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Zimbabwe leaders 'poles apart' as unity talks stall

By Godfrey Marawanyika (AFP) - 5 hours ago

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai are
"poles apart" on key unity government issues, a minister said Monday after
Zimbabwe's feuding leaders failed to break a 10-day deadlock.

"The principals met. Sadly and tragically the stalemate continues," cabinet
minister and Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman
Nelson Chamisa told AFP. "We are poles apart on fundamental issues."

The three-hour talks were the first between the long-term rivals since
Tsvangirai shelved ties with Mugabe's "dishonest and unreliable" camp on
October 16, sparking a crisis in the fragile, eight-month partnership.

The yawning gap between the two sides was demonstrated ahead of the
encounter, with the Mugabe camp stressing that the talks were a "regular
meeting" and Tsvangirai's camp insisting they were anything but.

"This is a regular Monday meeting and they will discuss the issues of the
GPA (Global Political Agreement)," which underpins the unity government,
Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba said.

Tsvangirai spokesman James Maridadi told AFP that "This is not a regular
meeting. The meeting will discuss the issue of disengagement and the other
outstanding issues related to the Global Political Agreement."

Chamisa said the party was now waiting for a Southern African Development
Community (SADC) meeting in Harare on Thursday to unblock the impasse.

"If that fails... a free and fair election under the supervision of the
international community, SADC and the African Union will be the only option.
They are facing east and we are facing west," he said.

Following his party's cutting of ties, Tsvangirai snubbed last week's
regular meeting with Mugabe and embarked on a regional tour to appeal for
southern African leaders to intervene in the stand-off.

The Movement for Democratic Change leader has said he will only resume
cooperation once all outstanding issues are resolved, which include wrangles
over key posts and a crackdown on his supporters.

The two leaders agreed to form a unity government in February after disputed
polls the previous year, which saw the 85-year-old Mugabe handed victory in
a one-man presidential run-off in June.

The pact has managed to arrest Zimbabwe's stunning economic collapse and
seen a relaxing of international ties, amid calls for greater signs of
reforms from Mugabe.

On Saturday, the state-run Herald newspaper quoted the veteran ZANU-PF
leader, who has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980, as vowing not to give in to the
MDC's demands.

"We will not do that. They can go to any summit, any part of the world to
appeal. That will not happen," Mugabe was quoted as saying.

The compromise government's work has been plagued by disputes over the
appointment of provincial governors, and Mugabe's unilateral re-appointment
of central bank chief Gideon Gono and attorney-general Johannes Tomana.

The decision to suspend ties was sparked by the redetention of ministerial
designate Roy Bennett, now out on bail, who faces a terrorism trial.

On Saturday, the MDC, which claims its lawmakers are being targeted, said
members of ZANU-PF and security forces opposed to the country's
power-sharing government were behind a police raid on a party house.

Armed police raided the house, claiming they were searching for weapons.

Police spokesman Wayne Bviudzijena refused to comment on the raid, which was
to be the subject of a meeting between Tsvangirai's joint home affairs
minister Giles Mutseyeka and senior police officials on Monday.

"For now there is no comment on the matter concerning the raids because of
security implications," Bviudzijena told AFP.

The Mozambique-headed SADC body on politics, defence and security will meet
in Harare on Thursday to discuss the stand-off which comes just a year after
the bloc brokered the signing of the power-sharing accord last September.

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Zimbabwe political deadlock worsening--MDC

Mon Oct 26, 2009 6:27pm GMT

* MDC says meeting ends in deadlock

* Will start election preparations if mediation fails

* First meeting since MDC boycotted unity government

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's political crisis deepened on Monday
after the first meeting between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan
Tsvangirai since the prime minister's MDC party boycotted the unity
government, an MDC spokesman said.

Spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the Movement for Democratic Change and
Mugabe's ZANU-PF were "worlds apart" after the two leaders met to try to
resolve the crisis.

"If they (Mugabe and his ZANU-PF) are facing west we are facing east,"
Chamisa said.

The crisis hit the fragile coalition earlier this month when the MDC said it
would stop attending cabinet meetings in protest against the arrest of one
of its senior officials and Mugabe's refusal fully to implement a political

Mugabe and his old foe Tsvangirai entered the unity government after
disputed elections left the impoverished African state in a stalemate and in
danger of serious violence.

¦Difficulties in implementing their agreement have delayed efforts to secure
billions of dollars from Western donors, money that is crucial for
Zimbabwe's economic recovery.

Chamisa said the MDC would now wait for the outcome of mediation by the
Southern African Development Community (SADC), and if this failed to end the
deadlock the party would start to prepare for elections.

"If that (mediation) fails, unfortunately we have to start to prepare for
elections because there is no government without the GPA (Global Political
Agreement)," Chamisa told Reuters.

"The elections have to be managed by credible institutions." (Reporting by
MacDonald Dzirutwe, editing by Tim Pearce)

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Leaders of Zimbabwe's NGOs Arrested

By Peta Thornycroft
26 October 2009

Leaders of Zimbabwe's National Association of Non-governmental
Organizations, NANGO, were arrested Sunday ahead of an anticipated meeting
Monday between President Robert Mugabe and Movement for Democratic Change
leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai. The leaders were expected to
discuss Mr. Tsvangirai's recent disengagement from the unity government.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights' Irene Petras tells VOA the two NANGO
officials arrested were the chief executive and chairperson. She said they
were on their way to the Victoria Falls airport.

Petras, who was in Victoria Falls Monday, said she trying to arrange the
release of the officials.

The association represents hundreds of non-governmental groups who work
mainly in the fields of human rights and welfare.

They are the latest in a long list of MDC supporters and human rights
activists detained since the unity government was formed.

Human rights groups say that no ZANU-PF supporters have been arrested since
the unity government was formed. They also charge that not one person has
yet been arrested in connection with murders of about 200 MDC supporters
during last year's elections which was won by the MDC.

The MDC says that the selective arrests, particularly since February, are
just one reason why Mr. Tsvangirai partially disengaged from the unity
government ten days ago. Since then Mr. Tsvangirai and officials from his
party have not participated in cabinet or other meetings with ZANU-PF

Mr. Tsvangirai said the reason for his action was Mr. Mugabe's failure to
meet many conditions of the year-old political agreement which brought a
coalition government to power in February. Earlier, Mr. Tsvangirai described
ZANU-PF as an "unreliable and dishonest" partner.

Mr. Tsvangirai has since been on a brief regional shuttle, meeting some
leaders of Southern Africa Development Community which, along with the
African Union, guaranteed the political agreement that brought into being
the unity government. That agreement was mediated by former South African
president Thabo Mbeki.

Last week, following what police claim was theft of some weapons from a
Zimbabwe National Army camp close to the capital Harare, a house used by MDC
executives was raided by 50 armed policemen, who said they were looking for
guns. Two people staying at the house were forced to dig up large sections
of the yard around the house, and say they were then beaten up. No guns were

Both western diplomats and members of the donor community say they fear a
crackdown on non-governmental organizations which Mr. Mugabe recently said
were agents of the west. He frequently accuses western countries of
financing a program of "regime change" in Zimbabwe.

In a brief telephone discussion Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, a senior
member of Zanu PF, Monday told VOA he was "not aware" that the two NGO
leaders had been arrested in Victoria Falls.

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Warning of possible tensions in Masvingo Province

October 26th, 2009

We've received information from a reliable source that well trained youth
militia are being deployed to the Masvingo Province. We've been told that
their prime target will be NGOs operating in the area. This information has
not been verified by other sources at this point.

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Zimbabwe army and police chiefs face arrest over land grab by army officer

October 26, 2009

Jan Raath in Harare

Zimbabwean courts are expected to order the arrest of the country's defence
and police chiefs this week in a key test of the judiciary's ability to rein
in marauding security forces.

The most senior High Court judge is likely to order the arrest of the army
commander, Lieutenant-General Philip Sibanda, and the police commissioner,
Augustine Chihuri, for contempt of court after they failed to discipline an
army officer who seized a white farmer's land.

In a country where many now doubt even President Mugabe's control over
elements of the security forces, the order is unlikely to be obeyed.

Taking over white farms has been a hallmark of Mr Mugabe's regime but the
case of Charles Lock, 45, a professional agronomist and former Zimbabwe Test
bowler, is unique.

He was the only white person to have been officially allocated his farm
under Zimbabwe's land laws without paying heavy dues to the ruling party.

When an army general, Justin Mujaji, invaded Mr Lock's farm, Karori, in
2007, he had no grounds for taking the land apart from the threat of
violence. It had been home to 120 workers and their families.

General Mujaji has forced Mr Lock and his workers off the farm three times,
only for Mr Lock to fight his way back with court orders. He finally
accepted his eviction after General Mujaji's men allegedly shot and injured
a farm worker, severely beat several others and raped a woman on the farm.
But Mr Lock was determined to retain his assets from the property.

Twelve days ago Judge President Rita Makarau gave General Mujaji a fortnight
in which to allow Mr Lock to remove his tobacco and maize crops and
equipment from the farm in the rolling Headlands district 85 miles (135km)
east of Harare.

The two commanding officers were ordered to ensure that General Mujaji
complied. General Sibanda and Mr Chihuri already have contempt convictions
against them for not disciplining General Mujaji last year.

"The judge will have no option but to order their arrest," said a lawyer who
asked not to be named. General Mujaji, the army's director of sports, who
has already taken three other farms, managed to evade arrest for contempt
last year.

It is unlikely that the police will obey the order to lock up their own and
the army's commander, but the affair will be an unambiguous demonstration
that the security forces have become a law unto themselves.

Zimbabwean courts have taken a tougher, more independent stance since a new
power-sharing Government was formed in February, with the opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai, as Prime Minister. However, it is not certain that
General Sibanda and Mr Chihuri take orders even from President Mugabe.

The courts have consistently sided with Mr Lock, who has been acquitted
twice on charges of "illegal occupation," meaning he cannot be charged

He also has the political backing of two of Mr Mugabe's vice-presidents, the
provincial governor and the region's land redistribution authorities, but
none of this has disturbed General Mujaji, who now has 15 armed soldiers on
the farm, five of them barring entrance at the gate.

General Mujaji has threatened lawyers and a magistrate with violence, and
police are terrified of taking action against him. Appeals to Mr Tsvangirai
have proved fruitless.

The number of white farmers in Zimbabwe has fallen from 5,000 in 2000 to 300
today under Mr Mugabe's relentless land grabs. Most live under constant and
violent pressure of eviction, or pay off politicians of Mr Mugabe's Zanu
(PF) party.

