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Mugabe wins party vote but challenged by age, ill health

http://af.reuters.com

Sun Dec 11, 2011 1:15pm GMT

By Cris Chinaka

HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was endorsed again by
his party to stand for elections expected next year, but analysts say even
for a veteran political survivor, the 87-year-old leader will find it harder
to convince voters to extend his rule after 32 years in power.

Mugabe, they said, would face young voters, many born after independence
from Britain in 1980, who may not be overly impressed with his party's tales
of its leadership role in the liberation struggle and are instead desperate
to find jobs in the country which has the world's highest unemployment rate.

ZANU-PF members want Mugabe to hand over the reins to a younger leader, but
nobody has ever openly challenged him due to a generous political patronage
system and his ability to patiently wear down opponents and keep them
guessing on his next move.

"Mugabe has kept going by looking after everybody in some way, balancing
various interests, managing the warring factions fighting over who takes
over from him and cynically making himself the glue holding ZANU-PF
together," said Eldred Masunungure, political science professor at the
University of Zimbabwe.

"For ZANU-PF, he is both a liability and an asset in the sense of unifying
the party, but is also a big liability for them in electoral terms because
he is difficult to sell to the voters as representing any new direction," he
said.

Mugabe told his party conference he would step up a drive to force
foreign-owned firms to sell majority stakes to blacks, following his
seizures of white-owned farms in the past decade.

Analysts said ZANU-PF nominated Mugabe because it still has to solve a
long-standing succession battle in its ranks, and the party has grudgingly
accepted that Mugabe has manoeuvred himself into a position where he could
end up president for life.

Mugabe would be an improbable 93-year-old when he finishes a five-year-term
if he wins an election in 2012 against main rival Morgan Tsvangirai, who
charges that ZANU-PF has rigged and robbed him of victory in three major
polls since 2000.

The privately-owned Zimbabwe Independent newspaper said in an editorial that
ZANU-PF had missed an opportunity at the conference to discuss its
leadership and policy failures.

"Instead they chose to bury their heads in the sand like an ostrich in the
midst of a sandstorm," the editorial said.

Political analysts say Mugabe's allies are pressing for early elections,
which are only due in 2013 when Mugabe would be 89, fearing he may not cope
with the pressure of campaigning, and also to take advantage of what they
see as a weakening opposition.

A June 2008 U.S. diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks said Mugabe had
prostate cancer that had spread to other organs.

He was apparently urged by his physician to step down in 2008 but has stayed
in the job.

In an interview with Reuters a year ago, Mugabe denied he was dying of
cancer but local media reports say he is taking regular trips to Singapore
for medical treatment.

"I think it's fair to say that Mugabe might be seeing some opportunities in
taking on Tsvangirai sooner rather than later, with minimum democratic
reforms, and increasing questions over Tsvangirai and the MDC's capacity,"
said Lovemore Madhuku of the political pressure group National
Constitutional Assembly.

SEX SCANDALS

Tsvangirai, 59, has found himself fighting scandals over his private life.
In the past few months, a 23-year-old woman has claimed he fathered a child
with her, and another woman said she was pregnant by him.

The stories have damaged his public image, but analysts say Tsvangirai, who
lost his wife in a car accident after his MDC formed a coalition with
ZANU-PF in 2009, still remained reasonably popular though vulnerable if
other scandals emerge.

Tsvangirai has issued a public apology for his indiscretions but blames
Mugabe's state security agents of setting him up in dirty plots aimed at
ruining his political career.

Political analysts say Tsvangirai remains a big threat to Mugabe because
Zimbabwe's young voters are frustrated with ZANU-PF policies, which many
critics blame for an economic crisis which left Zimbabwe in 2008 with
hyper-inflation of 500 billion percent, food shortages and 4,000 dead from a
cholera outbreak.

Mugabe blames the economic crisis on sanctions by Western countries opposed
to ZANU-PF, but will find it hard to convince voters that any improvements
in the economy are not the result of the MDC's role in government.

Mugabe's nomination points to his party continuing with controversial
policies criticised for stifling investment.

"We are custodians of the national interest, and our historic mission is to
defend our heritage," a combative Mugabe said at the ZANU-PF congress as he
rallied his party for election battle.

VIOLENCE DEFAULT MODE

Although Mugabe has been calling for a peaceful election, the opposition
fears ZANU-PF hardliners led by the war veterans and youth brigades who
normally run his campaigns will be tempted to resort to violence as the
tried and tested method.

"Violence is ZANU-PF's default mode, and the talk of peaceful elections has
to pass a practical test," said Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for Tsvangirai's
MDC party.

Tsvangirai says he will win any free poll, and pins his hopes on the new
generation of voters he says are tired of war tales.

At least 60 percent of Zimbabwe's 13 million population is under 30. But
nothing is clinical in this calculation as some of these potential voters
are abroad and unlikely to return after fleeing Zimbabwe's economic crisis.

"Besides his health problems, Mugabe has a demographic problem to overcome -
and it's probably going to boil down to an argument on whether at his age he
should be contesting elections at all," Masunungure said." For all his
skills, this is an argument that ZANU-PF is going to find very hard to
sell."


