The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

Air Zimbabwe Plane Impounded In London

http://www.radiovop.com

London, December 12, 2011 - Zimbabwe’s ailing state run airline, Air
Zimbabwe’s woes worsened on Monday after one of its planes was impounded in
London by a United States company.

Informed sources told Radio VOP that Air Zimbabwe’s long haul aircraft, a
Boeing 767-200 known as Victoria Falls, was seized by American General
Supplies upon landing at London’s Gatwick International Airport on Monday
morning from Harare International Airport.

American General Suppliers secured a court injunction in the US that gave
them the power to impound the aircraft over US$ 1, 2 million debts,
according to a source on Monday.

“The AGS has impounded our Boeing 767 flight to London over unpaid debts.
The plane was supposed to leave Harare on Sunday morning but it only left
around 5PM because of the problems. Unfortunately it was then impounded and
this is going to affect the workers who have not been paid over the past six
months,” a senior staff member who requested anonymity told Radio VOP.

Air Zimbabwe acting chief executive officer, Innocent Mavhunga, could not
give a comment over the issue saying he was attending to meetings.

“I can’t give you a comment at the moment because I am in meetings. You can
try to get in touch with me after three hours,” said Mavhunga before
switching off his mobile phone.

However, Air Zimbabwe board chairman Jonathan Kadzura confirmed that indeed
the plane had been impounded due to non-payment of debts but blamed the
situation on the Ministry of Finance and inclusive government.

“From our part we are very clear that this issue is political and we are
hoping that the Finance Minister Tendai Biti will be able to see what we
mean when we say he should support the parastatal. Surely the government has
the capacity to pay the outstanding US$1,2 million debt,” said Kadzura.

“They (American General Supplies want their debt settled in full plus costs.
We can see more attachments (of aircraft) coming,” said other sources, who
asked not to be named as they are not authorised to speak on behalf of the
airline.

The impounding of the aircraft follows the seizure of one of Air Zimbabwe’s
plane, a Boeing 737-500 which was confiscated by South Africa’s Bid Air
Services two weeks ago over a $500 000 debt for ground handling services.

Another international company, ASECNA has already secured a court ruling in
France over which it could impound Air Zimbabwe's airplanes due to an
overdue debt, while British Airport Transport and American General Supplies,
a major supplier of aircraft spares to Air Zimbabwe, had warned that they
could suspend services due to accumulating arrears.

Once rated as one of the best airlines in Africa, Air Zimbabwe has been run
down due to successive years of mismanagement and inadequate funding.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim under siege: PM

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

By Xolisani Ncube, Staff Writer
Monday, 12 December 2011 10:04

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has revealed shocking statistics
of human rights abuses against ordinary Zimbabweans, human rights defenders
and journalists.

In a speech read on his behalf by Women Affairs deputy minister Jessie
Majome during a weekend commemoration to mark the United Nations Human
Rights Day in Harare, Tsvangirai said at least 20 cases of abuse are being
reported on a daily basis since January this year.

“Since January, an average of over 20 human rights violations have 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 waged by
the brave sons and daughters of this land,” said Tsvangirai.

The figures revealed by Tsvangirai come at the time when arrests of
journalists, media monitors and human rights defenders remain high while
resurgent political violence has put the country in panic mode as citizens
fear a return to the 2008 instability.

In the past months, over a dozen of journalists have been arrested for doing
their work while human rights campaigners are under siege.

Tsvangirai attributed this increase to a small cabal of “overzealous” state
players whom he said have resisted accepting the new political dispensation
of inclusivity.

“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.

“Sadly basic freedoms of assembly, of speech, association and movement
remain under attack from the remnant edifices of repression that you human
rights work tirelessly and fearlessly every day to remove,” he said.

Tsvangirai was forced to form a coalition government with arch rival
President Robert Mugabe of Zanu PF after a disputed presidential election in
2008. Tsvangirai won first round voting but boycotted the subsequent runoff
citing gross violence as Zanu PF mounted a vicious comeback campaign.

Sadc had to intervene by way of mediation, leading to the formation of a
coalition government of the bitter rivals, who once worked closely when
Tsvangirai, himself a former Zanu PF member, was still leader of Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions before the labour federation cut ties with Zanu PF
in the late 90s.

Human rights activists claim that the situation on the ground has remained
dangerous with ordinary people living in constant fear of supporters of
Mugabe’s supporters.

Tsvangirai said the recently held inter-party anti violence indaba could
only be helpful if all political leaders remain honest to the call of ending
hostilities.

“The onus is now on us to make sure that the message of non-violence
cascades to the lowermost structures; the branches and the cells to enable
the people to live in peace regardless of political, religious or racial
differences,” said Tsvangirai.

“We owe it not only to ourselves, but to future generations to create an
atmosphere of hope, peace, stability, prosperity, tolerance and
development,” he said.

Okay Machisa, chairperson of Crisis in Coalition of Zimbabwe said government
has failed to protect vulnerable civilians.

“We want to tell those police officers who always want to arrest us for no
reason to stop it and be professional, they must be friends of the people
not enemies,” said Machisa.

His words were seconded by Nelson Chamisa, a Tsvangirai appointee to the
Information, Communications and Technology ministry, who said the state
should be a leading human rights defender.

“With the help of police officers, government should be a leading human
rights defender and all these other civil societies come in to help. But now
government is a perpetrator. We have lost our mandate as government. We must
go back to our core duty of protecting civilians,” said Chamisa.

With elections set for next year or in 2013, human rights activists fear
that the situation could worsen as Mugabe and Zanu PF fight to reclaim their
old status.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe in more double-speak over violence

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Lance Guma
12 December 2011

Robert Mugabe surprised delegates at the ZANU PF conference in Bulawayo last
week when he blasted them for using violence to win elections. The 87 year
old, long accused of relying on violence in his 31 year rule, had a dig at
some of his lieutenants saying they used violence to cow the electorate into
voting for them.

“The point is why we are afraid of the MDC if we believe we have the
policies that can deliver Zimbabweans out of their problems. We in ZANU PF
must denounce violence. It is not a cure to our problems. We do not need it.
Let us adhere to our values and principles,” Mugabe is reported to have told
stunned delegates.

Mugabe lost presidential elections in March 2008 and relied on a murderous
campaign of retribution to stay in power. Codenamed ‘Operation Mavhotera
Papi -Where Did You Vote?’ units from the army, police and state security
agencies targeted perceived opposition supporters countrywide.

The campaign is estimated to have claimed the lives of more than 500
opposition supporters and maimed tens of thousands more. Eventually the
mediation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), led by South
Africa, created a compromise coalition government which kept Mugabe firmly
in power.

Mugabe has often been accused of preaching peace for the sake of
international headlines while quietly urging supporters to ‘bash’ the enemy.
As an example, during the Independence Day celebrations in April this year
he called for an end to politically motivated violence.

“Your leadership in the inclusive government urges you to desist from any
acts of violence that will cause harm to others and become a blight on our
society. As Zimbabweans, we need to foster an environment of tolerance and
treat each other with dignity and respect irrespective of age, gender, race,
ethnicity, tribe, political or religious affiliation,” Mugabe said.

A day after Mugabe’s speech, MDC-T supporter Shadreck Malunga was assaulted
by a group of soldiers at Chipadze Shopping Centre in Bindura. He was
assaulted after refusing to contribute towards the independence celebrations
for the province. He was rushed to hospital after sustaining deep cuts on
the mouth, knees and ribs.

The violence continued in Hwedza, with war vets raiding villages and seizing
shortwave radios, while in Epworth ZANU PF militants besieged the area
taking plots of land away from MDC supporters and forcing them to attend
ZANU PF all night vigils. In Masvingo, notorious war vets leader Jabulani
Sibanda was back in the province intimidating and threatening villagers to
support ZANU PF.

Cue in another speech by Mugabe in September, when he opened a new session
of parliament saying there should be no more political violence. But outside
parliament his supporters were busy beating up people. Mobs of ZANU PF
youths chanted slogans and turned on anyone who refused to respond to their
slogans.

