
closed and flickers, after he was beaten with a weapon that he could not see
because he was blindfolded.

His testimony reflects the worst of Mr Mugabe’s regime, of brutality
allegedly perpetrated by secret police, uniformed police, prison
authorities, the Attorney-General and sections of the judiciary. “You would
cry all night,” said Mr Mupfure, 50, an auditor. “You have nightmares; you
wake up shouting.” In 2008 five men died in his cell.

On May 29, 2007, the six were abducted from the Harare travel agency where
most of them worked by 15 men in plain clothes with AK-47 rifles.

Shingirai Mutemachani, then aged 20, was a footballer and there only because
he was waiting for a lift home.

They told The Times that they were blindfolded, handcuffed and thrown in a
basement, which they later learnt was the military intelligence

They said that they were kicked, punched, beaten on the soles of their feet
and given electric shocks for three days. The blindfolds were finally lifted
to show them the dotted line where they were to sign their confessions.

Mr Matapo said that he was dangled over a pool of crocodiles before he could
be forced to sign. Later they found their statements admitted to plotting to
overthrow Mr Mugabe, claiming that they had been hired by Emmerson
Munangagwa, the would-be successor to Mr Mugabe and now Defence Minister. Mr
Munangagwa was never indicted over his alleged role.

The former prisoners claim that it took a month to force the prisons
department to summon a doctor to examine their injuries. The doctor produced
a detailed report for the court and then fled the country.

They spent the next four years in Chikurubi. Their trial was repeatedly
postponed — five times in 2008. That year they appealed against the law that
limited sentences for treason to either life imprisonment or death. After
ten months, the appeal court sat, and suspended judgement indefinitely.

It was their lowest point, Mr Mupfure said. “We thought they are going to
kill us here. We thought we were going mad.”

In 2010 one of the High Court’s respected judges acquitted them on the
grounds that the period for indictment had long expired, only for another
judge to re-indict them on the same charges. Their lawyer appealed to
Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court. The re-indictment was quashed.

Before they could be released, however, they were charged with having
plotted — two years earlier — to escape. They finally came to trial and the
case was thrown out in January this year for a lack of evidence.

However, there remained a warrant of detention in their prison files that
officials would not remove, despite their acquittal. A chance visit to
Chikurubi by the High Court registrar last month gave the six a chance to
appeal for intervention. A week later, two High Court judges ordered their
immediate release. Five of the group were freed.

“It is a traumatic four-year vacuum,” Mr Mupfure said. His wife says that he
wakes her up shouting, “You are crazy, leave me alone!”

And still, their ordeal is not over. The five dare not stay in their own
homes, claiming that the secret police are looking for them.

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MDC-T, NCA split deepens over COPAC

by Irene Madongo
06 June 2011

The MDC-T has maintained that it will endorse the new constitution that will
emerge from the controversial Constitution Select Committee (COPAC) process,
just days after the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) expelled it for

On Sunday the NCA announced that it had fired the MDC-T from its
organisation because it actively supports COPAC. It also says the party had
‘expelled itself’ by not attending committee meetings for the past two

A NCA statement said; “The decision was made after the realisation that the
MDC-T’s participation and involvement in the COPAC process is in total
deviation from the principles and vision of the NCA, whose vision is a new
democratic people driven constitution.

It was also noted that the MDC-T has not been attending NCA Taskforce
meetings since 2009 and thus they also automatically expelled themselves
from the Assembly since the constitution of the NCA is quite clear that a
member institution is deemed expelled if its representative fails to attend
four consecutive taskforce meetings without notification.”

The NCA has also expelled around 30 other civic groups who have either been
supporting COPAC or not attending NCA meetings. Included in this list are
ZimRights, Bulawayo Agenda and Transparency International Zimbabwe.

The MDC-T admits that the COPAC process is flawed, as it has been
characterised by violence and intimidation inflicted on people by ZANU PF.
Despite this it says it will endorse a new constitution.

On Monday, MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said that regardless of the
flaws in the process, the constitution being drafted may turn out to be good
and hence will be endorsed by his party.

“The aim is to endorse the constitution, it’s not fair to reject the
constitution without seeing it first,” Mwonzora said, “We are in the process
of compiling the information from which the drafters will write the
constitution and I can tell you that the information that is there is very

However, the MDC- T say that even if the new constitution is not perfect,
they will endorse it anyway and arrange for a new one if they get into
power. “That’s when we envisage that you can have an ideal environment. We
think that the environment of intimidation and violence will exist as long
as ZANU PF is there,” Mwonzora explained.

