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Zimbabwe to up diamond mining fees

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

Sapa | 02 December, 2011 07:39

Zimbabwe is considering increasing diamond mining application fees to US1
million (about R8 million), Harare's Herald Online reported on Friday.

It said Mines and Mining Development Minister Obert Mpofu made the
announcement on Thursday. He was briefing players in the mining sector.

"We have been in talks with our principals (of the inclusive government) on
the issue of increasing application fees for diamond mining to US1 million
and they have been agreeable," the minister was quoted as saying.

"We also intend to increase licensing fees for new diamond miners up to US5
million (about R40 million), as well as introduce fees that will be charged
for certain mineral blocks."

Mpofu said the new fees would also be applicable to current operators and
would be backdated.

"The period where foreign miners exploit our resources for next to nothing
is over."


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Over 20 MP’s walk out on Welshman Ncube

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
02 December 2011

Welshman Ncube, the leader of the smaller faction of the MDC, had a day to
forget in parliament on Thursday after at least twenty legislators walked
out during his presentation. The MP’s were protesting Ncube’s reported
decision to expel Deputy Speaker of Parliament Nomalanga Khumalo, who is
from Ncube’s own party.

According to a report in the state owned Herald newspaper Ncube, who is also
Industry and Commerce Minister, stood up in parliament, “to move a motion
for the ratification of a treaty between the Africa Caribbean Pacific and
the European Union in which Zimbabwe is party to.”

The MP’s however heckled Ncube, with some shouting “haana maMP” (his party
does not have MPs) “akadyiwa maelection” (he lost in the election). Khumalo,
the MP for Umzingwane Constituency and Deputy Speaker of Parliament
struggled to maintain order in the House. Some of the MP’s later walked out
in protest.

The MDC-T MP for Kadoma, Editor Matamisa, was quoted as saying: “She is the
only woman MP from their party who was voted into the House and as a woman I
am saying enough is enough.” The ZANU PF MP for Mazowe South, Margaret
Zinyemba, weighed in to say Ncube’s actions were against women’s
empowerment.

“As a woman she fought politically to the stage where she became an MP and
in Parliament became Deputy Speaker.† We are struggling to get somewhere as
women and then some power hungry men just pull us down,” she said.

A more sensational angle was taken by ZANU PF Mazowe North MP, Cairo Mhandu,
who said Ncube’s actions were tantamount to sexual harassment. “What he did
was sexual harassment, how can an appointed person fire an elected person?”
he said.

SW Radio Africa spoke to Nhlanhla Dube the national spokesman for the MDC
led by Ncube, and he said: “The party has not taken that decision. What has
happened is that Ma Khumalo herself has spoken out in the media and in all
sorts of public spaces that she does not respect our party leadership, she
does not belong to our party and she belongs to a political party led by
Arthur Mutambara.”

Mutambara and his supporters are challenging the election of Welshman Ncube
as the new party leader of the smaller MDC. Since the congress earlier this
year the party split into two factions, one supporting Ncube and the other
Mutambara. The dispute is still before the courts.

Meanwhile Dube slammed the hypocrisy of the MP’s standing up in support of
Khumalo and said there was no similar support for Marondera East MP Tracy
Mutinhiri when she was sacked by ZANU PF three months ago.

Asked what they will do with Khumalo, given her support for Mutambara, Dube
said they had time on their hands and would not be rushed. He said they
would also wait for the courts to make a decision on the leadership dispute
before the courts.

In 2009 the smaller MDC sacked Nkayi South MP’s Abednico Bhebhe, Njabuliso
Mguni (Lupane East) and Norman Mpofu (Bulilima East), accusing them of
undermining the party and working with the main wing of the MDC led by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

The decision appeared lacking in strategy, given that the party only won
just over 10 seats in the last parliamentary election. The party has also
suffered from dozens of defections, including councillors and ordinary
members. In June this year the two children of the party’s late
Vice-President Gibson Sibanda, all re-joined the larger MDC.


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Daily News editor & reporter briefly arrested over Chombo story

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tichaona Sibanda
2 December 2011

Daily News reporter Xolisani Ncube was picked up by police from the
newspaper’s offices in central Harare on Friday, over a story he wrote in
November depicting how Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo bragged
about his wealth.

Editor Stanley Gama was also summoned by police who left a message for him
to report to Harare Central Police Station. Lawyer Alec Muchadehama told SW
Radio Africa the two scribes were arrested, interrogated and charged with
criminal defamation.

The journalists spent almost 10 hours at the police station before they were
released. Muchadehama said the police wanted to know from his clients the
source of their information. The Daily News says when Chombo bragged about
his wealth, their reporter captured his utterances on a recorder.

The paper said it also cannot be held liable for publishing a list of Chombo’s
assets because they are on public record from his divorce case, which is
before a High court Judge.

Ray Matikinye, the paper’s assistant editor, confirmed that Ncube was picked
up from their offices in the morning. ‘We asked the officers to give us 10
minutes to arrange for a lawyer to accompany Ncube to the police but their
refused. They told us our legal representatives would have to follow them,’
Matikinye said.

Apparently Ncube’s detention took place in front of his mother, who had
visited him at the paper’s offices. He was new to journalism as he had only
graduated from the Mass Communications department at the Harare polytechnic
this year.

In his article on Chombo, Ncube described how the Minister had showed off
during a meeting with a team representing the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation at his Makombe Building offices. The Foundation recently gave
$5million to Zimbabwe for development. The money was part of a $60 million
package to be shared between Zimbabwe, Malawi and Angola, to improve the
livelihoods of people living in poverty.

He bragged about his American car, army of household staff and lighting that
can brighten up a whole street, telling the delegation: ‘I have two maids in
the house and two guys outside. I have 10 lights on the two sides of the
road because I reside at the corner. Even the side that covers the road area
is much clearer. Not street lights but our own lights. I can provide
lighting much better and cheaper because I have a guy who is employed
full-time responsible for that,’ Chombo is quoted as saying.