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Zanu-PF Has Less Than A Million Supporters- Central Committee Report

http://www.radiovop.com/

Bulawayo, December 11, 2011 - President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party has
579 312 supporters out of Zimbabwe’s estimated 13 million population,
according to a Central Committee report tabled at the party’s conference in
Bulawayo last Friday.

According to the report, the former ruling party this year and last year
failed to raise its support base to the set target of 1.28 million ahead of
scheduled elections next year as shown by the disinterest of Zimbabweans to
buy the party’s membership cards.

The report said Zanu-PF only managed to sell half of the 1, 28 million
membership cards it planned to sell in 2010 and this year as it embarked on
a mobilisation drive to revamp its dwindling support base ahead of
elections.

The report said, Zanu-PF Mashonaland Central had 18 730 party supporters
with membership cards, while Bulawayo has 13 725, Matabeleland North 11 153,
Matabeleland South 17 046, Masvingo 22 868, Manicaland 50 511, Masholaland
West 46 718, Harare 131 331, Mashonaland East 101 198 and Midlands 166 032-
bringing the total to 579 312 party supporters countrywide.

The party national commissar Webster Shamu who presented the report said the
party’s grassroots structures countrywide were in shambles and efforts were
required to avoid an embarrassing defeat in the forthcoming elections.

He said recently the party had failed to meet a March 2011 deadline to
organise its structures right from the village and cell levels due to lack
of resources.

Matabeleland, which is an MDC-T stronghold, sold the lowest number of
membership cards this year and last year.

In Bulawayo, Zanu-PF sold 9 810 membership cards out of the 35 000 while
Matabeleland South sold 13 367 out of the 29 800 cards and Matabeleland
North 8 639 out of the 35 000 disbursed.

Zanu-PF whose main source comes from proceeds from the sale of membership
cards and subscriptions, donations and from its investments realized an
income of US$ 4 094 853 this year, according to the report.

It received US$ 579 312 from membership fees and subscriptions, US$ 2, 9
million from the government grant, US$304 849 from donations and US$280 624
from its investments.

In February last year, President Mugabe told an extra-ordinary session of
the party’s Central Committee that re-organisation of grassroots structures
was one of the biggest challenges threatening the party ahead of polls.

President Mugabe insists that polls be held next year to end the tenure of
the inclusive government that he says has outlived its lifespan.


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S. Africa's ANC offers election help to Mugabe party



(AFP) – 6 hours ago

JOHANNESBURG — South Africa's ruling African National Congress has offered
to help President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF win the next elections in
neighbouring Zimbabwe, press reports said on Sunday.

"We are willing to assist in coming up with election messages and strategies
that would deliver victory," ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe told
ZANU-PF's annual congress Saturday in Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo, The
Sunday Times reported.

"It is important for ZANU-PF to regain lost ground and continue to represent
the aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe," he was quoted as saying.

Observers voiced surprise at the offer, since Mantashe has frequently
criticised the autocratic rule of President Robert Mugabe, 87, who has led
Zimbabwe since independence in 1980.

They expect it to wrong-foot South African President Jacob Zuma -- who is
both ANC president and the regional Southern African Development Community's
mediator for Zimbabwe, where ZANU-PF is in a conflictual unity government
with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai.

"These are government-to-government relations, and Zuma is working under the
auspices of SADC, (while the) ANC is a different animal altogether,"
Mantashe said, according to the online newspaper The Zimbabwean. "(The) ANC
must interact with some of the sister parties in the region."

He added: "The ANC wishes to affirm her commitment to being a good and
trustworthy neighbour to a fellow liberation movement (against white
minority rule)."

"We will send campaign strategy teams to work with you; this will be the
best way to celebrate the centenary of the ANC in January 2012," he said.

At Saturday's rally, Mugabe called on his supporters to unite behind him to
win elections which he would like to see held next year.


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Mugabe's Presidential Candidature, A Scandal: ZAPU

http://www.radiovop.com

Nompumelelo Moyo, December 11, 2011 - The Zimbabwe African People’s Union
(Zapu) has rubbished resolutions by the just ended Zanu-PF national people
conference to have elections held next year and mocked their (Zanu-PF)
choice of candidate.

At the end of its 12th national people’s Conference on Saturday Zanu-PF
announced that it has resolved to instruct the party (Zanu PF) to
immediately dissolve the inclusive government and call for elections next
year and endorsed Mugabe to be its candidate for the presidential elections.

In a statement issued on Sunday morning, Zapu spokesperson for the southern
region, Methuseli Moyo, said by insisting that elections be held next year
Zanu PF is setting itself up for “hollow” victory.

“Zapu is concerned that Mugabe wants to call for an early election at his
own terms so that he can bulldoze his way back to power like he did in June
2008. We want to warn him and his followers that the people of Zimbabwe will
not let that happen again.

“It is in Mugabe and Zanu-PF’s favour to lose a free and fair election than
to “win” a disputed election. A ‘victory’ similar to the last one would be
hollow and impossible to enforce this time around.

