Relief ... Munyaradzi Gwisai and his co-accused after the sentence was passed
|by Phyllis Mbanje|
UNIVERSITY lecturer, Munyaradzi Gwisai has indicated he will appeal his conviction and sentence for conspiring to commit public violence after being arrested while watching news videos of the Arab Spring uprisings.
Gwisai, Antonater Choto, 36, Tatenda Mombeyarara, 29, Edson Chakuma, 38, Hopewell Gumbo, 32, and Welcome Zimuto, 25, were sentenced to two years in jail, but the sentence was suspended for five years.
Harare magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini also ordered the six to each pay a $500 fine and carry out 420 hours of community service.
But defence lawyer, Alec Muchadehama said he would appeal the conviction and sentence at the High Court.
said he would apply for suspension of the community service orders pending
hearing on the 26th of March.
Passing sentence, Jarabani claimed that watching footage of the Arab Spring uprisings could have helped spark violent upheavals in the country.
"The meeting was
very deliberate and the accused took advantage of the fact that the video was
being flighted on most channels and therefore information dissemination was
going to be easy," he said.
"It must be stressed that such conduct could have easily led to turbulence and much blood shed.
"Peace and tranquility must be preserved and even the principals in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) are advocating for peace and not violence.”
"Custodial sentence has harsh effects on first offenders and giving the longest sentence does not guarantee reformatory behaviour," he said.
Jarabani also told Gwisai -- a former legislator – that as a law lecturer he was supposed to “set a good example” and not use his academic achievements as a “passport” to commit offenses.
Harare, March 22,2012 - Munyaradzi Gwisai, the former Highfield Member of
Parliament and five activists convicted for plotting public violence aimed
at following demonstrations similar to the Egyptian revolution vowed to
fight "dictatorship" in the country.
Gwisai, the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) head was jointly
charged with Antoinette Choto, Welcome Zimuto, Eddison Chakuma, Tatenda
Mombeyarara and Hopewell Gumbo.
Gwisai described the country's judiciary as a "shame" after they were fined
$500 and that they must do 420 hours of community service.
"The dictatorship is shaking, it is not yet fallen and therefore the
struggle must continue. The struggle will continue, this is a temporary
reprieve. We are going to be back in the trenches," Gwisai said after the
court sentenced the six activists.
"Their real aim was to put us in (to jail us) as an example ahead of their
clear objective and agenda of stealing yet another election. What we have
shown them is that we cannot be stopped. Enough is enough, the struggle
continues. Aluta continua."
Another activist Antonette Choto said :"This is a major step forward for
the working class of Zimbabwe. We want to say that the struggle against
poverty and against dictatorship continues."
Hopewell Gumbo said they have been on trial for "questioning" the legitimacy
of the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai which has been in charge in the country through a political
agreement by the main political parties.
"We have been on trial for questioning the legitimacy and questioning the
current dispensation in terms of running and leading this country, “Gumbo
"We have been on trial for questioning the brutality the people of Zimbabwe
are seeing through their day to day lives. This is just a phase in a
permanent struggle for the liberation of the people of Zimbabwe and it is
Gwisai and five other rights activists facing charges of plotting to incite
public violence to emulate Egypt and Tunisia mass uprising in the country at
a meeting in Harare where found guilty Monday by the magistrate court.
Heavily armed police surrounded the magistrate court which was full with
activists from organisations such as International Socialist Organisation
(ISO), Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, National Constitutional Assembly and
The case which was delayed for months ended three weeks ago.
Treason charges which were initially preferred on the six activists were
dropped to alternative charges of inciting violence and disturbing peace in
the country after the prosecution failed to present its case before the
The six activists were being represented by prominent Harare lawyer Alec
Zimbabwe police arrested 45 activists in February at the time when the Arab
spring citizens embarked on mass uprisings to topple their governments which
they accused of trampling on their rights and looting state resources.
The other charges of the 39 activists were dropped before trial.
JASON MOYO HARARE, ZIMBABWE - Mar 22 2012 19:02
Activist Munyaradzi Gwisai emerged from court pumping a defiant fist in the
air. His conviction, with five of his colleagues, on charges of plotting to
topple Robert Mugabe may silence some of the president’s critics.
The group was arrested last year after police raided the venue of what the
activists said had been a discussion on the possibility of an Egypt-style
mass protest in Zimbabwe.
The six escaped with a fine, community service and suspended jail terms. But
the fact that they were found guilty at all may have set a precedent that
may result in more convictions of activists.
Police said the group had been plotting violence to remove Mugabe. They had
been watching news coverage of the Egypt protests and the court ruled it was
to get ideas for similar action in Zimbabwe.
As the magistrate read the verdict, there were gasps of shock from the
dozens of activists in the courtroom. Arrests for plotting to topple Mugabe
are common, but convictions are rare. Activists now fear a precedent may
have been set, forcing rights groups to scale back their campaigns.
The case is an embarrassment for the country, especially because some world
headlines suggested that the group was arrested for merely watching
Failing basic rights
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said the conviction conveyed an image of a
country failing to respect basic rights. The conviction sought to
“criminalise” civil liberties, he said.
“This not only besmirches the government’s image, but serves to confirm that
Zimbabwe has not moved an inch in its respect for human rights,” Tsvangirai
said. But the case also adds pressure on Tsvangirai, who has been criticised
for failing to protect his civil society allies.
Ahead of the sentencing, Gwisai had spoken of his anxiety. But, perhaps
emboldened by the fact that previous similar cases had always fizzled out in
court, he remained defiant. “It is hard to take, given that one has a family
to think about. But these are the sacrifices that those that have gone
before us, and those in Egypt and elsewhere, have made. So we must prepare
ourselves,” Gwisai said.
During the trial, he never refrained from criticism of Mugabe. In one
cross-examination session, prosecutors, perhaps trying to paint the group as
rebels, quizzed Gwisai on whether he thought Mugabe should step down.
“It is no coincidence that in all the richest and the most powerful nations
in the world, such as the People’s Republic of China, the United States of
America and Great Britain, their supreme leaders are less than 55 years
old,” he replied. “So yes, President Mugabe must go.” Asked whether he
would call Mugabe a dictator, Gwisai said: “I would call him an
Gwisai is a long-time critic of Mugabe and a former Movement for Democratic
Change MP. He holds radical left-wing views, which led to his sacking from
the MDC after he said the party had been “hijacked by the bourgeoisie” and
failed to respond to the need for land reform.
Arguing for the maximum 10-year jail term on Tuesday, prosecutor Edmore
Nyazamba said the group would have been stoned in biblical times.
Magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini said the prosecutors had proved their case
against Gwisai, Antonater Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Edson Chakuma,
Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto.
He said it was an “insult” for anyone to expect the court to believe the
meeting had been innocent. Watching the video was no crime, he said, but “it
is the motive behind it that is questionable”.
The six “took turns to incite people to revolt against the government like
they had seen on the video”.
Leaving the courthouse, Gwisai raised a fist and shouted “a luta continua!”
to waiting members of his International Socialist Organisation.
“We are not deterred, we are not intimidated,” Gwisai said. “To the ordinary
people this is not surprising. This is a staple of what is happening in
Africa and across the world. So, we take it as it comes. The struggle
Gwisai is suing the police and the home affairs minister for the torture he
said he suffered in detention. One of the activists, Hopewell Gumbo, said
the group had been subjected to abuse for days after their arrest.
Dewa Mavhinga of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition pressure group said the
conviction had been a “direct message” to activists. “We reject that message
of fear,” Mavhinga said.
Group beaten, imprisoned, ostracised for watching a video
I was on a train in the United States on the way to visit an old friend when
my phone rang. It was another friend in Zimbabwe, who had awful news.
Shouting into the receiver to try to make sense of things, my fear and
desperation were all too clear and my four-year-old son immediately knew
that something was terribly wrong.
Munya, my husband and Sankara’s dad, had been arrested with 46 others. One,
the state witness, was rapidly released.
It was a Saturday afternoon in Harare and they were discussing the momentous
demonstrations of people power in North Africa.
It was a peaceful gathering of student activists, union members and
working-class people who still believed in the possibility of a fairer and
more just world.
They had got hold of a compilation of news clippings from international TV
broadcasters, chronicling the days of revolution and the fall of
dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt -- clippings that had been seen by
hundreds of millions of people around the world.
The next month was an eye-opening journey for me into the fear and
dysfunction of Zimbabwe.
I had lived there in 2004 and made regular trips there. Munya always
promised to join me in my various postings around the world, but he was too
committed to making a difference in his own country ever to leave
By the time I got to Harare a week later, we knew the situation was serious.
This was not going to follow the pattern of earlier detentions and beatings.