Chombo’s actions against the reporter have been condemned by the assistant
editor who said: ‘I saw him (Ncube) talking to his mother in the foyer and
that’s when he told me that the other gentlemen there were from the police
and wanted to take him to the station. Immediately I tried to raise Gama on
his phone but I couldn’t get through, though we have information he’s at the
police station now.’

The police were acting on instructions from Chombo who claimed that the
paper criminally defamed him when it published the story.

‘What we published about Chombo’s assets is public information revealed in
his wife Marian’s divorce court papers, which the Minister is disputing. We
published this story on 10th November and six days later we gave the
Minister an opportunity to give us his side of the story, which he did. So
how did we criminally defame Chombo when we interviewed him putting the
record straight?’ asked Matikinye.

Chombo’s massive wealth was brought to the fore by his estranged wife in a
messy divorce case that is still before the courts. His lawyers asked the
court to gag the media from further revealing details of the divorce case.
The court is still to rule on the gag request.

List of Chombo’s assets as published by various media.
4 Toyota Land Cruisers,
3 Mercedes Benzes
l Mahindra
2 Nissan Wolfs, 1 Toyota Vigo, 1 Mazda BT-50, 1 Bus 1 Nissan Hard body 1
Toyota Hilux
Mrs Chombo was also claiming other properties that included:

2 Glen View houses
2 flats in Queensdale,
A property in Katanga Township
Stand Number 1037 Mount Pleasant Heights
4 Norton business stands
3 Chinhoyi business stands,
4 Banket business stands,
1 commercial stand in Epworth,
2 residential stands in Chirundu
4 commercial stands in Kariba
1 stand in Ruwa
1 stand in Chinhoyi,
2 stands in Mutare
2 stands in Binga.
4 stands in Victoria Falls
1 stand in Zvimba Rural
Chitungwiza (two residential and two commercial stands)
Beitbridge (four stands),
20 stands in Crow Hill, Borrowdale
10 stands in Glen Lorne,
2 flats at Eastview Gardens (B319 and B320)
1 flat at San Sebastian Flats in the Avenues, Harare
Number 79 West Road, Avondale.
Greendale house
Number 36 Cleveland Road, Milton Park
Number 135 Port Road, Norton,
2 Bulawayo houses.
Number 18 Cuba Rd, Mount Pleasant
Number 45 Basset Crescent, Alexandra Park,
2 Chegutu houses
1 Glen Lorne house (Harare)
2 houses (Victoria Falls).
1 Stand along Simon Mazorodze Road,
Norton (one stand)
Avondale (two stands)
365 Beverly House (one stand)
Bulawayo (three stands),
Mica Point Kariba (one stand).

Other properties named also include, cattle at Darton Farm, shared chicken
runs, pigsties, a shop, grinding mill, house, mills, tractors, lorries, six
trucks, five of which are non-runners, four trailers (three non-runners) and
one truck. Marian also revealed that the Minister has shares in 10 companies
including Dickest, Hamdinger, Landberry and Track in Security Company.
She further revealed that Chombo has a stake in Mvurwi Mine, hunting safari
lodges in Chiredzi, Hwange, Magunje and Chirundu as well as properties in
South Africa.

This is what they have agreed in court to share:

1 Norton stand
4 Queensdale flats,
1 flat on Mutare Road,
1stand in Kariba,
2 Glen View house,
1 Ruwa stand,
2 stands in Chinhoyi
Allan Grange Farm.
1bus,
6 truck horses,
three trailers,
a tanker,
8-tonne truck,
1 Land Cruiser
1Mercedes-Benz,
1 twin-cab Hardbody,
1 Nissan Wolf
2 Shawasha Hills stands,
1 Ruwa plot and
1Alexandra Park house.
These do not include government vehicles and other shares which the minister
has refused to hand over saying they are undividable.


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Zimbabwe's debt to UK includes money lent for police repression

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/

By staff writers
2 Dec 2011

Newly uncovered documents reveal that Zimbabwe’s £210 million debt to the UK
includes loans from Tony Blair’s government to Zimbabwe’s police force while
they were engaged in internal repression.

Campaigners in Zimbabwe are calling for an audit of the country’s $7 billion
debt to find out who did and did not benefit from past loans.

The Zimbabwean police were loaned money in the 1990s to buy 1,500 Land
Rovers, backed by UK Export Finance (then known as the Export Credits
Guarantee Department), a unit of the Department for Business.

These loans continue to make-up £21 million of Zimbabwe’s debt to the UK.
The evidence appears in a new report published by Jubilee Debt Campaign, the
Zimbabwe Europe Network and Eurodad.

The report reveals for the first time the origin of much of Zimbabwe’s $7
billion debt. At least $750 million of debt comes directly from structural
adjustment loans from the IMF, World Bank and African Development Bank which
lowered economic growth and increased unemployment.

“Debt has played a key role in the tragedies that many Zimbabweans have
suffered over the last twenty years,” explained the report’s author, Tim
Jones, “Dodgy projects, debt repayments and failed economic policies
contributed to economic decline”.

Other loans revealed by the report include loans from the World Bank for
tree plantations to create fuel supplies. However, the World Bank failed to
realise there was already plenty of wood available, and there was no
economic return on the plantations.

The report also describes loans from the Spanish government for the
Zimbabwean government to buy military aircraft and unspecified “aid” loans
from the UK, which were tied to buying exports from UK-based companies.

Jones, policy officer of the Jubilee Debt Campaign, insisted that “Lenders
should help increase transparency and democracy by coming clean on where
Zimbabwe’s debts come from”.

Zimbabwe is currently in default on many of its loans to the western world.
Negotiations have begun on Zimbabwe entering the debt relief process for
poor countries, run by the IMF and World Bank.

But the report argues this would trap Zimbabwe in further cycles of debt
while keeping the questionable details of previous loans out of the public
eye.

Instead the report backs the call of Zimbabwean campaigners for an audit of
the debt which would show who did and did not benefit from the loans, and
learn lessons for the future.

The organisations behind the report are calling for lenders such as the UK
government to reveal where all the debt owed by Zimbabwe comes from, and
signal they would support and cooperate with any debt audit held in
Zimbabwe.

