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Malawi president dies, leaving nation in political suspense

http://www.timeslive.co.za/

Sapa-AFP | 06 April, 2012 11:23

Malawi's President Bingu wa Mutharika has died after a heart attack, a
hospital source said Friday, but the government's official silence has
created political suspense over his succession.

The impoverished nation was plunged into a long night of intrigue after
Mutharika's heart attack in the capital Lilongwe. He was rushed to hospital,
but doctors were unable to save him, a source at the hospital said.

"He died... after two hours of resuscitation", shortly after midnight, the
hospital source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the
government has not yet made a formal announcement.

Mutharika was reported by state radio to have been airlifted to South Africa
in the early morning hours.

Reporters at the airport in Lilongwe said they were chased from the terminal
during the night departure.

Neither the South African government nor hospital officials in Johannesburg
could comment on Mutharika, saying only Malawi's government was authorised
to speak about the president.

The hospital source in Lilongwe said that he was taken to South Africa to be
embalmed, in a move widely seen as an attempt by the ruling Democratic
Progressive Party to get its house in order over the succession issue.

Under the constitution, Vice President Joyce Banda is next in line. But that
succession is politically fraught because Mutharika kicked her out of the
ruling party in 2010 as he chose to groom his brother as heir apparent
instead of her.

Her ouster angered many urban voters who saw the move as an attempt by
Mutharika to concentrate his power.

Mutharika, a former World Bank economist who first came to power in 2004,
was re-elected with a sweeping majority in 2009 as president of the poor
southern African country.

But he has increasingly come under fire for attempts to rein in the media
and to shield the government from public criticism.

His feuds with donors and lenders like the International Monetary Fund have
hamstrung the economy in an aid-dependent nation, which is suffering from
shortages of foreign currency that have left Malawi unable to import enough
fuel to meet its needs.

Public frustrations erupted into nationwide street protests in July, when
police shot 19 people dead. Last month a broad coalition of rights groups
called on Mutharika to resign.

Malawi suffered for decades under the brutal dictatorship of Kamuzu Banda,
and is proud of its hard-fought democratic freedoms ushered in with
multi-party elections in 1994.

Any attempt to circumvent the constitution would certainly meet with
resistance, analysts said.

"It's automatic that she takes over the presidency. The reality on the
ground is that Joyce Banda takes over until the remainder of the term in
2014, unless someone wants to change the rules," lawyer Wapona Kita told
AFP.

Kita said the constitution "clearly states that in the event of
incapacitation or death of the president, the vice president takes over."

Banda formed her own People's Party after being sacked from the ruling
party. Mutharika then filed a case at the High Court seeking to force her
from office, arguing that his running mate had become an opposition figure.

The official silence has heightened anxieties in Malawi, with the Daily
Times writing that Malawians are in "huge suspense" over the president.

"The nation's suspense has been intensified after high-profile officials who
included several cabinet ministers arrived at the hospital and went straight
to the intensive care unit," it said. "After some time, they trooped out
with sad faces and without a word."

The Nation, another independent newspaper, criticised the government's
handling of Mutharika's hospitalisation.

"It is time to do things well through provision of timely information," the
paper said, adding that the government "could have done better than the
sketchy statements broadcast on state radio -- as almost everyone was left
guessing."


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UZ falls ‘on hard times’: Vice Chancellor

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

06/04/2012 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

BUDGETARY constraints have forced the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) to close
some departments, with Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura conceding that the
institution has fallen “on hard times” and is in desperate need of
assistance.

Speaking at the launch of a new fund-raising initiative Thursday, Nyagura
said the “mother of all universities” had fallen on hard times and needed to
help to fulfil its mandate.

“We have suspended geology, metallurgy departments due to the unavailability
of lecturers and the mining engineering department is limping with no more
than three lecturers,” he said.

The university needs up to US$70 million for various capital projects that
include the development of geo-technology laboratories, establishment of a
technology resource centre, refurbishment of medical and other laboratories
as well as the construction of its Graduate School of Management.

Deputy Prime Minister, Arthur Mutambara, a former student leader at the
institution said former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki would attend a
fundraising dinner to be held at the end of the month.

“The dinner is being organized by UZ alumni, the University of Zimbabwe and
the Private Sector. While serving the objective of raising funds to meet the
UZ’s current needs, this event is also designed to nucleate the spirit of
giving among the UZ graduates and Zimbabweans in general,” said Mutambara
who is also the patron of the fundraising initiative.

“We aim to raise US$10 million at the dinner event and US$20 million by the
end of 2012 through the ongoing activities of the fundraising committee.

“These funds will go towards meeting part of the UZ’s US$70 million
requirement for capital projects, which are outlined in the UZ’s Fundraising
Handbook.”

Mutambara said various initiatives would be launched to help raise more
funding adding UZ graduates were also being encouraged to make a minimum
contribution of $100 to the exercise.

“A bona fide and transparent mechanism for collecting and managing these
contributions will be established. A committee comprising prominent alumni
will oversee the operations of the account and supervise the disbursement of
funds for use in the various projects,” he said.

“Additionally, several alumni who are now resident abroad have been
identified to serve as ambassadors for the University in this fundraising
drive.

“Although the efforts are alumni driven, support is also being sought from
non-alumni members of the private sector, civic society, Diaspora and the
public sector.”


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Zimbabwe to Promote Ties with China

http://english.cri.cn/6909/2012/04/07/191s691890.htm

2012-04-07 02:56:23 Xinhua

Zimbabwe is to make efforts to advance the current friendly relationship
with China to a new level, Acting President John Nkomo has said.

