The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Arrested CSU workers transferred to Bulawayo

By Tererai Karimakwenda
07 November, 2012

Three employees from the Counselling Services Unit (CSU), arrested Monday in
a police raid on their Harare offices, were transferred to Bulawayo on
Wednesday without any charges being specified against them.

A total of five CSU employees were initially taken by police, but the
manager, Fidelis Mudimu, and senior staff members Zachariah Godi and
Tafadzwa Gesa, are the ones still in police custody.
Kumbirai Mafunda, spokesperson for the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR), told SW Radio Africa that the three detainees had reached Gweru when
they last made contact, and had been handed over to officers from Bulawayo.

“They have not been formally charged yet and lawyers have not seen the
charge sheet or the warned and cautioned statement outlining the details of
where the crime allegedly took place. But lawyers have gathered through
interaction with the police that it may happen in Bulawayo,” Mafunda

The law in Zimbabwe stipulates that a suspect be charged within 48 hours of
arrest, after which their detention becomes unlawful. Mafunda said they were
worried because that 48 hour period had already passed. He added that
lawyers in Harare and Bulawayo were also working hard to secure the trio’s

Asked whether the three employees were being treated well by the police,
Mafunda said the right platform for that will be when the suspects appear in
court and get the chance to register a complaint if they had been unfairly

James Zidzimu and Penn Bruno were released late Monday evening, along with
the Daily News photojournalist Watson Ofumeli, who had been caught up in the
chaos at the CSU offices Monday. Police confiscated a computer, client files
and other materials during the raid.

CSU is a non-governmental organization that provides psychological and
medical assistance to individuals traumatized by political violence and
torture. The police warrant said they were looking for “offensive and
subversive material.”

The raid has been condemned by civic groups and political parties in the
country, who accused the government of conducting a crackdown on human
rights defenders and political activists. There have been several other
raids and arrests of journalists and MDC-T officials in the last few months,
which some observers have linked to elections due in the country next year.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

NGO Employees Spend Two Nights In Police Custody

By Professor Matodzi Harare, November 07, 2012- Representatives of a local
Non-Governmental Organisation on Tuesday endured their second night in
police custody after they were detained overnight at Harare Central Police
Station without preferring charges against them.
Police detectives on Monday arrested Counselling Services Unit (CSU)
representatives Fidelis Mudimu, Zachariah Godi, Tafadzwa Gesa, James Zidzimu
and Penn Bruno in a sustained onslaught against Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGO)’s after raiding their offices in search of “offensive
and subversive material” from the organisation’s offices in Harare.

Two of the CSU employees James Zidzimu and Penn Bruno were released from
police custody late Monday evening together with Daily News photo-journalist
Watson Ofumeli, while Mudimu, Godi and Gesa remained in police custody,
where the police had not formally charged them by late Tuesday evening.

Police detectives told lawyers Dr Tarisai Mutangi, Tonderai Bhatasara, Rose
Hanzi, Kennedy Masiye and Jeremiah Bamu from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR), who are representing the three CSU employees that they intend
to, transfer them to Bulawayo on Wednesday morning, where they claim the
offence which they intend to charge them for was committed.

In a statement, ZLHR said the police had indicated that the three CSU
employees had damaged a bill board in Bulawayo, the country’s second largest

“From their interactions with the police, lawyers have been advised that the
CSU employees allegedly defaced a bill board and an information centre in
Bulawayo,” ZLHR said in a statement Tuesday night.

During the raid, the police confiscated a computer, some files and other

According to a search warrant, issued by Superintendent J. Murenje, the
police officers who raided the CSU offices claimed that the organisation was
in possession of material that “defaces any house, building, wall, fence,
lamp post, gate, elevator without the consent of the owner or occupier
thereof,” in contravention of Section 46 of the Criminal Law (Codification
and Reform) Act.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Poor Service Delivery Irks Harare Residents

Blessing Zulu

Residents of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare, demonstrated and petitioned city
fathers at Town House on Tuesday expressing serious concern over the city’s
alleged move to attach and auction residents’ properties because of arrears
going back to 2008.

The Harare Residents' Trust, which organized the demonstration, accused the
council of failing to provide locals with clean water and other services.

In a petition to Local Government Minister Ignatious Chombo and the mayor,
residents said they are "alarmed and saddened by the City of Harare’s
issuing of summons and letters of final demands that have resulted in some
people having their property attached and sold at auction floors".

The residents believe that the move has left "both the City of Harare and
the victim poorer and wallowing in debt.”

They are calling on city leaders to write-off debts accrued before 2010
saying the "incomes of the majority of the residents are too low to even
consider settling outstanding debts, meaning the City of Harare has no
prospects of recovering outstanding debts from these impoverished residents.“

The residents further noted that continuing to charge residents interest
rates of 10 percent on overdue accounts does not address the situation.

"This form of punishment has failed to enlist the support of ratepayers,
therefore new strategies have to be explored, through positive dialogue and
compromise rather than remain confrontational.”

Harare Residents Trust coordinator, Precious Shumba, told VOA that residents
might consider legal action as dialogue efforts seem to be failing.

Responding, acting Harare Mayor Emmanuel Chiroto, said the local authority
is set to review the petition.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

City Council of Harare Gets a Rude Awakening from Disgruntled Residents

6 November 2012, Town House, Harare- the Harare City Council was left shaken
yesterday after plus 200 residents stormed the building demanding that the
Mayor and his council scrap all debt accumulated to end of the 2010, and
ensure that water is made available to all residents, without any limits.

This action followed a false start to the process of negotiations between
the residents and the City of Harare, which has continued to hoodwink
residents that they are serious about resolving their issues. Efforts by HRT
officials to engage the City treasury on these issues of collapsed service
provision and debt cancellation have yielded negative results. Focus group
discussions, public meetings were held, consistent with the HRT’s policy of
engagement but this has not helped the communities much.

The perennial attitude by Harare City Council of turning a deaf ear to the
concerns of the residents has resulted in legitimate anger mounting within
communities, and on Tuesday 6 November 2012, the seams burst and residents
gathered for a peaceful protest, marking a new season of lobbying and
advocacy within the HRT.