The seizure of farms, billed as an attempt to redress the racial imbalance
of Zimbabwe's colonial past, has become its route to economic ruin.

Mr Mugabe's neighbours, particularly President Zuma of South Africa, are
becoming agitated by his refusal to carry out democratic reforms in the deal
with Mr Tsvangirai.

Since Judge Makarau gave her order, the general has been comprehensively
looting Mr Lock's crops, fertiliser and equipment.

"This is a military coup," Mr Lock said. "Sometimes I would like to chuck it
all up, when you have these guys [the soldiers] spitting at you and poking
their guns in your tummy. But I can't. I must take it to its finality."

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Public broadcaster imposes news blackout against ministers

Written by MISA
Monday, 26 October 2009 09:08
THE Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity has reportedly
ordered the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation and other
state-controlled newspapers to stop covering ministers belonging to the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-T) led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai  until the party reverses its decision to suspend contact with
Zanu PF.
According to the privately owned Zimbabwe Standard, ZBC chief
executive Happison Muchechetere told the state broadcaster's senior editors
about the directive on 23 October 2009.
This comes in the wake of a decision on 16 October 2009 by Tsvangirai
and his MDC-T to partially withdraw from the inclusive government until the
resolution of outstanding issues that have not been fulfilled in terms of
the Global Political Agreement signed by Zanu PF, MDC-M and Tsvangirai's
The MDC-T has said it remains part of government but will not attend
Cabinet and Council of Ministers meetings with Zanu PF which is led by
President Robert Mugabe until outstanding issues in their power-sharing
agreement are resolved.
ZBC's head of news, Tazzen Mandizvidza, said he was not aware of the
directive. "I was out of the country. I came back on Friday night but if
there was such a directive I would have been informed," he said. The
Minister of Media, Information and Publicity Webster Shamu and Permanent
Secretary George Charamba were not immediately available for comment.
However, Shamu's deputy, Jameson Timba who is a member of the MDC-T
warned that the order (if it exists) would poison the already polarised
political environment in the country. "These are some of the issues that are
causing tension in the inclusive government where the public media is used
to advance the interests of one political party or individual," Timba said.
"The Ministry of Media has no business giving directives to newspapers
under the Zimpapers stable because they are not owned by the government,"
Timba reportedly told the Zimbabwe Standard.

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Magistrate intimidated, removes himself from Minister Mutasa case

By Violet Gonda
26 October 2009

A magistrate who ordered the arrest of Didymus Mutasa, the minister of state
for Presidential Affairs, has reportedly recused himself from the case, due
to intimidation. Magistrate Ngoni Nduna had earlier this month issued a
warrant of arrest for the ZANU PF Minister, when he failed to turn up in a
land case involving a Mhangura farmer.
The Minister who had been a subpoenaed to give evidence as a defence witness
in the trial of farmer Robert Mckersie, told SW Radio Africa on Friday:
"What it is about is simply a subpoena that I should appear and be a witness
against myself and I have never heard of that process of law anywhere in the
"I don't know what it is all about except that some white man is being
required to vacate the farm that he thinks is still his and I am being
required to say why he should leave. He should leave because there is a land
reform programme going on in this country and I have allocated that land to
someone else in terms of the land reform programme and that's all," Mutasa
The Minister denied that he was charged with contempt of court and that
there was a warrant of arrest for him, although he was quoted in the
Zimbabwe Times calling the magistrate 'very stupid.'
We were not able to reach the magistrate for comment but several press
reports say he will not be handling the case and is unable to deal with it,
after being intimidated by a visit from a CIO officer.

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Mugabe denies ZPF failure in unity government

By Alex Bell
26 October 2009

Robert Mugabe has denied that his ZANU PF party has played any part in the
failure of the unity government, insisting that his party has abided by all
the conditions set by the Global Political Agreement.

In his first public comments since the MDC announced it was 'disengaging'
from ZANU PF last week, Mugabe said this weekend that his party had
fulfilled its part of the agreement and he would not to yield to MDC
pressure. This was according to the state's mouthpiece The Herald newspaper,
which quoted Mugabe as saying that the MDC was acting 'emotionally' and not
in 'national interest'.

"The inclusive Government and the hiccups . . . you will always get people
in any arrangement who are guided by little emotional thoughts and act in
accordance with them and who would want things to go their way, and not the
national way, and not the agreed way," Mugabe was quoted as saying.
"There is nothing in the GPA that has not been done by ZANU PF, nothing at
all. We have fulfilled everything that the GPA wanted us to fulfill," he
The MDC announced it was 'disengaging' following the re-arrest and jailing
of Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate, Roy Bennett, who is still to be
sworn in to his position. Mugabe and ZANU PF have used the MDC reaction to
Bennett's arrest as a weapon against the opposition, accusing the MDC of
putting 'national interest' at stake over Bennett. But the jailing of the
MDC Treasurer General was merely the final straw for the party, which for
months has been trying to urge change from ZANU PF. That party has instead
openly violated the standards of the GPA, including but not limited to, the
renewed offensive against the commercial farming community.

But Mugabe this weekend, while denying that ZANU PF had violated the terms
of the GPA, also accused the MDC of not fulfilling its role within the unity
government. He claimed once again that the MDC has not delivered on the
lifting of targeted 'shopping' sanctions and the banning of 'illegal' radio
stations, and therefore ZANU PF was not obliged to adhere to the agreement
"They (MDC) are not doing anything about sanctions, they are not doing
anything about, you know, illegal radios, and other forms of communications
which are daily undermining the principles of unity and other principles
that underlie the Global Political Agreement. They are not doing anything
about that," Mugabe said of the MDC.

Mugabe's statements make it clear ZANU PF still have Zimbabwe in a vice-like
grip of power, which is daily tightening to shut out the MDC. With the
weight of state media on its side ZANU PF is also still able to publish and
broadcast anti-MDC rhetoric and propaganda at will.

"The matters the people are complaining about in the MDC are that we should
now voluntarily...give away aspects of our authority. We will not do that,"
Mugabe said.

With Mugabe and ZANU PF now refusing to budge from its position, what
choices are left to the MDC now? Political commentator Professor John
Makumbe on Monday said ZANU PF has no legitimacy outside of the unity
government, and argued that the MDC disengagement is actually a threat to
Mugabe and his party. He continued that the MDC needs to stick to its guns
by refusing to engage with ZANU PF.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was touring the Southern African region to
explain his position and trying to garner support from the Southern African
Development Community (SADC). But ZANU PF has openly dismissed the MDC
'disengagement' as being of little consequence, and most regional leaders in
SADC are too quietly supportive of Mugabe to stand firm against him. SADC
has for months remained completely silent on all the many violations of the
GPA, despite being guarantors of the unity accord in Zimbabwe.

Worryingly DRC leader Joseph Kabila, who is the current chair of SADC, is
now expected to fly into Zimbabwe to mediate between the principals of the
unity government. Kabila is well known as a Mugabe supporter and is widely
acknowledged to be the dictator's protégé. It was under Mugabe's protective
wing that Kabila took shelter when he replaced his assassinated father
Laurent Kabila at the helm of the DRC in 2001. At the time of his father's
death, Joseph Kabila was reported to be undergoing 'special training' at the
Morris Depot police training college in Harare. He was then whisked away to
be installed as acting DRC leader, under heavy protection by Zimbabwean army
troops, by orders of Mugabe.

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Fresh violence rocks Chiweshe ?

Written by SW Radio Africa
Monday, 26 October 2009 17:44
Fresh violence erupted in Chiweshe district last week as 50 homes
belonging to known MDC supporters were burnt down by Zanu (PF) militias.

Expressing concern over the situation the MDC MP for Mazowe central,
Shepherd Mushonga, told SW Radio Africa that their supporters and activists
were being driven out by the militias, led by a well known district
coordinating committee chairman named as Gatsi.

The MP said over 80 teachers had also fled the violence that erupted
soon after the MDC announced it was disengaging from Zanu (PF) a week ago.
Chiweshe lies about 60km north of Harare and is traditionally known as a
Zanu (PF) stronghold.
'The situation is grave. Our supporters are being driven out by Zanu
(PF) militias. Through a well-timed brutal assault unleashed over the
weekend, many MDC activists have fled their homes and have taken refuge in
neighbouring areas. These militias again remind us that they will stop at
nothing to maintain their empires of doom,' Mushonga said.
The violent offensive against known MDC sympathizers has also seen
militias publicly and coldly beat up teachers and headmasters and chasing
them away from their schools.
Mushonga, whose constituency borders the affected areas in Chiweshe,
said teachers and headmasters had fled mostly from Chaona primary school and
Dzingamvura primary and secondary schools.
'We are talking of three schools with an intake of close to 1000
students each and a staff compliment of 30 teachers each. They are being
told that their principal (Tsvangirai) has disengaged from Zanu (PF) and
that they too (teachers) should also disengage from the schools,' Mushonga
Mushonga, a lawyer by profession, said he was worried the absence of
teachers would affect students who are due to write their final examinations
beginning this week. He has also raised the issue with the Zanu (PF) MP for
the area, Retired Major Cairo Mhandu.
'Mhandu cannot control the situation and it's now free for all as he's
powerless. The militias now operate with impunity, arrogance and blatant
violence,' added Mushonga.
The people of Chiweshe are being punished for voting for the MDC
during last year's harmonized elections, especially those from Chaona
village. It has been a flashpoint between MDC activists and Zanu (PF)
militias since then.
Chaona has witnessed some of the bloodiest scenes of political
violence in Zimbabwe in the last decade. On the evening of May 5th, 2008,
three days after Mugabe's government finally released the official results
of the March 29 election, 200 men from the Zanu (PF) militias rampaged
through the village.
By daybreak ten people lay dead and the injured bore the hallmarks of
a new kind of political violence. Mushonga said women were stripped and
beaten so viciously that whole sections of flesh fell away from their
Apart from forcing people to drink paraquat, a deadly herbicide, the
militia and soldiers inflicted serious injuries by dipping their knobkerries
and sticks into the chemical, before beating their victims. This caused the
serious wounds not to heal and many of those beaten died months later, in
Those who recovered had to lie facedown in hospital beds for many
weeks, and sometimes months. The militias also used genital mutilation in
their attacks. The official postmortem report on the Chaona MDC activist
Aleck Chiriseri, listed crushed genitals among the causes of death. Many
other men died the same way.

