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Zimbabwe PM rejects Mugabe's renewed pressure on polls

http://www.nation.co.ke

By AFP
Posted Monday, April 2 2012 at 20:24

Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday rejected fresh calls by
President Robert Mugabe for polls this year, after the ageing liberation
leader called for a vote on a new constitution next month.

State media quoted 88-year-old Mugabe at the weekend as threatening to set
an election date unilaterally, unless a referendum on the charter is held in
May.

Tsvangirai called a press conference Monday to again insist that Zimbabwe
remain on the "roadmap" brokered by the 15-nation Southern African
Development Community.

"We continue to insist that any credible poll must be predicated by
reforms," Tsvangirai said at his office in Harare.

"We expect the president to respect the constitution, to respect the law of
the land and to respect the roadmap that SADC has outlined," he said.

Mugabe and Tsvangirai formed a coalition government in February 2009 after
the 2008 presidential race ended in bloodshed, with the prime minister's
supporters making up most of the estimated 200 dead.

Delays in the constitution-making process and in media and electoral reforms
have delayed the holding of new elections.

Mugabe said in the state-run Herald newspaper on Saturday that "the dance we
have had... is over".

"Let us have an election and end this animal called inclusive government,"
he said.

Mugabe, who has ruled since independence from Britain in 1980, refuses to
accede to any reforms until the European Union and the United States remove
sanctions against him and his inner circle, imposed over human rights abuses
and election fraud.


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Tsvangirai plays down talk of early election by Mugabe

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Tichaona Sibanda
02 April 2012

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday moved to dampen down speculation
about an early general election, as demanded by President Robert Mugabe.

Last week the ZANU PF leader told a meeting of his central committee that
elections will be held this year, with or without the new constitution.

He said the country will go for a referendum in May. If there isn’t a
referendum then the country will revert to the Lancaster House Constitution
and hold elections before the end of the year.

But at his monthly press briefing in Harare, Tsvangirai insisted that his
full attention was focused on ensuring that reforms are carried out first
before the GPA leaders can call for an election.

‘We continue to work towards the next election, albeit with sharp
differences over the nature and complexion of that election.

‘There has been slow movement on reforms as our colleagues view any reform
as a form of conceding power. For us, reforms are a fulfilment of what we
agreed upon and signed up to, both in the GPA and in the roadmap that was
facilitated by SADC,’ the Prime Minister said.

As GPA principals, Tsvangirai said they were expecting a draft of the
constitution, which he said was one of the key reforms before a poll can be
held.

‘I wish to restate what I said in Parliament recently that while individual
political parties may claim to want an election without a new constitution,
there is no such position in government,’ he said.

Douglas Mwonzora, Tsvangirai’s party spokesman, told SW Radio Africa that
Mugabe’s deadline for a referendum by May was not realistic, because of
mandatory time limits set in the GPA.

‘It’s a tight deadline. In fact it does not make sense, even if we were to
finish the constitution today (Monday). This is because we have mandatory
time limits in the GPA and mandatory processes before you go to a
referendum,’ Mwonzora said.

The MDC-T MP for Nyanga North, and co-chairman of COPAC, explained that the
constitution has to be subjected to a second all stakeholders conference,
that must be convened within a month of releasing the final draft. That
draft is expected to be released before the end of next week.

‘For an example, after we release the draft this April, we will need a month
to give people an opportunity to read this document and appreciate it. Then
after that it goes to parliament where it is debated again for another
month, and once that is done, the draft is subjected to a referendum,’ the
MP said.

He continued: ‘If you add all these time limits, you see that the May
deadline that the President talks about is very, very unrealistic. The
earliest time we can have a referendum is between August and September.’

Analysts believe that an election without reforms would go against repeated
SADC summits and would alienate Mugabe from the regional bloc.

Political commentator Bekithemba Mhlanga told us Mugabe risks losing the
support of SADC if he decides to push for an election without the bloc’s
support.

‘Without SADC support I don’t see Mugabe going for an election. The best he
could do now is speed up the process and have an election before the year,
but under a new constitution,’ Mhlanga said.


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Weddings suspended to curb ‘fraud’

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Alex Bell
02 April 2012

Weddings in Zimbabwe have been indefinitely suspended, reportedly in an
effort to curb fraud.

The ban on matrimony was announced in the state run Herald newspaper last
Wednesday, with Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede stating that his office is
trying to stop ‘marriages of convenience’.

Mudede has reportedly said that weddings will only be held when a new
‘biometric marriage certificate’ has been introduced in the country.

“We are the first in the world to fight marriages of convenience,” Mudede is
quoted as saying, detailing that the government is trying to clamp down on
people using marriage to get Zim citizenship.

He also threatened anyone who goes ahead and performs a wedding ceremony,
saying: “Marriage officers will have to comply with this and if you don’t,
jail is waiting for you.”

The ban has not yet been given a time limit, leaving scores of weddings
unable to go ahead.

Already this weekend there were reports of wedding party’s being turned away
from registry offices across the country, with some reports stating about 20
planned marriages at one magistrate’s court had to be cancelled.


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Constitutional Age Limits Not Tailored For Mugabe - Tsvangirai

http://www.radiovop.com/

Harare, April 02, 2012 – Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has dismissed
President Mugabe's claims that his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party was pushing for the inclusion of age and term limits in the new
constitution to block the 88-year-old leader from contesting the next polls.

Tsvangirai was addressing journalists during his monthly Prime Minister’s
press conference at government’s Munhumutapa building on Monday afternoon.

“I don’t think we make constitutions influenced by individual age or
individual status," Tsvangirai said. "I don’t see why there was panic about
these clauses being made for a particular individual. Constitutions are not
written for an individual. They are written for posterity and national
principle. In this case age limit was not targeting President Mugabe... It
was targeted at the future."

This follows accusations by Mugabe during his often long annual interviews
by the state broadcaster, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) to
coincide with his birthday that the MDC was instituting a silent coup
against him by pushing for a clause in the constitution to disallow anyone
over 70 years to stand for presidency and limiting the presidential term to
two years.

He said the parties to the Global Political Agreement (GPA) had agreed the
clauses would not apply retrospectively on President Mugabe.

The MDC leader vowed he will fight to block Mugabe from calling for fresh
elections in the absence of key reforms agreed during the signing of the
coalition government.

“We will insist on these conditions, we will fight for those conditions and
we will urge SADC to insist on its own conditions on Zimbabwe,” Tsvangirai
said.

He was adamant he shall also have a say in the determination of a date for
the next polls.

“The next election is not about cheap rhetoric, misleading people and firing
cheap broadsides at the region and the facilitator simply because one wants
to placate hardliners in their political parties,” he said.

“The next election is about respecting the regional effort and putting in
place mechanisms to ensure that we have credible polls that will usher in a
legitimate government.”

Tsvangirai said the continued threats to hold elections by Mugabe were
disrupting the country’s efforts to lure foreign investors.


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‘Elections before reforms costly’

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Own Correspondent
Monday, 02 April 2012 09:55

HARARE - David Coltart, the smaller MDC faction’s legal secretary says
President Robert Mugabe’s insistence on elections this year without reforms
is a blunder he will live to regret.

Coltart was speaking at a discussion on “Elections and costs in Zimbabwe
this year” last week where he said holding of elections would only be
possible after the necessary reforms and GPA.

“The political party that is going to force through this election will most
likely alienate itself from very powerful leaders in the region and donors
who have invested political capital to make sure some normalcy returns to
this country.

“We will be literally slapping the African Union, Sadc and President Zuma
who have invested and taken a lot of strain in trying to convince these
organisations. The UNDP has sunk in millions of dollars to drive this
process,” said Coltart.

He said he did not see any of the MDC formations participating in a sham
election and that the only parties that would likely take part would be Zanu
PF and some “stooge parties and whoever forces this election will incur
frightening political costs.

“There is a cost to Zanu PF because an election is most likely to cause
divisions within the party because they have no consensus within that party
to the holding of elections this year.

“It will be a huge political cost that could be Zanu PF’s biggest undoing
and may result in the creation of two separate political entities. Mugabe
cannot afford any more divisions over failure to consult with a view of
going ahead with elections,” Coltart said.

He added that another cost will be political stalemate while sanctions will
get tightened. The little legitimacy that Zanu PF had in 2008 will be
eroded.

MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora agreed with Coltart saying Mugabe wanted a
quick exit from this presidency because it was an international
embarrassment.

“Mugabe was not elected in 2008 and he knows it. He has met with young
democratically elected leaders over the past four years and its humiliating
him."

