By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, November 15, 3:47 AM
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe — The Zimbabwe Diamond Conference, which wound up
here Wednesday, was sponsored by President Robert Mugabe’s government to
highlight its emergence as a major player in the world diamond trade.
The conference was held to “shed light” on Zimbabwe’s diamond mining and to
allay widely-held concerns of corruption and looting of the gems, said
But the conference raised more questions than answers.
Delegates spoke of the amazing potential Zimbabwe has as a diamond producer.
Zimbabwe allegedly has the capacity to produce between 110 million to 160
million carats of diamonds annually, making it one of the top five diamond
producers by volume in the world.
But where the diamond money is going is not clear. The Mugabe government
seemed unconcerned about providing clarity on how much is mined or earned at
the country’s eastern Marange diamond fields. Mines Minister Obert Mpofu
dismissed calls for transparency.
“How then are you expected to be transparent when there are hyenas chasing
you?” said Mpofu to conference delegates, referring to diamond watchdog
groups. “They want to know what car you drive, which house you are living in
and what plane you are flying.”
Mpofu was named as having amassed “unexplained wealth” from illegal diamond
deals, in a report released at the start of the conference by a Canadian
group campaigning against conflict diamonds, Partnership Africa Canada. The
report described Mpofu as “the chief guardian of Marange” because of his
role in awarding “opaque” concessions beyond the scrutiny of government
ministers and the public.
Mpofu denied the accusations and dismissed the report as being funded by the
Canadian government to “vilify and lie” about Zimbabwe.
“You think Africans can believe that nonsense? We are very emotional about
it and we have suffered enough,” Mpofu said.
At least $2 billion from diamond sales was allegedly stolen from the Marange
diamond fields and enriched President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party
loyalists and military hierarchy, the report said.
The funds from diamond sales could have turned around the country’s
embattled economy, but they have not shown up in the national coffers.
After years of political and economic meltdown, Zimbabwe’s health and
education services remain broke.
Finance Minister Biti said in his budget speech he had been promised $600
million from diamond sales but the head of state-run Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation, Goodwills Masimirembwa said that figure had to be
revised downwards to $150 million due to poor performance of diamond sales
affected by Western sanctions.
While Zimbabwe’s entire budget for education for 2012 was $8 million, Mugabe’s
party is constructing a $6 million conference hall in the provincial city of
Gweru for its annual convention in December.
Education Minister David Coltart criticizes the government’s spending.
Coltart said last week that the number of children dropping out of school
has risen by 10 percent because of increased school fees. Coltart said his
ministry must rely on the goodwill of donors to assist in its programs.
He accused Mugabe’s party of having misplaced priorities.
“We have a warped system in Zimbabwe, a history of misplaced priorities;
this hall in Gweru and the military college constructed for $100 million,”
“If that money had been channeled toward the rehabilitation of schools, then
we would have improved the learning institutions.”
Zimbabwe received a $98 million loan from China to build a sprawling
military training college. China wants the loan repaid over 13 years from
proceeds from the Marange diamond fields.
However, the Mugabe government complains that sanctions by Europe, Australia
and the U.S. are “denying the people of Zimbabwe a chance to benefit from
Former South African President Thabo Mbeki told Zimbabwe that it must ensure
the “greatest possible transparency” in the mining and sales of its diamonds
and guard the diamond industry against “a predatory elite which uses its
access to state power to enrich itself, against the interests of the people
as a whole, acting in collusion with the mining companies.”
Mbeki said the country’s political leadership “owes a sacred obligation to
the peoples of Zimbabwe to ensure that the country’s diamonds serve as the
people’s best friend.
By GILLIAN GOTORA, Associated Press – 1 day ago
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe's diamond conference was rocked by
controversy Tuesday over the Kimberley Process, the world diamond trade
regulatory body, whose chairwoman was publicly asked to resign because she
Gillian Milovanovic, the American chairwoman of the Kimberley Process, came
under a barrage of criticism from African delegates at the Zimbabwe Diamond
Conference for allegedly not doing enough to persuade the U.S. government to
lift trade restrictions on Zimbabwe's state-owned diamond mining companies.
South Africa's Kimberley Process monitor Abbey Chikane accused Milovanovic
of having a conflict of interest because she is American. Chikane alleged
Milovanovic has failed to follow African delegates wishes to promote the
trade of diamonds dug up from Zimbabwe's notorious Marange field in Europe
and the United States.
The state-run Zimbabwe Mining Development Company and Minerals Marketing
Corporation of Zimbabwe are on the U.S. sanctions list, because of evidence
of the Mugabe government's state violence and human rights violations.
"There is a danger of having a chairmanship that will fragment the
organization because you are conflicted ... you are then supposed to recuse
yourself," Chikane said to Milovanovic in front of the conference.
"When South Africa takes over the chair next year we will solve these
issues," said Chikane, who is chairman of the South African Diamond Board.
Zimbabwe Mines Minister Obert Mpofu told Milovanovic that most traders and
investors at the conference, mostly of Indian and Arab origin, were "scared"
of her presence at the conference, which was sponsored by President Robert
"They are coming to me whispering, scared that they will be heard by the
Americans who will interfere with their accounts," Mpofu said. "But it will
not stop us from what we are doing," he said, referring to Zimbabwe's
diamond trade with India and Dubai, which has been criticized for alleged
corruption through price fixing.
Other delegates from Africa, India, Israel and Dubai told Milovanovic that
because of U.S sanctions against Zimbabwe, the Kimberley Process is
unwittingly promoting the illicit trade of Zimbabwe diamonds and creating
the same conflict diamonds it is trying to prevent from being traded.
Milovanovic told the delegates that she would not respond to their
"You are looking for something very dramatic from all this but you are not
going to get it," she said. "I'm not a dramatic person by nature."
Milovanovic said her position on the Kimberley Process had no power to
influence the U.S. imposition of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The U.S Embassy said U.S. sanctions against Zimbabwe's state-owned mining
companies are separate from the Kimberley Process. Michael Gonzalez, the
political and economic officer at the embassy in Harare, said the American
sanctions against Zimbabwe's mining companies have nothing to do with the
Kimberley Process but are a bilateral issue. He said Washington has imposed
sanctions because of its concerns over state violence.
Zimbabwe's "attorney general and security chiefs must start honoring the
president's calls to end violence so the sanctions can be removed," said
Mugabe's government staged the conference in the resort city of Victoria
Falls to gain international credibility for Zimbabwe's huge production of
diamonds in the Marange fields in eastern Zimbabwe. But the Mugabe
government's efforts to win respectability have been overshadowed by
allegations that $2 billion of diamond proceeds have been stolen by Mugabe's
cronies. Zimbabwe government officials denied the charges of corruption in
the report by the Partnership Africa Canada, a group campaigning against
Since 2006, Zimbabwe has mined Marange — one of the world's largest diamond
deposits — producing rough stones worth an estimated $2 billion per year.
Yet the report charges that the funds have not reached the Zimbabwean
treasury to help the impoverished country. Instead the diamonds have
enriched Mugabe's close associates and an international ring of traders,
according to the report.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
14 November, 2012
Officials from Zimbabwe’s Mines Ministry and many of the invited guests to
the Diamond Conference at Victoria Falls, used the second day on Tuesday to
focus on the issue of what they called ‘Western sanctions’ and to attack
American officials, who they accused of hindering the country’s diamond
The Mugabe regime claims Zimbabwe’s diamond industry is being hindered by
sanctions. In fact these are targeted sanctions which are mainly an asset
freeze and travel ban on key members of the regime. Two diamond companies
affiliated with the security sector chefs are on the list, because of the
human rights abuses that occurred in the diamond mining areas.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu who hosted the two-day conference, invited
individuals and political figures who support ZANU PF, in an attempt to gain
credibility for Zimbabwe’s tainted diamond trade.
One of the unfortunate targets was the American Gillian Milovanovic, who
currently chairs the Kimberly Process (KP), a global watchdog set up to
eliminate the trade in so-called blood diamonds.
Milovanovic was challenged to recuse herself by Abbey Chikane, a KP monitor
for South Africa accused of supporting ZANU PF. Chikane claimed there was a
conflict of interest because US ‘sanctions’ imposed on Zim are hurting the
diamond trade. Chikane himself is a controversial figure who fell out with
civil society groups in Zimbabwe.