“The evidence presented in this report illustrates why decisions about debt
cancellation cannot be left to creditors,” said Oygunn Brynildsen of
Eurodad, “Following a transparent audit, an independent debt court must be
put in place to hold creditors to account for former reckless lending.”

Tor-Hugne Olsen, Co-ordinator of the Zimbabwe Europe Network (ZEN), argued
that “Zimbabweans need to know who benefited financially during the years of
oppression under Mugabe and Smith, during years which have left the majority
of people impoverished. The massive debt that besets the country should not
be the burden of the people who have suffered under these regimes.”

The report, Uncovering Zimbabwe’s debt: The case for a democratic solution
to the unjust debt burden, can be obtained from the Jubilee Debt Campaign.
See http://www.jubileedebtcampaign.org.uk.


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Police chief rejects reform

http://www.zimonline.co.za

by Thomas Gora†††† Friday 02 December 2011

HARARE -- Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri has dismissed calls
for restructuring of the Zimbabwe’s security forces as part of a foreign
agenda to destabilise the country.

Chihuri, part of a cabal of powerful securocrats seen as wielding a de facto
veto over Zimbabwe’s transition process, denied charges that the police
applied the law selectively to target President Robert Mugabe’s opponents,
while letting militant supporters of the veteran leader accused of political
violence go scot-free.

“We have been tagged partisan, yet far from it, we are a people's police
force,” Chihuri said yesterday, while addressing a conference of senior
officers at Darwendale, a farming district† north-west of Harare.

“This accusation of a partisan police force is aimed at coercing the
leadership to agree to the so called security sector reform," said the
police chief, who ironically has himself publicly admitted his sympathy for
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF party.

The security forces are seen as the true backbone of Mugabe’s 31-year rule
and have openly vowed to stop the veteran leader’s strongest challenger for
power, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, from taking over the presidency
should he win the next elections widely expected to take place next year

A political agreement between Mugabe and Tsvangirai that gave birth to their
unity government calls for security sector reforms to instill
professionalism in the security forces and ensure they are impartial.

But Mugabe has declared the armed forces off limits and said calls by his
coalition partners for security reforms were influenced by their Western
backers keen to weaken him and engineer his ouster from office.

Analysts believe security commanders’ strong opposition to change was driven
by fear that any new government, especially one led by Tsvangirai, could
prosecute them for gross human rights abuses, especially those associated
with the violence-marred elections in 2008 as well as a 1980s
anti-insurgents campaign in the provinces of Matabeleland and Midlands.

At least 20 000 innocent civilians form the Ndebele ethnic minority were
reportedly killed in the two provinces during the bloody counter-insurgency
drive by the army. -- ZimOnline


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Minister in hot soup over P.M's 'wife'

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Everson Mushava, Staff Writer
Friday, 02 December 2011 12:56

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, whose image has been battered by
a badly-handled relationship, is under pressure from within the MDC to deal
decisively with some of his top aides who stand accused of being at the
heart of his still-birth “marriage” to Locadia Karimatsenga.

Well-placed MDC sources told the Daily News last night that the alleged
“schemers” could even be expelled from the party.

Chief among these alleged plotters was Theresa Makone, the country’s co-Home
Affairs minister.

At the same time, the Karimatsenga family promised fireworks yesterday,
warning Tsvangirai that they would not be taking his humiliating move
against them lying down. (See story on page 2).

Tsvangirai, who until Wednesday had chosen to remain mum on the matter for
days, has since confirmed that while he indeed had a relationship with
Locadia, he no longer wished to be with her — claiming that the relationship
had been hijacked by state security agents.

In his statement to the media, Tsvangirai also implied that there were some
MDC officials who were working with Zanu PF and state security agents to
“ambush” him in the marriage debacle.

Locadia comes from a pro-Zanu PF family and is sister to Beater Nyamupinga,
the Zanu PF MP for Goromonzi.

Many MDC officials are pointing their fingers at Makone, who is also the
party’s Women’s Assembly leader, whom they accuse of orchestrating the
“marriage” and the ensuing circus around it.

Some of the officials describe her as “a threat to the premier’s life and
political career”.

Makone, wife to Ian Makone, the premier’s close confidante, personal advisor
and secretary in his office also stands accused of being a bad influence on
the premier — and ironically is said to have been part of the crowd that
gathered for the “marriage” ceremony at the Karimatsenga family home in
Christon Bank, just outside Harare, on November 18.

The Makones are very PM advisors under fire close to the Tsvangirai family.
They played a leading role at the funeral of Tsvangirai’s late wife, Susan.

The MDC officials told the Daily News in separate briefings that Locadia was
allegedly very close to Makone.

“We are baying for her blood following this debacle and we intend to
pressure Tsvangirai to purge her from the party. She is up to something
sinister,” said one official who is eager to see Makone questioned over her
role in the marriage debacle.

The attacks on Makone appear to fit well with MDC Deputy Justice Minister
Obert Gutu’s claims in a leaked cable by whistle-blower site WikiLeakes.

Gutu, with other top MDC officials, told the Americans that Tsvangirai’s
biggest weakness was that he took advice from the wrong people.

“Gutu also stated that Tsvangirai had a tendency to listen to the wrong
people. He pointed to Ian Makone, Tsvangirai’s chief of staff, and Makone’s
wife, Theresa, who is the Minister of Public Works,” read part of the cable.
However, deputy party spokesperson Thabita Khumalo said yesterday that she
was not aware of the rift within her party over Makone.
“We are not aware of that plot. Yes, the president (Tsvangirai) hinted on
the involvement of party officials but since he did not mention any name we
do not know who these people are.

“We will wait until the president announces the names,” Khumalo said.

Efforts to get a comment from the Makone family failed as Theresa was said
to be out of the country, while her husband was reported as saying that he
“doesn’t speak to the press”.

Tsvangirai was initially said to have paid $36 000 as lobola for Locadia on
November 18, but his spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka denied that the marriage
was on. Reports indicated at the time that he had paid only $10 000 damages
to the Karimatsenga family.