The authorities’ fear of the domino effect of events unfolding in North
Africa and the Middle East meant that the charges needed to send a strong
message, particularly to the people of Harare’s high-density neighbourhoods,
where life is hard and unemployment high.
The attorney general waited six days before laying crazy charges of treason
and planning to overthrow an elected government, charges that carry the
death sentence or 20 years in prison.
The prosecutor used delaying tactics in court to draw the ordeal out and
ensure that their extended time in remand would serve as a severe punishment
and a clear warning to them and others.
Seventeen of the men spent a week in solitary confinement. The 11 women were
forced to do hard labour, even though no sentence had been handed down.
Indeed, the case had not yet even gone to court.
But it was not just the stories from inside the prison that were so
devastating. For many of those arrested, especially couples who had gone to
the meeting together, the reality at home was grim. It was the end of the
month. Rents and school fees needed to be paid. One child spent a week in
hospital sick with fever. Another two-year-old developed acute malnutrition
because her grandmother was unable to feed her. But perhaps what scared me
most on my visits to some of the families was the hostility directed towards
Instead of the community rallying round in solidarity, there were stories of
intimidation and harassment by Zanu-PF youth militia.
In one home -- a small, dilapidated two-roomed house -- the children sat
inside, waiting for their parents to be released, living in fear of their
neighbours who accused them of being members of the opposition.
Two weeks after the meeting, 39 of the accused were acquitted by a
magistrate and released. He agreed with the defence that it was impossible
for the one state witness to monitor the movements of so many people.
But the most damning evidence against the state came from a 22-year-old
woman who had simply been selling air time in the building when the police
raided it. Answering in Shona, her responses clearly illustrated her
confusion and her innocence.
Had she known what they were saying in the meeting? No, she had been minding
her own business. Her testimony made it abundantly clear that the entire
process was a farce but one that was not remotely funny.
And, sadly, for many of those released, the punishment did not stop when
they stepped free from court after their two-week ordeal.
In spite of their innocence, many came home to the harsh reality of further
retribution. They found that people were afraid to be associated with
them -- with people who had been in trouble with the “law”, who had been in
An HIV-positive volunteer counsellor and father of five lost his stipend and
his post. A union worker lost his position as others took advantage of his
trouble to play internal politics. A school cleaner lost her job. Another
worker was sacked because the company was owned by a Zanu-PF loyalist. And
Munya lost a month’s salary from the University of Zimbabwe for not being at
By using the power of Facebook and Twitter, this case generated interest and
outrage around the globe.
But it is just one of many cases.Lawyers for Human Rights have been involved
in more than 800 cases since January.
In April, an 82-year-old village headman, who had been arrested along with
Movement for Democratic Change MP Douglas Mwonzora, died.
He had never recovered from being beaten and then spending three weeks in
As Munya said: “This is one more shameful tragedy for our country.” --
Shantha Bloemen is the wife of Munyaradzi Gwisai, one of the six Zimbabweans
sentenced for watching the Arab Spring video.
On the day when Zimbabwe’s neighbour, South Africa, celebrated Human Rights
Day, with its President leading the call for protection of fundamental
rights and freedoms, Zimbabweans instead face a renewed onslaught by the
state which strikes at the very heart of their hopes and dreams for a
democracy which respects their views and allows legitimate dissent and
criticism to be expressed without fear of unnecessary and vindictive
The conviction of Munyaradzi Gwisai, Antonater Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara,
Eddson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo and Welcome Zimuto on charges of conspiracy
to incite public violence on 19 March 2012 by magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini
is highly regrettable. The sentencing of the six to a fine, 24 months’
suspended imprisonment, and 420 hours of community service each, is harsh to
say the very least.
Having carefully scrutinised the two judgments, and the reasoning behind
them, ZLHR is of the considered opinion that the conclusions reached were
supported neither by evidence led during the trial, nor the laws of the
land. Rather, they will be, and have been, perceived by all reasonable
people to be a conduit for the delivery of a political message through the
This political message is that Zimbabweans are not expected to freely and
peacefully associate, even in the confines of their private and protected
spaces; they are not expected to freely express their views, legitimately
critique public officers, or express their dissent. Zimbabweans will not be
allowed to question the authority of those who hold national and political
office even where such officers may have failed to deliver on their mandate
Intelligence operatives will be allowed to infiltrate such spaces with
impunity, and the courts of our land will accept the fruits of their
unlawful activities without providing credible backing for reaching such
conclusions. Police will be allowed to torture detainees in attempts to
build a case, and the prosecution and the courts will not come to the rescue
of such victims by refusing to tolerate such heinous and now well-entrenched
It is on this basis that Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) welcomes
the news that both the convictions and the sentences imposed on the six are
to be appealed.
It is a sad day indeed when we witness the destruction of public confidence
in the ability of the courts to act impartially and in terms of the law to
the extent which has occurred in the aftermath of this case.
The office of the Attorney General can also not be allowed to escape
criticism for the manner in which its officers have conducted themselves in
International and regional human rights norms and standards oblige the
prosecution to accord an accused person all the rights associated with a
fair trial. A case in which detainees are tortured during pre-trial
detention, spend 27 days in custody before being released on bail, and are
then subjected to a protracted trial which impacts on their freedoms is an
inexcusable abuse of the justice system for purposes of punishment whilst
such accused persons are entitled to the presumption of innocence and the
protection of their fair trial rights.
It is a sad day indeed when a prosecutorial authority is unable to see
accused persons as human beings entitled to the protection of the law and
their rights. The actions of the Attorney General, through prosecutors and
law officers such as Edmore Nyazamba and Michael Reza must be condemned in
the strongest possible terms. They must now search their consciences and
live with the destruction they have wrought on the public perception of the
office they represent.
ZLHR reiterates its call for comprehensive reform of the justice delivery
system to bring an end to the perception that institutions such as the
prosecutorial service and the courts are now just vehicles for the
protection of entrenched political interests and a barrier to the legitimate
questioning of public authority. The courts, in particular, will need to
work extremely hard to recover from the blow they have been dealt as a
result of this case in order to show that justice is blind, and that every
person who appears before them will receive protection of the law and due
process, without fear or favour, and regardless of their political and
by Staff Reporter
INFORMATION Minister Webster Shamu has ruled out making changes to the
Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) demanded by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai who claims the body was illegally constituted.
The BAZ recently riled Tsvangirai and his MDC-T party as well we media
reform activists by awarding radio licences to companies claimed to be
linked to President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
Tsvangirai is also concerned with the lack of progress in licencing new
television operators to break-up the dominance of the Zanu PF-leaning state
broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
The MDC-T leader says he wants the governing board of the BAZ reconstituted
claiming it was illegally put together.
But Shamu insisted Wednesday that no changes would be made to the BAZ as
well as the management of the ZBC.
“Some have questioned why we put former freedom fighters within the
hierarchy of the (BAZ and ZBC) boards,” he said.
“This is a legally selected board which was constitutionally selected and
until its term of office expires, it will remain in place.
“These are men who have been tried and tested, whose dedication to duty is
unquestionable even under the toughest of conditions and we are proud to
have them working with us.”
Tsvangirai claimed an agreement had been reached during a recent GPA
principals’ meeting with Mugabe and MDC-M leader Arthur Mutambara giving
Shamu a three-week deadline to implement the changes.
“At our Principals’ meeting, we restated our position and gave the Minister
three weeks to comply with our directive to reconstitute the BAZ board, the
ZBC board and the Mass Media Trust,” Tsvangirai told a recent meeting in
“We expect that to happen. Cabinet agreed to it, the Principals agreed and
we expect the Minister to implement this position.”
But the MDC-T leader later admitted that Shamu had pretty much ignored him
over the issue.
“The situation remains dire,” Tsvangirai recently conceded.
“Media reforms as agreed in the GPA have not been implemented and the
responsible Minister and his officials are arrogantly ducking from
implementing what we have agreed as Principals, as Cabinet and as political
“They have instead gone further to ban foreign newspapers and to grant radio
licences to companies aligned to a political party.”
By Lance Guma
22 March 2012
Attorney General Johannes Tomana is blocking the arrest of two ZANU PF
government ministers, one accused of abusing the Constituency Development
Fund (CDF) and the other of corruptly acquiring council land, among other
SW Radio Africa can today reveal that Youth and Empowerment Minister Saviour
Kasukuwere and Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo should have been
arrested when other MP’s were picked up for allegedly abusing the CDF funds.
