March 13 2006 at 08:55AM
Zimbabwean police are still searching for former opposition MP Roy
Bennett after last week's discovery of an arms cache in Mutare, Harare's
Herald newspaper reported on Monday.
Its website quoted senior police officer Ronald Muderedzi as saying
various teams had been dispatched into Manicaland province to look for
"We are still pursuing our investigations in the matter and we have
sent out teams to look for possible leads. We are only expecting them
tomorrow (Monday)," Muderedzi said.
"No further arrests have been made so far except for those who were
nabbed and are helping police with investigations."
Investigations into the arms cache have led to the arrest of a number
of top Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) officials and two ex-policemen
and the recovery of numerous police and army uniforms and rounds of
Several other suspects were also picked up for questioning in Mutare,
including Mutare North MP Giles Mutsekwa who has already appeared before a
They were remanded in custody to Wednesday.
All are facing charges of contravening Section 10 (1) of the Public
Order and Security Act Chapter 11:17, that is conspiracy to possess weaponry
for insurgency, banditry, sabotage and terrorism.
State television earlier reported that a man identified as Mike Peter
Hischman was arrested in connection with the find and claimed he was working
for an obscure organisation called the Zimbabwe Freedom Movement.
The man named MDC members Roy Bennett and Giles Mutseyekwa as
co-ordinators of the organisation. -
March 12, 2006
Netsai Mushonga, media coordinator of the Women's Coalition, an umbrella
body of women's rights groups in Zimbabwe, says she is angry with the law
and system of governance in Zimbabwe.
In the first week of November 2005, security agents subjected her to 50
hours detention for organizing a weekend workshop for church leaders and
training them in using non-violence as a tool for dispute resolution. The
workshop also was intended to raise awareness of non-violence and methods of
non-violent civic protest as alternatives to the culture of violence that is
prevalent in Zimbabwe.
She says the workshop was successful and oversubscribed: "we got people
talking of injustice and violence in their community and how they can
overcome these non-violently."
The workshop also marked the start of Mushonga's ordeal because a day after
the workshop had ended security agents were making intimidating telephone
calls to those who had attended the workshop. The security agents wanted to
know who had organized the workshop, what it was about and what was
discussed in it.
They later phoned Mushonga and asked her to present herself at the Harare
Central Police Station.
"The police stressed that it was to my advantage to cooperate with the
police," she says.
On Nov. 7, Mushonga reported to the Harare Central Police Station as she had
been instructed. She was surprised to find the whole section had been
waiting for her.
She was taken into an office that looked like a reception room and asked if
she had been responsible for organizing the workshop. They told her that the
workshop had been a political one and that she should therefore have
informed the police in advance as dictated by the Public Order and Security
POSA was made into law in January 2002 and is one of the most extensive and
repressive pieces of legislation in Zimbabwe. The Act is most commonly used
against the normal activities of journalists, civil society bodies, trade
unions and opposition political parties.
Sections 24 to 31 of the Act lay down conditions for the holding of public
gatherings. Anyone who wishes to organize a public gathering must notify the
police four days in advance (sec. 24). The police may then place
restrictions on the gathering (sec. 25) or prohibit it entirely (sec. 26) if
they have "reasonable grounds for believing" the gathering will result in
public disorder, a breach of the peace or obstruction of any thoroughfare.
The organizers of a gathering are required to "notify" the police; the
section does not state that the police must "give permission."
These provisions are regularly misunderstood or deliberately misapplied by
the police who have raided private houses where clearly private meetings
have been taking place, and broken up consultative trade union meetings. The
police have even been found sitting in on ordinary leadership workshops of
the opposition party. At one point, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
had to obtain a High Court order barring the police from attending their
executive committee meeting.
Section 26 of the Act has been ruthlessly applied within the definitions to
prevent opposition to the Zimbabwe government from organizing and even to
prevent sitting opposition political party M.P.s and councilors from holding
report-back meetings with their constituents.
Although Mushonga explained that the meeting was about peace and
non-violence, the police insisted the meeting was political because it
discussed the history of Zimbabwe.
"They seemed worried that we mentioned Gukurahundi," she says.
Gukurahundi, which means "the early rain which washes away the chaff before
the spring rains," is a euphemism used to describe the killing of an
estimated 20,000 civilians by President Robert G. Mugabe's Fifth Brigade
military unit in the Zimbabwe provinces of Matabeleland and the Midlands
during the early to late 1980's.