“But we are saying if Zanu PF is genuine about elections this year, why don’t
we just agree on the modalities of a free and fair poll then hold elections
tomorrow — open up the airwaves, repeal oppressive legislation and
reconstitute the electoral commission,” Mwonzora said.

Zanu PF’s representative at the discussion Goodson Nguni said Zuma or Sadc
will not tell his party on what to do.

“Read my lips, you will not see more of Lindiwe Zulu (Zuma’s political
advisor) here much more and Zuma will not be telling us what to do with our
country anymore.

“The president of Zanu PF and the country’s head of state has categorically
stated that he would pull our party out of the GNU because we are tired of
working with imperialist stooges and the people of Zimbabwe will be the
final arbiters on who they want to rule them. We must afford them that
chance this year,” Nguni said.

Coltart said Zimbabwe did not have the money to fund elections this year and
Zanu PF would probably have to fork out money to fund the plebiscite.

“We cannot print anymore money, that era is over. Now we have to spend hard
cash and I can speak with a degree of certainty that our capital account is
in the red.

“The country may have to forgo social delivery services like education which
is already compromised to fund elections,” Coltart said.


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Load-shedding could worsen: Mangoma

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/

01/04/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

POWER supply problems could worsen across the country over Easter unless the
US$76 million debt owed to suppliers in Mozambique is significantly reduced,
a cabinet minister has warned.

Energy Minister, Elton Mangoma said Zimbabwe needs to reduce its debt to
under US$40 million by Friday to ensure the current power supply problems do
not get worse.

“They (Mozambique) agreed to increase power supply once we have made our
payment. They expecting us to bring our debt to below US$40 million and they
said that is when the power supply would be increased for us,” Mangoma told
the state-owned Herald newspaper.

“For us to have reduced load-shedding during the holidays, it all depends on
whether we are able to mobilise the required resources by Friday.

“If that is not the case, it means the situation would remain the same and
we will continue with the power outages until we set off what we owe.”

Mangoma said ZESA – which is owed more that US$550 million by customers --
would step-up disconnections of defaulters over the next few days to help
raise the money needed to reduce the debt with Mozambique.
“What this means is more power disconnections for everyone,” he said.

“Although I cannot disclose the amount we have at the moment, we are also
going to apply multiple methods to raise the money and Government also has
to look for other alternatives like loans or where to borrow.”

Zimbabwe generates 1,300MW of electricity which was way short of the daily
national requirement of about 2,200 megawatts.
The country has plugged the gap with imports from regional suppliers but
many have cut back supplies due to payment problems.

The shortages have forced ZESA to ration supplies to both commercial and
domestic users with some areas going for more than 10 hours per day without
power.


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Maize scandal

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Chris Goko and Xolisani Ncube
Monday, 02 April 2012 12:00

HARARE - Zimbabweans are at risk of consuming condemned maize as it emerges
that some unscrupulous businessmen are buying the grain meant for stock feed
and processing it as mealie-meal for the poor.

The Daily News has discovered that the dealers have been buying the
condemned maize from some millers amid fears that the maize could be finding
itself on people's tables.

The “rain-damaged” grain, damned by President Robert Mugabe’s government and
recommended for animals, has raised fears that consumers could be exposed to
health hazards following reports that there is also a 24 000-tonne
consignment of genetically modified organism (GMO) grain in the country.

Mugabe and cabinet both rejected the maize which has found its way to the
open market.

Harare City Council health director Prosper Chonzi confirmed they are
carrying out investigations into the quality of the grain and where it is
processed.

Reports say the mealie-meal being processed from the condemned maize by the
businessmen is cheaper compared to that produced by big companies.

While the millers are selling the grain to farmers and businessmen, there is
no authority to check whether the condemned maize is not being processed for
human consumption.

Tafadzwa Musarara, the chairperson of the Grain Millers Association of
Zimbabwe, on Friday confirmed there has been some maize which has been
condemned for human consumption.

Musarara owns Alpha Grain (Alpha), which has also been selling the maize.

He confirmed his company’s handling of up to 18 000 tonnes of the
humidity-stricken “private maize”.

“This maize is not GMO, but was affected by humidity and, therefore, not
regarded fit for human consumption. As we speak, the consignment is being
sold as stock feed,” he said, stressing, though, that the consignment at
issue had not been condemned on the grounds that it was lab-grown or
artificial.

While the former Affirmative Action Group secretary-general said that the
grain was “spoilt” at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)’s depots, company
chief executive Albert Mandizha could not elaborate on the issue — except a
terse response that only the national bio-safety office could address the
issue.

John Mafa, head of that division could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Earlier, his spokeperson Muriel Zemura could also not be drawn to comment on
the issue of the two “contaminated stocks” of maize and referred the Daily
News to GMB’s parent ministry, but Agriculture minister Joseph Made shot
back at the “policy” claims.

“They know better and must respond to your questions because we cannot
respond to such an operational issue,” he said.

Made emphasised, though, that as a leading white maize producer, Zimbabwe
would not allow any products or policies, which risk blemishing its
production record and output.

Musarara, meanwhile, confirmed selling part of his maize stock to big
companies which produce stock feed.

Speaking on behalf of Alpha Grain, Musarara said the purported furore over
the tainted grain was being fanned by business rivals, who were feeling the
heat over his $150 per tonne-price in stock feed maize, as opposed to their
$700-plus quotations.

An avowed Zanu PF supporter and functionary, Musarara particularly fingered
some large and Zimbabwe Stock Exchange-listed players as the backers of
“this negative campaign.”

As things stand, the Harare businessman and farmer is still continuing with
his grain sales and he insists he sells to animal feed producers only.

He admits he has no control over what happens when the grain leaves his or
any other millers’ depots.

A distinguished flour producer – and maize processor — Musarara also enjoys
a toll milling arrangement with Victoria Foods.


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Chinese investor rescues Bindura Nickel

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/

02/04/2012 00:00:00
by Business Reporter

A CHINESE mining group will invest $21.2 million to restart a Zimbabwean
nickel mine that closed during the country's hyper-inflationary turmoil in
the last decade, Mwana Africa announced Monday.

China International Mining Group Corporation would buy $21.2 million of new
shares at 5.5 pence per share, with the remaining shares being sold to
institutional investors via a placing at the same price.

Mwana Africa owns a 52.9 percent stake in Bindura Nickel Corporation in
Zimbabwe, the only fully integrated nickel operation in Africa, whose assets
include the Trojan mine

China International Mining Group Corporation's investment will help to
restart mining at the Bindura Nickel Corporation's Trojan mine after it
closed in 2008, Mwana Africa said.

"I am delighted to welcome CIMGC's substantial investment into Mwana Africa,
which, allied with the additional money we are looking to raise today,
should enable us to restart our nickel mine in Zimbabwe," Mwana Africa chief
executive Kalaa Mpinga said.

Bindura’s operations were placed on care and maintenance in November 2008
following a collapse of nickel prices and hyperinflation concerns in
Zimbabwe.

But Mwana Africa believes that economic and operating conditions in Zimbabwe
and general nickel market condition are conducive to the restart of
operations at the Trojan Mine which can treat 1.1 million tonnes of nickel a
year.

Zimbabwe economy is slowly recovering after a 10-year collapse, aided by a
unity government between long-ruling President Robert Mugabe and his rival,
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The unity government abandoned the local currency, left worthless by
world-record hyperinflation, and lifted controls that had strangled trade
and investment.


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Zim colleges “prisons”: MDC

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

The MDC-T has promised to restore sanity to the country’s dilapidated
tertiary institutions, which it describes as “maximum security prisons”
killing the future.
01.04.1203:05pm
by Nhamo Murefu

Speaking during a public debate on the “Costs and Benefits of Election”
organized by the Mass Public Opinion Institute here this week, party
spokesperson, Douglas Mwonzora, blamed the former ruling party for the sorry
state of the tertiary facilities.

“The reckless behavior of Zanu (PF) is evident especially in tertiary
colleges and universities where conditions are deplorable. They churn out
intellectual rebels, not visionary graduates,” Mwonzora said.

A few years ago the University of Zimbabwe closed its halls of residence and
kitchen owing to uninhabitable conditions. Observers say this is reflective
of the decay spreading across the whole tertiary domain.

The MDC believes only free and fair elections will enable the restoration of
order and hope to students.


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ZEC dismisses Zanu (PF) plans to increase rural constituencies

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/

A Zimbabwe Electoral Commission official has thrown cold water on Zanu (PF)
plans to increase the number of rural constituencies and reduce those
allocated urban centres in a desperate bid to win the next elections.
01.04.1202:48pm
by Jane Makoni

Traditional leaders met recently at Dhirihori Business Centre to sub-divide
Chief Svosve’s area into three separate zones presided over by three
different chiefs. The three areas would then be delimitated into political
constituencies.