This position contrasts with that of the NCA, which is urging Zimbabweans to
reject the COPAC draft constitution. The NCA has been condemning the
parliament led constitution process since its inception two years ago,
arguing that the supreme law of the country should be spearheaded by an
independent body.

It maintains people did not write the constitution themselves and the
proposed constitution will be below the standard required for a democratic

It is expected that COPAC’s thematic committees will complete their work
this month, and an 18-member panel will then produce the first draft
constitution. COPAC hopes to conclude the constitution-making process by

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ZCTU reveals ‘obscene’ salaries of Zim bosses

by Irene Madongo
07 June 2011

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has expressed outrage at what
it says are the ‘obscene’ salaries and perks that some companies in Zimbabwe
are awarding bosses, while their ordinary workers are given paltry wages.

The ZCTU has released a document which shows that executives in parastatals
earn $11,000, in manufacturing over $9,000, those in insurance $6,000 and
the average executive at a non-governmental organisation earns $10,000.

But currently the average wage across all sectors for workers is $200, and
comes down to $150 after deductions.

According to the ZCTU bosses often receive cellphone allowances which alone
are often three times more than the monthly salary of their workers, not
taking into account many other perks.

The ZCTU has been vigorously campaigning for salaries of top executives be
made public and these latest figures were obtained through a research

ZCTU Acting Secretary General Japhet Moyo said; “What we want is to arm the
people who are negotiating at shop floor level with that information, arm
people who are negotiating at sector level with the information. Such
information helps our members to engage their employers.”

However some have questioned the ZCTU’s figures. A business source in
Zimbabwe told SW Radio Africa that the figures are not necessarily a true
reflection of the earnings of all people in senior positions. Due to the
massive economic downturn in Zimbabwe many companies are struggling to keep

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Parly probes ban on left hand cars

By Sydney Saize
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 15:01

MUTARE - A special parliamentary committee yesterday launched a countrywide
fact-finding mission on the ban of left-hand vehicles to vitriolic attacks
from businessmen in Mutare at the inaugural public meeting.

Businesspeople in Mutare told the Parliamentary portfolio committee on
Transport and Infrastructural Development chaired by Blessing Chebundo, MP
for Kwekwe Central, that banning left-hand driven vehicles and second hand
cars more than five years old was irrational and catastrophic to the

The committee was in the eastern border city to launch a nationwide mission
to consult the public on the controversial move.

Businesspeople who attended the meeting, some who have heavily invested in
left-hand driven haulage trucks, said the government had failed to show
evidence that left-hand driven vehicles were to blame for most of the
carnage on the nation’s roads.

The government has given until end of June as the cut-off date for the
continued use of left-hand vehicles on the country’s roads blaming the
vehicles for a number of accidents experienced in recent years.

But haulage operators in the city advised the government to revamp the road
system in the country, which they said left a lot to be desired.

Hlanganiso Matangaidze, who runs a fleet of trucks plying the Sadc region,
noted that instead of banning the use of the left-hand vehicles, the
government should concentrate on dualising and improving the road network
throughout the country.

“The cause of accidents has nothing to do with these vehicles as stated by
the government. Banning the importation of such vehicles would be
catastrophic for the economy of Zimbabwe,” he said.

Matangaidze said the ban on vehicles that were five years old was
ill-conceived since these were the only vehicles affordable to many
Zimbabweans. He said the ban would reduce the rest of the population to
being public transport users making private vehicles a preserve of the rich.

The businessman advised the committee to wait until the economy was fully
revived and when such companies as Quest Motor Corporation and Willowvale
Mazda Motor Industries began to function.

Another Mutare entrepreneur, Fungai Simango said he could not see the
rationale behind the proposed ban as Zimbabwe was yet to fully recover from
its decade-long economic collapse.

He said locally assembled vehicles were expensive and not readily available.

“Second-hand vehicles imported from Japan are creating employment for the
people as most of these vehicles are being used as taxis by the people.
Banning them is the same as condemning people to destitution without
offering them an alternative,” said Simango.

Misheck Chesa, who runs a transport business, implored the government to
consult people first before coming up with legislation which is misplaced
from the wishes and desires of the nation.

“The problem with these accidents being blamed on left-hand driven trucks
lies with the bad state of the roads that are potholed. One does not require
a rocket scientist to establish that. Work on the roads and that’s all,”
said Chesa.