In the last thirty days three MDC-T legislators, Marvelous Khumalo, Albert
Mhlanga and Cleopas Machacha, plus Zanu PF’s MP for Magunje, Franco
Ndambakuwa, were all arrested on allegations they had diverted funds from
parliament which were meant for development projects in their
SW Radio Africa understands the Attorney General rushed to stop the
Anti-Corruption Commission from carrying out more arrests because two key
individuals in the ZANU PF regime were next in line. Tomana tried to justify
his directive by arguing that all MP’s should be audited first before any
According to Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga, 10 MPs — six
from Zanu PF and four from MDC-T — failed to submit returns to prove how
they had used the US$50,000 they had each received from the CDF in 2010.
Concern has already been expressed that only one out of six ZANU PF
legislators has been arrested.
We have information that alleges that Kasukuwere diverted the US$50,000
given to him by claiming that a company owned by his sister had provided a
‘service’ in his constituency. “The Anti-Corruption Commission has already
completed its ‘docket’ on Kasukuwere but Tomana is sitting on it,” a source
SW Radio Africa has in the past reported how Kasukuwere owns nine farms,
despite claims by Mugabe’s regime that they seized white owned land to give
to landless blacks.
Confidential documents sent to us showed how he owns part of Pimento Farm in
Mashonaland Central, South Bamboo Creek in Shamva, Cornucopia Farm Orchard,
500 hectares of Harmony Farm in Mazowe, Bretton Farm, Allan Grange Farm,
Auchenburg Farm, Bamboo Creek Farm and Bourne Farm.
Pimento was seized from white farmer Oliver Newton, South Bamboo Creek from
farmers N. Richardson and R. Morkel, while Kasukuwere reportedly seized the
Cornucopia Farm Orchard from Interfresh in 2006. His brother Donald
Kasukuwere also helped himself to two farms, Usaka in Mazowe, Mashonaland
Central and Sangokwe North in Mwenezi.
In addition to the farms Kasukuwere is also involved in oil procurement and
distribution, owning ComOil (Pvt) Ltd. He has also managed to so run down
United Touring Company (UTC) that it is in serious financial difficulties.
He also has substantial shareholdings in Genesis Bank and Interfresh (Pvt)
In 2009 he was accused of trying to block fresh investment in the energy
sector to force companies like BP and Shell to sell their assets to his oil
Chombo’s wealth was exposed in 2010 in a messy divorce involving his wife of
25 years, Marian. Court documents exposed the fact that Chombo, a former
teacher, had tentacles in virtually all sectors of the economy.
The minister has interests in several farms, mines, hunting safari lodges in
Chiredzi, Hwange, Magunje and Chirundu, as well as properties in South
Africa. Local properties included 75 residential and commercial stands plus
14 houses and 5 flats, all dotted around the country. Not to mention 15
Even when a probe team of Harare City Councillors produced a report
implicating Chombo and businessman Philip Chiyangwa in the illegal
acquisition of council land on the cheap, the police refused to investigate
the matter. Instead the councillors and journalists who covered the saga
By Alex Bell
22 March 2012
Mine workers at the Anjin diamond firm operating in Chiadzwa are reportedly
continuing with planned strike action, over desperately low salaries.
The estimated 1,300 workers started their strike on Tuesday and have refused
to go back to work until their demands for higher salaries and better
working conditions are met.
One of the workers has been quoted as saying that they only receive between
US$188 and US$266 per month. That worker, who refused to be named, also
reportedly said that the Chinese managers at Anjin “randomly beat up people
at work for no reason.”
This is the second time in recent months that staff at the mine have downed
tools, and last December about 600 workers embarked on strike action for the
The workers want their salaries to be increased to match the poverty datum
line of about US$600 and better working conditions.
Anjin, which is a joint venture between the Chinese and the Zimbabwe state
run Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC), has faced criticism before
for how its treats its workers. It has also been condemned for the forced
removal of hundreds of Marange villagers, to make way for diamond mining
activities, without paying them compensation.
Political analyst Clifford Mashiri called it “shameful” that workers who
daily handle one of the country’s richest resources are being paid “such a
“The companies mining at Chiadzwa are shortchanging their employees, just
like they are shortchanging the country,” Mashiri told SW Radio Africa.
He added: “This just make it even more unlikely that normal Zimbabweans will
ever benefit from the diamond wealth, when even the workers who mine there
are not paid properly.”
Mashiri again voiced calls for a proper diamond audit and the implementation
of diamond legislation, with transparency and accountability at its core.
“Such legislation will play a very important role in the future of the
country, and must put the rights of Zimbabweans first,” Mashiri said.
21 March 2012
More than five thousand families benefit directly from the two rivers. For
years these families have relied on the two major rivers, which empty into
the Indian ocean in Mozambique, for their day to day living
Loirdham Moyo | Mutare
Diamonds, they say, are a girl’s best friend. But for the women downstream
Odzi and Save rivers in Manicaland province, in the east of Zimbabwe, the
gems have become a constant source of pain.
Skin diseases have become the order of the day, affecting the ordinary poor
and their livestock as companies mining in Chiadzwa continue to pollute
More than five thousand families benefit directly from the two rivers. For
years these families have relied on the two major rivers, which empty into
the Indian ocean in Mozambique, for their day to day living.
Prior to the mining activities in Chiadzwa, the areas feeding of these
rivers were known for their agricultural prowess as they drew water to
irrigate their crops and all.
But for many downstream, skin diseases have become the order of the day,
affecting the ordinary poor and their livestock as companies mining in
Chiadzwa pollute water sources.
Pius Matovhoti, a Gudyanga resident, is one worried villager. He said the
presence of the diamond mining companies has caused distress to people in
Matovhoti complains villagers have developed skin rashes from using water
from the two rivers. Many are now shying away from bathing, swimming or
using water from these sources to wash their clothes as toxins eat them
"The diamond mining companies are emptying the waste especially toxins into
the Odzi river thereby contaminating it," said Matovhoti. "The major
culprits are Anjin and Marange Resources diamond mining companies, we have
lost livestock to this pollution."
Director Farai Maguwu of the Centre for Research and Development, a non
governmental organization which has been calling for transparency in the
mining and selling of Marange diamonds, says he has been receiving a lot of
complaints from villagers about pollution in the areas.
the way companies mining in Chiadzwa, among them Mbada Diamonds and Marange
Resources, are polluting the two rivers.
Maguwu said the government and organizations such as the Environment
Management Agency, EMA, must prioritize the situation in these communities
to save lives.
"We had a delegation of visitors from the area who came here complaining
about the polluted water, we were told children suffered from toxins emptied
into the water," said Maguwu.
However, Kingstone Chitotombe of the Environmental Management Agency in
Manicaland, denies companies in Marange are polluting water sources.
He says tests have proved the water to be clean. He, however, could not
explain the sudden increase in skin diseases in the community.
But resident Peter Ndozandonyi insisted the livestock deaths have been
caused directly by polluted water.
Manicaland provincial health director Dr. Edmore Chemhuru said his office is
yet to conduct tests on water drawn from the two rivers.
But as authorities and activities continue to argue and procrastinate over
this situation around the Chiadzwa diamond mines, many residents continue to
worry about their health and future.
An Israeli pilot has been arrested at Harare airport after he was accused of
trying to smuggle £1.5m of rough diamonds out of Zimbabwe.
By Peta Thornycroft and Aislinn Laing in Johannesburg
4:43PM GMT 22 Mar 2012
Shmuel Kainan Klein, 55, was detained shortly before boarding a South
African Airways flight to Johannesburg when security officials at the
airport discovered a bag of more than 1,400 stones, weighing 1.7kg, in his
He insists that he was simply passing through the airport in transit as was
"framed" by someone known to him.
He was arrested on March 17 and appeared before Harare Magistrate's Court on
Tuesday to face a charge of unlawful possession of precious stones and
Prosecutor Tracy Mundanga told the court that Mr Klein was dressed in a
pilot's uniform when he presented himself with his luggage at a staff
security point last Saturday morning, even though he had flown into the
country as a passenger.
She said the security officer noticed that Mr Klein looked jittery as his
two bags were put through the x-ray, so she decided to undertake a physical
check of his hand luggage.
Inside one bag, she allegedly found stones wrapped in a plastic bag sealed
with sticky tape. Stashed in the lining of another were more gems wrapped in
a $1 note, Miss Mundanga said.
"It will be a matter of evidence who owned those diamonds," Mr Klein's
lawyer Jonathan Samkange said.
Mr Klein was released on bail after a Jewish resident in a smart Harare
suburb offered the title deeds to his house as surety.
Speaking from Harare yesterday, he told The Daily Telegraph that he was a
"freelancer" but declined to give further details.
"I was framed and I know who framed me but I can't talk about this now," he
said. "I was arrested in transit and was only on the ground for 15 minutes.
"I was working for an international company inspecting the crew of the
aircraft which took me from Johannesburg to Harare. I have never been to
Mr Klein lives in Johannesburg and Tel Aviv and has worked mostly as a
commercial pilot since he left the Israeli Air Force in 1978.