Residents’ anger is primarily driven by the arrogant manner in which the
City of Harare has issues letters of final demands, and summons, a clear
attempt on the part of the local authority to provoke residents and cow them
into submission, and settle illegally accumulated outstanding debts. The
city has threatened property attachments for debts accumulated from
estimated bills and unrendered water and refuse collection services. During
the HRT’s consultative meetings, the residents were clear that they wanted
the council to bill them for rendered services and not solely rely on
estimated billing which short-changed them.

It is against this background that suburbs like Mabvuku, Highfield and Glen
Norah mooted the idea of holding a demonstration against City of Harare for
non compliance in cancellation of debt accrued from February 2009 to
December 2010 where services from City of Harare were non-existent in their
areas. Residents from other suburbs concurred with the three suburbs and
willingly participated in the Town House demonstration, which had the
participation of residents from Mbare, Tafara, Kuwadzana Phase 3, Rugare,
Waterfalls, Mufakose, Highfield, Dzivarasekwa 3, Crowborough, Glen Norah and
Mabvuku, among others.

During the demonstration, which the police were informed about, the HRT
Director Mr Precious Shumba addressed the residents in front of Town House,
explaining that the HRT will no longer contain the anger of residents and
the council had to genuinely engage and attend to their demands for debt
cancellation and urgently improve water delivery to their households. He
then handed over a petition signed by 3 000 residents from across Harare.

“This demonstration is symbolic by nature, and marks a change in the
approaches of the HRT where residents’ grievances are concerned,” Shumba
said. “The people who continue to earn monthly salaries on the sweat and
blood of residents are not thinking of submitting themselves to the supreme
authority of residents of Harare. Services have collapsed, and life remains
extremely painful for most residents in Harare. From today on, be warned
that residents will gather in their thousands, especially towards month-end
at community District Offices, until the council has responded to the
demands of residents.”

In response, Deputy Mayor Chiroto, who received the HRT petition on behalf
of the Mayor, who is away, said residents had a right to quality services,
and it was indeed a collective responsibility to ensure a better life for
all people.

“As council we are receiving your petition,” he said. “We are going to read
through it and adequately respond to residents’ grievances. We are going to
have a meeting with the Mayor, the Town Clerk and residents’ representatives
so that we discuss and find a common position that will be beneficial to
everyone at the end of the day.”

Residents sang songs of encouragement, displaying placards with various
service delivery messages some that read as follows: Tired of drinking
sewerage water! Bvisai zvikwereti kubva February 2009 kusvika December 2010!
No to Interest! Reduce Salaries for management! Taneta nemasamanisi and
tired of chaotic billing system! among others. The suburban leaders took
turns to share their communities’ struggles. Mabvuku residents are bitter
that parts of the suburb have not received any water for more than six years
to date yet they are receiving final demands and summons, as a result of the
City of Harare’s actions.

Going forward, the demonstrators said the City of Harare had until 30
November 2012 to resolve the residents’ grievances, failure of which
residents will select dates to gather at community District Offices where
council revenue is paid, and transmitted to Rowan Martin Building, the City
Treasury headquarters. If councillors fail to resolve this matter, residents
vowed to disrupt council full council meetings, because the councillors
cannot ignore residents’ issues. They came from the residents.


Email: Mobile: 0772 869 294/ 0772 771
860/ 0772 547 394


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Disgraced officer linked to torture of Glen View murder suspects
By Tererai Karimakwenda
05 November, 2012
An officer from the Zimbabwe Republic Police, who was booted out of the peacekeeping mission in Kosovo in 2003, has been linked to the torture of some of the MDC-T activists on trial in the ongoing Glen View cop murder case.
Defence lawyers revealed shocking information on Tuesday, during cross examination of the investigating officer Clever Ntini. He had testified in the murder trial of 29 MDC-T officials and activists accused of killing officer Petros Mutedza last year.
Detective Inspector Henry Dowa and Chief Superintendent Chrispen Makedenge were named in court as leaders of the teams that arrested and severely tortured some of the accused MDC-T activists.
Dowa’s history of torturing hundreds of MDC and civic society members in
police custody saw him removed from the UN peacekeeping force in 2003. He had been named by several victims as having used his fists, boots and pickaxe handles during beatings.
Dowa is also alleged to have administered electric shocks, to the point of convulsions, to detainees at Harare Central Police Station throughout 2002 and in early 2003. Medical examinations showed that the injuries were consistent with torture, reinforcing the allegations against him.
Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere and Yvonne Musarurwa are among the activists who sustained injuries during torture in police custody. Madzokere suffered a broken arm and Musarurwa had visible wounds consistent with severe assault.
Makedenge, the other officer named in court, was linked to the 2008 abduction of
human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and dozens of others. He was also linked to
the abductions of several MDC supporters in Harare. This history is believed to have led to Makedenge’s removal from a UN peacekeeping operation in Sudan.
In court on Tuesday, defence lawyers questioned why investigating officer Ntini had ignored a ruling made last year at the Harare Magistrates’ Courts, which stipulated that he investigate allegations by some of the accused that they had been assaulted and tortured by these two abusive cops while in custody.
Questioned by lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, Ntini also failed to name the informers whose information led to the arrest of the 29 MDC-T members jailed for the Glen View cop’s murder.
See Amnesty report: Amnesty: Release CSU workers illegally detained by police

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Cops speculating, say defence lawyers

By Richard Chidza, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:51
HARARE - Lawyers representing MDC activists on trial for the murder of a
police inspector last year have accused cops of relying on hearsay to nail
the suspects.

This emerged during the cross-examination of investigating officer Clever
Ntini as the long drawn case continues before High Court Judge Chinembiri

Ntini confirmed that other than the version of police informers, the state
had nothing else to link some of the accused to the crime.

“So except the information you got from your faceless, nameless, sexless,
homeless and non-existent informants you have nothing to link the fourth
accused, and all other people who have been languishing in jail.

“You want an innocent man to be hanged because your informants told you he
was seen at the crime scene. There is no other evidence?” charged defence
lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.

“If we are to take away the information that you were given by your
so-called informants, what else do you have against these people? Nothing,”
she said.

Ntini disputed Mtetwa’s assertion.

“No, that is not my intention. They were seen at the crime scene so that is
what we have and we cannot take the informants’ out of this,” said Ntini.

The 31 activists deny the murder charge, saying they were arrested because
of their known MDC links.

Mtetwa said police had not only failed to investigate alibis of some of the
activists but also charges of assault against police.