The police detained Mushonga until late in the evening before releasing her
and telling her to return to the station the next day.
On Nov. 8, she went back to the Harare Central Police Station as she had
Narrating her ordeal on Kubatana.net, an online community for Zimbabwean
activists, Mushonga says when she arrived at the station she was led through
corridors to the offices of Zimbabwe's secret police, the Central
Intelligence Organization (C.I.O.).
After four hours in the custody of the C.I.O., one of the operatives
informed her that under P.O.S.A. the police have a right to be informed of
any gathering, including even birthday parties and church gatherings, and
that she can get a lawyer if she wants one. The C.I.O. took three copies of
her fingerprints; charged her with holding a public gathering without
informing the police, and locked her up in a holding cell for two nights.
She gives a poignant and now all too familiar account of the terrible
conditions under which Zimbabwe's human rights activists are kept when they
are in police custody. She shared a cell with 10 other prisoners. The cell
approximately measured six meters by six meters. The toilet did not flush
and the prisoners used a newspaper to cover the excrement in an attempt to
make the stench more bearable. The 10 prisoners had to share three
"With my short-sleeve blouse, I cannot take the lice bites and resolve to
spread my newspaper on the floor and sleep there.
"After turning and tossing forever, sometimes just sitting up straight since
the floor is cold, dawn finally comes," she says.
During her incarceration, she became angrier and angrier by the minute.
"Why am I in prison? Did I hurt anyone? But I can't be angry at the police
either. One of them took away my newspaper and spent five minutes
apologizing and explaining why he has to do it," she says.
When Mushonga was released from custody on Nov. 10, the police told her they
would be preparing a docket and later send her a summons to appear in court.
Her lawyer, however, told her that she had been released because the
attorney general's office had thrown out the case. There had been no case to
start with and the police therefore had to release her after the mandatory
Mushonga describes her mood as she was going home:
"I feel angry. A fire has been ignited deep inside me. I expect that people
around me, my friends and colleagues, would be angry with me but they are
not. They are angry with the law and the system. They also realize I have
been a victim. It's one thing to talk of injustices; it is another to be a
direct victim. I now know what P.O.S.A. means. I now know about unlawful
arrests and detentions. Non-violence principle number four has taught me
that unearned suffering is strengthening."
Sokwanele, a Zimbabwean civic action group, says the Public Order and
Security Act of 2002 remains in force and is for purely political ends - to
keep ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) in
"P.O.S.A. has indeed inhibited both political opposition and civil society
from organizing mass protests against government policies and the effects of
economic collapse. Normal political organizing, meetings and campaigns have
been obstructed. While many brave leaders are prepared to defy what they see
as an unjust law, the rest of the community is thoroughly cowed by the
prospect of becoming victims of police action.
"Even the threat of arrest is terrifying in light of the inhuman conditions
in police cells and the risk of torture at the hands of sadistic,
politicized police officers, both uniformed and non-uniformed," Sokwanele
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights, a joint program of the
World Organization Against Torture, described Mushonga's arrest as arbitrary
and said it violated the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights
Defenders adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Dec. 9, 1998, in
particular articles 5(a), which states that "for the purpose of promoting
and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone has the
right, individually and in association with others, at the national and
international levels to meet and assemble peacefully."
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
Last updated: 03/13/2006 10:31:31
ZIMBABWE'S central bank chief has warned President Robert Mugabe's
government against draft mining laws that he said could hurt the country's
economy, reports said Sunday.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono was quoted saying draft
amendments which could allow the state to take a majority share in
foreign-owned mines should respect private property rights, adding the
proposed laws were a "hot issue" at a recent International Monetary Fund
(IMF) board meeting.
The Mines Ministry has said cabinet approved amendments to the mining law
"to indigenise 51 percent in some instances of all foreign owned companies",
raising concerns on future foreign investment in a country facing foreign
"This issue took much of our time as we had to explain to the IMF executive
board government's policy on the matter. It was a hot issue," Gono said.
"For the ... sustainable integration of Zimbabwe into the competitive global
space for investment attraction, this process has to be done in accordance
with strict observance and respect for private property rights, as well as
through market-friendly principles of fair value exchanges," he told the
state-run Sunday Mail newspaper.