Tsvangirai eventually moved to deal with the matter this week.


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Zim/China diamond auction gets underway

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
02 December 2011

An auction of Zimbabwe’s Chiadzwa diamonds got underway on Friday, amid
ongoing concerns that the proceeds might be used to fund repression.

The auction is expected to see about half a million carats on sale during
the four day event, with rough estimates pegging the profits at around
US$300 million. The stones are part of a stockpile from one of the firms
that has a licence to mine at Chiadzwa, Anjin, which is a joint venture
between Zimbabwe and China.

The sale is the first since Zimbabwe was cleared for international diamond
exports last month by the trade watchdog group, the Kimberley Process (KP),
in a decision that has been slammed by human rights groups.

The KP membership has until recently been unable to reach agreement on
whether to allow Zim back into trade circles, with mainly Western KP members
raising concerns about human rights violations and smuggling.

These were issues that the KP itself had ordered Zimbabwe to sort out back
in 2009, when it was faced with either banning the country completely or
giving it a deadline to reform. The KP chose to avoid an official ban and
instead suspended Zim from trade until it fell in line with international
trade standards.

Two years later there are still reports of human rights abuses, smuggling
and a lack of accountability, and the KP is now being criticised for
appearing to bow to pressure to allow Zimbabwe to resume exporting.

The KP’s apparent inability to force Zimbabwe to fall in line with
international trade standards means there are serious concerns about where
the diamond profits are going, and what they are being used for. These
concerns were echoed by Mike Davis from campaign group Global Witness, who
told the UK’s Guardian newspaper this week: “Based on evidence we have seen,
it is clear that ZANU PF hardliners are intending to use (Chiadzwa) diamonds
to finance their efforts to cling on to power.”

Davis was quoted as saying that the plan by ZANU PF centres on the joint
ventures it has established at Chiadzwa, “which consist of unscrupulous
foreign firms and ZANU PF stalwarts.”

He added: “The Kimberley Process’s response has been to bury its head in the
sand and throw away any residual credibility it had as a guarantor that
diamonds do not finance abuses. The fact that Anjin’s operation may be
superficially impressive is missing the point about the imminent risk of
diamond-fuelled violence in Zimbabwe.”

Global Witness has previously obtained company records showing Zimbabwe’s
Brigadier-General Charles Tarumbwa, named on several international sanctions
lists, as a major shareholder. At the same time, the head of the Chinese
firm that finances Anjin is reportedly a known friend of top ZANU PF cronies
and recently received a military welcome from General Constantine Chiwenga.
According to human rights group Partnership Africa Canada, this same Chinese
firm also has a history of dealing with despotic regimes and has business
interests in Myanmar.

Meanwhile, all Zimbabwe’s share of revenue from the Anjin sales are believed
to already be earmarked to pay off a contentious US$98 million loan from
China, to build a vast “techno-spy and communications base”, called the
Robert Mugabe School of Intelligence, outside Harare. The loan was approved
earlier this year and is said to hinge on Anjin sales.

If true, this would mean that for the foreseeable future no Anjin profits
will form part of the country’s national income. Finance Minister Tendai
Biti last week pegged almost 20% of the 2012 Budget on diamond sales, saying
he has been “assured” that US$600 million will reach government coffers.
This is despite Mines Minister Obert Mpofu saying that more than US$2
billion is expected to be generated from diamond sales.


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New MDC-T Information director denies link to ZPF

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Tererai Karimakwenda
02 December, 2011

The MDC-T’s newly appointed Director of Information and Publicity, Abigail
Mvududu, has denied claims that she is also a board member at AB
Communications, a company owned by ZANU PF’s Supa Mandiwanzira.

Her name had appeared on a list published by some local newspapers.

Concerns had been raised by some observers who pointed to a conflict of
interest, saying the MDC-T had appointed a person with ZANU PF links to a
senior position within the party. But Mvududu denied any ties to ABC.

“I am not a member of Supa Mandiwanzira’s board of directors at all. I
thought this was cleared by Supa at his public hearing that was conducted by
the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe,” Mvududu told SW Radio Africa on
Friday.

She was referring to public hearings that were conducted by BAZ to
scrutinize applicants for two radio licenses that were on offer. There had
been speculation that the decision on who would get the licenses had been
made well before applications had been submitted. Mandiwanzira’s ABC and
Zimpapers (publishers of the Herald) were later awarded the country’s first
two ‘independent’ radio licenses.

BAZ was immediately criticized. The media watchdog MISA Zimbabwe dismissed
the entire process, saying no new voices had entered the media arena. In a
statement, the MDC-T said the licenses were awarded “only to those
organisations linked to ZANU PF”.

The office of the Prime Minister also raised concern over Mandiwanzira,
pointing to the fact that he was “recently introduced at a ZANU PF meeting
as a potential party candidate in Nyanga.”

Mvududu said she was not sure which of the daily newspapers had initially
published the list of the board members. “At the time I thought BAZ should
make the correction and also expected the dailies to get their facts right
because names of the directors were public information,” Mvududu explained.

More questions are being raised regarding other individuals linked to
Mandiwanzira and his various business ventures. SW Radio Africa has been
reliably informed that Susan Makore, who works at Mandiwanzira’s Mighty
Movies video production company, is also a board member at BAZ.

In addition, SW Radio Africa correspondent Simon Muchemwa reported that
“Supa” as he is known in Harare, moved to a new office and was recruiting
staff for his Zi Radio weeks before BAZ announced the license recipients.

More questions are bound to be asked of Mandiwanzira, BAZ and the links
between ZANU PF and other BAZ board members, as Zimbabweans struggle for
media reforms in the country.


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Corruption eats away local authorities: PM

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Nkululeko Sibanda and Xolisani Ncube
Friday, 02 December 2011 14:57

HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has admitted that rampant
corruption is eating away local authorities, most of which are run by his
MDC party.

Tsvangirai told a gathering of urban councillors in Victoria Falls yesterday
that service delivery was suffering in most towns because of corruption.

Tsvangirai’s MDC has gradually taken over control of urban councils from
Zanu PF since 2008 and now controls the bulk of urban and rural councils.