Milovanovic argued that the sanctions are a bilateral issue that has nothing
to do with diamonds. She is quoted as saying: “Compliance with the KP
certificate is unrelated to the issue of sanctions.”
Mike Davis, a campaigner for Global Witness, dismissed Chikane’s role as an
accuser, saying he is behaving in a hypocritical manner because he is a
compromised figure himself who previously betrayed the trust of leading
civil society activists in Zimbabwe.
“He even went to the extent of an unauthorized mission to Zimbabwe in
November 2010, to authorize thousands of diamonds for sale on behalf of the
KP, which he had no mandate to do,” Davis told SW Radio Africa.
Mines Minister Obert Mpofu also unleashed a public attack on Milovanovic,
saying most of the Indian and Arab traders and investors at the conference
were “scared” of her.
Mpofu said: “They are coming to me whispering, scared that they will be
heard by the Americans who will interfere with their accounts”.
According to reports, other delegates from India, Israel and Dubai told
Milovanovic that the KP is creating conditions for the illicit trade in
Zimbabwe diamonds, by maintaining sanctions against the country. Milovanovic
refused to be drawn into the argument.
Davis explained that there is a clear threat posed in the way that diamonds
are being controlled by elements of the security apparatus. With an election
due next year the concern is that the diamonds will be used to fund violence
that will assist the Mugabe regime to retain power.
by Deutsche Welle
A US diplomat has said sanctions on Zimbabwe will remain until human rights
situation in the country is improved.
Zimbabwean government officials blame sanctions on Zimbabwe's diamonds as
the cause of the country's ailing economy.
Zimbabwe government's international conference on diamond trade has ended on
Tuesday with delegates asking western countries to lift sanctions it imposed
on the African country's leadership about a decade ago following reports of
human rights abuses.
Diamond traders from all over the world and government officials said the
sanctions were affecting Zimbabwe's diamond prices on the world market.
The two – day conference was aimed at finding ways in which Zimbabwe's
diamonds could improve the country's ailing economy. Speaking at the
conference, President Mugabe blamed sanctions imposed on him as the cause of
Zimbabwean diamond lower prices.
“Diamonds have been marketed at depressed prices owing to a negative buyer
perception resulting from these illegal sanctions… I do not even know why
sanctions exist,” he said.
On the other hand, delegates at the conference blamed the Kimberly Process,
the world diamond trade watchdog, for not doing enough to persuade the U.S
Government to lift sanctions on Zimbabwe's state- owned diamond mining
"The sanctions that are on Zimbabwe should be on other things and not on
diamonds. Zimbabwe has proved that they are in compliance. Anything that
concern Zimbabwe must be out of the sanctions," said Namibia Mines and
energy Minister Isa Kigali.
Some diamond traders at the conference attacked the Kimberly Process for not
able to solve the problem and blamed Obama's administration for making
Zimbabweans lives miserable through the sanctions.
“I have not earned a single penny since I came to this country. If anything
I have spent $50,000 of my own money, and I have got nothing to go back home
to" said Gianni Meals, an American investor in Zimbabwe.
Trading in Zimbabwe diamonds in the US is being hampered because Washington
has imposed sanctions on all Zimbabwe diamond trading companies.
"I do not know why America has chosen a fight with this country, it has been
through enough. This is one of the largest diamond producers yet 50 percent
are unemployed. The country has been robbed,” Melas insisted.
But some western diplomats who attended the conference in Victoria Falls
ruled out lifting the sanctions unless human rights situation improves in
“The restrictions in place are response to the broad environment. They are
necessarily a response to individual transactions.
But fundamentally the restrictions are in place about unrelated to the
diamond sector or any given transaction but what those funds are being used
to perpetuate,” said Mike Gonzales, head of political and economic section
at the US embassy in Zimbabwe.
As jostling for positions within President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party
in Masvingo reaches fever pitch, at least nine “retired” members of the
Zimbabwe National Army have thrown their hats into the ring to contest the
forthcoming parliamentary and senatorial elections.
by Regerai Tututuku
This gives credence to what has been repeatedly claimed by political
analysts that the dividing line between the military and the Zanu (PF) wing
of government is seriously blurred, with senior army officers regarding
themselves first and foremost as politicians rather than professional
Brigadier General Callisto Gwanetsa is eying the Chiredzi senatorial seat
while Brigadier General Livingstone Chineka is eying the Zaka seat. Former
Bikita West legislator and journalist Colonel Claudius Makova is gunning for
the Bikita senatorial seat, while Brigadier General Victor Rungani wants to
be one of the legislators in Bikita.
Brigadier Gibson Mashingaidze is also understood to be interested in running
for a parliamentary seat in Bikita, his home area.
In Gutu, where the late former army commander, General Vitalis Zvinavashe,
was trounced in the 2008 elections by little known Empire Makamure of the
MDC-T , Colonel Mutero Masanganise is reportedly gunning for the senatorial
Barely a month after the death of Higher Education minister Stan Mudenge,
who was Masvingo north legislator, Colonel Davis Marapira openly declared
his interest to take over the reins. He has already started campaigning in
Masvingo North constituency - although Zanu (PF) says no-one should campaign
before being given the nod by the national leadership.
In Masvingo West former executive mayor candidate Major Bernard Mazarire has
declared his interest to wrestle the seat from the MDC-T. In Masvingo urban
former United People’s Party president, now a Zanu (PF) member, Colonel
Daniel Shumba wants to snatch the seat from the MDC-T.
Contacted for comment, Zanu (PF) Masvingo provincial chairman Lovemore
Matuke said it was too early for anyone to start campaigning as they were
still awaiting a signal from the party leadership.
“It is not bad for people to strategically position themselves, but it might
cause confusion within the party,” said Matuke. “We do not mind whether one
is a former soldier or not. If he is chosen by the people he will be allowed
to represent them - but there is no such policy where we say members of the
army have to get special treatment.”
The party’s national spokesman Rugare Gumbo has said the politburo will meet
soon to come up with modalities and principles to be followed when holding
party primary elections. There has been speculation that the army will not
allow anyone without “liberation war credentials” to rule the country.
This has been interpreted to mean that the army will not allow Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to rule even if he wins the next poll. However
analysts have warned that the militarisation crusade by Mugabe’s party will
lead to an agonizing defeat. They say Mugabe should confine soldiers to the
barracks if he wants to snatch meaningful votes in the next election.
Bikita - Brigadier Gibson Mashingaidze
Bikita - Brigadier General Victor Rungani
Masvingo West - Major Benard Mazarire
Bikita - Colonel Claudius Makova
Chiredzi - Brigadier General Callisto Gwanetsa
Gutu - Colonel Mutero Masanganise
Masvingo North - Colonel Davis Marapira
Masvingo urban - Colonel Daniel Shumba
Tell us about it
Will Mugabe’s militarization crusade lead to Zanu (PF)’s defeat at the
polls? Please tell us: .
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By Fungai Kwaramba, Staff Writer
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 10:40
HARARE - Zanu PF’s “Mr Fix It”, Jabulani Sibanda, is in President Robert
Mugabe’s home province of Mashonaland West where he is marshalling support
for the party ahead of elections that are expected next year.
The firebrand war veterans leader says he is in the province to boost Zanu
Contrary to a story that appeared in the Daily News last week which
erroneously quoted Sibanda as stating he had met with Mugabe because of the
party’s sorry state in the province, the war veterans leader said he had not
met with Mugabe on issues besetting the province.
Sibanda said he is in the province to strengthen the party’s fortunes ahead
of elections which the Zanu PF leader says should be held next year in
The war veterans leader, who takes no prisoners in his campaigns, has
reportedly enhanced Zanu PF fortunes in the province where the MDC, Zanu PF
fiercest rival, plays second fiddle.
“I am now in Mashonaland West province even when Jesus said “makwayi angu
anonzwa izwi rangu” (my sheep heed to my call) he was saying so because he
had walked among his people and the people knew his voice and his works.
“I am still in Mashonaland and I will be there building support for the
party,” said Sibanda.
