The ZIMBABWE Situation
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Govt Loses Battle Over Diamonds

Saturday, 26 September 2009 22:29
THE government last week lost its three year old battle to wrestle
control of the Marange diamond fields from the British registered African
Consolidated Resources (ACR) Plc in a landmark High Court ruling.

The ruling could have far reaching implications for the government
which had profited from the sale of diamonds from the Chiadzwa area in

ACR approached the courts in 2006 after the Zanu PF government seized
its claims, barely a year after the company had been granted mining rights
in the area.

The government then started mining the precious stones through the
Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC). But mayhem quickly ensued in
the diamond fields as government officials, police and army officers joined
illegal panners in plundering the gems.

The scale of the looting and violence that occurred in Marange was
unprecedented. This alarmed human rights groups who started campaigning for
Zimbabwe's ban from the international trade in diamonds.

The campaign prompted the Kimberley Process to launch investigations
into how diamonds were mined in Zimbabwe.

But the tables turned against the government on Thursday. In what was
lauded as a landmark ruling, High Court Judge Justice Charles Hungwe ordered
the ZMDC to stop its mining activities and directed the government to
restore ACR's rights to mine in the area.

"It is hereby ordered that the ACR claims. . .within the area
previously covered by EPO 1523 are valid and that they have been valid since
originally pegged", Hungwe said delivering judgement in the case that began
in October 2006.

"The rights granted to (ZMDC) by virtue of the special grant shall not
apply in respect of the ACR Claims Area and (ZMDC must) cease its
prospecting and diamonds mining activities in the ACR Claims Area."

Hungwe also ordered the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe
(MMCZ) to return to ACR all diamonds seized from the company and all
precious stones it bought from ZMDC that were mined on the ACR claims.

Alternatively, MMCZ can account for the proceeds of any such diamonds
which it has sold, Hungwe said.
About 40 foreign companies are estimated to have been buying diamonds
at Marange daily before the military moved in.

It is estimated that ACR was being prejudiced about US$6 billion in
the past three years.

Thousands of people from both within and outside the country invaded
the area in the diamond rush which ensued.

Last year, government deployed soldiers to seal the area arguing that
it wanted to stop the illegal mining activities.

But review teams from the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme said
they discovered that the army committed serious human rights violations and
smuggled diamonds.

Justice Hungwe also ordered the law enforcement agents to stop
interfering with ACR's activities.

Mines and Mining Development Deputy Minister, Murisi Zwizwai yesterday
said he had not seen the judgement. His boss Obert Mpofu was said to be
attending a funeral.

Mpofu recently said government had identified investors to help it
exploit the diamonds commercially.
ACR welcomed the ruling, saying it wanted to discuss a joint venture
with government.

In a statement Friday, the company said: "Following the group's
success in the Zimbabwe High Court, the group remains committed to dialogue
with the Zimbabwe government, with a view to establishment of a joint
venture which will operate for the benefit of both the company and the
people of Zimbabwe.

"As soon as the joint venture achieves physical possession of the
claims its immediate priority will be the establishment of full security as
soon as is practicable.  Thereafter the company hopes to make further
announcements in respect of its intentions to establish a mutually
beneficial operation as the situation develops."

ACR lawyer Jonathan Samkange said Hungwe's ruling showed that the
country's judiciary was independent.

"This ruling also came at the right time", he said. "We are happy that
it came a few days after the mining indaba where President (Robert) Mugabe
promised investors that property rights will be respected and also that
they, together with their properties, will be protected by government. You
will also remember that he said the rule of law will prevail and that the
indigenisation law will not affect mines.

"This judgement will allow the inclusive government to demonstrate to
the world its preparedness to abide by these promises. We hope the
government allows my clients to fully implement the order.

"Majority shareholders in the company are Zimbabweans although of
course they are of different races.

What government does with the order will either make it walk with
their shoulders high up or they can mess it up."


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MDC Appeals to Sadc Again

Saturday, 26 September 2009 22:20
FRUSTRATED by the snail's pace at which the Global Political Agreement
(GPA) is being implemented, the MDC-T has once again appealed to the
Southern African Development Community (Sadc) to expeditiously deal with the
outstanding issues threatening to tear apart the unity government. Sadc
early this month failed to deal with the teething problems facing the unity
government and referred the disputes to the troika on peace and security.

The regional body and the African Union (AU) are the guarantors of the
shaky seven-month Government of National Unity, which MDC-T says is
threatened by the failure to resolve the outstanding issues.

MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said his party last week wrote to
Sadc urging the regional body to promptly deal with the outstanding matters.

"We have advised SADC to expeditiously deal with the outstanding
issues of the GPA," said Chamisa. "It was an appeal to Sadc."

But analysts have warned Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party
cannot bank on Sadc to put on pressure on President Robert Mugabe to fully
implement the deal as the body is dominated by his allies.

DRC president Joseph Kabila is the new chairman of the 14 member bloc.

Only Botswana and South Africa have been vocal on the need to solve
Zimbabwe's long running political problems once and for all.

The MDC-T's appeal comes barely a week after the party started
consulting the grassroots on the wisdom of its continued participation in
the inclusive government  in light of Zanu PF's intransigence.

Chamisa said the MDC-T had employed a two-pronged strategy in dealing
with the outstanding matters.

"We are consulting with our constituencies around the country and at
the same time we have written to SADC appealing to them to urgently deal
with the outstanding matters," he said.

Chamisa spoke to The Standard after the party's extraordinary national
executive council meeting held on Friday to review the future of the
troubled unity agreement.

The outstanding issues include Mugabe's unilateral appointment of
Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana as
well as the swearing-in of the Deputy Minister of Agriculture designate Roy

This is not the first time that the MDC has appealed to the regional
body to intervene.

In May, the MDC sent a letter to Sadc seeking an urgent resolution of
the crisis.

The MDC spokesperson said his party had already lined rallies across
the country to consult its stakeholders on the wisdom of remaining in the
unity government.

He pledged that the party would seriously consider the outcome of the
people's views in the consultations as they were the real owners of the


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Mutsekwa, Mohadi Under Fire

Saturday, 26 September 2009 22:18
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called for the
resignation of the two co-Home Affairs ministers after four Shabanie Mine
workers were shot and seriously injured by police on Friday. Police fired
shots at more than 1 000 workers and their wives at the asbestos mine who
were demonstrating against unpaid wages.

ZCTU said the co-ministers, Kembo Mohadi (Zanu PF) and Giles Mutsekwa
(MDC-T) should resign immediately because they had not shown any remorse.

"We want them to resign because they are presiding over anarchy", the
union's secretary general, Wellington Chibebe said yesterday.

"They should have issued a statement expressing remorse within the
ministry by now but they have not done so."

Chibebe said the union with a membership of 300 000 would lobby for a
commission of inquiry into the shootings.

According to several accounts, police used force after the workers who
have been on strike for almost a month staged a peaceful sit in.

The injured were in a serious but stable condition, the ZCTU said.

"The injured four have also been placed under police guard and
relatives now have difficulty in having access to them", Chibebe said.

"The ZCTU wonders why these people should be treated as if they are
criminals when, in actual fact, they are victims.

"More worrying is the deafening silence by Shabanie Mine officials on
the events leading to the shooting."
Police spokesman Assistant commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena said he could
not comment on the matter yesterday as he was attending a function.

Mutsekwa and Mohadi were also unreachable. Efforts to contact Shabanie
Mine administrator Arafas Gwaradzimba were unsuccessful.

Chibebe said it was disturbing that the shootings came hardly a month
after the International Labour Organisation (ILO) completed an investigation
into the abuse of workers' rights in Zimbabwe.

"This is not the first time such an incident has happened", he said.

"In 2001, four workers were shot at under similar circumstances in
Kwekwe and this is deplorable."
The ILO is yet to make public its findings.


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Let Mugabe Die in Office, Says Moyo

Saturday, 26 September 2009 20:15
BULAWAYO - Controversial Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo  stunned
his critics once again on Friday by suggesting that  President Robert Mugabe
must be allowed to die in office just like Zimbabwe's first three vice

The former Minister of Information and Publicity who has reportedly
re-applied to rejoin the party he dumped in 2005 after plotting against
Mugabe said there was no need to pressure the ageing leader to step down.

"When I drafted my manifesto as an independent candidate for
Tsholotsho I put President Mugabe, the late vice-presidents Joshua Nkomo,
Simon Muzenda and lately Joseph Msika, Herbert Chitepo, and Josiah Tongogara
as my founding fathers of our country," Moyo told journalists at the
Bulawayo Press Club.

"Three of these were vice-presidents (who) have gone and the fourth
one is remaining.

"When they died, they were all occupying the office but not
discharging their duties. Why should the remaining one be treated

Mugabe says he would not step down as long as "imperialists" are still
pushing for regime change.

In an interview with CNN on Thursday,the 85-year-old leader refused to
discuss his retirement plans.

Moyo was shown the door alongside a number of Zanu PF rebels after the
infamous Tsholotsho Declaration described by Mugabe as a coup attempt.

On Friday, the former Zanu PF propaganda mastermind who is loathed by
many for introducing harsh media laws that led to the banning of several
newspapers, said he was no longer interested in pushing for Mugabe's ouster.

"I do not think that it will be fair to suggest that people like me
would re-incarnate something like that," Moyo said.

"There are people who think that my return will obviously regenerate
that factional set up.

"Senior leaders in Zanu PF should now have seen the light that says
factions do not pay.

"We have to be clear Zanu PF needs to move to a post-faction era
because these factions have not helped the party in any way."

The Zanu PF politburo says it will consider Moyo's application in its
next sitting.


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Civil Servants' Salary Talks Stalled Again

Saturday, 26 September 2009 20:15
THE proposed National Joint Negotiating Council (NJNC) meeting to
discuss new salary demands by civil servants was postponed on Friday for the
second time in as many weeks.

Last week's postponement left civil servants, who are threatening a
crippling strike if their demands are not met, seething with anger.

They accused government negotiators of trying to buy time through
delaying tactics.

"The government's principal negotiators are just buying time by
postponing the meetings," said one official. "They are underestimating the
anger among the civil servants. They will soon be shocked."

He said civil servants were getting "fed up" with the inclusive
government's insensitivity to their plight.
Early this month government negotiators asked for 14 working days to
consult their principals on the salary dispute before they could discuss the
new figures.