"Without this, the country's investment landscape will forever be damaged,
much to the detriment of the country's turnaround programme and its ideals."
The Mines Ministry's statement to the Chamber of Mines said the amended law
would give the government 51 percent in "energy minerals mining companies",
including 25 percent on a "non contributory basis," upon promulgation.
Industry officials say a non-contributory basis means the government would
acquire shares without paying for them.
Gono said the government should distinguish between existing and future
investments when pursuing its empowerment programme and that government and
local investors should have sufficient financial resources to partner
existing and future investors.
Gono has previously criticised government policies such as the seizures of
white-owned farms to give to landless blacks, a policy which critics say has
gutted the key agricultural sector and pushed the country into economic
But analysts say Gono has not enjoyed whole-hearted backing he was promised
by Mugabe when he took up his post in 2003 with a mandate to pull Zimbabwe
out of its economic slide.
The new draft mining law has sent tremors through the industry, one of the
few in Zimbabwe that still has significant foreign involvement.
The world's largest second platinum producer Implats and Murowa diamond
mine, 78 percent controlled by Rio Tinto Plc, have expressed concern on the
draft law - Reuters
A late winter snowfall covered much of Britain. The Vigil escaped but
naturally, with our supporters so widely dispersed ,it affected our numbers.
Everyone was abuzz with reports of the so-called arms find in Zimbabwe:
there was a general feeling that it was another desperate attempt by the
collapsing Zanu-PF regime to divert attention from the MDC's Congress in
Harare next weekend. Hopefully their next ploy will be the departure of
Mugabe (perhaps on an extended skiing holiday in Malaysia to test out his 30
year old bones).
It was great to have so many women at the Vigil and their lovely singing was
supported by the drumming of a laid back West Indian supporter among others.
A group of about 8 English girls enthusiastically joined in the dancing.
Fittingly, it was announced that Evelyn Tafirenyika has agreed to be one of
the Vigil co-ordinators. Evelyn is always at the forefront of the singing
and dancing. Another newly appointed co-ordinator is Dumi Tutani, a
musician, who is also a long-term supporter. He faithfully comes every week
from as far away as Southampton. He is always there from beginning to end
and is invaluable in making newcomers welcome. They replace Tawanda Spicer
who is now studying in South Africa and Chengetai Mupara whose work often
keeps him away on Saturdays. They join the other Vigil co-ordinator, Rose
Benton, in management of the Vigil. These are the people to be approached
on matters to do with the Vigil.
FOR THE RECORD: 50 signed the register and the Vigil dog, who didn't escape
today, left his paw print.
FOR YOUR DIARY: Zimbabwe Forum, Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28
John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go
down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn right and you will see the pub).
· Monday, 13th March, 7.30 pm - Harris Nyatsanza will be giving us
an eye witness account of the Appeals Court hearing last week, telling us
when we can expect a decision and how this will affect current asylum
seekers. There will also be the usual news round up from Zimbabwe.
· Monday, 20th March, 7.30 pm - Elizabeth Bishop will talk about her
work with the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.
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 by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
By Kennedy Mavhmashava
MORE people are likely to be arrested soon as police widen investigations
into a fuel scam that has seen the arrest of two Manicaland politicians,
chief police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said
He said all people found to have abused special fuel facilities will be
brought to book.
Scores of people are alleged to have accessed fuel from the National Oil
Company of Zimbabwe (NOCZIM) for various purposes, including farm
operations, but diverted it to other uses or sold it at inflated prices on
the black market.
"This is a national exercise which is not only targeted at Manicaland.
"We are following up on all purchases of fuel and are trying to reconcile
that with what happened on the ground.
"If, during our investigations, it is established that someone diverted fuel
meant for agricultural purposes, he or she will be arrested and the law will
take its course," said Asst Comm Bvudzijena in an interview by telephone
His comments come a few days after a number of people in Manicaland were
brought to court on allegations of diverting large amounts of fuel.
The most notable figures arrested were Zanu(PF) Central Committee member,
Isau Mupfumi, and Chipinge South legislator, Enock Porusingazi.
Porusingazi was arrested after he allegedly secured fuel from NOCZIM on
behalf of a development association in his constituency but used it for
Mupfumi appeared before a Mutare provincial magistrate and was granted $300
million bail on fraud charges involving 20 000 litres of diesel.
He was remanded to 28 March for trial.