The meeting was expected to be attended by Provincial Governor, Aenius
Chigwedere, Provincial Administrator, Cuthbert Ndarukwa and District
Administrator, James Chiwaru. The trio did not turn up as expected “for
intelligent reasons”, said a headman who attended the meeting.

The ZEC official said other parties to the GPA would see through such a
fraudulent attempt.

“The reportedly planned Svosve delimitation programme would not be possible
as it would leave too few people under the chieftainship to complement a
political constituency,” he said.

Parliament has 210 elected seats, while 10 non-elected seats are reserved
for chiefs and 10 for governors.


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NGO’s chased away

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/

Desperate villagers in Buhera have blamed Zanu (PF) officials and war
veterans for exposing them to permanent hunger after they chased away two
NGOs providing them with food.
01.04.1202:28pm
by Tony Saxon

They told The Zimbabwean the long dry spell had hit them hard.

“If we do not get food soon some people might die. We had some irrigation
schemes that sustained our lives with the help of NGOs, but since they were
chased away most of us have gone hungry,” said TonderaiMushavaviri, a
village elder in Chief Nyashanu area.

“The donors worked tirelessly to save us from hunger. I do not have anyone
to look after me, some donors were looking after me but now they were chased
away. Who will look after me?” said an elderly villager, Stanslaas
Taremeredzwa.


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Mnangagwa and Moyo fall out over Chiwenga

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
02 April 2012

Relations between Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa and former Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo have soured dramatically in recent months, after
Moyo, a notorious political turncoat, deserted his former ally to begin
promoting the presidential ambitions of army General Constantine Chiwenga.

In 2004 Moyo was named as the chief architect of a meeting held in
Tsholotsho to defy Mugabe’s directive that ZANU PF must nominate a woman as
his deputy. The so-called ‘Tsholotsho Declaration’ supported Mnangagwa who
was then Speaker of Parliament, instead of Joice Mujuru, who was eventually
chosen that same year.

SW Radio Africa however understands relations between Mnangagwa and Moyo
have since deteriorated so badly the two are not even speaking to each
other. Moyo is seen regularly visiting Chiwenga at Defence House, the army
headquarters which also houses the Ministry of Defence where Mnangagwa is
minister.

Mnangagwa is reportedly furious that his former ally has jumped ship and is
now de-facto spokesman and strategist for Chiwenga’s camp and its
presidential push.

“Moyo visits Chiwenga almost daily and it’s believed he has become the
brains behind a clique of ‘not so bright’ army chiefs pushing to have
Chiwenga succeed Mugabe,” a source close to developments told SW Radio
Africa.

While there has always been talk of infighting within ZANU PF between the
Mnangagwa and Solomon Mujuru factions, it is clear to many that a third
faction, led by Chiwenga and backed by some in the army, has joined the
fray.

Meanwhile it’s reported Mugabe blocked the election of controversial
businessman Philip Chiyangwa as vice-chairman of ZANU PF’s Mashonaland West
province. Chiyangwa was expelled from ZANU PF several years ago after being
arrested and eventually acquitted of selling state secrets.

Mugabe used a recent politburo meeting to put the breaks on Chiyangwa’s
political comeback. The reason used to bar Chiyangwa is that he was only
recently re-admitted as an ‘ordinary member’ and does not qualify to stand
for election. The decision is set to fuel more factional fighting as his
supporters are not happy.


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Concern for UK Zim activist set to be deported

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Alex Bell
02 April 2012

There is rising concern for the safety of a UK based Zimbabwean activist,
who faces possible deportation back home.

Frazer Muzondo, a Zim asylum seeker and an MDC-T activist, was detained last
week during his routine report to Border Agency officials in London. He is
now being held at the Colnbrook Removal Centre, ahead of possible
deportation.

Muzondo is best known in the UK as a vocal ZANU PF critic and regular
participant in a number of Zimbabwean activism activities, like the London
based Zimbabwe Vigil. He is also a regular attendant at MDC meetings in
Nottingham.

He has also written regular articles for the UK’s MDC structures and for the
Nottingham Zimbabwean Community Network (NZCZ) since 2008, after the chaotic
election period that resulted in the current coalition government.

Though his articles have been well received in activism circles, it is the
same material that fellow activists say will land Muzondo in serious trouble
if he is deported.

Most recently, Muzondo wrote a piece published by the NZCZ titled: “ZANU PF
in self-enrichment mode”, which singled out Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri, Army Commander Constantine Chiwenga and Robert Mugabe as the chief
architects of Zimbabwe’s economic crisis. He has also previously used his
articles to slam ZANU PF for stealing the 2008 election and forcing the MDC
into a unity structure that kept Mugabe in power.

The Chairman of the Nottingham Zimbabwe Community Network, Regis Manyanya,
told SW Radio Africa on Monday that Muzondo is a “fearless critic,” who
faces possible retribution if he was sent back. He explained that Muzondo
has been in the process of appealing the UK government’s decision to remove
him after being notified in February, but the appeal process has not been
completed.

He added: “There is a political game being played and when big elephants
fight, it is the grass that suffers. In this case, people like Frazer are
the grass.”

“We are headed towards an election in Zimbabwe and the situation is
volatile, especially for those who are critical of the regime. Frazer wants
regime change, he has always wanted regime change, so to send him back now
just makes no sense,” Manyanya said.

Manyanya was also critical of the UK Border Agency for what he called
‘harassment’ and ‘victimisation’ of Zimbabwean citizens in the UK, saying he
believes that the situation is getting worse.

“I believe that this is a deliberate strategy to weaken Zimbabweans as much
as possible and force them to take the voluntary return packages or face
deportation,” Manyanya said.


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MP bans constituents from listening to Studio 7

http://www.swradioafrica.com

STATEMENT ON MP ZIYAMBI’S ADMISSIONS

ZACRAS is outraged by actions of the Member of Parliament for Chakari,
Zachariah Ziyambi, who banned members of his constituency from listening to
Studio 7 and reading newspapers perceived to be hostile to ZANU-PF.
In a Newsday article of 2 April 2012, the ZANU-PF Member of Parliament for
Chakari, Zachariah Ziyambi, stated that he advised his constituency not to
listen to Voice of America’s Studio 7 or read newspapers hostile to ZANU-PF
, so that they do not get distracted. Honourable Ziyambi said this during a
parliamentary workshop organised by the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA-Zimbabwe) in Kariba.

It is deplorable that the same individuals whom Zimbabweans entrusted and
voted into office, are the same individuals who seek to gag citizen’s right
to access information. The right to information is a basic human right, and
should not be viewed as a privilege which can be bestowed or taken away from
citizens at the whims of politicians.

In the same Newsday article, MP Ziyambi went on to add that his constituency
does not have access to newspapers and has limited access to ZBC radio
stations. It is ZACRAS’ view that, by restricting access to Studio 7 and any
other information sources which do not glorify ZANU-PF, the MP is striving
to create information blackout.

Contrary to Honourable Ziyambi’s actions, ZACRAS is of the belief that
Parliamentarians should be at the forefront of championing the attainment of
democratic principles, of which access to information is one of them .It is
therefore regrettable that MPs like Ziyambi, are putting restrictions and
dictating the kind of information that citizens should access.

ZACRAS believes that, placing restrictions on access to information promotes
a culture of passivity and docility on the part of citizens. Restricting
access to information will culminate in the constituency of Chakari being
deprived of information .As a result, constituency members will not be able
to actively engage in governance issues and demand accountability and
transparency.

Currently, there has been an upsurge in cases of Parliamentarians who are
abusing Community Development Funds (CDF).It is such instances which
necessitate the empowerment of citizens through information provision, so
that they demand accountability and transparency from the governing.
ZACRAS maintains its call for broadcasting diversity which will result in
the licensing of community radios. It is ZACRAS’ conviction that community
radios will close the information gap which has been created by ZBC’s
failure to broadcast in all regions of Zimbabwe.

Promotion of access to information, freedom of expression and information
dissemination is one of the cornerstones of any vibrant and healthy
democratic society. Through community radios, the free flow of information
will contribute to transparency, accountability and the rule of law. In this
manner, citizen participation in public and political discourse will be
greatly enhanced.

The free flow of information within countries and across international
borders is a powerful force for development, understanding and positive
change. Through access to information and participation of communities, an
empowered Zimbabwe will actively participate in governance issues and demand
accountability and transparency from the governing.

