Source blog: The Bearded Man


At the end of next week, my wife and I travel out to a local campsite for the braai weekend. I am running musical back-up to the band, and am doing background music over the 3 days.

All I can hope for is that my preparation is adequate.


This is sad. Just how a human can take the life of another is beyond my scope of understanding – but to do it in such a brash and callous way is unforgivable.

Police in Zimbabwe say a five day hunt for a prominent businessman ended with his bloodied body being found in the trunk of his car with a plastic bag wound around his head.

Police official James Sabau said the car was identified in Harare on Sunday after a massive campaign of fliers pinned on trees and email and media notices posted since Alan Banks, 52, went missing on Wednesday. A murder investigation has been opened, he said.

Sabau said the style of killing was very rare in Zimbabwe. 'We are not used to such cases,' he told reporters.

Zimbabwe has no Western-style organized crime.

Banks was seen as a popular figure in the nation's small white community. Relatives told police they knew of no business or private grudges against him.

The police say that they are ‘not used to such cases’. The fact that this has happened – well, perhaps that better get used of it – quickly!


Mugabe may be under the misapprehension that he has dodged a bullet by insisting that the dates of human rights violations only go back to 2009, but he will never have the Matabele peoples’ interests at heart – and somehow they will receive justice.

Y’know, years ago, Mugabe was asked to apologise to the Matabele people – and he refused.

How much of today’s hurt would have gone away had he acceded to their request?

MDC leader Welshaman Ncube has warned that tensions over the 1980s Gukurahundi conflict will not go away until political leaders become more open over the emotive issue and work towards some form of restorative compensation for the victims.

Said Ncube in an interview with The Sunday Mail: “(What) should be done is a basic minimum, otherwise it will not go away. We must admit frankly and openly that Gukurahundi happened in the manner in which it happened.
“That there were people who were killed, people who were maimed, people who lost their homes, people were driven into exile. There are people today who can’t still get documents arising out of Gukurahundi: there is no father, there is no mother, there is just a child who can’t get a birth certificate.

“So let’s start by at least acknowledging and saying, ‘We as Zimbabweans went through this unfortunate phase of our history. It was wrong, it should have not happened’.”

Rights groups claim some 20,000 innocent civilians were killed in the Matebeleland and Midlands regions when the then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe deployed a North Korean-trained army taskforce to deal with what officials described as a dissident menace in the two regions.

The conflict continues to divide opinion within Mugabe’s own Zanu PF party with some senior officials arguing the 1987 Unity Accord between Mugabe and then PF Zapu leader Dr Joshua Nkomo should be last word on the issue.

Said Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa last July: “We don’t want to undermine efforts by our national leaders to reunite the people. If we try to open healed wounds by discussing such issues, we will be undermining and failing to recognise the statesmanship exhibited by President Mugabe and Dr Jushua Nkomo when they signed the unity accord in 1987.

'The people who very vocal on the Gukurahundi have selfish agendas that they are pushing. They want to divide the nation by making unfounded allegations.”

But former information minister and Zanu PF politburo member, Jonathan Moyo, countered that “the Gukurahundi issue is not a closed chapter” adding that Zanu PF must in fact take the lead in resolving the issue or risk having “charlatans and vile opportunists” exploit the explosive subject for cheap political advantage.

Mugabe has not directly apologised for the conflict, only describing it as a moment of madness.

Ncube said the Zanu PF leader needs to do more insisting: “It’s not enough, to just stand up one day and say this was a simple moment of madness and then thereafter say everyone who mentions that is either a tribalist or divisionist. You can’t do that. There must be an unconditional acceptance.

Unlawful, wrong killings, maiming, burnings of homes were done. That’s the first thing.

“The second thing is that those who suffered in one form or another and those who are still suffering, you must at least have what we might call restorative compensation. To say let’s look at all the children who are affected, let’s make an exceptional law that says that anyone who comes forward as a child and says, “I lost my parents” you give them a birth certificate. You give them an ID.”

The MDC leader said the Organ on National Healing formed as part of the Global Political Agreement could have taken lead in helping resolve the issue.

“Let us first stop behaving as if Gukurahundi did not happen,” he said.
“Let’s accept it happened and let’s say come forward, for instance, the Organ on National Healing. When we proposed it during the negotiations, we thought that it would do some of these things without going back to open old wounds … ‘You did this to me, you did that to me’ because we couldn’t agree on that. But at least we were able to say let us correct the persisting

“So the Government, all it needs to do is say, “Register-General, go to the affected areas, call on anyone who lost a document which can’t be replaced because of our rigid rules, make sure they get their documents. It’s just as simple as that

“So the rest … giving money to people, trying people, we are saying forget about it now let just deal with the continuing injustices for now as a basic minimum.”

So the defence minister says those that seek some sort of justice for the Gukurahundi are ‘selfish’.

What of those within the Mugabe administration?

The fact that they work to ensure that they never spend a day in the dock, let alone a day in prison, is selfish…


Regular readers will know that I have often questioned as to whether the new owners of ZIMASCO are obliged to cede 51% of their ownership to black Zimbabweans. Obviously not…

The Chinese majority owner of chrome miner and smelter, ZIMASCO has approached the government for an exemption from the country’s economic empowerment laws, a deputy minister has confirmed.

Under the country’s economic empowerment programme, foreign companies are now required by law to transfer control of 51 per cent of their Zimbabwe operations to locals.

But government officials have previously indicated that investors from friendly countries such as China could be exempted from the requirement.

