Zimbabwe Weekly Update Number 12

Pretoria said it would not accept the report required by President Jacob Zuma (Pictured) from the inter-party negotiators on March 31 if it fails to incorporate agreements that were reached with Zuma during his visit earlier this month. The announcement was in response to rema

South African International Relations Adviser, Lindiwe Sisulu, said the bottom line is that the situation in Zimbabwe is affecting South Africa and the region. We are going to hold everyone to the promise that were made when we were here, she said.

Zanu-PFs politburo on Wednesday said it would not make any concessions in the inter-party talks until targeted sanctions are lifted.

President Robert Mugabe said last week that Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana would not go since they were not part of the Global Political Agreement (GPA).

Zuma said on Friday travel restrictions on Zanu-PF officials should be lifted to help the unity government function effectively. Speaking at the end of a visit to Uganda, Zuma said it was problematic that the MDC could travel all they wanted, while Zanu-PF could not.

Controversial African National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) chairman Julius Malema is expected in Zimbabwe on Friday to show his support for the ANCYLs counterparts in Zimbabwe. He will meet with Youth Development Minister Saviour Kasukuwere (Zanu PF) who last year admitted that the former ruling party deployed militias to spearhead its violent 2008 election campaign. Malema will address a number of rallies and meetings during his four-day visit.

MDC supporters on Thursday set secret Zanu-PF torture bases on fire, in retaliation following intimidation by Zanu-PF youth.

Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a coalition of non-governmental organizations, on Thursday said calls by Tsvangirai and Mugabe for new elections are premature. Credible polls are possible only after a complete overhaul of the countrys distorted voters roll and a review of electoral, security and media laws, it said.


The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions said it is seeking a boycott of Air Zimbabwe flights by the International Transport Workers Federation on all of its routes, seeking to force the carrier to reinstate some 400 workers it laid off in 2009.

Members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces have been awarded salary increments of up to 75 percent, from US$150 per month to US$270.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in a statement Tuesday that more reforms are needed in the countrys central bank, and that new loans are still not available for Zimbabwe.

The Youth Initiative for Democracy in Zimbabwe called Wednesday for a new national youth service, which does not perpetuate youth rights abuses, to replace the so-called Border Gezi militia, implicated in the 2008 election violence.


German dairy equipment supply company Guth South Africa has breached the EU targeted measures against Mugabe and his wife by building a state-of-the-art dairy processing plant to process milk from Gushungo Dairy Estates. This is one of several farms seized by the Mugabes.

The Zimbabwe government has barred Engen & Kobil from acquiring the local assets of BP and Shell, which are withdrawing from the Zimbabwean market. The deal is the first to be barred under the new indigenisation law.

Indigenisation and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere has slammed Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono for criticising the indigenisation law. He said Gono is exploiting the issue to seek relevance.

Two South African seed companies have obtained orders from Zimbabwes High Court to attach assets of the RBZ to settle debts totaling US$5 million. Central bank property was already being auctioned off in a separate case to cover a US$2.1 million debt owed by the RBZ.

The 175-member Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has given Zimbabwe permission to continue trading in ivory despite attempts by some African countries to have a 20-year moratorium.

The Zimbabwe government announced Wednesday it was offering a 49 percent stake in state-controlled Peoples Own Savings Bank to private investors, as part of a major privatisation programme intended to raise revenue. The bank is one of Zimbabwes oldest and largest banks.


Finance Minister Tendai Biti survived a car crash Tuesday near Chegutu, Mashonaland West province. His vehicle was side-swiped by a 30 tonne truck carrying coal.

The indigenisation law has adversely affected insurance companies investment portfolios on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE), with almost all making losses in investment income since the regulation was gazetted.

Electricity shortages and lack of access to capital are threatening the recovery of Zimbabwes mining sector, while uncertainty over empowerment laws is keeping investors away, the mining chamber said on Tuesday.

Zimbabwes consumer price deflation eased in February, with prices falling just 0.7 percent in February, compared to a 4.8 percent drop in January.

Coal reserves at Hwanges dragline pit, which supplies the countrys largest thermal power station, will run out by 2012. The dragline could have run out by the end of last year had the company been operating at 100%, but it has been operating at between 50% and 60% for nearly two years.

European and US companies continue to snub the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF), with only one exhibitor from the UK at this years trade showcase.

A new geological survey has revealed that there are millions of tons of untapped tin ore reserves at the Kamativi Tin Mine, which was decommissioned by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation almost a decade ago.


South African civil rights initiative, Afriforum, has instructed the Sheriff of Cape Town to attach a luxury property owned by the Zimbabwean government. If the government does not respond within two months, the property will be auctioned off to cover a SADC Tribunal contempt ruling and costs order levied in June 2009 and registered by the High Court in Pretoria in February.

The British Parliaments Africa All-party Groups latest report, Land in Zimbabwe: Past Mistakes, Future Prospects claims that Britain never made nor betrayed any promises on land reform made at Lancaster House, as asserted by Mugabe.

Local government minister Ignatius Chombo and property mogul Phillip Chiyangwa have been named in a Harare City Council special investigation report, which exposes how influential people corruptly acquired land from the municipality. The land scandal involves prime property in Harare worth millions of US dollars.