The deadline lapsed a fortnight ago.

Public Service Association (PSA) executive secretary Emmanuel
Tichareva could not be reached for comment on the latest postponement.

But Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (Zimta) acting chief executive
officer Sifiso Ndlovu, who is also part of the PSA negotiating team said the
meeting was moved to Tuesday.

"The meeting has been postponed to Tuesday because the government's
principal negotiators said they are occupied this Friday," Ndlovu said.

He said some of the negotiators said they were officiating at
graduation ceremonies at polytechnics around the country.

Ndlovu said it would be a sad development if the NJNC failed to
convene again or agree at Tuesday's meeting.

Public Service Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro said salary negotiations
were still going on and were being handled with the "urgency they deserve"
to avoid the impending job action.

"It's a bargaining process so it takes long. I hope we will be able to
conclude them amicably," he said.

Last week, Zimta made a dramatic u-turn and called off its
three-week-long strike accusing Zanu PF of trying to hijack the job action
meant to force the seven-month-old government to award teachers another
salary increment.

The PSA wants entry level salaries of US$402 per month with another
US$100 for housing and transport allowances.

Civil servants, who started getting a US$100 allowance in February
when the inclusive government abandoned Zimbabwe dollar salaries, are now
earning US$150 per month beginning in July.


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AG Orders Fresh Probe of Nkomo Sodomy Scandal

Saturday, 26 September 2009 20:09
BULAWAYO - The Attorney General's office has ordered fresh
investigations into allegations of sodomy involving Zanu PF chairman John
Nkomo and a 31-year-old man.

Last month, the state refused to charge Mncedisi Thwala for allegedly
making a false report after claiming that Nkomo sodomised him at a local
hotel in 2002.

Police were ordered to carry out further investigations but there were
fears the matter would be swept under the carpet.

But Simon Nleya, the senior public prosecutor at the Tredgold
Magistrates' Court last week said both Nkomo and Thwala were still
"technically under investigation".

"It is true that there is an investigation," he said in an interview.
"The last time the matter was brought to the courts, the police were told to
carry out further investigations into the matter.
"And as we speak right now, the investigations are going on. When we
look at it technically both sides to this whole issue are under

Thwala was arrested a day after he made a police complaint that he was
sodomised by Nkomo.

There were reports that police wanted to charge him with making a
false report and perjury for allegedly lying under oath in relation to the
Nkomo complaint.

However, Nleya said: "The instruction is that the investigations will
have to establish if the complainant told the truth in his report to the
police and the investigators are also under instruction to check whether the
accused really committed the said offence."

Police spokesperson Senior Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena on
Friday would not say whether police were investigating the matter.

"So far, I am not sure whether an instruction for new investigations
has been sent and if it has we are obliged to carry out the instruction as
given by the AG's office," he said.

Nkomo has refused to comment on the allegations but his supporters say
they are part of a smear campaign to try and stop him from succeeding the
late Vice-President Joseph Msika.

They point out to the coincidence of the allegations surfacing too
soon after Msika's death in July.
Thwala, who claims that he once escaped to South Africa, says he
unsuccessfully tried to report the alleged sodomy on numerous occasions.

The co-minister responsible for National Healing is a clear favourite
for the vice-presidency.


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Sunday Special: US$10 000 Pay for Bosses of Struggling Parastatals

Saturday, 26 September 2009 20:09
SENIOR managers of some perennial loss making parastatals are paying
themselves as much as US$10 000 per month, a government audit has revealed.

This has sparked an outcry among workers' representatives who argue
that "managers are eating alone yet we hunt and gather together".

Preliminary studies by the Ministry of State Enterprises and
Parastatals have confirmed that there are huge salary disparities among
state owned companies.

Ironically, some of the companies have had to rely on additional
funding from the government - through the contentious Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe's quasi fiscal projects - in order to remain afloat, while others
have even retrenched workers.

There are at least five state companies that are paying salaries of
between US$4 000 and 12 000 for managers. Their names were not immediately
available yesterday.

However The Standard understands that Air Zimbabwe, which is
retrenching 500 workers  claiming that it is struggling to remain afloat, is
among them.

Other parastatals are lumped in the lower bracket, with a highest
salary base of less than $4 000.
State Enterprises and Parastatals Minister Joel Gabbuza on Friday said
he would soon meet with the Cabinet Committee on Parastatals to discuss the
startling findings.

The committee comprises the ministers who preside over parastatals and
the economic ministries.
"We carried an indepth analysis of the pay structures in different
parastatals, vis-à-vis the business viability," Gabbuza said.

"We have been able to establish the figures which will be presented to
the different ministries responsible for parastatals.

"There is a wide range of disparity in terms of salaries. There is not
much coordination in terms of awarding salaries."

He said salary scales must be determined by performance and viability
and the trend in related sectors.

Gabbuza would not be drawn into naming the parastatals or releasing
the figures that are contained in the preliminary report.

But recent reports and government sources have confirmed that some
utilities are struggling to function properly and to pay workers.

Over the last few years parastatals such as the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB), Air Zimbabwe, National Railways of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority have been making huge losses, surviving mostly
on government bailouts.

A source told The Standard last week that "topping the list is one
parastatal that has been making continuous losses".

"The disparities are just too wide. Managers are taking home thousands
of dollars, in addition to other material benefits, yet junior employees
earn as little as $100," said the source.

It is understood the Ministry of State Enterprises and Parastatals met
resistance from some parastatals bosses who refused to release key financial

But Gabbuza insisted they had managed to gather the financial
information of all parastatals.

He said he would present the information to Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai and the cabinet committee on parastatals this week.

"We have grouped the parastatals in terms of their profitability,"
said Gabbuza.

"There are some who are still struggling to balance up their revenue
base, while others have been consistent in their recovery.

"For example Air Zimbabwe has been recording weekly revenue
improvements but that does not make a huge difference at the moment because
of the current debts."

Among other things, the cabinet Committee on Parastatals will also
discuss proposals to publicise salary scales for parastatals as is the case
with the rest of the public service.

The committee will also review proposals to privatise some of the
parastatals to allow them to charge economic prices.

Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) spokesperson Japhet Moyo on
Friday said they were investigating salary disparities in parastatals.

"We have been complaining about this," Moyo said. "The gap between the
poor and the rich is widening and we are so concerned.

"In one of the sectors there was an impasse where the company was
saying $150 for workers per month was too much but managers refused to
divulge their own earnings."

Referring to a statement early this year by Finance Minister Tendai
Biti that "we eat what we gather, Moyo said: "The problem is that we go to
hunt and gather together but when we bring our catch they want to eat

Zesa and TelOne have also come under fire for overcharging consumers
following the introduction of multiple currencies in February.

But the companies have always denied that their excessive bills were
meant to finance high salaries for their management.


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UK Empowers Villagers

Saturday, 26 September 2009 20:06
TINA Zambezi considers herself among the few lucky widows in Shamva.

The 45-year-old mother of six is pleased that she does not beg from

She can afford to take care of her children, two of them still at
school - thanks to a project supported by the British Embassy and
implemented by Development Aid from People to People (DAPP).

Zambezi is one of 150 women in Shamva and Bindura districts of
Mashonaland Central who benefited from 10 nutritional farming projects
jointly supported by the embassy and DAPP.

"Life has changed for the better for us," Zambezi said during a
handover of the projects. "All I need to be part of the project is my energy
and will, yet the gains are many and they range from food, money, medicine
and even expertise."

The embassy availed US$20 000 to buy water tanks, gardening equipment,
fencing materials and start-up seeds for the projects which were started in

DAPP provided technical support.

Zambezi and her 11 colleagues - five women and six orphaned
children -own a small garden registered under Rukainga Co-operative.

They conduct rotational farming on the field, which other members
abandoned as they could not stand the hard work involved in clearing and
tilling the land.

"DAPP extension officers taught us rotational farming so in the last
season, we had maize in this field", she said.

"We use the produce to feed our families and we sell the excess. Last
season we bought a goat with the money we made.

"We have paid tuition fees for some orphans from our community and we
also assist elderly people who can no longer work for themselves."

Deputy British Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Tim Cole, said he was impressed
with the progress on the projects the embassy was funding.

Cole said like last year, the British embassy will this year spend
US$500 000 on various projects countrywide.

He said the British government, through its Department for
International Development (DfID), will also advance US$1 million to the
country's poorest communities.

The British embassy has in the past funded a wide range of projects in
the country, including those to do with health, clean water, food, HIV and
AIDS, education and displaced persons.

DAPP project co-ordinator, Petros Muzuva said the farming projects,
which are one of three initiatives the organisation runs with the embassy,
had helped in improving the livelihoods of women in Bindura and Shamva

DAPP is an NGO that has its base in Mashonaland Central. It has been
operating in the country since independence.


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Mudede Urges Court to Punish Neighbours

Saturday, 26 September 2009 20:01
REGISTRAR General Tobaiwa Mudede has told a magistrates' court that
four plot owners who are accusing him of bullying are "liars".

The passport office boss said claims by the four that he had fenced
off access roads to their farms are false.

Mudede, took his complaint against George Kawenda, Sylvestor Dendere,
Abigal Mutingwende and Jacqualine Mukanganyama to the Harare Magistrates'

In court papers Mudede, who gave evidence on Tuesday, denied he had
fenced off all the access roads to farms belonging to the four.

"The accused said this knowing very well that they had no irrigation
facilities and some of them did not even have any crops on their allocated
land," he said.

Mudede said the accusations that he was depriving them of access to
their farms amounted to "perjury" because he was the rightful owner of the
so-called "State land."

The bitter land wrangle has seen Kawenda, Dendere, Mutingwende and
Mukanganyama accusing Mudede of fraudulently acquiring his "offer letter"
which entitles him to parts of their Ballineety Farm.

However, Richard Harinangoni from the Ministry of Lands and Rural
Resettlement testified that Mudede was given the land lawfully.

The four who own plots on Ballineety Farm said the property under
dispute was part of state land. Mudede has thrown away 20 families who used
to work for the previous farm owner in Nyabira.

The property includes dip tanks, boreholes, fuel tanks, silage pit,
and paddocks, among others things.
This is not the first time Mudede and his four adversaries have fought
their land battles in the courts.

In 2008, Mudede launched eviction proceedings against Mukanganyama
from the 68-hectare sub-division 10 of the property, which includes the main

The Registrar-General acted on the basis of an unstamped letter from
former Lands and Resettlement Minister, Didymus Mutasa, which terminated her
status as caretaker of the plot.