During the 2008 harmonised elections Zanu PF won 88,89 percent of the seats
in Mashonaland Central, 82,61 percent in Mashonaland East, 74,07 percent in
Midlands and 72,73 percent in Mashonaland West.
During the synchronised elections Tsvangirai’s MDC won 99 of the 210 seats
with Zanu PF taking 97, while Industry and Commerce minister Welshman Ncube’s
MDC won 10, and an independent candidate won one.
Ironically Zanu PF legislators got more votes than MDC. There was a total of
2 405 147 valid votes cast, with Zanu PF garnering 1 112 773 (46,3 percent),
MDC 1 038 512 (43,2 percent), and Ncube-led MDC getting 203 146 (8,4
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 00:00
Sydney Kawadza Assistant News Editor
Zanu-PF has threatened to pull out of the Joint Monitoring and
Implementation Committee (Jomic) over alleged interference by the Zimbabwe
Institute, which manages the body’s finances and related logistics. In a
letter presented to a full Jomic meeting on Monday, Zanu-PF Jomic
co-chairperson Cde Nicholas Goche called for the de-linking of ZI and Jomic.
“The Jomic secretariat should fully control and run Jomic programmes under
the direction of the full Jomic committee, failure of which Zanu-PF will
find it extremely difficult to continue to co-operate with or work through
Jomic,” Cde Goche said.
(MDC) confirmed that the full committee meeting received the complaint from
“We will sit down as Jomic co-chairpersons and we will report back to the
full committee meeting after discussing the issues raised by Zanu-PF,” she
Mrs Misihairabwi-Mushonga said the co-chairpersons would only report back to
the full Jomic committee meeting next year. While ZI was headquartered in
South Africa, Zanu-PF noted that the institution had largely shifted its
base from that country to Zimbabwe. Cde Goche said ZI transferred most of
its staff from Cape Town to Harare, resulting in Jomic changing offices to
Jomic has eight employees, while the ZI has about nine.
Cde Goche said that the ZI director and his deputy had a “long and very
strong background with the MDC”.
“The two were founding members of the MDC and worked as directors at the MDC
headquarters at Harvest House until the party split in 2005,” Cde Goche
said. He said the two moved away with the formation led by MDC leader
Professor Welshman Ncube, but disappeared until their 2009 link with Jomic.
“It is believed that during this period they were in South Africa where they
later emerged as directors of the Zimbabwe Institute,” said Cde Goche.
He said the ZI director attended major Jomic meetings, including those by
co-chairpersons. Cde Goche said some parties in Jomic were failing to raise
their quota of people for inter-party meetings in districts.
“This is clear evidence that the parties do not have reasonable members in
some districts and are riding on Jomic programmes with the assistance of ZI
to start organising membership and creating party structures in those
districts,” said Cde Goche.
Responding to Dhlakama's threat that he will provoke a fresh bloodbath if the government does not share the country's ever-increasing wealth and reform the electoral system, the authorities said they trust he will not take up arms.
"Mr Dhlakama is not a child. He is an adult, and an adult thinks of the consequences of his actions. That is why we think he will not do anything. He has children and a wife," police spokesman Pedro Cossa said on Tuesday.
In an exclusive interview from his base in the Mozambican bush, Dhlakama told AFP he wanted peace, but vowed to send the country "backwards" toward a brutal civil war if necessary.
"We don't believe he will go to war because he has promised several times that he will not make war, that he wants peace. We don't believe he can change his mind from one moment to the next and say he wants war," Cossa said.
Mozambique's government has sent members of the country's elite riot squad or "Rapid Intervention Force" (FIR) to the Gorongosa area where Dhlakama is camped out with several hundred armed supporters.
Cossa said they were there to ensure Dhlakama's safety.
"We don't want any problems to occur involving his safety or his health so, if anyone does anything against him, FIR will be called in to assist," he said.
"The police of FIR do not have the intention to attack the Renamo leader. We will wait until he wants to go back to his house in Maputo and accompany him."
Renamo militants have clashed several times with the elite squad in the past and consider them their sworn enemies.
Earlier this year the FIR launched an assault on a group of Renamo militants who had camped out outside their former party headquarters in the northern city of Nampula. Four people died in the clash.
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 00:00
MAPUTO — Former Mozambican rebel leader Afonso Dhlakama has said he is now
training his men in preparation for a war against the government.
In an exclusive interview with AFP from his base deep in the Mozambican bush
where he has gathered several hundred armed supporters, the former
rebel leader vowed a return to violence if the government does not share the
country’s wealth and reform the electoral system.
Dhlakama warned he was not scared of derailing the country’s economic boom.
“If it is necessary we can go backwards. We prefer a poor country than to
have people eating from our pot,” he said.
“I am training my men up and, if we need to, we will leave here and destroy
Dhlakama directed an insurgency against the Frelimo government that resulted
in the death of a million Mozambicans between 1977 and 1992.
To lend weight to his demands, Dhlakama has coupled a motley of former
rebels with AK-47 rifles.
In the shadow of Mount Gorongosa, they receive weapons training and run
military drills while guarding their leader, believing the ruling party will
hire assassins to eliminate him.
“We have to wait a little, but we are waiting for the moment we can finish
what we started,” said ex-fighter Armindo Milaco.
It remains unclear whether Dhlakama can or will make good on his threats,
but after 20 years of “patience”, he insists his former Renamo rebels have
had enough of the government’s “robbery” of the country’s resources.
“We want to say to (President Armando) Guebuza, ‘You are eating well. We
want to eat well too.’”
But Mozambican police said yesterday they do not believe the former rebel
leader would make good on his threat to return the country to war.
Responding to Dhlakama’s threat, the Mozambican authorities said they trust
he will not take up arms.
“Mr Dhlakama is not a child. He is an adult, and an adult thinks of the
consequences of his actions.
“That is why we think he will not do anything. He has children and a wife,”
police spokesman Pedro Cossa said.
The police spokesperson added: “We don’t believe he will go to war because
he has promised several times that he will not make war, that he wants
“We don’t believe he can change his mind from one moment to the next and say
he wants war.”
Meanwhile, the Mozambican government has dispatched members of the country’s
elite riot squad or “Rapid Intervention Force” (FIR) to the Gorongosa area
where Dhlakama is camped out with several hundred armed supporters.
Cossa said they were there to ensure Dhlakama’s safety.
“We don’t want any problems to occur involving his safety or his health so,
if anyone does anything against him, FIR will be called in to assist,” he
“The police of FIR do not have the intention to attack the Renamo leader. We
will wait until he wants to go back to his house in Maputo and accompany
Renamo militants have clashed several times with the elite squad in the past
and consider them their sworn enemies.
Earlier this year, the FIR launched an assault on a group of Renamo
militants who had camped out outside their former party headquarters in the
northern city of Nampula.
Four people died in the clash. — AFP-Herald Reporter.
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
The Standing Committee of the MDC met in Harare today, the 14th of November
2012 and among other things reviewed the situation in Mozambique.
The MDC is extremely worried about the political and security developments
in Mozambique especially the possibility of another civil war in that
country. Since the end of the very debilitating civil war which lasted
sixteen years, Mozambique embarked on an admirable path towards economic
development. That standard of living of the people of Mozambique improved
considerably during this time of peace and that can never be disputed.
The MDC unequivocally supports the people of Mozambique and their right to
leave in peace and harmony. We therefore urge, the political leadership of
Mozambique especially Frelimo and Renamo to put the interests of the
Mozambican people first and resolve their political differences in a
The war in Mozambique will bring untold suffering for the people of
Mozambique and beyond. Further, it will reverse all the economic, social and
political gains that have been made so far. We urge the international
community especially SADC and the African Union to deal with the disturbing
developments in Mozambique as a matter of urgency. We urge all the people of
Zimbabwe especially the political parties to set aside their political
differences and support the peace efforts in Mozambique.
The Last Mile: Towards Real Transformation!!!
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 10:57
HARARE - Air Zimbabwe has once again broken aviation records after the
troubled airline flew an empty aircraft from Johannesburg to Harare upon the
resumption of regional flights on Monday.
Insiders disclosed yesterday that Air Zimbabwe flew an empty Boeing 767-200
aircraft, one of its long-haul planes, which has a carrying capacity of 203
passengers on its evening return flight from South Africa after it had
ferried five passengers to Johannesburg from Harare International Airport on
its morning flight.