Ntini said the activists had not furnished any alibis in the warned and
cautioned statements signed by the activists.

“These warned and cautioned statements were signed in the presence of the
accused’s legal representatives and do not have any alibi. They should have
made sure it was there. As I see it these people did not have any (alibi),”
said Ntini.

Mtetwa was involved in another heated exchange with prosecutor Edmore
Nyazamba after she referred to police officers Henry Dowa, Crispen Makedenge
and others as “infamous”.

Nyazamba objected, saying Mtetwa was scandalising the police and her
statements bordered on defamation.
Mtetwa stood her ground.

“Dowa was forced to return from Kosovo on a United Nations assignment after
he was implicated in torture, while Makedenge has been implicated in torture
by those he has arrested and if the court wants evidence we are more than
willing to provide it,” said Mtetwa.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Youth leaders bailed in cop murder case

By Tererai Karimakwenda
07 October, 2012

Two MDC-T youth leaders, accused of murdering a Glen View cop last year,
were finally granted bail on Wednesday.

Defence lawyer Gift Mtisi said Jackson Mabota and Tarisai Kusotera paid a
$500 deposit and were released from custody Wednesday. They have to report
to the Law and Order Section twice a week and not interfere with any

The two had appeared in a bail hearing last Wednesday, when Justice Mwayera
reserved judgement indefinitely.

Mabota and Kusotera were arrested earlier this month and charged with the
murder of officer Petros Mutedza, in May, 2011. This was over a year after
the incident, in which 29 other MDC-T members are also being accused.

Mtisi said the main trial of the 29 activists also continued separately on
Wednesday with cross examination of the investigating officer, Chief
Inspector Ntini, who was challenged to name the informers who provided
evidence used to arrest the activists.

They challenged him to name each of them – but he refused to provide the
The trial continues Thursday.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Principals have no role yet - COPAC

The Constitution Select Committee has insisted the principals to the Global
Political Agreement have no role to play yet in the constitution-making
process and will only come in after the draft has been taken to the

by Staff Reporter

Speaking in Harare today at a press conference to announce the completion of
the report on the recently held Second All-Stakeholders Conference,
Co-Chairperson, Paul Mangwana, said the Principals had no direct
interference in the process at the moment, but assisted COPAC through the
management committee.

“Principals have always been assisting in speeding up the process as they
tasked the management committee to deal with deadlocks. The management
committee, with the six negotiators, has been representing the principals
and that is how we have been operating. They are not taking over the work of
the select committee,” he said.

Mangwana said the select committee had three months from the date of the
Second All Stakeholders Conference to finalise the draft and present for a

Innocent Gonese, who was standing in for Douglas Mwonzora, said the
executive would only come in after the draft has been taken to the

“Article 6 (of the GPA) is clear that COPAC continues until the draft goes
to parliament. The executive will only come in after the referendum. There
is no need for government to take over the process because we are not yet
through with our mandate,” he said.

Meanwhile, MDC-N COPAC Co-chair, Edward Mkhosi, told the press conference
that the report on the Second All-Stakeholders Conference was complete and
would be handed over the to the management committee on Thursday.

Mkhosi said the select committee would soon meet to resolve contentious

“A consolidated report on the constitution making process, together with the
agreed new draft constitution, will then be produced for submission to
parliament,” he said.

Mkhosi said the report would be in four sections.

The first section of the report is an analysis of the conference and gives
information on the delegates who attended the summit, in addition to the
terms of reference that guided them.

The second section, Mkhosi said, contained areas where there were no
contestations by the delegates and would not be changed in the final draft,
while the third section contained areas where there were recommendations for
changes but not agreed upon.

Mkhosi said the final section contained areas where changes were recommended
but not agreed upon by the delegates while highlighting the different
recommendations made during the conference.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe Retailers Increase Basic Commodity Prices

Gibbs Dube

The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) says most retailers have increased
prices of basic commodities like mealie-meal and meat in an attempt to cash
in on the Christmas shopping period.

The consumer watchdog says the retailers have increased the price of a 20
kilogram bag of mealie-meal from $9.98 to $11 and white meat from $4.50 to
$5.50. The price of margarine has also been hiked by 11c.

The CCZ says prices of commodities like cabbage, tomatoes and laundry soap
have decreased while others like bread, tea leaves, flour and salt have
remained unchanged.

Irate Zimbabweans tell Studio 7 that retailers should stop increasing prices
of basic commodities without taking into account production costs.

Njambakulwa Mwembe of Dete, Matabeleland North Province, says retailers are
ill-treating Zimbabweans.

“This should never be allowed to continue because many poor people cannot
afford to raise money to buy food,” said Mwembe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chinese businessman denies bankrolling Mugabe's secret police

Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:15

President Robert Mugabe
HARARE - Sam Pa, a shadowy Chinese businessman, has denied bankrolling
President Robert Mugabe’s feared secret police, the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO), claiming the money was for taxes and licence fees to the
Zimbabwe government, Global Witness said in its latest report published

A July 2012 Global Witness report titled, Financing a Parallel Government?,
had claimed the CIO had received $100 million in off-budget financing from
the Hong Kong tycoon.

Pa claims to be merely an advisor to a company that jointly owns Sino
Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd’s diamond concession worth some $1 billion in
the vast Marange diamond fields in partnership with the CIO.

Through his China International Fund (CIF) representatives, Pa denied
providing funding and materials to the spy agency in return for access to
Zimbabwe’s diamonds, cotton and property sectors as alleged.
“China International Fund has not been involved in sending money to the
secret police,” said a letter from the representatives to Global Witness.

“While China International Fund has provided money to the government of
Zimbabwe it has done so for legitimate business reasons such as the payment
of taxes, licence fees etc.

“It is a commercial enterprise and governments are free to deploy monies
they receive as they deem appropriate.”

Global Witness had claimed that Pa’s secret funding to the CIO has been
allocated towards Operation Spiderweb, an alleged covert operation designed
to discredit Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The international organisation has pulled out of diamond industry regulator,
the Kimberley Process (KP), branding the scheme “an accomplice to diamond

The mysterious Hong Kong-based magnate admitted providing the $100 million
but said it was for taxes and other fees, adding the 200 pick-up trucks were
given to the Zimbabwe government not the CIO.

“It is true that 200 Nissan trucks were imported on behalf of China
International Fund into Zimbabwe,” the letter says.