Finance minister, Tendai Biti, recently warned that the government could be
forced to "close" unless the Treasury was immediately given a slice of the
country's diamond revenue from the bountiful Chiadzwa diamond fields.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai last evening (Wednesday) met British Prime
Minister David Cameron in the House of Commons in London.
The two leaders held a 45 minute discussion in which they discussed the debt
overhang, the investment opportunities in Zimbabwe and how Africa has taken
major strides to poise itself for business with the rest of the world on a
mutual benefit basis.
They also discussed the situation in Zimbabwe, with PM Tsvangirai
reiterating his position that there was need to move with speed in
instituting key reforms, such as a new Constitution, if the next election is
to produce an uncontested outcome.
On Tuesday, the PM met Vince Cable, the secretary of State for Business,
Innovation and Skills to discuss the doing business environment in Zimbabwe
and to showcase the vast opportunities that lie in the country.
The PM was in London as a keynote guest at the Times CEO Africa summit where
he showcased Africa in general, and Zimbabwe in particular, as the new
frontiers for investment.
The PM was accompanied by the Minister of State in his Office, Hon Jameson
Timba and senior officials.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
22 March 2012
A report received by SW Radio Africa on Wednesday suggested that three
people had died when police went door-to-door assaulting people in Shamva
South on Saturday. But it has now been confirmed that it was one person who
died from injuries sustained during the “revenge attacks” that happened late
at night at Ashley Farm. Nine others were hospitalised with serious
The brutal attack had been ordered by a senior officer named Inspector
Shumba, whose wife had been robbed of one dollar and a cellphone.
An MDC-T official who lives near the mining compound told SW Radio Africa on
Thursday that at first there were rumours circulating which suggested at
least three people had died, because of the brutality of the beatings and
serious nature of the injuries.
Leman Pwanyiwa, the MDC-T organizing secretary for Shamva South, confirmed
that the deceased was a mine worker named Luxmore Chiwamba, who was woken
from his sleep after police broke down the family’s front door.
He explained that four of the seriously injured victims who were
hospitalized had been treated at a private hospital in Bindura, and five are
still receiving treatment for various injuries.
“We understand Inspector Shumba is under arrest and detained at Bindura
Police Station, along with several other junior officers. It is not clear
how many junior officers were arrested,” Pwanyiwa said.
Relatives of the deceased Chiwamba reported that police officers assaulted
him with baton sticks, clenched fists, and boots. According to the Daily
News newspaper police broke down the door and surprised Chiwamba who was
asleep and tried to reach for his clothes. Other family members managed to
The report quoted a relative who said Chiwamba cried out, asking the police
why they were killing him. But his pleas were ignored, even after he started
bleeding and begging to be taken to the hospital.
Pwanyiwa described police in the area as “rowdy” and accused them of being
very violent in the last few months. He said they recently attacked workers
who were demonstrating during a wage dispute and also “pounced on” revellers
at a live music event. Inspector Shumba, who led Saturday’s attacks, is
known to loot products from shops and orders them to close when he wants to.
This abusive police behavior has angered the Shamva South community and led
to residents from all political parties uniting in a demonstration at the
Some observers have expressed doubts that the arrested police officials will
actually face trial and be sentenced, citing a culture of police brutality
against innocent civilians which exists in Zimbabwe under ZANU PF.
Thursday, 22 March 2012
Armed police officers today at around 5am, raided the residence of MDC Chief
of Staff, Abisha Nyanguwo in Harare, claiming to search for weapons of war
and mass destruction before they impounded his Isuzu double cab vehicle.
The officers claimed the raid was in connection with the bombing of Zanu PF’s
Gweru offices in December 2011.
No-one was arrested but the impounded vehicle was taken to Mabelreign Police
The police went to Nyanguwo’s house in the morning but were denied entry by
his lawyer because they did not have a search warrant. The police officers
called for reinforcement and police officers from Harare’s Law and Order
Section arrived with a search warrant.
They searched the house but failed to find any weapons. The police then
impounded his vehicle on allegations that it had been used to bomb the Gweru
Early this year, police in Gweru arrested three MDC members, Shepherd
Marange, Douglas Tsuro and Silas Mutendeudzwa on charges of bombing the Zanu
PF offices but were released later.
The people’s struggle for real change - let’s finish it!!
MDC Information & Publicity Department
By Alex Bell
22 March 2012
The MDC led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has suspended the Mayor of
Marondera, Farai Nyandoro, for allegedly being too close to ZANU PF, among
Nyandoro has been suspended from the party for five years after a
Mashonaland East provincial party committee pressed 12 charges against him
and found him guilty of being too close to ZANU PF as well as reportedly
flouting tender procedures.
MDC-T organising secretary Nelson Chamisa confirmed they were dealing with
the matter internally.
Nyandoro’s relationships with ZANU PF’s Mashonaland East provincial
governor, Aeneas Chigwedere, and provincial chairperson Ray Kaukonde, are
believed to be what got him into trouble. He is also said to have fallen out
of favour with his own party for ‘wining and dining’ ZANU PF provincial
commissar Lawrence Katsiru and District Coordinating Committee chairperson
for Marondera, despite them apparently being responsible for terrorizing MDC
In a suspension letter, MDC-T provincial secretary James Jowa said: “Given
the way the Mayors Cheer Fund was conducted, the committee took the view
that one would inevitably suspect a strong ZANUPF hand in controlling,
directing and executing the course of events at the launch for a council in
which the MDC-T controls 100% seats in the chamber.”
“In fact, the committee feels that you are either an implant or you have
been seriously compromised by ZANU PF whose shenanigans betray an agenda to
infiltrate and divide.”
Nyandoro was also found guilty of allocating stands to mainly ZANU PF
supporters, which the MDC –T ruled was in contravention of their
constitution because he acted “in collaboration with another political
organisation in a manner which is contrary to the achievements of the aims
and objects of the MDC-T.”
In suspending Nyandoro, the MDC-T said: “The committee noted that the issue
of corruption in local authorities has become a thorn in the flesh for the
The MDC-T’s Nelson Chamisa was unfortunately unavailable for comment.
21 March 2012
ZESA spokesman, Fullard Gwasira told VOA's Blessing Zulu the power utility
is happy that government officials and other customers have started settling
their bills while some are still negotiating payment plans
Blessing Zulu | Washington
Senior Zimbabwean officials, among them President Robert Mugabe and many new
black commercial farmers, have opened talks with the country's power
utility, the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, to see how they can
settle their bills, going into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Private media have since the weekend been publishing the names of defaulting
senior government officials following a decision by Mozambique's power
utility, Hydro Cahora Bassa to cut electricity exports to Zimbabwe.
Their exposure has, however, raised tensions in the rickety government of
ZESA sources told the VOA that the majority of the ministers have been told
to pay 25% of what they owe and settle their bills within six months or risk
being switched off completely.
Most cabinet ministers say they want to sell their produce first before
settling their huge bills.
President Mugabe and vice president John Nkomo lead the list of defaulters.
Other senior government officials owing between $50,000 and $350,000 include
Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, Minister of State in the President’s
Office Didymus Mutasa, State Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi,
Information Minister Webster Shamu, Indigenisation Minister Saviour
Kasukuwere and Higher Education Minister Stan Mudenge.
ZESA is struggling to offset a debt of $800 million dollars that includes a
$75 million owed to Hydro Cahora Bassa.
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma says he is headed to Mozambique next week for
negotiations with Hydro since it reduced exports to Zimbabwe from 200 to 50
megawatts only over non payment of its electricity bill.
The Mozambican power utility maintains. though, that it never switched off
ZESA spokesman, Fullard Gwasira told VOA's Blessing Zulu the power utility
is happy that government officials and other customers have started settling
their bills while some are still negotiating payment plans.
Analyst Gladys Hlatyawayo says ZANU-PF ministers must pay up and not try to
politicize the issue.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai told lawmakers last week that he had
settled his $5,000 bill with ZESA, urging colleagues within both the MDC and
ZANU-PF to do the same.
By Sydney Saize
Thursday, 22 March 2012 14:36
HARARE - A Mutare magistrate has foiled a bid to evict victims of the 2005
Murambatsvina demolitions who are now staying in a disused council beerhall.
Mutare magistrate Langton Mukwengi gave a lifeline to 19 families staying at
the disused council beerhall in Sakubva high density area when he granted a
court interdict which provisionally prevents the city council from ejecting
the 19 families who have been staying at Mushando Bar since 2005.