Two Manicaland farmers, Enock Saidani and Lucia Mbetsa, have also appeared
in court in Mutare.
Saidani was remanded in custody while Mbetsa is out on $5 million bail.
Saidani allegedly received 17 600 litres of diesel from the NOCZIM but never
ploughed his field.
He allegedly sold it on the parallel market, while Mbetsa is alleged to have
converted 2 995 litres of the 4 000 litres she received to other uses other
Describing the ongoing investigations as mammoth, Asst Comm Bvudzijena said
the fact that the initial cases were uncovered in Manicaland did not mean
the investigations were only taking place there.
"It does not matter how long the probe is going to take or who is involved.
"We appreciate that it is a mammoth task but as police we want to get to the
bottom of the matter. Some of the people are alleged to have accessed fuel
from NOCZIM using false documents while others misrepresented facts in their
applications for the commodity."
He said although the Manicaland arrests took place after media reports,
investigations had already been instituted.
The reports, he said, only hastened the prosecution of the suspects.
He appealed to members of the public with information on possible abuse of
the fuel facility to alert the police.
THE Total Consumption Poverty Line (TCPL) for a household of five shot to
$25,5 million last month, according to latest data from the Central
Statistical Office, rising 27,4 percentage points on the January figure.
By contrast, the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe reported last month that the
consumer basket for an urban family of six had risen to $28 million per
Unlike the CCZ survey which is confined to urban areas, the CSO's data
covers both urban and rural households.
The TCPL is derived by computing the nonfood consumption expenditures of
poor households whose consumption expenditures were equal to the FPL.
On the other hand, the Poverty Datum Line (PDL) represents the cost of a
given standard of living if a person is deemed not to be poor.
The third consumption yardstick - the Food Poverty Line - represents the
minimum consumption expenditure necessary to ensure that each household
member can (if all expenditures were devoted to food) consume a minimum food
basket representing 2 100 kilo calories.
The latest PDL figures confirm that most Zimbabweans are living in poverty
as their salaries fall far short of the PDL.
In other words, the breadwinner in a household of five persons should earn
an income at par or in excess of $25,5 million per month in order to avoid
being classified as poor.
Sadly, many families were struggling to make ends meet even at the January
TCPL of $20 million,.
In the last 12 months, the TCPL has gone up a staggering 993 percent from
$2,3 million in February 2005. Salaries, however, have been lagging behind.
The Food Poverty Line for an average of five persons for February rose to
$9,1 million up 16,3 percentage points on the January figure of $7,8
"This means that the minimum food basket cost that much for an average of
five persons in December," the CSO said. This translated to about $1,8
million per person.
The CSO said the poverty lines varied by province as prices differed from
place to place "so the TCPL for an average household in February 2006 ranged
from $22,6 million in Masvingo to $28,7 million in Manicaland province". -
Monday, March 13 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
Bulawayo Movement for Democratic Change leader 'King' Arthur
Mutambara's bid to open up talks with charismatic MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai have been shot down, with the fiery opposition chief declaring
that the robotics professor has an over inflated ego. The founding MDC
president's faction, battling for control of the party with Mutambara's
camp, emphatically rejected talks with their rivals for the first time on
Friday. The Tsvangirai camp said it would not work with Mutambara. The fight
over the name of the party and its properties is currently under way.
Tsvangirai's spokesman, William Bango, said Mutambara had no mandate to lead
a reunification of the MDC. He said he was not part of the MDC and his
comments were thus inconsequential.
"He has no locus standi and capacity to lead the so-called
reunification," Bango said. "He tried to enter the MDC through a platform we
don't recognise." MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa, said they believed Mutambara
was irrelevant to the party. "He has an inflated ego. He appears to think
that he is the only one who has a legitimate right to lead the MDC,"Chamisa
said. "He must join MDC structures at branch level and rise through the
ranks instead of trying to impose himself as a leader from nowhere."