“We call on Mugabe and his party to do the right thing for once, by letting
the constitution-making process go through and then hold elections
afterwards.

“It is not reasonable to force a referendum and elections all in one year.
Logically, the referendum should come mid next year and elections in 2013,”
he said.

Moyo said his party was happy that Zanu-PF had endorsed Mugabe as its
candidate as this “will give Zimbabweans the perfect chance to remove the
old man from power themselves”.

“At least the people will feel symbolic measure of revenge over a man who
for 31 years has persecuted them through Gukurahundi, Murambatsvina and
other evil operations and ruined their future through his self-serving,
reckless economic and land policies.

“Mugabe is not Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe is not Mugabe. The nation should not be
bulldozed to fit into his scheme of life. We owe him nothing. He has been
prime minister and president for a good 31 years. What more does he wants?”
he said.

Moyo mocked Mugabe’s candidature as a scandal.

“Is it not strange that in a country where one is considered lucky to live
beyond 35 years, a soon-to-be-88-year-old man wants to be president? Zapu is
glad that Mugabe and others who split from the founder and authentic
liberation movement and revolutionary party.


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Bob, God’s gift to Zim

http://www.iol.co.za

December 11 2011 at 02:53pm
By PETA THORNYCROFT and SAPA-AP

Harare - Zimbabwe’s ailing 87-year-old president says he will not retire
ahead of proposed elections next year and will stay on to lead the country
against a Western campaign for “regime change”.

Robert Mugabe, addressing 6 000 delegates on Saturday at the end of his
party’s annual convention in Bulawayo, says it would be “an act of
 cowardice” for him to step down. He has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980.

“Luckily, God has given me this longer life than others to be with you and I
will not let you down,” he said.

The four-day convention passed resolutions confirming Mugabe as its sole
presidential candidate and called for elections “early next year without
fail”.

Mugabe, who turns 88 in February, looked fit and energetic in his red party
jacket as he spoke on for two hours at the annual conference in Bulawayo.

Any hope younger party members had of a replacement for Mugabe finally
disappeared when former army commander Solomon Mujuru died in August in a
mysterious fire at his farm house.

Few believed the fire was an accident, including his widow Joyce,
vice-president of the party and Mugabe’s most obvious and natural successor.

She has a far less tainted background than the other challenger, Defence
Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa, chiefly responsible for massacres of
Ndebele-speaking Zapu supporters in Matabeleland in the 1980s. – Sapa-AP


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Tsvangirai Bemoans Unity Government's Failure To End Rights Violations

http://www.radiovop.com

Harare, December 11, 2011 - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has bemoaned
continued rights violations in the country despite the existence of the
inclusive government which committed itself to upholding rights.

“We are celebrating this day at a time when human rights in this country
remain under siege despite the consummation of the inclusive government in
February 2009,” said Tsvangirai in a statement read on his behalf by Deputy
Minister Jessie Majome.

The statement was reading on the annual UN human rights day commemorations
held in Harare Saturday.

Tsvangirai's speech continued “while we have fared well as a government in
improving basic social services especially health and education, ordinary
citizens and human rights defenders in particular continue to be harassed
and intimidated."

The Prime Minister further revealed the country is experiencing gross rights
violations a day mainly from elements linked to President Robert Mugabe’s
Zanu-PF party.

“Since January this year alone, an average of over 20 rights violations
either sponsored or abetted by the state has been recorded daily and this
means we are still far away from experiencing the peace and the freedoms for
which a brutal liberation struggle was wagged by brave sons and daughters of
this land.”

Over a thousand people attended the commemorations which were held at the
Harare Gardens.

But there was a conspicuous absence of Zanu-PF politicians during the
otherwise lively commemorations, which were marked by song and dance by
local young musicians among them Alexio Kawara, XQ, Freddy Manjalima aka
Kapfupi and a host of other young artists.

MDC-T politicians, Nelson Chamisa who is ICT Minister and Home Affairs
Co-Minister Theresa Makone also gave speeches during occasion.

Chamisa commended Zimrights and Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, the organisers
of this year’s commemorations, for keeping the state under the check on
issues of human rights observance.

Minister Makone on her part, lashed out at the predecessor Zanu-PFgovernment
for allegedly violating human rights by parceling out land to Zanu-PF
loyalists at the expense of other Zimbabweans.


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Mnangagwa: GNU will hold

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

11/12/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

DEFENCE Minister, Emmerson Mnangagwa has told business leaders to ignore the
political grandstanding by parties to the coalition government, insisting
the fractious arrangement would hold until elections can be held.

President Robert Mugabe claims the coalition pact with long-time rival and
Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai is no longer workable and wants new
elections held to replace it.

“They (MDC) hold certain posts. They continue to frustrate … decisions. That
is why we said we are not going to continue to look at this nonsense,”
Mugabe told the just-ended Zanu PF conference in Bulawayo.

“By having elections next year, this will help put an end to the impasse …
We will go back to the people so you can choose who should govern.”

