Monday, October 19, 2009

Roy Bennet's trial postponed again

MUTARE- The trial of Roy Bennett, Zimbabwe’s Deputy Agriculture
Designate, has been postponed to 9 November this year at the High
Court in this eastern border city.
The new trial date was reached after both the State and the defence
team consented.
The defence, led by Beatrice Mtetwa, a Harare-based lawyer, complained
they had not been furnished with the necessary papers and other
materials for them to adequately prepare for the trial.
Mtetwa also challenged Bennett’s indictment saying the State had not
followed the proper procedures. She said written statements from some
key State witnesses were not eligible.
Johannes Tomana, the Attorney General, said the State will furnish
Mtetwa and his team with all the required papers by the end of the day
The State will also furnish Bennett’s lawyers with video footage which
will be used as evidence.
Tomana told High Court judge, Justice Joseph Musakwa, sitting with
assessors, Jivas Chidawanyika and David Magorokosho, that the case
should be finalized because it had far-reaching consequences for the
government of Zimbabwe.
He said the matter had divided the government of Zimbabwe and was
threatening the stability of the country. Tomana said the government
wants the matter to be finalized as soon as possible.
“Its importance has a direct bearing on the stability of the
country,” Tomana said in court. “The government, through JOMIC, wants
this case finalized.”
JOMIC was set up to supervise the performance of the unity government,
formed in February this year after a disputed election.
Bennett faces charges of possessing arms for the purposes of
terrorism, sabotage, banditry and insurgency. If convicted he faces a
possible life sentence.
Bennett told journalists outside the court that he has lost everything
that he has worked for his entire life because of the court case.
“I have been victimized from day one,” he said. “I have been in and
out of prison so many times. The sooner this is over the better.”

Friday, September 25, 2009

Kenyan national arrested in Mutare

MUTARE – Zimbabwean police have arrested a Kenyan environmental activist accusing him of making undesirable political statements during a workshop organized by the Zimbabwe Environmental Association (ZELA).

The Kenyan, identified by other participants at the three-day workshop as Patrick Ochieng, was being held at the Mutare Central Police Station last night (as at 6pm). The participants say he is from an organization called Ujamaa Centre based in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Although details were sketchy at the time of writing human rights lawyers attending to his case Trust Maanda and Blessing Nyamaropa confirmed the arrest.

They said police have not yet preferred any criminal charges against him as yet but had indicated he has a case to answer.

“Police are holding him for an alleged statement which they say he said during a workshop organized by the Zimbabwe Environmental Lawyers Association,” Nyamaropa said. “We do not know as yet the statements he is alleged to have said.”

The workshop is being attended by legislators and environmental conversation from across the country.

Some of the participants are drawn from African countries. The workshop started on Monday and was expected to end on Thursday.

Sources at the workshop said Ochieng made a contribution during discussions on how countries should exploit mineral resources without doing harm to the environment.

He is said to have castigated unorthodox ways being used to exploit diamond resources in Chiadzwa by the Zimbabwean government.

Zimbabwe has come under international condemnation over the exploitation of diamonds from Chiadzwa, west of Mutare. Although much of the condemnation has been the violation of human rights by security forces and soldiers manning the diamond fields the government has also been widely criticized for primitive mining methods being used by the Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ).

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lawyer warns journalists not to use hate laungage

MUTARE – A senior human rights lawyer has warned Zimbabwean journalists that they risk facing criminal prosecution under international law if they propagate hate language and support violation of human rights.
Tinoziva Bere, a Mutare – based lawyer, told journalists attending an elections reporting workshop held in this eastern border city that journalists who support violations of human rights and the murder of citizens should not only be prepared to face sanctions but should face criminal prosecution under international law.
“Any journalist who supports violations of human rights and the murder of citizens should not only face sanctions from the United States but should face criminal prosecution,” Bere said.
He was responding to a question on whether it was appropriate for the United States to slap travel sanctions on journalists.
Some Zimbabwean journalists from the government-controlled media have been put on travel sanctions along with President Mugabe and his top lieutenants in Zanu PF for not respecting human rights.
Some of the affected journalists include Pilkirayi Deketeke, Ceazer Zvayi, Munyaradzi Huni all from Zimpapers and Rueben Barwe and Judith Makwanya from the public broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. The journalists are accused of complicity in the violations of human rights in Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have been accused of violating human rights since 2000 when a serious political challenge to unseat the 85-year old former guerilla leader was mounted by the MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai is now Prime Minister under a political settlement reached at so as to ease mounting tensions caused by a flawed presidential run – off held on June 27 last year.
Human rights campaigners estimate about 100 MDC activists and sympathizers were murdered in cold blood during the campaign but such horrendous acts were never exposed in the State controlled media. Instead, newspapers under the Zimpapers stable and the ZBC sought to cover up the violent acts.
Bere said journalists should instead take a leading role in defending the rights of citizens instead of supporting and covering up acts of violence and violations of human rights.
Journalists and media executives from the central African country of Rwanda are serving lengthy jail terms after they were convicted by an international tribunal trying genocide suspects in Arusha, Tanzania.
The journalists and media owners were accused of using their newspapers and radio stations to fan the genocide that saw close to a million Rwandans from the Tutsi ethnic group being slaughtered between April and July of 1994 in Rwanda.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Biti says Mugabe now too old to continue ruling