Initially, Mukanganyama, a war veteran, won the court case against
Mudede in a hearing held in Bindura by default when Mudede failed to appear
in court on the day of the hearing.

The matter was postponed to October 7.


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armer Convicted for Occupying own Land

Saturday, 26 September 2009 20:01
A Harare farmer will this week find out his fate after a Harare
magistrate found him guilty of occupying his farm without authority.

Mark Ford Surtess, the owner of Xekene Estate in Beatrice on the
southern outskirts of the capital Harare will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Last week Magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini ruled in favour of the state,
which had accused Surtees of "using or occupying" Xekene Estate "without
lawful authority from the state".

In his defence Surtees argued he had a right to remain on his farm
because the government didn't respond to his letter requesting permission to
continue farming.

Surtees denied he was ever served with a notice to vacate the farm.

The distressed farmer said he had not been able to find out if he
could remove his livestock, equipment and materials from the farm.

Surtess is just one of the many commercial farmers who have in recent
times faced intensified pressure to leave their land.

This new wave of disruptions on farms has prompted an angry reaction
from the Movement for Democratic Change.

"It is really worrying to note that some Zanu PF bigwigs have taken
over large tracts of conservancies in areas such as Mwenezi and Chiredzi in
Masvingo provinces," lamented the MDC-T in a statement last week.
Over 80% of productive farm land and conservancies have been violently
taken over in Masvingo province alone in the past six months.

The MDC-T said it was "equally concerned" by the arbitrary arrests of
farmers including those who had secured a stay-of-execution from the Sadc

"Since the formation of the inclusive government six farmers have been
abducted and 16 arrested for allegedly blocking the land reform programme.

"These farmers are victims of greed by Zanu-PF politicians and as the
MDC, we believe in genuine land reform motivated by need rather than by


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Mugabe, Chombo Sucked into Chieftainship Dispute

Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:46
BULAWAYO - A Lower Gweru man wants to drag President Robert Mugabe and
Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo to court over a disputed

Golden Moyo accuses Mugabe and Chombo of appointing an outsider as
Chief Bunina in contravention of the Traditional Leaders Act following the
death of his father.

Moyo says he is the rightful heir and accuses Chombo of trying to
impose Stephen Mkoba, who was appointed in his place following "a
questionable selection process".

In an urgent High Court application filed last week, Moyo cites Mkoba,
the Midlands provincial administrator, Governor Jason Machaya, Chombo and
Mugabe as respondents.

Moyo argues that since he was the acting chief since the death of his
father Jackson, who was Chief Bunina, in 2000 it followed that government
was supposed to install him as the substantive chief.

He said in terms of the law, the PA should have convened a meeting to
select the next chief before forwarding the names of short-listed candidates
to Chombo.

"Procedurally, the minister would then forward the name of such a
selected candidate to his Excellency, the President with recommendations for
the appointment of that selected person in terms of Section 3 (2) of the
Traditional Leaders' Act, Chapter 29.17, he argued in his affidavit.

"This is the system of succession which has been complied with since
time immemorial and in terms of the system I, as the eldest son of my late
father, Jackson Moyo should succeed him and not the 1st respondent (Mkoba)
who is not even remotely entitled to succeed my father"

Moyo notes that the installation of Mkoba on June 22, 2007 was
cancelled after the late Vice-President Joseph Msika intervened.

The respondents have 10 days to respond after High Court Justice
Maphios Cheda issued a provisional order barring the installation of Mkoba
as Chief Bunina.

Moyo is represented by Nicholas Mathonsi of Coghlan and Welsh.

He argues that the "matter is one of urgency" because if the
installation were allowed to go ahead, he would suffer "irreparable harm
because he would have been disinherited".


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Relief Agencies Decry Fresh Attacks

Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:34
RENEWED threats against Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) by
President Robert Mugabe and the military will scare away relief agencies
that are helping the majority of Zimbabweans with food aid, players in the
sector have warned.

In a tone reminiscent of the threats that preceded the disastrous ban
on NGOs ahead of last year's controversial June 27 run-off election, Mugabe
accused the civic groups of being conduits of foreign money used in attempts
to overthrow his regime.

Mugabe was speaking at the recent Zanu PF Women's League conference
where he warned party supporters to be "wary" of NGOs operating in the

The 85-year-old leader urged them to prepare for elections in 2011.

A day before Mugabe's threat, Army Chief of Staff Major-General Martin
Chedondo had warned NGOs "to stick to their core business" or risk the wrath
of the soldiers.

"Non-governmental organisations should stick to their role of
humanitarian assistance and not meddle in Zimbabwe's politics.

"The Zimbabwe National Army is highly trained and we will not sit by
and watch them threaten our hard-won peace and independence," Chedondo said.

But the National Association of Non-governmental Organisations
(NANGO) - the umbrella body for local NGOs - said Mugabe was shooting
himself in the foot by threatening aid agencies that are assisting millions
of poverty-stricken Zimbabweans.

"There is no reason why Mugabe should attack NGOs when they are
genuinely assisting people," said NANGO spokesperson Fambai Ngirande.

"He (Mugabe) has no money or programmes to assist them. He is shooting
himself in the foot."

Ngirande said it was unfortunate that the renewed attacks were coming
at a time when Zimbabwe needed stronger collaboration between the inclusive
government and civil society.

He said Mugabe must realise that Zimbabwe was able to avoid mass
starvation, a drop in HIV/Aids infection rate and the eradication of cholera
epidemic largely because of aid from the same organisations he was calling
agents of regime change.

For nearly a decade, Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of southern Africa
has been relying on food aid from NGOs following the disruptions in the
agricultural sector that followed the farm invasions.

In the first quarter of this year an estimated 5.1 million people
needed food aid in the country.

This was made worse by a cholera outbreak that claimed over 4 274
lives and left nearly 100 000 people infected.

NANGO urged its members to be cautious especially in the rural areas
in the aftermath of the threats.
"We know that security conditions for NGOs and human rights defenders
are precarious and we will urge our members to proceed with caution whenever
they are doing their work," Ngirande said.

Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) programmes manager Pedzisayi
Ruhanya said NGOs were operating within the confines of the law.

However, he accused the army of operating outside the Defence Act by
behaving like "a commissariat department of Zanu PF".

Instead of targeting NGOs that were assisting needy Zimbabweans,
Ruhanya said Chedondo must recall soldiers posted in the countryside during
last year's violent election.

The CZC in a recent public publication critiquing the performance of
the seven-month-old inclusive government names 70 senior army senior
officers, which it says were deployed to spearhead Mugabe's violent campaign
ahead of the run-off.

"It's not the role of the army to oversee the operations of NGOs,"
Ruhanya said.

"He (Chedondo) should recall soldiers that he has villagised and
politicised and confine them to the barracks."

Other civil society representatives said they viewed the utterances by
Mugabe and Chedondo not as mere coincidence but a calculated move that
signalled an impending onslaught on the NGO sector and MDC supporters ahead
of a campaign for a new constitution.

"This is part of a bigger project in the offing," said an official
with a local NGO. "Look, it's also coming at a time when tension is
increasing in the inclusive government."

The CZC said reports from some parts of the country showed that Zanu
PF supporters were still terrorising MDC activists and telling villagers
that the unity government was only functioning in Harare.

They are allegedly demanding that MDC supporters surrender their party
membership cards.

The militants have descended particularly on Mashonaland Central, East
and West which used to be Mugabe's stronghold.

The report said although the unity government through its organ on
National Healing continued to preach the gospel of reconciliation, Zimbabwe
could be witnessing a beginning of the violence which engulfed the country
during last year's election period.

The MDC has accused Zanu PF of creating "no-go areas"' for MDC
supporters during the constitution-making process.


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Govt Bungling Stifles Contract Farming

Wednesday, 23 September 2009 10:09
THE lack of sound policies and poor coordination between government,
farmers and businesses has resulted in Zimbabwe failing to tap into the
potential of contract farming, which is already working well in neighbouring
countries. Contract farming is an arrangement where a company commits a
farmer to produce and supply it with a specific agricultural product at an
agreed price.

There is consensus that the practice can help revive the sector, but
those involved differ on what models to take.

In Zimbabwe, it has been carried out with mostly cotton and tobacco

Participants at the launch of the 2009 World Investment Report (WIR)
in Harare last week said the current policies on contract farming in
Zimbabwe had loopholes, which made the practice risky for both farmers and

Officially launching the report, Zimbabwe Investment Authority (ZIA)
acting chief executive officer, Elina Karwi said agriculture had potential
to attract multinational investors into the country but investors were
shying away because of policy loopholes.

"Agriculture has potential to be a major stimulus for industrial
development in Zimbabwe," Karwi said.
"We need to be more coordinated. A number of trans-national companies
are coming into neighbouring countries through contract farming and this
seems to be working for them.

"For example, Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi have allowed access to
land by foreign investors through long term leases."

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)'s Sub-Regional
Co-ordinator for Southern Africa Gaoju Han said partnerships between the
private sector and members of the public had potential to boost agriculture
and ease pressures from the current global financial crisis.

He said there was need for an integrated policy approach by
governments in their efforts to boost investment and agricultural

Although there are currently significant numbers of farming who could
be targeted with contract farming initiatives most of them do not have the
required know how.

"We already have farmers on the land but we need to come up with a
structured contract farming model.

"We need to come up with some pricing policy that ensures the farmer
remains with some profits, and also protects the investor.

If you look at the people who benefited from the land reform
programme, for example, most of us are not farmers in terms of capacity and

"We need to acknowledge we are not doing as good as we can and find
ways of attracting more investment."

In recent years, non-governmental organisations and relief agencies
have been dishing out inputs to farmers.

Karwi said inputs should not be given as aid but should come as

"It is much more reliable to get inputs through investment than aid.
In an investment there is assurance for continued support and collaboration
between the farmer and the investor," she argued.

But Forbes Matonga the national director of Christian Care said
contract farming brought about the risk of filling the local market with
hybrids and genetically modified products.

Contract farming is widely viewed as a way of linking farmers to
markets and stimulating production but policy gaps have made implementation
difficult in a number of countries.

The concept is being pushed at continental level through the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) initiative under a sub
programme Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP).

The 2009 WIR says TNC involvement in agriculture, aided with the right
policies, can strengthen the capacity of local farmers.