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MDC 'disengagement' will not affect constitution making process

By Lance Guma
26 October 2009

Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga has said the decision by the
MDC to 'disengage' from ZANU PF in government will not affect the
constitution making process. Speaking on the Rules for our Rulers programme,
Matinenga said the process was being led by parliament and the MDC had not
disengaged from parliament. He said the constitution making process was a
'people driven process and we are not disengaging from the people.'
Matinenga explained that the process was not about the political parties but
parliament, interacting with the people

Last week it was reported that government had given a financial lifeline of
US$11,3 million to the process, after months of speculation that there were
no resources to move it forward. Parliamentary select committee
co-chairperson on the constitution Paul Mangwana, from ZANU PF, told the
Zimbabwe Independent newspaper that they were expecting the first batch of
US$3,6 million from treasury sometime this week.

We asked Matinenga how this was being coordinated, since Finance Minister
Tendai Biti was from the MDC who had 'disengaged' from ZANU PF in
government. He said their 'disengagement' did not mean they were not
working. 'As I speak to you now I am in my office doing my job.' He
explained that the MDC ministers were still doing their work even though
they were not interacting with ZANU PF, adding Biti did not need to go to
cabinet to release the money for the constitution making programme.

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Rautenbach’s links to Zanu PF reap rewards for him, and misery for 25 families on Nuanetsi Ranch

We recently received a copy of a letter written and signed by Titus Maluleke, clearly indicating his whole-hearted support for Billy Rautenbach’s biodiesel project to be carried out on Nuanetsi Ranch (click on images above to enlarge). The person who sent us the letter told us that the Governor Maluleke had his own [stolen]  farm’s irrigation system completely overhauled by Billy Rautenbach in exchange for his unwavering support for Rautenbach’s biodiesel project.

It worked.

Rautenbach is miraculously exempt from  all the vilification every other white Zimbabwean commercial farmer has been subjected to. Compare, for example, the intimidation and misery inflicted on Mount Carmel Farm to the attention Rautenbach receives. Incredible really, when you think that Rautenbach is planning a project that will not grow food for the hungry Zimbabwean population.

Even more remarkable is the fact that the history of Nuanetsi Ranch represents a reverse in Zanu PF logic. The re-settlement of people here under Zanu PF’s controversial and violent land redistribution policy caused friction in 2007, as reported in ZimOnline:

“Nuanetsi ranch is owned by DTZ, a black-owned company and if we designate that land, who are we empowering? We cannot take land from a black man and give it to another black man.

“If there is anyone trying to do something there tell him he is wasting his time because that land was bought and cannot just be given to people without any justification,” said Msika.

According to the Governor in those days, they needed to use such a large stretch of land to grow crops:

“It is true that we wanted to designate the Nuanetsi ranch to resettle people there for the government to grow crops under the Masvingo food initiative.

So Rautenbach’s achievement, a white man securing the support of Zanu PF to evict 25 black re-settled families so he can utilise a very large farm (when other white farmers around the country are vilified) -  to grow biodiesel – has a smelly, albeit familiar, whiff of corruption about it. I suppose the 25 families who will be forced to leave Nuanetsi Ranch are just ‘collateral damage’ in a ruthless business deal.

What a mess.

This sorry affair only serves to illustrate that what counts in the eyes of Zanu PF is not the hungry people of our country, and nor the landless majority they continuously claim to represent. It shatters any illusion of altruistic motives on the part of Zanu PF and distills it down to the real Zanu PF essentials:  power, control and money. Basically, what Zimbabweans always knew anyway and the reasons why Zanu PF was thrashed in the polls last year.

What really matters more than anything to Zanu PF is the promise of big bucks heralded by the tooting of a gravy train fast-approaching – driven by a white man in this case, but for some reason that doesn’t seem to bother the usually very racist Zanu PF party so much…? Perhaps they haven’t noticed the pigment in Rautenbach’s skin, or perhaps Rautenbach did a very good job of blinding them by putting  dollar signs in their eyes.

Background and more on this story via The Zimbabwe Standard – my emphasis added:

Government wants to evict 25 families from Nuanetsi Ranch to make way for Zanu PF-aligned businessman Billy Rautenbach’s biodiesel project. Rautenbach, who is a close associate of President Robert Mugabe and Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, has effectively taken over the ranch in the Lowveld through his Zimbabwe Bio-Energy (Pvt) Ltd.

The company went into a joint partnership with the Development Trust of Zimbabwe (DTZ), an organisation founded by the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo soon after Independence.

According to a letter from Masvingo governor Titus Maluleke to Lands and Resettlement Minister, Herbert Murerwa, the provincial lands committee on September 9 resolved to remove the farmers “as a matter of urgency”.

“It was agreed that the development coming to Nuanetsi as implemented by the investor, must not be disturbed under any circumstances,” Maluleke said in his letter seen by The Standard.

“The grazers who were occupying the part of the development area which the investor intends to develop into a conservancy must move out immediately to allow the investor to start on the investment programme.”

Maluleke also ordered the eviction of settlers at the Chingwizi area which he said had been set aside for sugar cane production.

“Equally, the settlers that are in the Chingwizi area which is earmarked for cane development must also be moved to the agreed areas for resettlement north of Tokwe River,” he said.

He said those displaced by the project and the construction of Tokwe/Mukorsi Dam would be resettled elsewhere in the province.

But the farmers are resisting the relocation. The 25 families at Nuanetsi Ranch say they risk losing their cattle numbering more than 12 000.

The farmers have also written to Murerwa asking him to block the impending relocation.

“As farmers, our throughput into the beef industry has been substantial. . .The bulk of the meat coming through registered slaughter houses has been coming from our production.

“. . . Regrettably, the future of these farmers is now bleak as we have been given 24-hour notices to vacate Nuanetsi Ranch. Twelve thousand plus breeding stock is now faced with imminent decimation,” reads the letter from the farmers.

They claimed that they were being forced into an area that was unsuitable for cattle ranching.

Murerwa is yet to respond to both letters and efforts to get a comment from the minister and Maluleke were fruitless.

Rautenbach wants to grow sugar cane on 100 000 hectares of land in the ranch for ethanol production.

Other ventures in the pipeline include a giant crocodile-breeding project and cattle ranching.

The $1 billion investment project will displace more than 1 000 families already settled in the Nuanetsi Ranch.

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Officials refund Mukoko's bail deposit

October 26, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - Court officials have refunded human rights campaigner Jestina
Mukoko the bail money which she deposited early this year as part of strict
conditions to secure her release from prison.

Mukoko deposited US$600 bail and also surrendered her passport and title
deeds for her brother's property on March 2 to secure her freedom from
prison after her abduction by state security agents.

Mukoko, the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) executive director who was
acquitted last month on charges of plotting to unseat President Robert
Mugabe's previous administration had earlier only regained her passport and
title deeds while court officials held onto the $600.

Mukoko's lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, collected the deposit last Friday after he
petitioned the Attorney General (AG)'s office to release the outstanding
bail money.

"I have now collected the bail money," Nkomo told reporters just outside
Harare Magistrates Courts.

The Supreme Court last month stopped the prosecution of the former Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) news anchor after ruling that the abduction
and torture she was subjected to violated her constitutional rights.

The human rights activist, whose organization has been documenting rights
violations for the past decade was abducted from her Norton home last
December by state security agents who held her incommunicado for three weeks
together with two ZPP employees. Mukoko only made her first public
appearance on December 24 2008 when she was brought to court to face charges
of sabotage, banditry and terrorism.

She has since filed a lawsuit to sue several government ministers and
officials for a total of US$500 000 in damages for unlawful detention.

The human rights campaigner argues that her constitutional rights to
liberty, full protection of the law and right to freedom from torture had
been infringed when she was abducted from her Norton home in a pre-dawn

The damages sought are for illegal abduction, disappearance and torture at
the hands of state agents.

During her detention, Mukoko says she and 23 other human rights and
political activists were tortured by their abductors. Seven other people who
were abducted around the same time with Mukoko are still to be accounted

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8 jailed for violent support of Mugabe

October 26, 2009

By Owen Chikari

MASVINGO - Eight Zanu-PF youths, who terrorised villagers in Bikita west
during last year's one man June presidential election runoff, kidnapped and
tortured two Bikita minerals managers and held them hostage for hours
accusing them of being MDC-T supporters a Masvingo magistrate heard

This came to light during the trial of the eight who were each slapped with
a three-year jail term after being convicted of political violence by
Masvingo magistrate Timeon Makunde.

The eight Simon Muchata, Farai and Amon Mangondo, Jeremiah and Onesimos
Muchafa, Norbert Chimuka and Nicholas Dhliwayo will however serve an
effective two year jail term after the magistrate conditionally suspended
one year of their sentence.

The court heard that the youths had established a campaign base at Bikita
minerals while campaigning for President Robert Mugabe.

On June 12 last year the youths stormed the Bikita Minerals offices and
kidnapped general manager Nigel Macphail and one Susara Reykene.

It was the state case that the victims tried to resist but were
force-marched out of their offices and held hostage for hours.

The court heard that the youths were angry after the two men used their car
to transport an aspiring MDC-T councillor to hospital after he was beaten up
by Zanu -PF militants during the campaign period.

The youths argued that by transporting a wounded aspiring MDC councillor to
hospital they had shown that they were sympathetic to the then opposition

Magistrate Makunde said that the eight knew what they were doing during the
commission of the offence, which he described as very serious.

The trial of the eight was delayed after their victims had fled the area
fearing for their lives.

The youths were not legally represented.

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Zimbabwe to float US$5 million grain bills for buying maize

APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's Finance Minister Tendai Biti announced
Monday that the government would float grain bills valued at US$5 million
this week to purchase an additional 50,000 metric tonnes of maize as the
country moves to rebuild strategic reserves depleted by years of poor

Biti told journalists in the capital Harare that the grain bills to be
issued before the end of the week were the first part of a programme under
which the government would progressively buy more than 400,000 tonnes of
surplus maize from local farmers.

"Very soon we will be issuing grain bills to finance the purchase. We are
going to start with US$5 million and the first issue will be by the end of
this week," said Biti.

He noted that Zimbabwe had a reasonable harvest from the 2008/09 farming
season of some 1.2 million tonnes and that about a third of that was surplus
to farmers' personal requirements and therefore available on the market.

The maize purchased would go towards rebuilding Zimbabwe's strategic grain
reserves which have been depleted following nearly a decade of poor harvests
largely blamed on the country's land reform programme which destroyed
large-scale commercial food producers.

