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Kimberley Process failing on blood diamonds, claims rights watchdog

http://www.telegraph.co.uk

The rights watchdog Global Witness has left the Kimberley Process, accusing
the international diamond regulatory group of refusing to address links
between diamonds, violence and tyranny.

6:30AM GMT 05 Dec 2011

In a statement, it cited what it called failures in Ivory Coast, Venezuela
and Zimbabwe.

"Consumers have a right to know what they're buying, and what was done to
obtain it," said Charmian Gooch, a Global Witness founding director. "The
diamond industry must finally take responsibility for its supply chains and
prove that the stones it sells are clean."

The Kimberley Process was born after wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia that
were fueled by "blood diamonds."

Governments, the diamond industry and rights group have worked together as
members of the Kimberley Process since 2003 to impose requirements on its
members to enable them to certify rough diamonds as "conflict-free" so that
purchasers can be confident they are not funding violence.

Last month, in a decision Global Witness called "disappointing" at the time,
the Kimberley Process agreed to let Zimbabwe trade some $2 billion in
diamonds from fields where human rights groups say miners have been
tortured. Zimbabwe has denied allegations of human rights abuses in the
fields.

Human Rights Watch has accused Zimbabwean troops of killing more than 200
people, raping women and forcing children to search for the gems in the
fields.

"Over the last decade, elections in Zimbabwe have been associated with the
brutal intimidation of voters. Orchestrating this kind of violence costs a
lot of money," Global Witness's Gooch said Monday. "The Kimberley Process's
refusal to confront this reality is an outrage."


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Media group members arrested

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
05 December 2011

Three members of the Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) have been
arrested by police in Gwanda and charged in connection with a civic
education meeting held there last month.

MMPZ advocacy officers Fadzai December and Molly Chimhanda, and the Gwanda
chairperson of MMPZ’s Public Information Rights Forum Committee, Gilbert
Mabusa, are all being charged under POSA for failing to give notice of the
meeting. The group said in a statement that this is “despite the fact that
the meeting was convened by the membership of MMPZ’s Public Information
Rights Forum Committee for Gwanda and was therefore not a public meeting as
contemplated under POSA.”

The three are also being charged under the terms of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act for “participating in a gathering with intent
to promote public violence, breaches of the peace or bigotry.”

According to the MMPZ, the Gwanda police authorities allege that the
advocacy officers distributed “illegal material” in the form of a DVD, which
calls for the media to contribute to peaceful elections through fair,
accurate and balanced coverage.

“While MMPZ respects the necessity of the due process of the law, it is MMPZ’s
view that this case does not warrant the pre-trial detention of its advocacy
officers and Mr Mabusa. They are not remotely a flight risk as MMPZ’s
officers have fully cooperated with the police,” the organisation said in a
statement.

The group added: “Depriving an individual of their personal liberty should
be an action of last resort. It should not be employed as a first option,
especially in cases whose circumstances do not warrant pre-trial detention.
MMPZ therefore calls upon the police to release Gilbert, Fadzai and Molly
from custody forthwith as their attendance at court can be secured by way of
summons.”


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Bankrupt Air Zim may cancel SA flights

http://www.fin24.com

Dec 05 2011 17:54 Sapa-DPA

Harare - Zimbabwe’s state-owned carrier Air Zimbabwe might cancel flights to
South Africa because its planes could be impounded in Johannesburg over
unpaid bills, aviation sources said on Monday.

The airline has been banned from numerous destinations for non-payment of
landing rights.

But debts to a South African baggage handling company have piled up to such
an extent that daily flights from Harare to Johannesburg might end.

Last Friday, an Air Zimbabwe Boeing 737-500 plane was impounded at OR Tambo
airport near Johannesburg for several hours.

Bid Air Services, the main baggage handling company in South Africa, seized
the plane after Air Zimbabwe failed to pay $500 000 to clear unpaid bills.

“A forklift truck was parked at the back of the plane so it couldn’t leave,”
an Air Zimbabwe engineer told DPA.

Passengers had to walk to the terminal building because no buses were
provided.

The airline continued flying to and from Johannesburg over the weekend and
on Monday, but sources would not say whether flights would continue into
Tuesday.

The cash crunch also impacted Europe and Asia-bound flights this past
weekend, when the airline’s two Boeing 767 long-haul aircraft couldn’t fly
to London and Beijing because of “unavailability of funds to purchase fuel”,
a senior member of Air Zimbabwe staff said.

On several previous occasions, passengers on board have been asked by the
airline’s crew for donations to pay for fuel or landing rights.

Huge debts and mismanagement have brought Air Zimbabwe to its current
crisis.


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Poachers kill 23 Zim rhinos

http://www.iol.co.za

December 5 2011 at 04:21pm

Harare - The number of rhinoceros killed in Zimbabwean parks decreased to 23
this year from 30 in 2010 as parks authorities stepped up high-tech efforts
to track poachers, state media reported on Monday.

“We have just above 700 black and white rhinos and 23 have been poached this
year,” Caroline Washaya, Zimbabwe Parks and Wildlife Management Authority
public relations manager told The Herald newspaper.

“We managed to arrest 37 poachers and illegal dealers in rhino horns to
date,” she added.

Zimbabwe and its southern neighbour South Africa have been hard hit by
rhinoceros poachers motivated by the lucrative market for the horn in Asia
where it is used for medicinal purposes.

Washaya said parks authorities had been using methods such as placing
tracking chips in the rhinos' horns, or removing the horns altogether, to
prevent poaching.

“This year, a total of 100 rhinos were immobilised for ear notching and horn
implanting to facilitate individual identification and monitoring in the
field,” she said.

Last month a US-based animal protection group, the International Rhino
Foundation, launched Operation Stop Poaching Now to raise funds to equip
rangers in Zimbabwe and South Africa with kits to better track rhino
poachers.

The so-called “crime-scene kits” contain a camera, a metal detector, a GPS
system, finger-printing materials and sealable evidence bags, according to
the Foundation. - Sapa-AFP


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Chefs in poaching scam

http://www.financialgazette.co.zw

Monday, 05 December 2011 12:36

RHINO poaching is said to be on the increase in Zimbabwe with some of the
cases cited by leaked United States cables implicating senior government
officials.
At the time the cable was written, on December 14, 2009, local
conservationists were said to be increasingly concerned that Zimbabwe’s
rhinos were on a path to extinction as government officials had failed to
take adequate action to stop their slaughter and bring the rhino killers and
horn traffickers to justice.
Between 2006 and 2009, one-quarter of the country’s black rhinos were
estimated to have been killed by poachers.
“Since 2005, populations of black African rhinos have been either stable or
improving in every country in Africa except Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's black
rhinos suffered significant poaching losses in the 1990s that reduced their
population to just over 300 animals in 1995,” reads part of the cable.
“Between 1995 and 2001, some of Zimbabwe's intensive protection zones
demonstrated the highest reproduction rates seen in the wild, bringing the
population to 500-550 black rhinos between 2001 and 2007.
:However, since 2007, poaching has increased dramatically, reducing the
population to just over 400 black rhinos at present.”
A Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fau-na and
Flora (CITES) report said Vietnam has a growing demand for rhino horn
because many believe it can prevent or cure cancer and in turn, cancer
patients — in desperation — are willing to pay increasing sums, further
driving up the price and demand.
The US cable blamed the problem on lax law enforcement and what appears to
be a growing Asian demand for rhino horn.
It said local rhino  conservationists believe that Chinese and Vietnamese
smugglers move rhino ho-rn through South Africa to markets in Asia, mostly
China and Vietnam.
“A study conducted by Zimbabwean scientists was recently submitted to the
CITES and appears on the CITES webpage.
“The report, ‘African and Asian Rhinocero-ses — Status, Conservation and
Trade,’ . . . estimates that around 235 rhinos (both black and white) were
killed in Zimbabwe between 2006 and 2009 — half of all rhinos illegally
killed in Africa during that time,” reads part of the report.
“In recent years, there has been a noticeable trend to-wards more
sophisticated and violent methods of killing, including AK47 assault rifles,
immobilising drugs, poison, and crossbows.” — Staff Reporter.


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MP’s accused of budget blackmail to get cars

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
05 December 2011

Members of Parliament from all three political parties are being accused of
holding back on approving the 2012 national budget, to force the Finance
Minister into buying them new cars and pay off salaries and allowances
outstanding since 2008.

Last week Minister Tendai Biti presented his budget to Parliament, but he
needs the MP’s to approve it before it can be adopted. The clearest
statement that Biti is now being blackmailed came from ZANU PF MP Paddy
Zhanda, who is also the chairman of an inter-party welfare committee for
MPs.

“Do a survey in the SADC region and find out how much MPs are paid compared
to us. It is very unfortunate that people can perceive that we are trying to
arm twist the government when the truth is that government is not looking at
our welfare issues,” Zhanda told the Daily News last week.

In October this year Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai made
a decision to suspend payment of allowances for the MPs for the period July
2008 to October 2011. The MP’s are entitled to a US$500 salary per month
plus a US$75 allowance for every sitting of Parliament.

The MP’s are arguing that they cannot approve the budget without ‘inspecting’
it properly. A similar stand-off over the budget occurred last year before
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Vice President Joice Mujuru,
surprisingly, united and whipped their legislators into approving it.

This year continuous adjournments by Parliament led to questions about the
role and value of the institution, given the high running costs to cover
salaries and allowances for 210 MPs and 93 senators, among other things.

Veritas, who monitor legal and constitutional affairs, argued that “these
continual adjournments cost the tax payer money. Also the voters expect more
of their legislators – very little Parliamentary business has been done over
the past three years.”

Meanwhile Mugabe, whose clashes with Biti have been widely publicised, could
not resist having a dig at his latest budget. Addressing the ZANU-PF Central
Committee Mugabe said the budget presented a “false picture because those
figures will not be met at the end.” He blamed this on the inclusive
government. Mugabe alleged that last year Biti had failed to release funds
to some ministries, despite giving them such resources on paper.

Despite losing elections in March 2008 and merely surviving on the back of
the coalition government, Mugabe claimed policy differences made it
important for the country to go for elections as soon as possible.


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Chinese diamond firm paying workers $180

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

05/12/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

SOME 600 workers at Chinese diamond miner, Anjin Investments, have gone on
strike demanding higher salaries and improved working conditions.

Anjin which is in partnership with the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining
Development Corporation (ZMDC) is among the biggest of the five companies
licensed to mine Marange fields in eastern Zimbabwe.