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KML Saga: Jokonya Digs in

Saturday, 26 September 2009 18:56
KINGDOM Meikles Limited (KML) board member Callisto Jokonya says he
will not step down from the board until the former chairman John Moxon
returns the money he allegedly externalized, adding a new twist to the
tussle over control of the conglomerate.

Jokonya, group CEO Nigel Chanakira and fellow board member Busi Bango
are clinging onto their seats at the KML board frustrating the de-merger of
the group.

An extraordinary general meeting next month will vote whether the trio
should be ousted from the KML board.

But a defiant Jokonya told Standardbusiness the real issue is not
about them refusing to step down but an assault on corporate governance and
fraudulent activities which the de-merger is failing to address.
"The de-merger is not addressing the funds that were externalised and
is not addressing the conflict of interest about the disposal of Cape

"De-merger is impractical on the terms suggested by Econet and cannot
take place under the laws of Zimbabwe."

Jokonya said there was conflict of interest when Moxon sold Cape Grace
Hotel to Mentor Africa, a company Moxon has had relationship with for the
past 14 years.

He said Moxon had also transferred 28% of the building to Steven
Levenburg when it was not sold. All these actions were done without board
approval, Jokonya said.

"He wants to run KML as a personal company. Every shareholder has a
right to know," he said.
He said without the recovery of the money, he will not step down.

"The board members who discovered the fraud are being asked to step
down. Until they recover the money, they will not get my resignation
 letter," he said.

Asked what will happen if the EGM tells him to step down Jokonya said
"lets cross the bridge when we get there".

The EGM would have been held on Thursday last week but was pushed to
October 8 after a High Court interdict ordering that the meeting be held
when Chanakira had recovered or appointed someone to act in his behalf.

Chanakira is recovering at a South African hospital after falling ill
on Sunday.

Muchadeyi Masunda, KML chairman told Standardbusiness the board is
liaising with the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and other stakeholders to put a
notice on when the next EMG would be held adding that it will not be held on
October 8.

"The date is likely to be Wednesday the 14th of October or Friday the
16th of October," he said adding he had instructed the company secretary to
check with shareholders on the suitable date.

Masunda will be away on October 8 as he will in South Africa chairing
the meeting of mayors from Sadc's capital cities. The meeting runs from
October 7-10.

Chanakira, Jokonya and Bango have to step down from the KML board in
line with the June 22 EGM when shareholders mandated the board to implement
the de-merger of the group formed following the merger of Kingdom Financial
Holdings Limited (KFHL), Tanganda, Meikles Africa and Cotton Printers.

In terms of the de-merger transaction Chanakira, Jokonya and Bango
were supposed to resign as directors of KML with effect from June 22 while
John Moxon, and Cecil Thorn were to resign as directors of KFHL on the same

Thorn and Moxon resigned while Chanakira, Jokonya and Bango failed to
do so.

This paper is reliably informed that the trio has put conditions for
them to step down and want Moxon and Econet Wireless Capital (EWC) to sell
their stakes in KFHL to Chanakira.

Moxon's family will have 42.9% in KFHL after the de-merger while EWC
will have 10%. Masunda said he is working round the clock to recover the

He said the money Moxon is alleged to have externalised was for
regional and continental investments and renovation of Cape Grace Hotel
adding that all the transactions were approved by the central bank.

Masunda promised to get commitment from the Moxon family and EWC to
sell their KFHL to Chanakira.

If Moxon and Econet were to sell their shareholding in the de-merged
KFHL to Chanakira, the top banker will have a controlling stake in the

"We need to unscramble the scrambled eggs to have both de-merged
entities in a position to go forward," Masunda said.

KML was formed in 2007 and was the largest capitalised stock on the
local bourse.

But boardroom squabbles erupted between Chanakira and Moxon over the
sale of Cape Grace Hotel in South Africa. Chanakira accused Moxon of
externalising funds leading to Moxon's specification in January alongside TM
Supermarkets and five investment vehicles.

TM was let off the hook last month. On September 11, government struck
again by specifying KML, Tanganda and Thomas Meikles Centre. Thomas Meikles
owns Greatermans, Barbours and Meikles Stores.


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D-Day Looms for Banks

Saturday, 26 September 2009 18:44
THE spotlight will be on locally owned banks on Wednesday when the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) minimum equity capital requirements deadline

In June RBZ Governor Gideon Gono announced a phased plan for
enforcement of the minimum equity capital requirements in which institutions
have to meet half of that amount by September 30 while the remainder must be
settled by March 31 next year.

Commercial banks are supposed to have minimum capital of US$6.25
million by Wednesday and US$12.5 million by March 31.

Building societies and merchant banks should have US$5 million by
September 30 and US$10 million by the close of business on March 31.

The minimum capital threshold had Finance Minister Tendai Biti's

Biti has in the past said if banks were to undergo a stress test very
few would pass, raising fears the financial sector is undercapitalised and
susceptible to shocks.

While foreign owned banks can turn to parent companies for a helping
hand, their local counterparts have to raise the money on their own or ask

But with the current liquidity challenges on the market, it means that
a number of locally owned banks underwent a gruelling experience for them to
comply with the directive.

Barclays, Stanbic, Standard Chartered, NMB, FBC and CBZ announced
their compliance in interim results for the period ending June 30 while the
remainder had to sweat it out to meet the minimum capital threshold.

Premier Finance Group (PFG) chairman, Sengiyapumula Mlambo said his
bank had met the September 30 deadline and they "are already working on
March levels".

PFG wholly owns Premier Banking Corporation which struggled during the
first half of the year.
Lynn Mukonoweshuro, the Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited acting
group CEO told Standardbusiness the bank had met the capital threshold.

"We are fully compliant up to March next year," she said.

Gono has been on record saying that the apex bank has no appetite for
curatorships and banks that fail to meet the minimum capital threshold will
be allowed to sink.

This triggered last minute moves by the banks to meet the new

ReNaissance Merchant, with a negative Tier 1 capital ratio of 8.09%
against the minimum requirement of 10% as of June 30 has already complied
with the RBZ directive.

Patterson Timba, the ReNaissance Financial Holdings Limited (RFHL)
group CEO said Thursday the bank had been adequately capitalised to the tune
of US$5.9 million.

"We have complied. Our auditors have come and said we have met the
requirements and a letter will go to the Reserve Bank," he said.

In the interim results RFHL board chairman Christopher Chetsanga said
with the decimation of the bank's capital, "it will not be possible to meet
the minimum capital requirements through organic growth, therefore the bank
will look to the shareholder for a fresh capital injection".

CFX Bank put a brave face last week insisting everything has been done
to meet the requirements, according to managing director Emmanuel Tagarira.

The bank's parent company CFX Financial Services (CFXFS) is exploring
two options to meet the deadline.
These include a rights issue to raise capital and bringing in a new

The Finance Bank of Zambia has been interested in CFX such that their
executives have been shuttling between Lusaka and Harare.

On Monday they were in town and held meetings with CFX executives and
another one with RBZ officials, Standardbusiness was told.

Tagarira said a circular will be sent to shareholders showing a US$10
million rights issue but said that due to liquidity constraints on the
market, the money from shareholders will not be enough leaving room for a
foreign partner.

Tagarira said: "The stage where we are will show enough evidence of
compliance. The actual depositing of the money is a timing thing."

In its interim results, CFX Financial Services, the bank's parent
company admitted that it was below the RBZ minimum capital threshold but
would raise enough capital ahead of the September 30 deadline.

"In line with central bank's requirements that financial institutions
be at least 50% capitalised by September 30 and be fully capitalised by
March 2010, the bank, through the holding company is targeting to raise
US$10 million by end of September through a rights issue," said CFXFS.

The Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) said it has been working on a
re-capitalisation plan that is designed to enable the Bank to not only
comply with regulatory capital threshold but to be in a position to support
the financing requirements of its strong customer base.

The use of multiple currencies early this year stabilised the economy
with inflation falling below 1% in the first half of the year.

Green shoots they may be but the leaves are yet to bloom with foreign
currency constraints still dogging the economy.

For the financial sector, depressed inflows were met with high demand
for cash creating liquidity challenges which analysts say will be
capitalised by foreign banks to snap up significant shareholdings in the
banking sector.


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AirZim Workers Fight Job Cuts

Saturday, 26 September 2009 18:43
AIR Zimbabwe's moves to retrench a third of its workforce has hit
turbulence after the workers challenged the reasons for the massive job

The struggling national carrier announced in May that it was laying
off 500 workers - a third of its workforce - as it struggles to survive
without generous Reserve Bank handouts.

"So far, 409 workers have been sent home with the lowest paid getting
US$150 allowances since August," a workers' committee member said last week.

"We have since been informed that 91 will be following before the
beginning of November."

The source said the workers were challenging the retrenchments on the
basis that the airline is using outdated information to justify the layoffs.

Another disgruntled workers' committee member said: "How can they use
2006 financial results to justify the exercise? How can they even use a 2004
turnaround document? If that document recommended retrenchments, why did
they not retrench then?"

The embattled employees said the fact that more than 400 workers were
employed by the company since 2007 should nullify the two reasons.

"How can they be citing those reasons and telling us that the
workforce is in excess by 200 workers yet so many people were employed after
the publication of that document and results", another employee said.

"Besides, the current chief executive (Peter Chikumba), who is at the
forefront of the exercise was not with the company until 2007 so how can he
use evidence which was just handed down to him without carrying out his own
fresh assessments."

They said it was also strange that Air Zimbabwe was citing the
dollarisation of the economy as one of the reasons it has been forced to
rationalise its workforce because it was one of the companies that were
clamouring for the introduction of multiple currencies.

The workers also allege that Air Zimbabwe is flouting labour laws in
the process.

The matter, which was once dealt with by an arbitrator before being
taken to the Ministry of Labour was last week referred back to arbitration
after the parties failed to reach an agreement.

Chikumba could not be drawn into discussing the retrenchment dispute
last week.

"We wish to confirm that there have been no new developments on the
subject matter and once there is anything worth reporting we can assure you
that such information will be shared with all relevant stakeholders," he
said in an emailed response to questions sent to him.

Last month, Chikumba said the near decade of economic and political
crisis saw the number people boarding Air Zimbabwe planes dropping from a
peak of one million in 1996 to just 300 000.