The families’ homes were destroyed by government during operation
The city council, through its health services department, had sought to
evict the 19 families from the beerhall where the council’s housing and
community services department had granted them temporary shelter after
One of the Murambatsvina victims, Benita Goneso stated in her affidavit that
the city council served the families with letters of eviction hence the
Goneso said the families had made Mushando Bar home when they were removed
from various places of residence during operation Murambatsvina, a process
the previous Zanu PF government embarked to remove “illegal” settlers in
She said the city of Mutare had allowed them to occupy part of Mushando Bar
as an interim measure whilst the council organised alternative places where
they would occupy permanently.
“They however, have not relocated us to any other place to date but
surprisingly they are seeking to remove us,” wrote Goneso in her affidavit
to the court.
She said the families did not have alternative accommodation elsewhere and
if forcibly moved, they would be greatly prejudiced and become destitute.
Goneso argued that the city council had through its housing department
headed by Sternard Mapurisa, indicated that the families register for
consideration in the allocation of residential stands but have been offered
one to date.
Goneso and the other 18 applicants had their order granted for the council
to stop evictions until the Mutare city council’s housing department
provides them with alternative accommodation.
They were represented by lawyer Chris Ndlovu.
The council health department sought to evict the families on the grounds
that the “premises had deteriorated in terms of health and hygiene to a
point where they have become so dilapidated and so over-crowded that they
now pose a health hazard to the inmates and the surrounding households.”
Simon Mashababe, the acting director of health services, argued that the
families needed to be evicted since only one toilet and two water points
were being used by the entire 19 families who altogether are 97 people.
“This huge population is just not sustainable considering also that Mushando
was set aside as a temporary accommodation for only six families,” argued
“Please be advised that the council now wants to restore normalcy at the
premises and prevent an impending health disaster by removing all inmates
and revert the building to its original use,” wrote Mashababe in his letter
of eviction to the tenants.
The acting health services director alleged some of the families staying at
Mushando Bar were not the initial recorded beneficiaries and therefore had
to be evicted, a claim disputed by Ndlovu.
Mashababe had offered only three families whom he said were from the
original council list of residential stands in Hobhouse suburb.
He had proposed that the council would provide transport to those who wanted
to be repatriated within Zimbabwe. He had instructed those wishing to stay
in Mutare to register for accommodation with Mapurisa’s department while
staying at their original place of bode.
By Maxwell Sibanda and Wonai Masvingise
Thursday, 22 March 2012 14:40
HARARE - Chaos has rocked the Zanu PF aligned Affirmative Action Group (AAG)
with the organisation issuing conflicting statements yesterday on who is in
charge of the controversial group.
One faction said they had expelled maverick businessman Themba Mliswa from
the organisation because of his “clear disregard and disrespect for the
Mliswa is reported to have claimed presidency of the AAG after an “election”
held in Chinhoyi.
But Mliswa held a parallel press conference where he claimed leadership of
the organisation and dismissed the other faction.
Clifford Hlupeko, AAG chairperson, Mashonaland West said Mliswa’s decision
to set up a different organisation left them with no option but to expel him
from the organisation with immediate effect.
“This decision means that you no longer make statements on behalf of this
organisation nor participate in the organisation’s business forthwith. Any
further attempt to present yourself as a member of AAG or engage in any
activity purporting to be associated with AAG will attract appropriate
action,” said Hlupeko.
He said he was drawing Mliswa’s attention to the fact that “the name AAG or
Affirmative Action Group is a registered trademark under the Patents and
Trademarks act and can only be used with the express authority of the
Founding president who hasn’t done so to you.
“We have advised the president accordingly and counsel to take stern
measures if you do not comply.”
Businessman Phillip Chiyangwa claims ownership of the largely discredited
group saying he is the founding president.
AAG executive director Davison Gomo told Daily News yesterday that the
leadership of his organisation fully endorses the decision taken by the
Mashonaland West AAG chapter to expel Mliswa from AAG.
“No one takes such a decision lightly but given the dishonourable way in
which Mliswa sought to mount a coup on the legitimate leadership of the
organisation, the only option available to us was to take this drastic
action in order to retain organisational integrity.”
But Mliswa hit back and said the AAG did not belong to any individual
He said; “The moment that you invite people to form an organisation be it a
political party, be it any institution, it ceases to be an institution owned
“It ceases being an institution owned by founding members. The moment they
invite others to join they relinquish their power to the whole group. The
Supa Mandiwanzira executive was removed by the membership. It is that very
same membership that does not need founding members."
“It is no secret that any organisation has its founders who are well
respected. I say this because there is confusion as to who is AAG. AAG is
very broad based. Today you see a structure and a face of AAG that you have
never seen. We have the disabled involved, we have war veterans involved and
this has never been done before, that is being broad based.”
Mliswa added; “It becomes necessary for us to say the members say that the
Phillip Chiyangwa led AAG did not deliver in terms of their mandate and
their mandate was to elect a national executive.
“The Mandiwanzira-led AAG also failed to put up a constitution that is
people-driven. The one that was there was individualistic,” charged Mliswa.
THE government has formulated a policy framework to guide the country in
clearing its debts and arrears, says Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
Launching the Zimbabwe Accelerated Arrears Clearance, Debt and Development
Strategy (ZAADDS) on Wednesday, Biti said the country should resolve the
challenge of debts and arrears to be able to move forward with its economic
Strategies spelt out in the policy document include engaging the
international community and creditors to remove sanctions as well as
establishing a Debt Management Office in the Ministry of Finance.
Zimbabwe's debt and arrears, which stand at 118 per cent of its gross
domestic product (GDP), have been cited as a major developmental challenge.
Biti said: "Resolution of the debt issue will unlock fresh financing for
critical infrastructure reconstruction projects and economic recovery
programmes that will significantly improve the quality of life of the
"In the absence of resolution of Zimbabwe's external debt question, it will
remain difficult for us to realize the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals)
and for the ordinary Zimbabwean to participate fully in the country's
Biti said it was important for development partners and international
financial institutions to note and appreciate the progress which the
country's inclusive government had made to resuscitate the economy.
"Judge us by the track record of what we have done. Our figures have spoken
for us. GDP growth rates have been above 7.0 per cent after 2009 with
industrial capacity utilization rising from between five to ten per cent to
40 to 60 per cent," he added.
The Zimbabwean economy has been on a recovery path since 2009 when the
country adopted multiple foreign currencies and the inclusive government was
By Pindai Dube
Thursday, 22 March 2012 08:49
BULAWAYO - Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial youth member, Victor Chiponda was
arrested and appeared before a city magistrate yesterday for threatening to
kill a white businessman.
Chiponda is alleged to have threatened to kill Wayne Newton Brenber, a white
businessman who owns Grey Fuel Service Station along 12th Avenue and Josiah
Tongogara Street in the city.
According to the state outline, Chiponda who had no permission from the
party’s provincial leaders,visited Brenber’s garage early this month
demanding fuel to transport Zanu PF youths to President Robert Mugabe’s 21st
February Movement 88th birthday music gala which was held in Chipinge in
Manicaland on March 3.
He failed to secure fuel from Brenber, but returned to the Grey Fuel Service
Station on Friday last week and did not manage to locate Brenber.
The Zanu PF youth then shouted at the businessman’s wife who was present
saying “Tell him this is not Rhodesia, its Zimbabwe, I am going to kill him”.
Chiponda appeared in court yesterday, charged with extortion as defined in
Section 134 of the Criminal Law.
Magistrate Munjanja granted him $120 bail and postponed the matter to next
The arrest of Chiponda comes just a week after four Zanu PF youths were also
arrested for extortion in Bulawayo.
The four youths, Hardlife Ndlovu, Ngobani Mlilo, Mthunzi Mabhena and Obert
Musendo appeared before Bulawayo provincial magistrate Gideon Ruvetsa facing
kidnap and extortion charges last week.
They are accused of extorting money from touts who operate outside Mac’s
Garage along the Masvingo - Bulawayo and the Bulawayo - Harare highways.
The four are accused of having ordered a group of rank marshals into a blue
commuter omnibus last week and drove it to the Zanu PF Bulawayo Provincial
headquarters at Davies Hall, where they demanded payment of $50 per route
They allegedly told the rank marshals that the money paid would be used to
fuel all Zanu PF vehicles in the city daily.
There has been an upsurge in the number of Zanu PF members who are going
around the city threatening businesspeople, ordinary people and occupying
buildings in recent months, claiming to be implementing the Indigenisation
and Empowerment Act.
Last year, several buildings owned by foreign businesspeople were occupied
by the party’s youths.
By Tichaona Sibanda
22 March 2012
A firebrand MDC-T youth leader said on Thursday his party has been astounded
by a High Court Judge’s decision to postpone indefinitely the bail
application by the Glen View 29 group.
Before Thursday’s decision the bail application for the group had been
postponed eight times in three weeks, due to various excuses.