“Hundred of those trucks were used for company purposes and 100 were
provided to the government of Zimbabwe without specifying the vehicles’

“The report seeks to create the impression that China International Fund or
Pa were, by virtue of the provision of the trucks in question, in some way
contributing to the “alleged human rights violations” allegedly carried out
by (CIO) agents using these vehicles.”

Pa’s representatives said such insinuations were “damaging and untrue”.

“It is not correct to say that Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd was
“granted opportunities in the diamond, cotton and property sectors” ‘in
return for the provision of vehicles to the Zimbabwe government,” Pa’s
representatives said.

“This claim creates the impression that our clients have been given undue
commercial advantage in their business activities in these sectors in
Zimbabwe in exchange for these vehicles.
“This is not true.”

While Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd is active in the cotton sector in
Zimbabwe, “it has not acted in an unfair manner,” the letter says.

Pa, a prominent member of the Queensway Syndicate — a network of companies
with a track record of negotiating opaque resource for infrastructure deals
across the African continent — denied he was the major channel of funds to
the CIO.

Pa’s emergence as an alleged secret funder of the CIO exploded at a
particularly sensitive time as national attention focused on the role of
diamonds in bankrolling Zimbabwe’s $4 billion cash budget.

Diamonds are fast becoming Zimbabwe’s biggest source of export earnings but
twice the amount earned is smuggled out illegally through porous borders by
corrupt officials and criminal networks, according to Global Witness, an
allegation strenuously denied by Pa’s representatives.

“The activities of Sino Zimbabwe Development (Pvt) Ltd in the diamond sector
in Zimbabwe have not resulted in the removal of any diamonds from Zimbabwe,”
Pa’s letter says.

“In fact, not a single carat was ever exported by Sino Zimbabwe Development
(Pvt) Ltd.”

The international NGO has taken a lead in efforts to stop trade in diamonds
from conflict zones in Sierra Leone, Angola, Congo and Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘Rebel against ZANU PF’s abuse of diamond proceeds’

By Tichaona Sibanda
7 November 2012

The militant leader of the MDC99, Job Sikhala, has said it is high time
Zimbabweans speak out and rebel against ZANU PF’s blatant abuse of proceeds
from diamond revenue.

Speaking on SW Radio Africa’s Hidden Story program on Wednesday, Sikhala
said it is clear revenue from the Chiadzwa diamonds is not being used to
support the general population of Zimbabwe.

Responding to reports that the former ruling party is spending a massive
$6.5 million on the construction of a conference centre in Gweru ahead of
‘people’s conference’ in December, the former MDC-T MP said it’s clear where
the source of that funding is coming from.

The conference centre stands on a 60-hectare piece of land on the outskirts
of Gweru, along the Mvuma highway. The state of the art complex will have a
5,000 seat arena and a red tiled roof with a futuristic design. It’s being
put up by Chinese contractors.

‘If there is anybody in Zimbabwe who is sceptical about where cash from
diamonds is going…there is your answer. That money is funding ZANU PF
projects in anticipation of winning the hearts and minds of Zimbabweans
ahead of next year’s poll,’ Sikhala said.

The former student leader called upon those diverting the diamond revenue
from the treasury to ZANU PF to be investigated. He asserted that stamping
out corruption is one of the biggest challenges that Zimbabwe faces.

‘The issue of cash from diamonds disappearing and not finding its way to the
Ministry of Finance is a system that requires an urgent chemotherapy to deal
with a cancer-like situation engulfing the country.

‘A cancer-like situation is engulfing the inclusive government which is
harmful for growth. Certainly the country needs chemotherapy at this
critical hour,’ Sikhala said.

‘Establishing a corruption-free Zimbabwe is a major challenge. I propose for
now that people speak out and rebel against these thieves and crooks.
Sikhala said there is a sense of anguish, despair and concern among people
over the deteriorating service delivery system which is increasing day after
day and there is need for urgent corrective actions.

‘If the situation is allowed to continue then we cannot prevent the people
taking to the streets. The leadership across the country, irrespective of
their profession or political affiliation, will have to put the country, its
development and its pride, above their individualism,’ he added.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MDC-T old guard to face young turks in party primaries

By Tichaona Sibanda
7 November 2012

As next year’s general election draws nearer by the day, politics in the
MDC-T, which for over a decade had been dominated by the old guard, is set
for a major transformation. This follows indications of increased
participation by youth leaders.

Many of the senior members of the party are three term parliamentarians and
their reluctance in the past to be challenged in the primaries has been the
cause of bitter recriminations at constituency level.

However, this time round all indications are that the political old guard is
set for a bruising battle with the young turks, come next year’s poll.

One man facing a challenge at the primaries is Water Resources Minister, Sam
Sipepa Nkomo. The Lobengula MP is set to contest the right to represent the
party against 32 year-old Freedom Mazwi, a social and economic justice
activist who is currently a member of the MDC-T Bulawayo provincial youth.

A graduate of political science from the University of Zimbabwe, Mazwi
served at secretariat level in the MDC-T between 2008 and 2012, where he
worked in the national chairman’s office.

‘We have been spectators for a long time in the political arena of this
country and this has resulted in many of us being marginalized. But we want
to change this through youthful leadership,’ said Mazwi when declaring his
interest in the Lobengula constituency. Mazwi explained that political
leaders, especially from ZANU PF, have for a long time been viewed as

‘We don’t want this to creep into the MDC. There has been little
representation from the youth in both the lower and upper House and we have
for long been very supportive of our elders,’ Mazwi said.

He added: ‘Since the MDC-T is a democratic party that allows individuals to
participate in the electoral process, I will therefore subject myself to the
party’s internal democratic process and face minister Nkomo.’

‘After wide consultations with my family, friends and comrades I have come
to a point where I feel I should broaden myself to a national level by
offering myself to the people of Lobengula to serve as a member of the House
of Assembly.

‘The House of Assembly is a critical arm of the state which plays an
oversight role and thus requires fearless and strategic thinkers.’

The youth leader discounted any fears that his challenge will cause
animosity and divide the party cadres in the constituency, saying the
imposition of candidates was the most dangerous practice that can easily
destroy party structures.