Some regard Mutambara with suspicion and also claim he is
politically immature. Mutambara, a former Rhodes scholar, robotics engineer,
Standard Bank director, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
consultant, and McKinsey consultant, parachuted into Zimbabwean opposition
politics to lead a faction of the MDC two weeks ago by talking tough. He
threatened to tackle President Robert Mugabe's regime head-on and remove it
from power. Mutamabra said he wanted to unite the MDC, which was split last
October by a dispute over a controversial senate election. Describing
Tsvangirai as a "national hero", Mutambara called for unity and cohesion in
"All the democratic forces in Zimbabwe need to engage each
other," he said. "We need to unite. A reunification framework and strategy
must be established immediately." However, with the Tsvangirai faction
congress weekend, Mutambara's agenda of reuniting has so far come unstuck
because his potential allies have spurned his olive branch. Mutambara's
acceptance speech and his first two press conferences were received with
mixed reactions. His attempt to dramatically shift the MDC's ideological
position by sounding extremely anti-colonial and anti-imperialist only drew
parallels with Mugabe.
Some said he failed to link his past with his present to launch
himself onto the political battlefield in style. He was a fiery student
activist during his University of Zimbabwe undergraduate days. They also say
he has failed to show his political agenda, policies and vision, though he
has promised an economic blueprint in two weeks. Although some Zimbabweans
applauded him for trying to reunite the MDC, they say he lacks negotiating
skills and the necessary charisma. They say he approaches politics like a
business consultant. This, they say, might be an indication of his grasp of
But those who support him say his solid academic credentials and
international exposure will give him a soft landing into Zimbabwe's
cut-throat politics. They also say he is a bright future prospect in a
country desperate for a new generation of democratic leaders. Asked why he
chose to dump a safer, secure and more fulfilling life in the US and SA,
where he currently stays, and works for the turbulent Zimbabwean political
arena, he said: "What is top of Maslow's hierarchy of needs? It's
self-actualisation. I'm going beyond that, there is a higher stage called
self-transcend, leaving a legacy. A 100 years from now, 50 years from now,
what will be the Mutambara legacy? I don't care about what I benefit as an
individual. I am trying to self-transcend, go beyond self and leave a
legacy." Given the odds that face his entry into the turbulent Zimbabwean
politics, he will need more than what he already has to achieve the
Monday, March 13 2006 @ 12:05 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
The ruling Zanu PF party has entered a secretive deal with the
Democratic Republic of Congo's ruling party to supply them with cotton to
make campaign material ahead of elections in exchange for exclusive rights
to log 33 million hectares of prime rainforest. The deal, hammered out at
the ruling People's Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD) congress
held in Kinshasa recently and also attended by Zanu PF officials, involves
the supply of 50 tonnes of cotton each week to the war-torn country's ruling
elite from Zimbabwe.
Zimdaily understands the DRC ruling party wants to make party
campaign material with the cotton ahead of crunch legislative and
presidential polls. DRC is expected to hold its democratic elections, the
first in three decades, in June, after it adopted a new constitution earlier
this year. Until recently, the country had known little peace since its
independence from Belgium in 1960, witnessing sporadic uprisings and
assassinations of its leaders. The People's Party for Reconstruction and
Democracy (PPRD) is run by warlords-cum-politicians.
Zanu PF secretary for Administration Didymus Mutasa handed over
the first 50 tonne batch of cotton to the DRC ambassador to Zimbabwe
Mwanananga Mwawampanga in Harare last week. Zimdaily understands the cotton
is being sourced from Synthesis Agriculture Private Limited, a shelf company
created by Zanu PF to pool cotton obtained from grabbed farms. Mutasa told
Mwanananga as he handed the cotton: "We are sure that the relations will now
not be just at country level but at party level as well."
Confidential documents seen by Zimdaily reveal that the deal is
being executed through a company called the Congolese Society for the
Exploitation of Timber (SOCEBO) which is part of a complex web of businesses
set up by Zanu PF, which is an empire controlled by Zimbabwe's political and
military elite. SOCEBO is a subsidiary of COSLEG, which was established to
supply Zimbabwean troops to fight for Kabila's Government in exchange for
rights to mine diamonds, cobalt and now to harvest timber.
The deal is tied to among other conditions, assurances that when
the ruling party comes to power it will not renege on assurances made the
late Kabila to cede 15% of DRC to Zanu PF fat cats. Zimdaily understands
that before Kabila's death, 15% of the country's land area has been signed
over to Zimbabwe's army - not notably skilled loggers. Zimbabwe is under
increasing pressure to make the DRC pay over its disastrous military
adventure in the vast central African country in the late 90s. Its military
intervention has been cripplingly expensive and its business interests have
largely failed. The London flotation of Cosleg partner Oryx diamonds was
aborted, its cobalt mining venture didn't pay - which leaves DRC's vast
Mwananaga said: "This is more than a handover, but a building of
bridges which will keep us as one." He said he was confident the DRC ruling
party would win the elections in June "because the people have realized that
the party was there to defend national interests."
