Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Zim police confiscate Tsvangirai's car

from the Zimdiaspora

Zimbabwe police in Lupane district in Matabeleland Norh region are still holding on to a BMW X5 belonging to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai nine months after it was confiscated.

The car is currently parked in the open at Lupane Police station car park at the mercy of the weather, the reporter said.

Central Intelligence officers and the Police impounded Tsvangirai's armored vehicle on 6 June last year in the run up to the run-off elections and detained the MDC leader at the Lupane Police Station for alleged registration irregularities.

Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Edmore Veterai who won praise from Zanu PF when he struck the new Prime Minister with a rifle butt in March 2007 allegedly issued orders for the continued impounding of Tsvangirai's vehicle.

SADC says okay to 8Billion dollars for Zim

from VOA

A proposal by Zimbabwe to raise between US$8 billion and US$10 billion to fund an economic relaunch and infrastructure reconstruction program received support Monday from the Southern African Development Community, though questions remained as to how much of the package South Africa and other SADC countries would be able to finance...

Bloomberg reported that Zimbabwe's Southern African peers agreed to lobby in favor of and help to finance the recovery package, which was twice as large as what Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai had earlier said would be required to turn the country around....

Uh, lobby? Lobby?
You mean, like, ask someone else to give the money?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Law has a long road ahead

from the LATIMES

The new unity government has raised hopes that President Mugabe's regime would face justice for years of political killings, arrests and torture. But many opposition activists remain jailed....

After months of legal wrangling, his mother and father and some other jailed opposition activists -- including Roy Bennett, who has been tapped to serve as deputy agriculture minister -- were finally freed on bail early this month. But they still face trial on charges of terrorism and plotting to oust longtime President Robert Mugabe...

Zimbabwean civic activist organizations support a truth and reconciliation commission, which would be a lengthy and unwieldy process because of the number of crimes. The Human Rights Forum has recorded reports of 40,000 human rights violations since 2001, when it started collecting the information....

Economic recovery tied to political rebirth

from the Times (SA)

EDITORIAL: PRESIDENT Kgalema Motlanthe will today chair a Southern African Development Community meeting aimed at formulating an economic recovery programme for Zimbabwe....

Given South Africa’s recent track record on human rights — barring the Dalai Lama from visiting — it would not be surprising if this delegation believes it can separate Zimbabwe’s economic recovery from its political rebirth.

But that would be a big mistake....

Zimbabwe has a power-sharing government, but this beast of compromise is a poor substitute for the real thing — a democratically elected government with parliamentary institutions that can function freely and fairly.

Without this airing of the cupboards of power, not all the money that is poured into Zimbabwe will find its way to rebuilding the economy and there can be little faith by international funders and donors that their money is not going to fund the avaricious cronies who drove Zimbabwe into the dirt while living the high life under Robert Mugabe....

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Zim to arrest Farm invaders

from the IHT:


Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Friday warned people invading commercial farms that they were committing theft and would be arrested and prosecuted, appearing to challenge a key feature of President Robert Mugabe's land policies.

The seizure of white-owned farms to give to poor black Zimbabweans has become a controversial but important Mugabe strategy, and his opponents say this has helped to destroy the agriculture sector that was once the backbone of the economy....

This should make the UK happy.

But as I have noted before, the problem is the way Mugabe did land reform: Essentially getting thugs to take over farms, and often giving them to big shots.

In the Philippines, the law was passed limiting how much land one could own...as a result, my husband's ancestral land is now "owned" by the tenants. We never did get reimbursed but then a lot of times his famiily never got paid much rent either.

But the farmers got the land, not the government...

A year after contested election, hope?

from the AFP:


The country's hope now rest on a fledgling power-sharing government between President Robert Mugabe and former opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

One analyst argued that with Mugabe's dominance broken by the March 29 poll last year, the country has reason to be hopeful.

"It brought a sense of hope after ZANU-PF lost its majority in parliament and Robert Mugabe lost an election for the first time since 1980. The era of political hegemony is over," said Eldred Masunungure, a political scientist from the University of Zimbabwe.

The unlikely team have revived optimism in the hyperinflation battered country which has switched to the US dollar and the South African rand.

Within days of the formation of the new government with Tsvangirai as prime minister, state schools and hospitals re-opened and food has begun to appear on empty supermarket shelves.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Runaway inflation tamed?

from TimeMagazine

The Zimbabwean government's dollarization program has stopped inflation and made food prices more constant
(photoPhilimon Bulawayo / Reuters)
The Zimbabwean government's dollarization program has stopped inflation and made food prices more constant...

...The decision to "dollarize" Zimbabwe's economy, one of the first acts of the new unity government (including erstwhile enemies President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai), has brought a small amount of stability to the economically ruined country. All civil servants now earn a monthly salary of U.S. $100, while shops and banks accept dollars and rands.The move to dump the Zimbabwe dollar has also stemmed the country's runaway inflation. ...

Chiadzwa mine report

From Bloomberg:

March 26 (Bloomberg) -- Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corp. is extracting up to 60,000 carats a week from the country’s Chiadzwa Diamond Fields, the Zimbabwe Times said, citing Mining Minister Obert Mpofu.

The state-owned ZMDC needs new equipment in order to meet its target income of $600,000 a day from Chiadzwa, also known as the Marange fields, the U.S.-based online newspaper said, citing Mpofu in a speech to parliament in the capital, Harare....

Lawlessness expected to put aid on hold

From IWPR:

The two officials told journalists in separate press briefings in Harare that a new outbreak of farm invasions which have disrupted 100 of the 300 remaining white-owned farms does not augur well for the resumption of full international support.

Tornaes said her government would only consider new investments in Zimbabwe after the outstanding issues of farm property rights and the protection of commercial farms covered under bilateral investment promotion and protection agreements have been resolved....

Officials told IWPR the visits by the Danish and Norwegian delegations were part of the government’s move to coax the EU and the West to lift targeted sanctions against Mugabe to allow a free flow of aid.

But analysts said the lawlessness playing out in the farm invasions has killed any chances of getting substantial support from the international community.

“Nothing has changed as far as the international community is concerned,” said John Makumbe, a fiery critic of Mugabe who teaches political science at the University of Zimbabwe. “It would be madness to expect them to bail out the country when farms are being seized in front of their eyes and political prisoners still languish in prison.”...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Zim prisoners starving to death

from SWRadioAfrica:

A major humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Zimbabwe’s prisons, due to lack of food and a total break down of the prison service. It’s reported that inmates ravaged by disease and hunger are ‘dying like flies’ with no solution in sight. This is happening while the ‘chefs’ continue to splash out millions of dollars on fancy cars for themselves.

Although access to the prisons is restricted, reports from relatives and friends of inmates have exposed the dire situation. This past week an estimated 1,300 people at Harare Central Prison were left to starve, as the prison ran out of food completely....

A rights activist, speaking on condition of anonymity on Monday, said the inmates at Harare Central are fed just once a day, at around 3pm, and on Sunday they had a few soya beans, with nothing else.
We were not able to get prison authorities to confirm the situation, but our source said about 10 inmates are dying everyday at Harare Central Prison alone.

“It’s pretty shocking when we’ve got between 1,300 and 1,500 prisoners in a prison and there is no food to feed them. If you are in the bush you can forage, but in a prison there is not much you can do if you are not getting food,” the activist said. Many prisoners have suppressed immune systems, due to HIV infection, a situation that is worsened by lack of proper food.