Mugabe could stop the violence in Zimbabwe over night – if he really wanted
to.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe urges supporters to attack opponents in bid to seek re-election

http://www.thezimbabwemail.com

by 12 hours 7 minutes ago

BULAWAYO - In a chilling address to party loyalists, Robert Mugabe urged
them to start attacking opponents in preparation for elections as the
inclusive government has outlived its usefulness

Mugabe was speaking when he officially closed the party’s 12th Annual
National People’s Conference in Bulawayo yesterday.

He said the country’s ancestors fought bravely to resist settler domination,
a spirit which inspired sons and daughters of Zimbabwe to take up arms and
fight for freedom and urged his supporters not to let them down and warned
the opposition that he would do anything to seek re-election.

Mugabe said Zimbabweans will always fight to defend the sovereignty of their
country and in this message.

Zimbabweans know excatly what that means in the President's book.

He said Zanu-PF is not only a nationalist party but a revolutionary one that
believes in proceeding on the consensus of the people and warned that they'd
not allow elections to stop the revolution.

The President thanked sister political parties who came to show solidarity
with Zanu-PF.

He however castigated the MDC for neglecting the people in pursuit of
personal gains.

The President said "What ideas do they have for the people? They spend time
looking for girlfriends and cannot even come up with a choice and cannot
spend time with the people.

"They do not think about the people, it's money, pleasure............."

'They have no policies for the people, hanzi Chinja. Chinja Chii? Chinja
vakadzi".

Mugabe also said the party is an independent party and not a puppet one.

Mugabe admited his party is ravaged by divisions and noted that there are
factions in all the provinces but those who should be put on positions of
power should be voted on merit in accordance with the people’s choice and
not on favouratism of any sort.

He said the party seeks friendship and solidarity with friends in the region
and with all those countries who are allies to the party.

Mugabe said the relationship with the region is based on common history and
culture.

He thanked the people of Bulawayo for hosting the conference and the
tremendous support the party received from the people.

Mugabe said he will not let the party down by retiring, when the west is
still imposing illegal sanctions on the country, and the notion of regime
change is still in existence.

Meanwhile, the European Union (EU) is said to be concerned about worsening
violence in Zimbabwe, which an MEP has said is reason for targeted
‘sanctions’ against ZANU PF to remain in place.

MEP Geoffrey Van Orden, who spearheads the European Parliament’s campaign
for democratic change in Zimbabwe, said in a statement that they are worried
because of “a recent upsurge in violence against those that oppose (Robert)
Mugabe.”

Van Orden’s comments followed a discussion in Brussels this week which was
addressed by Lovemore Madhuku and Munjodzi Mutandiri, both from the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA). The discussion focused on the ongoing
constitutional drafting process and the need for free and fair elections in
Zimbabwe.

Van Orden said in a statement: “Elections are not a single event but a
lengthy process. They have to take place before April 2013. A road map to
elections needs to be set out, and vital to this is a new Constitution.

SADC, the Commonwealth and the wider international community should now do
all that they can to support improved electoral arrangements, including
voter registration and electoral education. There must also be complete
freedom of the media and an end to all politically-motivated violence.”

He added: “The EU’s ‘restrictive measures’ which target Mugabe and his inner
circle must remain in place until there is real evidence of change. These
measures do not harm the Zimbabwean people, and are aimed exclusively at the
clique which keeps Mugabe in power.”


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Prime Minister demands Gukurahundi justice

http://www.thezimbabwemail.com/

by 57 minutes ago

HARARE - Zimbabwean coalition government Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
says it is "unacceptable" that perpetrators of the 1980’s Gukurahundi
atrocities and subsequent human rights violations continue to walk free
while their victims cry out for justice.

The MDC-T leader was speaking at an event to mark the United Nations Human
Rights Day in Harare on Monday.

Tsvangirai said the Human Rights Commission established last year as part of
a raft GPA reforms could not act against those responsible for alleged mass
killings in the Matebeleland and Midlands regions in the 80’s.

Rights groups say over 20,000 civilians, mainly supporters of President
Robert Mugabe’s then chief rival Dr Joshua Nkomo, were killed and thousands
more driven away from their homes after the Zanu PF leader deployed a crack
army unit to deal with what was described as a dissident menace in the two
regions.

Tsvangirai said a clause inserted in the Human Rights Bill, preventing the
Commission from dealing with abuses committed prior to 2009, was “absurd and
unacceptable”.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

EU ‘concerned’ over Zim violence upsurge

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

The European Union (EU) is said to be concerned about worsening violence in
Zimbabwe, which an MEP has said is reason for targeted ‘sanctions’ against
ZANU PF to remain in place.
12.12.1108:09am
by Alex Bell

MEP Geoffrey Van Orden, who spearheads the European Parliament’s campaign
for democratic change in Zimbabwe, said in a statement that they are worried
because of “a recent upsurge in violence against those that oppose (Robert)
Mugabe.”

Van Orden’s comments followed a discussion in Brussels this week which was
addressed by Lovemore Madhuku and Munjodzi Mutandiri, both from the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA). The discussion focused on the ongoing
constitutional drafting process and the need for free and fair elections in
Zimbabwe.

Van Orden said in a statement: “Elections are not a single event but a
lengthy process. They have to take place before April 2013. A road map to
elections needs to be set out, and vital to this is a new Constitution.

SADC, the Commonwealth and the wider international community should now do
all that they can to support improved electoral arrangements, including
voter registration and electoral education. There must also be complete
freedom of the media and an end to all politically-motivated violence.”

He added: “The EU’s ‘restrictive measures’ which target Mugabe and his inner
circle must remain in place until there is real evidence of change. These
measures do not harm the Zimbabwean people, and are aimed exclusively at the
clique which keeps Mugabe in power.”


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

6 Acquited; Trial of Williams and Mahlangu begins

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

WOZA members acquitted while Williams and Mahlangu appear on Trial 12
December 2011. For legal documents http://wozazimbabwe.org/?p=1023 SIX women
were granted a discharge by Bulawayo Magistrate.
12.12.1106:22am
by WOZA

They were arrested on Wednesday 18 May 2011 and spent 6 days in police cells
before being charged with contravening section 140 of Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform Act) Chapter 9:23, malicious damage to property.
Magistrate Roselyn Dube on 9 December 2011 acquitted the six, they had faced
a fine or imprisonment. The court victory was secured by the chief officer,
Lizwe Jamela of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who defended the six
members.

Public Prosecutor Jeremiah Mutsindikwa failed to prove that the six women
had painted messages on a Bulawayo road. Some of the messages were: 'power
to the poor people' and 'police stop abusing our rights', 'Yes to power,
Pre-paid meters for all', and 'No to violence - Woza'.

The matter had over 10 sittings of the trial since August. It began with the
hearing of defence witnesses and a staff member of the City Council,
Engineer Douglas Lengama Ncube. Key evidence leading to the discharge was
the testimony of the Engineer who told the court that he had signed his
statement written by the police without scrutinising it in detail.

Another key moment was reached when the Investigating officer Moyo had to
take the stand and explain how he arrested the women. He testified that he
had not arrested the women but had just been assigned the case without his
direct involvement. As a result of this statement, he refused to comment on
the case merits.

On 12 December 2011, Jennifer Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu will face
Kidnap and Theft charges in Tredgold Magistrates Court. The two were
arrested on 21 September 2011, denied bail and sent to prison before the
High Court granted them bail.

The state is set to nominate a special magistrate and prosecutor for the
case. A Supreme Court ruling found that Williams and Mahlangu right to
freedom of protest was obstructed by a 2008 arrest. As a result, no
conviction for protest related charges can be successfully made against the
two. Many police officers have threatened the two to fix them with criminal
charges and therefore this case is viewed as an attempt to fix the duo with
criminal charges.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Media monitoring group workers remain locked up

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Lance Guma
12 December 2011

Three staff members from the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ),
arrested last week Monday, remain in police custody after their bail was set
aside on Friday using controversial legislation.

Fadzai December, Molly Chimhanda and Gilbert Mabusa, have been detained in
Gwanda charged with conducting a meeting without permission. On Wednesday
last week they appeared at the Gwanda Magistrates Court, where the State
opposed their release on bail. The ruling was postponed until Friday.