He said this meant that the airline had to "right-size or else we are

The airline is saddled with a US$30 million debt and has asked the
major shareholder - the government - to sell its stake to private investors.


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Alex Magaisa: Zimbabwe: The Life of Ants

Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:26
I spent much of my youth criss-crossing between the city and the
countryside. My fondest memories were sown in the countryside. I didn't
realise it then but looking back I realise the great impact that the
environment shaped my worldview - my thoughts, ideas and views on life. I
developed a special relationship with Nature.

I do not think there is a better teacher than Mother Nature herself.
It is fair to say that I draw a lot of inspiration from nature, which
probably explains why I write about it so often.

As Paolo Coehlo wrote in my favourite book, The Alchemist, often the
simple things are the most extraordinary. Nature is simple, yet so
extraordinary. Today, I want to write about ants (masvosve), the little but
mighty creatures. I love  and respect ants.

As regular readers now know, when I was a young boy, my friends and I
were often required to attend to the duty of looking after the village
animals. It was a mundane task. The mornings and afternoons could be long
and boring. You can't spend all the time looking at cattle grazing in the
fields. You have to find things to fill up the time.

Sometimes, we had boxing matches, often the bigger boys promoting a
fight between the smaller boys; sometimes, we instigated bull fights - if
your bull won you were happy but if it lost you would be taunted by boys
from other villages. People do odd things to while up time.

I had my own odd habit. I used to watch ants at work.

I would often sit and observe the little creatures. I was fascinated
by ants, the little things. I was and remain impressed by their organisation
and industry.

I would sit, sometimes for hours, watching the little things operating
in perfect formation, each going down the tunnel in a queue, whilst others
came up with small loads of soil, depositing them on the sides and going
back again and again. It went on for hours. I don't know how many times they
did that. They seemed to keep going.

I was curious to see what was going on inside. I couldn't help but
wonder how such small things could be so organised and industrious,
something that we humans often struggle with a great deal.

I think some of them got tired and died in the process. Others would
be on hand to pick the tired and the dead, they would drag them down the
tunnel. I don't know what they did in there but I was intrigued by the fact
that they, too seemed to have some kind of society with traditions and
ethics even.

They even had ways of dealing with their departed colleagues. Their
sociability impressed me. I thought they were clever little things. Perhaps
these things had feelings too; perhaps they had brains too, I thought.

How do they do it? Who taught them? How do they communicate? Do they
speak a language? I asked an older boy one day and he laughed at me. 'It's
the way they are!' he said without a care in the world.

He was surprised at my interest in ants. And with his bare feet, he
violently kicked the mound of soil on the ants' nest.

Masvosve aya mfana! (They are just ants!), he said dismissively as he
stamped on the ants that were scurrying for cover. "They will build another
one!", he declared, as he walked away.

He did not understand. He could never understand. But nothing could be
done. He was a big boy and big boys beat small boys. They don't like small
boys who question their decisions. They like small boys who listen and
comply. So I just looked at the ants and their nest that had been destroyed
with just one kick.

I thought he had been cruel. How come he didn't see that these little
creatures had a sense of duty and dedication? They were hard workers.

They looked after each other, the dead and the living. Small as they
were, they would work all day and night.

Each one of them may have carried a small grain of soil and might have
appeared insignificant but because they were so many, well-organised and
dedicated, they managed to achieve so much.

And yet this big boy thought it was alright for him to crush it just
like that. Because they were just ants, he had judged.

I wanted to ask him if he did not see the work that these little
things had put in to build their house. I wanted to ask if he did not admire
their tenacity and dedication to duty; if indeed, he could not see some
beauty in their organisation and industry. But he was too big.

In the days afterwards, he would from time to time call out, "Mamwe
masvosve ako aya mfana!" (Hey, little boy, come and see your ants!). Then he
would use the same big feet to kick at the nest so violently. It was painful
to see a big boy behave like that. But he was a big boy and he had too much

Those were sad moments.

I often think about the little ants whenever I observe human
behaviour. I see how some people have built their beautiful homes over the
years. I see how some people have spent years building their farms, making
them better and more productive.

I see how some people have built their companies and industries. I see
how mothers have raised their children, nourished and educated them from a
young age. Yet at some point, someone; some people can simply decide to
destroy it all with just one kick.

I see how some people command the bulldozers to bring down homes,
farms and industries. I see how people can command laws to capture and bring
down other people's companies - a lifetime's work brought down to zero. I
see how lives and limbs of promising boys and girls have been cut short. I
am reminded of the big boy and his attitude towards the little ants. He
never cared about them. They were just ants.

When I recently re-read Joshua Nkomo's biography, The Story of My
Life, my attention was drawn to one passage where interestingly, he drew
upon the symbolism of the life and work of ants. I cannot do any better than
quote the man himself in full. He wrote on page 139: "The ants build
beautiful, intricate nests, with every ant moving in order to its own place
along its pathway. There was a wonderful ants' nest right beside my sitting
room, in the corner out of the way. And it gave me hours of pleasure and
interest. After we had served seven years the minister for law and order, Mr
Lardner-Burke, came to visit us. I suppose he wanted to see when our spirits
would break. He was wearing very highly polished shoes. He saw the ants'
nest and ground the heel of his shining shoe down on it, destroying the
beautiful, organised home that the ants had built."

Nkomo was writing about his experience during the period when he was
confined to the dangerously wild Gonakudzingwa camp in the sixties and
seventies during the liberation struggle. He was with his two colleagues,
Joseph Msika and Lazarus Nkala. The passage captures in so few words, the
image of how man can so easily and quickly destroy what many others have
built over time. At the time, his and the ants' nemesis was Mr

Things have changed since then. I wonder if he would see those who
stand in Mr Lardner-Burke's shoes. I wonder if he would recall the story of
the ants; the little creatures that gave him so much pleasure and held so
much symbolism, and whether he would see any of it in today's Zimbabwe, as
he did then in Rhodesia.

Alex Magaisa  be contacted at  or

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Comment: Leaving Things to Chance

Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:20
ONE disconcerting development to manifest itself since the formation
of the inclusivegovernment is Zimbabwe's propensity for workshops,
conferences and consultations. The country is suddenly seized with a cycle
of talk shops. In the long term this could prove detrimental. There would be
nothing wrong if there were deliverables.

That Zimbabwe is set to be one of the beneficiaries of the Fifa 2010
World Soccer Cup is incontestable.

However, there is a huge gap between what Zimbabwe says it is doing or
will do and what other countries in the region are undertaking in
preparation for next year's global football extravaganza.

Last week South Africa was already testing its Gauteng train, which is
going to move thousands of sports tourists to the various venues, while in
the long run it will help to remove congestion on the roads by offering
faster, economical and less stressful travel.

In the next three months significant progress will have been made in
completion of the road and rail networks.

In some of the oldest townships the housing has undergone massive
reconstruction offering better and healthier shelter environment in addition
to creating much-needed employment. The scale of construction is massive.
Construction cranes dominate the South African skyline. There is a sense of

Zimbabwe provides a stark contrast. Somehow people who should be
actively involved in the country's preparations believe things will fall
into place miraculously by the time the World Cup kicks off in South Africa
in nine months' time. That is a dangerous approach that could prove very

By now hotels being constructed with 2010 in mind should be reaching
completion and sectors such as the tourism, transport and immigration seized
with trial runs on how to manage huge volumes of visitors.

Visits to most of our hotels show a business-as-usual approach. The
Taskforce on Tourism has made several visits to Beitbridge. That is

But they need to pin down those responsible for sprucing up the border
post. There is need to demand transformation in the approach to processing
visitors. There is also need to train staff at such critical entry points on
being courteous. Zimbabwe is not the only country tourists want to visit.

Therefore when it gets the opportunity, it must seize it and reap
maximum benefits.

The flower vendors, the manufacturers and sellers of tourist
memorabilia and the shops all need to retrain staff in how to welcome,
manage and impress visitors. There is need for rethinking the way business
is conducted in these areas.

Harare International Airport feels dark and cavernous. The screens
ceased working a considerable time ago and there is nothing to demonstrate
that they are bracing for an influx of visitors.

The same is true of the sporting facilities. The grounds may be
acceptable but the rest needs a major overhaul. There is no reason, for
example, why the National Sports Stadium should take three years to
renovate. Frankly it is a disgrace. The Chinese comrades don't seem to
understand how time critical completion of the renovations of the stadium

The 2010 Soccer World Cup offers one of the best prospects of helping
this country emerge from more than a decade in the doldrums.

There must be a dogged determination in demonstrate what Zimbabwe are
doing. Obviously the country doesn't have all the resources for
accomplishing what is required in order to be ready for June next year. It
must therefore look for partners.

Zimbabweans have been talking for eight months. That's far too long.

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Zim Standard Letters

Pulling out of GNU not an Option for MDC

Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:59
AS an MDC member living outside Zimbabwe, I would like to contribute
to the MDC-T's consultation process on whether to pull out of, or remain in
the Government of National Unity. Firstly I would like to thank the
leadership for throwing the issue to the membership for their input. This
justifies the MDC's claim to democracy.

I think the MDC leadership, under very difficult circumstances, has
pushed the people's cause to a point where the regional and international
community has become actively involved, and to pull out at this stage would
be to reverse the little gains that have so far been made. This would put to
waste the momentum that is currently gathering and the hope that comes with

With South African President Jacob Zuma calling on the three
principals to the Global Political Agreement to co-operate; the recent visit
by an EU delegation to South Africa and Zimbabwe; the recent visit of US
Congressmen to Zimbabwe where they met the country's President Mugabe and
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai; and the meeting between Mugabe and US
Congressmen at the United Nations General Assembly, I see President Mugabe
giving in to pressure from the regional and international community and
agreeing to fully implement the GPA.

The US Congressmen, according to media reports, will be bringing a
bigger delegation in December to assess progress on the implementation of
the GPA. One hopes that these many efforts currently being made will bear

If the MDC decides to pull out, living conditions for the average
Zimbabwean will quickly deteriorate to 2008 levels or even worse. It has
become a relief to phone family back home in Zimbabwe and hear that things
are slowly improving. MDC's pulling out will bring back misery to many.

Instead, the MDC is best advised to improve on its strategies to
contain Zanu PF.

I know that the evil Zanu PF will always resort to dirty tactics,
killing a few innocent souls as it has done in the past; but even more will
be killed if the MDC pulls out. I am not saying it is fine to have those few
that may be killed lose their lives, but that should be expected knowing
Zanu PF the way I do.

