Source blog: The Bearded Man
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Howzit

I watched the unveiling of the new memorial to Bomber Command yesterday on television.


What struck me was the shot of a lone bugler playing The Last Post, whilst just a few metres behind him, life in Londoncarried on apace.

Just how many people actually understand the sacrifices made by these men during WWII?

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I do believe that Mugabe will become almost apoplectic when he hears this.

He wants as little to do with the European Union as possible (although he does want to travel freely to member states). And he certainly does not want outside ‘interference’ when it comes to ‘his’ beloved diamonds.

The European Union offered Thursday to help Zimbabwe address mounting concerns over graft in its diamond sector, only months after the industry watchdog lifted a ban on sales.

The EU head of mission in Harare told AFP after leading the first visit by a group of Western diplomats to the eastern Marange mines that the bloc could help Zimbabwe set up inspection mechanisms that meet international standards.

'We note that there is a problem of transparency in the diamond mining sector's revenues, which is reflected in the positions that the
Zimbabwe minister of finance has expressed publicly,' Aldo Dell'Ariccia said.

Concern over Zimbabwe's diamond mines has swung from a global outcry over a state-sponsored purge of artisanal diggers to questions about the trail of profits from the deposits which are now formally mined for the global gem trade.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti has complained about lack of information on revenue from the diamond sector, raising suspicions that some of the funds are bypassing central government coffers.

'Transparency is a political issue but it is also a technical issue, that demands proper capacity to carry out due inspections,' said Dell'Ariccia.

'Therefore, if so requested by the government of Zimbabwe, the EU could provide the necessary technical assistance to update, upgrade, complete the national installed capacity to carry out proper inspections,' he said.

The EU envoy led a team of ambassadors from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany and Spain on the diamond mines tour which he said was a fact-finding mission at the invitation of the Zimbabwe government.

He described management at one of the firms Western diplomats visited as 'excellent, really international standards' and said that the security standards of the anti-conflict body, the Kimberley Process, were 'respected'.

Zimbabwe had expected to rake in million (480 million euros) from diamond sales this year, after the global watchdog in November lifted a ban that was imposed over military abuses in the fields, including Marange.

But in the first quarter of 2012, only about a quarter of the projected diamond revenue for that period was received, according to Biti.

Anjin, a company jointly owned by the Zimbabwe government and a Chinese firm, and also the largest of the four diamond mining companies in the country, had failed to remit its revenue to the central government, Biti said.

But an Anjin director told the diplomats on Tuesday that a payment of million had been made to government in royalties.

London-based Global Witness in its latest report suggested Zimbabwe's feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) may have received some million and a fleet of 200 cars from a Hong Kong-based businessman in exchange for diamonds outside formal government channels.

Biti, who is a member of the former opposition party of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, has suggested that 'there might be a parallel government somewhere in respect of where these revenues are going'.

The Marange fields are one of Africa's biggest diamond finds in recent years.

The army cleared small-scale miners from the area in 2008 in an operation that Human Rights Watch says killed more than 200 people.

The EU chief said there had been no major rights incidents there lately.
 
A policeman is on trial for the kidnapping of four villagers, one of whom later died.

The fact a trial is under way 'is something that demonstrates that there is a certain change in the reality'.

'The fight against impunity is extremely important for the confidence that the people have in the system,' said Dell'Ariccia.


Mugabe sees the diamond revenues as a lifeline for his broke party, whilst very little of the money received has seen national coffers.

But when you are ZANU PF, you do what you will, when you will to whom you will, even if that is stealing openly from the country.

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‘Transparency’ and ‘ZANU PF’ are two words that don’t belong together in the same sentence.

Mugabe’s party is happy enough to ally themselves with a shadowy company of dubious ownership, and to keep the monies generated by the sale of a national resource.

Western diplomats who toured the Marange diamond fields on Tuesday were misled on the revenue generated from the fields, a pro-democracy activist said on Thursday.

Dewa Mavhinga, a lawyer and regional director for the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, told SW Radio Africa that as long as the issue of accountability is not addressed at the diamonds fields, the truth will never be known.

‘There hasn’t been any proper information on the revenue flows and no one knows of the shareholding structure at Marange because of lack of transparency and accountability,’ Mavhinga said.

When the Ambassadors from Australia, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany and Spain visited the fields this week, they were told Anjin has yet to break even and recover the million invested by the Chinese into the operation.

Munyaradzi Machacha, a director at Anjin who doubles up as ZANU PF’s director for publications, told the envoys that the projection by the Finance Minister that earnings from diamond fields would contribute million to state coffers was incorrect.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti also said recently that the government is not receiving any money from the joint venture at Anjin between Zimbabwe’s army generals and the Chinese, which was meant to be a cash-cow for the state.

The 2009 agreement between Anjin and the government was meant to ensure that a sizeable portion of profits from the lucrative alluvial mine went to the Finance Ministry, but most of the revenue is going direct to the country’s military elite.