A glimmer of hope for Kabila's Congo

at link a long report on the war, and a recent cease fire in Central Africa.

too long to excerpt...

and read the various comments.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Asia and pushing safe sex

with all the kerfluffle about the Pope, I think a lot of activists are getting things mixed up.

For example, gay HIV activists are protesting in Paris: But the tremendous number of sexual partners of many gay men would make most people astonished.

The dirty little secret in Africa is that much of the HIV spread is due to genital sores (uncircumcized men and women who use drying agents in the vagina because men like the "dry" feel") .

Make it sexy for a woman to use "anti viral foam" which is not contraceptive, and even the Catholics will be giving it out to those who test positive to protect the spouse.

And make teenaged boys go out and arrange their own circumcision as proof that they have reached manhood (here in the Philippines, the boys arrange it themselves, although nowadays, the hospitals will hold clinics for the boys). Indeed, make it a puberty ceremony, as is done in many African tribes, and in some Muslim areas.

I think a lot of the American view of HIV in Africa is that they think Africans are all promiscuous. I remember a lot of racist jokes when early studies showed HIV came from Monkeys. These racists were well educated people, yet didn't realize that poor people ate monkey meat, and could get infected that way.

But how many HIV cases are spread via poor clinics that reuse syringes and needles because they can't aff0rd to buy clean new ones? H0w many cases are from injections from self proclaimed healers who give out herbal medicine and vitamin or anti biotic injections, without adequate ways to clean the syringes?

How many cases are because of scarifiction cuts, either as medical treatment or for ritual reasons?

As for condoms: Africa should do as many Asian countries: separate the HIV teachings for different groups.

Encourage men to respect women, and be faithful. Promote fidelity as the behavior of a real man. Encourage Mistresses and polygamy for men who have no self control.

For teenagers, stress putting off sex until maturity. You can combine birth control/condom instructions with abstinence : You stress abstinence until one is ready for marriage (which of course may mean lobola paid). Younger women have thinner mucus membranes and are more prone to get HIV, so even delaying sex will lower the rate for girls.

Maybe restore tribal court, to sue the father of the child conceived.

Prosecute those who rape. Make it a priority. A few well publicized cases might make men stop, especially for those raping young girls.

And then work with sex workers and populations that use sex workers (truck drivers, men working away from home without wives) to use condoms.

And employers should encourage conjugal visits, or at least test their men before they go home to visit, and then if they test positive, inform the men of the importance of protecting their wives...

Protesting the Pope for pointing out that fidelity and care in marriage is the best way to stop HIV is stupid: Such lessons need to be taught to counteract the garbage of pornography of promiscuity sold by the west as normal.

But for those already victimized, the "sin" of promiscuity is a lot bigger than the sin of using a condom to stop spreading disease.

Counterfeit condoms

The problem of counterfeit/poorly made condoms is known here in Asia, but I am trying to find some information on Africa.

LINK (original article LINK)

To HIV and Family Planning campaigners, the controversy surrounding the fidelity of the Gold circle condom is a huge blow and added barrier to condom usage in Nigeria. Margaret Oyakhire, Project Director, Community Health Rights Project, told Saturday Sun that it is the right of the people, especially the vulnerable group to protect themselves against STDs and HIV/AIDS.


Mugabe appeals for aid

from the BBC

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has made a call for $5bn (£3.5bn) in international aid to revive his nation's shattered economy.

He also repeated his call for an end to "cruel" EU and American sanctions.

Hyperinflation, food shortages and massive unemployment have brought Zimbabwe's economy to collapse.

Launching the government's Short-term Emergency Recovery Programme in Harare, Mr Mugabe appealed to the "friends of Zimbabwe" to come to the country's aid.

"I, on behalf of the inclusive government and the people of Zimbabwe, say: 'friends of Zimbabwe, please come to our aid'," he told business leaders and government officials at the presentation.

The wide-ranging recovery plan lifts stringent price controls that have fuelled black marketeering and inflation. It also calls for reviving agriculture - which has been devastated under Mr Mugabe's land reform programme - as well as mining, manufacturing and tourism.

'Cruel' sanctions

The Zimbabwean leader also called for an end to a travel ban and asset freeze against him and his inner circle.

yup...Grace wants to shop.

SAMinister;West must drop sanctions

from the UK Guardian

South Africa's most respected politician has told the west that democracy can only succeed in Zimbabwe if Britain, the EU and the US reverse their restrictive aid policies against Robert Mugabe's regime.

The finance minister Trevor Manuel used an interview with the Observer to demand that Britain and other donors urgently inject cash into Zimbabwe's treasury rather than give it exclusively to foreign humanitarian agencies.

translation: Give money to the government to be diverted into Grace's shopping sprees.

Tsvangirai and several ministers from the Movement for Democratic Change were sworn in over a month ago. But faced with a bankrupt treasury, they are struggling to raise the £35m-a-month payroll for the country's civil servants, as well as for the politically-crucial police and army.

Britain, which spends £45m on humanitarian aid in Zimbabwe every year, maintains the government is too corrupt to merit direct aid. Other donors share Britain's position and the EU and US have sanctions in place....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Zim death truck information

The SundaySun (SA) via the Zimbabwe mail:

JOHANNESBURG - The truck that killed Susan Tsvangirai the wife of the Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in a road crash is owned by Saviour Kasukuwere a former spy agent in the CIO and Youth and Gender Development Minister in the inclusive government, a South African newspaper The Sunday Sun revealed.

The revelations will boost fears that the death crash was more sinister than a simple accident - although Tsvangirai himself has said he is satisfied with the official explanation. See Report attached below.

Many believe the government is trying to cover up an embarrassing lack of proper security for Tsvangirai. who was injured in the crash.

The investigator a former Harare CID officer, told Sunday Sun that inquiries showed the truck belonged to Cum Oil, a company owned by Kasukuwere. The truck was purchased using USAID funds by a contractor. ...

Kasukuwere has worked in the Zimbabwean government's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)'s close Security Unit, a crack department in the spy organisation which reports directly to the President. Its role is to spy on CIO agents and government officials, including Zanu PF politicians....

A confidential internal memorandum in the possession of The Standard, dated March 9 — three days after the accident — said the truck belonged to JSI but was not driven by a JSI driver.

"As you may have heard, there was a tragic car accident on Friday (March 6) in Zimbabwe in which the Prime Minister (Morgan Tsvangirai) was injured and his wife was killed.

"The vehicle involved in this accident was registered to USAid/Deliver (a JSI Project) although not driven by a JSI driver, as far as we know. At this point, further details about the accident are unknown.

Ethiopian tyrant lives in Luxury thanks to Mugabe

Cape Argus via all Africa

Mengistu Haile Mariam.

The former Ethiopian strongman, who fled to Harare in 1991 as Meles Zenawi's rebels closed in on Addis Ababa, has not only remained active in helping his generous host President Robert Mugabe sharpen tactics of repression and political longevity. He has also flourished as a businessman.

Mengistu is graced with around-the-clock security and two mansions in the affluent suburbs of Gunhill and Borrowdale. Mugabe gave him the second so he could switch between the two, after four Ethiopians tried to kill him on November 4 1995.

When Mugabe begun his destructive land seizures in February 2000, Mengistu also got two plum white-owned farms. Those who watch his movements say he drives the latest ML Mercedes Benz and travels to his farms and other places under discreet escorts. All of this is financed by the state...

And the fellow-Marxist who has a death sentence hanging over him in Ethiopia because of his murder of hundreds of thousands of his countrymen during his "Red Terror" reign from 1974 to 1991, had the necessary experience.