MUTARE - Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister and a top MDC official says President Mugabe has now become too old to continue ruling the country in an effective manner.
Biti, the MDC secretary general, told about four hundred people at Dangamvura Grounds, that Zimbabwe now urgently needed younger politicians like Morgan Tsvangirai to effectively tackle the problems facing the country.
Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, is the country’s Prime Minister under the inclusive government negotiated to end a political stalemate caused by a flawed presidential run off held last year on June 27.
“The major problem is that our country is being led by very elderly people,” Biti said amid applause. “We now need wheelchairs in Cabinet because a lot of too old.”
He was speaking during election victory celebrations held by Giles Mutsekwa, the MP for Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency. Mutsekwa is the home affairs minister together with Kembo Mohadi of Zanu PF.
Biti said it was disappointing when leaders hang on to power despite their very advanced ages. He said if civil servants were forced to retire when they reach 60 years it was imperative for political leaders to also emulate that.
He said President Mugabe and his geriatric lieutenants should move now move aside because of old age and allow Tsvangirai, who is relatively younger and raring to go, to take over.
“Chipai Save wachirikutemwa dzinobuda ropa kuti watonge,” he said, meaning to say: “Give Save a chance who still has the energy to take over.” Tsvangirai is commonly referred to as Save, his totem, in MDC circles.
President Mugabe, now 85, still wants to cling on to power after enjoying close to a decade of unfettered rule which has culminated in the collapse of a country once marveled as the breadbasket of southern Africa.
Biti said it was disheartening when leaders die whilst in office instead of retiring and resting from the hectic political offices.
This was seen as a veiled reference to Joseph Msika, the country’s vice president, who died last week at the age of 87.
Biti said Tsvangirai can not effectively solve the country’s problems as long as “they are two drivers on the stirring wheel”.
Biti said the MDC entered into the power sharing deal with its sworn political nemesis so as to extricate the country from a 10-year unprecedented economic and political crisis.
Biti said the MDC was committed to have a liberalized media in Zimbabwe and bring international news organizations such as CNN, BBC and Sky News into the country.
He said they were also committed to ensure the country goes through a proper national healing process to unite the people divided for almost a decade because of the political rivarly between the two major political parties.
Biti attacked the country’s justice system saying it was being selectively applied to victimize MDC legislators.
He queried why eight MDC Members of Parliament have been arrested and promptly convicted of various criminal offences when at the same time no Zanu PF MP was facing the same treatment.
“The justice system has become effective when it comes to convicting MDC MPs but Joseph Mwale is a free man,” he said.
Joseph Mwale, the reclusive Central Intelligence Organisation operative, continue to be a free man despite calls by the High Court to have him arrested for the gruesome murder of two MDC activists, Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya at Murambinda Growth Point, Buhera in 2000.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Soldiers desert ZNA

NYANGA – UP to 500 soldiers from the Zimbabwe Defences Forces (ZDF) deserted the army during the past few years, a senior army officer has revealed.
Major General Martin Chedondo, the army’s Chief of Staff, made the revelation when officiating at a graduation ceremony for 60 soldiers who had successfully completed six months training programme on Group Company Commanders Course and Platoon Commanders’ Course.
The ceremony was held at the All Arms Battle School in Nyanga.
While addressing the grandaunts, Major General Chedondo said the 500 soldiers who deserted the army were “cowards” who had failed to “withstand the heat”.
However, army sources said Major General Chedondo was being conservative with the figures suggesting the number of deserters could be much higher.
“We have between 400 and 500 members of the force who were coward enough to have deserted the army because of the difficult conditions,” Major General Chedondo said.
He said those who deserted did so at time when the country was facing serious challenges ad needed them most.
But Major General Chedondo said they have now managed to wither the storm and all was now well in the army. “Those who celebrated that the Defence Forces were now torn apart should try it and see,” he said.
The senior military man said the difficulties had been caused by “illegal sanctions” imposed by the Western World.
Zimbabwe has faced serious economic and political which observers and analysts blame on skewed policies by President Mugabe’s Zanu PF political party, which enjoyed 28-years of unfettered rule. But President Mugabe and his lieutenants blame the problems on Western countries which they say wanted to effect a regime change in Zimbabwe.
During the past turbulent eight years millions of Zimbabwean’s, both skilled and unskilled, fled the country to seek a better life in the Diaspora.
Soldiers also deserted the army and fled out of the country’s borders. Many of them joined the British military while others were scattered in neighboring countries prompting the Zanu PF government to claim they had been recruited by the MDC, then in opposition, to invade the country with the help of countries such as Botswana.
The claims were shot down by both the MDC and the Batswana government.
The two rival political parties are now in a coalition government.
Major General Chedondo, meanwhile, told the graduants in Nyanga that the inclusive government should be supported for the country to move forward.
He said the leaders should always remember the country was freed from colonial rule by the blood of thousands of young Zimbabweans and should therefore not allow anybody to reverse the “gains” of independence.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