The lowest paid employee at the mine is said to earn about US$180 per month.
The workers are demanding parity with the poverty datum line which is
estimated at US$600.
A representative of the workers claimed management at the company was
negotiating in bad faith.

“We last met management on November 1 following our October 30 sit-in and
the signed agreement was that we would have received increased salaries last
month,” workers’ committee chairman, John Mupfurutsa said in interviews with
state media.

"We were surprised to receive the usual peanuts on the agreed date and it is
clear they are not sincere."

However the company’s human resources manager, Lindiwe Ngwenya insisted the
company was finalising the details of a new remuneration package.

“The workers need to know that we were paying them using the investor's
money and their requests for salary increments are still being negotiated,”
she said.

"We were recently given certification and we are expecting to start selling
our diamonds next week and for the workers, reason should just prevail.”

The Kimberly Process (KP), a diamond industry watchdog, recently cleared
trading in gems extracted from Marange in a development expected to see
Anjin bring to the market a diamond stockpile estimated at about two million
carats.

ZMDC chairman, Godwills Masimirembwa said disposal of the stock-pile should
enable Anjin to improve working conditions for its workers.

“Since the company has been authorised to sell (diamonds), there is no doubt
all problems that arose due to Anjin's inability to sell its diamonds will
be solved," he said.

Officials say the Marange fields have the potential to meet up to 25 percent
of global diamond demand, potentially earning the country US$2 billion in
annual revenues.

International trading in diamonds from the area was banned by the KP in 2008
over allegations of human rights abuses which were denied by the government.


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Madzore denied bail

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Alex Bell
05 December 2011

The Chairman of the MDC-T’s Youth Assembly, who has been behind bars for
more than two months, was denied bail on Monday.

Solomon Madzore is being held at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in
connection with the death of Glen View policeman Petros Mutedza. He is one
of 28 MDC-T members who have been charged in connection with the death,
which is said have happened during a bar fight back in May.

The youth leader was arrested in October and his original bail application
was denied. His lawyers then launched a fresh application in the High Court
last month, but the ruling was postponed eight times.

The hearing was eventually meant to get underway last Thursday after being
postponed the day before. But the hearing failed to take place in the
morning after the State prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba did not show up in court.
This forced High Court Justice Maria Zimba Dube to move it to her chambers.
She then ruled that the matter should be held in an open court as it was of
public interest, and postponed the hearing to Monday. But on Monday, the
bail was denied.

Meanwhile seven other MDC-T members, who are also facing murder charges, are
also still being held behind bars under similar circumstances. The seven are
part of the original group of MDC-T members arrested in May over the
policeman’s death. The others were all released on bail in July.

The seven are: Glen View Ward 32 Councillor Tungamirai Madzokere, Rebecca
Mafikeni, Phenias Nhatarikwa, Lazarus Maengahama, Stanford Maengahama,
Yvonne Musarurwa and Stanford Mangwiro.


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Zanu PF youths abusing Chimoio trips

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

05/12/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

WAR veterans have demanded that Zanu PF takes action after it emerged party
youths had turned the regular visits to independence war shines in
Mozambique into business trips, importing various items for resale back
home.

The trips, which have seen party delegations travel to several countries in
the region, are said to be part of a programme aimed at familiarising the
youths with the country’s struggle for independence.

However, some of the youths were conducting personal business during visits
to Chimoio in Mozambique – the site of a horrendous massacre of refugees and
liberation war fighters by the Ian Smith regime.
Many were said to be buying bales of used clothes in Beira for resale back
home.
Zanu PF buses are not inspected by customs, enabling the youths to avoid
paying import duty.

Speaking during a meeting with the administrator for Mozambique’s Manica
province, Harare war veterans leader, Charles Mpofu said alarm was raised
after it emerged some people had been part of the Chimoio trips on more than
ten occasions.

"Why so keen to come here? Do they visit the graves their relatives as often
as come to Chimoio?" a spirit medium who was part of the delegation said.

Mpofu added: "We are not happy with some people coming (to Chimoio). It is a
betrayal of those who lie (there). These boys and girls (also wanted) to see
a new Zimbabwe, so why taking advantage of these comrades to enrich
yourself?

"We need to be in constant communication so that we are kept informed about
those people coming here. Only members of the security forces on duty should
be allowed."

It was also claimed that rituals aimed at enhancing business and, in some
cases, undermining the country’s leadership were also being conducted at the
Chimoio shrine.


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Zimbabwe's Richest Man Ventures Into Solar Energy

http://www.forbes.com

12/05/2011 @ 12:20PM

Zimbabwe’s richest man, Strive Masiyiwa, is venturing into solar energy,
according to a report in New Zimbabwe.

Masiyiwa, 50, is the founder and executive chairman of Econet Wireless, a
publicly-listed mobile telecoms company with operations in Zimbabwe,
Botswana, Lesotho, Burundi and Rwanda.

The company’s subsidiary, Econet Solar, recently launched a solar power
device intended to help light up rural areas in Zimbabwe and other areas
across rest of Africa which are beset by an erratic supply of electricity.

The device, called the Econet Home Power Station, will allow individuals and
families across Africa to light up their homes, charge their mobile phones
and generally utilize energy at a relatively inexpensive cost compared to
current solar energy devices currently available in Africa. In a press
statement, Masiyiwa said that the Home Power Station will allow individuals
to pay for their energy on a pre-paid basis, in much the same way airtime is
purchased for mobile phones in much of Africa.
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While the retail price of the Home Power Station has not yet been revealed,
officials of Econet Solar have promised that the device will be sold at a
“small cost” to allow accessibility to low-income earners across Africa.
Customers will only be charged for electricity in proportion to how they use
it.

In a statement to the media, Masiyiwa said that “whilst there are already
well-intentioned solar powered lighting systems on the market, the reality
is that they are just too expensive for people to afford.”

“We are launching the Home Power Station to change all that,” he said.

The device will contain a typical Econet mobile SIM card that will enable
the device to link up with the cellular network, thereby making it possible
for the customer to pre-pay for energy usage, in the same way mobile phone
users currently pay for airtime on their cell phone.

“It has been designed to supply, on a pre-paid basis, affordable lighting
for small homes and cell phone charging,” Masiyiwa said, while expressing
his optimism that the product will help light up the “70 percent of Africa
that does not already have access to electricity.”

If Masiyiwa and the Econet Solar team play their cards right, the Home Power
Station device could easily and quickly become immensely popular in various
parts of the African continent, considering that several African countries,
especially Nigeria, have to contend with severe electricity outages every
day.

In Nigeria citizens have to depend heavily on imported generators to produce
their own electricity. The droning reverberations of fuel-guzzling
generating sets have become the soundtrack of urban life in the West African
country. It’s become an extremely burdensome, expensive and environmentally
risky affair for the Nigerian citizen, but the incumbent president, Goodluck
Jonathan, has done nothing to remedy the situation.  If the Econet Solar
device is as inexpensive as the manufacturers claim it will be, the Home
Power Station could be a runaway success in Nigeria.


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MP’s accused of budget blackmail to get cars

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
05 December 2011

Members of Parliament from all three political parties are being accused of
holding back on approving the 2012 national budget, to force the Finance
Minister into buying them new cars and pay off salaries and allowances
outstanding since 2008.

Last week Minister Tendai Biti presented his budget to Parliament, but he
needs the MP’s to approve it before it can be adopted. The clearest
statement that Biti is now being blackmailed came from ZANU PF MP Paddy
Zhanda, who is also the chairman of an inter-party welfare committee for
MPs.

“Do a survey in the SADC region and find out how much MPs are paid compared
to us. It is very unfortunate that people can perceive that we are trying to
arm twist the government when the truth is that government is not looking at
our welfare issues,” Zhanda told the Daily News last week.

In October this year Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai made
a decision to suspend payment of allowances for the MPs for the period July
2008 to October 2011. The MP’s are entitled to a US$500 salary per month
plus a US$75 allowance for every sitting of Parliament.

The MP’s are arguing that they cannot approve the budget without ‘inspecting’
it properly. A similar stand-off over the budget occurred last year before
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Vice President Joice Mujuru,
surprisingly, united and whipped their legislators into approving it.

This year continuous adjournments by Parliament led to questions about the
role and value of the institution, given the high running costs to cover
salaries and allowances for 210 MPs and 93 senators, among other things.

Veritas, who monitor legal and constitutional affairs, argued that “these
continual adjournments cost the tax payer money. Also the voters expect more
of their legislators – very little Parliamentary business has been done over
the past three years.”

Meanwhile Mugabe, whose clashes with Biti have been widely publicised, could
not resist having a dig at his latest budget. Addressing the ZANU-PF Central
Committee Mugabe said the budget presented a “false picture because those
figures will not be met at the end.” He blamed this on the inclusive
government. Mugabe alleged that last year Biti had failed to release funds
to some ministries, despite giving them such resources on paper.

Despite losing elections in March 2008 and merely surviving on the back of
the coalition government, Mugabe claimed policy differences made it
important for the country to go for elections as soon as possible.


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Betty Makoni challenges Gono adviser on rape case

http://www.swradioafrica.com

By Lance Guma
05 December 2011

The exiled founder of the Girl Child Network, Betty Makoni, has slammed the
Zimbabwean legal system for giving ‘red carpet’ treatment to an adviser of
the Reserve Bank Governor, who is accused of raping his 11 year old niece
last year.

It’s being reported that Dr Munyaradzi Kereke is suing The Standard
newspaper for US$5 million in damages over two articles headed, “Rape Case
Kereke Wants to Suppress” and an editorial write-up, “Kereke must have his
day in court”. Kereke allegedly raped the girl at his home in the Vainona
suburb of Harare.

A furious Makoni whose organisation is representing the victim told our
Behind the Headlines programme that Dr Kereke should be suing her and not
the Standard newspaper. “He cannot sue the Standard newspaper and leave me.
I actually did worse things than The Standard newspaper.”

Makoni narrated how she has been campaigning since last year to have Kereke
brought to justice. Using social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter
she called for a boycott of his ‘post-surgery clinic’ in Mount Pleasant, the
Kereke Rock Foundation. Makoni said because of this, most of his businesses
are struggling.

Makoni told SW Radio Africa that they had sufficient documentary evidence to
secure a conviction against Kereke but that the police docket on the rape
case is ‘stuck’ at the Attorney General’s office. The matter was reported at
Highlands Police Station in November last year, and police requested a
medical report.