When Friday came the State prosecutor invoked the controversial Section 121
of the Criminal Procedures Act, which gives the State seven days to lodge an
appeal against the bail. This means the MMPZ staffers will know their fate
Friday this week.

The MMPZ issued a statement saying that the suspension of bail was
‘malicious’ and intended to deprive “Fadzai, Molly and Gilbert of their
right to freedom.” Last week police also raided the offices of the MMPZ,
before detaining and questioning its director Andy Moyse.

Police are reported to have seized hundreds of CD’s, which they claimed
contained information on the Gukurahundi Massacres and other ‘subversive’
material ‘prejudicial to the state.”


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Army says hit by sanctions

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

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

THE Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) is struggling to meet its day-to-day basic
operational needs as sanctions imposed by the West continue to bite.

A senior officer admitted in Bulawayo that army training programmes were
being carried out under “extremely” difficult conditions.
Colonel Josiah Kadumba was speaking at the pass-out parade for 60 officers
who had completed their training at Inkomo Barracks.

"The course was conducted under extremely hard conditions which led to fuel
shortages for exercise and basic necessities to sustain their course,” he
said.
"However, the soldiers endured to meet the required standards despite these
challenges."

Western countries imposed sanctions against the country more than a decade
ago over allegations of electoral fraud and human rights abuses.

President Robert Mugabe insists the sanctions were meant to punish the
country for its land reforms, a refrain repeated by Colonel Kadumba.

"Western countries imposed illegal sanctions on Zimbabwe in a bid to
frustrate efforts made by Government to address the land issue since 2000,”
he said urging the graduating officers to remain vigilant despite the
operational difficulties.

"As loyal servicemen and women we should be fully aware that the hardships
we are currently experiencing are just but a passing phase."

President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF is pushing for the removal of the
sanctions arguing they are harming ordinary people and holding back efforts
to rebuild the country’s shattered economy.

However, the Western countries claim the sanctions are only targeted at
individuals and companies connected with human rights violations in the
country and will not be removed until progress is made in implementing
political reforms.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Econet launches free MMS trial period

http://www.swradioafrica.com/

By Alex Bell
12 December 2011

Cellular network provider Econet has launched a free trial period of its
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), which will be available to Econet
customers on an unlimited basis until the end of the year.

Users need to have an MMS equipped cell phone, which has been a standard
feature on many phones for the last five or six years. All MMS messages will
have a one megabyte limit, and as of January 2012 will cost 15 cents per
message during peak periods and a cent less off peak.

Critically for Zimbabweans, MMS allows people to share pictures, audio or
video files as easily as sending a normal SMS.

MMS, much like an SMS, is a pay per message service that allows anyone with
an MMS supported cell phone to share multimedia content. Like SMS, sending
and receiving the messages is dependent on the mobile network’s coverage
and, in Econet’s case, MMS is possible through its 3G network.

MMS is widely considered an ‘old’ technology in an age where internet based
messaging services have taken over the comparatively ‘traditional’ SMS type
service.

The advent of smart phone technology means more people are using systems
like Blackberry Messenger, iMessage on iPhone and downloadable free smart
phone apps like WhatsApp to share content, without paying individual message
rates. These services all depend on mobile internet access rather than
network coverage and by bypassing the cell phone providers in this way,
messaging on these formats is cheaper.

It’s for this reason that Econet Broadband Chief Commercial Officer, Leon de
Fleuriot, has said that the MMS platform is unlikely to be a key service. He
told the TechZim technology news website last week that this kind of service
has been largely superseded by the more advanced internet based messaging
systems.

But Promise Mkwananzi, the Secretary General of the MDC-T Youth Assembly,
said the launch of MMS is a “progressive and welcome move,” which he said
“will definitely be embraced by more people than Econet expects.”

“A picture speaks a million times more loudly than words. And a picture
never lies. This service will allow Zimbabweans to present picture evidence
of what is happening in our country, like the violence that ZANU PF denies,”
Mkwananzi said.

He explained that for years the channels of communication to “show the world
what is happening,” have been blocked, making it difficult to share pictures
and videos. He added that this move by Econet “is a tremendous improvement
in sharing critical information.”

“We really encourage people to familiarise themselves with this technology,
and grab it with both hands and utilise it,” Mkwananzi said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Is another cholera epidemic on the way?

http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportID=94452
Photo: WHO/Paul Garwood
A nurse taking care of a child cholera patient during the 2008/2009 outbreak of the waterborne disease
HARARE, 12 December 2011 (IRIN) - Waterborne diseases, such as typhoid, dysentery and watery diarrhoea - all approaching epidemic levels - are creating concerns that conditions exist for a reprise of the 2008/09 cholera epidemic, which killed more than 4,000 people and infected nearly 100,000 others.

The
Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for Zimbabwe, launched on 9 December, is asking for US$268 million for humanitarian assistance in 2012. The CAP highlights a decade of “neglect” of the country’s water sanitation and hygiene sector (WASH), which has left 8 million people, or about two-thirds of the population, “with limited access to WASH and health services”.

“A third of rural Zimbabweans still drink from unprotected water sources and are thus exposed to waterborne diseases. While cholera incidence is significantly decreased compared to past years, localized outbreaks continued in 2011 due to poor infrastructure for water, sanitation, hygiene and health,” the CAP pointed out.

Since the year-long cholera epidemic, which spilled across the border into neighbouring South Africa, donors have spent about $80 million on the sector, although the Country Status Overview (CSO2) Report for Zimbabwe, by the World Bank and the government, estimates that to salvage the sector and “bring basic services to reliable and sustainable levels both in rural and urban areas” will require an annual investment of $800 million.

The CAP has earmarked $23.6 million for WASH in 2012, the third-highest sector appeal. Food is allocated $127 million, and agriculture $32 million. It is projected that about one million people will require food assistance in the first quarter of 2012, as “Rates for chronic and acute child malnutrition still stand at 34 percent and 2.4 percent respectively.”


Read more
Typhoid spreads amid water shortage
One million need food assistance
Thousands of girls forced out of education
In recent months hundreds of typhoid cases have been reported in the capital, Harare, mostly in the densely populated Dzivarasekwa township.

Intermittent water supplies in urban areas because of the dilapidated water and sanitation infrastructure, the start of the rainy season, and cut-offs of water to households unable to pay their bills, have forced the urban poor to sink shallow wells, which are easily contaminated. Media reports say shallow wells in Dzivarasekwa have tested positive for typhoid.

The latest Zimbabwe Weekly Epidemiological Bulletin, for weeks 46 and 47, published jointly by Zimbabwe’s health ministry and World Health Organization, say dysentery and diarrhoea are approaching epidemic levels, although there are no confirmed cases of cholera in the bulletin for these weeks.

Monitoring

A health sector official, who declined to be identified, told IRIN that cases of watery diarrhoea in Chipinge and other parts of the eastern province of Manicaland were being closely watched after reports of a suspected outbreak of cholera, but this has not been officially confirmed.

A senior official of a humanitarian NGO, who also did not wish to be named, told IRIN: “We are closely monitoring the situation and will only comment and activate our programmes if the presence of cholera is officially confirmed.”

Cephas Zinhumwe, head of the National Association of Non Governmental Organizations (NANGO), an umbrella group for NGOs, told IRIN that “The resurgence of waterborne diseases like typhoid and cholera [although unconfirmed], the risk of malaria in the presence of collapsing waste management services and excessive heat, are equally disturbing developments.”

Despite a bleak outlook for WASH, “Major potential disasters have been contained and many utilities, including in Harare, are now strengthened and able to provide more reliable services,” the CAP noted.

“In rural areas, although situations have improved and the incidence of cholera emergencies has reduced throughout the country, there are still highly vulnerable areas like Chipinge and Chiredzi in the eastern and southeastern parts of Zimbabwe,” the CAP said, “where situations contributing to cholera outbreaks have not yet been fully put under control, and unnecessary loss of life due to cholera and other WASH-related diseases still continues.”