Nkomo said this when meeting with the visiting Chinese Vice Premier Hui
Liangyu in Harare on Thursday.

Nkomo likened the relationship between China and Zimbabwe to a very long
bridge from Beijing to Harare. "A firm and strong bridge that can sustain
our relationship," he said.

Zimbabweans will never forget the firm support by the Chinese government and
its people during the nation's struggle for independence and the struggle
against foreign interference, Nkomo said.

Zimbabwe is to work hand-in-hand with China to play a role in dealing with
the matters in the United Nations and other international organizations, he
said, saying that the two countries should expand exchanges in various
fields in a bid to push forward the friendly relationship between the two
countries.

He said he hopes that the two countries will make full use of the
complementary advantage of each other to deepen the economic and trade
cooperation so that the cooperation can benefit the peoples of China and
Zimbabwe.

Hui said the bilateral relation between China and Zimbabwe has stood various
tests during the past 32 years since the establishment of the diplomatic
relations in 1980.

The two countries have supported each other in their economic and social
constructions and have achieved great progress in the bilateral trade and
investment over the past years, Hui said.

Hui said he is happy to see Zimbabwe has enjoyed the social and political
stability in the past years and China has always given the support to
Zimbabwe's righteous struggle to maintain its state sovereignty, to uphold
the national dignity and to fight against foreign interference.


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China Extends Economic Assistance to Zimbabwe

http://english.cri.cn/6826/2012/04/07/191s691906.htm

2012-04-07 03:09:12 Xinhua

The Chinese government on Thursday signed with the Zimbabwean government
several economic and technological cooperation agreements worth 1.141
billion RMB yuan (180 million U.S. dollars).

The agreements were signed during a visit by Chinese Vice Premier Hui
Liangyu.

The agreements signed are an 80 million RMB yuan (12.7 million U.S. dollars)
grant on economic and technical cooperation, a 31.5 million RMB yuan (5
million U.S. dollars) agreement for provision of an outside broadcasting van
for the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, 4.5 million RMB yuan (about
715,000 U.S. dollars) for neonatal equipment and a loan agreement for
upgrading of Victoria Falls Airport worth 1.025 billion RMB yuan (164
million U.S. dollars).

Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Chong Quan signed the agreements on behalf
of his country while respective ministers signed on behalf of Zimbabwe.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Zimbabwean Vice President Joice Mujuru
said Harare valued the support it received from China. China had defended
Zimbabwe on the international fora when other world powers wanted the
country slapped with United Nations sanctions, she said.

"Zimbabwe-China friendship has been growing from the days of the liberation
struggle to the present. Your support on the international front has been
highly appreciated by the people of Zimbabwe especially when you vetoed a
decision to put Zimbabwe under United Nations sanctions," she said.

"The cooperation between Zimbabwe and China has been seen in the
construction of the Victoria Falls Airport and runway that we are going to
use next year when we host the United Nations World Tourism Organization
General Assembly and the Agricultural Demonstration Center launched today,"
she added.

Mujuru said trade between the two countries had been growing over the past
years with figures growing every year.

She said Zimbabwe adheres to the one-China policy and expected the people of
China to work together for economic prosperity, hailing China's stance on
conflict resolution in Africa.

She said China had maintained a strong policy that conflict in any African
country should be solved without external interference.

Chinese Vice Premier Hui said Zimbabwe-China friendship enjoyed a solid
foundation laid during Zimbabwe's struggle for political independence.

"Our friendship has a long history and our two countries enjoy great
potential and bright prospects for further cooperation in many spheres of
the economy," he said.

Hui commended the social stability and economic growth in Zimbabwe over the
last three years following the formation of an inclusive government by
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the two MDC factions led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman
Ncube.

He also chronicled the history of China's rapid economic development since
opening up in 1978.

The Chinese vice premier has also met with Zimbabwe's Acting President John
Nkomo and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.


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Chombo Fires Gwanda Mayor

http://www.radiovop.com

Bulawayo, April 06, 2012 —Ignatius Chombo, the Local Government and Urban
Development Minister is at it again, as he suspends smaller MDC Gwanda mayor
Lionel De Necker.

De Necker’s suspension by Chombo comes only few months after the Minister
fired Mutare Mayor Brian James.

In a letter in possession of Radio VOP dated 4 April and addressed to De
Necker Chombo suspended the mayor for defying his orders especially his
refusal to appoint a Mrs P Nkala as Gwanda Municipality’s chamber
secretary

“Following your deliberate defiance of my directive of 30 November 2011
issued in terms of Section 314 of the Urban Councils Act (Chapter29: 15),
directing council to appoint Mrs P Nkala as the substantive Chamber
Secretary for Gwanda Municipality as approved by the Local Government Board,
I hereby, in terms of Section 114 of the afore-cited Act, suspend you from
being a councillor for Gwanda Municipality with immediate effect,” said
Chombo in the letter to De Necker.

Chombo added: “After you received my directive, you proceeded to challenge
the activities of the Local Government Board appointed to carry out its
responsibilities as specified in the Urban Councils Act. Furthermore, you
even questioned the credibility of the Local Government Board which was
setup in terms of the law thus undermining the powers of both the Minister
and Board.

“During the period of your suspension, you shall not conduct any council
business within or outside council premises, and you shall not be eligible
to receive any form of any remuneration from the council.”

Chombo copied De Necker's suspension letter to Matebeleland South Zanu PF
governor Angeline Masuku, Provincial Administrator D. Mpofu and town clerk
G. Mlilo.