But Mnangagwa – a senior Zanu PF member– told business leaders in the
Midlands city of Kwekwe to ignore the political grand-standing.

“We are in a marriage where couples fight but sustain the marriage at the
end of the day. All the principals in the inclusive government have
different constituencies which they sometimes address in public and the
message they send sometimes worry businesses,” Mnangagwa said.
“The fact is when the crunch time comes after all the finger pointing is
gone, we know where to stand.”

Established with the help of the regional SADC grouping following violent
but inconclusive elections in 2008 the coalition government has helped
stabilise an economy that was nearly wrecked by runaway inflation.
Mnangagwa acknowledged as much but claimed the economic recover was
attributable to his Zanu PF party’s policies.

“It is visible that this government has brought stability and economic
growth, what is not visible is whose policies we are implementing . . . they
are Zanu PF policies,” he said.

“We introduced the multi-currency knowing it would be difficult for our
detractors to attack their own currency. That’s how we deal with the enemy
when we see he is getting closer.”


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Copac strikes out of court settlement deal

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Gift Phiri, Senior Writer
Sunday, 11 December 2011 13:17

HARARE - The Constitutional Parliamentary Select Committee (Copac), which is
spearheading the drafting of a new constitution, had been dragged to court
over an unpaid bill of $800 000 for advertising on ZBC, but has hurriedly
moved to settle part of the debt to avert a TV and radio coverage blackout.

ZBC had sued the cash-strapped Copac for failing to pay it for a wide range
of services it provided from the first all stakeholders conference right
through the public hearings on a new constitution.

These included the production of audio and video jingles broadcast on ZBC.

The Daily News on Sunday heard yesterday that ZBC was even charging for
covering Copac press conferences.

ZBC had dragged Copac to court arguing that it had approached them for
payment, but the select committee had displayed intransigent behaviour that
had left it with no choice but to rely on litigation.

The state broadcaster had sent summons to the three joint chairpersons of
Copac, Paul Mangwana, Douglas Mwonzora and Edward Mkhosi.

Mkhosi yesterday said the lawsuit has since been withdrawn and there was no
longer a threat that the constitutional process will be disrupted.

“We are owing ZBC $800 000,” Mkhosi said. “We have reached an out of court
settlement and we have so far paid a substantial amount towards paying aided
by donors."

“Our feeling is that this programme cannot be hampered by failure to pay so
that we may give as much publicity as possible to the process of drafting
the constitution."

“And ZBC has accepted that arrangement and promised to cooperate to work
with us.”

Mangwana said, “We entered into an arrangement and paid $300 000. We have
settled that issue."

The case underscores Copac’s long-standing financial woes.

Mkhosi said, “ZBC had politely denied us publicity and then went to court.”

“We have been able to put in money to sinking that debt,” he added.

Zimbabweans are hopeful that a new constitution, replacing the 1979
Lancaster House constitution, will buttress the oversight role of Parliament
and clip the President’s sweeping powers, as well as provide civil,
political and media freedoms.

The constitution-making process has entered the crucial drafting stage where
views and ideas gleaned during four months of public hearings are being
entered into a draft constitution.


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Tsvangirai fined two cows, sheep

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

11/12/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

A CHIWESHE chief convicted Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai Saturday and
fined him two cows and two sheep for violating a cultural taboo by paying
bride price in a forbidden month.

The MDC-T leader last month initiated traditional marriage formalities with
his pregnant girlfriend, Locadia Karimatsenga only to pull out of the
arrangement blaming interference by political rivals.

He refused to attend Saturday’s court hearing at Gweshe Business Centre with
his lawyers dismissing the process as defective and illegal.

However, the Karimatsenga family attended and was also fined two cows and
two sheep.
Locadia’s brother told the court the family consluted spirit mediums who
cleared to ceremony.

"I consulted the elders and they all agreed that since it was 21 November,
the traditional month had started on October 15 and ended on

November 15. We also consulted Mbuya Nehanda's spirit medium in Mazowe and
she advised us all was fine," Positive Karimatsenga said.

But Chief Negomo told him there was no authentic Nehanda spirit medium and
that they should have consulted his court before accepting the lobola.

The family was also ordered to pay 10 metres of cotton cloth and some
traditional snuff in order to appease the Negomo clan spirits.

Chief Negomo dismissed claims the hearing was politically motivated
insisting traditional leaders must ensure the country’s traditional culture
is adhered to.

"Chiefs are the custodians of the treasures of our culture and cannot fold
their hands when citizens, particularly those who occupy the highest office,
perform activities that seriously disturb the integrity and dignity of
chiefs and subjects," he said.


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More than one in ten people will need food aid next year

http://reliefweb.int/node/464224

10 Dec 2011

Report

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

The UN and aid agencies appealed today for US$268 million to help feed 1.5
million people in Zimbabwe next year, as well as to address other urgent
humanitarian needs.

More than one in ten Zimbabweans will need food assistance in the first half
of the year, and one million children under-five are at risk of
malnutrition, according to the Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) launched in
Zimbabwe’s capital Harare.