  JN/nm/APA 2009-10-26

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Shaky GNU affects humanitarian activities

October 26, 2009

By Munyaradzi Mutizwa

JOHANNESBURG - Humanitarian organisation on Friday said serious lack of
political order and respect of citizens by political leaders in Zimbabwe
will expose its vulnerable populace at risk as hunger and disease threatens
to sweep the country again.

Organisations said Zimbabwe needs coordinated, "robust leadership" to
prevent a replicate of the cholera epidemic and widespread hunger it faced
last year.

"We are obviously concerned that the government of national unity continues
to work," Charles Abani, head of Oxfam-UK's operations in southern Africa

Peter Salama, head of the U.N. children's agency office in Zimbabwe, called
on Zimbabwe's leaders to overcome their political differences and "rally
around the issues facing Zimbabwe's children today, and that is access to
basic services" like schools and clinics, which have been devastated by the
country's economic collapse.

Salama said it would be tragic if the political impasse leads the
international community to decide Zimbabwe is too risky to continue to
invest in.

The European Union on Wednesday asked Zimbabwe's neighbors to help resolve
the country's political problems and expressed concern over "continued
politically motivated harassment of" members of Tsvangirai's party.

Last month, the first visit by a high-level EU delegation since 2002 ended
with a declaration that Europe would not resume development aid until more
is done to implement the power-sharing agreement and restore human rights.

Aid workers now have been called in to help even in prisons. In recent
months, the international health agency Medecins Sans Frontieres has been
providing food, clean water and medical care to inmates in 15 prisons, said
Wim Fransen, an MSF mission head in Zimbabwe.

"What is important to know is that the crisis is still here and there is
still a need for donors to fund organizations," Fransen said.

What's known as the hungry season, when food from the year's harvest begins
to run out, is expected to hit in December or January. Last year, more than
5 million people needed food aid.

Abani said the figure was likely to be less than 3 million this year, still
significant in a population of about 8 million.

Reports of cholera have already emerged this year in Zimbabwe. Rains
expected in the coming months will overflow sewers, worsening the risk of
the spread of waterborne disease. A cholera outbreak that started in August
2008 and took months to bring under control killed some 4 000 people.

The rainy season is also the breeding season for mosquitoes that carry
malaria. The U.N.'s Roll Back Malaria Partnership warned in January of a
possible surge in malaria cases and deaths in Zimbabwe. Since then, said
spokesman Herve Verhoosel, it has been able to work with the new government
to ensure insecticide was distributed before the rains.

The next step, Verhoosel said, will be getting a new generation of malaria
medication into hospitals and clinics across Zimbabwe before the rains. But
the new medication is more expensive and Verhoosel said Roll Back Malaria is
concerned that donations to buy the drugs could drop.

"Such a political crisis," Verhoosel said, "could have an implication on the

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If Charamba and Moyo are "amadoda sibili"

October 26, 2009

By Geoffrey Nyarota

AFTER the hustle and bustle of Boston's Logan, Washington DC's Dulles and
Johannesburg's O R Tambo I was struck by the desolate and eerie ambiance of
Harare International Airport.

Three immigration officials dutifully flipped through the pages as passports
were presented. There was an air of boredom about the officer who attended
to my queue, that of returning residents. She hardly looked up at the faces
as she examined the pages while looking for a blank page to stamp. My
heart-beat had been somewhat faster than usual since I emerged from the
South African Airways evening flight from Johannesburg.

After departing from Harare unceremoniously in January 2003 with Inspector
Chrispen Makedenge of the Law and Order Section hard on my heels I was not
entirely certain what kind of reception I was about to be accorded on
return. To aggravate my situation since October 2006 I have published an
online newspaper from the United States, which reports and comments on
issues without fear or favour.

The knowledge that I had broken no law, however, gave me strength.

As I slowly edged my way to the head of the queue the tempo of my heart-beat

There had been virtual consensus among the few I discussed my pending visit
with that it was foolhardy to pay what one described as a premature visit to
Harare. People viewed by the Zanu-PF component of the Government of National
Unity were still being persecuted. The cases of Jestina Mukoko and Roy
Bennett were cited. MDC supporters had recently been reported killed; with
others disappearing.

Disturbances continued to tale place on the commercial farms, particularly
during the last harvest. A major concern has been the continued lack of law
and order in GNU Zimbabwe.

It was no source of comfort that just before my departure for Harare,
Information Minister Webster Shamu had announced a string of unilateral
appointments to the boards of media organisations. More unnervingly,
President Robert Mugabe was dragging his feet on the announcement of the
composition of the newly constituted Zimbabwe Media Commission.

My family was concerned.

My wife, Ursula, always a pillar of support, thought I was being
irresponsible. She was painfully aware that other editors had been invited
by the Harare office of UNESCO to attend a crucial meeting seeking to
address the issue of polarisation in the media, while bridging the gap
between journalists working for privately-owned media organisations, on the
one hand, and those in the employ of the state-owned media behemoth, on the

The rest of the media executives, Basildon Peta of Zimonline in
Johannesburg, Wilf Mbanga of The Zimbabwean and Gerry Jackson of SW Radio
Africa, both based in the UK, had kindly declined the invitation, citing
security concerns.

I felt genuinely guilty that I was even contemplating this trip. But UNESCO
had assured us they would do everything humanely possible to ensure the
safely of foreign-based journalists. A UNESCO official would be on hand in
the arrivals hall at Harare International. So would the Zimbabwe Times legal
advisor, Chris Mhike of Honey and Blankenberg, legal practitioners of
Harare, just in case.

A cousin, who opted not to be identified for purposes of his job security,
struck a discordant note, however. Zimbabwe was my country as much as it was
anyone else's, he pointed out. I had not committed any known crime. In my
peculiar circumstances, unless I wanted to spend the rest of my life living
in the Diaspora, now was about the best time to return home. Nobody was
going to create opportunities for me in my absence, he said.

My mind was made up on the last point. The pending visit could be the
beginning of my future. There was only one way of finding out. Realising my
mind was inexorably made up, my family members and my coterie of consultants
grudgingly relented. They expressed the best of wishes, saying they would
pray for my safe passage. The large number of prayers proffered was somewhat
disconcerting, instead of being a source of comfort.

A chance meeting with Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai at OR Tambo Airport
was a source of real comfort and inspiration. He was in transit to Madrid,
Spain, to receive an award.

"Nothing untoward will happen to you," he said with what sounded like
authority and finality.

For good measure he informed me that he and President Mugabe had, in fact,
just agreed on the membership of the long-awaited Zimbabwe Media Commission.
My old friend and colleague Henry Muradzikwa, once fired by Mugabe from his
post as editor of The Sunday Mail had been appointed chairman of the
commission, while Nqobile Nyathi former editor of The Financial Gazette
would be his deputy.

The appointment of lawyer Mhike to the commission was to me a source of
further assurance.

Mindful that Tsvangirai had made some errors of judgement in his assessment
of the political situation in Zimbabwe over the recent past, my heart still
pounded as I waited for my turn before the immigration desk.

Then it was my turn. I presented my passport to the immigration officer. It
was just after 9.00 pm and this was the last flight of the day. I am not
sure that she even looked at my face as she thumbed though the pages, but
the thud of the official stamp in my passport was unmistakable.

This was no time for celebration yet, though. There was still customs to be
cleared I surmised as I waited for my bags at baggage claim. I had been
informed that the gentlemen in dark glasses usually pounce just before
customs, whisking the character of their interest away through a side door
while relatives and friends anxiously wait outside. I had had an
opportunistic encounter with an old friend at the airport in Johannesburg.
As we waited for our bags we worked on a simple plan of action.

He was to push his luggage trolley behind me. If anything untoward happened
to me he was to proceed and raise the alarm outside. Neither of us was quite
prepared for the anticlimactic drama that followed. There was no one at
customs. I was later informed that ZIMRA had decided to allow returning
Zimbabweans to bring in whatever goods they could without interference.

I was suddenly back in Harare at the beginning of a 10-day visit to the

The arrivals hall at the airport was virtually deserted. My grandchildren
were there, virtually unrecognizable after so many years. Everything else
paled into total insignificance.

I was waiting in front of the airport building by the time Mhike and the
UNESCO official arrived. It was not because they were late. The SAA flight
had arrived ahead of schedule and the passengers it disgorged had been
whisked through immigration and customs in record time.

As for "Building Bridges and Closing the Gaps" the seminar scheduled by
UNESCO for Tuesday, October 6, I missed it completely. My flight from Dulles
was cancelled and the airline accommodated passengers overnight while
waiting for the next flight.

As we flew over Angola towards Johannesburg George Charamba, Mugabe's press
secretary and permanent secretary in the ministry of Information, addressed
the gathering of editors at St Lucia's Park in Harare.

Departing from his prepared and somewhat conciliatory presentation, Charamba
warned editors that anyone who dared to publish a newspaper without a
licence in Zimbabwe ran the risk of arrest.

"What we will do is to go to the police and say there is a foreigner on the
streets, can you get his credentials. They will come to you and ask you,
'Where is your licence?' If it is nowhere to be found, naturally the police
will take up the matter and ask the AG to prosecute."

Johannes Tomana, the controversially appointed Attorney General, has so far
prosecuted with remarkable zeal

Over the next 10 days I travelled widely over Zimbabwe - to Rusape, Nyazura,
Nyanga and Mutare in Manicaland Province, Chivhu in Mashonaland East and
Sanyati in the Midlands.

As I travelled around I increasingly felt sorry for Charamba and Information
Minister Webster Shamu, as well as for Zanu-PF's re-engaged and extrovertly
overzealous propagandist, Jonathan Moyo and, ultimately, for President
Mugabe himself.

Contrary to their claims, they were clearly out of touch with grassroots
Zimbabwe. The roofs of houses in even the oldest and poorest sections of the
working class suburb of Sakubva in Mutare were adorned with satellite
television dishes. In the house of a cousin who lives in Sakubva we watched
South African television.

She explained to me the mystery of houses that spotted two satellite dishes
on the same roof.

"One dish for the house owner and one for the lodger," she explained.

Back at St Lucia Charamba had impressed on editors, most of them from the
State-controlled media the new role of the Ministry of Information after the
constitution of the new Zimbabwe Media Commission and the announcement by
Shamu of the new board of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe.