CHARLES Fungayi Pemhenayi was laid to rest at the Manicaland Provincial Heroes’ Acre on Tuesday. Weeks earlier he was part to a group of war veterans who embarked on a clean up exercise of the provincial heroes’ shrine as if he knew this was to be his final resting place.
During the clean up exercise of the heroes’ shrines Pemhenayi said it was important to always maintain the shrine because the heroes lying there were an integral part of Zimbabwe’s history which should always be cherished and celebrated.
Befitting a heroes’ send off thousands of people from all corners of the country and from different persuasions thronged the provincial shrine to pay their last respect to a man whose passion was to see the economic development of Zimbabwe.
Pemhenayi was tragically taken in a car accident last Friday five kilometers along the Troutbeck Nyanga road at a prime age of 48.
Pemhenayi was the MP for Mutare North. Admirers and foes alike agree Pemhenayi was endowed with an array of talents. He was a duke of all trades.
He played junior football with the likes of the late great players such as Joel Shambo and Stanley Ndunduma in Mufakose in Harare. Had he pursued a carrier in football Pemhenayi could easily have become a powerhouse in the sporting discipline but he chose to pursue academic studies. His first born child, Batsirayi is also a talented footballer. He is a utility player but like Father like Son Batsirayi has opted to pursue other interests at the expense of football.
Pemhenayi trained as a journalist but again did not pursue the profession. This explains his passion for journalism. He was an active member of the Mutare Press Club where he initiated debates on thorny issues affecting Mutare and Zimbabwe at large.
His presentations at the Press Club became popular not only with journalists but also with fellow politicians from Zanu PF and other political formations, business people, students, civic society and ordinary Zimbabweans.
He was frank and honest in his assessment of issues at hand. As a result Pemehanyi became a permanent feature at important media forums such as the World Press Freedom Day and media advocacy activities. He was an advocate of a free press and was working hard to ensure Mutare has its own community radio station.
During Press Club debates he would always castigate journalists whose works lacked depth and incisiveness. In the same vein, Pemhenayi was also critical of politicians and community leaders who loved to dominate news pages and radio and television news bulletins while their messages were bereft of substance.
“Journalists should resist individuals, irrespective of their status, who enjoy unfettered coverage when thy do not have any meaningful messages to the people,” Pemhenayi could always say.
Pemhenayi was a lecturer in marketing, sales and public relations. He was popular with students because of his lively presentations during lectures.
Some of his former students include Eddie Dube, now a prominent entrepreneur, Moses Maunze, a manager at the Rainbow Cinemas and Chengetai Murimwa, a senior journalist based in Mutare.
Dube once told me he derived a lot of inspiration from Pemhenayi’s lectures. Dube now runs a chain of companies and has asserted himselves as a captain of industry and commerce in Mutare.
“We enjoyed Pemhenayi’s lectures,” Dube said during a social gathering last year. “I drew a lot of inspiration from him.”
Pemhenayi also had his tentacles in farming - becoming one of the leading tobacco farmers in Manicaland within the five years he moved into Have Farm in the Odzi basin.
His exceptional farming skills gave credit to the land reform programme which was largely vilified by the Western World.
Pemhenayi was an excellent communicator. He vowed students at colleges around Mutare during motivational speaking sessions. During one of his motivational speaking sessions at Mutare Teachers’ College, Pemhenayi stole the hearts of hundreds of students in the lecturer theatre. His main message was that they should never give up hope in the face of economic, political and social challenges. His emphasis was to remain positive and hopeful.
Perhaps his major strength was to be able to communicate and interact with people from different persuasions from Cabinet Ministers, business executives, students, peasants and disadvantaged people in the communities.
He was involved in charity work. In 2006 he launched an education fund which paid school fees for orphaned children at Chikanga Primary School.
Then he said: “I grew up as an orphan so I understand the problems that orphaned children go through in their daily lives.”
His parents died in a car crash when he was still a raw teenage boy. In Dangamvura and Sakubva, Pemhenayi also assisted poor and disadvantaged families.
Pemhenayi was also endowed with entrepreneurial skills. He was managing director of several companies. Of note is labour broking concern, Clive Bruce and Charles, which employed several hundreds of people, especially youths.
During his days as a councilor for Ward 10 Pemhenayi distinguished himself as a dedicated city father with in-depth inputs during council debates.
“Every time he raised his hand to contribute during council debates you were sure to hear substance from him,” said Lovemore Chitima, the council’s deputy housing and community services director. During these days Chitima was a committee officer whose tasks also included recording minutes during council debates.
During the March 2008 harmonized elections Pemhenayi preached the word of peace and togetherness. He discouraged violence in Mutare North. At one of his campaign meetings in Nyamajura he told Zanu PF supporters that anybody who used violence as a campaign tool should not be part of his campaign team.
“I do not want anybody to spoil my victory by using violence as a campaign tool,” he told about 2000 cheering supporters. “I want a clean victory.”
There were minimal incidents of violence in Mutare North. He proceeded to win the constituency.
To many especially his colleagues in Zanu PF his victory appeared easy but contrary to that somewhat misplaced belief Pemhenayi worked round the clock to achieve victory.
“Pemhenayi made things look very easy because he had his own unique way of doing things,” one senior Zanu PF politician told me during his burial on Tuesday. “But what appeared so easy could be very difficult to achieve.”
In the constituency he initiated several projects that were benefitting small holder tobacco farmers.
After the June 27 presidential run-off Pemhenayi was one of the first politicians to suggest the need for the need for a poltical settlement between Zanu PF and the two MDC poltical parties.
To drive his point home Pemhenayi wrote a series of articles which were published in the Financial Gazette encouraging Zimbabwe’s poltical leaders to find common ground for the benefit of the nation. His aspirations were realized when President Mugabe and the leaders of the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai and Authur Mutambara signed the Global Political Agreement that ushered in a government of national unity.
Pemhenayi was an avid fan of Chimurenga music guru, Thomas Mapfumo and Dynamos Football Club. But he had a soft spot for Jazz and blues.
He served on several boards and also led industrial bodies such as Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries and Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe.
In Parliament he was a member of the media, information and technologies portifolio committee. He met his untimely death when his poltical carrier was bossoloming.
During his funeral wake speaker after speaker described Pemhenayi as a affable person whose motivation was to improve the socio-economic status of Mutare and Zimbabwe at large.
He lives behind a young family - his wife, Bridgette and four children. His burning desire was to see his first born child, Batsirayi become an entrepreneur. He always spoke of his strong wish to see her daughter Nangisayi succeed in her studies at Africa University and help him run the farm and his business activities.
Sadily he never lived to see his dreams come true. But he can get solace in that both Batsirayi and Nangisayi have vowed never to let their father down.
Batsirayi’s declaration at the heroes’ shrine that , at the appropriate time, he will fulfill his father’s aspirations of developing Mutare North were touching just as the passionate promise by Nangisayi that she would thrive to succeed in her studies and take charge at Have Farm. We wish them success. In Pemhenayi, the people of Mutare and Zimbabwe have lost a true hero in every respect.
Chirandu, we will always remember you. Rest in eternal peace.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Diamond trade on the increase