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bushmeat trade driving illegal hunting in Zimbabwe park

http://news.mongabay.com/

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
December 12, 2011


Bushmeat hunting is one of the major threats to mammals in sub-Saharan Africa. Although widely discussed and recognized as an issues in Central and West Africa, a new study in mongabay.com's open access journal Tropical Conservation Science describes a pattern of bushmeat hunting that is also occurring in southern Africa. Interviewing 114 locals living adjacent to Gonarezhou National Park in Zimbabwe, Edson Gandiwa with Wageningen University found that the primary drivers of illegal hunting in the park were bushmeat and personal consumption (68 percent).

"Although law enforcement patrols attempt to control illegal hunting, the expected economic benefits from the sale of bushmeat, derived from wild animals, are far greater than the costs associated with a low probability of arrest and punitive fines; thus illegal hunting is a persistent, widespread problem for animal species conservation," writes the author.

A quarter of all respondents had seen bushmeat or wild animal parts being sold in their village in the last six months. Most stated that bushmeat was hunted "as a source of protein to alleviate poverty."

Wire snares confiscated in Zimbabwe. Photo by: Patience Gandwina.
Wire snares confiscated in Zimbabwe. Photo by: Patience Gandwina.
Hunting was most often conducted with snares, while the use of dogs and bows-and-arrows came in second and third, respectively. Poisoning of big predators has also become a major issue.

"Poisoning, mostly using herbicides and pesticides, was reportedly used in revenge killings of large carnivores such as spotted hyenas and lions as a way to reduce livestock-carnivore conflicts," the author writes, nothing that in one of the four villages surveyed, 38 percent of respondents listed poisoning as a hunting method. Overall 24 percent of respondents listed poisoning as a known method for hunting. S

Impala (Aepyceros melampus), kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), Burchell’s zebra (Equus quagga), and African buffalo (Syncerus caffer) were the most popular targets of hunters. But 10 percent of respondents also reported the hunting of spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta), leopards (Panthera pardus), and lions (Panthera leo).

In order to stem illegal hunting the author recommends more law enforcement with follow-through on punishments, environmental education and awareness, and better methods to reduce revenge killing of carnivores, including considering supplying "bushmeat from legal sources to affected communities."

CITATION: Gandiwa, E. 2011. Preliminary assessment of illegal hunting by communities adjacent to the northern Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe. Tropical Conservation Science Vol. 4(4):445-467.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Govt strategy needed for RBZ debt

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Business Writer
Monday, 12 December 2011 10:14

HARARE - Economic analyst, Eric Bloch says government needs to come up with
a clear strategy on how to deal with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe’s (RBZ)
$1,1 billion debt.

The Bulawayo-based economist said the situation had been worsened by failure
of Finance Minister Tendai Biti in his 2012 Budget , to make a provision to
clear the RBZ dues.

“The RBZ owes about $1.1 billion to various companies like in the mining
sector, after it expropriated their money in 2009 and it is regrettable that
government is yet to pay up the debt,” Bloch said at a national budget
review meeting.

Bloch said silence by the finance minister in his budget statement on the
debt had a negative development, as it perpetuated lack of confidence by the
private sector in the country.

“These debts also dampen some companies to have interest in investing or
expanding their operations in the country,” said Bloch.

Many companies including non-governmental organisations in the country had
their money expropriated by the RBZ about two years ago and are still to be
repaid.

According to figures released by RBZ Governor Gideon Gono, the apex bank
owes more than $80 million to three central banks including $49,8 million to
the Malaysian Central Bank.

External financial institutions, suppliers, corporates and other governments
are owed over $561 million with $220,8 million being due to the Equatorial
Guinea for a 2006/7 fuel importation facility among its various creditors.

The government was last year forced to invoked the Presidential Powers
(Temporary Measures) Act to protect RBZ assets from being attached by
various creditors.

Republic of Korea recently revealed that it had suspended the processing of
a $50 million line of credit due to $2,8 million owed to the Asian country
for tractors delivered during the farm mechanisation exercise four years
ago.

Parliament last year passed legislation curtailing the central bank from
engaging in quasi-fiscal activities.

The amendment of the RBZ Act has seen it refocusing its activities around
bank licensing, supervision and surveillance; financial markets and sector
stability; exchange control; economic research and policy enhancement;
anti-money laundering and prevention of terrorist financing; bank to
government and lender of last resort activities; and policy and price
stability advice to government.

The situation has resulted in departments such as mechanisation, parastatals
and special projects being shut down while others have been downsized
resulting in the retrenchment of 1 455 employees in January.

The bank has also embarked on the disposal of its interest in seven non-core
companies as part of its efforts to recapitalise.

The companies up for grabs include a 58.75 percent shareholding in listed
Tractive Power Holdings Pvt , 70 percent stake in Tuli Coal, 50 percent of
Transload and a 64.9 percent stake in Astra Holdings among others.

Biti has however availed a $100 million fund to the RBZ for its function as
a lender of last resort , with the funds being administered by international
financial institutions and a regional financier.

The lender of last resort role was revived in February this year after RBZ
got funding from Treasury.

The central bank had last performed that role in 2008 leaving banks
vulnerable in the event of problems in the sector.

A lender of last resort is an institution, usually a country’s central bank,
which offers loans to banks or other eligible institutions that are
experiencing financial constraints, are considered high risk or are near
collapse.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zim rejects Barclays, Stanchart offers

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

12/12/2011 00:00:00
by Gilbert Nyambabvu

THE government has told British banks, Barclays Plc and Standard Chartered
Plc to stump-up more after rejecting as inadequate their plans to cede 10
percent stakes as part of efforts to comply with the country’s empowerment
laws.

Empowerment Minister, Saviour Kasukuwere said Monday the offers by the two
UK banks were "paltry", adding discussions would however continue with
thetwo banks.

"We have said to them the fact that you are giving us carrots does not
change the law," he said. "If they had that (10 percent) proposal some 5-7
years ago we shouldn't be talking about indigenisation."

South Africa's Standard Bank Group presented a more "comprehensive plan" for
its Stanbic Zimbabwe operation which the government was reviewing,
Kasukuwere said.

President Robert Mugabe's drive to force foreign companies to surrender at
least 51 percent shares to locals has unnerved overseas investors and
further divided his the coalition government formed in 2009 with long-time
rival and, now, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai recently blasted the policy claiming it would not help solve the
country’s unemployment crisis.

"Jobs are created by ensuring that you increase the size of the cake not
shrinking the small cake,” the MDC-T leader told supporters at a recent
rally in Plumtree.

“Jobs are not created by forcibly taking over part of established companies,
but by ensuring that there are more companies opening. That’s where we
differ with Zanu PF on indigenisation.”

Central Bank chief, Gideon Gono has also urged a re-think of the policy
arguing the model being pursued by the government would only benefit a few.
But Mugabe vowed to press ahead with a programme at the just-ended Zanu PF
national conference in Bulawayo.

"We will not reverse this policy. Let no one deceive themselves that it's
devised for the elections. No, it's a fundamental policy," Mugabe said.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Implats Zimbabwe JV gives 10 pct to locals -minister

http://af.reuters.com

Mon Dec 12, 2011 4:39pm GMT

* Stake first phase of complying with empowerment law

* Kasukuwere says Barclays, StanChart offers paltry

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Dec 12 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's Mimosa mine, a joint venture between
Impala Platinum and Aquarius , has given a 10 percent stake to locals, a
government minister said on Monday, as it aims to meet a controversial law
on local ownership.

British banks Barclays Plc and Standard Chartered Plc have also offered to
sell 10 percent stakes in their local units, although the government
believes that is not enough, Youth and Empowerment Minister Saviour
Kasukuwere said.

President Robert Mugabe's drive to force mines and banks to surrender at
least 51 percent shares to locals has unnerved overseas investors and
further divided the government Mugabe formed with rival Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai in 2009.

"This is the first phase of (Mimosa's) compliance, they have given 10
percent shareholding to the community after reaching an agreement with the
community, and have already signed," Kasukuwere told reporters.