An alleged property-buying spree by Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has attracted the interest of the parliamentary committee investigating the plunder of the Chiadzwa diamond fields. The committee is trying to establish how Mpofu allegedly acquired at least 27 properties in Victoria Falls in the last few months.

The Norwegian Investment Fund for Developing Countries (Norfund) has called off its proposed US$1.5 million in the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe in response to the new indigenisation law.

The High Court has ruled against investors from Malaysia in a dispute over an invaded banana plantation, in a move that will further sour diplomatic relations between the two countries. The property, owned by the Malaysian and Dutch farming entity Matanuska, was invaded during December by Zimbabwes ambassador to Tanzania, former army general Edzai Chimonyo. Chimonyo is harvesting and selling bananas estimated to be worth US$40 000 a week.


A group of armed officers from the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on Friday briefly detained MDC deputy agriculture minister (designate) Roy Bennett for yet unknown reasons. The partys spokesperson Nelson Chamisa confirmed that Bennett was also blocked from entering his home town of Chimanimani.

Two MDC members of the human rights group Restoration for Human Rights (ROHR) were arrested on Thursday, in separate incidents, on allegations of undermining the office of the President.

The police have for the past two weeks arrested scores of MDC supporters across the country on trumped-up charges, amid reports that Zanu PF-instigated violence against MDC members is on the increase.

Well-known artist Owen Maseko and Voti Thebe, manager of Bulawayo National Arts Gallery, were arrested on Friday, a day after they launched an exhibition of paintings about the Gukurahundi massacres of the early 1980s.


Zimbabwe students are planning to stage protests countrywide on Monday to try to push the unity government to implement policies to raise the standard of education in the country.

Zimbabwe drastically reduced funding for education from about US$6 per child in the first two decades of independence to US$0.70 last year as political leaders diverted resources to consolidating power, Tsvangirai said on Wednesday.


UK aid has helped deliver progress in Zimbabwe since the formation of the unity government, but governance, human rights and provision of basic services are still falling well below the needs of the people, said a report published Friday by the International Development Select Committee.

Zimbabwes National Aids Council (NAC) said it would use half of the US$5 million collected from aids tax to buy testing equipment and life prolonging anti-retroviral drugs (ARVs) for patients.

Villagers in Zimbabwes rural areas have now been reduced to engaging in barter trade in order to access health facilities due to a widespread lack of foreign currency, a parliamentary report presented in the House of Assembly on Thursday disclosed.


The South African government is looking at tightening its immigration laws to try to limit the continued influx of foreign nationals, South Africas Home Affairs Minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said last week. South Africa is the preferred choice of illegal immigrants, especially those from Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

Zimbabweans topped the list of nationalities seeking asylum in the UK for the second year running, with a total of 7,420 asylum applications in 2009, according to the UNHCRs latest statistical report.


Finance Minister Tendai Biti told a pan-African journalists conference on Saturday that Zimbabwe should speed up registration of newspapers to aid democratic reforms. He warned Zimbabwe lagged behind other countries in establishing a legal and political environment conducive for a free press.

Zimbabwean freelance journalist Nunurai Jena was briefly detained on March 21 by security personnel after they discovered he had tape-recorded Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officials as they searched and questioned bus travellers, the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) said.


Tsvangirai on Wednesday officially opened a photo exhibition at Delta Gallery showcasing gruesome pictures of victims of the 2008 election violence, and condemned police attempts to ban the display. Zimbabwean police had earlier in the day returned the photos to the art gallery after raiding it 24 hours previously.

The MDC has said it is demanding prosecution of people who committed acts violence during the 2008 elections. Four sitting Zanu-PF parliamentarians and a losing parliamentary candidate have been named in the first of a series of forthcoming disclosures by the MDC of perpetrators of the election violence.

Machete-wielding war veterans on Thursday descended on former Chiredzi crocodile farmer Digby Nesbitts homestead and ordered him to sell his over 8 000 crocodiles worth about US$1,5 million for just US$150 000, or risk watching them slaughtered.

Zanu-PF officials at Hopley Farm are allegedly shielding a political activist from justice after he raped a 13-year-old girl on three occasions at the compound. Hopley Farm is an informal camp on the outskirts of Harare established after the destruction of the Porta Farm community during Operation Murambatsvina which took place in winter 2005.


Zimbabwe has cancelled UK-based African Consolidated Resources (ACR)s diamond mining licence, saying it had been pegged in a reserved area. The company had its licence cancelled in February but appealed the sentence.

Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has admitted he didnt follow proper procedure when he allowed two mining firms to operate at Chiadzwa, confirming reports that the mining permits were issued fraudulently. Mpofu was giving evidence at a parliamentary committee hearing set up to investigate operations at Chiadzwa.

Kimberly Process (KP) has granted Mbada Investments permission to sell 2.5 million carats of diamonds mined from Chiadzwa, a senior government official said on Friday.

The Good News

Japan said on Friday it had extended US$13.3 million in grants to help Zimbabwes flailing economy fight hunger in rural communities where crops have failed. The grants will also aid in improving Zimbabwes education sector, health delivery and capacity building in midwifery training.

The European Union (EU) on Wednesday gave $10.6 million to Zimbabwe to buy textbooks for primary schools.

Source: Zimbabwe Democracy Now


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