Early this year Chombo fired Mutare mayor James on allegations of
misconduct. Chombo claimed the suspension of James was in the interest of
ensuring sound local governance for effective and efficient service delivery
in Mutare City.


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RBZ US$150m Fund Won't Affect Interest Rates - Analysts

http://www.radiovop.com/

HARARE, April 6, 2012 - THE US$150 million Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ)
Fund meant to improve the country's liquidity crisis will not affect
interest rates in the short term due to the strain already affecting the
financial sector, market analysts have said.

The Fund was set up by the RBZ Governor, Dr Gideon Gono, with the money
coming from local and institutional investors such as African Development
Bank (AfDB) and the AfreximBank.

The Minister of Finance, Tendai Biti, says government had already injected
US$30 million into the fund meant to help improve the country's liquidity
crisis.

The rest is expected to come from international financiers.

"There are proposals to establish a US$100 million Fund to be funded by
international financial institutions and a regional financier for the
rejuvenation of the central Bank; this should assist the Central bank to
resume its role as a lender of last resort, which could also improve
interbank trading," said leading stock market analysts Imara Edwards
Securities (Private) Limited.

"However, we do not expect this to have any significant effect on interest
rates in the short term due to the liquidity strain. That said, money market
returns are generally likely to remain positive although investors should be
wary of the heightened risk of bank failures."

There is a cash crisis in Zimbabwe at the moment and people are having to
wait in long queues outside banks such as Kingdom Bank Limited (Kingdom),
CBZ Bank Limited (CBZ), the People's Own Savings Bank (POSB), and CABS, the
country's largest building society.

This has caused stress in the country and the situation became worse as
individuals tried to withdraw cash for the long Easter holiday which began
on Thursday.

Some commercial banks are now reducing the amount an individual can withdraw
while companies are no longer allowed to withdraw more than US$10 000
monthly unless they have been given clearance by the RBZ.

Minister Biti said he would try to mobilise support from the international
community to get more funding for the RBZ Fund set up by Governor Gono.


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Chihuri a risk: Mwonzora

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

By Staff Writer
Friday, 06 April 2012 11:22

HARARE - Police commissioner general Augustine Chihuri is a risk and
Zimbabweans can never feel safe as long as he remains at the helm of the
police force, MDC spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora has said.

“We have experienced an upsurge of violence perpetrated by Zanu PF but there
has been no meaningful reaction from the police,” said Mwonzora while
addressing a press conference at the party’s headquarters at Harvest House
yesterday adding that his party can no longer rely on the police force to
deal effectively with politically-motivated violence in the country.

He said his party was concerned about police reaction to numerous cases of
violence perpetrated by the Zanu PF-aligned Mbare-based outfit Chipangano
which has been persecuting MDC members.

Mwonzora told journalists that several members of the infamous Chipangano
outfit have been attacking businesses owned by people perceived to be
aligned to the mainstream MDC party but none of the members of the vigilante
group had been arrested.

“In dealing with issues of violence in Mbare we can never rely on the
police. We all know that Chipangano is being funded by Zanu PF’s Tendai
Savanhu. He even confessed that if he had his way, his group would murder
honourable (Ian) Kay but the police never acted,” Mwonzora said adding: “We
do not find the Zimbabwe Republic Police reliable. The people of Zimbabwe
will never be safe as long as Chihuri is police chief.”

Efforts by the party which has since its formation been on the receiving end
of state sponsored violence to seek redress through the Joint Operation
Monitoring and Implementation Committee (Jomic) have not yielded any
meaningful results.

Mwonzora reiterated his party’s position that no elections should be held
before the necessary reforms as prescribed by the GPA are put in place.

“Violence must be addressed before we talk of elections. The roadmap must be
followed, there must be an end to state-sponsored violence, there must be
security sector reforms and a new constitution,” Mwonzora said.


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Zimbabwe PM contradicts minister over mines

http://www.ft.com

April 6, 2012 7:24 pm

By Tony Hawkins in Harare

Morgan Tsvangerai, Zimbabwe’s prime minister, said that the state did not
now own 51 per cent of all mining companies that have not yet complied with
the country’s empowerment law, contradicting a statement by Saviour
Kasukuwere, the country’s indigenisation minister.

Responding to Mr Kasukuwere’s comments on Thursday, Mr Tsvangirai said that
any attempt to implement the minister’s statement would be “unlawful” and
“without the mandate of the state”.

The prime minister said the issue had not been discussed or agreed by the
government. “The inclusive [coalition] government has not sanctioned the
minister’s actions that are a threat to investment in the industry.”

In 2007, the Zimbabwe parliament approved a law requiring all foreign-owned
companies and those owned by racial minorities in Zimbabwe to “indigenise”
by offering 51 per cent of their shares to indigenous (black) Zimbabweans.
In regulations published a year ago the indigenisation minister gave mining
companies six months to comply, but very few have yet done so.

Last month, the country’s largest foreign investor, South African mining
company Impala Platinum, said it had reached “agreement in principle” to
sell 31 per cent of its shares to the Zimbabwe government, while setting
aside 10 per cent of the share in its Zimbabwe subsidiary, Zimplats, for
employees and a further 10 per cent for a community trust.

However, Impala made it clear that the agreement was contingent on the
Zimbabwe government paying fair compensation for the 31 per cent
shareholding estimated to be worth in excess of $500m.