"If anything, its role will trim down to making policy, itself a residual
role," Charamba said with customary grandiloquence. "What will enlarge is
its role as a media proprietor, which is why I deserve a seat on this

The fact has obviously been lost on Charamba and other boffins in the
ministry that while they had won a battle by denying other Zimbabwean
players licences to broadcast in Zimbabwe, the Ministry of Information had
lost the war of control over the airwaves to the South African Broadcasting
Corporation, BBC, CNN, Botswana TV and Studio 7 and SW Radio Africa,
broadcasting from Washington London, respectively.

A cousin in my village amazed me when he said: "I listened to you on Studio

I had no idea he had any interest in news

Not one household that I visited was switched to ZTV. So while Charamba and
Shamu congratulate themselves on their control of the airwaves to the total
exclusion of rival Zimbabwean broadcasters, the airwaves have, in fact, been
overtaken by external players.

The bulk of government's well articulated propaganda is, therefore, being
disseminated in vain.

The story is the same with the government's sycophantic newspapers.

To quote Charamba at St Lucia again: "From my little stay in the house of
politicians, no politician fears the people. Politicians fear whoever it is
that puts thoughts into the minds of the people."

My own philosophy is that, as a general rule, the people dislike newspapers
that the politicians adore. The circulation of The Herald and other Zimbabwe
Newspapers titles has decreased by inverse proportion to the increase in the
amount of control exercised by government over the publishing company.

At the height of the popularity of The Herald in the 1980s the circulation
reached more than 160 000 copies per day. By then the paper made a
deliberate effort to cater for the interests of the majority, not just for
the white readers, as was the case before independence. By the time the
government banned The Daily News in 2003 The Herald sold a mere 50 000
copies a day, with a tradition of publishing going back to 1891 and a vast
array of resources at its disposal.

The paper and its stable-mates had by then shifted from catering for white
interests to exclusively satisfying the whims of the Zanu-PF bigwigs.

Today The Herald sells less than 20 000 copies a day in the total absence of
any competition. Undeterred by this mediocre performance Zimbabwe Newspapers
has embarked on a programme to launch new titles in the mistaken belief that
it is diversity that attract readers.

Meanwhile, while the government of national unity - in this case the
Movement for democratic Change will have to be painted with the same coat of
black paint - stalls in facilitating the registration of independent
newspapers and granting radio and television licences to other players, the
people of Zimbabwe remain starved of news from alternative sources.

There is nothing that George Charamba or Jonathan Moyo can do, however, to
coerce the population of Zimbabwe to read or listen to their relentless
propaganda. If they are, to quote President Mugabe, "amadoda sibili", they
should quietly push the circulation of The Herald back to 160 000 and
beyond, instead of churning out eloquent diatribes for the consumption of  a
constantly diminishing readership.

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Water Crisis Forces Patients To Fetch Water

Karoi, October 26, 2009 - Pregnant women in labour have to bring in 20
litres of water before they can be attended to at Karoi Hospital, which is
facing a critical water shortage.

''We have told expecting mothers to be well prepared for labour, and
to put all all preparations in place, as well as a bucket of water in case
they go into labour...'' said a nurse.
An expecting mother who only called herself Jessica, said she was
shocked to hear that she had to bring her own water.
''We have highlighted this water crisis with management during our
weekly meetings of heads of departments but nothing has been done as of yet.
Its pathetic,'' said a nurse.
The district hospital administrator, Tapera Mukorera, confirmed that
water was scarce and attributed this to erratic power supplies due to load
He said not only were patients being asked to bring their own water,
but linen too, as the hospital was unable to do laundry.
He feared a cholera outbreak. Already five people countrywide, three
from Mashonaland West provincial capital, Chinhoyi, have died of cholera.
Zimbabwe, last year, suffered one of its worst cholera outbreaks, which left
about 4 000 dead and 100 000 others infected.
Karoi hospital is a referral centre for Hurungwe and Kariba rural
clinics and is located in Karoi farming town, situated about 204 kilometers
north-west of Harare.
Sources at the hospital said the water problem had been going on for
too long but worsened two weeks ago.
Although Karoi town had faced perenial water shortages for the past
four years in Chikangwe and Chiedza high density suburbs, the recent crisis
had caught both Zimbabwe National Water Authority [ZINWA] and hospital
off-guard as '' the pipes needs repair to draw enough water with pressure
from the reserves to the hospital'', according to sources. This has resulted
in failure to rectify the problem at the hospital on time.
According to frustrated patients who have been referred from rural
clinics surrounding the hospital, they have been forced to fetch for water
from relatives who live in Karoi town.
''I was referred here from Kazangarare rural clinic and the nurses
here told me that there is no water at the hospital and have to rely from a
relative from the town who is bringing me water for bathing every morning''
said Rambisai Maketa.

Kazangarare rural is situated 70 kilometres north of Karoi town.

Another patient, Pearson Kabeta, who is in male ward, said he had no
relatives around town to bring him water since he was referred from
Nyamhunga villages in Hurungwe, 65 kilometres south of Karoi.

''I have gone for several days without bathing here as there is no
drop of water in hospital tapes for the past two weeks. Its unfortunate that
the situation has gone out of hand and no action is being taken urgently to
rectify it early'' added Kabeta who is getting treatment for TB.

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Harare's Garbage Nightmare

26 October 2009

LITTLE Johnny joins his friends along 120th Street in Highfield near Mutasa
Primary School and immediately begins to "unpack" a smouldering mound of
garbage in search of toys and any other items of amusement.

Unknown to the innocent boys and girls are the attendant dangers to the
presence of rotting uncollected and burning garbage.

The same act is replayed in almost all high-density suburbs across the city
everyday as children plod through choking smoke from burning garbage.

The risk of contracting diseases looms large.

The loud cries for help by distressed residents who have been made to
literally accept living in the midst of garbage have not been heeded.

In Highfield, from a distance some of the garbage dumps resemble dwalas and
in all this the Harare City Council is the chief culprit.

Every month, City Fathers demand refuse collection fees from residents for a
service that they do not provide.

Director of waste management, or as some residents now call it "worst
management", Mr Dombo Chibanda recently told a visiting Munich City
delegation that Harare was failing to cope with its responsibilities of
collecting garbage.

"We cannot cope with the situation. On the streets we are using tree
branches to sweep. The city is not in a healthy position to undertake
cleaning," he said.

Mr Chibanda painted a grim picture of the state of affairs in his
department, where the bulk of trucks are grounded, making it impossible to
collect garbage.

But none of those explanations do anything to ease the anxiety of residents
who live in fear of disease outbreaks.

Sources at the Kelvin South waste management depot in Graniteside confirm
that some of the grounded trucks have running engines and only require
tyres, batteries, clutch cables or other minor mechanical attention.

"Some of these vehicles require between US$100 and US$1 000 to get them back
on the road. It costs in excess of over US$100 000 to acquire one truck,"
said an engineer at the workshop.

The city needs between 45 and 50 refuse compactors but has only 10, while
out of the six skip-bin trucks only one is operational.

The city requires 12 tipper trucks, but has none that are working.

The list of unavailable equipment is endless.

While City Fathers sit in their offices and issue all manner of statements
to explain their failures, the dangers of a cholera recurrence in Harare
lurk around the corner as the rainy season fast approaches.

The spirit, drive and endeavour to remove the garbage just seems to be
absent at Town House.

For them, it is business as usual.

Waste managers get into their offices daily to hold meetings, sip tea, make
phone calls and then at the end of the day drive home and tell their
families how hard they have worked.

Councillors are also to blame.

They give assignments to management but fail to allocate resources for these
things to be done.

Councillors only attend meetings to endorse what management wants.

Very rarely do they bring in their own motions and agendas to council

Admittedly the city centre is swept on a daily basis while the major
thoroughfares leading into the Central Business District are also cleaned.
But -- and this is a big but -- the people do not stay in the city centre.
Cholera begins in the suburbs.

Mrs Evelyn Tinarwo of Highfield is not a happy mother.

Her children, like little Johnny, know no other playing ground other than
the heaps of uncollected garbage.

She feels the city should be held accountable for any diseases that occur as
a result of uncollected garbage.

She suggested that if the council trucks were grounded, then preparations to
hire plant and equipment from private companies should be made.

While the Environmental Management Authority has fined Harare for not
collecting garbage it should even go further and penalise the city for
burning uncollected refuse.

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Water + Sewage=Sewage: A Cholera Time Bomb

Water +sewage= sewage, so Highfield residents in particular New Cannan and
Zororo are drinking sewage, bathing with sewage and eating food prepared
with sewage.

The Harare City Council clean-up team was cleaning  up a trench near Zororo
Community Centre in Highfield on Tuesday (20/10/09) last week using a
caterpiller . The trench is full of raw sewage. Unfortunately they broke the
water pipe which went across the trench and the water started gushing out
since then mixing up with the raw sewage. The city employees dismissed at
the end of the day leaving the mix-up process to continue the whole night,
and now it has been a week since this occurred. The problem is still
unsolved. I am appealing to the relevant authorities to take action to save
the residents from drinking contaminated water.

As an affected resident I am utterly surprised by this negligence by the
city workers responsible. I thought if there is/was an emergency in their
operations  this should have been treated with most urgency it deserves.
They should have reported the matter urgently that the problem may be fixed
in time minimizing the possibility of a fresh cholera outbreak.

I think this attitude of negligence and recklessness should not be tolerated
any more and those responsible should be brought to book. The drivers should
be proved with the relevant maps to avoid these mishappenings.

This has happened when five people have been reported dead as a new cholera
outbreak that has seen 117 people infected in the last continue to spread.
The death were confirmed by Tsitsi Singizi, spokesperson for the United
Nations Children's Fund, which is leading efforts by non-governmental
organizations to restore clean water and efficient sanitation to vulnerable
'The fundamentals of last year's epidemic are still there, in terms of the
sporadic availability of water. The situation has been improving, but not to
the levels needed,' said Singizi.

UNICEF has warned repeatedly that a new cholera outbreak was inevitable with
the start of the rain season.

The visiting German Mayor of Munich Clr Hep Monatzeder has pledged to assist
Harare City revamp its waste collection, health, water reticulation and
information technology systems. This is quite a shame given that our friends
out there are trying to help us help ourselves and we are found wanting , so
negligent in our operations, so reckless in our conduct , I don't think we
will move forward. Let's be co-operative. We don't have the monies but
labour is available.