The airline cruised the Johannesburg-Harare route with nine flight crew
aboard including two pilots only identified as Captain Jonasi and
Murombedzi, the first flight officer, an engineer and six air hostesses.
The insiders said the embarrassing incident was a result of poor marketing
by the troubled airline which on Monday resumed regional flights having
suspended them in January after creditors threatened to seize the carrier’s
aircraft over crippling debts.
Air Zimbabwe acting group chief executive officer Innocent Mavhunga could
not be reached for comment yesterday as his mobile phone went unanswered.
This is not the first time that Air Zimbabwe has flown near-empty. In 2005,
the national airline cruised between Dubai and Harare, with one passenger.
Last year, the airline ferried one passenger from Victoria Falls to Harare
after landing in the resort town with 16 passengers on its Chinese-made MA60
aircraft from Harare.
Critics say years of mismanagement and interference by the government have
nearly brought the airline to its knees.
Starved of cash for recapitalisation, Air Zimbabwe uses mostly old-fashioned
technology and equipment while nearly all its planes are between 18 and 23
years old except for the Chinese-made Modern Ark (MA) 60. - Kumbirai Mafunda
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 10:56
HARARE - Zimbabwe's press freedom groups have said a proposed new media bill
has little guarantees for free speech and gave government frightening powers
to control the media ahead of forthcoming elections.
The Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ) — a self-regulating committee
of journalists, lawyers, priests, businesspersons and ordinary
persons —said, in a highly critical report that, MDC MP Settlement Chikwinya’s
draft ‘Media Freedom and Transparency Bill’ violated the Constitution and
undermined freedom of expression despite amendments aimed at appeasing the
“The Bill, while seeking to transform the media legislative framework
through calling for the repeal of the draconian Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa), an Act that has been used to arbitrarily
arrest and detain journalists, unfortunately retains provisions in the Bill
that are still undemocratic and hinder freedom of expression,” VMCZ
chairperson Alec Muchadehama said.
“The Bill retains the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) and a Media Council
under provisions that in our view do not conform to the spirit and letter of
Section 20 of the current Constitution, Article 9 of the African Charter on
Human and People’s Rights as well as Article 19 of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights.”
Nhlanhla Ngwenya, director of Misa Zimbabwe chapter, told the Daily News
that while they support initiatives that seek to repeal laws such as Aippa,
there were “issues” with the Bill.
“As a party that claims to be government in waiting, it must table before
Parliament laws that are in sync with various democratic protocols on
freedom of expression and media freedom,” Ngwenya said.
Chikwinya, who chairs the Media, Information and Communication Technology
parliamentary portfolio committee, said he would hold more talks to ensure
the private member’s Bill fits the media practitioners’ preferred template
and then steer its passage through Parliament.
He is due to table a motion on the media Bill when Parliament resumes
sitting on tomorrow.
The proposed Media Freedom and Transparency Bill, which Chikwinya crafted
after noting the apparent refusal by Information minister Webster Shamu to
make changes to Aippa, would establish a Media Complaints Committee;
recommend a fine or a prison term not exceeding six months for a media
practitioner found guilty of a violation of a media code of conduct.
The Bill is likely to be delayed for weeks by procedural problems and
The ‘Orwellian’ Aippa that it seeks to repeal was draconian, restricted
access for foreign reporters, imposed tight controls on local media and
undermined press freedom.
Chikwinya said some clauses could be tightened, but added: “It is
constitutional in all its intents and purposes. To say it’s unconstitutional
is a misrepresentation.”
The Daily News understands Zanu PF legislators were not too keen on the
Chikwinya’s Bill will maintain the licensing and registration of journalists
and media groups, restrictions on freedom of expression, and jail terms,
albeit reduced from two years to six months.
VMCZ commended MP Chikwinya for trying to repeal the draconian Aippa
legislation, but said they still found several clauses in his Bill which
violated the constitution.
“It is the VMCZ’s considered view that such provisions in the Bill are not
in the best interests for media freedom or freedom of expression in
Zimbabwe, particularly, where they seek to continue a culture of the
bureaucratisation of freedom of expression only in order to curtail it,”
The VMCZ chairperson said it was beyond its mandate to accept “compromise”
legislation that still undermines freedom of expression and media freedom.
Ngwenya said Misa Zimbabwe felt that the Bill includes provisions that seek
to massage egos of MDC’s political rivals.
The VMCZ was especially critical of retaining a state-appointed commission
which would retain powers to licence journalists, enforce standards and
The Bill, however, also has positive provisions such as decriminalising
criticism of the President. - Gift Phiri
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 10:48
HARARE - The Supreme Court has ruled that the Whitecliffe Farm take-over by
ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement from property developer Edward
Pfugari was illegal and ordered the vacation of occupants within five days.
The farm owner, 76-year-old Pfugari was involved in the wrangle after his
farm located on the outskirts of Harare along the Bulawayo Highway was taken
over by the government.
Justice Ziyambi, who handled the case together with Justice Paddington Garwe
and Yunus Omerjee, said a preliminary notice of intention to acquire the
farm handed down in September 2004, was also null and void.
He ordered Local Government and those claiming occupation through them to
vacate within five days.
“It is declared that the respondents (ministry of Lands) did not comply with
the Land Acquisition Act in acquiring the land,” Justice Ziyambi said in the
“Accordingly the acquisition order issued on June 15, 2006, it is null and
The ministry of Lands and Rural Resettlement, cited as respondents in the
case, were yesterday not represented.
The property developer took his case to the Supreme Court contesting an
Administrative Court ruling, declaring the farm takeover as lawful. - Tendai
By Tichaona Sibanda
14 November 2012
A senior member of the MDC-T on Wednesday strongly condemned police in
Mutoko for their inaction in arresting arsonists who petrol bombed two
houses belonging to a party activist.
Piniel Denga, the MDC-T provincial chairman for Mashonaland East, told SW
Radio Africa’s Hidden Story program he was horrified to note that despite
evidence linking the arson attack to known ZANU PF activists, police refused
to act because the case is ‘highly sensitive.’
Denga blamed the lack of action on police Commissioner-General Augustine
Chihuri, whom he accused of destroying the once vibrant force.
‘We don’t expect the police to do anything to ZANU PF operatives because
their boss is ZANU PF and wears a party t-shirt to work under his uniform,’
Mutoko is a highly polarized district and witnessed some of the bloodiest
violence during the 2008 poll. No one has ever been arrested for the
violence that left many MDC-T supporters dead.
‘Last week, police even had the audacity to tell the victim to bring the
suspects to the police station in order for them to open a docket,’ Denga
This latest incident of political violence flared up in Mutoko East last
weekend when suspected ZANU PF activists petrol-bombed a homestead belonging
to David Chamanga Chihwayi, the MDC organising secretary for ward 17 in the
During the attack Chihwayi reportedly lost 300kg of maize, all his clothes,
including school uniforms for his two children, food stuffs and $300 which
he kept in his bedroom.
Denga said by turning a blind eye when a crime is committed police are
neglecting their duty and need to be fired. After the attack, Chihwayi was
able to preserve some footprints as evidence but the police never bothered
to send in a forensic team.
‘To his credit Chihwayi was able to follow the prints from his homestead to
the house that belongs to a known war vet who lives in the area. This case
should be treated as an attempted murder because they torched his house when
he was sleeping. We only thank god that he made it out before the fire
engulfed the whole house,’ Denga said.
Before the attack, Chihwayi had received a series of threats from known ZANU
PF activists for leading a campaign to be compensated for the goods and
livestock they lost during the bloody 2008 elections.
The MDC-T in Mashonaland East have rallied behind its ward chairman, raising
money and building materials to rebuild the two houses destroyed in the
‘We have all the material on site now and I think by this weekend he will
move into his refurbished home,’ Denga added.
Staff Reporter 21 hours 50 minutes ago
MUTOKO - President Mugabe's peace call is now in the spot light follwing the
burning of two houses belonging to the MDC organising secretary ward 17 in
Mutoko amid reports of re-emergency of torture bases and the army deployed
to help Zanu PF militia.