"Mengistu did not only play an advisory role, he effectively became an active employee of the CIO," said a source in the dreaded spy agency.

Mengistu worked closely with the security generals in the so-called Joint Operations Command (JOC), the military junta that has run Zimbabwe over the past few years.

He advised them on the "best tactics" for keeping the opposition and civic society at bay.

In fact, some sources claim that the murderous campaigns that Zimbabwe has witnessed over the years are a direct result of Mengistu's "wit"....

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mayor, Activists arrested

from SWRadio Africa

....More MDC activists have been arrested in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s home area. Last week violence broke out in parts of Buhera during the funeral of Susan Tsvangirai, with the MDC saying 10 homes belonging to their supporters were burnt down. At that time 17 party activists and the MDC Deputy Mayor of Mutare, Admire Mukorera, were arrested. The Deputy Mayor was released after being detained overnight, but the 17 activists were remanded in custody, to March 30th.

The arrests continued on Tuesday with a further 26 MDC activists being picked up in Buhera North. MDC spokesman for Manicaland, Pishai Muchauraya, said despite being released without charge at the weekend, the Mutare Deputy Mayor was also re-arrested and had his house raided at 4am on Tuesday. He was taken to Murambinda police station and is expected to appear in court on Wednesday with the latest group.

Muchauraya said that makes a total of 44 MDC members now in detention and accused of committing public violence...

Monday, March 16, 2009

The commercialism of the military (more on hero Zvinavashe)

from African Security Review (2000)

Since independence, Africa’s military coups have institutionalised forays by the armed forces into the domestic economy. Coups allow military commanders to run both the body politic and economy, hence commercialising the interests of an already politicised officer corps. As a result, the legacy of interest in the domestic economy creates a precedent for further intervention in the body politic that acts as the platform for financial gain in Africa. Successive military regimes in Nigeria created a commercially inclined military ethos, leading to further intervention in the state administration.

To control the military and prevent coups, Africa’s leaders have often found it necessary to buy off the officer corps by bringing it into the patrimonial network.

In Zimbabwe, efforts to control the officer corps through patronage appear to have raised the commercial aspirations of the military élite.

After coming to power in 1980, President Robert Mugabe saw the danger in demobilising the bloated Zimbabwe National Defence Force too quickly, finding it expedient to utilise a different system whereby "... military and intelligence top brass [have been] closely integrated into ZANU-PF’s political structure and are privy to decision-making at the highest level: this is quite apart from their large salary packages and entrees into business through state owned companies."14 However, such a system of indirect control through incorporation is a dangerous balancing act with potentially extreme consequences for the existing regime. In all cases, the partial entrance of the military into commerce alters the military’s corporate identity. This is a significant factor in determining the extent of future commercial inclination....

Later the article discusses the DRC and Zvinavashe:

In exchange for providing security to the Kabila regime, a suitable business environment has been established for private uses. According to Ross Herbert, "Zimbabwean generals, politicians and the ruling ZANU-PF party have invested an estimated $47 million in timber, mining and retail deals."24

General Vitalis Zvinavashe, commander of the ZDF, has allegedly accrued significant financial gains from military deployment in the DRC. Of the nearly US $50 million USD Zimbabwe Defence Industries contract to supply Kabila’s army and the ZDF, a major private beneficiary was Zvinavashe’s trucking company, Zvinavashe Transport, subcontracted through a subsidiary, Swift Investments.25

Apparently, benefits also accrued to the general’s family with his brother, Augustine, having been awarded a Zim $10 million deal for exporting goods to the DRC.26 The military élite thus find themselves in beneficial commercial positions through the deployment of their subordinates, enabling participation in a diverse range of entrepreneurial ventures.

Even the Zimbabwean SPCA is investigating the alleged smuggling of parrots from the DRC by ZDF officers.27

Maybe if the UN can't stop them, we should ask PETA to intervene...

UN report on DRC diamond etc.

pdf file at link from global security

25. The elite network in the Government-held area
comprises three circles of power, namely, Congolese
and Zimbabwean government officials and private
businessmen. Chief figures in the Congolese branch of
the network are the National Security Minister,
Mwenze Kongolo, a shareholder and deal-broker for
both diamond and cobalt ventures; the Minister of
Presidency and Portfolio, Augustin Katumba Mwanke,
a former employee of Bateman’s mining company in
South Africa and a key power broker in mining and
diplomatic deals; the President of the State diamond
company, Société minière de Bakwanga (MIBA), Jean-
Charles Okoto; the Planning Minister and former
Deputy Defence Minister, General Denis Kalume
Numbi, a stakeholder in the lucrative Sengamines
diamond deal and in COSLEG; and the Director
General of Gécamines, Yumba Monga, pivotal in
facilitating several asset-stripping joint ventures
between the State mining company and private

COSLEG, a Congo-Zimbabwe joint stock
company, remains a key vehicle for military-backedUnited Nations
II. Change in tactics by elite networks
12. The regional conflict that drew the armies of
seven African States into the Democratic Republic of
the Congo has diminished in intensity, but the
overlapping microconflicts that it provoked continue.
These conflicts are fought over minerals, farm produce,
land and even tax revenues.

Criminal groups linked to
the armies of Rwanda, Uganda and Zimbabwe and the
Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
have benefited from the microconflicts. Those groups
will not disband voluntarily even as the foreign
military forces continue their withdrawals. They have
built up a self-financing war economy centred on
mineral exploitation.

13. Facilitated by South Africa and Angola, the
Pretoria and Luanda Agreements have prompted the
recent troop withdrawals from the eastern Democratic
Republic of the Congo. Welcome as they may be, these
withdrawals are unlikely to alter the determination of
Rwanda and Zimbabwe, and Ugandan individuals, to
exercise economic control over portions of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. The departure of
their forces will do little to reduce economic control, or
the means of achieving it, since the use of national
armies is only one among many means for exercising
it. All three countries have anticipated the day when
pressure from the international community would make
it impossible to maintain large forces in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. The Governments of Rwanda
and Zimbabwe, as well as powerful individuals in
Uganda, have adopted other strategies for maintaining
the mechanisms for revenue generation, many of which
involve criminal activities, once their troops have

17. Although troops of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces
have been a major guarantor of the security of the
Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
against regional rivals, its senior officers have enriched
themselves from the country’s mineral assets under the
pretext of arrangements set up to repay Zimbabwe for
military services. Now ZDF is establishing new
companies and contractual arrangements to defend its
economic interests in the longer term should there be a
complete withdrawal of ZDF troops. New trade and
service agreements were signed between the
Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe just
prior to the announced withdrawal of ZDF troops from
the diamond centre of Mbuji Mayi late in August 2002.
18. Towards the end of its mandate, the Panel
received a copy of a memorandum dated August 2002
from the Defence Minister, Sidney Sekeramayi, to
President Robert Mugabe, proposing that a joint
Zimbabwe-Democratic Republic of
the Congo
company be set up in Mauritius to disguise the
continuing economic interests of ZDF in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. The memorandum
states: “Your Excellency would be aware of the wave
of negative publicity and criticism that the DRC-
Zimbabwe joint ventures have attracted, which tends to
inform the current United Nations Panel investigations
into our commercial activities.” It also refers to plans
to set up a private Zimbabwean military company to
guard Zimbabwe’s economic investments in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo after the planned
withdrawal of ZDF troops. It states that this company
was formed to operate alongside a new military
company owned by the Democratic Republic of the
19. At the same time, local militias and local
politicians have supplemented the role that State
armies previously played in ensuring access to and
control of valuable resources and diverting State
revenue. The looting that was previously conducted by
the armies themselves has been replaced with
organized systems of embezzlement, tax fraud,
extortion, the use of stock options as kickbacks and
diversion of State funds conducted by groups that
closely resemble criminal organizations....