‘This is only an internal process, of which if I lose the contest to
Minister Nkomo, I will congratulate him, pull our forces together and
campaign for him to win re-election against other aspiring candidates from
other parties,’ said Mazwi.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

MISA warns of increasing media intimidation

by Alex Bell

07 November 2012

Media rights watchdog MISA-Zimbabwe has warned that there are an increasing
number of incidents involving intimidation of the media, ahead of the next

Most recently, the editor of the Weekly Mirror provincial newspaper in
Mashonaland West was arrested Tuesday on allegations of operating a media
house without a licence, in contravention of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).

Dennis Kagonye was held in detention overnight before being brought before
Chinoyi Magistrate Fanuel Nyakudya on Wednesday. The magistrate sentenced
Kagonye to two months in prison with the option of a US$100 fine, which he
elected to pay.

Kagonye was also handed a suspended sentence of six months imprisonment, on
condition he does not commit a similar offence within the next five years.

The editor’s arrest comes barely two weeks after he was summoned by the
police following the publication of an article in the Weekly Mirror in
September, titled: “Chief terrorises headman”. It is unclear yet whether his
arrest was in any way connected to this, but observers have said it all
forms part of the widespread intimidation of media players

MISA-Zimbabwe information officer, Nyasha Nyakunu, told SW Radio Africa that
Kagonye’s case also “vindicates our position that AIPPA is undemocratic.” He
explained that charges against Kagonye should not have been tried as a
criminal case.

“This shows the need for an electoral roadmap ahead of the next elections
that will guarantee the reform of the media to ensure the safety of media
professionals. If these laws are still in place come elections, then more
journalists will be arrested,” Nyakunu warned.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hon Mangoma summoned on spurious charges

Wednesday, 07 November 2012

Hon. Elton Mangoma, the MDC Deputy Treasurer General and the Minister of
Energy and Power Development this afternoon received summons from the police
to attend court at the Bindura Magistrate Court on spurious charges of
insulting Robert Mugabe.

Hon. Mangoma was arrested on 10 October this year by police officers from
the Harare Central Police Station on charges that he insulted Mugabe at a
rally at Munhenga Business Centre early this year.

Police officers from the Law and Order Section attempted to drive him to
Bindura Central Police Station but made a u-turn along the way after they
received some instructions from unknown people. He was released on the same
day after the intervention of his lawyers.

However, today Hon. Mangoma received some summons at his government offices
at Chaminuka Building instructing him to attend court in Bindura on Tuesday,
13 November.

The summons were delivered at around midday by Detective Sergeant Ncube and
Detective Sergeant Phiri from Bindura Law and Order Section.

The MDC position is that the issuing of summons on Minister Mangoma on such
a spurious charge is nothing but the usual Zanu PF ploy to frustrate the
Hon Minister from conducting his usual and important ministerial duties in
government. The continued abuse of state machinery by Zanu PF to harass and
intimidate MDC leadership and supporters is deplorable.

The arrests, harassment and intimidation will not deter the People’s Party
of Excellence from pursuing its vision of transforming the lives of

The MDC will therefore, continue with greater vigour to push for a YES vote
in the referendum on the Constitution ahead of the next elections that will
see the end of the sunset party.

The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

The MDC Today - Issue 464

Wednesday, 07 November 2012

Zimbabwe has a new model of human trafficking where young people, women and
children are moved from one area to another to commit violence on behalf of
Zanu PF, the MDC Deputy President, Hon. Thokozani Khupe has said.

Hon. Khupe said this while officially launching the Anti – Human Trafficking
publicity awareness campaign in Harare today.

Zanu PF is well known for the reign of terror it exposed the people of
Zimbabwe since the country gained independence in 1980. At every election
time, Zanu PF activates its torture bases where the hapless youth are
ferried from different provinces into an area to torture, maim and even
murder people they do not know on political grounds.

In 2008 alone, more than 500 MDC members were brutally murdered while
thousands more were displaced when the youth, doused with drugs and beer,
unleashed violence on the defenceless citizens.

In Bulawayo, the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane water project, which is set to ease
the century old city’s water woes, is now complete. The Minister of Water
Resources Development and Management Hon. Samuel Sipepa Nkomo confirmed. The
project awaits approval from engineers based in South Africa who are yet to
inspect the whole project before water can be pumped into the City.

The MDC has hailed Hon. Nkomo for spearheading this project which was dogged
by ups and downs for sometime owing to political bickering from Zanu PF
after the party had failed to solve perennial water shortages experienced by
the city in three decades.

The completion of the Mtshabezi-Umzingwane water pipeline is a major boost
to the ailing city which has been dogged by massive relocation of industries
as companies shunned the city due to lack of water. The project which has
taken two years to complete will be commissioned soon after engineers from
South Africa have finished the inspection process.

Meanwhile, Hon. Elton Mangoma, the MDC Deputy Treasurer General and the
Minister of Energy and Power Development this afternoon received summons
from the police to attend court at the Bindura Magistrate Court on
fabricated charges of insulting Robert Mugabe.

Hon. Mangoma was arrested on 10 October this year by police officers from
the Harare Central Police Station on charges that he insulted Mugabe at a
rally at Munhenga Business Centre early this year.

The summons were delivered at the minister’s government offices at around
midday by Detective Sergeant Ncube and Detective Sergeant Phiri from Bindura
Law and Order Section.

My voice is in: My vote is YES!!!

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

War veterans warn Mugabe

By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:41

HARARE - War veterans loyal to President Robert Mugabe have told him the
hard truth: Zanu PF is losing support even in his home province at a time
the 88-year-old is vigorously pushing for elections.

In no-holds-barred talk, the war veterans’ leadership told Mugabe that the
decline has nothing to do with the MDC but is the result of a dictatorial,
lackluster and inept party leadership failing to read the mood swing in
party strongholds.

Combative war veterans’ leader Jabulani Sibanda, who delivered the news to
Mugabe, said the party was in tatters in Mashonaland West Province.

Sibanda told the Daily News that he met Mugabe recently to inform him about
the appalling state of affairs, adding some rallies by provincial leaders
attracted no more than 20 people.

“I told the President that there is a problem with leaders who were imposed
and do not attract voters.
“If someone is imposed, the effect is that the people will not recognise
him. That is what is obtaining in Mashonaland West,” he told the Daily News.