A worried resident

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Cross-border smuggling syndicates thrive

October 26, 2009
Jupiter Punungwe

WITH the influx of Zimbabweans to foreign countries in search of greener
pastures there has been a boom in travel between Zimbabwe and many
neighbouring countries, especially South Africa. Unfortunately, the travel
has also given rise to a form organised crime: organized tax evasion and

Organised crime is not just about pushing sacks of mbanje across the border
or cocaine through airports. Many trans-border bus crews are engaging in
massive organised tax evasion, with the connivance of some border officials,
resulting in massive losses to the very badly cash-strapped Zimbabwe

Things have deteriorated to a point were some bus crews charge a regular
'border fee' to facilitate passengers passing through the border without
declaring their goods. Bus crews collect money, outside the regular bus
fare, for the purpose of bribing ZIMRA officers so that they don't search
buses thoroughly. This way goods for which duty should be paid can pass
through the border without even being inspected.

Also notorious for tax evasion and smuggling are the class of informal
couriers known as "malaitshas." These people openly promise clients that no
duty will be paid for goods they ferry to Zimbabwe. They charge exorbitant
fees and pocket all the money, to the general detriment of the taxpaying and
law-abiding public. They operate in cahoots with corrupt ZIMRA officers to
arrange crossing the border during the witching hours of night when fellow
officials are least alert.

All this illegal activity is not necessary and is just out of greed. The
Zimbabwe system is very fair. Travellers are allowed to bring goods into the
country worth US$300 duty free every month for personal use. Returning
residents are allowed to bring in all household effects duty free. This, in
my view is, very fair. It therefore means that any attempt to evade duty is
pure greed.

Posting or rotating more staff at the border is not a complete solution. The
organisers of the syndicates eventually find ways of compromising officers
who are stationed at the border. Look, let us be honest and frank;
substantial amounts of money are involved and officers eventually get

What is needed is a well-organised anti-organised crime approach that sees
undercover officers monitoring nefarious activities right from when
passengers board to when they disembark. In short, put CID investigators on
board as many buses as possible, so that they can see what will be going on.
The officers should travel like ordinary passengers to facilitate their
investigations. Also allow undercover officers to send parcels and goods
using malaitshas.

The undercover officers should not be responsible for making the arrests.
They should only be responsible for making tip-offs, via say a private
confidential hotline. These tip-offs will be relayed to regular officers
stationed at strategic points along the route, starting from the border
itself up to until the destination. This approach has an inherent safeguard
that once a tip-off has been made, results are then expected and the
arresting officers, who would not know who made the tip-off, will not be in
a position to collude with the criminals or accept roadside bribes.

Such an operation is the best hope for the government to stop massive loss
of revenue caused by organised smuggling syndicates primarily led by bus
crews. Crew members who are caught organising tax evasion should be arrested
on the spot. Bus companies should be encouraged to monitor their crews by
being asked to pay fines commensurate with the amount of prejudice to the
state. Incorrigible repeat offenders should have permits withdrawn.

Like any anti-organised crime operation, the chief aim should be to take
chief organisers and operatives out of circulation.

Not only does smuggling prejudice Zimbabwean people and government of
revenue but it also hobbles Zimbabwean industry as competing goods are
allowed into the country without paying any duty at all. This is a very
serious drawback to economic recovery efforts. The government has to show
that it is serious about economic recovery by decisively tackling smuggling

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Stolen: Millions of promising futures

October 26, 2009
John Robertson

HUNDREDS of thousands of young Zimbabweans are about to reach the end of
their school years and most will present themselves to the labour market.

Regrettably, very few have any hope of being offered paid employment. Even
more regrettably they will find themselves competing with youngsters who
left school at the end of last year and with most of those who left school
in the years before that.

In fact, very few jobs have been created in the past twelve years. We used
to be able to speak of 300 000 school-leavers a year, but now we have to
settle for a more basic measure: about 300 000 Zimbabweans reach the age of
18 each year. With or without a full secondary school education, all need

Some who left school too early might argue that their hopes of finding paid
employment are no worse than those who were able to pass their final exams,
given the lack of jobs for anyone. However, that argument would be better
used to demonstrate the extent of the damage suffered by Zimbabwe's economy
in recent years.

Estimates suggest that by mid-2009, the number employed in Zimbabwe's formal
sector had fallen to below 860 000. In 1997, before the land reform
programme had started the economic demolition process, formal sector
employment had reached 1 375 000.

This means that during the past twelve years, employment in Zimbabwe has
fallen to a level last seen in 1970, almost forty years ago, when the
country's total population was about half its current size. For this
achievement, the responsible politicians claim to be deserving of the
population's praise, loyalty and devotion.

However, the only way the politicians can get the people to at least pretend
they admire their leaders is to scare them. And to do that, they have
created the one employment opportunity that has made any impact at all on
the problem: the youth militia.

In exchange for their beliefs in the teachings of their elders and for all
the self-respect they can swallow, thousands of successful candidates are
given licence to bully and rob with impunity as soon as they accept the
teachings forced into them at indoctrination camps. While being badly fed,
badly housed, badly paid and badly treated, they all receive lavish promises
of power and influence. Little evidence exists to show that these promises
are kept to more than a few.

The rest? Well, they are totally expendable, so they are abandoned as soon
as they become less effective than newer, younger recruits. Some end up as
forced labour on Operation Maguta state farms, and some as
conscience-stricken misfits back in their communal areas, where they are
despised by their relatives and former friends.

Many escape the country and join gangs of illegal labourers on South African
farms or construction sites, but some simply die of exposure. But every one
of them has been cheated of the normal lives they could have led in a
well-governed country.

How much easier it would have been for Zimbabwe's young people if the
Government of National Unity had simply decided upon the measures needed to
rebuild the damaged confidence and had got on with the job!

The confidence that used to support the levels of effort and commitment that
were applied to the combinations of the land, labour and capital to produce
the goods came from very elementary requirements, such as respect for the
rule of law, respect for contractual obligations and respect for property
rights. These, in turn, made employment growth and production possible,
supported as they were by the access to credit needed to fund productive
processes and to permit employers to pay employees long before they had
anything for sale.

When government broke the chain by destroying the property rights link, the
whole process fell in a heap. Giving disjointed pieces of the system away to
loyal supporters did not make them work. The money stayed in the banks and
jobs disappeared on the farms, and before long, in the factories too.

As scarcities worsened, the government helped itself to the money in the
banks and imposed price controls. Local goods disappeared, prices rose, the
money lost value and jobs declined in every other productive sector. A few
years after the start of the decline, the only place any ambitious young
person could hope to find a promising job was outside the country.

If the cause of the decline is that easily identified, why has government
not fixed it? Does government not care that more than three million people
have passed the age of 18 in the past twelve years and only a small
percentage has found work? Is the government not embarrassed that its only
job offers to school leavers will train them to be thugs who will be dumped
as soon as they have served their purpose?

The sad news is that government does not care and government is never
embarrassed. And government does not even want to turn the economy around,
not if it is going to empower people other than the government's officials.
The concept of property rights, therefore, is anathema.  Property rights
make people independent of government patronage, but when a government has
nothing but patronage to offer, it has to keep the patronage machine

No government can give anything away without first taking it from someone
else. That might look good when we are in the receivers' line-up, but we
should remember that the stolen pension funds, bank balances and foreign
currency accounts were also ours. We have all been robbed.

But the creation of jobs is one of the major victims of the process.
Government can already be accused of destroying the futures of millions of
Zimbabwe's young people who have yet to find employment.

Millions who are still in the school system today will face the same fate if
the rest of us do not wake up soon.

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SABC documentary: Zimbabwe's blood diamonds - Tonight



Broadcast: Special Assignment  - SABC 3

Time: Tuesday 27 October. 8.30 pm





Tuesday’s Special Assignment exposes the blatant disregard for the rule of law and continued plundering of the diamond fields in Eastern Zimbabwe.  New evidence suggests that South African firms have muscled in, and are mining there



“We have nothing to hide. We are going ahead with the exploitation of our resources, and nothing will stop us,” said Zimbabwean Minister of Mines, Obert Mpofu, confidently dismissing reports of atrocities and smuggling from the diamond fields in Eastern Zimbabwe.


Travelling the road to Chiadzwa, his words sound more and more hollow. The area holds one of the world’s richest deposits of alluvial diamonds.  The gems lie close to the surface of the ground, making them easy to collect by hand. It is hard not notice the “gweja’s,” the Shona term for illegal panners.  Group after group of young men, carrying nothing but a plastic bag over their shoulder, head for the diamond fields hoping for a share in its riches.  It is at the risk of their lives. 


The area is heavily militarized and every few kilometers one is stopped by a security check point, manned by police and soldiers.  Only last month, Moreblessing Tirivangani, was beaten to death during a rotation of army units who patrol the area. 


A year ago the military killed hundreds of people, and tortured even more, in a brutal clampdown on illegal mining activities.  Now soldiers are cashing in on the gems. 


“Nearly every soldier that is in Chiadzwa at the moment is involved in panning in one way or the other. They have also formed syndicates so that those panners will get the escort of the military and they continue panning with the protection of the soldiers,” says Farai Maguwu, Director of the Centre for Research and Development, an NGO that has been documenting violations in Chiadzwa.


Many of the diamonds are smuggled into Mozambique.  The town of Vila de Manica is only 18 kilometres from the border with Zimbabwe.  It is crawling with illegal dealers from countries like Lebanon, Sierra Leone, Guinea, DRC, Nigeria and Israel.  Newly painted houses, bristling with barbed wire and CCTV cameras, are guarded by men armed with AK 47s.  Every day streams of Zimbabweans arrive to sell their stones, stolen from Chiadzwa.  They admit it is with the help of army syndicates and senior government politicians.


The lack of control on the diamond fields of Chiadzwa, extends beyond pillaging by the army. Last month, mining firm African Consolidated Resources plc. (ACR) won a High Court ruling confirming their title to the Marange diamond fields.  In 2006, the Zimbabwe government seized the claims from ACR and evicted them from the diamond fields barely a year after they had begun operations. High Court Judge Charles Hungwe ordered the Zimbabwe Minerals Development Corporation (ZMDC)to stop its mining activities and directed the government to restore African Consolidated Resources' right to mine in the area.


ACR has still not been able to gain access to the diamond fields. The Zimbabwe Mineral Development Corporation has signed a shady joint venture with a Mauritian off-shore company, Grandwell Holdings. They are operating under the name Mbada Diamonds. Behind it all is a South African scrap metal company, Reclamation, who is understood to have spearheaded the deal. Any diamonds they trade, will be obtained illegally.  Reclamation director, David Kassell said this was inaccurate and refused to comment.  