The victim was referred to the Family Support Trust unit at Parirenyatwa
Hospital, where Makoni said a certified government doctor confirmed the girl
had been raped. Part of the evidence in the case also includes a testimony
from the girl’s 15 year old sister who, it’s alleged, Kereke also tried to
rape at some point.

With the parents of the girls said to be divorced and the mother in the UK
while the father is in the United States, Kereke as their uncle was looking
after them. On the night in question Makoni told us Kereke, “took a gun,
pointed it to the 11 year old girl” before raping her. The girl refused to
go school for 3 months after the incident.

Makoni told SW Radio Africa that it was ‘ironic’ that Kereke was being
afforded the chance to sue the newspapers for covering the story and yet he
was not being prosecuted for raping a young child who could not defend
herself.

In December 2009 Dr Kereke was one of 75 officials linked to the Mugabe
regime who were placed on targeted travel and financial restrictions by the
European Union, the United States and the Australian government.


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Zim's Malaria Campaign Impressive - Official

http://www.radiovop.com

By Ngoni Chanakira, Harare, December 5, 2011 - Zimbabwe's malaria campaign
is now so sophisticated that it has reached pre-elimination stage especially
in the Matabeleland region, a senior National Institute of Health Research
(NIHR) official, has claimed.

"I can tell you that Zimbabwe is doing very well as far as malaria control
is concerned," she said in Harare.
"In fact in some areas of Matabeleland we have reached the pre-elimination
stage which means our system is very advanced and meets WHO standards."

Asked why the same World Health Organisation (WHO), which has developed a
new drug to combat malaria, had side-lined Zimbabwe from receiving the drug
and also pointing out that the developing nations was a major disappointment
on malaria control", the official said:

"I am not aware about this information. We meet all conditions set down by
the WHO and in Matabeleland we have reached pre-elimination stage."

The WHO has said Zimbabwe's is very disappointing because its malaria cases
were increasing instead of decreasing and thus it would not test its new
vaccine in the poor nation until the disease was controlled "fully".

At a closed workshop a WHO spokesperson said: "The WHO has indeed developed
a new drug to combat malaria. Unfortunately Zimbabwe will not benefit from
this drug just yet because its cases have not been consistent with WHO
standards. While we are happy about the progress made by Zimbabwe its cases
go up and down and we want them to remain down."

She said other African countries, mainly in the West, were already
benefitting from the new drug developed by the WHO.

WHO secretly bosses gathered in Harare, Zimbabwe, in virtually all the
capital city's major hotels to discuss the benefits of the new "malaria
drug" and how best they can spread it around.

The week-long workshops were held at five star hotels including the
Monomotapa Crowne Plaza Hotel, Meikles Hotel, and the Rainbow Towers Hotel,
formerly Sheraton Harare.

The delegates were selected from WHO offices scattered around the world.

The WHO's Head of Medical Services addressed the workshop at the Monomotapa
Crowne Plaza Hotel, during which he said they must thrash out "malaria from
Africa" as part of the WHO mandate.

He said delegates who include medical doctors, pharmacists as well as former
nursing staff members must realise that they are working not only for Africa
but for the "great continent of Africa".

While the NIHR official said malaria cases in Zimbabwe had gone down, she
admitted that there were still "a few cases that have been reported
especially in the tourist resort town of Kariba, which is also very hot
during this time of the year".

More than one million malaria nets have been bought from various
organisations including the WHO by donors to try and combat the deadly
disease in Zimbabwe.


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Climate change hits Zimbabwe wildlife

http://reportingdna.org/

December 5, 2011
By Wisdom Mdzungairi

Changing climatic conditions in Zimbabwe’s vast flagship wildlife
sanctuary – Hwange National Park – have caused the death of large numbers of
several endangered species including elephants, lions and black rhinos.
Numbers of these animals have fallen drastically due to the lack of drinking
water, said Parks and Wildlife Management Authority director-general,
Vitalis Chadenga.

Despite pumping in water 24 hours per day to avert the crisis, scorching
temperatures have seen perennial water holes and pans in the vast game park
drying up and the water table ‘getting very low’ resulting in boreholes
failing to cope with demand.

Small game species have already succumbed to thirst en bloc around the water
holes dotted around the dry park as they could not compete with big game and
dangerous predators for the finite resources in the park.

In an interview at the COP 17 yesterday, Chadenga said 88 elephants have
died of thirst in the last three months, and many others were migrating to
nearby countries in search of “greener pastures”.
Poaching has exacerbated the dire circumstances of certain species. Some 23
black and white rhinos have been killed in national parks and conservancies
this year, while 37 poachers and illegal dealers in horns have been
arrested. The rhino remains a major target for poachers who sell their
products on lucrative markets in Asia and the Middle East.

With over 50 000 elephants, a sizeable number of  endangered black rhino,
zebra, lion and all the ‘big five’, Hwange is home to almost half of the
country’s jumbo population, although its carrying capacity is around 20 000
animals. The country’s current population of elephants is estimated at just
over 120 000 animals.

Chadenga said. “We hope we will see a global solution and that the rich
countries will own up and pay for the damages. We hope this climate
conference will come up with a treaty so that we are able to deal with our
climate challenges back home. As a department, we no longer have the
capacity to deal with the water challenges in our parks.”

Hwange including some of Zimbabwe’s 11 major national parks Mana Pools,
Matopo and Gonarezhou are in low rainfall areas and the parks department has
over the years been actively providing water to wildlife daily.

However, the department is running short of financial resources to maintain
the momentum.
Chadenga said it is not enough for developed nations to tell poor countries
not to cut trees when “people have to look after themselves. We need to
address bread and butter issues. For us, we would rather have half the
number of elephants we currently hold. We have no mitigation measures that
we can carry since we are short of resources, except that if there are
countries willing to buy jumbos from us we can sell according to the
dictates of UN Cites statutes.”

But, he added, if COP 17 could strike a deal that would ensure that the 37
developed nations will compensate poor countries for messing up the climate,
“that money will be used to improve our management of park estates by
ensuring sustainability.”


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‘Wikigate not conference agenda’

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

By Gift Phiri, Senior Writer
Monday, 05 December 2011 12:56

HARARE - President Mugabe will open Zanu PF National People’s Conference in
Bulawayo on Wednesday having silenced “dissidents” in his party for now.

The annual conference is expected to re-affirm Mugabe’s presidential
candidacy after an ingenious purge by the wily veteran leader which followed
the WikiLeaks exposures.

Zanu PF big wigs that have been fingered in Wikigate telling American
diplomats that they wanted the 87-year-old leader to go, have been
grovelling and loftily praising him ever since they were fingered as
“sellouts” in the United States diplomatic cables.

But the Daily News heard yesterday there is a mounting clamour for the party
to use the conference to invoke disciplinary procedures against the
WikiLeaks plotters.

The release of some 250 000 diplomatic cables — many stamped secret — has
laid bare Zanu PF officials that were speaking to US diplomats in Harare and
Pretoria, something that is frowned upon by Mugabe’s leadership.

WikiLeaks has blown the cover on senior Zanu PF officials, including Vice
President Joice Mujuru, serving and former Cabinet ministers, Emmerson
Mnangagwa, Nicholas Goche, Saviour Kasukuwere, Jonathan Moyo, Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu, Dumiso Dabengwa and Walter Mzembi.

Most damning in the cables is the exposure of a secret meeting between Vice
President Mujuru where she circumvented ministry of Foreign Affairs
protocol, and met the US ambassador in a dark, unoccupied house she owns on
the outskirts of Harare.

After the political earthquake caused by the secrets-spilling WikiLeaks
website, officials fingered in the cables have been bootlicking Mugabe as if
there is no tomorrow, a sign that the veteran leader still wields too much
power.

Dancing women, anti-imperialist speeches and cheering party faithful singing
the praises of Mugabe will characterise the conference that ends with an
all-night music gala on Saturday.

Mugabe’s strategic refusal to act on the WikiLeaks plotters in his party has
masked a bitter power struggle brewing within the party over his succession.

Mugabe has faced a challenge from within his party’s ranks who have in the
past angled to replace him and this include Mujuru and Defence minister
Emerson Mnangagwa.

The President’s advanced age and ailing health had fuelled the race for the
presidency of the former ruling party ahead of the conference but it is now
clear that he will go for another term.

In what some interpret as a Mugabe victory and others a setback amid a
divisive succession battle, observers are warning that the dissidents will
endorse Mugabe at the conference and refrain from campaigning for him as
happened in the 2008 vote that saw the dissidents implementing the so-called
“bhora mudondo” strategy.

A senior member of the Emerson Mnangagwa faction yesterday urged action
against the WikiLeaks “sellouts”.

“What I think the party should simply do is to strictly follow the party
constitution for the resolution of this WikiLeaks problem. We had people
suspended over the Tsholotsho issue, and the same laws must apply here,”
said the official who declined to be named.

He expects “someone from the floor” at the conference to push for a
resolution on the WikiLeaks plotters based on the party constitution.

“We are saying if Phillip Chiyangwa, if Tracy Mutinhiri were punished, if
Tsholotsho people were suspended, why should the WikiLeaks plotters be left
to walk scot-free. It smacks of selective application of the law,” he said.

The Tsholotsho coup plot was allegedly planned by then Information minister
and serial political flip-flopper Jonathan Moyo who called a meeting in
Tsholotsho in 2004, attended by numerous top party officials, MPs and the
chairmen of six of the party’s provincial committees, at which they were
urged to support Mnangagwa instead of Mujuru for vice presidency.

When Mugabe found out about the meeting he was furious.

The provincial chairmen were suspended for five years and Moyo and others,
notably Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa, were deprived of their seats on
the party’s central committee.

“The same fate (suspension) should befall the WikiLeaks plotters,” said
another Mnangagwa faction member.

Another politburo member, a staunch Mnangagwa faction loyalist said: “These
people are sell-outs. Masiyana papi naNyathi?(What’s the difference with
Nyathi?)

If anyone should be pardoned, that will have to be the prerogative of the
President, but disciplinary procedures must kick in right now. The
conference must make a stern resolution on this.”

“Mukuru (the leader, Mugabe) can’t continue sitting in the politburo with
people who stab him in the back,” said the official.

Zanu PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo has said Wikigate was not on the conference
agenda.

Mugabe described the forthcoming conference as a “critical meeting” during
his central committee meeting held in Harare on Thursday.