Sibanda’s take is significant as it exposes top Zanu PF leaders who often
mislead Mugabe about events on the ground and the extent of the party’s

It could also be a pointer to the divisions ripping the party apart and
could affect Mugabe’s bid to overturn a March 2008 presidential election
first round defeat to rival and now coalition government partner Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Mashonaland West is one of the provinces that stood by Mugabe and Zanu PF as
the majority of former strongholds deserted the party in 2008 when the MDC
ended Mugabe’s hold on Parliament and executive power.

During the 2008 harmonised elections, Zanu PF won 88. 89 percent of the
seats in Mashonaland Central, 82.61 percent in Mashonaland East, 74.07
percent in Midlands and 72.73 percent in Mashonaland West.

Sibanda said Mugabe can no longer count on such massive support.

He lost in other provinces that used to back him such as Masvingo and

In Mashonaland West, the MDC got 27.27 percent of the vote and Sibanda told
Mugabe the former labour movement could improve on the tally if factionalism
and candidate imposition in Zanu PF remain unresolved.

He said he has now camped in the province to drum up support and revitalise
the party, a move that has left MDC activists in fear of a violent campaign.

“I am now in Mashonaland West province and I can confirm that there are some
leaders who do not enjoy popular support,” he told the Daily News, adding
that unlike some of the local leaders, he wants to touch base with the

“Even when Jesus said ‘makwayi angu anonzwa izwi rangu’ (my sheep heed my
call) he was saying so because he had walked among his people and the people
knew his voice and his works. I am still in Mashonaland and I will be there
building support for the party,” said Sibanda.

His move to Mugabe’s home province comes at a time when Zanu PF has
intensified its campaign ahead of watershed elections which the party wants
held in March.

Tsvangirai says March is too early for a free and fair poll and wants the
election pushed to June to allow time for democratic reforms.

Just last week, Mugabe launched a scheme to dish out free seed and

Mugabe’s coalition partners say the scheme is suspicious and its funding is
secret although Mugabe has previously stated that it is funded by

Sources say Mugabe, desperate to extend his 32 year rule, has given the
firebrand war veterans’ leader the nod to mobilise support in the province.

War veterans, often accused of driving political violence, have come to
Mugabe’s rescue since 2000 when party structures began to crumble and a
newly formed MDC nearly caused an upset.

Sibanda said some MPs in the province should be forced to step down for a
new crop.

Sibanda has already been on a trailblazing campaign in Masvingo and
Manicaland provinces where he rattled both the local Zanu PF leadership and
the MDC.

It seems no different in Mashonaland West.

Repeated efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF Mashonaland West provincial
chairperson John Mafa were futile but sources said local leaders were
unhappy that Sibanda was taking over Mugabe’s campaign.

The MDC too, is rattled.

“Jabulani Sibanda is here and he has been calling rallies telling people to
vote for Mugabe. Here the message that Zanu PF is giving to the people daily
is that crimes of 2008 have not been punished and that will happen again if
you vote for the MDC,” said Eddie Ndirayire, the MDC Mashonaland West deputy

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Chombo suspends Masvingo MDC councillor

Wednesday, 07 November 2012 10:41

MASVINGO - Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo’s onslaught on MDC
councillors has claimed one official here.

Chombo has suspended MDC Ward 8 councillor Misheck Gapare on allegations of
mismanagement of council property and unprofessional conduct.

The suspension is meant to pave way for investigations into charges of
contravening the Urban Councils Act after Gapare allegedly mismanaged
council property.

In a letter date October 29 this year signed by Chombo, the councillor will
remain on suspension indefinitely.

He joins dozens of MDC councillors and mayors purged by Chombo in various
urban and rural councils since 2000 when the MDC began sweeping local
government elections.

Allegations against Gapare range from allocating himself a residential
stand, which he developed without council approval, failure to pay
electricity and water bills at a council rented flat and failing to settle
$1 080 for a council tent he hired in 2010.

“After carefully analysing the facts presented to me on the above cases. I
am convinced that your actions are in contravention of section 114 (1) (d)
of the Urban Councils Act, and therefore am compelled to suspend you from
the office of councillor with immediate effect,” reads part of the letter.

The outspoken councillor, who is also a trade unionist, has been banned from
visiting the council premises while investigations are underway.

Gapare confirmed his suspension and said he would comply. - Godfrey Mtimba

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim manufacturers in ‘crisis’

November 7 2012 at 05:17pm

Zimbabwe's manufacturing industry is in crisis with firms under-performing
due to erratic power supplies and lack of capital, an industry body said on

“The sector is in a crisis and to some extent this has resulted in company
closures. The prevailing status quo cannot be maintained,” Lorraine
Chikanya, chief economist of Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI)

Zimbabwe's economy is slowly recovering following a nearly decade-long
downturn which saw inflation peaking to 231 million percent.

A powersharing agreement between veteran President Robert Mugabe and his
former arch-rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has helped mend the
economy and stem political violence.

But most companies are still operating below capacity hamstrung by unstable
electricity supplies, lack of funds and high labour costs while others have
pulled down the shutters or relocated to neighbouring countries.

Much anticipated foreign investment has not been forthcoming with potential
investors seeking reassurance over a law which compels foreign companies to
sell their majority stake to locals.

Industry and Trade Minister Welshman Ncube blamed the scarcity of cash and
prohibitive interest charges on loans.

“The challenge is how to make money available at relatively low rates,”
Ncube said. “There is no money all around. We think that most critical
factor which is impacting the manufacturing sector is the unavailability of
money.” - Sapa-AFP

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Ten new power producers licensed

06/11/2012 00:00:00
by Roman Moyo

SOME ten independent power producers with a capacity to generate over 5,000
megawatts of electricity have been licensed by the Zimbabwe Energy
Regulatory Authority (ZERA).

The new producers are expected to complement power utility ZESA which is
struggling to meet demand and has rationed supplies to both domestic and
commercial users for years.

ZERA Chief Executive Officer, Engineer Gloria Magombo said the coming on
board of independent power producers will complement the existing power

Some of the licensed power producers are already operational while two -
Pungwe and Duru Hydro-Power Stations - are set to be commissioned in the
next six months with a capacity to generate 5,2 megawatts.

ZERA has since licensed Essar Africa Holdings (600MW), China Africa Sunlight
(Pvt) Ltd (120MW) and Nyangani Renewable - Duru Minihydro (3.8 MW).