Mr Kasukuwere has since ruled out any cash payment to foreign mining
companies, saying Zimbabwe will treat the mineral deposits held by mining,
but owned by the state, as its equity contribution. The indigenisation
minister, a member of President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, does not
recognise the prime minister’s authority and takes his orders from the
president. Indeed, this week Zanu-PF ministers boycotted a cabinet meeting
chaired by Mr Tsvangirai, who is also leader of the rival Movement for
Democratic Change, because Mr Mugabe, who normally chairs cabinet meetings,
was out of the country.

Mr Tsvangirai complained that Mr Kasukuwere had not attended the meeting of
ministers on Tuesday but had subsequently “surreptitiously published a
notice with far-reaching economic consequences without consensus”.

The Indigenisation minister’s statement is seen as a mix of bluster and
desperation. By demanding that Zimbabwe pay cash compensation for its shares
in its 87 per cent-owned Zimbabwe subsidiary, Impala effectively called the
minister’s bluff. Impala has the backing of the South African authorities
who have said that they expect Zimbabwe to honour the terms of the bilateral
investment protection agreement between the two countries. The Zimbabwe
government does not have sufficient money to pay civil service salaries, let
alone buy Impala’s shares.

Mining industry executives say they are unperturbed by the minister’s
outburst, which they attribute to mounting frustration on his part over his
inability to enforce his threats.


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Counting the cost of Zimbabwe's roadblocks

http://www.newzimbabwe.com/

05/04/2012 00:00:00
by Lenox Mhlanga

THE Easter holiday beckons and the statistics on the roads will be scary. We
are not talking road fatalities here, but the number of road blocks on the
highways. As Zimbabweans in the nearby Diaspora travel home for the long
holiday, they do so in fear and trepidation, not of carjacking or thugs, but
of the police.

They will be running the gauntlet of an average of one roadblock for every
20 kilometers if what the Minister of Finance Tendai Biti’s claims is
anything to go by. That is, 18 roadblocks between Harare and Bulawayo on a
normal day and nine between Harare and Marondera, seven roadblocks in the
Highlands-Chisipite area alone. How about Beitbridge to Bulawayo?

It is well understood that towards the holidays it has become necessary for
the police to conduct special operations as a way of reducing accidents and
save life and limb. But the above statistics tell a different story. The
question has been thrown around before as to whether Zimbabwe is indeed a
police state.

This has been vociferously denied by the police themselves whose chief is
always in his element telling people, particularly pesky politicians, where
to get off. According to Commisioner General Augustine Chihuri, the police
are not obliged to reveal to the public why, when, where and how they
conduct their operations for obvious security-related reasons.

Understood, but what really gets at motorists and their passengers alike is
the ‘malicious overzealousness’ displayed by traffic police. This is
particularly noticeable directly after an outcry or when stung by criticism
during parliamentary debates, cabinet meetings or in the media.

Even the verbose Deputy Prime Minister Professor A.G.O. Mutambara had very
few kind words for what he said was a force that bred corruption through the
use of roadblocks as ‘fundraising methods’. Minister Biti weighed in by
saying that roadblocks had become the ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) of
certain members of society.

What members of the public argue is that there is no proof that high numbers
of roadblocks have led to a corresponding decrease in accidents and crime.
Roadblocks by their very nature are normally set up in times of crisis, an
unstable condition that is temporary.

Roadblocks, economists will tell you, are the worst form of crime prevention
in as far as the free flow of traffic, passengers and goods are concerned.
Perhaps we need some research to determine the losses to the economy through
the sometimes unnecessary delays at these barricades. I am sure the money
lost to the fiscus would be phenomenal.

If commuters travelling from Luveve or Chitungwiza to the city centres of
Bulawayo and Harare respectively were to be stopped at least five
roadblocks, how much of production time would be lost even if they were
vendors for argument’s sake? And to think that the police would be the first
to complain when their budget allocation is cut! It’s because they do not
see the link or they simply refuse to.

That being beside the point, the main gripe with traffic police is why they
intensify operations so soon after constructive criticism. If a very public
institution like the police are above the oversight of parliament which
represents members of the public, then who do they answer to, if we were to
ask a stupid question?

The increase in the number of roadblocks has struck terror on drivers of
foreign registered vehicles in particular in that they have become sitting
ducks or moving targets for traffic cops. Is it because they are so eager to
avoid the inconvenience of being delayed that they are wont to quickly part
with all manner of bribes?

‘Money for a coke’ has become the slogan. This should worry the Ministers of
Tourism and Foreign Affairs because among the worst verdicts about
Zimbabwean hospitality emanates from their maltreatment at roadblocks that,
for some sadistic reason, are strategically located near tourist resorts.

An Australian travel warning on Zimbabwe reads thus: ‘Roadblocks are very
common throughout Zimbabwe and can appear with little warning.’

One tourist even wrote on his blog about how the highlight of his long
planned trip to Zimbabwe were the numerous roadblocks he encountered where
the reception ranged from disarmingly polite to downright rude. In fact, so
polite was one officer that after fleecing the bemused visitor of $20 for
missing reflectors and detaining him for the best of 30 minutes was told to
‘have a pleasant stay.’

Granted, as police spokesman James Sabau says, police are not violating the
civil rights of members of the public because ‘the law allows them to do so’,
but doesn’t it follow then that the chief of police should give due respect
to the mandate of MPs to change a patently bad law and so debate it openly
without being called all sorts of names?

A point of contention has always been the police insisting that motorists
pay fines on the spot. This lends credence to stories of officers going on
fishing expeditions around the car looking for an offence to charge the
driver for. Many a driver has spoken of a police officer’s ‘Aha!’ moment
when he or she would have eventually discovered something amiss.