Monday, March 13 2006 @ 12:04 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
Six years ago this month, a fledgling coalition of trade
unionists, human rights activists, women's groups, constitutional
reformists, farm labourers and business tapped a deep vein of popular
discontent and handed a stunned Robert Mugabe his first defeat at the ballot
box - rejection of the president's draft new constitution for Zimbabwe in a
nationwide referendum. A few months later, in June 2000, the coalition
struck again, winning nearly half of all elected seats in the parliamentary
elections. In less than a year, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had
established itself as a formidable political threat to Mugabe and the most
significant opposition party in Africa. But less than a week before the
party's second congress, the MDC is struggling for relevance.
Bridled by biased election laws, ballot fraud, political
violence, media bans and a deep cleavage in its top echelons over last
year's decision to participate in a Zanu PF project called the senate, the
opposition need to work hard to win back the confidence of the masses if
results of elections held last week are anything to go by. MDC spokesman
Nelson Chamisa says the party is still intact, although there are 'traitors'
who wanted to sell out the struggle to Zanu PF, he said in apparent
reference to a grouping of disgruntled dissidents who have formed their own
splinter group and calling themselves the 'pro-senate faction.'
"This congress is going to be a tribute to all the brave women
and men of Zimbabwe who sacrificed their lives, property and were beaten and
disabled by the Zanu PF regime because they were members of the MDC,"
Chamisa said. "They played a very important role in their brave fight for a
new Zimbabwe. We are going to acknowledge their supreme sacrifice and we
will not let them down by allowing the MDC to fall into the hands of people
working against the interests of Zimbabweans," Chamisa said apparently
referring to the Mutambara camp, which held its congress last month. The
pro-Senate MDC held its congress in Bulawayo and Professor Arthur Mutambara
emerged as its new leader.
Chamisa said the congress would be held under the theme
'Rallying People for a New Zimbabwe.' "During congress, President Tsvangirai
will present a report detailing the state of the party, there will be
elections for office bearers, there are going to be constitutional
amendments and a programme of action to confront the Mugabe dictatorship,"
Chamisa told Zimdaily. Tsvangirai is expected to retain the post of party
president with Makokoba Member of Parliament, Thokozani Khuphe, expected to
be elected deputy president unopposed although there has been talk that
Welshamn Mabhena was also eyeing the post. Isaac Matongo is expected to
retain the post of national chairman unchallenged while Tendai Biti and Ian
Makone are expected to lock horns for the post of Secretary General. Matobo
legislator, Lovemore Moyo is eyeing the post of deputy secretary general.
Former Chimanimani legislator, Roy Bennett, is the front runner
for the post of treasurer. Gertrude Mthombeni and Elias Mudzuri are front
runners for the position of national organising secretary. As of last week,
the MDC was still appealing for donations from its members. Observers have
said the MDC should condense the congress into one-day instead of the three.
An MDC supporter who spoke to Zimdaily said: "Sadly they have chosen to
rival Zanu PF's big bash in Esigodini. How do Tsvangirai and company feel
feasting for three days, when they are fully aware that at the end of the
congress the delegates will return to face hardships at home or in their
houses? The sad thing is they are trying to compete with Zanu PF and
allowing Zanu PF to set the tone and agenda of the competition. This may
cost them considerable support and sympathy."
However Chamisa said: "Even parties like Zanu PF which loot
State resources request funding from their members. The MDC belongs to the
people and we are asking them to assist and we are grateful for the
overwhelming response that we have received from members."
Monday, March 13 2006 @ 12:03 AM GMT
Contributed by: correspondent
Realising that its race card alleging a neo-colonial plot by
ex-Rhodesians to stage a coup would not wash, Zanu PF now claims that the
MDC officials arrested last week following the discovery of an arms cache
were plotting to assassinate President Mugabe during his birthday
celebrations held in Mutare two weeks ago. Zanu PF hurriedly cobbled up one
of its conspiracy theories after it emerged that Peter Hitschmann, an
ex-Rhodesian soldier at the centre of the "arms cache" was actually a
licensed arms dealer and a hunter.