Chebundo said his committee would take the consultations to Masvingo,
Bulawayo and Harare having kicked off in Mutare yesterday.

“We will present these finding to Parliament and eventually to Cabinet so
they can see for themselves what the people’s thoughts are on the proposed
ban,” said Chebundo, who was accompanied by other members of the committee,
Edward Raradza, Ordo Nyakudanga, Ailess Baloyi, Luke Mushore, Gift Dzirutwe
and Zvanyanya Dongo.

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Chiwenga’s Potential Candidacy Is A Zimbabwean Nightmare

Tuesday, June 07, 2011
By Munesu Benjamin Shoko;

Living with a despotic leader who has clung to power for 31 years amid
civilian torture and widespread poverty is like carrying a permanent injury
for Zimbabweans.

Adding insult to that injury is when the same people responsible for that
autocratic government are reportedly currently considering endorsing a
ruthless Army General as their candidate for the next president.

Recent reports from Harare have suggested that Defence Forces Commander
Constantine Chiwenga is being tipped to succeed the ailing President Robert

For any development-oriented and peace-loving Zimbabwean, this new twist to
the Mugabe succession battle represents yet another hurdle which has to be
overcome before freedom is achieved.

Of all the people to consider as a future leader of Zimbabwe.

Just the name Chiwenga automatically rings alarm bells and conjures up bad
memories of terrible days gone by.

Isn’t this the same Chiwenga who has been linked to the 1983 Gukurahundi
massacres in Matebeleland?

That abomination alone saw around 20 000 civilians murdered at the hands of
those who are allegedly in or tied to the ruling party.

Something that will forever be remembered as among - if not - the worst
disaster to befall the Zimbabwean people.

Chiwenga, along with his wife, are on the sanction list of those Zimbabwean
officials not allowed to enter the EU and the United States.

According to on May 3 : "Sources said MDC-T ministers
accused Mugabe of blessing the operations of the police under Police
Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and those of the army under Zimbabwe
Defences Forces Commander Constantine Chiwenga.

These include the murder of MDC party members after Mugabe lost the 2008

The same Chiwenga who reportedly used his Army credentials to marry his

According to a former Prison Officer, currently seeking asylum in South
Africa - who worked closely with Chiwenga - his current wife Joyline was
formerly married to a Frenchman who was allegedly forced to sign divorce
papers at gunpoint and later deported to his country under mysterious

Now with the support of other Army Generals - Perrence Shiri ( Airforce
Commander ), Vitalis Zvinavashe and Prisons boss, Retired Major General
Paradzai Zimhondi - Chiwenga has made his intentions clear ; He is ready to
grab any opportunity that might present itself to take over as President
from Mugabe.

In this regard he has since gone around claiming to be studying for a
Bachelor of Arts degree at the University of Zimbabwe.

Who knows if he is genuinely studying and even if he gets the degree, how
does it bolster his claim to lead a country where he has committed what may
well constitute crimes against humanity?

Does this heavy-handed man hold the credentials to become leader of

Obviously not.

Are Zimbabweans ready to embrace yet another torrid totalitarian error, this
time under a military leader?

Heaven forbid.

Mugabe’s refusal to leave, his failure to resolve his succession crisis
within the ZANU-PF and the party's bloodthirsty approach to what passes for
democracy in Zimbabwe continues to jeopardise the country’s security and the
welfare of its citizens.

And it will remain at risk as long as Zanu-PF heavyweights push and shove in
a bid to outmanoeuvre each other in some kind of desperate power-grab.

Recent reports have indicated that as a result of prostate cancer Mugabe has
been leaving the country in the hands of the military ; a very risk stance
which exposes the nation to an army takeover.

As the succession battle unfolds, a whole lot of dictatorially minded people
have emerged as possible candidates.

Others who have been touted as potential successors to Mugabe include Joice
Mujuru, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sydney Sekeramayi, and more remotely John Nkomo,
Simon Khaya Moyo, Gideon Gono and Saviour Kasukuwere.

Yet mention of Chiwenga is still staggering.

If an army takeover becomes the reality Zimbabwe is likely to be presented
with a more severe autocratic setup where fair elections will be, at best,

This possibility leaves civilians anticipating more danger and political
bloodshed in the days ahead.

Time will tell - watch this space.