22. The elite network of Congolese and Zimbabwean
political, military and commercial interests seeks to
maintain its grip on the main mineral resources —
diamonds, cobalt, copper, germanium — of the
Government-controlled area. This network has
transferred ownership of at least US$ 5 billion of assets
from the State mining sector to private companies
under its control in the past three years with no
compensation or benefit for the State treasury of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo.
23. This network benefits from instability in the
Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its representatives
in the Kinshasa Government and the Zimbabwe
Defence Forces have fuelled instability by supporting
armed groups opposing Rwanda and Burundi.
24. Even if present moves towards peace lead to a
complete withdrawal of Zimbabwean forces, the
network’s grip on the richest mineral assets of the
Democratic Republic of the Congo and related
businesses will remain. Zimbabwe’s political-military
elite signed six major trade and service agreements in
August 2002 with the Government of the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. Reliable sources have told the
Panel about plans to set up new holding companies to
disguise the continuing ZDF commercial operations in
the Democratic Republic of the Congo and a ZDF-
controlled private military company to be deployed in
the country to guard those assets.
The elite network
25. The elite network in the Government-held area
comprises three circles of power, namely, Congolese
and Zimbabwean government officials and private

27. The key strategist for the Zimbabwean branch of
the elite network is the Speaker of the Parliament and
former National
Minister, Emmerson
Dambudzo Mnangagwa. Mr. Mnangagwa has won
strong support from senior military and intelligence
officers for an aggressive policy in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo. His key ally is a Commander of
ZDF and Executive Chairman of COSLEG, General
Vitalis Musunga Gava Zvinavashe. The General and
his family have been involved in diamond trading and
supply contracts in the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. A long-time ally of President Mugabe, Air
Marshal Perence Shiri, has been involved in military
procurement and organizing air support for the pro-
Kinshasa armed groups fighting in the eastern
Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is also part of
the inner circle of ZDF diamond traders who have
turned Harare into a significant illicit diamond-trading
28. Other prominent Zimbabwean members of the
network include Brigadier General Sibusiso Busi
Moyo, who is Director General of COSLEG. Brigadier
Moyo advised both Tremalt and Oryx Natural
Resources, which represented covert Zimbabwean
military financial interests in negotiations with State
mining companies of the Democratic Republic of the
Congo. Air Commodore Mike Tichafa Karakadzai is
Deputy Secretary of COSLEG, directing policy and
procurement. He played a key role in arranging the
Tremalt cobalt and copper deal. Colonel Simpson
Sikhulile Nyathi is Director of defence policy for
COSLEG. The Minister of Defence and former
Security Minister, Sidney Sekeramayi, coordinates with
the military leadership and is a shareholder in
COSLEG. The Panel has a copy of a letter from Mr.
Sekeramayi thanking the Chief Executive of Oryx
Natural Resources, Thamer Bin Said Ahmed Al-
Shanfari, for his material and moral support during the
parliamentary elections of 2000. Such contributions
violate Zimbabwean law.

DRC diamond trade corruption

from Relief web, July 2, 2003:


In October 2002, a UN Expert Panel investigating the illegal exploitation of resources in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) issued a devastating report on the activities of companies engaged in the diamond trade and other resource extraction.1 The report documented systemic and massive corruption in the diamond industry of the DRC, and the flagrant collusion of allied governments, notably Zimbabwe. It detailed the pillage of Congolese diamonds and other natural resources by Rwanda and Uganda. The report described systematic bribery, asset stripping, tax fraud, sanctions busting, embezzlement, extortion, the use of stock options as kickbacks and the diversion of state funds by groups that 'closely resemble criminal organizations'. The report said that in areas controlled by the Congolese government, at least US$5 billion worth of state mining assets had been transferred to foreign companies, with no benefit for the state since 1999. It estimated that the Armée Patriotique Rwandaise had been 'earning' US$320 million a year from commercial operations in eastern Congo. These practices, the report said, had led to, and fueled war, human rights abuse and the end of an almost inconceivable number of human lives. Following a nationwide mortality study, the New York-based International Rescue Committee estimated that between 1998 and 2002, 3.3 million more people had died than would have been the case had the war not occurred.2......

The UN report concluded with three lists. The first contained the names of 29 companies, most registered in Africa. Six were involved in diamond trading and three of these were based in Antwerp. So egregious and so blatant were the transgressions of these companies that the report asked the Security Council to place financial restrictions on them, freezing their assets and suspending their banking facilities. A second list contained the names of 54 individuals the Panel wanted barred from all international travel and placed under financial restrictions. Some were local businessmen, some were arms dealers, some were serving officers in the armed forces of Uganda and Zimbabwe. The Congo's Minister of Planning and Reconstruction was on the list, as was the Chief of Military Intelligence in Uganda and the Speaker of Zimbabwe's parliament....

Oryx Natural Resources stated that the allegations against it were 'completely baseless', and invited the Panel to repeat the allegations in public, outside the protection of the United Nations. Niko Shefer, a former commodities broker who had been jailed in South Africa for fraud, and who once described himself as honorary consul general of Liberia, said he had not been out of southern Africa since 2000. Asked about the Panel's claim that one of his companies had a 50 per cent stake in Thorntree Industries, a joint venture diamond-trading company with the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Shefer said he never had any equity in Thorntree. Zimbabwean Defence Force Commander General Vitalis Zvinavashe -- recommended for the travel ban -- said that the claims against Zimbabwe and against him were 'meaningless'....

Full report (pdf* format - 96.0 KB)

Corruption in Zimbabwe

Report from the Helen Suzman foundation:

You cannot appreciate why Mugabe and his henchmen are clinging so tenaciously to power until you know how much they have to lose

ALTHOUGH CORRUPTION within the Zimbabwean government is notorious, journalists have persistently failed to find proof of corruption in the case of President Robert Mugabe himself. The only time that anything really juicy emerged was during the US Senate hearings into the collapse of the Abu Dhabi-based Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in 1992. According to the published testimony of BCCI officials the bank had secured preferential banking rights in Zimbabwe by bribing Mugabe and Vice-President Joshua Nkomo in 1980-81....

To understand how politics and money work in Zimbabwe one has to begin with the fact that Zanu-PF is more than just a political party. It owns two companies, the M & S Syndicate, set up even before independence in 1980, and Zidco Holdings (of which M & S holds 55 per cent of the shares), set up straight afterwards.

Through these two companies the party has a vast range of interests, (see Figure 1) including Treger Holdings, producers of building materials, hardware etc; Ottawa, a property management company; Catercraft, which runs the catering at Harare airport and also supplies all domestic and international flights out of Harare; and Zidlee Enterprises, which controls the duty free shops at Beit Bridge, Harare City and Harare Airport, also supplying diplomats with a range of goods. Zidlee is believed to be particularly useful to Zanu-PF high-ups who want to move foreign exchange in or out of the country.,,,

Mnangagwa has also played a key role in the expansion of Zanu-PF's financial interests into the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In May 1999 he admitted that he had introduced a Chinese arms company, two transport companies, a banking group and a power company to Laurent Kabila and that they had all established businesses there. One of Zidco's subsidiaries, the First Bank Corporation, then set up in Kinshasa. In addition two other business associates of Mnangagwa went into business ferrying arms and supplies between Zimbabwe and the DRC, Billy Rautenbach's Wheels of Africa company and the head of the Zimbabwean army, General Vitalis Zvinavashe, with his company, Zvinavashe Transport. Mnangagwa then helped to broker an arms deal for Kabila of 21,000 AK-47s and US$53 million of heavy arms, all from China. Mnangagwa also works closely with John Bredenkamp, who boasts of being the biggest single supplier of arms to the Congo....