This police flip flop has baffled many observers, as the arms
cache drama, which is being dramatised on national television by ZBC burly
ace Reuben Barwe, is unfolding. The eight men including four police officers
were charged Saturday under Zimbabwe's tough security laws of possession of
weapons to carry out an insurgency, sabotage or terrorism. ,According to
documents presented to the magistrate's court in Mutare on Saturday, The
State now alleges that the eight had plotted to kill Mugabe when he
travelled to the eastern city on February 25 for a party to celebrate his
"To achieve this, the group agreed to spill oil on Christmas
Pass highway when the motorcade would be approaching so that the motorcade
would slip and get involved in an accident," the court records show. At the
court appearance on Saturday, MDC lawmaker Giles Mutseyekwa and seven others
were formally charged of violating security laws. They were remanded in
custody to Wednesday. Zimdaily heard the men had filed papers with the High
Court seeking bail.
In its papers, the State says the men "agreed to throw tear
smoke canisters in tents where the 21st February Movement celebrations were
going to be held so as to cause panic, disturbance to ordinary people in
attendance." The court was told that the men were tortured by police while
in detention at Adams Barracks in Mutare in an effort to force them to
confess their involvement in the alleged assassination. The eight were
rounded up on Tuesday and Wednesday after security agents had arrested
Hitschmann over the arms cache found at his home in Mutare.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-13
THE majority of multiple farm owners have finally complied with the
government's policy of one man-one farm by surrendering extra pieces of land
they owned, a senior government and cabinet minister has said.
In an interview with The Daily Mirror in Rusape on Saturday, the Minister of
State for National Security and Lands, Land Reform and Resettlement in the
President's Office, Didymus Mutasa, whose officials are on the ground busy
with the land audit, doubted if they were still people owning extra land.
"The majority of multiple farm owners have surrendered them to the
government and I doubt if there are still people who own multiple farms. For
example, the land audit team was in Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central
recently and never came across the problem of multiple farm ownership,"
Mutasa said. The minister said the land auditing process was progressing
well, adding that in Manicaland for example, the team had already compiled a
"As for Manicaland province the process ended last Wednesday and I was given
the report, but I did not like the way it was structured, so I gave it back
to them (land audit team), otherwise they have finished the exercise," he
Mutasa wanted the report to be clearly structured on a district-by-district
basis, noting farming activities on each farm like the type of crops being
grown and the state of the infrastructure.
He said the land inspectorate team had also finished enumerating the number
of white farmers still holding onto farms countrywide, saying the figures
would help in coming up with the number of people that benefited from the
land reform exercise.
Asked whether the government had compensated commercial farmers whose land
was taken to resettle the landless, Mutasa said: "They are getting
compensation where they have agreed with government on valuation and all is
catered for in the budget. They are being compensated."
The minister said his ministry would evaluate progress made by A2 farmers
district by district and inform the leadership on what they would have
Mutasa expressed disappointment over incidents on some farms where
beneficiaries of the land reform exercise are failing to maintain the
infrastructure they found there and disputes over ownership of farmhouses
and orchards saying people should build their own homes. "Problems were
faced in the portioning of farms with beneficiaries all wanting the
infrastructure like a house or an orchard instead of allowing it to belong
to one person," he said. The minister also noted that some people were
eyeing infrastructure on farms instead of land saying this was against the
goals of the land reform exercise.
"Some people were eyeing infrastructure on the farms yet the land reform is
not for one to enrich himself or herself but to resettle the landless.
"We are disappointed by people who are given farms and later sell what is
there (equipments) and seek yet another farm. That is not land reform, we
want beneficiaries to compete with commercial farmers who were on the farms
before," he said.
The government embarked on a land reform exercise in year 2000 with the
intention of resettling millions of landless Zimbabweans but there were
allegations of multiple farm ownership by some top government officials and
President Mugabe went on to urge multiple farm owners to surrender their
extra pieces of land to the State for the benefit of the landless.
Despite the president's call, some people would not surrender their farms
forcing the government to go on a land audit exercise to check on progress
made by those that benefited and to deal with the issue of multiple farm
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-13
MASSIVE corruption and vote buying have taken root within the MDC
anti-Senate faction ahead of its national congress this weekend.