In a statement, Aquarius confirmed Mimosa had signed an agreement with
Zvishavane Community Share Ownership Trust, set up to benefit the
communities surrounding the mine.

It said issuing equity to Zvishavane was an "indivisible part of a final
indigenisation plan", which is still under discussion in talks between
Mimosa and the government .

The offers from the two UK banks, however, were "paltry", Kasukuwere said,
adding the government would also continue discussions with the lenders.

"We have said to them the fact that you are giving us carrots does not
change the law," he said. "If they had that (10 percent) proposal some 5-7
years ago we shouldn't be talking about indigenisation."

Kasukuwere said South Africa's Standard Bank Group had presented a
"comprehensive plan" for selling a stake in its Stanbic Zimbabwe unit to
locals which the government was reviewing.

Cash-strapped Zimbabwe has no money to pay for the majority stakes it is
claiming but Kasukuwere has previously said the government owned the
minerals in the ground and would use their value to calculate shareholding
in the mining companies.

Mugabe told supporters at an annual conference over the weekend that he
would not back down from pursuing the programme some critics fear may damage
the recovery of an economy emerging from a decade of decline.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Rio Zim botched recapitalisation drags Mining Index into red

http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk

The Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE's) Mining Index knocked off -25.04
points -22,06 percent to a low of 88,49 percent for the week as
recapitalisation woes at the debt ridden technically insolvent mining house,
Rio Zimbabwe Limited (RioZim) took a turn for the worst.
12.12.1107:04am
by Ngoni Chanakira Harare

The wheels came off Rio's ambitious $60 million recapitalisation plan at the
final huddle when shareholders rejected all proposals tabled by management
for a Rights Issue and debt to equity swap.

The Mining Index caught a cold shedding and the largest single weekly loss
since dollarisation.

RioZim itself closed the week down 32 percent (16c) at its own all time low
of 34c post dollarisation with signs of selling pressure.

Fellow mining house Hwange Colliery Company Limited that is also in the
grips of proposed recapitalisations was also caught up in the furor falling
27,3 percent to 32c on selling pressure.

The other mining stocks Falcon Gold (Zimbabwe) Limited and Bindura Nickel
Corporation Limited were stable at 6c and 5c, respectively.

The main stream Industrial Index on the hand failed to find firm footing as
four sessions of marginal losses against on one marginal gains losses took
the index to a -1,89 percent cumulative loss week on week.

A total of 43 stocks recorded price movements with the fallers dominating at
28 counters against 15 risers.

ART Holdings Limited led the market losses shedding 40 percent to 0,30c as
the market began to discount them for releasing yet another disappointing
but expected final set of results to September 2011, that reflected a loss
from continuing operations of $2,9 million.

For a company that managed to entice shareholders into a recapitalisation
plan and yet remains heavily indebted the market is indeed loosing patients
in the group, however, the higher operating costs and relatively
uncompetitive efficiencies and capacities generally render local
manufacturing uncompetitive against the proliferating cheaper imports.

The buying pressure that had sustained the price of investment holding
company Tobacco Associates Holdings Limited weakened in the week under
review and with it its price took a knock shedding 35.795 to 12,2c while the
illiquid agro-industrial concern Chemco Holdings Limited fell -33,3 percent
to 10c.

Other losses were seen in property groups Mashonaland Holdings Limited and
Dawn Properties Limited down 13,79 percent and 13,75 percent at 2,50c and
0,69c, respectively, insurance group ZimRe Holdings Limited dropped -16,67
percent to 1c as financial services groups CBZ Financial Holdings Limited
and Barclays Bank of Zimbabwe Limited came off -9,1 percent and -6,25
percent to trade at 10c and 45c.

Small cap stocks topped the gains with Apex Holdings Limited leading after a
surprise 150 percent surge took them to 0,25c, while Medtech Holdings
Limited followed after rising +53,85 percent to 0,2c.

Rainbow Tourism Group and Radar Holdings Limited recorded identical 50
percent gains to 3c and 30c, respectively with the latter (Radar), one of
the most illiquid stocks on the market recording its first trade in 47
trading sessions.

Other notable gains were seen in Meikles Africa Limited up 9 percent at 22c
and construction company Murray & Roberts (Zimbabwe) Limited that
notched an 8 percent gain to 10,8c.

The weekly value of trades was a much improved $10,8 million thanks to heavy
trading in telecommunications giant Econet Wireless Zimbabwe Holdings
Limited, whose weekly trades represented 68 percent of total turnover
highlighted by a special bargain of 1 524 300 shares that sailed through at
385c being a 3,75 percent discount to the group’s closing price.

Delta Corporation Limited and OK Zimbabwe Limited were the other notable
highly traded stocks after accounting for an estimated 11 percent and 9
percent, respectively.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Sordid scandal of Zim’s bureaucrats

http://www.iol.co.za/

December 12 2011 at 02:27pm

Peter Fabricius

The partisan bureaucrats of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF are
starving schools and hospitals of state funds which they are mostly
diverting to Zanu-PF-controlled security ministries.

Defence, police and intelligence departments got more than 75 percent of
non-salary money from this year’s national budget.

In Friday’s edition of Southern Africa Report, the scandal of Zanu-PF
bureaucrats is highlighted as “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 bulletin says
the budgetary distortions “undermine” the capacity of the service delivery
ministries such as education and health, which are controlled by the MDC
parties. In 2011 Zanu-PF ministries consistently received more than 50
percent of their non-salary budgets. MDC ministers had to make do with less
than half their non-salary budget allocations. Some got as little as 22
percent.

Even as negotiations got under way in 2008 for the multi-party government,
Mugabe began filling all senior civil service jobs with Zanu-PF loyalists.
He ensured that judges, permanent secretaries, provincial governors, army
bosses and diplomats were partisans.

In education the non-salary budget allocation was $66 million (R536m) but
only $14.2m was actually disbursed by the MDC Finance Minister Tendai Biti.
Much of the allocated budget was to be used for minimal school maintenance
and rebuilding a few of the most devastated schools.

Public health, with $48m of the $132m allocated, fared better. The security
ministries, by contrast, were able to actually spend up to 83 percent of
their already significant allocations.

So was Mugabe’s office, which in 2011 received more money than health and
education combined.

The $79m Mugabe got did not include the massive cost of the Central
Intelligence Organisation which is run directly from the presidency on a
budget over which Parliament exercises no oversight.

Mugabe’s 2011 allocation financed the minimal costs for the cabinet office,
vehicles for 38 members of the cabinet, pay-offs to a vast network of
informers and Mugabe’s own huge travel costs for 2011 which ran to about
half of the $45m 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 and attends every meeting to which he is invited or which
he is entitled to attend.

He usually travels with an entourage of between 30 and 60 officials, all
drawing handsome per diems from the Treasury.

Mugabe himself takes $10 000 a day on his trips.

The non-salary actual spending of Justice, another key Zanu-PF-controlled
ministry, was $32m in 2011. That was higher than the actual money received
by education. Justice plays a key role in Zanu-PF’s unremitting assault on
the MDC, spending freely to generate criminal charges against MDC officials
and supporters, many of which have no realistic chance of leading to
conviction. 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.

“A smaller-scale scandal is the amount spent by the prime minister’s office,
excluding salaries,” says SAR. “(Morgan) Tsvangirai’s office received $10.6m
for himself and deputy prime ministers Thokozani Khupe and Arthur Mutambara.
Travel by the three, particularly Mutambara, gobbled up a significant part
of its 2011 budget.”

The bulletin adds that MDC Finance Minister Biti appears too nervous to deny
Zanu-PF security ministers, such as Emmerson Mnangagwa (defence), the money
they want from the Treasury.

Zimbabwean newspapers recently reported that MDC ministers were complaining
their all-powerful pro-Zanu-PF permanent secretaries stop money getting to
capital or maintenance projects by failing to process tenders. Western
donors (excluding the US) provided textbooks for millions of children in the
past two years, and last month handed over enough money to provide free
healthcare for pregnant women and children under five. Calculations indicate
that the education ministry had less than R5 a month to spend on each school
child in 2011 after salaries.