Zimbabwe's involvement in the DRC goes back much further than the current war. When Zimbabwean troops were pulled out of Mozambique in 1988, South African businessmen - to Harare's fury - were quick to scoop up the most lucrative deals there in the wake of the civil war. Mugabe vowed this would not happen twice. In 1996 Mugabe gave Kabila US$5 million to finance his rebellion against Mobutu. Just before Kinshasa fell to Kabila, Zimbabwe Defence Industries (owned by the government) concluded a US$53m deal to supply Kabila with everything from food to uniforms and mortar bombs. ZDI was then used to spearhead Zimbabwe's economic penetration of the DRC. The company is extremely secretive but in 1993, the last year when it gave out such information, its directors included Zvinavashe and another Mugabe intimate, Perence Shiri, the former head of the terrifying 5 Brigade.

Gradually the efforts of Shiri, Zvinavashe and Mnangagwa have led to the network of interests seen in the Figure showing Zimbabwe's military interests in the DRC. Zvinavashe and his brother are also directors of Osleg (Operation Sovereign legitimacy) which, following the Chinese model, is seen as the economic wing of the Zimbabwean armed forces. Osleg wanted, above all, to get its hands on the mining concessions that Kabila had promised. The first such venture was with Comiex-Congo, producing a new joint company, Cosleg. There followed a joint venture with the Omani-owned Oryx Natural Resources to form Oryx-Zimcon. In January 2000 Oryx Natural Resources bought Petra diamonds and rechristened it Oryx Diamonds - in which Zidco holds 237,000 shares....

Lots more at the link...
In the US, this type of report is called "MEGO"...my eyes glaze over, because of all the tiny details and confusion in the reader trying to figure out what is going on...

Which is how politicians get away with looting countries of their wealth while locals starve or live on overseas charity.
Of course, here in the Philippines we could teach them how to steal:
here the take is 20 percent of contracts...

Zvinavashe and the war in the Congo

from a UN report:The International Dimensions
of the Congo Crisis
The International Dimensions
of the Congo Crisis
Georges Nzongola-Ntalaja is director of the Oslo Governance Centre of the United Nations Development
Programme in Norway, and professor emeritus of African studies at Howard University, Washington, D.C.

...Originally, four countries came to Laurent Kabila’s rescue when the war erupted in 1998: Angola, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Chad. Angola and Namibia followed Zimbabwe in advocating a military role for SADC in DR Congo.

Zimbabwe took the initiative in making their intervention a collective defence action against an external
threat through the SADC “Organ for Politics, Defence and Security”, then chaired by President Mugabe.

These legal niceties were a convenient cover for Zimbabwe’s real intentions, which had to do with the
economic and geopolitical interests of the governing elite.

The Kabila government reportedly owed millions of dollars to Zimbabwe for military equipment and
supplies obtained during the seven-month war of 1996–7. After the regime change in Kinshasa, a number
of Zimbabwean businesses and state enterprises extended credit to DR Congo for the purchase of goods in
various sectors, but failed to receive payment. Moreover, with its population of fifty–sixty million people,
the Congo represents an attractive market for Zimbabwe’s goods and services, especially considering that
Zimbabwean textile, agro-industrial and other enterprises have been losing ground, even at home, to
competition from South Africa and suffering from the detrimental effects of globalisation. In the area of
clothing, for example, the textile factories of Bulawayo were having a hard time competing with better-
quality imports.

Zimbabwe’s governing elite was determined to make good on its investment in DR Congo. During the
civil war in Mozambique, Zimbabwe had sent thousands of troops to help the FRELIMO government fight
the RENAMO rebels. After the civil war (which ended in 1992), there were no dividends for Zimbabwe’s
sacrifices, as South Africa, the very country that (under apartheid) had armed RENAMO and tried to
destroy Mozambique’s society and economy, reaped the lion’s share of the benefits of peace. Zimbabwe
was determined not to be short-changed this time around. It hoped to garner some concrete gains from its
military intervention in DR Congo...For a year or so, Billy Rautenbach, a Zimbabwean businessman who is reportedly close to Mugabe’s
entourage, acted as the managing director of Gécamines, Congo’s state mining company specialising in
copper and cobalt. Zimbabwe had a strong military presence in the southern Congolese city of Mbuji-Mayi and Zimbabweans were said to be airlifting diamonds home on a regular basis.

With the complicity of some
Congolese officials, several prominent Zimbabweans became owners of the two richest diamond mines in
Mbuji-Mayi, under a company called Sengamines. While Zimbabwe as a state may not benefit much from
the looting of DR Congo’s resources, individual members of the country’s elite have reaped the spoils of

Besides Rautenbach and Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s speaker of parliament, they include
General Vitalis Zvinavashe, army commander during Zimbabwe’s 1998–2002 military engagement in DR
His trucking company was used to carry supplies for Zimbabwean troops in DR Congo from
Harare to Lubumbash

Corruption in Zimbabwe and Zvinavashe (0ld report)

From SA Sunday Independent, dated 20 April 2000.

...It is widely accepted in Zimbabwe opposition circles that one of the reasons President Robert Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party are trying so desperately to cling to power is the fear of exposure.

"Only when we get into government and get to the books - as the Nigerians did - will we be able to get a clearer idea of how much has disappeared," an MDC official said....the chief economist of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions had estimated the cost of corruption in the past three years alone at a billion US dollars - half of Zimbabwe's annual export income...

The government has also dismissed charges of corruption involving the Osleg company headed by General Vitalis Zvinavashe, the military chief, and Job Whabira, the permanent secretary for defence.

Osleg was formed in 1998 and is in partnership with Comiex, a Congolese company run by President Laurent Kabila's military chiefs. Its expressed aim is to trade in gold and diamonds.

When Osleg was formed, Moven Mohachi, the Zimbabwe defence minister, noted: "Instead of our army in Congo burdening the treasury for more resources, which are not available, it embarks on viable projects for the sake of generating the necessary revenue."

The Zimbabwe military hoped to raise $5-million a month through Osleg. However, the diamonds appear to have been mined and sold and most of the money has apparently vanished.

Zvinavashe's commercial involvement also extends beyond Osleg. He and his brother Augustine, who died last month, owned Swift Investments which, in its turn, owns Zvinavashe Transport. The transport company has been a major beneficiary of military contracts to supply Zimbabwe's forces in Congo...

General Zvinavashe funeral

from Zimbabwe Herald:

Harare — THE late Retired General Vitalis Musungwa Gava Zvinavashe, who passed away on March 10 2009 at Manyame Airbase Hospital in Harare, was on Wednesday declared a national hero.

He will be buried at the national shrine tomorow. Below is a full reproduction of the submissions made for the conferment of National Hero status to the late Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces....

  • The Grand Commander of the Zimbabwe Order of Merit.

He is credited with efforts to institutionalise the Organisation of African Unity's (now African Union) Central Mechanism on Conflict Prevention, Resolution and Management as well as the Sadc Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.