Essar Africa Holdings’ commissioning is expected in 2016, China Africa
Sunlight (Pvt) Ltd commissioning is in 2014 while Nyangani Renewable Duru
Minihydro commissioning is in 2013.

The country is facing a huge power deficit which has impacted negatively on
industry’s performance, with the country generating an average of 1,000
megawatts out of a requirement of 2,200 megawatts.

In a bid to compliment power generation at Kariba, Hwange and other small
power stations, government opened up the sector to independent power

“Power projects by their nature are capital intensive and will cost US$2,5
million per megawatt and take up to five years before completion,” Magombo

ZERA has licensed nearly 20 independent power producers, of which four small
ones located in outlying areas are already operational with a combined
capacity of 83MW, generally lighting up the Lowveld and keeping a sawmill

Some of the companies that have been licensed but are not yet operational
include the proposed giant Sengwa Power Station (2 400 MW), Lusulu Power
Plant, to the north of Sengwa in Binga (2 000 MW), which is expected to be
completed next year.

Eunafric Power Station, with an initial capacity of 120 MW, is in
discussions with Harare City Council and the Zimbabwe Electricity
Transmission and Distribution

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Diamond industry: Diamond revenue revised downwards

Zimbabwe - The diamond industry is expected to contribute only a quarter of
the US$600 million that Treasury had projected would come from the sector
this year. This has serious bearing on the total budget projections that
Finance Minister Tendai Biti had hinged on the diamond sector when he
presented the 2012 National Budget. Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation
chairperson Mr Godwills Masimirembwa yesterday said about US$150 million was
going to be remitted to the Treasury by year-end.

He attributed the low revenue to the effects of the illegal sanctions
imposed on diamond mines by the Americans coupled with the embargo the
European Union imposed on Zimbabwe.

"From January to September this year, we have remitted about US$113 million
to Treasury from royalties and dividends, a figure that is way below the
projected US$600 million," he said.

"The main reason why the figures are low is because we have a limited
customer base due to the illegal sanctions.

"That limited customer base is under threat of being punished by Ofac
(Office of Foreign Assets Control) of America for buying Zimbabwean

By the end of December, Mr Masimirembwa said, the diamond sector would have
contributed an additional US$37 million, bringing the figure to US$150 this

He said the trading environment was not conducive for the Zimbabwean
diamonds to realise optimal prices.

"From January to September 2012, we have managed to realise US$542 288 512
from diamond sales. It is clear that the gross sales have failed to reach
the projected US$600 million that the sector was supposed to contribute to
the Treasury.

"The reason is because we are under siege from the US and the EU. The
revenue from diamonds could have been higher, were it not that the ZMDC and
the diamond mining companies are under these illegal sanctions.

"At the moment, the US and the EU markets are not available to us and those
available to us are under threat from the Americans," said Mr Masimirembwa.

Since diamond mining started in 2010 up to September this year, he said,
US$1 226 270 000 was realised from the diamond sales with US$425 850 455
being remitted to the Finance Ministry.

Mr Masimirembwa said the diamond mining companies were currently operating
at less than 50 percent capacity because of these stringent conditions.

The four diamond mining companies each have a capacity to produce 500 000
carats per month.

At two million carats per month in a normal trading environment, Mr
Masimirembwa said, the diamond sector would have been grossing about US$140
million a month.

He said this would have been sustainable to have a national budget hinged on
the diamond sector.

Mr Masimirembwa dismissed the allegations that there was no transparency in
the handling of diamond proceeds.

He said Zimra, the Reserve Bank and Treasury had access to diamond sales

"Allegations of mishandling of diamond money are totally false and
mischievous. All the institutions that are interested in the sales of
diamonds have the figures.

"There is total transparency in the handling of diamond money. It is also
clear from the figures that people of Zimbabwe are directly benefiting from
the sale of diamonds through royalties and dividends.

"The only mining industry that is contributing to the Treasury through
dividends is thediamond sector. Other sectors like platinum have no
dividends accruing to the Government," said Mr Masimirembwa.

He said mining in these areas only benefited foreign owners.

This is contrary to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Finance Minister
Tendai Biti's claims that there was no transparency in the sale of diamonds.

Mr Masimirembwa said from the revenue figures in the mining sector that were
presented by the Chamber of Mines recently, it was clear that the diamonds
sector contributed about 36 percent to Treasury.

Mr Masimirembwa dismissed claims that diamonds were selling at US$1 500 per
carat on the world market.

"Some people talk of huge prices per carat. They are peddling figures of
about US$1 500 per carat. We challenge them to bring such customers to the
ZMDC, the Ministry of Mines and Mining Development or the Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe.

"These people who are against the indigenisation exercise are the same
people who are peddling falsehoods about diamonds. They are just
politicking. The same people have not bothered to tell us how much is coming
from diamond sales at Murowa Diamonds but they are only concentrating on
Marange," he said.

Minister Biti was forced to review downwards the national budget in his mid
term fiscal policy review to US$3,64 billion from US$4 billion, citing poor
revenue inflows.

He also reviewed this year's Gross Domestic Product growth projection to 5,6
percent from 9,4 percent.

By Lloyd Gumbo

The Herald/07/11/2012

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Makumbe leaving UZ ahead of elections

By Alex Bell
07 November 2012

John Makumbe, the highly respected University of Zimbabwe (UZ) Professor and
vocal political analyst, will be leaving the university this year to
concentrate on his own election campaign.

Makumbe, who has for years been one of the most outspoken critics of Robert
Mugabe and the ZANU PF regime, will be contesting as an MDC-T candidate for
the Buhera West constituency in the next elections. He plans on leaving his
post as a political science lecturer at the UZ at the end of the year, to
focus on his plans to contest for the seat.

Although an MDC-T supporter and member, the Professor has also been critical
of Morgan Tsvangirai’s party. He told SW Radio Africa that he hopes this
critical nature will help him to “remain on course.”

“There are various ways of emancipating Zimbabwe from the tyrannical system
of government we have endured under ZANU PF. You can either make noise from
your white castle or you can put on your boots and overalls and fight for
the emancipation of the country,” Makumbe said.

He added: “I have been doing a lot of talking and now it is time to show
that I can also walk the walk.”

Makumbe explained that politicians are given their power by the people, and
it is something he says he will not forget as a member of the political

“I believe that authority and power should be given to those who are
governed by the people, so I am asking people to represent them, and be
their voice,” Makumbe said.