Finance Minister Tendai Biti last year pegged the national budget on potential remittances of from diamond sales by the Mines Ministry.

But half-way through the financial year, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai was forced to admit that only US million of diamond money has been remitted to treasury.

Contrary to what Machacha told diplomats that Anjin is yet to break even and recover it’s investment, a Mutare based MDC-T MP said there’s clear evidence of mass corruption and theft of diamond money.

‘To be honest, money generated from the diamond fields from 2009 up to date can easily surpass the billion mark which is a conservative figure. We have ministers from ZANU PF on a property buying spree all over the country.

‘Recently the Minister of Mines Obert Mpofu gained control of the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group after injecting .8 million into the bank. This is an individual who earns less than ,000 a month. Tendai Biti is also on record telling us that some people in government were now buying private executive jets. This is all money from diamonds fields,’ the MP said.

The Mines Minister has admitted that Zimbabwe can earn as much as billion from diamonds annually. However events unfolding on the ground suggest that a sizable percentage of diamonds coming out of Marange is also smuggled out of the country by syndicates.

Two months ago, Indian authorities arrested two men for smuggling million worth of diamonds from the Marange field into the city of Surat. Zohra Desai and Prema Desai smuggled the diamonds from Zimbabwe through Kenya to Mumbai and were caught trying to sell the stones.

Surat is a world diamond trading and cutting center and was the scene of a similar arrest in 2008 when Robai Hussain and Yusuf Ossely were apprehended with million worth of smuggled Marange diamonds. The two were sentenced to four years in prison.


Had the full amount of money generated by sales of the diamonds been tendered to the national coffers, Zimbabwe would probably have been able to service some of its debts, but since ZANU PF has chosen to loot the sales, the country limps on from day to day.

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Let’s face it. Jacob Zuma is useless when it comes to mediation of the political stand-off in Zimbabwe.

In the time since he was appointed SADC mediator, what exactly has he achieved?

Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

The political parties negotiating a roadmap towards elections have reportedly said President Jacob Zuma’s next visit to Harare as chief mediator should wait until a final draft of the new constitution is given to the principal leaders.

ZANU PF spokesperson Rugare Gumbo reportedly said: “It will be useless for him to come now when parties in the inclusive government have not yet agreed.” He also said the delay would not have any effect on the holding of general elections.

On Wednesday it was reported the management committee of COPAC, working on a final draft of Zimbabwe’s new charter, had reached agreement on the remaining contentious issues. The management committee consists of the same party representatives who are negotiators to the GPA.

With pressure groups like the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) holding street protests calling for release of the charter, it appears Zimbabweans are getting impatient with what WOZA described as the “bickering” and negotiating by the political parties.

Eddie Cross, the MDC-T Secretary for Research and Policy, said: “Zuma’s mediation is not necessary as long as ZANU PF is willing to play ball. The mediator wants the parties to do as much as possible by ourselves before his intervention.”

Cross said there had been a “dramatic turn of events” this week and agreement had been reached on the problematic issues faced by COPAC. He credited SADC leaders for the development, saying their resolve at the last summit in
Luanda was responsible.

Cross said ZANU PF does not inspire any confidence when it comes to doing what they agree to, and pointed to the continued violence and arrests of MDC-T officials. “But we now have a more sophisticated system of dealing with them. We publicise incidents immediately, document them, press charges and inform the region and the world. Things have changed,” Cross said.

Regional leaders resolved last year to send a team to
Zimbabwe to assist the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) in moving forward towards an election, after it was decided progress had been too slow. That team finally arrived in Zimbabwe just last month, but there has been no word since.

Rugare Gumbo said ZANU PF’s Politburo and Central Committee will meet Thursday and Friday to come up with “a definitive position” regarding the elections. Gumbo accused other parties in the coalition of trying to delay the next election.


Isn’t it laughable when you read that ZANU PF’s Gumbo accusing ‘other parties in the coalition of trying to delay the next election’.

Before the next election, how about ZANU PF actually implementing some of the items agreed to and signed against in 2008?

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WOZA members continue to feel the anger and frustration by the ZRP.

I mean, who handcuffs ‘prisoners’ whilst they are in cells? This is just more of the inhuman treatment that is reserved for those that publicly protest Mugabe and ZANU PF rule.

How can they still be in charge if they lost the last election in 2008?

The Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) pressure group have reported that 101 members arrested during peaceful protests on Wednesday were released without charge by Bulawayo police later the same evening. WOZA said many members were handcuffed while in custody.

The WOZA members had been held since their arrest Wednesday morning, along with three breastfeeding women and three minors who are not WOZA members. A WOZA statement said the women were released in groups of 5, as the police feared another protest would begin if all were freed at once.

WOZA coordinator Magodonga Mahlangu was the last to be freed and is believed to have been used by the police to try and trace the whereabouts of leader Jenni Williams, who they wanted to arrest.