"The burning of two houses belonging to David Chihwai Chamanga, the MDC
organising secretary ward 17 in Mutoko confirms our concern over Mugabe and
Zanu PF’s calls for peace in public fora whilst at night arming and
unleashing bands of Zanu PF militia groups to commit acts of violence
against perceived opponents.", the MDC said in a statement.
"what is more worrying is police inaction in dealing with this case of arson
given that their mandate is to protect property and citizens from
perpetrators of such heinous crimes."
"The failure by police to act is a clear indication of complicity in the
whole crime which vindicates our worry about the presence of state sponsored
violence in Zimbabwe and as such we reiterate our call for the security
"More disturbing is the fact that this incident comes hot on the heels of a
series of well calculated attacks by state and non state agencies against
those prodemocracy organisations and activists."
Of note is the recent raiding of the Counselling Service Unit, arrests of
MDC leadership like Elton Mangoma, arrests of independent journalists,
deployment of military personnel in Masvingo and Manicaland who are
intimidating people to vote in favour of Zanu PF in the next coming
referendum and plebiscite in 2013.
"This is the beginning of a well calculated plan by Zanu PF to create mayhem
and a bloodbath, before, during and after next year’s election. We are aware
that this trend will increase and become more intense as we approach
"From the foregoing it is clear that our state security and the judiciary
are heavily compromised."
"The continued abuse of state machinery by Zanu PF is deplorable and must
stop if we are going to have a free and fair election next year. The MDC is
worried about the safety and security of the electorate and the vote under
these conditions which do not augur well for a free and fair election."
"The MDC will not stand by and watch Zanu Pf continue with such wanton acts
of provocations and barbaric display of intolerance."
"We therefore call upon fellow Zimbabweans, and the international community
to stand guard against this primitive conduct by Zanu PF for the safety of
our people and the security of our nation. We call upon our colleagues in
Zanu PF to immediately put a stop to this very dark epoch in our
"Our position remains that we will not participate in an election whose
conditions are suspect and not promote free and fair conduct of democratic
expression of the people’s wishes," the party said
By Tichaona Sibanda
14 November 2012
MDC-T youth assembly President Solomon Madzore says anyone who doubts Morgan
Tsvangirai will be the next leader of Zimbabwe should have his head
Addressing party activists in Harare after he was released from Chikurubi
prison on Wednesday, Madzore said whether the military junta likes it or
not, Tsvangirai will be their next commander-in-chief after the election.
‘We are not worried at all about threats of a coup. ZANU PF and its partisan
military will not derail our fight to free Zimbabwe from tyranny. We will
fight to the bitter end despite all efforts to derail our fight,’ Madzore
The youth leader was finally granted a $500 bail on Tuesday after spending
over a year in custody in connection with the alleged murder of police
inspector Petros Mutedza in May last year.
However he was only released Wednesday because the fines office at the High
court had closed by the time Justice Chinembiri Bhunu set him free.
Hundreds of MDC-T activists thronged the gates of the maximum security
prison to welcome the youth leader, who remained as defiant as ever, telling
his fellow activists not to be afraid to fight for change.
‘Never let the threats of incarceration stop you from fighting for justice.
Look I spent a year at Chikurubi maximum college and I’ve come out my skin
looking lighter and enlightened politically.
‘Everyone in that prison, including all the guards and senior officers, are
yawning for change. So don’t be intimidated by threats of being arrested
just because you are fighting for change,’ he said.
This led to MDC-T’s co-Home Affairs Minister Theresa Makone to comment on
her facebook page: ‘They found that the benefit of releasing him far
outweighed the disastrous rate at which the Prison Guards were changing,
vakati BETTER AYENDE (They thought it was better for him to go).’
Madzore is among 28 other MDC-T activists who were arrested and charged with
the killing of Mutedza during disturbances in Glen View. The MDC-T insists
the charges are ‘trumped up.’
By Tererai Karimakwenda
14 November, 2012
Two men from Bulawayo, who were arrested last Friday after they refused to
give way to Robert Mugabe’s motorcade, appeared separately in court on
Monday and were released on $100 bail each.
Prayer Gavhanga and Newton Mlotshwa, both engineers from Bulawayo, made
headlines last week after they refused to follow instructions from the lead
biker in Mugabe’s convoy, who ordered them to pull over. Mugabe was in
Bulawayo for a graduation ceremony at the National University of Science and
Sergeant Jeche, the lead biker in the convoy, stopped his bike to block
Gavhanga’s car. He then walked over, took the keys from the ignition and had
The passenger Mlotshwa decided to act. He got out of the car and grabbed
Sergeant Jeche’s bike, preventing him from leaving as well. Soldiers who
were in the motorcade came to Jeche’s aid and arrested Mlotshwa.
Gavhanga, who was driving, appeared before magistrate Evelyn Mashavakure and
was charged with “failing to comply with lawful instructions from a police
officer”. Appearing separately before magistrate Tawanda Muchemwa, Mlotshwa
was charged with “hindering or resisting a police officer”.
The pair has been praised by many people for being brave enough to challenge
the police in Mugabe’s convoy, who have a reputation for speeding through
local streets and recently causing several deaths due to carelessness.
Political commentator Wilbert Mukori told SW Radio Africa that the public
reaction shows just how Zimbabweans are feeling a sense of frustration with
their lives and with the political situation that is not changing.
“People find themselves in a situation where for weeks on end there is no
water. There is no electricity and nothing is going well. Then one day
somebody bullies you around and says ‘pull over’.
Mukori added that the pair also showed a sense of courage, in a country
where people are normally too afraid to demonstrate about important issues.
14th November 2012
Godfrey Chimombe is the Mashonaland Central provincial chairperson of the
MDC-T and also the co-chairman of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation
Committee. But once again this outspoken critic of the regime has got
himself into trouble.
While addressing a rally earlier this year in Mt. Darwin police allege he
told the hundreds of MDC-T supporters gathered there that Joice Mujuru was
responsible for the death of her husband.
The MDC-T claim that Chimombe was at the rally, but did not address the
But now he has been fined $300 by a Bindura magistrate who ruled that he was
guilty of making false statements. His 6 months jail sentence was suspended
on condition that he commits no further offences.
General Solomon Mujuru’s death remains a mystery after his charred remains
were found in his farm house.
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) president and NewsDay’s Bulawayo Bureau
Chief, Dumisani Sibanda, has requested to temporarily step aside to deal
with allegations of indecently harassing a workmate.
Sibanda was reportedly forced to step aside until he is cleared of an
indecent assault charge levelled against him by a colleague.
ZUJ secretary general Foster Dongozi said Sibanda sent a brief statement to
the national executive saying he is stepping aside to enable him to attend
to the issue, which is now in the courts.
Sibanda was elected ZUJ president in 2010, taking over from Matthew Takaona,
who is now a media commissioner.
Dongozi said vice president Michael Chideme becomes acting president until
Sibanda’s issue is finalized.
by Staff Reporters
THE government has launched a US$15 million Agricultural Credit Facility
targeted at the through Agribank to help boost maize production in the new
Agribank Chief Executive Sam Malaba said the facility would be targeted at
the A2 commercial farmers in the high rainfall maize growing regions of the
“The government has availed a US$15 million agricultural credit facility at
a concessionary rate of 4-5 per cent,” Malaba told reporters in Harare on
“The facility will be released in tranches with the initial US$5 million
having already been disbursed to Agribank. We hope this facility will go a
long way in boosting the production of maize and ensure food security in the
“One of the major challenges we have been facing is lack of funding for
agriculture which matches the backbone status of the sector. We therefore
feel with such reasonable interest rates, more farmers would take up the
Prospective beneficiaries can get up to US$100,000 each but must satisfy the
requirements of the bank which include a proven track record of maize
deliveries to the Grain Marketing Board.
Malaba said the revolving facility was a welcome boost at a time poor
agricultural performance had cascaded negatively into other economic sectors
such as manufacturing which rely on the through-put from the sector.
“We are positive that this facility will boost other sectors of the economy.
We have just seen a downward revision of the economic targets and this has
been largely due to the failure by the agricultural sector since it is the
anchor sector,” he said.
“We hope this will provide the stimulus in the whole economy. We see no
reason why the farmers will fail to pay the facility as we are giving it at
concessionary rates with a 12 month period.”