He said councillors were complaining of limited resources for service
delivery yet most were mum on corruption.
“Indeed, investment and capital projects in the local authorities will help
create jobs and end the endemic poverty that continues to be a scourge even
in the urban areas.

“But the local authorities must equally deal with their own internal
challenges, especially the issue of corruption,” said Tsvangirai, while
addressing a conference organised by the Urban Councils Association of
Zimbabwe (Ucaz).

“Corruption is a cancer that we must treat early and action must be taken
against corrupt officials at whatever level, whether in government, local
authorities and the private sector.

There have been reports of corruption in councils that have manifested
themselves in reported cases of embezzlement as well as in the allocation of
residential and commercial stands.

“Reports that there are people, including senior officials in government,
who have acquired vast tracts of land and residential and commercial stands
in almost every city and town in this country is testimony to the fact that
corruption is a scourge that must be stemmed in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Tsvangirai also castigated Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo for
interfering in the affairs of local authorities using the Urban Council’s
Act.

“I know that most urban councils have a problem with the Urban Councils Act
and the excessive powers that the same Act gives to the Minister of Local
Government.

“This has particularly become apparent through the incessant meddling and
the arbitrary dismissals of elected councillors for purely political
reasons,” said Tsvangirai, whose party has been pushing for the amendment of
the act to dilute Chombo’s powers.

Chombo has fired dozens of councillors and mayors from the MDC since the
turn of the decade when Tsvangirai’s party began sweeping local authorities.

“Democracy must be allowed to prevail in this country and elected officials
must be allowed to do their duty. It is only the voters who reserve the
right, at the end of their term, to see whether they should retain them or
vote them out,” said Tsvangirai.


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Councils call off AGM

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Nkululeko Sibanda, Senior Writer
Friday, 02 December 2011 12:50

VICTORIA FALLS - Zimbabwe urban councils have abandoned an annual general
meeting (AGM) which was supposed to be held here yesterday following a storm
over shambolic financial records.

The Urban Councils Association of Zimbabwe (Ucaz), which groups urban
councils, called off the AGM amid information that the association was
failing to account for funds it had received from various funding
institutions and its membership.

Femias Chakabuda, the Ucaz president, told the Daily News that the AGM could
not proceed without audited accounts being made available.

“The executive committee sat and deliberated on a number of issues here
yesterday and it was agreed that the AGM be called off as there was need to
put some things in place,” said Chakabuda, who is also Masvingo mayor.

“One of the fundamentals for an AGM is the audited accounts of the
association which should be deliberated upon at the AGM.

“The major challenge for Ucaz at this moment is that those audited accounts
were not in place as the auditors said they needed time to conclude the
audits.

“We can reconvene after the audit reports are released by the auditors,”
Chakabuda said.

A report to the special Ucaz finance sub-committee that was supposed to be
presented at the Victoria Falls meeting and leaked to the Daily News
confirmed that financial books were unaudited because of lack of cooperation
from the Ucaz secretariat.

“Mr. S. Mupindu of BDO (Kudenga and Associates Auditors) reported that they
could not complete the audit on time because of lack of cooperation from the
Ucaz secretariat,” reads part of the report.

“Bank reconciliations were last done in 2008. Draft financial statements
which were supposed to have been produced by Grant Thornton (accounting
consultants) by the 28th of November were not available.

“The auditors were only provided with a trial balance which they were
working on and another trial balance was only provided later without
supporting journal entries. Statements for utility expenses for November and
December 2010 were not provided,” reads part of the report.

Sources in the association also revealed there were questions over a bank
account belonging to the association which is reportedly housed in Botswana.

Affiliates are questioning the amount held in that account. They are also
asking questions on the identity of the signatories of the account.

They also want to know what expenses were covered using funds from the
Botswana account.

Chakabuda said the audited results were likely to be released by the
auditors on December 12.

“In terms of the Ucaz constitution, we need another 30 days after that date
to notify stakeholders and members of the AGM and then we will reconvene as
such,” Chakabuda said.

The development comes at a time when most urban and rural councils are
fighting allegations of corruption.


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More Bulawayo jobs with reopening of flour mill

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
02 December 2011

Job opportunities in Bulawayo are set to increase in the near future, after
National Foods announced it was reopening its flour mill in the city.

The food company announced this week that Bulawayo Governor Cain Mathema
would officially reopen the mill, which ceased operations in 2010.

“The reopening of the flour mill is intended to help the company cope with
increased demand for flour that normally occurs at this time of the year, as
people prepare for the festive season and start baking Christmas cakes,”
said a company statement.

The reopening of the plant will be a welcome boost in the local job market,
which has dried up with the closure of major industry in the city.
Unemployment in Zimbabwe is also believed to be at least 90%.

The government has since set up a US$40 million fund to resuscitate business
in Bulawayo, which was once known as the hub of industry in Zimbabwe.
Pressure is mounting of the authorities to release this money.

But Industry and Commerce Minister Welshman Ncube said last month that
companies will have to wait while government finalises ‘modalities’ of
chanelling the funds.


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Zim on the brink of desertification

http://www.herald.co.zw

Friday, 02 December 2011 00:00
Herald Reporters

ZIMBABWE is on the brink of desertification with reports indicating that the
deforestation rate in the country is around 330 000 hectares of land per
year.
Addressing journalists in Harare yesterday ahead of the national tree
planting day tomorrow, Environment and Natural Resources Minister Francis
Nhema singled out tobacco farmers as the "chief culprits".
This year's main commemorations will be held in Mutare where President
Mugabe is expected to officiate.
"The bulk users of wood like the flue cured tobacco farmers are encouraged
to start paying heed to the message of afforestation," said Minister Nhema.
The ministry, he said, was finalising a statutory instrument requiring such
farmers to establish their own sources of energy for tobacco curing to
prevent over-reliance on indigenous trees.
"We seriously need to embark on a massive tree planting exercise to replace
those trees that we cut to cure our tobacco," he said.
Minister Nhema said wood energy was the source for over 2 billion people
worldwide and about 90 percent of people in Zimbabwe.
"The figures emphasise the importance of looking after our forest resources
everywhere in the country so that we protect ourselves from the negative
effects of climate change," he said.
Minister Nhema said the country's dry provinces were encouraged to double or
triple their efforts this season compared to last year.
"Last year the country planted five million trees with Matabeleland South
having the least due to harshness of weather in that region.
"We request our traditional leaders as usual to be in the forefront of this
campaign so that their people may plant more," he said.
Minister Nhema said 10 million trees will be planted by the end of the rain
season running under the theme "Forest for People join us in planting 10
million trees this year.
A local company, Seed Trust Zimbabwe, donated one thousand trees to the
ministry with 20 trees given to journalists marking the National Tree
Planting Day, which is commemorated, in the first week of December.