Take the frequent cases of foreign vehicles without front white reflectors
that seem to be mandatory in Zimbabwe alone and not in other SADC countries.
Instead of being given a warning and a chance to purchase the said
reflectors, they are ordered to pay a fine on the spot. We eagerly await the
standardisation of traffic rules in the region.

As if to emolliate the bad publicity those roadblocks have generated for the
force, we have encountered officers who are so professional as to be
insidious in their efficiency. Like when one is instructed, albeit very
politely, to ‘pull your car off the road and await an officer who will DEAL
with you.’ That expression alone has so many connotations and none of them
are positive.

Psychologically this is intended to reduce the driver to the level of an
insect from which you painstakingly work yourself from with a mixture of
pampering (as in saluting ‘makadini chef?’) through to downright bribery. I
agree that it takes two for corruption to take place but the way one is
manoeuvred into bribing an officer leaves one without any doubt whatsoever.

Have you noticed that when the police react to accusations of
over-handedness on the roads they seem to equate the behaviour of every
driver to that of commuter taxi drivers? That is where part of the problem
lies. Those people are a breed of their own and if you ask me they deserve
everything that is coming to them.

We all know that commuter taxi drivers are a law unto themselves. Their
malcontent behaviour is legendary. No one in his right senses should have
any sympathy for a driver who treats his passengers the same way as he would
a load of pumpkins. Police should desist painting every driver with the same
brush.

The tact of distinguishing between two distinctly divergent types of drivers
will reduce the agony a lot of them will have to endure. It’s like the
incident of a high court judge who was roundly humiliated by a traffic cop
still wet behind the ears who said, rather unflatteringly, ‘Kana urimu-Benz
unofunga kuti unoshamisira?’ (Do you think you are great just because you
are driving a Mercedes Benz?).

It took the alertness of a nearby senior officer and profuse grovelling on
the part of the said constable to rescue an embarrassing situation.

While we are constantly reminded by police spokespersons that those who
observed the law had nothing to fear and defective vehicles are cleared off
the roads, then why should reasonably sound vehicles endure the phalanx of
roadblocks still? Is this not an indication that roadblocks are not an
effective deterrent?

As Minister Biti correctly pointed out, the positioning of some of these
check points defied logic. We can only speculate that the areas with the
highest concentration of roadblocks are those that have drivers rich enough
to shower cops with monetary confetti.

If it is reducing impunity on the roads that the police are in intent on
doing then why not take their fight to the commuter bus ranks where the real
purveyors of the traffic jungle prowl? It makes sense doesn’t it?

Another thing, can the officers ‘soliciting and collecting bribes’ please do
it more discreetly. You never know who is watching or taking pictures in
these days of tabloid and yellow journalism. There now is a website that
identifies places where bribes are taken by density and such spots are then
geo-tagged and labelled according to the government department affected. The
novel idea is called ‘Bribespot’ and anyone with an android mobile phone for
now can send information to the site via an application or app.

As a parting shot there is a joke that used to do the rounds that goes
something like: Question: What is the difference between a spot fine and a
bribe? Answer: You get an ‘admission of guilt’ for one and ‘guilt of
commission’ for the other!


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Hunger Strike

PRESS RELEASE

HUNGER STRIKER – DAVID T. HWANGWA

VENUE – AFRICA UNITY SQAURE

DATES 11 MARCH 2012 (In solidarity with the victims of 11 March 2007 Save Zimbabwe Prayers) TILL THE PRINCIPALS CONSIDER THE PETITIONS

REASONS FOR THE HUNGER STRIKE

Hunger Strike – Strike for Peace, Justice and Freedom #HUMANRIGHTSFORALL2012, on the 11th of March 2012 at the Africa Unity Square Gardens in Harare, Zimbabwe. The Hunger Strike will go indefinitely until the principals in the Zimbabwe Global Political Agreement (GPA) attend to the petitions mentioned below.

Petitions for the Hunger strike

The main reason I wish to go on the hunger strike is to address, among other things, the following factors:

An end to Human Rights abuses

An end to political violence

Prosecution of perpetrators of violence

Peaceful hosting of political rallies by political parties, giving each and every party an equal chance to conduct their rallies without the use of intimidation or bias by the law enforcement agents

A stop to the use of youths to act as perpetrators for violence on behalf of the political parties

The disbanding of the Chipangano group

Violent invasion of the remaining farms still owned by the white farmers and the intimidation henceforth to the members of the Commercial Farmers Union

An end to violation of women’s rights

A free and fair election that guarantees the respect of people’s freedom and fundamental rights

A recognition of minority rights

The release of Solomon Madzore

This date has been earmarked as it will be the day the government suppressed the Save Zimbabwe Peace Prayers at Zimbabwe grounds in Highfields, Harare in 2007 where an opposition party activist was shot point blank by the police. Opposition activists were arrested and until today, we have not received any answers. It will be in solidarity with the heroes of 11 March 2007.

ABOUT THE HUNGER STRIKER

David T Hwangwa, aged 24, a Human Rights activist. A Rhodes University (Grahamstown, South Africa) graduate in Law and Politics. I am a young activist who has seen the escalating violence in our country getting out of hand and thus would like to take a stance, raise a global awareness on the state of events in Zimbabwe.

The aim is for these leaders to acknowledge that the levels of violence and human rights abuses are getting out of hand and this can force them to consider changing their policies towards the use of both their illegitimate and legitimate use of violence. As we approach elections, which are inevitable in the coming future, a repeat of the 2008 elections is a possibility. Hundreds of people died, countless more were injured or exiled due to the political violence. There is thus a need to tackle this issue urgently by using all the available means we as the masses can use.