Promise Mkwananzi, the Secretary-General of the Youth Assembly, told SW
Radio Africa they were left shocked and disgusted at the disdainful attitude
of the judiciary system in Zimbabwe.
‘This is clear case of miscarriage of justice and a deliberate ploy to
continue the incarceration of innocent civilians for no apparent reason. The
judge has postponed the case indefinitely and what that means is our guys
are suffering indefinitely,’ Mkwananzi said.
Asked how his party will react to the judge’s ruling, the youth leader was
unequivocal that they will take the fight to the highest political office in
‘We’re going to press ahead politically, legally and otherwise to ensure
that justice is delivered to the accused. Justice delayed is justice denied
and we take this whole issue as a political motive by ZANU PF,’ Mkwananzi
The 29 MDC-T members are in remand prison facing charges of murdering a
police officer in Glen View, Harare last May. The state last month added
another charge of public violence against the group.
Mkwananzi described as ridiculous the excuses and number of times the bail
application has been postponed. On Wednesday it was adjourned after one of
the assessors asked to be excused as he wanted to catch a bus home.
On Monday it was postponed due to electricity cuts in the capital city.
Twice last week the hearing was postponed because the judge said he was
sick. Before that, another High Court Judge, Felistas Chitakunye, postponed
the hearing on two occasions as she wanted more time to go through the state’s
response to the bail application.
When the defence team, led by Charles Kwaramba, filed for a fresh bail
application soon after the group was taken into custody earlier this month,
the hearing had to be postponed twice after state prosecutors requested time
to make a response.
‘If the judges are lazy or too old to hear these cases they should resign
and go home. It’s absurd the entire High Court bench cannot assign a judge
to deal with this matter, which in our eyes is very simple. Its either they
grant them bail or not, and not this dilly-darling,’ said Mkwananzi.
On Monday 26th March, the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria will begin
hearing a landmark case brought by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre
(SALC) and the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum (ZEF) to compel South Africa to abide
by its legal obligations to investigate and prosecute high level Zimbabwean
officials accused of crimes against humanity.
SALC and ZEF are asking the High Court to review and set aside the decision
of the National Prosecuting Authority and the South African Police Services
not to investigate Zimbabwean officials linked to acts of state-sanctioned
torture following a police raid on the headquarters of the Movement for
Democratic Change in 2007.
This case will present the High Court with an opportunity to set an
important precedent, which will ensure that South Africa lives up to its
international and domestic legal responsibilities to prosecute perpetrators
of international crimes wherever they are committed.
The case represents the first time that a South African court will have the
opportunity to provide guidance on the scope and nature of the obligations
placed on the South African authorities by signing up to the International
Criminal Court and domesticating its obligations.
Where – North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria
When – The hearing will run from Monday 26th – Friday 31st March, starting
The United Nations Children’s Educational Fund (UNICEF) is succeeding in
helping in the revival of Zimbabwe’s education system that had been in free
fall during the last decade.
by Byron Adonis Mutingwende
On Wednesday UNICEF announced the completion of the first phase of the
Education Transition Fund in which it had dispatched textbooks for more than
2,300 secondary schools. It revealed that combined with the primary school
textbook distribution completed in 2011, the total number of textbooks
procured was around 23 million and the initiative was set to make Zimbabwe
the only country in Africa with an estimated ratio of pupils to textbooks of
According to UNICEF, the Education Transition Fund (ETF) is a multi-donor
pooled fund guided by a steering committee, chaired by the Ministry of
Education Sports, Arts and Culture (MOESAC). The ETF was established in late
2009 as a response to the decline in the quality of education and the lack
of availability of textbooks and other teaching materials. The ratio of
pupils to textbooks was estimated at around 10:1 in 2009 with a full 20% of
primary schools having no books at all.
“ETF funds are fully managed by UNICEF and, contrary to the Herald article
published yesterday (Tuesday) reporting on a parliamentary portfolio
committee debate, all procurement has been conducted according to UN rules
and regulations rather than government tender procedures. These rules
dictate that bids are adjudicated on the basis of both quality and value for
A Contracts Review Committee must approve all such procurement processes;
such committees were comprised only of UN senior staff; these committees did
not include any government minister or indeed any other government official
and are subjected to the strictest conflict of interest, transparency,
confidentiality and audit requirements.
The original target of ETF phase I was to improve the ratio of pupils to
textbooks in primary school from 10: 1 to around 2:1. Due to the economies
of scale, the successful procurement exercises using established UN
procedures, as well as the willingness of the Zimbabwean publishing houses
to act in the best interests of children, the ETF programmes was able to
purchase textbooks at less than $1 USD per book.
These savings not only allowed a 1:1 ratio of primary school books to be
achieved but also enabled the programme to be extended to secondary schools
within the same budget envelope; in total, 16.5 million more textbooks were
therefore procured benefitting 2 million more Zimbabwean children. The total
estimated combined savings to international donors, and ultimately to
Zimbabwean children, has been more than 50 million USD across both the
primary and secondary school procurement exercises,” read the UNICEF
UNICEF procured textbooks in Environmental Science, English, Shona, Ndebele,
History and Geography. The three main Zimbabwean publishing houses, ZPH,
Longmans and College Press were awarded contracts under this programme for
either primary or secondary schools, on a quality and value for money basis.
As they hold copyright under Zimbabwean law, each publishing house selected
their preferred printers.
The UNICEF statement went further to say that in addition to core textbooks,
ETF phase I has also supported procurement of Braille books for children
with visual impairments, minority language books, steel cabinets and
stationery as well as a capacity development programme for School
Development Committees. Phase II of the programme, which will commence in
2012, will focus on quality of education, school governance and access to
education, the statement added.
(AFP) – 2 hours ago
HARARE — Zimbabwe and mining firm Zimplats have yet to settle the details of
a deal in which the company is to cede a 51-percent stake to local
investors, a cabinet minister said Thursday.
"We agreed in principle but there must be an evaluation of assets and
resources," Youth Development, Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister
Saviour Kasukuwere told journalists at an investment conference in Harare.
"At the end of the day we want a win-win situation. We are on track and on
course on the realisation of the law. We want a fair share of what belongs
to us and discussions are on-going at the moment."
Zimplats, the local unit of the world's second-largest platinum producer
Impala Platinum, reached a deal with the Zimbabwe government that will see
the company give 10 percent ownership to its workers, another 10 percent to
a community trust near its mine, and 31 percent to the government's
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.
But under the controversial local ownership law championed by long-ruling
President Robert Mugabe, the government must pay for the shares it
receives -- something the cash-strapped Treasury has not budgeted this year.
Impala said last week that the agreement only stipulated "that the shares
sales would be at appropriate value".
Two weeks ago the Zimbabwean government threatened to nationalise Zimplats
for non-compliance with the regulations.
The deal is being closely watched by other foreign companies, including
banks and retailers, as a bellwether of Zimbabwe's investment climate and
the security of their own operations.
Mugabe's partner in the unity government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai,
has warned that the law passed two years ago would discourage investment.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
“I used to sell fish under the trees, and carry fish on my head. I would
wake up at 4am to walk a long distance to buy fish from the fishermen. Now I
sleep and wake up normal hours, and have my tea before the Captain comes. I
never thought I would have time to sleep, eat, work and rest like this!”
So reveals Kuli Mungombe, one of ten women who are making history in
Zimbabwe by owning and operating a fishing rig in the country. The women,
from the Tonga ethnic group, formally entered the male-dominated industry
last year after being provided with the rig, equipment and skills training.
They have since been working to scale up the venture in Binga, one of the
country’s least developed districts, so that it can sustain them and their
families, as well as create opportunities for other women in the area.
This is the first time since the 1950s that women from their ethnic group
have been able to fish at all. Although it was traditionally the Tonga women
who fished, using traditional Zubo baskets, aspects of their matrilineal
culture changed when the group were displaced by the construction of the
Kariba Dam during the colonial era. Their access to resources reduced, and
their participation in community fishing ended.
The Zubo Basilizwi Trust, a women-focused development organisation, secured
the fishing rig for the women traders in Siachilaba, supported by UN Women.
Designed with women in mind, it has toilets and showering facilities,
includes special technology such as a fish locator, and is slightly larger
than those on most other rigs to provide more stability on the river.