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President Tsvangirai to address major a rally in Plumtree



Friday, 02 December 2011

President Morgan Tsvangirai, accompanied by the MDC leadership is expected
to address thousands of party supporters at a Peace Rally at Dingimuzi
Stadium in Plumtree, Matebeleland South on Saturday.

The leadership will comprise of the National Chairperson Hon. Lovemore Moyo,
Secretary-General Hon. Tendai Biti and his deputy, Hon. Tapiwa Mashakada and
the Deputy Treasurer-General, Hon. Elton Mangoma.

Other senior leaders who will attend the rally include the National
Organising Secretary, Hon. Nelson Chamisa and his deputy Abednico Bhebhe,
the Secretary for Information and Publicity, Hon. Douglas Mwonzora, Women’s
Assembly chairperson, Hon. Theresa Makone, Youth Assembly representatives,
the Matebeleland South provincial executive and the local councillors.

Preparations for the provincial event are at an advanced stage.

President Tsvangirai’s main message among other issues will be to denounce
any form of violence across the country as Zimbabwe prepares for the
referendum after the drafting of the Constitution and elections that are
expected after the referendum.

He will also speak on the state of the MDC and the inclusive government in
his capacity as the Prime Minister. A number of rallies have been held in
most of the country’s provinces and have been attended by thousands of party
supporters.

The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!!


MDC Information & Publicity Department


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Zim judgment a cause for concern

http://mg.co.za

NIC DAWES: ANALYSIS - Dec 02 2011 00:00

Should we trust the government's bona fides when it says it has good reason
to keep information from us, or is the onus on them to prove that we will
all be better off if they hang onto their secrets?

Shorn of legalities, that is the question at the heart of the judgment
handed down by the Constitutional Court this week in the Mail & Guardian's
long-running quest to gain access to a report on Zimbabwe's 2002
presidential election made by judges Dikgang Moseneke and Sisi Khampepe.

It is no trivial question of whether we put our faith in particular
personalities, or political parties; rather, it goes to the heart of the
kind of state we have, and how the courts approach the delicate and
increasingly controversial job of checking and balancing executive power.

Some background.

Former president Thabo Mbeki sent the two judges to Zimbabwe to investigate
the constitutional and legal circumstances surrounding the 2002 polls. There
is no evidence to indicate that he did anything more with their report than
file it in a desk drawer, but it is plausible that Khampepe and Moseneke saw
in Zimbabwe what almost everyone else did: an environment utterly inimical
to free and fair elections.

However, Mbeki famously endorsed the vote, which kept Robert Mugabe in
power.

We applied to the presidency for a copy of the report under the Promotion of
Access to Information Act (Paia) in June 2008 and were refused. A subsequent
appeal was rejected too. No real reasons were given for the refusal, save a
bald assertion that the judges were given information in confidence by the
Zimbabwean government and revealing it would harm South Africa's diplomatic
initiatives in that country.

We were unconvinced by that claim and took the presidency on review in the
North Gauteng High Court. The Act makes it very clear that the burden rests
on the government to prove that a document cannot be released, we argued.
That means the holder of the record must provide a genuine evidentiary basis
for refusal. The presidency provided no such thing.

Acting Judge Stanley Sapire agreed and ordered that the report be handed
over to us. The presidency then went to the Supreme Court of Appeal, which
unanimously upheld the high court ruling and set out in ringing terms the
obligations that the government has under the Act.

CONTINUES BELOW

From authority to justification
The Constitution, Judge Robert Nugent ruled, carried us from the
apartheid-era culture of authority, to a culture of "justification". The
president, he said, had manifestly failed to cross that bridge and had to
release the report within seven days.

The presidency then appealed to the Constitutional Court, which heard the
case in May and handed down a decision on Tuesday, which split the court
five to four over the place that trust in the government's unsubstantiated
assertions ought to have in such matters.

The majority judgment, by former chief justice Sandile Ngcobo, with his
replacement, Mogoeng Mogoeng, Zac Yacoob, John Froneman and acting judge
Kenneth Mthiyane concurring, held that the matter must be sent back to the
high court, where the judge must examine the document to determine whether
the government was right in refusing to release it.

It may sound like a reasonable proposition: let an independent arbiter look
at the underlying document and determine whether it can be released in its
entirety or in redacted form -- except that this approach risks upending the
entire structure of the Act, and vitiating the crucial principle that the
government must justify its refusal to provide information. As the minority
judgment by Edwin Cameron argues, it offends against the open justice
principle, by giving the judge access to a secret document that the
applicants cannot see, and requiring us to simply trust that he or she has
made the right decision. It also weakens the adversarial nature of our legal
system. The onus is on the government, remember, to prove that we should not
get the report. Our law is weighted towards disclosure for very good
reasons.

That is why both the legislation and the relevant local and international
jurisprudence make it clear that the option of a "judicial peek" must be
exercised only in exceptional circumstances, where it is impossible to
determine whether or not the evidentiary burden imposed on the record holder
by the Act has been met. It is a last resort.

Ngcobo et al accepted the presidency's claim that no more evidence could be
provided, because that would involve a reference to the contents of the
report. In the circumstances, the high court ought to check if that was true
by reading it.