“It is a critical meeting that we should prepare for adequately since it is
the last conference before we go for general elections,” he said.

“The forthcoming conference more or less has the same status as our
five-year congress.”

Mugabe was declared the Zanu PF presidential candidate during the 2009
congress, the supreme policy making organ of the party which elects the
President and first secretary, two Vice Presidents and second secretaries of
the Party, as well as members of the Central Committee.

The decision of congress, which meets once every five years, can only be
amended by an extraordinary congress, otherwise Zanu PF is stuck with Mugabe
until 2014 even though officials in his party told American diplomats that
he was now a liability.

Mugabe is expected to shake-up the politburo, the decision-making organ of
the Zanu PF, before the end of the conference, to fill vacant posts caused
by deaths of Ephraim Masawi who was the deputy national commissar, David
Karimanzira, who was the secretary for finance; retired army commander
General Solomon Mujuru and Khantibai Patel who were both committee members.

Analysts however, say even after the shake-up, power will remain firmly in
Mugabe’s hands.

According to the agenda drafted by the politburo which met on Wednesday last
week, conference will debate an indigenisation and the empowerment policy
that has dented business confidence and spooked investors, the controversial
drive to forcibly acquire white-owned farms for redistribution to blacks and
the economy that is emerging from a decade of economic meltdown.

Zanu PF will also take stock of the anti-sanctions campaign launched in
March to get two million people — or about one-sixth the country’s
population — to sign a petition to protest targeted measures against him and
senior members of his party.

Observers predict Zanu PF will emerge out of the conference largely
unreconstructed and even more divided.


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Mugabe relives his nightmare

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Nkululeko Sibanda, Senior Writer
Monday, 05 December 2011 12:52

VICTORIA FALLS - For many people Chitungwiza is a place they call home. They
know of no other home besides “Chi-Town” — as it is casually called — by its
inhabitants.

Whatever bad and good things they see in this sprawling town, they believe
all that as a sum of what makes the town.

But for President Robert Mugabe, a recent visit to the sprawling town was a
regrettable experience.

On Saturday, Mugabe relived his nightmare in Chi-Town.

Officially opening the Zimbabwe Local Government Association (Zilga)
conference, Mugabe said Chitungwiza Town Council can do better to improve
service delivery.

He said never enjoyed the place when he recently visited to officiate at a
ceremony to mark a visit by Chinese eye experts.

“When we talk about service delivery, some of you think that we are just
joking. I was called to a function in Chitungwiza when the delegation of eye
specialists visited the country.

“When I drove there, it was as if I was riding on a horse. The roads were
bumpy and I wondered why the council there was failing to patch up the
potholes to avoid giving people this horrible experience,” he said.

He also had words for the capital city.

“It is embarrassing that the Harare we used to say was the beacon of
cleanliness has now lost its glamour and sunshine. We used to tell tourists
that we have Harare which is clean. Is this the Harare that we have been
talking about?

“We need a clean city. The problems that Harare faces are more compounded
than that of Bulawayo. You go to Chitungwiza (town council), you find wars
all over the place. They fight over this and that. Let us have a situation
where our fights are that of service delivery. We can give each other money
but let us ensure that services are better and do benefit the people that
pay rates and tariffs to you as the local authorities,” Mugabe said, to a
loud applause from delegates to the conference.

He chided most local authorities for their failure to deliver essential
services to the people, saying the time was nigh for councils to give
ratepayers their money’s worth.

He singled out Bulawayo City Council as the star performer among the country’s
local authorities.

“Some of us are now surprised as to what is eating into the service delivery
in most local authorities,” Mugabe said.

“I remember when I was still working. I lived my working life in Bulawayo
and it is encouraging to see that even to this day, the City of Bulawayo is
efficient in its service delivery despite the limited resources available to
them,” he added.

Mugabe said he was disappointed by most local authorities which have failed
to give the ratepayers service delivery commensurate with the rates and
tariffs paid by the ratepayers.

“We now see bins full of rubbish, with heaps of garbage where people live,
where people sell their wares. Do people wait for government to come and
clean up their places?

“That is your job as local authorities and as institutions that represent
government at local level.

“Our job at the top of the government structure is to come up with policies
which we will then give to you for implementation,” Mugabe added.


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Presidential motorcade stuns Zambians

http://www.dailynews.co.zw

By Nkululeko Sibanda in Zambia
Monday, 05 December 2011 12:58

LIVINGSTONE - President Robert Mugabe’s motorcade on Saturday brought
business to a virtual standstill at the Livingstone and Victoria Falls
border posts as it crossed into the Zambian border town of Livingstone.

Mugabe, 87, was paying a courtesy call on new Zambian president, Michael
Sata.

Reports indicated that the two had earlier been scheduled to meet in
Victoria Falls but the arrangements were later changed, prompting Mugabe to
cross into Livingstone by road.

Sata was recently elected Zambian president after many years in the
opposition.

Mugabe was in Victoria Falls on Saturday to officially open the Zimbabwe
Local Government Association (Zilga) second biennial conference where he
took time to visit his new counterpart in his territory.

As the motorcade weaved its way into Livingstone, stunned Zambians stood by
the roadside and marvelled at the huge motorcade which consisted of security
and protocol officials.

“This is the first time I have seen so many cars here in Livingstone, all at
once and accompanying a president. He must be a well secured man I guess,”
said Lloyd Mulenga, an employee at the hotel where the two presidents met.

Other onlookers had no option but to wave at the motorcade, unsure of this
new phenomenon that had hit the border town.

Mugabe arrived at the venue of the meeting in the afternoon hours and was
received by Sata who expressed happiness to meet him.

This is the first time the two have met since the Zambian elections.

Speaking in Shona, much to Mugabe’s surprise, Sata said he was pleased to
receive his visitor.

“Sekuru (grandfather)! How are you sekuru?” asked Sata.

Mugabe could only be seen smiling as he held Sata’s hand in his typical
Mugabe grip. The same grip left Fifa president, Sepp Blatter shocked when he
visited Harare early this year.

“I am very delighted to receive you here. It’s a pleasure to actually
interface with your teacher at some point,” Sata said to the hordes of
security personnel from both Zimbabwe and Zambia.

In an interview after the two hour meeting, Sata’s spokesperson, George
Chellah described the meeting as fruitful.

“The president held a fruitful meeting with his Zimbabwean counterpart. This
was their first meeting and it was a highly successful meeting. That is what
we can say for now,” Chellah said.


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Indigenisation won’t create jobs: PM

http://www.newzimbabwe.com

05/12/2011 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

PRIME Minister and MDC-T leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has blasted the
indigenisation programme insisting the policy will not solve the country's
unemployment crisis.

Foreign companies are now required by law to localise control of at least 51
percent of their operations in a move President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF
argues will help economically empower the country’s historically
disadvantaged black majority.

But the programme has divided the country’s coalition government with
Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party coming on the side of critics who say the policy
will drive away much-needed investment.

Tsvangirai told supporters at a rally in Bulilima East, Plumtree over the
weekend that his party differed with Zanu PF on the issue, saying the model
being pushed by Mugabe would not create jobs.

“How are jobs created? Jobs are created by ensuring that you increase the
size of the cake not shrinking the small cake,” he said.

“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.

“Most of our young people have crossed the borders to get jobs, yet Zanu PF
is destroying industries.”
Tsvangirai also said his party was ready for elections expected next year
once the ‘right’ conditions were put in place.

“We won the mandate of the people before, we are not afraid of elections. We
only want the elections to be conducted in a free and fair manner,” he said.

Mugabe wants fresh polls early next year, insisting the coalition government
had become unworkable.
But Tsvangirai said the unity deal had helped turn-around the country’s
economy and revive collapsed social services.

“Our country now has one of the lowest inflation in the world and a growth
rate of 9.4 % is expected in the next year which is a significant
improvement as compared to no progress at all,” he said.

“In the social services sector, people now go to the hospitals and are
getting treatment. In the education sector, for the first time we have
printed 13 million text books so that every primary school child has four
textbooks of elementary education. We are working to ensure that the same
happens to our secondary school children.”


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U.S. / Zim partnership boosts medical labs in HIV/AIDS fight

 

ZINQAP_lab.JPGBulawayo, December 5, 2011: The United States is providing over $9.5 million over five years to ensure the strengthening of medical laboratories in Zimbabwe.  Such technical strengthening in labs is vital to continuing strong HIV prevention, care and treatment programs, U.S. Ambassador Charles Ray said on Thursday.

 

“The minimum requirements to be met by all laboratories and testing sites in Zimbabwe will ensure universal access to quality testing in support of the health delivery systems, which in turn promotes HIV prevention, care and treatment programs,” said the U.S. Ambassador while officially opening the two-week Strengthening Laboratory Management Towards Accreditation (SLMTA) workshop currently underway in Bulawayo.

 

The workshop, which is being conducted jointly by the Zimbabwe National Quality Assurance Program (ZINQAP) and the Ministry of Health’s Department of Laboratory Services, with support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC- Zimbabwe), is the first in-country SLMTA Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop.

 

The 27 participants are all senior-level lab professionals and represent Barbados in the Caribbean, Uganda, Cameroon, Botswana and Zimbabwe.  The workshop started November 28th and ends this week on Friday.  Participants will use the information received to train other professionals for improved service delivery as their respective countries’ medical labs prepare for accreditation.

 

This year alone, through CDC- Zimbabwe, the United States’ President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is providing over $3.7 million dollars in laboratory support in Zimbabwe.

 

“This is really an exciting time in the AIDS epidemic,” said Peter Kilmarx, CDC-Zimbabwe country director at the opening ceremony. “It’s now 30 years since AIDS was first described in a CDC publication and we are  turning the tide on HIV with increasingly effective prevention tools, including biomedical tools that depend on laboratory support.  So other public health officials and doctors depend on you to achieve these results.”

 

Zimbabwe representatives at the workshop confirmed that with the exception of one accredited private medical lab, there are currently no other accredited medical laboratories in the country, including in the public sector health system.

 

“This is not peculiar to Zimbabwe,” said Sibongile Zimuto, director of ZINQAP. “Most countries in sub- Saharan Africa do not have accredited laboratories. In Zimbabwe, we are fortunate because we do have a good lab infrastructure.  We have good laboratories and with programs such as SLMTA, we can strengthen our labs and have them accredited.”