The WOZA members were arrested in Bulawayo as they conducted a sit-in protest, calling for the immediate release of the draft Constitution.

SW Radio Africa correspondent Lionel Saungweme said riot police appear to have been tipped off about the protests because there had been a heavy police presence in Bulawayo Central. The police were also guarding the location where a memorial statue of the late Joshua Nkomo is to be erected.
 
The site had been designated as the venue for the WOZA sit-in protest.

WOZA’s sit-in or occupation style protests started on Monday in Harare, where WOZA members marched to the parliament building in two separate groups, just as they were trying to do in Bulawayo on Wednesday. Police in Harare did not disrupt the peaceful protest.

WOZA said Bulawayo police were “overzealous” and need to be investigated.


For the ZRP, Jenni Williams is a scalp worth arresting as it refocuses the membership of WOZA and gives them something else to worry about.

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Mugabe would do well to keep a close eye on proceedings here as he could also find himself being a fugitive from justice in the not too distant future.

Personally, should he ever face any charges in the International Criminal Court, we will see a re-run of the case against Slobodan Miloševićwho dies in custody before a verdict could be reached.

The International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), has, concluded its special evidence hearings in the case of Potrais Mpiranya, the Rwandan genocide fugitive believed to be holed up in Zimbabwe.

Mpiranya, a former presidential commander during the genocide in
Rwanda, is charged among others with conspiracy to commit genocide.

The special hearings were conducted to preserve evidence for future use if the fugitive is to be finally arrested.

The ICTR, based in Arusha, Tanzania, has pleaded with Zimbabwe to apprehend the fugitive of the genocide that claimed close to a million lives in 1994.

Last year the tribunal trying suspects of the Rwandan genocide complained to the United Nations (UN) Security Council that it was encountering difficulties in tracking a top fugitive believed to be in
Zimbabwe.

But Zimbabwe has denied harbouring Mpiranya.

Mpiranya is said to enjoy the sanctuary of top Zimbabwe army officials who appear to be paying back for the role the Rwandan of Hutu origin played in assisting the Zimbabwe Defence Forces and its allies during the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Mpiranya reportedly recruited Rwandans, who fled their country after the end of the genocide, to fight on the side of the Allied forces.

After the war, Mpiranya reportedly accompanied Zimbabweans troops and was given sanctuary in the southern African country.

The Allied forces comprising Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia fought a brutal war against Congolese rebels who were supported by Rwanda, Burundi and Uganda.

Proceedings for alleged top genocide financier, Felicien Kabuga, former Minister of Defence, Augustin Bizimana who are also still on the run, were also conducted and concluded.

During the hearings, both the prosecution and defence produced their witnesses and testimonies were recorded.

Once arrested, the Rwandan government wants the three top suspects, who lead the ICTR list of the most wanted fugitives to be transferred to Kigali.


Mugabe won’t do very much to assist as he will see the ICC as a potential adversary. And he will hinder any attempt by the ICC to try and find the Rwandan fugitive in Zimbabwe.

Mugabe already has one convicted dictator living in Zimbabwe. Former Etheopian leader Mengistu Haile Miriam fled to Zimbabwe in 1991 at the conclusion of the Ethiopian Civil War, and remains there despite an Ethiopian court verdict finding him guilty in absentia of genocide.

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Under the Police Act in Zimbabwe, officers are supposed to be apolitical – but when you have leaders like Chihuri in your midst, it becomes almost impossible.

The ZANU PF political commissar who is currently acting as the chief of police recently turned a police event into a ZANU PF rally where he made a link between a failed politician and a professional police force.

In his comments he seemed to suggest that the ZRP under his leadership was doing its best to maintain peace in the country and only those who had failed to win elective office were against him and his organisation.

It is a bad sign in itself that the head of what should be a non partisan state organisation concedes that there are people who are unhappy with the way the police are working. Instead of quiet introspection Chihuri takes to a public podium and makes false statements about the police.

Chihuri of all people in the country knows who the real failed politician is. After all Robert Mugabe reports to Chihuri and his gang members in army uniforms.

A failed politician is one who relies on the abuse of state power to stay in elected office. He cannot stomach a scenario where voters are allowed to make their choice of leader in an environment that is free from violence, intimidation, threats, partisan food distribution and coercion.

Chihuri has managed to turn a once exemplary police force into one of the most corrupt, violent and partisan police entities in the world. He is one of the biggest failures in the country.


As a former member of the Zimbabwe RepublicPolice, I am ashamed as to what it has become today. Gone is the pride and the confidence, and it is replaced by a drab and dreary political appendage that is an embarrassment to Zimbabweans the world over.

Take politics out of policing in Zimbabwe, and you will, at least, have the possibility of a return to a fine and proud force.

Until that day dawns, the ZRP remains a Mugabe extension.

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Take care.

‘debvhu