The ten women were selected from a group of 80 fish traders from Siachilaba
village after they acquired a fishing licence and passed the required
fitness and medical exam. They were initially joined by four male rig
operators, who helped train them to handle the operation themselves. The
women have built temporary homes nearby on the riverbank, and are devoting
themselves full-time, and successfully, to their new jobs: their sales
average has doubled from the days prior to the rig, at about US $2,500 per
With UN Women, the Zubo Basilizwi Trust is now helping the women to organize
into collectives, improve their market stands and conditions in Siachilaba,
and also market their fish to Zimbabwe’s larger towns and cities. A
revolving fund has been set up by the programme to provide them with small
“I grew up knowing that any meaningful business was a preserve for men, not
for us women,” says rig operator, Sarudzai Mumpande, describing the
difficulties the women have traditionally faced. “We have since overcome
those challenges because we have organized ourselves into a serious business
The businesswomen have also worked out a scheme for sharing their income so
that it benefits other women. From their earnings, 50 per cent will go to
the female rig operators; 30 per cent into a basket-weaving fund for women
in the area; and 20 per cent will be given to the Zubo Basilizwi Trust to
expand the revolving fund for women in other areas. And while many
challenges still remain, the women are starting to believe and accept that
they are champions of their own destinies.
“Although I grew up here I had never been to the harbour. I had no idea what
it felt like to sail on the river,” says rig operator, Violet Mwinde. “I
sold fish for years but could not afford to eat the fish I sold. Now, our
children come to visit during the holidays and have fish. My life has
changed significantly. I am healthy, physically and in spirit.”
Click here to read Press Release:THIRD WAY SOLUTION TO ZIMBABWE POLITICAL CROSSROADS
By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 22nd March 2012.
News that a pilot has been nabbed in Zimbabwe with US$2m diamond stash is
probably the biggest scoop of the week.
A Harare court reportedly this week charged an Israeli pilot Shmuel Kainan
Klein, 58 with trying to smuggle diamonds worth US$2 million out of Zimbabwe
by pretending to be part of the crew of a South African Airways flight.
It is gratifying to note the diamonds story in the wake of our calls to curb
gem smuggling through the Harare International Airports in last week’s
instalment: “2012 – The year of the New Diamond Mining Act, 12/03/12).
We hinted on the problem of smuggling and money laundering that is allegedly
taking place in some of the country’s banking halls and at the Harare
International Airport with some bent pilots being fingered as actors.
AFP news agency has also said “Even gem-smuggling pilots are cited,” in its
story ‘Dirty deals dog Zimbabwe diamonds fields,’ France 24.com, March 4,
It will be recalled that India’s Revenue Intelligence Directorate arrested
two Indian nationals Zohra Desai, 53 and Prema Desai, 49 with 9.72 kilograms
or 48,663 carat consignment of Marange rough diamonds valued at US$2
million in April 2011.
The two had allegedly smuggled the Zimbabwe diamonds through Kenya and were
caught trying to sell the stones in Surat, India.
Investigations in 2010 revealed that US$1 billion of Marange diamonds were
looted from 2006 to 2008 mostly by the Zimbabwean army and proceeds used to
partly finance a campaign of violence to keep Mugabe in power (The
Zimbabwean, US$1 billion Marange diamonds looted, 10/12/10).
According to reports, rich alluvial deposits were allegedly smuggled to
India and Dubai and proceeds were laundered into offshore accounts and
others held at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe customs should therefore, be commended for a job well done in
rumbling a suspected gem smuggler.
However, the authorities in Harare will have to invest in high tech scanning
machines for unmasking the numerous loopholes used by criminal gangs to
smuggle drugs and gems which include food, fake pieces of art and sculpture,
machines parts, false shoe soles, clothing and machine parts through the
post office, airports, official and illegal border crossings.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, London, email@example.com
Analysis: Money will help, but the country needs rational economic policies,
rule of law and democracy.
Andrew MeldrumMarch 22, 2012 06:26
BOSTON, Massachusetts — What will it take to get Zimbabwe's economy back on
How about $14 billion?
That's what Finance Minister Tendai Biti said is needed to get Zimbabwe's
economy back to its 1990 levels, according to Agence France-Presse.
Biti was speaking to a seminar organized by the government to try to lure
foreign investment to the country. "We have a foreign debt of $9.1 billion.
We have defaulted as far back as 1999," he said.
Actually, no amount of money can fix Zimbabwe's economy. Not as long as
President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party continue to control the
The real solution for Zimbabwe's economy is free. It is rational economic
policies and good governance.
Zimbabwe, once the most prosperous and productive country in southern
Africa, experienced a record-breaking economic crash as a result of the the
violent seizures of white-owned farms that President Robert Mugabe's regime
started in 2000. Then Mugabe rubbed salt into the wounded economy with
irrational currency regulations that sent inflation beyond one billion
Zimbabwe's gross domestic product hit a low of $4.4 billion in 2008 and has
since recovered to $7.4 billion, largely as a result of the work of Biti,
who restored some sanity to economic policies. Biti, in office as a result
of the power-sharing government between Mugabe's Zanu-PF party and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), tamed
inflation, but only by jettisoning the Zimbabwean currency. Agricultural
productivity remains low.
Biti's hands are tied because Mugabe and his cronies still call the shots.
And they continue to hurt the economy.
The latest threat to Zimbabwe's economy is Mugabe's controversial
indigenization law, in which foreign firms are forced to surrender 51
percent of their shares to black Zimbabweans. The government has vowed to
nationalize companies that do not comply with the law.
That's a great way to frighten off investors.
Take a look at Zimbabwe's largest platinum miner, Zimplats, a subsidiary of
Impala Platinum, the world's second-biggest platinum producer. Zimplats said
the government would have to pay up to $1 million for 31 percent shares in
the company. The Mugabe government rejected the proposal, saying it does not
have to pay for the shares and threatened to nationalize Zimplats, according
to the state-controlled Herald newspaper.
Threats like that can only hurt an economic recovery.
Then there is the confusion over Zimbabwe's diamond earnings. Biti warned
that the state's decreased earnings from Zimbabwe's Marange diamond fields
could force the government to shut down.
Zimbabwe anticipated $77.5 million in revenue from diamond sales during the
first two months of the year, but received only $19.5 million, Biti said,
according to AFP. He said the diamond earnings are down because there had
not been any international diamond auction since the beginning of the year.
Mugabe's critics and the international watchdog, Global Witness, allege that
his cronies are illegally funneling the diamond money into a fund to get
Mugabe and Zanu-PF reelected in the impending national polls.
This week, six Zimbabwean activists were convicted on charges of plotting to
violently overthrow the government because they were caught watching news
videos of the Arab Spring revolts in Tunisia and Egypt. The verdict shows
that Zimbabwe's judicial system is still being manipulated by the Mugabe
The six, including former parliamentarian and university lecturer Munyaradzi
Gwisai, received lenient sentences of community service. But they should
never have been charged at all, let alone found guilty. The erosion of the
rule of law is a significant impediment to economic growth.
Farm seizures, forced share transfers of companies, ruling party control of
diamond earnings, spurious charges against government critics: These are all
problems that will not be fixed by money — not even $14 billion.
The real way to get Zimbabwe's economy working again is to restore rational
economic policies, the rule of law and democracy.
Only a return to accountable governance will get the economy growing again,
so that ordinary Zimbabweans can have enough to eat.
Tanonoka Joseph Whande
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Of all the philosophical stunts performed, none reflects the shortage of
decency and abundance of cynicism in society than that of Diogenes, the
Greek philosopher who begged for a living and made a virtue of poverty.
At midday, Diogenes carried a flaming oil lamp as he roved the streets,
claiming to be looking for an honest man.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has threatened to fire anyone of his
cabinet ministers found guilty of corruption in the abuse of government
funds meant for constituency development.
Tsvangirai cracks whip, we are told.
But Mr Tsvangirai must be warned that “Diogenes looked for a human being but
reputedly found nothing but rascals and scoundrels”.
Even in this day of fluorescent lights, Tsvangirai is going to be hard
pressed to find a decent man.
We hold Members of Parliament in high esteem because we collectively asked
them to be our messengers. And when they source or are given money to assist
them to assist their constituencies, we should believe that they are
equalisers who will do the right thing for the community.
With that money, they can help starving children, buy books for them, feed
the elderly and the little ones at a crèche or improve a road here and
Anything they choose to uplift their constituencies. But then how heartless
does one have to be to be given such money and then turn around, put that
money in their pocket and move away?
Several Members of Parliament, across the political divide, have been
implicated in the abuse of public funds meant for constituency development.
The perks they get, ranging from sitting allowances, accommodation
allowances, transport, free meals here and there, are not enough.
They want it all for themselves.
I also fear that this practice, touching all political parties as it does,
may also present us with further conclusive proof that the MDC, let alone
ZANU-PF, ever cared for the people.
MDC lawmakers are being implicated in such disgusting thievery. These are
the people we voted for because they were once so observant as to see all
the dirty games ZANU-PF MPs engaged in.
Now the MDC MPs are also passengers on the gravy train at the expense of the
poor people in their constituencies.
This is organised crime.