The idea of the African Standby Force, which is now coming to fruition, gathered momentum after the meeting of African Chiefs of Defence Staff in Harare October 24-25 1997, which he chaired.

His relentless quest for regional peace and security is clearly demonstrated by his valuable contributions during the deliberations of the Sadc Organ's Interstate Defence and Security Committee and Interstate Politics and Diplomacy Committees.

As he assumed command of the ZNA in 1992, Zimbabwe responded to the United Nations' call for the deployment of military observers in Angola (UNAVEM II) and peacekeepers in Somalia (United Nations Mission in Somalia [UNOSOM])...

In 1998, he was instrumental in the deployment of Sadc Allied Forces in support of the Democratic Republic of Congo government in the face of invasion by Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi.....


from TalkZimbabwe March 2008:

RETIRED General Vitalis Zvinavashe who was reported to be backing Zimbabwe presidential hopeful Dr Simba Makoni has issued a statement denying the allegations saying he will never be "part and parcel" of the Makoni faction....

General Zvinavashe also criticised Zanu PF politburo member, Dumiso Dabengwa for jumping ship and joining Makoni.

from SWRadioAfrica January 2008:

Former army general Vitalis Zvinavashe sent political temperatures soaring Monday after calling on Robert Mugabe to step down. A report on the Zimbabwe Times website quotes Zvinavashe saying; ‘By clinging on to power Mugabe was betraying the essence of the liberation struggle.’ Although the report does not say where the remarks were made our sources say Zvinavashe, a politburo member, addressed a meeting of constituents in Gutu on Monday.

Known for his controversial and blunt remarks Zvinavashe is also quoted as saying; ‘I may also want to be president one day, but if one clings onto power for too long how do you expect youngsters to be leaders of tomorrow?...


from ZWNews:

,,,...On the same day the MDC issued a condolence message at the death of a Zanu PF stalwart, speaking in very glowing terms about retired Army-General Zvinavashe. This was a man who used the war in the DRC to enrich himself and who publicly declared he would not salute Tsvangirai.

There are very mixed reactions about what all this unusual rhetoric means and if it is sincere. Some say the untimely death of the Prime Minister's wife may be the catalyst that will bring the divided country together. They believe that through her death, and that of General Zvinavashe, Zanu PF and the MDC may work together differently. But there are others who are extremely sceptical and say the sequence of events is very strange and seem too well orchestrated. The sceptics say it is delusional to think that Zanu PF has suddenly changed, after years of violence, torture, beatings and deliberately inflicted starvation.,,,

MDC opposition mayor arrested for "violence"

from AFP:

....Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Pishayi Muchauraya told AFP Admire Mukorera, the deputy mayor for the city of Mutare (east), was taken from his home early Saturday by detectives from the police law and order section.

"They said his vehicle was used during political disturbances in Buhera but they did not give details," Muchauraya said....

In a reference to President Robert Mugabe's party, he added, "What surprises us is that we have supporters who had houses burnt by ZANU-PF supporters this week and we made reports to the police with names of suspects but nothing has been done."...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Mugabe calls for end of political violence

from the VOA

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe delivers his speech at the burial of Army Gen. Vitalis Gava in Harare, 14 Mar 2009

President Robert Mugabe delivers his speech at the burial of Army Gen. Vitalis Gava in Harare, 14 Mar 2009
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has called for an end to political violence and said the new unity government should bring peace and stability to the troubled nation....
He called for an end to violence between his ruling ZANU-PF party and the long-time opposition Movement for Democratic Change party - which is now part of the unity government, formed last month.

and if you believe Mugabe means this, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I'd like to sell you...

Internet shut down in Zim now okay

from SWradioAfrica

Zimbabwe has had limited or no internet access for almost 2 weeks now, after the government parastatal responsible for the national internet gateway, ComOne, was disconnected for non-payment of fees. There has been widespread chaos, especially at the Beitbridge border post with the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) failing to clear imported vehicles because they require internet based evaluations. There are long queues of trucks waiting for clearance. Some journalists working inside the country have also been failing to file their stories to outside news agencies.

Information and Communications Technology Minister, Nelson Chamisa, says he summoned officials from the state owned TelOne to explain the collapse of the internet system, after representatives from the Internet Service Providers, ZIMRA and the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries complained about disruption to their operations. Chamisa says the problem was caused by ‘certain hitches related to payment’ of the account and that the back up facility for the microwave link to Beitbridge also stopped working. ‘By tomorrow (Saturday) things will be better’ he told Newsreel, saying a partial payment of the account had been made.

Experts say Zimbabwe relies on two ComOne paths for data traffic flowing out of the country. On the morning of Monday the 2nd March the most important of these stopped working after being cut off for non payment....

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Zimbabweans mourn "mother of struggle"

from the BBC:

In his sermon, Rev Joseph Muwanzi reminded President Mugabe that his party's supreme organ, the Politburo, decides who should be accorded national hero status.

But the priest noted that ultimately it is God who will judge all our actions by deciding after our burial who should go to heaven or hell....

As the convoy of vehicles left the church, a 500m stretch of road was turned into flickering stream of traffic.

'Pillar of strength'

Away from the church service, mourners clad in MDC party regalia gathered at a Harare stadium to play their part on a day of remembrance....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Susan Tsvangirai obituary

from the UKGuardian


A deeply religious woman committed to the alleviation of poverty and HIV/Aids, she ran a soup kitchen from her own home in Harare. Though she often accompanied her husband to political events, she rarely spoke publicly: when she did, her personal charm proved very effective.

Perhaps to distract herself from fears about her family, she set up the Comfort, or Nyaradzo Trust, the Shona word being taken from her middle name. Subsequently renamed the Susan Nyaradzo Tsvangirai Foundation, it aims to help Zimbabweans, particularly women and children. She wanted "to not only feed them but teach them to feed themselves. Return normality to children's lives. Seeing them playing in the parks, going to school. The way things used to be in this beautiful country. Help get things back to what they were, and make them even better if time permits."...

Our sympathies to Tsvangirai family

from Sokwanele

Morgan and Susan Tsvangirai

We know that the whole nation will be sharing the pain of the Tsvangirai family and mourning the death of Susan. We are deeply shocked. Our most heartfelt sympathy to the whole family. You’re in our thoughts and in our prayers.

Please leave your condolence messages here.

PM says it was an accident

from SWRadioAfrica


He told mourners gathered at his Strathaven home: "When something happens, there is always speculation, but I want to say in this case, if there was any foul play, it was one in a thousand.”
"It was an accident and unfortunately it took her life.' He said: "We know that we shall all die, but let's celebrate the life of Susan because we have gone through trials and tribulations together."
George Sibotshiwe a former aide of the MDC President told SW Radio Africa that the MDC was ruling out nothing. He said that ‘it’s impossible for us to say we rule out foul play.’ Sibotshiwe believes the accident could have been prevented if the MDC leader had been given proper security. He said ZANU PF still has not returned Tsvangirai’s bullet proof vehicle, which they confiscated last March during the election period. “

Monday, March 09, 2009

88,000 affected by Cholera

from Xinhua:

but it's getting better

At the start of the year, as many as 8,000 new cases were being reported per week at the national level, but over the past few weeks, that number has been slashed by half.

According to a joint update by the WHO and the Zimbabwean government, 395 new cases and 18 deaths were reported Thursday.

Nearly 4,000 people have died from the disease, which is caused by contaminated food or water, the agency said.