He also added that his own personal and professional morals will be tested,
but insisted that he aims to stay true to himself throughout his venture
into the political sphere.

“There are certain rules I have to abide by, but I hope I won’t ever bend my
own ethical code or violate my own very high standards of ethics. If that
happens, I will have no option but to exit the political arena,” Makumbe

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

ZCTF Report - Nov 2012

Only after the last tree has been cut down.
Only after the last river has been poisoned.
Only after the last fish has been caught.
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
Cree Indian Prophecy
3rd November 2012
Several months ago, we circulated a report about a baby elephant that was rescued on the Kariba road. The elephant, Kunda was given to Debbie and Gordon Putterill of Mwanga Lodge to try and hand rear. Sadly, Kunda contracted pneumonia and died.
Debbie and Gordon have now asked for our assistance because 2.5 kilometres of 14 strand game fencing has been stolen from their game reserve and a number of animals have already escaped. They have obtained a quotation to replace the fencing and the amount they are trying to raise is USD8 640.00.
This is a very urgent matter because the longer the fence remains in a state of disrepair, the more animals will escape and they will become a prime target for poachers once they leave the safety of the game reserve. If anyone can help either with funds or with the fencing itself, please contact us immediately. We would be most grateful to anyone who can assist.
Johnny Rodrigues
Chairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline: 263 4 336710
Mobile: 263 712 603 213
The Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force relies soley on public donations. Your donation can help to preserve the wildlife in Zimbabwe. If you would like to assist, please contact us.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Why Zimbabwe's tobacco industry is unhappy with WHO

The World Health Organisation says its guidelines aim to alert governments to declining demand for tobacco. But producers say they put farmers' livelihoods at risk

MDG : Zimbawe : Curing house for grading and sorting and weighing tobacco leaves
A curing house for grading, sorting and weighing tobacco leaves in Zimbabwe. Photograph: Chad Ehlers/Alamy

There is hustle and bustle on the tobacco trading floors of Zimbabwethese days. After a decade of agricultural turmoil that crashed the economy, this sector is seen as one of the few bright spots. The crop's value has bounced back from 105m in 2008 to more than 330m this year. Moreover, whereas tobacco production was once dominated by a white elite, now tens of thousands of farmers are black.

Yet this precious gain is under threat, the industry claims, not from renewed political violence or economic turbulence, but from the global anti-smoking lobby. "In Zimbabwe we are very dependent on tobacco," says Dr Andrew Matibiri, director of the country's Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board. "It makes up 26% of our foreign currency exports. Any movement towards reduction of the exports will affect our economy, especially poverty alleviation."

Growers in Nigeria, Tanzania and other African countries accuse theWorld Health Organisation (WHO) of cracking down on struggling farmers and putting millions of jobs and livelihoods at risk.

The WHO insists this is a misrepresentation. It says it is merely issuing guidelines for governments around the world on how to deal with a projected decline in consumer demand. From this point of view, thetobacco industry has set up a straw man so it can take an unaccustomed position of the moral high ground.

Matibiri, who claims to have the backing of both the president, Robert Mugabe, and prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, argues that more than 70,000 Zimbabwean farmers would suffer immediately under the WHO proposals. "We say farmers should be allowed to grow tobacco," he says. "It's not illegal. They grow it very quickly and easily; they have been doing it for over a hundred years so there's a lot of knowhow. So far there have been no alternative crops put on the table."

The WHO says tobacco kills almost 6 million people a year. Matibiri does not deny that smoking is harmful, but adds: "We understand all the issues and we agree with them. There are few beneficial consequences of smoking. But we are appealing to the WHO to understand our peculiar position as tobacco producers."

The issue has flared up because the WHO guidelines, known as articles 17 and 18 of the landmark framework convention on tobacco control, will be discussed next week at the Conference of the Parties in Seoul, South Korea. Potential measures include restricting growing periods and the amount of land used for tobacco while encouraging alternative crops.

In a pre-emptive strike, the Tobacco Institute of Southern Africa (Tisa)commissioned a study of 15 regional economies that shows 4.4 million Africans are employed – and 24 million dependent – on a tobacco value chain worth more than $10bn. In Zimbabwe, according to the research, the industry employs 1.13 million people with 5.67 million dependents and generates $579m in exports. In Malawi, another country with economic woes, tobacco employs 1.4 million people, generates $428.2m in exports, and represents 15% of GDP.

Francois van der Merwe, chief executive of Tisa, said of the WHO: "Their motivation has been the ongoing failure to decrease the demand for tobacco products that has resulted in an ill-conceived attempt to tackle the most vulnerable people in the supply chain, namely farmers. Should this ill-advised and misguided proposal [article 17] come into effect, it will have a dire impact on the livelihoods of farmers and tobacco growing countries more broadly."

Tobacco representatives in various African countries have also expressed opposition. Julius Masongo, chairman of the Tanzania Tobacco Co-operative Apex, said: "The WHO has consistently refused to listen to tobacco growers in drafting the proposal that directly impacts Tanzania's farmers. By doing so, they act like a blind man driving a steamroller without paying any attention to the consequences of their folly. Now is the time for governments to act and oppose these draconian measures."

Tobacco growing countries charge that, in its zeal to curtail an industry it regards as evil, the WHO is failing to appreciate the paradox that tobacco throws a lifeline to those who grow it. Unsurprisingly, the WHO has a different view.

It it not issuing orders to anyone, it says, but seeking to help governments that have signed up to the convention to manage what it sees as tobacco's inevitable decline. Dr Haik Nikogosian, head of the convention secretariat for the framework convention, says: "The document is called 'policy options and recommendations' for governments, not farmers. It's developed to help governments to help farmers transition to alternative crops. The demand for tobacco will gradually diminish: it is clearly known. People will not be smoking tobacco in 200 years.

"It's not asking farmers to do anything. It doesn't have any deadlines or requirements. It's advice and guidelines, and should be seen in a positive light. The WHO wouldn't involve itself in agricultural business in that negative way. This is about supporting farmers, not restricting them."

Asked about the vitriol being poured on the WHO, Nikogosian says: "I'd be surprised if it only comes from the tobacco growing organisations. There are other organisations and forces that are not to be trusted in giving information. If you look at the value chain and the profits, they are not sitting with the farmers. You can see where the interests are."

Back to the Top
Back to Index