MUTARE – The illicit trade in diamonds has surged dramatically in this eastern border city amid reports top police officers and soldiers have formed syndicates with wealthy foreign buyers and illegal miners to smuggle the precious gems from Chiadzwa in Marange.
The illegal practice had stopped about six months ago after the army launched a brutal campaign to flush out illegal miners and traders from the diamond rich area.
But illegal miners and foreign buyers have once again found their way back to Chiadzwa and are operating at full throttle with complete impunity – courtesy of the syndicates they have formed with senior army personnel and police officers.
Police sources this week revealed foreign buyers were enjoying the protection of named top police officers based at the Mutare Central Police station. The sources gave the names of the officers to this newspaper.
The foreign buyers are said to be from countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the West African states of Guinea and Nigeria, Lebanon and Israel.
“These foreigners are enjoying unfettered access to Chiadzwa because they enjoy maximum protection from senior police officers and some in the army,” said a junior police officer based at Mutare Central Police Station.
The emergence of the notorious syndicates involving the top officers from the police, army and rich foreigners come as the government is raising concern over the increased smuggling of precious gems from Chiadzwa.
Daring dealers from Mutare and Harare are also part of the cartels that have emerged over the past month, said police sources.
Giles Mutsekwa, co-Minister of Home Affairs in the inclusive government, at the weekend promised to take action to stop the illegal mining and smuggling of diamonds from Chiadzwa.
He said he would soon consult his co-Minister, Kembo Mohadi on the course of action to take.
Police officers who declined to be named said so powerful have become the foreign buyers such that they can use the police to solve personal issues or matters arising from their illegal dealings.
The sources said a foreign buyer from the DRC has enlisted the services of top police officers in Mutare and Harare to trek down a woman from this eastern border city who is alleged to have disappeared with about US$30 000 belonging to the Congolese.
The sources said the woman disappeared with the cash two months ago after a dispute over payment of commission she was due to receive from the Congolese buyer. The Congolese dealer is now based in Mutare trading in diamonds while also pursuing this woman believed to be in her early 30s. She is believed to have skipped the border into South Africa.
The transaction that turned sour was done in Manica Town of Mozambique.
The sources said it was surprising how senior police officers would seek to arrest the woman and take her to Mozambique because the transaction was not done on Zimbabwean soil. Mozambican police have not made any requests to have the woman arrested and taken to Mozambique.
“What is clear here is that this so called criminal offence committed in Mozambique but what is now surprising if not shocking is that our seniors here are busy pursuing the case,” said one police source.
“Instead they should be asking this Congolese guy what kind of business he is conducting here in Zimbabwe.”