The World Food Programme (WFP) recently revealed that at least 1.6 million
people would need food aid around the country this year following a poor
The United Nations agency said it would need about $119m for an aid
programme which would run until the next harvest in March next year.
Food shortages are being blamed on erratic rainfall and dry spells, limited
access to seeds and fertilisers, a reduction in the planted area, poor
farming practices and inadequate crop diversification.
The worst-hit areas are the chronically dry regions of southern Zimbabwe.
Once a regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe has been facing perennial food
shortages in recent years following a slump in food production blamed partly
on President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reforms which saw the
seizure of white-owned farms for re-allocation to landless blacks.
The majority of the beneficiaries lacked the skills and means for
large-scale farming, and were given little support from the government.
Zanu (PF) activists who recently petrol bombed the house of MDC-T ward
chairman for Zaka Central, Nelson Bvudzijena, are still walking scot free
despite attempts to have them brought to book.
by Edgar Gweshe
Bvudzijena is recovering from injuries he sustained during the arson attack
on his house in Mashingaidze village by Zanu (PF) supporters last month. He
and his wife were both hospitalized following the attack.
Police inaction over the matter has riled the MDC-T with party spokesperson,
Douglas Mwonzora, expressing disgust over the manner in which the matter was
being handled. He said there was a plot between Zanu (PF) leadership and the
Zimbabwe Republic Police to make sure the matter was swept under the carpet.
“The fact that the Zanu (PF) people who petrol bombed Bvudzijena’s house
have not been arrested up to now shows a hidden motive. This selective
application of the law tells us that when you see people not being arrested,
then you know Zanu (PF) is involved,” said Mwonzora.
Member of Parliament for Zaka Central, Harrison Mudzuri, also expressed
concern over police inaction on the matter. Police spokesperson for Masvingo
Province, Peter Zhanero, said: “So far we have not made any arrests but we
are continuing with investigations.”
Bvudzijena, who cannot walk due to severe burns on his legs, now lives in
fear of his life following death threats by unknown assailants who
reportedly visited him in hospital and threatened to eliminate him.
Mudzuri confirmed this saying, “After the Prime Minister visited him, some
unknown people called the hospital matron and threatened to come and get rid
An eye witness said the Zanu (PF) youths behind the attack on Bvudzijena’s
home were picked up for questioning and released the same day.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai castigated Mugabe for lacking sincerity in
his calls for peace and political tolerance when he visited Bvudzijena in
hospital last month. The advocacy group Heal Zimbabwe Trust has expressed
concern over rising cases of harassment and intimidation in Zaka Central.
Posted by Gerry Jackson on Wednesday, November 14, 2012 in Behind the
Headlines, Featured | 0 comments
12th November 2012
GJ: My name’s Gerry Jackson and I’m standing in for Tererai on Behind the
Headlines. The government is, once again, trying to legitimize Zimbabwe’s
diamond industry at a conference being held in Victoria Falls. As the
conference began, PAC (Partnership Africa Canada), released a damning report
highlighting the violence, abuse, corruption and theft that surrounds
Zimbabwe’s diamond industry. I spoke to Alan Martin from the PAC and asked
him how they estimated that two billion dollars had been stolen so far.
AM: Well I think with a lot of the numbers we used in this report, we erred
on the side of being very conservative and I think that included both in
coming to that estimate and also even the estimate of Minister Mpofu’s own
wealth but I’ll just give you a few ideas of how we came to that: there were
several numbers we talked about in the report – one was the disappearance of
the 2.5 million dollar, sorry, 2.5 million carat stockpile which has never
been really accounted for despite having a forensic audit in 2011 but by
even current day’s depressed prices, that would be valued at almost 200
million but I think that we could even make that double that because of the
prices at which, during the time that there was a stockpile, the rough
prices were double what they are now. Certainly the prices from Marange were
double what they are now. We also looked at the estimate that was given in
one of the Kimberley Process review mission reports which talked about how
industry experts had estimated that about ten million carats had been
removed prior to 2010 and again, if you were to take that at today’s
depressed prices of about 60 dollars a carat out of Marange, that would be
about 600 million dollars. And then you also have just the kind of money
that Tendai Biti, the Finance minister, is talking about missing, that he
had budgeted for and has not received. So those are three of the ways in
which we looked at it and also looking at production accounts which we’ve
heard from inside a company like Anjin where there was supposed to be about
35000 carats per month coming out and we’re not seeing that necessarily at
the other end.
GJ: So we’re talking about really big money here. Now, is it a small group
of people who are ripping the country off or is it a whole bunch of people?
AM: Hmm, it’s both. I think that if we look at the way in which the
smuggling is happening I would say there’s really about three streams, three
ways in which it is happening. I think we have what you could classify as
being really (inaudible) smuggling which is the kind of smuggling that’s
been happening for really since the beginning of Marange where you have
small independent figures who dig up a stone and they might be in cahoots
with sort of low level military police and they have syndicates and they
will sell them, drive them across the border to South Africa and in the old
days they’d drive them across the border to Mocambique but that trade I
think has really slowed down in the last year or so. And then you have a
second tier where you have people who are sort of mid-level and higher in
the military who are using proxies, and I think we named some of them;
people like Shmuel Klein from Israel or Alan Banks who was a Zimbabwean
businessman who died, which we talk about, those people are sort of a
mid-tranch and they’re pretty serious but they’re not the big guys. And then
I think you have the top level who are actually the highest level of
officials within the military, within the mining ministries, both the
minister of Mines and the state parastatals, things like the ZMDC and the
MMCZ and that is where you are seeing the very high level smuggling and that
idea of selling diamonds at a lower value than they are worth and then
seeing those diamonds exit out of Dubai at twice the price. Usually the
people who are selling at or who are controlling the trade through Dubai are
also the same people who are receiving them in India so there’s a sort of a,
although it’s going through different countries, it’s actually the same
people who are controlling the trade of those diamonds.
GJ: And of course the main custodian of all this is the Mines Minister
Mpofu. Now he’s been throwing his cash around quite dramatically lately but
he’s not the main guy is he? He seems to have handed over many of his
responsibilities to the military chiefs.
AM: Yes, we focused on Mpofu for a reason. I think he is certainly not the
only one and he’s certainly not the largest person who is benefitting but I
think he is, we chose him for two reasons: one I think is because he has a
fiduciary responsibility as minster of Mines to make sure that this resource
is properly managed and he’s, I think, failing in that regard. I think also
he’s the one who has been most ostentatious. Clearly the stories are not,
there’s no shortage of stories of Mpofu allegedly buying things in
Matabeleland and I think he’s also done things where, it’s on the public
record about him buying a bank and his tourist assets but I think the other
thing that concerned us about him was that it seemed that he was using his
position as minister to take the money from diamonds and, or his access or
his role, his responsibility of the Ministry of Mines and branch out into
other businesses and I think one of them which we see is his entry into the
coal industry. He’s had his lawyer, Farai Mutambira who he’s appointed the
board of Hwange Colliery. I think there’s a sort of pattern which he’s
following in the way in which he is using his position. So that’s why we
chose him – it wasn’t necessarily because he’s the biggest or the worst
example of it, I think that Robert Mhlanga is also pretty clearly been
buying up a lot of real estate in South Africa as well under dubious
circumstances but I think in the case of Obert Mpofu I think he has a case
to answer for because of his role as a minister.
GJ: You do also state in the report that South Africa is the main gateway
for smuggled stones but you did mention the Democratic Republic of the Congo
and of course that was tied in with Zimbabwe’s assistance in the war there
which began in 1998. There were concessions given to ministers and Zanu PF
chefs at the time for that assistance in the war – so this is just a sort of
giant criminal ring between the two countries presumably?