The main political parties have both used violence in their approaches to get their message clear and in some instances one group provokes the other resulting in a fully fledged fight and because of this, the innocent members of the society are caught up in this and become victims of political violence. There is a need for the leaders of the government to take up a united front in tackling this issue of violence and make a united front in condemning the use of violence by the members of their political party.

WHAT INFLUENCED THE HUNGER STRIKE

I was a victim of abduction by the infamous Central Intelligence Organization (CIO). This has just made me stronger for the cause. There are no records of such abductions or detentions by the police and it is a matter of great concern because who knows of how many people vanish forever as a result of this. I aim to seek a stance against the government to take action and protect our people because as we approach the volatile election period, such cases and reports will become more common.

More often than not the principals in government have been criticizing the ongoing violence but sooner rather than later there is violence occurring in the streets with the innocent civilians being the scapegoats in this struggle for relevance by the political parties. What is more worrying is that the political parties are using the current state of the economy where most youths are unemployed and lure them to march in the streets and terrorize or coerce people to attend rallies, effectively violating their freedom rights. This is only a fraction of the human rights abuses people are subjected to everyday in Zimbabwe.

The main intention is to challenge the government to address all issues of human rights abuses, political violence and a free and fair election so that everyone can practise his/her right to vote peacefully and under no coercion. I am a diplomat for peace and I believe in achieving my cause through a peaceful sacrifice following on the footsteps of Mahtma Ghandi.

For the strike to achieve its purpose, publicity is the main tool to get the message across. The media helps in bringing the subject in question to the fore because the strike cannot achieve its purpose without sufficient media publicity. The role of the media brings it out to the whole world and it will be on the two parties involved to take their part, with the hunger striker going through with his act whilst the world will be waiting to see what the other party, the state does in relation to the striker. I had a keen interest in the events that were happening in India as Indian activist, Ana Hazare, successfully went ahead with his hunger strike, despite being imprisoned initially against going on a hunger strike, effectively challenging the Indian government to revise their policies on corruption.

The people of Zimbabwe have suffered and we have lost so many people due to the violent nature of the state. The biggest reason why I am going to endure this Hunger Strike is because, as according to Mahatma Ghandi, “If we want freedom, we shall not gain it by killing or injuring others, but by dying or submitting ourselves to suffering.”

Whilst the task at hand is hard by all means, considering that the police and government will be against this, I nevertheless will continue and I shall be heard as I challenge this inclusive government to have respect for the fundamental rights of the people. Everyone deserves his/her Human Rights. Let’s make a difference today.

I will be working with those with an interest in human rights and political violence. The task is by all means hard and the government will use all the resources available to them to try and frustrate the effort but I will continue to show solidarity with the victims of political violence as well as those of human rights victims. If that will be prison or wherever, I will do it because I believe in the cause above everything else. A lot of people have suffered and lost their lives at the hands of the government forces and its high time someone take a stance and I as David T Hwangwa will sacrifice myself, my time and all I have for the victims of political violence and human rights abuses.

Contact David Hwangwa - +263 777 378 221

dhwangwa@gmail.com


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The air of a Shakespearean tragedy

http://www.cathybuckle.com

April 5, 2012, 10:28 am

Not for the first time the war veterans have claimed that they are living in
abject poverty and they demand that the Government of National Unity comes
to their aid. It does seem extraordinary that thirty two years after the end
of the Liberation War these veterans have still not managed to achieve any
kind of financial security – or so they claim. They want money to set up
projects and the government must arrange loan facilities for them, something
which they say they are entitled to under the 1997 War Veterans Act.
Zimbabweans well remember how the veterans, led at the time by the late
Chengerai Hunzvi, cornered the President and managed to extract from him a
payout of $50.000 each plus a monthly pension and allowances for wives and
children. That day was known as Black Friday and the unbudgeted payout to
the war veterans led to the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy. And now
fifteen years later, the war veterans are still unable to make ends meet –
or so they say.

Times have changed, though, and it is doubtful that the war veterans wield
the same power today that they once did over the President. He has other
more urgent matters to concern him these days, including all those
contenders for his office yapping at his heels and waiting for him to leave
office. In effect, they are waiting for him to die: Chiwenga, Mnangagwa,
Joice Mujuru and any other contenders waiting in the wings. Add the war
veterans to this mix of heirs apparent and the whole situation takes on the
air of a Shakespearian tragedy. It is not surprising that people are worried
about what happens when Mugabe leaves the stage; he is in Singapore at the
moment, ‘on a private visit’ we are told, ‘arranging his daughter’s
post-graduate studies.’ Though it’s hard to see why a twenty year old woman
cannot arrange her own studies, it’s not exactly a complicated process!
Perhaps her fees will be paid in diamonds! The country is awash with diamond
wealth; apparently, up-market luxury homes are going for between 2.5 and 7.5
million dollars in the classier suburbs of Harare. If the report is
accurate, these are cash sales and it’s all diamond money. Zimbabwean
legislators went on a tour of the diamond fields last week and some of the
MPs are demanding a probe into Chiadzwa. Not likely that will happen when so
many ‘big men’ are doing so well out of Zimbabwe’s diamond wealth and that
includes non-Zimbabweans such as Israelis, Chinese and Nigerians. It’s an
Israeli man who is suing the police for theft after he claims they stole his
diamonds! Ironically, it is lack of funding that has halted Bulawayo’s water
campaign and in Chinhoyi water and sewage problems threaten a disease
outbreak in the town. There is a report this week that typhoid is surging
across central and southern Africa and that includes Zambia, Zimbabwe and
the DRC. It is always the lowest level of society that suffers and dies from
such diseases, so the diamond-rich have nothing to worry about. Meanwhile,
Zimbabwe’s power woes continue. The outages worsen for householders and
businesses while the government negotiates with Mozmbique about how to
settle their debts. The Zimbabwean government says it needs to raise $40
million dollars by month end and, coincidentally, Rio Tinto announces that
its diamond output has shot up. The contradictions are obvious for all to
see; the diamond revenue, if properly utilised, could solve the country’s
many problems at one stroke but it is just not happening. Zimbabwe’s
enormous reserves of mineral wealth are not being used to improve the lives
of ordinary people.