Manicaland province endorses Mugabe

MUTARE- The provincial leadership of Zanu PF here has declared President Mugabe should continue to rule the country despite internal calls for leadership succession.
During a meeting held in this eastern border city and the weekend, the Zanu PF leadership in Manicaland said no-one should be allowed to challenge President Mugabe at the party’s conference to be held at the end of the year.
This, it appears, effectively put to end suggestions that Zanu PF would effect leadership renewal at its annual conference to be held at the end of the year.
Sources said should other provinces make such declarations it means President Mugabe will seek another term of office should elections at the end of the life of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) which ushered in a unity government formed by Zanu PF and the two MDC political parties.
According to the GPA fresh elections should be held in 18 months’ time. The inclusive government was formed in February this year.
There was widespread talk within the ranks of Zanu PF that President Mugabe would step down at the end of the life of the GPA and pave the way for a new and younger leader to take over in Zanu PF.
The succession issue was expected to be tabled at the conference but indications are that the matter is now being stifled.
But Bezel Nyabadza, the Zanu PF acting provincial chairman in Manicaland, told a party meeting they would not tolerate any challenges to Mugabe’s continued stay in office.
Nyabadza is largely seen as a political disciple of Didymus Mutasa, a Zanu PF strongman and a Mugabe loyalist.
Nyabadza told the Mutare meeting individuals within the women and youth wings of the party, who were seen to be opposing Mugabe’s continued hold to power, should not be allowed to attend their respective conferences to be held in a few months time.
The conferences, to be held separately for the Zanu PF’s women and youth leagues respectively, are expected to prepare the agenda for the crucial conference.
Nyabadza reportedly told the Zanu PF provincial meeting that: “We should make sure those in the women’s league and youth wing are behind President Mugabe. Those that think otherwise should not find their way to their conferences because they will betray us.”
Sources within the ruling party in Mutare said they were shocked to realize their leaders still wanted President Mugabe to continue ruling despite his advanced age.
“We were shocked to hear that we have leaders who still want Mugabe to continue ruling when all indications are that we should have new leadership for the party to remain relevant,” said a Zanu PF senior district official based in Mutare. “I think that will be the end of the party. This is a self destructive button.”
President Mugabe, 84, has also indicated his unwillingness to step down and pave the way for new blood saying he wanted to ensure their was unity first within his party.
Efforts to get comment from Nyabadza or the Zanu PF provincial spokesman, Kenneth Saruchera, were not successful.

Trial date for Roy Bennet Set

MUTARE –The trial date for Senator Roy Bennet, the top MDC official, facing treason charges, has been set for October 13 this year.
Bennet, Deputy Agriculture Minister designate, is facing charges of attempting to assassinate President Mugabe four years ago. He dismisses the charges as politically motivated.
His bail conditions were also relaxed and will now have to report to the police once every two weeks instead of the previous conditions were he was supposed to report once every week.
His defence counsel led by Trust Maanda, a Mutare-based lawyer told the court should the state fail to proceed with the case on October 13 Bennet should be removed from remand.
State prosecutor, Michael Mugabe agreed saying he would make sure the trial commences on the given date.
“I want it to be put on record that on 13 October if the state is not ready Bennet will be removed from remand,” Maanda said in court on Wednesday.
Mugabe responded saying: “I will ensure that by 13 October the trial will proceed. If we are not ready the defence can go ahead and make an application to have him removed from remand.”
Magistrate Lucy Mungwari consented.
Bennet faces the death sentence if convicted. President Mugabe has refused to swear him into the inclusive government until the matter is finalized.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New supermarket opens in Mutare