The MDC strategy could include consistently knocking on Sadc Chairman
President Joseph Kabila's door to update him on Zanu PF violence, constantly
reminding him of Zanu PF's disregard of the Sadc Tribunal and so on.

President Zuma should also be encouraged to share his view with the
rest of the Sadc leaders, and I am sure the majority will realise, even if
they still believe in Mugabe, that it is Mugabe himself who is the problem,
and then be able to confront him with the truth at the next opportunity.

All progressive Zimbabweans should also applaud President Zuma, the
EU, as well as the US Congressmen for their initiatives to break the
impasse, and urge them to target the rest of the Sadc leadership.

I would want to believe that the MDC leadership is also briefing the
African Union and the United Nations on current developments, including
increased violence on MDC supporters and activists, which seems to be aimed
at disrupting the constitution- making process to ensure that the elections
proposed after the adoption of a new constitution are delayed to give Zanu
PF the chance to regroup.

The MDC leadership should borrow a leaf from star musician Leonard
Zhakata who said in one of his latest songs "Vamwe vakasumuka ndokunetera
munzira, kuremerwa, kuremerwa" (Some had an impressive start, but got tired
before reaching the destination).

All Zimbabweans who genuinely need democracy and improved living
conditions, including me, are solidly behind every move that the MDC
leadership makes.

Please do not tire, remember the Shona saying "Dende rinoputsika
wosvika" (negative things happen when you are about to achieve your goal if
you don't focus). Keep going strong! "Zvichanaka chete zvichanaka" (In the
end it will work out fine), again to borrow from Leonard Zhakata.

Benjamin Chitate
New Zealand

Tollgate: Whose Idea?

Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:58
CAN you please find out whether there is any truth in the suggestion
that there is an intention to put up a tollgate on the Joshua Mqabuko Road
to the Harare International Airport and whose idea it is?

I am surprised that the authorities have not moved swiftly to dispel
such alarmist suggestions. If we are really serious about getting regional
and international businesses we need to give serious consideration to what
investors think about the cost of doing business in this country.

So far the ideas we seem to be good at coming up with are those that
tell the world that today we can charm them with our rhetoric but tomorrow
we will morph into unpredictable characters.

Tollgates are for highways. For once let's be serious and try to get
something right. What the rumours confirm is that Zimbabweans are far from
knowing exactly what they want. Yet there is no need to reinvent the wheel.

There is so much to gain from looking at other countries that have
tollgates. We can learn from their experiences. We can also learn how to
avoid the pitfalls they ran into.


Adding to the Debate

Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:57
WHAT seems to have escaped most of us is the rationalisation that
Tendai Biti, the Minister of Finance, went through before announcing
non-acceptance of the IMF loan. Before you get a loan for that new car, you
look at whether you can afford the repayments including interest costs. With
a comatose economy like Zimbabwe, it is only good practice to make sure one
does not over-commit the country beyond its means to repay particularly if
there is a chance of getting the loan cheaper.

The second possibility is the channel through which those funds would
have been made available i.e. whether the funds go to RBZ governor, Gideon
Gono or the Trust account.

It is nonsense to suggest that Biti is blocking the use of the funds
to spite Zanu PF as has been alleged in some sections of the state media. It
is unfortunate that people who are obviously ignorant of such matters have
been allowed to demonstrate the fact.

Ben Magaiza
New Zealand

MDC-T Leadership Should be Saluted for Democratic Stance
Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:54
THE MDC-T leadership should be saluted for its stance to take the
debate of whether or not the party should remain in the inclusive government
to the people. Such a move shows that the party still has  the people at
heart and wants the masses to determine the destiny of this country.

Under really trying and hazardous conditions, the leadership in the
MDC-T, has pushed the aspirations of Zimbabweans to a stage that everyone
including the international community is heavily participating in the

The MDC-T's continued tough stance with the backing of the
international community in their quest for a truly democratic Zimbabwe will
soon see Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe running out of ideas.

The MDC-T resolution to engage the people on the performance of the
inclusive government will certainly bear fruit for the party as the people
have joined their side in determining the future of this country, something
which Zanu PF and Mugabe are strongly against.

The people know that if they let MDC-T pull out of the inclusive
government, their day to day living conditions will crumble to an even worse
scenario than the December 2008 and January 2009 levels as Zanu PF has
nothing to offer.

As a result, the people of Zimbabwe and some progressive forces in
Zanu PF are fully behind the MDC-T's continued stay in government and are
sure that this is the only way that Zanu PF and Mugabe will face their

Agrippa Zvomuya

      Time to get Tough With Zanu PF
      Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:52
      MDC-T should tell Zanu PF that the time for soft bargaining is
over and engage civil society to pressure the stubborn old man into fully
implementing outstanding issues in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) so
the country can move forward. As things stand, the real winners in the
Government of National Unity (GNU) are Zanu PF and MDC.

       Therefore for Morgan Tsvangirai and the MDC-T to think that Zanu
PF will easily acquiesce to demands to resolve and implement outstanding GPA
issues, especially the re-appointment of the governor of the Reserve Bank,
is  not only myopic but exacerbates people's doubts over Tsvangirai's
ability in fully rescuing the country from the economic and political

      An understanding of the implications of the GNU to its three
signatories can explain the current stalemate in the full implementation of
the historical GPA.

      Whilst MDC-T regarded the GNU as necessary for ending economic
crisis and ensuring national development, for Zanu PF and Arthur Mutambara's
formation, which is already weakened by the expulsion of its three MPs from
parliament, the GNU was required for their continued existence on the
country's political arena.

      As the targeted sanctions continue mercilessly against Zanu PF
horses, the old men's hopes of a political future are thinly pinned on
Gideon Gono's continued stay at the central bank's helm. The old horses will
do whatever they can to ensure the man remains the governor of the Reserve

      Be that as it may, MDC should and must press hard for the
appointment of Gono's successor because currently Gono is a liability to the
country much as he is a threat to foreign investors. His recent calls to
reintroduce the Zimbabwe dollar will further scare away serious and brave

      Full implementation of the GPA will mean moving the country
close to political sanity, and even closer to elections and inevitably the
total demise of Zanu PF. Zanu PF is doing and would always do whatever it
takes to delay this disgraceful end.

      At the moment, MDC-T is the only party that is ready for
elections even if it means casting the ballot tomorrow because it is assured
of overwhelming victory while Zanu PF's support base is dwindling every hour
even in rural areas where it once enjoyed popular support of the masses.

      Although soft bargaining may help maintain good relationships
between the three principals to the GPA, MDC-T must be very careful in
dealing with Mugabe -- the honourable master of deceit who can turn a hungry
hyena into a vegetarian. The more they listen to his excuses the more
vulnerable they are to being swallowed by Zanu PF.

      With Joseph Kabila having taken over the chairmanship of Sadc
hopes that the regional body would quickly find solutions to the outstanding
GPA issues have dissipated. Considering Kabila's age and political
immaturity, it will be difficult for the young politician to tell veteran
Mugabe what to do with a country he fought for. Kabila inherited the
presidency after his late father Laurent Kabila was assassinated.

      Now is the time for MDC-T to engage the civil society, in
consultation with the grassroots supporters, in order to devise an effective
way to lobby for the full implementation of the GPA.
      People want a government that offers no excuses for poor service

      Prins Shato


      SMS The Standard
      Saturday, 26 September 2009 19:51
      They are cornered
      THE MDC-T has done well to consult the grassroots over its
continued stay in the Government of National Unity. That procedure is
commendable, but we want to save MDC-T time and resources by telling it that
the answer is an emphatic "No" because they have cornered Zanu PF. If they
don't see it, then those of us on the outside can see it. Just hang on
inside. They are finished, desperate and grabbing at straws. Their hope is
that you will opt out and then they can take over. If they do that then we
will start all over again. We don't want to do that. We want to maintain the
gains so far and build from there. Let's find a plan to force them to do
what needs to be done and that would be the turning point. The Constitution
can be the key. Focus on that and see what will happen. Work with the NCA.
They know what they are doing. Harness all the forces against Zanu PF and
the pressure will mount. Don't hide your intentions from them and they will
take you seriously. - Soothsayer.

      PULLING out of the Government of National Unity is the only
solution but it will only be a blessing to Zanu PF because this is what they
want. So watch out! - Kudzai Musengezi.
      Misguided patriot
      IF Gideon Gono is a patriotic as he wants us to believe, why did
he waste scarce national resources building extraordinarily large grain
silos on a farm in Norton when the national silos are running empty at Grain
Marketing depots countrywide? -Godfrey Chinouriri, UZ, Harare.

      GIDEON Gono is clutching at straws. Now he is trying to create
unnecessary controversy by clashing with the Minister of Finance, Tendai
Biti over the IMF funds. Biti is dead right and must not be distracted by
the shrill cries from the thoroughly discredited and now irrelevant
governor. Gono had enough time to do all the things he is preaching now but
chose to engage in futile political experiments disguised as "unorthodox,
extraordinary and sanctions-busting interventions", which turned out to be
nothing more than just reckless printing of money. If Gono failed to perform
due to sanctions, can somebody tell him that those so-called sanctions are
still in place and so he remains an irrelevant part of the solution to the
crisis? Gono should just leave the disputed post and allow the nation to
make progress. - Patriot
      Useless talk shows
      THE government should stop bombarding people with turnaround
programmes, conferences, workshops and retreats because everyone knows that
nothing will come out of them. These grand talk shows have promised Zimbabwe
prosperity and exciting economic growth for years but they seem to reproduce
the same embarrassing results. One wonders if any research is conducted
before these policies are announced. - Reality, Harare.
      WHY does Patrick Chinamasa speak of agendas outside of Zimbabwe's
interests when he means outside Zanu PF's interests. Please do not speak for
Zimbabwe. You are not our voice. - Justice.

      HISTORY keeps repeating itself. Jonathan Moyo applies for
readmission to Zanu PF . Is this any different from the Chinhoyi diesel
fiasco? - Gurundoro, Sanyati.
      Diatribe alarming
      THE level of hate speech in the state media is alarming. Zanu PF
continues to use slanderous language in attacking MDC-T members. The lack of
commitment to fulfilling the Global Political Agreement leaves the future of
the Government of National Unity in doubt. Those responsible for so much
suffering deserve their day in a court of law. They may succeed in delaying
but it is inevitable.- Mlungisi Dube, Bulawayo.