Injured Tsvangirai returns to Zim for wife's funeral

from CNN:

....Tsvangirai, who recently joined a unity government with long-time foe President Robert Mugabe, was taken to Botswana on Saturday for medical treatment, sources told CNN.

Tsvangirai's MDC party will hold a rally Tuesday in honor of Susan Tsvangirai, said Nelson Chamisa, the MDC spokesperson.

He called it "a send-off rally befitting a heroine."

He refused to say exactly when Tsvangirai would return to Zimbabwe. "The president (of the MDC) will definitely be back in the country in time for the burial set for Wednesday and the other formalities that go with the funeral. But I cannot give the media his itinerary as that comprises his security," Chamisa said....

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Zim PM hurt, wife killed, in car crash

From LATimes

Information about how the accident happened and the nature of the prime minister's injuries was sketchy, but a party aide said Tsvangirai's life was not at risk.

Party officials at the hospital in Harare, the capital, confirmed the death of Susan Tsvangirai unofficially but said the family and doctors would release a formal statement later....

Tsvangirai, a former union official, is described by his friends as a humble family man who was very close to his wife. One colleague, Gift Chimanikire, described Susan sitting in the room knitting as he and her husband discussed setting up an opposition party in the 1990s.

"If you are eating a meal at Morgan's rural home, you know that Susan has prepared it herself. They're real village people and it's a real village home. They're real Africans," said Lucia Matibenga, vice president of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, in a recent Harare interview. Matibenga, an MDC lawmaker, helped found the party with Tsvangirai....

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Mukoro --an untold story of suffering

from the ZimbabweTimes:


For three weeks (Jestina Mukoro's) whereabouts and circumstances remained unknown. Relatives feared she was dead. Then she was suddenly brought to court on the eve of Christmas on Wednesday, December 24, 2008. She was then detained in Harare’s notorious Chikurubi Maximum Prison. Although she had been tortured and was in dire need of medical treatment her jailers denied her access to medical treatment outside prison.

On Monday she tried her best to smile and exchange pleasantries with journalists, but something had clearly died inside her.

“I just want to concentrate on my health now and I will talk to the media in the coming weeks,” she said while forcing a smile.

Her physical appearance is a far cry from the beaming face that millions around the world had become accustomed to from seeing pictures of her that were shot before her ordeal and were posted on many websites after her abduction...

Mukoko is the director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP), an organisation which was formed after the 2000 elections by a group of church organisations and NGOs with an interest in human rights and peace-building initiatives.

It was later to become a vehicle for civic interventions in a time of political crisis. ZPP monitored and documented incidents of human rights violations and politically-motivated violence....

Fears over Zim Gov't after car crash

from News 24 (SA)

Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena was quoted by state television as saying that the truck had crossed into the oncoming lane and side-swiped Tsvangirai's vehicle.

"The 4x4 Toyota Landcruiser is understood to have overturned and rolled thrice," the report said.

Two others hurt

Tsvangirai's spokesperson James Maridadi told reporters at the hospital in Harare that the accident happened at 16:00, and that two other people were in the car.

He declined to confirm Susan Tsvangirai's death, but another party official said on condition of anonymity that she died at the scene.

"Mrs Tsvangirai died on the spot... but the details are still sketchy," the party official said.

"The driver of the truck appeared to be sleeping," an MDC minister told AFP.

Tsvangirai was taken to a private hospital, where he was in a stable condition a senior party official said after visiting him....

Dirk Kotze of the University of South Africa said with the cause of the accident still unclear, any perception of foul play could have serious consequences.

"If it was just an accident and there was no foul play...then it will not have direct political consequences for Zimbabwe," he told AFP in Johannesburg.

"But it will bring a major crisis if there is any suggestion that it was not just an accident."...

Mugabe visits Tsvangirai at hospital

From News 24 (SA)

Harare - Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace visited the hospital where Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was being treated for injuries following a car crash on Friday.

The English expression for this is "crocodile tears"...

Tsvangirai's wife dies in a car crash

photo AFP

From AlJezeerah:

...Mrs [Susan] Tsvangirai died on the spot. The accident happened between 1600 hours (14:00 GMT) and 1700 hours but the details are still sketchy," the source said.

Tsvangirai is in a stable condition, a senior MDC official said after visiting him at a private hospital on the outskirts of Harare. An aide was also hurt in the crash.

"He is in a stable condition but on a machine," the official said, adding that he did not know what kind of treatment Tsvangirai was getting.
State television reported that Tsvangirai suffered some head and neck wounds in the crash...

Haru Mutasa, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Nairobi, Kenya, said that Tsvangirai's car was travelling as part of a convoy at the time of the crash.

"People are wondering how this could happen if he were travelling in a convoy. Why was his car the only one apparently damaged?" she said...

Tsavngirai crash: Not an accident?

From the UKTelegraph:

photo from the AP

Movement for Democratic Change leaders in South Africa said they suspected the head on collision with a lorry which left prime minister Mr Tsvangirai injured and his wife Susan dead was not a genuine accident.

Rumours that the fatal incident was a botched assassination attempt spread quickly in the country which has a history of political killings.

It is understood that the couple were travelling to a rally in his hometown of Buhera yesterday afternoon when their car was hit on a road south of the capital Harare by a freight truck travelling in the opposite direction. Local reports said the driver of the truck had fallen asleep at the wheel.

Susan Tsvangirai died at the scene and her husband was taken to hospital with minor injuries, where he was visited by Mr Mugabe. The couple been married for 31 years and had six children. ...

Friday, March 06, 2009

Mutare judge arrested for giving Bennett bail

fromthe BBC

Police in Zimbabwe have arrested a magistrate who allowed MDC ministerial nominee Roy Bennett to post bail.

Other magistrates in the town of Mutare have gone on strike in solidarity with Livingstone Chipadze, officials say.

"It is frightening if a magistrate is arrested because he has passed a judgment that is not popular with the state," Mr Bennett's lawyer said.

....Zimbabwean journalist David Farira in Mutare, on Zimbabwe's eastern border, says Mr Chipadze faces charges of criminal abuse of office. ...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Dealing with Zim's shameful Guantanamos

from the African Executive

It is no secret that beyond the Zanu PF façade, real political power lies within the military and the deadly spy organization, the CIO. ...

These Guantanamo’s come in three forms: Firstly, they are unknown locations holding political prisoners of war, where perceived enemies of Mugabe are being tortured endlessly. It is a war declared by Mugabe on the citizens of Zimbabwe.

Secondly Zimbabwe’s Guantanamos are dangerous dysfunctional prisons where ‘inmates’ go to die. Many activists such as Jestina Mukoko, continue to suffer behind bars facing trumped-up charges. If the new government decides to keep these Guantanamo’s open, then they must be occupied by qualified residents who happen to be Mugabe and his Zanu PF thugs who for decades shamelessly killed, looted and raped Zimbabwe. ...

The third Guantanamo is Zimbabwe’s security apparatus (which I prefer to call security insurgents)....

The nation still mourns them, especially the likes of Tonderai Ndira, Joshua Bakacheza, Tichaona Chiminya, Tapiwa Mbwada, etc.

Lifting sanctions will spur Zim economy

from the African executive:

Most of the article is a tirade blaming the west for sanctions that caused all of Zim's troubles.

...The mere act of lifting sanctions on Zimbabwe coupled with the tangible effects of credit availability will ease the external payments arrears and improve the nation’s risk profile, allowing companies to receive credit at more viable rates. This will serve to reduce internal inflationary pressures as well as allow companies to increase capacity utilization levels and in so doing provide more goods and services whilst bolstering employment.