In a dissent shot through with exasperation Cameron, with Bess Nkabinde,
Chris Jafta, and Johann van der Westhuizen concurring, pointed out that
there were many ways in which the presidency could have provided more
evidence without referring to the report. They could have produced a letter
of appointment, directing the judges to conduct confidential interviews with
Zimbabwean officials; or they could have produced affidavits from Khampepe
and Moseneke, or from Mbeki himself, setting out the terms of the mission.
They did none of these things.

Cameron is stinging in his assessment of this approach, and the "entire
absence of persuasive evidence from the presidency's depositions".

He is equally robust in assessing Ngcobo's judicial peek solution, saying
the public should never have cause to fear that the courts were assisting in
suppressing information to which they were entitled.

"To give secret judicial examination of disputed records a central place in
deciding claims to exemption, instead of enforcing the burden the government
rightly bears to justify withholding information, is in my view a grave
error."

The M&G will return to the high court, three-and-a-half years after we
started this journey, and may well find ourselves going through the entire
process once again.

The larger question is whether this judgment indicates a tilt in our highest
court towards trusting the government, rather than strictly applying the
basic tests required by our law. It is a straw in the wind, at the very
least.


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Constitution Watch of 30th November 2011 [Drafting to Start Soon - Reminder of the Process so Far]

CONSTITUTION WATCH 2011

[30th November 2011]

Constitution Drafting to Start Soon

The constitution-making process is nearing the point at which the three principal drafters will start their task of drafting the new constitution.The process has taken so long that we are sending out a synopsis of the various stages that have already been completed together with the original timeframe laid down in the GPA.

Reminder – The Process so Far

Up to the First All Stakeholders’ Conference

September 2008:The GPA was formally signed by the three principal party leaders on 15th September 2008.Article 6 GPA laid down a timetable for the preparation of a new Constitution by a Select Committee of Parliament, putting the draft of this new Constitution to a Referendum, and, assuming a YES vote, the presentation to Parliament of a Bill for the new Constitution – all within 20 months of the inception of the inclusive government.[See full timetable at the end of this Bulletin.]Integral to the process was a public consultation process to ensure the new Constitution would be “owned” by the people.

February 2009:The Article 6 timetable began to run on 13th February 2009, when the inclusive government was formed under the GPA.A perioid of two months from then, i.e. until 13th April 2009, was allowed for the setting-up of the Select Committee of Parliament.

April 2009:The setting-up of the Select Committee was announced on the 12th April.It consisted of 25 Parliamentarians, 17 men and 8 women from both the Senate and the House of Assembly, reflecting the Parliamentary gender balance and the strengths of the different parties in Parliament [MDC-T 11, ZANU-PF 10, MDC-M 3, Chiefs 1].The members of the Select Committee attended courses on constitution making, held workshops and consulted with civil society about the process [although not many of the assurances given to civil society were adhered to].A workplan was drawn up, together with a list of 16 constitutional themes for which thematic committees would be appointed after the First All-Stakeholders Conference.The number of themes was widely considered to be excessive and likely to make both public consultation and drafting more difficult.It was pointed out that in the South African constitution-making process there had been 6 thematic committees, and that the Chidyausiku Constitutional Commission in Zimbabwe in 1999 had worked with 8 themes.

July 2009:First All Stakeholders’ Conference held:The Select Committee managed to meet its first GPA deadline by holding the First All-Stakeholders Conference on 13th and 14th July.It was attended by 4000 delegates – these including all the Parliamentarians, nominees from political parties and civil society, and delegates chosen to represent special interest groups such as war veterans.Despite lack of organisation and violent politically-inspired disruption of proceedings on the first day and logistical problems the next day allowing for only a few hours’ consultation, the Select Committee felt able to declare the conference a success.One more theme was added to the Select Committee’s list, making seventeen in all.These themes were to form the basis of the work of the Select Committee from then on.††

[After this there was a total failure to stick to the GPA timetable:From the holding of the First All Stakeholders’ Conference onwards the the constitution-making process fell progressively more and more behind the Article 6 timetable.This was a great pity.The dragging out of the process meant that talk of elections came in the middle of the belated outreach process in 2010, with the result that political party rivalry disrupted many meetings and that issues raised at some meetings sounded more like electioneering issues than constitutional ones.Long delays also meant that resource persons of the calibre of ProfessorFeltoe and MrSternford Moyo, who might have been willing to serve on thematic committees if a schedule had been set and adhered to, were lost to the process.Above all it made the whole process outrageously expensive, antagonising many Zimbabweans at a time when a pittance was being spent on health, education, housing etc.]

The Public Consultation Process

According to the Article 6 timetable the public consultation stage should have been completed by 13th November 2009.But that date came and went without the countrywide programme of meetings to consult the people even having started.Problems within the inclusive government, changes in the structure and administration of the Select Committee, funding problems and disagreements between the parties on how to proceed contributed to long delays.

September 2009:New structure for Select Committee:The Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs announced measures agreed by the three party principals to address issues of efficiency, capacity and inclusivity of the Select Committee, which he said was “not an ordinary Parliamentary Select Committee”.Henceforth it would be a “special purpose vehicle set up to spearhead the constitution-making process.†† The measures included setting up an independent Secretariat with its own office accommodation, separate from the Parliamentary administration, and a Management Committee which included the Minister and GPA negotiators from each of the parties in addition to the Select Committee co-chairpersons.

More delaysDespite these measures, and the launching in December 2009 of the Independent Secretariat and the Select Committee acronym [“COPAC”] and logo, progress was slow.

December 2009: Finalisation of thematic committees: Thematic committee chairpersons [all Parliamentarians] and their deputies [all from civil society] were announced in September 2009, but members were not announced until December [There were 23 ordinary members per each of the 17 committees – making a total of 425 with the chairpersons and their deputies].

May 2010: “Constitutional talking points” – the questions or statements to be posed by the outreach teams at the public meetings – were finalised by the Management Committee, which substantially revised and simplified the draft prepared for COPAC by a team of experts.In the end, the talking points did not cover everything that should be in a constitution; experts estimate that only about a tenth of necessary content was covered.