As they travel home to the rural areas for the holiday weekend in crowded
country buses, people will probably drive past the mine turnoffs and see for
themselves the source of much of the country’s wealth. They will know that
the nickel, gold, asbestos, and platinum mines they drive past have provided
jobs for hundreds of Zimbabweans. As for the huge profits from these mining
enterprises, have they been used to build new schools and hospitals or have
they made the rich even richer?

Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.


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Bill Watch 16/2012 of 5th April [PM Disowns Kasukuwere Public Notice to Mining Companies: Not Government Policy ]

BILL WATCH 16/2012

[5th April 2012]

The Prime Minister has released a statement rejecting a public notice by the Minister of Youth Empowerment, Indigenisation and Empowerment to “non-compliant” mining companies

The Minister’s Public Notice

The “public notice”, headed by the Zimbabwe coat of arms, appeared in newspapers on 5th April as an advertisement over the signature of the Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment. It reads as follows:

PUBLIC NOTICE TO ALL MINING BUSINESSES WHICH ARE NOT COMPLIANT

WITH THE PROVISIONS OF GENERAL NOTICE 114 OF 2011

1. Government published the General Notice 114 of 2011 on the 25th of March 2011, which represents the legal framework for the indigenisation of the mining sector.

2. The Notice defined the minimum indigenisation and empowerment quota as 51%. The Notice required that disposal of the required equity must be to defined “designated entities”, which are as follows:

The National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund.

The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation

A Statutory Sovereign Wealth Fund/the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund

Employee share ownership scheme and Management share ownership schemes or Community share ownership schemes or trust.

3. The notice applied to all mining businesses in which 51% equity or controlling is not held by indigenous Zimbabweans and whose net asset value is at least $1, i.e., all non-indigenously owned mining businesses had to comply with the provisions of this notice by 25th September 2011.

4. All mining companies that have not complied with this notice should note that 51% of their shareholding is now deemed to be owned by the State and any business transacted in respect of this 51% shall have been transacted on behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe with effect from the deadline stipulated in the said General Notice 114 of 2011, which deadline for the avoidance of doubt was 25th September 2011.

5. Any profits accruing to this 51% should be regarded as property of the State and any losses incurred will be charged against the company's assets, less the 51% indigenised portion, for any company that transacts without Government involvement with effect from 25th September 2011.

6. Companies are hereby advised that they are now dealing with assets of the State in respect to the 51% indigenised portion and any attempt to defraud the State will result in prosecution.

7. The Government of Zimbabwe, through the Ministry of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment, enjoins all Zimbabwean citizens, top management, middle management, technical support staff and the general workforce of the companies involved that they are now expected to defend the Zimbabwean 51% equity stake and also to uphold and execute the national interest in respect of the administration, trade and any other business transactions so as to ensure total indigenous economic empowerment.

[signed] S. Kasukuwere

Honourable S. Kasukuwere (MP)

MINISTER OF YOUTH DEVELOPMENT, INDIGENISATION AND ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT

Prime Minister’s Rejection of the Minister’s Notice:

Within hours of the appearance of the Minister’s notice, the Prime Minister’s Office released an official statement rejecting the Minister’s publication of the notice as surreptitious and unauthorised and categorically stating that the notice does not state Government policy. For affected mining businesses and members of the public the Prime Minister had this to say:

Businesses should ignore Kasukuwere’s notice

Underling by Veritas

The Minister of Youth Development, Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment today issued a notice announcing that all mining firms that had not complied with the indigenisation regulations by the September 2011 deadline should assume that 51 per cent of their shares and proceeds of their transactions now belongs to the Government with effect from that date.

The Prime Minister would like to inform the public that there is no such Government position. That issue has not been discussed and agreed upon by Government. The Prime Minister wishes to inform the public in general and mining firms in particular that the inclusive Government has not sanctioned the Minister’s actions that are a threat to investment in the industry.

The Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act does not empower the Minister to unilaterally nationalise private entities and there is no reason to create panic among investors by projecting the image of a voracious government keen to grab compulsorily people’s companies without compensation. It is not the policy of this Government to nationalise the mining businesses or any other business.

The Prime Minister of Zimbabwe has executive powers and the Constitution of Zimbabwe bestows him with the authority to oversee and supervise “policy formulation and implementation.” The Government forum that deals with implementation of Government policy is the Council of Ministers, which has not discussed or approved the purported Government position captured in the public notice.

The Prime Minister notes with concern that the Minister chose not to attend the Council of Ministers on Tuesday, an executive forum of Government, only to surreptitiously publish a notice with far reaching economic consequences without consensus.
The Prime Minister would like to inform mining entities that, should anyone or any institution be it private or public, attempt to enforce Minister Kasukuwere’s pronouncements, they would be doing so unlawfully and without the mandate of the Inclusive Government.