       THE state media spews hate language everyday against the Prime
Minister and belittles ministers from the MDC-T party - Tendai Biti for
example. The Government of National Unity is not working at all because
people like George Charamba, Tafataona Mahoso and Jonathan Moyo are allowed
to propagate hate language against Biti. Their venom can only be equaled to
that of the Hutus against the Tutsis before the genocide in Rwanda. - Frank
Matandirotya, Chikomba Central.
      Greed rules
      IT is interesting to see people from Zanu PF fighting to lay
their hands on money from the IMF when at some point they declared that they
could do without the international financial institutions. They should have
said no thank you. - Anon.

      SOME of the people working for the MDC-T in Manicaland are
destroying the party's popularity. People employed there in August have not
been paid even though it is now the end of September. - Annoyed, Manicaland.
       HARARE City Council should speed up its programme to replace old
water pipes which have long exceeded their lifespan before the start of the
rainy season in order to curb water leakages.- G-One, Harare.

      THE Zimbabwe Teachers' Association brought its strike letters
using Mahindra cars. War veterans are chasing us from classrooms. Is this a
genuine strike? - Teacher, Buhera.
      Mahoso debacle
      TAFATAONA Mahoso went to the interviews for the Zimbabwe Media
Commission (ZMC) with his own set of hard and weird ideas and thought he
would be given an hour. Instead the Parliamentary Standing Rules and Order
Committee gave him six simple questions for just 12 minutes and he flunked
the interview. All he is fond of is complicating things everywhere. There is
no place for such distractions in the new Zimbabwe. - W Moyo, Harare.

      LET it be known that Zanu PF is that party that resisted and
tried to subvert change. But history tells us that change will change and
confine them to the dustbins because change is inevitable. - Maitiro

      What is the Harare City Council doing about the harassment of
public and private transport picking up people on their way out of town, for
example, along Leopold Takawira outside Girls' High School and outside NSSA
building and at the corner of Herbert Chitepo along Sam Nujoma. They should
stop persecuting people who are trying to help. The council would have been
justified it they had established designated pick up points around the city.
How much fuel is being wasted through this skewed exercise? - Commuter,

      ALL the countries in the region have GPRS-WAP services where a
subscriber gets settings from the service provider and gets started using
his/her airtime. Why is Econet not doing the same, which is easier instead
of asking for a monthly charge? - Wanda, Victoria Falls.

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Where are the coins?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

By Kuda Bwititi

IT is not long before passengers fill a Westgate-bound commuter omnibus at
Copacabana Bus Terminus in central Harare. In what seems like a
well-calculated move, the conductors, popularly known as "mahwindi", make
sure the bus moves out of the terminus before loudly proclaiming:

"Vabereki tongobatanidza magariro atakaita 'dollar for 2' kuitira mahusiku
ano change irikunetsa. Kana kuti vasina yakachinjika tokupai packet yema
biscuits inoita R5." (Change is difficult to get at this time of day so
combine your fares and give each other change or if you do not have change
we give you a packet of biscuits which costs R5).
Much to the consternation of the conductor, most passengers take out US$1
notes from their pockets and wallets to pay for the trip.
Within a few minutes, the omnibus reaches Avondale Shopping Centre and one
of the passengers, a burly man, wants to disembark. Before disembarking, he
demands change.
The conductor tries to explain: "Handina change mudhara, ndokupai packet
yemabiscuits kana kuti ticket mozokwira futi mangwana,"(I don't have change,
so I give you a packet of biscuits or a ticket, which you can use to board
this bus tomorrow.)
The burly man is having none of it and continues to demand his change.
"What guarantee do I have that I will meet your kombi tomorrow? Give me my
money now," he says.
Sensing the gravity of the matter and obviously taken aback by the size of
the man, the conductor rushes to the adjacent bus stop where other
conductors are touting for passengers.
He returns after five minutes, empty handed and the impatient passenger
grabs him by the collar.
"You guys are cheats," he says, as he releases the conductor from his
vicious grip. He walks away in exasperation. That's another US$0,50 gone.
One cannot help but feel for the muscular man whose size is dwarfed by the
agony he feels at having lost out on his change.
The fare for a one-way trip costs R5 on all commuter buses in Harare and the
money is equivalent to US$0,50.
The ordeal encountered by this burly man is just a replica of the problem
faced by many other commuters on a daily basis.
It is approximately eight months since the country adopted the multiple
currency system, but the shortage of smaller denominations continues to
cause inconveniences to the public.
Although it costs R5 to board a commuter bus from the city centre to most
suburbs, many people now have to part with a dollar in order to avert change
Mr Isaac Mutimba of Kuwadzana 5, who commutes daily to his workplace at
Chiedza House in the city centre, says his monthly expenditure has now
increased because of the complexities of accessing change.
"It's a big problem,' he said. "It is rare to come across these coins and
many times I have paid a dollar for a trip to or from town.
"To be honest, this issue is affecting my budget. My monthly wage is barely
enough to cover all of my needs so it is difficult to manage these
unnecessary costs caused by the problem of change."
Mr Mutimba suspects that the Kombi operators are creating artificial change
shortages by keeping coins.
But a commuter bus driver, Criag Munduna, who plies the City-Westgate route,
said the change problems were real.
He explained that this was one of the reasons why the commuter bus operators
were issuing out tickets for people to use when boarding the buses for their
next trip.
"You have to understand that this problem is beyond our control," he said.
"The only solution that we offer is to give passengers the tickets, which
they can use any time on any bus that plies the same route."
But Munduna said not all passengers were comfortable with this arrangement
and tempers usually flared.
"I can tell you that on a number of occasions some conductors at this rank
have exchanged blows with passengers over this issue," he said.
"Some of the passengers can be very stubborn. They just don't want to
understand our explanation."
Apparently, the problem of change is not affecting commuters alone, as
shoppers are also being forced to buy goods that they do not need.
It seems shop owners are taking advantage of the shortage of change to sell
small items like sweets and chocolates.
A visit to any grocery shop in Harare reveals that the small items are now
kept at the till point, with the tellers always ready to offer them to the
customer to avoid issuing change in small denominations.
This has raised suspicions from the public that the shop owners are
deliberately hiding change for them to push stocks of small items.
It is now almost impossible for customers to buy items that cost less than a
dollar as they are bound to be told that there is no change.
What this effectively means is that the real value of the United States
dollar is being undermined in Zimbabwe.
According to statistics, approximately half of the world's population
survives on a dollar per day.
This shows that businesses are being unfair as they are forcing locals to
part with more than a dollar almost on a daily basis.
"Imagine if I want to buy a pen that costs 13 cents, but I don't have the
coins," said Mr Ibrahim Makiyi of Budiriro 5, who was shopping at Savemor
Supermarket along Nelson Mandela Avenue. "I will be told to take sweets and
chocolates which cost US$0,87 to avoid the problem of change."
Mr Makiyi questioned why shop owners never provided the lower denominations
to the people.
"I have my doubts," he said. "Why is it that customers are rarely given
change? I believe these shops have the lower denominations, but they are
keeping them to themselves and are taking advantage of the people."
Unfortunately, Mr Makiyi seems to be wrong in his accusations.
The president of the Bankers' Association of Zimbabwe, Dr John Mangudya
recently said it was expensive to import coins because transport costs were
determined by weight.
"We will have to pay, say, US$100 000 to import US$10 000 worth of coins,"
said Dr Mangudya.
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) president Mrs Rosemary Siyachitema
advised service providers to come up with innovative ways to address the
problems of change.
"The problem of change is not anyone's fault because the country does not
mint these coins," she said.
"Of course, in most if not all of the occasions, it is the consumer who has
to bear the brunt. Retailers must try their best to get the coins from banks
and give them to the customers."
Most shops in Harare are now issuing vouchers or credit notes, which
customers can use to purchase other items from the shops. But the customers
lose out if they need cash for other immediate expenses.
Some have suggested that the only solution to the problems of change is to
mint local coins that can be valued against the United States.

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Hold by-elections now

Written by Editor
Friday, 25 September 2009 12:49
One cannot help but wonder just what kind of democracy is the unity
government working to establish in Zimbabwe that seems so averse to
elections. Fifteen parliamentary seats have fallen vacant since the signing
of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), the document that gave birth to the
power-sharing government.
By-elections to fill up many of these seats are long over due. But all
we get from the government are a variety of pathetic excuses as to why
voters in the concerned constituencies cannot be afforded a chance to elect
people to represent them in Parliament - perhaps not a surprising thing from
a government that was negotiated rather than elected into office.  The other
day, the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) tried to make us believe that
the only reason by-elections had not been called was because the commission
had not been formally notified of the existence of vacancies in Parliament.
The next time the ZEC was trying to sell us another yarn that it was
too broke to afford holding by-elections, even as the government was
splashing millions of dollars on new cars for Members of Parliament and
senior civil servants.  Then there is the laughable excuse advanced by the
GPA parties that after the political violence of 2008 Zimbabwe is not yet
ready for another election.
That there is need for some breathing space and for the wounds to heal
and that calling by-elections now would raise political temperatures and
trigger yet another round of politically motivated violence and human rights
abuses. Or put differently, try holding by-elections now and Zanu (PF) will
return to its old brutal tactics - how ridiculous? So who says the Zanu (PF)
militias and so-called war veterans will not be back in the villages and
townships beating, raping and murdering opponents the moment a date is set
for new presidential and parliamentary elections that in terms of the GPA
should take place either in the last half of 2010 or in early 2011.
As far as we know, the terror squads have never been disbanded. They
may not be as active as before but they are still intact and in fact very
busy on the farms where they continue to wage violence and disrupt food
production. And what about the democratic change that we want the whole
world to believe is unfolding in Zimbabwe?
One would have thought that Messers Robert Mugabe, Morgan Tsvangirai
and Arthur Mutambara would have wanted to use the by-elections as a window
to show-case what their democracy project has achieved to date, if at all
the unity government experiment is about democracy. What better way to
convince the skeptics that the unity government is indeed working and that
the democracy project remains firmly on course than holding 15 free and fair
by-elections. But the overdue by-elections should be held now not just
because that is the right and correct thing to do but also because you can
only build democracy by practising it.