 

In November 2011, ZINQAP was recommended to be a SADC regional centre of excellence and quality systems, which will enable the organization to work with other countries in the SADC region to provide proficiency testing programs and trainings in quality systems.

 

An official from the Ministry of Health said the country was aiming to have two accredited laboratories by the end of 2012.  “We envisage that by the end of 2012, we should have at least two public sector laboratories accredited,” said Raiva Simbi, Deputy Director for Laboratory Services in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare.

 

Citing brain drain, Simbi said the ministry had adopted several ways, including mentoring and in-house training, to ensure adequate personnel at the public medical laboratories.  “In Zimbabwe we are happy because we have adopted several ways of actually getting to accreditation faster, one of them being the SLMTA program and the cohort that has done the training in the past 18 months.  We hope we are going to have another cohort soon,” said Simbi.

 

Kate Yao, Health Education Specialist with the Global AIDS program at CDC Altlanta, said the SLMTA approach was developed by the World Health Organization for resource-constrained countries. “In the past, international accreditation was an unreachable dream for many sub- Saharan African laboratories, but with SLMTA, it is now within their reach,” said Yao, who hailed Zimbabwe for its commitment to ensuring improved standards in the sector.

 

“We have been doing the TOT workshops in South Africa where 20 countries participated. Zimbabwe has the honor of being the first ever participating country to host a TOT workshop because it has excellent trainers.  Four of our six African master trainers are Zimbabweans - so you have the capacity.”- ZimPAS© December 5, 2011.

 

In picture: Zinqap Director, Sibongile Zimuto with Ambassador Ray and Dr. Henry Madzorera, Minister of Health and Child Welfare.

 

# # #

 

ZimPAS is a product of the U.S. Embassy Public Affairs Section. Queries and comments should be directed to Sharon Hudson-Dean, Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy Harare. hararepas@state.gov. Url: http://harare.usembassy.gov

 


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Species of black rhino declared extinct

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

December 5 2011 at 10:58am
By Eddy Delcher

The Western Black Rhinoceros, one of four subspecies of black rhinoceros,
has been officially declared extinct by the International Union for the
Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

“This is devastating news,” said National Zoological Gardens of South Africa
senior conservation adviser Mike Jordan.

“We all see daily reports of rhinos being slaughtered by poachers. Now our
chances of saving the Western Black Rhino are forever gone,” he said.

The Western Black Rhinoceros, Diceros bicornis longipes, was massively
hunted at the turn of the 20th century but thrived in 1930s West Africa
after the implementation of preservation measures.

By 1980 the population had fallen to a few hundred because of poaching. By
2000 only 10 of the rhinos survived – in Cameroon. Recent surveys found no
sign of the remaining population and extensive evidence of poaching led to
the subspecies being declared extinct last month.

The surviving three subspecies, two of which exist in South Africa, are
listed as “critically endangered” – only one step away from being “extinct
in the wild” on the IUCN’s conservation status index.

According to recent reports, only 4 880 black rhinos remain in the wild,
with 740 Eastern Black Rhinos in Kenya and Tanzania, 1 920 South-Western
Black Rhinos in South Africa and Namibia, and 2 220 Southern-Central Black
Rhinos in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique.

In the 1960s, the black rhino population in Africa was estimated at 70 000,
which means less than 7 percent survive today.

“The fate of the black rhino largely depends on our actions here in South
Africa where most of the remaining black rhino occur,” said Jordan.

“We must stop the decimation of rhinos by poachers looking for rhino horns
or soon we will be sounding the death knell for another of the subspecies.”


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MDC: the only serious party – President Tsvangirai

Monday, 05 December 2011

Let us have politics of issues not of personalities, and allow the people to choose because ultimately the mandate of the people comes from the people, President Tsvangirai has said. He was addressing thousands of party supporters in Bulilima East, Plumtree at Dingumuzi stadium on Saturday.

President Tsvangirai said the unity of the people of this country will not be broken by those who want to sing ethnic politics. He said parties should speak on programmes of progress, and what they want to do for the people, not politics of personalities. “As the MDC when we get into government, our focus is to attract investment so that jobs are created for the unemployed people, and it is to ensure that our infrastructure including electricity, roads, railway is improved. We want to ensure that all schools have ICT facilities; that is our future,” said President Tsvangirai.

The next elections will be held under the spotlight of the whole world. The only party that has united the people from Chipinge to Plumtree, from Zambezi to Mutare is the MDC. We are not against other parties, but parties should be serious. This country has serious problems and requires serious people and the only serious party in the country is the MDC.”

He said the coming elections are watershed elections where the struggle for democracy should eventually win over dictatorship and tyranny. “When we formed the MDC, we wanted to win power through the ballot. Now how do we reach that goal when people are not registered? The challenge we have is that we are in a democratic struggle and this struggle demands that the next elections be watershed elections. If we want change, let us all go and vote,” urged President Tsvangirai.

He said: “We won the mandate of the people before, we are not afraid of elections. We only want the elections to be conducted in a free and fair manner. We have spoken against violence, meeting all the parties, and we are urging every one to encourage non violence and if that’s a commitment Zanu PF is prepared to take then we say congratulations, but it is very difficult to change the spots of the leopard.”

President Tsvangirai further pointed out that national healing was a necessary step in rebuilding the nation. He said the Gukurahundi issue needed to be addressed if true healing is to take place.

Thousands of people including women and children were murdered by the North Korean-trained 5 brigade in the early 1980s. “Silence is not a solution. We have to confront this. If we don’t confront it, it will continue to be a burden to this nation. Any idea of national healing would be fruitless,” he said.

On Indigenisation, President Tsvangirai said the MDC differed with Zanu PF because the sunset party seeks to destroy and shrink the national cake rather than expand it for the greater good of the nation.

“How are jobs created? Jobs are not created by crying or praying, there must be a strategic plan of how to create jobs by attracting investment inside and outside the country. The restructuring and recapitalisation of the country’s economy will create jobs. Jobs are created by ensuring that you increase the size of the cake not shrinking the small cake. 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.

Nowhere in the world have you seen people moving away from urban areas to rural areas, the opposite should be happening as people search for employment opportunities. Most of our young people have crossed the borders to get jobs, yet Zanu PF is destroying industries,” said President Tsvangirai.

He said there had been no progress in the last decade which had destroyed the country’s economy, social services and general livelihoods of the people. He said, since the formation of the GNU, there has been progress. “Let us look at the MDC in government in the last three years. Think of where you have been, and where we are now. That’s the only way you can measure whether the GNU is working or not working,” he said.

“In 2009, we had a budget of one billion dollars, but today we are talking of a four billion dollar budget. That’s progress. That’s advancement of economic needs of the country. Our country now has one of the lowest inflation in the world and a growth rate of 9.4 % is expected in the next year which is a significant improvement as compared to no progress at all,” he said.

“In the social services sector, people now go to the hospitals and are getting treatment. In the next year, we hope by the Health Transition Fund, women and children who go to the clinics will not be paying. In the education sector, for the first time we have printed 13 million text books so that every primary school child has four textbooks of elementary education. We are working to ensure that the same happens to our secondary school children,” he said.

He said the country still faces water challenges which saw the return of Cholera in some parts of Harare hence it was a government priority.

“We need to improve, but it’s a much better situation than it was before the Inclusive government. We went to Mtshabezi dam; very soon, that dam will be supplying water to Matabeleland region. “But you must know that the present government is a coalition one with the MDC and Zanu PF. When we say this is progress, the other party sabotages these activities,” he said.

He said Matabeleland provinces were prone to droughts while the majority of able-bodied young men and women cross the borders to South Africa and Botswana, adding that this was not a healthy situation.

“The most disheartening thing in the province is that there is no food. Food passes through Beitbridge to Harare then is redistributed from Harare to Matabeleland and then problems are faced to transport it back to Matabeleland. That’s a serious shortfall of our food response to a drought prone province. “But I want to assure everyone that no one should die of hunger. We will do everything in our power to make sure that food has been moved from surplus areas to drought prone provinces,” he said.

Speaking at the same rally, Hon Lovemore Moyo, the National Chairperson urged the people to hold on to their belief and hope for a new Zimbabwe. “We are near yet it may seem so far away. We are near to Canaan, though our votes have always been stolen and rigged, this time we want to bury Zanu PF. It will not get anything in the next election. The people know that since the formation of the inclusive government, change has been seen. There is food in the homes; children are now going to school.

The youth Assembly deputy Secretary, Mpumelelo Ndlovu urged the young people to register to vote, defend the people’s vote and uphold the will of the people. “We have the mandate to deliver change in this country. Our brothers and sisters who have crossed the borders should come back to register so that come election time, our vote will bring the change we all desire to see. We believe in taking action for the future we envisage. Let us participate fully,” he urged.

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


--
MDC Information & Publicity Department


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The Return of the Blood Diamond (And We Don't Mean the Movie)

http://globalspin.blogs.time.com

Posted by Alex Perry Monday, December 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm

They say a diamond is forever. From today, and for now, that also includes
blood diamonds. On Monday the respected rights and commerce watchdog Global
Witness announced it was quitting the international certification scheme set
up in 2003 to outlaw blood diamonds due its "refusal to evolve and address
the clear links between diamonds, [and] violence and tyranny." Charmian
Gooch, a Founding Director of Global Witness, said: "Nearly nine years after
the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers
still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are
financing armed violence or abusive regimes." The scheme failed all three
big tests it had been set, said Gooch. It did not tackle an alleged trade in
conflict diamonds from Côte d'Ivoire. It failed to take serious action in
the face of "blatant breaches of the rules" by Venezuela, which has
allegedly become a smugglers' through route for illegal and uncertified
stones originating elsewhere.  And it was unwilling to stop the sale of gems
from Zimbabwe, whose diamonds fields Robert Mugabe's regime violently
appropriated in 2008, reportedly killing 200 people, and whose proceeds now
finance the operation of the isolated authoritarian regime. Gooch added the
Kimberley Process, rather than separating out conflict stones from those
mined and processed according to best practice and the law, had instead
become "an accomplice to diamond laundering – whereby dirty diamonds are
mixed in with clean gems."

The Kimberley Process is a government-led rough diamond certification scheme
which requires member states to pass national legislation and set up an
import/export control system for diamonds. Among other participants are
diamond producers, polishers and dealers and civil society groups such as
Global Witness. Crucially, the Process was an attempt at self-regulation.
Global Witness' departure seals what has been apparent for some time: that,
as an industry, the diamond business can't help but be irrevocably dirty.