When this shameful scandal broke, Tsvangirai’s spokesperson told the Daily
News that any MDC party member implicated in corrupt activities, including
those found guilty of looting the Constituency Development Fund (CDF), will
face the chop.
It sounds good, doesn’t it? Unlike Mugabe, Tsvangirai is looking for an
honest man. It would be a commendable move under normal circumstances. But
who are they fooling?
We have not heard from Mugabe about any menacing promises of retribution of
ZANU-PF lawmakers found guilty of looting the public funds.
I have, however, always lamented the integrity and calibre of our Members of
Parliament, who are practically picked off the streets.
Nondescript men and women who are shameless loudmouth praise singers ending
up being ‘Honourable Members of Parliament’ at the expense of political
decency and meaningful social activism.
I have always warned us to be careful whenever we vote for a Member of
Parliament because we entrust the welfare of the nation in the hands of
these so-called Honourable members.
A rogue, sweet-talking local can easily mesmerise people in his area and the
very next day, he becomes a Member of Parliament.
The one-time vagabond has made it at last! From being homeless to being paid
a housing allowance; from walking in sneakers full of holes to driving a
brand new 4 by 4 vehicle.
None can believe themselves. These are the men and women we expect to uphold
the virtues of our nation and the decency of our political parties.
These are the men and women we look up to and hope for them to fight
corruption that is destroying our nation.
These are the people we expect to sit down and map “the way forward” on our
These crooks are there because honest men and women chose to do nothing
In the end, our parliament is populated by people who are there for their
own gain with no national interest.
Even the nation’s custodian of law and order, Attorney General Johannes
Tomana, at one time issued a directive to stop arrests of MPs who abused
these Community Development Funds… a clear attempt to protect legislators
from his ZANU-PF party.
Who are these people and where did they come from?
They cannot govern us or rule our nation; they are burdened with desire to
fill their own stomachs and gather more than they can use. Most of our MPs
and government officials lack principles. They are slaves of their own
Asked about his trade, Diogenes, who had been sold into slavery, replied
that he knew no trade but that of governing men. He had, of course, noticed
the inadequacy in those in position of authority.
Diogenes ended his answer with a plea to be sold to a man who needed a
master, meaning the governed can govern better than the governors.
Remember that on Election Day!
Corruption, which, in simple terms, is “the use of power by government
officials for illegitimate private gain”, is a cancer that no nation needs
and which must be dealt with.
It is, however, a curable cancer that this ineffective government of
national unity cannot deal with because they all have men and women who have
to answer to one thing or other.
While we are still trying to come to terms with the missing Constituency
Development Fund monies, we are hit with another Tsunami.
The same men and women who set our laws and regulations and who govern our
country and run our nation are not paying their electricity bills at the
same time the common people are having their electricity disconnected for
Isn’t Mugabe himself ashamed that, in spite of the fact that he and his
family live virtually for free, with almost every tab picked up by the
common people, and always harasses national coffers, he does not pay utility
It is a matter of decency and Mugabe should honestly be ashamed of himself.
Remember the guy who, about three weeks ago, was sentenced to 10 years in
jail for reconnecting electricity to his home after being disconnected for a
How did just four men, Mugabe, Chris Mushowe, Saviour Kasukuwere and CIO
supremo, Happyton Bonyongwe run up a bill of more than a million dollars
without being disconnected?
A look at the list of defaulters shows that big cats from all political
parties are involved once again.
And how did Gideon Gono run up a telephone bill of $800 000? This, clearly,
is an indication of the recklessness of these people.
Even Tsvangirai recently admitted to having paid $5 000 towards his
electricity bill, meaning that he, like many other top officials, was also
defaulting on his payments.
The fact that such large amounts can be accumulated in arrears is an
indication of an across the board practice adopted by top government
The heart of the matter is that we have lost our identity and goodwill. We
have become a nation with animalistic, predatory instincts.
We watch our sons and daughters kill people. We applaud when our supporters
murder our people.
We do not gather to say “stop it”, let alone admit our shortcomings.
We have turned into beasts, paying top money to justify our transgressions
Who are we and what do we want?
How insensitive can politicians get! Our country is going through very rough
times and the poor people are carrying the brunt of all the economic ruin
brought about by the same people who are literally stealing from us in broad
Yes, stealing because you can rest assured that most of these monies owed
are going to be written off by these overpaid, non-performing
When elected officials from all political parties, including their leaders,
behave in such a manner, who then is going to police the other?
And we are talking about only one parastatal.
None of us alive here today have the authority to do to Zimbabwe what we are
doing to this nation.
Zimbabwe never at any time gave Mugabe or anyone the authority to do what he
is doing to the country.
We, all of us, are going to pay heavily for letting these people do what
they are doing to our nation.
And, the most frightening development is that the MDC is now being caught in
the same corruption nets that have always yielded ZANU-PF malcontents as the
culprits milking our nation dry.
Yes, my dear compatriots, I am also looking for an honest man. There is talk
about elections; we must throw out all the rascals.
I am Tanonoka Joseph Whande and that, my fellow Zimbabweans, is the way it
is to day, Thursday, March 22, 2012.
The HRT Remains Unshaken by Violence threats
Harare- After failing to take more money from unsuspecting residents, the
bogus Welfare Trust organization has now resorted to violence by identified
rogue elements in communities who now use death threats on the HRT community
leadership and personnel, claiming they have police protection.
Instead of resorting to violence and this thuggish behaviour the Welfare
Trust officials or activists could focus on what they really want to
achieve. The HRT is not an enemy but merely offering free advice to an
irresponsible outfit, drunk with confusion on how to become relevant under
these economic and socio-political conditions. The HRT is focused on service
delivery advocacy and policy reforms to strengthen citizen participation in
Since Saturday 17 March 2012, a man who identified himself as Moffat
Swizani, known to residents in Geneva suburb in Highfield as the Secretary
for Transport in Zanu PF’s District Coordinating Committee 2, has been using
an Econet mobile number 0773 864 480 to issue violent threats on HRT
officials Precious Shumba (HRT Founder and Director), Simbarashe Majamanda
(Membership), Tariro Manhendere (Advocacy and Communications), Sylvia
Bhasikolo (Mabvuku Treasurer) and community volunteers saying they will
unleash violence similar to the violence witnessed in Zimbabwe during the
‘June 27’ election run-off, whatever he meant.
This Moffat, who claimed that he was the director of the Welfare Trust, said
there was no one who could stop them, even the police. The HRT believes that
the Zimbabwe Republic Police knows they have a Constitutional mandate to
protect all citizens and will not sink so low to protect criminal behaviour.
While there is nothing wrong about anyone being a Zanu PF member, it is
criminal for a person or a group of people to hide behind Zanu PF,
tarnishing its image and reputation by persecuting innocent citizens.
Asked why he was behaving like a village bully, Moffat claimed that “the HRT
is undermining the Welfare trust by telling people that it was a bogus
organization.’ The HRT maintains that this organization is bogus and should
be held accountable for the thousands of dollars that they misled poor
residents to part with.
The Welfare Trust accuses the HRT of influencing communities to resist the
temptation to pay US$1 for membership and US$20 to clear one’s debts,
irrespective of amounts owed to the City of Harare. This organization has no
mandate; neither does it have the authority to spread false information to
the residents on cancellation of debts.
Only the City of Harare, through a council resolution, can cancel residents’
The HRT stands for justice in the interest of residents in Harare
Metropolitan Province. One major reason that this fly-by-night organization
has panicked and resorted to stone-age tactics of violence and intimidation
of those who hold different views to theirs is because they have no agenda
to advance community development. Their objective was simply to dupe
residents and disappear into thin air. If it is not money they were after,
let us see them in the communities discussing service delivery and make
meaningful contributions towards attaining real development in communities.
The HRT urges the police to put a stop to this madness where political thugs
come onto the development scene to instill fear in legitimate organizations
pursuing development objectives. Failure to intervene in this matter leaves
citizens with no option but to ask those within communities to stand up to
this bullying by insignificant individuals who have even lost relevance in
their respective political parties.
As a residents’ organization, the HRT serves communities through a
participatory development approach framework where citizens at community
level determine what kind of intervention they expect or require from
To the Welfare Trust, our message as the HRT is that you must be careful how
you behave because very soon you will be facing residents in their numbers
demanding their money back. In fact, residents are urged to demand their
money back because their debts will not just go away. Whenever they move
into their neighbourhood, residents are urged to shun their meetings and
stop this nonsense of opening ears and eyes only after being conned.
The City Treasury, the City Councillors have been releasing information
discouraging residents from being misled by this outfit.
To this end the HRT will be exposing one by one of this outfit until
residents are clear on who they really are.
Who is the Welfare Trust? Is it another Chipangano outfit?
Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.