Outraged by ZMDC’s flagrant disregard of the High Court ruling, Andrew Cranswick CEO of African Consolidated Resources said, “their foreign partners are bringing in experts and top machinery, so the foreign partners will rape it for the foreign interests as opposed to the national interests an

d that is the tragedy and that has to be stopped.”


This comes at a time when Zimbabwe faces the possibility of being banned from trading in rough diamonds.  In July, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme sent a review team to investigate the human rights violations and looting of diamonds from Chiadzwa.  The international watchdog on “conflict diamonds” found gross irregularities and recommended that Zimbabwe be suspended until they comply with minimum standards. It is the first time an state government, and not a rebel army, stands accused of “conflict diamonds.” Amidst heated debate, the KPCS is to meet in Nambia on 2 November to decide Zimbabwe’s fate.

The government of Zimbabwe until now, has not really disclosed how it conducts its trade in its minerals. It is a very closely guarded secret and that gives room for corruption by senior government officials, by the military bosses who are now in charge of Chiadzwa,” says Farai Maguwu.


The Minister of Mines seems unconcerned. “We are going it as government alone, without their support. We are not going to stop because they have not supported us,” he said.


Special Assignment’s programme “Zimbabwe’s Blood Diamonds” will be broadcast on Tuesday 27 October at 8.30 pm on SABC 3.

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Pushing back boundaries of ignorance
by Mutumwa Mawere Monday 26 October 2009

OPINION: Is there a causal link between ignorance and poverty and if
so, how can we push back the boundaries of ignorance so that Africa can lift
itself up?

Africans are as endowed with certain inalienable rights as any other
global citizen and yet the frontiers of poverty have not significantly
shifted for the better, notwithstanding the significant investment made in
education over the last 53 years of independence.

The majority of Africans remain in the valley with only a few
successfully passing through the bottleneck of opportunity and progress.

Even the few, who make it on the opportunity ladder by investing in
education, have yet to demonstrate why it is the case that Africa continues
to offer hope and opportunity to many born outside the continent.

Isn't it true that the further one progresses in the education system
the more one realises that there is a lot one doesn't know? There is an
awful lot that we do not know about what is required to make Africa advance
its economic cause.

What kind of ideology is required to inspire African citizens to
believe that they have a stake in the continent's future? Is socialism the
answer or is capitalism, as we know it, the best ideology to inspire hope?

When one looks at Africa's post-colonial experience it is easy to
assign blame on the few individuals who have assumed leadership positions
for the failure of the continent to scale the heights of development. A
leader can only be as good as the followers want him/her to be. We all
expect leaders to be better than us and more significantly to do what we
cannot do for ourselves.

Our first ignorance, therefore, is best exposed when we try to find
answers for the lack of fast development in Africa. The easy answer is that
leaders have let Africa down but rarely do we pause to think about the true
nature of leadership and its role in the development chain. A leader is
human after all and it would be naïve for anyone to expect another
individual to do what one cannot do for himself/herself.

Many of our state actors hold the view that a key role of the state is
to tax the rich so that the poor can have a better life underpinned by state

Accepting this view has its own consequences. A key source of state
revenues has to be the taxes levied on income earned. If no income is earned
or if the tax base diminishes because of misguided public policies, the
state is the direct loser and the poor are the ultimate losers.

Any state that aspires to grow has to compete for human skills and
capital. Money will not stay in oppressive environments and human beings are
no different. If the tax burden on working people increases then one should
expect an exodus of such resources in search of greener pastures.

Human beings sell time for cash no different from business people who
convert resources into products and services that are in turn converted into

If people feel that their time can fetch a better return in another
environment they will gravitate towards that environment. No force can stop
human beings from attempting to maximise return for the time they offer in a
labor market.

Working people would not want their return to be controlled
administratively and, therefore, they tend to favour a flexible and dynamic
labor market.

The market system is founded on the "greater fool principle" meaning
that for an exchange of value to take place there must be a greater fool at
the transaction point.

Such a fool must be a willing market participant. For instance, when
one picks a product in a store one must anticipate a reduction in the cash
asset available for the exchange to take place.

The price of the goods has to be greater than the costs incurred in
producing or purchasing the goods. If the buyer knows the real cost then
such a buyer would not be the best candidate to make a trade at the
transaction point.

Have you not noticed that when a buyer purchases a good at a certain
price only to find out that the same good is selling at a lower price would
feel cheated and yet there is little one can do in many instances to reverse
the transaction. The fool has to be the buyer. Only in politics do you see a
fool being the voter who more often than not has any chance of recalling a
bad politician once elected.

If someone becomes rich through the intermediation of the market then
it is true that at the transaction point there must be a happy buyer and a
happy seller suggesting that the wealth created cannot be harmful in any
progressive society.

If the market evaporates, so will the profit and business success
increase? Once one understands the manner in which a market system works
then it becomes easier to craft policies that encourage supply response.

The poor need the rich in as much as the rich need the poor. The
market mechanism connects the rich and poor because at the transaction point
it is and should be irrelevant how wealthy one is. If one wants to purchase
a product then one must produce cash in exchange.

Any policies that scare producers will ultimately be counterproductive
to the cause of the poor. Those who climb the opportunity ladder through the
intermediation of the market system are comforted that such mobility is only
possible through the support of willing market participants.

Is it not, therefore, strange that one often hears in many
conversations, for instance, people talking of "white" banks to describe the
financial institutions that dominate the financial system of contemporary
Africa forgetting that such institutions can only thrive because of the
support of the majority "black" African citizens?

Why would one complain about the racial character of institutions when
at the transaction point no hostile exchange is in evidence?

There are many of us who are highly educated but financially
illiterate and ignorant. How do we bridge the knowledge divide? It is
critical that we begin to change the content of our conversations.

A supplier has to be guided by what the customers want in as much as a
state actor's actions have to be informed by the income earners. The more a
country invests in producing income earners the easier will be to reduce the
frontiers of poverty.

At any transaction point in a progressive country it would be strange
to find people fighting or a supplier forcing a buyer to purchase a product.

A businessman has to accept that a failure to anticipate the needs of
the customer has consequences.

Equally, the failure for any politician to anticipate the requirements
of existing and future taxpayers can undermine the country's cause.

In as much as we may despise the West one has to accept that human and
physical capital requires less persuasion to be domiciled in such

Is it not strange that many of Africa's financial pop stars would
rather keep their money in safe environments that are external to Africa?
Badly governed states will inevitably complain of externalisation when it is
only their policies that have the effect of undermining confidence and

Unless we can appreciate what is required to attract capital including
human capital, the prospects for Africa advancing its cause will always be
qualified. - ZimOnline

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Letter to Mr Mugabe

President Robert Mugabe

Office of the President
Munhumutapa Building
Samora Machel Avenue/ 3rd Street
Harare, Zimbabwe

25 October 2009

Dear Mr President,

On behalf of voiceless Zimbabweans, I write this letter pregnant with anger
over the inflammatory announcement of the imminent inauguration of the
paramilitary youth militia training by your government. Zimbabweans implore
that you immediately reverse any further recruitment of ZANU (PF) youths
into these camps that churn out rapists, murderers, and impenitent human
rights violators.

The insensitive and unilateral act of reactivating these camps is
psychological torture to the multitudes of innocent victims of the dreadful
Youth Militia's last orgy of violence during the previous elections, and the
abrupt appearance of hordes of youth militia clad in green military fatigues
is an intimidatory tactic meant as a menace to the populace. Our collective
umbrage with this latest offensive taunt forms part of a laundry list of
provocative acts by you aimed at derailing the fragile national healing and
reconciliation process.

Please be advised that the collapse of the Government of National Unity
(GNU) renders your already precarious position as Head of State and
Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces untenable and relegates you to the
archives of illegitimate presidents.

Avert humiliation, accept the various dignified exit strategies and
retirement options painstakingly penned by your peers and laid out before
your office.  In the name of democracy, justice, and peace, the people of
Zimbabwe beseech you to immediately retire and resign from the Office of the
President of the Republic of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe needs leadership renewal
coupled to an economic revival and your departure from the body politic will
be the trigger point for a peaceful national transformation.

Your tenure as President is divisive and continues to cause political
discord and ethnic fissures that threaten peace and tranquillity in both
Zimbabwe and the region. Your stubbornness and intransigence pauses a
palpable threat to the coexistence of Zimbabweans and to your fellow
principals of the Global Political Agreement.

Please take this opportunity to dissolve parliament and announce a date for
fresh parliamentary and presidential elections in which you shall not

Thank you for your attention in this matter and Zimbabweans await your

Yours Sincerely,

Phil Matibe

cc: The Prime Minister of Zimbabwe - Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai

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Morgan Tsvangirai's Dilemma
Friday, October 23, 2009

"[I]t is now time for us to assert and take our position as the dominant party in Zimbabwe.  In taking this path, we are guided by the fact that we are the trustees of the people's mandate and therefore the only one with the mandate to remain in government.<...> However, it is our right to disengage from a dishonest and unreliable partner.  In this regard, whilst being government, we shall forthwith disengage from ZANU-PF <...> until such time as confidence and respect is restored amongst us." (Zimbabwean prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai on his decision to suspend cooperation with the political party of President Robert Mugabe, 16 October, 2009).  