Gift Mambipiri
ZACRAS Chairperson


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NRZ a headache to govt: Moyo

http://www.dailynews.co.zw/

By Bulawayo Correspondent
Monday, 02 April 2012 13:52

BULAWAYO - State Enterprises minister Gorden Moyo says the restructuring of
parastatals and state enterprises was agonisingly going on, with the
National Railway of Zimbabwe (NRZ) providing challenges.

Speaking in Bulawayo, Moyo said government was still to approve a
privatisation strategy for the troubled railway company.

“Our headache is the NRZ and if there is something that is making us lose
sleep it is that company. The thinking in government is that we use the
strategies that we used with National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) and
others, that is, to split it into an infrastructure, passenger and freight
company and that way, it would be easier to manage,” Moyo said.

“It would be easier for somebody who is dealing with the passenger company
or the infrastructure company to manage it but we still have a nightmare
because we have not made any meaningful decision and progress,” he added.

The minister said the state of the rail operator’s equipment and capital
constraints were the major challenges dogging it.

“There is also a big debt overhang which is affecting NRZ. Again the company
has been operating without a properly constituted board affecting its
decision-making process. There is a problem of micro management of the
entity and that kind of management has never worked anywhere in the world,”
Moyo said.

The state enterprises minister however said the process of restructuring
Agribank and national carrier, Air Zimbabwe were ongoing with the former
already in full swing.

“The old Air Zimbabwe Holdings is being liquidated and the new company
called Air Zimbabwe Private Limited will start from scratch and with a clean
page and image,” he said.

“It is going to allow other players to come in and there will be no more
monopoly as we have de-monopolised our space and airline,” Moyo said adding
his ministry hoped the strategy would turn around the grounded national
airliner.

Moyo said a proposal had been tabled to government that would result in the
Grain Marketing Board (GMB) unbundling into two entities, a strategic grain
reserve unit responsible for ensuring food security and a special purpose
vehicle company.

He said the national grain procurement company would also enter into
partnership with investors for the recapitalisation of the companies.

Moyo said to date the restructuring of Noczim had been the most successful.

“Fuel in Zimbabwe is no longer a problem because we have restructured Noczim
by unbundling it into two companies, namely Petro Trade and the National Oil
Infrastructure Company of Zimbabwe,” the minister said.

“We now have one company dealing with the infrastructure of Noczim and the
one that deals with the trading of fuel and this has improved efficiency and
profitability as they are being run commercially,” he added.

He said state entities such as TelOne and NetOne would also be restructured.

“Players in communication sector should come and make ventures with TelOne
and NetOne, as they were lagging behind in acquiring latest technology,”
Moyo said.

Zimbabwe has about 78 state enterprises and parastatals.

Ten have been marked for restructuring and possible privatisation namely
Zisco Steel, Noczim, Agribank, Zimbabwe Power Company, Grain Marketing
Board, Cold Storage Company, Air Zimbabwe, NRZ, TelOne and NetOne.

Already a 53,4 percent shareholding in Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company has
been sold to Mauritian firm Essar Africa Holdings. Over the last decade,
parastatals and state enterprises have been a burden to the fiscus as they
relied on perennial hand outs due to viability constraints.

Experts say lack of good corporate practices, coupled with inept management
has contributed to their down fall.

Economists say state enterprises, when operating efficiently had the
potential to contribute about 40 percent to government coffers.

The State Enterprises Restructuring Agency (Sera) recently announced plans
to list Allied Timbers (Altim) and the People’s Own Savings Bank (POSB).

The agency told a parliament’s portfolio committee that the planned listing
would unlock value for the two entities and its shareholder who is
government.

Sera also revealed plans to create a separate bourse were public enterprises
will be listed after failing to meet the listing requirements of the
Zimbabwe Stock Exchange.

Altim is a wholly government-owned timber producer while POSB was created
through an Act of Parliament in 2001 and is also wholly owned by the
government.

The Bank is supervised by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the ministry of
Finance.


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Zimbabwe's 90% literacy rate disputed

http://www.africanews.com/

Posted on Monday 2 April 2012 - 13:14
Misheck Rusere, AfricaNews reporter in Harare, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's much touted literacy rate of more than 90% has been disputed
as having been outdated since the figures are based on data collected by
UNESCO and the government more than a decade ago.

We roughly estimate that the literacy rate for those over 15 is dropping
a half percent each year and that will accelerate to 1% each year as those
who left school after 2005 reach age 15,” writes Zimbabwe Reads on its
website.

The same organization goes on to state that the Zimbabwean education
situation is likely to worsen if the current conditions continue to prevail
adding that Zimbabwe might not even be the continent’s highest literary
country.

“If current conditions continue, Zimbabwe will have a literacy rate of
70% in 2020. At this stage, it seems unlikely that Zimbabwe still has the
highest literacy rate in Africa, with the more reliable estimates from
Botswana (85%) and Tunisia (87%) probably surpassing it,” it states.

Zimbabwe Reads observes what it refers to as “a very disturbing
tendency” of high rate of children dropping out of school since 2005 where
it states that about 15% of the country’s children never enter the school
system while a further 30% never make it to secondary schools.

According to the organization, the number of patrons in almost all the
libraries in the country continue to decrease since the late 80s with the
current figures standing at as less as half the 1989 figures.

“In 1989, there were more than 150,000 registered public library users
using 76 public libraries. The user numbers for 2011 are certainly less than
half of that. The Bulawayo Public Library reported 10,289 patrons for the
year preceding July 2011; the National Free Library had 8016 patrons (but
only 250 paid the registration fee to borrow).”

The organization has also noted that most libraries in the country carry
materials that are published only in English at the neglect of local
languages estimating fewer than 50 titles in indigenous languages. Most
books with titles in local languages are reported to have been published
long ago and have been kept in stock by local bookshops like Mambo Press.

The Zimbabwean government and UNESCO reports that the country has a
literacy rate of more than 90% with the current Minister of Education David
Coltart intensifying efforts to restore the education sector which had
sharply declined as a result of the economic meltdown which characterized
the country for a period spanning to more than a decade.

Meanwhile the United Kingdom through its Department of International
Development (DFID), recently injected 24 million pounds (around 38 million
USD) into the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Zimbabwe, to
support the country’s second phase of the Education Transition Fund (ETF II)
which is a multi-donor pooled fund set up at the inception of the inclusive
government in 2009 by Education, Sports, Arts and Culture Minister David
Coltart in partnership with UNICEF in a bid to bridge the sector’s funding
gap from emergence to recovery.


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Mugabe's threats to his own MPs could fall on deaf ears

http://www.theafricareport.com/

Posted on Monday, 02 April 2012 12:38

By Janet Shoko

President Robert Mugabe insists that Zimbabwe will hold elections this year
and any legislators from his Zanu PF party who are opposed to polls should
join other political parties.

The 88 year-old Robert Mugabe has challenged MPs who do not want elections
this year to join MDC/Photo/Reuters

The 88 year-old Robert Mugabe has challenged MPs who do not want elections
this year to join MDC/Photo/Reuters
Mugabe is itching to end a three year old coalition government, with calls
for an election this year, which his partners in government are opposed to.

Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai remains opposed to elections this year,
arguing that the country should first implement reforms that will guarantee
an uncontested election.

It is reported that several parliamentarians from Mugabe's party are opposed
to elections and fear that they could lose their seats. ′′But Mugabe is
spoiling for a fight and insists that the coalition government should not
live a day longer.

Addressing his party's Central Committee meeting last Friday, the long time
ruler sounded a warning to rebellious legislators and other parties. ′′"I am
told that there are some among us who do not want elections this year. I say
to them go and join MDC," thundered Mugabe. He said the party will announce
its final position on elections in May.

If Mugabe remains President, then we all should remain MPs...

′′However, political analysts downplayed Mugabe's genuineness saying the
octogenarian was back to his old tactics of instilling fear to party members
opposed to his views. ′′

"He can't afford to lose them. Mugabe is a master of mind games. His prime
motive was to say 'look I am in charge here and my decision is supreme'," an
analyst, Alfred Ncube, said. "He wants to sniff out rebellious members." ′′

Mugabe has long suspected that party members sabotaged his 2008 poll
campaign that saw him lose a first round election to Tsvangirai, who,
however, was short of an outright majority.

The veteran ruler managed to retain power through a run-off election he
contested on his own after unleashing a violent campaign, forcing Tsvangirai
the main contender out. ′′Mugabe had faced an unlikely revolt from his
party, with members launching a campaign known as "kick the ball off the
field".