That does not go for every diamond producer. De Beers, which coined the
slogan "a diamond is forever" almost a century ago, has transformed itself
in the last decade from a buyer of any and all diamonds, whatever their
provenance, to a "sealed pipeline" producer, only selling stones it has
mined itself. That decision, De Beers said, was made out of the realization
that a diamond is valued almost entirely on the back of its emotional
associations - love, marriage - something a blood diamond, with its
associations of war and suffering, could shatter. It was a decision that
cost the company dearly - De Beers' global market share went from 70% to
40% - but one it argued was vital for the future of the diamond business.

Sadly, despite its standing in the industry, De Beers was unable to impose
its new thinking on its competitors, many of whom saw De Beers' conversion
to more ethical standards as a commercial opportunity. Never was that more
apparent than at the auctions of stones that have taken place in the last
few years at Harare airport, where diamond dealers from around the world fly
in on private jets and bid for stones of whose appalling provenance they are
only too aware. (Zimbabwean stones are, after all, sold at a substantial
discount for precisely that reason). In economics, this phenomenon of how
good behavior is, on a strictly commercial basis, irrational, as it ends up
penalizing you, is known as the Prisoner's Dilemma. For the thousands of
opposition activists who have been jailed in Zimbabwe, many of whom remain
behind bars, that seems grimly appropriate.


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Zimbabwe Vigil should consider their position

http://nehandaradio.com

December 5, 2011 2:01 pm

By Langton Mbeva

Morgan Tsvangirai should ‘consider his position’ screamed one of the dull,
uninspiring weekly vomits that pass for a diary from the Zimbabwe Vigil. The
London based group in simple terms is asking a 59 year old bachelor to step
down because he got a 39 year old woman pregnant and refused to marry her.
What shallow brains?
Former Dynamos FC captain Memory Mucherahowa pictured with Zimbabwe Vigil
coordinator Rose Benton

Former Dynamos FC captain Memory Mucherahowa pictured with Zimbabwe Vigil
coordinator Rose Benton

The Zimbabwe Vigil started off some 10 years ago when MDC-T Treasurer
General Roy Bennett and human rights activist Tony Reeler suggested to
members of the regular Zimbabwe Forum, that they have a vigil along the
lines of the anti-apartheid vigil. For years the Vigil has scored many
successes.

Unfortunately like all good things, corruption and greed can easily set in
and destroy something which a lot of people helped to build. The Vigil
instead of becoming a group based on the collective has become one based on
two individuals. If you live in a glass house, don’t throw stones, the
saying goes.

In asking Tsvangirai to ‘consider his position’ the ZimVigil are throwing
stones, when they are yet to fully explain accusations they take advantage
of desperate asylum seekers in the UK and their sister organisation
Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) were doing the same.

ROHR was accused of making aspiring members pay £120 subscription fees (£10
per month) in return for letters of support for asylum claims. The Zim Vigil
was also accused of charging £20 for letters of support. Coordinator Rose
Benton tried to defend this saying in a statement;

“We do not have membership fees. We do not make any charge to committed
supporters of the Vigil for letters. To people who have come less than 10
times but more than 5 (out of 350!) there is a fee of £10 to cover
administration expenses for a detailed letter. To those who have come less
than 6 times we are reluctant to say they are supporters but will write a
one-line letter confirming they have attended. We charge £20 to discourage
this.”

You do not need to be very educated to spot the contradiction in her
statement. She claims they do not have membership fees and do not charge
committed members of the Vigil for letters; however she admits the not so
committed pay from £10 to £20 for the letters.  What sort of excuse is this?
That they charge people to discourage them from asking for letters?

In July this year ROHR boss Ephraim Tapa, a key ally of Benton in the Zim
Vigil, was sacked by his organisation’s board following accusations that £26
000 was remitted to his personal account on various dates but never
forwarded to Zimbabwe, the intended destination. The board also demanded
£8000 from Tapa which it said he for “educational expenses
unconstitutionally without the approval.

The ROHR Zimbabwe Board of Trustees also distanced themselves from the ‘Yes
we can movement’ formed by Tapa with active support from Benton. So it is
clear Tapa and Benton are behind the ‘Yes We Can Movement’ and the call by
the Zim Vigil coordinator Benton for Tsvangirai to ‘consider his position’
appears opportunistic. Talk about a storm in a tea cup.

In conclusion I would like to challenge both Tapa and Benton to address the
genuine questions being posed by exiled Zimbabweans before the two of them
can begin questioning Tsvangirai. The PM just got a woman pregnant, the Zim
Vigil and ROHR on the other hand are accused of much more serious issues.


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Transcript of Paul Siwela on Question Time (Part 2)

http://www.swradioafrica.com/
 

Secretary General of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) Paul Siwela


The new Secretary General of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) Paul Siwela, joins SW Radio Africa journalist Lance Guma for Part 2 of this Question Time interview. MLF is a separatist group seeking an independent state of ‘Mthwakazi’, separate from Zimbabwe.

Siwela answers questions about how they intend to achieve their objectives to breakaway; infighting in the MLF and allegations that one of their members, John Gazi, is a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
Interview broadcast 30 November 2011

 

Lance Guma: The new Secretary General of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF) Paul Siwela, joins me for Part Two of this Question Time interview. MLF is a separatist group seeking an independent state of Mthwakazi, separate from Zimbabwe.

We asked SW Radio Africa listeners to send in their questions in advance of the interview using Facebook, Twitter, Skype, email and text messages. Thank you for joining us once again Mr. Siwela to answer these questions.

Paul Siwela: Thank you very much for affording us that opportunity.

Guma: Now last week you outlined your vision and solutions for the many grievances you articulated. Most of our questions this week are centred on the Mthwakazi Liberation Front group itself.

You and two other men, John Gazi and Charles Thomas were accused of printing and distributing fliers agitating for north African-style uprisings against Mugabe’s government. Several of our listeners want to find out from you what happened on the 3rd of March, the day you were arrested?

Siwela: I suppose you are referring to a matter which is before the courts so for that reason it would be sub judice for me to make any comment to you to that question. And whilst I’m still there, I also want to assist your listeners – we are not separatists, we are restorationists so you must make a distinction. We are restoring what was there before.

Guma: Well okay without going into the merits then of what you are being charged with, but in terms of actual incidents on the day you were arrested, would you mind just narrating how you were picked up?

Siwela: No, I’m proscribed from making any statements to do with that matter so I’m sure your listeners will have to bear with me, I cannot make any statement with regard to that subject.

Guma: Okay. You were granted bail and several times this bail was suspended using controversial legislation. Meanwhile you were hospitalized at a medical facility within the walls of Khami Maximum Prison with high blood pressure. Are you also allowed then to just explain to us what was happening during that time?

Siwela: Well naturally people have to appreciate that staying in prison is not a good place and as such even if you are in good health you are bound to be affected one or the other, so yes, I was admitted at Khami Maximum Prison hospital and I was hospitalized for high blood pressure and thereafter when I was granted bail I’ve been attended to by my doctors here in Bulawayo and I’ve been recuperating very well.

Guma: In April this year, there were accusations that MLF activist John Gazi is a member of the Law and Order department in the police while others even suggested he was a member of the CIO. Mildred in Beit Bridge sent us a text message asking if you could comment on this particular accusation?

Siwela: Certainly not. I will not make a comment about any individual or other individuals. We are MLF, a political organization with an agenda to restore Mthwakazi Republic so we don’t discuss individuals. If John Gazi is a member of the state security, that’s his business, I’ve nothing to do with it and MLF has nothing to do with it and so I’ll not commit myself to any statement in that regard.

Guma: Would it not be something though that would harm the reputation of the organization if it seemed to be…

Siwela: Why would it harm the organisation? John Gazi resigned from MLF, he is not a member of us so why would that harm us? Whether he’s working for them, he’s not working for them, that’s none of our business. That’s his private life, we don’t intrude on people’s private life.

Guma: Sikhulu Masuku from Bulawayo emailed to ask and I quote from the question – ‘How does MLF intend to liberate Mthwakazi from Zimbabwe without resorting to democratic means like participating in elections?’ The second part of his question is – ‘Isn’t the recent electoral victory of the separatist Scottish National Party of Scotland not an inspiration to the MLF?’

Siwela: Well I suppose people who are not politicians are limited to what they are usually exposed to – that is the electoral process but there are several means which could be employed from time to time, they’ve been employed elsewhere to achieve perhaps what is similar to what we’re demanding.

Let me put it for the record – MLF is not a violent organization and MLF is not going to use violence to achieve its goals but at the same time we are mindful that we are in a country, or rather we are joined in a country, which is violent. Everybody knows it; Zanu PF government from 1980 has always been violent.

Apart from what we experienced ourselves where we lost over 40000 of our people who were dastardly killed by Mugabe’s government, a million of them being displaced, the majority of them in Botswana, South Africa, hundred thousands of our women being raped here and as I speak to you now, we are witnessing another form of violence which is being subjected to our people where our young people are being shot at point blank range by the police under the guise that they are armed robbers.

So that’s another form of violence which we see being perpetrated against our people. And the other one which we are seeing also is the psychological one where people are being denied employment, people are being abused in the streets because they cannot speak Shona language here, which is not a crime for that matter and we are also aware that all the resources here, they’ve being taken, they are being taken from the white community and given to people from Zimbabwe.

And we are saying that’s also violence on and inciting violence but as MLF we want to negotiate with the government of Zimbabwe, we have made overtures to that effect, we have sent correspondence to president Mugabe and we expect him to respond so that we can go into a round table negotiation with the Zimbabwe government.

Guma: Now the second part of Masuku’s question is – you often talk of negotiating for secession with the Zimbabwean government, what course of action will you follow if they snub your request to negotiate?

Siwela: I think I’ve made it very clear that the prerogative, sorry the issue of violence is the prerogative of Zanu PF and the Zimbabwe government, we have no intention to initiate violence ourselves and we are not going to initiate violence ourselves.

However if they were to engage in such nefarious activities of continuing to arrest us, continuing to kill our people, we are saying continuing to do whatever, surely no-one would blame us if we were to defend ourselves? It will be within our right to do so? But as a party, as a nation of Mthwakazi we have no agenda whatsoever to go into violence, to go into war with the Zimbabwe government.