Deputy indigenisation minister Tongai Matutu recently told Parliament that Zimasco had submitted its plans for compliance with the law.

“The position is that ZIMASCO has submitted its provisional indigenisation and economic empowerment proposal, that proposal has been under consideration and there have been negotiations going on about compliance issues,” he said.

“However, the management of ZIMASCO has been arguing that since they are Chinese, they have been actually friends of Zimbabwe and therefore they should be exempted. They have also argued that they have got a five-year development plan which they believe should not be disturbed by bringing on board a new investor.

“But nevertheless, I think the negotiations are going on and I would like to believe that a solution will be agreed upon and they will comply.”

Sinosteel Corporation became the majority shareholder in Zimasco after purchasing 92% of Zimasco Consolidated Enterprises (ZCE) in 2007. But various share purchases since then have seen Sinosteel reduce its interest to 73%.

Sinosteel recently injected US million into the company for the refurbishment of one of the smelters at the Kwekwe plant.

'The investment from Sino Steel, which owns 73 percent of the company, will be used to rebuild furnace number two was received and work is currently underway,” Zimasco’s Marketing and Administration General Manager, Clara Sadomba said.

'The restoration of the furnace will help increase output of high carbon ferrochrome from the current levels of 170 000 metric tonnes per annum to 230 000 metric tonnes per annum.'

Zimasco operates smelters in Kwekwe and Chrome mines in the nearby town of Shurugwi.

I don’t suppose Mugabe or Saviour Kasukuwere (the minister behind the planned ‘indigenisation’) really cares what happens.

If the Chinese have to cede majority shares, they will probably grin and bear it since the deal is done and dusted. They probably will not invest much more money in the future because the damage is done.

In the event that they are exempt, then no doubt we will see like request coming from other companies…

As usual, the whole thing is very badly thought out, equally badly executed, and just as badly administered.


So much for the political agreement of 2008…

When the army is allowed to act as an extension of ZANU PF and join ZANU PF members in a blatant exercise to sideline the MDC, then it is obvious that the agreement is not working.

There was drama in Mashonaland West yesterday when dozens of soldiers and hundreds of Zanu PF militia forced MDC secretary general Tendai Biti to hold a rally in the bush instead of Darwendale Stadium as tensions ahead of elections rise in Zimbabwe.

The soldiers ran amok yesterday morning, bringing down tents, tearing posters and threatening MDC officials who were preparing for the rally.

According to Biti, hundreds of Zanu PF militia were brought in by buses to intimidate MDC supporters.

As Biti was addressing the rally, the Zanu PF youths burnt grass around the area the Finance minister was addressing to scare people away.

“They bussed tonnes of people from all over and what I can say is that the intimidation is just too high and our supporters might get killed. To imagine this is Darwendale close to Harare, what about in remote areas?

“We still had to force the rally to go ahead, we had a police clearance. Instead of cancelling the rally, we quickly cleared a bush where they still attempted to burn us after putting the grass around us alight.

“But the message we put to people at the rally is that they must expect this kind of intimidation but we will not fear, we will not blink and we will continue pushing,” said Biti.

He said they apprehended one Zanu PF activist whom they handed over to the police.

The soldiers were reportedly shouting that no MDC meeting would ever be held in the area and it took the intervention of co-Home Affairs minister Theresa Makone and Defence minister Emerson Mnangagwa for the meeting to go ahead.

MDC officials who were at the venue said they found themselves surrounded by menacing soldiers in full military gear who forced them to leave the

Makone, who is also the chairperson of the MDC women’s assembly, confirmed the incident and the interventions done to rescue the rally.

“I was told that soldiers were destroying the set up of a rally in Darwendale. I spoke to minister Mnangangwa and minister Sekeramayi and both professed ignorance on the disruptions.

“But minister Mnangagwa managed to talk to the military bosses and the soldiers withdrew. It seems there are elements within the ranks of the state organs who take it upon themselves to cause mayhem in the country and we have to root them out. What we want is a free and fair election without violence,” said Makone.

MDC organising secretary for Mashonaland West, Wilson Makanyaire said the soldiers left them terrified after forcing them into the bush.

“About 150 soldiers came to the stadium where we had pitched tents and told us that we could not hold the rally. They said Morgan Tsvangirai was a sell-out and chased us away.

We are now assembled in a bush and the youths are clearing the space so that we can at least have a rally,” said Makanyaire in a telephone interview with the Daily News on Sunday.

The activists reported the matter to the police but failed to get assistance.

“The soldiers claimed the area belongs to the army and when we went to the police they said they could not help us as they were also scared,” said Makanyaire.

Makanyaire said while the soldiers were chasing them away, hundreds of Zanu PF supporters swarmed the township near the venue singing denigrating songs of the
MDC and creating further tension.

MDC spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora said the intimidation by the soldiers and Zanu PF militia was a co-ordinated plan to dampen the MDC’s morale ahead of elections which could be held next year.

The rally that was supposed to start at 10 am only kicked off after 2 pm in the bush.

Contacted for comment, police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena cut off the call without responding to questions and later his phone rang unanswered.

Elsewhere in Mutoko East, Mwonzora claimed soldiers from 2.1 infantry battalion tore MDC party posters yesterday morning.

Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) which has monitors seeded around the country says soldiers are already active in Midlands, Manicaland and Mashonaland provinces.

A report released by Crisis Coalition last year titled “The Military Factor in Zimbabwe’s Political and Electoral Affairs” details the extent to which soldiers are involved in political and social matters.

The military big guns profess ‘ignorance’ – I concur.


Take care.