The dilemma faced by Zimbabwe's prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, is a thorny one.  He garnered the majority of votes in the first round of the presidential elections in March 2008 but chose to boycott the run-off due to the persecution of his supporters by the incumbent president, Robert Mugabe.  In January 2009, following the negotiations spearheaded by neighboring South Africa, Mr. Tsvangirai, 57, was persuaded to form a unity government with the 85 year-old Mugabe, who single-handedly ruled the country since it gained independence in 1980.  Mr. Mugabe's tenure was plagued by rampant corruption and deterioration of Zimbabwe's public health system, punctuated by mass emigration of its professional workforce due to spiking unemployment, starvation and, most recently, an outbreak of cholera.       
Mr. Tsvangirai reluctantly entered into a power-sharing agreement with his rival, claiming that it was his party--the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)--that won in the elections, and not Mr. Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Unity-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).  The truce between the long-time opponents have proved short-lived, and Mr. Tsvangirai announced his disengagement from ZANU-PF last week, accusing Mr. Mugabe of failing to honor his promises to form a fully functioning government and take steps to enforce the rule of law and strengthen the economy.  Reportedly, the last straw for Mr. Tsvangirai was the arrest of MDC's treasurer and Zimbabwe's Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Roy Bennett.  The arrest was one in a series of ZANU-PF military wing's continued assaults on Zimbabwe's white farmers, typically followed by the forced appropriation of their land lots by the government.  
Mr. Tsvangirai broke off the ties with ZANU-PF because he could no longer reconcile his human rights activist's agenda with ZANU-PF's despicable policies. He claims to still be a part of the government and continue pushing for his agenda to be implemented.  But -- and here is the dilemma, in my view-- it is clear that his political co-existence with Mr. Mugabe is virtually impossible.  Their artificial union failed to prevent a political crisis, as some had hoped, and it continues to hold back Zimbabwe's development since many foreign governments have been unwilling to provide aid and investment to a country with the main culprit of its misery still in power.  Is Mr. Tsvangirai really hopeful that real change is possible under the circumstances, or is he just doing his best to hold up his end of the bipartisan Global Political Agreement?
It seems to me that, in light of the last week's developments, the regional powers and western democracies will have to choose one of the two politicians to support.  While the United States is likely to favor dealing with democratically-minded Mr. Tsvangirai, South Africa has so far appeared to be backing Mr. Mugabe, possibly fearing that his demise would further escalate the exodus of the impoverished Zimbabweans and set loose the bellicose pro-independence war veterans, whom Mr. Mugabe nurtured and elevated to an elite class through his system of generous, taxpayer-supported handouts.  
Anyone has other thoughts on the possible outcome of this split? I'd be interested in learning what you have to say.

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Tsvangirai's Walkout Puts Mugabe on the Backfoot

26 October 2009

The MDC sees some success in its efforts to push a divided ZANU-PF into
talks by appealing to regional leaders to pressure President Mugabe.

For once, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic
Change appear to have scored a palpable hit against President Robert Mugabe
and his allies.

Following a meeting with Tsvangirai on 21 October in Cape Town, South
African President Jacob Zuma declared that 'the country should not be
allowed to slide back into instability, and that he was ready to assist the
parties in implementing the Global Political Agreement (Africa Confidential
Vol 50 No 17).

Tsvangirai's temporary walkout of the power-sharing government came on 16
October, as the faction-fighting around Mugabe and the Zimbabwe African
National Union-Patriotic Front seemed to be reaching a crescendo (AC Vol 50
No 20).

Mugabe's dismissal of the walkout as of 'little consequence' rings hollow.
His own ZANU-PF is in crisis in the lead up to its December congress, with
open warfare between the Joice Mujuru and Emmerson Mnangagwa factions
battling to succeed Mugabe. ZANU-PF's organisation in the three Matebeleland
provinces is in a shambles, partly because of the administrative bumblings
of Mugabe's ultra-loyalist, Didymus Mutasa. At the last count, five ZANU-PF
grandees were battling to take over the national Vice-Presidency after the
death of Joseph Msika.

After suspending cooperation with Mugabe and his ministers, Tsvangirai
embarked on a tour of neighbouring states to call for pressure on Mugabe and
ZANU-PF. The pretext for walking out was the indictment of the MDC's
Treasurer, Deputy Agriculture Minister Roy Bennett, on terrorism charges
(after a string of vexatious cases against other MDC members of parliament).
The latest episode in the long-running Bennett show saw him back in the
cells, albeit for only one night, but it was enough for Tsvangirai and the
MDC to ramp up international concern about the wider progress of the

Blocking and delaying tactics

Tsvangirai points to a lengthy list of ZANU-PF's blocking and delaying
tactics. None of the issues highlighted by the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) summit on Zimbabwe in January have been resolved: the row
over ministerial duties and powers; the illegal appointments of Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana; and
Mugabe's failure to ratify the appointment of provincial governors; along
with a lack of progress on constitutional reform, liberalisation of the
media and a national audit of land holdings.

Indeed, the two sides cannot even agree on the government's title: the MDC
rejects ZANU-PF's appellation Government of National Unity (GNU) as grossly
misleading. There are elements in ZANU-PF whose aim is to bring about the
collapse of the power-sharing government by continually harassing and
humiliating MDC MPs. The fear of such hardliners is that the MDC will get
the political credit for the government's limited economic successes and
further undermine ZANU-PF. This time, the incarceration of Bennett appears
to have backfired.

By violating the spirit of the accord, the ZANU-PF hardliners want to bait
the MDC into pulling out of the government. Tsvangirai, in the best trades
unionist tradition, operates on the sound principle of 'never resign from
anything; the longer you stay the stronger you become'.

ZANU-PF drags its feet on all the political and economic reform proposals
but pushes through appointments which suit it. The most blatant is
appointing Professor Tafataona 'Dotty' Mahosoas Chairman of the Broadcasting
Authority, despite his dismal performance before the parliamentary panel
choosing nominees for the Media Commission.

Media Minister Webster Shamu announced the appointment of army officers and
other ZANU-PF loyalists to several media bodies within his gift without
consulting the MDC. When it was pointed out that, for a publicly quoted
company, appointments to the Zimpapers board were the prerogative of
shareholders, Shamu said someone had mixed up the files on his desk. Under
hisnom de guerre of 'Ndhlovu', he served in the 1980s both as a junior
minister and time in prison for corruption. A streetwise activist from
Mashonaland West, as ZANU-PF spin doctor, he is proving something of a
disaster. With the return of Jonathan Moyo to the fold, his time may be up.

Among Shamu's blunders was allowing Mutasa to be interviewed by the United
States television station CNN, where he blurted out, 'Supporting white
farmers is insupportable. If that is what human rights means, you can keep
them. We don't want them in Zimbabwe.' Earlier this year, Mutasa had
explained that his interpretation of the unity government was that 'everyone
should do what President Mugabe says'.

There is an obsession with destroying Bennett. This gives the issue the
sharp profile that the other outstanding breaches lack, which is why it
works against ZANU-PF. The issue is not whether Bennett is guilty but
whether his bail would be reinstated by a higher court. The judiciary is
asserting some independence. The case of Justina Mukoko, head of the
Zimbabwe Peace Project, who was wrongly detained for three months and then
freed on judicial order, is an indication of this. Again, the judicial order
to free Bennett on bail ran counter to ZANU-PF pressure and wishes. In both
cases, the Judge was Charles Hungwe, who has impeccable political
credentials as a fighter in the liberation war and cannot be dismissed as an
MDC or British placeman.

The political damage was immense: the bail refusal was broadcast around the
world by the international news networks. Mugabe and ZANU-PF were portrayed
as mean-spirited, with no intention of operating the GNU in a spirit of
goodwill. SADC leaders were embarrassed by another example of ZANU-PF's bad
faith. Tsvangirai was given a perfectly plausible excuse for withholding MDC
cooperation with ZANU-PF at ministerial level, without resigning from the
government, until Bennett's status and other outstanding issues were

ADC Secretary General Tomaz Salamão was on an unpublicised visit to Harare
to set up a meeting between Tsvangirai and Mozambican President Armando
Guebuza on 15 October. Tsvangirai then expanded that to a ten-day tour
taking in Angola, Congo-Kinshasa, Mozambique and possibly Botswana and South
Africa. He told Mugabe about it on his way to the airport.

For now, ZANU-PF looks snookered by Tsvangirai's move. If it expels the MDC
from the power-sharing government, it will have to take responsibility for
the breakdown. Botswana's President Seretse Khama Ian Khama insists that a
purely ZANU-PF government would have no support within the region, let alone
internationally. On this point, few of his peers are likely to demur. Even
Mugabe's older comrades, such as Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos,
are tiring of the continuing crises in Zimbabwe and their negative effects
on the region.

For ZANU-PF to re-establish a modicum of political goodwill, it will have to
make some credible concessions. MDC insiders hope that the outcome will be
the long delayed appointment of some MDC provincial governors and some
movement on the Reserve Bank issue. What emerges from the crisis is that,
apart from faction leaders Mujuru and Mnangagwa, who themselves can hardly
wait for him to go, Mugabe is surrounded by a team of political

When Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa objected to the SADC tribunal ruling
in favour of white farmers and tried to pull out, the SADC officials pointed
out that there were procedures for abrogating international treaties and a
ministerial letter was not one of them. When the Spanish Ambassador made a
pointed analogy with the last days of General Francisco Franco, Zimbabwe's
Foreign Ministry issued a directive that ambassadors should not make
political speeches on their national days. In fact, embassies enjoy
extraterritorial immunity which allows ambassadors to say anything they like
until, in extremis, the host government demands their exit.

The dearth of political talent in ZANU-PF is encouraging people to
re-examine the political prospects. After 29 years of effective single-party
rule and a decade of calamitous economic decline, the slow collapse of
ZANU-PF shows Zimbabweans that there is life after Mugabe and they will have
to live it. Gradually, people are seeing that subservience to the Mugabe
leadership is no longer the only route for advancement. No one can see
clearly the shape of the country's emerging politics, but many Mugabe
followers are preparing their excuses and their exit lines.

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Bill Watch Special of 25th October 2009 [ParliamentaryCommittee Meetings 26th to 29th October]


[25th October 2009]

Although the House of Assembly and the Senate will not sit this week, House of Assembly portfolio committees and Senate thematic committees will be meeting.

The meetings listed below will be open to the public

Members of the public wishing to attend any of these meetings should telephone Parliament first [on Harare 700181], to check with the committee clerk.  Entry to all meetings will be through the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance and IDs must be produced.

Monday 26th October at 10 am

Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development

Oral evidence from the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Development

Committee Room No. 1

Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance, Economic Planning and Investment Promotion and Public Accounts Committee

Joint public hearing on Audit Office Bill and Public Finance Management Bill

Government Caucus Room

Monday 26th October at 2 pm

Thematic Committee on Gender and Development

Briefing on international agreements on gender and development.

Committee Room No. 3

Thematic Committee on HIV/AIDS

Discussions with organizations and people living with HIV and AIDS

Government Caucus Room

Tuesday 27th October at 10 am

Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Water, Lands and Resettlement

Oral evidence from Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Lands, and Ministry of Water Resources Development and Management.

Committee Room No. 4

Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade

Presentation on EPAs [Economic Partnership Agreements with EU] reports

Committee Room No. 3

Thursday 29th October at 10 am

Thematic Committee on Human Rights

Briefing from expert on status of human rights instruments Zimbabwe has signed

Committee Room No. 2

Thematic Committee on Indigenisation and Empowerment

Briefings from indigenous organizations

Government Caucus Room

Portfolio Committee on Media, Information and Communication Technology

Half Year Budget analysis for Ministry of Media, Information and Publicity and Ministry of Information and Communication Technology

Committee Room No. 413

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.

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