GIANT hardware outlet, BAFS Hardware, is extending its tentacles into the groceries business with an aim of providing the Mutare market with affordable consumer goods.
Zeps Superette, a subsidiary of BAFS Hardware, is opening its doors to Mutare residents on Monday with a mission to provide the market with goods at competitive and fair prices.
Zepplin Mahati, managing director of BAFS Hardware, said they were diversifying into the groceries business as part of the Group’s mission to provide the Mutare community with a wide range of consumer products at low cost.
“We are diversifying into the groceries business so that we can give the Mutare community a wide range of products other than hardware,” Mahati said. “We want people to have groceries at fair and competitive prices.”
The new outlet, situated along Tembwe Street a stone throw away from Mudzviti Bus terminus, is stocked with an assortment of groceries which will be disposed to the market at low prices.
The outlet is spacious and meets international standards.
“We are coming into the market with good products which are friendly priced,” Mahati said.
He said Zeps Superette was committed to ensuring that the Mutare community accesses groceries at almost cost price.
The new outlet employs 20 people who are highly trained and professional. The new entrant into the groceries’ field will be managed by Manoji Raja, who has vast experience in the industry.
Mahati said Zeps Superette will soon expand its brand to other areas surrounding Manicaland Province.
“I have worked all my life for the people of Mutare and it is my wish to ensure everybody can afford to access consumer goods at affordable prices,” Mahati said.
The soft spoken and humble businessman was born and bred in Mutare. Born in 1971 in Mutare, Mahati grew up in the poor township of Sakubva. He is the first born of Zebediah and Gloriah Mahati.
Like any other child who grew up in Sakubva, Mahati was exposed to the rough and tumble of township life at an early age.
Mahati did his primary education at Mutanda Primary School in Sakubva before enrolling at Mutare Boys High School for his high school education.
In 1990 he joined BAFS Hardware as a counter salesman. Simultaneously, Mahati was enrolled part-time at Mutare Poly technical College where he successfully obtained a national diploma in business studies. He is currently enrolled with UNISA.
Through hard work and determination, Mahati rose through the ranks at BAFS Hardware becoming a salesman in 1997 and later general manager the following year.
Through the support of a financial institution, Mahati started to buy shares in BAFS Hardware, then wholly owned by Arun Mooljee, an accomplished businessman. Mooljee owns a leading hardware outlet in Harare, FABS.
In 2007 Mahati took over BAFS Hardware after acquiring a controlling stake in the giant hardware concern.
BAFS Hardware employs a total of 35 people. The hardware giant leads the pack in the industry.
It distributes an array of building materials ranging from asbestos, door frames, window frames, timber, treated poles, imported solid meranti doors, an assortment of paints, tiles and plumbing materials.
BAFS Hardware also distributes farming implements and chemicals, protective clothing, electric motors, wielding machines and car batteries.
“Today, Mahati has kept BAFS as a leading supplier for building materials in Manicaland,” says Mooljee, Mahati’s long-time business mentor.
The captain of Mutare’s industry and commerce says he was inspired by his grandfather who ran a general dealer shop, Madakadze Store at 22-Miles, south of Mutare.
From the humble beginnings in Sakubva’s Old Chisamba section, Mahati always dreamt that one day he would emulate his grand father and become a successful businessman with his roots and beliefs firmly to do the best for the community in Mutare, Manicaland and the country.
His advice to the youth is: “If you work hard in whatever you are doing you can achieve and realize your goals.”
Over the past 20 years Mahati has ploughed back to the community through assisting and developing schools in Manicaland and helping needy children with school fees.
He is also credited with assisting several schools build houses for teachers and staff in the province. Mahati, as a Christian, has helped in the development of churches.
“We are all part of one community and its only through supporting one another can our community grow,” Mahati said. “I thank Mutare for giving me that opportunity and support of my project.”

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Current political instability could derail GNU

MUTARE – The current disturbances at the farms and the continued detention of political prisoners threatens the success of the inclusive government in Zimbabwe, church organizations have warned.
The Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC), Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) and the Zimbabwe Council of Churches (ZCC) warned the government of national unity, formed by President Mugabe’s Zanu PF and the two MDC political parties led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, was under threat.
The organizations, under the banner Churches in Manicaland, said they were concerned by the current happenings which they deem as a threat to the success of the inclusive government.
They said threats to teachers returning to schools, the continued land invasions, arrest and detention of political prisoners was harming the spirit of the Global Political Agreement of 15 September 2009.
The church organizations are also concerned at the interference by law enforcement agents with community peace initiatives aimed at remedying ills committed during the run –up to the June 27 bloody presidential run-off.
They said they were equally worried about the exorbitant pricing of goods and services, pegged in US Dollars, SA Rands and Botswana Pula.
They said prices of goods and services in Zimbabwe were far much higher than those charged within the region.
They said service charges by both our local authorities and parastatals are unreasonable. They gave an example of charges for rates, water by ZINWA, telephone bills and television and radio licenses by ZBH which they said are out of this world. Water charges can go p to US100 per household while television and radio licenses are pegged at US50.
The majority of civil servants in Zimbabwe earn US100 a month.