Key Sectors of the Economy

The persistent fuel shortages have severely reduced productivity across all the key sectors of the economy namely agriculture, mining, manufacturing, tourism, construction and transport. These shortages have also been affecting the day to day operations of commerce and the public transport system, resulting in loss of crucial production hours. Small-scale miners and newly resettled farmers are being hit hard because of their reliance on diesel powered equipment and inadequate fuel has also impacted negatively on land preparation and ultimately yields of a whole range of crops.

This fuel shortage coupled with the fact that scarce foreign currency resources are being used to import grain and other food as opposed to being channelled towards importing critical inputs to reduce costs for farmers has had a devastating impact on the sector.

The agriculture sector contributes approximately 20% of Zimbabwe’s GDP, 22% of foreign exchange earnings and 23% of formal employment, therefore if economic sanctions are lifted and credit is made available to Government, the 300,000 newly resettled farmers will be in an ideal position to contribute to the economic recovery process. Not only because of the inevitable increase in availability and affordability of essential inputs but also because of the Reserve Bank’s farm mechanization initiatives which have equipped them and the current liberalisation will ensure that they have great financial incentives to produce....

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Zim activist released

from the NYTimes

JOHANNESBURG — Jestina Mukoko, a prominent human rights campaigner in Zimbabwe who was abducted at dawn three months ago by state security agents, was freed on bail on Monday along with four other activists after President Robert Mugabe authorized their release, the detainees’ lawyers said...

Six other activists remain in jail despite having been granted bail on Friday, because the terms of their release require them to put up the deeds to property worth $20,000 — but they have no property, Mr. Makoni said.

Another significant test loomed in the decision expected on Tuesday by a High Court judge in Harare on whether Roy Bennett, the treasurer of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change and Mr. Tsvangirai’s nominee as deputy agriculture minister, would be freed.

Mr. Bennett, who had been living in exile in South Africa, was arrested in Zimbabwe on Feb. 13 on three-year-old accusations that were tainted by the torture of the man who implicated him. Mr. Bennett, a combative politician despised by many in Mr. Mugabe’s party, is charged with possessing guns and intending to use them in acts of sabotage against the state.

The main accuser in the case, Peter Michael Hitschman, who was convicted on a lesser weapons charge, was burned with cigarettes on his buttocks after his arrest in 2006 and was told that his wife and son, who were in police custody, would be harmed if he did not implicate Mr. Bennett, according to George Lock and Trust Maanda, lawyers who represented Mr. Hitschman and Mr. Bennett. ...

Monday, March 02, 2009

8 MDC activists granted bail

from Zim on line:

JOHANNESBURG – A Zimbabwean magistrate on Sunday granted bail to eight Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists after months in prison, their lawyer said.

"The court granted eight bail, and two are already out," defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama told reporters.

Two activists, including Fidelis Chiramba, a 72-year-old villager who has been detained for more than 100 days, were released on bail after paying $600 each and surrendering their passports and the other six remained in custody as prosecutors want to verify whether they have no travel documents, Muchadehama said.

The eight are part of about 30 opposition MDC activists languishing in jail for more than three months after they were abducted from their homes or work places in Harare, Chinhoyi and Banket on terrorism-related charges....

NCA Spokesman arrested (update on WOZA and Muchirahando)

from SWRadioAfrica:

Madock Chivasa, the spokesperson of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and the board chairperson for the Youth Forum, was arrested in Masvingo Thursday evening, together with 5 other youth activists.

George Makoni, Information Officer for the Youth Forum, said Chivasa is being accused of inciting violence, while the other activists were arrested after a scuffle broke out between the police and the members of the Youth Forum, who were trying to block Chivasa’s arrest. Several others were beaten up.

Makoni said Chivasa had just finished addressing the gathering of about 300 youth members on the role of youths in the transitional period, when police stormed the venue. Passers-by were caught in the scuffles and advocacy materials belonging to the group were confiscated...

In other news, Frank Muchirahondo, the USAID employee who was arrested last month on allegations of attempting to assassinate the Commander of the Air Force, Air Marshall Perence Shiri, was freed this week after a Bindura magistrate refused to place him on further remand. It’s reported Muchirahondo was beaten and tortured while in detention.

At the time of his arrest the US embassy said they had clear evidence that their employee was not anywhere near the scene of the alleged shooting. The USAID employee was arrested on January 22nd at the Mutare border. US officials said he had been on a humanitarian mission, monitoring food aid.

Meanwhile the five WOZA activists arrested this week in Harare are still in police custody. They were beaten and arrested during a peaceful demonstration on Wednesday as they tried to present a petition to new Education Minister David Coltart.

Zim as SA 10th province?

From a reader's letter to the Times (SA)

South Africa should annex Zimbabwe and make it our 10th province.

Like any poorly managed business with good fundamentals — the best way forward would be to merge with a stronger company with financial resources.

South Africa has a democratic government. We have a fairly stable economy — probably among the best in Africa. South Africa could use its expertise and manage Zimbabwe using our currency and our form of democratic leadership.

This would also boost our economy owing to additional natural resources and skilled labour, increased tourism income as well as increased tax revenue.

Zimbabweans would be able to work for a decent salary and provide much-needed food for their families. It is a win- win situation for South Africans and Zimbabweans alike.

Let them eat cake in Zimbabwe?

from the CSMonitor

Robert Mugabe threw himself a A $250,000 party with 3,000 spectators celebrating his 85th year on this planet.

And, really, what’s a party without a 187-pound cake?

Nevermind that more than half the population is on emergency food aid, that inflation (by far the world’s highest) floats somewhere well above 200 million percent, or that his own government just days ago asked its cash-strapped neighbors for $2 million more in aid.

Oh yeah, and then there’s that cholera epidemic that’s blamed for claiming nearly 4,000 lives in recent months: a tragedy, that stems from government failure at the most basic levels. As the Monitor wrote in a December story, the outbreak even threatens regional stability.

But none of that stopped Mr. Mugabe from throwing such a lavish birthday bash.

This is Mugabe holding back

To be sure, he’s been more extravagent, as The New York Times point out. “But perhaps hard times call for restraint,” quips the paper.

What Mugabe party would be complete, though, without a renewed promise to seize Zimbabwe’s last few hundred white-owned farms. Yep, Bob was “playing the hits.”...

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Mugabe vows farm seizures, holds party

From the BBC.

Although the headlines is about the legal wrangle over farm seizures, the article has a lot of other information on Zim ...

...Mugabe supporters raised $250,000 (£176,000) for a lavish birthday party in Chinhoyi, north-west of Harare.

Zimbabwe asked African states for $2bn (£1.4bn) in economic aid just days ago....

Morgan Tsvangirai, the new prime minister and former opposition leader, did not attend the celebrations despite earlier indications that he might.

Mr Mugabe's spokesman, George Charamba, told Reuters news agency Mr Tsvangirai had opted out of the event after realising it had been organised by the president's Zanu-PF party.

"People should not read this as a snub - he excused himself," Mr Charamba said....

Good for him.

...The birthday celebrations come as Zimbabwe struggles with the world's highest inflation, food shortages and a cholera epidemic which the World Health Organisation says has killed 3,894 people since August last year....

Following a two-day meeting of regional ministers in Cape Town, South Africa, members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union pledged to "pursue measures in support of Zimbabwe's economic recovery programme".

But Western donors have said they are waiting for proof that the unity government is really working before sending in funds.

"Let Them Eat Cake"

photo from BBC
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