AM: Well to be fair to DRC I don’t think the DRC continues to be the conduit
that it used to be. I think that was more in the early days and I think a
lot of that was more because of the military connections that had been made
during Zimbabwe’s intervention on behalf of President Kabila in the late
1990s. I think that’s where you start to see a lot of these individuals, the
military individuals, including even the late Solomon Mujuru, there’s a lot
of allegations that even some of the diamonds from River Ranch were probably
smuggled out through DRC but I think that politically I think, as the KP has
tried to adjudicate on this issue, I think the DRC has often had its hands
tied because of the, in the words of one DRC official, he told me, he said
that we are beholden to Zimbabwe so I think certainly that this debt of that
owed to Zimbabwe which stopped DRC politically from ever intervening when it
was the chair of the KP. But I think now in South Africa you are seeing, and
I think this has been the case for even we saw this in the last report we
did in 2010, that diamonds were certainly being driven across the border. I
think that they are also being flown across the border to South Africa; the
arrest of Shmuel Klein the Israeli was evidence of that. There’s also
another Israeli individual Gilad Halachmi who also flew them out and we’ve
also heard more recently that because of the way in which either the
European and North American sanctions are working and also after ways in
which it’s become a lot more, it’s more of a gamble to give diamonds to a
courier to take across to South Africa that a lot of the big guys are just
flying in with their own planes; they’re making deals with the Zimbabwe
defence industry, individuals and other people in the ZMDC, they just fly
them straight to Dubai and then on to India.
GJ: Can we just talk briefly about the Kimberly Process which you mentioned,
the KP? Now Zimbabwe has been desperate to get legitimacy through this
process and the KP is supposed to police the diamond industry if I’m not
mistaken to make sure there’s no blood diamonds on the market but there
seems to be confusion about what constitutes a blood diamond.
AM: Yes it’s a good question, this is one of the debates that the Kimberley
Process is trying to resolve right now as part of a reform process to
revisit this idea as to what constitutes a blood diamond because ten years
ago when the Kimberley Process was created, it was borne out of the
experience of wars in west Africa and Angola where you had people like Jonas
Savimbi and Charles Taylor who were essentially getting the finance from the
trade of rough diamonds to fuel conflict. I think over the last ten years we’ve
seen both criminality and violence in the diamond industry change quite
considerably and if you look at now to places like Angola or even in
Zimbabwe, you see evidence more of the involvement of state actors or
private security companies, so PAC and other civil society organizations and
also some governments have been trying very hard to update this definition
to reflect the reality that people are now dealing with. And I think that it’s
running into a lot of problems because in the Kimberley Process everything
is done by consensus and I think that you only have to have one country say
no and any reform idea gets kyboshed. So it’s one thing that’s going to be
on the agenda at the Kimberley Process meeting in Washington at the end of
this month and we’ll see how that goes but I think that clearly you have a
lot of compromised governments, not just Zimbabwe who I think are probably
going to try their best to make sure that definition doesn’t come into
effect. So yes, that’s the reality of it.
GJ: Of course Zimbabwe’s diamonds are spattered with blood – you mention
briefly in the report that incident that happened some time ago when 200
illegal gold panners were shot in the back from helicopter gunships and then
you mention people like Alan Banks, the businessman found in the boot of his
car with a plastic bag over his head – so he’s not the only one presumably
who’s under threat? You also mention a professional hunter who you ominously
say in your report is still alive at the time of publication. So there’s a
lot of murder and brutality that goes on at the same time?
AM: Yes I think there’s different kinds of violence at play – the gunship
incident that you referenced was back in 2008 and that was what initiated
the quarantining of Zimbabwe’s or Marange’s diamonds because of that and I
think after that in Marange you had very frequent but lower levels of
violence where you had different police and military individuals who were in
Marange exercising violence upon either the local communities or the
smugglers and the diggers. I think that to a large extent is not what it was
two years ago. You still get stories, community groups in Marange still have
recordings of people mostly involving dog bites with private security
companies. I did investigate an incident in May of a miner, an illegal miner
who was killed at the Anjin site, he was shot in the head at close range but
I think that’s where those kind of examples highlight the need for people to
recognize the role of these private security companies. But I think that
with the case of Alan Banks I think a lot of that was more a case of
criminality where he was, my understanding of it was he was trying to get
out of the business and I think that people felt that he was, that would
compromise them if he were to walk away so they killed him. And I think in
some ways that if you play with fire then you can’t be surprised that you
get burnt either. So it’s unfortunate but I think it was part of a game you
play when you are engaging those kind of illicit activity.
GJ: Can you assume that this criminality, this plunder goes all the way to
the top and I’m talking about the presidency and the vice presidency? We
know that Joice Mujuru and her family have been involved in various illegal
deals involved in the DRC – can we take it that far? Can we go higher? Where
can we go with this?
AM: Well I think that, I don’t have any evidence of Joice Mujuru being
involved in this. I think she might through her husband who is involved in
River Ranch, there might have been some involvement and I think certainly
her husband was playing some role in the illicit trade but the funny thing
is that Mujuru and the people who are really in control are really at odds
politically. Mnangagwa and his faction I think are the ones who are better
in control of it than Mujuru. I think Mujuru had a role but not a central
role. Mugabe I think in some ways is in a bit of a similar boat as Mpofu; I
think he is a person who gets a top-up, he gets a, he’s given a slice of it
but he’s not he one who’s really controlling it. The only one where we see,
we certainly see companies like Mbada paying for a lot of things, paying for
the lifestyle of Mugabe in terms of flying him to different medical
treatments in Asia and we see a very close relationship between DMC, the
Dubai-based company, and Grace Mugabe but I think that the two big
companies, Marange and Anjin I think are very clearly controlled by a
faction that is separate from everybody, it’s more the top echelons of the
military and I don’t even think Mpofu has much to do with that. I think he
has been very clever in recognizing that he essentially has to allow them to
do whatever they want to do if he wants to remain in the ministry and keep
at least a toe-hold in the business.
GJ: Now you have some recommendations in your report on how to resolve these
issues but when you look at the number of countries involved, the number of
people involved, the fact that it’s big, big money – how do you ever turn
this into something that benefits the country instead of draining the
AM: Well I think there’s a number of recommendations we made and I think we
tried to find examples of things that were based upon African experience and
also point to examples where Zimbabweans themselves had shown the ability to
ameliorate the situation and I think that if you look at the parliamentary
committee on Mines and Energy for example, they’ve done some great work in
the past revealing the ownership structure of these different companies and
individuals who are involved on the boards and in other ways and I think
that they would be well placed to re-examine a lot of these different deals
that have been concluded ostensibly by Minister Mpofu but by others above
him and to really assess whether these contravene either Zimbabwean law or
are not in the public’s interest. I think that if they determine that they
are then I think they should recommend that these licences be rescinded
and/or be re-negotiated. I think that Tendai Biti for example is also in the
process of doing, or drafting a new Diamond Act and I think this Act from
what I’ve seen of it is actually very positive. It has a lot of good ideas
about trying to add value added exports, or sorry, value added things that
can come off it by boosting a local cutting and polishing sector and trying
to create checks and balances in the system so the public good is protected.
I think he’s looking at this idea of a sovereign wealth fund which could
benefit Zimbabwe in the same way that oil revenues have in places like
Norway and elsewhere or even next door in Botswana or if you look at the
Royal Bafokeng in the north west province in South Africa who are sitting on
very rich platinum resources who have created ways of ensuring the good
management of a very promising resource. So I think there’s a lot of ways
where we’re trying to find African examples which also fit with something
called the African Mining Vision which is an attempt by the AU to
essentially break the resource curse that has been so destructive in so many
parts of Africa. So and I think in a wider way if you’re looking beyond it I
think there’s examples where the diamond industry certainly has to rethink a
lot of things. The Kimberley Process has always been about pressuring
national governments to do, whether they are compliant with the Kimberley
Process standards and industry people have largely got to buy from that,
they don’t really have much to account for despite the fact they often are
engaging in illicit activity whether it’s the receipt or the trading of
these diamonds. So there’s a lot of international effort underway right now
through the OECD for example which has done a lot of work on other conflict
minerals, high value but conflict-prone minerals, mostly things associated
that you find in smart phones and computers and things like that and so I
think there’s lessons to be learned from those initiators at the OECD but I
think the other side of it is if you look at the industry itself, the better
managed aspects of the industry I think are very concerned about countries
like Zimbabwe and how they impact on the consumer confidence of the product.