Soldier forces rival to drink raw sewage

IN a bizarre case, a Zimbabwean soldier forced a 29-year old man to drink raw sewage from a burst pipe as punishment for being intimate with his 25-year old wife.
The incident happened in Dangamvura, a poor township in Mutare, Zimbabwe’s third largest city which is 265 km east of Harare, the capital.
Simon Chauke, a solider with the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA), caught Laison Zvemisha red – handed being intimate with his wife at his matrimonial house in Dangamvura high density suburb after he had set up a trap.
Chauke, based at 4: 1 Infantry Battalion in Masvingo, a town about 300km south of Harare, was tipped off by neghbours that his wife Chiedza Chombo was having an adulterous affair with Zvemisha. The soldier was told his wife and Zvemisha would on several occasions lock each other at his house while he was away on duty.
He then lied to his wife that he was going on tour of duty but instead went to a friend’s place in the neighborhood where he waited until he got information that his rival suitor had entered his house.
According to a report carried by a local weekly here, The Manica Post, the soldier, in the company of a fellow member of the ZNA ambushed the house and found the two lovebirds between the sheets.
The soldiers then started beating up Zvemisha, reported the newspaper. After beating him severely the soldiers then dragged the terrified man to a nearby burst sewage pipe and forced him to drink raw sewage.
They said it was punishment for being intimate with Chauke’s wife.
The hapless man was saved by the intervention of members of the public who felt he had had enough and that the punishment was also awkward.
The police did not arrest the soldiers. The fate of Zvemisha is not known as neighbours say he has deserted his residence in Dangamvura. Zimbabwe is currently battling a cholera outbreak that has claimed several thousands lives.
According to the report Zvemisha was renowned in the neighborhood for his “insatiable thirst” for married woman.
The Manica Post is a government controlled provincial weekly.

Friday, February 20, 2009

High Court to decide Bennet's bail application next Tuesday

HARARE – THE High Court will determine next Tuesday whether or not jailed top MDC official, Roy Bennet should be freed on bail, his lawyers said on Friday.
Bennet is in remand prison after a magistrate in the eastern border city of Mutare ruled he should remanded in custody on the grounds there were enough evidence to show the deputy agriculture minister designate had a case to answer.
He was remanded to March 4.
Bennet is facing charges of attempting to sabotage, banditry, terrorism or insurgency.
His lawyer, Trust Maanda, said they have already filed the bail application at the High Court and he matter will be decided on Tuesday.
“The papers have been signed and the application will decide on Tuesday morning,” Maanda said.
Bennet was due to be sworn in by President Mugabe as the country’s Deputy Minister of Agriculture in an inclusive government formed by Zanu PF and the two MDC political parties led by Prime Minister Moran Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
He was not sworn in as he is languishing at a remand prison in Mutare.
The continued detention of Bennet has infuriated MDC supporters here who threatened to run riot but were calmed by the MDC provincial leadership.
Patrick Chitaka, the MDC provincial chairman, told angry supporters who kept vigil outside the magistrate’s courts on Wednesday that they should be calm and allow the courts to decide on the matter.

Bennet refuses blanket amnesty

MUTARE – Roy Bennet, the incarcerated top MDC official, declined to be part of a deal in which he was to secure his freedom in return to a blanket clemency for anybody who committed human rights abuses from 2000.
Instead, Bennet said he would rather face trial than to be part of a deal that would see individuals who committed crimes against humanity walk scot-free.
Sources within the MDC and the police said Bennet declared he would want to see individuals that perpetrated crimes against humanity made to account for their actions.
Supporters of President Mugabe’s Zanu PF and security details stand accused of perpetrating human rights abuses since the 2000 bloody elections.
Hundreds have been killed and maimed while thousands were displaced as a result of the violence that has characterized elections in Zimbabwe since 2000.
But under a deal being worked out by the leadership of all the three political parties that are governing the country all those accused of human rights crimes and those in prison for “recruiting” people for “military training to forcefully remove” President Mugabe from office, will receive a blanket amnesty.
But Bennet has distanced himself from such an arrangement saying he would not want to be part to such a deal.
Sources said Elton Mangoma, a senior MDC official and a Cabinet Minister phoned Bennet while he was in police custody to assure him his freedom was imminent under the envisaged deal.
The sources said Mangoma phoned Bennet and told him he had spoken to Patrick Chinamasa, the justice minister, who had assured him the former white farmer would be freed under the amnesty deal.
“But Bennet told Mangoma he was against the deal and said he would rather face trial than to have people who killed and maimed Zimbabweans go scot-free,” said one source. “The police put him on speaker phone so they could hear the conversation.”
Bennet’s lawyer, Trust Maanda confirmed saying: “Bennet does not want to benefit from the sympathy of anybody by way of amnesty. He wants to be freed by the courts after a trial because he knows he did not commit the offence.”
Bennet is facing charges of attempting to commit acts of insurgency, banditry, terrorism or sabotage. He was remanded to 4 March 2009 after a magistrate rejected an application to remove him from remand.
“He (Bennet) wants to clear his name,” Maanda added, “He is saying he heard from other quarters that individuals who committed heinous crimes want to use him to get amnesty. If he gets amnesty they will also get a blanket amnesty for their heinous crimes.”
Under the envisaged deal Zanu PF militants, army and intelligence officers who committed crimes against humanity will not be arrested and prosecuted. These also includes individuals such as Joseph Mwale, the feared Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) detail, who masterminded the gruesome murder of two MDC supporters at Murambinda Growth point in Buhera during the run up to the 2000 elections. Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya were burnt to death after they were petrol bombed while campaigning for the MDC.
Mwale has evaded justice since then.
Hundreds other MDC supporters were to be murdered in subsequent elections held in 2002, 2005 and during the June 27 2008 presidential re-run.
Several thousands were maimed and displaced either after receiving threats or after their houses were set ablaze.
More were killed, maimed and left homeless after the government launched a bloody land “reform” programme in which Zanu PF supporters and sympathizers seized farmland from white farmers.
On the other hand MDC activists and sympathisers who are accused of “recruiting people for military training” outside Zimbabwe will also benefit from the deal.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Magistrate rules Bennet has case to answer