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Launch of the Zimbabwe 'Yes we can' Movement

The Zimbabwe Vigil has been asked by the newly formed Zimbabwe 'Yes we can' Movement to circulate the following media notice. The movement is described as a platform that seeks to unite Zimbabweans in their quest for a lasting solution to the Zimbabwe question. It's being modelled on the anti-apartheid campaign and the current mass protest movements in the Arab world. Everyone and all organisations are welcome to join for the cause of Zimbabwe.
Launch of the Zimbabwe ‘Yes we can’ Movement Media Notice - 7th June 2011


Zimbabweans from all walks of life met under the banner of Zimbabwe Political Conference 2011 with the theme 'Zimbabwe Going Forward' from 27 – 29 May in Huddersfield UK.


The agenda of the Conference was to consider the Zimbabwe political stalemate and the ever deteriorating human rights situation.


The Conference resolved to form a new global movement, Zimbabwe Yes We Can. Ephraim Tapa was elected President of the new movement. (Ephraim Tapa is President of Restoration of Human Rights Zimbabwe (ROHR) and a founder member of the Zimbabwe Vigil.)


Issues raised at the Zimbabwe Political Conference included:

1.      Concern over the failure of leadership to bring about a lasting solution to the Zimbabwe question over the last 10 years, despite overwhelming mass support for the change agenda.

2.      Continued grappling over the Global Political Agreement by the three principals to the total exclusion of the people of Zimbabwe.

3.      Continued human rights abuses under the watch of the Inclusive Government

4.      Lack of sincerity on the part of the Inclusive Government (all parties included) in bringing about a genuinely people-driven constitution.

5.      Continued plundering of resources and corporate terrorism with the acquiescence of all in the Inclusive Government.

6.      The lack of REAL and SUSTAINABLE CHANGE over the 3-year rule of the Inclusive Government

7.      Concern over there being no end in sight to the suffering of the people of Zimbabwe under the prevailing arrangements.


A clear roadmap is being developed in consultation with Zimbabweans at home and abroad and members are busy working towards a second closed door meeting on 25 June 2011 to concretise the way forward.


All media enquiries to Ephraim Tapa, 07940793090.


Vigil co-ordinators
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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The MDC Today - Issue 206

Tuesday, 07 June 2011

Scores of armed police officers have taken over the house on an MDC member in Glen View 3, Harare after chasing the family and tenants away last week. The house, Number 1329, 2nd Crescent is owned by Mr Dehwa who is a former councillor for Ward 30.

Last week the Dehwa family and tenants were forced to flee the house after the police descended in the suburb and arrested over 25 MDC activists on allegations of murdering a police officer who was killed by unknown revellers at a drinking outlet at Glen View 3 shopping centre. Twenty MDC activists are now in remand prison over the trumped-up murder charge. The police officers have occupied all the rooms at the house and can be seen playing music at full blast and cooking.

Meanwhile, Hon. Shepherd Mushonga, Mazowe Central MP has been acquitted on charges of stealing quarry stones worth US$700 in his constituency. Hon. Mushonga was arrested in March but the case was thrown away after the prosecution failed to prove the charges. Defence lawyer, Thabani Mpofu successfully mounted an application for a discharge at the end of the prosecution case. Mpofu convinced the court that the quarry stones in question were used for development project in Mazowe Central and were never converted to the MP’s personal use.

For more on these and other stories, visit:

Together, united winning, ready for real change!!!

MDC Information & Publicity Department

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OK Zimbabwe's full year earnings more than double

HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Jun 07 2011 13:51

Zimbabwe's second-largest supermarket chain by assets, OK Zimbabwe, recorded
a 153% increase in full-year earnings in the year through March 2011 as the
country's economy recovers.

The retailer's headline earnings per share rose to 0.43 cents from 0.17
cents. Headline EPS, the main profit measure in southern Africa, strips out
certain one-time items.

OK said its revenue for the period amounted to $257.4-million, up from
$187.5-million the previous year.

The firm said it expects demand to grow marginally as the economy mends,
although Zimbabwe's high unemployment levels mean low disposable incomes.

OK recapitalised its operations at the start of the financial year with a
$15-million rights issue as well as a $5-million convertible loan.

OK said the funds were used to refurbish its stores. The company had bought
two stores from South Africa's Massmart during the period.

Zimbabwe's economy is recovering under a power-sharing government set up two
years ago by long-time ruler President Robert Mugabe and his rival Morgan
Tsvangirai, now prime minister, after a decade of sharply declining output
and hyperinflation.

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