A third of rural Zimbabweans lack access to safe drinking water, and face
the threat of water-borne disease such as cholera and typhoid, the appeal
adds.

The humanitarian situation stems from the economic crisis of the early 2000s
which left many industries including manufacturing, agriculture and tourism
at near-collapse.

“The humanitarian situation has improved over the past couple of years,”
said Alain Noudéhou, UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Zimbabwe. “However
challenges still exists such as food insecurity affecting a million people,
waterborne disease outbreaks in parts of the country and mass deportations
of thousands of Zimbabweans from neighbouring countries.”

The majority of the funding will be used for food aid, as well as helping
people get better access to hygiene and sanitation. It will also help people
displaced by natural disasters and years of economic hardship, and refugees
fleeing conflicts and droughts in the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa.
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:

To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit http://unocha.org/.


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Donor fatigue hits humanitarian projects

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Gift Phiri, Senior Writer
Sunday, 11 December 2011 13:12

HARARE - The United Nations Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian
Affairs (Ocha) yesterday appealed for $268 million from international donors
to address the urgent needs of vulnerable Zimbabweans next year.

Although the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is improving, many are still
in dire need of urgent assistance.

The amount is almost half of the $478 million requested by the UN this year.

This year’s Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) attracted $218 million or 45,6
percent of the appeal.

“The humanitarian situation in the country has continued to improve over the
past couple of years,” UN humanitarian coordinator Alain Noudehou said.

“However, challenges still exist such as food insecurity affecting a million
people, waterborne disease outbreaks in parts of the country and mass
deportations of thousands of Zimbabweans from neighbouring countries.”

According to the latest Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZimVAC)
report, about a million people, representing 12 percent of the rural
population will require food assistance at the peak of the lean season
between now and March 2012.

Rates of chronic and acute child malnutrition stand at 34 percent and 2,4
percent respectively, while a third of rural Zimbabweans still drink from
unprotected water sources, which continue to expose them to waterborne
diseases.

Donor fatigue is hitting Zimbabwe at a time when the country badly needs
resources to help close a million people in need and thousands being
deported from Botswana and South Africa.

South Africa in August ended a special programme to provide visas for more
than one million undocumented immigrants who fled political and economic
turmoil in Zimbabwe, resuming mass deportations.

Following an end to a moratorium enjoyed by Zimbabwean migrants to South
Africa from April 2009, deportation of irregular migrants from South Africa
resumed in October 2011 and created new challenges as the needs of the
deportees have to be met.

“This is exacerbated by the forced return of an average 2 500 people per
month from Botswana, many of whom require humanitarian assistance,” Noudehou
said.

Cephas Zinhumwe, chief executive officer of the National Association for Non
Governmental Organisations (Nango), said cash provided by donors this year
helped tackle HIV/Aids, helping with agricultural recovery and irrigation,
supporting stressed health care facilities and preventing vulnerable
populations from becoming destitute.

He acknowledged that the appeal is facing fierce donor resistance.

“The international financial crisis has not spared us,” he said.

He called for a “multidimensional long-term recovery programme.”

Minister of Regional Integration and International Co-operation, Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga, said it was a pity that the UN was now appealing for
less cash for humanitarian interventions, and said she hoped more than 80
percent of the appeal will be bankrolled by donors.

“We actually need to increase the figures,” she said.

The donors’ representative, Ingebjorg Stofring, the Ambassador of Norway to
Zimbabwe said, “We remain committed to providing more humanitarian aid. The
humanitarian situation has improved but remains fragile with pockets of
vulnerability still evident. We believe that the CAP can significantly
strengthen the work of humanitarian agencies.”

Carol Sherman, the head of NGO Heads of Agency Forum, said their agency was
committed to lifting people out of poverty.

“We feel the CAP this year is moving in the right direction. In general it
means the country is moving from the grip of an emergency. There is no
longer a cholera crisis comparable in 2009. While there is still food
insecurity, there is no countrywide drought like in some countries, or open
conflict."

“All indicators are showing an upward trend in economic indicators.”


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Biti’s budget – a recipe for political failure

http://www.southernafricareport.com/

December 08, 2011

The massive bias of departmental budgetary allocations towards ministries
controlled by ministers from President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF continues in
Zimbabwe’s 2012 budget, passed by Parliament this week (7 December 2011).

The bias makes further conflict within the immobilised three-party
government throughout the next 12 months inevitable, further eroding the
prospects of achieving the conditions set down by SADC – and agreed by the
mutually antagonistic three governing parties – for free and fair elections.

The budgetary distortions undermine the capacity of the service-delivery
ministries, predominantly controlled by ministers from Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai’s MDC. Ironically, they are contained in a budget presented to
Parliament by MDC Finance Minister Tendai Biti.

The problem is massively compounded both by the wish-list character of
Zimbabwe’s budgetary process and the dominance of Mugabe loyalists in the
upper ranks of the civil service. Harare’s Zanu-PF civil service mandarins
ensure that Zanu-PF ministries receive significantly higher actual
allocations than do ministries controlled by MDC Ministers (see table 2011:
Budget – actual payments and 2012 budget highlights).