MUTARE – A provincial magistrate here has ruled there are enough reasonable grounds to suspect Roy Bennet, the incarcerated top MDC official, has a case to answer.
Livingstone Chipadze ruled that Bennet should not be removed from remand on charges of contravening Section 10 of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) or the alterative charge of possessing firearms without ministerial authority.
He is alleged to have stockpiled weapons for the purposes of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism.
The magistrate ruled there are reasonable grounds to suspect Bennet worked in common cause with Peter Michael Hitschmann, the police constabulary already serving a four year jail term for a similar offence.
Bennet was remanded in custody to Mach 4 this year. There was a deafening silence in court after the ruling. Bennet, clad in prison torn prison garb, remained clam throughout the process. He, however, looked distressed and tired. He shook his head after the magistrate delivered the ruling.
His lawyers will now have to apply to the High Court to get bail.
But Bennet was cleared on lesser charges of contravening immigration laws when he allegedly attempted to leave the country for South Africa on February 13 without presenting him selves to an immigration officer.
Tension is building up in this eastern border city. Armed police are patrolling the streets supported by two water cannons.

Bennet to know his fate tomorrow

MUTARE – Incarcerated top MDC official and Deputy Minister of Agriculture Designate, Roy Bennet will know his fate tomorrow afternoon.
Provincial magistrate, Livingstone Chipadze, will make a ruling on whether Bennet has a case to answer or not.
Chipadze told a packed court that he will deliver his ruling at 2:15 PM tomorrow. He however, ruled that Bennet should be sent to remand prison and not police holding cells as had been requested by his defence team.
Bennet was calm throughout the proceedings. He was clad in a white t-shirt and white three-quarter (cargo pants) shorts.
Proceedings at the court were brought to a temporary halt after the arrival of Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe.
The Deputy Minister attended the afternoon session and left to address MDC top provincial leadership in Manicaland Province.
Meanwhile hundreds of MDC supporters kept vigil outside the court yard throughout the day.
Bennet’s lawyers argued heir client had no case to answer and dismissed evidence brought by the State.
Trust Maanda, who is leading the defence counsel, argued that an email message the State was alleging was evidence of communication between Bennet and Peter Michael Hitschmann, the jailed former police constabulary, was concocted and discredited.
“The email from Bennet was concocted,” Maanda told the court. “Anybody can play with the computer and open an email address.”
Maanda said Hitschmann should be called to give evidence in court since the State was linking him to Bennet. The State opposed. Magistrate Chipadze then ruled that Hitschmann’s evidence as not required at the moment but perhaps at a later stage should it still be necessary.
Hitschmann was convicted And sentenced to four years on charges of possessing dangerous weapons but was cleared of more severe charges of attempting to commit acts of banditry, sabotage, terrorism or insurgency.
The defence denied Bennet committed any offence. The State led by Tawanda Zvakare insisted Bennet had a case to answer saying they had evidence he funded the purchase of the weapons found in Hitschmann’s possession in 2006.
They said the evidence was contained in the email message they found in Hitschmann’s possession.
On the other charge of violating immigration laws, Bennet’s defence produced proof that he indeed presented himself to an immigration official.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Lawyers in frantic bid to secure Bennet's release

Lawyers representing incarcerated top MDC official Roy Bennet wants the High Court to order the police to immediately present him to court.
Chris Ndlovu one of Bennett’s lawyers said they will tomorrow petition the High Court to force the police to release Bennet to court.
This was after the police ad successfully sought a warrant to further detain the deputy minister of Agriculture designate for a further 48hours.
The warrant was signed by regional magistrate Billiard Musakwa.
Meanwhile tension is rising among MDC supporters gathered outside the court.
On Friday hundreds of MDC supporters besieged the police station and attempted to force their way into the police station.
They were dispersed after police fired rubber bullets at the crowd.
But angry MDC supporters went on a rampage smashing shop windows in the city centre's central business area.
About 10 MDC activists were arrested and are still languishing in police holding cells at Mutare Central Police Station.
Bennet was expected to appear in court today (Monday) but police did not present him to the court. The docket has been taken to police Headquarters in Harare. The investigating officer a Superintendent Makone was summoned to Police Headquarters to update his superiors on the case.
Bennet is facing charges of committing acts of sabotage and terrorism.