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe: 2011 in political retrospect

http://africanarguments.org/2011/12/12/zimbabwe-2011-in-political-retrospect-by-takura-zhangazha/

— by Takura Zhangazha

December 12, 2011

The passage of time is a rarely considered element in our national political
discourse. A year begins and a year ends and we are all afflicted by short
memories. Momentous political events are not easily remembered even in the
wake of their occurrence. Instead they are left to the academic historians
or the now rare village griot to recount many years after.

2011 might however not be an easy year to forget. As it comes to a close, it
must be remembered as an internationally momentous year. From the
‘revolutions’ in Tunisia and Egypt that were phenomenal in their occurrence
and somewhat not as significantly defined in their aftermath. Close on the
heels of these revolutions was the removal from power of Ivory Coast’s
Laurent Gbagbo and Libya’s Muammah Qadafi from power via direct liberal
intervention by France and NATO respectively. These interventions left the
African Union’s weak standing in international relations literally confirmed
while the long awaited independence of South Sudan brought fresh hope for
that country’s civil war to come to a final end.

Other events such as the assassination of Osama bin Laden and the riots by
young British citizens were felt more in the West than elsewhere, while the
Global Financial crisis though epitomized most tellingly by the events and
change of government in Greece, is only beginning to be felt in Zimbabwe via
the reduction of donor funding to government programmes on health such as
the Global Fund to combat HIV/AIDS.

But to be specific to Zimbabwe, we began the year 2011 with a lot of what
was then considered serious political tension. There were disputes over
outstanding issues in the inclusive government and SADC made interventions
via a still very disputed Livingstone Troika summit in March. The issues
that were considered ‘outstanding’ by the three parties in the GPA which
included an election roadmap, the expansion of JOMIC, the role of the
military and human rights violations remain outstanding as we approach the
end of 2011. At the time they were being presented, there was a sense of
urgency which has turned out be a false urgency. And this is what has come
to be the definitive character of our national politics in Zimbabwe via the
inclusive government.

Throughout the whole year we have been threatened with a referendum and
elections. Where the three parties have held congresses or conferences, the
language has been that of creating a sense of urgency that is not grounded
in political reality and therefore has been false. And as 2011 comes to
close, we should expect the cycle to continue in the aftermath of the Zanu
Pf conference which predictably will insist on elections in 2012, a year
short of the government and parliament serving out its constitutional five
year term. And as the political parties continue with their false senses of
urgency, there is the continuation of repression of the media, human rights
activists and ordinary members of the public.

When it comes to reviewing the socio-economic problems that the country
faced through 2011, limited little changed significantly. The government
economic reform programmes have a broad neo-liberal framework that, judging
by the policy pronouncements and speeches of cabinet ministers, wrongly
places emphasis on private-public partnerships (PPPs).

In the course of the year, the only real evidence of these PPPs has been the
government’s policy of economic empowerment and indigenization via Community
Share Trusts. Whether these CSTs become of any public benefit, is yet to be
seen but it is evident that due to the political contests over the matter
together with the politicization of the entirety of the process, these CSTs
are more likely to have a trickle down effect on the lives of the
communities they are intended to benefit.

As in 2010 the government still does not have comprehensive health,
transport and education (including tertiary) plans. Its approach has been to
douse out fires, if it does so at all. To be specific, in the health
services there is the perennial challenge of over-dependence on
international partners, who should they decide to move elsewhere or say they
have run out of funding as with the Global Fund, the country is left high
and dry. In relation to education, the government continued to grapple with
teachers salaries without taking a holistic review of the entirety of the
education system to make it work. This essentially means once again, come
January 2012, we will be faced with a teachers strike, high tertiary and
school fees.

As regards, transport, the government has done next to little to improve
public transportation systems. The National Railways of Zimbabwe works
intermittently and there is still no visible evidence as to what the road
tollgate revenue is being utilized for. More often than not the Ministry of
Transport is threatening car dealers and owners with a banning of one thing
or the other as regards motor vehicles. Similarly the ministries of Youth
and Women’s affairs, who have misunderstood the young people and women of
Zimbabwe by assuming that all they want are ‘projects’ yet none of them have
offered a comprehensive public works framework to deal with the high levels
of unemployment in the country.

As it is and as the year 2011 comes to a closure Zimbabwe and its citizens
are running the risk of continuing with a political cycle that has become
less about the people and more about the people in government. Their
disputes and actions have largely been partisan not only on behalf of their
political parties but also on behalf of their ‘comfort zones’( to which they
have demonstrated an unfortunate sense of entitlement to via their purchase
of luxury vehicles, unclear mineral and iron production deals, numerous
trips abroad). And as the new year approaches, it is hoped that civil
society, members of the public shall at some point begin to hold the
inclusive government to account with regards to its performance legitimacy,
and not just the politics of elections.

Takura Zhangazha is the Executive Director of the Voluntary Media Council of
Zimbabwe (VMCZ)


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Constitution Watch of 10th December 2011 [Stages Still to Complete]

CONSTITUTION WATCH 2011

[10th December 2011]

Warning about New Constitution at the ZANU-PF Conference

The ZANU-PF Central Committee’s report tabled by President Mugabe at the party’s conference in Bulawayo on 8th December includes the following passage: “Zanu PF reserves the right to dissociate itself from a draft constitution which seeks to undermine the cardinal goals of our national liberation struggle and our national culture and values.” It was known from the beginning that the three parties would vie to have their constitutional proposals enshrined in the new constitution, and during the outreach process, according to the civil society outreach monitoring report, “ZANU-PF appeared to be more dominant” [attributed to coaching, bussing in, intimidation] “and even dictated the content of most proposals. The likelihood of producing a constitutional draft that primarily reflects ZANU-PF proposals ... remain high, if not certain.” It is very disappointing, however, to have one of the party principals enunciate his views quite so explicitly in a statement that could be interpreted as a warning to those involved in completing the draft constitution to reflect ZANU-PF constitutional proposals if they want to see a new constitution accepted.

Nevertheless, COPAC, having come this far, has little option but to continue with the next stages regardless of this announcement.

Stages Still to Complete

Drafting: At a briefing on Monday 5th December COPAC announced that the three lead [expert] drafters had started work that morning and that “the much awaited drafting process will take at least 35 days from date of commencement.” [Electronic version of full text of press release available.] What COPAC did not make clear is that the 35 days exclude weekends and that the drafters will break for the Christmas recess between 22nd December and 3rd January, so that the 35 days will end on 1st February – but they may take more than 35 days. Once the expert drafters finish their draft it is likely to be debated extensively by the three GPA party negotiators and there would likely have to be a formal go-ahead given by the three party principals. How long this would take is an unknown, a matter for guesswork.

Second All Stakeholders Conference: Once the draft is acceptable to the three parties it has to be presented to the Second All Stakeholders Conference. COPAC’s press statement of 5th December contains the following assurance: “Once the draft is in place, it will be publicized extensively before the Second All Stakeholders’ Conference to give Zimbabweans an opportunity to familiarize with its contents before they vote in the referendum. COPAC undertakes to make the draft available in local languages and Braille.” The GPA does not give any specific indication about how long people should be given to study the draft before meeting to discuss it at the Stakeholders Conference – all it states is that “the draft Constitution shall be tabled within three months of completion of the public consultation process to a second All Stakeholders Conference.” And this deadline is long gone.

If the Second All Stakeholders Conference wants to make changes, presumably these would have to go back to the drafters for formal drafting and then to the GPA parties for their agreement before being incorporated into the final draft to go to Parliament. [Note: The GPA is silent on what happens if the Stakeholders at the Conference want to make changes. But presumably if it was not the intention to afford Stakeholders the opportunity to do so at this stage, the GPA would not have included provision for such a creature as the Second All Stakeholders Conference.]