Stay where you are

The strategy was that they would tell their supporters to vote for
councillors, legislators and senators from Zanu PF, but could vote for
anyone else as president. This was a culmination of frustrations by a
younger crop of politicians that felt Mugabe was a liability ahead of the
elections.

Now there are fears that this crop is regrouping to resist Mugabe's election
call.

On the other hand some legislators are calling for the scrapping of internal
Zanu PF primary elections, arguing that if polls are held this year their
terms would have been cut short and they would have been prejudiced.

The legislators are said to have come up with a campaign called "Stay where
you are".

"If Mugabe remains President, then we all should remain MPs and no primaries
should be conducted in constituencies. If Mugabe is unchallenged, the same
should happen to legislators," a legislator, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said.′′

On Wednesday, Mugabe is expected to convene an extraordinary politburo
meeting to deal with the increasingly contentious constitution-making
process, amid growing calls from hardliners for the party to quit the
exercise and call for elections.

A new constitution is widely regarded as the first step in a roadmap for
elections.′′The meeting will be critical in determining whether Mugabe will
pull his party from the constitution-making process.


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Ethanol plant halts production

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

01/04/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE US$600 million Green Fuel ethanol plant in Chisumbanje has ceased
production after running out of storage space as the company struggles to
push its product on the local market.

State media reported Sunday that Green Fuel has also been forced to sack 230
employees after production ceased at the plant.

The company is selling E10, a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent
petrol but motorists have remained reticent, apparently concerned about
possible damage to their vehicles and the product’s pricing.
A litre of E10 is retailing at an average price of US$1,41, marginally lower
than the US$1,44 for unleaded petrol.

“It is of no use to have our own product costing almost the same as the
imported one. Motorists think it is rather absurd to switch from what they
were used to and try another product for no reason,” Harare economist Machel
Mawerera told the Sunday Mail.
“The price should have been less than a dollar per litre.’’

Company officials said the government should introduce mandatory blending to
rescue the project which was expected to help reduce the country’s fuel
import bill.

Said assistant general manager, Raphael Zuze: “I do not agree that motorists
are resisting our product because of the price. It is just a belief which
has been created that needs to be eradicated.
“We are asking the authorities to make it mandatory for every fuel importer
to use our ethanol to blend what they import.

“Once that becomes mandatory, we will see how much the country saves in
terms of foreign currency which can then be used towards other pressing
issues.”
He said increasing the blending ratio from the current 10 percent of ethanol
would help reduce product price.

“We are introducing ourselves slowly and we are going to increase the ratio,
but we can only do that with a guaranteed mandatory blending licence,” he
said.

“This will help us to determine what our market needs. It is true that if we
go up to between E15 and E25, the price of fuel will definitely go down.”
However, motorists with older vehicles would need to be fitted with
converters in order to use either E15 or E25.

“The converter changes the fuel-air ratio. Depending on the car, most of the
local vehicles require converters to use anything between E15 and E25,”
factory manager Peter Glaum said.

“That is why we started at E10 because we were not sure of the state of the
local cars.”


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Bring in the Fraud Squad

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

The Minister of the Public Service, Lucia Matibenga told Parliament recently
that nearly 6,000 youths recruited by Zanu (PF) in May 2008 had now been
removed from the government payroll.
28.03.1211:57am
by Editor

The Zanu (PF) administration hired 7,000 Green Bombers soon after Robert
Mugabe lost to Morgan Tsvangirai in the presidential election of May 2008. A
month later Mugabe “won” a run-off poll from which Tsvangirai withdrew in
protest against unprecedented against his supporters.

It is common knowledge that these youths did not meet the minimum
educational requirements for the civil service jobs they were purportedly
hired to do. Based on the salary scales for junior civil servants it is
estimated that the Green Bombers have gobbled $50 million from the
taxpayers.

Saviour Kasukuwere, the Minister of Youth and Indigenization, told a
Parliamentary committee last year that the youths had been employed as “ward
officers to coordinate government programmes in village wards”.

Once employed they set up bases where MDC activists were tortured or
murdered. An audit by Ernst & Young found the youths had not been hired
in accordance with civil service regulations. No wonder Zanu (PF) tried to
resist the audit.

The cash-strapped government cannot afford to carry these scroungers a
moment longer. By rights they should be made to pay back their ill-gotten
gains. They have stolen from the salaries pot of hard-working civil servants
who deserve a decent salary. This is clearly a case for the Fraud Squad – if
it still exists. The Anti-Corruption Commission should also look into this
sorry saga. It is high time it earned its keep.


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Harare West’s “Unsung Heroine”

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

If you listened to School on the Air for grade ones and twos in the late 60s and 70s, it was the voice of Dr Joyce Childs you heard teaching through the airwaves. Though she is British she has lived and worked in Zimbabwe for more than 40 years.

Dr Joyce Childs.
Dr Joyce Childs.

Harare West MP Jessie Majome described Childs as a role model for other women, saying she had contributed immensely to the teaching of infants, and revolutionised how young learners should be taught.

“She has made the constituency proud with her achievements,” Majome said.

Childs was born in 1926. She witnessed World War II in her early teen years and at the tender age of 19 she was posted to Hope Fountain Mission near Bulawayo in the then Rhodesia.She took a keen interest in the infants. In those days there were not many women teachers, meaning youngsters did not have the nurturing touch of a mother.

In 1966 she got a job in the Ministry of Education and began her infant education broadcasts. She went on to obtain further qualifications and lecture on education at the University of Zimbabwe.

She retired in 1986 to study Theology and Biblical Studies. Four years later she was ordained as a minister at the United Congregation Church in Eastlea. After 10 years as minister of the gospel she retired in 2000.

Even after her retirement she was still interested in children, and formed a play group in Mabelreign.

“Due to old age Dr Childs has relocated to Sengezi Mission, where she is living with Catholic nuns. She never married and has no children, but her contribution to the education of infants has inspired many teachers and learners alike, and will continue to positively impact on generations to come,” Majome added.


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Morgan Tsvangirai’s statement to the Press – 2 April 2012

http://www.swradioafrica.com

Harare, 2 April 2012

Introduction

Good afternoon members of the press and I welcome you to this edition of the
Prime Minister’s Press Day.

Firstly, I wish to commiserate with your fraternity at the sad loss of three
of your colleagues in one day. The death of Orirando Manwere, Salatiel
Mutasa and King Dube in the month of March, coming so soon after the death
of Bornwell Chakaodza, Freedom Moyo and Makuwerere Bwititi in January, is a
serious blow to the world of journalism in Zimbabwe and we stand by you in
your moment grief.

We meet at a time of an impending food crisis, rising and renewed political
tension in the country, increasing cases of violence and unnecessary
political threats at a time when we want to anchor our country on values of
peace and tolerance as we prepare for a watershed poll in our country.

The inclusive government

The inclusive government trudges on and we continue to strive, despite our
political differences, to serve our country in these difficult
circumstances. As I have often said, the nature of our coalition is such
that it is always difficult to achieve maximum delivery especially after a
misguided pronouncement of an election without the necessary reforms as the
parties slide more into competition rather than collaboration.

However, the onus is on us as leaders to continue to nurse this delicate
transition so that it does not implode to pulverise the achievements of this
coalition and the prospect of a peaceful election anchored on key reforms.

The indigenisation policy continues to affect many sectors of the economy
and the mixed messages have not helped matters. To this end, I am convening
a special Council of Ministers meeting tomorrow to deal with this issue in
the presence of all Ministers that have been affected. The fact is that you
cannot have a Ministry of Investment Promotion while at the same time
appearing to have adopted a policy that does not in any way promote
investment in the country.
However, despite our differences, government has made the following key
decision following the disturbing crop situation in the country.

About a third of the country’s crop is now a write-off and as government, we
have decided that instead of a grain loan scheme, we must move to drought
mitigation. We should generally operate on the premise that there is a
drought in the country and the government is putting in place mechanisms to
ensure that people are assisted to get food.
The responsible Ministries have ben tasked to ensure that this happens and
also to ensure that the distribution of grain is done in a non-partisan
manner.

International Relations

Two weeks ago, I travelled to London to address the Times CEO Africa
conference.

Despite our bad politics, it is always encouraging to note that there is a
lot of interest in investing in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in
particular. We are sitting on huge potential and our small responsibility is
to sort out our politics and we will definitely rediscover the full
potential of this great country.

In Mali, Africa was once again shamed by those in the military who deposed
an elected government and threw the country into uncertainty. We applaud the
decision by ECOWAS and the international community to call for the return of
Constitutional order and constitutional rule in the country.