Because people I think in the industry are very aware that at the end of the
day, diamonds are only carbon, they are very, it’s a luxury item, people don’t
necessarily have to buy them and the price and everything else about them is
very artificial and I think they are very open to the idea that their
product can be tarnished very quickly and I think that is what caused the
industry back in the late 90s to get on board with the Kimberley Process and
making it a reality. So I think now industry has a greater role to play in
terms of demanding better of people who are knowingly and willingly trading
these diamonds and I think this is one of the points we tried to make in
this report is to essentially look at how a lot of these people who are
trading these diamonds are not necessarily a bunch of gangsters, a lot of
these people who are now taking receipt of these diamonds are actually very
well respected people within the industry and that’s the case in South
Africa, it’s the case in Israel, it’s the case in India and I think that
those people have to recognize that they have to change their game if they
want to have a business dealing with them.
GJ: Alan Martin thank you very much for speaking with us today.
AM: No problem Gerry thanks very much.
GJ: I was speaking to Alan Martin from Partnership Africa Canada, an
organization that works to build sustainable human development in Africa.
Their report on Zimbabwe’s diamonds can be found on SW Radio Africa’s web
Watching the main news on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation television these
days makes you realise that only Zanu (PF) gets more than adequate coverage
of its activities on the national broadcaster. The same situation obtains on
all four ZBC radio channels. Controlled and owned by Zanu (PF) sympathisers,
the recently commissioned other radio channels are really no different from
by John Makumbe
The MDC parties will be making a serious error if they agree to participate
in the next elections before meaningful reforms have been implemented to
make the electronic media non-partisan. This is one area which Zanu (PF) is
determined to keep closed to all other political parties. Information is
power, and the ZBC channels are actively involved in spewing obnoxious Zanu
(PF) propaganda literally every few minutes.
It is true that many people now own satelite dishes that enable them to
escape the ZBC–Zanu (PF) onslaught, but there are still many who cannot
afford these liberating gadgets and have no choice but to watch ZBC-TV. It
is these people who are subjected to what Zanu (PF) decides they should hear
and watch, and most of it is trash. Coverage of MDC or any other political
party’s activities is only undertaken when they are negative. As a result,
the people sometimes ask, why is the MDC so quiet these days? What is the
party doing about the looting of diamonds by Zanu (PF) thieves? Some people
are now concerned that the formation of the so-called government of national
unity may have muzzled the MDC to such a severe extent that it has been
swallowed by Zanu (PF).
Electoral legislation provides that during election campaigns, the national
broadcaster is required to ensure that it provides equal time to all
political parties wishing to inform the electorate about their proposed
policies, manifestos and other information. Experience has taught us that
the ZBC has consistently violated all such legislation on behalf of Zanu
(PF). It would be a high level of naivety on our part to assume that the
same evil practice will not recur come elections 2013. It is time for the
MDC formations to demand the requisite reforms in the electronic media while
there is still time. The SADC and the AU cannot be expected to come to
Zimbabwe and demand that media reforms be implemented.
It is my considered view that an outfit like the ZBC needs to be placed
under the leadership of a board comprising representatives of all the three
political parties in the current legislature. This board must direct all the
operations of the ZBC channels. Indeed, this will mean the dismissal of the
current ZBC Board, which is entirely a Zanu (PF) affair. The former
liberation movement will obviously resist any such moves, but this will have
to be insisted upon if all political parties are to receive adequate and
equal coverage on the airwaves in the next elections.
I challenge the negotiators, Jomic and other relevant structures of the GNU
to tackle this urgent problem very seriously for the benefit of our nation.
We cannot allow one political party to continue to bombard the electorate
with its sick propaganda both now and during the campaigning period. In
fact, the MDC formations should make electronic media reforms one of the
preconditions for participating in the next elections. Failure to do this
will be tantamount to subjecting our people to serious levels of
misinformation and sick propaganda. - firstname.lastname@example.org
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 14th November 2012.
I disagree with those who are dismissing Zanu-pf’s parallel capital city
near Robert Mugabe’s rural home as ‘laughable’ or ‘dream fantasy’ and I will
What makes the rather strange Zvimba City Project a credible possibility
could be reduced to at least five reasons.
First, it was confirmed by a Mugabe ally, Ignatius Chombo that the project
had already started even though without the knowledge of the coalition
partners from the MDC formations.
Second, there has to be some tangible explanation for the budget shortfall
of approximately $600 million from diamond proceeds and now causing funding
problems for the referendum and elections.
Third, Zanu-pf leader Robert Mugabe and curiously Mines Minister Obert Mpofu
have of late managed to dish out generous handouts at a time when the party’s
Jongwe Publishers’ workers have reportedly gone unpaid for months.
Fourth, Mugabe loyalists have managed to lead lavish lifestyles in the midst
of abject poverty – compare the destruction of the modest Epworth homes with
the purchase by a Mugabe ally of multi-million rand properties even at
inflated prices in South Africa.
Crucially, fifth, the Zvimba City Project could be the ‘smoking gun’ given
the ongoing suspicions of money laundering of Marange diamonds in the wake
of the explosive Partnership Africa report alleging US$2 billion ‘theft’ of
Surely, wherever the looted cash is, it has to re-surface in Zimbabwe, in
one form or another, especially, as there is now foreign pressure against
hosting laundered cash.
What does all this mean? Obviously, the MDC formations who supposedly
control finance have confessed ignorance about the Zvimba City Project,
despite rubber-stamping a dubious plan to re-locate Parliament to Mt
Hampden, arguably beyond the reach of those who want to contact their MPs or
to protest against bad governance.
The Zvimba City Project exposes the false pretences of unity in the
coalition government by confirming the regime’s Animal Farm characteristics.
While, principals are equal, some are more equal than others. The same for
the ministers, some are more equal than others. This project adds evidence
of disharmony after that embarrassing incident where the police band refused
to play the national anthem for partisan reasons.
There is nothing bad about expanding Harare or setting up an alternative
capital city for Zimbabwe, but the timing has to be right, especially when
Bulawayo the second major city is almost folding up due to capital flight or
It is fair to argue that Mugabe wants something with which to rally his
party ahead of the Zanu-pf conference, the referendum and elections, like he
has done with the so-called indigenisation programme, which is nothing more
than the rewarding of cronies at the expense of real national development
because of his spite for targeted sanctions. The Zvimba City Project is one
such means for defying the West.
The project is likely to be a hardsell given the increasing cost of living
and the urban decay of the country’s major cities including Harare
Chitungwiza, Bulawayo, Gweru, Mutare, Masvingo which are now more known for
their raw sewage in some places, dirty drinking water, erratic electricity
supply, potholes and a terrible stench from uncollected garbage than the
famous sunshine and ever-smiling people.
But that does not seem to bother the Zanu-pf regime which appears more keen
to divert attention from the unemployment time bomb and the democracy
deficit in the country (ongoing human rights abuses; more suspected state
sponsored violence despite Mugabe’s peace promises; digitalised police
corruption available online and toothless commissions).
Let us re-visit those suspicions of money laundering of diamond proceeds.
Hypothetically, the proposed Zvimba Capital City has all that a ‘money
laundering regime’ would need to be seen as normal and ‘clean’ (remember
billions of dollars which are allegedly being looted are not the billions of
the Mugabenomics days).
From what has been revealed so far, the new city would not be worth its salt
without a posh repeat posh residential area. One wonders which countries
will be allowed to set up embassy offices or residences in the posh city of
Zvimba. Obviously shopping malls for bling, as well as hotels most likely
with or outnumbered by casinos and another State House are said to be on the
As for premises for government ministries we can be sure that mines will be
the first followed by indigenisation and the rest will probably share,
otherwise what would be the point? We have learnt that there will be
another Reserve Bank when the current one is almost redundant after failing
to sell treasury bonds.
Before closing, we should ponder about what would be underground that Zvimba
City. Probably that it is the whole reason for setting up a new city. Will
there be bunkers? Or underground tunnels leading to luxurious residential
quarters occupied by the dangerous and powerful?
Just another thought, will the Zvimba City have missiles over-ground or
underground, helipads for each crony or a huge international airport named
after a certain loyalist?
And would Thabo Mbeki be invited again to commission the Capital City of
Zvimba after he faithfully sang for his supper at the diamonds conference?
That is food for thought.
For now, we can only caution that you dismiss the Zvimba City Project as a
‘laughable dream fantasy’ at your own peril.
Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,