Parliament: The GPA says that the draft constitution must be tabled in Parliament within one month after the Second All Stakeholders Conference. This may not in fact take place within one month if there are arguments arising from proposals at the Conference and the necessity for considerable redrafting. The purpose of this stage is for Parliament to debate the draft and COPAC’s report – this is because technically COPAC is a Select Committee of Parliament that must report back to Parliament – not for Parliament to give the draft the force of law. The GPA is silent on whether the draft can be altered by Parliament. COPAC co-chairpersons have in the past given assurances that it would be morally wrong to alter what “the people” have said – but there is really nothing to stop this happening [see below].

Referendum: The GPA provides for the gazetting of the draft constitution before a Referendum, which is probably to ensure the existence of an officially recognised text. The GPA also states that a Referendum must take place within 3 months of the conclusion of the debate in Parliament. A considerable length of time was envisaged to ensure that there was enough time for wide circulation of the draft constitution and for people to study it [COPAC have said it will also be translated into vernacular languages and Braille].

If the Referendum vote is YES the next stage will be:

Gazetting of Bill and Presentation in Parliament: A Bill for the enactment of the new constitution must be gazetted within one month of the Referendum result and, after a further period of not less than 30 days, presented in Parliament. [Note: It should not take as much as a month to publish the Bill in the Government Gazette. But the 30-day wait after gazetting cannot be avoided, because section 52(2)of the present Constitution requires the gazetting of the Bill at least 30 days before it is presented in Parliament, and this must be respected.]

Getting the Bill Passed by Parliament: The GPA does not dictate what happens once the Bill for the new constitution is presented to Parliament. COPAC co-chairs have suggested that it would be unthinkable for Parliament to tamper with or refuse to pass what the three GPA parties have agreed at the end of so long a process once the people have approved it in a Referendum. In theory, however, Parliament could either make amendments or refuse to pass the Bill. If one of the two larger parties were to decide to oppose the Bill, it could derail the new constitution at the very end of the line by voting against it – which would prevent the Bill receiving the two-thirds majority a constitutional Bill needs.

Presidential Signature: After being approved by Parliament the Bill will need the President’s assent before it can be gazetted into law as an Act. The present Constitution gives the President 21 days in which to assent or not to a Bill presented to him for assent. In practice a Bill is regarded as being presented to the President, not when it is delivered to the President’s Office by Parliament, but only when it is actually handed to the President himself. [This is difficult to track, so in the past there have been long delays between the date Parliament has finished with a Bill and when the President makes his decision.] Again there is nothing in the GPA requiring the President to give his assent.

Gazetting of the new Constitution as an Act: The present Constitution states that an Act of Parliament assented to by the President only becomes law when it is gazetted. The gazetting of an Act of Parliament after the President has assented to the Bill for the Act is essential under our Constitution. Under present arrangements the gazetting of Acts is the responsibility of the President’s Office. And in the past there have often been long delays between Presidential assent and gazetting.

Will the Next Stages be Fast-tracked?

If all the remaining stages are to be completed properly, there is little chance of having a new constitution in place before the end of 2012. The million dollar question is whether there will be an election before it is in place or whether, having dragged out the first stages of the constitution-making process for two and a half years when they should have taken nine months at most [see Constitution Watch of 30th November 2011], a decision will be made to fast-track the next stages. Without fast-tracking, and assuming completion of drafting by 1st February, and acceptance of the draft by COPAC and the principals by 1st March, adherence to the remainder of the timeframe stipulated in the GPA timetable would see the Bill for the new Constitution being introduced into Parliament in November 2012. The stages would be as follows:

1st April – Second All-Stakeholders Conference

1st June – conclusion of Parliamentary debate on draft constitution

1st September – holding of Referendum

1st October – gazetting of Bill

1st November – introduction of Bill into Parliament.

After being introduced into Parliament the Bill would have to be:

passed by both the House of Assembly and the Senate, in each case by a two-thirds majority of the total membership

assented to by the President

gazetted as law in the form of an Act of Parliament.

This means that, unless drastic fast-tracking is resorted to, any election to be held after the new constitution is in place cannot possibly be held until well into 2013. Allowance must be made for the fact there will almost certainly be a need to amend the Electoral Act to bring it into line with the new constitution and that the political parties have already agreed, in the current Electoral Amendment Bill, that there must be a period of between six and nine weeks between nomination day and polling day in any future elections.

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


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bill Watch 55/2011 of 12th December [House sends Budget to Senate]

BILL WATCH 55/2011

[12th December 2011]

Both Houses have adjourned until Tuesday 13th December

Estimates of Expenditure and Budget Bills Passed by House of Assembly

The Estimates of Expenditure for 2012 and the Amended Estimates of Expenditure for 2011 were approved by the House of Assembly on 6th December. As explained in the Budget Statement, the amended Estimates for the 2011 financial year are needed to cover an additional expenditure requirement of $595 million, brought about by cost overruns on employment costs [$403 million, arising from unbudgeted salary reviews in January and July]; and other unavoidable expenses [$192 million, including costs of the constitution-making process, 2012 Census preparations and grain procurement]. $391 million is to be covered by Budget reallocations and reductions under Ministry votes, enabling the additional appropriation to be limited to $204 million. The cash budgeting rule will not be broken, as sufficient additional revenue for 2011 is anticipated. [Examples of reallocations and reductions: the President’s Office vote goes up by $31 million; the Defence, Home Affairs and Education votes go up substantially; the Energy and Power Development vote is almost halved.]

The House then passed the three necessary Money Bills: [Electronic versions of all three Bills available from veritas@mango.zw]

Finance (No. 2) Bill: The Bill gives effect to those taxation changes proposed in the Budget Statement that the Minister of Finance cannot implement by statutory instrument. Changes include: raising the income tax threshold; broadening the income tax bands; increasing the tax-free amount of employees’ bonuses. Legal practitioners and company secretaries should note that the Bill also “dollarizes” amounts still stated in old Zimbabwe dollars in the Companies Act, although some of the problem provisions have apparently escaped the notice of those preparing the Bill.

Appropriation (2012) Bill: This gives effect to the approved Estimates of Expenditure for 2012, i.e., it authorizes expenditure from the Consolidated Revenue Fund for the purposes listed in the Estimates.

Appropriation (2011) Amendment Bill: This gives effect to the approved Amended Estimates of Expenditure for 2011 and increases the total amount appropriated for 2011 from $2 467 600 000 to $2,661,207,000. [This is strictly speaking not part of the 2012 Budget as it makes adjustments to the 2011 Budget, but it was treated as integral to the Budget Statement.]

Last Week in Parliament

House of Assembly

The House of Assembly sat on Tuesday for just over three hours, dealing only with the Budget items on the Order Paper. The sitting started with a heated discussion over whether the Budget business was properly before the House. ZANU-PF members maintained that at the previous sitting on 1st December debate on the Budget had been adjourned until the 13th December. MDC-T MPs were adamant that the adjournment had been until the 6th. Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara confirmed the MDC-T position and the Acting Speaker ruled that debate on the Budget items should proceed. [Going by Hansard for 1st December, this was correct. It records that Hon Zhanda of ZANU-PF requested more time for MPs to consider the Budget and suggested they needed until the 13th December. But no motion to that effect was proposed or approved.]

Debate on Budget: The House heard reports from the chairpersons of portfolio committees, starting with the report of the Portfolio Committee on Budget, Finance and Economic Development. For the Budget Committee Hon Zhanda stressed the need to allow Parliament to consider the Budget fully in future and suggested 1% of the Budget should be allocated to the Constituency Development Fund, which should be regulated by a special Act. Other committees mentioned the need to ensure a smooth flow of funds to Ministries throughout the year to permit effective use of limited allocations under the Budget. After the Minister’s winding-up remarks the House dealt with the Estimates and the Budget Bills [see details above]. The Bills were then transmitted to the Senate. No other business was conducted. The House adjourned until Tuesday 13th December to accommodate the ZANU-PF conference.

Senate

The Senate met on 6th December, but adjourned, without doing any business, until Tuesday 13th to accommodate the ZANU-PF conference.

ZANU-PF Annual Conference in Bulawayo

The ZANU-PF conference in Bulawayo started on Tuesday 6th December, was opened by President Mugabe on Thursday and ended on Saturday with uncompromising calls for an early end to the inclusive government and elections in 2012 with Mr Mugabe as the party’s presidential candidate.