We have seen, you know, so much suffering from 1893 when our forefathers were being killed, dastardly also by the British when they took our country here and beside killing our people, they took our resources, they took a lot of artifacts from here, they took a lot of gold from the king’s palace, they looted our cattle, they took a lot of thing from us.

And when we fought, we contributed to the liberation of Zimbabwe, we thought we were also going to be one family with the people of Zimbabwe but the people of Zimbabwe through the government of Robert Mugabe clearly demonstrated to us they are not interested in us, they are not going to do anything to help us to be integrated as one family this is why we are being discriminated.

As a clear example you can see the Fifth brigade when it was being trained in Nyanga, after they graduated they were deployed starting from where we have our Jameson line which divides Zimbabwe from Mthwakazi, that’s where they were told you start killing people from there, meaning Mugabe knew very well he was not killing the people of Zimbabwe, he was killing the people from Mthwakazi.

Guma: The MLF was recently hit by several resignations, we are told from several emails including that of Sabelo SiloSika Mthwakazi Ngwenya who reportedly left MLF after his political rivals within the organisation – allegedly I must stress – threatened him with death. Could you clarify the position on this particular matter? I received close to three emails on this particular issue.

Siwela: Well that should be a very regrettable incident that took place within the party but let me hasten to say to you and to your listeners and those who are going to view this on internet and elsewhere, that well it’s normal at some point in time that people may take different positions, have policy differences and perhaps others may decide to leave the organization.

But I don’t think there’s any acrimony between Sabelo Ngwenya and MLF. He is a son of Mthwakazi, we communicate with him, he supports the agenda of MLF, he supports wholeheartedly the agenda of the restoration of the sovereignty of Mthwakazi so there’s no difference at all.

I’m sure after a certain time when he has cooled down and the others within the party will have cooled down, I’m sure I will not be surprised to see these people coming back within the party working harmonious within the party because we know we need to work as a team, we know we have to work as a community, we need to work together to achieve this common objective of the restoration of Mthwakazi independence and sovereignty.

Guma: Now from South Africa is another question and let me quote the email – ‘ There’s a rumour that you are the only remaining MLF member in Zimbabwe. Is that true? Does MLF exist beyond the Diaspora, Facebook and the media?’ and the third part of his question is – ‘Most people mistake you for the president of MLF because you are the face of the party. Doesn’t that create friction between you and General Nandinandi.

Siwela: You have raised too many questions so it will be difficult for me maybe to grasp all of them at once, but first of all I know that as a political party, more so and very specifically if we are a party that has a bearing on the lives of the people. There are certain indices which one may to look for to tell that the party is genuine, the party is alive, the party is considered by not only the people in government but the ordinary citizens as a viable organisation.

Those indices include amongst others, one, the attention that the state will give to that organisation; two the way the leadership of that party will be treated by the state and normally we would see in African countries, the arrest being carried out against its leadership on spurious allegations and obviously negative publicity that the state media and of course those who are also competing with a similar party, that they would spew into the public so that people may not join that party.

So yes, MLF yes indeed a viable organisation, it is a party that has won the attention of everybody else in this country specifically because we are selling something which is different from the rest of the other people who are opposed to the Zanu PF government.

Guma: Okay because of time constraints I’ll have to get to the second part of the question. He says ‘There is a rumour you are the only remaining MLF member in Zimbabwe and then the other parties, most people mistake you for the president of MLF because you are the face of the party so doesn’t that create friction between you and General Nandinadi.

Siwela: No certainly not. I’m sure people will be very much aware in UK there, you have the Queen Elizabeth II she is the head of state and head of state and commander in chief of defence forces in the United Kingdom and you have the prime minister, currently it’s David Cameron who is the head of government, so does that create confusion in the minds of the people?

Guma: Okay let me quickly move on to the next question seeing we are running out of time. One of your members has written into us claiming that you and General Nandinandi are not in good books because he caused you to be arrested and charged with treason by printing so-called treasonous fliers in Botswana and sending them to Bulawayo without your knowledge. Is that true? Did the MLF NEC or the information department authorize the printing of the fliers that got you arrested?

Siwela: First of all I find it very strange that a member of our party would go and write to you and ask such a question instead of coming to talk to us so it clearly it demonstrates he is not a member of our party, he is somebody who is trying to sow some division within the party leadership which we are not going to entertain at all.

We are united as the MLF leadership, I speak to the General from time to time, he calls me from time to time, he supports me on anything that I want, so I don’t think there is anything which is untoward or anything that is a cause for concern between myself and the General.

Guma: So basically you are just saying these are false allegations isn’t it?

Siwela: Those are just unfounded allegations, we will not dignify them. There’s no reason to waste time on them.

Guma: Let’s move on to Gwanda – Nkululeko Ndlovu sent us a text message. He says ‘Mr. Siwela, if issues of mis-governance and under-development of Matabeleland were to be fully addressed by the Zimbabwean government today, will MLF continue with its secession agenda and if so why?’

Siwela: Okay first of all perhaps that person does not understand why we are advocating for the restoration of the Mthwakazi Republic. We are not doing solely because of the discrimination we have gone through. It is still our right, whether discriminated or not discriminated to break away from Zimbabwe if we feel we are not happy.

I’ll give an illustration – it is very clear that from 1980 the people of Zimbabwe will not vote for a citizen of Mthwakazi as their leader. It has been demonstrated all the years, they will never vote for a leader who comes from Mthwakazi.

A clear demonstration. If these elections which we are going to, if we are going to have the outcome of results with Mugabe coming as frontrunner, followed by Welshman Ncube and Tsvangirai coming as a third runner and then they go for a run-off, in that run-off we have Robert Mugabe and Welshman Ncube, who do you think the people of Zimbabwe are going to vote for?

It is obvious they will not vote for Welshman Ncube despite that they don’t like Mugabe, despite that they don’t like Zanu PF, despite that they are calling for regime change, they will not go and vote for Welshman Ncube. So for that reason we would also find it necessary that it is not necessarily what we have gone through alone but also that it is within our rights to choose where we want to stay, who should govern us as it is enshrined within the UN constitution and the other statutes.

Guma: The use of the word “we” is a very powerful one and often misused by politicians. When you say ‘we’ are you confident you have people behind you?

Siwela: It surprises me that you don’t believe that the people of Mthwakazi are very unhappy with the way the Zimbabwe government has treated them over the years…

Guma: But I’m sure it’s a separate thing – not being happy with a set of circumstances does not necessarily translate into an organisation saying it has support from people.

Siwela: No, no, no, people who have called for the formation of MLF. It is the people of Mthwakazi who are calling and asking for this break away from Zimbabwe.

Guma: Interesting question from Chris, Mr. Siwela. On Facebook, Chris has sent in an interesting question and I think it might be worth your answering. He is saying – ‘The struggle for a separate state is long and arduous and might fail. Is not devolution a better option?’ This is Chris Nyamandi on Facebook.

Siwela: Look some years back, I was the president of Zapu from around 2000 to 2010 and during that time we were advocating for federalism and in 2002 I stood as a presidential candidate in Zimbabwe. Clearly what we saw is that the people of Zimbabwe do not want further federalism they do not want devolution.

If at all there is anything at all called devolution that they want it is what we have in the current arrangement which Mugabe has, for instance here we do have Cain Mathema as the governor of Bulawayo, Thokozile Mathuthu as the governor of Matabeleland North, Angeline Masuku governor of Matabeleland South, Jason Machaya in Gwelo there, as the governor of so-called Midlands, so…

Guma: Are those not sons and daughters of Mthwakazi who should be doing something for the region within Zanu PF?

Siwela: Yah but there have no power. They were merely given offices, there’s no authority, there’s no power. What is key in life is power, do we have power? This is why we have got people like John Nkomo there in Zanu PF, Simon Khaya Moyo there and all the other people there. They have no power there, inasmuch as those in MDC-T have got Thokozani Khupe, you’ve got Lovemore Moyo – we have no power in the MDC-T.

If Tsvangirai were to resign now for whatever reason from being the president of MDC-T Thokozani Khupe will not succeed Tsvangirai there. That’s like the same way if Mugabe were to resign from Zanu PF, the leader of that party, John Nkomo will not succeed Robert Mugabe.

Guma: Okay, let me squeeze in one more question – we’ve got one minute…

Siwela: …there’s no stake in any party being led by people from Zimbabwe.

Guma: Okay, sorry to interrupt, we’ve only got one minute to go. Let me end with a question from Butholezwe Nyathi who sent a message from his Blackberry and says – ‘My question to Mr. Siwela is – why do they regard people who belong to other organizations like MDC-T as enemies and say they are sell-outs? Are they deliberately infringing on the rights of other Matabeleland people to choose whom to associate with?’ Close quote.

Siwela: Well I’m sure you’ll be very much aware that when Zimbabwe attained her independence in 1980, I’m not aware of any time where Joshua Nkomo as the leader of Zapu, Ndabaningi Sithole later on being succeeded by Robert Mugabe. Where they went for a referendum and said to the people – do you want us to do what we are doing, so they did not get that mandate but they went on to cause a war in the country, people fought, people died, people lost their properties.

In other words, people were denied their rights so that they could achieve the independence of Zimbabwe. So if we allow people to have and enjoy their individual rights, it means then we will be joking, we will not be able to achieve what we want to do. Even America, you know a great country, when they impose sanctions against their enemies, immediately they impose legislation in their statute there and say no American organisation, no American individual will be allowed to transact any commercial business, or anything…

Guma: Sorry, let me stop you there. Are you then deliberately, are you admitting Mr. Siwela that you are infringing, you will be deliberately infringing on other people’s rights to achieve your objectives?

Siwela: Ah there’s nothing called absolute right in this world. Where have you heard about that sort of right in this world? That’s why I’ve given the reference of America. They deny their own citizens rights in countries where they’ve targeted sanctions to have business dealings or anything with those countries. So it means there’s nothing called absolute right, what would be wrong if it is now Mthwakazi who also achieve something which is good for the greater community of Mthwakazi.

Guma: Okay I’ve run out of time, sorry to interrupt you Mr. Siwela but thank you so much for the time you have spent on the programme answering questions from SW Radio Africa listeners. That’s the new Secretary General of the Mthwakazi Liberation Front (MLF), Mr. Paul Siwela joining us for Part Two of Question Time. Mr. Siwela, thank you so much.

Siwela: Thank you very much.