Many African countries have their own cabals itching to subvert civilian
processes and threatening to disrespect the will of the people. The good
news is that time is not on their side and as we saw in the Ivory Coast, the
world will not allow the bullet to triumph over the ballot.

In Senegal, an attempt by my friend Abdoulaye Wade to run for a third term
backfired when the people chose to break with the past by electing a new
leader.

And once again, as we saw in Zambia recently, there was peaceful transfer of
power and we saw President Wade conceding defeat and allowing the country to
move forward. I have since sent my congratulatory message to the new
President and to the people of Senegal for projecting the correct image of a
continent that is working hard towards entrenching a culture of democracy
and respect for the will of the people.

Well done, Senegal.

Elections
We continue to work towards the next election, albeit with sharp differences
over the nature and complexion of that election.

There has been slow movement on reforms as our colleagues view any reform as
a form of conceding power. For us, reforms are a fulfilment of what we
agreed upon and signed up to, both in the GPA and in the roadmap that was
facilitated by SADC.

We continue to insist that any credible poll must be predicated by reforms
and that is why last month, my party launched a document, CoSEZ (Conditions
for a Sustainable Election in Zimbabwe).

These conditions are not a pie in the sky, but the minimum conditions that
even SADC itself has adopted as the basic condition for the holding of a
free and fair poll in any country in the region.
We will insist on those conditions.
We will fight for those conditions.
And indeed, we will urge SADC to insist on its own conditions in Zimbabwe.

We say so because of the emerging violence in the country.
A human rights group has recorded the increase of violations from 365 in
January to 413 in February. The group expects these violations to further
escalate in the coming months because of election talk that is not
accompanied by any talk about the necessary reforms.

Chipangano continues to wreak havoc and I wish to deplore the comments
attributed to Mr Tendai Savanhu of Zanu PF who publicly threatened the
elected MP of Marondera, Hon. Ian Kay.

It is deplorable that in this day and age, one can publicly threaten an MP
simply because of his race.
It is because of these statements, and the violence that continues to rock
places such as Mbare that we insist on the right conditions for a credible
poll.

We urge SADC to keep an eye on developments in Zimbabwe. As a nation, we
still await the deployment of the three officials to join JOMIC to monitor
violence in the country and to ensure the implementation of agreed reforms.

There have been misguided pronouncements about dates for elections and the
holding of the referendum. I wish to state that those dates will be
determined by a process and not by a resolution of any organ of a political
party.

As Principals we expect a draft of the Constitution, which is one of the key
reforms before we hold any election. And I wish to restate what I said in
Parliament recently that while individual political parties may claim to
want an election without a new Constitution, there is no such position in
government.

We all want the elections held yesterday with the proviso that they be done
after the completion of the Constitution-making process and the institution
of those reforms that we have agreed upon.

Surely, as government, we cannot fund a process that we are not keen to
embrace. So indeed we await the completion of this process and the
institution of other reforms before we hold an election, whose date the
President and I will agree upon in accordance with the law.

Conclusion
I urge all of us to help nurture this delicate transition.
The next election is not about cheap rhetoric, misleading people and firing
cheap broadsides at the region and the facilitator simply because one wants
to placate the hardliners in their political party.

The next election is about respecting the regional effort and putting in
place mechanisms to ensure that we have a credible poll that will usher in a
legitimate government.
Lastly, as we celebrate this Easter holiday, let us all think about the
importance of sacrifice.

The death of Jesus Christ on the Cross signifies the importance of
sacrifice.
Leadership is about sacrifice. Leaders should sacrifice on behalf of the
people and not vice versa.

As we remember the death of our Lord, we must take his death as symbolic of
the death of violence so that we could all live in peace again.

On Saturday, I attended a prayer meeting at Sakubva stadium in Mutare and
was humbled by the national demand for peace in the country.

At that forum, I shared with the congregation the scriptures from Exodus 1,
verse 8-22. We learn from that scripture that God has a plan for everything,
that we have choices to make as individuals, that if we choose to harm our
neighbours we will face the wrath of God and that it is possible to refuse
to carry out an instruction that causes harm to others.

Indeed, I wish a happy Easter holiday to the people of Zimbabwe.
As we unite with friends, family and relatives, let us all pray for this
nation and its leaders.

Let us bow our heads before God because I know that He has great plans for
this country and its people.

I thank You


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Partisan Policing Stalling Youth Development

…as Masvingo police again bar a Youth Forum road-show


In the latest clear signal that the democratic reform agenda of the inclusive government is well off-track, police in Masvingo province have again barred the Youth Forum from carrying out a road-show that had been penciled for Mupandawana growth-point in Gutu. The road-show is part of the organization’s ‘1 Million New Voters Campaign’ aimed at encouraging young people across the country to register as voters so that they are eligible to exercise their right to vote during Zimbabwe’s next elections. The cancellation of the event came as a surprise since the organization had fulfilled all other obligations to carry out the event as prescribed by the draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA) as well as other unwritten provisions from various quarters including the District Administrator’s office.


The person at the centre of these latest attempts to stifle civic activity in the province is one Chief Superintended R. Mubaiwa, the District Police head for Masvingo East region which covers Gutu, Zaka and Bikita districts in Masvingo province. Mubaiwa is fond of calling himself the Regulating Authority for Masvingo East. According to Mubaiwa, civic organizations such as the Youth Forum do not have a mandate to carry out civic education efforts such as the current campaign. He also claimed that he wanted to meet with the Youth Forum leadership to discuss this issue. In this vein, Mubaiwa commandeered the Youth Forum on Wednesday 28 March to drive down for a meeting at his police offices at Bikita Training Centre. The organization was represented by its political and programmes leadership that included Madock Chivasa, the chairperson, Wellington Zindove, the national coordinator as well as Terence Chimhavi the senior programs officer. Instead of concentrating on the matter at hand, Mubaiwa took his time to talk of his in-depth understanding of POSA, while openly boasting that he was learned and had at one time attended school with Professor Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairperson at primary school level. He went on to falsely claim that civic education cannot be done through a road-show and resultantly that he was not comfortable with the Youth Forum meeting the community to impart this kind of information. However, this is not true as the organization has full registration with the Zimbabwe Youth Council and is mandated according to the Zimbabwe Youth Council Act to impart civic education of this nature. This is also against the background that the Youth Forum has been doing this kind of civic education, which it views as an integral part of making young people part of the development agenda in Zimbabwe.


The banning of the Gutu road-show comes hot on the heels of another banning of a similar event by police in Masvingo city. The Youth Forum is dismayed by this brazen show of partisan policing by Chief Superintendent Mubaiwa. As the country totters on under the authority of the inclusive government, there are clear signs that democratic reforms will not see the light of day. While many parliamentarians in our august house see the inherent need to amend POSA, there are some in the corridors of power who are hell-bent on seeing this fail. And it is through such political activists like Chief Superintendent Mubaiwa who openly manipulate the law for political gains that we continue to see an authoritarian hand in the work of the inclusive government, particularly where the police is concerned.


What is of concern to the Youth Forum is the manner in which our police force continues to be used by certain political quarters for partisan political ends. What is more disappointing is that it is not very many officers in our police force that are abdicating from their proper duty but a few overzealous political activists such as Mubaiwa who occupy high officers in the police force. The inclusive government ought to exert greater efforts towards depoliticizing state security apparatus so that they discharge their duties more efficiently for the progression of national development.

--
Youth Forum Information and Publicity Department
+263 773 014693, +263 773 850862
+_263 773 022104
+263 4-772720
youthforumpublicity@gmail.com
www.youthforumzim.org
Promoting Informed Participation of Youths in National Development.


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Constitution Watch of 30th March 2012 [COPAC calls back Lead Drafters]

CONSTITUTION WATCH 2012

[30th March 2012]

COPAC calls back Lead Drafters

Drafters Re-engaged for Ten Days

On Tuesday 27th March the three lead/expert drafters started work on the next draft of the new constitution. The team remains unchanged, despite repeated calls from certain quarters within ZANU-PF for all three to be replaced. Its members are:

Justice Moses Chinhengo [former High Court judge in Zimbabwe, currently a judge in Botswana]

Mrs Priscilla Madzonga [senior legal practitioner in private practice, formerly a drafter in the Attorney-General’s Office]

Mr Brian Crozier [former Director of Legal Drafting in the Attorney-General’s Office].

All three were members of the drafting committee that prepared the draft constitution produced by the Chidyausiku Commission in 1999.

The drafters have been contracted for ten days. Allowing for breaks for weekends and the Easter public holidays, this indicates that COPAC envisages the drafters’ current task being completed by Wednesday 11th April.