June 2010:Public consultation stage started:[This was almost a year late – and seven months after the target set by Article 6 for the completion of the public consultation stage.]Outreach teams were deployed to the districts to begin meetings – there were 70 teams with 8 members each, making a total of 560 team members, who were a mix of approximately 30% Parliamentarians and 70% from “civil society” and included the 425 thematic committee members and 135 others. There were also support staff for each team.†† There teams held meetings in all the country’s 1857 wards.†† There were logistical problems right from the start – transport not arranged, hotel bookings muddled, not enough recording equipment distributed, etc.As a result many of the first week’s meetings had to be rescheduled.Some meetings were also postponed at the last minute to accommodate public interest in watching World Cup soccer matches on TV.

September 2010:So many Harare meetings were disrupted by violence and intimidation, coaching of participants and bussing in of outsiders that the COPAC management committee decided to repeat them at the end of October.

October2010:The bulk of “ordinary” outreach meetings at ward level in all the country’s districts were over by the end of the month.At each outreach meeting what was said was captured by rapporteurs and their reports were validated by the team chairperson and deputy.

December 2010:Special outreach meetings for such groups as the disabled, youth and parliamentarians were concluded..

Consulting the Diaspora:COPAC promises of extensive consultation with the millions of Zimbabwean in the Diaspora were not satisfactorily fulfilled, although co-chairpersons met some Diaspora representatives in South Africa.Eventually persons in the Diaspora were able to complete questionnaires on the COPAC website [although it was only launched in August 2010] and send in written submissions.

Civil society accredited observers of the outreach meetings concluded that there had been so much manipulation of public participation in the outreach – by means including intimidation, coaching of contributors and bussing in of outsiders – that statistics reported by the outreach teams would necessarily be suspect and would need to be balanced by an assessment of the effect of those factors.††

Consolidation of Results from Public Consultations

January to March 2011: The reports from all the outreach meetings – at least one from each ward, sometimes several, plus the extra meeting for the disabled, etc.[see above] into an electronic database.This involved a massive data uploading and collating process. These reports had been captured on laptop computers in accordance with a template framed by COPAC. Submissions made via the COPAC website, as well as written submissions made direct to COPAC, also had to be electronically captured and collated.This took from the beginning of January well into March, and was marred by allegations of loss of and tampering with data and omission of submissions from the Diaspora, and by the involuntary absence for over three weeks of the MDC-T COPAC co-chairperson while he was held in custody on criminal charges described as “trumped up” by his party and supporters.†††

May 2011 to October 2011:Compilation of ward, district and provincial reports on the public consultation data:At the beginning of May the seventeen thematic committees commenced work on synthesising all this material into ward, district and provincial reports encapsulating the results of the public consultation process for their thematic areas.

June 9th: Ward reports completed: The ward reports took longer than anticipated because it became necessary to resolve serious differences between the political parties as to the methodology to be followed in analysing the data from the outreach meetings; these differences centred on ZANU-PF wanting to just do a “quantitative” analysis [numbers for and against views on the talking points] and MDC-T wanting to also use a “qualitative” approach [taking account of factors such as incidences of coaching and intimidation, understanding of talking points and the quality of the views; e.g., if a view is expressed that the death penalty should be retained by a person who wants it also extended to all journalists who write an article opposing ZANU-PF – should that be counted?].The ward reports then had to be consolidated into district and provincial reports.This was delayed by renewed disagreements about methodology.COPAC got stakeholders to agree to a combination of the approaches, with frequency or preponderance not allowed as an absolute determinate of the popularity or importance of a concept.

16th August: District reports completed:On 1st August the thematic committees, down-sized in the interests of efficiency and economy and in the process omitting certain controversial individuals, started work on consolidating ward reports into district reports, finishing on 16th August. They then moved on to the provincial reports, finishing in mid- September.

5th October: Provincial reports completed:The formal COPAC announcement of the completion of the provincial reports was delayed by the auditing of the provincial and district reports; this was done by a team composed of 4 representatives from each of the three GPA parties, 3 quality control experts nominated by each of the parties and COPAC data collection staff.

October 2011 – Writing of the national report: On 7th October a COPAC news release said that the writing of the national report would soon commence and that the report would have two components, the national statistical report and the national narrative report.On 27th October a COPAC press statement announced the completion of the national report and said the report would be the main document to be used by the drafters who would be tasked to draft the new constitution and that the way was now clear for planning the “actual drafting”, which would commence soon.[There have been rumours, however, that only the statistical component of the national report was satisfactorily completed, with the narrative component still not agreed between the parties.]

Reminder:Constitution-Making Timetable laid down in GPA Article 6

Article 6 of the GPA allowed a maximum of 20 months from the inception of the inclusive government on 13th February 2009 to complete the various stages of the constitution-making process, with time-limits for each stage.As article 6 was not incorporated into the Constitution by Constitution Amendment No 19, it was just a political agreement between the parties, the timetable was not legally enforceable and the parties were free to depart from it.The timetable deadlines, based on the maximum time allowed for each stage under Article 6, were:

13 April 2009 – Select committee to be set up [within two months of inception of a new Government].

13 July 2009 – Convening of the first All Stakeholders Conference [within 3 months of the date of the appointment of the Select Committee].

13 November 2009 – Public consultation process completed [no later than 4 months after the date of the first All Stakeholders Conference].

13 February 2010 – The draft of the Constitution tabled before a Second All Stakeholders Conference [to be done within 3 months after completing the public consultation process].

13 March 2010 – The Select Committee’s draft Constitution and its accompanying report tabled before Parliament [within 1 month of the second All-Stakeholders Conference].

13 April 2010 – Parliament [i.e. both Houses] concludes its debate on the Constitution and Select Committee report [within one month of tabling of draft and report].

13 July 2010 – Referendum on the new draft Constitution held [within 3 months of the conclusion of Parliament’s debate].

13 August 2010 – If approved in the Referendum, the draft Constitution gazetted as a Bill [within 1 month of the date of the date of the referendum].

13 October 2010 – The Constitution Bill introduced in Parliament [no later than 1 month after the expiration of the period of 30 days from the date of its gazetting].

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

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