At a rally at Stodart Grounds in Mbare yesterday, faction leader Morgan
Tsvangirai accused senior officials of jockeying and canvassing for posts
ahead of their congress scheduled for this Friday.
"Tinozviziva kuti mari dziri kufamba mukati medu imomu. Vamwe vanenge vaine
dzakawanda kudarika dzevamwe chete. (We know vote buying is rife in our
midst. Every one is buying votes, others have more money).
Why don't we use that money to prepare for our congress? Why don't we buy
T-shirts and other party regalia to make our congress more colourful? If
there is one thing I don't want, it is corrupt people," Tsvangirai said.
He said he did not want individualistic people, but those committed to
He reiterated that his faction's priority was to wrestle power from
President Robert Mugabe and not the downfall of the rival pro-Senate camp
led by Arthur Mutambara.
"There is more work after the congress than before. So I invite those who
want to even stand for the president's post to be aware of that challenge,"
National chairperson for the faction Isaac Matongo, secretary for
information and publicity and Harare East legislator Tendai Biti and
national executive member Sekai Holland, also addressed the rally.
The faction's Harare province also forwarded names of individuals they had
elected to stand for some posts at congress.
Biti is being touted for the post of secretary general, Makokoba legislator
Thokozani Khupe, for vice-president, Nelson Chamisa for secretary for
information and publicity and former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri for
Holland said their women's assembly wanted half the posts that would be up
for grabs at the congress.
She said the assembly had forwarded the name of journalist and gender
activist Grace Kwinje to battle it out with Chamisa, while Lucia Matibenga
is being touted to retain the position of women's assembly chairperson with
Holland contesting the vice-chairperson's post.
Holland also said that the MDC faction ought to create a post for former
Matabeleland North governor and Zanu PF stalwart Welshman Mabhena.
But so far, no names have been raised for candidates wishing to challenge
Tsvangirai or Matongo.
Addressing the same rally attended by about 300 people, Biti said the party
would have to move forward and forget about the "rebels." He also dismissed
the recent congress held by the Mutambara faction as a non-event.
"Some people are saying we should go to the courts to fight for the name of
the party, its symbols or the money disbursed by the government. But we have
advised the president (Tsvangirai) that we will not do it that way. The
masses will decide. As for the money ($8 billion), let them have it," Biti
The $8 billion was granted to the MDC under the Political Parties Finance
Act. The funding is given to a political party with a healthy representation
Tsvangirai is under pressure to assemble a team capable of winning over the
electorate's confidence from the rival faction which includes vice-president
Gibson Sibanda, secretary-general Welshman Ncube, national chairperson Gift
Chimanikire and deputy secretary-general Priscilla Misihairibwi-
Mushonga.Meanwhile, Mutambara held a closed door meeting with his faction's
structures in Chitungwiza and residents of the dormitory town yesterday.
Daily Mirror, Zimbabwe
The Daily Mirror Reporter
issue date :2006-Mar-13
MDC's pro-Senate camp led by Arthur Mutambara has warned the rival Morgan
Tsvangirai faction against inviting its members to their congress set for
Reliable sources told The Daily Mirror on Friday that the Tsvangirai camp
was reportedly enticing some pro-Senate top officials to attend its congress
slated for Harare at a venue still to be announced.
Mutambara's faction held its congress in Bulawayo last month where the
rocket professor and other members of leadership hierarchy were elected.
In an interview, MDC pro-Senate spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi accused
their rivals of pursuing narrow agendas by trying to relive squabbles within
the opposition party.
The former Gwanda North legislator said: "As a party we do not know why they
are doing such things. They are in the habit of playing games and the whole
thing is a hoax. They are serious issues to focus on in this country than
pursuing internal MDC problems. It's over we have conducted our congress and
squabbles are behind us."
Yesterday, spokesperson for Tsvangirai camp and Kuwadzana legislator Nelson
Chamisa would not comment saying he was in a meeting.
However, sources said Gibson Sibanda was among top MDC pro-Senate officials
invited by the Tsvangirai camp.
Sibanda was re-elected MDC pro-Senate vice-president at their congress in
Bulawayo last month. The MDC splintered into two factions last year over
disagreements whether to participate in the Senatorial elections, later won
overwhelmingly by the ruling Zanu PF.
The MDC was formed in 1999 and the rival factions claim to be the true
Both factions have fielded candidates in some local government elections but
lost heavily to the ruling party.