Working Arrangements

Drafting venue undisclosed

As with their first period of drafting in December and January, the drafters are working at an undisclosed venue so that they will not be subjected to undue interference, influence or harassment. Other COPAC activities have suffered from this.

Interaction between drafters and COPAC Co-Chairs’ Forum

During their first period of drafting the three drafters saw little of the COPAC co-chairpersons or other COPAC members. This time round, working arrangements are different. Instead of leaving the three drafters to get on with their work, COPAC has arranged for regular interaction between the drafters and a COPAC team – the “Co-Chairs’ Forum”. The Co-Chairs’ Forum is meeting, separately from the drafters but at the same venue, to examine the drafters’ work in instalments as each Chapter is completed. This enables exchanges of views and facilitates adjustments to the documents as work on the draft proceeds.

Composition of Co-Chairs’ Forum

This consists of the three COPAC co-chairpersons and three expert advisers, with the co-chairpersons’ personal assistants in attendance. The expert advisers, one nominated by each of the three GPA political parties, have all been involved in the constitution-making process since October last year - they are members of the technical committee that COPAC assembled to assist them, first in framing the constitutional principles and framework to guide the work of the lead drafters, and then to assist in reviewing the drafts produced by the drafters. They are:

Alex Magaisa [nominated by MDC-T] Mr Magaisa is a Zimbabwean lawyer who currently lectures at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom and is a regular contributor to the Zimbabwean press on legal and constitutional issues.

Jacob Mudenda [nominated by ZANU-PF] Mr Mudenda, a Bulawayo lawyer and businessman, is the former Zanu PF governor for Matabeleland North and a member of the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission. He was a co-author of the caustic critique of the drafters given prominence by the Herald just before Christmas last year, coinciding with the newspaper's publication of the leaked draft of their first four chapters.

Josphat Tshuma [nominated by MDC]. Mr Tshuma, a legal practitioner in private practice in Bulawayo, is a former president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe. It was during his presidency that the Law Society produced its Model Constitution for Zimbabwe in October 2010 [see Constitution Watch 23/2010 of 6th November 2010].

Hopefully there will be no leaks to the media this time

After the first draft of Chapters 1 to 4 were leaked to the Herald in December last year and then the other chapters that the drafters delivered to COPAC on 23rd January, resulting in the first draft of the constitution being published in the Herald even though it was incomplete, the lead drafters were subjected to a barrage of criticism in the media, much of it misdirected and misinformed. It is hoped that the whole team involved in this draft will take responsibility that there are no leaks. It is also hoped that the co-chairs do not issue contradictory statements – this could be averted if all three signed any statement given to the media, with no individual variations revealed in the course of exchanges with reporters. The rest of the team should have as part of their contracts that they do not divulge information to the press and any auxiliary help such as assistants, secretarial staff etc. should also sign something to this effect. Otherwise the constitution will be prejudged by the press before the people have a chance to fairly assess it. The lead drafters have been entirely professional – not “leaking” to the press and refraining from replying to press criticism.

What the Drafters are Doing

The drafters are tasked with producing the next draft, expected by COPAC to be the final draft. They have before them their first draft, as reviewed and changed by COPAC since early January, when it started working through the first four chapters. The 23rd January draft was not complete, because there were significant blank spaces in it, awaiting filling-in later. Blank spaces were left for provisions covering the so-called “parked issues” – issues on which, because COPAC had not yet reached consensus on them, it had not been possible for instructions to be given to the drafters on the content of the desired provisions.

They now have COPAC’s instructions on what changes should be made to provisions already framed and what should be added to fill most of the spaces left in the first draft, covering those parked or outstanding issues on which COPAC and/or the Management Committee and/or the GPA negotiators have been able to reach agreement since January.

Agreement on Previously “Parked” Issues

Co-chair Douglas Mwonzora has said that the parked issues on which agreement has been reached include:

Death penalty A compromise has been reached between total abolition of capital punishment and simple retention of the present position. According to Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga, the Management Committee has agreed that the death penalty will be limited strictly to “aggravated murder”. [Comment: This agreement will certainly reduce the list of offences attracting capital punishment – treason will come off the list, along with murder that is not “aggravated”; and Parliament will not be able to create new capital offences by legislation.]

Land tenure There will not be a blanket provision making all land in the country State land, which is what ZANU-PF wanted. But land that has already been gazetted and designated under the land reform programme will remain State land, for which 99-year leases, but not title deeds, can be issued.

Appointment of Service Chiefs This will be subject to Parliamentary approval.

Presidential term limits Presidents will not be able to serve for more than two terms, but terms already served under the Lancaster House constitution by President Mugabe will not count.

Outstanding Issues Still to be Agreed

Certain issues have still not been finally agreed between the parties. The list varies depending on the source of the information, but the following issues have been mentioned in recent days:

Dual citizenship

Compensation for expropriated land Should there be a constitutional guarantee of proper compensation for those who bought land after Independence, having first obtained a Government “certificate of no present interest” in its acquisition?

Devolution What the constitution should say about the structure of devolved government entities at provincial level.

The role of the chiefs in the Senate [although there seems to be agreement that the number of chiefs be reduced from 18 to 10]

Whether there should be an Independent Prosecuting Authority, distinct from the Attorney-General, thereby restricting the Attorney-General’s role to that of chief Government legal adviser

Structure of the Executive Whether there should be a non-Executive President and a Prime Minister, or an Executive President; and whether there should be one or two Vice-Presidents.

Next Steps in the Drafting Process

Such issues obviously present something of a problem for COPAC, which is under increased pressure to produce results quickly. If there are still outstanding issues that are not resolved before Wednesday 11th April, i.e., while the lead drafters are still at work and before theire current engagement comes to an end, there will be a second incomplete draft to come out of the process. If this is the case, this second draft is likely to go to the principals for finalisation. This would mean the lead drafters would have to be called in again to incorporate the principals’ decisions in a third draft. Indeed, COPAC’s MDC-T co-chair Douglas Mwonzora has referred to the drafters being involved in “fine-tuning” up to the end of April. [A possible solution mooted by COPAC would be to request the drafters to come up with alternative provisions catering for the various positions that have been put forward for consideration on outstanding issues. That arrangement would in theory allow for later adoption of whichever of the alternative provisions fits the positions eventually agreed, without involving the drafters again. In practice, however, it is far more likely that drafters would have to be called in again.]

Another point is that even after the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference or after the post-Conference but pre-Referendum debate on the draft in Parliament, further tinkering may be needed – which would mean calling back the lead drafters before the draft is ready for gazetting prior to the Referendum.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied


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Constitution Watch of 31st March 2012 [Will the Constitution be Ready Before Elections?]

CONSTITUTION WATCH 2012

[31st March 2012]

Will the Constitution be Ready Before Elections?

COPAC: Latest Predictions for the Path Ahead

Speaking earlier this week about the recall of the lead drafters [see Constitution Watch of 30th March 2012], COPAC co-chair Douglas Mwonzora, ever optimistic, ventured that COPAC should now be able to achieve:

completion of the draft, including fine-tuning after the current 10-day exercise, by the end of April

Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference in May

the Referendum in September, possibly earlier if everything goes smoothly.

That obviously assumed a trouble-free few weeks ahead, with speedy agreement between the parties on the outstanding issues and no hitches over getting the final draft approved by the principals, then translated into all vernacular languages and Braille, as previously promised, and, very importantly, printed in large numbers for distribution to participants in the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference in time to permit them to study it and consult their constituencies before the Conference itself – a tall order indeed.

The co-chairs have also mentioned the possibility of a mini-outreach before the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference, to explain the draft and help people familiarise themselves with it. Something of the sort would be desirable – if the reaction to the leaked drafts is anything to go by, people have been far too ready to misconstrue provisions or not read them in context.

President Mugabe’s Different Time Frame: Referendum in May!

On Wednesday 28th March COPAC’s ZANU-PF co-chairperson Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana reported to the party’s Politburo on COPAC’s progress on the draft. Afterwards party spokesman Rugare Gumbo said the party’s negotiators Patrick Chinamasa and Nicholas Goche had been given until Friday to clear the parked issues. Failing that, the principals would take over. The Politburo would meet again in extraordinary session on Wednesday 4th April to “decide once and for all on the constitution”. On Friday, at a meeting of ZANU-PF Central Committee, President Mugabe, in remarks broadcast later on television and radio, reiterated his insistence that the elections must be held this year, with or without a new constitution, and said that the Referendum must be in May. If COPAC could not finish the job in time, he insisted, the principals would do it for them and if the Referendum returned a No vote, there would be elections under the Lancaster House Constitution, meaning the present Constitution without the amendments made to it by Constitution Amendment No. 19 that underpin the existence of the Inclusive Government.