The Prime Minister takes a serious view of the Minister’s attempts to incite the public to act unlawfully against mining businesses. The Minister’s statement poses a real risk of creating anarchy in the industry and the PM will take corrective measures within the proper fora and channels of Government.

National economic interests of Zimbabwe demand a proper policy that creates jobs for the millions of unemployed people in the country. They want massive investment in the country and not a political campaign platform that will only benefit the elite at the expense of the majority of the people in the country.

Luke Tamborinyoka
Spokesperson
Office of the Prime Minister

No Legal Basis for Minister’s Notice

The Prime Minister’s use of the word “unlawfully” is absolutely correct. The Minister’s pronouncements are ultra vires the law on indigenisation and devoid of legal effect.

The Government cannot take over mining businesses without proper legal authority and there is no such legal authority – either in the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act or in any other Act of Parliament, or in the Indigenisation Regulations or in General Notice 114 of 2011. General Notice 114, it will be remembered, was the subject of an adverse report from the Parliamentary Legal Committee for its inconsistency with the Constitution [see Bill Watch 31/2011 of 6th August 2011]. The text of the report follows:

ADVERSE REPORT OF THE PARLIAMENTARY LEGAL COMMITTEE

ON GENERAL NOTICE 114 OF 2011

Bold type in the original

In pursuit of its constitutional mandate as provided for in section 40B of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, The Parliamentary Legal Committee met on the 15th of June 2011 at 1010hrs to consider General Notice 114 of 2011. After deliberations, the Committee unanimously resolved that an adverse report be issued in respect of the General Notice due to the following considerations:

The provisions of General Notice 114 of 2011 violate the Declaration of Rights in the Constitution of Zimbabwe, namely sections 16 and 21. Section 21 of the Constitution provides as follows:

Except with his own consent or by way of parental discipline, no person shall be hindered in his freedom of assembly and association, that is to say, his right to assemble freely and associate with other persons and in particular to form or belong to political parties or trade unions or other associations for the protection of his interests.

(2) The freedom referred to in subsection (1) shall include the right not to be compelled to belong to an association

In the Notice, the Minister has directed that non-indigenous mining businesses must sell their shares to designated entities in order to achieve 51% Indigenization. Section 3(1) of the General Notice states that:

Every non-indigenous mining business shall achieve the minimum Indigenisation and empowerment quota by the disposal …of its shares or interests to designated agents not latter …

The designated entities are:

The National Indigenization and Economic Empowerment fund;

The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation established in terms of the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation Act (Chapter 21:08); or

And company or other entity incorporated by the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation or the fund for the purposes of this notice; or

A statutory sovereign wealth fund that may be created by law; or

An employee share ownership scheme or trust, management share ownership scheme or trust or community share ownership scheme or trust that complies with section 14, 14A or 14B of the Regulations.

The net effect of this directive is that in order to achieve the prescribed indigenisation quota, a mining business must sell its shares to designated entities. In other words, mining business entities cannot achieve the prescribed quota by selling their shares to partners of their choice. The Minister has already found partners for them without their consent. They have been compelled to belong to certain organizations, that it designated entities. This is clearly a flagrant violation of section 21 of the Constitution quoted above, which is the freedom of association provision.

Secondly, the General Notice violates section 16 of the Constitution. Section 16 provides that no property of any description or interest or right therein shall be compulsorily acquired . In the case of May &Ors v Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe 1985 (2) ZLR 358 at page 358, the Supreme Court defines shares in company as property. The effect of this judgment is that shares in mining business are property duly protected by section 16 of the constitution of Zimbabwe.

The entities designated are, in the main, state corporations. The notice by the Minister, therefore, provides for compulsory acquisition of property by the state. In so doing the Minister has clearly violated section 16 of the Constitution, which provides for the protection from deprivation of property.

The third point that caused the Committee to pass an adverse report is that the Notice is purported to have been passed in terms of section 5 (4) as read with section 5A of the Indigenization and Economic Empowerment Regulations. Section 5(4) only allows the Minister to prescribe by notice 3 issues only:

1. With respect to each sector, what lesser share than 51% shall be lesser share that indigenous Zimbabweans may hold in business operating in the relevant sector.

2. The maximum period that the sector may continue to operate in that way, and

3. The weighting to be assigned to any socially and economically desirable objective.

In the Notice, the Minister is obliged by law to dwell on these three issues only. Instead, the Minister dealt with issues that he is not empowered to deal with by the enabling statutory instrument.

The other glaring contravention of the enabling statutory instrument by the Minister is on the matter of asset value. Whereas the statutory instrument provides that only business with a net asset value of US$500 000, or more, must submit a provisional Indigenisation form, the General Notice reduces this to a single United States Dollar. Again, this is a matter that the Minister is not empowered by section 5 of the regulation to deal with. Matters that the MINISTER is prescribed to deal with by the regulation have been enumerated above. In this respect, the General Notice has gone beyond matters that are allowed by law to be dealt with through General Notices.

Therefore, from the foregoing, the learned opinion of the Parliamentary Legal Committee is that General Notice 114 of 2011 should be repealed because it is not good law. It is bad law because it violates sections 16 and 21 of the Constitution, it is bad law because it is ultra vires the provision of the enabling statutory instrument, which is the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Regulation 2010.

Hon S.L. Mushonga

Chairperson, Parliamentary Legal Committee

Documents Available

The following are available from veritas@mango.zw j

Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act

Indigenisation Regulations updated to include all amendments [SI 21/2010]

GN 114/2011 – Indigenisation of mining sector

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

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