Nor is it helped by the massive 63% of the budget going to a bloated, and
generally under-performing, civil service – for 2012 public sector wages
grab 63% of the US$4-billion (R32-billion) budget.

In 2011 Zanu-PF ministries consistently received more than 50% of their
non-salary budget allocations. MDC Ministers had to make do with less than
half their non-salary allocations – some as low as 22%.

The first of the problems is the continued appetite among Harare’s budgetary
planners for heavy security sector, and particularly military, spending.
Objectively Zimbabwe faces no regional or international threat – despite
Zanu-PF’s attempts to portray former Rhodesians (backed by demonic Western
governments) as a clear and present danger. The reality is that those still
surviving pose a threat only as far as their Zimmer frames can reach. In
2011, actual defence spending was greater than health and education
combined. In 2012, with a 58% in defence’s budget allocation, senior civil
servants can be counted on to ensure the gap widens.

The same is true of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, also enjoying a massive
budgetary boost. Zanu-PF jealously guards control over the police, which
fall under the Department of Home Affairs. MDC Co-Minister Theresa Makone
has been physically prevented from playing any role with the police or
immigration since her appointment. The commissioner general of police,
Zanu-PF hardliner Augustine Chihuri, will not allow her into his office,
will not answer her mobile calls, and will not let her make any suggestions
at any meetings he attends. She can make no headway with immigration matters
either. She can do nothing whatsoever, nor make any contribution to the home
affairs ministry.

MDC Deputy Justice Minister Obert Gutu is the only MDC Cabinent Minister to
have spoken out on the obstacles placed in his way: writing for a Zimbabwe
publication, he says he can play no role in the portfolio, sits at a desk
without any documents to peruse, has no duties to perform, and has no
possibility of performing any functions in the ministry.

Although the MDC controls Finance, it has been unable to redress this
imbalance.

The second – but arguably more pervasive – obstacle is that of the
entrenched Zanu-PF civil service mandarins. After opening the way for the
“inclusive government” by signing the poorly drafted memorandum of
understanding with the MDC in July 2008, Mugabe ensured he kept control of
the civil service.

Once he had signed the Global Political Agreement (GPA) two months later,
Mugabe immediately began making senior appointments in violation of the GPA,
which requires all senior civil service jobs must be filled with Tsvangirai’s
“consent”. Mugabe filled every vacancy he could: judges, permanent
secretaries, provincial governors, army bosses, diplomats, the lot.

Tsvangirai protested loudly but did little else – hampered initially by
antagonism from President Thabo Mbeki’s SADC-endorsed facilitation team, and
subsequently by the delays imposed by the Mbeki team failure to provide any
handover reports on the complex and byzantine Zimbabwean political process
to President Jacob Zuma’s incoming team.

By the time the Pretoria team, with presidential International Affairs
Adviser Lindiwe Zulu on point, had got its hands on the issues, Mugabe’s
illegal and unilateral appointments had been entrenched for three years, and
the MDC had other, more substantial, problems to address.

The key MDC delivery ministries, education and health, have nevertheless
made visible progress in undoing the damage wrought by two decades of solo
Zanu-PF rule.
There are more than 7 000 state schools. More than 90% were closed, or
abandoned, or open but without learning or teaching, when the inclusive
government was sworn in to power.

The non-salary budget allocation of US$66-million (of which US$14,2-million
was actually disbursed by Biti), was to be used for minimal school
maintenance and rebuilds of a few of the most devastated schools,
particularly ablution facilities, science equipment, and curriculum
development.

There were no textbooks available in most schools at the end of Zanu-PF’s
rule which ended when the inclusive government was sworn into power in
February 2009. Western donors paid for a massive distribution of new
textbooks in 2010 and 2011.

The health sector, slightly less damaged by Mugabe’s hyperinflation, and
with more to play with – US$48-million of a theoretical US$132-million - has
fared better. In the past month foreign donors have underwritten free
healthcare for pregnant women and children under five.

The security ministries, by contrast, are able to draw down up to 83% of
their already-significant allocations, as does Mugabe’s office, which in
2011 also actually received more than health and education combined. The
US$79-million he received does not include the massive cost of the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO). The CIO is run directly from the presidency
on a budget over which Parliament exercises no oversight.

His 2011 allocation finances the minimal costs for the Cabinet office,
vehicles for 38 members of the Cabinet, and tip-offs for a vast network of
informers, and Mugabe’s own huge travel costs for 2011 which ran to about
half of the US$45-million spent on travel by government officials.

Mugabe made eight trips to Singapore in 2011, was the only head of state at
the UN’s youth summit in New York mid-year, attends each and every meeting
to which he is invited or is available to him as head of state around the
world and in the region, and usually travels with a contingent of between
30-60 officials, all drawing down handsome per diems from the Treasury (up
to US$1 500 a day). Mugabe himself takes US$10 000 a day.