Coming up This Week in Parliament

House of Assembly

Bills: The National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill, restored to the Order Paper last week, is listed for its Second Reading. If the Senate recommends amendments to the Budget Bills, the House will have to consider these and decide which, if any, to adopt, before the Bills go to the President for assent.

Motions: Three new motions by MDC-T MPs are listed for 13th December:

Motion to dismiss Clerk of Parliament: This motion calls for section 48(2) of the Constitution to be invoked “to dismiss Mr Austin Zvoma from the service of Parliament forthwith through a secret ballot process”. It cites Mr Zvoma’s alleged failure to uphold the values of “honesty, integrity, professionalism and respect” that bind officers of Parliament, specifying “misdemeanours”, including:

failure to conduct the election of the Speaker in August 2008 in accordance with Standing Orders [this election was overturned by the a majority of the Supreme Court in March 2011 for the Clerk’s failure to enforce the secret ballot procedure required by Standing Orders]

conduct related to the election of the Speaker in March 2011 after the Supreme Court’s decision: unprocedurally deferring a scheduled sitting of the House [at the time MDC-T began court action over this but it fell away when the Speaker’s election proceeded before the case was heard]; disdaining the Attorney-General’s advice that the unseated Speaker, Mr Lovemore Moyo, had reverted to being an MP following the Supreme Court’s judgment; and tampering with the record of the proceedings of the House when Mr Moyo was re-elected Speaker on 29th March [during the proceedings Mr Zvoma directed that certain passages be stricken from the record]

having a “condescending attitude” towards MPs and the Office of the Speaker, and issuing press statements contemptuous of MPs.

Section 48(1) and (2) of the Constitution provide: “(1) There shall be a Clerk of Parliament appointed by the Committee on Standing Rules and Orders. (2) A person appointed as the Clerk of Parliament shall not be removed from office unless the House of Assembly resolves, by the affirmative votes of more than one-half of its total membership, that he should be removed from office.”

[It is curious that MDC-T members are complaining about the 2008 Speaker’s election, when MDC-T MPs were guilty of the very conduct that the majority of the Supreme Court said had destroyed the secrecy of the ballot.]

Motion on Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe [BAZ] and broadcasting licences: This motion calls for the dissolution of the current BAZ Board because it was illegally appointed; the appointment of a new Board in accordance with the Broadcasting Services Act; and the withdrawal of two broadcasting licences recently granted by the current Board. [Note: The inter-party dispute over the BAZ Board is of long standing; in August 2010 the party principals and Cabinet endorsed the GPA negotiators’ agreement to “regularise” the Board as part of the 24-point “Implementation Matrix”. The agreement was that regularisation would be effected in one month. The irregular Board has nevertheless remained in place ever since, with the Minister of Information and Publicity denying its appointment was illegal. Question: Why didn’t MDC-T or other stakeholders take legal action to unseat the Board before this issue was complicated by the Board’s action in calling for licence applications and then granting licences.]

Motion on Air Zimbabwe: This calls for the current Air Zimbabwe fleet to be “put out to pasture” and for Air Zimbabwe to be privatised.

Question Time: If the House sits on Wednesday there are 25 questions on the Order Paper awaiting responses from Ministers, including a new one for the co-Ministers of Home Affairs about an alleged police practice of shattering windscreens of commuter omnibuses when traffic offences are suspected.

Senate

Budget Bills: The main business of the Senate will be to deal with the three Budget Bills transmitted from the House of Assembly [see above]. As explained in Bill Watch 53/2011 of 25th November the Senate cannot itself amend these Bills but can recommend amendments for consideration by the House.

Motion: Also on the agenda is Senator Komichi’s motion for a thematic committee investigation of unethical and unprofessional activities by the media.

Deputy Speaker Nomalanga Khumalo

The rift in the MDC party led to disorder in the House of Assembly on 1st December when Professor Ncube was heckled about the current loyalties of MPs elected on the MDC ticket in 2008, before the rift. These MPs include Deputy Speaker Khumalo, MP for Umzingwane. Last week a Ncube faction spokesperson said Hon Khumalo was the subject of party disciplinary proceedings. Speculation about Hon Khumalo and the other MPs facing forfeiture of their seats under the floor-crossing provisions of section 41 of the Constitution seems premature until legal proceedings over the MDC rift produce a clear-cut resolution of the leadership dispute. Section 41(1)(e) provides for a seat to fall vacant automatically if the incumbent ceases to be a member of the political party of which he was a member when elected and “the political party concerned” by written notice to the Speaker declares that he or she “’has ceased to represent its interests in Parliament”.

Status of Bills

[Electronic versions of Bills are available from veritas@mango.zw]

Bill awaiting Second Reading in the House of Assembly

National Incomes and Pricing Commission Amendment Bill

Bills awaiting Second Reading in the Senate

Finance (No. 2) Bill [gazetted 30th November]

Appropriation (2012) Bill [gazetted 30th November]

Appropriation (2011) Amendment Bill [gazetted 9th December]

Bill gazetted and awaiting presentation

Older Persons Bill [gazetted 9th September]

Bill being printed for Gazetting

Urban Councils Amendment Bill [Private Member’s Bill]

Lapsed Bills awaiting restoration to the Order Paper

Public Order and Security [POSA] Amendment Bill [Private Member’s Bill]

Electoral Amendment Bill

Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Amendment Bill

Bills passed by Parliament awaiting gazetting as Acts

Deposit Protection Corporation Bill

Small Enterprises Development Corporation Amendment Bill.

Government Gazette

[electronic copies of statutory instruments not available]

National Museums and Monuments By-laws [SI 143/2011]: These updated by-laws prescribe entry and other fees and prohibited behaviour, and replace much-amended by-laws dating back to 1973.

Marketing of ethanol-petrol blend [SI 144/2011]: This SI under the Petroleum Act requires producers of ethanol and blenders of ethanol and petrol to be licensed and fixes specifications for ethanol-petrol blend and anhydrous ethanol.

NSSA assessment rates and pensions [SIs 145 and 146/2011]: These notices take effect from 1st January 2012. Pension contribution rates go up from 3% to 4%. Pensions are increased.

Government financial statements: The October statements were gazetted on 9th December, well before the deadline set by section 34 of the Public Finance Management Act.

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


Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Bill Watch - Parliamentary Committee Series - 12th December [Public Hearings on Primary Education 12-15 December]

BILL WATCH

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE SERIES

[12th December 2011]

Public Hearings on MDG 2 – Universal Primary Education by 2015:

12th to 15th December

The Senate Thematic Committee on MDGs will hold public hearings on Millennium Development Goal 2 [achieving universal primary education by 2015], as follows:

Monday 12th December – Mazowe Resettlement Area

Belgon Primary School, 10 am

Tuesday 13th December – Mutare

Takunda Primary School, 11 am

Wednesday 14th December – Masvingo

Mwenezi Primary School, 9 am

Thursday 15th June – Matabeleland South

Mvuthu Primary School, 10 am

The chairperson of the Thematic Committee is Hon Chief Mtshane. The committee clerk is Mr Mutyambizi.

The committee seeks information on the progress being made towards achieving Millennium Development Goal 2 [MDG 2] – universal primary education by 2015. The public, interested groups, business persons and organisations are invited to attend the hearings, at which they will be given the opportunity to make contributions. Contributions made will be considered by the Committee in compiling a report to be tabled in the Senate.

If you want to make oral representations, signify this to the Committee Clerk before the hearing so that he can notify the chairperson to call on you. An oral submission is more effective if followed up in writing. If you are making a written submission, it is advisable to take as many copies as possible for circulation at the hearing.

Written submissions and correspondence are also welcome and should be addressed to: The Clerk of Parliament, Attention: Thematic Committee on Millennium Development Goals [MDGs], P.O. Box CY298 Causeway, Harare. If delivering, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Avenue entrance to Parliament, between Second and Third Streets.

For further information contact the committee clerk, Mr Mutyambizi. Telephone 04-700181-9, 252936, 252941, extension 2950.

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

Back to the Top
Back to Index