To listen to the programme:

http://www.swradioafrica.2bctnd.net/11_11/qt301111.mp3

 

Feedback can be sent to lance@swradioafrica.com  http://twitter.com/lanceguma or http://www.facebook.com/lance.guma


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Bill Watch - Parliamentary Committees Series - 3rd December 2011 [Meetings Open to Public 5th - 8th December]

BILL WATCH

PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES SERIES

[3rd December 2011]

Committee Meetings Open to the Public: 5th to 8th December

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

Other committees will be meeting, but in closed session for deliberations on such matters as draft reports, including reports on the 2012 Budget for the forthcoming Budget debate.  Two committees will be discussing programmes for planned public hearings on (1) the Older Persons Bill and (2) Millennium Development Goal No. 2 -  achievement of universal primary education. 

Note: This bulletin is based on the latest information released by Parliament on 2nd December.  But, as there are sometimes last-minute changes to the meetings schedule, persons wishing to attend a meeting should avoid possible disappointment by checking with the relevant committee clerk [see below] that the meeting is still on and still open to the public.  Parliament’s telephone numbers are Harare 700181 and 252936.  If attending, please use the Kwame Nkrumah Ave entrance to Parliament.  IDs must be produced.

Thursday 8th December at 10 am

Portfolio Committee: Media, Information and Communication Technology

Oral evidence on the operations of ZIMPOST

Committee Room No. 413

Chairperson: Hon S. Moyo                        Clerk: Mr Mutyambizi

Thursday 8th December at 11 am

Thematic Committee: Indigenisation and Empowerment

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

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

Committee Room No. 311

Chairperson: Hon Mutsvangwa                Clerk: Mr Ratsakatika

 

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


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Constitution Watch of 3rd December 2011 [Final preparations for drafting]

CONSTITUTION WATCH 2011

[3rd December 2011]

Final Preparations for Drafting

The constitution-making process is nearing the point at which the three lead drafters – the expert legal drafters responsible for the actual drafting of the new constitution – will start their task.  The drafters’ duty is to capture in appropriate language the instructions given to them by COPAC as to the content of the constitution.  To ensure they can get on with their job efficiently and without distraction and interference, they will be working in sequestered conditions [much as a jury would when deciding the verdict in a trial by jury].  It would therefore be improper for anyone, no matter how well-intentioned, to contact the lead drafters in an effort to influence the content of the constitution at this stage.  The next opportunity for input by anyone other than those involved in the drafting will be at the Second All Stakeholders Conference.  It is hoped that the draft that is produced will be circulated in good time for consideration before this Conference takes place.

Lead Drafters Now Officially Contacted

The Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs has now officially contacted and held meetings with the three lead drafters  These were agreed on by all parties represented in COPAC as being acceptable because of their known drafting skills and professional impartiality.  They are:

·      Justice Moses Chinhengo – judge of the High Court of Botswana and former judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe

·      Mrs Priscilla Madzonga – senior legal practitioner in private practice in Harare, former legal drafter in the Attorney-General’s Office

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

[Note:  All three of the lead drafters were members of the drafting committee that prepared the draft constitution produced by the Chidyausiku Commission in 1999.  This draft was rejected in the Referendum of February 2000, but the rejection had nothing to do with the quality of the drafting.] 

Pre-Drafting Planning Workshops

Before the three lead drafters could be given their instructions, it was necessary for the Select Committee to decide what those instructions should be, i.e., what the Select Committee, having now had the benefit of the views of Zimbabweans as gathered during the outreach process and in submissions to COPAC, wished the content of the constitution to be.  COPAC held two workshops to map the way forward, one at Masvingo [31st October-1st November], the other just outside Harare [6th-8th November].  These workshops were attended by all 25 members of COPAC, members of the drafting committee’s technical committee [all the drafting committee’s members apart from the COPAC co-chairpersons] and representatives of the Ministry of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs.  The COPAC press release ahead of the workshops said the COPAC members would be there “to provide political guidance”, and that the expected outcomes from the workshop were:

·      “The identification of constitutional issues from the national report [in fact participants used provincial reports, as there seem to be a problem with the narrative component of the national report, with only the statistical component being agreed to by all parties.] 

·      Consensus on constitutional issues to be included in the constitution

·      Gap filling in the constitutional framework in areas not covered by the field data [Comment:  This shows how inadequate was the list of “talking points” taken on the outreach programme – it has been acknowledged that they covered only about 10 percent of what is generally recognised as necessary in a constitution.]

·      The finalisation of the constitutional framework

·      The identification of the constitutional principles which will guide the drafting team.  These will be guided by the identified constitutional issues and international norms and best practices.

·      Agreeing on a framework for conflict/dispute resolution.”

After the workshops members of the technical committee met from 14th to 22nd November for further consideration of which issues identified by the workshops should be confirmed for inclusion in the constitution and which left to be dealt with by ordinary legislation.  These tasks were completed, as far as agreement was reached, on 22nd November and the resulting report was presented to COPAC on 23rd November and considered at a  COPAC meeting on 28th November.  Agreement was not reached on 66 issues of varying importance, and these “parked” issues were referred to the Management Committee, which sent them back to COPAC to try and resolve differences.  The co-chairs have since managed to reduce the “parked” issues to 15 and may get that number down further before another meeting of the Management Committee on 5th December.  What the Management Committee – which includes GPA negotiators – cannot resolve may have to go to the party principals.  The death penalty and the number of vice-Presidents have been cited as examples of “parked” issues.

Comment:  The fact that there were so many issues that had to be decided at this late stage by the co-chairpersons means that civil society’s worst fears are being fulfilled – there is inordinate influence from the three GPA parties.  If so much was going to be decided by so few, it would have been preferable to decide on a panel of proven constitutional experts from both within and outside the country, acceptable to all parties and civil society, at an early stage.  In Kenya a complete draft constitution was produced by a small Committee of Experts and it was that draft on which the people were consulted. 

The Drafting Committee

The drafting committee is made up as follows:

·      15 persons with legal and constitutional expertise, 5 nominated by each of the three GPA parties [the names of these members have not yet been officially released]  

·      Senator Chief Khumalo and Advocate Happias Zhou [nominated by the Council of Chiefs – who, like the three GPA parties are represented in Parliament and on COPAC]

·      The 3 COPAC co-chairpersons, Hon Mwonzora, Hon Mangwana and Hon Mkhosi.

The drafting committee, as well as preparing the final material for the lead drafters, will periodically look at what the lead drafters have produced and either accept what is produced or suggest amendments.

Monitoring of the Drafting Stage

There has been no indication that that civil society would be allowed to monitor the drafting stage.  ZZZICOMP [ZESN/ZPP/ZLHR Independent Constitution Monitoring Project] has protested this omission, stressing the importance of greater transparency and the need for the outreach reports to be made available and civil society to be allowed to monitor the drafting stage and other subsequent events leading to the Referendum.  COPAC’s response is awaited.  [Note: ZZZICOMP eventually, after a struggle, got COPAC to agree to letting its observers in to monitor the Thematic Committee stage – the compiling of the reports.  As yet there has been no ZZZICOMP report on this stage has been made available to the rest of civil society.]

Concerns about the drafting stage may stem from the fact that when the Chidyausiku Commission’s drafting committee was at work in 1999 there was political interference resulting in the final draft not truly reflecting the instructions originally given to the drafters. 

It is difficult to conceive how the professional work of the three lead drafters could be monitored full-time without unduly interfering with their work.  They will obviously not always work in committee.  How does one unobtrusively monitor what an individual drafter is doing on his or her laptop computer?  Even when the lead drafters meet in committee, sitting in on meetings would probably be obtrusive and unproductive.  If by monitoring is meant the monitors checking at regular intervals that the drafters’ product is in conformity with their instructions, that seems inappropriate – and something that civil society should more appropriately deal with in the run-up to and during the Second All-Stakeholders Conference.

Any monitoring would be difficult as long as the reports prepared by the thematic committees are not available.  Their release of the ward reports, the district reports, the provincial and national reports is essential.

Whole Process Marred by Lack of Openness and Transparency

Despite press releases saying “the constitution-making process being spearheaded by COPAC is a transparent process and we are accountable to the people of Zimbabwe in ensuring that the work is done properly”, and similar assurances given in public statements by COPAC co-chairpersons, COPAC has been unduly secretive about much of the process, particularly in recent months.  Much information that should have been released as a matter of routine was not made public.  Veritas’ constant efforts to obtain it from COPAC have been unsuccessful despite repeated promises since July.  Media reports of interviews with COPAC co-chairpersons, sometimes disagreeing with or contradicting each other and often making wildly over-optimistic claims and predictions about progress, have not been a satisfactory substitute for officially released straight factual information.

As a result of official secrecy the public and civil society have remained largely ignorant about certain important aspects of the process:

Names of those involved in making our Constitution

The names of the members of the House of Assembly and Senators who are members of COPAC were made public when they were appointed in April 2009.  The names of the leaders, members and rapporteurs of the outreach teams were published in the press ahead of the outreach process in 2010.  But after this COPAC failed to release the names of those involved in the subsequent stages of the constitution-making process.  This should be remedied and COPAC should release lists of :

·      the names of the team leaders/co-chairs, team members, rapporteurs and researchers/expert advisers of the original May 2011 thematic committees that produced the ward reports and an explanation of why the leadership structure of these thematic committees differed from that originally proposed in 2009, which envisaged each thematic committee having a deputy chairperson from civil society [distinguished experts in relevant fields had been earmarked as deputy chairpersons in 2009 but were dropped from the teams eventually assembled in 2011]

·      the names of the team leaders/co-chairs, team members, rapporteurs and researchers/expert advisers of the reconstituted/downsized August 2011 thematic committees that produced the district and provincial reports

·      the names of the persons involved in the audit of the district and provincial reports

·      the names of the persons involved in preparing the national report.

·      the names of the members of the drafting committee [only the names of the three lead drafters have been officially released]

All of these should have been made promptly available to maintain confidence in the process:

Reports from the various stages of the process

Reports that should be made public are:

·      ward reports [as there should have been 1857 such reports, at lease a random sample should have been released]

·      district reports

·      provincial reports

·      the national report.

Prompt provision of such information might have gone some way towards counteracting the widespread public cynicism about the process and rumours of tampering with data and nepotism and cronyism in the selection of the thematic committees, the persons appointed to assist the committees, and subsequent special task teams.  In these times of financial stringency there should also have been transparency about financial rewards for participants, a subject which has generated much discussion about COPAC extravagance and squandering of government and donor funds. 

 

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

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