Another key Zanu-PF controlled ministry is Justice. Its non-salary actuals
for 2011 - US$32-million - was higher than that for education. This ministry
plays a key role in Zanu-PF’s unremitting assault on the MDC, spending
freely to generate criminal charges with no possibility of conviction.
Hundreds of MDC-M’s officials and members are charged each year with a wide
range of largely petty offences. None of the charges so far in 2011 have
been successfully prosecuted.

It is also necessary for Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to keep his crew
of largely-incompetent and partisan judges of the higher courts satisfied,
even though the Supreme Court in particular has set some kind of regional
record for its failure to deliver judgments  - some remain pending for more
than three years.

A smaller-scale scandal is the amount spent by the prime minister’s office,
excluding salaries. Tsvangirai’s office received US$10,6-million for
himself, and deputy prime ministers Thoko Khupe and Arthur Mutambara.

Travel by the three, particularly Mutambara, gobbled up a significant part
of the 2011 budget. The PM office is a post-GPA cost centre, and therefore
inherited no Zanu-PF bureaucrats. This explains the far higher percentage of
actual funding, compared to established ministries like health and education
with their hordes of Zanu-PF bureaucrats.

Despite the absence of Zanu-PF mandarins, the PM’s office is among the most
disorganised in Harare. Among its routine functions is a weekly Council of
Ministers’ meeting, chaired by Tsvangirai. These meetings, formally
recognised in the GPA and scheduled every Thursday, are intended to offset
Mugabe’s Tuesday Cabinet meetings. Just eight have actually taken place this
year. Tsvangirai’s own MDC ministers no longer bother to turn up on
Tuesdays.

Biti runs a cash economy from tax collections and regularly a proportion of
disbursements cannot be paid on demand. The Treasury is regularly short of
cash and so regular drawdowns are sometimes partial, sometimes delayed.

He also inherited a clutch of Zanu-PF bureaucrats. Observers say Biti is
clearly nervous to delay or refuse claims from Zanu-PF security ministers.
MDC social ministers suffer in consequence, catching the short end of the
pay-out stick.

In September at a small rally in Harare Biti frankly acknowledged that
participation of his ministry in the inclusive administration had shown him
that implementation of policies depended on bureaucrats, and that the MDC
had not understood the power of this Zanu-PF bloc before entering the
inclusive government.
Some failure to access revenue is caused by obstruction from Zanu-PF
bureaucrats, and some from chronic lack of capacity, particularly at
provincial levels, to put in claims and adhere to processes.

The health and education sectors in particular have made the most dramatic
and visible recovery in the aftermath of the pre-2009 Zanu-PF disaster.

The public was anxious for these two sectors to recover quickly. They did,
to a point.

Schools and clinics reopened. Both ministers have attracted significant
donor support and Education Minister David Coltart, in particular, has
injected enormous energy into not only getting the schools back, but has
embarked on several key new policies - which he can’t get implemented
through lack of access to allocated funds.

Education and Health’s battle to secure the funds allocated also appears to
be part of a conscious Zanu-PF election strategy: Zanu-PF cannot afford to
allow health and education to do well for the MDC.


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Visitors to the Vigil – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 10th December 2011

 

 

Fresh from the Zanu PF conference in Bulawayo, Robert Mugabe materiallized at the Vigil to demand immediate elections – preferably before his 88th birthday in two months’ time. ‘No time can be lost’, he said. ‘Zimbabwe is in moral danger. No woman is safe from Morgan Tsvangirai.’

 

The aged leader, played by management team member Fungayi Mabhunu in our Mugabe mask, can be seen in our photographs leaning heavily on a crutch. But he could still wield a nifty sjambok which he brandished at Fadzai Muparutsa of Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe. Fadzai was at the Vigil with Gideon Shoko, Deputy Secretary General, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions. They were brought to us by Tor Hungwe-Olson of the Zimbabwe Europe Network to mark UN Human Rights Day.

 

Gideon passed on to Vigil supporters greetings from the workers of Zimbabwe and said how encouraged he was that we were still ‘pushing the struggle’ after nine years outside the Embassy. He said the situation at home was depressing. There were goods in the shops but most people did not have enough money. Referring to Mugabe’s call for early elections, he said he didn’t believe this was genuine. ‘It’s a gimmick for supporters’, he said. As for the constitution-making process: ‘It is moving like a tortoise – worse still, like our railways with potholes.’

 

For her part, Fadzai was shivering – not from fear of Mugabe but from the freezing weather. She told us people should not be marginalized for their sexual orientation. ‘We must come together for freedom’, she declared.

 

Other points

·         Our diary last week calling on Tsvangirai to ‘consider his position’ because of his love life caused quite a stir. It obviously reflected public opinion. But one website Nehanda Radio took the opportunity to attack us. For our response see our last website entry (http://www.zimvigil.co.uk/the-vigil-diary/351-reply-from-zimbabwe-vigil-to-accusations-by-nehanda-radio).

·         If anyone is under the impression that the Vigil is anti-MDC we would point out that next Saturday we will be hosting the MDC UK for a joint demonstration. It is part of a Free Zimbabwe Global Protest demanding action from South Africa. People will gather at the Vigil at 14.00 and then proceed to the South African High Commission around the corner.