Problems Raised by the President’s Declaration

The President’s timetable sets targets impossible to reconcile with Article 6 of the GPA – and surely impossible to achieve at all. It has not taken into account the following problems:

For a Referendum in May

even if the principals decide to intervene and try to finish the job themselves, it is difficult to see them doing so in time for a May Referendum

the timetable does not allow for the holding of the Second All-Stakeholders’ Conference required by Article 6

nor does it envisage the ensuing debate in Parliament, which in any event is in recess until mid-May

it overlooks the need to gazette the final draft before a referendum

there will not be enough time for the country to examine the draft after its translation into vernacular languages, and Braille, meaning that voters will not have long enough to be properly informed of the merits and demerits of the draft placed before them for adoption or rejection

no heed is paid to the need to amend or replace the current, out-of-date Referendums Act – or the difficulties of doing that when the necessary Bill has not yet been approved by Cabinet

the voters roll is still not acceptable to civil society, MDC-T and MDC – despite the Registrar-General’s recent claims that it is perfect.

For a General Election

an election before proper implementation of the GPA would go against repeated SADC Summit resolutions and before the Zimbabwe political playing field has been levelled by making the reforms necessary to avoid a repetition of the 2008 election violence.

both MDCs have said they would not take part without a fairer environment, and an election without them would be a sham in the eyes of the region and the world.

there is a “Catch 22” situation: if the President breaks the GPA, ends the Inclusive Government and calls elections, he may forfeit recognition as President by SADC. If he does not break the GPA and it continues in existence, Schedule 8 to the Constitution will remain in force, meaning that the President cannot legally call for elections without the consent of the Prime Minister.

lack of funds for an election. The Treasury has not budgeted for an election this year, only for the Referendum. If the funds come from elsewhere than the fiscus [e.g. from diamond revenues] this would add fuel to the criticism that elections are always skewed in favour of the incumbent by the use of State resources for re-election, which would affect the credibility of the election.

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC]

ZEC would have to run the Referendum, but the Electoral Act has still not been amended to flesh out its terms of reference to enable it do so properly.

If the GPA is abandoned and ZEC is called on to run a general election under the Lancaster House Constitution [amended 19 times] and an unamended Electoral Act, it may find it difficult to organise a credible election.

Note: ZEC’s existence as an independent constitutional commission does not depend on the continued existence of the GPA. Although the present constitutional provisions for ZEC were added by Constitution Amendment No. 19, just ahead of the formation of the Inclusive Government, those provisions will remain in force if the GPA comes to a premature end before the adoption of a new constitution. Only Schedule 8 to the Constitution, which provides for the structure of the Inclusive Government, will fall away if the GPA comes to an end.

Final Comment

The President has been declaring that he wants immediate elections from well before the end of last year. This most recent declaration, although forcefully made, may still be impossible to implement, but it is likely to serve the useful purpose of getting COPAC to avoid any more unnecessary delays – although it is to be hoped that, after the debacle of the First Stakeholders’ Conference, the upcoming Second All Stakeholders’ Conference, a vital part of the constitution-making process, will have adequate preparation and not be unduly rushed. Also, people must have a chance to study the final gazetted version thoroughly before the Referendum. It would be sad if, after all the seemingly preventable delays that have dragged the process on for three years, rather than the one year it should have taken, the important last stages were to be skimped.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied


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Bill Watch 15/2012 of 2nd April [Parliament in Recess until May]

BILL WATCH 15/2012

[2nd April 2012]

Both Houses of Parliament have adjourned until Tuesday 15th May

Committee meetings have been suspended until Monday 7th May

Six-Week Break for Parliamentarians

The Senate and the House of Assembly have started a six-week break and will only resume sittings on the 15th May. This is in accordance with Parliament’s policy that no sittings be scheduled during school holidays or weeks coinciding with public holidays and national events. April sees not only the Easter and Independence Day public holidays but also the school holidays. 1st May is the Workers’ Day public holiday.

Parliamentary Committee Meetings

Thematic Committee and Portfolio Committees to resume 7th May

These committees will have a slightly shorter break – all Thematic Committee and Portfolio Committee meetings are suspended from Monday 2nd April to Monday 7th May.

Other Committees

Committees such as the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] will meet as necessary.

Effect on Bills

The break will hold up progress on all Bills on the Order Papers. Bills affected include:

In the House of Assembly

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill

The Second Reading debate was concluded on 27th March, but the Committee Stage has not started. The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs has tabled amendments he intends to propose for adoption during the Committee Stage [for details see Bill Watch 14/2012 of 28th March].

Electoral Amendment Bill

On 27th March the Speaker told the House that the Parliamentary Legal Committee [PLC] has given an adverse report on this Bill. This means that the House cannot proceed to the next stage [Second Reading] of the Bill until the PLC chairperson, Hon Shepherd Mushonga, has proposed the adoption of the adverse report in the House and the House has decided whether or not to adopt the report – in other words, whether or not the clauses in question are inconsistent with the Constitution. Any clause the House finds to be inconsistent with the Constitution will then have to be dropped from the Bill or amended so as to remove the inconsistency. [Please note: The text of the adverse report has not been released, so it is not yet available. It is unlikely to be released until the PLC chairperson has proposed its adoption in the House.] It is possible that during the break the Minister responsible – Hon Chinamasa, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs – will negotiate with the PLC on amendments which will remove the need for an adverse report. Even if this is done the Bill cannot proceed until the House sits again.

Proposed Private Member’s Bill to repeal section 121(3) of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act

Hon Gonese has delivered his speech proposing the adoption of his motion requesting the leave of the House to introduce this Bill and there have been contributions from several MPs, both for and against the motion. The object of the Bill is to take away the power of a prosecutor to stall the release of an accused person on bail for 7 days while the Attorney-General considers whether or not to appeal against the granting of bail. Debate was adjourned to give the responsible Minister – the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs – an opportunity to reply to points raised.

Proposed Private Member’s Bill to amend Urban Councils Act

Hon Matimba’s has already spoken in support of his motion for leave to introduce this Bill and several MPs have contributed to the discussion. A contribution from the Minister of Local Government, Rural and Urban Development is expected before there is a vote on whether to allow the Bill to be introduced.

Older Persons Bill

This is a Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Bill waiting for the Minister’s Second Reading speech.

National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill

This Bill is waiting for the Second Reading speech from the Minister of Industry and Commerce.

In the Senate

POSA Amendment Bill

The Senate has still not completed discussion of Mr Gonese’s motion asking for his Private Member’s Bill to be restored to the Senate Order Paper after it lapsed at the end of the previous Parliamentary Session in September 2011. This item will therefore be carried forward for continuation of the debate when the Senate resumes in May. The Senate is waiting for a contribution to the debate from the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs.

Note on Private Members Bills

Special procedure for Private Members’ Bills

Government Bills – These are Bills that are taken to Parliament by Ministers to give effect to Government policy. They are originated in the responsible Ministry, but must also be approved by Cabinet and drafted in proper legal form by the Attorney-General’s Office before being sent to Parliament. Parliament then sends them to the Government Printer for printing and gazetting. The gazetted Bill is then introduced by the responsible Minister in Parliament – either in the House of Assembly or in the Senate.

A Private Member’s Bill – a Bill introduced by a backbencher – has to follow a different preliminary procedure. The backbencher wishing to introduce it must first get it privately drafted. He or she must then propose a motion in the House or the Senate seeking leave to introduce the Bill. If he or she is able to persuade a majority of fellow members that the Bill is worth considering further, leave will be granted by the passing of a resolution, and the Bill will be sent by Parliament to the Government Printer for printing and gazetting. Thereafter it will be introduced in the House of Assembly or the Senate by the private member responsible for it, and from then will follow the same course as a Government Bill –First Reading, referral to the Parliamentary Legal Committee, etc.

Clarification of GPA’s effect on Private Members’ Bills

Bill Watch 16/2012 of 19th March 2012 discussed a recent ZANU-PF contention that Article 20 of the GPA, as enshrined in Schedule 8 to the Constitution by Constitution Amendment No. 19, takes away the right of private members to introduce Private Members’ Bills. The contention was described as “questionable”. That unduly polite description did not accurately convey the Veritas’ view of the contention, which is in our view INCORRECT. The quoted provisions of Article 20 do NOT justify the conclusion that the GPA takes away the constitutional right of a private member to introduced a Private Member’s Bill. They do no more than emphasise that any Inclusive Government Bill must be approved by Cabinet.

Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied

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