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UN urged to assist Zim probe abuses

Friday, 25 September 2009 08:13
The ICJ has called on the United Nations to assist Zimbabwe probe
rights abuses
HARARE - The International Commission of Jurists says the United
Nations should appoint an independent team of experts to assist Zimbabwe to
probe human rights violations and improve the justice delivery system. (
The ICJ told the UN Human Rights Council last week that Zimbabwe's
judiciary had been severely compromised by the intrusions into its
independence and impartiality.
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu (PF) often uses its partisan control of
the judicial system to repress and harass human rights defenders,
journalists, lawyers and opposition members.
Lack of respect for the rule of law, endemic corruption and systematic
abuse of power by government officials and security forces also undermine
Zimbabwe's human rights situation.
"The ICJ urges the Council to establish a comprehensive mandate - a
separate group of independent experts on Zimbabwe - to help the Government
of Zimbabwe investigate past and on-going human rights violations, prevent
violence and boost full observance of human rights and their integration
throughout the implementation of justice reforms," the Geneva-based ICJ
It noted that despite last September's signing of the Global Political
Agreement by Zimbabwe's three main political parties, the coalition
government has largely failed to protect and promote human rights and the
rule of law.
The general human rights situation has remained volatile due to
consistent intimidation, harassment, attacks against lawyers, journalists,
human rights defenders, Movement for Democratic Change members and all
persons perceived to be critical of Mugabe.
Impunity for human rights violations persists in the vast majority of
cases, particularly regarding the bulk of unaddressed gross human rights
violations committed before, during and after the 2008 elections.
More than 200 people - mostly MDC supporters - were killed during
political violence that accompanied the disputed presidential elections in
June 2008.

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Child labour at Marange diamond fields

Saturday, 26 September 2009 14:52
HARARE -  Zimbabwe is using child labourers to mine precious minerals
including at the army-controlled Marange or Chiadzwa diamond fields in the
east of the country, according to a new US report shown to The Zimbabwean on
Sunday last week.
The report by the US Department of Labour said Zimbabwe was among
eight African countries guilty of using under-age children as labour in the
mining, agriculture, tourism and construction industries in violation of
international regulations. It said young children were being used, sometimes
for no pay, in illegal mining activities. "Children engage in the mining of
diamonds, gold, chrome, and tin, as well as illegal gold panning with their
families," said the report.
The report - which also cited Angola, Central African Republic, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia and
Sierra Leone as other violators of international regulations barring child
labour - came as the Zimbabwe National Army had assumed control of the
controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields in Manicaland. Senior army officers
are said to be engaged in the illegal mining of diamonds in the area.
Witnesses say the soldiers regularly conscript both children and adults as
labour to mine diamonds illegally in the controversial Marange diamond
Many of those forced to work on the diamonds fields have reported
being beaten up and tortured by the soldiers. The US report also noted that
a surge in incidents of child trafficking during the past few years, with
more than 3 000 children rescued from traffickers last year alone. A
combination of economic hardships, decimation of families due to HIV and
AIDS, and a collapse of social services has seen thousands of Zimbabwean
children cross the country's borders in search of food and employment
The US report said the Zimbabwean government, with assistance from
Save The Children- Norway, is providing assistance to children at an
International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Child Care Centre in
Beitbridge along the South African border. "This centre served 2 087
children in 2008. Between June and December 2008, 766 children were assisted
at the new IOM centre for unaccompanied children and child trafficking
victims in Plumtree on Zimbabwe's border with Botswana," the report said.
Also on the increase is the number of under-age Zimbabwean girls, some
as young as 12, engaging in prostitution across the country's borders. Most
of the prostitution activity takes place in South Africa and Mozambique,
according to the report.

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Gono wanted IMF funds to pay Zanu PF debts

By John-Chimunhu

Published: September 27, 2009

HARARE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono planned to divert a
huge chunk of an International Monetary Fund loan to pay back money diverted
to president Robert Mugabe's bloody re-election campaign last year,
documents show.

According to proposals submitted by Gono to Finance Minister Tendai Biti
recently, and seen by ZimEye, US$90 million of the $510 million availed to
Zimbabwe (or 21.5%) would have been used to pay NGOs, exporters and banks
whose funds were raided by Gono in June last year to prop up Mugabe's
bankrupt campaign.

Biti rejected the proposals.

The finance minister reportedly told Gono that any expenditure should first
be approved by parliament through the normal budget process.

Gono has now launched a vicious media campaign agaist Biti, blowing up
public funds on full-page adverts attacking the minister.

The matter has also been taken up by Zanu PF politicians, who normally say
they do not need the IMF, but are now evidently upset  about Biti's move to
prevent looting of the loan.

Gono is accused by the MDC of bringing down the Zimbabwean economy by
financing Mugabe's political campaigns. Corruption investigations are
underway against the central bank governor whose money-printing to bail out
Mugabe's bankrupt regime drove inflation to astronomical proportions.

Faced with an election that he could not afford last year, Mugabe ordered
Gono to loot foreign currency belonging to private organisations. The
government has so far been unable to pay back the money. Gono's latest
proposals give a rare indication of the massive amounts looted, analysts

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'Yesterday's man' Chingoka breaks silence

From Cricinfo, 25 September

Steven Price in Harare

Zimbabwe Cricket chairman Peter Chingoka has finally emerged from months of
virtual invisibility to give an interview to Zimbabwe's Independent
newspaper. Chingoka has maintained a low-profile since he was barred from
attending an ICC meeting in January because the Australian authorities
decided his connections with the Mugabe regime made him an undesirable
alien. That followed similar action by the European Union in 2008. In his
place, chief executive Ozias Bvute has been the public face of ZC. Locally,
critics of Chingoka believe that he is keen to avoid publicity because of
the increasing scrutiny of the activities of the board by MDC minister David
Cotart. They wryly add that since Chingoka has all but disappeared, Zimbabwe
have made massive steps forward. "He's yesterday's man," one former
administrator told Cricinfo. "He is associated internally and abroad with
the dark days of the game here and his time is thankfully drawing to a

Chingoka brushed aside such suggestions, insisting that his silence was
because he had "fewer requests for interviews now than I had in the past,
and so it appears as if I have been out of the limelight". He added: "I have
been doing three things: continuing to run the sport and getting more time
for my business and also my personal life." What has changed is the game
inside Zimbabwe, with many players who fell out with his board returning to
the fold. "You may remember us saying all along that our doors are always
open and that our objective has always been to make sure that the game is
accessible to all Zimbabweans regardless of race, creed or gender. Thus,
since the disputes stemming back to 2004, we have had players, former
administrators and coaches returning, at different intervals, to offer their
services again. "What we have now is what we have always had, which is a
positive spirit."

In a sign that there may be more openness than in the recent past, Chingoka
was asked if the developments and changes in ZC are meant to repair the
damages of your administration? "The ZC board has always insisted on an open
door policy," he replied, "and has, at all times, welcomed and utilised to
the benefit of the game the best people who have walked through that door."
Turning to on-field affairs, Chingoka maintained the timescale set out by
the ICC for Zimbabwe's return to Test cricket was "within two years from the
meeting of March 2009, but that will be influenced by our results in the
next few months". If they do return then the old issues of games against
England, Australia and New Zealand will resurface, but he was adamant there
were no problems with the boards of those countries, only the governments.
"Our relations with Cricket Australia for example have seen them helping us
in our staff development in various spheres of the game. We have had
players, coaches and staffers attending courses there.

And what about continuing voices, albeit less vocal of late, who question
Zimbabwe's right to continue to be a Full Member of the ICC? "In so far as
all the other Full Members are concerned, we have their unwavering support.
"It's worthy to note that Cricket South Africa is right now working on a
blue-print following our visit to them and the reciprocal visit by their
coordinating committee specifically chosen to help us return to Test
cricket. The blueprint is being finalised now by their board and will attach
special emphasis on our return to Test cricket at the shortest possible
time. It will embrace facets of our cricket from age-groups through to the
Test arena. At the same time, we are also playing our part as an ICC Full
Member by helping to upgrade standards in member countries such as Kenya and
by sending our sides to age-group tournaments in South Africa where they
play against other African countries. It is all part of world cricket
wanting to have stronger playing countries. And we are not an island in

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It's time

Saturday 26th September 2009

Dear Family and Friends,
I was about 8th in a queue in a supermarket this week and kept looking to
the front of the line impatiently to see why things were moving so slowly. I
was waiting to buy airtime for a mobile phone and suddenly the reality of
what I was doing struck home. I'd recently heard from someone who wanted
"the real scoop" about daily life in Zimbabwe and in fact here it was, right
in this queue.

Less than a year ago I wrote about this very same supermarket which
sometimes used to open at 9 or 10 in the morning, some days it didn't open
at all because it had nothing to sell. Less than a year ago huge
supermarkets had only cabbages, condoms or bundles of firewood for sale. Now
the shelves are brimming with goods again and if we have money there is food
to buy.

This time last year if there was a queue in, or outside a supermarket, you
were literally taking your life in your hands if you joined it. Queues for
bread, sugar or maize meal were controlled by riot police. People were
waiting outside supermarkets all night for the chance to get a single loaf
of bread or little plastic packet of sugar. At opening time thousands of
people would surge forward, some were injured and others even died in the

This time last year we were still dealing in Zimbabwe dollars - worthless
paper in denominations of billions and trillions which had expiry dates. We
were queuing outside banks for days at a time to be allowed to withdraw
miniscule amounts of our own money. Amounts that weren't enough to even buy
a bar of soap or a cup of tea. This dreadful time is also now a thing of the
past and the banks are deserted places because most people don't have enough
money to save and don't trust the banks who so recently treated their
customers and their life savings with such casual contempt.

The reality of life in Zimbabwe this October 2009 is that the basics are
back: food, fuel and bank notes. Yes the food is all imported and the bank
notes are American but they have given such relief to an existence that had
become almost unbearable. Everyone, without exception, knows that the bank
crisis, the currency crisis and the food crisis were bought on by bad
politics and bad governance and we also know who fixed their mess and what
courage and determination it took.

And now, as we are just a fortnight away from the rainy season, it is time
for the next battle of the basics to be fought and won. Now its time for
Zimbabwe to start growing its own food again. Bad politics and bad
governance forced us to import our every need and now its time for the brave
and determined people who gave us back money food and fuel, to give us back
functional farming and our own food on tables. We've wasted eight good rainy
seasons and its time to turn the corner.
Until next time, thanks for reading, love cathy

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