·         But the Vigil does has problems with some elements of the MDC – such as the Deputy Mines Minister, Gift Chimanikire, who sounds like a clone of his boss Obert Mpofu of Zanu PF (Fresh row over Marange diamonds – http://www.zimbabwesituation.com/dec7_2011.html#Z5). One suspects that Chimanikire has – as Paul Simon would say ‘diamonds on the souls of his feet’.

·         It was good to have Beverley Mutandiro with us today after she celebrated a blessing of her marriage last Sunday. She said it was a wonderful occasion.  Beverley’s prayers and the leading of the singing and dancing at the Vigil are a constant inspiration.

·         Vigil management team member Moses Kandiyawo was delighted to meet up with an old school friend Tichaona Chibeya at the Vigil.  They hadn’t seen each other since primary school when they shared a desk.

·         We were pleased to see Geraldine Takwunda who tragically lost her sister in October. She thanked us for our support at such a difficult time.

 

For latest Vigil pictures check: http://www.flickr.com/photos/zimbabwevigil/. Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.

 

FOR THE RECORD: 86 signed the register.

 

EVENTS AND NOTICES:

·         The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is http://www.rohrzimbabwe.org/. Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

·         ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

·         The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: www.imusicafrica.com and to watch the video check: http://ourvigil.notlong.com. To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: http://Shungurudza.notlong.com and http://blooddiamonds.notlong.com.

·         Free Zimbabwe Global Protest. Saturday 17th December from 2 – 4 pm. MDC UK will be joining the Vigil to demand action from South Africa.  The protest will move to the South African High Commission during the afternoon.

·         ROHR Manchester Vigil. Saturday 31st December from 2 – 5 pm. Venue: Cathedral Gardens, Manchester City Centre (subject to change to Piccadilly Gardens). Contact; Delina Tafadzwa Mutyambizi 07775313637, Chamunorwa Chihota 07799446404, Panyika Karimanzira 07551062161, Artwell Pfende 07886839353.

·         Vigil Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8157345519&ref=ts.

·         Vigil Myspace page: http://www.myspace.com/zimbabwevigil.

·         ‘Through the Darkness’, Judith Todd’s acclaimed account of the rise of Mugabe.  To receive a copy by post in the UK please email confirmation of your order and postal address to ngwenyasr@yahoo.co.uk and send a cheque for £10 payable to “Budiriro Trust” to Emily Chadburn, 15 Burners Close, Burgess Hill, West Sussex RH15 0QA. All proceeds go to the Budiriro Trust which provides bursaries to needy A Level students in Zimbabwe.

 

Vigil co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk.


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Bill Watch - Parliamentary Committees Series - 10th December 2011 [Meetings Open to Public 12-15 December]

BILL WATCH

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES SERIES

[10th December 2011]

Committee Meetings Open to the Public: 12th to 15th December

The meetings listed below will be open to members of the public, but as observers only, not as participants, i.e. members of the public can listen but not speak.  The meetings will be held at Parliament in Harare, entrance on Kwame Nkrumah Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets.

[Note: This bulletin is based on the latest information released by Parliament on 9th December.  But, as there are sometimes last-minute changes to the meetings schedule, persons wishing to attend a meeting should avoid possible disappointment by checking with the relevant committee clerk [see below] that the meeting is still on and still open to the public.  Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 and 252936.  If attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance to Parliament.  IDs must be produced.]

Monday 12th December at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Natural Resources, Environment and Tourism

Oral evidence from Parks and Wild Life Authority on recent operations in Hwange National Park

Committee Room No. 311

Chairperson: Hon M. Moyo                       Clerk: Mr Munjenge

Thursday 15th December at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Media, Information and Communication Technology

Oral evidence on the operations of ZIMPOST

Committee Room No. 413

Chairperson: Hon S. Moyo                        Clerk: Mr Mutyambizi

Thursday 15th December at 11 am

Thematic Committee: Indigenisation and Empowerment

(1)  Oral evidence from Indigenisation and Empowerment Board on the state and management of the Indigenisation and Empowerment Fund

(2)  Oral evidence from the Zimbabwe Miners Federation on the Federation’s activities

Committee Room No. 311

Chairperson: Hon Mutsvangwa                Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika

 

Other Committee Activities for the Week

Some committees will be travelling:

·        the Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs will be paying fact-finding visits to Plumtree and Beitbridge border posts

·        the Thematic Committee on Human Rights will be paying fact-finding visits to Khami, Binga and Hwange prisons from 12th to 14th December 

·        the Portfolio Committee on Health and Child Welfare will be conducting public hearings round the country on hospital user fees from 13th to 16th December [itinerary to be notified by separate bulletin]

·        the Thematic Committee on MDGs will be conducting public hearings in Mashonaland Central, Manicaland, Masvingo and Matabeleland South on MDG 2 [achieving universal primary education by 2015] [itinerary to be notified by separate bulletin].

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

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